Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Story: Part 1

Since starting this blog a little over a year ago, I have tried to do what God has called me to do with it. I have, I admit, been caught up sometimes in wanting to have a cool blog that other people like, but for the most part, I really just want everything I do to honor my relationship with God! I know many read this blog that know a lot about me, but this blog also pulls in a lot of unique visitors that honestly have never met me before and don't know me from Adam. I've also made a good many blog friends that love doing what I do, as well, but I just don't know how to bring up some of the things in my past that have made me... well, ... ME!

I've prayed about it and this is what I heard...  Be open. Be real. Be true. I answered, But, God, that's scary. No one likes scary. They like pretty. I can do PRETTY. 

Pretty is sometimes fake.

Sometimes my thoughts go back to times of trial in my little life and I think about how my own personal story has been used to make me who I am and to be real with others. It makes me different and I pray a joy to be around, even in the blog world.

You see, about 6 years ago, I had something crazy in my life happen. I wasn't always who I am right now. Something changed in my life and made me different.
Yes, you know that I'm a Christian and it's a huge part of me. This post isn't really about that part of my life! Yes, that change did make me different, but this was after that change. This was the trial where God became real to me in a real way when life wasn't so perfect, but hard and everything except for my friends and family (so incredibly thankful for that!) were completely stripped away from me and there was absolutely NOTHING I could do about it.

So I'm ready to tell my story to you, and I hope you will listen and I hope it helps others out in this world that maybe are experiencing a hard sickness and the battle seems to big to fight alone. You aren't alone. God is there and he cares. He will walk you through it, like he did with me, and the outcome will be good, very, very good. 

Sorry to leave you hanging... but this is a story that will be told in parts over the next few weeks... I hope I'm not leaving you in TOO much suspense... Maybe if you beg... I will give you the next part sooner than I was thinking... haha!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Collared Boy Vest Tutorial

Hi 2 Little Hooligan fans! I'm Vanessa and I blog over at Designs By Sessa! Last fall, I think I was the first person on the planet to make Christina's awesome hooded vest into a boy collared vest. I think I saw her tutorial and then went right to work knowing it was the perfect tute I'd been looking for! Christina and I have since become fun blog friends and she thought it would be great to share this version on her blog as you guys are gearing up making fall clothes in the coming months for your little ones! Please let me know if you have any questions! And thanks for having me, Christina!

I've had
  • Make Micaiah a Lined Vest
On my sewing project list since last fall! I knew making a vest would not be hard, but there was one thing... I had not yet attempted putting in a ZIPPER!

I saw the guest post from 2 Little Hooligans over at Project Run & Play where she made this fabulous vest for one of her little girls!
 I knew I could adapt this to make the vest that I wanted for Cai!


I followed Christina's tutorial for the most part, but I did make changes to make a collar instead of a hood...mine ended up a little "peter pan" like in the end, which I kind of love.  At first, I wasn't so sure, but now I like it! 

Obviously a boy can have a hood, I just knew Micaiah wouldn't like the bulk of a hood behind him and he hates them on his head, so not having a hood is more "his style". 

Fabric-wise,  I used a navy blue pressed corduroy fabric and lined it with grey fleece to make it cozy.

Want to make a collar instead of a hood? 

Here's how: 
First I used the printed out hood pattern from Christina's tutorial, along with the rest of the 6 page pattern, and just drew a straight line across the neckline. 
I then just drew lines to make a rectangle and cut it out. 

I laid it on my fabric I wanted for my collar, the short end of your rectangle should be on the fold.
After you have cut out both your inner and outer neckline pieces, put wrong sides together. Then sew 1/4'' along the short sides and one long side. Trim off excess fabric. 
If you don't like the peter pan look, then you don't need to sew curved edges. Just sew them straight and you will have sharp corner's instead. 
Flip it to the right sides out and sew another straight stitch along the outside of your neck piece. 
After you have sewn together the outer lining fabric for your vest, pin your collar piece to the neckline of the vest. 
Sew your collar piece to the neckline. Trim off excess fabric. For some reason, I made a mammoth collar at first, so I didn't line up the exact edges, but instead had a bit of an overhang to trim off. If you want a 2 inch collar, just give yourself a 1/2'' seam allowance. 
Now, when you are putting together your outer lining and your inner lining, you need to make sure that your collar neckline piece is NOT sticking out the top....fold it down so that it is sandwiches between both linings as you sew, so that when you turn your vest right side out, it will stick up nicely as the collar. 
***In the above picture, my fingers are holding the fleece inner lining and I'm lifting it up, so that you can see how the collar is sandwiches between.***

Continue sewing the rest of the tutorial. Christina was able to use her normal foot for sewing the zipper, I actually did change back and forth between my zipper foot and normal foot when doing my zipper. I think I was scared to try it another way since I had never put in a zipper. I found using my zipper foot extremely helpful, so do whatever works best for YOU! 

I also sewed a 1/4'' from the bottom around the bottom edge of the finished vest. I thought it would help it stay in place nicely when washing frequently and also match the finished arm hole seams.

Isn't he cute marching around the yard! I'm ready for green about you? 
This really is the perfect vest tutorial! Thanks again, Christina, for posting it over at PR&P!
Please come say hi if you want! Thanks again, for having me!

Monday, February 27, 2012

"The Porch": Carla from Small + Friendly

{Before we get into our Porch "visit" today, I'd like to mention that I have FINALLY, with the help of my amazing husband, gotten all of my tutorials up and linked under the Tutorials button, that has been under construction, at the top of the blog! Be sure to check that out for easy reference for past tutorials, both embroidery and sewing, and other fun projects to try yourself! Hopefully I will be good about adding new projects there!! Now on to the post...}

 This week coming to visit on the Porch is a sweet blogger, Carla, from Small + Friendly! Carla is on the opposite side of the country from me, so I love seeing her west coast style! She is another Kids Clothes Week Challenge find that I have grown to love over the past several months! She has a friendly spirit that is evident online, and her little boy Jude is such a cutie! Carla always has a neat way to make things new, hip, and fun! Take for instance how she turned just basic shear curtains into a reading nook for her sweet boy.
Or maybe you could go make yourself a skirt for a hot date like she did! 
You should definitely add her blog to your reader and enjoy all of her creativity and style! 
 meet carla

Hi!  I’m Carla and I blog about adventures in modern homemaking at Small & Friendly.  I'm super excited to be hanging on the Porch with Vanessa.  I thought today I could chat about my favorite material to use in craft projects: junk.  Yep, upcycling is my very favorite way to craft.  It’s thrifty, encourages creativity, and is good for the earth.  Everyone wins!  I thought I’d share a few of my favorite upcycled projects in the hopes that you’ll look at your trash as treasure.
1.  Clothes.  Discarded clothes are simply fabric waiting to become cute kid clothes.  My very favorite way to re-purpose t-shirts are with recycled raglans.  And don’t toss those sweatshirts just yet, the sleeves are just begging to become 20 minute toddler sweatpants.
Bean bag
2.  Containers.  Boxes are actually toys waiting to happen.  My favorite is this simple bean bag toss.  Boxes make great car garages and doll houses too.  Coffee cans are musical instruments waiting for a little crafting decoration.  I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
3.  Furniture.  You can turn junk furniture into awesome toys and turn junk into awesome furniture.  Rescue that piece from the curb, it could become a play kitchen or a pallet daybed. Have a hat box lying around?  You’ve got the perfect base for a DIY booster seat.
I hope this inspires a little crafty recycling at your home.  Thanks again for having me!

Aw, thanks for coming over, Carla! At least we can hang out online vs. 3,000 miles away!!! You guys be sure to check out those links to some pretty amazing projects! I'm so inspired by Jude's play kitchen that I hope to make one for Cai when he is more into things like that!

