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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chess for Kids

Fair warning...I even surprised myself with this one.

I taught my sweet 7 year old how to play chess the other day.  He's a natural and we've played many rounds in the last couple of weeks.  Being a fan of the first Harry Potter movie he calls it Wizard's Chess and basically pounces on the pieces he's capturing.  That's what makes Wizard's Chess so fun!  Well, that also brought about casualties on our breakable chess set.


I started trying to think of a way to save our pieces but still allow him his wizardy fun.  I also needed something more travel friendly.  (We're moving to another country in three days.  I know!)

Enter the peg person.  Now, these guys are no strangers around here.  We use them for all sorts of fun.  Game pieces, calendars, our gnome tree house, etc.  You can pretty much find one in any direction you look at our house. 

I have quite the stash of peg people so I dug around and actually had enough on hand to create one side of the chess set.  (I just got the other side finished last night)  I also had wool felt and all the necessary stuff to sew up little chess themed hats.  Since this is a kids set we chose their favorite colors and set to work.

It's so cute I can't stand it.

The purple side King and Queen have
purple stitching around their crowns.
Green side = green stitching

Now to tell you about our board.  I was inspired here by this book from my childhood.  (My mom let us borrow it on our last visit.)

yes it IS from the early 80's.

It has some really fun ideas in it but I especially remembered this one.

We have a HUGE supply of bandanas on hand.  I just grabbed one we had that went with our colors and used a paint pen and some acrylic paint to make the squares.  Now full disclosure here, if I had it to do over I would use a fat tipped sharpie (or the paint pen) and NOT the thinned acrylic paint.  It's a little too stiff but it works.  (and I may redo it one day)

When you are finished playing you just tie the whole thing up and toss it in your suitcase.  (or just put it on your shelf)

Cute. as. pie.  These would make a great Christmas gift for the young chess player in your life.


p.s.  as I mentioned earlier we're moving soon so my posting here will be more sporadic as we get settled in.  See you on the flip side!

Friday, November 9, 2012

For the babies...

Two, count them TWO, dear people in my life have recently had beautiful baby girls.  I was so excited to knit and sew for a baby girl again that I got all giddy and light headed and, for just a second, considered having another baby.  That didn't last long though.  I realized other people will always be having babies I can sew and knit for.  Phew...(right babe?)

Anyway, I broke out some trusted patterns, Made by Rae's Big Butt Baby Pants and Joelle Hoverson's Pointy Elf Hat from More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts.  Seriously I LOVE these patterns!  They are both fairly quick and easy.  The hardest part is picking out the right yarn and fabric for the job.

Are you ready to see the cutest pants in the history of forever? 

Front view

Back view.
Don't even try to tell me these aren't the cutest...cause you'd be lying.

And now for the super sweet pixie hat.

I think I need to knit myself a pixie hat...


Shut the front door!
I especially love that the hat is as long as the pants.  Although you can roll the hat brim to make it a little shorter.

Tiny clothes make my ovaries hurt.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Knitting Needle Roll

I thought I'd show you all my needle storage roll.  I was going crazy with needles everywhere and trying to keep little people from breaking them or loosing them.  I decided to make up a needle roll. 

Never mind the's well loved.

It turned out really great.  I think the only thing I would do next time is make it slightly shorter or sew the flap farther down.  I end up folding past the sewn flap line.  No big deal but it's what I'd do differently.

Right now it holds all my needles with plenty of space for new ones I make.  It holds circulars, double points, and regular ol' straight ones.  I will add that my homemade needles are a good bit longer than the ones I had purchased at the store so I had to make it taller to work with those.

Sewing this up really didn't take that long.  Just a couple hours on a Sunday afternoon.  All the materials were from my stash so that made it free too.  I'm thinking of making a tutorial... what do you think?

Anyone else craving cinnamon rolls?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Hat for the Hubs

My sweet husband requested a hat.  I happily agreed to knit him one if he chose the pattern.  He settled on the Jacques Cousteau hat and I hit my new favorite yarn store for the perfect yarn.  It's taking for. ev. er.  I think it's the tiny needles.  Apparently I have "knitter's block" with this one.  I'm just going to have to get it done though. 

Also, last weekend I spent two days on youtube trying to decide if I think I'm a "magic loop" kind of gal. (exciting weekend huh?)  I've figured out the double pointed needles pretty well but it does get a little crazy with all those points.  So....any input about magic loop v/s dpn's? 

I'm yarning along with Ginny at Small Things.  My husband has been encouraging me (or driving me crazy about) reading Game of Thrones so that's the book I'm getting ready to start.  We'll see if it's as good as he says it is.  I figure if he can ready Harry Potter for me, I can read Game of Thrones for him.

