The Life of Jennifer Dawn: July 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

Easy Skirt Tutorial

I previously made this tutorial (click here) when I sewed a skirt for Lydia Grace from an old knit T-shirt.  
For the skirt featured in today's post, I used an Ann Taylor blouse that no longer fit after having gained weight from having two babies.  I didn't want it to just go to waste, so I decided to repurpose it into something else.  The blouse had gorgeous eyelet details along the bottom which quickly and easily became a beautiful hemline for Lydia Grace's new skirt.  Here is truly the easiest way to make a skirt for a little girl.

sewing machine
basic sewing supplies (safety pin, scissors...)
elastic (1/4 or 1/2 is a good width for this project)
outgrown or no longer worn adult sized shirt (This can be a knit T-shirt, blouse, or any other top that you think would make a cute skirt.)
rotary cutter and cutting mat (optional)

1. Find a shirt that can repurposed into a skirt.  A woman's shirt makes a great baby and toddler skirt, and a man's shirt can easily be repurposed into an older girl's skirt.  I have provided the exact measurements for making a knee-length baby or toddler skirt in this tutorial.  If you need to make a skirt for an older girl, measure from her waist down to where you want the skirt to fall and add 1 1/2 inches to the measurement in order to determine the length to cut off the bottom of the shirt.  Measure their waist to determine the amount of elastic you will need.

Baby and Toddler Dimensions:
6 months/Elastic: 17 inches/Fabric Height: 8 inches
12 months/Elastic: 17.5 inches/Fabric Height: 9 inches
24 months/Elastic: 17.75 inches/Fabric Height: 10 inches
2T/Elastic: 18 inches/Fabric Height: 10 inches
3T/Elastic: 18.5  inches/Fabric Height: 11 inches
4T/Elastic: 19 inches/Fabric Height: 12 inches
5T/Elastic: 19.5 inches/Fabric Height: 13 inches

2. Measure up from the bottom of the shirt the amount of fabric you need according to your child's size and the measurements given above.  Mark this measurement on both sides if the shirt.  Using scissors or a rotary cutter and mat, cut across the shirt at your marks.  (Example: I made a 4T for Lydia Grace, so I cut along the shirt up 12 inches from the bottom.)

3. Since the shirt piece that you cut off already has a finished hem and finished seams on the sides, all you need to do is sew a waistband.  Turn the fabric inside out.  Fold the top raw edge of the fabric down 1/4 inch and press.

4. Fold it over 1 inch more and press.

5. Sew along the bottom of the waistband leaving a small gap (about 2 inches) at one place.  Remember to backstitch at the start and finish.  You can also sew right along the top edge of the waistband to stabilize it.

6. Cut a piece of elastic according to the dimensions given in step 1.  Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and feed that end into the gap you left at the bottom of the waistband.

7. Continue feeding the elastic through the waistband and out through the gap again.  Make sure that the elastic doesn't flip over as you are moving it through the waistband.  Remove the safety pin.

8. Sew the two ends of the  elastic together by stitching back and forth with your machine several times.  Finish the skirt by sewing the gap in the waistband closed.  That's it!  Now you have sews a cute skirt from start to finish in minutes!

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nautical Onesies

I recently got a fabric bundle from Raspberry Creek Fabrics filled with cute fabrics for boys, and I have to admit that the fabric has really inspired me to create some cute, boyish projects.  Having my sweet Eli also brings on a desire to create cute things for boys.  I am usually a girly girl and lover of all things pink, but let me tell you...this fabric is amazingly cute!  The bundle contains a great assortment of fabrics from the Ready Set Go Collection By Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman.
Yesterday I shared this necktie T-shirt/onesie tutorial with a necktie applique made from Robert Kaufman Remix Argyle Fabric in chocolate brown.
 For today's project, I used the same argyle fabric from the necktie T-shirt/onesie tutorial, other cute fabrics from the Ready Set Go Bundle, and the teal and green circle dot fabric by Kellie Wulfsohn for Riley Blake also from Raspberry Creek Fabrics.
Today's project is a...

