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Elijah’s Christmas PJ’s: Kwik Sew 854 Review

23 Jan
Eli was so pleased with his Christmas pajamas!

Eli was so pleased with his Christmas pajamas!


I’ve always wanted to make Elijah Christmas pajamas.  This past Christmas was Elijah’s fourth Christmas and I finally made them!  🙂  I’m pretty sure making Christmas pajamas is going to be a Christmas tradition at our home.  

The pajamas even have the little grippy fabric on the bottom of the feet.

The pajamas even have the little grippy fabric on the bottom of the feet.

I used Kwik Sew 854 for this project.  I’m pretty sure this qualifies as my first sewing project using a “vintage” pattern.  My mom actually gave me the pattern and had made it in numerous sizes.  I”m guessing that she might have even made pajamas for me from this pattern.  Isn’t that cool?  I contacted Kwik Sew trying to find out what year the pattern was made and they wouldn’t tell me.  😦


My boy showing some serious attitude.

My boy showing some serious attitude.

I used a Christmas mittens fabric purchased from JoAnn fabrics.  I also purchased the hunter green ribbing there.  (Hancock Fabrics no longer carries ribbing.) I made a size 3 with no adjustments that was a perfect fit for my little man!  He should have enough room to wear these throughout the winter.  The instructions were pretty straightforward and I changed only two things.   I did not add the applique or the tab (piece 7).  I thought it was really interesting that there was a specific piece for the Crotch.  (I’m not sure if that is unique or if most sleepers have them.)

I was a little unhappy with how the zipper turned out but I am still fairly inexperienced when it comes to zippers.

I was a little unhappy with how the zipper turned out but I am still fairly inexperienced when it comes to zippers.


The only adjustment I would make next time would be to lengthen the sleeve and shorten the amount of ribbing.  (I think it looks slightly dated with the large ribbing.)

Elijah thinks the pjs are perfect for sliding around on the hardwood floors.

Elijah thinks the pjs are perfect for sliding around on the hardwood floors.

This was such a fun project and I am pleased with how it turned out.  I may end up making another one in some camo fleece that I have on hand.  I just wish the pattern also included size 4.  I might just have to enlarge this pattern next year.



12 Books I Plan to Read This Year

20 Jan
I'm also hoping to re-read a bunch of journals.

I’m also hoping to re-read a bunch of my own personal journals.

I always seem to have a continuous list of books that I want to read.  This year I decided to list some of the books that I plan to read.  🙂  Each month I usually post a list of books that I have read in the past month.  I also keep a running tally of books on my Pintrest board that I want to read and books that I have read.  You can see a list of books I read in 2012 here and a list for 2011 here.  You can also search for the word “Reads” to see a list of books I have read & reviewed in the past.

Comfort from Romans by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching, & Appreciating Boys by Hal & Melanie Young.

A Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study with the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola

Trim, Healthy, Mama by Serene Allison & Pearl Barrett

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen

Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update, & Show Your Home Some Love by Sherry & John Petersik

The God Empowered Wife: How Strong Women Can Help Their Husbands Become Godly Leaders by K.B. Haught

The 7 Myths of Working Women: Why Children and (Most) Careers Don’t Mix by Suzanne Venker

Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions & Deep Wounds by Chris Brauns

The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madagan

The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation by Michael Reeves & Mark Dever

What books are you planning to read this year?  

Elijah’s New Robe: Take Two on Simplicity 3584

17 Jan
Elijah was so pleased with his new robe.

Elijah was so pleased with his new robe.

My little boy has been busy growing taller and taller.  All of a sudden none of his clothes fit including his flannel bath robe I made last year.  Time to break out the sewing machine and get to work!  Not really sure if I would call it work or not since Elijah is just about my favorite person to sew for.  😉

I made my own loops and added them to the robe.

I made my own loops and added them to the robe.

I used Simplicity 3584 and made a straight size 3 with no alterations.  I considered adding a 3″ hem that could be let down like I did last year but I figured that by the time Elijah was that much taller he would really need a bigger size.  I used an adorable blue farmyard print for the outside and the same farmyard print in green for the inside.  The flannel fabric has to be some of my favorite I have ever seen for a little boy!  I made almost the same changes to the pattern that I made last year.  I lined the entire robe by cutting out all of the pattern pieces again (except the pocket) out of the inside fabric.  Then I laid the lining pieces wrong sides together against the outside fabric.

I sewed the belt onto the back of the robe at the center back.

I sewed the belt onto the back of the robe at the center back.

The pattern called for the belt and loops to be made out of bias tape.  Unless you are really a beginner when it comes to sewing I would advise against this.  I really think that would look tacky.   To make the ties I cut 2 pieces of fabric 3X30″.  I sewed the two pieces together to make one large strip.  Sew a tube, inside it out and press.  (If you follow my notes and make the ties you will only need 1 package of bias tape.)  I also skipped using bias tape to finish the sleeves.  I also made Loops which measured 2 1/4 X 3/4 when finished.  Unlike the instructions I sewed them on very last and placed them right along the finished side seam.

If you are looking for a baby bath robe up to size 18-24 months I would recommend Simplicity 3711.)

Sweet boy & another sweet memory for this mama.

Sweet boy & another sweet memory for this mama.

I made lots of changes to this pattern but was very pleased with the final result.  Sewing robes for Elijah might just be a lasting tradition in our home.  🙂  I have a feeling I will be sewing another one next winter.


November & December Reads

15 Jan
I love reading.

I love reading.


