The hubs’ first DIY project

Bean Bag Toss Board
Last Saturday, the Froo & Boo family went to the movies in the park. We met up with friends, ate from food trucks and sat on picnic blankets. There were oodles of outdoor activities, bean bag toss being a popular one. The hubs looked at the bean bag toss board and said, “I can make that.”

I raised an eyebrow. The hubs uses hockey tape to “fix” things. That is the extent of his aptitude for anything handy. His usual reaction is to find a barcode to scan–trying to find the best online deal.

“Are you sure? There are hinges on the legs!” (Not to mention dovetail joints, a smooth lacquered surface and a perfectly round cut-out hole.)

“Sure, why not?”, he says.

The next day, the hubs went to the Home Depot while Boo and I were napping. When I woke up, the hubs was putting the finishing touches of hockey tape to his bean bag toss board. He asked me to make some bean bags while Froo decorated the board with crayon drawings of Peppa Pig.
Bean Bag Toss Board
Froo & Boo adore Peppa Pig. The hubs thinks it’s because it’s exactly the kids’ lives in a cartoon.
Bean Bag Toss Board
I think the hubs makes an excellent Daddy Pig.
Bean Bag Toss Board
I used leftover charm squares (5″ pre-cut) from my Lotta Jansdotter Echo cushions to make quick bean bags. I filled them up with poly-pellets until they were 2/3 full, giving me enough room to machine stitch the opening shut. It’s still one of my favourite prints.
Bean Bag Toss Board
Ok, so I’ll admit, I laughed when I saw the bean bag toss board. The hubs traced the kids’ butterfly net to get a huge hole, used hockey tape around the edges and the legs do not hinge, but the kids were really excited–they LOVED it! I later found out that the board is called a cornhole. I think you could fit a dozen ears of corn through this one:
Bean Bag Toss Board
It’s actually a good thing that the hole is so big. Boo gets upset when the bean bag misses, so having a large target to hit increases the probability of the bean bag going in. Froo & Boo use both the bean bags and fabric juggling balls to play.

When I asked the kids to take photos, Froo was playing princess dress-up–wearing a tiara and my mom’s upcycled dress as her princess costume. It’s one of her favourite dresses.
Bean Bag Toss Board
Boo didn’t want to be photographed–he was too busy playing with his Lego DUPLO. I managed to get one blurry photo. I wish there was an Auto-Boo-Mode on my camera. By the time I set up my camera to photograph him, he’s gone. I just have to blindly shoot away in a 2-second time frame. Boo is wearing his favourite shorts.
Bean Bag Toss Board
I’d like to think that I inspired the hubs to take on his first DIY project, but I’m not so sure about that. After I started working full-time, the hubs has been working extra hard to create balance within the family. If anything, I’m inspired by his confidence to simply make something. If it were my project, I would have researched different plans and materials, agonized over every detail and it would have taken roughly 6 months to completion.

He decided to make a bean bag toss board on Saturday, then completed it on Sunday afternoon. It’s not perfect, it’s completely laughable, but it’s a handmade project that makes our family happy. What is better than that?
Froo & Boo

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Tutorial: Adding piping to a skirt hem

Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Froo had a cute dress from Target with a piped hem. The finishing is horrendous, but I guess that’s the way it goes with store-bought clothing on the cheap. When I made Froo a skirt awhile back, I decided to write up a tutorial on how to add piping to a skirt hem, that is completely encased. I tend to put piping on just about everything, since it’s such a great way to add a pop of contrast and create dramatic lines.

I used the free Lazy Days Skirt pattern by Oliver + S because it is oh-so-simple (a 1-piece skirt!) and the hem is completely straight. If you are going to add piping to a skirt with a curved hem, you will need to modify the tutorial by creating a curved bottom hem (at Step 6).

