26 August 2015


To set the scene: Just after I entered the sewing world I made a trip to the fabric store.  I stuck to the clearance section and had no idea what I was doing.  I bought fabrics that I will never use because I didn't know what I liked yet.  But I found some sheer, sparkly, light green material and immediately thought, "Someday I will make a Tinkerbell costume with this."

Cut to now; Aaron's Uncle Darren is turning 50 on Saturday, and is holding a masquerade to celebrate.  Any excuse to make costumes, right?  With Halloween being so cold (there is usually snow on the ground) I was very excited at the prospect of finally making the Tinkerbell costume for Cupcake when it will be warm enough for her to wear it!

I started with this tank top, given to me from a friend quite some time ago.  I shorted the straps considerably, and added elastic to the back to gather it in.  And of course, I added the green sparkles.  A bit at the top for modesty, and bunches at the bottom for attitude.

I was still stuck on the idea of pick-ups, like the Cupcake Princess dress.  It gave it a party feel (it is for a masquerade), and the rounded bottom reminded me of leaves. 

But it still needed a little something to make it just right.  Thank goodness for Project Run & Play!  The addition of embroidery was exactly what this dress needed.  I know I wouldn't have thought of that without the suggestion from Frances Suzanne.  

I don't know if this will even count, since it is more of a refashion instead of sewing from scratch (and there is no way I'm beating the Tinkerbell from June), but I did create and I did add hand-sewing.  Let me know if I'm breaking the rules!

I had never done any hand-sewing before, so this was totally new for me.  It is far from perfect, but it was fun to do.  It's all basic back-stitching, with a few attempts at French knots that didn't work.  Nothing fancy, but it did the job I needed done.

To complete the outfit, a pair of light-up wings from a friend and some hand-painted shoes with yarn pom-poms tied on.  Cupcake had so much fun painting the shoes.  When we were finished she grabbed two other pairs of shoes and declared that we paint them purple.  

Did you know that Tinkerbell has a stuffed sheep?

A little magic to wrap things up - because sometimes I do get lucky with the camera.  In a true Peter Pan moment, Cupcake was playing with her shadow!

Cupcake has a Little Lamb

My favorite thing to sew is clothes for Cupcake, but looking in her closet she really doesn't need any clothes right now.  Except maybe pants.  I'm willing to buy leggings for her because they are cheap and fit her chubby legs well, but they aren't the best option for the cold weather coming soon.  Some sturdy, simple, plum-colored canvas pants coming up!

I followed my favorite basic pants tutorial on MADE and whipped up these pants in no time.  I'm excited to have made something so useful - these will go with a lot of her wardrobe!  So plain is good and practical, but it is also a little boring.  

This month for Project Run & Play the challenge wasn't a specific pattern but adding some hand-sewing to whatever we wanted to make.  Plain purple pants were the perfect canvas.  But what to add?  Cupcake and I discussed mermaids, princesses, dinosaurs and stars.  Then we came up with the jackpot: Sheepie.  If you know anything about my daughter, it is that she loves her little stuffed lamb.  Sheepie goes everywhere with us - church each Sunday, the zoo, grocery shopping.  Sheepie was even in the pictures with Santa.  Why not immortalize him on some pants?  

They were going to be hippie pants with a little bit of everything on them - I sketched stars on one hip, dinosaurs on the opposite thigh.  Of course we thought of the sheep after that so Sheepie was added to the back of one leg.  I started sewing Sheepie before the other designs, because that's what Cupcake was most excited about,  And then I realized just how long hand-sewing takes.  My hands got tired and my elbow was sore, the deadline was looming and Sheepie really was the best thing going for these pants so I stopped after that.  

 One slight problem: the sheep was on the back of the leg.  It would have worked with other things sewn onto the front, but by itself it was just sad.  So I cut the leg off and turned it around and sewed it back on.  Now there is a random seam across the leg, but I don't mind it, and Cupcake is too enamored with the sewn sheep to care.  I love how the simple embroidery transformed these plain pants into favorite ones.  There will definitely be more hand-sewing in my future!

06 August 2015

Ice Cream

At the end of July Cupcake turned three!  (And I turned three two.)  We had a big backyard barbecue - hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad, and a 10 gallon bucket of strawberry limeade.  Along with the cupcakes and cookie bouquet, we made six kinds of ice cream.  Six.  Because we don't do anything half way here.

We asked Cupcake what kind of ice cream she wanted, and she replied with "pink."  So after much debating, we settled on this recipe for Pink Lemonade Ice Cream

1 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk (we used half and half)
2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

To make it pink lemonade, add a full can of lemonade concentrate (half wasn't enough) and some food coloring.

For root beer we added extra vanilla and some sassafras flavoring (no clue how much, just added more until it tasted right).  This was probably the most popular flavor.

We also made cake batter ice cream, with the addition of 3/4 cup of a yellow cake mix.  I would suggest cutting back a bit on the sugar because this stuff was sweet.  I tried to add sprinkles, but they all sunk to the bottom.  This recipe suggests whipping the cream first, which would probably help with that.

We used a couple of different freezing methods.  We have an ice cream ball (mixture in one end, ice and salt in the other, shake until frozen), and a friend has an in-freezer style with a turn crank.  As a last ditch effort (since I hate buying ice), I put the mixture into a yogurt container and stuck it in the freezer, shaking or scraping it every half hour or so until solid.  Honestly, you can't tell them apart.  They are all a nice soft serve consistency that is perfect straight from the freezer.

And in case you were wondering, Aaron also made a peachberry passion (peach, strawberry, passion fruit) and lychee ice creams, and I made some orange coconut.

