Baby’s first Christmas is kind of a big deal!  Of course, it took me several inserts to document B’s first Christmas, and I’ll share the first part in this post: our Christmas celebration at home.

I used the front side of this Design I page protector to highlight photos from Christmas Eve.


[For most, if not all, of the other pocket inserts I’ve shared here, I’ve taken the photos out of the pockets and laid them on top of the page protector to minimize glare.  However, on this insert, I used Heidi Swapp gold Color Shine to sprinkle some splatters, and I guess I didn’t let them dry long enough before putting them in the pockets– those pieces are solidly glued inside with that gold!  Sorry about the glare on the top pocket here and on the next side…]


I don’t have a huge amount of Christmas-themed product, so most of my Christmassy paper projects use similar lines: here, there’s a little bit of Crate Paper’s Peppermint collection mixed with little other bits and pieces.



On the back of this insert, we begin Christmas morning at our house.  On each “title” card, the word “Christmas” is a rub on from an old Lily Bee collection (Christmas Town)–this continuity was accidental at first, but I like how it all ties together.  The other alpha stickers are BasicGrey Nordic Holiday (originally purchased for my daughter’s baby album/December Daily project)


I also embellished this top card with some vellum snowflakes I’d cut with my Silhouette (a long time ago!) and some clear rhinestones.  These plus the gold Color Shine (which is keeping this card firmly in its pocket!) make for a sparkly, fresh-morning feeling, I think.


I added some punched circles, brads, and labels to decorate the two photos on this side.



The next insert is a Design G, and it is all about opening gifts at our house.  Our little man was so intent on getting that wrapping paper into his mouth!


I had one more photo than would fit on this side, so I made a little flap with patterned paper.  Underneath, I added a bit more of the story.


The other side of this page is about our time at my parents’ for Christmas, so that will be in the next post!


This past weekend, I went on a girls’ getaway with two of my cousins.  Besides getting to spend quality time with these quality ladies, the point of our weekend was to be able to craft non-stop.  We rented the same AirBnB (<–referral link…) as last year, brought all of our gear, and dove right into our work.

Unlike last year, when I prepped a number of projects ahead of time, I had nothing ready.  As in, the Thursday afternoon before I left on Friday, I was still making lists of potential projects to work on (and let me tell you, the list is a long one!).  One of the items on my list was a new purse (I’ve been using THIS ONE nonstop ever since I made it–for over 2 years!–, and while it has served me well, it was definitely time for a fresh one), but as of Thursday morning, I didn’t know what I would make.

Enter my cousin Abbe, who is a bag-maker extraordinaire (seriously, check out her work– she makes gorgeous bags and takes custom orders!), who texted me to ask if I was interested in testing a great-looking bag pattern for a new pattern-maker she’s working with– Nosy Pepper Patterns.  YES!  Of course!

She generously offered to supply some fabric for the outside, since I didn’t have what I wanted on hand (thankyouthankyouthankyou, Abbe!).  I hurried out to the store on Friday morning to purchase interfacing, zippers, and hardware (and snacks for the weekend!) before heading out for the weekend getaway.

Not only was it a *great* weekend, but I completed my new bag!  Here it is– the North Shore Hobo, by Nosy Pepper Patterns— all the glamour shots!


The front of the bag is a showstopper, with two zipper pockets along the central panel.  I chose to make this central panel feature this enchanting snail pattern, but I’ve seen some stunning bags made with all one material.





Each zipper opens to its own pocket– the pockets are layered on top of each other!

I also made the back of the purse with the “feature” fabric:


The top is open,  simply closing with a magnetic snap, which is exactly how I like my bags– not too fiddly when I’m in a hurry and with my hands full with my kids!


The pattern includes instructions for a slip pocket and a zipper pocket inside, but I chose to do two zipper pockets, one with a pink zipper, just for fun!


The pattern also gives options for straps: a shorter handle, and a longer adjustable strap.  I’m glad that my cousin suggested that I make both– this bag is a perfect shape for wearing cross-body!


