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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Lace Top Box Dress Tutorial

If you "like" my facebook page, you would have seen that I did, in fact, make my girls Easter dresses this year. Yes, I know that was soooo 4 months ago. I am not so patiently waiting on some photo prints to arrive in the mail so that I can finish and show you my current project, so I thought I would do a little backtracking for now.

These pictures are more recent than Easter. A few days ago, the oldest two girls and I had fun doing a little photo shoot. :)

I let the girls choose their styles, as long as I can coordinate them somehow. This year, I really wanted to make them all lace dresses, but the lack of color caused a mutiny. In the end, I made an executive decision and went with navy and white, pairing them with brightly colored accessories.

Halley's dress was her own, original design. She wanted it to be more modern and casual than the dresses I usually make. She is getting older and, ahem, more mature I suppose. I wasn't sure about the lace at the top, but I think it really breaks up the chevron nicely. She wins. Again.

The back is solid chevron without the lace.

 Like every year, I waited until a week or so before Easter to begin. I work best under pressure. This dress was so fast and easy! I was not blogging at the time, but I like to take a few pictures when I am sewing something new so that I can remember what I did later. So, I will share it with you for a tutorial.

I ordered oxford blue chevron jersey knit from Girl Charlee. (I was so happy with all of the knit fabric I ordered and they have great prices!)

My daughter wears a size 10-12 right now so those are the measurements I am giving. Cut two pieces of knit fabric 20" wide by 32" long. The stretch should go across the width of the fabric.

Next, keeping both the front and back pieces stacked together, trim an inch from the top 6" on each side, then cut in a little curve for the armpits and flare it back out to the full width. I think the picture shows this a little better than I can explain.

Put the back of the dress aside for now. Take the front of the dress and cut off the top 4 1/2".

Cut a piece of lace 5" high and 16" wide for the top of the front dress piece. Cut a little curve out at the neck.

Sew the lace to the top of the dress. I did mine on the serger. You could also use a stretch stitch and zig zag the edges. Be careful when sewing- the lace tends to shift. It would also work to make the lace a little wider and trim the edges and neck after sewing.

Then, just sew the front and back of the dress together at the shoulders and sides (right sides together, of course). Finish the raw edges at the neckline and arms by turning under and sewing with a double needle. I used Wash Away Wonder Tape and it worked great for holding everything in place! I know I already showed this picture above, but I love how neat and tidy those edges turned out!

I did the bottom hem by turning under and sewing with a double needle. I actually had to redo it because the first time I used regular thread and it snapped when she squatted in her dress. (Um, hello? Do we need lessons in how to act like a lady while wearing a dress? Apparently.) I bought some wooly nylon thread and it seems to have much more stretch now.

Oh, and that yellow sash? That is the bottom of a dress I hemmed for myself. It is currently the one in my profile picture over on the right sidebar at the top. :)

Eventually I plan on blogging about the other 4 dresses, so hang in there. OK? In the meantime I have A LOT of sweet corn to freeze!

Link Parties where I sometimes hang out...

Friday, August 7, 2015

Summertime Pinterest Recipes ~ Tested and Approved

I have been really enjoying trying out new recipes with the bountiful summer harvest! The past few weeks, I have discovered some REALLY good ones!

Zucchini ricotta galette- oh, that just sounds fancy! It looks as pretty as its name, doesn't it? The crust is flaky and wonderful, with just a hint of tartness. The filling and zucchini/summer squash are OK, but the crust is what really makes this dish.

I pinned this roasted veggie mix idea a few years ago. Well, there weren't really any specific directions for it, so I just put it what we had- summer squash, zucchini, carrots, red potatoes, green beans, cherry tomatoes, onion, and a sweet potato. I tossed everything with olive oil and sprinkled with both fresh and dried oregano, garlic salt, and pepper. I roasted it at 350 until the potatoes were done. This picture was the before. The after was just as beautiful and colorful. It was sooooo good!!! The sweet potato was literally fought over. Next time I will add more. The cherry tomatoes and green beans were not as good because their cooking time is shorter.

I am a HUGE fan of crock pot recipes! They are just as awesome in the summertime because I don't have to heat up my kitchen with the oven. I made THESE smashed red potatoes twice now and they are AWESOME!!! I also tried crock pot green beans with bacon, but I skipped the soy sauce and garlic so it was pretty bland. I am not a big soy sauce fan, but I think garlic salt would have been good. 

I also have been trying some grilled recipes. That is another way to keep the heat out of the kitchen. I made grilled pizza the other night (dough recipe HERE). Well, I had a hard time working the dough out into circles with no counter available, so they shapes were awful. My son thought one looked like the shape of America. Also, the grill ran out of gas about halfway through, so I had to take them inside to broil and melt the cheese. They tasted great, though! My son and I made my homemade pizza sauce fresh from his tomatoes. We used fresh herbs, too. Really, there is nothing like it!