1. I always make my patterns by drawing on computer paper or card stock.  Hey, it works for me.  Sailboat Applique: I used a protractor to draw a half circle on paper and cut off the bottom to make the boat part of the applique.  Three different sized triangles were drawn and cut out to make the sails and a flag.  The first sailboat pattern I made had the ends of the sails even with the ends of the boat, but I redid it and felt like it looked much better to have the sails extend beyond the boat.
2. Whale Applique: I drew and cut out a basic whale shape along with three tear drop shapes to use for the splash of water that might be coming out of the whale's spout.  The shapes are basic and pretty easy to draw.
3. I planned out which fabrics I wanted to use and pinned the pattern pieces onto the desired fabrics.  For the sails I used the same fabric but pinned the sail pieces in a way that would change the direction of the pattern for each sail.  You could easily use a different fabric for each sail though.
4. Cut around the pattern pieces to make your appliques.

5. Coat the back of each fabric piece with an even layer of heat set glue paying close attention to edges and corners.
6. Position the applique pieces onto your onesie or T-shirt.  Place a piece of paper inside the onesie or T-shirt to keep the glue from seeping through to the back.
7. With the iron set to the wool or cotton setting, iron over each applique until it is dry to the touch.  This activates the heat set glue thus permanently adhering the appliques to the onesies or T-shirts.  Iron carefully so that the applique pieces don't shift before bonding with the onesie or T-shrit.
8. Straight stitch along the outside edges of each fabric piece separately.  Use a thread that matches the onesie or T-shirt for the bottom bobbin and a thread that matches the fabric applique for the top spool changing thread colors as needed.  (I was able to keep white thread in my bottom bobbin the whole time since I used white onesies, but I had to change my top spool from white to brown to turquoise depending on which applique piece I was sewing.)  Do not backstitch at the start and finish and do not snip the excess threads yet.

9. Once you finish sewing, you will have a lot of threads hanging from each applique piece.
10. Use a seam ripper and some gentle tugging to bring all of the threads to the inside of the onesie or T-shirt.
11. Tie the threads for each applique piece together into a knot.  I usually knot it three or four times.
12.  Snip off the excess thread and dab a little thread end glue onto each knot.  Iron over the appliques one final time before gifting it or using it for wear.

Happy Sailing...I mean...Sewing!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Necktie Onesie or T-shirt Tutorial

The necktie onesie seems to have become a must-have, staple for every baby boy's wardrobe.  Due to having made a few changes in the way that I make these, I decided to redo my old necktie onesie tutorial.  Here is the new, updated version.  The necktie applique can be put on either a onesie for a baby or on a T-shirt for a toddler or older child.  You can also get as creative as you want with color and fabric combinations.  Here's how to make one of these cute articles of clothing for the little boy that you know and love...

  • pencil and paper
  • fabric
  •  T-shirt or onesie
  • scissors
  • iron
  • sewing machine
  • matching thread with both the fabric and onesie
  • seam ripper
  • heat set applique glue
  • thread end glue

1. Prewash, dry, and iron your fabric before beginning.  Also prewash and dry the onesie or T-shirt.  
2.  Draw and cut out a knot and tie shape from paper to make your pattern.  Pin the pattern pieces onto your fabric.  
3. Cut around the paper to make the necktie applique.  
4. Apply a thin, even coat of heat set glue to the backs of both applique pieces making sure to especially cover the edges and corners.  The heat set glue is not time sensitive, so you can take your time with this step.
5. Place the applique pieces in the desired position on the onesie or T-shirt and place a piece of paper in between and the front and back layers of the onesie or T-shrit to prevent the glue from seeping through to the back.  Activate the heat set glue by ironing over the applique with the iron set to the wool or cotton setting.  This permanently adheres it to the onesie or T-shirt.  
6. Thread your sewing machine.  Use the thread that matches the applique for the top spool and the thread that matches the onesie for the bottom bobbin.  (I used brown thread for the top spool and white thread for the bottom bobbin to make the necktie onesie shown in the pictures.)  Feed the neck of the onesie into your sewing machine.  Straight stitch around the edges of the applique.  I sew around both the knot and the tie separately.  Do not back stitch at the start and finish like you would normally when sewing.  This will allow you to use the seam ripper to pull the threads to the inside of the onesie or T-shirt.  Tie the loose threads together in a knot a few times for both the knot and tie.  Snip off the excess thread and use the thread end glue to secure the knotted threads.  
7. Iron over the applique one final time.  That's it!  Now you have a cute article of clothing for an even cuter little boy.

