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December 6, 2017

how to make a security pillow (a.k.a. topponcino) for baby

How to make a security blanket (a.k.a. topponcino)
Before you get any wild thoughts - no, I don't have a baby. Nor am I expecting! Nor am I ever going to have kids, but that is an entirely different blog post. My brother and sister-in-law, however, just brought a beautiful baby boy into the world. He's amazing. He's cute, and has chubby lil' legs, and even though I haven't met him in person (yet!), I can tell the world is a little better of a place with him in it. I sewed this topponcino for him just a few weeks before he arrived, along with some washable covers. I'll be honest, though - I still don't totally have a grasp on what a topponcino is.
Topponcino pattern
Topponcino - it sounds like a drink you'd get at Starbucks, right? If anything, this might be the opposite of a latte. It's to make baby feel secure as they are passed from one adult to another. They're supposed to sleep in it always, so that is smells of them, thus creating a safe space. And there's definitely no caffeine. The topponcino is used in the Montessori Method of child-rearing (which is basically a no-frills/more adventures method of raising kids). You can buy them off of Etsy, but they're so easy to make at home. I did some research before I started this project (here and here), and here's the method I took:

November 24, 2017

diy felt xmas banner | make the yuletide very, very gay

DIY This: Make the Yuletide Gay Felt Banner
I have been, to some capacity, ready for Christmas since November 1st. On an entirely different level, I suppose I am always ready for Christmas. Anyways, this will be my first year working the entire holiday season at Curbly, and with needing to stay ahead on content, it's been all-Christmas-all-the-time for more than a month now. At home, the transition is slower. Not too slow, though. I made this felt banner a little while ago, and have really excited to hang it. Keep reading to make your own!
Materials needed to make this felt banner
To make this banner, you'll need:
  • Felt in various colors
  • "Make the Yuletide Gay" printable template (page 1; page 2)
  • A pencil and pen
  • Fabric glue or hot glue (truth be told, I was too impatient for fabric glue and ended up hot glueing everything)
  • Scissors
  • A dowel or long stick
  • Baker's twine

Queer Christmas Felt Banner | Step 1
Print out the template (page one here, page two here), and cut out each letter and shape. With the letters facing right-side down, trace their shape on the felt. For lighter-colored felt, use a pencil. For darker felt, use a pen. Cut out each letter.
Queer Christmas Felt Banner | Step 2
Align the lettering on a large piece of felt. Glue each letter and shape in place. 
Queer Christmas Felt Banner | Step 3
On the back of the banner, fold the top down over the dowel, and glue down. Tie a piece of baker's twine to each edge of the dowel. Hang, and get merry.
Make the Yuletide extra gay by making this DIY banner
Details from this queer craft
Queers + crafts + Christmas = This
I'm pretty happy with how this banner turned out. If you've been around for a while, you know I appreciate a good play on words (seen here and here). Who doesn't? Happy holidays, gang.

xoxo,
-m.e.

November 22, 2017

a little thanksgiving dinner for two

A little Thanksgiving dinner for two
Happy Thanksgiving, all! This may be the most prepared I've ever been for a Thanksgiving dinner. Arguably over prepared, if you ask the slowly softening beets in the bottom drawer of my fridge. My fiancée and I figured out our menu over two weeks ago, we finished up most of the shopping that following weekend, and I spent some time this weekend in the kitchen! Honestly, I might be a little bit bored tomorrow since there is so little cooking to do. I'm thinking I'll use my free time to hunt down a streaming of the National Dog Show online. 
We're munching on some new recipes, and some old classics. Here's what we're cooking:
  • Butternut squash soup from Moosewood | I haven't made this recipe before, but Moosewood is always a win in my vegetarian household
  • Potatoes gratin | This is my favorite scalloped potato recipe, and not just because it's stupid easy
  • Roasted beets from A Clean Bake | Fun fact: I've never roasted beets before. I've never cooked them at all! Which is a shame, because I have always loved a good beet. It's what I'm most excited about cooking tomorrow.
  • Vegetarian roast | No major cooking here, we're just popping a Field Roast in the oven with some cut root vegetables. Btw, if you are a vegetarian who's been burned by the blandness of Tofurkey, Field Roast makes a proper roast you can actually get excited about.
  • Pumpkin cheesecake | This will be at my table every year forever and ever and I'm SO PUMPED about eating way too much of it tomorrow.

