Friday, August 26, 2016

Final Day ~ Two Parks {May Family Vacation}

Tuesday morning! We spent the morning just exploring the city.

I've always wanted to see Dinosaur Park, but during all the times I've been to the Hills, I have never gotten up there. Until this trip! I was so excited! The park was a WPA project during the Great Depression. The kids loved the statue (and so did I, haha!).

Afterwards, James fell asleep in the car, so we found a great park in downtown Rapid City, and I stayed in the car with the doors open while Dan played with Ev. We eventually switched, because James just kept on sleeping. We let him play some once we finally woke up, too. It really was an amazing park... more like 4 parks in one and lots of opportunity for imagination play, too. 


An end to the trip: Dan's training started on Tuesday afternoon, but our original plan was to explore some in the morning (the parks above) and then I would take the kids for their afternoon nap in the hotel, and finally we'd eat supper together and I would take the kids home on Wednesday morning while Dan caught a ride home with a coworker after the training on Thursday. Well, after seeing how the first day affected the kids, plus I was not looking forward to trying to get the kids to nap in the same room together at the same time... I decided just to head home :) 

Overall, it was a great first vacation for us as a family of four, and the perfect practice for more vacations to come!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Next Up ~ Mt. Rushmore and Horse Thief {May Family Vacation}

After getting to our hotel, we organized our room and headed to Mt. Rushmore. 

Last winter, I won a Instagram give-away from the SD Department of Tourism, which included a Mt. Rushmore parking pass, a state park sticker and several South Dakota-Made goodies like truffles and coffee. This giveaway was a major motivation to get out to the Hills this summer - more like a good excuse to see how well the kids would do in the car (we had a 10 hour car trip planned for July... posts about that one eventually!).

Dan hadn't been to Mt. Rushmore since they improved the trails and the visitor center, and Ev was excited to see Mt. Rushmore - we have one book that has it and there is a big painting of it at Wall Drug. James, on the other hand was pretty tired and pretty cranky. Neither child has ever slept super well in the car, so he had only one short nap before our stop at Wall Drug. But, we got through it and enjoyed the hike.

Instead of heading back to the hotel right away, we decided to head to nearby Horse Thief Lake for another short hike. Ev and Dan had some fun exploring again, while James was in the carrier on my back... still not sleeping - crazy one-year-old!

Here, we let James out a bit... he loves exploring just as much as Ev does, but his footing isn't quite as sure ;)

After this hike, we headed back to Rapid. Both kids were asleep within 3 minutes in the car! We picked up some pizza and then enjoyed the water park at the hotel. Day 1 was a full, fun and exhausting day!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Starting Out ~ Wall Drug {May Family Vacation}

Dan had a work training in Rapid City last May, so we decided to go out a day early for our first family-of-four vacation :)

We left on a Monday morning, and planned to stop once between home and our hotel in Rapid. Somehow, we made it to Wall Drug without stopping, which worked out well... we were able to eat a picnic lunch that we had brought and then enjoy all the fun photo-ops in the "Backyard."

I need to go look up my pictures of the main 2 trips I remember stopping here - once when we were on a family road trip en route to a family wedding in Washington and another time as a Senior in high school en route to the state track meet. 

I'm so glad we have these pictures of the kids! Fun for me to take the pictures and fun for the kids to play around and stretch their legs before heading into the car for the last hour to our hotel. 

PS: As I look at these pictures I remember being disappointed about going so early in the season since it was a little chilly out, plus some attractions weren't open yet in the Hills because it wasn't officially "tourist season." However, how fun was it for the kids to run around Wall Drug and not have to worry too much about waiting in lines to sit on these props or having a mommy too worried about losing track of kids in a crowd. No worries there, haha!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Another set of Matching Tops!

I recently posted that I made a shirt for a MOPs meeting. Well, before I used my "good" fabric, I wanted to make sure the pattern fit me correctly. 

Pattern: Seafarer Top by Sew Much Ado 
Fabric: Cotton Lycra Print and Solid both from Raspberry Creek Fabrics on Etsy
Pictures Taken during our Black Hills "vacation" that I'll post about later...

I added the color-blocking myself, and after creating this top, I wished I had added the color blocking to the back as well. So, although the size fit me fine on this practice one, I did learn from it and thus made my next one better.

Of course, E kept asking me if she was going to get one, too. Lucky for her, I had just enough fabric left over to make her a matching Skipper Top (also by Sew Much Ado). You can see on hers that I added the color blocking to the back and how much better that looks! 

