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

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Appee Buthday, to yoooooou!

*Sung in the manor of one sweet little kid I birthed.*

So - It recently occurred to me that I know a lot of little ones born in the month of July.

It occurred to me when I was looking at my personal sewing to-do list and saw all these little names on it.

Oh dear.

Well, at least I can say I've gotten started.

The good thing for you guys is that WHEN I get finished, you'll get to see all the sweet little birthday things.

The good thing for me is that WHEN I get finished, I won't have to live under the overwhelming guilt that they aren't finished.


Monday, July 18, 2011

More Cape-ers.

I have a special buddy in Mississippi who is turning 3 this month and I happened to know he was seriously into pretending.

And since he's a little boy, I kind of figured he'd like to pretend to be a superhero.

And I also figured that being a superhero shouldn't be limited to a specific character.

So I turned him into his own superhero:

It's Super MattMan, y'all.

I knew that because his daddy works at the Co-Op, he'd appreciate a little John Deere Green in his costume, so I used that in a nice, poly gaberdine as the cape proper.  For the "M" shield, I simply created a pattern for both on paper and then cut them out to trace onto yellow and red cotton.

The cape is approximately 24" long (I guessed at a measurement to span from the nape of his neck to his knees), and is wide enough to be appropriately showy and flowy without being twirly.

Want a cape for your little superhero?

Let's talk colors, initials and lengths.

Buy your Cape Now:
$17.00 + $3.00 S&H

Color Requests
Initial + Measurement

Saturday, July 16, 2011

This is si-wii-us.

We're not much into superheroes at our house.  We tend to run more on the Fairy/Princess side of pretend than the Super/Bat/Spiderman side.  Not that Lilah isn't exposed to those things...her father is the youngest of three boys, so he makes sure that she's well versed in all the things little boys would like, too *so that he has an excuse to buy new toys to play with* And actually, she is so good at playing with boy stuff that all the little boys at daycare are in love with her because she is the only girl who will go play cars with them - or so her teacher says.

That makes me proud.

And a little bit nervous.

Anyway, in the midst of the playing princess/doctor/mommy, we sometimes have to stop for a wild game of the best little superheroes I know:  The Wonder Pets.

Or, as Lilah calls them, "The Wunner Pets."

There's Lenny.  He's a "winnypig."  There's Tuck.  He's a turtle.  And there's Ming Ming.  She's a duckling - with a speech impediment.

They go on adventures in their "Fly Boat" to save baby animals, extolling the virtue of team work.

And they wear capes.

So guess who wanted one?


And guess who made it?


Y'all are so smart!

I freehanded everything about the design, so I'm not totally pleased with the size.  It's too wide, in my opinion.  But I got lucky finding the right colors of fabric; I just went and picked out some costume satin at Wal-Mart (Oh Happy Day - they are leaving the full fabric department in my closest Wal-Mart, according to the lady who cut this fabric for me!) and got to work trying to recreate Lenny the "Winnypig's" blue cape, because she needed that one first.

Needed.  First.

So one down, two to go.

Hmm...maybe now is a good time to really start talking about the difference between "Want" and "Need."

Friday, July 15, 2011


Piping isn't just for medical labs and bakeries.  It is a fun little additive that can take a nice sewing job and make it a little extra special.  While you can buy piping at your local fabric store in a rainbow of colors, sometimes what you really need is something that is an exact match for what you're working on.  Sometimes, you need to make your own, which is what I did with Chef Seanna's little apron.

You remember my supercute butterfly apron for sweet Miss Seanna, right?  Well, because I added the contrasting top to the bib of the apron, I really wanted to have some sort of special border for it; a regular seam line just seemed so...blah.

So I considered running out to buy some fun piping when I spied something out of the corner of my eye - a ball of yarn.  Why I end up with balls of yarn at my house, I don't know.  I think there is a part of my craft brain which is constantly pretending it can do things like knit or crochet.  I would like to inform it that this is simply a lie and it needs to get with the program and stop buying yarn.  Except for this one time, when it came in handy.  Because to make piping, you really only need a piece of yarn or thick string and a piece of fabric.

You can see the piping detail a little more clearly in this photo.  Now, technically, you are supposed to cut your fabric on the bias, as if you were going to make bias tape, so that it would work around curves.  But I knew I had no curves to work around, so a straight piece of scrap cloth would be just fine.

It is so easy that you're all going to do a *facepalm* right at your computer.  Are you ready?

  • Cut a piece of fabric about 3/4 of an inch wide by a little bit longer than you need it to be.
  • Cut a piece of yarn/string a little longer than you need it to be.
  • Wrap the fabric around the yarn/string.
  • Using your zipper foot, place foot against the side of the yarn/string and sew a straight stitch, encasing the yarn in the fabric.
  • Voilá, piping.
I hope that didn't hurt your hand or your face too bad.

But now you can all go out and start adding matching piping to everything!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I got ya covered.

I know that a lot of you really loved the nap mat that I made for Lilah and would be interested in one for your own little ones, but I think it fits more into the "bed roll" category and as such might not be practical for a lot of daycare situations.

