Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Like Mother

... like daughter.

This is another 3835 dress for me (and Simplicity 4206 for Spenser). Again, they were made from a thrifted sheet that has been hanging around for almost two years. It was a twin fitted sheet, so it was a little more challenging to make two dresses (hence the reason Spenser's is a little short).

We have the matching dresses. She is now happy. Well, almost happy. One of the first things she said (after her enormous smile) was, "Where are my pockets?"

(Please try your best to ignore my crazy-mad-scientist hair. I hadn't styled it before the photo and I told my husband not to get it in the photo ... Somehow it still got in.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Weekend

This weekend found us doing many things we love to do together. We went to a flea market first thing Saturday morning (scored some more vintage Pyrex) and then headed out to go geocaching ...

While the boys hunted for the cache, Spenser collected a dandelion bouquet. She found the biggest and brightest dandelions for her mother.

Another cache led us to this local park. It was gorgeous. After logging our cache, the boys decided to wade through the water to this big rock.

They jumped.

They built dams. And they fell in the water 9,999 times.

The four boys all received a young tree to plant in honor of Earth Day/Arbor Day. Since we already have so many trees on our property, we decided to plant them on the banks of a creek along our local walking path. Their survival rate is much higher here.

And just yesterday I had to run into town. I am realizing that my vintage sheet stash is running dangerously low, so I had to just go peek to see what my options were. Glad I did. I scored the above stack of sheets. These will become dresses and wraparound skirts.

The two on the left are Amy Coe crib sheets. I bought them with the intention of making some beach pants and shorts for Sawyer. Now I am thinking I should use them for his crib. They are in near perfect condition. The pillowcase on the right might become a skirt or a bag. Only time will tell...

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Dress to Match the Shoes

Saturday morning I awoke with an epiphany: I needed a new dress to go with my new yellow shoes to wear to church on Sunday. Although I have skirts in my closet that would look great, it was the shoes' maiden voyage and I couldn't be willy nilly and haphazardly grab a garment to wear.

I quickly rummaged through my container of vintage sheets and found this one. It has perfect little lines of flowers running diagonally with hints of red, blue and yellow. It was "the one."

We left the house early Saturday morning (to go to a flea market and go geocaching), so it wasn't until after giving the kids baths on Saturday night that I actually had time to sew, although I thought about it obsessed over it the entire day.

It is the same Simplicity 3835 we've come to know and love. I used the shirt top (with elastic) and the dress bottom. I added an extra 5 inches or so to the length to make sure it was long enough for my long legs. It hits right below my knee (although it looks longer in the photo). I sewed the back in one piece (on the fold) as I usually do, and sewed in the darts for the zipper-back dress and it fits. It wasn't hard to pull on and it gives the dress a more fitted appearance. Darts are good.

I was so happy with the dress that I had trouble falling asleep Saturday night (as I pondered other dresses in my future) and I awoke eagerly for church on Sunday morning (and that is a rare thing, as I am usually exhausted by Sunday morning). Last night I started on a new one for me and one for Spenser. She wants to match me so I better jump at the chance.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Same but Different

I'm totally getting my money's worth out of the $1.99 Simplicity 3835 pattern. Lately I've been contemplating making the tunic (mini dress), but couldn't decide which fabric to use. Vintage? Modern? One day I spied this vintage sheet in my stash and knew it was "the one." I thrifted it almost two years ago and was waiting for the "perfect" reason to cut it up.

The pattern was a little more time-consuming and fiddly than the shirt. It involves a zipper and a neckband and facing. I handstitched the facing down because I couldn't figure out what the pattern was talking about and I just wanted it to be finished.

It's okay. I don't know if I am "in love" with it. The neck area is a little close to my neck and throat and it verges on making me feel a teensy bit claustrophobic. And I wonder if I shouldn't have used/"wasted" the sheet on this project. Live and learn, my friends. Live and learn.

In other happy news, look what arrived in the mail yesterday. All the way from sunny California. Jessica (a.k.a. Finny) sent me some dotty love. It's perfect and I can't wait to use it. Thanks, again, Jessica. You know how to make a girl happy.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Amy Butler Meets Linen

I recently bought some pink linen online. It was hard to tell which colors were which when you are looking at a swatch of fabric in a photo. So I called customer service and this is what the lady told me to order. I didn't know what I was going to get until it arrived a few days later.

It started with simple, pink linen cropped pants. Then I decided to add a cuff. And a button. At the time, I didn't know which fabric to use until I spied this old Amy Butler print that I've had hanging around for ... uh ... two years. (I have no idea what it is called, sorry.) After doing all the details on the pants, I realized she needed a new shirt to match. And, voila! It all came together.

