Monday, February 27, 2012

Sewing and Books.

I love books. I love to read. I thank my parents for that because even when we didn't have any money they would let me pick out a book at the store. They read to us and encouraged our reading so much. Oh the smell of new books! The only smell that's better is the smell of old books (Why don't in-between books smell?)!

I also love to sew. I don't know why because no one in my family sews very much. Although, again, my mom really fostered this love of creating and crafting things. I always got some sort of craft for Christmas and my birthday and when I was little I would make my own sewing cards out of paper. I would draw a picture and then sew it with her needle and thread. Awww thanks mom!

So it should be no surprise that I love sewing books (not making them but books on the topic). Books about sewing. Books with great pictures of sewing. Old books about sewing. Books books books. I have at least fourteen books about sewing and I've only been really really into sewing for a few years. When I am having a bad day I'll just sit in the back yard on my swing and look at the pictures in my sewing books dreaming up new ideas and projects...   ...   ...  Sorry I was lost in thought for a minute (Oh for it to be warm enough to sit outside).

I also love the old sewing books. I have a pretty cute collection of those almost all of them given to me as gifts by my sister Courtney so that's pretty cool.

My old sewing books nestled next
to a few of my favorite new ones.

Stitched in Time by Alicia Paulson.
Do you love a certain kind of books? Do you find yourself being drawn to buy a certain type of book over and over? If so what is it? I think you can learn a lot about a person by the books they read and buy.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Well Howdy Ma'am. Are You a Quick Draw with that Sewing Machine?

"Well yes in fact I am." I say blushing. The cowboy/ninja warrior saunters off with his new holster and all his weapons.

Are you confused? Let me start again. My oldest son is into all heroes. Actually, both sons are into heroes. Currently Power Rangers is at the top of their list but really any thing that wields a weapon and kills bad guys is totally cool. So when my SuperH came up to me asking if there was a way he could have his guns on his hips like they do "in the fighting game." I got to tell him that there was a thing that did that and it's called a "holster" and that I would make him one. I like it when I get to be the cool mom.

He wasn't mad, this is his
"tough guy" pose. Very intimidating.
This is an example of why if you sew and have children there should always be squares of felt in your stash. I took a brown and grey felt square folded it in half traced around two different guns and cut it out. I sewed up the side cut two slits in the back and fed a belt through.  After that I made a scaber for a sword too because you never know when your going to need guns and a sword.

I know that there are moms out there who don't allow weapons in there homes and to them I say "does that work?" (not in a snotty way but a totally confused way.) Because my boys can literally make anything into a weapon. Conster's favorite toy is a plastic yellow tent peg that he uses as a sword. I know a mom who gave up trying to keep guns out of her house when she saw them chew their pb&j into the shape of a gun and chase each other around the table (that is a true story).

That's the tent peg. He lays it on his bedside table
every night and gets it first thing in the morning.
So if your a mom like me and you have boys like mine, this holster will make you totally awesome for about four minutes which is exactly two minutes longer then normal, and I'll take what I can. Also it's so easy!

Well I better mosey. Hope your skies are not cloudy all day.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Blouse is Done!!!

Lace on the sleeves, down the front and as trim along the bottom.
This shirt, as you probably know, has been taking a long time. It cost me much brain power and gave me a very wounded finger. Actually, finger aside, it was a pretty pleasant project to work on. I took my time got great advice my sewing friends and came up with a decent shirt to wear.

There is lace along the back but you can't see it very good.
Also this is my "Edwardian" hair
I live in great fear that all shirts I make look like pajamas. I guess I'm just drawn to that light and girly fabric that seems only appropriate for pajamas in women. This top was no exception and I think if it had matching pants (which it won't there is no more fabric or lace) it would definitely look like a swanky pair of lounge wear.

What it was suppose to be, however, was something completely different. This blouse started it's life out as a super soft, light, cotton, japanese fabric that I fell in love with. Then it became an Easter dress that I made using a vintage pattern. I hate the dress. Old patterns assume you know what your doing and when I made this dress I had no idea what I was doing. I mean any kind of skill you practice means your going to get better which makes this dress just... blech. But I still love the fabric. So I thought, "it's an entire dress why not make it into a shirt? Surely there is enough fabric." Well, there really wasn't but I made it work!

The lace is so cool I wish you could see it better.
I had in mind a cross between a light girl inspired summer top that would breath and be a joy to wear. And something inspired by "Downtown Abbey". To be honest I've never actually seen "Downtown Abbey". But literally all the sewing blogs I read go on and on about it so I totally do feel like a fan of it. I'm like a collateral fan? It's in my netflix queue I just haven't gotten around to watching it yet. I did however see and love an episode of "Dr. Who" that took place in that same time era and am a big fan of "Anne of Green Gables" and "The Secret Garden", so you get the idea. Edwardian period clothing.

I used vintage lace and vintage buttons both picked up during an antique/junking trip with my mommy. I lowered the neckline from the original pattern (the sorbetto top, I've made it three times now) added sleeves and had to piece together the front and back instead of cutting it on the fold.

I'm not 100% pleased with it. I mean when am I ever? I know it's flaws and it's more flower child then "Anne with an E" but I think it will be a pleasant enough top to wear this summer.

What do you think? Honestly if you just think that it's too pajamas I want to know! But if you think it's wearable I'd like to know that too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


This is what I've been working on.
Vintage lace and buttons.
I've been pretty quiet in the blogging world lately. After the fourteen days of valentines I became about as slow as a snail. I've been working on a summer blouse and (am so close to being done with it) figured that I would be finished any minute and would blog about that.

However, because I am so slow, I still haven't finished it! I will say after the crafting spree of February it has been really nice taking my time with this project. Instead of finishing the blouse this afternoon I made dinner. And not my regular everything-in-one-dish dinner, this one had three sides two of which were vegetables (wife and mom points). It looked so homey served with my very small (hoping it grows) robin egg blue pyrex dishes I thought I would share.

I love the blue place settings.

In the sweet potatoes I substituted
plain soygurt for the sour cream.
The meal was from Martha Stewart's "Every Day Food" magazine. Along with some biscuits. It's so hard to get out of the chicken and hamburger rut of cooking so using pork ribs was pretty fun (even if I don't love the texture of pork). Everything turned out good and even got good reviews from the kids and husband.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fourteen Days of Valentines Day Fourteen and Thirteen (oops).

Last Night I crawled into bed after a long and fulfilling day and realized I had forgotten to blog! Oops! I did do something yesterday but got so wrapped up in living I forgot to post it. So real quick, Day thirteen was a day devoted to helping my best friend move into her new apartment. I got a way later start then I wanted but now that she lives so close I could stay until much later. Along with my two hands I also took her a jar of homemade chai concentrate because she likes chai and this stuff is sooooo wonderful. I hope she uses it up in good health!

Today is Valentines day and what have I learned after fourteen days of cooking and gifting and all around love spreading (That sounded awkward didn't it)? I learned that next year I should start this project a little bit sooner then on February 1st. Not too much because I like the day-to-day tasks and how that sort of kept me in the moment but a few of the projects took more then one day so a little extra time would allow me to slow down and enjoy it a little more (I did enjoy it don't misunderstand me).

I learned that people are so sweet and appreciative and all those lovely comments made me feel so happy to be doing this project. Not that we should do things to get praised or anything but I'm sure you other moms know how sometimes we just feel very under appreciated. It was nice to get appreciated.

It was even nicer to get to make someone's day brighter. Doing this every day forced me to really think about what I love and value in the people around me. It really helped me to realize how many people I have in my life that I care about and that care about me. Seriously the worst thing about the project was that I barely made a dent in the things I'd like to do for other people. Every day I thought of something else I could do for someone else. And I felt so bad that only three people would get to have one of my giveaways.  I know that any holiday can get overblown in this country and that hallmark does want to make a profit today BUT love IS an AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL thing. It's a real gift that we humans get to experience. Given from God to us and then from us to each other... is just so magical.

