Easy recon and a window update…

First the recon –

I am more comfy wearing pants or capris than skirts or dresses. Especially when I’m hot and sweaty. Right now, all the female readers larger than a size 6 are nodding their heads. The rest of you – don’t worry about it.

Problem is, I loves me the dresses and skirts. I don’t really ever look at any other department when I’m cruising through Old Navy. I’m a girly girly girl, and my skirt wardrobe just keeps growing and growing.

What to do? Well, I had a brainstorm while shopping for a slip. I wandered from lingerie to pj’s and got a pair of off-white, soft jersey fabric pants. I cut them off right above the knee, and now I wear them under all my skirts, not just the white ones. Problem solved.

Why am I telling you all this? Do I just enjoy the humiliation of exposing the truth about my undergarments online? Well, there is that. But also, there’s this –

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Look! I cleaned my floor so we don’t have to do all our photo shoots outside!

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The pants were almost solid cream jersey, but on one leg down at the bottom there were these big pink flowers. I thought that was too pretty to just throw in the trash.

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Yes. My need to save stuff “just in case” extends to the cut-off legs of pajama pants.

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I cut it to the right length, made a casing on the top, threaded elastic through, (sound familiar? Here we have the description of every single one of my sewing projects… ever.) and voila! Cute tube top for little miss “I refuse to wear sleeves ever again.” At least with this we’ll get a little relief from the all tank tops all the time parade that’s been going through here lately.

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Three pictures a little overkill for such a simple project? I couldn’t help it – she was being such a ham. I took somewhere in the neighborhood of 47, so be thankful I was able to pare them down to just these.

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In other news, the window is now full color –

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I swear, it actually makes the octopus one seem boring.

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As you all know, I’ve been planning to now go in and add layers of color, textures, etc. More dots like in those hearts. Swirls of clear on top of the color to give it dimension, etc. But it’s just so friggin awesome already, and also so busy, now I’m second guessing myself. Anyone wanna weigh in here? I usually feel this way when I’m painting, too, and then I go for it and love it so much more when I’m done. So it’s possible I’ll look back at these pics in a week and think “Look how boring it was! I’m so glad I added these details!” Or it’s possible that it’ll look exactly the same because I’ll decide it’s gorgeous already and I still have my room to clean before Joe gets home.

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Last one. Well, for now.

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Can you see how it makes her room pink?  Jonas’s is this amazing calm blue.  Violet’s is pink pink pink.  Not the most restful shade, but she’s so unbelievably happy with it.  I’m Rockstar Mommy (for now.  Until I force her to wear a tshirt somewhere.)

So – opinions?  Do it up?  Leave well enough alone?  I’m too close – I need outside input.

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Mmmm. I love the smell of paint in the morning.

Now if I could just get a bright, sunny day behind it for good photos.

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The window progresses. The smell of the Gallery Glass paint is kind of like Elmer’s Glue. It’s almost not there, but it is. There is not an overwhelming fumey smell, but once you back away you realize maybe you’re a little dizzy. Maybe some fresh air would be good. Because to do this, you basically have your face 3 inches from the paint. And it gets to be a bit… gluey.

I’m totally digging these late summer nights where I can put Jonas to bed between 7:30 and 8pm, then stay in there painting while the Twink reads me stories until 9:00. More daylight = more time to work on this project. Just another reason to love summer. 🙂

I can see myself finishing this in under two weeks, unless I go absolutely bananas w/ the texture and the color layering and just… can’t… stop. This is a major concern, considering that I swore I would not start messing with any of that until I had the whole thing colored in and… well….

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Whoops.

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Ooooh. I love those little dots beyond all possible reason. They bring me such joy. I’m imagining how crazy fun this window is going to end up, then I’m imagining going back and messing with the other two, then I’m imagining myself in paint streaked clothes, attacking people on the streets with Gallery Glass and adding swirls and stripes to their glasses and headlights.

Could be the fumes are stronger than I thought.

Score!

For years I never threw anything away. I saved old clothes that I hated but thought the fabric had potential. I saved sheets and pillowcases with stains or holes or that fit a bed we sold 5 years before. I bought interesting fabric remnants and carefully added them to my pile of crap that I never, ever did anything with.

When we moved here, I finally got rid of it all. In Arkansas I had a room for my junk. Sure, it was the “guest room”, but if you ignored the bed what it was was a room full of paint and fabric and buttons and yarn and beads and a sewing machine. That never got used. I knew that here there would be no extra room. I had an extra kid instead, who would be selfishly taking up the third bedroom with his trucks and books and changing table. It was time to purge.

I got rid of so, so much. So very much. Stuff I had saved for YEARS because, dammit, I could MAKE SOMETHING WITH THIS. You know. “One day.”

Now, that I have no stash, and no easy access to Walmart or Joann’s… NOW I’m finally making stuff. Regularly. It’s ironic, no?

All this to explain just how freaking excited I got when I scored THIS at the thrift store… FOR A DOLLAR!

