Category Archives: Crafts


A simple pleasure - a new knitting project.

     I find myself complaining all the time, throwing out an “I’m so tired” or an “I wish it were Friday” or an “ugh, it’s so cold today.” You know, the little socially acceptable complaints that we use to make conversation, to bind us together in our mutual disappointment. But I wonder how harmful they are to me as I try to live a more contented life.
     What if, instead of grumbling about the weather, I remarked on the beauty of the leaves changing color? What if I viewed it as an opportunity to wear kneesocks and drink hot chocolate? What if, instead of complaining about being tired, I thanked God for another morning? It’s hard not to look forward to the weekend, especially when that’s the only time I get to see my husband, but there is joy to be found in every single day, not just in the days that carry me away from work and back to him.
     Each day is full of blessings. Today, for example, I have a cup of hot coffee on my desk. I’m having a good hair day. I woke up refreshed and excited. I’m wearing warm goldenrod tights under my trousers, and I love the flash of cheery color at my feet. I packed a simple, delicious lunch this morning. This evening, I get to see my parents and curl up with Daniel and relax. It’s nothing extraordinary, but it’s a good day, and I’m blessed to be living it.
     Maybe if I start commenting on the good things, it’ll have a positive effect on my outlook, and maybe it will even challenge those around me to focus on what’s good in their lives. Maybe being joyful is a simple way for me to proclaim God’s love and goodness, and maybe I can connect with others over shared words of praise, instead of shared complaints. A smile and a hopeful word won’t take any more energy than a sigh and a grumble.
     Have a great weekend, everyone. 🙂

Lucky girl with three new dresses

I have a patient husband, one who indulges me when I ask him to do a photoshoot with me.  A photoshoot that includes props.  And wardrobe changes.  How else was I going to show you the dresses I’ve made?  These are my second, third, and fourth dresses made from a pattern (my first was a few years ago).  I’ve made other dresses just by eyeballing, cutting, and sewing, but most of those haven’t turned out too well.

Late afternoon sunshine.

Yep, you’ve seen this one before, but I decided to throw it in, anyway.

The Dress of Many Alterations.

Here’s the dress that I made and wore to the wedding I attended on Saturday.  Despite taking several pictures, we couldn’t get a good one of me standing up in the dress, so I’ll have to show you next time I wear it.

Dress #3 – gingham!

Black and white, because the color turned out terrible in this photo, and I couldn't fix it. The green dress is made a lot like this one.

Originally, I wanted a big, swingy circle skirt for the gingham dress, but I just didn’t have enough fabric.  I’d purchased the gingham a couple years ago, wanting to make a shirtdress like one I’d seen on Kiera Knightley, but I’d never quite figured out how.  But now I have a new dress that was basically free!  (I’d bought the supplies long ago, and just dug them out of my stash, so they felt free to me!)

I’m not sure I could pick a favorite dress out of these three, but right now I’m loving the gingham one.  The green one is my eldest child – I made all my mistakes on her.  She was strong-willed, but I struggled with her until she developed into a beautiful young lady.  The coral one is my middle – somewhat easier to handle, but with adjustment problems.  And the gingham is my baby – I coddled her and fussed over her, and I had a better idea of what I was doing.  There’s also the thrill of the new, since I haven’t worn her outside of my backyard yet.  I’m excited to style her up – what’s more summery and fun than gingham?

During our shoot, Daniel kept reminding me that he’s not a photographer.  “You’re my photographer,” I said, and I really do think he’s getting better at taking my photos.  Now if only I were better at posing for them!

Have a beautiful evening!

Keep it cool

I’ve been sewing like crazy this past week.  I’m a sewing machine! (Get it?  You get it.)  I mentioned a few posts ago that I was working on a dress, and I finished it up Friday night, at which point I jumped right into making another dress – and I finished that dress in only a few hours.  I wore the first dress on Saturday to a lovely outdoor wedding, but I didn’t get any pictures.  I debuted the second dress on Sunday at church (with a cardigan, which I removed for these pictures).

Look at Miss Cool Shades. The flowered tote I made goes quite well with this dress!

I love this fabric so much.  It’s a Swiss dot that I got on clearance at JoAnn’s, after nearly giving up on finding anything cute.  I modified New Look 6910, view D, by omitting the pleats in the back (too much volume over my behind!) and making the bodice strapless.  I really like this pattern, but I would suggest making it smaller than you think you need.  Like, way smaller.  The measurements given on the back don’t really seem to be accurate, and I ended up having to take it in a good bit.  The bodice is still a bit too big.  I’m hoping to become an expert on fit and alterations, so that I can make clothes that flatter me perfectly.  It really does make such a difference.

Second-day hair. I got up late and went with what was left over from the wedding. Some days are like that!

I styled this dress pretty casually.  It’s summer, and I love the look of a simple, pretty dress with minimal fuss.  These sandals are getting a bit worn, but I still love them.  I got them at Target four summers ago, and they are the perfect flip-flops – braided leather(ish) straps, bronzey detailing, casual and pretty all at once.  I decided to wear my big ol’ necklace, which looks like strawberry candy, and because I chose to wear that, I forewent belting the dress.  I think that would have just been too much, and I kind of wanted to let the dress stand alone.  I added sunglasses and a homemade bracelet, and I was good to go.

Well, I’m off to my sewing machine.  I have another dress in the works, and about five swimming around in my head.  Let’s see how long this streak lasts!


I’ve always loved beachy, summery jewelry – wooden beads and seashells call out to the hippie in me!  A couple of years ago, I saw this post on Craftster and knew I needed something similar.  I made the necklace and absolutely loved it, but hadn’t played with shells much more until this past weekend, when my mom told me for the upteenth time how much she liked my necklace, and I decided to make her one.  Then I played around with variations, and ended up with some jewelry that I really love!

I wore that last one to church yesterday with a simple tan dress, and I got a ton of compliments.  I know that shell jewelry has a reputation of being tacky and too beach-souvenir-ish, but I think it can be fun and pretty.  What do you think?

A tiny how-to: flowered tote

I love to create, and I love developing my personal style, so I love-love it when a crafty project is also something I can add to my wardrobe.  I made a flowered tote yesterday, and I chronicled the process in pictures so that I could share it with you!  This is a very straightforward project, more like semi-homemade than made from scratch, but I still love it and I’m very pleased with how it turned out!

Supplies: plain tote, flowers, and beverage of choice (tea with coconut milk!)

I started out with a plain tan canvas tote that I bought at Old Navy a few weeks ago.  I got it on clearance (maybe $7?) with the intention of prettying it up.  When I saw those burlap flowers in the scrapbooking section of the craft store, I felt like they were destined for this bag.

The first order of business was to determine how I wanted the flowers arranged.  I decided that I wanted them to look like they were spilling down the front of my bag and kind of tapering at each end.  I had three sizes of flowers, so I thought it would look best if I concentrated the larger ones in the middle and placed the smaller ones at the end.  Then, I started pinning the flowers in place.

Pin, pin, pin...

All set!

I decided to hand-sew beads into the center of each flower.  I didn’t take pictures of this process, but basically I just sewed the beads on through the flower, down into the bag.  This way you can sew on your beads and flowers at the same time, and remove the pins as you go.


And that’s it!  This project took me about an hour and a half, start to finish, and was super easy.  I love the way the girliness of the flowers and beads contrasts with the utilitarian nature of the fabrics (canvas and burlap).  I’ll definitely be carrying this everywhere!

Hooray for easy, pretty projects!


On Sunday, I wore the embellished cardigan I mentioned making.  I also brought out the espadrilles!  Maybe it’s a bit too early for them, but I was excited.  Yay for spring!

I was going to do a tutorial for the cardigan, but when I make things, I am incredibly impatient.  I have trouble stopping at every step to photograph the process.  This sweater used to be one of my absolute favorite items in my wardrobe.  It was soft and pink and felt so nicely preppy, and I even wore it for some of my senior pictures.  However, it shrunk up and became too short quite a while ago, and that, coupled with my weight gain, meant that it was past its prime, but I couldn’t stand to get rid of it.  For some reason, I really loved that sweater.  I decided to give it new life by chopping it up, and I’m quite happy with it!  I’m excited to find ways to style it.

I was going to post about today’s outfit today, too, but I am about to fall asleep while typing.  Today’s ensemble will have to wait till tomorrow. 🙂

Flower Power

While I love the snow and think it’s beautiful, I think I’ve been coming down with a bit of spring fever.  Specifically, I just can’t seem to get enough flowers in my life.  On Wednesday, after a conference in a different city, I headed to the mall.  I bought two t-shirts, a cardigan, and some jewelry, and each item features a floral motif.  I did also buy one cardigan that has more of a nautical theme, but other than that, it was flowers all the way.

Quick aside: There are, sadly, no pictures of my conference outfit, though I think it was really cute.  I was rear-ended on the way home, and it was a long, crazy, evening, and so by the time I got home I was just tired and wilted.  Here’s a picture I did take, pre-accident, so you can kind of see what I’m wearing:

That's a new dress, and a flower pin that I made myself!

So anyway, here’s yesterday’s work outfit:

Closeup of the sweet rosebud print of this cardigan, my self-made earrings, and the cute new bracelet I got at Aerie.

Not a perfect outfit, but I just love this little cardigan so much.  It feels like flannel.

More of my floral inspiration:

The lovely flowers my stepdad got me for Valentine's Day. This picture was taken last night, and they still look amazing!

The beautiful hydrangeas I saw in the grocery store. Someday, I want my yard to be bursting with these.

Do you have spring fever, too?