Author Archives: Michelle

Lady in Red

My 43rd Birthday is coming up in a few days, and to celebrate, I made myself a sassy new dress.

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I used the off-the-shoulder variation pattern from Sew Many Dresses by Tanya Whelan

*affiliate link*

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I was not asked to review this book, but I feel compelled to share my opinion anyway. I really loved how there are just a few base bodice patterns and she walks you through altering them to create completely different looks! This one was made with a princess seamed bodice, and then I altered the shoulders, according to the book’s directions. Brilliant!

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It is written so clearly and the bodice change was really easy to do.

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For fabric, I used a red flat bed sheet (one of my favorite fabrics to use) and lined it with the same fabric I used for this dress. The only thing I needed to buy was the invisible zip. YAY for being thrifty(while aging).

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I was on the fence about adding boning to it, so in the end, I didn’t. But I cannot seem to solve the sinking boob problem that comes with wearing a strapless bra! I feel like it would require some heavy duty armor to keep my girls in place. Sheesh. For now, I am hiking the bra up, inappropriately in public, by reaching down the front of my dress.

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Anyhow, I think this dress fits my birthday theme this year (the movie Chocolat),*affiliate link* perfectly. I have a theme every year and make my guests dress up. Oh yes I do. We plan on having only desserts to eat. I can’t wait!

How do you celebrate getting older?

Closet into mudroom

We have lived in this house for almost 4 years now, and over these past years have been getting to know what we want where. We rent, though, so are limited in the radical changes we can make (or want to make). Paint, a little wood, and some removable installations are where it is at, for us.

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This is how the closet started out. It was gross…and the first thing you see when you open the door!

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For a while, it looked like this. I was babysitting children during the week, so it had to be simple and accessible for them. But I have always dreamed of having a mud room. Seriously. It is the little things.

So I took everything out, and revamped it over this past weekend.

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I gutted the whole thing, patched up all the holes, gave it a fresh coat of paint, and started again. This time, I painted the trim white, along with the top shelf. Then we all built the bench. I say “we all” because the girls painted the cinder blocks, Jim cut the wood planks and installed them, and I painted the planks and made the cushion and pillow. It was a family effort, and I really love it.

On the left side, there are two more hooks for our library bags, and a basket for our umbrellas. We only have three bins underneath for shoes, but have been making it work (even though there are four of us).

I wasn’t sure how I would like the cinder blocks. I really didn’t want it to feel like a college dorm room, but I didn’t want to build anything that we couldn’t easily take apart, either. Since they are painted, and mostly covered, I think they look good! I actually love walking into our home and seeing it.

How about you?

What is the first thing you see when you walk into YOUR house?

Just for You : Night Circus Skirt

I decided to make myself something this week. Another creation from Just for You by Caroline Fairbanks-Critchfield and Sarah Markos (*affiliate link*).

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I made the Night Circus Skirt which is a 6 paneled skirt with a side zip. It sewed up quick and easy. My kind of project!

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I used this periwinkle bottom weight and since I only had one color, I top-stitched the seams down twice to define the panels.

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I am thrilled with how it came out!

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But I didn’t stop there. I also whipped up a hat using the free pattern for the Rosabelle Hat by Elsewhen.

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I used the same fabric.

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Now I have a cute skirt and hat, just in time for the rain to return!

What have YOU made today?

A Rainbow for Katy

Today is a fellow blogger’s birthday, and Audrey from Skirt Fixation has gotten a bunch of us together to give her a virtual rainbow to celebrate her day:

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If you aren’t familiar with Katy Dill, check out her blog No Big Dill. She is a fabulous seamstress and Mother of 6 (5 girls and 1 boy). Her photos are always beautiful and her posts filled with color. She inspires me to be a better sewist, and the little slices of her life she shares make my heart smile.

I have participated in Katy’s series Once upon a Thread several times (here, here, here, here, here, AND here), so far. Whew! It is, by far, one of my favorite series.

I also tested my sewing skills and joined her in her other series: Sewing all 26, and actually sewed something for every letter of the alphabet! How cool is that?

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Sew… I sewed up another tankini for my girl, but this time, I rainbow-tized it in honor of the Fantastic Katy’s birthday!

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I used the camisole pattern and the boy shorts pattern from the Coco Cay Tankini (both affiliate links).

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I sewed on some ruffled elastic to create rainbows.

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Sew happy.

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I hope you have a fantastic day, sister Leo (yup, my birthday is coming up too). I knew I liked you!

Asking and getting and doing

Lately, I have been working on so many projects around our house. The first one that really needed immediate attention was staking the garden. I used a fallen madrona branch originally, only the pieces just weren’t tall enough.

SO, I asked in our local Buy Nothing Project group if anyone had any bamboo. Within the hour, a lovely woman offered as much bamboo as we needed.

Holy crud balls I LOVE THAT.

After a day of music lessons with the girls, and accompanying a jam session with my oldest and her fiddle group at night, I came home and finally got to staking up all of our lush growing plants.

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My husband had already cut the huge bamboo poles in half (they were THAT huge) and de-leafed them. I just had to tie them together in threes, and tie the yarn around and around.

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And then I gently encouraged each little tendril to grab on to the trellises instead of each other.

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Done! And now we have them for next year.

Thank you BNP!

What have you accomplished today?

Still running

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This girl needs to run. And I love seeing her in action.

I remember running as a child. There was nothing that made me feel like I was flying, more than running. It was freedom. In fact, I have never had a dream about flying. Only parkour (which I never have done, but it really seems fun in my dreams).

Due to not-so-great knees from years of gymnastics, I do not run. I should not run. But now I get to see my own daughter fly and it is almost like I am flying with her. Such an amazing feeling.

What makes you feel free?

Skirting the Issue

It is that time of year again. When liZ and Elizabeth over at Simple Simon and Co and of Project Run and Play host:

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You can see my posts from previous Skirting the Issue events here and here.

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I made 9 skirts to donate, this year. Varying sizes because I used just what I had in my stash to make them.

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A new thing I added, this year is the size tags. I cut some twill tape, folded it half and inserted in the waistband. Then I painted on the number and a heart on each one.

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I actually had a little more of that sock monkey fabric to make another skirt (like last year).

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I love participating in this series. It makes me feel like I am a part of something bigger. Something worthwhile. Something that connects me to other sewists all around the world. Other women and girls.

Time to use our power for good!!

What have YOU made today?

Coming home to bounty

After our long week away, we came back to what our garden produced!

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Enough green beans and snap peas to have with dinner every night. Plus kale and lettuce and a few small tomatoes.

I am loving this so much! The girls think it is one of the best things ever to go out and harvest things to eat. I especially enjoy the fact that everything we are growing is 100% organic. There is nothing that compares with fresh vegetables from right outside your door. What a Summer treat!

Yum.

Do you have a garden? What are you growing?

Where we have been

Last week, we accompanied our oldest to a week long Fiddle Workshop in Moses lake! Bet you didn’t even know we were gone.

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It was an intense learning experience filled with 6 hours of fiddle playing during the day, and then more with the band for Contra/square dances at night. That is a whole lot of practice!

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While she was fiddling around (heh), we kept our Falafel busy with activities around town.

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One of our favorite things was visiting with a few blogging friends IRL (in real life)!

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Amy and Tasha from Friends Stitched Together both visited with us along with their children. It was fantastic. I love those ladies.

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And another highlight was Blueberry Picking at this lovely farm owned by a really nice family.

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I took quite a few photos here because it was so pretty.

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They told us there were 4000 plants (give or take), and since they don’t spray, there were some critters we needed to be aware of.

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Namely, wasps. Eek. But every time they found evidence of one, they tied a ribbon on the plant so no one would get stung.

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We brought our own container, and had no trouble filling it.

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So much fun.

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We also saw a movie, went bowling, toured all the stores in the area, shopped at 3 different fabric stores, went to the lake, and ran our child at the High School track.

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We also went to the HUGE swim park there.

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Falafel took one look at that slide, and her eyes lit up. She spent half of the time we were there going on it. Definitely one of the highlights for her.

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We also all enjoyed the dances at night. It was awesome to see our girl playing along with the band (rather rapidly) and having a blast. Also, contra dancing is so much fun and tired us out!

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Overall, a great experience for everyone.

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At a rest stop, on the way home, we saw chipmunks having a chase.

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And this was the view, which rounded out our trip very nicely.

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I am so glad we went. It sparked a fire inside our girl and ignited her passion for the fiddle. There is something magical about finding your people and immersing yourself in your craft.

She is already planning our trip next year.

Where have YOU been, lately?

Mad as a Hatter Pants

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When The Bee heard that I was sewing something up for this series, she jumped to her sewing machine and whipped up these crazy Mad Hatter style pants!

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My stash was full of small pieces that were perfect for this project. She sewed them all together into one large patchwork piece, and then traced a pair of pants that fit her.

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She has worn them out several times, and has gotten such a wonderful response! People are asking her to make them some.

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Crazy.

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She also made this white rabbit necklace out of an old pocket watch. She gutted it, and inserted this picture that she drew.

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She definitely had some fun with this!

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I hope you enjoyed our contribution to the celebration! Be sure to check out the others in the series over at Made by Sara.

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