January 2009

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2009.

And now I am going to consider myself officially caught up to real blog time as these pictures were taken yesterday! Another storm this week brought 6 inches of powder topped with a good 3/4 inches of hardened ice. After the earlier success with the igloo, the girl and I decided to build bigger. We chose one of the 6 foot tall snow banks at the street end of the driveway as a good place to build a tower. The kids had trudged a path along the top of the ridge to the top of this bank already. The girl and I broke up the ice into “bricks” and carried them up to the building site. I did a little prep with the shovel and then we started laying the bricks in a semi-circle. The bottom portion I “mortared” with snow but you can see the “bricks” are simply laid on top of each other nearer the top. We practiced our princess waving to the neighbors and the boy enjoyed playing in the fort as well. They kids decided to play at being Pazu and Sheeta, characters from one of our favorite movies, must-see Castle in the Sky from Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki. (We have the Disney two disc set which includes the original Japanese version on the second DVD.)

Tags:

I’m not exactly sure when I made this because I didn’t take the picture right away. The boy couldn’t wait to get into it. He’s been needing some long sleeve tee shirts so I’ve just been trying to make them from fabric or our old tee shirts that we haven’t been wearing rather than buy, especially since he is so thin that the store bought ones tend to look too wide to get the sleeves long enough. My husband donated a grey tee shirt to the cause and I recut and serged it up one night, intending to leave it plain. The boy however wanted to know what animal I was going to put on it. Since we had been watching the crows outside the window earlier he hit upon that. I looked for some pictures of crows on the internet and he chose one in flight. I printed out several and then quickly composited them on my lightbox to get the features I wanted from each, the wings from one, the open beak of another, the grasping feet of a third. I then simply cut a paper stencil and dabbed on fabric dye and heat set it with the iron. I lobbied for a small critter on the run at the bottom of the shirt but the boy preferred to have the word “crow” so that’s what I did. The boy was reluctant to help with the actual shirt but did do a second stencil of the crow onto a scrap piece of fabric that will hopefully appear on a later garment for the girl. All done in time to catch the bus to PM kindergarten. I’m afraid they are getting a little too used to this!

Tags: , , , ,

The girl has been mad about giraffes lately so I had to get this unusual Alexander Henry giraffe print when I saw it at the local fabric shop. There’s nothing cute about it, until you put it on the girl! I used the same A-line shift pattern but changed the shoulder seam to accommodate ribbons instead and added pockets to the side seams. I also made it a little bigger, maybe a little too much but then again she should be able to wear it in the summer without a shirt under. I had intended to use wide grosgrain ribbon for the shoulder ties but what I couldn’t find a good color match so I ended up making the ties from the lining fabric. For some reason I cut them on the bias. I really cannot tell you why. Now they are easy to tie and drape beatifully but they also do not hold a knot well no matter how hard I pull. So . . . I may have to sew the bows shut. The mock-neck shirt I made up on the serger from a rayon pont√© knit bought for another project that never got used. I’m getting better at this serger thing! I also made matching wide bottom pants. The girl was not inclined to wear the pants the day I took the picture but she has since. It’s scary how mod she looks in the brown top and pants and her brown suede boots. I think she wore this dress about four times the first week.

Tags: , ,

I ordered this great Michael Miller snowboard flannel before Christmas but it didn’t arrive until after Christmas. Still we have lots of flannel PJ weather to go up here in Maine so I sewed some pajama pants up for the boy. Do you think he likes them?? The girl is wearing a yummy soft cotton velour dress from Dharma Trading that I tie dyed about two years ago! Too short to wear without pants now except to bed. Dark yellow and tangerine I think, turned out to be a great color combo for her.

Tags: ,

We got the boy his first set of Legos for his birthday. Huge hit! The girl was quite interested as well, if only because it occupied both her brother and her mother. So we had a rather Lego Christmas as well. After Christmas, my husband dug out his old Legos to add to the fun. What to do with thirty year old Legos? Give them a bath of course! The kids enthusiastically scrubbed away!

Tags:

Here’s the girl doing a great impression of Cinderella thanks to a kool-aid dyed play silk and an apron my mother made for me when I was a little girl! I should post a close-up of the apron fabric, it’s a wonderful, delicate print of tiny birds amidst bamboo. The play silk I made quite a while ago. My instructions for dyeing play silks in the microwave are here.

Tags: ,

We’ve had a lot of snow this year, starting earlier than usual. I love snow and the kids are old enough to really enjoy it. One of the storms dumped annoying sleet at the end of a good amount of snow. We don’t like that sort of thing normally, but we decided to make lemonade out of lemons. The kids walked around crunching the hardened top layer into one inch thick pieces. On one side of the driveway the girl and I stacked the pieces quite easily into an igloo shape. She then requested a candle but since it was the middle of the day I figured we would wait until it was dark to light a candle. It snowed again before I had a chance to snap a picture!

Tags:

Hey! I’m almost caught up, we’re in January now. I got this cute bug fabric last year as a credit for something else. I really didn’t have a plan for it but I finally figured out how to use a bit of it as an applique. I took two old tee shirts, one of mine and one of my husband’s. Using the tee shirt pattern I created for the boy I cut the pieces to make a two-tone shirt, mostly because the light blue shirt was not big enough to make a complete shirt. But I needed the light blue background for the appliques to look right. I fused the bug fabric appliques to the shirt but ended up sealing the edges with clear nail polish and whipstitching by hand because I forgot to sew the appliques before finishing the shirt. I made a ton of mistakes putting this shirt together, mostly because I didn’t bother to make separate pattern pieces for the color blocking. But it fits, it looks fine, and the boy likes it. And it’s survived several trips through the wash so I think it will last the season. At the rate the boy is growing, he won’t be wearing it past the next few months whatever the weather.

