Friday, December 28, 2012

Felt breakfast.

Felt breakfast.

I hope you all had a wonderful, wonderful holiday! We had a great Christmas, and now we are enjoying spending some time with my mom, who is in town. My sister and her family were out of town for Christmas day, so we celebrated with them yesterday. I made felt breakfast foods for my niece Helen. She has a play kitchen and loves to play pretend. (Joe would rather play with his cars.)

As you can see, I am still in felt-land. All I can say is, felt is super addictive! The possibilities are endless, and the internet awesomeness is similarly endless. And I'm happy to report that my blanket stitch skills are rapidly improving.

But I haven't completely forgotten my sewing machine, either. (Also, I got something special for Christmas that I can't wait to share with you!) I am about to go to go make some new pants for the Magster. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Bird ornaments.


I found a fantastic blog, Downeast Thunder Farm, full of wonderful felt bird ornament patterns. So far I have made a Blue Jay, an Eastern Blue Bird, and a Snowy Owl. These are so fast, fun, and addictive to sew, I might keep making them even after Christmas!

After an insanely busy holiday season and much last minute shopping (and a tiny bit of crafting), I think I am finally ready for Christmas and can maybe even relax a little?

I hope that those of you who celebrate Christmas have a wonderful, wonderful holiday!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Five months!

Five months!

Maggie is now five months old!

(Insert cliches regarding the swiftness of time here. They're all true!)

Five months!

 As my sister jokes, "she's getting pretty cute."

It has been a big month for Maggie. She can now roll over from front to back and from back to front. If you put her down on her back, she arches her back and wiggles all over the place. It is officially no longer safe to put her on the couch and turn away for even a second. (Alas, all good things come to an end eventually.)

She also cut two teeth! At the same time! Check out her little choppers. She's a non-stop drooling, gnawing, slobbering machine! She had a few rough days when the teeth popped through, but overall has handled this new development with aplomb. Maggie is generally a very happy, content, easy-going baby.

Check out those two little choppers!

Here she is in her orange cord/orange wood-grain BBBPs and (at least in the shot above) an adorable knit/crocheted hat that we picked up at a silent auction to benefit Joe's preschool. I am pretty excited that Maggie is almost big enough for 6 month sizes now. Guess what that means? I can start making Oliver + s clothes for her! Woohoo! I recently bought the Hopscotch Top and Skirt and I'm excited to sew up some cute tops for the Magster.

Five months!

In other news, I started my new job last week. I think I'm going to love it - everyone is very friendly and the work is interesting and challenging. But I have so much to catch up on and so many names and faces to learn! It's all a bit overwhelming for this semi-introvert. The rush hour commute will take some getting used to, to say the least (but these awesome CD lectures my dad loaned me are really helping to pass the time). I know it's going to get easier, and I think it's going to be great. Thanks for hanging in there while I adjust to all of these life changes!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My new obsession.

Woodland Animal Felt Ornaments

Felt ornaments. These are so fun! And crazy inexpensive! And addictive!

(P.S. I blatantly stole this idea from this Etsy seller. The originals are executed with a lot more skill than mine are! I promise my next ornament will be more original.)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas is coming ...

Steve: Joe, tell Mama what we were talking about earlier. What are we going to buy soon?
Joe: Cookies!!
Steve: Ha. No. Remember? With lights?
Joe: Christmas tree! With Christmas lights! In rainbow colors! And a star on top!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


We have some kind of nasty ick here - fevers, snot, and coughing. Steve sounds like an old man with tuberculosis. So does Joe, for that matter. I was sick all week, had no voice for three days, and I'm still not back to normal. (By the way, for a really good time, try disciplining a three-year-old when all you can get out is a hoarse whisper.) Maggie, thank goodness, seems to have a milder version of the bug (yay breastmilk!), but she cut her first two teeth on Thursday, so she's not her usual happy self either. The baby tylenol has been flowing in these parts. Ugh.

The only thing worse than having to parent a sick kid when you are sick yourself is having to parent two sick kids. Kill me now.

