Tuesday, October 30, 2012

salvaging things

I revisited a few tops I thought were wadders and fixed them to where I actually like them, yay! One was a knit nightgown that I chopped off way too short (I think I used the wrong end of my ruler) so now it's a great p.j. top, at least. And another was a knit dress, turned shirt (I didn't like the bottom) that I still didn't like the neckline of because I don't look good in crew necks. So, I cut a new neckline and new binding and now I like it, yeah!

I also made New Look 6110 out of some chiffon I bought recently on clearance at JoAnn. I'm wearing it today and really liking it.

I think the envelope makes the hem look straight, but it actually has more of a shirttail shape, which I prefer in long tops like this. I don't think chiffon tops anyone's list of favorite fabrics to work with, but for a drapey style like this, I love the effect because it still shows your shape. If I made it in a more opaque fabric, I'd probably belt it.

Anyway, it was good to make something that worked out! It's been awhile! 

Monday, October 29, 2012


Something about Fall makes me want to play with yarn. So, I crochet something. This time is was slouchy hats for the girls! Then, I decided to make matching arm warmers too! I'm still working on Layla's, but Natalie's are done and she's so thrilled, she's planned her outfits around them several days in the last week ;)

The hat is the Slight Slouch hat and while it turned out okay, I wouldn't recommend this pattern. The instructions were rather convoluted  and I actually found one mistake! And it turned out on the small side (I had to stretch it a lot) even though I used a size bigger hook than recommended. For a free pattern, none of this would bug me, but it was $5 for the download.

The arm bands are a free pattern (yay!) and these instructions were great! I adjusted the stripes out, which only made it easier. She has room to grow in them too.

Once again, I've convinced myself I can be a knitter. I'm not horrible at it, I actually have some things I've knitted and actually use/wear now, so maybe I can keep trying and actually be faster at it! I really love Knit Simple magazine. They always have projects of all sizes and all skill levels. I bought the latest one and hope to make a few things from it soon.

I have a lot going on this week, not the least of which is my birthday on Saturday!! Casey has surprise plans and told me to have nothing planned for Friday or Saturday, including lesson planning etc.. So I need to load up the first half of my week with planning lessons and editing photos! "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I've had some sewing failures lately. Like 5 pieces of clothing in a row that I attempted didn't work out. I spent a lot of time Saturday on a dress out of a fabric that I really loved, only for it to turn out too tight in the hips. I've made the pattern before twice, but never the slim skirt version. In my hips' defense, the finished measurement on that pattern piece was way off. I'll be making more muslins in the future, I think, to avoid wasting lovely fabrics.

Then, yesterday, I took some family photos for a friend and most of them weren't great because the sun was being crazy. Luckily, they're good friends and we see each other all the time and we can try again, but still. I think I have a good eye for composition and I know how to use my camera manually really well, but I need practice with light. So, it was kind of a flop, but I learned from it.

They weren't all bad, I really love these few:

And there were other good ones, so maybe it's not as bad as I thought, ha! Thankful for friends who let me practice on them ;)

Back to sewing: after several wadders, I wanted to make something fast and easy, and sure to work. My mom made this first and I loved it, so I asked about the pattern. It's the Kirsten Kimono Tee and is a free downloadable pattern (yay for free!). FYI, on patternreview.com, you actually have to put it in your cart and "purchase" it for $0 and then you'll get the email with the download.
I whipped it up yesterday and am wearing it today and loving it.
This is a Project Runway rayon knit and is sooooooo soft. It requires no undershirt (rare these days, everything is so see-through, right!? Or is that just me??) and is perfectly comfortable. Might be the most comfy top I own, actually. BTW, I did lower the neckline a little, as I don't look good in the crew neck styles. I already have plans for another one, but first...

Super Mom!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

pinned it, tried it, loved it

Pinning things on Pinterest is fun, but even more fun is the putting to the test of some of those pins. I've had a few duds. Also, not everything you read on Pinterest is true. Like a pumpkin spice smoothie that touts only 40 calories--too good to be true. And the "just like Cracker Barrel crock pot chicken and dumplings." Click on the link and notice the recipe doesn't mention Cracker Barrel OR crock pot!

