Monday, December 27, 2010

R2D2 Hat

Rowan is a fan of Star Wars so I decided to make him a Star Wars hat for Christmas. It has six R2D2s around the hat. I found the charts on Ravelry and made up the hat pattern. I think it looks pretty cool. So does Rowan, and that's more important.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Underwater Jeans

Tucker has recently realized that he's not supposed to wear girls' clothes, but it's been hard for him. Boys' pants are jeans or brown, nary a jewel to be seen. So after watching him vacillate between yet another pair of tan cargo pants and embroidered pink flowers and butterflies, I decided to emboider a pair of his jeans. He *loves* these. Of course they now have holes in the knees, but this flashy dresser doesn't mind.

Incidentally, we did come home from the store with one pair of pants: red cordoroys with ruby jewels in each button and metal gromit thing. That's not girls' clothes.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Costumes

Alternate title: What Was I Thinking?

It all started when Conor picked out a terribly expensive costume from a catalog. "I can make that", I said. So then all three pick out a costume for me to make. And I'm still thinking I have plenty of time.

Conor wanted to be a Star Wars guy. But apparently that franchise doesn't want you to be able to find a pattern specifically for a Star Wars guy. So we had to make a wizardy-knight one work - and an adult sized one at that. It turned out well, although in looking at the picture, it seems huge. Conor thinks it's okay. I will say that it's the first pattern that, when I found a part that I didn't understand at all, I just did it the way that made sense to me. That's a big step for me.

Rowan wanted to be a super hero. I present: Super Rowie. His pattern also included pants, shirt and gauntlets, but I was tired of costumes at this point, so I skipped them. This is actually the costume that will get worn the most. It's also the pattern that, when reading the directions, I thought "That is the stupidest way to make something that I've ever heard". So (after consulting with Mom and both of my aunt Kathys) I made it my way. Again, not following the directions is a big step for me.

And here's the girl who got the short end of the stick. I knew hers would be worn on Halloween and never again, so the only thing I made from the pattern was the gauntlets. Turns out she was thrilled with them, so she doesn't feel slighted in the least. I also made the skirt - one side seam, elastic waist, and zig zag hem. Tough stuff.
So there you have it. My first (and most likely last) attempt at making all three costumes. Next year, maybe one, but that's it!

Monday, October 25, 2010


I've been learning how to crochet. At first it made me want to punch and kick and scream, but then I learned broomstick lace. It's pretty cool. Now I have a new scarf that I made that I didn't knit.

Thanks to the success of the scarf I'm moving on to other crochet projects. I'm excited to be able to trim my knitted work in crochet.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

what you've all been waiting for

So I'm pretty sure that all of you are dying to for an update on the deodorant experiment. I mean, who isn't curious about my armpits?

[insert photo of my armpit here]

The first one I made just ran out, and I totally love it. It works so much better than Tom's, which is the deodorant I had been using before. I've been trying, especially when I'm pregnant or breastfeeding, to keep antiperspirant, and its aluminum, off my breast tissue and lymph nodes. It seems like the best choice, but I don't particularly enjoy it, because deodorants haven't worked that well for me. (On the other hand, for a while I was wearing one made with coriander, and at certain points during the day, I would think, "Yum, I smell Mexican, Indian food...") And I tend to sweat a lot, for no apparent reason, sometimes.

But this deodorant totally works. I never stink. Never. I wore it all summer long. AND sweating really wasn't a problem. Occasionally my shirt was wet, but not nearly as bad as I though it would be. And sometimes I bike three kids around. I think the baking soda and cornstarch absorb quite a bit. And have I mentioned that my armpits are so soft, and I never get razor burn? It works all day, unlike Tom's, which has a "long-lasting" version that works for 12 hours. I'm not sure what Tom does, but he must get a lot of sleep.

[insert photo of armpit from another view]

The downside is that it built up in a couple of my shirts. This could be because I only wear three shirts all summer long, or because I put too much on, which I do (because I'm mature, at 34, and I know: more is always better). Also, it's kind of a pain to put on, because you have to dig it out with your fingers.

Since I'm making more, I'm trying a slightly altered recipe, using coconut oil instead of shea butter and cocoa butter. This recipe seems a bit crumblier than the last, so I'm thinking of making the old recipe, and putting it in Chris's old deodorant tube.

So now you know. Homemade deodorant is the bomb.

Ok, by request I'm adding the recipes. The comments page kept weirding out on formatting.

