Category Archives: Kids

2012 Goals Check-Up: January


It’s now the beginning of February and I’m wanting to check in on how I’m doing towards my goals for the year as of the end of last month.

  1. Sew more clothes for myself and the kids. In Progress/This is actively being worked on. I am working on scrubs for my new job (Yay!), some wardrobe essentials I’m sadly lacking, and I plan to make the girls’ Easter dresses.
  2. Boost my little side business, sewing custom clothing and alterations. This will become a priority this month.
  3. Complete the BSN portion of my RN to MSN Education degree. I’m nearly finished my first course. At my current rate I’ll be done my BSN portion of my education by October 2012. Woo hoo!
  4. Save money for our first house. We are budgeting and saving! Yay! We plan to rent a house this spring, for 12 months, and then buy after that lease is up.
  5. Improve my relationship with Bill and the kids. In Progress/Some days are better than others, but I am trying my best.
  6. Finish one knitted item. I started working on my in progress vintage sweater last weekend. I’ve been working on it when I have nothing to do. I hope it’s done by fall.
  7. Walk the neighborhood at least 3-4 days a week. This will not happen until spring, I’m sure. I have been working out 3-5 days a week at the gym, though. Yay me!
  8. Organize my sewing area and bedroom. Sewing area is in progress. Bedroom is a beast and very overwhelming. I’ll get to it soon. We’re planning on moving and I need to get that stuff under control so we can pack and go when we need to.


New Year, New Goals


So, it’s time for a new year and time for new goals. Last year’s goals were not too bad, really. I did a few of them, which is better than none I think. Here’s the recap:

  1. Rebuild my wardrobe. – This is still in progress by the end of 2011 and I’ve made significant progress. I got rid of a TON of clothing (donated/freecycled) and I have been steadily building a really wearable wardrobe that I love.
  2. Get my craft mojo back! – I hardly did any knitting or crocheting, but I did get my craft mojo seriously going with decorating projects and sewing.
  3. Cull excess crap from my surroundings and life. – I got rid of all the excess knitting/crocheting supplies that I was NEVER going to use and no longer loved. Yay! I also moved my sewing space from the bedroom into the great room and reorg’ed it a bit. It still needs more organization work, though.
  4. Land my first RN job! – I got my RN license and got my first job! Yay! I start Jan. 2012!
  5. Get our finances in better order. – This finally started happening around the end of the year. I got into bulk cooking which has saved us a LOT of money, and we’ve been doing less frivolous spending.
  6. Prepare to buy our first house. – Didn’t happen.
  7. Devote more energy into my relationship with Bill. – Made some small improvements, but there’s still a TON of room left to be better.
  8. Devote more energy into my relationships with Evie and Abbie. – I think I made pretty good strides with this, but there’s always room for improvement.
  9. Try out for another play! – I’ve decided to not try out for acting gigs for now. I got involved in costuming and really love it.
  10. Prepare for my first competitive run. – Yeah, um, didn’t happen. My large rear end was way too comfy to sit on this year.
  11. Go out and sing karaoke! – Didn’t happen.

I’m actually pretty proud of how much I did do as far as my goals this past year. Yay me! Now, this year I want to accomplish the following… or at least make progress towards these things:

  1. Sew more clothes for myself and the kids. I really want more dresses. I also want to make myself a pair of pants that fit me well. I’m currently in process of preparing my dream winter coat for sewing, so that will be first on the list to get done.
  2. Boost my little side business, sewing custom clothing and alterations. I have 5 potential dresses to make this coming year. I need to confirm them asap and make sure I have satisfied customers so they can recommend me to others.
  3. Complete the BSN portion of my RN to MSN Education degree. I’m starting Jan. 2, 2012 with Western Governor’s University. I really think this is totally doable. I’d like to get my MSN within 2 years, tops.
  4. Save money for our first house. We are tightening our belts a bit so we can start saving for a down payment. Now is really the time for us to buy so we just need to get our money in order for it.
  5. Improve my relationship with Bill and the kids. I adore my family and need to make sure they are aware of that daily.
  6. Finish one knitted item. I have a sweater for myself and one for my mother in the works. I need to FINISH something. Even if I don’t love doing it anymore I want to make sure I finish what I promised to do.
  7. Walk the neighborhood at least 3-4 days a week. My large rear end is SUPER comfy, but.. it’s a big BUTT, and I want to get it just a little smaller. So I need to start moving, regularly. Not in the hyper spurts that I tend to do. I have severe motivation issues and lose steam with most exercise, but I really enjoy walking my neighborhood. It’s scenic and peaceful, so I need to use that to my advantage and do something.
  8. Organize my sewing area and bedroom. They both need SERIOUS help. This is a big challenge for me as I’m kind of chaos incarnate and don’t really have an organized bone in my body. lol But I gotta try.

I think that’s it. Fewer things than last year, but things that are far more important to me at this point.

I hope you all have a happy, prosperous and safe New Year!

Tutorial: Rehabbed Steamer Trunk = AWESOME Princess Dress-Up Trunk!


At the beginning of December I was browsing in my local Salvation Army Family Store and saw this bright BLUE steamer style trunk. I instantly thought “Ooo… that would make a great dress-up trunk for the girls!” It was $9.99 and SERIOUSLY BLUE! See:


SERIOUSLY BLUE! OMG! It was an eyesore, for sure! And here’s what it looked like on the inside:

The horrendous inside!

Yeah, that was splinter city! Well here’s what I did to fix it into something AMAZING: (Numbers not only indicate steps, but how many days I worked on this.)

  1. Painted a single coat of matte white indoor/outdoor paint on the trunk. I did this kinda sloppy as I knew I’d just be going over the trim in gold anyways. I painted it white to make sure that the hideous BLUE would not show through the paper I was planning to decoupage onto the trunk. Let dry for a few hours, then hid it before the kids got home from school.
  2. Painted the trim in a metallic gold acrylic craft paint. I think I did roughly 2 coats to make sure it was covered well.  Let dry for a couple hours and then hid it before the kids got home from school.
  3. Cut wrapping paper down to size (roughly) and glued in place with Mod Podge. Trimmed excess paper. I made sure to cover ALL exposed external surfaces (even inside the central clasp).  Let dry for a couple hours. Touched up the trim with a gold acrylic paint pen. Let that dry for an hour or two and then quickly hid it before the girls got home from school.
  4. Hauled the trunk to the back deck and sprayed it with a good coat of satin finish clear acrylic. Let dry, then drug back into the house to hide before the girls got home.
  5. Repeat of Day 4.

    After Day 5 - Outside is DONE!

  6. Cut foam core poster board to size for the inside surfaces. Covered with blue satin salvaged from thrift store curtains using staples for the inside lid pieces and Goop Craft glue for the bottom surfaces so the clothes wouldn’t get snagged by possibly exposed staples.  Glued the bottom in place to see if the Goop Craft would do the trick. Luckily it did! Hurridly hid the trunk before the girls got home.

    Day 6 - Foam Core Boards and Satin

    Day 6 - Bottom glued in place.

  7. Finished covering the foam boards and gluing them in place insde the trunk. Used clothespins as clamps. Worked great! Once dry I hid it for the last time.

    Day 7 - All DONE!

  8. Brought it out LATE Christmas Eve and filled it with Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, and Tinkerbell dress up clothes and accessories. Then displayed it in front of the tree.
  9. Kids LOVED IT!

Here’s what I used and how much it cost:

  • Trunk – $9.99 @Salvation Army Family Store
  • 1 Roll of floral wrapping paper – $1 from Dollar Tree
  • White paint – Had from another project
  • Gold paint – Had from another project
  • Gold paint pen – Had from another project
  • Mod Podge – Had from another project
  • Goop Craft Glue – $6 @A.C. Moore
  • Blue Satin Curtains (used less than one panel) – Two panels for $2 @ local thrift store
  • Clear Acrylic Spray Sealant – $3 @ True Value Hardware

My total = $21

It’s beginning to look a lot like…


…the Christmas Spirit threw up all over my house. Well, it’s not that bad, yet. Yet being the operative word. The girls and I have been busy the past month making ornaments for our tree, and other holiday crafts. Here’s a sample of what we’ve done:

All of the projects are inspired by Pinterest. Here are the details:

First, I whipped up these holiday decorations in about 5 minutes while the kids were in school. The instructions can be found here.

I absolutely LOVE them! They suit my taste/style perfectly! I removed the bells from the back of the deer before gluing down so they would be somewhat flat against the glass. It cost me $3 to make both. The ornaments were 2/$1 and the frames were $1 each at Dollar Tree. I already had the scrapbook paper. These will go on the mantel.

Next up, ornaments!

The girls and I worked on Santa ornaments first. I used this blog post for instructions and modified them to suit the supplies I had on hand.

