Suzy Ultman Dolls

Suzy Ultman Fabric
Suzy Ultman is one of my favourite illustrators. Her images are whimsical and colourful, with a modern take on a retro vibe. Characters are odd and cute, without being cutesy. I’m not even sure if that makes sense–all I know is this: her images make me happy. I’ve been slowly collecting Suzy Ultman fabric, using elements as patches for my airplane activities envelope and teacher gift bags.

When I spotted this fabric on sale at Hawthorne Threads, I snatched up 2 yards. Each doll measures about 10″ tall, perfect for small stuffed dolls. Last week, we had friends over on a playdate and the littlest was celebrating her 2nd birthday. I quickly sewed up 2 dolls and Froo decorated a birthday gift bag. It was all very last minute and I forgot to take a photo.

However, Froo insisted that I make her 3 dolls and chose the ones she wanted, along with the backing fabric for each doll. Her mind would not be swayed, so I had to cut into some fresh fabric that I’ve been saving. A couple of hours later… et voilà! Suzy Ultman dolls. I am smiling just looking at them:
Suzy Ultman Dolls
Boo wanted one too–he kept trying to steal the birthday girl’s dolls, saying, “my birthday!”. I picked a doll wearing a squirrel costume, just so I could use Festive Forest by Allison Cole for the backing fabric.
Suzy Ultman Dolls
Froo has a great eye for fabric selection. I guess I buy fabric that suits my style, so inevitably, everything matches, but I would have chosen other prints scraps that needed to be used up. The colourful hearts on the white background is from Novelties, by Timeless Treasures. The pink gingham is from Fly a Kite, by Riley Blake–leftover from Froo’s quilt. The yellow bumblebee print is from Lecien, I had one fat 1/8 of it and used it up on 2 dolls. The last one is the one I chose (which is why it doesn’t match the others).
Suzy Ultman Dolls
I took solo shots of each doll, since they seem to have their own little personalities. The dolls are on top of boxes by Paperchase for Target that I bought last winter.
Suzy Ultman Dolls
Suzy Ultman Dolls
These dolls are such a big hit with Froo! Not so much with Boo. I don’t think he really wanted a doll–just the attention that you get for your birthday. Both Froo & Boo have crazy-after-swimming-lessons-hair going on:
Suzy Ultman Dolls Suzy Ultman Dolls
Finally, a photo of Froo’s 3 dollies enjoying a peaceful, afternoon nap:
Suzy Ultman Dolls
This marks my first summer project of the year. I don’t have too many sewing projects planned for this season–lots of outdoorsy things instead, but I did receive a nice package in the mail:
Deer and Doe Patterns
Eek! Have you seen a better looking tank blouse pattern than the Datura? I added the Sureau dress at the last minute because it’s not everyday that you receive mail from France. Besides, I love a dress with 3/4 length sleeves. I can’t wait to get started!

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Spring Cleaning: Froo’s Toys

Spring Cleaning: Froo's Toys
I can’t believe the first day of summer is tomorrow! Spring went by in a flash–reminding me a couple of days ago that I hadn’t made my spring cleaning project for Froo. It’s been 2 months since I made Boo’s spring cleaning fabric bins! With mere hours until tomorrow’s deadline, I finished just in time.

The teacher in me loves buying learning toys (the kind used in school, not the ones that light up and make sounds). The mom in me goes nutty when itty bits of toys are scattered around the house. I put all of the educational toys in a pink box, thinking that would keep them organized, but it’s usually empty because the contents have spilled over:
Spring Cleaning: Froo's Toys Spring Cleaning: Froo's Toys
Not even staged. If it were, I would have put pants on Boo. What’s been bugging me is the cross-contamination of non-learning toys with learning toys. Also, I think we are missing a couple of counting bears, which is why I suspect Froo’s counting is a little wonky. The bears are often used as pretend gummies for tea parties and picnics.

Solution: Anna’s (of Noodlehead) open wide zippered pouch. It’s an amazing (and free!) tutorial to make a zippered pouch, with instructions to make one in various sizes.
Noodlehead's Open Wide Zippered Pouch
I love how they turned out! The contrast bottom fabric is called “Leaf Garden in Coral” from the Nested Owls collection by ADORNit and the solid colours are Kona Aqua, Medium Pink, Parchment and Grass Green.

