Friday, December 27, 2019

Toddler Tent

My grandkids are lucky in that they have dozens of cousins. Between the hand-me-downs and the loving relatives, they are not hurting for playthings. So I was having a bit of trouble thinking of the perfect holiday gift for them.

Fortunately, I am a devoted sewing blog reader. I came across this post from Queen of Darts, who had sewn a tent for her daughter. It was super cute, and she kindly included a tutorial. All righty then, my present problem was solved!

I did a little googling around for design ideas I could steal. The tents I perused ranged from 4 to 6 sides. My poor brain got real tired considering the pattern math. There was the whole isosceles triangle thing going on and it's been 55 years since I took any geometry. I decided to keep things as simple as possible and opted for 4 sides.

The Man is a physicist, so he kindly wrote up a formula to help me draft my tent pattern pieces. It had square roots and stuff, and it gave me a pretty good initial fit. I did a bit of draping to refine things.

Porthole window
I didn't get too crazy with embellishments. I put a porthole window in one wall, and added the kids' names on the front. I copied the door design from Queen of Darts. I think it gives the tent a kind of Arabian Nights vibe. She used toggles to hold her door open, which is very cute. Plus it seemed easy for toddler fingers to manipulate.

Hmm. It could use a good press, but I didn't have the time or the gumption to wrassle five yards of canvas around on my ironing board.

I picked up some battery operated fairy lights from the office supply store downtown, just to add a little sparkle.

The finished tent was big enough for a five foot two grandma, so I figured a couple of toddlers would fit just fine.

I drove it down with me to LA and we set it up by the tree on Christmas Eve, after the kids were finally asleep.

The kids noticed it right away when we brought them down for breakfast the next morning.

My friend Kent says all it needs is a sign that says "Adults Keep Out," but with the "K" backwards.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Minimalist Wallet

Are you like me? Do you have scores of young men for whom you must produce holiday gifts? Do you want to give them something lovingly hand-made but fear they will find such objects deeply un-cool?

Then this post is pretty much a public service announcement. Take a look at the Elastic Wallet pattern at Thread Theory. It's not a free pattern, but it's the next best thing: only $1.50. I read about this pattern in Barbara Emodi's newsletter and it's like an answer to this Aunt's holiday prayer.

With 15 inches of knitted elastic and a scrap of leather you can sew up a cute little wallet which, at least in my eyes, is stylish enough to be acceptable to my 30-something nephews.

Here's a shot of the wallet in action. The little tab of elastic on the end is to allow you to attach the wallet to a lanyard, or to add a split ring so you can hook on your house key.

I used 2-inch wide black knitted elastic and some scraps of leather. The black leather turned out best because the cut edges of the fawn and gray leather were a different color, so my raggedy cuts looked extra messy. 

My sewing machine did not love this project. I think it objected to the layers of elastic more than to the leather. I did use a leather needle, but a few stitches were skipped. Even so, these little guys seem pretty sturdy.

I turned out eight little wallets yesterday morning. I got faster and neater with each one. Do I have eight nephews? No, I don't. But I'll be happy to have a little stash of these puppies ready for future gift-giving emergencies.

My pattern review is on here.