Category Archives: Sewing

Baby Shower Gifts

Today was my friend Rachel’s baby shower.  I’ve known Rachel since before either of us can remember, so I wanted to give her a really special present.  I decided to make an afghan and a little hat for her baby boy.

This afghan in shades of blue and green was simple to make.  If you know how to make a granny square, you can make this because the whole thing is just one big granny square!  Just pick your colors, decide how big you want the stripes to be, and keep going around until it’s the desired size.  No pattern necessary.

This hat was made using my typical hat technique, which consists of casting on stitches, knit one pearl one, for an inch or so to make the band, then deciding it’s not the right size and ripping out the stitches and starting over.  Repeat a few times, then I decide I have the right size so I knit a row, pearl a row until the hat is just about big enough, followed by reducing stitches for a few rows and sewing a seam up the back.  The next time I make a hat, maybe I’ll write it all down so I can post a better pattern.  Of course it will be different depending on the type of yarn, size of needles, and size of the hat.  That’s why trial and error is the best method for me.

Here’s a shot of Rachel with one of my mom’s gifts, a T-shirt that reads “I Make Milk.  What’s Your Superpower?”  You can purchase these shirts from Attached at the Hip.  Lots of the women my mom’s age remarked that they wished they had those shirts when they had young children.  They said there should be shirts that say “I Used to Make Milk.  What’s Your Superpower?”  Haha!

Congratulations Rachel and Gavin!

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Happy Birthday, Mema!

Yesterday, we celebrated my grandmother’s birthday.  Mema is my mom’s mom.  I made this cute patriotic apron for her.

I wanted to try to wrap it without any paper, so I folded it up into a little package and tied it with the apron strings.

We all walked down to feed the fish, then came back for a picnic at my parents’ pool.  For dessert, we had strawberry shortcake.

Happy Birthday Mema!

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Summer Vacation!

Today is my last day of school for the year, and graduation is tonight.  I’m very proud of my students and I wish the best for all of them in the future.  I feel very lucky that as a teacher I’m able to have the summer off.  I happily admit that one of the reasons I went into teaching was so I would have the same schedule as my future children.  Of course, I also love what I do, so summers off are a bonus.  We’ve gone so late this year that it feels like vacation would never come! 

When I was in college, my parents, brothers, cousins, Ed and I went on a rafting trip down the Colorado River in Utah.  Those 5 days were an unforgettable experience.  Of course, I don’t have any pictures to post from then because I didn’t own a digital camera then! But some day I’ll learn to use my scanner.

Two years ago, my parents, brothers, Ed and I went to Alaska for two weeks.  We went to Katmai National Park and actually hiked out to Brooks Falls to watch Brown Bears feed on salmon.  It was an amazing experience.  I am totally not a thrill seeker, and I still really can’t believe that I was so close to bears! I’ll probably write a whole post about it in a few days, so I’ll only post a couple pictures for now.  We took these pictures, and I feel that it’s important to note that there were no zoom lenses, we were actually that close to the wild bears.  More on that to come!

Last year, my mom and I went to the Island School Teacher’s Conference on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.  Another amazing week.

So what will I be doing this summer?  We don’t have anything big planned, like previous years.  Ed and I may make it up to Maine to his parents’ house at some point.  But we’re not sure about that, with the price of gas.  Mainly, we’ll just be enjoying our time at home, in our new house.

I’ll be working weekday mornings at the farm market, which is a nice schedule because it closely matches my school schedule.  It seems fitting, since the original reason for summer vacation was to free children up for farm work.

I’ve also made a list of the things I’d like to accomplish this summer:

  1. Make a replica of our wedding cake for our anniversary on June 26 (smaller, of course)
  2. Can and freeze tomatoes; preserve peaches, blueberries and raspberries; freeze corn
  3. Pick wild wineberries and make Grandma Rose’s wineberry pie
  4. Finish a sewing project, any sewing project! (especially my mermaid bag)
  5. Bake bread
  6. Make homemade pasta
  7. Walk along the beach, around the farm, or up to the reservior whenever possible
  8. Organize the office
  9. Organize the pantry and get a second coat of paint there and in the mudroom
  10. Hang curtains and pictures
  11. Get a second coat of paint on the guest bathroom
  12. Make cheese
  13. Read books, lots of books
  14. Get set for my Environmental Science, Botany, and Advanced Environmental Science classes next year
  15. Collect shells and sea glass and use them to decorate
  16. Decorate the house a little.  All of our walls are blank and the house still echoes!
  17. Host an Open House party
  18. Do some research about apple and peach trees, raspberries, and strawberries, and make plans to grow them
  19. Garden, garden, garden! Also, plan the fall and winter vegetable garden
  20. Go fishing with Ed and his brother, at least once
  21. Decide what I want to enter in the fairs this year

I think that’s it.  I’ll have to add on in the comments when I come up with more stuff I want to do.  We’ll see how much of it actually gets done!

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Pillowcase Tote

Inspired by Green Mamma and Creative Kismet’s Tote Giveaway, I decided to try making my own reusable bag out of a pillowcase.  After picking up a pretty striped pillowcase at Walmart, I tried it out.  The stitching is not perfect, but I think it’s pretty good for a first try.  It only took about 30 minutes start to finish!

Here’s how I made this pillowcase tote:

  • Choose a pretty pillowcase.  I decided to get a new one from Walmart, but an old favorite or a thrift store find are even better choices.
  • Decide how big you want your tote to be.  I liked the fancy solid edge for the top of the bag, so I cut off the hemmed end to make it the size I wanted. 
  • If you use the hemmed end, then you don’t have to sew a seam along the bottom.  I sewed straight across the bottom, then sewed on a diagonal across the corners to make the shape of the bottom fancier.
  • Using the remaining fabric scraps, I cut two long rectangles, one for each handle.  I sewed along one edge to make a tube-like shape.
  • I decided where I wanted the handles to go, pinned them on, then sewed a large box with an X in the middle so it would hold on well.  I used a zigzag stitch because this one was visible.

So there it is, a simple, fast, pillowcase tote.  It’s so cute, so much better than those ugly green bags that everyone (including me) is carrying around these days.  Maybe I’ll make myself a whole set of colorful, floral and striped bags.

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Green Awakening Update

I know you haven’t gotten enough of the Green Awakening Earth Day event yet!

Here’s the link to an article in the North Haven Citizen.  They did an excellent job and have some pictures on their website.

Also, Threadbangers featured us in their weekly show!  It’s also on the Green Awakening blog, so you can go there to check it out! You have to watch a few minutes on other things first, but then there’s an AWESOME part about the fashion show, with video of the show and comments from Kayla, guests, students, teachers, even me and my mom.  So check it out!

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Cupcake Marathon

Ed’s sister Kate and I baked over 500 mini-cupcakes yesterday for the upcoming Green Awakening Fashion Show at my school on Earth Day, organized by one of my students.  We used recipes from the book: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  Yes the cupcakes are vegan, meaning that they contain no animal products (milk, eggs, butter, etc.)  Although I personally would never consider becoming vegan, as I see nothing wrong with milking a cow or collecting eggs (or a big juicy steak for that matter), I have to say that the recipes are quite good.  And it’s nice to know that all people at the fashion show, no matter what their food preferences, will be able to enjoy the beautiful confections.  We used unbleached cupcake wrappers to be especially green.  We looked for recycled ones but couldn’t find them.  We made 8 types of cupcakes:

  • banana cupcakes with chocolate glaze and banana chips on top
  • vanilla bean cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting and sprinkles
  • chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting
  • mint-chocolate cupcakes with mint frosting
  • blueberry cupcakes with vanilla frostin and a blueberry on top
  • carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
  • coconut cupcakes with toasted coconut frosting
  • chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting and an oreo on top

We didn’t finish decorating all of the cupcakes yesterday, but we did get them all baked.  We worked straight through from noon til almost 8 pm.  Here are some pictures of the cupcakes we did finish:

Note that I broke in my homemade apron.

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Do-It-Yourself

This weekend was very productive for Ed and me.  Ed worked on our stair railing, making and installing three out of the four handrails on our front staircase.  The rails are made out of black walnut, and Ed has designed them to have easements and goose-necks, which help to make the rail look very formal.  We haven’t gotten the ballusters yet.  We’re looking for something twised, but not too fancy.  The ballusters we used on our back staircase were salvaged from a job he worked on, which means they were free and environmentally responsible!  Can it get any better than that?  Well, it could if we could find ballusters for the front stairs, too.  But no luck yet.

  

This week marks the one-year anniversary of when I first started painting in our house.  How to celebrate?  Well, I spent Saturday morning putting the finishing coat of blue paint in our master bathroom.  Ed and I decided to put up beadboard, which I put three coats of white paint on, then I finished the wall above it.  There’s no end in sight to painting, but I’d realistically like to be done by the end of the summer.  I still need to put a second coat on the two downstairs bathrooms, mudroom, upstairs hall, upstairs spare bedrooms, bonus room… not to mention that Ed wants to paint the inside of the garage at some point.  I also need to fill nail holes and paint the baseboard in all the rooms.  By the time I’ve finished painting, it will be time to start again.  I may be slow and not that great at painting, but at least I’m free.

             

I also spent some of Sunday afternoon making an apron.  I found this cute pattern from Montessori by Hand and ordered it about a month ago, then bought fabric a few weeks ago and finally got around to making it this weekend.  It’s such a cute, modern take on the apron.  Like I do with everything I make (sew, knit, cook, bake, crochet… even teach), I make it my own by not following the directions and changing something to make it better.  In this case, I didn’t like the tie halter strap, so I designed and made my own strap that didn’t tie.  Either way, I really like this apron and I’m already thinking about the next one I’m going to make and how it would make a great gift.

    

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