Countdown to Christmas

Technically doesn’t start until a week from Friday, but that means you’ve still got just enough time to make an advent calendar. This one only took me parts of two days last week. And then waiting for the numbers to be delivered.

I started by figuring out the placement of the pockets, which are 4 inches by 4 inches, and then I created strips for each line. I folded the top edge down half an inch and stitched it with a zig-zag stitch. Next I centered the strips on the green felt and stitched along the bottom of each row before flipping the whole thing over and drawing the Christmas tree outline with a Sharpie. Then I cut the tree out to make it easier to fit through the sewing machine to sew the side of the pockets.

I sewed the lines in between and on the ends of the strips that ended inside the tree outline. I left the ones that go over the edge free until after attaching the tree to the background fabric.

Next I sewed the trunk of the tree to the background, so it would be behind the bottom of the tree.

After pinning the outside pockets out of the way, I sewed the entire outline of the tree down. Everything is sewed with a zig-zag stitch to flatten the edges.

I sewed the remaining pocket edges down and added a star for the top.

I finished the whole project off with a backing (of purple muslin because it was the only plain woven fabric I had that was large enough to cover the whole back) and a wooden dowel for hanging that was slightly too short.

I added a screw to each side, which worked out well anyway for attaching the string to hang it. I had ordered stick-on felt numbers, so all that was left was to stick them on when they arrived. Now we just have to figure out a way to hang it for December 1.


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So Many Projects

So last week I ordered some fabric. It arrived the other day, and my little helper was very excited to help me open it. And then he asked, “Who is all those people?” Which lets me know I need to bust out the special episode tapes as we enter the holiday season.

Had a little help opening my package. "Who is all those guys?" #fabric #90snick #rugrats

A post shared by Casey Kay B (@caseykayb) on

I’ve drawn a quick flat, mostly to make sure it will look good to cut all the pieces on the bias, since it is quilting fabric and I want it to have some stretch. I like comfy clothes. I think it should turn out well:

Then, there is the issue of Halloween being a month away. One of the boys already has a Harry Potter costume, and now the other big brother has decided he also wants to be Harry Potter. The littles are a little more challenging. One wants to be a “vampire giant tarantula” and the other wants to be “mighty eagle from Angry Birds,” but I think I have those figured out. Just have to actually write a list of what I need to make them.

And, with Halloween only a month away, that means Inktober starts on Saturday. That is my 30 page notebook, which I have gouached the cover of to make 31 pages. Saturday will be creating a cover for it. I’m obviously going to be posting pictures to Instagram every day, but I’m also going to post a round-up here every Friday.

There is one more project that I am also working on. Actually, a few, but this is the first of a mini-series of Christmas presents. And, not meaning to cause panic to anyone making presents for Christmas, there are only 88 days left until Christmas. So I need to get moving on this. Or these. Not panicking. Yet.

You’re A Wizard, Harry

Friday was favorite character day at the elementary school. Predictably, most of the people who dressed up were from the Harry Potter universe. You know, since it’s an elementary school and they weren’t allowed to dress as movie characters.

It started with a scarf, which actually came together rather quickly. I used red worsted weight yarn and yellow bulky weight yarn and was able to create a five foot long scarf with about 4 hours of work off and on Monday and Tuesday.

Then it was time to make the robe. I dyed some muslin black (that one took a couple different tries) and drafted the pattern on Wednesday so I would be able to sew it up on Thursday.

I then went and picked up some sunglasses to remove the lenses from. I wish I had remembered to take a before picture, because they started out bright, sparkly pink. But after a bit of sanding and paint they were much better.

Once everything else was together, I thought it could use one last touch, so I took some extra material from the robe, sketched out the Gryiffindor house crest with a white pencil, and embroidered it.

On the other side, I put a pocket. Not really a stylistic choice, but because part of the robe got eaten slightly by the serger.

Getting Things Done

Is it just me, or does everything seem to pile up at once? You can just be going along with one or two things to do, and then when you plan to do something, twenty other things need to be done at once. That would be how my week is going.

Like I said before, I’m working to really get my Etsy store “open”. Technically, it is open now, but I’m “grand opening” on Sunday. And there is another project I am working on to go with that. So there’s two projects I was planning and working on at a steady pace.

Then, we found out favorite book character day is on Friday. That added another four projects to the list. But it gave me incentive to see if I could knit a five-foot scarf in under a week. (Spoiler alert: I finished in two days. Maybe a whole four hours of work into it?)

I’ve also committed to helping my mom re-open her Etsy Store this week before a major event at her work. And after a major event in her life, but that is her story to tell (and she should, hint hint). So I’ve put off some things for that until I finish this costume, but I’m getting to those, too.

While it can be stressful to have so many things going on at once, I think it helps. It gives that extra push to get things done that sometimes is lacking when you only have one or two things to do.

Sewing a Stroller

Bebe, the soft doll the boys have, came in a stroller. It matched his pajamas and was perfectly sized for a small child to push around the house/neighborhood. What it wasn’t perfectly sized for was a four-year-old plopping his rear in it and pulling himself around the house. So it has needed some surgery for a couple years.

I had some green cotton left over from fixing up the balance bike, and I had some random remnant bin finds. I salvaged the hardware from the original seat and used what was left of the seat pieces as a pattern for the new one.

I made the main portions of the seat from the green material, then made bias binding for the edges. Actually, I first tried to reuse the original edging, but somehow it wasn’t long enough despite the fact that I used the original seat as the pattern. Go figure.

I also changed how the top attached to the stroller. It originally had a couple elastic pieces that went around the handle. I chose to do button straps instead. That way the whole thing is easily removable in case it needs to be washed. And there’s no chance of the elastic breaking down as the old ones did.

Time to Swim

The local swim school requires that kids be put in swim diapers until the age of four, regardless of their potty training status. Once they aren’t actively pooping their pants on a regular basis, it seems a bit wasteful to use a disposable diaper for every class. This is where the reusable swim diaper comes in handy.

Problem is, most over size two only come in a pull-up style. That works when it is dry, but wet swim trunks are tough enough. You don’t want to be dealing with a wet swim pull-up tangled in that mess. So i decided to make one that has side snaps. Best decision ever.

I found this pattern on Sew Mama Sew and we went on a trip to the fabric store after swim class one day. Couldn’t find any PUL material, so went for the ripstop nylon option. Got swim fabric (that the little one got to pick himself), and some black wicking jerset, plus fold-over elastic. It took a couple of tries, but I finally figured out how to get all the layers to stay together while sewing. Once I had that figured out, it was a really quick finish.

It also took a couple tries to get the snaps on the right way, too. But it is so easy for the kids to put on when it is snapped up and then even easier to unsnap and pull of at the end of class. It makes getting dressed after swim class so much easier.

The Frankenpants Saga

Kids have a really incredible innate ability to destroy things in ridiculous ways without even trying. The most frequent victim of this destruction: their clothes.

Sometimes I will get lucky with a tiny hole that just needs a couple stitches, or a busted seam that requires a quick trip through the sewing machine. Other times, I’m faced with challenges like this:

That is pretty much a new seam where there wasn’t one before. But that also means there is no extra material to create a seam. There is actually a lack of material. So I first attempted a flat seam with just a zigzag stitch. This worked…while the pants were in the drawer. So I grabbed some twill, used my new serger to create a patch.

Then I used three rows of zigzag stitches to cover the color and old stitches. So far this has worked, and isn’t too noticeable. Here’s hoping it works for a long time.