17 January 2017

When Skies are Grey

I'll be honest.  I haven't done a huge amount of sewing lately.  My machine was hijacked by Pearl and her quest to have the most American Girls Doll clothes made. She's been working her way through my stash faster than I have. It's fun, though, being reminded of all the great fabrics that are awaiting my hands. ;)
I had to kick her off the sewing machine for a bit, though, when liZ and Elizabeth from Simple Simon & Co asked if I'd like to participate in a blog tour for their new fabric line from Riley Blake, When Skies are Grey. When I saw it, it was like they had spent a day in my head! As my usual procrastination took over, I only made Azure an outfit, but, trust me, there is something for me in the works as well.
If you're a quilter, you will have a hay day.  If you're not, you can come up with coordinating outfits for your whole family...next Christmas photo? ;)
I didn't even use a written pattern, I just began measuring, cutting and sewing. It's especially gratifying to sew for Azure because we can never find anything that fits her (stick figure) properly. I noticed on Sunday that the dress she chose to wear was about a foot and a half too short, but it still fit her.  She needed something new.
I used glass buttons from my button stash, and added some nice, big, lined pockets for all those treasures that get gathered by little hands. 
Head here to see the blues and pinks as well, and to be entered into a drawing for a FQ bundle! Stay tuned to Simple Simon & Co for more stops on their Grey Skies fabric tour, and stay tuned here to learn how my year of no new clothes went!

20 October 2016

See Kate Sew's Doll Fabric

After a hurricane evacuation, darn Matthew, it was time for some normalcy, aka sewing time. ;) 
What is more uplifting than doing some little girl and doll sewing? Put them together and that's pure joy.  If you haven't seen See Kate Sew's fun dolls floating around, you're in for a fun surprise!
Each panel comes with a boy and girl doll with 3 different choices: blonde, black hair, brunettes.  There are also several fabric patterns that coordinate! Fun, right?!
Each doll panel comes with 2 bows and a big ice cream cone.  I made mine into two smaller cones, one for Clover's dress and one for the dolls to share. ;)
For some interesting details, I used one of my embroidery stitches along the strap, round to match the pattern on the grey fabric.  I also added a pattern of sequins to look like they're scattering down her shoulder.
Needless to say, Clover is thrilled with her new pal.
I added a resin buckle to the waistband because it was just. the. right. color.  I've been waiting for the perfect project. Oh. And baby piping. Because there's always room for baby piping.
For Goldie's ensemble, I added some silk ribbon ribbons for her shoes, embellished her skirt with bright elastic and....baby pom poms.  Her sequin necklace echoes Clover's dress, and I puffed up her bow and added some silk ribbon as well.

I also made the boy doll for Drummer, and he's already been well loved.  I planned to make a button up shirt for Drummer, but the dress kind of took on a life of its own as the details kept coming and coming.  Soon. ;)
And here's a little secret. The placement of the ice cream cone was intentional. I didn't quite line up the back waistband, so I sewed the ice cream on one side and I'll add a snap on the other. I think that's one of the exciting things about creating, when you have a moment that might appear to you as a mistake, it helps push your creativity a little bit further than you would normally. Turns out, I LOVE the ice cream cone flap.
So, go and grab a panel or two of these fun dolls and a bit of fabric.  The dolls are a quick, fun sew-up and the fabrics are just a delight to play with.  Thanks, Kate, for the chance to join in your Doll Fabric Tour!

20 September 2016

Ice cream, You scream, We all scream for...Boardwalk Delight!

Hello, blog! I took a bit of an unintended hiatus, but what better reason to get back on here than NATIONAL SEWING MONTH! And I'll tell you what, I have been sewing ALL month long for a very good reason.  Although, truth be told, I don't need a reason at all to hop on a sewing machine, especially my fancy Babylocks. ;)
My all-talented friend, Dana, released her first fabric line earlier this year, Boardwalk Delight, and she sent me a big ol' stack to play with!
So, fun, right?!
Since it's my no-new-clothes year, I told her I wanted to make something for all my kids, and we both laughed at how crazy I am.  Then I began working my way through her bright, playful patterned fabric! I think I managed to use all the prints, except for the sprinkle print, which I'm sad about--how did I miss that one?!
These prints are much bolder than I normally use, so it was fun to do something so different.