Other posts you might enjoy...

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Sweet Timothy Elijah

If you visited the blog yesterday, you probably read my post about Lydia Grace.
Today our sweet Timothy Elijah takes "center stage".  
Timothy after his daddy and Elijah from the bible...but to us he is just Eli.

It is funny how very different two siblings can be.  I've witnessed huge personality differences in my children from the very first day of Eli's sweet, little life.

Where Lydia Grace has always had an independent nature, Eli thrives on constantly being in close proximity--we are talking inches--of someone, and he doesn't demand to do things for himself the way L.G. always has.
Example: When Lydia Grace was a baby, anytime I would walk to the kitchen to get a bottle for her, she wouldn't have it any other way but to crawl after me all by herself and even cried if I tried to pick her up and take her with me.  Often times she would even be content to just independently stay behind and play until my quick return from the kitchen.  In the same situation, Eli would rather be picked up, carried to the kitchen, and held the whole time the bottle is being prepared--even though he is getting very close to being able to just walk after me.  (Yep, he is going to walk a lot sooner than L.G. did.)  He seems to prefer to have me hold him which I don't mind a bit because I know that I will blink one day and he won't be a baby anymore...

L.G. is strong-willed and high-spirited, but Eli has more of his daddy's laid-back, easygoing personality.  He is adaptable and content in almost any situation.  His infancy has been a breeze compared to the sleepless nights, colic, health issues, and challenges we faced with Lydia Grace.

A little update:  Last night, Eli had a bad night.  Due to teething, he did keep us up most of the night which is so rare for this child who pretty much slept through the night from day one.  I went into his room at one point after having tried everything else to get him to sleep (bottle, pacifier, musical mobile, stuffed animal...) and just held and rocked him.  He fell asleep in my arms.  It was such a sweet moment staring down at his little face amidst the peacefulness of the dark nursery.  I think my mom was right when she told me that you tend to savor the "baby stage moments" more with the second one (and perhaps sequential ones).  You tend to even enjoy the "up in the middle of the night moments" because you know how quickly they pass.

Let's see...traits that describe my baby boy...he is smiley, outgoing, and very pleasant!  There is a playful, curious side to him, too.  Like his daddy, he isn't easily angered, but BOY!  On the rare occasions that something does make him mad, he can have quite the temper.  Most times he exhibits a peaceful nature though, and I can already tell that he has such a tender heart.  A playful, "no" is usually all it takes to get him to stop doing something that he shouldn't.  Use a reprimand that is even the slightest bit stern and the bottom lips sticks out followed by cries from us having severely hurt his feelings.  If anyone around him is upset...he too is greatly distressed--it is amazing the empathy I've already seen in him.  What a sweetheart he is!  Here are a few snapshots of my precious boy...

Seeing this sweet little face each day is such a blessing!  I absolutely adore my little guy!

Friday, July 20, 2012

My Lydia Grace

For those of you who only know Lydia Grace from the stories and pictures on the blog, you may not realize what an amazing, high-spirited, and funny (hilarious funny not strange funny...although sometimes she keeps me guessing) child she can be.

For those of you who do know L. G. outside of just seeing her on the blog, you know the expressive and vivacious child that I know.

Behind that sweet smile, those bigger than Texas eyes, and the Shirley Temple curls exists a strong-willed, fiercely independent southern firecracker all wrapped up in a tiny little package.

L.G. is both loving and lovely, but at the same time she can be stubborn, challenging, and complex.  She is expressive, dramatic, and in the words of a dear friend has "personality plus"!  I never quite know what she will do or say next, and she always has me laughing.  Here is just a little taste of the "real life" Lydia Grace...the one that I know and adore!

