We've been having some big beautiful days in these parts. The weather has been gorgeous and we've been having loads of fun playing at the splash pad, picking strawberries and working on our own gardens. 

Today is sure to be another stunner. You know it's going to be a good day when your little has worked on a painting and had a bath by 8am; what will the rest of the day hold?!

My little guy has been working on this painting for over a year. He pulls it out every once in awhile and adds another layer. I'm thinking we might make it a mixed media piece by adding some pictures and text during it's next round of work. Looking forward to hanging it on the wall one of these days.

I highly recommend picking up a canvas and some paints for your little one to experiment with. We've used a bunch of different types of paints and tools over the last year from brushes to apples and forks, etc. Today he stuck to using his hands and enjoyed the textures and mixing colours. I think the process of creating and experimenting feeds their little minds and hearts, just like it feed mine. 
PictureCustom owl made with repurposed children's clothing. Special pocket on front.
Kokobaru has also been working on some fun smaller projects as well as some larger custom quilt projects. It's going to be a mighty busy summer! 

A few weeks back I held a draw on the Kokobaru Facebook page to celebrate hitting 400 likes. The prize was a custom toy made with the winner's children's clothing. Knowing the winner had 2 children and seeing the abundance of fabric she brought with her I figured it would be a nice surprise if I made her a toy for each child. She had mentioned one child liked owls, the other was indifferent and she liked the monsters. So I opted to make an owl and a monster, each with special pockets, perfect for keeping secret notes or to hold a tooth for the tooth fairy. It was lots of fun to work on them and she seemed pretty pleased when she picked them up, which made my day. 

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Custom pocket mouth monster made with repurposed children's clothing
Now to get outside! Hoe the vegetable garden, add some mulch a friend generously passed on to us to help with the weeds and water retention, plant some new flowers and just enjoy the beauty of this amazing day. 

What will you be doing on this gorgeous day? 
 
 
With the gorgeous weather we've been having lately you can guess where we've been spending most of our time. The little guy has been helping getting our vegetable garden and berry patch set for the season. The big guy has been re-doing our front walkway and preparing the garden for extension. And I've been working on some garden magic, building planter boxes and a number of other projects to get our yard looking swell.

Sewing has been put on the back burner...until today. We had the perfect rainy day. 



Grateful for the break from all the outdoor projects and happy the garden was getting a good soak, we pulled out a box of Lego and went to town. While the guys kept building I snuck off and finished a quilt I've been working on. I received the Riley Blake 2015 Challenge fabric from a fellow member of the Ottawa Quilt Guild who as unable to take part. 


This isn't the greatest picture, I'll post some nice ones after I give it a good wash and fluff it out, but you can an idea of what it looks like. This was my first time doing the blossom pattern and I'd really like to do a full quilt of it in the future. This is just a sofa blanket for cold nights and movie snuggle time. I improved the stitching by looking at one of my favourites int he selection, which has large flowers on it. 
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I'm big into repurposing/reusing things and this quilt it a fine example of how things tend to get a new life around here. We had this beige blanket kicking around for a few years. When we bought it it was soft and lovely, but after the first wash I found it started to snag on the skin on my hands and feet. It only got worse over time. [Ya, my hands and feet are not the smoothest, so what?! I blame a mixture of excema, hard work and walking around barefoot for most of my life and I think they're fine just the way they are]. All that to say I began hating the blanket. It ended up in a box, just taking up space and waiting for the day when I'd finally give it away. I was about to pass it on when I realized I could give it new life as the batting in a new quilt so that is what I did. 

The backing of the quilt is also repurposed fabric. This time from a sheet. I bought a set of jersey sheets last year thinking they'd be cozy, but alas, they ended up being a bit too warm for us and just didn't feel right. They too were sitting packed away, living as emergency sheets that never got used. Then I thought, this would be a perfect backing for a cozy sofa quilt! 

