Thursday, August 28, 2008

Earflap Hat With Skulls

My son is usually a pretty willing (and ultra adorable) model for my projects. This one, however, not so much. Maybe it's the fact that I'm trying to get him to put on this super warm hat and it's 80 degrees outside. Or, by the time I get home from work and everyone eats and he gets a bath he's much more ready for a book or some snuggling than a modeling shoot. Oh, well. I did manage to snap this shot of him just about to take the hat off.

I am going to make some slight modifications to this new design, such as making the front flap a little wider. I hope to whip up about 100 of these for the big craft sale in December. I want to get some red plaid flannel to make some cute hunter-kid hats with. Yay! It's hard to get excited about winter, but I'm trying!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cool Mom Picks Featured ME!

I hate to brag, but I am so on a roll these days. Yesterday one of my organic cotton tie tee-shirts (which I call "tiesies") was featured on one of my new favorite sites! I guess I need to start preparing my acceptance speech for when I'm picked as "Crafter of the Universe" because I'm sure that's not too far down the road.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Spoonflower Fabric Girl's Outfit

Spoonflower has got to be one of the greatest inventions ever, right? Although the real, sad truth of the matter is that I'm not graphically inclined, so it's really tough for me. I tried a few things and thought the results were okay. But seeing what others are doing made me realize I should stick to what I know. Can't teach this old dog new tricks.

I think the best idea I had was to use my niece's artwork to have some custom fabric made for her birthday. That fabric turned out pretty good (despite the fact that it had black lines all over not knowing how to do the graphics, bah!). Then I ordered up a great vintage dress pattern on Etsy and set to work.

Of course I couldn't leave well enough alone, so I decided to make a set rather than a dress. I also discovered that my new sewing machine did not come with a zipper foot (What the hell? Is that normal??), so I sewed in the back zipper with my regular foot. I added a band to the top of the pleated part (the custom fabric) that coordinates with the shirt and put elastic in it. I took a queue from my recent hat creation and sewed on a little decorative flower to tie it all together.

I sure hope she likes it! It felt like the whole process (from getting the artwork, scanning it in, uploading it, getting the fabric in the mail, putting in that darn zipper to sewing on that little flower) took about three months. It probably won't even fit her that long!!! Oh well, it's always the "thought that counts" right?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Last Blast of Summer

I woke up this morning and checked the thermometer. It felt a bit chilly, but 55 degrees? Seriously!? It's still August, but the chill of fall is upon us here in Minnesota. I love the chilly nights, though. It's what we like to call "good sleeping weather" here in the Midwest. I still feel a little strange thinking that summer is reaching it's end, though. As much as I love fall, I'm not really ready.

So today we went to our friend's place on the lake and took what might be our last swim. Baby Pumpkin dug in the sand and paddled around in a big, inflatable whale. We grilled, sat on the "big boy" bigwheels, and tried to avoid eating bugs, sticks, grass, rocks, etc. A good time was had by all, but probably most of all the little guy.

I hope you had a lovely weekend!

How I Became Rich and Famous: My State Fair Story

I should start this story by saying that I am not, nor do I plan to become rich and famous. But I feel about as close to a celebrity as I think I ever will. I won myself a red ribbon at the Great Minnesota Get Together, the state fair. This is my winning entry:

I entered four things and this little bugger got the ribbon. Never mind that it's not infant sleepwear and that's the category it won in. Never mind, either, that it's knee pads are sewn more in proximity of the tooshie than the knees. It's a big, fat, red ribbon winner and I'm darn proud. Not nearly as proud as I am of my friend from Hazel and Melvin's Room who won second place for Monkeys in the Meat Grinder:

...and seemingly every other award known to man on her awesome sweater:

And my friend Kristen Mary submitted only one thing, her adorable cloth "paper doll" set, and she won the BLUE RIBBON on it! She rocks, and I feel like her famousness might rub off on me by being her friend.

