Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

party dress -- probably actually-1-3Lila will be six years old tomorrow. She has turned into such a kid this past year – jumping rope, rollerskating, writing stories, sounding out words and spelling them in that totally wrong but adorable way that kids this age do. The stuff of kindergarten. I love witnessing her attempts to master each new skill. It doesn’t all come naturally to her, but she’s got major sticktoitiveness, this girl. Such focus and determination, and such pride in each small victory. Her palms are raw with callouses and blisters from the monkey bars. Her handwriting is already better than her dad’s. And just like every new age, I can’t wait to see what six brings.

party dress -- probably actually-1-7I haven’t been sewing much lately, but I’m always up for a birthday dress. This year I chose the Caroline Party Dress by Mouse House Creations. My use of this pattern was 100% inspired by Tara’s recent birthday dress for her newly six year old. Tara’s was the perfect combination of fancy and simple and delicate and beautiful, and I decided that six was the year the birthday dress should close with an invisible zipper.party dress -- probably actually-1-8

The shape and construction of this dress are very similar to Rae’s Geranium dress, – gathered empire waist, faux cap sleeves, side seam pockets, lined bodice. The major differences are the invisible zipper (which somehow equals fancier to me), and a few other options, such as a collar, a full lining, and a tulle underskirt. I skipped the tulle but did a full lining, which adds some nice volume to the skirt.

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It also helps that I accidentally cut my skirt pieces to a size 7 width – that’s what happens (to me anyway) when you have to make your own rectangular pattern pieces and you’re trying to do the math on combining two sizes – all the measurements kept running together. But it just meant some extra gathers, which isn’t the worst thing when you’re making a party dress. I ended up with a size 5 bodice and a skirt somewhere between a 6 and a 7 – it’s long, but I like the fit.

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The main fabric is a Japanese seersucker lawn, bought last May from Miss Matatabi. I’ve lusted after so many things from her shop, but this has been my only purchase so far. I fell in love with this one immediately – the colors, the crinkly texture, the triangles. It’s no longer available, but the shop is full of the most amazing Japanese fabrics and is worth checking out if haven’t already.

party dress -- probably actually-1-11 The lining fabric is Watermelon shot cotton, which I also used for the collar. Based on Rachel’s lovely version, I cut the skirt lining a little longer than the outer skirt so it would peek out at the bottom.

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This dress feels wonderful – both fabrics are very soft and light, but it’s a lot of yardage (three in total) – so it’s weighty, but light and flowy at the same time. It’s a little bit dressier than what I usually make, but hey, turning six is a little bit special.

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I went back to look at each of Lila’s handmade birthday dresses. We’re six for six. My mom made the first two (back when sewing a dress seemed way out of my league), and I took over from there.

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one | two | three | four | five | six

I hope there are plenty more to come.

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We celebrated Oscar’s second birthday last weekend. I made tiny party hats and wrapped miniature presents for a whole slew of little animals, and I sewed a second annual pair of birthday Art Museum trousers.

First, the pants.

second birthday -- probably actually-1-19I still haven’t done a whole lot of boy sewing, but I think these little trousers are my favorite in that category. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but they make my heart flutter. I kinda want to write Liesl a love letter for making this pattern.

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Last year I made these pants in size 6-12 months, and this year I skipped over the next two sizes and made a 2T. With Lila I always preferred that clothes fit correctly at the time I made them – it took her forever to grow out of anything. This kid is a different breed, though – nothing seems to fit for more than a couple months, so roomy is fine by me. These pants do run really long – Oscar is off the charts for his age in height, and I hemmed them up an extra half inch and still had to roll them once so he won’t trip.

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I became obsessed with making this plaid version after spotting a toddler in the wild wearing a very similar pair – I knew I already had the perfect pattern to replicate them, and I’ve been on the lookout for the right fabric ever since. I ended up finding it locally at Bolt – it’s a wool/cotton blend, really soft, just what I was after.

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As for the hat-wearing, gift-bearing animals, they were inspired by this Oh Happy Day post and this pin – I downloaded the tiny party hat template from here and bought a bunch of Schleich animals to do it up right.

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They were a bit of an investment, but I knew they’d have great play value long after the party, so I considered them a birthday present for Oscar.

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My blog idol threw a second birthday for her daughter a few weeks before Oscar’s, which led me to this amazing cake. Mine was a little sloppy, but same idea. I still swear by this chocolate cake recipe, but this year I tried Alicia’s Cloudburst Frosting recipe – it was deeeee-licious.

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As you can see from the two above, I managed to get zero decent photos from Oscar’s party, which I will just blame on the weather and daylight savings – it was dark all day! Oh well. The whole animal thing was by far the most fun I’ve ever had in terms of birthday prep. And that’s saying a lot, because I do love party prep.

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Happy second birthday to you, sweet Oscar. Your dance moves are second to none, and you are a complete and utter joy to have around.

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Lila is now a full two weeks into five.

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I must say, I felt differently about five than I did about the proceeding birthdays. I’ve always been the type to get a bit nostalgic and sad around birthday time, trying to hang on to those final days of each year before they’re gone forever. Five, though – I’m just plain excited for five. Every year has been pretty extraordinary, of course, but I have these wonderfully high hopes for five. I can’t wait to see what this year brings.

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One thing it’s brought already is a late birthday gift – a Purl Bee lap duvet made with double gauze and shot cotton.

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There are so many great Purl Bee blanket tutorials, and when Anna posted her lovely baby seal lap duvet I remembered that I had some double gauze (Nani Iro’s Melody Sketch in Pastel) in need of a project. This is such a wonderful, cozy blanket. The double gauze and shot cotton are both extra soft fabrics, and the wool batting makes it so warm and lofty – I used a crib-sized Dream Wool and tacked it down by machine every six inches.

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I really intended to give this on time – it looked like a pretty simple project, so I started it a couple nights before her birthday. After spending an entire evening trying to lay two pieces of fabric on top of one another without wrinkling (I’m not kidding – why was this so hard for me??), I got tired and gave up. The main problem, aside from general unwieldiness and ineptitude, was that the backing ended up two inches shorter than the double gauze, and I couldn’t bear to cut into that precious double gauze. The whole reason I was using it for a blanket (after hoarding it for 13 months) was to avoid taking a scissors to it AT ALL. But in the end it seemed silly to buy another piece of shot cotton just to save two inches of Nani Iro, and I was already a week behind schedule, so I proceeded.

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I ended up taping the fabrics to my kitchen floor prior to pinning, and besides not being the cleanliest option, it worked out alright. Both fabrics have some stretch to them and I never really got things to lay straight and even. My finished rectangle is a little wonky, but it’s passable. And what it lacks in mathematical precision it certainly makes up for in cuddleability.

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The tutorial calls for 1.75 yards, and I only had 1.5 yards of double gauze (making it even harder to chop off those two inches!), but it’s still a good sized blanket, even for me. I didn’t have double gauze for the backing so shot cotton seemed like a good alternative. There were so many color options to go with those dots, but I eventually settled on Quartz – I’m not a big pink/purple person, but Lila likes it, and I found this shade to be wholly non-offensive.

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I added (as I do) a little embroidered tag to the back.

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And just a few more birthday things to show – the traditional invites:


A birthday banner (which just came down today):

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And she requested a birthday crown like Oscar’s – I used the tutorial from Heidi & Finn. They’re so quick and simple to make.

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We thought about doing something more elaborate, but decided to keep it simple and have a little birthday party with neighborhood friends like we’ve done every year. She chose ice cream sundaes for the party – those little polka dot cups are filled with kid portions of the toppings, in a futile attempt to minimize sugar overload. Adults were free to make their own bad decisions. Not pictured: salted caramel sauce and hot fudge – both excellent recipes if ever you’re looking.


