Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category

My husband and I took a little getaway to Disneyland and California Adventure to celebrate our anniversary (a late celebration of our 15th anniversary last summer/early celebration of our 16th this summer!). After our 2020 WDW trip, I’ve decided that I LOVE wearing Disneybounding dresses in the parks, and so I decided to make a new one for the day we went to California Adventure! (I wore my Belle dress the day we were in Disneyland.) I’m considering this an extension of my #epicdressproject, which I started for our 2020 trip to Walt Disney World.

The pattern is Butterick 6018 view A, and I needed to make significant alterations to fit it comfortably. I documented the process on Instagram Stories; you can see the slides saved HERE as a highlight. For my reference (and yours, if you’re interested), I made the following modifications:

  • moved zipper from side seam to back (created a central back seam to accommodate)
  • shortened hem by over 6″ (probably closer to 8″)
  • graded from size 16 to 18 at the waistline (based on grading that had been necessary for my 2020 dresses), but then I took it in again, so this grading was probably unnecessary
  • changed the shape of the sleeve cap for more ease of movement

The reshaping of the sleeve piece was the most complicated fitting alteration I’ve done to date. A neighbor friend was instrumental in pointing out the problem that needed to be addressed, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my husband was a great help to me as we read through the excellent blog posts by Ikat Bag to make the modifications. It was pretty exhilarating to discover that the redrafted sleeve piece was dramatically more comfortable than the original!

I made my test version from a red sateen sheet, intending to finish it. At this point, it’s still unfinished, mostly because with the size zipper opening, it is so difficult to get on and especially take off! Maybe I’ll finish it for a Christmas dress…

All along, I knew that the final version would be a Rapunzel ‘bound– not only is she one of my favorite princesses, but I treated myself to a gorgeous set of “Floating Lanterns” ears from Factory 55… It’s totally normal to make a dress for a pair of ears, right?!

My mom came shopping with me for the fabric, and although I saw this purple floral batik almost immediately upon entering G Street Fabrics, it took me a while to commit! I chose a solid purple cotton to coordinate. In the end, I love the combination (but I wish the purple didn’t wrinkle so easily!).

We took the above photos in “Hollywood Land” in California Adventure– I thought the facade here was so perfect with the dress style!

Here are a few bonus shots from other parts of our day in DCA!

My husband spotted this storefront facade and suggested that I take photos behind it!
Iconic photo spot in the Avengers Campus!
My first time ever meeting Mickey Mouse!!

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As the March 2022 Disneyboundchallenge comes to a close, I decided to do a wrap-up post to reflect on how it went… and it includes some nerdy statistics because, well, I’m a nerd!

At the end of February, I shared some thoughts and goals for the month. All of those thoughts are just as true at the end of the month now as they were then!

I managed to complete 20 of the 31 prompts, which felt like a pretty good achievement for my second time ever participating! There were more days that I wish I could have participated (after all, I am a completionist/perfectionist), but even though I had a spreadsheet to keep me on track and had taken a number of the days’ photographs ahead of time, I still didn’t have the time or energy… or sometimes the outfits!

My goal was to create only outfits that I would actually wear in “real life,” and I think that I really stuck to that goal. Perhaps in “real life” I would leave off an accessory or two… or maybe even add a couple more! There were times that I could have upped my game in terms of the little details, especially with the accessories, but overall, I am proud of the outfits I put together– and I will definitely be wearing them again, especially as the weather gets warmer.

The one exception to the “real life” outfits was the Red Carpet prompt… Even though I have no occasions in the foreseeable future in which I will get to wear any outfit as dressy that, I am really pleased that I went for it. I was so thankful to the neighbor who gave me a hand-me-down bridesmaid gown to use… and I’m proud of myself for being brave to take– and post!!– the photos.

I learned a lot about taking photos of myself, especially regarding posing: what poses are flattering, which ones are not. Most notably, I discovered that when I’m lighthearted about it– even silly!– I get some of my favorite photos. There were days where it was hard to think about getting in front of the camera, but I think this was a useful “exercise” in having a positive attitude toward the way I look to myself. That being said, I did hit a point about mid-month at which I hit a limit. It was almost like I had spent too much time in front of the camera just posing. I’m glad that I overcame that hurdle, because that meant that I got the photos for Pocahontas and Cinderella!

So how about some of those statistics?

About the photos…

  • I completed and posted 20 of the 31 prompts, and since I did two looks for Hook, I put together 21 outfits for this challenge.
  • I took photos for 19 of the 20 prompts in advance of the day they would post; 8 outfits were photographed before March began.
  • I photographed 7 outfits in one day on March 8 (Fear, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Kim Possible, both Hook looks, and Indiana Jones)!
  • The very first outfit I photographed was Mickey Mouse!
  • The last outfit I photographed was Cinderella!
  • I photographed all the looks by myself with a camera, tripod, and remote shutter release except for Pocahontas. My husband helped me up the hill and into the trees and maneuvered the tripod for most of those shots.
  • My husband helped me choose the photos for 20 of the 21 looks. He is wonderfully supportive and encouraging.

