Monday, May 30, 2011

DIY: Mock Smock Sun Dresses

Earlier this spring, I discovered mock smock and I've been whipping up sun dresses galore ever since.  Mock Smock material comes pre-smocked for super simple, but absolutely adorable, dress-making.   Even beginning sewers will be able to easily make these super cute frocks!  

How to make a mock smock dress:

  1. Measure around the widest part of your little girl's chest either with a measuring tape or with the actual material. You will need about 1 inch more material than her chest measurement. (At Jo-Ann's mock smock is sold by the inch, so only get what you need.)
  2. Fold your material in half wrong side out, and carefully pin. Be sure to line up all the lines of elastic threading (the mock smocking) where the seam will go.
  3. Sew a straight seam from the top to the bottom of the dress about 1/2 inch from the edge. Repeat 1/8 inch further over to the outside of your first seam. Then trim away any excess material outside of your double seam to make it look nice and neat.
  4. Some mock-smocking also comes pre-hemmed. If yours is, you can skip these steps. Otherwise, decide how long you want your dress to be and carefully cut you material about 3/4 of an inch below that, cutting off the bottom of the dress.
  5. Fold the dress up 3/8 of an inch all the way around the bottom (wrong side to wrong side) and press. Then, fold up again, folding right side up to wrong side and press.
  6. Stitch all the way around your fold about 1/8 of an inch down from the top. (I used a zigzag stitch on mine, but a blind hem or a decorative stitch might work just as well. )
Adding Straps:
If your material wasn't pre-hemmed you can use the excess material to make straps. Otherwise choose a coordinating ribbon or trim to use as straps.

To make fabric straps:
  1. Cut a long strip of material 4 times as wide as your desired strap width.
  2. Iron a strip of fusible interfacing 2 times your desired strap width down the center of your strap. Be sure to iron the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of your fabric.
  3. Fold strap edges to center and fold in half, lining up edges neatly and press.
  4. Sew a straight seam 1/8 of an inch from each edge of the strap.
Try the dress on your little girl and pin straps in desired location and sew.

  • The straps on these dresses will probably need to be shorter and closer together than you would imagine.
  • If you can't try the dress on to fit the straps, Four long thing straps could be attached so they can be tied to fit at the shoulders.
Cost: $4-$8 using Jo-Ann's coupons or sales

Time to Make: 45 minutes -1 hour each

I loved these so much I made one for each of my daughters!

These dresses were so quick and easy to make.  Once I started, I couldn't help but make a bunch of them. Here are some others that I've made recently:

Little Mermaid Mock Smock Dress

Minnie Mouse Mock Smock Dress

Dora the Explorer Mock Smock Dress

My three year old absolutely loves these.  If my local Jo-Ann's carried more licensed character mock-smock fabric, I'd would be all over it.

Craft Project 2/30  Day 14/351

If you decide to make one, please let me know, I'd love to see photos!
Craft Parties I'm Linking to:
A Crafty SoireeRunning with Glitter”Photobucket”Nothing But CountryJoin  us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap 
 up           party!Somewhat Simple

Week in Review -- Week 2

I was starting to get a little discouraged earlier this week, because I am not accomplishing nearly as much as I had hoped. I wanted to start this year (since my birthday on May 16th) with a bang, but I am still sick. This weekend, I started to feel a little more energetic and alive during the days, but the nights are still exhaustingly filled with coughing fits. On a positive note, Zazu seems to have finally recovered! The weather has been hot and sunny, and the girls and I have been spending lots of time outside! The Count and I spent the holiday weekend at the pool with our girls! It was perfect pool weather and we had a ton of fun! The girls were so worn out after swimming, Kaylicious slept from 5:30 on Saturday night until 9:30 Sunday morning. She completely missed dinner and woke up in the morning asking for it. On Sunday, we went to my parents house after the pool for a Memorial Day Cookout! The food was delicious and we all had a really nice time! Then as a surprise my parents kept the girls overnight and The Count and I got to sneak away to movie!

