Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Just like all of you, our family here in the Little Stone Cape have a lot to be thankful for this year and always.  We have each other, our health, a new baby… we couldn't ask for anything more.  And yet we have been blessed far beyond this.  We praise God for our many blessings and give thanks on this beautiful day with our extended family. 

Today I'm also thankful for this blog and all those who read it and leave me such nice comments  and compliments on my family and projects.  My job as a mother is often hard and thankless.  My crafts have been an outlet for me and it makes me so happy when others appreciate the things I make and my heart swells when I know that I'm helping others to get a little more creative as well.

I just wanted to come on here this morning and share our Thankfulness Tree again this year.  The boys helped me paint this tree on our front door.  The leaves are store bought this year (from the $1 section in Target) and some of them are covered in glitter!  They wrote what they are thankful for on the leaves.  Well, I wrote it since they they can't.

Look how proud they are of their creation.  

My 3 year old adventurer is super excited for Thanksgiving today.  He keeps asking me where the turkey is.  I hope he's not disappointed when we arrive at my uncle's only to find out that there is no live turkey.  I've told him, but he's so excited it makes me wonder… 

I hope you all have a wonderful day with your families and that your abundance on this day is reflective of your abundance every other day of the year.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

More Felt for Christmas

Here's what I've been up to today!

My older two boys both have handmade (by me) felt stockings and soon the baby will have one too!  It's a tradition started by my grandmother who made one for each of her children, continued by my mom who made one for each of her children (and husband and daughters and son-in-law, and most of her grandchildren - save mine).  And now I'm continuing the tradition by making them for my children. What do you think so far?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and a Baby Wearing Koala...

Yet another DIY Halloween has come and gone in the Little Stone Cape.  This year I started early, in July actually.  I knew that once the baby came I would have zero time for costumes. Even still I was at my sewing machine making myself crazy on the day of Halloween and I still didn't finish some of the finer details of the boys' costumes.  I only barely barely finished mine!

I decided on my costume first.  I knew that the new baby would be in a sling while we were out trick-or-treating with the boys so I thought and thought about babywearing costumes.  When my second boy was an infant - barely older than this baby on Halloween - I dressed him as a Tootsie Roll in a swaddle wrap I made.  He was SO cute, but unfortunately you couldn't see his costume in the wrap, so you had to take my word for it.  I wanted something this time around that made the wrap part of the costume.  

I searched the web for ideas - but there wasn't a lot out there.  I started to think about animals.  Like a monkey in a tree?  The baby as the monkey, and me as the tree.  But his arms and legs would be tucked in the wrap so he wouldn't make a very good monkey.  How about a snail on a branch?  Snails don't have arms or legs... but they aren't terribly cute either (my husband pointed out).  What snuggly animals are tucked in a pouch hiding their arms and legs?  Aha!  Koalas!  We would be a mommy and baby koala family.

Now for my older boys.  They picked out their own costumes.  My Sweetheart would be Peter Pan and my Adventurer would be Captain Hook.  They did end up changing their minds several times while I was making their costumes but thankfully they were easily swayed back to their original choices.  

I made all three of the boys' costumes without patterns.  The frock coat pattern for the Captain Hook costume was made from a vintage men's pattern I found online and scaled way down to a 2T.  The rest of Peter's and Hook's pieces were made by tracing clothes we already owned.  I took pictures of the whole process and fully intended to make tutorials of each costume and even to make a pattern for the frock coat to share.  But then I had a baby and those tutes never came to be.  At one point I was ahead of the game, though - the baby's footie pajamas I already made into a pattern and tutorial that I posted here back in September. 

So here is how everything turned out!  As you can see my husband couldn't manage to get everyone looking at the camera at the same time so I posted all of the pictures he took!  They are all adorable. :)

Here's a view of baby koala in his pajamas I made just for this costume.  Pure cuteness!

I do promise to make make that frock coat pattern.  It's too cute not to share.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pregnancy Collage

When I was pregnant I took a belly picture of myself every few weeks in the same place.  I did this for all my pregnancies, but this time I managed to put them all into a super cute collage.  I already posted part of it, but here's the whole thing.  I love the final shot of the baby in my arms.  Since he was a week early (unlike my others) I felt it was only fitting to have a "40 week" shot.  :)

A Pirate Party: My Adventurer Turns 3

I have a lot of blogging to catch up on! Amazing how a tiny new baby can take all of my attention and free time. ;)

One post that's been waiting in the wings since before the baby was born is my 2nd born's pirate birthday party.  He's a big three year old boy now!  

