11 February 2016

Nightgown Pattern-Single Purchase!

The Night Before Nightgown pattern is now available for single purchase!  I wanted to wait until I had a picture of all the girls in their nightgowns, because, well, how cool would that be.  But with three different school times, various practices, games, and classes on Saturday, it's just never happened.  Maybe this week. (Although I've said that every week since the beginning of January.) 

To kick off my first pattern,  I'm selling it for $5 for the rest of the day.  After that it will stay at $8.  

Where?  I dusted off the old Etsy shop and refreshed my listings skills here. Go me. ;) 

Meanwhile, I've been doing some more sewing and even more thinking and have...a challenging proposal for tomorrow's post, so come back to find out what I plan to do and if you're brave (or crazy) enough to join me.  Happy sewing!

PS The double gauze I used comes from Imagine Gnat's shop, here, and is so much fun to sew with. It would make the most amazing receiving blankets, or burp cloths, or lounging pants, or maxi skirts....you get the idea. :)

22 January 2016

Watch Out Winter Storm!

It's been chilly here.  You northern, snow-dwelling people might laugh, but I think my blood is as thin as water, having lived in warmer climates for almost 15 years now.  
photo: Ashley Baker
We received a down comforter for our wedding, almost 16 years ago, and we pull it out for a few night's sleep each year, and that's only because we don't turn the master room heat on.  At all.
photo: Olivia Knudsen
It's mainly my feet that have such a hard time warming up, which wasn't a problem when I could just warm them up on Ryan's legs in bed.  But the thing is, Ryan got us a "number" bed, and so we have to sleep on our sides because of the two different settings.  I know.  Boo hoo, Katy.  
photo: Ashley Baker
So!  I went to Pearl's closet and found one of the corn bags I made years ago.  I warmed it up in the microwave and enjoyed that radiating heat through all of Madam Secretary and beyond, into sweet slumber. 
I just thought I'd tell those preparing for the cold weekend, you may want to whip some up for those little limbs that come in from making snowmen, and to pre-warm those cold beds.  Here's my post for bags with corn, and here's my original tutorial for the little hand warmers with rice.
photo: Ashley Baker
Stay warm!!
photo: Krisanne Knudsen

14 January 2016

No Big Dill Christmas 2015

The older kids ask every single year if we can change it up and get in line oldest to youngest for Christmas morning entrance to see what Santa brought (I call them in one by one.)  I laugh and tell them that it will never change.  They will always have had more Christmases than their younger siblings.
I'm not sure why it matters so much to them, but even more puzzling, why it matters so much for me.  It's because how I did it growing up.  Perhaps it's me holding onto my childhood.  Or their childhood.
Because it happens.  Ever so quickly.  Painfully quick.  That blink of an eye they talk about.  You're living it right now, the moments they will lock into their mind as their childhood.
And now I suddenly find myself panicking.
Was it memorable enough?
Was it happy enough?
Was there too much discipline?
Not enough?
Have they learned what they need to survive?
(latke making: a new tradition we started after reading a Hanukkah book about latkes, they're better than most things you'll put in your mouth!)
Do they have good manners?
Are they caring?
But, it dawns on me as I write this.
Those are superfluous questions.
The real question is:
Am I?
Because that is how being a marvelous human being is truly learned.  Not by lectures or lessons.  Not through extravagant vacations and costly gifts.
It's the example of those who love them most and best of all.

15 December 2015

My First Real Live Pattern!!

I'm still pinching myself that I have an actual pattern!  From my head, to your computer!  When Kelly asked if I would do a Christmas nightgown for my month of The Sew What Club, I was so excited.  Because.  5 girls. 
I picture in my head what I wanted: something simple (no closures!), classy, timeless, girly, but not too frilly, and, of course, comfy.

Then I found THE perfect fabric.  Polka-dotty double gauze!  If you've never been to Imagine Gnats, you are in for a treat.  She has so many amazing double gauzes.  I want them all.  They would also make great, unique swaddling blankets...but I digress.  
The reverse side is the inverse of the front.  I wanted to highlight both, so I used the reverse for the accent design element down the front, on the sleeve casings and the bottom ruffle.  I love it so much.

It's a super easy sew-up.  You can leave the front detail off, simplifying it even more. One of the testers cropped it and made matching shorts with the tunic.  The pattern comes with the option of shorts sleeves and you can leave off the ruffle for a shorter version.
The tester nightgown I made first for Clover was a HUGE hit with her.  She twirled and danced and loved it, so I knew little girls everywhere would love this mommy-made nightgown.  Since it's so simple, you still have time to sew it up before Christmas.  Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. All my girls will be getting one in their favorite colors...stay tuned for that photo op. ;)
When we were finished with our shoot, Clover wanted to take a selfie with my giant, brick-like camera, haha! I held the strap and she selfied away.  This generation. ;) And yes, the weather is really as amazing as it looks right now.  It's deceived me to think that Christmas isn't just around the corner. 
How can you get your pattern?  I'm so glad you asked!  Check out The Sew What Club.  It's a monthly subscription of digital patterns right to your inbox.  The kind that you want to sew up every one, in all the various options.  Kind of like your very own Christmas present each month.  I am consistently impressed with the patterns that the designers come up with each month.  It's like those cd clubs I used to belong to, only way better (and probably way cheaper ;)  

02 December 2015

Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme

The thyme is scraggly, the rosemary is hanging in there, but the (purple!) sage is thriving!  I think I take a picture of the dew every time I walk by the sage and the furry fennel.  I just can't help myself.  I spent a good 5 hours at the hospital with Azure yesterday.  She tripped and hit her nose on a bench in the backyard and the way it swelled up, it looked broken, in addition to the laceration on top and blood coming from all directions.  Ryan wasn't home and I just had Drummer and Clover. Fortunately Ryan's mom came rushing over while I took Azure to urgent care (who said she needed stitches) and then the children's hospital.

5 hours sitting and waiting, waiting and sitting gives one ample time to clean one's purse.  But there are only so many receipts to throw away and only so many forgotten snacks one can eat (we were starving!) before you're just left with time.  Time to ponder.  Life is funny how we get thrown these curveballs.  And more importantly, how we handle said curveballs.  I've been asking for inspiration on how to love Azure more fully.  She came feisty, and she came with the urge to right all the wrongs of the world...and to tell me about them.  I don't know if she feels I don't worry enough, or punish frequently or severely enough, but she wants justice and equality to the nth degree.  You'd think this mentality would wear down such a small human being, but it doesn't.  Ever.  On the other hand, it wears me down like the largest, grittiest sandpaper manufactured.  I suppose I was praying for her to change.  Or, rather, how we could help her change.  But as I sat with her little body next to mine in the waiting room, I realized that perhaps it was a tender mercy, this whole hospital thing.  My heart was softened.  This time we spent together, hardly a word of complaint uttered, we mostly sat in silence.  The sage advice that came to my mind was that we can't change others.  Not even our children.  We will only drive ourselves mad trying to do so.  I found myself giving these same words to Olive this morning about a girl who is mean to her at school.  We will not be judged by other's actions toward us, only our actions towards them.  It's so simple, isn't it?  Simple but sage.

Oh. And her nose wasn't broken.  Just a bit of glue and we went on our way. ;)

01 December 2015

Fast, Easy, Inexpensive Christmas Advent

 Happy First of December! If you're looking for an inexpensive (and fast!) last minute advent, all you need to do is take a trip to your local public library.  Our library has all the holiday books marked on the spine, so they're easy to spot.  Some libraries make it even easier and have all the different holiday books gathered in one area--thank you public librarians across the world.  I just went through and grabbed books that look appealing.  Some are about the nativity, some are more secular, and I even got some Hanukkah books to teach our kids about another religion's celebrations.  When I was little, I lived across the street from my friend who was Jewish.  I was always fascinated by the dreidel and the menorah and am excited to teach my kids about them. Simply wrap them up with wrapping paper and voilá!  Happy advent!  I "accidentally" got too many books, so we started two nights ago.  We read the first book at the dinner table.  Last night, we had just returned from getting our Christmas tree, and we read the second book in the back of the car.  It was kind of magical. I'm already dreaming of all the locations we can come with for our reading. :)
Meanwhile, back in the sewing studio, I'm giving this little sparkly number a make-over.  Well, not so much of a make-over as a needed alteration.  It was an inexpensive dress I bought a few years ago that is just a bit too short--both in the waist and the hem.  I thought of adding a layer of fabric below the hem, but decided it would look more cohesive to remove the skirt and add a shimmery black elastic in the middle, which is a whole lot more work, but I brought it with me on our Thanksgiving trip and had several hours leftover after I finished the unpicking. ;)  We will see if it turns out.  
One more thing, my post from yesterday still has active links until the 18th.  The sale isn't on any longer, but $99 for peace of mind is a pretty small price tag.  My very own Circle™ is on the way and I'll do a full review once I get it in my hands and have a chance to play around with it. Make that two more things. ;)  Don't forget about the $100 giveaway here. You can click through all the posts online and enter them all!!

30 November 2015

The Best Mom Gift EVER--Circle™

I cannot tell you how excited I am about this device I'm sharing with you today! Parenting in this technology-ridden age is difficult.  We are wading through uncharted territory as far as knowing what to do when it comes to kids and the internet.  I can't think back to my childhood and remember how my parents handled it...because they didn't.  We've yet to allow any of our kids to get phones, but we are still dealing with ipods, ipads, and computers.  How can one person (or two) manage every single action that is done online in their household?  We keep the family computer in the kitchen for safety and manageability reasons, but what about those other portable little devices?  They slip easily in a pocket and don't have a leash. ;)
In comes Circle™ with Disney.  It's a single device that manages all the internet goings-on.  I'd be hard pressed to choose a single favorite function, but if I could choose two, one would be that you can give each device a wake-up and bed time.  Awesome, right?!  No matter where the device is in the house it will shut down at the specified time and stay shut off until the morning.  My second favorite function is that you can PAUSE THE INTERNET!  That's right.  It's like when my dad would turn the TV off to get us to come to dinner, except better!  It will pause what everyone is doing so you can enjoy family time without the pull of the computer games, apps, and everything else online. You can watch the video about it here.
You can also keep tabs on the amount of time your child is spending on each app or game, to which Olive responds, "uh-oh!" ;) I also love that you can set age limits for each person to keep them from stumbling upon things they shouldn't.  One less thing to worry about, yes please.
Isn't it cute?  For today only, you can get Circle™ for $85 instead of $99 right here.  I get a portion of the sales through my link, but I would share this even if I didn't, because this is a mother's dream.  $85 is a pretty inexpensive price tag for peace of mind as far as the internet goes.  So, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah and all the holidays to you.

24 November 2015

Sesame Streetspiration

This is a sponsored post.

Many of my early motherhood years are a blur. I blame it on the 18 months between child 1 and 2 and child 2 and 3. I know they watched Sesame Street because I bought Pearl an Elmo doll that she loved to pieces, literally. I'm not sure what happened as children 4, 5, and 6 came along. Somehow, the most famous giant bird and his trusty friend with the long trunk and even longer eyelashes were forgotten - until today. I asked Drummer if he had ever seen Sesame Street. His eyes grew big and an excited smile formed on his face as he asked, "Where is this street?! Can we go there?!"  So, of course, we remedied the situation. I pulled it up on the computer and we sat down together, watching Big Bird read books to the neighborhood children and David Beckham explain what the word "persistence" means, and Elmo stacking hats on his head, counting as he went. It was an instant hit with Drummer. And I remembered how much I love the celebrity cameos and guest appearances. 

