Sunday, April 29, 2012

Maxi Slip

One of my clothing pet peeves (for myself and anyone I may see) is when you can see a girl’s legs through her skirt. I figure if the skirt is meant to cover, then the legs should look covered. I’m a fan of slips. So when I wore my simple maxi dress today, it really bothered me that my slip landed a few inches above the knee--leaving plenty of leg to be seen below that when the sun hit my skirt.

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(Side note—I love that the maxi I made last summer will probably last me through this whole summer while pregnant.)

So when I was spending some gift cards at Joann’s today and picking out an adorable blue and white stripe to make another maxi (can’t wait to make it and show you!), I made sure and pick up some light weight, white lining fabric. But then as I grabbed a knit for another maxi (I’m seeing lots of maxi dresses in my future), I thought maybe the best use for that lining fabric would be to just make a maxi slip—that way I wouldn’t have to line each individual dress.

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While this is probably one of the least exciting projects I’ve ever made, it’s sure to be one of the most useful. I made it as a simpler version of my maxi dress tutorial, not lining the bodice, using a little less material for the width (but not much, I still want it to fit my growing belly and allow me to take full steps) and made it about 8 inches shorter than my maxi dres.

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I didn’t think about a zipper at the store, so I just used my lightest colored one on hand. And then used ribbon for the straps. A super simple, quick project that I was thrilled to slip (ha, pun intended) under my dress and feel so much more confident in what I was wearing. And considering I have the fabric for three more maxi dresses all ready to go, I think this slip is going to get a lot of wear.

17 weeks

And, why not throw in a belly shot? I’m seventeen weeks now and feel like I’ve gone through a growth spurt in the past few days. We find out what we’re having in two weeks and I’m so excited for it! The second trimester is treating me well now that I’m taking Prilosec for my heartburn (which I have even when I’m not pregnant, and then when there’s a baby in my belly it gets really bad), I’m feeling really good! Now if the germies could just stay away from my family, we’d be doing really well!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Crossover Pinafore Dress

My friend (who I made the cupcakes for) had her baby! Little Emma came very quickly after making her parents wait an extra four days after the due date. I got to snuggle with her for quite a while this evening and LOVED it. There’s nothing quite like holding a sleeping newborn and I’m in love.


I came across THIS adorable crossover pinafore dress by Smashed Peas and Carrots and knew I had to make one for Emma Irene.


I’ve had four fun seersuckers for little girls sitting on my shelf for almost a year now, and couldn’t resist the pink and purple combo for this dress. And blue buttons made a fun color contrast. I did do a fairly horrible job around the curves (I was trying to size the dress down a bit as I went, so the straps and tabs for the buttons were smaller than the pattern) and reversed where the buttons/holes went since I thought the curve on the bodice turned out better than the straps.


My favorite part is the crisscross in the back. Jace literally helped me make it. He always wants to push all the buttons on my sewing machine making it nearly impossible for me to sew when he’s around. This time I figured out that there are two buttons he can push to help me—the one to lower and raise the needle and the one to reverse. I just had to keep repeating, “Wait for Mommy. Not yet. In a minute. Wait for mommy then you can push the button.” He liked it when the machine sewed quickly, saying “woa!”


And the lining is just too fun. I’m hoping this won’t be too big for Emma when the summer heat finally hits us here in western Oregon.

We find out in less than three weeks what our baby is and I’m so hoping it’s a little girl! I would just love to be able to make her a bunch of these!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Simply Delicious Cupcakes


One of my closest friends turned 30 this week. Her birthday happened to be two days before her due date, so she and her husband thought it would be wise to keep things low key and simple on her special day. Nolan and I joined them at Dairy Queen for dessert. For such a monumental birthday, I figured she’d probably need some cake as well, so I made a batch of cupcakes for her.

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I used my favorite recipe for dressing up a box cake mix, and homemade butter cream frosting. Then I colored the frosting a light lavender and sprinkled it with edible purple glitter.

Want to be able to make gourmet style cupcakes without having to spend a lot of time and effort?

Simply Delicious Cupcakes

-1 Box mix of your choice (I used Devils’ Food)
-1 small box of instant pudding in coordinating flavor (I used white chocolate but have also enjoyed chocolate fudge)
-3/4 cup oil
-3/4 cup milk
-4 eggs

Mix all ingredients according to package instructions and bake. My first set that went in the oven came out HUGE, so for the second set I only filled the cups half full and got the perfect cupcakes. I love it when a cake is so moist you can hear it when you cut it.

For the frosting, I used The Kitchen Magpie’s recipe found HERE. It really is the best buttercream frosting I’ve ever had—so light and delicately sweet. I agree with her, the cream and salted butter are what make it amazing.

If you’re thinking homemade buttercream is just too much effort—it really is simple! I whipped mine up while the cupcakes were cooling.


Thanks for stopping by.

Parties I like to link up with:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tutorial: Pleated Neckline Top

This is a tutorial I shared over at Kojo Designs last month and thought I'd post here in case you missed it.

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This top with a pleated neck line and loose middle (a must these days since I’m pregnant with my second baby and stuck between normal clothes and maternity wear) was inspired by this top at a boutique in Utah. I fell in love with its simplicity and cuteness through a Facebook picture.

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I used a linen-like material that I found at Joanne’s and I like the way the pleats at the neckline subtly hide in the print. With so many shirts with gathers these days, it’s fun to see pleats.

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Another thing I loved about the inspiration piece was the exposed zipper. While I can get this top on and off without needing the zipper, I think it’s fun to add a little interest to the back.

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And the bottom of the shirt is trimmed with a six inch band of black fabric. The print material is normal shirt length, so the band takes it to almost a tunic.

Want to make one for yourself? I bought a yard and a half of the print, half a yard of the black material, a zipper and a pack of bias tape. My shirt would me a small/medium, so just get additional fabric if you’re needing a larger size. I think this top could be very flattering for many different body types.

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I used a loose fitting shirt as my pattern, and when cutting the front piece, I set the shirt a few inches in from the fold, that way the front would initially start out much wider than I would need in a typical top.

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I used the back of the shirt as a patter for the back, this time not adding any extra material. As you can see in the picture, the front piece is much wider than the back. At this point I also cut my black fabric into a long six inch strip, and then cut two pieces—one the width of the front of the shirt, the other the width of the back.

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Sewing right sides together, attach the solid color strips to the front and back pieces and press the seams.


The next step is pleating the neckline of the front. If you haven’t done pleats before, don’t be intimidated! They’re easy! I started by 1) finding the middle of the neckline. 2) Then measured a half inch over from that and 3) pinned to mark the spot. 4) Measured a half inch from that and pinned again. 5) Folded the fabric so one pin was on top of the other (it was just less than a quarter inch overlap) and removed the two marking pins and pinned the fold which makes it your pleat. 6) Measure a half inch from the edge of the pleat to mark the first pin of the next pleat and repeat.

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I originally did six pleats on either side of the center line, but later the neckline gapped a bit, so I just added an extra pleat on each side. After pinning, I made sure the fold continued down for a few inches and pressed to help hold things in place.

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I then sewed down each pleat (make sure you get all the layers at once) a few inches. The outside pleats had the shortest line of stitching and the middle ones the longest. I used black thread because I liked the way it contrasted on the white better than how white would contrast with the black print.

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The next step was adding the exposed zipper. Most exposed zippers you see these days have the whole thing sewn directly on the outside of a garment. I liked how my inspiration piece still had a finished affect, while showing a lot of the zipper. I found the center of the back piece, and cut a slit the length of the teeth part of the zipper (not of the entire length of the fabric around it).

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Then at the bottom of the slit, and cut two tiny snips angling away from the slit.

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I folded the sides of the slit under about a quarter inch and the little point at the bottom under as well. Then I slide the zipper under the slit and pinned it in place.

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Using my zipper foot I sewed it in place. This is what the wrong side looks like. It really was simple to do!
The last steps of finishing off the top were to assemble the shirt—sewing right sides together at the shoulders and side seams. I then trimmed the neckline and arm holes out with the black bias tape. I like the structure it adds, as well as not having to worry about making sure I finishing everything off perfectly. I used a rolled hem foot to hem the black band, but you could just do a basic double fold hem. I just didn’t want to deal with pressing and pinning.