Anyway - As I was doing my grocery shopping over the weekend, I ran into WalMart for some sundries and realized that, even though it's not quite mid-July, it is BACK TO SCHOOL TIME at all retail establishments.  Well, except for Hobby Lobby where it is also already HallowThanksMas...but I digress...SO:  I noticed in the back to school section that they had those little red and blue blocky nap mats and just kind of wondered out loud if I could possibly create a nice, cushy cover for one of those - you know, something to make it a little more plush, a little less brick-like - that could be personalized and removable for easy washing, perhaps THAT might be a good option for all you folks looking for the brick alternative.

And then Lilah said, "Mommy, who is you talkin' to?  Is you talkin' to yourself?"

So we went away from that section of the store before she could point out any more of my "special" traits.

But I am interested to know if you might be interested.  And if so, perhaps one of you would like to be a guinea pig and get one at cost for me to have the practice of making it?


I have a willing guinea pig.  If it is successful, they will be available in August!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The phrase "Easily Amused" comes to mind.

Today started off rather unfortunately for me at 1:00am when my body decided to reject all sustenance supplied it in the previous 12 hours.

When I woke up, the toddler was sporting an elevated temperature and the whole situation was enough for me to send up the white flag early in the day.  We were beaten, and would be happy to spend the day looking pitiful from the sofa together.

Luckily, the little one rallied later in the day but I've still been feeling kind of "bleh," until I remembered something I had tucked into my purse on the way out of work on Friday.

I had intended to share it with you over the weekend, but now I think it was divine intervention that it get lost and found when I needed it most.

I give you, the PENcil.

Click it one way, it's a pen.

Click it the other way, it's a mechanical pencil.

You all may "ooo" and "ahh" now.

To ME, this is better than a Snuggie could be in its wildest dreams.

Ok, so I can't even blame being sick and weakened from lack of food on how amazing and awesome I think this PENcil is.  I discovered the awesomeness when I picked up this pen and in an attempt to "click" the pen closed, I learned it was a mechanical pencil.  When I pointed out my faux pas to my boss, she said, "But wait, there's more!" (Ok, not really, but wouldn't that have been hilarious?!) and showed me how it swings both ways in the writing world.  And then and there I announced I was taking the pen home and writing about it.

You are so welcome.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bibbity Bobbity Boo

If you're in the midst of a flurry of baby showers, births, and impending announcement arrivals, then join the club!  I couldn't be more thrilled for all of my friends who are joining me as a parent or who are adding to their families.  I love perusing baby registries and trying to choose just the right gift for my friends, the one I found most useful during my own early days in parenthood or one that I wish I had had.  But I also like to include something personalized, because - especially when you are a new parent - the simple fact is this: nothing and no one is as amazing to you as your own child.

One thing that you can never seem to have enough of with babies is bibs, so I'm thrilled to share that I have a limited number of these Little Miss Matched bibs that can be personalized with any monogram or name!  For just $6.00 (plus $2.50 S&H if you're not in my area), these are a great little item to add to that registry gift or to use as a fun package tag.

And they are so fun and colorful!

Order yours today and have it in time for that baby shower next weekend!

Bib & Shipping Choices
Initials (F/M/L) or Name
Monogram Color Preference

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Register Now!

Due to a last minute conflict, this event is being rescheduled.  Please check back for more info!

$25 for a fun night of learning how to create Freezer Paper Stencils and using the technique to make your own fun t-shirt!  All craft supplies and light refreshments will be provided; you bring your own wine (only if you're 21+, please!)

6:00 - 8:00 pm on Thursday, July 21 at Coffee to a Tea in Greenville's West End Market!

I'll see you there!

Beauty Rest

When I returned to work last month, Lilah started a new chapter in her life as well:  Life in daycare.  I feel absolutely blessed to be working at a job that not only is in my field of interest, but that also has an on-site daycare (take that, Google!) which just happened to have an available spot for Lilah in her age group.

I fully admit to not knowing anything about daycare.  When Lilah was born, my intention was to stay home with her until she started Kindergarten, and I even vaguely entertained thoughts of homeschooling her myself (I figured my math ability would run out about the second grade level, so it wouldn't be a long-term thing by any means).  So I felt a little lost as I gathered the supplies she needed to take with her the first day.   A cubby box.  Diapers and wipes and a set of extra clothes.  And of course, a nap mat.

The term "nap mat" conjures up my own time in Kindergarten, where we had to lay on these little red and blue bricks for an eternity each day.  God, I hated nap time.  I had stuff to do.  Drawings to draw.  People to talk to.  Rocks to pick out of the heels of my jelly shoes.  You know, Bidness.

And I guess that there just hasn't been a lot of advancements made in nap mat technology since 1983, because those horrid little things are still available at the start of every school year.  But some folks finally realized that maybe kids deserve to have a comfy surface upon which to sleep each day, and so the daycare at my employer offered a much cushier, home-made version of a nap mat for the low, low price of $25.

