Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween... decisions, decisions...

(this photo was from our OBX trip in Sept, but it is so perfect for today!)

So today is Halloween - notice you haven't seen any other posts on my blog about this holiday... Halloween is actually one of my favorite holidays - come on, give a theatre girl some costumes and free chocolate, and whats not to love?  Sadly this year, things just haven't turned out as planned.

Sandy canceled my pumpkin decorating party, I've had a sinus infection for a while,I got food poisoning on monday and just haven't had the energy to crank out fun crafts or the zoo keeper hats I had planned for hubs and I.  We got the kids out to a local trick or treat at the Ball Park, but didn't get any pictures of them in costume.  And now it is cold and rainy and the kiddos are mucus filled little monkeys.

So do I dress them up and drag them out in the rainy cold while they are already sick???  Do I dress them up, drag them out to the indoor trick or treating at the mall???  Or do we as a family say, 'whatever, we'll do it up right next year' and instead go to the gym (and possibly infect numerous other kiddos)???

I want pictures and memories and proof that I was the awesome mommy who didn't miss chances for celebration in the midst of chaos... but sometimes mommy just wants to roll over, cuddle up with a blanket and a mug of tea, and watch a good movie.

Oh well, tomorrow is November - and will bring with it lots of fun new things.  Stay tuned!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Whew, what a day...Now what's for dinner?!?!?

I'm tired, I'm under the weather, and I'm buried under piles of editing for work.... and then there are the three kiddos, the not so clean house, the never ending laundry sitch... Whew, these sure are the days.

So what do you do to keep it all running smoothly?  Do you have a weekly system... things you try to accomplish each day... a pact with your spouse to pretend that these days never existed and to pretend when the kids get older that everything was perfect when they were babies????

B is going through a stage where he just wont sleep longer than about an hour- 1.25 hours.  Think he is outgrowing naps (please say NO!!!)?  I don't get him right away, but he usually doesn't fall back asleep.

That is just the ever changing game, right... just when you think you have them all figured out, they switch it up on you.

At least I can keep the family fed:  Here's two staples I'll share  - and yes, even the boys GOBBLE these down.
Winter's Chili:
In crock pot- Set on low 8 hrs or high 4-5 hours
1 large can Dark red beans (you can use any bean or two regular cans of two different kinds)
1 can chili ready tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies
1.5 cup frozen corn
1 cup pepper strips (either fresh or frozen)
1 tsp salt
2 chicken boneless skinless breasts

*trow it all in, set it and forget it.  Shred the chicken and mix in prior to eating.  Eat with corn chips or cornbread and watch it disappear.... nom nom nom

And often there are left overs, thus the birth of....

Taco Pasta:
Add 2-3 cups left over chili (whatever you have)
1 can diced tomatoes (use chili read or diced tomatoes with green chilies for an extra kick)
1/2 pkg of cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheese (either sharp cheddar or a Mexican blend)
little bit of salt to taste
-Combine above ingredients in a large pan on medium on the stove top (I add the cheeses last, once everything else is heated through)
add 1 Box rottini noodles - cooked
Stir and serve!

Quick, easy, and a kid favorite!  We have lots of chili remixes in our house.

What are some of your easy go to dinners for busy days?

And because I can't have a post without pictures - here is what baby girl wore apple picking.  I did not make any of this, it is just the perfect modge podge of randomness that I absolutely LOVE.  My modern day Little Red - her dada did not let her wander from the path though ;o)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Project Run and Play Finale...

So the final week of PR&P is 'signature look'.  It is all about expressing our style, what we love, what we have to say, who we are.  And I seriously thought about sewing NOTHING!  I don't have a defined style yet, my kids are still very young and I've only recently started sewing for them.  My style for myself is slightly better defined and that translates into what I make for my children - clean lines, comfortable, classic.  I still feel that I am at the place where it is easier to say what I DONT like than what I do... but that all feeds into creating a personal style, I guess.

I've looked back through the things I have made and the things I have pinned to make and I do see a general scheme of cohesion with a few wacky pieces thrown in here or there.  And I guess at the end of the day, the realization hits that I DO have a style.  It still may be loosely defined, but it is there.

What is it you ask???

