Wednesday, March 31

Custom Work: Easter Dresses

Used my Simplicity 2986 pattern. The Amy Butler and Anna Maria Horner fabric was picked out by the commissioner.

Monday, March 29

Spring Break: Memphis

With Spring Break upon us and perfect weather we loaded up the kids and joined some friends for a day in Memphis.

First stop: the Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma Outlet. Good deals were had by all. Some of which included a blue gingham Easter basket liner WITH Henry's name already embroidered on it for 97 cents! an adorable red scalloped shelf that I have been eying for a long time, only $9.97! and a spoonula for 49 cents! I do love a good deal! Then, on to lunch at an amazing hole-in-the-wall. Seriously good Italian food served on unassuming Styrofoam tableware. If you are ever in Memphis, I strongly urge you to try Fino's Italian Grocery.

The kids thoroughly enjoyed their spaghetti.

My favorite was the blueberry/mascarpone cake. Oh. My. Goodness. I would have taken a picture of it, but we ate it too fast. Same goes for the second piece we devoured. The cake is on the far left in the case. I think we found another reason to go to Memphis.

With full bellies, we left to explore the Memphis Zoo and Aquarium. The weather could not have been better. We had never been there before. There are lots of streams and fountains that are open for the kids to splash in. Needless to say, there were no dry children on the ride home.

The little meerkats were my favorite exhibit. They are so cute!

Lucy and Ryli have taken their friendship to the next level. It is the level that involves pacts and promises and badges.

See that face Henry is making? That has been his expression of choice lately. There is a sound that goes along with this face, but I'll spare you from that.

The last stop on our Spring Break Staycation was Costco. There is something about traveling 2 1/2 hours to get to a Costco that makes it that much more special. We sure put in a full day and were completely exhausted driving home, but I think it was worth it.

Sunday, March 28

Cream Dress

I forgot to take a picture of this little dress before it got dirty... so, you'll just have to imagine what it looks like with out spaghetti sauce on the front! I used unbleached muslin and pale pink rick-rack. I think the vintage button pulls it all together. I like how light and feminine it turned out. I used Simplicity pattern 2986 from their Project Runway line. This was the first time I'd used a Project Runway pattern and really liked it. It was easy to follow and I can think of lots of ways to change it up for future projects.

Thursday, March 25

Diaper Cake

Tonight I am throwing a baby shower for Marie and her baby Patrick. I made this small diaper cake for the center piece. The focus of this shower will be food! And of course, lots of pressies for Patrick.

Wednesday, March 24

Experiment: Mini Boden Knock-Off

I have been drooling over these Mini Boden baggies for months, but just cannot convince myself that it is okay to spend $26 + shipping on a pair of toddler shorts. And trust me, I've tried very hard.

So, I decided to get creative and try to make my own. I pulled out my trusty Oliver + S pattern and set out to find some Mini Boden inspired knit. Why is it that nice, interesting knit is so hard to find? I ended up using this lightweight jersey cotton from JoAnn's. It was probably a mistake. By the end of the day, the little shorts were completely stretched out. I also used nylon/wool stretch thread, which proved hard to sew with. But, if I could find some better fabric-- maybe a French terry-- I'd like to try again.

Tuesday, March 23

Meeting Jan Brett

There was a time when I was growing up that Mom collected Jan Brett's books. Even though I think Mom has moved on from that phase, a Jan Brett book will always remind me of her. So, when we heard that Mrs. Brett was stopping in Little Rock one her newest book tour, we lined up at Barnes and Noble to meet her. If you've never seen one of her books, you really should tack on down. They are beautifully illustrated with a Scandinavian flare. She did a drawing demonstration and then signed books. When it was our turn to have our book signed, she was so friendly and warm as she tried to persuade Lucy to become an author/illustrator. Lucy was in awe.

Opal's Vintage Dress

Too pretty to hang in the closet, this 1940's dance dress was begging Lizzie to try it on! It belonged to my mother-in-law, Opal, (Becca's Grandma). I used to be able to wear it if I didn't mind not breathing! I did wear it a few times about 10 years ago. Lizzie could almost zip it up. The belt is studded with rhinestones. I guess we will save it for a grand daughter. . . .

No- Pattern Dress

When Lizzie asked me to help her copy a dress she had and there were no patterns like it, I was skeptical. But on Saturday afternoon, we synchronized our creative juices and we did it! By cutting a grey tank top she had, 1/4 yard of black cotton and about 1 1/2 yards of red cotton we made this dress. There is an invisible side zipper. Lizzie learned to sew straight seams and gathers on this project. And I learned you can install an invisible zipper with a regular zipper foot. Yeah!

Monday, March 22

Passion For Bias Tape

The expert seamstress I know told me about making your own bias tape and I was ecstatic! I found tutorials on line and now find great joy in making 10-12 yards of 3 inch wide bias tape out of a mere 1/2 yard of cute fabric even if I don't need it! is page of detailed directions.
I used the red and white bias tape to make a band around the bottom of a dress that was too short for Lizzie. She got away with that before I snapped a picture. But this little skirt we made is trimmed in white store bought bias tape. I just love bias tape!

Sunday, March 21


This week I got to have a birthday, thanks to my MOM! Yay! Although it wasn't a big landmark year, my friends and family made an extra effort to make me feel special. It started with an enthusiastic gift of "ten pansies" hand pick from this little guy (he even left two inches of stem so they could go in a vase):

I took it easy all morning, pampering myself with a hot bath and the latest People. Then, when I thought the day couldn't possibly get better, I met up with my besties at a very swanky sushi joint where they treated me to lunch. We had some delicious special rolls and some not so delicious Pad Thai but finished strong with a fantastic fried ice cream.

I spent the sunny afternoon with my family unsuccessfully shopping for a new bike for Lucy. Then, that evening, we headed to Larry's Pizza for dinner-- to help you understand my relationship with this restaurant let me provide you with an analogy: if my life was a TV show, it would be called "Larry's" and the theme song would go something like this,
"Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name."
We met up with friends. We ate pizza. We chatted. We had better than usual service provided by the CARTI girls. We laughed. I opened some lovely presents.

We had a Hostess Cake (ala Billy). My favorite part was the Snoball crust.

Then home to open more presents-- I'm not too proud to say that I may have purchased some of these for myself and then asked Billy to wrap them. I have a good surprised face, huh?

It does, however, sincerely surprise me how generous and thoughtful my friends and family are. I know that when you're an adult, birthdays aren't suppose to be as fun as they were when you were a kid because you don't get piles of presents and a big party and people generally just don't remember. But I feel so lucky to have people in my life who went out of their way to make me feel like a really special kid this year. And, if you are curious, here is a small sampling of my pile: