August 31, 2013

Toys Bags + 34

 I recently made two toy bags as gifts for a few August birthdays. These square bags are a quick sew, easy to put together, are lined, and easy to personalize with a monogram, or a favorite themed fabric. I first saw this idea on THIS site, and quickly made one for Nathan. He loves his toy bag, and he carries it on his little arm whenever we go to important places like the doctors, church, or sometime's even Grandmas. It holds just enough stuff to keep him busy and interested. 

In 2011, I made a whole lot of them as gift bags for Christmas items for my friends. It's my hope to get to offer you this free pattern one of these days, so that you can make your own as well. 
I just adore that sailboat fabric on the left, purchased last year from a local quilting shop we have (I think), and the dino fabric is from JoAnns. 
 I lined the sailboat bag with (gifted) blue corduroy fabric. The orange lining is a new, cut-up bath towel from Ikea. I have learned that using stiffer fabric for the inside lining makes them stand up much better on their own. The "E" monogram is regular weight cotton backed with fusible interfacing, and the "J" monogram is a felted sweater (leftover from this project): both edge tacked with a zigzag stitch.
 And they make great gift bags, as this one did. 


This past week I turned 34. Funny, it doesn't really feel any different to me than 33. I guess that is how getting older goes, though, right? How come as kids we always "felt" like it was our birthday on our birthday, and we also "felt" a year older. ???? Maybe I'll never know. 

Well, the 25th fell on a Sunday, and it was a great day, a very special day. In the morning, my husband surprised me with a lovely pop-up handmade card and a gift of my first official power tool (of my own): a jigsaw. I asked him for it, and he delivered. It's been a week and I have yet to try it out, but I am excited about it, and am looking forward to developing my skill at it! After church we had a special lunch at my Mom's with my whole family, and it was great! My Mom is such a good cook, and I enjoyed just being there with everyone. Thank you, also, to my Mom and Amy, who primarily chased Nathan around the whole time so that I could rest inside in the air conditioned : )! (Not so comfortable now being 8mos pregnant!!!)

Throughout the week I also received some very special gifts from some of my friends, enjoyed a few luncheons, and received some great encouragements and a whole lot of love! Thank you, Johanna, for the gift of my fun and creative blog banner (at top). It is fabulous and suits me very well! I am so abundantly blessed to have such loving friends and family all around me! You all have enriched my life and brought so much value into my life and my world. I love you. Thank you for making me feel so loved and so special, especially on my day of turning 34. 

So, if you are older than me: I'm on my way to your age next year.
If you are younger than me: realize that turning "_" next year is really not that scary after all. 

Have a great weekend! 

August 29, 2013


All in all, our summer around here has been pretty quiet. I know I've been keeping busy with projects and sewing and patterns....But, we mostly took time during our days to just play. 

Nathan and his cousins made dirt pies on the front porch:
Painted with mud on the fence, watered, and mowed together in our back yard:
Played out front with chalk (and more mud), and even made some new neighbor friends:
Though I didn't get any Art with Aunt Joy in this summer as I had hoped to, we still once in a while got to practice a little art indoors, in smaller ways:
And even have done a small amount of harvesting in the still trying-to-grow garden out back:
We have eaten large amounts of salad mix and kale.... and still don't know what to do with it all, picked and pickled about 7 decent sized cucumbers, ate our share of snap peas, and are still waiting for the corn to finish and tomatoes to ripen. And, well, the honeydew is spreading, and teasing us whether it will still produce any fruit. We will see I guess. 
Not too bad of a garden experience for us this year. Some things worked and some things didn't. But, I guess we always get to try again next year in a new way. Now to get those garden 2013 notes written up before I forget....

The most fun part of my summer garden was watching Steven growing his concord grapes, harvesting them last week, and watching him make his first official pint of grape preserves. So yum! Maybe next year there will be more! I hope so!

It's been a great summer. A relaxing one (mostly), as this now very pregnant Mommy needed. We have been so blessed by family, friends and neighbors, and have new miracles coming our way. It's been an amazing journey, and we are so thankful to the Lord for all these outpouring blessings He's brought (and is still bringing) our way. Some things are just too much to put into words.

Happy summer to you!

