Monday, May 28, 2012

Pattern Review: Pea Pod Carrier

 I found this tutorial for a hip carrier called the Pea Pod Carrier.  It reminded me of the Scootababy which I use constantly.

It was really easy to follow along and sew.  My only complaint is that the difference between the left and right shoulder strap placement was so minimal, I may have missed it.

I quite like how easy it is to clip on and off, and the swivel key (or toy) clip is clever.   I added a cell phone pocket (detail in 3rd photo). I decided on its placement by putting on the carrier and imagining where I would like to reach for my phone!  I may have to add a snap to the pocket.

I also liked how her box stitching to hold the straps on for extra stability was through all the fabric layers instead of just the middle layer (like in the Scandi Mei Tais I have made).  It is not as pretty, but I think it is more stable.

In making it, I was surprised the bottom was not padded for comfort, but this made the sewing process go much quicker.  I am also slightly dubious that single-weight fabric can hold a baby up to 35 pounds, but I suppose that is how most pouch carriers are made.

Also, I was surprised that the waist piece was separate on both sides instead of  one continuous piece, through the carrier body ~ I had thought that was a requirement of sorts for Mei Tai style carriers for added security.  This does make it lighter, though.

 I used quilter's cotton on the outside and soft Minky on the inside, and the straps are made of old curtain bottoms.  I used medium-weight interfacing in the middle and an additional layer of it along the waistband.  The clips are 1" clips and the key fob is a swivel clip.

After putting it on and putting Baby inside, I think I prefer the Scootababy carrier. It feels OK, and stable, and I actually like the unpadded waist.  But the shoulder needed a bit of readjustment to keep it wide enough.  I also felt the weight of the baby more than I do with the other single-side carrier.  It was better after I tightened the shoulder strap, but still not a favorite.  I don't think this will be my go-to carrier, though it was fun to make.
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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mimi's Boy, Suspender Shorts, Take 2 (size 12-18 months)

 This is my second go at these suspender shorts.  They are from Sewing for Boys (the book), and I made them for my baby.  Here are the ones I made for my older son.  I made these in the same fabric, including the same fabric for contrasting waist facings and pocket linings.  I made my own buttonhole elastic again and used snaps instead of buttons.

  I made these in size 12-18 mo, and was quite pleased the book went down to this size in the shorts.  There have been a few patterns I have wanted to make for the baby and they weren't sized down far enough.

 These look better for the back suspender location, and were just as fun to make!
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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Recipe: Quadruple Greens Soup

 This soup doesn't look like much (it is shown in these photos as the blob of green next to the sippy cup and on the baby's face), but it is so delicious that even the baby was clamoring for more.  It tastes a little like pesto, and would probably be good as a sauce.

It also is great for when your fridge is LOADED with greens.

Quadruple Greens Soup

2 T fat (chicken fat, butter, coconut oil, etc)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup + 2 cups chicken stock
2 bunches chard, chopped
1 bunch beet greens, chopped
1 bunch spinach, washed and chopped
1 bunch basil
1/2 head garlic, peeled and diced
1 t sea salt

In a soup pot, heat oil on medium-high.  Add onion and sweat until translucent.

Add 1/2 cup stock and chard.  Stir and cover until wilted.  Add beet greens.  Stir and cover until wilted.   Add spinach.  Stir and cover until wilted. Add basil.  Stir and cover until wilted.

Add garlic, rest of stock, and sea salt.  Turn to medium-low and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Blend using immersion blender or in batches in food processor or regular blender.


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Friday, May 25, 2012

Recipe: Fresh Raw Cream Trifle

We had a pint of raw cream in the fridge I had bought to make ice cream, but no eggs (we have been having some chicken issues~ predators, egg-eaters, pullets... ugh).  So-- I whipped it up in the kitchen aid mixer and added a tablespoon of vanilla and a quarter cup (or slightly less) honey.  The kids decided this was delicious.

To make a trifle, we layered it in a glass bowl with fresh cherries, strawberries, apricots, nectarines, and banana, then sprinkled cinnamon on top.  
 What a hit!
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Baby Bike Seat Toy or Lovey Leash

The baby has been wanting more than just the handy bee as a toy on the bike.  Today, he insisted on bringing his little lovey... which was a great idea.  Well, it was until he dropped it then started wailing and we had to circle back for it then we were exactly one minute late for preschool pickup.

But anyway.

To make this clip, I took a piece of ribbon and cut it on the bias.  Then I looped in a suspender clip and hand stitched it to the strap.  Now we will be able to clip in the lovey (or a toy) and both be happy!
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Goddess Statue- Venus of Willendorf

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Biking with Small Children (aka High Occupancy Biking)

We have tried it before, this family bike riding.  But what we had needed all four of us to go on a bike ride. We had the baby in a back rack seat and the toddler in a half bike.  The problem was that the half bike attaches to the seat stem, so it couldn't be on at the same time as the baby rear seat.  It is also a bit heavy, since our rider wasn't pedaling all that much just yet.  We wanted him to get a feel for the breeze and biking together, so the half bike with pedals seemed an ideal solution.  My husband and I had gotten as far as interchangeable pieces on both bikes so we could switch kids on the fly (the seat slides into a rack and the half bike attaches to a round piece that stays on the stem), but we still both needed to be there to go biking.  This made biking recreation instead of transportation.

I wanted a better solution.  

... and we found one!  We can use the Burley Bee trailer and the Topeak back rack baby seat all on the same bike.  This means Mama doesn't need to wait for Daddy and can bike more often.

The Burley Bee is lightweight, at around 18 pounds empty.  It also folds down quickly and gets small, so it can fit in a car easily.  It can fit one or two children, and is rollover "safe."  My kids weigh about 65 pounds together, and when they are both in the trailer, it is slow going, but not that slow.  But they are only going to get heavier-- I am imagining this as progressive training.  There is a rain shield which rolls up when not in use.  We got caught in the rain once and it kept them splatter-free.  The Bee is rated to 100 pounds.  It has a huge amount of space behind the passenger for cargo in its own lift-up compartment.  Huge as in we fit a half-flat of strawberries and the rest of a Farmer's Market lode in there comfortably.

The trailer also clips on and off easily.  Its attachment is on the back wheel.  It is one pin and clip and safety strap and can be done one-handed on a flat surface.  This means I can take the toddler to school in this and leave it there and pick him and it up in it later.  Genius.  Its attachment location also means I can use my rack for other things... like the baby seat.  Although when I drop off the toddler that also means I lose my storage, so I have a handlebar bag (like this) for the baby's stuff.  Then we can fly home, 63 pounds lighter (45 pounds of toddler, and 18 pounds of trailer).

In addition to liking to be able to leave the trailer behind, I like having the baby close to me as we ride.  The toddler and I can have conversations with him way back in a trailer (or half bike), but it is nice to have the baby within touching distance to make sure he is okay.  I am not sure he loves wearing a helmet, but he has fallen asleep in the bike seat more than once, so it can't be all that bad.

We used the same baby bike seat when the toddler was little, and logged many miles around town.  Its biggest issue was the lack of storage.  We could go places, but not run errands.  And we needed to share a water bottle and pack light.

I love how the rear baby seat doesn't change the space the bike takes up, and it only minimally changes the maneuverability.  With the trailer, you need to use the gears a lot and look very far ahead to gauge terrain changes and it feels a lot less maneuverable.  But the bike seat on the rack is only a weight difference.  I have been hesitant to try a front-mounted baby seat because I wanted to block the wind and flying things from Baby's face a bit, and possibly impact if that were ever the case.  I also imagined weight on the front to change the center of gravity while riding, but have heard it's not a big deal.

In addition to preschool and the Farmer's Market, we ride along the path close to our house.  There is a park about 4 miles away on the trail, so it is a nice ride for me then play for them, then ride for me.  I try and find paths to ride on that have bike lanes or aren't too busy.  Hills are also magnified when carrying an extra 85 pounds and some length, so flat rides are easier.  I often run through the gears on the way back down with all that weight barreling us ahead.

Even with these considerations, I love to ride the bike as of a matter of course.  We have mapped out a way to get to the grocery store without going along the main path, and the toddler said he will sit with a bag of groceries and put one in the back, so I think we will try that next.  I love exemplifying using a smaller footprint whenever possible, plus it always makes me feel better when I get my heart rate up.  I am so thrilled to have found a way to bike with two little ones.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Harvesting Kale

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nonwaterproof Trainers

Here are five more nonwaterproof trainers. I made these using my favorite free pattern.

