May 29, 2012

Baby Sweaters for Freya

When Susanna visited in April she took the train and therefore had 6 hours of crocheting time - she made good use of her time.

Yarn has a little bit of sparkle in it

She whipped up this pink & purple hooded sweater for our niece Freya, as well as a cap and headband with the leftover yarn (not to be worn together as that would be too matchy-matchy).

In addition she created a second sweater out of a beautiful variegated yarn.

She was afraid it might be too small, so she added the vertical rows and this awesome button closure.


Lastly she crocheted a little cap with an accent button - I wish this was in my size (note to Susanna regarding a future Christmas present).

I wish I had made these - they're so gorgeous. Freya agrees!

May 20, 2012

Barbapapa Mobile

Do you know the Barbapapa Family?

It's a French cartoon family, where each member changes shape to become whatever is needed in the situation. They are a peaceful and friendly family of seven; colorful and blob-like. My toddler friend, Lilly, introduced me to the cartoon dubbed in German (her mother's native language). Since Lilly just became a big sister, I made a Barbapapa mobile to introduce baby Dylan to his sister's obsession.

Imagine, if you will, that five members of the family decide to take flight among the clouds, becoming a balloon, airplane, bird, kite and butterfly.

Barbabright, the high-flying kite

Barbapapa, the big Balloon

Barbazoo the Bird and Barbalala the Butterfly

Barbabelle, the Aeroplane

Fluffy felt clouds under the rainbow ribbon

Each of the Barbapapas is needle felted from wool roving, while the clouds are handsewn flat felt around a ring.

May 16, 2012

Amy Butler Long Top

After sewing up two BurdaStyle Anda dresses, I decided to try my hand at sewing a top. With summer close at hand, I chose the Amy Butler pattern "Mini Dress Tunic & Tops" - opting for the top in the "long length".

Unlike the BurdaStyle pattern, this one was very well written! Amy did an excellent job with clear and concise instructions, and I definitely needed it. This was my first experience with an invisible zipper (turned out to be easier than regular zippers) and my first time using a lining (it's at the bodice only).

I chose a cotton fabric from Fabric Depot; light gray with a subtle white hatch pattern (I can't ever remember the pattern designers, but this same fabric came in lots of color combos). Believe it or not, I actually ironed this top before I photographed it, and it doesn't seem to have made a difference. I might think twice before using this fabric again for apparel.

After wearing it a couple of times I have a few observations:

1) It's difficult to zip/unzip by myself. This might just be a result of the type of zipper used, but it's an annoying feature.

2) The shoulder seams have a little pleat feature on the front and back that was very hard to match up. It's a small detail, and not very noticeable when I have it on (not noticeable at all if my hair is down), so I will probably leave this feature out if I do it again.

3) The overall shape of the top is very forgiving - maybe a little too forgiving. I fear that it looks like a maternity top because the front pleat just flops open and I can't see my toes. I actually thought about tacking the pleat down, but I haven't decided if that's a good move or not. Perhaps if I used a lighter-weight fabric then it would "flow" more and I wouldn't feel like I was wearing a bell. If I make this again I think I'll make the "short top" length to see if that makes a difference. Or I might try the dress length, as it appears that the bodice is longer and the result is more empire-waisted.

May 12, 2012

House Projects: works in progress

Since Spring has arrived and we've been blessed with some nice/dry weather, Mike and I have begun to tackle our long list of summer house projects:

The front garden beds are slowly filling in with plants (cat mint can grow!) and we've sunk 5 posts for our wire grid fence.

The front porch that was redone last Fall was redone again (a long story to relate in a future full post). Now we need to paint it and finish the front overhang.

And finally, we've begun the kitchen remodel! This one is a total "gut" job... a couple months of microwave dinners are in our future...

May 9, 2012

Dotted Baby Kimono

 Here's another baby kimono, just like the one I made for my niece Freya at Christmas.

This one accompanied the pacifier clip and minky "lovie" that I made for my friend's baby girl, Avery, born last month. I wanted to make a lighter-weight kimono since this is a spring baby, but then I remembered that the pattern is oversized, and I figured that by the time it fits her Fall will be rolling around. So this one is a medium weight cotton lined with flannel. I love the dots paired with the coral! I used the same fabric to make a boxy pouch and a passport cover for christmas presents, and I still have a tiny bit leftover. I'll have to get my hands on some more, as there are several baby boys popping up in my life right now, and I think this fabric would work well for them - yay for gender neutral polka dots!

May 6, 2012

Burda Anda Dress #2

Burda Anda dress #2: This time using a solid, lighter-weight fabric than the one I used for Anda dress #1.  As you can see I also made a few other changes.

I put the elastic casing on the outside of the dress, and made it extra wide so that I could sew down the middle, thereby creating two "tubes". I used 1/4" elastic in both tubes.

I decided to create a scoop neck with this dress instead of the boatneck of the original pattern, but for some reason, the top part of the dress then looked really, really wide. To fix it I embarked upon my first adventure with elastic thread, and sewed up the shoulder seams and at the bodice to pull the fabric in. I also added in-seam pockets in the same color fabric.

Same pattern, two different dress styles. I'd like to make a third dress in a heavier fabric, perhaps gray, that I can wear this fall. For now, I'll focus on making some more summery clothes, as I'm sure that the sun will come out any day now.

May 3, 2012

What do you do in Portland with two 9 year-old boys for 1 week?

This is what we asked ourselves when Susanna, Aidan and his buddy, Kaden, came to town for their spring break in early April. Here's what we decided...


Oregon Zoo
Blazers Game (with Uncle Mike, so that Mom and Auntie could relax over some beer and pizza).


Playdate PDX
Fire on the Mountain for buffalo wings


North Clackamas Aquatic Park
Oregon Duck Store (for Oregon souvenirs!)
Sushi Hana

Aidan in the wave pool

Aidan & Kaden

Susanna, crocheting at the water park.
Eating copious amounts of sushi at Hana Sushi


OMSI (Lego exhibit!)
Voodoo Donuts
Kids at Heart (for toys - just in case the boys were getting bored)

Lego Exhibit
Lego Exhibit
A Thermal Portrait

Trying to figure out where we are - pretty close.
Future weathermen













Outside Voodoo Donuts



Pine State Biscuits
Food Carts
Movie at the Kennedy School
Portland Winterhawks Hockey Game


Salt & Straw Ice Cream
Video Games
Cousin time!

Salted Cream with Carmel Ribbons - my favorite.

Despite the 9-year age gap, Aidan tries to understand Freya's interests.
Aidan and his new cousin Freya

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