Grace Transforming by Phil Ryken:  As someone who tends to be a bit performance-driven I found this book so helpful.  It really isn’t about what we do but instead it is all about Jesus and what He has done for us.  Phil Ryken is the president at Wheaton College-a college known for producing great Christians such as Billy Graham and Jim & Elisabeth Elliot.  The book itself is very small and only about 100 pages.  I personally love little books as they are great to carry around in my purse.  This book would also be perfect for the person  who is easily intimidated by the average theological book.  Although I would claim this book is filled with great theology I wouldn’t call it a theological book.  It’s really a simple book that it’s all about what Christ has done for us and not what we have accomplished.  Excellent!  One I hope to revisit in the future.

The Air We Breathe by Christa Parrish: This book is about a 17-year-old girl whose life is ruled by fear.  Although she wants to break free from her past she is held back until a former friend finds her again six years later.  The only thing I disliked about the book was how it switched back and forth in time and with chapters involving three different characters.  It was definitely confusing for the first couple of chapters.  Overall I really liked this book and look forward to reading other books by Parrish (this was my first).

What Your Husband Isn’t Telling You by David Murrow.  I should have known by this book’s title that it wouldn’t be one of my favorites.  Although he does make some good points he is completely off base in other areas.  Way off base!  I discussed parts of the book with my husband and he agreed this book is crazy.  I would not recommend this book at all!  Please note I did receive a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.  

Past Darkness by Laurel Woiwode: Hands down this was my favorite book I read in the past couple of months.  It chronicles the life of fifteen year old Chicago native Gabrielle Larson who is forced to relocate to rural North Dakota when tragedy strikes.  The book follows her as she learns to cope with the various trials that come her way.  I really enjoy reading fiction and usually read Christian fiction (in order to avoid anything spicy).  This book was refreshingly unlike most “Christian Fiction” books you will find at the bookstore.  It is not preachy or tacky in any sense.  If you enjoy reading fiction I highly commend this book to you!  Please note I did receive an advanced reader copy in exchange for my review from Crossway.  Unfortunately it won’t be released until April but it is available for pre-order.  I cannot wait to read more works from this author!

Rocks, Dirt, Worms & Weeds: A Fun User-Friendly, Illustrated Guide to Creating A Vegetable or Flower Garden with Your Kids by Jeff Hutton.  When I came home with a stack of books from the library a couple of weeks ago this was the book I was looking forward to reading the most.  It was also the biggest disappointment!  The title is catchy but the information throughout the books makes me wonder if the author has ever planted a realistic garden with his kids.  I’d pass on this one!

Dirt Cheap Gardening: Hundreds of Ways to Save Money in Your Garden by Rhonda Massingham Hart.  This book was such a welcomed respite after reading the previous book.  It was really good and did exactly as the title says-provide lots of ideas on saving money in your garden.  The book also includes helpful lists in the first few chapters about plants and various growing conditions.  There are a number of ideas in this book that apply to landscaping, and flowers.  I’m hoping to grow a large variety of flowers in my garden this year.

The Sound Mind Investing Handbook by Austin Pryor.  I have always felt that I am clueless when it comes to investing and planning for retirement.  This book was incredibly helpful for me and I was so thankful that my hubby bought it for me.  (I shared the highlights with him.)  I really appreciated the author’s Christian perspective on managing your money from a biblical perspective.  The book is very well researched and laid out.  It answered a number of questions that both Brandon & I had about money.

50 Ways to Master Your Sewing Machine by Linda Denner.  Although dated (the book is 17 years old) it holds a wealth of information that is still relevant today.  It was packed full of helpful hints.  I learned so much and I have been sewing regularly for 15 years!  My biggest take away was the encouragement to really use all of the features that my machine has.

I’m still working on my list of books to read this year and would love your suggestions!  

Dermagist Skin Care Review

3 Jan

clarifying system for acne prone skin by dermagist

I was really excited when a representative from Dermagist contacted me about doing a review of one of their products.  For the past two months I have been trying out a new skin care line called Dermagist.  I must say that I am pretty impressed with how their products have helped to balance out my skin tone.

I used the Clarifying System for Acne Prone Skin which included the Detoxifying Cleanser with Resveratrol and Clarifying Cream.    The results were really good and I think my skin looks better than it has in a couple of years.  I will say that I hated using the cleanser.  Usually cleansing my face is one of my favorite parts of my hygiene routine.  The Dermagist cleanser smells AWFUL. I really prefer my cleanser to have a pleasant smell.  I guess that is what comes of years of using Smell Good Face Washes.  😉

Still the clarifying cream smells great!  In the past I have shied away from using creams or moisturizer because I worried that they would make my skin oily and more prone to breakouts.  This stuff is AMAZING!  It smells great and works wonderful.  There is something that just makes me feel pampered when applying face cream.  🙂

The product is sold as a 45-day supply but I am confident mine will last at least 3 months or more.  They are a little more expensive than what our budget usually allows for skin care items so I am not confident yet what I will do when my supply runs out.  I have never tried ProActive (which was insanely popular when I was a teenager) so I don’t know how Dermagist compares.  I found that the results were similar to using the prescription Clindamyacin in conjunction with a good skin care routine.  If you want to avoid prescriptions and need good results this might be a good thing to try.

Right now Dermagist is offering a couple of specials.

Please note I did receive a free 45-day supply of the Clarifying System for Acne Prone Skin from Dermagist in exchange for this review.  The review did not have to be positive.  All opinions are my own.  

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.

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.  😉