Monday, January 22, 2018

Monster Dress, Take Two


Back in 2015 I made Cordelia a "monster dress" , I even blogged about it in THIS post. She wore it a lot- she thought it was really funny, and it was made out of a soft and comfy dot fabric so, unlike most of her dresses, it was super warm.  


At the time I had hundreds ideas for different monster varieties, different spikes and horns and colors- but not a single other dress was made. Cordelia wore her dress until it was a shirt with 3/4 length sleeves and I had to sneak it out of her drawer- and she has been requesting a second monster dress ever since. 


There are a couple of differences between the original monster dress and this one. Cordelia's only complaint about the first dress was that it had four fingers in the pockets. I didn't make the fingers in the pockets thinking she would use them- I just thought claw pockets would be cool and four claws seemed more monster like. However, she really wanted to be able to use the pockets like gloves- so the new dress has five claw like finger pockets.   


The cuffs also have been updated with thumb holes. Cordelia has recently started chewing thumb holes into her long sleeve shirts...it causes me great distress, so the holes are really in hopes that the dress won't get chewed on. 



I liked the texture of the dots used in the last dress, but the fabric had very little stretch and it really wasn't ideal for a pull over dress. This dress is made from Luxe fleece from Joann Fabrics. Normally the texture of fleece makes my skin crawl, but this is super soft! The blue is a fuzzy fabric from their cuddle collection. Cordelia is all about soft and fuzzy right now- so the combination is perfect. 


It is also warm enough to pass as a jacket on a above 30 degree day!


All in all, this dress makes for a pretty happy monster girl! 


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Bella Sunshine Design, Rebel Girl Party Dress


Over the years I have discovered that I work better with a deadline- which is why I appreciate the opportunity to test patterns. This dress is the Rebel Girl Party Dress by Bella Sunshine Designs and funnily enough I bought this pattern when it was first released two ish years ago- but never managed to sew it up (I haven't figured out how to self impose deadlines) 


So when the call went out that this darling dress was going through another round of testing, I jumped on it. 


I am always thrilled to sew a BSD pattern, I have been sewing for years but I always manage to learn a new trick from her patterns. Now there are also a ton of helpful videos that BSD has made, in case you aren't familiar with a certain step which make the patterns great for beginners also. This dress is a size 8 in chest and height and is graded to a 9 in the waist- and the pattern includes the instructions on how to blend sizes. I think my biggest piece of advice with this pattern is to make sure your measurements are fresh and you take the time to blend sizes so you really end up with a perfect fitting back.


Cordelia thought it was fun to stand on the heat and make her skirt puff out- just like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Speaking of Alice in Wonderland- this Alice fabric is a Japanese import fabric, made by Lecien and purchased from Bunny's Designs. It is very light weight so I was a tad worried it wouldn't work well for this dress, but since I had it in two colors and I loved the idea of doing a contrast back, I really wanted to give it a go- and it turned out just fine! 

The pattern includes a lot of technical steps to insure the dress doesn't pull or stretch out of shape. I found these extra steps were helpful with my lightweight fabric. The pattern actually has a lot of steps I normally don't the time to do. So often I rush my sewing and I don't take the time to enjoy the process of making something perfect. In the Rebel dress everything is under stitched, the waist of the skirt is reinforced, the skirt is lined, and the instructions for the invisible zipper are some of the best I have read- In fact this is the nicest invisible zipper I have ever installed. 



My favorite detail of this pattern really is that back. I am a tad conservative in what I think is appropriate in kids clothing- kids grow up so fast I want their clothing to stay kids clothing as long as possible. Soo often skinny straps or exposed backs, on Cordelia, just make her look really grown up, but this back has such a nice balance of being fun and different, and not overly adult and I just love it.  I can see several more of these working their way into Cordelia's summer wardrobe this year! 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Winter Geranium

  
Christmas dresses have become a yearly tradition in our house. 
Oddly enough it didn't start that way- Cordelia's first couple of Christmas' she wore store bought , typically velvet, dresses. Now when I ask if I can buy her a dress instead of making one she says "absolutely not, you always make me one and it is special!"

   

In 2013 I started with the batman dress, 2014 she got matching cat dresses with her doll, 2015 was a dramatic corduroy dress, and 2016 was a spunky my little pony dress with wings. This year she requested snow flakes, sparkle, and fuzzy pockets!   