Step 1
Cut your skirt pattern. For my almost 6-year old Froo, I cut a 17″ skirt. Cut another length of fabric 3″ wide. This will become the bottom hem.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 2
Following the pattern instructions, sew up the skirt to make a tube. Line the edge of the piping to the front edge of the skirt. Using a zipper foot, sew the piping onto the skirt. Position your needle to sew as close to the cording as possible–I sew directly on top of the stitching on the piping. Start sewing 2″ from the back seam and finish sewing 2″ to the back seam. Leave a tail on each end that extends 1-2″ beyond the back seam.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 3
To ensure you get a nice finish on your piping, follow the next set of instructions. Sophie, from the blog C’est la vie, has an excellent tutorial on adding piping with clear photos on finishing piping ends.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 4
Pin or clip the piping into place. Line up the piping fold with the back seam. Finish sewing the piping to the edge of the skirt hem.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 5
Sew the bottom hem into a tube with the same seam allowance as the skirt tube. Iron seams open. With right sides together, pin or clip the bottom hem to the skirt, sandwiching the piping in between. Match up the back seams.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 6
Using the original stitching as a guide, sew 1/16″ (or super close) to the left side of the seam. This ensures that any thread that is sewn on the piping will not show through to the other side.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 7
Fold and iron bottom hem 1″. Then iron entire bottom hem up so that the piping is at the bottom.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 8
Replace the zipper foot with the regular foot and topstitch the hem in place. At this point, you will want to match your thread colour, since it will show on the front of the skirt.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 9
Finish the waistband of the skirt. That’s pretty much it! Iron your skirt, or don’t (I didn’t!). It’s up to you, really. I’ve found that with piping and an additional bottom hem, there’s enough weight to the hem that it doesn’t wrinkle as much.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
I guess I should have ironed. Oops.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 10
Take photos of your model wearing the skirt, if she’s willing. I love that the piping on the hem is completely encased–you can see a peek of the inside of Froo’s skirt and it still looks great.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
About the fabric: it’s definitely a favourite–both Froo & Boo love to point out different sea creatures (Boo is obsessed with the Octonauts) and it just feels happy. I pinned it a couple of years ago–it’s called Kelp Forest by Kokka, but I’m pretty sure it’s nowhere to be found on the Internet. Sorry to have kept the good stuff hidden, but I thought you’d like to know. I’m always so curious when I see awesome fabric on a sewing blog and the fabric is unidentified, but anyhoo…

Happy sewing!
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem

Navy & Pink Popover Sundress

There is a very good reason for this girl’s closed-mouth smile:
Navy & Pink Popover Dress
A missing tooth!
Navy & Pink Popover Dress
I think it looks awesome. Or rather, the absence of her tooth looks awesome.
Navy & Pink Popover Dress
The little tooth next to the gap is wobbly. At this rate, it will fall out before her new tooth has a chance to grow, widening the gap. I’m not sure why I find this super exciting.
Navy & Pink Popover Dress
Anyhoo, I made Froo a dress! The Oliver + S popover sundress. A free pattern for the best kind of summer dress–one that can quickly slip on and off over a swimsuit. The pink anchor print knit fabric is the same thin jersey knit that I used for Froo’s scoop neck shirt. I love the hungie gungie version of the knit popover and wanted to make a similar dress with added gathers for fullness. I started with a size 6, then added 6 inches to the width and 2 inches to the length of the dress.
Navy & Pink Popover Dress
I opted for packaged bias tape and piping in navy. I added fusible interfacing to the yoke to give it more structure. Otherwise, I sewed up the knit exactly the same way I would sew a woven, since the seams don’t need to be stretched.
Navy & Pink Popover Dress
This is the best full-length photo I got of Froo’s dress. Every time I ask Froo to stand for a photo, she starts to dance, causing all sorts of blurriness and pulled faces. The dancing is pretty funny, as are the faces.
Navy & Pink Popover Dress
This smile. Hee hee. Not a bad way to end my 100th blog post.
Navy & Pink Popover Dress

A Summer Skirt for Froo

Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
It’s been awhile since my last post! Life has been changing and moving forward quite rapidly, with hardly a moment to sew. I was finally able to squeeze in a sewing project, so I took it slow with embroidered hand stitching. I know, it makes absolutely no sense. I should be whipping up a quick project or checking off items in my sewing queue for instant gratification. Instead, I was led by a pair of purple sandals.
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
I bought Froo a pair of white Saltwater sandals for the summer. I ordered a size up, since my girl is growing like a weed. They were much too big, so I’m saving them for later, but in the meantime, I ordered another pair in her size. Except she wanted them in purple. Shiny purple.