We made a total of 5 and I need to finish them. I need to add some embroidery floss to hang them with and I’m thinking I might want to add a strip of black felt to make a belt, but I’m not sure.

Making the Santa ornaments inspired me to fiddle around and create a Mrs. Claus. Here’s what I came up with:

Isn’t she just too stinking cute?! I love her to bits! I need to make 4 more now.

Living in Maryland means we sometimes have snow on Christmas, but it’s not guaranteed.  Well, the girls and I decided we would make sure we have snow on Christmas every year. First we made some Model Magic snowflakes following this tutorial.

We were able to get 11 snowflakes out of 2 packages of Model Magic. I didn’t want to make them too thin so they’d be sturdy once dried. They turned out pretty much awesome! I thought about drawing designs on them with red Sharpie, but I actually like them just the way they are. I hung them on our chandelier to dry, which took about 2 or 3 days.

One of my favorite experiments in high school chemistry was growing crystals. When I saw this blog post I just knew I needed to share that experience with my daughters. Science really can be stunningly beautiful! Here’s how our crystal flakes turned out:

In person they look like they are encrusted with diamonds. So darn pretty! I can’t wait to see them on the lit tree. The sparkles will just be amazing!

I’ve also been sewing. I have nothing to show, though, as I’m still in muslin stages on a couple of garments. As soon as I get some finished pieces I’ll be blogging about them. Also, I’ve been actively job hunting. I’m sick of living in this rental house and want to move ASAP, so I need an income sooner rather than later. It’s been a rather busy month.

That’s it! I’ve had enough!


How many times have you said that about your own children’s habits? Well, I had that experience this morning for the, um.. well I have lost count of how many times. It was over the TV in their room. Yes, they have a TV in their room. Yes, they watch WAY too much of it, which was my issue. But this morning I sent them to clean their room, and what should have taken 15 minutes tops (it really wasn’t very messy, shockingly) took 95 minutes because they kept stopping to watch TV. I removed the TV from their room about halfway through, and after the fits stopped the room actually got clean. So, after that was done my girls and I sat and talked about the TV and the habits they had with it. Working with them I came up with a set of rules for them to follow so they get to watch what they want to watch, but still do what they are supposed to without the TV distracting them. I ran them by my hubby and he was in agreement.

*I got the frame for this image from The Graphics Fairy. I recolored it and added the text in Photoshop CS4.*

Of course, this is only applicable until school starts, then the morning TV time is only on weekends (if we have no other plans after breakfast). The girls are aware of how it will change once school starts. So far today is going very well. It’s lunch time, their room is clean, the TV was off when the timer went off, and there was no fits thrown. We’ll see how tomorrow goes. I’ll be putting the printed rules in a clear acrylic document frame to hang by their TV.

Mainly, the goal of this is to get the kids to clean their room in a timely fashion when they are told to do so. I probably should have thought of something like this years ago, but really.. I’m not the structured and organized type. At all. And both of my kids need structure and organization. Yeah, um, that’s almost foreign to me, so I’m a little slow with figuring these things out with them.

I’m linking this up to:

August Goals


This month I want to:

Go swimming at least 2-3x per week, weather permitting

Do Zumba 3x per week

Make Bead Challenge Entry – DUE Aug. 17

Sew a blouse for myself and a new dress for both girls. Also, a dress for myself if I have time.

Refab a vintage dress.

Get ready for BACK TO SCHOOL!!! Shop, shop, shop and get into new routines. FIRST DAY Aug. 29

Recolor my hair.

These are the biggies that I really, really want to get done. Of course I have other goals that recur every month, but I’m not going to bother to list those.


Summer Side of Life


Schools out, the pool’s open and it’s hot with random thunderstorms almost daily. Yay for summer! We are planning to have a lot of fun this year. This week we will be swimming every chance we get at my in-laws’ pool. Also we have a few planned activities. This weekend we’re having some friends over to drink what is left over from my tiki party before my stepchildren come for their summer visitation on July 9th. It’s going to be a casual gathering, with us catching lightening bugs at dusk, playing tipsy laser tag in the yard, board games inside, Rock Band on the Xbox, etc.

Evie and Abbie will be participating in this great summer reading program:

Image belongs to Borders.

We’ve also signed up all the children for free bowling this summer!

Image belongs to AMF.

During the month the stepchildren are visiting we will be doing a couple day trips. One will be to Colonial Beach, VA. The other will be a visit to Antietam, MD.  The latter we are thinking will not be of much interest to the little girls, but we are sure the teens will enjoy it, so the little ones will get a day at the grandparents. There is a local archeological dig going on that my stepdaughter wants to get involved with, and there is a production at the local theater of Willy Wonka that a few of our family members are involved in. We’re thinking the teens might be interested in helping out as ushers, or maybe backstage. My friend, Heather Bartlett, is also having an Open Gallery Art Sale to sell off her work next month that I’m planning to attend.

And for days when we can’t do stuff elsewhere I have a file on the computer that I’m filling with activities and ideas for crafts/experiments that we can do around the house and in the yard.

Should be a fun summer!

Abbie’s New Purple Dress!


It wouldn’t be fair for me to make Evie a dress and not make one for Abbie. So, I let Abbie pick the pattern she wanted me to use and I made this for her while she was at a family reunion for about a week with her grandparents. That was a couple weeks ago, but today she wanted to wear it so I snapped the first pic of her in it. She’s so adorable in it!

Pattern – New Look 6907

Size – 5, this gives her a little room to grow as she’s petite for her size

Fabric – Either linen or cotton (very linen like texture and wrinkles if you look at it funny like linen) for the dress, quilt cotton for the contrast, all was in my stash for a long time. I also used a zipper I had already, and used purple thread.

Time – I guess it took me a total of about 4 hours. I spread that out over a few days so I could take my time. I didn’t get to fit it on Abbie as I went since she was out of town. I’m glad it fit her when it was done!

Lesson learned – I finally learned the value of finishing the edges on woven fabric. Evie’s dress has raveled on some of the unfinished edges (need to bind them now) and I make sure to zigzag stitch all of the edges of this dress before I sewed a single piece to another. Held up to washing SO MUCH BETTER! This was my first time doing patch pockets. So incredibly easy!

Abbie loves her new dress. Especially the pockets!

Evie’s New Blue Dress


I made Evie a new dress! I needed to keep my hands busy while I waited on my fabric order from Denver Fabrics for my little brown dress. She loves it!

Pattern – Simplicity 2677

Size – 6, this gives her a little room to grow as she’s petite for her size

Fabric – Unknown synthetic woven for the dress, quilt cotton for the contrast, all was in my stash for a long time. I also used a zipper I had already, and used purple thread (that matches some of the polka dots on the belt) instead of blue. It gives the dress a really nice detailed look.

Time – I guess it took me a total of about 5 hours. I spread that out over a few days so I could take my time, fit it on Evie as I went, and make sure I did it correctly.

Lesson learned – I’m no longer afraid of sewing in zippers! I literally tackled the zipper in this without a single intimidating thought. Yay! And I tried a new technique for gathering on the sleeves. So much faster and just as effective! I also added fusible interfacing to my pattern pieces as I’m sure this will be a dress made many times over as my girls get older.


Sew Disasterous!


So, I was plugging right along on my little brown dress using brown stretch sateen and this pattern:

I’m making it plain front like the first dress, short sleeved like the second dress, and v-neck like the third dress. Well, I didn’t read the directions fully before starting (MAJOR mistake that lead to subsequent mistakes) and ended up with really messed up things going on with the dress by the time I realized it. This dress is more challenging than anything I’ve sewn before, so it’s been a real learning experience. I’m not even going to attempt to rip the seams out at this point. That would be more than it’s worth. I just placed an order last night with Denver Fabrics for more fabric to make this dress over again. With my newly gained knowledge it should go off without too many problems the second time around. Luckily I got the fabric on clearance both times now so I’m not out much financially. And yes, I did make a muslin. The fit is fine, it’s the seams that are wonky all over the place. Oops.. Totally my fault. The pattern and instructions are pretty well flawless, if you read before you start. Instructions are what I look at after my attempt without them fails. lol

So, while I’m waiting for my new fabric to arrive I am going to make a dress for each of my little girls. First I’m making one for Evie with some solid cornflower blue fabric as the main dress fabric, and sky blue with multicolored polka dots fabric as the contrast fabric. I’m using this pattern:

It should be adorable when finished. I read a tip online somewhere about ironing patterns to fusible interfacing to increase the pattern’s durability. I did that just a few moments ago because I’m sure this will be a dress I make a few times as my girls get bigger.

For Abbie I’m not yet sure what fabric I’ll be using and I’ll be making this pattern:

Now Abbie and I are going to have some lunch and I’ll work on her big sister’s dress during nap time.