Saturday, November 24, 2012

The beginnings of a handmade wardrobe

I had four days off from work this week for Thanksgiving! Score! Time to sew! (Not on Thanksgiving day of course. Turkey day is for play.) I went to Jo-Ann's Friday morning to do some Black Friday shopping and it was the best idea I ever had. And I've had a lot of good ideas. Like marrying Jason and putting nutmeg in my baked potato soup. Jo-Ann's was busy of course and I brought both girls with me so Jason could work on homework, but they were so good! We talked about the expectations before going in and I was so proud of the following conversation:

Eve and Kylie: "We want this!" (pointing to a fleece blanket kit plastered with Disney princesses.)
Me: "That is very cute, but we don't need to buy that today."
Eve: "But I waaaannnt it." (in a super whiny voice.)
Kylie: "Eve! Mommy said no begging, remember?"
Eve: "Oh yeah, I forgot. Sorry!"

Seriously, it made my heart so happy!

But the reason why I loved black Friday shopping so much was because I got so much fabric for 30 bucks. It was awesome. My receipt said I saved $87. Not that I usually pay full price anyways, I always hit up sales and use coupons at Jo-Anns, but I also bought way more this time than I normally do and spent less money.

So I stayed up late sewing last night (My sisters were at my house because Kylie and Eve have been requesting a sleepover with their aunties, so I was kind of a bad host. But I also see them all the time, so I don't feel bad.) I normally don't like the sew late, I don't operate well on little sleep, but I was still on a high from my Black Friday shopping, so I was pumped and just couldn't stop.

So I present to you Kylie's newest looks:

1. Star flannel pleated shirt (here's my inspiration: The lovebird tunic at Craftiness Is Not Optional. I obviously didn't replicate the look exactly, but I love the simple pleat in front. I love how simple the shirt is since the fabric is busy enough on it's own.)
2. Grey leggings made from stretchy fleece (Tutorial at Craftiness Is Not Optional.)

This was her favorite outfit, I could barely get her out of it just to try on her other new clothes.

Seriously, those pants are so soft and comfy, I'm a little jealous of them myself! Combine that with the soft flannel for the shirt and Kylie was pretty much a giant walking fuzzball begging to be cuddled with.

For some reason, she was NOT into modeling today!

3. Whale Flannel Shirt made the exact same as the star shirt, I figured I had made the pattern for the first one, so I might as well save some time and just make it the same. The only problem was that since it was later, my craftsmanship was just a little bit inferior than the first time around.

Seriously,  I love these pants!

While trying to get her to smile, I asked her to smile just like Aunt Stephie and this was the face she gave me!

4. Raglan Dress (Tutorial once again at Craftiness Is Not Optional, I just love her tutorials. The only differences I made were extending it into an A-line dress and making the sleeves long obviously.)
5. Leggings from same tutorial as the fleece pants. I acutally made these right before Thanksgiving and was planning on make a different shirt to match, but when I found the fabric from this dress at Jo-Anns, I changed gears. Besides this green fabric, all other fabric was purchased at the black Friday sale and I still have quite a stack to go through. 
Lighting in this picture is awful, but I didn't finish this dress until late afternoon today when the sun was already down. I'll have to take a picture with natural lighting later.

 And that wraps up my work from my last sewing binge. I feel very accomplished, because I'm usually a pretty slow sewer. I think sticking to really easy sewing without a lot of embellishments makes a lot of difference plus I was all hyped up on coke and happiness from being away from work for a little bit.

Kylie loves her new clothes! She is very opinionated about clothing, so I'm very pleased! However she was not the most cooperative taking pictures today, it was like pulling teeth to make her look happy. In this nect picture she begged me to take a picture with Eve in it too, so I had them sit next to each other and this is what Kylie gives me:

I snapped a dozen more pictures but she didn't smile in a single one. And she was the one who wanted the picture. Whatever, she is her own person, haha!

I did get some cute ones though of just her:

This is SUCH a Kylie face.

Funny story with this one: I asked her what makes her happy and to pretend the camera was that thing. She answered "Cole" ( a boy in her preschool class) and gave me the biggest smile. She is really starting to get boy crazy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Project Run and Play Week 2

This week at Project Run and Play, the challenge was to create a look based on a fashion icon. I almost sat this week out  (Yes, I know, I said that last week) because I really don't have a fashion icon. My style is very simple. The only person I could think of was Kate Middleton, because everything single thing she ever wears, I drool over from behind my computer screen. She just makes dressing up look like so much fun and effortless at the same time. So finally, I decided to make an outfit based on Princess Kate, and even designed a dress in my head. But then I had the busiest week ever, and I've been exhausted after work every night. So, I would take a break from sewing, maybe even relax a little on my day off (What?!? Who does that?) 

But of course, I kept thinking about the challenge and how I wanted to push myself a little since I now officially have a full year of sewing under my belt. So on Wednesday, ummm, I mean yesterday, yes yesterday, I got the crazy idea in my head that I should go ahead and spend what little time I had left slaving over the sewing machine. I started looking online for some inspiration and it hit me, the last time I was obsessed over fashion was when Jason and I tried to watch Mad Men. (If you are a Mad Man fan I apologize for the following comment.) I say tried to watch it because the showing is. so. boring. Like nothing every happened, except people would randomly cheat on their spouses, but nothing would ever come of it, because nothing consequentially ever happened on the show. Cheating spouses and boringness, really not my cup of tea. I also have a really hard time following long winded shows or movies. So maybe stuff happened, I don't know. I just didn't really care.

