Monday, March 31, 2014

Garden Party Frock

I know we're all sick of the weather and sick of hearing ourselves talk about the weather, so let's not. Let's talk about luscious color on this otherwise very muddy, sloshy afternoon. I wish I had more sunny windows so I could plant more cacti and succulents and green to combat all the grey and white in the great big world. Grey and white, while they serve their purpose, are not things I delight in... Give me vibrant colors that I can splash around in! I recently did a bit of a wardrobe cleansing and realized that my thirty something self had gone the straight and narrow with many of my choices (practical yes, but altogether uninspiring). And while I don't necessarily want to return to some of the nutty outfits I wore as a young maiden, I thought it might be nice to spoil myself a little and make a few fun things for Spring.


I don't have much time to sew these days, and I know I should have been starting on some Easter dresses for the girls, but I've been wanting to sew for me for the longest time, and there is always something more pressing. So, what the heck! This was a quick sew, and I dove right in! I needn't feel guilty as I am hardly the fashionista, and barely even by myself clothes except when things start to get a bit beyond mending. And, there's still time before Easter to make the girls a little something, so I'll stop chiding myself for a bit of self-centerness. 

Now I'm sure you're saying, "But, Bonnie, why did you make maternity ware?" Ha! You're so funny. No, I'm not pregnant, I'm just a sucker for flowy blouses that hide my mother of two belly. And "Comfy" is my middle name. I would have been even happier if this pattern belled out a slight bit more... maybe if I make another version. It came out a tad boxy, but I think it looks better on, than lying flat on the table.

I had to pose with my fake cup of tea so you could get the full effect. The camera and I don't get along too well. My apologies for that, but I spared you about fifty more awkward shots that the Mister snapped for me. It's a little hard to tell, but there is a yoke.

I imagine myself picking veggies in the summer sun in this "frock"... maybe not technically a "frock", but I think it begs to be called one! I have a few more Spring blouses to squeeze in before we can truly call it Spring around here (but Mud Season is officially in full swing!)

Sewing Notes:
Pattern: "New Look" pattern #6913 style C
Fabric: Carnaby Street by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics ( It's a super soft quilting cotton that almost feels like voile. It reminds me of a Liberty of London print or some beautiful Japanese fabric.)
Changes: I modified the back to be one piece instead of having an unnecessary seam. I also omitted the belt, which perhaps could help with the boxiness.

To see another version I made of this pattern in style D, click here.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

13/52 Coconut Reindeers

"A portrait of my girls, once a week in 2014"

Elsa: Proudly sitting on the table like a happy little Buddha. Did you know this girl can walk?!
Oona: Otherwise known as "Bluey Reindeer"... We put some bows on the bear ears so they could be reindeer ears. I love my kooky coconuts.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dance of the Spring Faeries

On the first day of Spring we awoke to more snow. I guess it wasn't really a surprise, as Spring weather takes it time getting to the north country... usually when everyone else is declaring it summer, but it's been so dang cold this year, it would have been nice to have a little burst of sunshine. Anyway, as the saying goes, "when you have scrap fabric, make scrap fabric tutu's" or maybe it's something about lemons. I really don't know at this point. So, that's what we did to welcome Spring, even though it's not very Spring-like at the moment.

I dumped a big bag of scrap fabric on the floor and after the girls swam around in it, Oona and I dug around for the long thin strips. I cut them up with pinking sheers and tied them to an elastic ribbons I had sewn together in their sizes. You could also use regular ribbon and tie it in a bow if you wanted to make an adjustable one. Oona requested I make one for her llama, Lupe, too. That one was easy because I used the tiny scraps from the pinking sheers. I didn't do any measuring, just cut away in different widths and lengths, pointing the ends. The bag of scrap fabric I used was one I found at the thrift store for a couple dollars, and I've gotten endless use out of it... truly a magic bag as it never seems to run out.

Now we just have to do the 'Dance of the Spring Faeries' and maybe the sun will shine upon us a little brighter!

* There are endless examples of these scrap skirts on the web if you are looking for inspiration. I love this one by SouleMama . It would also be fun to make these with other scrap material such as lace, ribbon or vintage hankies, or perhaps all of the above.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

12/52 Sister Cuddles

"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Elsa and Oona: I love how they can laugh and play without any words.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Take a Deep Breath

Take a deep breath...
when you take that first sip of tea in the morning
when the heater stops running and you hear a quiet room for just a moment
when your baby girl climbs up on big sister's chair and stands up grinning
when you put the bills in the mail box
when you hang the last piece on laundry on the line

a little deeper...
when you sip that afternoon coffee
when your little girl sits on your lap and says "I just want Mama right now"
when you pour the popcorn in the popper
when you wash another dish

let the breath become a smile...
when you run out things to say
when your little one screams for the thousandth time
when you find yourself dressed up with no place to go
when you know that the hours on the clock don't count for much these days

and exhale...
when plans of a fancy dinner turn into another box of pasta
when winter is hanging around just a little too long
when you stand on the porch and feel the cold on your skin
when you find a tiny moment in your own head to listen to a memory

Yes, that feels better.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spring Birds

This is just a little photo shoot with some little birds I made recently upon request. I haven't made these in a while, but back in the day I made quite a few of these.  It was nice to give my sewing machine a little company after a long time gone.

Oh, yes, these do make me think that perhaps Spring is inching ever so slowly closer! If you are somewhere where the little crocus's are starting to peek their heads up, do a little dance.

