Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Round Up Of Christmas Crafting - The Sewing

Since I showed you the knitting portion of my holiday crafting yesterday, I thought today I would do a round up of the sewing!

I took leave of my senses sometime in early October and decided I just had to sew each of the little nieces pjs and matching doll pjs. Now, if I'd acted on this notion right away I would've been in good shape come Christmas time. However one thing led to another which led to another, which led me to not even buying fabric until December. Now, I've had to come to accept the fact that sewing when Baby Boy and Little Toddler Man are awake is just not a wise idea. There are just far too many interesting things for toddlers to do down in the basement, none of which include playing with the toys that reside in my sewing area. It's hard to sew and keep toddlers out of trouble at the same time. Unfortunately, once the toddlers went to bed I was so tired that I often followed close behind them into the Land of Nod, which was equally as detrimental to progress. Eventually, the week before Christmas I was able to start. (BF)G's first day of holidays I woke up, said good morning and hightailed it downstairs by 7am to start sewing. I was like a woman possessed. Sanity was left in shreds, but progress was made and by 10:30pm, December 23rd, all gift sewing was DONE!

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Flannel Nightgown 1

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Flannel Nightgown 2

I used a vintage nightgown pattern and modified a remake of a vintage Simplicity
Pattern for two of the nieces' nightgowns and matching doll nightgowns. I think the girls were happy despite the fact both nightgowns turned out much bigger than intended. Both little girls donned their nighties shortly after opening them on Christmas eve and proceeded to wear them the rest of the evening. It really made all the last minute sewing frenzy worth it!

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Flannel PJs 1

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Flannel PJs 2

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Waldorf Style Pocket Doll

I used a new pattern for the other two little nieces pjs - its the same pattern I used back in the fall for the Two Year Old Birthday Swap present. It's a fun little pattern. The only thing I modified was to do a button with an elastic loop rather than buttonholes. The pjs for dolly were modified slightly from the remade vintage Simplicity Pattern to match and the Waldorf Style Pocket Doll was from a tutorial on the Bamboletta website. I hear from my sister that my niece loved her monkey pjs so much she just finally got her out of them yesterday to go out. Glad to hear they were so well received. The little two year old niece who got the doll with her jammies seemed pretty pleased with her "baby" on Christmas eve, giving it lots of love when she opened it.

I really had fun making the doll. I bought a needle felting needle last time I was at my LYS and thought I'd give the needle felting method a whirl for making the head. It was amazing! It makes such a nice firm, cohesive inner core for the head, and the puncture wounds I gave myself during my learning curve have all healed now so I can look fondly on this method and say without hesitation that all Waldorf style heads made by me in the future will be aided by a needle felting needle (and perhaps some protective gear for my hands...). I suspect I will be making more of these little pocket dolls in the future. I have several baby gifts needing to be made (the baby boom continues all around me it would seem) and both Baby Boy and LTM were quite enamored with it as well. I have to give kudos to (BF)G on the suggestion of the ribbon bow. It took the doll from being Plain Jane ordinary to super cute I think! He comes up with some pretty good suggestions. It's why I keep him around. Or at least partly why anyways. ;)

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Superman PJ Pants

I dragged N with me the day I went shopping for flannel and while there he saw the superman print and hinted broadly that he'd like a pair of pjs out of it. So, my next trip to the fabric store included a couple of metres just for him! He was happily wearing them when he left on Christmas morning to go back to the city so I'm going to say they were a success. (although clearly he missed lesson #552 when growing up. Pjs are for at home. Not out and about! Even if a bajillion teenagers and far too many adults would disagree with me...)

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Inside view of make up roll

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Outside view of make up roll

G, as I mentioned yesterday, makes gift making and giving so easy! I saw a tutorial online for a makeup roll and had found the perfect fabric for it. To top it off make up brushes were on her wish list. What better way to make a nice little gift?! And really, what says glamour better than 1940s Paris? I modified the tutorial ever so slightly doing a plush binding along the top of the pocket and an elastic wrap around closure using a satin finished narrow FOE (fold over elastic).

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Sleep Mask and Flax Heat Pad

Using the same "glamourous" fabrics I made a flax heat pad and sleep mask for my 17 year old niece who often muses on Facebook that she wishes she had a weekend to just relax. I wanted to put together a "relaxation in a box" gift for her. I used a tutorial from Sew4Home for the sleep mask.

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Earbud Cases

Last but not least, J had complained to me a while ago that he was always getting his headphones tangled in his pocket so I thought I'd make some funky cases for him and N to store their earbuds in. Unfortunately due to trying to sew with toddlers afoot, they're not as perfectly round as I would have liked them. Apparently, when sewing a circle it's a good idea to look at the seam you are stitching rather than continuing to sew whilst repeatedly craning your head over your shoulder to ensure two toddlers hell bent on mischief are actually still in the room with you. Lessons learned.

So, that brings us to the end of the madness that was gift making for Christmas 2012! I think if I'm going to plan on such a large selection of handmade gifts for next Christmas I had better start in January. I won't of course (start that is), but I should.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Round Up of Christmas Crafting - The Knitting

So now that the gifts have been given I can finally show you what I've been up to for the last few months. Today I'm going to show you the knitting!

