Friday, September 23, 2011

Sewing for Boys--Goodnight Sweetheart PJ's

As a (possibly biased) mom to a charming, funny, and super cute boy, I'm always excited to learn about new fabric lines and patterns for boys.  Anyone who has ever looked for cute, stylish, and boy-friendly sewing supplies online or in stores knows that it can be a real challenge to find things worthwhile.  Naturally, when I found out the team behind Patterns by Figgy's, Shelly Figuora and Karen LePage were releasing a book of patterns and projects specifically for boys, I flipped out a little bit.  Okay, a lot.  Finally, the book, called Sewing for Boys, is available and I've gotten my hands on a copy.  I have been sewing like crazy!  There are so many great projects in the book and the best part is is that even though each project is full of special finishing techniques that add up to a professional and stylish finished garment, they're also all simple enough in design to allow for each sewist to create a very personalized wardrobe for her child.  And that's really what sewing clothes at home is all about.

A little about the fabric I used for these little pajamas:  Recently, my husband, son, and I moved to a new town.  The move has been nice because it's closer to Nathan's job and it got us out of Toledo and into a smaller community.  The town we're in has a little "downtown" area that has several small businesses including one called Beeker's General Store.  Beeker's is a sweet, nostalgic general store that has been in business for over 130 years.  It reminds me of the Olsen's store in Little House on the Prairie.  Anyway, they have a small selection of fabric behind one of the counters and I happened to see this cowboy print by Michael Miller among the more traditional calicos that they stock.  I think I'm the only person  who has ever purchased this particular fabric from them because the sales lady gave me a look when I said I wanted 2 yards of it.  Oh well.

These PJ's show off a perfect example of the detail within the patterns I was talking about.  I love the piping around the facing on the pajama tops and the faux fly on the bottoms.  For me, these things also helped me to learn new skills to employ when sewing other projects in the future.  I mean, how sweet does that faux fly look?  I always thought that it would be so hard to create, and fortunately I've had the opportunity to discover that it's really quite simple.

One other thing I've really been enjoying about the new place is our clothes line.  It's the perfect spot for pictures of finished projects!  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"I see TRAINS, Mommy!"

I assume that my son's fixation on trains is a fairly normal thing.  After all, there's a reason why Thomas the Tank Engine is such a popular licensed character, right?  Well, as the result of many unfortunate circumstances beyond my control, Peter's last day at daycare will be tomorrow.  On the one hand, I am really enjoying all the extra time I've had to spend with him, but on the other, the circumstances really suck.

To mark Pete's last day, I decided to bust out a Williams-Sonoma pan I found at a rummage sale this summer for only $2.00.  I had seriously considered buying it for myself for full price, but didn't (mostly because I couldn't justify the cost), so this was a super find.

I typically do not bake.  Mostly because I find that I ignore seemingly benign instructions (Why the hell should I split the batter in half?  Just to make another dirty dish?) and misunderstand others and that nearly always results in disaster.  In this case, I ignored an instruction to split the cake batter I made FROM SCRATCH and misunderstood some convoluted instructions about how to fill the wells of this cake pan.  Luckily, disaster was averted, but I did end up with some wasted batter and a few slightly small train cars.  Oh well, live and learn I guess.  I have to say, at least I really go for the gusto even if I'm doing something I'm woefully unqualified to do.

Peter is absolutely in love with these little cakes.  In fact, as I write this, he's asking to "see train again" and I have to keep flipping back and forth between this post and the pictures for it.  I hope all his friends at daycare like them as well.  If I were a kid, I don't think I could imagine anything better than cake encrusted with candy, but who knows about kids now a days.  And, I would be lying if I didn't admit that I hope the MOMS are impressed as well.  Parenting is a competitive sport these days.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Introducing Margot

Lately I've been on a toymaking kick and today's post runs true to form.  My Goddaughter is having her First Communion on Sunday and, unfortunately gas prices have prevented me from making the trip home to celebrate with her, but they have not stopped me from making her a special doll.

Once again, I've turned to Hillary Lang's book Wee Wonderfuls and once again, it does not disappoint.

I decided to make Margot, Hillary's version of a topsy-turvy doll.  On one side, I made a dress that looks like a pretty little first communion-type dress.  White eyelet cotton is the perfect dressed-up material for this half of the Margot doll.  White satin ribbon to make a bow at the back finishes the whole outfit.

On Margot's dressed-for-everyday side, I used a favorite scrap I've been hoarding for months for her skirt and paired it up with a basic polka-dot top.  My Goddaughter is very girly, so I know she'll like all the pink on this side.

All of Margot's facial features are hand-embroidered and her clothes are only minimally machine sewn, meaning most of the stitiching on this doll is done by hand.  Hopefully no one looks too closely at the hand stitching since I am not particularly patient and by the end my fingers were really starting to hurt.

All of the doll's hair is attached by hand as well.  Basically, it's a modified satin stitch with yarn, then the braids and buns are attached separately.  I really hope that Maddie likes her.  She's a big fan of American Girl dolls (which I totally coveted when I was her age), so I hope something handmade seems half as cool.

I have a bunch of other stuff all waiting for a little attention, so I'm going to try my hardest to tackle the stacks of half-started and unfinished projects stacked up on my sewing table.  My goal is to get most of them squared away by the end of the month.  Wish me luck!

Friday, April 29, 2011


I hope everyone had a happy Easter!  I know I had a blast--my parents, sister, and future brother-in-law came out to Toledo for a visit.  Since we live in Ohio and they live in Wisconsin, we don't get to see our families as much as I know we'd like to so we definitely had lots of fun.  Peter got to go swimming at the hotel, Grandpa gave him his first soda (and said it was "orange juice" when he asked if I let Pete have soda and replied, "No.").

To prepare for Easter, I had sewn up a couple of toys to put in Pete's basket.  The first one was the "Eddie" doll from Hillary Lang's book, Wee Wonderfuls.

I made his little outfit out of the outfit we bought for Peter for his trip home from the hospital.  It has been hanging in his closet for over 2 years now, and I thought this would be a good way to appreciate it every day.

The other toy I whipped up was Peanut the Wee Elephant, another Hillary Lang creation.  This one, however, was in my Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts book by Joelle Hoverson.

I used some Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow, a little Heather Ross Mendocino, and, unfortunately, I don't know the designer or line the fabric in Peanuts little ears is.  I don't have the fabric selvage handy to look it up for you, either.

When it comes to gift giving, I am no better than a 5 year old on Christmas eve.  I was so flippin excited to get Peter's reaction to these handmades that I did not end up saving them for his basket.  He really loves his elephant, but the baby he could take or leave.  What can you do?

So....  To make up for my inability to actually save stuff for its intended purpose, I had to come up with something else to put with is Easter basket.  I settled on a giant jug of Miracle Bubbles to use in his automatic bubble machine and a container of sidewalk chalk.

Ok, so I know I'm biased, but really.  Is there any cuter little face on the planet?

I hope you all had a happy celebration, enjoyed a lot of delicious candy, and got a bit of spring weather over your Easter holidays.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Gnome Hat

From February 15th to March 15th, Made by Rae and Made blogs were celebrating the boy with fabulous boy posts full of adorable ideas of sewing and crafting projects especially for boys.  One of the tutorials they posted was for a crocheted gnome hat.  Sadly, I do not know how to crochet and every time I think I want to learn, I remind myself I have enough expensive hobbies already.  Fortunately, my amazing friend Emily of EmmmyLizzzy DOES know how to crochet and she's ridiculously generous to boot!

Thank you a million, Emily!  I can't imagine a cuter hat for this cute kid.