Thursday, November 29, 2012

Guest Posting about personalized ornaments

Today you can find a quick and easy Christmas decoration - one you could even do with your kids - over at I Should Be Mopping The Floor.  When Kristi put up a call for guest posters, I JUMPED at the opportunity - and for some completely unknown reason, she said yes!!!  WOOOHOOOO ;o)
Which means that I am guest posting at two places today (since the Knock it off Series was pushed back a week - thankfully Heidi's daughter is home from the hospital and doing much better!) - I feel so popular (And now 'Popular' from Wicked is stuck in my head ;op)!
So, go check out how to make your own Personalized Christmas Ornament!!!
Happy Thursday!

Knocking off JCREW at Elegance and Elephants

WOHOOO I am finally guest posting over at Elegance and Elephants today!!!!!  Can you tell I am just a little bit excited?!?!?!?!  Head on over for the full tutorial of how I created this JCREW inspired knock off -and read THIS POST if you want to see how it almost never came to be ;op
Thank you to all my readers who pushed me to keep going on this dress - I am so glad that I did!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thanksgiving Knock Off

Today I thought I would be sharing with you my knock off dress for baby girl via Elegance & Elephants.  But since the series is currently on hold (send your thoughts and prayers to Heidi's family), I decided to share a smaller knock off I did for B.

Here's my inspiration:

And B's:

Far from perfect, but fun none the less!  I think I will try this again in a monotone to capture more of the feeling of the original.

This is what my Hubs thinks it looks like:
ummmm - that means he thinks it is all manly and macho, right! ;op

Happy Thanksgiving EVERYONE!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Making Changes to Give Thanks

My family has a history of HUGE holiday celebrations. Even if we can't get a huge group of people together, we never skimp on a feast for thousands. Food is one of the love languages of my family... food, food, and more FOOD.

Here's the problem: since adding 3 little ones to the picture, elaborate meals mean stress rather than a joyous time of celebrating. I have two toddlers - they aren't picky eaters, but they are toddlers. They also have a schedule. They need to eat and sleep at certain times otherwise they are TERRORS. I think 1 terror at a family event can possibly be pacified, but TWO just feed off each other - then add in the baby's needs and it can become a circus of crazy.

So, this year Hubs and I talked and decided to scale down. Simple nice meal that is kid friendly at a kid eating time~ 11:30-12.
Boneless Ham (super small, will cook in the crock pot)
Salad Rolls (Kings Hawaiian are a family tradition)
Green Bean Casserole - provided by mom
Potatoes - provided by mom
Banana Cream Pie
Apple Pie 'A la Mode'

 That is it. No crazy huge turkey. No stuffing. No cranberry jiggling goop. No random recipe creations made out of squash.

The result of this scaling back is that I get to spend the morning WITH my family rather than crammed in a kitchen trying to perfectly time 20 dishes to the end time on the turkey. I can cuddle my babies, watch the parades on TV, and listen to my mom tell stories (rather than listening for a timer to go off).

And after lunch the babies will go down for a nap and we will be able to relax rather than spending the next 3 hours cleaning up and packing up all the left overs.

I'll be honest, my mom is NOT as thrilled about this year's event. But I think we will all be happier in the end. And since I don't have to focus on menu planning for tomorrow, I can focus on what I am Thankful for. 

-My three gorgeous babies
-Spontaneous hugs
-An amazing mother
-A Business that slowly continues to grow
-Friends who love me
-My church family
 -MY HUSBAND (save the best for last)

 Have Great Thanksgiving!!!!
From My Zoo to Yours

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hand Crafted Christmas

I got ONE present made this weekend... for A, well this present is going to be replicated for a few others, and I needed to make one pair first to make sure they will work right.  It seemed best to make the test pair for one of my own kiddos.

This was on my list of Wearables, and seriously - what child doesn't need a few spare pairs of PJ pants.  Particularly toddlers who sleep through the night but often have diapers that don't hold out ;op

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE this fabric.  It is a lightweight flannel that I picked up at Joanne's during their Moonlight Madness sale.  It isn't the softest flannel ever, but the print is so cute and boyish; and it is still soft.

