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Thursday, February 23, 2012

fleeting moments

We had some company over this past weekend. Hamburgers, hot dogs, juice boxes and a few beers. All of this flurry of activity was happening -- kids running in and out of the house, voices coming from the kitchen, living room, backyard. And at some point, my momma ears picked out a little sound coming from my daughter's bedroom...the sound of a giant princess piano/vanity being played with. Quietly, I slipped out of a conversation, snatched up the Canon and tiptoed down the hall to the room of pink.


These moments will be over soon. I know this, my son is almost 9 now...


And I know there are so many parents out there that don't want to "genderize" their children, withhold pink and princess...
 

But she loved this stuff out the shoot, and I'll deny her nothing these days. 
 

Because soon they will be into other stuff (it's a head set made from Bionicle pieces)

 

 And those eyes will be big, and so will the smile...and ideas become so grand...

 They get so big so fast.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

too posts in one day?? toosweets pattern review: best bubble dress

There is nothing more refreshing, more invigorating, mentally satisfying than a nice hot shower -- and finding sewing patterns that I actually get. Thanks to too sweets patterns I have several patterns that I can churn out in under an hour and that Refi will actually wear!

The best bubble dress was a fantastic pattern that I couldn't wait to finish. There is ironing of FOUR hems, but no biggie because they are small -- and they don't have to be perfect. The elastic makes everything all scrunchie and adorable, so there's room to be uneven (thank you heavens because I can't iron for squat).


A happy face? Yup! She preferred to pull the "bubble" bottom down like a dress. Occurred to me with a little tweak, this could be simple and easy peasant dress...
 
 
Here's the bubble top. We went shopping for the fabric together, and of course pink is top of the list. I originally cut sleeves to match, but I cut them upside down. (Note to self: read more tutorials on cutting pattern fabric)
 

lilygiggle poppy tunic REVISITED

With a fantastic bag of old tees (thank you hubs for cleaning out your drawers...) sitting in the garage, I felt that one of my favorite sewing patterns needed to be revisited. This time, with a clear head and a few little tweaks, I turned out on of my favorite patterns in just 60 minutes! Yup, another rendition of the lilygiggle Poppy Bubble Tank Tunic.

I knew I did not have the right amount of elastic to bubble up the skirt, and I also wanted to hone my seaming skills. I've noticed that ruffling a skirt and attaching to a bodice or waistband has been a bit of challenge...getting the seam allowance correct still baffles me. So, instead of allowing the cute seam to show, I sewed it behind the bodice bottom. Again, this pattern fits my little lady SO well, and I get to reuse tees vs using up yardage. 

Take a peek...

Pink ric rac instead of a ruffle.


 Rolled hem...not bubble this time. 

 
Love this face...
 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

sweet saturday

I love the weekend. No alarm clocking chirping at my ear. No rushing through cereal, backpack packing, lunch preparing...My kids are old enough now that they wake up, head to the living room and switch on cartoons. My son gets down the cereal and pours very large bowls for himself and his sister. Coffee maker doesn't even see the light of day until at least 9 am. Yes, this is the life of parents of kids who don't need a diaper change, bottle, a high chair, baby food...

Saturdays. I love them. And today, the blue sky is trying to shine through California fog, tiny pink buds are sprouting on barren trees, small green sprouts are poking out through blackened mulch and as you drive though my small suburban nabe, the roads are starting to pop with itty bitty punches of color. Saturdays in Spring. 

That's what has inspired my new flower in my etsy store. I can't take all the credit, the pattern originated from one of my favorite shops, Violette Field Threads. The Nadine Flower Pattern makes you think of spring from start to finish. I chose a hot pink satin for the peony and pearl and crystal center (all hand sewn). Hope you like it :)
 

Friday, February 17, 2012

left overs and decisions

Decisions are never easy -- well, maybe for some. Last night in our home, decision making came to a head with the same results -- totally awesome. It was a long road for two of us but in the end, we were both content. 

To start, I had to decide on what to make for dindin. Left over chicken was out and I had no more matzoh ball soup. My cold was making its way into my chest, which felt weighted by anchors. I gathered up my cooking resolve, dug out the left over risotto and made arancini! Um...delish!  
 
Flour, eggs, bread crumbs and mozzerella... 


Frying...
 
   
Cooling...well not really, because you gotta eat these puppies warm. The cheesy goodness in the middle is worth the burnt tongue.
 

And all this time, while I'm working away, avoiding getting splatter burns from the oil, my daughter and I are discussing her upcoming 5th birthday (at the end of March). There are a few choices on the table, all which need to fall within a very strict budget. Have you ever watched a preschooler try to make a decision that involves her very own happiness and needs? This was like asking a grown up to decide between the Ferrari or Porsche...

