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February 2010

January 2010

tunic love

One of the perks of designing sewing patterns is getting to see how others use their creative powers to bring the project to life. Fabric choice and decorative elements really change the feel of the Schoolhouse Tunic. Here are some of my favorites that have been popping up on the Sew Liberated Patterns Flickr Group.


Photo by Happy Find

Happy Find made the most incredible version out of simple striped fabric - but my oh my, that ruffle takes the cake. Brilliant! 


Photo by Vintage Fern

Check out Vintage Fern's nice review of the Schoolhouse Tunic pattern at Sew, Mama, Sew. She used a bedsheet from Urban Outfitter's for the fabric.


Photos by City Craft

If you're in Dallas, stop by City Craft where you're bound to find someone wearing the Schoolhouse Tunic. Here are three of their versions - I love seeing it made up in Anna Maria Horner's fabric.



... and I'm a big fan of the elegant simplicity of House of Roux's basic gray version with the colorful scarf from Uniform Studio.


Photo by House of Roux

If you've made a tunic, be sure to post a picture to the group!

P.S. If you've made any projects from my book, I've created a Flickr group for that, too! Upload away, because I'll be doing a little book project recap sometime this week, as well as another book-related giveaway on Thursday.

on the needles

on the needles

Things are humming along in the creative realm. Lots of book designing and sewing going on behind the scenes, but also a good share of "because-if-I-didn't-make-it-I'd-go-bonkers" projects. I love these projects - the ones that maintain my sanity amidst looming deadlines. They're projects that I can pick up and take with me, and they're perfectly suited for busying my hands while sitting on the floor and making sure that Finn doesn't grab the big, lazy cat and quickly stuff him in his mouth.

on the needles

:: for the book (although this counts - it's just too fun)

on the needles

:: for my right foot

on the needles

:: for my left foot

on the needles

:: for a little boy on Valentine's Day.

We're hunkering down here for a real winter storm this weekend. Thank goodness, because I felt really sorry for the kids I saw riding their sleds down a steep, grassy incline at the park the other day. Seriously. We need some white stuff.

sweet pod

sweet pod

I have a big boy. A boy who, from the get-go, has loved to eat. And because he is both big and little, and still loves to be carried around by Mama, Mama recently got herself a new carrier. A back-saving carrier. And? You can make one, too.

sweet pod

Yep. You heard me. My friend Jessica, fellow blogger and mother of five, went ahead and designed a structured baby carrier and wrote up a sewing pattern for you. It's called the Sweet Pod, and it's available as a PDF pattern here

sweet pod

Oh, how I LOVE my Sweet Pod (Jessica made mine, using leftover Echino fabric from one of my book projects.) It's so comfy to wear for long periods of time. As soon as I received mine in the mail, Finn came down with a double ear infection, which meant lots of in-arms time. Thank goodness it arrived in time.

What I particularly enjoy about this carrier is that it has a lining on the inside that allows you to more easily switch the baby from a front carry to a back carry - quite helpful when home alone and you need to get some cooking done. The back carry is essential when you have a grabby baby - it keeps him safe and he can still see what's happening on the kitchen counter.

sweet pod

It has a zipper storage pouch for the sleeping hood. The hood itself (as well as the carrier lining) is made from the most luxurious fabric I've ever touched, a silk/hemp charmeuse from NearSea Naturals. Perfect next to butter-soft baby skin.

Thanks, Jessica, for designing such a useful piece of baby gear, and happy sewing to the rest of you!

who I met at mima and papa's house

hamming it up with mima and papa

Let's see ... my Mima and Papa were there, of course. And Daddy. That dude's always around. Mama was there, too, with that big black thing protruding from her face.

gram and abuelito

I met my very, very great grandparents, Gram and Abuelito, and got to go to their house a few times, where I also met my great aunt and my great uncle and my Mama's cousins. My great uncle is the one who makes ridiculously goofy faces to get me to smile at that black thing that protrudes from my Mama's face.

cousins - photo by auntie m.

photo by Auntie M.

I met my cousins, who kissed me ...

cousin love

photo by Auntie M.

... and fed me.


... and played with me.


They are the most entertaining little people I have ever met.