August 26, 2013

A Hero Factory Tee for Henry

We have had the privilege of celebrating a few summer birthdays this year. Henry, my nephew, just turned the big "7" on the 12th. 
He is big-time into art, drawing and building HERO FACTORY guys. When asked what his favorite H.F. guys were, he said: "Stormer XL and Furno XL." I was somewhat familiar with what/who they were, but had to look them up. My Sis (his Mom) suggested I make a hero factory T-shirt for Henry's birthday. I loved her idea. Henry loved, and is now I think "living in" his new shirt. Maybe I shouldn't have made it white??? Hmm.. 

So here's what I did.....

1. Looked up and printed out H's two fav characters...
2.Started some rough sketches in my art journal to resemble the chest plates
of these two characters: 

3. Buy a white, plain t-shirt from Hobby Lobby. (Here: a white one for Stormer, and a red one for Furno):

4. Convert my journal sketch into a freezer paper stencil for the front of the tee:
(just enough to get my design centered and going in the right direction)
5. I started to paint in my stencil with my trusted Pebeo setacolor fabric paints
(black, white and turquoise only) 

6. After I filled in my generic stencil, I pulled off the freezer paper, and hand-filled in the rest:

Later on, I decided the lower half of the tee needed some "beefing up", so I added a few more black lines as you see with Henry wearing it:

Henry with his other favorite gift...his new Bible. Maybe we'll see him now daily reading his Bible (way more important!!!), while wearing his new Hero Factory shirt! Well, maybe.  
 Last year I made the bigger boys (Peter and Ben) some super hero shirts that I see are still favs... and, to my amazement, are still in rotation within their summer wardrobe. See them HERE. The fact that my nephews will wear (often) something I've made them, is amazing, humbling, and priceless to me. They are so fun to make things for....especially WHY I delight in making them things that cannot be found commercially for purchase. 
Do you think that Ironman will survive the clutches of Stormer XL? We will see! 
And just cause you're maybe still wondering???..I ran out of time before finishing Henry's other Furno XL t-shirt. By all recommendations, I will still be finishing it, but saving it for Christmas. Thinking about adding some daily-wear matching costume sweatpants to the outfit. He'll just love it. Yes, I will do just that for this awesome boy. And maybe another pair of pajama pants I promised long ago to finish too.

Happy HERO FACTORY 7th Birthday, Henry!!!

August 24, 2013

A Quilt for Baby

 I was geared up for a two day project. I cut out three layers of fabric (well, two fabric and one batting layer) the week before. The top linen was from a curtain panel, and the back was red flannel I bought at JoAnns. I cut my stencil on day one from looking at my inspiration picture from this book I had talked about (scroll down). I started to paint/stencil that next evening.
The top stenciling went really quickly. I had a design that I really loved. Steven said it reminded him of something from IKEA. Then, I loved it even more. 

But, then the project sat, unexpectedly, for about a week, until I could decide on which of these two fabrics to use as the trim(binding) along the edge:

 (the blue stripe is from my sister's fabric stash, and the red peacock print a curtain I picked up at a coffee-shop garage sale this summer)...I just couldn't decide. 

My final decision came down to: keeping the vintage feel with the blue stripe. I tend to stay with what's matching with red, etc..  After I made my own bias tape with the blue stripe and sewed it on I had second thoughts about whether it looked okay for a few more days.  

 Steven then had the bright idea that I should tack it down with a matching color as the binding. Brilliant! It took me two trips to JoAnn's to come home with the right shade of purl cotton to match that blue stripe. It was worth it, though (and S's creative intuition was right)...all these trials and changing my mind and things, because....finally....I'm pleased with the end result. 

It fits me. I love modern. I love vintage. It's a perfect mix of both....
even if it still kind of reminds me of Peppermint Candies. Ahem. 

 And while this project was initially started for our new baby, I think Nathan's bed will be sporting this new quilt this winter, looking a little something like this. I have one in mind, and sketched out for just N, but it involves some chevron print, and a customized plane I'm still working on it in my head and in my sketchbook.

So, HOORAY for quilt #3 done this year. Wow! I don't even quilt. Well, perhaps I do my style anyways. Missed the first two? Check them out HEREHERE

One more to come too! And some cute new creations for our coming little guy too! 

