Saturday, March 7, 2015

Checking In

Hey all. Have you missed me. I'm passed my usual winter funk and back to sewing. I've completed a few projects since the last time we spoke. Some of them were posted on my Facebook wall. Other's I didn't even get to photograph.

I have been thinking more and more about whether or not to keep this blog. Sometimes I feel like I would sew more if I didn't have to worry about photographing everything and writing up a post. Perhaps I would take more time and learn knew techniques if I didn't worry about getting something to post right away.

But I do love being part of a sewing community. I want to participate in your contests and sew alongs. I want to show off my own creations and have it double as a scrap book for my family's growth and journeys. 

For all of those reason I've decided to make some changes to my blog. For now I will be removing all affiliate links, and only blogging when I have something to share. The photos will be family photo album quality. This will now be a web diary. I hope you enjoy the changes and I will try to post some creations as soon as possible.

Have no fear. I still read all of your blogs and love them and will continue to do so.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Refashion to Doll Clothes Round Up

I am participating in Refashion Month on House of Estrela this week.

The kids aren't the only ones who need a knew summer wardrobe. This year we are refashioning for the dolls! Check out my favorite doll clothes refashioning tutorials from around the web. Try one or try them all and have the most stylish doll around. Because your refashioning instead of buying new, you will also be helping your kids learn to be frugal and environmentally friendly without a single lecture. Enjoy!

1. Don't throw away the scraps from all those cut off shorts. Denim is a valuable resource. Among other things you can make a pair of doll jeans with this tutorial from Our American Dolls.
2. With all the new clothes you'll be making for your doll, your going to need to accessorize as well. Try making this duffle bag from an old tote bag. You can find the tutorial at Obsessively Stitching.
3. No summer wardrobe is complete without a romantic maxi skirt. Try out this tutorial from Sews N Bows.
4. T shirts are the most used item in any summer wardrobe. Make sure your doll is has plenty of them with this tutorial form Nest Full of Eggs.
5. My favorite thing to wear with a tee is a pair of yoga pants. Use this tutorial from Peachy Tuesday to give your doll some comfy lounge wear.
6. My girls will try to wear skirts, long after they've become to short. Here's one option to get rid of those skirts while keeping the girls happy from Doll It Up.
7. Are you looking to make a full matching outfit for your dolls. Try this skirt and top from Sew Mama Sew.
8. Every summer wardrobe needs a swimsuit to be complete. Turn last years swimsuit into this years with this tutorial from XOXO Grandma.
9. Last but not least your going to need to accessorize. Make a pair of doll tights from knee socks with a tutorial form AG Doll Crafts.

Which tutorial do you want to try? Do you have a favorite doll refashion project, I haven't mentioned yet?

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Story of Alice

It was one of the last garage sale's we stopped at this memorial day weekend. By the time we had arrived they had already started marking the item's they didn't want to haul back inside as free. The kids picked out a few movies and stuffed animal's and I grabbed a few bed sheets to use as fabric.

The distracted lady who was holding the sale offhandedly mentioned that they had more item's for sale inside the garage.

There you were in the back corner of the garage, camouflaged behind a sea of nick-knacks and cloaked in dust. My heart skipped a beat for a second. What an odd looking dress form you were. Some sort of wire cage with a pin-able form on top. You had large gaps between your sections and what looked like an on/off water valve on your top. I had to have you. 

My finger grievously counted the remaining four dollars in my pocket, and it seemed that all hope was lost. I turned to my sister and said, "I wish I could afford that."

My sister, who is still young enough to be optimistic about most things, but old enough to carry a debit card asked the sales lady how much it would cost us to take you home. "I don't know, the sales lady responded, how much will you give me for it."

I've never been a good negotiator, Alice. I must apologize, because I thought I had lost you for a moment when I stupidly blurted out. "I don't think I can afford it."

Thank God my optimistic sister was there to save the day, with her quick response and cash on hand. "I'll give you $20."

The sales lady paused for a moment. She was thinking about it. She didn't know much about sewing, or dress forms, but I could tell she wanted to free up the space in her garage. "Sounds good." She responded.

And then I started breathing again. I hadn't realized I was holding my breath, but it's a good thing she responded when she did, or else I might have passed out.

I took you home with me, and had to wait a full night and half of the next day before I could find the time to really get to know you. I found over a dozen wing nuts on your inner cage that made you more adjustable than any modern dress form. You also have a large key like mechanism that lets me adjust your height up and down. You can even become a table top form. You have bones of cast iron and solid wood. No wonder your still in great shape at your age.