Tags: , ,

The girl got a really nice set of metal pots and pans for Christmas from her grandparents. Problem was, she needed a stove, and she needed it now! Rather than using a cardboard box that wouldn’t last long, I looked around for something that wouldn’t take up extra room but would be appealing to the girl. I decided to use the top of a plastic storage drawer unit that held the kids’ art supplies. I rearranged the contents to empty the top drawer to hold the new pots and pans and the girl’s tin tea set. I layered several colors of craft foam to make the stove top. For a long time I despised craft foam but I’ve finally decided that it does have its uses on occasion. I made the stove knobs from some wooden craft pieces glued together and painted red. I used my snap press to put snaps through the foam pieces and glued the other side to the bottom of the knob. Once snapped together the knobs are secure but able to turn smoothly. I love it when I can take stuff I already have around the house and turn it into a completed project!

Tags: ,

Here’s the girl wearing a pillowcase I made for her for Christmas. I finally figured out that she doesn’t like the flannel pillow case even though she does like the flannel sheets. So I pulled this sweet pink cherries print out of my stash and matched it with a light green border left over from another project. The boy got a similar pillow case made to match his train quilt. This was an incredibly fast and easy project. And I can see how it will be nice to have extra pillow cases for overnight trips and such.

Tags:


I sewed a few little skirts as Christmas presents for my niece and the girl was a bit sad to see them go so of course I had to make something for her too. Since I have so much fabric, I have been trying hard to use what I have and not buy anything new. So this skirt was made from nine inch wide remnants. I actually watched the DVD that came with my serger to figure out how to make the doubled ruffle. Pretty nifty. I used some hempcel for the ivory trim and lining. For the waist I used some buttonhole elastic to make the waist adjustable. It was pretty simple to sew it in a continuous loop with the excess coming out the back seam in the lining. If the skirt gets too short I can always add a longer ruffle to the lining to add length. I liked how this came out and plan to make a few more, with variations of course. No pattern, it’s just two tubes of fabric about 1.5x the waist, sew the ruffle on the bottom of the outer fabric. Sew the two tubes together right sides together round the top. Turn and topstitch the edge and then again down about an inch or however wide your elastic is. Don’t forget to leave the side or back seam open where you want to insert the elastic.

Tags: , ,

My mother went to Japan for a visit with her family and brought back a cute little doll for the girl. I had asked for something more little girlish than what is common here in the States. So Blythe needed a bed or so I was informed by the girl. So since petite Blythe had made the trip from Japan I decided to make her a futon as her bed and a pillow and blanket to match. All were made from scraps, and I do mean scraps. Both of these were left over from making a toddler dress out of a 1/2 yard of fabric so you know there wasn’t much left!

Tags: ,

This is my new motto. Okay, it’s not that new, I think I’ve been trying it out for the last few months. And it’s working very well. Some people would say I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I don’t think so but my judgement is probably questionable. I am a procrastinator and I often find myself unable to finish a project not just because I don’t have time but because I can’t make a decision at some point or I’m afraid to mess something up. Making stuff with and for my kids has taught me that speed is sometimes much more important than accuracy!
  1. Yes, you can make a duck with just three Lego pieces. 
  2. If you wait more than two weeks to finish sewing those pants they’ll be too short by the time you get them on the kid.
  3. Minnie Mouse is just three circles and a bow. A bow is just two triangles. Try it with pancakes and jelly.


This is our church‘s second year creating an impression of what Bethlehem’s marketplace might have been like about the time Jesus Christ lived. It’s a little hard to describe but our visitors have enjoyed it enthusiastically. It’s not a living nativity, it’s more like a participatory historical drama, mainly geared towards kids 3-11 but enjoyed by adults as well. I’m not really sure how I came up with this idea but it evolved out of some conversations with my friend Jan and a great deal of searching the internet. Teens and adult members help decorate the auditorium and serve as different characters. When you enter the building you are greeted by wise men who hand out maps to the market. You then go visit whatever shops pique your interest. All the shopkeepers are dressed in the historically suggestive costumes we use for our Children’s Workshop (aka VBS). The kids get to make bread, shape pottery, work with wood, hear stories, visit the spice merchant, and sample flatbread and unusual fruits and nuts. While it’s a rather large undertaking for our small congregation we’ve found it to be a fun and educational experience and we hope to continue building and sharing it with our friends every year. Did you know that “Bethlehem” means “house of bread”?

Tags:

. . . where the driveway just gets smaller. The snow started earlier than usual this year and it’s stayed pretty cold so it’s really starting to pile up. The bank in front of the house is threatening to engulf the lamppost. We have steps cut into a bank at the end of the driveway that allow the kids to easily climb up to sled down into the backyard. The bank on the side yard will have to take most of the snow tomorrow when we clear the driveway, if we can heave it up that high. This picture is actually from the last storm, but you get the idea. I don’t really know how deep it is unpiled, three feet or more? Most of it has been powder, so we’ve done lots of sledding but not much snowman construction. So far it’s been fun!

Tags:

« Older entries