Poppies Raglan Dress

Poppies Raglan Dress

Poppies Raglan Dress

Poppies Raglan Dress

Poppies Raglan Dress

Poppies Raglan Dress

Poppies Raglan Dress

Poppies Raglan Dress

I purchased ithinksew’s Ella Raglan Blouse a while back, with plans to sew up a ton of cute tops, but I only finally got around to actually making one now. It’s a good thing I did too, because the size on this print of the pattern only goes from 6-24 months (a bit small of a range, if you ask me. Also the long-sleeved version is a totally different pattern, which I also find silly).

I lengthened the pattern by two inches to make it into a dress/tunic and cut out the 24 month size, in hopes of expanding it’s wearable time period. As it is now, it’s definitely a little big, especially around the neck, so I added a ribbon from my stash (actually left over from my wedding nearly 7 years ago) as a sash to help keep everything in place.

The fabric is a quilting cotton that I picked up at Marden’s back in 2010. (I’ve now officially used 1/2 of the prints I bought that day!) I love the print, it’s very Liberty-esque, but it is definitely on the stiffer side. It works well as a dress here, but for a blouse I’d use something lighter-weight. In fact, I think it would be especially dreamy in a Liberty lawn or a voile.

As you’d expect from a raglan top, this one is super simple to sew up and I’d say it’s a great beginner project. The only complicated bit is attaching the bias tape as the neckline casing, which if you use store bought bias tape (which I did here), it’s fairly simple. I definitely sew this one up again, particularly if I can get my hands on some good fabric for it.

Also, one outtake, because it makes me giggle, as I can’t look at it without thinking of that infamous Bigfoot photo.

Bigfoot Baby

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Little Miss Cleaver and Miss Maggie Rabbit
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Miss Maggie Rabbit
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When the day starts so early, it’s hard to get non-blurry photos of an increasingly active (and expressive!) little one. She’s just on the cusp of toddler-hood these days – walking more than she crawls and understanding things and almost almost talking. But Easter started around 5:30 AM with opening the basket/bucket and a low-key egg hunt with 6 or so eggs placed in highly visible places filled with cereal puffs.

Having put my clothing-making energies into her birthday dress not that long ago, I turned my maker skills to toys this go around. The rabbit is Alicia Paulson’s Miss Maggie Rabbit kit, which was a joy to put together. I misplaced the yarn that came with the kit, so I made the capelet out of some Berroco Vintage DK I had left over from earlier projects. I also dyed a pair of playsilks with Kool-Aid (Mixed Berry blue and 2 packs of Lemon-Lime green), which was quick and fun. Of course, I got totally upstaged by her Memere who showed up with a tricycle! Not that her feet touch the pedals yet, but I imagine they will before too long.

Little Miss Cleaver has become obsessed with belly buttons of late, whether it’s spotting mine and poking and laughing or displaying her own upon request. Onesies are definitely out. So obviously she had to check her new bunny for a belly button.

After some unwelcome snow on Tuesday, the weather seems to be settling into spring. My daffodils are blooming, with tulips coming not too far behind. It means we can go to the park, try out slides for the first time and play in the yard. Now if only we could convince LMC to wear shoes. Right now it’s like putting booties on a dog, with much awkwardness and whining.

We’ve already had one happy afternoon with a batch of neighbor kids in the driveway. We’ve got sidewalk chalk and digging tools at the ready.  I’m hoping to get together with our neighbor in the next few weeks to have a raised bed building day. It’s been so long since I’ve had a veggie garden  and I want to get out there and grow some things!

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Little Miss Cleaver turned one this weekend, and it’s hard to believe it’s been a year already. The days can be long (3:30 wake up calls, anyone?) but the weeks and months, and now year (!), just speed by.  It seems not so long ago she was just this tiny squishy thing and now she’s walking and babling, and has opinions and is just a tiny little person.

To celebrate her first birthday we made a weekend of it. First on Friday, Mr. Cleaver and LMC met me at work and we went out to lunch at the Olive Cafe, picked out some birthday presents at the local toy store, and LMC tasted her first ice cream – Gelato Fiasco of course!

