Saturday, November 12, 2011

With Pin and Pigment

Ok, so I sometimes blur the lines a little bit about what constitutes "pin" and what constitutes "ink," but that is because I have my hands in so many crafts at once that I really want to share with y'all what I'm doing but I don't want to go too far outside the constraints of what I've set up this blog to showcase, which is specifically paper thingies and fabric thingies.

But here's hoping you'll forgive me for toe-ing the line once you see how stupidly cute this little craft turned out to be.

When I saw this (I'm sure on Pinterest, since that's where the good ideas live), it reminded me of the theme of our precious two years of Christmas cards: Lilah's painted bits and pieces.

Year one was her nearly 12-month-old foot turned into a Christmas tree, proclaiming the "Holidays are afoot!". (I know, I'm a freaking comic genius). Year two was Lilah's sweet little 23-month-old hand turned into Santas face and beard. I added in all the rest of the elements, cut by hand, of a hat - complete with trim - and googly eyes (just to make Walken happy) with a note saying we hoped Santa "handed" them everything they wished for that year.

I have no intention on stopping this tradition before Lilah is too big to fit body parts on card-sized paper or she is old enough to tell me to go to hell, so keep in touch to see what I've picked for this year's card. We'll start on them soon enough.

So this little craft can kind of be considered a warm-up; A good reminder of what it feels like to become a human stamp and have squishy acrylic paint in between your tiny bits and pieces. Plus, it gave me that ever one special piece of seasonal art that I can pull out every year to sob over when I realize my baby isn't a baby anymore which means I'm just old.

Or something like that. :-)

So without further adieu, I give thee "Foot Turkey with Hand Feathers" by Lilah Muldrow, age 34 months:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shout out - Simplicity Pattern 2563

So I wanted to talk briefly about the pattern I used for "Cindabrella's" dress. 

I used Simplicity 2563 and found it to be pretty easy to work with.  There were very few pattern pieces and the directions for construction were fairly clear.  I only had a few issues, which since this was just a Halloween costume I largely ignored, but if I were trying to make some sort of heirloom they would've been bothersome.

For one - like all patterns - this one seemed to be sized to some strange race of human that is 9 feet tall at the age of 3.  While Lilah met the measurements perfectly for a size 3 dress, it ended up being quite large on her through the shoulders, causing me to need to take it in after it was finished lest she have her own tiny tot topless review.   For the record, I did try it on her before finishing it, but thought the problem would be corrected once the zipper was in.  And see how short the model dress is?  Yeah, there is no way they cut that by the pattern.  In the following pictures you'll see Lilah's ankle-length dress, which I came to after cutting about 4.5 inches off the suggested pattern length.

Another issue I found was that it seems - and this is most likely user error, because patterns are mathematical and we have well-established that I am special math needs - that the sleeves go in yet are not enclosed in the bodice lining, leaving an ugly hot mess that I ended up top-stitching over to keep the sleeve edges turned in.

Finally, it bothered me that the headband calls for a naked piece of elastic to stick out from the back of the finished piece.  It took me an extra five minutes to cover the elastic and make the headband really pretty.  Given that Cinderella is rocking an up-do, I'd think having that little secret elastic piece remain mostly a secret would be a priority. 

The changes I made were to use super super cheap materials.  The satin is costume satin that cost about $2.96 a yard.  Instead of organza for the bustle puff and sleeves, I used two layers of sparkly net that ran me $1.17 a yard, and I think the effect is just as pretty if not more so than the intended organza.  In photos and in person, it just seems more like a fantasy ballgown than if the materials had been ten bucks a yard.

Plus, it's not going to hurt my feelings for her to play hard in it as soon as Halloween is over.

Another lesson I learned is that we are going to need lots and lots of hairspray to maintain this hairstyle on "the big day."

The signature Cinderella choker is just a piece of 7/8" black satin ribbon!

Overall, the ease of constructing this dress and the happy face of my little princess made my few frustrations well worth the extra wrinkles in my brow this week.  Plus, I like that Simplicity offers Disney-sanctioned versions of its princess dresses.  Sure, you could rig up something to look a lot like Cinderella's dress, but when you can score the real deal pattern for a dollar on sale, why not?

