a stitch in lime

stumbling into creativity


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Squishy sensory bags for the mess-phobic

So the entire Pinterest-parenting complex (new name I just made up: “Parenterest”; that’s a winner, people) is awash with ways to get your child into ‘sensory play.’ Working with children with disabilities and sensory needs means I work closely with Occupational Therapists (OTs) and see a lot of sensory play going on with my clients. And at work it’s all good. Things get messy, things get cleaned up, and the circle of life is complete. Om.

At home, it’s different. Because my husband and I are the cleaner uppers (and the everything elsers), and we do a lot of that cleaning up shit already and it’s all a bit much. Especially for him. I think he has a sub-clinical fear of mess. Some neurons in his brain fire in overdrive when he sees a dirty or messy child/situation that was entirely preventible. (Children who willfully throw food on the ground are his kryptonite, except they don’t weaken him so much as exasperate him on a whole new frequency.) So messy sensory play has to be my doing if it gets done at all, and to be honest I would much prefer minimal/no cleanup, myself. Enter sensory materials encased in a bag! Sensory bags!

You fill them with liquid or goop of some sort, you put some dazzling things inside, you seal that business up tight, and you give it to your kid to mush. No mess but most of the squishy experience. While little hands won’t get wet and goopy exploring in this way, they will still feel the weight, some of the texture/viscosity/malleability, and get to delight (yes, DELIGHT, I said it) in the colours, sparkles, lumps, or what-have-you inside.

Here are some I made yesterday.

A sparkly ocean-esque one. This one is filled with blue hair gel (get that at the dollar store so as to not waste any money on quality — it ain’t for your hair), some extra blue food colouring to jazz up the colour, a packet of blue sequins, a small packet of tiny pearl beads, and some blue/silver glitter.

This one is filled with yellowish body wash (again extra yellow food colouring for pizazz factor), some gold glitter, and some foam beads from the dollar store. They’re fairly thick beads which makes for good lumpy bits for little hands to move around.

And this one is red hair gel (amped up the colour here, too), silver glitter, and a packet of assorted googly eyes. All from the dollar store. Easy.

For each of the bags, I followed these steps:

  1. Insert materials (goop + fascinating things) into large freezer Ziplock bag
  2. Press all the air out and seal zipper tight
  3. Fold over zipper and tape down with clear packing tape & tape all four edges as well to reinforce
  4. Remove white Ziplock label with nail polish remover
  5. Insert into 2nd Ziplock bag, and again press out air, seal, and fold/tape down the zipped edge with packing tape
  6. Tape all four edges with duct tape (decorative is nice if you have access to it — I didn’t)
  7. Again remove label with nail polish remover
  8. Give it to your child who will delight in the sensory experience for under 10 minutes and then ignore it forever

Here are some ideas of things to fill your sensory bags with:

  • water
  • hair gel
  • aloe vera gel
  • body wash or shampoo
  • baby oil, food colouring, and water (the oil and coloured water don’t mix)
  • shaving foam
  • paint (for fun with colour mixing)
  • sand and water

More ideas can be found over at Mama OT’s comprehensive list. They’re pretty quick and satisfying little crafty projects, I have to say. Dump things in a bag and seal it up; can’t get much easier than that.


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Nursing necklaces are back!

As a happy surprise (to me), my original chewable nursing necklace with the spiral design has been very popular over on my Etsy shop, but I sold out of the ones I made ages ago! And what with all my recent distraction and braindeadness due to working, I hadn’t gotten around to making any more, let alone making any new and different and exciting ones. Well okay, I can’t promise that this new design is exciting, but it’s new and different anyway. So check it out!

What do you think? Head on over to the astitchinlime Etsy listing for a proper blurb and some more photos. ‘Cause just making time to photograph this little puppy this afternoon has worn this girl out. (Psst! I’ve even got another spiral one up for grabs again!)


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Shop update!

