Dec 9, 2011

The Adventures of Jingles the Elf

Sadly, as my household has been in the grips of a nasty upper respiratory plague for the past several weeks, I haven't even stepped foot into my sewing room. Even before that, though, I've been either too busy, too tired, or just downright not in the mood to sew. I'm sure that will rectify itself soon. I do have a few items to blog that are finished, just as yet un-photographed. Maybe once the under-nose redness goes away entirely and I feel less like Rudolph.

In the meantime, I've been occupying myself with the antics of our newest friend, Jingles the Elf. Has anyone heard of the Elf on the Shelf idea before? I hadn't, although it has apparently been around for a few years now. A friend of mine introduced me this year and I'm having quite a lot of fun with it.

The idea, after purchase of your Elf on the Shelf and accompanying book (available at multiple retailers in the US such as Hallmark and Books-a-Million, abroad I have no idea) is to place him somewhere in your home and give him a name. His story will give you all the necessary details and tell you that he was sent by Santa to keep an eye on the children of the household and magically report back to the North Pole each night. When he returns in the morning, he will find a new place to 'hide'.

He likes mischief, this little elf, and he seems to keep finding himself in a bit of trouble with Mommy in our house. More than once, after the girls race downstairs to find him, have I heard, "Oh, Jingles! Mommy's not going to like that!" (followed by giggles).

I'll admit it. I might be having as much fun with it as the girls. Every evening after I tuck them in, I start thinking of my next 'adventure' for Jingles. And there are tons of resources to help your creative juices flow. Just Google "Elf on the Shelf", or better yet - look on Pinterest. So, I can't take full creative credit for the following Jingles Antics; I've just put my own touch on them. :)

December 1st - Sleigh ride, anyone?

December 2nd

December 3rd - Botched re-entry.

Also December 3rd - We spent a few hours at my parents' house later in the
afternoon and Jinlges put up our tree for us while we were out. :)

December 4th

December 5th - Panty raid?

December 6th - Date night with Angelina Ballerina. She likes his sparkly tie. ;)

Decemeber 7th

December 8th

December 9th
 What will he get himself up to next, I wonder! ;)

And P.S. Steph, we're working on more salt dough ornaments this afternoon. I'll post some photos once they are finished! Glad you like them!

Nov 19, 2011

Salt Dough Ornaments

I'm working on getting photos posted of the last few things I've finished. Some have been completed for months, it's just difficult to get photos, so they never get posted. It's on my to-do list. But in the meantime..... salt dough ornaments.

Every year, I buy a personalized ornament for our family Christmas tree, and two more for each set of parents. They aren't particularly cheap, so I thought this year I'd try my hand at making my own. They're not quite the professional versions I normally purchase, but I think I like them even better. Isn't handmade always more personal?

In case you'd like to create your own, the recipe is SUPER easy. 1 part each salt and water to 2 parts flour. Mix salt and flour and add water. Mix until doughy, knead on a flat surface using more flour to keep from sticking. You can using cookie cutters or hand-mold. I baked them for about 45 minutes at  200 degrees (they should sound sort of hollow when you tap them). I painted them with regular craft paints. I haven't sealed them yet, but I'll probably get around to that part tomorrow.

I made a few other shapes for the girls to paint, too. Butterflies, snowmen, and candy canes. Fun for kids AND grown-up kids! ;)

Oct 3, 2011

My Other Creative Outlet - Digital Scrapbooking

I use, which is hosted online and is free, but there are lots of programs available both online and for purchase. I find this program to be somewhat limited, but very malleable. You can upload your own things like backgrounds and stickers in addition to your photos. They provide you with pre-made themes or the option of a blank slate. You can create and tweak until your hearts content and then have the books printed for a pretty reasonable fee.*

This is the family album from last year. I think I'm finally satisfied with it, and it will probably end up being the family Christmas gift for my parents and my in-laws this year. Simple gift idea that every grandparent will love! :)

| Learn About Mixbook Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book
*I am not affiliated with Mixbook in any way and have not been paid in any form for my endorsement. I just find it to be a good program and enjoy using it.

Sep 25, 2011

A Good Start: The First Finished Object

After a quick start of the the initial planning stages of the Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge, I hit some time snags. I took my family to the beach for a few days the next week and had to finish up another project that had already been started before I could feel composed enough to begin. (That project will be coming up soon... just need to find and apply the perfect finishing touches first! Here's a hint.)

I started out with the most versatile of my pattern inspirations, Vogue 8747. It's an adorable button-front blouse with some gathers at the bust.  My palette called for an ivory color top, and this one was perfect. I made it in a rayon challis with a lovely feel and drape.

It frayed quite a bit, so I finished all the inside seams. As the color was so light and a bit opaque, I had another reason for doing that - you can see the seams from the outside. I didn't want a lot of bulk, so I just turned under the seam and stitched it, rather than using seam binding.

They need to be pressed a bit to lay nice and flat, but it keeps the fraying to a minimum and looks uniform from the outside.

Why do all my photos look exactly the same? I need to go to modeling school. ;)

Next up, I think, will be a pair of green stretch sateen pants. Or maybe one of the knit shirts. I'll probably decide tonight and get started.

Sep 14, 2011

Snuggly Things for Small People

Every now and then my attention shifts from garment sewing to something crafty. Most often, when I get in a crafty mood, it's to make something for my kids. A few months ago, after a particularly fierce battle over the only character print pillowcase in the house, I decided to make them each their own special pillowcase. We trotted over to Jo-Ann Fabrics and they picked out a print. Lilly chose princesses (to no one's surprise) and Evie chose Mickey Mouse (her current unconditional love).

I made my own pattern, if you can even call it that. I measured a 20" by 33" rectangle on the fold, sewed one short side over itself by 3" for the 'facing', and closed the other two with French seams so there would be no frays. Both pillowcases took me an hour and a half total to finish. And, boy, are they loved.

Evie won't go anywhere without 'Mickey' - including naptime, bedtime, the minivan, the swingset in the backyard, the beach... :)  It's nice to be appreciated.

Yesterday, as I was considering fabrics for the Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge (PS - That's MY moodboard featured! What an honor!), my thoughts drifted to the cooling weather. I got another kid-crafty idea and took the girls to Jo-Ann again. This time, they each picked out a yard of their favorite character fleece (Minnie Mouse and Angelina Ballerina). a few snips around 3 sides and a no-sew finish (I just tied knots in the fringes) gave them each a new snuggly, comfy blanket to help guard against the new chill in the evening air. And something else to tote around the yard.

Sep 3, 2011

The Plan for the Challenge

I think I've figured out which patterns I'm using. I have a few fabrics that are definite and a few that may change, but this is the basic plan.

Are you participating? How's everyone else doing on their inspiration and pattern boards?

Sep 2, 2011

Fall Palette Challenge Inspirations

I'm thinking of throwing my hat in the ring for the Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge 2011.  My sewing time is usually fairly scant (I have 2 kids under 5) but it seems like, recently, I've been getting a bit more accomplished. I guess time will tell if I have enough time and energy to actually complete the challenge, but I've been creating an inspiration board anyway.

Color palette by COLOURlovers and Inspiration Board by Pinterest

Clockwise from upper left corner:
Navy ensemble: Note To Self Blog via Eat & Love
Buttons: Design Work Life
Green Dress with navy sash: Anthropologie
Grey, green, ivory suit: via Abby Daigle
Grey flower: French Vanilla Home Blog
Navy polka dot top: Anthropologie
Green shoes: via Maria G
Yellow heel:
Green & ivory ensemble: Tulips and Flight Suits via Talbots
Blue shoes: Chie Mihara

I guess I need to start looking for patterns and then some fabrics! So much to do! Anyone else thinking of joining the Challenge? I can't wait to see all of your inspiration boards, too!

Aug 29, 2011

Vogue 1241 - Kay Unger Dress

It seems like ages since I've finished anything, and in reality, it sort of has been. The last time I sewed was March. *shakes head*  I can barely believe it, myself. I guess I just wasn't in the mood. And I was finding other things to occupy my time. I discovered digital scrapbooking, and for a solid month it dominated most of my spare time. And let's face it, with a 2 and 4-year-old in the house, 'spare time' is quite sparse. 

Vogue 1241 - Kay Unger
But, at long last, my mojo returned and I set to work on this newer Vogue pattern. I thought this would be a perfect dress to wear to a wedding in September, in which my husband is the Best Man.

It looks like it should be fairly complicated. It is a designer pattern, and it has several interesting design features. The pleated neckline, the rouching on the front and back princess seams, square seaming, invisible zipper, full lining. Maybe it's actually relatively simple, maybe the directions are really good, or maybe I'm just getting a lot more comfortable in my sewing skills, but this went together like a breeze. I was fairly confident that I would get through the entire thing without a single unpicked seam until I accidentally sewed to the bottom of the center back seam, eliminating the kick vent. Oops. Minor, though, and easily fixed so I'm considering this a complete success anyway. :) 

I used a navy blue and white polyester print (cute, but very cheap) in case my first designer Vogue didn't go so well. The only issue I have with the finished design is that you absolutely must tack down the front cross over. It hangs open in such a huge, breast-bearing way that it's impossible not to sew it closed. 

It has a lovely silhouette. The side rouching covers whatever sins the large print doesn't.

Close up of the neckline pleats
I'll try to get some photos of it on after I've had a chance to shower and gather my wits about me. I've spent most of the morning doing laundry and getting the older of the little ones ready for preschool. I'm so not a morning person, and I move very slowly before noon. ;)


On-body photos, as promised.

Now, I just need to find some awesome red shoes!

Jul 15, 2011

This Year's Over-The-Top Children's Party

As some of you may have guessed (based on my post of last year's Wonderland festivities) that I like to go a bit overboard with theme parties. I freely admit to it. :)

This year when my girls' birthdays rolled around again, I already had a plan in mind. For now, while they're small, it's much easier (and more fun!) to throw a joint birthday party. Lilly turned 4 on June 14th and Evie turned 2 on the 25th, so we chose a free June weekend and went full throttle. (And by 'we' I mean that Hubs said "Whatever you want, dear," and I went full throttle.)

What better way to celebrate childhood than with Dr. Seuss?

I chose only Seuss themed foods:
Green Eggs... No Ham. Just green food coloring in the yolk mixture!
Purchased... not homemade. 
Pasta salad with cheese, pepperoni and veggies topped with Italian dressing
Layers of Jello and Cool Whip
Cheeky ;)
Pink lemonade - AKA Yink Drink
Red velvet 'Thing 1 & Thing 2' cupcakes with blue tinted frosting!
It's lovely that the birthdays are in June because we're almost always assured nice weather. We had a very brief rain in the late afternoon that day, but most of it was beautiful! We decorated the cherry tree and set up the tables underneath.

We enjoyed the day, ate our cupcakes, had a cooling water balloon fight, and enjoyed the company of our friends and family.

Even Mommy's friends got in on the dressing up. :)
Watch out for this one... he carries a Wocket in his Pocket!
The birthday girls and their cousins
Lots of friends!
Can't wait to see what we think up for next year! Hope you're all having a great summer!

Mar 22, 2011

Catching Up (Read: Bad Blogger!)

Good heavens, it's been a long time since I've posted! So sorry to have fallen off the radar like that. It's been a busy few months, and I haven't had much time to photograph or blog, although I have been doing some sewing.