So, while I'm not one who loves-loves-loves being matchy-matchy with my daughter, the fact that it's a great way to use up scraps of fabric and it puts a huge smile on her face made me give in :)

PS: James decided to photobomb our pictures. Fun times ;)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Another Jolie {A Belated Post!}

I made two FAM Jolies during testing week last winter... you saw the first one here, but now here is the second.

It is a much more casual skirt, and one that E chooses to wear more often (well, until she outgrew it!) :) She loves My Little Ponies!

The pink cotton waistband and pocket fabrics are from JoAnns (leftover from her Minnie Tunic) and the MLP cotton fabric is from Walmart. It faded after several washes, but E doesn't seem to mind :)

I still love the waistband stitching... probably my favorite detail from this quick and easy pattern. The pocket instructions are not included in the pattern, but I found several free tutorials online. I ended up using this one from EYMM patterns.

Jolie was first offered in the digital magazine, One Thimble (Issue 10), but now you can buy the pattern directly from FAM! Enjoy!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Three More Creations

Another Olympic binge-watching blog post :)

A few more creations from this summer: 

**The striped top was needed for my MOPS Mom-Prom with a sailing theme last Map. I color-blocked Sew Much Ado's Seafarer Top using fabric from Raspberry Creek Fabrics. I've worn it several times since and look forward to wearing it more once the heat of summer passes. The cotton-lycra gets a little warm during this July and August afternoons!

**I found the diamond remnant at Hobby Lobby last spring and kept it out knowing that it would make a fun Bonny Leggings/Shorties Skirt (Made for Mermaids). Thinking about sewing that circle skirt hem held me back, though! Finally, I remembered the fun bias binding trim in my trim box and I fought it into submission to make a fun hem ;) The waistband is white knit and the shorts underneath are pink. Ev loves the twirl factor!

**Finally, the bucket hat was a necessary creation because Ev kept asking for one (Brother James has 2 rummage sale bucket hats and Ev was feeling left out)! Well, with as much fabric as I have, I knew I didn't want to buy one... so I purchased the pattern with some rewards points I had from Peekaboo Patterns and I finished it just in time for our Black Hills trip in May. It's not perfect, but Ev wears it and that all that matters (well that, and it saved me a few bucks)! I'm sure it helps that I let her pick the fabric :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Summer PJs

As I sit here watching the Olympics, I figured I can also be productive by trying to crank out some blog posts that are long overdue :)

This Spring, I cut out 6 pairs of Alex and Anna Pajamas from Peekaboo Pattern Shop. After cutting, they sat there in the corner of our downstairs sitting area for much too long. Then, I would sew a little bit here and there, until FINALLY, all 6 pairs were finished! 

They have been great this summer! Both kids also have a few rummage sale find pajamas, so we definitely have plenty to choose from at bedtime ;)

Fabrics: Art Gallery Bucks and Springs Creative Licensed prints... from Peekaboo Pattern Shop, Raspberry Creek Fabrics on Etsy, and another random Etsy shop that still had the My Little Pony fabric... because we all know that Ev needed it! :)

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Sullivan Dress! {Pattern Testing}

Abby from Sew Much Ado has designed another fun pattern! The first time I tested for Abby was during this past winter - the Magrath Dress! Evelyn and I loved both of those creations, so I was very excited when I had the chance to test for Abby again - the Sullivan Dress!

There are 8 different views contained in this one pattern, created from combining 2 skirt lengths, 2 bodice hems and the short sleeve or sleeves views. Here is the link to the pattern listing on Abby's site.

**Both of my dresses were considered View D, which is the straight hem, knee length and sleeveless view. Ev has had a growth spurt, since she is now using size 4 length, but still a size 2 width. 

The blue and white dress is the 2nd one that I made, which has smaller armholes than the first version. There were a few other small changes, as well, but essentially this is the final version that you will receive in the pattern. 

(The main differences between this dress and the final version is the lack of interfacing around the keyhole back and needing a cleaner finish to the lining side seams.)

The white fabric is a eyelet fabric from Walmart, and the only fabric I had to purchase for this test. The rest came from my stash - I love when that happens!  

The blue is a tiny gingham, and the flower crown was my own DIY creation last spring. On a side note, she will often come out of her room after her "quiet time" wearing it and talking about either being a princess or a queen... or that she is going to a wedding with it :) 

I didn't have enough polka-dot for both the bodice and the lining, so I had to use two different size polka-dots that were on slightly different colors of pink. This isn't a big deal since you can barely see the lining... it is visible though if you lift up the bodice, since the skirt is only attached to the lining. This type of finish requires careful reading of the instructions during the bodice construction - it's not hard, but do read it slowly and thoroughly!

