Archive for the 'In the Mailbox' Category


Back in October Tristan went to a party for his friend Mallory that happens to be the youngest of three girls. Katie is friends with the older girls so we know the family fairly well and I knew that they did not need any more toys. In the past we’ve given them craft and baking sets but I wasn’t inspired with a new idea this time. So, we decided to make her something she could wear.


One morning at school dropoff we asked Mallory what her favorite color was, blue and also green, so that’s what we went with. I used the pattern Scrapbook Jeans and a Sweatshirt from Pink Fig Patterns. Tristan went with me to the fabric store and helped pick all of the fabrics, I had the blue and green Amy Butler to start with in my stash. The dot — a really great one — and the plain turquoise fabrics are from Georgia by Pat Sloan. I used a blue velour for the inside of the hood so it would be nice and soft. The whole thing came together in just a few hours so I’m thinking of more fun combinations including a ballet themed one for Katie to wear backstage at the Nutcracker. Wouldn’t that be so fun?

Birthday Gifts

Birthday Outfit

Last weekend we celebrated my niece Gabrielle’s eighth birthday — eight! — and as in years before I made her some clothes. My sister is super-sweet and usually Gabrielle wears the outfit I make her for the first day of school. Talk about pressure! So, this year in discussing with my sister what to make we decided on something with blue, since that is Gabby’s favorite color, and something that has a skirt. My sister loves anything Asian — including her husband — and I remembered a kimono top from an old Ottobre and a plan was hatched.

Birthday Outfit - Button DetailBirthday Outfit - Butterfly Detail

The blue embroidered cotton was from my mother-in-law, I think she picked it up on a trip to Asia, and the brown is a batik from my local fabric store. The kimono top — #12 from Ottobbre 4/2008 — is fully lined and has a hidden ribbon closure — with butterfly beads — and flower buttons. The skirt is just gathered with a contrast yoke and pockets. I didn’t use a pattern just traced around Katie’s hand for the pocket shape/size.

Birthday Outfit - Skirt Detail

And for the fun gift from the urchins Gabrielle received two new outfits for her American Girl doll. The dress coordinates with the kimono outfit and the other outfit is just a fun summer outfit. Both were based on a simplicity pattern I got sometime when patterns were a dollar. For doll clothes you just really need a basic pattern and you can change it to suit your needs. In this case the top for the shorts is the bodice of the dress and instead of a skirt I used a pre-gathered bit of eyelet lace. The shorts are literally shortened pants.

Beach Outfit

Brown, Black, and Grey

Brown, Black, and Grey

I’ve been making good progress on our camping quilts recently. The rainbow one is quilted and next in line to be bound. Another one — made from pink log cabin blocks and sashed in brown — is at the quilter now and should be back in my hands next week. Theoretically, the rainbow quilt is for Papa and I and the pink/brown one is for Katie. That just leaves Tristan without a camping quilt. I have this great train ticket fabric that we used as a tablecloth for Tristan’s second birthday — look how little he is! — that I want to use as a back. I’m planning on using brown and black/grey log cabins for the front but here’s the problem. My stash is not burgeoning with brown and black/grey fabrics. Is yours? So, I’m looking for scraps. The smallest size I can use is 2″x3″. I have many scraps of other colors I can share, even selvedges for those who collect them. Anybody up for a trade?

Summer Music Mix Again

170 :: 365

You may remember that last year I gathered songs from some of my friends and made a music mix inspired by the sunshine season. This year I decided to do it again. And seeing as how this weekend is all about picnics and parades and cold lemonade I thought you might like to take a peak at what we’re listening to:

All This Beauty — The Weepies (Emily)
Áqua de Beber (Water To Drink) — Astrud Gilberto (Morgan)
Beautiful Day — Miranda Lee Richards (Eren)
Everybody — Ingrid Michaelson (Sally)
Free Again — Alex Chilton (Melissa B)
Girls In Their Summer Clothes — Bruce Springsteen (Erin)
Gives You Hell — The All-American Rejects (Rachel)
Half Acre — Hem (Alicia)
Hammer and a Nail — Indigo Girls (Emily)
Kick Drum Heart — The Avett Brothers (Erin)
The Life of Dreams — Julie Doiron (Melissa F)
Rangers — A Fine Frenzy (Papa Urchin)
Say Hey (I Love You) [feat. Cherine Anderson] — Michael Franti & Spearhead (Molly)
Shine On — The Kooks (Blair)
Wagon Wheel — Old Crow Medicine Show with Davis Rawlings (Emily and me — thats never happened before)
Warm Whispers — Missy Higgins (Stefani)
We Are Okay — Joshua Radin (me)
You & Me (Acoustic Version) — Dave Matthews Band (Kathy)

Have a great Independence Day!