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That is a size 3XL pink prom dress right there. Enough tulle and pink satin to outfit an army of preschool princesses. 🙂

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I saw it at the shop the week before, and asked the price. 15 bucks. Are you kidding? Do I look like a woman willing to spend 15 bucks at a thrift store? Hell – I’m barely willing to spend 15 bucks at the regular all-this-stuff-is-brand -new-not-pre-owned store.

The next time I went in, there was a big sign saying “TODAY! All clothing only $1!”. I went right to it. What a freaking steal.

Now the question of what to do with it. The Twink has demanded that I simply make it small enough to fit her. “Don’t change ANYTHING! Just make it SMALLER!” She seems to think that my skills include being able to alter a dress from a 3XL to a 4T. Yeah.  While it’s nice to know she has such a high opinion of my abilities, it’s a little daunting to think that all I can do there is disappoint her.

While I ponder that a bit, I did manage to rack up major Mommy points by turning this –

Wrap that came w/ the dress. Yeah – all for a buck, baby!

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into this –

Not only is it a new “princess skirt”, it’s one I let her wear out in public. It’s like I’m running for office or something. My polls have never been better.

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This was, hands down, the quickest and easiest sewing project I’ve ever done. Ever. This was easier than turning a tiered dress into a skirt. Everyone with a little girl should go check out their local thrift shop for formal dresses that come w/ wraps RIGHT NOW. All the ends were finished. It was a big rectangle of fabric with four finished edges. It literally took me less than 10 minutes to turn it into a skirt. Me. Slowest Woman On The Planet. All I had to do was fold over and sew a casing, thread the elastic through (half of my time was spent on this), then sew the short edges together to form a circle. There was no hemming, no folding over twice, no french seams. Finished edges = easy project. 10 minutes later the Twink was in new-skirt-heaven, and I was getting all the hugs and kisses and praise that should, in a fair and just world, be mine to receive every damn day. I’ll take what I can get.

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In other Twink-pleasing-yet-crafty-news, I’ve started her window.

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The problem with painting for bigger kids is that they have OPINIONS. “Flowers and hearts and stars… IN CIRCLES. Not all crazy like Jonas’s window. “

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I managed to sneak in the random sizes and placement of the “circles”. Also – she hasn’t seemed to notice that they’re really *not* all that circular. She likes it. When I first drew them on she said “Hey! They look like stones!” Ok, I can go with that. Painted stones with flowers and hearts and stars. 🙂

This is my last window, and I have tons of paint still. I’m planning to go very experimental here. In the past I’ve always treated these like a coloring book. First I draw the lines, then I color in the spaces. Done. This one I’m going to treat more like an actual painting. When I’m done coloring in, I’m going to go back and add texture and maybe color on top of color. At first I felt really restricted by her ideas for the window, but now I’m getting pretty excited about making it as interesting as I can within those restrictions. Watch this space – experimentation begins this week.

Great Success!

It fits!

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See the ruffle? So cute! So easy when you’re reusing old stuff!

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She loves the purse, too!

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What’d I tell you people? Babies love purses!

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And because it’s made from a sheet and a nightgown, it is TOTALLY comfy enough to snooze in…

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Everybody now – “Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww!”

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For something I made up as I went along, with no measurements, no pattern, nobody to try it on… Man. Time to give another go at that hot pink yarn while I’m on this high.

Great Success!!! 🙂

Happy Handmade Birthday

By far, FAR, the most search engine hits this blog gets is for people looking for “handmade birthday present”. So far we’ve done a gift for a two year old boy, and a four year old girl. When one of the cutest babies I know was turning one, I knew I had to figure something out. What do you give a one year old girl who has a big sister? She has all the toddler toys she needs. She has all the hand-me-down clothing she needs. Obviously, it’s time to make something just extra cute, and stop worrying about her “needs”. Everyone should have a pretty new dress on her birthday. And maybe a little purse. With very short handles since the birthday girl is still young enough to think putting something around her neck would be a good time.

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Ooh! I just realized that Madam’s skirt is going to coordinate w/ this gift nicely. It’s like I totally planned that when I asked her to hold the bag.

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I really enjoy making these little bags. They take me no time, and I think they’re a cute way to “wrap” a small gift. Plus, both of my kids (yes – the boy child, too) really liked to carry around little purses at that age. The act of putting something into it, then carrying it to another room, then pulling that something back out? SO ENTERTAINING! They were constantly moving socks and binkies and little people from room to room via small tote bags. So I figured the birthday girl should have one, too. A pink one.

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There you go. Check out the skirt next to the bag lining and contents. Ha. Thrift store sheet that I got on bag-sale day and have since turned into A) a circle skirt that Violet wears at least twice a week B) her nightgown C) the fabric parts of the crown/tutu set I made for her friend and D) this kiddo’s dress. Pretty soon the whole base will be full of little girls wearing this rose fabric. The thing must’ve been a king because I still have tons left. Circle skirt, anyone?

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Action shots coming soon.

