Monday, January 30, 2012

First Birthday Decorations

We celebrated our son, Baby Bear's first Birthday recently.  We had a small party and I wanted to share some of the decorations.  It seems almost silly to make a big deal about a one year old's Birthday, since really he had no idea what was going on, but we wanted to celebrate his first year of life and make it special for him.  We tried to make the party simple, but fun for him.  The menu included his favorites: organic hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, and steamed veggies.

We made some simple, festive decorations.  Tissue poms are a great, inexpensive way to add big pops of color, so I hung a few of those around our dining room.

My husband mentioned to me that some of his siblings have a Birthday banner that they use for all the Birthdays in the family, and I thought it would be a nice tradition for us to have too.  I raided my scrap bin and made us one of fun, bold fabrics. 
I recently recovered my son's high chair in Alexander Henry's 2D Zoo to go with our new blue kitchen walls and so I kept the decoration colors in a similar color scheme.
We are in the process of remodeling in our kitchen, so you will notice the nice pile of laminate flooring and padding in the corner.  I thought about moving them for the party, but they are so heavy.  In hind sight, however, I would have moved at least the padding, as it showed up in a lot of the pictures of the party.

For the table cloth and plates, I found a playful coordinating set of "First Birthday Boy" plates, cups, hats, and tablecloth.  I used my plain white serving dishes since everything else had so much pattern to it.
The cake was intended to be blue.  We eat organically and didn't want to use artificial food coloring, but I still wanted to have a festive cake.  So I decided to try India Tree's Nature's Colors food coloring, made from edible plants.  As I was reading the coloring instructions, I knew that it wasn't really going to work.  You see, Nature's Colors work well, but they are sensitive to the pH level in the frosting.  The pH level of butter can really throw things off, so it's best to use more of a heavy cream based frosting.  By the time I had read this (at the last minute, right before the party) I had already made my cream cheese frosting, which has a good deal of butter in it.  I moved forward, still not wanting a white cake, and what we got was a little closer to lavender.  Next time I'll know how to do things just right!  My son could not have cared less that the cake wasn't exactly blue. 
We gave him the top tier and he went to town!  He actually only took about two bites out of it before we took it away, but he did have fun pushing it around his high chair tray and playing in the frosting.  All in all, he had a great time, and we considered the party a success!  I hope this gives you some ideas for fun Birthday parties too!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Fabric! Bahhh!!!

I'm so excited about this fabric!  It's from Monaluna's Taali collection.  I cannot wait to make some burp cloths from it.  Often, I find it hard to find gender neutral fabrics that are exciting, and I'm so excited to get my hands on this today.  I think I need to make Baby Bear something from this too... right after I finish making the banner for his first Birthday Party.  I'll have to post about that after we have the party.  So exciting! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bigger. Thicker. Better.

My husband is my biggest supporter and I wouldn't have been bold enough to try any of this (sewing, Etsy, blogging) without his encouragement.  One of the biggest ways in which he supports me is by being my sounding board.  I run many, many ideas by him, and he gives me his opinions and it helps me to sort things out.  I don't always go for his ideas, but it is fantastic to be able to bounce things off of him and read reactions. 

When talking to my husband about the burp cloths I have been making, I have mostly peppered him with questions about preferences such as size and shape.  For him, the number one indicator of the worthiness of a burp cloth is the size and thickness.  And so, today I just rolled out the first set of my new and improved burp cloths.  They are larger (3.5 inches wider) so as to cover even the widest shoulder and I added an extra layer of organic french terry in the middle to make them thicker and therefore more absorbent.
It's hard to see, but you can feel they're thicker!
Left- Original Size           Right- New Larger Size

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gender Neutral Baby Shower Decorations

A Close-up of the Table Runners & Flowers
Last Saturday I helped host a baby shower.  I volunteered to do decorations.  Mom and Dad are waiting until the baby is born to find out the gender, so I kept things neutral.  In my planning I scoped out things online, looking for ideas.  I saw a few showers with beautiful fabric table runners, so I decided that making runners was a definite must.  I also decided that flowers were a must as well.  It's the middle of winter, so I feel like flowers add some life and vibrancy.  

 In an effort to keep things neutral, I chose this "elephant parade" print that I found at Joanne's.  If you look closely at the runner, there is an elephant that is green with white polka dots.  While shopping at Target shortly after Christmas I saw the polka dot napkins and matching green plastic utensils and plates.  They were on clearance, and while a little bold, I thought they would make a nice statement with the table runners, so I snapped them up.  Plus they were on clearance, so how could you not?
 The shower was held at church, which presents some challenges that you don't have when you have a shower at a home.  Metal folding chairs, busy floral patterned carpet, nothing I could do about those sort of things.  Well, if you had an unlimited budget, you could rent fabric chair covers, and a floor covering, or even different chairs, but who has that sort of budget for a baby shower?

One of the Tables
Overall, I was pleased with the results.  They were simple, but nice.  As my husband warned me when I was planning and showing him ideas for the shower "Make it nice, something that satisfies your desire to make it beautiful, but know that it will not look just like the magazines."  Which I know, and it doesn't look as good as the magazines, but a girl can't help but try.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Burp Cloth Set!

