Saturday, December 10, 2011

Priorities shift.

It's funny.  Alllll I want to do today is snuggle this baby.  Kiss these tiny toes.

two months old already!

Oh, and read books to my toddler.  Color with my kindergartener.   Laugh, bake, sing with the older Monkeys.  Watch them play.  I wish I this was all I had to do all day.

There once was a time when these simple pursuits weren't fun enough, precious enough.  I resented the interruptions, the demands, the chaos.  I took them all for granted, and time flew by... way too fast.

I know better now.


Monday, October 31, 2011

I had forgotten

I had forgotten what it was like to nurse a baby.

I had forgotten the sweet noises they make.

 had forgotten how empowering it is to provide the perfect food for my baby.

I had forgotten how sleepy it makes me…

And how little sleep I’d get at night.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Warm & cozy toes

In spite of my grand intentions, I accomplished very little sewing in the last few days before Donovan arrived.  I finished one project for baby, and one project for myself -- a cozy pair of slippers!

I used this free pattern from the awesome Prudent Baby blog.  Very, very easy to make, and the pay-off is huge, as these are so warm and comfy!

I used fabrics from my stash -- Amy Butler cotton for the exterior and outer sole, and a soft, inexpensive flannel for the lining.  For the insole, I used two cuts of fleece (instead of batting) plus a cut-to-size foam insole I bought for $1.  Cushy!

I didn't want to drive to (or waddle walk through) the craft store to purchase the recommended Jiffy Grip, a neato non-slip fabric used for the outer soles.  I read a tip somewhere that Tulip slick paint could be applied in dots or stripes to the bottom of baby socks to make them non-slip.  I figured if that could work for babies, it could probably work for me, too!  ;)  So once I was finished constructing the slippers, I added dots to the bottom soles, and let them dry for 24 hours before wearing.  No slip, no slide.

I think these would make practical, thoughtful handmade Christmas gifts for loved ones... easy and inexpensive.  My teens have all asked me to make them their own pairs, so I'll definitely be making these again.  If you have any questions, leave a comment and I'll be happy to help!  Have fun!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spitting and drooling in style

As usual, I put off sewing for our new Monkey until the very end.  Or stated more accurately {honestly,} I ended up sewing one, and only one, project for Donovan... exactly 5 days before my scheduled c-section. 

I decided to make burp cloths!  You can never have too many.  I also chose this project because it was so quick and easy... instant gratification, really.  I used this tutorial from Homemade by Jill

I decided to use fabrics from my stash -- mostly cotton fabrics paired with soft flannels.  I'm pretty pleased with myself that I finally cut into some of these fabrics... that I've been hoarding for years (such as the Mendocino squids shown above.  ==LOVE==)  I used fleece in place of the batting, as that's what I had on hand. 

And let me tell you -- this pattern is so forgiving!  Suppose the flannel and cotton layers don't match up exactly (and mine usually didn't)... who cares!  The fringe will fluff and curl up, and no one will be the wiser.  The hardest part, which was actually more tedious than hard, was making the fringe.  Lots and lots of little cuts.  But I made all of those tiny cuts sitting on the couch, with my swollen feet propped up.  A good TV-watching project!

Let's not forget my own personal drooling over Laundry Monster's adorable burp cloths, which I had mentioned in passing here.  But a sweet, crafty, sneaky friend sent me a surprise package... of Laundry Monster burp cloths... in my most favorite fabrics in the whole wide world!!  I love these cloths... so pretty (and soft!) in person.  My photos just don't do them justice.  Thank you, T! 

Although I didn't accomplish much on my New Monkey Sewing To-Do List, at least my little guy can spit up and drool in style. 

photo taken today -- 12 days old!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why, hello there!

I'm so pleased to introduce Mr. Donovan Jude. . . .

. . . born on October 6th, at 38 weeks via c-section.  He weighed in at 9 lbs, 11 oz, and measured 21.75 inches long.  Now we're both healthy, home... and very happy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Vintage pear embroidery pattern

I'm taking a break from whining about how tired I am and how lazy I feel... to bring you this sweet little thrift store find!

I love the bright colors of this embroidered tea towel!  I'm assuming it's old, and I'm assuming it's vintage.  (If it's not, someone please correct me.)

