my nest

I don't have pictures, but I have been redecorating our family room the last few weeks. New throw pillows, new curtains, and turning a coffee table into a cushioned seat. I don't have a nursery to decorate so this is my substitute. I am feeling the crunch now--5 weeks or less until baby arrives!

Our 'master' bedroom has had a closet renovation which will allow us to rearrange our room for the first time ever! I love my 1920s farm house, but it is not very convenient with the slanted ceilings, tiny hallway-esque closets, and poorly used spaces. We are making it work though and hopefully this weekend will be the finishing touches once my husband gets his rear in gear. ;)

I have also been knitting wee little things...

Not sure why it looks red in this photo, but it is a dark orange and white. I was going for a harvest look. Bring on the fall!


cranking it out

Baby blankie:

The backing:

I have to say, that soft brown velour is very nice on the blanket, but what a pain in the rear to work with. The rest of the quilt is a mix of cottons and flannels, and the backing is a flannel (and I mis-cut the back, so then pieced together a little extra edging with leftovers...kind of cute though!).

Wipes (20 out of a goal of 40):

So exciting to be checking things off my list! I am having a horrible nesting urge that I cannot direct at a nursery, since the baby will be sharing a room, so I think my living room will be getting a makeover this week. heehee


pictures as promised

This bad boy is d.o.n.e. Oh yeah. And I already washed and dried it to see how it quilted up. Lovely. Oliver seems to like it too. Of course, this means we now have to set up his big boy bed! Ack...not looking forward to that. It means more work at bedtime, that he is growing up, and that I will be having a baby soon.

Like my embroidery? I had bigger embroidery plans, but got lazy. The red backing is nice but I wish I had thought to use red thread in my bobbin so it would blend in better. Oh well.

I have had wicked bad insomnia this week so I am almost done with the new baby's quilt, too. Pictures of that next time!


I might have a problem with overcommitting

Oh goodness. You know how I said Oliver's quilt was done? Um...not quite. I had some border issues. First I thought I would do a solid yellow border around it, to lengthen and widen it a bit. Except I didn't buy quite enough yellow, so I had this cute multi-colored dot fabric and I thought I would do a sort of easy edge alternating the two, cut into 6.5" squares. I finally got it all cut and sewn and decided it was way too busy and so I ripped it all out. That's right, I did! After working on this thing so long, there was no way I was going to settle for something that would drive me crazy every time I looked at it. Back to the fabric store went I, and came home with some lovely, simple, white Kona cotton. Much better. Crisp and clean.

The next step was to top quilt the bugger...I wanted to do a cool meandering kind of thing but alas, I lack the machine and the talent; I also lack the money to pay someone with those two magical ingredients, so I opted instead for a basic X through each square kind of thing, which works okay. I am not good at straight lines, but I did discover just in the nick of time that I own a walking foot, so no bunching fabric for me! Hurrah. I also found a 1/4" seam foot, which would have come in handy oh, about five months ago. Next time. 

I just cut and ironed my binding and I can't decide if I should just do it with the white thread even though I could go to the store and get some that matches better. I will probably just use the white. But I needed a quick break because my back hurts. Being home with two small children and being 32 weeks pregnant is no joke. And did I mention the obscenely hot, humid weather we have had for almost a week now? Seriously it makes me glad that my craft area is in the basement.

Lest you think my blog name is wrong, I have also been knitting. I made a few more flowered headbands for my friend Ali, am 2/3 of the way done with lion hats for my kids for the winter (SO stinking cute I can hardly stand it), and have a queue of like a million other projects. Okay, not a million, but here is a glimpse.

To knit--August:
  1. beanie w/ flowers for Ali (actually crocheted)
  2. earflap hat for Ali
  3. sundresses for Ali (yes, Ali owes me some rockin' photos in exchange!)
  4. pixie hat for Evelyn
  5. frog hat for Bjorn
To knit--September:
  1. new baby romper (and look at these adorable buttons I got. girly and boyish, just because I couldn't decide, don't know who this baby is yet, and I have a slight Etsy addiction)
  2. new baby photo shoot munchkin hat
  3. new baby photo shoot pixie hat
And then on my baby to-do sewing list:
  1. new wipes (about 40) (our old wipes are ones I made before Clara was born, so four years old now)
  2. repair bumGenius diaper velcro tabs (about 25 diapers worth)
  3. baby quilt. I already have all the material and I know, I may never want to quilt again! and Clara is already asking about HER future quilt...egads, good thing we are stopping at three children.
Seriously, do I have a problem!?


the quilt!

Finally! It's finally sewn together! I decided I will just add a yellow border to make it a bit longer & wider, then it is off to the long arm quilter to get stippled, and then I will finish this sucker. Yes, I will.