It’s hard keeping up with Froo’s favourite colours! I searched Froo’s closet–she has one purple polo shirt–the one she wore with her Max & Ruby Halloween costume. I’m all for bright show-stopping shoes, but a bit of coordination would bring balance to Froo’s overall look. Besides, these are the shoes she will likely be wearing all summer long.

Instead of going for matchy-matchy, I settled on taupe polka dot fabric and decided to embroider the hem with purple stitches. To keep the skirt simple, I used the (free!) Lazy Days Skirt pattern by Oliver + S.
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
Using this amazing Sashiko embroidered pouch as inspiration, I proceeded to hand stitch some purple perle cotton to the bottom hem. I had 3 shades of purple, so I used all of them to create an ombre effect.
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
The hem is finished with piping and the inside of the skirt has an additional band of fabric to hide the stitching. The extra weighted hem gives the skirt structure, which I’m hoping will eliminate the need for ironing! I love how it turned out!
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
My thoughts on hand stitching? It’s incredibly slow. In a good way. It feels like time slows down, that the world becomes quieter–creating a peaceful space to think clearly. The task is not difficult, yet still requires focused concentration and care. In those quiet moments, I feel like I’ve just hit the “pause button” on life.
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
After my last post, I was planning on taking a short break, but it ended up lasting several months! I wasn’t even sure if I would continue to blog–I had my final blog post in draft mode and was planning to publish it. I came to a point where I just thought, “what am I doing this for?” The easy answers always hold true–that I enjoy sewing and blogging, I get a thrill out of chasing new designs out of my head and I love to create. I just needed to define some new goals.

My previous goals centered around learning new sewing skills. Everything was so exciting–invisible zippers, welt pockets, lining! But once I had accomplished a set of skills and my confidence grew, I knew that I had the ability to pick up new sewing skills. While gaining confidence, I felt that I was losing excitement–which was so discouraging and surprising at the same time.

While my sewing machine was collecting dust, I donated outgrown kids clothes/toys/stuff, put up a gallery wall, transferred Froo & Boo into bunk beds, transformed Froo’s room into a playroom/guest room, built some IKEA furniture, hosted house guests (twice), looked for a job and found a job! I am excited about working at a start-up in the Silicon Valley. The hubs and I LOVE the HBO show, but rest assured, I am nothing like the Canadian guy, Gilfoyle!

My new goal? Instead of collecting sewing skills, I just want to live a creative life. How’s that for a completely vague and unmeasurable goal? I recently read the book “Show Your Work“, by Austin Kleon. I think it’s just the book I needed to read. Keep on creating, keep on sharing. Now, more than ever, I won’t have much time to create, but when I do, I have this space to share my work. I will post when I can.

So I’ve thrown out my old sewing queue. With limited time, I want my sewing projects to count. While redoing the kids’ room, I bought a pair of fabric bins. The horror! I could have made them myself, for cheaper, with just the right fabric… but it felt GOOD. I’ve come full circle–one of my earliest memorable sewing projects were fabric bins for Boo’s nursery. That felt AMAZING! But who knows, maybe projects will still be driven out of necessity, as in this case, to coordinate with purple sandals!
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt

KCW Spring 2014: Froo’s Mini Me

Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
I’ve missed the last 2 seasons of KCW (Kids Clothes Week), so I was determined to participate in this one. As luck would have it, we are away the entire week, so I made Froo & Boo’s outfits last week and photographed them wearing their new outfits this week!
kid's clothes weekThe theme for KCW is “mini me”. I already have several examples of handmade “mini me” garments with both Froo (matching dresses / shirts) & Boo (grey shirts), so instead, I thought Boo could be Froo’s “mini me”. Besides, they were both in need of a pair of easy-wear bottoms and spring-time shirts.
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
For Froo & Boo’s bottoms, the common fabric is Essex yarn dyed linen in denim. The fabric looks like chambray, but with the linen content, has a more textured feel. Froo’s pants are pattern “O” from the book, Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids. Boo’s pants are the art museum trousers by oliver+s. If the combo looks familiar, it’s because I repeated the bamboo knit versions I made for Project Run & Play. Can’t go wrong with what works!
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
While Froo’s pants are wonderfully simple, I love the details of the art museum trousers! The welt pockets took some time sewing in, but give the trousers a professionally finished look. The pockets look a little funky from the inside and I’m not sure if they will be comfortable sitting in–which shouldn’t be a problem, since Boo does not sit still.
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
I thought navy blue would be the perfect pairing for linen pants since the colour works well for both girls and boys. Froo’s pinafore is pattern “R” from the same book. I omitted the frilly sleeves and added a colour block hem, shortening the dress into a top. The navy blue fabric is part of the Uno collection, from the Danish company Stof. The bright pink fabric is Kona Cotton in Pomegranate–also used in Froo’s self-designed dress.
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
I wanted to make Boo a super lightweight, long-sleeve shirt, using the field trip raglan pattern by oliver+s. I have a hard time getting Boo to wear a jacket, so long-sleeve shirts are our happy compromise. The navy slub knit sleeves are slightly sheer, but nice and soft. I added banded cuffs on the sleeves and hem for extra length. I even managed to match up the stripes on both sides!
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
We have enjoyed an early start to spring break with a trip to Legoland, where we celebrated Boo’s 3rd birthday! We celebrated a little early, leaving Legoland yesterday, on Boo’s 3rd birthday. We took advantage of his last couple of days as a 2-year old to get free admission and meals. We are currently enjoying a great time in San Diego!
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
Boo is in many ways, Froo’s “mini me”. He follows her, repeats what she says and mimics everything she does. But with increasing age, begets increasing wisdom–he is completely unafraid of telling his sister she is wrong. Froo is unaccustomed to being told she is wrong–resulting in heated arguments between a 3 and 5 year old pair of accusatory (but loving?) siblings. My ears cannot handle the loud squabbles. I just need to remember the tender moments between them–usually when they are in cahoots, trying to hide something from me. Oh brother.

Boo’s shirt stayed clean for roughly 30 minutes, until it was time for breakfast and became spotted with red smoothie. I can’t believe my Boo is 3! When I asked him if he was big or little, he responded with, “I’m a little bit big, but I’m still little.” I think I’m ok with that. xoxo.
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014

Perfect Pattern Parcel: The Lady Skater Dress

Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I made a dress. But hold on a life-altering moment, I made a dress that I actually like AND one I would wear often AND could work like a boss* (those were actually part of the sewing instructions!). I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I LOVE my new dress!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I’m participating in the Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 blog tour today! Bloggers extraordinaire, Jill (Made with Moxie) and Rachel (Imagine Gnats), have put together a great selection of PDF patterns to support independent designers and to encourage a growing community of makers. Proceeds from Parcel #1 will raise funds to Donors Choose–a charity organization that helps students in need. I’m honoured to be sharing my handmade dress with you!

Parcel 1 CollageThe Skater Dress by Kitschycoo / Dandelion Dress & Top by Seamster Patterns / Summer Concert Tee by Dixie DIY / Ava by Victory Patterns / Accordion Bag by Sew Sweetness