Feels like time to do a wee update about some of the newer goodies I’ve put up for sale in my shop! I’ve expanded into selling a couple of new items in the realm of baby accessories. Not sure if this will be a permanent section of my shop, as baby accessories and stitch markers don’t generally go together. I mean, for people like me, sure. I knit and have a baby. But for most folks, mixing these things might cause potential customers to be a bit thrown off by the random assortment of things for sale. Of course this thinking all delves well into the ‘defining your brand’ thing, which probably requires more brain cells than I currently have to offer. There are countless articles online about being successful on Etsy. I’ve read none of them. I’m almost certainly doing it all wrong.

Embracing my ignorance, and since my shop is currently still such small potatoes, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a whirl and see what ends up happening. If it’s a bust, I can take down the listings and stay firmly in the knitting realm. No skin off my back. (There must be a knitterly version of that saying… No stitches off my needles?)

So, check it. Here’s what’s new at astitchinlime on Etsy:

Chewable nursing necklaces

Reversible microfibre strap covers for your soft structured baby carrier (e.g., ErgoBaby carrier)

Terry strap covers: Perfect for teething, drooly babies!

And of course, you can never have too many stitch markers to choose from. Like this blue and beige set.

I’m hoping to contribute a few knitted items to the shop eventually, as well. Knitting items to sell can be tricky since it’s not a very cost-effective craft. You end up spending many hours and many dollars (yarn dollars, oh the yarn dollars) creating something that you have to charge a small fortune for to make it worth your time. Maybe there is a little easy item out there that might strike my knit-to-sell fancy. I’m thinking something like these awesome Mug Hugs by Rebecca of Nook. Or a few winter hats? What would you like to see in my shop?


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Chewable nursing necklaces

Those of us with nursing babies know that they can sometimes like to fiddle and play with whatever they can get their free hand(s) on while they snack away. This can mean anything from an innocent twirling of mama’s hair to a fishhook to the lip; an idle exploration of a bra strap or an excavation of the contents of mama’s nose. (Not to mention what these fiddly babies like to do with the nipple not currently in use!)

To be plain: after a certain age, babies need something to do while they nurse. Just sitting around nursing is oh-so passé, don’t ya know? Boresville!

But there’s more! There are also plenty of times you’re holding your baby (between nursing sessions) when they just want to explore whatever is in reach. And if you have a pretty necklace on? Fair game. Right in the mouth. Sure, plenty of nursing necklaces exist on the market to provide babies with something to grab and yank and fiddle with, but they are mostly made of materials (e.g., chunky beads, possibly dyed or painted) that aren’t really meant to go in the baby’s mouth.

So… I made one that is!

This chewable nursing pendant is made from 100% food grade silicone rubber, which is exactly what all those chewy teething toys are made from. Essentially, this is a teether that the mama can wear and not feel like, well, she’s got a teether attached to her neck. The spiral design is meant to provide some texture for baby to explore, while also being aesthetically-pleasing.

These pendants are strung from a length of black nylon cording so that, when worn, they sit at about bust level. This gives the fiddly baby a good range to whip the pendant around (any shorter and the baby could yank pretty hard on your head and neck in the process). The nylon cord is also safe for babies to chew on and doesn’t dry out or become brittle over time. These necklaces are 100% washable and only need a bit of soap and water from time to time.

For those interested, I used EasyMold Silicone Putty to make these pendants. While this material is intended to create molds (rather than end-use products themselves), it worked extremely well. And with about a three minute window from mixing the components until it began to set, there wasn’t much time to work with it. I had fun trying to come up with a design that could be achieved at lightning speed! I won’t spill my secret process, but it may have involved a drinking straw and a jar of pine nuts (what?)…

Even more fun: these pendants will be up for sale on Abernathy Naturals very soon! (Though if you’re dying for one before that happens, please be in touch and I can easily route a sale through my Etsy shop if need be.)

Update: By request, I’ve put the necklaces up in my Etsy shop for now! Snag yourself one while they last!


