Category Archives: Craftiness



I don’t always swatch my knitting projects, but today I felt like doing it. Isn’t the yarn color nice? It’s a dark purple with flecks of pinky red and blue.

The project is a mystery. In fact, it is the Downton Abby Mystery Knit-a-Long. A portion of the pattern will be revealed each of the 8 coming Downton Sundays. This will be my first mystery knit and I’m excited to get started tomorrow night!

Moo! (or Last Minute Cow Costumes on a Budget of Zero Dollars)

At 2:50pm this afternoon I learned that it was Cow Appreciation Day at Chic Fil A. Free food in exchange for showing up in costume? I’m all over that! With only a few hours till dinner and a crafting budget of $0 the project required a little quick thinking and some good ole Yankee ingenuity.

What? You want to make a kid sized cow costume with stuff you have at home, too? Here’s how we did it in about an hour (per costume):

Step 1: Get inspired. Google ‘cow costume’. Think about cows. Wander around your house looking at things you might be able to make look like cow parts. Squint if you have to. Ask your children what parts of the cow are important in a costume (enjoy their responses!) Try to zero in on the easiest possible way to accomplish those things.

Step 2: Gather your supplies. Here’s what I scrounged from my sewing ‘room’ and from around the house:

  • Adult sized white t-shirts (tell your husband they came from his drawer after he’s seen the cute kiddo in costume)
  • scraps of black fabric
  • scraps of pink fabric
  • scraps of brown fabric
  • wide elastic
  • headband
  • a little bit of batting or polyfil

Step 3: Go at it.

Use an appropriately sized dress/shirt as a guide to cut a dress/shirt from the large t-shirt. Be smart and salvage the bottom hem and you’ve saved yourself a step! Cut front and back pieces.

From the black fabric cut a number of black spots that vaguely look like cow spots. Vary the shapes and sizes. Always have a potty nearby.

Pin them on to the front and back of your costume. Have your 3yo help by insisting you select a color of pin and then wait an excruciatingly long time while she fishes out that color pin. Repeat. (this step could take days. Adjust as your time allows)

Cut a pink oval from the pink fabric. Scrunch up a bit of batting. Pin the oval udder on to the shirt with the batting underneath.

Sew around the spots and the udder. Straight stitch and zig zag work equally well. Enjoy that this is a costume and it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Now put the front and back together, right sides together. Sew the shoulders and side seams. Turn right side out. (no photo. I was too anxious to finish!)

Try it on your kiddo. Be sure to ignore the mess your kids have made while you’ve been ignoring them. I mean, uh, sewing.

Accessorize your cow: I made ears using this great post: Make Your Own Cow Ears. I made tails by sewing a tube of black fabric and then cut long fringe up 3/4ths of it. Then we pinned it to the back of the costume. Brown fingereless gloves were sewn up for ‘hand hooves’ (rectangles with thumb holes) and brown paper hooves were taped to their shoes.

Step 4: Go and get some Chikin. or Salid. or Milkshakes 🙂 Have fun with your family. If possible, meet up with friends who like costumes too!

A Day of Friends and Unicorns

Two great things happened today.

First, we had a wonderful lunch with Jackie. She’s in town on business from the West Coast and we were very glad that she could fit us into her schedule.

While out at lunch, Catherine told me that she wanted to make some decorations during Esme’s nap. “What sort of decorations?” I naively asked. “Unicorn decorations!” Catherine whispered. Well, okay!

So, once back at home, we got to work. My first attempts were pretty crude. Drawing is not my best talent!

Catherine and I collaborated on this last one. Definitely the best unicorn picture of the day!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It is definitely looking a bit like Christmas here at the Wood Homestead, thanks to three new Christmas Garlands we’ve recently hung.

The first is a New Englandy Cranberry and Popcorn garland that adorns the front windows:

The second, a traditional construction paper Paper Chain garland. It is hung above harm’s reach in the archway between the dining room and kitchen. Catherine’s new found stapling skills were a huge help in making this garland.

And finally, a snowflakey, starry garland hung to disguise the lamp cord above the dining room table. I knit the stars using this pattern (here’s mine on Ravelry for you ravelers) and then strung them all together.

Sewing Storage

In our new and improved basement living room I have a whole corner devoted to my sewing equipment and such. There’s one large shelf on the wall and my Singer sits on a nice big desk. The desk has several big drawers. Between the shelf and the drawers I am able to store most of the things I need.

What my storage hasn’t provided, however, is protection from exploring fingers. I love for Catherine to craft with me- and often let her play with the straight pins and pincushions or cut small bits of fabric- but I don’t really want her exploring those things alone.

Last Sunday I fashioned up a little storage solution for things like pins (both straight and safety), buttons, clasps, bobbins and other bits and bobs.

I started out with the hard back piece from and Ikea ‘Clips’ photo frame. It was chosen due to its thin nature and the fact that I already had it! The jars are just a few of the breastmilk storage jars I used when Catherine was in the hospital. I put in screws from above, through the board and then through the jar lid. Then, I simply filled the jars and screwed them up into the lids. Viola! Storage that Catherine can’t break into…yet!

Sewing Patterns Courtesy of Freecycle

What is the first thing a gal should do when faced with five boxes of sewing patterns? Take pictures and post them, threadbared style, on her blog, of course!

Some that I’m keeping:

There are some really cute kids patterns. I love the simple lines of these little dresses and rompers! One of them is already in the works. Pics are soon to follow.

Some that I’m not:

Holy shoulder pads, Batman! And I’m pretty sure that’s Meg Ryan from the later portions of “French Kiss” there in the yellow pants. Not the yellow pantsuit. I think Meg had better sense than that!

Of special note:

That’s right, folks, a Snuggie. Or at least it’s older cousin.

Check out a bunch more here.

Tiny Tangerine

Per Catherine’s request, I made Esme an orange shirt just like hers. I had to do a little finagling with the pattern to make it smaller overall, but big enough to fit over her diaper. It knit up nice and quick and I think the two of them are pretty darn cute!

Tangerine Dream

This is the blog where I come clean about my Mama-crush. I’ve been following Amanda’s blog, Soulemama, for quite some time now and am so often inspired by her words and her projects and her views on life and parenting. I own a copy of her first book, The Creative Family and am eagerly anticipating her second, Handmade Home.

I was most recently inspired by this post in which she talks about a knit, spring-time top that she made for her daughter. I took one look at the top and knew I had to make one for Catherine.

The pattern is called “Girl’s Cap Sleeved Spring Top” and is available at no cost here, or for those of you on Ravelry, here. Knit seamless on circular needles it was a very fast project that yielded fantastic results. I really love the way it looks on Catherine and have plans to make a few more in different colors for the Spring and Summer.

Catherine loves it as well. She asked, almost immediately, if I would make a matching one for Esme. Call me a sucker for a cute face, but I’ve made some alterations to the pattern and a (hopefully) Esme sized top is already on the needles. I think I’ll make it a bit longer and call it a dress 🙂

[As always, click on the photos for larger versions!]

Toasty and Frosty

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I thought, despite the warmer weather we’ve had this past week, that Peter could use an additional winter hat. So I spent the last week knitting him one.

The hat was wrapped up with a little booklet of 10 free Frostys from Wendy’s. I thought it was kind of ironic to give a gift of something to keep him warm and something to cool him off. Clever me!

Christmas Crafting

I was determined to make many of our Christmas presents this year. Besides the tangible benefits- less cost, less waste, etc.- it was nice for me to have little projects to keep my fingers busy during the days. And most of them I could do right on the couch while Catherine played! It was much more relaxing that walking the mall!

Now that the surprises are no longer surprises I thought I’d share the things I made.


I was inspired by a photo online to try these Christmas cards this year. They weren’t difficult to make, but very time consuming. I definitely had fun making them and loved the way that they came out.


Knit dishcloths for my Mom and Mother-in-Law. They look really fancy, but were pretty simple to knit. I was glad to have these finished by the end of October. They set the crafting ball in motion for the rest of the season.


Not a great picture, but you can see the little pincushion that I whipped up for my Mom. All the fabrics were scraps from my fabric box!


A pair of cozy leg warmers for Catherine. These come in handy since she doesn’t always love wearing pants. Or any clothes. Sometimes she won’t keep these on either 🙂


A Pink, Orange, Purple and White quilt for Catherine. While I was making it she would come up and say, “What’cha makin, Mama? A quilt to me?” and I’d say, “yup. but, shhh, it’s a surprise”. She’d get all sneaky looking and say okay and tiptoe away. Too cute! The quilt is machine pieced and hand quilted (for those that are curious about that sort of thing) I decided on funny T shirts for men this year.


Froggy Bean Bag Game for Catherine. (#3 seems to be missing). Frog bean bags that you toss onto the lily pads. Lots of possibilities for games to be invented. All frogs are from stash fabrics- old skirts, sheets, pj pants, etc 🙂


New Geeky Onesies ‘for’ Peter. He’s already mentioned them. Click here for their gallery and bigger pics. I had fun coming up with cute logos and such that reflect Peter’s personality and interests.