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Baby Gift Idea: Hand-Dyed & Embroidered Swaddle Blanket

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This is something I should have written about years ago, but I wasn’t writing the blog yet when I got this gift so I’ll use that as my lame excuse as to why I am just now getting to it!

When Audrey was born I received a very special package in the mail from one of my good college friends, Brandy. She is so very talented and can do any craft she puts her mind too. At one time she had opened a shop on Etsy but life with 3 girls, work, and school took precedence. Such a shame too because her knitted items are beautiful. Anyway, I was so thrilled when I opened the box to reveal two beautiful hand made blankets. They are probably sewn from a muslin cotton that she hand-dyed (the bottom right photo above shows the beautiful color variations in the cloth). One is purple and the other is pink. On the corner of the pink one is the most precious little bird that has been hand embroidered. It was done with variegated floss so that the image has a subtle variation in its colors. Audrey’s room had a sort of garden/bird theme to it when she was born so it was just perfect. She was also born in March in Texas which means HOT months were ahead so these light weight swaddle type blankets were awesome. I loved that she had made them just for my little girl.

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The blankets alone were so thoughtful that they were a perfect gift unto themselves.

But just for fun I thought I’d pair it with some other items to show other gift ideas as well. Handmade gifts are always extra special and are the ones that become family heirlooms, but if you aren’t the crafty type that doesn’t mean you can’t give handmade. This little bunny below is from the etsy shop, Yarnigans.   I just love her hand knitted items. One day when I learn to knit; maybe once the kids are grown and I have more time, I would love to buy her patterns for making these adorable animals.  This little mermaid is just so perfectbaby-gift-1
But I digress, I found a little basket which of course could be used by the recipient afterwards for holding toys, diapers, etc. I rolled up the two blankets and tied a ribbon around them making sure that the pretty bird was showing. I added a few board books because who doesn’t love a good book? And last placed the bunny on top. You could put a pretty bow on the basket and give it as is.

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And if you wanted extra credit you could give some personalized art for the new little one. How about a print like this to add to the mix since it matches the bunny? You could even have a bunny embroidered on the blanket if you wanted them all to match.
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And of course you could customize these things to match any nursery. I have lots of animals to choose from in my shop. If you don’t see an animal available that you’d love to have then let’s talk. I’d love to be able to help you!

Have you hand-dyed a blanket before?  Have you ever ventured into doing embroidery?  You can do a lot with knowing just one or two different stitches.  With the tutorials online it is so easy to learn.

Tooth Fairy Pouch

04 09 13_8004In December my son had his first loose tooth! We were shocked. It seemed so early. But I guess it is within normalcy…he is 5. It’s just that he isn’t in school yet so it feels young.

I had pinned this little tooth fairy pouch a long time ago for the day when we would need it. Well, even with it taking 2 months for that tooth to come out…(the boy wouldn’t let us near it)…I still didn’t manage to make it in time. And then on our recent spring break trip his second tooth got loose. This one only took a couple weeks before it came out. And, yep, still no cute little tooth with wings to hold it in. Now in all fairness we didn’t even end up needing it the first time since he woke up and his tooth was GONE! I was so bummed. We had spent so much emotional energy on getting that first one to come out and then nothing to show for it. Who knows if he swallowed it or if the tiny thing will show up one day behind his bed. Thankfully, the tooth fairy does take notes that explain why there is no tooth. She will even send one back with a dollar coin and encourage the boy to wiggle it a little next time.

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Well, this past week I spent a few hours in a surgery waiting room and it was the perfect project to stick in my purse and keep my mind busy. It was so easy and fast.  I also loved the tip on how to make the smile.  I highly recommend making it.  Now it is ready for when the next one comes out.

Halloween Costumes 2012

Anyone who has been around my oldest boy for any length of time is aware of his deep love for Star Wars.  So, this year for Halloween he wanted to dress as a character from one of the movies.  He could not make up his mind of what he wanted to be…it ranged from Boba Fett to Obi Wan to the Sarlaac or other crazy creatures that I would have no idea how to make.  I kept putting off really trying to pin it down because I didn’t want him to get set on either a scary looking one like Darth Maul or one that would be too difficult for me to put together like General Grievous.  Thankfully, a woman from our church mentioned she had a Darth Vader mask we could use and when I told Josiah he got really excited.  So it made that decision super easy!

