Friday, July 31

happy birthday hubby

This is him with the kids at Magic Wings in Deerfield, MA (cool place by the way!) - a perfect picture in my book. He's such a great dad!!!
My son was convinced that we had to do something to "set-up" for his party tomorrow - a nice dinner with family is his party. So we tossed a bunch of craft stuff on the table and set to work. I told him, I don't care what you do - just DON'T write on the letters I already wrote.She was given the task of decorating the middle panel. That was enough for her. She was interested in adding a sticker later.
There were a LOT of stickers involved. Add some more crayons, markers, glitter glue, and we were good to go.
He picked out a red yarn I had sitting around, and up went the banner to surprise Daddy when he comes home from work. We also "had to" blow up some balloons. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that wasn't just for Daddy's benefit. haha.
His mom says he was born at 2:31 p.m. - hopefully that's when this post goes up.
Happy Birthday to you!!!

(Now I'm off to finish the cake!)

Thursday, July 30

elevator bucket

Do you know what this is? Well, duh, yes, it's a yellow bucket. Oh, but it became so much more yesterday afternoon!!!!
Here's a hint. Figured it out yet?

Here's Abby trying to figure it all out. (It's also got another pictoral hint. See the rope?)

Yep - it's an ELEVATOR BUCKET. What you've never heard of such a thing? Let me explain. When I was a kid, my cousins and I invented an Elevator Bucket to go from the loft of the cottage to the main level (where the parents & food were). We toted up and down MANY snacks, drinks, books, stones, and who knows what else. So yesterday, I decided it was time for my son to have his very own.

He's so looking forward to toting up a snack for himself. But yesterday it was all about the ball, a book, and some nature treasures. He would roll the ball down the slide, she'd run over and pick it up, put it in the bucket, he'd pull it up and repeat. So much fun!
Off to have a snack in the tower!

Tuesday, July 28

back on track???

I'm trying to get back on track from a whirlwind 2 weeks of beach, driving, rain, sightseeing, and more driving. I have done absolutely no crafting lately, due to vacation & the madness called unpacking and laundry since my return. I do have a couple custom sewing orders upcoming, but nothing too special or blog-worthy. (ok, well one special project for my hubby's birthday, but I'm not ready to reveal that yet.) So I just wanted to say yes, I'm here. Yes, I will be crafty again.

Cause I know you all love pictures... here's my favorite one of the kids (in the camper) waiting for breakfast. (excuse the junk piled everywhere, that's life in a camper with two little kids!)
While we were driving along one day, I decided to quick look on the school district website for something. I noticed there was a job opening for a librarian. I won't go into all the details, but I decided not to apply. I decided that being home with my kids & doing my thing here is more important than going back to work in a library. But it did start me thinking some more about what I'm really doing here... meaning in the blog world, and in the sewing business. So, indulge me a little here... I am just wondering... Why are you here? (I mean that in a nice way.) What do you love - book reviews, pictures of my silly kids, tutorials, clothing, embroidery, card making, decorating, party planning, organization tips...? What are you interested in seeing? If you could pick one thing from my artfire shop or my past projects to be yours, what would it be? (feel free to click on the sewing label on the side and browse for a while.) I'm contemplating my fall plans, and just trying to think about what to offer. And who knows, maybe one person's dream will become reality....

Thanks for stopping by my little corner today. See you around!

Wednesday, July 22

travel updates

Here's a little bit of a travel update from Massachusetts...

First of all - any nature lovers out there?? What the heck is this white stuff????!!!!

The lovely Orchard House. I'm a bit of a Little Women fan... so I was excited to be able to get a peek inside and hear more about Louisa May Alcott's life. I gained so much more respect for their family!

Since I do try and keep it a little crafty around here... I thought you might enjoy seeing the quilt hanging in the library at the Eric Carle Museum. It's all appliqued renditions of some of his artwork. Gorgeous!!!!

And here is my son & his daddy making their collages "just like Eric Carle"... well they used glue and tissue paper at least! Abby did stick a couple pieces on, but she really just wanted to cruise around. After being stuck in a carseat for two days, who can blame her?!

amelia's dress

I've been testing another pattern! Isn't it adorable? I used matching Heidi Grace fabrics for the bodice and skirt, and some pink floral buttons from Wal-mart (lucky find!)
It has elastic around the bottom hem, making it a bubble skirt. The sash can be tied in front too for a different look.Head on over to Olabelhe and get your own pattern!!!

Monday, July 20

our bags are packed

We've been on the road a couple of days and we made it to Massachusetts! Woo-hoo!

Can you guess where we're going today? Here's a clue! My son's shirt was from the Carter's line, the green ruffled edge dress with the heart in the middle was my creation. (I bought the dress, added the heart).

I've been looking forward to this for so long... I hope it lives up to the hype! Then we are going to continue the week with all sorts of other fun... Make Way for Ducklings... swan boats... Paul Revere... Louisa May Alcott...
Pictures and stories to come!

Tuesday, July 14

how to make a onesie dress, part 2

(go back a day for the first bunch of directions)

After you've pieced the skirt, the next step is gathering/ ruffling/ getting the skirt part ready to attach.
If you have a ruffler – have fun. Play with your settings and make sure it’s going to ruffle it as much as you want it to.
If you don’t have a ruffler, do the two rows of stitching and gather the fabric up.
In other words – gather however you gather!!!
Remember that original width of the onesie? It doesn’t have to exactly match up, because you’ll want some give when you’re pulling this over the baby’s head. Just don’t make it too small!

Once all your gathering is done, sew up the last side seam.
Then do your hem however you want to do hems – I have a rolled hem foot I use. You can also do the fold ¼”, iron, fold ¼”, sew method.
Feel free to add another ruffled layer on the bottom. I usually take the width of the fabric strip I made, double it, and cut a 1-1/2" ruffle. I’m not going to write out all the math for that. If you need help, just email me.So - at this point you will have a very basic looking skirt with a raw top edge (where you gathered).

Lay the onesie out and draw a line across the lower middle of the onesie. (Use a marking pencil, use a washable marker – whatever is easiest for you.)
Remember that the diaper actually comes up pretty high, so if you do a line across about 2/3 of the way down from the top, that will work out. If you do it too low, the skirt will hang too low and look funny.
Open up the onesie snaps. Put the right side of the skirt to the right side of the onesie. Match up side seams, and pin a few times in the middle. The raw edge of the skirt should be lining up along that line you drew. The snaps should be showing, and the hem of the skirt should be up near the neckline of the onesie. That way when you’re done sewing, you’ll just flip it down and be done!

The first few onesie dresses I did I used a straight stitch, and then got frustrated when the stitches pulled when I put it on my daughter. I decided to try a zig zag stitch and have been happier with the results.
So – zig zag stitch your skirt to your onesie. Pull the onesie so it’s stretched out a little as you’re sewing. Like I’ve said before – you have to remember how much it stretches to get over those shoulders!! You just don't want it too small!
Zig zag around twice if you’re really worried about frayed edges or something coming undone. I’ve never had a problem with just once around.
Flip the skirt down and you’re done!!!
Some people attach a little ribbon around the front, and leave it lose on the back to allow for stretching and gathering and tying. I think that's more important on a tshirt, because those have a tendency to be looser than onesies.Almost done. That onesie top looks pretty plain now, doesn’t it? Use a few scraps and appliqué something cute on there… initial, shape – whatever will go well with the skirt!
And voila – a perfect finished outfit. Diaper cover, done. Shirt, tucked in. Adorable – you betcha!

I know it looks like a lot of steps, but it’s so fun and easy – and pretty addicting!!! Please let me know if you make one – leave a link in the comments so we can see your creation!

If you need help with any of the steps, just ask!

Monday, July 13

how to make a onesie dress, part 1

I decided to split the tutorial up over a couple of days. Maybe I'm just too wordy :) but it's really long if I do it all at once.
Plus, I'm going on vacation and wanted you all to have something to do while I'm gone!

SUPPLIES needed:
rotary cutter
marking pencil or washable marker
fabric - 1 fat quarter, or a mixture of fun fabrics
thread to match
any other embellishments you may want to add at the end (buttons, applique, ribbons, etc.)

Measure the width of the front of the onesie. (Usually 8-12” depending on the size of onesie.)
Double that.
That is how wide a piece of fabric you will need for the front.
If you want a REALLY full skirt, triple that measurement. The wider the strip of fabric, the fuller the skirt!

Then decide how long you want the skirt to be. Here are my suggestions:
Up to 6 mo – no more than 8 inches
Up to 24 mo – no more than 9 inches
(If they're crawling, keep it on the shorter side!)
If you’re doing a tshirt dress, it all depends on the length of t-shirt, size of kid, etc. – but I would say probably stick around the 10-11” length
This is a perfect for using up fat quarters!
If you want an extra ruffle at the bottom, make the initial skirt piece of fabric an inch or two shorter to account for the addition of the ruffle.

If you just want to use one piece of fabric for the whole skirt, cut your front and back sections according to your measurements.
For example...
9" wide onesie
8" long skirt
You will need 2 pieces 18.5" x 8.5", or one piece 36.5" x 8.5"
(See what I mean? perfect for using up a fat quarter!)
If you cut two pieces from a fat quarter, sew them together to make a really long 8.5" strip.
Then you can set your fabric aside and wait until tomorrow.
If you want a pieced skirt, then read on… it’s time to do more math…

So – you want to have probably one big fun design in the middle, and a few colorful strips to match on either side. For example, in the 4th of July dress, I had one stars and stripe fabric in the middle, and 3 strips of solid/star fabric on each side – for a total of 7 pieces of fabric.
For the cupcake dress, I have one cupcake piece in the middle, and 4 fabrics on each side – for a total of 9 pieces of fabric. Here I am trying out a couple different fabrics on the side, and for a ruffle. Lay your stuff and decide what you want!

Here’s an example of my math for the cupcake dress…
T-shirt width – 14”
Total front width needed – 28”
Cupcake fabric – 20” wide
Pink – 2” wide
Yellow – 2” wide
Green – 2” wide
Purple – 2” wide
Length of skirt before adding ruffle - 9" long

Add ¼” seam allowances and this is what I cut…
Cupcake fabric – 20.5” x 9.5”
Each colored strip – 2.5” x 9.5”
I cut two cupcake pieces – one for front and back.
I cut 4 of the colored strips – one for left side, one for right – on front and back.
Using all those measurements, get to your cutting board!
REMEMBER TO CUT 2 of EVERYTHING!!! You have to make a back to this skirt too!!!!

When all your pieces have been cut, lay them out in the order you want them sewn together. Sew & zigzag, overcast, serge – however you stitch them together – do it now. Feel free to press the seams when you’re done.
Do that twice, once for the front panel and once for the back panel.

Sew the left side of the back panel to the right side of the front panel, with right sides of fabric together. You should now have a REALLY long strip of fabrics.

Take a deep breath, set it aside, and come back for the second half of the instructions tomorrow.

If the math part was totally confusing, email me your questions and I'll try and help you out!!!

Saturday, July 11

peyton's pinafore

Told you it was going to be cute!!!This is the pattern I was testing for Dawn from Olabelhe.
I got to use my ruffler a LOT!
I LOVE the sweet pleated straps too.

My friend saw it and said... my daughter looks really good in orange.... hint, hint....
Really, what other choice did I have? ;)
After I took these pictures, I decided to add a yellow ribbon at the waistband. So sweet.
Now hop on over there and get your own pattern!!

Friday, July 10

flower girls

I finally had a chance to get all four girls together in their dresses.
One of the moms is my photographer friend Toni. Her shots are coming soon. I just couldn't wait.

My daughter decided to be a cranky, hungry, whiny little baby. I realized after a little while it was probably (partly) because I put her in the grass. Duh... she is in that weird I hate grass phase now. Once we moved to the sidewalk, she cheered up a little.
Here are some of my shots:Aren't they the cutest bunch?!!

Thursday, July 9

it's getting hot in here

We got a new air conditioner installed the other day. My son was complaining about it being hot inside. I go in the kitchen... and discover that he's found his solution! Quite creative, that kid!!

Now get out... we're not going to refrigerate the whole house!

Wednesday, July 8

apples for apples

My dad's family is a big part of the fruit industry in southern Michigan. My dad definitely claims the apple part of the family story and is quite proud of it. When I saw this fabric, I knew exactly what I was going to do.
This is what will greet him when he returns home with my mom from their big trip...
a farmer's market/grocery store produce bag!
He is the one who does most of the grocery shopping anyway, so it's perfect - and much nicer than the boring green bags he carries in there now!

It doesn't really show in the picture, but I tried a boxed corner. I'm pretty happy with how easy it was. I did line the bag with a blue check fabric, but I wasn't really exact with the measurements so the boxed corners didn't match up perfectly. I also didn't put anything stiff in the bag at all, so I don't think they'll ever really show. At least I know how it works now, so if I try a bag again I can be more exact.

Tuesday, July 7

tulips and windmills

I'll start with the back view first. I think it is just so pretty - I love the squiggly design and how the windmill pops out!The turquoise windmill was quilted with a variegated turquoise thread. The fabric that looks white actually has little green specks all over it. It was quilted with white thread. It is so quick and easy and fun to do the free motion squiggles! I know some people stress about them, I find them to be a blast!!
It is a three-windmill table runner for my mom - a (VERY!) late Mother's Day present. It will be on her table to greet her when she returns from her vacation to Prince Edward's Island and Nova Scotia. Her everyday dishes are Tulip Time (Franciscan) and I chose the fabrics to match. She saw the pink table runner that I did in this same pattern, and loved it enough to ask for her own. I think it's a nice combo.
Welcome home, mom!

Monday, July 6

butterflies for a baby

Check out this darling top sent off for a baby due this summer.I meant to take pictures of the panties, but forgot. They are pink like the inside of the top.
Isn't it fun to "meet" people around the world through blogging? In return for sending this cute outfit I got a felt file folder, numerous felt shapes, and designs to create. Ready for a road trip (or two!) this summer! Yay!

Saturday, July 4

a REALLY happy 4th of July

My friend Toni ... isn't she an awesome photographer???!!!! I just have to brag on her a little. She just calmly snapped away during our party and parade. She lives in the moment and has great shots to share when she's done!

HAPPY 4th of JULY!

Friday, July 3

happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!Here's Abby in her onesie dress. (Anyone still interested in a tutorial? Maybe I'll have time to get that together this week!)
This has become a tradition - Shawn gets all dressed up for the parade, and we get a shot of him in the front yard with the kids. In our town, we have the parade the night of the 3rd. It's about 1-1/2 hours long. The amount of candy is pretty amazing, so the kids have a ball!The best part - all we have to do is invite our friends & go sit in our front yard!!! We have a picnic before the parade - yummmmm.... Then when the parade's done, we bring out popsicles, throw our parade watching stuff back in the garage, and go play in the back yard. We watch the kids chase lightning bugs, twirl on the swings, let our kids do sparklers ("it's like lightning bugs on a stick" one kid said) - and go to bed way too late. I love summer!

Hope you enjoy your weekend!