Sunday, June 30, 2013

On Modesty and the Bikini

It's Sunday. Let's chat about something tough to talk about, shall we? 

This video has been floating around and I shared it on my Facebook wall. Jessica Rey is a swimsuit designer. She started off much like most of us in the fact that she couldn't find something, in this case, a cute modest swimsuit for herself, and decided to make one that was both stylish and covering. More and more people wanted to know where she got it. Now, she has some completely adorable swimsuits in her own line called Rey Swimwear!
It was taking a stand on her own convictions that modesty is something to be praised and respected, that we are made in His image, and when we, as women, dress modestly, we are revealing our dignity and actually respecting ourselves and our bodies.

I'm sure this has been a hard place to stand in a culture that praises women (and men) as sex objects.

My own personal views on bikinis have changed over time. When I was younger (16 - 21ish) I had no idea the effects that a half dressed woman can have on a man and I proudly wore my bikinis. Most women feel like it's not their own responsibility to care whether or not their own overt nakedness has any affect on surrounding men.

I beg to differ, but it's only because I've talked to my own boyfriend, now husband, quite a lot about these issues. Even now, 4.5 years of marriage later, my husband has to turn his head or fast forward through sex scenes in movies, sexy half-dressed women in commercials, or even just clothing ads and magazines that come through the mail. He constantly has to guard his eyes and heart from lingering too long on women. Otherwise, he says it causes him to sin and he has trouble removing those pictures from his mind later.

As a young woman, I didn't WANT to believe that the way I dressed caused him to stumble. I wanted to look attractive, sexy even, so that he would like me. I thought he wanted that, too.

I think he must have had a hard time admitting these things to his then, girlfriend. He didn't want to appear weak and felt some shame having to tell me that my cleavage was causing him to have impure thoughts, before we were married. Could I please sew my bikini top up a little more, so he wouldn't see too much on his girlfriend? I remember rolling my eyes and angrily obliging, feeling ridiculous that my suit had to be sewn up some.

Even now, there are times I catch myself flying towards anger first when my husband does the silent pull your shirt up motion out in public. I've had to work on my own heart and letting my body be something that honors God first and foremost!

Modesty is so desensitized in our culture that most women just don't feel like it's even a big deal anymore, but to a huge portion of men that struggle with lust, adultery, and pornography, it is a huge deal in their attempt to protect their hearts.

For these men, it's honoring to them and to God to dress modestly on the beach or at the pool. Not to mention how gross I feel when I can obviously tell that a man is letting his filthy eyes stay too long on my body. This is NOT the attention that I want to have.

When, I did my swim shirt rash guard tutorial for The Sewing Rabbit earlier this month, I struggled with it at first. It wasn't easy for me to take "cute" photos pool-side of myself, even in a swim skirt and long sleeve tee. In fact, I was freaking out inside! The woman you see in those photos is confident and modest. That is the woman I want to be.
It's taken me a long time to accept the fact that the way I dress, does in fact affect men, or at least my own husband, and I have taken it upon myself to protect other's hearts, ultimately aiming to please God in how I dress and act.

The true reason why I made this swim shirt, was honestly not really to even cover up when I  get too much sun, although that is partially a good reason to have made it, but it was in fact that my one swimsuit I ordered from Land's End is actually a bit low for me to be comfortable in front... I struggled finding a completely modest swimsuit this year, even at my go-to Lands End! And I like the option to cover myself up when others are around.

That brings me to my next point. I believe Bikinis have their time and place... such as, alone with my husband in a hot tub or alone at the family pool just the two of us. In fact, my husband prefers this. I am his and he is mine.

I want us as Christian women to be confident, humble, and modest, giving God the glory for the bodies that He made, temples of the Holy Spirit. He made us beautiful and in His image and we are to reflect his glory in what we put on and how we dress!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Before & After Dining Room Table & Exciting News

First some news.... If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know this, but I am on cloud 9, so I'm going to say it on this blog, too! It's official, I am a FOSTER mommy! Let the real journey begin!
8 months of paperwork, 9 months waiting on the adoption side of things, almost a 2 month transition to the foster care side, and we are official! We haven't gotten a placement, yet, but please be praying it up big time for the little ones that will be coming to us! Could happen any day now, for real!!! You can read more about all this here. And of course, you all know I can't wait to sew some new things for our little beloved babies!

Now, back to business... how about a DIY to a table that I found roadside for FREE?

Why do I always forget to take REAL before photos? This is the table pretty much sanded down!

Yep! I actually found a dining room table and 6 chairs on the side of the road. My neighbors moved out of the rental house next door and just put a whole pile of furniture on the street. It was in pretty bad shape with lots of scratches and dents, even marker drawn on it, but a little A LOT of TLC later, and we have a beautiful table, which we gave to my brother and his sweet wife as a wedding gift!

Honestly, the hardest part of this DIY was the polyurethane. It was SUCH a pain to get right, and I honestly still wasn't completely happy with the results and we tried EVERYTHING, foam rollers, just a brush, foam brushes, sanding, not sanding, humidity, little bugs getting caught in the poly, the works. But we finally got it figured out enough to give as a decent gift! I lost count with how many coats we did, but there were a good many.
 I love it in her space! Makes it all worth it!

This is the second furniture DIY my husband and I have tackled in the last year and he asked me kindly to please refrain from wood projects for awhile. Noway, Jose! The first was our roll top desk.

The chairs BEFORE:
 We chose a similar stain to keep things simplified and to which my brother's wife liked. Red Oak Stain by Cabot and their semi-gloss poly. 1 quart of each.

Honestly, the chairs were not in that bad of a shape, but the cushions were NASTY!!!
Ripping off all that fabric and recovering was absolutely necessary!
 Someone was seriously staple happy! Try yanking all those out x 6!

3 coats of stain later, we had a beautiful table!
Then was our battle with poly... but, we finally got to a place where we could give it away feeling pretty good about it!

I'm so glad to finally be able to give it to them! I know fun dinner parties will ensue and lots of memories made here!

Now maybe, I actually will have some time to sew...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Traylor Family Blog - New Look

Hi DBS readers! I know I've been so spacey lately regarding this blog & sewing! The thing is, I've written some posts, but my heart just isn't in it right now and I've been so focused on getting ready for foster care, I haven't sewn very much outside of specific commitments. I somehow consented to at least 5 guest posts in the last 5 weeks and it just sort of burned me out! I need to learn to say "NO!" sometimes!

As a result, I'm (well, my husband, too) beefing up our family blog, since that's where my heart is at the moment and I've been talking a lot about Foster Care and getting ready for it! Be sure to check it out, if you miss me... that is!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Porch - FrancesSuzanne

I feel truly blessed to have these fantastic ladies that I've had the pleasure to meet in person today on my Porch, a series inspired by my grandmother's real life porch where people came to share and craft! Thanks, FrancesSuzanne for being here today!!! 

Hello all! We are thrilled to be here on Vanessa's "Porch" enjoying the first few days of summer.  While we are only here 'virtually'....instead of in the flesh.....we tried to imagine what we would be talking about, had we truly been on Vanessa's porch....
So, we would have probably started the time off reminiscing about the time we met one another - in the flesh..... Still makes us smile thinking about it! Vanessa {and Rachel} will always hold the title of our "first blogging friends ever met in real life!" It all began with a tap {or poke} depending on whose side of the story you choose to believe....
Then, once we settled down a bit, possibly rocking away on the porch swing/rockers, and sipping on our oversized lemonades, we would begin 'talking shop' {ie: anything and everything related to the sewing community that we could possibly think of}. Technically: we. would. pick. Vanessa's. brain. for a few hours....okay, maybe a day.....and then invite ourselves back for the following day to discuss "life, in general." Pushy guests, huh?!?!
But, what about you? Is there anything in this for you join us today? Well, since summer technically began last week....and since we would need a little snack to go along with that oversized lemonade....our minds turned to the time of year it is around these parts: BERRY PICKING TIME!
We've had our fair share of berry picking memories...
from our berry-loving dog of 16 years,
to being attacked by blood-sucking pestilence,
and eventually to our youngest sister falling in a hole...
all in the name of finding and picking the ripest, juiciest berries!
Truth be told, Emily {suzanne} won't eat a berry to save her life.....
but she'll pick with the best of us. 
Although we've picked blackberries from time to time, and Ashley {frances} received a "You Pick, You Buy Strawberries" gift a few years back, our "go to" berry of choice is the blueberry! 
So much in fact,  that Ashley {frances} was gifted a few baby blueberry plants after a birthday request was made.
Maybe because it is said to improve one's memory {no snide remarks towards Emily....just saying}, or the fact our parents eat them as a regular part of their breakfast routine...
At any rate, now is the time for blueberry season around here so we'd love to share an easy-peasy blueberry recipe for you to enjoy through the warm summer months.
So, what's the surprise? We honestly don't have a clue!! Maybe it is the recipe's ease, maybe it is the crust, maybe it is the blueberries tucked away inside, maybe it is the taste, or maybe the author had run out of other blueberry titles and just went with "SURPRISE!"  I mean, who doesn't love a great surprise?? Known, or unknown!! What do you think? What IS the surprise in our "Blueberry Surprise"?!?!
Thanks so much for having us over, Vanessa! It's been fun sharing this "surprise" {???} with your readers on "The Porch"! Now, Vanessa will forever be known as the first blog where we shared a "food post".....completely making our mother's day.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Retro Polka Dot Bow Back Romper Tutorial for Romper Week

