Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Handmade is good

I know I have expounded my love for etsy recently, and I continue to be amazed at what I can find there. For such reasonable prices.

Most recently, I was looking for a small wall clock. These are pretty hard to find in those TJMaxx/Homegoods/Marshalls type stores, and the Etsy bell rang in my head. I found some beautiful wooden turned clocks, and asked the woodworker if he could make me a custom one, smaller than any of the ones he had listed.

The answer, "no problem!" and tremendously fast, for a custom handcrafted item. It arrived today, and it is gorgeous. Blends in well above the mantle amidst family photos. Just exactly what I wanted.

So if you're in the market for a beautiful one of a kind clock, you should check out Twig Soup on Etsy. And if natural wood isn't your style, browse around Etsy for other clocks. It's amazing what you can find.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

You've come a long way, baby

Mirabel, Dec 2009:
don't get me wrong, she still looks like this when she cries

Mirabel, Dec 2010:
but at least now she looks like this the majority of the time :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Jolly Solar Holiday

We've gone solar. Keith's end of year gift to himself, us, and the Earth, is Solar Panels! This past week has been a flurry of activity installing solar hot water and solar electric. It is not all done yet (the hot water panels are not up, and the system is not grid tied yet), but today was a perfectly sunny day for taking pictures of the new behemoth in our tiny back yard.

Here's the array, with our house and Mira in the background. The picture is taken from the back corner of the yard.

Here's another picture from the neighbor's backyard: (yes that's Mira sitting up on the supports)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Our Mom's a sucka

Bringing both girls to the grocery store very near Christmas gets me suckered into buying each of them a treat.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Love Yankee Swap Time

I love Yankee Swap season. It seems to happen around "the holidays", and for my mom's group it is out one big night a year - the most members show up and we have a grand time stealing gifts from one another.

This year I made Kojo design's Tea wreath, stocked with teas from my pantry. It was pretty fun to make, for someone who is not that into papercrafting. I love that it has many uses beyond looking cool - tea, kid's artwork, pretty cards, anything 2 dimensional and hang-able.

I was a little nervous bringing it to the swap, but the person who opened it and kept it really liked it, and another person at the swap would like me to make one for her, so it was a thumbs up.

And here, you have to put up with a ridiculously dorky picture of me with it. If you'd like to see a prettier version (because it really is quite pretty), go to Kojo's website.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cherry Garcia Cookies

Cherry Garcia Cookies. They are my holiday cookie swap cookies three years in a row. Not much to look at, but they are absolutely delicious, especially if you like the cherries and chocolate combination.

Cherry Garcia Cookies

Cream 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) with 1/4 cup white sugar. Add 1 beaten egg, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp almond extract and mix well. Add 1 cup flour whisked with 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix to combine. Add 3/4 cup chocolate chips, and 3/4 cup chopped dried cherries. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet, bake on top rack of oven at 355F for 10 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on pan, transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 25 cookies. It's worth it to make a double batch.

Cook's note: use mini chocolate chips, and I like Mariani Dried Cherries the best for this recipe.

from Debbie Salomon, Burlington Free Press, Winter 2008

Whew! I won some fabric!

Finally, after entering hundreds of giveaways (I know, get a life) I won some fabric!

A very nice lady from Australia, owner of the Ducks and Rabbits blog, chose me as her runner up winner from the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! She says she checked out my blog and will send along fabric she thinks I will like. I'm excited.

And in addition to choosing me (randomly, I know), she also gave my blog a very nice little shout out. It's always nice to get a little blog love :)

Now, I wait for the new fabric!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Two times the dress-up

One of the many reasons I had two kids? So that they can play together. Lili and Mira have been able to do this for a little while now, and most recently... Dress-up!

Is that Alice in Wonderland not the cutest little munchkin ever?

Mira toddled around after Lili for almost the whole afternoon in this get up. I had to pin up the apron so that she wouldn't trip on it, but otherwise she enjoyed joining the play with her big sister!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Yay Mail!