About the outfits…

  • I purchased only one item for this challenge (an olive green duster cardigan), and it cost about $8.
  • 14 of 21 outfits included at least one handmade item. (In addition, I added beads to the ready-to-wear gown for the Pocahontas look.)
  • I sewed three garments particularly for this challenge: the chameleon top, the white blouse, and the black-and-white checked skirt. All three of those items were sewn with fabric I already had on hand– and all of that fabric had been handed down to me!
  • 7 of 21 outfits included at least one item that was given to me by a neighbor in our local Buy Nothing group (this counts the chameleon fabric that I turned into a top!).
  • The white blouse that I sewed ended up being in 4 outfits!
  • The checked skirt that I sewed ended up being in 2 outfits!
  • Three of the outfits were what I would call “waist-up” ‘bounds, inspired by a post by @boundingonabudget in February 2021. All of the character-inspired parts were on my top half, and I wore just plain black slacks or some other neutral on my lower half. Therefore, most of those photos are just from the waist up.
  • I wore my yellow shoes for 4 different ‘bounds!

Thanks for reading all of my musings and nerdy analysis of this month’s adventure in creating a magical wardrobe!

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For more details on the individual outfits, have a look at these posts:

Days 1-7
Days 8-14
Days 15-21
days 22-31

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It’s hard to believe that the month of March has come to a close! I’m really proud of myself for putting together 20 different outifts for this year’s #disneyboundchallenge. I am planning a wrap-up post, but before I do that, here is a recap of the last set of prompts! I think I finished pretty well– I participated in six out of the ten.

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Day 22: Animal Kingdom (I love Animal Kingdom, but I just didn’t get an outfit put together for this day’s prompt)

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Day 23: Cinderella

“A dream is a wish your heart makes…” ― Cinderella 

This was a very last-minute ‘bound– I love Cinderella and I didn’t want to miss this prompt!  This was the only outfit I put on and photographed on the same day as the challenge: all the other outfits had been photographed at least a day or two before the prompt date! I pulled out an old ‘bound from when I first went to Walt Disney World as an adult in 2016, which was also the first time I ever tried Disneybounding.  

top: purchased for my very first Disneybounding in 2016
ribbon choker: made by me for my very first Disneybounding in 2016
headband: fabric cover made by me using the MMMcrafts tutorial!
earrings: gift from my sister-in-law when I was a bridesmaid in her wedding

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Day 24: Muppets Haunted Mansion (I skipped this one…)
Day 25: Main St. USA (…and this one)

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Day 26: Characters from films that have won awards

“They’d find out there’s so much more to me.” ― Aladdin
Aladdin won 2 Oscars in 1993: for Best Original Song: “A Whole New World” and for Best Original Score

This was a ‘bound I came up with sometime last summer, and I knew it would fit into this challenge somewhere! I looked up Aladdin, and sure enough, it had won awards!

It’s a bit subtle, but I chose to wear these rhinestone-covered flip-flops as a nod to the treasure Aladdin finds in the Cave of Wonders and the riches Genie grants him as Prince Ali Ababwa.

top- from my closet
shorts – Blank Slate Patterns Garnet Shorts (<–affiliate link) (see my original post HERE)
necklace – re-strung vintage beads from my mom
bracelet – from my closet
sandals – from my closet

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Day 27: Red carpet ready (Disney, but make it fancy)

“Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?” ―Pocahontas

Okay, so this ‘bound absolutely felt like the most daring one I’ve ever done. Originally, I thought I would skip it entirely, since it didn’t really fit with my stated goals for this challenge (specifically, to create only outfits that I would literally be willing to wear in everyday life), but on a whim, I put out a “wish” on our local Buy Nothing group page to see if anyone had a gown they were willing to give/loan me. To my surprise, a neighbor offered an old bridesmaid gown she’d been given, and I decided to try it out. Full disclosure: the gown didn’t entirely fit me (there’s a reason you don’t see my back!), but it was close enough for a fun challenge. This isn’t a color that I would choose for myself normally, but I could imagine how I could stretch it to be a Pocahontas-inspired formal look! I wanted to spice it up a bit, so I spent about 30 minutes adding by hand turquoise-colored glass beads to the existing embroidery+sequins.

gown – given to me by a neighbor in our Buy-Nothing group; I added the turquoise-colored glass beads to the embroidery and sequins that were already on it
necklace – given to me by a neighbor in our Buy-Nothing group
bracelet – from my closet

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Day 28: Kingdom Hearts

You got heroes standing right in front of you.” ― Donald Duck

I’ve never played Kingdom Hearts, but Husband did a long time ago, and I remember being intrigued by it! I loved that Donald was the royal magician in the game, one of the main characters! so I decided to do a Donald Duck ‘bound. (It’s different from the one I did last year!) I’ve gotta say, even though I’m definitely not a video game player, I am seriously contemplating trying out the old copy of Kingdom Hearts we still have!

blouse – Tilly & the Buttons Mimi (Love at First Stitch book <–affiliate link) (see my original post HERE)
skirt – Tilly & the Buttons Delphine (
Love at First Stitch book <–affiliate link) (see my original post HERE)
belt – from my closet
necklace – Make it Minnie “Second Star” 
shoes – from my closet

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Day 29: Walt Disney World Hotels and/or Resortwear (I skipped this one because I didn’t have any good ideas!)

