Saturday, June 6, 2015

Ball Gown for Monkey Pants


So, the past year, I got Monkey Pants to take ballroom dance lessons. What!?!?  Yes, I did. Miracle of miracles. And, she actually likes it. Last night was the dance studio end of year gala. Initially, I thought, oh good, she can just wear one of the couple of dresses I've bought her that she never gets to wear anywhere. Then, of course, we thought, OK, I thought -why not go all out and get her a floor length gown. So I searched on the internet and even went to a couple of stores. I did find some really pretty "pageant" dressed online but it was too late to order. And, I found absolutely nothing locally.

Midweek, I went to the fabric store and picked out some fabric. I rifled through the pattern books and found NOTHING.  Why! Why are there never any patterns for what I want to make when I want to make it. Next year, I bet there'll be tons of little girls ball gowns. I just know it.  So I was forced to do what I never like to do and figure it out on my own.  I ended up splicing two patterns together from what I had, McCalls 5570 which I used to make her a flower girl dress when she was three.  Problem was, the pattern only goes up to a size 5 and Monkey Pants is now ten. I used that for the skirt and petty skirt parts. And I used the  Burda 9/2012 #152 Cap Sleeve Dress for the bodice, which is also a little girl pattern but Monkey Pants has a tiny torso with wide shoulders so I had already enlarged and modified that the last time I used it on an the landscape dress.


Of course, I meant to give myself at least three days to do this, but no, it never works out like that so I started it Thursday night and finished it Friday evening with an hour to spare before the Gala, all the while thinking, why did I dump so much money on a dress I can't even finish and I don't have a real pattern for? What is wrong with me?! The boys are probably upstairs eating brown sugar out of the pantry with a spoon. And why isn't the stupid wi-fi working so I can listen to Pandora and not feel like I'm sewing in prison!

Then I watched this video.




Then I just did it.


Since I was going off the yardage for the underskirt of a size 5, It wasn't really puffy enough for this heavier ruffled fabric so I had her wear the petty skirt I made for the 50's skirt under there too. This is a two petty skirt dress.  The tule for the petty skirt was fuscia. It's pretty exciting but you can't really see it so you'll have to take my word for it. The shoes were also very princess-y, but had no time to get a picture as we were literally running out the door here because Mr. I-don't-know-where-my-head-is-most-of-the-time couldn't find his black dress socks THAT HE WEARS FOR BALLROOM ALL OF THE TIME. Can you tell I'm no longer the patient, happy-go-lucky mom I used to be. Wait, I was never that mom.


Also, James Bond granted us a special appearance there on the right.

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[I've noticed, my photos are ultra saturated in color when I upload them to Blogger. Don't know what the deal is but no, I'm not crazy, and I'm not doing this on purpose].

Friday, February 13, 2015

Octonauts Birthday Party


I will gladly admit that I'm not up for elaborate birthday parties with 3D character cakes for all my kids every year. Sadly, this means, the youngest one has never gotten a "cool" birthday cake. But this was his year. I picked the theme. Can you tell? Otherwise, it would be a combination of Mutant Ninja Turtles (something he knows nothing about) and race cars. We've always been a fan of Meomi's Octonauts long before the books became a show on Disney (not my favorite kids channel).  I prefer birthday parties where I can let all the kids lose out in the backyard but unfortunately, this little guy's birthday is in the winter. I thought I would make an effort at decorating this time, armed with way too many Pinterest ideas. So many in fact, I ran out of time to blow up the carefully color selected balloons and a few other details. I made Peso Penguin's medical suitcase with the Silhouette Cameo machine. I got put that thing to use to justify its cost. And, the other kids put up green twisty paper on the walls like sea grasses. I even collected some ocean-y related items from around the house to decorate the foyer and put that chest from a couple of years ago Christmas to good use, to hold a giant stuffed turtle and the favor boxes.


I tried for a tall, 8" round with a white cake recipe I found online. The cake fell and it came out with a huge crater in the middle. Not a good start. I had to do it again, so I settled for the boring, old 9" pans and made a little 6" devil's food cake from a box for the top. I was determined not to mix more than two colors of fondant, but of course, I was feeling the cake looked too poor, so I kept mixing colors. I was already keen on the shortcut of using the well-cleaned Octonauts figurines to decorate the cake. There's no way in hell I was going to model those out of fondant. I decided to add the number five at the end but had nothing to cut it out with and was not in the mood to print it and make a stencil, so I did a rather messy job of trying to cut it with a decorating spatula. In the end, I did a bit more than I was planning on and more than I was invested in effort-wise probably. I'm always striving to "keep it simple" these days.


I also made some cute star-shaped, ham sandwiches, octopus string cheese, and milk bottle beverages with the cute aqua striped straws because who can resist those. They are so cute. I did accidentally color the juice deep green though, by inadvertently squirting the blue food coloring in there instead of letting one droplet go like I was planning. Oh well, it all turned out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

50's Poodle Skirt



Pattern: Simplicity 3836
Fabric: Satin from JoAnns
Cost: ~ $40.00 (I had enough skirt and lining fabric left over for another skirt)
Size: 7 with skinnier waist
Age: 10

[Shoes: $4 lucky thrift store find. Shirt: old Land's End altered for toddler pirate shirt last year. Fit perfectly! It used to be a 3/4 sleeve girl's shirt.]
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So, um, I made this for Halloween. I came up with the 50s theme for Halloween this year because my MO these days is to figure out how I can get away with the least amount of work. I can't make three new costumes for every Halloween, throw great kid parties, and everything else all the time nor do I want to. (I even convinced my kids not to have parties this year. Yay for me! Really, it's better this way. They'll be able to appreciate them more this way). My son had an Elvis Jail House Rock costume I made for him last year for dance. So I figured he could get another wear out of that. I dressed up the little guy in jeans, a white t-shirt and a bomber-jacket which I made from an Ottobre pattern a while back for the older brother. So that just left me with only one costume to make.



So, Jail House Rock guy was not in a good mood here. We were in a super hurry. What else is new. We had to leave for dance class. He had gotten in trouble for flushing many hours of the day down the toilet and not being ready. He had no shoes because I had to buy them on our way to dance class. AND, my niece, who was doing his Elvis hair, apparently thought people in the 50's had perms. What?!  We were all ready on the porch, and he comes out with THAT hair.




Of course, I had to make it harder on myself by buying tule fabric for the petty skirt with plastic beads. WHY WOULD I DO THAT? I think I was sick, I was dumbstruck by how pretty it was and I was too tired to think about it anymore. It was also really expensive, I thought I had coupon, but I guess I didn't, and I totally screwed myself over with the cost of this skirt. I also bought way too much fabric by listening to the stupid pattern yardage requirements. The skirt is really simple but the petty skirt took FOR EVER. I had to cut all the plastic beads one inch from the edge so I could gather the fabric. My clunky, generic gathering foot apparatus caused me to break two needles and also made the thread guide fall off. It was a miracle I was able to put if back together as it is tiny and has the tiniest screw in the world.  So after the self inflicted aggravation, (I was also sick the entire time I shopped for and worked on this skirt) I was so happy with the end result on my little Tom Boy. Looking at this picture, you would never know.  I only convinced her to wear a skirt because she was going to be Jail House Rock girl (which is a thing I totally made up). Also, I felt the need to paint her face like a cat, because, let's face it, who hasn't seen a 50's poodle skirt costume a bazillion times.



And here she is again pulling off all these cute poses.



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jaeger 'George' Cardi #2



Pattern: George
Book: Jaeger JB29
Materials: Knit Picks City Tweed DK
Amount: (4) 50g balls 'Basil' (pattern calls for 3 50g balls but I ran out -again)
Needles: US3 and US6 bamboo
Cost: $4.99/ball approx. $20.00
Notions: Buttons (Walmart .99 cents)
Size: 12-24 months.
Start Date: Nov. 12, 2014
Finish Date: Dec. 1, 2014

So, I have a grandnephew -yes, apparently, I am that old- that just turned one. OK, he turned one at the beginning of November And, I'm sure he already has all the cool toys and clothes a one-year old could have so I wanted to make him something hand made. I had made this little cardi for my little boy a few years ago and after perusing the web for some cute boy cardi patterns, which I found plenty, I came back to this one for it's cute cables and relative ease.  I guess I really like green because I picked almost the same yarn!  This one is a bit brighter green, the other one was a bit more teal.  I also didn't realize it, but I ended up making the same size. I thought I had made the bigger size for my son. I guess I should have consulted my blog notes a little more. I could have just passed the original one along as a hand me down, but somehow, I hope it will be a little heirloom that my son can have his son wear one day. It might be eaten by months by then, but that is my fantasy for now anyway.  My grandnephew lives across the country from me, so no modeled photos this time.

After reading my notes on the first cardi, I see I made some changes to the length. I knit this one exactly according to size, except I had to switch to #4 needles on the collar because that previously mentioned, adorable, recipient of the first cardi and his little brother where jumping on the couch, where I stupidly left my knitting for two minutes, and broke my needles.  It helped tremendously to knit the collar on a cable needles this time. The first time, I think I tried to stuff all the stitches on a tiny 12" bamboo needle.


Also, I made a feeble attempt to make an iron-on label on ribbon. Now I remember why I didn't do this before. It came out OK, but it left a darker, textured film on the label that I don't like. And the lettering on the bottom was too small and not clear enough to read. I have made labels on printable "fabric" before which come out better but the so called fabric is pretty stiff and hard and I didn't want that on the neck for a little toddler. My iron-on paper is literally from like 20 years ago, so maybe I just need to buy some new stuff. It's possible it has improved since then, right?


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I have been getting sick every two to four weeks since the beginning of summer and recently, it occurred to me that maybe I should sit down and rest. I know, crazy, huh. But of course, that makes me antsy just thinking about all the things I should or could be doing, so I figured if I knit, while "resting" I would still feel like I was getting something done and making use of my waking hours. In my excitement over this, I went crazy and bought a bunch of Knit Picks yarn for a few patterns from the Brooklyn Tweed Kids collection that came out in the summer.  So I'm hoping on a lot more knitting this winter season.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Landscape Dress


Pattern: Burda 9/2012 #152 Cap Sleeve Dress
Fabric: Landscape fabric from Hobby Lobby
Cost: ~ $14.00
Size: 122 cm
Age: 9


[Shoes: Target]
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I've been wanting to make a Belgian style landscape dress for ever and finally got around to it before my daughter is old enough to look at me like wearing a dress with wheel barrows on it is just crazy. I came across this at Hobby Lobby and I thought it might just work. I also thought I would make it for a spring-y Easter dress. I needed a pattern that was pretty straight forward to show off the pattern. I used this pattern once before for a holiday dress and I really loved the retro/classic style. Although, I love the cap sleeves, I thought taking them off would suit the fabric better and give her a slightly different look.  Here is the result.  (I also lined it just like the first time and added a wee bit of tule to the bottom of the lining to help keep the skirt full. And I added a couple of inches to the bottom of the skirt for length). 

(She gets quite forlorn when I part her hair in a way she simply cannot stand).



Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spinach Fettuccine

For St. Patrick's Day, my kids demand green food, just as they demand to wake up to hearts leading the way from their bedrooms to a great Valentine's Day surprise and glorious Easter baskets, etc. The aftermath, I now suffer for doing cute things on holidays when they were younger that I may not necessarily feel like doing anymore. But, anyway. I made the obligatory green pancakes this morning. I got away with the inclusion of lettuce for lunch. And for dinner, I decided to try the Spinach Pasta in the Blendtec Twist Jar recipe book. I had a bunch of spinach from my Bountiful Baskets that I recently started to participate in that I needed to use. The pasta looks really appealing in the Blendtec photo, but I wasn't too sure it would turn out so well.

No, I don't think you're supposed to have to put this much flour on the pasta dough, but I had to.
It wasn't too hard to mix. The ingredients are pretty simple: spinach, white whole wheat flour, egg, and water.  I didn't have white whole wheat so I used whole wheat pastry flour and organic all purpose flour and omitted the water because I had just washed the spinach.  Well, I was right. The resulting "dough" was pretty sticky. I had to dust everything many times with more flour. (I should have just added another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour directly to the dough, but I felt I needed to stick to the recipe on this first go around). I cut them fettuccine style with a knife and let them dry for a while. Then, I had a heck of a time trying to peel them off my board. That's where I really started loosing faith in this recipe. But I made myself go on and threw them in the pot to cook them for about 6 minutes in boiling water. I made some grilled chicken strips (OK, they were frozen) and cream cheese sauce to help everyone with the task of eating this.

Much to my surprise, although, they did NOT look pretty, they tasted great and the texture was ... normal! The kids loved it!