I'm sure I missed so much. I LOVE the crop art and this year did not disappoint. The fine arts building was full of great looking stuff. But what made my day checking out the fair the most special, was sharing it with this little guy. He ate his first Pronto Pup, enjoyed deep friend cheese curds and a real chocolate milk shake from the dairy barn. He was such a trooper!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Venuys Xine Craft Contest

Got a great craft idea that costs less than $40? Got five ideas? You can submit them all by September 18 for a chance to win the Venus Zine Craft Contest. After my MN State Fair competition results (which I should know by tomorrow!), I might be ready for some more competition!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Handmade Kid's "So Big" Growth Chart

I first saw growth charts at one of my favorite local baby stores, Pacifier. It was kind of a novel concept to me, since we had always just written them right on the wall in my house growing up. But, I guess we're more civilized these days so we write them on something removable. Well, that would have saved my dad the trouble of transferring ours to a two-by-four when we moved out of my childhood home!

As with most things, I thought, "Why buy when I can make?" and I set about trying to make a unique one for my little pumpkin. I'd love some feedback on it because I was thinking I would love to sell these in my shop, or even possibly submit the idea to One Yard Wonders. I did use just about a yard of organic cotton to make this, so I thought it could possibly fit. The idea with this one is that you can write on it with a fabric pen, so more than one kid can use it. It's also pretty gender neutral, and not overly babyish.

Whadda ya think? If you were going to buy a growth chart, what type of things would you be looking for? Colors? Style? Materials? Does 6' tall seem too tall (I think the answer here is YES, my future 17-year-old son doesn't want to still be measured on this)? Price? Let me know -- you can be my informal focus group!

Just for fun, here are some other options you can find online (please recommend more if you've seen some cool ones out there!):

Roseberry Creek Growth Charts
Nifty Kid Stuff Growth Chart (looks a lot like mine!)
Inklore Growth Chart

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Clothespin Doll for the State Fair

I made a new clothespin doll for submission to the Minnesota State Fair. I'm pretty anxious to see how this whole thing works. I have no delusions that my work is "State Fair Quality" but I had to throw it out there just to say I'd done it. I had a judge or someone call me last week to ask about the robot vest. She said there really wasn't a category for something made out of felted sweaters. To which I say, "why the hell not?" But, she put it in the clothing category and I said "Okay". I'm planning to go check it out and see what happened on Friday (the fair starts Thursday). If you don't usually check it out, the Creative Activities Building is a hoot. Pies, scrapbooks, quilts and all manner of crazy crafts and baking will be on display.

In other news, I learned that I was featured on a cool site call EcoMetro. Check out the first edition of Craft Thursday. I am seriously coveting the bicycle helmet cover they feature. What could be better for a bike commuter all dressed up her work gear than a cute chic bike helmet disguise!?

Anyhow, hope you had a lovely weekend. I did...and now off to sit and watch some pole vaulting or something while I eat dessert.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What To Do With a Yard

...of fabric that is! My friends Trish and Rebecca are looking to find out, and they're compiling all the projects into a book. It's called One-Yard Wonders and it's going to be published by Storey Publishing, who also published One Skein Wonders. I love their idea and can't wait to see what people come up with. I very often see fabric I love and so I pick up a yard, bring it home, and stare at it. Now I don't have to! I can just crack open this new book and I'm good to go. I actually wish it was already out, because I have this yard of Spoonflower fabric that I've been pondering a project for.

Anyhow, they're hoping to gather ideas and proposals by the end of August, so get cracking! I'm going to be submitting an idea or two. Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Summer Hat, Winter Hat

Somehow along the way here I became a maker of hats. I have had an Etsy shop for about a million years and have been hawking my wares longer than that. I think it just makes me feel better about spending copious (read: all) my spare time crafting if I can sell some of the stuff I make. Because of that, I have ended up selling whatever random stuff I wanted to, depending on my mood and inspiration. Unlike more disciplined "artists" (I don't really consider myself one, BTW...using the term loosely here), I haven't had to think really hard about creating a cohesive "brand" or anything like that. Now if I was seriously going to try to make a living doing this, then more thought would have to be given to how to make Pumpkin Girl not appear like a flea market of crazy craft ideas.

But I'm not serious, I'm having fun. I've sold (or still sell in some cases) cards, lip balms, jewelry rolls and hangers, soap, laundry soap, pillows, eye masks, onesies, etc. Recently, after hunting on Etsy for the perfect boy's sunhat without luck, I've also started making hats. Why not?! I'm having fun, dammit. Welcome to my flea market! Everything's a dollar...well, not really.

