goodnight moon

31 03 2012

aka: actually following up with a Pinterest idea

goodnight moon

My sister introduced me to Pinterest in December, and I’ve been cautiously enthralled since then. Enthralled, because really – who doesn’t like to collect great ideas for future reference? Cautiously, because it can be a huge time-suck & because there is a gap between the gathering of Inspiration and actually Making or Doing something. Case in point? Most of my food-related pins languish untried… although the very few recipes I’ve attempted have been sooo delicious. Nom nom. Thank you, internet community.

I have been using my virtual pinboards quite a bit as we figure out our new home – paint colors, arranging things, etc. And I love so many of the ideas for kids’ spaces. For Bebe, I became geekily excited when I saw these gorgeous Christmas moons at Marie Claire Idees.

Minus the lovely glass or crystal chandelier bits – not exactly child-friendly – I thought that these giant crescent moons would be perfect for my boy. We have at least four copies of the Goodnight Moon books, which were originally given to us/him as baby presents, and he has loved each and every copy to a state of battered, gnawed on, torn-and-taped, bookish bits. So making him a giant moon softie went on my list for To Do ASAP.

And guess what? Instant love.

He helped me sort through my fabric pile (literally, it’s still a pile after three months of unpacking : shameful). We picked out a big scrap piece of heavy cotton duckcloth, drew the big circles together, and he happily watched me cut the pattern. Mr. P helpfully lured him away with promises of dish washing – lately our boy gets seriously excited by nightly dish cleaning – so that I had time to sew the pieces together and begin stuffing. Bebe came back as I stuffed the last few tufts inside and began stitching up the gap.

Originally, I’d thought that I would hang the moon on his wall or from the ceiling or something – whimsical room decor, ne? And I tacked a bit of lace in a loop in a top seam (badly placed for balance, as things turn out).

goodnight moon - decor

But Bebe immediately took charge and carried it off with demands for Mr. P to read him the eponymous bedtime story. And he slept with it all night, then carried it out of bed the next morning, propped it carefully near to hand for naptime, etc. He’s basically rolled around with it all over the house, which means the moon has already collected bits of dustbunny fuzz and random hair and required an interval of quick cleaning.

“It’s my goodnight moon,” he says. “You can hold it for a little bit, but I need it for sleeping. It’s my favorite -” which melts a crafty mama’s heart a lot, “- and so is my race car.”

goodnight moon - and car



vest for my boy

15 04 2011

I love layered clothing for children, things a parent can easily pull off or add on according to the weather and their state of play.

When browsing around for Citronille sewing patterns last month, I kept finding sweet variations on this little pattern and it stayed in the back of my head. I didn’t realize it’s actually available for free online – you can use the Google Translate app to translate from French to English – so in the meantime, I drafted my own pattern.

vest - pattern wip

O freezer paper, how do I love thee? Not only do you make great stenciling materials, as well as help me preserve purchased pattern pieces, you’re also great for pattern drafting. Basically, I just laid out one of Bebe’s t-shirts on top of a layer of 18″-wide freezer paper. I used the shirt to trace the general outline, adding the desired seam margin, and then modified the outline to match the neck and arm shaping I had in mind.

vest - applique wip

Traced the pattern onto soft fleece, cut out the fabric, and added some reverse applique patches and colorful stitchery (inspired by this skirt and that blanket among anna maria horner’s pretty projects)…

vest - side

vest - back

Getting the thick layers of fleece together was a bit trying – and changed the shape I’d had in mind – but it turned out fine. And Bebe says?

After getting over his initial – and slightly heart-bruising – reaction to New Things with ten minutes of wailing objections, “Nooo! I don’t like it!!”

He then (and still) declares, “Oh! My new favorite! I want it!”

vested and smiling favorite new thing

tiny tulip pockets

31 03 2011

These wee spring treats are a quick and easy way to embellish your refridgerator/work cubicle, family Easter basket, and many other possibilities. A small message or a piece of candy can be tucked inside the flower.

tiny tulip pockets

Tiny Tulip Pockets ( makes 8 )

1 : 8.5×11-inch. felt (or quarter sheets in various colors)
1 : 8 x 5-inch. felt or plain fabric
pinking shears and regular scissors
fabric markers
embroidery floss & needle
magnet backing & hot glue gun (optional)

-Take the fabric or felt that will be used for the ‘message’ embellishment and mark it with a grid so that the pieces measure 2.5 x 1.25 inches (6.35 x 3.2 cm).

-Use fabric markers or embroidery to create desired message. Make sure to leave margins of 0.25-inch at top & bottom and 0.5-inch at each side – this leaves room for cutting the pinked edge and a seam allowance.

tiny tulips - message panels

-Use pinking sheers to cut ‘message’ rectangles measuring 2.5 x 1.25 inches (6.35 x 3.2 cm). Trim down after measuring against the cut flowers.

tiny tulips - front and back tiny tulips - 2 layered pieces

-Use regular scissors to cut felt rectangles measuring 3 x 2 inches (7.6 x 5 cm). *Stack a set of 2 rectangles together – Front and Back sides of tulip silhouette – and cut curved flower sides. Then seperate the 2 pieces and cut petals for Back side – using regular or pinking shears – then cut Front side a bit lower so that the back panel is visible.* Repeat * to * until each set of rectangles is cut into the flower shape.

tiny tulips - edging options

-Machine or hand sew the ‘message’ rectangles onto the Front piece of flower

-Glue magnet backing onto the Back piece of flower, and set aside until the glue is set.

-Pin the Front and Back flower pieces together, then sew along sides and bottom, leaving the top open.


