Phinney Ridge

Y’all … it turns out that babies and blogging don’t mix, huh? My last post here was May 17, 2016. And our Jack was born May 18, 2016. So … yes. Proof. But 9 months in, 9 months out, and here I am returning to my sweet little corner of the internets. Before I jump in to sewing, here’s this cutie for your viewing pleasure:

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Okay, on to the sewing!

This week I had the privilege of doing another pattern test for Kimberley at Straight Stitch Designs. She creates wonderful patterns … designs for clothing I wear over and over again. The Phinney Ridge cardi is no exception.

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In Kimberley’s words, the Phinney Ridge is “classic meets comfort.” I literally couldn’t agree more. What’s more cozy than throwing on a cardi? And is there anything that makes you feel more put together than a well-fitting cardigan? Come on.

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You know how hygge is the 2017 trend of word and lifestyle? That’s how I feel about the Phinney Ridge. Just cozy and homey and GOOD.

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Both of my cardis were made with jersey knit. The striped fabric I bought for dirt cheap last summer when Hancock’s was going out of business. I should be embarrassed by the amount of fabric I bought from Hancock’s last summer (spoiler: I’m not embarrassed at all. I’m rather pleased.)

The floral fabric was given to me (isn’t that so nice?!?!?) by someone in a local sewing facebook group. And isn’t it so pretty and springy? I love it.

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My next version is going to be a knee length version in a lightweight rayon jersey (also bought last summer from Hancock’s). I can’t wait to throw that on over everything. But first, I have to go take care of this guy…

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Good thing he has two super-hero sisters to help me.

Happy President’s Day!

If you sew (and you should definitely give it a shot, friends), grab your own copy of the Phinney Ridge Cardi from Straight Stitch Designs now while it’s on sale!

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Ode to the White Sofa

Once upon a time, in 2001, four girls went on a search for furniture for their apartment. These girls were starry-eyed and silly. Luckily for all of us, I don’t have a picture from that day. (It was not a pretty time in fashion, guys.) We came upon a yard sale where the folks were selling two sofas. One was a normal upholstered sofa with arms and cushions. The other was a white, vinyl, armless sofa on wheels that was priced at $5. Guess which one we picked.

After college, my dear Mary Beth so generously GAVE me the white sofa to help furnish my apartment in good ol’ Statesville, NC.

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One time, during my tenure in Statesville, I went out of town. These two hilariously awesome friends of mine staged a Christmas photo shoot in my house while I was gone. Luckily, the White Sofa was captured in this shoot.

 

And while the wheels are history, I have yet to part with the sofa. What was once a joke has become a beloved part of our family decor.

In our current home, #thewhitesofa is now in its third location … and I think this one’s a winner.

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Mother’s Day 2016

Please keep in mind that all of these pictures were taken with my iPhone, AND I have no clue what I’m doing with photography in general and indoor photography specifically.

Our bedroom is delightfully large, with a lounge area. I have dreams of recovering the white sofa. Not just dreams … I actually have the fabric, the piping, and the pattern all made. But there’s an addition coming to our family soon (please come soon, Balloon!), so I had to accept my humanity and admit that it would be best to make do with the white sofa (repaired for now with white duct tape) and just style that beast to death.

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If you peer closely, you can see the fabric for re-covering on the bottom shelf of the table on the left.

So I took a trip to the Fabricut Outlet in Pryor, OK this summer and bought yardage to recover the sofa (one day) as well as two yards of upholstery weight faux fur. Because OF COURSE, y’all.

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I also found this gorgeous remnant of color that I knew needed to become curtains for the random window over the sofa.

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Yay for color! The watercolor painting is of the valley at Frontier Ranch … painted by a friend on assignment with me the summer that Kenny and I met.

The pillow inserts are actually quite vintage. They are squared down from bed pillows hand-stuffed by my grandmother. One of these was the pillow I slept on every night as a girl.

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The trouble with an armless (vinyl) sofa is that it’s hard to lounge on. So I knew we needed an ottoman. My favorite furniture source to the rescue … the Midtown Flea Market. What’s the Midtown Flea Market, you ask? Well … it’s a little hard to explain. It’s a store front here in Tulsa filled quite literally floor to ceiling with furniture. Most of it needs minor repair. Some of it needs major repair. (Ask me if I’ve accidentally brought home some major repair furniture  before. Oops.) All of it is super affordable. So I popped in, talked to the awesomely prickly lady who owns the Market and bought this ottoman for $10. Just popped some fur on top and AWESOME.

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The rest is just rearranged. And the White Sofa lives to see another day. This time as a cozy setting for middle of the night feedings. I know it’s weird to say I’m looking forward to those, but right now I’m just so ready to meet our new person.

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We love you, White Sofa.

Maggie Mae is My Girl

So while most of my sewing is very very selfish, I do occasionally make the effort to sew for my nuggets. YES, kids’ sewing is quick, and YES it’s cute, and YES it’s nice to be able to control what they wear rather than being at the mercy of the children’s clothing makers. But y’all … they grow so dang fast, it just kind of makes me batty when I spend all my time on something and then POOF … it no longer fits.

HOWEVER, the creating of something beautiful for my little people just never disappoints. Especially when you find a winner of a pattern. Enter the Maggie Mae Tunic/Dress by Shwin Designs. I have now made five total of these dresses, and I’m not sure that I see an end in sight. For one thing, the pattern comes in a large range of sizes, and it’s neither babyish nor too tween-y.

My first Maggie Mae was for Elsie … an adorable matching ensemble with her sister (who is wearing a Little Geranium dress). Caroline was only a month old here, and I was in a crazy post-partum sewing frenzy. Don’t question the hormones … just check out how cute they are.

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My second Maggie Mae was again for our Elsie … this time to go to the Daddy/Daughter Dance when she was 2.5 years old. She still refers to this as her Daddy Dance dress, even when her sister wore it last summer. I used an old Lilly Pulitzer dress of mine for the top and bottom, and a white linen for the middle of the dress.

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My last three, though, were the most special. Kenny’s brother married his sweet love, Laura, in November. We all got to celebrate as a part of the wedding party. I immediately volunteered to make the dresses for my girls and my niece. I just knew that Maggie Mae would be the perfect base for a sweet flower girl dress.

View More: http://elliebephotography.pass.us/thesharpweddingView More: http://elliebephotography.pass.us/thesharpweddingView More: http://elliebephotography.pass.us/thesharpwedding

Laura wanted something with lots of fluffy tulle … I think I managed that quite nicely, don’t you?

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With their adorable flower headbands, they looked like dreamy little fairies.

Then, there was also this groomsman I had my eye on … 😉

View More: http://elliebephotography.pass.us/thesharpwedding

 

Wedding photos all are taken by the fabulously talented Ellie Be. If you have photo needs, you should definitely check her out.

 

CREATE.

I’ve never been much of a New Year’s Resolution kind of gal. I’m not anti-change … I just never quite have grasped the idea of making all the change happen at the beginning of a year. In general, if I feel the urgent need for change, then I just try to make that change.

Years ago, a friend told me that she would give a word to each year. It was an awesome idea, but a little daunting to me for some reason. One of those, “Wow … that’s cool. Too bad I can’t do that” kind of ideas. Mostly because the idea of pinning down one word seemed a little overwhelming. What if my year took a different turn? What if I decided in June I hated the word? I don’t know who I thought was holding me to this ridiculous standard of a word, but I shied away nonetheless.

But this year, 2016, I’ve done it. It’s official. I came up with a word. Or, maybe, the word jumped out at me. Because I can’t stop thinking about it.

CREATE.

I love to create. I love to create all kinds of things.

It’s thrilling to take a blank expanse of fabric and make it into clothes … or sometimes even into fashion. (Yes, I have been watching Project Runway again. How could you tell?) This weekend I got to be a part of pattern testing for a talented pattern designer. I’ll blog more about this later, but it was exciting … to get to help someone else create something incredible while I created a few beautiful things myself.

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How about this adorable tee? It’s truly a great pattern … and the fabric was warm and cozy (that part was my own doing). Sewists … keep your eyes peeled for the Montlake Tee coming from Straight Stitch Designs.

It’s an adventure to step into the kitchen and turn a bunch of ingredients into a meal. Whether it’s fancy or just simple soup and sandwiches, it’s nourishing, and it’s a privilege.

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Yes, I know I just blogged this picture. But y’all … it was so good. The soup recipe is a Pioneer Woman recipe, and I highly recommend it.

