Wednesday, June 27, 2012

summer skirts

Skirts and Summer go together like P.B & J. if you ask me! If you're not into tube tops and Daisy Dukes, skirts are simply the best way to keep cool, am I right?? Especially in light, swingy fabrics like rayon, of which I had a few chunks set aside just for this purpose!

I had bought New Look 6129 a couple months ago because it's a long, basic skirt and I needed a pattern for one like this. Now that I've made it, I know I've found a pattern I'll use over and over again.
I love it in this classy floral rayon from Denver Fabrics! The side slit makes it extra cool on hot days. The fit is perfect, the waist isn't super high (like other similar patterns) and the pockets are awesome. I will absolutely be making this again, short, long and medium lengths. I like it that much :)

This next skirt was a happy accident. I had bought a rayon lawn that was an interesting border print, planning to use it for a Vogue dress pattern. With the border, though, I just couldn't make all the pieces fit. So, I cut out this pattern instead. I made view A with the tiny ruffle around the collar ... and hated it. The bodice was awful, it was kinda big, didn't lay right and was just way too "sweet" looking for me this season. My style has long been evolving away from the juvenile sweet look. Even things I made and liked last Summer in the sweeter styles are just no longer doing it for me. 

But, I really liked the main part of this print and you just cannot beat the flowiness of a rayon lawn! So I hacked the bodice off and turned it into a simple flowy skirt. I'll admit, I usually cannot pull of the full skirt look, but paired with this fitted Newport News blouse from my thrift store, it really works! I feel classy, cool and pretty in this outfit and I'm glad I could salvage the fabric! Actually, another favorite Summer skirt of mine, a long one, also morphed out of a dressmaking disaster. I'll have to take a pic of that next time I wear it. 

Now, I just have to share this. Am I the only one who despises all the polyester, rubber-band-around-the-waist, never-the-right-length slips, especially in the heat of Summer?? Really, who wants to put on a nice cool sundress or swingy skirt and then have to put a layer of sweaty polyester under it?? I had some white rayon jersey sitting around, just waiting to be turned into a solution for this. I went to Hobby Lobby for some white Fold over elastic (also known as FOE) and traced a well-fitting slip to make this:
It fits, it sits on my hips instead of squeezing my waist like a vice, it stays put and man, is it so much more comfortable to wear than all my other slips!! I was concerned since it's jersey that it would cling funny to my skirts or be staticky, but I had no problems with that at all. It was 106 degrees when I went downtown for a luncheon yesterday and I never had to think about my slip at all. Ain't that a first! I added some pretty lace to the bottom just because :) I plan to make more cool slips like this in several lengths and maybe some little tap pants to serve the same purpose too. Soooooo glad I finally did this!

In other news, I'm sure you've heard about Colorado and our crazy wildfires. Never do I remember so much fire in our beautiful state. The fires are still raging and in a big city like Colorado Springs, it is especially scary and sad. Please pray for Colorado and those that have been ousted from or already lost their homes! Also pray for those who begin to question the Lord's providence at times like these--God is always, only good, even in the midst of devastation.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bookshelf revamp

I plugged my camera in today and realized I have plenty of pics to blog this week! yay! I'll start with my newly de-cluttered and organized bookshelves, though! Like a dummy, I didn't take before pics. Boooo. But, that's okay, just trust me. They weren't horrible, but they weren't pretty either.

After getting rid of a lot of books and moving what was left around, I'm very happy with how they look now!
Here's the full view (this is our family room, by the way):

 All the shelves used to be crammed with books, so there was no space to make them look pretty. Now there is! I scoped out pics of pretty bookshelves on Google images and Pinterest and found that stacking collections and similar sizes of books together can make a big difference. What's with the people who turn the books spine-side-in so they all look white from the front? Um, don't you need to see the titles?? That's a trend I don't get.
 Since this side is less visible from most of the room, I used the bottom shelf for the less attractive stuff--my weights, our stack of library books and our cases of movies and CD's. The blue basket on top holds library movies, work-out DVD's (Casey and I are doing Insanity! but that's another blog post) and some other movies. I try to keep as much junk off the mantle as possible.
 I found the awesome vintage Corningware loaf pan at Saver's recently! It holds remotes :)
 The books we have left are ones we love and definitely will read in the future. I passed along some vintage books that I knew would never get read. It's my philosophy that even vintage things should be useful or get passed on. All of our kids' books and homeschool books are on other shelves in our dining room/homeschool room.

