6 year old b-day gifts!

One of the things I love about having younger cousins now is that I get to make them fun little kid gifts. It can be hard, however, to pick things out they would like—and that their parents would approve. One of my cousins, F., is turning 6 this summer and recently became infatuated with make-up and fashion, but I know her mom would be horrified if I got her lipstick!

Luckily F. also loves knitting, and in fact recently started learning to knit herself! So I thought it might be fun to make her some things that encourage that interest by inspiring her a bit, while still being very fashionable of course. 😉 Scarves seemed like the perfect solution—no need to know sizing, and they can look quite fancy. With some kids, of course, scarves can present a choking hazard, but F. is a very responsible girl, and already has some she wears safely.

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Because her birthday is in summer, I wanted to include something she could wear right away, so I made two scarves for different seasons. 🙂 For winter, she gets a bright teal scarf knit in an easy but fancy-looking lace pattern, made of an alpaca/acrylic blend. The alpaca adds drape and softness, but the acrylic makes it a bit easier to clean.

For summer, I sewed a simple cotton scarf out of Kaufman fabric’s floral lawn. I thought this pattern looked very cheerful, so perfect for a little girl. 🙂

To tie the two scarves together, I added an embroidered label on the cotton fabric to the back of the knit scarf, and a teal pom-pom trim to the ends of the cotton scarf.

I’m excited to give them to her, and hope she likes them! She has one more present coming, but that’s more of a back to school gift. 😉 I’ll share that one later.

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first canning attempt!

Okay, so first let me admit something—I am terrified of canning. While it fits perfectly with all of my favorite things—good food, gardening, cheapness, self-reliance—I made the mistake of reading John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, in which the villain famously murders someone with a deliberately unsafe batch of canned beans. Add this to my general fear of the glass jars exploding, and I decided canning might be one diy-step too far for me.

But this summer, as my pepper plants produced more and more and more peppers, I began to do some actual research on canning practices. I quickly learned that yes, it can be dangerous, but mostly for low-acid food items that have to be pressure canned. While I’m sure you can poison yourself with pickles and jam, it turns out that if you follow approved recipes, the East of Eden murder weapon (ie, botulism ) is unlikely.

So last night I enlisted my dad, and we canned pickled peppers! This is a mix of jalapeños, banana peppers, serranos, and cayenne peppers. Good thing my family likes spicy foods?

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I got 5 pints from 4 pepper plants, so I figure that’s pretty good. Next year I think I will grow a lot more banana peppers and jalapeños—my dad said he used to eat the banana peppers fresh, so it would be nice to have some to eat and pickle as well.

I do still have my habañeros, which I plan on making in the jam in the next few weeks. I’m just waiting for them to turn a nice bright red, so the jam is prettier. 😉

oilcloth lunch bag

I made a project with my sewing machine! It turns out the thought of sewing through two layers of oilcloth is enough to finally inspire me to tune up my vintage singer and learn (kinda) how to use it. Okay, well goad my dad into tuning it up for me.

I saw this tutorial and really liked the look of the bags, so I ordered some pretty oilcloth prints a few weeks ago. My sister and I have a longstanding campaign to encourage my mom to use more reusable containers, so this seemed like the perfect solution to her daily brown paper lunch bag.

 

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Who doesn’t love kittens with roses and yarn?

My top-stitching is…not the greatest. I actually didn’t even use the motor on my machine, just the handwheel, because I kept messing it up. But isn’t the kitten print cute? Maybe that makes up for it. 😉

I used a bit of velcro to keep the bag closed and make it easy to use. It’s just a bit roomier than a brown paper bag, although not so much bigger that it’d be difficult to put into a tote or backpack. If you’re looking for a way to cut down on throwing things away, I think this is a great alternative!