The magnets are a possible choking hazard, so this would not be appropriate for very young children. Explore the alternate possibilities:

-Attach tulips to a headband, barette, bag, piece of clothing, etc.

-Use a strip of fabric and batting to create a stuffed ‘stem’ and there’s a quick softie.

-Attach to a small wooden dowel and some ribbons, and there’s a spring flower wand/baton.


tiny tulips - materials

For more sewing goodness, check out this week’s projects at the Sewing Bee.

craft nemesis defeated

17 03 2011

How often does a nemesis arrive in the mail?

a package from Versailles

Especially from France – Versailles, even, which for no good reason I associate with visions of lace and cupcakes and tiny cups of espresso sipped from under green umbrellas at a street cafe. But yes, here it is:

balthazar - nemesis placket closeup

The Placket. My nemesis of 3 dimensional puzzle piecing. Source of Wailing Cursing Failure in several of my other sewing and knitting projects. DEFEATED. Booyah!!

balthazar tunic

And the pattern was entirely in French, which makes me wonder if I should just translate my other Epic Craft Disasters into a foreign languages and see if they sort themselves out that way, too…

balthazar - trying it on

Bebe has a new shirt, Mama has a new skill. That’s a good end of the day. (Definitely enough to balance out the 12 hours of whirling craziness that was the rest of the day – huge splodge of butternut soup on the carpet; orange soup stains on the wall and various bits of furniture; small tide of milk sweeping across the dining room table while Bebe cheerfully peered up into his empty cup and shook a couple more drops out; and several other incidents that made me crave a vat of brownies and a vacation. On a beach. Far away.)

Craft: sewing
Pattern: Balthazar by Citronille

For more sewing fun, check out this week’s Sewing Bee.

explore and embellish

17 02 2011

What would you do on a warmly unwinterish day, when the sky is that perfect clear blue and the breeze feels like a kind hand skimming across your face?

If you’re Bebe, that day might involve running down the street, yearning mightily over an antique wooden train set, marveling over wind toys staked outside the museum shop, and happily munching on sweet potato fries. For two mamas, the day also included browsing through antique malls, finding a cat napping in a shop’s window display, great lunch, and hours of good conversation.

Today Bebe and I headed into the historic downtown area of Fredericksburg, VA, together with my Summer Vintage Swap partner (Nancy of summer sky: learning as I go). We have been planning a Vintage Browsing/Shopping trip for several months – it was delightful to finally meet each other in person and go exploring.

I found these pretty vintage pieces:

vintage daytrip finds

a pair of crocheted doilies; a set of sky-blue buttons and one fancy button; and a really soft, embellished table linen. Sweet!

I am sewing the doilies onto some of the bird fabric I mentioned last week. My original thought (and reason for purchasing the doilies) was to make a small embellished bag for carrying around my craft or knitting projects. I still love this idea, but it’s also occured to me that these would make lovely quilt squares – the doilies over the bird fabrics like lacy nests, with simple off-white squares interspersed between the embellished squares.

doily embellishment

However, I still have to finish the rainbow picnic blanket from last summer (eeesh), so probably I should just stick with making project bags. Ne?

For more sewing fun, check out the Sewing Bee at Adirondack Mama.

serenity in action

16 11 2010

Serenity usually brings to mind something
still and quiet:
the silvery surface of unrippled water,
the misty silhouette
of an oak tree
in a grassy field,
a cup of tea.
we find there is also serenity
in action,
as if peace could bloom
in the burning heart
of a candle flame:

running along wet sidewalks in between morning rains

a run between rains

galloping and turning somersaults along gymnastic mats

precariously rushing a child-sized shopping cart down grocery aisles

and then the still, quiet time for naps and more rain, watching Keats & Fanny fall in love (Bright Star), and sewing up some Christmas treats.

wonderland tea tags

Wishing you serenity in your day, whether burning or still.

hobbit cake and white rabbits

15 11 2010

I swear, this cake makes me feel like a hobbit –

pear almond pudding cake

as in, I am finding extra mealtimes in the day to accomodate eating another slice of almondy buttery sweet pear goodness. I have the sudden urge to change my name to Brandybuck, move to New Zealand (ok, honestly I’ve had that urge for about 20 years), and revel in miscellaneous tea times scattered throughout the day and night. Thanks, The River Cottage Family Cookbook for another great dessert recipe: Pear and Almond Pudding Cake. Yay!

I will post those missing autumn highlights that I mentioned earlier, really I will. Probably later today. Probably.

Because time is full – I actually have a schedule worked out for the next several days. We are also in the midst of getting ready for big things, including Bebe’s birthday, travel, and holidays with our families. My sister is helping with Bebe’s birthday, which will be a Mad Hatter Tea Party, complete with all kinds of homemade Wonderland things. Sooo excited! Some character sketches are done and ready to be transformed into felt creatures:

sketches - cheshire  and rabbit

I have a ridiculous pile of felt sheets to work through, a really fun project list, a delicious baking list, and about a week to get it all done. Life as usual.

Since we will be away from home for his birthday, Bebe has already gotten his gift:

little kitchen

The Little Kitchen by the talented Cheryl of Mama Made Them on etsy. This way he has had plenty of play time – he has been superexcited about it from the moment we hauled it out of its packaging. Just seeing it made him dance with glee. One of his favorite activities for the past four months has been what he calls “I cooking!”, complete with toy food (Melissa & Doug sets) and mini pots & utensils (Ikea), so he having his own little space inspires a lot of joyful shouts, laughter, and the occasional cross-room launching of plastic fruit.

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