Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Great Whole Foods

I had a mom in one of our homeschool groups email a wonderful link to me today and I wanted to spread the love.

This is a WONDERFUL, FREE, whole foods recipe collection that is geared towards breakfasts and lunches. The recipes look great and all of them are written with an eye towards getting less processed and more whole foods into our kids (and ourselves, lol!) And most recipes have substitution ideas for dairy-, gluten-, and nut-free diets.

The e-book is in easy-to-use PDF format and was put together by Alisa at One Frugal Foodie. She gathered recipes from favorite food bloggers and added some of her own. It is great, great, great food love!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Look

Well, since this blog is becoming a sewing blog (when it is anything at all, that is), I decided to go with a new quilting look. Tell me what you think!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Barbie's New Togs

I have a six year old daughter that likes pink and dressing up and shoes and dolls. Therefore, I have Barbies in the house. I know some parents have issues with Barbie, and we are not completely happy with her ourselves. But I think that with a few house rules, she is harmless.

Our house rules include keeping a tight reign on the types of clothes that she is allowed to wear. I truly believe that my daughter's playthings should reflect the type of woman that I would want her to be. Playing is, after all, practice for life. So nothing revealing, nothing that is questionably motivated (i.e.-"sexy" nurses or lingerie). Nothing that I wouldn't want my daughter herself wearing, either now or in the future as a young woman.

And this rule can be hard to enforce. If you have seen the Barbie aisle in the store nowadays, you know what I mean.We are pretty much limited to the "princess" style dolls, and even those can walk the line. Add to that well-meaning relatives that see Barbie and think "perfect easy gift" and we have quite a few dolls that come to our house needing new clothes.

Luckily, Mama loves to sew, and she especially loves to sew doll clothes!


My "new" favorite for Barbie clothes are the Advance patterns from the early sixties. These patterns were made to be sewn by little girls themselves, so they are a great place to start if you are new to sewing and garment construction. (on a side note, doll clothes are always a great place to start if you want to get your feet wet with sewing. You can learn a lot of basics that translate straight to human-sized garments. Plus, if you mess up, you've only ruined 1/4 yard of material, lol!)

The earliest patterns are just known by the letters A,B,C,D,and E(E is for Ken)and are surprisingly easy to find. Within one day of discovering the existence of these patterns, I found A,B, and a partial C in a set on eBay for less than $6.00. There are also companies online that sell reprints for slightly more, if you don't have the patience to wait.


The clothes below came from these two, patterns A and B.




I'm on the lookout for a complete C, because Sydney is wanting some wedding dresses.



Recently, I have made the Sundress and Coat from Group A and the Ice Skating "sport" outfit from Group B.



Very 50's style with the circle skirt and and attached shorts and ponytail.And yes, those are paperclip ice skates. The plastic blades broke off twenty minutes after we brought them home. Sydney says she likes these even better because they leave "figure eight" marks in the aluminum foil pond we made for the dolls to skate on, lol.


I got the wool for this coat from a thrift store "power suit" skirt. Which brings me to another reason I like making doll clothes; because the needed yardage is so small, you can work with some really incredible (read: expensive) fabrics that you wouldn't normally buy in large quantities. I also like to comb the Goodwill racks and find human clothes in natural fabrics that can be re purposed.

The Sundress is very fun. With a built-in petticoat, you get the big poofy skirt that my daughter loves, and it looks cute made up in lots of different fabrics. This is one of about twenty different quilting cottons that we bought at the local fabric store for $.99 a yard.



And something else that is very cool. Every dress and skirt pattern comes with a pattern for making matching panties, lol. I really do love these patterns!



One thing to keep in mind,these patterns were made for the "old style" Barbie body, so if you are fitting dolls made after 2000, the clothes may fit a little differently. I've had no major problems though. Just "fit" the clothes on the doll before deciding where to sew on snaps.

I can't recommend these patterns enough. They are fun and easy, even a beginner sempstress could make a whole outfit in about an hour or so. They are definitely worth looking up!

Easter Dress

At the risk of this becoming a craft blog, here is the dress that I made for my daughter for Easter. I just whipped up a quick jumper-style, because you never know what the weather will bring on Easter around here. This way, we can throw on a short sleeves or long sleeves or no sleeves at all, and we are covered.



And you will only get a back view. I can't get my reluctant model to pose for me today.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yet Another Clothing Mod

I'm still sewing up a storm and I thought I'd show you all my latest clothing alteration.

My poor daughter is built much like me. Cute as a button, but round in the middle. Which means that today's kids fashions designed for thin-waisted waifs do not work. Especially when the only difference between a 4/5 and a 10/12 is 3 inches in length.

And that truly doesn't break my heart, because much of what is in the store is not what I would consider appropriate clothing for a little girl anyway, but it does leave Mama getting creative when the need for new clothes arrives.

So enter my latest fix: the side gore.


First, we begin with a knit shirt (even better if it is a 90% clearance shirt, lol).




Then we find a complimenting fabric (here I used the sleeves from a shirt that was too small). One note, if you are new to sewing, it's best to use knits with knits, and wovens with wovens. The two don't mix very well.




Cut two long-sided triangles that will reach from the underarm seam to the hem of your shirt, with a little left over to turn up and match the shirt's hem.
 




Using a seam ripper, undo the side seams from the hem to the underarm. Sew the triangle into place. If you are blessed with a serger, here is the place to use it. If not, use a wide zig-zag stitch that will allow the seam to stretch as the shirt stretches. Then turn up the excess to match the existing hem.





And there you have it. A cute, swing-style top suitable for comfortable, modest play and ease of motion.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Masterpiece Classics

I'm not a big TV watcher.