I met my three uncles, two aunts, and two big boy cousins, too. That's a lot of people to meet in one week, which can get pretty confusing. Ask my cousin H. She's still trying to figure it out, too.

Cousin H. to my Daddy: "Are you my Dad's Dad?"

Daddy: "No, your Daddy is older than I am."

Cousin H.: "Oh. Are you my Mom's mom?"

Daddy: "Uhh. Nope. I'm your uncle." 

Families are fun, but confusing.

where mima and papa live

mima and papa :: outside

Mima and Papa live in the mountains, where this horse is their closest neighbor.

mima and papa :: outside

Hello, horse. Want a carrot? (Mama was too excited by the adorableness of me feeding the horse a carrot to get a decent photo.)

mima and papa :: outside

Mima and Papa live in the forest, where there are lots of trees. Hello, tree.

mima and papa :: outside

Hello, other tree - don't you look spiffy!

mima and papa :: outside

Mima and Papa live over the river and through the woods, where Papa, the geologist, keeps some mighty fine soil.

mima and papa :: outside

I like soil too, Papa. Thank you for letting me eat it.

mima and papa :: outside

I can't wait to visit you again soon!

helping hands to Haiti

Patrick spent a summer in Haiti in college. He wrote this post on behalf of both of us.

As you know if you have seen any news reports, Haiti has been hit with a devastating earthquake, made so much more devastating by the inadequate infrastructure that is the result of political and economic oppression. The majority of Haitians are extremely poor, fighting to bring themselves and their families through each day in "normal" times. A disaster like this, in addition to the unbearably high number of immediate victims, threatens survivors with disease and starvation.

Here are some ideas for helping:

Please give as much as you can. We are donating to Partners in Health, the organization founded by Paul Farmer, which has a long track record providing medical services in Haiti. Doctors Without Borders also does amazing work there.

Governments are the most capable of providing large sums of money. Please consider contacting the staff of your Congressional representative and senators and urging them to give generously. The Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121. Readers not in the United States can contact your own governments.

If you want to do more and live in the US, you can ask the government to stop deporting Haitians to Haiti while the devastation continues there.

Haiti is a wonderful country with a proud history. It was the second independent nation in the Americas, forged by a revolution of slaves in 1802. Enormous popular movements continue to struggle for democracy and improved living conditions, but face opposition. Haitians deserve to live better than this.

Thanks for caring and for doing something!

vacation show and tell

finn's pixie hat

We're back, and what a refreshing break that was! Since I visited this space several weeks ago, some special things have happened, and some not-so-special. On the top of the not-so-special list were Finn's double ear infection and my oh-so-unpleasant sickness right after his. I need one of those Harry Potter-style memory erasers. Zap! Good. Huh? Sick? Nope, we had an awesome New Year, what are you talking about?

finn's pixie hat

Alright, on to the goodness. As you can see, I took some time to knit Mr. Patootie McCutie his very own pixie hat, just in time for our trip out to California to visit my family. It was a knitting frenzy, I tell you - I decided the day before we left that he had to be wearing that hat, and none other, when he met his great grandparents for the first time. It's the Stella Pixie Hat, available for free on Ravelry. I used Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Mediumweight in Mossay. Instead of making the neck band a button closure, I modified the pattern by knitting 6 inches of four-stitch I-cord, increasing to the 10 stitches called for for the neck band, knitting an 11 inch neck band, then decreasing to four stitches once again for another 6 inch I-cord. I prefer a tie closure for Finn because it allows me to make the hat nice and snug under his chin.

finn's pixie hat

The pattern itself was quick and easy - a knitted rectangle. I quivered in my boots when I read that I had to use the kitchener stitch to seam it together. I'm bad at the kitchener stitch. For those of you who are like me, you must get over your fear and watch this video. I could read step-by-step instructions and diagrams until I pulled out all my hair, but what I needed was to watch someone actually do it in real time. The result was an invisible seam along the top center of the hat.

finn's pixie hat

I took far too many pictures of Finn in this hat. Indulge a shutter-happy Mama a little bit, will you? After all, it's been several weeks since you've seen his pinch-able cheeks around here!

finn's pixie hat