So my dear friend Miko is expecting a baby in February, and for her shower I was charged with organizing an activity of some kind, preferably of the not-messy variety. I wasn’t inclined toward fabric paint anyway, because even thought that makes the designs really personal, it also makes them look—let’s be honest here—like crap. While it’s nice, I’m sure, to have a handful of baby garments that feel truly expendable, I figured we could do a little better.
I found some ideas online and followed suit, buying a bunch of onesies (mostly all newborn size; if I were to do this again I’d get more of an assortment of sizes if possible) and also some bibs. A nice long roll of Heat ‘n’ Bond was going to be the key to simple, mess-free decorating. In order to ensure all the designs would match, I bought a charm pack of fabrics (Moda Bluebird Park). I considered bringing scraps from my own stash—and this could be an awesome scrapbuster!—but I’m happier with how it all looks using this matched set. I cut out an assortment of simple shapes (turtle, elephant, ice cream cone, letters, random shapes) in heavy-weight paper for people to use as stencils. I also brought some cookie cutters for tracing.
The process goes like this: Cut the Heat ‘n’ Bond into a manageable square—about the size of a charm square or just the size of the chosen shape. Have a guest pick a stencil and trace the shape onto the paper side of the Heat ‘n’ Bond, reminding them that if it has directionality it needs to be traced backward. Do not let them cut it out yet! Take the square and iron it to the back of their chosen fabric, then have them cut it out of the fabric. They can then peel the paper backing off the shape and arrange it how they want on the onesie/bib (no worries about permanence: it won’t stick until ironed again). Then press it into place! Done! I manned the iron for the most part, but people could certainly do that themselves if the iron were conveniently placed (I was in a corner with a mini board on the floor!).
Everyone really got into it and people had some sweet and creative ideas. The mom-to-be even got in on the action, designing her own martini glass for a bib. I did the “H” on a hedgehog circle (the baby’s last name will begin with H), the ice cream cone, and two jigsaw pieces. I think everyone enjoyed it and the results are super cute! I hope mom gets lots of use out of them and smiles whenever the kiddo spits up on one. (They should last in the wash. I imagine they’ll start to come apart after a few washings, but they’ll have done their job!)
Look at me, blogging this year already! For day 3 of my year in pictures I took a self portrait that sparked folks to ask me how I wrap my Stripe Study, which I feel I have perfected over time for maximum coverage, staying power, and wind-resistance. Plus it solves the asymmetry problem by essentially ignoring it entirely. It’s hard to explain in words, so I made a quick little video! You’ll note of course that I never turn around to show you what it looks like from the back to see the point sticking out—but part of the reason I forgot to do that is I don’t really care what it looks like from the back!
This was fun to make—I finally figured out how to use my remote control and real camera to take a video. I have many outtakes of “is this recording?” but it was actually obvious, it just didn’t make a noise or light up in any way to let me know it was working. I’d love to play with video more with the DSLR this year; let’s see if it happens.
Every year I make resolutions—some concrete, some vague—but I’m not particularly committed to the idea of New Year’s resolutions. Or rather, I don’t beat myself up too much if I forget about them. I think that’s healthy, but I’m also thinking that this year I’d like to hold myself to them a bit more. For instance, every year I think about how I wish I blogged more. And while “more” is quantifiable, there’s no way to be systematic if that’s my resolution, and if there’s anything I am or like to be it’s systematic. So until it warrants a revisit, I’m going to try to blog at least weekly in 2014. Will I have FOs to show every week? Of course not. Which means I’ll hopefully learn to give up my grip on WIPs and start posting them, too, plus some pictures of my life as it unfolds.
With that in mind, I am going to have to recommit to documenting! My camera is heavy but that’s just not a good enough excuse. I’ve joined up with some friends at a daily photoblog, FewandFar, where we will be posting daily photos. I hope this will keep me inspired and dedicated—all the changes to Flickr have definitely not been encouraging me to keep up with it.
I’ve also felt a little lackluster in the cooking department. Despite reworking our kitchen so that it’s incredibly useful (a 6-foot workspace!), I have been so very lazy. With that in mind, I’m thinking of making my way through some of the cookbooks that do nothing but take up real estate in my small Brooklyn apartment. It’s time they earned their keep! Books that will hopefully make many appearances include Essential Pepin, The Essential Madhur Jaffrey, and a new one I bought for us for Christmas: Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee. (FYI those are affiliate links.) New recipes will hopefully be added to our regular rotation, and we’ll stop ordering delivery so many nights a week!
So stay tuned as I craft, eat, and photograph my 2014!
Last year I made my awesome tree skirt. This year, I decided I wanted all the Christmas fabric out of the apartment, so I set about using it up. Those were lofty intentions (aren’t they always?), and of course I didn’t actually use up all the fabric in the end, but I made a significant dent! One major investment of fabric was in this pillow. I didn’t mean to deliberately mimic the tree skirt with the triangles, but the matchiness doesn’t matter, because this pillow was not destined to live in our house; I gave it to my mom for Christmas. I forgot to take a shot of the back but I did it in solid green with a single strip of some of the green with snowflakes. It looks like it’s a pocket pillowcase but it’s not—I seamed the entire thing shut after stuffing it with fiberfill. (A sewing teacher once told us that when stuffing a pillow, you should stuff it as much as you think is super stuffed… and then add more stuffing. I’m a strong adherent to this policy when I’m not using a pillow form!)
What I learned in making this is that sewing equilateral triangles takes more precision than I’m really interested in maintaining for an entire project! I knew this after making Meaghan & Josh’s quilt, but I guess I forgot or I decided that I like the look enough that it wouldn’t be an issue. But it was. Oh, it was. I was so frustrated, and that is why there is that large white border around the piecing! I love the look so much though,and it takes so well to simple quilting lines. You know I’ll selectively forget this in the coming year and end up sewing more equilateral triangles. Because damn they look cool!
Back in 2012 I declared 2013 the year of sewing clothing. I failed! I sewed 3 garments, all with quilting cotton so they’re not particularly stellar examples of handmade clothing. Even though I didn’t actually accomplish much in this area, I started subscribing to garment sewing blogs by the dozens, learning a lot about construction, fit, and even fabric choices. I started purchasing fabric with garments in mind, and I feel comfortable that 2014 is going to have some clothing!
Here are highlights from the year, and it’s definitely not everything that I made. Several here need blog posts still, a few still need photo shoots! And I have a few knits that I know I photographed but I have searched everywhere and cannot find the shots, so I’ll have to do new photo shoots for those.
I’m excited to report that after a consultation with a hand surgeon (who wrote this awesome book with his wife (affiliate link)) and some exercises with this (the red one), my hands have been in much better shape! If I were actually diligent about doing the exercises I think I could be actually cured by now. Instead it’s taking a bit longer to get back to 100%, but I can knit again! I actually bought a sweater’s quantity of yarn at Rhinebeck so hopefully I’ll feel ready to get started on that soon, plus finish up all the WIPs that have languished while I was on the DL.
So here’s to healthy hands and even more creating with them this year, and for many years to come.