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Saturday, January 31, 2009

The front porch in January

My front porch is one of my favorite things about my house. It is a covered porch and is just big enough for a couple chairs and little table and some plants. I actually crowd a bit more in there and in summer it is pretty lush and green with lots of flowers and is the perfect place to sit and read and have some lemonaid while the kids cartwheel and play in the front yard. In January it's a rather blah little front porch though, and after reading a post by Super Kawaii Mama about staying cool in the heat of an Austrailian summer I was longing for summer days and sitting on my front porch. So to at least bring the feeling that spring is on it's way I picked up some primroses at the grocery store last night. This morning Miss 3 helped me plant and water them, she picked the blue-violet ones to be hers. It's a little thing but it sure does make me smile when I see them. I also got inspired to sweep the porch and get rid of the leaves in the corners. Ahhh, a little spot of spring for me to see every day until the real thing is here. I noticed while I was out sweeping that the bulbs are starting to come alive and there are some lush green shoots peeking up through the mulch. I can hardly wait for spring to arrive......

Friday, January 30, 2009

A while ago....

I know it's from a while back but I wanted to share what my girls wore for Halloween last October. I ran across the photos today and thought they'd be fun to share. I made their costumes. The blue dress I actually made several years ago and let out the seams so it still fits her. It is supposed to look like Felicity's dress (ca.1774)from the American Girl movie.The mermaid costume was made from at shirt in a sort of peach color, and pink and green fabrics that were thrifted for under $2. So it was really cost effective although not warm. I also ended up making a mermaid cape from pink fur from the stash and some of the green satin, It is reversible. It was cute and warm and she went to 2 houses and was done with trick or treating. But halloween for us isn't really about trick-or-treats or any of the traditional stuff it's alllll about the costumes.

Also I was thinking that here on the blog it looks like I only make things out of felted sweaters, but that is not the case at all. Felted sweaters are actually new territory for me as the 2 projects I have posted are the only ones I have done that were "real." I made a pair of kilt hose for a play, but they were really only legwarmers and nothing to make a big deal about for sure. I really love to sew and I soooo wish I had the time and ability to focus on a sewing project right now, Baby B has been taking very short naps and I haven't had time to get all the required things done and leave any time for sewing, so SOON I hope to be back to sewing and when I do get to, it I'll be sure to post about it. :-)

Blueberry Muffins

Today Miss 8 made blueberry muffins (with a little bit of help). She read the recipe and added the ingredients, mixed it up and put them in the pan. She even made a pan of mini muffins. They were very good and I am a bit sorry to say that between the 3 of us who were home at the time, there is not a crumb left, baby B was here but did not get to have any. I did manage to get a photo of the ever so yummy muffins quick before they were all gone. (yep again with the battery problem, had to wait for them to charge and by then we had devoured most of the muffins. Today I plan to buy a battery for my camera that will not die every time I need it...)

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I finally made it to Trophy Cupcakes!!! It's in Wallingford center on 45th (Seattle). There are the cutest little tables and chairs and the cutest blue polkadot tablecloths with scallopped edges. Miss 8 just about lost her mind and was so giddy she could hardly choose but finally choose the chocolate chip mint. Miss 3 loved it too and had to have the triple chocolate cupcake. The place is beyond adorable in the best possible way. the service was very good and the cupcakes were "the yummiest I have ever had" according to miss 8. Both girls were hoping to work there when they are old enough, until Miss 8 decided she would have her own cupcake shop. She has spent today thinking of names for her shop. I had planned to take a photo but alas my rechargable camera batteries were dead, darn you rechargable batteries!!!! So follow the link to see the wonderful Trophy Cupcakes. You can also get a Trophy recipe and see a video of Trophy's owner Jennifer Shea making Smores cupcakes on the Martha Stewart website. I haven't made the smores cupcakes yet, but I'll let you know when I do.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Speech like poetry

I was doing an online search for events and people imporatant in 1854, (Miss 8 needed to do a report on someone important from that time, she chose Elizabeth Blackwell) when I ran across a speech given by Chief Seattle (Sealth) in 1854. I think it is perhaps one of the most picturesque things I have ever read.

