It’s late. 12.:04am late. I’ve been working for the past 5 hours straight on yard sale things, preparing for our big 7-Family Yard Sale at our home on Saturday. I’m probably 75% of the way finished. :} I haven’t been pricing things the whole time – most of the time, actually, has been up in the 200 degree attic. Clearing away things in there that we thought we could fit in this house. We were wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

Yes, I’m embarrassed by all the things we have – and I even had a yard sale last year before we moved! Living in a smaller house definitely is causing me to now be more ruthless and just get rid of things that we aren’t using, and won’t use in the near future.

Ridiculous how much “stuff” was upstairs in a little un-airconditioned landing, cause an unnamed person to be covered in perspiration from head to toe within minutes. I was ruthless in getting rid of things – if it’s been upstairs a year and I haven’t missed it, I’m not keeping it. Well, I only kept two things. :)

Even Zoe has been talking about “getting rid of stuff” – her stuff! Which is amazing, because she is Pack-Rat 101. We save, save, save, and then we save some more. I’m happy that some of the purging is rubbing off on her.

Except, wait, it wasn’t rubbing off. It was only talk. As the boxes were being brought down the stairs, into the air that was 50 degrees cooler (I’m being generous with my estimates), the girls thought Christmas had come, and went through every box and bag, finding “treasures” that I was hoping were never to be seen again.

“Mommy!! You were going to sell my PETS!” Zoe told me emphatically, after discovering some stuffed animals that I was hoping to hide from their sight and begone forever. Pets, huh? Now that IS sentimental. And emotional attachment. How dare I get rid of PETS?

Now, I’m exhausted after a busy day, but I also need to wind down, so I’m going to attempt to finish this post that I started yesterday. Posts usually take me at least a day or two. :)

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Let me just interrupt this post briefly to share some breaking news:

I’m the only sibling out of six that is in the United States at the moment! My two brothers are in Canada, two of my sisters are in Cambodia for 3 months, and my other sister has been touring Paris and Italy the past two weeks.

Soo, while my sister is dreamy-eyed and touring Italy, and my brothers sing sonnets, and my sisters love on poor children in Cambodia,  I sit at home and sew. :) Ha, that sounds like I’m having a hard time, but really, I’m so excited for all of them!

Seeing pictures of Venice has me thinking… If Venice, a mere man’s creation, is so unbelievably beautiful and breathtaking, how much more beautiful and break-taking will Heaven be, created by God Himself? It’s unfathomable!

I’m thinking also of living intentionally, with purpose. My sisters are writing on a blog while they’re in Cambodia. Both of them are incredible writers, with hearts fully of love for God and love for others… You can follow them here.

On to the Sewing Projects. My sewing projects have nothing to do with Venice, for that matter. But Venice has had me thinking of heaven. And until I get there, I want to embrace my life right now, the life God has given me! Little sewing projects and all!

Being very much inspired by baileyandme2, inanorchard, and fruitloops in the past few months by all their genius sewing projects, I decided to put my hand to the plow and be brave enough to try the [frightful, daunting] attempt to make clothing for my little girls.
I’ve done quite a bit of projects around my home. Window panels, pillows, and such like. But clothing scared me.

Probably because I remember an attempt two or three years back when I was trying to be cool like another amazing seamstress and sadly failed. The little dress I had tried to make for the then one-year old Zoe was a hopeless failure. So much for a wanna-be seamstress on her glory-streak of amazing clothing.

And I resigned myself to the fact that I can sewing window panels and pillows. Not clothing. Except simple embellishing, like so:

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^^ This was not technically a sewing project. It was a, um, hot glue gun project. :) That is my all-time favorite household item! Hot glue and a strip of lace around the front of a plain tank, and it makes a great layering accessory.

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^^ This was an actual sewing project. But I bought the roses in a strip at Wally World (I didn’t make each individually) and sewed it on the top , front only. Then sewed a wide piece of lace around the bottom, to add length and a bit of dressing-up.

I’ve done quite a bit with lace accents. I hope lace doesn’t go out of style quickly, because I love it so!

For my sister’s birthday, I bought a simple tank at Target, and sewed 3-inch black lace and tulle on it in random strips. This looked so pretty when she wore it under a simple cardigan!

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A canvas tote that I sewed white and cream wide lace onto, sort of the same idea as the tank, and added a flower. Another sister’s birthday gift.

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I’ve taken plain skirts and tried to make them sort of fancy-nancy like.

