Merry Christmas!

Froo & Boo Family Christmas Card 2013
I love photobooths! These photos were taken by Magbooth at the Renegade Craft Fair last Saturday. So much fun! Enjoy your Christmas–may your day be brighter; your heart, happier; your mind, peaceful; and your spirit, overflowing with hope & love. I will be back in the new year!

Mittens, mittens, mittens!

Waterproof Fleece-lined Mittens
Yup, another (7th!) project from the oliver + s “little things to sew” book. Three pairs of mittens for Froo & Boo’s friends, who will be spending Christmas at our home this year. Even though we are a little sad that this will be our first Christmas without our extended families, we are happy to have good friends to celebrate with!

I changed the patten to make the mittens waterproof and fleece-lined! I made sizes S, M & L in different colours, with matching fleece. I love how they turned out! Our friends will be joining us for ice skating lessons, so warm waterproof mittens are definitely needed.
Waterproof Fleece-lined Mittens
The navy blue fabric is quite unique, purchased a couple of years ago at Fabricana. It’s similar to ripstop nylon, but much smoother, with a hint of sheen and stretch to it. I had a bit leftover from a waterproof cover that I made for the Ergo carrier. I used my friend’s cover as a template to make a mini sleeping bag-like hooded cover for Boo. I can’t believe he was ever this tiny:
Cover for Ergo Carrier
For the girls’ mittens, I used waterproof PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) fabric that is intended for washable diapers! I found a small 3-pack sampler at Jo-Ann. Since mittens take up such little fabric, it’s the perfect solution for cute, waterproof mittens. Although PUL is generally used to keep liquids from leaking out (ewww), I’m sure it’ll work at keeping little hands warm & dry.
Waterproof Fleece-lined Mittens
Waterproof Fleece-lined Mittens
Waterproof Fleece-lined Mittens
Technically, the mittens are reversible, but there really isn’t a use for the fleece to be on the outside. Unless to wipe a snotty nose, of course. It was pretty easy to do. I sewed up each outer layer with a 1/4″ seam allowance and the inside fleece layer with a 3/8″ seam allowance. I inserted the fleece layer, wrong side out, sewed them together to create a tube for self-encased elastic, folded the edges in and topstitched them together. Et voilà!
Waterproof Fleece-lined Mittens
I didn’t make any mittens for Froo & Boo. They each have a pair of mittens we bought for them when we went up to Whistler last year. Although, these new ones are much easier to put on. I have such a hard time getting Boo’s chubby and sweaty thumb into his current mittens. I asked Froo & Boo to model the gifts for their friends. Even though the pink ones fit perfectly on Boo, he refused to wear them, choosing to wear the big navy ones instead:
Waterproof Fleece-lined Mittens
Boo cracked his head against the fireplace yesterday, after rolling around on my new exercise ball. Luckily, he’s as solid as a rock and only suffered a minor scratch. The bump on his forehead is more apparent from a side-profile angle. That is my official reason for not sending out photo Christmas cards this year. My unofficial reason might have something to do with Project Run & Play
Waterproof Fleece-lined Mittens
As advent is coming to an end, Christmas is fast approaching! Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas! xoxo.

Busy Placemat for Boo (with tutorial)

Boo loves construction trucks, rescue vehicles, trains, airplanes and tools. I used to cringe at the sight of fabric with dump trucks printed all over it. Now I welcome it with excitement for my Boo. His joy cannot be contained at the immediate recognition of the aforementioned objects of his love. I never thought I would know the difference between a backhoe, excavator and grapple skidder.
Busy Placemat for Boo
Anyhoo, one morning, Boo & I were enjoying orange juice and coffee at Peet’s Coffee. To keep Boo from squirming off his chair, I drew him a picture of a neighbourhood, so he could play with his little firetruck on the page and put out the fires I drew. I even drew him a cat in a tree, but really, don’t firemen have better things to do?? It kept him busy for a long time, so I knew I would need to make him one that’s more permanent.

I started with the drawstring bag from the oliver + s book, “little things to sew“. I wanted to make a bag that would be big enough for a placemat, all of the fun pieces and some of Boo’s favourite trucks. As always, this pattern does not disappoint!
Busy Placemat for Boo
A peek inside:
Busy Placemat for Boo
The outside fabric is organic cotton called Shipyard, by Timeless Treasure. The hubs picked it out for Boo in the clearance section, the time we went to Hart’s Fabric in Santa Cruz. The lining fabric is quilting cotton from Jo-Ann.

