Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Brynn's Upcycle Dress


Hey, today I'm feeling prett-ay crafty and awesome with myself because I actually did one of those diy things that's always floating around my facebook feed. I made Brynn a dress from a dude shirt! Yay! And I'm here to tell you all about it (read: brag shamelessly).

Please note, this is not really a tutorial. I definitely don't consider myself qualified enough to give crafty tutorials. This is more like a "HEYYY look at this cute thing I did here are some crappy cell phone pictures to prove I did it" type of thing.

But it's cute though, right??


So I went to Goodwill yesterday, which is not something I usually enjoy doing. But this trip was fun! I found this pink striped shirt in 3 seconds and I also walked out with 5 books for $2 and a giant heart-shaped cake pan because it's Valentine's day soon, so obviously I need a giant heart-shaped cake pan. 

So here's my shirt: 


And here's my ridiculously messy sewing room, because keeping it real: 


You know like on Pinterest and on blogs everyone's sewing room is neat and color-coordinated and cutely decorated? YEAH, JOKES. 

Also I have a cleaning up problem. In my defense, that chambray that is still on the floor made a darling dress for Brynn last week: 


So, back to my non-tutorial.


I used a dress to kind of trace the shape of the dress I wanted. At first I cut the collar off thinking I could keep the original neckline, but if you keep the neckline you can't keep the original hemline. So what I ended up doing is drawing the dress pattern from the bottom, and just making the dress long enough so that an original button was right under the seam line on the top. 


I used a bodice pattern piece to help drawing too. (From the chambray dress with the ruffles down the bodice front, which is why it's not a full pattern piece. I had to chop it up). 


So when I cut out the dress I did it on the fold so everything would be the same size/shape. First I did the front and then I used that piece to do the back. The neckline was just a little higher in the back. 



So then I sewed the shoulder seams. 


I wanted to do an easy neckline and bias faced is easy. But I was feeling way too lazy to make my own bias tape, and I wasn't sure I had enough material to make it anyway. So I used blue bias tape. Contrasting colors is like a thing people do, right? So it's not mismatched, it's a "fun surprise" or something. 


Neckline done! 

Then I used my trusty Building Block Dress book to draw a basic cap sleeve. 




So then I attached the sleeves and sewed up the side seams. 

I had Brynn try it on at this point (bribed her with a cookie) and I thought the dress looked a little too wide, kind of more like a lab coat than a cute dress. So I just trimmed off some on the sides and tried it again, and it was better. 

I did a gathered pocket on the front of the dress but didn't get any pictures of that part! Probably because Brynn was trying to "fix" my sewing machine by messing with the bobbin while I was working so I was a little distracted. 

But after the pocket and the sleeve hems the dress was done! 



Excuse the poor quality of photos. You can still tell she's cute, right? 


We like it! And it came together so fast. 



I told her to put her hand in her pocket and this is what she did. Brynn loves pockets! 

At some point I might put another button in at the front of the dress at the bottom to keep it closed better, but that can wait for now. I'm not feeling like buttonholes today. 

After I took pictures of Brynn, she wanted to take some pics of me, which is fair. 




After sewing, we had lunch, and Brynn wore her dress. And she needed some water which she wanted to get herself. 


Dangerous stuff, but I'm trying to let her be independent. She dropped her cup like half a second after this picture was taken, and then she slipped in the water. So while she was crying she told me her dress was wet and she needed a different one. So even though she only wore it for about 20 minutes I'm still happy with our Upcycle dress! I feel both crafty and thrifty! 

One of these days I'm going to stop sewing like a crazy person, but whatever. Not today. 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Confessions, Round 2 (And Some Profound Questions)

I couldn't find the floss to cut the pumpkin roll I made last week. And I realized the last time I used floss was to cut cinnamon rolls.

I don't know how to use half the settings on my dishwasher. It can't be that hard, but, I mean, what's the point? 

I watch The Magic School Bus with Brynn because I'm seriously entertained by that show. I've decided that Arnold should date Phoebe, D.A. should date Tim, Carlos should date Keesha, and Wanda should end up with Ralphie. I've really spent time thinking about this.

I do not know what Keto is. Seriously. What is Keto?

After years of boycotting Pinterest I am now obsessed. I have 3 followers.

I have never eaten a cake pop. I feel like I should. Are they good? Is it just a ball of cake?

I brush my teeth so vehemently I can ruin a toothbrush in like, three days. So I guess it's okay I don't floss.

I have no interest in watching "This Is Us." Who are all these people? Is there a plot to this show? Is it true someone died because their crockpot exploded?

There is a sign on the Young Adult section room in the library that says "Teens Only" but I sneak in there sometimes anyway.

I yelled at Greg during our Half Marathon because he said "You got this babe." In my defense it was mile 12.


Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, sky, tree, outdoor and closeup

He forgave me. But he also beat me by 26 seconds so...have I forgiven him?











Friday, January 26, 2018

A Sewing Review


Last year I had a goal to spend quality time developing talents, and I had such a fulfilling time sewing for my home and for Brynn. This has really encouraged me to stop and think about some of my best and most favorite sewing projects, not just from last year, but from my whole beautiful little journey as a developing seamstress. 


This is the first dress I finished for Brynn--and, I think, the first article of clothing I ever did totally by myself! Look at that sweet baby in the yellow floral and pink rickrack. Sigh. Why do babies grow up? 


But, here it is, folks. The dress that started it all. Brynn's baby blessing dress. It's hard to see with the white, but this was a lined dress with a Peter Pan collar and flutter sleeves. I think I finished this dress on the day I went into labor (3 weeks early!) Turns out that it's hard to know what size your newborn will be, and the dress was a little big. But my sweet mother-in-law Geri helped us make it the right size by tacking a ribbon around the middle. Now I can't remove the ribbon because I want it to stay just as it was. 


I forgot how she used to always stick out her tongue like that. 


Now this dress hangs on Brynn's wall with my old pointe shoes. Cute decor, yes, but also a daily reminder of my love for my daughter and how much we anticipated her coming. That's one of the reasons I love sewing. Sewing is an act of love. It's creation and creativity that allows you to give something meaningful and beautiful to a person who is beautiful to you. 


For Brynn's first birthday, I made her this sweet little duckie out of the same white material from her blessing dress. I hope this toy gets passed down for years to come! 



Which brings me to the quilt. Ah, my first quilt. A little bit of frustration involved, but quilting taught me to be more precise than ever. Yes, there are a few mistakes I couldn't quite fix, but that is what makes it special, right? I did the big stitch quilting all by hand. 


I started another quilt in October or November thinking I would for sure be done in time to decorate for Christmas, but...maybe next year. Here is a square just for a sneak peek. I love the Nordic theme: 



And, last year, I discovered Building Block Dress! This book is a wonderful idea, and I've learned a lot. I can basically make any dress I want for Brynn now. 


Here is her sweet mint and pink empire waist dress with flutter sleeves and a square neckline. Perfect for our beach family photos. 






And here is our little girl modeling the dress I made for her second birthday. Wouldn't that be a fun tradition, to always make her a birthday dress? I love the placket with red buttons in front, and Brynn loves the pockets. "TWO pockets!" she says. It was the first time I had ever done a yoke silhouette like that.



And this is the dress that I finished just today! Another Building Block Dress from Oliver and S. I knew I had to make this cute gray fabric into a dress for Brynn the minute I saw it. I changed the collar shape from the original pattern, and I also added a cute inverted box pleat in the front and some pockets with a fold detail. Doesn't the blue look so nice with the floral pattern? And how cute are those little cuffs? 


There is just something about sewing that I love...how I can get lost handling the cotton and matching the colors and just sitting with a needle. How I feel like I'm part of a heritage of people who create beautiful little things out of love. I really want to go somewhere with this, and I feel like there are good things on the horizon. It's important for me to be the kind of person who participates in a culture of learning and creating and growing, and sewing is giving me that right now. 


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Books - Last 2017 Post!

I read 47 books this year, HOORAYYY. Maybe 14 of them were classics I had never read before, which is cool, plus a lot of others were more current event-y books that I think are really important. Best book...hmmm....The Poisonwood Bible, but there were lots of good ones. What else are you reading?

Here are the rest of the books I read in 2017!

Notes From a Small Island - Bill Bryson. I don't know. It was funny I guess. Memoirs/comedy of touring the UK. I kept thinking Why am I reading this? But also I couldn't stop reading it. So there's a totally useless review for you.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Elizabeth George Speare. A book club re-read from my childhood. A great book.

Company Man - John Rizzo. Memoirs from one of the top lawyers at the CIA. Gave interesting background about the decisions to waterboard. Rizzo argues that President Bush did not know about specific interrogation techniques, but that Bush said he was aware so that he could take the fall, and that makes him a "stand-up guy." Anyway, interesting stuff. Also I appreciated his nonpartisan approach (Rizzo left when Obama was elected due to the fallout over the Torture Memos, but personally voted for both republicans and democrats based on how capable the person seemed and how upheaval would affect the atmosphere of Washington).

No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington - Condoleezza Rice. I don't know WHY I keep reading all these Bush era political memoirs but whatever. Liked it, like her.

Born a Crime - Trevor Noah. One of the big books of the year. I was glad I read it. Humor but also brutal honestly in talking about South Africa.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride - Cary Elwes. Listened to this on audiobook and couldn't stop laughing. I wish Cary Elwes was my uncle and Andre the Giant was my, um, larger uncle.

The Monuments Men - Robert M. Edsel. I kept looking up stuff about famous artwork and I feel like I learned a lot. So many aspects of WWII I don't know about yet.



Saturday, December 2, 2017

Family Pictures

One thing I've always wanted to do in Jacksonville is take family pictures at the beach. But all in all, I've been too cheap to take family photos very often in the past (read: I've never paid for family photos). But my good friend Enge is so talented and so reasonably priced and just so wonderful that we finally got our lovely, pink-tinged, salty, windy, happy family photos on the beach.



And I love them! I tried to pick just my favorites to post here but that's still a lot, so just bear with me. 





Darling girl. 




Isn't this ocean-battered pier just so cute? Props to Enge for finding it! 




I love this one. So happy to have captured all her happiness. 


Collecting shells. 



Just look at this handsome guy. Greg is a pretty photogenic dude. Enge took one picture and was like "Well...that's perfect." 





Now, I'm not so photogenic. After about 200 tries we got a decent picture of me, though. Yes, the wind on the beach blew out my curls, and I was too lazy to do fancy pancy make-up (not that I really know how?) But I like this picture of me anyway. It looks like me. 


Fun fact: I made Brynn's dress! I have this fantastic book from Oliver and S called Building Block Dress. It teaches you to alter a dress pattern in basically any way you want, and I love it. I knew I wanted to do mint and pink, and I found this material on sale and decided to go for it. It only takes me a couple of days to whip out a dress now! A far cry from five years ago when I had pretty much no idea how to work a sewing machine, much less read a pattern. I'm kinda proud of myself, and now I can make exactly the dress I want for less than $10. 



Gosh, we love our little family. And we love living in such a beautiful place. Florida is good to us. This sunshine-soaked place is where we need to be right now, and I'm so glad we have pictures of this beautiful time in our lives.