In case you missed it, you should check out Part 2 of my knitting needle tutorial.  (here's Part 1)  They turned out great if I do say so myself.  Oh and come back Friday to check out the knitting needle roll I made to keep them all in.  Three posts in one week...whaaaaat?


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Knitting Needles Part 2: The Finishing

Remember waaaaaaay back when I showed you my homemade knitting needles?  Well, it's time to finally finish them. 

We made it to Step Four where you pretty much sand them within an inch of their lives.  I used 150, 220, and 320 grit sandpaper.

To finish you need:

-old rags (a cut up t-shirt will do nicely)
-0000 steel wool
-an extra piece of the 320 grit sandpaper
-boiled linseed oil (or your finish of choice)

Step Five:

Take a clean rag and apply the boiled linseed oil to the raw needles.  (Take care not to spill it or just do this part outside.)  Let it sit for 10-20 minutes then with another clean rag wipe off any extra that didn't soak in. 

Let the needles dry for 24 hours.  Now, here's where the magic happens.  Take your 0000 steel wool and buff the needle.  This is what gives it a glassy smooth finish.  At this point I usually feel/look very closely for any little spot I missed when sanding that could catch my yarn then I take my 320 grit sandpaper and sand it smooth. 

Repeat this 4 or 5 times.  You'll know when it needs it again.  You will be able to feel how "not smooth" it is.  I've even used them for a while then gone back and put on a few more layers of finish. 

All in all, I've made about 10 needle sets (dpn's included) and I still have plenty of raw material to make more. 

They really are quite fun to make.

Next up!  I'm showing you my knitting needle storage/travel solution.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A hat or twelve.

We've had some "technical difficulties" here at Sewtastically Made.  My computer sounds like it's grinding coffee.  Yes, that's bad.  Apparently it's a little thing called a hard drive.  And it's crashing.  So that means I've got to figure out a way to quickly get ALL my important information (i.e. pictures, homeschool files, itunes...yes, I know I need a "cloud".)  on to an external hard drive.  I'm scared.  I'm a giant, technologically un-gifted, scaredy cat.  (I'm just going have to put on my BGP's - big girl panties - and do it though.)  Thankfully, my wonderful daddy took the time to fix my "old computer" for me to have as a back up. 

Now for the crafty talk...

I've been knitting like a crazy person.  Or maybe just knitting like a knitter.  I swear I even dream knitting.  In the shower the other day, rinsing my hair, I saw knitted stitches on the backs of my eyelids.  Am I going insane?  Don't answer that.

I've been working on lots of small projects.  Hats mostly.  One for me.

I apologize for all the ipod photos.  It was raining to boot!

One for my oldest.

Lord he's cute.

Even one for a tiny peg person.

I love the unintentional braided look.

I started another one for a sweet, soon to be born, daughter of a dear friend.  (I can't wait to see it on her tiny head!)

Apparently it's the week of the hat.  In the wings I have lined up one for my cousin's brand new baby and even one for my husband.  Hats all around!  (And don't worry about my daughter, she received one of the first ones I made.)  

Oh, and I finally found a sweet little yarn shop with super friendly (and very helpful) staff and "yarn snob" yarn.  I'm excited to try upgraded (but NOT insanely expensive) yarn. 

I also discovered the joys of a knitting, homeschooling mom.  I think that's how I accomplished so much with knitting this week!  It's the perfect thing to sit quietly and work on while my son works on a particular problem.  Along those lines, I've currently been reading homeschool math lessons and not much else. 

Yarning along with Ginny and the gang at Small Things today.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A String and Two Sticks

So I'm a knitter.  I am.  I crocheted for years but I haven't once since I picked up the needles.  I started back in January and the progress felt pretty slow for a while.  I seem to be getting faster and (maybe) even better now.  I had done some basic dishrag patterns but nothing super complicated.  Well, enter Wee Folk Art and their beautiful Spicer's Scarf.  It's by far the most complicated pattern I've ever done.  Lots of K2, YO, K1, YO, K5 SL1K, K2T, PSSO, etc.  And I CAN READ THAT!  Crazytown.

We went camping this past weekend and I had quite a bit of time for this...


and this....

and this...

It was so relaxing.  Maybe I'm still in the "honeymoon phase" with knitting but I'm always amazed at what can come from a string and two sticks.

This will look even better once I block it!

I'm yarning along with Ginny at Small Things today.  I'm reading Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett and I've also started Pompeii by Robert Harris.  Both on my nook.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Good Knight Part 2: The Tunic

Remember when I showed you these arm bracers I made for a Knight's costume?  Well, I finished up the tunic a few days before the Knight and Princess party and thought you might like an update. 
The finished tunic.
A super quick rundown here.  I found an image the boy liked and set to work on the design.  I used Wee Folk Arts tip for cutting felt and it worked beautifully! 

