I just came across these photos of my little elfin girl from back in May. She was picking lavender and dancing around in the driveway (princess dancing, of course). Now she is two months older. And so much older. I don't know why she's wearing a wool hat in May, but chances are, if she's wearing a hat, he'll have one as well.
I love pinafore-style dresses and tops. This one is the Sandpiper Top by Clever Charlotte (fabric from the Feather n Stitch collection by Sarah Watts). I also made a baby set a while ago using the Mayah Reversible Pinafore pattern by Sew Sweet Patterns. Pinafores for everyone!
I haven't done a wonderful job taking photos of all my recent handmades, but I couldn't resist snapping these of Juni snuggling the dolls I made for some new little babies that joined us this spring. Her pretty felted crown was made by her teacher for her special "half-birthday" celebration at school (since she wasn't enrolled in school yet on her actual birthday).
On Friday, the Early Childhood students at Juniper's school had their May Day celebration and family picnic. We made flower crowns (with lavender from our garden!) and watched the Kindergarten children dance around the May pole. Juni was thrilled with such a special day at school with her friends.
I made Juni's May Day dress using the Sunny Scallop Dress pattern by Jona G. and a couple of simple calicos from JoAnns. Despite the complete lack of pink or sparkles, Juni says it is still "princessy", which is the only fashion metric that matters these days.
Oh, I was tempted to keep this one for my very own! I love these prints from Heather Ross' Far Far Away 3 collection. That center panel of Snow White's dwarves... the laundry on the clotheslines... the little girls and her toy horses. All so sweet. And they are a cotton/linen blend, so the whole quilt has a nice texture and weight, while still being soft and snuggly. I also added in some Kona solids and a few dots and bound it with a print from Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley line. It's a smaller version of this quilt from Fabricworm. (Ignore our terrible post-winter grass and focus instead on our pretty spring sunshine).
I made this quilt for Baby Lulu Apple, the newest little addition to one of my most favorite families. I hope it gets lots of snuggles and drools and baby lovies. I also made this quick-to-knit Owlie Hat from Spud & Chloe Outer yarn, which ended up being huge, perhaps large enough for a two-year-old. Owen had a fine time modeling it, even if it was swallowing up his little head.
This is the quilt that I made for my friend Kellie's new little baby boy, Liam Parker. This is a pretty big departure from my usual fabric choices, but I thought the teal, maroon, and mustard color combo was interesting and unusual for a boy and I hoped little Liam would one day appreciate the quirky robot theme.
The fabric is Cogsmo by Cosmo Cricket for Andover Fabrics. I love all the prints together and with the stripey binding and circuit board printed backing, the whole thing ended up looking pretty adorable for a little boy. However, this quilt has a bunch of little mistakes that are driving me crazy. In planning the design, I didn't consider size, so this quilt is huge for a baby. Huge. Also, for some reason, I didn't have enough pins to baste this (huge) quilt properly (where are all my pins?), but instead of spending the few dollars for another pack, I forged ahead. So this is pretty much the worst machine quilting I've ever done. I opted for minimal quilting lines, outlining the squares. But the whole thing was quite shifty, so there are puckers all over the place, making the whole quilt rather... wonky.
Hopefully, sweet baby Liam won't mind. Congratulations, Kellie and Chris!
PS: Liam's quilt is draped over Juni's new play tent. My brother and I put it together one morning while she was at school using this tutorial. It is the perfect spot for afternoon reading, pretend camping, and impromtu popcorn parties.
Yes, that's chocolate on their mouths, first thing in the morning. Ah, the magic of Christmas morning. What better time for indulgence.
Their Christmas day was certainly sweet and indulgent. As usual, it's hard to balance the spirit of magic and gratitude and mindful appreciation of the season with the overwhelming influx of so many exciting things, so much stuff. As things calm down though, in these in-between days, they are slowly discovering the lovely, thoughtful gifts they received and much engaging, imaginative, musical play is happening all over the house.
This little dolly was my one handmade achievement of the Christmas season (other than a couple of quick Dolores Park cowls here and here). And actually, I finished sewing her up over the summer, so I just needed to tweak her hair and make her clothes before wrapping her up and placing her under the tree.
Juni named her Ginger and has been getting to know her now that the bustle of the holiday is winding down. Apparently, she likes carrots and hot chocolate and "being warm and cozy". She makes a good "matey" (see previous post) and she enjoys being twirled around by her hair. They will be good friends, these two.
