Friday, March 28, 2014

baby gifts

This week I kept busy making an assortment of baby gifts for two new little boys - one born to my cousin and another to my husband's co-worker. I decided to make baprons and burp cloths for both of them, because both things have been so incredibly useful to us.



I used the burp cloth tutorial from the blog MADE. I have sewed up a whole bunch of these over the last couple of years, but I don't believe any of them have made it onto the blog. Quick, easy and really great for wiping spit-up and spills!


I've mentioned the bapron pattern before (here and here). I seriously love these and they get easier to sew each time I make them. I think by now I've made over a dozen!


The fabric is all from the Riley Blake Designs line Farm Fresh by October Afternoon. I found a bundle of fat quarters for a super good price at Tuesday Morning a couple of years ago and have been saving it for the perfect occasion (read: hoarding). I decided I should finally use it and I'm glad I did because these gifts turned out so cute.


Hope these come in handy and get lots of use!

Make It and Love It

Thursday, March 27, 2014

fun vintage find

My husband and I love to go antiquing. When we lived in Indiana we used to go almost every weekend, and when we first moved to Texas, we went antiquing until we ran out of places to go that were not too far away. But since we had our daughter we have slowed down in that area quite a bit. Mostly because we don't want to drive too far, and with a baby it's a little more of a hassle. Not to mention the fact that we really don't need more "treasures" cluttering up our house and it is in our best interest not to spend the money...

But last weekend we went. My husband came up with a couple stores we hadn't been to within an hour of our house and we set out. We had a good time poking around looking for interesting things. Baby rode in the Ergo carrier and made friends with anyone who would make eye contact with her. So it was a win-win.

Plus, I found this super cute toy!



I would say the majority of the times we go antiquing, I come away empty handed. But sometimes something just catches my eye and I have to have it. So it was with this StromBecker "Zoo-Apart" toy. I just loved it so I bought it. I love that the animals are on a track and can slide off, so that you can switch their positions. A little online research showed me this toy was made and sold in 1950.


Now it sits on a shelf above my computer so I can look at it and smile every day. How fun!


Do you like to go antiquing or thrifting? What kind of things catch your eye?


Friday, March 21, 2014

cargo duffle

I finished my cargo duffle, you guys!!

cargo duffle by Noodlehead, sewed by Dandelions and Lace

Really, I am super excited about this. As I mentioned before, this is a free pattern by Noodlehead available on the Robert Kaufman Fabrics website. I've admired since it came out, but it looked sooo complicated that I just wimped out, I guess.

Enter Sophie Crespy who hosted a (bilingual!) sew-a-long on her blog C'est la vie, and I finally worked up the courage to try it out. 

And really you guys... I'm not trying to scare anybody off, but it is probably the most complicated thing I have ever made. It wasn't that any one step was super hard, just that there were a lot of steps. And the quilting part was a little bit of a learning curve for me since I'm not a quilter. But even through the many, many steps, and the many, many layers of fabric, my little sewing machine just kept chugging away. And then suddenly I was done!

cargo duffle by Noodlehead, sewed by Dandelions and Lace

And here I am. Very, very proud that I finished this bag and that it turned out as nice as it did.

Whew.


And now for the kind-of-sad part... please skip this if you want don't want to to cry sad tears for me. I SEWED THE BACK PIECE ON UPSIDE DOWN!!! I'm am so upset about this. I didn't notice it when I basted on the handles. I didn't notice it when I pinned the back piece in place. I didn't notice it as I sewed each side of the back piece onto the bag. I didn't notice it when I binded (bound?) the inside seams of the bag. I didn't notice it when I flipped it right-side-out and set it proudly onto the counter to display. An hour or so later as I turned off the kitchen light to go to bed, I noticed it. BAH! (Only I might have said something a little stronger than that.) It was all I could think of in bed last night. My first thought was, "There is no way in HECK that I am taking that thing apart and fixing it." But I know it will bother me for the rest of my life. And now I am seriously considering doing it. I can take off that piece, flip it and then sew it back on... I guess it wouldn't be the end of the world. What would you do??? [UPDATE: I fixed it and it was a lot of work, but it didn't kill me!!!]

Regardless, I am still very proud of this bag.

cargo duffle by Noodlehead, sewed by Dandelions and Lace

If you would like to try one yourself, I highly suggest following along with the sew-a-long, and also checking out this page of tips by Anna at Noodlehead. The pattern itself is clear but incredibly concise, which means each step isn't described in photos like many of the patterns I have become used to following. But it is totally doable, and I hope you try it!

Fabrics:
Catnap by Lizzy House Cat Dreams in Cranberry
Catnap by Lizzy House Chasing Butterflies in Clementine
Catnap by Lizzy House Jewels in Coral
(all purchased on Etsy) 


Make It and Love It

Thursday, March 20, 2014

spring is here

Happy Spring, y'all! I have probably said it before, but although autumn is my favorite season overall, here in Texas, SPRING is the best time of the year. It is just so gorgeous. Flowers and green everywhere. And the temperatures are absolutely perfect. I love it so much. Every year I wish this could last forever, but instead it changes (much too quickly, I might add) and we are blasted with the oven that is Texas summer. But I'm not going to think about that today. Instead, my daughter and I decided to visit the arboretum for a picnic to celebrate the first day of spring. Please breathe in this beauty, especially those of you who are still dealing with winter. This will come your way soon, too... I promise!
















Friday, March 14, 2014

wipes container baby toy

Soo... my sweet darling baby girl just LOVES playing with the wipes in the container. I swear, I can turn away for two minutes, and when I look back, she has pulled the wipes box off the shelf and emptied half of the wipes onto the floor. She always has a sneaky little grin on her face because she knows she shouldn't be doing it, but she just can't help herself. The wipes are so. much. fun. (or so it seems!)

wipes container baby toy

Lately I've been trying to think of something I could make for her to play with that would mimic the fun of the wipes box, without wasting actual wipes. Pinterest to the rescue! The blog A Spotted Pony had already posted exactly what I had in mind.

A simple, simple concept, and you probably have everything you need to make it.

wipes container baby toy

All you need are:
* A plastic wipes box (you could also use a cardboard tissue box, but it wouldn't be quite as sturdy)
* Fabric scraps

I cut 25 different fabric squares from my pile of scraps, trimming them with pinking shears to minimize fraying. Most of them are 5x5" but a few were a little smaller. I tried to pick bright, fun fabrics, and especially fabrics that had animals or other shapes on them.

wipes container baby toy

Throw them all in the wipe box and you are finished! See, easy!

wipes container baby toy

Now give them to a baby or toddler and they will have a great time taking the cloth pieces out and putting them back in. My baby looks for certain fabrics - she likes the one with owls the best, so once she finds that piece, she just carries it around with her or stares at it and babbles. It is also a great way to talk about colors and shapes with an older child.

wipes container baby toy

A cheap, easy toy, but it is sure to please!

wipes container baby toy

[Full disclosure: My baby still likes the real wipes better (of course), BUT this is a good substitute in a pinch!]

Make It and Love It

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

miscellaneous

Here's what I've been up to this week...



* I have about a million and a half projects going on... taxes, sewing projects, cleaning, photo albums, etc. etc. But instead of finishing anything that is started... I felt compelled to begin THIS. "The World's Smallest 1000 Piece Puzzle." My in-laws sent it home with me this weekend because I squealed with delight at the sight of its perfectly adorable teeny-tiny miniature pieces. Just what I needed. (Not.) But I can't stop! Someone send help.

* The trees are all blooming here and they. are. GORGEOUS! Love it!

* I guess it's spring break week here in Dallas because all of our usual places (Trader Joe's, Half Price Books, Target - I know, I live an exciting life) are super busy. And at Trader Joe's yesterday, the checker asked my daughter and I, "So what are you guys planning to do for spring break?" It was then that it finally dawned on me that this was the cause of all the extra people and all I could reply was... "Um... play... and eat... and sleep... the same things we usually do I guess." I've never been one for quick comebacks or exciting remarks. Ha. :)


* I am *planning* to sew a Cargo Duffle Bag by Noodlehead via the sew-a-long on the blog C'est Le Vie. My fabric came yesterday and it's washed up and ready to be cut. Maybe tonight... if I can pull myself away from my puzzle. I'm using Catnap fabric and I'm so excited to see how it turns out. Hopefully I haven't bitten off more than I can chew - it looks like a rather complicated pattern.


* Besides the puzzle, the other thing in the way of my sewing progress are the piles of junk strewn about my craft room. I made the (rather unfortunate) decision to clean and reorganize my craft closet and it looks like an explosion of massive proportions took place all over my floor and desk and workspaces. Yikes. I kind of want to just stuff it all back into the closet and pretend it's organized. But that wouldn't really get me anywhere, so I am trudging along. Don't know where to cut my fabric, though...


* On Saturday, I made Double Chocolate Cake Donuts from Joy the Baker's blog. They were amazing! But my husband, who has a comment for absolutely everything, said "These are just cake in the shape of a donut!" Umm... sorry? I made you donuts, just eat them and don't complain!

* So, now that my daughter is one year old, does that make her a toddler? Because all printed references to her (Babycenter emails, doctor's office info sheets, etc.) refer to her as a toddler. But she can't walk. She's really not even close. Does toddler refer more to an age or a developmental stage? I, for one, refuse to call her a toddler until she can walk. I'm ok with having a baby for a little bit longer. 

* Speaking of my daughter, Kid's Clothes Week is coming up again on April 7-13. How did that happen? I swear the last one just ended. Anyway... what worked for me last time was being super organized. I chose patterns and fabric and even cut most of the fabric before KCW started. I'm going to try to do that again. My goals for this KCW are to make her a romper/sunsuit, following the tutorial on Made by Rae, and a dress for a wedding we are attending in July, probably another Geranium. I think I need at least 1 or 2 more projects to keep me busy, but I haven't decided what yet. Suggestions are welcome. :)


* This gorgeous spring weather makes me want to garden. The problem with that is when summer comes to Texas, my urge to garden goes away completely (ewww, hot!) , and I end up with lots of dead plants. But I still think I will plant some flowers again this year and do my utmost to keep them alive as long as possible. And maybe even some strawberries! I did purchase a basil plant from Trader Joe's a couple weeks ago so that I can try my hand at homemade pesto. I haven't put it outside yet (and it's a good thing, because we had a super hard freeze that would have killed it last week), but now my cat has been chewing on it and doing his best to slowly kill it. Grrr...

If you are still reading this rambly post, I applaud you! A little peek inside my mind... it can be a crazy place and it is always, always going! Stay tuned later this week for a simple tutorial to keep your baby/toddler occupied. :)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

wooden rocking scooter

As you may or may not remember from some of the nursery posts (here and here and here), my husband has a *slight* obsession with scooters... an obsession that he is working hard to bestow upon our daughter. 

toddler-sized wooden rocking scooter

So when I saw a pattern for a wooden rocking scooter on Pinterest, I knew he would be game for making one for her. And when we were in Iowa over Christmas, he and my dad did just that! The pattern is Charlie's Scooter from the blog Ana White. They followed the pattern for the most part, but did make some changes to increase the stability and structural integrity of the scooter.

My dad is a woodworker and does beautiful work. He has a wood shop in his basement where he does projects, so each day of our visit, I could hear them down there... cutting and sanding and nailing and gluing. Finally, the scooter was done!


But it wasn't completely done... no, it still needed to be painted. That was mostly my job. And I'm not proud to say it, but it took a bit longer to paint than it did to build. There were lots of colors and lots of coats! The silver parts took SIX coats alone to completely cover!

First we primed it...

toddler-sized wooden rocking scooter

Then we painted each part... (I picked a beautiful minty green for the main body of the scooter. I just love how it turned out!)

toddler-sized wooden rocking scooter

I'm happy to say that we finally finished it a month or so ago and it looks sooo adorable. Baby girl doesn't quite understand how to ride it yet, but she will learn quickly. And it will always be a special keepsake... built by her grandfather and her daddy... painted by her mommy (and daddy). 

toddler-sized wooden rocking scooter

And maybe... just maybe, it will fuel in her an obsession with scooters. (I know daddy would love that!)

toddler-sized wooden rocking scooter

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"my family" board book

This is not a sponsored post or anything like that... I just wanted to share something that I like and thought some of you might like too!

For awhile I have been wanting to make a photo book for my daughter with pictures of all of her close family members. With some family nearby and some far away, I want her to still be able to learn their names and to always recognize her family. As she approached her first birthday and became more and more interested in looking at pictures, I knew it would be the perfect time to make a book.

I have seen a baby photo book made using a small photo album, and an idea on Pinterest to glue photos over the pages of a board book (presumably one you don't like?!). But I really wanted something more durable, a book that I can give my daughter to look at and know she won't be able to immediately destroy it - either by chewing or ripping... or any other method that she comes up with. 

So I decided that I really wanted a printed board book. I did some internet searches, and the only company that I could find that does what I wanted is called Pint Size Productions. The website allows you to make personalized board books based on templates or from your own design.
[apologizing for my awkward attempt to blur my daughter's name below!]



The book design software was not as intuitive as I've seen on other larger photo book websites, but after spending some time on the site over a period of several days, I finally finished my book. (Not because of the software, but because I'm slow, haha.)

The standard size 16-page books are not cheap - $24.95 plus tax and shipping - but for a keepsake that I know will be so special for my daughter to have, I decided it would be worth it. When I checked out, it said that shipping would take 12-15 business days, so I didn't think it would be here in time for her birthday, but it actually came much faster and was here within about 5 business days.


We love the book. My husband and I can read it to her and talk about all of our family members... and baby girl loves to sit with it and flip through the pictures.


The finish on the cover and the photos is matte rather than glossy. It's fine, and probably makes the book a little more durable, but the photos I submitted seem a bit dark because of it. The only thing I worry about are the top and side edges, they are a little rougher than I expected so I hope they don't start to look too messy with use.


For what it is, though, it's been great! And what a fun way to talk about family with our daughter! I totally recommend this as a gift for a baby or young child.