(hmmm grey, black, and red - wonder why I love it so much ;op)

I will hem these once I try them on my insanely tall boys

I even made a little tag out of the fabric to distinguish the back - I might write something on it with a fabric pen.
and the back

I'm thinking of picking up a package of white T's and appliqueing one of the bears on it so that he will have a matching shirt... we shall see......

I'm also considering buying a coordinating fabric to make cuffs, but that means more shopping, and more work.  The greatest thing is that these pants whip up so quickly.  I could add pockets too, but do 20 month olds really need pockets???


And a little peak at something I've been working on for a niece

And some awesome vintage patterns my mom has lent me for a little bit - I really need to go look through her stash!!!

I want to make this for baby girl... It would work as an awesome top with a little bit of added length, as well as the cute PJs it is supposed to be ;o)

What have you been up to - anything crossed off your list so far?????

Monday, November 19, 2012

Itty Bitty Booties...

Maybe I am the only one, but I am having a hard time with shoes on baby girl.  She is at that starting to crawl stage where she just wants to kick everything off.  She arches her feet so much that I can't put anything with a hard sole on her.  And even though I have some cute dressy shoes for her, they aren't practical for the cold months blowing in.  With the boys, I just had them wear socks all last winter and snubbed shoes.  But, socks get lost and for girls they are soooooooooo PINK.
I want to have something neutral that baby girl can wear and keep her itty bitty toes warm.

And then I stumbled upon Whimsy Couture's Fleece Bootie pattern download (while it was free no less - score for me!).  YIPPEE!!!  The pattern is for a knee high boot that can be folded down for a shorter boot look.  I decided to use the fold line as the top length for this first pair of boots.  I used a sweater of the boys from last year because it is such a yummy warm fuzzy fabric.  I also liked the tan - reminds me of Uggs.

They turned out so cute - I can't wait to make more.  Now I just need to figure out a simple embelishment... they are a little too simple at the moment.  I think a little pair made of fur would be sooooo cute!

One of the best things about this pattern is that it goes up to a size 5T, I'll be making boots for years to come!

*Baby Girl still pulls them off, but they are easy to slip right back on - I need to take a picture of them on her ;o)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Handcrafted Christmas: Wearables

So this week I have been entrenched in finishing my knock off submission for Elegance and Elephants.  It has been an adventure to say the least ;op

But thanks to one of my amazing friends, I got 2 hours to go out shopping BY MYSELF!!!  I was able to pick up most of the remaining supplies I need for my gift making, WoooHoooo.  Hopefully this weekend I can start making at least one gift per day to be on track with enough time for shipping - gahhh shipping ;op

Today I have  round up of great wearable gifts for all those loved ones - who ever has enough clothing???  I'll have a separate jewelry/accessories post!

Easy peasy, and could work for Men or Women

How sweet are these!  You could use the tutorial above and then add the smaller sized half on top.

Coordinating outfits are easy if you find a cool fabric print - don't forget a great bow ;o)

Every baby and toddler needs a gazillion of these, why haven't I made any for my kiddos yet????

Warm and toasty tootsies - they take so little time to make, and could work well for little boys with the right fabric.

For siblings, the whole family, cousins... the possibilities are endless.  And all kids need pj pants.

HAHAHAH, these would be great for kids and kids at heart!

*this design is a bit complicated, but here are great instructions for freezer paper stenciling

*you could also use the freezer pencil stencil method above rather than embroidery

A great gift for that master griller in your life

This trend is so popular, and these are so easy to make.  Use any fabric and vary lengths to get scarves with different looks.

Hope you like these ideas!!!  What have you been working on this week???  Can you believe that Thanksgiving is less than a week away, WOW!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

MEEEEEPPPPPP (an even more excited from of squeee)

I'm guest posting today at Project Run and Play!!!!

Click the link and head on over to see my tutorial for how to create this look with decorative top stitching

I just can't believe I am getting to be a part (a very small, tiny part) of Project Run and Play!!!!!!  MEEEEEEP  ;o)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Knock off dilemma...

