Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Santa's Little Helper

Officially, the first clothing I have made for my baby is a Santa hat.

Aw. I apologize if I just made you vomit. Come on, it's cute, right?

Here's the pattern.

Cut four of these out of a red knit fabric. I used the cotton interlock from Joann Fabrics, that I had leftover from my Electra costume. What, you've never seen my Electra costume? Aw, it was the first thing I made, ever, on a sewing machine... it's a little terrible so I've never posted it. Also I kind of look fat in it. Anyway.

Where was I? Oh right. How to make a Santa hat.

  • Cut four pattern pieces, above, out of red stretchy fabric. Make sure the stretchy direction is going width wise.
  • Sew the pattern pieces together, right sides together, so that they form a cone. Use a zigzag stitch and a 1/4" seam allowance.
  • Cut a 18.5" x 2" rectangle out of the red fabric, and another out of some white faux fur (mine is left over from last years polar bear costume and was purchased at
  • Sew the two rectangles together, right sides together.
  • Finish the edge of the red fabric with a zigzag stitch.
  • Sew the fur side of the rectangle to the bottom of the red cone, right sides together.
  • On the inside of the hat, hand stitch the red fabric up inside the hat at the four corners.
  • To make the pom pom: Cut a circle out of the fur fabric, then hand stitch loosely around the outside of the circle. Stuff with scrap fabric and pull tight.
  • Hand sew the pom pom to the top of the hat.

    Mine came out a little too small, because Charlie has a massive head. You may need to adjust the hat for your own little Santa baby.

    Merry Christmas!

  • Monday, December 21, 2009

    Morning Glories, Again

    Did a quick painting for a Christmas present -- for a relative that does not read the blog, I think. I have no time to do studies, so I decided to revisit morning glories. This took me an hour. I think it looks better as a watercolor, don't you?

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009

    A Better Book Sling

    I wanted a book sling for my baby, who no, cannot read yet, but still... they are cool. I liked the size of this one, but all the reviews said the fabric was terrible. I ordered it, and yes, the fabric is indeed terrible. The picture hides it's terribleness well; it feels like it is made out of a disposable raincoat.

    However, that is easily fixed.



    I used a home decor fabric called "Square Knots," purchased at Joann on Black Friday. So easy. The sling is just a bunch of squares sewn together. Without a baby it would have taken an hour or two. With a baby... it took several days. So it goes!

    Monday, November 30, 2009

    Happy Turkey Day

    Went down to San Diego to visit Geoff's relatives for Thanksgiving. It was Charlie's first trip outside LA. He took it sleepily (hurray car seats). This is me, Charlie, and Geoff's grandmother. I'm modelling a contoured burp rag I made one day while Charlie was sleeping. It stays on the shoulder so much better than a square one.

    A quick project made with scraps. I've uploaded the pattern in case anyone is interested. It has to be printed borderless on 8.5x11 paper. If you can't print borderless, just extrapolate to the border.

    Meanwhile, Charlie is modelling a very cute outfit my grandmother bought him for the occasion. They were all out of 3 Month size, so she bought 9 Month and I altered it down. Note the zigzag stitch in the middle were I shortened it. I was so proud I figured out how to do that in time!

    Luckily his Christmas outfit fits as is. Okay, baby is fussing, see ya!

    Saturday, October 24, 2009

    He's Here

    Charles Errol
    Born October 17, 2009 at 11:33 pm
    9 pounds, 1 oz; 22 inches long

    Back to sleep now...

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Taggy Blankets and the Waiting Game

    I like this taggy blanket by Reanna Lily Designs, so I made one myself. I'm not a big quilter, so I used some old flannel sheets that I've been keeping for just such a project. C is for Charlie; we joke that his rapper name is C-Love.

    I had extra fabric, so I made a second one for Geoff's good friend Steve, who is having a son named Kai. Steve was Geoff's best man at our wedding, and completely randomly, is having a baby due three weeks after ours. Which means, you know, we'll have them at the same time.

    Yes, I'm very late. I have an induction scheduled for Sunday, and I'm trying to not be pissed about it. No one told me about this, but apparently no one in my family goes into labor before 43 weeks, and hardly even then. And I mean no one; not a single female on either side of the family goes at the medically recommended time. Good bye laboring at home, natural childbirth plan. I wish I'd known earlier so I would have been more mentally prepared.