It took forever to cut out but it was so worth it.

I then used spray adhesive to tack it down to the black part of the design.  After the glue dried (maybe 1 hour) I stitched around the Griffin with a running stitch.  Then I cut out a rectangle of fleece that was folded at the top.  You want your fleece to comfortably fit the length of your child front and back.

I cut an oval out of the folded edge for the neck and hemmed the neck opening.  Make sure it fits over your childs head before hemming.  I also hemmed the sides and added eyelets and lacing.  (honestly I'd have preferred black lacing here but Michael's only had brown that day.  Oh and use interfacing where you want the eyelets.)  The next step was to cut up the very center of the front and the back about 6 inches.  Hem that along with the bottom and add any decorative trim you'd like.  That's it!

This was pretty inexpensive to do honestly.  I already had the felt and eyelets on hand so I only had to purchase the fleece (about half a yard will leave you with plenty of extras), the lacing, and the red trim.  Less than $10 total.  If you have any questions about the directions please let me know.

An action shot at the party!  They had so much fun.  I'll try and show you more detail with the helmet and sword in another post (the helmet is my favorite part of the whole thing!).  I'll give you a hint though, the helmet is made from craft foam and the sword is a pizza box and some duct tape. 

The fair knight jousting!
Good times.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Beginnings of a Good Knight

Have you missed me?  I know, me too.  This summer has been a hectic one.  I live in Colorado Springs and we've seen damaging hailstorms (yes I need a new roof), an epic firestorm that burned 346 homes, and now mudslides and flooding on the burn scar have become a major problem.  That's a lot.

You may remember my daughter was diagnosed with asthma a few months ago and well, smoke isn't good for her.  So when the wildfire moved into town and started burning down homes, along with it being very scary and stressful, the air quality became dangerous.  We needed to move up our vacation.  So we hopped in the car and drove to NC to visit my family (then I got to sneak off for a week in Italy with James).  While I've been enjoying the travel this summer, I haven't been crafting.  Anyway, I'm back now and feeling inspired to craft things again. 

You know how you get an idea in your head and completely drop everything else to start working on it? Yeah, that was me yesterday.  We got a birthday party invitation for a sweet almost 5 year old we know.  It's a Knight and Princess party and I immediately became all sorts of consumed with making a knight costume.  (We've got the princess thing covered already) I found all sorts of amazing inspiration online for chain mail, helmets, armor, sword, scabbard, and shields.  Here's where I started...

Knitted chain mail arm bracers.

Now I am still just a beginning knitter and I wanted these to be quick and easy.  Could they be done in the round?  Of course.  But I went with a rectangle that gets sewn together on the long side.  Easy.

For my 6 year old (who is on the small side - but don't tell him I said that) I used US13's and loosely cast on 30 stitches.  Then I just did the garter stitch until it was about 5 inches long un-stretched.  Bind it off leaving a long tail and sew the long edges together.  Done!  This was so simple and so fast and I'm not a very fast knitter yet.

I think we'll do this costume together in stages...

Back on the crafting wagon,


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Repost: The Tooth

** This one was originally posted on The Fipper Show July 6, 2011.**

Oh. My. Goodness. Would you look at that face! Can you see what's different? He has graduated to the official "big kid" ranks. That tooth was so wiggly for SO long. But today... it came out.

I realized YESTERDAY that we had to be getting close. I mean, that thing was barely hanging on. So, in somewhat of a panic, I started looking around for what kind of tooth fairy pillow to make him. He's a gigantic fan of the game Angry Birds (who isn't really?) so I decided to see what I could find online. I found this link yesterday afternoon and saved it to my favorites. About 10:00 last night I started gathering up all the ingredients. I didn't have some colors in the fleece but substituted wool felt. I was finished by 11:45. Just in time.

The only change I made was to add a little pocket on the back for money. It's pretty cool and a very simple tutorial. I see lots of Angry Bird making in my future.

After I finished it up last night I wrapped it up in one of our play silks. I was thinking a present waiting in the wings would help motivate him to pull it. But no, he kept telling me he wasn't going to do it. I think he was just afraid it would hurt. Enter Clif Bar's Z bar. I gave him one of these delicious little treats on the way home from the store and with the LAST BITE...the tooth came out. You know what that means?? Present time.

He figured out it was an Angry Bird right about here

And was SUPER excited.

Of all the things I have EVER made him, this one was the most successfully received. He was beyond thrilled. (It was very satisfying for me as I had just stayed up super late to make it.) They played with it for quite a while and he has declared he's sleeping with it forever. (which may look weird in college??)

(this is my favorite picture of the boy and his bird - taken with my ipod.)

Our boy is growing up!


JKFP and Fisher's tooth.