Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sewing: Scarlett's Portrait Dress




We have rescheduled family photos a few times this year and they finally happened yesterday. Adding to the typical stress with this sort of thing was the fact that I was super busy this month with projects and a family vacation and lost my ramp for coming up with the girls' outfits. I wanted them to wear something classic looking and ideally handmade but I ended up having five days to pull it off. It didn't quite happen.




Audrey wore a crochet sweater I made this spring--certainly fits the objective--and I was able to pull off a new dress for Scarlett.



Scarlett had a melt down in the middle of the session, which was about how I felt too but I held it together a bit better.





This dress pattern is an old Florence Eismann for Simplicity #8933. I wanted something simple I could do in off white and brown to match the retro bonnet I planned to knit. I used a micro suede because it was the right color and has a nice hand--and seems less maintenance than velvet. I used a cotton velvet for the collar and added velvet piping on the sleeves. This pattern provides for a three inch hem, which makes the dress hang so nicely and provides growing room--I love it.


Turned out pretty well I think. I love the big collar. Here is my one-year-old Scarlett in her Fall baby portrait.


These beautiful photos are by Jennifer Fauset, a local, wonderful photographer we've used previously. I think she does such a nice job with children and families.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Knitting: Lacy Baby Bonnet for Scarlett


I have been dying to make this lacy bonnet for a baby girl ever since I got Erika Knight's book, Knitting for Two, a few years ago (so many beautiful projects in this book!). Unfortunately I didn't get to make it for Audrey--either she was already too big or I was consumed by other projects, maybe both. So when I found out my next baby was a girl this bonnet was one of the things on my list to do for her.



So I have had a creamy pink yarn set aside for a little knit set for Scarlett but the scheduling of Family photos for today caused me to rearrange a bit. I knew there was no chance of getting a sweater done for Scarlett in time but I thought I had a chance at the bonnet and a dress. So I pulled out some off-white yarn and started the project on my vacation in Hawaii envisioning an off-white and chocolate brown ensemble.



I knitted this project on larger needles than called for since Scarlett is 12 months and the pattern is for 6-9 months. I was hoping it would fit. Of course it's impossible to truly gauge while it is on the needles and when I finally bound it off Scarlett was asleep a couple hours before the photographer was to arrive. I substituted a crochet edging along the bottom instead of the knit (picking up stitches tends to drive me nuts--it's so incredibly slow--maybe I haven't learned the best technique) to save some time and then called my darling neighbor, JoAnn to ask for help with the rosette bows. She is a flower arranging, bow-tying genius and I knew it would take me too long to figure it out on my own. We tied the bows and sewed them to the sides of the bonnet just as the photographer was walking down my driveway and while Scarlett was still sleeping. I was hoping it would fit! Luckily, it does. However not everyone is a fan of this retro looking bonnet. When I put it on Scarlett my husband asked why I wanted her to have Princess Leia hat! I don't care, I'm going with it. I just love the really retro baby look.

UPDATE: It was totally worth it--even the last minute panic with the bows! Look how gorgeous these pictures turned out. These are by Jennifer Fauset. She does such a beautiful job with children and families. I think Scarlett looks like my little Puritan baby--so old fashioned. I couldn't be happier!




Friday, October 23, 2009

Knit and Crochet: Beach Dresses for Audrey and Scarlett




Because I finished Scarlett's eyelet dress so late in the season she was only able to wear it once before the weather was too cool. And of course I had saved Audrey's crochet tank dress so they could wear them together, so she only wore hers once as well. As I was packing for our trip to Maui I packed these just in case I could manage to orchestrate a photo session on the beach. I think these dresses are prefectly beachy colors--Sky and Natural.



The hour we took photos of them on Big Beach at sunset was probably the highlight of my trip! David had scoped out Big Beach earlier in the week and took us there but we didn't have our camera. I was hoping to get back and take pictures of the girls and finally the last night of our trip we made it back just in time--five pm. I got some eyerolling about the idea of putting Audrey and Scarlett in these dresses but it was so worth it! I can't imagine anything more perfect than these airy dresses with sand and surf and sundown!





These are pictures that capture all the emotions of beautiful daughters, carefree childhood and a mother's and labors of love. I love them! So lucky to have a husband who is wonderfully talented with the camera to capture this for me.


Sewing: A. Henry Halloween Blouses with Pumpkin Corsages


I saw this fabric on Etsy--someone made a darling baby blanket with it--and I immediately went hunting (haunting?) for it. Tough to find. It must have been a 2008 design. But I did finally find it and ordered enough to make two little blouses for my girls.
I love these retro trick-or-treaters. They look like litle Campbell's Soup kids or grown up Gerber babies. So cute.

I based these blouses on a ManiMina dress pattern--one of many that takes the pillow case dress and adds sleeves--and added the shirring to the bodice and sleeves. I also belled the sleeves a bit.

I thought it would be cute to add a little Jack-o-Lantern corsage to these so I crocheted these little pumpkins--a circle with a few extra stitches on top for the stem, and then embroidered the faces.

Audrey has told me she doesn't want to wear this blouse because it's too scary! Not as much fun for me now that she has more of an opinion about what she wears, but luckily Scarlett still can't voice her opinion. She is stuck wearing all of my creations.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Crochet: Striped Poncho for My Sister


I had so over-extended myself last Christmas with projects that I didn't get the chance to photograph some of the things I gave away. Lucky for me, my cute sister, Sarah, came to visit this afternoon and happened to be wearing the poncho I gave her last Christmas. (I hope she wears it occassionally, and not just when she's planning to see me...).

I think it looks so great on her! Most things do...oh to be six feet tall...



I saw the pattern on the cover of the September/October issue of Crochet Today. I think it's such a fun retro design--love the graphic stripe, but I thought it would be even better with what I think of as an Indian blanket color palette.




So I picked terra cotta, cream, black and grey wool-blend yarns (a bit of warmth and a bit less hassle for the recipient). Added a tiny row at the bottom for contrast.


I lengthened the pattern quite a bit and added an extra row at the bottom. I thought it would be more wearable waist length than shorter.

Sarah looks a bit surprised...


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sewing: Oilcloth Baby Bib and Checkbook Cover


The oilcloth creating continues! I've become a bit batty about the stuff. I just keep thinking of more fun things I can do with the remainder pieces from my art smocks and splat mats and tablecloths.

So here is this darling baby bib. I love pink and red together! When I was in gradeschool my mother once made me (at my request) a red velvet suit with a bubblegum pink ruffled blouse to wear underneath. It was quite the statement and very cute I thought. So here the memory resurfaces in my pink and red bib.

This little project is so easy. I traced the pattern from another similar bib I had, used seambinding to finish the top of the pocket, pinned the pocket to the bib and then bound the edges all around. I dded some squares of velcro for fasteners. My little Scarlett is a bit of an escape artist when it comes to bibs so I'll have to test this model. I wish they would make industrial strength velcro.
**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!**

I don't even carry a checkbook, but if I did I would like to carry it in this cute oilcloth cover. I just happened to have some leftover pink strawberry but I also think it would be fun to make some seasonal covers to switch out. There is a darling Day of the Dead oilcloth print out that would be great for the Fall/Halloween season.


The checkbook cover suggested to me an eyeglass holder. Now that is something I would use quite a bit as I'm always tossing my glasses into my bag and scratching the lenses. Maybe I have a good gift idea for this Christmas!

RESOURCES

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)

Baby Bib (for PDF pattern, click here.)
  • Yardage: less than ½ yard (1/2 yard will make 4 bibs running with selvage; 1 yard will make 9 cut perpendicular to the selvage)
  • Notions: 1 package Wrights extra wide double-fold bias tape (1 package is 3 yards)
  • How to: Print two copies of the PDF pattern. Tape the pages together and cut out bib from one copy and bib pocket from the other. Trace patterns on wrong side of oil cloth and cut bib and pocket (in contrast oilcloth if desired). Seam bind top edge of pocket and pin pocket to bib with wrong side of pocket touching right side of bib. Seam bind all the way around the bib, catching pocket. Sew on Velcro fastener.

