A week in review, June 23 to 29

A fun week. A full week. I hope not every week is this busy.

We built a fort from ‘craft sticks’. Yes, Little Man wielded the glue for most of the building.





Towards the end, I just let him build it himself. It has a very creative design, I must say.

The fort.

The fort.

He decided at one point that he didn’t have enough blocks.

Look at what I built!

Look at what I built!

We tried some ‘giant bubble solution’. It might be because I wasn’t using actual blue Dawn, but they most all popped as soon as they came off the bubble blowing device. The string-straw device didn’t work all that great, though perhaps my straws were wimpier than the ones another blogger used.

string and straw bubble blowing

string and straw bubble blowing

The PVC pipe made the best bubbles and was easiest to use. I knew I was keeping that short bit around for some reason!

PVC pipe bubble blowing

PVC pipe bubble blowing

Standing on ones hands has become a key skill to be developed in our house these days.

I LOVE standing on my hands!

I LOVE standing on my hands!

I finally got *both* of my sewing machines in for repairs. Though while checking them in at the store, I found that one machine didn’t have a pressure foot. So, back the next day we went to drop off the pressure foot. We had some time, so we stayed to look. I was totally eyeing up a serger and the gal offered to demonstrate it for me. Little Man wasn’t being the most cooperative, so she said to an early-teens-or-so gal to go get the box of toys. Then the gal sat down and played with Little Man while her mom, turns out, demonstrated the use of the serger. When the gal got bored, her brother stepped in and he and Little Man built trucks, trains and buildings from duplos. And I got to see a new serger in action. If you are in Waco, and are in need of sewing machine service or are wanting to buy a machine, go to the Bernina store on Waco Drive. I was very impressed with their service.

I ended up tossing the water bottle. I found a crack along the bottom, which sealed its fate. :::sigh:::

Home keeping strategies: Flylady

I often spend time thinking about how I spend my time. I want to be quite intentional about my time use. And, occasionally, I think about how a woman of ages past might have gotten it all done. She didn’t have all the electronic gadgets I’ve got, like the washing machine and dryer, that save a great deal of time and effort. Add in electric lights and the internet, and I have both distractions and helps in way that she likely never even imagined.

And so I have pondered how life would be different if had to spend a whole day actually doing laundry. And grow *all* our fresh veggies. And sew *all* our clothes. I’m quite thankful I don’t have to do these things!
It has also gotten me thinking about how its likely any woman of earlier times worked on a seasonal basis. Spring and Summer were spend primarily in the garden, perhaps and sewing, knitting and the like focused on during those times when being outside wasn’t reasonable.
Of course, I’ve also given it thought about how my life should run. I realized that July, August and September are the times of the year that one *does not* want to be outside, but the rest of the year is fairly reasonable (except the occasional cold spell in January, February or March). With the right veggies, I could garden from late September to June. From late March to June and then late September to December are the garden intense months.
Feeding the family, obviously, can’t be done seasonally. Though perhaps I could plan to do the cooking heavy tasks at certain times. E.g. defrost the freezer, make freezer meals. Hmmmm…. lots of thoughts.
Sewing could be focused during those times when I just don’t want to go out, like July to September and January.
All of these thoughts lead to a project I have in mind. I am a connoisseur of home management/scheduling/organizing methods and I thought to go through all the various methods I’ve tried and what I thought of them.
First up… flylady.net!
I love flylady. Really. Even though I don’t currently use her system. I found flylady years and years ago, and thought “ugh, website too busy. not going to bother.” Then, only a few years ago, I found her again. Mom had died about 9 months before and I was ready to find help in the home management area (as in other than Mom). And I found flylady.
At the time, I needed flylady. When you sign up for her emails, you will get a lot. Most are reminders, many are testimonials, some are Marla’s own musings on life, the universe and everything. (well, not everything. or the universe. just life.) Her book, Sink Reflections, is basically a remedial study on organizing life. She makes no assumptions that you even know how to use a calendar. She preaches “Baby Steps” which is so important when trying to make changes.
After a time, I stopped getting the emails. Then I got them again. Then I got the daily digest. Now, I don’t get them any more. But my needs have changed.
Her instructions for creating a home management journal are great and I still use her format as the basis for the notebooks I put together. I am exploring a few new options, but they are all variations on a theme, really. I use her method for creating travel journals and any other I-need-to-keep-track-of-all-these-papers situations.
Flylady gave me the foundation of routines. Morning routine, evening/bedtime routine and afternoon routine. I see routines preached just about every where today, and I suspect that they have been the basic foundation of home keeping for a very long time. But some how I missed out on the idea of routines… until flylady.
I didn’t like get so many emails. At the time I was getting her emails (2007 through early 2010) there wasn’t really a way to get just the reminders and not the other emails (like testimonials and general life reflections). I needed those reminders. But I’m not good about just deleting an email I don’t need to read, so I spent a lot of time sorting through flylady emails. I suspect some of the logistics have changed… the internet has changed a fair bit. Blogs are a bigger deal now than in 2007. And flylady has been doing her thing since 1999; the internet has changed A LOT since 1999.
By 2010, I found I didn’t need the reminders. I was on my feet home keeping wise and I was ready to branch out.
She’s solid, she’s consistent. Flylady is a great place to start. And I LOVE the calendar. I still buy the calendar each year.

