Saturday, November 12, 2011

With Pin and Pigment

Ok, so I sometimes blur the lines a little bit about what constitutes "pin" and what constitutes "ink," but that is because I have my hands in so many crafts at once that I really want to share with y'all what I'm doing but I don't want to go too far outside the constraints of what I've set up this blog to showcase, which is specifically paper thingies and fabric thingies.

But here's hoping you'll forgive me for toe-ing the line once you see how stupidly cute this little craft turned out to be.

When I saw this (I'm sure on Pinterest, since that's where the good ideas live), it reminded me of the theme of our precious two years of Christmas cards: Lilah's painted bits and pieces.

Year one was her nearly 12-month-old foot turned into a Christmas tree, proclaiming the "Holidays are afoot!". (I know, I'm a freaking comic genius). Year two was Lilah's sweet little 23-month-old hand turned into Santas face and beard. I added in all the rest of the elements, cut by hand, of a hat - complete with trim - and googly eyes (just to make Walken happy) with a note saying we hoped Santa "handed" them everything they wished for that year.

I have no intention on stopping this tradition before Lilah is too big to fit body parts on card-sized paper or she is old enough to tell me to go to hell, so keep in touch to see what I've picked for this year's card. We'll start on them soon enough.

So this little craft can kind of be considered a warm-up; A good reminder of what it feels like to become a human stamp and have squishy acrylic paint in between your tiny bits and pieces. Plus, it gave me that ever one special piece of seasonal art that I can pull out every year to sob over when I realize my baby isn't a baby anymore which means I'm just old.

Or something like that. :-)

So without further adieu, I give thee "Foot Turkey with Hand Feathers" by Lilah Muldrow, age 34 months:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shout out - Simplicity Pattern 2563

So I wanted to talk briefly about the pattern I used for "Cindabrella's" dress. 

I used Simplicity 2563 and found it to be pretty easy to work with.  There were very few pattern pieces and the directions for construction were fairly clear.  I only had a few issues, which since this was just a Halloween costume I largely ignored, but if I were trying to make some sort of heirloom they would've been bothersome.

For one - like all patterns - this one seemed to be sized to some strange race of human that is 9 feet tall at the age of 3.  While Lilah met the measurements perfectly for a size 3 dress, it ended up being quite large on her through the shoulders, causing me to need to take it in after it was finished lest she have her own tiny tot topless review.   For the record, I did try it on her before finishing it, but thought the problem would be corrected once the zipper was in.  And see how short the model dress is?  Yeah, there is no way they cut that by the pattern.  In the following pictures you'll see Lilah's ankle-length dress, which I came to after cutting about 4.5 inches off the suggested pattern length.

Another issue I found was that it seems - and this is most likely user error, because patterns are mathematical and we have well-established that I am special math needs - that the sleeves go in yet are not enclosed in the bodice lining, leaving an ugly hot mess that I ended up top-stitching over to keep the sleeve edges turned in.

Finally, it bothered me that the headband calls for a naked piece of elastic to stick out from the back of the finished piece.  It took me an extra five minutes to cover the elastic and make the headband really pretty.  Given that Cinderella is rocking an up-do, I'd think having that little secret elastic piece remain mostly a secret would be a priority. 

The changes I made were to use super super cheap materials.  The satin is costume satin that cost about $2.96 a yard.  Instead of organza for the bustle puff and sleeves, I used two layers of sparkly net that ran me $1.17 a yard, and I think the effect is just as pretty if not more so than the intended organza.  In photos and in person, it just seems more like a fantasy ballgown than if the materials had been ten bucks a yard.

Plus, it's not going to hurt my feelings for her to play hard in it as soon as Halloween is over.

Another lesson I learned is that we are going to need lots and lots of hairspray to maintain this hairstyle on "the big day."

The signature Cinderella choker is just a piece of 7/8" black satin ribbon!

Overall, the ease of constructing this dress and the happy face of my little princess made my few frustrations well worth the extra wrinkles in my brow this week.  Plus, I like that Simplicity offers Disney-sanctioned versions of its princess dresses.  Sure, you could rig up something to look a lot like Cinderella's dress, but when you can score the real deal pattern for a dollar on sale, why not?