The top two are made of pieces leftover from making these shorts from a mesh-ish t-shirt.  I didn't have enough for the waistband and leg cuffs, so they are made from white 4-way stretch lycra/ cotton.  The other white ones are the same fabric.  The blue ones are swimsuit lycra.  I love the 4-way stretch and lycra for trainers because they are so stretchy and comfortable and easy to get on and off.  The soakers are a layer of PUL (from a scrap) next to the outer layer, then 4 layers of flannel or equivalent.  These will feel wet to baby next to the skin and slow down the flow of one pee.
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Friday, May 18, 2012

Cabbage Harvest

I have planted these seeds a number of times in our garden, and this is the first year a gorgeous cabbage came of them.  I've already cut it up and am fermenting some kim chee. 
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pattern Review: Bobby's Bathers from Sewing for Boys Book

I don't know why these are marked as a beginner project, but they are a nice project. I would have labeled them as intermediate for the two buttonholes and the tabs.  The rest is easy.

As you can see, I skipped the tabs and buttonholes because I couldn't really tell where we were headed with it.  The directions would have been more clear had the tab and pocket construction been separated, or if there was a photo of the completed tabs.  By the end, I realized that there was meant to be a decorative lace going through the two buttonholes, and the tabs were part of this.

I also skipped the velcro since the pocket is very small and I couldn't see any need to keep it shut.  You can also see my pocket migrated slightly to the back of the shorts instead of being on the side.

The directions would have also been more clear if the elastic length were noted.  I found the width but not the length, so I cut mine to 21" (size 4/5T), and overlapped it by an inch.  They fit nicely.

I made these out of an old Oakland Marathon shirt.  You can see that I cut them out of the front and back to re-use the bottom hem as the bottom hem of the shorts (one of my favorite upcycling tricks).  The pattern on the shirt caught my needle a bit, so it tugged a little on the waistband.  I am hoping the breathable fabric will keep my son nice and cool in these.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I saw this Bag and want to copy it

I love the handles and the gathers, and it's a nice size. I want to copy it!
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Pattern Review: Little Heartbreaker Pants from Sewing For Boys Book

These are SO cute on.  They hang so nicely and look super sharp.

I made these from some old curtains and edited the pattern by using contrasting fabric for the inside of the pockets.

The pattern was great.  I found it really easy to follow and thought the use of the waistband facings and buttonhole elastic was quite clever (how it is held up then stitched then turned down and it closes the seams).   I made my own buttonhole elastic for the pants, and am quite pleased with it.

My only complaint is with the sizing.  I made two pairs for my two boys.  I made a 2/3 for my baby (who is in about 18 mo sizing now) and 4/5 for my preschooler who generally wears 4s and 5s.  The photos are of my preschooler in the 2/3. They fit him really well.  The length is even nice on him. In general, I am finding the sizing in the book (Sewing for Boys, where this pattern is from) to be a bit inconsistent and in general items are fitting a bit large and wide.  I guess that is better than too small~ I will just save these and they will both be able to wear them at some point.

Oh, and another complaint is with the cuffs.  As a separate piece, I ended up getting the length wrong and it folded and tucked and doesn't look that great in a couple of spots.  I tried cutting it to length after I had stitched the pants up, and still didn't get it right.

All in all, these are another hit. They were fun to make, and are adorable on.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Feeding Babies Food

Check out this article on feeding babies. Really interesting. Pin It

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Recipe: Mint Cacao Nib Raw Milk Ice Cream

Mint Cacao Nib Raw Milk Ice Cream

4 egg yolks from pastured hens
1 T arrowroot powder
2 T vanilla
2 t peppermint extract
1/4 c honey
1/4 c grade B maple syrup
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 cup raw cream
3 cups raw milk

Mix in stand mixer using whisk attachment and adding milk and cream last.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions (turn it on and add batter while it is mixing).  Enjoy!

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Pattern Review: Mimi's Boy, Suspender Shorts from Sewing for Boys Book

 These were really fun to make.  They are "Mimi's Boy, Suspender Shorts" from the book called Sewing for Boys.  They look a bit like lederhosen, but would also be cute without the suspenders.  A fake fly would also be cute on them.

  What made them fun was the detail: the toptitching, the turn and stitch on the seam allowances, using facings for the waistband, the pockets, and making the buttonhole elastic.

Making the suspenders was ok, and I don't love how they look and how they turned out.  They look like they are attached a bit wide. and the tab looks high on his back.

Altogether, though, I love the fit.  This is the first project in the book I can say that about.  They are a 4/5 and so is my son and they look great.

I used snaps instead of buttons and also did contrasting fabric for the facings.

Love this project.  I will definitely try it again.

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