Christmas Sunday 2009

Every bit of their outfits are store bought. The hair bows, the dress, the shoes...

It went against my very sewing soul.

And it saved my sanity this Christmas season.

The sanity that is getting lost amidst felt,thread, and PVC pipe.

These kids better like their playhouse.


Coat Season

We had our first snow of the season this past week. With snow comes coats, and hats, and mittens, and scarves, and boots, and wet socks, and, snow pants, and mud, and mess!

I sat down today to brainstorm some ways that I can be more effective in organizing all of our winter stuff.

I love some of the ideas I found.

From the practical ...
that seems like such a simple and ingenius idea. Why didn't I think of that?! The fact of the matter is that I didn't, so thank goodness My Blessed Home did! ...

to the pretty ... I can't not even begin to express how much I love this entryway. Love, love, love it! Not practical for my space, unfortunately. I love how the wallpaper steals the show so that the bags, boots, and coats are somewhat masked. (Although, who would want to mask them? They are darling!) Yep, I am pretty sure this idea at Apartment Therapy is going to save my world!

to the basic ...
this would work really nicely right outside our garage door and rather than using a small basket for hats and gloves I would use a hanging shoe organizer for the hats, mittens, etc.

to the clever ...
Yep, it's a sticker. See? I told you it was clever. And apparently Ferm Living thinks it's super clever, so clever in fact that they are charging $127 ... for just the sticker. Hooks not included. Geesh.

Want even more ideas? Check out this article at Apartment Therapy. AT is definitely my new BFF.

Happy Tuesday, all!


Oh, Baby!

My younger sister is pregnant and she found out last week that she is having a girl. She is admittedly disappointed, as she and her husband were hoping that their first would be a boy. So, naturally, that is where I step in. I am making her a "Yay, It's a Girl!" gift.

It's perfect timing because I am waiting for my playhouse fabric to come in the mail. Otherwise, I would feel guilty about working on anything but "the beast", considering how many hours I am anticipating will be spent on that thing. In hopes that that many hours and more will be spent by my children playing in that thing.)

Moving on, as soon as I hit "publish post" I will be making my way down to my sewing machine to work on a couple of rag edge receiving blankets. Tutorial courtesy of Sew Much Ado.

Happy Veteran's Day, everybody! How grateful I am for the endless sacrifices that have been made my so many brave men and women.


The Playhouse Brainstorm

This thing has been haunting my thoughts of late. I can't wait to get started so that I can in turn get it done and not think about it anymore.

Is anybody else like that? When you get excited about a project you just can't stop thinking about it until you do it? Like, seriously, on your mind 24-7?

I have pretty much worked all the details out in my mind and now, after I write this blog, I am going to sit down and put them on paper. (When I am figuring this out I just have to do the pen and paper thing. Other than writing lists, I just can't brainstorm on the computer.)

And because somebody asked, here is where my inspiration has come from:

Ikat Bag's Princess Pavilion: Although inspirational I will not be using many ideas from this one, mainly because I am just not talented enough. ;)

Nothing Fancy's Playhouse Tent: I love the way the door ties up on this one!

Homemade by Jill's felt playhouse: This is definitely my favorite playhouse out of all the ones I have found. I really love the look of the felt. My favorite detail is the way the tree wraps around the corner. And thank goodness for her Q&A post, complete with some templates. Love that!

Angie over at This and That was brave enough to line her playhouse so that the kids have a nice cozy fire inside. Wow!

Sew Much Ado makes a playhouse that is all boy! Gotta love camouflage. And yet another lined playhouse ... brave, so very brave.

And for the record, our playhouse will have a PVC pipe frame, much like this one, as opposed to being made to cover a card table. The hubby is going to use his genius engineering skills to steer me through that challenge. Which is a good thing because he thinks it would be really cool to have a tunnel on one side that leads into the house. Yeah, he is so figuring that out for me.


Ah, Christmas ...

.... it started to creep into my mind a couple of weeks ago, but I forced it away until I made it through Halloween. Now it is November 4th (almost 5th) and I am consumed with thoughts of what I need to make, who I need to make it for, how I am going to make it, etc., etc., etc.

