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July 2010

{ tutorial } tee-to-tot sundress

As promised....

That cute shirt in your closet?  The one that doesn't fit right or you're just done wearing or from that special vacation?  Don't put it in the Donate pile just yet.  Time for refashion. Tee-to-Tot Sundress style!

Let's go!


Tee?  Scissors?  Elastic Thread?  Coordinating Thread?  Check? Check! (click on any of these photos to enlarge.)

1. Lay your tee flat, keeping in mind the where the design will hit the shirring.  This was a fitted ladies medium.


2. Cut off the arms, and continue down to create an a-line from the body of the shirt. 

3. Stitch up the side seams & trim.  If I were one of the cool kids and had a serger, I would do that on the sides as well.  But I don't.  And that's okay. 


4. Time to Shirrrrr!  Wind your elastic thread around your bobbin -- not too tightly -- and thread it through the machine as normal.  I would switch your stitch to Elastic or a narrow Zig-Zag to keep the extra elasticity of the knit.  If it doesn't matter to you because the shirring will be enough stretchiness, you can do a straight stitch.  Totally up to you. 

I started at a side seam and went around and around until I had about 4 inches of rows, with about 3/8 inch in-between.  Some people mark lines; I use my presser foot as a guide instead because I'm lazy.  When you are done, iron the shirred part.  Wooohooo!  It shrinks up even more.  It's like a magic trick!  Fun.

5.  Resist the urge to shirr everything in your closet.  {I mean it.}   And I also meant what I said about the serger.  I do a lot of sewing and I have never felt I couldn't tackle a project without one.  That's all.


6.  You'll have these wonderful wonky pieces left over.  Cut the folded hemmed sleeves as close to the hem stitch as possible.  I decided to overstitch the sides of them with a pink zigzag, just for contrast.  I love to 'lettuce-edge' my knits for wee ones.  If you pull on the fabric as you are overstitching, it will create this ripply effect.  Really, it will rock your world.

7. I did not get fancy when I attached these new straps to the front.  I estimated where they should go, as Wonderbaby was sleeping, and stretched the shirred part out a bit while I was sewing them on.  I am lucky they did not end up entirely in her armpits.  I would recommend trying it on strapless first.  ;)


8.  My shirt was way too long for 13-mo-Wonderbaby.  I used another one of her dresses as a guide for length, chopped it off, and overstitched again. 


And that, my dears, is it.

10.  Grab a chair and do a photoshoot!





Bonus round:

Use your leftovers and the same general techniques to make a matching headband:


Have fun!  And let me see what you're up to, 'k? 


{ sewing } t-shirt to tiny dress refashion

What started out as a simple 'mommy's t-shirt to toddler dress refashion' turned into a photoshoot with my cheeky Wonderbaby. Happens like that sometimes.

I have a tutorial in the works, but I thought I'd just show you the fun we had yesterday while I was trying to get The After Photo.  (Because everybody like Wonderbaby pics, right?)

{ oh heavens, I'm melting. }

{ not thrilled about the headband }

{ ace }

{ 13 mos }

{ 13 months }

Thanks for indulging me.  There are days I just want a Pause button.  Yesterday was one of them.  


My baby isn't really a baby anymore.

She is starting to take steps.

We are in the beginning stages of saying words we all understand.  She has kind of decided she likes a sippy cup of milk better than a snuggle with mommy.  Don't get me started on that one.  Sniff. 

She is growing into this happy go lucky little toddler that just wants to hang out with her older sisters and play and put on makeup and pet the dog and say Mooo and blow kisses and dig in the sandbox and eat everything in sight.  She is a snuggle-bunny and a hide-and-seeker.  She has a deep belly laugh that reminds me of Fidget at that age.  

What a privilege it is to get to raise these kiddos.  They teach and delight me more than I ever could in return.

Well.  I didn't mean to say all that, but I guess I'm feeling sentimental. 

All-righty then!


In other news, Craft Hope's Project 9 was announced yesterday!  This is such an amazing community, I get goosebumps just thinking about all the beautiful, generous hearts there are in this world.   Over 65,000 washcloths were made and delivered by crafters to the IMMS Center for Project 8.  There was such a response that the project had to be put ON HOLD because the center now has more towels than they can store or will need to clean rescued wildlife for quite a while.  Awesome. 

And I'm sure the outpouring of love will be just a great for Project 9!  From the Craft Hope site:

For Project 9 we will be working with ConKerr Cancer to benefit terminally ill children. ConKerr Cancer was established two years ago to put smiles upon the faces of terminally ill children in the hospital. They provide bright and cheery handmade pillowcases for these children. They have succeeded in delivering 225,000 pillowcases up to this date. They have a goal of providing a beautiful pillowcase for every seriously ill child in North America by 2012. Well I think we can just help them achieve that goal don’t you?

If you are planning to participate, please visit the link above for details and leave a comment so they can anticipate the response.  Thank you!

miss chris

{local love: food } natashas

Sometimes you just need something sweet.

Sometimes you just want to treat the kiddos with something little and special.

Sometimes it could just be about the pretty.

natasha's mulberry and motts

It could be all of the above.

With friends to boot.

The little girls and I joined Stacy (mamasdoodles) and her kiddos last week for a little park picnic and playground romping.  Stacy and I met two and a half years ago, connecting through blogland.  They are moving to Denver soon and we will miss them so very much!

I am selfishly hoping it takes a long time to sell their house.  

Sad, but true. 

still feasting my eyes.