I had been hoping to get Juni one of these Waldorf-style dolls for such a long time, but they are quite in demand and difficult to acquire without lightning-fast mouse-clicking skills and a rather deep pocket (for good reason, this is meticulous, labor-intensive handwork). So I thought I would give dollmaking a try and, well, this project has been my very favorite. I already can't wait to make another and I can think of a dozen different things I would like to change the next time around.
(After checking out my amateur attempt at dollmaking, click over to Fig & Me to see Fabiola's absolutely gorgeous dolls.)
Details, details... I used the pattern, instructions, and materials from Weir Dolls and Crafts for a 16" Waldorf doll and I used the hair instructions from Meg McElwee's wonderful book Growing Up Sew Liberated. Juni chose the yarn for her hair from our local yarn store ("I want it to be black like mama's and also purple"). It is the very luxe Madeline Tosh DK yarn in the Duchess coloway. She also chose purple embroidery thread for her eyes. The purple corduroy overalls and purple shirt are made from patterns in Meg's book, as well. The knitted sweater is the Poppy Cardigan by tikki (and yes, now that I'm looking at the photos, I forgot to sew on the middle button). I used Malabrigo merino worsted yarn in the Verde Azul colorway (Ravelry link here), which is a nice bluish-green sprucey color (that didn't translate well at all in these photos).
Juniper turned three last week! She's been practicing her "three" fingers for weeks in anticipation.
Of course, it seems like just yesterday that I held those newborn hands in mine, impossibly small and perfect. I remember the perfect "O" of her slow baby yawn. I remember the sweet comma of her body and her big, big eyes. But then again, has it really only been three years? If feels as though I've been kissing her forehead goodnight for so long.
This girl. Her world is so exciting. It's full of amazing, magical things. Things like acorns and moonrises, glitter and glue and pet rocks, rock music and carousels and hiking in the woods, salty pretzels and fairy wings and rainbow picnics. She loves pirates (argh! ahoy mateys!) and nutcrackers (who knows...). She loves to run super-fast and feel the wind on her face. She loves gnome stories and hugs from Owey and dancing around the living room. She loves making vegetable soup and cheering for sports teams. She wrinkles up her nose when she smiles.
She can do so many things.
Three is going to be such a fun year.
Juni had a sweet little birthday, filled with all her favorite things. We ate yummy treats and rode the carousel. We had lunch outside in the unusually warm weather. She decorated her own (ice cream) cake. She opened all her lovely gifts and was over-the-moon excited about every single one of them. She ate spaghetti and meatballs and blew out her candles and sang her favorite songs and fell asleep as one happy three-year-old.
I never did finish that Rainbow Blanket, so Juni didn't get a handknit for her birthday. She did, however, get her birthday crown, which she wore all day long. She requested that it have purple on it and a gnome. My gnome ended up looking like some sort of wizard, but she seemed satisfied. I also added a forest of mushrooms and a big snail button.
Me: Hey, Juni, what's your favorite color?
Me: What's your favorite thing to do?
Me: What's your favorite food?
Juni: Tubey pasta.
Me: What's your favorite game to play?
Me: What's your favorite book?
Juni: I am a Bunny.
Me: What's your favorite animal?
Juni: A giraffe.
Me: What's your favorite place to visit?
Juni: The park.
Me: What's your favorite thing in the whole world?
Halloween costume discussion began months ago and, as expected, she changed her mind constantly. She wanted to be a frog, a doughnut, an autumn fairy, a doughnut fairy. She wanted Owen to be a nice princess. But one day, while staring out the window, she said, "I'm not going to be a fairy. I'm going to be a cloud." And she stuck with that idea for the whole two months until Halloween. She even decided that Owen should be a sun and mama should be a raindrop and daddy should be a lightning bolt. Our very own meteorological family.
This year, Juniper was over-the-top excited about Halloween. She kept talking about all the treats. She wanted to fill her treat bucket to the "tippy top". "Then it will be enough, mama." She asked if trick-or-treating would be scary but also fun. She couldn't wait to have a lollipop and also some chocolate. And some for Owey too. She was so, so thrilled to be a cloud.
I waffle on the idea of making my kids' costumes and had almost talked myself into buying them before Juni decided on the weather theme. But, of course, I couldn't find cloud and sun costumes anywhere. I couldn't even find any examples or tutorials online for making them.
If my approach was more organized and meticulous, I would have written a tutorial myself for any kindred parent of sky-infatuated toddlers. But I pretty much improvised these costumes, making adjustments as I went along. They are both made of fleece with cotton jersey lining. I constructed the sun in a similar manner to the ubiquitous toddler pumpkin costumes that you find in any discount store this time of year. The shoulders are velcro and the bottom opening is elasticized to achieve the spherical effect. I stuffed the whole thing with polyfill including the pointy, triangular bits. The cloud was made much the same way, except I extended the sides quite a bit and traced out a cloud-ish shape. I also eliminated the velcro and added stuffed bumps to the shoulders. It is lined with gray jersey (a silver lining!).
