Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Court Jester: Pants Complete!

Today I finished both pairs of pants. For the bottoms, I added a band that also has a casing for ribbon. This way, the boys can cinch the hems in either above or below their knees.

First, I cut a band 4.5" by the circumfrence of the hem, plus 1.5". I hemmed the short edges (3/8" turned twice). I pressed 1/2" under along one long edge. Then I stitched the right side of the band to the wrong side of the pants, using a 1/2" seam.

Next I edgestitched pressed edge down, covering the previous stitching.

Lastly, I ran another row of stitching about 1/2" away, making a casing.

The finished pants! On to the tunics!

Court Jester: More Pants Progress

Yesterday I worked on the 2nd pair of jester pants. I decided these would be striped, but also with an elizabethan feel.

First, I cut 6" strips from the gold. It's a reversible sari fabric, so I hemmed the long edges so the gold bordered the blue (1/2" turned twice). If I didn't have reversible fabric, I would have used a hong kong underlining technique with 2 fabrics. I did 6 strips hemmed on both sides, and 4 hemmed on one side only, for the inseams/crotch seams.

I cut the pants out of the green fabric, and laid the strips on top. Then I basted them to the green, and stitched down the strips to the crotch level, leaving them loose from there to the hem.

Ready to sew!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Court Jester: Pants Progress

Costume sewing has commenced! Yesterday I started working on Caleb's pants. I figure this would be the most time consuming part of the costume, and I was right. I worked on this for 5-6 hours yesterday. First, I traced off a pair of his soccer shorts for a pattern, adding about 8" in length.

Next, I cut the diamonds to piece together to make fabric. I tried to think of a way to strip piece this, but couldn't figure it out in my head, so I decided to just cut the diamonds and sew them all together. I cut 4" strips, then laid the 60° mark on the edge to cut an angle. Using that new cut edge, I then placed the 4" mark and cut the diamonds.

I stitched contrasting diamonds together in pairs (and screwed them up at first), and then laid them out on my pattern, so I would only piece as much as I needed. Then I stitched pairs together, and filled in with single diamonds or triangles. I forgot to add a 1/4" seam allowance to one edge of the triangles at first, so I just kinda stretched those to fit a little bit.

Then I did it all over again, only in reverse. I think the second time around went faster and looks better. I used my serger, since the gold frayed a lot.

Done! This is as far as I got yesterday. Today, I will cut these out and stitch them together. As well as finishing these pants, I also hope to finish the other pants (remember, I am making 2 costumes: one for Caleb, and one for his friend).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

7 Things

Sorry, I have no progress to report on the court jester costumes. My husband had an unexpected minor surgery and hospital stay last Thursday and Friday, and so I've been quite busy (all is well and he is home recovering). I did get a lot of knitting done, though!

Anyway, a few weeks ago my friend Cheryl tagged me for a 7 quirks meme. I'm not sure I can come up with 7, but I'll try.

7 non-important things/quirks about me:

1. Like Cheryl, I do not like eat off plastic plates/cups. Or paper. I don't even like paper napkins! I really don't like anything that's disposable (yeah, that means diapers and pads too). My kids get cloth napkins in their lunches, though I do give them plastic utensils (I think a trip to Goodwill is in the future to get cheap metal silverware).

2. I do not like to go to bed with my closet door open, but I also don't like the bedroom door closed. I also have a hard time falling asleep if the room is pitch dark.

3. I HATE people touching or even going near my ears. This includes my husband.

4. I don't like to drink out of bottles or cans. I will, but I'd rather pour stuff into a glass, and usually do at home.

5. I seem to be allergic to sunscreen. I broke out in a really bad rash while in AZ, and we've narrowed it down to the sunscreen or the sun itself. If anyone has any suggestions for a brand, let me know. I've tried Kiss My Face, Alba Botanica, Neutrogena, and some sport one. Sometimes I'll be able to use one a few times, or even a whole summer, and then the next year I'll break out.

6. I don't like to drive, and I'll gladly let someone else do it.

7. Most people who know me know this; I love comic books. I was thrilled when our library system created a graphic novel section! Currently I'm waiting for the final trade paperbacks of Fables and The Last Man.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Court Jester: Planning

Remember the Pharaoh costume I made for Caleb for the Opet festival at school? They also have a medieval feast as part of the social studies cirriculum. They get assigned roles for this one (after all, you can't have 37 kings now, can you?). Caleb is the court jester, along with a good friend of his. I'm going to do both of their costumes, so they 'match'. They will have to entertain the king during the tournament, so they are practicing a little routine. :D
On Saturday, I went over to Joann Fabrics and scoured the clearance racks. Calvin was with me, and he actually picked most of these fabrics. He's got a great eye for this sort of thing. The gold is really the wrong side of a blue sari fabric.

Here's our inspiration. While at the Ren Faire in AZ, Caleb looked in all the shops for jester costumes. He didn't see anything he liked, but he did like the look of this painting, so I took a photo. We searched online for costumes too, but everything we found was pretty lame, IMO. I have been re-reading some Asimov books, and noticed this one had a neat painting on the cover too, so viola! Inspiration! We found the hat pattern on Saturday, though I'm going to see if maybe one of the boys would like a variation on this one (upper right) instead.

Deadline is May 2!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Topkids 62-15

We had beautiful weather here last weekend, and all week it's been cold, crummy, and raining. I've been spending some of my time decluttering and going through the boys' clothes, switching sizes to/from the attic, bagging stuff that we just don't want anymore, etc. I came across this shirt that I made for Caleb in 2003:
It's from one of the last issues of Topkids (you can read the pattern review here). I made it from the rayon/linen blend you can get at Joanns.

