Tuesday, June 21, 2011

If you are going to make a mess, MAKE a mess!

I'm all about the "go big, or go home" mentality and that sure was exemplified in today's project with the kiddos! A little backstory- a year ago.. last summer, I made some handprints with Brooke and since Benjamin was only about 5 months old, I did some footprints with him (uber challenging, let me just say). Here is the link to the original post from last summer. Looking back at it, I now realize that I've lost some of the footprints! Must find those!! I had planned on purchasing wooden squares and making a wall hanging with them, but I never found them on sale (sale enough, anyway) and well, life got in the way! A few weeks ago I found the prints and was reminded that I needed to finish this project in some way. Then, when I was in the garage a couple of days ago, I spotted a scrap piece of lumber leftover from my patio furniture re-deaux that was the perfect size to use for a wall-hanging of these little suckers! Best of all, it was going to be free. So, instead of doing what most sane people would do (get out a roller, paint the board, and let it dry), I decided that since it is going to be a display of handprints OF the kids, that it should be painted BY them as well.

Ok, so the artsy person in me knows that the best paint to use would be some leftover wall paint. The logicial side knows that it would be easier to use the cute little craft bottles of paint. The friends of mine who don't do crazy painty stuff would probably have used a kid's paint. I scrounged around in the garage and found all of the random, funky colors I could find and set them all out, put down a drop cloth, found some brushes, and got out the paint trays. Let the insanity commence...

Here's all of the pretty colors I chose! Fun!

Before the excitement..

Starting to get warmed up... Benjamin HAD to sit on the board. The whole time. Seriously.

Brooke did a great job of painting and of not getting completely covered in paint. She also was very patient with me telling her "not to muddy up the paint", "to stop rubbing it all together because it was turning brown" (to which she replied, "but, I like brown, Mommy!", and covering up the missed spots.

Benjamin totally loved this and was very adept at getting himself completely covered!


Please notice Benjamin's backside. This is what happens when you are sitting on a board that you have painted all around you and you try to stand up and walk away. You slip and fall on your butt....

Watching them work together and "talk" (Brooke talked to Benjamin, he responded with gibberish and pointing) is truly priceless. They are best friends, except when they aren't. 

The finished masterpiece! It is PERFECT!!!

Benjamin was watching me hammer the lids down and begin stacking them up to put them away. It was SO cute that i got out my phone to video tape it.. 

For some reason, the INSTANT I started taping him, he decided that throwing the cans was a better, more fun, idea. Not so, not so! Please enjoy the events as they unfold..

Even with the two cans of spilled paint and my heart attack at the mess that caused, I managed to get everything all cleaned up.. including the kiddos! What a fun and special afternoon! We ended it with a little water table play time, popsicles, and shaving cream fun in the tub before baths! I love my kids!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dress obsessed..

Apparently I have a problem. I can't stop making dresses! It's not like my child needs another dress. In addition to the several I've made her so far this summer, she has a closet-full of other cute ones! But.. I.just.can't.stop! 

I blogged about making my 4th of July Sundress here and how I had cut material for two dresses. Well, today I finally finished the Apple dress. It is AMAZING! I am absolutely in love with the fabrics! After seeing the finished product for the 4th of July dress, I decided to change it up a bit with this one. I cut the main body of the dress into more of an a-line shape (just slightly), I gathered the top ruffle when I sewed it down and then also added the elastic band (which gathers it more) so it was more ruffly, and for the bottom piece, I folded it in half, sewed it on and didn't ruffle it. It made the overall length of the dress shorter and I think it's the perfect length! LOVE!

This is where I'm sewing down the ruffle, before adding the elastic. Since I
had changed the shape of the dress from the original one, I had extra fabric
for this strip, so I just gathered it up and sewed it down.

You've got to love the smiles from a 3 year old! <3

Friday, June 17, 2011

Loving Little Lizard King!