 My cookbooks got pared down too! One can only use so many, right? Especially now, with Pinterest and all!
The stack of quilts gets used almost daily and just makes me happy. So it stays :)

That's that! Amazing how much cleaner and nicer it looks in here now! Since you're looking at it, any ideas about my fireplace?? I don't love the greenish tint of the metal, but I'm not really sure what to do to make it prettier. I could paint it, but what color? Or I could replace it with something salvaged. I dunno. Thoughts?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Just a dress I forgot to blog and a purging update

Whoops. I made this about a month ago and never got around to posting it! Pics were taken and everything, it just slipped my mind.

This is Butterick 5456 and it's one I've made before--you can see that version here (second dress down); it's probably my fave handmade dress of all time. I still wear it quite a bit!

This knit didn't work quite as well. It's a rayon jersey, but definitely has more stretch than the black knit I used before. I still really like it, but it just droops a bit more, causing the arm holes to gape a bit and the back to barely cover my bra under the key hole. I have to watch my p's and q's, which I don't want to do in an easy Summer dress, ya know?? Maybe I can find a way to take the whole thing up at the shoulders. We'll see.

I do not have a fake tan, I just couldn't get the colors right when editing these photos, hence the orange skin, ha!

In other news, Casey and are lovin' the new uncluttered vibe that some of the rooms in our house have acquired these last few weeks. I decided to keep some of the scrapbook supplies, since a lot of that doubles as other craft supplies and for the girls to use later, but the stamps and ink are going. If you're local and interested, let me know!

In the spirit of getting rid of both physical and mental clutter, I've decided the Etsy shop is both--the stuff takes up space and the mental burden is just too much, with the shipping, the photos, the ironing, the listing time, etc... Plus, you really have to be networked with lots of other things online, as well as active in the Etsy forums to be successful at it and I'd like to spend less time online, not more. That was the biggest deciding factor for me. I hadn't determined if the shop would be a long-term thing or not, but now that I've decided, I'm relieved. I made a nice little chunk of change and now it's time to pass the stuff along! Again, if you're local and want to dig through my vintage patterns, they're yours for the taking :) Just tell me soon, cause I'm not planning on keeping them around for long. I've obtained some vintage linens recently that I'll be passing along to friends who are into that sort of thing.

Whew! The purging is going well and feeling good! It's been a great week! It's AMAZING how much easier it is to keep a clean house when there's just a little less stuff!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Edith Schaeffer

You may have heard of Francis and Edith Schaeffer and their ministry called L'Abri in the Swiss Alps. Edith Schaeffer has been a favorite author of mine for quite some time now. She is a godly wife and mother and has raised several kids in an involved and intentional way that truly inspires me. It started with this book, which my sister recommended to me:
Beautiful, beautiful book! I promise if you read this, you'll be encouraged and inspired!

Then I bought this one:
Equally great!

Recently, I picked up this one on Amazon:

Love, love, love!! It's sort of a compilation of short writings of Edith's thoughts on parenting. So, so good. And since the sections are short, I read just one a day in my special quiet time chair with my coffee. 

Consider her thoughts on loving relationships:

"Compassion and understanding of what another person needs comes through having been cared for ... A family is the place where this kind of care should be so frequently given that it becomes natural to think of the needs of other people ... Love isn't just happiness in ideal situations with everything going according to daydreams of family life or married life or parent-child closeness and confidences. Love has work to do. Hard and sacrificial work--going on when it would be easy to be provoked and think evil. (p. 28)"

In those rare moments when the children are playing peacefully, the house is clean, dinner is in the oven, a candle is lit and you're having a good hair day, it can be easy to think, "this is what family life should always be like." Oh, not true! Love has work to do!! And love is so much better exercised when kids are bickering, when the laundry is way behind, when dinner is burned, when the husband is late and when life is just a mess! 