Things I have learned making my first "real" quilt:
1. pins are my friends
2. straight lines are important (and hard to attain)
3. done is better than perfect

Seriously this took a really long time even though it shouldn't have. I got bored with the pieces, then I had to square them all up because I am a sucky straight-line-sewer. Squaring up was super annoying, so I averaged one square/week for a while there. Poor Oliver was probably wondering if he would ever get a big boy blanket for his bed. At the end I decided to just go for it and get it over with. It can suck, I told myself, it's my first quilt. Oliver won't care. And you know what? It actually doesn't suck. It looks okay. I still plan on embroidering on a couple of the turquoise squares (a few with pictures and one with something like "Otto's Quilt 2010. Love, Mama" and of course need to add the yellow border, which I am getting to TONIGHT so that I don't procrastinate even longer. I also bought this a-dor-a-ble multi-colored dot fabric to use as the binding after I get it quilted. The backing is a red sheet I bought at IKEA.

I love the circles inside the squares, but I didn't have enough to make it a real twin-sized quilt, so that is why I added the turquoise squares. Each square is 6.5". I like how the solid colored squares give it a random feel. Makes me happy. :)


needle + thread

There is nothing better than a homemade gift--as long as it fits the style of the person to whom you are gifting.

Our new neighbors are expecting their second child any day now. They are having a boy and already have a 2 year old girl, so I thought it would be a good excuse for some boyish onesies. I embroidered these with Sublime Stitching transfers. Cute? Yes!

I also thought I would show off a couple more of my "professional" pieces I have knit. These were for another awesome photographer friend I have. Check her out at www.oneswiftclick.com. Jessica's amazing!

Baby cocoons:

Baby hats:


fresh knits

I keep forgetting to snap pictures of my finished projects before I give them away. Luckily, one of the people I am giving stuff to is a photographer. I have made her a few items now and have a few more in the works for her to use as photo props. 

I am not really much of a crocheter, but I did manage this baby beanie with a flower. Lovely photography, too! Check her out at www.alisonleaphotography.com. I will post more photos of my knit items as she gets subjects to photograph in them.

My friend Casey has a new baby girl and I needed a newborn head to size these baby headbands I have started knitting. Here's the one baby Madeline is sporting for me. 

I made up the pattern and have so far made it in three sizes: 0-12 months, 2-4 years, and 6+. They are quick and satisfying little projects.

I went to North Carolina to visit a friend this past weekend and while there I made myself a new nursing cover. No picture of the finished project yet, but this is the material I used. I got it for a steal--four dollars for almost two yards! (Ignore the gray at the bottom there. Guess I was faster than my internet today.)

I also just went to IKEA and got a red twin sheet ($4.50) to use as the backing on Oliver's quilt. Hopefully I will be done with that thing soon.


star spangled

One thing I have noticed is that boys have an over abundance of red, white, and blue clothes. Girls, on the other hand...well, let's just say my girl has absolutely nothing even remotely patriotic in her enormous wardrobe. 

Today we went to a 4th of July parade and I felt the need to dress my kids in the traditional colors, but I had to get creative with hers. It is not perfect. It was sewn at 10:30 last night (why must I get these crafty urges so late at night!?). It worked and she even got some compliments from strangers--score!

Materials: plain white tank top, three largish patriotic scraps from the boy's quilt, and some red ribbon.

Finished product:


I spy with my little eye

something fast, cheap, and quiet.

start: two underwear packages (Clara chose Thomas the Train and Hello Kitty), a cup or so of rice, a piece of felt, and cheap trinkets/junk.

finish: I Spy Packets for *hopefully* quiet play times.

total time: 5 minutes.

The sewing is not superb, there is not enough room or rice, but I think my kids won't notice the difference.


summer crafting

Today is June first! Unofficially summertime here in Minnesota. I have been busy with the yard, the kids, the season finale of Chuck (awesome), and general busy life. Happily things are slowing down now and we have almost no agenda for the entire summer.

Crafty things:

Lawn swing. I wish I had a before picture so you could see how hideous it was. Rusted white, no cushions at all, a squirrel-chewed blanket thrown over the top. Disgusting. I sewed some cushions, got the husband to paint it a lovely shade of leafy green, and voila! Better than new.

Sun dress for the girl. This was my impulse craft last night. I got the lavender eyelet fabric for a steal ($3 for two yards!), so felt the need to use it immediately. The pattern is Oliver + S. Love it. I haven't been able to get it on my model yet, but hopefully I will shortly.

Here's my vegetable garden. Let me tell you, it is hard on this pregnant woman to bend over to plant seeds. Luckily my husband was around to help. (I am not sure why my kids' flag is at half-mast.)

And here is a photo of my husky little man, sporting some underwear (nope, he's not trained, but he wants to be in undies like big sister).

I am currently knitting/crocheting some hats for a photographer friend of mine. Pictures will come soon. Time to go kick back with my feet in the kiddie pool. 


new yarn!

I am so excited. My friend Leidy from Western Sky Knits custom dyed me some yarn for a project for the new baby. I am going to make something like this--a little romper for the chilly fall months (obviously I did not make the one in the photo; it is just my inspiration).