Unfortunately, as you can see, this piece isn't in very good condition.  Stains and age discolored the towel, and the floss in the embroidery design is beginning to come apart.  (I personally like that it appears to be used, and had quite a busy life before I found it!)  I decided to trace the design, to preserve it and maybe make a fresh little pear some day.  And I thought you might like it, too... so I've uploaded the pattern for you to use! 

(Please let me know if you have any difficulty accessing the pattern.)

At the bottom of the pattern, I've included the original stitches used in the design.  Some of the stitches are so loose, I thought the outline of the pear was actually a chain stitch, and not the stem stitch!  So please feel free to use whatever stitches make your heart sing.  I hope you enjoy the pattern, and share it with your stitchy friends, too!

I'll be back later this week to give you a quick update on my Baby Monkey Sewing progress.  And it will be quick, as there isn't much progress.  But Baby Monkey himself is making lots of progress and growing big, so I'm not a total slacker.  ;-)  See you soon!

37 weeks and oh-so-swollen!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The spirit is willing. . .

. . . but the flesh is, well, very tired from growing another human being.

35 weeks (and a very proud and excited big brother!)

I am feeling very creative, overflowing with new ideas and designs, but my eyes literally begin to droop as soon as I sit behind my sewing machine.  Or if I sit anywhere, really.  Oh, and thanks to pregnancy brain, I've lost -- LOST! -- my lovely fabric to make the Weekender / diaper bag!

I'm so frustrated and broken-hearted about it!  I even paid my daughter to clean / organize / scour my sewing room, and hopefully locate the missing fabric -- all to no avail!  (On the bright side, my studio does look quite lovely and tidy now.)  I suppose I can use some other fabric I already have in my stash (and can see from here, so I know exactly where it is). . . .

Maybe I'll use this?  Red piping, natural handles?  *sigh*  it's just not the same....

So I have made zero headway on my sewing to-do list, and his birth date is rapidly approaching.  Maybe with a nap or two or three, I just might be able to squeeze some sewing time into my weekend. 

But I need a nap first.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Just for today....

Every day, I wake up, and receive my gift:  a new day.  I may have an entire day, or I may have part of a day, or maybe just a moment, but I don't know that when I open my eyes every morning.  I must make the most of this gift of one day.  A blank sheet....

tiny embroidered book mark on reclaimed linen

What will you choose, just for today?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sewing for the New Monkey

As usual, I've waited until the very end of my pregnancy to begin making handmade items for the New Monkey.  I'm 33 weeks now, and I'm only going to 38 weeks this time 'round.  That leaves five weeks.  Five. WEEKS. to get things done.

I know (and learned the hard way) that if some things don't get made or sewn, the world will not end.  I probably won't even miss it.  I do this for me -- as a creative outlet, and my baby and family are blessed by it.  So I'm going to give it my best shot anyway, regardless of my ever-shrinking time slot! 

Colors. . . .

I've chosen aqua and orange for the layette colors, plus lots of other autumn-y colors thrown in for good measure.  My awesome sister (who is much more on-the-ball than her big sister) made this crib quilt for the baby a couple of months ago. . . .  (click to enlarge the photos!)

 This side is made from THE softest flannel ever!
sweet appliques
 . . . SO cute!  And absolutely perfect.

This is the fabric I will be using for the diaper bag, with perhaps aqua piping and accents. . . .

Now, for The List. . . .

These are the items I really want to make, and in order of "importance:"
The list isn't really toooo intimidating, other than the diaper bag.  I'm already bracing for that project, as the pattern reviews I've read say it's pretty intense!  I'll probably start on that first, as I know it takes the longest to sew as well, and I'd like to take my time on it. 

Other than that. . . .

I've got several eco shopping totes cut out, and just waiting to be stitched together.  Hopefully, those will be finished and listed in the shop over the weekend.  I also have those colorful buntings (seen here) cut, sewn and pressed, and simply waiting to be assembled to the fabric bias tape.  I'm not sure why I haven't finished those up, but I'm hoping to finish at least a few sets, and list those in the shop very soon.

I think that's enough to keep me busy for the next few... um, five... weeks.  I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

And the winner of the Get Going Greener Giveaway iiiiiisssss. . . .

