Monthly Archives

February 2013

Snow Day, Sew Day

I felt like a kid last night, going to bed with fingers crossed for a snow day.  Although not like my kid, since she was quite alarmed when she found out their was no school.  Probably because she realized she would not be eating lucky charms for breakfast.

It was great to get the sewing machine back out of the cupboard and back on the kitchen table, where it belongs.  I have a few projects in mind where I can actually learn a few new skills, but for today it was another comfy knit number.

I did a little version of Make It & Love It’s Butterfly Tunic.  I had bookmarked the tutorial weeks ago, and was excited to sew something that required me to do a little pattern drafting.  Ashley’s post was the kind of step-by-step, hand-holding tutorial that I love.  Except when my daughter put it on, she proclaimed she looked more like an angel than a butterfly…

Here I am professionally drafting my pattern on my living room floor on some taped-together freezer paper.

DSC_0469 (Large)

I followed the tutorial as is, except that instead of inserting entire bands of elastic for an empire waist, I just cut a little two-inch section of elastic for a bit of a gathered detail.  This should have been easy, but I had to seam-rip it three times.  And seem ripping on that little elastic was about 10 times more difficult than regular seem ripping.  Also ten-times more curse word inducing. 

DSC_0168 (Large)

I wasn’t sure about this style, but I love how it turned out.  Chloe has been asking for shirts to wear with leggings, and this little shirt/tunic (shunic?) will definitely work.  I’m thinking fun, patterned leggings would go well, no?

But enough with the words, right?  Let’s see the little girl who loves her new ‘Angel Shirt.’  (there’s a bit of irony going on here)

DSC_0212 (Large)

DSC_0185 (Large)

DSC_0171a (Large)


DSC_0214 (Large)

I can see your halo, halo, halo (sing with me)…


DSC_0221 (Large)s

Yes we are.

Okay, maybe one more.

DSC_0178 (Large)


**linking this one up to Make It Wear It Thursday!**

February Break

Last week the school calendar insisted there was to be vacation.

And it looked a little like this.

3 (Large)

1 (Large)

10 (Large)

7.jpg (Large)

2 (Large)

4 (Large)

A little bit of visiting friends and a little bit of friends visiting us.

A lot of playing in the snow.

Continued Traditions

This fall, once my oldest had settled into Kindergarten for a few months, I asked her if she wanted to sign up for a gymnastics class.  She had been practicing cartwheels around the living room, and loved watching the Olympic gymnastics competition over the summer, so I had a feeling she’d be game.  Of course, I also was doing a little bit of that ‘living through your kid’ thing, since 5-year-old Monica probably would have loved this, too.

And she did like the class.  Until the one Monday it was time to get in the car (okay, minivan) and she burst into tears.  You see, when you live where we do, attending a little gymnastics class also means an hour ride both ways.  So her afternoons with class went a little something like this:  get off the school bus, rush through a snack, change into a leotard, sit in the car for an hour, have fun at class for 50 minutes, hop back in the car for another hour-long ride while eating a packed dinner-in-a-lunchbox, fall asleep in the car, be brutally awakened 15 minutes later when you actually arrive home (this part will make you sob), and then be told, ‘okay we’re home, pj’s and back to bed!’  It took me awhile to realize that the 50 minutes of special gymnastics/tap/ballet class fun wasn’t exactly worth giving up your entire afternoon/evening of play time.  Sometimes Mama is a bit slow…

So we quit.  No rushing around every Monday and arranging for family to watch the two other kids, no checks to write out, no extra gas money to spend.   Not that it won’t happen again.   If the kids are eager and willing to put in this kind of effort to do something not available in our town, I will probably make it work.  But not until they ask.

Fast forward a few weeks later and it was time for after-school ski lessons.  I’m not sure why, in my zest for giving my daughter something ‘extra,’ I was only thinking of what I didn’t have available instead of what I did have.   Every child in our town, is eligible for free weekly ski lessons, paid for by our town’s youth recreation funding.  They are bussed from school to a little ski mountain for a two-hour production of getting ski-ready, having a lesson, and a bit of free skiing.  Also: hot chocolate.  It’s the same ski ritual my husband and I received as children.  A very special–very Adirondack–ritual.

Last Friday we hired our next door neighbor to babysit our younger children, so my husband and I could both ski with our oldest daughter’s lesson.  Some special two-parents-to-one child time that we don’t often have.  It was a gorgeous day, with soft snow from the previous night’s snowfall, and sun that felt warm on your face.  And as we were going up the lift, it was quite obvious that I shouldn’t be taking anything about this ritual for granted.

ski1ed (Large)

ski4ed (Large)ski7ed (Large)ski2ed (Large)ski16ed (Large)ski13ed (Large)

The Tiniest Pants

A very special friend of mine (hi Amy!) delivered a baby boy over the weekend.  Last night, I was able to just sit and snuggle him for a little while.  And oh, is he snugly.  I haven’t held a days-old newborn since my own daughter, and it was pure sweetness.