Hi! I'm Vanessa! I run this little bloggy blog and I'm SO excited if you are new here for ROMPER WEEK!!! Woot Woot! If you are new, you may also see me around at The Sewing Rabbit, where I am a monthly Creative Team Contributor! I was so happy when RaeAnna asked me! Mrs. RaeAnna Sun is the most sunshine-y person in blogland and I've loved watching her talent grow as she keeps sewing such cute girl things! I'm happy she asked me to be a part of Romper Week 2013!

While I don't yet, have a girl of my own (we are about to be foster parents... thanks for prayers!), I have a cute niece to sew for and I was excited for an excuse to whip something up!

And whip up... is exactly what happened just a few hours before I was going to leave town and I realized that I needed a model IN my outfit... then do you know what happened after creating a last minute outfit? I forgot my camera... um... yeah... nice moves, V!

So, my SIL was kind enough to contribute these images of my niece in her retro polka dot bow back romper!

I literally had no real "plan" when I started this project...sometimes that's the best... however it's also the worst, because you completely learn what you SHOULD have done next time... am I right?! All I know, is that I was getting to sew for a GIRL... ruffles, bow back, slight peplum... check, check check!

I started with 2 basic pattern blocks. The Made by Rae Flashback Skinny Tee AND the MADE basic pants pattern. You could also trace t-shirts/shorts to make your own.
Trace and cut out your sizes. I would suggest adding some inches to add length.

Sew/Serge your shorts at the back seams.
Put right sides together and sew/serge crotch and side seams up.
Sew/serge your shoulder seams of your shirt.

Then, cut 2 strips about 2.5 inches by 10 - 13 inches depending on size. This will become the ruffle for your sleeves. Gather your strips by using a basting stitch and then pull one thread to make the ruffle. Pin to your sleeve and sew/serge to set. Since I was using a rectangular piece, I made sure to let the upper corners hang off my fabric and I then cut that off later. Just line up the bottom corners with the armpit.
Sew up the side seams of your shirt.

 Next, grab some 1/4'' elastic. Marking 4'' from the bottom of the shirt, I drew a straight line, front/back across the shirt. I then sewed the end of my elastic to one side seam and stretched and pulled my elastic as I sewed with a zig zag stitch as tightly as I could. Don't worry if it isn't perfect, you won't see this part of the stitching at all!

Now, tuck your shorts inside your shirt. The right side of the shorts to the right side of the shirt, like so. The shirt is folded at the elastic, so that you are matching the raw edge of the shorts to the folded elastic edge. The bottom of the shirt will be wrong side to the right sides of the shorts. This is what we want to happen!
Now, take your shorts fabric and fold it up and over the elastic edge. I've never met a kid that likes elastic on their skin, so this will encase it and make it comfy!
Sew down using a longer stitch length!
An encased elastic casing! Ta da!

Hem, your "peplum" and your shorts at this point. I like the twin needle finish on my knits! More on that in this post if you need twin needle sewing help.

Okay, now for the neckline... this is where I would have changed things dramatically. I think I would actually make my own neckline binding bias tape and actually do that around my neckline, then add in my bow. I didn't have enough polka dot fabric to do this and I wish I had!!! It looks so much more professional. I would have used a double needle and sewed that band down. I ended up just folding it over and sewed and I just didn't like how it turned out! I also cut out the back too large, so I had to add a front pleat in the center front to make sure the neck whole was not too large slipping off the shoulders! Cut a small area and just slowly cut it larger after trying it on your child to make sure you get a good fit, or you can always add a front inverted pleat if needed.

Now, create your bows with your fabric scraps. You need one larger size bow, one smaller bow.
Pin into the back of the shirt, and sew your bow in place. Then, to the front!

I hand sewed this little bow on the center front at the waist.

And there you have it! The mint and polka dot together look so retro, doesn't it!? I hope you enjoyed it!
Happy Romper Week to all!!!