Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Satsuki and Mei for Sew Geeky's Studio Ghibli Theme

So I'm sure no one is surprised that Sophie wanted to be the characters from her favorite movie :)
We're practically the Totoro fan club around here!

Once she woke up and saw Satsuki's skirt it was all she could talk about. I had waited to try it on her before sewing the backs of the straps to the waistband just to be safe, and I ended up having to safety pin them for the pictures because I didn't get it back until she went to bed! She's still young enough that just because she says she wants something doesn't mean she'll still care by the time it gets made so this was a win.

I might go back and top-stitch the straps and waistband, they're kind of bothering me.
This is my winter-ized version of Satsuki and Mei's outfits. I used corduroy for the orange skirt and sweatshirt material for Mei's dress. I lengthened the sleeves on the blouse, which was a downsized sweater. It still has the puff to the sleeves at the top. I had originally planned to fold down the scallops at the neckline to mimic the collars on the girl's blouses but I was afraid that too much stitching would keep the neckline from stretching well and it just didn't seem worth it.

They both wear bloomers and little collared shirts so I kept those pieces the same for both outfits. (Sorry Satsuki, my kid may have your haircut but there's no way she could pull off that yellow shirt and look healthy!) The bloomers are just scraps of a white t-shirt. Nothing fancy, but super cute peeking out from under the skirt while she played. She is seriously going to have a drawer full of these by next spring, I'm in love with them!

I didn't have any patterns with shapes that were quite right so everything is self drafted. I am becoming an expert at the "trace clothes that fit" method.

This is her idea of posing nicely for me. The only almost usable picture of the entire outfit and her face.  I am considering making a Sophie-sized mannikin to take pictures with. (I'm  kidding...mostly.)

So here's my absolute favorite part. The other outfit she asked for, Mei's dress. It would also be worn over the sweater and bloomers. Please note that she is not wearing it :P

I couldn't resist adding the little soot sprites, they make me so happy! They're just little t-shirt scraps, sewn on with big stitches to make them look fuzzy.

I even fulfilled a request of hers while making this dress; last minute pockets. Don't worry though, someone else did want to wear it. Deacon wanted in on the dress-up fun. We had mercy on Daddy though and didn't use him as a model ;)

P.s. If you want to see my concept sketches for these and other Studio Ghibli inspired outfits check out yesterday's post.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Studio Ghibli Concept Sketches

So, I have a day and a half to sneak in my post for this month's Sew Geeky theme, and I'm posting pictures of things I haven't made yet instead. I couldn't help it though. Studio Ghibli films are kind of my happy place and I had so many ideas going around my brain that I had to organize it somehow.

I was watching Spirited Away when I started so it has the most thorough  sketches. For each one I sketched the original outfit (or character in Haku's case) and then my variations, usually based on patterns I knew I had on hand. I outlined and coloured them so that Sophie could  visualize what she was choosing better, but they're cute so I'm sharing.

Haku is by far Sophie's favorite sketch. Not any of the clothing designs (Why do I need new clothes Mommy?),  but because there's a picture of a dragon in the middle. She has insisted that it go on her wall when I'm done with it. I did Zubaba's dress as well, not because I particularly like the character but because her dress is interesting.

The other movies got squashed a fair bit more. This next one has two and the others three. I thought she might want to be Kiki and that her black dress would make a cute peplum top but Sophie wasn't impressed. I'm pretty fond of the Michael dress though (Howl's Moving Castle), it looks kind of steampunk to me.

When I asked her which ones she wanted to be she just picked the characters from the movies she likes best. She wanted to be Satsuki and Mei from Totoro, and Ponyo.  Three complete outfits in two days was not happening, so thankfully I didn't have anything that would work for a Ponyo dress. Looks like Totoro wins in our house again!

Yes I did do another page but it was movies I liked and she'd never seen (Castle in the Sky, Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke). Also it was the last page I did and I was running out of steam, so it really wasn't very creative.

Hopefully you'll get a bonus post this week, with the actual outfits!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Guess What I Made? (Birthday Present for Mom)

What is that?

Or this crazy shape?

It's me playing with my birthday present to my Mom, camera accessories! 

It was pretty funny making her guess what each thing was. This is a camera strap cover with a lens cap pocket. The little shape makers probably have a more technical name than that, but they're pretty simple and self explanatory to make. I'd probably use black for them in the future though, and maybe use a punch or another one of my Mom's scrap booking tools for clearer edges.  

This is a camera buddy, you put it around your lens to make the kids look in the right place. It's from a free online pattern that I found here. Definitely go check it out despite my terrible picture. I'll be making myself one for sure!

