happy 4th of july!


happy 4th of july, everyone!  we are having a wonderful day hanging out at home.  it’s been lazy and just what we needed as a family.  i got to sleep in and the boys have spent all day outside playing with their magic sand.  i got some tie dye kits from target on clearance and we just finished an epic tie dye session!  we are all so colorful (we don’t need no stinkin’ gloves!)  it looks like a bunch of hippies live here!

IMG_2246 IMG_2229 IMG_2235 IMG_2231 IMG_2243anyway, i hope you and your families have a fantastic weekend!  stay cool and Happy Birthday, America!




d.i.y. day: sack pants and a dress…

i ran across this pin the other day and the boys saw it and said, “mommy, those are pants bags.  can you make us some?”  so, of course, i said yes.  the tutorial from her blog is pretty easy to follow and i made a few modifications, and i really like how they turned out.  the boys like them too.  in fact, they liked them so much, they insisted on wearing them to bed last night!


we took a trip to joann fabric and i let the boys pick their fabric.  jack jack chose a heatherd blue and harry picked this cool blue and green ikat print.  i steered them towards the lightweight knits and i chose to do the tutorial without the lining.  i also finished the necklines a bit differently.  the “back” became the “front” and i added button holes and buttons that i can move as the boys get bigger.  knowing what i know now, i would make the rise lower.  oh, well, next time.

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my sister-in-law is hosting a summer solstice party next weekend and we are all to dress like fairies or pixies or the like.  i think the boys look like peter pan’s lost boys in these jumpers, so i think we will add their butterfly wings and bows and arrows and call it the perfect outfit!

i didn’t take pictures of making the sack pants, however, i did take pictures of making the dress, which is a modification of the same pattern.  you just don’t cut out legs.  you just cut straight across and the finished dress will dip down on the sides.  instead of knit, i used pre-washed linen.  i don’t remember, but i think it was about 1.5 yards and i’m a solid american size 8/10 with a 34″D bust and a butt that the band queen would be proud of.

i laid out the pattern using the selvedge edge as my bottom hem so i didn’t actually have to hem the dress and because of this, and the fact that i used 45″ fabric, the dress came out pretty short in front.  it is longer on the sides but if you don’t like that, it is easily remedied by hemming the bottom of the dress evenly.  you can also buy more yardage and/or 60″ fabric so you can have a longer dress.  i will be making a maxi dress for my next one and/or a long version of the sack pants.

here is a quick-and-dirty version of how to sew this dress.  you should probably have intermediate sewing skills as i will not be detailing how to do certain techniques (such as french seaming.)

follow this tutorial to get your basic pattern and your basic sewing instructions – it’s in dutch, so use google translator to change it to english if you need to.  the boys had fun helping trace around me on the paper on the kitchen floor.  once you have your pattern, do not, do not, cut out legs.  just cut straight across for a skirt or fold up your pattern like i did in the picture.  because of how much fabric i had and how i needed to lay it out on the print (i did not match the pattern) i cut two back pieces (on a single panel – not on a fold) and stitched them together.  all my seams are french seams.  i think they just look nicer.

this is the front piece.  it is one piece that i cut on a fold.  i did not line up the pattern right on the fold because i wanted a little give in the panels for gathering at the neckline and so the dress is roomy.



sew the two back panels together down the center seam with a french seam.  then, fold over all, both front and back, neck and arm hole pieces 1/2 inch and hem.


this is a detail above of the side french seam below the arm hole.


when you seam the arm holes and necklines, you will get an uneven point at the corner.  trim this point off even with the top edge.  see above for detail of un-trimmed vs. trimmed.  the point on the left is un-trimmed and the one on the right is the trimmed one.


match up side seams from armholes down and seam.



this is what the sack dress looks like when it’s all seamed together.

fold over the top of the neckline (both front and back pieces) and seam, creating a 1/4 or 1/2 inch “tube.”  this is going to be where you run your cording for the gathered neckline.  i used just some plain, cotton twine, doubled over.  use a safety pin to run your cord through the neckline tubes.



just gather it up and tie on the side of one of the front sections.  you can have it tie in the back too, but i like a little off-set bow on the front so i can tie it myself.


at this point, because i’d been ironing it all afternoon and it was a bit stiff, i ran it under a cold tap and hung it up outside to quickly dry.  it will hang on your body better this way.  i don’t like to iron my linen anyway, because i’m lazy i like the way it looks.  i strung some little beads on the cording to jazz it up a bit.