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Day 30: Adventureland

“You ain’t never had a friend like me!”  ― Genie

This was another outfit that I’d put together long before this year’s challenge prompts were released. I loved how it all came together, so I made sure to fit it in with one of the prompts! It’s the third time I’ve worn this denim skirt; the skirt is definitely one of my wardrobe staples. This denim one was the first I made from this pattern, and I’ve made three more since, and I have another one cut out and ready to sew!

top – Blank Slate Patterns Blanc tee with ruffle sleeve hack (<–affiliate link, but note that you can get this pattern for free in the Blank Slate Patterns Facebook group!) (see my original post HERE)
skirt – Tilly & the Buttons Delphine (
Love at First Stitch book <–affiliate link) (see my original post HERE)
belt – from my closet
necklace, earrings, bracelet – from my closet
shoes – from my closet

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Day 31: Disney Fab 50 statue characters

“Goody, goody!” ― Daisy Duck

I will admit that this is not my favorite of this month’s ‘bounds… but I definitely wanted to try it out when I realized that I had the pieces to do a Daisy look. I think in the future, I’d like to try to add a belt– maybe a cute bow belt. I think Daisy would approve of that!

top – given to me by a neighbor in our Buy-Nothing group
skirt – @tillybuttons Delphine skirt (#oldmakenewpic)
necklace – gift from a friend
bracelet, earrings – from my closet
shoes – from my closet
hair ribbon – borrowed from my daughter!

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My next post will be a wrap-up of the whole month, complete with nerdy statistics about my outfits… and a few of my thoughts as the challenge ends!

P.S. Read about my thoughts coming into this month’s challenge HERE.

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Note:  Occasionally, my links are affiliate links (namely Amazon Associates and Blank Slate Patterns).  I always identify the affiliate links in my posts.  You will not pay anything extra by using them, but they provide me with a tiny commission should you purchase something from those sites using my link!

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I will admit, I’ve lost a lot of steam on this challenge. At this point, I haven’t been adding to the number of prompts I prepared– I’m just posting photos that I had already prepared beforehand or earlier in the month. There are a number of reasons for this, but I won’t go into them here. I have been enjoying seeing others’ interpretations of the prompts, and I am still amazed and delighted that so many people actually stop by and see my posts on Instagram!

Day 15: Disney+ (I skipped this day. I had lots of ideas but not enough time or wardrobe items on hand.)

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Day 16: The Great Movie Ride

“Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?” ―Indiana Jones

I took these photos at the end of a day when I’d managed to photograph seven different outfits! By this point, I was feeling pretty silly, and so I “acted” more in these pictures than normal, and I actually love how they turned out!

P.S. I’m actually fine with snakes, as long as I’m not startled by them!

blouse – Tilly & the Buttons Mimi (Love at First Stitch book <–affiliate link) —sewn for this challenge; this is its fourth(!!) appearance!!
skirt – from my closet
shoes – from my closet
snake – borrowed from my son

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Day 17: Going Green

“What’s the sitch?” ―Kim Possible

For some reason, Kim Possible was the first character who is/wears green that popped into my head, and since I’d recently been gifted some soft olive green pants from a neighbor, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head until I had put the outfit together. Fun fact: when I was growing up, I wished I could have red hair and green eyes.  

black top – from my closet
pants – given to me by a neighbor in our Buy-Nothing group
belt – from my closet (possibly decades old, haha!)
shoes – from my closet

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Day 18: 70s style (I skipped this day. I don’t really have ’70s style items in my wardrobe, so this one stumped me!)

Day 19: Hollywood Studios (I skipped this day. I wish I could have participated, but I just didn’t have it in me.)

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Day 20: Hundred Acre Woods

“It’s not much of a tail, but I’m sort of attached to it.”  ―Eeyore

This was actually one of the first outfits I thought of and photographed, even before the month of challenges officially started! My family thought the pouty face photo was so funny, so they convinced me to post it!

dress- BurdaStyle  09/2015 120A hooded cowl tunic (see my original post HERE)
boots, tights – from my closet
necklace – gift from a friend
earrings – gift from a friend when I was one of her bridesmaids! 
hair ribbon – borrowed from my daughter

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Day 21: Tomorrowland (I skipped this day.)