Here's the first version, altered a bit, but from Angry Chicken:
3T shea butter
2T cocoa butter
3T baking soda
2T corn starch
1/4 t vitamin e oil
essential oil (you need quite a bit of e.o. to counteract the fact that shea butter smells like Grandpa's townhouse) - I used fir balsam

new version, which I'm not sold on:
2T coconut oil
2T baking soda
2T corn starch
1/8 t vitamin e oil
1/4 t almond oil (which I added because I thought it would be too hard, which it is. I need to re-melt and add more.)
4 drops peppermint essential oil

Either way, mix everything except the essential oil, and melt in a double boiler, microwave, solar oven, whatever. Mix well. Add essential oils and stir again. Pour in container and let cool. Then enjoy how you're sticking it to The (deodorant) Man.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tucker's Narwal

Tucker and Chris made a narwal last winter, and when I said something about taking pictures of his pants to post on this blog, he really wanted me to add his narwal. He also wanted me to say that only he made it. But I told him I'm not a big fat liar like he is. But he was the idea man behind it, even drawing a schematic diagram.

Here's what Tucker has to say: Daddy and me made this narwal. It's made out of fabric, a plastic sunbutter jar (but you can use peanut butter if you wanna make it), and a plastic tube that's screwed in with a screw and a nut stuck into the plastic tube. Then I used markers to color it.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I have been making a lot of socks. They are amazingly comfortable. They are a portable project. They don't involve carrying around bulky wool in the summer. They look cool. They are knit on tiny needles that make me feel like a super strong bad ass when I break them mid row.

I hope to eventually have several pairs. I want to be able to wear hand knit socks every day at work.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Quilt for Lola

The back

Lola is my goddaughter and I'll give her almost anything she wants.
So when she asked for a "Dora Blanket" I sprung into action!

I knew the exact patten I would use!

We went to the fabric store together and picked out the Dora fabric she liked best.
Then I asked her what color she saw in the Dora fabric and
she said "Orange!" so we went to the section with orange fabric
and she picked out her favorite orange...
We repeated this 2 more times and she chose blue and pink fabrics.

The pattern I used was from a Minnesota pattern book.
It was called "LeSueur"...
That is where Paula grew up and Brian and Paula met.

This is the final result... I cut it and Mom sewed it together at our
quilt retreat because she was tired of her own projects.

It turned out pretty cute!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

DIY... Who needs profesionals!!!

Carol and I tore out the world's UGLIEST and dirtiest carpet

out of our guest room and put in solid oak instead!!!

We still need to stain it and put the trim up.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pillowcases for the Grands-In-Law

I wanted to bring something personalized to my grandparents-in-law when I visited them a couple weeks ago. I thought pillowcases would be something useful, and I think they're pretty.

To make them, I cut up a 100% cotton flat king sheet that I bought when it was on sale at Target. I even measured for this project (there's nothing worse than gifting shoddy work to people who speak languages I don't understand). I cut out a big rectangle, zig-zagged the edges, then sewed the case to form the bottom and side seam. Then I ironed on the pattern, selected some colors--two shades of purple and two shades of green--and embroidered away. After I embroidered, I made the big blind hem on the end to encase the back of the stitching. Voila.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I made this apron for a friend.
It actually covers the parts that I get dirty!
Cheyenne wasn't very happy to model but she faked it well.
The friend liked it so much she ordered 6 more!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Light-blocking curtain

We have French door in our bedroom, out to the rug porch. If anyone knows why they call it a rug porch, please share. I tell Tucker that's where you go to shake your rugs, and that seems weak, even to a five-year-old.
The door is nice during the day, but at night, lots of light comes in from the apartment building next door, and the street lights in the alley. Also, Chris can't sleep as soon as the sun comes up. And that annoys me, because if he doesn't sleep in the morning, he sleeps through the kids in the night. So I made a curtain.

It's not perfect, because I used a cloth light-blocker as a liner, instead of vinyl that really works. But it does block a lot of the light.

Here's a close-up of the fabric. Upholstery-weight Thai elephants. It was on sale.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bags. And more bags.

I recently downloaded my camera onto my computer, so I have months of pictures to post, as you may have noticed.

These are "Treasure Bags" I made for Tucker and Brinda. When we go on walks, they pick up so much crap that it makes me crazy. So much that the city of Minneapolis should give our family a stipend. And they want me to carry it all. They may be treasures to those two, but they look an awful lot like broken tail lights and bent bolts. So now they are in charge of carrying their own crap. And they think it's cool.

