Monday, March 26, 2012

keeping eeyore warm

Lately the daily temperatures are hovering in the 70's, so it seems odd that this would be the time my five year-old's bedtime companion, Eeyore, is having trouble staying warm. But trouble he is having. My obvious solution was to grab one of the many (many many many) doll blankets lying around and wrap him on up.

"Oh no," she countered. "He needs a blanket of his own."

Being home about half of the week (odd kindergarten schedule and such) is sometimes hard on this girl -- no one to play with but the baby and a busy mom. Most of the time she is searching for a good dose of action. The blanket came as a double request: "Eeyore needs a blanket mom, and I need to do some hand sewing."

She picked orange fabric for the back and bright flowers for the front -- "Eeyore really likes flowers, you know" -- finishing off with blue thread for the E. We sewed the blanket together with the machine (lap-sit style, the girl running the show), and then sat down for the hand stitching.

Considering that the girl is only six, and has done just a few hand stitches before, I thought she did a remarkably good job. A good job with a little help from her (mommy)friend, and a hearty round of dark chocolate.

Eeyore certainly seems happy with the end product. And I'm assured he is nice and warm now.

Friday, March 23, 2012

another t-shirt resized

Either my daughter has an abnormally long torso, or most kids' t-shirts are simply not made long enough. Either way, her belly seems to be peeking out half the time. Resizing adult t-shirts is the best way I've found to supply her with "long enough" t-shirts. One of my favorites is the yoga shirt. On this most recent t-shirt downsize, I tried out some new ideas.
 Shirring at just the back of the neck.
A tie from contrasting fabric with the ends sewn on the top and underside of the shoulder seam. Tied together, it makes a cute little scrunched sleeve.
Also, today is the last day to enter the giveaway!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

wednesday's ode

To beautiful surroundings.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

a little Rorschach for the doctor

 A reminder to rummage through your closet and enter our refashioning giveaway!
Last year, my husband moved from being a student of psychology (his standing for upwards of 9 years) to being a "doctor" of the same. The past few months filled with late nights preparing job applications were worth it just to receive rejection letters addressed to Dr. so and so. (No worries, he has landed a great job in a beautiful place.)

Maybe my inspiration for this project was spawned of his new standing as a doctor of psychology, or maybe just because it was the most practical thing I could think of to do with a good pair of pants, marred only by a very noticeable, large dark spot on the knee. Remember his biking accident? We discovered (too late) that when you slather neosporin on a massive scrape, even if you put a bandage over top, it still manages to leak through an oily residue that my sorry excuses for laundering skills could never hope to remove.

So I decided to cover it with an inkblot. We've all heard of the Rorschach inkblot tests, right?
image source
Where if you see a bat hanging upside down instead of a butterfly you have some serious psychological issues? I didn't try to copy one of the actual Rorschach inkblots, but rather dabbed some screenprinting ink on the fabric, folded it in half, and went with that.
The other day on a walk, we got our first interpretation of it from a passerby: a bear cub crawling up a tree. Analysis, anyone?

Monday, March 19, 2012

a little bit of green

Spring is starting to pop up in around here. Temperatures in the 50's, 60's, and 70's for weeks on end have induced the grass and trees to begin thinking green.

One of my girls has also started thinking green, both literally and figuratively. She came up from the laundry room the other night with a giddy glint in her eyes and started asking about the bag of rice.

"Does all of the rice have to be gone before someone could use that bag?" she asked.

"Nope," I replied. "The rice is in a plastic bag inside the canvas bag."

"Ahhhh," she said, and disappeared back down. The next time I saw her she had the now-rice-free bag in one hand, and a large piece of green fabric and some batting in the other.

"Any chance you could help me make a new backpack?"

Well, I'll be darned. A backpack. Out of a rice bag. For a seriously fashion-conscious girl. Who would have guessed?