And on the real day, we had a gummy bear adorned chocolate cake. I think it’s safe to say that I’ll never use another chocolate cake recipe as long as I live (I like it with plain old vanilla buttercream, though).


We fulfilled (in the loosest sense of the word) her wish for a pet with a betta fish. It’s not the most exciting animal – in fact it’s hard to tell if he’s dead or alive or part of the plastic plant or what, because he almost never moves. Not exactly the rabbit she asked for, but what can I say, we aren’t pet people. And that big box in the back is her very own Janome Hello Kitty sewing machine (it was quite a bit cheaper in the store, just FYI). This thing is the real deal – it’s a great little machine. I don’t know, five is probably slightly premature for a sewing machine, but I got excited about the idea and couldn’t help myself. She loves it and is doing great so far, I just wish we had more time to use it together. But alas, the presence of a toddler in the house makes most activities utterly impossible. Still, it’s an exciting new development, and just one tiny part of why five is looking like so much fun.

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So there you have it.

F I V E.


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first birthday things

Oscar had a birthday! birthday things -- probably actually-3

So I did a little bit of birthday crafting. Or I cut out a bunch of crowns, anyway.

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The birthday boy photo bunting was inspired by the fabulous hair bow version Danielle made for her daughter – I knew the minute I saw it I wanted to recreate something similar for Oscar (sans hair bows of course, though he’s certainly worn his share). The faces (each one is about 4 inches across) are printed onto photo paper and glued to card stock, then taped to the ribbon.

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I made a simple felt crown (template and tutorial courtesy of Heidi & Finn), and he wore the silly thing all morning long, along with his birthday trousers and a new sweater, knit by my mom.

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There were crowns for the cupcakes…

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Cookies in crown bags…


Crowns clipped to his month-to-month photos…

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And a mother-load of triangles sewn into miles of triangle garland…

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He also got a triangle birthday bib – the fabric (Leah Duncan’s Movaje Illuminated) was the inspiration for the triangle garland.

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That’s all, nothing fancy. We celebrated with two small parties – just family on his real birthday, and some neighborhood friends the next day. He got a little barbeque trolley and a ride-on bumble bee and was perfectly content just sitting there, enjoying both at the same time.


That’s the thing about this kid, he’s just perfectly content, all the time. We are beyond lucky to have him around. I had forgotten how much fun it is to have a one-year-old – I love all the stages, but ONE! sure is spectacular.

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 p.s. There’s still another day to enter the fabric giveaway – details are here!

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birthday favors


Since we only had a few neighborhood kids at Lila’s birthday party, I decided to put together little favor bags for everyone in her preschool class.


Her birthday happened to fall on a school day, so she was extra excited about passing out treats to her school friends.


We made sparkle play dough (this recipe plus a bunch of glitter) and sprinkled sugar cookies shaped like fours. Lila also requested that I make “little tiny baby dolls” for each bag, but that birthday wish got squashed pretty quickly.

The kraft bags from Paper Source are a good size for a couple of little treats and make for a nice blank canvas. I cut the little animal shapes from a sheet of wrapping paper, glued them to punched card stock circles, then stamped names on the bags.

favors-2593This is surely one of those projects that was 14x as much fun for me to put together as it was for the kids to receive, but believe me, such things stopped concerning me a long time ago. 🙂

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Lila’s Geranium birthday dress, hanging in the same old spot.

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A fabric named Sprinkle seems appropriate for a birthday dress, right? I discovered it here back in December and loved how it looked on the Fairy Tale Dress (Camille always finds the best polka dots!). I bought the Geranium pattern with this fabric in mind, but was ever so gently nudged into making a practice version last month. And I could make this pattern again and again, it’s so fun and quick and simple and satisfying.

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There are several options with this pattern, but I went with almost the same ones as last time – faux cap sleeves, pleats, and side seam pockets. And this time I added the notch at the neckline.

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The dress is a 4T and has a nice easy fit. Very wearable.

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And here it is all tangled up in another Made by Rae project from several years back – the felt heart garland, which I always have major trouble putting away after Valentine’s Day. So I don’t.

