Tag Archives: sewing

Homemade “Ice Princess” Twirly dress



So, this photo is actually from a year-and-a-half ago…when I made this little dress-up number from pretty fabrics and pieces that I was slowly collecting. It worked out, with the colors that happened to be a theme, that I could call it a princess dress or an “Elsa” dress and get Pen Elaine really excited about wearing it!

I think it all started when my Honey and I were checking out a random antique shop out of town and found a huge collection of vintage ribbon, trim, etc. from an old fabric store that had gone under and sold this antique shop all the remaining merchandise. One of the items I couldn’t resist was this wide, lacey-looking elastic trim. It’s stretchy! So, I sewed it into a double circle, with two layers for the front of the dress, to be the top/bodice for a 3-year-old’s twirly dress.


Next, found this dreamy, ethereal fabric with little rosettes covering it, in this pale bluish-greyish color that I knew could be magical for something…and when I finally sat down to make a little dress, I gathered the to of the fabric and sewed it onto an elastic band, to be the twirly, poofy skirt of the dress.


After roughly sewing the top to the bottom, I covered the seam with another ribbon I had bought – it’s grey velvet. Finally, for little adjustable straps, I sewed intricate ribbon going up from each side, front and back, as seen below, to be tied over the shoulders to fit. These gave it a bit of an Nordic princess or Czech look…



I whipped this out as fast as I could, since it’s just for a fun dress-up clothing. She ended up getting to wear it for her first dance recital at the end of a little dance camp, since they got to dress up like princesses. For a while, she wore this over outfits all the time ūüôā Aside from this, though, I mainly limit myself to one dress a year for Easter or something, ha!

I am so thankful to have a little girl for whom to sew! For me, the fun in creating is sharing it with someone you love. As I enjoy sharing the beauty of creativity and art and God’s creation with my littles, I think how God must find pleasure in sharing the wonderful world that He created with each of us, His children.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil‚ÄĒthis is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

Ecclesiastes 3:11-14





Fall Decorations!!!


IMG_1729.JPGDecorating for fall is the most satisfying season because it is so warm and cozy, comes at the beginning of a new season, and you get to leave it up for 2 or 3 solid months! Plus, fall is a great time to host gatherings and have friends over, so there are lots of opportunities to share the fun of fall decorations. Now that I share my seasonal decorating with Pen Elaine, I am more in tuned to how kids can be actively¬†involved with making the house fun and inviting for each season or holiday. Growing up, I remember getting excited every October to decorate an orange pumpkin made of construction paper, giving it shape, a stem, and a jack-o-lantern face with black markers or crayons. Now, Pinterest has opened up so many more possibilities that I forget the simple joys of childhood¬†only need¬†“pen” and paper sometimes, but the important thing is to let my kiddo feel special and proud of her part in making our house a warm and whimsical home.

1. Scarecrow – we made a scarecrow with an old party sign, some little-used pants and top, a hat, gloves, and Pen Elaine’s super-cute contribution: a pinwheel! Items that needed to be tied down were secured with string. Since it’s on a wooden stand that can be easily moved, sometimes I’ll stick it in the garage if there’s a big rainstorm or we are going out of town.

2. Front door hanger: Instead of a fall wreath, I had seen this embroidered hoop idea on Pinterest and thought it looked really do-able and a nice changeup. Plus, I had bought a couple giant hoops for 3 bucks each at some junk store. I ended covering my letter with yarn because that is what I had on-hand, but next time, I would want to try something else.



3. I finally got around to painting a new scene/quote on my windowpane for fall. I saw so many fun quotes and verses for fall, I will have to put up a new one for November, ha! I always want to paint a pumpkin on the glass, but it never looks quite right to me…I’m just not sure what to replace it with…a tree?





Here’s a picture of the hoop art. I wrapped the letter in one layer of yarn using modge podge to secure it; then I attached it to the burlap with a second, more sparse covering of yarn. I hid the loose corners of burlap by taping them down to the back of the hoop with some masking tape.



4. Candle display tray: I had seen a candle display similar to this on Pinterest that looked straight out of Hogwarts…thus I had to try to replicate it. My collection of little glass jars/bottles finally got put to use for a spooky effect…







Sharing our Joys



This is Pen Elaine while watching the beginning of “High School Musical” for the very first time. I secretly love those movies and own all three, which is saying something in this day when we don’t own very many movies since they are available to stream so easily. I remember when a friend who started having kids about the same time told me that her cutie pie loved watching the Disney channel movies, and I looked forward to how fun it would be when I got to watch the HSM with my own little one. So, we watched maybe the first 15 minutes together one day for a special lunch picnic treat but have yet to watch the rest. We have been catching up on some classic kid/Disney movies this summer,¬†with the¬†less structured days and the fact that she no longer naps, and I have finally¬†accepted and resigned myself to that fact.