Writing Inspiration — goals and excuses

I have felt a complete lack of inspiration when it comes to blog writing lately. Please note that its been nearly 2 full weeks since I last put up a post. I’m sure I’ve had witty thoughts, inspiriting words to write and interesting articles, but none have lasted long enough to make it into the post editor. Maybe that’s  my problem? Maybe I should be writing the posts in evernote.

Anyhoo, one day this last week, I found I had the best excuse ever for the complete lack of inspiration and energy. I’m pregnant!

Yes, let me holler that a bit louder and more clearly. I’M PREGNANT!!!!!

And the timing is just about perfect as far is it being an excuse for not blogging. God’s timing is perfect in other ways, too, though I doubt He intended to give me an excuse for not blogging over that two week period.

I should still have some goals for May, right? After all, there are birthdays this month that require some sort of gift like object (little boy and a nephew), one of the languishing baby blankets is for a friend who’s hubby got a job (yea!) and is moving this summer (boo!), and June is quite out for getting much other than survival done. I’ve worked out to teach some swimming lessons that month — though that gets one goal done, “swimming lessons for little boy”.

Of course, I also need to be sure and tell the story of our journey to grow our family. And post #500 is quickly approaching and there is the sense that it should be some deep/insightful/exciting kind of post. We’ll see.

As for April goals, I did okay.

  1. Write Hubby a love note (though it was by email, that still counts, yes?)
  2. Work on morning devotion habit (a bit of Bible study, a bit of prayer)
  3. Finish the 2 very late baby blankets (since both babies are born!)
  4. Read 2 new books.
  5. Keep up the blog habit (2x a week!)
  6. Work on being intentional with my time.

Yeah, I think I did okay. In fact, I read way more than 2 new books as I jumped for the ‘ultimate homemaking e-book bundle’ last week. 97 e-books. I’ve made it though a slew of those books, though some I stopped reading after a  page or two when I figured out I wasn’t so interested in that book. (note to self: I should review these books as I read them)

May goals…

May will be about maintenance. Maintain habits, maintain house, that sort of thing. And I’ll dabble… in sewing, reading books. And I’ll aim to post about them along the way.

I love the idea of making goals and working towards them, but that seems to be what is first to go when my energy lags or life gets busy. I must remember to make the goals work for me, not be a slave to them.

And Happy Mother’s Day! I got a great mother’s day gift this year…. a positive pregnancy test. 😛 Any other fun gifts?


Goals, Goals, Goals

January has left us and February is here. Winter? What’s that? We really haven’t had much of one so far, though our severe weather does tend to hit in February and March.

So, how did I do in January? Not too bad, if I can say so honestly. The original Jan goals post is here. And here they are, marked appropriately for completeness.

1. Write Hubby a love note.

2. sew a schoolhouse tunic for me.

3. make 2 blankets for the gift stash. (both of which are likely to be given away this month, too!)

