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Once upon a time, I was browsing a new-to-me online apparel fabrics store.  As I looked through their brushed poly section, I saw a tiny photo of a garment made from one of the prints, and I was instantly struck by how awesome of a dress it was.  I sought it out on Instagram, and I was so thankful that the maker included information about the pattern!  Turns out, it was from a knits sewing book by Tilly Walnes (<–affiliate link at no cost to you).  I remembered her from The Great British Sewing Bee a number of years ago, and combined with the fantastic silhouette of that dress, made me super excited to get my hands on the book!

I requested the book from the library, and it took about 2 months for it to come to me.  In that time, I found and fell in love with this quirky spacey print (it’s no longer available, but there might be some with a white background) from Finch Fabrics, and so I made an educated guess about the yardage that I would need.  When I finally had both the fabric and the book in hand, I made a quick muslin, and then I finally dove into making my actual space dress.

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This pattern is really straight forward; I think that the trickiest part is the neckline binding.  I was glad that I could practice with my muslin!  My dress was delayed for another week or so when I ran out of matching thread, but finally, finally, it’s finished!

Now that I’ve experienced sewing with double-brushed poly, you can be sure that I’m going to be on the lookout for some more.  I love it!  And I do hope to make more of these cute Joni dresses in the future…especially since there are some great sleeve variations in the book…

 

Every year, on October 4, I document our day, from waking to sleeping.  I document as many little details as I can, and then I put them all into an 8″x8″ photo book.  I started in 2013, and as of last week, I have the books done through 2017 (yay!)

It has helped that I have a particular format that I follow for each year’s book, although it’s not a quick project to complete!

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I actually finished 2017’s book last spring: even while I took the photos for the project, I had a very specific vision of how I wanted to display the photos on each page: in general, one large one with small ones supporting it.  It was an easier project to complete, because I had around 79 photos earmarked for inclusion, plus a plan in mind as I got going on the pages.

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I really love how this one came out, and for future days-in-the-life projects, I plan to have a similar intent in mind as I take photos.  In fact, I have 2018’s photos and words waiting for me…

It was really bothering me, though, that I still had the gap in my book collection from 2016.  For some reason, I had an extra large number of photos for this book– I have 117 earmarked my Lightroom collection for that day!  However, I was a woman on a mission last fall with a couple photo book projects, and I powered through most of the 2016 book… until I got to page 18 (out of 20).  I hit a creative wall, and I just couldn’t get further.  Plus, I had Christmas crafting to do!  So it got put on hold, even though it was so close to being completed.

Recently, Shutterfly had a weekend sale for a free photo book, and as is typical of me, that deadline got me moving again.  I was determined to get this book finished, and I did!  I gritted my teeth and made page 18 work, and then it was smooth sailing after that, thanks to all that I’d completed (including a lion’s share of the work on the cover!) back in the fall.

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This 2016 book was the most photo-intensive book I’ve done so far, and I think it’s my limit (at least for a 20-page book!).  I hope in the future to streamline the number of photos I use… but in this book, there were a few series of photos that told the story better than just a single picture.

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It makes me so happy to see my little photo book shelf filling out.  It is such a satisfying feeling to have these projects all lined up.

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Even better is the fact that my 7-year-old loves to read these books.  It makes my heart happy to see that she also appreciates this documentation… and it motivates me to keep going.

Last year, we went a little bit crazy with V’s kindergarten valentines and a gigantic castle mailbox, haha!

This year, I wanted to keep things a bit simpler, but I still wanted to do something handmade with her!  I’d seen some cute pencil valentine ideas, and as we discussed what she wanted to do (and browsed some Pinterest ideas together), we settled upon these cute little flags.  I made a simple printable design using my Silhouette software, and since my Silhouette SD isn’t working (I’ll be replacing it soon, hopefully!), I simply cut the cardstock into strips after we printed the sheets.

V did the rest!

She folded the flags, cut the banner ends, added stickers, and addressed and signed every single one.  She took particular care to select pencil designs for each friend and classmate that she thought that they would like best, and she taped them with washi tape on the inside of the flag before using a glue stick to seal the ends.

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I really think they turned out well!!

She also did a wonderful job on her valentine box.  We went very simple this year, and we used some color-your-own wrapping paper that a friend had given to us.

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She worked very diligently on coloring it, and she even had Husband and I get involved on some of the hearts (we both enjoyed spending some peaceful coloring time with her :)).

Husband took great care to cover her mailbox with the finished paper…

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…including finishing the edges of the mail slot opening:

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…and covering the flaps that open on the side to get all of her cards and treats out at the end.

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We added her name on a strip of pink vellum so as not to cover up too much of her coloring, and the box was done!  Simple, but still really pretty!  She was proud to take it to school with her.

Last summer, I wanted my kids to have the experience of completing a sewing project.  I helped my 4-year-old sew a little pillow and some Star Wars pajama pants.  I also helped my then 6-year-old start some pajama pants, too (we use the Blank Slate Patterns Snuggle Pajama pants).  She selected fabric, and I encouraged her to do each step of the pajama pants on her own…which may have contributed to the lengthy interval it took to complete them!

We started in July by laying out the pattern…

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But it wasn’t until a couple weeks later in August that she finally overcame her fear of being pricked with a pin to finish pinning her pattern…

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she was so excited!

She cut out the pieces that day, too.

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About a week after that, we were making some progress with sewing it together, and I had V do some pressing.

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I don’t think she was a fan of the hot iron, either.

After that, we sort of stalled on the project for a while.  I didn’t want to finish the pants for her, but I also didn’t want to force her to work on them, since I really, really want her to have good memories about sewing with me.  She got busy with the school year starting up, and eventually we entered December with the pajama pants still incomplete!

Pajama Day at school was the final impetus– the day before winter break begins, all the students are encouraged to wear their PJs, and I suggested that we finish up her flannel princess pants for her to wear!

I ended up sitting behind her in the chair at the sewing machine to help guide her hands guiding the fabric.

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V also started learning how to unpick stitches.  It’s definitely an important part of sewing, and she seemed okay with it.

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She enjoyed threading the elastic through the casing– I think by now she could see the light at the end of the tunnel, haha!

I finished the cuffs myself, since the layers were tricky with the satin accent strip.  She wore them to school proudly!  (and then we didn’t get photos until a month or two after that! haha)

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I have a new favorite tee shirt pattern!  I absolutely love this new Blank Slate Abrazo Tee pattern.  It has a great fit, and it is a super quick sew.  For the test of this pattern, I sewed up a round neck, short-sleeved top…

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This is a very soft, very stretchy, and very thin polyester blend knit that I got very inexpensively. It was a wonky cut and only 52″ wide (I realized later), so I am proud of myself for matching the stripes! It was quite the puzzle.

The pattern is so versatile with V-neck and long sleeved variations, as well!  I am really looking forward to making many more Abrazo tees!

In fact…I literally have another one out on my cutting table right now… I can’t wait to show it to you!

Otter cards

I’ve been slowly and (somewhat) steadily working my way through Sandy Allnock’s Copic Jumpstart class, and the shading lesson was fun and challenging all at the same time.  Blending blues is pretty tricky for me still, and I found the rectangular prisms particularly challenging to shade!

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To give myself some more practice shading with light sources from different directions, I stamped out a number of these cute otters from My Favorite Things (thanks to my daughter, who allowed me to use her stamp set ;-))

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Of course, I couldn’t just leave these little cuties on the paper to languish!  I put them to good use on some cards.  I simply added a bit of ink blending to spotlight each otter and then stamped a sentiment from my beloved old Hero Arts set.

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This layout was a challenge for me!  I don’t have any good reason for it: I planned to make a “then and now” layout with these photos ever since my husband asked me to take the photo of him on the speeder bike in Hollywood Studios (it’s even written in my journal from that day!)

And on top of that, when I was looking through the photos I have printed (so far…there are a LOT more to come…) and came across this one again, I realized that a Shimelle layout video I watched recently had the perfect design — a grid style with plenty of room for journaling.  Bonus– a grid layout is one of Crafty Jen Schow’s January stash-busting challenges!

The challenge came in when I started worrying about whether I am going to have enough paper from the Starshine collection to distribute throughout, and then I got skittish about cutting into anything… It was pretty ridiculous, but thankfully I pushed through, haha.  I pulled in a couple papers from my stash, which helped– both with the cutting-into-things issue, and also for a better balance of colors in the palette I chose for this layout.

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My lovely husband agreed to write the journaling for this one, and I am so thankful that he is willing to contribute to this crazy obsession  –I mean– hobby of mine.  The photo at the top is from a trip he took to Disney World in 2000 (when this park was called MGM), and the bottom photo is from our 2016 trip.  When we were walking through Hollywood Studios and saw the speeder bike photo op, he immediately stopped and remembered this old photo of his.  We dug it out after our trip, and I’ve squirreled it away until now.

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I opened a new pack of Thickers for the title on this one– and I was able to combine them with a very, very, very old leatherette ampersand from my stash (it’s one of my favorite alphas, and I just can’t get rid of them, even though there are so few left).  For the years on each photo, I also colored some tiny BasicGrey alphas with a Copic marker to change them from pale yellow to light green so that they would blend a bit more into the foliage on the photos.

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Aside from the enamel dots and wood veneer (the two things I have on every layout in my Disney album), every other embellishment is cut from the papers from Shimelle’s Starshine collection (both 12×12 and 6×6).  I had fun adding little sayings that are a bit tongue-in-cheek like, “You will go far” and “to the moon” (get it– Endor’s moon? ….yeah, I’m becoming somewhat of a Star Wars geek over here…)