Friday, March 19, 2010

Baby gifts

I can finally show off what I made while I was on my mini-vacation. Woo! It was hard b/c the person I wanted to tell was the person it was for and I had to wait. (Why am I still being vague?) My friend Wen Shu is expecting her second girl. We were planning a surprise baby shower for her and her husband (he works with me too) at work so I had to keep quiet until then.

Baby Quilt

I bought 10 fat quarters in bright "girl" colors and cut 20 squares (don't remember the size). Then I cut and pieced the nine-patch squares using the idea of the "crazy nine-patch" (google produces many many results) but with my cuts not on an angle. I spent way more time than was probably necessary trying to ensure that no row had two of the same square but now that I look at the picture above I can see that I missed a pair. d'oh.

baby quilt 7

Sashing was from a white cotton sheet (from Ikea: cheap sheet, soft cotton); backing & binding were from a stash of girlie fabrics I acquired for cheap a few years ago. They all washed up really soft and cuddly.

baby quilt 6

I'm not one for "girlie" colors but I love this little quilt. It washed up nice and crinkly and soft. It was a big hit with Wen Shu and her husband.

But... the real crowd pleasers were to come:

Cloth shoes
Pattern: Cloth Shoe Pattern from Stardust Shoes. (look around her blog while you're there. Fun tutorials!) The pattern was straight forward and I love the finished shoes. I need to work on my patience for small project sewing however. Clumsiness and small pieces: not a great combo.

When I finished these I sent a pic to my friend out in BC with the subject: "The Most Ridiculously Cute Baby Shoes Ever".

But then I made the next ones and was to revise that title:

saartje booties pair 1
(all together now: awwwwwwwww!!!!)
Pattern: Saartje's Bootees (link to pdf)
Yarn: Sock weight leftovers from various projects.
Mods: I stitched the strap ends to the shoe rather than have buttons and button loops.

I know people don't like the seaming on this one but I found the seaming to be really quick (it's a tiny shoe). I love the finished result. So much so that I made another pair:

Saartje booties pair 2

They won't fit baby for very long I'm sure but they sure are adorable.

Today is Wen Shu's last day at work before maternity leave. She and I work very closely and I will really miss her. We have gotten to be work-sisters and she is a very dear friend. I can't wait to meet her new little one though!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

What I Did on My Mini-Vacation

The last few weeks have been a little stressful at work so I decided to take a couple of days off. My friend/office-mate is going on maternity leave starting March 19. As there are only 2 people who know how to do our job (Wen-Shu and me) it will be a little difficult for me to take a real vacation over the next year so my plan is to take mini-vacations which should give me a break without making it too difficult at work.

Anyway... in photo essay form: here is how I spent my extended weekend/mini-vacation:

-experiment in faux batik dyeing. I first saw this idea on the Craftzine blog last week and obsessed about trying it all week. It works well, but I don't know how practical it would be for a large piece of fabric. (Instructions found here: I used a scrap of white cotton and some Rit dye. It washed out a lot (somehow I don't have a pic of the finished product).
dye experiment
dye experiment2

-baked bread. Over the past year or so I have been discovering how much I enjoy baking bread. I inherited my Mom's Bosch Universal Machine (not sure if that's the proper name for it). For the last 15 years or so Mom always made her own bread and we all were the happy recipients of it. Since we cleaned out Mom's house in August, her Bosch machine has been in regular use as has her bread recipe.
baking bread
baking bread 2

-sewing a secret project for my friend Wen-Shu's baby. She occasionally visits here (GET BACK TO WORK WEN-SHU!!!)(hahahaha) so I'll only give you a glimpse of the secret. This sewing gave me such a feeling of accomplishment and stress relief, this alone was a vacation for my brain.
baby quilt 1
(full project details & pictures to come when the gift has been given)

-more baking. Onion studded hamburger buns this time. I used this recipe from Coconut & Lime. These buns are so delicious and sturdy without being tough. I made pulled pork in the slow cooker today (but forgot to take a picture) and these were perfect for pulled pork sandwiches.
hamburger buns

I feel sad that my mini-vacation is over now but I am so glad I decided to take the time off. I needed a break. I needed to just sew and bake and read and... breathe. Here's hoping I can continue to breathe when I get back to work.