Hugs for the Win

*Sarah Clark won the scarf! Sorry it took me over a month to update that info.*

 

One of the most fun parts of colder weather for me is scarves. To me, scarves are like walking around with a warm hug all day. They’re cozy and cute. They make any outfit instantly warmer. And it’s an easy way to add color or pattern to a plain, neutral tee. (I have found myself in abundance of plain, neutral tees this winter … I’m needing the color help from my scarves).

I have a dear dear friend who has had a particularly hard and heartbreaking fall. Like many of my friends, she lives far away from me. Since I couldn’t be there to just go hug her, I mailed her a hug (scarf).

Not all scarves have to be sewed, y’all! Blanket scarves have been all the rage lately. And no wonder … they’re so cozy! ANYONE (I truly mean that) can make their own blanket scarf. Just follow along!

You’ll need to buy a square of a flannel plaid you like. If you go to a big-box fabric store like Joann or Hancock, make sure you buy a shirting flannel … they’re softer and wear better. Most shirting fabric is 45″ wide. So that means you need to buy 1.25 yards to make a square. Wash and dry your flannel when you get home so that it doesn’t do wonky shrinking should you need to wash it later.

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First, you’ll need to straighten up the cut sides. If you have chosen a plaid flannel like I did, it’s easy … just cut along a plaid line.

Then, put on Elf or an episode of Law & Order (or whatever you particular mindless viewing pleasure may be) and get to un-ravelling. Just un-ravel the fabric, one thread at a time until you get the fringe to the length you like. Be patient … it takes longer than you’ll want it to.

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I probably spent one and a half episodes of Law & Order, with some 4-year-old “rest time” interruptions, on this one scarf.

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Then, voila … your very own handmade scarf! Now, go and wear your hug. Or give it away! In the midst of this season of celebration and thankfulness and joy, there is also so much heartache and sorrow for many people. Who do you know that just needs a hug (scarf)?

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I have more than enough scarves in my collection. Want this one? I’ll give this away to one random commenter. Just tell me below whether you’d give or keep it. No judgement … you might need a hug yourself!

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Giveaway closes on Wednesday, December 2 at 8:00 pm. Please include your email address in the format <email at domain dot com>. I’ll pick a commenter using a random number generator and email you for your address.

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Southern Hospitality

I grew up in a home with an open door policy. Honestly, I never realized it was either unique or all that Southern … it was just the way it was. Everyone (truly) always knew they were welcome in our home. Friends and acquaintances spent countless hours in my childhood home. And my parents always always always made them feel welcome and like a part of the family.

This has defined hospitality for me throughout my life. Often, I think we point towards those with the prettiest houses or the best decorating skills or the most impressive cooking ability and say, “Wow, she’s so hospitable.” But what about those homes where you immediately feel welcomed and comfortable? To me, THAT is hospitality. That’s what I desire to cultivate and create in our home here in Tulsa. Call it Southern if you want … to me, it just feels right.

While all that holds true, sometimes I do like to entertain and decorate! This month my brother-in-law married a wonderful girl who is now my new sister. (YAY!) My mom graciously offered to host a bridal brunch for Laura and the bridesmaids. Then, the week of the wedding, my beloved uncle passed away, and my parents headed to NC to celebrate his life. Suddenly, I was hosting the bridal brunch. And you know what? I loved every minute.

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I got to decorate my tables like I never do … like people do on decorating blogs or pinterest. You know … in those ways that aren’t practical when you live with a four-year-old and a two-year-old. I got to break out my wedding china and my estate-sale-purchased silver flatware. I got to be fancy.

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One quirk about me is that I love using cloth napkins. We use cloth napkins daily … I love that they actually absorb the mess of a meal. I love that it’s not creating even more trash. I love that it makes even taco night feel a little fancy. So for this brunch, we bought a few yards of beautiful fabric and I turned them into cloth napkins!

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Fabric purchased from Hobby Lobby. The floral is by Fabric Traditions, and the gold crosses are by Brother Sister Design Studio. I’d never heard of either … I just thought they were pretty.

It’s a simple process. If you have a serger (I love my Brother 1034D*), it’s as simple as following the serger instructions for creating a rolled hem. I just cut the fabric into 20″ squares and serged the edges. Done.

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If you don’t have a serger, you could either use a finishing stitch on your machine like one of these two:

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Stitch 9 or stitch 20 would be good edge finishers.

Or you could just use pinking shears, cut a square of fabric, and call it a day. No one cares if their napkin edges aren’t “finished,” and it still lends that extra cloth-napkin touch to any meal.

Now that I’ve shown you my fancy, let me return to my regularly scheduled life of Legos, pjs, and “welcome to my home, please ignore the laundry!”

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Elsie just hollered from the other room, “Momma, why are we still wearing pajamas?” Because it’s Monday, kid.

You really are welcome … come on over!

*Not an affiliate link. I don’t know how to do that. 

On being fancy.

I have never thought of myself as a fancy girl. Like, ever. Before I left the away-from-home workforce, I worked for Young Life which meant that I basically wore jeans every single day to work. So I was always casual girl.

Then I became a mom, and my wardrobe just didn’t really change. As much as I’d like to wear yoga pants daily, it’s just not me. It feels really inauthentic for me … mainly because anyone who knows me well knows I’m definitely neither headed to or from yoga. (I’m not anti-yoga or anti-exericse … it just sadly isn’t a part of my life).

So I end up being the fancy girl. The fancy girl who wears fur vests. Last year I found this really pretty faux fur in the clearance bin at Joann. So I obviously bought it. I used a free vest pattern from Purl Bee as my template and lined it with some colorful striped fabric I bought from my favorite etsy shop.

Add to all that faux-fur-fanciness the incredible Warby Parker* frames I want to buy. Kenny thinks they look like safety goggles. I’m ordering a second home-try-on set with all kinds of crazy colors and styles so that he sees just how adorable and not loony these are.

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I forgot to put on lipstick. Forgive me … it was before 9 am when I took this picture.

Because who doesn’t need a faux fur vest lined in rainbow stripes??? Although, I must give a warning to anyone who wants to try this: cutting faux fur makes your house look like you’re a bunny murderer. It sheds like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

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Erin, your Anneliese would love this, amiright?

Anyway, as it turns out, party of my fancy persona is that I love, Love, LOVE accessories. Like, I feel naked when I’m not wearing jewelry. When people are all, “I’m not really a jewelry person,” that’s equivalent to someone saying, “I’m not really an oxygen person” to me. (Perhaps a slight exxageration.) So it was a natural step to finally, after years of waffling, sign on to be a Stella & Dot Stylist.

I mean, I already wear a ton of their jewelry. I have adorable charms with my girls initials that I wear on a chain with my grandmother’s wedding ring. The Rebel pendant? Please … it’s close to perfect. Oh, and let’s talk about these earrings that are gorgeous and seriously as light as air.

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Let’s all pretend that the sun streaking over my face is intentional and artsy, shall we?

Oh, and I actually have silver charms, too. So that my children won’t feel slighted if I’m in a silver mood, evidently. I have been eyeing the Pave Chevron necklace for months before snagging it … it can be worn like 27 different ways or something!

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I know this isn’t a great picture. Bless my phone’s heart … .it couldn’t figure out what to focus on here. There’s a lot going on with all the fur.

Anyway, here I go jumping into the world of being a sales-ish person. If you’re interested in checking out more about Stella & Dot, just click on the tab at the top of the page here. Or come by my house Saturday if you’re nearby … I’m having a little party for my fancy jewelry.

 

*This is not a paid sponsorship of Warby Parker. They neither know nor care who I am. I just really love their glasses.

Lane Raglan two ways

I claim to not really love reality TV. Sure, I had my phase with The Bachelor (who hasn’t?), but it’s not really my thing. I think it’s really because we don’t have cable, though. I do love Project Runway (because, duh). But I will wholeheartedly claim Master Chef. Y’all … it’s awesome and fun and dramatic and probably rigged and I don’t even care.

If you’ve never watched it, it’s all these supposed home cooks who are given challenges and somehow whip up incredible restaurant-quality dishes with no recipes. Ever. It’s like magic. In almost every episode, someone makes like “duck, with asparagus two ways” or “filet of sole with brussel sprouts three ways.” All the ways just crack me up.

But I guess I kind of do this with sewing. Others call it a hack, but that just is a gross onomatopoeic word, so I struggle using it.

If you’ve never seen the glorious patterns by Hey June, you’re missing out. They’re basic patterns that fit a real lifestyle. And I need more of that in my life.

The Lane Raglan is a simple raglan tee. I’m guilty of always wanting to sew “wow” pieces … a cool dress, or fancy Hammer pants. But that’s not always so practical in my every day life. So I forced myself to make a Lane Raglan sweatshirt and there are NO REGRETS!

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I don’t know what’s happening in this picture. What am I holding up? Did Elsie take this picture? Why is this the best picture I have of my adorable Lane Raglan sweatshirt?

Then, because I can’t resist the wow, I lengthened the pattern and shortened the sleeves and turned it into this adorable floral dress. That I love and wear as much as possible.

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It’s a little amazing that I’m smiling in this pic since I was saying goodbye to my best friend after a glorious five day girls’ trip to NYC. I was weeping inside.

Is it okay to wear floral on a white background in the winter? Help, people … I don’t like putting my beautiful clothes away based on the season. I can layer like anybody’s business.

Real life in these pictures.

So, if you have ever read or looked at a sewing blog before, you are immediately noticing a difference in my pictures and the standard fare on sewing blogs. Y’all, so many of these women are artists with their cameras. I admire them. I kind of want to be them. But you know what … I’m not them.

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I was trying to take an action shot of my adorable Staple Dress by April Rhodes in real life … but I got photo bombed by this cutie.

The quality of photography in blogging is one of the many things that kept me away from blogging for a long time. Then I realized that so much of why I create is to fit into my lifestyle. And my lifestyle is crazy and hectic and kind of messy and very chaotic. So it feels inauthentic to only share here pictures that have perfect lighting and posing and hair and makeup (ahem … let’s just all pretend I know how to do any of those things).

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What? You can’t see the awesome details of my adorable Piko top here? Weird. I don’t see the issue …

That’s not to say you’ll never see a good picture here. I have a fancy camera, y’all. One day, I might even take a picture or two and post it. One day, I may even have a real photo shoot. I’m not saying it won’t happen. But for a blog to be realistic for me, most of my pictures will be good ol’ iPhone pics. And a lot of selfies.

Because evidently I will always be a teenage girl at heart.

Megan Nielsen, will you be my best friend?

I first learned how to sew when I was six years old. My mom, who HATES to sew, thought it was important I learn, so she had me take sewing lessons. For whatever reason, it stuck with me.

I picked it back up on and off again throughout the years, but I never had the urge to sew for myself until I was pregnant with Caroline, our second child. That year I asked for the Megan Nielsen maternity pack for my birthday. Y’all … it was meant to be.

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My first ever Rie top…I was so proud!

I mean, I’m pretty sure Megan and I were meant to be best friends. It’s just too bad she moved her family back to Australia. Her patterns are interesting, yet easy to sew. I loooove being pregnant (I know that not everyone feels this way), but it’s still so nice to be able to make clothes that make me feel gorgeous. That’s how her patterns make me feel.

I have made the Rie top/dress no less than five times. And I have the fabric all picked out for my sixth one. Hint: it includes leopard print!

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My favorite Rie dress … which now has a snag in the fabric so I can’t wear it. I’m in denial.

Thank you, Megan Nielsen, for being awesome. Also, can we please become best friends?

Why I Sew

I have been pondering writing a blog for, oh, a decade now. But over the last two years I have absolutely fallen in love with a specific blogging community … the sewing community. It is creative, fun, interesting, varied. The women (and a few men!) in the online sewing world are all different … and I like that.

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Scout dress by Grainline Studio on me. Peirrot Top by Made-by-Rae on my bald baby Caroline

When I was in college, I chose not to be in a sorority. I have no moral issue with sororities, and I’m sure I would have loved my time in a sorority. But out of the sororities at my college, only one stood out as being truly diverse. I’m not really talking about racially diverse … there was sadly very little racial diversity at my university … I’m talking about all different kinds of people. I like being around people who are different from me. I am intrigued by people with pasts different from mine. Or people with pasts similar to mine who have presents that are different from mine. How interesting! I find this kind of diversity in the sewing community.

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Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline on me. Handmade dresses on my girls … I don’t remember what patterns I used. Handmade bow-tie already taken off of Kenny.

So, here I am jumping in. Because the one constant among this community is the love of creating. And really, that’s why I sew. Because I long to create. Through my creations, I have learned to love my own body in a way I never really did before. I have learned to embrace my own personal, sometimes quirky, style. But I love the process of taking a piece of fabric and making it into something interesting and beautiful and USEFUL! Oh man … what a thrill.

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My crazy Mrs. Roper (from Three’s Company) inspired poncho-sweater.

Thanks for letting me jump in, sewists of the internet. I’m thrilled to join you.