I planned his party in September and threw it less than a week before giving birth to his little brother.  I was very happy not to have had the baby that day or on his actual birthday a few days later.  So please excuse the pictures of the huge 38 weeker in this post!  The baby looked like it was going to fall out of the bottom of my shirt and that is not a look anyone wants to go for pregnant or not!

So on to the party and a very belated (internet addition) HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BIG BOY!!

He wanted a pirate party and I wanted to go all out as much as my aching back would let me.  I was able to make this amazing cake and it was actually rather simple after reading a few picture tutorials online.  My Adventurer LOVED it.  He still talks about it and asks for a slice.  Sorry, dude, it's long gone.  

It was a beautiful day outside.  It was great to have most of the party out there.  Especially because we had a treasure dig that would have gotten very messy inside!  I bought loads of "treasure" at the dollar store (coins, necklaces, gems, trophies, etc.) and hid them in a cooler under several pounds of dried beans.  I made a key that showed them what to find and how many of each they could take and taped it to the lid.  If I had more energy I might have decorated the cooler to look like a real treasure chest, but I don't think they would have noticed anyway.  :)  The kids took these treasures home in a bag along with gold wrapped chocolates.

He had a table full of pirate themed finger food.  The kids really enjoyed it.  There were "fish and chips" (goldfish crackers mixed with tortilla chips), Seaweed dip (spinach artichoke dip), jewels and gold platters (fruit and cheese cubes), dead men's bones (homemade pizza bites with dipping sauce), and pirate ships (hotdogs with sails on top).

Here they are eating under the fort we made early in the summer with their pirate ship hotdogs.

After food and gifts it was time to blow out the candles and cut the cake.  The candles were stuck out of the front like cannons so as not to burn up the sails.  To great effect, I might add.

Then we had pirate root beer floats complete with mustache straws.  Even the adults loved these straws.  

It was a great party, even if I hadn't been 8 1/2 months pregnant.  Though I do wonder if I hadn't had ten gallons of hormones pumping through my veins would I have gone to these lengths?  Lol.  We'll never know. :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Our New Baby is Here!

I am so excited to announce the birth of my third little baby boy!  He came into the world three weeks ago on Thursday, September 26th, at 8:02 pm.  His birth was absolutely perfect.  I've been in baby bliss for the last three weeks.

Since I very much enjoy hearing and reading about birth stories, I thought I would share mine here.  As a little preface I'll sum up my other boy's births first.  I don't want to leave anyone out!

My oldest was born 4 four and a half years ago.  I decided before I got pregnant with him that I wanted to have a birth center birth with a midwife.  I was very excited to have a natural birth because I wanted to know what everything felt like.  My mom had her kids drug free and always talked about what an amazing experience childbirth was for her.  Having kids actually propelled her into a career in nursing.  She spent most of her career in OBGYN and midwife offices and on the maternity floor.

The night before my oldest was born, when I was just shy of 40 weeks, my water broke while I was watching TV.  It was 10 pm.  I didn't go into labor right away.  It actually took 4 1/2 hours.  But thankfully I went into labor naturally at 2:30 am and didn't need to be induced.  I labored at home until my contractions were 4 minutes apart and then headed into the birth center.  I was 3-4 cm when I got there at 8 am.  By noon I was only 5.  I spent the whole afternoon laboring in the tub and then as evening approached I got out to labor on a birthing stool through transition. I was so tired they had me lie down for a while.  My poor husband was also nodding off.  We both laid down, but as soon as my head hit the pillow I felt the urge to push.  My first born was born 30 minutes later at 7 pm with only two tiny tears and three stitches.  Aside from being very long, it was a great birth.  No complications whatsoever.

