The Coat

I mentioned the coat crafting on our quiet afternoon last week, and even gave you a bit of a sneak peek.

Well today, it was finally coat weather, and Ewan was more than eager to wear his brand spanking new mama-made coat.

He was even eager to have his picture taken in it, though these days he’s always ready to sport his fake-o smile for a photo shoot.

Pardon the crappy picture. It is cloudy, again. And I used my cell phone, though, I’ve gotta say the new iPhone 4S can take some pretty rockin’ pictures, this just isn’t one of them. And, while eager, he isn’t terribly patient. He was ready to go to the grocery store to buy bananas.

The pattern was from an etsy seller, Heidi & Finn. Their Chic Everyday Coat pattern. This is my second pattern from them, I don’t think I ever showed off the results from the first, for Xander, must show you! The instructions are easy to follow and thorough. The coat came together quickly, taking just one afternoon nap plus a little extra for finishing.

The thing that makes this coat extra awesome, however, is that all the fabric was in the stash and the outer, a nice wool, is upcycled.

Upcycled from the coat (well, cape) I wore while I was pregnant with him.

You see, finding clothes to fit me in Japan was a challenge. Finding clothes to fit me while pregnant was impossible. When we visited the states early in my pregnancy, I bought all the clothes I needed for the duration of my pregnancy. Except a winter coat.

Then winter came.

I was cold.

And while I couldn’t (and didn’t expect to) find any coats that fit, I was able to find a lovely wool cape. I scooped it up, stayed warm and now I couldn’t be happier to see my little boy wearing something made from it.

Now there is a boy, instead of a belly, in that fabric. Keeping warm. And that, well, that’s pretty special.

(And then I made a coat for Xander. Same pattern. It’s huge. I’ll show you next week. Along with his uber-cool Heidi & Finn hoodie. Remind me if I forget.)

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Quiet Afternoon

It was a dark, dreary afternoon. Perfect for staying home.

And sometimes the stars just align enough that I get a chance to sit at the sewing machine.

Babe napping peacefully. Ewan happy to work alongside me.

A little over an hour of sewing and Ewan, almost, has a new coat (pic above is an initial fitting). Even before it was complete I had Ewan try it on and he declared, “I do so like this coat, mama. I love it.” That boy, he sure does know how to get me every time.

I can’t wait to show the finished product to you. Hopefully we’ll get some decent sunshine here soon so I can take a few pictures in better light. I am pleased as pie about it and there is a pretty good back story too.

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Felt Board Fun

A few weeks ago a good friend told me about her felt-board hack for her Melissa and Doug easel. And then she gave me a big ‘ole chunk of felt so I could do it myself.

Replace the unused side because chalk is too dusty side with an awesome felt board.

Yes, please!

A big piece of felt, a little bit of spray adhesive, and about 15 minutes worth of time was all it took.

Then I sat down with a giant stack of rainbow felt and cut all sorts of shapes – squares, rectangles, circles, triangles, big and small.

Since the felt board’s creation, it has been in constant rotation. A daily toy.

Our favorite thing to build,

the love train. (sing it with me, now)

Ewan likes it because, unlike drawing, he can actually build things that resemble the images he has in his head. He also loves it because it is something we did, something we made, together.

For now simple shapes are bringing plenty of fun and joy but I can totally see wanting to make more sets soon – letters, numbers, animals, the possibilities for felt board fun are endless.

Cheap. Fast. Easy. My favorite kind of DIY.

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Feeling Inspired (Again)

After preparing for my first show, I was left feeling a little drained. In the days and weeks leading up, I spent so much of my time with a pencil in hand, carving blocks, printing. It was so good, but I also needed a rest. I needed to step away and pursue other things, if only for a little while.

Now, three weeks later, my head is brimming with ideas. Blocks I want to carve. Different ways I want to print. Adult designs, just starting to emerge.

Last week I finally got back to it and, I’ve gotta say, a lot of it looks promising.

Take today’s prints, for example:

While they are a little brighter than I would like, my work tends to have a more subtle and natural palette, I am pleased with the start.

I used watercolors to wash the paper in color and I love the texture and interest that that process provides. I like the way the paper feels like my shirts. A little uneven, with a bit more depth and interest than a commercially dyed shirt or stock would.

While these are just test prints, I can see some real possibilities here. Art prints. Postcards. Greeting cards.

And, with all the possibilities that working in a less functional medium provides, I’ve been having all sorts of new ideas. And I’m excited again.

There will, hopefully, be a new design or two in the shop in the next little bit. But for now, feast your eyes on a few of my first gift sets. I’m rather happy with them.

And I hope that you are too.

Happy Monday.

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I Make because I Must

Yesterday was one for the record books.

It was chaos.

It was filled with tantrums and struggles and conflict. It was filled with tears and arguments and unkind words.

Nothing, and I mean nothing went as planned.

Then, finally, in the afternoon there was a bit of a break as Xander’s weary body finally gave in to the rest he needed despite the less-than-favorable conditions.

Ewan stopped fighting long enough to realize he was utterly exhausted, both body and mind, from a day to nonstop conflict. Snoozing in a heap on the hardwood floor. Sleepy breaths punctuated by sighs, the remnants of a tantruming body even in sleep.

And, in those few minutes, where the house was quiet and I finally had a moment to breathe and relax, I did the only thing I could do given all the chaos and conflict.

I made something.

Two pairs of pants, as it turns out.

Because I had to. I had to use my hands. I had to distract my mind.

And then, when they both woke up, I was able to show them their new pants. Xander, as expected, was nonplussed by the whole gesture. Ewan, on the other hand, was grateful. And excited. And insisted that we take pictures.

I’d like to tell you that pants saved the day but, actually, they only saved the handful of minutes while these pictures were taken. Then the chaos and foul-moods of the day returned, with a vengenance.

I’m still glad I made them because, honestly, those two new pairs of pants were the only good things that came from yesterday.

So, yay for pants.

Tell me, so I can throw a few extra ideas into my next terrible day coffer, what do you do to redeem otherwise unredeemable days?

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