P.S. Not quite sure where she gets it from.  For some reason my own parents keep laughing and saying that the "mother's curse" came true.  You know..."May you have a child just like you!"  That curse.  Surely not!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fabric Covered Button Tutorial

Buttons are always a fun item to craft with. What's even more fun? Fabric covered buttons! These adorable buttons can be made using any fabric and lend themselves to a wide variety of uses from sewing projects to cute crafts.

After turning some into push pins for a previous post, it occurred to me that a lot of people may not know how to make fabric covered buttons, so I decided the other day to whip up a short tutorial. Many of you may already know how to make them, but just in case you don't...this tutorial offers a quick, easy way.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: Four Fabulous Etsy Shops

Let's play a little matching game!
Can you match each shop with its product?

Four Fabulous Shops...
Four of their Fabulous Products...

Raspberry Creek Fabrics (Shop 1) matches with....
 This and other beautiful designer fabrics can all be found at Raspberry Creek Fabrics and Trims along with stellar customer service and great prices!

Shop   /   Facebook

These fun stickers and other paper goodies can be found at this cute shop for amazing prices.  It is the professed "perfect spot for the paper DIYer", and it truly is!  Getting married?  There are also stickers and customizable items to accessorize your "Save the Dates" and wedding invites.
Get 15% off your purchase just by being a follower of TLofJD.  Enter JDAWN15 when you checkout to receive the discount.

Shop   /   Facebook

Sew It Girl (Shop 3) matches with...
the adorable e-reader cover made with Lucy's Crab Shack designer fabrics (B)!
This cover and other quality, handmade e-reader covers can be found at Sew It Girl.  One of my favorite features of these e-reader covers--aside from the fact that they are made from truly eye-catching fabrics--are the handy pockets inside!  This fantastic shop also carries iPad covers and cute cup and mug cozies.

Shop   /   Facebook   /   Blog

& that leaves...

Lily Bird Studio (Shop 4) as a match with...
the PDF pattern to make this gorgeous summer blouse for girls (C)!
I fell in love with this blouse the moment I saw it!  The easy to follow patterns from this shop guide you through the steps for creating lovely clothing items for your little one(s).
As a special treat Lily Bird Studio is offering a special promotion for TLofJD readers.  Enter the code TLJD20OFF to receive 20% off your entire purchase of patterns or pattern bundles.

Shop   /   Facebook   /   Blog

Happy Shopping!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Handmade Push Pins

Did you see the mini tutorial for the easy-to-make cabochon push pins that I posted last week?

They were such a hit that I decided to come up with a few more ideas for making unique push pins...
  Here are the cabochon push pins that I made last week...

And here are a few more cabochon push pins...
Directions: Resin cabochons glued onto thumb tacks with an industrial strength glue make beautiful push pins for any cork board.
(You can make your own cabochons or just purchase some.)

More Fun Ideas...
Directions: Simply use industrial strength glue (E-6000) to adhere thumb tacks onto buttons.  So easy and cute!  Use a paper towel to dab off any excess glue that may seep through the holes in the buttons.

Directions: Instead of buttons, adhere animal beads to tacks.  These would be great to use for a cork board in a child's room to hang up their artwork.

Directions: Dip the top of a tack into craft glue and then into a pile of glitter.  Gently shake off the excess glitter and allow the glue to dry.  Once it dries, you'll have sparkly push pins that will add the perfect touch of glitz to your cork board.

Directions: With industrial strength glue adhere fabric covered buttons to thumb tacks.  I had to first bend the back loop of the button down in order to adhere the tack.

Don't know how to make fabric covered buttons?
Look for that tutorial on Thursday!
Have your own push pin ideas?
I'd love to hear them!

Happy Crafting!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer Jewelry

Did you get a chance to see the Beachy Glam Collection that I shared yesterday?

Want to make your own beach inspired jewelry?  Here's a tutorial for making sand dollar jewelry that was originally posted last summer...

