Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My very own version of "mom jeans"

To my horror I recently became aware that I am guilty of "mom jeans". Maybe not literally, but in spirit. It was brought to my attention by my sweet husband. Apparantly he is getting tired of looking at me in a white Hanes t-shirt. Who can blame him? It didn't even hurt my feelings. Honestly. (Even I was surprised it didn't hurt my feelings...must of caught me on an unemotional day). It's true. I pretty much wear one every single day. Like those horrifying mom jeans, it's a look that says "I'm staying inside today and my baby will probably spit up on me several times so why bother". I have strong feelings about apparal, but I can't seem to get a grasp on this mommy transition. What do I do? I love my pre-baby wardrobe. It was truly lovely and mostly dry clean only. Not practical and most of it does not fit my breastfeeding chest anyway. And I'm still unable to zip those pencil skirts all the way. I may never fit into them again. And that's ok. (not great, but OK).

In response to my hubby's observation I said, "You're right. I can do better than this." So I'm on a mission (with his 100% support). I'm still a woman. I haven't given up...I just look like I have. I need a daily mommy wardrobe and I need it to be cheap, washable, and pretty. I need to not care if baby L pukes all over it or be devastated if it is ruined by some other mommy incident.

This is what I've decided my mommy stand-by's are going to be: great jeans, feminine tops in very bright colors or florals, cute drop earrings and colorful ballet flats. And maybe I'll throw a few skirts in the mix because we are approaching summer.

Found some patterns and now I'm waiting for the 99cent sale again.

view D is what I have in mind

McCalls 5388
Simplicity 2892

{P.S. maybe you have your own version of mom jeans lingering in your life. Get rid of it! Let's all do it together and beautify our closet.}

In Over my head

So I got started on my needlepoint states for our family picture wall. ....these babies take A LOT of time. I'm realizing I'm more of the quick and dirty type project girl. I don't like to linger on projects for long. Let's do it. Get it done. Move on to the next. But since I've started this I've got to finish. I think they will be worth it and a cool addition to our decor. Right about now though I'm wondering what I was thinking.

.....time, time, time and more time for this one.


......and Nebraskee

these are both 10x13 size

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Green Thumb Garden Gloves

This idea is originally from Family Fun for Father's Day, but my husband wouldn't be caught dead in them so I made them for myself.  They put a smile on my face & remind me that I can do it! (gardening)  I thought about washing them but left them as is to show that I really do use them.  

Sharpie Heaven!

Some of you may not understand the fascination with Sharpies, but they are one of the greatest creations of the world.  Here is my latest discovery: mini micro Sharpies with cap clips.  (Office Max ~$12)  I put them on an XL binder ring  & they are ready to go!  I use them for calenders, job charts (erase with rubbing alcohol), & plant markers (pic of this later).

Monday, April 28, 2008

Painted Garden Tools

I got tired of "people" (so far, unnamed) abusing my tools, so I painted the handles of my new tools (on sale, with a rebate from Menards) pink.  This accomplishes 3 things:  1) The boys won't use them - because they are pink, 2) The girls will be more likely to use them, yes - because they are pink, and 3) I'll always know which tools are mine unless someone else paints their tools the exact same color.  

Ideally, you're supposed to use acrylic paint or something, but since I'm cheap & have a plethora of paint, I used what I had - we'll see how long it lasts.  Astute viewers will notice it's B's room color.

Favorite Martha Hint

Take Martha Stewart with a grain (HUGE grain) of salt, but this is my favorite all-time hint: putting dish soap in an oil cruet.  It comes out just enough & looks cute with all the different colors of soap.  And best of all, even though it's glass, my 1st bottle did last about 10 years, which in our house is akin to the loaves & fishes miracle.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Belated Fall Outfit

This outfit I had planned on making last Fall sometime. Never got around to it and then next thing you know its Spring again. Regardless, I decided this project needs to get out of my sewing room so that I can move onto something else--guilt free. And, I ended up wearing it today as it is once again cold here--snowed yesterday morning, and later again this afternoon. It has already melted but ENOUGH!!

After sewing for myself I have to say that sizing is so subject these days. The last two dresses I posted I had made the same size and didn't need to adjust anything and it all fit just fine. This one, however, was strange. The skirt fit great and the shirt--was a nightmare. I made it and it fit me like at least 2 sizes too SMALL! It does look fitted on the pattern cover model, Simplicity 4095, but this was ridiculous. At first I thought that the difference in fit was because it was a different pattern company. It wasn't that. These have all been Simplicity patterns. I'm not sure what was up. I will probably be sending my 15 yr. old niece the first shirt--after I make it short sleeved. Because I am pretty sure it will fit her MUCH better than it was fitting me.

Luckily I had enough fabric that I made another shirt, using my standard t-shirt pattern that I've used for years (Simplicity 9262--discontinued), and then modified it as needed to become this style that I wanted.
I think I am going to shorten the shirt hem just a little. It felt a little long today when I was wearing it.