But now I am getting distracted, here's what's really important: I loved the dresses on Mad Men. I think everyone did. You can't think about the show without thinking about the 1960s iconic looks: from ultra sleek pencil skirts to full fouffy dresses, the style is simply ultra feminine. Some looks I wouldn't dare put on my 4 or 3 year old daughter, but I knew if I searched hard enough on the internet, I would find a dress to inspire me. And I did! And then I spent my day off today frantically putting it together at the last minute.

I present to you, my fashion icon, the TV show "Mad Men:"

And my version of the look:

I really hope picking a TV show as a fashion icon isn't thinking too far out of the box. Well, if it is, at least we got a new dress out of it and Kylie got to play dress up, so it doesn't really matter. 

Making the dress was a lot of fun, I made pleats for the first time and made a cascading ruffle for the first time. I sewed a brown ribbon to the dress to mimick a belt, like the one in the picture. Overall, I made the dress a little too big. I spent about an hour looking for my seam ripper so I could make some adjustments but couldn't find it anywhere (which was weird because I had just used it.) Finally I gave up, took some pictures... and found the seam ripper in my back pocket. Seriously. I guess I will take the dress in sometime next week. In the meantime, I give you this:

We took pictures in my grandma's house. It has more of a vintage feel, plus she had a typewriter and a wig, perfect for this look. Yes, a wig. Pictures coming up at end of post.

She had so much fun posing, she was cracking me up. I didn't direct her at all!

Don't you just love little girls trying to walk in heels? I guess I shouldn't make fun of her, I have a hard time walking in heels too.

We busted out the typewriter for this little 1960s secretary. She was intrigued!

Hard day at the office. She is definitely the cutest 1960s secretary I have ever seen! :)

We had to incorporate my grandma's old school wig. It just makes the outfit, don't you agree? My grandma wants everyone to know that the wig isn't supposed to look like that. When she had it, she used to take it to the beauty parlor to get it all fixed up perfect, hahaha... The whole thing just cracks me up.

And there you have it, my iconic look!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Funky Little Lion Outfit

We interrupt this extremely long absence from the Marsh Madness blog to bring you this:

Well not Eve per say, but the clothes on her back.

And yes, clothing is what made me come back to my blog. I know, my priorities are wacked. I have so many cute little stories about what my girls did or what they said, but they will have to wait. Because the real reason I made a blog post is so that I could post this outfit that I sewed into the sew-a-long of project run and play. Being very new to sewing, to say I'm intimidated would be an understatement. My husband encouraged me to try and sew along this season and post my creations. It might sound sweet, but I think he just wanted me to shut up about it. Or maybe it's because football season is here and he wanted me busy so he could watch more games. Regardless, I'm going to try to sew along most weeks and my husband rocks.

This week, we had to do a remix of this pattern. At first I thought I would sit this one out, but then a vision of cute little textured capris popped into my head and I went to work. I needed a matching shirt and the idea of using the bias strips to make a funky bib came right away. Overall, I'm very pleased I didn't sit this one out. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and as long as no one on the internet laughs at my work, I'll consider it a success!

After sewing the outfit, I envisioned taking her pictures in a field of tall yellow Kansas wildflowers. They are growing everywhere in these parts this time of year. I would have the outfit "Wildflower Chic" or "Wildflower Child." Then it stormed and stormed and the next day it rained. all. day. It stopped raining for about 15 minutes and we ran outside to snap a few pictures. I had to think of a new name since there were no wildflowers, but it was pretty easy considering the colors and texture scream "lion" to me. So there you have it, the "Funky Little Lion Outfit":

Isn't my Everz so cute? She's really looking grown up lately!

I made my own piping for the bib, a first for me, but very fun!
Love the texture on the pants!

My Everz Beaver is so stinkin' cute! Even when she's not into taking pictures for her momma.

Please tell me 3 years old is not too old to be rockin' a cute ruffly bum!

Our goober at her finest!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Candyland Costumes: Princess Frostine and Princess Lolly

For her past birthday (yes I realize we are talking about an event that happened 3 months ago. I considered cheating and creating this post with a December date, but I knew I wouldn't be able to trick anyone.) As I was saying, before I so rudely interrupted myself... For her past birthday, Kylie really wanted a Candyland birthday party. She had seen a Candyland cake in a Family Fun magazine back in June and was sold. For 6 months, she didn't change her mind,  which was fine by me: I loved this theme!

As we were playing the board game about a month before the party. I noticed just how perfect it was that there were two princesses in the game, each one with a unique attire. I just started learning how to sew, and I was a little crazy, so I decided I needed to replicate the costumes for my own two princesses.