Checkbook Cover

  • Yardage: less than ½ yard (13”x7”) (1/2 yard would yield 6 checkbook covers)
  • How to: Cut piece 13”x7”; fold in short edges 3” on either side, right sides together and pinch to mark fold. Unfold and turn under short edges wrong sides together ¼” and stitch down to finish. Fold short edges in along pinch mark right sides together and stitch down short edges with ¼” seam allowance. Turn right side out and stitch down ¼” edge between check book pockets to finish.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Party: Scarlett's First Birthday


We had Scarlett's birthday party this evening and it was so much fun! I was hoping to have it outside, but it was a bit too cool, so we moved it indoors.


I was thinking for a long time about what sort of theme to use for Scarlett's first birthday. I wanted to do something a bit Fall, but still feminine and appropriately baby. I decided on a foresty theme: red and white toadstools, hedgehogs, squirrels, birds, trees...


Reminds me of Germany. I found a really beautiful fabric for her dress, made invitations with little toadstools on them, ...
made a table cloth with a faux bois fabric (more Joel Dewberry)...

and then decided to do a toadstool cake! The cake turned out so cute! Audrey helped me with it this morning. She made little toadstools to put around it and helped me decide where to put the white polka dots.
Audrey got a new dress too in matching fall colors, but a little more grown up looking.
We made an early Fall dinner: Wine-braised Pork Tenderloin, Couscous with Dried Cranberries and Golden Raisins, Roasted Potatoes with Herbes de Provence, and a green salad with shallot mustard viniagrette.


We served the molasses cookies Audrey and I made earlier this week.

We gave little finger puppet hedgehogs as party favors, which all the kids seemed excited about.

Scarlett really went after her birthday cake--unlike her older sister on her first birthday. Scarlett was a cute little mess.


Recipes:
Grandma Heger's Molasses Cookies
Wine Braised Pork Tenderloin
Roasted Potatoes with Herbes de Provence
  • Preheat oven to 425-degrees.
  • Chop baby red potatoes into 1" cubes.
  • Toss with olive oil, kosher salt, and Herbes de Provences.
  • Put in pre-heated oven and bake, stirring occassionally, until desired doneness (a bit brown and crunchy on the edges), about 30 minutes.
Pearled Couscous with Dried Cranberries and Golden Raisins

8 Tbs. butter
4 cups uncooked pearled couscous
4 cups apple cider/ juice
3 cups water
1 medium shallot, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup golden raisins or dried currants
2 tsp dried parsley
½ tsp powdered sage
1 Tbps Fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in heavy skillet over med-high heat. Stir in cousous and sauté until lightly browned.
Stir in apple cider and water and bring to a boil. Boil uncovered until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in shallot. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer until couscous is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.
Mix in dried cranberries, golden raisins, and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sewing: Dresses for Scarlett's First Birthday


Just 30 minutes shy of Scarlett's first birthday, I've finished the dresses for Scarlett and Audrey to wear to the party. They turned out so cute! Scarlett's is super darling. I love the foresty theme and muted Fall colors in Lecien's Folklore, and yet the print is an appropriate scale so as not to overwhelm my little girl. I can't wait to see her in it. I used a PDF pattern from ManiMina's Etsy store and added the band and pocket. I lined the dress to make it less transparent and a bit heavier since the temperatures have cooled significantly this week. I'm happy I did. It's a nice weight and a nice finish inside. I left the sleeves unlined so they are a bit lighter.

I found these darling Robeez shoes to match! How could I resist little scarlet shoes for my little Scarlett? They are a great match and good for my little walker. I also found a tiny clip for her hair in red polka dot. I love Rachel Weissman clips. I used them all the time for Audrey when she was little.

Audrey's dress turned out beautifully too I think. I love this Joel Dewberry Ginseng fabric. It's Fall and feminine and a little more sophisticated for my three year old. I think the faux bois is so fabulous! A bit funky for a little girl but I think it works. In fact, I have enough left to make some ruffle pants in it, which I think will be really fun. I also bought it in chocolate to make a tablecloth for the party. We'll see what Audrey thinks. I love the ruffle neck but I'm worried she may not want to wear it. I'm trying to get her excited about the pocket as a distraction! I think this dress will look darling with chocolate brown leggings underneath.


Happy to have the sewing done for the party! Now onto the menu... I can't believe I haven't figured that out yet. Not at all like me.

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