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Moulin Rouge Mitts

These mitts were destined to be for G as soon as I spied them in my pattern search results on Ravelry. I love my Lilac Mittens I knit for myself last year from Hedda Knits, so when I saw the Moulin Rouge I had to knit them! I used St. Denis Boreale for the mitts.

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Inishmore Cap

Next up was the Inishmore Cap for N. This pattern was a complete joy to knit! I loved every step of the process! The pattern features some really unique construction and is incredibly well written. I used an unlabeled worsted (similar to Briggs and Little's regal) for it. I was really pleased with the final outcome too!

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Cambridge Socks

I love knitting socks for (BF)G. He's always so appreciative. I had the smoke gray Durasport in my stash already so when I found the Cambridge Socks pattern I figured they'd be a great match. Knitting in secret took a lot longer than anticipated. At one point I stooped to actually being a bit glad when he'd say he was just heading outside for a smoke. I did a whole heel flap one Sunday during his "smoke breaks" alone.

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Blue Leaf Headband

G makes gift giving so easy! One of her requests was a knit headband. I used some super soft recycled wool held double to knit up the Blue Leaf Headband to include in her stocking. I could have probably finished it in one sitting, but I was knitting it in bed late one night. When I set my knitting down on the bed to check my pattern (BF)G rolled over on it and continued snoring. I had to wait for him to roll over again to unearth it. Sleeping on 6mm needles without noticing! That is a talent not many would possess - perhaps only the very overworked and overtired. I quickly finished up the next morning though and happily checked it off the to do list.

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Marsan Watchcap

J requested a Marsan Watchcap after seeing his brothers' caps sitting on the counter when he was home. He asked for blue or black and I had some Briggs and Little Regal in navy blue sitting tucked away in my stash. Perfect! Marsan really is my go to men's hat pattern. I've knit it five times now!

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Hobby Horses

Last but not least is the Hobby Horses. Knit from various worsted wool mostly in my stash, they came together pretty well. Unfortunately I ran out of time to finish them. I was stuffing heads, adding sticks and stitching on d-rings for the bridle at about 1:30am Christmas morning. I realized I hadn't bought enough d-rings, and didn't have the energy to finish up the manes or do proper bridles. So I left them as is. The little boys were thrilled with them as is and they've logged tons of playtime already. They've been donkeys and reindeer mostly and on the very odd occasion horses too. Whatever they are, they've been fun, so finished or not, I guess that's really what counts in the end! The pattern is from the book Knitted Gifts by Ann Budd.

So that's the knitting part of my holiday craftiness. I'll have to show you the sewing another day!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Help! I'm Buried Under Holiday Crafting!

It's been ages since I did a crafty post. Mostly because I've been too busy crafting to do much of anything else. You see, I had this notion that I'd really like to do more handmade gifts for Christmas this year. Now, while that may be a noble and worthwhile goal, it also takes some dedication, organization and NO procrastination if one is to actually succeed in such an endeavor. Or at least succeed with a shred of sanity left in tact. I'm a little lacking in item number one and two and have a huge abundance of item number three, so it's been a challenge. I feel as though I am somewhat buried under the number of items still left on my list. Ah, but what would the holiday season be without a mad panic dash to the gifting finish line?

I can't tell you what all I've been up to in that department. Hush, hush! All in due time. I promise. But I can show the few things that I've tossed in the crafting mix as I've been madly working on gifts.

First off! In big news, possibly only to those living under this roof, Baby Boy decided about a month ago to potty train himself. Seriously. I should let him out for hire to teach parents how to potty train their stubborn toddler. He did a remarkable job of it all on his own. I'm still not sure how. All I know is one day I was asking if he'd like to try the potty and it was, "No thanks. I fine" and suddenly he vanished from sight the next day and when I found him he was happily sitting on the potty saying quite proudly, "I peed!" Blow me over with a feather and grab the training pants! Took him one week and he was out of diapers during the day. Now a month later he's getting up in the night to go pee. Amazing.

Anyways, I'm sure as I mentioned, this is probably really only exciting to us, so moving right along. Training pants! He needed a few more pairs I figured. And since I don't get to sew diapers anymore I thought I'd might as well sew trainers!

Here's a couple so heavily modified there's not a whole lot left to the original "Tinkle Time Trainers"!

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Patriotic Pants!

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A nod to his Scottish ancestry

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Who doesn't like cowboys?

My very favourite is the oh so patriotic Maple Leaf one. Although it really does remind me of a 1970s Speedo, I think it's pretty cute. And Baby Boy's pudgy little belly suits it much better than say a 60 year old man with a beer belly.

The other thing I have made other than gifts lately is a "Dear Santa" mug rug. I had seen one on Pinterest that I thought quite adorable and got the starting off point from that. I then incorporated my other favourite mug rug pattern for the diagonals. I'm not terribly good at embroidery so I kept it fairly simple and since I couldn't find a white background print fabric I liked, I used white Kona cotton and stamped it with acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium to make it washable. Little Toddler Man has his letter to Santa waiting already in the pocket. The milk and cookies will have to wait though much to his dismay.

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Santa's very own mug rug!

So that's a quick "drive by" hello from me while I wait for the iron to heat up! Happy crafting and Happy Holidays to all celebrating in this festive season! I'll be back after Christmas to show you all the rest of the things that have been keeping me up late at night with a Christmas Craft Round Up!