Tuesday, October 30, 2012

40 by 40: No Ponytails for 30 days

#1 on my  40 by 40 list is not to wear a ponytail for 30 days. I found the haircut below on Pinterest but got a lame haircut (read all about it  here).

Since, I only have a few more than 30 days before the big 4-0, I called and made myself an appointment  (thanks Nanette for the recommendation)  and got this:

I am pretty happy.  It's pretty close to the picture, especially since I have thin, curly brown hair and not thick straight blonde hair.  Beats a ponytail.

What do you think?

So for the next 30 days, I will not wear a pony-tail unless I am actively exercising or painting.

Are you bored yet? Here's some stuff to entertain you

Yesterday, I checked weather.com at least hourly cheking on what Sandy was doing to my friends, family, and our home inDC.  I happy to report, that they all avoided the worst.  However, they all still get the day off from work and school and so the following post is to send a little entertainment their way.

Best Halloween Costume EVER!!!

Since many communities postponed trick-or-treating until the weekend, you still have time to put this together.

Olympic Diving Photos

Bi-partisan Humor

I'm so ready for the elections to be over, but both democrats and republicans can agree, that this is funny. My 8 year old even goes around singing "Eye of the Sparrow".

Here's a link to a bunch on quick, fun games from Family Fun.

I can watch flash-mob proposals all day:

I love the look when she figures out what's going on.

Probably the best proposal ever.

Stay safe and dry east coast!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tim Gunn, Where Are You When I Need You?

I really struggled with this dress.  It's A Project Runway Pattern (Simplicity #2444) I was going for kind of a vintage dress w/ a full skirt, but instead I feel like it makes me look about 15 pounds heavier.  I had a hard time w/ fit, and I still think I am going to take it in.  

 I really wanted to do an exposed zipper, but I'm not sure I like the final look. I thought it would be a great design element, but I think it makes it look a little homemade. Maybe the dress is too full to pull it off.  I will probably go pick it out and sew it normally. Thoughts?
 I also think that I am going to go back and take off the sash.  I just think it is adding volume to all the wrong places. Thoughts?
 Even though I wasn't thrilled w/ the finished project, I wore it to church anyways, mostly because I just wanted an excuse to wear this shoes ($15 at Payless-no kidding).
 I do like that the dress has pockets! Every dress should.

I bought the fabric in LA for $2.50/pound.  I think it was about $4. Even if I can't make it work, it's not a big money drain.
 It is a polished cotton blend and there is a little stretch to it.  This might account for the fit issues I am having.

I think it is still a work in progress but I'm hoping I can "Make it work".

To see where I link up or to add your party, please click here.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Giving Hand-sewn Clothes the Store Bought Polish

I've bought a yard of this Robin's Egg Blue fabric years ago on clearance.   It's a thick woven cotton and is actually upholstery fabric, but I thought it would be great for a skirt.  I used Simplicity 2451 view C.
The pattern was straight-forward, easy to follow and fit her well.

I added a few steps to make it the finished skirt look more polished and less like a Home-Ec project. 
Here's some tips:

Topstitching is a row of stitching close to the seam of the garment.
I think it just makes your garment look more crisp and professional.

You can buy special presser feet for you machine to help you sew straight (Bernina #10).  I actually use #5, which is meant for blind hems, but it works great for top-stitching too and it came free with my machine.  I just line up the blade along the seam and move my needle to the far left and sew.  Perfect stitching every time.  

If you don't want to invest in a special foot, just take your time.

You can even use a different color thread for a design element (for example, white thread on navy).

Add your own style elements:
I just used a piece of leftover fabric to make a quick bow (cut out a rectangle, sew right sides together, gather in the middle with fabric strip) for the kick pleat.  I don't know if I could pull wearing a bow off, but she is 14 and I think works for her.

She wore the skirt to church with Cutest Blouse Ever. I loved that she felt cute and that the entire outfit only cost me about $7. 

For all my sewing tips, please check out my Sewing 101 series.

To see where I link up or to add your party, please click here.
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Blissful and Domestic

Monday, October 22, 2012

Possibly the Cutest Blouse EVER

I'm still having a ball working through the stash I bought in LA. 
 I got this lovely polka-dot chiffon for $1.99.  
Simplicity's retro patterns series let me pretend I live in 1959 (seriously why don't we dress like that anymore? ) and so I was thrilled to find this one on sale for $.99. 

I was worried that about this project for several reasons:
 1. Chiffon is a pain to work with
 2. Giant bows can be a risky fashion choice
 3.  Teenage girls are picky
 4.  I wanted to add sleeves w/out a pattern

I figured the most I had to lose was a few hours and a couple of bucks. I am so glad I did, because I am thrilled with how it turned out. She wore it yesterday to church and she said she has never gotten so many compliments in her life.

Her dad and I were a little freaked out how grown-up and polished she looked. Seriously where did the kid that lived in princess dress-ups go?

Pattern review:  For the most part it was great.  Any problems I had were mostly due to the chiffon.  I thought it fit her fairly well too.  According to the measurements on the back she was between  a size 10 and 12, and I went with the 12 ( she's a 0-4 at the store). The key-hole in the front just looked weird (maybe due to the fabric) and so I sewed it shut. I also added sleeves.

To see where I link up or to add your party, please click here.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pleated Gray Blouse

My kid wanted a plain gray shirt, so I used Simplicity 2892 to make her this one.  It was pretty easy and I think it would be great for someone learning to sew. 

The original had lined puffy sleeves, which I thought looked weird, so I just used the pattern piece for the lining.

My daughter is in amazing shape and normally wears a 0-2, however according to the measurements on the back, she is a size 12 (I would be a 14 or 16).  Don't let the numbers discourage you and be honest w/ yourselves when choosing the size.  It's much easier than wasting your time/fabric sewing something that you are never ever going to fit into.

To see where I link up or to add your party, please click here.
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Monday, October 15, 2012

A Dozen Family-themed Costumes

My friend Aubrey over at the Mother Huddle asked me if we had any fun family Halloween traditions.  The only one we really have, is that we like to go all out and dress up as a family theme for Halloween. (More honestly, I come up w/ a theme and coerce the rest of the family into costumes and I wear a black t-shirt) 

Her question inspired me to take a nostalgic stroll down memory lane.

 Here's a look back over the years.  (the first few are pre-digital cameras, so you'll have to put up w/ my scanned-in scrapbook pages).

2000 Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker 
Luke is just barely a month old (he was such a chunk) in the picture, and this was his first big night out and debut into society.  I love my little blonde girl w/ her yarn hair buns.

2001 Princess and the Frog 
This is my very favorite costume I ever made my daughter, and she's obviously loving the attention.  There has also never been a frog that I've wanted to kiss more.
(I made up the frog as I went along, but the Princess is Simplicity 9383)

My kid's loved Disney's animated Robin Hood that year.   
My daughter suggested that I go as the "fat chicken lady".  I declined and wore my usual black t-shirt. Everyone thought my husband was Obi Wan Kenobi.
Friar Tuck McCalls 2853, Maid Marian and Robin Hood Butterick 5673

Kinda skipped Halloween due to the flu
I just had a baby, and so I think I just dug up something from the dress-up box.

2005 Witch, Cauldron, and Book of Spells
(This might have been a little too abstract.)
witch-McCalls 2856

Napolean and Deb

Knight, Dragon, and Evil Enchantress.
We moved so we could repeat our costumes.  The dragon needed a bigger size, so he got a new one.

Butter Cup
My daughter insisted on wearing the blue dress instead of the iconic white one, so people weren't quite sure who she was supposed to be.  (It's based on McCalls 5414)
The Dread Pirate Robert
Inigo Montoya
Little Inigo Montoya was so cute, I just wanted to gobble him up, he was furious that I sprayed his hair black and wouldn't talk to me all night.
I added the "Hello my name is" tag for fun.
2008 The Princess Bride

2009 Beauty and the Beast

We were invited to go trick-or-treating at the White House (read about it here), so I went all out. To make Bell's costume, I just removed Buttercup's sleeves and added an apron.  The Beast's costume is from the Disney Store and the rest I kind of made up as I went along. Lumiere was my favorite and my husband was a really good sport.

People were confused who I was, here's a hint:

My husband had a convention in Hawaii and so I think the kids just fended for themselves out of the dress-up box.  
 2011 The Blue Man Group
If you have a few blue swim caps and some face paint, you can spend the evening telling everyone you aren't a Smurf too. 
 Zombies (after being called Smurfs all night at our church party, they abandoned the Blue Man look and became zombies instead)
Mary Poppins
I told her that she should show up to all her babysitting jobs like this.

  This Peacock and Bird Watcher costumes got us picked to be on Let's Make a Deal (read about it here).

My daughter is going to be a peacock this year, but the boys are still undecided. What are you going to be?

To see where I link up or to add your party, please click here.
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