Friday, August 31, 2012

Dress Up Days / Oliver + S Popover Sun Dress

Last week when Piper and I were at The Material Girls Quilt Shop (my new favorite store) we picked up a few extra things.  We originally went for fabric to make the candy corn dress, but who can leave a fabric store with just the items you went to the store to purchase?

In my browsing, I came across the Dress Up Days line by Riley Blake.  I had admired this fabric online but it was so much cuter in person.  So, I had to have some.  In addition there was a doll panel to make a doll and 3 dresses.  So, we needed that too.

I made the doll last week.

She was a big hit.  I haven't made the dresses yet, but I'm working on it.  I was inspired by one of the dresses (top right on the panel) for the doll to make a dress for Piper that would be similar.  I came up with this:

I do so love making this pattern.  It's easy, quick and the perfect dress for summer.  Of course since our summer is coming to a close shortly, I'm thinking the colors will translate to fall well and the dress will still look cute with a sweater or a shirt underneath.

Based on the inspiration dress, I added piping under the yoke:


And a hem band with piping:

I also made Piper's other doll a dress to match.  The Popover pattern comes with a doll size dress pattern , so why not.  I had been meaning to do so all summer anyway.  Dollie won't mind if it's winter and she's wearing a sundress.

I just need to get the Dress Up Days doll dressed finished and we'll have a complete set of cute dresses. I love this fabric.  The colors are fun.  Piper picked the purple version because she's a purple loving girl.  I can't wait to see what else I can make with it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Spy Cam

Over the weekend, Piper graduated to a big girl bed.  It was time.  We had caught glimpses of her on the monitor hoisting her leg up over the top of her crib in attempts to escape.  So, we finally gave in to the fact that she is no longer a baby and is in fact a big girl.  This was the scene on Saturday after we removed the sides of her bed.

She was thrilled with her big girl bed and the freedom that came with it.  She has been testing the waters and seeing just how much freedom she has.  Thanks to the spy cam we are able to catch glimpses of her doing things like this:

Trying on a pair of bunny ears.

Singing while wearing bunny ears.

Looking for hidden goodies under her bed.

Going for a little stroll.

Yay for the spy cam so I can watch these little moments.  Each day she gets a little better with her bed.  She still hasn't discovered that when she wakes up she can just get up and come down stairs.  I guess for now it's nice that she calls for me, it means she still needs her Mommy.  :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Our Resident Bunny

Meet our resident Bunny:

We noticed Bunny coming to visit our yard and eat the clover in our yard a few months ago.  Now, when DH mows the lawn he leaves a patch of clover un-mowed for the bunny to snack on. Sometimes we put out lettuce for Bunny.  Sometimes Piper tries to pet Bunny, something he's not too keen on.  If we see Bunny in the yard and we are coming up the driveway we stop to watch him and then proceed with extreme caution.  We enjoy having Bunny as a part of our wildlife family that resides in and around our house.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oliver + S Little Things to Sew Bear Carrier

Piper has had a "thing" recently for babies.  She has a few small ones that she carries around and one larger one.  She likes to push them in her grocery cart or wrap them all in a blanket to carry them.  So, yesterday it dawned on me that she needed an easy, hands free way to carry her babies (particularly the larger one) and I had the perfect solution.

I've had the Little Things to Sew book for a while.  I have looked through it often, thinking of all the things I wanted to make.  I just haven't taken the time to do it.  There are really a lot of cute projects in this book and I plan to make more.

Yesterday while Piper was walking around the house trying to carry her plethora of dolls and stuffies it dawned on me, I needed to make the bear carrier for her.  So, after dinner we all migrated down stairs.  I started to cut out the pieces for the carrier while Piper helped DH and Zachary take a computer apart (a frequent occurrence in our house). 

I love our space in the basement.  We all end up there together, working on projects and enjoying each others company.

So, after the kiddos went to bed I went to work.  It took me about 2 hours start to finish.  I had promised Piper I would have a surprise for her in the morning.  One thing I have learned in life is if you promise a toddler something, you better come through.  So, I did.

It wasn't a hard project to make.  There are a lot of curves to sew and those aren't my favorite things to sew, straight lines are easier (obviously). On curves I always mark out my seam line and go slow, sometimes using the hand wheel, so I can get the curve sewn as neatly as possible.

The big reveal this morning was less than impressive.  Piper refuses to wear the carrier.  I thought she would be thrilled, but she's 2.  I did leave the straps about 6 inches too long so she has room to grow into it.  Maybe someday she'll come around to it. :-/

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Oliver + S Ice Cream (Candy Corn) Dress

What do you do on a wet Sunday?  We were going to go to a neighborhood BBQ but it got cancelled.  So, since we had no other plans I tackled a project that had been on my mind for some time.