THIS (at least for baby girl)

-Clean lines with a touch of femininity (ok, pink may be overwhelming femininity .. but this is more of a dusty rose than an 'in your face' hot pink.)
- Neutrals mixed with a pop of color  (this grey dress will grow with her into a top and then I'll make more in bigger sizes ;op)
- Unique detail.  (I love both the color and texture of the leggings - and yet they aren't overwhelming since they are under the grey, and the grey dress has the band and ruffle at the bottom, just a small detail that keeps it from being too boring)
- COMFORTABLE!!!  I want the things I make for the kidlets to be clothes they will wear over and over and over.  Things they can move in, play in, and be cuddled in.  Don't get me wrong - I love dress up/frilly clothes - and every collection on the runway needs that gorgeous gown to close the show, it just won't be my 'signature' look.
-Upcycled ~ oh yeah, almost forgot that aspect, about 90% of the materials I use are stolen from something else ;o)

Through PR&P, I have come to the realization that I LOVE coats.  This should not be a shocking discovery to me - I think I own 15 or more coats.  Every Christmas/Birthday I ask for a new style/color wool coat, I picked up a great red one at a yard sale this summer so I think everyone is off the hook this year - but I still don't have a pretty grass/kelly green  or a peacock blue coat in my wardrobe yet ;op

Here are more details:
(All patterns were self drafted)
Leggings~ Made from the sleeves of a T-shirt
Dress~ Made from an oversized paper weight cotton T (love the material, just hated the cut on me)
Coat~ Outer made from rose corduroy given to me by a friend (left over from a project)
           Lining made from an early 19th century dress I made in college

Monday, October 15, 2012

KCWC Wrap Up

WOW - I was feeling 100% burned out going into the past week.  I just wasn't feeling the sewing bug and I was starting to get down on myself.

The first couple days I sewed for the allotted time just trying to force myself to get the Project Run and Play look done - I am happy with that outfit, but it just didn't feel inspiring to make.  Once I had that done, I really started LOOKING at the KCWC flicker group.... ok, these women are phenomenal.  I saw so many inspiring things and realized that most of the looks (for little girls) that I love best come from Oliver and S patterns - so if you are looking for Christmas gifts for me ... ;op
I was inspired by an adorable faux fur vest that Kate from See Kate Sew made - like 'stop the presses I must make that NOW' inspired.  Baby girl chews on EVERYTHING she wears, so I figured I would start with a shorter/softer fur - and I knew that I had the perfect thing.  I have a piece of faux lamb that I use as a basket filler when photographing newborns - but it has always been a bit big, so I just cut off enough for the little vest... of course then I had to go back and make a second one because the first didn't have enough wiggle/growing room.
Once I made those, I was chomping at the bit to sew something else.  I was just given a piece of pink corduroy by a friend (who had actually been given the fabric by my mom - silly crazy world).  And I knew it had to be a coat.  I have no coat pattern - and no cute coat in the right size to create a pattern off of....hmmmmmm.  BUT I did have a re-sized vest pattern that I knew fit baby girl (thanks to Kate!!!), so I adapted it:  changed the neckline, added more fullness to the body to give more of an A-line, and drafted sleeves to fit the arm hole opening (let me just say drafting sleeves without a french/armscy ruler is no fun). And last, I added the ruffle - I didn't go all the way around like the inspiration, I thought that might be a bit much for this age/stage (almost 6 months).
The one sad moment in making the coat was the realization that the best lining fabric I had was my final project for my patterning/draping class in college (a 19th century Jane Auten-esque dress that I got an A+++++++ on, yep that grade exists - at least in my head).  I could have used something else, but the stripe was the perfect color.
Then of course baby girl needed just a simple little grey knit dress (using the same pattern as the sweet as pie dress) - I just added 3/4 sleeves to it.

So here is what I made in ONE week: (I did sew way more than 1hr per day this weekend - and during the week ;op)

(J.Crew version $69.50, Mine - free)

Whew - I think I am taking the week off after that!!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sweet As Pie

This week's challenge at Project Run and Play is Fall holiday wear.    At first I was not super inspired for this week's challenge, then I remembered an old sweater of my husbands (that he HATES).  It is a gorgeous burnt orange, zips up the front, and is made of a super stretchy and comfy knit - I wore it many a time during my two pregnancies.

The color reminds me of pumpkin pie - so I'm serving pumpkin pie three ways! (sorry, only one got done for this week, but I'll show you the boys' asap - they are getting sweaters and pants made with the same orange sweater and navy&cream knits).

To me Thanksgiving is a day where you dress up - but you still want to be comfy, you need room in your clothes for all that great food.  And honestly, you are going to be sitting around or playing most of the day -so clothes that don't get rumpled and are easy to move in are a must!

First, a helping of baby girl:
I drafted a pattern for a simple drop waist jumper.  I set the zipper off to the side to keep it more modern and intentional. The front was interesting because I needed to cut it in one piece because of the zipper (the pattern I have created is two separate pieces - I can't wait to make this again out of an easier to use knit)- but I wanted the front to have pleating. ~Why oh why do I get these crazy ideas in my head that just serve to make life more complicated ;op  The back I cut all in one. I trimmed it with navy jersey (From an XL jersey dress), and added navy jersey flowers with pearl-escent buttons it keep it feminine.  I added leggings made of the same fabric and a hair band with another flower - 'cause every little girl needs hair accessories!

The pictures of her in it are horrible to the point of hilarity, but I just didn't have time for a 'real' photoshoot.  Since this outfit is for Thanksgiving (6 weeks away)  I cut it a bit long  - she grows taller by the minute!

 'Hi, look at me in my pretty dress'

That HAIR - I just can't help but giggle!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mix and Match Hoodies

 I think these were two of my favorite things I have sewn for my boys.  They are also my first items I have made while participating in this fall's KCWC.

I made this pattern so that I can make hooded sweatshirts for the boys, but the materials I chose for this first draft lend themselves perfectly to be worn with or without something underneath.  I tend to like muted colors and neutrals -but WOW do I love this pop of color mixed with grey (my favorite neutral at the moment!!!)

I used an XL men's polo shirt and two women's M tops to make these.

My original plan was to add kangaroo pockets - and I may add them later, but honestly - I love these just the way they are.

There is something about the way the hoods fit that reminds me of Monty Python's Holy Grail - but I'm cool with that.

And I think my boys loved their hoods - as they gleefully ran around all day with pointing at their hoods saying "Hat, hathathathat..."
*I apologize for the terribleness of these pics - my point and shoot decided to hate me, and I didn't want to lug out the real deal ;op

'Brave, brave sir Robin ran away, he ran away...'

Anything that they don't want to take off, I deem a success!

Operation Project $0 Round Up

So it is officially over - Operation Project $0 that is, not my sewing ;o)

I am so glad that I was able to place this challenge on myself and accomplish so much over the course of the last 2 months.  I essentially went from not sewing much of anything (other than fixing a hem or a button) for the last 5 years - to attempting to sew an entire wardrobe for my little men.

Here is what I finnished:

1 - 4 Made 90min shirts
2 - 2 shirts of my own design
3 - 2 pairs of  Khakis
4 - 1 pair of lined wool pants
5 - 1 pair of plaid dress pants
6 - 2 hoodies
7 - 1 sweater 
8 - 1 hat
9 - 1 bow tie
10- 1 blazer
11 - 1 hooded fall jacket

So, since the launching point of this personal challenge was to save money lets see approximately what I saved by making these articles of clothing myself. (I'm using Old Navy for general price points - other stores or boutiques could be much higher)

Long sleeve T shirts: about $9
                                        = $54

Khakis: $15
            = $30

Wool Pants: $25 (they didn't have wool pants, so this was the only lined comparable)

Plaid Dress Pants: $15

Hoodies:  $13
               = $26

Sweater:  $15

Hat: $13

Bow Tie:  $17  (ok, ON doesn't carry separate ties online, so I used for the price comparison)

Blazer: $35 (that is for a basic uniform blazer)

Hooded Fall Jacket:  $40 (the closest comparable was in the boy's section)


I am so thankful to every friend and family member who has supported me through this endeavor.  I started with this tiny stash of upcycle-able clothes that served no good on their former state, and now I have 17 pieces of clothing for my boys AND a huge stash of donated clothes that keeps pouring in.  I'll take pictures at some point this week to show you all!!!  I can't believe the outpouring of encouragement I have received.
Stay tuned for round two in February 2013 - there will probably be a larger amount of sewing for baby girl, but I won't be leaving out the boys! 

This week I am participating in KCWC (Kids Clothing Week Challenge).  Essentially it is a group of people committing to sew for their kids one hour each day this week (sew, pattern, cut fabric, design, etc....).  This is great for me since I seem to have days that I don't 'feel' like working on anything and other days where I want to sew for hours an hours to finish something - consistency keeps my skills up and projects moving forward.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Let's hear it for the boys...

Yep, it is Boys week over at project run and play!  WOHOOO!!!

So here is my submission:

100% upcycled outfits for twin boys -
I was inspired to create these shirts by a men's fashion image I found.  I'm not a huge fan of pockets on t's so I nixed that and just went with the button detail and a long sleeve style.
Both shirts are made from old Men's T's.
(My Version)

The Khakis are both out of one pair of my husbands old khakis(that he shrank out of during my pregnancies - how unfair is that ;op).  One pair has cuffs and patch pockets and the other pair have a hand sewn blind hem, welt pockets in the back, and small slash pockets in the front.

More pictures of the outfits at play:

And the Jacket:

Also 100% upcycled.
-The outer hood is an old sweater
- The outer shell of the jacket is an old pair of  my capris
- The lining is a men's dress shirt
-The collar, cuffs, and hood lining are made from my wedding aisle runner (yep I made an aisle runner out of brown knit fabric so that it would match all the other decor.) 

 the jacket has two front pockets, one has a tab and the other has a zipper

It was raining during our little shoot - so within minutes they were damp and dirty.  But that is the point, right - they are little boys and these are their REAL clothes.  They will play in the dirt, run in the rain, and sometimes pick a pretty flower for mama.