[before & after]

before 3

I’ve taken plain skirts and tried to make them sort of fancy-nancy like.

[before & after]

before 3

I’ve taken plain skirts and tried to make them sort of fancy-nancy like.

[before & after]

before 3after 3

But this spring, after seeing all the amazing projects of the amazing seamstresses above, I decided to try again.

My expectations were this high:         . Yep, that’s right, they weren’t there. Nonexistent. In a very secret place [my house], and without telling a soul, I began my undertaking. If I failed, no big deal. I’ve done that before. If it worked, then great!

And what do you know, but I actually sort of liked what my sewing machine turned out! Not babygap or anything, but still, some little sundresses and skirts that would work wonderfully for this summer. And made with pocket change.

Dress #1

Before: a women’s size dress, but desperately short and not something I’d wear. But Christy found it when we were Goodwill shopping [$4] together, and I adored the fabric! Sort of vintage-y, but ever so fun! She was the one that suggested I make a dress for Zoe from it. And I thought it a wonderful idea! I added it to my stash of about 15 up-cycling projects. :)

before 2

After: Taking something from an existing piece of clothing, I’ve found, is FAR simpler than making a whole new outfit. I had to cut down the sides, which I used to make straps for the shoulders, and cut down the piece at the very top. I didn’t cut the length at all (which shows how short it would have been on an adult), liking the longer length on a little girl for something different.

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Zoe looks less than thrilled on this picture, but truth be told, she is delighted to be holding a cherry tomato from our little garden plot, and is very proud of the dress. :) Much the delight of the mother!

I call this, The Mini Maxi. I made it for Zoe, but Olivia, never wanting to be out-done, wanted to try it on. So I put it on her, and sat back at laughed at the tiny little girl in what looked like a maxi dress! I’ve never seen toddler-sized maxi dresses, but this sure was cute. Paired with some silver flats, it was perfect! :)

This was made from an adult sized sun dress [goodwill: $4]. I had to remove the bottom ruffle and sew it back on. Zoe also wears this, and it’s about knee-length on her.

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The Candy-Stripe Skirt Dress:  Zoe’s dress was a ladies’ skirt [goodwill: 88 cents] that I cut down and added straps at the shoulders. I liked how this turned out too.

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The Green Skirt:

There is no ‘before’, but I used an x-large or xx-large men’s shirt [goodwill, bargain bin, 88 cents] to make this. Elastic at the waist, a bit of lace at the bottom, and a little bit of sewing. And a flower, made by cutting out circles and ovals of all different sizes and laying them on top of each other from largest to smallest. I think  I saw the idea on an Old Navy shirt earlier this year…

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[I did end up having to sew the ‘petals’ just right along the edge. The fabric was very lightweight, and the tiny weight of the flower made it sort of hang off the side.]

The Black & White:

This is probably my least favorite, but it still works as a play skirt.  I was imagining it to be a bit more full, but two smaller ladies’ shirts from Goodwill [88 cents@, bargain bin] was too good a price to let go. I used a shirt with a scallop on the bottom and lined the striped part with it, letting it hang out underneath.

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And I call this: My Fave.

Before: Very pretty skirt, castoff from my sister [for an unknown reason]. So, free. :) Had it fit me, I never would have stuck a scissors in its charming design.

before 1

After: Added tucks on the bottom because it was far too long [think, Victorian hoop skirt length]. The gathers in the midst of the tucks weren’t exactly what I was expecting, but because it was so full, and because I didn’t want to cut it lest I loose the beautiful lace on the bottom, the gathered tucks were okay.

favorite 2

Something about the color of this dress too, is so perfect with her coloring. Definitely my favorite. I made a flower like the one on the green skirt, cutting circle and ovals of various sizes, and adding ‘leaves’ from lace that I cut off the sides. I added a few pearly beads to the center of the flower to give it some little extra pretties.

I also hot glued lace on the tank that Zoe is wearing underneath the dress [my whites are washed out in this picture, you can hardly see it], and it adds a nice dress-up touch to an outfit.

favorite 1

This was second favorite, a sweater-dress, repurposed from a 50 cent re-use-it shop adult sweater. My sister-in-law, Mary Jo, did this last fall, and I thought it was soooo adorable and SO cheap! All credit goes to her for her inspiration! The tutorial she [and then I] followed is this.

I was so pleased with how it turned out! And for fifty cents and a half hour of sewing, it sure beats the expensive sweater dresses I saw various places over the winter. I made this a bit larger so she can wear it next winter.

