Archive | December, 2012

Sew a Drawstring Nightgown (or dress): Simplicity 1722 Review

28 Dec
Simplicity 1722 Tween Drawstring Nightgown

Simplicity 1722 Tween Drawstring Nightgown

This has to be one of my favorite Christmas presents that I made this year!   I used Simplicity 1722 to sew a nightgown for my eight year old cousin.  I sewed a straight 8 no adjustments.  She wears a size 8 in ready to wear so that is what I made.  I didn’t measure her but this fit her perfectly!  (I wish I had taken a picture of her wearing it!)

I sewed View B with lace trim purchased on a spool from hobby lobby.  The flannel was from Hancock’s.  This pattern used single fold bias tape for the casing for the elastic under the bust.  I had never done this before but it was pretty easy.  What was neat about this pattern was that it is one of Simplicity’s “Learn to Sew” patterns.  It has the most detailed instructions I believe I have ever seen on a pattern as well as helpful hints.  I even learned something myself!

The only difficulty I had with this pattern was getting the elastic in the waistband to look uniform.  I”m still not sure exactly why.  I ended up just playing with it until it looked more uniform. Although the pattern calls for 3 1/2 yards of lace for size 8 I was able to get by with just 3.  😉  This project only took 2 hours top to bottom.  How could you not love such an adorable pattern that comes together so fast.  Overall this pattern is wonderful!  I think it would also make a lovely dress for summer time!

Since it was for a little girl I couldn’t resist sewing up a cute little matching dress.

A sweet little matching nightgown for my cousin's American Girl doll.

A sweet little matching nightgown for my cousin’s American Girl doll.

Frugal Things I Did the Last Two Weeks

21 Dec
My frugal Christmas decor.

My frugal Christmas decor.

I don’t know about you but December tests my frugality more than any other month of the year!  I think it’s all of the sentimentality attached to the Christmas coupled with a big desire to give to others.  😉  We had a bout of sickness a couple of weeks ago that derailed us for a few days but we are all doing well now. 

We put up Christmas decorations that we already had and avoided purchasing any new items!  🙂  I wanted to jazz up the top of the piano so I wrapped extra Christmas lights we already had around garland.  I love the result!  The Advent Christmas tree was a gift from family and the Nativity was a wedding gift.

So far the majority of our Christmas gift giving have been homemade.  My goal was to make 50% of our gifts.  I made a handprints wreath for Brandon’s parents, a Baby Bath Robe for my niece Zuzu, and a clutch for my sister-in-law Renee (pictured below).

The clutch I made for my sister-in-law.

The clutch I made for my sister-in-law.

I visited a friend and she gave me all sorts of things they were giving away!  A box of jars, a huge rug, and a printer in excellent condition.  We didn’t need the printer but I knew that my parents could use it so I passed it on to them.  The rug had some stains on it so I cleaned them with carpet cleaner.  I also borrowed my mom’s carpet cleaner and cleaned the entire rug.  Our entire basement is finished but has tile flooring so this rug will be perfect down there!

I made two Deco-Mesh wreaths.  One for my parents and one for my Momolene.  (I had already made one to give my other Grandma.)

The Deco-Mesh wreath I made for my parents.

The Deco-Mesh wreath I made for my parents.

There was a mistake with Elijah’s Christmas pictures and I was given the slightly out of focus pictures in addition to the correct pictures.  I am using the out of focus pictures for Christmas ornaments.

I had Elijah paint plain brown paper bags with red and green paint (we had on hand) to make cute wrapping paper.  It was also a fun project for him.

I made homemade hot chocolate for our young adult Christmas party at church.  They drank every drop!

We watched movies from the library instead of getting a Redbox.

I received some nice samples in the mail: shampoo, lotion, men’s body wash, etc.

I received another book to review in the mail.

Elijah made a birthday card for his Poppy Steve.  We gave him a gift subscription to Golf Digest.

I took some items to our local consignment store that Elijah no longer needs.  I received almost $20 from items that had already sold.

I washed a dry clean only blazer of Eli’s in the Washing Machine on the Handwash cycle.  I hung it to dry and it worked great.  ( I’ll admit it was a risk but I had picked up the blazer at a thrift store dirt cheap.)   Usually I wash our dry clean only items (except for suits) with Dryel but I haven’t been able to find it in the store lately.

What frugal activities have you been able to accomplish lately despite the Holidays? 

Sew a Baby Bath Robe: Simplicity 3711 Review

20 Dec
Front View

Front View

I decided to sew a sweet little baby robe for my niece Zuzu for Christmas this year.  I used Simplicity 3711 which is a baby bath robe pattern which includes a hood.  I made a size Large for my 1-year-old niece.  I think she wears a size 18-24 months in ready to wear.  The robe was plenty big on her so I think this pattern must run a little big. 

Back View

Back View

I used a soft flannel fabric purchased at either Hancocks or JoAnns (I can’t remember.)  This robe is lined with a soft flannel solid fabric and includes a hood which I thought was adorable.  It is a little bit harder to find a robe pattern that includes a hood.  Flannel will fade overtime but I almost always choose it when making baby gifts-just remember not to iron it.  I did find that this pattern was much more time-consuming than Simplicity 3584 that I made for Elijah last year. 

Prior to this project I had never sewn a flat felt seam.  It was nice to learn a new sewing technique!  The seam was very easy to sew and looked wonderful along the hood. 

The rick rack along the front and hood really adds a sweet touch.  I also included a label with the size.

The rick rack along the front and hood really adds a sweet touch. I also included a label with the size.

I absolutely loved the rick rack which I attached along this robe.  If I were making this for a little boy I would probably skip the rick rack and try piping instead.  I skipped the applique on the front as I thought the flannel print was plenty busy enough.  One thing that I didn’t do on this robe that I should have been to attach the belt.  On Eli’s robe I sewed the belt onto the back of the robe so that it doesn’t get lost.  You could also add belt loops. 

Overall I loved how this project turned out.  I will probably add it to my baby shower possibilities list.  😉

Brandon’s Surprise Birthday Party Photos

18 Dec
Brandon was so surprised when he walked in and realized the party was for him!

Brandon was so surprised when he walked in and realized the party was for him!

A couple of weeks ago I did what I thought might prove to be impossible-surprise my husband with a birthday party!  🙂  He had hinted for months that he wanted a party but I kept telling him there was no way we could do a party in December since December is CRAZY.  )  We actually had the party Nov. 30.  😉

November 2012 Ebay & More 150

I chose to serve an actual dinner buffet style which included: Turkey BBQ Sandwiches, Coleslaw, Potato Salad, Deviled Eggs, Baked Beans, Green Beans, Scalloped Potatoes, Corn Pudding, and a Veggie Tray.  For Dessert we had: brownies, white cake, chocolate cake, chocolate pie, banana pudding, and ice cream.  For drinks I served: water, soda, and punch. 

What a face!

What a face!

All of the decorations were fairly simple.  We used the typical streamers, banners, plastic tablecloths, and a couple of fun “30” centerpieces.  Thanks so much to my sisters and friend for helping to decorate.

November 2012 Ebay & More 154I still can’t believe he didn’t find out about it!  I had a little trouble actually getting him to the party since my brothers took him out to eat when they were suppose to just take him to the local sports store.  Once he got there he was in shock that the party was for him.  We had an absolute blast celebrating with family and friends.  Thanks to everyone who came and made Brandon’s birthday such a success.  I am so thankful to be married to such a wonderful man and so glad that I could bless him with a surprise party. 

November 2012 Ebay & More 157

I think even the youngest guests had a blast!

I think even the youngest guests had a blast!

November 2012 Ebay & More 158

November 2012 Ebay & More 160

Dessert Table.  I made the centerpiece with 30 suckers.  :)

Dessert Table. I made the centerpiece with 30 suckers. 🙂

Dessert Table Part 2

Dessert Table Part 2

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It's hard to believe my sweetheart is 30!

It’s hard to believe my sweetheart is 30!

We Three Kings of Orient Are

13 Dec

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This past Sunday night my little boy was in his 1st Christmas play!  I’ve seen my fair share of Christmas plays but wow-what a different when it is your own kid.  😉  I don’t think you can really understand what it feels like until you watch your own kid up there on stage.  Elijah played the part of a Wise Man or one of the Kings that went to worship Jesus and bring him gifts.  Thankfully he didn’t have to say anything as I don’t think he would have talked in front of so many people. 

When he came out I almost wanted to hide as I was almost sure that he would come running to me but he didn’t.  He took his gift to Baby Jesus and followed right along with the play.  I have to admit I was one proud mama!  Now I completely understand all of the hard work that goes into a Christmas play.  (I made 2 costumes for it!)  I am so thankful for the children’s ministry at church-not because we had a great play but because of all of their endless work to help teach my son about the Gospel. 