Dana also not only had her patterns printed on quilter's weight woven cotton, but there are also knits and canvas, something for everyone. 
Olive has been asking for overalls for ages, so I used the canvas weight for a pair and they worked perfectly! I found the overall clasps with the matching star grommets at Hobby Lobby under their Sewology brand, and they also seemed to be the most inexpensive.
It was hard for the kids not to be able to wear their clothes as I finished them, especially Drummer who declared his pajamas the most comfy thing ever. Haha!
Lowdown on the patterns I used, from left to right: Drummers Pajamas--Ottobre Issue 6/2013, Olive's Overalls--Ottobre Issue 3/2014, Olive's shirt--Ottobre Issue 6/2015, Clover's dress--Ottobre Issue 1/2013, Pearl's tunic--Ottobre Issue 4/2010, Pearl's pants--MIA, still looking for that one!, Azure's dress--Ottobre Issue 1/2015, Divine's shirt--Ottobre Issue 4/2013, Divine's skirt--self drafted.
As you can see, I got some good use out of my Ottobre issues! What they lack in pictorial instructions, they make up in quality patterns. ;) I only had 2 issues when I couldn't figure out what they wanted me to do, but that might also have been those couple of nights where I stayed up to 3 or 4 in the morning and instructions for brushing my teeth would have been indecipherable. 
I don't usually utilize the decorative stitches on my sewing machines, but I had so much fun going through the options on my Babylock Crescendo when deciding what to do for the pocket and back detail pleats.  I might have "wasted" quite a bit of time experimenting. ;) I think they add the perfect touch when used judiciously. 
And Pearl really lucked out in the pocket department with pockets on her tunic AND her pants.  She's all about comfort and utility. ;)
I loved the detail on Azure's dress.  Using Dana's fun contrasting and coordinating fabric, it gave it the perfect touch, like a giant scoop of ice cream! 
I also altered the pattern to include an exposed zipper, because more is more in this case, right?!
Also.  I deserve an award and ceremony for the amount of buttonholes and buttons I sewed. Or a certificate of achievement at the very least.  It was close to 40, and most of them are glass. 
Some came from Korea when we visited my parents there many years ago.  Surprisingly enough, I wanted to do just plain, white, plastic buttons on Divine's shirt so she could wear it with anything, and I didn't have any.  What.  Oh, well. I guess that's a good problem to have...too many exotic, fancy buttons. Haha!
I was telling Ryan that I enjoy Ottobre patterns because they don't dumb down patterns like so many pattern companies do.  I don't mind a few extra pattern pieces to achieve a professionally looking article, like these overalls. 
And I couldn't leave Scout out, of course.  Some might argue that I should have sewn her some pants or perhaps a skirt after the latest clip I gave her, but I think she's enjoying her new air conditioned bottom. ;)

Thanks for letting me play with your fun fabric, Dana! They really are a delight!  (The kids thank you, too!)

20 July 2016

Mermaid Mania!

Summer here isn't the same as summer everywhere else.  There are pretty much only 2 options: you're in air conditioning or in the water.  There's only so much you can do inside and the kids start to get bored going to the pool, despite all the pool toys we've tried out.
When I heard about Suntails, I knew that they would take our summer to a whole new level of fun and imagination.  My girls, even my older ones, love to fantasize that they're part of the under water world, and these go right along with their imaginative play.
I know there are a whole bunch of different kinds of mermaid tails out there, but I have been impressed with these.  The actual fins (monofin) are super high quality, no made of cheap plastic the second your child tries to jump around in them.  They are flexible and will withstand some decent playtime and rugged swimming. ;)
There are two different sizes, some for the littler kids (Drummer even wanted one--and I've heard rumors of a more manly merman model coming out!) and the larger ones for my older girls and...yes, I even got one for myself (orange, of course!)
You really do feel like a mermaid when you have them on! You can choose from their colors of fins as well as the mermaid skins that go over the fin, so everyone can get exactly what their little hearts desire. You could even get a change of skins to transform your mermaid to a different color if you want.
We drew a crowd from the condominium building, people coming out on their decks to watch my little mermaids slap their tails against the water and glide back and forth. It's really a lot of fun.
AND! Suntail mermaids is offering a 15% discount code to my readers! NOBIGDILL15 will get you that 15% off all your orders until the end of August. Spice up your summer, or, rather cool it down with a Suntail Mermaid Fin!

18 July 2016

Baby Cubby Giveaway!

A few weeks ago, I travelled (ALL BY MYSELF!) to St. Louis for a Babylock convention (more on that later).  I only took a carry-on suitcase and my regular purse, thinking I could just hold my books, and snacks while everything that I needed/wanted to use on the plane would fit in my purse.  Turns out, not such a good idea. Idea fail. X  
I like to keep my purses on the smaller side, but found that while my shoulder thanks me on a day-to-day basis, it did NOT work for my traveling self. Both the plane ride there and back, I wished I had something bigger, but not as big as my carry-on suitcase, you know, that perfect Goldie Locks middle size. Imagine my pleased amusement when I returned to find an email from The Baby Cubby people.  Initially, I thought nothing of it, since I no longer have a baby (boo hoo!), thus I no longer carry a diaper bag, but as I was looking through their bags, I thought, these don't even LOOK like diaper bags! I stumbled upon this one, the Ju Ju Be, and knew I needed it. Black and white with pockets all over.
With about a million kajillion pockets and compartments, there's a place for everything.  So.  It came in the mail, and JUST before our family reunion to CA (more on THAT later, too). I was so excited to give it a legit test.  We had two flights to get there and I brought this stuffed full of plane treats, books, you name it, it was in there to get us through.  Turns out: It was THE perfect size.  It fit right under the seat in front of me, so I didn't have to store it in the overhead compartments, and it held everything I wanted at my fingertips.
But, Baby Cubby's awesomeness doesn't stop at bags (seriously, there are some cuter than most purses out there). They have toys:
the most beautiful baby gear (almost beautiful enough to consider having another baby...maybe grandkids? ;),

and even more beautiful-ness.

So! I am giving away a $50 gift certificate to one of you lucky people! All you have to do is leave a comment. What would you get? And if you're the kind of person that likes to up your odds, you can sign up for their newsletter and come back here to comment you did so for an additional entry.  Easy peasy.  Meanwhile, this Ju Ju Be and are will be planning more travels just because. Good luck!