Thursday, December 30, 2010

There's an adorable knitted octopus in my future...

We kept it light on presents this year (I mostly bought family members charity donations in their names to organizations such as Madre and Doctors Without Borders)... but Masheka and I did get each other a few things. The below gifts from Masheka combined two of my obsessions: reading books, and making stuff. The man knows what I like!

Amigurumi Knits: Patterns for 20 Cute Mini Knits by Hansi Singh. I've sewn a few stuffed softies for Miss Z (well, ok, one, and I still have to embroider on the eyes, and yes, I will photograph it for this blog, and ... ok whatever), but I'd been wanting to try my hand at knitting some as well. I haven't attempted these yet, but flipping through, I'm especially loving the eggplant (and other assorted knitted vegetables), the kraken, the snail and the octopus.

Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris. More of a lavishly photographed humor book than an inspiring craft book, similar in format and style to her previous book about hospitality, I Like You. I laughed so hard reading the first few pages I didn't mind at all that I have no interest in making weird crafts out of pantyhose (which I've seen her do live, with the nylons she wore to the book signing) or fringy-pom-pom anything.

Oh, and if you don't hear from me until 2011... Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our Polka Dot Christmas

Christmas 2010

Miss Z and I rocked red and white polka dots, naturally.

Christmas 2010

"Da-Da" decked the curtain rod...

Christmas 2010

... and stoked the YouTube fire.

Christmas 2010

There was a pathetic little tree...

Christmas 2010

And homemade cookies for Santa.

Christmas 2010

Miss Z unstuffed her stocking...

Christmas 2010

Got a baby doll from her Grandmommy...

Christmas 2010

Sat (sort of) still for a family portrait....

Christmas 2010

And enjoyed her first Brooklyn blizzard (or snow, really).

Christmas 2010

And a well-deserved nap.

If you celebrate, hope you had a good one!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Santa Babies


When we finally started getting serious winter weather this year, Z needed an industrial-strength warm hat--one with earflaps and a chin strap. She'd already outgrown the wool hat I knit for her, so my mom bought the below cute RTW purple polar fleece hat with a velcro strap (shown below with her Zadie)...

With Zadie in her purple hat

... and copied it in about five minutes, first in green (shown with some simple no-thumb baby mittens I knit for her)...

Green Baby Hat &  Cream Baby Mittens

... and then in Santa-style colors, with an elongated crown (shown with an kimono-style top my mother sewed, think it's McCall's M4280 but don't quote me on that)...


And when a friend of mine who wasn't expecting her baby girl until New Year's Eve had her little cutie just in time for this Christmas, my mom made a newborn-sized version with a matching red diaper. Which I forgot to photograph before mailing to said friend. But I hope it fits!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Polka Dot Christmas Stocking!


It looks a lot cuter without the name blurred out, trust me!

My first project on my new sewing setup? Baby Z's first Christmas stocking. With appliquéd polka dots, naturally.

It's just an IKEA stocking plus the white fringe from a polar fleece IKEA blanket (the rest of the blanket was sacrificed to make cloth diaper wadding) and some felt appliqués (attached with a simple white zig zag stitch). I probably should just have sewn it from scratch instead of using the IKEA base--I was out of practice and trying to maneuver a completed stocking around my machine's free arm resulted in some pulled areas.

I'm working on an item or two to go in the stocking, but I have some purchased toys at the ready in case I don't finish.

Don't worry, she got some Chanukah sewing love too--here she is at her first candle lighting with her first Chanukah gift:


It's a cloth book my mom made her full of photos of her and me and Masheka sewn in with some green polar fleece scraps (that dragonfly on the cover was taken from an IKEA mobile.) She loves it, and flips through it repeatedly at dinner each night before dropping it on the floor.

Miss Z spins a mean dreidel, too:


A Sewing Room of My Own! (Sort of)


Or dimly lit corner of the nursery of my own, anyway. Viking machine + Horn cabinet + IKEA chair found in basement trash room.

Are you one of those lucky sewists with a whole room dedicated to your crafty pursuits? With a sewing cabinet and a serger station and a cutting table and an inspiration wall and a fabric storage closet and a pattern storage cabinet and a dress form corner and a gravity-fed steam iron and ...

OK, I hate you. Or envy you, anyway. But not as much as I used to, because I FINALLY have a permanent spot for the sewing machine. No more hiding my beloved Viking Platinum 730 in a corner cabinet under a pile of breast-pump paraphernalia! No more lifting stacks of this and piles of that and clearing off the dining table before I can sew a single seam. OK, so my serger is still on a closet shelf and I still cut fabric on a cardboard mat on the bed, but... baby steps!

This was part of some serious apartment rearranging and decluttering. We put the crib in our bedroom next to the bed for easy baby access, replacing the cosleeper she outgrew way too fast. We even threw out our coffee table. It was just collecting magazines anyway, and now there's a nice big spot on the living room rug to put down quilts for playtime:


Patchwork baby quilt by my amazing mom, knitted purple diaper soaker by yours truly, and drool by Miss Baby Z.

So far my mother's been doing the lion share of the sewing (baby diapers, baby hats, a cloth book) but I actually made Z a few things for the holidays and maybe I'll even make myself some clothes soon. I also have finally learned to backwrap, so maybe Z can take a snooze back there while I sew and not be able to reach for any pins or sharp stuff. Here we are at a babywearing holiday party:

So yeah, more posts and actual finished sewn objects for you soon!

How about you? Do you have a drool-worthy permanent sewing setup... or do you have to tug your machine out of the bottom of a closet out from under a pile of old shoes and heave it onto a coffee table every time you get stitchy?

P.S. Apologies for dim lighting, but there's so few hours of daylight for blog photos in the dead of winter!

P.P.S. OK, I replaced the dimly lit photo with a better shot and added a few more details.