Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Bag Tutorial - Guest Post at Reasons to Skip The Housework

Hey all!  Happy SUMMER!  Things have been sparse here as I've been soaking up the sun and fun with my littles.  Are your kids crossing books off of their summer reading lists and begging to hit the library like mine are?  If so - you need a book bag!

Check out my tutorial for this one over at Reasons To Skip The Housework!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

HUGE American Girl Doll Summer Wardrobe GIVEAWAY!

You guys! Have I got an AMAZING Giveaway for you!!

You've been waiting for it and the time has arrived for our third American Girl Doll Handcrafted Wardrobe Giveaway. This time the contributors have outdone themselves and created an incredible summer wardrobe. You are going to love it!! This fabulous giveaway is brought to you by the following co-hosts, sponsors, & contributors~
1. Diana of Diana Rambles - Diana aka FreeStyleMama, the coordinator of this giveaway, is a self-described creative crafty mama of 3 who blogs about food, crafts, family & fun. She also is a blog designer & seamstress.
2. Amy of SewsNBows - Amy is a fabric hoarder and sewing pattern collector who enjoys sewing children's clothing and accessories. Her beautiful creations are showcased on her blog.
3. Millie & Kristina of 2 Crochet Hooks - Millie and Kristina, a Mother and Daughter team of Fiber Crafters, Entrepreneurs and Environmentally Concerned Parents. Blogging about Crochet, Crafts, Recycling, and Fun!
4. Stephanie of The Tip Toe Fairy - Stephanie is a stay-at-home mommy to 3.  She blogs about crafting, cupcakes, book reviews, and more.
5. KC of The Real Thing with the Coake Family - KC is a stay at home mom of two cuties who are 11 and 7. She blogs at The Real Thing with the Coake Family which is about living the creative life with her family, while keeping it real along the way.
6. Debbie of Heartbeats~ Soul Stains - Debbie is a wife, mother of 7 and a nurse that has survived many obstacles. She share stories about her life living in controlled chaos.
7. Janell of Saving you Dinero - Janell is a stay-at-home mom and blogger at Saving You Dinero, a blog dedicated to "saving you time and money, from kitchen to store and so much more." Janell enjoys baking, shopping online, and saving money by scouring the internet for the best deals and coupon codes.
8. Lynn of Turnips 2 Tangerines - Turnips 2 Tangerines is Lynn's Little Kitchen in the Big Woods of Northern WI is where she shares with you, her family tested and approved recipes, kitchen tips and many adventures traveling throughout Wisconsin.
9. Emily of Naptime Creations - Emily is an adventure loving mom who lives in Hong Kong with her husband and two boys. When she's not with her family or friends you can find her sewing, cooking, taking photos and blogging.
10. Jenny of Learning and Growing the Piwi Way - Jenny is a proud wife and mama who enjoys blogging about teaching her kids, the books she reads and food. With another job relocation always just over the horizon most of the projects she writes about are an attempt to distract her from packing.
11. Laura of Laura Kelly's INKlings - Laura Kelly is a licensed artist and creative project designer for ilovetocreate.com. She blogs her journey with hopes of inspiring and stimulating creativity in others.
12. Stephanie of A Geek in Glasses - Stephanie loves all things Vintage and crafty and her house shows it. She just got AG Doll Molly McIntire for Christmas because she wants to have a Victory Garden and loves all things 1940's!!!
13. Lisa of Crazy Adventures in Parenting - Lisa Douglas is an Army wife raising seven kids sharing humorous parental war-stories, yummy homemade family-friendly recipes, craft tutorials, hilarious family videos, and much more at CrazyAdventuresinParenting.com. Lisa's on a journey to savor every "small" moment, finding the humor in the joy in everything (even diapers and laundry).
14. Char of Doll Diaries - Char is the founder and blogger at Doll Diaries where girls of all ages are inspired to create, play and share doll related activities. She is excited for the second summer of Camp Doll Diaries - a free, online summer camp with new themed activities for girls of all ages each day.
15. Ayelet of The Graceful Rose - Ayelet is the owner of The Graceful Rose shop, is a wife and mama to two adorable girls. Her blog is a bit about her daily life, with tips and tricks that she's learned along the way.
16. Anna of Doll It Up - Anna shares projects and inspiration to sew, craft and create for dolls. From easy to advanced projects come and create, repurpose and PLAY!
17. Rachel & Donna of Once Upon a Sewing Machine - The sewing machine has always been a place for us to come together as mother and daughter team. It is a place where we can brainstorm, laugh, cry, catch up after being apart and share new projects.
18. Michelle of Crafty Little Me - Michelle is wife and mother to two cats and one playful pup. Her site is a way for her to document and share her passion for big projects, events, etc., and more importantly, planning and organizing these things and seeing everything come together in the end.

Sonnet of SohoSonnet Creative Living   Becky of Plushie Patterns
Allison of Dream a Little Bigger   Lizzy of The Muddle-Headed Momma
Lindsay of My Creative Days   Harriet of Posh on a Budget
 Lisa of Chronically Content   Carmody of Paper & Fox
FreeStyleMama - Hawaiian Collection & Embroidered Tote Bag
Naptime Creations - Mushroom Outfit   Doll Diaries - T-shirt & Pajamas
Laura Kelly's INKlings - Patriotic Outfit   SewsNBows - Pet Set & Outfit
Darlin Girl Creations - Snoopy Outfit   Tickie's Treasures - Vintage Outfit
123 Mulberry Street - Outfit & Hat   A Bee Line - Beez Shoes
Jazzy Doll Duds - Romper Outfit   Karen Mom of 3 - Floral Outfit
  Gina's Craft Corner - 4 Bags   Aunt Sissy Originals - Patriotic Outfit
Once Upon a Sewing Machine - 2 Outfits   2 Crochet Hooks - Bedding Set
  GiGi's Doll Creations - Patriotic Outfit   Jessie's Girl Clothing - Polo Outfit 
Pickled Okra - Reversible Outfit   Meatloaf and Melodrama - Flower Outfit
Doll It Up - Tutu Set   The Graceful Rose - 2 Dresses
Cats Meow - Floral Dress   The Real Thing with the Coake Family - Dress Form
The Tip Toe Fairy - Skirt Set   Camelot's Treasures - Shorts Outfit
Enter the giveaway using the Giveaway Tools entry form below.
18+ yrs, US & Canada Only. Official Rules at bottom of the entry form.
Bonus entries unlocked after required entry.
The more entries, the better chance you have of winning.
This giveaway was coordinated by Diana of Diana Rambles.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Some Doll Sewing!

When summer vacation comes in just a few short weeks (!!!), our family will be doing what most families do - summer camps, swim lessons, and traveling.  My girls love to bring their American Girl Dolls with them wherever we go, and I like to let them take a few outfits to change their dolls into along the way.

I just sewed up a few of these adorable Bow Dresses - this is one of my favorite doll patterns and it's from Ruby Jean's Closet (the girl version is a great sew as well!  You can see a few in my shop here).  I love this pattern - the bow is just too cute, and I love that it's interchangeable - you can change the whole look just by adding a new bow!

I love these fabrics, from Micheal Miller's Bella Butterfly line.  So sweet and summery.

I'm giving these two dresses away as part of another HUGE American Girl Doll Wardrobe Giveaway that starts in a few weeks, so stay tuned for details.  There are some seriously adorable items donated by some very talented sewists!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Tried and Tested - The Lulu Top by Craftiness Is NOT Optional

You guys have maybe heard of Jess?  You know, that completely unknown famous sewing blogger and now pattern designer?  Ha!  Jess's blog is one of the first I started following when I got back into sewing, and with good reason - she's got amazing taste and she really is one of the rock stars of the sewing world!  Also, she bakes some seriously amazing looking desserts.  I only wish we were neighbors...well, maybe my hips are glad that we're not ;-) 

When she asked me to test her newest pattern, The Lulu Top and Dress, of course, I said YES!  This is seriously such a great pattern!  There are tons of options and details to really make it your own, and if you have more than one little girl, you can coordinate without them being too matchy-matchy.

The Lulu can be made with all knit or knit and woven together.  I chose to sew up the top with cap sleeves and a cute little pocket.  I used this adorable knit from the fabulous Girl Charlee (ooooh, there's some left!  Go buy it!) and some chambray that I think I picked up at Joann.

Including taping the pattern together and cutting it all out, this literally took me less than an hour to finish.  I love the way the binding goes on the neck and arm holes - super duper easy and it has a nice clean look.  The gathered waist is actually a casing for elastic - I think it would be fun to change it up and make a casing for a drawstring, too!

I made the Lulu Top in a size 6 and it fits my petite 6 year old perfectly.  I did shorten the elastic, since my daughter's chest size is closer to a size 4, but the length and everything else fit her perfectly.

I wanted to add the faux placket to this top, but didn't really like any of my button choices, so I went with the pocket instead.  It's so cute!

The instructions for the Lulu are very clear, and the illustrations are great.  It's a very straightforward design, and I think it would be a great choice for an advanced beginner who wants to start working with knits.  You definitely don't need a serger for this one, but I do think you should know how to use a twin needle.

Thanks Jess, for having me test for you, and for knocking it out of the park with your Lulu Top and Dress Pattern!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Matinee Dress Blog Tour

 Remember this sneak peak that I posted during Kids' Clothes Week?  

I was able to test The Matinee Dress, designed by the fabulous Jenn of Jennuine Design.  You guys, this is such a great pattern!  There are several options - dress or peplum length, sleeveless or cap sleeves, skirt band or plain.  I sewed the dress with cap sleeves and skirt band out of this gorgeous Amy Butler fabric in a size 8. 

I love the band across the chest - it adds some detail to the sweet neckline.

The band buttons over the open back for a darling back view!  My daughter loves how different this dress is from all of the others in her closet.

My daughter's favorite part of The Matinee Dress - the skirt is nice and full - perfect for twirling!  I love the band at the bottom and it's my favorite way to do a cheater hem (no burning your fingers pressing the hem under!)

The seams on the bodice are fully encased in the lining, and the whole thing took only a few hours to cut and sew.  I can't wait to sew up the peplum version for my youngest!

The Matinee Dress can be purchased on Craftsy or Etsy.

The Details:
Pattern: The Matinee Dress by Jennuine Design
Size: 8
Fit: true to size
Fabric Used: quilting cotton by Amy Butler, Kona Cotton for the bodice and skirt bands, both purchased at my LQS.
Verdict: This is a great pattern for an advanced beginner - you'll learn some new tricks and make a stylish dress that is so different from any pattern out there!

Be sure to check out Jenn's blog, A Jennuine Life, for some more write ups from the other testers of the Matinee Dress!

Friday, April 11, 2014

More Tops for Kids' Clothes Week!

Can I confess something?  Now that my biggest girl is nearly 9 (!!!), she's not as into the girly dresses and twirly skirts as she once was.  Sure, she loves to dress up for parties and occasions, but day to day, she really just loves her jeans and t shirts.  

So, it's really nice to be able to have some great patterns for casual clothes in my library!

Here's the Viewfinder Tee by See Kate Sew.  I tested this one in the fall and my oldest loves it.  I think these shirts are about the fifth or sixth time I've made a batch for her!

Here, I used this adorable deer fabric from Girl Charlee.  It doesn't have a ton of stretch to it, so I just left hem raw.  

Here, I used a lightweight hacci knit from a local store.  I love the neon stripes! 

The Viewfinder is a great pattern - I literally cut these and sewed them together while watching Scandal!  Super duper fast, and a great pattern for someone who is new to sewing with knits.

I've got a few other things up my sleeve, but they'll have to wait until next week!  Here's a sneak peek though:

Did you have fun sewing for Kids' Clothes Week?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

American Girl/18" Doll Dress GIVEAWAY

I'm giving away this adorable dress today as part of a Flash Giveaway with 10 other bloggers on Facebook!

Be sure to click on over to Facebook to enter and check out all of the other great handmade AG outfits and accessories that are being given away!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Kids Clothes Week Day 1 - Pippa Peplum

It's SPRING!  Yippy!  Perfect time for a week of new clothing for my kiddos.  Which makes the fact that it's Kids' Clothes Week even better!

