Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from Princess Peach and Mario! Drew decided their costumes this year and wouldn't be swayed. I would have rather done something really original and unique, but hey I guess Halloween isn't all about me. So even though I saw ten other little Marios running around our church party last Saturday, I love how the costumes turned out.

Especially Princess Peach's dress...

The bodice is a basic pattern I use all the time for her that I know fits perfectly. The skirt piece is a circle skirt with a strip of hot pink sewn along the bottom. I took a basic sleeve pattern and about tripled it's width to get the poofy sleeves. The scalloped collar uses heavy interfacing to get it to stand up straight. And I used this tutorial to figure out how to make the side poofy things.She also wore a tutu underneath to give the dress more oomph. I did a tutorial for the treat bags here.

And then there is Mario.

Awe man. This little guy will forever get whatever he wants from me. I am powerless to him. I kept his costume as simple as possible since I knew it wouldn't get worn for dress up or anything.  His overalls I made by drafting a quick pattern from a pair of his pants. The hat was made using this tutorial. And his shirt is his big sister's size 4 tee that of course fits my 18-month-old. He's a man-child, expecially with that mustache.

Now let's see if I can get geared up for some more trick-or-treating tonight!

Also, thanks to those who voted in our pumpkin contest! Jason's Headless Halfback pumpkin won by two votes. Yay.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cast Your Vote!

We were up until 2am carving, gutting, pizza-eating, sculpting, Mountain Dew-drinking, laughing, helmet-wearing, and picture-taking. Patterson Pumpkin Carving Contest 2012. It was a perfect night. Now is your time to vote! (super quick survey at bottom of post)

Meet the contestants...

Prior to suffering his season-ending decapitation in 1991, Joe Smith (aka the Headless Halfback) ended more players careers with his vicious hits than anyone. Since, however, nobody has done more to promote safety in football with his "scared-straight" seminars. The audience really responds to a talking body-less head in a helmet. After the seminars, his handler Hans Reiser will carry Joe to the local pub where he enjoys an appletini prior to embracing the ladies of the night.

And his worthy opponent...

Cast your eyes on Gourdusa, the stone cold pumpkin killer, but men it may be your last look. However this beautiful seductress ain't all that bad. She volunteers most of her time between the local pet shop (where all the small mice seem to go missing) and the male school for the blind. Despite her obvious feminine charm, she is no pampered princess: her main hobbies include masonry and stone sculpting.

Here they are together one last time...


Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Thanks for voting! We have a little too much fun with this...

Monday, October 22, 2012


Although we do not share many of the same hobbies, Jason and I have always shared a love and excitement for pumpkin carving. Every year of our marriage we have held an annual Patterson Pumpkin Carving Contest, mainly just between him and I, and sometimes others have joined in as well. Our creations (especially mine) started off pretty basic in the beginning and got more serious and more competitive as the years went on. Until last year when Jason was working trauma and we barely saw him. We both agree that our 2011 pumpkins were pretty lame and half-hearted. This year though the competitive smack-talking has begun and we are back in action.
See our PPCC pumpkins through the years...

me: lame spider web
J: pumpkin carriage, with working hinge door

me: HP
J: the sghoul bus, complete with head and tail lights

me: Witchy
J: Do Not Pass Go, jailed monopoly man

me: The Black Pearl
J: Pumpkin King Castle, with working hinge door

me: Skeletor
J: Mariachi Miguel

me: The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
J: Meet-Your-Maker-Go-Round

Me: Pimpkin
J: Pumpkin Smasher monster truck

Me: Two-Face (left)
J: Early Bird Gets the Worm (3rd from left)

My birthday is this week and all I want is a good ole' fashioned up-all-night carving party with me and my man. Check back later this week to see our designs!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Totally 80s

I'm sewing along with KCWC this week, dedicating at least an hour of sewing each day for my children. By children, I mean Drew.

This look was never meant to go 80s. I had this little top in mind with the contrasting shoulders, which I ended up using a neon shoelace trim on the shoulder pieces.
The top demands a pair of leggings. I picked out the bright blue knit and brass metal zippers in the late hours of the night, and when I awoke to it all this morning, it transported me back to my 80s childhood. It didn't help that when my mom saw the pants she mentioned she had owned a pair exactly like them with the zippers and everything. "So that I could zip my pants over my shoes," she said. Of course to zip your pants over your shoes! That's how we rolled.

But despite the 80s vibe, I think it is a totally modern take. I love it.

