Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fun times

So, Matt has the week off for Bright Week. He has been going to services a lot, that is good. I have gone extra as well. Bright Week has some of the loveliest services.

Katherine has been good,. She cut and bruised her face by falling over while sitting up. She sits up all of the time, but I think she wasn't paying attention or something. She is fine. I think she tried kissing me tonight. She put her mouth on my face for a few seconds then moved back. I have been trying to teach her how to kiss FOREVER. We were at a friend's house yesterday who has a little girl two weeks younger than Katherine. They sat on the floor next to each other laughing and touching each other. Katherine looked like she was giving her kisses then as well. We'll see if it continues!

I have been making some additions for my Etsy shop. I made some baby stuff for a friend as well. I am kind of hooked on making little coin purses with flowery fabrics. I love the dreamy, whimsical looks of Ruche. I usually have something like that in the back of my mind while putting things together. What I really wish I had is bolts and bolts of all sorts of lace... ah.... lovely.

I am only about 8 weeks away from my due date. I am fully into the "I can't move" stage. Gross. Right when I was getting so productive! I am hoping it subsides a bit over the next few days as I get more used to it. I have been getting heavier contractions (but not actually like real labor) when I do housework or just about anything active, so I am trying to gauge myself. I had to go on medicine for pre-term labor at 35 weeks for Katherine. The medicine was horrible and (according to several nurses) probably the reason why I had false labor for a month straight. I DO NOT WANT THIS AGAIN. Prayers would be much appreciated ;) Still, this has been a VERY easy pregnancy.

Well, I have a half finished purse that is calling my name! It has cute flowers (what a surprise) with a delicate lacy-ish pink lining. I also added blue piping on the side. I think it is a dandy, but it has to be completed! I think I am also going to make a lavender rice bag for my aching pregnant woeful body. hehe.

Terrible picture, I know.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Whimsy blue bird baby toy tutorial

I have had piles of scraps and old clothes/random stuff that I have been meaning to make into new things. This is because A. I am cheap, B. I like crafting and C. I like putting as much use into an item as possible in an effort to shy away from the consumer mentality.

My mother and grandmother used to handcraft toys for me as a child- they often were my favorites. I wanted to do the same for Katherine. In addition to have something made by love, she can also grow up with recycled handmade things.

It would look more realistic if she wasn't holding it upside-down, haha.
What you need:

Scraps of various textures and colors. I used an old pillow case, shreds of an old t-shirt for stuffing, a tiny piece of ribbon for the beak and tiny pieces of another old black t-shirt for the eyes.

I would not recommend using buttons as they could come off and become a chocking hazard.

Old pillowcase
Step one:
I am not an artist.
Draw a simple bird shape on the fabric you wish to use for the body. I used the first piece to trace for the second. Remember, use the wrong side of the fabric for the second (Me= fail).

I wanted to use various textures to keep her interest up, so I used a soft fleece fabric on one side and a silk(fake) on the other. It kind of has a Two-Face effect, but Katherine has never seen Batman, so she won't be disturbed.

Sew the sides together, leaving a space to turn the right way out.
I left the part under the tail open.
Make sure you check for areas that might fray- double stitch those areas.

Step Two:

Cut out leaf shapes for the wings. I winged it (haha! Right?! Yeah, lame). Seriously though, I didn't use a pattern or anything- it really doesn't matter. Just remember to add for a seam allowance.

Sew these together leaving a space open to turn the right way out. Again, I used a fuzzy one and a soft one.

Step Three:
I just folded the body in half and used a ziz-zag stich to attatch the wings. I know, there are better ways of doing this, but I was making it while Katherine was eating lunch and I kept having to give her spoons to play with or bits of bread to buy more time.

I used a piece of gold ribbon for the beak. I folded the end and used a zig-zag stitch to hold it in place. I attached it after I filled the bird with stuffing. Bad idea; attach the beak first. Just attach it the same way as the wings. Nothing fancy, remember the baby is getting restless in the highchair!

I did not take photos of this. I used shreds of an old t-shirt sleeves to stuff the body. I don't own polyester fill and if I did, it would be defeating the purpose of using recycled scraps.

After stuffing, I sewed up the open end under the tail.

To attach the eyes, I just hand stitched some pieces of folded black fabric. You want to stitch the life out of these things (and the beak) so the baby can't chew it off.

 Now it is done! I thought about adding a little piece of pink silk for its chest, but haven't yet.

You can use your imagination with fabric choices.

Katherine loves chewing this. Since there is no stuffing in the wings, it is easy for her to hold and stick in her mouth.

She approves!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What we have been doing

Matt was asked to help out at a church in NY for the Holy Week services leading up to Pascha/Easter. So... we packed out bags and headed out on Thursday. The church got a hotel for us, which is awesome.

