Saturday, June 29, 2013

Six Happy Little Yarn Eggs for a Red Egg & Ginger Party

Six Happy Little Red Yarn Eggs for a Party
We moved to Singapore!  That is, husband, two kids, one dog and me.

Actually, its been about a year and a half since the incredibly intense experience of packing up our house, selling our furniture, putting stuff in storage, and flying with two children under the age of 4 halfway across the world.  Did I mention, we moved the dog? 

He had to be examined, tested, certified by the USDA to be ready to move.  He survived the over 20 hour flight only to be quarantined upon arrival for a month!

My husband started his new job, I found one for myself, our kids started at their new school.  All of which to say, I have not had the mental wits to resume writing this blog.  If not for the lovely ladies who keep writing me about how to get the little red yarn eggs, I might have put this off even longer.

One lovely lady in particular was sweet to write me about her daughter, Emma, who is going to be celebrating her Red Egg & Ginger Party next week.  I wanted to help her so I found the box that contained my yarn supplies, dusted off my patterns and made half a dozen of them.  (Yes, I moved ALL my craft supplies, except the sewing machine.)

Pretty Little Labels for Red Eggs
Emma's mommy will receive this little tags in an array of pretty patterns.  The back of them has her special date of arrival!

Red Eggs and Gift Tags
 Can't wait for her to open up her package!

Want to order eggs for party or crochet your own?  Write me or visit my etsy shop.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Shoes for the Summer

Its June!  High time for a banner change to welcome hot summer days.

After my last post in May about making a pair of shoes for Eden, I've taken on making baby shoes for my Etsy shop.  It's kept me busy (and kept me sane), so I've posted a pic of my favorite pair for the summer.  Its fun, cheery and brings a smile to my face.  A palette of my favorite colors - aqua and red.

These are meant for children, infant to toddler age so they are a little too small for Eden.  But they will make a sweet gift for an expectant mother, or a new mom who's eager to dress up her baby girl.

If you're tired of the ubiquitous Robeez-style shoes out there, these maryjanes are a soft, comfy alternative.

But enough about them....they are in my shop here if anyone's interested.  New tutorial coming up next!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tiny Steps

Eden & Eliot - ballet skimmer prototype for Eden

I'm not a very good blogger.  Good  bloggers write everyday or every other day, no matter what, and no matter how they feel.

I'm not a good blogger because I run out of things to say. 

With the world abuzz with Japan's tsunami crisis, Libya's revolt, and now Osama bin Laden's demise, I feel like I ought not to be writing about things like making felted flowers and baby shoes.  Which, truthfully, is what I'd been doing while the world churned with incredible newsworthy events.

I've also had various batches of guests in my house since mid February.  All wonderful people, no doubt, but talking to people all day leaves me little time to talk to myself.  Which is what blogging really is. 

So excuses aside, there is no other way to get back into the groove other than just taking the plunge.  Hence, here is my offering - one half of a slipper I am making for Eden, Prototype 1.0.

Its a ballet skimmer I designed for casual wear in the house (or outside, since it has faux suede bottoms.)  The sole has been padded with cotton batting and lined with felted wool.  The top is also felted wool - so the idea is for the foot to be completely cushed up in soft wooly comfort.  Add a pretty little bit of ruffle and an elastic strap, and this little puppy is as stylish as it is practical.

I would make the other shoe, except now that I've figured out how it can be done, I might as well move on to Prototype 2.0.  Oh, forgot to mention that this baby is completely hand-sewn!  I dig the feel of needle and thread, kind of hynoptic and calming for the mind.  Plus, the added advantage of no loud whirring to wake up the baby who has hearing like a bat.

Speaking of naps - there are SO many Mom blogs with fabulous tutorials/projects made by mothers during naptimes.  I honestly don't know how that's possible??  I mean, how long do these kids nap?  And why aren't these mothers running around, loading the washer, washing the dishes, folding the laundry, prepping dinner, shooing in the dog, picking up bits of lunch from the floor etc. etc...... oh, and don't forget, finally updating their Facebook status or writing a random blog post?

But I digress.  Back to the subject of footwear.  I'll be posting a few more examples of shoes I've made... working on a few more styles and colorways for a new launch on my etsy shop.  Oh, did I mention the felted wool comes from recycled sweaters?  (See first post on sweater slippers where this all started.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Little Red Egg and other Yarn Egg Friends

Eden & Eliot Crochet Yarn Eggs
I picked up my crochet hook again recently after a spell of almost a year.   After my son, Eliot, was born last April, I took to learning how to crochet because of many a late night spent nursing him.  The doctor had us put him on a frequent feeding schedule because of reflux, so I figured it would be less painful for me to stay awake between feeds rather than sleep for 45 minutes at a stretch. 

I made a bushel full of amirugumi toys and soon developed my own patterns.  When he turned a month old, I made the first Happy Little Red Egg.

Yesterday, Eliot turned one year old!  Happy, happy, birthday to my dear boy.

So here are a few other companions to the first Little Red Egg to join in the celebration.  I made Happy Little Pirate Egg, Chef Egg, and Cowboy Egg  - all wonderful characters with alot of personality.

With Easter is just round the corner, I thought it would be fun to have plenty of yarn eggs to hunt down instead of the usual candy variety.  They are easy to make and I put the patterns in my little etsy shop.  My sweet husband suggested I make enough eggs to fill a bed so our kids can jump into a a giant nest full of eggs.  Awesome idea but last I checked, he doesn't crochet, so nope I don't think its going to happen any time soon.

