Jul 1, 2015

Life Changing Moments

Warning:  Personal, heartfelt thoughts on this here blog today.  This is for my girl!


On this day, eighteen years ago, my life changed in ways I could never plan for, or expect.  Actually, in truth, it started to change eighteen years and 10 months ago.

Way back in the early fall of 1996 I woke from a dream and knew things would be different from that point on.

My dreams, the ones that I feel the most peace in, have always been a form of spiritual insight for me. I'm not sure why I have them.

Are they messages from a higher power?  Maybe.

Are they my own inner dialogue and thought processes presenting themselves in a way I better understand?  Maybe.

Maybe it's both.

Regardless of the reasons or how you make sense of it, I just know that through out my life I have had a handful of dreams that were more than just dreams.  This was one of those times.

(Please know, I don't take sharing this experience lightly, it is near and dear to my heart and my faith.  However, today I've felt the push to share.)

In my dream Mr. K and I were on an airplane.  We were flying parallel to a mountain range and we were clearly preparing for landing in a large field.  We knew we were landing, we were buckling back up and settling in.  Just then the pilot came over the intercom and made the landing statement "we are preparing to land, all passengers please return to your seats".

In unison, Mr. K and I turned around to look down the aisle, which was now on a steep slope due to the plane's descent, and we said "Marinne, come here."  We were speaking to a cute little blonde girl who was about three years old.  She was happily bouncing down the aisle towards us.

Shortly after this dream Mr. K and I attended a session in the Salt Lake temple (The most sacred place of worship for my faith) and I had another very moving and similar experience, it wasn't a dream and is too sacred to share details but it was a very direct message and I felt it through every piece of my being.  It was undeniable.  I was being prepared to be a mom.

A few weeks later we found out we were expecting our first child.


For obvious reasons we named her Marinne and when she was 3, she looked just like the little girl we called by name in my dream.

Over the years since, I have had many more similar experiences concerning, and involving, her. How grateful I am for them as they have helped give me insight and direction as we have traveled through our relationship together.  She is a special kid and there is greatness in her quiet ways.

Natalie Merchant, one of my favorite singers, has a song called Wonder.  I had it on repeat during my pregnancy because I felt it explained so well my thoughts and feelings about this child I was about to have.  Some of the lyrics are:

O, I believe
Fate smiled and destiny
Laughed as she came to my cradle
know this child will be able

Laughed as she came to my mother
Know this child will not suffer

Laughed as my body she lifted
Know this child will be gifted
With love, with patience and with faith
She'll make her way.

Today, as she turns 18 and is gearing up for her first year of independence, I'm reminded of how blessed I have been to have these experiences and to be called her mom.  She is my Wonder and I have no doubt,

"She'll make her way".


Also, specifically for you Miss M, A few months ago I asked my friends on Facebook to describe you in 3 words.  I was working on a project for your graduation that never came to fruition.  However, on your birthday, I can't help but think of a better way to honor you than by sharing the descriptive words people shared with me.  You are loved and respected more than you know.

Kind, Smiling, Artistic, Quietly Confident, Honorable, Sweet, Talented, Thoughtful, Hard-working, Radiant, Loving, Serene, Classy, Pure, Compassionate, Graceful, Lovely, Brave, Poised, Responsible, Gracious, Quirky, Artsy, Gifted, Wholesome, Virtuous, Loyal, Happy, Thoughtful, Level Headed, Joyful, Full of Light, Beautiful, Inspiring, Trustworthy, Confident, Genuine, "The best ever!", Smart, a Cutie, Wise, Loves Deeply, a Good Friend, Encouraging, Respectful

And since I'm your mom I will add "A Good Judge of Character, Goal-oriented, and Intuitive."

Happy Birthday, Miss M!


Great things are in store for you.

Jun 18, 2015

Father's Day Treats


My blog hits have been at a recent high and when I did some digging I found that people are searching for Father's Day ideas.  You just a few days to put something together so if you are still looking for a simple little treat for dad or if you need to make gifts for a large group of men, like a church group, here are two simple little crafts that you can pull together rather quickly.  



I've had several emails lately about this little craft.  Seems there are questions about where I got my supplies and how I made the tag.
You need this type of envelope - it's a security envelope and has the pattern on the inside.  You actually could just use a regular envelope, it would look cute too but I do prefer the pattern as the collar shows up more once it is folded down.


I don't have a file of the saying but it was easy to make, I just typed it out.

The ties are just made out of scraps of pattern paper. and then you just stick a candy bar on the inside.  Flat candy bars like Hershey chocolate bars work best as they don't have much bulk.




These are super cute.  Similar idea with the collared shirt and tie but the inside is folded so that it can hold a little baggie of treats.  You can also include a message like "it's a SWEET treat to have you as my dad!"  You can get the step-by-step on how to fold these HERE


And, on the same lines - this one is a gift card holder.


 Enjoy!

Jun 14, 2015

The Last Dress - Prom Before and After

Well, Hello there!

I have made it through a seriously crazy time and thought it would be good to check back in.  I left off with a mention of the last dress I altered for Miss M.

Ya know, that kid up and graduated on me and I will no longer be altering dresses for dances for her.  It's sad to think about but it is what it is and we've made some good memories over the years.  In her 4 years of high school, we never once bought a dress and had her wear it as is.

So, without further ado, here is the very last dress we modified for her.

The dance was another prom but since she had just been to a prom for her high school a few weeks before this one, she wanted a dress that was a little more fun and flirty.  She called it her fun dress. So that's what we made - a fun dress.

And as per usual, we always start with an inexpensive dress.  $14.99 - not a bad price.


To be honest, as far as modesty issues go, this one was already pretty modest.  The dance standard though was that she needed to have her shoulders covered, so we bought it knowing it we'd need to fix the shoulders.  


And, she wasn't totally in love with it.  Me either, it was a little boring.  However, I saw it as a good canvas and knew we could work some magic.

I'm sorry to say, in all my rush I did not document the steps with pictures but basically here's what we did:

- She wanted it shorter, more tea length so we chopped about 8 inches off the bottom.

- She wanted it POOFY, so I purchased a petticoat to go underneath however when we got it, neither of us like how it looked underneath.  It was bulking and the dress on top just didn't lay right.  So, instead I made a really basic skirt made out of netting that added some structure underneath and we put the petticoat on the OUTSIDE instead of underneath.

She didn't even want to try it on that way.  She said it would be weird but I made her do it anyway and as soon as she did, we both knew - it was EXACTLY the look she wanted.

It was kinda 1950's retro and feminine.  (my mom had a dress pretty similar to this when she was in high school so that connection made me happy)

- and last, we added a small cap sleeve.  I was lucky enough to find a black vest made out of the same lace fabric on the top of the dress so it matched perfectly.  All I had to do is cut off the hood of the vest and craft it into sleeves and we were done!  Oh, and we added a fun red belt with a flower on it mostly to bring in the colors that her date was wearing in his bow tie.


Here's the side-by-side


We were both really happy with the dress and love that she can wear it for other things too.  She took off the pearls and belt and threw on a denim jacket and it looked super cute so she has options with this one.

Another thing we made for this dance was the corsage and Boutonniere.  The theme of the dance was "Life is Sweet" - based on Willy Wonka and candy so Miss M really wanted to have candy in her flowers. 



I'm new to this whole corsage and boutonniere thing.  I've only made one other boutonniere before and that was for a dance just a few weeks before this one so this is new territory for me.  But, I love it.  

I think the trick to adding candy and other things to the arrangement is making sure you are also using real flowers too.  It helps with balancing things out.



Marinne ordered her date's bow tie for him from a shop on Etsy - it's pretty much awesome sauce.  It matches the boutonniere so well.  (to be honest here, everything we made as accents were made to match his bow tie)


And here's another shot of the corsage on.  I love how it turned out.


I mentioned earlier that this dress was the last one I will alter for this girl of mine.  No more high school dances for her  and she's already told me I'm not allowed to touch her wedding dress (several years from now, of course.)   However, I have had fun over the years with challenging myself to not only save money but to create something better than the original.

I will miss this.

Luckily, Bug and Jet still have high school dances in their future.



And, just a quick shout out to Miss M - Congrats kiddo!  I'm proud of all you have done and know great things are in store for your future.  Next stop - college!

May 16, 2015

Popcorn Bar


So it's been an eventful 3 weeks at my house.  I think the month of May was named completely wrong, it should have been called Mayhem.  Between proms, 2 of them (still haven't posted about the 2nd), end of school year projects, performances, award ceremonies, graduation.  Oh, and ya, we are in the middle of a move - things really have been MAYHEM.  But, no complaints here, this is what life is made of and although I'm tired, I am happy and enjoying it. 

The good news though, in the middle of all the mayhem, I have managed to pull off a few fun projects.  Here's one from Miss M's grad party that we held this weekend.  It's my DIY Popcorn Bar!


Miss M told me a long time ago that she wanted a popcorn bar at her grad party.  So, this project has been in the works for quite awhile.  In fact, we bought the cute little burlap bags in February (Target Dollar Spot - $3)  I knew when I saw them that they would be perfect to hold scrumptious popcorn.


Seriously, aren't they perfect?!


I also grabbed some simple little food scoops.  They are just plain clear plastic so I wanted to dress them up a bit and make them match the rest of the decor.  It was easy to do though,  I just wrapped some jute and hot glued it in place on the handle.  (The scoops came from Party City $1.99 each)



And lastly, I ordered some small brown bags from Etsy and placed them in a cute little basket, yep, also from Target's Dollar Spot.  Everything else was just items I pulled from my house that I already had on hand.  



