Tuesday, May 29, 2012

yet another girls' room revamp

Remember my girls' lovely room? About a year ago, it looked like this:
Yeah, the awesome tent lasted a good couple of months. It really wasn't the kids' fault, the thing was just too dang heavy and I repaired it several times before giving up on it. *sigh* It was fun while it lasted. Then, the bed started falling apart. About a month ago, yet another slat holding the top mattress up there broke (while Casey was outta town, of course) so I had to haul that top mattress to the ground myself and Layla slept on the floor for awhile. We sold the bunk bed. I was not bummed, because what a pain it was!! Changing the sheets! Even singing to girl on top was hard!

So, I started painting the wooden day bed that was my cousin's growing up and I also started looking for another wooden bed on Craigslist. And I scored! After being too late on 4 other beds, I finally got one and for only $40.

So, here's that sneak peek painting project from my last post revealed!

I painted them a beautiful light turquoise color and love, love, love the new look! But, if I may say so myself, the quilts are really what make them great ;)  The girls are super excited too, after a few months on mattresses on the floor. They have actually made their beds every day! A novelty that will wear off soon, I'm sure :)

I have some ideas for wall art and toy storage, since the walls are pretty bare right now. I'll be sure and share the progress!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

all in a day's work

Casey has a much-needed four day weekend so we were busy here at home yesterday!

Pampering a sick baby:
 Working on a painting project. End result to come soon! The girls and I are so excited to get these put together today :)
 And an outside project going on too! The dirt and rocks in front of our house were slanting toward the house. They need to slant away from the house for drainage purposes. Casey made it look all pretty back there and even kept my paving stones so I can water my petunias :)

Natalie's been putting my vintage drawing books to good use. That girl is talented! 
And I finished up a dress for Natalie! It's a little big, which is a bummer, but at least it will fit her for a few summers instead of just one, right??

I also started a dress for myself! A pretty easy one, so it will be done soon--even without my serger :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

shop notes and pattern plans

My little Etsy shop has made it's first few sales! Feels good! A learning experience, though, I've been asking questions in the forums quite a bit and am fine tuning my prices and product to build a nice little brand for myself. It's fun!

I added this beauty just this morning:
I would keep it if I had the space. See how it matches my 1969 appliances!?

In other news, I promised I'd share my haul from Denver fabrics. Wanna see my plans??
 This one's tried and true, I made it last Summer and is a favorite! I'm excited to make it again.
 This beautiful rayon will make a lovely long, basic skirt, I think.
 This one will be really pretty if I can get the best use out of the border print. I don't plan on using it in the traditional (border at the hem) way, so we'll see what I can come up with. It's a rayon lawn, so it will be super cool and comfortable.
 I got a sort of stripe knit to try out that long version!
This pink knit was in the $1.97 a yard bin. There's a lot of it, so I will probably get a knit nightgown out of it after I make this cute tie front cardigan.

SO, what to make first?? Suggestions??

My serger is in the shop :( but I'm plugging away at some dresses for the girls while I wait for its return. Makes me wonder how I did without it all those years, ha!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Take me to the tropics!

On Friday, I was in desperate need of a project. Casey had been outta town again and was coming home that evening and I knew the day would drag by if I didn't put my hands to something. So I dug through my stash and pulled out this gorgeous rayon print that was given to me awhile back. I'd been wanting to make the sleeveless version of Simplicity 2588 because my Easter dress turned out so well and is one of my favorite things I've made. This fabric was perfect. The last thing I made (a skirt--I'll share later) didn't turn out great, so I was so happy that this turned out beautifully!

I am more proud of this dress than most because look what I did to the back!!!

I added a keyhole! I'm not skilled in pattern alterations or design, so this is a big step for me. I practiced on some muslin to make sure it was going to work out and couldn't be happier! So glad I tried something new. I just love a good back feature. I really wanted this to be a "night on the town" type of dress, not another church dress (like I said, those are my specialty and I don't need any more!) so I made it a tad shorter than usual and added the fun keyhole. I love it. It's the best thing I've made in awhile. It also did a great job of keeping me busy (well, it and the kids ;) 'til Casey got home. Only one Nebraska trip left for him. Whew!