So the sofa quilt is made (finally!) AND it allowed me to repurpose some fabric I had in the house, complete the Riley Blake Challenge, try a new pattern I hadn't used before and to practice free motion quilting and improv quilting. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out and am looking forward to seeing it all fluffed out after it has it's first wash. 


Next project will have to wait for a sunny day - complete the planter boxes I've been working on (thanks to Ana White's amazing free plans). Can't wait to build more! 

 
 
PictureHeart of hearts Memory Quilt
Oooh, it feels so good to be done and to know that this quilt is at home with its family. This has been a lovely quilt to work on. Largely due to the fact that the client was so darned awesome, and fun to work with. It also helped that these baby clothes are so freaking adorable it put my ovaries into overdrive! 


The quilt stayed pretty much to the original plan, with some minor changes, which are expected when I'm working on something like this. 


There are 4 different pockets hidden throughout. A number of special appliqués and a mixture of stitching. For the heart of hearts panel I did some freehand pebbles to make the heart pop a bit. The rest was a mixture of wonky lines. I couldn't do the same pattern throughout or I would have compromised the viability of the cute little pockets and come on now, if you're going to go through the trouble of including little pockets they've got to work right?!  


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Custom memory quilt made with repurposed baby clothing. The pattern is a kind of modified window pane, with a funky trim to bring it all together.
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The back is really a quilt unto itself with a strip of repurposed baby clothes running vertically down the side. I love the bold colour choice. That combined with the trim really make this quilt feel alive.
So that's done. Prospective upcoming projects include some custom dolls and a new memory quilt with baby clothes. 


As for personal sewing I've got a few things piling up that I'd like to work on... 


(1) I'd like to make a new quilt for the living room sofa, one that'll be nice to snuggle up with on cold nights when we want to watch a movie. We've got some old blankets that are either too small or that I just find flat out ugly. Plan - use ugly comforter as batting for an experimental quilt to try out some new patterns and techniques.  UPDATE - June 2015, completed quilt using Riley Blake Fabric challenge pieces. #‎mqgfabricchallenge‬ 


(2) Clothing for me! 
- I recently purchased 'The Honey Blouse' from Make it Perfect and am interested to see not only how hard/easy it is to make, but more importantly how it looks on my body. UPDATE - completed a mock version, need to resize to make it larger. Seeing as I'm only going to get bigger over the next few months I think I'll wait until after our new baby joins us before making another. 
- There's talk of an amazing nursing top that is a quick sew. Problem is - the pattern is only in German. Neihn speckanzie Doitch. I've also heard tell of a mystical group that does sew alongs, and where some lovely lady has translated said pattern. SO I'm hoping to purchase the original and try sewing one up. Also wondering how difficult it will be and if it will be flattering on this majestic body of mine. UPDATE - I made a Martha shirt. Will definitely make more. I think I neglected to check scale before printing, so it was a little off and in turn a little snug for my taste. Will try again when I find some fabric that calls to me. 


(3) Clothing for the little dude
Truth be told he has enough clothing for the time being. I figure maybe I can make a few things for when he gets a little bigger instead of making something that won't get worn much now. Simple things like hoodies and tshirts, maybe some super cute hats. 


(4) Stock for my ridiculously empty Etsy shop. A few baby quilts, some hats and some dolls for now. Also I really need to get around to photographing what I already have and listing it. There's just too many other fun things to do in the day. UPDATE - I've been adding photos of the stock I have at hand. I'd like to make some little hats, etc., but with custom quilts and household projects we'll see if that happens any time soon. 


I think that's more than I can handle, but only a bit of what I can imagine. 


What projects have you got in your head? 
 
 
Loving working on the quilt I'm almost finished. It's really coming together. 
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A shot from some work I was doing the other day. Baby clothes make my uterus smile. pic.twitter.com/iBeOUecsO3

— Kokobaru (@kokobarucreates) January 16, 2015
 
 
First things first. I love this family and I'm so very happy that they're getting a little bit bigger. Congratulations! 