And yes, I do know that there are a million pre-made versions of Cinderella's dress available in toy stores and big box retailers for low low prices like $14.95 which would keep me from having to sew them at all.  However, they all have one, annoying similarity that totally keeps me from going the easy route:  The plastic "cameo."

You know what I'm talking about - that stupid shiny plastic oval in the center of every freaking costume with the princess in question's picture on it, like you don't know what costume you're buying.  Like your kid is going to be out trick-or-treating and someone will say, "Well, who are you supposed to be?" and your kid will go, "I don't know - wait!  I have this handy crappy, plastic medallion to tell me!"

There's a part of me who wants to go around with scissors and cut all those things off.  It would increase the validity of the costumes by a million percent as far as I'm concerned.

So.  The lesson for today is that I am still differently math-abled and I have a seething hatred for plastic princess-face cameos on costumes.

What's your costume pet-peeve?  Or would you rather deal with the peeve than a project?

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

So OBVIOUSLY, the dress bodice from my last post was for none other than Cinderella, or as Lilah calls her, "Cindabrella." This morning I decided to take 'Brella out for a test drive and get a few good costume shots in, because - of course - the Halloween forecast is for cold, rainy weather. Today is near heavenly outside, just perfect for a post-breakfast photo shoot (and maybe one last dinner for the year on the back patio). I'll post the rest of the pics as I get them edited; sadly, my photography skills are no match for the hipstamatic filters.

I'd love to see your Halloween costumes! What are you (or your kidlets) going to be for "Hallowqueen"?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Guessing Game

I bet you'll NEVER guess who a certain little girl in my house is dressing up as for Halloween.

More "hints" as I make progress.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Baby Talk

Y'all know that at any given time, I know 407 pregnant women.


Fine.  Count them if you want to, but I swear, it's up there.

Anyway, when one of my best girlfriends from college told me a few months ago that she was expecting, I could. not. wait.  She is one of the most fashionable women I know, and she actually WORKS in the fashion industry, so I was fingers crossed for her that it would be a girl to inherit all her fashion savvy and fingers crossed for me that it would be a boy, so I could offer my little home-grown gifts and not get baby laughed out of the Big Apple.

I won.


So when she FINALLY decided on baby's name - just in time for her shower this past weekend - I was more than happy to get cracking on baby boy some personalized gifts!

First of all, she picked one of the cutest bedding sets I've seen.  It's called Nantucket by Bananafish and features a solid navy paired with white, green, and gators.

Modern prep at its best!  The only thing missing is the argyle!

One of the things she registered for was this precious little fuzzy gator pillow.

 I know.  Freaking adorable, right?

But I wanted to personalize it.  It needed to belong to the baby and only the baby...but how could I do that?  There was no way to monogram or personalize an already sewn together gator pillow.

So, I just had to make my own version.

With only the picture from Target's website to guide me, I freehanded a pattern out of two shades of green fleece - one of which I already had on hand!  If you know me, you know that my math abilites register somewhere on the scale around those of a fetus, so actually being able to replicate a 3D pattern was a bit of a geometric victory for me!  Then I used a great fun curly font to personalize the front of the gator with Baby Niles' name.  Et voilá!  Personalized baby pillow!

In addition to the great gator pillow, I also made some personalized onesies.

Keeping with the gator theme is this cute little brown-striped number.

And on this blue onesie I used a classic circle monogram that I think is great for boys due to its sleek appearance!

The other baby gift I have recently created was actually for a friend to gift to some other proud parents!  I created a cute little purple fleece kitty hat for all the little girls I knew last year, and she had really liked the way it looked in the pics and thought about getting them for a family adding to their family this past summer.  One child was already seven, and the other was on its way.  Since she didn't know the sex of the new baby, we decided to pick a color that was bright but not too girly.  And here is what I came up with:

These awesome turquoise felines will keep the kiddos nice and toasty this spring...that's right - as residents of Australia, I'm afraid these hats have already missed the coldest part of winter there and will be getting to them just in time to pull out the shorts for December!  Crazy southern hemisphere, being all opposite seasons!  Oh well - if we're lucky they'll fit next year?  They certainly do look cute together, and I'd love to see the pair of these kitties - I mean, kiddies - sporting these hats!

EDITED TO ADD:  These hats are actually going to JAPAN.  So while they will still get to experience a full winter's wear, they are going to the land of EVERYTHING CUTE.  I just hope they can keep up!

Stay tuned to the baby channel here at With Pin and Ink...I've got a burp cloth and bib set in the works and if the trend holds, I'll hear about 4 new pregnancies by the end of the year, so you could be watching my small person gift inspiration chug along for a good, long while!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Birthday Fun

I've got two different birthday outfits to post today.  The first is a fun little pillowcase dress I made for a special one-year-old friend of ours.  Stella, like her mom and dad, is a big Carolina fan.  So when Lilah was invited to her first birthday party a couple of weeks ago, I knew exactly what I had to send for her gift:  Tailgating dress!

I love the black and white gingham with the garnet border.  Of course, I *would* move to a state where the biggest football rivalry is close in not only college colors, but in some mascots, too!  I definitely like the football helmet as an alternative to replicating trademarked mascot!  Adding the battle cry ensures that everyone knows what team you're rooting for.  There are so many possibilities, that I'm simply limited by what color gingham I find.  And there are some GREAT ginghams.  Take these for example:

Gray, red, and white tri-check for my Tide...

Gold, purple and white tri-check - Geaux Tigers!

Black, white and red will do for either NC State or the Georgia Bulldogs - OR - you could take it local and that would totally represent a couple of the high schools here.  I even found one for a high school in my hometown area:

For the Oxford High Yellow Jackets...or Georgia Tech!

The SECOND birthday gift I got to work on has been one of my favorite projects in awhile.  Lilah's cousin was turning 4, and I realized I had only ever made her a crazy long tutu before, and it was high time she got another Aunt Original.  I know that having an older brother, she's not super crazy like Lilah is about all things pink and frilly, but she does like dresses and princesses, so I thought I'd strike a happy middle and create something a little bit of both worlds.  I came up with this:

Drawing my inspiration from PBS's "Dinosaur Train," I decided to give her a frilly dino outfit!   I started by picking fabric - both patterned and solid, in the colors of the dinos - Green for Tiny and Don, Blue for Shiny, and Orange for Buddy.

I found a pattern for a Pteranadon and decided to make her blue like Shiny.  I did the birthday girl's name in bright green.

The skirt was the most fun.  I had a skirt for Lilah that was covered top to bottom in raw-edged ruffles.  While I liked the look, I also liked the idea of leaving a solid band at the top for a border.  Thus, this ruffle skirt was born!  I simply alternated the ruffles in color from top to bottom.  And I just aboslutely loved the result.  Frilly but not too...blush or bashful, you know?

I loved creating this skirt so much that I can't wait to make another one.  They are a little time consuming, but seeing that whole outfit together tells me it's totally worth it.  I mean, I'd want to wear it if I were four.

Hopefully the birthday girls enjoyed their gifts!  I know I had a fun time creating them!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fright Night

October is one of my favorite months all year.  In addition to having outdoor temperatures that no longer burst you into flames, it contains two of my favorite events:  Our local food festival, "Fall for Greenville," and the best of the best:  Halloween.  As a kid, I loved any excuse to play dress up.  I even decided for a little while (in 5th Grade) that I wanted to become a special effects makeup artist!  But I guess I've fallen more into the category of costuming, huh?

What I love about children's clothes today is that they take a lot of the elements of "dress-up" and put them squarely out for every day wear.  I think that the holidays - especially Halloween - are a great time to kind of push the boundaries between "dress-up" and "dressed."  So, playing on a little pillowcase dress I made for Lilah last Halloween, I present to you:  Jack-o-Dress.

Linen-look pumpkin orange fabric and simple black broadcloth for the band and the face.

I love it.  So much.  And she likes it, too, so win/win.

Here's a little reminder of last year's ghost kidding it's more of a "tunic" this year.

<insert sob story of how my tiny baby is now a full-grown woman here>

The best thing about this is that I have enough of the orange fabric to make at least two more of these super awesome jack-o-dresses.  What a great option to wear to school on Monday, October 31!

The listing is on Etsy, so get yours today!

PS - Want a ghost instead?  That's available, too!