Thursday, October 27, 2011

funky witch costume

I made another witch costume, but this time it's a little more fun, and less traditional.  It's for a little girl in our neighborhood, who is the same size as Rora (we'll call her Little Miss.)
(modelled by Rora)

I still used the corset-style belt from Simplicity 4139, but this time I made it a little smaller than recommended so that the lacings would be more obvious and Little Miss' mom chose green ribbon for the same reason:

The tutu is a no-sew tutu, except I didn't like the idea of the waistband being stapled, so I sewed it.  I guess it's more of a "minimal sewing" tutu.  (If you don't know how to make one of these, just Google "no sew tutu" and you should end up with plenty of options.)

The cape is simple.  It's 36" wide, and the length that I wanted.  Then I gathered it into a length of extra-wide double-fold bias tape (make sure to cut it long enough to tie on either side of the gathering.)

And the true test of whether a costume/outfit/dress is a success: does it make her want to smile and twirl?

The hat Rora is wearing is the same hat from last year's witch costume.  Little Miss already has a hat, so there was no need to make her one.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

my absence

I have been MIA for a few weeks now . . . not that that's uncommon, but this time I have a really good reason.

This November, Enos and I will be celebrating 10 years since the day we promised ourselves to each other.  To celebrate, we went on a cruise, and dragged our best friends, Ben and Tonia along!  (Thanks again for finding child care and coming with us amidst a move and job change.)

And now, I'm going to make you jealous:

We went ziplining in the Jamaican tree tops:

My beautiful friend, Tonia and her tolerable husband, Ben. ;)

After ziplining, we played on the ocean toys in Margaritaville, Jamaica.

In the Cayman Islands, we played with the stingrays and snorkeled:

And in Cozumel, Mexico we hiked the Mayan ruins while being eaten alive by mosquitoes:

We stayed up too late, got up too early, ate way too much, and had a generally amazing time.  We hope to do it again in less than 10 years.  Until then, I'll spend my spare time staring at beautiful pictures of sunsets and reliving the wonderful memories we created:

Monday, October 3, 2011

homemade salsa

It's that time of year when gardens are exploding with fruit and vegetables, and we start trying to preserve everything our garden is producing in glass jars so that we can enjoy it all year long.  Well, some people do, anyway.

I have just about the blackest thumb you've ever seen!  I inherited the ability to kill any plant from my mother, who also has a fairly black thumb.

Luckily, I married well, and my mother-in-law can grow enough produce for an entire neighborhood, which she doesn't mind sharing!

So, each year at this time, we steal tomatoes from Enos' mom and we make homemade salsa using Mrs. Wages seasoning packets.

They are the easiest way to do it!  Just prepare your tomatoes, add the packet and some vinegar,

(we also like to add a few extra peppers for a hotter salsa,) then cook for 10 minutes. 

At that point, you can eat, freeze, or bottle the salsa for later use.

There is even an option for using canned diced tomatoes!  We tried it that way once, but if you have access to fresh tomatoes, they tend to taste better.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

tutu (butterick 5545)

Today I got the opportunity to accompany my little niece to her parent/child dance class, since my brother-in-law was unable to take her.  What a fun time we had!  E and Rora were born 6 days apart, and have been good little friends all their lives, so it was super fun to get to do this dance class with them!  (Since E is not mine, I've decided not to post pictures of her here, but you'll have to trust me that the two of them together were simply adorable.)

While at dance class, it occurred to me that I made Rora's tutu more than a year ago, but hadn't posted it here.

I made her tutu from Butterick #5545.

The directions were simple and clear, however it can get a little hairy when you're putting on the 6th layer of gathered tulle. 

Have I mentioned before that I hate gathering? 

I usually love the look it creates enough to power through, but I hate it!

I like how it ties in the back, which means it will last a little longer as she grows:

Just so you have pictures of all angles, here is what the tutu looks like upside-down!

See?  I told you we had fun!

Dance class doesn't get any more fun than tutu's and hanging on the barre pretending to be a monkey!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

deep cleaning

At the encouragement of my best friend, I've decided to show you the mundane things that have been eating up my time as of late.

I called her one day to complain that I dislike deep cleaning because no one ever notices.

No one is ever going to climb up on top of my counters to look above my cupboards and notice how clean they are. 

Nor are they going to open up the cupboards under my sink, or the countless drawers that used to be filled with masses of junk, but are now stocked with properly organized junk.

When looking inside my fridge, they probably will not notice that all the glass shelves are once again clear, as opposed to sticky and cloudy like they started out this week.

My husband notices all these things (partially because when I see him at the end of a long day of seemingly unproductive cleaning, I drag him to the things I've done and make him look underneath, on top of, and inside all the areas I've been working on so hard that day,) and now I'm going to give you a chance to "notice" them, as well.

Under the kitchen sink:
A few days ago, this area was the catch-all for miscellaneous kitchen items that didn't have a home.  However, since we also keep a lot of our cleaning supplies under here, it seemed an oxymoron to leave it in the state it was.

Above my cabinets:

See this cabinet?
the top has been scrubbed clean,:

as have the tops of these cabinets.:

Nobody but those within my own family would look at this closet and think it looks "amazing," but if you had seen my crafting supplies a week ago, you might have thought I owned the company that makes plastic shopping bags because that is how it was all stored.
This closet also happens to be where the extra toilet paper is kept, and look out if you needed to re-stock the bathroom because this closet was an open-at-your-own-risk, knee-deep hazard.

These are not the only areas that have been subjected to deep cleaning lately, but they are the only ones I took photos of.  (Even I realize you can only indulge me for so long.)

While cleaning the tops of my kitchen cabinets, I discovered that the installers drilled no fewer than 17 holes in the wall looking for a stud!  I guess it's kind of a good thing that nobody ever climbs up to look at the tops of the cabinets because I really don't feel like fixing what no one will ever see!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

rope bracelet

Okay, so this didn't take a lot of time, and it's not even my design, but I promised to show you what I've been working on.

The truth is that I've been working on camping, an amusement park with family, and all the other awful regular things that a long weekend creates: dishes, laundry, and the like. But, I did manage to squeeze in this tiny little project:

It's a rope bracelet designed by the georgeous Heidi at Sew.Craft.Create (tutorial found here.)

This one is cotton, and I'm thinking I also want to try it in a stretch knit . . . maybe an old t-shirt?

I also want to give this knit bracelet a go from V & Co.

I'll be back soon!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

sweater refashion

I am the oldest of my siblings, which means I didn't get many hand-me-downs.  Last month, however, my mom went through her closet and passed on this sweater.
Cute, right?  I think so.

But I was in the mood to refashion, and wanted a cardigan instead.  So, I chopped and sewed and this is what I came up with.

I cut the band off the bottom, shortened the bodice by 3 inches, and put the band back on the bottom. 

I then used the fabric I cut out to make a binding for where the front pieces meet each other in the middle.

I finished it all off with a button and a loop.

I'm not sure which way I like it better, but if for nothing else, this was a good project to get me sewing again.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

not a single one

Hmm.  Not a single post in August.

I sort of inadvertently took the summer off.

I didn't realize how busy 5 troublemakers were going to keep me (as opposed to last summer's 4 troublemakers.)  I still haven't figured out how it works, since the two kids I lose at school time are the ones to dress, bathe, and sometimes even clean up after themselves.  Yet somehow when they go back to school there seem to be less messes and things are accomplished so much quicker.

Whatever the reason, having the 2 older troublemakers back in school has freed up some time.  I have been able to clean, maintain, and every now and then I get to deep clean something!  It's been a long summer, and I was aching for school to start again.  Now that it has, I've been more productive in the crafting department.

This past week, the stars aligned and both little troublemakers went down for naps at the same time, and Rora found herself with a hankering to watch a movie, so I indulged and got a few crafts done, which I'll be sharing with you over the next few days.

I'm going to try to be better, but I don't know that I can promise anything because soccer season started for our older three troublemakers.  That means 2 soccer games every Thursday night, 1-2 games each Saturday, and practices in between, and sometimes they overlap.  Things are busy, but when I can steal a spare hour or two, I promise to show you what I'm working on!

Friday, July 22, 2011

basement reveal

Poor, neglected blog!

Would you like to see what I've been working on while I haven't been blogging (or even making) cute sewing projects?

Last time I showed you the basement bedroom, hallway, and closets we've been working on, we had primed and painted the ceiling, doors, and trim white.

It looked a little something like this:

The wall paint made a huge difference, and then we added carpet, and I'm pretty excited to move our older 2 troublemakers downstairs and rearrange the bedrooms upstairs.

Here are some reveal photos:

Bedroom before:

After paint:

After carpet:

The other side of the bedroom before:

after paint:

after carpet:

Hallway before:

hallway after paint:

hallway after carpet:

This room has been "finished" for about  a year, but we decided to wait to carpet until we had the bedroom and hallway done.  During the interim, we have been using a large carpet remnant in the center of the room.

Family room (angle 1) before:

Family room (angle 1) after:

Family room (angle 2) before:

Family room (angle 2) after:

Whew!  It was a lot of work just to make a room into something that we can now personalize with furniture, curtains, photos, etc!!  Now the fun part begins.

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