Secondly, I've got to say making something custom is one of my favourite things to do. 

It's kind of terrifying though. 

When people purchase something ready made you kind of figure they like it right? I mean, why else would they buy it. Custom work feels like it carries a lot more weight. Will they like it? Will it look like how I imagined it would? How THEY imagined it would? Did I get it right? 

Whether it's a gift for family or friends (ya, my family and friends get a lot of kokobaru creations) or whether it's a custom order, I always LOVE working on projects with someone particular in mind...and I always have a knot in my tummy until I hear back on whether they liked it or not. So far, so good. phew! Fingers crossed it stays that way for a long time to come (preferably forever).

Here's one of my favourite creations this holiday season…although I gotta say, I think I made a lot of really great stuff this year. It's also a pretty sweet way to announce a new member of the family is coming soon. 
This is a custom set of dolls with a pregnant momma that gives birth to a wee little baby. I love making these dolls. I think they're: a) super sweet and b) really useful tools for talking about pregnancy, as well as role playing in preparation for the addition of a new family member. Faces are left neutral so imagination can take the reigns, clothes are made to match the folks in question. 

There's another set of custom dolls I made this season that I just can't wait to share here, but wait I shall. 


Until next time, keep warm. 
 
 
As always, I have a lot of goals for 2015. Paramount among them is to: enjoy myself more, take more time doing little things, laugh easily and often and be present. I figure my smaller goals will help me get to these big ones, or at least remind me of the real purpose behind any of my goals. 

Today I'm so pleased to post that Kokobaru has been featured on Savvymom.ca. What a thrill for a little bitty maker like me. There's a post under the link above about my quilts and toys and we're also featured as a 'Cool Kid's store' = feeling like 2015 is starting out with a bang! 
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Nifty! Kokobaru has been featured on Savvymom.ca
Obviously I enjoy sewing and making things. This year one of my smaller goals is to sew more for my family. Sew clothing for my son and maybe even a few things for me. I've had some cute knits from L'Oiseau sitting on the counter for longer than awhile so I finally did it! I modified the Urban Hoodie Pattern by Heidi and Flinn  into a reversible hoodie for my little guy made with super cute bear fabric (that just makes my heart melt) and some repurposed fleece from an old blanket and jersey from some old t-shirt fabric. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and he seems to like it too. 
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Super cute reversible hoodie
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The other side of the reversible hoodie. Made with repurposed fabrics and a bit of super cute bear fabric.
He's getting old enough that he really watches me while I'm sewing. He wants to play with the machine and loves touching and playing with fabrics (read: I just found him trying to slide some paper into the machine to sew). I think the coolest thing about this hoodie is that he watched me make it and knows where it came from. I want more of that in my life!

Needless to say from the pictures I've posted he's an 'on the go' kinda guy so it was rather difficult to get any good shots of him in either side of his hoodie, but you get the idea. I tried. Wait, no, I did! (a la Yoda).

I just couldn't get enough so during nap time I just finished this little tshirt. It's another new/repurposed beaut. I cut the fabric a loooong time ago, but today was the day to get 'er done (thanks to a good nap on behalf of little mr). 
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Naptime t-shirt
In keeping with my goal of Rocking the shit out of 2015 I've signed up to take part in what looks to be a sew along that's right up my alley. 1 hr of sewing a week on kid's clothing Feb 2-8 = perfect timing for the little guy's birthday (on that note - I can't believe he's going to be TWO!). If you want to sew along, click HERE to link to the Kid's Clothes Week site. 

All in all, despite the frigid cold outside, it's been a rather productive day and I'm feeling pretty darned pleased. 

I'm surprised. 

You see 2 years ago today my dear Grandma died. She was my favourite person in the whole wide world. I miss her dreadfully and am reminded of her every day. I was expecting today to be really hard. Don't get me wrong there have been moments, but it feels as if the world and my amazing family has conspired to make today a good day. My good old grandma always told me to laugh not cry so I think she'd be pleased that I'm doing my best to remember her joyfully today, and that things are going well here in Kokobaru-land. 
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Me and my wonderful Grandma on a long ago Christmas past.

