Thursday, July 30, 2015

Motherhood

Being a mom has been the most powerful experience of my life. It has torn me down to pieces and built me up to a more powerful, considerate, brave and patient individual than I could have ever hoped to be without it. I know that the calling of mother is suppose to be one where I facilitate the personal mental & emotional strength of my children, it seems all the while that happens they are teaching and shaping me. Many things I feel I lack the courage to accomplish until it needs to be done for my children's well being and some how I find the strength to do it without a wince. I reverence this divine calling I have been given.
This picture is dear to me because it was my first meeting of our new little guy (more of that story later)
Knowing what a powerful and beautiful gift motherhood makes my heart ache deeply for my friends and family members the sting of infertility and/or child loss.


One of my dear friends that has faced the bitterness of infertility is my sweet friend Mallory and her husband. Mallory was my college roommate, her friendship was invaluable over the course of my courtship with Slim Jim. She helped me keep my cool through out the course of my courtship with Slim Jim (and even helped coach him a bit as well. I am pretty sure she even helped Slim Jim pick out my engagement and wedding ring).  She is the type of virtuous and kind woman that would make an excellent mother.
My roommates that year: Lori, Mallory, Cassidy, Myself, Jenny & Cassidy (From bottom left corner around the circle)
After six years of Mallory and Lane failing to conceive on their own and through the assistance of IVF they were presented with an amazing opportunity to adopt a sweet baby girl. Mallory has worked as kindergarten teacher for several years and Lane recently completed his graduate degree. I have been very impressed with Mallory's strength in educating her friends and family about adoption.  To be honest I was very unfamiliar with the cost of adoption for the adopting parents until I read their story.

We would love to help you save money and help them with these costs by donating all our net proceeds made during the Betty Skirt Sale to them. The Betty Skirt is on sale for $4 with the coupon code, ADOPTIONSTRONG, expires 8-8-15 MDT. The Betty Skirt has 4 different skirt options (small pleat, large pleat, gathered & gathered with placket) and goes from Newborn-16 (with plus sizes from 3-16), it is perfect for play or school length skirt. This is the lowest price we have ever offered the skirt pattern, please let us help you and help her!
If you are interested in donating money without receiving a pattern, please find on the donate button on the left sidebar.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Happy Birthday Katy {Rainbow Dress Tutorial Flashback}

I was probably supposed to have this post up earlier, but in the midst of humanitarian sewing all day yesterday until 2am I forgot that I still needed to get to this. So here it is a rainbow birthday present for a very amazing Katy at No Big Dill. Happy Birthday!
Just over 3 years ago we did a fun little Little Leprechaun and Rainbow Ladies post. And today for Katy's birthday we're sharing a tutorial for making a girls rainbow pillowcase dress.



Now you can follow Nancy Zieman's (aka Sewing with Nancy) sewing video on how to make a pillow case dress out of yardage. Using Nancy's Notions Pattern instructions you could make a dress. 

With Love, Al

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Plaid Double Cloth {No. 2 Shorts from E+M}

4th of July is a BIG deal with my inlaws with a parade and fireworks. Usually on July 2nd and sometimes as late as 3rd I get a hankering to make an outfit for the kids. My procrastination in the past may have caused a little friction in my marriage. This year I decided to start much sooner and even though these took me weeks to finish (so I am still getting used to 3 kids and it seems to be one appointment after another), I am happy to report these pants have been in the done pile for almost a month.
The fabric is a double cloth I picked up from imagine gnats. I haven't sewn much plaid in the past so it was a new sort of adventure. I am not sure that shorts the best first project for a beginner plaid sewist. I really like the weight that the double cloth have I know that he won't be wearing through them quickly.
I used the No. 2 Pants/Shorts Pattern from E+M . I chose this pattern because I have already sewn it a number of times. I needed these to be a quick sew so I left out the pockets and used serged seams instead flat felt seams (here is last years version with pockets and flat felt seams made from a quilters cotton). I also changed out the woven flat front waistband for a knit elastic waistband. I chose to make them one size longer than I have in the past because is right on the cusp of another growth spurt.
He is pretty excited for all the horsing around there is on the 4th and I think these shorts will be perfect for him.
PS. Isn't his stick horse darling? Mama Shaffer made it for him and he wouldn't commit to an afternoon photoshoot without it so I promised him that we would included at least one picture of him and the stick horse.
Are any of you sewing 4th of July outfits? I would love to see them if you have them done leave a link below so I can check them out.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Extraordinary Girl Rash Guard

I have found it so difficult to put together a few minutes to sew with our new little guy, with all that difficulty doesn't diminish the need for sewing in our house (Over a year ago, I committed to sewing or finding second hand item as much of the kids clothes as possible. It keeps me busy, but happy that I am not contributing to the fast fashion trends).
Today, I was going crazy so I finally committed to turning a blind eye to my household disaster and spend a few hours hanging out with my machine doing what I love. I knew that I might have a chance of finishing a full sewing project in one day if I sewed a pattern I had sewn before (when Boston dressed her self in this Extraordinary Girl top this morning I took it as a sign).
Boston has outgrown her swimsuit I made her for last years Beachy Boatneck Flip this Pattern and I knew without a doubt I wanted to make her a new rash guard and swim bottom. I loved that she can move freely in a rash guard, I don't have to spend 10 years applying sunscreen. Extra bonus the separate bottoms make bathroom breaks much easier on both of us. I decided to use the Extraordinary Girl from Filles a Maman this year instead of using the Beachy Boatneck I used last year.  I thought the lapped neckline would make it easier to get on and off but still keeping it very modest. I sewed the size 3 straight up because I am hoping I can make this last at least a year if not a year in half.
I went for mostly black fabric since our summer swimming has only been backyard water hose activities while Baby Wayne sleeps soundly in his room. I noticed that she was getting cold with her old rash guard and swim bottoms, I thought that if I went with bottoms then the rash guard should dry faster and keep her warmer.
As soon as the bottom hem was put in she was rushing to get it on. I am not even sure I got all my strings clipped before the kids were ready to go do the slip and slide. I hope that soon I will be able to finish the matching swim bottoms.
The kids were having such fun in the slide that instead of a professional on location photoshoot I just did a in our back year playing in the slip-n-slide for the first time pictures. This way I could also hit the sweet giveaway as part of the Canadian Pattern Designer giveaway. I alreally own and LOVE sooooo many patterns from many of the designers of Canadian Pattern tour, that I was able to participate without altering my sewing to sew list at all.
I hope you are all having a nice summer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

It a Baby Shower with a Giveaway for you

Today you can find us over at Gracious Threads Baby Shower sharing some of our most beloved baby girl tutorials. Please peak over there and take a look and join in the giveaway because there are some pretty fabulous things to win and there will be 4 winners selected.
http://www.graciousthreads.ca/

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Shirts for the Tall Guys: Jalie Men's Shirt Pattern {Candian Pattern Designer Tour}

First off I am so tickled to be part of the Canadian Pattern Tour so many of designers are among my favorite designers. We used this opportunity to try a new designer that we have never tried before. Let me tell you it didn't disappoint.

Al & I are always talking about the supportive nature of our sweet husbands. Without their help, encouragement, pizza runs, fabric store shopping, photography our blog would still be on square one. They have always supported us since the beginning because they knew that is was what we were passionate about and they were passionate about us. This project really is the perfect way for us to show our appreciation for them.
Up until recently I thought that Slim Jim appreciated the sewing I did for me and the kids but was okay with me stopping there. More and more frequently he seems to be dropping more and more hints that he wanted me to sew for him. Finally I asked him about it and he owned up to his desires, after that I really looked for patterns that would fit his casual relaxed style. Al's husband, Samson, has a similar relaxed style but doesn't feel comfortable with a v-neck (yet anyway we are trying to convince him that she should be).

The Jalie Men's Shirt pattern has 2 necklines (v-neck & crew) and 3 sleeve options (long sleeve, short, and a layered double sleeve) making it a great choice for the casual relaxed style guy.  The sizes start from a Boy's 2 (Chest: 22") and goes up to a Men's 22 (Chest: 50"). Really you couldn't ask for more in sizes from a tee pattern.

Al and I planned ordering a masculine looking knit that would fit the 40% stretch across the grain and in the length (according to the pattern). I felt like finding a fabric that met the requirements and what the guys would wear was a little difficult and May ended up being SUPER CRAZY for both good and bad reasons so I just pulled out a flat t-shirt sheet that I had on hand to sew them both up. Now that Sew Kinetic is back open I plan on making the next one out of their Triplex Heather, because it has the 40% across grain and length (I will just have to figure out whether Aqua or Surf will look better with Slim Jim eyes).

The only adjustment made to both tops was to add additional few inches since both guys are well over the average height for men. Slim Jim is almost 6'5" and Samson 6'4". 

This was my first Jalie pattern and I really like the way they write their instructions in a single sheet with references to the diagram page. This made it quick for sewing up and easy to reference specific questions. All instructions are written in both English and French.

