Monday, December 05, 2011

Handmade Holiday Madness

We're still alive - just buried under the millions of projects and gifts I'm trying to finish for Christmas. Most of which I can't share here until they are gifted! I've got a few household projects that I can share, I just need to take pictures of them. But for now, Ben's Christmas vest. It is adorable. I am convinced that there is nothing cuter than little boys in knitted vests. I'm very glad this pattern goes up to a size 6! :)
Ben's Christmas Vest

Also, in the spirit of handmade, a question. If you are making handmade gifts for your family and friends, do you also feel compelled to also buy them something? So often I am stuck thinking that what I made isn't 'enough.' Thoughts?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shop Handmade for the Holidays

This holiday season I encourage you to support small businesses and buy handmade whenever you can!

I am offering free shipping in my etsy store until Monday evening. Mommysew I love making custom orders, so please do not hesitate to contact me!

Some of my other favorite etsy sellers are:
Pegged (Seriously how cute are some of these dolls?)
Loopsies (I have dreams of a quilt or something with all of these embroideries)
Hip to Piece Squares
Wee Little Stitches
Sarah Jane Studios
Kaya's Kloset (I have several pairs of her shoes for my kiddos)
LucyJane Studios (I LOVE this bag!)

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

3 little turkeys!
From our three little turkeys!

Turkey shirt idea found via pinterest - original link is here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A little cross-stitch

Many many moons ago counted cross-stitch was my craft. I made many items for myself and my family. We have cross-stitched ornaments, framed pictures, bookmarks, etc. I love the preciseness of cross-stitch. The way each x has a certain color, a certain place. It it very meditative for me. And super easy, assuming you can count! I'll try to dig up some older things to photograph sometime, but today I have three mini stitches to share.

forest friends cross stitch

I used this awesome pattern to make a decoration for the babies' room. (I have a woodland animal theme - I'll share more pictures soon!). They were little, cute, quick and very satisfying. I actually made the owl twice - once for us and once for my niece's new room.

I'm very tempted to make her tesselations pattern for my math loving husband sometime, but I do have some cross-stitch birth announcements to finish for my kiddos first.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Farm animal puppets

For Samantha's gift this year I wanted to make something that went along with the farm theme. I'm not sure how I found these through my googling, but they turned out to be exactly what I wanted!
farm animal puppets

I used a tutorial from here. It was great! A good bit of cutting and organizing all the pieces, but well worth it. I printed each page, and cut out all the pieces. Then I got 10 ziplocs, and divided the pieces for each animal into them. I also used one ziploc for pieces shared by more than one animal.

Pig, dog, cat puppets

Then I gathered my felt, and got busy pinning and cutting. I put all the pieces back into their baggie as I cut them out. When I was ready to sew I gathered all the pieces that would need to be sewn with a particular color thread, and sewed them on. Then I went to the next color. This helped me to not have to change my thread and bobbin a million times.

horse, sheep, cow puppets

They were really easy to assemble with my baggie method. And I think they turned out pretty cute. Samantha doesn't seem very into them right now, but she usually picks things up weeks later and they become her new favorite thing, so my fingers are crossed!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Samantha's Farm Party

Way back in September Samantha turned three. Now, most of you who know me know I love a good theme. I decided that we would do a farm theme for her birthday this year. She LOVES animals, so i knew she would approve.
Birthday Girl
I started with her outfit. I had purchased some adorable fabric with cows, horses, sheep, etc. on it at JoAnn's. I made a simple skirt, and appliqued a barn shape onto her shirt. Her headband matches as well.
For the invitations I used a diecut shape of a barn I had purchased many many years ago to use in a scrapbook (oh yeah, I used to do that too). If you can't find a die cut you could print out a barn shape.  I traced around it onto red cardstock and cut them out. I made doors that opened and glued the invitation details into the opening. I don't have a picture of this, but it's pretty self explanatory. 

