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Back in Spring, Patterns for Pirates and Made for Mermaids announced a contest to sew a mini capsule using their patterns. I joined in because I love a challenge, and was intrigued by the capsule idea. I am currently sewing furiously for their fall contest so thought I’d go back and share the last one here.

So let’s back up….what’s a capsule? It’s a collection of basic pieces that are easily mixed and matched to create many looks with only a few pieces of clothing. It started as a minimalist movement really….and it would be amazing if that’s why I sew capsules….but if I’m being honest, I do it because I don’t want random pieces in my wardrobe that match nothing else. I am plagued by this problem because of sale shopping….I buy random things, don’t think about what I actually need in my closet, and then feel like I never have anything to wear. Then I started sewing for myself instead but the same thing happened….I tried a pattern using fabric I like…move on to the next….and then nothing really matches and I just have more clothes and still that dreaded nothing-to-wear feeling. By sewing a capsule, I’m forcing myself to think about what goes together and what I need to mix and match. It also streamlines shopping for shoes and accessories.

For my first capsule, I started with a print I liked (the floral for the dress) and chose coordinates from that. I then picked patterns best suited to each fabric and started sewing. All fabric was from my current stash (aside from one upcycled item) so no need to deal with shipping.

Sweet Tee (hack from a pinspiration) using double brushed poly, some striped knit from Hobby Lobby, and suede scrap, Timeless Tunic (upcycled from a dress I found at Lidl, with some modifications), Layer Me Up/Pirate Pencil Mash out of french terry, Layer Me Up Tee from So Sew English rayon spandex, Mama Isabel (hacked into a cardigan) out of Joanns French Terry, Mama Isabel Dress out of rayon spandex, Peg Legs, Peg Legs (both double brushed poly from LA Finch, and SOS Pants out of denim jegging from Hobby Lobby




I was pretty happy with how it all turned out, so I decided to make a capsule for Charlotte also. For hers, I chose a floral print once again and picked solids and a stripe to coordinate.


She ended up with a Sugar Pie Tee, Bonny Skirt, Infinity Scarf, Bonnie Leggings, Chloe Skirt, another Sugar Pie Tee, Isabel Dress, Bonnie Leggings, and a hoodie made from the Jolly Roger Raglan with add-on pack. She absolutely adores this capsule months later and loves how she can mix and match pieces and get dressed quickly…so much so that she bragged constantly to her brother about how easy it was to pick what to wear….and then I ended up making him a quick capsule also. Of course.

His was all tops because a) I didn’t have a boys pants pattern from either company and b) I chose all the tops based on a couple basic pairs of pants he has…namely some black joggers, jeans, khaki pants and mario joggers I made him previously. The idea was that he could mix these tops and hoodies with those and be all set.


He received a few Jolly Roger Raglans and Yo Ho Henleys…and I just did tons of variations for each to make them all unique. Plus, I threw in some Nintendo fabric to help him want to wear it all. He is still very much in love with each of his pieces too and that’s a HUGE win since he’s of the age and opinion that homemade is not cool.

There you have it….three mini capsules in 2 weeks. Thankfully M4M and P4P make some quick and easy patterns! I can’t wait to share the next capsule….only one this time though 😉

 

**this post contains affiliate links to help fund future pattern and fabric purchases but all opinions are my own!

Summer in Ireland is FULL of festivals everywhere, and one of the largest in Galway is the Galway Races. It is a week solid of horse races with lots and lots of high fashion and hats. What better way to immerse ourselves than do some ridiculous family outfits?

Doug convinced me to sew up formal wear for this. He is one of my biggest sewing supporters as he doesn’t bat an eye over fabric I buy and willingly purchases machines I beg for, so I couldn’t let him down. He decided I needed to sew up a few suits however. Now, to someone who doesn’t sew it does not seem like such a monumental task. But sewing up a men’s suit?!? Uh, no. Not in my skill set. He kept begging however, and purchased all I needed (from Minerva Crafts, thanks to their cheap Ireland shipping) so I took it on. And by took it on, I mean I sewed up EVERYTHING ELSE first because I was terrified of sewing menswear.

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First up was the littlest guy’s suit. I thought it would be a nice introduction into how a jacket is constructed, and if I messed up beyond repair it was only a 3t amount of fabric and not a huge loss. I went with Burda 9443. When I started sewing, I used lots of paper patterns (I didn’t know PDF ones existed yet) so wasn’t too intimidated by it, but it has been so long since I’ve used one! It was a challenge, but I made it through. His suit came complete with welt pockets on the front, full lining, and welt and slant pockets on pants along with a fully functional fly. I was pretty amazed I completed it. I went with a straight 3t for the whole thing despite his measurements being ALL OVER the place on the chart (9-12m for most, 4t for belly, 2t for height…) I decided trying to figure out how to grade that many sizes on something with such complicated instructions was too hard. Fit was great though, aside from sleeves a bit long. Pants were long too but I just hemmed them up.

