Monday, September 28, 2009

Birdie kimono set

IMG_11350 by you.

I'm ashamed to admit, I have had this outfit 75% done for the last 2 months, only to get stuck on the binding and put it aside in frustration. Well, the pregnant friend that this was for had her baby last week, which lit a fire under my behind to get it done.

It's the Kimono PJ Set from Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones book, generously loaned to me by the above no-longer-pregnant friend. I had the bright idea to do it in flannel instead of cotton, thinking it'd be cozier. This actually worked out fine for the most part, except for the binding, which I foolishly also tried to do in flannel. Here's a tip for anyone trying to make tiny flannel bias tape: don't do it. Trying to get 1/2" flannel single-fold binding to hold a sharp crease was next to impossible. And then folding it over and pinning the now 1/4" on each side? Infuriating.

So instead, I went and bought some double-fold bias tape from the store and sewed it on the "wrong" way (meaning, I just jammed the raw edges into the fold instead of opening it up, sewing along the crease, then folding and sewing again). I also opted to put binding along the cuffs of the sleeves too. I think it added a nice finished-looking touch.

IMG_11346 by you.

Like other Amy Butler patterns I've tried, this was not a difficult project, but there were a lot of steps and the directions can be confusing at times. I think I read them about 20 times before I started, just to be safe. My main complaint though is that the pattern instructions were a bit lacking in common sense.

First off, folding 1/2" hems on the bottom of the pants and the bottom of the kimono top looks totally absurd on a tiny size 0-3 month outfit. I was unhappy enough with how it looked that I ripped it out and sewed a 1/4" hem with an additional row of topstitching along the edge.

IMG_11348 by you.

IMG_11349 by you.

Second, how the heck they expect you to be able to sew the hems on the sleeves is totally beyond me. I ended up ripping open the side seams so that I could open it up flat, sew on the binding, and then sew it back up. If I ever make another one of these, I'm going to be sure to do my hemming BEFORE I stitch everything up and overcast the edges.

A last note about working with the flannel instead of regular cotton: because the weave is a little looser, it is not as forgiving when you make mistakes and have to rip out seams. If you look closely at the pic above of the pants, you can still see all the holes from where the original hem was. Also, the edges tended to fray more easily and the fabric is overall less stiff, so it was a little trickier to keep it pinned into the bias tape. But like I said, it all worked out fine in the end, so don't be afraid to try it. I'm pretty happy with how this outfit turned out, and I'll likely make more in the future.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bumblebee tutu

IMG_11352 by you.

Despite my desire to be uber-crafty, I opted not to make E's Halloween costume this year. Being the ornery & mercurial little toddler than she is, I had a feeling that after killing myself to make her costume, she'd refuse to wear it. Instead, I picked up two moderately priced store-bought costumes that are big enough for her to wear for dress-up for a good long while. I figure she can pick whichever one she wants on the day of.

One of them is a bumblebee costume from Old Navy, which mainly consists of a fleece vest with wings & a hood. I thought it'd be cute to have a tutu to accompany it. There are a million tutorials all over the web on how to make no-sew tutus (in case you're too lazy to search, you basically just cut strips of tulle and knot them around elastic or ribbon). For some reason, the idea never really appealed to me until now, and I have to say, it was crazy mega easy.

I picked up a couple rolls of tulle on sale at Hobby Lobby last week, and I already had some black elastic laying around that I sewed into a loop. After that, it was just cutting & knotting. I did the whole thing in front of the TV and finished it in just an hour or two. And it cost under $5. My kind of project.

Of course, as expected, my child refuses to wear it. Or even touch it. I'm hoping that she comes around soon, but if not, whatever. At least I didn't spend a ton of time or money on it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Birthday cupcake

I whipped up a quick little cupcake last week for a sweet girl turning 2 years old. Unfortunately, me throwing my back out and the subsequent appointments that followed interfered with me being able to give it to her on her birthday. But I thought I'd go ahead and post it here, just for giggles. I'm not entirely happy with how the cherry on top turned out, so I may take it off and do it over.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Return to knitting!

I honestly can't remember the last time I knit anything. Between the unbearably hot Texas summer, my newfound obsession with sewing, and also just general impatience for how slow knitting can be, I sort of lost interest for a while. But last weekend, I went to visit my best friend in Philadelphia and at the last minute grabbed one of my many unfinished projects work on during the plane ride.

