Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Library Wednesday

I love books as much (maybe a little more) as I love to sew.  Here's a quick side story related to my love of books but not related to today's post.  Book stores are like Disneyland to me, quite possibly the happiest place on earth.  I get a little giddy about going to a book store.  I, however, have one problem when I get there.  I get so overwhelmed by all the possibilities in a book store.  Do I want to read fiction or nonfiction?  Do I want adventure or mystery?  So, so many options.  I know I can't read them all, so I don't want to waste the time I have to read on a bad book.  What's the only way to find out if a book is bad?  You have to read the book to find out if it's a bad book.  So, I stand in book stores with thousands of options and worry that I might choose a bad book and waste the precious limited time I have to read. So, I often walk out of book stores empty handed and feeling a little sad.  Does anyone else have this problem or am I the only one?

Anyway back to today's topic.  I love books.  I particularly love children's books.  More than anything I LOVE Dr. Seuss, the man and his books.  If Dr. Seuss were still alive today, I would be his groupie.  Dr. Seuss himself never had children but he has changed the lives of millions of children simply by putting pen to paper.  Dr. Seuss's birthday is on Saturday and this weeks library theme was of course, Dr. Seuss.  With out a doubt, Piper was appropriately dressed for such a special occasion!  In, what else, but a Celebration of Seuss dress:

This dress makes me so happy, I can't even tell you!  I used the Oliver + S Ice Cream dress pattern to make the dress.  I think this is my third or fourth ice cream dress.  It's such a great pattern, really a blank slate to do a lot with.  The fabric is from Robert Kaufman's Celebrate Seuss line.  It did hurt a little to cut into the fabric, because I would rather hoard it than use it but I will just buy some more. 

I desperately tried to match the stripes on the side.  Not so easy with wonky stripes like these.  I was close:

Like some of the other dresses I have told you about that I have made, I used french seams on the inside so the entire dress is finished on the inside.  I love that!

Of course Piper needed cute accessories for her hair so I made a couple of hair ties, the pattern is free on the O+S website.

The best part about today and Piper's great dress was that Piper finally went to the front of the room for Show 'n Tell.  I always spend time making a pretty outfit and we always make sure Piper has an item to show for Show 'n Tell time during story time at the library but Piper never wants to go to the front of the room.  She's working through some shyness issues, so I never push her to do it but always ask if she'd like to and offer her bits of encouragement.  So, today was a big day.  She went to the front of the room and stood with Miss Judy.  She even ran back with a big smile on her face when it was all over.  She of course got big hugs and praises when she came back to me.  It was a huge step for her and I was so proud of her.  I even remembered to whip out my phone and grab some pictures of her big moment!

Our library story time isn't just a time when we go to the library and they read to the kiddos.  We sing and do calendar and a craft.  It's really a great program for the little ones.  We're very lucky to have such an active library with great staff so close to us.  Today's craft was a cute Cat in the Hat mask.  Here's Piper and her "besty" modeling their masks.

Aren't they a hoot?  I think I took a dozen pictures of the two of them and never once were they both looking in the same direction.  Crazy kiddos.  I love 'em both! :)

Here's one last shot of Piper modeling her fabulous (if I say so myself) dress on a beautiful, almost, spring day.

Monday, February 25, 2013

PJ Party

In addition to going to story time each wee, Piper and I go to a Music Together class each Monday. We've been going to to music since just after Piper's first birthday. Each semester Miss Katie holds a pajama party during class. What's better than singing and dancing in your PJ's?

Of course such an occasion needed a new pair of special PJ's:

Aren't they fun?  The PJ's included some of Piper's favorite things, fairies.  The fabric is a flannel with Tinkerbell fairies on it.  I started out just making the pants and had a blue long sleeved t-shirt that matched the piping that I added a Tinkerbell appliqué to.  Piper's critique was that I needed to make the top, so I did.

I added some cute blue piping to the contrast on the cuffs and yoke/placket on the top.  At first I wasn't going to add piping, then I was going to add white piping but I was afraid that wouldn't show up against the light blue of the main fabric so I ended up with the blue piping.  I like the blue, it's a nice pop of color.

I enjoyed making these PJ's, they were quick to come together.  What I most like is how soft the flannel is.  I have always disliked american PJ's because they are either scratchy polyester or so tight that you can barely wiggle your little ones chubby arms and legs into them.  I will definitely be making more of these, based on comfort factor alone.