Several years ago I found some Martha Stewart Craft Kits at Big Lots for $2.99. I put them away for when Samantha was older. A few days before the party I remembered them, and thought some were for farm animals. Sure enough. These balloon animals were one of the kits. We had a good time putting them together and playing with them after the party.
We also played pin the tail on the cow (cow drawing by hubby), which some kids enjoyed and some did not (they didn't want to be blindfolded).
Hubby made a barn cake.
And farm animal cupcakes (cow, pig, sheep). 

We served pigs in a blanket, 'hay' (potato sticks), watermelon, beans, and potato salad. The kids got to drink milk out of bottles. 
(Idea and sticker image from here).
We made farm animal cookies for favors (why my husband took this picture when the cookies were already in the baggies is beyond me). We had cows, sheep, ducks, horses and pigs.

We gave the kids crayon rolls (more on them later) and farm animal coloring books I made by printing coloring pages of different farm animals and copying them and making them into little books.

For a craft, I printed a large barn image and cut it out of red cardstock. I found farm animal foam stickers at Michaels and the kids made their own barns to take home (alas, no picture of this either!). They were really cute. 

And that's it! More on what I made Samantha for her birthday this year to come!

Now to start planning next year's party.....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Poor little blog

I mean to spend more time with you. I really do. I want to have a conversation with the outside world that doesn't always consist of me describing the day's dirty diapers, or non-napping children, or the mud the dogs dragged in, or my perpetually full-of-dirty-dishes sink. Bless his heart, my husband doesn't so much care about how the knitting is going, or how the tension problems I have with my sewing machine make me want to chuck it across the room. (He is sympathetic to my problem of my missing quilt squares though. 30 of them! Where did they go? I know they were in the sewing room the last time I saw them. I have torn the room apart. I can't find them. I did, however, find hubby's anniversary socks - the two pathetic ones that got finished - which I had lost on our actual anniversary - another story I haven't told you.)
I'm having a difficult time with balance these days. I'm trying to do to much (as always). I want to make one million christmas gifts. I want to make things for my etsy store (but it would be nice if things would sell), I want to play with my kids. I want to have a clean house. I want an hour to go to the store by myself without feeling like I am neglecting my kids and not spending time with my husband. I want to sit down and read a book without feeling guilty for the things I am not doing. I have a hard time sitting still. But I have an even harder time 'doing it all.' I keep feeling like I should have all this extra time to do things since I am staying home from work this year, but somehow the days go even faster, and I get less done. How did I do it when I worked full time (I did have two less children then)?
Forgive my abandonment of the blogging month thing. I felt like I was just writing to do it, to check something off my list. And that's not how I want to approach the blog. I do have a huge list of things I want to talk about. But I really want the time to write an actual post, not just throw some pictures up and call it done.
OK. My children are napping at the same time (alert the media!) and this is sure to not last long. Perhaps I can go to the bathroom alone? What luxury.....

Friday, November 04, 2011

My go-to baby gift

I never had any good burp cloths when Samantha was born. I used some of the Gerber birdseye cloths, but they were not very absorbent, and I never really liked them. Sometime after she was past the point of needing burp cloths, I saw something on the internet where someone had taken fabric and sewn it to a cloth diaper. Genius! I really enjoy making these for baby gifts -they are quick and super cute. I used a ton of burp cloths on a daily basis with the twins for all sorts of things, and it was nice to have plenty on hand. I'm sure there are tons of tutorials out there, but I'll quickly share how I made mine.
burb cloths
Materials: Gerber prefold cloth diapers
Ribbons, if desired
burb cloths

Prewash diapers and fabric. The diapers shrink a bit with washing.
Forest animal burpcloths
Cut as many strips of fabric as desired (one for each diaper/burp cloth). I cut mine to 5" x 18". Press and iron fabric over 1/4" on the long sides. Sew one long side of fabric just to the outside of the center panel of the diaper. Tuck the end of the fabric under and sew down. Repeat on the other two sides. If you would like to add ribbon, cut ribbon to the length of the long side of the diaper and sew down overlapping the edge of the fabric. Voila!
Baby Girl Burp Cloths
Baby Boy burp cloths
Daisy burpcloths
Stripey burpcloths

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Embroider Me

My hand is still really bothering me, and typing hurts, so a quickie tonight. Way back in 2009 I embroidered dish towels for my brother and sister-in-law. At the time she was a vegetarian and he wasn't. I thought I was so clever with my his and her dish cloths. But now they are both vegetarians, so who knows what happened to the meat towel? :)
"meat" dishcloth
"veggies" dishcloth
(Patterns by Sublime Stitching)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Hat Design

A few years ago my sister saw an old knitted Purdue hat on ebay. She asked if I could recreate it for her and her husband (both Purdue alumni). I figured it couldn't be too hard, so I 'created' a pattern based on the photo of the hat (and I deleted the email with the picture a long time ago - sorry).

I made a chart of the letters on graph paper, and got started knitting. Emily specifically requested huge pompons.
Purdue 2
Purdue 1

Then a little baby came along and needed his own Purdue hat. This one did not go as well. I had kept the chart, so that wasn't an issue. The problem was with my pregnancy brain (although I didn't know I was pregnant yet, just thought I had a big case of the stupids). I started out fine, and about half-way through the chart, realized that I was knitting the letters upside down (I had forgotten to flip the chart). So I ripped and restarted. But a few rows in I realized that instead of flipping the chart I had decided to knit it backward (What???). Ripped again. Third time was the charm.
Hunter's Purdue Hat

His looks a bit different as I wasn't sure I had enough of the yellow to make the band yellow.

Without the pregnancy brain this was an easy project!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Yeah, so November is apparently a 'host' to lots of themed months. NaNoWriMo (write a novel in a month), NaKniSweMo (knit a sweater in a month), Movember (grow a 'stache to support prostate cancer awareness), and NaBloPoMo (post to your blog every day, all month). I'm not up for a novel, have too many sweaters to finish to start a new one, and don't think my hubby would like it if I grew a 'stache. So blog posting it is. I need to kick myself back into this, so I'm going to do my darndest to keep up! I have a ton of things to blog about. Now if my children will nap so I can write blog posts.... :)

Friday, October 07, 2011

Gearing up for KCWC

This is my first year to participate in the Kid's Clothing Week Challenge. I am planning lots of pairs of pants for Ben using Anna Maria Horner's adorable Quick Change Trousers from her book Handmade Beginnings. (Cute examples are herehere, and here.) How many pants is too many? I may have fabric cut for 6 pairs. Which is 12 if I reverse them. Ahem.
I am planning several skirts for the girls using Dana's excellent and easy tutorial. I think some skirts with cute leggings will be their fall/winter wardrobe.
I haven't done a lot of clothing sewing. I have made myself some skirts in the past, and I make jammies for the kids every year for Christmas. I used various patterns for these. In 2008 Samantha's bottoms came from Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones, and ran small. (I could barely get them over her bottom, and they were too short.) Taylor's came from In Stitches and they ran ENORMOUS.

xmas pjs 2008
In 2009 and 2010 both girls came from Weekend Sewing. They are still large, but not ridiculous. I'm pretty sure Samantha can still wear both pairs, though they might be a little short. 
2009 xmas jammies

xmas jammies 2010

I've also made Samantha a birthday outfit for each year. In 2009 her dress came from a Simplicity pattern (that I don't know the number to). It was huge. And the diaper cover would almost fit an adult. 
ladybug dress

In 2010 I used another pattern from Weekend Sewing. I had originally tried to use this pattern in 2009, but I could not get the elastic thread to cooperate. I finally was victorious and the result was adorable. 
Birthday dress 2010

I hope to use this pattern again. I know that an adult size version of this pattern is somewhere in my downloads folder, so maybe someday I'll have one too!