I don't go all handmade for Christmas. Heck, I don't think I even go 50% handmade (don't hate me), but I do like to craft a few things.

At the top of my brain right now?

My daughter's Christmas dress and a playhouse that will be for both the kiddos.

After doing lots of research I presented the playhouse idea to the hubby and he is all for it. Yay!

As far as the Christmas dress, I am tossing back and forth between a more traditional dress or a more modern/trendy dress. The traditional dress would probably be with a flocked taffeta and the modern/trendy dress would probably be out of Michael Miller's Ginger Blossom line. Ah! I can't decide!

Speaking of dresses ... I am willing to take one or two orders for a custom handmade holiday dress. Anyone game? e-mail me -- toodlesbybethany[at]gmail[dot]com -- and be fast!

Halloween -- A Success!

black alova suede: cowgirl skirt, chaps, both vests: $2.50
brown fake leather: chaps, cowboy vest:$2.00
pink gingham homespun fabric: cowgirl shirt: $1.75
black tulle: cowgirl skirt: on hand, but it was probably about $2.00 worth
eyelet lace: cowgirl shirt: $.97
hats: $3.74
bandannas: $2.00
white shirts: for "the cows": $6.00
black broadcloth: cows spots: $2.00
cowboy boots: borrowed
cowgirl boots: on hand
costumes for a family of 4: $22.96

And I didn't even have to use garbage bags.


Pretty, Pretty Princess

I was super excited when a friend asked me to sew her daughter a princess dress for Halloween. I used the pattern from my daughter's dress last year, so I thought I would just fly through making it.

Then I had to be over ambitious and choose the worst fabric ever to sew with. Darling fabric for sure, but so hard to sew! The organza overlay has small white beads all over it. My sewing machine and small white beads do not get along very well.

Anyway, after a few more hours than I planned, I was very pleased with the results and it is perfect for Princess S.


Hooded Towels and Sweet Babies

A couple of months ago my husband's cousin had a baby shower thrown for her and her soon-to-be born twin girls. I made some hooded towels as my gift to them.

I just love big, fluffy, warm hooded towels. Those small thin ones that are common at stores these days are a joke. So, I consider it one of my missions in life to give hooded towels as shower gifts. Yeah, so if you invite me to a baby shower anytime soon then you now know what you will probably get, and I am OK with that. :)

It was so fun this week to see pictures on M's blog of her sweet babies wrapped up in their towels after their first bath at home. (Thanks for letting me share your pictures, M!)

Baby T -- she was about 3 1/2 lbs at birth and only had to spend a couple of weeks in the hospital ... definitely a fighter!

Baby M -- she was around 5 lbs at birth and went home right away


Halloween Revisited

Halloween costumes are underway. My only serious dilemma is finding cowboy boots for my son. I found them for my daugher for $5 at Kid to Kid. No such luck for him. Unfortunately you can't just whip out a sewing machine for boots ... wish me luck on that one.

Anyway, in my effort to put a bit more consistent at updating this blog I thought I would do a bit of reminiscing. If you read my personal blog, you have seen my kid's past Halloween costumes, but I only have last year's on here. So here's to a trip down little ol' memory lane!

Halloween 2006: Little Bo Peep and her sheep

Halloween 2007: Peter Pan and Tinkerbell

Halloween holds a special place in my heart when it comes to sewing because my first real sewing project was a Halloween costume for my brother. I was 10 and he was 4. (I think. Is that right, Mom?) One of these days I need to dig out a picture and put it on here. He was Aladdin, a dang stinkin' cute Aladdin, if you ask me!

What are some of your favorite past Halloween costumes? Share them on your blog and share the link with me! Go on. I dare you. You might win something cool. Just sayin'.


Halloween Prep

My daughter's boots from the 4th of July inspired this years theme for both kid's Halloween costumes. Cowboy and cowgirl! If you know my children and know how obsessed with Toy Story they are you might ask why I don't dress them as Woody and Jesse. My answer? Because I don't want to. Fair enough, right? OK, really it is because I want my daughter in a big poofy rodeo queen type skirt. I'm a girly girl and she's a girly girl because of me. We can't help ourselves.

My in-my-head brainstorming has been going for a while now, but now it is time to put it down on "paper".

The cowboy is easy. Martha Stewart helped me out by putting this tutorial up on her website. I won't be using grocery bags, though. A little too cheap for me. Plus, if I make it a bit more durable maybe, just maybe, my son will want to wear it again. Wishful thinking? Perhaps.

The cowgirl is another story. Making it will be easy. Settling on what I want to make, not so much. I did a little search on etsy to getting the creative juices flowing.

Here are my four favorites from my search results. (Click on the image to head to the etsy shops that these costumes are being sold at.)

from NY Costumes

from So Shaes Bowtique

from Girlie Bows

from So She She

I'll probably end up borrowing ideas from each of these costumes. Aren't they all so cute and unique? I love the internet and the ability to see so much creativity from so many talented people!

Let the costume making begin!

What are you going to be for Halloween? Your kids? Your dog?


Piano Bags

I have been spending most of my crafting time getting ready for piano lessons to start this fall. Reviewing method books, reading tips and watching videos online, developing studio policies, and drafting piano practice sheets are some of the many tasks that have consumed my time.

It has been fun to get back into the music world. I have my Bachelor of Music and taught school for three years, but since I became a stay at home mom a couple of years ago I put music on the back burner (besides singing with my kids). Now it is moving to the front again, at least for one evening a week.

Anyway, I couldn't help but throw a bit of craftiness in the midst of all my music focused prep, so I made bags for my students to carry their music in. I have 2 students so far and am leaving time open for 2 more. I am very happy starting small, since my kids are little and they need their mama, especially in the evenings.

Back to the bags. Do you think these will motivate my students to practice, practice, practice?

I bought the canvas bags at Hobby Lobby, along with two rectangles of felt for each bag,one for the background and one for the letter. I love the tan felt on the 'a' bag. It is embossed with a damask-ish pattern. And I figured the camouflage would be perfect for my 3rd grade male student. Boys and camouflage always go together, right?

The total cost for each bag was about $4 and a couple of hours in front of your favorite movie while you do the hand stitching. Can't beat that!


Free Oliver + S Pattern!

I have been drooling over Oliver + S patterns since I discovered them a few months ago. I have heard that they are wonderful to sew and OMG, aren't they just the cutest things ever?!

So today I was super excited to see that one is being offered for free! The popover dress looks simple and fun to sew. Sewing it will give me a good chance to test out the patterns to see if I want to splurge on another pattern such as this,or this, or maybe even this.

Happy sewing!


Pillowcase meets Bandanna

The past few weeks have been filled with lots of summer fun. Busy, busy, busy! I have had to drop sewing and crafting down the totem pole just a bit.

Last Thursday I did manage a couple of hours though. I had this pretty blue fabric and a yellow bandanna in my stash,but I wanted a top, not a skirt. Using a pillowcase dress as my inspiration I came up with this.

Unfortunately, I made the arm holes a bit short, so it didn't fit my daughter as well as I would have liked, but was perfect as a dress for my 9 month old niece.

I am definitely going to have to give this idea another go. I hope you enjoy the dress baby E!


Cupcake stand

I was just staring at my growing vase collection beneath my kitchen sink and pondering the idea of adding some of them to my D.I. pile.

Then I saw this tutorial for a cupcake stand.

Except, why stop at cupcakes? I am thinking of making one to put in my living room. Perhaps some decorative balls will sit in it. Maybe I will put a shallow bowl on top instead of a plate ...

More on this later.

I need to go clean up my crafting area so I can feel justified in starting more crafts.

Happy Thursday, everyone!


Gorgeous Dress for a Gorgeous Girl

You are going to steal the show in your family pictures, baby J!


Let Freedom Ring

We spent the 4th in Small Town, Utah so I thought a bit of western flair was appropriate for my daughter's attire. Thankfully, a couple of my friends introduced me to this little beauty of a tutorial. Thanks V & Co.

And, of course, an applique t-shirt is the name of the game for boys these days, right? Western flair for him didn't work so well. A flannel shirt and Wranglers would have been a tad bit hot in July.