Firstly, I have been meaning to post some photos of the gala dress actually on my body. I will know for future reference not to rely on Husband to be photo-man for events, particularly ones where I'd like shots of one of my creations. Noted. That said, I took a few snaps of myself wearing it, along with a few of the other recent completions. So, yeah, they were all taken today. No hair and make-up variety, but I did try to change up my background a bit here and there. :)

 I purchased a mask from Michael's craft store to make a matching masquerade ball mask. I covered it in the same maroon satin fabric, used stick-on jewels (which I glued for stability) and painted the designs on with glitter glue. Just one one-piece feather thingamabob hot melted onto the back and some pretty ribbons. It wasn't terribly difficult, just a bit time consuming. But I was asked a few time how I managed to have a matching dress and mask, a people were genuinely surprised and impressed when I told them I'd made both items. Not so secretly, I love that. :)

 Pardon all the wrinkles. The dress hasn't been cleaned and re-pressed since the event.

I should mention that the only change I made the original Burda design was to add bra cups sandwiched between the outer and lining layers. There was no possible way to wear an undergarment with a back that low, and even with my less than ample chesticular area, I thought it necessary to have a bit more modesty.

I did take a bit of break after I finished the dress. Although not particularly difficult, it was a time burner and the last few bits were a little fiddly. I guess I needed a little break, so I doubt I stepped foot in the studio for at least 2 weeks. Once I did finally get some mojo back, I started on McCalls 5668, which I've had cut forever and never bothered to put together. What better way to ease back in than with a project you don't even have to cut, right?  I didn't bother with a muslin since it was just a cheapo moleskin from Joann Fabrics with a pretty swirly flowery design. I find, for the most part, that I can get away with a straight-out-of-the-envelope size 12. I count myself very fortunate for this, believe me.
I think it turned out very nicely, and I've already worn it twice. The only thing I changed on this pattern was to add a closure. The white shirt underneath was also a completed project, but it was in the laundry, and thus I could not photograph it for this post. Promise I'll throw it in somewhere else after I can get a photo.

I threw this little skirt together in an evening. It was comes from a Butterick 5534 separates pattern and really lives up to its Fast and Easy title. It's a bit hard to see in the photos, but the fabric is a subtle blue/black plaid with a little stretch. It has to be 100% polyester based solely on the smell of it being steam pressed. I did add a full lining, which the pattern did not call for, and changed the lapped zipper to an invisible one.

 Please ignore the horrible fit of the RTW shirt I've paired it with. I won't attempt an excuse except to say that I won't wear it anymore after seeing the photos. Ick.

Lastly, sometime for the girl. Well, one of the girls. Lilly came home from preschool the Friday before St. Patrick's week in tears after her teacher told her she could wear something green on St. Patrick's day. The child who normally only allows me to dress her in pink (and the occasional purple or Disney/Nickelodeon character) was devastated that she didn't own a single green item. So, what is a sewing mom to do? We went down to Joann's, picked out some green printed cotton and flowery trim and whipped something up.  I used Simplicity 2269 from my stash.

I had to re-do the squared front sections twice so they'd lay flat. It's taken a while, I think I can safely say I've mastered that skill now. It's super cute and she was completely in love with it. Not only did she wear green on St. Patty's Day, but she wanted to wear it again to church on Sunday. Maybe I've converted Little Miss Pink to include a bit more variety. Maybe it's just because it was a dress. She still won't wear jeans with anything that isn't pink. Oh well, I guess it could be worse! :)

So, yeah. That's what I've been up to for the past two months.  This weekend I'm headed out to a cabin with some girlfriends of mine about an hour from home. It's traditionally a scrapbooking getaway, but since I've converted my friend (who happens to be the organizer) she's made into a Scrap-n-Sew. I have to haul my machine and supplies, but who cares! Imagine -- a whole weekend with no husband, no children, no distractions (well, except for the hot tub and copious amounts of alcohol), just lots of sewing (and maybe some scrapping) time! I'll be sure to take the camera to document my (hopefully) productive 2 days away. 

Until then... Happy sewing to all!
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