Baby Sprinkaan (18 months) climbing up a sand dune this past summer. If that’s not joyous, I don’t know what is.
Baby Sprinkaan (18 months) climbing up a sand dune this past summer. If that’s not joyous, I don’t know what is.
It’s cold in the basement at night and I always worry about Sprinkaan staying warm enough, even in his fleece footie pajamas. He had grown out of his infant sleepsack and I don’t like putting blankets on babies while they’re sleeping. Time for a new sleepsack!
The zippers I have for the infant sleepsacks aren’t long enough to go around the outside edge of the sack in a larger size, so I had to go with a center-zip design. I used a toddler’s jumper pattern for the top part of the sleepsack and the basic flared shape, just continuing then in a straight line to a couple inches past the length of the zipper. Like all my sleepsacks (some of which are for sale in my newly reopened etsy store), quilt batting is sandwiched between the print fabric and a white lining fabric. None of the zipper edges are exposed and all seams are encased.
I found a super cute rocket ship fabric and bought just over a yard of it.
The zipper is 36″ long which makes the sleepsack pretty generous, lengthwise. I put two sets of snaps on the shoulder straps to accommodate future growth.
I’m seeing Sprinkaan using this to at least 3 years old, by which time he’ll be able to keep his covers on without suffocating himself.
Back when I made this (and took the pictures) Sprinkaan was not yet walking. He does walk now and, while I don’t put him in his sleepsack until he is in bed, he does toddle around his crib in it a bit. It pulls at his shoulders a little when he tries to walk in it, but doesn’t seem to trip him up too badly. When he gets older, he’ll learn how to put his feet in the corners and walk in it like his siblings do in their sleeping bags.
When Konik was Sprinkaan’s age, I made him a little suit coat and pants in blue and white seersucker and it was adorable. I looked at that pattern this year for Sprinkaan and I just wasn’t feeling it. Aside from the waistband on those little overall pants being a pain to put together I thought, soon enough and my baby will be wearing “big boy clothes” so why rush it? That’s why I chose to dress him in a baby outfit this year. Our babies stay babies for only so long.
This pattern (Simplicity 4243) was my go-to when friends had babies and I wanted to send a gift. Although it has been several years since I’ve used it, it was still somewhat familiar territory. I chose a robin’s egg blue poly-linen blend for the fabric. There is a zipper down the back and snaps around the inside of the legs. I chose the bear applique because Sprinkaan’s nickname is Little Bear and it’s a shape he recognizes. He probably would have preferred a car because that’s his Absolute Favorite Thing in the World, but alas, the applique selection was rather paltry. I didn’t get many good photos of him wearing his little one-piece suit because he was melting down after church.
He has changed a lot since last Easter!
I’m playing a little catch-up here on the photo-a-day. Sunday was supposed to have been “dinner time” but that is the one day of the week when we don’t get to eat together as a family. Then yesterday was an anomaly because Mr. Gren had a meeting and the kids and I were off to (unsuccessfully) find the Santa fire truck. So tonight I will get my dinner time picture. In the meantime, we’ll get some other days covered.
New! I tried a new recipe for breakfast this morning. It was printed on the back of my bag of Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour. “Morning Glory Muffins” sound like the kind of thing you’d want to start your day. Unfortunately, even though I started on them at 6:40, they weren’t done in time for the kids to eat before I had to take them to school at 8:20, so I had to give them cereal instead. Hmph. I got to try the muffins after we got back and I think they’re pretty good, just labor intensive. Definitely a “make-ahead” recipe!
Baby Sprinkaan was also a fan.
This summer, we took a trip to Idaho for my family’s annual get-together (I hesitate to call it a “family reunion” because that always conjures up images of long-lost relatives that you’ve never met and this is just my parents, siblings, and their families). In an attempt to be organized this year, I had made up detailed packing lists for every member of the family and a to-do list calendar for the week leading up to the trip. Major item on the baby’s list was, of course, the playpen. This playpen is a workhorse: It was a shower gift when Rana was born. It has been schlepped around France, Switzerland, and Holland, and has seen its fair share of traveling the Western United States. During our cabin years, it was Konik’s bed because the ceiling in the loft was too low to set up the crib. So 3 kids and 8 years later — 2 of those with everyday use — the mattress had seen better days. Simply put: it was gross. We didn’t even leave the cabin with it when we moved.
