2.17.2011

Spring Outfits for Bee

The long awaited hand knits I've been working on for our girl are finally ready to share. Are you ready?

Bee's Coming Home Outfit:

I started with the bonnet, then knit the sweater, and finished by using leftovers for the booties. The cap is from a fantastic book called Vintage Knits for Modern Babies, the sweater and booties are both Ravelry patterns. You can see all the details in my project notes here, here, and here. The yarns are so very soft, a wool bamboo for the bonnet and a cashmere-merino blend for the sweater. Yummy. The cap closes with the same sweet button as the dress.

Here's a close-up of the booties. The buttons I found for these remind me of lemon drops. I plan to layer this little ensemble over a plain-white onsie and some ruffled (couldn't resist!) white socks when we bring her home.

Spring Ensemble:

I should've photographed the different outfits side-by-side, so that you could get a feel for the difference in sizes. Oh, well!

This outfit also started with the bonnet. We've had a sample in the shop for ages that I always thought to be incredibly sweet, and for months now I've been drawn to the color combination. After the bonnet, again, came the sweater and then booties. The bonnet pattern is from Knitalong, the sweater pattern is from The Expectant Knitter, and the booties are here on Ravelry. Again, details on my project pages here, here, and here. The sweater is sized 0-9 months. I suspect that it will actually be quite big, initially, but probably just right by the time the weather warms up around here.

A closer look at the booties, and the sweet, sweet buttons I found. The ribbon came via Alexis, who found it for free as a giant tangled mass at a store-closing sale. I have yards and yards and yards left. Lucky that it was the perfect color to match the outfit. Maybe it's the ribbon that got me thinking of these colors to begin with?

Finally, The Soft Coral Party Dress:

This pattern is also from The Expectant Knitter and also designed to fit a wide range of sizes. That's good, 'cause I felt like I was knitting on toothpicks, which will be worthwhile if she can wear this for a long time. The yarn is left from this sweater I did for myself last summer. Project details here.

Here's a better look at the ribbon. I also bought a length of ribbon in the same color as I used to accent my sweater. So, yes, we can match. I still have quite a bit of yarn left. Maybe I should make a tie for Ryan?

There are, of course, another 2 or 3 projects on the needles and lots more planned. Lucky for me, there were several choices among the sale yarn at work that were perfect for projects on my to-knit list. I found a couple more projects-worth in my stash. So, plenty more to come...

2.15.2011

The Way To A Man's Heart...

Ryan does most of the cooking in our home, but baking is still my domain. I don't make time to bake as often as I once used to. When we were first married, Ryan worked lots of nights and weekends, so I was often home alone. That meant quite a bit of time cranking out muffins, pies, cookies... I really love baking, so I'm not sure how we've parted ways. But recently, I've made efforts to reconnect, to spoil Ryan a bit, and to use my heart-shaped muffin pan.

First, the morning we left for our babymoon, I made these gorgeous Orange Cranberry Muffins. I used the recipe for Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins from this wonderful cookbook, but substituted orange zest for lemon and chopped fresh cranberries for blueberries. They turned out great.

See, heart-shaped.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I whipped up these beautiful muffins and brought a couple down to Ryan at work when I met him for lunch. They are the Chocolate Ricotta Muffins from the same cookbook as above.

When the muffins were cool, I wrapped them in bright bits of tissue, which I nestled into a plain brown lunch bag.

Ok, not stellar pictures, but a fun and very tasty surprise inside an unassuming package. After lunch, Ryan took me around the office to show off the baby belly and I gave him the bag him just as I left for home. These are probably Ryan's favorite muffins. I used to love them, too, but totally went off chocolate a couple of years ago. That said, I still think these are pretty yummy, which is really saying something! And does the heart-shape make the muffins taste better? Well... it certainly makes them more fun!

2.14.2011

Crafty Love

Happy Valentine's Day!!!! Any big plans on your end? I have the day off, which means time to put the finishing touches on Ryan's gift - can't wait to get it done and photographed so that I can show you what I've been working on for him. If I get that done in a timely manner, there will be sewing.

I've also squeezed in some time to play Valentine's fairy. Since I didn't get around to getting Christmas gifts made for my lovely coworkers, I put together some cute little V-day bags for them. First, I found some super-cute pencils that I just couldn't resist. I'm kinda a sucker, lately, for fun pencils. Is that weird?


Then, inspired by this post over on the Living Crafts blog, I bought a pile of felt and started stitching some little hearts. I have a set of graduated heart-shaped cookie cutters, so I used a couple of those as templates to cut out the hearts. Then, I free handed the "XOXO" embroidery on the little hearts, stitched those to a larger heart, and finished by sewing on a backing. They're all stuffed with felt scraps, so nothing was wasted.

The final bit of the treat bags were little boxes of Conversation Hearts. I know they aren't the tastiest candy on the market, but, like candy corn, they do have their own irresistible charm. Don't you agree?

More heart-shaped fun tomorrow, 'cause why limit the love to Valentine's Day? Also, this weekend I photographed all of the baby knits I've completed so far - something else to look forward to later this week. Here's a little teaser:

2.11.2011

Some days it's fun getting dressed. Last week, I had a day when I really wanted to feel comfortable and wear my leggings. But, I had to go to work and wanted to look cute and pulled together. Then, in a flash of inspiration, I put this together. Comfy? Yes! Cute and special? Yes! I felt great all day and got lots of compliments, which never hurts, right?

I'm not actually nearly quite so big, yet, as I look in these pictures. I took them on the fly as I was running out the door to work, so I didn't quite get to fuss as much as I usually do when I photo outfits.

Full confessions, I didn't knit the sweater, though it is a hand knit. Sally was clearing out samples at the shop and very generously gave this one to me. It's just a loose tunic, which wears a bit like a bag - but add a cute belt and suddenly it's fabulous! The brooch is vintage. Ryan bought it for me last year on this day out.

So, sorry for the one short post this week. Good intentions and all that... I've got baby knits blocking right now, so next week I will have them photographed and ready to share. I also took time this week to work on a little Valentine's Day project, which I'll tell you about. Finally, on the schedule for next week are some yummy treats and a super yummy sweater I've been making for Ryan. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

2.04.2011

Goodies From Far Away


Happy Weekend, Everyone! Well, for me it will be a working weekend, 'cause that how it goes when you're in retail. But you all go on and enjoy a little extra relaxation on my behalf! I just wanted to stop in really quick today and "share" with you a little treat that came to me in the mail a little while ago.

On Ravelry, I belong to several groups, but am most active in the Sexy Knitters Club (aka SKC). Each quarter, SKC holds a Knit-A-Long (KAL) with a different theme. For the last quarter of 2010, there were several of us who decided that we had to work on some of our Works In Progress (WIP's) or knit from our stash, instead of investing in new yarn. So, we had a little side KAL of our own. I knit and finished 3 cardigans, which you've already seen here and here, to submit to the KAL. As incentives to us all, a few lovely participants offered up prizes. I was not knitting in order to win a prize, but rather to have a stock of sweaters to take me through my pregnancy. But, I WON A PRIZE!

The lovely and talented Yelena made me a batch of homemade toffee and sent it all the way from Connecticut! Not only is it beautiful, and beautifully presented, but it is delicious. Thank you so much, Yelena! We've been rationing it out - mostly becasue I "hid" the box from Ryan. This involved moving it from the kitchen counter to the hoosier cabinet right outside the kitchen. He's since rediscovered it, but having to work a little harder to get to the toffee seems to deter him from eating it like popcorn. I just have a little nibble now and then, because a little goes a long way with this rich & delicious stuff.

So that's it for today! Hope you all have fun weekend plans. If you're in Portland, Close Knit is having their gigantic Winter Clearance Sale. There will be some seriously good stuff, folks. I know, 'cause I helped get it all ready. See you next week!

2.03.2011

Baby Gear, Pt. 1

Wow - I can't believe how this week has gotten away from me! I get so busy doing that I forget to share what it is I've been up to. Today, I'd like to give you a quick peek at a couple of projects I've sewn for Baby Bee. Ready?

Jumping Bean Nursing Pillow:


I don't know why this was the first thing I had to sew. Maybe because I knew it would be quick and easy, which is sometimes exactly what I need. The fabric is from my stash - Scaredy Cat by Moda. I picked it up out of the remnant bin at Bolt a couple of years ago. I think at some point I was going to make it into a jumper for myself, but just never got to the project. Anyway, it seemed like a fun choice for the pillow.

Here's a closer look at the fabric.

The pattern I used is from Lotta Jansdotter's book Simple Sewing for Baby, which I've sort of had out on continuous loan from the library. If you have sewing skills and an hour to kill, use Lotta's pattern and make one of these instead of buying a Boppy. Much cheaper, and very satisfying. I'm told that not only are these fantastic for using while nursing/feeding, but that they also make a great place to prop up baby when she starts to sit up.

Next up, the Patchwork Sleep Sac:


This pattern can be found in Anna Maria Horner's book, Handmade Beginnings. (As an aside, this book is just stuffed with must-make patterns, including several for the mama-to-be. You'll definitely be seeing more projects from her book before I'm done!) For those of you paying attention, yes, you did just see this fabric on the throw pillow behind the nursing pillow, above. It's another Moda fabric that has been lurking in my stash for a few years now, part of the now discontinued Shangri-la collection. (Full disclosure, the fabric came pre-pieced.) I originally used it in panels across my living room curtains and on the throw pillows for the love seat, but had a fair amount left. "Why am I dressing my baby to match my curtains?" you may be wondering. Well, I switch the curtains each spring, so she won't actually match what's in the windows when we welcome her to the world. And then, we're planning to have moved by the time I would be putting the fall curtains up again, which will probably mean new curtains for new windows. Besides, I really love the fabric...

So, back to the Sleep sac... I used the pieced fabric on the front, a green and cream polka dot fabric for the back and the under panel, and super soft cream-colored flannel on the inside. (All of the fabrics came from Fabric Depot.) Anna Maria recommends adding a few inches to the hem for use up to about 5 months, so I did just that. I lengthened all of the hems by 4 inches. Hopefully that will do it.


The construction was really easy. Anna Maria gives very detailed instructions, so there are lots and lots of steps, but everything is very clear and I had the whole thing put together by 4:00, including the time it took to trace the pattern and cut everything out. I'm thinking I'll have to make another of these, so that we can rotate them through the wash. You can see, above, that the sac closes easily with velcro - Easy = good! The next one should really work up in a snap, since I have the pattern ready to go and am familiar with the process. I can't tell you how taken I am with this. It is just so sweet. After finishing it up, I found myself picking it up and hugging it to my chest every time I'd walk by.

So, that's all of my show-and-tell time for today. You might be wondering where all of the baby knits are. Hopefully I'll have them for you very soon. I've knit several little items which just need a bit of finishing work before I share - things like ribbons and little buttons need to be found and attached. Don't you worry, there will be plenty of knitted cuteness headed your way very soon. And what's next from the sewing room? Diaper bags for both myself and Ryan, a stack of changing pads, some little bloomers for her to wear when the warm weather finally gets here, and hopefully some nursing tops for mama.