The hardware really makes this bag look fantastic, and Abbe let me use her industrial strength rivet press to add these final touches.  Oooh, don’t they look nice?!


I loved the opportunity to test this pattern from Nosy Pepper!  It is set to be released this weekend, so check it out!

P.S. Check out all the tester bags in THIS POST from Cyndi!

It’s rather fitting, I think, that I would make a Blank Slate Bookworm Button-Up for our little book character this Halloween.  Our little man is quite the bookworm, too!  I anticipate that this shirt will get a lot of use this fall/winter after he wore it for the costume.


The pattern is very straightforward, and it has a ton of options.  I decided to make view A, but I did change the pockets to simple rectangular slip pockets, rather than pleated pockets with a flap.



I think the button tabs to hold the rolled-up sleeves are such a cute feature.


I think this is a really versatile pattern, and wouldn’t it look cute sewn up with a novelty print for a fun twist?  (and…I have plans to try out the girls’ crossover back option with bow sleeves and pocket in the future!)


The part of Wendy was played by our 6 (almost 7!)-year old daughter.   (Find the group photos HERE)


For V’s costume, we referenced the Wendy from Disney’s animated movie.

The pattern that I used for this dress was Simplicity 1507, this time in the girls’ sizes.  This is a tried-and-true old friend of a pattern.  Remember the princess dresses in the past?  Sofia and Elena were both adapted from the little girl/toddler size range of this pattern, and my mom made V a couple dresses from this pattern, too!


I widened the neckline to make it more of a boatneck look, and I also modified the skirt.  The pattern’s original skirt was a wide rectangle, gathered quite a bit at the waistline.  I decreased the width of the waist seam so that the gathering was more of a 1:1.5 ratio, and I swept out the hem so that it was fuller (the resulting piece looks more triangular).



I used costume satin to sew the dress, and since it was so very shiny, I decided to use it wrong-side-out for the main dress.  I used the shiny side to bind the sleeves and to make the sash and hairbow.


V was very excited to have her hair curled for this costume, and on Halloween morning, we even got up extra early before school so that I could curl it again for costume day at school.


our sweet Wendy Darling



Our 4-year old son played the part of Peter Pan this year. (Find the group photos HERE)


We referenced the animated Disney character, the character description and illustrations in the book the kids read with Husband this summer, as well as the licensed costume I spotted at the Disney store one day when walking through the mall.

I loved the look of a leaf tunic over a green collared shirt, so the first thing I made was a button-up shirt– and since by itself, it’s just a nice cotton top, I’m excited that B will be able to wear it throughout the rest of the fall and winter.  In fact, I’m going to dedicate a separate blog post to that shirt!

I used the Blank Slate Snuggle PJs pants pattern as the basis for the green leggings– I simply narrowed the legs so that they appear more leggings-like, and I left off the bottom cuffs.

The pièce de résistance of the outfit, in my opinion, is the tunic.  Husband did an amazing job of developing the pattern for this garment, which is supposed to look as if it’s been made out of large leaves.  A couple of years ago, a friend gave me a roll of upholstery fabric that was absolutely perfect for this project– there are stitched embellishments that look like leaf veining!

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I added a seam in the front so that the neck opening would be a bit wider and more comfortable, and I set some eyelets through which I threaded some fake leather thong as lacing.


Of course, we needed some accessories to go with the costume to complete the look!  Husband drafted up the patterns for each of these sewn accessories:

A jaunty cap– I used more of the upholstery fabric and lined it with some of the extra green cotton.  I added a flat loop in which to slip a red feather.


Elfin-looking shoe covers– these are kind of like spats: we slip them onto B’s ankles, and he wears his actual shoes underneath.  We found some vinyl “pleather” on clearance, and it was perfect for this!


We used more of that pleather to make a sword holster!  We looked at some LARPing inspiration on Pinterest and found this basic design to be managable–both to make and for B to use.