4. blog 10 times. (this is the second time in January)

5. make  morning and bedtime routines habits (getting easier each day)

6. finish Doctor D’s pants (2 down, 1 to go)

5. establish a reward system for my own chore chart.  I made chocolate pudding for myself since I checked off a majority of the boxes on my chore chart. Yeah, I know… I was pretty easy on myself.

I picked up a project for a company I work for (its a kinda new thing for me) that was a bigger project than I’ve ever done before, and life got quite busy for a bit. Like the last 2 weeks of January. Things are a bit more normal now, though I’m finding that doing these projects is going to require a new normal. That doesn’t surprise me though.

As for the tunic… well, I made it, but haven’t quite finished the hems. See, its a bit too big….

school house tunic

I’m telling Doctor Destructo to not mess with the tripod. Yep, got to use the tripod today!

This is it. Worn over 2 tee-shirts and a sweater. It might make a nice maternity top, should that blessing come along again. But I think I’ll finish the hems and put it away. I was thinking about taking it apart and adjusting the size to fit better, but decided against that, it just feels like too much right now. I do want to figure out how to adjust clothing and patterns to fit better.

I didn’t get any blankets made. Argh, I’m so behind on baby gifts.

I’m thinking about February now. I figure I need to consider that February is a shorter month, so keep goals reasonable. I also want to keep working on habits that promote discipline. I’ve started getting up earlier, and I’m participating in the Hello Mornings Challenge, and those morning and evening routines sure help the day get started well. So, with all that in mind…

February Goals

1. Write Hubby a love note.

2. Finish reading “Sheet Music” (by Kevin Leman, I started it a year or two ago. Yeah, I do that with books!)

3. Get caught up on baby gifts (blankets) and make 1 more gift for the stash.

4. Blog 10 times in February.

5. Keep up with morning and bedtime routines.

6. Get up at 6 am on weekday mornings. (which means getting to bed before 10 pm!)

7. Sew a simple skirt for myself. or somesuch simple, simple no more than 4 seams to sew. Maybe fleece pants.

Anybody else have goals they can talk about? I really do enjoy reading about them! Post a link in the comment if you’ve got something. Or just leave a comment with what you are working on.

And now, I’m off to lounge this Saturday morning.

I have not fallen off the face of the earth

I promise.

I have stayed very busy, though. Not like exceptional busy, just the general busy of always having something to do. Between general house keeping, Peanut, kittens, and maintaining sanity, my days are filled.

Highlights of the past week–

Peanut got a haircut.



He looks like a boy, again! Yea! (Yes, I have ideas like ‘boys have short hair’.)

Kittens get everywhere. Phobos was going after some discarded dinner leftovers. She is the loudest kitty I’ve ever had, and begs, begs, begs.

The kittens love milk…

And go into quite the frenzy if the fridge door is opened. They love muffin, corn, spaghetti noodles, yogurt and most anything else Peanut offers them. He loves to feed them and they have learned that when he is in his seat, there is likely to be crumbs to scrounge. I’ve closed them up in our room more than once so Peanut would eat his food rather than try to feed it to the cats.

Peanut *loves* the kittens. We are working on ‘gentle’ and ‘kind’ and he is getting better. He has figured out how to move a stick with a string or ribbon on it so the kitten chases the string (or ribbon) — see above picture.

I’m learning not to leave anything out on the counter food-wise. I’m likely to find one or the other eating the food if I do. You’d think we didn’t actually feed them they way they beg and grab.

In my effort to give ‘good’ gifts (to any child I give a gift to), I’ve decided to make quiet books for the various nephews and one niece (so far). I made Peanut’s cover as a chance to do one and see what I need to figure out. Easy-peasy, especially with the nifty buttonhole foot and stitch on my machine. The machine will even stitch a button on! Woo-hoo!

I did end up making Peanut’s backwards. I ended up stitching it so the strap buttons in the back. Ah, well. That’s why I made one before embarking on making multiples. I figure I’ll aim to give a few pages for the book each birthday and Christmas. I even saw a ‘Star Trek’ themed quiet book on google images. That is so cool… Maybe I can do some Star Wars pages and sorts. Peanut will need a kitten page, for sure. I need to get some binder rings that will hold the pages in (see those little button holes on the right side, those are for the binder rings to go through). This cover is quite floppy and soft, not like most of the ones I’ve seen  floating around on the web. I need to decide if I want the cover stiff, and thus add interfacing, or let it stay soft.