Next up was the oldest, since I used the same pattern for him. I whipped up the second pair of pants like a pro. I do wish I sized up on the vest, but it works. Pants fit him so well without any adjustments so I was very pleasantly surprised. He is super skinny and RTW clothes tend to be too wide and short on him…so if you have a kid with a similar build, this is a great formal wear pattern to have.

With some of the tough sews out of the way, I concentrated on Little Miss C’s look. She wanted a maxi dress, and she absolutely loves the Annie dress from Violette Field Threads, so I combined it with the Emmaline dress to do a tiered skirt. I used some of the cotton linen fabric along with some satin ribbon for the braided straps, and the paisley is a voile. Simple and straightforward to make because I’ve made her countless dresses before. Since I knew she was going to be cold in a strappy dress out of lightweight fabric, I whipped up a Seville Cardigan from New Horizons Designs to go over it. The fabric is a scuba knit and did not have good stretch for the bands, so I just hemmed the curved edges on the coverstitch.

For myself, I wanted to do an off-shoulder dress with  a flounce so immediately thought of the Mama Cassie from Made for Mermaids, with the flounce hack from the blog. I was going to mash with the Pirate Pencil from Patterns for Pirates but decided to go with something a little less fitted (reason why to come) and instead mashed it with Sew Straight and Gather Uptown Downtown dress (I didn’t want a seam at the waist). I also used the pockets from the UT/DT because when you’re making your own dress, it NEEDS pockets. Fabric is scuba (same as Char’s cardi). I just wish I had done something to weigh down the skirt somehow so that it would have been more practical for West Ireland winds!

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Last, and I mean very last….like I waited until the week of the races to start….was the suit for Doug. I chose Vogue 8890 and started on the pants first, thinking they would be similar enough to boy’s pants that I could handle them. I had to grade between sizes to accommodate his measurements but after 2 days, I made it through and he had nicely fitting, functional pants. So.many.pattern.pieces. I then tried to convince him that pants and a button down would be great, and maybe I’d even make him a tie….but no dice. He insisted I take on the coat. So another 2 days later, I did it. I made a men’s suit coat. That fit. I still cannot believe it.  I did do some small modifications (I didn’t have hair canvas laying around since I’m not a tailor, so used interfacing….and left out pockets in the interest of time)….but it fit. And no one would think it’s homemade from first glance. He absolutely loves it, too….so I think I’m on the hook to make him more clothes in the future.

I had to modify some storebought hats with scrap fabric and paint to coordinate (well, Doug did the painting for me), and added some coordinating ribbon to Char’s fascinator to jazz it up….but then we were off to enjoy the races! Kids had a blast picking horses to win, and taking in the excitement of being there. We had some pretty amazing weather considering it has been pretty rainy here lately (and chilly for Floridians….around 18 degrees Celsius). I even picked the winner for the last race so we ended on a good note!

In the process of making all these outfits happen, we ended up making a little something else too…..and the reason I went with a less fitted dress. Baby #4 is due to arrive in early 2018!

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**This post contains affiliate links to help fund further fabric and pattern purchases

I was recently chosen as a Brand Ambassador for Rebecca Page patterns and it’s kind of a dream job. I get to sew up lots of patterns from a designer I love before they are released?!? Yeah. I know. I’m cool.

Anyway, my first sew was the Riviera Ruffle. It comes in adult, kid, and doll size…so I went with kid because I had this awesome Michael Miller medallion fabric that is so bright and cheery….and when you live someplace where skies are pretty gray a lot, bright and cheery is nice 😂

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The pattern has options to have contrast side panels, ruffle or not, and flutter sleeves or not. In order to convince little Miss Char to wear it, I let her choose every option herself. So she picked all of them. At least she has strong faith in my sewing skills?

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Her measurements put her in a 3/4 for width so I cut a 5/6 length and graded in the sides for a slimmer fit. Not much growing room but fits like a glove.

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I especially love that the sleeves and ruffle do not require gathering. Just magical sorcery to look so fluffy (or math. Whatever).
Plus, all seams on inside are French seams. So pretty and neat, no serger needed. Love it.


When I make another, I’d maybe serge the side ones instead of French seams there. I had a hard time getting those to look how I wanted. Or maybe I’d leave off the contrast…though it seems like it looks slimming for adult sizes to have them….tough call.

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I can’t wait to make some more awesome Rebecca Page creations!!
**this post contains affiliate links that help fund my fabric obsession.

First step to keeping my life organized is planning out my meals, so here’s the menu for the week! We are currently cleaning out the freezer to sell it before the big move, so as much as we can cook from there the better (Remember, we buy meat from local farms in bulk, by the animal, so there’s some cuts left in there to use up!)

Monday: Chicken fried cube steaks with roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes

Tuesday: Salmon with swiss chard and walnut pesto over barley

Wednesday: Grilled chicken breasts with leek and bacon risotto

Thursday: Smoker day! We will smoke all the hams and beef roasts in the freezer to have smoked meat on hand in the small freezer, and sell off the smoker. Served with whatever veg is in the fridge.

Friday: Grilled cheese bar with tomato soup (I’ll bake up some homemade bread earlier in the week)

Saturday: Raid the fridge for leftovers!

Sunday: Trunk or Treat at church so I’ll leave this open 😉

What are you having this week?? Any tips to clean out all the food in the house before a big move without starving in the meantime??

So it’s been a few years since I have written on the blog (or accessed the dashboard to do so….holy moly it looks intimidating) but it’s time for my triumphant return. First, let’s take a look back on some things that have happened since my disappearance, shall we?

  1. A huge reason why I stepped away in the first place was a little guy I was growing. Remember that birthday party I didn’t have the heart to do much for? It was because I was so.sick all the time. Funny how I went as a house for Halloween that year…I was perhaps hiding a bit of a bump behind it all 😉  After the first few weeks of the pregnancy, things did improve dramatically. Baby Heath arrived in June 2014. He’s a little firecracker now of course.img_1698
  2. While pregnant with Heath, we of course took on the kitchen renovation. And by pregnant, I mean 9 months along. I had called and asked for some shelving to organize the kitchen a little in a nesting rage…and that night the husband starting knocking out  walls. Anyway, it turned out gorgeous.
  3. We’ve done plenty of other house projects too, including both kids rooms, front door, and backyard. Maybe I’ll write about them one day. Probably not.

    4. I’ve still been cooking and sewing and schooling nonstop throughout it all.

    5. And we have done a few ridiculous birthday parties…12238248_10107734921237651_4402035916461737501_o6. As well as epic Halloween costumes…

    The biggest news of all though is what is yet to come, and the reason for my return to the blogisphere. We are embarking on the next huge chapter of our lives–a move to IRELAND! What?!? So in an effort to document that journey, I am back!

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I was on a cruise ship all last week so now it’s time to get back to reality!!

Here’s our plan for the week:

Monday: Beef Bolognese with Linguine (I’ll freeze leftover sauce to make a quick future meal)

Tuesday:  Charlotte’s new ballet class is now in the evening, and this week is also T-Ball registration after ballet…ugh, busy night.  Back to the crock pot for help.  Pesto Ranch Chicken Thighs (as suggested by a friend)  with homemade ranch seasoning mix.  I’ll serve with steamed broccoli and golden skillet potatoes, all prepped in advance, of course.

Wednesday:  Mongolian Beef with Bok Choy, originally inspired by this but with tons of substitutions.  I should write a new version perhaps.  Served over brown rice.

Thursday:  Doug informed me that his work is having him go deep sea fishing and out to dinner.  Seems a bit suspicious, but elaborate enough that I’ll just go with it.  The kiddos and I will have Cheese Ravioli with Mushrooms and Spinach.

Friday:  Date night!

Saturday:  Lamb Meatballs with Toasted Orzo (and a vegetable to be determined by whatever farmers market I scout in the morning).  Side note, this is the only meal this week involving the oven on purpose since mine caught fire.  We are taking our time to replace it apparently…anyway, hopefully I can adapt to stovetop.

What are you having this week?

Last minute as always, family pajamas are complete.  Charlotte gets a twirly nightgown, Dexter has some cozy pants (he already has a long sleeve red shirt to complete the look), Daddy got some basic pants, and Mommy got some pants with a yoga waist.  All ready for tonight!

 

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And a look through the years….

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Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

 

So after a fun trick or treating night with dear friends,

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we ended up with a good amount of candy.  We don’t eat a whole lot of candy around here so this year we decided to have some fun with it! Instead of letting it sit in a bowl and collect dust until the next “candy season,” we did some art and experiments with it all.

First we dumped it all out on the kitchen floor and sorted it.

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Starr Lily sorted her “dulces” based on color, or type, or shape.  We found candies that had S’s on them (her new favorite letter) and made a separate pile for all the skittles.

Next we practiced some cutting,

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and more sorting,

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and pouring.

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Then, we observed.

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Within a few seconds of adding water, we had some awesome colors! And because she put different colors into the same bowl, they started blending! It looked really cool. I pulled out the paintbrushes and some paper and she painted with those colors for a little while, but the blending was what really captured her attention.

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Eventually she poured them all into the same bowl, but she made this little work of art first.

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Isn’t it adorable?  Ha! I think all her art works are great. But seriously though, look at how focused she was at getting those little papers to stick with her skittles paint!

I’m not sure what else we”ll do with the other candy.  Maybe see if they float or not? Talk about density? Maybe cut some open and dissect them with tweezers and other pincer tools? Either way, I think she’ll enjoy playing with them.

Have you done fun experiments with candy? I’d love to hear what you did.

We have a tradition of going all out for Halloween.  Now I’m not a big fan of haunted mansions and zombies and the like, but enjoy the chance to really play an awesome game of dress up.  It started back in college when we did some pretty epic entries into Trunk or Treat at our church, and there was a bit of a lull post college/pre kids when we could only convince the dogs to dress up so much, but then kids arrive and we were allowed to go crazy again.

So far, we’ve been a bluebird in a forest, King Kong and the Empire State Building, Hey Diddle Diddle, and Hansel and Gretel (along with the witch, of course).

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This year, we decided to include the dog and he was the original inspiration.  You see, I know Doug loves a good project, so I thought making the dog talk would be right up his alley, and it was….but then he just didn’t have enough time and ran into some issues and the talking dog never happened.  The rest of the costume hopefully made up for it.

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We love a good theme, but something a little out of the box when possible.  It seems a waste to sew up costumes that I can just go to the store and buy, right?  Luckily our kiddos are still young enough that they don’t demand much of a say, plus they just love dress up so are happy to participate in any costume.

IMG_1106IMG_1111First I made Kevin the Snipe.  This was the one that required the most sewing and work on my part and I wanted to get it out of the way.  I started off with a basic fleece costume (there was an elastic band under the bum, raglan sleeves that I shortened, and I colorblocked it to make it match the feathers I had planned).  After I had the basic structure, I hand stitched feather boas over it to match the inspiration.  I included a few craft feathers that were stitched/hot glued for the accent colors, too.  For the hood, I started with the hood from the pattern, then added yellow fleece for around the eyes, cut up some ping pong balls, and glued them in with some felt.  I used some pipe cleaners with feathers attached for the crest and a sheet of yellow foam for the bill (painted orange at the end).  For some structure, I attached a baseball cap underneath and a pipe cleaner inside to help keep the bill from going more mask.  It still flopped a little, but it didn’t bother her at all.

IMG_1108  IMG_1117Dexter became Russell, the Wilderness Explorer Scout.  We started with a thrifted yellow shirt and a matching hat found at a local outlet store.  I made the vest and bandanna, and printed out the WE logo on some iron on paper to attach to the hat, flag, and shirt.  The flag is just felt on a stick, Doug used carpet pads with badge printouts for the sash, I made the little bead thing he had in the pictures out of felt and a shoelace.  Then we just decorated his backpack with lots of stuff on carabiners.

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Mr. Fredrickson came together pretty easily with a thrifted jacket, bowtie, and cane but then we ran into a slight roadblock with the hair.  You see, Doug doesn’t have hair so we couldn’t just spray his white or something, and old man wigs are very hard to come by.  I did the best I could to make him a nice head of white hair using some headband webbing and felt for the under-structure and craft fur for the hair.  I think it gets the point across….

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Last, the Up House.  Pretty essential part of the whole costume since it definitely doesn’t have the most recognizable characters.  Doug built a house facade out of some craft wood and painted it up.  We decided that just the front of the house was enough (and would make my life a little easier, too).  It had some buckles to attach around my neck, then we just tied some balloons on.

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Dug the Dog was all set as is, and we were ready to set out!

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Anyone else love a good family theme?

A few weeks ago, Drea and I got to meet up in Daytona for a mini vacation.  Like any rational people planning for a trip with two small kiddos a piece, we decided to sew matching dresses for the girls.  We went with the Sunshine Dress and picked out fabric, but living far away from each other proved to be a slight issue so we ended up using similar fabrics instead.

 

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Yeah, Charlotte is bigger than Starr Lily (despite being 3 months younger) and I sewed up a smaller dress.  I’m a rebel like that.

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I had purchased extra fabric at the time just in case so I decided to make it into a top for her for KCW.

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She insisted on wearing her super hero cape for pictures.

She doesn’t have too many cute tops (lots of stained t shirts, though…) so I thought a top might be more useful than another dress….so she could really get her play on…

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I used some buttons I found in my Grandmother’s stash….you can’t tell, but they are the perfect color taupe to match the one in the plaid…slight victory since I tried to match that in the store and was unsuccessful.

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One completed project done….maybe I can whip up something for the boy tomorrow.

And today was the first day that it felt a little bit like it might be fall.  Not necessarily sweater weather, but you-could-wear-a-sweater-and-not-die weather.  Ah, Florida.

How is Kid’s Clothes Week going where you are?