Wishing you all a great 2015. 

Feel free to share any goals you've set for 2015 below in the comments section. I'd love to hear what you're up to. 

 
 
It's really hard to get crafting done sometimes with a wee toddler, but I'm really doing my best (and so is he!). Over the past few months I've made some super cute male dolls, some super fuzzy fox pillows as well as an assortment of warm wooly winter wear, some toddler caps, an assortment of other creations and recently attended my last craft show of the season (as a vendor of course…I'll probably still try to catch a few as a buyer). 


Today I endeavour to complete a custom doll order I've been working on. I can't wait to post pictures because I am in love with this project (please don't tell Mr. Kokobaru). I spent last night doing adding my favourite feature…you'll know what I mean soon. 


Now to feed baby-baru and try to photograph some toys for Etsy. Wish me luck folks. 
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Handmade stuffed man doll
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A gaggle of guys
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Storage bags with a view
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Fury fox pillow pal
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An earth of foxes
 

Sad day

10/23/2014

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Yesterday was a sad day for all Canadians. I watched the news unfold and was grateful my family was safe at home with me. I feel such sorrow for the family of the fallen soldier. There really are no words. Just love. Love for all my fellow Canadians. Love for all people, everywhere. Love and faith. Not faith in any sort of religious power, but in the power of humanity. Be kind. Hold your loved ones close. Enjoy the small moments. Remember those who came before us. Learn from them. Learn from each other. Love. Love. Love. 

After my little one had gone to sleep I didn't feel like sleeping. I think of my grandma a lot, and yesterday I thought of her even more than normal.  I thought about all the stories she had told me about her and her brothers, husband, and friends who served in our military. Coin purses make me think of my grandma. I still remember the ones she gave me as a young child to hold my precious change. I thought it fitting to make a few for my upcoming craft shows. A way to be close to her on a sad  and sort through emotions after the sad events that took place. 



 
 
I'm pretty horrible at blogging regularly, but I'm going to try and post one picture a week to help keep me motivated. If you've got a shot of a Kokobaru creation and you in action send it my way, help a gal out :) 

Here's a shot of lovely little F and his 'Blanket of Love' 
 
 
The Kokobaru family is getting a liiiiiiittle tired of the winter. It took until another recent snow fall to make me go a little crazy. Needless to say I really feel for the folks out East who are being hit by yet another snow storm today. Climate change is a scary reality. 

Although the yard is still covered in snow I have been SO thankful for the last few days of sun and have made it a goal to get out and walk for at least an hour every day. It feels infinitely better than walking in the slush and wind and cold. So as much as I'm looking forward for the snow to melt and for us to get to work on the yard and gardens, I'm content with long walks and sunlight for now. 

Now, for some fun new domestic goodness. Mr. Kokobaru has started brewing beer and we've discovered we can reuse the spent barley to make bread and dog cookies. So of course, I had to make some dog cookies first. 
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Whole wheat, barley, peanut butter dog cookies in a myriad of shapes and sizes.
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Patiently awaiting a scooby snack
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Gently devouring his scooby snack
I found the recipe here and the dogs think they're delicious. Next time I think I'll mill the barley a bit before putting it in and see how the consistency turns out. It's  a super simple recipe.
- 4 cups spent grain
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 2 eggs


Mix it all up, flatten it out and cut your cookies. You can chill it if you want, but I didn't have to. I added flour as needed to get the consistency I wanted. Bake it at 350 for 30 minutes and then lower to 225 for 2 hours (according to the directions I found), but I didn't really do that. They're still mighty dry. I froze 2 bags for future use and have one bag on the go. They recommend a shelf life of 2 weeks, but I don't think we'll make it that far with the first bag. 



Next time I'll post some pics of the bread I made…deeeeeelicious.