Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Breville Pie Maker

I'm not really the chef in these parts. I'm much more the baker. But when I saw this slick little piece of machinery for the kitchen, I was immediately struck with the benefits it would bring our family. Now, I'm not one to be all about the very specific kitchen equipment. I firmly believe that any kitchen item should have at least three good uses or be used for it's one purpose almost daily in order to be allowed admittance into our busy lives. Otherwise, I just don't have much use for it, you know?

However, this little machine just may be the answer to hours spent in the kitchen every Christmas Eve. At our house, we have a tradition of making fried pies - a recipe my grandmother developed - and that process can be very time consuming. This year, we have the luxury of this little machine. And let me tell you, we've already had success with some delicious salmon pot pies, ready in 16 minutes. My hubby the chef was extremely pleased. And everybody gets their own crust. I can't wait for my in-laws to arrive so we can do individual chicken pot pies. If the upside of having a timesaving device for the holidays is also to have a convenient way to serve up supper, I'm all for it. And all for just $80.00. Oh and family, if you're reading this, you'll need to get your own - ours is staying right where it is!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Xmas Gift Sewing (2)

My new sewing machine is getting a good initiating these days! I think I finally have the basics figured out, and this was a great, simple project to do just that.

I'm a headache sufferer, and there is nothing quite so comforting as my "happy eye pillow." I use it whenever a headache befalls me. It's essentially a silky beanbag, filled with buckwheat hulls and lavender. It smells lovely, darkens the room and puts just the right amount of pressure on my eyes. I love it.

So this Christmas, I decided to make a few of my own from Richard's old ties and some fabric scraps I had loitering about the studio. (If you are not as remiss in cleaning out your closets as we are, you could always scope out the local thrift stores for fun ties and pocket squares.) I found all the filling ingredients at my local, natural foods store - and they were all in the bulk aisle: read, nice and cheap. I estimate each Happy Eye Pillow cost me about $2.00. So not only do I have a green gift, but it was super cheap too! What could be better?

If you are looking for a pattern, check out Amanda Soule's book, Handmade Home. She recommends thrifting for vintage scarves for the outsides. I may just have to try that too!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Baby Blankie

I never had a baby blankie. My lovie was my teddy bear. But my sister had her blankie, and so did my son. And I just love a soft blankie for baby. I picked up some double sided printed fleece at the big-box store (there is SO much to choose from this time of year!) and some satin blanket binding, and voila! I have a new blankie to spread on the floor at play time for baby Jack.

It was so dog-gone easy, I am almost embarrassed to say I sewed it. So I'll tell you I put it together myself, and leave it at that. I'm certain there will be another. It's just too easy not to have extras!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Xmas Gift Sewing

Have I mentioned that knitting gifts this year is not going to happen? I believe I have. So while I still have the ability to sew, I thought I'd whip up a set of fleece mittens and a scarf for the guitar teacher. (Seriously, it's been a long time since I hung out with 20-something single musician guys. It was not easy to figure out what we might be able to give him this year.)

When I saw this fleece in the remnant rack at the local big-chain fabric store, I knew I was on to something. And then when I found the simplest pattern in the world for mittens (and it was free), it was a done deal. So for a whopping $7.00 we have a hand-made gift for the guitar teacher he might actually use. I love it when a plan is inspired.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Birdie Rattles

More baby sewing is afoot, even with the onset of the gift-giving season. I've been swooning over more of the patterns in Sweet Booties, as mentioned here, and decided that I just had to work on the Birdie Rattles next.

For this project I was able to used repurposed fabric (read clothing I can no longer wear for various reasons) and was delighted to find a color palette that seemed boyish. This, is the (very high tech) recycled material that created the interior rattle mechanism:

I have to admit, the sewing was a little more involved than the last couple projects I've done, but in the end, I think it was totally worth it. I even decided to use my snap setter to attach snaps at the ends instead of tying them as the book recommends - I think it'll be easier once I have a babe in one hand and a shopping cart in the other. Time will tell. And who doesn't love birds? I can't wait to try them out!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bootie Love

A sweet friend and sister loaned me the cutest book for baby sewing: Sweet Booties! And Blankets, Bonnets, Bibs & More. The projects are just irresistible. I decided to tackle these little newborn booties first, using some scraps from a flannel receiving blanket I made for a friend last fall.

