Thursday, April 29, 2010

Crochet: Abbie's Cap for Scarlett

Blame it on the weather! I know it doesn't seem I should be making a hat for Spring, but it doesn't look much like Spring around here today--it's been snowing all day! Crazy. So I decided to pull out this pattern I bought about two years ago and get some yarn out of the stash and go for it.

So here it is: a little cap for Scarlett. She seems very excited about it! Maybe because she sees hats on her father and sister and wants to emulate them.

This "Abbie's Cap" pattern is designed and sold at a local quilt fabric and yarn store, Piper's Quilts and Comforts. It calls for sportweight yarn and I used worsted weight--Lion Cotton, because I had it. I think it's a darling design--would like to make it in other sizes, including adult--but I had a bit of trouble with the pattern. Sort of hacked my way through. I need to make some notes/adjustments and try it again. One thing that's nice about crochet is it's easier to "fake." I like what my friend, Sue, says about it: Just be consistent. It's true! Whether you are doing the right stitch or not, if you just keep it up the pattern looks successful.

In any event, Scarlett now has a cute little cap to keep her warm during this strange Spring weather. She's wearing it again now--pretty cute.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sewing: Audrey's "Fair Day" Birthday Dress

Last night I finished the dress for Audrey to wear to her birthday party. This "Dolce" fabric from Tanya Whelan inspired the palette for the whole shindig. I love pink and orange together!

My sister and I are planning a joint birthday party again for Kate and Audrey (our cousin twins) and decided on pony rides as the central attraction. We have made a tradition of making dresses so I started poking around online looking at my favorite fabric and pattern designers. My sister, Christine, found the gorgeous Dolce line (new to me).
So here is the dress. It's the Portabello Pixie Claire pattern (actually, the same pattern, but different view from last year's birthday dresses).

Luckily I had Audrey try on the bodice last night before attaching the skirt, and I found it was too small. So I let it out a bit and went ahead. I'm hoping it fits her more comfortably now, especially since I'm having her wear a blouse underneath.

I chose to use one of the large orange poppies for the apron applique.

I love the trumpet vine floral pattern. Seems very country to me, though it looks sophisticated too.

I love the whole thing! I hope Audrey has fun wearing it. (I did find darling pink cowboy boots on eBay to go with this dress.) Didn't make a dress for Scarlett to wear--I have a different plan for her for the party that I need to get working on!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lists: Nesting for Baby Girl #3

I've known for some time that this next baby is another girl, and I am thrilled! Would have been happy with a boy too, of course, but I have two sisters and I LOVE the idea of three girls. Sisters are great fun and great friends--I would be lost without mine. I also love so much sewing and knitting and crocheting for my two girls that it seems just perfect to have a third to amortize the effort! I can't wait to be surrounded by their giggles, smiles, and girlish expressions. I am a lucky mom indeed!

So the next thing is how to prepare for this next little girl? There isn't a whole lot that is truly needed given her two older sisters' things, but we did get rid of the baby seat and stroller, and she does certainly deserve some of her own special things to welcome her.

The biggest question is the nursery. We happen to be lucky enough to have three "kids" bedrooms grouped nicely together upstairs, and it just seems logical to use them for our three girls. However, one bedroom is currently an office and moving the equipment, files, etc. seems onerous. Initally I was thinking two of our girls, perhaps the younger two?, could share a room, at least for a while. But as time has gone on I realize that my own ritual for welcoming my babies has been preparing their nursery spaces--deciding on the color palette, picking the fabrics, sewing the crib bedding, selecting accessories, thinking about paintings for the walls, even planning ahead for the "big girl" version of the nursery. There was the red, gold and acqua, slightly Asian approach for Audrey's room, and the pink, green and acqua slightly vintage approach for Scarlett's room and those rooms are now a bit more significant--doesn't seem right that a new individual should have Scarlett's hand-me-down crib bedding instead of her own scheme. Besides, Scarlett has been especially rough on her bedding--loves to mangle it.

So I think this baby girl should have her own unique space to arrive in. I am just not sure when we'll do it. We have a couple big events in the late Spring/early Summer and I am thinking I won't worry or discuss it too much until after then. But I can think about some smaller projects such as:

  • a white version of the Best Baby Booties and Cloche (maybe with three flowers this time?) (DONE!)
  • the "February Sweater" from Elizabeth Zimmerman (perhaps to coordinate with her older sister's Fall sweaters?)
  • perhaps this Picot and Lace cardigan (looks so sweet and not too time consuming!) (DONE!)
  • some more booties...
  • some more little hats...
  • some blankets, such as the Heirloom Chenille Blanket (DONE!), a flannel rag quilt blanket, and maybe a patchwork quilt blanket...
  • crib bedding (if she doesn't have a nursery immediately she can at least have her own crib/bedding!)
Then of course there are the things I want to get done for Audrey and Scarlett for this summer and planning ahead a bit for Fall (didn't get nearly what I thought I would get done last Fall since I started too late...):
  • Audrey's birthday outfit (DONE!)
  • Scarlett's outfit for Audrey's birthday party (DONE!)
  • White and lavender crochet dress for Scarlett from the latest issue of CrochetToday (DONE!)
  • Lavender crochet sweater for Audrey (DONE!)
  • Dress for Audrey from Pink Fig's new"Miss Kitty" pattern (can't wait to get my preorder!) in Anna Maria Horner's beautiful voile; coordinating apron dress for Scarlett from a vintage pattern I just bought. And, if I can, coordinating shrug sweaters from Mason-Dixon Knitting.
  • A line dress for Audrey and pinafore/bloomers for Scarlett in Robert Kaufman's fun "Punchy Pique," which I bought last year
  • Sailor outfit for Audrey (full blouse and skirt) with anchor-embroidered fabric I bought a couple years ago and vintage pattern
  • Crochet tank dress for Scarlett from Ella Apron Top pattern I just bought from anji..beane
  • Pillow case dresses for fourth of July? (something simpler than last year) (DONE!)
  • Button Placket ("Presto Chango") sweater Valerie Wallis for Scarlett (meant to make it for Audrey but didn't get to it)
  • Upsized version of the "February Sweater" from Elizabeth Zimmerman (hoping to switch to a heavier yarn and see what size it turns out) and Debbie Bliss Matinee Coat from one of her baby books for the other (upsized with heavier yarn) in this great "Red Velvet" colored yarn I bought a few years go from KnitPicks

That ought to keep me busy! I won't even get into various nesting projects around the house but for instance, I haven't yet moved everything out of the garage and into the now finished basement...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Invites: "Fair Day" Birthday Invitations

I have had so much fun planning the birthday party for Audrey and her cousin, Kate, with my sister, Christine! It all started with the idea of pony rides. Christine did it for her older daughter a few years ago and it was so much fun. The kids love it. So we were thinking kind of a western theme and started looking for dress fabric (we love to make matching dresses for their birthdays). We decided on the very cute Tanya Whelan Dolce for Free Spirit in the orange/white/blue/pink colorway and I was thinking I wanted the party to feel more "county fair" than "cowgirl."
So here we are! I have all sorts of things in the works, but finished these birthday invitations last night and they make me smile.

I am such a design hack. I wish I could learn layout in Photoshop or Illustrator (it's on my list for this year, I've been checking out online classes) but since I haven't yet I fell back to the program I design in best: PowerPoint! Works pretty well actually.
I was thinking of punching out the paper flowers from cute scrapbooking paper but found a bottle of them ready to go "Iced Got Flowers?" at Michael's. That saved some time.
I included a raffle ticket for every child to bring to the party and drop into a box for a prize drawing. Not sure what the prize will be but we'll find something fun! I can't wait. But I do have quite a list of things to still finish so a bit of time is good.

UPDATE:  I had a request for the template for these invitations and the related thank you labels. You can find a PowerPoint template here ready for customization and printing: Fair Day Birthday Invite Template_AestheticNest

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sewing: Pop Garden Dress Revise

Our Spring weather has been typically unpredictable but it was suddenly on track to be 80-degrees Sunday, so it seemed appropriate to break out some sunny dresses for the girls to wear. However, I'm not really ahead of their summer wardrobes, so I pulled out the Pop Garden/Portabello Pixie dresses I made for them to wear to Audrey's birthday party last year thinking they might still fit. They fit differently, but they fit well enough! Shorter than last year but it's kind of cute to see a bit more leg on these little girls. I love this fabric! It is so happy!

I thought Scarlett's dress was a bit too full on her last year. I had improvised with the pattern, making the round apron dress but without the apron and ties, as I didn't want it to be too similar to Audrey's dress. So last night I decided to quickly add a waist tie. Luckily I found some Pop Garden scraps that would work. I think it's super darling with a waist and flouncy skirt!

Too bad the ruffle pants don't still fit, but now it's an even cuter set for the next baby girl to wear!

You can view the original dressses here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Craft: Personalized Stationery for Girlfriends

I'm sticking with my gift-giving theme of the last few months: personalized notecards. I have a fun birthday lunch with girlfriends in a few days, so Saturday I went to the nearest scrapbooking store, Pebbles in My Pocket, and found the cutest papers with which to make a couple card sets.

The Asian-looking paper is from Crate Paper, part of their Pink Plum collection, and the "Cheerful Cherry," which has great metallics, is from American Crafts / Dear Lizzy, part of her Spring collection.

