July 31, 2013

INTRODUCING my Sofia the First Pattern....

MY VERY FIRST PDF PATTERN
Yea! I'm pretty excited about this folks! 
It started as a request from a friend, and turned into a full-scale project for me just 3 months later. I now have ready for you your very own Sofia The First PDF pattern! 
 My lovely niece makes a stellar, Sofia the First, wouldn't you say? She's my perfect 5 year old model! She has the heart of a princess, and looks like one too! It's such a blast to dress her up...like HERE, and HERE, and HERE, and HERE

The pattern is available in two sizes: A 4/5, and a 6/7. Since this dress is 
designed and intended to be more debutant style, here are the measurements 
that each dress creates (...so measuring your little princess is a must):

SIZE
CHEST
WAIST
SHOULDER to SHOULDER
(across back)
SHOULDER TO LOWER EDGE OF SKIRT
       4/5
     25 1/2”
       24”
       10”
       29”
       6/7
       28”
       26”
       12”
       31”

While this dress is detailed in design, there are many ways to simplify it and make it more affordable to sew for your little girl. I have included many ideas for modifications from my testers, and know that you will add many ideas yourself! I cannot wait to see what you all come up with! 

I created a Sofia Show-Off Pool on Flickr to showcase your wonderful Sofia Dress Creations! I will be sharing your design creations periodically on my blog, so enter, enter, enter those pictures! 
This was my first Sofia Dress, based off the original Sofia dress design sold by Disney. My entire pattern is 100% drafted and designed by me. I have full color step by step illustrations with great pictures for you to follow, suggestions for modifications, and three sleeve options to chose from. The entire document is PDF download, including the piece-able pattern pieces, introduction pages, and full directions. The printable pattern pieces are hand-drawn by me, but easy to understand and piece together.

So, I know you're now wondering....so how can I get a pattern copy, right? 

Well, just head over to my ETSY STORE and you can have an instant download for just $5! Just pay, download, and print...and head to the fabric store! 

I am requesting that this pattern be mainly for personal use only. However, I may grant a sellers permission if you email me and ask specific permission to do so. Thank you! I am always accepting feedback, comments, and suggestions! I appreciate your interest (and support)! 

Wonderful creations from my testers coming soon!!! 




July 29, 2013

How to make a leather bracelets.....

...Martha Stewart style. Well, actually by her tutorial and Steven's awesome leather-making instructions:


 I took some leather scraps. Measured them into long rectangles, that were about 1" longer than my wrist.
 Using Fiskars heavy duty scissors, I cut through the leather to create the arm bands.
 The thinner leather, about 1/16-1/8" thick stuff, was easier to work with, mold, and cut.
 Just look at that huge pregnant belly sticking out there...  :)! Ahem. 
 I cut lots of bracelets, to create a number of gifts all at once. My sister picked a great craft for me to try, and I liked them as well! 

 You measure 1" away from each bracelet end.
 And draw 2 parallel lines down the middle.
 You carefully cut out those center lengths with some handy leather tools.
 You re-check the fit. Looking good so far.
 Wet the leather arm band, to make it more pliable before you attempt the Mystery Braid
 This is what mine looked like after trying to follow the directions on Martha Stewart.com. Ha! Nope.
 Steven found this Mystery Braid tutorial on YouTube, and we re-watched it about 25x until we had all of our strips braided easily to success. What a fun craft!
 Steven was quite curious about the Mystery Braid, so he was eager to jump in there to help me and figure it out. I love that about him!
 I waited a short time for my leather straps to be slightly damp to dry before applying Steven's generous stash of leather dyes. Some dyes I mixed, some I left their natural color of dark brown or espresso.
 I even added in some glazing to give a few a goldish sheen.
 After the dye dried, I applied Tan-Kote protective leather finish to all sides of each arm band.
My arm band collection was coming along.
 I then applied leather-grade snaps with Steven's snap setting tools, and some screw rivets and punch holes to the triangle shaped arm bands. The last step, is to buff the bands with a some sherpa (lambs wool), to give them some shine. 
Not a real clear picture here (sorry I had grabbed the inferior camera for this shot...oops!), but it shows some of the bands completed and laid flat.

And, I was quite happy with how they all turned out. I still have all Steven's leather crafting tools spread out on our dining room table, as I am getting more ideas of what to create with it: even more armbands to make, a belt, and purse straps to design! What else could you think of to make? 

All of Steven's leather products and tools were originally purchased at the Tandy Outlet store when we lived in Orlando, Florida a few years ago. We have a few Tandy stores about an hour and a half away from us now, but are thankful that Michael's and Hobby Lobby tends to carry a small selection of leather supplies like cording, rivets, and snap settings. 

If you still want to come over and create leather stuff with me, just flag me a note! 



July 25, 2013

30 Something

This decade has been enjoyable as I have seen all of my sister's and I turn 30 something each year. This year (next month), I will be turning 34, and can hardly believe it. Never really contemplated before what being 34 would exactly feel like. I guess I'll find out it doesn't really feel any different than 33. This past weekend we got to have a joyous birthday celebration for my sister, Amy. I think she had a wonderful, and very blessed day, and I'm very thankful for that! 
        (Amy, great picture you had taken of us, sisters, so I had to steal myself a copy. Just love it : )!)
         Such a blessing to have such great sisters! 

I really enjoy when Amy's birthday comes every year. I try to make it a priority to make her something each year. She enjoys and favors home-made items, as I do, and so it's extra fun to make things for her. she also has a way of asking for things that I've never made, but she definitely believes (somehow) that I can pull it off. I am happy to try, and rather enjoy the challenge. 

So, what did we make her? What did I bring to the party?
Well, several things she asked me to make off Pinterest. 

#1: Cloth Covered Bangles


Here is the original Pinterest Pin. The pin says to wind t-shirt strands around them, but all of my knit fabric stock were solid colors, which wouldn't be too much fun. So, I cut strips of some of my favorite fabric scraps, ironed the strips inward on each side (like bias tape), wound them around each metal Bangle (a set of all 8 Bangles found for $4.80 at Forever21 store), and secured them at the end with Aileen's Tacky glue. Voila. This one was fun, and they turned out so colorful, but somehow coordinated. 

#2: Leather Arm Bands
Original Pin here, originating on the Martha Stewart Craft website. These were probably the most fun to make. Something so different for me to try. Steven is really the leather master around here, as he designed and created by-hand, 11 complete sets of Biblical Roman Armor for The Holy Land Experience in 2008, (which they still use: Check this out!), and which looks like THIS close-up (scroll down). Yeah, I'm still amazed at him....and he is still a for-hire leather-man...hint, hint! 

But, after reading the website tutorial, Steven was happy to get out all of his leather products for me: leather scraps, dye, tools, rivets, snaps...and the whole works, in order to make these bracelets! I'm sooo thankful he had all the tools, dyes, and know-how because this craft took a lot of uncommon supplies. After some good instruction by Steven, I was excited to get to work. But, more on the steps of this shortly... 

Amy loved them, and I think Lilly did too, who was quick to steal them from Mommy! 



 While Amy didn't ask for this, I had honestly been dying to make her and I one of these dresses from Rae's original design since last year. Everyone raves at how comfortable this dress is, and so I bought the pattern. They were right, it is really comfortable, and an easy to wear for anyone. The dress even came together in just 3 hours (during nap time). 

The first type of fabric I purchased for the dress was a linen/rayon blend. I washed it twice, and the fabric was still very scratchy (so don't buy this for a garment!!!!) . I re-bought a navy in 100% cotton at Hancock Fabrics, which was a lot more softer. I couldn't find a good, local variety of Rae's favorite fabric suggestions, so I went with cotton. There was only one problem with this dress: I neglected to take Amy's measurements before I started, so the dress turned out not to be a good fit for her, as it was too big. (Sad face)... Looks like I'll be keeping this one and making her a new, smaller one. I think it's a dress I will re-make a lot of times. So versatile, comfortable, and easy to sew.....and it even has pockets!!!! Need I say more???

Amy, I hope you did enjoy your special day. Thank you for letting me make you things and for appreciating them too! You're a blessing of a sister to have, and so glad we are so close! Love ya! 

July 18, 2013

Progress

Lots happening in the garden lately, although I wish there was a little more. We are harvesting lots and lots of delicious salad mix, kale, and snap peas right now (and one green pepper), and are anxiously awaiting the corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini. Let's see how things are growing:

Just starting out in May:


And June's garden progress:


 And right now:







 And my porch garden is going the best, I believe, with an abundance of fresh Romaine, Basil and Cilantro waiting for some harvesting. Cucumbers are taking flower, and a few new seed flowers still trying to reach their intended height. All that green, and so much fresh food to eat. We are enjoying it quite well so far this summer, and so thankful for all that the Lord has given us! 

And some other things we've been doing lately to stay busy around here: 








~ some digging going on...in the front yard, and lots in the back. We need a new sandbox like this one, but am considering that one right now. And a toddler picnic table, still, I think? 
~ keeping a careful eye on the garden right now, watching some things come, and other things go, and trying to keep disease at a minimum with some natural home remedies like compost and baking soda water. Seems to be working so far. 
~An impromptu "Mommy and Me" clothesline. 
~A fresh coat of foundation-grade paint to make things look a whole lot better. Yes, much better. 
~Some flying lessons taking place inside and out.... Daddy has found some great new flying games to play with his little man, including a rubber band powered flyer, and the 1970's version of U-Fly-It, that he had as a kid. Nathan loves it and the time I've seen spent between Daddy and son: priceless. 
~We are having some great summer days indeed. Hoping yours are nothing but the same.

