little shoes

Have you ever sewn leather?  It’s always seemed a bit scary to me, but my sewing machine has a special button for sewing leather and every time  I’ve sat down at it I’ve wondered, “Could I really sew leather?  What would I make?”  It was an itch I needed to scratch, so the other weekend I ventured to Denver Fabrics.  It’s a crazy HUGE place that is completely overwhelming for me, but I knew I could find pretty leather.  That I did.  I bought a supple brown lamb skin and brought it home.  I made 2 projects with it, but today I’ll just show you one.  (The auto focus on my main camera lens is dying and I only got okay photos of one of the things I made.)

Behold the little shoes:

brand new shoes

Aren’t they perfect?  I love them.  They are such a cute shape, with a wide toe.  Robeez are cute, but sometimes the decoration on them is a bit much for me.  I used this pattern with a few modifications.  Since I was using leather instead of fabric I didn’t make the heel or sole two layers.  I did line the toe part with some fabric, though, so I had a little channel for the elastic to go through.

comfy, perfect

I used the suede side of the leather for the sole and a decorative flower stitch to topstitch them.  The actual sewing was just like sewing regular fabric.  I made sure I had a leather needle in my machine and that was it.  Piece of cake.

leather baby shoes

And because I can’t resist it, here are some pictures of the other end of my little shoe model.


The camera clicking woke her up.

i woke her up

How will I survive when she’s not a baby anymore?  I need to freeze time.

carving out a corner

baby corner

Here’s Eva’s corner in my room– full of things that could each be a blog post in and of themselves.

a new moses basket and hand knits

There’s the new Moses basket I designed that will be my next baby gear sewing pattern (the SweetPod Sleep Spot maybe?), new handknit booties and hat for a fresh head and toes…

newborn diaper stash

the newborn diapers all freshly washed and waiting…

hexagon stripe quilt

a newly slip-covered rocking chair and a hexagon stripe quilt…

On Monday I had contractions every 10 minutes ALL DAY LONG– from about 7:30 in the morning until 9:30 or so at night.  While I could tell that it wasn’t quite the real thing yet I also felt like it could turn very real any second.  I was on a roller coaster of thought and emotion.  I wasn’t ready!  I need this one last week!  My shelves and refrigerator were empty– so a major grocery shopping trip was accomplished and eased some of the unready feelings.  We braved the new Ikea to buy that new dresser we really needed when the last baby was born so we could have a place to keep clothes and blankies.  I think my body was just trying to tell me to get with it, stop dilly-dallying.  There will be a baby coming next week, or the next.  My days with Hunter as the baby are numbered– as are my days of needing help rolling over in bed.

Last night, as the sky looked like this:

FULL rainbow!

I relished in the wonderful day I had swimming with my kids and stocked my freezer with 3 pans of Chicken Enchiladas.  Today is Lasagna day.

And I’m feeling ready– with each day a little more.




some nest-feathering, but with pillows

I’ve been having fun redecorating the family room walls, but I’m not quite ready to take pictures of it all and say I’m done.   I decided today that I need to do something different in my fireplace mantel/ cubby thing so I’ve been looking for inspiring mantel arrangements and dreaming up what I could do with what I already have instead of the family photos that have been there for a year and a half.  (And, to be honest taking photos of just one corner of the room is much easier because I can keep the baskets of unfolded laundry and explosion of k-nex behind me.)

new pillow and wall quotes

What I can say is done is the sewing of these pillows and some quotes to hang on the wall.  I have a friend who had a pretty quote printed as a photo at Costco, framed it, and gave it to me for Christmas– and I thought it was genius!  So, I took some sayings I’ve wanted displayed in my house somehow, made them into big images using Inkscape (which is kind of like Adobe Illustrator, but free), printed them as photos at Costco, and framed them.  They’ve been done for a while.  I just decided they should go here.

new wall quotes

The top one is from Doctrine and Covenants 29:34 where the Lord says “All things unto me are spiritual.”  It’s a good reminder when I’m cooking dinner, picking up toys, helping with math, ignoring laundry that even all the mundane things that need my attention have a purpose–  they’re spiritual.  The second is a quote from Charlotte Mason that says “Education is the atmosphere we breathe, the envelope of wonder that surrounds us, held by the gravity of our daily habits.”

