Monday, February 28, 2011

Project Toddler Runway - Finale and Recap

Voting is on the finale at Project Toddler Runway is over, and the winner is....

Lacy from Brickstory Lane.  Her winning collection was by far my favorite - MOD podge:

I've gotten to know Lacy a bit through this competition and I really can't think of anyone more deserving.  Her designs were consistently great throughout the competition.

I didn't make it to the finals, but I'm really pleased with how far I was able to go in the competition.  I also learned a ton and was challenged to think outside my standard ideas - sequins, really?  C'mon, I'm an accountant!  Here's a little recap of the projects I submitted for Project Toddler Runway:

Top 10 Tryouts - Refashioned Shirt Dress:

Week One:  The Shirt Off Your Back - I won this week with my Arden Refashioned Shirt Dress!

Week Two:  Wear a Flower In Your Hair - Richly Ruffled Dress

Week Three:  Sequins, Feathers, & Fur, Oh My! - Plum Pleats

Week Four:  Inspired by Boy - Lil' Rascal Vest & Cap

Week Five:  The Denim Challenge - Orange Birdie

Week Six:  Design With Meaning - Every Occasion Dress

So there they are!  It was a blast and I am so honored to be included in the ranks of the wonderful competitors and amazing host involved in this fun competition!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Trucky" Boy Apron

I received a special request for a "trucky" apron for my friend's three-year old who likes to help out in the kitchen.  This was a good kick in the pants to get me back at the machine; I've been seriously un-motivated as of late.  Just tired, tired, tired!!

So this is what I came up with.  I couln't find very good "trucky" fabric, and then I didn't realize when I bought it that the pattern ran sideways and the half yard I purchased of the blue wasn't going to allow me to have that be the front.  I think it works out with the fabric with trucks on the pocket - what do you think?  Sorry that this isn't on an actual child - Arden flat out refused to model for me today.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


"No!" has been Arden's word of choice for some time now.  She's finally begun responding with "hm" as an affirmative, which is a nice change.  I know it's a phase most children go through, but that knowledge doesn't make it any more trying.  My Mom tells me that when I was a little girl, I said "no" so much and so forcefully that she taught me to say "okay Mommy" - regardless of whether I was going to do what she asked or not.  Apparently I was a hit with her friends, who thought I was being polite.  Little did they know!


So here's a little snipped of Arden and her favorite word.  I had given her a little of the Valentine's Day chocolate my Mom sent in a package and thought she looked so funny with the chocolate all around her mouth that I whipped out the camera for a video.  Warning - tiny toddler tantrum!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2nd Birthday Dance Party Food Ideas?

Arden's 2nd Birthday party is rapidly approaching, and I'm in need of some dance party themed food ideas!  I know, I know - it's a birthday party for a two year old, so we're not going to get super theme-y with activities.  We'll just have some fun kid's music (and the iPad commercial music - she boogies to that EVERY time she hears it!!) playing and let the kids dance a little.

What I'm looking for are fun food ideas with dance or music loosely as the theme - disco, rock n' roll, ballet, ballroom, etc...

Here's what I've already come up with:
  • Birthday cake shaped like a record
  • "Disco" cake balls
  • "Twirling" pinwheel sandwiches
  • "Electric Slide"rs
  • Rock n' Rye pop (yes - "pop" - I'm from Michigan after all.  You all probably call it "soda" or "Coke" if you're from Atlanta!)
I like to serve a variety of snacks at my parties covering all bases - healthy fruits/veggies, crunchy, sweet, adult and kid-friendly, etc...

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spring Fling Giveways at Wildflowers & Whimsy

I'm so excited to participate with April over at Wildflowers & Whimsy's giveway event - Spring Fling!  It will run for 14 days from March 20 through April 2 with up to two giveways hosted on the participating blogs each day!  Currently there are 14 blogs participating, so there is room for more if you're interested - she'll accept more blogs until March 5.  I'm planning to do a giveway of a custom Every Occasion dress, so keep watching!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Menswear Toddler Hat

I made this cute reversable bucket hat using some of the wool menswear fabric I had left over from my Lil' Rascal project for Project Toddler Runway.  I used the free pattern and tutorial from Sew Much Ado.

Unfortunately, the toddler for whom I made this' melon is a bit big and it doesn't really fit him.  Good thing he's got a little brother!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Florida Fish Soup

This is a quick and easy soup that my Mom shared with me.  I get frozen packets of fish that my Dad catches in the Gulf of Mexico and the 10,000 islands that are perfect for this kind of dish - this was made with triple tail, a firm white fish which tastes similar to snapper.

Florida Fish Soup

  • 1 lb. boneless, bite-sized pieces of fish
  • 2T olive oil
  • 2 cans Italian style tomatoes
  • 1/3 C green pepper - finely chopped
  • 1/3 C onion - finely chopped
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t tarragon
  • 1 C sour cream - I use light

Cook fish in oil until just done.  Add tomatoes and seasonings.  Heat until hot, but do not boil.  Add pepper and onion.  Remove from heat and add sour cream. 


Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Not only is today Valentine's Day - it is the 6th anniversary of our First Date!  Sort of an accidental Valentine's date; I was dating somebody else but knew it wasn't headed anywhere and accepted Dave's invitation for coffee.  Coffee led to dinner, and dinner led to drinks.  I broke up with the other guy the next day, and left for a business trip to India for three weeks a couple of days later.  Our early courship and where I started to fall in love with Dave was on the phone long distance from Mumbai.

The picture above is a craft my Mom made for Arden at her birth.  Isn't it cute?  It's a board about 7"x7" and little wooden hearts glued on.  It sits on a shelf in Arden's nursery as a daily reminder of gMa's love for her.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Project Toddler Runway - Auf Wiedersehen

I made it much futher than I could have possibly hoped.  I'm "out" this week from Project Toddler Runway - just one week before the finale.  My project this week was the Every Occasion Dress:

I'm a little conflicted about being done with this - it was a really great challenge and definitely pushed me to create things that would have previously just been doodles in a sketch book.  But I'm sad that this is the project to send me home - the "personal" challenge that I liked the best of all my creations and had the most confidence in going into voting.  Plus, I had a really cute model who's head I didn't have to crop out for the first time!  Isn't my friend's daughter Zoie just adorable!  On the other hand, this has taken up an inordinate amount of time - if I was still working full time, I don't think I would have been able to complete more than the first project.  I'm also kind of over feeling judged each week and worrying all weekend how my project is doing in the voting.

This weekend it was pretty clear after a promising start that things weren't looking like they were going my way, which was okay; because I was dealing with this beginning on Thursday afternoon:

Fevers, whining, clinging, restless sleep, and a touch of vomiting were what it was all about.  We'll be staying home tomorrow and now I'm not feeling so hot.  Oh, and Dave is out of town on a business trip until Tuesday - lovely.  Any badies out there - I have two large labradors, a herd of cats, and I can probably still pull off a mean roundhouse kick to the head or a flying elbow so don't try anything!

So, auf wiedersehen to Project Toddler Runway but I'll still be creating and posting here - I'll probably have more to share with all my free time!

I rushed so fast to get this project done so I could use Zoie as a model that I didn't take any photos for a tutorial.  I'm planning to make another to get pictures, and I thought I would do a giveway for an Every Occasion Dress if there were enough people who would enter.  Let me know if you'd want this dress and if there is interest I'll plan on my very first giveway!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Project Toddler Runway - Week Six Projects

Week 6 Projects are posted over at Shwin&Shwin!  The projects for this week's personal challenge are amazing, and the three moving on after this week will create 3 looks for the finale!  Go vote!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Binary Conversation Hearts by The Extra Ordinary Bree

This is the first time I'm featuring a project from another blog - but it's so worthy of being the first.  Hopefully, not the last, as I love finding new ideas through features on my favorite blogs!

Check out this project for your little (or big!) geek made by The Extra Ordinary Bree as an entry for American Crafter.  It's so stinkin' cute!  And...  it really says "I like smart girls" and "Love" in binary!  I'm absolutely going to do something along these lines for my physics geek husband!

I got to know Bree a little bit through Project Toddler Runway - sadly she had to drop out last week because she couldn't finish her denim project in time because of all the winter storms and power outages.  So yes, you read that right - she was simultanously participating in two different blog competitions!  Go check out her tutorial for this project and her other great posts at The Extra Ordinary Bree!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Orange Birdie Top

This was my project for Week 5 of Shwin&Shwin's Project Toddler Runway.  The challenge was denim, and I wanted to use a lot of denim, but keep it from getting too heavy - hence the chambray that I used for the gathering and base of the top.  After I had the top all done, I added the cute little birdie applique to give more interest and to bring a bit more of the orange color I was using for contrast.

I was in a bit of a rush and kind of designing as I went, so there aren't photos for every step.  I think it's straightforward enough to describe without visual aids for those steps.

Orange Birdie Top

Skill Level -
Confident beginner - intermediate
Items Needed
fabric for bands - 1/4 yard, I used denim
fabric for gathers and body - 1/3 yard, I used chambray
orange denim for birdie
4 buttons + 1 small black one for birdie's eye
rotary cutter
cutting mat/ruler
sewing machine

Dimensions given are for a 2T top.  Adjust measurements and fabric requirements accordingly to get desired size.  Sew with a 1/2" seam allowance; keeping the same allowance throughout the project unless stated otherwise.

1.  Cut your pieces.  Sorry, no picture for this.  I'm not one of those people who plans out a design with dimensions at the beginning of a project.  I usually start with a waist or chest measurement, or make a pattern from an existing piece of clothing.  In this case I began with the measurement for the chest and figured out the dimensions as I went. 

From the denim:  straps - 2 pieces 3" x 11 1/2"  top band - 3" x 27"  middle band - 2 pieces 2" x 27"  bottom band - 3" x 33"

From the chambray:  gathered piece - 3" x 45"  body 8" x 33"

2.  Sew body right sides together (RST).  But stop about 1 1/2" from the top edge.  Finish the edges using a serger, zig-zag, or overcast stitch.  Press seams open and topstitch the opening from the right side sewing about 1/8" from the edge starting at the raw edge, across the bottom and back up the other side.

