Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tutorial: Round scalloped edged table cover

Al fresco dining is on my mind these days.  Here in Northern California, the weather is phenomenal almost all the time, but the draw to go outside to eat is particularly strong now, with evenings warm and light enough to be out at dinnertime.  And it's strange for me, coming from upstate NY, but there are almost no insects here!  So, as a bonus, eating outside is not a battle with mosquitoes and deer flies!  Wahoo!  To brighten up our dining space, I love the look of Mexican oilcloth--it's colorful with some cute designs, but it's also water-proof and fairly inexpensive.   I've seen lovely tutorials for square or rectangular tables, but we have round ones, so I've put together some instructions for making a custom, fitted tablecloth (with a cutie scalloped border) for your round table.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tutorial: Cushioned cover with pocket for Antilop Highchair

As far as highchairs go, the IKEA's Antilop rocks.  Its compact, all plastic (yay for easy clean-up!), and slides perfectly right up to our table (without the tray) so baby feels like part of the action.  We owned one for our first child and when I didn't think we'd have a second, we gave it away.  I thought I'd try out a different highchair for boy #2, but it didn't compare.  So.... I bought a second Antilop. Thankfully, in addition to all the other great features of this highchair, it's also remarkably cheap ($25 including optional tray!).

All plastic is great, but I'm guessing it has to be a bit uncomfortable--not that the little one is complaining, but as a mom, I can't help but to project my own feelings onto the matter.  Even before we had #2, I looked for a cushion pattern and found the nice one that is floating around.  I even bookmarked it!  But when I went to make it, I didn't love the design and felt like a bib pocket in the back would be a nice addition.  So I designed my own.   I've made mine in laminated cotton, so it can be wiped off easily, but should you choose to make it in regular quilting cotton, the cushions are removable for laundering the cover.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Patternmaking class and dinosaur shorts

I'm starting an online patternmaking class today at Whipstitch and I. Couldn't. Be. More. Excited.  Wahoo!

To contrast that, I had to drop off my shy little boy at an unfamiliar summer camp this morning.  I still have a lump in my stomach.  Last night, I made him a pair of dinosaur shorts, mostly to make myself feel better.  They are as basic as basic can be.   The whole project (including tracing the pattern) took 40 minutes.  He opted not to wear them (not surprisingly--he only rarely wears shorts), but I think he liked the print anyway.  I traced a pair of Patagonia shorts that fit him really well (size 24 months--for my 5.5 year old!).  I was going to add pockets, but then I remembered how much sand accumulates in pockets after a trip to the park and decided against it.  Our couch will thank me.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gifted zip pouches

I'm still recovering from this week--the last week of the school year for my Kindergartener and my birthday.  My big sewing goals (like, participating in the Week of the Summer Boy) had to be put aside so I could make gifts for my good friend's birthday and my son's teacher.  Sew Mama Sew featured a fabulous tutorial for a zippered pouch a while back, and it seemed like a great idea for both gifts.

I learned a couple of things the first time around--namely, the larger zipper teeth of a parka-style zipper is not optimal for this project, to say the least.  Second, I think the pattern must have been optimized with a thinner weight fabric than the home-dec I used, because the bag barely fit in the pouch.   Luckily, my friend is so very kind and assured me she wouldn't actually have to ever zip the bag into the pouch (isn't she so nice!).  I love, love the fabric of this one.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Taming the marker mayhem

The cardboard boxes that crayons, markers and colored pencils come in are virtually useless in the long run.  We toss them as soon as they are opened.  Instead, I've made zippered oilcloth bags for each type of implement.  Well, my son decided he was going to remove all the markers from one to put in stuff he wants to take on vacation to NY (in three weeks).  Clearly, a new bag was needed, and since he's now a reader, I decided to label the oilcloth with the contents.  Even though I have a brand new sewing machine (happy birthday to me!), it does not do embroidery, so I sketched and stitched the letters freehand.  The grid pattern on the fabric was super helpful there, but don't look too closely at the "S" at the end :)  Unlike the previous bags, I squared the bottom by sewing the corners so it can stand upright.

I love cute and functional!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Strawberry season = jam

This weekend, we went with our good friends and all four of our little boys to go strawberry picking at Coastways Ranch in Davenport, CA.  It was a beautiful day and the kids really enjoyed having their own containers to collect berries.  It's so very hard to resist the bright red beacon of the perfect berry, so we all picked way too much.  A failed strawberry pie became a pretty decent ice cream topping, but with still many, many berries left, I made up our first batch of jam of the season.  Some gorgeous Weck canning jars are in the mail, heading to my address as we speak, but perfectly ripe berries wait for no one (or jar).  While strawberry jam is tasty (especially on scones with clotted cream), my boys like olallieberry best.  Another month for those!