Category Archives: boy clothes

Mittens, a monogram, and some knitting tools

Standard

I finally finished some mittens I’d started for Dorothy in the fall. I should have photographed them before she stretched them out by wearing them layered over gloves but I didn’t. Dorothy specifically requested pink mittens so I used some inexpensive but soft yarn I’d picked up at Big Lots and this vintage pattern. The pattern was a very easy one to knook. I think knooking is probably much less complicated than knitting when it comes to situations that would otherwise require multiple needles. With the knooking cord securely holding the stitches, patterns like this are very portable. I’m going to use this same pattern to make some adult mittens next.

A small friend of ours celebrated his first birthday a couple weeks ago and I monogrammed this little t-shirt for him. I selected a font I liked, printed the child’s initial in reverse on paper, traced it to fusible webbing, ironed the webbing onto my fabric (an old worn-out dress shirt of Rob’s), then cut the letter out and ironed it to the shirt. Some zigzag stitches around the monogram finished the project off. It’s in my queue to make another of these for Worth with his own initial. I liked the “menswear” look this project took on with the font selection and the dress shirt fabric.

Since I’ve been doing more knitting (knooking, actually) I’ve had more need for rulers in my project bags. I typically have five or six projects going on at once and keep my supplies for each in separate tote bags. When I was only crocheting I rarely needed a ruler because crochet projects typically specify the number of rows the crocheter should work in any given part of the pattern. Knitting patterns, by contrast, often contain sections that must be knitted to a specified number of inches instead of rows. I’ve spent much of the winter pawing through drawers and peeking into other project bags to find my ruler when I need it. Finally it occurred to me that rulers are probably something one can just print from the internet. Bingo! I printed this PDF onto cardstock, cut out the rulers, then laminated them to they won’t bend and dog-ear in my bags. A simple solution and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier–but I’m sharing it just in case you didn’t either.

Training pants and a dog toy

Standard

I did some sewing for the boy this week. At 23 months Worth is on the young side for potty training by today’s standards, but we’ve decided to give it a go anyhoo. He’s not potty aware or anything, but I figure even if we spend a month wiping up messes from the floor we’re still coming out ahead of spending another year waiting for him to initiate the thing himself. I don’t really buy the arguments that one should wait until kids ask to be potty trained. Like really? It’s the toilet, not the shaping of his ego or creativity or anything touchy-feely. I’m not going to beat him for making messes; I’m just his mother explaining to him that life without diapers is better. We’re taking a low-pressure, high-enthusiasm approach and it is going well so far. We’re letting him hang out at home in the new pants, encouraging time spent on the potty, and then putting him in dipes for trips out. On the first day he seemed totally clueless; on the second day he consistently told me when he was peeing, and today (day 3) he actually made it to the potty once. Dorothy and I danced, we cheered, we passed around chocolate cake. Seems like progress. Anyway, Worth needed big-kid pants for this experiment but I got sticker shock when I went to look for some. Then I remembered my sister-in-law Molly had made some for Maggie, so I decided to do the same. I used the same pattern she used and they were easy to make and turned out really stunningly adorable. I used some cotton knits left over from a recent scarf project (stay tuned for a blog about that one) and mixed up the colors. I made six pair and spent $0 on materials, since I was using scraps. That’s totally in my budget.

And while I was being so frugal I hated to throw away the long, skinny leftover shreds of fabric in those bright rainbow hues, so I braided them into long braids and then knotted the braid into a new toy for Belle. She seems pleased.

 

After the holiday buzz

Standard

I love that after-holiday feeling. As eager as I was to pull out the Christmas tunes after Halloween, I’m equally satisfied to have packed it all up now, returning to life as normal with a new zest. Doesn’t everything in the house look serene and uncluttered once the holiday decorations come down?

I guess I took a little break from blogging during all the whirl of celebrations, but here are some photos I’ve collected to share.

Belle got a new collar and tag in her Christmas stocking. Her collar came from this Etsy shop, and the tag (check out that awesome camper stamp!!) came from this one. Maybe I should be embarrassed that my dog’s accessories will match my camper but I’m not. Belle seemed impressed with it, but was more impressed with the chocolate she stole from our kitchen counter on Christmas morning. If I’d had to make that phone call to the emergency animal hospital before Christmas I might never have been so generous with the dog gifts! But it all turned out fine…nothing says “Merry Christmas” like inducing dog vomit. Oy. At least she’s nicely accessorized.

The owner of Stamped with Love also sent me this fantastic key chain, which I think speaks for itself. It’s stamped with the same words as our camper sign. I love it!

This is my favorite picture from Christmas 2011. My boy refused to let anyone remove his new shoes from his feet and he slept with his arms around his beloved new fire truck. He’s still too little to grant affection to Christmas gifts on any other basis than how much he loves them in the moment, and these wee running shoes and charming fire truck took the day. Dorothy’s favorite gift (I think), after all was said and done, was the new “pet” mouse Santa brought. We’ve been reading the Ralph the Mouse books, so I purchased a very cute toy mouse and stuck it in a real cage with a real rodent water bottle and clean shreds of scrapbook paper. The cage has a handle, so Dorothy totes the whole setup around with her. She loves it. It wasn’t a homemade gift, obviously, but I did feel like my creativity in assembling it made it more special than the ready-made gifts she has played with less.

These are the sugar cookies the children decorated at our New Year’s Eve celebration with another young family. I baked the cookies using Martha Stewart’s sugar cookie recipe, then iced them with plain white royal icing, then let the kids do the rest.

I put a shark applique on a plain white cotton tee as a birthday gift to a little friend who turned one on Christmas Eve. This felt like a useful and simple gift and I hope he likes it.

