Winter Came

Winter 2013 145We all said, “Winter is coming,” but soon we will say, “Winter came.”

When spring comes I hope I’ll be able to look back with gratitude at this period of hibernation.  Winter can be a hard time with small children.  Every time you want to leave the house you must locate the leg warmers, coats, shoes, diapers, snacks, hats, gloves, and most importantly, the children themselves.  Then you must stuff them into their carseats, pile books and toys into their laps, and turn on The Cat in the Hat audio book which you’d really like to watch go up in a big explosion.  When all this gets accomplished it is likely that you are so worn out that leaving the house no longer seems like a good idea.  Maybe it would be better to just go back inside?  If you choose instead to go forth with your plan of “leaving the house” it is likely that you will need to sing “Go to Sleep Little Baby” in order to soothe your little one,  pull over to nurse in a parking lot (in your winter coat), and ask your toddler to lower her voice repeatedly all before arriving at your destination.  Even if that destination is the Lexington Park library down the street.

Winter 2013 125Still, winter isn’t all bad.

Yes there was snow, there was sickness, but there was also time to slow down and watch my children grow.   There was a respite from the biting insects.  There were all the delicious holidays.  There were days (moments) of wearing warm hats and sledding.  Winter 2013 029There was the day we made a table fort and the acquisition of a well loved sand table.

We finished off all the tomato soup and strawberry jam we made last summer and now our mason jars stand empty awaiting the next canning project.  In this, we did our job.  We ate, we played, we read, and we survived the winter.  We made lists, we crossed things off, and we made them again.  And every day we raised our kids.

Winter 2013 157

And if winter hadn’t come I wouldn’t be able to experience the joy of seeing the daffodil bulbs push up from the earth.  They’re ready for spring- are you?


Got Sun?

An absolutely ridiculous thing about having kids is that when you finally do get a minute of pe20140121-112700.jpgace your brain may be too fried to think of anything fun to do with your offspring.  This is why I love Pinterest.  Last month my daughter and I finally got to make sun catchers.  What is a sun catcher?  Only a life saver if you happen to have a toddler and an infant.  Particularly in winter when playground time is sparse, the local museum is closed for renovation, and you share a car with your husband.

20140121-112636.jpgThey are easy enough even for young toddlers and if they are motivated (we were lacking a bit there) the project can be completed fairly independently.  We chose to make several small ones in honor of Grandma Plummie’s birthday and one large one for a friend who was coming over for dinner.

You just need clear contact paper, some colored construction paper, colored tissue paper (at least 4 colors), tape and scissors.  Simply cut a shape border out of the construction paper (such as a triangle, heart, or rectangle), peel off the back of  the contact paper cut large enough to fill the frame you’ve just made, and tape the whole thing to a window, sticky side facing away from the window.  Rip the tissue paper into small bits and put them in a bowl for your child.  Let them stick the pieces onto the frame until it is full.  Voila.  A sun catcher to keep in the window to imitate stained glass.20140121-112550.jpg

A great thing about this project is that you can revisit it fairly often.  That’s my plan anyway, at least until spring comes and we can get back outside.

Sewvember: A Review of 4 Fun Pinterest Tutorials

20131120-144807.jpgWe’ve gotten lost in Sewvember!  This month has been all about finding time for a few Pinterest tutorial projects I’ve been drooling over.


A bit too long.

Project 1:  The car seat pillows.


Stowed in the back of the car.

I’ve become a bit tired of my son’s head flopping forward when he passes out in the car.  I sewed up a flannel pillow for both kids in preparation for our 10 hour Thanksgiving road trip to upstate New York.  Sew (so) far I’ve found them to be a bit too long and though the ribbons are cute they are rather impractical.  Something that attaches without so much effort would be nice.  I also wish it had occurred to me to include a loop for hanging.

Attaching them to the outside of the straps and  securing them in the back of the car when not in use are time consuming.  However I’ll know more after our big trip.  They may be a life saver, and in the meantime they add some color to the car.  If you’d like to make one here’s where I got the idea.

Project 2:  Fleece superhero cape.20131120-145349.jpg


I added arm holes because my daughter can’t walk 2 feet without picking up a rock.

I love how this one turned out.  Kudos to the tutorial author for making a cape/poncho design.  The only trouble is that my daughter (who has no prior knowledge of superheroes) has no interest in wearing it.  Dang!  I was so excited to see her zooming around in it this winter.  I did make it very large so it will still fit for another 2 years but still.  This was definitely a project I made for myself which I didn’t quite realize until I tried to put it on her.  Plus, I’d forgotten that when sewing for a 2 year old the term UNGRATEFUL must be used regularly.   I used a yard of blue fleece, one giant blue button, a ponytail elastic (what a fantastic idea courtesy of the tutorial author- so much better for kids to use than a buttonhole), a 14 inch chunky zipper, some scraps of pink fleece and a package of matching pink double bias tape.  20131120-150019.jpgThe tutorial I used was great if the child you’re sewing for is between 3 and 5 years old.  I didn’t scale down for my 2 and a half year old because she is tall and I wanted to be able to use this for a while.  She was so eager to take it off these were the only pictures I could get.  Ingrate.

Project 3:  Baby and toddler booties.


Baby booties

With winter coming I wanted to get to this project before the cold really set in.  I managed to do that but the sizing is a bit off on both pair.  The ones I made for the baby fit perfectly for today but by next week they’ll be too tight.  I’ll have to whip up another pair one of these nights.  The ones I made for the toddler are too wide and I’d like them to be taller like boots so I’ll need to experiment with altering the pattern.  Pattern altering is not a great strength of mine- it has been too long since my pattern-making class in college.


Toddler booties!


The tutorial was very helpful but I sort of forgot that my 7 month old son already wears 12 month clothes.  The pattern was supposed to fit babies up to a year I think but I’ll have to enlarge them for him.  I bought the special non-skid material from Jo-Ann Fabrics so that my toddler can continue to run around the house in them without me fearing for her life.  I made them in the same blue as the super hero cape thinking she could wear them together for fun.


Double layer fleece baby poncho!

Project 4:  Fleece baby poncho for the stroller or car seat.

We all know we’re not supposed to put kids in car seats when they are wearing bulky coats but then how do you keep them warm without blasting the heat and making everyone else in the car miserable?  Fortunately there are smart people out there who have already faced this problem and have taken the time to instruct the rest of us.  This tutorial was fantastic. It took no time at all to make this wonderful poncho and it is double layer fleece so I feel like I finally have a way to protect my baby from the wind.  It just slips over the baby’s head when he is in his stroller and BOOM.  Instant warmth.

20131120-144922.jpg I made it long so it reaches all the way down to his booties and I can tuck it under his arms so it is more like quadruple thickness there.  I used 1/4 inch elastic inside the neckline so it is flexible and comfortable.  I didn’t have quite enough fleece to make the poncho circular so I opted to go with an oval shape instead of heading to the fabric store with two little kids in tow.  The tutorial includes directions for a hood but my little guy isn’t a fan of hoods.  Plus he has a nice winter hat.  So I just cut a circle in the middle (a bit too large actually) and then made a little sleeve to thread the elastic through.  Works great.  How lucky.

What projects have you been working on?  There are so many good ideas out there.  I know I’ll hear about many of them once my kids are too big to benefit from them so please tell me now!

Happy sewing!