April 27, 2012

Shortening Sleeves - The "Cheater" Way

Spring is here in full swing! Let's put away or get rid of the winter stuff!

(I actually enjoy what I call "Clothing Inventory" time in Spring and Winter. I check off what clothing we have stored and what needs to be added that I could not find on clearance the season before.)

Here is one idea I love!

I really love these long sleeve shirts for colder weather - but what about when spring hits and there is still lots of good life left in the shirt?

Or what if it's not spring, but your son has trashed his sleeves because that's what happens to white sleeves when they belong to a boy?

Well, you can get rid of it (if it is so dirty and trashed - obviously toss it - unless you can do my "cheater" trick) OR pack it away for the next boy (remember I have five of them) OR save it in hopes it will fit that same boy next year, OR you can make it into a short-sleeve shirt!

This "cheater" trick only works on those sleeves where the short sleeve is attached to a long sleeve, to look like it is double layered.

All you have to do is turn it inside out, and cut off the long sleeve part! Cut it carefully - right next to the seam where it is attached.

Then turn it back right side out and it's done! A brand new shirt for spring and summer!

He seems thrilled with the new life of his shirt! And for the awesome weather we have been having here in Colorado.

I think Spring is my favorite! (Until Fall rolls along and I wish it could just be a longer season here...)

But the new growth and warmer and longer days have such a renewing feeling to them, don't you think? I love my daffodils and tulips that greet me first and Mmmm, I can smell the lilacs from the backyard...

One of my favorite blogs, http://www.makeit-loveit.com/ is doing a similar post right now about cutting off pants turning them into shorts
She does a great job! This is another thing I do in the Spring to Recycle or "Upcycle" my kids clothing to stretch them out just one more season!

What can you do to lengthen your kids' wardrobe?

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April 18, 2012

Studio Update: PROM!

I believe I am now finished with "Prom Season" for 2012. Out of all the prom alterations I had to sew this season, this dress was my VERY FAVORITE! I want to tell you it's story...

First of all, the dress needed a hem. Thank goodness - or we would not have been able to pull off what made it so awesome in the end! I ended up taking off 6"-7". I just did a simple rolled machine hem. Both layers.

Now it is hemmed. That was the easy part. (This picture was taken before the hem was pressed. Just so you know).

Aren't the details beautiful? The swags on the side are so Greek...and so Jane Austen...! I love how style details repeat themselves over time. True signs of greatness, if you ask me.

Well, my client wanted to follow the Pride and Prejudice theme, so we found this great inspiration picture. Good choice!

So here is what we have to work with - beaded and bejeweled straps. Pretty in themselves - but she wanted sleeves...

This was the fabric I cut off for the hem. It was all there was to work with - luckily the skirt had been quite full at the hem and we did have at least 6" which is exactly the length of sleeve she wanted! (I actually ended up using all but a few random inches of these scraps).

So I joined one long length of the hem together to make a tube (I did this for each sleeve) and gathered it on both ends. The fullness ratio ended being at least 4:1. We are going to use the original hem as part of this sleeve. The raw edge will be finished later.

I attached it to the dress and hand-sewed the underarm section in place.

Then I pinned it all to the straps and adjusted the fulness to be even along the whole length of the straps. It looked just like a sleeve! Mission accomplished. Next was the fitting. (No picture of this - just telling you so you don't get confused).

My client loved how it looked! So she gave the go-ahead to continue.

I attached the next sleeve in the same manner. Because of the beading on the straps, the best method was to hand-sew the rest of the sleeve to the straps, using small, strong stitches. I am loving how it has turned out!

Here is a closeup of the sleeve. You can see where the original hem is still showing - as a beautiful ruffly edge along the inside of the strap.

I used the miniscule pieces left of the cutoff hem to make narrow bands as a sleeve finish. Aren't they sweet?

Here is a back view to see how it looks from the back. Just as pretty as the front!

Final fitting and pickup! She loves it, can you tell? What a cute girl!

I can't wait to see her in full prom detail...her date is going to die!

A few more pictures of the details - they always look nicer on the girl than the hanger! It turned out just how she wanted it, too! It was like it was "meant to be"! It suited her so well. Ooh, so pretty...!

Scrumptious sleeve details...I think I need to wipe away my drool right now..and the silly grin on my face...

Even the back is beautiful! No, I really try not to brag, but it felt SO GOOD for this to turn out so lovely. Wouldn't you be proud?

Here she is on her prom date! Looks like she is having a great time!

She really looks like a Greek movie star - a goddess...

Some fuzzy closeups...

Now, I would have to say that THAT is the kind of prom dress experience to have - very breathtaking and very fulfilling!

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April 12, 2012


We decorated eggs on Saturday night - I had pinned a lot of really cool decorating ideas but my kids wanted to stick to the regular way. Mostly - my daughter did try the "wrap twine around the egg after the first color, then dye it a second color" way. It was pretty neat.

We cracked some of them a little (this of course was learned several years ago when we accidentally cracked them, then decide we liked the cool effect even after they are peeled - you still get coloring) - it's food-safe dye, you know.

Then we always have egg salad sandwiches for Easter lunch. (It's pretty-colored, too). It's a quick lunch before Easter Dinner. I wish I had pictures of our yummy ham and Famous Ham Gravy with Mashed Potatoes. We swoon over this gravy - next time I make it I will post...

Sunday afternoon, I took all the kids on a walk, and the Easter Bunny decide to visit us while we were gone. When we got back, the porch was filled with Easter Baskets and the house was littered with candy-filled eggs for the kiddos to find. My older kids know that it's really for the little kiddos to find the most - then they all just share anyway.

They streak all over in less than five minutes and hope they have found every egg. My favorite is when I secretly find more later - then the candy is MINE! We sometimes find eggs much later - like in the drawer under Christmas tablecloths or something. Or in the freezer. That Easter Bunny - so creative in the hiding of eggs.

The counting and sharing of the Easter Eggs is awesome: "12, 13, 15, 19, 62, 22, fwee"

THEN. Something I have never done before but WILL do again. I made homemade marshmallows. Holy cow, who knew? Not me, I guess. Until this year. I read a bunch of recipes and tutorials on how to do this and the BEST one I found was this one. It's from Our Best Bites, adapted from Alton Brown. I cut them into egg shapes, and dipped them in melted milk chocolate. They dried overnight and were perfect. (Not the prettiest aesthetically - but who cares?) My kids would not even let me pose them for a cute picture! They were SO YUMMY!

How do you celebrate Easter with your family?

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April 11, 2012

Family Journal At A Glance: FEBRUARY AND MARCH 2012


Here has been my life in pictures and summaries of the past few months. I plan to make this post at the end of every month to sum up my month for family and clients and friends. Sorry this one is so long, it's two months.


I have joined a book club and I LOVE IT! We have a fun group and lively discussions. This was the first book we read (I confess I did not have time to finish it: I have like ten books on my nightstand at any given time that can compete with each other and I did not give it enough time to be finished but I still plan to finish it because I heard the END WAS WONDERFUL!)

My fifth-grader was honored at a Denver University Basketball game for being a good leader at school (the teachers chose one student from each class to receive this DU RISING STAR award. It was pretty cool for him.

I got to teach some Young Women in my church how to make fabric flowers. It was a fun time, but not nearly long enough.

Valentine's Day was great, too. (See my post here)

My sweet hubby and I saw a performance of the Lord of the Dance at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts- it was amazing - way cooler than I thought it would be. This may be my husband's calling in his next life - to dance like that...don't laugh - it was way cool!

Then, only a few days after we realized my husband the accountant-finance-guy "should have been a dancer" (said tongue-in-cheek), my sweet husband Tyler gets in a SKI ACCIDENT! There I was, teaching a sewing lesson, and he calls me, from the mountain, and says he wrecked his knee, and the ski patrol was taking him down to the medic center. Turns out he tore his ACL completely and MCL was partially torn.

These were LEGO cards from the kids.

He has been in physical therapy for a month now and is awaiting surgery on his ACL when his MCL heals enough to handle recovery.

Then my sister from Texas visits with her sweet family on their way to move to Washington State. Her kids had never seen or played in REAL SNOW before so they had a great time.

The day before they left, her little 5-year old had a scooter accident down the driveway and knocked out his top two front teeth, which was a not-so-fun emergency trip to a foreign dentist. I think he has since recovered but poor little guy in the pictures, eh? (Yes, I AM Canadian...)

On the day they were leaving, the snow fell some more and they had to travel in a blizzard that turned into a foot of snow within hours...gotta love Colorado!

My fifth grader had Colonial Days where they learn all about Colonial Times for several weeks and it all culminates on Colonial Day where they "get to dress up" (he was soooo not thrilled - mom, I am going to look soooo stupid. Everyone will, son.) They were ALL adorable.

We made homemade bread to share at the Colonial Feast.

The kids each give a presentation on something from Colonial Times to parents and classmates. He studied the Schoolmaster.

MARCH 2012

My daughter had a special program called "New Beginnings" in her Young Women's church group, where they talked about their Young Women's values and sang the song "Light On A Hill".

