Friday, August 19, 2016

Summer Sewing Projects!

Ready or not, here comes a huge assortment of our sewing adventures from the past few months!

Child Sewing Projects
Summer is the perfect time to tackle 'skills' sewing projects for the kids. As I've fallen in love with sewing, I have had an increasing desire to share my skills with others; first and foremost, with my children. I want them to learn that they can create something beautiful and functional, that they can be inspired by gorgeous fabric and allow that to fuel their creativity. But they need basic skills to do this. I chose simple projects that would teach specific skills and could be completed in just a coupld hours (which means 3-4 hours with kids doing the work). We worked on these projects on rainy days when parks and swimming were not an option. This summer there were fewer 'indoor' days than usual, so we actually didn't even get to the kitchen aprons that were also on the books. 
The towel ponchos they made! We used a tutorial from Polka Dot Chair and the kids LOVED the result! We got lots of compliments all summer on these. I will say it is pretty challenging for kids to work the ribbon through the 'tunnel', but they needed that skill for the next project and I thought this one would be good practice. No. Just do the ribbons yourself unless your 'students' are preteens or teens. It will save everyone stress and frustration. 

THIS backpack project (tutorial also from Polka Dot Chair) they got to pick out coordinating fabric! That was exciting! Selecting fabrics feels like being  kid in a candy store...something about the colors and the patterns just satisfies me-- like looking at row upon row of pretty beads arranged by color in the store-- choosing fabric is THE most fun part of the project for me! I was eager to share that portion of the sewing journey with the girls. And they loved it too! Gwen picked out some blue fabric that looks like mermaid scales and a fish fabric for her lining. Caroline went with a mommy cat and her kittens with a lining of kitties playing with yarn. 
They both did the cutting (with assistance) and sewing (with me behind to help if needed). And Gwen braided all 4 yards of her cord! I sewed the appliques, but they chose the designs and helped me cut them out and iron the interfacing. 
They turned out just too adorable for words! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. 

 For Me
Cute 3/4 sleeve tee I made. Based my pattern on It's Always Autumn tutorial, but was eager to customize the shape to my own figure. Adorable floral fabric from Girl Charlee. 
The Grecian maxi dress I made for my SIL's blush and gold wedding. I used a dress I own as a pattern. I wasn't completely thrilled with this dress at the time because I had to throw it together last minute when I messed up on the lace-y dress I was working on and the fabric was on back order. But I loved the freedom and comfort and I DANCED like a happy woman at the reception!
The lace-y dress after I got what I needed to finish it. And guess what? I like the other one better! But working with the stretch lace was really fun and educational. And I designed this one from the ground up... which was fraught with error, but definitely a learning experience!
Creme de la creme: the gorgeous tribal pattern maxi dress I made. I used Simplicity pattern 1881 to start, but altered the waist yoke because I'm short and it was designed for long torsos. I ADORE how this dress turned out and have gotten so many compliments on it! Plus, it makes me look GOOD!!

 School Clothes
I mentioned in Wednesday's post that Gwen needed lots of new clothes. She has sprouted long legs, but her waist didn't grow that much (an enviable problem!) So all her skirts were too short and she only had winter leggings rather than capri style. Cheapest solution? Volunteers of America!
I got this entire haul for 20 dollars. Clothes for the girls, swimsuits for next year, undershirts, ballet leotards, and even a shirt to fit Eric (which is truly a rare find at a thrift store). 
From this tee, I made these capris. I used Zaaberry's capri pattern and tutorial and loved how easy she made this!
These were alterations. Size 10-12 that needed taking in for little skinny legs. 
recognize that cute Girl Charlee fabric? Remnant from my shirt project!
This skirt was a size 10-12. I took it in and then added in shorts so she can hang upside-down on the monkey bars. I learned how to make skorts from Make It & Love It.
I made Gwen a new Toothless shirt. Just used a shirt that fits her well as a pattern. The Toothless applique was her special request. Don't be fooled... it was just as tedious to stitch around all those edges as it looks! The skorts were actually 2 shirts (random, right?)
Caroline's dress is pink and yellow (her favorite Fluttershy colors) using a sundress as a starter pattern. I was so happy to find a sweet yellow floral knit to use as the sleeves and trim. The waist is a quilters cotton I had in my scraps that I shirred to make the gather elastic. The little daisy applique was also from my stash (bonus!) and coordinated perfectly!

Oh, it was a happy happy sewing summer!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Back to School

After much anticipation, school has begun again!

 Gwen has grown up so much this summer (both emotionally and physically--- her legs have really sprouted and required lots of sewing to have a decent wardrobe! But THAT is a post for later this week) and is going into 2nd grade this year.
 But she is SOOOOO excited to be going back to school! At the teacher meet and greet yesterday we found out that several of her good friends from last year are in her class again this year, and she could not be happier about it! She was also really eager to turn in her sheet of summer reading "assignments" that got sent home at the end of last school year--- she completed 40 and is proud! Her biggest 'concern' for the first day was that I remember to make her an extra special lunch. She kept reminding me over and over the past couple days. I included heart cucumbers and a butterfly shaped sandwich along with a cute note, so hopefully that meets her expectations! lol
 Caroline is thrilled to be starting Kindergarten this year! Last spring we were going back and forth about her emotional/social readiness, but I'm glad we finally decided to send her to Kindergarten. She is going to do so well and grow so much this year!
 She is a spunky gal, but she has a great teacher and I just know she is going to thrive! I really felt the Spirit so strongly last night during her Father's Blessing that this year is going to be significant for her. She is growing up so quickly. She has such a passionate personality that she has definitely provided me with lots of growth opportunities as a parent. This week I've been thinking about how much she has taught me and how much I yearn for her to succeed. Go get em, Caroline!
 So excited!
 I made us mommy-daughter bracelets for the first day of school. Mine has matching beads from each of theirs. So they wear theirs on their kissing hand (a morning tradition of reading the book) left wrist (won't impede writing) and think of me. I wear mine and think of them. This is our first year to do this but I think it will be a new tradition. The girls loved it and I thought they were so cute snuggling their hands/wrists up to their faces!
I got emotional praying for them this morning (especially parting with a Kindergartner), but drop off went so quickly there wasn't time for tears. I did see Caroline got a little emotional as I was leaving, but she apparently recovered quickly and had a wonderful day!
 Caroline loved riding the bus home!
and she ACTUALLY TOLD ME lots of stories about her first day! Imagine that! I look forward to many more great answers to "how was school today?" that go beyond the standard answer of "good!"

Hooray for a new year! I can't tell ya how proud I am of both my little girlies!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Fishy Fishy Turtle!

Family fishing adventure!
Prairie Oaks Metro Park was not so jumpin the morning of our fishing venture weeks ago. At least it wasn't scorching hot (like it is now!). and the chiggers weren't out in full force (like they were last year!). I'll take both those things for a win. :)

Emmett cried and ate grapes. Don't you love the stickers all over his shirt? He insisted.

Caroline played with our bait worms. "See! He loves me mom!" 
She thought she'd share the love by letting my arm feel how slimy he was.Thanks for that.  

Gwen was the only one of the kids really interested in actually fishing. 
She got skunked... almost! The only thing we caught all day was a very determined turtle! He kept coming closer to the line, so we'd have Gwen reel it in and cast in a different spot. He would find it again. And again. Finally he got a mouthful... Not the reward he was hoping for, I'm sure!

Warms my heart: Gwen is finding perfect little tiny pebbles for Emmett to throw in.

 He could "THROW IT!" all morning long...

Emmett's distress when it is time to go! (or actually, when we ask for a smiling photo)

Bonus: no one threw up any chocolate milkshakes, so that means we had a successful trip!!!