July 12, 2013

Makings

 Summertime...time to can some things. I just can't tolerate buying a quart of strawberries in the winter for $3.99! I got a bunch of quarts at Aldi's, two weeks ago, for 99cents each, and needed to make more strawberry preserves (to last a year). Well, I forgot which recipe I used last year, and so I did it wrong. I ended up with a dozen, strawberry sauces! So, let me know, friends, if you're in need of some strawberry topping for your ice cream! Ahem.

I tried again, and successfully canned about 6 pints of jam. I usually like to buy more strawberries to just core and put in my deep freeze. So far, I've neglected to do that too. For the blueberries, I made a light sugar water mixture and canned the blueberries whole (hot pack). Both are really simple and easy to do (when you have the right recipes! Ha!). 

 A few weeks ago, Steven made Nathan this AWESOME DIY Weed Whacker...that really works...mostly anyways! It can blow dust and already-cut grass around. Steven saw Nathan's current passion for mowing (with his bubble mower), and thought he needed a weed whacker too. So far I haven't discovered even one DIY kid's weed whacker online, so I'm trying to talk Steven into making a tutorial for you on this. (Hint, hint, Honey!) He used PVC, foam, a battery pack, wires, and mini motor from Radio Shack, a CD, tape, glue, and a cool whip container. 

Nathan just loves this thing! He now follows up the mowing obsession with a good weed whacking...outdoors and indoors! The top button is so easy for Nathan to push, the foam blades safe for use (and easy to replace), and the whole unit feels so lightweight at only a few ounces. Nathan went through 3 sets of double A batteries on the first day he had this, so we switched to rechargeables! 
Love it! And great job, Daddy!!!

 I found this spectacular and FREE unisex infant hat pattern by the Purl Bee online last week. And here's a very similar free one on Prudent Baby. It's so cute! These two hats (0-4mos) barely fit who I was gifting it too, so I think I need to make a few more, in a bit larger size. So fun, and quick to make. I added velcro-ed chin straps to them, since every baby tends to pull these adorable hats off.

 Oh, I just love free patterns, and it's so rewarding to make gifts for cute babies! Oh, and my favorite free pattern for my toddler: The Bucket Hat by Abby of Sew Much Ado! I've made Nathan about 6 of these so far, and think it's a great pattern!
 And speaking of cute babies: my friend's sister has one that was most recently turning ONE! How fun! To test my free shorts pattern out (coming sometime this summer), I was excited to make this matching outfit, using some thrifted red dot cotton and an up-cycled red men's t-shirt. For the shorts, I followed Dana's tutorial on using bias tape to make racer shorts, and relied on my fav t-shirt pattern from Rae. So fun, again! Can you tell I just adore making kid's clothes???! I do. They are fast, easy, and you can style your kid how you want to...for less! Happy one year, little Emily! 
We have been making a LOT of salads so far this summer with the bounty of salad mix growing out there in our garden. While some of my plants have yet to start vegetable production from those flowers, the salad mix keeps coming and coming! So far, my favorite salad to put together is this mix, with strawberries, a little dill, a few snap peas, and a tasty vinaigrette. Well, here is the recipe I adapted: So delicious!!! 
While I'm not super-styling it this summer with my 6mo+ belly bump, I have managed to make my own pattern for a maternity tank top. I just copied the pattern from a tank I had from Old Navy. The tank is just two pieces, with a neck band, and two sleeve bands. Anyone out there interested in a free pattern on this?..size small, for right now. 
Some stylish wall art for a friend. Wrapped a canvas with blue linen, stapling it to the back. Freezer paper stenciled the boat on, and painted it with white acrylic paint. And used Aileen's Tacky glue to adhere a "waving" flag piece of cotton (leftover from my quilt), for the sail. Simple, but cute.
And somewhere in the last week, I've made my own cloth diaper pattern

I have been cloth diapering Nathan since he was 6 months old (he's now 2 1/2), and have loved it! ....esp the extreme amount of money it has saved us! Well, for baby #2, I needed a "middle-sized" diaper to get baby boy through, until he can wear Nathan's AIOs (diaper talk for diapers that are adjustable with snaps to fit babies sz 2-5). I currently have a collection mostly of Bum Genius AIOs, ALVA Baby, and 1 Fuzzi Bunz

So, I collaborated from my favorites, to make this size 1 pocket diaper. I'm so thrilled! It's very easy to make, and with the fabric readily available at JoAnn's, super easy. Price breakdown coming soon too... A regular cloth diaper is between $10-22, so i'm going to save you money!... I've almost got the pattern ready to go (as well as my Sofia pattern!). Can you tell I'm being ambitious to get stuff out to you before baby #2 arrives in October??!!! I'm so excited to share these patterns with you! If I can make your kids happy, inspire you to keep you sewing, or help to save your family money, then I'm all in! 

Happy "Makings" this week!