datestampJul 2, 2011

.::patriotic dresses::.

Due to all my re-upholstery projects this spring, I haven't had the desire to do any other sewing.  Last weekend, the boys were away at a baseball tournament and so I used my "free" time to whip up a couple dresses for the girls.  They are growing up too quickly and I know that these days are going to be ending soon where they will wear something least until they start going to high school dances and can't find a dress they like :)  
I also have stepped back a bit when it comes to sewing projects and have decided that unless I can reasonably create something that can't be bought or doesn't look too homemade, it isn't worth my time.  It seems like fabric is getting more expensive and clothes are getting cheaper, especially if you buy things on sale.  I just don't have time to try every tutorial/craft I come across and so I have just been waiting until I see something that really stands out to me.  I normally stay away from pillowcase dresses because they tend to look cheap.  But, I ran across a photo on Pinterest that I couldn't get out of my head.  

Cute, huh??  Originally, I was going to try and find a print like she used but couldn't find anything I loved at the fabric store.  I decided to just stick with solids and picked up some red, white, and blue Kona cotton.

This is what I came up with for my girls.  I'm just realizing now that their ties are way too long after looking at both pictures.  Luckily, its an easy fix!

If you click on my inspriation photo, there is a great tutorial which I am going to refer you to.  I followed her directions and just altered the size since my girls are quite a bit older.  I just used a couple dresses that my girls wear and matched up the fabric for the length.  The white stripes are just strips of fabric with the edges pressed under and then sewn directly onto the can see that I didn't line them up perfectly.  

Yes, the ties do need to be shortened!  And, we have quickly entered into the "bad teeth" era.  My younger daughter closely resembles Nanny McPhee at the moment :)  

So there you have twist on the patriotic pillowcase dress.  Happy 4th of July!!!

datestampMay 24, 2011

pinterest addiction

This photo makes me smile.........I can totally relate:)
I have to admit to a slight pinterest addiction!  For years I have just had folders on my desktop where I drag photos and ideas I want to try and pinterest works so much better.  Mostly because it keeps things nice and neatly organized, while also allowing me to link back to the original source........something that I couldn't keep track of before.  
Follow me here and I'm looking for lots more like-minded people to follow so tell me if you share my addiction as well! 

datestampMay 14, 2011

a shared room

I started a little room re-do a few months ago for my two youngest who share a room.  This room used to be shared by my two girls and was done in yellows, pinks, and blues.  My older daughter decided she really wanted her own room and it was time to move my little guy out of his crib, so we decided to do a little room swapping.  It took me a while to decide on something that would work for both of them.  I was going to paint the room a more neutral coordinating color but my wise friend said, "leave it yellow! you don't want everything to match!"  She has never led me astray so yellow it stayed and I think it works just fine.  I have been getting catalogs from Serena and Lily for a while and really love their striped duvet covers for boys.  I drew heavy inspriation from their "Asher" collection.  
The duvets and pillows and just long strips of alternating brown and white cotton with some red piping around the edges.  I had the red/white stripe and tan polka dot fabric already and just made some simple pillowcases and shams with them.  I couldn't get a good photo of the windows but I just did a simple valance with the polka dot fabric and some brown bias tape along the bottom.  
These photos aren't the best, I am definitely not a good "stager" by any means but time doesn't exist for me to press everything perfectly!  The letters are from Hobby Lobby......they were originally gold and I just spray painted them red.  

The other side of the room is in progress and may be that way for a while until I can break away from other projects and finish in here.  At the moment, their dressers are being styled with Junie B Jones books and truck collections.

datestampApr 12, 2011

truck party

I am trying to be better at documenting......I haven't posted much on here in the last nine months.  Not because I haven't had projects going, but because I haven't been able to take the extra step of documenting.  But I am vowing to do better because it will be fun to have a visual history someday of all these little things.  What I wouldn't give for photos and thoughts from all my mom's projects from when I was growing up.  I can't count how many quilts, articles of clothing, pot holders, etc..  that she has done over the years.  And since my love of sewing/creating comes from her, it would be fun to see those things again.  

My little guy turned three last week and naturally we had to have a truck party!  He loves all things transportation but really favors garbage trucks.  Since we own just about every garbage truck on the market, we did a little combo party to branch out a bit.

Here is the invite:
I love the simple look and it was very easy.  I just used some clip art I found on etsy and played around with some different fonts.  I had them printed as 5x7s at Costco for around $3.  Easy!

 I didn't get any good pictures of the little guy, he hasn't been the most agreeable child since turning three and spent the night hitting his cousins with sticks and pouring lemonade on their dresses.  Just a precursor for the year to come, I'm afraid.

 We had a simple dinner....a must when there are 8 adults and 13 kids running amok.  The kids played outside and then came in for treats.  My friend gave me the idea of making a "dump" cake and the kids thought it was great.

 I found this dump truck at Target in their sand toy section, cleaned out the back really well, and then loaded in the "dirt".  It is just pieces of chocolate cake on the botom, a layer of chocolate pudding, and then oreo crumbs on top.  And, some gummy worms to add to the effect.
 After treats, we had fun playing Just Dance 2 on the Wii........not really part of the theme but good entertainment nonetheless.  I am not the best at planning party games and luckily it was a family party so no pressure!  These little dump trucks were sent home as party favors (also in the Target sand toy aisle).

Whew!  And, now I don't have to plan any birthdays until July.......

datestampApr 10, 2011

reupholstery 101

My in-laws gave me a pair of these wing back chairs quite a few years ago.  They are in great condition but the color just didn't go with anything in my house.  I called around to local upholsterers when we first got them and couldn't find anyone who would recover them for under $500.  It seemed silly to me to pay that much when I could get a new chair for the same price.  So, they have traveled from room to room for the past 5+ years as a "someday" project.  
 With the economic slowdown, I finally found a place that was willing to do the job for $250.  I was super excited and ready to send them off.  It took a while to find the right fabric but I finally found one I liked while browsing the decorator samples at JoAnns.  It is called "Square Pegs" by Robert Allen and has a great thick texture and rich color.

They had it listed for around $79/yard.  Ouch!!  Luckily after some googling and internet research, I was able to find the same fabric for under $10/yard. I ordered it and was all ready to go but then got distracted by some painting projects and then lost to motivation to spend more money on reupholstery.  I ended up ordering a great book on Amazon called, Complete Step by Step Upholstery by David Sowle. After reading through the book, I felt empowered and ready to take on the project by myself.  I have never done any sort of reupholstery but I really enjoy figuring things out on my own.  
I spend about six hours removing all the old fabric off, taking care to pay attention to how it had been attached and in what order.  I'm sure there is an easier way to remove staples but I just used a flathead screwdriver and levered each one off.......there had to be several hundred and my fingers lost all feeling for the next few days!  

After everything was off, I started in reverse order by putting the new fabric on in the same way, just using the old fabric as a pattern.  I have to say that reading the book and paying attention to how the chair had been put together was very helpful.  The only "special" tools I bought were some T-pins and some curved needles.  And, they were essential for the pieces that were sewn into place at the end.  

 And, here is the finished project!!  I am so excited and proud because this is something I never thought I could do.  I added a box pleated skirt and then felt like the chair was a bit "tweedy" and masculine so I added an easy pillow to liven things up.

I wanted something graphic and bold and this is what popped into my head.  I'm still trying to think of a good story to use.  Avid Red Cross supporter??  Swiss heritage??  

Here are a few detail shots.......the cushion was the most challenging part for me.  I had to do a lot of unpicking and repinning before it lined up just right.  

Now I get to start all over on the other one!!  If there is any interest, I will do a step by step guide when I do the other chair.  This was one of the most satisfying projects I have ever done and it is much simpler than it seems!  You can do it too!!

datestampSep 13, 2010

::little white dress::

I am guessing everyone out there has already discovered the delightful emersonmade website.  I could (and have), spent a whole lot of time looking at each and every beautiful photo.  I love her style and simple, clean look.  I truly wish I could afford to buy a flower in every color and style but alas, I had to figure out a way to do it myself.  I cut out a bunch of templates and then bought a rainbow's worth of fabric to test things out.  Along the way, a friend asked me to help with her daughter's baptism dress......I am pretty sure I steered the design selfishly so that I could try these out!  We went with a simple silk-shantung dress with a little cluster of fabric flowers at the shoulder.

This was such a fun project for me to do.  And, for a beautiful little girl on a special day.  
Now, to build up the courage to wear one myself!

datestampAug 18, 2010

summer "sewing"

I usually tend to put a big hold on most creative endeavors over the summer.  There is just simply not enough time to keep four kids entertained and fed, the house clean (I am using that word very liberally), laundry done,  and surviving our busy sports schedule.  
I occasionally do make a few exceptions.

In this case, I was handed 20+ baseball jerseys with a pile of patches by my extremely generous husband.  By generous, I mean that he is "generous" with my time and talents, ha!  I am usually copied in on all the team emails he sends out but I must have mistakenly been left off the one where he told everyone to bring their jerseys to the next practice so that I could sew on the patches before our World Series.  Not that I minded, it just added to the hilarity of my to-do list on the day before we left for Puerto Rico, where the team was playing.  

 Funny, it actually felt good to sit down at the machine, after I managed to find it under the piles of fabric and other such nonsense that had piled up over the last few months.

And, even though it really didn't put my skills or brain to much work, I enjoyed the process of centering, pinning, and backstitching my way around each patch.  Such a nerd, I know.

My little guy even kept me company throughout the process.   

 So, there you have it......the extent of my sewing this summer.  Although, I just stumbled upon a new project that caught my eye, and my sister asked me to help with flower girl dresses for her upcoming wedding.  I can't wait!  More details to come....after school starts, of course.