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January 2010

{sewing } parade of Christmas Gifts, for the princess

It's been a crazy couple of weeks, hasn't it? 

In case you haven't heard, the Craft Hope for Haiti Etsy shop has raised over $28,000 for Doctors Without Borders.  That just takes my breath away.  We are still adding new things to the shop daily and the sales continue to add up.  So if you have bought something from the store or donated something to the store -- or both -- THANK YOU!!! 

And it can't be said enough, so I'm going to just say it again for the heck of it.  Many, many thanks to Sarah and Jade for taking charge and making it happen.   Honestly, there is so much behind the many emails!!  My word, the amount of email matching from etsy, from paypal, from the donations, from buyers with questions, from the listers.... it boggles my mind.  I'm pretty sure there are super powers involved, but no one is talking.

I'm going to keep updating the store total on the right, under the Craft Hope for Haiti button, just in case you're curious. 


And now.

On with our regularly scheduled program.

Installment #3 of the Parade of Handmade Christmas Gifties, the Emma Princess Dress:

(photos courtesy of the Queen, my friend Katie.  Thanks, honey!!  xoxo)

It is equal parts:

thrifted vintage blousy polyester
70s floral
girly color explosion
and 'tude (evidently) 

This is the second play dress I have made to grow with the princess.  It has adjustable straps (see top right photo, button holes on straps) a velcro back closure at waist, and a button with elastic tie.  It seems like around our house, dresses are either too small or too big and there aren't easy ways to make them fit all of our friends.  With a few adjustments, this one can.  :)

The fact that I scored all this awesome poly for $1.30 and still have some left over is even better.  Six -year-olds shouldn't have all the fun, should they?

Next up, prezzies for the girlfriends...

Happy Weekend, Everyone!  (it's not too late to throw a Miss America Party of your own, you know... )

{ laughing }

This is a long one.  I'm never going to live it down, either.  It is why my sides still hurt, two days later.  I'm not the best story teller, but if you need to feel better about yourself or your pantry, read on...

* * * * *

For years, my dear friend Liz has been part of a food co-op group.  They buy direct from the distributor and save lots of money on all sorts of grocery items.  A lot of it is bulk food and that's ok when you're buying staples and such.  Beans, cheese, cereal, whatever.  The stuff she gets is pretty much all organic and good quality.  This year we thought I'd join in and start saving money, building a well stocked pantry and generally being a bit more economical about our food expenses.  Yay for planning!

You can order online.  Sweet.  Pretty simple.  All I have to do is drive 3 hours to pick it up and hang out with Liz every two months.  Easy-peasy.  Done.

Shopping online is a little cumbersome.  Item costs don't show up until you view your cart (probably because each buying club has a different discount rate, but I'm just guessing here).  The first visit is about like walking into Costco and not seeing prices, but wanting to buy, say, bulk flour.  So you have to put four different 25# bags of flour in your basket and view your cart before you can compare costs.  Ok, fine.  A little clunky, but totally manageable.

Three days out, I get an email from Liz to the whole group saying she is going to put the order through on Friday, so make sure you have everything in your basket by then. 

Totally manageable.

Unfortunately, my life starts to spin out of control for a couple days.  Weather is crappy.  Kids need to do schoolwork online.  Baby is extra-needy.  Bookclub.  Laundry.  You know.  I know you know.

So I never finish my cart.  I had gone back and found the cheapest flour, but I had moved on to different 'aisles' and never really gone back to finish the order.  I was bummed that my first coop opportunity was already a dud.

You think you know where this is going, don't you?

Fast Forward two weeks to last Saturday morning.  Liz calls, on her way to the coop food pick-up.

"Hi Chris! Um, I guess this answers my question."


"You're at home, and you're not going to meet me for the food pick-up."

"Oh my...."

"Which means you probably didn't want the 125 pounds of flour you ordered."

"oh my..."

"You just had to put things in your basket.... "

"I feel sick."

"And whatever is in your basket gets ordered..."

"I totally thought I'd have to Confirm or something!!!  Accckkk!"

"Um, I can probably split some of it with the other girls when I get there.  Let's see."

"Ok... what... what ELSE did I ORDER???"

"Oh, let's see, cheese... brown sugar...chocolate chips...that's about it... not too bad, really.   Let me see what I can do."

What do I owe?

"Um, about $450, and I can cover you, but we'll see after I get there...."

* crickets * 

"Ok, yes, yes.... of course... "

So hubs agrees to abandon his plans to visit the Nordstrom's Mens Sale and, instead, spend the next 4 hours in the car to meet Liz halfway ... and get my flour and cheese and miscellany at the Dairy Queen in Chillicothe, MO. I love that man.  I really do.

Of course, I know I will never live this down. 

