VERY easy children's skirt

January 25, 2013
For Christmas I just HAD to have matching outfits (link) for me and Chelsea so I came up with my own design for skirts and learned that making skirts can be the easiest and funnest thing to do for you and your little girl! The adult skirt might take a little longer because it's bigger, so if you're more interested in just making your little girl look cute, here's how...

Daughter Skirt
The directions for the daughter skirt are exactly the same as the adult skirt, but different dimensions.

You will need:
Skirt - 13" of skirt fabric
Ribbon - 3x45" of ribbon fabric (45" should be the width of the fabric at the store anyway).
Stitch Picker (or whatever you call that thing)
Thread, etc.
Step 1: Place the fabric, right side up, fold the top of drapery fabric under 2 inches, and fold another half inch under, like a hem. Pin in place.
Step 2: Find the center of your fabric, measure 1/2" on either side of the center and draw a perpendicular line 3/4" long.

Step 3: Unpin. Set sewing machine stitch to a close zig-zag to make 1/2" (or so) button hole. Zig-zag on one side of the mark, keep your needle in the fabric, twist the fabric around so you can make a parallel zig-zag stitch to the first line, and make sure that your two stitches do not touch, but are as close to one another as possible. PRACTICE ON A SEPARATE PIECE OF FABRIC FIRST! 

Step 4: Use seam scissors (stitch picker, or whatever those things are called) to cut the fabric that's in-between the two zig-zag stitch lines. Repeat on second "button hole."

Step 5: Repin "top hem" (just like in step 1) and stitch it down. Straight stitch along the top edge of the skirt as well (the side that's folded over). The seam should be even less than a quarter inch away from the edge.

Step 6: Take your ribbon fabric and cut it to be 3x45" (45" is about the length of the fabric as is). Then cut that piece in half. So now you have two pieces that are 3x22" (approx). Fold in half with right sides together (hamburger style so you don't lose any length) and pin in place.

Step 7: Make a mark about two inches away from the end on one side of the ribbon.

Step 8: Sew using a straight stitch along the long side of the ribbon, and diagonally from the two inches mark to the folded-side corner. DO NOT close the end that is not sewn diagonally. Clip the corners and excess fabric where the diagonal is. Repeat steps 6-8 on the other ribbon.

Step 9: Turn the ribbons right-side-out using scissors gently to poke the diagonal corner out. Zig-zag stitch the open end closed, then finish off the ribbon by straight stitching around the whole thing.

Step 10: Use safety pin to move ribbon through the button holes so that the zig-zagged straight edge of the ribbon is lined up with what will be the back of your skirt. Pin it in place. Do the same with the other ribbon on the other side.
Step 11: Pin the right sides of the back of the skirt together and sew with a seam allowance of 1 inch all the way down the skirt. If it frays, fold excess of 1" fabric from seam, fold under, and stitch down (like a hem).

Step 12: Hem the bottom of the skirt, only using up 1/2" of fabric (I had excess so my hem is bigger than yours will be).

The last step is to put this cute little creation of yours on the best little creation of yours!

Like the Bow Scarf? There's a tutorial for that!


Pretty bows

January 23, 2013
Already this has been a productive week! I've been working out, having dinner ready for my man, playing with my babe, cleaning my house, and finishing projects! My secret? To do lists a.k.a. having a plan.
If you saw my post on Friday, then you saw that I've made myself a goal to run a half-marathon and even made myself a lovely graph/calendar of completion! Granted, I didn't actually write the schedule up myself, but I made it look pretty and easier to read.
But, I digress. In any case, that lovely little graph has been instrumental in my productiveness. On Sunday, I looked at the graph and planned out what I needed to do this week to have time for my workout, and that's when the meal plan came. I also knew that I wanted to get some projects done this week and that's when my weekly to do list was born.
And so we come to the real reason why I wanted to post today. I finished a pretty big project that I am SO happy with and definitely will be repeating!
It was so easy! My mother-in-law found it and suggested that I give it a try so I got the yarn and, since I already know how to do a basic garter knit, it was a sinch to make it adult-sized!

