Category Archives: recreate

On Goal Setting for 2015

I don’t always set goals for the new year, but this year I felt inspired to do so.

I usually stick to my 3 resolutions every year- walk the dog every day, sleep 8 hours a night, and wear lipstick- and I restarted those on December 1st and have done pretty well. I like the combination of practical and fun resolutions that don’t require huge changes as I believe that one’s life is comprised of both big and little things. Small changes and habits can pay dividends.

Why the lipstick? I’m not entirely certain where this idea came from, but somewhere along the way I heard that the right lipstick should brighten your whole complexion and your disposition. Combine this fact with my life as a stay at home mom who’s uniform is ripped jeans and a t-shirt, or yoga pants and a sweatshirt, and a little lipstick can go a long way in making my reflection a little more pleasant. Vain, maybe, but it’s an easy thing to do.

I’ve categorized my goals for 2015 into six categories: Faith/ Personal Growth, Marriage, Mothering, Creativity, Fitness, & Others.

So without further adieu, here are my 2015 goals:

Faith/ Personal Growth-

  • Wake up early and read bible while riding my stationary bike for 21 consecutive days in January (once I kick this awful cold)
  • Finish reading all the half read books on my Kindle- read a minimum of 10 minutes a day
  • Use prayer app daily- schedule just 5 minutes a day

Marriage-

  • Plan a weekend trip for 1st quarter
  • Plan a date night per month
  • Workout together once a week

Mothering-

  • Take Savannah to a painting class
  • Visit science museum once a month
  • reinstitute chore packs and cleaning Saturdays
  • develop a homeschool/ enrichment schedule for Luke

Creativity-

  • Participate in the 10 day Do Over Challenge – from John Acuff
  • Sew one article of clothing for myself per quarter
  • try the “Year of Nothing New” challenge for clothing
  • write 50 blog posts this year

Fitness-

  • Cut body fat to under 20%
  • Participate in #30daysnocheats with Jen, starting January 5th
  • Help 2 people in their fitness journey
  • research personal training certificate

Other-

  • Host an IF:Table
  • Host a monthly craft night

I’ll be posting monthly updates on my progress, a-la-moneysavingmom.

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Matching Christmas dresses

I found the cutest dress for my daughter Savannah this summer at a garage sale. It was in pristine condition and was very Madeline-esque.

I decided to try to recreate the dress in size toddler for Sydney, because my aunt taught me very well that sisters. Should. Always. Match. I remember so many memories of my cousins wearing matching outfits. I loved seeing them in their adorable outfits!

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The bow proved to be the most difficult for me; I might beg my friend Leslie to fix it since she has her own hair bow business and has serious bow making skills.

I used a current dress for Sydney to figure out the length and I utilized two other patterns to create the dress- one for a circle skirt and another that had a bodice, zipper and bell sleeves.

I cut off a few inches of the fullness of the skirt to make the finished dress more similar to Savannah’s dress.

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The bottom trim was also challenging because Joann’s was out of the narrow velveteen trim I wanted. The wider band did not bend well on a curved hem. I remedied this by notching the trim every few inches to create a curved effect. It was rather time consuming!

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Those girls are cute.

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I’ll be making them matching outfits as long as they will let me.

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Letting out a pair of jeans

I must have been delusional, buying the size jeans that I did. They were snug in the fitting room, but I had just shed a ton of baby weight after #2 was born and I figured I would keep losing.

Wrong. Well, sort of. I did lose weight, but I also gained muscle, so my thigh circumference remained the same. I have what a trainer at the gym called “diesel legs” the other day. His female colleague smacked him and told him to never tell a woman that; he backpedaled and started stammering about how hard I work out and how strong I am, yada yada yada.

I wasn’t offended. It was funny.

But yes. I have diesel legs. Quads. Glutes. Hammies. They are strong. Thigh-gap ain’t nevah going to happen here.