   
She didn't know what the right choice was and wanted me to decide. I told her I would, but wanted her honest input. Her main concern? With tears streaming down her face, she asked, "Mommy, what if I'm not happy with my choice and my friends don't like my party?" Explaining that a party is a party, and unless you're a sour puss of all sorts, dislike sugar, pink, jumping, music and well, the birthday girl, then everyone has a good time at a party.


We ended up calling Kika (my sister) and Wizzy (my mom) for advice. And with some sweet family talk, my little struggler confidently declared her decision. Tears were cleaned up off those delectable cheeks and a pillow fight with her brother entailed. 

Party on...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

valentine's day...my way

The hype surrounding Valentine's Day really gives me the willies, and not the good kind. This Hallmark Holiday has taken over the U.S. and it screams "spend more money on items that are priced too high and will be forgotten in drawers, dumped in a garbage or consumed to the point of nausea!!"

Yes, I attempted a Valentine's Day frock my girly nugget and yes, it came out backwards, uneven and wrong -- should've seen the writing on the wall, eh? But I made it for her, because I love her and wanted to see her smile...NOT because the VDY bug bit me. I do things for the people I love all the time -- why should it be concentrated into one big day of pepto pink? Why? Because marketing, advertising and media vomit this stuff onto us and we eat. it. up. 

And I should talk...as of this week, I'm scouring the internet for jobs in marketing, advertising and media. The time has come, and not by choice, to join the drones. "Why so negative?" you might ask! I truly love my job -- mothering. I use my working-day skills to manage my home -- from dawn to dusk and all the hours in between -- and see absolutely nothing wrong with that (except the salary...it sucks). My love for words is used daily -- I teach my kids the definitions of everything -- and my daughter is learning to say all her body parts in spanish. My obsession with reading -- even though I'm not reading much these days -- is revisited every evening as my son and I devour books from my youth (James and the Giant Peach right now...). 

Because I love my family so much, because I must be stronger than I am right now, I am out there searching for a job with a salary. Mommyhood just ain't gonna cut it right now. My hopes are high that the same technique I've been using for 8 years to serve my family right, will serve some other employer. 

Anyone need a writer, editor, researcher or proofreader????

Monday, February 13, 2012

my cursed dress project

Yup, cursed I tell ya! ::fists raised in the air, cursing the wind!::

I promised my princess a Valentine's Day dress. Which, in theory, is ridiculous since my husband and I don't celebrate the national day of love -- never have, never will. But I'll get into that some other day.

Back to the dress...I told her that I would make her a special dress to wear to school. I spent quite some time deciding on a pattern, which is the Brooke Dress from brynnberlee designs. Then, I spent even more time picking out my fabric -- I didn't want her in red and pink -- but something more modern and chic. I picked out this heart pattern for the skirt (and planned to use black fabric for the top & sleeves):
But of course, I cut the entire skirt wrong -- I reversed length and width...my bad. I should've known from the getgo that this dress needed to be shelved for another day. 

I continue on...I LOVE the Brooke Pattern, but never having done pleats or buttons & button holes, I should've taken a deep breath and paid more attention to the details. Because what happened in the end? Front pleat panel for skirt ended up as the back of the dress.

I sewed on the bodice and have the button panel on top of the button hole panel


I didn't even bother hemming the dress, just used a rolled hem (sergers rule!). 
She will still wear it tomorrow. I plan to add 2 extra holes where the buttons should be, and I'll use some red ribbon and tie bows so the bodice holds up. And no one but myself will realize how I botched the pleats. One day this sewing thing will make sense, I swear.
 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

absolute cuteness -- chic chic dress by toosweets

I cut this pattern out days ago, but haven't been able to get around to it. Not sure why...oh yea, maybe because I've been working on my resume (job? me?? YES), volunteering for my son's elementary school and catering to my husband, who's feeling a bit blue these days. 

But I decided to carve out time for ME and sewed this cutie up. It's one of my favorite patterns -- the chic chic dress from too sweets patterns. This is my second go -- first version was out of a hot pink knit jersey, and it had sublime drape and flow, something my little nuggets just loves. 

My only adjustment to this dress was not hemming the bottom -- I'd had enough ironing for one day. I used my serger and did a rolled hem, which I think I'm becoming quite a fan of. Rolled hem vs ironing out 1/4 after 1/4 (and so on) hems, no brainer for this lady. 


Monday, February 6, 2012

superbowl sunday: giants tee refashion

Go GIANTS! Total excitement in the house all day yesterday -- and then ending with a win? Just a terrific Superbowl Sunday. 

