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Dinosaur!

11 May

I made my little David a dinosaur hoodie just in time for last Halloween. He is still wearing it, so I decided to post this blog I drafted several months ago.

It is so cold here by Oct. 31st and he was not old enough to trick-or-treat or eat candy so I thought this seemed like a perfect half-costume compromise for running an errand or handing out some candy.

When you are sewing for babies, you can do a n y t h i n g. This mentality speeds things along.

Step One
Decide what you want your spike to look like and then figure out the placement and spacing. Our spike is three inches wide and tall. I don’t like them looking puny and if they are too big they will flop over, which on a stegosaurus would mean broken plates, which is kind of gross.

Step Two
Sit next to your sewing machine to set the mood. Cut out the cardboard template, and label it so you will recognize it later.

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Other good Step Ones would be:
Put the baby to bed.

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or
Get felt (like 1/3 yard) and a hoodie. I was going to use a sweatshirt he already owned, but he had pretty much grown out of them and I wanted him to wear it for a few months at least.

Next
Place your spike template on a folded piece of felt and cut out a bunch of diamond shapes that will later fold into spikes. I needed four for the hood, which I did first.

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Calm down, sun. The natural light makes the felt look like molten lava. Do not be afraid to touch it.

The hood has a seam down the center of it, which was nice for finding the center but annoying for sewing along. I did not use the machine here for this reason. I pinned the open spikes along the center and stitched through the middle, on the crease where they were folded. Make sure the Sharpie marks are face up now, and make any sewing knots or ugliness happen here as well, so when you fold it shut it will look good.

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I don’t know why I’m turning this into a tutorial…how many of you are going to sit down and make one? You can make one for teenagers or adults, if you don’t have a baby.

After sewing down the center of the diamonds with thread that is close in color to the hoodie, close the spikes and sew them shut. I switched to red thread for this step, and used a simple overcast stitch which is like the idiot brother of the blanket stitch. I think the escalloped effect this creates adds to the cuteness. Felt does not require hemming. I barely had enough red thread but I was afraid to use another color.

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Since the baby did not sleep very long, have him model it at this point.

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It will look so cute and comical that you will be inspired to keep going (some other naptime).

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Locate the center of the back of the hoodie and sew the other spikes down the spine. This part only took three spikes while the hood took four, because babies’ heads are very big on their bodies. Sew them closed, using embroidery floss. I have a ton of red embroidery floss! I enjoyed that part so I did it by hand.

Get more hoodies, make more dinosaurs!

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Robin Quilt

11 May

Robin

I started this quilt for my niece Robin before her pudgy cheeks were even born and before I knew what her name would be.

Some of these pictures are horrible.

fabric

Day 1: My visiting mom helped me choose fabric.

Day 8: Having decided how I wanted it to look, I cut the pieces, arranged them, and pinned them together.

Day 198: Sewed them together

Day 216: “I’m a little cold.”

Day 535: “Did you forget about me?”

Day 690 – No joke: Having pinned the front to the batting and the back, I quilted them.

Quilty quilty

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The back began to look like this

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Day 742: I began to sew the binding around the front of the quilt. After a while it became obvious that the quilt had gotten too heavy for the machine…oh wait, just Ida.

He was trying to hide because I was telling him to leave. Not the brightest

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That SAME evening (applause) I began to hand-sew the back of the binding: the final step.

Along the way, you tend to take frequent pictures like this so you can convince yourself that you’ve really made progress. I had probably sewn about 8 inches.

The last step is the most time-consuming step, incidentally (day 746)

Ida was allowed to insert herself because it needed to be washed at the end anyway, and she is mellow enough to resist attacking the needle and thread most of the time.

My quilt, it has… Corners are a big deal.

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Day 754: Quilt complete

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The First Piano Post

8 Sep

Yesterday our neighbor gave us a used piano she had found on craigslist a few years ago. She had intended to restore it but never got around to it, so it has been standing quietly in her garage.20140907_172827

If you have ever doubted that Josh is super cool and smart, you should have been here to see him move this heavy upright all by himself from her garage to ours.

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Here is what we have learned so far about our new old piano:

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The Cornish Piano & Organ company was established in Washington, New Jersey in 1879. It was a huge mail order house, selling organs and pianos directly to the consumer from the factory. This allowed Cornish to sell their instruments at a lower price than most, and their aggressive financing plans helped them become a major player in the American piano industry. Both Cornish pianos and organs were usually very elaborately carved, and they were generally very good quality overall. Sadly, the Cornish factory burned to the ground in 1922 and the firm never recovered.

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A Cornish ad from 1910. $700 back then is about $17,000 now – what a bargain. Ours was probably cheaper because it looks a bit less fancy.

Because the company didn’t last very long, we can pretty much confirm that Josh’s winter project is between 92 and 135 years old! How cool is that?

I don’t know if you would call it well-loved but I would call it abused. Someone drew on most of the keys with crayon, and many of them are broken. There are some broken or missing pieces inside as well but at this point it seems like we should be able to find replacement parts with very little trouble and I think Josh can fix most of the structural problems. The wood is mostly in good condition, which is encouraging. It has not yet been determined how many mice are living inside it, if any.

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It needs to get cleaned up and come inside before winter, because we don’t heat our garage. Then Josh can work on it in the house, when we’re not playing it.

Crib Talk Part II

21 Aug

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The crib railing pad thing has failed. I wasn’t sure how it would hold up to use, but I don’t think David has ever even touched it and the ribbons are pulling away from the fabric and kind of disintegrating. So I guess I should say that the ribbons have failed. I was constantly having to retie them, just from brushing against it when placing or picking up the baby, and I think my tightening and retightening was too much for them. You can tell they are flimsy! It was for looks, people!

I have (I think) rectified the problem.

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Bam

These fat ribbons aren’t going anywhere. See the difference:

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We might even be cuter, too.

Fine, here he is.

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Babies don’t care about the things you sew for them. Good thing!

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Have I mentioned he sits? He does.

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