My second came along 18 months later.  I was again very excited about another birth center birth since I had such a wonderful experience with my first.  This time l was sleeping in bed when my water broke at 12 am again just shy of 40 weeks pregnant.  I woke up with a start.  My contractions started 30 minutes later and after the first few, they were very strong and 5 minutes apart.  We went to the birth center right away after my in-laws came to take my son to their house, and we got our things together.  We got to the birth center at 2 am and I was 5 cm.  I was fairly unprepared for the intensity of a quick labor.  I kept telling my poor husband how it was so stupid that I wanted to do this drug free.  The nurse said the baby would be here in  2 hours so I hunkered down and got to "work" taking charge of my body and feelings and relaxing through my contractions - one eye on the clock.  Two hours later I was ready to push - just like she said.  I pushed through a little lip and then my second baby was born 10 minutes later at 5:51 am.  I had one tiny tear that didn't require any stitches.  There were no complications for this birth either.  But I swore that I would never go natural again!  I just knew if I had another one I would have an even faster labor and it would hurt twice as much.

Fast forward to this past January as I was getting ready to make my first prenatal appointment.  I just couldn't not call the birth center.  Labor was one day of my life, and I trusted the midwives there. My appreciation of the postpartum care I received there far outweighed my fear of the pain of labor, so I made the call.  The biggest reason I wanted to go back had most to do with the fact that the baby never ever leaves the room after it's born.  I know a lot of hospitals these days have adopted this policy, but the ones around me have not.  And for all I knew my labor would be too fast to even be able to get an epidural if I went to a hospital, my only reason to go.

Eight months later, when I was just 39 weeks pregnant, I went into labor and everything started very differently than with my other two.  I had asked my midwife if it were likely that my water would break before labor again.  She said it was highly unlikely.  Only 10% of labors begin that way.  And sure enough I was in labor long before my water broke.

At 8:30 I started feeling crampy while I was getting my oldest son ready for preschool.  After I dropped him off, I went with my middle son to the store for a while.  We ambled around Target for about an hour when I noticed the cramping feeling had turned into contractions.  They were basically painless except for a band of burning across my lower back that was very similar feeling to period cramps.  We checked out and headed home.  Before leaving I texted my husband that I was feeling crampy - just a heads up.  I figured the contractions would stop once I was sitting down.  But even after I got home and sat for about an hour, they were still coming.  There wasn't much time to think about it, I had to get my son from school.  As we were leaving the school the pain began to pick up.  Probably because of the activity (and because my boys were acting like crazy people running all over the place).  In the car I called my husband to tell him that I was pretty sure it was labor and he called his mother to come over and help me until I was ready for him to come home.  

My poor boys only had pudding cups for lunch before my mother-in-law showed up at 1 pm.  I decided to take a nap and see if I could get the contractions to stop (I was still not 100% certain it was really labor).  But after a half hour of laying there, and the contractions not lessening in intensity, I called my husband to come home and got up.  My father-in-law showed up about that time.  Then my husband came home.  I had finally timed my contractions and they were 5-10 minutes apart.  They weren't that regular and weren't super painful.  I called the midwife and she basically told me that when I felt like I was ready to call and come on in.  In the mean time do what felt right, be that taking a walk to get things moving, or take a nap to get up my energy for later.  I decided to take a shower.

Well, that must have been the magic key.  I wasn't in there for long, but by the time I had gotten myself clean I was certainly feeling strong contractions.  I had to call my husband to help me get dressed.  I we got the last of our stuff together (I still managed to forget some stuff because I thought I had another week to pack my bag), and left for the birth center, calling the midwife from the car to tell her we were on the way.

Once there they checked me and I was 4 cm.  I labored on an exercise ball for 2 hours and they checked me again and I was still just 5 cm.  Even though the pain was completely manageable this news had me so discouraged.  I had been anticipating a very quick labor for my entire pregnancy and here I was at just 5 cm having been in active labor for more than 5 hours (remember my last labor was 5 hours 20 minutes from first contraction to baby).  Now I was envisioning labor continuing for another 5 hours or more. 

They drew me a bath and I got in.  I became very whinny and pathetic at this point.  The midwife this time offered the Stadol saying it won't do much for the pain, but it would make me sleepy and rest in between contractions.  Or, she said, she could break my water and speed things up.  The Stadol option didn't appeal to me.  What use was getting sleepy in between contractions?  I was already sleepy!  As for breaking my water, I already knew I didn't want that after my last labor with my water broken was so intense.  I continued to whine for a little while before common sense finally took over and a very strong and assertive voice in the back of my head demanded that I get it together, it's only one freaking day out of your whole life, deal with it.  I took the advice.  I cleared my mind, got up out of the tub, and asked for them to break my water.

Then something kinda cool happened.  They asked the student midwife to break my water, and she couldn't do it.  The midwife told me that either she could do it herself or I could just go on because I was now 7-8 cm.  SEVEN TO EIGHT?!  Heck yeah!!  I cannot tell you how happy I was at that news or what a rockstar I felt like!  It was only an hour since they told me I was 5 cm.  Nothing was going to get me down after that.  Some people scream and break down during transition, I was giggling and cracking jokes.  I'm not kidding!  A half hour later my water broke on it's own with a tiny trickle.  A half hour after that I was ready to push.  

My contractions stopped for about 5 minutes after I was complete.  They said it was my body giving me a break.  Thanks, Body!  You rock.  Then I pushed through three contractions that were 5 minutes apart.  The second push came with a second rupture of membranes and a huge gush of water.  One more push, and he was here.  It was 8:02 pm. His cord was too  short for them to put him on my chest so for the first few minutes I could just stare down at the top of his head until they cut the cord.  His hair was lighter than his brothers' at birth.  When I pulled him up to my chest and looked at him I thought about what a little stranger he was.  He looked like his oldest brother mostly, a little like the middle one.  I stared at him for several minutes before feeling a wave of love and I teared up and told him I loved him and kissed him.  

I had no tears at all, and no complications during or after birth.  It was a perfect birth.  If I could have asked for a better birth experience I only would have asked that his brothers could have come to meet him right away. They stayed home since it was late for them.  In fact the only one who came to the birth center to meet him this time was my mom.  Perfect because she didn't get to see my other two right after they were born.  

We went home the next morning.

The boys were amazing with their new brother.  Then and since.  I've really been blessed by how smoothly this transition has gone.  My family is so supportive and helpful.  My mom stayed with us for a few days, and my in-laws have looked after the boys when I needed them after my husband went back to work.  My amazing friends brought me a weeks worth of dinners.  It's good to feel loved!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Infant Footie Pajama Pattern

So maybe this was an ambitious project because I looked all over for a commercial infant footie pajama pattern and couldn't find one.  Then I searched the web and was still having a hard time coming up with what I really wanted.  So I drafted my own pattern.

Why, you ask?  Well, not just for the fun of it, believe it or not.  A few months back I got an idea for an outfit for my soon-to-be-born niece.  I wanted a plain pink footie pajama that I could embroider.  But every one I found in the stores already had something printed or embroidered on it somewhere.  But I'm not the type to back down from a challenge (at least of this sort) so that's when I started my search for a pattern.  In the end, I threw my hands in the air, pulled out a pair of 0-3 sized pajamas that I already owned and started drafting.

The pictures shown are of the pajamas I made for my new baby due in a a few weeks as part of his Halloween costume.

This pattern is for 0-3 months and includes snaps down both legs.  Download Pattern Here.  

I'd call the difficulty level experienced beginner to intermediate.  You should be comfortable with knits (using a ball point needle will make all the difference), and know how to ease fabric pieces together (which is fairly easy to do with knits).

You will need:
a yard of interlock knit fabric (always prewash to shrink!)
matching thread
the pattern (you'll need all 7 pages - be sure to print 100% to scale, plus scissors and tape to reconstruct)
measuring tape (to measure 25 inch binding)
snaps and appropriate snap setting tools for the ones you purchased.  (You can also use sew-in snap strips)

Lets get to it!

Block out your pattern on the fabric, pin it, and cut it out.  Don't forget to make sure you are cutting on the grain (the knit "rows" vertical on the garment).  All the seam allowances are already added, they are all 3/8 in. unless noted otherwise on the pattern.

Start by piecing the shoulder seams together.  Right sides together, sew each shoulder seam.

Now piece the sleeves to the shoulders.  Line up the darts on the pattern.  With right sides together, ease the sleeves on.  Failure to ease properly will result in puckering which is particularly obvious on shoulder seems. 

Now it's time to bind the end of the sleeves.  You should have cut one 25 inch long, 2 inch wide fabric piece.  Press the whole thing at once, and then you can cut off what you need for the sleeves and neck if you wish.  you'll need 5 inches for each sleeve.  To press, fold down 1/2 in. on one side the length of the strip, press, fold down 1/2 in. on the other side, press, the fold the strip in half lengthwise and press again.  It will look like the picture below.

To attach it to each sleeve, unfold the top half of the strip, match the edge to the of the sleeve with right sides together, pin, and sew along or just above the crease of the binding. The picture below is not correct, you'll want to unfold the top of the binding and sew inside that crease.  I think I was a little hurried when I was taking pictures, but you can see where it goes generally.

Once the binding is sewn in place, now you can turn it and refold it so that the binding covers the raw edge of the sleeve on both sides.  Sew down on the right side of the garment close to the edge of the binding.  You can use a double needle for this if you want, of if you like the look but don't have a double needle handy you can make two rows of stitches.  One row is just fine though.  Hopefully if everything came together correctly, you'll have sewn down the front and back of the tape, but if you skipped in spots, it's ok since it's on the inside of the sleeve.

You can now sew down the side of the garment from the cuff to the foot.  There is a little easing here as well.  Trim and/or baste down the seam at the wrist so that it doesn't rub baby's skin.  Do this on both sides.

Now you can use the remaining binding for the neck.  Use the same technique as before to sew the binding to the neck.

Piece the crotch piece in place in-between the legs.  Ease the pieces together.

Now press the other 2 inch strip of fabric in half.  With right sides together, piece it in place and sew from one foot, to the other. 

Now with right sides together, ease the toe tips to the bottom of the legs on the front of the garment.

Next, press the two front seems down 3/4 in. 

Sew together the ankles of the legs from "ditch" of the fabric strip to one inch up at an angle.  See the picture to understand what I mean.

Now it's time for the feet to go in.  I know what you're thinking.  There must be some mistake, these feet are too big for the opening.  Trust me, they'll fit.  You'll have to pin them in before you believe me and there is some easing to be done, but in the end you'll have two little footies the perfect size for a new baby.  Go ahead and trim the seams so they don't take up too much room where baby's feet will soon be growing.

Oooh!  Almost done!  Now all that is left to sew are the front hems.  Pin down the allowances.  They are as wide as they are to support the snaps.  If your fabric is on the flimsy side it would be prudent to also line the allowances with stabilizer.  Sew the hems down as close to the edges as you can from the opening above the ankle all the way to the neck.  Fold the binding at the neck down a bit so that it doesn't poke up out of the neck opening.

That's it for the sewing.  Now all that is left is the snaps.  Since all snaps are different, I'll refer you to the package directions on the snaps that you purchased.  I personally used the resin snaps from the Babyville Boutique line since I already owned a snap press for this kind of snap.  There is certainly a learning curve involved with any snap system so be sure to practice on a scrap piece and then carefully mark out where your snaps should go and whether they need to be male or female (I have included these placements on the pattern).  

Now you have a completed pajama outfit ready for the new little baby in your life.  Too bad they grow out of these so quickly!  But all the same, how fun is it to sew for tiny little ones?  I know my guy will be super comfy in this outfit.  I can't wait to see him in it!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Paint Colors and a Pinwheel Mobile for the Nursery

Hey, guess what?  I'm 36 weeks pregnant today!  The home stretch at last.  And I have been in a sort of crafting and cleaning overdrive that I don't remember having this early on with my other pregnancies.  But then again I left a lot to do until the very end this time.

As of a week ago Saturday, the baby's room was still an office/craft room.  It is now empty and almost completely painted (we still need to paint the drawer faces, but the wall color is up).  After seeing the room finally coming along I couldn't help but start in on the crafts I had in mind to decorate it.

Baby's room colors are teal, navy, lime green, and gray.  I chose the teal and gray before I knew if baby was a boy or a girl, back when I thought I'd let this baby's gender be a surprise like my first two.  If the baby was a girl I would have accessorized with bubble gum pink after she was born, but since it's a boy, I decided to add the notes of navy and green.  

Last week I painted 4 frames navy and lime green.  Three were from the dollar store, and one was one I had sitting around that didn't match my current decor.  I have some prints in mind for them, and will put them up in a frame collage over the baby's bed.  

I purchased some adorable herringbone fabric in the colors I chose for the bed skirt and finished sewing it up yesterday.  I bought the last yards in the store and haven't been able to find it since - even online.  I think it would make a cute pillow for my glider.  But I also love mixing patterns so even if I don't find any more of it, I know the room will come together perfectly.

Then I made an adorable mobile to go over the crib that only cost me about $5!  

I had no idea what I wanted for a mobile with this baby.  A friend made the one I had for my first two.  It was a gorgeous bird mobile made from many different beautiful fabrics and balanced on three tiers of real tree branches (well, twigs).  My two other babies loved how it twirled and all the beautiful colors and everyone who saw it loved how beautiful it was.  Well, the branches broke during our move last year, and while I could replace them and carefully rebalance all the birds, after careful thought, I decided to take it apart and use the birds as Christmas ornaments so we can enjoy them for many years to come.  

So that left me with no ideas for the new baby.  Until I saw a picture of a pinwheel mobile and a light went off in my head.  Most mobiles are best seen from a side view.  A lot of them are meant just for decor and are really not that visible or enjoyable to the baby in the crib.  These pinwheels faced down into the crib and twirl with the slightest movement or breeze.  They are made with paper in beautiful colors and patterns.  I needed one for my baby.  It looked easy enough, and I couldn't beat the price so I headed out to the craft store, bought what I needed, and started in on it the next day.

It wasn't as easy as it looked at first glance, but I did manage to make it one afternoon and I couldn't be happier with the results.  Want to know how it's done?  I'll show you!

you'll need:

  • at least 5 6x6 sheets of double sided scrapbook paper (I bought a whole stack in my colors for $3.99)
  • Embroidery needle with eye large enough for your chosen yarn or thread
  • Beads, or buttons to close the pinwheels (I used beads I had on hand, but not the ones in the the picture below, which didn't thread well)
  • The inner circle of a 10" or 12" embroidery hoop (I bought a wooden one for a little over $1)
  • Paint if you want to paint the hoop
  • Thin yarn, thread, invisible thread, or whatever works for you to hang your pinwheels (I used a very thin cotton yarn used for crochet)

Let's begin!

First find the center of each of your papers by measuring 3 inches in from the side and bottom.

Then cut diagonally from each corner two about a half inch from the center of the paper. 

The paper is now made up of four near triangles.  Fold the right corner on each triangle to the center and hold without creasing.  I used tape (after my 3rd or 4th attempt to hold it with my hand) and it worked pretty well.  Just be sure the tape you use with not harm the paper when you lift it off.  Check it on a scrap piece first.

Thread your needle with about a foot or so of your chosen yarn or thread, poke a hole through the middle of the other side of the paper and though the four points you have taped down.  Thread a bead/button onto both ends of the yarn (you may need to remove the needle to do this if your beads are small like mine were, then replace the needle) and poke the needle back over the side of the bead (or into the next hole of the button) and back through the points and the back of the paper through the other bead. 

Tighten so that there are no gaps between the layers and tie off with a knot.  Then you can peal the tape off the front.  I was able to pop it off right over the bead.

Make about 5 of these.  

Take the inner hoop (maybe you will find another use for the outer hoop in some other project) and paint it if you desire.  Tie the pinwheels at varying heights around the hoop.  I have mine at three different lengths so they do not touch each other.   The lengths are approximately 5, 7, and 9 inches.

Then take two equal length pieces of yarn/thread roughly twice the distance from the nursery ceiling to where you want the hoop of the mobile to suspend (keeping in mind that you want it far out of reach of a standing baby).  Bring the two pieces together and fold them in half.  Several inches down from the fold, tie a knot to create a loop to hang the mobile.  Then tie the ends of the pieces to the hoop, adjusting the knots as needed until the hoop hangs straight.  Once everything is perfectly strait and tested to be the correct height, you can hot glue all the knots in place so they do not budge or loosen with time.

Baby will love to look up and see these patterned mobiles spinning above his head. I can't wait until I can hang it up over his crib!  It's pretty in my dining room, but it will be darling in the nursery.