This is my new clothespin holder. I had an old one from the farm, which was shaped like a little girl's dress, and was very cute. But recently Matthew told me that he didn't like to help putting clothes on the line because he felt like he was sticking his hand down someone's shirt (we had another we used growing up, which looked like the shirt of a 60's teen who loves rickrack). And it kind of stuck with me. So I didn't make another dress or shirt. This is a kitchen handtowel I bought when Deirdre convinced me that I would embroider all the time because it's so easy. But I don't have Deirdre's talent. Chris made the hanger.

This is a little messenger bag I made for Brinda to take to nursery school. It turned out too small, which you can't see because I didn't include anything for scale. (All those earth science lessons, forgotten.) Also, the flap to close it is too small. But I fixed most of these problems when I made two more for a fundraiser. Now I want to go to the fundraiser and get one back for Brinda if they don't go for enough in the silent auction. Because I hate making the same thing multiple times, so there's no way I'm making her another.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pushing the bounds of social acceptability...

Perhaps some of this is the kind of thing one should keep to oneself, but I'm so pleased that I'm sharing anyway.

We've been making our own lotion for a few years now, and while Chris tells me that's odd, I like it. It's mixing, melting, and pouring, so it's entertaining for the kids, and it's much cheaper than buying lotion that has ingredients I recognize. So above we have hand lotion, diaper wipe liquid, "calm down" lotion for the big kids (it doesn't work, but don't tell them. I'm hoping it will kick in any day now.), and a wax we made to finish some wood, but which makes great lotion (here's where we get into the stuff I should keep to myself). Today Neave has a terrible diaper rash from the chili I knew I shouldn't give her, so we made diaper ointment, below.

I recently made a hair rinse from apple cider vinegar that actually seems to be making a difference on my dry dry dry winter scalp.

And here's calendula oil in the making, which I'm mostly showing because it's so pretty, which probably doesn't come across in this photo.

Yesterday Chris said, "we're out of glue. We should put that on this list. Unless you're going to make some of that," in a fairly sarcastic voice. But the glue seems to work just great. On the plus side, Tucker thinks it's delicious. So delicious he sneaks bites of it out of the fridge, where it's kept. At least I know what my paste eater is eating, right?... Somehow that doesn't make me feel better.

And here's the coup de grace of my social acceptability - my own deodorant!

I'm so pleased with it. I really like it. I know, it's winter, and it probably won't stand the test of summer, when I really need an antiperspirant. But I made it with fir balsam essential oil, so I smell a bit like Christmas.

Just for the record, Chris has stopped using his medicinal cream for his eczema, and started using the wood wax. And remarking on how we shouldn't have to use petroleum products just because the oil industry wants to get rid of their waste products. I just nod, but I think we all know I won: we're both lame.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cullen's Quilt

Since it was made for a McCabe we knew traditional
baby colors wouldn't work...

Mom and I co-quilted again...
We made this for Cullen and, apparently,
Kathy has started a timeliness standard so
we got it to to him before he was a month old!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Baby Toys

I made some baby toys, and took pictures of them in November. But I'm posting them anyway, because my baby is cute.

This is a blanket with tabs, made what I believe is a reasonable size, and with non-cutesy fabric. Fleece on the back.

I also made a flannel square with a cracker bag inside, so it makes that crinkley noise. I sewed a wooden quarter in the corner to teethe on. When I type it out, it sounds a bit odd, but she likes it just fine.

This is also a demonstration of how inappropriately for weather my big kids dress.

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Precedent: Timeliness

I'm pretty much bragging here about how my mother completed a craft AND mailed it to me BEFORE the occassion itself. Since I haven't been crafty with things other than data and statistical software lately, this will have to suffice.

I was so happy to open my mail to find two of these!

I was pretty impressed with the presentation
Here's the whole thing: one of two matching Valentine's pillowcases (sorry about the shadows).
They're really quite lovely, but not nearly as lovely as the idea of Mother's timeliness. I'm so proud of you, Marms. Look out world, Kath may have set a new precedent.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another Runner

This table runner was my first attempt at applique...
Triangles are new for me.
I didn't to too badly!

This was a kit I got for Christmas.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Stroller Bags

So I made these last year, but enough snow has finally melted that they're useful again. I can actually get the double stroller over a curb, without climbing Mt. Crap-People-Are-Too-Lazy-To-Shovel. They're like sleeping bags for the stroller, made of fleece and flannel, or cotton. Once again, from the stash, which I'm pretty pleased with. (Someday, I'll actually close my "overflow" rubbermaid.)

They're a weird shape, because I wanted them to be tuckable under and over the lap belt, but open wide enough to get snow boots into easily. The bottom layer has no flaps, and comes up far enough to go a tiny bit up the back of the seat. They work quite well. Double fleece probably would have been warmer, but my fleece selection isn't the most attractive.