Archive | September, 2012

Simplicity 2461 Review: Toddler Dress

30 Sep

A fun print for a little country girl I know.

Yesterday one of Eli’s friends from church had a birthday.  Of course I wanted to make something.  I originally thought I would sew up a crayon roll or art smock.  After browsing through my pattern stash I came across a darling little dress pattern Simplicity 2461.  It’s a toddler dress pattern size 1/2-4.  (I originally purchased it to make a dress for my cousin but then decided on the art smock.)

I did have a little trouble with the zipper. 🙂

This pattern was fairly straight forward.  I had a little trouble with the zipper and had to rip it out the first time and re-sew it.  The back of the bodice didn’t line up the first time.  I don’t know that this is the pattern’s fault probably just my somewhat inexperience with zippers.  I still haven’t sewn that many probably only around ten or so.  I do think the dress would look better with an invisible zipper but I didn’t have one of those on hand.  Blue would also look better than yellow but I like to use what I have on hand.  (I live far away from a fabric store and Walmart’s selection is pathetic.)

I had never sewn on hook and eyes before so I might have done that incorrectly.  There were no instructions as to how to sew on the hook and eyes so my placement might be off.  I’m not sure I like the idea of the hook and eye on a toddler dress since toddlers are awfully squirmy.  😉

Back View

I used my serger to finish all of the seams which was especially important since I squeezed this entire dress onto a yard of fabric.  (It called for more than a yard but that was all that I had.)

I added rick-rack along the hem stitching. I love the added pop it brings! This pattern includes a large 2.5″ hem.

I added the rick rack along the bottom.  I think it would look super cute with rick-rack on the collar as well.  Piping would also look really sweet along the front bodice but I didn’t think of that until after it was sewn.

I had never sewn a Peter-Pan collar before and I don’t think mine lined up exactly.  I did find it annoying that the collar is supposed to be sewn at 3/8″ instead of 5/8″ but this is not listed in the pattern only on the tissue pattern.  I”m not sure if it is correct or not but I sewed steps 8-15 at 3/8″.

Hoping the little girl loves her animal dress.

I didn’t take any measurements of the little girl I was making this for I just knew she was petite and wore an 18 month size.  I debated for a long time trying to figure out if the 1/2 or the size 1 corresponded to that size.  I ended up making a size 1.  I don’t know why they don’t just tell you what ready to wear sizes they correspond to.  Overall this is a sweet pattern and I love the finished product.  I just hope it fits!  🙂

Family Date Day: Big Bone Lick State Park

28 Sep

I don’t know about you but my family and I love to go on what we call family dates.  Special adventures with just our little family.  😉  This past weekend we were blessed to go on a much-needed family date to Big Bone Lick State Park in Union, KY.  We started off our date with a trip to Steak-n-Shake.  Brandon had a great time playing the coupon game (trying to get the most bang for his buck) while there.   Yum!

After a great lunch we headed to Big Bone Lick State Park.  It seemed like a fairly small state park but we had a lovely time.  We visited the “museum” and walked around the outside exhibits.  The best part was definitely the hiking.  🙂

There are only about 4 miles of hiking trails at the park but that was perfect for us.  For the most part the hiking was relatively easy except for a few hills when Brandon had Eli on his back.  😉

I think at this point Eli was saying come on mom stop trying to take pictures let’s hike!

We let Eli walk for the first part of the hike and he surprised us by walking almost a mile!  Must be a future hiker.  😉

Still just as smitten with each other.

Probably Eli’s favorite part.

They had bison there.  How cool is that?  I thought it was a little crazy that you could get that close to them with just a little fence between you and the bison.

Eli loves riding in the pack.

In case you are wondering we have an L.L. Bean backpack and absolutely love it!  It has pockets on the back to hold 2 water bottles and a pouch on the bottom to store a change of clothes, diapers, and snacks.  We also have a rain cover for the top if I feel really adventurous.

Thankful for our camelbak (and that Brandon wore Eli for our hike).

We all had an absolute blast on our family date!  I am so thankful we were able to get away for a wonderful afternoon.  🙂

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

27 Sep

The hat I made for Eli last week using a free tutorial and free fabric.

 

Brandon, Eli & I went hiking at Big Bone Lick State Park which was free (minus the gas).  We stayed a couple of hours and had a lovely time.  They even have a bison herd there.

I used THIS tutorial from Melly Sews to make a Gatsby (Newsboy) hat for Elijah using scrap material my mom had given me.  I used a scrap piece of plastic canvas instead of buckram to line the bill.  It turned out way too big for some reason but I’m still glad I made it.  The only cost involved was the minimal cost of thread.  🙂  The hat turned out a little bit big (I don’t know why) but I may add a tuck in the back.

I purchased 3 Kwik Sew patterns when they were on sale for under $5 each.  These patterns are wonderful with excellent instructions.  I also paid $4 to have them shipped which is still cheaper than my driving to a fabric store to buy them.

