Jul 24, 2013

home is here

Sometimes, I really like hunkering down at home and refusing to leave.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but it fills me up to just be home with my people doing nothing important.  The longer we stay in our pajamas, the better.

Of course, we don't stay in our jammies all day--there is finally a bit of sunshine outside!  So we might change into our bathing suits (or swim diapers, in Colin's case), but the idea stays the same.  We are relaxed, lazy, and filled to the brim with all the good things of summer at home.  Now to convince Corporate America that PJ also needs a summer break...

Jul 19, 2013

back to the 80's

It's been a whirlwind week of sewing, but I finally finished a little outfit for my boy.  He does look rather adorable in it, if I do say so myself.

Colin is only 15 months old, so he's usually pretty indifferent about his clothes.  However, (and it's entirely possible that I imagined this) he seemed really excited when I showed him this outfit.  He was even helpful when I was getting him dressed.  Is there a difference between regular clothes and mama-made clothes?  Colin seems to think so. ;-)

For this outfit, I used the Oliver and S Sketchbook shirt and shorts pattern.  I bought this pattern and then wondered why I was going to spend the time to make a button-down shirt for a toddler who would outgrow it in five minutes.  In the end, the fabric (another freebie from the stash my friend gave me a few weeks ago) won me over, and this shirt ended up being a quick little project.  

I squeezed this this shirt out of probably less than half a yard, so I had to do the yoke out of the shorts fabric.  I like the finished effect though.  And I figured that if I was going to make the boy a wild, 80's shirt, I should just go all the way.

PJ said that the print on the shirt reminded him of Three Men and a Baby, and I think he might be on to something...

I can't recommend this pattern enough.  The size 18-24 months fits Colin perfectly.  The directions are clear and easy to follow, which kind of makes me wish I had made this shirt before I tackled PJ's button down shirt.  I know it's hard to tell from the pictures, but this is an awesome shorts pattern as well.  There are little pleats, pockets, and a faux fly.  I definitely see more versions of the Sketchbook shirt and shorts in Colin's future.  I don't think he'll mind too much.

Jul 17, 2013

more ice cream + hopscotch

Last week was really busy for us, so I have been enjoying taking it easy and slow this week.  The kids are having fun at school, and I'm catching up on some laundry (IT NEVER ENDS!!!) and a few sewing projects.  Cara likes it when I do this because she is usually the recipient of something new and twirly.

and there she goes!

Cara's skirt is the Hopscotch pattern from Oliver and S.  There is a knit top and dress included in this pattern, and I had every intention of making the top to match the skirt.  In the middle of trying to unpick a zig zag seam on a knit fabric for the third time, I remembered why I am not fond of sewing with knits and tossed the top into the trash.  I do sew with knits occasionally, but at heart, I am a lover of wovens.  I think there might be a coverstitch machine or serger in my future, so maybe then I will find my groove with knits.  Fortunately, I think the skirt makes the Hopscotch pattern worth the price because it is adorable.

I used a pretty heavy twill for this skirt because I want it to last through the winter.  I love those dandelions, especially because it's not an overwhelming print.  There are actual buttonholes on the placket, but I decided to just sew the buttons on top and not cut the buttonholes open.  I don't think there will be a need to unbutton this skirt anyway, not with the elastic in the back.

The pockets on this skirt are such a neat feature, and they were pretty easy to do on the first try.  I'm sure Cara will come home from school this afternoon with these pockets filled to the brim with mulch from the playground.

For the top, I went with the Ice Cream blouse.  The fabrics all came from my stash, which is awesome and also FREE, and I love how the scalloped stitch at the hem turned out.

My next project is a boy outfit--poor Colin really needs some clothes!  Every time I turn around, he is outgrowing his clothes.

Just look at that poor boy stuck in his jammies! :-)

Jul 14, 2013

my favorite fairy turns four

My baby girl turned four last Monday.  We celebrated with a trip to the beach, lots of family, and an awesome princess cake, courtesy of my sister.  Then, we brought my niece, Brooklyn, to spend the week with us, which probably ended up being Cara's favorite birthday present. ;-) At VBS on Monday, Cara told a friend of mine that "yesterday I was four-ish, but today I'm really four."  

If you ask Cara who her favorite fairy is, you will get a different answer depending on her mood.  Many times, it's Tinker Bell, but sometimes if she is feeling a little extra fancy, she will choose Rosetta.  Tinker Bell and Rosetta are fine, but I have to say that this gal is always my favorite fairy.  

I think being four is pretty similar to being a fairy.  There's a delightful mischievousness about four years old and an abundant imagination.  There's a lot of twirling and dancing and made-up songs and, of course, fairy dust for the cheeks.  There's a wonderful innocence as well--anything is possible!  Everyone is a potential playmate!  The world is good!

When I discovered this Michael Miller border print, I knew it would be perfect for my sweet little fairy.  I used the Oliver and S Ice Cream Dress pattern, and as usual with Oliver and S, it was a dream to construct.  The raw edges of the dress are sandwiched between the layers of the yoke, and I used french seams at the sides, so this dress is as pretty inside as it is outside.

I like to think the little pink and yellow fairy holding out her skirt near the center is Cara's special fairy.

The little flower button at the back was just a random button from my stash, but I don't think I could have found a more perfect match for this dress.

Happy birthday, my sweet little fairy!  We love you so much!

Jul 11, 2013

life lessons and borrowing a third child

We borrowed a third child this week in the form of my seven-year-old niece, Brooklyn.  She and Cara really love each other and get along so well, and they are even willing to humor Colin every now and then.  We've been living it up at VBS in the mornings, playing hard all afternoon, and crashing on a giant air mattress that takes up the entire floor of the kids' room.  