I just listed a new organic burp cloth set in my Etsy shop.  I LOVE this fabric!  It's "Soar" from Monaluna's Marin Collection.  Monaluna makes wonderful 100% GOTS certified organic cotton fabrics and the quality is wonderful.  They're perfect for making baby items.  I love this print in that it reminds me of this painting that my parents had in their room when I was growing up.  The painting was this seventies beach scene with birds almost exactly like the ones on this print.  I need to order some more of this so that I can make something else.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Bib!

So I helped host a baby shower this past weekend and as a part of my gift I made the baby a burp cloth.  It was the third burp cloth that I've made, I think.  So I decided to make one for my son as well.  I had some leftover fabric from when I made the art for the door of his nursery, so I used that.  Yes, I am still obsessed with Alexander Henry's 2D Zoo even though I know it's years and years old.  Don't worry though, I have one more project coming with that fabric, and that will be it.  This week I will be making a new cover for Baby Bear's high chair, so look for a tutorial on that later this week!  I'll also be posting a few baby shower pictures as well.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Taali Fat Quarter Giveaway!

Photo from Fave Quilts

Fave Quilts is giving away a fat quarter bundle from Monaluna's Taali Collection.  The bundle features all 9 of the prints from this collection.  I have had excellent experiences with Monaluna fabrics.  They are beautiful, 100% organic cotton prints and they are high quality.  You can enter by visiting their page here.  The giveaway ends on January 25th, 2012!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Free to Grow

Free To Grow- One of my fabrics that arrived last night.
Life seems to be moving really fast right now.  I'm working on numerous projects and my days are really full.  I think they feel especially hectic since I designated Christmas as a time to slow down and not work on projects.  Well, since then, I have been working on the following: 
  1. Kitchen Remodel- This involves removing wallpaper, Prepping and painting walls, painting the ceiling electrical work, replacing light fixtures, refinishing cabinets, replacing hardware, and replacing flooring.  So far my husband and I have finished with the walls and ceiling, some of the electrical, and will soon be moving on to the extensive task of redoing the cabinets.  
  2. Baby Shower Decorations- I'm doing decorations for a baby shower this Saturday.  I'll be posting pictures next week!
  3. Baby Shower Gift- I decided to make part of the baby shower gift since I make baby things.  I'll be posting about this after the shower as well.  Let's just say that I tried a few new things, and I'm learning a lot.
  4. Baby Bear's First Birthday- We cannot believe it has been almost a year since he was born, and yet it seems at the same time like he has always been here.  We've got a party to plan!
  5. Rebuilding My Etsy Inventory- I had a few sales and now I need to add more inventory!  I've got tons of new fabrics just waiting to be used, including three that just arrived in the mail last night.
In the midst of all this craziness I have had to let go a little bit of my perfectionism.  If letting something be slightly imperfect (like letting my house be not quite clean for a day or two) means being able to make some progress on projects but still spend some time with my husband and baby, then let things be imperfect because I don't want to miss out on these times with them.

Friday, January 6, 2012

My New Favortie Fabrics

Mod Basics in Teal
Birch, one of the best organic fabric companies (in my opinion) is coming out with two new lines next week.  The designs in the picture above are from the Mod Basics collection and come in a variety of colors.  I'm so excited for these fresh, modern prints to come out.  I love the high quality of the birch fabrics that I have worked with before, and I cannot wait to work with these new designs.

The second collection coming out in a few weeks is the Commute collection, which is also super cute. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012


My husband and I took our first overnight trip away from baby bear.  He's still dealing with some separation anxiety issues, but I knew that he would be in good hands with Grandma and we were ready to get away a little, just the two of us.  We decided on Pittsburgh because it's not too far from home, but far enough that we never go there.  I know, you're probably thinking Pittsburgh doesn't sound very glamorous, but it was perfect for our little getaway.  My husband did the bulk of the planning, and I loved everything that he planned.  Not everything went according to plan, but we had a fantastic time.  Some of my favorite things include:

The Inclines- They have these cable cars that go up the incline of the side of Mont Rose.  We went on two of them, and I took the picture above of the view from the top. 

Ikea-  I know, this is a store, and I know that it's not for everyone, but I love the concept and found inspiration from many of the designs.

Getting away- There's just something about leaving your normal, everyday life and doing something different.  Even if it's just down the road a little.

Monday, January 2, 2012

First Sale! Second Sale! Third Sale!

My first sale!  A set of birch organic burp cloths.
On the day after Christmas, my husband was going to log in to check his email when he saw that I had an email letting me know that I had made my first sale on Etsy!  I was ecstatic.  It's been 2 months since I posted my first item, so it has not been very long in my opinion.  In fact, I was shocked that I had sold something considering that at the time I only had 8 items in my shop and I was still working on getting better photos, getting wrinkles out, etc.  Plus, I know that as a buyer, I am leary of buying from someone who is new.  

Well, as excited as I was that morning, I was excited yet again two days later when I had my second sale.  Then, I woke up this morning to find an email about a third one!  I guess when it rains, it pours.  As validating as sales feel though, really it will all be complete for me when I know that my customers are pleased with the items that they have received.  I've been taking a break from sewing for Christmas, but this week I need to get some work done.  I've got some great fabrics waiting in the wings, so I should get to work!