Saturday, November 26, 2011

Knot Top Sewing Project

One of my goals for the year is to do 50 craft projects before my 35th birthday.  I have definitely been crafting up a storm, but I haven't been so great about keeping up with all my projects here on my blog.  Kaylicious wore one of my sewing projects from September on Thanksgiving and that spurred me to post about it.  
McCall's Pattern M6387
Matilda Jane Percy Knot Dress

I absolutely love Matilda Janes's knot dresses and tops, but my debit card
 doesn't like them one bit.  So when JoAnn's had a sale on McCall's patterns in September, I scooped up McCall's M6387 -- Children's/Girls' Top, Jumpers, Detachable Aprons and Pants for $1.

Before this project, the last time I had successfully used a sewing pattern was in 8th grade Home Ec. Class.  The pattern was labeled as "Easy," but I was worried that it might turn out to be beyond my skill set.

The knot dress* top was a bit of a challenge to say the least, but in the end it turned out really cute.  The Count (my husband) helped me select the fabric and trim for this project.  I wanted the fabrics to go together without being too matchy matchy. The Count is surprising good at that sort of thing.  I am more of an completely matched or terribly clashing sort of fabric chooser.

*I had originally planned to make a knot dress, but I struggled so much with the upper ruffle that I couldn't bring myself to try it again with even more fabric for the lower ruffle.  Between broken and stuck thread while trying to gather the material, fabric that shouldn't have been part of the ruffle getting accidently stitched into the seam, and not being able to get the circumference of  my ruffled "skirt" to line up with the circumference of the bodice, my seam ripper and I became very well aquainted.  I am definitely going to need some more practice with gathering before I attempt this again.  If you have a tried and true method or know of a great tutorial that has worked for you when gathering two yards or so of fabric while making clothing for small children , please don't be shy.  I need help, please leave me a comment.

Two things I learned during this project that were much easier than I anticipated were how to make button holes and sew on buttons using my sewing machine.  If only the gathering had been that easy, my little ones would probably have a whole closet of these adorable tops and dresses by now.

As challenging as the process was for me, I love the end result.  The knot top is kind of tunic length right now and very versatile.  Here's Kaylicious sporting it on a warm day with capris:

The apron with its green monkey trim is detachable, but it really makes the top, so Kaylicious hasn't worn it without the apron.  The straps are adjustable, just untie them and re-knot however you like.  

Here she is wearing the same top with a white eyelet long-sleeve swimsuit cover up (Sometimes, it's good not to discriminate about season or purpose when it comes to your wardrobe.), thick brown knit tights and furry boots on Thanksgiving.
Isn't she a cutie?

I feel like I'm always crafting, but this is only my 5th project of the year that I have posted about.  I am going to work on catching up, so stay tuned for more craft projects soon.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and were able to enjoy some quality time with your loved ones.  If you're like most Americans, you probably also overdid it with the Thanksgiving goodies.  Did you know that to burn off the calories from the average Thanksgiving dinner you have to walk, jog, or run a full-length marathon?  That's 26.2 miles. Scary, huh?  Even scarier . . . the left-overs!  Many of you will eat that same meal again tomorrow and the next day.  Unless you're one of those wild and crazy ultra-marathoners (and I know a few of my followers are), I hope you will try to find some balance this weekend . . . a few less left-over Thanksgiving calories and a little more exercise.

The Infographic below breaks Thanksgiving dinner down by calories and by the miles of walking, running or jogging required to burn it off.

If you can't read the print, you can click the image for a larger view of the graphic or press Ctrl and + at the same time on your keyboard to enlarge everything on your screen. (Pressing Ctrl and - at the same time will decrease the size when you are done.)

A Thanksgiving Milestone for Me

Since this is Counting on Me, I thought I'd also share a little milestone that I celebrated today.  Today was the 22nd anniversary of the day I became a vegetarian.  That's 21 years meat free . . . no red-meat, no poultry, no pork, no seafood.  I chose Thanksgiving to officially go vegetarian because there are so many great meat-less side-dishes on Thanksgiving, I figured I would never miss the turkey.  I didn't miss it way back then and I never have since.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Playaway View: Have you seen these yet?

The library near our house, the Abingdon Branch of the  Harford County Public Library, is a fantastic and free resource for me as a mom of two small children and it just got even better.  They recently started lending the Playaway View.  In a single word, the Playaway View is AWESOME!  At 3¾ and and almost 2 respectively, Kaylicious and Zazu absolutely love them, and so do I.

The new Playaway View is so easy and so portable.  Our library allows me to check out two Playaway Views at a time and keep them for one week each.  I can carry them in my purse and hand them to the girls, while I am running errands or doing other tasks for which toddlers only have so much patience.  I love that I can give each child her own Playaway View, especially at times when they are not sharing well or can't seem to keep their hands to themselves. The Playaway Views are the perfect little distraction to help keep my girls from fighting with each other, crying, screaming or whining while we are out in public or for long car rides!

Playaway View is the first and only pre-loaded video player. Each View can hold multiple hours of digital video content while keeping with the Playaway promise of simple, portable and durable. With the best educational and entertainment content out there,  Playaway Views are currently exclusive to libraries
  • Pre-loaded with multiple videos
  • Full color LCD screen with shatter-resistant acrylic screen
  • Built-in speaker and optional headphone jack
  • Rechargeable internal lithium-polymer battery provides over 8 hours of continuous play
  • Simple 7 button functionality
  • Weighs only 5.4 ounces
Who's Playaway View For?
  • Toddlers/Kids: These durable devices can go wherever they go; with content from Sesame Street to Little Pim, it's a great way to learn and grow
  • Teens: Shakespeare, National Geographic and more—school-work has never been so fun
  • Busy parents: No downloads or internet needed; each View is pre-loaded with multiple videos from top studios across the nation
Have you tried the Playaway View Yet? If so, please leave me a comment with your or your child(ren)'s favorite titles. Sesame Beginnings and Sesame Street Numbers & ABCs are the only titles we've tried so far, but my daughters are already requesting countless other titles for the Playaway Views.  Our library has a decent-sized collection considering that they just started offering them, but I already can't wait for them to get even more titles.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I just discovered that Google is now offering Google+ Pages for businesses and brands, so I created a Google+ Page for Counting on Me.  If you're on Google+ you can find Counting on me here:

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