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Stay tuned for my final roundup of days 22-31!

P.S. You can follow my ‘bounding this month in “real time” on Instagram: @natalie.strand

P.P.S. Read about my thoughts coming into this month’s challenge HERE.

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Note:  Occasionally, my links are affiliate links (namely Amazon Associates and Blank Slate Patterns).  I always identify the affiliate links in my posts.  You will not pay anything extra by using them, but they provide me with a tiny commission should you purchase something from those sites using my link!

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As I mentioned in my previous blog post, my participation in the #disneyboundchallenge slowed way down after the first nine days. I definitely still have outfits to share, but I can’t keep up with the every-single-day posting. Also, I started running into roadblocks of not having the outfit pieces, even if I had ideas.

That being said, I did participate in four out of the next seven days! Here are the outfits and some commentary.

Day 8: Women of Marvel

“What? I’m invested.” ―Darcy Lewis

How could I possibly resist ‘bounding as a sassy astrophysicist?! I really enjoy the Marvel superhero movies and shows, and my husband and I were brainstorming options for ‘bounding. As soon as we hit on Darcy Lewis, I knew it had to be her.

cardigan – given to me by a neighbor in our Buy-Nothing group
top – from my closet 
pants – from my closet
hat – borrowed from a friend
scarf – crocheted by my mom (long ago)
necklace – even though you can’t see it in these photos, it was a Second Star necklace from Make it Minnie
glasses – usually only worn at night! 😉

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Day 9: Fantasyland

Flynn Rider: Here’s your pan, here’s your frog.
Rapunzel: Chameleon.
Flynn Rider: Nuance.


My very favorite little spot in Fantasyland is this view of Rapunzel’s tower.  It’s a quiet and pretty little place to take a rest.  I love that Pascal’s friends are hidden around the little brook! 

blouse – Blank Slate Patterns Abrazo tee (<–affiliate link) sewn for this challenge with fabric gifted to me from a neighbor in our local Buy Nothing group! I used a slash-and-spread technique to modify the sleeve piece to add the puff!
skirt – Tilly & the Buttons Delphine (Love at First Stitch book <–affiliate link) (see my original post HERE—seriously, I wear this skirt so often!!
shoes – from my closet
necklace – Fantasyland necklace, a gift from my husband last year

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Day 10: Alice in Wonderland (I skipped this one…)

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Day 11: Pixar

“Ah, if anyone needs me, I’ll be whimpering softly to myself.” ―Fear (Inside Out)

I was so excited when I realized that the skirt I’d sewn for my Colette ‘bound would work for Fear, as well! I would never have thought to combine black and navy on my own (isn’t there some sort of fashion “rule” about that??), but I really like how it looks in this outfit.

cardigan – from my closet (handed down from a friend)
top – Blank Slate Patterns Texana Tank (<–affiliate link) (see my original post HERE)
belt – from my closet (purchased HERE
<–affiliate link)
skirt – Tilly & the Buttons Delphine (Love at First Stitch book <–affiliate link) — sewn for this challenge from repurposed curtain fabric! this is its second appearance)
shoes – from my closet
necklace – gift from a friend
hair ribbon – borrowed from my daughter

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Day 12: Disney Pirates

“I’ll get you for this, Pan, if it’s the last thing I do!” ―Captain Hook

I requested dark red tops (a jacket, a cardigan, etc.) from my local Buy Nothing group for this look. And my generous neighbors provided me with two options– a heavy red plaid flannel shirt and a maroon hoodie! I decided to post them both and for fun did a little poll in my Instagram stories for people to vote for their favorite “Hook Look”– grunge Hook or athleisure Hook. Not many people actually voted, but at the end of 24 hours, grunge Hook had won with 75% of the (eight! ha) votes. I will say I was a little surprised, but maybe I was biased, since the hoodie is so super soft and comfortable.

P.S. This is another one of the few bounds this month with no handmade items

plaid shirt – given to me by a neighbor in our Buy-Nothing group
hoodie – given to me by a neighbor in our Buy-Nothing group
scarf – from my closet (handed down from a friend)
white top – from my closet 
pants – from my closet
shoes – from my closet

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Day 13: Luca (I skipped this one because I haven’t seen the movie!)

Day 14: Frontierland (I skipped this one because I couldn’t figure out an outfit! I’d considered ‘bounding one of the Country Bears…)

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Stay tuned for my next roundup of days 15-21!

P.S. You can follow my ‘bounding this month in “real time” on Instagram: @natalie.strand

P.P.S. Read about my thoughts coming into this month’s challenge HERE.

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Note:  Occasionally, my links are affiliate links (namely Amazon Associates and Blank Slate Patterns).  I always identify the affiliate links in my posts.  You will not pay anything extra by using them, but they provide me with a tiny commission should you purchase something from those sites using my link!

