Friday, December 31, 2010

Leo's Sleeping Sack

Since Leo started sleeping going to bed in his crib a couple weeks ago, he has finally gotten to use the sleep sack I made for him earlier this fall—another project from Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings. The pattern calls for a patchwork front panel, but I just used the same Michael Miller cotton (Lagoon Ring Dot Turquoise) for the whole outside. The inside is another Michael Miller print flannel (Haul It Turquoise). I didn't have enough yardage to have the print going the right direction on the front inside panels, but I wasn't too worried about that.

The pattern is made to fit 6 weeks to 3 months, so I added several inches to the bottom and two to the sides so that it might fit my big boy all winter. He is 6 months, 19 pounds and 28 inches long now.

I made two other alterations to the pattern—continued the bias tape to cover the edge of the under panel as well (piece B) with a mitered corner at the point (she just says to zigzag stitch that edge), and I used six snaps instead of velcro. Unfortunately I didn't think to add interfacing to the snap locations before I joined the outer fabric and flannel, so we have to be a little bit gentle when we unsnap it. Also, I should have put the first snap all the way up at the point. Wish the snaps were not white, but that is all they had at the store.

Much cuter than the store-bought fleece sack Louisa wore!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Favorite Presents

A wallet for me from AJ, Small Frye boots for Leo from Mimi, Toms Botas for AJ from me, and a serger for me from my parents. And for Louisa, from Saint Nicholas himself...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekend Away Travel Bag

Needing something to put my deodorants in when I give them as gifts, I turned to the Weekend Away Travel Bag from Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing.

The bag was fairly easy to make, and pretty enjoyable except for the final stage of sewing it together. Just about killed my little machine. I had plans of lining future versions with laminated cotton for wipe-ability... I don't think so. The upholstery weight Echino Ni-Co cotton exterior (in Magenta Sunglasses) and a basic quilting cotton lining is about all I think my machine can handle when it comes to rounded corners and 1/4-inch seams through that many layers of fabric. Hand stitching around the zipper when finishing the ends was not the most fun, but it looks nice in the end.

As other reviewers pointed out, Heather forgets to mention in the book that one-way fabrics won't work, because the print is upside down on one side of the bag. I knew this going in, but decided to use the sunglasses fabric anyway because I had some left over from a tote project from last spring, and thought it might look neat with the chunky orange zipper.

This bag is going to my dear friend Christina, mother of Louisa's best pal Dorothy. Christina's birthday is this weekend, and tomorrow their whole crew is joining us for some hot buttered rum before the Crozet Christmas Parade. Yum!

I'll definitely try making this bag again, and hopefully will have better luck with those corners. 

Homemade Deodorant

For a few years AJ and I have been on a search for non-toxic deodorant. AJ is actually really sensitive to traditional antiperspirants and deodorants, and considering I've been pregnant and/or nursing for the last three and a half years, I've been trying to minimize the number of chemicals and carcinogens I smear on my skin...

We were happy with Arm & Hammer Essentials "natural" and unscented deodorant for a while, but it was discontinued at the Crozet Great Valu and we couldn't find it anywhere else locally. Then I found Soapwalla's deodorant cream on etsy, which I still love and highly recommend (her pregnancy body oil is also fantastic). It works great, but when an old friend directed me to Amy's recipe on angry chicken, I figured it made sense to make my own.

I've been using it for several months now, and it really does work. AJ uses it too. So now I am giving it to a few special people for Christmas. I have to admit, during the hot months at our non-air conditioned house, I keep this in the fridge. Shea butter gets soft even at room temperature--but that is part of what makes this deodorant so quickly absorbable and easy to use.

To dress it up a little, I found some pretty pink generic deodorants at Dollar General, and cleaned them out for the containers. (Our trashcan still smells of "cucumber melon.")

Then I made some labels, and in a pinch, sized them down to packing-tape width, printed them out and taped them right on. Not exactly waterproof, but they'll hold up okay.