But anyway, I've tried some new recipes that I've pinned and have three to share that were stellar. Not just good in an average way, but reaaaallllly good.

First up, I have a new go-to recipe for banana bread. This cinnamon swirl banana bread is to die for! It didn't last 24 hours here. Must buy more bananas ... and then keep Kelby from eating them all before they have a chance to get oldish ;)

Next up, these one pan baked fajitas seem way too easy to be this tasty. Usually fajitas seem like a lot of work, but these were fast and incredible. A keeper, for sure! Think I'll make them again next week, actually :)

Third, I made this Rosemary chicken recipe last night (I've been loving my new dutch oven that my mom gave me) and it was amaaaaaazing. The flavors infuse perfectly, I couldn't ask for a tastier one dish meal. And, added bonus, all three of my kids ate it and loved it. Even the mushrooms. That's a victory around here.

How about you? Tried any awesome recipes found on Pinterest lately?? If you'd like to follow my "Yum" board on Pinterest, you can find that here. Feel free to link me to your food board, if you have one, in the comments! I've been finding Pinterest is my biggest source of foodie inspiration these days!

Monday, October 15, 2012

wedding, costumes, giveaway

Hello there!! I had my first ever wedding shoot last night. I was NERVOUS! The most special day of two peoples' lives and I'm in charge of documenting it?! But, it went fine. Better than fine, it was great :) It was a beautiful backyard setting and the yard backed to open space. It was in the evening just before sundown so I couldn't have asked for better light. My friend and wedding planner Terri made everything look so beautiful and the small crowd of loving friends and supporters made it so intimate and celebratory.

I think this shot of the bride waiting upstairs for things to begin is just perfection:

In other news, I've been seriously plugging away at costumes. The Belle dress is almost done (worst pattern instructions EVER! So many mistakes). But, in the spirit of "we're moving twice next year", we've been diligently doing a number on the amount of stuff we have, particularly the kind of stuff that just gets stored and not used. So, I'd like to give away some handmade costumes of years gone by!!! Yay! Lucky you :)

Here they are. I made these felt cupcake costumes three years ago, when I think my girls were 2 and 4 (I think). They were lent to some sweet sisters last year, but I now have no use for them. Rather than keep storing and moving them, I'd like to let someone else enjoy them! I don't have any stellar pics, but these will have to do:
Sooooo, if you would like a chance to win, leave a comment and let me know if you'd like one or both (they will fit kids ages 2-5, I think). If the first person chosen wants both, they're yours, but if they only need one, I'll choose another winner for the other one. I will choose winners a week from today. I can only afford to ship to U.S. addresses, sorry!

Added for clarification: Both cupcakes are the same size, but they will fit girls between 2 and 5, they would just be shorter on a 5 year old, obviously :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

everyday snippets

I'm considering a camera upgrade and my friend and photographer let me borrow one to try out, so I've been playing around with it :) So fun, I just love taking pictures!! I could have taken photos of meaningful things and sewing projects and perfectly decorated little areas, but I didn't ;) Here's some random snippets of our everyday life, though.

Kelby took this photo of me and Layla!! That's right, my four-year-old. Love. 
 Our backyard view. Beautiful. My mom says of Fall, "Only God can make something so beautiful out of death."
 Just playing with the camera :)

 My new mixer!!!!!! So excited about this. No more kneading pizza dough by hand for me! We found in new in box, never opened, on Craigslist :)
 I've been reading L.M. Montgomery's (of Anne of Green Gables fame) Emily trilogy. Loving it. I found this series plus her A Tangled Web at a used book store. That one made my most favorite books list, I really liked it.
 Drying dishes. My mom gave me that red cast iron dutch oven in front the other day. I made dinner in it last night and it was fun :)
 Natalie started taking piano lessons. Brings back memories for me. She's doing great and loving it!

