Thursday, March 13, 2014

Quinny's floor blanket

I always like to lay Quinn out on a blanket for his floor time, partly to keep him out of whatever crumbs and fuzz are hanging around our floor, partly to help define a safe zone for Adelaide to reference (no riding the bike on the blanket! no jumping on the blanket! gah!), and partly to protect the rugs from the inevitable spitting up that Quinny brings to the party. Of course, now with all the rolling and scooting going on, he finds his way off that blanket pretty quickly, but still.

Six months in, I figured it was time to make the poor neglected second child his own floor blanket like the one I made Adelaide when she was a baby. Super easy, super quick, and very functional. 

I thought I had batting left over from Adelaide's blanket, but it wasn't quite enough, so I used some mystery batting that I had inherited. I kind of melted it with the iron a bit, and it puckered up a bit differently than the stuff I'm used to. Also, if you take a close look at my "quilting," it is a hot mess--just a few oddly placed lines of stitching in the middles of a few of the squares to hold things together. 

But who's looking that closely, right? Well, except for the baby playing on it.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

KCW Days 6, 7, and beyond: Cozy Flannel Robe

I started this robe during Kids Clothes Week, but after the week ended, robe unfinished, I kind of lost some momentum. Finally, it's done and I love it! I want one for me!

I really wanted to make Adelaide a fully lined flannel robe. Guess how easy it is to find a pattern for that, especially in her teeny size 2? Yeah, not easy. Burda 2662 was all I found, and as small as it goes is size 3. I went with it, and it's kind of huge on the kid, but I think it's big and cozy in a good way. Plus, now it'll last a couple of years.

Fabric was another challenge. This robe calls for nearly 3 yards of each fabric. So, looking at all the nice flannels that kept catching my eye, we were talking somewhere upward of $50 in fabric for a two-year-old's bathrobe. But then I stumbled upon a sale bin of precut flannel at JoAnn's, $5 for each three-yard bundle, making the total a beyond reasonable $10 of fabric. And I am really happy with this flannel so far. It feels substantial and is incredibly soft. I wanted to cozy up with it while I was working with it.

This was my first time sewing from a Burda pattern. It was a very simple, basic pattern, but I was a bit thrown by the pattern markings since they aren't quite the same as what I'm used to. I only sort of followed the instructions but, with something this basic, that worked out fine. Honestly, the worst part of this project was tracing the pattern pieces. It seemed like it took forever and, because the markings weren't my usual, I was always wondering if I'd traced all the correct markings for the size. But the sewing itself was easy as pie.

As you may or may not know, depending on your personal life experiences, trying to get photos of kids at all in handmade stuff can be a challenge. On the one hand, I want some documentation before my work is all wrinkly (because I don't iron unless I'm sewing) and stained (because children). On the other hand, I don't want sobbing children who grow up to tell their therapists all about how my sewing and blogging ruined their childhoods. (I kid. Sort of.) So it's always a compromise. What I get: her standing somewhat still while wearing whatever it is that I made. What she gets: everything else. And Adelaide had some strong opinions about this one. She felt strongly about the wearing of bunny ears. She also insisted that she hold her brother's Raggedy Andy. Furthermore, no photos would be taken without "a treat" immediately following the shoot. Well played, Adelaide, well played. After about 100 photos, she was willing to try a few sans ears so that the hood could be pulled up, and when she put the doll down to mess with the hood, she forgot about it. And I got a few photos styled a bit less awesomely more simply. Mama patience for the win.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A new hat for New York

Adam and I went to New York for a few days, leaving the kids behind with family (thank again, you guys!). Let's just say that it was awesome. It was our first time in the city, and we managed to cover a lot of ground, but I'm already plotting a return because there is just SO MUCH.

Before the trip I set a new personal knitting record by completing something in only a week. I knit slowly and get distracted, so a seven-day turn around is very nearly miraculous. But bulky yarn is the best, and knitting in the round isn't as scary as I feared, so I managed to finish Adam's waffle hat in time for us to leave our own cold and snowy region for a different cold and snowy region.

I was really happy with the yarn, some Malabrigo chunky. It had a nice firm-but-squishy thing going on that felt good to knit with. And the pattern was great too. I still consider myself very beginner level, and this had a couple of challenges (knitting in the round! a slightly more involved stitch pattern than I've used before!) but was still easy enough that I could chat a little while working on it and not lose my place.

Hat details on Ravelry here.

Friday, January 31, 2014

KCW Days 3-5: That time the baby stopped sleeping

kid's clothes week

Let's just say that I am not quite as far along on my KCW sewing as I had hoped to be at this point. First, I picked a pattern that, though billed as "easy," has taken me FOREVER to trace and cut. We're talking about a kids size 3 that uses nearly six yards of fabric. So much fabric for such a tiny person. So much tracing. So much cutting. I had allotted a couple of days just for tracing and cutting because fitting in an hour a day is a great goal and all, but I definitely can't achieve it every day, even for a week. But then the baby decided that sleep was for the weak, and the wrench, it was thrown into my rather modest plan.

I know that when the going gets tough, the tough are supposed to get going and all that. But let's be real: sometimes when the going gets tough, you stay in  pajamas for two straight days, pour yourself an adult beverage at 7:30 each night, and collapse in front of the television for the way too brief period between child-bedtime and grown-up-bedtime. Because I love my kids, and I love being home with them, but c'mon, hanging out with a baby who is AWAKE SO AWAKE all day long, and who is not even terribly happy about it, is hard.

But today! Oh, today! Mister Quinn decided that maybe he could be friends with napping again, or at least give it a chance for an hour or so. And I finally finished cutting all my many yards of fabric. So, Adelaide may get a bathrobe by the end of the week after all.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

KCW Day 2: Reversible Hooded Cape

Merry Christmas, Adelaide. I finally finished your cape. Mother of the freakin' year right here, folks.

This is the Red Riding Hood from Oliver + S: Little Things to Sew. It's a size medium, which is supposed to fit up to age 4. It was bound to be a bit big on my on-the-small-side 2.5-year-old, but that's the smallest size for the pattern, so I went for it anyway. She wanted a hood, and this way it ought to be wearable for quite a while.

I used a couple of quilting cottons I picked up from JoAnn Fabrics. The red is just a normal solid, though it is somehow also the most fuzz-attracting fabric in the world. I must have lint-rolled the thing five times, and there's still stray thread and cat hair clinging to it. The starry lining isn't my usual cup of tea, but I really like it. In fact, I like it so much that I decided to make the cape reversible just so the lining can be the star(s)--see what I did there? yeah, sorry--sometimes. Making it reversible was super easy: just put a button on each side. Bam! Reversified!

Other changes I made: I moved the little arm holes up about an inch, which helps the fit if your kid is smaller than the pattern's intended wearer. I also top-stitched all around the cape at the end. The prime reason for the top-stitching was sparkly silver thread. I bought it because it was shiny and wanted to use it. It's pretty subtle on the cape, though, not as glitzy as it was in my head. But, as Adelaide exclaimed, "now it's fancy!"

As for the pattern: I would totally recommend it. If you actually focus and work on it, this project is pretty quick and easy. Everything came together really well, and both Adelaide and I are happy with the results.

Monday, January 27, 2014

KCW Day 1: Getting Started

kid's clothes week

 Some bloggers have stuff all finished and ready to show off. Some have all the washing/tracing/cutting prep work done and are ready to dive in. I have a load of fabric in the dryer and a half-finished Christmas present.

 I'm working away on the Red Riding Hood from Little Things To Sew, which I started as a Christmas present for Adelaide. Obviously, I'm a bit late on that. But I'm almost done! Finally! It's actually a pretty easy and quick project, I just keep getting distracted by things. Like laundry. And food. And adorable babies.

 Speaking of which, I hear Smiley Guy waking up. More tomorrow, I hope!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Keeping warm in the kitchen

You may have heard: it's kinda cold out. Like schools-closed, work-canceled cold. Perfect for some baking.

The children (and the husband) all napped at the same time this afternoon, and I found some peace in the kitchen.

Sipping some warm cider while making bread dough, to the sound of nothing, was pretty much heaven.

Pumpkin muffins were also on the agenda, made with some homemade pumpkin puree.

I used a slightly different pumpkin-cooking method than in the past (this one). It was awesome--not at all watery, which is often an issue for me. I think the key is to roast it dry rather than steam it.

I had a helper for pumpkin prep yesterday. She's a pretty cool buddy to have.