I made Boo a tool belt with the same fabric a couple of month ago, after I saw him trying to shove some of his tools down his pants. My little handyman won’t stay still for a photo:
Boo's Toolbelt
The placemat is double-sided, one for a grassy green landscape, the other, a construction site surrounded by dirt. I fused the 2 pieces of felt together with Pellon Wonder-Under, which is sort of like double-sided tape. I added an orange triple-stitch around the edges to match the stitching on the drawstring bag.
Busy Placemat for Boo
The rest of the project is made up of felt pieces. All of the pieces have at least 2 layers, fused together with the Wonder-Under. I did this to make the pieces more durable–some of the pieces from Froo’s quiet book are starting to rip and wear down. Also, the double-stick webbing makes the pieces nice and smooth, while still soft, which would not happen if I used glue. I put them in a clear Ziploc bag, making it easy to spot pieces.
Busy Placemat for Boo
Let’s build a little neighbourhood–starting with some roads:
Busy Placemat for Boo
Busy Placemat for Boo
Oh no! There’s a fire at the house! Wee-wOO-WeE-WoO.
Busy Placemat for Boo
I think I’ll need to make a mailbox for one of Boo’s favourite trucks:
Busy Placemat for Boo
Ok, time to build something. Off to the construction site!
Busy Placemat for Boo
Boo loves playing with these decorative marbles. He uses the front loader to scoop them into the dump truck.
Busy Placemat for Boo
Here’s a quick photo tutorial of how to put the felt pieces together. Uh, please learn from my mistakes–I’m not sure how I’m going to clean my iron. Also, it’s a good idea to keep your desk clean, unlike mine, since the felt pieces are small and quick to disappear.
Tutorial: Busy Placemat for Boo
I think this Christmas gift for Boo will be a hit! Nevermind that the perspective is way off, nothing is to scale and my felt pieces are lacking in detail. I think this placemat will keep him busy at a restaurant, which will make going out to eat all the better. Last night, Boo was not happy with his dinner, so he got up and walked to the door saying, “I’m going to drive daddy’s car and go to a restaurant. All. By. Myself.” My not-yet-3-year-old already sounds like a teenager. We got him to finish his dinner after threatening a lump of coal in his stocking.

Some of the presents under the tree had already been “accidentally opened”, so this one will be hidden until the 25th. I’m hoping to get one last handmade gift done before Christmas!
Bartacks and Singletrack : want to go all the way with me?
p.s. The amazing Lightning McStitch of Bartacks and Singletrack, is hosting a challenge to complete all 21 projects from the book! I’ve sewn up 5 projects from the book so far, this being my 6th. I love seeing all of the unique interpretations and the faces of little ones enjoying their handmade goodies. The flickr group is full of wonderful creations from the book!

Designing for Project Run & Play

Project Run & Play Season 8: Froo & Boo
If you have arrived from Project Run & Play, then you have already found out that I am a designer for season 8 of Project Run & Play! For those of you who visit now and then, it should make perfect sense for my lack of regular posts in the past couple of months. The anticipation for the season to begin has stifled my ability to sew anything. Seriously. Instead, my mind is preoccupied with designs, colours, fabric and thoughts of sewing.

As a past home sew-along winner, I was offered a designer spot by Elizabeth and Liz in October, while on holidays in Vancouver, Canada. It makes me happy that Froo still wears the Kate Middleton coat I designed for her. My mom took this photo of Froo at Central Park in Burnaby, my old hometown:
Project Run & Play Season 8: Froo & Boo
I nervously accepted and proceeded to do some research–I scanned through seasons 1-7 of Project Run & Play until my eyeballs dried up. Project Run & Play is the online version of the tv show Project Runway, with designs specifically for children. I recommend taking some time to view past seasons–the designs are amazing!

After doing my research, I went on a fabric shopping spree. I never realized how awesome fabric shopping can be in Vancouver, until I moved away. Don’t get me wrong, I love fabric shopping in San Francisco, but there is no place like Dressew or Fabricana. I also had the luxury of shopping at Dressew by myself, sans enfants, after thoroughly enjoying a porchetta sandwich at Meat & Bread. Yum. Anyways, the trouble with shopping early is the unknown factor of what the themes will be. I stuck with fabrics that I knew I could always use in the future AND hard to get if I missed my chance in Vancouver.

I used my iPhone to take photos of the fabric tags since fabric shopping can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to remember all of the details afterwards. Now I can look at the photos as a reference for fibre content. The prices are in $CDN and priced per metre (1 m=39.37 in).
Project Run & Play Season 8: Froo & Boo
The themes will be revealed tomorrow at Project Run & Play, so stay tuned! There are some in the mix that I know I won’t use, but a couple that are such a perfect selection for the styles that I will try to create. I also bought fabric online, taking advantage of some black Friday sales.

The process of getting to this point has already been a great experience for me! I love sewing for my kids. I can’t help but look at cute outfits on kids and gush with “oohs” and “ahhs”. I love fashion. I know that fashion can be superficial, but I appreciate the art behind fashion to create beauty that is inspired by life and evokes an emotional response. I love a challenge. I always have designs floating around in my mind, but this competition is just the push I need to make garments that reflect my style.

I am incredibly happy to be a part of Project Run & Play, among a group of fun & talented sewers. I think it’s such a great platform for moms to celebrate their children, while doing something meaningful for themselves. Having ideas, learning new skills and using my creativity to turn those ideas into a tangible reality is a source of pure joy. I am enjoying this entire experience, along with all the stress, time constraints and perplexed moments, because I am grateful for this opportunity. I am trying to prepare my time and energy, setting a pace that I can keep up with, along with all of the busy merrymaking of the Christmas holidays!
Col. Chris Hadfield
I recently had the chance to meet the most interesting man alive, Col. Chris Hadfield. He is a Canadian astronaut who made outer space accessible through his YouTube videos, most notably, his Space Oddity music video. In his book, “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth“, Hadfield writes with incredible insight into what it took to follow his dreams. At the NASA book signing, Hadfield talked about how his wife, Helene, had to put her dreams on hold, taking care of their kids until they were all grown up. She then went to culinary school, graduated at the top of her class, and went on to work at an acclaimed restaurant in Texas. Hearing that resonated with me on many levels–I’ve gained perspective to define my dreams, have patience and prepare for it daily. I feel that in some lucky way, I am indirectly pursuing my dreams, while knowing in my heart that I am beyond blessed to be able to care for my family. Each new day is a gift. I will accept the gift and try to make it beautiful.

Thank you for visiting and allowing me to share my thoughts with you–it means the world to me!

Continuing A Christmas Tradition

Christmas Tradition: Painted Birdhouse
Last year, I thought it would be nice to start a family Christmas tradition, since it was our first year living away from home. Froo & Boo painted a lovely birdhouse together, that we had on display on our fireplace mantle. I was looking forward to creating a cute neighbourhood of birdhouses.

As we were unpacking our Christmas decorations this year, I misplaced the birdhouse. I panicked. Because let’s face it, a tradition isn’t a tradition unless it’s repeated the following year. If lost, I would feel responsible for the loss of something that could have been, 20 years later, telling stories about each and every birdhouse… Who knew I could be so sentimental? Luckily, I found it a week later, hidden behind some cleaning supplies in the garage.

I should have been ecstatic, but I was a little disappointed–the birdhouse had discoloured to an icky taupe. I’m pretty sure the glitter paint was the culprit. Undeterred, Froo & Boo repainted the birdhouse with white acrylic paint. Afterwards, we sprinkled white fine glitter on top, which stuck to the wet paint. Much better.
Christmas Tradition: Painted Birdhouse
Since I wasn’t sure if we’d continue this tradition, I didn’t purchase a birdhouse this year. Instead, we repainted the tiny birdhouses that Froo & Boo painted last year. They had been sitting on top of the fridge this whole time. I thought it would be simple, yet festive to paint monochromatic birdhouses, with the same colour of fine glitter. The birdhouses have a layer of mod podge, to seal in the glitter.
Christmas Tradition: Painted Birdhouse
I remembered to date the birdhouses again this year:
Christmas Tradition: Painted Birdhouse
Time to decorate!
Christmas Tradition: Painted Birdhouse
Christmas Tradition: Painted Birdhouse
Froo & I went to watch a performance of the Nutcracker together yesterday. She insisted on getting a nutcracker of her own. I tried to convince her to get the red one, but she chose this one and named him Lucas. He matches our Christmas decor.
Christmas Tradition: Painted Birdhouse
I taped a piece of thread to the ceiling, for the Santa helicopter ornament to fly over the big birdhouse. Boo broke one of the propellers, but a bit of E6000 glue worked wonders.
Christmas Tradition: Painted Birdhouse
Truthfully, if the kids remember this year’s birdhouses, they might remember that mommy lost her patience when there was white paint all over the kitchen table, Boo’s face and art smock. Oh the mess!
Christmas Tradition: Painted Birdhouse
What I want the kids to remember about the day we painted the birdhouses this year? The evening we spent at the local ice rink where Froo & Boo take lessons, huddled together, watching young figure skaters grace the ice, some not-so-gracefully. There is nothing quite as heartwarming as the anticipation and hope for each skater to nail their jump and the positive encouragement whether or not they do. It was the coldest we have ever been in California. Froo went to sleep that night wearing 2 pairs of socks. Boo ate Nerds from the candy claw machine. They still make those??

I guess that’s why I want to create a family tradition–to have a visual reminder of how we spent our Christmas each year. Together as a family. Making time for each other. Besides, I have a terrible memory and I’d hate to forget these fleeting moments with Froo & Boo.
A Froo & Boo Christmas Tradition
While writing this post, I came up with the most brilliant idea. Together with the hubs, I think we’ll write love notes and memories from our Christmas, roll them up tightly into tiny scrolls and pop them into the opening of the birdhouse. That way, we can shake them out in the future and be reminded of the love we share. xoxo.
Christmas Tradition: Painted Birdhouse