It’s an honor that I get to be a small part of a life being created inside of me right now. I’m not arrogant enough to believe the I actually am the One who created this sweet life … but I do get to take part in it. That’s incredible.

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22 weeks! Woo-hoo!

It’s exciting … and sometimes taxing … to figure out new ways to create fun and excitement for my children. And then I remember that they need little more than some attention and a piece of cardboard, and they’re having fun.

My sister-in-law is a talented and passionate creator. She posted this lovely thought from Joss Whedon on her instagram last week:

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And then, I knew I could deny it no longer.

In 2016, I will CREATE. I’m excited, guys.

Southerners in the Snow

***Warning: non-sewing post ahead.***

Like the true Southerner I am, I get absolutely GIDDY about the snow. It’s just so beautiful and Narnia-like … I love love love it. Now, I recognize that if I were to ever live somewhere like Boston or Maine or Minnesota (please, Lord, don’t make me go to one of those places), I would feel very differently about the snow.

But y’all … I got to move to Oklahoma. Where we still don’t have, like, permanently white winters. BUT there is almost always some sort of snow at some point in the winter. Did you non-Southerners know that there are stretches of years that can go by without Southerners seeing snow? It’s so sad. (Unless you’re my friend Katie who hates the cold. She grew up in Florida, which explains everything. {I love you, Katie!})

So last weekend when we woke up to a beautiful blanket of snow with more coming down, I immediately snapped a picture out of our bedroom window to send to my friends in the South.

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And after breakfast? We bundled those kiddos right up to go play!

Now, I will admit that we ended up having to borrow our neighbor’s yard for our snow fun. It wasn’t actually all that much snow, and the huge live oak in our front yard meant that we only had about 1/3 of our yard covered in snow … and that part was still mostly leaves. (Ahem … we’re not so into raking.)

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BUT … we did it! We laughed and giggled (and whined a little) and built our very own Olaf. Because when you have two daughters ages 4 and 2, every snowman is Olaf.

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Then we came inside and ate soup and grilled cheese. Evidently I’ve been conditioned by the marketing geniuses at Campbell’s that this is what you eat when it snows. I’m okay with that.

 

The whole morning was cozy, dreamy, fun, and downright delightful. Y’all … I love snow.

Let’s Go Exploring

I apologize for accidentally becoming one of those girls who started a blog then quickly abandoned it. That was not my intention. But between Christmas sewing (couldn’t be blogged before it was given) and a three-plus week sickness that swept our family, the blog took a necessary backseat. But I’m back!

I adore gifts. I love giving them. I love making them. I love dreaming them up. I also seriously love receiving them. I’ve fully embraced this aspect of me. It’s real … it’s how I show and receive love. It’s part of what makes me ME, and I’m good with that. Gives that make me feel loved don’t have to be extravagant … just thoughtful. Gives I give often are not extravagant … but I do my best to put lots of thought into them.

Because of that, giving at Christmas is PURE JOY for me. And since I love to create, I always start the Christmas season with a plan to create gifts for everyone on my list. This year, that got whittled down to a very small number. Like I made two gifts. And threw in a (tiny) handmade portion in two others. My mom’s gift is actually still in process. Luckily she’s patient with me. (And I picked up some other fun “filler” gifts until I could get hers done.)

Our sweet niece is two-and-a-half, and she loves to explore. She’s a completely delightful kiddo who loves bugs and sticks and leaves and rocks and nature. She also loves dancing and twirling. I adore how multi-faceted little girls are. I decided sometime this summer that the perfect gift for her would be the Explorer Vest from Little Things to Sew.

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Like every Oliver + S pattern I’ve ever sewn with, this pattern was clearly written, highly instructive, and a pleasure to use. It resulted in this beautiful little vest for our beautiful little gal.

The finished product has FIVE POCKETS, all ready to fill up with treasures. And, because it was a gift for our sweet one who loves all things pink, I made it in this adorable pink canvas, lined in pink + yellow ikat (all from Hobby Lobby).

The vest itself is adorable, and the girl is even cuter. But my favorite part is the beautiful Moroccan buttons that were a gift from my dear friend Amy. She gave them to me as a sweet thank you gift not knowing they were exactly what I needed to finish this vest!

Merry Christmas, sweet girl. And Happy Exploring!

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.