This year we went with a simple skirt and an appliqued shirt to match. 
3rd birthday outfit

I also made her a special 'first day of school' skirt.
first day of school outfit

I'm looking forward to making more clothes for the kids. It's such a great feeling to know that you are keeping them warm! I recently purchased Growing Up Sew Liberated, which has some adorable clothes in it, and Little Things to Sew. I'd like to get Sewing for Boys too at some point. 

I have some more fall/winter clothes planned, but pants and skirts first!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Pity Party, table of one?

So all that dratted knitting only on socks seems to have flared some carpal tunnel symptoms in my wrist. No more knitting for a few days. It's hard enough to diaper children and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So I won't have any more socks done for Kent's gift. Oh, and I miscounted and I only have two finished socks. So he'll get two finished socks, two half finished socks and 3 balls of yarn. Great gift, eh?
I should probably not be posting either, as typing aggravates my wrist. Instead, go here and look at the pretty things I have for sale.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Baby Toys

One of the things I've enjoyed most in the knitting community is the Knitted Toys groups I've had the pleasure of starting and moderating here on blogger, on flickr and on ravelry. The ravelry group has grown so large that after three kids I had to bring on additional moderators who can better keep an eye on it. I never thought that so many people would want to knit toys and talk about it!

Knit tools
I've knit a few toys in the past few years. One of my all time favorites was the knitted tools set, from Vicki Howell's book New Knits on the Block (which I initially found very cheesy and impractical. Until I had kids. Kudos to Vicki - I know I will be making many things out of this book over the next several years!) I made these tools for my 'nephew' (Kent's cousin's son), for his first birthday. Kent even got in on the action and added a handmade personalized toolbox to complete the set. I hope we make many more of these in the future for the boys in our families! The tools knit up quickly and turned out pretty cute.

Joey Ramone
Also back in 2009, I had a special friend's daughter turn two. This family likes much of the same things we do, and dad (my coworker and friend) is very big into music (his son's first name is our son's middle name - named after a Texas singer/songwriter - great minds and all, right?). So I knew I had to pull out the big guns for her gift. Enter knitted Joey Ramone. Now, this is not a gift all parents can love, but I knew this would be the family that did. He turned out pretty cute for a punk rocker.

Ladybug front
Samantha's first birthday had a ladybug theme (love me a good theme), so I had to make her the adorable ladybug doll from Twist Collective. She didn't care for it much at first, but it is currently residing in my mending basket, because it is little too loved now (and has the missing wing to show for it!). I recall the pattern being a little fiddly, but well worth it!

Fiesta Tea Set
Last year I finally knit one of the patterns that had been on my 'must-knit' list since I got pregnant - the Fiesta Tea Set. I love it, though it is not very sturdy. I did starch the pieces, and that helped some, but the cups don't sit up very well. Perhaps some more regular starching is in order. This is a great toy for kiddos who are too young to have 'real' dishes in their play kitchen.

For Christmas that year I knit the Hippo from Susan B. Anderson's Itty Bitty Toys book. Gah! The cute! I want to knit everything in this book! Hippo is also well loved, and has double ear replacement surgery and tail reconstruction. This is why we save leftover yarn people!  He was super easy and quick to knit. A great use of sock yarn for those who don't knit socks.

Finally, I knit this tiny owl (also by Susan B. Anderson - from last winter's Knit Simple (I think) for my brother's new baby girl this spring. Super quick, and I hope to make one for Ellie sometime soon.

I have a few other toys in the works and a few more to show on the blog. More soon!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Long ago FOs

I have quite a backlog of projects to blog about, what with the year and a half absence, plus the fact that I somehow didn’t post anything I’ve finished since, um, 2008. I won’t bore you with every. little. thing. - if you are really interested you can check things out on ravelry or flickr. But I’ll try to hit the highlights, starting with 2009. 

For Easter that year I knit her a little yellow cardigan. It is the Eyelet Ribbed Baby Cardigan  - a free pattern from Crystal Palace Yarns. I remember having a little confusion with the pattern - I thought it had the right side and wrong side reversed, but I couldn't tell from the photos. I also think either the fronts or the back was too short compared to the other side? I know I added length somewhere. I only had two balls of yarn, and even though I ordered a third, it didn't arrive in time. But it worked out great - it was a little cool that day, but not cold. And the sweet yellow echoed the yellow bits in her dress. 
Easter Cardigan

Way back in 2009 I knit the Tulips sweater for Samantha. I used up a bunch of Knitpicks Merino Style that I have no idea why I ordered. It took much longer than it should have, but I was probably working on 10 things at once. I modified the distance between color changes and the number, based on the amount of yarn I had. I also didn’t do the i-cord edging around the bottom, because I thought I would run out of yarn. It turned out really cute! She didn’t get to wear it much, because she outgrew it before it got too cold, but she did wear it around Portland when we went to Sock Summit. And hopefully, Ellie (one of our new sweeties) will wear it sometime. 
tulips baby cardigan
I also made Samantha a cotton sundress that spring/summer. I used a pattern by Zoe Mellor and some leftover Rowan Cotton Glace that I had left after I made my striped vest. I did end up having to buy another ball of brown, but it was worth it. It turned out pretty short for Samantha, but it’s a baby dress, so length is not super important. I also made the mistake of not going down a needle size for the seed stitch edgings around the armholes, and that is not a mistake I will make again! But again, baby dress. Most folks won’t notice. One additional issue I had with the pattern, (besides the length) was the length of the straps at the shoulders. They should be lengthened - the dress would fit better and for longer. I worry that it rides up along the back neck because they are so short.  But Ellie is wearing it now, so win!

That winter I knit her a pink cardigan out of a Nashua pattern book (Bloom) with some Cascade 220. It turned out pretty cute and I added adorable silver elephant buttons! I knit the whole sweater while we were on vacation - it was super quick and the yoke pattern was very easy to memorize. She wore this one a lot - it’s not quite the same shade of pink anymore, but very well-loved. 
Pink Elephant Sweater
For Halloween that year she was a cow. I used a pattern out of Wacky Baby Knits for her costume. This was a great project because I had the yarn in stash and it turned out really cute! I had made a cow hat for her when I was pregnant, and it still fit. One major modification I made was to eliminate the button band along the inner thigh. She was only going to wear it for a few hours, so it was easier to take it off to change her diaper. And even then, it wasn’t a big deal. Buttonbands can be such a pain that I am sure it was not worth it in this case! This was one of the few intarsia projects I’ve done, and by far the largest, and I was surprised at how easy it was! Don’t get me wrong, I won’t start churning out intarsia-ed everything, but it was much less stressful than I thought it would be. 
cow front

And, in keeping with tradition, I knit her Christmas dress. I used the Little Sister’s Dress pattern and some stashed solid red Lorna’s Laces. I added sweet little Mary Englebreit buttons on the yoke. It was adorable, and I cannot wait until Ellie is big enough to wear it! The only mod I made was to use two buttons instead of three, and to use a piece of yarn for the button loop, when I think it called for a crochet chain (but it has been 1.5 years since I knit it, and I have been pregnant and given birth, two things that screw with my memory). 
xmas dress 2009
Naptime is over, and someone is calling me. More soon!

Friday, September 30, 2011

This post has no coherency, and I can't think of a good title.

I'm starting to think that the universe is conspiring against me posting regularly. It seems  that as soon as I sit down to write, my kids need something/wake up from their nap. And when I do actually write a post, blogger won't upload the pictures for it! Gah! So here goes nothing - I'll write this and we'll see if the pictures will load. If not, it will join the recent pictureless posts, and feel right at home! :)
I am trying to post some of the fairly large backlog of finished items and general excitement, but since those posts are saved in draft without pictures, let's talk about the kids, eh?

