Friday, April 29, 2011

The Tuxedo Belt

picture borrowed from: DownEast Basics' Tuxedo Belt

It all started with the above belt. Isn't it the cutest? I had received a catalog in the mail and thought the belt was definitely something I could wear. (Specifically for the upcoming MML Convention I have in June.) The main problem? It has not been in stock online at all. And it was March's catalog.

I had to take matters into my own hands.

In the winter I bought a few yards of gray fabric to make another dress. And, well, it just didn't happen. (In fact, I thought I would wear said dress to Taylor's Court of Honor.)

I decided to delve into the gray because, hey! I can always buy more fabric. I also used gray because I've been on a real gray (+ yellow) kick lately. Oh, and it was colder then and didn't feel like spring with her 85-degree days with humidity. So gray was totally acceptable.

But then spring finally reared her pretty face and brought some warm (and hot) weather our way, so a change was needed. I got my tail to the fabric store and bought some pink. And yellow.

I think I might change things up and put a ribbon tie on the yellow one. ::wink::

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ribbon-Tied Belts

One of my boys received a brown suede ugly hand-me-down coat. To put it mildly, I despised the coat. But, said son liked the coat and wore it. Luckily he outgrew the coat. It was placed in the donate pile without hesitation of passing it on to a younger boy.

It sat there and I pondered the coat's purpose in life and decided it would be happy to be repurposed into a more useful item. I thought about a bag, but then I knew it had to be a belt.

Afraid to "waste" the body of the coat, I cut apart the sleeves to experiment. And, lucky for me, it turns out that I love the experiment!

I made the belt reversible with a bit of Alexander Henry fabric.

It's versatile, too. I can dress it up or dress it down. (The design on this belt is what prompted me to go to the ribbon outlet in the first place.)

I then decided I'd like at least another belt in this style, so I whipped up this one.

I used a solid gray fabric and sewed a piece of lace down the middle.

The reverse is solid black.

I like this belt, but somehow it turned out two inches longer than the brown one and it's actually too big for my waist. (I cinched it in the back for the photos.)

(I used a medium-weight, iron-on interfacing to give the belt some stability.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Let's talk belts.

Lately I've been loving belts. However, I can never find the perfect one. Thrift stores are a bust (although I've found some belt buckles I can re-use). Target either doesn't have my size or I can't imagine paying $20 for a belt. I've seen a few in Marshalls, but the selection was small and the one I liked the most was damaged. So what's a crafter to do?

After another recent trip to the ribbon outlet, I decided I was going to make a rainbow belt. And then it turned into a rainBOW belt because, well, it has a bow.Ribbon belts are probably the most simple (and inexpensive) ones to make. It only requires a little bit of ribbon and a set of D-rings. Even though it's easy to figure it out, I thought I'd show you just how easy it is. So you can stop procrastinating.

First, gather your supplies. For this belt, I used 1/2"-, 1"-, and 1 1/2"-wide ribbon. Ribbon width is flexible. Use whatever you have or whatever you like. Just make sure the D-rings are the same size as the ribbon that is going around your waist. I'm using 1" D-rings.

Measure your waist and add about 8-10". Using your 1"-wide ribbon (or your ribbon size of choice), cut that length.
With D-rings together, sew them into a double-rolled loop to secure. On the opposite side of the ribbon, double-fold the raw edges and sew to create a "hem."

Cut your widest ribbon approximately 10" long. Again, this is flexible. If you want your bow larger, cut your ribbon longer.

Cut your thinnest ribbon 2 1/2 - 3" long.

Sew both ribbons into a loop (with right sides together if your ribbon has "sides").

With the seam of the wider ribbon centered in the back, slide the thinner ribbon loop onto the wider loop (with seams in the back).

Make sure the D-rings are hidden behind the bow and ...

hand-sew the bow to the belt.

I like to wear my belt with a white shirt that has "lettuce-edge" around the neck and sleeves. I also wore this with a red cardigan (and jeans) recently.

I have some rainbow ribbon left. If you'd like to make a RainBOW Belt, leave a comment and I'll pick one winner later in the week. The winner will receive enough ribbon to make a belt and a set of D-rings.

Oh, and stay tuned. I have a couple of more belts to show you later in the week. I'm saving the best for last.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Church Tote

I needed a new springy tote for church. I really should call it the Mom-do-you-have-a-pen tote. Or maybe the Mom-do-you-have-a-tissue tote. Or even the Mom-do-you-have-any-lotion tote. Or perhaps the Mom-can-I-have-a-piece-of-gum tote. Oh, and Mom-can-I-stick-my-trash-in-your-bag tote. Because that's what my tote holds. It holds the pens. And crayons. And small activity books. The lotion. The tissues. The trash. And two of my church books.

I subscribe to a sewing blog that rounds up tutorials and I saw this one the other day. I realized I had everything on hand, so I whipped one up.

I do wish I would have used the wide eyelet lace on the bottom. And I wish I had enough to go completely around the bag, instead of piecing it together with eyelet lace of a different width. Oh well. I'll use it for a few months and move on anyway.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Curlers in Your Hair ... Shame on You

So Spenser always wants curly hair. Why is it that you really covet something that you just don't have?

I keep telling Spenser that her hair will be plenty curly after she has babies, but, at six, she is too impatient for that day to come.

So, for now, we will put (foam) curlers in her hair. And wait until the next morning to see if it works.

And, after it worked for church yesterday, she wanted to try it again. So ...

we did it again. This time she wore her mob cap to help keep the curlers in place.

And it worked like a charm!

(Does anyone remember the 1970's jingle Curlers in your hair, shame on you? I don't remember the jingle, but I remember my mother saying it to us when we put the hard, plastic curlers in our hair when we were little. And, just for the heck of it, I said to to Spenser when I put them in her hair.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Circle of Giving

Nearly four years ago, Taylor helped Jackson learn how to ride a bicycle.

This week Jackson helped Spenser learn to ride a bicycle.

She still needs a little more confidence, but she has one of the best (and most patient and loving) teachers.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lace "Butterfly" Shirt

So I saw this cute tutorial the other day and I could totally see myself wearing something like that. So I bought a tee at Target and knew I had lace at home.
I totally wish I had checked my lace before assuming I had the "right" one. When I got home, I didn't have the same style lace (flat, double-sided), but I found a bunch of this ruffly lace and decided to use that.

When Spenser saw it, she said it looked like a butterfly. And she is in. love. (I need to buy her a tee.)

It's alright. I wish I would have just waited to buy some lace. (Or hunt in my stash for more. There's gotta be more lace somewhere amongst my stuff!)

But, as of right now, I'm wearing it with jeans (+ cardi). Or, in this case, a jean skirt.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Girl and Her Ribbon

Well, the girl and I stopped at the ribbon outlet again. I realized that the hotel is extremely close to the outlet and it would be a crime not to just drop in ...

They had a sale going on that you could fill a plastic bag of ribbon for 99 cents. I told Spenser she could pick out her own ribbon. That girl. (She is so much like her mother.) As we walked around, she kept asking if she still had room in her bag for ribbon. I kept telling her she did, so she continued to fill it.

At the register Spenser picked a plastic egg that gave us an additional 30% off our purchase.

And the girl and her ribbon? Well, she crammed 76 rolls of ribbon into her bag.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend Getaway

Joe was going to be out of town this past weekend for an Army training conference he was planning. And since he was going to our favorite hotel (near my favorite thrift store and ribbon outlet), I told him we were coming. All of us. It was so nice to spend two nights away. The Army paid for one room and the hotel gave us an adjoining room for free. (See why it's our favorite?)

The kids went swimming after breakfast, after lunch and before bedtime.

And then they ran straight into our bathroom to the jetted tub. (The indoor pool is just steps away from our sliding glass door.)

And while we were in the area (after Joe's Army conference was over), we took the children on a tour of Antietam. I love the rich history in our area. And, while I certainly didn't love it when I was younger, I'm hoping the children will learn and appreciate where they live.

Part of the tour had us visit the Mumma Cemetery. Joe has ancestors buried here. These four headstones represent the Ecker family. (Joe's mother is an Ecker.)

And then we visited the tower.

And climbed up it. It wasn't bad until the last couple of flights of steps. Then my thighs started to burn. It was steep.

Joe took the four oldest boys to see Burnside Bridge. We were all walking down the steep, paved hill, when Sawyer fell head first. As I stopped to help him, Spenser fell ... I had to take her back to the car for some first aid. Poor thing cried for 20 minutes.

Friday, April 08, 2011

The World is a Rainbow

The world is a rainbow.

Ugh. Now I'm singing that song. I guess it's fitting because all the pretty flowers are blooming and the yard is quite colorful. Even if it's a rainy day ...

A few months back I saw somewhere in blogville a cute rainbow garland, like above. I thought it was adorable and I knew that my rainbow-loving daughter would love one in her room.

As you may recall, Spenser got a new big girl bed last year and we took Sawyer out of the crib and put him in her old toddler bed. Because I was dragging my feet (and not wanting to admit that Sawyer is growing and no longer a baby), I kept up the baby boy bunting that I made before he was born. I knew it was time to take it down, but it was hard.

Once I decided what would replace the boy bunting, I was ready. I found a pattern for little coasters and they were just the size I was looking for.

Spenser was thrilled. I hung them while she was at school and, after she saw it, she ran downstairs and hugged and kissed me. Then Jackson asked if he could put his cup on the wall ...

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

My Community Service Project

Every time I run, I notice trash. Everywhere. And I started to get sick seeing it all the time. Everywhere I go. Every time I run. Cigarette butts all over the place. Plastic bottles thrown out of car windows. I'm sure you know just what I'm talking about.

So I decided to do something about it. One of my "goals" during my campaign was beautification of the town. I talked to my fellow council members and mayor about a spring town clean-up and they liked the idea and wished me luck.

So, I made up fliers. And I walked to each business in town, introduced myself (if they didn't already know me), handed out fliers and asked them to display them. The business owners were very supportive.

And so all the planning began. I borrowed a five-gallon water cooler, I bought snacks and water bottles (with my own money), I contacted local schools, the newspaper even interviewed me (and I made the front page!).

My arch enemy approached me, thanked me for doing it and donated four dozen donuts for the volunteers.

We arrived early to set up (with a pretty tablecloth) and waited for volunteers ...

And no one showed up.

Besides the eight of us, three nephews, one niece, my sister and my father-in-law. (Only the eight of us actually live in this town. The rest of my family were imported from other towns/cities.)

We cleaned the town parking lot, Main Street, and some side streets (our street) for a few hours and then we headed home and ate donuts and snacks.

And, because I'm just that dumb, I'm planning to do it again next spring. Anyone want to volunteer in advance?