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The 2022 March #Disneybound challenge is off to a great start for me! I am surprised and impressed with myself that I was able to post straight through these first seven days (and beyond! …but that will be in the next installment of this series…). I’m not going to keep up this streak throughout the entire month, but I’ve been enjoying the momentum here at the beginning. I’m also loving seeing all the different interpretations of the prompts! It’s a huge community out there, and so welcoming!

Here are my outfits for the first seven days, with a bit of commentary.

Day 1: Princess and the Frog

“I was… listen, I was confused by the topography and… the geography and choreography…” ―Louis

My original idea for this ‘bound was Ray (the firefly), and this olive green cardigan was the only purchase I plan to make for this #disneyboundchallenge. After I showed my husband and kids, they said my outfit actually reminded them more of Louis! It wasn’t hard to pivot– I added a necklace with a treble clef charm (a gift from my parents long, long ago), and this outfit was complete. It is super comfortable, and I’ve already worn it “in real life” after taking these photos.

dress – Blank Slate Patterns Bexley Dress (<– affiliate link) (see my original post HERE)
sweater – purchased for this challenge (on clearance for $7!)
treble clef charm – from my parents long, long ago

shoes – handed down from my mom

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Day 2 – In a galaxy far, far away

“You don’t have to look tough to be tough.” ―Ahsoka Tano

Ever since my Husband and I started watching Clone Wars together, I’ve been wanting to do a ‘bound of Ashoka. This is her Season 1 look, and I decided to simply color block the dark red and white portions of her outfit. I twisted a blue and white scarf borrowed from my mom to tie around my head as a headband to imitate her lekku. The earrings were just the perfect touch to imitate the jewelry she wears!

top – from my closet
shorts – Blank Slate Patterns Garnet Shorts (<–affiliate link) (see my original post HERE)
scarf – borrowed from mom!
earrings – gift from my husband a number of years ago

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Day 3 – EPCOT

“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” ―Mary Poppins

A lovely interaction with Mary Poppins in the United Kingdom Pavilion of the EPCOT World Showcase inspired this ‘bound. I already had the white skirt I’d sewn for my R2D2 ‘bound back in 2020, but I didn’t have a white blouse! I quickly sewed one up, and it’s going to appear in at least 2 more outfits this challenge.

I went to our local mall before stores opened to take these photos near the carousel. I got about 10 pictures before a security guard came by and told me photography wasn’t allowed in the mall…. but that my outfit was cute! I was there for less than 5 minutes!

blouse – Tilly & the Buttons Mimi (Love at First Stitch book <–affiliate link) — sewn for this challenge!!
skirt – Tilly & the Buttons Delphine (
Love at First Stitch book <–affiliate link) (see my original post HERE)
belt – from my closet (red belt<–affiliate link)
shoes – from my closet (handed down from my mom)
vintage-style lamps and phonograph charms – gift from a friend many, many years ago 
parasol – a toy from when I was small!

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Day 4: Encanto

“It’s pressure like a drip, drip, drip that’ll never stop, whoa…” ―Luisa Madrigal

I never thought I’d manage to catch a jumping pic, but the shutter timing was just right on this one, haha!  I was thinking of Luisa bounding though the clouds with the donkeycorns…

blouse – Tilly & the Buttons Mimi (Love at First Stitch book <–affiliate link) — sewn for this challenge!! This is its second appearance!
skirt – Tilly & the Buttons Delphine (Love at First Stitch book <–affiliate link) (see my original post HERE)
shoes – from my closet
necklace – re-strung vintage beads from my mom
earrings – gift from neighbor via our local Buy Nothing group

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Day 5: Fantasmic!

“Oh boy!” ―Mickey Mouse

This is one of the few bounds this month with no handmade items!

top – from my closet 
pants – from my closet (handed down from a friend)
shoes – from my closet

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Day 6: Pixar

“Mark of a chef—messy apron, clean sleeves.” ―Colette Tatou (Ratatouille)

I had the idea for this ‘bound, but when I started planning, I had neither a white blouse that fit, nor any kind of houndstooth or checked bottoms. I tried asking in my local Buy Nothing group for any sort of houndstooth item… and then I spotted this black and white check fabric in my giveaway bin.

Quite a while ago now, a woman at our church who was moving away offered me a gigantic bin of leftover fabric from her sewing room as she packed. Among the items in the bin were two sets of black-and-white check curtains, heavy twill, but severely faded from sun exposure. I had set them aside to give away or toss, but hadn’t gotten to it yet. When I was hoping to find some sort of check/houndstooth for this outfit, I picked them up and realized that they were double-layered, and if I turned the fabric inside-out, it was unfaded! I immediately got to work on this skirt, and I love how it turned out. (And after I made it, I realized that it fits perfectly into another Disneybound outfit that I put together for later in the month!)

blouse – Tilly & the Buttons Mimi (Love at First Stitch book <–affiliate link) — sewn for this challenge!! This is its third appearance!
skirt – Tilly & the Buttons Delphine (Love at First Stitch book <–affiliate link) — sewn for this challenge from repurposed curtain fabric!)
shoes – from my closet
necklace – pendant made from a dollhouse frying pan, originally for my 2016 Rapunzel ‘bound

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Day 7: Princesses vs. Villains

“You want thingamabobs? I got twenty!” ―Ariel

This is another of the few bounds this month with no handmade items! This one is based on inspiration for a ‘Bounder I follow throughout the year (@boundingonabudget) who posted quite a while ago about how sometimes you can choose to ‘bound just from the waist up! I was lamenting that I didn’t have any green bottoms that fit (I’ve become a big fan of colorful pants and skirts through Disneybounding!) when I realized that I had both of Ariel’s main colors as tops. Layer them up– perfect!

tops – from my closet
pants – from my closet
necklace – souvenir shell pendant from Corsica
earrings + ribbon – borrowed from my daughter!

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Stay tuned for my next roundup of days 8-14!

P.S. You can follow my ‘bounding this month in “real time” on Instagram: @natalie.strand

P.P.S. Read about my thoughts coming into this month’s challenge HERE.

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Note:  Occasionally, my links are affiliate links (namely Amazon Associates and Blank Slate Patterns).  I always identify the affiliate links in my posts.  You will not pay anything extra by using them, but they provide me with a tiny commission should you purchase something from those sites using my link!

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Lately I’ve been excited about sewing again (I went through a bit of a slump last year, even though I did sew a number of things!), and combined with the fact that I’m in need of some more long-sleeved items, I’ve been in the mood to MAKE things! Right on the heels of sewing my ruffle-sleeved Rivage Raglan, I cut out this purple Denver Dress from Blank Slate Patterns (<–aff link)! The Denver was a featured pattern a few months ago, and so I acquired the pattern, because the makes that were being shared were so fantastic! I love dresses, so I’ve been trying to add casual, everyday dresses to my wardrobe. That’s particularly tricky for cold weather seasons, but the Denver is absolutely perfect.

This royal purple knit yardage was a gift from a neighbor through our local Buy Nothing Group. I had hoped to have enough to include the cowl option, but even with some very careful pattern piece placement, I was going to have to make a choice: 2 sleeves or a cowl. Sleeves won. haha!

I’m one of the few who doesn’t always want pockets (::gasp::) but I LOVE the lines and interest that these pockets add to this dress. They are so fantastic.

This dress is fun and comfortable to wear, and with the princess seaming, there is so much colorblocking potential. This will not be my last Denver!

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Ever since I made my sea-green floral Joni dress, I’ve had the leftover fabric on my shelf. I knew I wanted to make a shirt, and last week, I made it happen. With some careful placement of the pattern pieces, I was able to eke out a Blank Slate Rivage Raglan (<–affiliate link)— and I was even able to add circular ruffles to the sleeves! I love using up as much of my fabric as I possibly can!

This top is so comfortable. I love the extra little flair that the ruffles of the sleeve add!

I decided to cut the front straight across the hem, rather than the slight upward curve of the pattern as written. I’m still debating whether I like this or not. I did leave the downward curve on the back hem. I like that I can wear the top without tucking it in…

…but that it also looks great tucked in! Here I’m wearing it with my denim Delphine skirt.

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For Christmas, I made my daughter a new bathrobe!

She really needed one; she was still wearing one that I’d made for her in 2015… and she’s quite a bit taller these days, haha!

I decided to do some hacking and use the Blank Slate Sora cardigan (<–affiliate link) as my starting point. I used a size larger than my daughter’s measurements indicated so that it would have a more oversized fit. I’d seen Melissa’s tutorial on converting the Sora cardigan into a “grandpa” sweater, so I used the same steps to straighten the side seams and remove the gussets. I also added 12″ of length to bring the hem long enough to cover her legs past her knees. I added loops at the side seams for a belt (in retrospect, they should be higher, but I was guessing, since this was a surprise!). Finally, I widened and lengthened the sleeves instead of using the cuff piece.

There’s a funny story about this fabric. I was given this fleece yardage by a neighbor, but I didn’t realize that they had a cat (or maybe more than one!). I prewashed the fleece as per my usual habit, and spent an hour or so one evening cutting out all the pieces. The next morning, I woke up feeling very sniffly and exhausted. Of course, I worried that I was sick, but it felt more like allergies. Christmas was approaching quickly, so after taking a nap to fortify myself, I headed back to the sewing machine to get going on construction. I powered through about three-quarters of the way through the project (sniffling and sneezing the entire time) before realizing that I was occasionally seeing a cat hair in my fabric– and that perhaps I was having an allergic reaction! That explained everything. I stopped sewing, took allergy medication (which makes me so sleepy in and of itself!), and was good for nothing the rest of the evening. But I had to finish the robe before I could wash it again! The next morning, I will admit I was feeling some trepidation. I did NOT want to have another day of allergy-induced stupor, but I really wanted to finish the project. I put on one of my masks and was able to finish the robe without any more complications! I washed it twice before wrapping it for my daughter to open on Christmas morning!

