Friday, December 30, 2011

Grab Some Keyka Lou Patterns Before They're Gone!

Public Service Announcement:  
One of my favorite purse pattern designers, Keyka Lou, is retiring some patterns on January 1, 2012. The ones about to be retired are only THREE BUCKS in her shop right now. 

I already own this Strap Clutch pattern, as well as this Pocket Clutch Pattern. I picked them up after reading this great review from Anna of Noodlehead, and I agree with her assessment that they are great little patterns. I'm picking up these two patterns below right now, for only three bucks each. They'll both be gone on January 1.

Small Satchel

For full disclosure, I am a Keyka Lou affiliate, so buying Keyka Lou patterns from these links puts a little change (literally, change - the patterns are only 3 bucks a piece!) in my pocket.  I really do love these patterns, and wouldn't recommend them to you if I didn't. I RARELY buy bag patterns because, honestly, I can figure out how to make most bags on my own without a pattern, but I really like Keyka Lou's unique styles, clear instuctions, and digitally drawn pattern pieces. To me, they're worth spending a few bucks, even if I could probably figure out how to make a similar design on my own.

Top 10 Posts of 2011

I love New Year's Day. I know that REALLY it's just a day, like any other day, but it feels like a really fresh, clean start to me. 2012 is a blank slate, and I can't wait to fill it with awesomeness. Before we close the year, I thought it might be fun to look back at which posts you guys liked the most in 2011. 

Looking at this list was funny, because I think of myself primarily as a sewer, but turns out my most popular posts are the crochet posts. I think this is probably because, while there are a bazillion sewing blogs, there aren't nearly as many crochet ones, so people on the hunt for crochet patterns end up here, probably due to lack of options. :)

I also wanted to say THANK YOU to all you lovely people who stop by and read and comment on my blog. Writing this blog has pushed my creativity SO much, in some part because I feel accountable to YOU guys. More than 82,000 people stopped by this little blog in 2011 - WHAT?!?! That seems so insane to me. I started this blog to write about my boys, and what it has turned in to, sort of a creative journal (and a MASSIVE distraction from writing my dissertation), is so, so fun for me. So, again, thanks. You guys are awesome. :)

So without further ado, these are the top 10 posts from 2011!


Pirate boy

I can't wait to see what 2012 brings!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Nerdy Christmas Pajamas

Ho to the third power! Merry Christmas!

 Yes, I really am this nerdy. We've got a house full of sick people, including my husband, but I am determined to make this Christmas as festive as possible, starting with these jammies for all the boys! I got the fabric here, and used this Scientific Seamtress pattern for the pants. It's an easy, fantastic, quick pattern and I use it all the time. I've blogged about it at least 2 or 3 other times as well. 

I used my Silhouette and some flocked heat transfer material for the shirts. If you want the Silhouette file, email me and I'll send it over!

This poor guy doesn't feel well, but finally managed a smile for me!

Merry Christmas, from me and the boys!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Imperfectly Perfect Holiday Decor

For weeks now, I've been watching amazing crafty and talented bloggers share pictures of their amazing homes, decorated perfectly in beautiful coordinating colors. They're BEAUTIFUL and inspiring.

But that's not my house.

Like I mentioned here, I let the boys decorate the tree this year. For most of my childhood, I was the only daughter of a single mom, so our tree every year was PERFECTION - all the ornaments matched, centered around a theme, glowing with white lights. We spent HOURS shopping for the perfect ornaments and decorating our tree.

Our tree now is not at all like the ones my mom and I created growing up. The lights? Colored, and are actually just a big outdoor lighting net placed on our indoor tree. The ornaments? Not at all matching, some are semi-broken, and many are homemade. The garland? Hand crocheted by Riley at age 6. None of those things matter at all to the boys. They LOVE the tree. They love that they can run up to and give it a hug. They love that I'm not constantly telling them not to touch it. They love that they feel like THEY are creating part of the Christmas magic.

 (I know some of you have seen those photos before, but they are so sweet that you're going to see them again.)

The boys wanted lights outside - not only did they get them, they got sequined reindeer too (yes, really).

And here's something you probably don't know about me. I collect Santas. I love everything that Santa represents - the magic, the giving, the joy he brings to kids. I. Love. It. All.

Some of my Santa collection lives on the mantle (and if I'm telling the truth, they live there year round, regardless of the season).

There's disco Santa.

And Snowglobe Belly Santa.

There's Handmade Vintage Santa on the left, and Driftwood Santa on the right of Disco Santa.

I picked this one up in Germany while traveling there in high school.