It was fun to make. I used a fusible interfacing on the collar and cuffs, and it bubbled, but otherwise, I really like the shirt. I'd make the cuffs wider next time.

The pockets are built into the yoke.

Check it out! Caleb in the shirt about a month before he turned 7! He's going to be 12 in about 2 weeks; my how the time passes. Calvin is smaller, so even though he's 8.5, the shirt fits him great.

Monday, April 07, 2008


I made a pair of Knucks for Calvin while on vacation. He's been begging for a set of fingerless gloves for a few months now. They were a quick project; quicker and easier than I thought they would be. I had them finished in about a week.

Ravelry project page is here. If you don't have a Rav account, more pix are on my Flickr pages. I used Rowan felted tweed and size 4 needles. They are knit from the top down, so you can easily make them as long as you want. I had plenty-o yarn leftover.

Calvin is a delight to knit for, as he LOVES anything handknit. He has been wearing these All. The. Time. He wants more pairs. He hasn't decided if he wants anything embroidered on the fingers yet.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Spring Break, part V

This will be the last post about our vacation, promise! We were in Arizona at the perfect time, as a lot of the plants and cacti were blooming. Many of the houses have desert landscaping instead of grass (a good thing!). One afternoon I took a walk around the neighborhood and took photos of flowers and things.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Spring Break, Part IV

One of my favorite things we did on our trip was go to the Arizona Renaissance Faire. When David and I lived here ('90-'92), the Faire had just started, and we went. It was so small and lame! However, I found out via Heather Bailey's blog that it had grown and was celebrating 20 years, so we decided to go again.

We watched this guy's show. He holds 4 Guiness World Records with whips, one of which is the most whip cracks in a minute (over 400!). Besides using these fire whips, he also used a whip to crack open a can of soda, sliced celery held by a patron with a really really long whip, and had a chain mail whip which made the loudest crack I have ever heard. It was way cool.

We watched some belly dance troupes. I've been taking lessons since October, and believe me, belly dancing is HARD. It's all about muscle control in your upper and lower abs.

There were lots of shops. This one had little paddleboats for kids to play with (and hopefully buy).

I took a lot of pictures of just scenery.

Isn't this woman (or man?) awesome? I missed her lecture, but I think it was about styles of dress and makeup in that time. Look at that little traveling dress on her table. I want one!

Spring Break, Part III

One of the fun things we did on our vacation was go for a hike in the desert. We went to Ursery Mountain Park, and did one of the easy trails (Connor is pretty slow).

It was so pretty, and a lot of the wildflowers were in bloom. We hiked to the backside of a hill, took a play break on a playground there, and then hiked over the hill to get back to the car.

At the top of the hill, we saw a gila monster! How cool is that?

It was a nice time, and the boys enjoyed the desert.

Another day, we visited Rawhide. Connor (a big Thomas fan) got to ride on a train (twice!), and loved it.

There were gunfights!

Both Caleb and Calvin got to try out the mechanical bull. They also panned for gold and tried some climbing.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Spring Break, Part II

On Easter Sunday night, we took a red-eye flight to Phoenix, to visit with my in-laws. We hadn't been back to AZ since I was pregnant with Connor, and spending a week in the sun was looking really really good after that blizzard on Friday!

My in-laws live in a retirement community, and we went swimming at least once a day.

Connor loved the pool, although apparently he's mad at me in this pic, as I'm probably not going fast enough for him to catch one of "my boys".

The last day, he finally got comfortable enough to put part of his face in the water and blow bubbles. I had been trying to get him to do that for the whole week!

My in-laws have a few citrus trees in their yard (pink grapefruit, tangerine, juice orange, and tangelo. They even have a key lime tree in their front yard). Every day we picked oranges.

It takes a LOT of oranges to get enough juice for my crew!

Caleb hit on the perfect combination for juice: half juice oranges, half tangelos, with 1 or 2 grapefruits. Delicious!

See that juice pitcher? We went through at least one of those a day, with at least half of the juice drunk by ME! I love OJ, and to have fresh-squeezed every day? Wonderful!

Spring Break, Part I

I know I've been MIA. First, I got really sick, and it was all I could do just to get up and get the kids off to school. Then, we left for a nice vacation in Phoenix, over spring break. The next few posts will be about that.

On Good Friday, we got hit with a blizzard. By the time I went to bed that night, they said we had officially gotten 10.9" of snow, bumping this winter up to #2 snowiest winter of all time (#1 happened in the 1800s). Thankfully, I had not been able to procure airline tickets for then (like we had wanted to), as the airport even shut down. We live near the lake, and it got VERY VERY windy. So, we had areas of our yard where you could see the grass, and areas that had 3 foot snowdrifts.

On Saturday, it was beautiful. Bright and sunny, and warm (relatively. perfect for playing in the snow). Calvin pretty much spent the entire day outside. He carved an igloo out of one of the snowdrifts in the park across the street.

When Caleb saw the igloo (we could see it from our front window), he got geared up and went outside too! It was hard getting a photo of them IN the igloo, as it was so bright with the sun on the snow, but if you can't tell, they are both fully inside their house.

In the afternoon, I had to run some last minute errands before leaving for our vacation. While I was gone, David and Connor got dressed up and went out to play as well. Here they are on the HUGE snowdrift in the park. Seriously, I think this drift was at least 4 feet high. They worked on carving tunnels throughout it, and eventually, this area was crawling with kids. :)

They all had a great time, and I think Calvin even got a little bit sunburned from the sun reflecting off of the snow!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sweet Sixteen

Today David and I celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary! We spent part of it flying home from Phoenix, part catching up on our sleep, and the rest just relaxing and getting settled back home. We realized we've been an "item" for 20 years! That doesn't make me feel old, but it does seem like a long time that has gone by fast. That's a good thing, right? :)