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

This One Doesn't Even Have a Title

Warning! You are about to hear the distressed rantings of a frazzled mommy.  There isn't even a picture or title with this post.  And there is no telling where this post is going to end up.
Today was a hard mommy day!  Nothing big and completely horrible happened, but a bunch of little things all piled up together and resulted in a very stressful mommy day.  It was one of those days where I just felt like I couldn't do anything right.  I'm sure that a day like that is something every mommy can relate to.  We seemed to run behind schedule on everything from meals to nap time.  Umm...come to think of it...L.G. didn't even get a nap today.  The house was a wreck.  Lydia Grace was being the stinker version of herself.  (Just being real with you here.)  Eli was crying and needy most of the day which I was increasingly growing frustrated with until my sister reminded me that he was teething.  Then I just felt horrible because...
A:  I forgot about that being the reason for his distress.
B: I felt like I should have held and cuddled him more due to there being a legitimate reason for the constant screaming.  
Nothing got done.   We were out of both juice and milk.  Super mom would have been able to efficiently load the kids up, make it to the store, and get the grocery shopping done.  I am not super mom.  I'm not even sure Eli wore anything other than a diaper today.  (The kids did both get baths.  Yay!  One thing got accomplished!)  My solution to the milk/juice dilemma was just to mix up Kool-Aid for L.G. because we were not out of that.

It was just one of those days where I felt like a complete mess and maybe even a bad mommy.  Have you ever had one of those days?  My sister who came over, of course, told me how silly I was being and that I wasn't a bad mommy.  But I couldn't help feeling out of sync today and like I had failed in the mommy department.

Maybe you stopped by the blog today to see a new craft project, activity for the kiddos, recipe, or something uplifting...
Sorry if what you are getting is me...
being a "Debbie Downer" and telling you what a mess I felt like today.

It was such a blessing that I had planned on attending a craft night hosted by our church with my sis tonight.  It was nice to step away for just a few hours.  Sometimes you just need a little mommy break to be able to put things back into perspective.  When I got home, I started reflecting on the day and how different life with kids can really be...

Here are some of my reflections this evening on motherhood...
I am no expert.  I am just learning this whole mommy thing as I go along and hoping that the kids don't figure out that I'm making it up as we go.
Being a mommy is one of the hardest and most challenging jobs in the world, but it is also one of the most rewarding and amazing jobs.
There will be days with tantrums, big messes, misbehavior, juice shortages, and frustration.  In between the tantrums and frustration...there will also be beautiful moments spent with the biggest blessing in my life--my kids!
There will be days when I feel like I've failed in the mommy department.  My kids won't ever think of me as a failure though.  They only look at me with eyes of love...even when the refrigerator is getting pretty bare.
To them...I'm a success just by loving them and being there for them.
I wouldn't trade being a mommy for anything in the world...even on the hard mommy days.

In the words of a legendary southern icon...
"After all, tomorrow is another day!"

Summer Jewelry and Accessories

My Etsy shop has a brand new summer collection...
Beachy Glam Collection

Feeling beachy?
I am!
This collection is filled with colors from the sea like aquamarine, Carolina blue, turquoise, seafoam green, and Egyptian Blue.  Each piece is beautifully packaged with a sparkling display card or cute organza bag making it a perfect gift item or just a special treat for yourself.  Remember that through Friday you can enter the code SUMMER20 at checkout to get 20% off of your purchase.

P.S. I found the perfect way to get the glitter to stick on the display cards with little to no mess.  Any guesses how?  I have packaging and staging tutorials in the works with lots of fun ideas.  Look for that to come soon.

Here's a look back at the other two collections released this summer...
Soda Pop Summer Collection


Vintage Summer Collection

I give a portion of every sale to People for Care & Learning.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Little Bird Told Me Link Party #1

Happy Wednesday!
I am starting something brand new here on TLofJD!


The Life of Jennifer Dawn

I know my fellow bloggers are doing some fantastic things out there in blogland.  A little bird told me that you are!  I'd love for you to share.  Share a recipe, craft, home decor project, or any post you're proud of...
Grab a button, link up, visit others, and leave some comment love!
I will feature a few fabulous links next week.
For my non-blogging readers, feel free to visit the links and glean inspiration!
Since this is the first week for this link party...please pass the word along!  Thanks!  I can't wait to see all of the amazing things that you link up.