Thursday, March 28, 2013


This morning I was serenaded by a couple of wolves in pajamas howling at the dining room light fixture.

I can't imagine missing moments like these because Lissie was in school all day.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

To Market, To Trash Can

 I have a confession: I hate this skirt.

It was my second time using the Market Skirt Tutorial and after the first one went together so smoothly, I expected to breeze through this one. That did not happen. First, I cut the red fabric to the dimensions of the bottom ruffle, and the bottom ruffle to the dimensions of the red fabric. And then, I had half of the skirt sewn together before I realized it.

I went to cut more fabric, but didn't have enough of the red I originally wanted to use, so I had to find a different fabric. I used my rotary cutter to cut the pieces, and when I got to the white piece, where the length was folded in half, I cut the fabric in half. Fortunately, I had enough white to re-re-do those pieces. But still.

I also ripped out every single seam on this skirt at least once, and most of them twice. It may or may not have spent time in the trash before I went up to bed and realized I couldn't let a skirt defeat me. I dragged myself out of bed, fished the skirt out of the trash, and finished it. In the middle of the night. There may have been wine involved at this point. That's how I explain the awful, crooked topstitching--and this was after I ripped out the botched first attempt!

And Max? She hates it too. I bribed her with chocolate chips to get this picture. She insisted on putting the skirt right over her jammies, and wouldn't even let me brush her hair.

And when I asked her if we could take a picture where she wasn't holding the doll, she insisted that she had to hold the doll, because it was walking on her. And yes, that is a plastic doll from the eighties TV show She-ra: Princess of Power. My only defense? It's vintage.

And so is the one photobombing this picture:

Fabric is Riley Blake.

Monday, March 25, 2013

One More Lazy Days Skirt

Here's another Lazy Days skirt that I whipped up a while ago, then waited a week for enough sunshine to take pictures of. I've had this Heather Ross fabric for a while now. At least a year. It's so pretty and hard to find that I've been kind of afraid to use it, but what's the point of having pretty fabric stashed in a cupboard?

I decided to go with a simple pattern that I've made before, so there was no chance of messing it up. And I think it worked. I'm really happy with the results. I didn't have any ribbon that looked right with this fabric, so I did a regular hem. It looked a little too plain after that, so I sewed a simple lace trim two inches from the bottom.

I think it adds just the right touch.

The best way to get Lissie to smile, of course, is to tell her not to smile. So this is her "serious face." I love it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Easter Color Matching

I can't seem to find it now, but I swear I pinned a similar activity last fall, which was trees cut out of green paint strips. I don't know what happened to it. But fortunately, it popped into my head a few months ago when I saw this bunny shaped hole punch on clearance at Michael's.

I bought it, and somehow managed to not lose it while waiting for Easter. I also managed to remember to grab extra paint sample strips last time I was at the paint store. I know some people think it's wrong to take extra paint strips, but I buy so much paint that I don't feel bad about it.

I got Eastery pastels in a few different shades.

Lissie and I punched the bunnies out sideways along the edge away from the text. Max did a few, but the hole punch was too stiff for her to manage easily.

Maxine is pretty good with colors, but some of the gradations are subtle, so we only did one or two cards of each color for her.

This is more for the younger kiddos, but I wondered if Lissie might enjoy sorting the subtler colors, or all of the bunnies from cards of a single color. She didn't. Of course, I can't guarantee interest at any age. Maxine thought that a making "bunny stack" was a better way to use these guys!

I have a feeling that these will be popping up in crafts and couch cushions for months to come.

Knot Dress

I've made a few dresses before using this pattern, but still managed to sew the ruffle onto the wrong side of the bodice. And for some reason--probably because my serger is right in the kitchen, while my sewing machine is all the way back in my tiny sewing room and I didn't feel like walking back there--I serged it when I did it, so picking out the stitches to redo the ruffle wasn't happening. I tried to make the inside out bodice work with the rest fabrics I'd originally planned to use, but I wasn't feeling the new combination and decided to do two separate dresses instead. 

