A Car Seat Cape Fit For A Princess

Gone are the days of babies climbing around the front bench seat of the family's Buick. Car seat safety has advanced from what basically amounted to a lawn chair hooked over the seat back to give little ones a better view of the road to nearly Formula 1 car level harnesses.

Hold on, Billy! There's a sharp turn ahead!

Hold on, Billy! There's a sharp turn ahead!

If you're current on your car seat safety, then you know that coats under a harness are a big no-no. And if you have a kid going through a phase of refusing to wear anything but dresses (like myself) then you have even more challenges on keeping them warm because everything "neeeeeeds to be pretty"... 

Enter: The Cape

I found this great *free* pattern on Ravelry, bought a crap load of yarn, and got to hookin'.

This is the largest crocheted project I've attempted thus far, and it was definitely time consuming, but worth it. I used a bit over a pound of Caron yarn for the body, and 1.5 skeins of Caron Super Soft (the party kind, 'cause it sparkles) for the trim and draw string. I made a small adjustment to add the arm holes in hopes that it would encourage her to keep it on.

The only problems we've had are that the hood is quite long and the cape is very heavy, so it has a tendency to fall off of the shoulders and pull down unless the drawstring is pulled very tight. I expect this to lessen as she grows. 

The real beauty of it is that to transfer to the car seat, all you do is pull down the hood, spin it around, and buckle the harness underneath! Much easier than removing the coat, buckling, and then unbuckling and redressing for warmth. On our maiden voyage, kiddo was even able to drink a milkshake (no judging!) while keeping warm. 

Here it is in action. 

Snug as a bug. 

Always finish with a fancy button!

Always finish with a fancy button!

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My Atypical "Portraits"

I really really love when people commission personal pieces and let me  just run with it. When I was asked to create an original piece for a pair of newlyweds as a Christmas gift, I was given a list of things that were meaningful to the couple and total creative freedom!

This is a couple with a long love story, so it was so much fun to be able to incorporate that history. 

The constellations represent music, love, peace, and incorporates music notes from one of their most beloved songs. The polar bear is the mascot of the grade school they both went to.



There are pins for the locations they have traveled to together, and a special marker for where they celebrated their engagement. Because it's in a front-opening shadow box, they can add new pins as they continue to conquer the globe! 


My favorite touch is that the background is almost entirely painted with wine from the winery the couple owns and operates! I'd never painted with wine before but it was a lot of fun!

The more I learned about this couple through creating this piece, the more I loved their story and how truly in love they are with each other. I hope they enjoy this at least half as much as I enjoyed making it for them! 
 

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Dining Room Revamp

I have this problem with vintage furniture. If I see a piece about to leave its home, I am compelled to swoop in and adopt it. As a result, my house is filled with what my husband affectionately refers to as "old lady couches". He's not wrong...

My in-laws recently decided to replace their super cute dining room table and chairs and asked if I knew of anyone in need. But I'm selfish and greedy so I immediately begged them to let me have it. Because it's not like I've already inherited a mid century dining table o anything. Oh wait... But I'm sentimental and love heirlooms, and the set had belonged to my husbands grandmother. They warned me that the set had had a rough life and wasn't exactly in showroom condition, but I was in lust with the style of the chairs and couldn't be swayed. After much furniture shuffling (btw, moving even a small piano unassisted is a ridiculous thing to do) I was able to convince my husband that we had room for a formal dining space and soon I got to work! 

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Once we started taking things apart I could see what damage my in-laws were speaking of. Apparently a few over zealous pets had gnawed on the underside of, well, pretty much everything, as well as a couple of spots on the table top. I even found some parakeet feathers in the old seat cushions! But there's not too much a bit of wood putty can't take care of, and overall, they are all solid pieces.

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My ultra creative sister likes to give me ambitious and adventurous projects to do so she can make sure it's not a huge mistake, and sent me a link to a tutorial on creating designs by painting with wood stain. We thought this would be a good way to camouflage the damage to the table top. It turned out to be a bit of a challenge, as the putty doesn't accept stain the same way as natural wood. But we're pretending it adds character! 

The chairs and base of the table were painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, because according to what seems like the whole of the internet, it's the ONLY way to paint furniture. I used Primer Red and the clear wax. Everything I've read talks about how steep the learning curve is on the wax, and they aren't kidding. If I had it to do again, I might have sealed the paint with a couple of coats of poly just to avoid having to use the wax. But, as far as the paint goes, not having to strip or sand before application makes it well worth the $38.95/quart price tag. As does the fact that after multiple coats, I still have at least enough left for an end table project I'm planning for my living room.  

I had loads of help with this project. From my father-in-law delivering and gifting it to me, to my mom stripping the varnish off the table top, my dad helping me reupholster the cushions, and my sister, husband and friend helping dismantle and paint chairs, it was a huge group effort.  

Before and After: 

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When deciding on the paint color and imagery, we thought it would be kind of funny to make reference to my Dead Head father-in-law's favorite tune, Scarlet Begonias.  I think he appreciates the in joke. 

I'm undecided as to whether or not I should use the same stain technique on the table leaf or leave it natural. What do you think? 

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