Both costumes are delightfully poofy and squishy and bouncy, though the cloud in particular turned out to be quite the jack-o-lantern hazard while trick-or-treating. And as with most things, these were absolutely worth making myself.
Oh this guy. This sweet, snuggly, huggy guy. He melts my heart into a big puddle of goo.
Truly, cuddling up to those cheeks is just about the best thing in this world. They cuddle back.
Now that he's a whole year old, I have to keep reminding him that he's my baby. He seems determined to prove otherwise.
He walks across the room with a big, proud grin on his face, climbing on and over anything in his way.
He makes his little voice heard, full of words and phrases and songs, suprising me every day with something new and clever.
"Excuse you!" he teases.
"Read a booook?" he asks (Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is his favorite. What is it with babies and that book?).
"Want a Bapple!" he pleads, asking over and over again for an apple. He likes them whole, so he can nibble his way through and around it, spitting the skin out all over my floor.
"Touchdown!" he yells, with his arms straight up in the air.
"Wuv you... wuv you, wuv you, wuv you." And I melt all over agin.
His birthday was a sweet, simple little affair, with singing and cake, a sushi lunch and a Lo Mein dinner, and many lovely gifts from our families.
Lately, I've become quite enamored with the idea of cakes looking like cakes rather than like cartoon characters. This is at least in part due to my love affair with the gorgeous, nostalgic perfection of Sweetapolita's many-layered confections (Charlie made this cake for my birthday and it was incredible). So we made Owen his own double-layer cake to enjoy. Charlie mixed up chocolate and spiced pumpkin batters for the cake and I made the leftovers into cupcakes for the rest of us. It was topped with a drippy maple cream cheese frosting and, per Juni's insistence, a variety of "nice, pretty sprinkles".
Owen was certainly less fastidious with his cake than Juni was, but he did insist on an arsenal of spoons and sporks rather than digging in with his hands. After about half an hour of nibbling, he nearly fell asleep in his frosting, at which point we gave him a warm bath and a warm bed and a warm snuggle and the tired, happy little birthday boy fell right to sleep.
Owen's birthday sweater was knit from this simple, quick pattern for a toddler t-shirt vest (I adore woolie sweater vests). The yarn is Malabrigo Rios merino wool in the lettuce colorway - it is ridiculously, incredibly soft... almost too soft. I haven't made up my mind whether I like it or not. It feels more like bamboo than wool, with none of the sturdy body that I expect from a woolie thing. Here's the Ravelry link.
The birthday crown was my own design, using wool felt and ribbon. I was going for an autumnal woodland theme (with a bear for my little O-Bear). Juni calls it the banana hat because she insists that the moon looks like a banana. "That's not a moon! Silly mama..."
End-of-summer sewing and crafting activities have slowed now that I have an extraordinarily active, mobile, and mischievous baby and a toddler who is always in need of a mama for her various pretend games. But now that Fall (ah, blissful, beautiful Fall) is knocking on my door, I hope to get more sewing and knitting done for the chilly months ahead. This is the time for cozy quilts and knit hats and cute baby pants and various long-sleevedy things.
I've had this perfect stack of sandy, beachy-hued fabric from Art Gallery sitting on my shelves for months - ever since I saw this post from Pat Bravo. When we decided to make a trip to South Florida for Labor Day weekend, I knew that it would make a perfect quilt for Juni's and Owen's Nana (great-grandmother), whose house is a veritable shrine to the color aqua. However, I didn't start cutting and piecing this until about a week and a half before we were set to leave, so finishing it was a bit of a scramble, squeezed into naptimes and nighttimes and any little bit of free time available. In fact, I finished hand-sewing the binding about half and hour before we left for the airport, which explains these terrible photos taken right before it was squished into my over-stuffed suitcase.
The top is pieced from a variety of aqua-hued Art Gallery fabrics in two alternating block designs (I think they are about 12" square). The binding is Robin's Egg Blue Belmont from the Summer House line by Lily Ashbury and the backing (which I don't have a decent photo of) is this print from Joel Dewberry's Heirloom collection. Since I definitely didn't have time for free-motion stippling, I quilted it with vertical wavy lines to suggest beachy waves. Now this little quilt is right at home in the perpetual summer of southern Florida, and we are back in North Carolina, eagerly awaiting the first golden hued leaves and chilly, hot chocolate evenings.