I have lots of page ideas floating around in my  head, and I’ll aim to get pictures and put them up as I finish them. I figure the niece and nephews don’t read my blog so it should ruin their surprise (or will it? hmmm….)

Fun on Freecycle

Last week I saw on Freecycle the offer of “a large box of sewing patterns”, so I emailed the guy about it. And I got it! I’m finding that fabric goes fast, but patterns don’t.
I picked the box up in the next day or two (I forget) and it was a good sized box, for sure.

The patterns are mostly women’s and girl’s patterns, though there are two that have something for boys…

women’s patterns

girl’s patterns

One pattern has been loved on by some small rodent.


The patterns seem to be mostly 60’s and 70’s and 80’s patterns, which makes them ‘vintage’ I do believe. Its a tad scary when patterns that are as old as I are considered ‘vintage’. Must remember that patterns age quicker than people do. There is a swim suit patterns also, and I have such bad luck with store bough swim suits. I promise a later post on this.

I’ve kept to my commitment to buy no new clothes, but that depends on me not counting the swim suit as ‘clothing’. I really want to make some of these the clothes from these patterns. We will see!

Pants are pants, right?

I decided that Peanut needed some warmer pants to wear as the coldest part of  “winter” approaches. I had two smaller fleece blankets that my gracious in-laws brought down last time they were hear that I thought would make some nice, cozy pants for Peanut.  I have three patterns for pants for Peanut’s size and age (got to account for a diaper). One pattern I used already, and that left me two to try.

Some day I will have actual sewing room. For now, I move a table in and out of the living room. If nothing else, its a good excuse to watch some TV.
“Mr. Two-face Pants” (here after known as MTFP) is from Sewing for Boys: 24 Projects to Create a Handmade Wardrobe, which I received as a Christmas gift. The other pattern is “Reversible Bubble Pants for Baby” (here after known as RBPB) in  Growing Up Sew Liberated: Making Handmade Clothes and Projects for Your Creative Child

Out I pulled the tissue paper from the various gift bags that I’ve designated for garage sale-ing (and so don’t need the tissue paper, right?) and copied the patterns. Its an oona idea.

And after several days of wearing, here’s my thoughts on each.

I like the MTFP. They fit nicely, though I should hem them up an inch or two for now. There is room for the cloth diaper, though its not necessarily designed so. I just made the right size for it. It would be way easy to adjust the length. There was ONE pattern piece. Yes, only one. That was beautiful. And only two pieces of material to cut. That was awesome.

I imagine you could cut both pieces of the same fabric if one desired. Okay, so I don’t imagine it, you really could.

In recent days, I’m finding it harder and harder to get non-blurry pictures of Peanut.

Being only one layer, the MTFP aren’t as warm as the RBPB. But they are loose enough that putting on something underneath is very possible (as we did today, because that day was a chilly-chilly day).

The RBPB has 3 pattern pieces, with which you cut out 8 pieces of fabric. More than the MTFP, but still reasonable. These pants are lined and have a gusset to widen the crotch to accommodate a cloth diaper. I was quite thankful for the pictures in the book, as at first I didn’t understand what the gusset pieces were for or how to attach them. But once figuring it out, it was quite easy.

blurry, argh, even with the flash

 The RBPB are a bit bulky, being 2 layers of fleece. And for my long-bodied little boy, the rise is a bit short. But Peanut looks comfy in them! I’m guessing the RBPB would be less bulky in a thinner fabric.

Next time? Hmmm…. I like them both. The RBPB uses 1/4 inch elastic in the waist, but that seems too thin. I think next time I’d use 1/2 inch elastic. I think I’ll make the gusset thinner, it will make the pants a little less bulky and the diapers aren’t that wide. I’m also wondering if I could put a gusset into the MTFP, to wide the crotch a bit, make it a bit more cloth diaper friendly while shrinking the leg width.