We've hung our stockings...

And if you're wondering why there are six stockings, it's because I still hang my mom's stocking, even though she passed away five years ago. While mine and the boys have toys and Santa Claus on them, hers has an angel on the front. Fitting, I think.

So, the moral of the story here is this: Holiday decorating doesn't have to be perfect. Not every home is as perfectly decorated as the ones you see on television, in catalogs, or in the blogosphere. Even though my house might not look like it's plucked from a catalog, it's perfect for US. Letting the kids do most of our decorating, and filling our home with the spirit of Santa is what works in our home.

Now I'd love to know, how do you spread real cheer with your holiday decorating? Show me with your photos! Click "Add me" in the Cheer Tree below to upload your holiday decorating photos and share them with your Twitter followers and Facebook friends. Be sure to click on "Special Offers" to unwrap the hidden coupons and deals exclusively from Sears. Keep checking throughout the holidays--new deals are unlocked every day! For all your holiday decorating needs and solutions, don’t forget to visit Sears and discover real deals, real cheer!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sears. The opinions and text are all mine.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Karma (aka that time I won Lego fabric while also giving away Lego fabric)

You guys. Call it Karma, or whatever you like, but last week when I was giving away some Lego-inspired fabric, I also entered a few giveaways that others were hosting. I actually won one of them, and guess what it was for? LEGO-INSPIRED FABRIC! 

Karma, right? You do nice things, and you get nice things in return. Thanks, Universe.

I won two awesome fat quarters from Flowerpress. She designs her own fabrics and has them digitally printed (by Spoonflower I assume, but maybe not). I am SUPER excited, and Riley and Quinn were arguing last night over what I should make with these goodies. If you want some for yourself, you can check out all her lovely original fabrics here.

p.s. If you're dying for some of the Lego knit I was giving away, Gina only has a little bit left. You can get it here

p.p.s. Also, just to be clear, neither of the shops mentioned in this post sponsor my blog in any way. I found Ixat on etsy and love her fabric options, and am super excited to get my hands on these fat quarters I won from FlowerPress.

p.p.p.s. Today is the last day before Christmas to order gifts with regular (not express) shipping from Amazon. If you're still looking for boy gifts, you can check out my recommendation posts here, here, here, and here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lego Fabric Winner!

I apologize for just getting this posted! We had a holiday dinner with the husband's law firm last night, and I've been at a Lego robotics tournament all day today (more on that soon).

Without further ado, the winner of the Lego fabric is number 54, Diana!
Diana said...
I made my grandbaby a dinosaur quilt and a shirt i pained with a dinosaur on it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Candy Cane Blossom Cookies

In case you're in the cookie-making mood this weekend, let me recommend to you these candy cane blossom cookies. I just made a bunch for Quinn's preschool Christmas party this afternoon, and they are YUMMY. 

I noticed the recipe on the back of the candy cane kisses I bought earlier in the week. WARNING: Candy cane kisses are addictive. I'm not saying I ate an entire bag in one sitting...well, wait. Yeah, that is pretty much what I'm saying. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Here's the recipe, with my notes (in red), and a link to the original by Hershey's.

Candy Cane Blossoms by Hershey's

  • 48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Candy Cane Mint Candies
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk I actually needed about 50% more milk than this, so 3 tablespoons
  • Red or green sugar crystals, granulated sugar or powdered sugar


 Heat oven to 350°F. Remove wrappers from candies. (I actually did this while the cookies were in the oven so I wasn't tempted to eat them while I was making the cookies.)
 Beat butter, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternately with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended. (Like I mentioned above, I had to add about 50% more milk than this to get the dough to come together. I also had to add an additional splash to the dough that was sitting around while the first batch was in the over because it got drier and tougher as it sat.)
 Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in red sugar, granulated sugar, powdered sugar or a combination of any of the sugars. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. I found it easiest to press the cookie flat into the sugar, and then roll the sides to coat them. The bottoms of my cookies do not have sugar on them, and I like it that way.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookie is set. (Mine never browned, FYI.) Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press a candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.

And there you have it! They are just about the most festive cookies I've ever made. I highly recommend them if you're doing any baking over the weekend!

Santa Quinn

Have you ever seen a cuter Santa in your whole life?

