Archive | May, 2012

Butterick 5368 Review: Sewing Machine Cover

28 May

Mom’s new sewing machine cover

For Mother’s Day this year I decided to make my mom a sewing machine cover.  She’s been using a clear plastic one for years that just really doesn’t add any beauty to her sewing area.  😉  It just seemed like the perfect gift.

I found this lovely fabric that had antique looking sewing machines all over it. My mom loves to buy old sewing machines and fix them up so it seemed perfect. Besides I thought the fabric was pretty classy. 🙂

There are all sorts of sewing machine cover patterns out there but I chose Butterick 5368.  You could also probably find a great tutorial online.  This pattern for a sewing machine cover uses batting and is lined.  In my opinion it gave the project a nice tailored look.  It also used bias tape which I LOVE.  (It scared me a lot at first and it was a little tricky at first to use but now I’m pretty much a big fan of the stuff.) I had only purchased 1 yard of the main fabric so I ended up using an old blue sheet for the lining.

As far as the sewing goes this project took much longer than I had anticipated.  I guess that is due to the tricky nature of working with batting and bias tape.  I also found some of the basting steps to be a bit time-consuming and wondered if they really were necessary.  Once again I thought it was a little tricky to place 1/2 inch wide bias tape over two layers of fabric and batting.

One thing I really disliked about the pattern was the fact that the cover does not fit my mom’s machine if she has the tray on her machine.  Major bummer.  I should have measured the machine and thought about if the pattern would fit around the base of the machine.  If I use this pattern again I will definitely add a couple of inches (2-3) around the base.  Overall I was fairly pleased with how the project turned out but wish that I had made the base larger.


Cincy Zoo Trip

25 May

Eli was super excited about the zoo.

Our family LOVES the zoo.  Let me say that again we LOVE LOVE going to the zoo.  Some of my favorite memories growing up involve visiting the Cincinnati Zoo so I was really excited at the opportunity to take Brandon and Elijah a few weeks ago.  Brandon decided to give me my Mother’s Day present early (a zoo pass).  🙂

The elephants are one of my favorite exhibits.

Like any kid Eli really enjoys going to the zoo too!  In Elijah’s short lifetime he has already been to four zoos: Louisville Zoo, Memphis Zoo, Nashville Zoo, and most recently the Cincinnati Zoo.  Since we bought a pass I”m sure we will be back every couple of weeks.

Sleepy lions.

Eli kept saying, “Wake up sleepy lions! The lion says roar.”

The thing I love about having a zoo membership is that we don’t feel rushed to see absolutely every exhibit and “get our money’s worth.”  We fell in love with the Cincy Zoo fast and saw almost all of the exhibits.

Manatee springs. Eli and Brandon are actually laying inside of this big glass bubble watching fish and a manatee swim.

While Eli was in the bubble a fish swam underneath him. He loved it and was not a bit scared.

Bubble love

At the giraffe exhibit.

For our family we find that a zoo pass is one of our favorite ways to splurge.  When you consider the number of visits we make annually to the zoo it turns out to be a pretty good deal.  On our zoo trip we actually took a picnic and cooler which allowed us to avoid pricey concessions.  A zoo membership also gives you reciprocity with other zoos.  Believe it or not we actually stopped at the Nashville zoo last summer while coming home from visiting family in Arkansas.  With our Louisville Zoo membership we were granted free admission.  We only stayed about 2 hours but it was a wonderful break from all of that traveling for everyone.

What a great way to spend time together. I’m sure Brandon and I will end up on a date at the zoo before the summer ends.

Probably Elijah’s favorite exhibit wasn’t an animal exhibit at all.  It was THE TRAIN!!!

Eli thought we were riding on James since the train was red. 😉

So thankful for time spent together as a family enjoying all of the wonderful creatures that God has made!

This Mother’s Day….

14 May

Baby Eli

This Mother’s Day I am…..

Missing the opportunity to Worship with fellow believers at church today (my poor little boy has Strep throat.)

Sleepy from my late night with Elijah and early morning.

Longing for my little boy’s laugh to come back.

Planning lots of fun pintrest projects with Elijah once he is better.  🙂

Listening to the sound of rain beating down.

Sipping a warm cup of tea.

Remembering those who struggle with infertility and the sadness that it brings.

Wishing I could trade places with Eli and be the sick one instead.

Reading books upon books upon books of stories to Elijah.

Trying to convince Eli that he does not want to watch another episode of Jay-Jay the Jet Plane.  (There is just something weird about planes with faces on them.)

Thankful that we have access to such excellent medical care and medicine.  Most of the world is not so blessed.

Watching all of the many birds who came to say hello today despite the rain.

Praising God for my mother.  What a sweet blessing she is to my life.

Rejoicing at the blessing of being chosen to be Elijah’s mommy.  Few things in life will ever compare to the joy that it brings.

Hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

CopyCat Auntie Anne Pretzels

9 May

Although they are not quite as pretty as Auntie Anne’s they tasted just as good.

I came across a recipe for Auntie Anne Pretzels on Pintrest a while back and knew Eli and I just had to try our hand at making them.  Although they were a bit time-consuming we both had a great time making them.  Click here for the recipe.  (I did cut the butter in half and they were still excellent.)

Eli LOVES to bake!

I try to do a special or new activity with Elijah each week.  Making pretzels was such a fun memory.  Who knows maybe it will be his first?  (I was 2 when I had my first memory.)   I’m also quite proud to say that I can make pretzels that taste just as good as Auntie Anne’s!  (I will NEVER get them to look that pretty though.)  😉

The Learning Tower is still such a blessing and worth every inch of space it takes up in our kitchen.

To say that Eli enjoyed making pretzels is in fact an understatement.  I guess for Eli it was like play-doh but better.  🙂

You do need a large workspace for rolling out the pretzels.  I rolled the pretzels out on our table since our counterspace is limited.

Eli trying his best to roll out a “snake”.

I also sprinkled real pretzel salt on top of each pretzel that I had purchased at a Mennonite Bulk Foods store.  (If you are a local friend I”d be more than happy to share.)  The pretzel salt really made the pretzels seem authentic.


This was such a fun recipe to make.  Next time I think I will try rolling them in cinnamon and sugar.  I also wonder if the pretzel dough could be used to make pretzel rolls or buns for sandwiches?  What do you think?

April Reads

8 May

April has brought with it lots of time to soak up the great weather outside and a nice little stack of books.  As a family we have committed to be intentional about limiting the amount of time we spend on the internet, telephone, and watching movies or documentaries.  The result has been has been such a blessing.  Both Brandon and I were able to complete quite a few books even during a very busy month.  It is also so delightful to spend time as a family pouring over good books and drinking herbal tea. 🙂  Even little Eli has become quite the reader and can often be found laying in bed looking at a book.

April Reads:

Johnathan Edwards on The Good Life by Owen Strachan and Douglas Allen Sweeney.  Up until this point Jonathan Edwards has been the most influential theologian in my life.  (I was actually introduced to his works and life while in college when I spent the greater part of a semester writing a major research paper on him my senior year of college.  There have been times when I have literally wanted to throw Edwards’ books across the room and at other times when his works have been a healing balm to the wounds of my heart.)  Since Jonathan Edwards is in fact a Puritan his writing style can be a bit of a challenge.  In this book Strachan and Sweeney have done an excellent job of making Edwards writing more available to a wide variety of people.  This book deals with the question of what is the good life?  Always an important question for any Christian to ponder.  Notably Edwards believes that God ultimately desires for his creation to be happy but happiness is only found in God (not the things of this world.)

The Law of Kindness by Mary Beeke. In the past couple of weeks I have noticed myself growing increasingly UNKIND.  I’m not exactly sure but I am sure it is just the sin of selfishness manifesting itself in my life.  When I saw this book for sale I didn’t really want to purchase it but knew that I should.  Prior to reading this book I can’t think of a single book I have read (or even know about) that deals with the subject of kindness.  As I read the book I also did some reflecting in my journal which I found to be very beneficial.  The book has really helped me to be more kind to Eli in the last few days.  I hope that I continue to reap the benefits of this book for months to come.

Beating the High Cost of Eating by Barbara Salsbury.  With the cost of groceries continually on the rise I find myself always looking for new ideas on saving money on our groceries.  Although I was fairly familiar with most of the strategies in this book I did learn A LOT about grocery ads, advertisements, store image, and sale cycles.  From reading this book I feel encouraged to clean out and organize our pantry in order to build an even better pantry of supplies.  Salsbury has a very negative attitude towards couponing which I cannot agree with.  Self controlled couponing (only using coupons for items that your family actually needs) has saved our family lots of money over the past two years.  Overall a nice library book but not one I will be purchasing.

