Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gift Tags

I know that Christmas has already come and gone. However, in an effort to complete any unfinished business in 2008 I think I need to confess my undying love for these clever gift tags before I ring in the New Year. And as if the cute idea weren't enough, you can download a template to make your very own right here. (Isn't the internet awesome?!)

(From Inchmark, yet another lovely blog.)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry & Bright

We had a very merry christmas and I hope you all did too! I think the highlight for me was the part of the day we spent roller skating with family. I LOVE roller skating but haven't been since college! Luckily my cool sister-in-laws rented the rink for everyone to enjoy. Here are some pictures of the fun...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Urban Renewal How-To

Several people have asked me how I went about reviving the ugly thrift store dress. If you are interested in the boring sewing details, please read on. But note, I am in no way-not even close- to being a good sewer. I usually just sort of wing it so hopefully this makes sense. Also if the term "right sides together" makes you want to beat your head against a wall, this post might not be for you. I'm just saying.

1. Before I cut or sewed anything I had a good idea of what I wanted the dress to look like. I gleaned my inspiration from a couple of dresses I've had my eye on recently. (Found here and here.) Inspiration = A good thing.

(FYI: The ugly dress I bought was made of a soft, tight knit sweater material with a little bit of stretch. The stretch is important because without it I might have had to add a zipper or something crazy like that. So, if you are considering doing this, I suggest finding something with a little stretch. It is very forgiving to sewing novices like myself.)

2. I started by cutting the dress at the empire seam so the dress was in two pieces. I started working with the top piece first. To make it more fitted, I added just a little runching under the bust. To do this, I set my machine to the longest straight stitch setting and without back-stitching, I sewed along the bottom of the piece, just above the old empire seam. I believe the technical term for this is "baste stitch." I pulled the loose thread ends to gather the fabric until I achieved my desired amount of runching. (By the way, is runching a real word?)

3. The runching made the top a little more fitted but not quite enough. So next, while wearing the top piece inside out, I pinched the extra fabric at the side seams and down the sleeves and pinned it so I had a rough idea of how much I needed to take off. (I didn't take any pictures during the process but the picture below illustrates what I'm trying to say.) I recommend taking off less than you think and trying on the garment again. You can always take off more, but it's a pain to rip out seams to add more.

4. Once the top was fitted, I decided to make the middle waist band. I made this by cuting off about six inches of fabric from the top of piece #2 in my lovely illustration which in turn made piece #3.

5. I wrapped piece #3 around my waist, pinned it in place, cut off the excess and sewed it to fit. I didn't want any puckering in the waist band, I wanted it to lay nice and flat so I made sure it was the same diameter as piece #1. Then, with right sides together I sewed the waist band(#3) to the top piece (#1).

6. All I had left to do was attach the skirt (#2). I cut a few more inches off the top of piece #2 so the hem would fall just below my knee. I also wanted a fuller skirt so I did a little runching here too. Once again, I did a baste stitch around the top of the skirt piece and pulled the loose thread ends to pucker the fabric. Once it was runched to my liking and roughly the same diameter as the waist band, I sewed them right sides together (of course.) I only had a few inches of scrap fabric left over which I used to make some fabric flowers for the waist band. Here is a close up so you can see how the three pieces (top, waist band and skirt) are sewn together.

And there you have it. A brand new dress! (sort of.) I hope someone finds this post useful because it took a really long time to write. I'm off to bed. Happy renewaling!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Urban Renewal

I recently read a really cool blog post about a girl who takes over-sized t-shirts and turns them into cute little outfits. (Her name is Mari Santos and she showcases her creations on a web-site called Urban Renewal, in case you are interested.) On a recent trip to the thrift store, I decided I wanted to try a little Urban Renewal of my own. I bought an an over-sized dress for $3.00 and spent about 1 1/2 hours making it into something worth wearing. I am thrilled with the results!

This is soooo much easier and so much cheaper than trying to make a dress from scratch. I have two other thrift store dresses waiting in the wings and I can't wait to get my hands on some old t-shirts. This is going to be fun.

Welcome to Winter in Ohio

Behold! The lovely view out my back door today. Unfortunately, this is as much sun as I've seen in about a week... or maybe more. Honestly I can't remember. Not cool. It's also something like 17 degrees outside. Yeah, really not cool. Kind of anticlimactic but I guess this post marks the official start to my "I Hate Winter Blog Tour" for 2009. Let the incessant whining begin!

(On a more positive note, I just finished a really fun sewing project that I'm going to blog about next!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

High Chair

I love taking pictures of Spencer in his high chair. 1-I have lots of good natural light in my kitchen/dining room, 2-He can't run away, 3- He's typically pretty happy (and cute) when he's eating. So, as far as photos go, it's a winning combination! Here are a few recent favorites:

{Spencer 14 months}

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Stuck Labels

Oh how I love projects that involve pretty labels. If you are also a label-lover, check out this brand new company: Stuck Labels. The designs are simple but clever and the prices are affordable. The creative gal behind one of my favorite blogs, Oh Happy Day, is also the founder of the company. Check out her post on the company's launch with lots of other pretty pictures here.