Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Crafting: Scarlett's Birthday Party Invites

Hard to believe our little baby will be turning one in a couple weeks! I have been so consumed about trying to plan Scarlett's first party. You would think I were planning a wedding! I wanted it to be the perfect first birthday. I wanted it to reflect her personality. I wanted it to feel a bit Fall, a bit baby, and fun. So before she starts asking for mermaids or fairies or princesses I thought I'd do a woodsy party. I was thinking red and white toadstools, hedgehogs, fawns, flowers, squirrels, trees, that sort of thing. I have been into this German, black forest, dirndl sort of thing lately for some reason... I was hunting everywhere for fabrics and looked at a lot of Japanese imports but couldn't find the right thing. Then I found some great fabric for Scarlett's dress, more for one for Audrey and the idea was cemented.

I went to the scrapbooking store when I had about fifteen minutes one afternoon and was so happy to find some paper with just the right feel. In fact I am wishing this were printed on fabric, it is so cute. The toadstool pattern is DCWV 12x12 GRN Woodlnd Toadstools (0S-038-00009) and the green polka dot is Little Sprout Collection (Sunshine #SP542).

I was really wishing for a Cricut to do some fun die cuts on these invitations but I don't have a Cricut and I didn't really have a lot of time so I went pretty straight forward. I used Windows Bauhaus font--it has the right sort of fun, juvenile feel while also keeping with a slightly German theme. ;-)

Though not too fancy, I think they are cute. And I think they will set the right kind of expectation for her party.

Now I need to seriously get in gear with the dresses!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Knitting: Finally! An Eyelet Dress for Scarlett

I feel like this project has taken me forever! And I couldn't move on to my other long list of fun things until I finished it. Finally, it is finished and I think it is beautiful and I love Scarlett in it!

Part of the delay was the difficulty--following this pattern required my full attention, which I didn't always have to give. I tore out and changed needles to fix the gauge, I tore out to fix mistakes, I knitted slowly. The back of the dress took years it seemed. But then, happily, the front went much more quickly as I had the pattern memorized and didn't have to check as often.

I ordered the Rebecca Baby magazine including this pattern over a year ago and thought I'd make it in cream and pale blue to match Audrey's pale blue crochet dress. I think both dresses are so timeless. I was motivated to start by the idea of a family photo, but that fell apart, and then I was consumed by sewing summer dresses, and then I realized summer was about over and I had half a summer dress for Scarlett that I'd better finish if she were ever to wear it.

I thought about cutting bait a few days ago. I'm glad I stuck with it. I also had to make little slips for them to wear underneath.

I used Paton's Grace yarn in Natural and Sky. I love the mercenized cotton.

Couldn't quite get the photos I was hoping for, but still, don't they look sweet?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Painting: Beach Day Portrait

I wanted to try painting some figures in a landscape, so I looked through our pictures from our last San Diego trip and found a few I could use for inspiration. There are some really cute images of Audrey playing on the beach on a rather cloudy day with her grandparents.

I thought it shouldn't be any big deal to do a couple figures in a landscape. I was imagining treating the figures relatively impressionistically. I should have known. This ended up being three portraits because I really did want some likeness even if there isn't a lot of detail.

I also made it more tricky by using some photos where the light was coming from different directions. I had to compose the figures together and change the light on one of them to make it work.

I had never painted the ocean before and I thought it was really fun. Kind of like painting clouds. My favorite part of this painting are the reflections in the wet sand. I loved painting those and think they turned out pretty well.

I thought I had this painting finished a couple classes ago but it kept bothering me so I put it away and then took it out recently and looked at it again. I ended up finishing it at home. I finally realized some of the shadows were wrong given the light source!

I finished this up early for Christmas for once because with this baby coming I am predicting I won't have time later. I decided to give it to my in-laws. I hope they like it. I think it's a cute scene of them with Audrey.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sewing: Oilcloth Tablecloths

I can't get enough of these super easy table cloths. I love oilcloth. I love the bright patterns and slick texture. I love how easily they wipe clean. I don't love the fact that they're made with PVC, but I'm hoping limited exposure isn't a big deal!

So here is my pile of tablecloths. I made three of them for Audrey's first birthday party (shared with her cousin Kate): The red polka dot, the red pears & apples, and the yellow strawberry. I just made the acqua cherry with oilcloth I purchased for Audrey's preschool bag. The tablecloths are LONG (3 yards each!) to fit our long patio table and they are perfect for picnic tables in the park.
Love it!


Oilcloth: Mendel's, Oilcloth by the Yard, Fabric.com, Doxie Shop, Denver Fabrics
Rickrack for a great price at http://www.doveoriginalstrims.com/

PATTERN (Instructions)

Table Cloth/ Splat mat

  • Yardage: 3 yards for picnic table length; 1 ½ yards to cut to 47” square; or any desired length…
  • Notions: Jumbo rick rack (5/8” wide; 1 ¼” from zig to zag) (5 ½ yards for 45” square; 9 yards for 3 yard cloth)
  • How to: Cut tablecloth/splat mat to desired length (for 47” square, fold on diagonal and trim to square) and edge with rick rack (position so rick rack is centered on the edge and top stitch close to edge).

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sewing: Child's Oilcloth Artist Smocks

I'm starting a DIY co-op preschool with some women in the neighborhood, called Joy School. I'm excited about being involved with "schooling" of this type for Audrey. It's a developmental approach and from what I've seen of the curriculum so far it looks really fun. There are three other girls in the group and the moms and I are all trying to get our list of supplies ready before we start on the 14th. I volunteered to do the artists smocks, because even though it suggests an old man's shirt would work I couldn't resist using their pattern to make some cute ones out of oilcloth--I love oil cloth. I thought it woudl be fun to have some cute smocks for school. Hopefully the girls will think it's fun to wear them. (My darling niece, Kate, modeling the smock above doesn't look like she's having a super fun time but I'm chalking it up to being camera shy.)

So I selected one of the more girly patterns: this darling pink strawberry. I used red seam binding to finish them off. I love pink and red! When I was in gradeschool I had my mom make me a red velvet suit, which I wore with a bubblegum colored ruffled shirt. Pink and red just makes me feel happy.

The pattern for this smock is part of the Joy School curriculum. I modified it a bit to make the neck lower and apron shorter. One could easily make their own pattern--laid out flat this piece looks like a rounded rectangle with rabbit ears that curve out. I made mine 26" tall from bottom to neck, 23" wide along the bottom, with "rabbit ears" that are 11" tall from the neck and about 4" wide.

I thought these turned out so cute that I decided to make a couple more out of the leftover oilcloth from Audrey's preschool bag so we have some from home.



Child’s Art Smock

  • Yardage: 1 yard (1 yard will do 2 child’s smocks)

  • Notions: 2 packages Wrights extra wide double-fold bias tape (1 package is 3 yards) (you need about 4 yards for one smock); 5” elastic (5/8”-1” wide) for each smock

  • How to: Trace the Joy School pattern (or the one you developed) on wrong side of oilcloth and cut around outline. Seam bind along entire perimeter. Pin edge of shoulder straps ("rabbit ears") to top curve of apron, forming an arm hole, and stitch shoulder straps along apron seam binding stitching line. Stitch elastic across the middle of the shoulder straps in the back.

**NOTE 4/28/10: I just went to one of my oilcloth resources, Mendel's, and read this warning on their site about using oilcloth for children under twelve. "There is no lead in the oilcloth, but the levels of Phthalates are too high to comply with the new standards for items which are going to be sold and are intended to be used by children under 12 years old. So you can still make and sell bags and other things created with oilcloth but items like bibs and splat-mats cannot be sold." What a bummer. I haven't had much luck finding the perfect substitute in a more health and enviro-friendly form. I need to research some more!**

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