Travel Crafts: Day 1

So we're leaving for another week away Friday. I'm heading to a conference in San Diego and Charlie and Jaxon are coming along. This will be Jaxon's first airplane ride. Any advice?

I have four sewing projects I'd like to complete before we go. That's one a day!

I did complete one today. Jaxon is a bit too heavy for the sling, but I'd like a way to smuggle him onto the expo floor at the conference -- no strollers! I thought I'd try a Mei Tai. I found this pattern via Jan Andrea's Web site (the same place I found the diaper pouch pattern).

Sorry for the crappy picture, Baby Jaxon was already in bed so I substituted Big Footed Bunny. No excuse for the soft focus. I'll take one with Jax ASAP.

I got the fabric at JoAnn. The home dec fabric was on clearance for $3/yard and the corduroy (for the straps) was on sale for $2.99 yard. I bought 2 yards each and I have a lot left so I think a bag is in order! I think in all the Mei Tai cost me about $8. And the pattern is the best kind -- super easy but the results look great!

Here is my favorite part...the "muff" style pleated pocket.

I almost didn't add it because I was afraid of how it would change the pattern of the fabric, but it's a really functional addition and I think looks great. I have a bag idea rattling around my head that will use something similar. I love that you can get to the pocket regardless of how you wear the Mei Tai (front or back).

How I altered the pattern: My pocket is a half inch less wide and is mounted an inch higher on the panel than called for. I only did this to match up the center flower in the pattern. My shoulder straps are 12" wide instead of 9". Also, I didn't add the tie up straps for the sleeping hood. I seriously doubt Jaxon will be in this long enough to sleep, but really I got frustrated trying to turn the straps right side out. I really hate doing that. I told Charlie that if we ever win the lottery I am going to hire someone whose sole responsibility is to turn my sewing projects.

In other news, my pattern review is up on Sew, Mama, Sew! Check it out when you have a chance. I made these three bags from Indygo Junction's "Handle with Style" book:


Vacation: The End

I'm home from vacation and all unpacked.

Days away from home: 11
States crossed: 4
Books read: 3 (including Harry Potter, which I am refusing to discuss because that would be admitting it's over)
Craft projects completed: 4 (small embroidery projects from Sublime Stitching)
Babies who enjoyed playing in the sand: 1

A success!

In other news:

My Tiki softies have been included at Softies Central!

I returned home to find Martha Stewart on the cover of my Wired Magazine with a Wii cake. A little surreal.

This week's Sew, Mama, Sew! Free Fabric Friday topic is about craft room organization. My craft room/office is the LEAST organized room in the house right now due to our kitchen remodel. It looks more like a pantry with scraps of fabric everywhere, and the dining room has become my sewing central. So I thought I'd share a tip instead of talking about organization. I keep a small plastic box stocked with a project all ready to go. That way if I'm headed somewhere I'll have to wait, or on a long car ride (while NOT driving) I can grab my craft box and have plenty to do. In the example below I have a small embroidery project in a hoop, coordinating thread, needles, and scissors.

PS I always hate coming home to a messy house after vacation -- but coming home to a house without a kitchen is far worse!


Vacation, had to get away

Sorry for The Go-Gos reference...

Just two days left of vacation! How time flies!

We spent three days in Raleigh with our friends Marc and Traci and then headed to the beach for a week. Jaxon was a bit unsure at first but has really taken to the sand and the surf (still unsure about the pool).

The weather has been lovely, the food even better.

Jaxon trying LOTS of samples of fresh watermelon at the Raleigh Farmers' Market

And at the beach...


Vacation Preparation

We are leaving Wednesday for vacation, yeah!

But I have so much to do before we go. Beyond what I needed to get done for a project at work, I needed to complete my review for Sew, Mama, Sew and make a new bag for the beach (of course)!

I made three bags from the pattern book SMS sent me, I now just have to write the review. I won't spoil the surprise, you can see the bags when the review goes up. But don't fret -- here is what I created yesterday (and finished this evening):

This was all made with fabric I had on hand and inspired by a bag I saw in a book. The tote in the book used vintage ties as straps. I bought some vintage ties from eBay but couldn't come up with a combination I liked. Yesterday I decided to make a bag for the beach (to carry all my embroidery, knitting *I'm trying!* and craft magazines). I wanted something casual enough for vacation that I could still use for work. Because I didn't have neckties I wanted to use, I traced one (vintage, so very wide and I made it longer) onto muslin. Then I created a patchwork from some Moda Summer in the City fat quarters my sister gave me. The body of the bag is leftover upholstery twill I used to slipcover a chair. I had a couple of issues, especially turning the necktie right side out after sewing it together (leave a turning hole at either end!), but I am really pleased with the result.

Here is the interior. I made lots of divided pockets for suntan lotion, magazines, sunglasses, etc, and nested two smaller pockets inside the larger ones for things I need to get to quickly (cell phone, cash, etc). I added a "keyper" (it's tucked into a pocket so it's not visible in the picture) and a magnetic closure. I think this also might make a cute diaper bag.

Now if only our bags would pack themselves!


Tiki Party!

I promised more about Jaxon's Tiki–themed first birthday party, so here it is! I visited Hawaii a couple of years ago and fell in love. Add in my love for Mid-Century Design and that equals an obsession with kitschy Hawaiiana. This is evidenced by my guest room and nursery decor (perhaps more on that later).

So we found Jaxon a Tiki shirt and I got a vintage Hawaiian dress and we were in business!

So here's a look at putting together a baby Tiki party:

Lots of homemade bunting -- all from tropical fabrics I had laying around the house, cut with pinking shears and sewed to double fold wide bias tape.

More bunting and some "No Punch Mai Tai Punch" from the book "Trader Vic's Tiki Party!"

The cake table with the Tiki cake inspired by the divided plate and napkins from Target (the non-existant kitchen is hidden by a table cloth!!)

A close up of the Tiki cake -- made by my favorite bakery, Resch's.

The Tiki head softies made by me!


They grow uo so fast...

Today is Jaxon's first birthday. This time last year I was in labor, and now he's barely a baby any more!

It's hard to remember life without Jaxon. Of course I remember being able to go to the movies whenever I wanted, or sleeping in until after 5:30...but somehow the happy days are happier, and the responsibility is staggering!

Charlie came down with a cold today and he went to take a nap so it has been just me and my boy for the last couple of hours. I don't mind!

Here's how Jaxon spent his birthday -- both the "Tiki Party" on Saturday and today's lunch. More on the Tiki Party later. I had trouble deciding so prepare yourselves for too many baby pictures...


Too much renovation


So much is going on!

Check out our new decks! My uncle, with the aid of my dad and Charlie replaced our existing deck off the dining room and added one off our bedroom. Don't they look great (they ran out of spindles on the bedroom side so that one will be completed tomorrow)? Just in time for Jaxon's birthday party!

But what won't be ready for Jaxon's party, you ask? The kitchen! Here's what it looks like right now:

Can you believe it?

I just can't think about that, or it will stress me out. Instead I like to concentrate on all the crafts I still need to make by Saturday (as well as the food). I have a little more control over that.

Any more guesses on the softie pattern from last post? Sorry, Jane, definitely not related to clowns or ducks! Here's a WIP of one of the pair, without a face:

And so I will match the theme of Jaxon's party, this came today in the mail:

Vintage 50s, homemade...hand stitched! I think the fabric may have been from curtains! :-) Not only did I find this on eBay, but the seller lives in the same tiny town as we do! It was meant to be, except I have to take the dress out a bit. :-)

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