But let's start with the morning. My precious nugget was sad that mommy, daddy and brother all had Giants shirts. The only Giant thing I had for her was a hand-me-down from her big brother. Knowing my fashionista, she was going to mope about how big it was, long-sleeves and that it wasn't, of course, pink. I offered to spruce this little number up for her:

First, I tried making a satin belt, with elastic, so it would ruche up:
 What I discovered?? That I hate trying to "wing" anything that involves sewing satin -- oh, and that I detest sewing with satin. So this little project got tossed. 

In the end, I cut up an old white tee, sewed a strip of elastic to the back, causing a sweet ruffling effect. I added a singed red satin peony for a more girly look and there you have it, a little belt for a little girl. I cut the sleeves off the Giants shirt, sewed a strip of elastic underneath the sleeve end...and after 2 hours of winging it, I got this:
She got all the attention she loves when she walked through the door! And she boasted how the shirt used to be her brother's, and that her mom made it this way. :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

penelope skirt: pattern by violette field threads

DING DING DING!! I found a winner! The Penelope Skirt pattern from Violette Field Threads is, simply put, awesome. The pattern is a .pdf, delivered right to your inbox. Just download and print. That's it!

It didn't take much time. But since I'm horrible with an iron, it took a little longer than planned. I kept going back over my hems to make sure they were nice and tight, so sewing it would look better. I intended to make this skirt for my daughter for Valentine's Day, but remembered I had this amazing Michael Miller fabric combo and went ahead with this instead:

And after a while, this lovely fabric turned into this:


And the best way to start a Friday morning is watching something you made...wear something you made:

 

how much does a blogger blog?

Yeah, I'm trying hard to keep my blog going. Not because I think my life is more interesting than the next person. Or that my sewing and crafting is spectacular (I sewed a whole dress inside out the other, a simple tunic dress!). I don't do it because it's going to land me some amazing job in the universe of the blogosphere. And as you can see -- if I have anyone really reading this blog at all -- I don't reveal too much of the private life I live on this side of the computer. No. 

But maybe that's my problem. I don't reveal shit. I've been reading some blogs (nobigdill, gelatomama, lilblueboo) and their honesty about their lives is absolutely riveting, disgusting, enlightening, depressing and uplifting. But as I read their posts, I wonder "are their friends/family/partners/spouses/workmates reading this stuff?" And if so, how do those individuals feel about being mentioned? Are they learning intimate things about the blogger that might make them uncomfortable? 


Yes, I tell my mom (almost) everything. I call my siblings A LOT. And my phone records for the day show at least 5 phone calls to my best friend in NY, and it's not even noon on the west coast. Even with all of this real-voice communication, I'm still not sure I want them reading my writing communication (because I'm much better with a pen than I am with my voice). Where do you draw the line?

Maybe the point of a blog is so you don't have to draw a line. Free speech right?

Seriously though, if you're writing away in a blog, divulging secrets, discussing the crazy shit happening in your life, posting observations you've made during the day -- and no one is reading them -- then what are you really doing?  Filling a narcissistic personality? Getting things off your chest as you would in a journal? (Yes, I have dozens from my childhood and not a single one as a grown woman.) But maybe that's what I need -- a big girl journal.

What, in my life, will resonate with some stranger, sitting in front of their computer, who just happened to stumble across mylil? I don't know...but I guess I should start blogging about it and see what happens. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

NEW snazziedrawers pattern & coupon code!

My next project? Well, I think it's going to be the Hudson Dress from snazziedrawers. I'm all for sewing up some duds that involve comfy knits -- especially since my princesa of a daughter prefers "softy stuff mom, can't you just use softy stuff to make my clothes?"!!!

And before you click the CHECK OUT, make sure to visit her coupon code page. OK, go have fun on her site, then fun at your sewing machine, then fun taking pics of your favorite little ladies in these outfits...and you get the picture.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

upcycled dress: pattern by lilygiggle

I have not sat at my sewing machine in at least 2 weeks. Saturday  morning I'd about had it -- I pretended not to hear my 2 children begging for snacks, TV, finger paints, dolls and for some odd reason, a long piece of string. My husband went on duty and I SEWED all day -- right up until we had to get ready to head to a birthday party dinner. 

And what came out of my day? The Poppy Bubble Tank/Tunic from lilygiggle. This is a PERFECT pattern for a starter sewer -- and the best part is that you can make this out of old tee's, sheets or any jersey/knit fabric you have laying around. I used some tee's my husband was cleaning out (hence, the portland republic of beer bubble bottom).

My little girlie nuggets has been resistant in wearing just about anything I make her - -but this tunic stole her heart and she wants it in several colors (and asked for some flowers, bows and other items to spice it up). 

So here are a few little photos of the finished item...I want one for myself :)