Katherine doesn't think so. She has been pretty difficult to keep happy, but for a nearly ten month old, of course she doesn't understand the strange place. Someone from housekeeping just came in and she pouted and cried (her scared cry) it was sad and cute at the same time.

The services are going well. The church is gorgeous- completely covered with beautiful icons:
The downside is that I now truly feel the third trimester woes. My back is killing me! I am walking around so stiffly. To make matters worse, I have been having more and more Brackston Hicks contractions. Since I had pre-term labor problems with Katherine, I have to be very careful it doesn't repeat itself. So, I stayed at the hotel this morning with Katherine while Matt went to church. 
When I get back home, I promise more crafty posts, lol.

One of the few happy moments of the morning.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My poor thumb- a victim of domestic kitchen negligence...

For years my friends have told me that I scare them when I cut food. I always laugh it off, "Haha, ah, no, I almost never hurt myself..."

I also have a lot of dull knives. Was I using one of those today? No, only the sharpest paring knife I have. I was fulfilling my role of domestic mother goddessness and was dicing uncooked yams to boil for Katherine to eat over the next few days.
That was not a yam.

If my finger had been at a slightly different angle, I would have needed a trip to the ER. As it stands now, it can heal on its own, but has hurt all day. I almost considered taking a Tylenol for it.

A mere 15 hours later, it is still driving me crazy.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Empire Sheet Dress Tutorial: Get something a lot nicer out of your extra sheets.

I think this might be one of the easiest ways to make a empire waist summer dress.

(DISCLAIMER, Honestly, I don't "do" strapless. I like to be more modest. However, I have no problem wearing a strapless with a cardigan. I wanted to add straps, but I haven't since I can't wear it now anyway. This does not work for one's third trimester. It 'could' work, but, for me, it would be longer and require more work for the hem so it would be longer in the front. If you can sew this dress, I am sure you could add some sort of strap if you wished.)
You will need:
*A sacrificial sheet. I have two identical blue flat sheets. I got them on some great sale years ago and never use them. However, I felt badly about just sending them away. They seemed so"useful" somehow... (A thick sheet will make the skirt more full)
* Enough elastic to go around your upper chest
* Enough fabric to make around 13.5 feet of ruffle (For a full sized sheet)- at the width of your choice. It might seem like a lot, but since the strips are thin, it really doesn't take much.
* Either a pre-made belt/ribbon/sash. I didn't include instructions of how to make on with coordinating fabric, but it would be so easy. I don't think it needs an explanation)
* Optional- fabric flower or some other embellishment.

-Side note- I used a rotary cutter and board for this. Cutting so many strips might have taken a toll on my sanity with plain scissors.

STEP ONE: The bodice

Look for the narrow hem of the sheet (The part of the sheet where your feet go. I used this side since the sheet is more narrow at this point.) It should be the prefect thickness to fit a narrow piece of elastic through. If you are not blessed with a perfect hem, just sew one to fit your elastic (Or buy thinner elastic).

It will look like this when it is finished. Again, for a full sized sheet, I used the part that measures 81 inches. You could use other sized sheets, but you might have to play around with the dimensions.

STEP TWO: The length

To give yourself a better idea of what it will look like, tie some sort of string around the waistline.
Measure yourself to the length that you would like your dress to be. Add an extra inch or two just to be safe. I found out the hard way that it is super easy to make it too short. It is a lot easier to cut it again to make it shorter than it is to add extra fabric to make it longer. As you can see from the picture, you have tons of length to play around with. Doesn't this look like the start of a gorgeous formal dress?

Once you have made up your mind- cut it! I cheated, (after making marks with chalk for the proper length) folded the sheet over a few times and cut it with the rotary- I love shortcuts- even if they are risky.

STEP THREE: Everything is better with ruffles

My way of making a decent ruffle is to multiply the length of the skirt by two. Since my skirt was about 81 inches around, I cut 160 inches of fabric strips (It doesn't have to be a perfect match). CONFESSION- I originally meant this dress to have only one layer of ruffle, but since I cut it too short, I had to add an extra ruffle layer. I am glad that this happened, because I love the double layered ruffle. The second layer is the same length as the first (160 inches).

I sewed the pink strip on first. To do this I folded the skirt as if it were being hemmed (because it is) and pinned on the ruffle. One seam worked for both. After realizing it was too short, I attached the second layer (blue) to the first layer (pink).

The inside
When you are finished with the ruffles, sew the long seam up the back of the dress.

STEP FOUR: Add an embellishment. I just looked up a fabric flower tutorial (There are so many different styles) and made one out of my leftover scraps. This way the contrasting ruffle has connection to the bodice. You could do whatever you wanted. You could try embroidery, a broach, an artificial flower- anything. Be creative. I attached my flower with a safety pin so I can change it whenever I wish.

Don't forget your belt. This would look like a sack without a belt, sash, ribbon, or whatever you chose to use.

My note is supposed to say that my model is too thin, so the neckline slipped a little.
I am still using a ribbon for the belt.
I like this the best.

So that is it. I am not sure if I am going to save it for the summer or put it on Etsy. I still have at least half of the sheet left....

Katherine was so surprised at how easy it was.

Craft Couture

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A new dress coming soon!

I am finishing a sun dress I made today out of an unused bed sheet. I love it so far. Even though it has taken very little time to make, I was kept too busy with house chores, Katherine and work to have it finished by now. Also, the pictures would come out poor since it is dark and I am not a fan of flash. My goal is to finish it (or most of it) tonight. We'll see how it goes! It probably cost less than $3.00 to make.

Update on my super easy skirt tutorial.

This is what it looks like on a non-pregnant model:

I am working on dress today and needed to arouse my old mannequin. I thought I would try out the skirt to give a better idea of what it would look like on a non-pregnant person. I was playing around with some fabric flowers too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Oh my cheapskate goodness

I innocently went to Joanne Fabrics today to discover that not only had they increased the size of the store by massive amounts, tons of fabric is super cheap right now. Go to Joannes and see the sales! (Check your local listings to make sure the sale isn't a PA thing).

I got some amazing fabrics for super cheap prices. Whoo hoo! Look out Etsy shop...

Poor Katherine held up well (we had to go grocery shopping too), but we got back so late it was more than an hour after her usual bedtime. This is slightly off topic, but there are so many times that I look at her and amamazed that she is my child. She is so sweet and adorable. She has an incredible personality already. She is happy most of the time and often tries to be happy when things are not going so well for her. She shows so much affection to Matt and I. We are so blessed.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What I wore and other ramblings

I will start with the good. After an up and down prediction by meteorologists, today was just over 80 degrees. It was amazing. Matt and I took Katherine to the park and just hung out for a little bit while Katherine tried to eat mulch, a stick and a crunchy oak leaf. 

Cardigan: Forever 21
Blue under-dress: Chadwicks
Sun-dress: Thrifted (Derek Heart)
Flats: The Shoe Depot
Finding nice maternity clothes is tough! I spend far too much time looking for good deals and coming up with fashion tips. I want to be adding more of that to my blog. To be completely honest, being pregnant is something I am struggling a lot with right now. I feel fine, but after two back-to-back pregnancies, I am so tired of being huge. I am (sadly) to the point where when strangers  make jokes of how big I am. I laugh it off on the outside, but it sticks with me and comes back when I let my guard down. Oh well! I guess it could be worse!

I took Katherine to her well-child visit today. She is doing great- all except for not crawling. It is fine at this point (nine and a half months), but her doctor threatened having some sort of "early intervention" agency coming to our home (To teach her how to crawl?) in a month if she doesn't learn by then. Yikes. I have already decided that unless I find (and I will read about it) something that proves otherwise,  I am going to deny that "service." It is not that I have anything to hide for an agency coming in to our home, but, frankly I don't see the point. I have known of babies to never crawl and go straight to walking (In my own family- and that particular person is one of the smartest and most physically productive people I have ever had the honor of knowing). She gets everywhere just fine (rolling) and is hitting all of her other milestones, so what is the deal? If any of you have advice that contradicts what I am saying, please feel free to leave a comment ( I am not above correction). In addition, I don't want her to become stigmatized by being behind in development. Just let her be a kid and crawl when she wants to. If she starts showing other signs of a delay then fine, but really? Poor kid.

Well, to end it all well, here are a few pictures from the park (Matt was there too, but he took the pictures.)

Nine and a half months.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Quick and easy ruffle skirt tutorial- inspired by Modcloth and Ruche

I made this in about three-ish hours. It would not have taken so long, but I was inventing the pattern as I was making it. It is super easy (depending on your fabric choice) and quick. I got this fabric for $1.00 per yard! I think I used about three yards.

First of all, I used a jersey, polyester blend with who knows what else. It would have been great with a light gauzy cotton as well. I think it would be delightful with a light spring floral print.

I have a great artistic touch here. lol.
The formula
The easy thing about this pattern is that you can adjust it to whatever you want. If you would like to have less body in the skirt, just use less. The formula I applied is this: double the length of the skirt for the ruffle. In this case I chose two 60" panels for the skirt that were 20" high (you can chose to make the skirt whatever height you would like. 20" came near my knee.You can experiment with it before sewing the waistband. Or, just measure your leg to find the ideal length.). At any rate, I cut four 60" strips for the bottom ruffle. I also cut a fifth strip (same size) for the waist band.