Throw Down

I can't really say why throw pillows have been one of my greatest struggles as I have decorated my home.

Silly me.

They are fast, easy, and cheap to make, especially if you make them as slipcovers. No hand sewing necessary. (I do everything I can to avoid hand sewing) Thanks, Ashley, for your inspiration.

Plus, they add so much to a room!

I smile every time I look over at mine. I am thinking I need to make two or three more ...


Project One Hour: New Look 6796: Part Two

My mom bought me this material (from JoAnns) to go with a dress pattern she had on hand. When I went to cut it out, though, I couldn't help but pair it up with this New Look pattern instead.

The funny thing about this project is that the vision in my head was a sweet little top paired with bermuda length shorts. The vision was so clear that while cutting out and sewing the pattern I didn't even pay attention to the fact that the pattern was for pants. How's that for absented-minded? I was a bit disappointed when I tried them on her. So, in reality, this project isn't done yet. I need to make the pants into shorts, which is a bit trickier than it may seem, but still doable.

Pants or not, I couldn't resist having her wear the outfit today.

P.S. This material is seersucker. Seersucker is a bit of an old school material, you don't see it a lot in the stores, but I don't know why. I think it is darling and it is wash and wear. No ironing needed, ever. How can you resist that?


Project One Hour: New Look 6796

I did pretty well getting my hour of sewing (or rather, cutting!) in each day at the end of May. Now that June is zooming past me, I am attempting to bring all the unfinished projects to a conclusion. The first finished product with much more to come ...


Father's Day Gifts

Dear Father and Father-in-Law -- STOP READING NOW!

One afternoon

Two Shirts

Three fat quarters

A bit of inspiration:
  1. I have seen tie applique t-shirts and onesies all over blog land. Here, here, and here ... just to name a few. I thought I would do a little grown up spin on it.
  2. I recently bought a shirt for the hubby with this logo on it (on clearance for $3, yay!). I thought to myself, I can do that ....
The results:


My Favorite Photo Action

For the record, I use PSE 7.

OK, moving on.

I really don't like to spend a lot of time editing photos, but I like to make my photos to look their best. Enter photo actions. My current favorite for portrait style pictures is from Rita over at Coffeeshop. It is called Perfect Portrait. Really, it is the only one I use. I like it so much, why spend a bunch of time finding more? Check out the before and after and tell me you aren't a fan, too:




Project One Hour: Day Seven: kimono shoes

made with Aimee Larsen's kimono shoes pattern

It kills me that I hadn't discovered all the adorable baby shoe patterns out there when my little ones were babies. They would have had the best dressed feet this side of the Mississippi, for sure. On the other hand, maybe it is a good thing. They might have also been seriously neglected.

"I know the baby is hungry. Just a sec, I need to finish one more pair of shoes. Yes, I know she has been crying for 30 minutes. Just a sec."

"Oh sweetheart, you can sit in that yucky diaper for a few more minutes. I need to finish these shoes."

Not a pretty picture. I guess I better get the shoe sewing out of my system before we decide to bring even more chaos into our lives with baby #3.

Another item to add to the queue

What an ingenious idea for making reusable placemats. Ideas for variations are already spinning around in my head!


Project One Hour: Days Five and Six: Lots of cutting

Two dresses, one shirt, one pair of pants, and two pairs of shoes later; I am ready to get that sewing machine going.

Oh yeah, the bags, that is my sanity trick. When I have a lot of projects in the queue (when don't I?) I keep them in their own bags so that all the pieces and scraps don't get mixed up. Even before I start I will often separate the material and patterns into bags, just so I can remember what I was planning. Otherwise I end up with a jumble of fabric, patterns, and notions and it is inevitable that something will get lost. Inevitable, I tell ya!


Project One Hour: Day Three and Four: New Look 6796

I am sorry to say that the kids naps, or lack thereof, stopped me from being able to cut out much of the New Look pattern on day two; so that became day three.

