Love Story 3 column

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Easter Book for Toddlers

I've already bought a few things for Annelise's Easter basket, but wanted to add a board book with some sort of Easter/spring theme. I strolled down Walmart's book aisle on Monday and saw several Easter board books. The first few I looked at were just cheesy, happy, fluffy books about chicks, lambs, bunnies, etc. That's not quite what I was hoping for. Then I noticed this book:

Sure, there's a church on the cover, but was it just going to be another bunch of fluff? I quickly read the book and was very pleased to find a clear, yet age-appropriate, true Easter message. I was happy to plunk down $6.27 plus tax. Here's a little look inside:

The book begins by asking what Easter is really about. It mentions all the secular aspects of the holiday - bunnies, chicks, egg hunts, toys, candy,...

and fancy new church clothes and shoes. (I've already bought Annelise a pair of white patent shoes to go with her Easter dress!)

And then comes the reason I really loved this book. "Easter means much more than that. It's all about God's Son." Now we're getting somewhere.

It tells that Jesus died to save us from our sins and rose again on the third day. I appreciate the fact that there's no mention of the agony and torture Jesus experienced. I don't believe that should ever be sugar-coated, but I also know toddlers aren't ready for that. Also, as pictured on the page above, there are three crosses, but Jesus is not depicted on the cross. Another visual not for toddlers.

Several of the pages offer opportunities for parents to add more details and discussion as their toddlers get older, such as a picture of an empty tomb with an angel talking to three women.

Oh, and another aspect I know my SIL Kimberly would appreciate - multi-cultural people!

In the end, this book concludes that the fun, secular aspects of Easter - like bunnies, eggs, and candy - are okay. As long as you know that the most important part is Jesus, and what He did for the world when He sacrificed His life to save us. (Which is just what I happen to believe. I plan to let Annelise get "Santa gifts" at Christmas, but Jesus is the reason for that season, too! I think a little bit of the secular is alright, as long as the family's beliefs are just as big a part of the celebration.)

If you're a believer looking for a way to begin teaching even the youngest children about the true meaning of Easter, I hope you will look for this book. And while I bought it for my daughter's Easter basket (and may still tuck it in with her other goodies that morning), it will be part of our reading time until then, and maybe even after. I'm pretty sure we've read it three times already since yesterday!

Here are some more details about the book:
Author: Michelle Medlock Adams
Illustrator: Amy Wummer
Publisher: Candy Cane Press (a division of Guideposts)

Happy crafting and happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sewing for Myself?!?

I used to sew clothing for myself all the time. My, how having a daughter changes things! Since Annelise was born almost 16 months ago, I have only sewn for her. I decided she had enough for now - it's Mommy's turn again! Of course, there's nothing like a full-length photo of yourself to reinforce the need for a diet. Yikes! I won't be showing you the full-length shot, but here is a look at Mommy's new dress.

It all started with this pattern, Simplicity 2642 (pretty sure I got it at Hobby Lobby when they had a $.99 sale):

I made the view seen in the upper right corner. It's a pretty easy pattern, if you're comfortable with sewing and using a pattern. The sleeves are not set-in! I thought the dress would look good with a "flowy" fabric, so I found this fabric at Joann's (reg. price was $9.99/yd, and I used a 50% off coupon).

The only adjustment I made to the pattern was to add about 2 inches to the skirt hem (before I cut it out). I don't like my knees, and wanted it to be just below my knees. My favorite feature? It has pockets!

 So here's the finished product, along with my modeling helper...

(There was just a bit too much afternoon sun, so we were squinting a bit.)

Now the next question is when to start my diet. Hmmmmm... at least not until after the Easter candy has been eaten!!!

My next post will have nothing to do with crafting. I've got a little book review for you.

Until then, happy crafting,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Easter Egg Garland

My latest favorite thing to do is what I affectionately call "blog-stalking." I spent at least 6 months checking out all the amazing craft blogs out there before I decided to join the club.One of my favorites is Tatertots & Jello. (It's creator, Jen, has over 11,000 followers, so clearly she's doing something right.) And one of my favorite things about T&J is their Weekend Wrapup Party, which starts every Friday night. Here's a link to last week's party. If you check it out, prepare to devote several hours days to all the goodness that can be found there (last weekend's party was just shy of 700 links, which I'm still sifting through).

Through the link parties, I've discovered many other great & creative crafters, including a brand new one, whose blog title I think is so clever: I Should Be Mopping the Floor - But Instead I'm Pulling Out the Glue Gun. It made me laugh out loud when I read that! Kristi from "Mopping" shared a super cute (and easy, and cheap!) Easter Egg Garland on the T&J link party, and I thought it would be a great way to add a little spring/Easter cheer to my living room. What do you think?

Annelise was just a bit captivated by the pretty colors.

I already had hooks on the mantel underside that we use for Christmas stockings. Perfect!

I wanted to add something else Easter-y to the mantel, so I found this bunny pitcher in the guest room. I think it still needs something more. I saw lots more cute spring ideas on the link party. I just might have to borrow some more inspiration from the blogosphere.

I spent about $2 on the eggs at Walmart, and maybe $10 on ribbon (yikes!, but I just can't help myself when it comes to cute ribbon!) I made it today during naptime. Kristi has a great tutorial on how to make your own garland. You should check it out.

I have just finished making the cutest (if I do say so myself!) baby name banner, but it's for a baby shower in April, so I can't blog about it until after I give it to the mom-to-be. I just wanted to whet your appetite! Until then...

Happy crafting,

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Not-So-St. Patrick's Green Outfit

I'm all about "holiday wear", especially for little ones. But I'm not so sure how much wear my daughter will get out of a shamrock outfit. Last year, she had a "Daddy's Lucky Charm" onesie, but she was 3 months old, so I wasn't too concerned about getting lots of wear out of it.
Wow, that was already a year ago??? My how time zooms by!

This year, I decided I wanted to make something green and festive for Annelise to wear on St. Patrick's Day, but I also wanted something without shamrocks that she could wear all spring/summer. Here's what I came up with:
Yes, she's picking up a goldfish. I have to bribe her for photo sessions every time. That's the only way I can keep her from standing right in front of me & the camera.

Here are a few more views of the outfit:
Oh yeah, there are those adorable baby toes again! It's almost warm enough here for sandals, and I can't wait to see her toes every day!

Here's what I used to make this outfit:
  • Pattern: Simplicity 3854 (still in print)
  • 1/2 yard of fabric (Walmart, $2.50)
  • Green t-shirt (Walmart, $3.50)
  • 3/8" grosgrain ribbon (Walmart, not pictured, about $4)

I loved that the fabric was not bright green, but included green to match the t-shirt, and some other colors as well. Annelise has a yellow t-shirt she can wear with the bloomers, too. After I tried them on her, I realized they totally looked like clown pants. Then I thought if a 15-month-old can't pull off clown pants, who can?

And then of course we needed a matching hair clip! I've seen lots of tutorials for rolled fabric flower pins, headbands, necklaces, etc. I followed this one at Blooming Homestead to make a fabric rosette hair clip. It's not perfect, but it's not bad for my first one.

And here's a close up -- of Annelise and the clip in her hair! (This is what she tries to do when I'm not getting her to chase goldfish!)

Until next time...

Happy crafting,

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Easiest Toddler Dress Ever

Let me start by asking "What could possibly be cuter than baby toes?" The answer HAS to be baby toes in sandals, of course! Awwww...

But no matter how much she wanted to try on her new sandals, nothing could prepare her for the first time she stood with something between her toes! I snapped this pic quickly, then took the sandals off, and she promptly "demanded" that I put them back on her. Kids!

Now, on to the dress. I've seen pillowcase dresses all over the blogoshpere, and a few bandana dresses, too. The easiest version is the bandana dress. I've seen several similar versions, so I'm pretty sure I'm not stealing anyone's original idea by offering my own tutorial here. I've been stockpiling bandanas in pairs for a year, waiting for Annelise to be big enough to wear these dresses. One of the great things about this dress is that you can adjust the neckline as your child grows, and when they are a little older, they can wear it as a top over pants or shorts. I would guess these would fit from toddlers up to age 6-8, depending on the child's size. In the winter, you can put them over long-sleeved shirts and leggings.

It seems she finally started getting used to the new sandals, but still wouldn't turn around and give me a smile. Oh well!

Bandana Dress supplies:
  • 2 bandanas
  • ribbon for tying at neckline (approx. 1" to 2" wide)
(sewing machine, thread, scissors, iron, etc.)

These bandanas are from Walmart and just $1 each. They are made from a really soft, lightweight fabric that reminds me a little of vintage handkerchiefs. I've found great bandanas at Walmart (women's accessories section) and Hobby Lobby. You can find some matching ribbons at HL, too!

I prewash all my fabrics before sewing. With bandanas, you just have to expect that they will not be perfectly square after washing. You can see in the pic below that when the corners line up on one end, they are about 1/2" off on the other end. This doesn't cause too much of an issue as you sew them up. BTW, the genius thing about using bandanas is that all the edges are finished for you. You don't have to zig zag or serge any of your seams! (Why can't you turn a photo when you're composing a blog entry? So annoying!)