August 21, 2013

Sofia the First PDF Pattern in size 2/3T now available!!!

I am soooo excited to get to share with you the debut of my second pattern, a Simplified Version of my original Debutant-style Sofia the First Dress. This dress is specifically made for sizing in 2/3T, but also comes with extra pattern pieces that will allow you to make this simplified version in the larger sizes of 4/5 and 6/7, given you have purchased both of my Sofia patterns.
This dress is perfect for the sewer from beginner to advanced beginner. My step by step directions come with full color illustrations (photos), for you to follow along with, and my hand-drawn pattern pieces are easy to print out and piece together. The dress has a stretch backing for easy on/off, and even a skirt stencil motif that you can add with either felt pieces or white fabric paint. I made this pattern version very user friendly, as I wanted to make it an "easy to sew" item, a washable item, and a low-cost costume version to make, while staying as true as possible to the T.V. Sofia dress style as I possibly can. If your little Sofia is very specific on details about how she wants her dress to be, then this is the pattern for you!

Here are the finished size measurements for this pattern:

(across back)

I am just in awe, of how beautiful my little model, Emma, looks in her new Sofia Costume! This was the first day that she saw it, and she couldn't have been more excited! Emma just turned three years old and loves to play princess dress-up! What better way for you to add a Sofia dress to your little girl's dress-up ensemble! A huge "THANK YOU" to her parents for letting me make and photo their cute little one in her new dress! Happy 3rd Birthday, Emma!!! 

Please head over to my Etsy site to see more specs on this dress & for purchase! 
And if you want to make this SIMPLIFIED version in a size 4/5 OR 6/7, head to my Etsy site to purchase BOTH PDF patterns. You will be using the pattern pieces from both patterns, but the directions from the Simplified version. 

Or...if you are just interested in making the more detailed and layered Debutant version like this:
Check out more information of this Debutant style Sofia HERE or HERE, or purchase HERE.

Here is T.V. Sofia's Dress...What do you think? Is it close?!

August 18, 2013

Family Picnic

 Last week, on a day Steven was off from work, and the Ohio weather was more than perfect outside, we headed out to a local, historical park to have lunch and some fun together. I could have stayed there all day. It was just beautiful. I packed a lunch in our homemade picnic basket ensemble and brought along a frisbee... Steven brought his radio controlled aerial bird....And N brought his mower 
....of course. 

 We made a stop inside (pretty quick with a toddler) for a look around their memorial museum about the Wright Brothers and the advancements made in flight over the years. This museum is part of our areas "Aviation Heritage Trail". If you hit up all the historical spots around our town, and get your booklet "stamped" at each site, they will give you/mail you a Wil-Bear (Wilbur Wright = aeronautical stuffed teddy bear) at the end of your historical journey. We did it last year, received two bears, learned a LOT, and we had a blast doing it together...a terrific family or homeschool activity if you live nearby. 

We then headed to their large outdoor monument and picnic area and found a serene spot. Nathan just gets giddy over getting to eat his lunch on a picnic blanket outside. He jumped on it, asked us to take his shoes off, and he dug right into his food : ). We all took turns throwing the frisbee around, especially Nathan who thought it was hilarious to throw it back and fourth with Daddy....or throw it PAST Daddy. Ahem. N and I enjoyed watching Steven fly his Avitron RC bird in the clearing until its batteries died. Nathan may have gotten the most enjoyment from just getting to roam around in the open area, and throw found walnuts around. Life really is about many of the simple things. We all just enjoyed being together... and being in the freedom of God's breathtaking creation. 

Glad and thankful we could grab a few family photos while there, too, thanks to the timer setting on my Fujifilm. I love how they turned out! They really capture how much fun we had that day!

Hope you and your family get some special moments to spend together just enjoying one another too. It's certainly been a wonderful summer for us all so far! And we pray the same for you! 

Have a blessed day!

August 13, 2013

We Are Getting Closer.

 The days are getting closer to this new baby coming. I have about two months to go still. Some days the time feels so close, while others days it feels an eternity away until I'm due. I am not working this time, as I was when I was pregnant with Nathan. I worked part time then at Barnes & Noble (A book seller...ha! I don't even enjoy reading....but the place was awesome to work at), and I remember "carrying" around my belly the last two months with my hands. I feel the same way now. Excited, nervous, heavy : ), yet still relaxed somehow knowing this is baby boy #2. Now if only we could decide on a name! 
 The day of my ultrasound when we found out that he OR she was definitely a "he" again! 

