Friday, November 28, 2014

Skinny Jeans

Not Mom jeans. But technically. My Mom's jeans that landed in the donation bin because they never did fit her right. For some reason she didn't recognize them when they came walking in her front door one day...

So they started life like this. I traced around the legs of a pair that fit me well.

Pins and the marker line, this is the outside of the leg. Sew along that line, trim and zigzag the raw edges.

Try them on and pin the inside curves. Leave lots of ankle room, as I learned the hard way the very first time I tried this. Take the pants off with comical slowness as your husband laughs at you for hopping around the living room in your underwear, half out of pin-filled pants. 

Sew and finish the inside seam, flip them right side out and there you have it. 
Brand new skinny jeans.

Hopefully it goes without saying that you need to start with a pair of stretchy pants for this! Or avoid eating, and preferably breathing as well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My girls are a Hoot

For Halloween this year, we tried to convince our kids to be dragon ball characters. They wanted nothing to do with that. Dj was determined to wear his wolf costume from last year, and Katie wanted to be an owl. I thought I could make Hunter a fox costume and then I would have three little forest animals. Fortunately, Katie thought better of my awful idea and decided that both her and Hunter needed to be owls.

Just like Sophie and Deacon's costumes, I wanted the girls costumes to be usable after Halloween night. To do that, I simply made them owl hoodies. I bought them plain grey hoodies from the boys section at WalMart. It's the only place that I've ever been able to find plain ones in neutral colours. Or any colour for that matter. We then looked for felt to make the feathers, but couldn't find any there, or at the dollar store. I ended up settling on a stack of 2$ tee shirts from the dollar store. The wings are hand sewn so that they can be easily removed if they don't hold up in the washing machine. The faces are made with felt that I already had, as are Katie's belly and feet. I think they turned out perfectly <3

Altogether, I ended up spending about 12$ on each of them, but the sweaters were new and 8$ a piece. Still less expensive than buying costumes, and the girls have adorable sweaters now. Katie's is a size 4 boy's, so it should fit for another year still. Hunter's is a boy's size 2, which was the smallest size that they offered so it should fit for ever. DJ's costume on the other hand, needs it's tail re sewn after having a meeting with the washing machine, but it was a little on the small side anyways.

Katie's front
Katie's feet
Katie's back

Hunter's back

Hunter's front

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fox Socks

So the very first Christmas presents I finished were for Katie and DJ. I was so excited when Jess liked my first suggestion because I was dying to make these socks! (Would it be fabulous or lame if I made myself a pair someday?)

The yarn is a worsted weight, the same stuff I dyed here. I would normally post the sock pattern but I had some issues with it. The tutorial for the fox details are found here on Ravelry, and are beyond worth checking out! You can make little tails too, to attach to the cuffs but I didn't think that would fit well under pants. (You can actually use the fox face for mittens too.)

The only thing I changed was to make the ears a single layer, so that they would be comfortable in shoes. I definitely want these to be wearable as well as cute. Below you can see the red and orange socks together. Just different enough to be able to tell whose is whose.

The real dilemma now is, which colour will go to which kid? 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Baby Hunter's Christmas Present

So baby Hunter's Christmas present was finished this week, when the hubby stole the kids for the afternoon. I had the sleeves and top of a fair isle sweater in my stash and there's just something about a  baby in knit pants...

Here's a better look at the print. They're made basically the same way as these sweatpants, just from an  knit sweater instead of a sweatshirt. Here's a close-up of the print:

I've made these leggings so many times that I can whip them up in my sleep and I really wanted to add a little something to it. I settled on a little lace trimmed pixie bonnet. Even easier than the pants since it's just a long rectangle sewed up the back but it makes suck a cute little pointy top when it's put on.

My only worry  is if it will fit. Guesstimating baby head sizes is not an exact science...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Story Disks

I may be a lazy parent most days, my kids thrive on neglect, but I always have things on hand for them to do. We keep our craft supplies available to them at all times, in a nine cube storage unit in the kitchen. I have a big bucket of play dough in the fridge with tons of cookie cutters, rollers and play dough mats available. Puzzles, board games and a really neat doll house that my aunt made for the kids take up our living room area upstairs. Down stairs is the play room, which houses all of their pretend play stuff as well as the rest of their toys. One special toy down there is the puppet theater, which I will post about in the near future. Some of my favourite memories from childhood, involve myself, my brother, my sister and two of our friends, putting on plays in the basement. They evolved over the years and somehow all five of us still love theater today. I really want my kids to grow up with their imaginations intact, so I try to provide them with opportunities to 'tell me a story'.