Ok - As you already know I am going to be guest posting at Elegance and Elephants in the  'Knock it Off' series.  You would think by this point I would have my project nailed down, the finish product done, pictures taken, and simply the blog post left to write.... well, ummm that would have been the case.  But it seems my knock off button is temporarily on the fritz.

I love knock offs!!!

 This coat is a knock off of a gap coat

This jacket is a 'simplified' knock off of a J Crew look (it's funny, Peekaboo patterns has an amazing knock off pattern of this jacket - but I didn't know that when I made my variation ;op)

And these shirts are a knock off of a fashion tee I found on Pinterest (from, but it isn't available any more)

So what you may ask is the problem????
Well, when I agreed to do this series I didn't have a project in mind, so I started looking everywhere for inspiration.  I wanted to try not to do something that I had seen on anyone's blog recently, but I don't know the blogging world well enough to ensure that I achieve that.  I also knew that it would be a refashion, so I needed to work with supplies I had on hand.
I landed on this

No, baby girl does not need one more Christmas dress - but this just caught my eye and I KNEW I had the perfect fabric for a fancy dress (an old cranberry satin bridesmaid dress - who says it can't be worn again!)

With the help of my genius sister, I figured out how pattern the ruffles (thank you LBB) and created a pattern.  I cut the pieces, rendering the dress to shreds of its former self, and then started trying to do a rolled hem on 14 CURVED pieces of satin... I don't own a rolled hem foot, my serger does not do a pretty rolled hem, I refuse to leave a raw edge on a fancy garment (I just can't do it - the bias challenge on PR&P helped me, but I still can't do it).  I got to the point that I almost threw the whole thing away.  My mom came to my rescue with not one, but two machines with rolled hem feet - and together we spent 2 hours (over nap time) learning how to do a rolled hem and doing it, with varied levels of success on 14 curved pieces of satin.  And that is where that project has ended for now.  I just don't love the way it is turning out.  It isn't perfect, it isn't even close to perfect, it currently just makes me sad ;o(  I think the satin is too heavy for a garment originally made of taffeta.

So then I was in love with this top:

So I mocked one up - it isn't bad, but it needs some alterations to be right (and can I just say I HATE when garments aren't shown on a model - makes it so hard to guess the true fit of the original).  I also feel like it just doesn't have the WOW factor.  It is a great staple for baby girl's wardrobe though.

And then there is this:

I love it... I have the materials to make it.  I'm just worried that on my baby it isn't going to work (this is a women's design).  That whole straight dress on a sitting crawling baby (not yet, but by Christmas).  I could give it a little more A-line and maybe a kick in the back - she'd wear it with leggings and a long sleeved T underneath.

So what say you, gurus of the inter-webs???  Finish project A, alter and complete a final version of Option 2, or toss everything else out the window -start from scratch and whip up #3?  I'm starting to run out of time ;op

Help so that I don't have to bow out un-gracefully!!!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Handcrafted Christmas : Food Lover Ideas

So I am well on my way towards my desire for handmade gifts for my family.... well on my way as far as ideas go that is ;o)

I have the fabric bought for some PJ pants, and fabric bought for a casserole carrier, and I made a mock up of the pattern I plan on using for something for my niece (oh, I have three of them you say ;op).

But for now, I want to talk about great gift ideas for people who love to eat and drink - that is EVERYONE, right???  This is the non-edible collection, I'll have a list of edible gifts as we get closer to Christmas!

Gifts for Food Lovers (non-edible)

*click the link below the picture for instructions for each idea from the original source

*this is great because it comes apart to store and ship, you could also give a variety of plates so that your recipient could change it up depending on the occasion.