Salads are my new "thing" as well! I used to be a very picky eater (no green veggies) but now I am all grown up and stuff so I like them. ;) It does help to have things like bacon to coerce me a bit. Plus, they are also good for light summer meals on hot days. THIS spinach salad with warm bacon dressing was super yummy!

My absolute FAVORITE new recipe is The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Taco Salad. Now, I didn't use the avacado or cilantro, but my family has proclaimed it to be the best salad ever. No picture, though. :( Just imagine it looking exactly like hers. Haha! Not really.

Anyway, I have a Pinterest Check-Offs board if you want to join in- just send me your e-mail so I can add you- and we can collaborate on which Pinterest recipes we have tried and liked!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Doll Sewing

I think I just about have my toddler put to sleep here. But, I am just going to hold her for awhile to make sure. It sure is hard to get her to take regular naps with all of her sisters home for the summer.  Eventually she just crashes. About 5 second before I started typing I felt her head go limp against my arm. She is pretty snugly right now. :)

Anyway, when I was on a blogging break, I did a lot of doll sewing. The girls had so many projects waiting for me to do and as soon as I closed the shop I was expected to jump on it!

This outfit was a prototype for THIS dress and the leggings were made from a thrifted T shirt. (Hannah had a pair of leggings made with the rest of the shirt and these were the scraps.) 

This dress was made from two different shirts using the Salina Dress pattern and I even attempted a flat felled seam in the front. I was pretty proud of how crisp that turned out! I also changed it to a slight high-low hem to use the original shirt.

My 9yo, Isabelle, finally got her new apron- I will have to show you that sometime- and I made a matching apron for her doll!

My niece got an apron and oven mitts for her doll, too. I used THIS pattern.

Isabelle made herself a nightgown last year with this flannel she chose. The doll dress was half finished on my sewing table for a long time and I just gave up and finished it for her. Procrastination might be an inherited trait. ;) It is just a peasant dress with a ruffle on the bottom.

She really does like to help me sew. She helped quite a bit with this assortment of doll clothes for charity. The Oliver & S Popover dress was an easy one! I extend the top up an inch or so and just use bias tape instead of adding a yoke. I like to sew in a bit of lace in the front. Isabelle likes to sew the side seams.

I also made some Twirly Lace dresses. That really is an easy pattern!

My 2yo niece got a doll diaper bag set for her birthday. The wipes are just squares of flannel in a tissue cozy. Isabelle sewed that, too.

Now, the big project I am working on right now- well, one of them- is bedding for my 7yo's doll bunk bed. It was her Christmas gift, and part of that included choosing the fabric for the bedding. Worst fabric shopping trip ever. Honestly, that is saying a lot with my girls' track record lately. I made the sheets and pillowcases, but now I am working on quilts. I couldn't just go with simple. It will take awhile.

Well, noisy sisters ended that nap! Ugh. Well, I was done with the post, so at least it was good timing.

I think that catches us up on the doll sewing things around here. I love seeing what other people make, so I hope this may be inspiring to others. Maybe it will give you some ideas for sewing with kids. Even noisy big sisters.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Doll Diapers and Dresses

Today I have a very special guest post. This summer the girls and I have been doing a lot of craft projects. I am trying to keep them busy so that they don't find their own ways to entertain themselves. As I mentioned before, one of my tactics for making my daughters dread Joann's Fabric Store less is to allow them to choose a fat quarter when they are on sale. My daughter, Halley, and I used some of them to make doll diapers and dresses. I let her use my camera to photograph them and now she is going to tell you a little more about them while I bake cupcakes with her sister and make lunch...


Hi, I'm Halley! My mom and I made dresses and diapers for my Baby Alive doll, Mandy Grace. The outside of the diapers are made out of fat quarters from Joann's Fabric Store. The inside is made of flannel scraps.We used velcro to attach the flaps to the front of the diaper, and a little strip of elastic in the back so they don't fall off of the doll. 
Here are all of the diapers we made.
Here is the  reversible dress, along with the matching diaper we made out the leftover fabric. We used a tiny bit of other fabric to cut out a little heart and sew on. We also used a little bias tape leftover from my Sunrise Dress.

Here  is the other side of the reversible dress  made out of the same fabric as the heart on the other side of this dress.

We also made a Reversible criss-cross dress that matches two of the diapers we made. The pattern was no longer available. They did have picture of the pattern, though! Unfortunately it was taken at a weird angle. So my mom drew a picture of the pattern. It worked, but unfortunately it was a little too big for Mandy.