Thankfully there have been no more allergy incidents, and my daughter is loving her cozy new robe!

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As we come to the close of the year, I thought it would be fun and informative for me to look back at my 2021 projects — both what I did and what I intended to do! As part of the Simple Scrapper Planning party in November, I did a brief look back over the year, and I wanted to dive a bit deeper here on my blog and also touch on my sewing and gardening a bit, too. Buckle up– it’s a long post!


In 2021, I managed to do projects all year long, despite the workload of homeschooling (and the creative fatigue) from January through the very beginning of June. However, once June hit, I dove more deeply into memory-keeping, specifically the Simple Scrapper “Before Your Story” class (more on that below), but that kicked off a massively productive second half of the year!

Each year, as I set up my new planner, I usually write a master wishlist of projects that are anywhere from in-progress to ongoing to ideas that I’d like to try. When I make this list, I never expect to finish everything (although I will admit that it’s always a wild secret hope), and 2021’s list was ambitious as always!

I found that I was a bit burned out on sewing, even though I did complete a number of projects! I kept having ideas for things to sew, but I didn’t start as many as in the past. However, having an external deadline often was motivation to get me going and finish! I made the grey Halifax Hoodie and the floral Thistle Tote for our spring break vacation; the blue cherry dress for my birthday; a pair of PJ pants at the last minute for my daughter for a pajama day at dance class, the galaxy Manassa Maxi for our summer vacation; our children’s costumes; a t-shirt quilt for my daughter’s decade birthday, and my handmade Christmas gifts–posts coming soon). My golden yellow Bexley was a quick sew and I loved the fabric so much; it was probably the favorite of all the fabrics I sewed this year! The frequency and pace of my sewing projects picked up in the last few months of the year; I wonder if that momentum will carry into the new year?

I think that this year was more of a memory-keeping year. I made 54 layouts in addition to other projects! I had some specific goals that I’ll review individually here:

Submit to SCT each quarter of 2021 —
I managed to accomplish this!  When I set out to submit each quarter, only in my dreams did I consider that I might be selected for an issue, let alone all four! I am so very thankful, and the layouts I submitted this year are some of my favorites of all time.  I will definitely be putting this goal on my 2022 list, as well. It helped me to get some past seasonal memories into my scrapbook albums, and I am looking forward to doing more of that in the new year.

Daily journaling–
I watched the beginning of Heidi Swapp’s “Stop the Blur” intro/free class late in 2020, and while full-on memory planning sounded extremely overwhelming, I really liked the idea of having a tiny spot to jot down some daily thoughts.  I modified her weekly notes sheets so that I could print them and keep them with my planner.  It was surprisingly hard to keep up: I fluctuated often between being on top of it and getting several days behind.  I also had a hard time figuring out how much detail to include.   I am really glad that I did keep this daily record (and it has been useful as I caught up my captions for my video library! see below…), but I didn’t love doing it.  I don’t think that I want to do this again in 2022; I would rather be better at keeping up with my photo and video captioning. In addition, I am toying with a weekly “–ing” summary but wondering if that would be even harder to keep up.  

Continue creating layouts for Disney 2016 album–
I had SO much fun this year making layouts for my Disney 2016 album.   I created twenty-two pages (layouts and pockets) for this project alone and realized that I am not in any hurry to finish it.  I LOVE that it is planned out: when I want to create a Disney project, I just look through my albums to pick the one that is most interesting to me.  The photos are printed, and I have the stories in my journals and metadata.  It’s almost completely playtime, and I love it.  This did require an enormous amount of preplanning, but now that I’m enjoying this process so much, I want to do more of this for future projects like Disney 2022 and Germany 2019.
In November, I joined the Disney Creative Co. design team, and I’ll be putting together at least four projects per month for assignments. I am excited to have this “excuse” to work on my 2016 album, and I will have no lack of photos from our 2020 trip to tackle, as well!

Continue creating pages for 2019 Everyday Album–
This was another big intention for my year.  I created the main pages for the February section but ran out of steam (and time at that particular part of our homeschooling year) before I made the inserts.  While I was making the February pages, I was reminded of how valuable this project is/could be, so I don’t want to drop it yet, but it is a huge and overwhelming undertaking, especially considering that only March and April are planned.  This (at least adding a couple more months) is probably going to be a priority in 2022.

Homeschool 2020-2021 digital book–
We homeschooled our children for the 2020-2021 school year, and it was amazing+so hard all at the same time… and definitely something I want to have documented. As we approached the end of the school year, I started envisioning how this would look as a digitally-created book. I wrote a lot of journaling.  I took a lot of photos.  I really wanted to make this book. I had grand intentions of making it as soon as our school year was completed. However, “Before Your Story” came into my field of view, and this project took a back seat.  Even though I put it off, I still really want to make this book about the most unusual school year we’ve had.  This will likely be another priority for 2022.

