Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Waking Up

This is how I find Brynlee after her naps. When she wakes up she throws her pacifier and her blankies out of the crib, letting me know nap time is definitely over. She gets so excited when I come in that she holds on to the top rail of her crib and bounces up and down. The excitement is surely because Bryn knows she's about to get a snack and play with toys, but I tell myself her excitement is all because she sees her dear little mother. She just can't help but be overjoyed.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Last fall I made some plain blue pillow covers for my previous brown throw pillows. But the blue was a little boring, so I gussied them up a bit.
I sewed a square of bias tape 2.5 inches from the border of the pillow. (One pack of bias tape is enough to make two 18x18 pillows, plus have extra).
I picked out the seams of the plain blue pillows, made about 4 yards of white welting cord, and then sewed the seams back together with the welting in between. (I just covered the cording with the 1.99 thin cotton fabric. I double it up, though because a single layer was a little too thin).
And the back closes with overlapping panels.
Easy project, and F-R-E-E since I had the bias tape, welting cord, and white cotton fabric all in my stash.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Night

Our night included: Using up our giftcard for In-n-Out Burger, Josh's choice Dropping in to Old Navy, Walmart, and Goodwill (Classy, eh?), Laura's choice Visiting our furry friends at Pets Pets Pets, Bryn's choice Sharing a little frozen yogurt, Laura's choice Meeting the world's strangest dolls, no one's choice. It just happened. (If you ever want a good laugh, check out the dolls at Walmart. Each of them is strange in their own special way. Yikes. Bryn is still disturbed.) Working on Bryn's future play kitchen, Laura's choice Singing "If all the Raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops..." about a hundred times, Bryn's choice Watching an old John Wayne movie, Josh's choice That's all. I love my family. And I love nights like this.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Beach Days

I've been loving this warm weather lately! There's only one thing to do: pack up the stroller and head to the beach! I'm glad Bryn enjoys it as much as I do, and that she's out of the eating sand stage.
Chasing seagulls is one of Bryn's favorite beach activities.
Teaching Brynlee about Mother Earth. Bryn goes wild, running non-stop around the shore, getting wet, finding shells, digging in the sand, and chasing birds. She's always sad to leave, but then she crashes in the car and takes a nice long nap!
All photos, courtesy of uncle Mark.

Prairie Girl

See, all she needs is an apron and a bonnet, and it's totally prairie style. It's those floppy, poof sleeves that make it. Bryn didn't think it was as funny as I did. But then again, she's never watched Little House on the Prairie.


This week I've made two dresses for Bryn, ...both of which were failures.
Once again, I am overly confident, thinking I can made dresses without a pattern. The shape of this dress is just blah, and I don't know what happened to those sleeves. I tried it on her and it looked like little house on the prairie or something. Bad. And the second dress? I was about hal way finished with it when "Abort! Abort! Abort!" started flashing through my head. And so abort, I did.
Sewing with knit is not my forte.
Sewing without a pattern is not my forte.
Sewing clothing is not my forte.
And that's that.
If you'll excuse me, I'm going to gulp down a handfull of dark chocolate covered raisins.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Art, Crafts, and Chubby Arms

A few random thoughts:
(1) We don't have AC because we're close enough to the ocean for a breeze. But yesterday it was warm and the ocean breeze was no where to be found. Bryn was getting sweaty, so I changed her into a little tank top. Something was just so cute about seeing her chubby, white arms ans shoulders. I noticed her first little brown freckle on one arm, and that was so funny to me, too. I love this little girl and her chubby arms!
(2) I am in charge of keeping an updated budget for our family, and I've noticed a steady incline in expenditures in the crafting and home projects sections. Woops. I feel like I'm being so frugal and practical by sewing and doing DIY projects, but they still add up! (cough!) Sooo....for the next month (or maybe longer) I can only do projects with materials that I already have. Which is totally reasonable since my boxes of fabric and other materials already jam packed.
(3) I am entering two paintings into a juried art show and I am joining an art critique group in L.A. My free time has been filled with craft/home projects and church stuff, but I need to make more time for painting. More than once a week. Anyway, I'm super excited about it. If my paintings are going to be critiqued once a month then I'll definitely take them more seriously.
That's all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I love Bryn in pajamas.
I love her messy bed-head.
I love that she somehow convinces me to get her out of her booster seat and onto a regular chair.
I love that she is actually sitting on the chair, not standing on the kitchen table. (Still working on that one).
I love that she enjoys a good buttermilk pancake.
I love that she wakes up happy, frisky, full of energy.
I love starting my day off with this little rascal.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thanks Emma!

Brynlee got a surprise package in the mail this week from her ten-year-old cousin Emma....
She sewed Brynlee a QUILT! It's so cute! Brynlee loves blankies and quilts, and she has loved snuggling with this cute, new one.
I was definitely not sewing quilts at ten years old (in fact, I still never have). So impressive, Emma! Brynlee has twenty-one awesome cousins, all on the Hawkins side, so she is one lucky girl. I just wished we lived closer to them!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Easy Fabric Balls

I've made several of these fabric balls lately. It is an easy 5 minute project from start to finish. This fleece hoodie didn't fit Brynlee right, so I cut it up and made three fleece balls out of it. I used a free pattern from Grand Revival Design. (I also recommend her free pattern for the girl's ruffled skirt! so easy and cute!)
I usually sew during Brynlee's naps, but Bryn likes helping out with this one, pushing the stuffing into the balls.
This is just a fun way to use up fabric scraps or repurpose old clothes. And Brynlee loves playing with them!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Slipcover