But, look ma! I did some sewing! I have forbidden myself from buying any more knit fabrics until I make a dent in my stash of thrifted t-shirts. Meanwhile, my kids are growing, winter is upon us, and everyone needs long sleeved shirts. So in between medicating my cranky kids, I whipped up a couple of long sleeved tees yesterday.

Hedgehog tee.

Joe's is the Flashback Skinny Tee, of course, in a size 4 (he's getting so big! sniffle!). The fabric (including the cream ribbing) was harvested from a size XL women's shirt. It needed a little something, and I decided that "something" should be a hedgehog.

Hedgehog tee.

Not the best photos - bad lighting, sick grouchy kid - what can you do?

Owl tee.

Continuing the theme, Maggie got an owl shirt to match her owl pants. The awesome owl fabric came from Christine, a.k.a. Oakrosemama. We've been doing a scrap exchange, and it's great. I find I hardly ever use my own scraps unless they are very precious (probably because I still have yards of most of the stuff in my stash), but I am very motivated to incorporate other people's scraps into my sewing.

The pattern probably looks familiar as well. It's the envelope tee from Growing Up Sew Liberated. I cut this one out in size 6-12 months, and it is a bit roomy, but by no means enormous. Both of my children are growing so fast these days!

The pumpkin-colored knit was also a thrifted t-shirt, and the white ribbing came from the same shirt I used for Joe's shirt. So that's two pieces of stashed knit, turned into cute clothes! Am I allowed to make a Spoonflower order yet?

Thank you so much for all of your congratulations and words of encouragement on my last post. This week will be my last at my current job (my to-do list includes cleaning off my desk, updating my files, passing off work, and getting taken out to lunch multiple times) and I start my new job a week from tomorrow. Exciting, busy times!

Now, if we could just get over this bug ...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Four months!!

It is that time again - Maggie is four months old now!

Four months!

This is such a fun age: social, interactive, smiley, but not yet mobile. When Joe was a baby, I was always eager for the next milestone or stage. With Maggie, I'm just enjoying the current moment so much, knowing how quickly babyhood will pass.

Four months!
We had a mishap with this month's iron-on transfer. Probably because I completely failed to follow the instructions. Ahem.

Maggie is the sweetest, calmest, squishiest, most kissable baby ever. In my opinion, anyway. Her "likes" include being worn in the sling, hanging out on a blanket and kicking, being jiggled while eating (?), and playing with her brother. She has really only one strong dislike, and that's being in a stopped car. Unfortunately, stop-and-go traffic and red lights are a frequent occurrence in our part of the world. Maggie makes her displeasure clear at these times. As Joe says (usually from the back seat), "Maggie wants to GO!" To which we can only reply, "We're doing our best here, Miss Margaret!"

Four months!

Maggie's four-month onesie is paired with her latest pair of Big Butt Baby Pants in light blue denim, featuring an owly bottom. I made these yesterday just for this occasion. I admit, there was a thick layer of dust on my sewing machine!

Four months!

Maggie loves tummy time. Her favorite thing is to gather up the blanket she's on, and chew on it. Yum.

Four months!
This past month has been quite the whirlwind. I started back at work about a month ago, which is challenging enough. But about a week ago, things got even more exciting - I accepted a new job! I have been working at my firm for ten years now, ever since I graduated from law school - ten happy years working with great attorneys and wonderful friends.  But it's time to move on. My new job as an in-house assistant city attorney will be challenging but more family-friendly: shorter days, great benefits, and no billable hour requirements.

I'm really excited! I start my new position in December.

Since July, I've had a second baby, put my first born in preschool (where he is doing great!), and applied for and got a new job (only the second position of my legal career). That's a lot of life change packed into a short period. My sewing machine - and this blog - have been a bit neglected. (I am also woefully behind in reading all of your blogs!) So it goes. Once things settle down a bit, I'm hoping this new opportunity will give me more time for sewing, blogging, and, most importantly, more time with these two.

Joe and Maggie
I think that's Halloween candy on Joe's face. Oops.

I think I need to frame this one to display on my new desk.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pants, pants, more pants, and pumpkins.

This is the project that took up most of my maternity leave. Not because it was hard, mind you, but because I kept trying to work in three minute increments with a tiny baby in the house. I'm still trying to figure that whole thing out ...

Heartbreaker Pants and Big Butt Baby 

Anyway! Matching pants for my friends Robin and Melissa's little guy Miles and their little guy on the way. Miles' third birthday was a week ago, and his little brother is expected any day now. They live in Brooklyn, where they have real seasons, so I figured some nice autumnal corduroy pants were in order.

I tried a new pattern for Miles' pants - the "Little Heartbreaker Pants" from Sewing For Boys, by Shelly Figueroa and Karen LePage. These pants have a lovely, old-fashioned trouser silhouette: high, pleated waist, wide legs, and deep cuffs. I think they have a 1930s gangster vibe (some suspenders would look cute!). Sewing-wise, they were pretty straightforward, if a bit fiddly. But the hardest part was that Miles lives in Brooklyn, so I couldn't try them on him to make sure they fit! I did have a few measurements to work from, but it's always hard sewing for a little person you haven't seen for months.

Heartbreaker Pants and Big Butt Baby Pants

Yes, the tiny pair are Big Butt Baby Pants with a contrasting orange bottom. Miles and his little brother will be styling for Thanksgiving!

Thank goodness, Miles' pants fit him perfectly! Melissa sent me these adorable photos of Miles posing. With a block. Of course! And here is the back.

Eek! These are so cute!! I totally cut out a pair of pinstriped ones for Joe, which will probably take me another three months to sew.

After sewing up those corduroy Big Butt pants for Miles' brother, I decided that Maggie needed a pair of orange cord pants too. I even busted out a scrap of my precious orange faux-bois so that she could have woodgrain butt. Woodgrain butt!! Gah.

Big Butt Baby Pants

In other orange-related news, check out these pumpkins we grew! They're huge!! They are a French heirloom variety called Rouge Vif e’Etampes, or French Cinderella Pumpkins, because they look like the pumpkins that Cinderella's carriage was magically made from.


The vegetable garden is winding down as we move from summer into Indian summer (which is undoubtedly the best time of year in the San Francisco Bay Area) into autumn. The tomatoes are still producing here and there and the basil is still glorious, but in general, everything looks messy and terrible back there. It's just that time.

But we are going to have the best Jack o'Lanterns ever this year.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Three Months!

Here we are: Three months!

3 Months!

Maggie seems to get more talented (she can grab things and stuff them in her mouth!) and social (she can engage BART passengers in staring contests!) every day. She is a fairly serious baby, normally quite observant and contemplative, but when she smiles, it is with her whole body!

3 Months!

Here she is in her three month tee and her deer/mushroom Big Butt Baby Pants. She is now in 3-6 month clothes, just in time for three months! (I think Joe was wearing 9-12 month sizes by this age. Our arms and backs thank the universe every day for our nice, average-sized Maggeroo.)

Big Butt Baby Pants.

We are adjusting pretty well to my return to work. My first day back, Maggie hardly drank anything from the bottle and didn't sleep much. When I got home, she had dark circles under her eyes. She latched on to the breast and stayed there for about two hours, just snoozing and nursing.

For his part, Joe brought me his Lego guy and told me "The boy misses his mama." When I suggested that the boy go find his mama and give her a hug, Joe said, "No, his mama is gone. He misses his mama."

Well, shoot, bring on the mother guilt, why don't you!

Thank goodness, the second day went quite a bit better. Maggie is taking the bottle a bit better, and seems happy and contented (but still happy to see me) when I get home. And last night, Joe and I built a Lego house, and he put the boy and his mama in it, so I think we're okay! Whew.

3 Months!

I love my kids. I have to work, and I really want them to be happy at home with their daddy, who loves them to bits. But I sure do miss them.

Look at those cheeks! Smoochy, smoochy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ring sling.

