Cloth Diaper

It has been a while since the last time I made a cloth diaper! This cloth diapers are used in Portugal as a burp cloth, they are made of a special cotton fabric almost like a gaze fabric or in a cotton knit when they are meant to be used as a simple cover for the baby stroller. The last ones I made where for Teresa and ended up using the same ones with Sofia!

This one was a special request and a great challenge! I was asked to make the decoration of the diaper that already had legs on it. At first the idea seemed delicious but turns out it was difficult for me to find a motive that seemed reasonable to me and that I could see working out great here. I do not know why but I don’t like painted cloth diapers, and I even like less those country patterns I see in most of the painted cloth diapers. Not my style nor my line of work so it occurred to me to make an application. Much more my style!

But it was not easy to decide especially because boys are not my thing and I had to get out of my comfort zone.

And so a nice and friendly elephant was born!

Task sucessfully completed!

Crochet Hooded Cowl

Where we now live it’s cold. So cold that the caps and gloves were the first things to be operational after the moving. But Sofia had just one and we tend to be quite messy and leave things a little everywhere: at grandparents, on backpacks at school, things that stay in my car, things that stay in father’s car… and with the pretext of having more space my mother (and later my mother in law) decided to presented me with their wool remains.

So I decided to make a hooded cowl for Sofia. I searched a few patterns on the internet but I thought I could pull this one on my own!

The hair pins are complements. They were in her hair before!

I used a chunk wool with a 8mm hook and worked on single stiches.

This hooded cowl is really easy to make. You can change the crochet stitch but the more closed is the stitche the hottest the cowl will be! Start by making a rectangle where the larger side is the width around the shoulders and the small side is the height from the shoulders to the head.

When your piece has the right size, fold in half. The seamless part it’s the back part.

Now just sew one of the tops and sew a bit of the front for the neck. You can also make one or two careers around the face opening, to accentuate and fasten off.

And it is this simple!

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Granny Squares Baby Sweater

One of the good things that came with our move to the village was my train trips to work. I like trains, I don’t like being stopped in traffic jams, I like being able to make things while I am transported to where I have to go, I like being able to close my eyes, to read, to crochet… I like not having to pay attention, I like to not feel threatened by crazy people on 4 wheels.

And since I moved I have been crocheting like crazy. 40 minutes a day is just the right amount of time to release stress and to light up my mood! And in my will to crochet I started a demand… for patterns that are original and modern, not my grandmother crochet! No doilies nor bedcovers!

One of the first projects on my to do list was this sweater, which quietly awaited the arrival of Santa Claus (that’s why it didn’t come to the blog before!)

The patterns is from Nichi Trench. I followed the patterns on a Portuguese version of one of her books, whose translation is not brilliant but you can get there with a little logic.

I can’t fell out of love with Granny Squares but all the little wool endings made me mad at some point so I end up with no desire of Granny Squares for a while.

Sofia is a sturdy baby so I could have done a the sweater a little bigger, especially on the sleeves. The wool I used is another one of my ebay’s findings: 60% silk, 35% Australian wool and 5% cashmire, it is super soft, works beautifully and produces a flexible and comfortable to use end result.

The sweater looks really great on her and the Father loved it on her too (which entitles me to extra points!)

And she gave me this awsome smile! so my work is paid!

You can seem more on Nicki’s patterns on her Raverly.

Sock Nativity

Moving to this village implied changing the kids school and, as now Mafalda is attending a public school and Teresa and Sofia are in a private cathoclic day care and pre-school. One big difference between this new reality and the one we knew before is precisely the effort that is required to Parents. In private schools there is a big financial effort but the school does everything, buy everything, prepares everything, accompanying the study of the kids, correcting homework, it’s all included in the monthly fee (with very few exceptions).

In our new reality the effort is not financial but time demanding: there is a great deal of time (which I have as much or less than money!): Parents do everything, prepare everything, buy everything. You need to bring food for party snacks, every week you need new materials for a new project, the Christmas party is also made by parents, and a lot more food to take to the party. Plus 3. Sometimes it is good to be part of the school community and be more involved in daily school life of the girls, but there are times when the requests are so many that it feels like a full time job. And I, unlike a good majority of this school community, already have a full time job, which takes me the time to be a more active part of this community.

One of the “challenges” of this Christmas season was a Nativity contest that Mafalda wanted to participate. Of course, after 7 years watching her mother “do things” the monster is more than created (mea culpa) and it was not easy to choose a project that is feasible in terms of time and materials that I already had. She wanted to make a very elaborate thing and I understood that the project should be done largely by her, even if it was not eligible for any prize. She wanted hair made of wool cloths in fabric and of course dolls were born!

The dolls were made with baby socks that have lost their peers. It was a good way to make disappear 6 unpaired socks! Mafalda stuffed the dolls with wool filling, cut card bases and felt bases and glued eyes. I made her sew the hais of one doll, only for her to realize the work it takes! Of course she did not get to finish but got the idea of the work involved in this, and above all I wanted her to realize that mommie is no magic that take rabbits out of a hat or a fairy with a magic wand that brings up things!

And it was only by her insistence that this Nativity had the kings, because for me was the sacred family would be enough!

My nativity end up quite funny despite all the goofy look. But I couldn’t have done this 3 times, could I?