Visited a thrift store and 2 consignment stores this past week trying to find Eli fall/winter clothes.  I succeeded in purchasing 1 pair of pants, some new underwear, 3 shirts, and a darling pair of boots.  I also purchased 2 baskets with liners to use for organization and something for Christmas for Brandon.  (I’m not saying what it is because he does read the blog.  I just don’t know how closely he reads it.)  😉

I made Cloud Dough with Eli using the rest of a bottle of baby oil we already had.  See my post here for the recipe.    😉

I made homemade Basil Pesto from basil from our garden for the first time.  I served it over top of Bow Tie pasta.  At Brandon’s request I also made homemade marinara sauce for dipping from our garden tomatoes.

I ordered a Christmas present (nightgown) shipped for less than $2.

I washed several plastic baggies to re-use.  Not only is this frugal it is great for the environment.  I do not however re-use any bag that has had raw meat stored in it.

I made homemade cleaner (orange vinegar).  I infused orange peels for 2-3 weeks in vinegar and then removed the orange peels.  So far I”m about 50/50 on whether I will make another batch of this.  I personally don’t care at all for the smell of vinegar (although it is crazy frugal) but the orange scent does help a lot.  Next time I may increase the ratio or orange peels to vinegar.

What sort of frugal activities have you done this week? 

Fun with Toddlers: Cloud Dough

25 Sep

Eli was so excited to try Mom’s newest crazy activity.

 

Have you ever been to a children’s museum and played with that funky stuff called cloud dough?  It’s not clay, or playdough, or sand it is somewhere in between.  It’s Cloud dough. I found THIS great recipe on pintrest to make your own.  That’s exactly what Eli and I did last week.  So very much fun!

He looks like he’s going to shoot me with baby oil.

A great activity to do on a chilly afternoon.

Simply combine 8 cups of flour and 1 cup of baby oil. Knead about 3 minutes.

I didn’t have a full cup of baby oil (only about 1/3 cup) so I adjusted the recipe to use 3 cups of flour.  We are planning on making this again soon after our next town (errand) day.  I had the baby oil leftover from when Eli got sticker goo stuck to his face.  I let him wear a sticker to the sprinkler park this summer.  Unfortunately when a sticker gets wet it this goo sticks to your face.  Baby oil was the only thing we found to take it off.  😉

Having lots of fun.

 

I let Eli play with a few toys and a “repurposed” parmesan cheese container. I showed him how to open the lid add some cloud dough and pour it out again.

 

What a great sensory activity.

 

What’s really fun about the cloud dough is that it can be shaped and poured.

 

 

Warning: This does make quite a mess.

A face like this makes the mess so worth it! 🙂

 

Such a fun actitivy to do together. I found myself enjoying the cloud dough almost as much as Eli.

k

 

Simplicity 2629 Review: Sew a Baby Slip

21 Sep

Such a sweet gift for a sweet little niece of mine.

For my niece Zuzu’s first birthday I knew I wanted to make something special.  I debated for a long time over what exactly to make for her.  There are SO many adorable patterns and tutorials for making things for little girls it was almost overwhelming!  When I came across Simplicity 2629 I knew right away this pattern was perfect.  It is a vintage pattern from 1948 that was re-released recently.  Pretty cool I think.  Zuzu’s mom Renee enjoys vintage things also so I thought this might be a good fit.  I’ve always wanted to sew a true vintage pattern but have always been too scared that a pattern I might pick up at the thrift store that has been cut wouldn’t include all of the pieces.

The pattern is actually a layette pattern and includes lots of sweet baby items.  I finally settled on sewing little Zuzu a slip.  I wasn’t sure if she had one or not but it seemed like such a fun little thing to make to keep her just a little bit warmer throughout the winter.  (I think she could almost sleep in the slip during the summer if the house were really warm also.)  I made a size Large for Zuzu and sewed View F but ended up not attaching the ruffle since it already seemed plenty long enough to me.

Any pattern for embroidery could easily be substituted here.

This was my first time ever combining sewing with any sort of needlework or embroidery.  I absolutely LOVE the result!  I was able to take a bunch of inexpensive materials (plain white broadcloth, 2 white buttons (I had), thread, and a bit of lace and make something so sweet.  I found that the embroidery did take quite a while but I just love how it turned out.  This pattern is included in the envelope but you could really substitute any outline.

Do note if you make this pattern that the seam allowance is 3/8″ instead of the usual 5/8″.  I was kind of surprised that the slip buttoned at the top of the shoulders.  I guess it has to button somehow since the pattern is not intended for knit fabric.  I had thought originally about not adding the lace but am so glad that I did.  🙂  It was difficult to find the 3/8″ lace so I ended up using 1/2″ lace that my mom had in her stash.

The finished product.

Overall this pattern was adorable and so much fun to work with.  I can’t see myself sewing another slip anytime soon but one day I might make the dress that is included in the pattern as a baby gift in the future.

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

20 Sep

The sleep sack I made for a friend’s baby shower last week. I had all of the materials on hand (all were purchased on sale).

On one of my many walks this past week  I picked a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers.  They only last a few days but made a beautiful centerpiece for our kitchen table.

I finished watching Larkrise to Candleford Season 4 this past week.  I checked it out for free from the library.