My biggest complaint with the pattern was trying to figure out printing. It requires printing off the bottom pieces once for the front and once for the back. Printing off the front pattern pieces that match your choice of neckline style and then the back bodice piece.

Sometime V-Necks can be a little tricky but I felt like with the overlap it would be a great sew for event the most beginning sewist.  I think this would be perfect for a boy that was wanting to start sewing for himself. For me it was easy to sew both shirts at the same time, you really could build a whole wardrobe around this pattern. The neckline uses the same fabric, so you won't need ribbing.

How would you like a chance to win a Jalie pattern?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Need additional inspiration on why you should jump into a Canadian patterns? Check out the inspiration below:

Creative Bug * The Wholesome Mama * stitched by crystal * Shaffer Sisters *  Call Ajaire * hibbadoray * Handmade Boy * Rebel & Malice * Sew Out of Control * All Things Katy! * Not Sew Fast * Conversas de Hermana * From-a-Box * Made by Sara *  Climbing the Willow * Swoodson Says * Thread Riding Hood * Sprouting JubeJube * Create3.5 * Calm and Carrion * Stitches by Laura * Pattern Revolution * PhatQuarters * sewstarly * House of Estrela * gloria june * Sew Far North * AmandaRose * Mae & K

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Jillian Top/Mykonos Tankini Pattern Mashup

Today, we are continuing our sewing of the Women's Bundle Up patterns (sale goes through May 8th). In full disclosure, we were given a complimentary the Real Deal Jeans pattern (review here) & Mykonos Tankini pattern for our review. But that didn't stop us from putting our money where our mouth is. We purchased the bundle so we could feature just a few more of these great patterns. We get no compensation from you purchasing the bundle. We honestly believe you would be hard pressed to find a better selection of patterns & with awesome size ranges! Especially at $4.50/pattern folks. Alright, alright enough with the pitch on to the mash up.
Eeekkk! I am so excited to share this self care sew with you. I've been badly in need of a swim suit ever since I entered motherhood and jumped at the chance to customize the perfect look for myself. The the main inspiration and foundation came from the Mykonos Tankini. I loved the design of the triangle tank option, but ended up going with the peplum version because I knew that accentuating my waistline would look best with my pear shaped body. I also opted for the boy shorts because then I don't even have to wonder if I need to add a layer of shorts over the suit when I go out in public. I guess I just always feel self conscious of my bare legs in moments like that.
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I attempted to make the tankini exclusively using the Mykonos pattern, but it just didn't work for my shape as well as I would've liked. In the last month I have stopped nursing and now there's just not a lot of shape on top to work with. To be honest though, when I first saw the patterns for the Bundle Up I felt a crazy desire to have the tankini and then borrow the neat crisscross design of the Jillian Top. The finished look will be 100% functional for young kids, climbing and pulling on my suit.  I know that uni-boobs are taboo in the fashion world, but I've always seen myself as an athlete with 8+ years of doing sports year round so I actually prefer that athletic look.
As far as construction modifications goes, the biggest things were that I extended the waistline of the boy shorts about 5 inches so that if I was swimming when the peplum floated up that I wouldn't have to deal with my squishy, stretch-mark covered tummy being exposed to the world. I love my body and the joys in my life that came from it, but it's personal and I just want to keep it that way. Because I'm about 1" above average height I added 1" to the bottom of the peplum. I cut the Jillian Tank at the middle of the lengthen/shorten line so that could have it hit me at my natural waistline. I also used swim bra cups so that I didn't have to worry about nipping on cold days because most of my swimming is outside in fresh mountain water.
I was a little nervous to put myself out there with a swimsuit and I had came up with a plan to work out everyday, twice a day, for the next 2 weeks so that I was more toned. Ha, that didn't happen. I only ended up getting through 70% of 1 Jillian Micheal's workout routine. As I looked at the pictures, I found myself surprised by how I look in this swimsuit.

I feel like I look courageous, confident, and strong. Although I have 30+ lbs of extra baby weight around the midsection, it doesn't mean that I'm not beautiful and I can't take on the world. Lately I've had some eye opening experiences about my health that didn't keep me motivated more than a few days to be super healthy and end the end left me searching for the oreos. When I see these pictures, I realize that I am still strong and although I'm a mother of 3 young kids, I haven't lost my identity and it's not too deep to be able to find it further. Love yourself for what you are because that's pretty dang amazing!
 
With Love,
Al
PS. Don't forget to check out the other bloggers on the tour they are making some great stuff!

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