Friday, October 29, 2010

Birthday Bash!

My sweet Monkey Boy turned two this week.  How did the baby that I prayed so long for get so big so fast?  If you've ever met Jonas you understand the nickname.  He's mischievous and silly and sweet and climbs every thing.  Given that, we of course had to go ape for his birthday.

We kept the celebration small.  My kids alternate big party years, and this year was big brother's turn.  But, it still has to be special, right?  Since my little monkey ripped our other birthday banners it gave me a perfect excuse to make one that was more graphic.  Inspired by the banner over at Life in the Fun Lane, I wanted something we could all use.

I started by color copying pages from an old book from my mother's childhood.  Got the aged look without having to tea stain.  Then I used those pages to print the large black letters.  I backed them with card stock circles and sandwiched black crepe paper between them, trimming them down to a more masculine size.  My final trick was that I glued a card stock loop on back so that I could thread them onto ribbon or twine, making them reusable.

Then, of course he needed a birthday hat, so I threw this together:

For dinner, he wanted his two favorites, pancakes and hotdogs. So, of course, that got the monkey treatment too...

Normally, I create a cake in the shape of whatever my kids are into at the time.  But, with the monkey theme, I couldn't resist making these insanely delicious looking Banana Caramel Cupcakes from Bakers Royale.  But, this was a party for a two year old, and that seemed quite sophisticated.  So, I made up a little bunting with a happy little monkey swinging from it, tied it to two skewers and viola!

Guess which one went to the birthday boy.  Birthday was a smashing success as is evidenced here:

I love you Monkey Boy!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Go Vote!

Okay, I know we have a very important election day coming up on the 2nd.  Seriously, go vote that day. 

But, that's not what this is about.  One of my designs made the top 15 in the Shabby Apple Dresses contest.  Woo! I'm flattered to have placed.  #12 is totally going to beat, well, everyone.  I knew she would win before they posted the finalists.  I follow her blog and she's very talented.  That being said, she doesn't really need your votes, so if you could throw some love my way and vote for me, I would appreciate it. 

Click here to see the finalists and read the rules for voting.  But, the link they provided isn't currently working properly, so if it still won't work you can come back and click here to vote. My dress is number 8.  Thank You!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Little Orphan Boot

Aren't I pretty?

With the colder weather I have been anxious to make Emeline a pair of boots.  Something warmer.  Something neutral.  Something modern romantic.  I found the perfect pattern to start with at Sewingwithme1 on Etsy.  I actually got to start making them yesterday.  Knowing that the 0-3 month Mary Janes I made her are becoming too small, I went up not one but two pattern sizes.  I lovingly created one perfect boot and tried it on her.  Heartbreak!  Too small.  Her feet are so long, and the wool I used to line them is pretty thick, so maybe that is what went wrong.

Still, it's such a lovely little thing I would hate to see it languish in my work room, never to see the light of day.  So I am looking for someone to adopt it and it's yet to be made twin.  If you know anyone who has a tiny little thing needing a stylish pair of boots for a mere $15, do let me know. 

Wool lining, leather sole, velcro closure

sweet sophistication

Monday, October 18, 2010

A little Fall Decorating,

In spite of the fact that my mother always decorated for every holiday in some way shape or form, I have never really done the decorating for Halloween bit.  I'm not really into grisly, ghastly or gruesome.  But, ever since I had an October baby two years ago, I find myself getting much more festive this time of year. Waiting for him to be born those few weeks that October with my Mom and my sister and her boys all here together is one of my most special memories.  And, of course, both ladies were aghast that I had no Halloween decorations.  I think we had even gone a year or two without a pumpkin.  No way were they going to let us get away with that again.  It was such a wonderful time, the cousins trick or treating together, the baby I had prayed for finally in my arms while I doled out candy to neighborhood children, my son wearing the awesome Wall-E costume that we had made together before little brother's arrival.  It was just so special. 

My little pumpkin...

I think my Mom and Sis would be proud.  We've already bought not one, but four pumpkins this year.  And the slightly spooky handmade decorations are slowly but surely going up.  Now, you will never find skeletons half buried in my yard, or witches face first in any of my trees.  But, you will see a tasteful nod or two to All Hallows Eve adorning my front room.  And very soon, the Happy Birthday sign will be going up.

A nod to Mr Poe, a must.

Going batty

I love those letters up top, one of my favorite Country Living Fair purchases, and I love Isaac's pumpkin on the bottom. 

Two pilots, my grandpa and my dad fit right in with the winged creatures.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Daring to Design for Shabby Apple Dresses, again

Well, now.  After agonizing over just one design for this contest for Shabby Apple Dresses, I find out today, deadline day, that more than one entry is permissible. So I do hope you will indulge me, but I would like to submit two more designs that I love.  (I mean, seriously, it was like choosing between my three children.) 

Okay, now the runner up from my first post was this one:

 I have always loved this design in strapless.  I first designed it when I was in college and we had to do a collection inspired by Dior's New Look.  It was a modern take, and I loved its simple clean lines. But, making it pale gray and the addition of the gauzy white sleeves makes it practical enough that perhaps I will finally make it for myself to actually wear.  Both fabrics would be cotton (so easy to launder), breezy sheer cotton for the sleeves and something with more body for the body of the dress.  And then a delicate raspberry colored ribbon at the waist.  The deep box pleats give the skirt fullness without a pesky crinoline underneath. 

And here we have dress design number one beside dress design number three.  Since we've already discussed dress number one, let's talk about number three.