I added twill tape to the zipper pull with a bit of brown grosgrain ribbon sewn at the end. Just a cute way to add a stamped label and to make it easier for Boo’s chubby fingers to open the pouch. I first learned of the idea here and have been using it ever since to personalize items. The stamps were purchased at Michael’s in the $1.50 bin.
Twill Tape and Grosgrain Ribbon Stamped Labels
I made the pink one first, using the exact dimensions for the large pouch. It really does open wide, so you can see the contents inside. I used muslin as my lining.
Noodlehead's Open Wide Zippered Pouch
I made the green one second, lengthening the green portion by 3 inches, in order to fit the clock. I ran out of interfacing, so I didn’t use any, which makes for a wimpy, yet cute pouch, nonetheless.
Noodlehead's Open Wide Zippered Pouch
I used fusible fleece on the next one, the parchment colour lengthened by 2 inches. The structure on this one is the best.
Noodlehead's Open Wide Zippered Pouch
Finally, this last pouch was made in the medium size and I had just enough interfacing for it. This one would be the perfect size for makeup. Perhaps when Froo & Boo outgrow these toys, I can just cut off the twill tape and use it for just that purpose.
Noodlehead's Open Wide Zippered Pouch
I know it seems a little backwards to put the printed fabric on the bottom and the solid coloured fabric on top, but it makes for easier identification when all of the pouches are in the pink box:
Noodlehead's Open Wide Zippered Pouch
The above photo makes me incredibly happy. I don’t even care that I forgot to make a pouch for the ice cream learning toys in the first photo. Spring done, we are ready for summer!

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father's Day!
The hubs is a difficult person to give gifts to. There are many reasons, of which I am sure are common among most men, but the main reason is that he doesn’t want me to “waste” money on him, insisting he doesn’t need anything and has everything he wants. What he doesn’t realize is that it puts more pressure on me to give him a meaningful gift and robs me the joy of giving gifts (because it really does make me happy). He is slowly learning to graciously accept gifts, especially when the kids are involved.

This morning, the hubs took Froo & Boo to our local doughnut shop for breakfast doughnuts. He usually takes them on the weekend, to give me a bit more time to sleep-in. The last time the hubs went, he told me that the doughnut man said, “see you next week!” I panicked, worried that we were eating too many delightful fried puffs of dough. So I put a stop to the weekly weekend doughnuts. The hubs was sad because he felt like he broke a promise with the doughnut man–who is so nice and gives Froo & Boo free doughnut holes for the car ride home. For Father’s Day, I decided the hubs should mend his relationship with the doughnut man.
Doughnuts for Father's Day
Doughnuts for Father's Day Doughnuts for Father's Day
While my family was out, I made coffee and cleared the surface of the fridge to make room for the hubs’ gift.
Coffee & Doughnuts for Father's Day
Ta da! Shrinky Dinks photo magnets. The hubs likes to collect magnets on our travels, so I thought a couple of personalized magnets would be extra special. The idea was based on this pin, but I came up with my own variation, since the hubs never wears neckties.
Father's Day Shrinky Dinks Magnets Father's Day Shrinky Dinks Magnets
Froo also made her daddy a princess-themed card:
Father's Day Shrinky Dinks Magnets
This was my 2nd attempt at Shrinky Dinks (you can read about my first attempt here)–they turned out much better this time. I left them in the oven for a full 6 minutes before pulling them out and flattening them down with a spatula. They pop out a bit more on Froo’s pink magnet board:
Father's Day Shrinky Dinks Magnets
Since the Shrinky Dinks sheet is printed using an inkjet printer, I tried to fill up my entire sheet before printing and made a couple of square photo magnets of the hubs birthday several weeks ago and small keychains. The circles started off at around 1.5″ in diameter, but ended up a mere 1/2″ circle. Very tiny–just like Froo & Boo when they were newborns:
Father's Day Shrinky Dinks Keychains
Father's Day Shrinky Dinks Keychains
I used Photoshop to edit my photos and add text–making it much easier than writing out my message on paper. I erased the background around each of our heads, but it wasn’t necessary to get it really fine since they were cut out afterwards. A screenshot of my layout on a letter size document at 300 pixels/inch:
Shinky Dinks Photoshop Layout
It’s important to lighten the photos drastically. You can see how the washed out photos in the before photo results in normal looking colours in the after photo:
Shrinky Dinks - Before Shrinky Dinks - After
A HUGE Happy Father’s Day to my dad (Haboji) and my dad-in-law (Yeye)! We love you so much! Froo & Boo are incredibly lucky to have you both in their lives.

Froo & Boo are excited to have their daddy at home, after he spent an entire week in Las Vegas for a nerd conference. I am relieved and thankful that he is home–these 2 boogers require oodles of energy! I hope you have a very Happy Father’s Day!
Froo & Boo Father's Day

Froo’s Pre-K Graduation + Teacher gifts

Froo's Pre-K Graduation
Froo's Pre-K Graduation
Froo's Pre-K Graduation
Froo's Pre-K Graduation
Froo's Pre-K Graduation
Froo's Pre-K Graduation
Froo's Pre-K Graduation
My first baby graduated pre-kindergarten yesterday. I didn’t realize that it was such an important milestone, but looking back at this school year, I can see how much Froo has grown. She came home with a booklet of self-portraits drawn almost every month–the difference between September and June is astounding!