But I think if I knit a few every year, my children will have a basketful of characters by the time they're all grown up.  I can tag them by the year so they can look back and see when each little egg was made.  Now that, I can do.  Happy, happy!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reverse Applique and Stenciled Hand-Stitched 4-Panel Skirt with Pin-wheel Design

This is what's been occupying my time for a number of weeks past.

I made myself this cotton jersey knit skirt, 100% hand-stitched with a stenciled and appliqued pinwheel design at the hem.  I wore it last weekend, and to my great delight, it was incredibly comfortable and flattering.  (Which, I have to say, is an achievement that cannot be overstated given my post-baby figure.)

So here I am, wearing my skirt in the photograph above - taken a la Alabama Chanin style - thanks to their two inspirational books, Alabama Stitch Book and Alabama Studio Style.  I read about their stencil and stitching techniques but figured that if I was going to embark on such an laborious venture, I might as well come up with a design of my own.

Eden & Eliot - right side stenciled and stitched before cutting

It took me one evening to design, cut and stencil, but a good many nights of sewing thereafter.  What I gained from all those nights is a lesson that women throughout the centuries have already known - when your hands keep busy, your mind stays calm.

Eden & Eliot - close up of reverse applique, stitched and stenciled

The month of March has been challenging.  And I've needed some calm evenings.  Its brings me comfort to have something to show for it at the end of this time, however small it may be in the grand scheme of things.

True to my New Year's resolution, I have yet to buy any article of clothing for myself this year.  So I'm also glad to have made something I will cherish for, hopefully, a good many years to come.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Rain

I've been quiet lately on the blogging front because of grandparents' visits.  Not that I haven't thought about writing but I can't seem to find the mental space to actually put my thoughts to screen.

Nonetheless, spring officially arrived last Sunday bringing days and days of relentless rain.  Eden turned three last week but it rained on our picnic plans so we celebrated quietly at home.

Last year when she turned two, I threw her a monkey party complete with monkey themed favors, balloons, picnic food etc. I figured it would be her last big bash for a while since I was 8 months pregnant with No. 2.  My son, Eliot, arrived late Spring last year and he will be turning one in a few weeks. I'm not planning any big to-do for him either.

But party or no party this year, I am grateful for my children - who are growing every day into their uniquely quirky little selves.  I'm grateful for the rain, and for the nourishment that it brings to the earth despite the damper that it throws on my plans.  I think about the unspeakable suffering that must be endured by parents and children, separated by the wreckage caused by the tsunami in Japan.  Its good just having my children with me.  So very very good enough.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hand-stitched Spiral Applique and Stenciled Bicycle Onesie

Hand-stitched Spiral Applique & Stenciled Onesie by Eden & Eliot

I'm incredibly in love with the work of Natalie Chanin, as decribed in her two books, Alabama Stitch Book and Alabama Studio Style - in which she tells the story of how she came to found a hand-sewing industry among the women of her Alabama hometown, producing couture garments using traditional quilting techniques of the Old South.

I won't go into detail about the books (since there are plenty of rave reviews on Amazon), except to say that the techniques she shares are so accessible that I'm inspired to explore them in my own work.

This little embellished onesie I created for Eden is my first project using one of the techniques in the book - how to stitch a spiral applique.  The design is my own, as is the idea of using the spirals for the bicycle wheels.  I'll share about my own process here.


Prewash and dry the onesie.  Lie flat and pat to smooth out any wrinkles.  Do not pull or stretch.

Trace the bicycle drawing onto the onesie using the pattern tracing paper.  The lines are pretty faint, so you may want to redraw with a disappearing ink marker.

Figure out how large a circle you need for the wheels.  (This will depend on how large your drawing is.)  Draw and cut out a circle from your scrap cardboard, or use a large circle punch.  This will act as your stencil.

Pour out a small amount of ink on a shallow non-reactive dish.  Dip your foam brush into the ink - it will soak up fairly  quickly.  Tap the brush onto a scrap piece of fabric or cardboard to remove some of the ink.  You do NOT want to load the brush fully as it will cause too much seepage.

Using the cardboard stencil that you made, carefully apply the ink over the two bicycle wheels, making sure you lift the stencil directly upwards when you move from one wheel to the next.  It takes some practice to apply just the right about of ink.  Go slow and dab the brush with up and down strokes, especially at the edges of the stencil.  Do NOT brush sideways or you will cause the ink to smear under the edges.  (You will need to place a sheet of wax paper in between the layers of the onesie to protect the back of the shirt from getting inked.)

This is what you should get when you are done stenciling - the wheels of the bicycle are inked in blue.  Allow the ink to dry 24 hours, and heat set with a dry iron under a press cloth.

Next, cut two circles the same size as the wheels out of the scrap red knit fabric. 

Using a pair of sharp embroidery scissors, cut a spiral pattern from the outer edge of the circles towards their center.

Pin each spiral onto the stenciled inked circles (after they have been heat-set and are completely dry).

Using a straight (running) stitch and 3 strands of embroidery floss, stitch the spiral down starting from the center out towards the edge.  Pull the spiral apart as your stitch, at times overlapping the edges so that you get a "random" effect.  Just make sure the outer edge of the spiral meets the outer edge of the underlying stenciled circle.  That way, you will end up with two uniformly sized wheels. 

There it is, the hard part is done.  Finally, I used a cross stitch to sew the remaining outline of the bicycle, and on a whim, added a little bird on top of the seat. 

A hand-stamped label in the back adds the final personal touch!

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