I don't normally let the girls choose their own fabric combinations. Not because I care whether things match (I don't), but because it's hard for me to sew something together if I don't love it. This dress was so close to being finished that I figured it couldn't hurt to give Maxine some say in the rest of the fabrics. Still, I didn't exactly let her choose the specific fabrics, but each girl made a pile of their favorite fabrics one afternoon, so I rummaged around in Max's pile and, with her approval, came up with these:

It's not a combination I'd have come up with from the start, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Considering. And I managed to work in Max's favorite "boots!" fabric, which is nice, because it doesn't seem to go with many of the fabrics I own. And she loves it, so that's all that really counts.

I used this pattern from Little Lizard King, which I've made quite a few dresses from, in various sizes. I have to say, I love it. You can cut everything out with a rotary cutter, and it goes together quickly. Even if you sew the bodice inside out.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Belle Layered Skirt

I know, I've been posting a lot of skirts lately. Well, here's another one! This is the complicated skirt I mentioned in my other posts. It really wasn't all that complicated, but with the trims and double layers, it was more involved than the other patterns I used. I also find that no matter how simple a pattern might be, I usually manage to make a million mistakes the first time I make something from it.

For this skirt, I used the Belle Layered Skirt tutorial, sized up to an 8. I was a little worried about how it would turn out because of that, and I did think that I probably should have followed the tutorial exactly and made a smaller one first for Max before attempting to make a bigger one. The tutorial was very easy to follow though, and I'm happy with how it turned out.

I found the fabric (except for the one I used for the ruffle) in the bargain section at a local fabric store, and immediately thought of Lissie. I wasn't planning on making anything specific with it when I bought it, but fortunately happened to get enough for this skirt.

The outer skirt is made from Melissa White's Misaki Lotus and Berries in dusty pink, and the underskirt is Annette Tatum's Fall House Bloom in ochre. I can't remember the names of the fabrics I used for the binding and the ruffle, but I think the purple one is from the Memoirs of a Geisha line. You've probably already figured this out, but I love mixing and matching different lines of fabric.

Lissie had a little trouble standing still for pictures, so I had her sit. It didn't really help. Here she is flapping her arms like a chicken.

She already had a shirt that matched, so that was nice!

When I was cutting the skirt pieces, I accidentally cut the outer skirt an inch shorter than I was supposed to. Instead of making the underskirt shorter, I just left it. Now that I've seen the skirt on Lissie, I think it could have been a little shorter. At least this way it will fit longer, and I don't think the difference is very noticeable.

I definitely want to use this tutorial again to make a skirt for Max. I love how this one turned out, but I don't know if I'd use it again for Lissie, just because of the awkwardness of working with so much fabric. Maybe in a lighter weight fabric though? I used quilt weight cottons for this one, which definitely adds bulk. Gathering the skirt and sewing a separate waistband would help cut down on the bulk too. But then I'd have to gather, so I probably won't try that.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

My Bedroom Retreat

I wasn't planning on entering my bedroom in any contests, but when Apartment Therapy announced their My Bedroom Retreat contest a week after I finished my bedroom, it seemed natural. My room was selected as an entry, which is always exciting, even if it's not doing as well as my past rooms have (my porchMaxine's room, and my living room) in their Room for Color contest. Maybe I should have waited for that one! Either way, it's still fun to be picked. I wasn't actually sure what people would think of a peach room, so I've enjoyed reading all of the comments. 

You can see my entry here, or head over to the main contest page to check out all of the entries. My bedroom was also featured as one of the Don't-Miss Beautiful Bedrooms: Week One

Saturday, March 16, 2013

To Market, To Market

I'm still putting off working on the "complicated" dress and skirt I started last week, and what better way to procrastinate than by making another simple skirt?

This was a new pattern for me. I used the Market Skirt tutorial from Made, and while it's not as simple as the Lazy Day skirt pattern (but then, what is?), it was easy to follow and went together pretty quickly. I skipped the pockets, because I didn't want them to compete with the pattern on the fabric I used.