$25?  That is why I have sewing machine and stash of random fabrics.

So I scoured the internet, looking at nap mats here and there and piecing together my own measurements and plans  until I came up with this:

It rolls up nicely and neatly, ties closed with this fun ribbon which doubles as a carrying strap.

Of course one of the best reasons to take on your own project is so you can personalize it.  I love this font; it reminds me of old Vegas for some reason.  It stitches out great in this large size.

One feature I liked about some of the mats I found online was this attached blanket.  The child can either sleep on top of it for an extra plush surface or snuggle beneath it in the cooler months for a little extra warmth.  I used a leftover piece of fleece for the blanket so I wouldn't have to finish the edges, but I think I'd like to go back and add a blanket stitch in a contrasting color all the way around for a more polished look.

The work I did on it over the long weekend was to go back and lightly quilt it so that the stuffing would stay put when I wash it each weekend.

The pillow took two bags of stuffing and I used a piece of 1/2 inch padding plus a full-size quilt batting for the interior.  Those were the only purchases I made since I had all the fabric and the ribbon at home.

The plaid fabric I found at the Goodwill "by the pound" store about 4 years ago.  At the time I bought it, it was $0.99 a pound and there was a good 5+ yards of this 60" wide decorator fabric; I probably paid $5 for it all.  Even thought it was meant for pillows and curtains, this fabric has a very nice, soft finish while still being durable, so I was pleased to have enough to create such a big piece.  And it is big.

This mat should last her through her whole daycare career!  At just about 5' long, it can even go on to serve as a bedroll for spend-the-night parties later on.  It's not too baby-ish, and I'm just super pleased with the results.

I think someone else is pleased, too.

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!!

So on this raging inferno of a holiday, I am chilling out and making some adjustments to Lilah's nap mat (I didn't show you the nap mat? Shame on me!) so that I don't have to play "Mission Impossible" to unwad the stuffing every time I wash it. I should have just done this to start with, but I was being lazy and worked til the last second getting it finished, so it's taken me 4 weeks and several frustrating hours post washing to get around to the easy, but time-consuming, fix.

In honor of America, I'm drinking cheap whiskey while sewing, which is how I like to imagine Betsy Ross doing it.

So Happy Independence Day - hope you got to a project or two yourself!

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Inspiration: Sweden

I love clothes.

("Well, duh," you seem to say.)

Mostly, I love clothes in theory, because my whole life shopping for myself has been somewhat of a nightmare.

I grew up in an awful time for fashion.  Things were big.

Really big.

See what I mean?

I had THREE pairs of those pants, people.  THREE PAIRS.

And I only weighed 100 pounds.

The word ridiculous comes to mind.

So I never really learned to buy things that fit.  I was always wearing a hand-me-down or a fashion faux pas and it took me until VERY recently to just say, "HEY - it's ok if my pants fit me.  It does not mean they are skin tight."

*Actually, I may have gone to the other extreme and tried a pair of jeggings, but hey, you were warned that I don't have great sense when dressing myself*

But sometimes, I try on things I like and that actually look pretty cute.

And when I'm really lucky, I try those things and they are from a store known for it's AMAZING prices.  Like one of my favorites, H&M.

Aside - Does anything bad come from Sweden?

H&M.  Ikea.  Alexander Skarsgård.

Apparently not.

But we are talking about clothes.  Skirts, to be precise.

A few weeks ago I went into an H&M on a return trip from my parents' house.  I really liked this little skirt:

But I wasn't *in luuuuuv* with the patterns available.

And after a few minutes of checking it out, I realized, "HEY!  I can make that!!"

So I did.

Cute, right?  This little blue and coral poppy print was much more what I had in mind for s cute and sassy summer skirt.

Using some 2.5 inch wide elastic, I was able to match the H&M Skirt's most prominent feature.

I'll admit, this ended up just a hair shorter than I planned - but that's because I made the whole thing out of one yard of fabric, and without a real pattern, so I lost a little bit in my "trial and error"-ing.  Overall, I am very pleased with the results.  

I wear this with a coral t-shirt and some super strappy camel wedges.

And no one yet has yelled, 


I could get used to this...

Pictures of little ones in my creations keep me so motivated!

I mean, come on - How cute is Miss Seanna?

My sister-in-law commissioned this little toddler apron for her friend Miss Seanna's 2nd birthday.  Seems that Chef Seanna was getting her very own kitchen for her big day, and she needed a few accessories!  The only requests were that it not be overly girly or pink.

I think I managed to meet the criteria with this fun royal blue butterfly print!  The orange swirl worked perfectly as the bib top solid so that the apron could have the chef's name monogrammed on it.  I added some coordinating ribbon ties and voila!  An apron fit for a tiny chef.

I don't know about you, but if she's not careful, that chef is gonna become dinner, 'cause I could just eat her up!!

Do you have a tiny chef in your house who needs an apron?  Or maybe you know someone who is getting a kitchen for a special holiday gift this year?  I can create a personalized apron just for your special little one for just $17.00 (incl. tax) and $3.00 shipping!

Color Requests