It turned out to be a lifesaver as my flight ended up delayed over 3 hours; I had no music to listen to, and I couldn't focus enough to read the book I'd also brought. I'd forgotten how soothing it can be to just mindlessly knit while watching crappy TV or chit-chatting with a neighbor.

Sadly enough, the project I brought ended up frogged, but I did find some fun new yarn & related supplies to work with on my trip. I got a very cute toddler sweater pattern and some more circular needles (one can never have too many!) at Loop. I also couldn't resist some of the adorable fat quarter bundles at their sister store, Spool. And then I picked up some crazy fun "marshmallow" yarn at Nangellini, which I ended up mixing with some hot pink eyelash yarn to make this funky scarf.

I very rarely work with bulky yarns, and it was really gratifying to be able to start and finish a project in a day. It really re-inspired me to pick up my knitting again and now I'm combing through my various bookmarked and queued patterns trying to decide what to work on next. In retrospect, I should have sprung for a second ball of the marshmallows so that I could have done a tighter knit, but I think the eyelash yarn fills in the holes nicely. I also picked up some super soft green & brown variegated wool that was half off. Score! Not sure what I'm going to do with it just yet though. Oh and of course the pattern I bought calls for bulky yarn, which I don't have, so I guess I'll need to make another trip to my favorite local yarn store. ;)

Oh, and I had to come back and add that the yarn stores I went to in Philly were so different from one another, but both absolutely fabulous! Nancy, the owner of Nangellini, was particularly friendly and cool and my friend and I had a great time chatting with her.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Another bento lunch

Here's E's lunch for her second day of school. I featured the bunny-shaped egg this time, cut in half and with yolks removed. Otherwise, it was the same old, same old: cubed cheese stick, pretzels & blueberries.

IMG_11240 by you.

Oh and here's a shot with the super cute lid, which I realized I forgot to show last time I used this bento box. I also decided to get crazy and add an applesauce cup to her lunch, which I've never done before. I forgot to ask how she did with it.

IMG_11241 by you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First day of school bento and egg molds!

Tomorrow is E's first day of preschool, and I've been super excited about packing her a cute bento lunch. So much so that for what is probably the first and last time, I made it the night before.

Since she's been a chowhound lately, I decided to use one of the few two-tiered boxes I have. I don't use them often because I usually don't have enough food to fill them, but not today! In the top part, I made four little sandwich cut-outs, plus some blueberries, and a stick of colby cheese. The bottom tray I just filled with Veggie Booty.
IMG_11102 by you.

IMG_11109 by you.

It was only after I packed the lunch, took pics and then put it away in the fridge that I remembered I had made eggs earlier and forgotten to put them in.

On my trip to California both this year and last, I picked up some egg molds. For the uninitiated, they're plastic molds that you shove a warm hard-boiled egg into that forces it into a fun shape. I briefly tried them out last year, with lukewarm results. At that point in time, E was decidedly not interested in eating eggs, cute shapes or not.

Here's a pic of my lame attempt from last year. I will add that I did indeed use XL eggs, and they STILL were not big enough!

IMG_5456.JPG by you.

But a lot can change over the course of a year. E's little palate has definitely broadened a bit and while she still claims not to like hard-boiled eggs, I knew that if I let her help me make them, she'd change her tune. Just like with sandwiches - she used to hate them, but now happily eats them if I let her make them herself. Of course it takes about 45 minutes to make one sandwich, but that's a different can of worms.

Generally, I've always been told that you need to use extra large eggs, and that some brands tend to be larger than others. I had exactly four large organic eggs left in my fridge that needed to be used up, and I figured it couldn't hurt to try.

Oddly enough, I went 2-2. Two molds turned out great, two did not. I honestly don't know if it's the eggs or what, but I'm thinking next time, I might orient them a different way before I press them in there.

In any case, E was super excited about the whole process and could not wait to open them up and see. And when I told her she could eat the car...I think she was in hog heaven.

Here she is, waiting patiently.
IMG_11069 by you.

We opened the car first. Success!
IMG_11076 by you.

It has a bit of a greenish tinge because I tried putting it in a cup with water & food coloring. But both E and I were too impatient to wait for the dye to take, so I pulled it out.

IMG_11080 by you.

She ate most of a whole egg - a first! I don't think she cared for the yolk, so I picked it out of the second half after she spit the first half in my hand - lovely.

IMG_11083 by you.

Here are pics of the second set (minus the car). I'm hoping to get her to eat one for breakfast before school tomorrow.

IMG_11088 by you.


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