We saved $75 by getting Eli’s dental check up done at our family dentist rather than at the expensive pediatric dentist’s office.  (Yes we do have dental insurance but it only pays so much towards each preventative visit.)  I practiced with Eli before we went to the dentist and he was excellent!

I purchased a yard of remnant white flannel from JoAnns for $3 to make nursing pads for a friend.  This was all I bought at JoAnns which is a major accomplishment for me!  I will be using the white flannel for the outside of the nursing pads and using ugly scrap flannel for the inside layers.

I purchased a pair of boots (for me) from Totsy for 75% off + free shipping.  🙂

From our garden I harvested: green beans, green peppers, banana peppers, okra, zucchini, summer squash & tomatoes.

I planted our Fall Garden which includes: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, snow peas, & kohlrabi.  I have no clue if any of these will actually work out!  We’ll see.

I purchased a generic brand camera battery for my Nikon camera off Amazon for 3.58.  My camera now works great!

I downloaded Sew-Classic’s Cleaning & Adjusting your sewing machine (free with purchase).  (My machine was just serviced but I am hoping to go through this Sew-Classic booklet the next time my machine needs an adjustment.  I don’t think it will alleviate the need to ever have my machine serviced but it may allow me to lengthen the time between visits.)

In the mail I received a sample of shampoo, conditioner, and a Shout color catcher.

I sewed a flannel blanket and sleep sack for a friend’s baby shower using all materials from my stash.  I used flannel purchased on Black Friday last year for the baby blanket and a remnant piece for the sleep sack.  I also reused a pattern for the Sleep Sack that I had used before.

I made 4 loaves of Country White Bread.  The hubby said it was the best bread I’ve ever made and he might be right.  🙂  We packed our lunch on Wednesday when we ran errands.

We cancelled our Netflix subscription.

What frugal activities did you do this past week?  Do you have any suggestions for me?  I’m looking for fun cheap fall activities to do with Elijah.  🙂 

August Reads

18 Sep

I read a nice variety of books this past month.

The past couple of weeks have been busy, busy, busy around our home which is why it has taken me so long to post these.  🙂 

Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Preschool Years by Elizabeth Hainstock.  I wouldn’t say that I have fully nailed down my philosophy of learning for the preschool years yet but I would say that if I had to pick one model I would probably choose the Montessori method.  For children birth-age 4 I think it is where our family lands.  This book was easy to read and included dozens of Montessori type learning activities to do with your child.  Most include items you already have around your home or can be made inexpensively.  We have already completed some of the activities and look forward to doing more of them in the next two years.  I enjoyed this book so much that I plan on purchasing it within the next month.

Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic.  I purchased this book on the recommendation of my sister-in-law and I am so glad that I did!  It was so encouraging to me as a mom of a very rambunctious, strong-willed 2 1/2-year-old.  🙂

Letting God Plan Your Family by Samuel Owen.  This was probably the most personally challenging book I read this past month.  It DOES NOT say using birth control to limit the size of your family is always wrong but it does question the motives behind it and what the Bible has to say about children.  I wouldn’t agree with absolutely everything the author has to say but overall this book was excellent.  I mean it’s really good!  I would highly encourage any young couple to read it.  I’m sad to see that it is currently out of print but I would make the effort to search for a used copy.  Totally worth the effort.

Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and With Almost No Money by Dolly Freed.  This is probably one of the strangest books I have read all year.  The story documents how Freed and her father lived on just a couple thousand dollars a year.  I would never personally feel comfortable with the way in which she lived but the book is absolutely fascinating.  I picked it up because I thought it might have some neat ideas for saving money.  I don’t know that I really picked up that many money-saving hints but it was so intriguing.  The author went on to attend college and work for NASA as an engineer even though she stopped attending school in 7th grade.  Amazing!

Crafty Mama: Make 49 Fabulous, Fool Proof (Baby & Toddler) Projects by Abby Pecoriello.  Although I may end up making one of the projects (hair barrettes) this book was disappointing.  The concept is nice enough but the actual projects I just found lame.  Glad this one was just from the library.

Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day by Garry Morgan.  I have been looking for a book like this one for years.  This book covers all of the major religions and gives a brief explanation of each.  I’m ashamed to admit that even though I have a seminary degree I know very little about many of the world’s religion.  I do enjoy praying for missionaries and have used Operation World as a prayer guide.  It is great to have a better understanding of what a particular religion believes so that I can pray better for the missionaries who are working to spread the Gospel among those in that religion.  This book is also a great conversation starter.  I carried this book with me to a few doctor/dentist appointments the past month and had some really interesting conversations as a result. Note: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.  All opinions are my own.

Whispers in the Wind by Lauraine Snelling.  This is the second book in the Wild West Wind series but I didn’t find myself lost at all.  I did find the pace of the book to be rather slow.  Usually I read most fiction books voraciously but I found myself taking over 2 weeks to finish this one.  It was one of those books that I kept thinking surely this will get better I just need to keep reading.  I read all the way to the end and it didn’t get any better at all.  There was hardly any resolution in this book.  I’m guessing that is so you purchase the third book in the series.  I for one will not be purchasing or reading the next book.  I have no desire to read anymore books in this series.  Note: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.  The review did not have to be favorable.  All opinions are my own.