I hope my sister-in-law doesn’t mind her gift sharing a post with a dog collar! Both of today’s items go around necks that are dear to me. Giggle. This is a crocheted necklace I made as a birthday gift. I got this idea from Pinterest, and it originated on Craftsy. I used Gloss lace-weight yarn from Knitpicks because I already had some, then put it on a black metal chain. I felt like it needed to hold its shape so I soaked it in some Stiffy (why oh why is it called that?) that was a little watered down, and now it’s just right. It holds its shape without looking…stiff. Now that I’ve made this and given it away, I sort of feel like making another one for myself. I could just make sure not to wear it where Molly is, right?
I got some new embroidery software for my birthday. My embroidery machine is a simple, inexpensive model (the Brother PE 500), but it does basically all I think I’d want in an embroidery machine. I’ve considered upgrading to a bigger or more complicated model, but I like things that are simple and straightfoward, and I really appreciate owning things I can afford to replace if a rowdy child “accidentally” knocks it across the room. One thing I wished my machine had was more fonts, and the ability to lay out more than one line of text at a time. So for my birthday I got this Letter It! software. It’s great, and it makes me feel like I can now get even more out of my little machine. It works basically like a word processing program. It comes with a nice variety of fonts, and you can purchase and import more if you want. Then you lay out your text just the way you want it to look on your final product–with multiple lines, mixed fonts, and distortions like curves if you wish–and then just save it as a file that you send over to your machine. I tried it out on this collar for my dog Belle. I liked being able to line up her name and my phone number just the way I wanted it, and she likes not having a dangling metal tag.
As I’ve been glancing back over our summer photographs, I noticed a couple projects I’d like to share. Here is Belle in another of her handmade collars. I make these periodically, whenever I think she needs a cute new one, or I have a pretty scrap that would like nice against her fur. I bought buckles and webbing in bulk because it was so cheap and it really only takes a few minutes to make a one-size collar. She got into the chevron trend with this one.
And in this photo, taken by our pretty Ohio River last spring, I am wearing a skirt made from a pattern in The Colette Sewing Handbook. It’s the only pattern from the book I’ve made so far. I loved the way the scallops turned out, and the inside of the skirt looks just as tidy as the outside, thanks to her careful instructions. My only complaint is that I did measure carefully before cutting the pattern but mine was still too large. I think I may try it again in a fall print in a smaller size.
This is a hat I crocheted for my cousin’s little boy. He’s having a puppy-themed first birthday party! He’s going to rock this hat if he keeps it on, because he’s even cuter than it. I’m making one for Worth too because he saw the work in progress and decided he needed some of that in his life too. I used this pattern by Sarah Zimmerman and the washable merino wool from Knitpicks.
This is a project I’ll definitely want to blog about again, once I can get a picture of it on the newborn kitty herself. Dorothy decided months ago that she wanted to be a witch for Halloween and that she wanted her new baby sister to be her black cat, which seems like a totally fitting Halloween costume for a baby who is just going to be dressed up and paraded around to suit her mother and big sister for at least the first six months of her life. Dorothy was set on a really expensive witch costume from Chasing Fireflies, but fortunately we encountered a much cheaper but equally awesome version at a TJ Maxx. I looked all over the internet for a newborn kitty costume, since as I said before I’m not that into sewing costumes that are only going to get worn once or twice. (I did break my own rule last Halloween and sewed Dorothy’s Little Red Riding Hood costume and Worth’s wolf suit. Dorothy’s dress was just as disappointing to me as I’d thought–she wore it on Halloween and never again, even though I thought I’d made it in such a way that she might consider wearing it as a regular old dress without the cape, but no. Worth, however, has worn the wolf costume enough that I don’t regret the time. He even wore it to music class at least once last spring! And he looks so awesomely Where the Wild Things Are when he wears it around the house.) Anyway, I could not find a ready-made newborn kitty costume. I found many infant costumes, but my baby due October 12 would surely be overwhelmed by a costume intended to fit a child up to 3 months. Plus comfort is a big issue for a newborn, and many store-bought costumes are itchy. So I ordered a newborn-size black onesie and thick black tights (not pictured). I crocheted a kitty hat, mittens, and booties and fabric glued felt on them for the paw pads and inner ears, then I stitched a kitty tail and little pink belly onto the onesie. There’s no reason I can’t put the booties, mitts and hat on her sometime again, except that I’ve made so many at this point they may never make it into rotation!