My inspiration:

Princess Frostine

Princess Lolly

I couldn't find any tutorials for these specific costumes, which surprised me. Wouldn't any little girl just love to be able to dress up as sweet Princess Frostine or have lollypops all over her dress? I mean, what better combination is there for dress up other than Princess and candy? Well maybe if there was a combination with Little Red Hiding Hood and candy, but that's just me. She was my favorite to dress up as when I was little.

So, I winged it. Jason had just surprised me with a new sewing machine so I wouldn't have to keep going over to my grandma's house any time I wanted to sew something. (Isn't it pretty?) This was the perfect project for me to just dive into and test out my new baby.

My girls were very happy with the results. Don't look too closely at my mistakes, like I said I'm just a beginner. My favorite part is the big smiles on their faces!


On being a working mom, missions and umbrellas...

I'm thinking that I should rename my blog "Tales of a Working Mom" and the lack of posts would pretty much say it all. No, my life isn't empty. My life is full, so full that I haven't even given much thought to this blog.

And then I remember that my blog is not a place for me to unwind or fill empty time. I can do that easily enough in front of an episode of Glee or MTV's "The Challenge: Battle of the Exes." (Please don't judge me.) This is a place for me to document our lives as a family so that I can revisit them later.

The moral of the story is: I need to do a better job of blogging. My old posts take me back to a special time that I wanted to be able to remember years down the road.

Catch up game time! Here goes:

1. It's been over year that I have been a full time working mom and Jason has been a stay at home dad/seminary student. This works great for us, since he can work on homework while he spends time with the girls. He travels back to Kansas City for his classes, which is a 2 hour drive. He claims it only takes him an hour and forty five minutes, but whatever. That's his way of bragging. ("Hey, by the way I'm six foot." and "Did you know once I almost made a three pointer in a game?" are also his way of bragging. I love him.)

I do, of course, miss being home with my girls all the time. I hate knowing I am missing cute things they say or being able to love up on them whenever I want. Thankfully, I get my own fix of "stay at home" mom time on my day off when Jason is in Kansas City all day. And when I'm at work, I am very busy, the time flies. I am currently an assistant manager at three mobile home communities in town. Lots of work to do, always.

Just to prove my love, I am featuring a picture of my
fantastic husband, who may or may not be sitting on
top of one of our children.
2. Jason and I have become involved with international ministries here in Manhattan. Mostly Jason, but I tag along and help out as well. Jason is teaching an introductory Bible class to international students on Sunday nights, playing ping pong and other games with a group of Chinese students Monday nights, and teaching Conversational English to other international students on Wednesday nights.

(Tuesday and Thursday nights he is Kansas City, so needless to say, but I will anyways, I am missing him lots this semester.)

I have been going to the international Bible Study as well. It has been such a blessing for us as well, because I feel that God is working in our lives to teach us we can be involved in missions, without even going anywhere. More on that later.

We mostly have Chinese students who come on Sunday nights. And when I say "students", I mean mostly PhD students and visiting scholars, highly intelligent people. A great number of them have never studied the Bible and it is so refreshing to see how eager they are to learn. Along with a slight language barrier, this does cause some interesting conversations and perspectives as we delve into the Bible. It also makes it difficult for me to share too much, as depending on what region they are from, or if they hold a government job, I do not want to reveal names or pictures and we can just leave it at that. Some are believers, some are seekers, some are just curious, some might even just come for the free food and fellowship, it's quite a mix. We even have one Chinese "student" who comes whose parents run a church in China. How cool is that?

The girls playing a very intense game of battleship at the
donut shop where Jason weekly plays games with
a group of Chinese friends.

And just to be fair, here is a picture where the girls are playing
a game where they actually know the rules and that hasn't
been staged in any way.

(Ok, I admit I staged the battleship one, but in my defense
they were having lots of fun playing with the boats and pegs.)
3. This past year, Jason and I realized that we simply had to much debt to be employed by the IMB (International Mission Board, which is Southern Baptist.) After our interviews, we were told that was the only thing holding us back and we would make excellent candidates if we could eliminate almost all of it. After moving in with my parents to save money to pay off large chunks of student loans, we finally did the math we had been dreading. Long story short, it wasn't happening. Tears were cried and prayers were said, but we finally had to give it all up to God. Honestly, it is kind of good for us me, because we I can be kind of control freaks. So now I know that if it happens, it was God's plan all along. God can still make it happen, but I that's mainly why working with international students here in the United States has been a blessing, we are learning that being missionaries does not mean we have to travel the globe, we can be servants no matter where we are. Seems obvious, no? I still have a longing to travel the world and plant churches, but I do not feel guilty for not being there already. God is in control.

Speaking of  missions, one of my very best childhood friends contacted me recently. She, like me, was a missionary kid growing up in the same town in France. Our parents planted a church together. She is back in the United States and planning her trip right now to return to France. Her ultimate goal is to return to Cherbourg. Her town, My town, the last town to ever see the Titanic above sea, the town from the umbrella musical, a very secular town that is very dear to both our hearts. This is not my ministry, but like I said very dear to me, so if anyone feels compelled to pray for her or give to her ministry, please let me know!

I knew you were probably trying to figure out
what musical I was talking about, so here you go.
And here it the English version for all you non-Frenchies.