Posts filed under ‘sewing’

4:30 has to be good for something 

good morning, friends. i’m really tired. i woke up at 4:30, which is more of a bed time for me, than a get-up-and-go time.  since i’m lying in the dark with a gigantic box of tissue, and a myriad of reasons that my body won’t sleep, i’ll use the time to post a quick update or two.

let’s go!

update #1: anne’s birthday party.

cousins  in tutus

i rented a hall, and schemed with anne’s ballet teacher, and together we threw anne a ballerina party with all of her friends.

despite my being super-prepared for this party,  it was still chaos. i love chaos.

the guests arrived and ate, made their own tutus, had their ballerina hair done, and did their own makeup.  then they got to work with miss maggy (anne’s ballet instructor) to learn, practice, rehearse, and finally perform a ballet for their parents. the girls all worked so hard, and miss maggy was a wizard with them. I also loved that entire families came to see the performance!

behind the scenes (and often the camera), my sister bernadette was a whirling dirvish of activity. we’ve started this tradition of helping each other out with our daughters’ birthday parties, and i really really really could not have pulled off the party without her!

did i mention there was also a blizzard that day?

okay, on to the next:

update #2: anne’s birthday gift.


her birthday gift from us this year, was an elsa dress, and tickets to see disney on ice.

we took the train into the city with a group of girls and their moms, and had dinner together, before walking to the arena for the main event.

when anne first received her elsa dress, she was ecstatic because she had been asking for one since first seeing frozen.  plus she absolutely loves anything handmade. she looks past all of my sewing mistakes and genuinely believes that i can make anything. it’s simultaneously endearing and terrifying.  when I told her about the rest of her gift (train, dinner, show), she was apathetic about the whole thing.

the day after the show, however, she was so thankful for her gift, and declared it “the best birthday present ever!”  shout out to my friend rachel for being the most organized person in the world, and arranging the tickets & dinner!

i’m wordy before the sun is up! and also, so done. i’ll hopefully do another update before we leave for belgium (if you follow me on instagram or have noticed the theme in the sidebar– you’ve been counting down with me!).

going to try to nap now! i know this is totally morning for most of you, but it’s really not morning for me!

March 26, 2015 at 06:54 Leave a comment

twenty fourteen

i’m actually in shock that we are on this end of the holiday season already!  it’s been an amazing blur of parties and gift wrapping and visiting with friends.  for two months leading up to christmas, my fingers were busy with knitting, crochet, and sewing, as is common for this time of year.  each year gets a bit busier, and this year i unfortunately had to turn down work because there just wasn’t enough time for it all (shown here are most of the items, i didn’t have time to photograph some of them before they were packaged and gone!)

our family worked really hard to keep christmas about Jesus this year, and shifting the focus back onto Him.  we did more acts of kindness, and gave more gifts that didn’t require wrapping.  it was the very best christmas season that i’ve ever experienced, and i’m hoping to duplicate it for many more years to come.

2013 was a big year of changes for me.  i got older, i cut my hair (multiple times), i pierced my nose, i dropped 20lbs, and i had my braces removed.  i learned to control my illness with diet, and am so so thankful for that victory.  i also got cats; two of them.   i learned (through trial & error) to be a better mom, and to be a confident homeschooler.  i quit yelling at my kids, then fell off the wagon, then humbly scrambled back onto it again.

looking ahead, there are things in 2014 that i want to do differently, and things that i want to stay the same.  always, always, always– cherish the time i have with my kids and other loved ones.

my “new years resolution”, is to get back into my 30 day schedule of self-improvement.  i have a few lined up, and i love it when you guys join me in them!

