handcrafts

doodle tee

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I almost forgot to show you Finn's handmade birthday gift for Lachlan! I know you would have seen the shirt in photos eventually, and you would have wondered what the deal was with that crazy shirt, so I think an official show-and-tell is called for.

We used a basic white onesie and Finn drew all over it with fabric markers. I did need to hold the fabric taut while he drew to prevent it from stretching and bunching under the pressure of the marker. It turned out to be an activity well-suited for a two year-old. I think it's one of those gift projects that's perfect for all ages and all occasions - Mother's Day, Father's Day, sibling's and friend's birthdays, etc. I'm sure we'll do it again one of these days.


sheepish

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Sheep! Seventy of them. The boys and I had a grand time at Stoney Mountain Farm during their sheep shearing festivities. The gracious owners opened their home to a good bunch of people, offering entertainment in the way of wool harvesting and sustenance in the form of a tasty home-cooked lunch.

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Having never seen a sheep get shorn before, I was amazed at how accommodating and docile the animals were through the ordeal. Look at the adoring eyes of that sheep up there! He looked like he was getting a spa treatment. 

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In preparation for the big shearing day, I checked out some shearing-related books from the library. Pelle's New Suit will have to be added to our own collection. Not only does Finn adore the book, but he looks exactly like Pelle. Who knew? The boy with just a drop of Swedish blood in him (there's more Mexican in there than Swedish) would come out looking like the spittin' image of a turn-of-the-century Swedish boy. 

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In addition to Pelle's New Suit , we've also enjoyed Feeding the Sheep and Weaving the Rainbow - all of which are about the process of shearing the sheep, making yarn, and then weaving or knitting clothing from the sheep's wool. 

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We've been shearing some of our own sheep right in our living room. I love observing how new experiences come out in imaginative play, and how they are understood and written in the memory of a child through prolonged and repetitive play or games. 

Do you have a local farm that makes an event of shearing day?


baby rain pants

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There's no such thing as bad weather - only bad clothes.

Very true. Since moving to our house in the country this past summer, we spend so much time exploring and working our land. Early morning is a favorite time to be outside; watching the sun rise, noticing the dew collect in the cup of a leaf, searching for frogs in our small pond. 

I already knew the importance of dressing children in layers of long johns if the weather is even slightly cool, but somehow I didn't figure out until this year the paramount importance of rain pants. 

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Finn has had his pair since Fall (they're from REI) and they are our most-used piece of clothing. Even if it's not raining, the grass is damp in the morning, and there's always a puddle to explore. Rain pants give us the freedom to let him explore without a litany of parental cautions, most of which focus on our desire to keep him dry (because we know that clothes are washable, but we also know that being wet can be very uncomfortable and can spoil any well-intentioned nature walk.)

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But what about Mr. Red-headed Crawly McCutie Pie? The REI pants only went down to a size 2T.

I needed to make him some pants - he needed them more than anyone, because he's always crawling and sitting on the damp earth. But rain pants require fancy material. You can't get it at your local fabric store, and you can't get it in most fancy quilt/fashion fabric online store, either. You can't use oilcloth or laminated cotton for rain pants (nor should you for kids' raincoats, as the material is not breathable.)

After a long search, I found what I was looking for! Waterproof, breathable fabric that is easy to sew. Now you can turn any pants pattern into rain pants. You can get it at The Rain Shed, an outdoor fabric specialty store. I used item #3388, 40 dernier ripstop 3-layer. 

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You can use any basic, elastic-waisted pants pattern, although I like a design that also has elastic or velcro at the ankles to keep them snug against the body. Make sure you size up a bit, too, as these are meant to be an outer layer, worn over other pants.DSC_2662_4559

It's nice to be able to get right down there with them (I have rain pants, too) and not worry about soggy jeans. Just need to make a pair for Patrick, and we're all set!


little amigo doll papoose kit giveaway

Just a little bit more about dollies, please? ;) 

The Little Amigo in Growing Up Sew Liberated is accompanied by the oh-so-stellar doll papoose designed by Fabiola Perez-Sitko of Fig and Me. I'm not sure how I happened upon her Etsy shop a looong time ago, but I did, and the moment I saw her handmade doll papoose I knew I needed to ask her if she'd like to publish the design in Growing Up Sew Liberated

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I'm so happy I did.

You see, just the thought of Fabiola gives me a big grin. Not only is she a doll-making genius, but she is funny, lighthearted, and she and I share something else - a bit of Spanish back-and-forth. She's from Chihuahua, Mexico, where I lived for three years. In the Spanish language they have a word - chispa - which means a sparkle, twinkle-in-the-eye kind of spunk. Fabiola's got some chispa, folks. 

Love pulled her north to the boreal forest of Canada, where she's raising her two girls on the shore of Lake Superior.

I'm so happy to share the pages of my book with her, and I hope you'll check out her lovely blog and etsy shop, where she periodically lists beautiful dolls for sale. 

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Photo by Ginny of Small Things

Shortly after the book was released last summer, Ginny made a gorgeous pair of papooses for her daughters. She also has some tips on downsizing the papoose to fit a small child. 

