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 ...