No longer having nap time means no longer having time to myself during the day, and that¬†has been¬†a big adjustment for me. It may have been a difficult transition for me because it happened simultaneously with the adjustment from 1 to 2 kids or maybe because it happened simultaneously with my postpartum hormones still getting themselves in order, but ultimately,¬†I think it required a “transition” for my heart. Nap time had become “me time” that I felt entitled to having for myself. When kids are little or preverbal or have one or two nap times, it makes sense to separate kid time and adult time, and when I wanted to complete tasks or projects, I entertained my little one in one way while I “entertained” myself in a separate way. Here’s my #TBT photo of Pen Elaine hanging out in the exersaucer while I was working on some sort of craft project. She was having beneficial, independent play time while I was having beneficial, independent craft time. Nap time was also an opportunity for mutually beneficial time of separate activities that brought us each joy in our own ways. So, the end of nap time marked a rite of passage for both of us, mother and daughter, because it marked the end of having so much time for separate interests and marked the beginning of my daughter blossoming into a tiny person who could share in my joys instead of simply being entertained by something else while I completed them.


Now, I am learning to not simply see giving up nap time as giving up “me” time but now it’s an opportunity for “us” time, just my daughter and me. We get to share our joys, and I get to cultivate a little person to appreciate some of the beauty in life that I appreciate. Sometimes, that means completing an exercise tape together.¬†If there’s a craft project that I’ve been wanting to work on, then we figure out a way to work on it together…or at least have two versions of the same basic activity.




My Honey has been embracing this rite of passage in our daughter in his own way. Pen Elaine went through a phase of waking up extra early, so we tried using a toddler clock that lit up an “awake” bunny picture when it was “morning time” and appropriate for getting up, trying to enforce a minimum wake-up time. This worked for a while, but then she started waking up early again and wanting to come see what Daddy was up to in the morning. My Honey would be up getting his coffee going and preparing for some personal Bible reading and devotional. Instead of continuing to enforce and try to “train” Pen Elaine to stay in her room, during the time when he typically has some quiet time reading the Bible on his own (while letting me have some quiet space for my own meditation on Scripture¬†in the morning…unless¬†I was¬†up with Snuggly Man too much in the night and fell back asleep…), he¬†started having¬†“quiet time” WITH Pen Elaine. He embraced this fleeting phase and included her in his joy of spending early morning time with the Lord, making it a teachable moment. She gets some dry cereal while he drinks some coffee, and they read out of the Jesus Storybook Bible together. Jesus said, “but Jesus said, ‚ÄúLet the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14 ESV), so reading a kids’ version of God’s Word seems appropriate, and my Honey found plenty of truth¬†to stir personal reflection and prayer.



Including Pen Elaine in some gardening endeavors sometimes translates into rose petals being pulled off the plant and scattered around and in the bird bath, but she was sure the birds would enjoy the beauty of the scene while bathing in or drinking the water.


I am one of those people who always has 20 projects in the back of my mind that I plan to complete, plus 20 more sewing projects that I would love to start or finish. Giving up naptimes felt like giving up all my sewing projects, but after reading Desperate, I realized that it was important to continue in life-giving activities, which for me, includes¬†creating things, so I decided Pen Elaine and I must sew together! So, my first project was a “Frozen princess” tutu/dress for Pen Elaine, which she helped with a bit and then I started her on her own project while I finished some of the machine sewing without her “help.”



Most recently, I realized I had given up any time of playing the old piano that takes up valuable space in our house. Instead of only playing the assortment of kid instruments we have in a music basket (that inspires Pen Elaine to form a band), sharing the joy I find in playing the piano led to an interpretative dance performance by Pen Elaine, for which she found an enthusiastically appreciative audience in Snuggly Man.

I think one of the underlying issues is that I’m learning to share my whole life with my kids, not just the areas that I choose to let them see. The truth is, they see the¬†effects of whatever I hide from them, like using my free time to watch tv instead¬†of using it for true¬†refreshment from Scripture or prayer or personal reflection or¬†making creative plans.¬†Instead of being under the illusion of holding my cards close to my chest, God is using this transition to air out parts of me that had grown lazy or selfish or shallow and show me the path to freedom in total surrender to His plan for my life and my family. Now, Pen Elaine and I have this fleeting season of finding afternoon refreshment together, which looks different on different days, but it’s always the most fun when we are sharing our joys.