Add gathering stitches.  Sew two parallel basting stitches close to the raw edge. 

Pin the middle band.  Leave a 1/2" overhang on the left side, and a 3" overhang on the right side.  This extra fabric will form the tabs for the buttons.  Line up the center of the band and the body fabric and pull the bobbin threads to gather.  Distribute the gathers evenly.  Sew.

This is the part where I stopped taking pictures for a bit.  I'll do my best to describe what I did.

Finish short edges of the piece to be gathered.  Serge, zig-zag, or overcast the raw edge.

Sew gathering stitches.  Along both long edges of the piece.

Pin the gathered band.  With RST to the top of the bottom band and to the top band piece.  Line up the finished edge of the gathered piece with the same 1/2" and 3" overhang on both edges.  Line up the center of the band and the gathered band fabric and pull the bobbin threads to gather.  Distribute the gathers evenly.  Sew.  Press seams toward the denim bands.  Finish raw edges.

Finish top band.  Fold the 1/2" seam allowand to the wrong side on both edges, and then fold in half with RST.  Stitch 1/2" from the short edges, backstitching at the beginning and end to secure the seam.  Trim the seam allowances and clip the corners. 

Turn and press.  the inside edge under 1/2".  Pin in place so the pressed edge covers the line of stitching from attaching the gathered piece to the top band.  Topstitch the top band around all sides about 1/8" from the edge, enclosing the top edge of the gathered piece.

Add bottom band.  Sew short edge of band RST.  Press seam open.  With RST and raw edges aligned, sew the bottom band to the body.  Press seam allowance towards the denim.  Press 1/2" under on the raw edge of the denim, and then press the piece in half.  Pin in place so the pressed edge covers the line of stitching from attaching the bottom band to the body.  Topstitch about 1/8" from the edge from the right side, enclosing the raw edges.

Finish middle band.  Pin the second piece cut for the middle band RST to the piece already sewn on the top.

Stitch and trim seam allowances.  One the short side, stitch 1/2" from the edge.  On the longer side, stitch 1/2" from the edges extending beyond the opening.  Trim seam allowances and clip corners.  Turn the piece right-side out and press 1/2" under on both long sides.  Pin in place so the pressed edges cover the lines of stitching from attaching the gathered piece and the body to the middle band.  Topstitch from the front around all sides about 1/8" from the edge, enclosing the raw edges.

Press strips for straps.  Press the strips in half lenthwise WST.  Open the piece, and then press the raw edges to the pressed line.

Stitch straps.  Turn the raw edges on the short sides in 1/2" and then close and pin the strap.  Topstitch 1/8" from all edges.

Add buttonholes.  To one end of each strap, and to the ends of each tab on the bands.  Open the buttonhole using a seam ripper or scissors, putting a pin across the end to keep from cutting the hole too large.

Sew on straps.   Mine were placed about 2 1/2" from the outside edges when the shirt was laid out flat.  Pin the straps in place on the inside of the back of the shirt and then stitch along the existing lines of topstitching from the outside.

Add buttons.  To front of top band and back of top and middle band to correspond to the buttonholes.

Applique.  I drew my birdie freehand.  I cut one piece from the denim, and then cut another about 1/4" smaller from the orange denim.  I sewed the larger piece to the top, then the orange piece on top.  The wings are a little heart shape out of the denim - sew that on top of the birdie.  The beak is a little triange of the orange denim, but I used a zig-zag stitch to attach that so it wouldn't fray.  Add a small black button for the eye.  I waited until after I laundered the piece to add the hand embroidery for the feet - freehanded using two strands of embroidery floss.

This will be linked up with Shwin&Shwin and also to the parties in my linky party directory and to:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day #15 - Getting Organized Challenge

Day 15 of A Bowl Full of Lemon's 21 Day Organization Challenge is Medicine/Vitamin Storage.  Dave went through our adult vitamins and medicines not too long ago, and since I spent about 2 years pregnant or nursing and was limited to Tylenol and Sudaphed for any illnesses, we don't have much of a stockpile.

I have however, been needing to address my daughter Arden's medicines.  I've been just tossing them in the bottom drawer of her dresser/changing table since we brought her home - all mixed in with butt creams, shampoos, and lotions.  Now that she's fully capable of opening that drawer I needed to get all that stuff out of there.

I divided things into a couple of piles and tossed the few bits of packaging and junk that had found their way into there. 

One pile went into a dollar store bin to go back into this drawer - extra lotions, creams, shampoos and other supplies that shouldn't pose a threat.  ** Note!  As I posted this I realized I left the trash bags I use to line her "poopy" diaper pail - we use gDiapers and compost the "pee" diapers.  I'll be pulling those out of there first thing tomorrow and putting them out of reach along with the green biodegradable bags we use for blowouts while away from home. 

All the medicines and sunscreens went into another bin in our hall built-in closet which is where most of our medicines are as well.
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