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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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!

embroidered lunch bag

I still can’t get past my love for white-on-gray linen embroidery. It’s simple, pretty, and decorative without being ostentatious—perfect for things I want to use daily. I decided to make this latest project after realizing that a bag to carry my lunch in would be useful. My normal schoolbag is a leather satchel, which while perfect for keeping papers un-crumpled, isn’t that spacious. I usually clip my water-bottle to the handle, and figured I could do that with a lunch bag too!

I used this zakka book once again for inspiration (the last project I used it for was my pincushion). The bag will be a simple drawstring one, with embroidery on both sides—although I might just put a decorative initial on the back.

You can see I still have a lot of work to do! While I love the look of chain stitch, I’m not very fast at working it yet. Oh well, practice makes perfect. 🙂

I’m designed this bag to fit the box I used for these lunches, but I hope it also fits the new (slightly bigger) lunchbox I just ordered. While I like my other one, I wanted one that a) looked somewhat more like an adult would use it and b) was stainless steel. I haven’t used my new one yet, but I did test the seal—it didn’t spill anything!

Embroidery and sewing things that I can use frequently is one of my favorite things about these crafts. Every time I spot my handmade item, I feel like the day gets a little more special. 🙂 What are your favorite things to make?

finished lily-of-the-valley pincushion!

I finished my pincushion! It turned out super cute. I went with a Rifle & Co. print fabric for the back, and also used it to make a covered button.

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I really like how the embroidery turned out. I found it a little difficult to steel myself to cover up parts of it, since although it didn’t take that long to do, it still was work. But the end result was totally worth it.

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You can see some of the lily disappearing into the seam. 🙂 I really loved this fabric too, I mean most of rifle & co’s prints are great, but the blue-heavy floral made an excellent contrast to the gray & white of the embroidered linen. I only got 1/2 a yard before, but I may have to order some more! Or if anyone knows of simmilar fabrics to recommend…? 

wall quilt & garland

One of the less fun things about being a grad student is the lack of money. This is especially a problem, if like me, you tend to prefer handmade furniture and oil paintings (I know, I know). My dad is a very good woodworker, and has so far indulged me in the desire for very nice furniture, but I’ve had to be a bit more economical with art and decorations. I decided to combine my desire for less-blank walls with my desire to improve my quilting skills, so I’ve been making wall quilts! They’re not exactly my favorite pastoral oils, but they are very cute. 🙂

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This is my first finished one—I made it to hang in my kitchen. I thought that the redwork embroidery looked a bit vintage, and the teacup of course makes it very suitable. I didn’t do a very complicated block, since this was for practice, but I did make sure the cat fabric formed a nice border. I think my hand-quilting has improved somewhat—the stitches are getting a bit more even!

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Once it was done, I thought the wall still looked too blank, so I added a little crochet garland. The stars are very simple, only two rounds, so it went quite fast. I used scraps leftover from the cotton I use for my dishcloths, which luckily I’ve made in a nice variety of blue shades.

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Overall, I’m very happy with this simple decorating! I still have a few more things I’d like to make for my kitchen, and then onto the next room. 😉

cotton cami

I very much want to be great at sewing, but sadly, that day is many years of practice into the future. However, I do have exciting news! I finally sewed my first wearable garment!! I saw a simple cotton tank at uniqlo a while back, and of course, thought that I could totally make it. 🙂 Thus despite my limited confidence in my sewing skills, and even more limited confidence in my pattern making, I cut some fabric and it turned out great! Honestly, I didn’t make this expecting to like it much, I mostly just wanted to see if I could in fact make it. But it ended up being pretty cute!

IMG_3362 (1)Ignore my poor photography, but here are some pictures so you can see how it turned out.
IMG_3355I had no idea how to do the shaping for where the arms go, so I kinda just guessed. I also didn’t have twill tape for the straps, which is what the uniqlo one used, so I put in cotton yarn for now—it’ll be an easy replace next time I get to a fabric store. I hemmed everything with rolled hems, and used french seams for the sides.

Anyway, this has definitely boosted my comfort level with sewing. I know it wasn’t complicated, but it feels pretty cool to have made something I can wear, without even using a pattern. I’m thinking it’ll be great for gardening this summer. 🙂

traveling toy house

Last summer two of my younger cousins visited, and were totally enraptured by my spinning wheel and knitting. Every time I got either out, I was immediately surrounded! Of course, one of the things they were most curious about was what, exactly, you could really make with knitting. I figured a good demonstration they would enjoy would be a knit toy, so I showed them a rabbit I’d made for my younger sister a few years ago. Well, as soon as the rabbit appeared, I got the question I was fairly sure was coming—”Maia, can you make me one???”

So obviously they each got matching rabbits for their birthdays. 🙂

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For Christmas I made them each a few more outfits, but now that summer is coming up again I thought it might be fun to try something a bit ambitious—a portable toy house, which will certainly be a challenge for me to sew. I’ve seen a few of these on pinterest and flickr, but since I wanted mine to fit the rabbit toys I really just winged it. So far I have the front done, and it looks pretty cool!

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Now just 6 more sides to go. 😉