Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Boy Headband!

As I've mentioned before, The Boy has shown a lot of interest in Little Sister's flower headbands.  So finally, I told him I would make him a headband of his very own.  I asked him what he wanted on his headband, and he chose a cat.  He wanted an orange cat like our pet, Daphne, and he wanted a blue headband.  I'm so glad he has opinions on this stuff!  Makes it so I don't have to think.

Here's the final product!
Note that he's also rocking the cape made by his best buddy's mom.
Really, no superhero is complete without a headband.
As a side note, The Boy designed his shirt too--he wanted a kangaroo, he chose the fabric from my stash, and there you go.  He is the idea guy.  He gets paid in clothes, accessories, and car mats.  (Not to mention food, shelter, etc--he better keep those ideas coming!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ongoing project: Car Mat!

My brother's name is Matt.  When he was growing up, we'd tease him by saying things like,

"Open the door, Matt!"
"Go take a bath, Matt!"
"Welcome, Matt!"

So every time I work on this project, I can't help but think, "Get in the car, Matt!"

He totally hated it, by the way.  If I remember correctly, this was a surefire way to tick him off all the way into high school.  So of course it was employed frequently.

In any case, my parents had recently pulled out the felt car mat that my grandma made for me and my brother when we were kids, and The Boy totally loved it, so I thought it would be fun to make car mats for all of the little boys' January birthdays I had coming up (The Boy included).  So I googled "car mat" and checked out some ideas for images I could include.  I saw several really simple ones that were sewn, and thought, "Well, those are too boring and small."  Then I saw several more intricate ones that were hot-glued, and I thought, "Well, those are cute, but they'll come apart with the kind of vigorous play that I know my boy does."  So, of course, I decided to do one that was both intricate and sewn.  I dove into making a mat for our buddy Tate, who had the first birthday of the month, with a plan to make two more later in the month.

However, after designing and laying out the road and starting to cut out my "town,"  I realized why the mats I saw online were either intricate or sewn down but not both.  Why did this not occur to me earlier?  Sewing all of those tiny details down was going to be A TON OF WORK!  It's a good thing I LOVE YOU, TATE!  because now it was too late to figure out a new gift for his birthday.

The good news is, it came out great, and was very well-received.

Tate's birthday car mat
It rolls up!

The bad news?  Little D wasn't getting one for his birthday, because I was BURNED OUT on sewing all those little details, and I knew I still had to make one for The Boy.  Sorry D, maybe next year!

So The Boy loved his car mat, but he was full of ideas for "improving" the car mat.  His suggestions usually take the form of  "Mom, why isn't there a car repair shop?  Mom, where's the zoo?  Mom, the cars want to go to the library."  So now that the pressure is off and I'm having fun with the car mat again, we've been collaborating on some additions:
(Based on the actual Belmont Library, where we spend quite a bit of time)

The see-saw is the new addition to the existing park.

Would you believe I had to google "baseball diamond" and "soccer field"
to make sure I got them right?  Sporty I am not.
As you can see from some of these pictures, I also have an ongoing battle with pilling on this thing.   It gets a lot of car-rolling action.  I don't know if buying the $17.99/yard 100% wool felt would have made a difference in this scenario, but I wasn't willing to make that investment.  So instead, every time I play with The Boy on the mat, I can't help myself--I pick and pull at the pills whenever I can.

One playtime's pill pile
We've been having so much fun building this mat together, and it's so fun that The Boy and I both have ownership in it now.  I love it!  But I will probably not be making one for you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Baby Name Pendant! (edited with new photo)

My mom makes jewelry.  She is, in fact, a jewelry artist.  Her stuff is unreal--incredibly detailed and unique silver pieces with pearls, gemstones, glass, what have you--and I haven't ever seen anything like it.  She also teaches classes, so rather than paying my money to take her class, I imposed upon her this week (as she's trying to finish her custom orders before heading overseas on a trip) because I really, really wanted to have a pendant with Little Sister's name on it before she turns one (!!!) at the end of the month.

Back when The Boy was a baby, she helped me make one with his name on it.  We did it when we were all at the beach one weekend, so The Boy's dad and the other three grandparents were all there to play with him while my mom and I worked.  This time, my dad kept The Boy company downstairs while my mom and I scrambled as Little Sister tried hard not to stay asleep during her nap, and therefore "mom helping me" was really "mom doing it and stepping aside to let me do a step here and there that she could have done much more quickly herself," but I still feel a little pride of ownership in the final product.  I did design it (The Boy's too, for that matter), but once the very basic first steps were done, Mom thankfully took over for me so it's finished so much more nicely than I would have been able to do myself.

Just some fun shots I took in between "working:"
The workspace

The name, stamped out (one of the few things I did myself)

Front, middle, and back

The one who really got it done:

She actually did the final patina and polishing after I had gone home, so she's going to mail me the completed pendant before she hits the airport (does she rock, or what?) but she did send me a picture.

We picked a design with what looks to me like an iris in it.
When it gets here, I'll post what it looks like with the boy's name charm.  His is a circle, with the same idea of an overlay with a hole in it.

And here they are together!  As a side note, the postal carrier almost didn't deliver the package my mom sent with the finished necklace, because she addressed it using my maiden name instead of my married last name (it's only been seven and a half years, Mom!), but it got here!

Oh, and you can see her other work or contact her for custom jewelry HERE:  www.debsteele.com

St. Paddy's Day!

This is the fourth St. Patrick's day in a row that the hubs has been out of town.  For those of you keeping track, that's every St. Pats since we've had children.  Is this a coincidence?  I guess I'll down my Guinness with my kids.

Here are my holiday-themed craft tutorials for today:

Pucker up!

Silly Hat Headband:
1.  Have a friend who thinks of you when they see silly things like tiny glittery St. Patrick's Day hats, purchases them, and gives you one.
2.  Attach hat to elastic and place on baby's head at a jaunty angle.  

Holiday bib:
1.  Name your child something that is one letter off from a typical holiday saying.
2.  Wait until the day of that holiday to look for a shirt with the saying on it; when unable to find one, settle for a 50% off bib.
3.  Cut a heart out of felt big enough to cover the extra letter.
4.  Attach to bib however you see fit (sewing, iron-on, tape, etc) and place on baby.

Finally, make baby pose for pictures wearing the items, then take them off and store them away until next year!  During naptime, search online for clearance St. Paddy's day t-shirts big enough for next year, so you can do this thing properly.  After all, it will still be her name then too!

Happy St. Paddy's Day!  Raise a pint for us.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Exploiting My Children!

So, as I just posted, I have recently opened an etsy shop.  I had a fabulous photographer take some pictures to get it off the ground (thanks Emily G!), but as I continue to make new headbands, I have been getting photos myself.

So, I make headbands in sizes that fit anywhere from newborn babes to full-fledged grown-ups.  I can use Little Sister and myself to model most of the bands, but I really want to show the range of sizes, particularly when I am selling a headband in a toddler/girls size.  This was great at the photo shoot because Emily's lovely daughter and a friend did some modeling for me, but now, I'm kind of at a loss.  All of the kids I have regular access to are boys.

Which leads to my dilemma.

The Boy loves playing make-believe.  He also wants to be involved in whatever I'm doing.  He also doesn't want Little Sister to get more attention than him.   So when I'm taking pictures of Little Sister wearing her headbands for the website, The Boy wants to wear a headband too.  "I'm Little Sister," he says, "and this is my flower."

So, since my site involves mostly close-ups of the bands themselves, is it wrong to take advantage of The Boy's willingness to put on a headband and get in front of the camera?

Who am I?

A darling model, regardless...
So what would you do?  Can I put these up while waiting for an actual girl model to use so that I have some image of a kid wearing the headband?

And to avoid further confusion for The Boy, do you have a daughter I can take pictures of for my website?  There might be a headband in it for you!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Etsy Site!

Hi Everyone!

Just wanted to put out the news that I have opened an Etsy store!  You can find it HERE:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/sewbabycrafts

and you can also get there by going to www.sewbabycrafts.com (as soon as the hubs updates the path).

So far, I'm just putting my felt headbands on the etsy site.  I still make the appliqued onesies/t-shirts by request, so if you are interested in those just send me a message!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sweater Dress!

I made pants out of some sweater sleeves, leaving me with an armless torso.  So I grabbed one of Little Sister's jumpers to copy for size/shape, since I hate measuring or following patterns, and dug into the fabric stash (almost entirely made up of scraps from the hubby's grandmother's quilting days) for some accents.  This was a challenge, as there are few fabrics that coordinated with the sweater, and even fewer that had pieces long enough for the belt/trim that I needed.  I do like the one I ended up with though, and the fabric was originally used in our wedding quilt, which is still on our bed.

Happy baby!
But the photos is where things started getting difficult.  Little Sister was a lovely model until I decided I needed a straight-on shot of her standing up.  She's not quite doing that on her own yet, so I needed to hold her hand, necessitating the use of the camera's remote.

Well, what have we here?  A remote control?  How interesting!
I'll take that, please.
Why can't I reach it now?
I need the remote! Mine!
It's right there.  I can still get it.
Do not try to appease me with this old remote to a TV
that we don't even have in this house anymore!  I was not
born yesterday!