“Before Your Story” class through Simple Scrapper
This was the big unexpected project of the year.  In January, this was not even remotely a consideration, and it wasn’t until mid-May that it came onto my radar as I listened to the Simple Scrapper podcast.  The confluence of reminiscing about Pioneer Girls with my lifelong friend and hearing about this organized and manageable approach to documenting my childhood intensely intrigued me, and I made (for me) a very last minute decision to sign up for the class (and in so doing, the Simple Scrapper community…). I enlarged the scope of the project a bit, and added in a side project to scan almost all the photos from my parents’ photo albums, so it became an enormous undertaking.
HOWEVER, this project is 99.9% complete– I need to print just a few photos for it to be totally finished, and I’m waiting to compile a larger order to make it a bit more cost effective.
I should also note that I asked my husband to document his own childhood through the framework of this class, and he jumped right in! As of the end of December, he has drafted most of his journaling and selected and scanned almost all of his photos. We still have some work to do, but the bulk of the research and writing is finished! This will be a priority in the first two months of 2022.
Even though it was a “surprise” project, I am SO glad that I added it. I think that this memoir album is one of the most important scrapbook projects that I’ve made, and I am thrilled that we will have a matching set for my husband and me. I think that they will help our children and anyone who reads them to understand more about who we are and the people, experiences, and places that shaped us.

my son’s Project 365 baby album– 
This project has been on my list since I was pregnant with B!  Ever since that first year came to a close, I’ve been trying to finish and/or feeling the weight of this project being unfinished.  The “live” run of The Finishing Project class at Simple Scrapper seemed like the perfect motivation to really bring this to a close.  My momentum was interrupted by the costume project, but I am really proud of the progress I made once I really dug in after the costumes were finished.  This is another project that is on the cusp of completion, but there are a couple small loose ends that need to be tied up before I put them back on the living room shelves. I’m hoping to finish in January 2022: I want to get it off my list!!

photo and video management– 
I had grand plans of keeping up with my videos and photos throughout the year.  I set aside the weekly time waiting in the car during my daughter’s dance class to work on photos and videos, and it worked for a while!   I also had planned to work through past years’ videos monthly.  That was too much, and I got very behind once I stopped using that time for videos (for various reasons: the weather got too hot to stay in the car, I was too tired, etc).  Once dance class ended in the spring, the management really languished. 
Another hangup was with my one-second-per-day project. Early in the year, the iMovie phone app changed with an update, and I could no longer easily add text to the one-second increments.  I got stressed out and just stopped working on that project, intending to do it “later” when I’d figured things out.  I didn’t even try iMovie on my computer until near the end of October, and so there was a bit of a crunch at the end of the year to catch up my videos, and to assemble the one-second compilation video.   I decided that previous years will have to wait.  To help with that crunch, I dedicated the Monday Quiet Co-working sessions at Simple Scrapper to photo and video management, and that the focused time has really helped me get things under control! I am hoping to finish the one-second compilation by early January.
I got an iPhone 12 in October, and it has been my goal to seriously cull photos and videos each day before I allow them to be uploaded to Dropbox. This has helped to streamline my workflow from the start, and I plan to continue this and the dedicated photo/video management time each week to stay on top of my digital assets in the coming year!

So what did I learn this year?
— Having projects pre-planned makes the creative part pure fun.
— Setting aside dedicated time blocks was a game-changer for me (you can hear me talk a bit about this on episode 144 of the Scrapbook Your Way podcast). This not only provided accountability for staying focused, but it also freed me to be more content working on other things (even housework), knowing that I had time coming up to spend on my hobbies. Designating time for the more tedious tasks like photo/video management has helped me to stay on track, and it is not as overwhelming when I take it in segments like this.
— Setting up “punch lists” has helped me to tackle some of the biggest projects on my list and get them to the finish line. I want to do some more finishing in 2022, and I will definitely be using punch lists for those projects.
— Being a part of the Simple Scrapper community has been wonderful. I love the camaraderie. I love the encouragement and support. I love the geeky conversations we have about our hobby. I love the opportunity to participate in virtual crops, classes, etc. I think 2022 has the potential to be even more productive with this community along side me.
— I want to move to doing less pocket-based scrapbooking, and maybe even eliminate page protectors (go back to strap hinge??). However, I have several projects set up with a pocket-page format at their basis, so I’ll still need to do some.
— I want to learn how to better balance my hobbies. Memory-keeping and scrapbooking sometimes seem like warring passions, and I’d like to figure out how to make sure I have time to do each when the pendulum of my interest swings to one or the other. I’d also like to include more playtime into both of them, whether it’s gelli-printing, art journaling, crumb quilting, etc.

Stay tuned for a blog post soon about some hopes and plans for my creating in 2022!

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