pillows galore

We’ve been in serious need of some throw pillows in the living room for quite some time now. I finally pulled my act together and made a few. Back in September, while the boys were on their vacation, I whipped up these simple little envelope pillow cases from a few fat quarters and a little piece of embroidery that I made ages ago. Honestly the embroidery has been sitting in my stash bin for almost two years, I bet.

simple envelope pillow cases
alphabet embroidery
the striped fabric reminded me of lined paper...
envelope pillows
envelope back

I bet the pair of cases took less than an hour start to finish. And that, my friends, is all I accomplished during a week home alone. Sad, right? Plus it took two months to post about it. Hm.

Now these little cuties are a great kids project. I saw the idea on pinksuedeshoe.

leaf pillows
placemat to pillow

Took a few seconds to open the seam, 10 minutes for the boys to get bored cramming fiberfill into a tiny opening and five minutes more for me finish stuffing and resew the seam by hand. Total cost: $9 ($3 for each placemat) + $4 for a bag of fiberfill = $13.

two inches of hand sewing and viola

There’s one more pillow in progress. Isn’t the smocking at 52crafts52weeks divine? This pillow top was made following learningtofly’s tutorial and using canvas and dark blue embroidery floss.

honeycomb smocking
honeycomb smocking...love

I made a marking guide with a length of grid lined poster board and a tiny hole punch. Then used a disappearing fabric pen to mark the dots on the canvas.

grid lined poster board
grid lined poster board guide

Even thought the smocking has been finished for months, the pillow still needs a back. Soon. Soon.

Wow. A kid-free post. Can you believe it?

and the winner is…

Viking Kellan!

mommy and the winner
mommy and the winner

Just received a call from the South Carolina Aquarium. Our viking won 3rd prize in the under 3 Halloween costume competition! Who’s the proud mommy?

As if my inclination to decorate the boys for public appearances needed any encouragement…


I mean Rooooaaaar…

liam gregor
the dragon unicorn in action

and arrrgh!

kellan robert
our viking on the move

Hope everyone had a super fun Halloween. You know we did. Liam was the boss of Halloween this year. We made lots and lots of “Halloween Projects”, such as:

cheese cloth ghost
foam spider and cheesecloth web
foam pumpkin and grapevine wreath


mr. scarecrow

Liam also picked our costumes. He, obviously, was to be a dragon unicorn. Originally just a plain old dragon, but then he saw our neighbor in her unicorn costume and became obsessed with unicorns. No way mommy was making two costumes, so a dragon unicorn was conceived. The costume is a modified version of McCall’s 6185. My review is on PatternReview.com. It was a solid 11 or 12 hours of sewing, but well worth it i think. The boy really loves it.

liam gregor
check out my tail
liam gregor

Kellan was originally slated to be a butterfly, but I made a last minute executive management decision. So, with only minutes of effort on my part, namely sewing a little fur vest, our viking was good to go.

kellan robert
my candy!
kellan robert
seriously! my candy!

You’ll note that mommy and daddy seem a bit random alongside our dragon/viking combo…

mommy, liam and kellan
had to catch more than just butterflies

It was decreed that mommy would be the butterfly catcher to Kellan’s overruled butterfly.

feather butterflies
who doesn't love butterflies?

And daddy would be a giant chipmunk, natch.

what a glam chippie

It was a big time. And we’ll be eating candy for months.

bubble romper

The sweet potato had some home-made duds for the wedding too.

kellan robert
that's a lot of drool

Kellan is modeling a pleated bubble romper in handkerchief linen. The pattern is Creations by Michie 102 (here’s my pattern review)and probably the only “heirloom” sewing I’ll get to do. It may be for the best that we don’t have girls. I’d never leave the sewing machine if we did. I followed the pattern to the “T” up to the last step. Foolishly, I decided to leave the leg elastic longer than recommended. Big mistake. The legs were too loose and the romper fell over K’s knees and hampered his crawling.

kellan robert
my crawling is hampered

He was not pleased.

kellan robert
i am not pleased.

The pattern is very thorough in its instructions and the pattern pieces themselves are printed on heavy paper, which was nice. I pre-washed the linen and dried it, just as with Liam’s suit and starched it like crazy before cutting the pieces. How did I not know the joy of starch before these projects? My 1/4″ foot got a work out as many of the seams are french.

1/4" foot
straight stitch is so easy with the right foot

Overall the romper turned out well. I had some confusion about the collar detail in the back, but eventually worked it out.

center back collar
center back collar detail

Also, despite my best efforts, the collar had a slight overlap, but I can live with it.


Perhaps most importantly, both boys had lightweight clothes for the lovely (and hot!) outdoor wedding.

liam and kellan
dastardly duo

ring bearer for hire

I know I’m biased, but come on. How cute is this guy?

liam gregor

He’s a good sport too. Happily wore his “southern gentleman” costume – no complaints all night.

liam gregor
too much? it's too much, isn't it?

