My dad is a tricky one to buy gifts for. He never says he wants anything besides spending time together. That’s all good and well but it’s hard to wrap up time. This past Christmas, to meet both the criteria of having something to open and gift an activity to do together, I gave him a Fandango gift card.
To give the presentation some flair (since gift cards are pretty boring), I decided to make a 3D pop-up card to represent going to a 3D movie.
In October, my niece celebrated her first birthday. That same month, I found out that my CEO and his wife were also expecting a baby girl. So I decided sweaters were in order.
The pattern I settled on was Summer Chills Cardigan by Danielle Reiner. It’s adorable, the pattern was adaptable to varying ages and it seemed like the perfect little baby sweater for cool San Francisco summers for these two little girls.
I started with the sweater for my CEO’s soon-to-be baby girl, Evie. I used a worsted acrylic blend in white – soft enough for a baby and machine washable enough to actually let it be worn. I did slightly modify the pattern, but only in so far as…I do not know how to crochet. So I didn’t crochet the edges. I just left them bound off. Because I didn’t add the crochet edging, I also didn’t make a button hole. In the case of Evie’s sweater, I simply added two pieces of pink ribbon to tie the sweater together across her chest. I realize now that I think I shorted Baby Evie’s sweater by one lace repeat but oh well. Hopefully she’ll be a short baby!
Before I had finished completed the second sleeve on the sweater, I took it over to size on my niece. I was making the 6-month pattern for Evie but it seemed awfully large for a 6-month old. I tried it on my niece at age 13-months and it was just about the right size. She isn’t a tiny girl either, so I’m not entirely sure why my sizing was so different from the pattern but it didn’t really matter as long as it would fit little niece-y pants.
For my niece, I opted to use some FibraNatura Sensational worsted weight in red superwash merino. I had a few extra skeins left over from another project and I thought she’d look smashing in the color.
A little over a year ago, I made an ornament for Boy’s sister using ribbons from her wedding and her wedding program. This year, though I sadly couldn’t attend the wedding, I have the pleasure of making a similarly styled ornament for my lovely cousin and her lovely now-husband.
For a rough cut on how I made this (though you can probably figure it out from the photo), check out this post for the K & A wedding ornament.
So often, crafting is about finding someone else’s project, loving it, and recreating it in your own way. In this particular case, my sister-in-law had attempted to purchase a dinosaur-themed birthday banner in girlie colors for my niece’s 1-year and 1-month birthday party (yes, we did celebrate one month late). Unfortunately, the Etsy vendor said she simply couldn’t get it done in time for the event.
Sister-in-law emailed me with the photo of the banner she had wanted and asked if I could help create something similar. Since I love all things crafting and I have a Silhouette Cameo cutting tool, I knew it would be a snap.
In this particular case, some sleuthing (i.e. Google image searches) showed that the dino designs actually came from the Cricut Create a Critter Cartridge.
Now of course, I have a different cutting machine so I couldn’t buy that cartridge. But I am pretty handy in Photoshop and was able to create similar designs for the dinos to cut out on my Silhouette. I made the body of my brontosaurus face the other direction and gave her a longer tail…you know…for more realism… And here’s how it turned out!
I’ll come clean. The first time I heard of pop-up dinners in white was on Top Chef. The next time was in a Groupon for Le Diner a SF. I missed the window to buy the cheaper tickets so one day, I found myself on the Handmade Events website. It was there that I learned about the PopUp Wine Country dinner in white. I had to go.
The concept was so alluring. You sign up to get the email updates. Then one day, they start selling tickets. But all you know is the date and that the dinner is happening “somewhere in the Sonoma wine country”. Then on the day of the event, you get another email disclosing the location. Hundreds of people descend on that location at the specified time, dressed in their finest white, armed with their best table decor, and equipped with their tastiest provisions and friends. You bring everything you need for your little party, other than the table, the chairs, the music, and the location. Another thing that jumped out was that it was a leave-no-trace event. Guests are encouraged to use real dishes, real knives and forks, and to take any trash and recycling they generate back home.