One way to do this is by using story stones, or disks. I decided to use wooden disks, as I was going to make 6 or 7 sets of these for Christmas gifts for other kids in our lives. I thought that shipping a bunch of rocks across the country would cost a pretty penny. I painted random things on one side of each disk with acrylic paint, and then applied a coat of mod lodge to help protect it. The backs are blank so that each family can add their own pictures. How you play is up to you and your children. I think that we will start by saying 'Tell me a story' and reaching in the bag for a disk to start our adventure with.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sweet Baby Starter Kits

I've been working on a secret project.

It's been on my mind for months after reading an article about the boxes the Finnish government gives out to new parents to get them started. The idea of every baby having the things they need really touched my heart and I knew that I had to make it happen in my community. I am just about ready to start distributing the first boxes and it would really mean a lot to me if you would take a minute to look at the page I have set up and read about the project.

The site is still brand new and there will be many links, tutorials and resources added in the coming months, but all of the information about the project is ready to go. Please also share this site with anyone who you think might be interested in receiving a box, or donating/making baby items.

Thanks so much <3

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Leggings, and Questionable Improvements

Why on earth did it take me this long to make myself leggings? This has to be one of the easiest things I've ever done! I make kid leggings all of the time and they come together in a flash, I guess I just have the idea in my head that sewing for myself is intrinsically harder?

This isn't even a pattern. I just traced around the pair that fit best, and when I was done and noticed that they crumpled at the ankles just like the other pair, I cut off a few inches and re-hemmed them into the new best fitting pair I own. Magic :)

I did it all with a zigzag stitch on a regular machine. I just used a narrow stitch for the seams and a wider one to catch the fabric on the cuffs and waistband. As you can see above I was super impatient and made these with dark green thread because I was out of black.

The waistband is sewn the same way, but with elastic in it obviously. I just measured the elastic in the original leggings. Ta-da! That's it, it's really that easy. So easy that I went straight back to raid my stash for anything else remotely legging-like. I came up with two other possibilities, but both had a print to them as well and I know from experience how hard that can be to work into an outfit later. They both had solid colours on the reverse that looked just fine, but what a waste of a nice print fabric...

The solution? Reversible leggings! Best idea ever! In theory. I chose flat felled seams (like on your jeans) as my method for flat, enclosed seams. Worked beautifully to attach the top pieces together as you can see below. (The wobbles are mostly due to the fabric not lying flat.)

Then we got to the legs. First seam is outside, so no problem. Second needs to run flat down one layer of the leg, which means bunching  up the bottom of the tube (leg) against the machine as you go because the legs are so narrow.  Ugh. Giant disaster. Below is the beautiful seam I was left with.

So, what to do? I can't unpick the seam because that always destroys knits. I would normally just cut it out and but I just barely had enough fabric to start with and making them any narrower would probably doom them to be too small. I might just have to give up on this pair being reversible and flip them to the print side. Which is lovely, but loses me my solid red pair :(

I have one more piece of reversible knit to play with and am determined to figure this out! Maybe a really skinny french seam wouldn't be too noticeable? Hand sewing would give me nice flat-felled seams but probably not stretch very well.

Any thoughts on how I should save this pair or do the next?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My sister is a bad influence

Once upon a time ( or as my kids say it " uhspon") my darling sister let her daughter watch a movie called 'My neighbour Totorro'. Sophie loved it. She loved so much that her mother has made her the main character's dresses as well as make her 4th birthday party Totorro  themed. Cat bus and soot sprites included. My kids had no idea what was going on. Months after the party, we finally took the plunge and watch the movie. Every. Single. Day. For at least a week... and every other day after that. My kids are obsessed. I must admit, I really like it to. So, when my sister made the dresses, naturally caught the sewing bug too. Since I have three kids, and there are three forest spirits, it was a no brainer as to what I was going to make. Using the basic tee pattern from Dana Made it, I added a little extra to the length and made them long sleeves with hoods. Below is the result:

complete with front pocket <3

Monday, November 10, 2014

How to Trap a Dinosaur

Dinovember may face an early demise in our house. Sophie has decided that playing in the night time makes the dinosaurs naughty, and she has set out to stop them! 

She's been trapping them one at a time in ziploc bags, until only the dragon (who hasn't been moving) and the big dinosaur were left. I've been playing along and any bagged dino's have stayed "trapped" in the bucket while the others played. This has left me with only one dino to pose for the last few days though...

Daddy took a turn posing them last night and he set them all free. I covered for him by claiming that the dragon let the others out. Sophie quite determinedly zipped all three little ones and the dragon back up in bags and then started plotting how to trap the big one.