Lay out your bandanas with right sides together, and with any edge printing to the top. (You will be folding this part over later for the ribbon casing, so you won't see the printing from the outside of the dress.)

Yes, another pic got turned when uploaded. Sorry!
On the side seams, place a pin 6" from the top (from the printed edge). Pin down the rest of the seam below this pin.

Begin sewing at the 6" marking, backstitching a few stitches to secure. Sew all the way to the bottom of the dress, backstitching again. Repeat for other side seam. (Because your edges are all finished, you can sew any width seam you want. I used a 1/4" seam, which lines up perfectly with the edge of the presser foot.)

Press the seam allowances open.

Measure the width of your ribbon and add 1/4". Fold the top edge (with printing) down that amount to the wrong side (inside) of dress. (My ribbon was 1" wide, so I folded the edge down 1 1/4".) Press the fold.

 Stitch all the way across the top of the dress, near the pre-finished edge, backstitching at both ends. Repeat for top of other side.

Cut your ribbon to length. I used one length of ribbon, so that it would tie at one shoulder. You could also cut two lengths of ribbon and have a tie at each shoulder.
One shoulder tie: cut one 48" length
Two shoulder ties: cut two 36" lengths
Attach a safety pin to one end of ribbon to thread it through your casing.

For one shoulder tie, thread the ribbon through one casing and back through the other (pictured).  For two shoulder ties, thread one ribbon through each casing.

Congratulations, you are done!

 Adjust the neckline along the ribbon length for the size of your child. After you tie the ribbon, trim any excess length and heat-seal the edges.

My daughter isn't quite tall enough to pull off the full length of this dress, so I hemmed up the bottom about 1 1/2". Since that caused the border of the bandana to be folded under, I added some more ribbon at the bottom. As Annelise grows, I can remove the ribbon and let out the hem.

Aw, it looks like someone needs a hug!

Once you've made this dress one time, you could probably make another one in about 20 minutes. Walmart usually carries seasonal holiday bandanas, and Hobby Lobby has just about any color you can think of in the traditional bandana style. And combined with so many beautiful ribbons - just think of the possibilities!

My next project to share is a not-so-St. Patrick's Day outfit. Until then...

Happy crafting,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Two {Lovely} Dresses

Yikes! It's been almost a month since I posted. It's not that I haven't been crafting. I've actually made several projects. I just haven't gotten around to taking photos. So this morning, Annelise and I had a marathon modeling session, and I got pics of her in three new outfits. I will show you one of those outfits today, and save the other two for additional posts. I have to keep you wanting more, right?

So if you've read any of my previous posts, you've probably seen the "Charlotte" dress I made with a pattern from Mama Stellato. When I bought that pattern, she had a 2/for deal, and I also got the "Lovely" dress pattern. I used the rest of the coordinating fabric from the Charlotte dress I made on this new dress. Here it is:
I made the dress exactly as the pattern directed. The only direction I didn't follow exactly was the bodice size I used. The bodice is sized to fit snugly, and I knew I was going to put it over a long-sleeved onesie, so I used the next size up. Since this version is made in corduroy, my daughter wore it over the onesie and tights for church. The buttons (from Walmart) are merely decorative, as you can see in the pic above that one strap has hidden snaps. The fabric is from Hobby Lobby (there go those angels singing again!).

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of her in the brown dotted dress, but you can see her in the 2nd version of the Lovely dress I made here:

No, I can't get a picture of her smiling these days. In fact, the only way I can get her to stand there at all is goldfish bribery!

Here's a view of the back. I made a couple of changes to the original pattern for this version. Since I wanted this to be a spring/summer top, I made the skirt portion half the length. Also, the pattern calls for one strap to be permanently attached, while the other strap attaches with snaps (see pics of brown dress above). Here, I made both straps functional, using buttons and buttonholes (see next 2 pics below). On a side note: Do you like the rubber bands on the hutch knobs? She figured out how to open those doors as soon as she could stand up.

Strap buttoned up.
View of working buttonhole.
Okay, I couldn't resist showing you the booty shot! She's picking up a goldfish I threw to "encourage" her to step away from the camera. We do what we have to, right?

And this photo is here because I just can't resist her gorgeous eyes!

Thanks for taking a peek into our world today! My next post will be a tutorial on the easiest dress you can make for a child. And I promise to post it before another three weeks goes by!

Happy crafting,

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