Here's what I accomplished this week:
  • Conquer the Laundry -- Wash Dry and Put Away 250 Loads -- 3 more down/ 245 to go
  • Load, Wash & Put Away 250 Loads of Dishes -- 2 more down/ 247 to go
  • Read 100 Different Books to Each of My Kids -- 3 more down/93 to go
  • Go to the Gym 150 Times -- 1 Down/149 to go --I really need to get well before I weigh 200 pounds.
  • Walk 300 miles -- 1.5 down/298.5 to go
  • Complete 50 Craft Project - 1 down/49 to go
  • Get 25 Spa Services -- 1 down/24 to go
  • Go on 50 Dates With My Husband -- 2 Down/48 to go
  • Talk to a Friend or Family Member (not my immediate family) Everyday - Check!
  • Get Outside for 15 Minutes Minimum Each Day - Check!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DIY: Adorable Sash Bag

My mom taught me to sew by hand and how to use a sewing machine when I was really young, but only recently have I started sewing regularly. I definitely consider myself to be a novice sewer, and I am still terribly excited and somewhat surprised whenever I make something that turns out nicely. 

My Moms Group ( just started a brand new sewing group and this bag was our first project.  I am so pleased with the results. We used this pattern:

Aimee with Home Spun Threads has tons of free patterns and tutorials.

Cost for Supplies: $15 at Jo-Anns -- using both a 40% and a 50% off coupon.  (I love Jo-Ann's new Mobile Coupons App. Crafters this a must have for your smart  phone!)

Time to Complete: 7 Hours -- a large percentage of that time went into cutting

For me every new project is an adventure and a learning experience.  Here's what I learned with this project:

1. Measure twice; Cut once. My bag is a little smaller than the pattern called for because I was so excited to cut everything up and get started.  Oops!

2. Different materials require different needles.  After breaking two needles, I read my sewing machine manual and figured out that I needed a bigger needle, so I replaced the size 11 needles that I was using with a size 14 and voila no more broken needles!

This is the lining of my bag.  I was afraid to pick a pattern for the outside, because I didn't know if I could get it to line up at the seams, but it if the lining is indication, I think I would do fine next time with a patterned outer material.

Before this project, I have never used fusible interfacing or magnetic snaps.  Both turned out to be very simple to work with.  My snaps came in a two pack, so I may have to make another bag!

This is the interior of my bag.  I love the lining and I opted for one big pocket instead of the three small ones that the pattern calls for.

Overall, I am super pleased with the way this turned out.  I had fun making it, looking at it I would never guess that it was home-made and for only $15 I got an adorable new purse!

Craft Project 1/30  Day 9/356

Craft Parties I'm Linking to:

Nothing But Country       Lovely Crafty Home Sunburnt Cow Handmade Shop A Crafty SoireeRunning with Glitter

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Week in Review -- Week 1

In order to stay on track, I plan to review my yearly goals each week and summarize my accomplishments.

This week I didn't accomplish nearly as much as I hope as both Zazu (my 17 month old daughter) and I were sick. First thing Monday morning (my birthday), I was greeted by Zazu standing in a puddle of puke in her crib. Poor Baby and Happy Birthday to Me! At first, I thought Zazu drank too much pool water the previous day, but as the day went on I realized she was very sick. My sister treated me, Zazu and Kaylicious (my three-year-old daughter) to lunch at DuClaw Brewing Co. and that evening The Count (my husband) brought home my favorite Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza Veggie Lovers Pizza minus the mushrooms and olives and plus pineapple (best pizza ever!) and Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Playground Cake (best cake ever!). If I was starving to death, I think this is the meal I would dream about. The Count and Kaylicious sang happy birthday to me multiple times at Kaylious' request. She blew the candle out for me each time. She is such a cutie!

On Tuesday, I took Zazu to the pediatrician and discovered that she had pink eye in both eyes and Strep Throat. On Wednesday, I took Zazu back to the pediatrician covered in hives. It turns out she is allergic to Amoxicillin. The pediatrician told me she can never have any medicines in the penicillin family again, because the allergic reactions tend to get worse each time. Scary stuff! By Thursday, I was feeling super run-down myself and ended up getting Strep Throat too.  The sore throat subsided within the first day of taking antibiotics, but the accompanying cough does not want to go away. I am not sleeping well at night, because I hack and choke relentlessly when I try to lay down, no matter how many pillows I prop myself up on. Please send some healthy thoughts my way!

All in all it wasn't a terrible week.  I spent many, many hours snuggling with my kids, especially Zazu.  Even though it was because we were sick, it  still felt nice, and I did get started on a few things on my list.