Cranberry and Cream Linen Dress

I have to say that hubby told me this is his favorite. I really like it too. It is Simplicity 2927. I also had this fabric in my stash. Just had to go buy some really cool looking buttons. I did raise the keyhole, but not quite enough for my comfort zone. I am trying to figure out how to adjust it so that I am more comfortable wearing it. I am out of this cranberry linen and so I couldn't recut the front piece, etc.

The sleeves are this tulip shape, lined, and a bit different to work with. I like how they look. I wasn't thrilled putting them together. I couldn't quite visualize how to construct them in a different way and get the same look. I may have to try something different if I make this pattern again.

Blue Linen Dress

Well, I've finally finished some of the dress projects for myself that I've had lingering for some time. For this dress I used Simplicity 3559, view A--using buttons instead of the bow. The only modifications I made were to raise the neckline slightly--about 1 inch. And then as usual for me, since I'm over 6' tall, was to add about 6 inches to the length. My height is in my thighs.

The darts are a little funky on this pattern. However, I do like the way that it ended up fitting. I found some cute flower looking buttons that matched really nice and added just a little extra without being over the top.

I also love using invisible zippers. They really aren't that much harder to put in than a regular zipper. The only thing is you will need a special invisible zipper foot for your machine. If you have the foot, then I suggest you give it a try.

I love the fabric of this dress. Years ago--and I do mean years, I bought a bunch of linen when it was on sale at one of my fabric stores for about $.50/yd. This denim look linen was one of those pieces. I pulled it out for this project and just love how it turned out. And thanks to Leslie's inspiration, I paired it with my favorite red sling backs.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Eyelet Extender Slip

I bought this great dress knowing full well that I had to modify it to suit my longer legs with something like this slip.

Here is my finished product! I am pretty happy with how it turned out. And thanks to Leslie for suggesting those great RED shoes. We chicks LOVE anything red, especially shoes!!

EDITED: Sewing directions for your own Eyelet Extender Slip can be found HERE.

Now that the weather is finally turning spring around here (as evident by my blooming cherry tree--real and otherwise) I am ready to shed my winter wardrobe of dark colors and heavy fabrics for my bright and cheery summer clothes. And even though the transition from winter to summer means I have to suffer thru another allergy season, I am still happy to finally be able to enjoy my one favorite thing--an early morning run OUTSIDE! Here's to spring, my cherry tree not freezing, running outside, and to cute summer clothes!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

And the Winner is...... friend, Jennie.

Sorry I forgot to post the winner yesterday even though the hubby randomly drew your name last night. Thanks for all the comments and keep 'em coming. Congats dear Jennie and I will be sending your covered tin cans ASAP.

Swim Bag

I bought this mesh fabric at least a year ago after I saw a cute bag made up with it at one of my local fabric stores. Too be quite honest I don't know what it is called--it is very stiff stuff. I decided it would be cool to make a swim bag from it. I didn't really need a new swim bag--my old one has served our family well these past 3 or 4 years; however, I made a new one anyway.
The inside seam allowances have to be covered with bias tape or the mesh will snag anything and everything that comes in contact with it. I debated whether to use self-fabric handles or use the nylon webbing straps, and decided for this it would be better to use the same mesh fabric. The outside striped piece I just bought on clearance and it is outdoor canvas stuff. I used the same bag pattern we've used for everything, just the large size with some additional height to it. With 5 kids' worth of beach stuff we need a LARGE bag. The kids are all ready for summer to be here. I'm almost ready--just a couple more swimsuits to make.

Landscaping project

Here in the upper Midwest we are FINALLY starting to warm up enough that it appears it is going to stay that way. This past weekend has been fabulous and so now I am getting a little more serious about the front flower garden that is currently an unfinished MMMMMMudpit! Today we are raining, so nothing else to do on it today.
Here is my little doodle sketch of what I am aiming for--albeit a bit wider--about 8' across and 4' wide.
Last Summer/Fall sometime I ripped out a pine tree in this spot and cleared out a ton of little landscape rock. My drawing it a bit of the vision of what I wanted to put in its place. For now I am bordering the edge with large landscape rock. I've run out of the rock that I salvaged from my parents' house last year. I need them to either bring me some more of it or make a trek myself after school gets out. My bet is that it won't happen until summer when I go pick it up myself.
I've started doing a little bit on it and this weekend we are putting in the posts and lattice--YEAH!! Then I can start moving some of the plants from my backyard to this spot. And I can go buy the new ones that I have in mind. We are so sick of Winter here and are dying for a little green and warmth in our lives. The little kids wanted to buy plants earlier this week, but we're just not ready to put them in the ground yet. Hopefully next week we can do it.

