Saturday, December 29, 2007

Holiday News

Our holiday card. I thought, since there are a few of you dear old friends out there that read this, but don't e-mail me (no guilt. . . really), that you might be interested in a bit of our holiday letter. I'm only posting the bits about Tom's health, as the rest is just stuff you'd have gleaned by reading this blog anyway.
Hope you all had a wonderful Solstice and Christmas and that your New Year is safe and Happy.

from the Sanford e-mailed holiday letter:
"I waited a few extra days to send this e-mail, as I wanted to be able to share all of the good news at once. As almost all of you know, we've had an extraordinary year. Tom had sinus surgery at the end of last year to try and resolve headaches that had been mounting for several years. By the end of June, it was clear that it was something much more worrisome and on July 11th, Tom had a tumor the size of a golf ball removed from his brain. It was benign and the resection was a complete success, but he contracted bacterial meningitis and consequently spent much of the summer either in the hospital or connected to I.V. antibiotics. It was a crazy time, and if this is somehow the first you've heard of this, write back and I'm glad to go into further detail. So, to bring us all up to speed: Tom had his 3 month post-op MRIs and appointments right before Thanksgiving. Everything looks great with no sign of tumor at all. In fact, though we expected to get MRIs every 3 months during the first year, his neurosurgeon told him not to come back until NEXT Thanksgiving. Great news. Throughout this whole process, a growth was found on Tom's liver. We've just gotten confirmation today that it is absolutely unrelated to his brain tumor and completely harmless. The liver specialist said: "No further action is required." This is a huge relief to all of us over here at Chez Sanford. The recovery from all of this continues to effect our daily life as Tom still deals with daily nausea and near-daily vomiting, but we are counting our blessings and thanking our lucky stars for his general good health. He's gained back all of the weight that he lost over the summer and is looking forward to working out and building his strength in the coming year."

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Gifts

I've been hiding these away.
A puppet theater for my nephew from Bend the Rules Sewing.

Framed embroidery from a picture by Abby for my mom.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

because 2 posts aren't enough for one day

A library thing list of our winter books.

Center Square hat redux

I love this hat so much that it kind of hurt to take it off to take the picture.

I used lion brand wool-ease in worsted weight. I'm usually a yarn snob, but I got two of these hats out of one skein of each color. Since I was gifting the first one to someone who may not pay attention to washing directions (a dude), I wanted something washable. Now I can be twinsies with Tom's snowboarding neurosurgeon (yup, I will never tire of how great it is that a brain surgeon also snowboards. I love that). Info on the pattern on the link above.

More tiny mittens and some stockings too!

These are ornament size for topping packages. I made a little star too, but it didn't end up looking like a star, so it's been added to Abby's kitchen set as a pot holder.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pleated Handbag

For Emily's birthday.
The pleated handbag from Bend the Rules Sewing. I left out the interfacing on the bottom and the embellishments on the front. I'd do both of those things if I make it again, but it wasn't in the stars for this one. It's thrifted brown corduroy and funky orange and yellow flowered flannel in the pleats. It came together much more quickly than I expected and now that I see how it's made, I'm excited to make one for myself.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Birthdays in December! Aack!

This little number is what I made for Abby when she wanted to shake jingle bells while singing jingle bells. This is now a large part of our day. The singing of the jingle bells. I wake up with it ringing in my ears. This is why the jingle bells book must be put away during the rest of the year. Anyway, it's just a stick with a bunch of ribbons wrapped around it all willy-nilly with jingle bells tied to the ends. She loves it.
I have 3 birthdays to craft for this month. What's up with December birthdays!? Drives me nuts. I made another crown for one of Abby's little friends who turned 2. It has a firetruck embroidered on it and it's very cute. I did not get a picture. Blast.
Above is the beginnings of a pleated handbag for another birthday this month.
AND, I decided to buy for my sister in law. She gets something handmade by a friend of mine. Love it and will show it off later.