Guess what came in my mail today? You only get one guess.... Fabric!

I made my first online purchase of fabric (well, that's not exactly true - I've purchased PUL online in the past), and I squeal with glee because it came today! Is it not gorgeous? Through all my online browsing of craft and quilt blogs I have discovered that I really really like MODA fabric. They have great colors and funky designs and I don't think I've seen any Moda fabric I don't like. So with a great discount code that I got from Above All Fabric, I bought a little Fat Eighth Bundle of Central Park Fabric. I am, of course, going to make some Cuties with it, but will probably do other things as well - maybe another foray into quilting, who knows? What do you suggest?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


ooch. Sorry it's been almost a week since the last post. All my internet time has been sucked into trying to win something from Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway day. I almost dare you to click through and not get sucked in. I really think I'll offer something next time they do a giveaway day. But first I have some blog organization to do. Can you believe I've been blogging for over 3 years? Seems like a long time.

And I know most of my posts lately have been crafty mommy oriented, so here's one for the people who like to know what the kiddos are up to...

Winter is here! As I type, it is 15 degrees out. I'm still thawing out from the walk to preschool. Mira still loves to go outside and doesn't really even mind the headers into the snow that she is bound to take as a new walker. Lili's another story. She is a bear to get outside. She doesn't like her snowpants. At ALL. It's been a struggle to get her out and that makes me sad because winter is my favorite season. I'm trying not to push it too much, but when skiing starts she's really going to have to get on board.

The other day she dressed in summer clothes while it was snowing (hard) out. I tried to get a good picture of her by the patio window, for irony sake and all, but the emotional bomb that is Lilian would not cooperate.

Mira's doing great, lots of new words including... socks, shoes, outside, Lili, Mama, Dada, avocado, cracker, cheez, grapes, boots, the list goes on. Of course many of the words sound like "poop" (poop, graPe, boot), and probably we're the only ones who can understand her, but the fact that she can communicate is WONDERFUL.

That is all! I hope to post some more sewing soon!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Dozen Cuties

Wow. I've been sewing alot lately, huh? Most recently, Lili's teachers' presents. Lili has 6 teachers. And she's recently informed me, 2 additional teachers who are area college students working in the classroom one or two days a week. Normally, I wouldn't count them as gift receivers, but Lili is so aware of fairness that I must take heed. Besides, I decided to make an even dozen of these things so I might as well give them away!

A dozen what? Lil' Cutie pouches! Remember those bike baskets I made over the summer? Well, the same clever lady over at Noodleheads has a great tutorial for these super fast super adorable purse pouches, and I've been wanting to make them for a long time. And the giving season is a great excuse to sew cute things that nobody really needs.

So, armed with my beautiful array of inexpensive zippers, I set to work. I worked in stages, cutting, ironing, sewing, flipping, pressing. It was fun! But I have to say, I'm a little sick of staring at the fabrics I chose. Kind of like saying the same word over and over again, you lose the meaning.

But seeing them all lined up like this, I am proud of myself, and dang they are CUTE!

You might notice there are only 11 in the picture. That's because Lili snatched hers right up before it had even cooled.

These are some beautifully lined treasures!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Rewind 3 years...

Let's go back in time about 3 years...

Okay. Now snap back to present day. Stickers. They never grow old for the very young.

Yes. Mira is wearing Lili's slippers. Because she loves "sheeez".

In other news, Lili had her very first movie theater experience. I took her to see Disney's Tangled. It was lovely, and cute, and I thought not too scary, but we had to leave the theater at one point. When Rapunzel was leaving the tower, Lili turns to be and says "But she's not supposed to leave!". And started crying. Leave it to my rule abiding daughter.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rainbow Sweater Tutorial

Here's how you can make one of these asymmetrical rainbow button sweater cardigans for your kid: (and since this is my second tutorial ever, it's a really really good one.)