Christmas Play

We also had a wonderful time enjoying our Holiday Christmas dinner at church.  (I made green beans with bacon & Yum Yums.)  Then we all went upstairs to enjoy the Christmas play which was so much fun!  My sister Bekah & two of my brothers were actually in the play also.  I would have never dreamed that one day my little boy would be in a play with my siblings.  😉  So very cool!    After the play we all had dessert-yum! 

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

5 Dec

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Wow.  This has been a crazy busy week.  I had a surprise birthday party for the hubby that took up the majority of my week.  That was probably my top “frugal accomplishment” for the week as almost everything was made from scratch! 

Frugal Activities from Last Week:

We borrowed movies (and books) from the library for entertainment this week.  Brandon also enjoyed watching a couple of football games.  We don’t have cable but usually do get a nice selection of football games on the weekend.

I cooked THREE turkeys this week.  I also picked them all off the bone and froze the carcasses.  (I will use them to make broth over the next month or two.)  I used the meat from these turkeys as the main course for Brandon’s surprise birthday party.  We had turkey BBQ using Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce I purchased at Sam’s.  I threw a surprise party for my husband’s 30th birthday (pictures coming soon) and cooked almost all of the food.  (My mom helped a lot!)  I didn’t count how many people came but I would say between 40-50.  I served: Turkey BBQ Sandwiches, Coleslaw, Potato Salad, Deviled Eggs, Baked Beans, Green Beans, Scalloped Potatoes, Corn Pudding, and a Veggie Tray.  For Dessert we had: brownies, white cake, chocolate cake, chocolate pie, banana pudding, and ice cream.  For drinks I served: water, soda, and punch.  It was a lot of work but lots of fun.  I probably saved $500 by cooking the food myself rather than having it catered.

Instead of purchasing a fancy cake board I covered a piece of cardboard with aluminum foil.  (This also saved me a trip to the store.)

I purchased decorations and party supplies at the Dollar Tree for Brandon’s birthday.  My mother-in-law was kind enough to design the invitation for Brandon’s party by copying an expensive design I found online.

Elijah decided that he wanted a steering wheel so that he could pretend to drive while we were in the car.  Instead of purchasing a toy steering wheel I made one out of a piece of cardboard.

I wanted to send flowers for a funeral this week but we really didn’t have the money to spend on them.  Sending flowers is pretty pricey-even a tiny bouquet is usually around $30.  Instead I purchased a $4 bouquet of flowers at Aldi (the grocery store) and put them in a vase I already had.  (If you ever need to buy fresh flowers Aldi is the place to buy them as they are always $4.)  I found some ribbon from my stash.  Then I realized I didn’t have a little florist card to write a message on -I made one with my Cricut and just attached it to the ribbon.  My husband dropped the flowers off when he was running an errand.

I froze all of the leftover turkey BBQ that we had leftover from Brandon’s birthday party after we had eaten leftovers twice.

I made an inexpensive Christmas plaque that says Joy using materials I had on hand.

My grandparents gave us their old entertainment center which was a big improvement from our dorm days tv stand.  😉  Little by little we have been trying to focus on decorating our living room like real adults.  We’re hoping to shed our “just married” look in a couple of years.  🙂  We purchased a new couch and chair this fall (we paid cash!) and are saving up for a rug.

I had Elijah’s Christmas pictures made at JCPennys and spent only $2!  (This is a record.)  I had a great coupon and a gift certificate.  I don’t own a decent camera so we try to have professional photographs taken a couple times a year.

I bought a nice Christmas red bolero at the thrift store that will be perfect to wear to a Christmas dinner tomorrow night.  I don’t look that good in red so I don’t wear it very often but I do like to wear it in December.  🙂  I also bought a pair of dress pants for Elijah.

My aunt gave me a box of hand-me-downs.  There were pajamas and house shoes that Elijah really needed (even Thomas ones) that will fit right away.  A number of the clothes will fit next year which is great!

An Uninvited Guest

3 Dec

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Tonight we had an unexpected guest trying to come visit-a snake!  Can you believe it?  We have lived here a year and haven’t even seen one snake yet.  Not one on our nature walks or the hours we spent in the garden.  When I spent a summer on an Indian Reservation I saw tons of snakes every single day.  Rattlesnakes at that!  I saw an average of 3-5 snakes every single day so I think I have seen enough snakes for the rest of my life.  😉

Anyway my mom drove up our driveway to pick up my sister from Christmas play practice and rolled right over it (on purpose).  Yikes!  I am so thankful it didn’t make it into the house!  I’m not sure exactly what type of snake it was but I do know it wasn’t a friendly little garden or black snake.