The Baby’s Room :: The Dresser

A few weeks ago, the baby turned two. I took this as a sign that I really should get moving on finishing her room, you know, before my husband takes it over as his office sometime in the next few months. A few weeks before her birthday, the dresser we bought from IKEA met an untimely and unfortunate death (well, at least the bottom drawer did) which has had a rather devastating waterfall effect on the state of her room. If there’s no place to put the clothes, they stay in baskets, until she decides it’s time to empty said baskets of course. It was time to get things cleaned up.

Enter this lovely.


A friend of mine has been moving her house around and decided to get rid of a few pieces, this one included.

Dresser Before

The dresser was a tad dusty, the top had a bit of water damage, and needed just a tiny bit of TLC, but otherwise, it was a beautiful piece. So I got out my sander, some paint and wax, and this is what I came up with.

The Dresser

It fits in the corner perfectly, and since the side panel is the view I see from my perch on the rocking chair I decided it need just a little touch of something extra…

Side View

a touch of hand-painted pattern, wiped away and slightly distressed.

Top Corner

I was hoping it would look a bit like old and faded wallpaper. I have to say I’m pretty happy with the result.

Pattern Detail

It was a bit gut-wrenching to go at the pattern with a wet cloth and sand paper, but I went slowly as I built up my courage, and I think the end result was worth the distress.

Dresser Front

The front panels of the dresser seemed to be in pretty good shape, but was feeling a bit rough. I can not believe what a difference 320 grit paper and some dark wax made. I tried the Howard Restore-A-Finish, but I have to say it was the dark wax that made the biggest difference.

Bottom Corner

I painted an undercoat of Annie Sloan’s Duck Egg Blue, touched it up in a few places in with a bit of petroleum wax, then painted a top coat of Annie Sloan’s Provence Blue. A bit of sanding, the pattern painted on top, then a coat of clear wax and a few touches of dark wax to age it ever so slightly.

Dresser Top

The top was sanded down to bare wood, then stained with two different colors of minwax Sedona and Mahogany Red (straight up stain without the poly) with two or three light and buffed coats of dark wax. It’s hard to describe just how much the new top glows.


And last but not least, the pair of teeny tiny booties I knit for her, which evidently, I have forgotten to write about. You’ll see the sweater in a later post about her room, once I finish up another wall.

Boy I hope I get this room finished up soon!





Have you visited these awesome sites where I’ve shared this project?  ::  Miss Mustard Seed  ::  The Shabby Creek Cottage  ::  The Handmade Home  ::  Funky Junk Interiors  ::  Finding Silver Pennies  ::  Under the Table and Dreaming  ::  Today’s Creative Blog

Sibling Gifts :: Fleecy Winter Wear

To round out the parade of handmade sibling gifts of the Christmas 2012 season, I have this one last post with a project I worked on with our oldest :: Fleecy Winter Wear.

Swaddled In Fleece

Have you seen the insanity that is Joann’s Fabrics when it’s time to roll out the winter fleece? I didn’t know it was possible for one store to offer such a huge variety of different fleece styles. They had it in three separate aisles, along the tops of displays, and all along the top shelves on the outer walls in the store. Crazy.

I wanted to take the eldest with me to pick out fabrics, but due to an outbreak of flu and other illnesses in our home, I had to run out last minute to grab something quick so we could at least get something made and under the tree. This was almost as last minute as you could get; we finished the last bit right before dinner and bed-time Christmas Eve.

Sock Monkey Fleece

There aren’t an enormous number of images showing how we made these. Since I significant portion of this involved the sewing machine, and I’m not very proficient and my daughter was quite out of her comfort zone, I didn’t feel like I should be snapping photos while we’re both sweating bullets.

Fleecy Supplies

But overall, The scarves were an easy project, even for us sewing machine neophytes! Pick some fleece, cut it, pin it, sew it together except for a few inches at either end, flip it inside out, top stitch on either side, then cut a fringe on the ends, and tie it in knots.

Fun Fringe

The hat was a bit more tricky, and it didn’t work quite the way I had envisioned (didn’t mean for the ugly seam to be exposed, but alas, perfection wasn’t the goal, done was!), so I’m going to spare you any attempt to explain what I did, although I will say I took a measurement of the baby’s head to use when cutting out the rectangles, and that worked well.

Fleecy Hat With Fringe

And even though it is rough around the edges and not at all finessed, the baby loves it so very dearly. Dearly enough that once I put it on her head, I can’t take it off. And since she doesn’t stand still for photos, I needed to throw it on the four year old’s head in order to get a few snaps.