First up, I made the adorable Pippa Peplum for my youngest.

I've been hoarding onto this Briar Rose jersey knit by the fabulous Heather Ross for quite a while.  I got some at my local fabric store and it's super heavenly and soft.  I thought it would be perfect for some t-shirts, and it is!

I was lucky enough to test the Pippa Peplum for Kate, of See Kate Sew back in November, and I can say, it's a great pattern.  It comes together in about an hour and is super cute on.  I made the cap sleeve version in a 7 and it fits my petite 6 1/2 year old just perfectly. 

Perfect for spring, and comfy as can be!  Are you sewing anything fun for Kids' Clothes Week?  Check out the Flickr Group and get inspired!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Tips and Tricks for a Thrifty and Fun Disneyland Vacation

I wrote about our fun trip to Disneyland a few weeks ago and thought I would share some of our tips and tricks to save money and still have a great Disney vacation.

This post does come with a caveat:  Disneyland is EXPENSIVE.  There is really no way to save on park tickets - for a 3 park park hopper pass, you're looking at $300 per person.  We knew going into this trip that it wasn't going to be cheap.  That being said, it's easy to spend $500 per day just for meals and souveniers, so here are a few ways to NOT do that.

Package vs A La Carte:
We've done Disneyland as a family twice now, once as a package deal through Costco (including tickets to the parks, hotel stay at a good neighbor hotel, a gift card, and a character meal).  The package deal was great, but it included some things that we didn't want or need this time around.  For starters, my kids are elementary school aged, and therefore weren't as into the idea of a character meal as they were when they were preschoolers.  Those character meals are crazy expensive and there is no way to not get one though the Costco deal.  The same goes for the gift cards.  At the time we booked our trip (December 2013), the gift cards were to ESPN Zone - again, not something that we were interested in.  So, we looked around for just hotel pricing on sites like Expedia and Travelocity, and managed to find deals at the good neighbor hotels (which are just hotels that Disney has a ticket kisok at) that were far less expensive than what the packages listed.

We also chose to add airfare to our trip - Seattle is about 20 hours in the car away from Anaheim, so for us, it was worth it to fly.  We managed to find direct flights on Alaska Airlines when we combined the flights with the hotel on Travelocity for just a bit more than just the hotel alone.  Look around when you're planning your Disneyland vacation, and don't be afraid to purchase tickets/hotel/air seperately for the best deals.

We took a taxi to and from the hotel and used the resort transit system - between parking and car rental fees, this turned out to be way cheaper for us.  A 5 day pass for the transit system was $50 per adult and $20 per kid.  Just parking for the day at Disney is $20.  It helps that we don't have kids who nap, so we were able to stick it out all day.

As for our tickets, we bought them at the local Disney Store.  The cast member who rang me up mentioned that what a lot of people do is to put $25-50 on a gift card each month and save up that way for the tickets - which is a great tip!  Tickets are always cheaper ahead of time than at the park.  I know that you can get 3, 4, and 5 day passes at grocery stores and Targets, so if you have rewards through those stores to use up, that's a great way to save as well!

Once you get to the parks, the main expense besides getting into them is obviously, feeding yourselves.  If you eat at the counter service restaurants, you have to figure $10-15 per person per meal per day.  That adds up and doesn't include snacks!  The first way to cut those costs down is to stay at a hotel that offers a free breakfast.  The second way is to bring your own food in.  DL allows you to bring in as many snacks as you can in your backpack or diaper bag, including water bottles.  We stocked up at Costco and loaded down our suitcases with cereal bars, packs of Goldfish, dried fruit, and string cheeses.  Getting groceries delivered to your hotel room is also a great way to save - Vons is right near the parks and will waive the delivery fee on your first delivery - just call your hotel ahead of time to get your delivery set up.  Another way to save on your food cost is knowing that all DL restaurants offer FREE cups of ice water.  Don't spend $4 on a soda when you can have water for free!

We did end up buying a treat every day to share as a family, but made the girls buy any additional treats with their own money...more on that below!

This one is tricky.  No amount of the planning that we did really minimized my girls wanting EVERYTHING they saw.  Since we had our trip be a gift from Santa, we packed the girls' tickets in some new luggage (clearance at Pottery Barn Kids), along with a few Disney shirts from Target and some coloring books from the Dollar Tree.  Additionally, and obviously, this depends on your craftiness level, I made some Minnie shirts and princess dresses for the girls for just a few dollars each.  The princess dresses were made because my girls are no longer into dress up, but they saw pictures on the Disneyland website of girls wearing princess dresses at the park, so they asked me to make them comfy princess dresses and I did!  The dresses at the park cost $80-100, and shirts there are around $40.

The other thing we did to cut down on souvenier costs was to help the girls earn Disney Dollars.  I found this awesome post and contacted Marci and she sent me her list and Disney Dollar template.  The girls had to do chores to earn their dollars and that was what they could spend on souveniers and treats.  The kids learned some great lessons about working on a budget and prioritizing what to spend their hard earned Disney Dollars on as well - bonus!  When we got to the parks, we just went right to the City Hall on Main Street and let the kids pick their Disney Dollars up!

My other tips:
  • Use the FASTPASS system!  Since we went in the off season, the lines were only crazy on the Monday and Friday that we were there - and those days, the Fast Passes really paid off.  Here's a great write up of the system.  Cars Land is CRAZY crowded, especially Radiator Springs Racers.  Plan on doing that first thing in the morning...and don't bother waiting in line for Fast Passes because that line is even longer than the line for the actual ride!
  • Plan your day!  Before you go, talk with your family about what rides and shows you want to see, and which ones you are ok skipping. 
  • Use the Single Rider line!  If your kids are old enough (they have to be 7), hit up the single rider line for popular rides such as Radiator Springs Racers and Space Mountain.  Chances are, you'll all get put into the same car anyway.
  • See the shows!  Even older kids (and grown ups!) need some downtime.  The plays and parades at Disneyland are amazing.  My kids ended up loving the Enchanted Tiki Room and Mickey and The Magical Map more than most of the rides.
If you have any other tips and tricks for a thrifty and fun Disneyland Vacation, share them in the comments!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tried and Tested: The Cottage Mama's Party Dress

Are you ready for spring?  I know I am!  Here in Seattle, we've been getting our typical spring weather - blue skies WITH rain.  Yep, it's crazy.  Still, it means that the rain will lessen and the blue skies will stick around for a few more months.  Hurrah!  And of course, it can't be spring without sewing up some cute springtime dresses.

I love testing for Lindsay, aka The Cottage Mama.  She produces really well written patterns,  with classic designs and some really cute touches.  The construction is always great and I always get so many compliments on the end results. This dress is super fast to sew, and has some great classic details.

My favorite part of The Party Dress is that the sizing goes to a 10.  I chose to sew these up in sizes 6 and 9, and they fit my 6 and nearly 9 year olds perfectly.  The bodice is completely lined, and Lindsay offers two choices for the construction, which is great because you learn something new either way.

I love the wide sash and the dramatic bow in the back.  You can choose covered or regular buttons - I chose covered to match the sash and band. 

The girls of course love their dresses and are excited to twirl in them all spring! 

Be sure to head over to the Cottage Mama blog and sign up for the newsletter to recieve your own FREE copy of the Party Dress pattern!  I will be listing these dresses in the shop, and will be making custom versions as well.

Check out my other Cottage Mama pattern reviews here and here.

The Details:
Pattern: The Party Dress by the Cottage Mama
Sizes made: 6 and 9, no modifications
Fabric Used: Quilting Cotton Jill in Sky from Lucky Girl by Jennifer Paganelli and Kona Cotton in Navy, both purchased at Fabric Depot in Portland, OR.
Thoughts: this is a great pattern for an advanced beginner or intermediate sewist.  The fit is true to size.

Make It and Love It

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

American Girl Doll WINNER

Congratulations to Melle E!  She won the adorable spring American Girl Doll outfit!

Melle, please contact me within the next 48 hours with your shipping info and I will send you your prize!

Monday, March 3, 2014

American Girl Doll Outfit Giveaway Blog Hop!

Well hello there!  Yep, it's been quiet on the ol' blog front.  Long story boring...vacation, flu, stomach flu...yeah.

But guess what?!  I'm BACK.  And I have an AWESOME giveaway for you guys!


I'm participating in a blog hop giveaway for American Girl outfits and accessories.  12 talented bloggers are each contributing something we've created so be sure to click through to Stephanie's blog, The Tiptoe Fairy to enter after you've entered my giveaway.  Then, be sure to click through the other 12 blogs to enter to win some fantastic doll clothing and accessories!

I've created this super cute spring outfit:


I love the coral color and the pin tucks on the top and skirt!  So spring-like!  The top has velcro closure in the back and the skirt is an easy on/off elastic waistband.

Now for the fine print:  You must be 18 years of age and have a US mailing address to enter.  The giveaway is for the two piece outfit (halter top and skirt).  Doll, shoes, and wardrobe not included.

Good luck, and be sure to click though all of the participating blogs to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

At The Happiest Place on Earth

So...we went to Disneyland.

Santa was VERY kind to us this year, and brought 4 five day passes to our little family, along with flights and a hotel stay.  Yes, the rest of the kids' presents pretty much sucked ;-)

Yes, 5 days was slightly insane.  BUT...we went in the off season when the crowds are low but the hours are short.

We had SO MUCH fun.  Roller coasters, super heroes, Mickey Dream Bars, and my personal favorite, the Dole Whip.  Oh, and we met LOTS of princesses.

It was a great trip and completely worth the sore feet.  The girls loved meeting their favorite characters and Mr. Graceful Rose and I loved watching them take it all in...oh, and we loved the loop-the-loop on the big roller coaster too.

Stay tuned for later this week, when I'll run down some tips and tricks to make the most out of your Disneyland vacation!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Princess Dress for My Princess: Sofia The First Edition

We are just a few days away from leaving on our vacation to Disneyland (!!!), but I had some time to make this sweet little dress for my Sofia The First fan.  My youngest looooves the color purple and requested a Sophia Dress for the trip.  Of course, I said yes :o)  Since there aren't very many tutorials for a Sofia The First Dress out there, I thought I would show you a how I made it.  Ready?  Grab some purple fabric and get ready!

To start, I used the same pattern for this dress that I did with the Belle Dress.  I used two shades of purple Kona cottonFor this dress, the only change that I made was the double the width of the skirt (for a size 6, it was two pieces that were 40 x 19), and to add the overskirt.  To make the overskirt, I cut it 5 inches shorter than the underskirt (so, 40 x 14).  Then I took each piece of fabric and cut it in thirds, width-wise.  I ended up with 6 rectangles that were 13.3 x 14 inches.  I folded each rectangle in half lengthwise and drew a rounded shape at the bottom of one:

It looked like a petal after:

And I used it as a template to cut the rest:

Then, to mimic the pearl trim on Sophia's dress, I pinned extra large white ric-rac along right side of the rounded edge of each petal.  I didn't finish the edge because I was lazy low on time, but you should totally serge or zig zag your edge.

Stitch the ric rac down with a 3/8 inch seam allowance. 

Then, turn under and press.  Voila!  A sweet "pearl" trim!  This is by far my favorite way to hem a skirt, BTW - so easy!  Be sure to top stitch too!

For the flower design on the skirt, I used iron on material and my Cricut - I used cut basic ovals and circles and placed them how I liked them.  For iron on material, my best advice is to put a towel under the fabric that you are ironing onto, then make sure to press the iron on for at least 45 seconds.  I just use my cell phone as a timer.

For the bodice detail, I just sewed lines of ric rac on either side to mimic the pearl detail on Sophia's bodice, and then I coiled some purple trim in the general design on the original version.

 The final result: A cute, comfy, twirly dress perfect for my little princess!

I said in my Belle Dress post that my girls never really liked the dresses that you can get in the parks and at the Disney store - they are itchy, tear and run easily, and drop glitter all over the house!  With a few dollars of fabric and about 2 hours, you can make your princess her own custom gown - try it out and let me know how it works!

***This post contains affiliate links***
***ALSO: the Cricut Expressions 2 is ON SALE on Amazon right now!!  That's an awesome price!***