Hero's Houndstooth!

This blanket has been about a year and a half in the making. I bought the Houndstooth pattern from V and Co in October 2011 (on a side note, V and Co has a bunch of new patterns and they are all awesome!!). The original plan was to make him the quilt for that Christmas, and it didn't happen.

Then I talked about when I bought the fabric, wanting to make it for Hero's birthday in this pre-baby to do list post (April 2012). That didn't happen either...

I finally cut the fabric when Dragon was a few months old, then worked on it stage by stage, whenever I had time. Well, here we are (March 2013), and it's done!!

I was going to do the top in both the blue and orange, but decided it would look too intense and dark. I changed it so that Hero's would be blue and white, with orange binding; then Dragon's would be the opposite.

I machine quilted on the white only with white thread (an idea I picked up here).

I especially love the look that quilting created on the grey backing!

And thanks to my husband for holding it up for me to photograph.

This was my first free motion quilting experience. It was so much fun! I looked up a bunch of how-to videos on YouTube, but don't have a specific one I'd recommend. I just watched some, then decided it was time to dive in! After a small practice scrap piece, I just went for it! Sink or Swim!!!

There is a quick learning curve and while the first few rows have larger uneven stitches, and tiny uneven stitches, I was getting pretty good at the end! It took me a week to quilt it, and that was taking my time, working on it only a row at a time when the kids were sleeping. 

If you are hesitating on trying machine quilting, DON'T! It's not as hard as it seams, and it's SO FUN!!

I had some help getting the binding prepped, and spent a week hand stitching the binding into place.

At every stage of the sewing process, I would ask Hero if he was excited for a new blanket or if he liked it. He would tell me that it was nice and looked good, but that he didn't want it. "I have a blanket," he would say. But now that it's done and on his bed, he has accepted it and told me it was awesome.

I already have Dragon's and Pretty's Houndstooth quilt fabrics cut, it's just a matter of sewing them... maybe in the next few years, I'll get them all done!


Baby Sock Monkey Costume

For Halloween last year, Hero wanted to be a Power Ranger. I borrowed that costume from my mom's old stash. Easy!

Pretty didn't have a strong opinion, so I just asked my sister what she had in Pretty's size and borrowed that. Pretty was excited about getting to wear "red sparkle shoes" as Dorothy. Easy #2!

The only thing I didn't have was a good costume for Dragon. At first I was going to add some diamonds and cuffs to a sleeper and make him a Power Ranger, too. But then I saw this idea for a sock monkey costume. I loved it and thought, I can do that! So I did.

Kathleen at Grosgrain didn't give any sort of tutorial, other than to say that she used thrifted sweaters and a pajama pattern to make up her costume. So I had a lot of wiggle room.

I also used thrifted sweaters. I had these baby pants pinned FOR-E-VER, and thought they would be perfect! I only made a little change to the way I sewed them, to make it easier. I never could figure out the stuff-one-leg-into-the-other way of sewing pants...

I extended the length and rounded the bottom of the legs, so they would look like a sock monkey. Then I made the back panel the way the tutorial on Sew a Straight Line describes, putting the red in the place of a design on the bum. The changes I made was to sew the "J" shape on the front panel.

You'll have the front and back panel like this:

Now, just lay one on top of the other, right sides facing and sew all the way around! Since I was making a closed bottom for the sock monkey, this could be done in one continuous seam. But if you were making real pants, with openings for the feet, you would just sew the side seams first, then do the inseam (inside/crotch seam).

Finish it up with an elastic waistband, and you have pants!

For the shirt, I used a pattern for a knit shirt from my mom. But if you want a tutorial, Dana's 90 Minute Shirt would be super cute! But I wanted the option of tucking Dragon's little fingers inside. Halloween can include snow some years in Utah...

To add a pocket that I could tuck over, I cut out a rectangle, hemmed one side, and placed it on the edge of the sleeve. I sewed around the three sides shown in the picture.

Then hem the sleeve and finish sewing the shirt. Attach the sleeve to the shirt,

and sew under the sleeve and down the side seam in one long line.

Now you have a sleeve where you can fold over the hands to keep them warm.

To make the hat, I used this Upcycled Boy Hats tutorial from I Am Momma - Hear Me Roar. I lined it with an old white t-shirt and added little monkey ears on the side, the same way I would for an actual sock monkey. Last, but not least, I made a tail, stuffed it and sewed it into place. Voila! Sock Monkey Baby!!

Hands out:

Hands in:

Cute monkey bum!

I may be biased, but I think he's the cutest sock monkey I've ever made...and I've made a lot of sock monkeys!


Ombre Chevron Crochet Baby Blanket

Wow, I know I keep promising that I will get back to blogging, but can I just say that I am not one of those awesome women who can balance everything! 

Adding little Dragon to my family has been incredible, but difficult. I'm figuring out how to be the mother of a stubborn kindergartener, independant "I'll do it by MYSELF" toddler, and a (I'll be honest) ridiculously easy-going baby. He may be easy going, but he is still a baby that demands a lot of time and effort.

With the 3 kids, I've been a bit overwhelmed and while I love blogging, it has taken the back seat for a while. I still make no promises about any regular blogging, but I will pop in to share something as the mood strikes.

The mood has struck! I made this adorable crochet baby blanket for my sister-in-law who is having her first baby in a few months. She's having a girl, but with it being her first, she and her husband requested something gender neutral.

I love the ombre effect that is so popular right now, so to give the gender neutral a bit of style I wandered around the yarn isles in JoAnn with my best friend for far too long, looking for just the right shades.

In case you want to replicate, here are the yarns we found, starting with the darkest yellow:

1: Vanna's Choice Baby in Duckie
2: Lion Brand Baby Soft in Lemonade ( This is a true baby yarn, and I had to double it, holding two strands together. But there is enough yarn in this skein that you still only need one. I spent the time at the beginning to wind a center pull ball starting with both ends.)
3: Bernat Satin in Banana
4: Vanna's Choice Baby in Lamb
5: Vanna's Choice in White
(Not pictured: I used some heather grey from my stash for the single crochet edging.)

I used this free pattern from Lion Brand Yarns. (The reviews are mixed, but I found it easy and liked the texture it created.) I read the pattern and figured that with my 5 skeins, I needed 9 rows of each color. Oddly enough, the three Vanna's were supposed to be the same amount/length/size skein, but I was a few stitches short with Color 1, more than a few stitches short with Color 4, but had plenty of Color 5. Weirdness. But what's awesome about the ombre fade is I was able to just start the next color to finish up the last row and keep going. If you look carefully at the pictures above, you can see close to the front where Color 2 starts in the last several stitches of the first color, but you only notice if you are really inspecting the blanket.

The mommy-to-be loves it, and I can't wait to meet my new little niece and see her wrapped in this yummy blanket.