Poor number three, nobody voted for her, but I still love her.  All white cotton, with the exception of raspberry stripes at the waist.  Sweet little eyelet trim on the puff sleeves and at the top of the collar.  Off centered button closures again and a feminine bow.  She makes me think of stylized old movies with lots of singing and dancing and the like.  She's sweet and ladylike and just a little bit out of the ordinary.

Okay, that's all I promise.  I'll keep you posted...

Dress Design for Shabby Apple Dresses

In case you were wondering, the winner from my first post was this little number:

I love it.  I can see my grandmother heading to her job at the Pentagon in it.  The design is for Shabby Apple Dresses.  If you haven't found them yet, you should definitely stop by.  They have beautiful designs, with a nod to days gone by.  And you are guaranteed that no neckline will be too low and no hemline will be too high.  That's hard to come by these days.

Now, on this dress, the most important feature is the sleeves.  A slight puff at the shoulder seam, then carefully pleated into a wide band above the elbow. The body of the bodice would be cut on the bias for a flattering fit, with an off center closure.  A simple stand collar with a bow for a final touch of femininity.  Given there is so much going on up top, the bottom would be a super simple, and sexy, pencil skirt. As it would be all one piece, there would be a side zipper, hidden so as not to spoil the two piece illusion.   I'm loving it in navy blue and white.  It should be a nice crisp cotton fabric.  Though I think I would want to find something with a slight sheen to it for the top.

So there you have it.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What was that?

Man, I have been on an absolute tear lately, getting this house ship shape. Having had two babies in less than two years, things have gotten a little chaotic around here. It was visually overwhelming and gave me a sense of claustrophobia. Now that baby girl is a few months old, I have started to feel a need to shed more than just the postpartum pounds. Things have been flying out of here left and right.  And while there are big projects we would love to tackle, finances (two babies in two years) prohibit.

However, there have been little things we've been able to do that have made a big difference around here. We inherited a very brown family room, and had to move our brown couch in there.  So, I have been trying to imbue color and make it somehow warmer.  I plan to paint, paint, paint, I promise.  But, somehow in three years we haven't been able to get to it.

Well, how about a couple of these for some added color?

I love, love, love some of the fabrics in these pillows...

Ah, Missouri, where it all began...
Last year my mom and I were able to go to the Country Living Festival.  So much fun.  While there, I found this lovely pillow.  I bought Missouri and Alabama.  They make me smile every time I see them.  I love quilts for a couple of reasons.  For one thing I am a sucker for patterns.  And for another, I am a sucker for history.  Quilts have tons of both.  They exude comfort and warmth, what more could I want for our family room.  So this year, at the CL Fair, I headed straight for that booth, intent on buying more pillows.  But, then while I was looking at them, and their price tags, I thought, I could totally do this myself. (Something I say to myself a lot at places like that.) Well, low and behold at another favorite booth, what should be there but the top of an old quilt.  The fabrics were so reminiscent of my grandparents era.  They were in mostly good condition too, and the fact that it was already detached from the rest of itself was perfect since that way I wouldn't feel so guilty cutting it up. I think they add the perfect touch of color and comfort to our antique daybed, which admittedly was not the most comfortable seat in the house. 

So what's next?  Remember the old door I had my hubby drag out of the trash?  Well, upon closer inspection, it may have been a window.  It's an odd size so I am not sure what it was, but I still love the look of it.  This weekend I removed a portion of the screen, leaving 2/3 of it in place because I like the look of it.  Here's a before pic. See any potential? Yesterday I placed it on the wall over the couch.  I'm living with it, playing around with it and seeing what strikes my fancy.  But, I will give you a peek at it on the wall so you can believe that it belongs up there and not back in the trash heap...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Here She Is...

This is too much fun.  I finally got Em's dresser done, and it is now up in her, turning-ever-girlie-er room.  I may need to reign myself in.  But, not yet.

 So here is the dresser "before" for those of you who have never seen it.  It worked very well in Isaac's cowboy room. But it was a little too rustic for what I am going for in Em's room. So I asked someone who knows about these things, thank you, Melissa, and she thought I could definitely make something out of it with a little paint. So picture me giddily scouring Etsy for some incredible vintage hardware, which I found for about four dollars a pull.  Yay! This is by far the most dramatic change I have ever set about making to a piece of furniture.  We've painted Justin's old dresser a couple of times for the boys to use, and the diaper changing station has seen a few coats of paint.  Also the $35 bed I got from Craigslist got a coat of black paint before it went into Isaac's room.  But, this required a total personality change. (For the dresser, just to be clear.)

So, I loved the slats and grooves on the side, but didn't want to keep the ones on the drawers. Enter wood filler. That was quite a process and I was nowhere near as precise or careful as I could/should have been.  But, given this thing is supposed to look banged up and shabby, it luckily works.  Next came paint.  I primed with a cream colored spray paint in a couple of coats.  Then rolled on more of a white shade.  After all of that I was somewhat pained by the idea of taking sandpaper to it and purposefully "messing up" all that hard work.  But, looking at it, I decided it really did need a little something.  After all, the hardware I'd bought had chippy black paint.  It would be silly to put those on a pristine paint job.  And in actuality it turned out to be the most fun part of the whole project.  Feeling like an artist.  After a couple of coats of varnish, my wonderful husband put on the handles and we finally got it into the room last night.  It only took two months start to finish. Ha!  But, it was worth it.  I love it and I didn't have to sell the dresser that my mom and I shopped so long for. Ah, memories.

                                              At any rate, she isn't perfect, but here she is.

My hubby says he loves that the handles look like butterflies.
This has always been one of my favorite parts of this thing.