Tuesday, August 28, 2012

here comes that rainy day feelin' again

This past weekend brought lots of rain, thank goodness, giving Desmond and I the opportunity to try out some of our new birthday presents.
Most notably my Canadian Kamik rain boots and Desmond's red wagon.
 I have been on a years long search for the perfect rain boots and do believe I've found them. My father has had his Kamik boots for over 30 years. 

Riding around the acre.

Leaves are a new favorite toy. This kid has no idea how awesome Fall is going to be.

You can't escape me, cucumber. 

Smiley baby. 
Hope everyone else had fun rainy day adventures too.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

strongman birthday

To celebrate Desmond's first trip around the sun we wanted his party to reflect his personality. So what kind of party do you give to a baby that can move a solid wood kitchen table?

Mama's little strongman got a Strongman themed party!

This theme involved a lot of diy on my part and I was so happy to do it. Allow me to give you a tour of my party crafting skills in no particular order.

Let's begin with the striped party hats with furry mustache stickers. I had 8 hats and 6 stickers so I did some quick trace and cut using my two favorite mustache shaped sticker backs on black felt, no one knew the difference.

We ended up with a lot of balloons and I grabbed these vintage sewing weights from the studio to split them up and hold them down. They looked very dumbbell-esque to me.

Remember when I diy-ed the invites in this post? Here is what those popcorn bags look like with popcorn in them. They were about three inches taller but I gave them a haircut with my old pinking shears (not the ones I currently use for sewing) because that was just too much popcorn per person.
I was right on that, by the way, I'm still eating it.

You knew I wouldn't let my dollar-store-ticket-find go to waste. I sprinkled them all over the treat table like a tent floor littered with tickets, only cleaner. 

Party banner for the treat table! I had the striped fabric and bias tape in my stash. I used the banner pattern from Sewing with Oilcloth by Kelly McCants and layered my pieces to feel tent-like.

Full disclosure: I know Kelly and you can catch a couple of glimpses of me modeling in this book.

Speaking of treats...
Between Desmond's dairy allergy and the gross amounts of sugar in store bought cakes, oh my, we don't go that route, ever.  So I whipped up our family favorite, Vegan Oreo Cupcakes. Those actually aren't Oreo's, they are a Whole Foods knock-off that have less bad stuff and taste so much better. If you didn't know already, Oreo's are vegan, and so are these.

Desmond's first taste of anything sweeter than an apple. Of course he ate the whole cupcake, didn't share any with the dog, and I only half watched through parted fingers like it was a horror movie.

I can't let the circus bib go unnoticed, it was part of the stash I made back here.

Time for presents!!! Desmond's only handmade by mama present was Sal but note the red striped craft paper in the bottom right corner, I got super hi-tech crafty on this one.

Yep, it took me all of 15 minutes to draw stripes on the entire roll. After wrapping packages I had enough left over to cover the present table and the buffet. 

Ignore the fact that my husband and his brother look slightly deranged in this photo and let's talk t-shirts.

The most expensive birthday project was Dana's t-shirt because I had to buy a new (re: clean) one and we went Made in USA with American Apparel. I had some iron-on transfer paper and printed out our strongman from the invites, remember him.

Ah! And there he is again! I made this quicky flag for our front porch using the same iron-on transfer technique. Our neighborhood is big on porch flags, and we aren't, but the hardware was already on our house and this added a great side-show feel. Nothing says step right up like a strongman flag.

Yes, it's still on display.

It wasn't just Dada who got to wear a strongman tee. We picked up this guy by Pinecone and Chickadee at Crafty Bastards last year when we were vending with a 6-week-old Desmond. He had already earned his nickname. 

I know parents can get pretty crazy and spend a lot of money on a first birthday. I'm happy to report that we spent WAY more on feeding our family good food instead of the decorations.
And it all looked pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself.
Oh, happy day!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

really simple

We have our first big family vacation coming up this fall and it is a serious road trip...all the way to Texas.
As each day brings us closer to our departure date I am already planning the packing in my head.

This includes all of the making that will need to take place beforehand. There is nothing like a trip to speed up my progress on a garment, or gifty for Desmond, in the works.

I saw these lush, silk wrapped bracelets in the latest Real Simple and they begged me to bring them along on our deep south adventure. Let the making begin!

Many of you know that I am no strangers to wrapped bangles. Wrapped in wool, wrapped in cotton, I love a wrapped bangle, so this project wasn't new territory. I even had some bangles lying around.

These were hand-me-downs from my Mom. I've worn them for years and their shape made them great candidates for a silk-wrapped update. 

Did I mention I happened to have some hand - dyed silk ribbon in the studio? Inconceivable, I know. I actually won these (I NEVER win anything) in a drawing from the Richmond Craft Mafia a couple of years ago. I'd been saving them for something glamorous and it was worth the wait.