I think my yarn is gender-neutral enough and it looks pretty perfect to me! So excited to knit something for this wee one. Poor baby will have to share everything and live in hand-me-downs from birth!



on big things

Oliver's quilt--all pieces are cut; now it's time to sew.

and little things

mother's day brooches

I like to think of myself as creative, but really I am just a copycat. The fabric roses were found here. Mine are a little wonky, but what that I make isn't?


Craft Corner!

I finally, officially have a "craft area" in my house. Up until now, the yarn was stored in the coat closet (four bins of yarn is no small thing to stash), the fabric in a bag on top of the yarn bins, the sewing machine thrown in there somewhere as well, and the knitting accessories were randomly on top of my bookshelf. Getting any project done was a small feat of rearranging furniture, digging through piles, and then putting it all away again when I was done before the Wild Things showed up to messify. It is a wonder I ever finished anything. 

Now, it is all nice and snug under the stairs in my basement. When we finished our basement a couple years ago we thought the under-the-stairs area would be so fun for the kids to play in, read in, hide in. Really, no one used it except the cat, when she was scared of thunderstorms. 

I have been in a major rearrange/sort/clean mood the last week. I went through all the kids' clothes and sorted them by gender and size to store until October when we find out what this baby is going to be wearing. I cleaned the linen closet (had never been done in the almost seven years we have lived here), rearranged the kids' rooms, and--most importantly--moved all crafty items into the new Craft Corner. I still need to get a big shelf type thing for the yarn and fabric, but I have a table with my sewing machine on top (finally that sweet retro table gets put to use).

I decided to christen my new space with a quick project: a couple bird friends. I found the pattern on this blog and they were made out of some of Oliver's quilt scraps. So sweet!

Also--can you believe it is already May!? We spent yesterday making and delivering May Day baskets to our neighbors. Happy May Day!


my eyes are bigger

than my energy level. 

That quilt? Yeah...not started yet. 

That shrug I am knitting? Yeah...still barely begun. My energy by the end of the day is gone, thanks to a preschooler, a toddler, and a fetus. 

(here is the yarn I am using for my shrug)

They will get done. Honest. They get thought about a lot. I am still queueing up projects I want to create. But the creating is not happening at the moment. 

I am enjoying being outside in the sunshine, though. Today the kids and I planted our early spring veggies in the garden--spinach, peas, carrots, lettuce. I eye my rhubarb every day, wondering if it is long enough to cut (hello, horrible rhubarb pie craving). I dig up dozens of dandelions. That has got to count for something, right?


the start of something beautiful

The fabric is all purchased for Oliver's quilt. I still need to find a backing material but that will come later. I'm washing and ironing tonight and the cutting will begin this weekend! I even bought a shiny new rotary cutter just for the occasion (my old one was really dull and, well, old). Hurray for the Year of the Quilt!


while they are sleeping

I'm not really knitting a whole lot right now. I have one little shrug going for my niece to go with her Easter dress (mini rant: why are Easter dresses always sleeveless?? Hello, this is Minnesota. It is cold, even at Easter time). Just a simple little off-white cotton thing. I'm on the sleeves, so another night should call it done.

Even though my knitting needles are resting, I have still been crafting away. I made some little items for the kids' Easter baskets. 

1. Toddler tote bags. You know, so they can carry everything around with them. My kids are constantly dragging this and that with them upstairs, downstairs, outside. I thought I would help them out a bit. I used this tutorial and it was awesome. Love it. They are reversible. Clara's is the lemon print, Oliver's is the animals/dots.

2. Black apple dolls. I had some leftover material from the totes and decided to try this pattern out for something different. They are cute in a wonky sort of way. I didn't have felt that was hair-color appropriate, so I used cotton and just left the edges raw to fray it a bit. The arm on Oliver's doll is a bit high and stuck pointing up (Think: waving ecstatically). I still love 'em and I think the kids will, too.

Now I am in full-fledged sewing mode. I have decided that this is the Year of the Quilt for me. I would like to make a quilt for each of my kids' beds. Oliver will be moving to a twin bed sometime this summer and so I am going to start with his. I think I will either do a disappearing nine square quilt or a raw edge circle quilt (can you tell what my new favorite blog is?). I am leaning toward the first because while I think the second is awesome, I hate sewing in circles. 

I also discovered that if you read your sewing machine's manual, you can learn a lot. Apparently my machine does a sort of serging--awesome.


Knitting Retreat!

That's right, it really happened, and I have photos to prove it. None of us knitting, but we really did! While watching such classics as Sweet Home Alabama and Emma. I have to say it, I love my knitting peeps. Holla!

Laura - "What happens in Duluth, stays in Duluth"

Two pregnant women and one non-pregnant - she had no choice but to eat with us.

Ice chunks on Lake Superior -

And the finished project that I started on Saturday, finished on Monday night - (pics are unblocked; it looks better now)

I am happy to say my knitting funk is behind me. I have a few projects going right now, including a spring/summer shrug for myself to accentuate my growing belly, and some socks for someone...not sure who yet, but I couldn't resist some yarn up in Duluth and spent way too much money on two skeins. Shh don't tell my husband. I also have a quick little Easter shrug for my niece going. Simple pleasures. :) Until next time.