Baby Shower & Handmade Gifts

As I mentioned earlier, I went back to VA to help throw a baby shower for my sister who is expecting her first in June. My mom and I hosted her shower, and also both set out to do some handmade gifts for her and the baby. My mom is quite crafty as well, and while it has traditionally been on the sewing machine, she picked up her hooks and busted out a few crocheted blankets as well. I ended up making the Lotta Jansdotter’s Snuggler and Tag Blankie from the Simple Sewing for Babies. The kids and I made a little dog rattle for the baby as well. The idea came from the book Sewing School, and we then added the rattle part inspired by the rattles in the Simple Sewing for Babies. That project involved them decorating the puppy outline with crayons and then ironing the dog to set the colors. We then turned it into a little plush and added the rattle.

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We had some crafty fun at the shower too. We set up a station where guests were invited to decorate a one-sie for the baby. We had a number of freezer paper stencils available and a selection of paints, and I think they turned out super cute! There are tons of tutorials online for how to do this, and I looked at these here, here and here.

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In addition to making the lovely green and white baby blanket below, along with a diaper caddy,  burp and wash cloths, my mom also whipped up these cute little pouches with a party favor for guests.babyshower_17 babyshower_75babyshower_01

All in all it was quite the lovely little celebration, and I’ve found a new obsession for this summer…Berry Fizz, the muddled berry/soda concoction my sister in in the midst of making below.babyshower_34

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Warm Wishes: Knitting for those Impacted by Sandy

Like many people, I have dear friends that were impacted when Sandy came tearing through the East Coast. In talking with one of them, I mentioned wishing there was something hands on I could do. With the cold weather approaching, power outages, and loss of homes and possessions, and she cleverly suggested knitting hats.

This I could do!

I roped another friend into joining me, and we spent the past week knitting up a storm. We put together a little care package with 6 hats, 3 scarves/cowls, 2 fingerless mitts and a couple of head wraps. We used the handmade tags found here, and included a little note. The package is in the mail, en route to my friend in New Jersey who will bring the knitted goodies to those in need.

I hope this is just the beginning. I will be making and sending more hand knit goods. Uniquities Yarn Shop, a yarn shop in my Mom’s neck of the woods got wind of our little project when my mom went in to pick up some supplies to help further our cause and they expressed interest in getting involved, and my often mentioned friend Katie her community was heavily hit as well) just put a call out to her circle of knitters to make and send knitted goodies her way for distribution.

To my friend MJ who got this whole things going…thank you for a great idea, for giving me a way to help out and let the folks in your community know we are thinking of them, and for distributing our hand-made goodies to those in need!

Grab your needles or your hooks, rummage through your stash or visit your local yarn shop, whip up a special hand-made warm accessory…and send a warm wooly hug to someone impacted by the storm.

*if you want to knit, I can get you connected to folks for distribution – just leave a comment!

Race Track Play Mat

I have some pretty great neighbors. Sadly they are moving away this week, and by away I mean far far away, out of state away, away all the way to California away…sniff, sniff! You may remember the dad’s appearance on my blog from some time ago here, and the mama recently abducted a finished project I was planning to blog. At any rate, their  youngest just turned 2, and I wanted to do a little something to celebrate his birthday and came up with this simple race track play mat – a rectangle mat with a race track on the inside, and a set of handles along with a pocket on the outside to hold a few cars.


Race Track Mat Tutorial

Materials

  • Fabric – main and contrast (I purchased 1/2 yd of each)
  • Scrap of fusible interface for snap backing
  • Metal snap (or other closure system)
  • Felt (I used two pieces of the pre-cut rectangles)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Supplies for the handles (I used webbing, or you could sew one with the remaining fabric)

Steps

Cut pieces for the bag:

  • Body: 2 rectangles, one from the main and one from the contrast fabric (mine were 18 x 13 1/2).
  • Pocket: 2 smaller rectangles for the pocket body – needs to fit onto one side of the main body when folded in the carrying mode (mine was 9 1/2 x 6 1/2).
  • Pocket flap – 2 small pieces for the flap. (mine was 9 1/2 x 3 1/2)

Cut felt to make race track. I folded the felt in half length wise, cut one the top half of the figure 8, and then traced it to make the bottom half on the second piece of felt.

Once cut, I pinned the pieces to the contrast fabric for the inside of the play mat and stitched it in place. I stitched around both the outside and inside of the track, and also ran a zigzag down the center where the two pieces meet to secure those edges. With the track firmly in place, I moved to the outside of the bag, creating a car pocket.

Both the pocket body and flap were sewn with the right sides together, leaving a small opening to turn the fabric. Once turned, I pressed the fabric and top-stitched around the top edge on the main body to close the opening. For the pocket flap, top-stitch three of the sides (one long and both short ends).  Determine the placement for the pocket and flap, and then sew each piece to the front of the main fabric of the play mat, stitching down and around the packet body, and across the single long edge of the pocket flap.

In preparation for the final assembly, I attached the fusible interfacing to the backside of the contrast fabric, and ran a little basting stitch to hold webbing handles to the main body of the mat – remember to have all the raw edges lined up.

With the right sides facing together, I sewed around the edges of the bag leaving a small opening for turning. Clip the corners and turn right side out.

Instal the closure per manufacturer’s instructions, leaving enough space for top stitching. Run a top stitch around the edge of the mat to close the opening and create a nice finished look…

…and then, go make a little person happy.

April Sew Along Project: Hot Pad Apron and Placemats

The project for this month’s sew along was a 2 part effort: the hot pad apron from the Fabric-by-Fabric One Yard Wonders book and placemats. I decided to get back on track, having missed last month’s pillows and purchased the supplies for the apron. This was a fun project to sew, and doing the pleats was a new thing for me.  I made one small modification to the pattern, making a skinnier, longer, double sided waist tie for the apron. I like to wrap things around and tie them upfront – makes me feel fancy. The pattern called for quilting weight cotton or home decor fabric. I went with the latter as I liked this print. Its a bit stiff, especially once you factor in the hot pads on the underside. I’m guessing with wear and washing it will soften up. When taking pictures of the apron, my daughter and I decided to try our hand at making raisin bread.

I was going to leave it at that, and just do part of the challenge for this month. However, I got a second wind at the last minute yesterday evening and decided to get the placemats done as well. I searched through the remnants and items in the closet, and pieced together a placemat for each of the kids. The left over fabric from our barnaby bear (February’s sew along project) became a placemat for my daughter, while my son’s is pieced together from the remnants of his messenger bag Christmas gift.

And speaking of my girl, here she is straight out of bed asking for pancakes to go with her new placemat.

WIPs

I decided to make my gifts this year. I was feeling pretty good about it – making progress and picking out projects, patterns and supplies. Then I updated our calendar (it’s dry erase) and saw my time is quickly running out! I’ve finished a few things, but have a nice list of things still to do…a scarf, a few cowls, some washcloths, and scavenger hunt bags for the kids along with a few other sewing things I’ve been thinking about (and procrastinating on like our bedroom curtains!). I need to get moving! I’m working on the Rick Rack scarf right now…it’s a bit daunting to think about getting this scarf to its intended length, especially after all my recent projects on 35s. I’ve been spoiled with big needles and fast knits…

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