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!

24 May 2016

Circle Update!

It doesn't look like much, does it.  But it is a game changer when there are more electronic devices and children in your household than you can keep an eye on every second of the day.  I know I've posted about this previously, but the Circle™ really puts the control of the internet back in the hands of parents.  You can turn off the internet, so no devices are snuck into bed "after hours" where you don't know what's going on. You can "pause" the internet when it's time to come and eat, or go outside, or just plain be together as a family to play tangible, roll-the-dice board games. You can put limits on your children's favorite time-suckers, er, I mean apps. You can read about it more on my other post, here.
But here's the update: They've just announced that Circle™ is now available on Android! Now everyone can enjoy the same peace of mind. And if that wasn't enough, they've also rolled out Circle Go™, which means you can take your peace of mind anywhere you (or your child) are! If you still don't have a Circle ™, go here.

05 May 2016

Not a Sham, Lots of Shams!

This is a really big, deep couch.  I feel like a little girl when I sit all the way back, my feet dangle, and it's hard to take someone seriously when their feet don't touch the ground.  I loaded it like a baked potato, except I used rainbowtized pillows instead of broccoli and cheese. I used my easy pillow sham tutorial here, but you can also make them with snaps or velcro so you don't even have to do buttonholes!  I love how a fresh set of pillow shams makes you feel like you gave the whole room a makeover for the price of nothing, well, if you have a stash of fabric like one ought to. ;)  I am really trying to simplify and get rid of the detritus of life.  I know I recently posted about less toys and "things" for our kids, but doing this "no new clothes" for a year has really opened my eyes. I'll post an update of how that's going soon.  In the meantime, I second guess every purchase I make.  Do I really need this?  Do I already have something that I can use?  Will I still love this next week, month, year?  I find that I'm able to talk myself out of a lot of things, ha!  How do you declutter most effectively?

28 April 2016

Floral Radiography Meets Fabric

Gone are the days where we have to settle.  And by settle, I mean, you can picture the perfect fabric for a project, but you scour your local big-box stores and you search your fingers off online without success.  No more.
We have the option of creating a our very own prints on fabric! This is just what Audrey of Skirt Fixation did with this stunning fabric. Audrey took a floral radiograph print, and turned it into a design to be printed on fabric.
There was an option to choose from 26 kinds of fabric, including what I chose, a linen/silk blend!  It was like nothing I've ever worked with before, so it was fun to try something new.
Audrey also had the option of different colors...but who needs options when you have black and white. ;)  I finally had the perfect project for this lace-cut zipper, since it was more of a cream color than white, I pulled this out to do an external zipper.
I felt like it needed a little bit of a border, and had this romantic-esque ruffled lace that was up to the task of border patrol.  I didn't use a pattern, just gathered up that beautiful fabric, added a nice, wide waistband, and voilá!
Of course I wore a petticoat underneath for a bit of oomph.

You'll want to take a look at what everyone else is creating on this fun Floral Radiograph Blog tour over at Audrey's (plus there's a giveaway going on!
And with that, I will curtsy and Scout will go out with a flare.

23 April 2016

Art + Kids

Do you ever feel like you should be more creative with your kids, help promote thinking outside the box in their little brains?  Forget googling and wading through "kid-friendly art activities" links, or checking out a million pins on pinterest.
My sister-in-law, Krisanne, used to teach art classes in an art museum to little kids!! Perfect, right? I'm pretty sure she even had waiting lists for her classes because both parents and their children wanted in.
Lucky for us, she posts these fun ideas on instagram: @makingtable.  I love it because it's a quick, simple way to get ideas.  She also gives suggestions like, "Target has chalkboard paper in their dollar section right now!"
So, of course, I go to Target and get my little people some chalkboard paper!
Check out these self-portrait collages of her two boys.  Aren't they fantastic?! I love every single element they chose to include.  Sometimes she does the art with Ezra, and sometimes she just sets the supplies out for him to go at it. The great thing is, they're fun for all ages.  Even kids-at-heart types of people. ;)
Sometimes there are themes, such as focusing on a type of art, or the style of a particular artist (see, she does the teaching!) and sometimes there is free reign.  I loved how she described this one, "Ezra is taking a walk with his paintbrush. He "hops" "walks backwards" "walks in circles" and "runs" with his paintbrush."
Go check it out (@makingtable on instagram) and I wouldn't be surprised one bit if you accidentally "get lost" in her posts. Also, it's okay if you bust out the art supplies without your kids.  I won't tell. ;)