Violetta Birthday Cake

This year the Disney character Violetta in on the top of Mafalda’s preferences so she wanted a Violetta birthday cake.

After last year trend with the Monster High dolls I’m ready to do anything! And a Violtetta birthday cake I made!

She wanted the cake to have the characters figures but it was out of question to mould then in sugar paste. So I ended up buying some prints in edible paper like wafle. Then I used icing sugar to make the medallions. The cake ended up with more icing sugar work because of the quavers and the treble clef.

Well, she was happy with her violetta cake, she made a uge successs in her school with a 2 layer cake and had a great birthday!

At home a simple cake was waiting for her but still in Violtetta theeme!

Modern Crochet

Crochet was one of the few things that my grandmother had patience to teach me and I’ve always liked the way I always figure out what I had to make to get a certain result.

I’ve always find it versatile and easily adjustable to every need, besides being very quick and can be done either in wool or in cotton thread and even with other materials such as fabric strips and plastic.

But for many years, for me, crochet was all about wool blankets, afghans and doilies for every room of the house, from the kitchen to the bedroom, going through all furniture, desks and tables that stay along the way. In my parents’ house the doilies were changed religiously every fridays, as the bed sheets were!

And my grandmother always had a crochet project in her bag, which she worked on her leisure hours when she sat in front of the television. Because of her I have a bag full of doilies, carefully studied for each division that I never use but I am totally unable to get rid of them.

But nowadays the crochet is more than doilies, and it is in this discovery that I have been entertained since the beginning of the year.

These photos were taken in a place called Constância in May this year and left me surrendered to the charm of the color. The initiative is part of a social project to combat loneliness and the work was done by those who wanted to join the initiative.

And you know what? I would love to have a boat “dress” this way! And I’m totally surrendered to the colors and this new crochet. After all crochet isn’t all about doilies!

Story of a Life Birthday cake

September is like January but quite harder. September is the real beginning of the cycle: say goodbye to vacations “see ya next year”, back to school they go, reorganizing routines, organize school supplies and backpacks and clothes and shoes and everything they need. Start thinking about the cold to come and in the heat that still wants to be arround, articulate fresh mornings and late afternoons with the scorching heat of midday.

September is also the month to return to the blog … August is so boring … And write a blog in August is much the same as talking in a huge desenrted room.

And the truth is that with this new beginning I have a lot to share with you!

And I’m starting with a cake! There is no sweeter way to start, is there?!

It is not just any cake! It is a cake with 1.2 meters length divided into 3 “attachable” parts. This was the way I found to make a cake that could be transported to the party location! This cake tells the story of the life of the birthday boy with some milestones on significant dates, and of course, it was impossible to put there everything! Still has his birth, the birth of his siblings, his children and grandchildren, his marriage (and his kids) his trip to Africa to fight in the war and his return of the former Portuguese colonies, the deaths of his parents and other details that help tell this story. And to summarize 70 years of a full life is not easy!

This cake has three different cake dough: vanilla with chocolate filling, vanilla with strawberry filling and “dulce de lette” cakepop, all homemade and so delicious that there were almost none leftovers 🙂 It is a cake with a lot of detail work and has a lot of cake so it’s heavy which makes the selling price to be around €200 but it’s well worth it because it is not only a delicious cake but also it is an unique gift that no one will ever forget, not even my father in law who was so very touched by the cake and so surprised by the way I transposed his life on a cake! Not only for the cake, but also by the presence of the whole family, this is a birthday that none of us will forget, and thankfully, because at the end of the day that’s what matters.

Crafts for kids

We went to the countryside with a mission: draw scary monsters to ward off evil critters from grandparents backyard!

We walk the hills and the woods catching stones, and while searching for the perfect stone to draw a mosnter we walked and talked and saw plants, herbs and insects.

With many stones available to paint, they had work for several days, depending on the will and creativity of the moment.

Even hubby helped and Sofia made us company!

Once painted, the stones were used to make a flower bed in the backyard of grandparents.

And still there were many rocks to paint!

This activity is perfect for these hot days, it’s almost inexpensive and can be run almost independently by children. It keeps kids occupie enough time and is a good way to keep them busy during the dead hours of the day, especially while the smaller ones take a nap or while waiting for lunch or for dinner. Another good aspect is that stimulates the taste for walking in the countryside and in the woods, looking at nature and learn it in a fun way. And best of all, it’s an activity that extends in time, they will always want to paint so every day they picked the brushes and painted more stones. You know how it is: happy children = rested adults!

If you take beach holidays you can enjoy the sea stones, some are quite interesting to draw monsters or animals that can turn into a wonderful gift for Christmas or build a small fairy garden with the tiniest stones.

We should have used acrylic paints to paint the stones, but it was impromptu and so there was no where to buy. We bought the a kind of tempera paint, washable with water and we added some white glue, in a ratio of 2 parts of ink to 1 part glue. After drying we should have applied one layer of white glue to fix the ink or even varnish. We did not have time for that so if the water washes the stones next time we’ll have to paint them again! But I think they will not care and I’m sure Sofia will want to help!

The good part is that there was not a single spot of ink on clothing!

I’m so glad for these days of sunshine and warmth … Fells like summer!