And then I turned to Google, to learn as much about your past as I could. I learned that you are most likely a tailors form from the 1940's, and that you are a bit hard to find these days. A lot of people are looking for you as decor pieces, and they would pay well over $20 to have you. But you don't have to worry about any of that Alice. You're not going anywhere. You're home now, and I will not let you become some boring old decor piece. We have work to do. We are going to make beautiful things together.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

My Lost Sewing Groove

Does anybody else stop at the lost and found after every school concert you attend? I do, and almost always collect some sort of treasure. Usually a glove or hat to complete a matching set. You know the one that mysteriously disappeared even though nobody will admit to actually loosing it.

The same thing happens with my sewing groove. I don't remember misplacing it, but somehow it's just not there anymore. Maybe I should check the lost and found.

The Steps I Take to Find my Groove

1. Give yourself permission to take a break

Usually when I loose my groove I stop sewing for a little while, but I feel guilty about it. There is no reason for that. Sewing is my hobby, not my job. I don't owe it to anybody to sit down and sew every day.

According to ProBlogger, creative minds crave rest. So take a break and let your mind rest. Whether you need a day a week or a month is up to you and nobody else.

2. Read all about it, but not to much

If you are a sewing blogger, you most likely have an email inbox or RSS feed that is overflowing with blog posts to read and comment on. I am sure that they are 100% worth the effort, but they can wait. At the moment you are on a sewing vacation, so pick out a list of  your top 5 blogs to read daily. The ones that you look forward to the most. These are your pleasure reading blogs. For me they are:

Coletterie - It's like hanging out with a sewing mentor
Sews and Bows - She shares my love of sewing doll clothes and incredibly friendly
Melly Sews - Tons of inspiration and tutorials
Simple Simon and Co - Great to read, excellent writing style. It's like having a laid back conversation with a friend about sewing, and mothering, and life in general.
Karen Mom of Three Craft Blog - More doll clothes and crafts. All things doll related

3. Clear away the clutter

There is nothing I hate more than cleaning my house. I can't think of anything worse. But it is a proven fact that a creative mind can't function as well in a cluttered environment. Spend a day decluttering your creative space. Even a small improvement in clutter can give you a big boost in creativity.

4. Find the perfect jump start project

Your criteria for a perfect jump start project will most likely be different than mine, but there are a few things that will work well for most people.

  • Fun and not to frustrating
  • Include a new skill (new experiences cause the brain to create dopamine) 
  • Something that you want to make and not something that you were asked to make
  • Can be completed in less than a day and provide instant gratification
A few more criteria that are specific to me
  • No fitting required
  • Includes hand sewing
  • Small enough to fit in a bag and take with me
This time I chose to make a travel sewing kit from Sew for Home. I just loved how well it fit with all of my criteria, and it was something just for me, so I didn't worry about imperfections. In fact I think imperfections add character to this project. 

How do you find your sewing groove when it gets lost?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tough Choices

Browsing Etsy is a perilous hobby. I could easily spend a month's worth of income and still wouldn't be able to order everything I want. The latest risk to my financial stability comes in the form of window shopping indie patterns. I could fill a book with my wishlist. With a significant amount of effort and only a tiny bit of pouting, I've managed to narrow it down to just two shops for now, but I still can't choose which patterns to try from those shops.

What do you say? Could you help a girl out? All you have to do is choose your favorite pattern from each of the poles below. Then I'll do the rest.

First up is the Handmaiden's Cottage

I need the petticoat dress pattern. I am planning to make Bella's birthday dress with it. But there are two options to buy to get a little something extra with it. I could get the dolly and me version and make a matching doll dress, or I could go with the Petticoat and Pinafore and make her birthday dress a little more special. Which one would you choose?
Handmaiden's Cottage free polls 

Genniewren specializes in doll clothes patterns and has a fun whimsical feel to all of there items. I want everything from this store, but for now I'll settle for the top choice (or maybe top two choices)
Genniewren free polls 
In order of appearance: Dora Girl and Doll Dress, Sorrell Dropped Waist Dress, Carla Coat, Knit Basics, Rosie Romper

Please help me decide. It's just to many choices. Thanks a lot. I'll check the results of the poll at the end of the month and show you what I made from the patterns soon after!
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