Sunday, October 19, 2008

Nuther baby giftie

I had to miss my friend Michelle's baby shower today since we were at Maker Faire, but one of the many baby gifts I made last week was a very special one for her new baby girl, due around Thanksgiving. You see, she and her hubby have a special place in their hearts for a little hedgehog named Alpine, who unfortunately led a very short life. I found this awesome pink Japanese hedgehog fabric at Craft-O-Rama a couple of months ago, and though Miss E tried to claim it repeatedly, it was a no-brainer for this gift.

To top it off, I just happened to see a hedgehog softie tutorial a week or so ago, so the gift was exactly what I was looking for. I just love the baby hedgie that can pop into mama's pocket ... and the reversible pocket is just too clever. Instead of felt for spines, I used ribbons (hey, I was on a roll), so it came out as another lightweight, easy-to-grasp baby toy. I did make it a tad bigger than the one in the tutorial ... but you already know I can't follow any directions perfectly, without adding something. What can I say? Top it off with a hedgehog, pink flannel and minkee ribbon blankie, and my gift was ready to go.

My sis delivered it today ... Happy baby girl #2 to Michelle!

Maker Faire rocks!

I can't tell you how much fun we had in only three hours at Maker Faire last night and a little over three hours this afternoon. You just have to experience it yourself, and believe me, we will be back next year. Miss E loved the robot wars (though we only saw one and a fire-breating bot named Texas Heat who flamed marshmallows for audience participants), and her other fav was the Austin Bike Zoo "rides", though we only watched.

While Daddy checked out the geekier side of the exhibits (solar cars, robots and more), Miss E and I strolled the Bazaar Bizarre and met the nicest, coolest people on the planet.

Meet a few of our new friends:

  • Becka at Baby Bolt, with awesome baby goods, aprons, skirts, and crayon rolls (Miss E is loving hers!)
  • Julia of Pixie Worx!, who also told me about Art of Texas
  • Harrilu screenprinted AND eco-friendly t-shirts and more from Dallas
  • Trina, who sells patterns to make the most adorable purses from plastic bags
  • Etsy Texas Crafters ... how awesome!
  • Puppets and free puppet patterns from Lanese
  • Zen Bend, from Connecticutt,, who bends wire coat hangers into cool sculptures. He gave Miss E a butterfly, which she carried all night.
  • The folks from the Texas Juggling Society, who helped Miss E make her own juggling ball from balloons and rice. It's awesome, and if you couldn't guess, she chose pink and purple as the two colors. I didn't get their link for how-to, but here's a good tutorial.
  • ... and Ismael, the guy who carves peanuts -- really! Miss E got a peanut from him, with instructions to open it up and find the old man inside. He dresses like Gandalf, and she just thought he was awesome. Her peanut (yes, the tiny edible part) is now in a zippered bag in her bed, with the shells turned into two caterpillar friends.

Other fun finds or things we saw and loved:

  • Fab teeter totters from Faith at Flatfork Studio ... Erika got to try one out with her new friend Emily
  • Austin Bike Zoo has the most amazing bike decorations you've ever seen ... A sweet multi-bike peacock ride, a gigantic rattlesnake made of lots of bikes, a monarch butterfly bike, a red moth bike. You have to see to enjoy, and riding would be even cooler. Human-powered rides; can you get more fun than that?
  • We missed both of Rachel's monster demos in the Maker Shed, but at least got to stop by and say hi. Monsters rock!

Daddy went to several demos today and came home with a bag of goodies as well. It was absolutely the most fun I've ever had in one place, and as we were getting ready to leave, Miss E said, "Mommy, I love Maker Faire." And then she cried when we left ...

Friday, October 17, 2008

The purse

I have these moments when I just can't wait to sew. It drives me nuts to not be able to just attack a project at any given hour of the day or night. So, I woke the other morning and started a purse. I had the pattern from Sandi Henderson and a bunch of Heather Bailey Pop Garden fabrics sitting here, and though my sewing skills are not as awesome as my friend Gayle's, I did manage to create a lovely market bag. Lots of lessons learned here, but since I am forcing myself to overcome my fear of making things from real patterns, I was proud that I turned out a real purse.

I adapted the pockets to hold a pen, cell phone, and other stuff, instead of just being one huge pocket. And I added a key fob since I love having that on my purse right now, and that was simple to do. Don't ask about the magnetic snap. The dang thing didn't come with instructions, but I realized once the purse was finalized that I didn't install it correctly. Oh well. It will work for a while; then I'll just have to either rip the thing apart and fix it or live without it.

It's big, but it should be the right size to serve as a Mom Tote while on vacation! And when people ask if I made it myself, for once I can say "YES". (And then they will see the lame stitching and realize that my skills are still building. ;)

Baby Palooza

*whew* I did it. Starting last Friday, one week ago, I started cranking out baby gifts. The first was a set for my sister's sister-in-law, who is due to have twins in the not-too-distant future, so her shower is fast approaching. I needed to have that in my sister's hands before vacation, so I finally managed to bring my sketch to life. I had this idea a few weeks ago, sketched it out, and then had to wait until I had time. I was going nuts because I couldn't wait!

And ... I love them. I have dubbed them "Baby Beans"; the lil' bitty baby burritos. Don't even think of stealing my idea! Ha! ;) “lil’ bitty” because they are small. “beans” because they are human beans, as in the children's novel "The Borrowers" (Mary Norton). “burritos” because they are completely swaddled. How's that for a writeup on something so small that a three-month-old can hold it? I used a bunch of ribbons as hair and feet (yeah, I know they are swaddled, but use your imagination here!)

On top of that, I had recently seen some "loveys", so I extended my ribbon and bright colors theme to make some small blankets with ribbons as well. I did a patchwork of the coordinating Erin McMorris fabrics, along with pink flannel, and backed it with cream-colored minkee that has raised hearts. Too cute, really.

Then, somewhere in the middle of making all of that, I had to pause and make a burp cloth for Miss E to use for her dolls. I dug out an old (yes, used!) Gerber diaper, added a strip of flannel and some ribbons, and voila, a fancy burp cloth for my little mommy. It's not very impressive, but she likes it.

I forgot to photograph the other lovey I made to match the brown floral bib I made a while back and still haven't delivered, so maybe someday I'll post that. I have another lovey almost done that is four different squares (all four used on the twin beans) that I just need to add the ribbons to and sew the back on. I'll get to that after vacation. It was just for Miss E, who really doesn't need it, but still wanted one for her dolls. Oy. It's all about the dolls, isn't it?!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Works in progress

Sorry, y'all. I've been consumed by baby palooza; details to come. I finally finished up all of the baby shower and new baby gifts I needed to get done prior to vacation, so I'll be posting that in and around packing (don't peek if you think it might be for you!) ... and making a purse, which I hope to have done tomorrow. It's been nonstop crazy sewing around here, and Miss E has been awesome. We leave for vacation on Monday and this will be a busy weekend as we experience Maker Faire *and* finish packing ... yikes!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy tummy

Oh my ... I went looking for a new pumpkin muffin recipe this morning before Miss E was awake, and stopped on a blog I really enjoy: Baking Bites. I found a couple of muffin recipes that left me drooling, and on one page, there was a related link to ... Chai Oatmeal. That caught my attention. I just absolutely love chai (as much as I love my lattes), and we eat oatmeal about every other morning these days. Miss E loves chai, too. I love spicing up plain oatmeal with a variety of add-ins, but this one topped any of my own creations, so I had to share it: chai oatmeal with mango.

Her description alone had me, but once I got a bite of my own this morning, I was hooked. I think this is a new favorite. She really hit on it with the mix of chai spices and the mango. I added raisins (sorry, I always have to do something, don't I?), but other than that, followed it with my own size of dashes and half dashes of spices. Ah, you must check it out ...

Now, maybe after I finish a doll, clean the cat boxes, squeeze in a workout, and marinate some chicken, I might have time to make those muffins. Who am I kidding?!?!?

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Miss E is obsessed with Sandi Henderson and her children ("Mommy, I want to see Sandi's website. Can I see pictures of Eliza and Ethan?")*, and in the photos for ruffle pants, Eliza is holding two giant Whirly Pops -- those giant lollipops. Miss E wanted one, so I got to thinking, and while trying to fall asleep the other night, came up with a way to make one from felt. Kind of saves on the teeth ... and cuts back on the sugar!

I just used two felt circles, then cut a slightly smaller circle out of quilt batting and did a blanket stitch around the outside. I added a wooden popsicle stick, and then did a simple stitch in a spiral to give the effect of the rolled lollipop. It was an instant hit: "Just yike Eyi-juh's yoyyipop!" Cute ...

*Just a side note: She's obsessed with babies, too. After a trip to JoAnn the other day, she came home and told me that one of her dolls was "the baby that was at JoAnn" and "I'm her mommy." They don't even need names anymore!

Short girl custom monster shoulder bag

My BFF's mom loved the monster tote so much that she requested a custom one for herself, so here it is, as a sneak preview for her. She's picking it up tomorrow. She opted for turquoise instead of orange (nice choice), with a messenger-style strap and cell phone pocket. I couldn't find the turquoise felt on the bolt, so I made the strap black to match the cell pocket. To pimp it up a bit, I added some colorful shapes on the straps and used a fancier method of attaching it to the bag. There's one more fun little surprise for her, but I'm not tellin' yet, MomBoo. You'll have to wait to see it for yourself! ;)

The monster is nearly identical to the one on Miss B's orange tote, but the antenna on this one spirals in the opposite direction. This one is definitely a better sewing job, and my embroidery is improving, too. Such fun!