I used black bamboo stretch French terry, my all-time favourite knit, which is also the same fabric I used for Boo’s art museum vest and trousers. It is sooooo soft and drapes beautifully. I would highly recommend bamboo stretch French terry because it doesn’t curl, making it easy to lay flat, cut and sew.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I chose the 3/4 length sleeve option. Then I decided to mix things up a bit and add a cowl neck collar with side zippers, the same way that I made Froo’s yellow sweater. I inched up the front neckline by 3 inches and attached a 5 inch collar. The zippers give me options for wearing the collar in different ways. Scroll down for a mini tutorial!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I can see this dress becoming a staple in my wardrobe. Which is surprising since I hardly ever wear black, solid colours, or dresses. I live in jeans and shirts with happy colours and interesting patterns, polka dots, florals and graphic prints.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
The dress came together really quickly. The instructions were clear and straightforward, with oodles of useful information on sewing with knit fabric. I even bought black serger thread to match my fabric! I like the cowl neck collar the best folded over once.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
As for outfitting the Lady Skater dress, I’m obsessed with my moccasin boots. I can’t help it. I wear them with everything! I ordered the very last pair that just happened to be in my size on sale, as a Christmas present from the hubs. They didn’t arrive for over a month, so I woefully thought they weren’t meant to be. Meanwhile, the hubs felt bad and surprised me with a Wacom tablet for Christmas. Then my boots arrived and I have been wearing them ever since!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
As for my mini tutorial, bear in mind that the zippers have some weight, so the collar doesn’t stand up on its own. If you want a stiffer collar, you could back the fabric with fusible interfacing. Otherwise, let’s begin!

Start by measuring your neck opening and using the calculations in the photo, cut your collar pieces. My zippers are from zipit. You can play around with the placement of the zippers, as long as the width measurements will add up using the calculations below (click on the photo to enlarge):
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Using a zipper foot, sew the tops of the zipper down to the backside of the zipper. Trim edges.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Sew both zippers to the back collar piece first, following the photos below:
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Sew a loose gathering stitch 1/4″ from each length of the front collar piece.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Your collar should now look like this:
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Baste the bottom of the collar closed and put a pin to mark the centre front & back of both the collar & dress. Pin the collar to the dress, with right sides facing together. Serge or sew together. Reinforce the zipper ends by sewing across the bottom of the zipper, trying to get as close to the metal bottom as possible. I don’t have a clear picture of this (sorry!).
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Et voilà!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
There’s still some time to get your Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 before the sale ends tomorrow! There’s also a rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win some great prizes.

Thanks for visiting! Be sure to check out what participating bloggers have created with their parcels:

One Little Minute / SeamstressErin Designs / One Girl Circus / casa crafty / the quirky peach / Kadiddlehopper / Sew Caroline / Groovybabyandmama / Fishsticks Designs / the Brodrick blog / verypurpleperson / sew a straight line / Adventures in Dressmaking / true bias / Idle Fancy / La Pantigana / Crafterhours / Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts / Max California / YoSaMi / la inglesita / Diary of a Chainstitcher / four square walls / Lauren Dahl / Sewbon / mingo & grace / Dandelion Drift / VeryShannon / Sanae Ishida / buzzmills / Sew Jereli / Figgy’s / a happy stitch / Disaster in a Dress / Things for Boys / mama says sew / sew Amy sew / Sew Busy Lizzy / Made With Moxie / imagine gnats

Frozen Elsa Cape

Frozen Elsa Cape
My friend asked if I could make her daughter an Elsa cape from the Disney movie, Frozen. Apparently, Elsa costumes are sold out everywhere. I thought the oliver+s “little things to sew” red riding hood cape pattern would be perfect, so I agreed. Besides, I’m participating in Lightning McStitch’s cover to cover challenge and I’ve been wanting to make another lovely project from the book.

Froo wanted one too, of course. I asked if she would prefer an Anna cape–being the nicer, warmer, happier, and care-free younger sister (ahem), but she was insistent. We also went to a Frozen-themed birthday party for Froo’s BFF, so I thought I would make her one as well. Yup, that’s right, a total of 3 capes! I don’t even like princess dress-up clothes! Seriously. But I loved the movie and I love winter capes even more–so I was determined to make my own version of the Elsa cape and make it right.
Frozen Elsa Cape
I made one small cape and 2 large capes. I lengthened each cape by 10 inches to give it a dramatic princess look. We had to outfit Boo and his bunny to get some photos of all 3 capes.
Frozen Elsa Cape
Frozen Elsa Cape Frozen Elsa Cape
I purchased all of the fabric from Jo-Ann. I scored the polyester shantung in the redtag clearance section for $3/yrd, after an additional 50% discount. It is the PERFECT colour with an amazing flowy drape. Cutting & sewing it, however, was a nightmare. It’s shifty and slippery. I’m pretty sure I started with some skewed pieces (the fabric had to be completely flat before cutting), but the shantung didn’t always match up after sewing it together, whereas, the lining did.