Mom and I made it to Denver Fabrics today!!! Love that place. I will be seriously bummed when we move away from here and I can't go there anymore! Luckily they have a great online clearance and sale section too, but still...  I'm excited to get started on some things! I'll take some pics of my haul tomorrow and share!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A swimmy tank dress

I bought a swimsuit knit without realizing it was a swimsuit knit. Am I the only one who's ever done that?? I shop the sale bins at Denver Fabrics and things aren't labeled in there, or categorized, so my thoughts were, "hmmm, this is soft and feels nice, I like the print and I think it would be nice and cool as a dress". Then I got it home and realized it was much heavier than the other knit fabrics I'd bought that day and it occurred to that it was meant for bathing suits. Duh.

But, I didn't let that stop me from making it into a dress :) You really can't tell it's swimsuit fabric and it really does keep me cool, so there.
Not the best picture. It was raining. I was in a hurry.
I bought McCall's 6559 for the awesome tie front cardigan, which I'll be making many of in the Fall, I think! I didn't plan on making the tank dress until I noticed it was a racerback style, which I love! Then it occurred to me that it would be perfect for this fabric, since there are few seams and so it wouldn't be too heavy.
(Side note, forget the pattern, where can I get that amazing fabric the model is wearing?????)

I think my dress turned out cute and comfortable.
You can read my review of this pattern here.

I bought a couple of the new New Look patterns today (after finishing up the passport application process--whew! That was a big deal!) and I think I have my sewing mojo back. I have a skirt cut out and a couple dresses for the girls in the works too! I'm hoping for a trip to Denver Fabrics this weekend, so that should put me back in the game even more.

I'm particularly looking forward to sewing this one up! I love what they did with the grey and white stripes! If I could find that same fabric, I'd copy it exactly :)

What I'm lacking is everyday clothes. I've made plenty of church dresses, so I need to lay off those for awhile and make some everyday clothes and dresses. That's what I'll be focusing my sewing on. What about you?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Get Fit, Part 1

Well, life has morphed into summer mode here. We finished up our homeschool year and I think about blogging daily, but rarely actually get to it (obviously) but it has occurred to me that I have allowed myself to think this is a "sewing" blog only and my life is certainly not only sewing, particularly lately, so I'm just gonna blog about whatever! That's okay, right?? I don't have to have a blog genre that I neatly fit inside, do I?? I think liberating myself from trying to blog in a box will allow for much more blogging and much more fun on my part--hopefully yours too :)

So, I have done a little sewing (don't worry, I still do that!) but I've also been gardening, traveling, preparing to travel, cooking, reading and exercising. All while Casey's been outta town what feels like most of the year so far and while trying to come up with a good and fun plan to keep our days somewhat scheduled so we don't get the Summer whinies.

Today, though, I really want to talk about health and fitness!! If you met me in the last year or two, you might not believe that I was 50 pounds heavier shortly before then.

Here's proof. See??
Granted, Kelby was still pretty tiny, but with each pregnancy, I gained and retained a little more weight. When he was 8 months old, I bought a scale. I was floored to find out that I was the same weight as my very tall husband. I just didn't feel like myself! So, I got busy. I grabbed a notebook, wrote a prayer in it (because I knew the Lord wanted the best of health for me!) and started writing down everything I ate. I started paying attention to serving sizes and calories in things and eventually completely cut out sugar for a good while, which is a story in itself! Interestingly, when you know you're gonna have to write it down, you hesitate a bit more before eating the junk :) This notebook contained a chart of numbers to cross off (from where I started to where I wanted to finish) and many prayers and notes. Eventually, I didn't need it anymore because my palette had shifted, I craved the healthier foods and it became natural to eat well.

Here is our family photo from the very next year--50 pounds lighter:

Anyway, it's been over two years since I lost that weight and I have been feeling like the Lord just wanted me to share this story because I feel like there may be someone out there that just needs to be told, "You can do it!" If I can, you can. I'm tellin' ya! I was never a self-disciplined person, I have a hard time breaking and forming habits, and I have always had a huge sweet tooth, but by the grace of God, I have come a loooooong way in these areas. Praise the Lord!

So, this wasn't intended to be just "part 1", but I have so much more to share because the journey did not end with the weight loss for me! Stay tuned for more, but I'd be happy to answer any questions or offer what help I can regarding this issue! I'm no expert, but I know a little :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Vogue's newest convert

Can you believe I've never sewn a Vogue pattern before?? I think I'm just way too cheap. When other patterns go on sale for 99 cents, it's tough to pay Vogue's sale price of $4, ya know? Well, regardless of how I feel about their newest line (not good), I tried out an older pattern, after seeing some pretty great versions of it online. Here's my new dress!
 It's Vogue 8685. Isn't this a beautiful knit!? I was pretty hesitant about that yolk piece across my gut, but it's actually really flattering! But, having birthed three babies, I'm ever-conscious of said gut, so I would omit the yolk next time, to avoid the need for Spanx :)

But, wait, there already was a next time! Right after I finished the above dress, I cut out the next one. I had bought this awesome border print knit with a maxi dress in mind, but there wasn't enough for that, so in the fabric closet it went. I knew it would be great for this pattern, though. The bodice is so comfortable, so I made the same bodice and just cut a rectangular skirt, gathering it in the front and back. Love it! This is a more casual version and so it's sure to get a lot of wear!

While browsing the Butterick site this morning (they're going on sale soon!), I discovered Marfy patterns, newly added to the McCall's/Butterick/Vogue site. I've never seen these before!! They're expensive! But, OH, they have some amazing designs!
Like this one:
And this one:
And WOW, this one!

I was starting to get really excited! And hoping that since they're on the McCall's site, maybe they'll show up at JoAnn someday?? But, then I clicked on a "more info" link and read that these are Italian designs with NO seam allowances and NO INSTRUCTIONS!! For advanced sewists only. I consider myself advanced, but some of these have very unique design elements, so I guess I'm not that advanced. I could probably tackle some of the simpler ones, but what I liked about them were the un-simple ones. Oh, well. Have any of you made a Marfy before?? Please, do tell!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fancy Me Fabrics has been reopened!

So, I have a long lost Etsy shop. I've started going through the vintage patterns and some vintage fabrics and other random vintage items to list there, because let's face it, no matter how cool something is, we can only use so much, right?? So, in the spirit of sharing the lovliness, Fancy Me has been resurrected, yay!! Here are just a few of the great patterns already listed and I have over 20 more, plus some fabrics, plus that awesome flower power suitcase from my last post still waiting to be listed. Hopefully tonight!

In the meantime, check out what's already there and I wouldn't say no if you really wanted to "favorite" my shop while you're at it :)
Happy sewing!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Things to do in North Platte, NE

Casey's been in Nebraska for a few weeks (again) so the kids and I drove up to North Platte for the weekend, where he was staying and hung out with him for a few days. It was great! I'm so glad we got to get away and could keep him company over a weekend.

We were warned that there's "not much to do in North Platte", but we were okay with that. We went to the hotel pool every day and we hit the two attractions: the Bailey Rail Yard and Buffalo Bill Cody's Fort and gift shop.  Oh, and of course, Walmart, an embarrassing number of times.

Saw some pretty funny signage too:
Ummmm, don't all drinks from fast food joints include a free straw??

This was on a door, right by the handle. Pulling was obvious.

But, THEN! We discovered North Platte's best kept secret: The Goodwill!!! A vintage gold mine, let me tell ya, and sooooo cheap!! It's funny what some people think is a bunch of old junk, us city folk call "vintage" and just loooooove.
Here's just some of my loot:
 Check out that suitcase! And the lap tray is in its original package. Who keeps something for decades and doesn't take even take the wrapper off?? I don't know about you, but if something in my house doesn't get used for a year, it's outta here!
 An original game of Trouble, with all the pieces!
 I got three of the Thermos snack jars--and again with the packaging!
The kids are loving Trouble, they've played a bunch of times. I also scored an Etch-a-Sketch for a dollar. Our dentist has one and they all love it, so I've had my eyes peeled. Score!

My best find might have been the massive bag of vintage patterns for ... wait for it ... $1.50!!!! There are probably about 30 patterns in there, from the 60's to the 80's. I'm going to resurrect my Etsy shop and share the love. Maybe if I sell some of my great finds, I can realistically call myself a "professional thrifter". Ha!