Next book in Book club was this one. I did read the whole thing! I really enjoyed it and got some good meaning from it - mostly about choosing your life's priorities carfeully and listening to and learning from those who have come before you.

My Friend's Baby Shower for her twins (see this post) This friend actually went into the hospital the following week, and had her babies at the end of the month. I had gone with another friend to just visit her and it turns out she had just gotten out of surgery right before we got there! Those babies were born at 3 lbs 4 oz and 4 lbs 7 oz. So tiny and so sweet in the NICU.

I had an opportunity to meet with a whole group of Denver bloggers. We meet for half the day and crafted and visited and talked blogging. The gals who hosted it were wonderful and I met so many new bloggers to keep in contact with. It was a fantastic time!

Tyler and I went to see Beauty & The Beast at the Denver Center for the Performing arts Buell Theatre.
Loved it!

Dentist: Oh what a month of pure dental hell! I love my dentist, don't get me wrong, he and his entire office staff! (and family too, I do all his wife's home decor - that's a future post...) But I was born with the weakest teeth - it's my curse - (which is so sad because I love candy and sweets...)

So, my kids had cleanings and fillings without much ado but ME! I discovered I needed a root canal - which I somehow thought I would recover quickly from. No - I was in pain for two whole weeks from it. My cheek stayed swollen for a week (picture). I had an infection I guess because they put me on antibiotics, and I was in so much pain. (I had already been on ibuprofen 'round the clock for the two weeks before my root canal because of my extreme tooth pain - it continued for several more weeks afterward). AND to top it all off - I had like six small and two very large canker sores on the other side of my mouth - supposed to be the good side that I can eat on - so it was just pain all around - I did not even want to cook because the thought of pain while eating was awful. I think I lost 5-10 pounds because of MOUTH PAIN! It was like I was being taught a lesson like Job - all in my mouth. I figure it has to do my psychological need to speak up better and communicate better...or something like that...

Then it was St. Patrick's Day.

We took the kids to see The Lorax movie.

And to Burger King.

Then faucet shopping because our kitchen one finally broke.

We had a "farewell" family gathering for my BIL who is moving away to CA. The cousins got to play together and jump on Grandma's awesome trampoline.

We visited and wished him the best of luck!

Spring came to us this month and I think my daffodils could not have been happier!

We went skiing on a Wednesday toward the end of the month. Spring skiing here in the Rockies. My husband had bought tickets in 4-paks for one of the resorts here in CO. This was way back in the Fall of 2011. But after his ski accident, we all thought we just would not go and what a waste of all that money - Tyler is the SKIIER of all of us! Who would teach us? (We had gone one day in December to TEACH four of our kids - and refresh me - and had not gone since. I had experience in high school but honestly was not that good - my memories are of myself sliding down on my butt down the hill...)

Well, my sweet husband decide he wanted us to still go. So his plan was to sell his tickets and let us go our three more days and he would sit at the bottom of the mountain and just hang out and watch for us and read and stuff.

Well, our first day of three was good! My boys were fantastic in their own ways and my daughter and I had improved by leaps and bounds by the end of the day. Our bad part of the day were THE SEVERE SUNBURNS we got. Oh. My. Goodness. Worst sunburns I had ever seen or had myself. (I will not even put pictures of this up - yes, I did take them) because it will scare you all. I did not allow my children to bring friends into the house for days. My oldest son and I got it the worst - we were swollen several inches out and blisters all over. Second degree burns over our whole faces. My other three kids were bad, but not even by half. We were just plain stupid and did not sunscreen or even think we needed to - I don't know why...but stupid is just stupid.

Then nine days later, we had just really gotten better (I was still a little red, everyone else was completely better - all blisters dried up, peeling done and skin better), and we went for the second time out of three. THIS TIME, we had bought several bottles of SPF 50 that we applied and reapplied pretty much every time we came down a lift. I put so much on that I looked like a geisha, but I did not care. Never again did I want myself or my kids to go through that kind of pain. (Keep in mind that this first ski trip was all happening during my teeth and mouth pain).

This time all was well in the sunburn department. And in the skiing department, we did very well, improvements and fun all around! There were even certain teenagers going off jumps! Tyler was very proud of us!

Any of you ski? Any of you ever been that badly sunburned? Any of you have weak teeth like me?

All of these makes me really look hard at the things in my life that are SO GOOD! And not want to take any of them for granted - like a mouth with no pain, a face that looks normal, etc. I am so blessed to have a family that enjoys an activity together, that supports one another in all of our activities, and that I can LEARN from mistakes and hard times.

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