The waist band I chose to make my skirt a wrap-around skirt in order to ensure it fits when I am pregnant... and not. After wearing it for a day, I am going to add an elastic waistband and sew the sides shut. My third trimester stomach keeps making the waistband ride up- not cool.) This will help it stay in place better. To determine your size of waistband, measure around your waistline and add half that length. (Example, for a 40" waste, the band size would be 60").

1. Sew one side seam of the skirt panels. (*Leave the other side open so you can either have a wrap around skirt or have a place to add the elastic band. If you do choose a wrap around you will have to fold in the raw edges on each side of the bad as well and hem.
2. Baste a seam at the top of each ruffle strip.
3. Pull the string of the seam to make a ruffle until it is half of its original length.
4. Sew this to the bottom of the skirt.

It will look like this (This is the inside).
5. Baste along the top of the skirt- all the way around.
6. Once again, pull the strings to ruffle the skirt to the size of your waistband.
7. This part is tricky depending on your fabric selection. Fold the waste band over the top of the ruffled skirt, tuck in the raw edges and generously pin. If you are going to use an elastic waistband, leave the side edges of the waistband open (so you can have a place to feed the elastic).
8. Sew it in place.

I stitched as close to the main part of the skirt as I could. Both sides should look like this.

Finish it up Now, depending on your choice for the waist you can either sew a button and hole on the side (where you want the skirt to connect) for a wrap around or feed an elastic strip through the band before sewing up the sides. After wearing the skirt for a day as a wrap around, I am going to add elastic. Part of my problem may be due to being in my third trimester. :)

What it looks like as a wrap around.

*I will be adding notes on other specific maternity specifications soon. I have been using my own version of the belly-band with it.

I really love the feel of the skirt. I used a ton of fabric in it, so it is quite full. The ruffle is very sweet and adds a lot to its overall look. I am always drooling over the skirts on Ruche and Modcloth. I think this has a similar look (though being pregnant kills belting options which would make it perfect.)

I would like to try this in some sort of lace.

I can't wait to not be pregnant! lol

This what it could look like on you! (If you are not in your third trimester)

The DIY Show Off

Friday, April 8, 2011

A domestic disaster becomes a great discovery

Every domestic goddess (cough) has to make a mistake now and then. Well, I am trying to get Katherine to like more of an "adult" breakfast (basically anything that is not baby cereal and has a lot of nutrition). One of my favorites is cream of wheat- um, with chocolate mix. :)
MMMMM, so good. I justify it by all the vitamins Nesquik adds.
HOWEVER, I dodn't want Katherine slipping into my undying love for chocolate at the age of nine months, so I made her's plain, but with berries.

This is my confession. I have no idea how you are supposed to make farina. Sure, I read the side of the box... months ago. I just pour in milk and whatever else I am adding and throw (yes, literally throw the bowl) into the microwave for whatever time I feel like. I am not very picky- about the texture, and it usually manages to come out right OK.

Well, it didn't turn out so good for Katherine.

She got fresh (frozen) blueberries. Yum yum.
Well, it came out like some sort of chemically altered play dough. She looked like she didn't like it at all. She could barely get it off the spoon. Epic fail. While I was sitting in my chair in all of my lazy glory, trying to ponder a solution that didn't involve making a second breakfast, an idea occurred to me.

Look at those delectable clumps of failed culinary perfection.

It was so clumpy, she could literally eat it as finger food. I haven't written much about the trials of feeding Katherine. It can all be summed up in this. She LOVES finger food. It hasn't been much of an issue lately, but she is so happy with finger food. I like it too as it gives me time to eat in a relaxing manner and as a bonus perk, allows me to clean the kitchen.

She loved it!
I saved the left overs for tomorrow's breakfast. Buahaha.

At 2:43 AM

I have finally worked out a header *for now.* We use and I couldn't figure it out. Matt showed me some tips, so it isn't daunting anymore. What do you think about the changes- overall?


I got my work done early at 10pm tonight. Fun times. I have spent the rest of the night working on the layout of my blog while Matt has been working on a paper about death. He keeps telling me things he read from CS Lewis or Church Fathers. Trust me, it is hard to follow when your mind is full of blog buttons and colors. I will probably lose my mind over designing a header. I look at everyone else's and jet jealous. Does everyone have a degree in graphic design or something? Gosh.
This was one of my first designs a few months ago. Gag. It is like Lord of the Rings meets Ireland meets out of style fonts and pixelated pictures that scream amateur. Haha.
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