Sunday, July 31, 2011

Five. Years. Old.

Every year of a life is a milestone. But it seems to me that 5 is a pretty big one.

This year, Lili requested that we paint her room. And we're not talking about regular wall paint - we painted a mural on her wall! Both sets of grandparents came to help and participate, and we painted whatever Lili wanted to on her wall. First and foremost was a rainbow (of course, because she's my daughter!). In addition to that, some birds, butterflies, flowers (Lili), a lily pond (my mom), bamboo (my dad), glivvy fish, a horse running in a field (Omi), a weird frog foot hand print (grandpa Lee), and many other little scenes to discover. And everyone's handprints.

It was a process! Cleaning, sanding, putting down tarps, discovering the colors in the paint cans, getting brave to do a big bold first stroke, imagining little things to add to the white spaces...

We had a ton of fun doing it, and Lili basically names all the pictures as her "favorite part". She'll love it for a long time, I hope, because I won't be able to bear to paint over it!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


When I was growing up, one of my favorite book characters was Frances. We had Frances on LP and if you grew up around the same time as me you totally remember her voice. You know what I mean.

So when Lili was born, I went on a Frances mission. Those (original?) recordings seem to be very difficult to find, but a new CD of Frances books is out, performed by an equally distinctive voice. Why did I love Frances so much? She says what she thinks, and loves bread and jam, and sings her thoughts, and has a Girls Only Outing.

Frances is now ingrained in Lili's childhood too, and she has requested a Chompo Bar multiple times over the years. The Chompo bar originates from a Birthday for Frances (which in reality is a birthday for Frances' little sister Gloria)...

Frances uses her allowance to buy Gloria a Chompo bar and 4 balls of bubblegum. And she describes the Chompo like so:

"Chompo Bars have a soft nougat part inside, and there is a chewy caramel part around that, and the outside is chocolate with nuts."

Sounds like a Snickers, no? So I picked one up from the store, and tried to duplicate the Chompo wrappings:

And it's "from" Mira. Fitting, given the story.

Other birthday loot will include but not limited to:
The doll bed and mattress
A Hello Kitty Razor Scooter (from my parents)
Littlest Pet shop figurines
Hello Kitty Jellybeans (already partially bitten through the bag by Mira)
And various to be determined gifts from Omi, who always brings an assortment.

Oh and maybe even two cakes.

I love birthdays.

Wish it was MY birthday!

If I had an endless supply of time, money, and storage space...

I would buy a yard or two (or three) of every fabric in this collection. Children at Play by Sarah Jane.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Almost birthday time!

Lili's 5th birthday is this weekend. We're planning to paint a mural on one of her bedroom walls, so pictures after that for sure. But for her birthday present, I found a great deal at a garage sale! A doll bed for $5...

It's beautiful and I'm sure she'll love it as she's always using old cardboard boxes as beds for her animals.

I made a little mattress for it, using some fabric from my friend Teri. I got to look at the fabric up close while I was making the pad, and it is so cute! Little chicks, and a slightly asian flair to it - perfect for us. And it is so super soft! I'm glad I have more yardage of it - it was very generous of Teri to give it to us.

I had also planned to make a doll for Lili to go with the bed. She picked out this pattern from our Local Quilt Shop (LQS) and would like me to make "Louise". But, too many projects and not enough time, so that might have to wait until Christmas.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Custom Cunundrum

I seem to get alot of custom orders. For instance, the Butterfly Pillow, and the Pillow for Rachel. These custom orders often leave me in a little bit of a cunundrum. I love to sew, and I need to "get the word out" about my crafts in order for my business to grow. But custom orders pose an interesting problem for me. They are usually not something I would normally make, and they often cut into the time I have for making things I've been wanting to make (and that list is long!).

But I do it because I have trouble saying no. And you know what? I usually end up having a LOT of fun making it. Especially the Rachel Pillow. All the fabrics were not ones I would have normally chosen, but when it all came together I was really pleased with the result. And that's the thing: when you sew under other people's constraints, it really helps you look outside the box and learn how to sew outside your comfort range. And that's a good thing.

