Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries

186 Cherries Total

Wednesday, December 10, 2008




Waiting for the Chocolate....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sewing Surprises in the Mail

This week has been one of surprises coming in my mailbox, all sewing related, and you can imagine how exciting it was for me! The first surprise came from a good friend, Christa, and her daughter, Meggie, who sent me a back issue of Ottobre. I just can't get over how sweet these two ladies were to send me this wonderful gift! Thank you! I appreciate your friendship ever so much. And I can't wait to start a new sewing project from this particular Ottobre issue. Jessica, you will love it too---it's packed full of baby clothes. Ellen (12 years old) has even put in her requests.

The second surprise came from directly from Ottobre, all the way from Finland! Last week I received an email from one of the Ottobre editors congratulating me on my recent contest win at Pattern Review and writing that they liked what I did with the Ottobre designs. I was delighted with the email and truly expected nothing more. Yesterday I received a mysterious white package in the mail just full of goodies along with the card and lovely note inside. The note itself was prize enough for me, but just take a look at the gifts Ottobre sent: a 2009 planning calendar, 3 round pins, and 2 Creative Workshop patterns for the woman's and children's basic t-shirt tops.

Now you all know that I have been hooked on Ottobre ever since I received my first issue. The patterns are well-drafted (they fit!), and the designs are truly amazing. Ottobre has been a breath of fresh air for me after so many years of sewing from the "big 3" (or is it 4?) pattern companies. The customer service at Ottobre is fantastic, and yes, they are very kind and generous. Thank you Ottobre!

The third package in the mail was not really a surprise except for the fact that it came so much quicker than I expected. When I won the contest at PR, my prize was $75 worth of patterns from Lanetz Living--an online company that specializes in vintage and discontinued patterns. Janet has so many patterns on her site that I had a hard time deciding which to choose; I had to enlist Jessica's help. Also, Janet adds more patterns on a daily basis, so there is always something new to choose. (Jessica--she's added a bunch of vintage toddler patterns for little girls---some are adorable!). Lanetz Living has great customer service and quick shipping. I ordered the patterns on Tuesday and received them on Thursday. Thank you, Lanetz Living, for sponsoring the contest at PR with your generous prize.

What an exciting week this has been! I sew want to sew! :-) But I'm holding myself back because of the many other things I need to accomplish this week. We are going to Colorado next week for Thanksgiving and I need to prepare for the trip. And I need to homeschool my kids sometime, prepare for co-cop classes (I teach 5th and 6th grade American history), do laundry, and clean house. Time to get busy, right?

happy sewing,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Baby Update and Details

Jaidyn Marie

Hello! This is Jessica here. My boys went to run some errands, and Marie and I have had a quiet morning resting and catching up with some e-mails and such.

Thank you for all the comments and congratulations.
They are such a blessing and I appreciate all of our readers!

Like her big brother Elliot, we will be calling this baby by her middle name, Marie. She was 20" long and weighed 6 pounds, 14 oz. That is 2 lbs, 4 oz. smaller then Elliot weighed. She seems so tiny compared to how I remember him!

Like Elliot, Marie had a very positive and gentle birth here at our home, attended by two wonderful midwives. Her birth was much shorter and easier then Elliot's was, and I am feeling much better so much faster. We are so thankful to the Lord for the blessing of a healthy baby girl and a safe delivery.

Marie gave one little cry when she was born, and has hardly cried much since...she is a very peaceful baby and really seems to focus in on Justin and me when she is awake. I love her alert little eyes, and quizzical expressions, and of course I'm in love with her red hair. I wanted a daughter with red hair so badly, but I didn't truly believe I'd really get it.

I love this little video Mom took of her. The first time I saw it, I watched it five times in a row. I think I'm in love. =)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Big News!!!!!!

First of all, thank you for all the lovely comments you all left on the previous post! I was overwhelmed by your kindness, and both Jessica and I so enjoy reading every comment that comes our way!

Now for the big news!!!! I know Jessica will probably give more details later, but I just can't wait to share the news---Jessica had her baby girl yesterday and she is absolutely beautiful!!!! I was honored to be present at the birth of my first granddaughter, and what a blessing and privilege that was! Praise be to God for this precious baby!!!!

Oh, and she has red hair like her mommy!


Monday, November 03, 2008

Pattern Stash Contest

Today I received notice from Pattern Review that I won the Stash Pattern Contest, and they sent me this logo to put on my blog! For those who are not familiar with this particular contest, the goal was to use the most sewing patterns that had never been used before and those which had been purchased before August. The contest ran for 2 months, September and October.

Stash Contest - Pattern Large

I enjoyed sewing up so many of my unused patterns, and I am thankful to get so many clothing items made for my growing daughters. (I even managed to sew myself a few things!!!) In all, throughout the months of September and October, I used 45 different patterns from my stash/collection.

As fun as it was, I will say, though, that I'm tired of sewing quick projects and am ready to sew something a bit more complicated!

Thank you, Pattern Review, for hosting this contest.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Baby Dear

This dress is called the "Baby Deer" dress from the 1/2008 issue of Ottobre, but I like to think of it as "Baby Dear." I have been drawn to this dress pattern ever since I received the magazine, but I just wasn't sure if it was too babyish for my Emily. Every picture I saw of others' Baby Deer dresses were all simply adorable, and I finally gave in and made one for my little girl. The design is simple but appealing. I think this could very well be my Emily's Christmas dress this year.

Pattern Description:
Pinafore dress with buttons at the shoulders and piping trim at the yoke and lower skirt. The picture in the magazine shows the dress with a little deer appliqued on the front.

Pattern Sizing:
European sizes 62-92; I made a size 92. I lengthened the dress by 5 inches.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Same design, but totally different look because of the color and fabric differences.

Fabric Used:
I used a baby corduroy for the main fabric and a cotton woven print for the contrast piping and bodice lining.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
I lengthened the dress by 5 inches. From reading others' descriptions of this dress, I read (and measured!) that this pinafore dress would be plenty wide enough for my daughter. Although I typically would make her a size 98, this size 92 dress fits perfectly with the added length.

I omitted the deer applique on the front of the skirt. Instead, I made a rosette flower with fabric, ribbon and buttons and attached it to a safety pin. This way I can take the rosette off before washing the dress.

My button stash did not yield the right kind of buttons I was looking for, and so I combined two buttons together. Yes, the little red button fit right inside the black button just perfectly. I used these buttons at the shoulders and on the flower embellishment.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might sew it again---perhaps for my granddaughter someday. It's such a cute dress and I do recommend it!

When I showed the dress to Emily she told me, "Oh! This dress is so pretty!" I think she likes it. : )


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Helmi Shirt Dress

The Dress with 18 Pattern Pieces!
That's what I call this dress, but the name in the Ottobre magazine is the "Helmi" shirt dress. I think this is the most involved pattern I have ever sewn because of the number of pattern pieces and all the top stitching. I've not done a whole lot of top stitching in my sewing life until recently since I've begun sewing with Ottobre, and I definitely was challenged with this dress!

Pattern Description:
From the magazine: "The shirt dress is sewn from denim and accented with contrast color double topstitching." This dress has a zipper closure, pockets on the front and back, and a belt/sash with belt loops.

Pattern Sizing:
European sizes 128-170. I made a size 140 lengthened to size 170 for 12 year Ellen.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes! Right down to the denim and white stitching! I loved the dress in the magazine and decided to duplicate it!

Were the instructions easy to follow?

The instructions were easy enough as long as I took my time and proceeded carefully along.

Fabric Used and a Few Garment Details:

The fabric is 100% cotton denim. I don't remember the weight of the denim, but in the midst of sewing I began to wish I had used a lighter weight fabric! I only broke 1 needle, but I tried out several jeans/denim needles, a leather needle, and several topstitching needles to find one that worked well for the topstitching. I found that the size 100 topstitching needle worked best on sewing through the thick layers of denim.

Following a friend's recommendations, I used upholstery thread for the topstitching. I really like how the upholstery thread stands out and does not sink into the fabric.

I debated about using my coverstitch machine for the topstitching but decided against it because of the many curves and corners. Instead, I used the edge-stitching foot to my sewing machine and made one pass at the fabric edge and a second pass with the needle moved over to its furthest position. If you look closely at the front pockets you can tell that the topstitching lines are wider apart than the rest of the topstitching---I hadn't figured out my technique yet. Now why I started with those front pockets I don't know! I probably should have re-done them....

I was so happy that the topstitching lines matched up across the top yoke and at the waistband after I put in my zipper. Invisible zippers are easy to put in, but getting seams and the topstitching to match up is often a challenge. After sewing one side of the zipper, I keyed the other side with chalk marks and then used Wonder Tape to hold the second side of the zipper in place before sewing. I did have to unpick just a bit around the waistband, but I did not have to take out the whole zipper. Yay! I was excited about that!

For the belt carriers I used the method described in this tutorial. I like how the belt loops in this pattern are set lower than the waistband because the belt does not cover up the topstitching at the top of the waistband.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

Ottobre patterns run short, in my opinion. I lengthened this dress from the size 140 to size 170---if I recall, 6-8 inches--and I wish I had lengthened it even more.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Before sewing this dress I would have said "once is enough" to make this pattern. However, it all really went together more easily than I thought it would, and I may make it again sometime in the future. If I do, I will use a lighter weight fabric. I highly recommend the pattern as long as you take your time with all the stitching lines to ensure consistency.


Thank you, Ottobre, for challenging me! Ellen wore her dress to our homeschool co-op this week and I couldn't believe how many people complimented her on the dress. It made me happy when she told them "my mommy made it." It makes me happy that Ellen likes the dress!


Saturday, October 25, 2008


The dress with 18 pattern pieces is complete!
Details to come....

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fall Felt Leaf Garlands

Simple leaf shapes cut out of felt and strung on jute string.

Perfect fall garlands for my window and bookcase!

Have a great Autumn day!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sewing in the Red

Seeing Red

While my sewing machine, serger, and coverstitch machine had red thread on them I decided to sew up 1.5 yards of red cotton/lycra knit.
I was able to get five items out of the yardage---all in red!

On the left: Kwik Sew 2419; Capri length leggings for Ellen
to wear under her dresses

On the right: Kwik Sew 2418; Ankle length leggings for Emily
to wear with the plaid jumper I previously made

Kwik Sew 2875; Camisole for Ellen to layer under other tops or dresses

Kwik Sew 2411; The front and back of two panties for Emily

One last thing I sewed this week:
A fuzzy fleecy cape for Emily in gray and yes, red!
I used my coverstitch machine with the "wrong" side of the
stitch facing out to create the contrast on each seam.

Yea! Now I am going to straighten my sewing room, change the thread
on all my machines to black or navy blue, and then
start sewing up the 18-Piece Dress that I cut out last week!!!!

happy sewing,

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm having a baby sale...

Yea! I only have 5 weeks to go and I'm hoping to clear some items out of the shop before the baby gets here...check out my etsy shop for reduced sale prices on lots of my items!

I'm probably going to be putting my shop in inactive mode for a few weeks after the baby gets here and then restock with new items as I have time to work on stuff, so if you have your sights set on anything, now is the time to get it. =)


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Dress with 18 Pattern Pieces

I don't know that I've ever sewn any garment with this many pattern pieces. Eighteen, to be exact! The pattern doesn't look too difficult, just time-consuming with all the pockets and top stitching. I'm excited to start sewing.

This dress will be made for Ellen, my 12 year old daughter. She liked the dress from the first time she saw it in the magazine. I am making the size 140 lengthened to a size 170.

I'll try to update as I go. : )


Oh, the dress is design # 35 from the 4-2008 issue of Ottobre--the "Helmi" dress.

