Monday, April 30, 2012

KCWC Days 6 and 7

Whew.  I am glad I participated in KCWC this year, but I am also glad it is over.  One hat, six tops, one pair of pants and one skirt later, I am all sewed out.  Here are the last two items:

I put the landing crane on the front of Z's top (it's on the back of N's).  The skort is the Oliver + S Badminton Skort.  I made it in the same ticking as N's sailboat pants.  I think they will look really cute in the coordinating outfits.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stupid kids crossing

I did not finish my sewing project yesterday, so there is no KCWC post today.  Yesterday Jeremy and I left the kids with the nanny and drove out to Izmailovo souvenir market to do our last shopping run.  Though it was Saturday, it was a workday for the Russians, who have Monday and Tuesday off for May Day.  Thus, we spent a lot of time stuck in traffic.  During which we saw this on the back of a van filled with children:

The Russian says "Attention! Children running out!"  The English ... you can read for yourself.

Friday, April 27, 2012

KCWC Day 5

I didn't know what I was going to sew today.  Then yesterday, while at the fabric store buying buttons for the sailboat pants, I saw this fabric.  Folded up on the rack, all I could see was the flower side.  It was love at first sight, but I didn't know what I would do with it.  I decided to buy it anyway.  It wasn't until the shop girl unfolded it to cut, that I saw the cranes.  And immediately the fabric had a destiny.

It became another Ice Cream Top for N.  Tomorrow I think it will also become an Ice Cream Top for Z.  I really love how it turned out, and I think she does too (when I showed it to her, she didn't immediately fuss).



KCWC Day 4 and HOORAY for spring!

Yesterday I sewed another pair of Sailboat Pants for N.  I had done a straight 3T version when I first got the pattern, but they were way, way too big around the waist, even with a cloth diaper.  So this time, I cut out an 18-24 month size, but lengthened the rise and the inseam to 3T.  This worked better, but still doesn't fit great with a cloth diaper on.  Works well with a disposable though (as in these photos).  She, not surprisingly, isn't a big fan of these pants.  She'll have to get over that because I love them, and also happen to believe that red-and-white stripes are a neutral that go with most things :)

Also, a gratuitous hooray-for-gorgeous-weather photo from yesterday afternoon's outing.

Yes, it was really warm enough for a tank top and sunny enough for sun hats!  Spring in Moscow is just awesome.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

KCWC Day 3

Yesterday my kids stayed asleep/in their rooms for quiet time for a full 90 minutes.  Thanks to that, and an early bedtime for them, I completed two tops yesterday.  And now I've sewn up all the stuff I had cut out for this week.  So today I'm back to cutting for the remaining four days of KCWC!

On the left is an Oliver + S Ice Cream Top in light cotton voile for Natasha.  On the right is an O+S Badminton Top in light cotton voile for Z.  The trim on the second top matches the first top.  Also, I sewed a top for myself out of the orange and white stripes, so we will all coordinate.  If I can make a bow tie or something for J out of the scraps, we'll be like the Von Trapp family this summer :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

KCWC Day 2

Yesterday I sewed another Class Picnic Top.  I really do love this pattern.  I embellished this top with some matryosha doll buttons I got from Etsy last summer. I also love the fabric, though it is a tad heavy for this top.  Hopefully the fact that it is red and the buttons will entice N to wear it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Scavenger hunt

You get two posts today.  I know - it's crazy.  I want to blog every day about KCWC, but I have also been meaning to put this post up for awhile.

The weather has been gorgeous the last few days.  Last week wasn't bad either, so we tried to spend as much time as possible outside.  One afternoon, after the girls got up from their respective naps/quiet time, we went on a scavenger hunt.  I had found some pre-made picture scavenger hunt pages online, but they were very U.S.-centric.  Squirrels, for example, are something we don't see around the city too often.  So I drew a bunch of pictures of things I thought we'd find on a piece of paper (full disclosure: actually I traced many of these pictures from drawings I found on the web), gave each kid a copy and a crayon, and off we went.

I did not put a flower on the sheet because I really didn't think we'd find any, but I was wrong!

This was a great activity that occupied us for about 45 minutes. I see more scavenger hunts in the future!

KCWC Day 1

So yesterday was day 1 of the Kids Clothing Week Challenge. I finished up a Reversible Bucket Hat for Natasha.  She, of course, does not want to wear it.

But here it is for posterity's sake.  In the last picture it's sitting next to the first such hat I made last week.
I also completed, from start to finish, another Class Picnic Blouse (also an Oliver + S pattern). I went quickly and accidentally ended up putting ric rac on the back as well as the front.  Now Jeremy will never be able to tell which way it goes on :)  I made another Class Picnic out of this same fabric for Zoia last month.  Natasha saw it and requested her own.  I am hoping that means she will wear it without protest. I really love this pattern and plan to sew another one this week, out of the red and pink fabric I used for one side of the hat above.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Kids Clothing Week Challenge

Tomorrow starts the Kids Clothing Week Challenge (KCWC) over at  The idea is to spend one hour per day tracing patterns, cutting fabric, or sewing children's clothes.  Clearly, I laugh in the face of this challenge, as I have been sewing an average of more than an hour a day on children's clothes for a couple months now.

But I figure this is a good way to finish off my current spree and finally clean out the sewing room in preparation for our pack-out, which is less than five weeks away.  Eek.