Here is the other side. We didn't use velcro, instead we used snaps. Let's just say my mom isn't too experienced with snaps. She had to rip them out a couple of times.

Well, that about sums it up.Thanks for stopping by and checking out my first ever post!


Thank you, Halley! Yes, she is brutally honest. ;) I did make some adjustments to my pattern and I have it all worked out now, so I will probably make more of the criss-cross dresses. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Baked Zucchini Gratin

I can't believe I haven't shared one of my FAVORITE zucchini recipes on the blog before! Baked zucchini gratin is one of the first zucchini dishes I ever tried. Yum...

Slice zucchini about 1/4" thick or less and layer in a baking pan. You can also throw some sliced onion in there, but I usually don't cause some people (i.e. myself) are picky. This time I was using yellow zucchini (peeled- see last sentence) and I sliced it with my food processor.

Melt a half stick of butter and drizzle that goodness all over the zucchini.

Spread shredded mozzarella over the zucchini.

Melt the other half stick of butter and stir in bread crumbs and grated Parmesan.

Sprinkle it on top of the zucchini and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until you can stab the zucchini with a fork and it is tender.

This stuff is so good!

Baked Zucchini Gratin

4 c. sliced zucchini
1 medium onion, sliced thin (optional)
1 stick butter, divided
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cups plain, dry bread crumbs
1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese

In a 9 x 13 baking pan, layer onion and zucchini slices. Melt 1/2 stick of butter and drizzle over zucchini. Top with mozzarella. Melt remaining butter and mix in bread crumbs and Parmesan. Sprinkle evenly over the top of mozzarella layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Our zucchini plants are going crazy, so I am always trying new zucchini recipes. Here are some other ones I have posted in the past:

Zucchini Alfredo
Zucchini Crab Cakes
Zucchini Pie
Zucchini Bread
Zucchini Chocolate Cake

Friday, July 17, 2015

Pinterest Recipes ~ Tested and Approved


When I am menu planning, I like to look for new recipes on Pinterest. I never know if they are going to be good or not, so I like to hear from other people that they have tried it and liked it. So, I thought I would share some of the recent recipes I have tried and liked!

Last night I made grilled honey mustard chicken (I didn't have dijon and had to use regular mustard) and it was great! (Well, to be honest, the grill ran out of gas and it took a lot longer to make than it should have, but that was not the fault of the recipe. #keepingitreal)

I also made creamy potatoes and peas. We have a few peas in our garden so I thought this would be a nice recipe to try. I added bacon as one commenter suggested, but you couldn't really taste it, so I felt like it was wasted bacon.

Other things I have tried and loved...

Pioneer Woman's Cheesy Cauliflower Soup. This was awesome! I usually make soup on Thursday nights during the fall and winter. I think this is a nice, lighter alternative to potato soup.

Skinny Turkey and Wild Rice Soup. We raised our own turkeys last year- one of them was 30 pounds! The others were 17-27 pounds and I had to get creative with the leftovers. This soup was the ticket! I have even frozen it- we ate some yesterday for lunch. I don't usually add the half-and-half. Sometimes I add a little milk, but it doesn't need it because it is already creamy and delicious!

Monte Cristo Sandwiches. If we have ham lunchmeat, this is one of my go-to-last-minute suppers. I had never even heard of these sandwiches before, but we love them!

Taste of Home's 40-minute Hamburger Buns. I made these a few weeks ago when we wanted burgers but didn't have buns. I usually do pretzel buns, but I was in the mood to try something new. I did let mine rise a little longer- maybe a half hour or so. They turned out great! Not too dense, which I was worried about with less rising time.

Have you tried any new recipes lately? I would love to hear about it! I can also add you to my Pinterest Check-Offs board if you send me your e-mail address. :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Unicorn Doll Quilt

Well, I kinda' had a quilt finish this year.

You see, I will let my girls pick out fat quarters at Joann's when they are on sale. Let me remind everyone that fabric shopping with 5 girls in tow is NOT fun- for me, them, and the store employees. Recently, Grace picked out this one with unicorns and hearts in pink and purple. I mean, what is not to love for a (then) 3yo girl? She soon insisted that her pink cheetah (which had been confiscated) was cold and needed a quilt. Well, I was in the mood to play along and sew something quick and easy.

I had some quilt blocks, border fabric, and binding left over from quilt I made between 2006-2011. (You might be able to spot some of them on my quilt page HERE.) So, I give myself bonus points for using up old scraps. :)

I just pieced the simple 4-patch blocks together, added a border, quilted diagonals, and bound it.

Grace didn't like the quilting on it because it was visible on the unicorn side. Too bad.

Then, my 7yo took some pictures for me after the leopard and cheetah were reunited with their new quilt. 

Happy kids + Very old scraps used up = Success.