  • january: clean house every night before bed.  the handmade gifts and christmas schedule left me running and dropping a lot, and i’m just ready to snap at the state of my home!  i came across this today, and it totally seems achievable.  so i’ll try for a month and even if i fail half of the days, i’ll still be ahead.
  • daily in february/march/etc, (in no particular order):  practice french, spend 30 minutes with God, delete & clean up my photos.  i dunno, i’m kind of dry on ideas.  i usually have several “healthy eating month” or “30 day shred month” ideas, but my kids are at the gym 4 times a week with programs, so i’m working out during those times too.  and my “special needs belly” forces me to eat healthily every single day, so they’re kind of unnecessary regulars that i can’t fall back on anymore.  any suggestions?

most of all, i want 2014 to be awesome!  in what will feel like 3 months, we’ll be back here again wondering where another year disappeared to, and i want to be able to have nothing but great things to reflect upon.  i’m so ready to work towards that!

thanks for sticking around and reading my musings.  i hope that each one of you have a great 2014, full of God’s blessings and your recognition of them.  happy new year!


January 1, 2014 at 22:15 Leave a comment

tutorial: pants to manly satchel

there are other pants-to-bag tutorials online, but as far as i know, this technique is an original.  i’m not up for preamble tonight, so let’s just get to the good stuff!

beforeisha word about pant choice: look for straight legs!  also pants made out of thinner fabrics. we eventually sew through several layers at a time with this technique, so avoid the denim!  pockets aren’t essential, but they’re free “oopf” for your finished project, and are referenced many times in this tutorial.

step one:  cut above the pocket.  make sure that you leave plenty of room above the pocket, because as you’ll see in the next step, we need to have room to sew up there.

inside out isntime to flip the leg!  turn the pant leg inside out, but not all the way (top left).  then you’re going to take the hem of the pants, and fold it over, enclosing the cut raw edge inside.  did that make sense?  try it– it’s not as confusing as it sounds!  then sew the top fold down (so you’re sewing around the very bottom of the hem of the pants, just above the top of the pocket).

at this point you have a tube, with the right sides of the fabric (camo, in this case) on the inside and outside of the tube.

turn the tube inside out!  the pocket is now on the inside of the tube.  go ahead and sew up the bottom so i can stop calling this bag a tube!

sew the bottom

boxing the bottom!  so fun to say, so fun to do.  use these pictures for reference:

box the bottomtop left: cut out a square on both bottom corners.  mine is about 1.5 x 1.5.  to save measuring on the second corner, use the waste square and trace it.
top right: open up that square!
bottom left: and pinch it against the bottom.
bottom right: sew up that corner!

at this point i like to give everything a nice crisp ironing.  the new seams relax, and the box-bottom is more defined.  ps: YOU’RE DONE THE HARD STUFF!


beltthe strap!  i actually don’t have a lot of pictures here, but it’s not difficult!  cut off the buckle, and sew the belt ends into the inside of the bag.  BAG!  YOU MADE A BAG! official!

finished bagyou can customize this bag with any pants, and any belt.  elliot uses his to hold his bible, shares, and club book.  it’s way manly!

if you use this tutorial or have any questions, please let me know! i’d love to see the finished product.  also, i don’t need two of these bags.  i made the first one for elliot, and the second one to show you how it was done.  the second bag is for sale for $10- just msg me if you want it!

update: the bag sold possibly less than a minute after i posted this.  sorry!

April 7, 2013 at 21:32 Leave a comment

the astrid transformation

do you remember before christmas, when i made the declaration that i was going to go from this: 

to this?

well i didn’t get it done in time for christmas (shocker!), but i did finish it up by 5pm on the evening of anne’s birthday.  here she is!

i didn’t have a ton of time for photos since she was stuffed inside a prettily wrapped box, about 4 seconds after the last stitch was sewn, but here’s what i’ve got, and a bit of a source guide for anyone who wants to make their own:

groovy girl thora came with pink hair on her head, which i cut out as close to the root as possible.  i bought some patons astra yarn in a yellowish colour because it had the sheen and twist of the original hair.  it’s not a perfect match but meh– highlights.  i used a massive darning needle to replace the pink hairs, and added in a couple lines of hair to the top of the head for astrid’s centre part.  the ‘do was simple: choppy bangs and a chunky braid down the back.
the headband and shoulder guards were made the same way– leather strips dotted with metallic puff paint.