What I love about all of these gifts is that they are completely customizable  to the recipient   You can use a theme, name, a design - whatever you want to create a 'one of a kind' gift.  These are also practical gifts that will get used - unless your gift-ee never eats or drinks... then you'll need to wait for a different collection of ideas ;o)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Magic Monday: introducing 'A Handcrafted Christmas'

Every year I struggle to buy gifts for those I love most.  I want to get them the perfect thing, something they will love, something they will use, something that will not become one more element of clutter in their home.  I search and search, I do price comparisons, I browse blogs promoting top ten gift ideas for men/women/children/spouses/etc.....  And by the end I have worked myself up to the point of near nervous breakdown and either order something random off amazon or say 'screw it, I'll get them something doubly cool NEXT year'.
(stock image)

This was ok until my poor nieces and nephews grew out of the toddler age and into the age of cognizance.  They now see me as the 'crazy aunt suzanne' who maybe loves them, but not enough to remember a gift for Christmas or their birthday.   I feel horrible.  I'm at a loss.  I do much better if I am sent a LIST!!!
But even with a list, I'm not perfect.  I am not naturally gifted at 'Gift Giving' - which in a family of givers is a really hard thing.  For the past few years, I have allowed infants and pregnancy to be my excuse for my lameness.  I've promised that 'once I'm not pregnant, I'll do better'.  Well that time is here... the first non-pregnant Christmas in a while and I am bound and determined to hold true to my word!

So what is a girl who finds herself overwhelmed by the retail world to do to have a non panic attack inducing holiday season???  Why not make it herself!

I have thought about the things that I might find useful or want - that are compatible with being made at home (my goal is to come up with things that you would think came from a boutique store or etsy shop).

And thus the birth of 'A Hand Crafted Christmas'.

I'm still working out all the details, lets face it - men are hard, hard, hard, HARD (hmmmm, that may have come out wrong).  But I am trying to come with ideas even they will appreciate.

Here's a sampling of the LIST:
- PJ Pants
- A White (and black) Christmas Box - this is my favorite scheme yet!!!
- Casserole Carrier
- FOOD (hahahah, there are so many great eatables out there - and even if you don't NEED them, they rarely get wasted!)
*if you've looked at my 'Gift Ideas' board on pinterest you'll see other inspiration.

Once a week I'll show a glimpse of a gift I am working on, along with some great ideas for gifts you could create at home as well.  You'll watch my success and failures and hopefully encourage me along the way.

So if you are a family member of mine (or dear friend who thinks they should be on my gift list) start putting in your requests now... or who knows what might end up under your tree!

What are some of your favorite handmade gifts - what is a handmade gift that still makes you cringe or giggle to think about???

Thursday, November 1, 2012


This really is my favorite month!  To me it is the time of year that it truly feels like fall and I can break out all my awesome fall layers, coats, and boots.  It is the month I was born which makes it pretty darn cool.  And it is the month where it becomes acceptable to play Christmas music 24/7 ;o)  (wait, that's just me... oh, well you're just missing out then!)

I am super stoked about this November!

First:  I will be starting my Handcrafted Christmas Series next week.  I'm attempting homemade and semi homemade gifts for most of my family this year... we'll see how it ends up, but it should be fun to watch it either succeed or crumble into a pile of chaos!

Second:  I have been asked to participate in an awesome series by Heidi at Elegance and Elephants called Knock It Off November

This is the first time I've been asked to guest post for a series and I am so EXCITED!!!!  She already has a great accessory post up and tomorrow will kick it off right with her knock off outfit.

Third:  I will be sharing a guest post tutorial over at Project Run and Play.... any guesses as to what I might share????

Fourth:  My sister and I are going to start doing some shared posts.  Let me just say that my sister is AMAZING!!!  She is a military wife and mama to three kids, she sews, designs, creates patterns... and is I think one of the original followers of LBB ;op  We haven't worked out all the details yet, but whatever we do together will be way more inspired than what I could ever do on my own.  Check out her blog to see some of the awesome stuff she has done: The Kestlyn Collection.

And FIFTH - my awesome husband has set up a date night for us on Saturday.  We haven't had a proper (all by ourselves - in our hometown) date since baby girl was born, actually since I was about 7 months pregnant with her.  I am happy to get out just with hubs and catch up and just be us. *we have gotten out sans kids a couple of times, just with other couples or to do non 'date-y' things.* 

What are you excited about this month???