So there you have it… a round-up of all the sibling created handmades under the tree this year. But wait… there’s more!

Even though the littlest one isn’t quite old enough to partake of the making, she does manage to find someone to help her purchase a few small tokens to give out, namely fun band-aids!

Fun Bandages

So there you have her contribution, and now, I swear, we’re all done!

A Lovely Little Knit

Orsolya Debut

A few weeks ago, I cast on a test knit for my talented friend, Cosy, for her latest design, Orsolya.

Orsolya Front Pose

To say I enjoyed it would be an understatement.

Orsolya Back View

Not only did I finish this with lightening speed (after all, it’s knit with worsted weight)…

Front Detail With Cheeks

…I’ve already cast on for a second which is half way done, and I have a third going on directly after I’m done binding off. I’ve had some yarn sitting in the stash for at least five years waiting for the perfect project and this is it!

Orsolya Shoulder Detail

This dress is such a fabulous little knit; I can not begin to tell you how sweet it is.

Orsolya Top Down

The bit of eyelet trim, the teeny pockets…

Orsolya Eyelet and Pocket Left

The top down construction with no seaming.

Orsolya When Seated

It’s a great length for toddling around, although I believe Cosy also includes a shorter tunic length if you’d rather that.

Orsolya Eyelet and Pocket Right

For this knit I worked up the 18m size using some Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora, which sadly has been discontinued. It blocked out with an ever-so-slight halo (love!), and the stitches “fulled out” a bit, causing my gauge to go a little wide. That’s OK, she’ll get plenty of use out of this. This year as a dress… next year as a top.

Orsolya In Action

Oh I can’t wait for Cosy to get this one published for you to try out! Make sure to check out her Ravelry shop or her book for a bunch of her other designs.

Sunday Follies

Today, after many years of promising myself I would, I finally overcame my rather intense intimidation of my sewing machine.

I wanted to make my kids some pants.

Pants Pattern

After finding a few tutorials like this from Dana at Made, or this one from Anneliese at Aesthetic Nest, and taking a few years , erHEM, to collect a few scraps of fabric, AND after our emergency Christmas Eve Sewing Machine purchase, I felt like it was time to get over the proverbial hump and get some pants made.

So I spent a bit of time drafting up a pattern, picking out a few fabrics, and by George, I jumped in and did some cutting.

Pocket Pattern

As you can see, I started making a pair of pants for the three-year old. Most of her clothes were handed down from her sister, so I figured even if they didn’t look so great, I could at least get some excitement out of it.

After a little bit, or maybe even after a few hours, I did it! I made a complete pair of pants! Look!


I can’t believe it! They don’t even have any holes or anything! I didn’t sew my finger, I only have two burns from the iron, the kids only had to watch one movie, (maybe a few Backyardigan episodes too) and I even made dinner!

Here’s a few things I’m excited that I managed to do ::

Cute pockets with a flat panel front!The Pocket

Contrast Topstiching!!Another Pocket Detail

The pants are fully lined and have a reversed cuff!!!Cute Cuffs

Elasticized back with TWO LITTLE BACK POCKETS!!!!
Back Pockets

Crazy, right?

You want to know the best part? When I called the three year old over to try them on, guess what she said..

“Mama, why do they get stuck here?” And by here, she specifically meant her knees. Yes, you read that correctly, her knees.

blink. blink blink.

Cute as can be, but won’t fit a 3T. Good thing my sense of humor remained intact. It was, after all, my first time drafting a pattern. Some things were bound to go wrong. So what if they don’t fit the three year old… I can roll the cuff up a bit further and throw them on the one year old who could always use another pair of pants to mash bananas into. But before she’d get the chance to smoosh anything on the new mama-mades, pictures needed to be taken. So with the light fading, I threw her into a cute onesie, a nice sweater, and went to pull up the pants… which got no further than her little booty.

Would. Not. Budge. Does not fit. There isn’t a person in the house who can wear these pants. that I spent All. Day. Sewing. April Fool’s Day joke on Mama.

They look cute up on the wall though. Think that’s where they’ll stay for a while.

A First Birthday :: The Birthday Shirt

It wouldn’t quite be an official birthday ’round here without the siblings’-made special birthday shirt, now would it? And we might have made it in the last possible second, but it did get done!

Birthday Shirt All Done!


Another Shot of the Shirt

As a matter of fact, everyone joined in the fun and wore their own very special birthday shirts!