07 July 2015

K is for koi, knit, keyhole

K is for Koi - last year a friend gave much a bunch of clothes she didn't want anymore.  They were too small for me, but they are a fabulous source of knit fabric.  This orange shirt was one of them - I love the fish design that wraps around onto the back.  It's a womens size small, so the neckline was the only thing too big for Cupcake.  I tore a small hole in the neckline and threaded a piece of elastic through - 10 minutes later she's got a new nightgown to wear all summer.  Too easy for me to count for my K!

K is for Keyhole in Knit - I finally came up with keyhole for K and did a quick Pinterest search for ideas.  I found a tutorial from Craftiness is Not Optional and figured I'd give it a try - it's a cute way to jazz up a simple t-shirt.  I used a pattern I already had, another shirt from that same friend, and an old tank top for the ribbing.  The actual construction of the shirt was easy, and it all came together in an afternoon, but the neckline is wonky.  It isn't so bad when Cupcake is wearing it, but it is certainly not my most successful project.  Next time I'll make sure my fabric isn't as thin and worn.

K is for Keyhole - I wanted something I was really proud of to count for my letter K, so I tried a tutorial from Elegance and Elephants for a breezy tunic.  I drafted a quick pattern - only one piece cut twice - and put the whole thing together in an evening.  I'll alter the neckline slightly when I make another, but I love it the more I see it.  The thrift store sheet has such a fabulous, summery print.  And the red bias tape is the perfect addition - I was given this, but I'm planning on making my own for future projects.

I have been on such a sewing kick lately - Cupcake really doesn't need more clothes.  Until she grows a bunch or requires a costume, I need to change things up and focus on other sewing projects.  My current ideas include clothing for myself, making ridiculous amounts of bias tape, and starting into the world of quilting.  We'll see what inspires me next!

28 June 2015

the Kaylee jumper

Last month we went to a Firefly party, and I was asked to make a Kaylee-inspired jumper for a little guest.  I was given enough fabric and patches to make two of them, and just got around to making the second.  Had to make it now while I had enough fabric to fit my growing girl!

Can't have a Firefly shoot without the ship Serenity.
Doing the zipper this time went much smoother.  The first time had too many layers of fabric, and not enough seam allowance.  I actually planned it out better, altered the lining, and made it all properly - no need for bias tape to fix my mistake this time!  I'm very happy with how easy it was.

And the pockets.  This is the first time I've made anything with pockets.  I'm pretty proud of myself because I came up with this alteration completely on my own, from idea to completion.  The lower half of the jumper is basically two giant pockets.  I think Cupcake would appreciate more pockets in future projects.

It is still so incredibly satisfying to take an idea and a piece of cloth and create a wearable garment for my daughter.  I can make clothes just for her, and add tiny details for fun (like the pink top-stitching).  Yay for being bit by the sewing bug!

27 June 2015

Inspired by Izzy

The internet is a fabulous place, full of free tutorials and patterns.  I found the Izzy top on Climbing the Willow and found it charming.  No added sleeves and an arched waistline.  I was in need of a royal blue top for a family reunion photo coming up, but the only blue I had was knit.  So I completely re-drafted the pattern to fit my needs.  

Only one pattern piece for the top, sized down, and the bottom altered to match.  It all came together so incredibly quickly.  Two shoulder seams, two under arm seams, gather the bottom (which was my husband's old shirt, so no need to hem), attach the bottom, and fold under the neckline.  Done, from start to finish, in less than an hour.

I absolutely love it!  Adorable, comfortable, and easy to put together.  I would make a dozen more, if she didn't already have too many clothes.  It may have been inspired by the Izzy Top, but to me, it will be the Reunion Shirt.  And to Cupcake, it will be the Blueberry Shirt.

Cupcake did not want to stop playing to take pictures, but I managed to get this beauty, so had to share!

grocery bags

I was given a bit of heavier fabric (canvas?) and since I usually make clothes, I had no idea what to make with it.  But a thought struck - grocery bags!  I prefer to use reusable bags, and the ones I have a ugly and dirty, and would likely fall apart when washed.  But not anymore!

Being creative is not a hobby, it is a way of life.

If eating cake is wrong I don't want to be right.

I followed the pattern and instructions from Stitched by Crystal, although I made the pattern slightly bigger since I wasn't working with fat quarters.  They were quick and easy - so easy that my sister, who is brand new at sewing, was able to make two for herself.  I had never sewn french seams before, but would gladly do them again.  

16 June 2015

Cupcake Princess Dress

 I'll admit that I made a rookie parenting mistake: 
I asked my daughter what she wanted to do for her birthday.
Every day she says we need to go to her party,
which won't be happening until the end of next month.
But at least we've got her party dress ready.

I made my princess a princess dress for this month's Project Run & Play.

Although the pattern was for an Elsa inspired dress, I didn't have the right fabric.
(I really try and avoid going fabric shopping - I tell myself I have enough.)
And I had cupcakes.

A cupcake princess dress for Cupcake's third birthday.
A peasant top with elastic for ease of access, plus extra elastic around the waist for fit.
I got some direction from the DIY Mommy.

But when I heard princess dress, I thought of this,
 the real star of the show: the hemline. 
Find tips on bustling your own dress at girl. Inspired.

Two layers of twirly goodness.  
The pink was originally too long, but I cut it off and turned it into the ruffle.
I love it when mistakes turn into blessings.

After her party she can put this in the dress-up box -
it'll be a good alternative to the Rapunzel dress she wears constantly.

Besides, this dress twirls better.
And everyone knows the first thing a princess needs is a twirly dress.

And if you are following our alphabet challenge, H is for Hemline.