Sadly, this dear friend does not make her life choices based around my little sewing affliction, the sex of the baby was unknown until his birthday.  There would be no advance sewing for this little one.

But since I couldn’t imagine showing up to meet him without something handmade, I decided to sew up the cutest, teeniest little pants.  Seriously.  A napkin takes more fabric.

The pattern is Rae’s Basic Newborn Pant, and it’s perfect for tiny little babes.  It would have sewn up in a snap, except I decided to line them.  As in, I decided to do something I’ve never done before that required lots of seem ripping.  They will sew up much quicker next time, and I think that there needs to be a next time because, well, look at them!

DSC_0513 (Large)


I’ve been on a ‘manly flannels for little boys kick’.  Very Adirondack Inspired, after all.  Oh, and I didn’t think about matching up the plaid until after I had started cutting.  Oops.

DSC_0511 (Large)

I wanted them extra cozy for his sensitive skin, so lining was a must.  Especially since Spring around here is a looong way off, no matter what the calendar might say.

DSC_0519 (Large)

And to get a better idea of the size, I brought in a big boy for scale…

DSC_0528 (Large)

A few final notes on these.  I love lining them, and the idea of making a little reversible pair.  I sewed them at slightly different sizes, thinking that would help things out, but it made hemming them a challenge.  For the waist, it didn’t matter, since it gathers anyway, but my hems have little gathers too.  I also think that instead of folding the waistband over and inserting the elastic, I would try to create a casing in between the two fabrics.

I also think that it might be fun to try to make lined rain pants for the kids this spring.  Adirondack springs are typically very wet and muddy.  It’s actually referred to as ‘mud season,’ so maybe a more accurate description would be mud pants.  In Denmark, where they ride bicycles in the winter and daycares often have outdoor courtyards where infants sleep under comforters, they have a saying that goes something like ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.’  True!


conner (Large)

Happy Birthday, Conner.  You turn four today, and of course you can’t know all that this means.  It’s the year you start school, and leave Mama’s nest, if only for a few hours each morning.  It isn’t until September, but it’s coming.  You are ready, though, your time at home is done.  You need something more.  And going with Daddy each morning will make you so happy, since you have most definitely shifted from my boy to his.  Thankfully, you are still most generous with you hugs and kisses, which helps heal that little wound.

Seeing age three come to an end is bittersweet.  Three sounds so much younger than four, but three was the year you discovered that you wanted to be separate from Mama and Daddy’s rules, in other words, three was the year of the tantrum.  It was also the year of allergies, and a lot of these tantrums are also night terrors that happen on nights you are having trouble breathing.  Daddy would take you outside to get you to stop.

Your third year was the year you started saying ‘love you’ and ‘need to ugga choo (hug you),’ and love our nighttime ritual of ‘itsy itsy pider.’  Three has been a fun age for questions like ‘Mama, u gettin’ a splinter out your head?’ when you see me plucking my eyebrows, or asking if Chloe ate too much grass when you saw her sick on the couch.

You live in the moment, and you don’t usually care about attention from others.  Everything comes from this genuine place inside you, and when you are amazed or thrilled it makes me amazed and thrilled.  For Halloween our family dressed up as Mary Poppins, Burt, Michael, and Jane.  When you saw me in my costume you thought I really was Mary Poppins and were so excited because now I could fly.  You also were excited about your knee socks and called them leggings.  (It’s a little rough on you being the only little boy sandwiched between two girls, you also like shoes.)

You love your cars and trucks, although lately will give up anything for some time with the ipad (ahhh-pad).  You aren’t interested in learning to write letters, but you love to count.  You love all things sweet, and proclaim ‘I don’t like dinner!’ at every dinner.  You sneak food, both to eat (sweets) and to hide (carrots).

You like to spend cold mornings on the register or in front of the fire place.  You don’t like to be cold, although you love skiing and snowmobiling this year.  You love anything that has to do with spending time with your family, and especially Daddy.

You are a sweet, special boy, Conner Jack, and came to us at a time when we really needed just who you are.

Happy Birthday.  We love you.


Saturday Sewing

Since last week’s embroidery didn’t quite work out, I still couldn’t get it out of my mind.  I just love the look.   And with the last failure, I had a few new ideas on how to maybe make it work.

I started out making another Flashback Skinny Tee, this time for Lily.  I should have made size 18-24 months, but made size 2T by mistake.  It didn’t make a huge difference, except for a wider neck, which is kind of cute.  I tried a bound neckline this time, that part is not so cute.  Hopefully it’s not something too many people will notice.  After all, there is a cute toddler to look at, too.

I used some more of the garage-sale pink fabric.  I’m pretty sick of the bright! pink! fabric, but it is really nice to have fabric to learn on.  And lots of it.