Then Clover waltzed in the room and plopped herself down next to us. She was very pleased with herself that she could figure out the math problems before those furry little puppets could. I had forgotten how magical Sesame Street is, almost wishing we lived on a street where there is constant happiness and neighbors are more like family. Earlier in the day, Drummer was pestering me to watch a movie or play a game on daddy's ipad. I declined both requests in hopes he would do something with his imagination instead. He was relentless, however, until it was time to get in the car to pick up siblings from school. After we returned home and watched Sesame Street, Drummer wanted to make spaghetti for dinner because it was an example of being persistent in trying to eat it on a fork on Sesame Street.  He was fascinated to learn how bricks are made (anything to do with building, he's on board). After we ate our spaghetti (squash) dinner, I thought it would be fun to make our own Sesame Street-inspired puppets as a family: Sesame Streetspiration Puppets! I put a big stack of felt and cardboard pieces on the table and loved watching everyone get creative. I've heard that people look like their pets. I'm wondering if the same holds true for puppets. ;)  
So, the big news on the (Sesame) Street is that it's coming to HBO in January with all new episodes, fresh and updated! And I've noticed that the same people that were on when I was little haven't aged a bit! I tell ya, it's that Sesame Street magic. I need to get me some. ;)
What's your favorite Sesame Street memory? Tell me in the comments and you will be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card!

Entry Instructions:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 11/24/2015 – 12/10/2015

Be sure to visit Sesame Street’s brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!


19 November 2015

Orange Peel's Pocket and Swingset Skirt

Once Upon a Thread is definitely in the queue. But, the ideas are always percolating.  Sometimes I check out books at the library for me, a potential Once Upon a Thread post.
This was one of those books, except I knew I needed to have a copy of it.  Any book with "orange" and "pocket" in the title. ;) It's about a little girl who was adopted from China.  She wants to learn more about her native country to share with her schoolmates and visits family friends who can offer her some clues.  As she goes from neighbor to neighbor, they secretly slip something in her pocket to remind her what she learned.
When it's time to go to school to share her information about China, she gets nervous until she puts her hand in her pocket and is reminded how much she is loved and the great country where she was born.
The skirt is Oliver + S Swingset Skirt.  It's super simple, but it remains classy and so very versatile.  It can be altered a million ways.  I just added a pocket, but you could make it reversible, add ruffles to the lining, embellish with all sorts of trim, and the list goes on.  In fact, take a look at the sew-along to see what other versions were sewn up by other bloggers this week, here.
The deets: I used a baby-wale cord for the skirt and shirt, linen for the pocket. I used an Ottobre pattern for the shirt, although I was frustrated that the placket pieces didn't fit the cut out placket, so I made a tuck at the bottom.  I don't know that I'd make that particular one again.  I learned how to write "love" in Chinese for one of the little pocket items and free-motion stitched it.  Clover was impressed, which means I've succeeded, right? ;)

13 November 2015

Dreams Do Come True!

Look how cute and little Olive was at her first Ballet recital in 2011!  Little did I know how many buns-to-come there would be.
Her heart's grandest wish since she started dancing was to get en pointe.  Those hard shoes that make your toes blister and callus and hurt?  Yes.  That's what she wanted.  She'd make every birthday, Christmas and holiday-in-between a request for her beloved pointe shoes, as if I could magically make her ready for them.
She auditioned earlier this year, but wasn't quite ready.  Her ballet instructor thought that she might be ready early next year.  When I picked her up and she told me the news, she was heart-broken and I held her in my lap, just like when she was so little.  We mourned together.
She spent 5 weeks doing ballet summer intensive classes. 10 to 5, Monday through Friday.  Every night I would ask her if she was still enjoying it...and she was.  She was happy.  She was living her passion.
By the end of the summer, she had worked so hard and developed her turn-out (is that what it's called?) that her instructor deemed her ready to be en pointe.  Miss Mindi called me the weekend before she told Olive to make sure we were on board as well.  It was so hard to keep that to myself! She said, "You knew all weekend long?! And you didn't tell me?!"
We are looking forward to seeing her dance her solo in the Nutcracker next month as the doll.  She makes me so proud.
photo credit: Mindi Mende