I've had a hard semester in my screen-printing class with many failed projects. A few issues I have chalked up to the well-worn screens we use in class. Other times, it has been too much ink, or too little ink, or that I forgot to use spray tack to mount my fabric to the table and a slight movement in fabric makes for a less than perfect print. In any case, I feel it needs to be perfect to be worthy of my Etsy shop so my shop STILL sits empty :(
In fear of ruining the above shirts, I paid (gulp) retail for, I decided to go back to my tried and true freezer paper printing technique. I've posted instructions for this method in this post.
As usual, this technique rewarded me with crisp lines and some Etsy shop worthyness. Bijou has already worn her shirt to school several times.
These little sailboats were my first screen-printing project ever. Although I printed them over a year ago, I had yet to make anything out of the cotton scrap until now. For some reason E + W would whine for "my turn" with the sewing machine every time it made a rare appearance on our dining room table. So now when they are away at preschool, I sneak out the machine and sew until my heart is content ;)
I had printed the little boats originally to test out my screen and get a little practice with the technique. The boats had been placed without any rhyme or reason so it made sense to cut it up into squares. I hemmed them and hung them on a piece of twine to hang above Eero's crib. The wall had been bare since he grew tall enough to reach the chalkboard I once had there and it became a hazard.
After a two-year hiatus, it feels great to be back at the machine. And more importantly... back to blogging. This baby has felt like my neglected child ever since E + W were born. The break was a complete necessity, raising twins is no joke. I had to dig deep to find the patience some days but I am now rewarded with the sweet fruits of my our labor. (It took a village.) We now have two sweet, polite, funny, affectionate, and playful toddlers.
Back to that part about digging deep for patience... I decided it was best for all involved for the boys to start preschool a year early. They have been eager to try new things, meet friends, etc. and I have been eager to get back to sewing, screen printing and blogging. So this worked out perfect for all of us!
The back-to-school shopping list is a bit different for the 2-year-old set. Items include loveys, diapers and blankets for nap time. We use sleep sacks at home originally because those SIDS pamphlets they give you at the hospital scared the hell out of me and now because I'm trying to disable their ability to climb out of their cribs. This meant I needed to either buy blankets or make some! Guess which one I choose?
1. I recycled their Aden + Anais swaddle blankets and bought 1-1/3 yd of coordinating fleece for each blanket.
2. Trim fleece to match swaddle blanket.
3. Match right sides together, pin and sew a 1" hem on all four sides leaving a 12" gap in the middle of one side.
4. Turn right side out.
5. Press edges and top stitch around the entire blanket 1/2" including the 12" gap so the blanket is entirely closed.
6. This next part was an afterthought, but I like how it turned out. Since I liked the color of the fleece next to the print, I turned over a 5" hem on one side and top stiched the hem closed. Making it look a bit like a sheet folded over a duvet on a made bed.
I often start the year strong, fulfilling my expectations for myself like many of us tend to do with the fresh start of a new year. For the past couple of years, I have resolved to give only handmade gifts for the various birthday parties we attend throughout the year. Inevitably, those with birthdays in the early months get something handmade and by the time the fall rolls around, I'm browsing the aisles of Target. So.... staying true to tradition, Bijou's friend Edith received a handmade cowl scarf made from striped jersey knit. It's soft, comfy and stylish and when I had B try it on for size, she insisted I make a second one for her. She wore it to school every day last week and even declared, "I'm going to wear this everyday!" Happy Birthday Edie! And Happy VERY Early Birthday Bijou!
If I wasn't a stay-at-home mom, I'd love to be a textile designer. I had my opportunity to make my first textile this past fall when I took my first screen printing class at the Richmond Art Center. It was fun to learn the process and develop a deep appreciation for all those hand printed tea towels, handbags and scarves I have purchased over the years on Etsy. It proved to be a bit more challenging than I had anticipated, but more fun too! In addition to screen-printing some t-shirts for my husband and kids, I made this feather motif textile on stretch cotton knit that I plan to turn into a couple of cowl-neck scarves. Hopefully, many more creations will be shared in the coming months. I plan to take the class again in the spring.
Each year I like to come up with a new advent calendar. And last year I was so busy with colicky babies, reflux, breast pumps and night nurses that I skipped my annual tradition and bought a fair-trade chocolate one from Bittersweet instead. Fortunately, times are much easier this year so with some muslin pouches from this shop and some red embroidery thread, I went to town making this year's calendar myself. Now the true test... can Bijou tolerate having this thing hang above her bed without peeking in on what the next day's treatmay be? I think not.
As soon as Thanksgiving is wrapped up, I love to quickly indulge in the Christmas spirit and start decorating for the holiday. This year, I had to get a bit creative since our two little ones would certainly love to get their curious hands on the lower branches of a Christmas tree and pull off the fragile ornaments. And since "no" means "yes" in their world, I decided to avoid the traditional tree altogether this year. The lights and gold tinsel puffs (99 cents for a strand that I just cut into small pieces) are from IKEA.
My friend Sarah and I took our girls to Heath Ceramics in Sausalito this past weekend for a holiday kids event. The girls got to get their hands dirty in clay, sip hot cocoa, and hit up the Modern Kids photo booth and Asher Bakehouse bake sale.
Bijou told me she made a nest with eggs.
It was a gloomy day but we indulged in the gelato they were passing out anyway.
It has really made me sad that I have only managed to post on my blog 4 times in the last year. It has come to the point that I think about getting back to it daily, I miss it SO much! Well, today is hopefully the start of some more regular posting. Fortunately, I have been able to get my hands dirty with some craft projects recently. I love nothing more than some paint dried up under my fingernails. (okay, seriously, there are a lot of things I love more than that, but you get the point.)
Today's project is simple and useful and can in fact be completed while one boy waddles around with a remote control pointing at things and making that button turn red and another boy chews on a wicker basket in attempt to relieve some teething pain.
Japanese masking tape
brown craft tags
* both items can be purchased in abundance from Etsy.
Lay the tape in whatever design you'd like and trim the excess with scissors. I choose the classic and currentlytrendy chevron design.
I'm sure the recipient of your gifts this holiday will appreciate this handmade touch.