After all the display items were purchased, it was time to start working on the stand itself.  I'm lucky to have a smarty pants for a husband, so I quickly sketched out my idea and he drew up a plan and then built the frame for me.  It's designed to sit on a table top so it makes it really portable and easy to set up.  I wanted the front lower than the back, and Mr. K built me exactly what I was wanting. 


After the frame was built, I made the canopy with some cute fabric I found at JoAnn's.  Then I added a quick popcorn banner that I made by just stenciling on the word "popcorn". 


And then, last but not least, we just had to set it up and fill the baskets with goodness.  I'm very fortunate to have meet a fun couple in our hometown that run a Kettlecorn business.  (I've written about their delicious kettlecorn before - I'm probably their biggest fan.)   Filling up the baskets with their yummy popcorn was the finishing touch.  Not too mention everyone at the party loved it.

It was pretty fun to watch people's approach.  Most took just a little to start and then kept coming back to try a different flavor.  One kid filled his bag 7 times and really, I can't blame him because I just wanted to take the whole basket and sit and snack as well.  Yumm!


Anyway, thanks A-Maize'n Kettle corn, llc - you helped us pull together a super fun party.  
If you want to know more about them, you can check out this video that Kent and I made.  All three of my girls are in there, the twins are in there a couple of times (it's like finding Waldo) and the voice, ummm, well that's me.  So now you know what I sound like.  
  
Click here:  https://youtu.be/S8POYvsJ_cg


We also rented a soft ice cream machine and set up a self serve rootbeer and orange float station.  Sadly, due to some weather issues and last minute changes, I didn't get any photos of that.  It was a hit though and a lot of fun!

Fun times, indeed!  And, congrats to Miss M as her big day is quickly approaching.  It was so fun to have so many of her friends, and people who have been influential in her life, come and help us celebrate!  A fond memory for sure!

Apr 19, 2015

Prom Dress Upgarde

 

I'm not really sure what to call this post.  Here's the deal, it's prom season. I've posted about dresses we've modified before, usually though, it's on how to make a dress more modest - we have pretty high standards of modesty round here.

This time though, we found a beautiful dress that was already modest and Miss M really liked it but she had her heart set on a long dress and this one hit at knee length.  Plus, it was pretty but it was missing something.  I could see potential though and the $30 price tag had me brainstorming all sorts of ideas on how to improve it.

I mean, I took home economics in middle school, I know how to sew a pillow case and when you add that skill plus the fact that I have watched every season of Project Runway, well, I was certain I could turn the dress she liked into something she would absolutely LOVE!  (Did I do it the right way? probably not but I made it up as I went along and it worked so that's groovy)

And, I must say, it wasn't too bad or even too difficult.  Here's what I did.


Here is the dress as purchased.  It's just so-so.  The photo doesn't really help either as the sun was quite bright, but you can see that it ends at the knee but the top is pretty.  It's a classic sweetheart and it was already covering everywhere it needed to cover - love that!


The great thing about the dress is that it was actually all some sort of knit, no zippers or difficult fabric to work with.  Plus it had two layers, the top which was lace and a liner underneath.  You can see the liner peeking out in the photo above.  

I started with the liner and cut about 5 inches off the hem.  This raised the dress to end mid thigh instead of at the knee.

Then I started working on adding an under layer that had both length and volume that would attach to the liner. To do this I purchased some stiffer netting, some fabric for another liner and then some fine shiny tulle for the outer layer.  

Basically I made the bottom portion as another skirt.



My first step was to sew the netting section first.  I measured the diameter needed and then cut a strip of bias tape to the right length and sewed it into a circle.  I then sewed the netting to the tape.  I basically made a tiered skirt out of netting.  It had two layers with each layer being gathered to add volume needed.  


Then, I made a skirt from my lining fabric that went over the netting and then lastly added the softer layer of tulle to the top.  All three layers were then attached to the shortened hem line of the original dress.



The photo above shows all three layers of the skirt next to the lace overlay.


and the last step was to cut the lace top layer of the dress to the right length so that it covered the top of the under skirt and then hemmed it in place.  We liked the detail of the scalloped edge of the lace that was on the dress originally so I had to cut a section of the lace out, about 4 inches and then sew the scalloped part back on. 

Then, all it needed to finish it off was a sash and some dainty jewels! (I made her necklace and his boutonniere but I'll post about those later)


I was really happy with how it all turned out.  But what made it even better was when Miss M put it on after her hair and make-up was done and she gasped!  It was a hands to the mouth in awe gasp and I knew she felt pretty and she loved it.

And because of that, it was worth it!  So glad I could help her make her prom memorable.  

Plus, an added bonus, it didn't break the bank.  Dress, additional fabric, & jewelry all came in under $65!

And now I get to do it all again, she's headed to another formal dance in two weeks, guess I better get started!  Wish me luck!