I think if you go to and type in Edith Schaeffer, you could pick any one of her books and be blessed :) 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

yard sale day and thoughts on purging

We had a yard sale today! It was really fun. We were not in it for the money, we really just wanted to be rid of some "stuff". The kids have been crazy excited about the yard sale prospect for weeks, especially after I told them they could keep the money from whatever toys they sell!!

We did pretty good! And since we were outside all day anyway, we decided it was a great time to teach Natalie to ride her bike with no training wheels. She was nervous. But, we really need her training wheels for Layla's bike cause the ones on hers are rusted and so they just bend upward all the time. Ulterior motive ;) But, she did great, she practiced allllll day long and was doing really well by the end of the day!
Kelby got a big boy bike this week too! We found him a Buzz Lightyear bike on Craigslist, my favorite store ;)
He enjoyed "fixing" it with his tools, too.

So, now that I've purged a nice amount of stuff, I'm in the mood to purge more. A LOT more! We are a military family and are planning on a move a year from now. Thinking about moving all this stuff we have completely overwhelms me! I'm a pretty organized person, I like for everything to have a place, and for now, it does, but there's still just way too much.

My question is, when you're a homeschooling family and have several hobbies, when do you draw the line for what to keep when you literally will probably "use it someday in the future"? For example (because the homeschooling community is super generous!), I was recently given several boxes of books and resources for schooling. Most are childrens' books, many animal books, some preschool workbooks, etc... But, I can and do get these types of books at the library. Does the convenience of having a book on Koalas at my fingertips when an Australia unit comes up outweigh the amount of space it's taking to have so many books around?? I dunno.

Also, I've decided to ixnay scrapbooking from my list of hobbies. Sad, I know, but how liberating too! Scrapbooking comes with a lot of guilt!! I don't get to do it very often and it's easy for this particular hobby to make one feel "behind" in yet another way. And while I do enjoy it (the two times a year when I get to do it), the truth is, if I have a couple hours to devote to a hobby, I sew. Or work on a house project. So, I'm no longer a scrapbooker. I'm going to have yearly photo books like these made instead, only very basic. Then, get this, I'm going to DELETE the year's photos from my computer *GASP*.

But, anyway, what to do with the scrapbook stuff?? I'm sure the girls would enjoy it, but I'm more of a mind to either sell the whole lot or donate it all at once to a good cause ... rather than move with it ... across the country ... twice next year, it appears ... until the girls are old enough for it. I dunno.

It's hard to let go. Both of the past and of the once-hoped-for future. But, I think I'll be glad if I can do it.

Thoughts?? Encouragement? Success story? Commiseration???

Friday, June 1, 2012

I have an idea!

I took a meal to a young couple today because she's recovering from surgery. But, as much as I want to help (and food is a great, tangible way to help!) I struggle with what to make! I came up with something good, I think, but I need more ideas. I'm so not a casserole person and so thinking outside the one-dish-meal, what good "delivery" meals do YOU have as go-to's? Wanna share?? I'll give you a few days to think about it, then we'll have a little link-up party here on my blog. Sound fun?? Good! Think about what meals you've delivered in the past or what recipes you would make if you get the chance and share it with us! How's next Tuesday sound? Good?? Good :)  Spread the word! I'd love to have a button for you to grab and share, but since Picnik shut down, that is no longer my area of expertise. If you want to make one for me, though, I wouldn't say no, ha!

In other news, this kid has been rather more mischievous the usual (and his usual is already very mischievous!)  I pray daily for added grace and patience to get through a day with the Kelby Monster. He's not naughty, he's just very, very, VERY BUSY! He never quits. And he thinks his ideas are better than mine :) But, he is beyond precious and I love him oh, so much, for keeping me on my toes and being part of the sanctification process in me, just like all kids are in some way, right?

This morning I was getting dressed and Layla came up to tell me that Kelby had spilled the salt all over the floor. Then the car alarm started going off because he had gotten my keys (after he tried to clean up the salt, which only made it worse). Then, he later told me he had found my Tic-Tacs, eaten them all, then spit them out and put them back. Ew! So glad he told me. Those are my Kelby Funnies for the day.

Be thinking about your meal delivery recipes! I can't wait!!