This ring sling - yes, the one I made when I was pregnant and just hated, because the topstitching was messy and almost busted my machine - has turned out to be super useful. Yeah, okay, I cringe when people inspect it too closely, but it is super washable, it packs down tiny and can be folded into a diaper bag, it's endlessly adjustable, and most importantly, Maggie likes being carried in it.

I guess it just goes to show: Sometimes it's all about the professional finishings and sometimes, it's just not.

I used it all the time during Maggie's newborn phase in a basic snuggle hold. I still use that hold a lot, but Maggie's getting bigger now and one of the great things about a ring sling is its versatility. So I decided it was time to learn some new tricks. (Where does one learn these ring sling tricks? YouTube, of course! I love the modern world.)

Maggie is really loving this new hold, which is aptly titled the "kangaroo hold," because it allows her to look around and check everyone out.

Ring sling
My little "Joey" (oh wait, I already have one of those!)

Maggie is getting to be such a roly-poly baby! Her little rolls and bracelets just kill me. She weighs almost 13 pounds now!

It's hard to believe, but she'll be three months old next week.

Ring sling
Do you see my other Joey?

I start back at work on Monday. I'm sure going to miss hanging out with my kids all day, every day. Maternity leave has been lovely. I wish I could stay home longer, but alas, the mortgage does not pay itself. Ms. Margaret will be staying home with Joe and Steve while I return to paid work.

Yesterday I left Steve with both kids and did a little retail therapy in an effort to psych myself up for my return to the office. I'm still a few (cough cough) pounds above my prepregnancy weight. I had hoped to sew myself a few things (and I still hope to!) but realistically, I need some clothes that fit my current shape and make me feel good right now.  There is a reason that most of the photos of me that I've posted on this blog have been in this same dress - it's one of the four or five things I am wearing right now!

The good news was that I found a bunch of cute tops at H&M and didn't break the bank. Yay!

The not so good news is that Maggie cried the whole time I was gone and refused to take a bottle of expressed breast milk. Noooooo!

This girl loves her mama, and her mama sure loves her. It was hard leaving Joe at this age to return to work, so I know it will be a big adjustment for both of us, but I also know better the second time that it will all sort itself out. Maggie will learn to take the bottle, and she'll have all kinds of fun with her dad and her brother. And I'll settle back into work shortly. It will all be okay.


I better go enjoy my last few days of leave!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Remember this little t-shirt?

Smiling in her owl tee

It fits (almost)!

This is the "Envelope Tee" from Growing Up Sew Liberated. I made a few of these in the smallest size (a vague "0-6 months") while I was pregnant. At that time, they seemed so teeny! But when Maggie arrived, she was a lot teenier!

But as you can see, baby girl didn't stay teeny tiny for long.

Owl tee

Seeing Maggie grow into these tees makes me want to make a dozen more in every color of the rainbow. They are so cute! Seeing her in her "Big Butt Baby Pants" has a similar effect on me.

But honestly I'm in a bit of a sewing rut right now. It's not that I haven't been sewing at all, but I sure haven't been sewing very much. I'm trying to finish up a couple of projects for other people so that I can do some fun Maggie sewing (and some selfish sewing), but I haven't really figured out how to sew with both Maggie and Joe constantly tag-teaming me with their (perfectly reasonable) demands for milk, food, attention, and love. When I do get a short break, I usually spend it doing dishes or laundry ... or collapsed in a heap, rotting my brain on the internet or watching television.

My evening time ... oh, right, I have no evening time now! I try to go to bed around the same time my kids do, so that I'll feel as well rested as possible the next day.

And I go back to work in just a couple of weeks, so I am going to have even less time for myself pretty soon. For this reason, I'm pretty sure I won't be participating in Kids Clothes Sewing Week, Fall 2012. Just too much going on this year. Sigh.

But of course, I know this is just a temporary setback. I really miss sewing, so I'll find a way to carve out the time for it when things settle down a bit. I miss being creative, but hey, I created a baby (and I am still creating a whole lot of food this baby), and it's a major project! The rest will fall into place in good time. In the meantime, this little girl has plenty of mama-mades (and other hand-mades) to grow into.