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i used this neckline finishing technique (which is way different from the tutorial) because i like the control it gives me on the gather and – for the sack pants- it let’s me get my butt through the top to put the thing on and take it off.  of course, this last bit isn’t important for the dress because it goes on over the top anyway.  but, for the sack-pants-jumper, it’s invaluable.

i didn’t take pictures of making the sack pants, but, christopher took some of the finished project i made for myself.  yes, i made one for myself too.  christopher doesn’t like it on me, but i think it’s super comfy.  i like the look of changing up the direction of the pattern on the front and the back.

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and yes, my legs are really this white.

i hope you found this informative, empowering and  fun.  what will you be making?



p.s. please feel free to ask me questions. 🙂

a note on cutting one’s own hair…

don’t freak out.  ok, if you are my hairstylist friends, you probably won’t heed this warning.  and you’ll be pissed at me.  but, we are friends and i know you will still love me.

so, with the losing my job thing and all (more to come on that subject in a little bit) we have been trying to figure out ways to save money.  we’ve cut our expenses and bills as much as possible, reassessed our insurances, stopped eating out, stopped shopping for ourselves and loads of other things.

but, i needed a haircut.  i’ve been growing my hair out for the last couple years and it was to the point where it was really scraggly.  the ends were crunchy and it was getting heavy and hot.  now, my hair was by no means really long, just past my shoulders, but for me it was reeealllly long.  so, in true d.i.y. fashion, i looked on pinterest for “how to cut your own hair” tutorials.  i found this one from the blog and then we saved.  and let me just say, “awesome-sauce!”  i’m now following this blog too.   anna is fantastic!

of course, since i am impetuous and don’t really think ahead, i didn’t take a “before” picture.  this is as close as you get to one and it was taken a few weeks ago:


it’s blurry and generally a bad shot, but hey, there was no one around today to take any “before” or “during” shots.

anyhoo, i followed the tutorial along and just didn’t worry about the results.  i knew i didn’t want to take too much off, and i cut it longer than i wanted to, to begin with.  i could always go shorter!  i wound up cutting about 2 1/2 inches off.

and, here is the result:

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and the back (courtesy of my husband):


i have to say that i think this cut works well with the bit of natural wave i have in my hair.  i am not sure i would have been able to pull off cutting my own hair if i had pin-straight hair.  the wave is forgiving and i like the choppiness of the cut.  i used a bit of bumble and bumble thickening contour creme for some definition.  i love this stuff (and this is NOT a sponsored post…i just really love this product! hey, bumble and bumble, call me maybe.)


next time, i promise i’ll take more pictures.

do you d.i.y. anything that is more commonly left to the professionals?




i love painting.


weird, right?

i find it supremely cathartic and relaxing.  every once in a while i get a bug to paint.  maybe it comes from always being in a rental (even when i was a child) or maybe it is just the act of putting a fresh coat of paint on a wall.  covering up what was there.  starting fresh.

i’ve been looking at lots of interior design blogs and just love the look of stark white walls that let decorations pop.  when we moved into our craftsman style home – almost two years ago! – we really loved the period wall colors.  all but the burgundy wall and the not-so-period bright red bathroom.  i painted those immediately; a kelly green to cover the burgundy in the living room and a taupey-greyish-almost purple in the bathroom.  the bathroom color is “eiffel tower” so, that was a no-brainer.


but this weekend i went out and bought some bright white to paint the kitchen and living room – all except the green walls.  it has made such a difference!  our house has a lot of natural light, especially in the kitchen, but the white walls make a wonderful difference!

wall before after

wall before after 2

a little before/after action.  it really brightened the place up.  especially the hallway.

christopher and i also undertook a rather onerous project:  we had these HORRIBLE cornices in the dining nook over the windows and i’ve hated them since we bought the place.  however, we couldn’t figure out how to detach them from the walls!  we finally took a hammer to them and pried them off the walls!  i hung shelves and am so much happier with the look.  i haven’t finished painting.  the windows need a coat of gloss white and the living room is 1/2 done.  but it’s a start.

kitchen before after

see the horrible cornices in the first pic?

ahhh, bliss.

here are some blogs with gorgeous interiors:

i love everything about this room.

everything is so white and fresh!

love me some painted brick.

all the colors!

THIS SOFA! i’m dying…

i want to sleep here every night.

second picture = my shelf inspiration


happy daydreaming!



p.s. the BEAUTIFUL family photos on the wall were taken by my dear friend michelle ellis of michelle ellis photography.

sometimes you just need to make something…


i’ve been felling blue lately.  i think it’s because we got back from bright, sunny arizona and it’s still kind of chilly and drizzly here at home.  but, i can usually tell when i am slipping into a funk and i decided to be proactive and craft something just for myself.

i have been holding on to all the artwork the boys are making at home and at school.  one of jack’s favorite things is to paint, so i have a TON of paintings from him and harry.

when i was reading the blogs i follow, i found this tutorial on poppytalk.com for making geometric mobiles and i thought that would be a perfect way to showcase the boys’ art and get me on the road to getting out of my funky mood.


i took a couple boxes from some fruit snacks and cut them apart with a box knife according to the tutorial’s instructions.  i taped them together with packing tape and then, i mixed up some papier mâché mix from flour, water and salt.  i put on some torn up newspaper and let them dry on the windowsill in the sun that finally poked out!

