Friday, November 18, 2011

Butters and Beans

I just delivered an inventory to Butters and beans today. I love the store it is a all American mostly handmade baby store. It is in a fancy strip mall (across from Eddie Bauer)in a burb of Minneapolis, and the shop owner is convinced that the stuff will sell.

the store is pretty fancy. I am flattered, but the honest dominant feeling I have is that the things I make are full of flaws. the stuff in that store is amazing. some day I will be amazing too right?

The last month I have been preparing the stuff. I started with picking at it like one day I cut out a bunch of shoe linings, and embroidered a little here, and a little there. then I realized that my plan was huge!

then I realized 2 weeks ago that my efforts were pithy.

so for the last two weeks I have been running a sweatshop. here are some samples:

and the result is 22 shoes

(30 including gift sets) 12 hats,

9 headbands,

8 gift sets

it seemed like more doing it all at once. Last week my sewing machine did some damage to my appliques which made me sad. they still turned out ok, but not my best work. bad timing eh? so i took it in to get it fixed and they let me use a loaner. which was broken too. so i spent the day cutting which was one blessing in disguise.then I tried another one. then I sewed all that leather with a machine that was not mine (moohaha), and mine will come back good as new. if only it were free...

in the meantime... E lost her 2 font teeth (this is after the 1st) L. tried her hand at hairdressing.

and R took many floor naps she is currently boycotting her bed unless she is too tired to notice.

the kids watched more movies than were good for them, and my fingers are still showing the evidence of all that hand stitching.

I will not show my craft room it will take days to clean.

I need a nap.

was it worth it? I don't know. I need to figure it all out. I love the idea of being paid for stuff I already made. my etsy shop orders are mostly custom orders. next time I will make more of the same designs. it was fun to design, but changing the thread 20 times is not fun.

I have no idea if it will be worth my time, or where this is all going, but I like making shoes more than hats, and that is what they want at the store.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

in Hiding

I am in hiding right now. I am getting Christmas ready. yes Christmas.

I decided last year to make it. it was inexpensive, I bought whatever fabric I wanted, and it was a hit.

so I am doing it again.

I am funding it this year with sales from my Etsy shop.

and utilizing my new serger!bought also with the proceeds. it is a viking to go along with my sewing machine.

this is great on our tiny budget, and best of all it is more of a surprise than deductions from our bank account from suspicious places.

I am making rag dolls for all the girls, princess dresses (those may be for Halloween) and much much more. I will tell you more later.

I am still around and still moderately sane.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's a Reuben! (Idaho style)

My husband Is always teasing me that I am really from Idaho. I have lived in 4 states, Idaho for the shortest amount of time. I was born in Oregon. I lived for about 6 years in Utah. and then moved back to Oregon. but it was Eastern Oregon,and in the Idaho time zone and that is enough for my husband to claim I am not from Oregon. but I am.

so to honor My husband's love of Idaho I will introduce you to an Idaho-style recipe.

I have been making this for a while. I am not sure who to credit, I think someone talking about Reuben sandwiches on TV gave me the idea.

first, gather the stuff. (that is pastrami in the pic. I grabbed the wrong meat, but I figured it out before I added it)

6 Medium potatoes
8 oz Deli corned beef
6-8 oz shredded Swiss cheese
1 c. sour kraut
1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper (no those are not backwards)
vegetable oil

chop the meat and cheese, and combine with sour kraut in a bowl

chop the potatoes by cutting them lengthwise and slicing very thin.

combine seasonings in a small bowl.

get a large nonstick pan, and spread 2 tbsp. oil over the bottom, and add a layer of potatoes make the bottom layer thick-ish (mine was a little thin) the cheese melts and burns on the bottom if you don't.

sprinkle with 1/3 seasonings.

add a layer of meat and cheese mix (1/3).

make 2 more layers the same way.

cook with the lid on for 25-30 min. no need to stir. the layer on the bottom may overcook a little, but it is still yummy.

Friday, August 19, 2011

a giveaway

I am participating in a huge and fantastic giveaway! come and join there are so many nice things!

I am giving away a hat of any size to a lucky winner!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

voluminus velor cloak tutorial

I tried out a new way of posting tutorials. I promised the cloak tutorial from L's birthday and

here it is!

there is a website called Meylah that allows you to open a shop and a blog and post tutorials. I have not figured out how to use it all yet, but the format for the tutorials is really nice,and it even has the option of a printable version of the tutorials.

I love the tutorial format, and the overall appearance. I don't love that it is rather hard to see what people post in the free part of the site you can pay a monthly fee, but I really don't think I want to.
so if nothing else I will probably use this to do tutorials in the future.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Listen To My Recital.

this was our showpiece of the night. at least I think so.

I recently finished a recital that I worked on for months. it was so much fun. the people I worked with were amazing. I was a bit out skilled, but no one ever made me feel like it. I usually get so nervous I can barley see straight, but I never felt that pressure. there were many serious musicians there, some of whom I really admire(including those I performed with) so I think it was a combination of long and thorough preparation, and a very kind group of people.
I am grateful for this recording for a few reasons.

first My mom is a big fan of mine. she wanted to hear this, now she gets to.

second the person who did it did a great job and worked very hard at it. He did a quality sound recording, and had 3 video cameras that he syncd with it. his name is Jason Willoughby for those who know him.

and third because I actually thought I did better after I listened to the recording than my reaction after the fact.This is the first time I have enjoyed a recording of myself. I think the quality of Music plays a big part in that.

even if you are here to hear me, I recommend listening to everything. the viola player is a PHD student on Viola performance here at the University of Minnesota. it is a big school and he is more than worthy of it.

the Piano player is a math professor at the UofM. he is amazing on the piano too. In fact this is the best accompanist I have ever had.

here are our program notes complete with translations

here is the program playlist

Luke Hubbard, Viola
Johann Sebastian Bach suite no. 6
1. prelude
2. Allemande
3. Courante
4. sarabande
part one, and two.

Meikjn Fielding,Mezzo-Soprano Lawrence Gray, Piano

Claude Debussy, Mandoline
Ralph Vaughn Williams, Silent Noon
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Non so piu Cosa son from the marriage of Figaro

Luke Hubbard, Lawrence Gray

Max Bruch, Kol Nidrei

Lawrence Gray
Nocturne no.4. in A major by John Field.

Luke Hubbard, Lawrence Grey, Meikjn Fielding
Johannes Brahms
zwei gesange

1. Gestille Sehnsucht
2. Geistliches Wiegenlied

How this recital came about was that the Larry (the piano player) wanted to learn the piece called Kol Nidre.he was drawn to it during the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. this piece is a collection on Jewish folk melodies originally arranged for cello. there was a recording he liked of it played on the viola. but as it turns out there is not an arrangement for Viola, so Luke (the viola player) arranged it for them. and because they went to the trouble, the idea of a recital was tossed around. I got into the act because Luke was saying one day that it was hard to find decent viola ensembles. most of them are just boring obbligatos. so, I told him about some Brahms pieces I like that are for Mezzo, Viola and piano. and he said we should do a recital. which I only sort of expected. but it came together, and I am glad it did. It was great to have a reason to do some serious singing again.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

L's Birthday!

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L's book theme was "the princess and the Pea"in miniature. this book is clever unique and fun. I googled it one day and found this Idea and it is a hit! I think L liked the toys better. I decided last minute to make her doll a little room in a box I covered it in an old white sheet from working as a house keeper (I use these all the time) I also used the sheet and ribbon for wrapping. she did not notice that I was too lazy to buy any. I also made her 12 mattresses,the pink one has a little pocket to hold the "pea," a blanket that matches her special blankie, pillow complete with case. And a peekaboo sackmade out of some very pretty fabric I bought just for her. Next is her crown with one for the dolly of course. and last but not least a voluminous Velor cloak. I saw something similar in a cool catalog we get sometimes, and when I looked I could not find a tutorial I liked so I made one up. the "voluminous Velor cloak" tutorial is coming soon. and it is easily adaptable for dollys too! I had intentions to make this cake and homemade Ice cream, but we are having a Dairy Queen cake compliments of grandma instead. The cake cost more than the presents.
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last night there was a HUGE rainstorm. something like 6" and so what better way to celebrate than freezer paper boats and puddle jumping!

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Weighted Vest Tutorial

A weighted vest is a therapeutic treatment for kids with varying special needs. It can be used for kids with ADD to help them focus, for kids with anxiety to help them feel comforted, and to help curb various behaviors for kids with autism. Occupational therapists swear by them. Recently I saw a post on freecycle of someone looking for one and I was touched. I have a sister who has given much of her life to treating the special needs of her sons. Her son who has severe autism was non verbal until he was almost 5. He is now 12 and mainstreamed in school without an aid. If there were a poster child for the wonders of specialized treatment he would be it. So I offered to make one.
Weighted blankets are a common treatment for the same symptoms. But they are not practical in the summer.
The problem with most weighted vests you can buy is A: they are expensive, and B: they are ugly and scream special ED. I was a bullied kid. I think we owe it to our kids to do what we can to not draw attention to their problems.

I did not get a picture of the finished product, so you will have to use your imagination.
This is a reversible vest pattern I used. This is perfect because I made a removable lining to add and subtract weights from, That fits inside this vest .the idea is a liner with pockets to fill with metal washers
Supplies :
stuff to make the shell
4-5 yards of fabric (it does not need to be pretty I used a sheet)
½-3/4” metal washers whatever total weight you want.
Invisible ink (my favorite thing ever!!!)
Sew in Velcro.

1.Make your shell vest but leave the shoulders incomplete. Add a invisible (or lapped)zipper along one of the side seams.
2.With a helper cut out your vest (the same pattern-.5” on each edge)in any throw away fabric you can find. ( I used a sheet I got from when I worked as a housekeeper. Don’t worry I washed it.)

My baby sits on anything I try to do on the floor. Here she is having a snack break.

3.Next make the “pockets” I did it by making tons and tons of 3 inch strips and sewing them in tubes, and turning them. If I could do it again I would just press them in half

4.Attach them to the vest in horizontal rows onto each piece. if you folded the strips in half sew them with raw edges facing up along where the bottom of the pockets should be, then fold it up and press. hiding the raw edges.

5. next make 1” pockets by sewing vertical lines over your sewn on strips. Mark sew lines with invisible ink.

6.Sew the side seams of your vest. (Do not sew the shoulders.) with the pocket sides facing each other. Turn.

7. finish the edges of lining vest with a serger if you have it or use an overcast stitch to enclose the edges. your sewing manual can tell you how to use it. My sewing machine has a special stitch and a foot, but there is not really a standard.

8.add Velcro to the unsewn shoulders on the OUTSIDE of the vest. On each of the 4 corners.

This part is done!

9. take a piece of heavy fabric(I used an old pair of khakis), and make a 2 squares the width of the shoulders minus 3/4”. (sorry for the fuzzy pic.)

10: attach Velcro onto each of the 4 corners of each square all on the same side of the fabric.

11: finish shell vest shoulders as the instructions here demonstrate, place the Velcro square in between the layers with the Velcro facing down(as in if you are looking at the vest from above the Velcro should face the floor), half the Velcro in front and half in back. Sew the shoulder seam.
That’s all!

1. to get the shoulders to line up better line up the edges of one side by feeling for the edge on the other side as you pin.
2. inserting the lining can be tricky. when I played around with it, I fount it was easiest to start by putting in the front panel of the opposite side than the zipper. 1st, the back on that side next, then the other side back after that, and finally the front of the side with the zipper.
3. I chose washers because the weight can be shifted in a multitude of patterns. The research says that around the shoulders, and upper back seems to work the best. If you don’t want to have them move around, you can sew them in, but be careful not to break your needle.
3.When researching this I saw a suggestion. when compression is needed to use a neoprene swim shirt (thrift stores have them sometimes) under the child’s clothes

If anything is unclear please let me know or suggest changes!

Here is to all those amazing pro-active mothers out there!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

E's birthday

I have been looking forward to E's birthday all year! I started making stuff a while ago. I decided to do book themes this year. Esther's book is fancy Nancy.

anyone familiar with Fancy Nancy knows that she loves "accessories"
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I made a necklace from yo-yo's and buttons.
a bracelet by sewing a piece of elastic onto a ribbon (do this by stretching the elastic while you sew it to the ribbon)and attaching a ribbon rose.
I made ballerina shoes with embroidered butterflies. Sorry no tutorial I made this one up. if anyone asks I can tell you how I did it.
"a plumed pen"(I bought this),
a "tiara", and
molded crayon hearts. I used crayon bits melted in old aluminum cans (heated in water in a pan) molded in a chocolate mold.
I made playsilks died in kool-aid. I also found this site helpful. I bought the plain silk scarves here these are a fantastic thing to have around for creative play. I even used them for wrapping paper.
And a peek-a-boo sack to hold it all.
we finished the day with "parfaits" with brownies.

all in all it was less than 30$ and much better than anything you can buy at the store (at least I think so).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Family pictures

I started making the dresses in January. I picked the location to match. it was a fun process. I even made my and Ruth's shoes, hair clips, and I even fixed our hair!

the week before these were taken we had an appointment, and thanks to google maps we ended up at the wrong place. sadly my hair was better that week too. so, we set it up for a week later and in that time the photographer got hurt in a car accident. and because she is awesome she set it up for another photographer friend of ours named Nell Aburto to do it.

Leah was sad in many of them because of the yellow flower in the 1st picture. it made her nose orange when she smelled it, so daddy took it. pouts were the result. this is a rather classic Leah face. she seriously came out of the womb making this face, it was a prelude to her fist lusty scream. It won my heart. Esther was a model she was posing, and smiling and having fun the whole time. Ruth did whatever she wanted. that is why there is no pic of me and the girls Ruth didn't want to do it.
we had a ton of fun, and I am happy to have some decent family pictures with all of us in them.

Summer Knit Dress with Peonies Tutorial


I made this dress for my oldest Daughter to wear this summer
Here is the pattern
it is the slip with sleeves. it makes a great knit summer dress too!
I made this a 5t size by adding 5” to the hem and making the neck hole a little bigger.
You need 1 yard of fabric (I used a thrift store gem, of nebulous size).. If in doubt measure your pretty princess from the shoulder along the back, to however long you want the dress and buy according to that.

Pre-shrink the fabric.
Start by finding which way the fabric is stretchiest. This will be the width direction of the dress.
Fold the fabric and cut your pattern pieces out.

And a 2x24” strip for the neckline
With right sides together take your pattern pieces and pin at the shoulders.

When sewing knits is works best to use this stitch. (the small zig-zag)

it won't break as easily as a straight stitch as the fabric stretches. You may need to mess with the tension to make this work right. Also knit can break the thread, so be prepared to thread the needle a few times.
I Sew using the edge of my sewing machine foot as a guide.(this is larger than 1/4 “ and smaller than ½”) don’t forget to backstitch!
Sew sides as indicated on the pattern below the arm holes.

Press. Along the edge of the dress.

Press your fabric strip in half some knit holds pressing better than others it is ok if yours does not.

Pin strip to the neck stretching the strip as you go. If you do not it will come out like an overstretched t-shirt.

when you get back to the beginning close the strip into a circle by lining up the ends right side together at the perfect size, and sew. trim the extra strip.

Sew it in place.

Check the opposite sides for holes in the sewing, and tag along fabric.
Fold up

Then down on the inside and sew encasing the raw edge from attaching the strip.

The unattached edge of the strip does not need to be encased because it will not fray.
Use a large zig zag stitch to sew in place. Or use a double needle for a more professional look.
I do not pin the neck line I find it is actually easier to straiten things as I go.
Trim the extra slack.

Sew the sleeves by folding over once and sewing in place. A bulky hem is not needed. The edge again will not fray.

Sew the hem the same way.

Start by finding some condiment jars spice jars etc. and make a large and small circle template of your desired size. (if they are a little big you can trim your template once it is made)

using the biggest circle figure out how many look good on your dress.

Cut 5 big and 4 small circles (for each flower), and a strip that is 2”by 1/2 “
it works better if the 2” direction is the strechiest.

Start with one of the large circles as a base.

Fold the circle in half, then in half again making a triangle shape. Do not line up the edges perfectly it is better if you do not.
pin the 4 big triangles like this.

prepare all the flowers you want to use to this point.
Attach to the shirt by sewing across the middle in an x be careful not to sew any of the triangles yet.

Attach the triangles by sewing the tip in place like this.

Then make the small circles into triangles too.

place them not lined up with the large ones sew in place the same way you did the large ones. make sure to go back and forth on each corner a few times.
Take to your strip and twist until it bunches up.

and sew right on top of it to make the center of the flower.

The stitching will not show on most knits. trim the extra strip if there is any.

these flowers are very different from knit to knit. these ones got very curled up after it was washed. and thicker knit makes more fluffy flowers.

Now go soak up the sun with your little one.

I will do a round up of other embellishments soon.
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