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Photo by Ginny of Small Things

It just so happens that I have just enough Echino fabric (originally used in the Art Satchel kit) to make a papoose. I've paired it with some aqua blue corduroy from my stash, as well as the hardware and strap material that you'll need to make a papoose. Leave a comment to enter to win the doll papoose kit! I'll keep comments open until Monday morning, March 12th. Gook luck!

Comments are closed and we have a lucky papoose-maker - Sunny Loya! Congratulations!

doll papoose supplies

 


lachlan's little amigo doll

lachlan's little amigo doll

This little fellow was stitched together with so much love. Finn sat on my lap and helped trim threads, stuff wool, and guide the fabric through the sewing machine. I worked on him here and there for the week prior to Lachlan's birthday, taking those quiet moments to reflect upon the priviledge of having a little boy for whom I could make this red-headed doppelganger. 

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lachlan's little amigo doll

He's a Little Amigo from Growing Up Sew Liberated - the knitted cap is the one Lachlan wore as a tiny babe, and the hat is a retrofitted Huck Finn. The pants and shirt are on-the-fly mama-made patterns. And, thanks to this doll, I also have a doll wig tutorial for you that I've been promising for a long time - it will be live tomorrow afternoon.

lachlan's little amigo doll

lachlan's little amigo doll

Finn, of course, was the one who noticed. "He has a scar, Mama, just like Lachie!" I felt it was important that both Finn and Lachlan have a doll with a beautiful scar. Finn often asks about Lachlan's "ouch" while bathing, and this is a way to address their feelings and questions about it through play. It's just a normal thing in our lives, and the scar certainly doesn't define the doll (as the real scar doesn't define the boy), which is made in the Waldorf tradition of minimal facial expressions so that the child is free to pretend that the doll has all sorts of emotions, not just the bright-eyed, fixed smile so common in playthings. 

lachlan's little amigo doll

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Sweet boy. I'm glad you like your little friend. 


the dolls come home

dolls from growing up sew liberated

All of the projects that I made over a year ago for Growing Up Sew Liberated arrived home yesterday. The little boy doll on the left didn't make it into the final photo cut for the book, but I love him so.

I can't wait to unpack the play tent (pictured on the front cover of the book) for Finn.

You can find me at the Rhythm of the Home blog today - a little interview with Heather. Also, don't miss the summer edition of my favorite online quarterly: Rhythm of the Home.


lachlan's bubble pants + envelope tee

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Lachlan got some new, cloth diaper-friendly duds - the Reversible Bubble Pants and the Envelope Tee from Growing Up Sew Liberated. (Thanks to my friend and super-seamstress Kim, who whipped these up for me. No way in a blue moon would I find the time to make anything myself this week!)

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Remember Finn's pants?

lachlan's bubble pants + envelope tee

The published pants pattern is sized to fit newborns - 2 year olds, and has some new bells and whistles. The elasticated ankle cuffs help keep the pants from falling down over those cute toesies when they are crawling (or walking) around. You can make the pants using either knit or woven fabric, with or without the cuff.

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What? We were blogging about an outfit? Bet you didn't even notice the outfit. I forgot for a second while looking at that cute face.

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Combine the Reversible Bubble Pants with Rae's Big Butt Baby Pants pattern, and you have yourself all you need to clothe a cloth-diapered babe (or any babe, for that matter.)

The fabric is from Nani Iro's new cotton knit line. Here's a bit of fun news - we'll soon (within a month?) be offering fabric & notions kits to go along with my patterns. This will be one of the kits! My studio is filling up with bolts of mouth-watering Japanese fabrics and other yummy textiles.

fightin' irish

Wanna fight?

(Perhaps he has some fighting Irish in him after all, what with both parents being alumni.)

oh, just kidding

Ah, just kidding! I'm a lover not a fighter! And I prefer sewing to football.

 


knitting organization

Alas, no finished knitting project to show off (yet), but I did tackle one of the more pressing organizational tasks in my home when Finn and Patrick were away.

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You see, I'm the kind of person who needs to have an organized space - a clean slate - to begin a project. I just can't relax into a creative moment until everything is in its place. I've often thought that this need encumbers my artistic spirit, but I've recently come to terms with the fact that my artistic spirit is so visual that it requires simplicity, clean lines, and beauty in order to function. Either that or it's just plain OCD. Lately, the knitting side of this artistic spirit has been seriously squelched by a major needle disorganization. Needles would crop up everywhere - in unfinished projects, in the bottom of various baskets, and jammed into an ineffective needle storage roll. I could never find the fourth double-pointed needle for knitting a sock, and I could never find the size that I needed. Sometimes I ended up purchasing a set of needles that I already had, just because I couldn't find what I was looking for at the time.

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All of this meant that, since it took so much effort to start a project, I hardly ever did. Not so anymore!

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Admittedly, this storage solution isn't for those low on space, but it is pretty and cheery. Everything is housed in the jars - the collection of needles that I inherited from my great-grandmother, the stitch markers and the tapestry needles. I arranged them in wide-mouth mason jars on top of my yarn collection. Each jar contains a specific needle size (1's on the left, 10's on the right, and every kind of needle I own in the given size - double-pointeds, circulars, straights, etc.)  I need a few more jars to house the bigger sizes, but there's no rush. I have something cozy (for me!) on the needles right now, and all is right with the world.