Other than that, I followed the pattern pretty closely. I had a little trouble with the double layer of fabric for the bottom piece, so instead of using two separate layers, I made my pieces twice as long as the pattern called for, and folded them in half lengthwise. I took her suggestion of doing a double line of stitching at the hem, even though there really wasn't a hem, because of the way the piece was folded. I love the way it looks though, and as you can see, I'm a big fan of topstitching anyway.

Max loves it too, although when she first saw the skirt she said that she wouldn't wear it, because it wasn't red and it didn't have ribbon at the hem. Fortunately, she changed her mind.

She says that the boots she is wearing are her Wonder Woman boots. She wouldn't put on pants or tights "because Wonder Woman doesn't wear tights. She has bare legs, and so do I!" And who am I to argue with logic like that?

Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the fabric I used for this one, and it wasn't on the selvedge of the piece I bought. I used white Kona cotton for the hem and waistband, and I'm happy with how well it worked. I was afraid the Kona would be too stiff (it's not my first choice for clothing), but it seems to work well in this particular pattern.

I'm definitely planning to make more of these soon. This skirt uses less than half a yard of patterned fabric, so it's the perfect way to use up some of the smaller pieces I have sitting around here. Maybe I'll even use some of the precious Heather Ross fabrics I've been hoarding. Maybe.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Gnome Baby

I am guessing that most of my readers are already familiar with the wonderful book Making Peg Dolls by Margaret Bloom, of the blog We Bloom Here. Well, she recently celebrated her third blog-iversary with a week's worth of giveaways, and I had the fortune of winning giveaway number three, which was a darling little peg gnome baby in a heart shaped pouch. It came in the mail the other day, and is so cute that I had to take a couple of pictures to share here.

Isn't it precious? It was made by MamaWestWind, who writes Chocolate Eyes, which is another one of my favorite blogs. She also has an Etsy shop where she sells her beautiful creations.

I haven't shown the girls yet, because I'm saving it for Easter, but I know they're going to love it.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Another Simple Skirt

 Another day, another simple skirt. You didn't think I'd forgotten about Max, did you?

Same easy pattern. Same ribbon trim.

She loves it, because she loves red. Red has been her favorite color for ages, but it's kind of hard to find red clothes for little girls (except around the holidays, but even my girls don't need that many fancy dresses). The fabric is Red Birds from Riley Blake's "Hello Sunshine!" line.

And yes, she picks her own clothes. "It does match. They both have pink!"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Simple Skirt

Although fall is my favorite time of year, spring is a close second. We've had a few warm days recently, letting us know that spring is finally on its way, and one of my favorite things about spring is sewing. It's not that I couldn't sew during any season, it's just that my sewing repertoire is limited to little girls' summery dresses and skirts. So spring always puts me in the mood to sew.

I've been working on a dress for Maxine and a skirt for Lissie, using slightly complicated patterns. Which is fine, except that I really love the instant gratification of a project that I can start and finish in the same day. Sometimes I need to take a break from the bigger things and just finish something.

I made this skirt this afternoon. I used one of my favorite patterns, the Oliver + S Lazy Days skirt pattern. I love it. It uses just one piece of fabric, and I think the ribbon trim at the hem adds just the right touch. I had a few colors that would have worked with this fabric, but I went with pink because it's Lissie's favorite color.

I spotted this fabric at the fabric store the other day. It's a quilt weight cotton called Scenic, from the Tribute to Monet line. I don't usually use panels like this, but it seemed perfect for a skirt for Lissie. The repeat is actually 24 inches, but still worked well in the half yard piece I needed for Lissie's skirt.

I've been making these skirts for years, since she was a size 4 (I think Maxine will be wearing those skirts next summer). She's a size 8 now, but the 44" width still works. It probably helps that she likes things less poufy these days.

Easy, adorable, and the pattern is free!