If I can keep up the sewing this week, my next look will have a touch of neon in it too.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fashion Icon

This week at Project Run & Play is Fashion Icon week. I am always inspired by women's fashion and I love to make clothes for my 5 year old based off what I love in women's fashion. (I talked about how I create mini fashion here!) Zooey Deschanel is the perfect fashion icon for mini wear because her clothes always have a touch of youth and fun. She's totally classy though at the same time with a bit of vintage thrown in there. I'm excited for New Girl to start because it's funny, but also because I can't wait to see what she is going to wear!

Instead of designing my own look based off of Zooey, which takes a certain type of brain power, I made a replica of one of her dresses that was just screaming Drew's name. I didn't change any of the design elements because (a) Drew doesn't own anything like it and (b) it was pretty much perfect as is. If I had the will power I would have done Drew's hair and styled the dress with some black tights (like Zooey would wear). But since I seem to be lacking in both brain and will power, here's what we have...

I love this dress! The navy blue is a cotton poplin, which is a fabric I highly recommend for anyone wanting to step outside of the "quilting cotton" fabric zone. I started sewing clothes using the cute patterned "quilting cotton" because you can find the cutest prints and because it was the only material I felt comfortable with. This poplin sews together just as easily as the quilting cotton though, but it also has a bit of stretch which is nice for kid's clothing and it has the perfect weight and feel to it. Joann's carries a range of colors of poplin in their bottomweights section that is really nice quality. I use it for this dress!

I love the piping and the front pleat. I need to incorporate these things more when my designing brain power gets turned back on.

Here's the back which did take a bit of designing thought since I couldn't see the back of Zooey's dress. I just carried the v-neck and piping through the back and zipped it up the middle. An exposed zipper would not have felt right with this dress. No, sometimes it is better to keep it simple.

Pretty soon those pockets are going to be full of squinkees and zinkies and who knows what.

And this is why I love PR&P and am going out of my way to sew along this season. Because there is no way I would have ever sewn this dress, which might be my favorite yet, if it weren't for the theme, challenge, and community of it all. I lack motivation otherwise :).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bias Shred Skirt- Tutorial

This is the first week for Project Run & Play, Season 5! If I could compete again, I would do it in a heartbeat, but sewing along with the challenges is fun too. And a lot, lot less stressful.  (Check out the Project Run & Play Flickr group to see everyone's work who is sewing along!) The first challenge is all about sewing with the bias (or diagonal) of fabric. Instead of using bias strips, I interpereted it differently.

I have been wanting to try out Christopher Palu's fabric shredding technique he's used a few times now in Project Runway this season. These are two of my favorite dresses this season and both use his (as he proclaims it) shredding technique.

By watching him work on the show, I've kind of figured out how he does it and simplified it for myself. So I tried the technique on this simple knit skirt and I love it so much. I'm dying to try it out with different fabrics and with more intricate lines.

I should mention that it is SO easy. A beginner could definitely handle this technique. Also, I used it on a super simple skirt pattern, but you can use this technique on a dress too or purse or whatever you sew.

I put together some basic directions for this "bias shred" technique. Remember you can use this for pretty much any pattern piece. Mine is on rectangles because I made a simple skirt.

(Also check out the notes at the bottom.)

Bias Shred Technique Tutorial

  • My diagonal lines are more or less drawn at 45 degree angles, which when cut will mean the fabric is cut on the bias. Fabric cut on the bias doesn't fray. When you are using knit this doesn't really matter since knit doesn't fray anyway, but it will make a huge difference for other fabrics.
  • If you like chevron, try out a chevron pattern!
  • For the final step of this technique I cut out about ¼ inch of material in the center between my lines of stitches. You could cut out more material closer to the stitches and get a different look, obviously without cutting through the stitches. Or just do one clean cut without taking out any material.
  • Once you've finished this technique, sew together your pattern pieces as normal.

I love the texture of this skirt and I think there are so many other possibilities with this technique! I'm looking forward to seeing what the Season 5 PR&P designers come up with!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I've looked over my blog posts from the last year and was so sad to notice that Nash has made very, very few blog appearances. I have two children, you ask? Yes I do. I have an extremely photogenic soon-to-be-5-year-old who does all my modeling for me (she is pretty much star of the show here on the blog) and a 15-month-old who has been unintentionally getting the brush off.

I'm sure it has to do with me being not a very good blogger, and also because I'm not really sure what this blog is. It's not exactly a blog for my business. It's not a personal journal where I share every detail of my life. I don't regularly share tutorials and I am not trying to grow my blog into a business. I don't know much, but what I do know is that I occassionally really, really like to blog about things and that nobody puts my baby in a corner. Nash that is.

Since I just finished Nashy boy's baby book and I should receive it any day, I thought I would share my top 10 favorite photos from his first year of life. I don't mean best photographic quality photos, but just my favorite 10 pictures of the little man who stole my heart.