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Why does four seem so old and grown up? I’m savoring these last few days of three…

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cloud crayons

Lila is three today!

Yesterday we celebrated with some friends and family. I haven’t sifted through the party photos yet, but last week I made some party favor crayons – they were way easier and more fun than I’d anticipated, so I wanted to spread the word!

From the moment I saw this DIY crayon post on Homemade by Jill, I knew that somewhere down the line I’d be making crayons for one of Lila’s birthday parties. And when I found cloud shaped candy molds, I figured this was the year to try it. It turns out that candy molds come in more shapes than you could ever imagine – there are pages and pages of them to choose from. Endless possibilities.

I didn’t get a lot of great photos of the process, but everything you need to know is in the post I linked to above. Here’s the general idea:

Start by peeling your crayons, breaking them into smaller pieces, and separating them by color.

I enlisted my mom and Lila to help with the peeling – it was the most time consuming part of the process, but we made it our after-breakfast activity for the day. Also, Crayola = good for peeling. Rose Art = pretty much impossible to peel. I used our existing tub of crayons rather than buying a new ones, and we happened to have a set of 120 Crayolas and some random Rose Arts. We gave up on the Rose Arts pretty early on.

Your trash can will look like this:

Next, melt a handful of similarly colored crayons. I melted mine in an aluminum can sitting in a pot (don’t use your nicest pot, it gets a little messy) with a couple of inches of boiling water – double boiler style. You can use the same can throughout the process without washing it in between – just start with your lightest color and move through in rainbow order. That way it won’t matter if a little of the previous color ends up in the next batch.

I used a wooden chopstick to stir, then poured the melted crayons into the molds. When they’ve set they’ll pop right out – placing the mold in the refrigerator speeds up the process, but even sitting out on the counter they didn’t seem to take more than 5 minutes or so to set. By the time my next batch had melted on the stove, the ones in the mold were almost ready to come out. There really wasn’t much waiting around at all.

And before you know it, you’ve got cloud shaped crayons! I’d say we peeled maybe 90-100 crayons, and I got about 45 clouds – so about two crayons per cloud.

I packaged them up into sets of six or so, and made little cloud notebooks (and cloud cookies) to go with them.

Okay, now I can cross homemade crayons off my list and move on to the next thing….

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I love March because it means I get to drag out my paper crafting supplies and make invitations and decorations for Lila’s birthday party.

I tend to consider the whole month of March her birthday, rather than just the 19th – I start my crafting early and leave the decorations up way too long afterwards.

Every year I’ve kept the party simple and small – just family and one or two neighborhood friends – which makes stamping the invitations easy enough to do. I love hand stamping, because no matter how precise you try to be, the end result is always pretty wonky and each one comes out looking a little bit different.

These skinny washi tapes were a birthday gift from my sister (last year it was baker’s twine in every color – she’s good!)….I can’t seem to stop washi taping everything.

So far they’ve taped up the clouds on the invites, decorated a kraft paper L, and striped up some wooden forks.

Though I can’t decide what to do with the forks…washi tape or stamps? Maybe some of both. I carved that little raindrop using an exacto knife and a pencil eraser – my first rubber stamp!

The big clouds are double sided with two different patterned papers – they’re paper versions of the fabric clouds I made last year for Lila’s reading nook. I’ve got a few more to cut out, then I’m going to put some of last year’s twine to use and hang them from the dining room ceiling.

Would it be wrong to want another baby so I could have two birthday parties to plan every year instead of just one?

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By the way, if you’re local and looking for some nice party supplies – I picked up the forks, straws, and treat cups at a little shop called Fancy That (they also sell online), which is part of Bliss Bake Shop. Lila got a pre-birthday blue-frosted mini cupcake out of the trip, so she was happy. I might have had one, too.

P.S. It sounds like people are up for the tiny tea bag tutorial – it might be awhile since I’m knee-deep in washi tape and clouds right now, but I’ll get to it!

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