I felt very brave when I volunteered for VBS.  I work with big kids for a reason: little kids in big groups scare the crap out of me.  I am totally game for two or three littles at a time, but handling a group of 52 second-graders makes me feel like heading for the hills. I know it sounds ridiculous, but volunteering for a craft station was a big leap out of my comfort zone.

But seriously?  This week has been so much fun.  I am catching up with some friends, meeting new people, and making Salvation Bracelets with some adorable kids.  My own kiddos have had a blast and maybe even learned a song or two, in addition to a few life lessons.  One of the perks of borrowing a third child has been the abundance of teachable moments.  It's been good for Cara to have a playmate who doesn't want to follow her orders all the time, someone to bicker with a little bit.  This has given me plenty of opportunities to talk about having a pretty heart, as in "Is your heart pretty when you yell at your cousin?"  Life lessons to be had for all.

Jul 5, 2013

the blue rose dress (simplicity 2444)

A friend of mine stopped by earlier this week with a huge box full of fabric.  She doesn't currently sew, so she passed on her glorious stash to me.  I opened up the tub and pulled out this blue rose fabric before she even left and I told her that those roses would be a dress for me soon.  At the time, I'm not sure I meant "within a week" but once an idea gets into my head, there is no way out but completed.  I bought Simplicity 2444 after seeing some gorgeous versions of it out on the internet (1, 2, 3), and blue roses seemed ladylike and vintage and perfect.

This pattern has some interesting bodice darts and pleats in the skirt.  At first, I was convinced that the bodice darts were supposed to match up with the skirt pleats, and I agonized a bit over what I had done wrong.  However, it seems that I did nothing wrong; I think everything is lined up as the pattern intends (someone please tell me if I'm wrong).

bodice darts and skirt pleats not lined up ON PURPOSE 
(this might be uncomfortably close...)

As you can probably tell in that picture, the bodice is a tiny bit big.  I cut this in a straight size 12 and took up the shoulders 3/8".  I probably should have taken in the bodice a little bit at the side seams, but I ultimately chose comfort.  And also, I am lazy.

The fit isn't too bad though, especially from a comfortable distance.

The bodice is whatever in the back.  But look at those lovely pleats in the skirt!

At first, I thought this would be a great pattern for a beginner, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that someone with no prior experience would probably not end up with the most well-constructed garment.  This dress isn't lined, which is something I will probably add if I make it again, so if it's not made in a fabric with some stiffness, I don't think the pleats will hold very well.  The instructions are fine, but there is no additional explanation of anything.  I am quite spoiled by the instructions from Oliver and S and Colette Patterns.

On a side note, I am also wearing the most awesome earrings ever.  I ordered them from this Etsy shop (be warned--it took these almost a month to come in; however, they did come from Greece), and I absolutely love them!

Uncomfortably close again? ;-)


C and C playing together when we got home from Florida--nothing like a few days away to make all the toys new again!

I whipped up a new Tea Party Dress for Cara.  I've been trying (unsuccessfully) to use up my growing fabric stash, and this dress was one of those attempts.

This was what goes on after school: cartoons and gummies.  PS--check out Colin's enormous feet!

A little preview of my next dress

Sometimes I feel like I'm going to forget how to get dressed over the summer because I spend so much time bumming it out in my pajamas.  I got a little disgusted with  myself so I put real clothes on to, um, go to Target.  But, I did find another way to wear my awesome shorts, so it's a win.

July 4th was a rough day for Colin.  He banged his head on the corner of an end table and then he tumbled off the side of the deck.  He needed lots of snuggles.

Cara totally has the water gun thing figured out.  Unfortunately, five minutes after this, she turned that gun on mama...

linking up here

Jul 1, 2013


(Before I start discussing any sort of feeling accomplished, let me preface this business by saying that we have to pay full price for daycare over the summer to hold our spots for the school year.  So, the kids still go to school two or three days a week.  Today was one of those days.  Just want to be honest here--I have no idea how I would get any of this done with my kids running around.)

One of my big goals for the summer is to clean out all of the closets in my house.  Fortunately, we only have five closets.  Unfortunately, we only have five closets.  We live in an adorable little house, with "little" being the operative word in this situation.  Basically, I need to clear out what we don't need, what is no longer useful, and what is old/stained/disgusting, and organize what is left.

Since almost half of my summer break is now gone (*sigh*), I figured I best get started on this project, and the closet in most dire need of attention is my children's.  Please don't judge my ability to mother my children based on the following pictures.

Before:  This is embarrassing on so many levels.  First, that pile of stuff in the closet floor is mostly clothes that my kiddies have outgrown.  Second, the walls of the closet are pink, but the rest of the room is a lovely shade of gray...

There are built-in shelves on one side of the closet that are completely full of crap.  Yes, it's really just crap, as evidenced by Cara's cast on the middle shelf.

A mess of this magnitude intimidates me, but it had to go.  It took me over an hour to figure out how to approach the sorting-of-the-clothing.  In the end, I just pulled it all out to the middle of the floor.

Obviously, that was a brilliant idea.

I will spare you the gritty details.  I am not a great organizer by any stretch, but I am an incredible purger.  I have very little emotional attachment to things that are not currently useful, so I now have four garbage bags full of clothes for Goodwill, three that will find homes with friends, and thirty items washed, ironed, and hung for consignment.  The feeling of accomplishment is indescribable.

After! (Still pink, but look!  There's the floor!)

for the sake of comparison

Lest you think cleaning out a closet was all I did today, let me show you a little baking.

or just a little baking mess

I rarely bake because I am really bad at measuring precisely.  However, I was feeling a little bit domestic goddess today, so I decided to make Skinnytaste's Roasted Strawberry Banana Bread.  It is easy, and it is delish.  

best cleaning-out-the-closet reward ever

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