This is really long, really wordy, and probably really confusing. Don't read it unless you're interested. I thought I'd share the slipcover process in case anyone else is thinking about making one, because I couldn't find a tutorial or good library book that went over it. My directions are patchy and my terms are probably incorrect, but maybe it will give the basic idea. (I don't know if this is the very best way to do it, but it worked for me. I got my process from combining ideas from a few library books) This is mostly so I can remember how I did it, if I want to do it again.
Here is the chair I started with (the cushion is not pictured). It is an IKEA Ektorp Jennylund armchair, normally $200, but I found a new one in the "as-is" section for $30 because it didn't have legs or a cover. So of course I snatched it up before anyone else could even glance at it. You can find cheaper chairs on craigslist, but I'm always nervous of the history. (did the owner smoke in it? did a cat sleep on it? did someone die in it? ha. you never know!)
The first step was buying legs, which took more looking than I thought. I ended up buying six inch legs on ebay for about $24 for a set of four. They're simple, but I didn't want to spend any more money on nicer legs. The only problem was that the screw to the legs didn't fit in the screw holes in the chair. That was a project in and of itself, and I won't go into the details, but we got it to work. Thanks to my wonderful husband and the Home Depot workers!
I bought my fabric on fabric.com for a very good price, thanks to a 50% promo code I found online. That really helped out. I love the dark brown color and the sturdiness of the cloth. I think it will hold up well. After the discount the fabric was $7.00 a yard, and I ended up getting seven yards. I measured all the chair dimensions (and added about 2 inches to be safe) and drew it to scale to see exactly how many yards I would need. Then I added one yard to be safe. This took a long time, but I'm glad I did it because I had just the right amount, with only a little to spare.
Now for the actual sewing:
First I made the welting, which was so easy. I used 11 yards of the cording and encased it with 1.5 inch strips of my fabric.
To join strips together, cut 45 degree angles, then match right sides together perpendicular to each other and sew. Then press the seams flat. The diagonal seam won't stand out as much.
Fold the cording into the welting strips, pin, and sew as close to the cording as you can. I used my zipper foot, and it worked fine. I'm glad I didn't buy a special welting foot.
Then cut the fabric and lay it on your chair to make sure it'll be suficient.
First, pin the panel for the front side of the back (confusing?), right side down. And do the same for the inner arm and the front of the arms
Draw a line around the front of the arm where you want the welting, then pin the welting onto the line. And sew it on, sewing as close to the cording as possible. Then attach the front arm panels to the inner arm panels.
Then pin the inner arm panels to the front and sides of the back section. (sounds totally confusing, but I don't know how to say it.)
Pin, Sew, and trim your seams.
Here's the chair with the front arm panels, inner arm panels, and front of the back section all sewed together.
Then attach the "deck" or the panel that is under the cushion and runs down the front. This part was tricky for me to sew that corner where the deck meets the front arm panel.
Then add the outer arm panels, with welting under the outer curve of the arm. And then add the back panel. My slipcover had a hard time fitting over the chair, so I added quite a long zipper (18 inches) up the seam where the back panel meets the right arm and side. The zipper goes down to the pleats, and then the pleats close together with velcro, which sounds tacky, but you can't see it. The zipper and velcro were the very last steps, after the skirt is attached (see below).
You can do the cushion cover at any point. Just add welting to the top and bottom cushion panels. Then make the side panel with a zipper. I used a 30 inch zipper that wraps around the back of the cushion and a few inches on each side. I made a flap/pocket to cover the end of the zipper, so it wouldn't snag the inner arm panels of the chair when I pushed it down into place. (It's a snug fit).
Okay, now for the pleated skirt, which I actually did before the zipper up the back. I cut my long skirt panels, hemmed them, pressed them, then pinned them into the pleats. This part was really tedious because I didn't want the pleats to wrap around the corners. The widths of the pleats varied between just under 4 inches wide and 4.25 inches wide, in order to fit within the length of the front, side, back, etc. That probably doesn't make sense. Oh well.
Pinned them, ironed them flat, and sewed a line across the pleats to keep them together. Then I sewed the pleats to the along the bottom of the slipcover, with welting in between. Then add the zipper, velcro, iron the whole thing, and shout HALLELUJAH that you're done!
Told you it was going to be a long post!


I'm getting excited for Easter! I can't wait to do a little Easter egg hunt for Brynlee. I've already consumed way too much Easter candy (I'm not even a candy person, but the tropical variety of Starburst jellybeans are hard to resist!), so I bagged up the rest of it with Josh is keeping it safe at work for a few weeks.
Our elaborate Easter decor: $1.99 Target easter eggs put in random dishes. Better than nothin.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More of the Same

I already posted about this, but Bryn still can't get enough of the boxes, baskets, small containers. This box has become a particular favorite.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Overly Confident

I started sewing ten months ago, was feeling pretty comortable with it, and decided I was capable of sewing a slipcover for an armchair. How hard could it be, right? Pretty hard, actually, for a beginner like me. I'll post a few more details and the rest of the story later. The welting on the top of the cushion is a little crooked now that I look at it, and some parts aren't as fitted as I'd hoped, but oh well. It's a miracle it even fits! I'm not sure if I like the pleated bottom, that I tried to copy from a chair I saw in Domino magazine, but I'm going to give it a few weeks to grow on me before I rip it off and put on a straight panel. Do the pleats look playful and fun or just old-fashioned? And would you actually tell me if you thought they looked bad??? Probably not. If anyone's going to be honest with me it's Marie, so speak up Rie if you hate them. But WAHOO for being done! (for now?) Now I can FINALLY get back to sewing fun, easy projects.

Bottom Up

Bryn must know this position makes me laugh because she does it all throughout the day. She looks at me between her legs and waits for me to come tickle her chubby thighs. Then she collapses, giggling, and does it again.