I have won and purchased Little Lizard King patterns in the past. They are SO great! However, I had never made one until the past two weeks! I follow her blog and Facebook page. A few weeks ago she asked for some testers for a new Baby Doll Twirl dress pattern she was going to release. I immediately replied and was one of the lucky ones to get the chance to test the pattern! Of course, I was super psyched and this was just the nudge I needed to get back in the sewing saddle.. and to finally make one of her patterns!
It took me a few days to complete, mostly because when I started it I was also doing some naptime sleep training with the little fella so there were frequent interruptions! Oh that and the fact that I couldn't get my dang machine to shirr!! I seriously just sat there staring at the sleeves and my scrap piece that was a mess of shirring gone WRONG!! I finally figured it out (and have since made the adorable bandana dress that required a lot of shirring!). The dress is a tiered dress and takes a LOT of fabric, but well worth it! I made it in a size 4t and it ended up being really big. She is re-working the pattern and sizing it down a bit and I'm taking it in a little so that Brooke can wear it now, since she loves it as much as I do!

Here is the fabric combination I chose.. and love! 

One awesome thing I learned while doing this was a different way to ruffle! Instead of doing long basting stitches, and pulling the strings, you can do a very wide zig zag and sew over a piece of contrasting thread- that you will use to pull and gather the ruffles. It is way quicker and easier!

See the brown thread there? 

It's smart to use the contrasting thread so you can easily tell which string needs to be pulled!

LOTS of gathering.. lots of material! Lots and lots! 

I also learned that I am not good at zig-zagging edges to prevent fraying. I DO have a serger, I just don't feel like I know how to use it properly! I'm not sure I've used it since last summer actually! I need to just get it out, read up on it (again), watch some video tutorials and do it. Much easier than this zig-zag business. I also never know how far over to put my material to get it to zig and zag correctly.
Using a serger is also a much quicker method of finishing raw edges.. in case you were wondering.

Proof that I mastered the shirring!!! Booyah! Take that Brother sewing machine! 
I own you (now- you had me for a while, but I'm back so recognize.).

And my scrap pieces that I used while trying to figure this out!

Each row of stitches made me more and more frustrated!

This armhole piece is the only piece you had to print out.

Since I had finally messed with my machine, by tightening a screw on the bobbin casing, to get it to shirr, I didn't want to mess it up and have to be frustrated with getting it back to "normal" sewing mode. Naturally, I plan on doing a lot more shirring, so I decided to order a new casing! That way I'll have one for shirring, all set and ready to go, and one for regular sewing! I've had to wait for it to arrive in the mail, so I had to borrow my friend's really basic machine so that I could finish the dress and work on other projects. It has worked out well, but boy do I miss my machine!

Here is the final dress! Love!

You can see it's too big at the shoulders here.

And too wide as well.

But, it's freaking adorable!

And best of all.... SHE LOVES IT!

After I finished this and submitted my pictures and revisions, she offered me the opportunity to test ANOTHER new pattern she's working on! Well heck yes!! This time it was for cargo shorts for boys and little tie shorts for a girl! I was so excited to have something to make for Benjamin! I made them today and they are SOOOO very cute!! I love them and will be making many more pairs I am sure! Brooke already wants a matching pair and that will be my project during naptime tomorrow! They were much more simple and quick to make than the dress- I was able to complete the pair in one day!

I had fun piecing the pattern pieces together.. it's like a puzzle! It also makes cutting out material much quicker! I was able to sit at my sewing table and cut out the pieces rather than have to haul my big preggo butt down to the floor! 

These have a flat front (adorable!!), pockets (real ones!), and a faux fly (too cute!).

The elastic is in the back and the fit on these was great!

I'm so excited that I was able to make him a 4th of July outfit!! 

I'm not showing off his belly here, but rather how the shorts fit! 

And the back (love his little bowed legs!).

He loved the shorts too. No, really, he did.

Check out Little Lizard King's shop on Etsy.
Here is a link to her blog.
If you are on Facebook, you can like her page here.
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