And yes, I do know that there are a million pre-made versions of Cinderella's dress available in toy stores and big box retailers for low low prices like $14.95 which would keep me from having to sew them at all.  However, they all have one, annoying similarity that totally keeps me from going the easy route:  The plastic "cameo."

You know what I'm talking about - that stupid shiny plastic oval in the center of every freaking costume with the princess in question's picture on it, like you don't know what costume you're buying.  Like your kid is going to be out trick-or-treating and someone will say, "Well, who are you supposed to be?" and your kid will go, "I don't know - wait!  I have this handy crappy, plastic medallion to tell me!"

There's a part of me who wants to go around with scissors and cut all those things off.  It would increase the validity of the costumes by a million percent as far as I'm concerned.

So.  The lesson for today is that I am still differently math-abled and I have a seething hatred for plastic princess-face cameos on costumes.

What's your costume pet-peeve?  Or would you rather deal with the peeve than a project?

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

So OBVIOUSLY, the dress bodice from my last post was for none other than Cinderella, or as Lilah calls her, "Cindabrella." This morning I decided to take 'Brella out for a test drive and get a few good costume shots in, because - of course - the Halloween forecast is for cold, rainy weather. Today is near heavenly outside, just perfect for a post-breakfast photo shoot (and maybe one last dinner for the year on the back patio). I'll post the rest of the pics as I get them edited; sadly, my photography skills are no match for the hipstamatic filters.

I'd love to see your Halloween costumes! What are you (or your kidlets) going to be for "Hallowqueen"?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Guessing Game

I bet you'll NEVER guess who a certain little girl in my house is dressing up as for Halloween.

More "hints" as I make progress.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Baby Talk

Y'all know that at any given time, I know 407 pregnant women.


Fine.  Count them if you want to, but I swear, it's up there.

Anyway, when one of my best girlfriends from college told me a few months ago that she was expecting, I could. not. wait.  She is one of the most fashionable women I know, and she actually WORKS in the fashion industry, so I was fingers crossed for her that it would be a girl to inherit all her fashion savvy and fingers crossed for me that it would be a boy, so I could offer my little home-grown gifts and not get baby laughed out of the Big Apple.

I won.


So when she FINALLY decided on baby's name - just in time for her shower this past weekend - I was more than happy to get cracking on baby boy some personalized gifts!

First of all, she picked one of the cutest bedding sets I've seen.  It's called Nantucket by Bananafish and features a solid navy paired with white, green, and gators.

Modern prep at its best!  The only thing missing is the argyle!

One of the things she registered for was this precious little fuzzy gator pillow.

 I know.  Freaking adorable, right?

But I wanted to personalize it.  It needed to belong to the baby and only the baby...but how could I do that?  There was no way to monogram or personalize an already sewn together gator pillow.

So, I just had to make my own version.

With only the picture from Target's website to guide me, I freehanded a pattern out of two shades of green fleece - one of which I already had on hand!  If you know me, you know that my math abilites register somewhere on the scale around those of a fetus, so actually being able to replicate a 3D pattern was a bit of a geometric victory for me!  Then I used a great fun curly font to personalize the front of the gator with Baby Niles' name.  Et voilá!  Personalized baby pillow!

In addition to the great gator pillow, I also made some personalized onesies.

Keeping with the gator theme is this cute little brown-striped number.

And on this blue onesie I used a classic circle monogram that I think is great for boys due to its sleek appearance!

The other baby gift I have recently created was actually for a friend to gift to some other proud parents!  I created a cute little purple fleece kitty hat for all the little girls I knew last year, and she had really liked the way it looked in the pics and thought about getting them for a family adding to their family this past summer.  One child was already seven, and the other was on its way.  Since she didn't know the sex of the new baby, we decided to pick a color that was bright but not too girly.  And here is what I came up with:

These awesome turquoise felines will keep the kiddos nice and toasty this spring...that's right - as residents of Australia, I'm afraid these hats have already missed the coldest part of winter there and will be getting to them just in time to pull out the shorts for December!  Crazy southern hemisphere, being all opposite seasons!  Oh well - if we're lucky they'll fit next year?  They certainly do look cute together, and I'd love to see the pair of these kitties - I mean, kiddies - sporting these hats!

EDITED TO ADD:  These hats are actually going to JAPAN.  So while they will still get to experience a full winter's wear, they are going to the land of EVERYTHING CUTE.  I just hope they can keep up!

Stay tuned to the baby channel here at With Pin and Ink...I've got a burp cloth and bib set in the works and if the trend holds, I'll hear about 4 new pregnancies by the end of the year, so you could be watching my small person gift inspiration chug along for a good, long while!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Birthday Fun

I've got two different birthday outfits to post today.  The first is a fun little pillowcase dress I made for a special one-year-old friend of ours.  Stella, like her mom and dad, is a big Carolina fan.  So when Lilah was invited to her first birthday party a couple of weeks ago, I knew exactly what I had to send for her gift:  Tailgating dress!

I love the black and white gingham with the garnet border.  Of course, I *would* move to a state where the biggest football rivalry is close in not only college colors, but in some mascots, too!  I definitely like the football helmet as an alternative to replicating trademarked mascot!  Adding the battle cry ensures that everyone knows what team you're rooting for.  There are so many possibilities, that I'm simply limited by what color gingham I find.  And there are some GREAT ginghams.  Take these for example:

Gray, red, and white tri-check for my Tide...

Gold, purple and white tri-check - Geaux Tigers!

Black, white and red will do for either NC State or the Georgia Bulldogs - OR - you could take it local and that would totally represent a couple of the high schools here.  I even found one for a high school in my hometown area:

For the Oxford High Yellow Jackets...or Georgia Tech!

The SECOND birthday gift I got to work on has been one of my favorite projects in awhile.  Lilah's cousin was turning 4, and I realized I had only ever made her a crazy long tutu before, and it was high time she got another Aunt Original.  I know that having an older brother, she's not super crazy like Lilah is about all things pink and frilly, but she does like dresses and princesses, so I thought I'd strike a happy middle and create something a little bit of both worlds.  I came up with this:

Drawing my inspiration from PBS's "Dinosaur Train," I decided to give her a frilly dino outfit!   I started by picking fabric - both patterned and solid, in the colors of the dinos - Green for Tiny and Don, Blue for Shiny, and Orange for Buddy.

I found a pattern for a Pteranadon and decided to make her blue like Shiny.  I did the birthday girl's name in bright green.

The skirt was the most fun.  I had a skirt for Lilah that was covered top to bottom in raw-edged ruffles.  While I liked the look, I also liked the idea of leaving a solid band at the top for a border.  Thus, this ruffle skirt was born!  I simply alternated the ruffles in color from top to bottom.  And I just aboslutely loved the result.  Frilly but not too...blush or bashful, you know?

I loved creating this skirt so much that I can't wait to make another one.  They are a little time consuming, but seeing that whole outfit together tells me it's totally worth it.  I mean, I'd want to wear it if I were four.

Hopefully the birthday girls enjoyed their gifts!  I know I had a fun time creating them!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fright Night

October is one of my favorite months all year.  In addition to having outdoor temperatures that no longer burst you into flames, it contains two of my favorite events:  Our local food festival, "Fall for Greenville," and the best of the best:  Halloween.  As a kid, I loved any excuse to play dress up.  I even decided for a little while (in 5th Grade) that I wanted to become a special effects makeup artist!  But I guess I've fallen more into the category of costuming, huh?

What I love about children's clothes today is that they take a lot of the elements of "dress-up" and put them squarely out for every day wear.  I think that the holidays - especially Halloween - are a great time to kind of push the boundaries between "dress-up" and "dressed."  So, playing on a little pillowcase dress I made for Lilah last Halloween, I present to you:  Jack-o-Dress.

Linen-look pumpkin orange fabric and simple black broadcloth for the band and the face.

I love it.  So much.  And she likes it, too, so win/win.

Here's a little reminder of last year's ghost kidding it's more of a "tunic" this year.

