Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking onward

Happy New Year's Eve to anyone still monitoring my long-ignored blog. See, here's what happened. At the end of August, I bought a serger. I had gotten some money from my grandma, about a year after her passing, so I used part of it to buy a serger. It has been wildly fun, and I've made an array of fairy dresses, skirts, some beautiful dresses and a shirt from a Sandi Henderson pattern, and countless other things. It's just that when I've had free time, like I said before, I have sewn, not blogged. I've had tons of fun making things, including more dolls (even one cute Christmas one) for both girls. As the end of this year approaches, I've decided I don't need to document absolutely everything I make, and I don't need to apologize for not blogging. We'll see how this next year goes, but I do know I'll be a-makin'!

Miss E has been quite the little maker, too, and I am constantly impressed with the ideas she comes up with. I've turned her loose with needles, thread, floss, scissors, glue and an array of sequins, pompoms, felt, buttons and fabric. I love watching her get so excited about the things she makes, and I hope it never ends. She made Christmas tree ornaments for my parents as a surprise gift, and even cut out some of the shapes on her own (particularly the pink snail). She decorated a few more of the animal shapes, so we made them into a small garland for Nana to hang at her house.

And she surprised the heck out of me one day just before Christmas when she took some beads, floss, and a thick needle and actually strung those beads on the floss, one at a time. She brought it to show me, and I was amazed that she had not only come up with the idea to make a bracelet, but that she could take her small hands and string those tiny beads like that. Last year, she was learning to poke a shoestring through some chunky wooden block beads! I took her to Michael's and we bought some proper stretchy string and she picked out new beads, and she strung a beautiful bracelet for Nana; one that Nana is actually proud to wear. (I'd like one, too, Miss E!)

So here's to a happy and healthy new year, full of fun crafts and sewing projects! Cheers, y'all!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pretty burp cloths

My sister hand-dyed me some Gerber prefolds and they are absolutely beautiful. Miss E and I have been oogling them for well over a month now, but since Little Miss e has finally begun to have sloppy burps, I am now using all those burp cloths and am ready to make more. To my chagrin, she has been a non-messy burper for the first 8 weeks (doesn't even burp much!), and here I am with all these fancy burp cloths! Finally, messy messy spit-up. Can you believe I am excited about such a gross thing?

I started with the lovely grass green prefold and added some brown floral Heather Bailey fabric that I had left over from a scarf for my other sister. Very pretty, eh? Bring on the spit-up!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Got felt?

Over the past few weeks, a common thread seems to be felt ...

For two back-to-back 3-year-old girls' birthdays, I made pink crowns to compliment the tutus I had my sister make. The tutus were so gorgeous, and the crowns were fun to make. Fav color for all girls this age appears to be PINK. I've heard that the crowns were a hit with the little princesses. (As were the tutus, of course!)

Miss E collected a few acorns after preschool the other day, so we borrowed an idea I'd seen and made a Waldorf-inspired acorn doll. I never found a tutorial, so I just winged it, but she turned out okay. I was a bit too sloppy on the floss around the legs and arms, but Miss E doesn't seem to mind at all. I followed that immediately with the tiny felt house from the "Toys to Sew" book -- adorable, and a quick and easy project.

... and I've been wanting to do a larger Black Apple Doll, so in between making fairy/mermaid/princess* dresses, tops and skirts, I took another break and made a doll. I enlarged the pattern to 200% and it's the perfect size, according to Miss E, who has been carrying her around most days ever since she was created. Miss E reports that she is the right size to be a big sister to most of the other dolls she has, and that, as we all know, is an important duty! She's got bright orange felt for hair, this time with cutesy "bunny ears" as they are called in our house, and I loved the hair paired with the Erin McMorris fabric I had left.

* They are somewhat interchangeable, aren't they? I need to get some photos of the clothes I've sewn ... a different direction, indeed. Since costume fabric is on sale this time of year, we've bought quite a bit and made use of it. I also bought a serger and have been having a blast playing with that. More to come, one of these days. More sewing and more blogging!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Boy stuff

I'm lousy at coming up with boy ideas, but I think I'm finally getting better. Let's just say it's a good thing I have two girls, or they would probably be sick of robots, monsters and aliens! That said, robots, monsters and aliens ARE cute, and yes, I've made two more. These were special thank you gifts for the two midwives who delivered little miss e (not to be confused with Big Miss E!), and since today was my final six-week checkup, we delivered the fun stuff to Anabel and Lauren for their little boys.