 the sweater was just a knit tube turned tank top when i got to the armpits.  i scoured the internet until i found Stroll fingering weight yarn at in the “tree fort” colourway.  i sewed the shirt onto astrid, thus declaring this a toy with no removable clothing.
the arms are covered in a lightweight hemp, which i sewed in place as i wrapped it.

i was hoping to find skull and thorn buttons on the internet, but can you believe that they don’t exist?! i know, i was shocked too.  so i bought some white and metallic silver fimo at micheal’s, and got sculpting.  i pressed 4mm jump rings into the backs of each skull & thorn before baking, to make them something that i could sew onto astrid.  i just used a thin sharpie for the skull details.
skirt:  i bought a strip of leather, and cut slits into it (which i rounded off to size).  to sew on all of my new buttons, i had to first punch holes for my needle to go through.  a push pin and a cork board were great helps in this step.
underskirt: you can’t really see it in any of my pictures, but before i sewed on the leather skirt, i sewed a rectangle of dark brown felt onto astrid.  after i’d sewn the leather skirt on, i went between each of the rounded leather strips and cut the points into the felt (like the picture from the movie, above).
legs: i painted groovy girls legs blue with a sharpie paint pen.  i also coloured her underwear with a brown sharpie because thora came with sunny yellow ones and i’m all about the details.
boots:  i tried to just colour over thora’s yellow boots with both a sharpie marker and paint pen, but the glitter kept showing through and it wasn’t going to work.  so then i tried to make boots out of leather and that nearly killed me.  eventually i made them out of the same dark brown felt as the underskirt.  they were definitely the hardest part of the project- can you believe that i’ve never made boots before?  haha.  the fur on the tops was also a bit of a challenge until derek found a toy beaver at value village.  it died well, bravely and without a struggle.  elliot was completely horrified at the death of a stuffed animal, but he loved the creation process too much to make a big deal out of it.

so i think that’s it!


from this:

to this:

to recap, you’ll need:

  • sharpie paint pen in blue
  • sharpie markers in dark brown and a thin-tipped one in black
  • fimo, white and metallic silver
  • 4mm jump rings
  • leather in two colours: reddish-brown and gray
  • grayish-brown fur  (from an old toy or if you can find it at a craft store– i couldn’t!)
  • dark brown felt
  • metallic silver puff paint
  • yellow yarn
  • lightweight hemp
  • stubbornness, time, and attention to details.
  • a beautiful and enthusiastic six-year-old who will love and adore the transformation:

February 11, 2012 at 08:54 1 comment

the christmas project parade

i’ve been super-busy since the beginning of november with knitting, crochet, woodwork, and sewing gifts for my family.  i’ve already shown you the hats and kirby plushes that i made for some friends to give to their loved ones as gifts, but i had to keep all of my gifts secret until they were unwrapped on christmas morning.  here’s the lineup:

  1. derek’s birthday hat.  his birthday is at the beginning of december so it qualifies as christmas knitting for me!  this is the hardest piece of intarsia that i’ve ever done, and at one point i had 15 bobbins hanging from my needle at one time!  it was a very time-consuming project, but i consider my time to be part of the gift.   he loves it :)
  2. mommy’s christmas gift this year was a thread spool organizer.  don’t you find parents so difficult to buy for?  i feel like they already have everything they want or need, so i have to get creative at christmas and birthdays.  i found the tutorial here and knew that this was the gift for my über-crafty mama.
  3. remember the beach robes that i made for my kids?  i loved the robes so much that i decided every little niece/nephew needed one as well.  i also decided that white bias tape was boring, so i made my own from some fat quarters which turned out to be the perfect amount for each robe.  the towels that i bought from ikea had hanging loops sewn onto the bottoms of them, so i re-used them at the nape of the neck to make the beach robe easy to hang.  i love this pattern and it’s a great pattern for beginners because EVERY step is photographed!  find it here.
  4. the older nieces and nephews got boring stuff like gift cards, but one of my sisters requested a knit sweater for her daughter’s doll.  time was rapidly running out at this point so i finished the project at the sister sleepover (post coming soon, promise!) and quickly snapped a photo before passing it on.  pattern link here.
  5. with the lebrun christmas out of the way i was able to focus on other gifts that wouldn’t be given away until christmas day.  i thought i wouldn’t have time for this guy, but i’m glad that derek requested that i make an effort because he really wanted his brother to have it.   it was quite well-received, so i’m thankful that i made time for him.  it’s sack boy from little big planet (a video game for playstation), in case you have no idea what you’re looking at!  here’s the pattern
  6. and finally, when i was all done and christmas was just two days away, i looked at all that i had done for other people and felt horrible.  i felt horrible because my kids had seen me working for several weeks and had been told “i can’t, i’m too busy” too many times, and i had nothing for them.  they had several store-bought gifts waiting for them, but as i said earlier about derek’s hat:  my time is a huge part of the gift.  so i picked up some yarn and needles and cast on for the bat plushes that had been catching their eyes for several months.  they’re a quick knit and i love all of the mochimochiland patterns (i’ve made so many!)
    not a stellar photograph, but you can see some great pictures if you click here to get the pattern.

i’m pretty sure that’s all of them!  everyone liked everything that they got and even though it was busy, i was happy to give handmade gifts to the people i love. i received some pretty awesome homemade gifts myself this christmas, and they are among my favourites because i appreciate the sacrifice of time that it takes!  i think that my absolute favourite gift this season was from my mama who used her precious time to type out recipes that were staples around our home while i was growing up.  some of the recipes even go back as far as my great-grandparents, and it is a total treasure.

how did everyone else do over the holidays?  which gifts were you excited to give or receive?


December 28, 2011 at 22:43 Leave a comment

stuff i forgot about

before my summer got crazy, i determined to make wearable towels for my children and this beach season.   i’d already missed the boat last season, and wasn’t looking forward to another year of wishing i’d made time to accomplish my own goals.

originally, i was going to use this tutorial, but didn’t like it enough to actually DO it.  then i found this one, and there was no stopping me.   so even though i had already dismissed this project as done & gone,  my friend julie recently saw the robes in action and since i had to get the website to her anyway, i thought i might as well share with everyone.

i made one for elliot as well, but i don’t like it as much so i’m not sharing it!  it definitely works, it’s just not my favourite.  in the pattern, a “less fluffy” towel is recommended, and after making two robes, i’m going to second that recommendation.  i’m pretty sure that all of my nieces and nephews (except for the old ones!) are getting versions of this robe for christmas this year.

also something i forgot:

i made this dress for anne a while ago.  no pattern link for this brain child though, it was the product of a doodle on the whiteboard in my craft room.

there have been a few other creations that i churned out before i left home for the entire summer, but it’s been so long that i can hardly remember any of them!

August 19, 2011 at 17:17 1 comment


yesterday anne was wearing a hand-me-down shirt from one of her cousins.  she initially had no interest in it, but  it was a very hot day and i hadn’t purchased any summer tops for my girl yet.  she ended up loving the shirt, and almost every time i looked at it i thought “that can’t be too hard to make”.

yesterday was our last day of school for the year, and i was totally rejoicing in the fact that i could stay up late and have a day off today.  so i went to my sewing room, pulled out some fabric that i’d purchased for anne (with the intent of making her a fooler t-shirt last fall), and got to work.  anything to avoid shopping!

it was surprisingly easy to put together.  i laid the shirt on the fabric, traced it, then cut it out a little bigger and sewed it together.  the back has four rows of shirring but that and the ruffled bottom are as fancy as it gets.   the cost of the shirt was about $4 (or “free” if you take into account that i probably would have never made the shirt that i initially bought the fabric for!).  also, (if anyone is interested in this kind of stuff) the shirt can be made out of 2 fat quarters if you use ribbon for the ties.  my next skill to work on is ironing.  haha.

fabric from here.
the print is called “lollypop” in tourquoise.

June 9, 2011 at 13:16 2 comments

who wants a free owl?

i got this book for mother’s day:

and i also accidentally washed anne’s legwarmers in warm water several months ago and ruined them.  the combination of my failure, and the gift rewarding my awesome mom-ness resulted in:

the above book by Amy Adams (NOT the same amy adams who plays giselle in enchanted) is so great because it combines toy-making (which i love), re-using materials that would otherwise have been thrown out (or thrown into the back of anne’s sock drawer), and making something completely by hand.  no machines were used in the construction of the bird, and that’s totally my kind of craft.

if you know me at all then you’ve probably noticed that the bird is pink.  like, alot.   therefore, i can’t keep it.  i thought a give-away on the ol’ blog would be fun; so all you have to do to win this little owl is leave a comment.  it should be themed though… so let’s go with the “nocturnal” theme:  leave a comment confessing what you’re usually wasting your time on when you stay up way too late.    if you’re reading this on facebook and want to enter, you’re going to have to go to the original post because randomly generating a winner will be too difficult with comments in two places.

let’s say that the contest officially closes on may 25th at 13:22.  looking forward to reading your comments!

ps: i’ll only ship to canadian addresses!

May 23, 2011 at 00:28 13 comments

found this, had to share

~Ruffles And Stuff~: Celebrating BOYS!!!. <— click this!!

since i lost my sewing room i’ve been putting off any sewing projects because it involves taking over the dining room table for days at a time, and that’s our only place to eat.
eat… sew… eat… sew… the decision has always fallen to the need to eat, but this time it’s landing on SEW.  can’t wait to make a girl and boy version of these things!

March 1, 2011 at 11:09 Leave a comment

this week was crazy fast!

school this week was ahhh-mazing!  i couldn’t believe how well and how quickly it went!   math is getting a bit more complicated for anne, so there was some frustration with harnessing her focus, but that’s nothing compared to the first few weeks of school!  can’t believe that we’re going into week 10.

and speaking of 10… (master of segues!).. i’ve been making myself go to bed at 10 o’clock every night.   i normally like to go to bed around, say, 1? 2?  yeah, i’m a late night girl.  do you have any idea how going to bed at 10 cramps my style?!  i have time for NOTHING.

so why am i cutting my productive hours so short?

i intended to get up earlier.  not at an indecent hour like 6 or anything, but around 8 at the latest.  HOWEVER.  the midgets wake up around 7:30/8, and then go play quietly for an hour or two and let me sleep!  they don’t bug me for breakfast or anything… it’s really quite the problem and nobody else on earth will give me sympathy for it.  i thought that by going to bed at 10, i’d be more alert in the morning and just get up with them, but no– still the same problem.   i’m incredibly well-rested, but i only have enough time to get the required tasks out of the way before it’s bed time again!


i’m hoping that daylight savings time fixes this problem, because i am completely emphatic about not using an alarm clock.

this week’s crafts, despite the lack of time to do them:


arm warmers for the kids.  my friend natasha (hi gnat!) gave me some old knee socks, and i cut them up and sewed them up into way cool accessories for my midgets.    i love how anne’s intentionally posing in this picture.

i got my first order of fabric from connecting threads (an online fabric site that is run by the same company that i order most of my yarn from) this week and i’ve been positively itching to get into it!  i finally got a chance to sew up a christmas gift today for my 11 year old niece.  the pattern was free, and the whole thing only use 1½ fat quarters.   love those things!  i didn’t take a picture of the lining, but it looks like this.  inside is a magnetic closure and a pocket where i’ll hide an itunes gift card for her.

and one last picture for you:

elliot woke me up at 6:40 this morning to show me this!  it’s the first lost tooth in this house and there was too much enthusiasm for sleeping after that!  i’m not going to count on this to get me out of bed early every day, but it sure was a great way to wake up!

November 6, 2010 at 16:58 Leave a comment

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