<insert sob story of how my tiny baby is now a full-grown woman here>

The best thing about this is that I have enough of the orange fabric to make at least two more of these super awesome jack-o-dresses.  What a great option to wear to school on Monday, October 31!

The listing is on Etsy, so get yours today!

PS - Want a ghost instead?  That's available, too!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lookie what I found...

Seems my friend the tie belt landed a spot on Real Simple magazine's "Trends Worth Trying" list for October.

No offense, Land's End, but I like making them myself - the color and pattern possibilities are endless! Plus, I have three, and I didn't have to spend $29.50 on a single one.

PS: is it REALLY October already?! I owe you guys some posts...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Still kicking

Oh my goodness, y'all - if I can ever catch up to myself, do I have some fun posts for you! I've got some so-called "fashion" to discuss, as well as a couple of "DIYs" to discuss. plus all the stuff I've been working on PLUS fall and Halloween and pumpkins...

I'm just going to have to focus and study hard and keep myself away from Pinterest...

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fit to be Tied

So a few weeks ago I was thumbing through the Land's End Canvas catalog and a little something caught my eye.  In one picture, a model was showing off the company's new old chinos and she was wearing what looked like a modified neck tie for a belt.

I don't wear a lot of belts; I have an unfortunate condition called Longium Waisticus, and wearing shirts tucked in with belts just amplifies the problem.  What it usually means is that my shirt is coming untucked all day long, every time I move my arms, since a regular shirt for normal, non-afflicted people usually juuuuuuuuust covers my belly-button on any given day anyway.  It would be awesome if I were a belly-button model, but I'm not, so it's annoying.  The only time this condition has worked in my favor is while I was pregnant.  Longium Wasiticus actually helps pregnant women avoid the dreaded "Rib Monkey Bars" syndrome, as well as being able to keep their full ability to breathe for the entire pregnancy (at least for babies approximately 7.5 lbs).

Anyway, I liked how simple this belt looked, but didn't like the very limited palette or the nearly $30 price tag.  And the closer I looked at it, the more I realized I could MOST definitely make that myself.

So, of course, I did.

Perez Hilton would have a field day snarking on my hand veins.

I found some ties in fun prints and colors at the second-hand store, and picked up some D-rings at the fabric store and went to town.  Now I have three new belts that I can wear any old time.

Any old time that I have a shirt that is long enough to stay tucked into my pants, that is.

This was a simple sewing project that anyone could complete; however, if you just don't want to do the sewing, but like the idea of getting one of those belts at half the price, I am happy to whip one up for you! 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Respecting Limitations

I've got to be honest with you: I've got more projects brewing in various stages of completion than I know what to do with. Some are for "ink" but most are for "pin" and I just thought I'd admit to everyone that I am pretty much a walking, talking, craftastrophe right now.

I kind of love it.

Anyway, I wanted to make something for myself and got super excited (and lucky as the dickens) when I stumble over the above pattern. It's got three pieces, and one sheet of directions.

Let me repeat that: it's got three pieces, and one sheet of directions.

Even the most sewing-challenged amongst us can manage three pieces and one sheet of directions, right?

We shall see. I have big plans for being cute with the results of my three-piece pattern.

Stay tuned.

Are you working on a craft this long weekend? Show and tell, y'all: it's the reason we loved 1st grade. So raise your hand an share with the class!

Have a great weekend, everyone!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The plot thickens

It's starting to come together, but there is still some tweaking going on. I just hope this project ends up being as cute in completion as I am imagining it along the way!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

From Humble Beginnings

These awesome houndstooth leggings for Lilah got their start in life as ladies' knee socks. Now, I can rock a knee sock with the best of them, but I had a feeling these would be much cuter peeking out of a crimson and white get-up on the girl child than whatever way I could have worn them. Well, whatever way I could have worn them that wouldn't have been NC-17.


Roll Tide, y'all!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Oooo, Intrigue!

What do these three colors have in common?

You'll just have to keep checking back to find out!

Mwah ha ha ha!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


I have noticed a disturbing trend in the past year or so in dresses, and I don't like it.  Not one little bit.  At first, I just thought it was a one-off mistake that someone thought was cute.  But then it started showing up more and more.  From designer labels to Target brands.

What could have me so offended, you wonder?

The exposed zipper.

Just look for yourselves at this abomination of fashion.




Absolutely RIDICULOUS!

Call me a purist, but I just feel like there are some elements of construction which should remain hidden.  This isn't a beautifully rough hewed log home with exposed beams.  It's a party dress.  

Plus, it's just offensive when I work so damn hard to make sure my zippers go in, stay in, and are hidden.  

Seriously - there are far, far better ways in my mind to create an embellishment on a garment.  

This just seems cheap and tacky.

And if I'm going to pay $298 for a dress like this

It sure as HELL shouldn't have a big ol' ugly zipper on the back of it.  (I can't find a picture online of the back, but I saw it in a catalog.  Trust me:  Big. Ugly. Zipper.)


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Huddle Up.

I'd be struck dead by lightning if I told you fine people that I am a big football fan.  I generally consider myself fortunate to know in which direction everyone is supposed to be running.  And even then they change that up on me in the middle of the game.


Even tailgating - which one would assume I would be a master at given my propensity to plan parties, bake too many baked goods and drink - is only fun for me in small doses...those doses being between October 1st and November 14 - so that I neither have to be too hot or too cold - and only if I'm close by to a really for real potty - because I really, really, really hate port-a-potties.

But I do love the idea of football.

I think for me the big problem was that my love of high school football games - the socializing, the cheese nachos, knowing people on the team in real life - didn't translate when I went to college.  I mean, when I went to college, I knew a couple of people in the band and I knew everyone was very excited about football games, but I just into it.  I tried.  But I didn't understand.  I never really learned the rules or nuances of the sport.  The crowds were intimidating...I could go on, but I'll spare you.  Plus, I didn't grow up in a sports-watching household.  I mean, not sports that use balls as the main form of entertainment.  There was plenty of Roland Martin's Outdoors on Saturdays, but that was about it for sporting.

I think I'm more excited about football now because I have a daughter, and I want her to be well-rounded.  Her dad loves college football and I want her to share that with him.  I want her to learn to make awesome tailgate foods and dress in team-appropriate colors and know far more about what's going on in the game than I ever have.  *Not that it's too late to learn my own self, I just have to find someone who is willing to field my endless questions about the action on the field.*  But mostly I think having a child changes things because I can dress her in game day appropriate clothing and it's cute, not cliche.

Things like this:

Now, these little dresses are to celebrate some tigers around these parts, but I have ideas for so many other schools with which I am locally and personally affiliated!  Imagine a purple gingham with purple border, monogram or name on the chest and this guy on the hem for Furman:

Or how about a black gingham dress with garnet border and "Go Cocks!" embroidered on the hem for Carolina fans?

Or, my personal favorite (which Lilah will soon enough be sporting):  Black and white houndstooth with crimson border and an elephant on the hem for my own alma mater, The University of Alabama!!!

The best thing about this style of dress is that you order one for your little one now and she can wear it for YEARS.  She can wear it as is in the heat of the first games and over a long-sleeve turtleneck or t-shirt with a cute pair of leggings, it's perfect when the autumn chill sets in.

And some of these ideas can be translated into little boy's wear, too!

How about a football alphabet t-shirt for your pint-sized quarterback?

Or a regular football with the battle cry of your favorite team!

The possibilities are endless.

So get ready for kick-off by visiting the etsy shop for your football fashions!  Got a special request, or want something for yourself?  Shoot me an email and let's make something fun happen!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things

So, I'm sure you'd never guess that as a child I ADORED back to school shopping because it meant supplies.  Papers, pens, folders, notebooks, crayons, backpacks...I think if someone had just locked me up in an Office Depot, I'd have been happy for years.

Who am I kidding, that is still true.

Plus, "back to school" meant shopping for new clothes (whether you actually needed them or not) and so it was always nice to get a few new, "special" pieces to wear when the school year started.  Now, these were almost always Fall or Winter items, because as you know, "back to school" traditionally started after Labor Day and they didn't really ever change that when "back to school" started happening earlier and earlier, seeing children bounce off in the un-airconditioned yellow school busses when it was still hitting 100 most days of the week.

Did that stop me from wearing my new, "special" pieces to school?


I was the damn fool walking around in a SUPERCUTE sweater and jeans when it was still heatstroke degrees outside.


So imagine my glee when my favorite applique shop put up some of their new "back to school" designs this week and I saw things like this:

And this:

You can WEAR your dang school supplies!!!!

I know school starts soon for most of y'all, but if you're looking for something cute for your little ones to start the year, let me know!   We can even do short sleeves so that your kids don't have to suffer the heatstroke that I did when I was stupid young.

Lilah's not in school proper, but I think she NEEDS a crayon shirt with matching ruffly skirt.

Don't you?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Blanket statement

I think I was in the fifth grade when Mrs. Austin taught us the rules of writing little English compositions:

K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple, Stupid.

We all laughed...because our teacher said the word "stupid," but she wasn't joking.  It really is nothing but grand stupidity to overcomplicate things in life.

If only I could have figured this out before living a third of my life!

Since I believe that it's never too late to learn something - especially a life lesson - I am sharing with you a little something that I think is one of the best baby gifts you can give, because it is just so simple:  A personalized blanket.

I have made many, many blankets for my friends and their babies over the years because my reasoning is that there is always something you can do with a blanket.  It's always nice to have one to cover the baby carrier when you go out in the cold or the rain.  It's always nice to have one handy when you are visiting a friend so you can throw the baby on the floor to play with the dog.  It's always nice to have one in your car so you can have impromptu picnics (or cover up tee-tee soaked car seats 'til you can get home and start the de-urination process - not that I'd know anything about that).

Blankets could possibly be - after love - what make the world go 'round.

That's why I was super excited to stumble upon a few of these the other day in my random browsing:

How much do you love the prints from Dwell Studios?  It makes me wish I were abstract enough to design fabric, or rich enough to own a bolt of everything that pleases my eye.  This cotton jersey is so soft, and I just love how modern but still simple and pretty the floral medallions are.  And that fushia binding really takes the pale pinks to the next level.  It reminds me of the color of blueberries when you cook them down and make a jam of them...just juicy and sweet and delicious.

I think adding a beautiful monogram or name, possibly with a birthdate below, would be a great gift for any new parent of a precious little girl!  And it's 100% cotton so it's easy to toss it in to wash and dry to get it ready for the next outing.

If you're looking for a baby shower gift, you might consider the old multi-purpose blanket.  Because it's not handmade, I can't sell it in the Etsy shop, so if you'd like to give one of these a home, you can pick it up now!

So Simple.

Mono (FML) / Name / Date

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm wondering -

If maybe there shouldn't be a boy's apron or two in the future.

I mean, this is awful sweet, and I love to see my handiwork on ANYONE, but he might object to the hot-pink monogram eventually :-)

Thanks, Lauran, for posting this so I could snag it :-)

Friday, July 22, 2011


Maybe it's just the 100+ degree days, but something lately has me daydreaming about fall.  The smell of mums that remind me of homecoming and snuggling under blankets with 15 of your closest friends to keep from freezing at the football game.  Opening the door and getting a crisp reception from the air rather than the too-friendly greetings of humid summer.  Marshmallows cooked to just almost burnt over a pit fire.  Rusts and golds and fire reds decorating the trees that signal the growing season has come to a close.

Ah, Fall.

I thought of all those things today as I made this little pillowcase dress for Lilah.

I know that butterflies are typically associated with summer, but the colors of this fabric absolutely beg for fall complements, so when I chose the thread for her monogram, the idea of this being something she could wear into Fall became set.

Doesn't that orange just make you want to go sit at a high school football game with a styrofoam cup of crappy concession stand hot chocolate?

It's perfect for now to wear alone, but paired with a long-sleeved golden shirt in the fall, she's all set to get her burnt marshmallow on.

And if daydreaming of Fall sounds pretty good to you right now as you swelter in the 90+ degrees at 9:30PM weather, you're in luck:  I've got just enough of this awesome butterfly print left for one. more. dress.

Cost is $30 and includes a monogram or name of your choice.


Congratulations, Emily, on scoring the butterfly dress :-D