Monday, October 06, 2008

more baby sewing...

Finally, here are a couple pictures of a quilt set that I made for a friend. Her shower was yesterday, so now I can show it off!

I backed the quilt with blue minkee fabric, lined it with batting, and the top is patchwork squares of blue minkee, cream chenille, and coordinating blue and tan prints that I found at Hancocks. I loved sewing this quilt, and was so pleased with how it came out--so soft and almost made me wish I was having another baby boy. =) I'm working on another one to put in my etsy shop, but it's not quilted yet.

Coordinating burp clothes...

I've also been crocheting baby blankets again. I just finished one for another pregnant friend, but this sweet ducky blanket is for my baby. When I saw this fabric on etsy, I knew it would be perfect for a baby I already had the yellow thread to match!

You can check out the clearance section on Mineymo's shop for more good deals...

Little lavender sachet pillows in my shop... These are a couple of the prints in the little quilt I'm making for the baby. I finished the quilt top last night, and plan on doing the quilting later this week. I LOVE lavender right now...lets hope baby does too!


Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Last of Sewing for Emily

I think I'm done--for now, anyway--sewing for Emily. She now has some clothes to get her through the coming winter! Pictured here are the last few items I made for her.

Now it's time to do some sewing for Ellen and perhaps for myself.

happy sewing,


Ottobre 1-2007 "Pinafore Dress"

Ottobre 1-2007 "Envelope Neck" T-shirts
made to wear with the jumpers

Ottobre 3-2008 "Aqua Shorts"

New Look 6845 Pink Camo Jumper

Camo and Rosebuds

Thursday, October 02, 2008

regarding Ottobre

This was just going to be a reply in the form of a comment, but since it got so long I decided just to post it here:

Thank you for your comments. I enjoy them all. You are all so sweet! I think one reason I have enjoyed this season of sewing right now is because Emily is so fun to sew for. My other children keep asking when I'm going to sew for them. : )

captain momma: Yes, Ottobre is rather expensive. It took me 2 years to break down and buy a subscription, and then I used gift money to pay for it. I've since found out that because the magazine has so many patterns in each issue (32-40, usually) that the price really isn't much per pattern.

Also, I find that I'm not buying as many other patterns now that I have a few Ottobre issues. The designs in Ottobre are classic, adorable, and the size ranges are varied. I will be able to sew from these magazines for many more years. So, to sum it up, even though Ottobre is expensive, it is worth it for me. : )

happy sewing,

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sewing in September

Voting has begun for the Children/Babies Contest at Pattern Review! If you're a member of PR, don't forget to vote. : ) I will tell you this---you'll have a hard time deciding which entry to vote for---there are some fabulous entries to choose from.

In addition to sewing the jacket for the contest, I sewed a few more items last month....

The month of September was National Sewing Month, and that's what I did in my every spare minute. I sewed! And what fun I had!

I won't bore you with the details, but if you want to know more, check out my reviews on
Pattern Review. Mostly I sewed for Emily who has grown so much this summer that she really needed some clothes.

I just love sewing for little girls! I'm sure you've heard the news, but I'm going to have a new little girl to sew for in November! Not mine, but my soon-to-come granddaughter! Yes, I'm so excited that I'm having another grandchild!

On to the pictures of my September sewing projects....

happy sewing,

Butterick 4841

Matching Purse, Ottobre 03-2008, design #28

Top: Kwik Sew 3055
This was my first ever attempt at "lettuce" edging.

Top: Kwik Sew 3055
Skirt: Ottobre 04-2008, Design #15

Skirt back with pintucks on pockets

Skirt front

Smock: Simplicity 3802

Slip: Kwik Sew 2405

Top: Ottobre 1-2008 #14
Pants: Ottobre 1-2007 #7

Top: Ottobre 4-2008 #11
Pants Ottobre 1-2008 #19

Cropped Pajama Pants for Ellen: Kwik Sew 3477