Here are the things I did accomplish this week:
  • Go on 30 Girls Nights/Outings without the kids -- 1 down/29 to go
  • Read 100 Different Books to Each of My Kids - 4 down/96 to go
  • Talk to a Friend or Family Member (not my immediate family) Everyday - Check!
  • Make One Meaningful Connection Each Day - Check!
  • Get Outside for 15 Minutes Minimum Each Day (Weather Permitting) - Check!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Toddler & Pre-schooler Activity Link Party

One of my parenting goals for this year is to find more fun ways to interact and connect with my little ones. Please join my link party. I'm looking for any and all inexpensive or free suggestions. Single Activities or Lists are both appreciated!

Please follow Counting on Me on Google Friend Connect and link back to this post using the following code:

101 Things To Do With Your Toddler

One of my goals for this year is to do everything on this list at least once with my little girls.
  1. Color
  2. Blow Bubbles
  3. Play Hide-and-Seek
  4. Peek-a-Boo
  5. Play Chase
  6. Do Finger-plays
  7. Sing a song
  8. Collect rocks in a basket
  9. Make an obstacle course out of cushions and/or furniture
  10. Make a fort out of cushions and sheets
  11. Go for a Walk
  12. Make a Car out of a Box
  13. Read a book
  14. Go to the park
  15. Finger-paint
  16. Play with Play-Dough
  17. Toss Bean bags into a Bucket
  18. Play the shell and pea game
  19. Dance to music
  20. Download games for toddlers from the Internet
  21. Practice putting things in and taking things out of boxes and bags
  22. Make a temporary slide out of a table leaf and your couch
  23. Roll a ball back and forth on the floor
  24. Scoop dirt or sand into a child's bucket (or use a serving spoon and bowl)
  25. Practice climbing by stacking boxes on top of each other (only with adult supervision)
  26. Put on a puppet show
  27. Go fishing with a yard stick and yarn
  28. Make a Horseshoe game
  29. Make a Shape Puzzle
  30. Play paper basketball
  31. Run through a Sprinkler
  32. Play with a bucket of water and a sponge (PLEASE WATCH CHILD AT ALL TIMES!)
  33. Make a Drum out of an oatmeal box
  34. Play with a kazoo
  35. Wash windows together
  36. Bang on Pots and Pans with a spoon
  37. Brush each other's teeth
  38. Play dress-up with stuffed animals and your child's clothes
  39. Stack canned or boxed food on top of each other
  40. Let child stack mixing bowls inside each other
  41. Make a playhouse out of a large box
  42. Let child play with a sticker sheet (make sure your child doesn't eat them!)
  43. Put stickers on fingers for finger puppets
  44. Play a musical instrument together- i.e.recorder, piano, etc.
  45. Go on a Smelling Hunt
  46. Frost Cookies
  47. Plant a flower or vegetable plant together
  48. Roll a tennis ball into an empty trash can or bucket
  49. Draw on a mirror with dry-erase markers
  50. Play hide and seek together- trying to find a stuffed animal or other object
  51. Have a splash party together in the bathtub
  52. Put a leash on a stuffed animal and walk around the house
  53. Record each other on a tape recorder (great for scrapbooks or journals!)
  54. Make and try on paper hats
  55. Give a piggy-back ride
  56. Play "Horsey"
  57. Talk into an electric fan (it distorts your voice)
  58. Play tug-of-war with a blanket
  59. Collect flowers (felt, artificial, real...)
  60. Make a camera and go on a Safari
  61. Play games with frozen juice lids
  62. Disconnect your phone and pretend to make phone calls to relatives
  63. Leave your phone connected and really make phone calls to relatives- let your child talk too
  64. String large beads onto or along a shoelace
  65. Squirt each other with squirt bottles
  66. Glue shapes onto paper
  67. Make sock puppets
  68. Make paper puppets
  69. Fill an old purse with toys
  70. Use a paper towel tube as a megaphone
  71. Make binoculars and go "Bird Watching" or "Stuffed Animal Watching"
  72. Put snacks in different fun containers (paper sacks, empty canisters, etc.)
  73. Act out a story from a book
  74. Walk on a balance beam- use a 2x4 placed on the ground
  75. Draw with chalk on the sidewalk
  76. Sketch an outline of your child on the sidewalk or paper with chalk
  77. Paint child's palms with tempura paint and blot on paper. Makes a great card for loved ones!
  78. Put lipstick on child and kiss a mirror
  79. Make a puddle on cement and splash barefoot in it
  80. Let child decorate and eat an open peanut butter sandwich
  81. Make a toilet paper barricade for child to go under, over, or through
  82. Do the Hokey Pokey
  83. Make a super-hero costume out of household items
  84. Do Knee-Bouncing Rhymes
  85. Play "Red Light, Green Light" saying "Go" and "Stop"
  86. Make a shoe-box train for stuffed animals
  87. Make a pillow pile to jump on (keep it clear from any hard surfaces, including walls!)
  88. Make an easy puzzle with felt and Velcro
  89. Make bracelets or collars for stuffed animals out of pipe cleaners and jingle bells
  90. Learn numbers from a deck of cards
  91. Play the matching game with a deck of cards
  92. Make a domino chain
  93. Have a picnic in the park, backyard, or living room!
  94. Play dress up in Mommy or Daddy's clothes
  95. Make a tin cup telephone and talk to each other in it
  96. Make a nature collage
  97. Mirror each other
  98. Make a "Mummy Mommy" with toilet paper
  99. Make a tape recording of short music selections and instructions to move in different ways
  100. Make and walk along a toilet paper trail
  101. TAKE A NAP!