What a little dude. He performed his duties with aplomb. Liam marched up the aisle all by himself, wiped out and went flying then hopped up, grabbed his pillow and his hat and continued to his spot at the front. No fear. Nada.

one of the guys

There are many, many times that I wonder, “Who is this kid?” Seriously, he’s got his own thing going on. We are just taking up space in his world.

liam gregor
too cool for school

On to the details…

The hat is a re-blocked girl’s straw hat that I picked up at a thrift store. Aside: I snagged some hat blocks on Ebay. You know, ’cause I need a new hobby. I pulled off all the ribbon and trim, soaked the straw until it softened then stretched over the 19″ oval and sailor brim. Once dry, I sewed some bias tape around the brim (did a terrible job, but what can you do?) and sewed ribbon trim to the outside and folded ribbon as a hatband on the inside. Voila!

liam gregor
the hat kills me

The suit is made from medium weight linen purchased at Hancock’s following Burda 9781 (here’s my pattern review). This was far and away the most challenging sewing project I’ve tackled to date. It’s a miniature European cut suit. The jacket had over 30 pieces. Yikes! The pattern pieces were perfect and the instructions were ok. Burda assumes you’ll work out some of the basics and so skips some steps, such as sewing the jacket center back seam. I was a nervous wreck sewing this thing so freaked out over every skipped step. I made a few modifications, specifically changing the pants to cuffed shorts, omitting the lining in favor of hong kong finishing and replacing the jacket pocket flaps with double welts. I’d probably have lost my marbles and given up on the whole thing if not for my Singer Tailoring book.

liam gregor
double welt pockets

Overall I’m really pleased with the results. I think the sleeves are a little short, but our fitting sessions were limited to about 45 seconds so… Linen is a joy to sew. I pre-washed it twice in hot water and hot air dryed it to prevent (hopefully) any future shrinkage then ironed it with lots of spray starch before cutting out the pattern pieces. I LOVE STARCH! The fabric was so crisp and easy to work with. Plus, when sewing it had the perfect amount of stretch to make any eased seams painless.

The jacket’s hong kong finish looks pretty good, though I wish I’d decided on it earlier in the game. I couldn’t decide whether to line it or not and so did all the finishing after the whole jacket was constructed. Made for a lot of extra hand sewing. Speaking (typing) of hand sewing. The jacket has a hand finished blind hem (on the sleeves too). That was yet another first for me. It was not nearly as tedious as feared, was actually pretty calming.

I love the shorts. Something about shorts and a jacket is just too cute. I messed up the waistband somehow. The buttonhole side extends much to far past the center front, but I just couldn’t bring myself to redo it. I didn’t like the pattern instructions for the center back seam. Instructions had you attach the waistband then sew the CB seam, leaving a big, bulky exposed seam. It really bugged me, so I ripped it out and seamed the  CB first, then folded the waistband down to enclose the seam. Little tweak, big difference in appearance that no one but I will ever notice.

liam gregor
back view

The bow tie and suspenders really make this for me. They were so quick to make – like less that an hour total and looked fantastic. I followed the instructions for the David Bow Tie, but cut it a little smaller. The finished width is about 2″ instead of the standard men’s 2-1/2″, but the collar width is the same as a full sized tie, so the standard hardware fits.  The suspenders are just 2-1/2″ strips sewed into tubes using 1/4″ seam allowance, turned and pressed to 1″ wide and criss-crossed in back. Hancock’s had suspender clips and bow tie hardware, but no 1″ strap adjusters, so I just fit the suspenders and left extra length in the back to and an adjuster later.

liam gregor
bow tie and suspenders
liam gregor
suspender back

More fashion news tomorrow…

summer lovin’

Not much new here. Unless you count the fact that Kellan is 11 months old and standing unassisted and signing “more” and clapping and working on his 8th tooth and stuff. Otherwise, same old, same old. I mean, the fat boy is dropping most of his daytime feeds and, sure, mommy hasn’t pumped in weeks, but that’s not news. 

Well, there are the dragon raids… I guess that’s something.

daddy, liam, and kellan
my boys
liam and kellan
liam and kellan
liam and kellan
liam gregor
kellan robert
liam gregor
kellan robert

and the ever-present dragons, naturally.

liam gregor

The dragon tail (Liam’s “pikey tail”) is made loosely following Running with Scissors’ instructions. I used old tee shirts, didn’t measure anything and stuffed the spikes. The wings are from the same red tee that made the spikes and some girls knee-high socks, minus the feet, with some elastic across the back. Quick and dirty, but better than nothing. The poor kid had been running around with a towel over his head and a rubber snake down the back of his diaper whenever he played dragons. Bad mommy.

seemed like a good idea at the time

So, the big boy likes to throw things. A lot. In the house. Big things, little things, hard things, soft things. You get the idea. In efforts to minimize destruction and hold on to what little sanity I have left, I figured I should give him something appropriate for indoor tossing. Specifically, bean bags.

These would be easy and quick with stash fabric, but I took an even easier route and bought a cute charm pack from Walmart. No cutting! Just slap two 5″ charms right sides together and sew around the perimeter, leaving an inch gap for turning. Turn right side out forming a bag. Fill each bag with some small dried beans using a funnel or paper cone. I used dried split peas, because they were the cheapest, two 16oz bags of peas filled 8 bags. Top stitch the perimeter, as close to the edge as you can, closing the opening. I used the straight stretch stitch, for added durability. The simple straight stitch just looked a little weak (see the pic below).

This really works best (read: fastest) when completed in assembly line fashion. Sew all the pairs together, then turn and fill them, then topstitch each, closing the opening. Done.

bean bag
seam (1/4") around perimeter, leaving opening for turning
bean bag
turn right-side out
bean bag
add dried beans
bean bag
fill to about 2/3 full
bean bag
clean up spilt beans
bean bag
sew around perimeter, closing opening
bean bag
bean bag
full o' beans

There are probably 1,000 prettier tutorials on the web for this. It’s so easy. I finished 8 bags in under 2 hours. Probably in an hour, I wasn’t paying attention.

Well now we have these so we can redirect the boy – “Don’t throw that in the house. Throw your bean bags.” And that’s cool. But (and you experienced parents saw this a mile away, I’m sure) now we need to figure out how to get him to throw them at an appropriate target. Strangely, a bean bag to the side of the head can be startling. Sigh.

In summary, it seemed like a good idea at the time.