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!
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. 🙂