Dress Patterns

I am in the midst of a few projects, and I just couldn't resist spending some of my birthday money on new dress patterns for myself.

I got these two:

New Look 6587

I really like the 1950s style of this one, especially the top, yellow with vertical stripes version.
I think I was inspired by this dress I bought myself on Etsy:


Then, I have been wanting a simple knit jersey wrap dress, and I thought New Look 6674 would be a good fit for my needs (the lower, red version).

Obviously, I am planning on making a solid color, probably gray or some other neutral shade. I just want to live in comfy dresses.

My husband got me some cowboy boots for my birthday, so I had to get a dress to match! Ha. I went to Opitz Outlet and scored a cute shirt dress that is perfect (even if it *is* Tommy Hilfiger! ha). I just spent way too long trying to find it online and I can't. Well, I will just have to take a photo for you when I wear it tonight! Date night!

I hope you had a great holiday - hard to believe 2012 is days away!


true stories

Clara singing Away in a Manger at her preschool concert. She was very *very* into it. Some things happened to me this week. Let me tell you about them.

A telemarketer wanted to drop by to "go over any questions" I might have had about his life insurance policies. I might have accidentally agreed that he could come over, but not until after 8pm because that was when Ben would be home (thinking telemarketer guy would not come so late). He said he would be over at 9pm and then hung up. He never even left me his contact info, so I couldn't call and cancel. Instead, I hid in the basement with the lights off when he was scheduled to come over. Oh, and I turned a smallish sheer tablecloth into a curtain for my front door so he couldn't peer inside.

Normally I am a straightforward person, but I showed my rare passive-aggressive side with that guy. Sorry, dude.

Sitting and chatting with my husband one evening and he looks at my sweater and laughs. "For a minute there I thought you took my blue sweater and cut it down the middle!" Uh...yeah. I totally did.

And I am not even a little bit sorry. I love it.

My divinity candy never set up so I could pipe it into cute little candies. It was like gook (you know, that corn starch slime stuff that kids love). I turned it into a divinity chocolate bark kind of thing. And it is delicious.

Four days until Christmas. We have parties on the 23rd, 24th, and 25th, not to mention Ben has church services twice on the 24th and on the morning of the 25th (joys of being a church music guy). And then my birthday is the 26th. Busy, busy, busy. I am trying to embrace it all because some day I will long for the days of parties with all our families. Right?? Have a great holiday!


Market Skirt

I wish there was a bell or alarm or something that told me when my bobbin was out of thread. Because often, I keep sewing, clueless, and don't find out until I think I am done. Ahem.

I made a skirt for myself. It's the Lisette Market Skirt. Buttery Kona cotton. I like the pleats. I wish I had made it a bit longer, though. Now I'm onto the shirt to go with it.

This project taught me how to use twill tape as a waistband. How to install a side zipper. How to pleat a skirt.



Oh, my, I think my knitting groove has arrived.

A hat for a dear friend in Tennessee, with my dear friend Gilda's pattern.

Another cabled mini scarf for a friend (with an amazingly cute etsy shop! oh yeah, you'd better believe we swapped goods). I made it a wee bit narrower (details are on Ravelry, if you're interested). I think I like it most of all.

A couple newborn hats that were custom orders. First, a baby World War II Watch Cap. Adorable! And soo itty bitty.

Second, a baby bear hat. This is such a super fast pattern and so satisfying. I decided to crochet the snout instead of knit it. (Yes, balloons are modeling my hats. I no longer have newborn-sized heads around!)

I also started a little something for myself. I love this yarn color - I was wishing and hoping that it was called "Curry," but alas, it is just plain old "Yellow." It will remain Curry in my heart.

Isn't this little pile of fabric so cute and sparkly? It is turning into something, like, totally radical, dude. I have a poem I wrote in third grade called "Dood." I think I thought that was how it was spelled. Ha! My book of childhood poems is awesome to look back on. I was sooo deep, Dood.

I digress. Sometimes people ask me how I manage to make things with three smallish children underfoot. Well, it's not rocket science, but there is a formula. Food + floor + children = free time for mommy. You're welcome.