It's so wonderful to be using the fabric in my stash for new baby stuff! And these are going to be so fun on a little pair of kicking feet this February.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recycled T-shirt Newborn Sleepers (2)

Remember this post from February? I'm still in love with these practical little sleepers. I've been on the prowl around here for more fun Ts to recycle. I think we're gonna have the hippest baby on the block (well, maybe the only baby, but let's not dwell on that). Here's what's been done lately:

(Curious George, front)
(and back; from men's large T)
(first sleeper, from a Men's XXL)
(second sleeper from same shirt - had to add arms from a different T; I think it looks like a baseball shirt.)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Little Something Extra

I finished the snaps on the shoulders of the hospital gown this week. I am thrilled with how easily the Kam Snaps pliers work! And since I had a good bit of material left from that project, I decided to make these adorable little pants.

Thanks to Made By Rae's blog, these were a cinch to whip up. These could not have possibly taken me more than 90 minutes to create. I'm sure there will be many more in the future for our little one.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Proof of Pregnancy (4)

It was bound to happen. It did the last time. At least this time I was ready for it. The inevitable swelling of my extremities has taken up residence for what I can only assume will be the remainder of my pregnancy (three months and counting). I've always been prone to swelling, but my body particularly takes issue with pregnancy it seems. My short little fingers feel like overstuffed sausages, and my feet refuse to fit in anything but my Birks (which I love, by the way). And the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is slowly creeping into my wrists. It makes knitting a little less enjoyable.

Happily, (thanks to my amazing yoga instructor) I've found a little something that helps: Coconut Water. It's packed with potassium and eleventy-million other nutrients that seem to keep the swelling at bay. I will admit, it's a bit difficult to choke down on its own. It comes from under-ripe coconuts and it tastes like it. But mixing it with a bit of OJ (ok, a lot of OJ) makes it palatable enough to drink and does wonders for the extremities. I've been able to find it at our local Trader Joe's, but I understand most health food stores carry it as well. We'll see how long it works, but for now, I can knit on (and sew, and bake, and...).

Friday, November 05, 2010

Maternity Sewing

I haven't been much into the sewing of maternity clothing. It seems like the pay-off is for such a small amount of time. I just can't get into it. But as I was browsing Etsy (a dangerous thing to do), I ran across some homemade hospital gowns and realized the wisdom of this. All the photos I have of me and Hayes in those first amazing days are of him swaddled in a hospital blanket and me in a ratty hospital gown. I'm hoping it'll be a bit different this time.

I found a terrific pattern over at Lazy Girl Designs. The pattern doesn't specify maternity, but making the larger gown will definitely be generous enough for me, and I would imagine most pregnant women. How do I know? I altered my dress form to give me an idea:

I found some fabric in my stash that won't be too see-though or readily show any dirt/spit up/etc. The pattern was extremely easy to follow and I love the result.

All I have left to do is set some snaps along the shoulders and I'll be ready to go! I have yet to get my snap setter and snaps, but I can't wait to finish this stylin' gown. And the best part is, I will be delighted to send it on to Grandmom so she can use it at the nursing home. (I'm sure I'll need to take it in just a bit before that!) Everybody wins.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Handmade Baby Gifts

I have been busily working away on a few gifts for a friend who is expecting a girl this month. And while I love, love, love being the mother of boys, I miss the sewing and knitting opportunities that girls offer. So I took the arrival of this little one as the opportunity I needed and here's what emerged:

Another capelet from Leigh Radford. I adore this pattern! And I love how easy the capelet is; no sleeves to contend with. The knitting is quick and the pattern is interesting. A perfect project as far as I'm concerned.

And then I whipped up these little beauties:

I always forget the before picture with a "refashion" - but at least this time you can see the T-shirt they were born from, and how I cut them out.

I've been holding on to this shirt for years waiting for just the right thing to use it for. These little baby britches were exactly what it needed for a second life! I just love it when a plan comes together.