I bought this pattern a few months ago.  At first I wasn't sure what direction to head with it, then it struck me, a candy corn dress. I remember seeing different versions of candy corn dress online last fall. I probably pinned a few to Pinterest.

Last Sunday, DH and I were talking about making this dress.  He was looking at fabrics online with me and helping me work through the design process.  Then, Sunday evening I popped onto the Oliver + S forums to see what was new and some one had asked a question about doing just the thing DH and I had been discussing that morning.  It was fun to "discuss" design ideas and fabric selections with other women that have the same interests as me (our kiddos and sewing for them).  I was going to wait a bit to make the dress.  It might seem a little odd to wear a candy corn dress in August.  But, after all the talk about the project I held out as long as I could.

I wasn't sure what fabrics I wanted to use.  I had considered using Kona Cotton, but was afraid it would be too "much" for Piper.  I didn't want her to be swallowed by the colors of the dress.  After some discussion online about it, I decided a trip to the fabric store was necessary.  I recently found a new store I wanted to check out so Piper and I hopped in the car on Tuesday and headed to the Material Girls Quilt Boutique.  I could have spent all day in there, what a great shop and even better was the customer service.  After talking to Wendy at the store I decided to go with a subtle print.  The idea of candy corn is still very visible but I think it takes some of the harshness out of it.

Top stitching the yoke wasn't necessary but I think it adds to the dress.

I was nervous about doing such a high contrast top stitch.  Every mistake can easily be seen.  I know there are a few, but Piper is a girl on the move so they won't easily be detected when she's wearing the dress.

On the back I added a yellow button.  I considered doing a fabric covered button, but like this one too.

I also did contrast stitching between the yellow and orange layer.  It's kind of hard to see, so here is a close up.

Another great Oliver+S pattern.  I was able to put it together in an afternoon.  I already have ideas for other dresses using this pattern.  It's a great way to show of some favorite fabrics or fabrics with things your kiddo loves (dinosaurs, horses, etc.)  Sometimes those "juvenile" print fabrics don't work well on garments, but I think this dress lends itself to them.

The side seams are the only exposed seams on the inside of the dress.  So, it has a really nice finish from the inside and out.  I considered lining the middle tier so the entire dress would be lined and there would be no exposed seams but I wasn't that ambitious.

Can't wait for "official" fall to arrive so Piper can wear her candy corn dress!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I'm a Winner!

Several weeks ago, I made a couple skirts to be donated to foster care.  I blogged about the skirts here.  As part of the project, liZ and Elizabeth from Simple Simon and Co. were able to offer some prizes from their sponsors.  Last week the prize winners were announced and I was lucky enough to be a winner of a gift basket from Pick Your Plum. Obviously I was thrilled to win but I was even more excited when this box was left on my door step yesterday by the postman:

It was like Christmas morning when I opened the box.  Imagine my surprise when I opened the box and saw all of this:

I swear it was like they knew me!  Some (not all) of the things included were: washi tape, ribbon, cup cake wrappers, buttons, trim, thread, treat bags, tags, and more.  

What a pleasant surprise just for doing something nice for someone else! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Surviving Summer

We did it!  We successfully made it through summer.  This was the scene at our house yesterday morning.

I would say it was a good summer.  We did some of this:

...and some of this:

...and a lot of this:

And we ended our summer with Zachary doing this:

Someone mentioned to me yesterday that he'll be in high school next year.  I got a little choked up about that.  Not about him being in high school but rather by how quickly it has happened.  The first day of school always brings with it a wave of emotions.  It's exciting to look toward the future, anything is possible on the first day of school.  It's also, so bittersweet to look at the past.  I remember his first day of kindergarten like it was yesterday.  I didn't cry the first day, I cried a week later when the parents were met at the door and not let into the class room.  I didn't cry yesterday when he got on the bus, but my eyes welled up later when I watched him walk up the driveway by himself.  Each new school year brings a new, larger step towards independence.  It won't be long until we're taking Zachary to college or Piper is starting kindergarten.  Until then, I hope we can continue to have fun summers full of memories. :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

2 days = 2 skirts (Oliver + S Hula Hoop)

A month or so ago Oliver+S released 2 new digital only patterns.  They both looked like they would be quick to put together but with cute end results.  I really wanted to drop what I was doing and sew them up immediately but I resisted, until now.  This weekend I sewed, not one, but two Oliver+S Hula Hoop skirts.

This was the first one I put together.

The animal print is one that I choose for my fall "collection."  I thought it needed a strong contrasting fabric so I looked through my stash and found the rust colored polka-dot fabric.  The polka-dots were from my grandmothers stash that I inherited.  