So today I'm making dinner for the family and a couple of friends. Nothing fancy good chili (per Brian's request) homemade bread (it's look ridiculous but hopefully tastes good) and dairy free German Chocolate Cake. I'm going to feel grateful that I have a warm home, a loving husband and so many people to love. I hope your Valentines reminds you of God's love for you and your love for others!

And The Winners of the Fourteen Days of Valentines Giveaway Are....

Coffee Sleeve and Gift card: Jen B!!!!

Nestlace: Gerri Sue!!!!!

Embroidered Valentines: Courtney Smallwood!!

Normally I would post their comments but everyone had such wonderful things to say it would take up a lot of room go here to read them and every one else's.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fourteen Days of Valentines Day Twelve

I thought you might be curious as to what I did actually wear out on our Valentine's date. I'm calling this look my "French Connection". I am so sick of winter that I did go for one of my summer dresses. I wore it somewhat like this a couple Sundays ago and someone told me I looked french. I thought that was just a fabulous compliment. Couple that with the bloomers and I think "french" is an accurate description. Anyway, paired with my tall black boots, black leggings and my go-to jean jacket I think you can get away with wearing this in winter (especially to celebrate Valentines since it's at the end of winter-- supposedly).

We went to Addinton Hills Cafe  In heavy snow fall. did that deter us? NO! Our food was delicious and (we had hummus that sort of blew our minds) and I drank so much good coffee. I will say I didn't care for my dinner. It wasn't anything they did I just didn't care for the dish and they still took it off the menu!! Wow great service.
Dress: Made by me
Jacket: Handed down from my aunt several years ago (I love this jacket)
Boots: Fashion Bug one a half years ago
Jacket: Gift from my Aunt, Maceys.
Purse: Antique, gift from my mom.
Gloves: Vintage from an antique shop in MD.
Necklace: "Nestlace" made by me
Bracelet: Freebie from my mom from Dress Barn.
Hair: Pin curls I let "set" during the day.

Okay so on to Day Twelve. This was a challenge since Sundays are very busy for me and I didn't have time to start something Saturday what with the bloomers and all. I wandered around Meijers for a bit this afternoon wondering what to do for the youth group when it hit me "Elementary Valentines Party!"
So I bought plates and napkins, little Debbie Snacks (of course) Chex mix, and even made a card holder out of a milk jug and filled it with a little heart for each student. Each heart has one thing on it that I like/admire about them. So for not having a lot of time I thought this was fun and clever. We'll see if they like it (any time food is involved with teenagers is usually pretty successful) in a couple of hours, but I think they will.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fourteen Days of Valentines Day Eleven.

Today I made something for myself. And sort of for Brian but mostly for myself. I am constantly amazed at how good I feel when I'm wearing pretty underthings. So I decided to make this pair of bloomers from Colette. It's a free pattern and really easy so if your a beginner you could totally do this!

Since I have about as much chance of going to Europe as I have of taking a trip in the TARDIS I used this fancy cotton with some kind of french or german writing on it (maybe both?). I like the old vintage look it has and the color is pretty unique.

I entertained the idea of modeling them for you for about two seconds (if your curious to see how it looks on a really skinny girl click here). I really try to be confident in the body I have now (even if I hope it's somewhat firmer in the future) but there is a limit to what I will post online. So instead I put on my most vintage looking dress and did a bunch of "pinup" poses. 

This is how a vintage girl curls her hair.

Since it's been so mild and nice here I was totally going to wear this dress for Brian and my nice Valentines dinner (with a hot pink sweater)... Then we had a snowstorm last night. Sigh. I will be wearing something that can go with tights and boots instead (I will be wearing the bloomers though).

Don't forget to scroll down to enter for one of my giveaways. If you win I will mail it even if you live overseas. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fourteen Days of Valentines Day Ten.

Day ten I'm nearly there! I'm nearly to a day devoted to red and pink and glitter and chocolate!  Initially you might think todays project was a bit on the lame side, but just hold on.

First up is a chocolate cake. Today is our church's Valentine's banquet. I think a lot of churches don't have these anymore. Our church is still doing it and they do it really well. It's always decorated so nice and there's child care (which means I'll be able to eat an entire meal without being interrupted a million times. Can I get a hallelujah?!) AND I don't have to cook, so bonus! Any way I offered to make a dessert which at first glance seems pretty nice but I have a selfish motive. This way I can ensure that there is at least one dessert that I can eat (dairy free).

I used this recipe (it's my go to chocolate cake) and swap in almond milk for regular and have never noticed a difference. If you make this cake try her frosting it's soooo good. Unfortunately I haven't figured out a dairy free rue yet so I can't have it (hence the powdered sugar topping.)

 Okay now for the real treats. Da da da da!!!! I have give-a-ways of love for you sweet readers!! Let me begin by saying I waited to photograph them until today and it was a super grey snowy (blech) day. So, I had troubles with the photos (always a disappointment in the blogging world).

The gifts are: Coffee Cup Sleeve and gift card, Embroidered
Valentine, and a Nestlace.

I am giving away three gifts because I really do love you. The fact that you stop by this little piece of the internet and read what I have to say is so humbling. It warms my heart again and again and keeps me going through good times and tough. It means something to me to put down words and ideas and have them read; so, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!!!

The three gifts are: a coffee cup sleeve with Starbucks gift card, a felt embroidered valentine, and a nestlace. To enter simply leave a comment on my blog (if you sign in as anonymous make sure you leave your name) answering the following question: "What is the most romantic or sweet thing that you have ever received or had done for you or by you." (appropriate for the blog world of course tee hee). I will randomly draw three winners on Tuesday February 14th. And don't forget to keep tuning in, my project for tomorrow is a bit on the risqué side (wink).
How sweet are buttons?

These Necklaces still don't
want to photograph

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fourteen Days of Valentines Day Nine.

All right I can finally let you in on Day nine! It was for my sisters and I'd hoped they'd get them in the mail yesterday which is why I was being a bit lazy about finishing something else. And I really wanted it to be a surprise so I held off blogging about it.

Years ago before I had kids I got into making jewelry. Now you should know that when I get into something I really get into it so I have lots and lots of jewelry stuff some of it's very nice stuff from the local bead shop (I sort shiver to think of how much money I have in that plastic box). After a few frustrating pieces it sort of went by the way side until I discovered this nest idea on Pinterest.

You already know about my love of birds so this was perfect. Different but still cool looking, pretty even, and every pendant can have a different mix of "eggs" (beads). So for my sisters I decided to make them these necklaces and I'm so glad I did! I loved it; spent all of the Super Bowl with my jewelry stuff on my lap happily chatting with other mainly commercial watchers.

I could NOT get them to photograph well. No matter where I placed them. It's like some of the beads just absorb light or photography magic or something but you get the idea.

It's a fairly simple design really, and I like that each one is unique. The black beads are actually vintage buttons and because of the way they're cut they do sparkle (just not in the picture apparently).

I wish you could see how they truly are I think the pictures don't really do them justice.

See this one on my neck? Well, it's an extra so make sure you tune back in Friday. I'm not saying what's what I'm just saying be sure to check back Friday.

P.S. I forgot to say how much I LOVE my sisters. They are so amazing and such great friends and if I'd known how much I was going to straight up enjoy their company, when I was a teenager... I wouldn't have yelled at them so much.  TO SISTERS!!!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fourteen Days of Valentines Day Eight.

Ummm bad news I do not have a finished project to share with you. I have two projects partially done but am beginning to think they won't be finished in time for me to blog about them. I mean I did treat myself to homemade chai, made dinner for my family and Brian got a candy bar off of his hearts calendar... so...

Okay I realize that none of that really counts (except maybe the homemade chai because it was really good) and I apologize. Probably means there will be a day with more then one project to share.  I'll let you go now and do some more sewing and crafting (but absolutely no more dishes today). See you tomorrow!

And treat yourself to some of this chai, it's really fabulous (I had two mugs of it yesterday and then lay in bed wide awake until midnight).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fourteen Days of Valentines Day Seven.

What are the things called that you put on your to-go cups of coffee to keep your hands from burning? Are they called coffee cozies or coffee cup sleeves? Well whatever they're called I decided to go ahead and make and environmentally-friendly-pink-with-hearts one for the coffee club girls. I'm sure I must have blogged about this group of high school girls before and how much I love hosting this little get-together every week. What better way to tell them I love them then with coffee paraphernalia? 

I sort of winged it (using a template I found on-line somewhere but forgot to document). I cut out the shape (sort of a crescent) with my pinking sheers out of pink felt. Then I got out my trusty hot glue gun and had some fun. I could have used the sewing machine but honestly sometimes I just like dealing with super hot, fast flue. I glued snaps on (though I think the sleeve will slide on and off with out having to use it) and then decorated them with these sparkly hearts.

I like the way they turned out. Personally I think it's just as cute as the fancy $10 ones you can buy at the coffee shops. And better yet I slipped a Starbucks gift card into each sleeve. If you can't win them over with your witty personality win them over with caffeine and treats I always say.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Fourteen Days of Valentines Day Six.

When making a treat for children keep in mind that often times they aren't very appreciative. I decided that funky mustaches attached to suckers was a fun idea. You suck on the soccer and look like you're rocking a funny stache. Of course SuperH didn't' like the suckers and wouldn't even put it in his mouth for a pic. Where I was picturing us sitting around joking and laughing in reality he lay on the couch bemoaning the lame treat.  Oh well you can't win them all. I look forward to continuing this project with folks who are a bit more appreciative.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fourteen Days of Valentines, Day Five.

We've had some grey days. Makes
taking pictures difficult.
This project was actually the one that gave me the idea of fourteen days of spreading around some love.  My mom and I share a lot. I'd say we're pretty good friends and can talk about most things. We also share a sort of weird obsession with birds. This strange love of feathered creatures isn't very old either, maybe five years. Mine started after SuperH was born and I'd sit in front of my window in a postpartum induced stupor and watch the array of woodpeckers on the tree. My mom's love started about the same time when she and my dad moved into the mountains and she was surrounded by tons of different species.

When I saw this picture on Pinterest (again) I thought of her and I thought how something like this sent in the mail and received unexpectedly might have the power to make her day maybe even her week. I also really like small embroidery projects. I thought how birds are something we have in common and it also kind of shows how I want her heart and her spirit to soar (her and dad are emerging from a particularly trying year).

I hope she liked it and it was super simple and sweet. I didn't have a pattern or anything but I think anyone could manage it if they wanted.

I hope your heart finds it's song this Sunday.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fourteen Days of Valentines Day Four. Or I'm So Hot.

I am SOOOO HOT!! And not in the sexy, romance way, I am hot in the: Oh my gosh making homemade pretzels makes the kitchen 100 degrees kind of hot. Yes, for day four I decided to make Brian and the gang (which turned out to be the kids, one neighbor friend, and two college aged students who are painting the basement) homemade pretzel bites another thing I found on Pinterest.
No wonder it's so hot in here boiling water
 and 425 degree oven. 

Lest you get any pie-in-the-sky
ideas about what the kitchen looks
like when I cook.
Don't get me wrong I like embarking on a new fascinating recipe and I really love to feed people (it's one of the love languages that Gary Chapman left out of the book by accident). And these turned out really really good. We pretty much just ate them right off the cool rack. I attempted some with cinnamon and sugar and after prying them off the cookie sheet learned you add that after they're baked (ohhhhh).

This is honestly how we at most of them.
Pretzels are cool: flour, salt, sugar, and yeast, you make a dough and them drop pieces into a boiling mixture of water and baking soda and then bake them. Weird. They would have been perfect for super bowl sunday tomorrow but that is a sunday and I do not have time to let dough rise on a Sunday.

A small pile for a picture.
These pretzels elicited a "Mom your the best!" from SuperH and "yea dees good, wuv you!" from Conster. In the words of one of the students "These are better then Aunt Annies." Now tell me what 100 degree kitchen isn't worth that?

The kids loved them.