Sunday, September 28, 2008

Kimono Over Here

I'm not so sure about working with a stretch knit fabric. It, well, stretches and makes uneven hems, like on the half-finished kimono pictured above. Just need a little more practice, I guess. To finish, I need to set in the sleeves, make the tie, and top stitch the hems. 

The fabric pattern is mod, which I love on little toddler girls. The finished piece will look adorable with her new sailor jeans. The fabric's weight is nice and airy, perfect for a busy baby running around day care all day. 

Olivia is sleeping peacefully now, taking her morning nap. I'm going to sneak upstairs to work on it a little more. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sew Cool

Because I have infinient free time (ha!), I've taken up sewing. Never considered myself a crafter (still REFUSE to scrapbook), but there is satisfaction in making something useful from scratch, like garments. In this tough economy, I don't always have the extra cash to buy boutique, so I'm creating my own. Between knitting and sewing, Olivia is going to have a boutique wardrobe ala mom. 

The top pictured above is not complete - the sleeves still need set in and the buttons added. The pattern (by Burda, a cool Euro pattern company) was super easy for a novice like me. I got that far within a couple hours - and that's with looking up directions on YouTube! The whole thing including fabric, pattern (which has multiple options and endless uses), bias tape, and elastic was under $15. A shirt like this in a boutique would retail for twice that. 

The fabric on the hanger is for the kimono pattern (also came with the Burda pattern). It's a stretchy knit - a little harder than cotton to work with. I'm going to cut the pieces for that pattern today.

There is  whole lot of ugly out there in the crafting and sewing industry (snowman sweatshirt, anyone?). Weeding through the tacky, my goal is to make hip garments and accessories for Olivia (and maybe myself too), and possibly try my hand at designing. Who knows? Maybe I'll have a knack for it. 

That brings me to this blog... It's getting to be a hassle each week finding new products to feature, and that's no fun for anyone. The scope is going to change to cover my sewing and knitting projects, but I'll also throw in cool products I find along the way. Postings will be irregular (Hey, I work full time and am getting my MBA. Cut me some slack!) - quality over quantity, right?

Thanks as always for reading. :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Road Block to Sentimentality

Seems like a baby boom is happening in my office. Smart, energetic women are waddling around doing a slamin' job with their work all while creating a human life. Women are incredible, aren't we? Anyway, one baby after another has been born, and there isn't enough time in my busy life to knit handmade gifts for all of them, as much as I would love to.

Luckily, there's The Little Things boutique. They just introduced the perfect new baby gift - a personalized soft block called the Buddy Block. Check out the image of the one created with Olivia's newborn picture and one-year birthday picture - how sweet is that? 

Each Buddy Block is custom made. Upon ordering, send a JPEG of the image you'd like printed on fabric and any specifications on colors. The Little Things boutique then makes your block out of complementary fabrics - two sides with a sweet, Laura Ashley-esq print and two sides with a soft, textured fabric. Each block is stuffed soft fiberfill and a rattle can be inserted at no additional charge. 

Dreamed up by one of CMM's favorite etsy store owners, the Buddy Block makes a great gift for new parents, grandparents, military families with deployed moms or dads, and an interactive gift to for toddlers to learn family members' faces. The Buddy Block retails for $20 and can be bought here

While browsing, be sure to check out The Little Things other great products - I love their baby bibs and boutique rattle ball toys

Monday, September 15, 2008

All Tied Up **CONTEST**

My schedule feels all tied up recently... I just returned from a 4-day business trip out west and have no idea what time my body thinks it is (I'm writing this at 5 a.m. EST). There's so much to do at home, let alone the clean up needed at work and with my MBA school projects. And all I really want to do is snuggle up with Olivia and just be with her. 

One thing Olivia is enjoying doing is letting me play with her hair. It's become a fun way to spend time with her while getting something done - something for me, something for her. I found these super trendy fabric button ties from Bows 2 Cute, a CMM fav. These "Button Pony Os" are made from a rounded edge metal button with a traditional ponytail holder attached.

The buttons are wrapped with the fabric of your choice - more than a dozen to choose from. 
Similar products retail at shi-shi boutiques for more than $8 each. Bows 2 Cute offers two sizes, the smaller for $1.75 and the larger for $2.50. What a steal! The smaller size, 7/8" diameter, is perfect for toddlers, while the larger size 1.5", is best for young girls. I tried the smaller size on Olivia, and it does look 2 cute.

Congrats Cool Crafty Mom, winner of our contest! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sock it to Me

Crazy-print socks may not be fashionable for adults, but they are perfectly acceptable (and should be encouraged!) for babies and toddlers. Monkey Toes offers a bucket of them! What's better than that?

Monkey-Toes TO GO is an $18 "aww" factor gift for sure. Your 4 favorite - Buzzy Bees, Little Piggies, or Leap Frog - will be packaged in a Chinese take-out container, packaged and ready for gift-giving at the next baby shower or birthday party you're invited to. Voila! You're ready to walk out the door, present in hand. Sizes range from newborn to 3T. 

If you aren't ready to commit but want to stick a toe in the water (sorry, couldn't help myself), Monkey Toes offers socks sold separately for $5 each. 

Monday, September 8, 2008

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Just in time for the first of September, a couple trees in my neighborhood began to shed brown, crunchy leaves. Olivia is learning to step on them for the joy of the sound it makes. It puts me in the mood to go for a walk in the woods... almost. But then I remember I hate nature. Nature has bugs... and snakes... ew... City girl through-and-through.

Okay, so even if I'm not venturing into a forest, I can bring the forest to me. Craftsbury Kids, a popular online children's boutique, introduced a Woodland Creature collection that includes toys, shoes, clothes, jewelry, art, and more. Each item is has an old-time feel with modern sensibilities. This Afternoon Tea Jacket is prim and tailored, perfect for my girlie-girl. My four-year-old niece would love this heart-shaped Fawn with Tree Pendent. And I have a thing for this Matryoshka Doll - plus it's only 10 bucks!

Not everything in this collection is as affordable. In fact, I think some of the items are WAY overpriced for what they are. Nine dollars for one hair clip? Really? Olivia loses one a week. At that rate, I would be broke! But overall, the fall-inspired products are cozy and would make a sweet treat for you or a friend as we segue into autumn. 

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mom's Turn for BTS Shopping

Our local radio station is running a Back to School Botox promotion for moms. The contest calls for moms to enter a picture of their deepest wrinkle with an explanation of how their kids gave it to them. Some people are outraged by this. I think it's hilarious and fantastic! But while I'm not ready to give an up-close shot of my forehead furrow, I do subscribe to principle of back-to-school shopping for adults. If kids get to freshen their wardrobe, hair, and organization, why shouldn't moms get to too?

To start, I'm getting my hip on at Stevester. Many kudos go to Many Leaves long-sleeved women's tee with silk screened design on a delicious blue cotton garment. The Peacock Poofy Sleeve Top design is gorgeous, and I really appreciate that the T-shirt is cut different than the norm adding texture and interest. 

If your dude needs a make-over, check Stevester's collection for men. The Mountain Scenic print is the newest addition. 

There's also a clearance sale if you're on the hunt for a bargain. Go ahead. Buy something. You deserve something new. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm So Proud to Be a Working Mom

John McCain bringing Gov. Sarah Palin to his presidential ticket as the vice-presidential nominee gave me goosebumps. Normally I would not talk politics on this blog; it's more of a space for fashion, toys, and accessories. But I cannot let this historical announcement go unmentioned - it's definitely a girl-power moment and one I am incredibly proud to share with my daughter.

Gov. Palin is an inspiration to working moms, and I am truly wowed by her tenacity taking on the challenge of stumping, debating, and fundraising all while raising a family of five, which includes a five-month-old with Down Syndrome. I was barely ready to go back to school for my MBA with one child! Regardless of your political leanings, one has to admit this is one impressive lady.

What this announcement boils down to mean to me is women can do anything they put their minds to. Anything. There is no limit to our ability. Whatever it is we want to achieve, we can. Not all of us will run for vice-president. Heck, we might not even run for secretary of our homeowners association. Whatever our passion is, the desire of our hearts, if we put a plan in place, surround ourselves with positive people, and keep our eyes on the prize, we will get there. 

Another factor in all of this is Gov. Palin's husband, Todd. Without him, she could not have gotten where she is. I feel the same way in my life. Without my husband's support, I could not be working on my master's degree or running half marathons or even working full time. It's the team effort where we encourage each other to get after our goals and aspirations that makes it work.

Okay. This went deep today. I promise a superficial posting next time. Something fun and fashionable. 

Speaking of the next post, because I am tied up with school work right now, I'm taking my posting down to 2x per week. It's all I can handle right now. Once I can do more, I will. Thanks for your support.