The black and white stripe was from Hobby Lobby... I think I purchased it last fall. I don't often do such a dramatic pairing as this, but I do so love how it turned out! E has worn it several times already :) 

While this is a simple version of the Sullivan dress - sleeveless and straight hem - I love that Abby included it. It may not be as flashy as the cute scallop hem or with the fun detail on the sleeves, but I look forward to adding some fun trims to the straight hem! But who knows, I may try a scallop hem yet... I have a cousin getting married this fall, and I already have fabric picked out! 

 Here is another link to the pattern! Go check it out :)
Oh, and here is a link to Abby's blog post about this sweet dress!

PS: Ev is certainly opening up during these photo shoots. Just look at her strut and pose! Goodness, she just makes me giggle :) 


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Modeled Pictures of the Sally Dress

Remember in April when I made 2 Sally Dresses for E and her cousin? Well, here are a few pictures of E in her dress :)

It fits better than I expected it to. I was worried that the straps were going to be too wide and would fall of her shoulders, but they have been fine. It's still a little tight to put on and take off, but that is to be expected in a non-closure woven dress.

I created the flower crown with a twine ribbon and fake daisies from Walmart and a shear ribbon leftover from my wedding 5 years ago. E has enjoyed playing with her crown now and again :)

Especially with all the hot days that we've had this summer, I'm so thankful that I made this dress with lightweight fabrics. It is perfect for a Midwestern summer!! 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Peekaboo Patterns Felicity Testing ~ Simple Summer

Happy 4th of July!

This was the third and final Felicity dress that I made during testing for Peekaboo Pattern Shop.

Fabrics: Red Gingham from my stash and a lightweight chambray from Raspberry Creek Fabrics on Etsy (Denim Swiss Dot Chambray by Robert Kaufman)

I added the red piping that was also in my stash - the pattern does not come with instructions for the piping, but it is such an easy addition! This was the updated bodice (and final version for this size), and I think I could have sized down to her true size. You don't want to size-up too much with this dress because then the bodice is too wide as you see in the pictures. 

I've wanted to sew something with gingham and chambray for so long, and this dress was the perfect reason to finally do it! Plus, it's so lightweight - perfect for summer (see, I'm just a broken record over here, ha!) and the 4th of July! She wore it to a hometown parade a few weeks ago... it was so hot out, but this dress kept her cool (well, as cool as you can be while running after candy and just loving life at a parade!)

We took pictures at a local park and hiking trail - I took pictures of the batik dress first, so by the time we were ready for this dress, so was a little less excited for the photo shoot. 

But, I still hope the pictures convey a fun and comfy addition to any summer wardrobe. Seriously - I plan on making her one of these every year from now on ;)


Friday, July 1, 2016

Peekaboo Patterns Felicity Testing ~ Blue Border Batik

This was the second version of the Felicity Dress that I made during testing for Peekaboo Pattern Shop.

Fabric: Alison Glass Handcrafted Batik for Andover from a random online fabric store that had a sale last winter... I purchased it after making this dress out of fabric from the same line :)

I went up a size from my first version plus added length, but I cut out the pattern pieces before Amy had updated the bodice. I did do the collar according to the updated instructions.

I love how this one fits! Again, it is such a great summer dress - I will keep sounding like a broken record, but really, I love this pattern :)

I'm pleased with how the stripes matched up - they aren't perfect, but they are close enough! And the white collar pops and the snaps blend it with the polka-dots. Sigh... Love this fabric! (And this is surprising coming from a girl who had vowed not to sew with batiks anymore! But, this batik is a little higher quality that JoAnns, plus a microtex needle really does go a long way to sewing batiks nicely!)

She is now ready for church, 4th of July, a wedding (I'm sad we don't have one this summer... this dress would be perfect to wear to one!)... really, she could wear this any day, and I'd be happy ;)


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Peekaboo Patterns Felicity Testing ~ Proud Purple

This purple version was the first Felicity dress I made during testing for Peekaboo Pattern Shop. 

Fabric: JoAnns - they were red tag fabrics last winter and it was during a 50% off red tag fabric sale

It's a lightweight poly-cotton from the Tutti-Fruitti collection.

My daughter was right at the maximum chest measurement for the size I made, so this dress sadly came out a little too tight. It fit enough for good pictures, but the fact that is was a little tight plus the fact that I ended up making 2 more dresses during the testing process led me to giving this dress to a local friend. Her daughter is only a few weeks younger that Ev, but she's smaller, so this dress fit her perfectly!