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I started with this tute and went from there. The fabric I was using was way too thin to go unlined, so I used the bottom part of an old, soft cotton nightgown for the lining. Which worked out real well because I was able to leave the gathered ruffle at the bottom there without actually having to do any gathering. (Yes – I realize you don’t really see any ruffles. Trust me, it’s there. Maybe I’ll catch it in the action pics.) Then at the last minute I decided to keep the top layer open down the sides, so it was more fluttery and less boxy. I want it to move when she walks (toddles 🙂 ).

I had to guess at most of the measurements, as the birthday girl was nowhere near my sewing machine and I have nobody even CLOSE to a petite one year old in this house to try it on in her stead (my two year old weighs 35lbs. Yeah.) So they’re coming over this week (if I can manage to go a day without an ER visit, that is) for me to make sure it fits her (and take many, many pictures for my huge blog following Mom to see.)

I love the fabrics. I love how light and floaty it is. I love that little appliqué heart. I love pink and brown. I love the puffed sleeves. I really, really hope it is at least close to fitting her. Close enough that I can make it work. Although, if it is way too completely never going to work WRONG, Violet has graciously offered to let me open up the sleeves and neckline and give it to her as a blouse instead. And it’s hard to say no to this –

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Could you say no to that?

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So, will it be a toddler dress? Or a big girl shirt? Am I done? Or do I need to go shopping for a book and a stuffed animal after all? Tune in (whenever I get around to it) for the exciting conclusion of : Give Handmade! And Stress About It For Way Longer Than It Would Take You To Buy A Freaking Present! 😉

Cheapo Mom reuses same dress over and over, calls it “crafting”!

A long, long time ago, when Violet looked like this –

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Awwwww. Look how cute! So soft and squishy! You know what else? She didn’t TALK back then, either!

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– I took her to Old Navy and bought somewhere in the neighborhood of 36 sundresses for her to wear the next summer. Because they were on clearance, and that’s how I roll. One was a bright pink and white and yellow and orange and every color I would love tiered number, that cost me all of seven bucks. In 2004, it was in a box, waiting for it’s chance in the sun.

In 2005, it was being worn all over town by the cutest toddler on the planet –

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Ok, not the best picture of the dress – but who CARES?! Look at that face!

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You would think that would be it, the end of the size 12 – 18 month dress, but you’d be wrong. Seven bucks is way too much to spend on something that only gets worn for one season. 😉

In 2006, unfortunately, the dress was in a box somewhere during the summer months. See, we did this little thing we like to call an “international move”, and had to work without 85% of our wardrobes for the months of June, July, August, and September.

But in 2007 the dress came back with a vengeance. While packing up a bunch of outgrown clothes to ship off to Madam’s cousin, I found it and several others that seemed like they’d be too short, but not too tight. Throw on a pair of capris and –

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Voila! Cutey-cute tunic! (Still not a great picture of this dress. For something that was maybe my favorite little dress of hers for the past FOUR YEARS, you’d think I’d have a decent shot of it.)

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That brings us up to 2008. My gigantic almost-kindergardener is officially too big for the size 12 – 18 month dress. Her chest would not have fit into it this year. So, you ask, finally time to pass it on? Ha, I answer. I can get at least one more summer out of this! Watch and learn, people.

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She sure has come a long way from that baby on the bed.

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Easiest project in the world. Cut off very top of dress. Make casing. Thread in elastic to fit. Ta da – you can save money on new skirts, AND get to see her in her baby dress for another summer. I love love love her wearing this thing. I’m transported straight back to that beach where I built sand castles with my Twink for the first time.

And no, it’s not super lopsided. The reason it looks so much shorter in the back is that she insists on wearing it this low in the front –

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Where did those baby chubs go? Sigh.

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I don’t know what she has against waistbands that actually sit on her waist, but all I ever hear is “NOT on my BELLY!” Another good reason for everything she owns to have an elastic waist. See – it’s not *totally* about my fear of zippers. 😉

Next up on this blog – my incredible thrift store score, or “What the hell am I going to do with a size 3XL prom dress???”

In the grooooove.

Yesterday Madam watched me sew for another little girl with a pretty complete lack of enthusiasm. I mean, sure, she already *had* a new tutu, but still! Why was I making stuff for the other kid? I could be making stuff for her! She doesn’t even HAVE a crown like that! And what about that nightgown I promised? Huh? WHERE’S THE NIGHTGOWN?????

Yeah – it doesn’t match my pants. In the end, I thought something that was pink and would get worn was a better choice than something that was blue, orange, brown, and would sit at the bottom of her drawer. Plus, now with all that leftover I can make myself a skirt out of the other fabric. 😉

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It is totally not what I was originally intending it to look like, but I kinda like it. It’s made out of thrift store sheets, and is super soft and flowy and comfy. She’s practically naked from the waist up –

Would you look at that tan? I swear, I use sunscreen on the kid.

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– which is nice for the hot summer. Plus, it leaves lots of exposed back for kisses. 🙂

I kind of just threw it together without a plan, and there’s plenty about it that I’m not crazy about. But, it’s a nightgown. It was made with the intention that it would never leave the house – strictly for sleeping in and bumming around in the morning. And for that use, it’s perfect. It’s very comfortable, and just “princessy” enough to make her want to wear it. Another successful day of sewing.