    It's gone so long I'm running out of things to do. I made these blankets out of the rest of the flannel sheets. You can never have too many blankets!

    All complaining aside, by Monday I should have a baby!

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    It's Not Just Me

    I've gotten some great crafts from others for this baby.

    My friend Charlotte made this beautiful quilt. It's back with flannel, but very lightweight, appropriate for California.

    I love the graphic fabrics.

    My mother-in-law made this afghan out of scraps from another afghan she made us, that I have in the living room. I think this will be nice for me, for nursing at night.

    It's a nice soft pattern.

    Morgan of I Wish I Had a Penguin Friend made me these softies. She also made me a bee linocut, which you can see on her site.

    Look at these faces!

    Thanks everyone!

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    DIY Boppy Cover

    I found a free Boppy cover pattern courtesy of Vanilla Joy, and it was very easy. I used Joann Fabrics snuggle flannel, which is deliciously soft flannel that goes on sale frequently.

    The pattern isn't perfect -- I think it might be from before Boppy changed it shape to be more "generous" in the waist area, but it is close enough, and the directions are very easy. I would recommend that if you use this fabric also, and care about how perfect your Boppy slipcover is, that you stay stitch it before you get started, because it stretches quite a bit around the curves. I didn't, and I had to fix it in a few places.

    I didn't have a zipper, so I altered the pattern to use buttons. To do this, I rolled the hem of the back bottom piece, and I used front pattern pieces 1 and 2 instead of the shortened back top piece as the top, and also rolled that hem. Then I made loops out of my scraps and attached three buttons.

    Look! More cute fabric, and cute buttons too!

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009

    Easy Painting

    I had a baby shower on Saturday, hosted by my friend Vanessa. Vanessa is always complaining that she doesn't have enough art on her walls, so I wanted to make her something as a thank you gift.

    I got this gorgeous frame from my grandmother-in-law (she was throwing it away!) and I knew it would match her furniture, so I decided to use it. I also knew I wanted to do something with leaves, since their apartment is very green and natural.

    I was going to paint a leaf, or stencil a leaf, or use a leaf as a stamp, but I decided to just cheat and stick a pressed leaf directly to the canvas.

    I pressed leaves from outside our apartment building under a pile of cookbooks -- who says you don't need cookbooks any more? Can do this??

    I picked my favorite leaf from the pressings and painted it black-brown. Hard copies of newspapers are handy. Can do this??

    When the leaf dried, I mod-podged it to a canvas I had painted green with my new friend, the palette knife.

    I used heaps of Mod Podge, but it still dried clear.

    My little mixed media art project.

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    Not Too Sci Fi Mobile

    I made a mobile. It is not g33ky. I considered making a mobile that re-enacted the destruction of the Death Star, with a big sphere in the middle and little TIE Fighters and X Wings spinning around it... but my husband said, and I quote, "Let's give the kid a chance."

    So I made a simple mobile with stars. Which are spacey but not too much. It's made out of wooden dowels, wooden craft shapes, monofilament, hot glue, and acrylic paint. And that's a Totoro print in the background, because Totoro never hurt anybody.

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    Names and Recycling

    We are pretty sure his name is Charlie.

    Or Charles when he's a grown up. We like the name a lot except that it happens to be the name of a friend's cat. We are not naming him after the cat, we swear.

    I wanted to make something with his name on it. As much as I love those fancy wooden letters at the craft store, I'm trying not to spend too much money on crafts, so I wanted to use materials I already had. I turned to recycling.

    A cereal box (to make letters), a wine gift box I'd held on to since back when I could drink wine. The paper I printed my letter stencils on was also free, it's three hole punch "marigold" paper, and for some reason movie studios are always giving it away. I also used a drawer knob I've had in the tool box since forever, for what purpose I don't remember.

    The font for the letters is "marker felt" -- it has a nice hand written feel. I covered them with paper mache, for depth.

    The box expanded a little bit when I painted it, unfortunately, so I need to sand the edges down to get it to open and close smoothly, but once I do I think it will be a fun place to stash things.

    Friday, September 11, 2009


    "Hey, aren't you having a baby in like three weeks? Where is all the cool nursery stuff you should be feverishly making?"

    Sorry guys, I've been delinquent with the picture taking. Here's some nesting.

    I inherited this cool antique rocking chair from Geoff's grandmother, who rocked Geoff's dad in it when he was a baby. It was beautiful, but a bit uncomfortable (look at those skinny spindles!

    I bought some foam at Joann Fabrics, and used it to make a cushion form.

    I also bought some cute fabric. I love this excuse to buy cutesy fabric, guys. Upholstery fabric was on sale at Joann, so I splurged. It's expensive, but so sturdy. Look, bugs!

    I used the foam as a pattern to cut the fabric, adding a seam allowance. You could also use batting to stuff your cushions, but I wanted something firmer.

    You could use ribbon or string to make the ties, but I think fabric ties look much better. They are a bit of work. I cut six rectangles out of quilting fabric (the upholstery fabric was too heavy to turn easily), each one 20" x 1.25", and sewed them in half, using as tight a seam allowance as the feed dogs would allow.

    You need a loop turner to turn them into straps. It's tricky with the loop turner, but impossible without it.

    I turned again to my trusty buttonholer. I love that thing! I threaded the straps from the bottom cushion through buttonholes in the top cushion to attach them neatly.

    And that's it. As soon as I put the cushions on it, the cat claimed it for his own.

    He's too cute to move... I don't know what I'm going to do.

    Monday, August 17, 2009

    I Finally Finished This Painting

    I started this in January. I love the look of palette knife painting, big gobs of paint applied sloppily to a canvas, but I'd never tried it before. I bought this huge 30x40" canvas on sale after Christmas, and fully intended to paint it right away.

    Life intervened. I got as far as this wash.

    Since the canvas was really large, the best place to store it seemed to be to just hang it on the wall where I intended to put it. But life kept getting in the way, so this wash has been hanging on my wall for seven months. My husband and friends got used to the wash, sort of fell in love with the wash, and tried to convince me not to finish the painting. The nerve. But now I'm unemployed, so there.

    I bought a nice metal easel at Michaels with a coupon ($40 off!) and went to work. Before this I was using a display easel from Ikea which was not adequate to the vigorous nature of palette knife painting.

    Palette knives are so messy and raw, I love them.

    I also used a glaze for the first time. I wanted to mute the colors. The glaze is a little too glossy for me, but I love how it pulls everything together. I also love the big gobs of paint.

    I got the frame from Ebay. I did not realize when I bought a giant 30x40" canvas that you cannot buy prefab 30x40" frames, and I did not want to spend hundreds of dollars getting this piece custom framed.

    I discovered that frame shops sell unclaimed frames on Ebay for excellent prices, although shipping for this was very expensive, it was still cheaper than custom framing. I attached the canvas to the frame using pipe clamps -- forty cents each at Osh -- and hung it with some simple picture wire.

    Here it is hanging on my wall:

    Ah... it's done.

    Thursday, August 13, 2009

    Short Box Lids into Bulletin Board

    Here is a craft that is secretly g33ky. What is geeky about a bulletin board you ask? Apart from being organized and stuff, this board has secret geek parts.

    Inspired by this popular Martha craft, I wanted to make a bulletin board, but I didn't want to track down "Homasote," whatever that is. Instead, I used the lids of comic book short boxes.

    Geoff and I have... a lot of comic books. It's a little sad. Short boxes are the traditional storage for comic books, but since we have so many of them, I buy "short box houses" which are sturdy cardboard sleeves for the short boxes that turn them into handy drawers. This leaves me with a lot of extra box lids.


    I cut the sides off the lids, and sewed together some scraps to cover my box lids -- I didn't have a scrap I liked that was big enough, and I like the pieced look.

    I stapled the fabric to the short box lids (I used 3 lids to make it thick enough). My stapling is not as neat as Martha's, that's OK as long as it is nice and tight.

    I bought this weird... whatever, at a thrift store for $2, to use for a frame. Poor sampler thingy, you have been rejected twice.

    Here it is empty, a state it will never be in again. The fabric is "charmingly" crooked, but that's OK with me because it will always look chaotic.

    You may not have a whole bunch of short box lids lying around, but any thick cardboard will do.