Friday, April 29, 2011

Crochet: Spring Frills Scarf at luvinthemommyhood

If you would like to see more of what I worked on during our vacation in Tuscany, click over to luvinthemommyhood for my entry in Shannon's Comfy Sews VS Cozy Knits series. I am sharing a tutorial for this Spring Frills Scarf.

A scarf may not be the first thing you think of wearing in the spring, but this is lightweight and cotton and offers a number of options for wearing. Plus, it has ruffles, and we can all use a few more of those, can't we? It's Spring! Let's add some frills.

Click to visit and view the full tutorial:


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crochet: Blue Picot and Lace Sweater for my Blue-Eyed Girl (Tutorial)

It's true--many of you recognized this countryside--we were fortunate enough to spend a couple weeks with our extended family in Tuscany, Italy.

Though we've been home over a week now it is still hard to believe! We had a fabulous time, and the rest of the year seems like it will be a breeze after all the preparations for a trip like that!

In addition to making certain the girls all had tennis shoes that fit (Superga no less...when in Italy...), and distractions for the plane, and that Tess had some solid foods that tasted familiar, I packed a couple projects for myself. I thought there could be a few hours with napping girls in which I could work on something while enjoying the view.

This blue sweater for Tess was one of the projects I worked on. After knitting the blue sweater for Scarlett I wanted a little blue cardigan for Tess to wear with her floral Ruffled Chemise. I just love this saturated blue color on little girls! Though this is a different yarn--KnitPicks Andean Treasure in "Sapphire Heather"--it is very similar to the "Sailor" yarn I used for Scarlett's sweater.

The pattern is based on Abigail Goss's "Picot and Lace Sweater Set" pattern for babies, which I used to make a heather grey layette for Tess while expecting her. I love this pattern but Tess has grown out of it so I revised it to fit a child six to twelve months old. (I have a tutorial for this upsided version below, after the jump.)

I made a little Picot and Lace Cloche (pattern here) to match the sweater. Though it was unseasonably warm in Tuscany, it's still a rather cool Spring here at home so I thought it might be cute and practical.

But it seems a bit of a shame to cover up her blonde fuzz-ball head, cute hat or not!

If you are interested in the tutorial for the sweater click through to read more.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cooking: Creamed Eggs

While I don't cook a lot of things I'd put in the "comfort food" category, these creamed eggs on toast are everything the category suggests! My mother always made them Easter morning or in the days following using our colored eggs and not only do they taste good, they bring great memories to mind! Practical too. An easy way to use all those eggs you hard boiled. I was so happy to have some for dinner this evening. 

I actually blogged about creamed eggs last Easter but only included a photo of the main ingredient--the colored Easter eggs--because the dye had transferred so much the dish didn't look so appetizing. Much better results this year.

To make some start with a basic white sauce, fold in sliced hard boiled eggs, and add salt and pepper. Serve over toast. I found my favorite ratio in this particular white sauce to be 3T butter, 3T flour and 2 c milk. You can find a slightly more detailed recipe in last year's post.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sewing: Easter Dresses 2011

Happy Easter! If you celebrate Easter I hope your day today is filled with things that make it meaningful for you and your family. After finding Easter baskets this morning we'll don our Easter dresses for church and later have family over for Easter dinner.

We've just returned from a family vacation and in our absence Spring seems to finally have arrived. We have a Magnolia tree in bloom and bulbs pushing up and apple trees leafing and the lawn has turned green. Easter is late enough this year that it is more Spring-like, but not quite what it was like where we spent our vacation, and it is still a bit cold. Knowing our weather can't be counted on I packed the girls' Easter dresses on our trip to take advantage of a pretty setting for some family pictures.

The day I tried to get them dressed and take some photos was likely the most difficult part of our vacation! Nothing easy about family photos (especially, as it turned out, when there was other family around to serve as an audience for acting silly), but I think the trouble was worth it.

Little Miss Scarlett was especially difficult to coax into posing. But it is fun to have photos of her being herself. I love the hole in the knee of her stockings! Dressed up or not she is two and always doing something.

This was as formal as it got. So here are the three girls in their Easter dresses: Audrey looks ever the big sister (so grown up already!) and Tess just can't keep her hands (and mouth) off her shoes, while Scarlett is subdued for a few seconds.

This was actually the first time Audrey and Scarlett tried on their dresses. I managed a few times to hold up some pieces to them while they wiggled but a fitting never happened so I was really pleased that everything fits as well as it does. Pleased too with how they all look together--so much more fun to see the dresses on the girls than the hangers!

I think it would have been fun if I had a new Easter dress too. Something in a charcoal grey linen would have been nice. But I didn't get around to it. Too much fun making things for my daughters, and the results are usually superior!

Can you believe this landscape was actually the view from the property where we were lucky enough to stay? We had such gorgeous weather too. Any guesses on the region?

If you're interested in the details you can find them in the respective posts on Audrey's, Scarlett's and Tess's Easter dresses.

Welcome Spring!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sewing: Easter Dress for Tess (Ruffled Chemise Pattern)

I wanted to keep Tess's first Easter dress simple, but still wanted her to coordinate with her sisters, so I came up with this a-line Ruffled Chemise: cream linen with a simple round neck and the coordinating pink and cream plaid for the ruffle down the front. The sleeves have a small inverted box pleat which adds another nice detail I think.

This is the same pattern I used for the sleeveless Ruffled Chemise I made a bit ago. I love it! Such simple lines and not too overwhelming on a baby, but still feminine and fun. It's interesting how different the same pattern can look depending on whether the ruffle is in the same or contrasting fabric. I like it both ways. In fact, I was thinking I may need to make Tess another, and maybe her older sisters too, but for now the pattern is baby-sized for 3 to 18 months.

Tess is easier to persuade than her older sisters when it comes to modeling something I made for her. She doesn't really have much choice, but as you can see she wasn't unhappy about it.

So I managed to get some pre-Easter pictures of her wearing her very first Easter dress. It happens to be a bit big on her. I made it in a larger size, thinking she may grow quickly this summer and could wear it longer, so it isn't a perfect fit for Easter but should be about perfect in a couple months.

As noted with the first Ruffled Chemise, Tess really enjoys sucking on the ruffle. Built-in baby toy I guess!

My favorite part of this ensemble may be the plaid diaper cover! I used Dana's pattern available on MADE. So cute! I also love the full lining, and the fact that constructing the chemise this way creates an invisible hem--less stitching to distract from cute baby legs.

Phew! Three dresses finished in time for Easter.

I just wish I'd been able to get this pattern and post up when I intended, which was a week or two ago, so those who wanted to could make one in time for Easter. I'm afraid our trip delayed things a bit--I actually managed to get the pattern scanned while out of town but couldn't find the computing time required to put together the tutorial. However, there are still some days left and it is a very easy project so if you're inclined--if you have a baby girl who needs an Easter dress--you can likely still pull it off!

You can download the pattern until April 27th and then you can find it in my shop. Hippity hoppity! I'm off to bed to start my jetlag recovery...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sewing: Easter Dress for Scarlett

This ensemble for Scarlett may be my favorite of the Easter outfits! I love the way it turned out. This is of course with out the benefit of trying them on the girls--it never seems that possible to do so before they really need to wear them. Too difficult to persuade them to stop what they're doing and change into an outfit just so mommy can admire them! And that is the main reason for not using them as the models for the Easter dresses, at least not yet. I have actually been working on the dresses while preparing for a trip abroad (doesn't that sound old fashioned? "Abroad") and intend to pack them along for some imagined good location shoot in the Easter dresses. We'll see! If that doesn't work I'll be packing them back and they'll be wearing them Easter Sunday of course--it's just that Easter in our yard typically isn't quite as spring like as I'd like. (Recalling these pictures on the lawn that had not quite perked up.)

Since I was trying to use this plaid for all three girls but didn't have very much of it I decided on a jumper for Scarlett. I love the look of a jumper on a little girl her age and the idea of it being different than Audrey's skirt, but still not requiring too much fabric. I used Burda pattern 9564 but made the dress sleeveless. I also changed the back from a zipper to a button placket, which seems to be what I always do when I come to a zipper. I just prefer the look of buttons down the back. And I found some I thought worked really well with this. Such a great angled oblong shape!

For the blouse I used the same pattern I used for Audrey's Little Red Riding Hood Blouse, and made the sleeves long again. This time I also added the piping on the collar. I love piping! I thought it would be nice to have the collar the same as the one on Audrey's jacket. In fact, it's the same medium weight linen as Audrey's though the rest of the blouse is a tissue weight--both gorgeous fabrics! Both from JoAnn.

I lined the jumper, just as I did Audrey's skirt, because it seems to help discipline the silk just a bit. And it avoids the need for a slip, which sometimes is one layer too many when dressing a busy two-and-a-half-year-old. Not to mention that I just like the finished look of lined garments.

So here it is for Miss Scarlett: a bit of tailoring on the jumper and a bit of flouce on the blouse and it just may be the perfect balance for her. Sounds a lot like her in fact, although she is probably more flouce than restrained!  I am imagining her blonde curls bouncing above that peter pan collar.... I hope I can keep her still long enough for some photos.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sewing: Easter Dress for Audrey

I am finally switching gears to Spring sewing, and Easter dresses in particular! Easter is one of my favorite holidays. There is nothing more welcome than a rebirth--of flowers and trees and all living things. My mother always made new Easter dresses for my sisters and me and I love the idea of doing the same thing for my girls. Three dresses is certainly more work than two were, and I seem to have made it a bit difficult on myself with the outfits I chose, but I'm getting there!

For Audrey, I chose this vintage pattern (Simplicity 4327). I love the classic girl's suit. I especially love the scalloped hem on the view in the middle. But for Audrey's dress I went with a straight hem, thinking that would be better with the plaid skirt. Maybe I'll make the other view for her another time. I don't often go back to the same pattern--there are so many others to make--but this pattern is at least a full size too big for her right now so I'll have time. Which brings me to one of the ways I made this difficult for myself: I used a too large pattern, which of course could be adjusted, but I rushed to cut and then realized I hadn't adjusted and tried to do it after, which worked o.k., but hindsight is everything. Oh well. That's what I get for trying to squeeze in too many things!

I love this pink and cream plaid! It is a silk dupioni I believe (very practical for little girls, don't you think?) and I can't remember where I purchased the fabric but I think it was a designer/home fabric store of one kind or another and I think it was not much after Audrey was born. I thought it would be fun to make three dresses with this plaid, and some pink and cream linens. I bought a pretty light pink linen but decided to go with the darker pink for Audrey. It's a great color on her! I only had a yard of the silk but luckily it was 60" wide and I've managed to lay out all the pieces I need with a bit left over. At least I had that going for me!

This skirt is a great design. I love the less common combination of a gathered waist and pleated skirt. I especially like the box pleats, which I didn't iron all the way down because the fabric doesn't lend itself that well to strict pleats. Easier to wear I think. The pattern indicates suspenders for the skirt. I thought, "cute, but why the trouble when they don't show?" As soon as I had Audrey try on the skirt I realized suspenders were a brilliant idea--they keep the skirt at the waist, which is a feat on little girls. So I made some button holes in the waistband and maybe I'll add the suspenders. Or, sew buttons on the blouse she's wearing underneath the jacket to help keep up the skirt that way. With the cropped jacket having the skirt hang a bit low will not be such a good thing. Suspenders. Who knew? They obviously were on to something a few decades ago. I think some of that practicality and attention to detail has been lost.

So one of three Easter outfits. And on I go...
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