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Jethro the Christmas Elf

I loved the idea of surprising my two little guys every morning with something sort of Elf-on-the-Shelf-style, but more fun and less naughty. I’d intended to start on December 1st, but that just didn’t happen. Instead, I went with inspiration from the 12 Days of Christmas. Since we’re only through Day 5, though, and I’m totally making this up as I go along, I’ll plan to share the whole 12 days with you next year. In the meantime, here’s a peek at what Jethro’s been doing here at our house.

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Samantha Joins in Selfish Sewing Week … Sort of

Selfish Sewing Week is in full swing, and I’m so sad that I don’t have time to sew something just for me! I’ve been sewing my little fingers off getting ready for Spring Quilt Market and while I won’t end up personally using much of what I’ve been sewing, it is definitely selfish (business-promoting) sewing! Since I’m in Market mode, I volunteered my amazing (and talented!) teenage daughter, Samantha, for this year’s Selfish Sewing Week post. Samantha doesn’t really sew much, though. She knits … a whole lot! So, we temporarily turned Selfish Sewing Week into Selfish Knitting Week. This girl always has something on her needles, and it’s very often something for someone else. From hats and booties for the local women’s shelter to stuffed monsters for her baby brothers, she loves using her knitting skills to bless others. I had no problem, though, convincing her that she should take a little time to knit these handwarmers for herself!Because we live in Florida, there’s not much practical need for handwarmers, but Samantha wears them all the time anyway! They’re one of her favorite fashion statements. Really. I’m not just saying that for this post. I’m typing while watching her knit across the room, and she’s wearing another pair from her collection. She once spent weeks working out a pattern for Captain America handwarmers … she’s a self-pronounced geek, too, but that’s a different post. The Cozy Morning Mitts pattern from Nerdy Gerdy was right up her alley! She gives them a big thumbs up!They work well for jazz hands … … a little drama …… making funny faces …… even pretending that you’re a zombie. (She totally could not do that without laughing. She told me to just call her the laughing zombie.)Gretchen, the designer behind Nerdy Gerdy Knitting Patterns, is one of my favorite people, so I love that not only do I get to show off my beautiful teenage daughter, but I get to showcase one of Gretchen’s patterns, too. Have you ever met someone online and wished that they lived next door to you? Gretchen is so like that. She lives with her farming husband and children on the most beautiful acreage in the midwest. I just want to climb into her blog pictures and spend the day. Oh, and her blog has the best name ever! You really have to check it out right here: He Sows and She Sews. It just so happens that Gretchen posted new pictures of her own pair of Cozy Morning Mitts a few days ago: Yarn Along. She gets to wear them for warmth and fashion!

Would you like a chance to win your own copy of the Cozy Morning Mitts pattern? How about a chance to win it plus a whole list of other selfish sewing (and knitting) patterns? Just scroll down to the bottom of this post and check out the Rafflecopter to enter.

I’m going to wrap up with this picture that takes my breath away. My sweet Samantha Grace — isn’t she beautiful? She’s that way inside and out.Now, go make something for yourself and join in the fun! Oh, and be sure to share what you’re making on Kollabora. (Not sure what Kollabora is? I’m still figuring it out myself, but you can read more about it from Rachael right here: SSW & the Kollabora How-To.) Check out these other bloggers who are joining in, too, and don’t forget to enter the drawing!

milkybeer · Behind the Hedgerow · jm_subrn · Sew What, Sherlock?
Lladybird · sew Amy sew · the Brodrick Design Studio · adirondack inspired
The Crooked Banana · Sewbon · Idle Fancy · girl like the sea
oona aloona · Lauren Dahl · verypurpleperson · la inglesita
Groovybaby…and mama · Buzzmills · La Pantigana · sew a straight line
Dandelion Drift · JustMeJay · B Yazoo · Disaster In A Dress
the quirky peach · Fishsticks Designs · Seamstress Erin · a happy stitch
Casa Crafty · Sarah Jane Sews · YoSaMi · Call Ajaire · miss matatabi

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Stocking Up the Play Kitchen with Handmade

Our granddaughter, Katie, got a new play kitchen for Christmas, and I couldn’t resist filling it up with handmade play food! My 15-year-old daughter, Samantha, teamed up with me to make this set. She did the knitting while I did the sewing, and since much of our play food has seen its better days, we made a matching set for our youngest son, too.