The great thing about making a winter cape in March–the lining fabric was also on clearance. The drawback: there wasn’t quite enough. I used a super cute aqua flannel with white snowflakes for 2 capes and a subtle tone-on-tone white snowflake quilting cotton for Froo’s. There wasn’t enough of that one either, so the hood is self-lined.
Frozen Elsa Cape
The overlay is really quite spectacular. I found a sheer, stretchy fabric with glittery silver sparkle swirls that looks amazing, with even the slightest movement. However, the shimmer comes at an annoying cost: it sheds pixie dust everywhere. The good news–no finishing required! I was going to trim the edges with sequins, but I thought it would weigh down the fabric and seriously, I’m not that crazy. Maybe just a little.
Frozen Elsa Cape
Frozen Elsa Cape
My favourite part of this cape is the fur lined hood! There are iridescent tinsel “hairs” dispersed within the fake fur, giving it a subtle sparkle. Love it. The hood is embellished with snowflake crystals and buttons stitched at random.
Frozen Elsa Cape
I used a big rhinestone aqua button as a closure. I like the bright pop of colour it adds to the cape.
Frozen Elsa Cape
Finally, I bought a couple of bead and rhinestone appliques from Britex Fabrics to make hair clips. There were so many beautiful ones to choose from, but finally, I chose one that resembles a snowflake. I used E6000 glue to attach an alligator clip to the applique.
Frozen Elsa Cape
So my thoughts? The red riding hood cape pattern is amazing. It really is. The shape is circular, while accounting for the curves at the shoulders, with clever arm openings–the design is brilliant! The hubs even said, “that is the best thing you’ve ever made.” I was completely surprised. I mean, I’ve made oodles of things, to which the hubs either says, “that’s nice” or on rare occasions, “that’s very nice”, but this one definitely has that wow factor. An hour later, he scowled at me after vacuuming up all the pixie dust. Hee hee. I should have made the overlay detachable, maybe?

I took some photos of Froo wearing the Elsa cape with her winter wonderland tutu and my wedding shoes. The girl would not stop twirling.
Frozen Elsa Cape Frozen Elsa CapeFrozen Elsa Cape Frozen Elsa Cape
Frozen Elsa Cape
My final thoughts? I sincerely hope Disney does not come out with a new princess movie for a long time. I’m hoping this cape will hold enough magic to last until Halloween! Although, now Froo is asking for an Anna cape and I might be crazy enough to make one…

Tiny Hearts Geranium

Tiny Geranium Dress
I went to a baby shower today! It was an informal gathering where Froo & Boo tagged along for some fun. When it comes to giving baby shower gifts, I am hopeless. I gravitate towards ridiculously cute and impractical party/formal wear, usually purchased last-minute. I mean, someone else will buy the diapers and butt paste, right? Now that I have 2 little ones, I’m getting better (I hope!).

Momma bear is expecting her 3rd baby, so I wanted to give the baby girl-to-be a handmade gift that is both cute and practical. I chose the Made-by-Rae Geranium dress pattern in size 3-6 months. See, I’m learning–I would have made the newborn size, but it’s more practical to leave room to grow! I used white quilting cotton with colourful tiny hearts, from Timeless Treasures, previously used in my Suzy Ultman dolls. The fabric seems thicker than average quilting cotton, which gives the pleats a nice crispness.
Tiny Geranium Dress
The buttons on the back are pale pink, with a frosted heart in the centre of each button.
Tiny Geranium Dress
This is my first time trying out the flutter sleeves. I’ve never tried them before because I was apprehensive about leaving an exposed zigzag finish on the edges. So I played around with some of the decorative stitches on my machine until I found one that I liked. I used a zigzag scallop stitch on the edges of the flutter sleeve and placed strips of Swedish tracing paper underneath to stabilize the stitching. I used Mettler silk-finish 100% mercerized cotton thread, which has a bright sheen, adding a richness to the colour.

I LOVE how they turned out!
Tiny Geranium Dress
I made a tiny mistake. Not really worth mentioning, except you might have already caught it in the previous photo–I cut the back pieces of the lining with the hearts upside down. Oops.
Tiny Geranium Dress
I can’t believe I actually planned a handmade baby shower gift in advance! It seems like an obvious thing: I sew, therefore, I should sew baby gifts. However, I also blog, therefore, I spend waaaay too much time thinking about my sewing projects. It’s not easy to throw a baby gift into the sewing queue, while bumping projects down the list! But this adorable baby dress was well worth the queue jumping. Such a happy little dress!

A Special Baby Quilt

A Special Baby Quilt
The best man at our wedding welcomed his first child, a baby girl into his family on February 10! I am incredibly happy for the new parents and I can’t wait to meet their precious daughter, the next time we are back in Vancouver to visit.

This couple holds a very special place in my heart because they adopted our first baby… a yellow labrador retriever named George. It was a difficult decision to find George a new home, but it was the right one and we are thrilled that he was adopted by friends. Friends who love the outdoors and take George out on nature-filled adventures.
George
George
When I first spotted the Fort Firefly fabric collection by Teagan White, I knew it would be perfect for the new baby. I think her parents would appreciate that it’s not too girlie and the colours are varying shades of earth tones, with a vintage feel. The fabric is also 100% organic cotton, which is perfect for newborn babies. Besides, there are woodland creatures, fireflies and tents!
A Special Baby Quilt
A Special Baby Quilt
Froo & Boo use the quilts that I made for them every night, but they also use them regularly to build forts. We use their kitchen chairs with some extra-large binder clips to keep the quilts “pitched” to the chairs and furniture. (Froo’s quilt is blogged here; Boo’s quilt is blogged here.)
A Special Baby Quilt
These photos were taken last summer:
Quilt Fort
I chose the Firefly Hexi Patch print as the top of the quilt. I love that the hexi print already takes on the look of a patchwork quilt, so all I had to do was quilt on the existing lines with matching thread.
A Special Baby Quilt
The Tree Fort print was used for the backing of the quilt. The print is busy, with animal friends having all sorts of fun in the tree forts. As the baby grows up, I think this print will provide her with oodles of visual stimulation.
A Special Baby Quilt
I used Warm & Natural cotton batting in between the two layers of fabric. The quilt measures 35″ x 35″. I chose this size because I only had to purchase one yard of each print. There was a tiny amount of shrinkage in the wash and after squaring up the fabric, those were the final dimensions.

The binding is from Denise Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy fabric collection, that I’ve had for quite some time. The brown coordinates with the quilt and the posies add a pop of colour to the binding. I machine stitched the binding onto the quilt for a quick finish.
A Special Baby Quilt
I had 2 skinny pieces of fabric leftover, measuring 6″ x 36″. Not really useful for anything else, besides juggling balls! I figured it could be something that the baby could play together with George, since February 10 is also George’s birthday. I’m not even making this up–Happy 7th birthday, old buddy! Hopefully, he’ll know not to rip these ones apart. I placed a small rattle inside each ball, to add auditory stimulation to the development of fine motor skills.
A Special Baby Quilt
Having a baby is an incredible miracle of life. While looking through the photos of George, I found this one. It’s my favourite of the bunch. The mother-daughter bond is a strong one that keeps growing stronger.
Mommy & Froo
Congratulations to the new parents and welcome to the world, baby girl! The Froo & Boo family is celebrating with you. xoxo.
A Special Baby Quilt

Feeling Grateful

My Little Valentine
A couple of days after my last post, the hubs flew to Philadelphia for 9 whole days. With both sets of grandparents living in Canada, I was definitely feeling overwhelmed. But then I started to feel sorry for myself and I knew I had to snap out of it. The moment I start to complain about my life is the moment I feel my unthankful heart start to shrink.

