Monday, November 29, 2010

Knitting: Looped Scarflette in Scarlet


Before Thanksgiving, and before the series of storms that have covered our world in chilly white, I made a little scarf for Audrey. It's a looped, smallish scarf, so I'm calling it a "Looped Scarflette." It was just the thing to add a bit of warmth on a warm Fall day and now it will be perfect for tucking into coats to keep her neck warm.


This is one of the few knitted items for which I created the pattern, and it was fun, and I think successful. I figured it out based on a darling women's Anthropologie scarf my friend Margie showed me. I love the loops--makes so much sense for a child too--no chance of it falling off on the playground and getting lost.


I used two yarns knitted together: Paton's Classic Wool Roving in Cherry and Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe in Lipstick. I love these two cheery scarlet reds and their subtley different hues and weights knitted together. Both are a blend with wool, which I picked for warmth, and Audrey said "ooohh, cozy!"


I need to work out the pattern in a variety of sizes. This was so much fun I feel a surge of Scarflettes coming on! I want one for myself (I would wear it indoors as an accessory for extra warmth), and need to make one (at least) for Scarlett, and they would make such fun gifts... I love the possibilities of combining yarns.


So one Looped Scarflette down; more to go!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks: A Baby, a Bonnet, a Blessing Day


Every Thanksgiving my family tops the list of things I am grateful for, and so what better way to celebrate the week of Thanksgiving than with a baby blessing? 



Tess was an unexpected blessing this year and it's impossible to imagine our family without her. It was nice to formally acknowledge her arrival by blessing her this past Sunday, surrounding her with family and close friends and invocations for a life filled with the good and important things. Doesn't every baby deserve this kind of welcome?



We served a brunch of strata, spinach salad and cinnamon rolls (on the table with the new Thanksgiving centerpiece).


 

Tess wore a bonnet I finished (just in time) to match the bootees I made. I think she looks beautiful in it and I love the old-fashioned look. I can't get enough of that old-fashioned, Puritan baby look (appropriate for Thanksgiving, no?). This bonnet reminds me of the one I knitted for Scarlett last year. I made up the pattern as I went along. It was an experiment based on the bootees and it certainly isn't perfect--it is a bit big and the shaping along the back of the neck could be improved--but it worked, and it was fun to work it out. And fun that she has a couple things made specifically for her blessing day. I love the crochet ties and plain single crochet rows framing her face.

Click to read more if you are interested in the bonnet pattern and strata recipe.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Room Design: Thanksgiving TableTop


Though I have wanted a large traditional Thanksgiving transferware platter for years, I also have wondered about a more contemporary take on Thanksgiving decorating. Most of what I see around feels a bit incongruous when I think of it in my dining room. I thought, why not ask Design Mom? She always seems to find such great modern things for home and kids. Gabrielle steered me towards some metallic painted pumpkins and that gave me this idea.


I found fake pumpkins and gourds on clearance from Halloween and spray painted them white. I love it! Looks very sculptural to me. Now if I used mostly white serving dishes the food would really be the color and the center of table.

These photos look black and white but they are in fact in color. Very dark due to the grey morning of our first big snow day and the interior location of the dining room.  The drama (of the snow and the tabletop) is kind of fun.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ohdeedoh Small Kids, Big Color: Audrey's Big Girl Room

 

Have you been tracking the Ohdeedoh "Small Kids, Big Color" contest?  There are so many fun and inspiring room designs--so perfect if you're planning a redo. I thought I would submit Audrey's room and it made a feature this morning: entry #58! They are inviting readers to vote and will move forward a subset of the entries to the finals. Would be fun to be among them but it's pretty amazing competition. It's just fun to be included.


I loved Audrey's room when we did it as her nursery, and even more as her "Big Girl Room," when we upgraded her to a bed, and it's been fun adding some things here and there over the years. Just found my old wooden shoes, for instance, and they're the perfect thing in here! I can't believe we're now reading to her out of some of the children's books we placed on her shelves as decoration, seems like just yesterday.


This is my favorite of the photos I submitted: bunny wearing Audrey's birthday crown.



I have been sad about the prospect of the fabrics I used in Audrey's room fading, and the walls getting nicked, and the need to at least repaint if not potentially totally redo in a couple years (just hoping and hoping it won't be forced because she wants to decorate her own room in some garish fashion!) but then looking through Ohdeedoh I think it would be so fun to try it again in a totally different scheme--repaint the furniture, etc.  So many equally great possibilities.







Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crochet: Blessing Bootees


Oh I am so happy about these bootees! So happy in general, really! I love a blessing day and Tess' is coming up! It sort of snuck up on me though and I realized I hadn't made anything special for her to wear. She will wear the same blessing dress her older sisters wore--it is so gorgeous and hand made by my good friend (and unbelievable sewist), Margie (see photo of Audrey below wearing it a month or so after her blessing), and she will be wrapped in the gorgeous blanket my good friend, Sue, crocheted so lovingly for Scarlett's blessing day, so she will be dressed with love, literally. That is certainly enough, but I did wonder if I could manage to make something just for her.


These beautiful bootees are from the One Strap Baby Bootee pattern available in the Mon Petit Violon shop and I used Paton's Grace yarn in Natural (love that mercenized yarn!). It is such a darling pattern, and, best of all, they work up so quickly! Literally probably an hour per boottee. That is just my thing! I used smaller buttons than the pattern given the occassion but with larger buttons and different colors they could be fun and funky for every day. I'm thinking I need to make more because they fit Tess so perfectly right now.


Bootees are such a fun thing to make, and practical to wear (no barefooted babies for me), if you can keep them on their wiggly toes. That's always the challenge. I've found a few patterns that meet the criteria. These booties are pretty and they stay on so I have to add them to the list, if I had a list. I should really make a list: Cute Bootees That Work. Would be a great go-to for baby gifts.





The off-white dress Tess is wearing is one I made for Audrey when she was a newborn. It's from a reproduction vintage Simplicity pattern (3508). I love the simple shape. I used satin ribbon instead of binding and it makes a pretty bow at the back of Tess' neck. I made one in a little print too to go with one of the layette sets I crocheted for Scarlett and should make at least one more for Tess to wear in the spring although next time I want to add more fullness. (The cut of the dress isn't as full as it appears in the pattern illustration.) I would love it billowy around her legs.



Now I'm going to see if I can finish a little bonnet to match these bootees in time for Sunday. I making up the pattern, so I never know. If it doesn't work she can wear the bonnet I made for Scarlett's blessing day. That would be fun too.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sewing: Autumn Nest Dress


I always have a running list of things to make, often using fabric or yarn I've purchased a year or so before, and inevitibly things get bumped because I come across something I get excited about doing first. Such as this dress. Which, of course means something I was intending to make this Fall will be postponed another year. Oh well, so it goes... At least I am lucky enough to have three girls I can clothe with the fabric and yarn. I'll get to it all eventually!


Audrey is short on dresses to wear to church this Fall and Winter so I wanted to make a few quick ones before diving into some more consuming kniting projects. This Burda pattern (9595) seemed like the perfect thing. It's got such simple, classic lines and lends itself easily to all sorts of variations. For instance, I chose to (predictably) use covered buttons, add piping (again, not a surprise) instead of ribbon, and use a contrast fabric on the inside of the sleeves. 

It was my first time sewing with a Burda pattern and it went just fine! I remember my mother warning me about them years ago. Of course that was before they issued some with seam allowances included, such as this one.


The sleeves are my favorite thing about this dress. I love the angle on the long cuffs, and the buttons. I also love that the bodice dips a bit in front and back. Difficult to see in these photos but it makes the dress hang so nicely.

 

The fabric is Nest Corduroy by Valori Wells (Free Spirit) in the Autumn color. It is the softest finewhale corduroy I think I've ever felt!  Isn't an Autumn Nest dress just perfect for this time of year?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cooking: Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Ginger


We are having the most gorgeous Fall around here. I guess it doesn't really qualify as an Indian Summer as we had our first snowstorm last week, but it is warm and beautiful nonetheless.  Clear blue skies and great color all around. Though it's not quite chilly it's cool enough in my book for soup! I love soup and I make a lot of it in the cooler months. 


This one is a butternut squash soup with apple and ginger. My neighbor, JoAnn, makes an incredible butternut squash soup with bacon and cream and brown sugar--yum. This soup is not that! ;-) This is lighter, but still yummy, and totally guilt free. So good for filling up. Freezes well too.

Click below for the recipe.



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