Borrowed Children by George Ella Lyon.  I’m not sure exactly why I picked up this book from the KY Author’s section of our library but it was such a good book.  It’s actually a novel about a young girl growing up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.  The book chronicles some of the challenges that her family faces and some of her adventures.  The book reminded me a lot of stories I had heard from relatives who grew up in the mountains.

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell. I’m not sure why I was on such a fiction kick this past month maybe the weather.  I read TWO fiction books this month!  🙂  Overall this book was wonderful and a perfect book to read while sitting outside on a beautiful sunny day.  It was one of the best fiction books I have read in a long time.  Although the cover of the book makes it look like a Christian Romance novel it didn’t strike me that way at all.  Instead it is a historical fiction book set during the time of the Revolutionary War and details two Patriot spies Hannah and Jeremiah Jones.  Growing up Ann Rinaldi’s historical fiction books were some of my favorites.  The Messenger was kind of like a grown up version of one of her books.  Although the book falls under the category of Christian Fiction I wouldn’t really call it that.  (In my mind a book doesn’t count as Christian unless the Gospel is presented.)  It was of course wholesome but more of a book of suspense than Christian romance.  I found it very hard to put this book down! Note: I did receive a free review copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.

Pretty Little Purses and Pouches by Lark Books.  I was really excited to dig into this little sewing book from the library but found myself very disappointed.  In the entire book there is only one project I would consider making (the beach baby bag).  The patterns for this book are located in the book and have to be enlarged (major pet peeve here).  After trying unsuccessfully to enlarge the pattern I gave up and decided this book just isn’t for me.

Sewing Bits & Pieces by Sandi Henderson. This sewing idea book was much better than the previous one.  Mostly it inspired me to save my fabric scraps to make something in the future.  🙂  After recently moving they were one thing that did not get moved.  A lot of the projects in the book just weren’t my style but I did really enjoy the Upscaled Cardigan, Tattered Rose Headband, and Library Bag.

Toddler Art Smock: Simplicity 2295 Review or Simplicity 0477 Review

1 May

The finished art smock complete with pockets for crayons.

For my cousin Anna’s third birthday party I decided to make her an art smock.  (I had originally planned on sewing her a dress but after my aunt gave Eli a nice annoying toy I changed my mind.)   🙂  I had made Eli an art smock for his birthday last year from the book One Yard Wonders which turned out wonderful.  Whenever Anna (my cousin) comes over to play we almost always break out the messy art supplies.  She especially loves painting with Jello.

Back view with ties.

I used Simplicity 2295 (also sold as Simplicity 0477 around the holidays) to make the apron although I don’t think it would be very hard to dream up your own pattern.  (I don’t usually spend the effort to dream up patterns when I can often purchase them on sale for .99.)  If you are sewing for a girl this pattern is great.  Besides the art smock it also includes a pattern for a cooking apron, two tote bags, and a couple pretend kitchen play items.  The art smock or bags in the pattern could also be made for the little boy in your life.


I guess we'll have to invite Anna over for messy art day.



I added a pocket for Bag D.


Elijah and I had a great time picking out all sorts of art supplies to go along with Anna’s art smock.  I thought sewing a tote bag would be a great way to keep all of her art supplies together in one place.  It also meant that I didn’t have to drive to town to buy a gift bag.  I figure by the time I loaded up Eli and went to the store and drove back it would equal about the same amount of time it took to sew this little tote bag.  (I sewed view D.)

I think the additional pocket on this bag adds so much.

Somehow I ended up with an extra pocket piece (#11) from the art smock.  Rather than let that piece of fabric go to waste I decided to use it as a pocket on the bag.  I folded the pocket in half lengthwise and finished three sides of the bag (not the folded edge).  Then I sewed it onto the middle of the bag about 3″ from the top of the bag prior to sewing the actual bag together.  I sewed down the middle of the pocket in order to make 2 pockets but you could make the pockets however you like.  These could also be made to hold crayons by sewing seams 1″ apart.  (This would be step zero if that makes sense.)

I think the pocket adds so much to this simple bag.

I accidentally sewed the bag at 5/8″ instead of 3/8″ so my handles ended up being quite small.  Somehow I always seem to miss the small italicized directions.  🙂  Overall I was very pleased with how this bag turned it out.  I have no doubt that I will be making this bag again in the future.

The finished tote bag (view D) filled with art supplies and the art smock.

Such a fun little sewing project to inspire creativity!