Monthly Archives: February 2012

7 Completely unwild things about me

I’ve been tagged, and the time has come to answer the tag. This is for you @bethro78.

1.   When I was young I wanted to be a marine biologist.  Science was my worst subject, but I thought that fish were pretty and I liked sea otters, and that’s really all the thought I put into that decision.  This is why parents should never encourage children to follow their dreams.

2.  My Scottish accent sounds suspiciously like my French accent.

3.  Secretly I’m a redhead.

4.  I don’t wear lipstick.  I don’t like the way it looks on me.  I can never shake the feeling that my head has turned into a giant pair of lips.

5.  I love jelly bellies.  For our honeymoon we stayed in the sweetest little cabin on Orcas Island.  It had a huge bed with a goose down comforter, and a jar of jelly bellies sitting on the bedside table.  It was perfect.

6.  I don’t like sad movies, but I love a sad song.

7.  I was born on Easter Sunday (see I told you I’m not at all wild)

I think everyone I know has been tagged so I will forgo the tagging process.  Thanks for the fun Beth :)


Show & Tell Wednesday

I love simple patterns.  I love them for a lot of reasons, the main one being, they’re simple (right in my comfort zone).  I’m a fan of clean lines.  Also, they are so easy to adapt.

I’ve made this dress for E several times now.

Using Fig Tree’s Polka Dots & Summer dress pattern.

It’s a fun pattern that I’ve gotten comfortable with.  The last time I made it, I came up with a way to alter the pattern.  Basically I took a simple pattern and made it ridiculously simple.  I took out the yolk and the box pleats and made a summery A-line, slip-over dress.

But I didn’t just make one.  I made three.  Because I’m a little crazy that way.  I know you’ve heard my arguments before.  “Be sure to make a pattern at least twice”, “it builds you sewing skills”, “it’s a more efficient use of your time”…blah, blah, blah.  But it’s true, so I’ll keep saying it.

There are no scary zippers or button holes, just a back slit with an elastic loop and button (I also used a hook and eye).  Don’t you just love this fabric?!!  I’m so smitten with those happy tulips and the bright colors.  I still have a half yard left and I’m trying to decide what to do with it.

The tulip dress was the last one I made, and by the time I had made three of them it was only taking me about 45 minutes per dress.  The green dress with the boarder took longer to make.  Did I mention they only take 3/4 of a yard to make?!  It just keeps getting better ;)

The neck and arm holes are finished with homemade bias tape OR…

…you can really make your life easy and use decorative bias tape.

It’s as simple as sandwiching the raw edges in between the bias tape and sewing all the layers together. You can buy specialty bias tape on Etsy (which is were I purchased the red bias tape) or you can make your own using this great tutorial by No Big Dill.  I’ve noticed that chain fabric stores are starting to carry a small selection of patterned bias tape but they can still be hard to find.

This dress is the closest to the original pattern.  I used the hidden bias facing and kept the coordinating boarder at the bottom.  It’s made out of a green linen blend (meaning it can be washed and dried.)  I added the little pocket and buttons to keep it from looking bottom heavy.

Naturally the pocket is E’s favorite part :)

They’re such sweet little dresses, it’s going to be hard to wait until summer!

If you have any questions about the pattern, fabric, or trim just let me know.  I’ll do my best to answer them :)

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Wednesday!  ~ April

Semi- philosophical side-note that you may ignore if you wish: I hope that when I use words like “simple” and “quick”, you don’t get the idea that I mean “fast” and “sloppy”.  Even the simplest step deserves attention and thoughtfulness.  While cutting smooth lines may seem like kindergarten business, it’s actually very important.  Cutting and sewing straight lines are the foundations that everything else is built on.  If those are wrong, everything that comes after that will be too. Be conscience of how every step effects the project as a whole.  If you are taking the time to do something, do it well.  I think those are skills that translate well to many aspects of life.  Who knew sewing was so deep?

Finished & Future Projects

I promise that one day soon you will get a proper “Show & Tell Wednesday” but for now all I have to show is little snippets of sewing projects.

I’m always so thrilled when I actually start and finish a project.  I have dozens and dozens of planned sewing projects at any given moment and it feels so good to cross some of them off the list.

I made the kiddos pajamas.  Joanne’s fabric had all their flannel 50 percent off, so I picked up three different prints to make each one of them a new set of p.j.s.  It was fun to sew something for the boys and this was easy breezy sewing.

I used Dana’s tutorial (from Dana Made it), which you can find here.

These are G’s.  He was so sweet about his new pajamas.  I had him try them on so I could measure the hem line, he was so excited to wear them he didn’t want to take them off again.  He beamed and bounced around and then wore them for the next 36 hours.  Every time they are clean he wants to wear them, and if they’re not clean he’s fishing them out of the laundry basket :)   I think I need to go back to Joanne’s and get about 5 more yards of flannel.

These are Miss E’s.  I added the little polka dot boarder to hid the wobbly hem line.

And these are J’s.  He’s very sensitive about my making anything that might look “baby-ish” so I chose a simple baseball fabric for him.

I finished E’s cape too!  Love the way this came out.  I just wish she loved to wear it as much as I love to look at it…

This pattern came from my new Oliver + S pattern book “Little things to Sew”.  Such a great sewing book just chalked full of fun little projects. 

This is another pattern I made from the Oliver + S book.

A little lambs ear hat to keep small heads warm.  I’ve made three so far.  This one was my first attempt.  I made one for E with pink lining and polka-dot fabric for the inside of the ears.  She calls it her mouse hat.  I also made one for my nephew out of beautiful brown velvet with a soft cream lining, and red polka-dots lining for the ears.   This picture doesn’t really do the hat justice, it looks so darling on!

Last weekend while we were staying at the beach house, all of the ladies took an afternoon to run to Santa Cruz and do some fabric shopping at Hart’s Fabric.  Oh my!  I walked in and thought I was in heaven.  For the first 15 minutes I wandered around empty handed with my mouth hanging open.  My mouth stayed open the whole time, but I soon after had small stack of fabrics piled up on the cutting counter.

I spotted this Alexander Henry print right away.  I thought it would make a darling summer dress for E.

The trim section alone was amazing.  I bought some ribbon for making this tee shirt dress.

I bought this fabric thinking it would make a really sweet summer skirt for me.  Now I just have to work up the courage to sew something for me :)

And this sweet little piece will make some fun baby gifts for all my pregnant friends and family members. 

I was very good this week and got the house clean, the laundry washed and put away, and the grocery shopping done, so tomorrow I’m rewarding myself with a morning of sewing!

~ April

ps- you probably noticed that I have stopped using the children’s full names in my posts.  I hate referring to them as J, G, and E but I think it’s probably for the best.


Home away from home

I sometimes wonder what the children will remember from their childhood.  Which events will connect and anchor the timeline of their lives.

Some how I think sand, sunsets, pajama lounging with cousins, and wave hopping, will figure heavily in those childhood memories.

Every year we (my husband’s family) make the same journey.  The one that is proceeded by weeks of exited anticipation, that begins with loading the minivan to the brim and turning the car west.  The excitement builds as we turn onto the long road the cuts through miles of strawberry fields and ends at the beach house.

Then it is 4 days and 3 nights of fun, play, and food.

The children never sleep in as long as we hope, but who wants to sleep when there things to do, and cousins to hang out with?

We start everyday off with a big breakfast, and a little relaxing.

After clean up it’s children running through the house shedding p.j.s, wrestling on bathing suits, having to be wrangled for sunscreen applications… it’s a little chaotic but in a good way.  We load our arms with cumbersome beach chairs, blankets, snack bags, and sand toys, and finally make it down to the sand.

(the beach house we rent)

The kids are at that great stage, where the beach provides endless hours of entertainment and they are old enough that we don’t have to constantly supervise them.

The weather could not have been nicer.  Upper 60′s, low 70′s, all sunshine and only a slight breeze.  The weather is always the big unknown factor in our trips to the beach.  We anxiously check the 10-day forecast in the days proceeding the trip, wondering if we are going to be stuck inside with 8 wild children :)

Fortunately, we had lots of room to roam.

I love sandcastles.  Every year we make one.  I don’t even try to pretend that it’s for the children.  It’s all about me ;)

G spent hours roaming the beach collecting all kinds of treasures.

The little girls chatted happily and filled pail after pail full of sand.

E picked up any and everything she found.  Decaying sand crabs?  You betcha!  Slimy, stinky seaweed? Oh yeah!

They never got tired of running through the water and jumping the waves.

Uncle E. doing what uncles do best… horsing around with the kiddos.

When we weren’t on the beach Grandma W. made sure there were lots of fun inside activities.

Cardboard houses for coloring and playing in.  Movies for the afternoon, and play dough on the patio.

The very last day J worked up the courage to try the boogie board.  He was nervous and jumpy at first but once he got on and rode a little wave, he was totally hooked!  I wish he hadn’t waited until the last day to try it,  but there’s always next year.

The whole boogie boarding crew (minus Aunt Andrea who was riding a wave while this picture was being taken).

As we packed up and headed back down the long road that leads away from the beach house, I hear J say quietly from the back seat, “I wish we could live here forever”.  We smile and remind him that if we lived here it wouldn’t really be special, and he would get bored.  But in our hearts we wish we could too.