Congrats!!  Please email me with your shipping info, and I'll get your prizes to you right away!

Thank you to all who entered the Get Going Greener Giveaway!  I really enjoyed all of your comments, and I loved "meeting" so many new faces, and exploring new facebook and twitter friends and pages.  I look forward to doing another giveaway... although this next one may have to wait until after Monkey 9 arrives.  :)  Maybe a holiday giveaway next time?  Thanks again for playing along!  Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dreaming of babies and pumpkin

In just about 6 weeks, we'll be meeting our little autumn baby!  (can you believe it??)   I'm already dreaming of holding him in my arms.  What will he look like?  Will he have red hair, too?  Just who is this little one that has already stolen my heart? 

I'm also dreaming of pumpkin:  the color, the jack-o-lantern, oh and the food.   I'm craving pumpkin cream cheese bread right now.  And in all honesty, I look and feel like I've swallowed a pumpkin these days.

So I recently put together an autumn baby-inspired treasury. 
I've included lovelies from the following Etsy shops...
(left to right)
Row 1:
Row 2:
Row 3:
Row 4:

Have you made any treasuries lately?  Or are you in any fabulous treasuries now?  If so, please share the link in the comments so we can all visit your lovely collections!

Don't forget!

8/28: the giveaway has now ended. . . .  :)

I'll be closing the Get Going Greener Giveaway in less than 24 hours!  If you haven't entered yet, and you'd like to, please don't hesitate!  :-)  Comments will be closed tomorrow evening, and the lucky winner posted tomorrow night.  See you then!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Too much inspiration

Have you entered my Get Going Greener Giveaway yet?  Here it is!   (8/28 - giveaway has ended!)

I've been wanting to decorate our bedroom for some time now. . . and as nesting kicks in, this desire is becoming almost frantic!  So as I work my way slowly through this process, I wanted to share with you my starting point(s) -- my inspirations.  In-progress shots to come later!  (All I've done so far is clean my room.  And just doing that feels like an accomplishment!)

Years ago -- like, 11 years ago -- when we were renters, I came across this dreamy magazine spread in an edition of Country Living . . .  

you can enlarge the photo by clicking on it

I was immediately drawn to its warm, welcoming feel.  I love the colors, the natural elements.  I do wish I had saved the other pages of the spread, but I think it's pretty amazing that I've held on to this one page for eleven years!

But then, last year, I came across this ridiculously kitschy painting at the thrift store. . . .

this photo really doesn't do it justice. . . it's quite pretty in person
I fell in love with its simplicity, and its cool, relaxing colors appealed to me.  It feels calming, and at this point in my life, I need calming.  ;)  Now I also want to design our room around that painting.

So -- now I have two conflicting / contrasting color families.  Should we go warm, or cool?  Can the two be joined together, with happy results?  I'd like to have the cozy feeling of the first photo, with the natural and rustic touches joined with the cooler, calming palette of the painting.

So here's what I'm thinking. . .
  • pale butter yellow walls (they're already this color -- and I really don't want to change this)
  • wood floors and furniture (existing, and in a warm, aged oak stain)
  • natural elements such as storage baskets, decor
  • maybe some rustic elements thrown in for good measure
  • an absurd pop of red (our microsuede duvet)
  • curtains in the above fabric, matching the painting's colors (The print reminds me of leaves, too!)
  • accent pieces such as artwork, a large framed mirror
  • vintage linens
So -- what do you think?  Can I make it work?  Or is this a decorating train wreck waiting to happen?  Any design tips for a decorating novice like me?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

(PS... Many thanks to all who have entered the giveaway so far!  I'm blown away by your kind words and your fantastic comments.  Your going greener ideas are excellent!)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Get Going... Greener! Giveaway!

~~ Giveaway has now ended!  Many thanks to all who entered! ~~

We're all busy.  And with school and aaallll the autumn activities revving up, it's about to get even busier

I want to make it a little bit easier on you during this hectic season.  And why not be a bit greener at the same time?  So I'm giving away a whole set of going-greener items to help you out! 

First up:  this fresh new tote bag, from my new fresh line!

made from soft, sturdy osnaburg and sweet vintage linens

. . . perfect for shopping, toting books, hauling baby gear.  Did I mention it's soft, sturdy, washable? 