You will need:
Two colors of yarn, one for scarf and one for bow (I used regular yarn for both)
Size 10 knitting needles

26 stitches
3 feet long
4.5 inches before you're finished, regular stitch 11 stitches, and cast off for four more stitches. Cast back on for the remaining 11. There's a fantastic video to show you how to do this and a few other great tricks.

16 stitches
6.5 inches long
To make it a bow, simply wrap the yarn around the center until it's the thickness you want. Then sew the bow in the center 4.5 inches away from the end (not the same end where the button hole is).

I think next time I want to use chunky yarn for the scarf but other than that, I have no regrets about making this super cute Bow Scarf! I hope you will, too!

Cute, right? But I wasn't done with bows quite yet. I'm telling you, with all this extra time due to pre-week planning, I could SAVE THE WORLD! Or at least make something else!

I am in LOVE with this new skirt, but I'll save the tutorial for my next blog post. Until then!

It's the only way I could get her to sit still for a couple of seconds!

Obviously she was happy about it!

Gotta love the bows!

It's... a little big on her...

P.S. Here's the site I used to figure out my adult-sized Bow Scarf. Ta ta!


January 21, 2013
I love riding on the train. There's something so calming about it. The feel of land passing beneath you at such a fast pace that you almost feel like you're getting lost somewhere with the land. It's different than driving. You don't have to worry about changing lanes, drowsy drivers, or that grouchy guy who gives you the finger. It can be a time for reflection. As the train speeds ahead, leaving your past behind, you can almost see your future unraveling before you.
When I think of my past, I see times of uncertainty and doubt, accompanied by choices poorly made, or avoided all together, with tears adding to the discordant sound. I also see a staircase with a railing that's fun to slide down, a wall hanging that says "This house is full of kids and love," and the evidence that it is true playing games in one room and making cookies in the kitchen.
The present seems to be moving quickly by, just as the train moves, leaving little time to consider some of the unknown places I'm passing. But the excitement and the rush of the train propels me forward and the forever enticing destination keeps my mind busy with what I will see when I get there.
The future, although uncertain, carries with it a feeling of wonder. I think of what lies ahead and all of the beautiful things that will be there. I am also cautious. I try to be realistic as I consider the possibilities. House, more children, better income... It looks warm, inviting, and bright, but there's a part that is not entirely light. I can see that although my destination takes me to the warm glow that is my future, it is also taking me to the dark. I realize that I must take the dark with the light. I can not take the glow alone. The dark must come with it. The words from a familiar song come to mind. "I know that the night must end, and that the sun will rise," and I am reminded that even the darkest of nights can not last forever, and that when the morning comes, the sun appears even brighter than the day before.
I lean back into my chair as these thoughts of trains and time speed through my mind and I feel at peace. Relaxed... And then the doors open, and the spectators of the latest Jazz game, board. The sleeping child that was lying peacefully in front of me erupts into tears. I calmly lift her into my arms and think to myself, "The past is history, the future a mystery, but right now is a gift, and that's why it's called the present." I hold my crying child a little closer, close my eyes, and smile as the train continues onward.

My very dear friend Emily just got a home of her very own which is why my mind is turned toward the future! Of course, I know that you can't concentrate just on the destination and what life will be, or you'll get lost in it and miss out on the moment, but I think that the anticipation is part of the fun, like Christmas!
Anyway, Andrew and I helped Emily and her husband (plus little baby boy in the oven!) move into their new home and it is so beautiful and nice and it's theirs! I wouldn't say that I'm jealous really. It's true that I so desperately wish we had our own four bedroom home right now, with a basement, garage, and beautiful backyard, but the feeling that is most present in me is excitement.
Since then, Andrew and I have been talking a lot about what kind of home we want and what kind of home we will be able to afford in a few months. We've talked about town homes, condos, and fixer-uppers being in our list of affordables. I don't want the world with this first home, but my heart longs for a real home. Something that I can call my own, that we'll be able to grow in to, and stay for 10 or 15 years. I've been trying to think of anything I can do to help our family get a little extra income so that we can get that kind of home. I'm considering substitute teaching, but am totally torn. We have family nearby that could babysit Chelsea for me, but even still, I want to be with my little girl. I've also considered voice lessons and continuing the Etsy business, but to be honest, right now, the Etsy business is kind of dead. Maybe I need to be more tenacious (a.k.a. annoying to all of my friends).
Such are the thoughts of a longing heart. *sigh* But I hate to end on a slightly depressing note!
Today has been so great already! I'm keeping with my half marathon training schedule and ran two miles this morning with Chelsea. It took me 19:27 and I don't think that's too bad for not having run in a very... very... very long time. After running, Chelsea and I had our swimming lesson which went pretty well, but it was a little colder today and Chelsea mostly wanted to be snuggled close to me (which I don't mind too much) and her little bath toy. We went to the grocery store after that, came home and put away all the groceries, ate lunch, played for a little while, took a bath, cleaned the bathroom, and now little miss Chelsea is sleeping. Not bad at all! And let me tell you, that towel apron I made last week is probably one of my favorite things I've made. There's nothing better than cuddling close to your little one after a nice bath. If you haven't taken a look at it yet and/or made it, I would say: DO IT! I love it. Here's a link to the tutorial.
I hope you're having as productive day as I am! Turn on some Disney music and get to it, friends!

Half Marathon

January 18, 2013
I don't know how it happened exactly, but maybe a couple of years ago, the bug hit my family and all of a sudden, we all became runners. I like to believe that I was the first in my family to really get into running, but I guess that wouldn't be entirely true, though it is true that I have been running and enjoying it for much longer than the year my family really started getting into it.
No, it must have started with my dad. He was a long-distance runner back in the day and he was pretty good, too! He even held the high school record for a while in his event (something long-distance, but I can't remember what it was). That's back before they even had astro-turf (or whatever) and your feet would get beat up pretty bad. Yup! That's my dad!
Well, anyway, the semester after Andrew and I were married, we participated in a relay race together with some family and friends and it was one of the hardest things I had done up to that point (physically). It was also one of the best feelings I've had (even if my team got last place). That was only 2.5 miles for me and since then, I have successfully worked my way up to a comfortable 10 mile... And then I got pregnant.
I'd like to get back to where I was back then. One of my new year resolutions is to run a 5K, but I've changed my mind. Instead, I'm running a half marathon. I think the training will end up being even more brutal than the actual race in June (which costs $75.00 to join. YIKES!), but it'll be worth it, I'm sure. Anyone want to join me? Here's my training schedule:


Wish me luck! I think I'll wait until my sick stomach is better before training, though.


Towel Apron

January 16, 2013
I love orange juice. It's like happiness poured into a glass. And the fact that it helps you heal from small colds? Amazing. You know what else I love? Projects that cost me five dollars or less and only take two hours to make. Particularly when they're useful.
If you've already used one towel from your stash of wedding gifts for a hooded towel, then you've got one left for another little project, right? So try this one.

Towel Apron:
Example Apron
1 towel
12" of fabric
Sewing machine
Matching Thread
opt. hand towel or extra fabric for pocket (8x11")

Step 1: Cut 11" off the top of your towel to get it to the right length (a.k.a. not dragging on the floor by your feet).
*The V-Neck towel apron is a little more complicated, but all you really need to do is cut the towel with a V-neck instead of straight across.
Step 2: Fold your towel and apron in half. Place the apron on top of the towel, fold on top of fold, and cut from the chest to the ties.

Step 3: Cut three pieces of fabric three inches wide and at least 45" long (just cut down the side of the fabric and it will be long enough). Fold the ends down on two strips of fabric and sew them down.

Step 4: Measure the length of the neck of the towel and cut your third strip to be just one inch longer. Fold the ends over and sew them down, pin the strip to the neck (right sides together and edges aligning), and sew with 3/8" seam allowance (you're making a bias).

Step 5: Fold the fabric over to the opposite side of the towel neck, fold the edge under and pin in place. Straight stitch across the neck from the front of the apron. Repeat this along the bottom 1/4" away from the first straight stitch, and again along the top to give it a finished look.

Step 6: Repeat step five for the neck and ties of the apron leaving 12-14" coming out of the top for the neck. For the free fabric (the fabric that's not attached to the towel), just fold it over 1/4" along the edge on each side, then fold it in half. Pin in place and sew around the entire strip.

Step 7 (opt): If you want a pocket, either use a hand towel, or make your own! If you're using a hand towel, cut the towel to be 8x10". Hem the edges by zig-zagging the edge first, then folding over and straight stitching, or folding the fabric over twice then straight stitching. No exposed edges, no fraying.
Try the apron on and decide where you want the pocket. Pin it in place, then sew a straight stitch along the sides and bottom of the pocket and that's that!

If you're making your pocket from fabric, cut two identical pieces that are 8x9" (or however big you want the pocket plus 1 inch), place them right sides together, straight stitch around the rectangle leaving three or four inches unstitched, clip the corners, turn the pocket right side out, and straight stitch around the pocket folding the three or four unclosed inches closed.
Try the apron on, decide where you want the pocket, pin in place, and sew a straight stitch along the sides and bottom of the pocket!

Voila! C'est fini! The best part about this is that I was a little skeptical about it and wondered if it really would be very useful. I used it once with Chelsea and I can testify, it is useful. I like it for sure. So give it a try! But make sure you've got some Orange Juice handy. It'll make the entire two hours you spend working on it even better!

These towel aprons are also available in my Etsy shop. Be sure to stop by and see what's available.


Take it from me.

January 14, 2013
One lesson that I learned while pregnant is NEVER, and I mean NEVER cut your hair short when you're only a few weeks shy of your baby's due date. As everyone knows, the hormones in pregnant women are different than those in "regular" women. This is what I blame my extreme reaction on.
First-off, it always seems to take my hair a long time to grow to the length that I want it. When I was just a month away from Chelsea's due date, Andrew's grandma said that I should go do something for myself and I said, "Well gee. Maybe I'll go get my hair cut." I had it all planned out. I knew EXACTLY how I wanted it cut and how it would look when it was done. I walked into the new, but familiar salon, with wash basins, the salon-ists, and the mixture of nail polish and hair product smells unique to salons. I was confident in my decision, but as it always happens, I was nervous. I hadn't had anyone but Tanille from my home town touch my hair since I was 18 years old (and I happen to LOVE my hair every time she does it!) and I was nervous, but Kara was nice and seemed to know exactly what I wanted. I closed my eyes and she began to work her magic.
Before I knew it, five, maybe six inches were gone and my hair was styled. I opened my eyes to behold my new do... My lips froze in a tight smile. Horror threatened to take my composure's place as the once familiar weight of hair had been chopped off and there was nothing more than air where the beautiful brown locks had once been. I tried to lie by saying that it was exactly what I had wanted, but settled for nodding and saying thank you instead as I paid the salon and awkwardly scrambled into my car, the way that only a pregnant woman would. The entire drive home I sobbed and grabbed at the empty space where my hair had once been and lamented that she had cut it far too short. I dreaded the grande promenade that I knew Andrew's grandma would make me endure when I walked in the door and I knew I couldn't bear it! I was torn between racing home to call my mother and driving as slowly as possible to avoid the encounter with Grandma, so I chose somewhere in-between.
When I finally pulled into the garage and grabbed my things, I knew what I had to do. Before Grandma saw or said anything, I raced down the stairs into our room and shut the door. Hardly a second had passed before I threw myself onto the king-sized bed that Andrew and I shared (which is amazing when you're pregnant, by-the-way) and the tears started streaming down my face accompanied by violent sobs.

I could go on, but the point I'm trying to make here is DO NOT CUT YOUR HAIR WHEN YOU'RE PREGNANT! Not if you've had a history of emotional breakdowns after big cuts, anyway. Curious to see how my hair really looked?


Hormones, friends. Hormones.
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