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I’m really happy with the way it turned out. I like it worn just straight as is…

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Crochet Hook Holder

My mother-in-law is an avid crocheter. I don’t think we’ve had a visit from her lately where she wasn’t accompanied by her crochet bag and an ongoing project. Her birthday was Saturday and I thought the perfect gift for her would be something to hold all of her crochet hooks.

crochet hook holder

It was a simple project, so I had fun adding rick rack and cute ribbon to make it a little more fun. In the picture above, I added some dashed lines so you can see where some of the stitch lines were to create the hook pockets.

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From the outside you can clearly see where all the lines are. I suppose I could have used brown bobbin thread to hide the stitching, but I thought the pink contrast was fun. There are 13 pockets for hooks in graduated sizes, and one larger pocket for her to keep some scissors or a measuring tape.

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Then you just roll it up and tie it with the ribbon. I made it a few inches taller than any of her hooks will be so if she wants to avoid the possibility of the hooks slipping out, she can just fold the top down before rolling it up. I love homemade gifts—especially when they’re simple yet perfect for the person receiving it.

While I didn’t follow or make a tutorial for it, I did find a few online if you’re looking for one. Check out THIS ONE or THIS ONE.

Thanks for stopping by!

Parties I like to link up with:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ah, Saturday

I’ve noticed Saturdays aren’t quite as fantastic now that I don’t work. I still love them—Nolan’s home all day. But so much is like every other day for me.

Another thing I’ve realized is that now that I’m home full time, I am so content. And I don’t feel the need for therapy any more. Hence the reason I’ve crafted and created much less now that I have more time. Interesting, huh? I get to create just to create now, but that means I also need to motivate myself to create, which takes a little more effort than creating to escape.

I had a craft fail this week. I saw a really cute dried lemon wreath at Days of Chalk and Chocolate and wanted to make one as a bridal shower gift for a friend. I researched drying lemons.

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Bought 15 beautiful lemons for under $5.

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Sliced them up and set them up to dry.

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Into the oven they went (at a very low temperature) for 2 hours. They were still FAR from dry, so they went back in for another hour. Still not dry, but less moist so I thought I’d dry making the wreath anyways. Yeah, hot glue doesn’t work if there is ANY moisture. So they went back into the oven for another two hours, followed by just sitting in there over night. They were even less moist in the morning, but still not the dried lemons I was hoping for. I tried to put the wreath together anyways, after all, the shower was in a few hours. Once again, fail. So I gave her a Target gift card instead. All this was on Monday/Tuesday. And here we are, it’s Saturday, and my lemon slices STILL aren’t completely dry. And they’re really ugly. Like the peels are a dark brown (probably from baking too much) and the inside is just a lighter shade of brown. I threw away the ugliest ones and saved a few, hoping for some new inspiration.

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We had a happy Easter and I enjoyed having us all wearing coordinated outfits. Toby thought he should be a part of the family picture at the last minute and leapt over to join us. A second later, Jace freaked out and the photo session was over.

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This is what my craft/guest room can look like on any given day. (I do improve it a bit before someone comes to stay with us. I’m not that bad of a hostess.) This was a “before” picture I took last fall before starting to clean it. While I did get it cleaned up and organized quite a bit, obviously, I never quite reached an “after” point. This room will become the baby’s room or Jace’s big boy room (depending on the gender of the new baby) and everything will be consolidated into Nolan’s closet. My mom flies in this afternoon, and I told her one of the things I want to do while she’s here is to go through the room and PURGE. Everything will have to fit into one of three categories: keep, sell/donate, and throw away. I think she’s salivating over the chance to help with this.

And, in case you were wondering, I have maintained a clean downstairs in my house since Easter. And I’ve enjoyed doing it. That fact may sound trivial to most of you, but for me, it’s huge. Now the upstairs… I should probably go get that taken care of before my mom comes!

Happy Saturday and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Decor

When I decorated my mantel in January my goal was to keep it mostly seasonal neutral with a few elements that could be changed throughout the year.

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I had a lot of fun adding some spring touches.

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The vase had some springy flowers from last year added.

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A painted and distressed wooden bowl on a candlestick now holds brown paper filler and two painted wooden eggs.

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The lantern has more filler and three more of the eggs. I had fun painting these a while back while my niece spent a few days with us. I painted them in muted pink, green, yellow, blue and brown, and then speckled them with dark brown.

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In my dining room I really wanted to brighten things up. I love having so much red in my house, but sometimes it starts to feel a little dark.

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My burlap roses were joined by cut up pieces from last year’s mantel garland.

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I usually have a large and small heart shaped You Are Special plates hanging on the plate rack, but felt that they were too dark next to so many light touches, so I swapped them out for two plates from my great-grandma’s china.

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On my buffet I grouped my bird houses and nest from last year’s spring mantel with more cut up pieces from the garland.

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The opposite side holds an old mason jar with raffia filler and more garland, another bird house and a word art that my mom gave me for Christmas. You can see on the shelf just beyond that I have a neat stoneware crock with muslin roses and more garland. Behind it is my “Simplify” sign.

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Across the mirror I hung my mom’s Pottery Barn knock-off Happy Easter eggs.

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And some happy white tulips completed the springy touches on the table.

I love looking around at all the lighter colored touches and feel like they really brighten up our house. And the best part? With all this decorating, the only items I purchased this time around were the tulips and the jar they’re in.

Thanks for stopping by!

Parties I like to link up with:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Because Sometimes You Can’t [and shouldn’t] Do It All


Today I picked up this maternity dress from Kohl’s as a back up Easter dress. I would love to have my dress that I’ve been working on all ready to go. But yesterday didn’t go as planned (yay pregnancy!) and that was when I planned on doing the bulk of my sewing. We’re hosting Nolan’s family for dinner on Sunday and I have a lot left to do to get the house ready. I’d rather have my house in order than wear a homemade dress. And I’d rather feel like I’ve gone into Easter with the right focus than feel rushed and frazzled and tired. So if I get around to finishing my dress, fantastic. If I don’t, I have something cute to wear and I WILL finish the dress and my The Making of a Dress series next week.


The thing I do love about the dress I picked up is it will go really sweetly with what Jace will be wearing—this sweater vest and polo (also from Kohl’s) with khaki pants. I’ll wear a white cardigan with my dress and have Nolan wear khakis and a white polo and we’ll be quite the cutely coordinated family!

And no, Kohl’s did not sponsor this post in any way. I just love having a coupon to take 20% off already discounted items.

What are you going easy on these days since you, too, probably can’t do it all?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Making of a Dress Part Two: Piecing

the making of a dress piecing

Yesterday I kicked off this The Making of a Dress mini series by telling you about how I come up with the design. Today I’ll show you how I come up with the pattern pieces. If you’re wanting a more in depth tutorial, check out this post over at Kojo Designs for how to make your own sewing blocks.

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Yesterday I drew out what I thought my pattern pieces should look like. The challenge then became translating those little drawings into something that would actually fit my body. I was doing this at a time when there wasn’t anyone around to help with measurements, so instead I used a dress that fits me well as my sizing guide.

sketch for patterning

The first step was figuring out where the lines of the new dress would line up with those of the current dress. As you can see in the picture above, I figured out where the shape of the yoke and the gathering line for the body of the dress would be.

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Then, using freezer paper (it was the best pattern making material I had on hand and I have a HUGE roll of it), I sketched the width of the shoulder straps and the shape of the yoke.

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I cut out my rough shape and laid it on the dress to see if the sizing was what it needed to be.

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I then needed to make it so the pattern piece would be symmetrical (my rough drawing definitely wasn’t), so I folded it in half and traced around it, leaving an extra 1/4” for seam allowances. And then I had my front pattern piece. I did the same thing for the back.

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(Excuse the ugly stained carpet and toys in the background. Just some real life sewing!)

The body of the dress was a lot easier to sketch out. As I explained yesterday, I added a slight curve to the hem of the front in order to allow for extra space in the dress for my belly.

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Here are all my pattern pieces cut out. Makes me happy!

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Then I pinned and cut the fabric. As I was looking at the material, I realized that I had planned to cut the body of the dress a little wider than I needed it to be. I didn’t want the gathered fabric to become too bulky, so I just moved the pattern piece in by about 1.5” on the fold.

So far in the sewing process, I’m happy with how it’s coming together. The steps I laid out for myself are working as I hoped they would and the pieces are coming together well. Hopefully it continues this way and the dress actually fits! I always get frustrated when I take this type of care and attention to detail yet miscalculate something.

Thanks for stopping by!