I used Made by Rae's Geranium pattern - but with some of the extension pack options, and some of my own modifications. I stuck with the original cap sleeves but used the longer bodice and the peter pan collar used in the update. I drafted a circle skirt- but with added side seams for the pockets- for the dress instead of using the original straighter skirt so it was a "twirly" dress.


You can't tell from these photos, but the bodice is a sparkle cotton, the skirt is shiny silver- and the collar is fuzzy!  
  

I thought fuzzy pockets was a strange request- but apparenty it made the dress. 


I hope you all had happy holidays- does anyone else have a tradition of sewing special Christmas dresses?!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Goodbye 2017


To say that 2017 was a year of ups and downs would be a drastic understatement. 2017 was a whirlwind of emotions and at times gave me whiplash. 


  

We started the year off adjusting to life as a family of four. Adeline was cute as can be, and Cordelia loved her with all her heart- but having a baby wake up every hour on the hour to nurse put some strain on me, and our family felt the effects of having a mother with postpartum depression. 



By February things were starting to feel a little more normal. We started figured out how to go out to dinner, have friends over for play dates, and we went on lots of walks. We also celebrated my Grandmother's 90th birthday. My mom and sister executed an amazing party and when instructed that we should wear purple I even managed to dust off the sewing machine and make new dresses for Cordelia, Adeline, and I. 


 

March involved more engagement at school for me. I actually managed to make it to PTA meetings, and finally was able to go back to the library to volunteer. After struggling since the birth of Adeline I finally started feeling like maybe I wasn't drowning anymore. 

 Cordelia solidly became best friends with another girl at school, had a ballet recital, and participated in the school art show. Adeline learned how to roll over! For the first day of spring Sarah was able to visit and we were able to continue our traditional outing. This year we went to the National Arboretum and froze. Two days later we went to the National Gallery of Art and were much warmer. It was truly amazing to introduce our little girls to each other. 

Unfortunately March is also when our peace fell apart. Toward the end of the month we were told that we would have to move out of our little apartment by the first of June. We were shocked and panicked, and in everything that followed we learned that people we thought highly of really didn't deserve any of that respect. I am not sure the feelings of hurt will ever really go away. 

As March turned to April we started packing up our things and looking for a new place to call home. We looked at a lot of duds, a lot of things we couldn't afford, and we filled out paperwork for our current apartment about 900 times. 




In April we threw Cordelia a big 6th birthday party, we wanted her to be able to invite as many friends as possible because we weren't sure if this was really also going to be like a going away party- who knew where life was going at that point. Cordelia was really excited to have a special dessert brought to school for her birthday- she picked dirt cups, and all the kids sang her happy birthday in "squirrel".



May was full of box packing, paperwork filling out, crying, laughing, long walks to school pick up, and Adeline falling off the changing table and hitting her head (she was ok after 6 hours of observation at the Doctors office). Also at the end of the month Cordelia got to feed Adeline her first baby food!


June meant the end of school, and a last minute one month extension of our move out date- thank goodness because we were due out two weeks before school let out! I think I cried a little more about the end of school than I did the start! HES had become a home and the moms and teachers there became our family.

Adeline could sit up, and enjoyed eating "real" food instead of mush, which was a whole new challenge! We finished up the month by taking Adeline on her first veggie picking adventure!



July was hard, we lost my dear Uncle Kevin after a long battle with cancer and we had to move out with no place to go. All of our things went into storage and thankfully for my mom and my family we didn't need to sleep in shelters or hotels. For 25 days we were homeless and I will never be able to express how horrible it is knowing that after ten years of being part of someone's family you can be thrown out with a tiny baby and a six year old with no place to go and no show of concern. I should probably feel guilty about talking about it online and "airing dirty laundry" but since they don't read this and really don't care I'll save the guilty feelings. 

The plus side of the experience is that I learned without a single doubt that  my mother loves us and we will never be without a home as long as she walks the face of this earth. I feel amazed, and grateful that I was so lucky to get her as a mom. 



At the end of July we finally got to move into our new apartment and we spent all of August unpacking, decorating, and exploring! In August we also took a family road trip to South Carolina to see the Eclipse! 