For this version I tried two new techniques, the neckline binding, and puff sleeve.  The puffed sleeve was very easy, and I love how it changes up the pattern.   Especially for my petite little girl.  The bound neckline was a bit of a fail that I just didn’t take the time to fix.  I think the binding strip should have been cut a bit wider, and I also think that I should have read the directions.

Once the shirt was constructed, it was time to do a little something to it.  I was going to do a big moose applique or something, to take away from all the pink, but in the end the draw of figuring out how to embroider it was too strong.  I had some double-sided fusible light-weight interfacing, so I stuck a panel of the same fabric on the back, hoping this would help stabilize the fabric enough to get nice tight stitches that wouldn’t unravel.

DSC_0472 (Large)

Have I mentioned that the fabric is pink?

Then I stuck it in a little hoop and wrote a sweet little message fit for this little girl.

DSC_0475 (Large)

And speaking of this sweet girl, this is what she was up to while Mama was busy behind the sewing machine.

DSC_0433 (Large)

She’s very creative, no?  Oh, and it says washable marker, but it’s more like semi-washable.

The shirt came out pretty cute.  Simple, which I like.  Embroidering went much more smoothly, nice tight stitches.  I wove the ends of the embroidery floss instead of knotting it, and I’m interested to see how it holds up in the wash.  The extra stabilization definitely helped this process out.  I had trouble keeping the stitches consistent, but kind of like that look.  It works on a toddler shirt, anyway.

Copy of DSC_0488 (Large)

And a shot of the puff sleeve…

DSC_0487 (Large)

I’ll leave you with one last shot of an obviously thrilled Lily.  Obviously.

DSC_0483 (Large)

Embroidery Fail and a Simple Shirt

Last week, I caught this image on Pinterest.

diy heart sweater tee cross stitch do it your self project cheap look for less jcrew graphic print

 I have been loving anything hand-embroidered lately, and this simple cross-stitch seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out.  I wished I had done it on this dress!

I decided to try it on a little onesie, instead.  The first step was acquiring the right tools, that always seems to be half the battle.  Maybe more.  So I found some size 22 tapestry (ball-point, because the shirt was knit) needles to fit all six strands of the embroidery floss through.  Then I cross-stitched my little heart out.  (heh)

DSC_0346 (Large)

DSC_0348 (Large)

I loved the process of cross stitching, the repetitive motions, the ability to do it while under a blanket on a couch.  The end result, though, I did not love.  Behold…

DSC_0385 (Large)

The main problem was, that the onesie is too thin and you can see the stitches from the back, which are all vertical lines.  It also looks sloppy, probably because I didn’t use something to stabilize the fabric.  I didn’t even notice, until just now, that I forgot to cross one of my x’s.  Oops.  I also will try using just four strands of the floss next time around, it looked bulky for a little onesie.  First, I’ll need a little advice from my Mom on how to accomplish this without resulting in a huge tangled mess.

Inspired by how cute embroidered onesies were, I tried just two strands on this one.  The threads are a little wobbly, again I didn’t use any sort of stabilizer.

DSC_0342 (Large)

Channeling a little Valentines, inspiration, I think.

Sigh…after these failed attempts, I felt the need to just make something I knew would come out.  And turned to my beloved Flashback Skinny Tee pattern to whip up a little shirt last night.  I’m planning on letting my daughter decorate it, like this for Valentines day.

She loved it, as demonstrated by her asking to wear it to sleep, AND to school today.  She thought she was quite clever, wearing the shirt to bed to save time in the morning.   It is a little tight through the arms, because i tried to use an overlocking stitch on my sewing machine.  It stitches a straight line and a zig-zag stitch all in one.  I love it, because it creates a stronger seam, but it also screwed up my seam allowance because the needle shifts over to the left.  I didn’t realize this until it was too late, and it is NOT an easy stitch to seam-rip.  Plus, I really just felt the need to have a finished product.

fbt (Large)

I traced the pattern onto freezer paper, so it could be ironed onto the fabric. My lovely assistant read me a story.

chloepinkt (Large)

…i think she likes it…


Ahhh, and something was made.  (You know, other than beds and PB&J’s. )

Adirondack Weekending, winter edition

Our weather has been crazy this week, but mother nature took pity on us just in time for the weekend.   I mean, -20’s one week and in the 50’s the next.  Crazy.  Oh, and it poured rain for a whole day, which is always depressing in January.  But all that water-turned-ice was coated with a nice five inches overnight.  Perfect for a little of this…

DSC_0046 (Large)

and maybe this…

Dec (146) (Large)

and definitely this…

DSC_0058 (Large)

(Not pictured:  the 2 hour round trip I’ll be taking for groceries and embroidery needles, also part of Adirondack weekending).

Happy first weekend of February!

DSC_0356a (Large)