Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

My parent's yard looks fantastic and we're ready for the trick or treaters to come-a-knocking.My dad and I usually come up with something(s) new each year. Sometimes it's big, over the top scares and sometimes it's the small, details that creep out the older kids. This year my dad had the idea to have a bowl full of human teeth. Gross. I made them from translucent sculpy and bloodied them with red food coloring. We put them, in all their horrible grossness, on the tray of our antique high chair. It's officially the worst things we've ever done. They're just awful. Ew.I'll post our costumes in the next few days, but for now I'm off to enjoy some hot cider and snickers bars with my boys. Happy Halloween everyone!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another Kind of Pumpkin Head

I picked up this wonderful, handmade squash hat at the produce stand at Fall City Farms a few days. Isn't is darling? I couldn't help myself, it was too sweet. The knitter herself wasn't there, but her son was there helping us load pumpkins, pick out local honey sticks and selling us fresh pressed cider. The whole place - the donkeys and friendly cows, the pumpkin patch and sunflowers, and especially the friendly people and their hand knit goods were just charming. I think it's my favorite pumpkin patch experience to date.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Has Gone to Our Heads

Sorry about that post title. Sometimes I can't help myself. Anyway, as you can see, Old Helen, for the first time has a head. I thought she'd be happy about it, but she seems more indignant than ever. Silly old girl. No sense of humor. Here's a bit more Halloween fun from Chez Brewer.
On the mantel.
And in the entryway.
Beckett's drawings have become so refined in the last 12 months. I love looking back at these from years past, remembering a younger version of my boy, and celebrating how he's grown. Blah, blah blah. Sorry for gushing, but it's a sweet life I lead.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Grim, Grinning Ghosts

Last year at this time, B was really into ghosts. Actually "ghosties" have been his Halloween spook of choice for a few years. Spiders had a good run, and bats were in there too. This year, though, it's all about the haunted house. He's obsessed. We couldn't enter any retail space without him spying (and then begging for) some cheaply made (often badly designed) haunted house. I was tempted too, after all I'm a pretty big fan myself. Instead I told him (and told him... and told him again) that we'd make our own.
So we did. His dad was out for the evening, and his little brother was in bed, so I had my big boy all to myself. He got to work making ghosts, monsters and "mean faced pumpkins". I worked on the house itself, under his direction. He wanted tall, skinny windows downstairs, round windows upstairs and a rickety fence. And, of course, a door that actually opens. Done and done. I meant to make a quick, simple home for B's creatures, but I got sucked in. It's a great way to spend an evening, lemme tell ya. The house is black cardstock, cut with an x-acto. I used small amounts of black electrical tape too, to attach the rickety fence and the base. Then B attached the haunters-in-residence with scotch tape. I love this thing so much. I hope it holds up as well as his original Halloween masterworks from previous years which are all up in the apartment and have been since October 1st. Yeah, we're those people. But only for Halloween.
I'll post more of our decorations tomorrow. It's a lot you've all seen before, but dear Old Helen, who has been so sorely neglected by my utter lack of grown up lady-sewing, is sporting a new festive holiday look. I think you'll like it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

KCWC Day 4,5,6,7 and Beyond

I know I warned that I had a busy few days at the end of this KCWC, but things got ridiculous. Spontaneous house guest, gastric upset baby, a sickly pooch, a pumpkin patch trip, zoo trip, multiple classroom work shifts at B's school, etc etc etc. It's been nuts. I kept plugging away at my sewing list and I squeezed in my one hour a day, but I'll admit to being less than stellar during said hour. But hell, I kept at it and I proud of that. B, on the other hand is completely over it - to the point where he's compelled to interfere with anything sewing related, even photo taking.In addition to the finished things I posted last week, I have 3 pairs of pants and 3 tee shirts that are in various states of completion. I also spent a few of my hours working on this one exciting idea, only to have it all fall apart on me. It's still on my mind. Even as I was working on the above mentioned unfinished cords and tees, I was half pondering the one that got away. Maybe I'll get back to it after Halloween.
I could have cranked out a lot more had I focused on things for Calder, but I was really pulled toward clothes for Becks. I can find commercially made, stylish, age appropriate bits of cuteness in Calder's size. I find loads of them, even when I'm not looking. But B is so tall that at the ripe old age of 4, he's really limited to what much older boys are into. It's just so lame to put my vibrant kid in heather gray and khaki every day. So this week was really about him.

All in all, I had a phenomenal time, KCWC got me off the couch and back into myself, I love the things I did complete, and I'm happy to say that my unfinished pile is motivation in itself. I haven't taken a full hour a day, but I also haven't retreated to the couch. Thank you all for your kind words here and on flickr! It means the world to be complemented by such talented folks! And HUGE thanks to Meg at elsiemarley for hosting KCWC again. It's the best. I can't wait til next time!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

KCWC Day 3 - Woodland Loungewear

... You know, for all the woodland lounging we do. I'm a little short on words tonight. Too much sewing to think in verbal terms? Maybe. Too much Twin Peaks on Netflix calling me away from the computer? Definitely. But even with my vocabulary failing me I can tell you that I'm crazy happy with today's sewing. I spent a few hours more than the requisite one today, knowing that the back half of my week is a little full. I wanted to make the boys some matching around the house clothes. Cute enough to be worn in public, but cozy enough to sleep in. I had this wonderfully soft brown and cream stripe cotton knit, green interlock knit and matching ribbing.
I made Jonesie legging pants, which are surprisingly hard to find in his size in quality fall/winter weight fabric. And I made him a 3/4 sleeve tee with a little toadstool pocket. I'm a fan. Stripes, mushrooms, what else do you need?
For Becks I toned down the woodsy-ness a little. He didn't complain, in fact he loves what I made and wants to wear it to school pronto. Though there were some side remarks about foxes or acorns, in lieu of mushrooms. We'll see, kiddo.
His pants are wide leg trouser sweats. Is that a thing? Trouser sweats? I'm pretty sure I could live in trouser sweats. I'm pretty sure B could too. The waist is cinched pretty tight. He's a long, but pretty lean guy these days. It makes for a funny shape in the photo, but these pants fit him really nicely. Too bad my kids are such awful models. I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.
Finally, B's shirt. It's a slim fitting long sleeve tee with ribbing cuffs. Nothing too fussy, but it's cute and comfy. It's edges are all finished with ribbing or hemming. The edges of Jonesie's tee are mostly just serged. All of these are made from my own, homemade patterns. Don't let that fool you, though. There's nothing tricky about making this kind of homemade pattern. Particularly when working with oh so forgiving knits, and when drafting for kids - they're essentially just rectangles with limbs.

Please head on over to the flickr group and check out what everyone else has been making. There are some incredible things. I'm coveting much of the fabrics used and the pattern following skills displayed. Man, there are some awesome patterns out there. I really need to get over that hurdle and join the party!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

KCWC - Day 2

I almost called this post Little Brother Meets a Viking because I recently (very recently) bought a Husqvarna Viking serger. It's not fancy, neither bells nor whistles, but it's a real, quality, used- but well maintained, serger of my very own. I'm still learning how to not feel like an idiot when I sit down in front of it, but we're getting along quite well. As happy as I am, my little Brother sewing machine seems thrilled to get down to some good old fashioned top stitching and hemming.

Those of you who know me know that I never let my lack of a serger stop me from working with knits or attempting any imagined projects. Neither should you! I've gotten along fine with a zig zag stitch, and I never would have made the serger investment had I not put in many hours discovering what kind of sewing I'm passionate about - and what specific benefits a serger would have for me. But it's here now, so I made my first attempts on these simple corduroy pants for Jonesie.
And some legging pajamas for B. Nothing fancy, but perfect for a long, dark, rainy evening like this one. I think that big empty brown shirt is begging for a little something. Maybe a screen printed monster? Both the jammies and the little pants are patterns of my own. Which means they are first traced from existing garments, then altered for lanky Brewer boy frames.These aren't exactly feats of creativity, but I feel good about them. They're classic and comfy, they fit the boys nicely and they were just the kind of easy first hurdle to build my confidence for the rest of the week. There's nothing quite like the camaraderie of KCWC, though, to get you going. It's the best.

Monday, October 10, 2011

KCWC - Day 1

Happy Kid's Clothes Week Challenge everyone! You'd think that since I jumped the gun by a week (I was fully convinced that KCWC started last Monday) that I'd have gotten a head start. No dice. The flickr group is already filling up with amazing things, but all I have is washed, dried and folded piles of fabric. Mountains, really, and such wonderful mountains they are.My project list might be a bit ambitious, as evidenced by the magnitude of my fabric piles. I'm so excited though, so why not shoot for the moon?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Moomin Mail

My cousins Annie, Erik and Kimberley in Norway are easily some of my favorite people. There are few people on this great earth that I'd rather spend time with and I miss them like crazy. I've been thinking (and talking) about them so much these past 2 weeks. I've been telling Beckett stories of when we were kids, and using some supplies that Kimberley gave me and just generally feeling so lucky to have them in the world. Sappy, I know, but I can't help myself.So yesterday, out of the blue came this package. It was from Annie, her husband and her 2 boys (who are the same age as mine!) and it was filled with Moomin goodies. It's so sweet and so well timed I can hardly stand it! It made my day, and the boys' too.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hitting the Walking

While I did do some pattern drafting and cutting today, piles of pencil smudged dot paper don't make for the most charming KCWC photos. So here's this, which counts for the "kid's clothes" bit - but is from last friday - so misses the "week challenge" bit.A couple Christmases back, I took an original Beckett drawing and screen printed it onto t- shirts. These shirts are still pretty popular 'round these parts, but B's drawing style has become so incredibly expressive - such character and imagination - that for Tall, Dark and Husbandy's birthday I figured it was time for a B sketch tee redux.I used the drawing fluid method to prepare the stencil. It's not the most sophisticated way to screen print, but it's fantastic for children's drawings. I printed 2 grown up sized sweatshirts, a kid sized t shirt and a baby long sleeved tee. Then my parent's caught wind and quickly tossed another few shirts into the mix. Preparing the stencil took about an hour,then I left it to dry overnight. The printing took 30 minutes or so. Perfect. Quick, simple, perfect.

***I'm an idiot. I totally thought KCWC started today. Oops! It's next week! I guess I got a little head start on my pattern making, huh?***