Autumn is in full swing; Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone and Halloween is quickly approaching. These holidays always make me hungry for pumpkin pie, and I have to shamefully admit, the faker the better. None of that real, just-scooped-out-of-the-pumpkin kind of pie for me. Nothing compares to one of those packaged, store-bought pies that are on sale dirt-cheap this time of year. With real, heart-clogging whipped cream, of course. Yum!
I did just buy a real pumpkin though which I will carve and light a candle in, and save the seeds for a yummy roasted snack. In previous years, I've grown my own pumpkins and had a small patch of these lovely orange orbs. Since the seeds I planted in my garden this year declined to grow, I decided to make my own little pumpkin patch, using this tutorial from Crafster.org. I found another in the Martha Stewart daily craft email as well; you can find the tutorial HERE. They were quick and easy to make and look really cute in a little bunch. Enjoy!
Like I mentioned in my last post, I've been absent from New Leaf the past while, but not at all from the making scene. Having the cutest daughter in the world makes me want to give her everything I possible can, and I figure if I make it, it doesn't really count as spoiling her, right?
One of Julie's current interests includes having little people (an odd assortment of creatures from In The Night Garden, Duplo, Smurfs...) to put to bed, feed, make each other kiss, etc. One evening, by the light of the TV, I used some fabric and two-by-four scraps to create a few pieces of furniture to inspire her play. I didn't do any sewing at all (oh! except for the little pillow which I stitched to the bed by hand), which is sometimes a nice switch. The staple gun did all the work I needed -I folded fabric around corners (stuffed a little poly-fil in the bed for a mattress) and stapled it all in place, then attached felt to the bottoms to cover up the fabric edges. I think it took me about an hour from start to finish and the furniture is one of her favourite things these days.
Here are some felt creations I made. The doll (Lola) is from my own brains, just felt pieces cut out, stuffed with poly-fill, and sewed up with the machine. The frog I made from The Cuter Book by Aranzi Aronzo -a gift from my sister. The book is full of (you guessed it) cute little toys to hand sew with felt: chains of monkeys, the alphabet with eyes, stacking turtles, flowered snakes...and ideas of what to do with them (attach them to bags, cards, etc).
The colourful fish shown below, I also made with inspiration from a book: Creative Play for your Toddler. I haven't quite finished the project yet -there are little magnets sewn into the nose of each fish and I need to find a strong magnet to add to the end of a little fishing pole so Julie can go fishing with these little beauties. I really enjoyed this book. I made a felt ball from here a while ago, and more recently, the ribbon wands, the red felt crown and the cape (though I really adapted these last two quite a bit) (modelled below by a giant giraffe). Not only does it give lots of theory and insight into toddler play, it has pages and pages of step-by-step instructions for making imaginative and play-inspiring toys yourself.
Here's the little beauty herself! I hang a lot of laundry outside in the summer -nothing beats that smell of wind and sunshine in your clothes and sheets. A few years ago, my grandma gave me her old clothespin apron; basically it's a pocket that ties around your waist, making it easy to grab clothespins while you are busily hanging clothes. I bought (yet another!) project book last summer -One Yard Wonders. Flipping through it again recently, I noticed a pattern for a clothespin apron. Since Julie loves doing whatever Mommy or Daddy do lately, I knew she'd enjoy having her own version of what I have. I modified the pattern a bit to fit Julie's skinny waist -I love the colourful fabric scraps I used! My own plain canvas apron is truly dowdy in comparison.
Julie loves stealing clothespins from my apron to stuff into her own pocket so she can hand them to me as needed.
That about covers the experiments I've been creating, though I'd like to make her a few more things yet. A doll, maybe, and a sling to carry it around. Oven mitts to wear while she "helps" me cook. And this playtent from 2 little hooligans:
Hopefully some of these projects inspire you to create something for your toddler! I know Julie loves having things that I've spent time making for her ("Mommy made it!").
Once long ago, my young cousin dubbed a family (erroneously, I'm sure) 'The Scaries'. Think ill-fitting sweatpants and t-shirts with lots of stains on them and poorly, if at all, combed hair.
The other day, Maria was talking about making some yoga pants. Well, being at the point (for quite some time to be honest) of supreme discomfort, very hot, and bigger than I EVER was with Ava so that many of my 'comfortable' clothes are not quite so comfortable ('specially since they weren't supposed to dry and I did it anyways to help them fit a little bit better - why DID I buy them so big?) - I decided to try making a pair of my own. I can't tell you why, but sitting at my sewing machine for more than 5 minutes causes my back to ache in a way that I can't even describe but, for the sake of comfort, I forged ahead. I was pumped to recall the surplus of jersey fabric left over from a wrap top I made and went ahead and cut my pieces. Of course, the pants took slightly longer than 5 minutes to finish. I had GRAND ideas of what these pants would be like - and, after finishing the hems up, I rushed to try them on.
Let me just say, YIKES! sometimes things work, and sometimes they DON'T. Guess which this was? Yep, with my poorly combed hair and these horrendously (yet supremely comfortable feeling) fitting pants...I wouldn't hold it against anyone who called me a 'Scary'. You won't find me wearing the pants anytime soon, I was left with some poorly constructed pants and a backache that wouldn't subside. Sigh, live and learn, right?
Though it feels like I've lived on my yard for a long time, it's really only been just over 3 years. We bought a dirt-cheap, falling-apart old house and got it moved onto our yard of rolling hills and pasture in 2007. Thankfully (for me, since I have NO experience or knowledge about house renovations), my husband is quite the handy sort and has turned our once decrepit house into a cozy and lovely home. Below is our house, before and now (take a guess which is which):
We lived in the basement for about six months while Charles worked on the upstairs. The main floor was pretty much all finished when we moved up in the spring of 2008, but there is still a lot to do (including the entire basement) and we've have been slowly working away at the place. Over the past few weeks (in between colds and the flu and other issues), Charles has been giving the porch a major do-over: gip-rock instead of wood panelling, new flooring, and my FAVOURITE part -custom built boot shelves and coat hooks! The small rickety wooden shelf that housed about 3 sets of shoes had me dreaming of massive amounts of shelves for baskets and shoes and boots... Charles designed the spaces, built them and installed them all to my utter and complete joy. I still want to add a big mirror over the small dresser in the corner, and make padded seats for the benches, but that'll take a bit of time yet. As it is right now though is fantastic -I'm really excited to not have a big messy tub of shoes in my closet anymore.
Maria & Cecelia
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