Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sonia Doll

I was perusing Ravelry one day when I noticed a new group had been formed by Nipiti.  She is a very talented crochet designer who created the Paw Patrol pattern that I crocheted back in March for Charlotte's birthday.  Nipiti was seeking out crocheters to help her test her new patterns, and I signed up straight away.  The first test pattern was "My Best Friend Doll with Teddy Bear and a Bag", and I think it is amazing!  Here is my version:

Isn't she cute?  The little nose is so sweet.  I decided to give her to Sonia, and Sonia promptly named her new doll "Sonia".  Creative name.

I had issues getting the part straight on Sonia Doll (definitely user error-- not a problem with the pattern), but that mirrors the results I achieve in real life when I attempt to style Sonia Kid's hair. So, I left the part crooked.

I especially love the methodology used to crochet the cute ruffled socks and sleeves, and the overall bib & straps are terrific.  Nipiti seems to have the same desire as me to crochet as much of an amigurumi as possible in one piece rather than crocheting a ton of separate pieces and having to attach them at the end.  AWESOMENESS.

The teddy bear and bag are removable (please don't lose them, Sonia Kid!!) and ridiculously adorable.

I've never tested a pattern before, and it was a ton of fun!  We testers were supposed to offer criticism, suggestions, and point out errors in the pattern, but Nipiti did such a great job writing the pattern that there wasn't much to criticize or correct.  The My Best Friend Doll pattern is fabulous and is well worth the money!  The other testers' dolls turned out beautiful, too; it's so fun to see how using different yarn colors and weight changes the end product, even when we are all following the exact same pattern.  Ravelry is so fun!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mom's Replacement Apron

While Niki was down here visiting us in Texas, Mom requested that we remake her favorite apron.  Niki had make all three of us simple aprons (using one her mother-in-law had sewed for Corey once upon a time as a template) with crocheted ties and neck straps when we spent Thanksgiving at her house in Tennessee way back in 2005 (I think).  Mom used it to death, but it was getting long in the tooth.  Here is Bobo, disapproving of the nearly decade-old apron.

Apparently, Mom was pretty hard on her apron and eventually it cried "UNCLE!"  According to her, the rip appeared out of nowhere.  We think there might have been some cooking-related shenanigans going on.

Mom and Niki headed to the fabric store and picked out a pretty batik fabric for the replacement apron.  The old crocheted straps were still holding up well, but they did look a little old.  I was drafted to crochet some new ones with the leftover yarn that Niki still had and gifted to me when she declared herself on a crochet hiatus.  Niki used the old apron as a template, did what she considered to be a MUCH better job of sewing it (since her skills have improved quite a bit over this past decade), and voila!

Mom now has a new simple apron.  This one had always been her favorite because the crocheted straps were especially comfortable on her neck.  Niki asked her if she wanted a pocket or any sort of decorative element but Mom declined.  Sometimes, simple is best.  We'll see if this one survives for another decade!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Basket for Charlotte Doll's accessories

I was tired of Charlotte throwing all of the accessories and clothes for "Charlotte Doll" (her faux American Girl doll) in the little cupboard next to her bed.  They are always in a big jumbled heap and they all fall out ever time she opens the cupboard doors.  Well, now the paraphernalia will be in a jumbled heap in a basket inside the cupboard!

Yes, I am fully aware that the fabric is going the wrong way.  I knew it when I started the project, but when you're using hand-me-down scrap fabric (courtesy of my mother-in-law), you work with what you have.  This was a nice heavy cotton that I added fusible fleece to for some sturdiness.  I generally followed this tutorial, but I cut the fabric pieces to 16" x 24" and cut out 4" squares from the folded pieces.

The lining is some purple canvas from my stash.  I ignored the way the tutorial said to make the handles and just improvised my own by cutting pieces 6" x 9", ironing them like I was making bias tape, finishing off the ends, then sewing four lines down them.  (That probably makes no sense to anyone else, but if I ever try to sew this basket again I will know what I am talking about!)  I stitched them on with the ends folded under so they would pop out from the sides of the basket and be easy for Charlotte to grab.  I do wish I had put them up a little higher, but it still works.

(Whoops -- should have ironed the lining a little better before I took the photo.  I swear it doesn't really look that bad in person.  It's soon to be filled with tons of tiny shoes, scarves, undies, headbands, etc., so no one will ever be able to tell.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Toiletry Tote Sew Along

I love all of the Sweet Bee Buzzings tutorials I have followed to sew awesome bags (the Brick Pouch,  the Double-Zip Wristlet, the Straight-Sided Flat-Bottomed Pouch, and several Lined Drawstring Backpacks), and this most recent one was no exception.  Last month, Bethany (the author of SBB) posted a Toiletry Tote "sew along" (basically splitting up what would be a crazy long tutorial into a series of posts over several days) and I was dying to try it.  Since the kids and I fly to Texas in a few days, I thought I could most certainly use a cute new toiletry tote for the occasion.

Not sure why it looks so wrinkly in the photo -- I swear it looks fabulous in person!  The outside fabric is left over from Toni's diaper bag, and the black on the handles, tabs, and lining is some linen I had on hand.  The handles ended up shorter than they were supposed to for some reason (some measuring error on my part, undoubtedly), but they still work just fine.

I used a Vanderbilt University (my law school alma mater) charm for the zipper pull.  It was originally on a gaudy necklace that Charlotte had helped her daddy pick out for my birthday present a long time ago, but someone yanked it off at some point.  I stuck it in my sewing stash and knew I would find a use for it at some point.

Here is the view of the top of the bag.  It's annoying me that the barn in the background is clashing with the bag.  (Our subdivision back up to a farm, which is cool unless the otherwise picturesque outbuildings fail to match with my sewing projects.  Heh.)

Inside is an internal zipper pocket.  Yes, the white zipper looks awful, but I was too lazy to run to the store for a better matching one.  I went a little wild and used the exterior fabric for pocket instead of the lining fabric as the tutorial dictated.

But I went even wilder when I picked a whole other fabric for the adorable pleated pockets.  Really, I had just run out of the exterior AND the lining fabric such that I couldn't cut a piece large enough, but I am just going to pretend it was a conscious choice for style purposes.

The bag is about 10 inches wide, eight inches high, and four inches deep.  Perfect for stashing a bunch of toiletries and hair accessories for me and the kids.

The tutorial was very clear and easy to follow.  It helped that I had already sewed the Brick Pouch (this is just a larger version of it with some added features and an altered shape) and that I am really familiar with Bethany's techniques and terminology.  It would have been even easier had I not tried to sew this while my daughter had a play date (her friend kept wandering in and wanting to watch me, much to Charlotte's chagrin), but the result was still terrific.  In the future, I would buy the black fusible fleece when sewing with such dark fabrics because pins sometimes pull through some of the fleece fibers and makes the fabric look dirty.  I would also do a better job with the handles so that they ended up the correct length!  I can see this tote working well for a number of different purposes, and I would love to make it again in the future.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


I'm finally catching up on posting all my spring projects to the blog!  This is just a quick note about some fun slippers I made using a "Starting Points Slipper Sole" kit put out by Boye....  Basically, it's a suede slipper sole with comfy faux shearling inside, and there are holes punched on the side so you can crochet or knit a slipper and then stitch the sole onto the slipper.  Genius!

I made two pairs: one for my mother-in-law in maroon yarn:

and one for a good friend of Sonia's (Valerie), in pink:

These were pretty fun to make! I wish I could make some for myself, but my feet would get too hot in them.  I am just not a slipper-wearing person!  They look so comfortable and cozy, though....  I love the ribbed ankle part.  The pattern included in the kit was written by the extremely talented and prolific Kim Guzman, who gave me some help when I needed it.  She is a superstar in the crochet world, so I am really grateful that she took the time to assist me!  Thanks again, Kim.

Monday, June 30, 2014


I confess that I did not use cloth diapers with my kids.  I was just too overwhelmed with all other aspects of motherhood (and a complete wimpazoid, as my dad would say) to even attempt it.  So when Erin's good buddy, Emma, asked me for help sewing some fleece soakers for her sweet little boy, Mark, I was intrigued.  I was even more intrigued when I found out there were no fasteners or elastic in them.  I never realized fleece was this stretchy for some reason.  Emma sent me a link to a tutorial and this was the result:

I used some scraps left over from Peter's fleece Batman pajama pants.  (That's Batman's cape printed across the front of the soakers.)  The print is a little too large-scale for the soakers, but this was just a prototype after all.  I didn't have enough fleece to be able to fussy-cut it properly, but I was able to make the inside "wet zone" layer (which didn't need to stretch any particular way) feature a bit of the Bat symbol. Here's a view of the inside:

There IS an upside-down Batman on the bum.  Yes, better-matching thread would have resulted in the extra wet zone layer being a little less obvious on the outside, but it's not a terrible look.  It's not like the fatal fashion faux pas of the visible panty line.  It's pretty obvious that virtually all babies wear diapers, so I doubt Mark will be embarrassed by kids harassing him on the playground.

So, even though Mark's measurements indicated he needed a size medium, the sheer size of the soakers made me nervous that I had made a size too big.  I also made a size small (using green fleece that I have had for probably a decade, plus the last teeny bits of the Batman fleece).  Here's how they turned out:

View of the back:

And inside (poor Batman is going to bear the brunt of any leakage!!!):

Here is the small next to the medium.  I swear Charlotte and Peter could fit into the medium one, but there's no way I'm letting them try them on.  I figure if the size small is too teeny, Mark's big brother, Ike, can put the soakers on a stuffed animal.  If the size medium is too big, then sweet Mark can grown in to them.  We win either way, right?  I only used fleece I already had on hand and just a bit of thread from my stash, so I won't be bummed even if these don't turn out how Emma envisioned.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hair Accessory Organizer

A few months ago, inspired by a picture I saw on Pinterest (there was no pattern listed), I free-handed this fun hair accessory organizer to help me corral Sonia's myriad barrettes and clips.

Notes for next time (if there is one):

1) Use a more substantial hanger!  That wire hanger is not quite tough enough for the weight of the yarn AND the barrettes.  I need to add some reinforcement scaffolding to make sure it doesn't stretch over time.

2) Use more substantial yarn!  I used some Red Heart Soft that I had on hand, and it just doesn't feel tough enough to handle clipping and unclipping these accessories.  Cotton worsted weight yarn would probably work great.

I'm not sure how long this holder will last.  But for now, I'm loving it!  We've been using it for several months, and Sonia and I love being able to see all of her accessory options at one time without having to rummage in a drawer (and this freed up drawer space!).  The organizer hangs in my closet, because I do Sonia's hair in my bathroom every morning.  But someday, it will move upstairs to her room.

I added a cute little flowery design to the top to give it a little flourish:

Better living and organization through crochet!  Now THAT is a good use of yarn and time.  I should make myself some baskets next.....