11/52 Cozy Basket

"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Elsa: the early bird  with a gleam in her eyes as she plays with big sister's toys
Oona: dressed in "spells" she travels by basket to the land of magic

Friday, March 14, 2014

Elsa at Ten Months

I nearly forgot to do a ten month update for Miss Elsa! Ten months on the 6th of March... crazy town! The first year zooms by the second time around! Here's what my little elfin queen is up to these days:
- having horrible teething, but still no teeth!
- eating chunky food, gumming big apples and other delights
- chucking lots of food on the floor
- shrieking like a banshee when I fail to meet her every need
- rolling around on the floor with big sister every chance she gets
- said "I love you!" once to her Dada (so sweet)
- also says something that sounds like "I did it!"
- understanding far more than she's saying
- enjoying the crawling stage and not showing much interest yet in walking
- bathing in the big tub
- is a super cuddle bug
- always trying to get into the fridge and bathroom when opportunity arises
- still does cute baby babble singing

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How does your Garden Grow?

Granny stripe crochet head warmers made from Peruvian wool.

Why am I still crocheting winter wear? Maybe it's the piles of snow outside the window that keeps me thinking we've got a ways to go before we're through with Jack Frost. I think it's about three more months before were out from under the Snow Queen's spell here in VT... ok, maybe not quite that long, but you never know here. 

Still the same, I am fantasizing about the garden on a regular basis. I'm thinking I need to go a little "outside the box" this year on the garden front... yes, no corners at all... how about a circle? I'd love to have a mandala garden... maybe with a bench in the very center... ah, daydreams. We'll see. I've been doing some research on permaculture, and while I don't know if I'm ready to create a full permaculture system, I think it would be nice to do away with the rows and have a garden that flows and works as symbiotically as possible. Yes, indeed, grand ideas from the girl whose garden last year was a total disaster. I've got a few seeds started and I'm planning to get the rest going this weekend. Anyone have any great recommendations for gardening books or gardening blogs/websites? I need to start some garden sketches soon if I'm going to go through with this grand plan. More on that soon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cultivating Patience

With one of my babes teething, and one of my babes ready for a tantrum at any given moment, I find my hair standing on end a bit more than I like these days. It's very easy to get sucked in to these emotional whirl pools without warning. I quickly become the three year old stamping her feet and yelling in retort. But, in my best moments (which I'm trying to make more frequent), I step back, breathe, and either ride out the storm or find a way back to dry land.

I recently picked up "Buddhism for Mother's of Young Children" by Sarah Napthali because I was feeling a little lost on this parenting journey. With very little free time to recharge, I wanted to bring myself back into the moment and find a way to be happy or at least at peace with the day to day world I'm living. While I don't consider myself a Buddhist, I find a lot of truth in the teachings. Simply remembering to take deep breaths throughout the day, has done a lot to stop knee jerk reactions. I've also started to do short meditations when Elsa is nursing... just concentrating fully on the breath and sometimes doing a body scan to find the areas in my body that have tensed up.

I'm really glad I picked up this book because at the very least, it has reminded me that this time in my life is fleeting. My babies will grow up, and I need to try to find joy in each stage that they're at and be glad for the life that I have right now, messy house, screaming kids and all. I loved that the author of this book, has a four year old son, not unlike my Oona in spirit and determination. There were also some perspectives from other Mama's, which was an added bonus. I'll definitely be reading this one again, as it had lots of good reminders.

A few things I'm going to start doing after reading this: meditating each day (whether it be for one minute or twenty, this really helps me through the day), walking each day as the weather gets warmer, jotting down a few things each day that bring beauty into my world, and trying to be more aware when anger is bubbling and then stopping to breath and see if it's really worth the upset. I've also been working on counting and breathing with Oona when she gets upset... it works better for me than a time out. Anyway, I thought I'd recommend this to the Mama's out there, as it was definitely an inspiring read.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

10/52 Bath Time

"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2014."
Elsa and Oona: their first sister bath... just two mermaids enjoying the waves...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Finnie the Pooh's Leg Warmers

Many moons ago I promised to make my baby nephew a pair of leg warmers. I mis-measured and had to give the first pair I made to Elsa, which I guess was for the best because this pair I made for her was far too big.  The original pair was made using this same warm teddy bear colored yarn minus the eggplant purple, but they were a simple single crochet style, and didn't have much stretch. This time I made them while Finn was visiting so I could constantly check the measurements to make sure those chubby little cubby legs of his didn't grow on me while I made them. I decided to work in squares this time so that they might have a little more give. My sister came up with the brilliant idea to use buttons so they would be easy to put on. By adding two rows of buttons, there's room for him to grow.

 I didn't quite finish before their departure so I didn't get a picture of him modeling them, or get to check the final fit, but I'll keep my fingers crossed. They look a little wonky lying flat. I did block them, so I'm not quite sure why. Never-the-less, I think the wonkiness will be hidden when worn. The eggplant purple border was an after thought because I ran a little short on the teddy bear yarn. I took two balls of "Shine" worsted weight yarn in "willow"and a pinch of left over "serenade". The fiber content is cotton and natural beech wood fiber, and it has a wonderfully soft feel, but I do wish they made the balls a little bigger... 75 yards doesn't go far.  And for the buttons, I just used some brown vintage ones from my stash.

Here's Dr. Bear himself waiting oh so patiently for his leg warmers.

I still have one more half finished pair of leg warmers for Miss Oona that will hopefully be completed this winter before she grows again. Oh my, they do keep growing, don't they?!

Monday, March 3, 2014

9/52 Goldilock and the Two Bears

"A portrait of my sweeties, once a week, every week, in 2014."
Elsa and Finn: Two small cousins, both changing so much everyday... love to see them begin to play together.
Oona: Bowl of blueberries and bear pancakes plus visiting with family equals the perfect morning for this little one.