Sophie says "I like them moving. I just want to be sneakier than them."

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Dino's Went Walking Last Night...

Dinovember is here! An entire month of convincing my kids that their toy dinosaurs come alive in the night and make mischief while they sleep. (You really need to check out the original post of the parents who thought this up, their pictures are amazing and so much fun!)

Reading books.
We technically started a day or two late, but my kids can't read a calendar yet so I got away with it.

Playing baby.
Sophie's actually been pretty funny about it. She's decided that the dinosaurs are being naughty by getting up and playing in the night and has trapped one in a ziploc bag so it will behave tonight.

Trying to go outside.
(Sorry for the terrible pictures but living in a basement means that there are only a few very weird places that I can take nice photos and none of them are suitable for dinosaur games.)

Going for a ride.
This is definitely one of my favorite traditions. It just adds some fun and magic to their morning. I also love that Sophie actually remembers some of their antics from last year! "Remember when the dinosaurs made me breakfast? Remember when they were ironing?" (That last one was a desperate middle of the night set up after I'd stayed up too late sewing and almost forgot to pose the dinosaurs. I felt pretty lame just sticking them in the middle of my stuff so I didn't have to clean it up but it turned out to be one of her favorites, maybe because they were into something she wasn't allowed to touch?)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Kentwood beds

They are finally done! This has been my project for the past couple of months. No it doesn't actually take theta long to make them, you could probably have them completed in a week or over a weekend without kids under foot. The plans are for the Kentwood bed from Ana White. This summer while our deck was being rebuilt, I was constantly put on kid duty, and hardly got to help. This happens All. The. Time. So I decided to do a project by myself. I was able to do it alone, with the exception of one coat of primer on the side rails, until last night when they needed to be assembled. Last night I was reminded of why I wanted to do it alone, as I sat and watched my husband work while I watched the kids... bitterness aside, they look pretty cool and I'm very happy with them! Here, are my girls beds <3
The helped with some painting and assembling 

One done

Two done! DJ had a sleepover in the girls room last night. There is just enough room between the beds for a little table and lamp. you can't see it in these pictures, but there is still a TON of room to play in the room.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bam! Pow! Soc! A Very Retro Bat-Holiday

Look at those muscles! Look at that genius Mama who told her children that they needed to put their "muscles" (aka three layers of  clothing) on under their costumes so that they'd look like real super heroes! Look at how I'm sparing you from "Bat-" jokes now that the title is over!

Batman is flexing her muscles but poor Robin doesn't know what's going on and figures we're all celebrating and going "Yay!". Story of his life so far. Enthusiastic sidekick to Sophie's weirdness :)

Fair warning to any relatives clicking here in hopes of cute children pictures, this is the only one I've got. We unfortunately chose that morning for some studio pictures and they were thoroughly sick of this game. Mom has one or two sneaky ones on her camera that I'll ask her to post.

The rest of this is just costume details. Everything is made out of old t-shirts and embellished with felt. I figured if I was putting this much work into them they could at least double as pajamas when I was done!

The Batman top was made by tracing one of her pj tops onto a long sleeved shirt that never fit Travis right. I used the existing hem and cuffs but had to re-make the neck. I made it extra wide for Halloween layering. The belt and logo are felt pieces that I hand stitched on, some of it while visiting friends Thursday night! It was a bit of a close call!

The cape is it's own piece, just the back of a ladies t-shirt with the sides tapered. I did a 2 minute sloppy job of sewing on some snap tape to keep it closed. Not beautiful but this is destined for the dress-up box.

Colour blocked leggings for the bottoms. I spent a million years getting the curves for the "undies" right. (" Mommy, why does he wear his undies over his pants?") It curves up in the front and down in the back, I wish I'd taken a photo of the other side to show you. The blue a the bottom are his boots.

I was a bit lazier for Robin. A $1.49 thrifted toddler t-shirt was the base. The giant (inaccurate) felt applique is to cover a design on the shirt. The collar and cape are from another thrifted toddler shirt (2$) and sewn right to the neckline. I'll un-stitch the cape before he gets to wear these to bed of course.

And the rear view.

After all of the grief I went through drafting the "undies" curve on Sophie's costume I got lazy with Deacon's and just traced the lines from hers onto his smaller leggings pattern. Bad move. It loses most of the definition when you cut off the edges of the curve. Oh well. The green t-shirt was from my stash and the beige was another $2. The Batman shirts were from my stash and the felt was less than $1.50. Halloween cost me 7$ this year. This is why I spend all my time sewing!

Wondering why Robin's boots curve down? I was aiming for a curved V shape, like the top of his elf boots but put it in the wrong place :)