I have made close to a zillion hats over the last few months, or so it seems. Now that I'm getting really confident with the fit/sizing and the way the parts go together, I'm trying some new things. I'm particularly excited about the ear flap hat. It's this buttery soft flannel with a nubly fleece on the earflaps. And really, every Midwestern boy needs some ear flaps. Winter IS just around the corner if you live where I do.

I'd like to try to make some more for my shop, but I'm not sure how well they'll go over. Thoughts? Do they need a chin strap? Should I make some different colors/fabrics? Does it need the little flap in front that folds up? Gah, I'm so indecisive!

My summer hat was a custom order on Etsy. I think it turned out adorable (aren't I modest?). I am particularly fond of the flower detail. Ah, too bad summer's on it's way out...I could make one for myself.

Hope you had a lovely SUMMERY weekend!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Yellow Tomato and Purple Basil Caprese Salad

My hubby is the cook in our family, and now that he's the stay-at-home parent, he's also the grocery shopper. Last night he made this gorgeous caprese salad with the purple basil we're growing on our deck and some yellow tomatoes. Isn't it so pretty? The best part is it tasted fantastic, too. He said "you can put it on your blog" and I thought, how does he know about the blog...? But that's another story.

I need some more good summer recipes that don't involve turning on the oven, and don't involve a bun. Not that I'm against ovens or buns (or buns in ovens, for that matter), I just don't think I need to have them daily. Or even weekly. I love cold salads in the summer, or dishes you eat at room temperature. Bread salad, pasta salad...but I need new recipes. Otherwise I'm going to turn into a brat (and I mean the one pronounced BRAAAHhT and not BRAYT). And that just wouldn't be pretty.

Whatcha got?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Firsts: Parade Day and a Lollipop

Friday we had two Baby Pumpkin firsts -- a parade and a lollipop! It was terrific. The loud noises only bothered him in the beginning but he got used to it and was soon hopping up and down to the tunes from the floats. People kept throwing him candy (choking hazard) and I finally relented and opened up a lollipop for him. He did really good! He stayed up way past his bed time, didn't choke or freak out, and we all went home liking our neighborhood a little more.

I'm the process of trying to dream up some cool winter hats for the boy. I got some flannel and some nubly fleece and I'm going to try to make him a cool earflap hat. I also got a custom order for a really cute girl's hat that I can't wait to put together. I'm hoping I get inspired by my projects, because I've been feeling a little blah lately. I'm in the seasonal limbo. Should I be preparing for fall? Is summer in full swing or winding down? What's happening?

So, tell me, what should I do for some crafty inspiration?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

MN State Fair Creative Activities Competition

Mr. Pumpkin and I have been soul searching for a while now about whether we'd like to move to a smaller city closer to our families. Apparently we're not alone in wanting a less urban environment; I just read an article on the so-called Dreamtowns that everyone wants to move to like Helena, Montana and saw myself all over it. But our dreamtown needs to be Midwestern and semi-close to amenities found in a bigger city, so Helena is out.

In thinking about moving away from Minnesota, I have been collecting in my mind all the things I'll miss about this place. Can I give up seeing my friends? Will I have to live without French Meadow cafe? What about the Sample Room? My house that I love? Proximity to my sister and kids? What about the Great Minnesota Get-Together, the State Fair?

Oh, the State Fair. It's my favorite summer activity, and I go multiple times per year to eat lots of food and check out the baking competition, the seed art and the bird with feathery feet. Not to mention the giant pumpkins! In a last-minute panic, I decided to prepare for a possible departure by entering some of my crafts into the Creative Activities Competition. I'm super excited! I really was hoping to enter the "Quilt on a Stick" category, but alas I do not have time to put one together in a week's time. So here's what I'm entering. Check it out when you're there, and see if I won (unlikely, but at least I'll be representin'!)!

It won't make up for all the things I'd miss if we do move, but it will at least I can say I fully lived the Minnesota life while I was here! If you want to enter, the last day to register is today (4:30 PM) and you need to drop the stuff off starting next Sunday.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby Pumpkin!

Suffice it to say that Baby Pumpkin's birthday party went off without a hitch. I'm exhuasted and ready for bed, so here's wishing my sweet boy another great year and many more cake-eating adventures to come!