Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pink Peplum

Peplums are everywhere-I think it's because they make your waste look really tiny.  
I used Simplicity 1699 to make this blouse for my daughter.  (fyi-they forgot to include the step where you sew front sides to the front).  

I whipped it up fairly quick and was feeling all proud of my sewing skills. 
Then it was time to put in the zipper.  
(insert scary music)
I ended up sewing and ripping that sucker in 3 times. My mother once threw her sewing machine across the room in frustration, and if I had to do it a 4th time, I might have too. This is linen, so you can't iron a nice crisp clean line.  Also the embroidery would make it pucker and it just wouldn't look professional.  In retrospect, I should have use an invisible zipper.

She loves it and I love that it only cost my about $8.

PS-she make the necklace 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chiffon Peasant Blouse

 Baby Girl needed some new clothes, so we headed to the fabric store and spent $40 on fabric to buy 5 new shirts.  Here's the first one: 
I used Simplicity 1915 for the basic shape.  I split it down the front a few inches and attached a bow.  I also added elastic on the sleeves.

Chiffon may be my least favorite fabric to work with, but I love how the shirt turned out. More importantly, she loves it too-she's already worn it twice. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cinch Waist Crop

I used the basic Crop Shirt Tutorial to make this.  It was a really sheer fabric, so I made one out of cotton too and then sewed it inside the sheer one as a lining.   I wanted to cinch it in the waist, so I just made a large pintuck around the waist to make a casing and threaded in some elastic.
Easy Peasy! 

My daughter is at school, so I pulled out my new dress form as a model. She wears it w/ this cute belt (my daughter not the dress form). 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Putting Pinterest to the Test

Today is my mom's birthday.  The woman has a good tip for just about every household disaster and so in honor of her birthday, here are some of my favorites:

Tiaras and Bowties-5 stars (because boys are disgusting and this method is much easier than waiting until they all grow up and move out)
Salt Tree-Great tutorial on how to print on any fabric w/ your regular printer. 5 stars
Transfer any image to wood-I never thought this would work, but it did 4.5 stars.

Cleaning Glass Cooktop

Behind the Studios-How to clean your glass cook top-4.5 stars

Embrotique-How to clean the hard water build up off the fridge water thingy 4.5 stars

Life, Crafts, & Whatever-5 stars -Amazing shower cleaner. I will never use anything else. Seriously, if you haven't tried it-you should.

Natural Drain Cleaner-3.5 stars.  It works for mild clog, but for serious ones, you still need to get some toxic chemicals. You also buy a little plastic snake drain for a few bucks-5 stars!!

Unique Just like Everyone Else-Grout cleaner. 2 stars-  It works, but is just so time consuming, that I decided to just have dirty grout.

kitchen miracle cleaner

One Good Thing by Jilllee 2 stars- Maybe I just have the wrong pans?

Kissed by a Frog-Cleaning your shower with pledge. 2-stars It worked but when I did it a second time, there was just so much waxy build-up.  It made me concerned that I would clog my drain.

How to weather wood-5 stars

Death to snails-Kill slugs w/ yeast. 5 stars

How to remove oil-based paint out of carpets-5 stars. I was so happy not to have to re-carpet my house!

Sewing patches-tip-5 stars
How to clean up a finger-print powder at a crime scene-4 stars-worked on furniture, but not as well on carpet.
Removing sunscreen stains-3 stars.  It might have been better if I had tried immediately and not half-way through the summer.

What pins have you tried that actually worked? 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Why trophies are STUPID: 10 Better Ways to a Healthy Self Esteem

This is the top of my son's bookcase. With so many awards & trophies, you'd think he is a pillar of athletic prowess and skill. To be fair, he is a very good athlete, but he "earned" most of them by the sheer fact that mom signed him up for a sport and she paid the registration fee on time.

Usually at the end of each season, someone comes up and asks for even more money to buy trophies.  I counted 25 trophies - averaging somewhere between $8-15 a piece.  That means, sitting up on the bookshelf there is somewhere between $200-$375 worth of dust collectors. 

 Money well-spent? I'm not so sure.

I was reading an article in Psychology Today by Matthew D. Lieberman, Ph. D., that discusses the "Everyone Gets a Trophy" movement.  He traces the movement back to the 80's where studies found that higher self-esteem lead to higher grades, lower teen pregnancy and decreased drug use.  Parents, teachers, and government officials started propagating the idea that children should be praised and rewarded as much as possible to raise self-esteems. Accomplishment was not important and merit based rewards were even discouraged because they might damage tender self-esteems.

I was planning on running a marathon, but applying this logic, I don't need to actually train or run the marathon to get that sense of accomplishment.  I need just pay a registration fee and buy a "26.2" sticker for my car. 

Lieberman made an astute analogy between a child's self esteem and car's gas tank.  A child fuels his self esteem by being loved and working hard. Trying to artificially raise self esteem is as effective as breaking open your dashboard and manually moving the needle to reveal a full tank of gas. 

Falsely praising a kid will only make him feel like a fraud. We all want our kids to have healthy self-esteems, but they get this by working hard and accomplishing stuff. To me it seems:

Earning Stuff = Higher Self Esteem

Simply Getting Stuff = More Stuff (plus the added bonus of a sense of entitlement!)

A kid doesn't need to be the valedictorian or a star athlete to have healthy self esteem. I set 40 goals to achieve by my 40th birthday and even the silly goals added all sorts of fuel to my tank.  Instead of feeling old, frumpy, and unaccomplished, those goals helped me feel downright fabulous about turning 40.  

I don't have any fancy degrees in child psychology, but I have been a member of the human race for the past 40 year and here's what I've learned:

1.Our job as parents is to love them unconditionally (and make sure they know it). 

2. Teachers, coaches, scout and school leaders are there to assist us in raising our kids-not the other way around. We should not blame them for our kid's problems. They need to hear the phrase "How can I help" a lot more and "Why aren't you..." a lot less. Step up or shut up.

3. We need to make them do hard stuff and allow them to fail. 

4. We need to teach them to accept personal responsibility for the failure, to stop blaming others and encourage them to try and try again until they succeed. 

5. We need to be their cheerleaders when they are putting in their best effort and not be afraid to call them on it when they are not. (We will not be telling them anything they don't already know.)  Studies show that kids that believe they are merely "smart" tend to give up easier when faced with difficult tasks.  Kids that are praised for working hard, believe that they have the necessary skills to complete difficult tasks and are more successful.

6.  We need to provide opportunities that they can serve others.  It will help them to temporarily forget themselves and doing good always makes you feel good.

7.  We need to teach them the difference between right and wrong.  Some will argue that morale absolutes don't exist, but doing bad stuff simply makes you feel bad about yourself.

8. Expect greatness from your kids.  Guess what the number one factor  in a child's academic success is? Parental Expectations. Don't believe me, read all about it here.

9. Be specific when your praise your child.  

10. We need to encourage kids to try lots of new things, until they find those areas that they are passionate about and where they will find true success, not just another dust collector.

One day I will be brave enough to print out a copy of this post and hand it to the next person collecting money for trophies, but until then I guess I will just rant quietly here on my blog.

Friday, February 1, 2013

World's Second Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

 My friend Erin makes the world's best chocolate chip cookies.  She gave me the recipe, but they just taste better when she makes them.  
Unfortunately unless Erin is making them herself, these are merely the world's second best chocolate chip cookies, but they will still be the best you ever had.

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
4 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp soda
4 cup flour*
1 large pkg instant vanilla pudding
1 bag of milk chocolate chips

Mix dry ingredients. Cream sugars and butter. Add egg and vanilla.  Mix wet and dry ingredients and blend well. Add chocolate chips. Drop a TB of batter on a cool un-greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

After cookies are cool, place in a ziploc bag with a slice of bread overnight. (waiting is hard, but it will be worth it)

I promise they will be the best cookies you've ever eaten. 

* If you would like to make them gluten-free rumor has it you can substitute Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix for the flour.

Dunking is optional.