I admit to feeling pretty miserable here in these last weeks. I’m totally feeling the “advanced maternal age” stamped across the top of my chart at my obstetrician’s office. As the weather finally turns cooler and fall decorations and winter squashes start cropping up everywhere I’m feeling very ready to reap this little harvest of my own. I’m trying to remind myself that another two weeks aren’t a big deal in the big picture, but I have to say that 16 (or so) more mornings of dragging my huge, sore, cumbersome self in and out of bed and around to all the places life requires seems a little daunting at this point. I think all the baby projects are done, she just needs to show up and try them on!
I thought my Belle needed to have some new accessories for spring. I made her a collar from scraps of Dorothy’s new dress. These collars are easy to make because I don’t make them adjustable, I just make them the right size to fit my particular dog. I stitch fabric onto 1 inch webbing, sew on a reinforced D-ring, and put parachute clasps at each end.
On the second collar I tried something new. Sometimes it is difficult to get Belle’s metal tags off the thick D-rings on these collars. I had a half-sheet of iron-on transfer paper for dark fabrics sitting around, so I printed Belle’s name and address (some of which I rubbed out in the photo) several times onto the sheet, clipped them out, and ironed one on to this second new collar. Now all her pertinent information is right there on the collar instead of dangling below. This will be the perfect collar for walks in the woods because she won’t get her tag snagged on sticks, and it will make changing collars easier because it can go right on without my having to change over her metal tag. I saved the other printed addresses for future collars.
I feel like this is one of those instances where the final product looks much cuter in my kitchen than it does in this crummy picture. I should outsource my photography to someone with better skills! Disclaimers aside, I gave my kitchen canisters a little update. The sturdy glass jars where still in perfectly good condition after ten or so years of wear, but the metal lids were starting to rust. I used craft paint on the lids, then coated them with a polyacrylic sealer. The top of the lids don’t come into contact with food, nor do they need to be dishwasher safe, so I’m hoping this solution stops the rust and improves the look of them.I tried to get a picture of one of the lids in front of the curtains that inspired the design. In retrospect I could probably have stamped on polka dots in the same paint colors and it would have looked nice with less work, but I didn’t think of that in time.
Belle the dog was the
victim recipient of another of my recent projects. I’m quite pleased with this one and foresee homemade collars to match every season and holiday in lucky Belle’s future. I purchased inexpensive parachute clips, nylon webbing and D rings at my local crafts shop. I sewed decorative fabric over the webbing and then assembled the collar. This would have been a more complicated project if I’d had to make the collar adjustable, but since I was only sewing it for one full-grown dog I just based it on the measurement of one of her other collars already adjusted to fit her. The whole project only took a few minutes and a couple dollars–now I have to figure out which of my camper fabrics to use on the next one!
Belle models her new collar.
It’s a good thing we have supportive families. If my mother hadn’t come and cleaned my kitchen (thank you, Mom!) and my in-laws didn’t have my daughter for a sleepover, I would never have been able to ignore the rest of my life quite so thoroughly these couple of days while I sew for my trailer. It’s fun to get wrapped up in a project.
This morning I tackled the issue of Belle’s sleeping space. I made her a little doggie bedroll. It’s a quilted cover with sturdy upholstery fabric on the bottom over a core of 1 inch foam. The cover is removable for washing. She seems to like it.
It can be easily rolled up for storage when not in use.
Now if I can figure out how to build a mudroom on the front of this 14-foot trailer so I can wipe down her muddy paws before she comes inside…
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.