DIY Growth Chart…cute enough to be an heirloom



Every since my first was born, I wanted to make a fabric growth chart to keep track of my kids’ height – I grew up with a fabric chart with a painted duck, and so I liked the idea of a growth chart that is easy to store or hang in various spots. Then, I saw this Pinterest idea for a table runner that looks like a ruler, and I had also seen the knockoff wooden ruler-looking growth chart that¬†is as tall¬†as¬†a grown man. So, I decided I wanted a growth chart that looked like a giant ruler that could be hung on the wall or used as a sentimental table runner…then I forgot my vision for a ruler and just made a giant table-runner-sized growth chart with the potential for swirly vines and flowers.


Per the table runner idea, I bought a drop cloth from a home improvement store and cut the width down to 13-14 inches.


The drop cloth I bought had a hemmed seam along all sides, so I kept the seam along one long side and both short sides and only had to sew a hem along one long side.


After my very long piece of hemmed fabric sat around for a few weeks, I finally measured and drew lines every two inches, using a washable marker that would wash out in the laundry because I sewed over the lines with the sewing machine, using black thread. At this point, I was about to have a newborn Snuggly Man and knew I better get this project completed if I wanted to actually use my chart to keep track of my kids’ heights while they were still growing!



After deciding on a fabric for the numbers, I lightly drew out their shapes on the fabric with a washable pen and cut them out Рre-doing a few of the numbers until I was satisfied with the shape of the result.


Once all numbers were cut, I pinned them to the growth chart at the appropriate mark (I placed them where the middle of the number lined up with the mark at each “foot”). Using the sewing machine, I sewed a tight zig-zag stitch along the edge of each number, making sure the edges of the fabric¬†were covered securely.


I then sewed free-form with the machine a wiggly line along the empty side of the fabric chart. I think someday I’ll add vines or leaves or flowers by hand/embroidery.


We’ve put our initial measurements on there, in time for Pen Elaine’s 3rd birthday. I’d like to add other fun heights, like¬†the average¬†bear or gorilla, or other extended family members, to add interest when we use it as a table runner at a big family holiday meal, like Thanksgiving or Easter. I’m just glad it’s made its debut!



Little Man (baby) Clothes



I miss buying baby girl clothes…all the bows and headbands and tutus and sweet floral patterns…and when I say I love baby boy clothes now, it’s true, but I don’t love them as much as baby girl clothes. However, I do love dressing my¬† baby boy up as an old man. So, I’ve made him a shirt with sewn-on bowtie and suspenders, and he is absolutely adorable when he wears them!20140129-164742.jpg

When I started this sewing project, I cut out the fabric (length of shirt and folded in half)¬†and began sewing on a suspender by hand, which is fun to do while watching television or something, but it takes a while…Then, when I found time to pull out the sewing machine during a “rest” time (since my 2-and-a-half-year-old does not take naps anymore, just has some quiet play time in her room), I finished up this project in a heartbeat. I used a zig-zag stitch on the suspenders, positioning them the length of the shirt, starting just under the little neckline fold. Then I folded a rectangular piece of fabric in half, lengthwise and inside out, and sewed a seam to make it a skinnier rectangle. I tucked in seams to sew closed the two sides, then twisted a few times and sewed the twist directly onto the shirt, going over it several times, to secure the bow tie in place. Finished!


snugly man

DIY Custom Changing Pad



With the new baby, I recently got tired of looking at my old, gross, worn-out changing pads that I had saved from when Pen Elaine was a baby over 2 years ago. So, I finally realized I could easily cover one side of my waterproof changing pad things with fabric scraps and some forest-y ribbon that was a baby gift.

20140130-140445.jpgFirst, I pulled out the sewing machine for some quick hemming of straight lines. So, I hemmed the long sides. Then, I folded the corners over in a way to hem the short sides without exposing raw edges. Then, I sewed a straight line down a piece of felt ribbon that I had cut the exact length of the pad, to add a little finishing touch.

It was so fast and easy that I refurbished another one!

Now, I love changing diapers….jk.



Quick! DIY Valentine’s outfits


You do have to sew these- but it’s just a simple stitch and took me an hour to finish pants and a top!
I had seen this sweet boy outfit on Pinterest and really wanted some special Valentine’s clothes to coordinate my kiddos for my Snuggly man’s first Valentine’s day!

So, I found pants from my little boy’s drawer and a dress/too from my little girl’s closet that would look cute with red hearts. I cut out red hearts from some craft felt that fit and pinned them in place- over the pants’ knees and middle of the top. I sewed them on with thick thread, using a loose running stitch. Done in one episode of “murder, she wrote.” ūüôā