DIY American Girl doll skirt sewing tutorial…

My Little Miss loves to sew, she is almost nine and loves using the sewing machine by herself—and she’s getting pretty good at it!!  We have lots of mommy-daughter sewing dates, but she also gets sewing time rewarded to her if she gets all her studying and assignments done.  She has been working so hard the past couple of days to get all her chores and studying done that she earned some sewing time today.  We had about an hour while the other kids were napping and she pulled out some of her favorite fabric from her stash and asked if she could make a skirt for her American Girl doll.  And so we did!!
Little Miss measured Kirsten’s waist as 11 inches.  So we doubled that length to 22 inches and cut a piece of her fabric 22 x approximately 6 inches. 
She sewed the edges of each 22 inch side over about 1/2 inch.
Then she pinned a row of rick rack to the bottom edge and sewed it in place.  She couldn’t decide on which color, so she ended up using both!
She folded the skirt in half and sewed a seam to connect her skirt.
Next we cut a 10 inch piece of 1/4 inch elastic and sewed the ends together.  I helped her pin the elastic to the seam and then match the middle of the elastic to the middle of the skirt (so the elastic will be stretched evenly when it is sewn).


To finish the skirt, I helped Little Miss stretch the elastic until it laid flat against the fabric and sewed all the way around the waist.
We spent about 20 minutes on this project and it was done!!  And my Little Miss couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.  I think I know what to get her for Christmas—a bag of scrap fabric and rick rack!!

DIY Chalkboard with Hobby Lobby open frame…

I often look in my rear view mirror and see four little faces in the car and think, “I HAVE FOUR KIDS!!”  I am the busiest I have ever been—but I can’t think of anything else I would rather be busy doing!!  That being said, I have so many different places to be during the week that I sometimes feel like I don’t know whether I am coming or going!!  And then I saw it….a beautiful, scalloped open frame at Hobby Lobby.  It hit me that I could get some chalkboard paint, paint the wall in my eat in kitchen and frame it!!  They had chalkboard paint right next to the acrylic paint at Hobby Lobby.   I love the way it turned out!! 
It usually has a scripture of the week across the top, and Monday –Saturday columns with all the million places and appointments I need to remember.  It saves me brain power on trying to remember everything going on in my life.  And if that isn’t enough reason to love this thing—dressing up the board for birthdays and holidays certainly is. 
My other favorite part of this board is that it is right next to the dinner table which makes it easy to focus on where everyone is headed during the week and how we can help each other with our family and personal goals.  We get to catch up on what everyone is doing at dinner time together! 
This school year has been different than any year for us because I don’t have any kids in school!!  Justin is taking a break from school to focus on healing from PANDAS(which is going really well!!), and this is our first year homeschooling Little Miss.  I have to say, I love homeschooling—it has been so rewarding!  I wasn’t going to give up my ceremonial First Day of School pictures—so I got some of all my kiddos.  They turned out so fun using the chalkboard for the background!! Look at this picture of my sweet Justin—see that smile??  Yep, we have been seeing a ton of smiles from him lately—which make me smile more too!!  And he has learned how to pose for pictures!!
I wrote down each of my kids’ names, and grades and listed three of their personality traits that are their strengths and then included a few things they love at their ages.  It reminds me of what sweet kids I have and how all their strengths are needed in our family—I feel so blessed to have these kids making me smile everyday.

Up-cycled Denim Ruffled Skirt tutorial…

I don’t like sewing clothes—have I mentioned this??  I am sure I have!!  I do love sewing clothes from a blog tutorial or refashions, but if it is a big chain fabric store bought pattern—I am not a fan!!  But I love making stuff for my kids—so I just improvise!!
I took an old pair of my toddler’s jeans that had a hole in the knee, cut them off, and added ruffles to make a skirt—and it turned out adorable!!  I have taught this a few times as a sewing class and the girls love it!!
Here’s what you need:
  • Old pair of pants you don’t mind cutting up!! (I like denim but any structured non-knit pant will work)
  • muslin fabric for the underskirt
  • three, 4-5 inch x 45 inch(standard bolt length) strips of fabric***If you are wanting a more ruffle/pleated look or are making this for an adult, you will need to double the amount)
  • sewing machine
  • serger**you can turn over the edges instead if you don’t have a serger**
1. Lay out your jeans and measure from the outside of the side pocket down the side of the pant leg until you reach the same point across from where the crotch of the pants are.  Mark with a fabric pen and then measure that same amount from the other side and mark with a fabric pen.  Next cut from that outside marked point to the center of the pants and then to the other side so you end up with no crotch in the pants anymore and it looks like a super mini skirt.  **Make sure you watch that you are not cutting the back pockets off in the process.  If you have lower pockets in the back, than adjust your measurements lower so all of the back pockets will still show once the skirt is finished.**

