Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out with the old. . .

Good bye 2011!  Fond memories!
I spent ALL of 2011 with my husband.  Is that awesome, or what?  Considering our first eight years of marriage, we lived together for only 36 non-consecutive months due to both of us going on deployments, attending military schools, conducting training, and the like.  I'm not complaining - let's just get that straight from the get go!  We both love the Army.  I'm just saying that this year was an amazing blessing that our family has relished.  It hasn't always been so easy in the past, nor will it always be in the future.  So, with appreciation and admiration for the old, we say farewell to 2011 with a reminiscent sigh and welcome the new year with open arms of anticipation and hope.

Romans 15:13 (NIV)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The first project of 2012 is, fittingly enough, made from sweaters discarded in 2011.  As you can see, these guys are just waiting for a little craft love.  I can't wait to chop them up and make something new.  Stay tuned for more!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

It's getting colder here, although not as cold as it has been elsewhere.  I miss the snow, but I have to admit that getting the baby out is a lot easier when it's not freezing.  Mad props to the rest of you trudging your wee ones through the frigid weather.

I'm trying to finish up my winter sewing to get ready for spring things (I'm super excited about them), and this is today's quickie project - homemade baby leggings.  These actually fit my 4-year-old quite well.  I simply bought some adult knee socks at target and chopped off the foot, and then added some fun elastic trim that I picked up at Wal-Mart.  I don't have a serger, so I used a double needle to hem the rough edge and add the trim.  I'm going to pair these up with a cute dark grey fleece jumper with pink lining - that's next up.  I haven't had much time to sew lately, but it's been a good trade off for tons of fun with the kids and Kevin over Christmas.  Maybe I'll get a few pictures of our D.C. adventures posted, too. . .

Stay warm!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Quick Look at a Book

Nancy Zieman's Sewing A to Z
I checked this book out from the library just to flip through it and see what I could learn.  I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to begin sewing or quilting. 

There are about as many techniques and tips as there are seamstresses, and you don't have to do everything, or anything, for that matter, by the book.  But I am not always bold and adventurous, especially when it comes to a pricey piece of fabric, so having a guide to consult is helpful.

Another resource I've used is Stitch magazine.  It's a little more random, but each issue has several techniques in it, as well as a glossary of the terms used in the instructions throughout the magazine.  I find that once I've read it, I tend to dog ear those pages and refer back to them if I'm trying to pick up something new. Stitch Magazine also has a blog called Sew Daily, sewing made modern.  Check out their tutorials and templates, or just browse and inspire yourself with all the possibilities!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holly's dress

Wow.  After a slight sabbatical from my sewing machine, I finally finished Holly's dress.  I've only had the fabric for two years.  Have you ever had a project like that?  It just sits there in a folded pile staring at you.  Well, I finally have closure on this one!  This is what I had in mind when I started:

But it looked a little plain for Holly.  Too serious.  So, I added some baby rickrack!  I love this stuff.

This is the finished product - forgive the bad photo.  I can't wait to have her try it on tomorrow, so maybe I'll be able to get a better shot then.  Jessie's is still in the hopper, so check back soon.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Etsy Cyber Monday

Free shipping from my Etsy shop until midnight tonight!  Receive 10% off when you like us on Facebook through November 30th!  Follow the tabs at the top of this page to access each site.  …Now I'm off to do my internet shopping for the season.  Are you kidding?  Brave all those long lines at the stores with three kids in tow?  I'm not that crazy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


We made the long haul to Indiana yesterday - all in one day!  It took us about 14 hours to get here; that's about 10 hours of driving time, so considering two preschoolers and an infant, we made pretty good time.  The kids traveled well, so that's the first thing I'll be thankful for this Thanksgiving - a safe trip and a happy, healthy family!

On the way, I had a chance to work on something.  Business cards!  I'm pretty excited about these.

They are just plain manila tags from Office Depot, and I hand sewed fabric scraps to them with embroidery floss.  

It was a fun way to pass the time on the trip, and I think they'll add a neat personal touch to the orders from my etsy shop.  

I'm planning to purchase a type-set stamp set from an office store so that I can stamp my shop name and web address on the back or on attached tags like this one:

This could be a cute idea for your Christmas gift tags, too!  Let me know if you want some, and I'll cut you a deal. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Coming soon

This circle apron skirt will be coming soon to my etsy shop!  I'd been trying to get to it all week, but judging by the "mess" pictures in the previous post, you can probably guess why that didn't happen.  I finally finished it today while Kevin entertained the girls and did a LOT of baby holding.

Crummy picture, but I'll fix that soon too!  It will have a tulle pettiskirt to go with it, too.  Fun!

Crafting Inspiration

Ok, so this was supposed to be posted yesterday, but we were OBE (overcome by events).  Three to be exact - Jessie, Holly, and Lilly.  But the pizza and movie night turned out to be a great idea, AND I got a great picture of Kevin sleeping while holding the girls.

So I posed Lilly, but he was pretty out of it.  I guess Toy Story 2 wasn't a riveting choice.  But without further delay, here's the belated post:

Let’s face it.  Creative inspiration doesn’t always well up within us.  Little things creep in

like unexpected messes upstairs while you're vacuuming downstairs

yes, that's baby powder all over the bathroom . . .

and sometimes big ones do, too, (laundry is always a big thing)
this WAS neatly folded laundry until someone decided to dig for her favorite p.j.'s
and if we’re not careful, that fountain of creativity and productivity dries up.  Whether that has happened or not, it can.  For me, the trick is to prevent it from happening, and when it inevitably does, to get back on track as soon as possible.

First, I have to be proactive.  What inspires me?  Always pay attention to what catches your interest throughout an ordinary (whatever that is) day.  Just driving back after dropping my kids off for school yesterday, I was in awe of the autumn colors against a grey sky.  The beauty was inspiring and gave me a lot of cool ideas for using those colors to design some children’s outfits.  Taking a mental note is one thing, but to be proactive, I’ll need to make sure I don’t lose it for later.  We’re about out of the fall season, and I probably won’t use these colors as much until next year.  The tool I chose to use to track my inspiration was my board for design.  I searched through a bunch of pins that night and chose several that fit the mood I was in on that drive.  Maybe if I’m in a slump next fall, something that I saved will be my muse for something new.

Second, what are the things that rob you of inspiration?  Don’t be afraid to admit it.  It may be something you love!  I love love love my family, but honestly, doing family right is a lot of work, and we all know it.  Getting tired and stressed out absolutely kills my creative streak.  But this goes back to being proactive.  Once you’ve identified the thief, try and figure out ways to mitigate that.  So I can’t get rid of my family (nor would I want to), but I can change the way I see things.  Ah, the good ol’ paradigm shifts.  So instead of focusing on how much effort I’ve been putting in and how tired I am (poor, pitiful me!), I take a step back, sit down with my kids and play a game, go to the park, or just be plain silly.  When I focus on them and not me, they can BE my inspiration rather than the felons who murdered it! 

Another thief I have is fear.  More than stress or self-pity, fear keeps me from pursuing something that I’m inspired to create.  Sometimes I’m scared to try something that I don’t think will work out, will cost too much, will take to long . . . the list of excuses goes on!  It’s not so much of a problem with a lack of inspiration as it is with nipping the inspiration in the bud.  This will probably reveal how wimpy I am.  The best way to overcome that hurdle for me is to talk to someone about it.  They usually point out how silly I am being, and then I have enough guts to get on with it.

Speaking of getting on with it, enough rambling from me for one day – tonight is family movie night!  Now THAT (and a husband bringing home two large pizzas) is INSPIRING.

*For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind.  II Timothy 1:7*

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Thoughtful Thursday

Why do you craft?  The question was posed in the book I’m reading, Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin.  It’s funny that such a simple question stopped me cold for more than a few seconds before I read on.  I like the idea of crafting, but just to dance with semantics for a moment, I like to think about why I create things, and you may, too.  Not everything I create is a craft, and some of my crafts are, well, not very creative.

Why do I create?

A laundry list, in no specific order:

  •     To avoid doing laundry, for starters ( I know, some people love doing laundry.  I will never understand you.  NEVER.  And I'm OK with that.)
  •      Even on a bad day when I’m ripping out a thousand stitches,

          it’s still nice to have the old hands busy working on something.
  •     I love children’s clothes and love seeing them dressed in fun fashions.
  •     My family has been creating things with their hands as long as I can remember, so it just seems a natural part of who I am to keep on doing it.
  •       It is extremely satisfying to make something beautiful.
  •       Making something is time well spent, even if the end product isn’t what I would call a stellar work of art.
  •       On a spiritual level, I love the creation story.  God created everything with his words.  He didn’t begin with a raw material; he WAS the raw material.  He made everything beautiful, and when he finished, he said, “It’s good.”  I feel like when I am creating something, I’m imitating my Father.  I love to get to the end of a thing and say, “Now that is good.”
  •       Crafting and creating is just plain fun.  When I think of my craft, I first think of sewing because that’s what I’m currently working on the most.  But with preschoolers in the house, just about anything can turn into a craft.  They call them “projects.”  If a few days have gone by without doing anything, they start whining, “Can I do a project??”  It’s whining that I’m happy to oblige most of the time.
  •       We always have a card on hand for any occasion without having to run out to a store.  We just get the markers, scrap pack, stickers, and glue and let the kids create something!
  •       Crafting relaxes me.  Maybe that’s why my husband lets me do so much of it. 
  •       If, at the end of the day, I have a pile of laundry, some dishes left undone, toilet paper strung across the bathroom from my two-year-old, paint smears on the table (and our play clothes), play dough crumbs under the table, a tent built in the living room out of sheets, Connect Four and Zingo pieces scattered across the floor, . . . but I’ve had my hands on something I’m creating, it’s been a good day.  And, hey, the kids sleep eventually.  It’ll all get picked up, right?