Chopped veggies for a vegetarian feast
Prepping squash for butternut soup
Roasted butternut squash
Don't forget to take some time tomorrow to think of a few things you're grateful for. I'm most thankful for flannel sheets, hot coffee, animals that appreciate cuddling, our health, creative outlets, and a partner who is patient with me. Happy Thanksgiving!

xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. You still have time to stitch a few "Get Stuffed" napkins before tomorrow!

November 19, 2017

simple dog jacket | take two

Stylish dog jacket tutorial
Winter kind of bullied itself into our lives this year. After a thick and quick dumping of snow the weekend after Halloween, all the beautiful autumn leaves withered and browned, leaving the city bare and wintry. We packed up what little summer clothing we had out, and replaced the space in our drawers with knits, parkas, hats, and gloves. As I was pulling out the fleece coat that belongs to Doria (our dog), I got to thinking about how handy it would be to have more than one coat for her to wear. Two years ago I made her a simple coat from fleece fabric, and it's been awesome. It's easy to put on, it keeps her snug, and she looks super cute in it. When it rains, though, or is muddy out, there's no back-up coat for her to sport while the first one gets laundered. I spotted this double-layer poly material at the fabric store, and duplicated her first coat (with a couple minor adjustments!).
How to make a simple dog coat
Last time I made her a coat, I used fleece. This time, I'm using a polyester quilted fabric, which comes double-sided. I got mine at Jo-Ann Fabrics. It doesn't look like the kind I purchased is available online, but it was in the apparel section of the fabric department. Here's a comparable one from Jo-Ann's, and another option from Amazon. Basically, the fabric is double-sided, so I didn't double up on the fabric like I did with the first coat. 
Doria looking stylish in her DIY dog jacket

Modifications: The biggest different with this coat versus the last is that I eliminated the neck cuff by simply cutting the body of the jacket in a "T" shape (you can check that out below). After that, all I had to do was attach the belly straps, hem all sides (with double-sided fabric, this meant turning the edges in and sewing in place), and sew the neck cuff together. Note: While I cut the neck cuff at a right angle, I ended up sewing them together in more of a "V" formation so it would fit snugly against the dog's chest.
I also used sticky-backed Velcro this time, too. Pro tip: Turns out it's way easier to sew across adhesive Velcro than to try to pin and sew the non-adhesive type. I'm very excited to have found this out.
How to make a dog coat
I want to show you how well the jacket fits, but Doria was unwilling to pose while standing. So here's an unflattering angle I captured while she wasn't paying attention.
DIY dog coat from the side
Looking back at the pictures from the first tutorial, it blows my mind how many gray hairs have sprouted on her over the past two years. She's eleven years old, and has fully embraced her senior-status. After we went on this photoshoot walk, she promptly curled up on the couch for a winter's nap.
Letting this sleeping dog lie
xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. Not a dog person? Learn how to make a stylish cat bed instead.

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November 2, 2017

the dress | chapter 4.5 (these boots were made for weddin')

Six boots for the winter bride
Okay, folks. My DIY wedding dress is almost done, save for picking the length and hemming the bottom. Before I literally cut the bottom of my dress off (I'd be nervous about doing so, but there isn't really time), I need to know what shoes I'm wearing. 

What sort of shoes does one wear to a winter wedding?

I immediately gravitate towards boots, because of three factors:
1. It'll be wintertime, and I don't want to get pneumonia
2. I'm looking for a shoe with little to no heel so I'm not towering over my fiancée
3. I'm a casual kind of woman, and boots are comfortable

Other than setting my sights on some cute lil' booties, that's all the decision making I've done. Color, style, material, laces v no laces... that's all still up for discussion. So I'm putting it out there in the internet universe, hoping I'll get something back. Here are some ankle-lengths I'm currently eyeing:



HELP.

xoxo,
- m.e.


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