From Pants to Shorts

As any mother of a boy between the ages of say 4 and 12 will tell you--keeping them set up with a nice pair of jeans is about next to impossible. It always seems that shortly after buying a new pair they end up looking like this. This particular pair was bought for Christmas. So, with that said, my 7 year old is going to have about 20 pairs of shorts this summer because after they have holes in the knees I cut them off and turn them into shorts. I can't stand the thought of just throwing them out. However, I don't like the cut-off look either. A bit too "white trash" for me. Sorry!
So here is what I do to them to make them look nice. I usually cut them off right where the hole is so that gives me enough to double fold the hem. We like our shorts a bit longer--just above the knee. You can buy just about any color of topstitch thread nowadays and some that are even specifically for jeans. It will say on the spool--extra strong for jeans--or something along those lines. It really does make a big difference on the look of your hem. It makes it appear that they were done this way originally and not fixed by mother. If you have children who are "particular" about what they wear and don't want handmade things--this should ease their burden.

A couple of tricks when hemming denim jeans. Invest in denim needles. The seam allowance is SO thick that you are bound to break your Universal needles otherwise. Also, a couple of years ago I found this handy little gadget called a Jean-a-Ma-Jig. It is AWESOME and helps to sew over the two thick seam allowances. You can find it in the notions section of your fabric store. And it only costs about $3.

Stocking cap

O.K. I realize that we all are a bit tired of Winter and its coldness. However, I just wanted to show this hat that I finished. My friend Becky wanted to make it and I am sort of giving her knitting lessons. I made one along with her, since I've never done this pattern, so that when she had questions I would know what to tell her. We found this pattern online at Cider Moon and the name of the pattern is Lillehammer. I modified mine somewhat so that I didn't have to go buy new needles, etc. but could just use the sizes that I already had. However, it really isn't too far off the original design.

Top view of the hat. I like the "stained glass" effect that this hat makes. They also have another cool pattern called Ring of Fire. We may have to try that one next.

The ribbing on the hat is pretty cool. I've never done anything like this before with the two colors, but I do like how it turned out. Z. was my model and then wanted to know if he could have this hat. We'll have to wait and see. Winter again is a long time away---thank goodness!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Memory Game

I saw a really cool memory game online recently. Modern and hip...but $40. So I decided to make my own. Found the 2" chipboard squares at the local Robert's and used all my scrap paper. I bought 40 squares and it was $4.50 (had a coupon).

I left the other side blank so the chipboard is showing, but you could choose one paper (solid or patterned) to mount to the back side for a more finished look.

I used Duro all-purpose spray adhesive (found at JoAnn Fabrics), but there are many brands and you can find it at any craft store. It is an aerosol can. I just followed the instructions on the back of the can: Spraying both the back side of my paper and the chipboard for a more permanant mount.

***check out the comments for some cool variations. a personal fave: using photos of family members for your memory game. Most of our relatives do not live close and what a great way for kids to feel connected. I love it!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Butterfly wings

A new addition to baby's room...

The idea was cooler in my head. I still like it, but something is not quite right for me. Maybe the shape??? Too symetrical? It's feeling more like pixie dust or something than a flock of butterflies. Or maybe it needs to be colors? Truthfully, I'd love to cover the entire wall with these same paper butterflies. It's doable. Just have to cut a bunch each day. I attached them using BlueStick (reusable adhesive putty). Any suggestions out there? I was also considering hanging from the ceiling, but couldn't figure out a way to attach without making a million tiny holes.

Hmm.....Yep. I think it's the shape.

Summer Dress--Take Two

I finally finished up my summer dresses for S today. I was really hoping to get them done last week, but with it being spring break for my other kids it wasn't happening! So, with the big kids back in school (Yeah!!) I could finally find the time to finish them during nap time. I'm like Leslie, though, now that they are done I am ready to move on to my next project. I am very happy how they turned out and am excited to "throw them on her" this summer! This really is a super easy project! And even though the pattern is out of print, I am SURE you can find one that looks just like it still! Happy Sewing!

In honor of our new family pets, I found this adorable "chicken" fabric!

S in her 'chicken dress' along with two of our chicks:

I was wanting bloomers to go under these dresses but the pattern I used didn't have one. I ended up using this pattern for them instead (McCalls 2053)!

We love the 4th of July at our house, so here is a version to go along with that! You can also get a better view of what the bloomers look like, too.

The Perfect Dress-Tuxedo

This may be my new favorite version of this dress. But now it's time to move on to something new....

{This is what I've been working on recently. check back later today for this fab project}:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My FIRST Skirt!!!

WOW, is one word that I would used to describe my first time EVER using a pattern.  For it is was like trying to translate a foreign language and not knowing the language.  It's a good thing I had some awesome interpreters (Momma F and Em, thanks for the countless instructions and not getting annoyed by my billion phone calls!).

After finishing I've realized that I was a fairly easy pattern to use.  Despite my serious lack in sewing skills, my skirt turned out pretty good (in my opinion).  The most important things are #1: It fits.  #2: No one can see my mistakes because they are on the inside!

The hardest part for me was sewing the zipper! That will probably take a few times in order for me to master that one!  Overall I am really proud that I finished my first clothing sewing project and it wasn't a complete disaster. 

Thanks again for all the help!!!
I forgot to take a picture of me wearing it, but it did look good if I do say so myself!
  Detail of Fabric   The Hem  
   Darts   Outside look of zipper 
Inside look of zipper       Finished project!!!


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