Get an old women's cardigan, solid color works best! Grab a currently fits your kid well cardigan to use as a "pattern" - and I use the term loosely.

Cut the big cardigan into peices (make sure the buttons are all buttoned, on both sweaters) - front, back, and two sleeves.

Cut the back peice. Place the kid cardi on the back peice, line up the neckline, fold in the sleeves, and cut. Allow some extra for the seam allowance.

You'll end up with this:

Now, do the same for the front peice, but don't line up the kid cardi straight up and down. Notice how the big cardi button placket goes off to one side of the kid cardi. Then cut. If you would prefer your placket to be front and center, then line it up that way.

You should now have front and back bodice peices.

Set your machine to zigzag OR... if you have the following, it will save you effort: It sews a reinforced seam along with a binding to keep the material from unraveling. If you don't then use a zigzag on the edge and then a straight seam. Or straight seam and then zigzag whatever you prefer.

Flip right sides together, sew the top shoulder seams. You should have this:

Now cut the sleeves. Lay the kid cardi sleeve on top of the big cardi sleeve, and cut along leaving a seam allowance.

Pin the sleeve to the sweater around the top of the shoulder, sew. Do this to both sleeves.

Pin along the bottom of sleeve, and along side of sweater. Sew. (note, you're still sewing wrong side out). Do this to both sides.

Hem along the bottom of the sweater. Now you've got a functional asymmetrical little kid cardi.

Last step, sew new buttonholes inbetween the existing buttonholes (you'll need more holes to make a whole rainbow!). Remove old buttons, sew a rainbow of new buttons down the placket. And you're done! Good job.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rainbow Sweaters!

This is a true achievement for me. Not one thing that turned out just how I hoped it would, but TWO!

Remember that sweater I hacked up and sewed back together for Mira? Well, I did it again, times two.

Here's the story...

Lili loves for her outfit and Mira's outfit to match, but that is hard with two separate handmedown wardrobes.

I have two similar color cardigans from the clothing swap. (AKA Free stuff to mess around with)

There is a sweater from my memory, one that I really wanted to buy but it was too expensive, that was an asymmetrical cardigan with a rainbow of buttons. I loved it but could not justify buying it.

Lili loves rainbows.

I have successfully revamped one sweater... Maybe I can do it again?

So there you go. About 2.5 hours per sweater. And my big TAH-DAH Christmas present to the girls. I hope they love them as much as I do!

Want to make one yourself? See the tutorial here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pre-Hannukah Post

As I sit wrapping gifts for Hannukah, I have a few (many) thoughts running through my mind...

Wow, it's early this year. Maybe it feels like that every year.

This is the first year we're going to light candles and give a gift every night.

I wonder what the reaction is going to be, from the girl who has become so aware of gift giving over the past year.

I wonder if Mira will notice that she only has 2 gifts to unwrap, and Lili has 8. I wonder if Lili will notice.

Man. My back hurts. I should do this standing at a table instead of hunched over the floor.

More Hanukkah themed wrapping paper would be nice.

I'm so grateful to Omi for helping get the number of Lili gifts right up to 8.

8 gifts is alot. Even if some of them are little, like the cookie cutter, and the headbands.

I kind of wish I was getting 8 gifts. Being a kid is great.

Oh yeah, there's that B&N order coming. Oh, and that Sierra Trading post one too.

I hope that this giving getting family winter love celebration eating happiness pink cheeks season will be wonderful for all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Zippers - what a racket

I like to sew, you all know that! And I do most of my sewing shopping at JoAnn's. It's easy, it's close. There are coupons. But what do you know? I'm working on a project for Lili's (SIX) teachers and needed (six, duh) zippers. Zippers at JoAnn's are expensive. I bought them anyway, but kept the receipt.

And came home. And went on the great internet search for cheap zippers from someplace I can trust. You know who came through? No big surprise, Etsy!