The skirt pattern has 2 pieces, each of which get cut out of both fabrics twice.  In total you end up with 8 pieces to work with.  The skirt has this little flounce as a special design element.

I thought the flounce was adorable, what I didn't realize was the way the skirt is constructed there is one on the front and one on the back.

Back view (I swear)

I like the skirt and I like the way it hangs.  I just couldn't wrap my head around having the flounce on both sides.  I read and re-read the directions and then I looked at some photos of other's work and it appears as if I've done it correctly.

I just couldn't leave it alone.  I spent last evening and this morning planning in my head what I needed to do to create one big circle with one flounce that was still reversible.

This is attempt number 2.

I like it much better as a full circle with only one flounce.  In addition to changing the skirt, I attached the yoke a bit different than the directions.  The original directions call for you to sew the yokes together into a circle, then attach to the skirt.  I struggled to get it to go together neatly and ended up pulling the seam out in a few places because I had caught the skirt while I was sewing.  It really is a lot of fabric to sew together neatly at one time.

To attach the yokes with my method, I cut each one longer than it needed to be.  I sewed up one short side and left the other unattached.  I folded one long side over to the wrong side by 1/2" per the directions.  I pinned 1 yoke to the skirt, right sides together.  Once I determined the length needed for the yoke to fit properly, I marked that spot then sewed the other short side together.  I basted the first yoke to the skirt. I flipped the skirt inside out then did the same thing with the other yoke. Once I sewed up the second short side I then stitched (not basted) both yokes to the skirt.  Then I finished the skirt per the directions. (did all of that make sense). Of course, when I was finished is when it dawned on me that I should have taken photos.  I'm sure I will make another couple of these skirts at some point, if I remember I will take pictures then.  I was able to cut and sew each skirt during nap time.  You may also notice that I edge stitched around the bottom of the skirt V.2.0.  I was just trying something to see if it made a difference in the finished look.  It didn't.  I'm waiting also to see if it makes a difference after I launder the skirts.  I will keep you posted on that one.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Favorites

This weeks Friday Favorite is dedicated to the London Olympics.  Who doesn't love the Olympics?

The Olympics are always full of amazing athletes with truly inspiring stories and these Olympic Games did not disappoint.  I have spent the past two weeks enjoying every minute of the games that I could.  I don't know a lick about fencing, but I watched with enthusiasm. Water polo, don't get it, but I cheered with each goal.  Sprint cycling really confused me but I was enthralled by it.  

Yesterday Zachary and I sat on the couch watching the U.S. women play the Japanese women in the gold medal soccer match.  The game was so good.  Each woman on the field poured their heart and soul into the full 92 minutes and 20 seconds of play.  At the end of the game I will admit, I got a little choked up for both teams.  I was so proud of the U.S. woman and how amazingly they had played, not just in that game but the entire Olympic tournament.  My heart ached for the Japanese woman as they broke down in tears on the field.  

The soccer game is just a tiny drop in the bucket when it comes to amazing athletes with inspiring stories from these Olympic games.  Take Wojdan Shaherkani (judo), at just 16 years old she became the first woman to ever compete in the Olympics for Saudi Arabia.  Her Olympic moment was over in 82 seconds but it will be 82 seconds of her life that she will never forget.  

Hiroshi Hoketsu, 71, is the oldest athlete competing in the London Olympics.  He competed in his first Olympic games in Tokyo in 1964.  When asked about the Rio games in 2016 his concern with competing was age, not his age, the age of his horse.  I hope when I am 71 I have his spunk!

Oscar Pistorius, made Olympic history by being the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics.  He qualified for the semi-final race of the 400m but did not make it to the finals.  He will be running in the finals of the 4x400 with the South African team.  I can't wait to watch, wouldn't it be great to see him on the podium with his team!  

Of course, I can't write this post without mentioning Gabby Douglas.  Gabby made history twice, first for being the first african-american woman to win the gold medal in the individual all-around and for being the first woman to win the gold in both the individual all-around and the team final.  Inspiring for little girls (and boys) everywhere!

I could spend all day writing about the athletes and their stories.  I love to hear their backgrounds.  We can learn a lot from some of them.  Not every athlete has been surrounded by love and support their entire career.  Take Guor Marial, the marathon runner that is running without a country to sponsor him. Guor learned to run by running for his life in Sudan.  He currently lives in the U.S. as a refugee, but is not a U.S. citizen nor is he a citizen of any country.  Despite all that he has been through in his life he is an Olympian.  I will be cheering for him this weekend as he runs, this time not for his life but for himself.

The Olympics are a time to fill our hearts with pride for our athletes and be in awe of those who have fought hard and face unimaginable obstacles to be where they are today.  I applaud each and every one of them! I <3 the Olympics!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Oliver + S Class Picnic Blouse

The Oliver + S Class Picnic Blouse is the latest item I have added to Piper's fall clothing collection.  I'll be honest and say I'm not crazy about it.  For a peasant type top, I thought the pattern was a little fussy. Generally the entire collar/sleeve area around the top of the blouse is turned under into a casing for elastic on a peasant top.  For this one, only the sleeves were used to create a casing for the elastic.  It required using a bias strip around the top of the sleeve to make the casing and it was very finicky to work with.  I'm also not sure about the fabric.  I thought I liked it, but after I got started I began to think that maybe it was too much.  Piper's cute, I'm sure she can pull it off.

I added piping under the front yoke just to break it up a little and thought it helped to tone everything down just a little.

The sleeves are a 3/4 sleeve and were supposed to be finished with a standard fold under hem (is that a term or did I just make that up?).  I changed it up a little by creating a bias binding and gathering the sleeve ever so slightly.  Piper was asleep when I was doing this, so I wasn't able to measure her or I might have gathered it more.  I wanted to be sure she could still get her arm through it so I only took it in about 1/2 an inch.

A little word of advice.  When you are adding your own "touch" to a pattern and it requires that you do it more than once, be sure to finish them at the same time.  I did one sleeve and had to stop working because nap time was over so I didn't get to finish the other sleeve until a day or so later.  I completely forgot what I had done.  I sat there for about 10 minutes inspecting my work trying to figure out how I had finished the first sleeve.  Finally it came to me and I think they are the same (or at least they look like they are).  

I don't hate this top.  Piper will wear it.  I just don't think I'm in a hurry to make another.  

I think I'm going to try to do some knit tops/dresses next.  We're almost ready for fall!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Raising Strong Girls

Once you have a daughter, your entire view of the world changes.  You realize how difficult it is to raise a strong, independent, smart girl.  Every where you turn, there are images, books, movies, etc. showing woman that are weak and willing to let someone else take care of them.  I know I have run into my share of road blocks along my path just because I am a female.  However, I am proud that I am a strong female and try to do whatever possible to not let those road blocks stop me.  I love high heels and the color pink, but I also love that I can take care of myself.  DH is my partner, not my care-giver and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I go out of my way to make sure that Piper sees what an amazing, smart, strong girl she is.  Sure, she hears an awful lot from an awful lot of people how "pretty" she is.  I don't deny that.  She has blonde curly hair, dimples and blue eyes that can melt any heart.  But, she is more than her looks and I think she needs to learn that at a very young age.  Both DH and I tell her all the time how smart she is, and we are pushing her toward being independent.  Little girl loves to carry her stool around the house to get things that are out of reach on her own.  I love to just sit back and watch her do it.

I have come across a few web-sites that I love, that are about empowering girls and I wanted to give them a shout-out right here.

The first is A Mighty Girl. A Mighty Girl, is filled with book and movie suggestions that showcase strong girls.  The book and movie section is broken down into categories.  They also have a blog where they feature Mighty Girls, be they trail-blazers from the past or current Mighty Girls.  

My next favorite is a clothing site started by a mom who wanted to "change the way we think about girls."  I want her to be my BFF.  I love her mission statement on the front of her page (Pigtail Pals and Ballcap Buddies).  I will be ordering from her site. 

I don't think there is anything wrong with princesses. I just think there is something wrong with a princess that is willing to sit in a tower and wait for someone to come and get her.  I think it would be a better story to have the princess slay the dragon and rescue herself.  Don't you agree?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Favorite

Buttons! I love buttons.  Choosing the right button can really make the difference between an okay garment and a great garment.  Recently my Mom was at an estate auction and picked up some fabric and notions for me.  She got some really fun stuff, that I will show you as I unpack it.  One of the first things I came to on the top of the bin was this really cute tin. And, when I opened it, I discovered it was full of buttons.

There were buttons of every size, shape and color inside.  Some of them were still on the card but some of them were strung together like this:

I love that the previous sew-er took the time to match up like buttons and string them together.  Really, it's a great idea and definite time saver.  My current method of randomly searching through my jar of buttons may be replaced.  What a fun project it would be to have Piper help me match like buttons.

There were so many great buttons in the tin, I took pictures of some of my favorites.

Like these adorable blue gingham ones (still in a bag marked $0.25):

Or these pretty purple glass buttons:

These funky square buttons are fun, aren't they?

(these were stashed in an old bank envelope <3)

I love these green ones:

I can't wait to find the perfect project for these teal buttons:

I could continue to show you a lot more fun buttons but I will resist.  My point is this.  Buttons are fun. Buttons are a great way to add some interest to a garment.  I <3 buttons!