And last but not least, one of my own favorite Christmas gifts was a bit of a long shot. Some time last fall before Rob injured his heel we concocted a plan to acquire family pogo sticks this Christmas (with the exception of Worth, who has just perfected jumping on his own two feet). I don’t remember now what made us think this was a good idea. In any case, Rob got a pogo stick but can’t use it until his physical therapist and surgeon allow him to do so (maybe March?), Dorothy got a pogo stick with a nice, wide, detachable base to ease the learning curve but is still a bit of a stretch for a novice pogo-girl in chilly weather, but  me, well I’ve gone pogo crazy! I love it. I thought I’d never be able to get up on the thing, but it turns out that pogo jumping is rather like riding a bicycle; the muscle memory of the skill perfected as a young person followed me, forgotten but not gone, into my adulthood. Jumping on the pogo stick is the most fun exercise I’ve gotten in recent memory. It’s intense and makes the legs burn, but it’s so fun and thrilling I barely notice. I’ve been adding sets of pogo jumps to my day before and after our evening dog-walk, and the increase in heartbeat makes the whole endeavor more worthwhile, health-wise. If I’d just lay off the sugar cookies (see above) maybe I’d lose a few pounds too!

I hope your holidays were wonderful!

It’s beginning to look a lot like you-know-what

Standard

About this time every year people start complaining about Christmas stuff being out, about the rush of the season, about holiday music. I’m not one of them. The kids and I had the Pandora holiday music station on the day after Halloween, and although I won’t decorate our house until Thanksgiving I’m thoroughly enjoying the pre-holiday planning. Christmas is fun; why not stretch it out a bit? I’m so glad we won’t have the craziness of last year’s Christmas-week move, and it’s going to a blast to have two kids at the perfect ages to enjoy all this holiday hustle-bustle. I like to take a photo for my Christmas cards pretty early every year so that if it looks terrible I have plenty of time to bribe them more and try it again. This year I was really lusting after some Hanna Andersson matching outfits for the kids to wear in the picture, but just couldn’t bring myself (meaning, well, that I just couldn’t afford) to spend so much money on clothes they’d only wear a couple times at most. Right as I was about to buy them anyway I remembered this pretty turquoise Christmas fabric I’d purchased on clearance at a quilting store over the summer. I’d only bought a yard and had  planned to make myself a tote bag out of it, but I realized I could probably stretch it to come up with homemade matching outfits for the kids.

I definitely got my money’s worth out of less than $5 of Christmas fabric. I sewed Dorothy a dress out of a winter white fabric I had in my stash, which I think I got from Wal-Mart’s $1 table a few months back. I made the dress from Simplicity 2237 and sewed her a bolero from the Christmas print from the same pattern. I’ve used that dress pattern before and found it to be a bit wide; this time I cut the pattern a little narrower and it fit perfectly. The bolero pattern wast just right. It fit adorably without any adjustments.

I used more of the turquoise fabric to make a ruffle around the bottom of her dress, which I sewed to the lining of unbleached muslin so it peeps out all around. I used gold thread and a decorative stitch on my sewing machine to add some gold embellishment along the hem of the outer skirt.

For the boy I made a bow tie out of the Christmas fabric and an oh-so-debonair vest out of the same fabric as her dress. I read this terrific tutorial on another blog, then sort of cut around a vest he’d outgrown. I used leftover curtain backing for the lining and back and buttons from my stash, which I think were torn off an old sweater that got turned in to something else a couple years ago. His bow tie is not really tied on because I’m not that brave–I sewed it to a hair clip. I ended up getting an acceptably good photo of the two of them (not pictured) and am glad to have that happy task checked off my list, and for less than $10 total.

Some clothes for the boy

Standard

I picked these overalls up at a yard sale last fall.  For weeks they sat in my sewing basket, ready to be camper-ized, then then got abruptly packed away in a box, only to surface recently.  I was worried Worth would have outgrown them already but fortunately he had not.   These overalls had a baseball patch sewn on the bib, but were otherwise cute.  (No offense to baseball.)  I picked off the ball with a seam ripper and made my own camper patch out of a scrap of fabric left over from my camper sewing extravaganza.  The patch is just a wee bit big for the size of the bib, but that was the only intact camper I could find to cut out from my scraps.  Not a bad use of scraps and $.25 overalls, really.

Unbelievably, my baby will celebrate a birthday in just over a week.  Mind-blowing.  I thought Dorothy’s infancy went quickly, but at the same time I felt like she (as a little person) was half-grown at a year.  Worth, by contrast, still seems like a tiny baby to me.  I think it’s partly their personalities and partly a first-child/second-child thing.  Dorothy was always so independent and concentrated on fighting her way, tooth and nail if necessary, to her next developmental milestone.  She would see bigger kids do things and not rest until she had figured out how to do it herself. Worth is more content to by the baby.  He’s reasonably motivated and enthusiastic about the world, but he doesn’t have Dorothy’s ceaseless drive.  Dorothy was also the first grandchild in the family, whereas Worth is now the baby of four cousins.  So when you combine these factors you get a first birthday that seems like some sort of trick the calendar is playing.

I was not sure how to dress a boy child for his birthday. Boy clothes seem to be overdressy or very casual–there is no “business casual” equivalent for boys–but I came up with this.  I made a little pair of cuffed pants out of some nice, soft thrift-store sheets.  I just traced around one of his store-bought pants for a pattern.  Then I put his initial on a blank t-shirt with the same fabric.  I thought about doing the number 1 instead, but then he’d only really be able to wear it once.  It’s an outfit that I think it going to be both cute and comfy, and I feel good to have taken the time away from house stuff to make something special for the birthday boy.