Monday, September 17, 2012

This morning.

This morning I find myself alone with both of the kiddos while Steve visits his dad in Davis. I think I may be coming down with a cold (we have all been sick thanks to Joe's preschool adventures). Murphy's law of parenting multiple children says they will both need something very intensely at the exact same time, right?  So I just cut myself because I was trying to slice a bagel for Joe while holding a crying Maggie. Not my brightest moment (but the sound of my children crying makes me do stupid things). Don't try this at home, kids! I'm glad it was just my finger and not Maggie's!

Maggie and me (in all of my no-makeup, hair loosely yanked back reality).

I think the Ergo is going to really come in handy today. With my second child, I'm getting it: babywearing is not just a fun thing to do or an easy way to put a baby to sleep; it is a survival tactic. So I finally got over my fear of the Ergo infant insert (silly, right?) and tried Maggie in it yesterday. I love that it is truly hands free (the insert supports her floppy head) and it is even possible to nurse her in it. She fell asleep approximately one minute after this photo was taken, which signified her approval.

I'm still figuring out this whole "having two kids" thing. All of you parents of "even more than two kids": I am in awe of you!

It is getting easier. And it has many wonderful moments too. But in the meantime, I need a band-aid! And another cup of coffee!

Just keeping it real, folks. Just keeping it real.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Maggie's Crocheted Wardrobe, Part 1 (0-2 months).

My mom Kamalla, a.k.a. "Gramalla," has mad crocheting skills. She can whip things up in just a few hours and rarely uses patterns. And she loves to crochet baby things for her grandkids! So she crocheted piles of things for Joe, then she crocheted piles of girly things for Helen, and of course Maggie got a few things of her own as well. As a result, Maggie has the most fabulous crocheted wardrobe ever, and I have been collecting photos of her many cute Gramalla designed outfits.

This is only a drop in the bucket. There are tons more things that she still needs to grow into. We will really be appreciating all of the warm hats and booties this winter! Thanks Gramalla!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Two Months!

Yes, you read that right. As of a couple days ago, Miss Margaret is two months old! In the past month, she has been busy learning to smile, coo, squeal, and suck on her fists. The whole family agrees, she is the sweetest, loveliest baby in the universe. She gets kissed so much, I'm surprised her little cheeks aren't chapped.

Here she is in her 2 months onesie and denim and mustard linen Big Butt Baby Pants.

Two Months!

Maggie is losing her newborn looks and starting to look like a chubby baby. I think she just gets cuter with each passing day!

Two Months!

She still has awesome hair. Check out that faux-hawk/Tintin tuft! We keep waiting for her newborn hair to fall out, but it hasn't happened yet. Maybe it will stick around?

We're taking bets on what color her eyes will be. They are not as light blue as Joe's were at this age but they don't seem like they're going to be brown either, so we are thinking they may be darker blue, green like mine, or hazel like Dad's. Or something else altogether? Who knows?

Two Months!

Oh. My. Goodness. I can never get enough of that smile!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First day of school, etc.

Joe had a great time today at preschool! Steve stayed with him most of the day, but did leave him on his own for an hour or so, and Joe did great. There were no tears, and Joe even asked if he could go back soon! What a relief! I know that there will be probably be harder days, but I am so glad things are off to such a great start.

In other news, Maggie finally fits into her 0-3 month sized Big Butt Baby Pants. Her wardrobe just got a whole lot cuter.

Big Butt Baby Shorts

Big Butt Baby Shorts

Horsy pants

Horsy pants

Exciting topics of conversation in our house: Will Maggie's hair keep growing? Does her faux-hawk make her look like Tintin? What color will her eyes be? Could she be any more freaking adorable? Is she ever going to take a nap? Did you see that big smile she just flashed us? Etc.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Getting Ready for Preschool: Toddler Backpack.

Hi readers! How are you? I've been living in la-la land the past month (where did August go, anyway?), enjoying Maggie, adjusting to life with two children, and desperately trying to keep up with our tomato harvest. September, and the start of school, seemed so far away. But last week, we attended a new-families picnic and several parent orientations at Joe's new preschool, and it hit home: My baby is starting school! On Tuesday! Whoa!