 This hutch was my Granny's. It's one of my favorite things. Legend goes, she set it on fire at some point, which is why it got painted white.  Kelby picked the Kleenex hehe.
 I found this awesome Japanese bowl from the 50's (I researched it) at a Paris street market recently. Makes me smile every day!
 Uhhh, out of order, but these are just more backyard pics.
 This one of Layla is my new desktop background. I love it!
That's all.
I finished a pretty awesome dinosaur costume last night! Maybe you'll get to see it before Halloween, but if I let him wear it long enough for a photo, he might never take it off, ha! The Egyptian Princess costume only lacks jewels and I'll start on Belle tonight, yay! WITH my brand new, shiny, perfect serger :D

Thursday, October 4, 2012

maple leaf mini

Fall has definitely arrived in Colorado! The weather turned today and there may even be some snow flurries in Saturday's forecast. Or it could be 80 degrees...you know how reliable those weather guys are ;)

Yesterday I got out our few, but beloved Fall decorations. This year I have a new one, though!! I've been seeing these maple leaf blocks here and there and recently pinned this one. I was inspired to create a mini quilt of my own and came up with this:

 It was so much fun. I've been wanting to make a Fall quilt for a few years, but a mini quilt was actually doable, so I went with it :) I tried my hand at organic line quilting and really love the effect.
 It looks great over my little teacher desk!
A few other favorite Fall decorations:
My basket of fabric apples...
 And, that's right, I have Pilgrim Cupies! I know you're jealous ;) My Ganny made these many, many years ago. She signed their little tooshies. Love them.

So, happy Fall to you!! If you'd like to follow my quilting board on Pinterest, you can find that here. There's some super inspirational stuff on there! And here's one more for the road, of us in the mountains last weekend. So glad we carved out time to do that!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I love making my kids' Halloween costumes!! We start looking at patterns online the day the Fall pattern catalogs come out and the kids all have so much fun deciding.

This year I will have one Egyptian Princess...
 One Belle (Natalie has wanted to be Belle almost since last Halloween--she has the next several years' costumes already planned out too. Ha!)

 And one cute, cuddly, green T-Rex! I think I'm most excited about this one. I don't get all that excited about the princess dresses anymore, to be honest, but they sure do make my girls happy :)
I cut them all out yesterday and today so I can get started sewing! As I was cutting out that Belle dress, though, I was lamenting the recent demise of my serger (long story, with this lesson learned: do not buy a used serger on Ebay). I've been saving parts of my allowance for a new one and have it all picked out on Amazon and I've saved quite a chunk. I was hoping to use my b-day money (in November) to complete my stockpile, but after telling Casey I was a little bummed about the prospect hemming all those ravely, slippery layers of princess dress, he generously told me to just order it a little early. YAY! Happy dance. Let me tell ya, once you get used to having a serger, it is hard to go back!!

Anyway, back to why I love making costumes! I am not the kind of mom who stores the Halloween costumes away in a basement box for future Halloweens--no way, my kids like to wear them as dress up clothes all year long! Which makes it that much more worth my time :) I take extra care with the seam finishing just for this reason. The dress-up clothes I have made have outlasted even the "real thing" Disney Princess dresses that we've owned (which are crazy expensive and thus, we have only owned them via hand-me-downs or the result of some oober clearance at the Disney Store, haha.)

As for me, I'm hoping to be Jane Austen for Halloween, because what woman doesn't want to wear a Regency era dress once in her life?? We'll see if I have time, though ;)

What are YOU going to be?? Or your kids? Are you making costumes??

Monday, October 1, 2012

Busy Blogger

Okay, I may not be busy at blogging lately, but I have certainly been busy :)

Busy reading good books...
 Busy writing poetry...
Busy playing with oil pastels and symmetry...

Busy instructing little minds and encouraging little hearts.

All while sipping tea, of course...
Somehow the phrase, "Who's turn to choose our morning tea?" completely averts the school time whinies. I don't know why it works, but I'm thankful. Thus, tea has become our morning ritual.

So, while I don't like how little I've been blogging, and would like to blog more because I love it and it's good for the spirits, I feel good about my reasons for the sparse posting. However, I have a few goals for October--one is to exercise every day this month (while this habit was easy peasey over the summer, I'm finding it harder to fit in during the school year) and the other is to at least take photos of something every day, because a big reason for not blogging is not having the needed pictures. I have sewing projects that have been done for weeks! And one great little Fall mini quilt that I'm almost done with. And two cute little hats I crocheted for my two cute little girls!

What have you been busy with??