Anabel has an 18-month-old son, and he received a wacky robot, this one with some crazy ribbon hair. Lauren has a 6-month-old son, and he received a fun and crazy-haired alien. The idea for the alien came from one of the funniest books that Miss E has been given as a gift (thanks to my sister) ... "Aliens Love Underpants". We were reading the book a week or two ago and decided that the little blue alien on a particular page was too cute, and that he should be made into a plushie. Hopefully both boys will like the gifts as well as their mamas did!

A month or so ago, while still pregnant and waiting, I also finished the baby stuff for my sister, who is due at the end of this month with ... a baby boy. She selected the fabric, and it is truly cute. It's a brand-new David Walker print from the line Oh Boy!, with lots of little dinosaurs all over. I bought four fat quarters (stripes and pattern included) and squeezed out a bib, two burp cloths, and a small baby quilt. I have just enough left for a special surprise gift, but she won't get that until the little dude is born.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Slippers for Cinderella

Miss E needs slippers for preschool; it's what they wear inside the classroom. I was about to spend $28 on a new pair of Robeez when I realized I could probably make her a pair. I found a fabulous tutorial from Stardust Shoes, got some pretty fat quarters and non-skid fabric at JoAnn last week, and put some cute slippers together. Honestly, they are so very simple, and the tutorial is fantastic. In and around a sleeping/crying baby, I got the pieces cut out, the interfacing ironed on, and finally assembled them.

I used the flickr group's input to size them appropriately, and at 140%, they mimic a size 7 toddler/preschooler. They are a bit wide, but that just gives her breathing and stretching room and she hasn't complained a bit. I used brown fleece for the inside sole, which she says is super comfy. We'll probably be making more at some point since they are so simple to do ... and cost a teensy fraction of the cost of Robeez!

And using the same two fabrics, I finally squeezed in the time for another doll. I had found the Black Apple Doll pattern and really wanted to try that out to compare it to what I have made up. All in all, it's very similar -- just a basic cloth doll. However, it's adorable and Miss E is in love with her. We named her Leilani (Hawaiian for "heavenly child" or "heavenly flower"). She just gives off that aloha feel! Again, a very simple thing to make in and around a sleeping/crying baby (working in spurts of anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour and a half), and the payoff is amazing. I just love the fact that some of the dolls Miss E uses the most are the ones I've made ... and now I've got a new baby girl to make MORE dolls for -- yippee! :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Princess crown

Today, I was asked to make a princess crown, so I did. Not like I had anything else to do! I didn't have any fancy wool felt; all I have in my stash is the 9x12 stuff made from recycled plastic bottles. Thus, it's not as thick as the wool felt, but it ended up working. The fusible interfacing I have is light/medium weight. Regardless, the crown sits up straight on the princess's head, so all is good.

I found the pattern and tutorial from a blog that many others seemed to be referencing, and it was very straightforward and simple. I was not in the most creative mood for decorating it, but felt kind of Amy Butler-ish, so I used a couple of the smidgens of AB fabric left in the bottom drawer. A couple of felt flowers and sequins, a strip of flower ribbon, plus a cute flower button from my mom's stash (got that at Christmas -- thanks, Mom!). The only thing I'd check closer next time would be the head measurement. It seems a bit tight, and my 3-year-old has a smallish sized head. She says it fits, though ... And who's to argue with a princess?

(oops: updated 7/22/09. I realized later on that the reason it's tight is b/c I only had 9x12 felt, so each side was probably 1/2 an inch shorter than the actual pattern. My fault! I should have added the extra inch to the elastic and fabric, and we would have had the right size! But ... she still doesn't care!)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Crazy sewing

This is getting a bit ridiculous. Two nights ago, I couldn't sleep and what finally was occupying my head was how to create a backpack for Miss E. There just are very few preschooler-sized simple backpacks out there. How hard can it be to make one, I thought. That is always a dangerous thought for me. I get this challenge in my head, and I have to figure out how to make it. I don't buy many patterns, and the more I sew, the more I do from scratch. It's just how I get my kicks! Anyhow, at some point, after laying there too long, I got up and sketched it out and the next morning (yesterday), since the baby had not made an appearance yet, started on the pattern. I used my purse as a model for size and shape (Judy makes absolutely gorgeous purses!) It is a tad big for Miss E's back, but I wanted to make something that she wouldn't outgrow right away. I didn't want to mess with adjustable straps because 1) that is a bigger learning curve, and 2) I wanted to do it with existing supplies, not have to make a trip to JoAnn first. The only instructions I followed were from the Simple Tote in the Amy Karol book, just so I could figure out the assembly at the end.

I cut the pattern pieces from freezer paper and held them up to her time after time, finally getting it to the point at which I was happy. By lunch, I had all of the fabric cut out and ready to go. I had a half yard of Sugar Snap from Melissa Averinos that I had not used for my friend's tote bag, plus scraps left from that project, and it was just enough to do a backpack. I love the colors -- rich and vibrant, with the lavender zigzag for the inside to contrast. Miss E loved the fabrics when they came in the mail, and I'd promised that I would make her something with the leftovers, so this was perfect.

After a brief nap, I was back at it, almost fanatical, really. I had decided it HAD to be completed before I went into labor, so it was a high-adrenaline afternoon of sewing. What a trip! The toughest part for me was figuring out how to assemble it with the straps attached only to the outer layer (I think that was the ONLY way!), and then the whole matter of putting the lining and outside layers together always leaves me temporarily stymied and babbling out loud to myself. However, I am very excited to say that this is the first project in a long time that had NO seams ripped out. I did it! Sure, it's a bit big and I suppose it's not absolutely perfect, but for something with no pattern, no instructions and only one day to complete it, hey, this looks pretty darn cool! Miss E, of course, loves it.

Now, we didn't make it out the door for dinner until 9:30pm. Oops. But we closed down Chuy's and we had an excellent Tex-Mex meal, complete with jalapeno ranch dressing and some delicious green chile chicken rellenos. YUM!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Which came first?

Well, looks like the quilt came before the baby. The race was on, but nothing yet from baby girl, so Miss E finally got her quilt. The fabrics are Sandi Henderson's Ginger Blossom collection, in cotton and flannel, and a bit of minky added for texture and color. The back is her choice of kona cotton from JoAnn in hot pink.

The quilt instructions are from the Amy Karol book (see Easy Lap Quilt), except I decided to speed things up and skip the hand-sewn binding. Instead, I just sewed a double topstitch on the right side before doing the basic machine stitch up the rows and a few extra lines in between the rows.

It has been good practice for a lot of things, straight stitching in particular, and I learned a lot from making it. After all, it's my first. Nothing is perfect, but it's pretty! I was planning to wash and dry it after it was fully sewn, following Amy's suggestion in the book (to hide imperfections), but I realized as I was pinning it together today that -- oops! -- the Eco-Craft corn-fiber batting I am using cannot go in the dryer. Darn. So we'll see how it looks after it's washed and hung to dry. At the moment, I've been told I can't wash it. I even got some tears when I mentioned I was going to wash it. I guess that means she likes it! She's been wrapped up in it since it was completed and wouldn't even let me take a photo without her in it!

If this baby is still waiting tomorrow, I may try making a much smaller baby-sized blanket with a quilted top and chenille back. See, I keep making plans, and she hasn't interrupted yet ...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pimpin' my sister's Etsy site

My sister just launched her Etsy site, winning the game of who is first. She beat me to it by a long shot, and she launched before I had my baby (still waiting). She's got some adorable baby stuff and excellent kid stuff, so check her out:
Wild Asparagus on Etsy

I'm so excited for her!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Baby hats

Okay, I know it's beginning to sound like all I do is sew ... but hey, I'm waiting on this baby and it's summer. No music class. No preschool. No planned activities and it's 100 degrees outside. I have all the boring stuff done, so it's finally time for the fun stuff! Today, I tackled the hat project. Conclusion? Too dang easy!

I surfed around, looking at patterns and tutorials online. This is a good one: Easiest Baby Hat Ever Tutorial. I finally realized after reading a few, though, that I didn't really need more than a simple understanding that you're just creating a square or rectangle. There are other designs that have cute, long "tails" on them, fun animal hat designs, and lots of creative options. I went with the simplest for now.

How does it work? Measure the head, add 1/2 inch. Figure out how high you want it, add 1/2 inch or so. Cut rectangle from fleece, fold in half, sew side seams. Trim corners at top, turn right side out. Fold brim edge under to depth of hem you prefer, stitch. Then, the decorating ... you can pinch the corners, put a few stitches through to hold "ears" in place, or tie up with pretty ribbons, stitch to hold in place, and voila, you are done.

I made the doll hat first and it was so fast I don't know how long it took. I timed myself on the actual baby hat, and it took a whopping 23 minutes! The hardest part was pushing the needle through the ribbon bows and fleece -- ouch. Besides that, piece o' cake!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's totally addictive

So this morning, I told the baby she couldn't come today. I needed to sew. I made another burp cloth, in maybe half an hour, and love that one. (Shown in the photo below.) I was going to start sewing Miss E's quilt together during the afternoon, but I got caught up playing on Facebook and Etsy ... and by the time Miss E got up, she told me that was NOT what I should be doing. No quilt today. Hmm ... So instead, I listened to her and pulled off another project that I've been wanting to try.

I took the simplest onesie from her Tidoo dolls, traced it onto a sheet of paper, cut it out, determined how I wanted to sew it, and an hour later (or less!) had a brand-new onesie for her dolls. (Saves me a whopping $20. I can't believe prices on doll clothes.) Miss E is in love with the fuzzy outfit. We found the fabric at JoAnn in the remnant bin and have held onto it for a month or two, wanting to use it for "something special" as Miss E likes to say. I have to admit, this was the easiest doll outfit imaginable. I just finished the edges and didn't even bother to hem the neck, sleeves or leg openings. The back closes up with a strip of Velcro, and I added a bright pink ribbon across the chest. Piece of cake, and darn cute, too.

And for grins, here's a look at the bedroom/office/sewing corner before we picked anything up. What a mess! Lucky for me, while I typed this, Miss E cleaned up ALL of her stuff, proudly asking me, "Doesn't it look marvelous?!" Why yes, it does!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Babies babies babies

I'm 38 weeks pregnant, and instead of packing bags for the birth, what am I doing? Sewing. I should be working on quilts for the girls. I have all the strips cut, and they are fairly simple. But no ... instead, I'm making fairies, and now burp cloths, wash cloths and probably bibs. Maybe a small blanket. Oy. I just can't help it! It's seriously addictive, and since my mother-in-law gave me a generous gift card to JoAnn for my birthday, I bought a pile of pink, flowerly flannel, pink and lavender terry cloth, and cream chenille. I also had this adorable kitten print (flannel) that I've hung onto for a year, wondering what to make of it, and it worked out, ahem, purrfectly.

I keep seeing all these cute baby things at baby stores and thinking that I should be home making them, so yesterday I went to work and made this whole pile, plus an extra wash cloth for Miss E (to match baby sis's) and two Miss E-sized burp cloths that she can use with her dolls. We have to match, you know!

I found some great tutorials and then just went crazy. I'll probably fit in a bib or two yet, like I said, but the burp cloths are so dang cute -- and simple, too. Sometime, I'll pack those bags ... hopefully before it's too late!

Blissful bunny

I can't believe I never posted the bunny. I just love her. She was a birthday gift for Miss E's BFF, and I think a big hit. She's made from two cute Sandi Henderson fabrics and a whole lot of muslin. Miss E decided she should have the muslin face, and I went with button eyes for a change. Cute?


