Saturday, February 27, 2010

The gift of homemade

As you know we've had a couple birthday's in these parts over the past month and a half. When planning the parties I almost asked for no gifts. We have so very many toys. But then I remembered how much fun it is to open presents at a birthday party. So we took a trick from a friend and asked for second hand or homemade gifts. What a treat! With just a little bit of imagination and creativity our friends made some wonderful toys for the girls. Here are a few.

This is Mister Fidget. He is a woodland gnome who likes to travel. He showed up on Nonie's birthday. He tells me stories of this travels and I share them with the girls. Or at least that is what we told the children. In truth he was created by my good friend Courtney. After she made him one evening she put him up on the mantle out of reach of her kiddos so Mr. Fidget would make it to Nonie's birthday. When they woke up the next morning they asked about him and on the fly Courtney made up his story. Hence the birth of Mr. Fidget.
These wool felt petit fours are now a staple in our toy kitchen. My friend Barbara hand stitched them. So you don't even need a sewing machine to be creative.

This little doll's pants and hat are made of an old reclaimed sweater. In her bag she had a treasure. It was a carefully picked acorn.
This is a felt pizza with felt toppings. This pizza is always 'baking' in our play kitchen.

Homemade gifts don't have to be elaborate or difficult to make. I think we all to often forget that a child is happy to play with something less than perfect. We adults sometimes hold standards of perfection that our children don't see or care about.

But let me tell you what I liked most about this hand made gift idea: that the kids really got into it. When the children saw these gifts being made they wanted to create or give something too. We got acorns and nuts and special rocks. It became more than trudging to the store to buy just another gift. It became about giving a bit of ones self, about giving, not buying. And that is why I liked these birthday so very much. Thank you to all our wonderful friends. Your creativity is contagious!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Has it been two years already?

Happy Birthday to Nonie! I cannot believe this wee one has turned two! She is no longer a baby. And really hasn't been for a while now but this birthday solidified that for me. She has turned into quite the little person. It is beyond joy to watch her develop her own character. And what a character she is!

She is playing with her mama made birthday gift. The pattern for this fantastic log and accompanying critters came from Anna Hrachovec at Mochimochi Land. But the pattern can be found on Knitty here. When I saw this little toy at the house of some friends I just couldn't resist trying it out. I managed to find the pattern on Ravelry (Oh how I love Ravelry) and the rest was history. While the pattern is pretty easy it still took longer than I thought it would. Perhaps that was because I could only work a few rounds at a time. I stuffed ours with wool instead of the suggested polyfil.

We made a divine gluten free carrot cake from Gluten Free Mommy. I recommend it even for all you regular eaters out there. She suggests browning the butter which gives it some wonderful extra flavor. And the icing well... As she says just looking at the cake will make you gain a pound.
Crafting for gifting has taken off with the younger generation of the household. This is a ??? not actually sure what it is. Lillian made it for her sister. It is fabric from her fabric bag that she sewed together with needle and thread. And you know it doesn't really matter what it is. Just that she felt the need to create something for her sister as a gift for her birthday.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The pants! (photos)

I gave the girls their pants after bath time tonight. Thought it might be fun to wake up on Valentine's day in said pants.
Here we have a little post dinner dancing. Now if I can just get them to stand still for long enough to get a photo of the pants with the patches.

There we go. Finally slowed down. And time for bed.

Valentine's day pants - Reused flannel sheets project one

The pillowcases from the sheet set I acquired earlier this week were the perfect size to make pants for the girls. I used a fitting pair of pants for my pattern. The largest size I made was a good solid size 6 so I imagine you might be able to get an 8 or even a 10 in short pants or with a pretty patterned cuff to make them longer. I cut one leg from each side of the case. These pants were made in only five seams because I used the outside edge of the case and the hem as seams for the finished product.
I sewed the pants together at the belly button to crotch seam first. Then opened them up, pressed the seams and pinned to sew the inner leg seams.
Once that was done all I had to do was sew an elastic case at the waist and thread the elastic through. I initially cut the waist big and cut the elastic a little long so I can let it out later and the pants will fit for longer. I'm envisioning some nice patterned cuffs being added next year to make them longer as the girls grow in height. I stitched some heart patches on the pants too. Just to make them festive. I used scraps of felted wool and cashmere sweaters.

Three's a charm

So I may have mislead you a while back when I posted my 'favorite' bread recipe. In fact it would be my favorite bread recipe if I ate wheat. I do make that recipe often for my husband. And boy does it smell good. Going wheat free has made me miss bread like no bodies business. But 'NO MORE!' I have found a wonderful wheat free recipe (it also happens to be gluten free). I've made this bread three times now and finally perfected it. It is the perfect squishy, homemade bread. It is what I've been missing. I did tweak the recipe a bit for my own tastes. I used honey instead of sugar and I replaced the sweet brown rice flour with plain brown rice flour. I'm just not a fan of the texture of SBR flour. This is bread the whole family likes. Hooray!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Treasures, treasures. Today we found an old manual, portable Smith and Corona typewriter. I've been looking for just such a thing for a few months now and a stop into one of my favorite thrift stores paid off. Never mind that it needed a new ribbon which I could only find on line (and which did cost more than we paid for the typewriter). It was still worth it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Oh the possibilities

Picked up this full set of queen size flannel sheets yesterday at the hospital thrift store. I look forward to helping them reach their full potential. Check back in a day or two, to see project number one.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another stab at some Elizabeth Zimmermann patterns

A couple years ago I knit up a couple baby surprise sweaters. The pattern is by Elizabeth Zimmermann, a true goddess in the knitting world. After the sweater I thought I'd try some more of her stuff. I got a book from the library, took one flip though it and gave up right there. Her stuff is mathematical and can be a bit heady. Well I've been inspired to try again. I took a quick e-trip over to School House Press and found this sweater pattern. I may have also purchased a swift in the process... I have lusted after one for so long. The price was right. And to top it all off I've requested a couple EZ books from the library. I might as well dive in head first right? That said, don't hold your breath for a pic of a finished sweater. I have a feeling this one might take a little while.