I hope to make some more items from Sewing for Boys soon. As for Growing Up Sew Liberated, I love the basic patterns, but so far all I’ve made have needed adjustment some how.

Any body else been sewing?

And I just realized, its Valentines Day. And to add some romance to the post…

Hubby, I love you so very, very much. I have enjoyed these few years with you, and hope we have many more together.


Oh, Glorious Day!

Its in the 70’s outside and the windows are open! I love it!
Peanut isn’t feeling great today, but that doesn’t stop him from playing hard. Yesterday, I caught him playing with his toy box… instead of the toys!

Doesn’t he look like he’s having fun? He’s doing the “army crawl” more and more, but he still isn’t so interested in sitting.

I feel like I had some great luck today.  While out on errands, we stopped at the only children’s clothing thrift store I know of around here, Smarty Pants. I was able to get all this…  for $10. Yep, 2 pairs cotton 2 piece pjs, 1 really warm with a hood pj, 2 footie pjs, and 2 long sleeve onsies. Most items were off the clearance rack, which means one item at $0.75, and 2 at $1.00.

Plus, I got a stack of patterns off of freecycle.org…

These were up earlier in Jan, but when I emailed the gal, she said someone had spoken for them. She called me last night to say that the other gal never came to pick them up, so they were mine if I’d come and get them. So, I did.

women’s, non-maternity



Are items from the 90’s vintage, yet? What about 80’s? Anyhoo, I *think* with the right fabrics, these could make some nice outfits. And, luckily, there is one little girl in the family (a niece) because all the children’s patterns are for little girl outfits. Oh, yes, we’d love to have a little girl, but who knows what the Lord will give us.

Dinner is in the crockpot, the kitchen is just about cleaned up, Peanut is asleep and I’m having a cup of coffee (full caff! living on the edge today!). This has been a good day.

Sewing like a big girl

A few years ago, I did actually sew a clothing item for myself, and I wore it Tuesday — the day I’m out and about. It was also apart of my efforts at wearing more skirts and trying to be a bit more fashionable.  Of course, the jury is out if my outfit was ‘fashionable’ or not.

I picked it all out the night before to facilitate the whole process, but used the timer function on the camera for the pictures… so a few have my head cut off … not on purpose, I promise. (I was trying to be Oona-like and failed.)

Can I put this shirt with that skirt? Noone looked at me too funny today, so I guess its okay.

I wore my traditional cardigan that had pockets as the skirt doesn’t have any pockets. I love pockets.

I really don’t mind having my face in pictures, really.

Isn’t it a beautiful print? I purchased it as a sarong while in Thailand years ago. It was a single rectangular piece of material that a lady wraps around her and folds down to secure. My hips are just too much to accommodate this style of clothing, so I made a skirt with it. I used the selvage as the bottom hem (so I didn’t have to hem it) to get the most out of the pattern. There is a zipper in the back, even with a hook. Seems I remember the zipper being the hardest part of this.

Yes, I wore my tennis shoes with the skirt. I was running errands and doing grocery shopping… you must forgive my fashion fopa. [edit: sister pointed out that its ‘faux pas’… joys of English]

 Unfortunately, I don’t have the pattern, so I’m not sure what pattern I used. I’m sure it was Simplicity or McCalls, as that’s mostly what I have.

I’m quite proud of myself, that I remembered that I had made something!

Taking the plunge

I’m doing it.

I, Rachael, take the Seamless pledge for 2012. I will abstain from buying any new clothes until the end of my pledge. I will find ways to be fashionable without breaking the bank and without contributing to the cycle of fast fashion consuming the high street. I will trawl through charity shops, I will attend clothes swaps, I will look for second-hand items on eBay and I will craft my own clothes with my own two hands.



  1. No buying new clothes for the duration of your pledge. That is new mass-manufactured clothes (under clothing excluded).
  2. I will buy second-hand manufactured clothes.
  3. Vintage clothing is a-ok! (Not that I wear vintage, this would be new for me)
  4. I hope to make most of what I need!
  5. Does this mean I now have to be “fashionable”?

Sewing without a pattern, and a tutorial

I am NOT one to sew without a pattern. I do very few things without some sort of information, research, or instructions. Not that I always follow the instructions….

But this week, I did two… yes, TWO things sans-pattern.

First off, it struck me to make a dodecahedron. What, in the world, is that? That is a 12-sided figure.  I made a pentagon template and cut out 12 pieces, 3 of each color (4 colors).

Start with one and stick another onto one side. Continue around, stitching pentagons around a central one.

 As you stitch, stitch the adjoining sides together.

You’ll eventually have a “bowl” looking figure.

You  now have two options. You can continue to stitch pieces together until you have the ball, then flip it and stuff it. Or you can sew the other 6 pieces together into another bowl, then stitch the two bowls together.

This was the second dodecahedron I stitched. I kept adding pentagons, stitching adjoining sides till I had the ball. The last 3 pentagons added get 3 sides stitched in, and the last one gets 4 sides stitched on.

If you stitch two bowls, then plan to stitch those together, don’t do what I did. I lined them up, one in-side out, one right-side out, points to points.

But then I got a star shaped figure. Not a true dodecahedron.

I figured out that I should have lined up points to valleys. I didn’t try out, though, so I recommend you do it the first way. Peanut is enjoying the star shaped one, and Hank likes the true dodecahedron, though it is a gift for a nephew (good thing I have more than one, it can still be a surprise for one!). So, I will likely be making more. Plus, it was quick — one Midsomer Murder episode.

I also jumped at turning a sweater into a cardigan. Cardigans are so much more convenient with nursing, so I picked out 2 sweaters to convert. I followed the instructions here, and also shortened the sleeves to 3/4 length.

The first sweater, and only one so far, that I converted I’ve had for years and years. I found the fabric at a fabric market in the small town in China that I lived in. I took it to a taylor and had him make a scarf, hat, mittens, and a sweater. I loved this set.  In fact, so much so, that it was my “uniform”. A student drew me in this uniform, even. (this is from 2002… so its an actual picture scanned in. Think of that 9 years ago, digital was still a novel idea!)

Here’s my new cardigan!  
Now to decide what to do with the little bits left from the sleeves being shortened. I still love these stripes and the colors.  It matches almost everything!

Sweatshirt Saga continues, and slipper goofs

I’ve had a chance to really do some sewing in the past few days. I’m getting the hand, finally, of getting house work done, while giving Peanut the time he deserves and needs, and still do some of the fun, yet practical, things I enjoy doing.  I finished a pair of fleece overalls for Peanut, for our trip north come Christmas. Hubby’s home town is the furthest north I’ve ever been, and is actually right next to Canada — which is the utter north in this southern gal’s mind. Yes, Wisconsin is only just south of the utter north. Though its never been as cold as I imagine it will be when I’ve been there. But I’ve never been there in January or February… which I have heard is the coldest time. I have plans for another set of overalls, a fleece vest, a fleece jacket and a fleece hat. I might even scotguard one set of overalls and the jacket… but that might be overkill.

Anyhoo, the sweatshirt.  I had so much fun putting the snaps on that I put them on too well… and they cut the fabric. 

Argh, I thought. So, I cut the snaps out and am stitching on some patches. I’m planning on getting some sew-on snaps for the slippers, so I’ll get enough for the sweatshirt, as well. Hopefully the sweat shirt will be back in usable condition soon because this week is going to be chilly-chilly.

As for slipper goofs… I found a nifty slipper pattern here, but it is sized for a larger foot (I’m guessing a 3 to 5 year old foot?). I printed the pattern and then resized it on our printer/copier. I tried to calculate what amount I should reduce it by (copy at 70%, 60%, or what?), but when I went to copy, I realized our copier only offers particular resizing options (Legal to letter, letter to A4, etc). So, I printed a 70% copy and a 50% copy. One look said 50% was too small. I proceeded to make a “muslin” with the 70% copy, but that was also too small. So, I copied at 83%, and that “muslin” (even though the “muslims” are made with fleece reminents) worked nicely. I modified the upper part some; I made the upper look more like another pair of slippers Peanut has. They came out very nice, I think.

Why, you might ask, is one blue with a white lining and other white with a blue lining? Why didn’t you make them the same? Well, this is an aspect of a Rachael goof due to not thinking through right vs left. I think I was in college before I really grasped right and left, honestly. Not sure why those concepts are so difficult, really.

I made them both blue with white lining at first, but then I had two left shoes. Though it will be a while before I truly know if Peanut has two left feet, shoe wise he needs one right and one left. So, I took one apart and figured out how to make it a right shoe. I didn’t want to take the lined upper completely apart, so I just flipped it inside-out, resulting in a white she with blue lining.  I plan to make a second pair, where I will try very hard to make a blue right shoe and a white left shoe. Perhaps I will just be one really crazy and radical mama if I let Peanut wear one blue and one white shoe. That might be really groovy.

This week I hope to finish the Peanut winter wardrobe, the second set of slippers, and some slippers for me. I love slippers and house shoes, so I’m quite excited about this. Pictures promised!

More on "Growing Up Sew Liberated"

As I stated before, I like this book. But, more recently, I’ve found a few things that have caused me to like it a little less. None are issues that can’t be overcome, though.

First, it seems all her patterns are sized very small. I know my little Peanut is big for his age (he’s extra long, though of average weight — long and skinny he is). But when I make an 18 to 24 month top, I expect it to fit okay. Second, the clothes need to be appropriate for that age.

About a month ago I made the reversible baby sweatshirt. Its very cute and looks very cute on Peanut. I even made the 18 to 24 month size to allow it to fit well over a layer or two of clothes if needed, and to account for his extra length.

See how cute this sweatshirt is!

I more made it “lined” rather than reversible. And Peanut looked so cute in it, too.
I love those green striped pants. And doesn’t it look like Peanut and Hank are imitating each other?
The ties were an issue though. Peanut *loved* to chew on them, which untied them, and they are long. I was worried he would swallow it and I’d have to pull it out… oh, that sounds just horrible!
The body fits nicely and is big enough that Peanut can wear a layer or two underneath and have room to grow into it. That seems important at this stage in the game.
The sleeves, however, are quite snug. I think the author must assume that babies are big bodied and skinny armed, as those sleeves are a tight fit, even with only 1 tee shirt underneath.
I can change the sleeves on this sweat shirt, so I’ll just adjust the pattern for the next one. But the straps came off and I put on snaps. I love snaps… bang, bang and they are attached. Good for getting out aggression, too.  It not quite as cute any more, but now I’m not worried about sweet little boy chocking on the ties.
As a seamstress, I’m still learning how to cut the fabric such that I can trust the seam allowances. But that is another story of Rachael learning to follow instructions and color inside the lines.

Book review: Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts

Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts: Basic Techniques and 150 Inspired Ideas for Sewing, Embroidery, Applique, Quilting, Dyeing, and PrintingMartha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts: Basic Techniques and 150 Inspired Ideas for Sewing, Embroidery, Applique, Quilting, Dyeing, and Printing by Martha Stewart Living
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I grabbed this book from the library and I think I’ll actually buy it.  She’s got good information on the various ways of using fabric and the things you can make from fabric. If you’ve read her magazine, many of these projects will seem familiar — I think all the projects were originally presented in the magazine. I am one who will tear out the projects I like and save them in a binder. This book allows me to toss out all those pages and have one book with the ideas. Plus, its got a CD of all the templates used in the various projects, so no more going to look online for them. The book came out in 2010, so likely projects in the magazine from 2009 and on aren’t in this book. And there are likely projects from the magazine that didn’t make the book.

The pictures are all in color, and she explains different kinds of fabrics and their uses. There is a section for the various sewing notions and tools one might find and use.

This book only teaches the most basic of sewing skills — basic hand sewing stitches, machine stitches, some embroidery stitches.  But she does not discuss or attempt to teach more advanced sewing techniques — some I can think of are darts, gussets, making pleats and such. I guess these are used mostly in clothes and she discusses a great deal more than clothes.

Conclusion: it’s worth the $22 on amazon if you enjoy M.S. style projects.


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