Froo’s graduation was held at City Hall. Super cute. I was able to convince Froo to wear her chiffon geranium dress. I could see her twirling and watching her dress flutter–I think she might even like it now! I curled her hair for the first time. She refused to wear her graduation hat. I don’t blame her, I never wore mine at my undergrad ceremony. I had my hair in an updo. Anyhoo, Froo’s star balloon floated up to the ceiling. I’m going to take it at as a positive sign that her future is bright.

Before the ceremony started, Boo ran around like crazy and sat with the other kids, thinking he’d be graduating, too. We got him to sit still for the ENTIRE ceremony by giving him a ring pop. He’s only had it once before at a birthday party and behaved like a zombie fixated on the one thing. Whatever works?

Froo’s preschool has a no-gifts-for-teachers policy (unless the gift is something that can be used in the classroom, ie. crayons). It goes against everything I believe in–I love giving gifts as a token of my appreciation. However, I don’t like to break rules. So I refrained from giving gifts. But then I saw other moms giving Christmas and Valentine’s gifts to the teachers and decided (one day before graduation) it was time to break a rule. I have no regrets.
Teacher Gifts Teacher Gifts
Teacher Gifts
Since I wanted to make sure the gift wouldn’t end up as a classroom resource, I decided to make personalized handmade gifts. I used pre-made muslin bags and added appliqué elements from Suzy Ultman’s Handle With Care fabric and hand-stamped each teacher’s name. Inside each bag contained a kitchen towel with a fabric border that I blogged about here. Froo signed a card for all 4 of her teachers–I only hope they know how much they are appreciated.
Froo's Pre-K Graduation
I feel that it won’t be long before I am the one looking up at Froo. My heart is about to burst–thus ending this post.

A sheer Wiksten tank

Light Grey & Navy Blue
The 2 colours that I wear regularly are light grey and navy blue. You would think that I was in my own version of a school uniform. I try to mix it up by adding prints, polka dots or pops of colour, but grey and navy are usually the foundation on which my outfits are built.

For my last online order of fabric, I bought grey gingham voile on clearance–hoping to make another Wiksten tova, since my Nani Iro tova gets so much wear. What I ended up with is a slightly stiffer and shinier version of chiffon. The description read that it was “cotton voile”, but in the fabric composition section, I didn’t read the label: 100% rayon. Yikes. The colour and size of the gingham are just right, but the sheer quality of the fabric is better suited for a Wiksten tank. A happy accident, considering the warmer weather!

Here is my new Wiksten tank:
Sheer Gingham Wiksten Tank Sheer Gingham Wiksten Tank
The rayon voile was not without its sewing challenges. The neck and arm bindings were much more stretched out when cut on the bias, so they needed to be shortened. Also, when ironing, it was hard to get a precise crease, so parts of the shirt are wavy. The bottom hem was a bit of a failure. When I tried to get my hem even along the curve, the only way I could manage was to create little folds, to tuck in excess fabric. I should have serged the edges with a gathering stitch and eased it into place. You can see what I mean in this photo:
Sheer Gingham Wiksten Tank
I’ve made the Wiksten tank once before, also in light grey, briefly described here. I was unsure about using quilting cotton for this pattern because of the way it drapes. So what is my issue with drape anyways? When I wear the tank with a cardigan, my *ahem* boobs create unflattering waves in the front of the shirt. Cardigans are a must for me.
Wiksten tank
I like my new Wiksten tank so much better. I need to wear a camisole underneath, but it’s lightweight and has a nice airy quality to it. Try not to look too closely–my in-laws are visiting, after back-to-back visits from my sister and parents, so I’ve been eating like a tourist for the past month. Doughnuts for breakfast? Fried chicken & waffles for brunch? Dining out? Late night In-N-Out burgers? Check. Check. Check. Check. I think I need to start a smoothie diet with my new Vitamix blender. Yum.
Sheer Gingham Wiksten Tank
Worn with a cardigan. I have about 5 different grey cardigans. I thought I would try tone-on-tone with a different mix of prints. No wavy drapes–woo hoo!
Sheer Gingham Wiksten Tank
Hmm, not sure what I am going to do about my hair, though. I got colour & highlights done a couple of months ago, hoping to cover up my grey hair, but now that my roots are starting to grow, I don’t want to go through the hassle of getting my hair redone. I should just embrace the grey, like I have in my wardrobe.
Sheer Gingham Wiksten Tank