Well, we tried to go on our first camping trip in the Yellowstone. I’m just going to copy and paste the status I wrote on Facebook about the experience, as I’m not sure how I could sum it up any better here: “This stage of life is really all about making family memories. So some day my kids may recall the time that our travel trailer was not quite ready to camp in yet, but Daddy wanted the family to accompany him on a business trip, so Mom stayed up until midnight trying to figure out how to air condition the thing and then packed in a haze and hurry after church, and we made it to Elizabethtown, but then Mom tried to go inside the trailer at a gas station to get something and the only door key broke. And then how we sat in a blazing hot Lowe’s parking lot while Daddy tried to have a new key made, only they don’t make that shape of key anymore, so we bought grease instead and tried very hard to open the door before the key split the rest of the way but we couldn’t, so we drove back home and the dog practically kissed the ground she was so glad to be back and Mom made a pitcher of margaritas for herself and let the kids eat the junk food we’d packed for the trip. Ahhhh, my kids will say, those were the days.”
The photo is my poor hot, sweet boy asleep on the sofa when we came back. We’ll try again soon and I’m sure things will go better. First I have to find a new doorknob, which I’ve not been all that successful with so far.
I’ve taken a break now from all things trailer-related to do a little sewing for people. Myself, first off. I’d bought this fabric a few weeks ago to make a dress to wear on the 4th of July. I feel like sewing it on Independence Day itself counts, right? It’s mid-afternoon and the dress is done; I was on time with the project. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I cobbled this pattern together myself from a bodice I liked the idea of but had to alter (Butterick B5176) and the skirt pattern I always use (Simplicity 2758). It has a zipper up the side under the arm. It fits comfortably and I love a dress that is wash and wear. The fabric has the very fancy schmancy name Imperial Pheasant Paisley and Butterflies and is from Fabric.com. It is more pink in person than it looks on Fabric.com, but I like it and the pinky shade makes it seem more appropriate to wear on any other old day of July too.
I am cracking up in the second photo, as you can tell. I insisted to Rob (who is not our usual family photographer) that he quit taking my picture from navel-level, which is pretty much the most unflattering possible vantage to have one’s photo taken from, so he climbed our kids’ slide and promised to save my camera if he fell, then snapped the shot. Thanks, sweetie.
This was meant to be a Christmas gift for my niece Maggie but, well, it wasn’t. Now I’m giving it to her as an early birthday gift instead because by mid-March it’s probably going to get too warm to wear it. I used the Easy No Sew Summer Baby Doll Sweater pattern which I’d also used this summer as a gift for a friend. This is a good pattern and it worked up nicely in this Swish Tonal yarn from Knitpicks. I hope the soon-to-be-3 Maggie likes it.
My other niece Lila turned five this past week. She’s about Dorothy’s size so after my recent success with Simplicity 5704 (see below) I decided to try it again. This time I used Michael Miller cowgirl prints, which were surprisingly soft and should make this a comfortable dress for Lila. She loves pretty ponies so I hope she loves this dress too. As I was stitching this dress together it occurred to me that while having my children and my nieces close in age is nice now, it might be kind of sad in a few years when all the kids in my family are too old for homemade pony dresses (or heart dresses, or whatever). It’s a privilege to be turning out these frilly little sewing projects; not everyone has a pretty little girl to sew or crochet for, and I’m blessed with three at once!
This project is not nearly as cute but it will probably be in use long after the pink sweater and pony dress are outgrown. I replaced the tattered and torn Target bag that held rags on the back of my guest room closet door with a sturdy and sensible rag bag sewn from old sheets. The opening, as shown, is on the front for easy access. I did not use a pattern for this but it is basically two rectangles sewn together, one cut in two then sewn back together with a finished slit in the middle, and then gussets added in all four corners. I’d picked up the sheet it’s made from at a thrift store and it actually looks pretty nice in the yellow, red and orange brightness of Aunt Stephanie’s room.
About this time every year people start complaining about Christmas stuff being out, about the rush of the season, about holiday music. I’m not one of them. The kids and I had the Pandora holiday music station on the day after Halloween, and although I won’t decorate our house until Thanksgiving I’m thoroughly enjoying the pre-holiday planning. Christmas is fun; why not stretch it out a bit? I’m so glad we won’t have the craziness of last year’s Christmas-week move, and it’s going to a blast to have two kids at the perfect ages to enjoy all this holiday hustle-bustle. I like to take a photo for my Christmas cards pretty early every year so that if it looks terrible I have plenty of time to bribe them more and try it again. This year I was really lusting after some Hanna Andersson matching outfits for the kids to wear in the picture, but just couldn’t bring myself (meaning, well, that I just couldn’t afford) to spend so much money on clothes they’d only wear a couple times at most. Right as I was about to buy them anyway I remembered this pretty turquoise Christmas fabric I’d purchased on clearance at a quilting store over the summer. I’d only bought a yard and had planned to make myself a tote bag out of it, but I realized I could probably stretch it to come up with homemade matching outfits for the kids.
I definitely got my money’s worth out of less than $5 of Christmas fabric. I sewed Dorothy a dress out of a winter white fabric I had in my stash, which I think I got from Wal-Mart’s $1 table a few months back. I made the dress from Simplicity 2237 and sewed her a bolero from the Christmas print from the same pattern. I’ve used that dress pattern before and found it to be a bit wide; this time I cut the pattern a little narrower and it fit perfectly. The bolero pattern wast just right. It fit adorably without any adjustments.
I used more of the turquoise fabric to make a ruffle around the bottom of her dress, which I sewed to the lining of unbleached muslin so it peeps out all around. I used gold thread and a decorative stitch on my sewing machine to add some gold embellishment along the hem of the outer skirt.
For the boy I made a bow tie out of the Christmas fabric and an oh-so-debonair vest out of the same fabric as her dress. I read this terrific tutorial on another blog, then sort of cut around a vest he’d outgrown. I used leftover curtain backing for the lining and back and buttons from my stash, which I think were torn off an old sweater that got turned in to something else a couple years ago. His bow tie is not really tied on because I’m not that brave–I sewed it to a hair clip. I ended up getting an acceptably good photo of the two of them (not pictured) and am glad to have that happy task checked off my list, and for less than $10 total.