Scavenger Hunt Bag

28 02 2011

Well, it’s finished.  19 pieces and 3 days later, it’s all assembled and ready for the big reveal.  I tell BB about it and he is excited; I explain that we can carry it with us when we go hiking and he can use it to collect interesting things he finds.  “Oh!” he says.  “Like leaves and rocks and…shiny rocks!”  At this point I’m excited too because guess who usually gets to carry all the rocks he finds on our hikes?  I’ll give you a hint: it’s not him.  Sadly, that was as far as the enthusiasm went.  He willingly tried it on, and it’s a great size (I was a little worried since the strap is not adjustable), but he didn’t want any part of it.  I was a little crushed because I worked really hard on it and thought he might be a little more excited, but then I should know better by now.  That’s why I like doing clothes; they don’t even notice them, they just wear them and I get to enjoy seeing them use something I made.  Handmade toys?  Forget it.  I think I’ll tuck this away until it’s warm enough to use it, then maybe it will be received enthusiastically again.  The tutorial was great, and I thank Steffanie at Sew grown for providing it.  The fruit of my labors:

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It started out as half a pair of jeans (the other half having gone into baby pants) and scraps of linen from a sling (plus some Alexander Henry 2D Zoo that I have been looking for an excuse to use).  I skipped the piping, which looks great, but I am sticking faithfully to my no-buy. 

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The bonus is that the inside has pockets too, from the jeans, as well as one that I cut out and stitched onto the back of the bag.  Then I used the button from the jeans to make a closure for the bag.  Of course, that means BB will have to learn to open and close a button, but that’s a useful life skill anyway.

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I can’t wait for warmer weather so we can get outside and try it out!  (Can you tell I am sick of winter?)  I read about letterboxing the other day and I was so excited to try it out that I almost dragged the kids on a winter hike (which we do occasionally), but then I realized that even if we could follow the clues to the right location, the box would be well and truly buried in the snow.  Then comes the season of unending mud, but by May we should be good to go so… 3 more months?  I hope we survive; we are all getting some serious cabin fever!





Waffles!

27 02 2011

It’s been a while since I shared any of my favorite recipes, so I thought I would write about my current favorite (which is also out of the Cook’s Illustrated score from a while back).  Waffles!  Now, usually I would say “Waffles?  That’s too much work when you have 2 little guys clinging to your legs at 6am.”  But the great thing about these is that they are yeasted waffles, so you mix them up the night before and in the morning you just fire up the waffle iron and you are ready to go!  It’s as fast as toasting freezer waffles, and so, so, so much better.  Convinced yet?  Here’s my recipe, which is substantially modified.  (I love butter as much as anyone, but we eat these a lot, and a whole stick is a bit much.)

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 ** Yeasted Waffles**

* 2 cups milk

* 4 T butter, melted

* 2 eggs

* 1.5 t vanilla

* 1 T sugar

* 0.5 t salt

Warm milk in microwave (so when you add melted butter it doesn’t solidify on top…ask me how I know).  Add in the butter and whisk well.  Add eggs, vanilla, sugar, and salt and mix it all up.  I do this in a great batter bowl thing I got at wal-mart; it holds 8 cups, which is good because this recipe will about double overnight in the fridge, so make sure whatever you use is big enough.  Next add:

* 2 cups flour (I do a 50:50 mix of white and whole wheat, add in some flax meal if you are feeling really crazy)

* 1.5 t instant yeast

Whisk it all up till smooth, cover and pop in the fridge.  In the morning just pull it out, stir it down and cook!  The boys love it, but honestly they would eat cardboard if you presented it like this:

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Oh man, I don’t care how out-of-season strawberries are, this was so good.  So good.  I am ready for spring and more strawberries… 

Let me know if you try it!  I hope you find, even with the modifications, that they are “crispier, tastier, and more convenient to prepare than regular waffles”, as CI says.

(By the way, I am not done with Celebrate the Boy, not by a long ways, I am hard at work on a Scavenger Hunt bag for BB and it has been a 3 day project but I’m excited for the final result!)





Refashioned Raglans

24 02 2011

Nothing fancy today, just a few shirts I have finished up this week for Celebrate the Boy!  I’m continuing to raid the giant box of old t-shirts I have retired. The pattern is the Patrick Raglan, which at first I thought was too complicated but now I can crank out in no time, and I really like the look.  Before:

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LB gets plain white and grey (left), BB gets an old favorite of mine (and his), my “Free Cookies” shirt I got for donating blood ages ago.  LB’s shirt was sort of plain so I decided to try some decorative serging on the outside, and did a freezer paper stencil of a car, his favorite thing in the world:

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I think he likes it!

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Here is BB’s shirt:

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Arrrgh, the neckline got puckered when I was sewing on the collar!  I didn’t see any good way to fix it so I just figured (1) BB would never notice and (2) it would probably be less noticeable when worn, which I think is sort of true.  A modeling shot:

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I got these pictures first thing in the morning; I was so excited to try them on the kids.  Wouldn’t you know, by lunchtime they had both managed to stain them.  BB with blood (aack!) and LB with jam and poo (ugh! ick!).  As much as I loved the ideas for dressing up your little man on Made today, looking them over the outfits are $50-$100 apiece and it’s hard to justify that, no matter how adorable it is, when you know the outfit will be dirty (and possibly ruined) by midday.  Maybe my kids are messier than most?  Or maybe they’re just BOYS!  Anyway, it’s a nice feeling to make them an outfit that looks OK and that they like, and it was made of FREE materials, so when they bleed on it (*sigh*) you don’t have to panic about it!  (Well, maybe panic about the bleeding, but at least you don’t have to worry about the shirt.)