School started September 5th. Cordelia gets to ride the bus, and has transitioned to the new school really well! I miss walking to pick her up, but the bus does make it awfully easy.  On the first day of school Cordelia also lost her first tooth! She really is a big kid now. Adeline was an excellent crawler by now, and even had started to stand and walk while holding on to things! 



October is my favorite month- I dressed the girls in Halloween clothing every chance I got, we went pumpkin picking, attended Halloween parties, I made the girls costumes , sewed up some Halloween commissions, Brendon and I celebrated nine years of marriage, and I mad my first homemade tortillas (not October related, but still life changing). We also had a nice visit from one of our favorite Aunts and her new boyfriend! 



In November we celebrated 31 years of Brendon! We were kept busy with school, lodge, and volunteering with the PTA.

 



December is always insane, we struggled with family colds and stomach bugs. I wrapped up my PTA commitments. We celebrated Adeline's 1st birthday (eventually I will blog about it too).  The girls got to play in the snow together, we decked the halls with all sorts of Christmas decor, and we continued the tradition of going to see the lights at the LDS visitors center. My mom and I got to go on a special date night to see The Piano Guys- which was amazing! I was sick for my 30th birthday- and I was way emotional about turning 30. Christmas day was celebrated and enjoyed with my family and then again with Brendon's mom's side of the family. 

I am happy to see the end of 2017, there were so many hard lessons, and so much growing to be done. But I am happy to say that our love for each other is stronger than ever! Brendon, Cordelia, Adeline, and I are looking forward to a brand new- and hopefully calmer year!  

Friday, December 1, 2017

Why Was Six Afraid of Seven? Because Seven Ate Nine!


That's actually a misleading title for this blog post- because this post is sharing photos from Adeline's eighth, ninth, tenth, and eleventh months- but for some reason that silly kids joke kept running through my head.  


Maybe because I feel like the months have eaten each-other- surely time has done something funny and sped up, or moments were skipped?  


But I guess that's part of parenting, time moves in weird ways. When you are in the grocery store with a screaming kid but you can't leave or there will be nothing for dinner- time moves extra slow, each second takes at least three. But when you are trying to make sure you write blog posts, or finish your to do lists, or simply just want your baby to stay a baby- then each second must speed by like it's only a quarter of a second. 


I've kep up taking these monthly photos- some of them really near the end of the month,  but all more or less on time, but I never could quite make it to publishing them. At eight months Adeline could pull herself up to stand and would walk about while holding on to the couch. She had two teeth and loved to bit. 


At nine months Adeline she could say "Mama, Dada, Nana" and "cat". 


She had a strong distrust for strangers, and never smiled at people who talked to her when we were out and about.  But Cordelia made her laugh and giggle like crazy. 


She started being able to stand on her own, without holding on to anything. 


She loved every food she tried- but preferred to feed herself.


and still did not sleep through the night. 


At ten months Adeline started to walk! 


and fall down a lot. When I took these photos she had a big bump on one side of her head from the sidewalk, a small scrape on the other side from a toy house, and rug burn on her nose from the hallway outside of our apartment. 


At ten months Adeline had two teeth, four words, and two signs. 


She still loves food, hates strangers, and isn't so impressed by sleeping in her crib, or sleeping through the night. 


but she loves playing with other kids, 


and she shares my obsession with cats. 


That brings us up to date at eleven months. 


Adeline finally sleeps in her crib, and sometimes even in her crib in her bedroom- and sometimes if we are extra lucky and she is super tired, she even sleeps all night long!


She can say "mama, dada, na-na, cat, hi" and "no". She knows the signs  for water, more, all done, and eat. She especially loves goldfish and likes to share them with our cat Ninja while she watches Sesame Street. 


She dances whenever she hears music! She also claps, waves, blows kisses and raspberries, and roars like a lion. She makes more noises than any other kid I have met. 


and she stands up to her sister when she pushes her around. (Adeline screams at Cordelia or bites her on the hand, or roars at her, which is kind of funny)


Strangers still do not amuse her. 


She has seven teeth (all of a sudden)! She can walk from the car to the apartment, but often wants to walk in the direction she wants and not where we want her to go. She doesn't run yet, but she is getting fast!  She fills our lives with adventure and happiness every day.