No before pictures of this, but it was a medium size women’s sweater.

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I get stuck on my embellishments. Again, a little flower – just three circles cut out of the extra sweater fabric, zig-zagged so it doesn’t fray in the laundry, and a big button in the middle.

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It makes me smile when Zoe goes into her closet, choosing what to wear that day, or to go on an outing, and she’ll put out one of the dresses that I made! Over all the other darling Old Navy and Target and other cute dresses in her closet, she likes mine! And she’ll tell everyone who will listen, “My mommy made this dress!” :)
Even Olivia caught on to the gist of things, saying constantly, “My mommy made dis!” about all sorts of things. Mainly things I haven’t made, and couldn’t even attempt to. :)

And a few more projects…

And in non-sewing things, but still involving fabric… [a.k.a. “my safe {non-clothing} zone”]

A Spring/Summer Wreath

Before: I picked it up at a local thrift store for a dollar. I wanted the form.  Isn’t it a beauty? :) [read my sarcasm, please] I was laughing to Ben the other day, because I go into this thrift store and buy all the ugliest things they have in there and repurpose them! There is one clerk that is always in there, and she probably wonders what in the world my house looks like, by the looks of the stuff I buy!

before

After: I picked off all the cloth strips, held by hair pins.

A spring/summer wreath, inspired by JonesDesignCompany.com.  Please don’t look at her tutorial though, because mine looks sadly unlike hers. :)
You take a very very long piece of burlap [I had linen on hand and used that instead of buying burlap] and sew a loose stitch. (okay, so this does have a little bit of sewing) Gather it, and hot-glue it onto a wreath form, as shown above. Add moss, make little white flowers, add little eggs (mine were grapes that I rolled in glue and glitter because I couldn’t find any at Walmart. Silly Walmart.), look in your yard for cute twigs, pull a mini nest from the mantel, and hot glue it all together. Ta-da! A very happy little wreath.

spring wreath 2 spring wreath 1

Comparison aside from the jonesdesigncompany, I love the little nest wreath on my front door.

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Some headbands, made for an order from My Faire Lady.

June, Hair Pretties 056 June, Hair Pretties 043 June, Hair Pretties 051 [satin & lace white, satin & tulle hot and light pink, satin & tulle white)

The best hair bow and flower organizer ever, inspired by Pottery Barn.
This was a custom-made for my sister-in-law in colors she chose. So pretty!
hair pretty holder

A few new pillows for around the house…

I think I cut out the little flowers for these pillows last fall already. Thinking I was going to sew them all on, I stalled… and stalled.

The first is felt flowers on white fabric. This is technically not sewing either, since I already had the pillow covers made. My stalling was in vain. It was easy-peasy. This is another hot gluing project. :)
[note to self: use exceedingly much hot glue, or else the flowers will be found floating. shortcuts are not always the best, i sadly learned.]

felt on white [inspiration: Pottery Barn]

Felt on felt. I’m not sure if I like the slight contrast better, or the tone on tone.
Hot gluing troubles aside, I really did like how the glue in the center makes the flowers stand out just a bit since the edges aren’t sewn down.

felt on felt

And the front porch. Same idea as the small flowers above, but in much larger scale, and layered on top of each other. These I did sew. :) Also felt on felt. I like the looks of it, but it does tend to pick up lint and fuzz very quickly. Oh, and cat hair. :{

red flower pillow

 

And what do my children do while I’m projecting and sewing?

Well, they play sweetly and happily, with nary a sound or squabble, of course.

But of course, ‘sweetly and happily, with nary a sound or squabble’ is all because they were busy one afternoon doing THIS:

while i was sewing 3

and THIS:

while i was sewing....

and this:

while i was sewing 2

I really do think they know better. But in the midst of sewing projects, I’ve also been doing some painting projects – writing words on my walls, and such things. So naughty, yes, they were. But how could I be too upset when they were just doing what mommy does?? Exasperated, yes. Very.

My forgiveness came quite readily when I realized though, that they had used WASHABLE markers to do their artwork. ‘Relief’ doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings!

However, they heard some things from their mother along the lines of “we do not write on walls or doors or dresses without permission [no, i wouldn’t give them permission if they asked,  but just saying]. and little girls need to clean up messes that they make!” and they were handed wet rags and cleaning spray. Which all turned into sort of a game, with giggles and laughing.

In the which the mother wondered whether they really understood the memo about not writing on walls and doors and dressers…

And now my winding down is complete. :)
~clarita

What do you think? I'd love to hear from you!