I am excited and nervous for him. I hope he'll have a great time. I hope he'll make friends. Okay, mostly, I'm just hoping he'll be okay with us leaving him there on his own.

Like any good seamstress mama, I channel my parental anxiety, concern, excitement, and pride into sewing projects, right? (This is just as good a method of dealing with anxiety as any other, I find. At least you end up with a handmade project at the other end.) So this week I decided that Joe must have a mama-made backpack for his first day of school.  Never mind that I had less than a week to sew it, a 7 week old baby, and we were babysitting my niece for the better part of the week, leaving me with exactly no time to sew. The child needs a backpack, and that backpack needs to be made by me.

Sometimes you just have to make the time.

Toddler Backpack

I used Rae's Toddler Backpack pattern. This pattern has been on my to-sew list forever and a day, and it is indeed wonderful. This was actually my first time working with piping (I know, I know!) and it went remarkably smoothly and turned out uber-cute. I'll be honest and admit I don't really love sewing bags - I find them fussy and a bit involved. But this backpack is really simple, basic, and doesn't require a ton of special hardware (just a little strapping and some strap adjusters). It's really the perfect size for Joe, too. (And the pattern includes instructions on enlarging the backpack for a school-aged child.) The only changes I made were to interface all of the outer pieces with heavy interfacing (I would highly recommend this, by the way), and to add a few extra pockets. Because toddlers/preschoolers universally love pockets.

Toddler Backpack

For the side water-bottle pocket, I copied the style of the elasticized side pockets in Joe's Treasure Pocket Pants. Joe loves this style of pocket. I should put some on everything I make him!

Toddler Backpack

I also added a few smaller pockets (and a name tag) on the inside. The backpack is mostly denim, and the bikes are Echino (of course). All of the fabric and interfacing in this project came from my stash, so that was cool.

Toddler Backpack

Joe seems really excited about his new backpack and his new school. I've been prepping Joe for his first day at school by talking about the school routines: "You'll put your backpack in your cubby, play, eat snack, listen to your teacher tell a story, then say goodbye ...", etc. So now Joe tells me that toys go in the "tiny pockets" and lunch goes in the "big pocket" (er ... otherwise known as the main compartment of the backpack?). Then the backpack goes in his cubby. So we're getting there!

Toddler Backpack

Of course, it was critical that the backpack pass Joe's "jumpability" tests.  It did. Whew.

And because I know I haven't shared any photos of Maggie here in a while, let me conclude with a completely superfluous photo of sweet baby goodness. As Joe says, she is "tute, tute, tute!"


Thursday, August 23, 2012


When your three year old digs the muffin tins out of the cupboard, brings them to you, and asks you to make "brown cupcakes" with "candy spinkles," what choice do you have?

My hands were tied.



After I had dug the double boiler out of the back of the cupboard and started melting chocolate, Joe suddenly changed his mind and decided he wanted "white cupcakes" instead. Luckily, he came to his senses when I passed him the whisk from the buttercream frosting. Believe me, child, when it comes to cupcakes, "brown" is so much better than "white"! Disaster averted!


Then we decorated the cupcakes. Joe helped apply the frosting and of course, the "spinkles." Some of the spinkles did not make it onto the cupcakes, as you can see. We're not going to get any awards for presentation for these, but we had fun!

Cupcakes! I used the "Dark Chocolate Cupcake" recipe from Cooks Illustrated (you need a subscription to view their recipes, but I gotta say, we get our money's worth from our Cooks Illustrated online subscription and I heartily recommend it) and topped these with dark chocolate buttercream frosting made using their "Easy Chocolate Buttercream" recipe. They turned out very dark chocolate-y, as promised, and delicious!


Joe insisted on putting candles on his cupcake. Three blue candles. Because he's three, of course! So we all sang "A Very Merry Unbirthday To You!," he blew out his candles, and then he tucked into his cupcake and pronounced it "nummy nummy!"