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.


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!

Apr 17, 2015

Define Yourself!

I'm a ponderer.

Not even sure if that is something that is real but it seems like it should be.  Lately I have been enjoying the company of my own thoughts.  I've traversed a lot of ground in my gray matter and have come to a few conclusions.

We need to let go of the things that people define us as - unless those definitions are positive of course.  Even the people who know us and love us the most can define us wrong and if we hang on to those definitions it can lead to a lot of sadness, confusion and just over-all self doubt.

Let me share a really good example.  It's personal so welcome to my soul.

Years ago, just after I was married, I started to notice a shift in the dynamics of my family I grew up in.  All of us siblings were married, many with children of their own, and it seemed that our family closeness was well, not close.

I think this is normal as families grow and you shuffle in-laws and new traditions and life responsibilities. But I was concerned at the time that our family dynamic was suffering from these changes. Being the youngest, I kind felt like I was missing out on something that my siblings had had with each other.  So, doing what I thought was a good thing, I attempted to try and bring my family together.

I started a family newsletter that everyone could contribute to and my husband and I started to organize events that were non-religious and non-holiday.  It seemed that the majority of our family gatherings were related to church things and holidays - which is good.  However, we did have some family members that weren't religious so Kent and I were looking for ways to get everyone involved.

One event that we planned was a little potluck picnic and kite flying on an island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake.  We bought a whole bunch of kites that the kids could color, decorate, and fly and it was a lot of fun.  Or at least I thought it was.  I was really happy with how it turned out and thought it was a great thing.

Afterwards though, in a conversation with my dad, he mentioned that he thought some of the things we were doing for our family were superficial.  I was really hurt by that.  I truly thought that we were planing things, and doing things, that were building relationships.  Everyone seemed to be having fun.  And so what happened next, because of that one comment, I fully regret.

I stopped trying.

I let that comment define me and I pulled away.  We actually ended up moving really far away from family and still to this day, I'm not as close as I'd like to be with my siblings all because I thought that because my dad said I was superficial, than everyone thought I was too.

In hindsight, and now that I know myself much better than I did back then, I know that my dad was wrong.  I also know he didn't mean it in a mean way.  I wasn't being superficial I was just sharing myself in the way that I was most comfortable with.  The way I shared and served wasn't the same way he would do things so in his mind, he read my actions as superficial when I read them as sincere.

It hurt then but I understand now.

I read the well known book The Five Languages of Love a few years ago and it helped me greatly to understand more about what I do and why I do them.

I bring this all up because the other day I had a similar experience with my husband and all this came back into my mind.  I had made some little gifts for co-workers who were all interviewing for a new position at work.  The gifts were cheesy and I knew they wouldn't help them get the job but I wanted them to know I was supporting and encouraging them.  When I showed the gifts to my husband, he kinda smacked his lips like he had a bad taste in his mouth and rolled his eyes.  It is not his thing.  He's not a gift giver.  His language of love is very different from mine.

I could have very easily read his body language as him saying "that's stupid, you're stupid."  But I didn't.  I recognized our differences and I just laughed at his response and gave those gifts away anyway and I smiled because it was so "me".

And, I was really happy with that - it was "ME!"

Doing things like this makes me happy.  Acts of service and words of affirmation are my languages of love.

If I could go back in time, I would not have let my Dad's statement affect me so much.  I would have still continued with family kite festivals and other things because organizing those things was my way of showing love, through service, to my family, I just didn't realize it at the time and neither did my dad.

Funny how we become wiser as we age.  I'm becoming more and more comfortable with who I am, thick waist and double chin, too.  I've come along way to be able to say, "this is me, this is what I do!" and then not care how people take my actions and interpret them.

I am me.

So, my point.  If you are hanging on to the words that others have used to define you, and they don't settle in a good way in your soul - let them go!  You know yourself better than anyone else so go ahead, define yourself.

And, if you need a little gift of encouragement to give to someone here's an idea:

Extra Gum + a Rootbeer = I'm rooting for you & I wish you Extra good luck..."