It must have been perfect timing, since the women’s bible study that I attend, is putting together care packages for single teenage moms. Each table is paired with a mom and her precious baby–to provide some basic necessities, treats for the young mom and make a no-sew blanket together.

Confirmed with reading this amazing post on the Momastery blog, I know that I am truly blessed. That the inconveniences of having to do every little thing for my little ones is outweighed by the love, health and two beautiful gifts of life. That the hubs has a career that enables me to stay at home to care for our children. That I don’t have to worry about how I am going to pay for my groceries. There are so many things to be thankful for. I just need to recount the happenings in every moment of my life.

Back to the teenage moms… in 2003, I started my teaching practicum. Green. Thinking I was going to shape the minds of the next generation of young thinkers and doers. One of my first ever students was a 15-year old girl with a 1 ½-year old baby. She was new to Canada as a refugee, with poor English. Upon learning about the horrors of what people endure at refugee camps, I can’t even imagine how much she had already suffered in her life. She showed up when she could, but when she did, she gave it her all. Her work was terrible. I didn’t care. I just needed her to show up.

At that time, I was dating the man who would become my hubs someday. I told him that I didn’t want children because I couldn’t bear the immense responsibility of taking care of a baby and raising a child to become a responsible human being. He agreed. Then we got married. A couple of years later, we had Froo. Even with all of my protestations, the hubs convinced me that it made sense to add a baby to our loving family. I agreed.

Upon returning to work and through a series of unusual daycare circumstances, we ended up putting Froo in a daycare that took care of the children of teenage moms attending high school. These babies were constantly sick, lacking in hygiene and general care. As a mom whose child was in the same environment, it was hard to have compassion for these moms, even though their needs were apparent. I was torn between wanting what was best for my child and knowing that these moms could never give their babies all that they could hope for.

But what do babies really need? After the basic needs have been met, I believe that a baby needs a loving community. People who care, take action and provide. A place where babies are loved and moms feel supported. No matter what. I am incredibly thankful to the church for taking action. For getting women involved in building a community, when it’s so much easier to stay isolated. Helping others is therapeutic in a way that puts things into perspective. It is no coincidence that the gift-giver is often as blessed as the gift-recipient.

I am not trying to pat myself on the back, by no means, I am just grateful for the community that surrounded me, during the 9 days of the hubs’ absence. There were kids programs, mommy groups, playdates and a Valentine’s day party to keep us busy, but most importantly–connected with others.

In my little effort to give hope to the young mom that my table is paired with, I made a personalized cloud pillow for her son. I blogged about my cloud pillows here–when I made custom ones for my mother-in-law’s friend (and amazing poet!), Mary Tang. This time, I used soft, dotted minky with contrast navy piping.
Froo & Boo: Cloud Pillow
Froo & Boo: Cloud Pillow
I want to share Mary’s poem again:

even now

even the moon wanes
even the sun sets
stars ceased to glow
long ago

tides recede and
mountains slide
into seas

blossoms that scent the night
shroud the earth by dawn
and the heat of fierce embrace
fades in the glare of day

yet birds go berserk every morning
bursting their breasts with song
as mourning mists drift away

and the sun rises
again and again
and again

© Mary Tang, 2006

This next photo is taken with a mommy giraffe and her baby. When we were on our cruise last year, I saw them and I knew I had to have them.
Froo & Boo: Cloud Pillow
Okie, that is all. Life is full. Sometimes when life feels half-full or even half-empty, you just need to plug yourself into a community. That is probably my deep thought for the year. My next couple of posts will be about handmade baby gifts! But today, I am just thankful for the hubs being safely home, enjoying warm sunny weather together (he experienced snow storms and power outages–I truly feel for those living through insane winter weather!) and being grateful for my amazing community.

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