Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Sewing: Penelope’s Blue Macaw Costume


Penelope has an incredible fascination with birds. Specifically Blue Macaws. I think it all stems from the movies Rio and Rio 2 (highly under-rated movies, in my opinion). She’s a wiz at drawing them, she loves reading about them, she’s just obsessed.



Yet for some reason it still surprised me when we walked down the aisles of JoAnn (about beginning of September, maybe August?) and she requested I make her a Blue Macaw costume for Halloween. I mean she was going all goo-goo ga-ga over the sparkly blue Elsa-dress-type fabric. I was expecting something Frozen to head our way. I’m not the biggest fan of that movie; perhaps it’s because so many people raved about the music like it was on-par with Lion King. Uhhh, really guys? Do you have ears? It’s definitely not at that level. It was just standard Disney fare in my opinion. I digress.




I secretly screamed for joy when she wanted to do something completely different than Elsa. So we scoured the aisles and found a sparkly blue spandex (remeniscent of the Mardi Gras parade scene) and this awesome textured chiffon that looks just like bird feathers. And then we found a matching headband with sequins. And matching feathers. And matching leggings.

All that I had to do (and I say “all” like it’s no small feat, but this part took me forever) was to make her a little birdie dress and a cape. It took me a while to come up with the concept. Just having raw fabric at my disposal, I wasn’t sure if I should go more sculptural or more themed. I went more practical with leggings and a dress just because I’m not going to go to such efforts to make her something that she’ll never wear again. The cape will be in the dress-ups forever. The dress may actually get some wear on special occasions. I’m not sure what, but I’m sure Penelope will think of something. She was excited to get a new dress.


I was planning on dressing Felix up as Fix-it-Felix, but he refused. I had a few hand-me-down costumes as well. Still no. Maybe next year. June wore cat ears. We may get more into it next year. But Pen had fun.

And this year was our second annual Pic-or-Treat! We set up the photo booth (this time with full-body format) and gave printed photos out to the trick-or-treaters. Some didn’t want their picture taken (totally understandable – let me go to this random stranger’s house and let them take pictures of minors! YAY! JK.), so we had candy for them. We loved it! I heard from several grateful parents who didn’t have a chance to get pictures of their kids. That made it all worth it.

Now on to Thanksgiving!

Sewing: Easter Dresses for the Girls


Easter came and went so fast. I can’t believe it’s been over a week since that glorious day. We kept festivities simple with new Sunday Best and a basket of candy for each kid (minus J – she’ll get one next year ;)).


I made dresses for the girls and bought Felix pants and a polo. It’s kind of unreal how Felix’s pants match the fabric I picked out for the girls.


I found this great polyester (I’m assuming it’s polyester) in the fabric district in L.A. last month. It’s very drapey, but with how light-weight it is it’s completely opaque. I’ve had trouble finding fabric with good drape and opacity these days. The print and colors aren’t what I would normally gravitate towards, but it’s growing on me. I like the little tulips and the unexpected blue. I love dressing girls up in blue. Little known fact: Pink used to be a boy color and baby blue was a girl color because they were the pastel versions of red and blue. Red being viewed as more masculine than blue. I don’t think color should be relegated to just masculine or just feminine. I like mixing it up.


Back buttons and pleats for Juniper’s dress

For the dresses, I made up the patterns. I drafted both dresses from clothes that Penelope and Juniper already had and fit. I kept them simple with pleats instead of gathers (whoever says gathering is easy is crazy). I wanted them to be simple enough that they could be pulled over, but with some thinking, that wasn’t going to happen with a woven fabric. Some kind of fastener had to be involved. Due to the fabric’s drape, I decided buttons were the best fit. I hate putting on buttons. Executing the button holes was a breeze. I’ve got an amazing automatic button hole setting on my machine, so I would set it then let it do its thing while I sat or left the room to take care of something else. It was sewing the buttons on that was a pain.


Front pleat detail for Penelope’s Dress

Overall, the buttons add a sweet element, particularly to the simple silhouette of Penelope’s dress. Both girls have to have help getting dressed, but closing a button isn’t a big deal.


Back button detail for Penelope’s Dress

The fabric has been a dream to work with. Now I want something in my size. I’m still trying to decide what to do. I’ve got about 2 1/2 – 3 yards left so the possibilities are nearly endless. Culottes? Wrap skirt? Pleated dress?


Also, I think I have the most beautiful children. I might be a tad biased.

The Purrfect Valentine


Penelope found my Paper Source catalog last month and basically flipped out when she saw the front cover featuring these little Kitten and Puppy Valentines. It didn’t look like they had pockets, so I thought it would be fun to DIY our own version.


Instead of having 6 parts that need to be assembled, I made it into 3 parts (including googly eyes) with a pocket for a special treat.


This one I made for my sister-in-law who is heading out to Spain soon as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I included some stickers, postage (’cause I want mail from her!) and a temporary tattoo.

I didn’t do any calligraphy for Penelope’s handouts. I wanted Penelope to have artistic control over assembling. She ran with it! She decided to give the kittens winky faces. Then she grabbed spare hearts from the kittens to use for eyes. She had fun. And she owned the project!

I used Illustrator, my Silhouette and My Mind’s Eye paper (paper provided by MME) to complete this project. Side note: MME plain cardstock takes ink remarkably well! WIN!

DIY: Love Letters, 3 Ways


This week has just zoomed by so fast. We’ve been struck down with Rotavirus and RSV. The ultimate double-whammy for winter illness, if you ask me.

on Wednesday, I was on Studio 5 sharing 3 fun ways to write a love note. See below for tips and the full segment.

Chris and I don’t exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day. It’s usually a simple love letter. We’d like to try and get out, but usually the day is so crazy it doesn’t end up happening. We keep it simple to say the least.


So how to write a love letter? When it comes to the actual writing, refrain from using “I” first. Is the letter about you? No. Start with “You”. Example:

I think you’re amazing. Really? Does it really matter what I think? 

You are an amazing inspiration to all you know. Ahh, that’s more like it.

I’m no pro at prose, but thinking in that direction has significantly helped me write more interesting letters. On to the crafty fun!


The School Girl

This is a playful note meant for the young or young-at-heart. Fold up an origami heart using your lined paper and seal it with a kiss or some gloriously kitschy stickers. Glitter glue doesn’t hurt, either. I used the below video for folding the heart:


The Heart Attack

Perfect snail mail attack of hearts. Rough cut a bunch of hearts and write things you love about that person. Add confetti or glitter for even more fun. But be sure you’re sending glitter to the right kind of person. It’s kind of like the measles of crafting supplies. Out. Of. Control.


The Romantic Novel

I like to write my man love notes and I like to add a little pizzaz to them! Go for maximum masculine impact with black lined paper and a white pen. Add some silver washi tape for just a little bit of glam. ;)

The Ultimate Calligraphy Gift Guide


As Christmas is fast approaching (it’s likely too late for this guide, but I don’t care – I want to put this together anyway), I thought I would post the ultimate gift guide for calligraphers, beginners and calligraphy enthusiasts. I’m always scouring the web for interesting things, I may as well share with you my favorite items along with a few that are on my wishlist as well!


For the beginning calligrapher:

For the intermediate/advanced calligrapher:



Grow your library with these must-haves:


Everyone loves pretty letters. Grow your art collection from one of these fabulous artists:

Check out my pin board for more calligraphy-related giftable items.

*Affiliate links are used in this post. This doesn’t change the price of the product, it just gives me a small kick back. Each affiliate link is to a product I personally own and absolutely love.
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