Around here, fairies are a favorite. Miss E received a very cute fairy book for her birthday, and every time I read it, I think, "Hmm. I could make a doll like that ..." And one day, last week, it hit me. I could NOT suppress the urge to create, so here is Harmony the Peace Fairy, as she turned out. I still need to work on the pattern for face and neck joining to body, but ... Miss E doesn't care. Harmony now hangs out with Poppy, the first fairy I ever made, and they are quite chummy.

She's only about 7 inches tall, and those arms, legs and braids were ... um ... a royal pain, putting it mildly. Turning those was an art form. Or something. But I managed to get it all done, and she's pretty cute.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Still here!

Sorry y'all ... I have not posted much at all lately, though I'm napping less on most days. Of course, every time I say that, I end up taking a 2-hour nap the next day!

There have been a few small projects and a very awesome tote bag in the past month or two, none of which are posted yet. A cute baby project for a friend is in the works. Miss E has snagged some new fabric at JoAnn that we probably will turn into a doll blanket, and I finally used a cute pink bird print for two mini placemats for Miss E's play kitchen. More on that one of these napless days.

However, my time over the last week has been spent starting my very first quilting project. It's a very simple quilt. Well, two of them, one for each girl, from the Amy Karol book. I got most of the fabric that I had cut, though I realized just how big they were (45 x 60 inches doesn't SOUND so big ...) and decided I'd better halt and buy more fabric, much to my DH's chagrin, I'm sure. But ... it's for the girls, right? And before #2 is born, I really want to get them done since I've been holding onto the fabric for over six months now.

So, the next round of beautiful Sandi Henderson fabric is in the mail and should be arriving soon. And then I cut more, the slow part of any project. The fabric, if you're wondering, is what I used for her giant birthday cupcake and more from the Ginger Blossom line. So absolutely beautiful and I can't wait to see the next batch in person. It's that crazy fabric obsession I have ... and Miss E has the gene as well. Another day or two and I get to touch it!

Hang in there; the posts are slow, but I'm still sewing, despite being 33 weeks pregnant!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I confess; we love chickens around here. It started last summer with our first visit to Boggy Creek Farm and it has only grown. First it was Miss E, then me. My mom painted a beautiful chicken picture that hangs in our kitchen now, and Miss E has a rooster painting in her room. We have bought a few stuffed animal chickens, but I was poking around on Etsy yesterday and found several adorable ones. I admit; I copied. However, I did have to come up with the pattern on my own and figure the whole thing out. And after about two hours, Miss E got a very colorful and delightful Lucy Chicken, who now seems to hatch eggs every hour, at least. She has put some cheer into our lives, without a doubt!

That fabric has been sitting here, waiting for the perfect project.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Birthday cupcake

Miss E had a birthday this past week, too. In some ways it's hard to believe she's 3, and in other ways it just seems normal. In any case, I have a very unfinished felt birthday cake hiding away upstairs that will be given to her when it's completed. I tried to get it done for three weeks and am still working on it. So on her birthday, we started a new project, a giant cupcake. I had ordered Sandi Henderson's cupcake pattern, so I cut out all the pieces to make the hi-cal version (6 by 6 inches!), deciding it, too, would make a sweet birthday "cake" for the birthday girl's overflowing play kitchen. I sewed it up over the next two days, marveling at Sandi's creativity in the design. I see now why it took weeks to work out the details -- but it's perfect and the pattern was simple to follow. Last night, I finished it up and Miss E was delighted. "Can I sleep with it?" Of course. "Can I hug it?" Yep. "Can I play with it?" Yeppers. She rushed off to show Daddy, shrieking, "Daddy, look at my giant cupcake! I love my cupcake!" And it's huge, alright. And gorgeous!

I should mention that for her 3rd birthday, she received one beautiful handmade apron (using an embroidered pillowcase), a pastry chef hat and apron with potholder and oven mitt, and a set of two handmade (and gorgeous!) potholders and an oven mitt from my creative sister. And a ton of stuff from Ikea: a baking set, pots and pans, tumblers and wine glasses, ice cube trays to use as cupcake pans, and a tea set. My sister got her a tin tea set (yay -- one that is unbreakable!), and my brother got her a stand mixer. She has mixed up a hundred cakes, pies, and I'm not sure what else. My inlaws got her a coffee maker, tea kettle and toaster. Her kitchen is fully outfitted for a very creative little baker, and she just loves it!