For her actual birthday on Saturday we kept it fairly low key. She wore a new mom-made birthday dress. There was breakfast and cards. Then we went to LMC’s very first swim class, the first half of which involved a wet baby clinging to me like a barnacle, until we got to the picking up and splashing into the pool part and especially the singing part. During the singing she clapped her little hands with joy and looked at me as if to say, you didn’t tell me there’d be singing mom, I’d have been more open to this whole thing if I knew there would be singing! The swim class totally wiped her out and resulted in a nearly two-hour mom lap nap.

In the afternoon Memere joined us for a few balloons, a few presents, and a cake. In honor of her birth on Maine Maple weekend, I made a applesauce cake with maple buttercream frosting. I modified the original recipe to use 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour, less sugar in the cake, and no nuts/raisins. I’d probably cut back on the whole wheat flour next time, as it got a bit dense. I also added a bit of water to the frosting to get it to a spreadable consistency, but it was otherwise delicious.  The frosting tasted almost exaclt like maple sugar candy. The cake decorations I made myself out of some scrapbook paper. The birthday crown was a free pattern on Ravelry that took about an hour to make.

Later in the day our neighbors, who watch LMC two days a week and are like second family to her came over for a while.  Then we ate some pizza, gave LMC a bath, and everyone went to bed about a half an hour early and slept in late.

Today was Maine Maple Sunday itself, and we made our usual jaunt up to Sebago for a pancake breakfast and sugar shack visit. All in all it was a sweet time with a sweet little girl and a very good first birthday/first year of parenting celebration.

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The weather this winter has been… weird. It was very very cold, then rather warm (high 30s!), then it snowed, and it’s going to be very cold again this week. At least I married a meteorology nut who could warn me before I walk out the door in something inappropriate (temperature-wise, style-wise is still up to me).

Regardless of its day to vagaries, you know a winter in Maine is going to be long (hiya snow in April!) and generally cold (remember when I called high 30s warm?).  So it behooves me to made sure my kid has some good winter gear. Her Memere provided the snowsuit, and obviously we have plenty of sweaters, but a good everyday coat? I found stylish ones that seemed warm enough hard to find.

So armed with the leftover wool from my lady grey, some star-studded minky from JoAnn’s, and some extra time over the holidays, I made up ithinksew’s Mackenzie Jacket into a cozy coat just after Christmas. To ensure it fit (both because of the thicker fabric and long winter season), I made the 12 month size, so it’s a little roomy now (LMC’s ten months now), but I imagine that before the winter’s out it’ll fit just fine. I did however, hem the coat much shorter than suggested, as it seemed almost floor-length.

My other nod to cold-weather practicality was a pair of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s baby leggings, knit out of little less than a skein of Dirty Dyework’s Edna in celery. I finished these back in early December, methinks. I had to modify the gauge a bit for the lighter weight yarn, and I shortened the rise, but otherwise, followed the pattern exactly. I probably should have made two pairs, but it’s unlikely that’ll happen now. Looking at those snowman-making photos from today though, makes me think LMC should probably have some mittens, but considering our success rate with keeping socks on her feet, I can’t imagine keeping mittens on her hands would be any easier.

The little gnome piece is the Maggie Mae Tunic from Shwin Designs. 12 month-size, tunic length. The armholes seemed a bit small, so I made them open up further down the bodice. I also added the piping, which I think adds a lot to the top, but I would add it in a different order than I did here next time (and they’ll most likely be a few next times).  Mr. Cleaver is very good about letting me get some sewing time in on the weekends if I want/need it and sometimes LMC will even provide a nap assist. Simple projects make it easier to get stuff done, which means I’ve been mostly making baby things, but I’m hoping to squeeze and item or two for me in there at some point.

Though the mornings are still largely unpredictable in terms of waking time, our nights have taken on a certain rhythm, which means that I’m getting more time to knit and yes, design again. I’ve got one project in the works right now that’ll be coming out in June and another submission in for a Winter issue (fingers crossed),  so it’ll be a while before there will be anything to see from it all, but it feels good to be getting back on the design wagon.