And I'm also giving away my newest item -- not even in the shop yet! -- stylish, reusable grocery bags!  I've wanted to offer these for-ev-er, and I'm so excited to finally be able to do so!

 look!  They roll up teeny-tiny!

I have to say we use these in our family all the time.  Shopping?  Well, yes -- when I remember.  (So not as often as we should.)  But picnics?  Day trips?  Zoo trips?  Yes, yes, and yes!  These are so sturdy, and so deceptively roomy, you'll be amazed at how versatile and practical these are.  (Again, washable!)

And I'm also giving away a set of lovely mini-sachets (the exact fabrics will be a surprise!). . .

Tuck them into stinky gym bags or back packs, car trunks or glove boxes, coat closets. . . anywhere you'd like the fresh, calming scent of lavender to great you!  Handmade from reclaimed fabrics and fabric scraps with all-natural lavender.  No chemicals, no fillers, no additives.

So, how do you win ALL FOUR of these eco-friendly items to start the new autumn season?  Here are the details:

One mandatory entry -- just leave a comment!  I love hearing from you!  Why not share your favorite going-greener-in-a-busy-life tip with us?

Additional entries -- and please leave a separate comment here, telling me of each additional entry!
*If you're already a facebook friend or blog follower, just leave a comment and let me know!  (and thank you!)

My international readers are welcome to join in the giveaway, too!

And that's it!  I'll close comments on Sunday, August 28th -- and let pick the lucky winner!  Good luck!  :-)

~ Comments are now CLOSED, and the giveaway has ended! ~

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

wait for iiiitttt.....

The giveaway prizes are finally, finally finished!  Just waiting on tomorrow's lovely morning sunshine so I can snap some nice pics.   Please check back tomorrow, as I'll be posting the pics and details around noon!  See you then!  :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I blame Pregnancy Brain.

When I said the giveaway was ready to begin, I had forgotten about my children's most anticipated event, aside from Christmas, was to also begin that very evening:  Rock the Desert

This awesome artist is Jeremy Simons, a Christian worship painter.  AMAZING to watch him work!
(I apologize for not crediting this artist sooner.  His name was unknown to me at the time of original posting.)

Monkey 1 getting an autograph from DecembeRadio's lead singer

Yep.  Three days of really, really loud music, dust clouds and triple-digit temps.  But also three days of smiling teens (how often do you see those these days?) and fellowship.  And the music is [mostly] really good!

So I blame my almost-30-weeks-gestation-brain on forgetting, and trying to do more than one thing at a time.  (Sheesh -- even ONE thing at a time is a challenge!)   Please bear with me, and I will definitely make the giveaway worth the wait.  Let's say... Monday.  Monday will be THE DAY.  See you then!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

f r e s h new eco-friendly line

It's finally here -- my fresh, new line!  I'm so excited to get to share it with you now!

new market totes. . . .

squishy-soft lavender pillow sachets. . . .

even something for the kitties!  (complete with organic catnip). . . .

This line was inspired by. . .
   summer and the outdoors and even this heat wave:  the sun-washed colors: cool on the skin, soft in the hands.
   by my family:  sun-kissed freckles, romps through dried grasses, dips in the pool in the hot evenings.
   by picnics:  sturdy, roomy and practical, the totes are ready for trips out and about!
   by the recession:  again, sturdy and practical, yet pretty and unique.  Use again and again, for years to come.  Reasonably and fairly priced for snug budgets. 

I'll be adding just a few more items to this collection.  More totes, more sachets (balsam!) and I'm working on a new grocery tote, too.  This will be a very limited-time edition, due to me getting such a late start on it.  Really, I'm already late getting started on fall, back-to-school and winter lines!  But I'm just going to do what I can, and do my best at that.  :)

Besides, growing a baby boy these days is taking up a lot of my energy.  Can you believe he'll be here in 9 weeks?  NINE WEEKS!!  Now that's exciting, too!

Pippi update. . . .

Still saving up for her surgery.  Getting closer, though!  She seems to forget about her leg most of the time, until she tries to walk on it (OUCH) but she has adapted as well as can be expected.  (Please note that all cat toy sales will go towards paying for her surgery.)

And that giveaway. . . .

I didn't forget!  I'll announce details tomorrow, so I'll see you then!

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