Samantha knitted each item using cotton yarn and stuffed them with polyfil so that they’ll be washable — just in case. She started with oranges knit from this pattern: The Fruit Bowl – OrangesShe added strawberries from this pattern: Strawberries by pezdiva.From Deborah’s Knitting, these chocolate chip cookies look good enough to eat! Chocolate Chip CookiesShe used Bee Knit’s Cupcake Pattern for the cake part of these cupcakes. It includes a pattern for the cupcake liners, but Samantha wanted to knit them in the round, so she drafted a quick pattern for these liners herself. I love that the cupcakes and liners are separate!No play kitchen could be complete without pizza, right? This pattern is from Bittersweet Blog: Pizza Party!I used self-drafted patterns, cotton quilting fabric, polyfil and bit of felt to sew this pair of apples . . .. . . and this bunch of bananas.Finally, the Stuffed Carrots tutorial from Clares Craftroom turned out the cutest pile of handmade carrots ever!That should be enough to keep a couple of little chefs busy cooking for quite some time!

Hopeful Threads: Fluff for Foster Care

Farmer Frog and Pilot Frog went for a walk one sunny spring day. They brought along their pet caterpillars to enjoy the fresh air. Their conversation bubbled over with excitement about the mission they’d been assigned, knowing that their new jobs as friends to little ones in foster care would bring smiles to faces and joy to hearts!

Pilot Frog hoped that his trip to Hopeful Threads would lead him to the perfect little boy for him, maybe one who loves helicopters and pretending to fly!Pilot Frog’s green caterpillar would be making the trip with him. This little caterpillar dreamed of finding a new home with a little one who would love to cuddle with him day and night.Farmer Frog was looking forward to a much longer trip all the way to Canada! There, he would settle down in a brand new foster home and wait expectantly with the family for a child in need of their love and his companionship.Traveling with Farmer Frog, of course, was his yellow caterpillar. The yellow caterpillar was filled with anticipation of becoming a special lovey to a wee one who would share playtime laughs and bedtime snuggles.Heehee!  I couldn’t resist writing a silly little story to go along with these guys.  Aren’t they cute little stuffies?  I sewed up the frogs using Bit of Whimsy’s Fritter Frog pattern (the Daddy Frog version). The sweet caterpillars were knit by my 15-year-old, Samantha.  (I keep telling her that she needs her own creative teen blog!) She used this pattern Lion Brand Cuddly Caterpillar.  Pilot Frog and his green caterpillar are shipping out to Kristy at Hopeful Threads for this month’s Fluff for Foster Care project.  In the same spirit, Farmer Frog and his yellow caterpillar will be packed off to my friend, Jamie, in Canada where she and her husband are just beginning the foster family journey.

Magic Yarn Ball Swap

Not much sewing going on around here at the moment. We’re mostly feeding the baby, changing the baby, enjoying the baby, repeat. I did join a Magic Yarn Ball Swap, though. I loved doing this the last time it was hosted, and I knew it was something fun that wouldn’t take too much of my time. In a Magic Yarn Ball Swap, you purchase yarn and little goodies for your swap partner, then you wrap the little goodies up in the yarn ball so that your partner finds surprises as she knits or crochets.

I chose Cascade 220 wool yarn for both of my swap partners. They both have little ones in cloth diapers, so they’ll likely be knitting it into longies or shorties. I searched my house and came up with all sorts of fun little things to hide inside–handmade soap, wax tarts, various knitting tools, tags for handmade clothing, elastic, chocolate, tea, hot cocoa, . . .

And just because he’s so cute, and growing so fast, our snow baby, Charlie, at one month old:

Knitting for Baby with Some Matching Sewing, Too!

I am so excited that I’ve learned to knit! I taught myself with the help of some of the wonderful ladies at DiaperSewingDivas.net and the awesome videos at KnittingHelp.com. I really like knitted wool longies with matching tops for the newborn to 6 months or so stage. All of the longies that I’ve done so far were knit using the Picky Pants pattern. Here’s what I’ve finished so far:

These newborn-size longies were knit with Fisherman’s Wool that was dyed by an online friend. I sewed the coordinating tops using my own Little One Layette lap-tee pattern.

I knit this pair of small longies using Honey Organic Merino dyed by Julie of Selah in her Mint Chocolate Zoo colorway. The lap-tee was made using my LOL pattern, and I drafted the snap-shoulder tee in a similar fashion. For the hat, I used the Welcome to the World Newborn hat pattern.

My third pair of longies was knit using o-wool that was custom-dyed by Stephanie of Morning Glory to match the goldfish print from Kumquat. The shirts and hat were done using the same patterns as above.

I also knitted two Sheepy Sacks to use for the newborn stage. The first one was knit using BFL from Earth Yarn in the Pat the Bunny colorway. The second one was knit using organic merino that was dyed for us by another online friend.

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