Also, Carla is doing a giveaway right now for a No-Sew Crayon wrap until 8 pm tonight! Be sure to check that out over at small + friendly!

I hope you enjoyed your time meeting a new friend on "The Porch"! Read inspiration for "The Porch" guest post series here. Would you like to come hang out? Email me!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ikea Sewing Stuff!?

So we all know that Ikea is great for adding inexpensive designs elements to any room! 
But how about their sewing line? 
This 4 pack of thread on Ikea's website is only $1.99, but is it worth even that little bit of money? I tried coming up with valuable information about whether or not their fabric and sewing notions were of good quality, but couldn't really find anything within the blogging community, so what's a sewing craft blogger to do?

Well, you guessed it... I emailed them wanting to know the answer to my questions! I got an automated response back saying they would reply in 24 - 48 hours. I guess we will ALL find out if they are willing to let me experiment with their stuff and give you decent feedback! 

I kind of felt a little like a weirdo asking them if their $2 thread was worth the $2, but so many of us are on a budget and I know you would like to know whether or not it is quality! I had to buy thread today from a local chain store and it cost about $11 for 3 spools of thread....not really a deal, but I needed it, so I bought it. 

Ikea also has some fun fabrics for online viewing only! You can't purchase any of these sewing notions online right now. Too bad...because I know so many of you are online fabric buyers!
I most certainly would love to order a few yards of this cutesy fabric to try out! I wish my closest store wasn't an hour and half away!!!

Anyways, while I am waiting on Ikea to get back to me, I thought I would ask if any of you have ever bought or used anything from Ikea's sewing and fabric line and if you would recommend it to my readers! I know we all would love to know for our future fabric endeavors! 

much love,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Make it CUTE!

 Wanna know how you can make some plain little wal-mart shirts cute?!
MONOGRAM THEM!!! Put them on your adorable niece and smile with how cute she is!
These little Garanimals shirts were $3.88 at Wal-mart! They turned out SO cute with a hot pink monogram for Naomi! I got this polka dot one and just a plain white one, so I could try out this cute chic owl design.
This is probably one of my new favorite machine applique patterns! The chic owl from Planet Applique!
It had 17 steps...probably the most involved machine applique pattern that I have ever done! I seriously loved how these turned out!
How about you!?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Saying Goodbye to my one way love affairs...

Maybe it is because I just watched my favorite, Kacie b. get kicked off the Bachelor that I am finally doing this, but I have to purge my reader.

There I said it. And dag nabit.... I am going to do it NOW!

I absolutely LOVE blogging. I love the online community it brings and the inspiration and the fun that there is in reading other blogs. However, I am such a social person and such a FRIEND to others that it is kind of hard for me to understand how people that run blogs don't take the time to be a friend back.

I know this is weird, but within blogging, you often grow attached to your blogs and you feel closer to them than you really are. You learn so much about a person and yet, you don't even really know them. 

It is a one way love affair that has got to stop.

I'm just going to be bold in saying that there should be some blogging etiquette somewhere that helps other bloggers know how to respond in certain situations! Does anyone else think so?

Gosh, I really am from the south, aren't I?

So, this one-way-love-affair, you are ending.

I'm taking off anyone that I have commented on their blogs more than a couple times and have NEVER gotten a comment back. They may be a completely talented, but if they aren't friendly...then I just don't have room for them! Blogging shouldn't be about numbers and the amount of comments on the bottom of every post. It should be about blogging alongside some sweet friends that encourage you and lift you up.

So here I go...adios one-ways...your not loved anymore!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Machine Applique Letter Art

When I was pregnant with Micaiah, I developed Preeclampsia and had to be on bed rest the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy. I had some sweet  friends that came over to help do some finishing touches on the nursery, but needless to say, I didn't get to finish it the way I wanted it!
Now, I'm kind of glad, because I know I wouldn't have done something quite this clever 17 months ago! Yes, it took me 17 months to get something up over his crib!!!!

Inspiration Story: It's funny how a project can change from what you are first inspired to make. I have the book Growing up Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee. My original plan was to do a project out of this book just like it was described. I loved her hand embroidered Irresistable Letters!

Are those numbers not sweet?! Except it is basically all done by hand and you guys know hand embroidery wasn't my favorite craft of all!  I knew, with my embroidery/sewing machine, I could machine applique my numbers/letters instead... assuming I found the right pattern. I settled on Planet Applique's JacknJill Alphabet pattern for $8!

Originally, I decided to make the ENTIRE Alphabet, instead of numbers, for Micaiah to have in the years to come. 26 letters seemed like a feat, but it was for my baby, so it would be worth it! I started with 'A' in some of the fabric that matches his curtains and the chair in his room. As soon as I had machine appliqued the very first letter, I KNEW exactly what I was going to do... make his name for over his crib!
This took me quite a long time to machine applique embroider ALL 7 letters, but it's SO fun and just perfect for nautical-esque his room!

I found the long stick out in our backyard and just used some rope that I had lying around our utility room. I hot glued the clothes pins onto the stick and tied and knotted the rope onto the stick. Hart  called it my bow and arrow! ha!

Do you want to make one for yourself?
Please note: This tutorial is for those that own an embroidery/sewing machine, but it is completely doable without, too. You would just need some Pellon Wonder Under and an iron to do the applique's by hand with a sewing machine! Also, the following tutorial is in no way a duplicate of Meg's tutorial. To be complete honest I didn't read past step 2 in her book, because I wasn't going to even come close to doing anything similar to what she did by hand. I was inspired from the picture to display the letters with clothes pins and a stick.

Let's get started!
First, hoop your fabric and make each letter in your child's name. Then cut out perfect squares using a ruler and rotary cutter or scissors. Need help with machine applique? Click here for a tutorial.
Cut out coordinating squares for the backing of each letter. I used some red fleece that I had on hand, but you could use canvas, wool felt, or just plain quilter's cotton, too. MY fabrics were white canvas, navy blue pressed corduroy, and, I BELIEVE, the striped fabric is Ralph Lauren, but I honestly can't remember exactly. That was before I knew I was supposed to care about the names/designers of fabrics!
Put right sides together for each square.
Sew around the perimeter, but leave a 2 inch opening to turn right side out. Cut off the corners at a slant.
Turn right sides out!'s a mini pillow!
Make sure your opening fabric is tucked under and sew again all the way around.
Now repeat all the above steps for all of your letters.

Like I said... this is a TIME consuming project. Seriously.
But you have really cute letters or flash cards or whatever that won't get torn up or eaten!

Want to make the stick display?'s pretty easy, actually. You just find a stick that has a curve to it and is long enough for your letters. Clip your clothes pins to your fabric letters and lay them out so you can space them evenly.
Hot glue the clothes pins on the stick in your desired spot. Take your rope and loop and knot it at the center.
Twist the ends of the rope around the ends of your stick and tie a couple knots. You are all done and ready to hang it up! Step back and enjoy your fun art!

I am also going to enter this craft into the American Crafter competition over at Naptime Crafters!

I wouldn't have even known about it, but I just made a new blog friend with Jessica at Me Sew Crazy. She's a Christian craft blogger that makes some really cute stuff and I was feeling kind of down and out about blogging recently. I emailed her just reaching out and asking if she ever struggled with some of the things I struggled with and y'all....she was SO sweet in her response. It completely encouraged me to keep doing what I love and seek after God while doing it. So, whether I make it in the top 15 contestants or not, I figured it would be fun to try out! So, pray I get in, if it is what God wants! And if you have nothing better to do, go enter yourself! I think you have until February 29th! I hear there are some pretty good prizes to come, too!