Seriously, how can they tell whether a remote is functional or not?  In any case, the dress has been duly recorded for posterity, and I don't think Little Sister was too traumatized.  Drama queen.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Birthday Invitations!

I know several little boys with birthdays in January, my own included.  His birthday is on the 30th, so when he turned three we had already been invited to a couple of other parties that month.  One self-proclaimed "not crafty" friend* sent out invitations that she had MADE along with her 4-year-old birthday boy.  Well, as I am not shy about my crafty tendencies, I felt the (self-inflicted) pressure to step up my birthday invitation game past picking up the package from the Target card aisle.  If they could do it, by gosh, so could we!  As I am a total cheapskate and our favor bags etc would be random selections of hand-me-down leftovers from birthday themes of the past, we went with pizza invitations to indicate the party's food selection rather than any coherent theme.

Note the green pepper "3"--aren't I clever?

So I cut out the cardstock for the crust and the sauce (I also glued these together), and I cut out the construction paper toppings, and the boy glued the toppings to the pizza.  It turned out being a fun project that he really was capable of "helping" on (which is not to say that it wouldn't have gone three times faster if I had just done it myself).  I printed the party info just on regular computer paper and glued it to the back.  I did need to put extra postage on, just in case, since some of the envelopes were a bit lumpy, but I cut the pizza so that it would fit into the leftover envelopes from our Christmas cards, eliminating the need to buy envelopes.  Bonus!

Poor Little Sister.  She's turning one this month (I can hardly believe it!) and her party invitations are not nearly as exciting.  She's clearly the second child.

Maybe when you can make your own invitations,
you won't get stuck with Target clearance.

*I believe the handmade superhero capes and the now permanent in-house sewing machine officially negate this status.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Kindle covers!

So, I got a Kindle for my birthday, and I thought, "Yay!  I can make a cover for it!"

Seriously.  I made two of them before I even downloaded a single book.

The first one was fabric with fleece lining.  I knew I wanted the fleece lining, and I only had enough of one fabric that matched the fleece that I had, so I'm only meh about the fabric choice.  And duh, the fleece lining doesn't even show.  Strangely enough, since I was too lazy to actually measure and just wrapped the fabric around the Kindle itself before sewing, it turned out a bit wonky.  And it's pretty thin (not very protective), but it will keep it from getting scratched in my purse.

Meh.  See how it's lumpy at the bottom?
So I decided to knit and felt one.  Because if sewing isn't precise enough for you, DEFINITELY go with felting a knitted piece.  For those of you who don't knit/felt, that was sarcasm.  So while I love the aesthetics of my knitted cover, it leaves a bit to be desired in terms of snugness.  I just couldn't get it to felt down any further!

Cool, right?
But too big.

In any case, I now have two semi-functional Kindle cases, and three downloaded books.  I may have finally spent as much time reading on the Kindle as I have making covers for it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Baby Legwarmers!

I like this thing I've started (for all two posts so far) of ending my title with an exclamation point.  Makes it fun, don't you think?

Anyway, while visiting my dear friend Jill last weekend she showed me the legwarmers she made for her wee bebeh out of a pair of adult socks.  Now, her baby is still too little to wear them, but mine has nice chunky legs just begging for a new pair of legwarmers!  I love babylegs, and we have a few pairs, but I am a total cheapskate and love finding clearance kneesocks for fifty cents at Target, so VOILA, baby legwarmers!

Don't look too close at the stitching.  You will notice that I am not so much a perfectionist when I am creating things I intend to keep for my own children.

I can never choose just one photo.  Love how she posed for me with her legs up--
legwarmer ad campaign, here she comes!

Sweater Pants! (edited to add--baby wearing the pants!)

I have a sweater that I haven't worn in years.  I have moved it in and out of the Goodwill pile multiple times, somehow unable to let it go.  Is it a very special sweater?  No.  Is this particular Gap cotton rib very rare and valuable?  Does it have wonderful memories associated with it?  No.  Am I a closet hoarder?  Perhaps, but don't call TLC just yet.  Tonight, I cut the sleeves off and turned them into a pair of slim-fitting pants for the babe (loosely based on this tutorial:  Green Kitchen Sweater Sleeve Kid Pants  ). We'll see tomorrow morning if they fit her!  Oh, what's that?  You'd like to see a picture?  Well, I'll add one of her wearing them later (What?  You want me to wake her up at 11:15 at night?), but for now, here they are all by their lonesomes.
If you knew me between 1996 and 2007, you've probably seen me wear this sweater.

The boy just had to be in the picture too.  I did not make
the robo-dinosaur t-shirt, just to be clear.
Side view.  I wish the rise were a bit higher, but alas.  Next time.