Here we are at music class:

I tried to get Piper to model them while she was "sleeping", she's not the most convincing model :)

Her jammies sure do look comfy though, don't they?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I am Not Alone

In light of the recent revelations I shared about the state of my craft room, I thought this was very appropriate to share. Maybe I just need this sign to hang instead of cleaning. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Library Wednesday

It's everyone's favorite day of the week, Wednesday!  This week's library theme was Bears, this was the dress Piper wore:

This was the first time making the Badminton Dress and I really enjoyed it.  It's very quick to come together and has some very cute design elements.  Like the flutter sleeve (which, I am not entirely certain I did correctly but it works so we'll go with it):

And, bow in the front:

Sometimes I let Zachary help me make design decisions.  He chose the green ribbon.  I like it, nice pop of color.

I used Kokka Trefle Cotton Gauze Forest in Pink for the main fabric and a brown cotton for the accent.  The Kokka Cotton Gauze was a delight to work with.  This was my first time using cotton gauze but not my last.  What a beautifully soft fabric.  I am sure Piper was super comfy wearing this dress.  Kokka is a japanese imported fabric, so this was a bit more expensive than a quilting cotton but totally worth it.  Piper even napped in the dress and didn't look too disheveled when she woke up.  Sometimes the quilting cotton dresses don't make it through the day before they are terribly wrinkled, not the case here.  The double gauze is quite thin and this was not the ideal weight fabric for a chilly day but paired with a long sleeve top, tights and boots I think Piper didn't mind too much.  This will be a wonderful dress to wear when the weather is warm.

One note on the dress pattern.  By doing french seams on the inside, I have no unfinished seams.  The top is bound by a bias trim, the sides are done with french seams and the bottom is hemmed.  I love a neatly finished dress on the inside, not that anyone will see it but I know.  Many Oliver + S patterns work well with french seams and many have very nice finishes inside as well as out.  Yet another reason why I am an O+S junkie! :)

Here's my model with one of her little friends, each with the pink bear they brought to library.  There were a lot of pink bears today:

I tried to get Piper to take a nice photo but most of them ended up looking like this:

3 is not the most cooperative age for photo taking. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Craft Room Confession

Recently I was asked how I keep so organized as to make things for Piper sort of "on demand" so she has a special outfit for a special day.  I wish I could say I was organized and had it all together but like most busy mom's I can't.  In fact, this is what my craft room looks like (sorry Mom):

I share a space in the basement with DH, you'll see his area in the back, neat and orderly.  Frequently I will go down to my work space with the intention of cleaning it up but it's easy to get side tracked.  This week, I finally caved and began working on cleaning it up so I can have more space to work.  I have to put this out there publicly so I stay motivated to finish.

Anyway, back to the original question.  Though this looks terribly unorganized (and it's a little embarrassing to show off, but I know my fellow crafters understand), I do have a system.  Once I have an idea for a project, I pull the fabric from one of the many stacks you see.  I pair the fabric w/ the pattern I intend to use and then it gets added to this stack:

This stack is ever changing and some projects get moved to the bottom but it's a little way to try to keep my creative ADD in check.  What you see on the stack above is two Badminton dresses, a pair of Sleep Over PJ's, two Ice Cream Dresses, a Birthday Party dress, a Lazy Days skirt, a Tea Party Sundress, two Fairy Tale dresses, a Tinkerbell blanket and a drawstring bag/playmat (for carrying Brave figurines).  As I finish one project, I go on to the next one in the stack.  At times a piece of fabric from somewhere in my work space will cry out to me and everything else halts until I make something of it.  Under normal circumstances though, this system works for me.

With any luck, in a week or two I will have my space all neat and organized again.  Crafting will happen at a quicker pace and I will have more to talk about here.  In the mean time, I am knee deep folding fabric and trying to have peace with getting rid of some scrap pieces that are just too small to work with.  I have been having fun folding all the fabric.  I had some stashed here there and every where.  Trying to get organized has given me an opportunity to get reacquainted with some fabrics that I had forgotten I had.  No doubt, the stack above is going to get exponentially larger as I work on getting things put back where they belong.

Do you have any good organizational tools, ideas or suggestions that might help me?  What about your work space, does it look like mine or are you organized?  

How's the saying go; "a cluttered desk is a sign of genius"?  If I get too terribly side tracked in my effort to organize, maybe I'll just get a sign that says that to hang in my work space. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

I love Valentine's Day!  I really love all holidays.  What's not to like?  Most holidays allow you to dress up in themed clothing (I love a good themed outfit) and eat junk food all day.  I know there are people that dislike Valentine's day (I've heard about it from them all day on Facebook).  But, me, I love it.

Valentine's day to me is more than a romantic evening with my husband.  For me, it's like other holidays, it's a day to spend with my family.  We have made sure since Zachary was born that he was included in our Valentine's Day.  Someday, DH and I will go out to dinner alone on Valentine's Day and I will probably be a little sad that day because it will mean my kiddos are all grown.  In the meantime I do what I can to make the day special.

Piper and I made Valentine's for her friends:

We also went to the community center for a Valentine's Day party.  Since it was a nice day Piper got to play on the playground with her friends.  And, she got a fat lip:

Okay, so this probably wasn't so special for Piper.

After nap we made cookies so they were coming out of the oven just when Zachary got home.  Piper was a great helper:

For dinner we will have our traditional heart shaped pizza from Papa John's.  Then, maybe we'll all snuggle on the couch and watch a movie.  Either way, today is a great day.  Fun, family and food, a day full of that can't be wrong can it?

I hope you have/had a wonderful Valentine's day.  Now I've got some cookies to go eat! :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Library Wednesday

It's Wednesday and that can only mean one thing.  It's the one day a week lately I take the time to sit down and tell you what's happening in our house.  Let's get to the important stuff first.  Today was library day and today's theme was, of course, Valentine's Day.

My original plan for today's outfit was an Oliver + S Jump Rope dress:

The fabric I was going to use, was Riley Blake's Indian Summer Hearts in Pink:

The whole dress was going to be inspired a dress I saw on Pinterest here.

Somewhere around Thursday afternoon last week it dawned on me that Valentine's Day was only a week away and I hadn't sewed a single stitch on any garment yet.  It also dawned on me that I had a lot to do over the weekend and just didn't have time to sew up a Jump Rope dress.  I had to move on to Plan B as much as it pained me.  I really only had Thursday evening to sew something up and the quickest dress to put together is the Oliver + S Popover Sundress.  So, that's what we ended up with.

I tried to make it a little more Valentine's by adding heart appliqués.

The fabric from the dress came from a dress that was in a stack of UFO's (un-finished objects).  I adore the colorful hearts and had every intention of finishing the other dress.  The only problem is that I started in over a year ago and the likelihood that it still fit was slim.  So, at least I was able to repurpose the cute heart fabric into a project that did fit (and I finished).  

I thought the dress needed just a little something extra, and what better to add some fun to a dress than ric-rac.  I added a little green ric-rac under the front yoke:

(My mannequin is extra chesty and makes the top of the dress pull funny)

I also added a little ric-rac around the hem.

I have never done rid-rac around a hem before.  Here's a little trick that made it work.  Iron the hem (in this case I did a 1" hem), unfold the ironed line and use that as a guide to pin on the ric-rac.  I used a little Dritz Wonder Tape to hold the ric-rac in place instead of pin and it made it a little easier to sew on.  (Wonder Tape is great anytime you want to add embellishments, I use it all the time!)  Sew the ric-rac down the center, then refold the hem and finish.  Easy, peasy, extra-cheesy!

Doesn't Piper look great?

(I admit, the styling of the entire outfit is a little weird but that happens when you are working with a 3 year old!).

The other dress will happen, just not this week.

In other news, this past weekend Zachary performed with the Tri-County Honors Choir.  It was a lovely concert.  I was so proud of him.  I think I smiled through the entire concert.  We didn't take any pictures, because pictures of a choral concert seem a little silly.  We did order a concert DVD so we will be able to enjoy the performances again and again.  ;)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Library Wednesday

This past fall, when the list for library themes was posted online I could hardly wait for today to come.  I knew immediately what Piper would wear because today's library theme was "Rescue Heroes."  Of course, I know they meant police, fire, ambulance personnel but I couldn't help it.  Piper had to be...

Wonder Woman!

I bought the Wonder Woman shirt some time in December from here.  It has been hanging in her closet in anticipation of today.  My original plan was to make a tutu.  I bought the tulle and had what felt like miles and miles of it laid out across my living room floor.  I despise working with tulle.  It's more hassle than it's worth, so I abandoned my original idea and went for plan B.  In the end, I think I am happier with plan B.

The skirt is a reverse Oliver + S Swing Set skirt just like the one I did here.  This is really becoming one of my favorite skirts to sew.  It's so quick and full of possibilities.  I may have to sew it the correct way some day just to see which I like better but for now this works for me.

On the skirt I added some gold detail around the waist band as a nod to Wonder Woman.

The gold thread was very difficult to work with.  I was having trouble setting the tension and the thread kept breaking.  My poor machine just did not like the gold thread.  I like the detail because it's fun but I doubt I'll use it again.

In addition to the skirt, I also made Piper some fancy new hair ties.

The free pattern for the hair ties can be found here.  I see a lot more hair ties in our future.  These were so quick and easy to put together and a great way to use up some of those precious pieces of fabric scraps that you just don't have the heart to throw away.

Piper got sooooo many compliments on her outfit.  The ladies at the coffee shop couldn't get enough of her.  The best part about this outfit is, the skirt and hair ties will be perfect for Memorial Day and 4th of July picnics.  

Check out my little ham in action: