Monday, April 28, 2014

Mommy and Me Matching Skirts (and Headband) Tutorial

Happy Late Easter!

I've been a little too busy with school to blog much lately, but I've been up to lots of fun crafts in my brief moments of free time!

Growing up, my mom always bought skirts for me and my sister. It has been a tradition for a long time, so I was excited to continue that tradition for Zia's first Easter. With that tradition in mind, I bought some fabric a few months ago to make matching Easter skirts for me and my girl. :) We got lots of compliments, so I thought I'd share a little tutorial for anyone else who wants to make matching skirts. They're really easy!

These skirts were inspired by these skirts over at Handmade Mess.

Excuse the floppy socks on Zia... She has been walking for a while now, but she refuses to walk with shoes on. Because of that, she wore socks to church on Easter and tried to pull them off all day. :) Silly girl! On to the tutorial!

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 yards fabric (I used a thicker, denim-like fabric from JoAnn)
  • Elastic (at least 1 inch wide, but you can use any thickness)
  • Thread--1 spool that matches the fabric and 1 spool that matches the elastic
  • Sewing machine, pins, thread, scissors
  • Double needle (optional but helpful :) )
  • For headband: hot glue and extra elastic
First decide what size you want your skirts to be. You'll want to use a piece around 3/4 yard wide and however long you like your skirts. Add 2 1/2 inches to the length for seam allowance. Figure out the size for baby's skirt as well. Cut out your rectangles.

Next, zigzag or serge one of the long edges.

If you're using your sewing machine instead of a serger (like I did), try to serge right next to the edge to avoid fraying problems.

Next you will need to cut your elastic. Measure your waist, then subtract 1 to 2 inches from that number. You want it tight enough to stay on without being uncomfortable.

You can do the next step two ways. You can take the time to gather the fabric to be the same size as your elastic or fold in half, pin on the fold, and repeat until you have 5 or 6 pins evenly spaced. Do the same thing on your elastic, then match up your pins so that the fabric is gathered between the pins. (I hope that makes sense.) I used the second method.

After you've matched up those pins, add more pins, making sure the fabric gathers evenly. The fabric and elastic should overlap by 1/2 inch or so.

At this point you will want to use a stretch or zigzag stitch or a double needle. I switched to a double needle.

Sew along the elastic, stretching as you sew so that the elastic and fabric are both flat. Sew right next to the bottom edge of the elastic. It will look something like this. (Side note--using thread that matches your elastic makes any goofs a lot harder to see. ;) )

Laid flat, it will look like this.

I forgot to take pictures of some of the last steps (sorry!), but they're easy. All you need to do is put the two short sides of the skirt right side together and sew along that edge. Zigzag that edge to avoid fraying.

Before hemming, try the skirt on and make sure the length is right. Trim if necessary. (Zia's was waaaay too long, so we trimmed it down to size.)

Last but not least, fold the hem over 1/2 inch then 1 1/2 inches. Sew 1 1/4 inches from the bottom edge, and you're all done! (For the baby skirt, you might decide to do a smaller hem for a smaller skirt. I ended up doing that, but it's totally your preference!)

Now, to make a matching headband for baby....

Cut two rectangles of fabric 4x6 and another that's 2x6.

Sew the two larger pieces with right sides together, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance and leaving a little gap for turning. Trim corners, turn right-side-out, and press flat.

With the smaller rectangle, turn left side toward the middle, press. Repeat with the right side.

Topstitch 1/8 inch from the edge of both pieces.

Scrunch the center of the larger piece until you have the bow shaped just right. Use your glue gun to glue the folds shut in the very center.

Hot glue the center piece on top of the fold.

Flip over.

Cut your elastic to the right size (12-13 inches for a one-year-old). Hot glue in place on the fold.

Now trim down the center piece. You only need enough on each side to cover the elastic. Glue one side in place.

Fold the other side to cover the raw edge, then glue in place.

Ta-da! Easy, peasy! And adorable, too! :)

I know not all moms are thrilled with the idea of being matchy-matchy with their kiddos, but I think it's so much fun! 

Happy sewing! :)


Saturday, April 26, 2014

One More Year...

This post is a little more personal than my usual stuff, but these thoughts have been on my mind a lot lately, so I thought I'd share.

Finishing up this semester hasn't given me that relieved feeling I'm so used to feeling when the end of the school year rolls around. Instead, I just keep thinking, "One more year."

After general conference, Austin and I both had a really strong feeling that the way I had planned out school--finishing December 2015 then working while Austin went back to school--wasn't quite what Heavenly Father had in mind for us. We felt like it was putting our family on hold a little too long. Ever since then, I have felt so strongly that I need to get into gear and just push through these last few semesters, finishing a semester earlier than planned. That means taking heavy credit loads for three semesters (Summer, Fall, Spring) instead of having four of the easiest semesters of my college career. But it also means that I'll graduate in one year, be a certified American Sign Language interpreter that much sooner, and be able to move on with our family and life plans.

Even though that stresses me out, it also feels good. Good to know that Heavenly Father is watching out for us and has a plan for me, even if it wasn't quite what my little brain had in mind.

I have been more than a little jealous of all the people graduating this month. All the graduations mean we are losing some of our favorite neighbors, which we are pretty bummed about. I just have to keep thinking, "One more year," and pray that Heavenly Father will help me through this crazy time. It's hard to wrap my brain around all the changes that will be happening in our family next year. We will likely move. I will take my interpreting certification tests, complete an internship, graduate, and hopefully get a great job interpreting. If it's God's will, we might even add another person to our family (NOT a pregnancy announcement, don't worry. Just speculation). Austin has always wanted kids closer together (I think we are a little backwards in the kids department--he has always been the one to know it's time, while I tend to be a little slower to realize God's plan in that part of our life), and it is exciting to think that we might have another one before next year is done.

Thinking about all that can be pretty overwhelming. I will be up to my eyeballs in school for the next year, taking care of Zia, possibly having another baby soonish (if you follow me on Pinterest, that thought has been inspiring some of my pins lately...haha), taking up a 15-hour-a-week internship for a semester, all while trying to stay on top of my duties at home and church. Austin, sweetheart that he is, will be picking up a lot of the slack. He is going back to working part-time to accommodate my increasingly busy schedule, which also means we are taking out some student loans to help us survive. See what I mean by overwhelming?

But at the same time, I have never been so excited in my life. I am at such a happy, wonderful point in my life right now, but there is so much more waiting just around the corner. I have felt a lot of peace and comfort in the midst of my inner turmoil just by remembering that Heavenly Father has wonderful things planned for me. Life has never gone quite the way I planned, but it somehow always seems to go better. Meeting Austin when I least expected it, having Zia within our first year of marriage, and realizing that we might have two kids before Austin even goes back to work--all of that is something I never planned for myself. Yet those things bring me more joy than my old, boring plans ever could have brought.

Anyway, I hope that wasn't too personal. I know that most of the people who read my little old blog are just friends and family, so I felt okay about sharing it.

Did general conference bring any life-changing realizations your way?

Tissue Box Toy

Babies are funny. They can be entertained by the most random things. If you have ever let a little one near a tissue box, you have probably seen the glee that can come from such a simple thing, not to mention the mess! I accidentally left a box of tissues in Zia's reach a while ago, back when we all went through that awful cold, and she was absolutely thrilled! I left the room for a few seconds, and I returned to find the living room covered in white! After doing a little palm-forehead action, I quickly cleaned up the mess and moved the box out of her reach. The amount of joy she got from the tissues got me thinking, though. I wanted to make a toy like it that she could use again and again (without shredding expensive lotion tissues while we all have colds...haha). Now you can make your own! Introducing....

The Tissue Box Toy!

All you need are a few scraps of fabric around the same size as tissues and an empty tissue box. I serged around the edges of all the scraps that could fray, just to avoid any messes later on. Fold the fabric pieces in the box, and you're all set!

Now just let your favorite little one play with her new favorite toy! :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy First Birthday, Z!

Can you believe it? It actually happened. My baby girl turned one a few days ago.

I am still a little bit in shock! When I was pregnant, time seemed to drag on (probably because I was so tired of waiting for Zia to finally come!), but the days have flown by since her birth last year. I love every moment that I get to spend with my sweet, silly girl!

We went to the zoo for her big day, since she loves animal pictures and noises so much. Unfortunately, she was scared of every animal we saw--even the little rooster running around the grounds.

The rooster was kind enough to give us a good rooster call, but Zia was so scared! She loves the noise at home, but apparently it's a bit much with the real deal right in front of her! My cute mom came with us and was trying to comfort Z.
Poor little thing. We'll try it again next year. :)

I made her a cute outfit, which I never really got a good picture of, but here are some pictures from the day. :)

Crying after seeing the gorillas. All the animals seemed to be trying extra hard to impress the guests that day. Too bad Zia just wanted to get out of there! Also, she hates wearing headbands. That's why she isn't wearing the one I made in some of these pictures.

Me and my elephant-loving girl.
 Zia finally cheered up once we made our way over to the gift shop. She kissed every single thing that we let her hold. So cute!

 She was getting kind of stir crazy, so we let her run around for a minute (much to my germ-phobe-mom chagrin). She loved it. :)

Happy to be one!

After our long drive back home, we decided to go get Cafe Rio and Menchies to bring to Austin at work.

Isn't she precious? I sure feel lucky to have her in my life. The rest of the day had her practicing her walking skills a lot, and she has been doing so more and more every day! It is so fun to watch her toddle around. She is so proud of herself every time she gets from one point to another. :)

We also went to her one-year-old checkup yesterday. She is doing great! She is growing so fast and has gone from 17 inches tall at birth to 30 inches tall! It's crazy when you think about how fast babies sprout up. She currently weighs 22 lbs 2 oz.

She was finally old enough to play with the toys in the waiting room this time. She loved them!

22 lbs 2 oz means one big girl! She's gained about a pound a month since her last checkup.

Pre-checkup. Happy to be naked!

Post-checkup and shots...She had serious stranger danger with the doctor and did not like her shots one bit. She was tough, though! 
At age one Zia loves to read, sing, dance, crawl, sign, make people laugh, play the piano, walk, sew with me, "help" with the laundry, empty drawers, make funny faces, eat, look at pictures of family, play with shoes, take baths and showers, visit grandmas and grandpas, play peek-a-boo, cuddle, make animal noises...and much more.

Happy birthday, Zia girl! I love you!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Star Light Star Bright Quilt-A-Long Finished Quilt Top!

Well, friends, it took me long enough--but it's finally done! My Star Light Star Bright quilt top is finished. I got behind during midterms, and it has taken me forever to catch up. Anyway, I barely finished the top in time!

Finally finished up my block centers.

Finished my block sides and corners and ironed, ironed, ironed....

Assembled my blog pieces in piles to make sure I didn't mismatch things!

I was so happy to finally have my nine blocks all together! I played around with layout for way too long before I finally decided this was the only way I liked.

All I needed to do was add some sashing and voila!

The lighting is horrible for this one, but I did the best I could in our tiny living room. The hubs was nice enough to hold it up so I could get a better photo, but the colors are a little better in the previous picture.

I am really excited to quilt and bind this beauty! With Zia's birthday coming up so soon (9 days, say whaaaaat???), maybe it will be for her birthday! She doesn't really appreciate quilts at this age. Only fuzzy goodness for this little lady! She has three fuzzy blankies that she loves to death.

This gray one...

This pink one...

And this elephant one. (Have I ever told you how much she loves elephants? A lot.)

She literally gave that elephant fabric a kiss when we found it at JoAnn the other day. Too cute.

Anyway, maybe I will hold on to the quilt to give to her when she is old enough to appreciate it. Or maybe it will just be a lap quilt. We'll see. Like I said, I still have a good amount of work to do with the quilting and binding.

For my first quilt with actual blocks, this turned out pretty well! I really enjoyed my very first quilt-a-long, and I am hoping to do another one soon! Maybe during this summer, so I will have a little more free time to work on it. ;)

Thanks for reading!