One of my good friends, Heather, has always done an amazingly creative job with gift-giving. The presentation and the little details are always so fun. Whenever I've received a gift from her I've felt it came with the most thoughtful consideration; was designed especially for me. It really makes a difference. While I've always loved gift-giving and wrapping, she has inspired me over the years, so with a celebration in mind I found these fun crystal candy suckers to tie with the cards. While another year passing doesn't always feel like a celebration for some, at least my friends can channel childhood with a totally sugary treat.

I hope they like them.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sewing: Easter Dresses Payoff

Today the girls finally wore their Easter dresses, and the work paid off. I never really know if I'm going to be disappointed or pleased with the wearing of the project--Audrey won't try anything on for sport so the fit is a gamble, and of course I'm not organized enough to have measurements. That would be a good idea some time.

I was starting to doubt my picks with these outfits but when I dressed the girls I thought, "oh yeah!" Audrey's jacket fits absolutely perfectly. I love the little peter pan color with her haircut, and I love the purple buttons (who knew?), and I love the box pleats in the back especially. Her lavendar dress is sort of an afterthought as it doesn't really show, but it's a cute, simple dress on it's own.

Scarlett's dress is a real party dress. She was twirling around in it. I love the way it hangs, sort of bell shaped. The armholes are just right, not too big. The bow is still my favorite detail. Turns out that I love her in this bold stripe pattern. I don't think it's too overwhelming at all.

I'm not sure Scarlett's jacket is the perfect fabric pick. While I like the color, it would do better in a slightly heavier fabric I think. But it still looks pretty cute.
Difficult to get these little ladies to pose for me, but I ended up with some pretty cute pictures afterall. I call these girls my wee muses. Everything is beautiful to me when they are the objects of the work.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cooking: Creamed Eggs for Easter

My Easter memories always include creamed eggs on toast--something my mother would make with our hard boiled eggs. Not sure where she got the recipe, or whether it was a tradition in her family. Seems a Southern thing but she grew up in Denver and her mother in Nebraska, so maybe it's Midwestern? Regardless, I love it! It's a great way to use all those hardboiled eggs.

So I made it this evening for dinner. Makes more sense for breakfast, and that's what my mom would do Easter morning, but we were saving our eggs for the Easter dinner centerpiece and I didn't find the time until this evening.

The recipe is pretty simple and all "to taste."

  • Make a white sauce (traditionally melt 1 T butter over medium heat and whisk in 1T flour to form a roux. Stir continuously until golden, about four minutes. You would then normally whisk in a cup of milk, but I like the sauce thick for creamed eggs and use less--1/2 a cup. I doubled the white sauce.)
  • Salt and pepper sauce to tastes (I like to be a bit generous).
  • Fold in sliced hard boiled eggs. (I like a lot of eggs to sauce but again, to preference...)
  • Serve over warm toast

One thing that's always a bit funny with this tradition is that the Easter eggs are often tinted with dye, as was the case tonight. So no photos of my creamed eggs with hints of blue, purple, green and orange!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sewing: Easter Dresses, 2010

I finished the girls' Easter dresses today, but they didn't wear them today. We didn't have church so I'll have to wait a week to see them in their Easter finery. It felt like I had to finish them by the holiday anyway. I love the tradition of a new Easter dress and my mother always made mine, so now I'm doing the same for my girls.

I thought about having them put them on and carrying their Easter baskets around for a photo opp, but since we have snow outside... Next Sunday will be a better day for that I hope.

I love the way these turned out, especially Scarlett's sleeveless dress. I can't get enough of these high yoke styles and I love the bow.

I made her a little lavendar jacket to wear over the dress. I thought the stripes might overwhelm her, and typically Easter is not warm enough to go sleeveless.

The dress and jacket pattern is Simplicity 2668. I wish it came in a wider range of sizes--I think it's a darling pattern and would be cute older girls.

Audrey's jacket is a classic look and I love the purple buttons. They were the last I was considering at the store but I think they work perfectly.

It's funny, I had in mind some restrained, classic linen sheath dresses and a-line jackets for Easter this year (more in the tradition of last year's Easter dresses, which were pretty traditional looking), but I couldn't find a linen color that was right and then I found this stripe, which I think is so cheery and fun. I love the red and purple together and it gave me an excuse to make a dress for Audrey in her favorite color: purple. I went with an orchid purple, rather than the more subdued grey-purple stripe, because it brightened the ensemble. The stripe may also, however, be the type of fabric one imagines when hearing the phrase, "she looked like an Easter egg," but I think little girls can pull it off. We'll see next week anyway!

Both Audrey's jacket and dress are from Simplicity pattern 3897 (which doesn't seem to be available retail anymore). Found the pretty solid cotton at my local quilt store, Elaine's. The fabulous stripe is another one of my finds from Home Fabrics--love that store! Unfortunately it has nothing printed on the selvedge and there weren't any care instructions though it takes a pretty hot iron, so maybe it's cotton. I guess I'll dry clean...

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