I found this list on the forums of my local chapter of The Mommies Network. If you are a mom of young children and not already a member of The Mommies Network, I highly recommend joining!  The Mommies Network has been a both tremendous resource and source of support and friendship for both me and my daughters.

Want to do all these things with your children too.  Here's a free printable checklist:

Goals For This Year

You control your future, your destiny. What you think about comes about. By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be - Mark Victor Hansen

This is a preliminary list of thing I'd like to accomplish this year.  In time, I will more clearly define these goals,  add sub-goals, and mark off my accomplishments:

Household Goals:
Put Photos in All My Empty Frames and Hang Them
Stop Living in What the FlyLady Calls CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome)
  • Unclutter and Organize My Entire Home
  • Conquer the Laundry -- Wash Dry and Put Away 250 Loads
  • Love Everything in my closet
  • Only Buy/Keep Things I Really LOVE
  • For Every One Thing that Can't Be Consumed that I Bring Into Our Home, Get Rid of Three
  • Load, Wash & Put Away 250 Loads of Dishes
  • Get Shelves to Organize and Corral the Girls' Toys
Fitness/Health Goals:
Do a Handstand
Do a Back Bend
Lose 38 Pounds & Fit Comfortably Into a Size 8
  • Go to the Gym 150 Times
  • Walk 300 miles
  • Bike 400 Miles
  • Swim 20 Miles

Food-Related Goals:
Try 50 New Recipes
Create a Monthly Menu and Follow it

Making Time for Myself:
Read 30 Books
Complete 50 Craft Project
Get 25 Spa Services
Go on 30 Girls Nights/Outings without the kids

Parenting Goals:
Read 100 Different Books to Each of My Kids
Do 50 Craft Projects with the Kids
Go to 30 different Playgrounds/Parks
Bring my Daughters' 365 Project Blogs Current
Make a Baby Book for My Youngest Daughter
Do Everything On My Toddler Activity List (See List)
Go on a Family Vacation

Being Thankful/Giving Back/Connecting:
Send More Cards/Thank You Notes -- At Least 60
Talk to a Friend or Family Member (not my immediate family) Everyday
Make & Deliver 12 Meals for Friends/Family Who Need Help
Donate at Least One Bag Full of Stuff to Goodwill/Purple Heart Each Month

Financial Goals:
Pay Down Debt
Create an Emergency Fund of $1000
Start Paying for Everything in Cash/Stop Using Credit Cards
Do Our 2010 Taxes Soon and Our 2011 Taxes Before April
Apply for Financial Aid to Go Back to School

Educational Goals:
Go Back to School in September
Apply to a Sonography Program

Marriage Goals:
Go on 50 Dates With My Husband
Go Away Together for a Weekend without the Kids
Make One Meaningful Connection Each Day

Green Goals:
Use Re-useable Bags/ Start Keeping Them in the Car
Start Composting
Try Making My Own Green Cleaning Products
Get Outside for 15 Minutes Minimum Each Day (Weather Permitting)

I've heard that people who write their goals down are much more likely to achieve them.  Tell me, do you write your goals down and if you do, do you think it helps? 4/361
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