In addition, I had to buy her a realistic play iron from Braun. It looks so much like my iron (though mine is not from Braun), and she was so excited to put it to use. "Mommy, I'm making you an apron!" she said as she began ironing one of hers. Her creativity amazes me every day ... in the kitchen, with sewing, with Play-doh, with clay, with crayons and markers. She spends as much time as she can MAKING things, and I love it!

An apron for Nana

Okay, so I confess I bought the fabric and the pattern last August, planning to make an apron for my mother-in-law. I thought I'd mail it and surprise her; she'd asked for a bright, cheery apron twice and we never did find one for her. I think she'd given up. Then I thought I'd just take it with us when we visited in October ... but I *still* hadn't made the apron at that point.

Her birthday was this past week, so I committed, and YES, I got it done. Learned a few things along the way, too, like that I need to sew more often so I don't forget to undo things when I wind bobbins and screw up my tension. Oy. As I've said before, it's good that I'm married to an engineer who can figure things out. My apron was looking pretty good, provided no one turned it over and looked at the underside, but I was getting very frustrated and could not figure out how to adjust the tension. Then I remembered what happened last time. Oops. Call up the hubby and ask him to open the sewing machine up and figure it out. He did; I cut out a whole new apron and the next day sewed it up with no issues at all and fairly decent stitching for once. So I've got a cute apron for myself, with lousy stitching, and my MIL got a beautiful apron with lovely stitching. On time, even! Yippee!

p.s. I think aprons look cute on my 6-month pregnant belly!

More cardboard fun

Miss E wanted a doll cradle, so we added that to Daddy's honey-do list. Being a creative engineer, he asked if cardboard was okay. Miss E said she was fine with that, so he dropped by REI, found some large boxes in need of reuse or recycling, and sketched out some plans based on a real cardboard baby crib he found on the web. After a few hours of cutting and gluing, voila!, a lovely doll cradle that rocks back and forth. It's perfect! We left it plain so Miss E can decorate as she wishes; her choice. She thinks her Daddy is the greatest!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Felt sweets

Where oh where did the first quarter of 2009 go?! Surprisingly, I was barely in front of the sewing machine for most of January and February ... Instead, I was hand sewing a TON of felt sweets. I made a half dozen cookies for a 2-year-old's birthday, and then a half dozen more for a friend's children. Add in four petit fours and a handful of chocolate bonbons for those kiddos. It was supposed to be a Christmas order, but since my time has slowed to a crawl, they worked out as a Valentine's treat. I whipped out a heart-shaped blueberry tartlet for Miss E for Vday, as well as a handful of tiny heart-shaped cookies. And no, I don't seem to have any photos of those!

The cutest, though, were the bunny cakes. They are, according to my Japanese craft book, a traditional November treat in Japan. In any case, they are quick to whip up and just plain adorable. I made three; two vanilla and one chocolate. Miss E, taking after her mother, chose the chocolate bunny to be hers.

The felt sweets are adorable, but they take up so much time that I've decided to wind down on those and get back to sewing ...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Christmas presents

As promised, here are ALL of the Christmas presents I made this year. Believe it or not, I was in a panic when we arrived at O'Hare only to find out that the suitcase with every gift was ... missing. My fabulous husband spent three hours on the phone the next day, and then five more hours driving to retrieve the suitcase. He was the hero of Christmas, without a doubt.

Max got a pirate crocodile with button eyes.

Sam, two months old, got an alien baby, who doesn't mind at all if he's covered with baby drool. He can be washed, if necessary!

Molly got a Molly Dolly. She's based on the pattern I've been using for the Ella Bella dolls, and she matches the skirt Miss M got as well. Love that crazy hair!

Simon got a 14-inch felt pizza, loaded with toppings. YUM!

Mary got a scarf and matching pin. The pin is a Heather Bailey mini pattern, the fabrics are Heather Bailey Pop Garden.

Vicki got a tote bag based on the charming handbag pattern from Amy Karol. I have requests for three of these now!

