Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Crafting Organization - a collaboration with MakeSpace

I am an avid maker and always have been. One of my favorite activities is sewing. I love the feel of the fabric, the rush of finding just the right pattern and the ability to sit down and create something that just hours before was only in my head or sketchbook. 

Although I have always been a maker I haven't always had a lot of space to store supplies. I don't have an office of my own. I don't have a room devoted to just my sewing, nor have I ever had one. Not having a large space to create has forced me to get creative with my storage. In a lot of ways having a small area has been helpful. I don't buy too much more than I can use in a short amount of time. I find myself more creative this way. If this isn't your strong point, MakeSpace has a variety of self storage locations that can haul away anything you won't need for a while (this month, this season or this year), store it for any amount of time and bring it back whenever you are ready for it

Storage is huge when you have spent a lifetime creating. I would like to share some tips with you on how to make the most of your space. 

Group items together. Store your buttons all together. Keep fabrics sorted by color and or texture. Everything is more visually appealing when stored by color. 

Find an appropriate sized container for each group of items. Mason jars are perfect for ribbons, buttons, lace, elastic and other small notions. Shoe boxes covered with cute paper make great storage for fabric scraps, trims and patterns. 

Fold fabric so it is all the same width. This saves so much space and is much more visually appealing. 

Make your space pretty. It is a lot more fun to be in a space that is pretty. Although my space is in the unfinished part of the basement I have done everything I could to make it pretty. And I really want to be in this space. 
My sewing space also works as my gift wrapping station. I love wrapping presents. I would much rather present a gift that is gift wrapped than bag wrapped. I know it's personal preference but because of my preference I have a collection of gift wrap. I store it in a tall glass vase. It is the perfect multi-purpose container. 
Sometimes you have to think outside the box. A container could have two purposes. In fact, frequently I think of the item I want stored and then start hunting different sections of a store looking for something that would be attractive and functional. 

Although this isn't a storage tip it is a life tip that will help you stay on track and be more productive in your space. Create a mood board or an area where you can post your ideas. This helps keep your inspiration focused and your goals in mind. 

I use these cute pentagonal cork boards to store my inspiration. When I see something in a magazine, a catalog or with my phone I pin the picture up on the board. Most of the things I make are kids clothes, so my inspiration is usually for kids. 

I hope you have found these tips helpful! Good luck in all your projects! 

Saturday, April 16, 2016


  1. decoration on a garment created by gathering a section of the material into tight pleats and holding them together with parallel stitches in an ornamental pattern.

 About 10 years ago I was given my grandma's gathering machine. It gathers the fabric to make it so you can smock. After the fabric is gathered you hand stitch to make smocking. Then you take out the thread holding the original gathers in place. I have used it more times than I can count and I keep coming back to it because it is so relaxing to do hand stitching. 

I feel like this is a craft that has somewhat disappeared. I also feel like it brings a very specific feel to a garment. 

 This dress is the Oliver + S Fairy Tale pattern. I love this pattern because it is so versatile. You can use the petal sleeves, or leave it sleeveless. There are two collar options, or leave the collar off. The little bow around the waist is adorable and you can mix and match so many colors and fabrics! 
 I think smocking is ready for a modern comeback. The greatest thing is you don't have to have a pleating machine to smock. You can gather the fabric in different ways to achieve this look. Here's some more smocking that hopefully will help sell this idea! 
Melly Sewn smocked dress
Purl Soho's Smocked Dress Pattern
Ingrid Orchid's fabric manipulation blouse uses a pleating method to get the drape just perfect.

And lastly Kate Bowles' smocked books. These things are amazing! You can use this technique for so many different things.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Oregon the Beautiful

 I think it is definitely fair to say that the longer I don't live in rural eastern Oregon the more I like it when I go back. When I lived there I thought it was ugly, brown and boring. The ground is covered in sagebrush and it smells like onions and livestock. Small town living is slower, more gossip filled and dare I say judgy. I just made that word up. People feel so inclined to compare themselves to others for some reason. In a city I think people accept that we are all at different points in our lives, living life the best we can and don't really judge each other. 
 But as I get older and take my kids back to visit our family I appreciate so much more what it does have. There are amazing sunsets, beautiful variations in color of the fields and some pretty awesome old buildings. My kids love seeing the farm animals. In fact when we go to the National Zoo here in DC the farm area is by far their favorite. It seems so silly to me since I grew up by so many farm animals. They certainly don't seem zoo worthy. But they are, especially since otherwise my kids really wouldn't get to see them. 
 I also find the climate of rural eastern Oregon challenging but nice. It is dry and my body has adjusted pretty well to the humidity of DC. So I always have to slather on lotion and use extra conditioner in my hair. It affects my kids too. But the dry heat is so nice compared to humid heat. You don't sweat upon walking outside. You can find relief from the heat by finding some shade. And it cools off a lot at night. It has been really fun to share this difference with the kids. 
 I don't have any intention of living in eastern Oregon again, but it is a great place to visit. My kids love it and my family is totally worth the travel time.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Summer Love