Day four was sewing this fabulous pattern. I got the pockets on, sewed the sides together, and sewed the shoulder straps. It is too bad the very details that make clothing so cute are what make projects take SO much longer! Remember that when you want to buy some cute detailed dress. The little pockets or ruffles or sleeves or applique take forever to do. That is what you are paying for.


Project One Hour: Day One: Applique Dress

photography by my darling 3-year-old, not bad, huh?

When I saw this dress at Target it was a blank palette just screaming "applique me!" I conceded. I was going for a kind of paisley flower-ish effect. Not sure if I really succeeded there, but I still love the finished product. Although, I am thinking I might put a couple of leaves on. What do you think?

Oh, and if you like this dress and just can't get enough of it, I have 4 more of them. I cleaned out the rack, that's how cute I thought they were. I have a 4T, 24M, 18M, and 12M. I can't actually sell the headbands because of the copyright on the pattern; however, I will throw one in for free with the first two dresses that are bought.


e-mail me if you are interested: toodlesbybethany[at]gmail[dot]com


It's My Party and I'll Eat if I Want To

Let's just say that any healthy eating habits that I have obtained in my lifetime go completely out the window around my birthday. For me, it's even worse than around the holidays. During the holidays I have enough self-control to nibble a bit here and there, but not overindulge. My birthday is a completely different story. I tell myself, "It's your birthday and you deserve it." How can I argue with that?

I know there are health nuts around the world that could argue with that, but you can't argue with this. Three words. Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake.

What? Still not convinced? Here let me cut you a piece.

Here's a bit of heaven for you. Oh, and let me get you a napkin to wipe that drool.

And to those of you out there that didn't need any convincing, there's plenty to share! My birthday is over so now I can't justify overindulgence. Darn.

Or head on over to My Kitchen Cafe for the recipe. You won't regret it. I didn't.

Project One Hour: Day Two: Headband

I made a headband today to go along with yesterday's project. My model is napping, so pictures will have to wait.

The headband is Heather Bailey's pattern, Hooray for Headbands. Easy, fast, and dang cute. The perfect combination.

And because it was so easy I have time to spare so I will be cutting out material to make a dress from New Look 6796. I am making the variation that the model is wearing on the pattern cover and I am already thinking that a Heather Bailey headband will be the perfect accessory!

Anyway, I'm off to turn on a great movie (to be determined) and cut me some fabric. I don't cut out patterns without a movie on. Anybody else with me on that?


Gettin' My Craft On

Lately I have allowed myself to feel overwhelmed with all of my sewing projects. Not a good thing. This is my outlet. My thing that I do for me. My escape. Feeling overwhelmed is not an option so I needed to come up with a solution. The solution?

Project One Hour

An hour of sewing/crafting a day for the rest of May. Pretty self-explanatory, right? I won't get into the nitty-gritty rules and details because, well, there aren't any. Oh, except one, that hour does not include time spent on the computer looking at all the fantastic ideas and talents of my fellow bloggers. Darn.

So, here is the product from today's crafting hour. It's just a teaser. The project will probably be finished tomorrow or Thursday.



One t-shirt from Wally’s World: $3.50

Two fat quarters of material: $4.00 (and plenty leftover for future projects)

One sheet of Steam-a-Seam: $.50 (or something like that)

Cutting, ironing, and sewing: 30 minutes

Reaction from my three year old --

“You made this for me? That’s awesome!”: Priceless.



It's official. I must find somewhere in my house to put this clock. Love it!


Brag Bag

I'm posting this with the hope that my mother-in-law doesn't read this blog. I mean, I don't think she reads it, she's never mentioned it. If you do, Amy, Happy Mother's Day!

What you will need:
Two tea towels
bias tape
12 gage vinyl (I bought a 1/4 yard for .86 cents and could make about 5 more bags with what I have left. It doesn't take much.)
sewing machine
one darling picture

What you get:
The perfect Mother's Day gift

P.S. This darling picture is my beautiful niece. It is just there for effect. The bag will be gifted to my MIL with a picture of my kiddos, of course, once I print one out.

P.P.S. Anyone interested in a tutorial? I think I'm willing.

P.P.P.S. My parent's grapefruit tree as a background is really working for me this week. don't you love those big green leaves?
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