2. Next take your muslin fabric and measure around the bottom of your denim skirt.  Pin to the skirt, right sides together leaving enough extra fabric to create a quarter inch seam down the length of the skirt.  Sew to the denim fabric, then sew down the side seam of the muslin.
3.  Take your 4 inch strips and serge the raw edges on both sides so they won’t fray.  If you don’t have a serger, just turn your edges under and sew a quarter inch seam.  Sew the short ends together with a 1/4 inch seam so your strip is now a continuous circle or loop.
4.  Slide your circle strip around the muslin skirt and fold over every few inches all the way around and pin it to form “pleats.” 


5,  Sew the strips with pinned pleats on the muslin skirt.  Repeat with the two other strips. Trim bottom of the muslin skirt and either serge or turn under edge and sew a 1/4 inch seam.

And that is it!!  These are quick and easy to make and look so cute too!!

Fall Burlap Deco Mesh Monogram Wreath…

I needed something for my front door, and after a few months of stewing came up with this little beauty…
Hobby Lobby is killing me with all their fun burlap stuff!!  The base of the wreath is made from burlap deco mesh and then I found these beautiful burlap flowers the other day there…
Added a few fall berry picks and a mod podged monogram wood initial and voila—fall wreath complete!!
I think it may need a little hot glue to keep everything in place, but other than that—it looks great on my door!!

Money Saving, Time Saving, Stromboli…

I came across this great pin on Pinterest for Stromboli from Shatzi at Love and Laundry.  I modified it a little bit for the convenience of our family and it turned out so yummy!!  It only takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and 30 minutes to bake.  It is kid friendly, even my picky-eater-kid-friendly.  The best part is, it looks amazing too!!  It is a great dish for entertaining or taking to someone who is sick.
We use our Zojirushi bread maker to make our dough, here’s the link to the recipe.  I use Cooking on Clover Lane’s dough recipe which has a little bit of brown sugar in it that makes the dough perfectly sweet.  If you don’t have a bread machine you can use your own favorite pizza dough recipe.
Here’s the recipe:
  • Pizza dough
  • Prego Sauce
  • Deli ham, we use Boar’s Head honey maple
  • Sliced provolone
  • Onion powder(only because my kids won’t eat real onions)
  • Sliced olives
  • Egg
  • Parsley
Cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
The dough I make usually makes two, small Stromboli.  I roll out the dough on a cookie sheet…
Then spoon some Prego sauce on top and sprinkle onion powder(if you have picky kids like mine) or use real onions;)…
Next, spread out a layer of deli ham…
And then a layer of provolone cheese slices and sliced olives…
Fold over both sides so they overlap, and then use toothpicks to hold the edges together.  Make sure to tuck and toothpick the ends tightly so that the Prego doesn’t ooze out, and be sure to count your toothpicks so that you know how many to pull out when it is done!!  I rub the dough with an egg wash and then sprinkle parsley on top.  I bake mine on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
I let mine sit for ten minutes or so and pull out the toothpicks and then slice on an angle to serve.
Look how pretty it looks!!  And it cost less than $8.00 to feed 4 people!!
And the leftovers are great the next day, too!!  This is our favorite “go to” meal and I love that it is budget friendly!!  Couldn’t be a better combo!!

My Sewing Room…

With our move to a new house, I was able to take claim of a room in the basement just for me—which became my sewing haven!!  It is my favorite room in the house, and is now set up as a sewing classroom so I can teach sewing lessons!!
It is my little get-away room where I can just be creative and sew without and distractions—it is so therapeutic.  I display my product on the walls as decorations and inspiration.
I have a bulletin board that has my patterns for sale, and my class schedule and of course, my Project Runway sign;)  I can pretend…it is my room!!
I love all the new friends I have made from teaching sewing!!  I heard one student say to another, “Isn’t it so therapeutic being in this room sewing??”  YAY!!!  That is the exact environment I was hoping for!!
I’d love to see your sewing spaces too, feel free to link to your blog in the comments!!

More Board and Batten….Kid’s Bathroom…

When we moved into our last house, the bathroom was sectioned into two rooms with a dividing wall for privacy—I didn’t like it!!  Way too claustrophobic for me!! I begged my husband to take down the wall and 2 years into living there he did it!!  And it made a HUGE difference.
Here’s what it looked like before…
 And here’s what it looks like now, all nice and spacious AND full of board and batten with hooks for the kids’ towels.

