toddler's apron

My kid's got the best play kitchen ever, so naturally, she needed an apron in her stocking.

But since I didn't want to have to make a new apron every time her head grew, there was the problem of making it adjustable. I didn't have one of those buckles on hand, nor did I like the idea of tying ties at the waist and at the neck every time she wants to put on her apron.

Then I saw this apron (via this motherload list of apron tutorials), which is completely adjustable thanks to just one long tie. Genius!

Rough instructions should you want to make one: 
Measure the kid and decide on your length and widths*, create a pattern piece out of paper and cut out one piece from cool fabric and one from muslin or bedsheet (or whatever you want as a backing). Sew right sides together, turn inside-out, topstitch, sew in casings along side edges, and finally thread through a tie (I use cotton twill tape). 

*Final measurements for my two-year old's apron (add seam allowance if you want to make the same size):
8" from top to waist, another 7" to bottom, total of 15" long
6" wide at top, 12" wide at waist, 14" wide at bottom


And with that final stocking stuffer, I'm signing off for a little while. Instead of a picture of boring poinsettias, I'll give the final word to my purple pansies. (I had no idea these little guys were so hardy.)

Enjoy the holidays!


it's finally done

Wow. I finished this little quilt top and back in February of '08 (original post). I said then that I wanted to use its little size to learn the proper way to bind a quilt. 

Four. Years. Later. 

All the quilts I've ever made made use of some sort of cheater binding -- either folding over and topstitching extra fabric from the quilt back or just machine-sewing on the binding, both of which leave a visible stitch. I finally did it the 'right' way, using using Heather Bailey's instructions.

Sure, I like the result, but meh, I think a little visible stitching is far preferable to so much handstitching.


little gorilla

There is a great children's book called Little Gorilla about a lovable gorilla that gets big and has a birthday.

This little guy was given along with that book to a big, lovable one-year old.

Even though the birthday is in December, I finished this softie back in June (hence the blooming pansies). The pattern (from one of my favourite knitting books; ravelry details here) uses skinny sock yarn, but the size makes him a surprisingly quick knit.

Does it look like a gorilla to you? Maybe I should've stuffed his shoulders more.


a tasty rut

I'm on 'repeat' in the kitchen lately...

brought these cheese balls to a party
...along with a gingerbread cake,
made and devoured this chicken again (it still reigns as the best roast chicken ever),
enjoyed mocha pot de creme with a good friend this season,
froze the extra butternut squash soup,
love that the kid is so into kale chips these days,
and I plan on making up another batch of these lovely cranberry lemon scones soon.

Jeff's the only one trying new recipes. He made Elise's chicken parmesan tonight. Delicious! 



Have I told you lately how much I love the month of December? Crafting, sending cards, counting the days...

Dana over at Made has a great idea for Advent: read a special Christmas or wintery book each day. This, my friends, is right up our alley. We've already started our collection and made our book wish list for the Grandparents. It'll be like watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation every year... kind of.

Here's a new book with lots of inspiration: Countdown Calendars. I'm not sure I'd ever make half of them as written (Is it really necessary to 'count down' to Halloween with candy every day?) but they could easily be adapted for Advent.

And here's a good idea for older kids: an activity advent calendar. I love that she uses her kids as motivators for her own to-do list.

Thanks to a generous friend, we are counting down the days this year with good ol' fashioned chocolate.


temporarily festive sweaters

The assignment: Two cheesy Christmas sweaters for the holiday bash at Jeff's office.

Limitations: Didn't want to buy anything. Had less than an hour of naptime to spend on this.

The process: Used bits of felt from my stash and the sewing machine to make appliques. Safety-pinned them to sweaters we already own.

The result: