Monthly Archives

May 2013

May Moments

A few favorite moments from this past month…

lilybday (Large) mothersday (Large) trampolinekiss (Large) sunset (Large) daddyconner (Large) lilyloft (Large) trampolinehair (Large) babyjack2 (Large) connerlily (Large)

Explore With Me: Auger Falls

 Auger Falls, Adirondacks

 A few weeks ago, we took the kids on a little exploration of Auger Falls.

It went a little like this–

Me:  “Hey kids, want to go hike to a waterfall!?!?”

Smallest:  Shoes!!!

Middle:  Silence.  Maybe a glance up from an electronic device

Biggest:  No!!!  (tears, wailing, and gnashing of teeth)

Well, then.

Not to be deterred, we rounded them all up and went anyway.  In defense of the biggest, she had just learned to ride her bike and wanted to go to the ball field to ‘practice.’

Sometimes, you just make kids do what you want to do, in the good old parental spirit of ‘we’re all going to have fun, or else….’


Auger Falls, Adirondacks

 The big writer in the family signed us in.  The official Adirondack hikes have registration boxes for safety.  You sign in your name, number in your party, and how long you expect to be on the trail.  Official hikes also have trail markers, and the kids quickly learned how to lead the way.

There were big rocks to ‘lift’ and trees with doorways to crawl through.

Auger Falls, Adirondacks

 And, yes, waterfalls!  I only had my 50mm lens (because I only have a 50mm lens…), so it’s hard to tell the scale, but trust me, they are beautiful!  They are also big enough that you want to exercise a little caution so your children don’t get swept away…

Copy of DSC_0113 (Large) Auger Falls, Adirondacks

For any locals or visitors, there is actually a waterfall challenge going on right now, and Auger is on it! ( Click the link for more information.)  If you complete it you get yourself a badge sure to make an Eagle Scout jealous.

Adirondack Hiking with Kids

Auger Falls, Adirondacks

Happy exploring, all.  May you not have to force your children into it as I do.  But if you do, remember, once they are in the woods they will have fun.  I swear.

And then they will ask to go ride their bike.

Sewing for Me: Making a Muslin

Last week I sewed the simplest skirt imaginable, and while it was gratifying, I knew I needed to just dive in to the (very few) adult sewing patterns I have purchased and just sew already.

I have this tendency of reading and researching to a counter-productive level.  I am a researching, documentary-loving girl at heart, but there are times I need to force myself to step away from GOOGLE and just try it already.

So I did.  Wanna see?  Here’s my first sew, a muslin to check the fit of the pattern.

Selfish Sewing Selfish Sewing Selfish Sewing

And as the title states, this is a muslin, but I’d say the fit is similar to what I buy in-store.

Here are the changes I need to make:

Selfish Sewing

First is that I would add five inches to the skirt length.  I like dresses to hit at knee length.

Second is the elastic waist.  It just looks funny, and I’m not sure why or what to do for this.  My plan is to add length to the bodice, to give it a little bit of that blousy look.  I think that maybe it is supposed to look like this anyway, but I’m not sure.  I am extremely long-waisted, so I have a feeling lengthening bodices may be one of those adjustments I always make.

I also didn’t sew the casing at the correct seam allowance, so the casing is larger than it should be.

The third fix will be shortening the shoulder straps on the bodice and back.  This will help hide the bra straps and lessen the extra wrinkles on the back.  I will probably lengthen the strap width as well.

I would love any advice/tips from any sewers out there.  Seriously, lay it on me!


Vintage Sundress

Last week, I did a little pattern testing, and determined not to run out and buy any new fabric, I used what I had in house.  I knew the skirt of the dress would be linen, but I laid out a few fabrics for my daughter to choose from, and she chose this fabric, from one of my very first projects, for the top.

Sadly, the size wound up to be…oh…around five sizes too large.  I had high hopes for a little vintage photo shoot, but between the too-large dress and the too-tired five-year-old, it was just not to be.

But, let’s document for the sake of posterity, and the hope of learning from this mistake.  As in, measure, measure, measure…

Vintage Girls Sundress

The bodice was lined, but the arm openings were finished with bias tape and tied at the shoulders.  I’ve seen this method a lot out there, in the sewing world and in stores.  The benefit of this style is that you have a perfect fit, and the dress can easily ‘grow’ with your girl.  Dress, then tunic, then shirt.  That’s a lot of mileage.  My girls are petite, so unless I can customize the straps, they will either slip off, or the bodice will hang too low.

Vintage Girls Sundress

Oh yes…tired girl is tired.  It all went downhill from here, and ended with an impromptu nap on her bed.  She’s been napping more often lately, I think she’s a little done with school and a lot ready to be home for summer.  (me too.)

Vintage Girls Sundress

And here is the pocket that she highly disapproved of.  Well, technically, she didn’t mind the pocket itself, just that it was in a contrasting fabric.  This was incredibly upsetting, as if everyone in the whole world knows this except her mother who is making her wear a dress that is too big and asking her to smile.  The nerve…

Oooh, and this is my favorite…  this little stance.  Does anyone else have a little girl who does this move?  I have a feeling I’ll be seeing this one a lot through the teen years.

Vintage Girls Sundress

Sigh.  Can’t win them all…

Great Balls of Tulle

So let’s talk crafts.

I’m not a crafty person.  Sadly.

I wish I were more crafty so that I could better entertain a certain kindergartener who loves glue and smelly markers.  I often find myself picking up packs of pipe cleaners in Jo Anns, and then putting them back down when my mind goes blank.  Even though I’m sure there are a million-and-two crafts you can do with a pipe cleaner. A million-and-three, even.  I’m sure people have entire Pinterest boards devoted entirely to pipe cleaner crafts.

But what I lack in pipe cleaners and Modge Podge, I make up for in tulle.  It’s just so pretty!  I originally planned to use it to make a bed skirt of tulle for my daughter, and while that still might happen, the thought of it getting sucked up in the vacuum cleaner has put that little project on the back burner.

In the meantime, I’ve moved this huge bundle of tulle from one bin to the other, and this weekend I decided to use a little bit of  it.  So, I sat down to make some tulle balls.  (‘tulle balls’ is cracking me up much the same way ‘pocket bag‘ does).  I think they make nice stand-ins when proper curse words might be inappropriate.  Anyway…

Want to make your own tulle balls (of course you do!).  You can even call them tulle pom poms if you’d like.

All you need is some tulle.

A piece of cardboard.

And some string.

Tulle Pom Pom Tutorial

And you get these.

Tulle Pom Pom Tutorial

I made a tulle ball garland.  It’s pretty.  Especially for a self-proclaimed non-crafter.

Tulle Pom Pom Tutorial Tulle Pom Pom Tutorial

It has a temporary home right now, but I think it would be cutest strung up over a window in my daughters room.  I’ll update when that actually happens.

If you want to turn your tulle balls into garland, just take a needle and thread and thread them on, kind of like making popcorn garland (another craft I can handle)!

Now go make your own!



Back to Basics

I’m not sure if I am just noticing it, or if the internet is suddenly exploding with women sewing for themselves.

Project Sewn, anyone?

So it’s just when I get beyond the basics for children’s clothing, that I start all over with sewing for myself.

This is a rectangle with some elastic at the waist.  In linen.  It does not get more simple than this.

But… it’s a step in the right direction, and it’s wearable.  The thought of sewing for myself is very appealing.  I already have to have many store bought items altered, so the thought of sewing things just as I want them from the beginning is a big win.  Also, I (hopefully) won’t be growing out of them any time soon.

The most difficult part of this sewing-for-blog process was–by far–trying to photograph it.  I waaaay underestimated how difficult it is to photograph oneself.  The logistics are bad enough (I don’t even have a tripod), but the awkwardness is fierce.  And not Tyra banks fierce, just fiercely ‘I suddenly feel like a jr. high girl’ kind of awkward.

And on a related note, I think I chose a bad time to start a facebook page for this little sewing blog.

Okay, well, like ripping off a bandaid, I’ll do this quick:

linenskirtcollage (Large)

Well, it can only get more exciting from here, right?

Explore With Me: Sacandaga Pathways

Adirondack Hiking with Kids

Next stop in the Explore With Me series is none other than the  Sacandaga Pathways .  This one is not a hike, but a pathway, perfect for all explorers, no matter how young.

This has long-been one of my favorite places to walk with the kids.  Dogs, strollers, wheelchairs–all welcome on this part boardwalk/part dirt pathway stroll through the woods.  It’s a choose-your-own-adventure type of walk, which means it can be as brief or lengthy as you choose.  I often see older couples taking a stroll, stretching their legs mid-drive.  Oh, and it’s also located near a playground, covered pavilion, community park, and public beach.  Not bad, eh?

We explored just a week after doing Mills Stream, and it’s amazing how much changed in that one week.  Goodbye snow, hello shorts!  This is one of the best times to hike in the Adirondacks, since the blackflies aren’t out yet.  (There are certain times of year, you couldn’t pay me to walk this pathway, to be sure.)

But on this particular day, we enjoyed temperatures in the low 70’s, open water, and a bright blue sky and not a flying pest in site.

Adirondack Hiking with Kids Adirondack Hiking with Kids Adirondack Hiking with Kids Adirondack Hiking with KidsAdirondack Hiking with Kids

Adirondack Inspired Goes Belgian Style

Have you heard of Straight Grain’s Belgian Style series?  (Well, of course you have!)  I have been loving all the bright, fun Belgian-inspired clothing that has been featured over the last few weeks.  Such bright and cheery kids fashion, I love it.

So, the last time I managed a solo trip to Jo Anns, I searched for some fabric that inspired me to join in the series.  Surprisingly, this took a looong time.  In the end, there was only one choice, and it took until the second-to-last row to even see it.

Sadly, the whole goal of this outfit, was to use my fabric inspiration, and dress it up with a piped peter-pan collar…which I completely forgot about until after I had the whole project completed.  It wasn’t until I was looking at the photos, that I realized I never made the collar.  How does that even happen???  If I had purchased enough fabric, I think I would have made a new one on the spot…

Thankfully, I love the dress anyway!  If I lived closer to a target, I would have added a bright (mustard?) cardigan to style with it.  I probably will search for a little cardigan as I sized up and this should fit her through the fall.  Cardigan, tights, and little boots (!), oh yes, she will wear this for some time, I think…

BelgianStyle (37) (Large) BelgianStyle (43) (Large)BelgianStyle (Large)

I tried a couple of firsts with this.  One is that I did use piping between the bodice and the skirt.  I was nervous, and felt like I didn’t quite know what I was doing, but I measured carefully, basted the piping on, and used a zipper foot and found myself pretty thrilled with the results.  My last piping attempt was with a regular foot, and it was quite sloppy, although I hid it in the photoshoot.  The second new technique was to use dental floss instead of basting stitches to gather the skirt.  I can not tell you how much I love this method!  It consists of ziz-zagging over (but not on) the dental floss and then just pulling it to create gathers that just glide.

gathering (Large)

 Oh, and the secret to toddler photo shoots, once again, are SMARTIES…  And now she shares!

candy (Large)

Oh, and yes.  This is Geranium #4!  (one, two, and three…)

Welcome, Spring

We finally welcomed Spring this past week, and oh….it has been so  sweet.

We had a week-and-a-half of temperatures in the 70’s and beautiful sunshine-y days.  The only thing it was not good for, was my time behind the sewing machine.  I spent a lot of time outside, enjoying the warm breezes, pushing little people on swings, and standing behind the ladder to the slide in case I needed to catch a certain (fearless!) toddler.

I measure Spring in flowers.

Here’s what’s (finally!) growing in our little corner of the Adirondacks.

a (12) (Large) a (11) (Large) a (14) (Large) a (16) (Large) DSC_0119 (Large) (Large) a (9) (Large) a (20) (Large) a (21) (Large) a (18) (Large) a (19) (Large) a (17) (Large)

Of course, this sudden bloom-fest has been pretty rough on my little guy.  His allergies are more severe every year.  The other day it looked like he had rubbed a cat (also–highly–allergic to) all over his face.   I went to take a photo of his poor red, swollen eyes, and on cue…he sneezed.

Conner (Large)


Doli Tank

A couple of weeks ago, I was the lucky winner of the Doli Tank pattern, and I finally had a chance to sew one up!  My lovely friend Ajaire over at Call Ajaire hosted the giveaway, and I was so thrilled to win, as I had just promised myself to stop. buying. all. the. things.

The pattern was created by Sarah over at EmmylouBeeDoo (love that name!).  She also has a pants pattern (hosh pants) that I’m pretty sure are calling my name.

But, first, back to the Doli Tank!  For once, I looked at the measurements to decide which size to cut.  It is sized generously, so my 5-year-old fit perfectly into the size four.  It is a loose and breezy kind of shirt, perfect for the 77 degree day we are going to have today (!!!!).  A 77 degree day in the Spring is the equivalent of an 85 degree day in the summer.  I didn’t make the rules, that’s just how it works…

The pattern is lovely and quick with beautiful instructions to guide you along the way.  My linen was a little too see-thru so I lined it first, just basting the pieces together and treating them like one.  The only little snafoo I ran into was that I sewed the binding on the back on the wrong side.  Grrr….  But I just folded it over, so the back is bound, and it really isn’t that noticeable, although it made for some bulky shoulder seams.  Luckily, none of this mattered much once the tank was on!

FlowerDoli2 (Large)

And…the back!  I love the racerback.  I have a feeling, this will be the go-to hot day shirt.

PicMonkey Collage (Large)

It is the same linen from this project.  I made sure to get prior-authorization from my kindergartener first.  Vital step.

I love the combo of using a woven fabric with a knit binding.  That Sarah, she’s smart.  The pattern has you cut the binding out to a certain length, but in the instructions it warns you may have to cut the binding larger or smaller, as knits all have different amounts of stretch.  I just cut them extra long, and then lined them up and sewed while stretching.  No pins needed.  It wasn’t perfect this time around, but I think it’s something you would get a feel for.

PicMonkey Collage2 (Large)

As you can see, it doesn’t hinder any jumping, spinning, or twirling action…

And, because it’s my favorite feature, let’s take one more look at that back…

FlowerDoli5 (Large)

See her tongue sticking out up there?  She thinks this face is hilarious.

flowerdoli6 (Large)

She makes it, then asks to see it in the camera, then laughs hysterically.

If you are looking for a summer top pattern to add to your collection, I think this should be the one.  Huge approval from both Mama and daughter on this one!

FlowerDoli (Large)

****And a HUGE thank-you to Ajaire and Sarah!!!****