So the idea was hatched. Our party of four would be me, Boy, my brother and sister-in-law for some sibling good times. But that’s just where it started.
Baby booties are a fantastic knitting project. They are adorable, they are small (so they don’t take too much time), and they make great gifts. The only problems is they fit the baby for about two seconds. I don’t know if my niece got to wear this pair I made her more than twice (once when she was 2 months old but they were on the big side…
…and once when she was 4 months old)…
But you can whip them up quite quickly. You can find the pattern for Saartje’s Bootees at Ravelry. I used some 4 ply teal wool yarn I had lying around and a couple of random buttons and they came out wonderfully!
Who doesn’t love a good marshmallow? What’s more, who doesn’t love a Peep? They’re cute, perfect for Easter, and you can bite their little adorable heads off.
Making homemade marshmallows is surprisingly easy. I’ve made a wide variety of flavors (plain, mint, mint chocolate, chocolate chip). With Easter approaching, I wanted to do something a bit more springy and use my new bunny-shaped cookie cutter.
Head over to my sister-in-law’s blog, Sodium Girl, to check out the full recipe.
In December 2008, my brother, my sister and I took a private cake decorating class. It was my first foray into the world of fondant (at least my first foray other than eating it). For a few hours, we rolled fondant, dyed it with coloring gel, and decorated square cakes to look like presents.
Recently, I was gifted a variety of Fondarific fondant samples. It was a range of colors and flavors, each one was maybe 2 or 3 ounces. Not a ton, but enough to play with and make some tiny cakes. So that’s clearly what I had to do!
To start, I made a mini present cake, covered in white fondant, wrapped with an orange buttercream fondant bow, and I used some strawberry fondant and my Ateco mini shape cutters to cut out diamonds. The bow didn’t come out quite as well as in our cake class but I plead tiny-is-harder-to-make. Plus it’s been a few years…
The next attempt was a fondant flower cake, using alternating thin rolls of melon green fondant and buttercream green fondant and cherry red and strawberry pink fondant for the flowers. I also used Wilton sugar pearls to adorn the inside of the flowers. It was my second flower attempt, after trying hydrangeas about a year prior.
All in all, they were fun (and tasty) experiments in cake decorating!
In May 2012, I decided I wanted to learn how to knit. The driving force was because I wanted to make this particular cable knit bunting bag for my yet-to-be-born niece. At the time, it was about 6 months before her due date and I knew I would have to ramp up to that project. I took a basic knitting class at Workshop SF and started experimenting with scarves.
I quickly moved on to hooded blankets (kind of like a big scarf and the hood got me closer to the hooded bunting bag) and hooded scarves. Finally, I decided to take the bunting bag plunge – but not quite all the way. I wanted to understand the construction first before I took on cabling. So I decided to make a slightly easier bunting bag, also by DROPS. I chose a washable alpaca, milk fiber and microfiber blend. I ended up finishing it about 3 weeks before my niece was born and then had to wait patiently until she was big enough to wear it. But finally the big day came. And it was worth it.
Pattern: BabyDROPS 18-2 Knitted Bunting Bag by Drops Design
Yarn: Ella Rae Latte (12 ply) in Rust
For my niece’s first Christmas, I decided to give her The Velveteen Rabbit. And of course, I couldn’t give her the beautiful book without her own rabbit to go with it.
Pattern: Vintage Rabbit by Sarah Elizabeth Kellner (Ravelry)
Yarn: Valley Yarns Goshen (10 ply) in Fawn and Natural
In the pattern, Sarah aptly notes that no two bunnies will look the same. Depending on how you attach the arms and ears, what kind of stuffing you use, the stretch in your yarn, the nose, eyes and tail you give your bunny…all that will determine it’s character. For that reason, I highly recommend this pattern because each rabbit you make will have a different spark and is truly one of a kind – just like the little one (or big one) who gets to play with it.