And isn't this the cutest thing ever?? Too bad our snow is gone now. December without snow is just wrong.


december things

It's all about Christmas cookies around here. Also, this week I am cutting sugar out of my diet. Ha. I just like to make things hard on myself.

Royal icing.

Clara and Oliver were REALLY into the sprinkles this year.

Half done. These are the Norwegian sugar cookies, and in my family we roll them REALLY thin and then after they are baked, you outline them with icing and sprinkles. And that's that. Yum.

I also already made the chocolate covered cherries, caramels, buckeyes and Russian teacakes, but no photos. Next is the gingerbread for house-building on Christmas day (our little tradition). I'll make the house pieces now and freeze them until the 25th. I have enough royal icing for then, too.

I finally finished embroidering the names on the stockings I made last year. No more stocking making for me! We don't have a mantle, so they just hang on the wall, thanks to 3M.

A little homemade looking, but oh well. Good enough for me.

I have been growing my green onions, thanks to a Pinterest pin I saw. Did you know you can plunk your onion whites in a jar of water and they will grow, almost overnight? I have trimmed these dozens of times and they keep on growing. I just replace the water every couple days.

Today I am making beef jerky. My mom compiled my grandma's recipes a couple years ago and I am having fun trying different recipes. The jerky is in the oven right now. I'll let you know how they turn out.

I have also been knitting, but they are gifts, so I'm not telling.


more dollies

I am enjoying moderate success with my Etsy shop (what very little I have listed in it) and a little shop in South Minneapolis called Mother Earth Gardens. They asked me to bring some dolls for them to sell and - guess what - they sold out and asked for more! So I made a new batch this weekend and thought I would take a photo of the tools I use to paint the faces. Are you ready for this highly technical confession? I use:
  • Tulip fabric paint in black, rose and red
  • two wooden skewers (eyes and mouth)
  • back of a kid paint brush (cheeks)

Obviously, I am reallllly professional. Ha.
Here they are, ready to go:

And sometimes, there is a mishap.

Poor One-Eyed Suzy. She will be well cared for by my kids.


Christmas Baking

I jazzed up my nativity scene a bit - my awesome neighbor found the shelter at Target and got it for me (thanks, Angie!). I made little felt crowns for my Wise Men and made a manger for Baby Jesus. Glued some lace wings on my Angel. I felt like my Shepherd needed some sheep - but they kind of ended up scary looking. I might have to redo them.

I just got in the mood to bake, and made my list of goodies for the month.

1. Norwegian sugar cookies (grandma's recipe!)
2. Russian tea cakes
3. dark chocolate cherry cookies
4. gingerbread (for a house - we build one on Christmas day)
5. divinity
6. caramels
7. chocolate-covered cherries (for the neighbors)
8. bullseyes

What are you making this year?


Yarn Wreath

Hey look, it's my 100th post! Blogging is so weird. I am not sure why I do it or why anyone does, really. I guess for me it's to document my own creations and to motivate me to finish more items off my queue. Anyway, cheers to 100 more.

My back door was looking lonely, so I made him a friend. She is green, soft, and comes with three pretty little flowers.

This was a fast project - I started it this afternoon and finished it this afternoon, in between cleaning up bright red vomit (Cough medicine. I am only buying undyed from.now.on.), dealing with sick, crabby children (oh, joy!), and taking shots of Kahlua (joke, Mom!).

The wreath tutorial is from here and the flower tutorial is from here. I added pins to the backs of the flowers so I could stick them right into the foam wreath and reuse them elsewhere if I want.


Cabled Mini Scarf Pattern

My mom found a cowl that she really liked on Craftsy and asked me if I would knit it for her. Of course I said I would! But on Craftsy, they are charging $9.99 for this very simple pattern. Um...what?!? I cannot believe how much people charge for patterns. I looked at the picture a couple of times and came up with my own version. Feel free to save yourself $10 and use mine!

My first attempt, I ran out of yarn, but it is the perfect toddler-sized scarf. I am also including the toddler version in the pattern below.

Cabled Mini Scarf

Sizes - toddler & adult - adult sizes are in parenthesis & really the only difference is the amount of cable repeats you do, to make the length smaller or longer, so you will notice there is no variation in the pattern until the end. Hope that's clear!