If you couldn't tell, he is the sweetest, cuddliest, squishiest little joy in my life. And he made a perfect Dopey for Halloween.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Halloween in the Shop

Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year! For me it is as much fun as Christmas, minus all the stress. I have added my Halloween dresses to the shop for pre-order in preparation for all the fun. I will be making this Halloween Maxi Dress again that comes with the orange knit rosette belt.

This dress is perfect for any witch or pirate costume, but for much more than just the month of October. Last year I put together these little outfit ideas and where I sourced everything from, although it was a year ago so not sure if the sources are good anymore. Just some ideas on how you can wear this maxi...

And then there is the Halloween Tie Dress. This is my fourth season making this dress! Look how little Drew is. Every year I have been able to source enough of this amazing plaid fabric, but this year it seems to be discontinued. I can't find it anywhere! So I only have some fabric leftover from last year and will only be able to make a few more. Kind of sad.

One year the dress was a handpicked item on the front page of Etsy! See:

I love this dress and will miss it as it moves on to retirement.

I also miss the little toddler in these pictures. She turns five next month. What. the. heck.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I Spy

Today I guest-posted over at Kiki & Co for her Fun in the Sun series... lots of ideas for summer fun with the kids! Go and check out how Drew and I made our own personal I Spy book.

Kiki was my talented co-competitor in Project Run & Play. Have I mentioned that I loved loved being part of Project Run & Play? (Yeah, I know I have.) Mostly it was because of the people I met and "online friendships" I made.

I've been doing lots of sewing and not lots of blogging. Yep, sounds like me. These guest posts are at least keeping me on my toes!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Skirting the Issue

I am so happy to participate in Skirting the Issue, a month-long event to make and donate handmade skirts to girl's in foster care throughout the country. It is a really great thing and you can read more about it here. Today I was a guest at Simple Simon & Co and shared a tutorial. Remember my first Project Run & Play look? I share how to make your own mermaid skirt here (with a free printable and everything)!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Elephant & Piggy

I've been sewing again and it feels great to not be doing it on a deadline!

I just love the Once Upon a Thread series Katy runs over at No Big Dill, where her and other bloggers create clothing and crafts inspired by books. It combines two of my greatest passions, sewing and children's literature! I thought I would join in on the fun. (What? I'll take any excuse to sew something for Drew!)

We are big Elephant & Piggie fans. Mo Willems is a genius.

The first book we read from the series is My Friend is Sad. It's also a special book for us because it was the first book Drew was able to read independently (besides those silly little phonics readers that aren't real literature anyway). The Elephant & Piggie books are perfect for beginning readers who need practice reading fluently (easily, smoothly, and with expression). In contrast, some children are so focused on "sounding out" words, that they sound choppy and stumble over the text. Think the kid reading on Billy Madison ("T-t-t-today Junior!"). Just try reading these books without expression!

Okay, don't get me started about children and reading. The first grade teacher in me gets all excited! Let's talk about the dress...

This dress is inspired by gray elephant and pink piggy, which is such a perfect color combo! Sophisticated, but girly. I had a completely different dress design in mind using solid gray and a solid pink and actually had both bolts in hand walking to the cutting counter when I happened upon this striped woven gloriousness. I practically dropped the other bolts right there on the floor. Because first of all, it was on clearance! And second of all, I am a complete sucker for stripes. You would be disgusted to know how much striped clothing I have bought for myself and my two children.

I played with the stripes on the bodice and the pockets to create some visual interest, but wanted to echo Willems' perfectly simple illustrations, by keeping it simple yet playful. No frills. No ruffles. There's nothing flashy about this dress, but it still makes a statement.

Drew was more than willing to be my model once more. She even had a few new moves and poses ready for me...

I am supposed to snap the camera every time she freezes, whether I approve of the pose or not. Thank goodness for digital cameras!

More about My Friend is Sad.

It begins with Piggie who notices that his friend, Gerald, is sad.

And Piggie resolves to cheer him up!

Piggie tries to cheer up Gerald by dressing up as some of his favorite things, like a cowboy, a clown, and a robot. But none of these seem to make Gerald happy!


You must read the book to find out what finally makes Gerald happy again!

Why do I think Mo Willems is a genius? Because with so few pen strokes and minimal text he is able to convey so many emotions, great story lines, and of course, humor. I enjoy these books as much as Drew does. We haven't met an Elephant & Piggie book that we don't love! Not to even mention Willems' Pigeon books.

I am so excited to have found yet another source of inspiration for children's clothing... literature!