Anna_jacqueline 096
Anna_jacqueline 094

If a kid’s bathroom is always going to be messy—which mine are, at least I have something nice to look at and distract me from yelling at my kiddos—HA HA!!

Sewing Class Schedule—Fall 2013…

I am posting my sewing class schedule so my local friends can easily check the calendar and see what new classes have been listed.
All classes are $15 and usually last about 2 hours.  The Anna Tote Bag is my first beginner class (for ages 8 and up) and is the only requisite for other classes.  If you have experience with sewing you may sign up for any class in any order.
I now have 2 Pre-beginner classes for ages 6-8.  They focus on a little bit of hand sewing, and sewing a straight line, and following a curve.
I teach sewing because I love it, not because I am an expert.  My goal is to help my students get excited about creating something independently and feel empowered to try something new—and hopefully continue sewing on their own and use their own creativity to make new things.  My classes are designed as project based so that you usually have something to go home with that is finished(excluding the Anna Tote Bag which is takes two class sessions to complete.)
All classes require the following supplies:
  • a good pair of sewing scissors that will cut fabric 
  • straight pins
  • seam ripper
  • Individual class material lists will be emailed to you when you contact me to sign up for the class.  The class materials are usually under $10 if shopping at Hobby Lobby or Walmart.
You are welcome to bring your own machine, but my classroom is equipped with machines that are perfect for beginners.
2013 Fall Class Schedule
(The Pre-Beginner classes are $15, but include all materials in the class fee)
Crayon Roll
Skills taught: straight lines, how to use a sewing machine(all class materials included with class fee)
Crayon Roll:
Saturday, September 14, 2013 9:30-11:30am
Saturday, November 16, 2013 9:30-11:30am
Bunny Hand Puppet
Skills taught: sewing curved lines, hand sewing, sewing on buttons, pinning(all materials included with class fee)
Bunny Hand Puppet:
Saturday, October 19, 2013 9:30-11:30am
All class are $15 per student and usually last 2 hours.
Tote Bag
(First beginner class and a pre-requisite for all other classes.  Taught in two, 2 hours class sessions)
Skills taught: cutting a pattern, pinning, sewing straight lines, pivot turns, sewing curved lines, backstitching, seam ripping, sewing boxed corners, finishing stitches
Anna Tote Bag
First Session($15):
Saturday, September 7, 2013 9-11am
Thursday, September 12, 2013 7-9pm
Saturday, October 19, 2013, 1-3pm
Second Section($15):
 Saturday, September 21, 2013 1-3
Thursday, September 19, 2013 7-9pm
Saturday, November 9, 2013 1-3pm 
Ruffle Embellished Canvas Bag
Skills taught: gathering, pinning ruffles, sewing ruffles, straight stitches
Ruffle Embellished Canvas Bag:
Saturday, September 14, 2013 1-3pm
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 11:30-1:30
Saturday, October 12, 2013 1-3pm
Thursday, October 17, 2013 7-9pm
Saturday, November 23, 2013 1-3pm
Up-cycled Ruffle Denim Skirt
Skills taught: pleating, pinning ruffles, sewing ruffles, straight stiches
Ruffle embellished denim skirt:
Saturday, October 26, 2013 1-3pm
Pleated Zipper Purse
Skills taught: pleating, basting, sewing zippers
Pleated Zipper Purse:
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 7-9pm
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 7-9pm
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 11:30-1:30
Saturday, November 16, 2013 11:30-1:30pm
Ruffle Embellished Pillow
(choose one design, either 12 x12 or 12x 16)
Skills taught: gathering, pleating, sewing ruffles, finishing stitches
Wednesday, October 16, 11:30-1:30
Saturday, November 9, 2013 9:30-11:30am
Lined Pencil Case or Sunglass Case
Skills taught: lining, button holes, sewing on a button
Lined Pencil Case or Sunglass Case
Saturday, September 7, 2013 1-3pm
Saturday, October 26, 2013 9:30-11:30
Saturday, November 23, 2013 9:30-11:30
Maisy Daisy Necklace
Skills taught: sewing tubes, knot tying, finished stitches, fabric yo-yo’s(hand gathering), sewing on a button
Maisy Daisy Necklace
Saturday, October 12, 2013 9:30-11:30am
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 7-9pm
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 7-9pm
Sharon Burlap Market Tote
Skills taught: Sewing burlap, sewing tubes, boxed corners, finishing lining
Sharon Burlap Market Tote:
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 7-9pm
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 7-9pm
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 7-9pm

