Thursday, October 21, 2010


Just so you know. Olivia's due date was 5/9; she's excited about a possible 4th birthday present (we like to double up on birthdays around here).

The rest of us are pretty excited too. And once again, a puke-free first trimester! (Thanks again for those genes, Mom.)

Tell it like it is

Over our Sunday dinner of beef stew, Olivia observed, "The chicken is the same as the wrapping paper on the potato."

Meaning, of course, that the pieces of beef were the same color as the potato skins.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another T-shirt Transformation

Last year I got the girls some cute Halloween tights on clearance, only to realize this year that they have nothing to wear with them.

So, the other day at CVS I bought one XL t-shirt for $2.

When I was done with it, it looked like this:

And now my girls look like this:

Squee! (Can I say how much I love having two little girls, one long skinny and one short roly-poly? They are so cute together I can hardly stand it.)

Unfortunately, I was too excited putting them together to make a photo tutorial, but I'll tell you how to turn a big t-shirt into one (or two) little dresses:

You need:
1 big t-shirt (long enough for the dress, plus a little more)
1 button
loose-fitting child shirt and knee-length child dress to use as a patterns

1. Cut one 2-inch-high strip off the bottom of the shirt, going all around
2. Cut one 1-inch-high strip off the bottom of the shirt
3. Lay the pattern shirt on top of the t-shirt, towards the top, and fold the sleeves in. Lay the pattern dress on top to make sure there's enough room to make it long enough (once you put the ruffle on, it will add a couple of inches)
4. Take the dress off (you've already measured the length) and cut 1/2 inch around your pattern, extending the length to the dress's length. DO NOT CUT SEAM ALLOWANCE AROUND NECKLINE. You now have a front and back to the dress.
5. Fold one sleeve of your fabric-shirt in half. Lay pattern sleeve on top of it and carefully cut out around, including seam allowance (this should make 2 already-hemmed sleeves, since the fabric is doubled)
6. From remaining fabric, cut strip 1" x 7.5" ("finishing strip")

Sewing (1/4 inch seams - you made your allowance bigger on purpose):
1. Facing right sides, sew shoulder seams. Leave sides open.
2. Facing right sides, pin open sleeves to arm holes, and sew (this will be pretty easy since the sides are open)
3. Facing right sides, pin dress sides and sleeves together and sew all the way up the dress. Your basic dress shape is done!
4. Gather or ruffle both 2-inch and 1-inch strip 1/4 from raw edge
5. Pin 2-inch ruffle to front of the bottom of the dress, sew (it's already hemmed, yippee!)
6. Cut 2-inch slit down from the neck in the back of the dress. Pin 1-inch ruffle around the neckline (going down a little lower in the front), sew. Trim seam as needed

Button hole: Pin finishing strip to back of slit, and sew 1/4 inch in all the way down both sides (it should stick up 1 1/2 inches on one side). Flip strip around and fold in, stitch all the way down, including on sticking up part. Flip extra around to form loop, and then stitch. Add button on the other side. Finished product should look like this:

To make 2 dresses, I just cut more strips off the bottom of the shirt initially, and positioned the patterns so I could cut 2 dress bodies. I also ended up cutting all the sleeves from 1 sleeve of fabric (I wasn't sure yet if I'd need the other for something else). It means I had to hem the sleeves and ruffle on Carmen's dress, but not a big deal.

Knit's very forgiving, so go ahead and try it! You know you want to...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Next to Godliness

Last week was a stressful one for me. It wasn’t any particular event, but I just felt out of control. My house and laundry were getting away from me, meal planning wasn’t happening, and I just felt like it was impossible to catch up.

And THEN, I purged.

My fridge.

Oh, I can’t tell you how gratifying that was. There were leftovers that were perfectly good, but they were not palatable at the time to anyone living here and we couldn’t force ourselves to gag them down, and every time I opened the fridge to look for food I felt guilty because I didn’t want to eat any of the existing offerings. They were also taking up so much room that I felt guilty making anything new, things we might have wanted to eat.

Now it’s all nice and clean, plenty of space, and my whole week has been better. And in that spirit, I now offer you my tried-and-true cleaning advice.

If you aren’t using it and don’t want it, if you look at it and get a sinking, guilty feeling, GET RID OF IT.

Clothes you don’t and won’t wear, gifts you weren’t excited about and never used, food you won’t eat, gadgets that don’t work – just get rid of them.

If they’re usable, give them to charity and take a tax deduction. If they’re not, throw them away and take a deep breath. You’re free – you don’t have to worry about them any more.

Some people might worry that throwing out usable items and food would be wasteful. Well, right now you’re being wasteful: you’re wasting space and time and happiness worrying about mere THINGS that you don’t want and won’t use. In getting rid of material impediments, you can be charitable and cleaner and calmer. And you’ll have learned some things: don’t make so much meatloaf next time. Don’t buy orange even if it’s on sale. Pay the extra dollar for socks that will last more than two wearings. Aunt Bessie will never see the inside of your closet, so she’ll never know if you kept her sweater.

I am a great proponent of “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” But if you don’t and won’t use it, wear it, or do it, “it” is an unnecessary burden. Get rid of it, and be happy.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

For Dads...and Moms

Steven showed me this blog, and it has a great post on it.

Let's all commit to be better moms and dads.