And an update on my (irregular) pregnancy tracking:

 Yes, I pretty much look like I'm growing a watermelon now, right out in front. It's a joy to feel the baby move, but I wonder exactly how much bigger I can still grow out in the next two months...that is a little scary for me : ). Ahem. 

 Nathan has been keeping busy with me upstairs in my sewing area...learning to cut FABRIC for the first time....look out! I enjoy it when he can sit at my feet and keep those little hands busy while I put some finishing touches on my Sofia costume pattern! I already have two antique sewing machines in the waiting for when our little guy is ready to start his own little sewing studio...I can only hope.. : )! Steven sews very well, too, you know!!! He has sewn complete racing jackets and other clothing, although he would say he prefers his leather work, clocks, models, and pocket watches. 

This retro-modern quilt is in the works by me right now for baby #2. I finally cut out the quilt layers, and am cutting out the stencil right now, in fact. 

And...ta da!!! My second pattern is right at the completion stage, awaiting final touches for a soon posting to my ETSY store, and everywhere else I can possibly promote it! Oh, my little model, Emma, is just too cute! She just loves her new little Sofia dress! I couldn't be more excited to share a simplified pattern for you to make your own little girl a less expensive, and less involved....and more wearable....costume dress of their favorite little princess! Stay tuned! There will definitely be more! 

August 10, 2013


 This last week has been filled with mostly normal Mommy stuff....You know the stuff that happens with your family that is so cherished and fun, and yet escapes you if you don't take the time to enjoy it? Well, I took that time, and lots got done, except the blog, that is. Thanks for hanging in there with me! 

I made sugar cookies for the first time with Nathan this week. In the morning he helped me pour in the ingredients and mix up the batter to put in the fridge. After nap, we finished the cookies together. I was amazed at how he enjoyed the whole process....especially the finger licking and cookie decorating! He was jumping up and down when his cookies came out of the oven! He is such a precious boy, that he even brought the first samples out and gave them to Mommy and Daddy... We just love this kid!

 Nathan just loves to draw and color (and now cut with scissors!!! I'd worry, but he's quite good at it). During one nap time this past week, I created an art book for him to carry with him when we go places. It has little pockets to hold some twistable crayons, ink pens, and two pockets to carry extra items like erasers, and paper scraps. In the middle I made a pocket to hold a small, flip notebook that he can color in. He was super excited to try it out the next day, and I think this project will be able to grow with him quite well. 

 Nathan usually hasn't had a real interest in any stuffed animal since birth, but these last two weeks he has seemed to grow quite attached to his big doggie from Ikea. It's a cute toy, but the other day he asked me for a bone to give his dog (in so many baby-talk language). After he went to bed, I just made a simple, two piece bone, out of some white linen I had left over. He loved it! Now he carries that dog, and bone, around everywhere...seriously, everywhere! It's so exciting to make him things he asks for. I think this is the start of many Mommy-requested projects no doubt!

And this Thursday I had the privilege of receiving 3 large boxes of farm fresh, tree picked peaches from my friends parent's farm. Oh my, I am in love! Yesterday I spent the greater part of the day in the kitchen cutting, coring, peeling, and canning Peach Jam, Peach Preserves, and Peach Butter. I'm not sure, though, if I ate more peach peels or canned more peaches. Ahem.  So far, I've canned 19 pint jars, and have some more to some peach pies in the works! Yum! So thankful for free and fresh fruit! Remember my apple fest last year?

And, introducing....a simplified version of my original Sofia Pattern released about a week ago. This one is specific to a size 2/3T, but it will also include additional pattern pieces that can be used to adapt the Sofia Debutant Dress (my first pattern) to this simplified version. The pattern will be finished up this next week and available very soon. My cloth diaper pattern is almost ready to debut too! Oh, so many good things happening around here! Oh, and I finally got our new baby's quilt cut out.... time to stencil it and then put it together. 

So much family time, so much to cherish! So much to now do before our new, wonderful baby is coming in two months! Have a very blessed day!