I’ve had the aforementioned pair of jeans in my closet for about four and a half years. Gone through another pregnancy and birth. And yet did I toss those jeans? Or give them to a skinnier leg friend? No. I just kept trying them on every so often and wind up hopping around in my bedroom trying to will these jeans to shimmy up my legs. I usually ended up falling over in a pile of defeat.

Then one day a few months back, it dawned on me, could I alter them?

I flipped them inside out and noticed that there was more than a half inch seam allowance on the outside seam.

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To alter a seam, you need to rip out the stitches with a seam ripper. Take care not to rip the fabric and be sure to remove the wayward pieces of thread.

Iron your fabric to remove any creases before pinning a sewing the new seam.

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Sew as close as you can to the serger stitches. It helps if your pinning is precise, so you get the maximum amount of fabric added to the width of the pants.

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Wriggle and shake and get those jeans on! It worked!

Except once I had them on, I couldn’t move too well. I probably needed another inch. Oh boo. What’s the deal with me not giving up on these jeans!?! Sheesh.

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Halloween 2014

Halloween was so three weeks ago, but I worked so hard on everyone’s costume I just had to share!

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For the first time in forever, everybody had a handmade costume. Even me and Keith.

It all started with an oops- I purchased a Frozen pattern from Joann’s that had a photo of a child Elsa and adult Anna. As I was cutting out the pattern pieces it struck me that the sizes were in numbers when I was expecting S-M-L and that the smallest size looked huge for Savannah.

Keith offered to go to Joann’s and buy the right pattern. Which was awesome because I was about to cry at that moment.

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I spent every spare minute working on costumes from about Mid October on.

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Sydney’s costume was the warmest and most practical for a Buffalo Halloween. She made a cute Olaf!

My costume was partly following a pattern and partly winging it. I found an image of Anna’s embroidered top and used my Silhouette to trace it and create a freezer paper stencil.

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I used fabric paint to recreate the embroidery on an old gym tank.

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Savannah loved having is us Frozen characters for her class party. Her joy was worth any smidge of embarrassment I felt walking down the elementary school halls with my costume!

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Savannah was one of EIGHT Elsa’s in her class. There are eleven girls in her class: 8 were Elsa, one was Anna, one was a clown and one was a cowgirl.

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Luke was Kristoff. His costume was pretty simple. I used an old t shirt of Keith’s and cut the sleeves and neckline. I added faux fur and trim to the shirt, paired it with jeans and his sisters old wannabe Uggs from last year. I sewed up a set of brown mittens and put a black slouchy beanie on his head to complete the look.

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Keith was Sven the reindeer. His costume was a felt poncho that I hot glued faux fur to. I sneezed all night after making it from all the snippets of fur that flew everywhere!

It was fun, and slightly embarrassing to stroll through the neighborhood all decked out with he kids, but they had a blast and loved that our whole family were characters from the same movie.

I wonder what they’ll ask me to do for next year!!!

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Big Boy Room Progress

My little man is growing up.

He runs, he jumps, he swims, and he climbs (out of the crib). It’s time for the Big Boy Room.

We’ll be needing that crib for the baby soon enough. For the time being, Sydney’s in a basinette in our room.

I found an inspiration room on pinterest and made my own twists on it. We’re going for the “hunter/ explorer” theme and this is the progress we’ve made so far:

Bedding- I bought the bedding from (gasp) Pottery Barn. Honest, it’s the only Pottery Barn purchase I think I have ever made. It was crazy wicked on sale, so I don’t feel too guilty, and making a quilt myself at this current juncture of having a new baby in the house would probably send me to the nuthouse (so said my loving and level headed husband).

I made the throw pillows with some duck cloth I had on hand and stuffed them with an old pillow cut in half! I used my Silhouette and freezer paper to create the name and antler stencils.

Window Coverings- I saved some money by NOT purchasing the coordinating valence from Pottery Barn. I just made my own with $5 worth of fabric.

Organization- I used my Silhouette to make hanging labels for the drawers for organization (more on household organization next week!).

Some things we have left to do:

  • Wall Mural- We’re thinking an acacia tree of some sort. I have a board on Pinterest if you want to weigh in on the candidates!
  • Hanging decor
  • Bear rug- I saw this on the Cabella’s website and decided it was too expensive, so I am going to DIY a bear rug for a fraction of the price.
  • Storage
  • Reading Nook
  • Lighting

Good thing we’re not in a huge rush to get this all done. Slow and steady wins the race!

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Sibling Shirts- free download

At the eleventh hour (unbeknownst to me!) I finished the kids’ Big Brother, Big Sister, and Little Sister shirts.

I had no idea how difficult it is to take a picture of a 4 1/2 year old, 2 1/2 year old, and 5 day old.

The girls seemed to have the modeling bit down. Big brother, not so much.

The shirts themselves are a hand me down onesie and two boys Hanes undershirts. I used my Silhouette to design and cut the lettering onto freezer paper, ironed it onto the shirts, and then painted with fabric paint. Dana from Made has a great tutorial on freezer paper stenciling. It’s very easy to create your own stencils!

These shirts make great gifts for all the kiddos when a new baby comes home. Gives the big ones a sense of pride at their new role as BIG sister or brother.

I have uploaded my studio file and a pdf  file to my Google drive to share with my readers.

If you do not have a Silhouette, you can open the PDF file and print onto a piece of freezer paper (available at the grocery store!) and cut out the letters with an exacto knife. Iron it onto your shirt shiny side down and paint with fabric paint.

Hope you give it a try! Let me know if you do!

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Baby Nesting- Car Seat Recover

After two children, our infant carrier car seat was (aesthetically) shot.  It was still safe and worked fine, but man, was it ugly. And stained. And just not cute anymore compared to all the fabulous patterns they sell today.

I had seen pictures of recovered car seats and saw several (super expensive) custom car seats on etsy,  so I knew it could be done. I found a great tutorial on Make-It-Love-It’s site that was really helpful in my endeavor. My favorite types of tutorials are kinds like these, where you aren’t told exactly what to do, but rather encouraged in how to figure OUT what to do with your particular project.

Basically, every car seat is different, so you can’t just buy a pattern at the store, or follow a tutorial to the letter unless you have the same exact car seat. You have to take apart the old cover to make your OWN pattern, documenting the deconstruction process in order to carefully reconstruct it correctly with your new fabric.

My seam ripper got a lot of use as I took the car seat apart, stitch by stitch. After it was deconstructed, I took the fabric apart from the batting and was able to use the old fabric as my pattern. I cut the new fabric with an extra quarter inch all around.

In addition to taking pictures while deconstructing the cover, I would recommend labeling your seams. I numbered mine and it saved some headaches.

That extra quarter inch was cut off as I sewed the fabric to the batting with my serger. Serging as opposed to sewing gave me the neatest edge I could get with no chance of fraying.

I made the slots where the shoulder straps and buckles thread through using the button hole setting on my sewing machine and then sewed all of the main pieces together. I tried the cover on the seat to ensure it still fit before continuing with the edging.

It fit!

I made several yards of double fold bias tape to get a good color match (and save some money!).  I used the bias tape to finish all the edges, just like the original seat.

The canopy proved to be the most challenging part of the project. I used Heat N Bond Lite to adhere the exterior fabric to the interior fabric. This double layer for the canopy make it more shady and also makes it stiffer than just regular cotton fabric.

Sewing through several layers (interior, exterior, heat n bond, and 4 thicknesses of bias tape) with the little plastic hoops inside was difficult. I have a Walmart Special Singer, not a Bernina! Hindsight I should have used a specialty foot on my machine, but I was lazy (and hot and desperate to finish) so I made do with what I had.

I love the way it turned out! I’m so glad our # 3 will have something that I crafted “new”.

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