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.
My blog is not among the things foremost in my mind lately, in this season of snow and ice and ballet lessons and diapers and learning phonics and fixing hot meals and gluing Valentines and getting babies baptised and preparing for birthday parties and reading novels late at night and watching my daughter sew and…you get the point. But I’ve carved out a little moment in this coffee-fueled afternoon to prove to myself that I have something to show for my labors, besides the usual (and priceless) web of love and connection that I’m always working on but can never photograph.
We aren’t big television watchers at my house, but do enjoy keeping up with the Olympics. Through some combination of moments of prime-time viewing on our rarely-used antennae-powered basement tv, online video streaming, the newspaper, and a homeschool unit I designed on the history of the Olympics with a bit of Russian history thrown in, we’re enjoying the Sochi Games. (Aside: what it is with me and run on sentences today?) It feels a little sketchy that we enjoy watching great feats of strength, grace and athleticism while sitting on our own bums eating pretzels, but it does provide some inspiration anyway, right? It’s like the Pinterest of sports. We’re just browsing, but it reminds us of the grace and strength our bodies (or at least some people’s bodies!) are capable of. Dorothy and Worth have enjoyed the spectacle of the opening ceremonies and have each “adopted” an athlete to follow. They’re becoming aware of sports they don’t ever see here in Kentucky, and of the rush of competition. I saw an online advertisement for Team USA t-shirts and was inspired to provide my little Olympian-wannabes with some home-team shirts of their own to support their patriotic spirit. These are just store-bought shirts that I’ve embellished with scrap fabric and my embroidery machine, but they were fun to design and create. Daphne also got little red and white bloomer-style pants, based on a pattern in Making Baby’s Clothes.
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.
This picture is what you get when you set the camera on something, focus on your children, hit the timer, then jump in yourself. Oops! I really do have a head–it just didn’t make it into this photo. Anyway, the point of this photo is the matching Santa t-shirts I made for Dorothy and me. I cut out round scraps from fabric left over from the pillow project (below), a coffee-drinking Santa for myself and a stocking-stuffing Santa for Dorothy. I ironed them onto the shirts with Wonder-Under and zigzagged around the edge in red. Also with the red thread I did decorative machine stitching around the neck and bottom hem of the shirts. I paid $2 for my like-new, name-brand cotton shirt at a thrift store and $.50 for Dorothy’s from the same place. Not bad!
Now the sad thing about making a t-shirt for Dorothy is that it was going to end up going into her closet, which is often a Horrifying Pit of Filth and Stuff, kind of like the rest of her room only worse. Housekeeping is not a talent of my five-year-old, but unfortunately hoarding does seem to be. One of the problems has been that she really hasn’t had enough drawers for folded clothing items. She has one vintage chest-of-drawers my Mom refinished before she was born, but it has very shallow drawers that won’t begin to accommodate the piles of accessories she accumulates. We were keeping skirts and pants in labeled kitty-litter buckets similar to these but as she got larger her clothing got larger too, and suddenly not very many pants would actually fit into a bucket at all, so they were mostly getting thrown in the direction of the buckets, spilling out, then mingling with doll clothes, dirty clothes, cat hair and who-knows-what-else on the floor. I got completely fed up with the situation all at once last week, drove to the nearest Goodwill, and promptly bought an old wooden dresser for $15. The drawers didn’t fit in quite right but I figured I’d see what I could do–I wasn’t making more than one stop.
The problem with the drawers ended up being that they weren’t in the right slots–easy fix! I sanded the whole piece, used leftover wall paint to make it a cheery yellow that coordinates with Dorothy’s beloved wallpaper, and sprayed the old handles white. I did need to purchase new knobs for the top because they were missing entirely, so I bought cute glass ones that look appropriately glamorous. We spent a productive afternoon organizing Dorothy’s things with the help of the roomy new drawers. She loves it and claims to be determined to stick to our new organization plan. I suspect she won’t, but at least now I can chalk her big mess up to her creative spirit instead of a system stacked against her.
As an update to an old post, we had a good thing happen in our family this week! Rob, who had been on crutches since he ruptured his Achilles tendon in September, is finally able to hobble around on his boot but without the crutches. He missed being able to drag the dresser downstairs to my work space and then upstairs to our daughter’s second-floor bedroom, but by the next time I drag home used furniture he should be much more useful!