We have been enjoying the most amazing summer. The weather is perfect, the pools are open and we are happy. I started out thinking I wanted to have a pretty structured schedule. That's just how I function best. But I have found that my kids love spontaneity and are much happier making spur of the moment decisions. Of course they love having something to look forward to but they don't love having every second of the day planned out. We are learning to work together to have the best summer ever. 
 I can't believe how fast the summer has gone. Is it always this fast? Calder just finished kindergarten and it feels like our first real summer vacation. We of course had summer break from preschool but he went 4 half days a week. Not anything close to what elementary school is. 
 My kids are best friends. They argue and fight at times but they have really figured out how to make each other happy and what to play together. I love that Calder has to stretch his imagination to make the spy games he loves to play stretch to Colette's interest of babies and dolls. It has been so fun to see him mature and develop lately. 

 Summer really should be unstructured. My kids have taught me that. They need time to get bored and use their imaginations. They need to be able to resolve their own conflicts sometimes. They need me to be there and help them through conflicts sometimes. It has been a beautiful summer and I can't wait to see what the last month of it brings. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

New Hair Color

 What is it about going to the salon? I think I could go there just for a shampoo and I would feel amazing. I went a few weeks ago to get some highlights and to go lighter overall. Experimenting with hair color is not something I have really done much, so I always feel a little unsure of whether it will look good. 

I really love the way my stylist listens. She is incredibly talented. It has been fun to play with my new color. I can see how it can be addicting to change your hair color! 
If you live in the DC area and need a salon I highly recommend Alchemy Salon. It is on Colesville Road next to Trader Joes, so you can always grab groceries when you're done. Total win!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Stitch Fix #8

 Hello! I just got my 8th Fix from Stitch Fix and thought I would give you a little peek. This time I asked for some fun bright colors. It seems like I kept getting a lot of dark or neutral colors and I wanted something more fun! This fix was definitely fun. 
  The first thing I pulled out of the box was this Olive & Oak Arynn Tie-Back Chevron Print tank top for $48.00. I don't really wear tank tops a lot but I thought I would give it a try. It is unlined and therefore you have to wear something under it. I honestly don't love the fit or the colors, but it was what I asked for as far as fun and colorful. 
These shorts were just screaming to go with the tank. They are Kut From The Kloth Elliot Cargo Pocket Shorts for $58.00.  They are a fabulous color and they fit well. 
 The next thing out of the box was this Market & Spruce Char Ikat Print Maxi Skirt for $58.00.  This is a fabulous piece that can go from summer to fall. It is really thin knit fabric so it shouldn't be too hot in the summer. It is super stretchy so I can chase kids everywhere without feeling like my clothes are holding me back. 

These earrings are a perfect match for the skirt. They are the Bay to Baubles Libby Lace Border Earrings for $28.00. They are really cute and a great size but they are also a little heavy. I tend to keep to lighter weight earrings. 
And the last thing was this Gilli Nikky Striped Faux Wrap Jersey Dress for $58.00. I LOVE this dress. I didn't take a picture of it without the jacket but it has cute little sleeves. I love that it is so slimming and comfortable. It is the perfect every day summer dress. 

I ended up just keeping the dress. I was really tempted by the maxi skirt but for the price I would want something a little thicker that I know will last a long time. This was such a fun fix. I'm glad I asked for the brighter colors. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Flowers That Almost Killed The Cat

My sweet and empathetic son has a good friend in his school class who has Strep throat. He felt so bad for her and suggested we buy her some flowers. "Because girls like flowers." It was really sweet so we went to Trader Joe's and bought the perfect bouquet of purple flowers. 

His friend was thrilled and put them in a vase before walking out the door to run an errand with her family. When they got back they discovered the cat had eaten one of the lilies. Apparently cats can have kidney failure from eating lilies. So, they called the pet emergency hotline (it's a thing!) and after exchanging pictures of the flower were told they should take it to the animal hospital for testing and monitoring. 

The sweet cat has been there for days and thankfully is doing well and hasn't had any signs of kidney failure but he has to stay for a few more days, just to be sure. 

I can not imagine how expensive this is. 

I feel terrible. Who would have thought? 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

From The Farmer

I have always been hesitant to join a CSA because my family is a little picky. So I was worried the produce would go to waste because nobody would eat it.
A few weeks ago I heard about From The Farmer. A local produce delivery system that lets you customize your delivery every week. So if it looks like there will be grapefruit coming and your family loves grapefruit you can ask for more. And if your family won't eat beets, you can ask not to get them.  It is the totally customizable produce delivery system. I love it. 
The variety is fun and they deliver right to your front door. They deliver every Friday first thing in the morning, so my kids wake up and check the front porch for a box of produce. Anything that makes my kids excited to eat fruits and vegetables is a total win! 
This last week we even got organic, only fruit strawberry jam and apple cider. The carrots were so many fun colors and my kids both gobbled them up and called them "fancy carrots". From The Farmer also does bread and eggs. I haven't tried those yet, but I'm sure they're good!
The other great thing about From The Farmer is that if you go out of town or didn't finish the produce from last week you can just suspend your delivery. It's as easy as that! So if you're in the DC area, you should totally give it a try! 

*From The Farmer does not in any way sponsor this blog. I just love their service and therefore want to spread the word. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Stitch Fix #6

 I know I said I may be done ordering from Stitch Fix but lets be honest. They're good and when you get a credit (Thanks Michelle!) you use it. So, I have a few pairs of denim that sort of fell apart this last few weeks, so I knew that would be a good thing to request in my fix. I have also heard that Stitch Fix is REALLY good at denim. So, I thought why not? 
The first thing out of the box was this pretty green top. It is 41Hawthorn's Angela Quilted Detailed Blouse and they cal it Teal Green but it seems a little more spearmint to me. For $68 it is a little pricier than I would normally pay but both Jason and Calder loved it, so I kept it. It has tulip sleeves which I love and the pleating detail in the front is fun. You can't see it well but the shoulders and back yoke have quilted details. It's a fun top. I kept it. 
The black jeans are Kut From The Kloth Denna Skinny Jeans for $78.00. I liked these well enough. They fit well and were super comfortable. Unfortunately they were a little long and normally I wouldn't mind hemming them but I just wasn't feeling it this time. I do want some black jeans, so I may try again next time but ask for something ankle length. Returned. 
The next thing out of the box was this Pixley Meryl Tulip Print Sleeveless Blouse for $54.00. I love the print and it was so so soft but the armholes were huge, so it made it look funny if I tried wearing it alone or with something under it. The other issue I have with this top is that it has a center seam down the front. I know this doesn't bother most people but I hate that the pattern doesn't add up. Returned. As I look at these pictures though, I'm thinking that is a really cute outfit. I should look for a fun print blouse like this (without a center seam). 
 This necklace was the next thing out. I was hopeful and loved the colors but the chain looks like antique brass, which just doesn't look awesome. If it had been gold or silver colored, it would have been great. This was the Romolo Zena Crystal Palm Collar Necklace. It was fun and interesting, just not perfect. And it cost $38.00 so if I'm going to spend that much on an necklace I want it to be something I love. Returned. 
 The last thing out of the box was these Dear John Marson Wide Leg Denim Trousers for $78.00. These are amazing jeans. They make my legs look a million miles long and they still have butt pockets, which is a requirement for me. The front pockets are nice and deep and I love the dark wash. I kept these and love them. 
 So, to recap, I kept two things and returned three. That's a pretty good fix. I liked everything I was sent and could have been talked in to keeping all 5 so I feel like this is a really good fix. Thanks Katherine for styling this one!
If you're interested in trying Stitch Fix follow this link (I get a credit if I refer you). It is easy and fun and you're not committed to buying anything or having a monthly shipment. You just let them know how often you want it or you can just request one when you want it. Some people just use it when they have a special event coming up or when they need something specific. I think it is really fun!

Monday, January 26, 2015

DC Winter

 I've been fairly silent the last few months. Not because we haven't been doing anything noteworthy. Quite the opposite actually. We have been living it up and enjoying as much family time as we can. 
 I have been thinking about winter, especially DC winters and I have come to a solid conclusion. I love them. They are just about as perfect as a winter can be. We get snow sometimes. We get rain and gloom sometimes. We also get random 50 degree sunny days sometimes. 
 I love having four true seasons. When I was growing up in eastern Oregon we had two seasons with a very short week of fall and spring sandwiched between.
 Then we moved to Chicago and got two solid but quite extreme seasons. That winter is the reason we don't live there now. Chicago winters are not something to joke around about. Those are some serious winters.
 I do dream of winters in San Diego every February as I get tired of winter, but then spring arrives the flowers start poking up and I fall in love with DC all over again.
The weather isn't the reason we moved here, but it is certainly one of the things keeping us here.


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