Worth turned six in February. He requested a “knights and dragons” birthday.Inspired by Pinterest, I cut flames from a sheet of red poster board. Stuck to the door with painter’s tape, it became an opportunity for Worth’s guests to “breathe fire” and get their photos taken.
Worth wanted a dragon hat, so I used a basic hat pattern to sew a black hat from fleece, then added fleece ears and spikes and some greenish-yellow felt eyes. Worth has worn his Toothless-inspired hat in both cold and warm places (like to bed) quite frequently since I made it, so I felt good about his its reception.
My mother totally outdid herself with an enormous, amazing dragon cake!
And what’s a knights and dragons party without some castle-storming food? Or something. I also cut shields out of cardboard and spray-painted them silver, then let Worth’s friends decorate them with paint as a party activity. I thought these turned out cute but I somehow never managed to get a photograph of them.
Notice my oldest daughter (above) is wearing a tiara. Apparently she felt that her role at a knights-and-dragons party should be royal princess, subtly outranking Sir Worth at his own event. We did manage to talk her down to lady-in-waiting, however, with the help of paid duties involving the herding of six-year-old boys and shield paint cleanup. Shew!
This project was inspired by a bout of lusting after all the clothes in Sundance Catalog. All the nice (expensive) basics in that catalog seem to be just good quality but ordinary things with a creative twist that make them unique and special. I was at Costco after drooling over that catalog one day and I saw this pink sweater, which looked to me like something the catalog would have sold, but with cute embroidery along the front and at a markup of about 400%. So I bought the sweater for $29.99 and decided it wouldn’t hurt to try and give it the twist myself. I used Curio yarn from Knitpicks and some instructions from this booklet because I am absolutely not a person who knows how to hand embroider. I had to pick out at least as many motifs as I stitched on, but I was happy with the final product. I probably should have practiced some stitching on something that wasn’t my sweater first, but I didn’t, and really it turned out fine. One of my concerns with this project was how well it would wash, but I did launder it on gentle and hung it to dry and it doesn’t seem worse for wear. I’ve been keeping a Pinterest page now of “plain sweater rehab” ideas, so maybe I’ll do this again on a thrift store cardigan or even a tee. It’s always fun to learn a new crafty skill! I’m amazed by the lovely embroidery that some people can do; I hope to learn how to do it better.
I try not to miss out on opportunities to dress my three kids alike while they are still willing. It does get a bit harder, though, as they get older and their ages more diverse. This year I chose red t-shirts for all three (Children’s Place offered free shipping on all orders for months last summer/fall. Wish they’d kept that up!) and created ornament shapes out of a gender-neutral striped print. I machine embroidered their names on the front and then attached the ornaments to the shirts with fusible web and zig-zagged around them with the sewing machine. I bought Daphne an adorable tutu made by an Etsy crafter, but sadly she refused to ever wear it again after the picture. So I guess I have a used Christmas tutu for sale! The shirts, at least, got worn many times over the holiday season by all three kids and I used these cute pictures for my holiday cards.
I make or buy new aprons periodically. They aren’t investment pieces, right? Aprons are meant to be worn, to get dirty, to get worn out. I usually have one that I wear basically every day while I’m cooking dinner, and a couple others hanging just for fun. Maybe a lightweight one for when canvas is too hot, or a cute vintage one just because. I had a purchased sturdy canvas one that had been a favorite for a year or so, but it was starting to look like I’d cooked a few too many meals in it. For my new one I just cut around the last one to replicate the shape. I used this cute Premier Prints Arrow fabric from Fabric.com (I know, more arrows! I can’t help it.) And I put my name on it with the embroidery machine because why not? The big improvement I made over the last one I had was that I added a nice, deep pocket to the front. Now the the only reason I’ll have food smeared all over the front of my clothes is the fact that I live with a 2-year-old.
Sewing for my tiniest girl is easy, because thus far she’s never refused to wear anything I made for her, and because toddler clothes are all cute. Sewing for my tween is a little trickier. In addition to taking into account her numerous preferences I feel pressure to sew things for her that are appropriate to her specific age, which is in itself a tricky thing. She’s tween in truth–neither a child (though often childish) nor a full-fledged teenager (though she often acts like that too). She’s big and little, she’s responsible and flighty, she’s wise and naive, she’s precious and difficult, she wears pigtails and ratty friendship anklets until they fray and fall off. She’s into horses, so when I saw the Michael Miller Wee Wander Summer Ride fabric I thought of her. If you zoom in on the fabric you can see that it has an image of a girl with long, dark hair riding bare-backed, fast and free. It’s the perfect tween fantasy fabric–sweet and feminine, but with a strong, independent subject. Once I had the fabric in my stash and a girl who felt excited about it, I wasn’t sure what to do next. After some searching, I found this tutorial online for a piped-pocket skirt. Again, it’s a good tween pattern. It is twirly and fun, but it has sophisticated little piped pockets. Perfect! My daughter wears the same size as the model child in the tutorial, so I followed her instructions almost exactly. It’s in centimeters, so I had to drag out a tape to convert everything to inches, because none of my cutting rules show metric measurements! But it came together nicely, and most importantly, Dorothy loves it. She decided her pink hair extension coordinated with it better than any of her other hair extension color options. Who am I to say it doesn’t?
I’ve already confessed a fondness for the current feathers/arrows trend. I know it’ll look as tired as pink and turquoise owls with chevrons in a couple years (yawn), but I really think it’s cute now. This is based on a pattern from the bargain book Cute Clothes for Kids. I added a pocket with this embroidery from an Etsy seller, and orange trim all around. It’s a wee big on her, but hopefully that means it can be a dress this year (over long sleeves) and a tunic after that.