We lined the bag with green fabric, and added an orange pocket with a stick-on-velcro closure. The zipper came pre-installed in the bag -- I just had to be careful not to mess it up. We put a double layer of batting inside the straps to keep them soft with all those books pulling down, and over-stitched them onto the backpack at least half-dozen times, just to be safe.

And would you believe that all of her school folders fit inside the thing? Just barely, but they fit. This bag was meant to be a backpack.

The first day she wore it I asked if anyone had noticed she had a rice bag on her back. "Oh, everyone loved it," she said, tossing her hair out of her face and heading off for a snack.

Everyone loved it. My faith in generation-x-box has been restored. At least a wee little bit.

Friday, March 16, 2012

wear it out (a giveaway): round two

So, why not just plunge right in and get the next giveaway started? This is not your typical giveaway (read here for an introduction to this giveaway series). Instead of giving away something that we've made from scratch (it may seem cool, but once you win it, it turns out you have trouble finding a use for it), we're giving away the chance to again make something you own wearable that may otherwise be headed for the trash.

Last month's winner sent me this cashmere sweater set that was too small for her:
 I sent this outfit back for her five-year-old daughter:
I like to think that, in addition to the incredible sense it makes to use something to its utmost, I'm also making a sort of wearable art as I rework these clothes.

Last month's giveaway wasn't random. We chose a project we thought would be fun to work on. This month we'll try the random route.

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment telling what you would choose for us to repurpose and add comments on any special significance the item may have for you. We'll randomly select a winner next Friday, March 23rd. The winner will send us the item of clothing, we'll work our magic and then send it back.
Here's to wearing it out!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

visual obsessions: more roadtripping

I am amazed at how the same drive can look so different; every time we trek from Colorado through Wyoming and into Utah, I come away with a few hundred too many pictures.

So many wide open spaces, so many tight little vistas.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

wednesday's ode

To beautiful surroundings.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

wearing it out giveaway: pink cashmere

I've finished the first in our year of repurposing giveaways. The giveaway winner sent me this pink cashmere sweater set that was too small for her, envisioning something with short sleeves for her five-year-old, lover of all things girly, daughter.
This is what I sent back to her.
The socks are a bit of an experiment. (I've rescued socks with holes in them before, turning them into smaller socks, but making them out of sweater sleeves is new territory for me.) I couldn't let those deliciously soft sleeves go to waste. Hopefully she'll let me know how they hold up.

I thought the pink needed something to offset it, so I embroidered some dandelion seeds in pale yellow.
Here's to wearing it out!

Friday, March 9, 2012

the human element of art

We mustered up enough courage to take our children to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art this weekend. There were moments when it felt like a foolhardy endeavor of the highest order:

I glance over and notice the 5-year-old standing where some shaky film footage is being projected onto a white wall. Then I realize she is poised with her pencil millimeters from the wall. I dash over and (I think) barely avoid disaster as I pull the pencil from her hand and move her back a few feet. Fast forward two minutes. The 3-year-old is now standing at exactly the same spot with an eraser in her hand.

Apparently I wasn't quite quick enough - she was trying to mitigate her sister's overzealous involvement with the exhibit.

Then there was the rest of the visit, filled with the enthusiasm of the 3-year-old moving from room to room proclaiming what she saw in the art, which was so very open to interpretation. Or with her older sister intently sketching the paintings on the wall (which was why she had that dratted pencil in the first place).
The children drank in their surroundings. Their excitement was contagious. Dare I confess that I am not particularly fond of modern art? I am one of those unenlightened people who looks at a painting of squares and paint splotches and says, "my five-year-old could do that." But that day my children helped me feel the paintings.

Confined to one room for a bit while my baby nursed, I was particularly taken with a painting by Mark Rothko. My children and others moved in and out of the space in front of it. The combination of painting and the people interacting with it created a constantly changing work of art.
After they could no longer stand to be mere observers of art, we headed over to Golden Gate Park. In addition to your typical playground structures, there was a climbing wall in the shape of an ocean wave and sculptures of various beach wildlife. Again, art unfolded before my eyes.