I think not.

p.s. Santa suit is from Babies R Us, purchased year ago before I could sew. They sell a Santa suit every year though, so if you're looking for one, that might be the place to find one.

p.p.s. Today is the last day to enter the Lego fabric giveaway. I exchanged some emails with Gina, the owner of the shop where I got that fabric, and she mentioned that it is almost gone, so if you're wanting to purchase some Lego fabric, sooner if probably better than later.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Blazer, a Bowtie, and the Musical Stylings of Quinn

Last week, my sweet baby Quinn had his preschool holiday concert. Obviously, he needed a special outfit for the occasion, so I made him a bowtie using the pattern from Little Gentleman's Closet, and a blazer using a pattern by Melly Sews.


The bowtie pattern is double layered, so it's sturdy and keeps it's shape well, which I like. And I had some of the tie clips on hand so I didn't have to actually tie the tie on Quinn's squirmy little body. You can see my review of the Little Gentleman's Closet necktie pattern here. If you're looking for a quick bowtie pattern for your little guy, this is a good one.

I've been meaning to draft a blazer patterns for a looooong time, so I was excited to see that someone else had already done it for me. For the most part, I really liked this pattern. I made the 4T for Quinn, who is a 98th percentile 3.5 year old. 

I think the sizing was good, and the pattern went together quite easily. The only thing I didn't like about the pattern was the sleeves. The sleeves are made up of two pieces -a main sleeve and an undersleeve. This would make perfect sense on a  blazer sleeve that had buttons at the cuff, but this one doesn't. I still can't really see the need for the two piece sleeve. It's only one extra seam though, so in the grand scheme of things, it isn't a huge deal.

I also am very particular about how I like to sew sleeve into garments. I like to attach them to the shoulder, and then sew the side seam, turn at the arm pit, and sew the sleeve shut. The two piece sleeve pattern prevents using that method, and instead you have to sew the sleeve pieces together, and then insert the sleeve into the arm hole in the main jacket. I was cursing the pattern as I realized I had to use that method, until the sleeve fit the armscye LIKE A GLOVE. I mean, perfectly. Imagine how annoyed I was when I found out there was no need to be annoyed in the first place. ;)

My favorite part of this jacket ended up being the lining. I used some of the Alexander Henry Peace Hands fabric I've been hoarding for ages. It's so cute! The main fabric is a black velveteen.

He was so stinking handsome in his new outfit. The sweater and pants are from Target.

Quinn and his best buddy. 

Quinn and his buddies get ready to sing. 

They tell the kids to "catch a bubble" in their mouths to be quiet. Quinn is very aggressive with his bubble catching. :) The look on his friend's face cracks me up too.

Mrs. Claus showed up at the end of the show to read a story. The kids loved it!

And, in case you're dying to see an adorable group of kids singing "The Dreidel Song" and "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas", this is your video. The songs start around 2:20. Also, we put a wireless microphone on Quinn so we could actually hear him sing, and it worked great! It was worth the investment in the microphone to be able to hear his sweet little voice. (We used this one.)  And don't miss the little boy on the right side of the screen spinning around his classmate as if he were an actual dreidel. I love little kids. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day! Lego fabric bundle ***CLOSED***

This giveaway is now closed. The winner is number 54, Diana. 

Hey friends! Guess what? Today is Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day! Today, I'm giving away a yard and a half of Lego-inspired fabric, along with half a yard of Lego-inspired twill tape!

If you win this giveaway, you'll get a full yard of the black Lego minifigure fabric. This fabric is fantastic! It's a really nice french terry  (loopback light sweatshirt material). I actually have this fabric sent in from one of my favorite fabric shops in South Korea, Ixat. Finding cool knits for boys is basically impossible, but she has a whole shop full of them, and her customer service is fantastic. I'm making hoodies for my boys from this fabric right now. FYI, this piece of fabric has been prewashed in hot water only (no detergent).

You'll also get a half yard of  the Kokka print  (you can see a great example of this fabric in action here), and a half yard of the coordinating twill tape.

I should probably introduce myself, since many people visiting this post may never have been to the blog before. My name is Emily and I make stuff for boys. I've got three awesome sons, and I LOVE the challenge of creating for them. Here's a sample of some of the stuff you can find here. You can also check out my tutorials page, even though it is woefully outdated right now.

I've also been known to make a bag or two,

But enough about me! Back to the giveaway.

Here's the fine print:

To enter, leave me a comment telling me about the best gift you've made or bought for a guy in your life this year. I'm always looking for more gift ideas. :) 

And, because I love my readers, if you're a blog follower, just let me know with a second comment. That's it! Super simple. Please make sure I have a way to contact you! Leave your email address, or make sure it is linked to your google profile. 

The giveaway will be open until December 16 at 8pm EST.

I'm happy to ship internationally!

Happy Sewing!

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