Friday, May 31, 2013

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT - I'm a Sewing Rabbit Contributor!

I am THRILLED to announce that I am a contributor for the 2013 Sewing Rabbit Creative Team over at The Sewing Rabbit and Me Sew Crazy blog!
This means that I will be writing and designing sewing tutorials specifically for The Sewing Rabbit each month! This is my first time that I have been a creative contributing author and I truly feel blessed at the opportunity to use my sewing and blogging and writing skills as a part of a neat group of such talented women! I have loved supporting Jessica, the talented lady behind this website. I've had the pleasure of hugging her in real life and I've always rooted and prayed for her! It's also a neat perk to start bringing in a little blog income for what I love to do anyway! Yay!

So, if you are wondering where I am some of the time, I will be there! Of course, I will keep you in the loop when I do post a tutorial at The Sewing Rabbit and you can check it out! Although, I find it hard to believe if you don't already follow this amazing website!

See the rest of the talented team line up here!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lost Arts Series over at A Jennuine Life

As many of you know, my husband and I have been adopting for the last year (more now!). After waiting for almost 8 months with DSS, we've decided to become foster parents in hopes that we will be able to foster/adopt our next child, whom we call Beloved. We are {this close} to becoming approved foster parents and Lord willing we will have a placement after that! We are very excited and nervous, so please be praying for us! I tend to update more about our family adoption on our family blog Be Imitators of God

I've been slowly working on Beloved's room and finally have it together enough to reveal, but I'm doing so over at A Jennuine Life today for her Lost Arts Series! It's not a full room reveal, but I've got some fun embroidered hoop art to show off and some shots of Beloved's room! Yay! Please head on over to Jenn's blog to check it out!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vote for My Husband's Company and Boss!

Hi everyone, for those who don't know, my husband and his best friend started a real estate company about 4 years ago here in Columbia, SC. Their heart and goal is for their company to be a company that brings God glory. They want to be different than the other companies out there. And the Lord has been kind to them and shown them favor during these years. It's been really neat to watch them grow! It started out just the 2 of them in a small 3 room office that they rented. About 2 years ago they bought a 4,000 sqft building in prime location in downtown Columbia where they now have several full time employees and also other real estate agents working with them. And, these past 2 years (2011 and 2012) my husband's boss, Charlie Mather, has been voted "Best Real Estate Agent" in a voting competition our local newspaper holds.

Each year our local newspaper, The State, has a competition called Reader's Choice Best Of, and they have a list of 100 or so categories and people can write in their votes for the different categories. 2 of the categories are "Best Real Estate Agent" and "Best Real Estate Company". Would you be willing to take a few minutes and vote for Charlie Mather and The Mather Company? If they win they get featured in the newspaper, which provides some awesome exposure for them; which a small (yet growing) and young company really could use.

As I mentioned previously, and you can see from the following picture, Charlie has won the award back to back years. We would love to see him win it for a 3rd time in a row. But even more so, we would love to see the company win. The largest real estate company in the Columbia area (they have like 10 locations and hundreds of agents) have won in something like 14 years in a row. So more than likely we're not going to beat them. But we're trying! And it would be really awesome to see them win that award!!!
Anyways, I would really appreciate it and it would mean a lot if you supported us by voting for Charlie and The Mather Co. It doesn't matter if you're from Columbia or not! Also, voting ends this Friday, May 31. So if you're willing to vote, be sure vote before then.

Ok, so if you're willing to vote, here's how it works. You'll need to go to the website listed below. Once there you'll need to fill out some information and then you'll see a section called "Categories". In this section you'll see 4 main categories on the left side which are: Entertainment, Food & Drink, Shopping, and Service. If you click on one of those categories a list of sub-categories will appear. This is where you write in your votes. There is a total of 103 categories. In order to submit a vote you must fill out at least 30 of the categories. To make it easier for you (especially those of you who aren't from around here) I'm providing a list of suggestions. But of course, you are more than welcome to fill this out with your own choices.

Alright, so here is the link to go vote:

And here is a list of suggestions:

Art Gallery - Columbia Museum of Art
Children’s Entertainment - EdVenture
Museum - State Museum

Food & Drink
Barbecue - Little Pigs
Brunch – DiPratos
Burgers – Pawleys Front Porch
Chicken – Zaxbys
Chinese - Miyos
Deli - Grouchos
Family Dining with Kids - Cracker Barrel
Fast Food - Chickfila
Hot Dog - Sonic
Ice Cream - Marble Slab
Mexican - Jalisco
New Restaurant - Cookout
Pizza - Mellow Mushroom
Salad - California Dreaming
Seafood - Blue Marlin
Southern - Lizards Thicket
Steak - Blue Marlin
Sushi - Miyos
Wings - Carolina Wings

Art Supply/Craft Store - Creative Sewing Machine Center (this is the sewing store I work at!!!)
Childrens Clothing - Once Upon a Child
Gamecock Store - Garnet and Black Traditions

Dance Studio - Gilbert Studio of Dance Arts (this is my Mom's dance studio!!!)
Dentist - Ben Jett
Heating and AC Service - Carolina Conditions
Law Firm - Law Office of Talley Lattimore
Pest Control - 1st Choice Exterminating
Photographer - Photos by JeeJee
Plumbing - Palmetto Plumbing of West Columbia
Real Estate Agent - Charlie Mather
Real Estate Company - The Mather Company

Again, voting ends on May 31, so be sure to vote before then. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this for us! And if you want to be even extra nice, feel free to pass this on to your friends and family who might be willing to do this! Thanks!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Porch - Sew Much Ado

 I'm thrilled to have Abby from Sew Much Ado come. sit. and share. on my virtual Porch, a series inspired by my lovely Gramie Ali and her love of using her real life porch for hand-made beauty and crafts! Abby is truly SO gifted! I love her patterns! Check out my version of her latest pattern the Seafarer Top and be sure to follow her lovely blog! It's always full of inspiration and DIYs sure to make ya happy! Abby and I decided we would be instant friends in real life and I have no doubts it would be true!
Welcome Abby!!!

Hi everyone! I'm Abby from Sew Much Ado and am so thrilled to be joining Vanessa on The Porch today. When Vanessa first contacted me about being a guest, I loved the idea of the whole series so much that I didn't have to even hesitate before signing up. Since that time, I've got to know Vanessa better as I've followed her blog, and she was even so kind to help test my newest pattern for me! I feel lucky to have her for a friend!

Since I'm technically allowed to talk about whatever I want in this post, I really want to say that I admire Vanessa and her blogging style so much. Whether you've been reading her blog for a long or short time, it's obvious that she has strong beliefs, and isn't afraid to let them be known. I really appreciate how genuine she is, and that she is always true to herself and her faith.

Anyway, enough about Vanessa, more about me... ;) As I had been thinking about this post, I tried to imagine what Vanessa and I would actually chat about if we were sitting on her porch, relaxing and enjoying a summer breeze. Then the thought came to me, what wouldn't we talk about?! I'm sure that her and I could talk for hours about anything and everything.

But, so that you don't have to read for hours, today I wanted to share a bit about my sewing history. I think my mom first started teaching me to sew around age 5. I remember making simple straight skirts that had an elastic casing in the top and a raw hem, and thinking they were sooo cute. I always liked the extra tight ones that didn't allow much room for movement, lol. I remember my mom trying to reign my obsession in and my skirts mysteriously "disappearing" often, but it didn't stop me, I'd just make a new one!

At age 8 I followed my first pattern with the help of my mom and made this apron. I embroidered the rainbow and sewed it onto the apron, and remember being so proud of myself when I posed for the photo and for being so creative, hehe!
I continued to sew as I grew up, making the majority of my dresses and skirts, and eventually even making a friend's wedding dress when I was 18. I still cringe thinking about the imperfections in that dress!

Of course my sewing changed a lot as I got married and had kids, and I love being able to sew for my family.

It makes me laugh to see where I came from before the whole blogging revolution began. I worked as a dental hygienist before my kids came along, and in college on one of our first days our instructor said, "If you're wanting to be creative, y'all are in the wrong program!" Yep, I went to college in Texas :). At the time I honestly thought that sounded great to me and right up my alley. I didn't give myself any credit in the creativity department, even though I sewed often. It makes me a little sad to remember those thoughts, although I think I'll always have trouble calling myself "creative". I really admire bloggers and sewers who are true artists, like Katie Dill.

Anyway... To where I am now, after blogging for 5 years and creating 7 sewing patterns, it almost seems like a dream at times. I'm so grateful for what I've gained through all of my blogging experiences, and still surprised at how it's all worked out. In the 5 years that I've been blogging, so much has changed, especially with the boom of social media, and I often wonder what it will be like in another 5 years, don't you?!

Thanks for having me today and letting me indulge, Vanessa! It was fun to "chat" and have a change of pace from my usual posts!

YOU MADE A WEDDING DRESS!?! That's amazing!!! I love the flashbacks to the past with that skirt! How cute were you!? And I know we talked about this via email, but the thought never crossed my mind to get a "creative" degree like pattern making or something! If I could only go back... I know exactly what I would want to be when I grew up! Also, thank you for making me blush ten times over! I love that you are true to yourself, too and I believe that is very important in life! It truly is my goal to reflect that in my writing of my blog! You guys, please be sure to check out that amazing Sew Much Ado blog and check out Abby's patterns

Monday, May 27, 2013

Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop Giveaway!

I'm participating in The Lost Arts Series over at A Jennuine Life blog and today, she has a giveaway for a 5 pack of patterns for Peek-a-Boo pattern shop!
Designs By Sessa FB fans, get an easy entry! Head on over to Jen's blog to enter!

And Happy Memorial Day!!!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Summer Lovin'

*Please do not pin my images from this post. Thanks.*

"And don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there." 1 Corinthians 7:17 MSG

There is nothing like diving straight into summer! Don't mind me while I stop sewing so much and soak up these wonderful  pleasures for awhile!
The cold pool water does not stop these water ducks!
After what felt like the longest SC winter ever, we are diving into our chilly pools and soaking up the sun again! Thank the LORD! It's amazing how much I missed being pool-side! And to think it's almost JUNE!
Of course, this means, pulling out our little pool when we don't make it to my in-laws, and filling it with whatever neighbor children want to join!
I slow down in the summer and enjoy sweet moments more.

"I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is no time to waste, so don't complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple --in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things --your daily routines of shopping and so on. Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out." 1 Corinthians 7:29 -31 MSG 

There is nothing like switching versions of the Bible every once in a while to wake you up to new thoughts about this life we are living under the sun. I feel like these two verses quoted in this post are going to be my motto this summer! I want to be free to soak up these children and their adorable-ness and love them sweetly. Less computer and more true, real beauty in life. I hope your summer is amazing!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

J.CREW Colorblocked Shorts: Knock It Off

Hi everyone! Today, I have a fun knock off for Heidi's Knock It Off series over at Elegance & Elephants! If you are new here at DBS, WELCOME! I'm glad you came over, please say hi!!!! I hope you enjoy these little shorts I made for my son Cai! I love knocking things off from stores! I often get inspired just shopping at Target! No lie. I'd much rather try to make something than buy it, well, depending what the item is. My last Knock It Off was this GAP hoodie rugby style embroidered shirt.

Today, I have a J.CREW knock off and it was pretty fun to copy!

J.CREW's colorblocked shorts ($49.50)... mine completely FREE! The fabric was given to me from a co-worker's overflowing stash, and I already had elastic & buttons in the stash! Yay!
J.CREW's version uses a medium weight chino fabric. I was trying to stash bust, so I used a corduroy fabric. I had to line these with a super soft cotton, also in my stash, due to Cai hating how serged inner seams feel on his skin. They turned out very soft inside, and I am hoping not too hot with 2 layers for summer. I think they should be fine, since they are shorts! Anyone happen to know a good chino fabric source?

So, for my pattern guide I used the Oliver + S Sketchbook Shorts. I moved the front pleats to the back. It looks okay. I tried to eradicate them completely, but Cai's waist is pretty tiny, so I ended up realizing I had to take them in somehow and thought back was better than front. I mean, who wears pleated pants anymore?
I ended up serging all my pieces together and then using my favorite foot: the edgejoining foot to topstitch. I love that professional quality. Also, if you do not have an edge joining foot, you have GOT to get one! It makes your stitching PERFECT-O!