I'm thinking, how much space does all that flour take???  Where the heck am I going to put it?  Can I just donate it to a kitchen and take a write-off?   Will my local bread-making friends help me out and take some of it off my hands??? 

And let's be honest.  I'm totally sweating because that's a lot of money.  For flour and whatever else.  Will hubs ever forgive me?  And it's a whole afternoon, gone.  Sheesh.

After a while, I get a text on my phone:

Get ready for 20 lbs of dark chocolate chips.


$130 worth.  It was 25 lbs but Liz sold some.  Flour was not as bad as you thought.  50 lbs.

I can't even imagine what 20 lbs of chocolate chips looks like-- wait, 130 for chocolate chips? (see how 50 lbs of flour no longer seems like a lot?  to either of us??)

Well, you get to see it.  Yes, for chocolate chips.

What is the cheese situation like?

There is a lot.  It looks good.


And so.  That explains why and how it is that I can take this picture:

the chips

Yes, that is a garbage bag of dark chocolate chips on the sofa. 

We estimated (after a long discussion as to the best way of doing so) that we have 18,225 chocolate chips in our basement fridge.

Which is to say that we have

enough dark chocolate chips for both of us to eat

one chip

a day

for the next

25 years.


Time to start making some cookies.

{ craft hope for haiti } Thank you

Dear Jade and Sarah,

Thank you. 

I am having trouble putting into words how ______ you both are.







yes, yes, yes, yes, yes

I'm pretty sure you're both angels, right here on Earth.

Don't pshaw me.  It's true.  What you have started -- what you are doing, day and night, every breathing second -- is such a raw display of selflessness, it takes my breath away. 

I know you will both deflect this praise and talk about everyone working on this together.  The truth is, you girls are driving this incredible machine of hope and love.  And it's working. No, we're not raising 100 million dollars like George Clooney and his gang of celebrities.  Or the wireless companies.  Or any telethon.  It's grassroots, baby, and it is still making a difference. 

Rock on, sisters.  Angels that you are.  And thanks for giving the rest of us who wanted to help but weren't quite sure how, the opportunity to do so. 

Love, Chris

( and Everyone Else)


Okay... enough with the mushy stuff...

What's new at the shop??

Take a looksee...


It's chock full of pretties.  New items listed round the clock >>>>

{ parade break } Craft Hope for Haiti Etsy Store

I'm sure you already figured this out, but I'm taking a break in the Parade of Handmade to help Jade and Sarah with the Craft Hope for Haiti Etsy Store project.

It's all so humbling...The number of donations that are coming in.  How quickly the items are selling.  The speed at which the news of this project is spreading.  Good triumphs.  It totally does. 

Craft Hope Etsy Store for Haiti Website 

If you haven't had a chance to check it out, make sure you do. 

Some of my faves so far? 

This bag.  Oh my.

kawaii bag

and this one, too...


This gorgeousness sold already...


So did this adorableness...


and this schnazziness, which makes me long for 80 degree weather...


....but maybe you can get there fast enough to snatch

Princess Print 

...  or ....

Hot Spots Quilt 

Not feeling that spendy?  How about $4? 

Embroidery pattern

All proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders.  We are listing items nearly every minute and they are going as fast as we can get them up there, so check back often.  You won't be sorry!



{ help } Craft Hope for Haiti

Looking for a way to help the earthquake victims of Haiti?

The Craft Hope gals have set up an Etsy shop where 100% of the proceeds go to help Doctors Without Borders.  You can donate items for sale or just get spendy and know it's for a good cause.

I'm working on a few things to donate to the shop, but in the meantime I keep popping over to look at the goods doing good... things are selling like crazy over there, so you have to be quick.  Have fun.  This is shopping you can really feel good about.

{ sewing } parade of Christmas Gifts, for the superhero

Entry Nos. 2, 3, and 4 in the Parade of Handmade Gifts are superhero capes, made for the bravest and cutest super mini-dudes I know.

Big D to the rescue

When I first posted about making capes, my dear friend Lori was quick to suggest a tutorial from Creative Kismet, so I started from there and modified them as I went. Thanks, Lori!  I wanted slightly bigger capes for the green and blue, so I only folded the fabric once on those, and measured different lengths depending on the superhero's stature.  Super-Q was folded twice, and it's the perfect size for a two year old.

for the boys

I rolled the edges, but used bias tape at the neckline for added strength.  I do think this would be gorgeous lined and turned, but could be a bit heavy around the neck for little fellers.  Also, I made the extra effort to cut this project 100% with pinking shears and it made a world of difference in the shedding dept.  Trust me on that one.

Picking out the design for the back was the fun part.  Each one is done a bit differently, but basically makes use of Heat-n-Bond, felt, and pinking shears.  Super-Q's light blue background circle is felt and I think it added too much stiffness to the cape when fused in two layers.  The red is a light flannel and, well, D's is fancy schmancy.  It's a hat tip to the sparkly Jasmine pants he regularly dons to keep up with the princesses around my house.  What a good sport. Here's your own flashy get-up, buddy.