Now the problem is, the playpen is European and doesn’t match the dimensions of any of the American ones on the market. We can’t just run out and buy a replacement mattress. Gosh, if only we knew someone crafty…
Who would want to disappoint this little face?
Well, there just so happens to be a bright green Quonset hut in town labeled “Foam and Fabric Outlet.” I had never been in there before, but it sounded like the kind of place I’d want to visit. It’s deceptively small from the outside! I didn’t have the luxury of really browsing, but I did a quick scan to see all kinds of upholstering fabric, pillow forms, sewing gadgetry and hardware, and, of course, foam. I went in thinking that we’d be able to buy the exact amount of foam we needed. I was wrong. They will cut foam to any size you want, but you still pay for the entire slab. You get to take it all home, though, so now I have a 2′ x 2′ square of foam and a 5′ x 4″ strip that I don’t know what to do with. But hey, that’s good foam; I’ll find a use for it someday.
Anyways, back to the playpen-sized section of foam. Originally I had it cut in one long rectangle, but after lying in bed that night planning my project, I had Mr. Gren take it back the next day and have them cut the rectangle in half. You’ll see why in a minute. But first, let it be known that I had no intention of laying a baby on a bare piece of foam. Anyone with a child should be able to quickly list at least five ways that could go wrong. While we were out, we had hit the thrift store and bought an old sheet. Thrift store sheets = great source of cheap fabric. I wasn’t too particular about what was printed on the sheet; I was more concerned with the weight of the fabric — a worn, flimsy sheet would just be too thin. I left Mr. Gren in charge of the sheet selection and he came back with… some kind of weird army print. With all due respect to our Armed Forces, olive green Army helmets and camo stars just really don’t say “baby” to me. Alas, we were short on time and that particular sheet was the best option available, so Army sheet it is.
The old mattress was split into two — as my foam was — and held together by the cover. There was a long piece of supple vinyl covering both squares on one side and then on the flip side, each square had its own individual cloth cover. What that did was enabled the mattress to be folded in half when not in use. I was going to attempt to construct the same type of cover (albeit all in Army sheet instead of vinyl and cloth).
It was a great idea, but the construction of it was maddening. Normally when you sew a cover for anything, you sew right sides facing so that all the stitching and seam allowances are on the wrong side. Then, you flip it right side out and it looks all smooth and polished from the outside, while the ugly stuff is hidden inside. Where things got tricky for me is when I decided that I wanted each square of foam individually encased in fabric, then joined together by the long piece, but still completely removable for washing. Geez, why do I make things so hard on myself? And with only two days until our trip…
Here is a crappy MS Paint cross-section diagram of what I wanted to do.
The blue is the foam. The dark green represents the individual square covers. See how they don’t join on the bottom corners? That’s where I can extract the foam again to wash the cover, if need be. The stripe of light green on the top is where the long piece covers the whole kit n’ kaboodle.
So back to that whole right-sides-together thing. That wouldn’t work here. I can’t really explain what I did in order to make all three layers come out right side up after the sewing and the flipping. There was something about a wrong side facing a right side, but I can’t remember which. Suffice it to say, it fried my brain. I gave it a test run as best I could with it all pinned together and then just dove in and sewed it all up. Miracle of miracles, it worked! I wrestled the foam into the cover and look!
The sense of satisfaction and relief once I flipped it all out and found it looking so clean and sharp… ahhhh. And the whole folding mechanism worked like a charm!
I should have taken a photo of the baby sleeping like, well, a baby, on his new mattress, but I didn’t. So you don’t get to see it in use, but Sprinkaan did sleep quite well and this little mattress should last for many years to come. It had better, because I don’t ever want to do this again.
It is a well-known fact that there is exactly one week between Palm Sunday and Easter. It happens every year. Palm Sunday. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Easter. I know this in my head. The crafty portion of my brain is, however, disconnected from logic and basic chronological concepts (maybe this is why I couldn’t tell time until junior high? Even now, my grasp is tenuous at best). Last week — Palm Sunday — I thought, “I should make the girls Easter dresses! I’ll choose a simple pattern; it won’t be too hard. I can sew two dresses in a week.”
What a week it was.
Monday: After dropping the girls at school, the boys and I hit the fabric store. Sprinkaan slept, and Konik was engaged up until I changed my mind about the two bolts of fabric I had been carting around with us. Then I split my time between choosing new fabric that I liked better and playing hide-and-seek with the boy who had had his fill of fabric. “I wish you would have just left me in the car!”