Happy Creating!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


The stuff I make that usually turns out best is simple stuff that I don’t use a pattern to create.  The things I make with a pattern usually turn out fine, but things I make on my own give me a lot more satisfaction (and I think they end up looking just as good, too!)  Sometimes I feel like I have a better “eye” when I’m sewing for my own kids without a pattern.  I tend to rely on my own perception of what would look best and how it would fit better if taken in a little here or with a little length added there.  If I’m using a pattern, I tend to default to the pattern maker’s judgment, and I guess those little “rules” get me all tied up.  Recently, I pieced together some fleece scraps into a rectangle and made a skirt for my daughter out of it.  I put a yoga style band on the top and a length of fleece on the bottom to bind the hem.  It was super easy and cute, to boot!  It’s one of her favorites this fall (and hey, I got to use up some of those scraps, too!) 

I made the skirt f rom fleece scraps, and the leggings are from t-shirt knit.
(The top, hat, and boots are purchased! :)
See what kinds of simple things you can make without a pattern, even if you’ve never tried it before.  Pay attention to things that you’d like to try to replicate.  You may find it immensely freeing!  And you may find with your freedom from the pattern that your creativity starts to flow.  You might just have to make yourself a “good idea fairy” tutu. :o)

Some good sources for inspiration for me are and  I’ve discovered lots of other blogs and tutorials just by browsing pinterest (watch out . . . it’s addicting!)  You can check out my ever increasing sewing board, and also follow others I've pinned.  They also have great sewing ideas / inspiration.  

I also downloaded The Handmade Maketplace by Kari Chapin last night.  It’s a good read so far, and she includes a great listing of people whom she dubs “The Creative Collective.”  This listing of crafters / bloggers / artisans is another great resource you can browse for inspiration.  In addition to inspiration, this book is for people interested in selling their crafts, but more on that in the future.  Look for an upcoming book review when I finish it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Welcome, Baby Lilly Grace Hadley!!

Can it possibly have been two months since my last post? I can't believe that on the 17th, Lilly will be two months old.  She has already outgrown all of her cute little newborn onesies!  At six days old, we made the whirlwind trip of over 3,000 miles to visit grandparents and family, and the rest of the time, we've been trying to balance being outnumbered by the kids.  

A friend of mine had her third child a little over a year ago, and she recently told me that having three kids was a lot of work, but that she felt more like a family now than she ever had before.  I can agree with her.  Watching Jessie and Holly grow and change and love their new baby has been absolutely amazing, and 
on days when I'm pulling my hair out, holding Lilly can still make me smile.  

Adjusting to the no-sleep club is one of those things I must have blocked from my memory of the last two girls' newborn days.  Kevin has been quite the stellar husband.  Even though I'm busy with the girls at home, there have been more days than I'd like to admit that he went off to work an hour or two before I got up on less sleep than I had.  He has been the epitome of selflessness, even on days when I've lost my mind (just a little bit.)

I love my family!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I love this dress!

Seriously.  Do you ever finish something that you're almost completely satisfied with?  This was the last piece I wanted to finish before the baby arrives, and I'm so happy that I ended on a good note.  It could have been a seam-ripping nightmare - even my easiest sewing projects have that potential.  But instead, my bobbins only ran out at the end of a seam, the lining fit perfectly, the hem was no trouble, and doing the applique design with Jessie yesterday was a lot of fun.  Thank you, Lord, for blessings we consider small.

I'll list it to Etsy on Monday - it's time to call it a night (while I'm still ahead!)

Friday, September 9, 2011

A little bird told me . . .

Today I was working on the jumper I posted last night, and my daughter told me I should put a bird on it! She's four and a half.  What a great idea.  It was looking a little plain, so I was going to add two pockets instead of one, but the bird will be perfect.  She even helped me with the design - I think she's quite the artist for a four-and-a-half-year-old (the half is very important), but I may be just a little biased.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Coming soon!

Hoping to have this cute little jumper finished up tomorrow and listed on Etsy.  It's a girls' size 3, plum herringbone and plum damask - I love the fabric!  I think I could make an entire childrens' winter wardrobe out of this herringbone material.  Cute little jackets, pants, skirts, barrettes - I could go on and on with it.  I have a feeling this will be the last project I get to work on for a while, but for good reason!  Our new little girl should be here within the next two weeks!  After this dress, all my creative energy is going to be focused on finishing up the decor for her room (no, we did not finish the nursery for daughter #3 months in advance!)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My first Etsy items

My store on is officially up and running as of yesterday!  I'm excited and nervous at the same time.  There's a lot to learn about the etsy community; there's also a steep learning curve for me about maintaining anything online.  My intent for this blog is to list my current items as well as ideas I have for future projects and listings.  Here are the first few things I've made:

I have one more jumper to make for a listing, and then I'm taking some time to make two for my girls!

Next up: Moving toward winter with designs in fleece, winter hats and scarves, skirts, vests, and coordinating leggings.  I have a few ideas for toys, but that may be a bridge too far before the end of the year with a new baby in tow and two preschoolers to homeschool part time.  Never a dull moment, and we wouldn't have it any other way!