They are hand - dyed by Crystal J. Silk and they are beautiful. You can get your own here.

I can't stress enough how gorgeous they are!

Now, on to the making...

I tacked my starting point with a tiny dab of hot glue just to anchor the ribbon and started wrapping around and around and around...

...until they looked like this. It is tedious but so simple.
The end got a little tricky when I dabbed another tiny dot of hot glue to secure the wrapping. Although this was on the inside of the bangle it seemed a little sloppy to me.

Enter matching embroidery floss.
Some more wrapping, a little knot tied on the inside, and done. I'm open to suggestions if you have a neater solution, but this works in a pinch and totally goes unnoticed when wearing it.

One for me and one for my Mama.

Whew, that was fast, I feel like I was speed crafting. Let's talk budget. 

Cost Breakdown (For reference, the magazine bracelets are listed at $46) :

Plastic Bangle - Seriously find one in your jewelry box or a friends or buy one for a buck at your local thrift shop.
As I mentioned before mine were free.

Hand - Dyed Silk Ribbon - $ 7.50 for 5 yards. You will get about two bracelets out of that with a little leftover. 

Total: There are a lot of factors here, let's say around $7.50 (mine = $0.00)

Revisiting this project makes me want to whip up some more. Don't you think they would look great in a grouping of 2 or 3, or maybe more. Hmmmmmmmm. 

For now I need to wrap up the rest of my sewing projects and I'll be ready to hit the road. 
Sometimes I find myself to be hilarious.

Friday, August 3, 2012

pssst...what's with the new guy?

...asked the bear. 
"Looks like the strong silent type to me." replied the seal.

Meet Sal. Or Salvatore if you are formal. Desmond's newest plushie and fellow Strong Man.
Sounds like a tough guy name, right, and it definitely goes with the ridiculously large mustache.

Sal has been on my mind for months. Until recently he was just a pile of fabric swatches, but with the big first birthday a week away I had to leap into action. That meant making a pattern.

I started with a pattern from One Yard Wonders for the blue "Peg Bear" I had made up top, that's what they called him, we call him Yogi (because I made him a backpack for pic-a-nics.) In case you wondered.
 It was a good form to jump off from. 

I elongated the legs, enlarged the arms and reshaped the head, then I grabbed the mustache pattern I use for my baby hats and Sal was starting to come together. After adding hair, boots, arms, clothing and chest hair I ended up with a total of 11 pattern pieces, some with (cut 2) and (cut 4) status, whoa.

I used this tan linen for the body base and flesh color. Then I started to root through my fabric stash:
 Hair (head and chest) - old dress scraps
 Mustache and back of head - outdated corduroy skirt
 Garment - stripey flannel seemed manly
and Boots - a black textured skirt.

But what about Tattoos??? 
I found inspiration from Mimi Kirchner's assortment of tattooed men. She uses toile fabric to act as tattoos, her work is amazing.

After an hour of hunting at the fabric store I stumbled upon this Alexander Henry print and I thought, hmmmmm, that is hideous but could make some bad a** tattoos. An eighth of a yard came home with me...

...and it looks AWESOME!!!

Front and back layout. That's right, full sleeves on those tattoos.

And a little note about the barbell, it didn't come out looking so great so I scrapped it.

All stitched and ready to be stuffed.
But wait, did Sal's chest hair just grow? Why yes it did.
Strong Men don't man-scape.

Sal got stuffed with one hundred percent bamboo batting that I cut into 1 inch and smaller pieces.
Believe it or not, this pile wasn't enough to fill him up and I had to cut more. Somebody eats his spinach.

Oh, and just for a back view and some chunky blocks for height scale. This guy is a tall drink of water.

So there he is, out of the studio and making new friends until I wrap him up for the big day.

I love Sal so much you would think I made him for my birthday, but let's be honest, didn't I?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

veggie lessons

It is becoming a routine for us (Desmond and myself) to meet Papa out in the garden when he returns from work. Where we always find a scene like this, Dana in shirt and tie wrangling plants, repairing fence, and picking whatever has matured in the past 24 hours.

A small spot to the right of the stove top, and sometimes on the stove itself, has been designated for the nightly harvest. Some to be eaten right away and others to be canned in a night or two while Mama and baby sleep.

This is where our new veggies lessons are taking place. 

Desmond is eager to know the names of everything and he loves to play the pointing game to hear Mama repeat the names of vegetables over and over again. He has a special love of the way I say zucchini squash and cucumber.

This morning, however, he was really digging the cherry tomatoes and a pepper. So after a few rounds of "point and name" I balanced baby on hip, pried bitty fingers off my lens, and snapped a few slightly unfocused pictures. 

Because firsts steps will be a really big deal, but I love this, right now.