And here is a list of classes by month, just in case that is easier…

Saturday, Sept 7–9-11 Tote Bag I
                            1-3 Pencil Case
Thursday, Sept 12–7-9 Tote Bag I
Saturday, Sept 14–9:30-11:30 Crayon
                              1-3 Ruffle Bag
*Wednesday, Sept 18–11:30-1:30 Ruffle Bag
                                     7-9 Zipper pouch
Thursday, Sept 19–7-9 Tote Bag II
Saturday, Sept 21–1-3 Tote Bag II
Tuesday, September 24–7-9 Sharon Market Bag
Saturday, October 12–9:30-11:30 Maisy necklace
1-3 Ruffle bag
*Wednesday, October 16–11:30-1:30 Ruffle pillow
Thursday, October 17–7-9 Ruffle bag
Saturday, October 19–9:30-11:30 Bunny puppet
1-3 Tote Bag I
Tuesday, October 22–7-9 Sharon Market Bag
Wednesday, October 23–7-9 Zipper pouch
Saturday, October 26–9:30-11:30 Pencil pouch
1-3 Ruffle skirt
Tuesday, October 29 7-9 Maisy necklace
*Wednesday, November 6–11:30-1:30 Zipper pouch
7-9 Maisy necklace
Saturday, November 9–9:30-11:30 Pilllow
1-3 Tote Bag II
Wednesday, November 13–7-9 Sharon Market Bag
Saturday, November 16–9:30-11:30 Crayon Roll
1-3 Zipper pouch
Saturday, November 23–9:30-11:30 Pencil case
1-3 Ruffle Bag

Cub Scout Triathlon…

It’s Saturday, and I am sitting in my family room, and there is a peaceful quiet hum of children playing…and my eyes are welling up with tears.  With two kids under 3 1/2, and a son with Autism who loves vocal stimming and loud squeals—there aren’t too many moments in our house that everyone is content.  But this morning, everyone has been happy!!
Actually, we had the greatest morning ever!!  Justin’s Cub Scout Pack planned a triathlon in a neighborhood for the boys to participate in.  We have missed a lot of scouting this year, but Justin has been doing so well lately and so we took the whole family and went to cheer on Justin.
They started with swimming, which I knew Justin would like because he loves being in the water.
The second leg was three laps on a bike.  Justin doesn’t ride a bike often—it has been a year since he has been on it because the training wheels broke!!  But he got on without any whining and took off for his laps.
I knew Justin would only attempt one lap, and I was just praying he would make it without having a melt down.  Especially since we hadn’t been practicing riding the bike at all!!  So the kids and I stayed back and waited for him….and I nervously prayed that he could be happy and enjoy the ride with his dad!!  My best friend texted me right as I was worrying:  “Just saw Justin!!!  Way to go Justin!!  They are doing awesome!!!”  That meant he made it have way around the loop!!
And then we saw him.  I am that crazy lady who cries at the Olympics, and The Biggest Loser, and Little League….yep, that’s me!!  I purposefully wore my sunglasses today so I could cry to my little heart’s content without anyone noticing—ha ha!!
And the cheers began…
He had the cutest little sheepish smile on his face when he rode past all the parents and kids cheering for him!!  Several parents came up and commented on how happy he looked!!
The last leg was running, but Justin was done and wanted to swim.  So he finished up in the pool!  We left without any of our kids having a tantrum—I can’t remember ever having such a perfect Saturday morning!! In the voice of Rapunzel from Tangled, “Best. Day. Ever!!

Adding a Custom Look to a Builder Grade Home…

I love my house we moved into at the end of last year, well—mostly!!  I love our home builder, and I love my floor plan, and I love the location—but it takes me a while to fall in love with any house when I move in.  We had our previous home completely personalized and were so in love with it.  I knew it would take some time for that to happen again in this house.
We moved into our home last December, and I decided in January that one of our new goals would be having a frugal spending pattern this year.  Doesn’t frugal spending pattern sound better than the “budget” word??  My blogging friend Danielle over at Blissful and Domestic was my inspiration.
Well, after months of insanity with Justin, we decided that our frugal spending pattern needed to be flexible enough to do something with the house because quite frankly, we just needed something to be happy about and focus on that was different than all the depressing day-to-day drama!!
I had seen several pins floating around on Pinterest about adding trim to the top of your front door and also painting interior doors black—both ideas that I love!!  So we decided to try it out.
Here’s the before picture of our front door…
And here’s the after…


I love it!! I think it will look a whole lot more amazing once I get some color on the walls instead of my “applesauce” neutral—and a rug!!  But it is a start and it makes me happy every time I look at it.  Which is partly because of the memory of Justin getting into the paint and re-doing the door for us half-way through the project…