Yarn: 1 (2) skeins Bernat Roving or Lion Brand Jiffy Thick & Quick or any other bulky-weight yarn (really the adult version is one skein plus a few extra yards. You will have leftovers!)
Needles: US 11 straight needles
Notions: 1 cable needle, row counter, darning needle for weaving in ends

C12F: Slip 6 stitches onto cable needle. Let hang to front of work. K6 stitches, then K the six stitches off the cable needle.
YO: Yarn over
K2tog: Knit 2 stitches together

CO 26
Edge: K 6 rows

Row 1: K5, P2, K12, P2, K5
Row 2: K7, P12, K7
Row 3: as Row 1
Row 4: as Row 2
Row 5: as Row 1
Row 6: as Row 2
Row 7: as Row 1
Row 8: as Row 2
Row 9: K5, P2, C12F, P2, K5
Row 10: as Row 2

Repeat Rows 1-10 nine (twelve) times, or to desired length.

Form Buttonholes:
Repeat Rows 1-8
Row 9 (buttonhole row): K5, P2, K2, YO, K2tog, K4, K2tog, YO, K2, P2, K5
Row 10: K7, P12, K7

Edge: K 6 rows. Bind off.

Finishing: Sew 2 buttons on opposite edge of buttonholes. Wear and enjoy!

Guess what else? The toddler version shown here is for sale in the shop.

The pattern is now also listed on Ravelry. Cheers!

felt hair bows

As is tradition in my family, after Thanksgiving we get the little ones together for a matching Christmas outfit photo op. It never works out well. Two five year olds, two three year olds and one one year old. Need I say more?

I made some hair bows for the girls, using this tutorial. They took all of ten minutes, five of which was spent locating and warming up my hot glue gun.

(Clara insists on posing this way all the time now. Funny girl.)


rainbows + unicorns

I'm still around, if you were wondering. The final birthday hurrah happened today and I survived (barely). It was Clara's first ever friend birthday party, and every single friend she invited was completely free to come over! Ha. So....we had 16 kids in my tiny house. It was a romping good time. Rainbows and unicorns, people, that is where it's at.

Along that theme...

I used crepe paper and blew up some old water balloons for the decorating. Cheap and effective! I also made "unicorn horns" out of cardstock by using a basic party hat template I found online and cutting a wedge out of it to make it thinner and...hornier? Something like that.

We did a rainbow craft that involved the crepe paper and glueing squares of it to a rainbow template I found online. Pretty cute and the kids seemed to like it. It was almost silent while they were working...very strange with so many kids around.

I made my husband sing The Unicorn Song for everyone...I only know this song because I sang it in my third grade music concert in elementary school. I had a solo in it. That's right, when you are eight, it is considered cute when you sing out of tune, and they want to showcase it. The lyrics are by Shel Silverstein, which I never knew but found interesting! Ben is a good sport...

A rainbow of food choices, one for each color, and some popcorn clouds. Tasty.

What rainbow/unicorn party would be complete without a rainbow cake?

The cake was just a basic sour cream white cake, and I made two batches of batter and divided it into eight sections, coloring six of the sections the colors of the rainbow. I baked them in 8" rounds. I then decided it would be cute to leave the sides unfrosted and to make it a bit wonky (right, that was *intentional*). I used a white chocolate frosting for between layers and at top, and then of course added sixlets. I saw this cake on Pinterest months ago and wanted to do something like that, but then I opted out of the side frosting, so I went for the top instead.

[I added some dark cocoa powder and chocolate chunks to turn the leftover two sections into chocolate-chocolate chunk cupcakes (for another time).]

As favors, I ordered some unicorn horn lollipops off of a cute little Etsy shop. (They are in the teapot in the above picture.) They were adorable and the kids loved them. I am not a big fan of spending hundreds of dollars on a kid's party, and I am happy to say that I didn't spend much at all on this one. I even got the rainbow plates at Target on clearance for $1/pack in the summer. Whew! I am glad it's over now. The fall birthday marathons are exhausting! Now, on to Thanksgiving and Christmas!

We had a family photo shoot a couple weeks ago, and I had to make Oliver some suspenders to tie my mustard yellow color into everything. One of the pictures:

I am working on a mini cabled scarf tutorial for you knitters out there. Coming in the next week, hopefully!