I found this zipper shop, and I am WAY impressed with the selection! And the reasonable shipping rates. And the fact that I can get a zipper for less than 50c. No way JoAnn can beat that. Lastly, SO GLAD that I can buy an assortment pack. That means I do not have to choose the colors myself. Cuz I take forever making decisions like that. Now I just hope they get here in time for me to return the JoAnn ones!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One for the books

I've mentioned Lili's proliferous amount of artwork recently. Today, not being a school-day, she decided to start taking some of it down. I think she realized that the open wall space was quickly diminishing. In any case, she wanted a place to save all the art on the walls for "when I have my own house when I'm a grownup". So I gave her a box, and she spent the next half hour or so taking down pictures.

Incidentally, the "Dear Mom and Dad, it is November note" stayed up because "I won't live with you when I'm a grownup".

Fast forward to tonight, many minutes after tucking her in for bed, she comes out sobbing because "I don't want to live away from you and Mama". Sobbing. And I knew this day would come when she realizes that she's independent from us, but that thought is just so scary.

And so I held her tight, and cherished that moment, because I know when she's 14, or 16, or 18 she might not feel that way anymore.

I love you, Lil. And I'm happy to live with you forver.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sweater to Sweater

I have been really inspired by Grosgrain's sweater month. It's amazing what that lady can do with a sewing machine and a stylistic mind. Combine with Kid's Clothing Week Challenge, and you've got me for the past month or so. Hacking away at old clothes and puzzling them back together into stuff for Mira to wear. I'm lucky she's not picky about her clothes like Lili is.

Today (last night) is a sweater. The lessons I learned are:

1) Sewing kicks Knitting's butt. Seriously. Can you knit a sweater (even a baby sweater) in less than 2 hours? Didn't think so.

2) Things don't really ever turn out the way they do in your mind. I've been mind-planning this sweater for a few days, and it really didn't turn out at all like I planned. The sweater I planned will have to wait for another day.

So, this is what I started with:

A HUGE Old Navy sweater (size XXL - plenty of extra for pants, legwarmers, hats...)
A currently fits Mira sweater to use as a "pattern"
An old women's T shirt that I was going to use as binding but... didn't.

I would've/could've turned this into a tutorial, but since it didn't turn out as planned... I basically hacked away, and put it back together, filling in peices and sewing together as I went. And it turned out pretty well, I think. I was thinking of using the pink T shirt as binding material for the bottom, but just ended up hemming it. I thought the sweater looked busy enough as it is without adding extra material to the bottom.

And how does it look on her? You tell me:

Saturday, November 20, 2010


In my quest to win some fabric online, I've discovered many (many many) online fabric stores. I'm enjoying browsing different patterns, and discovering certain designers that I veer toward, such as Moda Fabrics. They have some great modern prints and lovely colors.

Anyway, I happened upon Above All Fabric, and they seem to have a great assortment of everything related to sewing. I was able to make a wishlist there, which is nice because I have trouble keeping track of all the nice patterns I see, and it was good to put them all in one place.

Anyway, things I notice...

Japanese prints are all the rage (hint to my cousin in Japan... wanna hook me up?) and I found this print that is just adorable. I love woodsy, whimsical.

And in my perusal of fabric online, I find most of it is quilting related. So I'm learning all these quilting terms for fabric bundles, such as jelly roll. It's a roll of precut strips of fabric. Absolutely genius. Already color coded for your sewing pleasure. And now I'm obsessed with them.

Another thing I've noticed is that my girls seem to have been "labeled". Lili is a floral and butterfly girl - her curtains, sheets, many clothing peices all have flowers and/or butterflies. But Mira? She's a bird girl. Case in point... curtains, bundle me, and one of her blankies all have birds! I didn't realize it while I was choosing the fabrics, but there you have it. And so this print really spoke to me:

And I realize that I just made a whole post about fabric. I wonder when the obsession will end... Off to sew!

Friday, November 19, 2010

For Future Embarrassment

Behold, Mira's post-meal hairdo:

Yup, she's at that stage, where everything gets rubbed into her head. Fun times.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wall of Art

Lilian is very artistic. It seems she is the right brain and Mira is working the left brain with her penchant for analysis. Anyway, as one visitor to our house put it... "I like how your house is like a shrine to your kid's artwork". And while this is not exactly true (we have not framed any of it, for goodness sakes), we do have lots and lots of Lili work on our walls. Mostly at waist level, as she knows how to get the tape and she is particular about where she places the work.

Most recently, our hallway wall has turned into her personal gallery. I love looking at it when I'm going to the bathroom (with the door open - anyone who is a parent knows what I'm talking about), and as always, I get giggles looking at some of the things she puts up...

Such as the following, just outside our bedroom door:

Because, in case we didn't know... "Good Morning Mom and Dad It is November."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fabric Giveawayaholic

Sewing and Mice Killing are my current passions.

There is a great fat quarter giveaway here, and since I'd like to enter I'm posting it here on my blog. Let me know if you hear of any other cool fabric giveaways!

Another fabric giveaway here!

A charm pack giveaway here.


An AMAZING 7 yards of Suess fabric here!

Friday, November 12, 2010

DIY Bundle Me

Colder weather has hit VT and I know my wiggly baby won't keep a blanket on during a stroller ride, so I was in the market for a toddler bundle me. They're not that expensive - around $50 - so I could have purchased one. But for some reason, I became obsessed with making my own. I think mostly because I found some fabric that I fell in love with and wanted to make something cool out of it.

I definitely didn't save any money on this project; it was about the same in materials as a new one would cost, and it took me a few nights of steady work to complete it. But it was worth it! It turned out just like I had hoped, and Mira loves it especially because the inner fleece lining feels just like her blankie.

This is the first tutorial I've done, so bear with me. This project is for an experienced sew-er familiar with zippers, easy quilting, and buttonholes. It is essentially a glorified sleeping bag :)

Materials: 18-24 inches of each (depending how wide you'd like to make yours) -
Front cotton print, nylon weather resistant layer, polyester batting, and fuzzy fleece interior.
Back fuzzy fleece interior, and heavy duty non pill fleece outer.
2: 32-26" parka zipper or separating zipper, plastic, heavy duty.
You want to use poly batting because it will still insulate when wet. You can omit the nylon, but for winter weather it is good for wind and water resistance. Plastic zipper is a must - the metal can be dangerous in freezing temps.

For the front: cut width x 32" (measure the length of your stroller, along the back, seat, to the end of the footrest to get the total length) of the cotton, nylon, and batting. Layer together and quilt together however you like. I just did diagonal strips.

After it's quilted, layer the fleece lining under it, and cut all the corners rounded however you like (I used a plate as a cut form). Place zippers so that the ends of the zippers meet at the bottom.

Sew the near side half of the zipper inbetween the quilted front and the fleece lining. You'll have to do this wrong sides out, so leave a hole at the top to flip right side out. Check you've done the proper side of the zipper (leaving the outer half of the zipper for the back portion), then sew the top hole shut, right sides out. Now you're done with the front/top peice of the bag.

The back peice is shaped to fit into the seat of the stroller. You'll have to cut a longer peice of lining fleece and backing fleece than the front. Measure your stroller to check. Cut the peices, and cut roughly 10 x 18" triangles for the side gussetts.

Measure your stroller as to where to place the seat gussets, then sew them onto the main fabric, creating a "seat" out of the fleece.

Round the corners of the back peice, and sew the free side of the zipper inbetween the fuzzy liner and the antipill backing fleece, just like for the front section.

Then place the seat peice into your stroller and mark where the straps should come thru. Sew buttonholes at strap locations so that you can thread them through.

Zip the top onto the seat peice, thread thru the straps, and you're ready to go!