Cheif Sealth's speach was one of great depth and beautifully written. In a way I wish that I could have heard him speak, I think I would have been moved beyond the blurry vision and threat of tears I experienced while reading it. I have been trying to decide if I should link to it or put it in my post.... It seems long but I think worth reading. So here it is.


Speeches: it seems that we are in a time of great and eloquent speeches. When words have once again regained the power to defy the apparent devastation that is looming overhead. Those who know their power and have mastery over them have the opportunity to rise to new levels. Hope and Change, and most of all a Saviour, that is what America cries for. They are being answered with great words and powerful phrases. I only hope the true spirit of those words will come through and be made real. I hope that what looks to me like a carefully orchestrated play will break out of the theatre of politics and be the true and honest reality that America is craving, or that I hope America is craving. I do wonder though how America will treat a human it has set up as a Saviour, how can one rise to expectations like that?

It brings a new realization to me on the power of words, and the responsibility and weight that is upon those who so skillfully wield them.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cozy Carseat Cover

I just wanted to show how I made a sweater into a really cozy and convenient car seat cover for Baby B (in the picture it's a dolly).

I used a men's sweater that was a nice thick really soft wool, with a zipper up the front. It actually has a double pull so you can zip up from the lower edge if you want but that is not necessary for the cover, although it is handy. I washed the sweater and was intending for it to felt, it didn't shrink very much at all, this turned out good since the zipper needs to lay flat. I checked to see if it had felted at all and it seemed satisfactory for the purpose here.

I cut the sleeves off and cut up the side seams, placed the sweater (zipped up) over the car seat with the neck hole where baby B's head would be so that it would work as a face or neck hole for him. Then I folded the lower front edge around the edge of the car seat and pinned it at the sides, this will work best if you have the sweater inside out so that you can just sew where the pins are and turn to get the desired effect. I had a lot of extra sweater at the top edge so trimmed it off leaving a few inches to wrap around the top edge of the car seat to hold it in place. I took a large dart in each corner to follow the contours of the seat and stitched 1/4" elastic on the underside of the edge to stabilize it and keep it from sliding off, as well as along the lower front edge for the same reason. Then I cut 2 strips about 1" wide and long enough to reach to keep the sides from gaping open, stitched them on cut button holes in them (slits really), and stitched salvaged buttons on.

In retrospect I should have put the button at the other end of the little strap so you can See it as the hood covers the button now and no one ever sees it, if I had ugly buttons that would be perfect but I used cute ones so I wish they showed.

Baby B likes the cover when it's cold and windy and it keeps him from loosing his blankets while he's kicking his little feet, also helps contain socks and booties that get lost otherwise. It cost me about a dollar for the sweater on tag color day, and the buttons were salvaged from a jacket my MIL gave me to use for re-working. I love the buttons by the way.

The neck hole is really not as large as baby B's face so usually if he is awake he likes to have his whole head sticking out and wear a hat, rather than have the hole around his face. All in all I really think it worked out, and sure beats draping a blanket over the whole car seat and having the wind blow in there and the blanket sliding off and dragging in the slush and mud.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Save hancrafted toys and children's items

Save Handmade!

At first the new laws about testing for hazardous chemicals in and on children's toys and clothing sounds great! However as the laws are written they will eliminate many small businesses that already hold the highest standards for their products. The laws state that testing must be done by a 3rd party and the costs for testing can be around $4000. How can a sole proprietor who makes children's toys in their sewing room or shop deal with that? they will be instantly put out of business as will many of the other small businesses that make things for children in a responsible way. What will this leave us with???? Toys made in 3rd world countries, while I agree the laws will help, I still won't be completely comfortable with trusting large corporations that outsource their work. I also will be saddened by the loss of so many artists employment and the loss of variety in toys that we have because of those artists. Do we really want to be stuck with Mattel and other large corporations to direct our children's play? I know I don't!

Write your Senator and House Representatives, if we all speak up we will be heard. Save creative toys, save American and European Crafts-persons jobs. For more information click the icon at the top of the post. You can also check there for updates as the laws are ammended.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Slippers - Tutorial for DIY Cozy slippers.