Anyway, we surprised the littles with a trip to a local pastry shop.  It's got all sorts of special treats.  But really, it is So. Much. More.

Natasha's Mulberry & Mott, in Leawood, KS, is a perfect of example of how the smallest details can transform a place from run-of-the-mill to extraordinary. 

Where do you think this shop is?

How old is the building?

What does it feel like in there?  Do the floors creak?

even the ceiling looks like it tastes good.

Surprise!  It is located in a very new upscale shopping plaza.  What they have done with trim and paint and ceiling tiles and the finished cement floor create such a memorable experience.  It's quaint.  It's pretty and delicate.  It makes you oooh and aaaah and point and giggle and stare and take pictures. 


I think it could be impossible to walk in and be anything but happy and relaxed and delighted. 

we could call this 'Before'

But if you do take four little kids and they are drinking from filled-to-the-brim cups of milk, it is possible to leave a little ... embarrassed. 

And, this would be 'After'

Ha!  The shopkeepers were very sweet.  It happens all the time, they said.  I'm sure.    

Oh well!  We came.  We ate sweet treats.

We wrestled.


What more could you want?


miss chris

ps:  Stacy, we are going to miss you guys and our fun outings.  Best of luck with the home search and sale and all the rest.  Denver is so very lucky.

{ vintage } meet Kennie.

Don't mind me.

I've been geeking out about my newest toy.

the new baby: Kenmore 158-10400

A vintage Kenmore 158-10400.(Circa 1950s-1960s, from what I can tell). Complete with some original tools and bobbins and attachments I haven't even seen before.  Do you recognize that needle shank attachment on the left in the photo below?  Is that even the right name for that little gadget?

original goodies, too.

I started looking for a portable machine a month ago when I was trying to consider the logistics on my September trip to Seattle for the Dottie Angel Workshop.  (Our supply list includes, among other things, a sewing machine, a stool, full-length slips and crocheted doilies.  I simply cannot wait for my date with TSA security.) 

My current machine is fairly large and heavy and I was trying to figure out how to take her.  Use a super big suitcase and cushion her with my fabric supplies? Do I trust those baggage handlers to not toss her or squish her under everyone else's luggage?  Do I try to carry-on in a new case? Will it fit above or below??  No and no, most likely. I was stressing out just a little.

I had been researching a portable vintage Singer Featherweight, everyone's go-to portable workhorse.  However,I wasn't ready to fork over the $250 it looked like I would have to part with.   I did find one on Craigslist for $125 and then waited too long to call.  Bummer.

Fortunately, I came across this Kenmore at a local Thrift in the nick of time. 

After a bit of online research, I found a yahoo group dedicated to vintage Kenmores, and now I've got a super resource for information as well. One of the members was even kind enough to send me a PDF manual, which has been immensely helpful!  I should have enough weeks to get her cleaned up (although she looks recently serviced) and ready to roll. 

It's exciting and scares me a little.


Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to cozy up with some light technical reading.  :)

I told you I was geeking out.



{ food } 78 new items for my to-do list

My husband and four year old are bacon eating MACHINES. As in we go to IHOP and Fidget eats a plate of bacon and everyone's extra bacon, too. And an order of sausage. Tiny thing has a huge appetite for breakfast meats.

Hubs thinks everything is better with bacon.  If he ever has a suggestion for a dish, it is usually around the likes of "You know what would taste good in this?  Bacon. And mushrooms."  But mostly bacon.

(Nevermind that the eldest is a vegetarian, there is enough bacon consumed in this house to justify buying in bulk.)

So imagine my delight whilst waiting in the checkout line the other day, when this was staring at me straight in the face:


Yes, my friends.


It was a present, I tell you. 


It is probably a good thing we are having record heat and humidity around these parts this week.  Momma needs some time to plan her bacon dish strategies. 

Anyone hungry?

{ vintage } suitcases

I am up to my eyeballs in a teen bedroom makeover...what a before and after should I have to share!

i have a weakness

But before that...  I did manage to pop in to a local thrift store this morning and score some fun fun fun luggage.  The three red ones were nested together with one price tag -- a ridiculous bargain at $3.  The blue one has the most gorgeous pale aqua lining.

today's haul.

The teen has her eye on these babies for her upcoming trip to Florida.  I love that she can appreciate how fun these are as well and isn't rolling her eyes at my haul.

Houston, we have a problem.

She IS rolling her eyes at me for locking the blue one by mistake. 

We are at 500. 

Anyone have a tip for figuring out the combo faster than trying each number 0-999??  We are all ears.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to get back to this:




miss chris

{ excuses, excuses }

I'm pretty sure my blog is ready to break up with me.

This prolonged absence has been unavoidable but it is still ridiculous.4722504254_4291304798_z

I have been driving around my town in circles for the past four weeks. Summer school. Camp. Preschool. Doctors appointments. The grocery store. That's it. Nothing exciting. Certainly not post-worthy!

(Aren't the bubbles nice, though???)

However, next week brings the dawn of...



Which means, of course, that haphazard naps in the car will give way to synchronized at-home naps where mom gets productive. It means we will no longer be tethered to the local high school for drop offs and pickups and outings that last no longer than 60 minutes.

It means things around here have a decent chance of getting back to normal.

Whatever that was.

Oh, peeps. I have some fun things to talk about and share and make and do! It's just not the same around here when 'around here' is the car.  You could say I've gotten used to that new fangled machinery.

Or I have simply learned to disable all of it and drive in peace.  :)