This time, the Erica Bag, named for the friend who requested it. It's a bag that I designed and thought up all by myself - no pattern. I aimed for the least amount of waste possible, and even reused some old bedsheet material from a friend's move. I'm the first to admit - it's a simple tote - but to have come up with it all myself makes me feel good.

Erica Bag2

Erica Bag1

And of course, no bag is complete without a zippered pocket:

Erica Bag3

Friday, July 15, 2011

All grown up

Clearly, Mira is too big for this exersaucer. But this is what happens when a baby comes to visit and all the "good toys" are taken out of storage!

And, for comparison sake... what she looked like the first time she was in it:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kite Boy Pillow

Just when you thought I was done with pillows (well, when I thought I was)... The Kite Boy Pillow!

Remember Balloon Girl? My best friend G loooooves Balloon Girl. And she has recently had a baby boy and is moving to a new place. So she deserves a nice pillow yeah? So I made Balloon Girl a best friend, Kite Boy!

Kite Boy is modeled after G's baby boy. I projected what he'd look like at age 8. I'm particularly proud of his hair.

The pillow edge is framed with scrappy cuts, raw edge.

Fly away home, Kite Boy! We'll miss you, but hopefully see you often.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Revamp for me

So as you know if you follow along on this blog, I have successfully revamped clothing for both the girls. A dress (from a shirt) for Lili, pants (from a shirt) for Mira, sweaters (from old sweaters) for both of them... Why not do it for myself? Well, grownup bodies are harder to sew for than little squishy kids. Plus, posting photos of myself modeling said clothes is not so appealing to me. But here I am.

I raided my friend G's Salvation Army bags right before she moved, and I found some seriously good stuff in there. Included was this way too big tunic, brand new, made of some very nice stretch faux denim. I loved it but it looked like a potato sack on me.

So I cut off the sides and the sleeves and sewed it back together again. And it worked out well, I think. It's super comfortable and I think a little bit cute too.

With a pair of leggings, it was perfect for girls' night out.

I will likely do this again. I need some more sleevless wear for the summer!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sentimental Baby Gift Pillow

When showing a project that you made for a friend, there is no better reaction than: "Oh June! You outdid yourself!". Which is the reaction I got today when I unveiled this:

This pillow has a long story behind it. My friend Rachel was organizing a baby quilt for her friend, made from fabrics chosen by said friend's best friends. Six mammas picked out their favorite green shaded fabric, and Rachel was to sew them together into a baby quilt for the baby shower. Said baby is now almost a year old and the quilt top was languishing on Rachel's sewing table. So she sent the scraps away to me and asked me to put together a pillow that involved all six fabrics. So that's what I did. I made a basic brick wall for the front, and used the strips Rachel had precut to make the back.

Envelope enclosure, with my (new!) labels.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Of contests and contacts

I kind of lied before - I have been sewing in bursts, but the projects I've been working on are gifts and I have to keep them secret! I am so notoriously bad at keeping secrets, but I'm gonna TRY. I'll give some hints... both pillows... embroidery... patchwork...

Meanwhile, I have been looking at a book about Modern Quilting Bees: "Block Party: The Modern Quilting Bee", and planning a quilt for my neice Alexa. I was very flattered when my brother asked me to make a quilt for her - he takes my sewing seriously! And so I immediately began planning a theme and color pallette in my head. And I came across the picture in this book, and knew I'd make one like this for her:

It's given me some insight into the wider sewing community. I'd love to do a quilting bee. I think it would be such fun to get to know 11 other women better and try out different sewing styles while at it. The swaps I've participated in have shown me that it helps my creativity and keeps me motivated.

So there are lots of people out there sewing, and apparently there are lots of sewing contests too! Riley Blake is a fabric manufacturer that I don't know really very well, but I like their kid friendly designs, so it's surprising that I don't have more of their fabrics in my stash! They're having a cool contest where you can win a cruiser bike. A very cool bike that we've seen in person at our local bike shop. It would be neat to win one, but not sure I can take on a quilt project in that short amount of time!