Everybody's Birthday Shirts

One of them you’ve seen before, and here’s the four year old’s shirt’s debut ::

Birthday Shirt for a 4 Year Old

And the six year old’s shirt’s picture ::

Birthday Shirt for a 6 Year Old

You can see in the 6 year old’s shirt why I stopped using Sharpies; after one wash the orange bled all over the place, front and back of the shirt. After so much effort from us all, it was pretty heartbreaking to see the mess that came out of the laundry, but I was the only one who seemed to mind so instead of making a new one as I planned, I grit my teeth and let it go. The bleed has faded a good deal after several more washings, but it still looks sloppy.

I gathered the kids up the night before the littlest one’s birthday and we stayed up a little past everyone’s bed time to get the drawing completed… I did the sewing and made a total mess of it not once but twice which caused me to go to bed right around 2.30, way past my bed time too. Metallic embroidery floss is not my favorite; although it’s shiny and sparkly it kept tangling, breaking, and it was rather kinky. I think I’m going to throw the rest of it out so I’m never tempted again.

How to BeginThe First ArtistThe Second ArtistCompleted PatternBig Number 1Cutting Out the 1The Cut Out 1Pinning the 1All Sewn On

It took a few steps, but it’s really not that hard. First I cut out a nice sized square, trimmed so the final number wouldn’t be larger than the area on the shirt front it was going to be sewn to. Then I taped it down with clear packing tape to stabilize it for the kids to draw on. You could also do this by ironing freezer paper with the plastic side to the back of the square and then taping it down, but I was running short on time. Next I taped off two areas for the older kids to draw on, and let the three year old do her drawing first. We used Marvy Opaque Fabric Pens in silver and gold glitter, and pink. The four year old worked above her after I removed the protective tape from his section, and the six year old above him after the same. Once the drawing was done, I quickly sketched out a big fat “1” on a blank piece of paper and cut it out so I could trace it using the silver glitter pen directly on top of the patterned drawing the kids made. You could also do this by printing out a big, bold, blown up number “1” in your favorite font, but I didn’t want anything fancy (and again with the whole running out of time thing!) this time around. Once the tracing was complete, I cut out the “1” and then placed it on the shirt. I would like to tell you that I then pinned it in place and began sewing it to the shirt using a simple running stitch, but that wouldn’t be honest. I started sewing, realized it had gotten completely wonky while doing that, then went back and ripped out all my work, and then repeating it all again before I was smart enough to go grab some pins. I’m sure there are people who would also recommend using some sort of stabilizer on the back of the shirt and securing it all with an embroidery hoop, but honestly, I couldn’t be bothered. The fact that it took me three attempts and way too many episodes of Iron Chef might mean that you want to ask someone who is much better at this than I am for better advice. Sometimes winging it works out just fine for me, but I wouldn’t want to lead you along my faulty path… without proper warning anyway.

So, let’s see how that all comes together in the end?

How It Comes Together

Let’s face it; the shirt is cute, but it’s nothing compared to those cheeks!

A First Birthday :: The Mama Knit

Time to celebrate another birthday. It was a day of firsts and a lasts for us here: a first birthday that has come and gone; the last of our babies to do so; the first birthday of 2012; the final first birthday our closest clan will all celebrate together; the first time I have felt sure our family is complete; our last baby.

First Birthday Muffin

But lest I sound maudlin, let me assure you the occasion was most definitely celebratory, as any family with four children may be on such a special day. No need to invite friends to fill seats (although all are always welcome), our table is full and no corner of the house is quiet. We are a party unto ourselves most definitely!

Birthday Milo

Just one week shy of her birthday, I realized I had not yet started her mama made knit! Oh no! Not only had I not started it, but I hadn’t even thought about what I might make for her. So in the mad rush to pack and leave for a week back home in Pennsylvania, I grabbed three ball of Rowan Lima from my stash, my pack of needles, and hoped for the best.

Thanks to another lovely mama who has just started knitting not so long ago, Lisa from The Little House That Grew who just had her house grow a little bit more with the addition of a beautiful baby boy, provided the inspiration I needed just in the nick of time. Enter the Milo Sweater Vest.

The Milo Braid

Oh I can not say enough about my love for this pattern! Three days it took me people, THREE DAYS! And that was only during a few hours of movie time in the evening—the only time I get to watch movies is when I visit my parents’ homes. This pattern was lighting fast, easy to memorize, and incredibly well written. Even if you’ve never knit a cable before, this would not be a difficult project given the clear instruction. I love patterns that leave nothing to the imagination. Georgie Hallam, the designer, even provides several cable options, which you could easily swap out with your own preference should you like to try something new. I will be casting on for another very soon. THREE DAYS!

And boy oh boy, does it look adorable on my girl! But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself…

The Milo and Cheeks

The Aran Braid Cable

Sweet Sweet Milo

A Milo Vest, nice and snug for an on-the-move crawler with no sleeves to snag, knit with a fantastically soft beautifully heathered yarn and lots of lots of mama’s love. Every stitch slipped through my hands, little one, while memories of your first year wound through my thoughts and bound your heart every closer to mine.

Happy Birthday.


Linking to these fine sites ::

freckled laundry

Progress, Slow But Steady

Hello Friends! It’s been a while since we’ve moved, it’s been five weeks actually. That is so hard to believe, yet here were are in June and I am still surrounded by boxes and chaos. When will it end I wonder? I see progress everyday, albeit much slower than that to which I’ve become accustomed–the three little ones definitely add to the complexity of it all–but I’ve heard that slow and steady wins the race.

During the re-settling, I have found a wonderful, meditative knit that I’m enjoying thoroughly, the Baby Drops cardigan. It has been in my queue for quite a while and it’s just the knit I need at this moment in time. Rows upon rows of garter, lovely short row shaping, all with very little counting or complexity. I was recently out in LA for my first visit for a dear friend’s baby shower and, heaven help me, I ran out of knitting. One emergency trip later, I cam back with three skein of mini moochi, a set of needles, a pattern, and an excellent traveling partner. I’m starting the second sleeve alongside my second cup of coffee directly after this is posted. I’m starting to feel a bit sad that the end is in sight. I just may need to begin another one to get me through this next month of unpacking and reorganizing, after all there is no shortage of babies arriving amongst our circle of friends, and a baby without a piece of hand knit is quite a tragedy, wouldn’t you agree?


Today was the day we celebrated a major milestone… our youngest babe’s first birthday.  The older two are now of the age that they understand birthdays mean cake and presents, and they were both so very excited to prepare something for their little baby sister. How could I resist? I put them both to work on a few white t-shirt sleeves with “Mama’s Very Special Markers.” One was for our babe, and the other sleeve is for our baby cousin, who turns one next week.

Once the artwork was complete, I pinned it under a lovely little baby doll top, traced out a big number one, ran a running stitch around the outline, then cut out the interior of the number for a reverse applique a la Alabama Chanin.

Excuse the rather sloppy photos, as I’m still getting used to my new camera and didn’t remember to reset my settings from a previous experiment.

It really didn’t take too much time at all and since I had a few practice shirts over Thanksgiving (details coming soon) I was pretty confident that I could get it completed in time.

All done! For her number one!! I am so excited that we found a way to bring the other kids into the preparations this year. Not only did they help make the shirt, but the oldest helped bake the cupcakes, and the middle guy helped Daddy put together her wooden walker.

What a wonderful, meaningful day full of  joy.

Happy birthday, little one. You are so very loved.

When Life Hands You Lemons and Too Many Adverbs

Or when a certain airline deems you need to sit in an airport for a few hours because there is no plane for you…


Might I suggest, casually, you call your husband to tell him about your delay, unless of course, your cell phone dies because the movers packed the cord before you had a chance to recharge. Then, I might advise finding yourself a lovely little irish pub for some boxty and Facebook (please note the all important coffee beverage within arm’s reach!)…


Until, predictably, your battery runs out because you smartly packed the power cord in the checked bag so as to save yourself a bit of weight in your carry on. The next step, obviously, is to grab your handy dandy butter yellow yarn and brand new knit picks needle set to whip up a much needed hat for the youngest child using a lovely pattern from a lovely book by and even lovely-er friend...


Unless you discover, naturally, that the cord that attaches the needles is much too long to knit your wee cap in the round (14″ diameter cap on a 16″ cord between two rather long needles = uh, not so much!). In which case, I would propose, that you find your gate and spend some time ruminating what you might use to shorten the cable (no scissors or lighters allowed, so no cutting the cable shorter and melting the plastic back together) or as alternative needles (chopsticks, anyone?) until you happen upon the idea that using two too long cables might work. I didn’t have two sets of number 4’s, so on each cable I attached one 4 and one 5 needle…


So as to make progress! Put these all together, add a dash of extra will-the-plane-make-it-or-not time, a few shakes of some horrendous rush hour traffic, and an hour of knitting recovery time at your new home to re-establish your sense of humor…





because, almost certainly, the hat will be entirely too small to fit your babe’s head.