A big thanks to those of you stopping by from the link over at The Rowdy Pea.
It's been fun seeing who's come over from there. We're still enjoying our book advent. I'll do a list of books at some point.
But not today. Today is full of car insurance dealings as we got hit in a parking lot last week. Ugh. We're fine, but it's a hassle.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Oh, the advent calendar!

I loved the book advent idea that I mentioned yesterday. I like the idea of reading a book a day, but wanted to figure out how to count down to Christmas and involve Abby in picking and tracking the books we've read. Then I saw this post by Rowdy Pea. Oh, I loved it. The simplicity, the Asian sort of bent, the not overtly religious or specifically anything about it. And, it's lovely. So, I just straight up copied her. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. . . right?
My take on it is a little different. I made up tiny cut outs of all of the winter books we have on hand from our collection and from my run to the library. I got the images from Library Thing
and some from ebay. I printed the out and put them in a bowl. Every night before bed, Abby picks a story from her bowl. We read it and sing the song if there is one (Jingle Bells, Rudolph, Frosty the snowman) and then she puts the cut-out in the advent cup for that day.
Of course we'll read her the other stories any time over the next few weeks, but this makes each story have a special spot in our holiday season. On Christmas day, she'll get a new winter book for our collection. She loved it last night. I've been giddy with the fun of it all and am so happy with our new tradition.

The whole thing cost about $6. I got scrap-booking paper that has designs on both sides. Each sheet made 4 cups. I only made 24 cups so I didn't have to buy a whole extra piece of paper for one cup. Also, we won't be here for Christmas Day, so I figured it would be okay. The numbers are just little scrap-booking stickers that I got from our local scrap-booking store. I strung them all on fishing line and used a red ribbon from my stash. And, I did it all in about an hour last night.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Library Love

Amanda Soule is just plain rad. Her blog entry today was all about winter themed books for kids. I've been wanting to expand our little collection of Christmas books because there is not a mama in the world that can read/sing the Jingle Bells book 5 times a day for the whole month of December and not kind of want to chuck it in the recycle bin by the New Year. Also, our books were the actual books we grew up with and were specifically about Christmas. I wanted to add some in about Solstice and winter in general. Her suggestions and those from the comments from her readers fit the bill.Our local library is freakin' awesome. They have such a wide variety and almost everything I look for is actually there, on the shelf, no waiting. We went and cleaned them out of winter books. Then we came home and found a basket to put them in so they'll be easy to find throughout the month. Bella Dia made mention of doing a holiday book advent.
I love this idea SO much. I've been looking at all of the inspiration out there for marking the advent or the 12 days of Christmas and trying to find something a little less specifically Christmas, more about time together, less about gifts, less work and more fun. I think reading a holiday/winter book a day and keeping track of them in some sort of journal or calendar on the wall will be the way to go. Of course, I can't keep Abby to only one book a day, but we'll just make a bigger deal out of one of the books we read each day in December. If I come up with a crafty way of tracking our books, I'll post it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It took about 20 minutes. . .

After seeing my dear friend's hand warmers the other day, I've been wanting some. I've been dreaming of finding a few minutes to make some and warm my hands. I went on etsy and found some inspiration.
And then I hit the stash of felted sweaters from last year's sweater bags.
I knew I kept the sleeves for a reason. I realize now that when I do this again, I'll just cut the sleeve open and re-sew it because if you just use the sleeve, it's hard to add any appliqué to the top and since you have to made the sleeve more narrow anyway, you might as well just open the whole side up. These were just quick prototypes, but I like them so much, I can't seem to take them off. I started to change Abby's diaper and before it became yucky, I begrudgingly took them off. I'm pleased. I think there will be more of these in the future. Yay!

Monday, November 26, 2007

If I push hard enough, I'll get my hands in those mittens

Scale is hard to show here. These are teeny tiny little mittens that are an ornament. I'm sending them off to Sweden tomorrow for my Holiday Traditions Exchange.
It was fun putting together a wee package to send to a different part of the world. The pattern is from this book and I made them with left over bits of Cascade 220 from the stockings I made last year.

And, this poor quality picture is of really cute folksy hand warmers that a friend was wearing the other day. Being who I am, I made her take them off for me to examine. At one point I exclaimed, "but they're not even well made!" They laughed and said the frayed edges and "deconstructed" look was in. I don't mind that the spots don't match. . that's pretty cool, but they didn't even get them the same length! As far as I can tell, it's just felted wool from recycled sweaters sewed into a tube with a part of the seam left open for your thumb. I am so making some of these!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dr. F hat finished

I might have run off with this hat. I love this hat. In fact, I have left over yarn, so I'll probably make it again and wear it. A lot. And then I'll be twinsies with the snowboarding neurosurgeon. He liked it. He really liked it!

As long as I can still sew for tiny babies. . .

Making teeny tiny little things makes me happy. I figure as long as someone out there keeps making babies, then I can keep sewing these little things!
Here then, the improved diaper changing pad:The picture is dark, but this one is much less wonky. Again, that rotary cutter, mat and ruler! I had no idea what I was missing.
A sweet wee jacket from Bend the Rules Sewing. It is made from a thrifted jacket with bias tape that I made myself from vintage fabric. I most likely won't be making bias tape again any time soon. The stuff is cool to use, but now I see why it's sold already made. Again, vintage and thrifted materials to make the matching little shoes.
The elf hat from bend the rules sewing. I really like this one. So easy, quick and what a cute result. I like it when something that looks so great doesn't take much time! I usually have the opposite happen. I spend a lot of time and the result is so-so at best. I found this piece of thick wool felt at a thrift store.

Part of why I use reclaimed fabrics is because we don't have a lot of options for buying new stuff out here. Also, I'm cheap. I can't spend $10, $15 or $20 (!) a yard for something that I'm trying out for the first time. Also, I love the thrill of making something out of almost nothing! Mostly, I like the sustainability of using discarded items to make something new and fabulous. Why would I buy new wool felt when I can felt and use an old sweater destined for the garbage because it has holes in the sleeves? Why would I order online and have something shipped, using all kinds of fuel, packaging and resources when I can just walk 2 blocks to a thrift store and take apart an old wool coat that cost $2 to make a wee jacket?
But, that's just me. I'm crazy like that.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I knit a basket, a hat and take a cold hard look at the stash

I was trying to knit this hat. I ignored all manner of advise on what yarn to use. I used a very bulky yarn and made the blue one in the background of this picture. It's hard to tell, but it's so thick and big that I might just add handles and call it basket. As Pee Wee Herman said, "I meant to do that!". So, I looked in the stash and found some less bulky yarn and started again. That's the one that's almost done in the front of this picture. I like it. It's for Tom's neurosurgeon. He's a snowboarder. You gotta keep a snowboarding neurosurgeon warm! Here is a fairly innocent looking bureau.
Here's a wee peek behind the bureau.
And, here's what happened when I emptied the bureau, the bags from behind it, the bags next to the couch, the bags behind the couch, the basket next to the t.v. etc.
The stash. In. one. place. It's not as bad as I thought it would be. Tom came upstairs. Oh, I can't suggest you EVER let the husband see the stash all at once like this. Stephanie warned us all, but it happened. No manner of explanation about "having only one skein left from a project", or, "my mom gave it to me, " or "but they were 99 cents a piece!" could soothe the man. I don't think I'll be buying any yarn soon.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Oh the beauty of blocking

Dream Swatch before blocking:Dream swatch after blocking:
A thrifty treasure:
Pure wool vintage skiing dress. I'd love to say that it looks great on me, but it doesn't. More like a potato sack with a belt. I'm thinking of hacking the bottom off and making it more like a wool shirt/jacket idea. . . what do you think?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Lest you think I've been idle. . .

A Dream Swatch head wrap for a wonderful Dr. of Tom's.
A tried and failed attempt at making Abby a neurosurgeon costume for Halloween. Thank goodness for Goodwill on Oct. 30th!
Using my fabulous new rotary cutter, mat and ruler (thanks Mom and Dad!) to cut out fabric for wee baby shoes.
The shoes, the shoes! Such fun and so darn cute!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Crowns, oh crowns. . . I can't quit you!

For my nephew Ethan. He turns 2 on Thursday. I'm told he likes bees. I'm pleased with this little design. I'm hoping to embroider something other than crowns soon. I'm almost crowned out. ..but then another birthday comes and I can't help it, my hands snatch up the felt and embroidery floss faster than I can control.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pants Pants Pants

I can't stop making pants. I'm quite chuffed with myself really. I've been reading far too many blogs by English people, I'm starting to pick up the lingo. "Chuffed" means "pleased" or "puffed up" and is English slang. It can also mean disappointed. I find this confusing for so many reasons. It reminds me of living in Australia and someone would say, "I could really use a biscuit" and by biscuit, they might mean what Americans would call either a cookie or a cracker. These are two VERY different snacks. I could never figure out if someone wanted sweet or savory. So, to clarify, in this case, I'm pleased with myself.

So pleased that I'm putting more pictures up of these corduroy pants that I made several weeks ago.
In the case of these little gray pants, I'm chuffed in the not so pleased way. I didn't pay a lot of attention while cutting these out and made them too small. I had to add an extra panel of fabric to the butt. Considering that these were my first pair of pants and I wasn't using a pattern. . .well. All of the projects on this post are made from either reclaimed, recycled or thrifted fabrics and supplies, right down to the thread. Love that.
And, the crowns are taking on a life with adults in my little group of friends. Darek turned 34 this weekend and he is now the very proud owner of a baseball crown. He really didn't take it off all night. I was mighty chuffed (in the good sense).

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Booties bootees and a halloween clip for good measure

Somehow this picture shows
a. how badly I screwed up the sewing on the hair clip on the right
b. how one is much bigger than the other.
They look much cuter in miss Abby's hair. Since she refuses to stand still for more than a nanosecond these days, a picture of them on the sidewalk will have to suffice. Candy corn hair clips are almost too cute for me. . .but not quite. I can't own this idea. I saw them here and here. I almost can't stand these little spider clips they are too good!. If I had more/any talent, I'd make those.
And, the bootees. When I write that out "bootees", it looks weird. "Booties" seems like it should be right. I looked it up. "Bootees" is listed first, but "booties" is also acceptable according to And, really, if says it's right. . well then, it must be. Ha!
Same pattern as before, only this time I did them with the right gauge, so they'll actually fit a baby and not a very short, fat-footed adult. The yarn (Zitron Polo in color way 410) is left over from my dream swatch head wrap thingy. I love the colors and can't wait to pick which of the babies coming gets to wear them!

Friday, October 05, 2007

How an octopus became a bootee.

This is the story of a piece of oilcloth.
I cut it out haphazardly and edged it with bias tape. I did not fold the corners well. I did not measure the pockets to match.
It is wonky like most of my speedy quick projects.
It is functional. It keeps Abby's butt off of the floor when I change her diaper.
This is Adrian. He likes bikes. I made him a bike crown because it was his birthday. He was infinitely more pleased than this picture might make you assume. I'm mighty proud of that embroidered bike. I did not get a closer picture. I'm bummed about that.

This is an out of focus octopus of yarn. When I seam it all up and add buttons. It will be two more bootees for the 9 pregnant ladies I know. Yes. 9. Yes. That's a lot.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

She thrifts, she scores!

I made pants. I MADE PANTS! You can almost tell how cute they are from these pictures. Brown corduroy with olive green cuffs and waistline. I got the idea here and followed the tutorial here. I'm such a visual/physical learner, the on-line tutorials are really great for me. I can actually make things instead of freaking out over a pattern and the written instructions.

And, I've been holding out on the funky tea set I've been collecting for a while. The clincher were these fabulous cups. I wish I had fabric with that pattern, I'd make pants for everyone out of them! They were 10 cents a piece. 10 CENTS!
And, oh, the tray. . . I'm loving the woman bringing a cooked turkey to a man who's been out fishing. It's almost like a comic strip. Man goes fishing. He doesn't catch a thing. Woman anticipates no fish. She cooks turkey.
And, I guess I'll have to pick and choose which tea cups to keep. . . the tray's full. Either that, or have a lot of people over for tea!