We took a family vacation to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, this summer. I put together matching outfits for the kids. Matching outfits on vacation serve the dual purpose of looking cute (in real time and in photographs) and helping me keep track of everyone more easily! I used fabrics from the Michael Miller Shore Thing collection. Dorothy’s dress was a little halter pattern from Girl’s World, and Worth’s was the cute pattern from Sewing for Boys I had also used on his fox shirt last winter. I think Dorothy’s pattern would have been more flattering on a less willowy girl–I had to add some ruching under the best to give it a little shape.
Daphne’s dress is just a simple little halter with ties over the shoulders, and she got matching bloomers from the plaid. The outfits were breezy and comfortable for the kids, and were so fun for me to see in action!
I took this babywearing selfie, since I’m often not in the pictures. This carrier came off my sewing machine just over a year ago, and it has gotten almost constant use! I love the mei tai style carrier.
I made myself several new bags for our trip. I often find that we take evening beach walks to find shells or get ice cream, and while I need to carry my wallet, room key, and sunglasses, I do not want to tote my beach bag or even my purse. I sewed this small pouch with a long strap to throw over my shoulder and carry just the essentials. It was handy for the beach and has gotten quite a bit of use back at home too.
I had quite a bit of laminated cotton left over from a project of recovering my kitchen chair seats. I decided it would be good fabric for a new beach bag. I needed a new one anyway, now that we had grown to a family of five beach-towel users! I lined the bag and made pockets out of a brightly-colored striped sheet, then made a little zippered pouch to match. I downloaded the embroidery file for the monogram from the JoyfulStitchesEtsy shop and have loved it so much I’ve been stitching it onto everything! I thought laminated cotton worked well for the bag in that sand and water could be easily brushed off, but not as well in that it wrinkles badly in a hot car.
I wish I had a better photo of this project, but this one will do. I found this adorable mermaid-printed cotton last winter when I was looking for something else, and I bought it not knowing what on earth I’d use it for. I made the girls matching bermuda-style shorts and they’ve worn them together all summer. Love it when my girls dress alike! I found their matching green tops at Children’s Place. I used their other shorts as a pattern, sewed on decorative lavender drawstrings, and made a leg-band facing out of the lavender. There was just enough of the mermaid fabric left from the project that I got a little mermaid coin purse to carry my quarters in to the beach laundry-mat!
These photos are from October, back before the computer died. I made a baby sleep sack or bunting, or whatever you want to call it, and a sweet little elfish hat to go with it. I bought this yarn in 2008 when we were just starting to entertain the idea of a second child. I thought this warm. soft alpaca would make a darling bunting and hat for a baby of either gender. But then somehow I never even got around to starting the project for Worth, so it’s a good thing I had a third baby and was able to use this yarn! I based the sack around the Zodiac pattern on Ravelry, but kind of did my own thing with it. The hat, likewise, is just a typical knitted baby beanie, but at the second-to-last decrease I stopped decreasing and just added length instead. The sack is beautifully warm and wonderful for cozy days at home, but unfortunately isn’t car seat friendly, so it hasn’t gotten as much use at it deserves. The hat she is wearing constantly, because we figured out that when she’s stuck to the front of me in the mei tai and is wearing this hat with the tip sticking up, it looks just like I’m babywearing one of Santa’s little helpers and it makes every single person I encounter get a big grin on their face. It’s like my tiny Christmas gift to all the other Costco shoppers.
And speaking of the baby and Christmas joy, I couldn’t resist using her sweet face on our gift tags this year. I used craft punches on photographs, then stuck them to card stock with a glue stick. Add a quick little rubber-stamped message, and I have the cutest gift tags ever. 🙂
This is a knitted sweater for Miss Baby. I used a baby kimono pattern from the Lion Brand website for the body, but didn’t want to fuss with the sleeves their way (they did them separate and then seamed them on) so I just added mine directly to the seamed up sweater then embellished them with a crocheted border. I used Knitpicks’ Gloss DK Yarn in the color peapod. I think it’ll look very cute over the dresses I’ve made recently, and would look cute over a plain red creeper at Christmas. My only irritation with this project is that sometimes my knooking* seems to look different on the sections I’ve done by knitting/purling opposite rows than it does on sections where I knit in stockinette stitch in the round. I finally figured out why that is when I stumbled on this YouTube video recently. You can see what she’s talking about on this project; the stitches on the body make little X shapes, and the stitches in the arm make little Vs. It doesn’t bother me enough to redo the project, but now that I’ve figured it out I’m going to start purl stitches from the left of the stitch instead of from the right. I just implemented this on another project and I’m so pleased to see all the neat little rows of Vs. It’s kind of a simple thing; I’m surprised it wasn’t addressed in any of the knooking stuff I’ve seen before. I think purling from the right, which is the same direction I do the knit stitches, is a bit easier, and if I’m just doing ribbing on a hat when the rest of the project will be knitted in the round I think I’ll continue purling from the right, but for things like this I’ll purl from the left for the neater V look. I feel happy to have that knooking mystery solved.
This weekend I sewed a ring sling to use with the new baby. The fabric is a lightweight but sturdy seersucker. It’s more or less modeled after the Maya Wrap ring sling. My daughter lived in slings like this until she was a year old; my son really only liked being in one for the first few weeks. I figured it would be nice to have a new one whatever this kid’s preferences, and I can always gift it or sell it if it doesn’t get used. My son felt like he needed to tell me, as I was taking this photo, that the IKEA dog modeling the project “isn’t a weal baby. If it was the weal baby we’d have to put clothes on it.” Um, yes, kid. And we’d be a little worried because it looks like a plush dog from IKEA, but whatever!
And we’re back into homeschool around here! This is our third year and we’re off to a good start. With a couple years experience under my belt it was nothing but fun to buy our new books and supplies this year. People keep asking me what I’m going to do about school when the baby comes, but it seems like a funny question to me. We’re managing our calendar such that we’ll have a week’s fall break when she comes, but after that I feel like it’ll be much easier to homeschool with a baby than to schlep my kids to different schools across town with a baby. I sit on the sofa and knit while I homeschool now–after the baby comes I’ll just sit there and nurse instead. Actually sounds like a pretty good life to me. 🙂
*What’s she talking about, knooking? It’s real knitting with a crochet hook. Nice for people like me who love yarn crafts but are afraid of pointy sticks. Click here to see other knooking projects I’ve blogged about, or google it to learn how!
My weekend project was a whimsical new baby carrier. I don’t technically need a baby carrier this time around (ahem) but they aren’t hard to make, and I couldn’t resist a new one that was just for fun. This is a me tai-style carrier similar to the ones sold at BabyHawk.com. They were my favorite type of carrier with each of my previous kids. I bought a neutral-colored one from that site with Dorothy, then my sister-in-law made me an extra for the car, and then when Worth was born I made a cute red one with an owl applique on the front. I still have all of them and plan on using them all one more time; I’ll keep one upstairs, one down, and one in each car. Baby carrier bliss!
This is the the reverse side of the new carrier. I used the quirky vintage dog print on one side, and this novelty “glamping” print by Moda on the other. It’ll be my “mama’s in a fun mood” carrier.
Next I made a little bag to carry the carrier when it’s not in use. This one will probably go in my car, so it’ll be my on-the-go carrier. I made the drawstring ribbon long enough to sling over my shoulder and sewed a little pocket to the front just in case my baby carrier and my keys are all I need for a little dash in somewhere. Right now, with my big old belly stuck firmly to the front of me, and approximately 68 days left to drag it around (but who’s counting?) I’m fantasizing about the sweetness of a little head poking out the top of this for me to sniff and snuggle and kiss, and then…the amazing feeling of lightness and freedom of being able to take the baby off and put her down. Wow.
I think I’m setting a new record here for time in between blog posts. Fall is such a busy time anyway, but this year ours has been plagued by time-consuming work duties (Rob’s work, but I’m helping), home repairs, more home repairs, and car malfunction. Ouch. These things do seem to come (unpleasantly) in clusters. I’ll not drag you through the details, but do look for an upcoming post about camping with a Uhaul pickup–once I can laugh about it. But we’ve been crafty in between all these diversions. I made a sweet new dress but don’t have any pictures yet and we’ve gotten a little obsessed with freezer paper. I made these shirts for my kids and nieces for my sister-in-law’s 30th birthday. You can find good tutorials for making freezer paper stencils on other blogs–the basic idea is that you cut out our design for the shirt with a craft knife, then iron the shiny side of the freezer paper to your shirt and dab paint in the missing spaces. I was able to make all four of these shirts from one stencil; you can just peel it off and reuse it several times.
I had picked up packs of plain t-shirts at Target for us to be crafty with this year (they came out to $.80 per shirt, on sale) so I was well supplied when I got the idea to make more shirts to support my friend Toby who was participating in his third Ironman triathlon. The marathon portion goes right by our house, so the kids and I like to cheer him on and be inspired by all the men and women competing in that very impressive event. This time I used a stencil font (I print out the words and trace them onto the freezer paper before I cut) and that made the project easier than the Mollukah shirts because there were no insides of round letters to worry about.
This was a different kind of freezer paper project. I saw this on Pinterest and had to try it. You print directly onto the shiny side of the freezer paper with your computer printer, then dampen the fabric you want the image on, then rub the printed image onto your damp fabric. I thought it worked pretty well. I made a little bag for a friend’s birthday and then another just for fun. These images look better if you’re going for a somewhat rustic or primitive look–they aren’t vibrant or crisp. It’s still a fun, low-cost method and I’m sure I’ll use it again.
Moving away from the freezer paper, I made a baby carrier for my cousin. I make this carrier from my own pattern, based on my most beloved carrier purchased from Babyhawk. I made it reversible in pretty, bright fabrics that reminded me of her. I made a little drawstring bag with her monogram on it to stow the carrier in. I hope she gets as much use of it as I did of mine. I think of the smell of a fuzzy little baby head snuggled up onto a mama’s neck in one of these carriers…and it reminds me that I’ve got my hands totally full now, in spite of the baby-lusty feelings that daydream provokes! Maybe I can just borrow the carrier and its baby from my cousin for an afternoon. 🙂
We spent most of today hanging out at home, and with the rain outside, no scheduled house-showings, and the next computer part still on order, things were aligned to finally give us some pleasant down time. Dorothy spent a long time very happily occupied at the art desk she got for her birthday. She churned out fabulous Dorothy creations, all the while cradling her new ballerina doll in her ring sling. (You can see Dolly’s head in the crook of Dorothy’s arm, above.) I guess that’s just the way we roll around here these days. 🙂
Meanwhile, two feet away, I sewed new pillowcases with a real baby strapped to the front of me. A good day!
Two things about this picture. Well, three if you count my disclaimer about the baby weight. 🙂 First, I’m sewing again, hooray! Today was the first day I broke out the sewing machine since Baby was born, and I successfully finished this comfy knit skirt I’d cut out a few weeks ago. It’s stretchy and perfect for post-partum, and I think I’ll get a lot of use out of it this summer. It’s made on the same pattern as the bird skirt below (Simplicity 2758) but I didn’t bother with interfacing or anything, since the whole point of sewing it in knit was so that it would stretch. It felt good to be sitting at my sewing table again! Worth spent almost the whole time in the mei tai, but did agree to sit in his swing long enough for me to set the zipper.
Second, the mei tai baby carrier. I’d like to make a public service announcement to nosey people everywhere: YES, MY BABY CAN BREATHE IN THERE, AND ACTUALLY, IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS ANYWAY. Here’s an article explaining why people armed with a very limited amount of information should keep their mouths shut to mothers who know more than they do. I don’t go around condemning mothers who carry their babies around in car seats (Google it, car seats are made for the car; they are not meant to be your baby’s permanent cage!), and I really don’t appreciate the inquiries I’ve been getting about my kid’s airways while he’s happily tucked away close to my heart, thriving. Ok, off my soapbox now!