Although the linen verges slightly on Pepto-Bismol, when paired with this pink and green fabric, it's toned down a bit. She likes it. She had been bugging me to finish it. She's wearing it now. I call that a success.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Yellow tissue paper flowers,

yellow wheel,

yellow school reminder,

yellow tractor in fabric,

lone yellow tulip,

new belated-birthday yellow shoes, courtesy of my best girl, Kathie.

And a better view.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Springy Outfit

Late Friday night I sewed. Joe was out of town, the little ones were asleep. The bigger two were awake but playing PS2 and computer games. It was as quiet as it was gonna get.

When I was recently de-stashing and organizing my fabric, I ran across this curtain that I had made a few years ago for our computer room. We aren't using it anymore and I decided I should just make something else with it. I put it in the use-immediately-or-get-rid-of pile (which works amazingly well, by the way) and straightaway it was transformed into springy baby pants. I would call them "cropped," but I wonder if that is more of a girly term. I've seen "beach pants" around, so perhaps that is what they are called for boys.

Striped beach pants with red bias trim and a matching onesie. I wanted a red bird, but found a duck shape that I tried to make look more like a bird than a duck. And I failed. All of my children called it a duck.

It feels so Maria von Trapp to be making clothes for my children out of curtains. It's all good.

Monday, April 21, 2008


On Friday I received a surprise package in the mail from Amandajean. She sent this beautiful apron with all of my favorite fabrics and color combinations. Cherries. Gingham. Polka Dots. Aqua and Red. It is so amazingly personalized for me. I love every inch of it. I really do. And it's perfectly sewn. Thanks, again, Amandajean, it was a lovely surprise.

On Saturday morning I ventured out to my first flea market of the year. There aren't too many flea markets ever in my area, so when I saw a sign that there is a flea market for three consecutive Saturdays (starting this past Saturday), I knew I had to go. Even if it meant that Joe was out of town and I had five of my six in tow. The kids were amazing. It helped that the weather was nice and that it was a smallish flea market. We were able to go through it in about an hour's time.

I found this little green chest made of solid wood. It's going to be repainted (red, maybe) and I'm going to switch out the knobs (glass, maybe). The dealer estimates it is from the 40's or 50's.

I also bought a bunch of vintage Pyrex. The price was so reasonable, that it was hard to pass up.

(The lovely cherry fabric is courtesy of Amandajean.)

Two Early American Cinderella Mixing Bowls;

one white Snowflake Mixing Bowl;

and two Spring Blossom (2) Mixing Bowls. I think the total cost for all five bowls was $8. Very reasonable. And I actually do use them. They just aren't for show. I probably would have bought more, but it was hard to carry the Pyrex, push the stroller and corral the kids. I didn't trust the kids to carry the bowls.

I also bought a sheet (which hopefully you'll see more of soon as it transforms into something new).

Yesterday I was struck down with another stomach virus. I stayed in bed the entire day, except to go to the bathroom. I'm happy to have survived to live another day. It was iffy ... And I'm not sure if I will ever have an appetite again.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Strawberries + Gingham

I have been needing a new tote. Okay, not really. How about I've been wanting a new tote? Does that sound more realistic?

I've had the strawberry sheet on my mind all week. Must. Use. It. Up. In fact, I've used so much, I've started to use bits and pieces of the fitted sheet, which is worn in some spots, so not as usable as the pristine flat sheet.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, totes! Yes, I needed wanted a new tote, so I decided what is more summery than a strawberry tote with vintage gingham? Oh, it so reminds me of a summer picnic. I can barely stand it.

I lined the totes in a large, vintage gingham and placed a small pocket in mine. After I made one for myself, a certain little girl in the house declared she needed one, too. I made her handles from the gingham so she can tell them apart. I am certain that she would try to claim my larger tote if they were identical.

And then last night (after bedtime) I made some lounge pants for her. She submitted her request for a matching pair yesterday when she saw mine. I didn't have enough cuff space left to make her hem, so I trimmed it in some leftover vintage red-gingham bias tape.

Now, if we really get our 80 degree weather today, it might start feeling a little like spring and summer. Have a great weekend, friends.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jammin' Jammin' Strawberry Jammin'

I have a Strawberry Shortcake song in my head, "Jammin' jammin' strawberry jammin.'" I don't know if it's from Spenser's CD or a DVD (or perhaps both). Anyway, it must be Strawberry Week over here because I just noticed that all of my posts thus far are strawberry related. (Hmm. Note to self: I must come up with something for tomorrow.)

On Sunday after church I was looking for some family time. We decided to make strawberry jam. I had received a free sample of a no-cook pectin so it involved very little effort. Wash. Cut. Stir. Refrigerate.

Four sets of kids' hands armed with child-friendly knives and it was finished in no time...

Which left time for sampling (before allowing it to set for 24 hours) and ...


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Strawberry Apron

Back around Thanksgiving, I found this kid's baking set from Bed, Bath & Beyond (sorry, I can't find it on their website). I bought it for her for Christmas, but she was already getting so much, I decided to hold it back for a special day.

It had a tacky, plastic apron inside, which really will not do for me, so ...

... on Saturday afternoon I sewed a little apron for Spenser. I used some of the vintage fabric I received last year. It has tiny red strawberries on it. So sweet. I used a pattern (Simplicity 8916) that had a vintagy feel to go along with the look I wanted.

So yesterday was the "special" day. Nothing extra special about it. As soon as I put Sawyer down for his nap, I gave her the gifts. We made chocolate chip cookies.

We didn't make the cookies from scratch. We used the "scoop and bake" kind. This was one of her first baking experiences and I didn't want to overwhelm her. Plus, we could eat all the cookie dough we pleased ...

and cookies, too.

Randomness to Remember:

Spenser has a black eye. It must be hard to have five brothers. A chair that Jack was sitting on fell over and hit her in the eye. Poor girl.

Monday night Mason came bursting into our bedroom at 3 a.m. exclaiming "Someone was tickling me and it wasn't Jack or Carter!" (He shares a room with Jackson and Carter's room connects to theirs.) He was adamant that it was real. I let him get in bed with us. After he calmed down and fell back asleep, he jumped and said, "Someone was just tapping me!" I explained that I was right there and no one was tapping him ... until Joe reached over and started to tap Mason. We all giggled. He is still certain that someone was tickling him.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A New Addition to the Family

Shortly after yesterday morning's second breakfast we welcomed a new arrival in our home. A serger. As I pulled it out of the box, Spenser and Sawyer were just as amazed as I was. They wanted to poke it and touch it (as if it were really a baby).

I have been considering buying one for over a year and finally took the plunge. I know nothing about sergers. Nothing. At. All.

I don't know how many threads to use. I don't know what setting to use. I don't think the tension is correct, but I don't know. And I don't want to fiddle with the tension. I don't know when to serge. Or when not to serge. To serge or not to serge. That is the question.

The threading was pretty easy. Believe it or not. I've heard nightmares about that. And it even comes with a pair of tweezers for fingers that don't like to grab small threads. Like mine.

After the threading, it only seemed natural to take it for a spin ...

Voila! PJ bottoms using the strawberry sheet.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Strawberry Skirt #2

After I made my strawberry skirt, Spenser immediately began asking where her strawberry skirt was. I had a little sewing time on Saturday afternoon and decided it was time.

I used the twirly skirt tutorial again. It makes a cute skirt, although it's a little time consuming and fiddly. I paired the strawberries with, what else? Red polka dots. (It was between dots and red gingham.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Cropped Pants

More de-stashing sewing. Here are two pairs of cropped pants for Spenser. The top pair was made from a little swatch of woven (vintage?) fabric that Beki sent me for my birthday. It was in the make-it-soon-or-Spenser-won't-be-able-to-fit-into-it-anymore pile. The lower pair was made from a striped, thrifted pillowcase that was definitely in the make-immediately-or-get-rid-of pile.

These pants are so simple to make. They are a great way to use up fabric.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pillowcase Skirt

I'm in the throes of spring de-cluttering and de-stashing. Clothing and fabric. When I was going through my bins of fabric, I organized and sorted (see dots), and put some aside for immediate future projects and some to give to my two young nieces who are learning to sew.

I thrifted this pillowcase a year or two ago with the intention of making it into a skirt. I had forgotten about it and as I picked up each piece of fabric or pillowcase or sheet, I asked myself, "Why did I buy this? Do I love this? Am I going to use this? If yes, how soon?" The pillowcase was thrown into the "make immediately or get rid of pile." And, guess what! It was made immediately into the pillowcase skirt it was destined to become.