So this week, I've traced patterns and cut fabric.  Next week I plan to sew two more of these cute Class Picnic tops from Oliver + S.

Also one of these O+S badminton tops (and maybe the skort, haven't decided yet):

And this O+S Ice Cream Top (this illustration shows the dress version).

First, though, I need to finish up a summer hat I started working on today.  I'll try to post pictures of my progress each day.

Also ... spring is here!  We went outside without jackets today and it was lovely.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Christ is Risen, translated into Russian, is one of those cool words that you can write in Russian while using the English alphabet.  Good thing, because I don't know how to type in Russian.

Anyway, He has risen and we celebrated.  We went to the midnight service at the church near the Embassy again.  Poor Zoia did not enjoy the joyous shouting of "XPUCTOC BOCKPECE" (Christ is Risen) and "BOUCTUNY BOCKPRECE" (Truly He is Risen!).  She tried her hardest not to cry, but it was too loud for her little ears.

The next morning the girls excavated their Easter baskets and we hosted a large party.  It was nearly 60 degrees and everyone hung out outside.  Like I said, Pascha always brings in the spring.

Also, I made a few decorations:

Paint chips!  Thank you Pinterest.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Could it be?

Why yes ... I think it is.  Spring is here.  It's kind of stubbornly dragging its feet as most days do start out in the high 20s or low 302, but the only precipitation we've had in the last five days has been rain.  And the snow is melting.  And I even see a couple of buds peeking up through the soil where the landscapers have begun beautifying the Embassy compound.  AND it's supposed to be in the 60s on Sunday!  Pascha always seems to bring in the spring.

It's not quite warm enough to just wear our raincoats (even if they are lined with fleece), but the down jackets are starting to feel slightly overkill-ish. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cabbage juice cupcakes

Today I made a small batch of white cupcake batter to experiment with natural food coloring.  I was particularly interested to try making blue and pink cupcakes with the "dye" I made from purple cabbage.  When I boiled the cabbage, the water turned blue.  But when I added a glug of vinegar, it instantly turned fuschia.  I was a little worried at what the cabbage water would do to the flavor of the cupcakes, especially because I had to mix quite a lot of the blue water into the dye to get the color.

So here is what they looked like out of the oven.  Don't mind the stab wound in the (yes, blue!) cupcake; I couldn't find a toothpick:

The two on top were dyed with the fuschia cabbage water.  The one next to the blue one was dyed with pomegranate juice, which just turned it an unappealing shade of taupe.

Then I cut into them:

Well, would you look at that!  And they didn't taste cabbagey at all.  Who knew?

(The ones on the bottom are carrot, lemon and lime cupcakes.  I don't know why I thought they would take on any color.  Clearly they did not.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Palm Sunday and some eggs

Though most of you probably celebrated Easter yesterday, we've got another week to go.  So we spent the weekend dyeing Easter eggs and marking Palm Sunday.  We cut out all artificial colors and flavors from our diet not long ago, and thus, we decided to make our own natural dyes for the eggs this year. We dyed brown eggs, white eggs, and a carton's worth of quail eggs that I picked up on impulse at the supermarket last weekend.  For our natural dyes, we tried: red cabbage, beets, red onion skins, red wine, turmeric, and simmered spinach.

Natasha and Zoia helped fill the pots with the natural dye stuffs.

Zoia didn't quite understand what was going on; she thought we were making soup.

Natasha enjoyed a rare opportunity to stand at the stove.  Just looking at this photograph makes me nervous.

Zoia also wanted to dip eggs in the dye.  Here she is dipping a brown egg into a bowl of hot beet juice. 

Here's Natasha, dipping some raw white eggs into a pot of onion-skin-dyed water.  We tried two methods - immersing already cooked eggs into hot dye, and boiling raw eggs along with the dye stuff.  I had red that the boiling method worked better, but I messed up my experiment by only boiling brown eggs ahead of time, so the only eggs that boiled along with the dyestuff were the white ones.  Kind of hard to compare.

Here's a cool trick.  So, when you boil red cabbage, it turns the water a lovely Smurfy blue (the jar on the left).  But if you add a glug of vinegar, the cabbage juice instantly turns bright fuschia (the jar on the right).  I didn't try to dye any eggs in the fuschia (another experimental fail; I didn't plan ahead at all!), but the blue dye actually took quite nicely.

After we'd immersed all our eggs, we had dinner and Z entertained us with tricks.

Then we checked on our eggs.   I only put quail eggs in my red wine.  The wine did dye the outside of the eggshell a deep brown, but it also actually ate away at the outer, brown speckly part completely.

This is what a red-wine-dyed quail egg looks like when you remove the brown peel.  That is still shell there - just the inner layer of the shell.

And here is the finished product.  The quail eggs took the dye the best.  The brown ones on the edges were dyed in the onion skins.  The yellow ones in the middle were dyed in turmeric.  The blues were all cabbage juice, although I think a couple of them were in the beet juice first (which did nothing).  The funky white-and-black ones are red wine.  

These are all onion skin and cabbage.  The chicken eggs that hung out in the beet juice and the turrmeric water, and the spinach juice, didn't take on much color at all, so I overdyed them all in the red onion mixture.  I think next year we will have far more red onion peels, and we'll leave the eggs in that mixture and in the cabbage juice longer.

Palm Sunday morning.  Again - it is still quite cold here - 30ish on Sunday.  I was just an irresponsible mom and let them hang out outside to get these pictures of them in their green dresses.