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when they were dry, i watered down some white glue to thin it out.  i tore up some of the boys’ paintings and used the glue to stick them to the triangles.  i painted the triangles and the back of the torn up paintings to get a good stick, overlapping the paintings to cover the whole shape.

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while these were drying, i took a piece of driftwood that we found on our first family vacation a couple years ago and drilled five holes in it with a tiny drill bit.  i can’t remember what size i used and i forgot to take pictures of that part.  i didn’t measure spacing on this part either; i just eyeballed it.  i took some thin silver embroidery thread and strung it through the holes i’d drilled.  then I played with the length of each thread and the configuration of the triangles until i came up with the arrangement you see in the pictures.  i took some more thread and attached it to the sides of the wood to make a hanger and hung it on a cup hook screwed into the ceiling.  only after hanging it, did i realize that i could see the unfinished insides of the triangles.  so, i cut some more triangles of their art and glued them in the insides.  fin!



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it isn’t much, but i like how it turned out and i love having the boys’ art up where we can enjoy it.  and, now that it’s hanging, i think i want to string some tiny bells inside each one so it makes a lovely sound.

what kinds of things do you do to combat the blues?



valentine’s potato stamp towels…

when i was a little girl, my mom would make potato stamps and let us decorate paper for book covers, wrapping, or just for fun.  i wanted to do potato stamps for the boys to try and i wanted to have them be able to craft some gifts for their grandparents.  this craft was a bit more labor intensive and took a bit longer, but not too hard for the littles to handle.


for this craft you will need:

fabric paint – i used three colors of pink/red because i wanted an ombre look (found at michael’s)


paring knife

flour sack towels or tea towels

small cookie cutter in the shape you want (optional)


wash and dry your potatoes really well.  cut them in half and set the pieces you are not using cut side down on a paper towel to soak up any extra moisture.  take your cookie cutter and press it firmly into the center of the cut side of your potato  1/4-1/2 inch.  leave your cookie cutter in the potato.  take your paring knife and very carefully, cut the potato from around the outside of the cookie cutter, removing the excess so when you carefully remove the cookie cutter you have a raised stamp.

*if you don’t have a cookie cutter, you can take a sharpened pencil and trace your design onto the potato and use the tip of the paring knife to gently cut into the potato about 1/2 inch around the shape you traced, to make the outline of the stamp and then gently cut away the excess.  doing it this way takes a steadier hand and more time.

when your potato stamps are ready, spread a plastic tablecloth down on your table or some paper to keep your table safe.  squeeze some paint onto a paper plate and spread around to thin it a bit so the paint doesn’t squish about too much on the potato.  then, just have at it!


lay them flat to dry for 4 hours and then you can wash and dry them after 72 hours.

harry didn’t like doing this project so much, but he is not a big fan of paint, so his stamping was minimal.  but jack jack really got into it and had a blast!  i love his abstract approach to stamp placement.  i also did one for myself and i had a lot of fun.  i did an ombre gradient towel and love how it looks.  here are the boys’ finished towels:


this would be a fun housewarming gift and would work for any holiday too.  have fun and let me know what you think if you do this project!



little hearts…

i was looking for something fun and valentine-y to do today and this is probably the most easy project the boys and i’ve ever done.  it requires 4 supplies and really very little patience.


my mom sent these little foam hearts in the mail to the boys and i thought a conversation heart garland would be fun.  for this project you will need:


a pack of foam hearts (they came in pink, red purple and white — or you could just cut your own out of some of sheets of craft foam), silver sharpie marker, hole punch and some yarn.

just punch two holes in each heart — i punched them at the top of each “hump.”  write traditional conversation hearts sayings on each heart, or just make up your own.  this is a good thing to have a big kid do for you, but the marker can get kind of smelly, so be careful or do it yourself.  when the sayings were all done, i just handed the hearts to my toddlers and had them thread the yarn through the holes.  i put a bit of tape on the ends of the yarn to make them easier to thread.

they  had fun, but they didn’t really string them on so i could hang the garland, so i had to re-do them.  they boys didn’t care.  they thought it looked lovely.

see, wasn’t that easy?

here’s a little valentine for you from me: