Fall Porch Decor

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I finally finished decorating our front porch, and I love it! I started out with the grapevine and felt flower wreath, which you can read about here, and then went from there.

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The doormat is from Bed Bath & Beyond. Doesn’t seem to be on their website… I love that it will work for the entire fall season.

The hay bales, the mums, and the mini gourds are all from Home Depot. I bought four small hay bales, placed two on each side, stacked one on top of the other with the bottom hay bale a little bit pushed forward away from the house and the top one resting against the house to create a stair step. Then I scattered the mini gourds over the tops.

The gourds are constantly getting rearranged. My girls love to switch them around and to take them all off and pile them up on the top of the porch steps until I insist that they be put back. Katie loves to run around when I’m not looking with random bumpy ones saying “favorite” trying to bite the bumps off until I catch her and convince her that it’s yucky and that she should stop.

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The mums are still in the pots that they came in, which I then put into inexpensive baskets from Michael’s to dress them up a little.

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The Martha Stewart dimensional silhouette bats were originally on the door, as you can see here. I used the glue dots included in the package but they didn’t survive the afternoon. I then used a little bit of hot glue on the dots thinking that might do the trick. Sadly, no. I wasn’t sure what to do with the bats until a few days later when we had a thunderstorm and a bunch of smallish branches fell from our two large trees in the front yard. While gathering them to put with our yard waste, I realized that they would be perfect for the bats and FREE. A little hot glue and done. No falling off this time. I was originally sad that the bats didn’t stick to the door because I really loved the way that looked, but I think they look way better on the branches!

And the final addition were the pumpkins. A $20 score from our church’s first annual pumpkin patch. Hannah picked them all out except for one. They aren’t really carving size. We might just do stickers at some point and call it good. They’ll last longer that way anyway.

I think the porch is complete. I’m really tempted to make some of these lanterns or these ones to line our walkway, but I’m nervous about using glass mason jars with our kids running around outside. Maybe just for the week of Halloween, or maybe next year…


A Sally Dress for a Special Girl

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This is a Sally dress I made for someone very special. J is a friend from our church in California, who from our first meeting when she was in first grade, has always been extremely friendly, helpful, caring, trustworthy, responsible….and the list goes on and on. This past summer, she was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and has had quite a journey, which has included hospitalization and ultimately surgery. Thankfully she has adjusted well and has overcome many challenges in this process and seems as upbeat as ever.

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This fabric was a gift from my dad, one of a few different prints he sent me awhile back. The first time I saw it, I immediately thought of J and of her love for vibrant colors and groovy prints. It had her name written all over it. I never knew what to make with it until I fell in love with the Sally dress pattern. Who doesn’t love big pockets?!

I started making this Sally Dress as a destashing project right before we moved to Nashville (and before any of her symptoms had manifested). Obviously I never finished it before moving and have had it sitting around now for a few months. The other day, while thinking of J, I realized that I really needed to finish it up and get it sent off to her.

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Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about this special girl as she gears up for another surgery (the second of three). I’ve been thinking about how much I love her and miss her and how I am deeply proud of her courage as well as her generosity during this new challenge she faces. Rather than just going through this process, trying to make it day by day, wondering why it happened to her and the normal things we all might wonder, she instead decided to start making bracelets (while in the hospital!) and selling them to benefit the Chrohn’s and Colitis Foundation. She sold them to family and friends and ended up raising $500! Truly a remarkable young woman. I love her and miss her. And I hope that when she receives this dress in the mail next week sometime, that she knows how truly special she is and how much we all love her.

If you would like to learn more about Chrohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, please visit the website www.ccfa.org. And even better, you can donate to support new research that will help people like J!


Halloween Grapevine & Felt Flower Wreath

 

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Halloween is coming! A very exciting time for little ones. Since this is our first Halloween in a house, I really want to go all out with front porch decorations.

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For Halloween porch decor, I decided to start with a wreath (…a couple of mums, a free mini pumpkin, Martha Stewart dimensional silhouette bats…) and then go from there. I bought a grapevine wreath from Micheal’s and then used this tutorial from the Crafted Sparrow to make felt flowers.

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I made the looped mum flower in a yellowy orange, the rolled rose in orange and white, and the scalloped frosting flower in black. For the roses, I glued little black buttons in the centers. It looked great without the buttons but it gave the wreath more of a Halloween look with the added black. To attach the flowers to the wreath, I simply glue gunned them. Easy and done!

One of the great things about this project was that it was really inexpensive. I only had to buy the wreath and the hanger, which were around $7 total. Everything else I had on hand. And since I recently found out that Michael’s will take competitor coupons, I was able to use my Joann’s coupon for 15% off my total purchase, which brought the price down a little bit more.


Sally Dress

 

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I sewed this up and photographed it awhile ago, but here it is finally on the blog after many months…This is the Sally Dress by Very Shannon. I LOVE this pattern! Over the past year or so that I’ve had it, I think I’ve sewn up three. I love that there are no closures and the huge, adorable, kid-friendly pockets are the best. I added the ribbon around the base of the bodice on this Sally dress to break up the stripes and to give it a more girly detail.

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This one I sewed up for Hannah for St. Patrick’s Day with some fabric sent by my husband’s Aunt Pam, who so kindly sends me large packages filled with fabric that she no longer has use for. Makes my day, or really more like my week or even month, when I get one of those surprises in the mail!

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The matching doll dress I made using leftover scraps. I used this tutorial and pattern from the blog Chickadee Jess. It fit Abby, Hannah’s Bitty Baby, perfectly!I changed things up a bit to make it look more like the Sally Dress. I opted for a lined bodice since I wasn’t doing a collar or sleeves and I also added pockets to the skirt. I really wish the skirt was fuller but I was working with scraps…

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Hannah is not much of a doll girl, but she was really excited when I surprised her with a matching doll dress. I always loved it when my mom made matching sets of pajamas for my cabbage patch doll and me when I was little. Nothing better than matching your favorite doll!


It’s been awhile…

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Over the past year or so we have had a lot of changes in our household, all of which have been wonderful. I have adjusted nicely to life as a mom of two.

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The last time I posted, Katie was only about 4 months old. Now she’s 18 months!

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Hannah turned 3 in July and has become a full fledged preschooler, although she disagrees and insists that she will be a toddler forever…

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And a really big difference is that we moved. Not just a little move, but an across the country with two toddlers kind of move. It was a little overwhelming but we did it and survived. Goodbye Bay Area, hello Nashville! We love it here. The best part is that we are happily living in our first home and are no longer in an apartment. And with that extra space comes a sewing room! So far I haven’t sewn anything since we’ve been here. I need to buy some tables and get everything all set up the way I want. I’ve been so overwhelmed with getting us unpacked and settled and painting and ordering furniture, that honestly, I haven’t had time to think about sewing, except that Halloween is just around the corner and I have two princess dresses to get started on…

Hopefully now I can get back to my blog and get some regular posts going. Even though I was definitely sewing and making things for the girls over this past year or so, I just never had the time or energy to document it. Here’s to hoping for better follow through in the weeks and months to come.


Sesame Street Birthday Party Fun

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My sweet Hannah turned 2 last month! How can this even be possible?! To celebrate, we had a Sesame Street birthday party. She absolutely loves Elmo, and the other Sesame Street characters are also pretty near and dear to her heart.

To get ideas, I scoured the internet and created a Pinterest board. With so many adorable ideas out there, why reinvent the wheel? The bulk of the party planning was focused on the activities. I came across so many great character themed station ideas, which I thought would be perfect for a toddler birthday party. I settled on 9 sations:

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Abby Cadabby’s Magical Art Station: I filled an art caddy with markers and crayons and provided a bowl of Sesame Street stickers and a folder with Sesame Street birthday coloring pages ripped out of a coloring book.

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Elmo and Dorothy’s Fishbowl Toss Station: A Sesame Street version of a classic carnival game. Simply toss the ping pong balls into the fishbowls. Inside the “fishbowls” (vases from Dollar Tree) I used plastic goldfish party favors. I wrapped an empty box with Elmo wrapping paper to use as a base. It was actually really hard to get the ping pong balls into the fishbowls, but the kids had a lot of fun trying and then watching the ping pong balls fly all over the place after hitting the rims of the vases. To make it easier, I would suggest “fishbowls” with larger openings, although the harder version is a lot of fun too.

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Cookie Monster’s Cookie Dough Creation Station: I made some homemade play dough (my first time!) and bought some vintage Sesame Street cookie cutters on ebay.

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Big Bird’s Big Bubbles Station: This station was super easy, just a plastic bin with bubble solution and a bunch of little bubble wands inside (all from Dollar Tree). The other bubble accessories were gifts from my mom for Hannah’s first birthday.

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The Count’s Counting Station: This station was a guess how many game. The older kids guessed how many jelly beans they thought were in the jar and then wrote their guess on a little piece of paper and then placed it inside the repurposed baby shoe box. The person with the closest guess won the jar and all the jelly beans. I wrapped an empty box for a platform.

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Ernie’s Rubby Ducky Pond Station: This station didn’t go according to plan because the rubber duckies I bought wouldn’t float upright. The idea was that the kids would use the nets to scoop up one duck and the number on the bottom (I numbered them using a sharpee) would be how many prizes they could choose from the prize bin. The kids, especially the little ones, had more fun splashing in the water, scooping as many ducks as they could, and then eventually mixing up the duck pond and fishbowl toss toys—putting duckies in the fishbowls and the ping pong balls and goldfish in the duck pond. It was great fun for all!

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Oscar’s Trash Toss Station: This station ending up being a really fun one, especially for the dads. I almost scrapped this idea because I kept forgetting to save cans. Thankfully I had just enough. In keeping with the trash theme for Oscar, I wrapped an empty box with supermarket ads.

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Bert’s Sidewalk Chalk Station: Another super easy station. Just a bunch of sidewalk chalk we already had laying around the apartment.

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Super Grover’s Super Games Station: This station didn’t actually get used because the kiddos at the party were too young and too interested in the other stations to try any of the games. It was intended more  for some much older kids that I thought may have been coming but didn’t end up coming to the party. Just a bunch of classic card games I found at Dollar Tree in packs of three.

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For each station, I made a printable with a Sesame Street character and the name of the station. The frames were 99 cents each from Ikea. I got the idea from this post.

Overall, the stations were a huge hit. Even though they didn’t all go according to plan and the kids didn’t play all of the games in the way they were necessarily intended, it was so much fun to watch kids of all ages run around from station to station having a great time. It warmed my heart to see Hannah go to each station, except the games one, a number of times and to see how much fun she was having playing with all of her friends!


Oliver + S Obsessed!

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Over the past 6 months or so I’ve come across countless blog posts about Oliver + S patterns. I wanted to see what the fuss was all about and so I went to their website and immediately fell in love. Although their patterns are pretty pricey, I decided to treat myself to two of my favorites as a gift for Christmas–the Family Reunion Dress and the Ice Cream Dress. Since I was definitely not sewing much at the time due to holiday travels and third trimester tiredness mixed with an energetic toddler, it took me awhile to get sewing.

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I started with the Family Reunion Dress, which I absolutely adore! There is so much attention to detail in Oliver + S patterns that I decided to take my time and just do a few steps each night. I started the dress while I was still pregnant in hopes that it would be an 18 month picture dress for Hannah but I got busy getting ready for the baby and so I didn’t end up finishing it until well after Katie was born and 18 months had come and gone. Oh well! I finally finished it a couple of weeks ago and I’m glad I did because it turned out to be my very favorite dress that I’ve ever made. And that is how my current Oliver + S pattern obsession began.

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So after going on and on to my poor husband about how much I love Oliver + S patterns and how excited I am to have two more (I spent some of my birthday money (thank you in-laws!) on two more), I decided to dedicate an entire month to sewing only Oliver + S patterns! Hopefully this will keep me inspired to post regularly again…fingers crossed.

(Hannah is wearing the Family Reunion Dress and Katie is wearing a circle skirt. The bows are a free pattern from the Oliver + S website.)


Welcome, Baby Katie!

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On March 11th, we welcomed our beautiful little Katie into the world. She has been such a dream baby and I’ve enjoyed every minute since she arrived! I can’t believe that she is already 7 weeks old today.

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My biggest worry was how the adjustment would be for Hannah. After all, it is a big change to go from almost two years of uninterrupted mommy time to suddenly having to share mommy with a newborn who needs to be fed, changed, and held round the clock. But Hannah has been an amazing big sister and absolutely loves little Katie.

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It’s been such a smooth transition that I’ve actually started to sew again! Throughout the later part of my pregnancy I was just too tired and unmotivated to sew most of the time, and when I had the energy and the desire to sew, I was too lazy to take pictures and write up a post.

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This dress was the first outfit that I sewed for Katie. I used the Geranium Dress pattern from the blog Made By Rae. It was so much fun to work on this dress (one of the best patterns I have ever used!) not long before she arrived and to think about what it would look like on her. Thankfully I did get this dress sewn up before she arrived, otherwise I’m not sure what she would have worn for her one month pictures!


Burp Cloths for Baby Sis

We’re having another girl! I’m so excited to go further overboard with the pink and the frilly. Hannah has barely anything that isn’t entirely pink or where pink is not a prominent color. At least my husband adjusted quickly and jumped on the girly bandwagon right away with Hannah. Now he’s really starting to get outnumbered! The funny thing is, he’s the youngest of three boys. He’s a quick learner, though, and a wonderful dad for daughters.

Now that we know what we’re having, I’ve caught the sewing bug! I can’t stop pinning baby tutorials on Pinterest. I’m obsessed! But the good thing is, that means new posts! The first thing I decided to make were these super cute burp cloths using this tutorial at Made. Love that blog! Instead of using regular fabric for the backing, I decided to use snuggle flannel instead. That way they are nice and soft on both sides.

Originally I planned to use white chenille like the photos in the tutorial but all they had at Joann’s was pink. I think the burp cloths turned out great with the pink, though, and it definitely complements all of the snuggle flannel prints I used. One of the great things about this project was that I was able to use some large flannel scraps and small cuts that I already had on hand but that were too small to make new pj pants for Hannah. So if you have some flannel lying around needing to be used up and you have a baby on the way or a friend or family member with a baby on the way, this is the scrap buster project for you!

We’ll see how well they work in action in just a few short months, but for now I just admire the girly cuteness!


It’s a Girl!

I’m so excited for my pastor and his wife who are expecting their first granddaughter this December! Their daughter already has two sons and was convinced that she was having another boy, but surprise, it’s a girl!

With some leftover fabric from Hannah’s birthday dress, I made my very first Janey Jumper to give to my pastor and his wife as a gift. I bought this Cottage Mama pattern forever ago and have been meaning to make one of these adorable dresses for so long but have never gotten around to it until now. And honestly, it was the perfect excuse to test out the sizing to see what would fit Hannah, since I’m thinking a Christmas themed Janey Jumper would be really cute.

The ruffle down the front is different than the one in the pattern since I only had one coordinating fabric to go with the main print. I figured out approximately how wide I wanted my ruffle to be, cut my fabric double that and added seam allowances, sewed the raw ends together with rights sides facing, flipped the fabric tube right side out, and then ironed my fabric with the seam in the center back of the tube. After running a quick gathering stitch up the middle and then gathering the fabric, I sewed it to the front of the dress following the pattern instructions.

The dress was pretty quick and easy. The only difficult part was figuring out how to sew the bottom hem. That took me a little while to wrap my mind around, but I figured it out and had no problems in the end. The  reason it was a little tricky is because the Janey Jumper is completely lined, there are no exposed seams. And so to be able to sew the bottom hem and turn the dress right side out without it getting twisted, takes some creative maneuvering. I’m glad that I read the pattern carefully and only sewed when I was convinced I had completely understood the step. Anything to avoid the dreaded seam ripper!!! Anyway, I highly recommend this pattern. Such a cute dress and it comes with a variety of different embellishments so that you can make endless Janey Jumpers for the same girl and she’ll have a variety of different looks.