Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dreaming of a Wine-o Christmas

So, I got inspired today to do some serious Christmas preparations and start making the not-more-cookies gift we give to family and friends around the holidays. This year, we're giving bottles of wine in handmade wine totes, which is what I began making today. 

The pattern was inspired by a free craft idea from Jo-Ann Fabrics, and I altered it to fit the season by choosing gray felt with red embroidery. The construction is pretty simple; cut two 13.5"x9" rectangles, two 4.5" circles, and one 4" cardboard circle. Sew one of the rectangle pieces on the 9" side, then sew one of the felt circles to the bottom. The second rectangle pieces is lining. So, you sew that up the 9" side and place it inside the constructed piece. Finally, glue the last felt circle to the cardboard circle, stick it in the bottom and voila! You're done sewing.

Next step is to embroider, which I don't have much experience. You Tube is a great source for "how too's," and that's where I learned how to do the blanket stitch used on the handles and around the top. The handles are two 12"x1" pieces of felt stacked and blanket stitched all around. You can either glue or sew the handles to the tote. 

The embroidery is going to take a while, but while I'm doing that I can brainstorm what to embellish the sides of the tote with. Martha Stewart's has templates free to download. Maybe I'll find some Christmas-y template and cut out something in felt? I don't know. Post a comment if you have an idea, please.

In total, I sewed 8 totes today, a day well spent. Since I'm so ahead of plan, maybe I'll make wine-glass charms to go with them!? That will have to come after the coat I'm knitting for Livvy, the two handbags I'm making for gifts, not to mention the long list of other craft ideas I have for presents...

I'll post more pics as I put the finishing touches on the wine totes. What are you making for your not-more-cookies gift this year? Post a comment. I'd love to know!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

LivvySue Boutique

So, it all started because I needed bibs with better coverage for Olivia and was feeling guilty for using safety-pinned Ikea towels. My mom and I went to the fabric store and picked out some cute prints, and started brainstorming different ways we could make the bibs. One thing led to another, and we decided to open an Etsy store with sewn items made by us - three generations of girls, me, my mom, and my daughter (our model). LivvySue Boutique was born.

Ironically, we still have not made a bib. We got excited about trying some other things - outfits, mostly, and hair pretties. My expensive taste got us deep into designer fabrics like those by Alexander Henry and Amy Butler that don't come cheap but make darling garments. 

Our core item is a pant and tee set. The pants have a wide cuff and an elastic waist with a decorative button, while the tees - both long and short sleeved - feature an applique of a variety of sizes, shapes and placement.

More items and designs to come. It's been a fun process - just waiting for our first sale! 

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Olivia's Christmas Coat

I'm in a frazzled frenzy to make holiday gifts - so many things on my list and time is extra compressed this year with the presidential election taking up an enormous amount of my husband's time and attention, leaving me basically a single mom until November 4th. 

My biggest holiday undertaking is knitting the Debbie Bliss Smock Coat for Olivia. This is what I'd like her to wear in our family Christmas card picture. I've calculated out the inches I have to knit each day to finish by Thanksgiving. Before I began, I was behind schedule it seemed. Seven inches of the back are finished - endless miles of knit, purl, knit, purl, knit... to go. The pattern is from the Debbie Bliss Simply Baby book, previously featured on this blog. 

The yarn is from KnitPicks. I love this yarn store because it is affordable, especially for projects that require many skeins. The Smock Coat takes 10! The yarn I bought is DK weight CotLin in Moroccan Red, 70% Cotton and 30% Linen. It feels substantial for an over coat (I plan to make a plaid dress for her to wear under it) and knits up nicely and consistently.  The first picture above is from a public flickr album where someone posted their finished garment. The second picture is my coat in progress.

I added another blog to my blog roll - Boston Mamas. If I had time, this is what I would have liked Cool Midwest Mom to be. The writer, Christine, among other contributors, reviews products and services for moms everywhere, not just in Boston. They have regular give-aways, so make sure you check them out.

Finally, we took Olivia to the pumpkin patch last weekend. I experienced the annual trip to Fulton Farms in a whole new light seeing it though Olivia's eyes. Check out the slide show of pictures from our trip on the main page of this blog. It was totally worth the trip to buy pumpkins at a farm and much more meaningful than picking them out of a corrugate bin in our local supermarket. :-)