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

Fabbbbbric

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.

Update:

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!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chai Cookies

I started up my knitting group again after almost 2 years' hiatus, and what better way to kick it off than having a warm plate of chai cookies to go along with my snuggly wool? I am a HUGE fan of Chai Tea, in summer and winter and so I thought chai flavored cookies would go over well too. A friend was supposed to send me a recipe she liked, but the link didn't come through so I improvised from a few recipes I found online... It makes a nice dense, chewy, spicy cookie.


Chai Cookies
makes 4 dozen

2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional sugar for rolling

Directions

1. Mix flour, tartar, soda, and spices in medium bowl. Set aside.

2. Beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Cover. Refrigerate 2 hours or until dough is firm .

3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in additional sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. (Be sure to line the sheets - the cookies stick!!!)

4. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

adapted from McCormick

Monday, November 8, 2010

Don't Judge

My little baby is growing up. Mira turned ONE. And now I'm getting all kinds of pressure to take her off the bottle. But you don't understand. She loves the bottle. Yesterday was day one of no bottles during the day. She survived. But today? When I bring out the special sippy cup with milk in it - she starts crying and pushing it away. It's pathetic, really. And so I sit here and wonder... WHY in the HECK am I taking them away from her? Because the Pediatrician Said So. Due to dental issues. Well guess what? I called the pediatric dentist and he said it's no big deal - just brush her teeth before bed and we'll call it good.

But he also said... she'll get used to not having them. That's what everyone says. She'll get used to it. And they're right. In a week it'll probably be part of history, but for now it's just sad. And it's hard to see my baby cry. And so I get it. I get why Suri, at 4 years old, still uses a bottle. And you know what? I'm not gonna judge.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kitchen Heaven

My favorite magazine came this week. And I try to make at least one recipe from each issue when it comes so... (go local!)

Garlic Knots are rising in the oven. - homegrown garlic and King Arthur Flour

Nanita's Flan is cooling on the counter. - Shadow Cross eggs

And Rachel's potato soup is simmering on the stove. - our garden potatoes and carrots

Yay for Sunday Suppers!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cause and Effect: Morning Edition

Apparently, if you are up half the night screaming because no one will give you milk, you will be very very hungry for breakfast in the morning; if you are a one year old.

Mira ate: 1/2 banana, handful of cheerios, 1/4 bagel, and one fried egg. And I bet that's a better breakfast than most of you had this morning.