Monday is my laundry day, so I got the fabric washed and dried while I traced off the pattern pieces for Granota and cut out the larger size for Rana. All in all, a pretty productive day.
Tuesday: This was to be my big sewing day after taking the girls to school. Right out of the gate, Tuesday did not go as planned. I had all the kids ready to go, piling out the back door as I pushed the garage door opener. When I came out, I found the kids standing in front of the open garage door with confused and helpless expressions.
It was jammed and I couldn’t get it open more than about a foot and a half. Looks like we’re walking to school today, kids! Except that, I had allotted enough time for driving to school, not walking, so we were definitely going to be late. Also, Granota had a field trip first thing that morning. I ran inside to call the school and was surprised to be greeted so enthusiastically by the school secretary until, as I regaled her with the trials and tribulations that had beset us, she paused and then informed me that I had called the girls’ old school. We laughed and I assured her that we would not be walking the 20 miles to that school. I called the current school, told my story again and this secretary told me that the buses for the field trip would leave at 9:00, could we make it? “I think so!”
Before we could leave, I had to get the stroller which… was in the car which was stuck in the garage. So I performed a little Indiana Jones homage, belly crawling under the garage door to get it out. Then four kids and I hustled our hind ends to that school! We arrived just as the kindergartners were lining up outside for their field trip. Whew! I gave Konik a piggyback part of the way home while I pushed the stroller (and later perched him on the handlebar). By the time we got home, we were both beat and sewing was the last thing on my mind. Whether it was from that unplanned jog to school or what, Konik got sick later that afternoon, throwing up everywhere. No sewing that day.
Wednesday: I still didn’t trust Konik’s belly, so I was keeping a close eye on him; Rana woke up with a fever, so I decided to keep her home from school. But when I went to take Granota, once again, the garage door got stuck despite Mr. Gren having fixed it the night before. I told her that she would just have to stay home, too, that day. The difference between Tuesday and Wednesday: Tuesday was warm and sunny; Wednesday was rainy with two sick kids. The two sick kids perked up by lunchtime, but it was still raining, so they were all stuck inside. No sewing that day, either.
Thursday: We got smart and parked the car outside the night before so there would be no issues getting children to school. I got about a third of the way through Granota’s dress. It occurred to me that I haven’t really sewn anything in months. I felt rusty and slow.
Friday: Panic was beginning to set in. I had to get these dresses done. I finished Granota’s and, miraculously, things were moving a bit faster with Rana’s. When Mr. Gren left for work that night, he asked me how late I was going to stay up sewing. “Until I start making mistakes,” I replied. One thing that I figured was pretty mistake-proof was putting in the gathering stitches, so I took every piece that needed gathering and did that. By the time I went to bed, all the individual pieces were ready to be put together.
Saturday: Whether it was having made the pattern once already or just another Easter miracle, I was able to finish up Rana’s dress in just two more hours. I sewed the buttons on both dresses right before I went to bed. Down to the wire! I still excel under pressure, Mom.
The fabric for Rana’s dress was called “rose sorbet” and Granota’s was “spring medley.” Cheery, no? It’s hard to see, but there are little rick-rack-bordered patch pockets on the dresses. (I did not make Konik’s suit — it’s on loan from my dear friend, V. Thanks!)
I did make the suit that Sprinkaan is wearing; Konik wore it for his first Easter! It’s a little blue and white seersucker overall and jacket.
And a close-up of the baby, because he’s adorable and photogenic and actually smiles for his pictures.
What I learned last week is that I can, in fact, sew two little Easter dresses in six days, however, it’s not really enjoyable and I could benefit from a little planning ahead. Easter 2015 is April 5th (you’re welcome), so I ought to start March 5th, to accommodate sick children, garage door mishaps and whatever else might come my way. I might even have time to sew something new for myself! (Hush, Jennifer, that’s just crazy talk)
Betcha thought I had forgotten, didn’t ya? Nope, nope, those UFOs are still looming over my head. But I got one done! Like I talked about in my first UFO post, I felt like the baby booties needed to be completed first so that, y’know, the baby might get a chance to wear them. I dug them out and wow. I had barely done a thing to them when I put them away 4+ years ago. And why did I put them away 4 years ago? I have no idea. It really only took about four evenings of embroidering and about ten minutes to pin and sew the soles on. Sometimes I think I mentally construct these giant obstacles just to feed the procrastination monster.
The pattern is Simplicity 2867, originally from 1948. There are three different styles, all adorable.
The booties are made from wool felt. That stuff is not cheap! Good thing these booties take only a miniscule amount. The little laces are just crocheted embroidery floss.
Now that the booties are finished, we may have a problem. Sprinkaan has square little feet — they are already the width of the booties, while of course being nowhere near the length. By the time his feet get long enough to wear them without looking like little vintage clown shoes, his feet will be too wide to cram into them anyways! If I had finished these for Konik like I had originally intended, I doubt we would have had this dilemma because he has long, narrow feet. Procrastination comes back to bite me.
Well, they’re cute. And the baby is cuter.
As for the rest of my UFOs, I wrote them on slips of paper, put them in a jar and I pulled one out at random, with the goal of completing one per month.
And the winner is…
Tell ya what, peeps: Single parenting? Not for this girl. Mr. Gren just completed four weeks of Corrections Office Academy last Friday (Congratulations, Mr. Gren!) and there was much rejoicing. [Yay!!] He was able to come home on weekends, thank goodness, or I might not have any hair or sanity left now. To all military families and anyone else who has to do the single parent gig for whatever reason: mad props (or, for you, mon frère — mad promps). Going into it, I had the endearingly naive idea that I’d be able to keep up with blogging.
Bwahahahahahahaaaaa!!! When will I ever learn?
Miraculously, I did manage to complete a few crafty things and now that Mr. Gren is back home in his semi-official position as Munchkin Wrangler, I can tell you about them!
You may recall that I had begun knitting a little wrap sweater for Sprinkaan several weeks before he was born. This was my first real knitting project. Ever. In my life. With real needles and a pattern and angst and stuff. Yeah, that’s right, knitting is not quite relaxing for me because the entire time the project is just mere millimeters away from disaster. Does that make knitters more daring than crocheters? I don’t know, but I kinda like the safety the hook provides. Besides that, if I screw up in crochet, I can fix it; I can’t fix knitting errors yet. If I had dropped a stitch, I probably would have had to start completely over and the likelihood of that happening: Pshhh. You so funny. So this whole baby sweater was a bit of a do-or-die moment for me. A very long moment.
The pattern I chose was a baby wrap kimono sweater. I needed something super basic for my inaugural knitting project and this pattern fit the bill. It used only knit and purl stitches (I can do that!) and had simple decreases and increases (I figured out how to do that!). It was worked side to side in one big flat piece. I wish there had been pictures of what that looked like because I was having a hard time visualizing how all these flaps were going to turn into a sweater. So I took pictures of it while it was blocking out — for posterity and any other novice knitters who might want to see what the finished product will look like. To me, it kinda resembles an animal pelt stretched for tanning.
In a noble attempt at stash-busting, the yarn I used was leftover from a baby blanket I crocheted for my nephew when he was a newborn. He’s 10 now, so this yarn has been kicking around in my bin for 9 years too long. It is a Bernat baby yarn. Kind of crinkly with green and yellow strands woven together, plus a little white shimmery strand. So here I am, knitting along, knitting, knitting, knitting. I get to the second shoulder and… I ran out of yarn. Like I said, this yarn was 10 years old, so there’s not much chance I’m going to find the same yarn, much less the same color. And forget the same color lot! Besides, buying more yarn really defeats the purpose of stash-busting. I dug through my bins and found another green Bernat crinkly baby yarn, minus the yellow strand. “It’ll be close enough,” I told myself. Also, the light in my living room was dim. Come daylight, I found that the new yarn isn’t as close to the old yarn as I had thought. But you know what? Too bad, so sad. It’s on there and it’s staying on there. If anyone happens to wonder aloud to me why one sleeve is a different color than the rest, I will tell them it’s a design element. So there.
The little sweater is not without other imperfections, either. There are random floating rows of purl stitch where there should be knit. “Look, Baby Sprinkaan — this is where one of your siblings had dire need of me and when I came back, I couldn’t remember what I was doing.” Ah, memories.
I’d say I finished the sweater none too soon. Sprinkaan is a little log of a baby and probably won’t be able to wear the sweater for long. But who knows, maybe if I move the buttons over, we can buy a bit more time in it and Sprinkaan’s little tiny T-rex arms will have a chance to grow into those long sleeves.