P.S. Sorry for the dark couch pictures. I finished these the night before I planned to give them to her (story of my life!) so the options were all dark since I rely heavily  on sunlight for any half decent pictures I manage. I am researching a solution though. Have no fear, you are not forever doomed to my mediocre photography skills :P

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

DJ's alter ego's

Inspired by your post about Deacon's baby Doll:

My son LOVES to wear dresses and Tutu's. Am I okay with it? Admittedly, I wasn't at first. I was afraid that people would be mean to him and shame him. He's two. He doesn't need to be a victim of bullying or verbal abuse just because he likes to dress up in Katie's clothes. The first few times I let him leave the house in a dress, I made sure it was just to a friends house, until I became comfortable with it. Now, I don't care. Today, his nails are even painted a pretty blue ( Thank you Aunty Ariel, he adores them <3). If someone comments on how cute my girls are, I normally let it slide. If he catches it, he corrects them. Not once has someone said anything mean to him or about what he wants to wear. I have never been confronted about it, except by people saying how wonderful it is to see kids just being kids. So, may I introduce Princess DJ ( Katie on the other hand, likes to be called Prince Katie)
And DJ as a "Hockeygermy"

Love him :)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Skate Bag

So we did a giant "celebrate all of the September birthdays at once" dinner this week, and crammed 13 people into the kitchen of my brother's one bedroom apartment. We of course came bearing gifts and mine was a bag to carry his skates.

He had been using some sort of mesh grocery bag before this that was getting sliced to bits by the skate blades. I was going to make it triangular like mine that you see poking out inside, but that doesn't leave room for gloves if you're playing shinny.

I also added an inside pocket to hold a skate towel. It;s made out of denim and some super thick cotton blend I'd originally bought to make kid pants.

For Rachel's present we followed Jess's example and went with kid-helped jewelry. Sophie's attention span didn't last long, hence why the purple one wasn't finished as we were walking out the door. Mom got a picture of Rachel wearing all 7 pieces of birthday jewelry on  top of her own. It was beautiful. ;)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Kool-aid Dyed Yarn

So Jess picked the fox socks for the kids Christmas presents, which I'm super excited about! When I went to investigate my stash for fox coloured yarn though, there was of course nothing useful. (This is the secret behind the growth of yarn stashes.) There was however this beauty:

I grab any colour of  real wool that I come across in thrift stores, as long as it isn't super scratchy. At 2$-3$ a ball I can't complain!
Can't you see the foxy potential? The first thing I did was to find both ends and roll them into balls at the same time, to divide the yarn roughly in half. (I don't actually recommend trying this, it resulted in a tangled mess and took forever.) I then wound each ball into a big loop and dyed it with 2 packets of either red or orange Kool-aid and this tutorial

It always seems so neat to me that the water ends up crystal clear when you are done!

After putting my house guests to work helping me untangle the colourful and now dry yarn, the result was this:

Because if I'm making them the same thing it can't be the same colour. That's no fun!
This is actually the second time I've done this. Last Christmas I knit Deacon a sweater. I had the main colour but needed small amounts of two accent colours, and wasn't interested in buying two giant expensive balls of yarn just for that. I had a drawer full of small balls of white wool, so the Kool-aid search began. (I had a surprisingly hard time finding any place that sold more than two flavors.) The result was the blue and burgundy (a mix of grape and cherry) that you see in the sweater as well as the lime green ball that didn't get used. 

Here's proof that it's colour fast. Deacon wore this all of the time until he outgrew it. :)

Pretty fun eh? Bet you'll never look at your stash the same way again!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Special places

We moved here with a large selection of road maps, collected during our road trips while living in Alberta. Some were duplicates, and some falling apart. I decided a DIY was in order...
The dresser in our girls bedroom is one from Kathryn and I's bedroom when we were young

Downtown Edmonton, where the hotel Hunter was born in is located

Tyson Lake aka God's country

Longlac Ontario, one of my top three places to visit in Canada, My mom grew up here and we spent many wonderful vacation days here.

Kamploops BC, where our aunt and uncle live. This was our first big road trip with DJ.

Cold Lake AB, where we spent the past six years

And you can't really see it, but this is part of Jasper, where we went camping for Katie's 3rd birthday.
I wanted to incorporate maps in their room, and I think this turned out pretty cool. I am however, missing two handles now...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Not the Only Crazy Parents On the Planet Homeschool Group

So, both Jess and I have "officially" started homeschooling (aka the girls are kindergarten age). I'm definitely glad that we have each other to talk to because we've been having a ridiculous time finding like-minded people. I've been trying unsuccessfully to contact the local homeschool group and Jess has started an online one where she lives, only to find out that she'll be the only one still in town within the year! When she found this out she told me that we should start our own group, so here goes!