Samantha just turned three, which seems impossible. She started school for the first time this year and loves it, though cried when I left her today, for the first time. Three has been a slightly less than delightful age so far - some attitude and general grunting and sighing when she doesn't get her way. And then there's the crybaby days, when she cries if I can't get something for her the second she asks, or the puzzle piece doesn't fit the first way she tries it. I'm hoping this is a quick phase!

The babies were five months old yesterday. I cannot believe how fast it is going. The speed seems multiplied because there are two of them, and because I have older siblings to deal with. It's hard when I feel like I barely get to spend any time with both of them, and they almost never get mom to themselves, unless they are nursing. But they are big, and adorable and giggle and roll over, and try to get toys, and are so much fun at this age. I would like them to stay about this age for a while as I am not looking forward to getting even less done as they become mobile and must be contained/chased all over the house.
B&E at three months old. 

I doesn't seem like fall will ever come here in Texas. I'm longing to wear jeans every day, and sleep with the windows open, and play outside without sweating. But, even thought it was 100 yesterday, I am planning some fall wardrobe items for the kiddos. Skirts for the girls, and pants for Ben. I'm also planning to embroider some onesies/shirts for everyone too.          

I'm also crazily knitting socks for my husband. Our 7th anniversary is rapidly approaching (in 10 days), and since the traditional 7th anniversary gift is wool, well, you can see where the socks come in. I planned 7 pairs of socks, and I didn't let myself start until after our 6th anniversary (for some reason that felt like cheating). And then about 3 weeks later we found out we were having twins, and my knitting output sharply declined. Add in all the Christmas/birthday/baby gifts for others in our family, and then all the baby knitting and sewing/quilting for our babies, and then the actual arrival and care of our babies, and, well, I'm not going to make it. I still hope to have one of each pair of socks done, but that means that I have to knit two whole and two half socks to make the deadline. Ha.

One thing this sock project has done was to remind me of how much I enjoy knitting simple socks. Round and round, no thought until you need to measure every so often. They are perfect for knitting while playing games with toddlers, sitting outside after school while the children burn off energy, watching playoff baseball, even in the movies, when you get to have that one date with your honey (thanks mom!). I think I'll be able to complete his pairs throughout the winter as we slow down and spend more time relaxing as a family.

Three cute kiddos

I also have several baby sweaters that are in various stages of completion, and if it ever cools off, my children will need them, as we don't have much use for heavy winter coats down here, but a wool sweater is mighty handy. I've barely started Samantha's and since it's the biggest, I best get moving. I've also got sweaters on the needles for my niece and nephew, and since they live in Colorado where it will be cold soon, I need to get those finished. But nothing gets worked on until I get as much done on those socks as I can by next Sunday. Speaking of those socks, I should go work on them for a few minutes until it is school pickup time, since the littles are napping.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


It's been awhile. I have tons of excuses for not blogging, but it really comes down my lack of motivation. With ravelry and flickr, I found myself just posting there, so I still had my visual record of finished items. However, I was bad about remembering when I had started, if I had frogged/swatched, etc. That was the upside to the blog.
And I started sewing again, and felt unsure as to whether or not that had a place on my 'knitting' blog.
And work was crazy.
And I had a toddler.
And, and, and....

And then I got pregnant again. And, surprise, surprise, it was a little more than we had bargained for.....two babies!!! And I was exhausted. And then I was making millions of tiny things for my babies and the babies of my friends and family. And then the babies came. And I was exhausted.

But I'm staying home from school this year to be with the kiddos. And some days, I get tired of talking to myself. So I'm going to talk to whomever is still out there. And some days it will be about knitting. And some days it will be about sewing. And some days it will be about my kids. And who knows what else.

Is there anybody out there?