Friday, January 25, 2013

Wrapping up maternity leave...

Friends!  20 Weeks ago I had my second set of twins!!  

here's a picture from September when they were just two weeks old:

It was nearly 8 years ago that I had my first set of twins!  Here are all my twins together, taken back in November:

As awesome as it is to have two sets of twins, that's not all.  I had two singletons 13, and 11 years ago.  Bringing my total kid count up to 6!  That's right.  I am now the proud mother to six lovely children:

And in these past 20 weeks, not only did I birth this second set of twins, but I also allowed my oldest son to turn into a teenager.  And if you thought having babies and toddlers was hard, just wait until you get the pleasure of entering the world of Middle School with your child.  And watching them grow up into a mini-adult, but still they need you almost more than when they were a baby (if that is even possible!).  Plus, my two oldest are boys.  A teenage boy, and pre-teen boy.  If I thought nursing infants every 1.5 hours for two months straight was crazy, these two boys of mine could eat every hour, on the hour.  

In short, I've been a bit busy for the past twenty weeks.  

But things are starting to settle in.  The babies have gone through a sleep training boot camp.  I finally got my evening back because they go to bed at 7pm and stay asleep most nights until 1am for their little night cap.  Along with their new skill of night time sleeping came the skill of daytime nap taking.  I am starting to get a collection of hours during the day when the house is once again QUIET.  It's magical.  I will never be ungrateful for peace and quiet ever, ever, ever again.  

And through it all, I've dreamed of sewing almost everyday.  Sewing is my creative outlet.  My way of letting off steam.  My way of sorting out the pieces of the day.  My way of forgetting all my failures from the day.  My way of making order out of chaos.  And I've missed it sew much.  

In October, I did turn my little babies into owls for Halloween:

And it was probably also in October that I finally made them each a minky backed carseat blanket:

Other than those two simple projects, all sewing has been on hold.  On hold while I have worked so hard to survive, and find my footing.  

I feel like we're in a good place.  

I am so excited that 2013 has proven to be a good year of sewing, so far.  The long dreamed of baby quilts that I conceptualized while I was still pregnant, are coming to life! 

This is the Plus Sign and the Inside Out quilt pattern from Cluck Cluck Sew.

I used my fat quarter collection of the Denyse Schmidt Free Market Fancy reprint that I bought sometime over the summer.  

I hope to get these quilted and bound next week.  But I cannot think of a better way of celebrating these past 20 weeks than with two completed quilt tops! 

Welcome to the World Eleanor Anne!

Welcome to the World Walter John!

Here's to hoping Maternity Leave is over.  And here's to hoping I get to resume creating things to showcase on MOM!    

*Felt numbers and letters are courtesy of my Sew Sister and Best Friend, Liz!  As are the #1 and #2 onsies.  Eleanor was born first, and Walter was born second.  Even though Walter is about three pounds bigger than his little big-sister.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Scrappy Patchy Heart Tutorial

Grace has worn nightgowns to bed for years.  However, it's winter time here and while we do live in California, we live in an old and sometimes cold house.  When we wake up in the morning, it's chilly.  Grace requested more pajama pants, and I agreed.  For some reason I have it in my head that pajamas should come in sets (pants and matching shirt), and this time was no exception.  I got the idea to make a Scrappy Patchy Heart shirt for Grace, and I thought maybe you'd want to make one too.  Sew, here goes!

First you're going to need some supplies.

A variety of scraps
A shirt
Pinking sheers (*optional, but I highly recommend them)
A heart template (Bust out your 1st grade drawing skills and make yourself one!)

Next, cut your scraps into long rectangular pieces using your pinking sheers.  You don't have to use pinking sheers, but I don't hide my seams when making my scrappy patch, so using my pinking sheers will cut down on the fabric fraying.  My rectangles are about 13 inches long by no more than 2 inches wide.

Then sew the scrappy rectangles together.  I overlapped the rectangles about a 1/4" and then sewed about an 1/8" from the edge of the rectangular piece that's on top.

A couple of the scraps I used come from Sarah Jane Studios, and I love that the one fabric I have says, "just stay little."  It's exactly what I always say to Grace.

Okay, here's what my patch looked like before it took on a heart shape.

Okay, now take your scrappy patchwork, lay your heart template on it, and trace approximately a 1/2" from the template border.  The template is roughly the size of the heart you want to be seen on your shirt.  You're tracing a larger heart on your scrappy patchwork so you'll have something to sew your shirt to.

Once you've finished drawing your heart, cut it out with pinking sheers.

Now comes the trickiest part of the whole process.  Getting the heart template and the scrappy patchy heart matched up with the shirt in between.  Start by sliding your scrappy patchy heart inside the shirt.

Through a little trial and error, lots of help from pins and fingers, and tad bit of patience, you'll get the heart template pinned into place.  You will be sewing all around the heart template.  Pins are your friend, and you should use them liberally.

Also, make sure that you don't pin through the back of the shirt.  Your pins should go through the template, through the shirt, and go through the scrappy patchwork, but the pins should not go through the back of the shirt.  Also, don't get the pins too close to the edge.  As you're sewing around the heart, you'll want to leave the pins in the heart template so you'll know where to sew.

Now sew all around the heart template.  Your stitches should be right next to the template, but not on it.    It's just your guide as you sew.

When you are all done, this is what your shirt should look like.  

Next you'll want to cut out the knit inside the heart you just stitched.  Just be sure to not cut the scrappy patchwork layer.  Cut carefully!

I trimmed the knit to about an 1/8" away from my stitched heart border.

Then I found my model, and I asked her to try on her new shirt.

And, of course, her new pajama pants too.

She was totally happy with both of them.

Happy and willing to model.  It was perfect.

She asked if I she could wear her pajamas to school.  I think that means she likes them.

I'm hoping to show and tell a little about how I make my pajama pants.  I have finally figured out what my favorite pattern is, and I have a system that makes pants a very doable project in a limited amount of time.  Should my mothering duties allow, I'll find time to organize a little how-to.

I shared pictures from this blog post over on the new Made on Maple Facebook page.  If you're on Facebook, you should like MOM's Facebook page.  You'll get a little sneak peak of what's to come!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Another Hannah Dress

I recently got some of Aneela Hoey's A Walk in the Woods fabric.  It's absolutely adorable.  I know a lot of Aneela Hoey's fabrics tend to have the same look with small storybook like drawings, and maybe that gets boring for some, but I find it so charming.  I might also feel a close connection to Aneela Hoey because I believe she has less space to sew in then I do, and she creates beautiful fabrics, embroideries, patterns, and books.  I like Aneela and all that she does.

I recognize I just made a Hannah Dress, but I liked the style, and I thought it would be cute for Grace to wear this one like a tunic over jeans.  She thought it was a great idea too.  I think Grace was smitten with the little birds to be honest with you.  They are so darling.

It was FREEZING when I took these pictures, and Grace hates getting out of bed on cold mornings like this.  Luckily she was willing to quickly dance around the backyard, so I could snap a few pictures.

The grass has a white-ish look because it's covered in frost.

I'm sew happy that I made another one of these dresses.  I'm thinking I'll have Grace wear it with tights and flats to church on Sunday, so she'll see just how great the dress is, and selfishly I get to see it worn again.

It's Friday night, and I'd really like to make Grace and George pajama pants.  George doesn't care that he didn't get a dress, but if I make pajama pants for Grace I have to make them for George.  George has tons of pjs, but Grace mainly has nightgowns and during our cold nights she needs pajama pants.  We'll see if I'm feeling ambitious enough to bust them out tonight.  Pajama pants can be so simple, and I have a cute idea for a shirt to go with them.

I'll be sure to keep you posted on where my sewing adventures take me.

Any fun sewing plans for your weekend??

Off to put the little ones to bed.  I'd so much rather be sewing then trying to get my kids to sleep!

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Open Wide Zippered Pouch

It's January, and I really don't have much I have to sew.  I mean I never have to sew anything, but there's no special occasions, no holidays, no birthdays, or any other pressing reason to be sewing something.  Sew, when I stumbled upon Noodlehead's Open Wide Zippered Pouch tutorial that comes in 3 sizes, I thought what the heck!  I'm going to make all three just because I can.

I have no real idea what I'm going to use these for.  I mean I know I'll probably use them when I travel, and maybe one will end up with all my make-up in it, and I'm sure my kids stuff will be put in one or more of these at some point in time.  But, really I just wanted to own three pretty bags.

Pretty bags that all fit inside each other.

For Christmas my sister-in-law, Blue Susan, generously got me a signed copy of Anna Maria's Needleworks Notebook AND 2 Jennifer Paganelli fat quarters.  I'm not sure I'm going to pick up needlework, but the projects in Anna Maria's book look like they want to come and be a part of my house, so who knows.  As for the fat quarters, I put them to good use in these nesting bags.  Can you tell which two are from the same designer??  The medium and large bags' floral fabric are Jennifer Paganelli.  The small bag's floral fabric is a Sandi Henderson fabric that I found last time I was at Michael Levine's in LA.

The Noodlehead tutorial, as always, was a good one.  Do be careful and read the directions carefully when it comes to the zippers if you make these.  It's a little tricky.  Not pictured in this blog post is my sample pouch where I learned the hard way that I hadn't followed Anna from Noodlehead's directions correctly.  Read carefully!

Also, as a hot tip, I went ahead and made freezer paper patterns for all the different size pouches.  It's 3 rectangles per bag.  All the pattern pieces took me about 30 minutes to measure, draw, and cut out.  I think this step is worth it should I ever want to make this pouch again.

Now to figure out how I'm going to use these beauties.  They might just need to sit on display in my house for a while before I actually put them to use.

For the sewing schedule tonight I'm suppose to be tracing out another Hannah Dress.  It's only 8, so I have plenty of time to do this, but I'm feeling so tired.  Hopefully I forge ahead despite my exhaustion.  I'm tired of being tired all the time!  (I know this probably means I should go to bed earlier, but there is no fun in that, so I'm not even considering it as an option.)
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