The 2 colorful pillows were so fun for me to make.  They’re basically 4 little quilts, pieced and quilted and turned into pillows.  Here’s one side of the first one:

one side of pillow #1

I used the Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow fat quarters I had been saving to make another quilt like this.  I never was really going to get around to making that quilt, and I decided this is a much better way to enjoy the fabric anyway.

another side of pillow #1

This is the other side.

swirly quilting

I got a little crazier with the second pillow.

another side of pillow #2

This one is just quilted with straight lines.

one side of pillow #2

I loved making these because I got to do everything involved in making a quilt, but on a much more immediate, instant gratification scale– and I can see and enjoy them every day.

I also used some home decorator weight fabric I had in my stash to add one plain pillow.  It took all of 20 minutes (invisible zipper and all).

the brown pillow

Here’s all 3 again in a different corner:

all 3

Obviously these are usually on the floor being jumped on or laid on, but they looked pretty here for a little while.   I’m hoping at some point this year I can get a few Rollie Pollies made for jumping and rolling and reading.  We’ll see.  I probably really should be replenishing my supply of baby girl things– and will probably be more excited about doing that as the days go on.

So, anyone have some favorite mantel photos they want to send me links too?  Feel free to leave them in the comments!

thankfully, my husband is an engineer

So, if you’ve read my blog for any amount of time you’ve probably noticed that often when I show you a finished project I say something like, “I’ve been making this in my mind for a long, long time,” or “I’ve been dreaming this up for a couple of years,” or something like that.

Well, this is no exception.


We were living in a tiny apartment in Alabama in the beginning of our summer of transition to Denver when a good friend sent me this link with exclamation points and excitement that I HAD to make one– it made her think of me.  And I completely agreed that I NEEDED one somewhere in my new house, whenever it would be that I got settled.  Since we’ve been here (for 2 1/2 years) I’ve been imagining those little birds in corners and bedrooms and had settled on just the place– a corner of the front room above the love seat that needed a little color.

the blues and grays

But now that it’s made it is a little big and I’m afraid it would swing into the blinds or the bookshelf and be too much of a temptation for the climbing 2 year old to bat at.  At the moment it is hanging in the doorway between the front room and my art room, but I’m thinking today I’ll put up a hook over my drafting table and let the birdies live there.

a feat of engineering

I’ve been on a bit of a spring-cleaning/ redecorating kick lately with a long mental list of things I want to do around the house and this was one of those things on the list.  In a burst of spontaneity the other morning Jonah and I went through my scrap bin with bird pattern in hand and found pieces that were the right size, cut them out, matched them up, and whipped up some birds.  That went really fast– especially with his help stuffing them.  With all that built up momentum I gathered some sticks at the park the next day and started sewing birds to branches– only to have them hang upside down like bats.  I discovered I needed to put some weight in the bottom of the birds so they weren’t top heavy and to use screw eyes to secure string to the branches so they wouldn’t twist.  I dedicated the next day to ripping out tail seams and spooning in rice, then attempting  to hang and balance it all again– to no avail.

Finally, when Barry had a free night we tried it all again.  We found a few helpful things:

-Attach the birds to the branch with wire instead of sewing them on so they are easy to reposition.

-Thicker branches twist and roll less than skinny ones.

-We ended up using thin picture wire instead of invisible thread to hang the branches because it was more stable.

-Once we found the perfect bird positions we squeezed a little hot glue in to keep them there.

So, now it’s done and so fun to look at!  When my art room is all decluttered and organized I’ll need some photo documentation, so I’ll show you its permanent home then.