And of course, that leads us to the sword, which might be B’s favorite piece of the costume (although I think he really does love the whole outfit!).


Husband whittled the blade out of some scrap wood we had on hand, and B took great delight in helping Daddy paint it (they used several coats of metallic craft paint).  Husband wrapped the grip in black electrical tape both for looks and also for comfort.

B is so excited about this little wooden sword, and he is quite the fierce swordfighter in his imaginary duels!




When Captain Hook shows up, you fly!


just look at that cute, mischievous face! so very Peter Pan…




This past summer, Husband read Peter Pan aloud to our children, and after they’d finished the book, they also watched the Disney animated film.  Somewhere along the way, B declared, “I want to be Peter Pan for Halloween!” and upon hearing this, V exclaimed, “And I could be Wendy!”


And thus our costume plan was born.  We had originally intended to make it a full-family affair, putting to use again Husband’s Captain Hook costume— and I was going to be Tinker Bell!!  But the lack of an event for adults (besides taking our kids trick-or-treating) led us to conclude that perhaps my time/money/energy would be better spent on other things.  However, I am so delighted that our family is still willing and able to do group costumes together.  (Here’s to many more years!)

In this post, I’ll share some costumes of our Peter Pan and Wendy together, and also with our Hook (who dressed up for the photo shoot!  yay!).  I’ll have a couple more posts coming up soon with the details of each of the new costumes!  HERE are the details about Peter Pan, and HERE are the details about Wendy!


I sewed the Wendy dress and hair bow, the tunic, shirt, hat, and pants for Peter Pan, as well as using vinyl “pleather” to make the shoe spats and sword holster.  Husband designed the pattern for the leaf tunic, sword holster, shoe spats, and hat!  I’ll share all those details soon!

Of course, we need some action shots!


about to take off!


And then Captain Hook showed up, and Peter Pan had to do a little sword fighting!






And then they had the idea to reenact the scene in which Wendy is tied to the mast of the Jolly Roger, and Peter Pan is fighting to rescue her– thanks to a convenient tree in our photo shoot location!





In the midst of costume-sewing, photobook-making and general attempts to keep up with normal life, I stopped for an evening and made a scrapbook layout.

Recently, Crafty Jen Schow posted a Use-It-or-Lose-It video about using scraps, in which she made a super-layered layout.  Subsequently in the Use-It-or-Lose-It FB group, she issued a challenge to the membership to try making one ourselves.  I just couldn’t get the idea out of my head, so I jumped at the chance to try it out (challenges and deadlines really get me motivated ;-)).

I started by opening my patterned paper scrap drawer and just rifling through all of the scraps.  I have years’-worth in here!

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As I looked, I realized that I needed a bit more direction to choose with which scraps I would work, so I paused and chose a photo out of my (much-too-small) already-printed-photos-to-be-scrapbooked stash.  I decided that based on what I had in my drawer and the colors in the photos, I’d focus on blues/aquas/greens/cool yellows.

I pulled out every bit of those colors!

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And then I got to work.  I layered like crazy, and it was SO fun.  Except for the photo itself, the white background cardstock, the alphas, and the gold mist, every single bit of this layout is a scrap– I didn’t cut into any other whole pieces of paper.


There are branding strip edges and shaped-paper cut-offs, and the journaling is on an off-cut of a Project Life card…


There are specialty papers, tissue paper (leftover from packaging)…


…foil paper from junk mail envelopes (it was too pretty to just toss!), washi tape that I’d used for sewing that still had its stick…


…ridiculously small scraps, scraps with punches already punched (and some to which I added punches), scraps that I tore, and scraps that I punched with border punches.


I even added a little pocket on the bottom layer so that I could include a little pull-out that lists the names of the kids in the photo.



I’ve always admired this super-layered look, and I am so glad that I tried it for this layout!  I definitely want to try this again, and I certainly have enough scraps left (in this set of colors, as well as pretty much any other combination of colors…!).  …and my mind is already buzzing with ideas!