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The least appreciated toy in the world

My son is getting to that age where toys that are just for grabbing (no matter how many cool textures or grabbable bits they’ve got on them) are just not interesting anymore. I figured he might like a toy that did something. Nothing fancy, of course, as he’s only 10 months old, but he was definitely getting bored of the same old same old in our toy bins, and he was happily attempting to make toys out of all sorts of other things that shouldn’t be toys — The garbage can! The toilet! The houseplants! Oh, the grubby grossness of it all. A busy little explorer needs things to do, you know. And the grosser, the better.

So I went about making him something un-gross to play with. I sewed up some stuffed fabric ‘beads’ (uh, they’re square? yes.) that attached to each other with velcro. Something to stick together and pull apart. I got the idea from Green Valley Crafts. It was so simple! I had the stuff! I even hand-stitched them all closed after I stuffed them, like a boss.

I was able to use some of my favourite fabric scraps in the process (some of which I received as part of my Ravelry group’s swap earlier this year), which made for a bright and sunny set of colours. I noticed after I made them that there are three yellowish/orange-ish ones and three blue ones. That was completely by accident but I love the end result!

Here they are all un-stuck. Please ignore my lopsided velcro placement. Mamas who sew are also mamas who are in a hurry to finish up sewing because they have CrazyBaby trying to chew the power cord off the sewing machine. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But only a little.

And so what did my son think? Unfortunately, his verdict was decidedly “BOOOORING!” I think the sound of the ripping velcro (when I showed him how they worked) actually gave him a small fright. So he was less-than-impressed. How sad!

I had to bribe him to pose with the reject toy by giving him his “chewy.” So he’ll play near the thing but not with the thing. Sigh.

But it’s still a sweet-looking little toy. And fits perfectly in our mini Radio Flyer.

Maybe he’ll warm up to it.


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Baby “Link” (Legend of Zelda) costume

Continuing on with my recent theme of wildly outdated and/or seasonally inappropriate posts, here was what baby A wore for his first Halloween (at 3 months old). He went as Link from the popular Nintendo game The Legend of Zelda. As a gamer with a hardcore case of video game nostalgia, this was my husband’s top pick for a costume for A. I was set on sewing him a good costume for his first Halloween, but wanted to keep it relatively straightforward so I actually had a hope in hell of getting it done. It’s tough to find sewing time with a newborn around. I know, shocking news.

The tunic and hat were sewn from a thrifted men’s long-sleeved polo shirt:

Large and green. Perfect for the chopping.

One sleeve was cut off and became the hat:

Chop chop!

Using one of A’s hats to get an idea of width.

I hemmed the bottom edge after I took this picture.

… and I used one of A’s existing shirts to trace as a quasi-pattern for the tunic part.

Had to take the pocket off, since it was going to get in the way of the magic.

I just made it a bunch longer so it was, you know, tunic-like.

After this I just sewed up the sides, underarms and shoulders. I left the collar edge raw and cut a little slit in the front so A’s head would fit through. Baby heads are surprisingly big.

The boots were also salvaged; this time from a brown knitted sweater (that our a-hole cat had chewed a hole into, rendering it scrap fabric instantly). They were based off of a pattern I found somewhere on the internet, but have since lost. (Sorry, blog. Bad linking karma for me.) I cut the boot pattern pieces out of one sleeve and serged them together (making sure the knit stitches didn’t completely unravel). The sash and belt were cut from the other sweater sleeve. Much faster than knitting them, I tell you. The “gold” belt buckle was a simple crocheted circle using some yellow cotton yarn I had leftover from the Republic hat. I machine sewed it on to the belt, then attached some hooks and loops to fasten the belt in place (hooks and loops were all I had on hand — velcro would have been better).

The pants were the only part I didn’t make, so no exciting story there. I think they were from American Apparel? Who cares. BORING.

We took A to a family-friendly Halloween party at our local community baby/parent centre, and of course no one there knew what he was supposed to be. But that’s not terribly surprising, I guess, since most of the other babies in attendance were far more easy to identify (a pumpkin! a cat! a dinosaur!). I might have seen a glimmer of appreciation from one of the other dads well across the room from us. Nerds usually aren’t the most outgoing folks, so I may never know for sure.

But you know what? Obscurity be damned; he was one cute frigging Baby Link. Frig! Right? Frig.