A Quilt for a Little Bird

Back in March my friend Molly gave birth to a sweet little girl and she named her Birdy. And being the fourth little girl in her house I knew that she’d be seeing a lot of hand-me-downs in her lifetime — I mean, how could she not? — so I wanted to make her something that would be just for her. I considered knitting her something but her early months are during the summer and as Molly will tell you, they have no central AC. I’ve been to their house in the summertime, woolens are not necessary.

To: Birdy

Then I remembered I had a half yard of Joel Dewberry’s aviary print in my fabric stash. Orange and brown. I love it in this colorway but it doesn’t scream baby girl so I hemmed and hawed over it for a little while. Then I decided to just go with it. I made four log cabin blocks with the aviary print fussy-cut for the center squares. I limited the logs to 6 other fabrics and did two rounds of logs. The squares were then sewn together and sashed with an orange and brown homespun that was really perfect and a lucky find. It’s backed with the same homespun and quilted with a pattern of oak leaves and acorns. After a wash it was nice and crinkly and soft, just right for a baby to call her very own.

Birdy's Quilt

Some Finished Knitting


We spent the weekend celebrating the christening of a good friend’s baby at the Jersey shore. We had a great time hanging out with friends we don’t see nearly enough. It was just like when we were in college except now we have a whole bunch of little ones to watch out for. So strange. As for the giving it seemed to me that a bonnet and booties set was in order for this sweet little girl so that’s what she got. Both were knit from Jaeger Roma — which I love and got on sale — in cloud (015) and blossom (011). I used Larissa‘s Feather and Fan Bonnet pattern and this Mary Jane Booties pattern. The gauge/yarn produced a small bonnet, just right for a two-month old head and the booties were also a perfect fit. You can find the details on the ravelry project pages but for the booties I switched colors on row 16. This is the same baby who now possesses last year’s February baby sweater and in the few moments I was able to steal her away from her adoring aunties and grandmother we were able to get a photo of her in all the handknits. Sweater, bonnet, and booties, I think she’s all set.

Bonnet and Booties

Teacher Gifts

18" and still falling

Friday was Tristan’s last day of preschool before the break. Katie was supposed to have her last day of school today. I say supposed to because on Saturday we watched the snowflakes come down and keep coming down until we had over 22 inches on the ground. Our county is largely rural and so the school system canceled classes for this week knowing that there was no way to get the schools and roads dug out in time. So, Tristan took gifts for his teachers on Friday and Katie’s teacher will get a New Year gift instead.

Dying the Yarn Dying the Yarn

As in years past the urchins dyed yarn in their teachers’ favorite colors. This year we used kool-aid — an awful lot of kool-aid to get the saturated colors we wanted — in a squirt bottle for the photo that we include on the tag and we also dyed the yarn in a pot as well. Tristan’s teachers like burgundy and red so we used black cherry and cherry kool-aid. Katie’s teacher likes blue so we used ice blue raspberry lemonade. Since Katie’s haven’t been delivered yet they may get overdyed to a darker blue before they do since I am not happy with the color they are presently.

Blue Mitt

I improvised the pattern. I’ve made a lot of mitts so I just needed to figure out how many stitches to cast on — 28 for those wondering — and could go from there. I knit 10 rows of ribbing, 5 rows stockinette, increased for the thumb gusset, separated for the thumb, 5 rows stockinette and 5 rows ribbing and then bound off. I picked up the thumb stitches and 4 stitches from the mitt, knit 2 rounds and then rib for 3 rounds and bound off. Easy peasey and all four mitts for Tristan’s teachers were made in one day with plenty of breaks. I’d say they require about 90 minutes per pair. Bulky yarn is the way to go for quick projects. I think his teachers were happy with their gifts and they both have tween-age children they could give these to if they don’t think they’ll wear them all much. The urchins love making them, that’s for sure. I think we’ll be doing some more dying soon.

Teacher Mitts

flickr photos

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