There are a few more things I've already made from the "make immediately or get rid of pile." (It feels really good.) But you should see the "get rid of" pile. That's enormous.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008





And there you have it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sheet Shirt

Well, I made another Simplicity 3835. It's from a thrifted sheet that I bought years ago. This time I made a couple of changes to it. First I scooped the neckline a little. I thought it might be better for spring/summer (if warmer weather ever gets here). Then I made the sleeves a little longer and the casing a little higher and hoped for a more ruffly sleeve cuff. That didn't happen. I guess I didn't make the sleeve wide enough for my desired effect. And do not (I repeat do not) attempt to slightly taper the bottom of the shirt. Even though it looks slightly maternity-ish, there is a reason for it. It's called bust. If you try to narrow the waist/hip area of the shirt, you will not be able to fit it over your chest. Just trust me on that one.

This is one of those shirts that I think looks better on the hanger. And sadly, it doesn't look so great there either.

P.S. Lori is that the sheet from your parents' bed?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Girlie Dress

On Friday night I sewed a new dress for Spenser (Simplicity 4767, view A). It is sewn from a thrifted sheet I picked up last week. It has sweet little bugs and butterflies on it. It's springy. And feminine. And looks comfy. She will have more ... No doubt about it.

Friday, April 04, 2008


I never quite feel good enough to sew for other people. And I definitely don't think I'm good enough to take a garment and alter it in any way. On Sunday when a girl at church asked me if I could add sleeves to a sleeveless dress for her sweet 16 birthday party, I was a little hesitant (because of my lack of skills) but told her to bring the dress on Wednesday for me to look at it. With just her description and not having seen the dress, I could completely envision the dress with and without sleeves.

When I got a phone call from the mother a few days later (stating the party was Friday, tonight), I decided I would pick up the dress Wednesday morning and do some mock-up sleeves to show them that night.

Thankfully, both Spenser and Sawyer fell asleep on the way home from town and I was able to put together three sleeve choices. We went with the cap sleeve, in matching black organza, with elastic in the cuff. (The white elastic I have actually showed through the organza so I used a navy blue hair rubber band instead.) I didn't think I would be able to do it, but, with a prayer in my heart, I did it.

She picked up the dress last night and she seemed very pleased with it.

* * * Other random bits * * *

The school nurse called me bright and early yesterday morning (9:20-ish) telling me she suspected Mason of having pinkeye. The night before his eye was pink, but I checked him in the morning and they were as white as normal. I explained that to her, but out of caution she asked me to pick him up. When I got to the school, she agreed that it was probably cold/allergy as he was coughing and sneezing. Underneath his lower eyelids was completely red. They were not like that an hour before because I had checked. His eyes seem fine, but he is coughing more today so he is home with me. He's a good boy so it's nice to have him here.

* * * *

I have a confession and an apology to make: The afternoon of my April Fools prank, I had a memory flood into my mind. Twelve years ago I had just found out I was pregnant with Taylor (#1). Because of a previous miscarriage, my doctor told me that as soon as I found out I was pregnant again to call him and he would put me on progesterone. The day I called him was April 1st. I was at work and awaiting his return phone call and, wouldn't you know it, he called while I was at lunch in the lunchroom with others nearby. When I got off the phone I explained to a friend and co-worker that I was pregnant. She immediately snickered and said, "Oh, right. April Fools!" To which I immediately replied (and here is where I now eat my words), "I would never joke about something like that." Yes, I actually said those words. So, Jen, I doubt you read this, but I apologize. Apparently I do joke about things like that. It only took six children to make it funny.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

They Bring Me Flowers

I've had a crappy few days. Sawyer is being treated for pneumonia and ear issues. Spenser has had a cold with fever this week. Mason started with a random and sudden ear ache one night at dinner and again at bedtime, but it was gone by morning. And was fine for two days until the other ear felt left out and decided it wanted some attention at midnight. Repeatedly. And then it was fine the next day. And now Mason is coughing. And I think Carter is claiming that he has a cough, too. Although I haven't heard him. I had back and knee aches earlier in the week. And as soon as they were better I had a very sudden neck spasm that almost left me sitting on the sofa all day. That only lasted a day and the back and knee started back up and today it's the neck and knee. I think. I don't even know. Or maybe it's the neck, back, and knee. Whatever. I know it's an ibuprofen day for me again. (And did I mention that Joe is out of town?)

All I know is that I've wiped more runny noses, caught more phlegmy barf in my hand, and dispensed more medicines than any world record holder which only resulted in one miscalculated dosage. And, thankfully, it wasn't life-threatening or dangerous in any way.

I had planned on sewing last night. That's before I realized I was in a terrible mood and that I shouldn't be allowed to play with any sharp objects while I was distracted. I am making sleeves for a sweet-16 party dress for a girl at church, whose dress was sleeveless. It would not have been a good night to work on another person's garment.

And even though I was (and still am) in a foul mood. All is well. They bring me flowers. And they love me. Crazed mom and all.