I haven’t made the kids coordinate their costumes in the past but for some reason decided to give it a go this year.  Here are last year’s costumes – Sherlock Holmes and Red Riding Hood.  One would think that Audrey would be Princess Leia being that she is a girl.  But oh no, that would be no fun.  The girl’s first crush is on Yoda.  It was one of her first words and she still yells his name whenever she sees a picture of him.  If we weren’t doing a theme then I think she would be a cat because she is crazy about them too.  But she’ll have the rest of her childhood to choose what she wants to be.

A while ago when I was searching for costume ideas I stumbled across a really cute R2D2 onesie.  I figured it would be very easy to recreate and could work for a boy or girl since we didn’t know what we were having.

I was able to keep the work and cost down by using items we already had and then finding a few tutorials online to help me make the parts I didn’t.

For Darth Vader:

helmet – borrowed

long sleeved black shirt – Walmart for about $4

black pants, socks, and shoes, red lightsaber – already owned

cape – I used this tutorial as a basic guide.  I didn’t buy the pattern.  It took one yard of some polyester type fabric.  It isn’t the true shape of a Vader cape but it’ll stay out of his way while he plays.

Josiah really wanted gloves but all the ones I’ve found are too big.

I forgot to photograph it, but we also happened to find a Darth Vader head bucket for putting candy in at Goodwill.  I think it was 99 cents.

For Yoda:

hat – I bought a half yard of green fleece but only used a portion of it.  I used this tutorial and pattern.  I made up the ears myself.  If I am able to scan the pattern I made for the ears I’ll share the pattern with you. (Update Oct. 2016:  I am visiting the US to see family and was able to find my original ear template in storage so I’ve scanned it and added very simple instructions on to them as well!! Sorry it took so long!)  Click here to get the pdf.  Yoda Ear Template

robe – I used this tutorial.  I right clicked on the tutorial to save it as a picture so I could enlarge it and read it.  I didn’t do the french seams like she did.  I was going to use a thinner fabric but ended up just using fleece again.  Hopefully it’ll be cool so she doesn’t get too hot.  I ended up making a belt for the robe (which Yoda doesn’t have) but I didn’t want it staying open and falling off of her all the time.  You could also just make it with a button as well.

brown shirt and pants – borrowed from her brother’s old clothes

green lightsaber- already owned

shoe covers – I cut green fleece to look like 3 toes and made it just big enough to cover her shoes but not hang down past them so she wouldn’t trip.  I sewed elastic from side to side so that it goes under shoe to hold them on.  I know her shoes show from under them but it wasn’t meant to look exactly like Yoda’s feet, just give the impression of them, while allowing her to run and play.

For R2D2:

white cap – from Hobby Lobby

white long sleeved onesie – from Walmart (in a pack of 3)  I already have white short sleeved onesies that I was going to use but then figured it’ll probably get cold and I don’t want to have to cover his costume completely if I can avoid it so I got a long sleeved one instead.

I was inspired by this costume in the shop The Wishing Elephant.  I then looked at google images for what R2D2 actually looks like and I combined the two.  I was originally going to paint it all but then when I noticed that the onesie had felt on it I realized it would look even nicer and would be less messy.  I already had all the felt I needed and I glued it on with craft glue. Which later I forgot and washed it and all the felt pieces came off.  So, if you are going to glue it and want it to be permanent then use a fabric glue made for that.

I’ll leave you with an action shot!

And if you want more inspiration for your costumes check out this year’s Modern Kiddo Costume Parade.  There are a ton of awesome handmade costumes to get your creative juices flowing.

Who took my feet?

It is rather embarrassing to see that the last post was from July 7. I think about writing most days but haven’t had the time or energy to do it. Don’t worry, all is well here and I can finally tell you about some of the craziness that has kept me busy. So once again, sorry if this post is a bit lengthy.

Ken was gone for about 2 weeks at the end of July. He took some of our high school students to Scotland to work with a local church there. I figured I’d have lots of time to do some writing then but at the end of each day was pretty exhausted from having the kids all to myself. I tried to keep us busy by taking them to SeaWorld and swimming etc.  SeaWorld actually went really well.  The hardest part was the heat and pushing the double stroller.  I did get some work done for the shop though which I’ll talk about in a minute and thankfully had the olympics to keep me company.

Ken got back and was here for a week before going on another trip. Thankfully this one was only 4 days but the kids and I were pretty tired of each other by this point so it was a very good thing when he finally got home.

Another week went by and he had one last overnight youth retreat to go on. He had mentioned possibly the kids and I going along and at first I didn’t want to since it is just easier to take care of them at home but then I figured I might try so that the kids could still be around him even if I had to keep them busy during bible studies etc. Then out of the blue, our very wonderful and generous friend, Angie, who has 3 girls of her own offered to watch my kids so I could go without them. I was going to say no just because I didn’t want to make her watch 5 kids all by herself but after talking to her and thinking it over I knew this may be my only chance for a long time to go on a trip sans kids. I believe I haven’t been on a church trip (or really any trip) without children since we went to Ecuador when Josiah was about 9 months old…so that is 4 years ago. And with baby coming it’ll be awhile before I can leave that child overnight. So, I took Angie up on it and had a great time. It was nice to get away and the kids didn’t miss us one bit. I didn’t think they would.

So here we are now with Ken finally back to work on all the projects we have to do before baby comes like refinishing the two twin beds we have and the dining table I found on Craigslist. Did I ever mention that we found another twin iron bed that is almost the same as the first?! We have also needed a new dining table to accommodate our new member of the family coming. Our kitchen eating area is small and has a door to the outside right by the table so we have always had a small square table with no leaf that we got from my parents. It has worked great for the 4 of us although not so great when we have guests. The new table is a good sized round pedestal table with a leaf. Since there are no outside legs we can scoot the 5 of us around the table when it is just us and then when others come we can add a leaf and squish in some more people. The kids and I drove to San Antonio ourselves to pick it up while Ken was in Scotland. Thankfully we weren’t kidnapped or anything and the man we bought it from was able to carry it all into the van for us.  I also bugged my very helpful neighbor to help me get it out of the van once we got home.  The top was in bad shape but Ken started sanding it last night and we are going to stain and seal it. The whole thing was painted black. To keep the project as easy as possible we are keeping the rest of it black. It will require a little touch up paint in parts but that should be quick.

I finished making the fox light that I posted about forever ago. I’m thinking because of the color that it’ll go in baby’s room. I’ll take pictures and show you. The final steps of it have been a little bit tougher than I had hoped but I’ll share about that when I show you the final product. I still think it looks really cute though. Now that Ken is back I finally have our camera back. It is good to have access to it again.

For some wall art in the big kids’ room I embroidered some different random pictures and will hang them in the embroidery hoops. I am also going to pick out some pretty fabric to hang in hoops with them as well. I made the pictures not go with a theme because I don’t want the room to have a specific theme. I chose things that I think both kids will like. I even spent part of one nap time with Josiah sewing his own hoop. I love how it turned out. He did such a great job. I did use the same colors for all the pictures though so that they would still look like they go together.

The kids and I did a lot of thrifting while Ken was away and we found some real treasures. Well, they don’t look like it yet but they will once they get a good cleaning and some spray paint. I had been waiting to work on them so I could show you a before pick with the after…remember I’ve had no camera. So, now I can get going on those. Now, to just decide on colors.

One cool thing that the kids and I did while Ken was gone was to meet up with my blogging friend, Shannon. We met at Landa Park in New Braunfels and had a great time. She has 4 kids who are all just adorable and wonderful. Her mom was also with them and the whole family was so fun and helpful. They really helped keep an eye on my kids (who were the youngest). After the park when we were all sizzling we ate lunch at Chick-fil-a before they headed on to their next leg of vacation. I have never met anyone in person before that I only knew online. I’d say as long as you know the person is who they say they are you should go for it. It’s lots of fun.

So that this isn’t a photo-less post, here are pictures I wanted to share over a month ago of the baby blanket I made for baby if she’s a girl. It felt great to get it finished. It is the first thing I’ve ever quilted. It was pretty time consuming to make the chevron over and over but not too difficult. Now, I just need to make one for a boy. I think I finally found some fabric that I like, I just need to order it.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I haven’t added anything to the shop in ages because of all the busy-ness here but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been making things for it. The personalized baby’s first Christmas ornaments I made the last two years have been such a success that I decided that they would be my focus this year for the holidays. I ran out of socks last year for the bunnies and haven’t found a substitute so this year I am using fleece. This has opened up a new world because I am no longer restricted to the size of the sock. I have made a bunch of white rabbits that’ll look like the ones before and I have also made a bunch of gray elephants that will have embroidered ears that are pink or blue and am finally finishing a bunch of tan owls that will have a pink or blue beak. I am very close to being finished and will share pictures once I mock up some of each to look like a finished product. The great thing for me about the ornaments is that most of the work is finished beforehand so once baby gets here I can still have something in my shop but it won’t take a lot of time/work to get them mailed out.

As far as a baby update I am now in the middle of week 34 and couldn’t be happier because it means there is a light at the end of the tunnel with this baby coming soon and it also means that we in theory have some time left to get everything finished without me stressing too much. At my last appointment at 32 weeks everything looked great and baby was said to be about 4 lbs 7 oz which was in the 55 percentile. So, I’m guessing baby is now a pound heavier by this point. This will probably mean another 8 1/2 pound baby but that isn’t bad. I’ve been feeling well except for all the normal annoying pregnancy symptoms. Ha, almost forgot what I titled this post…good thing I actually remembered to mention pregnancy stuff or people would be very confused. Of course some people might not have made it this far in the post. My feet and ankles are a bit swollen and look to meet like someone else’s feet. It probably isn’t noticeable to anyone else but I know what my feet/ankles look like and this is not them. I also discovered on Sunday that what I thought were going to be comfortable flats to wear to church became instruments of pain because of my big feet. I’ve also noticed some chloasma starting on my face above my eyebrows and on my forehead. Thank goodness for makeup. I have had it before but it usually just makes me look like a racoon with darkness around my eyes. I told baby that he/she better be cute because I am going through all this for them. I did pass my glucose test…or at least I’m assuming I did since when the nurse called to tell me the blood work said I was anaemic she didn’t mention anything else. Apparently they aren’t too worried about the anaemia since they just said we’d do another blood test to figure out the cause of it when I go in next time.  I wondered why I have had an obsession with chewing ice…I’ve heard that sometimes if you are low in iron it’ll make you crave it.  I also have self diagnosed myself with a light case of symphysis pubis dysfunction.  I’ve had it with each pregnancy.  It started last time when I fell on our slippery ramp to our shed and this time it had already been noticeable but got a bit worse when I slipped on a wet floor at the youth retreat.  It makes turning over in bed excrutiating.  Thankfully it has gotten a lot better than it was right after I slipped I am guessing because I was able to swim and relax/stretch the muscles.  Ok, enough about all that.  Really over all I can’t complain about any of it because it is normal and I’ve never had to deal with any of the really hard/scary things that some others have to deal with.

Hopefully I’ll be able to start sharing pictures soon of all the things that I’ve been making around here!

DIY Kid Stuff Inspiration

Warning: This may get kind of long.  I am going to share some of the inspiration I have found from around the web for making things for my kids’ new rooms and also just to use for the kiddos.

Last night I finally started a blanket for the baby that I have been wanting to do for a while.  I have had trouble find a unisex fabric I like.  I picked some out that colorwise is gender neutral but it does have flowers so it makes it a bit girly.  Even my 4 year old son said so.  But I figured I can always make a boyish one too and then either have one of the big kids use the quilt that the baby doesn’t need as a throw or give it to someone else who has a baby.  I bought a kind of universal walking foot at Joann’s hoping it would fit my machine but it wasn’t quite compatible.  It turns out though that since this quilt isn’t too thick that so far it has been just fine without it.  I’ll show you two blogs that gave me the idea and then a couple peaks at my work in progress.  I will hopefully finish doing the quilting part tonight and then trim it up and get the binding on it in the next day or two.  I made mine crib quilt size (45″x60″) so it is pretty large.  I made the quilting pattern chevron shaped so that has been the only pain with having to deal with the large blanket…there is a lot of stoping and starting and readjusting as you go.

I first saw this blanket from Katie Did.

Then I saw this one on Mer Mag. And then she made another one that I like even more.

Here is a couple peaks at the fabric I’m using.  You can see the batting sticking out and the threads since I am midprocess.

The other thing that I started making last night (and could have finished if I had all the materials) was this poopy clutch from I Still Love You.  There is a free pattern for it on the site.  I thought it was pretty cute and while I was at Joann’s I bought some vinyl from the remnant bin to make one.  The vinyl I got is kind of a camel beige color…so not the most exciting thing ever but when I looked at the giant rolls of vinyl that they had, I didn’t really love any of the other colors anyway.  I figured I could paint a design on it to give it a bit more pizazz.  I like the feather on this bag on etsy and will probably do something similar.  Making the vinyl part of the pouch is super easy I just need to get the button snap to finish it.  I got something at Hobby Lobby but it wasn’t the right thing so I’ll probably have to get one from online.

Awhile back I came across this tutorial to make a stuffed animal into a lamp on matsutake.  I thought it was so cute.  Then just a couple weeks ago I found that the same woman was giving the pattern for that fox away for free now instead of selling it.  I can’t wait to make it.  I just need to decide what fabrics to use.  I also need to check to see if any local stores carry the stiffy stuff that makes the animal hard.  If not, guess I’ll be buying from the internet again.  The blog that this fox pattern and tutorial for the lamp is on is a different format than any I’ve seen before and it is a bit annoying to navigate and my pins on pinterest just go to the main page.  So, just click on the tutorial section at the top of the main page and find the info from there.

I don’t know if I’ll actually make this rug seen on the etsy blog or not, but I just love it.  There probably won’t be room in the big kids’ room anyway but maybe it’d be cute in the baby room.

I’ve seen a couple of ideas for very easy mobiles that I thought were fun and cute.  I bought a mobile from pottery barn kids in the clearance section for Josiah’s crib.  I then took the animals off and sewed my own birds to hang from it for Audrey’s crib.  I could do something similar but these are just so colorful and simple I may try for something different.  Or one of them could be fun to have over the changing table.

This is a simple one made from ribbons from Project Wedding.

This one is made from crepe paper over at Armelle.

I’ve not been inspired by any of the bedding out there for the big kids.  I have looked at duvet covers, comforters, sheets so I can make my own duvet, and pretty much any other kind of bed covering out there.  Oh yeah, and just regular fabric as well to make a duvet cover.  I want some that looks kind of light and happy but has bright colors too.  Something that either works for both of them or two that coordinate enough so that they look ok being by each other.  I don’t want to spend a lot of money.  That’s usually my biggest issue.  I’ve been looking at fabric like I said but I will need 7.5 yards of fabric to make a twin duvet and that adds up quick!  Especially making two!  I did find some fabric by Michael Miller that doesn’t come out until August that would work great.  Again, the issue is price.  I’ve never bought designer fabric because it is 1. usually not at any store I am at and 2. it costs more than I usually want to pay.  Maybe I could buy enough fabric to just make the top pretty and then put something cheaper on the bottom that coordiates.  Another idea I was actually settling on before I found that fabric yesterday is buying an already made white duvet cover and then making my own designs with fabric dye markers.  I’ve been playing around with some color and design ideas using colored pencils.  Here is one that a mom from A Thousand Words  via Young House Love made from her son’s drawings.  I think it turned out pretty awesome.

Ok, that should be enough inspiration for one day!  Next time I can share some of the artwork on etsy that I’ve had my eye on.  Oh yeah, and a clock I bought too.

Reusable Pocket Advent Calendar

Drum roll please……..

Here it is!  It’s the advent calendar that I FINALLY got to check off my list!  Thankfully, I won’t have to make one next year since it is reusable.  I can just come up with some new cards to insert into it.

We’ve loved it so far.  Everyday my son asks if it is another special day.  I tell him Yes! and we go check what the new day brings.

I took different ideas from the calendars I showed you on this post.

Some of my favorite parts that I took and put together to make mine were:  bright, happy pockets; using a strip of fabric instead of individual pockets to make it faster to sew; the spunky pom-poms hanging down; the dowel rod hanging in the tabs; and the numbers stamped across a ribbon on the front.

I loved the twill ribbon that was used to give a solid color for the numbers to be stamped on, but I was trying to make this quickly and my very limited fabric selection in this town (Hobby Lobby) didn’t have any.  So, I bought some white grosgrain ribbon and a fabric marker.  I didn’t want to spend the money on numbered stamps that wouldn’t get used much.  I tested writing the numbers on the ribbon and it bled REALLY bad.  So, plan B.  I looked in my tub o’ miscellany and found some red double bias tape.  It was too thin so I ironed it out flat to make it just single bias tape.  I was a bit afraid though to make the plunge and write on it after I went to all the trouble to sew the calendar.  What if I mess up on one of the numbers?  What would I do?  So, I still have the option of writing numbers on later, but in the mean time I just wrote numbers on each piece of paper.  And it has worked out pretty nice because each day after I read the card I just turn it around backwards so that we can see exactly where we are on the count down.

I didn’t take pictures while miniacally trying to get this project finished a day before December but I’ll give you a rundown of what I did if you’re interested.  If not, scroll down and I’ll share our list of advent activities.

I used a white cotton that was in the same section of the store as the canvas material.  I wanted it to have a heavier feel to it.  The patterned material was in the holiday section of the cotton apparel fabric.

I cut the 6 pockets to be about 7×15 inches.  The background piece was cut 15×52  inches.   The 2 tabs are cut 5×10 inches.

I sewed the pockets first by folding them in half like a hotdog and sewing right sides together.  I then turned them right side out and ironed them.

I didn’t feel like sewing all the bias tape so I used some fusible webbing I had on hand to iron it all on.  You can do it either way.   Make sure to cut the ribbon or bias tape a little longer than the pockets so you can fold it behind the pocket for a cleaner look.

Next, I sewed the pockets onto the white fabric.  I folded the white fabric in half like a hamburger and had it sitting so that the fold was at the bottom.  You want the top to be open so that you can sew your tabs up there when you sew it all shut.  The pockets are each spaced one inch apart.  I left a little more room  above the top pocket row, about an 1.5 inches, because I needed room for my paper to stick up.  Pin the pockets on.  I had had the pocket fabric facing so that the folded side without the seam is at the top.  That will give the cleanest look.  Sew the pocket to the white fabric by going around the sides and bottom of each pocket strip.  This will also sew the hole closed on each pocket from when you turned it right side out.

Next, sew the 3 lines about 3.5 inches apart to make the individual pockets.  I used a ruler and a disappearing ink marker to make a dot at the bottom and top of each pocket so I would sew a straight line.   I sewed starting from the bottom of the pockets up to the top.  This helps the presser foot not get caught on the open side of the pocket.  My very most right pockets are slightly larger than the rest but not enough to worry about.

Fold the tab fabric over like a hotdog and sew just the long side.  Turn them right side out and iron.

Now, you finally get to turn the white fabric so that it has sandwiched the pockets on the inside.  Pin the tabs to it so that they are on the inside of the calendar next to the pockets.  You should have the raw edges facing out and the loop facing inside.  If you pin it on so that it already looks correct it’ll be inside the calendar once you turn it right side out.  Sew all the way around the open edges leaving a hole open near the bottom so you can turn it right side out.  You will sew over the tabs at this point too.

Turn the calendar ride side out and iron it flat.  Sew around the entire edge.  This will close up the hole on the edge and make it look finished.

Cut a dowel rod and slide it in.  Mine is 14 3/4 inches long.  I just made it the same as my calendar.

You can hang it directly from the rod or from some ribbon or yarn like I did.

Done.

It took me probably around 3 hours total to make this.

I know it can be confusing to read instructions without pictures.  Please let me know if you have ANY questions.

It is a fairly easy project for someone with a bit of sewing knowledge and the rewards are big!  And you can totally personalize it to make it YOU.  If you ever make one, please send me a picture.

Here is our list of advent fun in no particular order.

Make cookies

Watch a christmas movie and have popcorn

Make salt dough ornaments

Paint salt dough ornaments and hang on tree after dry

Go to the Trail of Lights

Read a Christmas book (we’re doing this 4 days)  I put them on days that are really busy for us.  I’ll also put a little chocolate in the pocket on those days.

Play a game – we’re going to do candyland

Make ornaments for family (we buy ceramic and wood ornaments from hobby lobby every year for the kids to paint for all the grandparents etc.) I made this one go for 2 days since their attention spans are short.

Make candy/cookies for neighbors

Give cookies to neighbors

Drive around and look at lights in town

Make a fire and drink hot chocolate (or chocolate milk since the kids don’t like the hotness)

Go to the church choir concert

Go caroling with the church

Buy gifts for angel tree and wrap them

Unwrap one present before bed (chrismtas eve) and Christmas eve service

Go see movie muppet movie

Go to kid’s christmas party at church

Go to Sights n Sounds Festival

Read the christmas story from the Bible

Of course there are a ton more ideas out there on the web.  When the kids get a bit bigger I definitely want to do some more service type things to help others.  They’ll also be able to make their own christmas cards and gifts etc for others.

Advent Calendar Inspiration

Well, today I am going to begin making an advent calendar.  I wanted to last year but didn’t have time and didn’t really think about it until it was too late.  So we just made another paper chain and used it to count down the days.  That alone was fun and helpful.  But this year I am going to step it up a notch.  I am going to sew my own and then thankfully it’ll be done for the following years as well.  I plan on using these three as my inspiration.  I’ll post some pictures when I finish it.  In theory it should be rather simple to make.  Once finished I am going to put a little piece of paper inside each pocket with some sort of activity for the day.  There will also be an occasional piece of candy.  But I think I won’t put those in until the night before because I have a little guy who can’t handle temptation.  Twice I have found him hiding and stuffing his face with chocolate.  The activities will range from small things like reading a Christmas book to bigger things like going to a Christmas event.  It should be a lot of fun.  I’ll give more info on it once it is all complete.  Wish me luck.  You can click on the pictures to go to the source.

I have other things I hope to write about soon as well, if people would only stop ordering my ornaments!  ha.  Well, ok, don’t stop.  Just give me a moment to breathe and make something besides those for a day.  Thanks.  And if by chance you were considering purchasing one, they are almost gone, so don’t think on it too long.

Are you doing an advent calendar this year?  Did you buy it or make it?  I remember having a little cardboard one as a kid that had little windows we opened up every day with a little piece of chocolate hiding behind it.

Happy Weekend

Hello All,

I hope your week has been going well.

We’ve been having a great time the last couple days with Ken’s dad in town.  It was sad to see him go.  Luckily, we’ll see him (and the rest of the family) again at Christmas time.

I have been busy adding animals to my shop finally this week.  You can click on the pictures to get to the shop and see what else has been added.

I surprised myself and made a last minute puppet for the Fall Festival.  I couldn’t believe I conceived and made it all in about 2 hours when the kids were napping!  I’ve never made anything like it.  And it was great to see that what I saw in my head actually happened since I told the ladies in charge that I could do it for them.  Of course, they weren’t expecting me to make it so elaborate, but I couldn’t let them just put eyes on a sock.  Maybe next year they’ll ask me before noon the day of the festival.  Hint hint, Angie.  🙂  It is nice to be able to make something different for a change of pace and to know I will not be mass producing it.

I just saw this video today on the best way to deseed a pomegranate.  Genius!

I know these have been around the web a bit but I just love them.  I need to find a reason to make some mini pinatas!

And lastly, here is a tutorial on how to make a modern “quilt“.  I think this would be easy even for the most beginning sewer.  It’s definitely on my list of things to make.

Happy Weekend everyone!  Anyone got any fun plans?  Now that Halloween has past I need to get my act together for my son’s birthday party.

Halloween Costumes 2011

Here they are!  I can’t believe they are finished a week in advance.  That hasn’t happened before.  But it is a great feeling because I have so many other things I need to be doing and these are the most handmade costumes I have done..except for Audrey’s little strawberry costume last year which was a nice attempt but didn’t turn out like my vision of it.

I finished Josiah’s late last night and was so thrilled.  I had gotten the idea from Martha Stewart but after looking at her pattern it wasn’t at all like I thought it would be.  I had assumed I’d be making it like her other cape tutorials (like I used for Audrey’s) but they did it in a non-sewing way.  It actually looked harder to me and used a lot more materials.  And since to print out her pattern would have used 22 sheets of paper, I just made it up myself.  I used a piece of yarn and my disappearing ink pen to make a compass to make the circle for the cape.  I cut out a quarter of the circle and made a smaller circle for the neckline.  I made a collar to match the neckline, sewed it all up and voila!  A CAPE!  I was amazed at myself that I made Josiah’s costume from start to finish in about 2-2.5 hours total, including the hat.

Audrey’s hood alone took me that long or more because I couldn’t figure out what in the world Martha’s instructions were telling me to do.  Her cape was as simple as they come but I finally realized that the hood instructions are lacking the pictures that were originally with it when it was published in the magazine.  So, they are very cryptic.  If anyone needs help deciphering them let me know.  I had to figure it all out using paper first so I didn’t ruin my fabric.  And thankfully I did that because I totally thought they were wanting me to fold and cut it a different way at first.  I also didn’t like how they wanted me to put the hood together because it would leave the unfinished seams showing in the hood.  I noticed that when it was almost too late, but was able to sew it so the edges are hidden.  But if I had realized what they were doing from the beginning I would have sewn the pieces of fabric together differently to give an even more professional look.  oh well.  No one will notice or care but me.

I am excited about how Josiah’s hat came out.  On Martha’s site they have two fitted baseball caps glued on top of each other.  But I couldn’t find any brown hats at all until I thought to try Dollar General and they had two khaki ones.  They had those velcro straps on the back to alter the size though so I cut off the back half of each hat and sewed them together.  I kept resewing the hat smaller and smaller until it fit Josiah’s small head.  I cut the brims and hot glued bias tape on them.  The glue job isn’t perfect but it’s good enough.  Then I just sewed the little flaps and hand sewed them inside each side of the hat, added a bit of hot glue behind them on the outside for added strength and tied them together on top.  That is the same bias tape on top, I just sewed it in half to make it thinner.

I found Audrey’s little basket at Goodwill yesterday for 99 cents.  I just cut an extra piece of red fabric to lay in it.  She loved that basket and didn’t want to put it down.  I love that it is small and she won’t be able to accumulate much candy in it!

Josiah’s shirt is the same one we used to make him a hobbit.  It is just a white dress shirt.  The khakis are ones he already had too.  Audrey’s dress is the vintage one I showed you that I got from a little shop on Etsy.

I think my favorite part of her outfit is the ribbon I sewed around the edge of the cape.  I was afraid that my machine would growl at me and give me a hard time going through all that fabric but it worked perfectly and didn’t give me any trouble.  I wanted to hug my machine for its compliance with both of these projects.  They couldn’t have gone as fast as they did without its cooperation.

Little Ladybug

My poor kids rarely benefit from my non-stop toy making.  Two days ago Josiah suddenly asked if I would make him a ladybug.  I figured he was wanting some kind of sock animal and didn’t want to make one, especially since his birthday is nearing.  But after he also started asking for broccoli and other foods I realized he was thinking of when I have made him felt food in the past.  So, at 11:30 pm when I was closing up shop for the night I grabbed my stash of cheap felt and found some red fleece scraps left over from Audrey’s strawberry costume that I made her last year.  There was just enough to cut two small ovals.  I then cut a couple pieces from the black felt and hand sewed a little lady bug together.  I was even too lazy to get up and go in the next room to grab a bit of fluff so I cut up some more fleece and stuffed it inside.

It turned out to be a perfect size for him to hold in his hand and put in his pocket.  Plus the fleece is super soft.  He found it yesterday morning where I had left it out and he didn’t put it down all day.  He has even slept with it.  Who knew that a few minutes and some scraps could make a kid so happy.  You can see in the picture that it is already looking well loved.

And it helps me feel like a good mom to actually make something for my own child for once.

Coming soon is a post about my 10 year college reunion that we went to this past weekend and a shop update or two.  Plus it is time for some more great etsy finds.

Do any of you ever have about 20 things on your list that all need to be done right now?  I feel like that at the moment and it is of course impossible to get all of the things done at the same time.  It is hard to choose what should come first.

Oh, and one last thing, my son’s birthday is mid November and he has suddenly requested to have a snake themed party.  I am not sure how to make it fun and friendly for all ages.  Plus, there will probably be more girls than boys there.  But I guess at their age, most of the girls probably still like snakes.  I am thinking of making it more reptile/amphibiany.  It is all going to be pretty low key though as far as decorating etc. goes this year because we are doing it at one of those jumpy places.  I am all about less work at this time of year.