It’s the most wonderful time of the year

20 02 2011

Never mind that about feeling blah.  The next day, what comes along?  CELBRATE THE BOY month!  The BEST month in blogland (at least for those of us with all boys!).  Like with the Kids’ Clothes Week Challenge, it was just the swift kick in the rear that I needed to get going again.  I am checking Made and Made by Rae daily (OK, more like many times daily, just in case), browsing the Flickr pool, and just generally feeling inspired.  I love it!  My house is a total disaster but I have already gotten quite a bit of sewing done and some prep work for more projects… it’s very exciting.  Fortunately I have little helpers picking up the slack:

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Aren’t they precious?  They would sweep all day if I let them, but it often devolves into a brawl over who gets the big broom.  And there’s no reasoning with a 15 month old.  Anyway, on to the good stuff, or at least the sewing, I won’t presume to call it good.  Just done.  I had made a pair of maternity-waistband-style baby pants for LB and just fell in love with them, wondering why all baby pants aren’t like that.  So I immediately cut out 2 more pairs and then forgot about them for the next few months.  So, item number 1 on my CTB agenda: make dem pants.  I started with the jeans, which are cut from a loved-to-death pair of my old jeans, and decided to make them lined (inspired of course, by Made).  Well, I *ahem* skimmed the tutorial and decided to try it, but I wanted my serging on the inside and not the outside so that I could roll the cuffs and show the plaid lining, sort of LL Bean-esque.  And I don’t even know WHAT I did, but I ended up with 2 separate pairs of pants joined at the ankle.  Sigh.  Much cutting and swearing later, they were done, a little smaller than planned:

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They have a mock fly and everything, but I realized that with white thread, you can’t see it at all.  I might go back to these and add some detail, like back pockets and contrast stitching.  Or… I might be happy they’re done and call it a day.  With the navy waistband they really look like maternity pants, I didn’t love it at all, but with a shirt on, you don’t really see that part. 

Next up, I decided to tackle my overflowing box of old clothing.  I have kept a lot of this stuff rather than give it away once I started going to thrift stores to look for clothes to refashion, I figure I’m cutting out the middleman.  Besides, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t thing anyone would want most of these shirts… Huntsville space center, Polymer science club, GSUSA… they have sentimental value to me, but they are ratty and old, so finally I cut out the designs (to make a quilt from, a project for another day), and relegated the rest to the status of fabric.  I let BB pick 2 shirts and got started.  Of course he wanted blue and green, so I pulled out my Lil Blue Boo Hoodie pattern and got started:

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Two ratty (and boy do I mean ratty) old t-shirts have new life as a super cool, super BOY hoodie!  Just in time too, that boy is rapidly outgrowing his 3T clothes.  Old t-shirts from the “reclaimed clothing” box, get ready… your day is here!IMG_3254





Winter Blahs

15 02 2011

I officially have the winter blahs.  I have no energy or motivation to tackle big projects.  These days the mundane has taken over… I finished Big Project #1: our taxes.  Now I was going to work on Big Project #2: our annual photo book.  Since the kids were born we have been making an annual book with highlights from the year, since all our pictures are digital and we never get prints of them.  It’s a huge project (especially with my computer on the fritz), we have thousands and thousands of pictures, and I was going to work on it tonight, but it’s already time to give up for the day.  By the time the dishes are done, the laundry is run, the kitchen’s cleaned up, the toys put away (OK, some tv watched too), there is just no time for the big projects.  I thought instead I would quickly post some of the things we have been up to. 

For the Chinese new year, the boys an I did some ink wash paintings, an idea I saw (as usual) on the Crafty Crow.  I did a rabbit and BB did his best to imitate it.  Below is my rabbit, then sequentially the 3 that he did. 

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In my head I call them “Monkey”, “Evil Duck”, and “Almost a bunny”. 

I love the way they look up on the wall.  When we took down the Christmas cards, the wall looked so empty.  My husband is actually the one who suggested leaving up the string and clothespins and just hanging the kids’ art.  It’s a great idea!  Things on the fridge get knocked down all the time, so this gives us a nice way to put up their drawings and paintings. 

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The only project I have checked off my list is a weekly calendar.  It’s something I have wanted for a long, long time.  I bought several dry erase boards but could never get the setup quite right, and I wanted something easy and visual to have up for BB to see what was going on this week.  It’s not perfect but fortunately I am not a perfectionist. 

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I wish I had a “before” picture, but essentially it’s 2 dry erase boards from Walmart with the frames ripped off, then I hot glued supports across the top and bottom (hence the bumpiness of the frame), and also in 3 places on the back.  I kept on gluing and hot glued fabric around the edges to hide the cheap cardboard.  Then I used a sharpie to make the days.  I made magnets using promotional magnets we had on the fridge just by mod-podging on pictures I found. 

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Also not perfect.  Everything I’ve ever mod-podged is a lumpy mess.  But that’s OK because BB knows what they are, and that’s what matters.  I made 2 for the Y to denote preschool days for BB, then a birthday party, and various ones for places we often go.  I even did one with my parents so I can mark when they are coming… that’s a big event for us!

Other than that, I have been reading like crazy.  I took a book on vacation and just haven’t stopped since.  It’s a great winter activity so I don’t fight it.  Besides, it’s good for my kids to see me reading, right?  With my computer in its declining years and semi-retired to the top of the TV for the purposes of streaming Netflix, I have been way behind in my blog reading, which is probably a big part of why I can’t get up the motivation to sew anything… looking at other people’s work is always a big inspiration.  That may continue for the indefinite future, but I do have hopes of using up my fabric stash before we move (about 15 months), so at least I have a goal, maybe something will come of that deadline!