Miss 8 and Miss 3 were needing some new slippers, as both have experienced growth spurts recently. We were having some incredibly cold and snowy weather the day I made these and slippers just couldn't wait, so I decided to see what I could make with things I had on hand. Originally I had all sorts of creative ideas for super cute slippers, but then as reality sank in I realized these would need to be quick and easy. Soon I was inspired by the memory of some slippers I had as a kid that would be easy to make during Baby B's nap. I used a thrifted wool/angora sweater and shearling coat, from my stash of such things. They cost less than $2 and there is still lots of shearling left.

The only special equipment you need is leather sewing needles for your zig-zag capable sewing machine and some sharp scissors or razor blade for cutting the shearling. You could hand stitch these and they would turn out really cute if you did a blanket stitch or something decorative, but you'd still want a glovers needle or leather sewing punch.

Here's how....

Start by Felting a sweater, to do this I threw it in the washer on hot and then dried it in the dryer on hot.

I traced Miss 3's foot onto a piece of paper for my pattern and cut it from the shearling with the pattern facing up for one foot and down for the other so you get a pair, you only really need about 1/4"to 3/8" seam allowance around the foot tracing. Then cut a strip of shearling about 1" wide and long enough to go around the perimeter of the sole + 1" or just cut the strip way longer than you need and cut off the excess when you are done. Cut the sleeves off the sweater in such a way as to have the distance of the cut edge measure close, but less than, the distance around the sole, this is also when you will decide how tall you want the slipper legs, Miss 3 wanted knee high slippers so we used the whole sleeve, the ribing at the cuff will help keep them up, or they can be rolled or folded down. Note: Check to see that the cuff will go over the intended foot and up to the desired part of the leg, this particular sweater would only work for Miss 3's leg unless it were an ankle high slipper.

Sew (using a long zig-zag stitich) the strip around the sole with furry sides together, the fur will be on the inside to make them extra cozy (my first pair did not turn out altogether pretty on the zig-zagged edge but I think with experience this will get easier, I am not really accustomed to sewing on shearling. A serger might work but I did not try it as I thought the shearling would be too thick). Then stitch up the back where the strip meets it's self,cut off any excess strip of shearling.

Now you are ready to sew the sweater sleeves to the sole.

Start at the back of the sole with the sweater sleeve inside out with the sole piece inside it and back seams matching, also mark the center front (or an approximate close to center front).

Then zig-zag the two together, making sure the center front is matching up when sewn. You may need to stretch the sweater a bit to make them match.

Once you have sewn all the way around all you do is turn it right side out and you have slippers that Miss 3 has proclaimed "WAM and TOZY"

I made an additional pair for Miss 8 using the body of the same sweater, avoiding the embroidered center panel by cutting from the sides and back, they had more seams but turned out ok. You would cut them out on a fold to look like the sleeves shown above, with the fold on the long edge.

You will get a piece like you see here, then sew up the back seam and you have a piece like the sleeves used in the directions above.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Since the beginning of December I have been wanting to paint words over the doors and windows of my living room, finally the other day I did.  I am mostly happy with it although I did not do all the measuring and gridwork that I imagined I would do to make it perfect.  I realized that if I kept waiting for the perfect time to make the perfect wall art it would never happen so while Miss 8 played with baby B and Miss 3 followed me around trying to climb on the ladder with me I painted the walls.   There is really something freeing about JUST DOING IT!   I could stall forever on the things I want to do if I wait for the conditions to be "right."  So maybe having things done in a less "perfect" way beats not having them done at all.  Still I don't want to do things all sloppy and half-arsed  but I felt like the free-hand lettering worked out ok and I will paint over it a year from now anyway. It's doing it's job anyway.

For just over a year I have been on a pretty focused part of my spiritual journey.  It's about some simple things but it's the application that makes it a journey.  I have thought for a very long time that you have to choose between faith and fear and that they cannot co-exist.  However remembering to make that choice is difficult to do in the midst of fear.  I'm not going to go into it much right now but suffice it to say it's helping me tremendously to keep some spacific things in mind.   In order to move in the direction of Faith it starts with remembering to Breathe ... Then Relax...


then choose faith.

 When you find yourself not breathing in a situation you can be sure that you are not able to think clearly at that time either, so start breathing, it's amazing the difference it will make and you can find yourself in a place where you can effectively choose Faith.  

Walking in love is only really going to happen for me if I am not living in fear, so after I choose faith I can walk in love.