Ev had a hard time giving this dress away, and I kind of did, too! It was such a great summer dress! She keeps asking me to make her one just like it again, and I would have enough fabric if I switched the two fabrics, but again... does she really need 3 dresses in the same pattern? I'll just hold on to it for next summer ;)

After this version, there were changes made to the bodice and the collar, plus I added length to the future dresses I made. 

All-in-all... I love this dress :) but I'm happy that I could give it to a friend who can happily use it for a longer period that we could have!


Monday, June 27, 2016

Matching Raglans!

I've wanted to sew a Lane Raglan for a long time, and I finally took the time to choose fabric combinations with the fabric I had on hand. I came up with three different combos, so look forward to possibly 2 more shirts for me :) It feels so good to use up some fabric in my stash!

Patterns: Lane Raglan by Hey June Handmade and Recess Raglan by See Kate Sew
Fabric: Chartreuse Purple Floral on Aqua Green from Girl Charlee and Vivid Fireworks in Grape by Riley Blake Fabrics from Raspberry Creek Fabrics on Etsy

I bought the Girl Charlee fabric last May during one of their sales, while I bought the Riley Blake last winter when I was planning my niece's first birthday present. It wasn't until I started pairing up fabrics that I realized how perfectly these two fabrics matched! I was so excited!!!

I will be making more Lane Raglans soon! This was a straight medium and it's a little big, so I may just take a bigger seam allowance next time - it's drafted for a 1/4" SA, which is not my favorite anyway. I'll have to measure the neckband to fit after the altering though. This was the 2nd Recess Raglan that I've made E, and even though I made it last fall, I must have made it a size bigger at the time, because that size still worked and I didn't have to retrace and cut a different size :)

I had plenty of each fabric for my shirt, but then E kept asking when I was going to make her shirt... well, I barely had enough to squeeze out her matching raglan. It was worth it, though - E is in a matchy-matchy phase and loves to match me. I'm not so much into the matchiness as I am in seeing her smile :)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Peekaboo Patterns Felicity Dress Release

I recently helped test another pattern! This time it is the Felicity Dress by Peekaboo Patterns and it released today (and is discounted for one day only... go check it out here!)

I sewed 3 different dresses throughout the testing process and I have blog posts coming that looks at each one more closely. Until then, here are the specifics of the pattern:

  • Felicity is a collared dress with several options.
  • It comes with Maxi or Knee length skirt.
  • The back can be shirred or full coverage (I only tested the full coverage option).
  • The placket in the front can either be half or full (you need to do a full length placket if you do a full back in order for ease of dressing).

I love how this dress conjures up memories of sweet childhood summers. It's the perfect summer dress for Fourth of July picnics, blowing bubbles at family weddings, or just picking flowers with the neighbor kids. 

This was my first collar in a long time - a first that isn't a 4-H project with my mom helping me step-by-step. Amy from PAB does a great job with using clear pictures and great instructions. The collar connects the front and back bodices and is finished with bias tape. The skirt is attached to the bodice with an exposed seam on the inside of the dress, but with the 1/2" seam allowance, a french seam would be a simple modification. 

According to the size chart, my daughter chest measurement is a 2T but her waist is a 3T. These two dresses are straight 3T, and they will fit for the rest of the summer and into the fall. 

**Blue Border Batik: Alison Glass Handcrafted Batik for Andover from a random online fabric store that had a sale last fall :)
**White on White Polka Dots: Stash! (Mini Confetti Dots by Dear Stella from a fat quarter bundle that I won in a giveaway from the Inside Quilters Newsletter Blog)
**Lightweight chambray: Denim Swiss Dot Chambray by Robert Kaufman from Raspberry Creek Fabrics
**Red Gingham: Stash!

(I added the red piping to the blue and red dress - these instructions are not included in the pattern but it is an easy addition!!)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Onesie Gifts are Complete!

Eek! I've had this post ready to go, but I just forgot to post it!

These onesie sets took me longer to sew up than they should have just because I kept choosing to accomplish quick sews between the different steps.

But finally, these are done and all but one has been delivered!

Pattern: Peekaboo Lullaby Line Bodysuit and the Peekaboo Spunky Skater Skirt
Fabrics are a mixture of stash knits and old t-shirts that have special meaning to each of the recipients
(Three SDSU Jackrabbits, one city rec softball, one 4-H and one band and choir shirt that was designed by the little girls' mom)

I've been pleasantly surprised with the reception of these onesies. They have all been so appreciative and it's been so fun to see a few of the babies in their special creations! (They fit!!)

I should go pick out two more shirts to upcycle... a classmate and a cousin are both due in September!