Unfortunately, I didn't really take many photos of my process for creating a tutorial for these, but I can if there is a huge outcry. Here are my modified pattern pieces.
Cai is probably inbetween sizes right at the moment, so a 3T was perfect. I didn't adjust for any seam allowances and it turned out great. I did extend the back upper waist piece by several inches and then cut it even with the top of my front piece once joined at the side seams.
I also angled the pockets, instead of making them curved and made another pair of shorts slightly smaller to line them. This particular corduroy was stiffer and in the first fitting Cai HATED how they felt inside. The lining is a soft cotton like a batiste.
I just wiggled the shorts inside, wrong sides together, and made sure that my waistband would fold down.They look so professional inside this way!

I made sure to follow the pattern directions to make them flat fronted and added a brown button to make them like the J.CREW version! I loved the faux fly detail, too!
As long as this boy actually wears them AND enjoys life, then I am more than happy with also saving $50!
And just a few more photos of my little love doodle.
Watch out ladies...
Y'all tell him to stop getting so handsome!
Well, I hope you enjoyed that! I loved making these! I hope they inspire you to attempt other knock-offs out there!

Friday, May 17, 2013

"Nerdy Stag HoodieVest": a See Kate Sew pattern

I had the honor of testing  for the first time for Kate of See Kate Sew. She just released an adorable hoodie vest pattern called the Aztec Hooded Vest!

I had quite a lot of fun with the welt pockets on my vest for Cai. I guess this is starting to become a signature move for me, to have playful pockets in my children's wear. First example of playful pockets here.
 I ended up using a really lightweight chambray fabric on the exterior and I regretted it. While I love the color and slight texture, I felt like it needed a sturdier fabric on the outside (like she suggests - might I add). I'm not a fan of my topstitching, but probably the worst critic here! I do however, love the diagonal design in the pattern FOR topstitching.
And shall we talk about this jumbo hood?
I love hoods! The bigger the better!

My one huge error was that I bought a SPORTS zipper. Well, after deciding that I could pull it apart and still make it work... it did not work. This means that my vest is unzip-able. That was frustrating, because when I make hand-made clothes, of course I want them to function well! At some point I will rip it out and maybe do buttons down the front or something!
The hood and pocket fabric is echino that I got from a friend that lives in Japan! It's the same fabric I used for this sweater.

Okay, enough about what I did... I need to talk about this cute pattern! And it really IS cute! The instructions have Kate's complete flair! I actually had to write her right back and tell how how excited I got just to sew, because of how darling her instructions were to read! That's how it should be! If I am ever a pattern designer, I must make cute instructions like Kate! I think if you want a fun vest for a boy OR girl, then this is a really awesome pattern to choose! The directions are clear and you have step by step photos to help you out! I loved making it and isn't Cai such a cutie in it!?
I started this during KCWC... since I didn't really participate in that challenge, can we just say this counts?
Ok, good. 

Find the Aztec Hooded Vest Pattern at See Kate Sew!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

HGTV Home Dec Fabrics

Have y'all heard that Jo-ann Fabrics is now carrying HGTV HOME decor fabrics?

I think it's pretty exciting considering I love watching HGTV to get inspired for some DIY!

I had the opportunity to make something from 2 different cute fabrics in the new line! It was in our swag bags from Girls Night Out Charlotte!

At first I had no idea what I was going to do with it! I LOVED the bright colors of pinks and greens, and the fun floral and houndstooth patterns, but my outdoor spaces are more blue and teal than pinks.

Then, I realized I had been asked to make something to give away at our women's retreat for our church! Since this fabric was given to me, I thought how fun to turn it into something to bless someone else with!

I created a simple lined tote bag with the supplies. I find home dec weight fabrics are great for purses, since they are heavier and more sturdy! I don't have a pattern for this bag since I created it on the fly, but it's pretty standard, with a boxed bottom. The handles are from an old belt found at a thrift store that I stole the hardware from for Cai's belt. I used the purple HGTV trim at the top of the inside pocket to carry a cell phone or keys!

I also used these fabrics to help some friends learn how to make zippered pouches to send to the She's Worth It Campaign!
I embroidered LOVED on one of them, because more than anything that is the message I pray those victims hear! They turned out super cute and I loved watching my friends see how empowering making zippered pouches is! I pray they encouraged someone around the world!

I personally am really drawn towards this fun print and of course all the chevrons in the line!
Ring Around Peacock

Circling Pewter

Boxed In Peacock

 Chevron Chic Quartz

Okay, enough drooling over fun home dec prints from Jo-Ann's! I hope you have fun checking them out! And thanks Jo-Ann's for supplying them in our Swag Bags!