In fact, we've lived in this house for nearly two years and have never bothered to get cable. I love it, but my husband not so much. Sydney makes do with PBS and I am grateful every day that we don't have to contend with the constant barrage of commercials and licensed products.

But every winter, the television event of the year (in my book, at least) begins. I look forward to it with great anticipation. I start checking PBS's schedule in the fall, hoping to catch a glimpse of what's to come.

Masterpiece Classics


Oh how I love costume dramas. Their "Jane Eyre" is one of my favorite movies. Last year's "Little Dorrit" was excellent. It also doesn't hurt that they have done quite a bit of Jane Austen in recent years.

And this year it's "Emma"

And I am in love.

This is such a good adaptation. I tend to collect Austen adaptations. I think that I have seen every Jane Austen inspired movie that is available here in the states. And truly, Hollywood never holds a candle to the fullness and thoroughness of a job done by the Masterpiece Theater crew. This year's "Emma" is a gem. I cannot wait for part three this Sunday night.

Right now, you can watch the first two parts online.


Psst-

Don't miss "Northanger Abbey" and "Persuasion" later this winter. They are also worth the watch!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Socks! Socks! Socks!

My newly organized sewing room has me revved up and sewing away. I have several projects ready to show you guys and I can't wait to finish more!

Today's project was inspired by Disney over at Ruffles & Stuff. Oh my, do I love this blog. Disney is a wonder at reconstructing clothing. And the pink! Oh the pink!


So here goes:

Knee Socks From Tights

Sydney wears a lot of dresses and jumpers, and here in the chilly north, that means lots of thick cotton tights. And as anyone who deals with tights knows, they aren't always the most comfortable things to wear when you are an active little girl. Half of your day can be spent hauling the waistband up with both hands and scratching in less than polite places while in public (much to Mommy's chagrin, lol). Plus, heavy tights can be pretty pricey, and as with all children's clothes, they grow out of them faster than you would like. So a solution; turn them into knee socks!

This pleases Mom because she gets more life out of an item and it pleases Sydney because knee socks are infinitely less baby-ish than tights (so she tells me).

Supplies You Need



A pair of tights
1/4" wide elastic, or whatever will comfortably hold up your socks

Step one



Have the owner try on the tights and mark, with a safety pin, where you need to cut them off, remembering to leave enough extra to fold over and cover the elastic.


Step Two




Cut off the tights at your mark. (Whew! This is a tough project!)
On a side note, I highly recommend trying this the first time with a pair of striped tights. They have built in measuring marks!



Step Three



Wrap the elastic around the calf (or thigh, if you are doing over-the-knee socks like these)and decide how long of a piece you need. You want it snug enough to hold up the sock but not too tight.You also want to leave a small amount for seaming the ends. Overlap the ends and sew with a wide zig-zag stitch, making a loop.


Step Four



Place the loop inside the top of one stocking and fold over to cover. This is where you would use pins and measuring if you were a good, non-lazy sewer.

I am neither of those things.

It is important that you use a zig-zag stitch here, so that it can stretch with the fabric. A straight stitch will snap the first time that your child puts on the socks. Use a fairly long and medium spaced stitch, and sew along the open edge, folding as you go. Be sure to catch the elastic in the stitch, so that it doesn't roll or bunch up in the wash.

When you are finished, it should look like this:



only, less blurry.

Repeat steps three and four to complete the second sock.


And there you have it:




Socks instead of tights. If you take a look at Disney's blog, you will see that there are all sorts of cute little embellishments that you can add to make them extra adorable, but because the tops of these will never be seen in public after this photo (not on my watch anyway), I didn't bother. I have a few ideas about some shorter socks and bows, but that will be for another post.

Friday, January 29, 2010

"You have died of dysentery"

Does any one remember "Oregon Trail"? Stocking your wagon, hunting bison, snakebites, funerals, oxen floating away at river crossings?

Classic.

I LOVED this game when I was in school. (who am I kidding, I'd love to play it now)There was something so satisfying about this game, not to mention that I was extremely nerdy (I still am) and did crazy flips for anything that remotely involved American history (I still do).

So, what does a nearly forty (!!) year old game have to do with my day to day life as a still too nerdy housewife? Easy!

Pantry stocking!

Three or four times a year we make a trek to the large Amish area in our state to pick up baking and pantry supplies. Steering away from the most tourist filled places, we shop at stores that the Amish themselves frequent, guaranteeing that we get very affordable prices and good quality products. But because we only go a few times a year, my shopping list looks like a packing list for someone making a cross-country wagon trip, lol.


Shannon's Oregon Trail Shopping List

10 lbs. Bacon
5 lbs. Rye Flour
10 lbs. Cake Flour
20 lbs. Whole Wheat Flour
1/2lbs. Baking Powder
1/4lbs. Thyme, Poppy Seeds, No-Salt Seasoning, Vegetable Flakes, Caraway Seed


We loaded everything in the 'wagon' and headed home.

And spent the next two days trying to find places to store 40 lbs. of goods, lol!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ta-Da!

I can sew.

I love to sew.

I have everything I need to churn out clothing for my whole family.

And yet I never sew.


This is why:



I have no room. Everything pertaining to sewing and my crafting in general gets thrown into this corner of the office, because it really doesn't have a proper home. And every time I feel inspired to sew, I look at this mess and promptly change my mind.

This pile not only contains my sewing machine, but fabric, patterns, a weaving loom, yarn, needles, crochet hooks, magazines, ribbon,and is that a beach ball? Goodness sakes!


So I "Did Something" about the mess.

And now:




What a change!

And I liked it so well that I bought a second shelf for the other side of the window.



This is now my favorite room! I love working in here. And my daughter's desk is near enough that I can work while she is busy with school work. I has made me so productive. I'm on a roll!