Next up:  Monogrammed Pillows!

{sewing } Parade of Christmas Handmades begins

Believe it or not, we are almost done with the gift giving and I can start sharing some handmade gifts.  I completely underestimated how much time these gifts would could take, but the challenge was fun.  And I'm pretty stoked that it all got done.  Joc, now you will understand why I didn't get the book read for book club last month.

Without further ado, let's commence with what I am calling the Parade of 2009 Christmas PPF Handmades!  Alternately titled, Miss Chris Toots her Own Horn (But Figures This is Her Blog So That's OK.)

This is the Aubrey Skirt.


Who doesn't love a good twirly skirt?  This one is made with a 4" drop yoke waist and an uber-gathered panel from stash fabric (cotton and a lightweight taffeta). The yoke reduces bulk at the waist and the band at the bottom gives the skirt some body, which I like for little girls.  You can't see it here, but there is quite a bit of contrast top-stitching, giving it a nice finished look.  There was also a matching hairbow because this girl  likes her accessories.    :) 

I think she liked it.

It's basically a modified tube+casing skirt, but I could draw up a tutorial I knew there would be takers... 

Next up: capes.  Oh my.

{ snowed in } making the best of it

Fallen leaves from an indoor plant, placed on the windowsill to get some sun. 

big snow 2010

Yesterday was -- day four? five? whatever -- of being snowed in here in KC. Like really snowed in.  The streets haven't been clear since before Christmas and we have 4'+ high snowbanks -- on either side of our driveway!  Plus, the cold.  Oh my.  I could handle this all a lot better if we could go out and romp outside a bit, but these little piggies are staying inside when it's -30 and windy.  Oh well.  

Here's to the optimism of almost-four-year-olds. 

in the oven, getting squishy

I took the cue from little Fidget and decided to make the best of it yesterday.  We got out some crayons, ripped off the paper, broke the crayons into pieces and tossed them into mini cupcake tins. She thought this was the best thing ever, AND it kept our fingers busy for almost a half hour.  Even the 13 year old played along.

Preheated to 275, and left them in for 8 minutes. I sprayed the tin with cooking spray, but I don't know if that part was necessary.

[edited to add: I guess the spray is necessary.  Glad I did.  Also, this is sooo not an original project, just something I've seen several times online over the last couple years and finally got around to doing...]

after about 8 minutes at 275

I put them in the fridge for a few minutes to set, and then in the freezer to further harden. They just popped out of the tin on to a towel and were ready to go.

mini tin crayons

One thing I had to do was cut off a fine layer of clear wax from around the bottom of some (you can see it in the pink one above).  I used a box cutter.  Fancy, I know.  Once I did that, the new crayons worked perfectly.  They nearly all have names.   The pink one in the middle is the Sleeping Beauty crayon, and the blue sparkly one to the left is Ariel, and the green and red one is the Christmas Crayon. 

I said we named them. Not that they were terribly original. ;)

. . .


We stayed inside this morning and wrote Christmas thank-yous, ate a late breakfast and played with baby.  We remarked at how lucky we are that if the sun can make her way out in the winter, our house can still feel all kinds of warm because of our southern exposure. Our 11 year old golden retriever (who does not retrieve) enjoys long naps in the sunshine.  I like it that tiny pj-feet are warmed by the floorboards.

The little girls went down for a nap a while ago and I happened to walk through the living room still not picked up from this morning.  Bathed in a gentle warm glow, it made me catch my breath. I had to stop and take a photo, just as it was.  It felt so beautiful to me.  The remnants of where Daddy played with baby.  The chair where someone was sitting with their back to the sun.  The toys scattered on a little quilt, quickly discarded for something more interesting to a 6 month old.  The sun streaming in, warming up all of our cabin-fevered hearts and frosty grumpiness.

evidence of a good saturday morning

It was a nice morning.

Optimism is obviously catchy. 

Popping In....

Happy 2010!

It's COLD and SNOWY and FROSTY and all sorts of Brrrrr around here. I am getting down to the sewing room nearly every day and I have so much to share.  So much.  Including this little number that is still in its gift box.


Sorry I can't reveal more until her mommy has seen it in person.  ;)  I have a lot of little gifts like this to show still.  I can tell you that I fell in love with the thrifted vintage polyester. (3 yds, 1.30) It didn't even have that old musty smell.  Just lovely.  And there is enough left over for some selfish sewing, even.  Score!)

I took this photo in the same window... Doesn't it just make you cold, looking at it??


OK, off to refill the coffee cup....   I'll be back soon.  Here's to getting back in the groove!