And Miss E? She got a cute little turtle buddy (Amy Karol book pattern) using scraps of Amy Butler fabric; a little worm named Stella, with pillow, blanket and mattress (she claims to be Slimey's girlfriend); and a twirly skirt in, of course, pink. (Molly's is the apple print.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Update on my plans to sell

In short, I'm bummed.

I may not stand a chance of even opening my Etsy shop now. Not due to overscheduling or being too tired or anything like that. It's because of a law that has been passed and is about to go into effect on Feb. 10. If it is not amended, I won't be able to sell toys without having everything certified by a third party to prove it's not full of lead. Lovely, huh?

I had read about this months ago, after getting a heads-up from a friend, but I didn't believe it would go through as written ... It did. Any small businesses making toys, any home businesses, any crafters will NOT be able to continue selling dolls, stuffed animals, felt play food ... you name it. Handmade toys that are sold will be considered contraband, if you can believe that. It sounds like some weird law from the Burgermeister Meisterburger, in the Christmas movie "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town".

Welcome to what is about to become reality here in the United States, right now.

Curious? Do your part -- fast. Comments must be submitted by Jan. 30, so if you have time to write your senator or representatives, please do so.

Information is here. (With all links you will need.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inspirational friends

Man, I only *wish* I could be as creative with children's projects as my friend Heidi! I'm going to pimp her brand-new blog here because she always has the best ideas that combine books with activities for preschoolers and toddlers.

I will say that I found a cute book yesterday, by a part-time Austinite, and can easily use it to inspire Miss E with making Valentine's Day cards for our family and friends. It's called "The Day It Rained Hearts" by Felicia Bond. Creative and clever, just like Heidi. We've already had to stamp and color several sheets of construction paper since opening the cover!

Check out Heidi's blog:
Read 'Em and Leap

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Too-sweet sweets

I'm such a sucker for cute play food! I'm making some cute little petit fours for a friend's children and am in LOVE with the "My Favorite Felt Sweets" book I got for Christmas. Such adorable stuff, straight from Japan, of course! And today, Miss E and I found a tiny tin of play chocolates from Haba. All wooden, and maybe 1/2 or 3/4 of an inch apiece. 9 tiny chocolates in a tin -- how cute is that?!

Now I will have to make some of the chocolates out of the felt book, too. If you want to see some of the fun things that Haba makes, check these out:
fun play foods from Haba

S-W-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-T! Honestly, how can you resist some of these tiny things? You have to see and touch them to see just how tiny they are, but trust me, they are cute.

Now, one of these days, I'll have to post pics of all the Christmas gifts I made. Somehow, I did manage to make something like 9 gifts in a week. Whew!


Follow-up ...
It took less than an hour to make two tiny chocolates from the sweets book. They are shown here on an espresso saucer. I can't wait for Miss E to wake up so she can see them!

Catch up

No, not ketchup or catsup ... though we have done a lot with food lately, real and pretend. I'm quite behind here ... my apologies. Colds, travel, pregnancy, and gift-making have completely wiped me out for the last 6 or 7 weeks. I'm 14 weeks pregnant now ... yippee! But that seems to wipe out naptime crafting ... boo!

However, while hubby was away for the weekend after New Year's, Miss E picked out a fab and too cute little recipe from our "First Meals" book. I swear, these are some of the tastiest kids' dishes you'll find ... thank you, Annabel Karmel. So what did Miss E pick? Well, it was one of the most complicated recipes, of course, but what else did we have to do on a Saturday night? We made Sleeping Dolls. I think they are Sleeping Cannelloni in the book, but Miss E says Sleeping Dolls.

They taste phenomenal, and the decorating part was really quite simple. Miss E and I both enjoyed them, though the 2.5 hours of cooking did wipe me out. We had them for dinner with Daddy the next night, though, and he, too, said they were awesome. And aren't they just the cutest food you've ever seen on the dinner table?! Miss E asked for all the doll faces and hair. Those mushrooms and capellini were a hit, as were the olives (the feet). Lucky for me, she loves food. Spinach, mushrooms, all that made her a happy eater that night, though she was less in love with the cheese sauce. Nevermind, I loved it! Rich, and adorable ... and so much fun!