I am hereby forming the Not the Only Crazy Parents On the Planet Homeschool Group.

Founder: Kathryn
Guilty by Association: Jess

Membership Requirements:
Willing to hang out with us/our children (in a loosely educational sort of way).

Strongly Recommended:
- Having children that you are or are planning to homeschool
- Living close enough to actually attend events

Group Goals:
- Having people who know what we are talking about so that we don't feel like fringe lunatics
- Social interaction with humans over the age of three for our children
- The ability to gather in a group to prove that more of us exist

Membership Fee:
A willingness to put up with our pseudo-hippy ways


P.S. Sorry for the lack of crafty posts. I am still making things but I keep having minor catastrophes that delay the finished products. I'll tell you some of those stories in the next few posts.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Baby Doll for Deacon

Early in the spring we got Deacon something he really wanted, his own baby. You should have seen the way his face lit up when I gave it to him! When you press the belly it says "Ma, Mama!" I don't normally like talking toys but that was his favorite word at the time and he thought it was so funny to hear it from another baby.

I don't think it was just having a sister and seeing her play with dolls. He's always been fascinated with real babies too. His current goal in  life is to pick up baby Hunter off of the floor without being caught. Unfortunately he kind of scoops her around the middle. Babies are pretty top heavy so we've made very sure he doesn't succeed!

Chilling with his baby. 
I love seeing him try to take care of people and toys from such a young age. I'm sure some of it is personality but I like to hope that we can take some credit in modeling it to him. (This may have something to do with the fact that I had to carry him for most of the first year of his life and almost went mental doing it. I take some comfort in the theory that filling that need for him has let him be a secure and loving person.)

How are these pictures only a few months apart?!?

This is actually one of the things that I felt really strongly that I wanted to teach my son, that he will probably be a bigger person than many of the people around him one day and that in our family that means he will have a responsibility to use that strength to help and care for others. He will probably be a father one day and I want him to be a good one. I imagine every parent feels the same, but we don't always make sure we give them the tools. How many little boys would have babies without sisters? Would I have thought of it if he hadn't started stealing Sophie's?

I'd actually started writing this post not long after that first photo was taken. I hesitated though because I am extremely careful  about what I post about my kids that could embarrass them some day. This generation of kids is basically all growing up in public and has no say in it. I didn't like the idea of having something I'd written come back to haunt him some day but when I thought about it again I realized that I'm not ok with the mentality that boys can't be caring and by keeping quiet I was essentially saying that this would be a valid thing to tease him for, when in fact I'm proud.

The real challenge has been finding dolls that ARE boys. The Lalaloopsie ones are the closest I've gotten. I think they'll be friends for adventures when he's older but they aren't good for hugging right now. Most of the babies we have are actually gender neutral in that they have cloth stuffed bodies and plastic extremities. They just come with such an overwhelming array of pink clothing and accessories that it's clear they're "supposed" to be girls. The pink overload and the crappy quality of the clothes makes me want to make them all a whole new wardrobe, but since my kids instantly undress any baby with clothes I've refrained so far.

I'll fix their wardrobe before he's old enough to realize he's not well represented in the toy baby population ;)B

Friday, September 5, 2014

First Day of...Not School?

It felt a little strange having all of the chaos of back to school around us, and then having a perfectly normal day. (We are homeschooling and this would have been Sophie's first week of Kindergarten.)

This year she was still pretty oblivious to it all but in the future we may have to come up with some of our own traditions. Maybe getting to choose some exciting new project supplies, or a field trip to a suddenly quiet during the day attraction. Or a party with her cousins. I'm incredibly grateful that Jess is homeschooling too. It keeps me from feeling like the only crazy one out there!

On the spur of the moment we found our own way to celebrate this year. We let Sophie dye her hair purple!

We used Manic Panic, which is very gentle and washes out (fairly) well.  This is the best picture I could get, hair colours are hard to photograph.

I only hope it doesn't fade weirdly!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Skirting The Issue Round Two: Two Kinds of Jersey Skirts

So, you remember those simple skirts I showed you last time? Well these are even easier. Prepare to have your socks knocked off!

If you were to take a nice t-shirt and cut it straight across at just longer than you'd want a skirt to be... than all you'd have to do is sew the waistband and you're DONE! How nuts is that? So nuts I made five apparently.

I did cut out a sixth, but I had this cute yellow elastic lying around in just the right length and it seemed a shame to hide it in a waistband. So we just zigzagged it on top.

So, ten yesterday plus another six today. Not a bad contribution if I do say so myself! (I felt compelled to beef up my donation this year since I'm the only person in the city doing it this year!)

Check out this link here to learn more about Skirting The Issue :)

P.S. Yes, I realize that I counted wrong the other night. Don't judge me.