Getting My Act Together

easter-lily

At the beginning of the year I was challenged to come up with a word to focus on this year. I couldn't really come up with a specific word, but I had the general idea that I wanted to "get my act together."

I bought a cute planner and decided I was going to be organized. I love my planner and it is a great start, but sometimes it gets lost on the mess of my desk. I wanted to get the entire house decluttered, but stalled out before tackling the bedrooms. I had all of these grand ideas that if I could get the house organized and cleaned, if I could tackle the laundry pile I call Mount Washmore, if I could send out birthday cards on time, if I could finish all of my half-completed craft projects, if I could be on time for everything, if I could get a healthy supper on the table at a reasonable time each night, if, if, if... And guess what? It isn't happening. That is not real life. We have 6 kids and a little wanna-be farm. I try, but something will always be a mess and I can't get everything done.

Just because everything isn't Pinterest-perfect doesn't mean that I am failing. I am such a perfectionist about certain things, as I have confessed before, and I am slowly chipping away, learning to let go. I get to a point where I completely run myself into the ground. So, really, "getting my act together" is more about getting my attitude together and prioritizing.

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I didn't sew the rest of the Easter dresses on time again this year. I ordered some fabric that came a few days ago and I didn't want to stress myself out to get them done. So I didn't. Instead, we made a ton of peanut butter eggs and did a lot of cleaning, both of which were very necessary.  We didn't get to any egg hunts besides the ones at family gatherings because of vehicle problems. Instead, the girls played outside and we painted our toenails on the sidewalk.  Probably the most shocking... I didn't give my kids anything in their Easter baskets. It was a personal decision to combat a materialistic attitude some of them have been displaying.  (When did Easter become the spring version of Christmas?)  Instead, we opened resurrection eggs on Easter morning as a family and took turns reading from the Bible.

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This Easter I think I found a little more peace. I realized that I can't get everything done, so I have to choose what is important to me. I can let go of some traditions that aren't working, postpone them, or even just take a break from them. I am pretty sure that my kids aren't going to be scarred for life because they missed out on a chocolate bunny. A few years ago I would have been up all night sewing to get dresses finished and baskets filled. This year, I curled up on the couch with a book waiting to shower and relaxed! I can see that part of getting my act together isn't doing more, but learning to be OK with doing less.

The Last Easter Dress

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When I found out that I was having my first daughter I went out and bought the sweetest little pink dress I have ever seen! I was so excited to get to dress her up in adorable little girl clothes! When her first Easter came a few months later, although I know that has nothing to do with the true meaning of Easter, I was super excited to go out and buy another pretty new dress- this time in yellow. My life has been overflowingly full of sweet little girly things for the last 13 years!

By the time her second Easter came, I was ready to try something different! My mother-in-law sewed coordinating Easter dresses for her girls and I thought that was a nice tradition. I was adjusting to being a stay at home mom and sewing was a good mental challenge for me, too. I went to Walmart and bought a pattern and some pretty purple and blue butterfly fabric that matched the basket I had made for her first Easter. I struggled so much with that pattern and I called my sister-in-law to ask a lot of questions. (Google wasn't much help back then because craft blogs hadn't taken off and we had dial-up so it was faster to use the telephone.) She showed me how to cut a pattern out and how to do gathering stitches. I really had NO idea what I was doing! When I put the cap sleeve in, I was confused because the directions had me sew the end that was going into the arm hole. No, I just put it in backwards! I hemmed the sleeves by hand because I didn't figure out what I did wrong until years later. The zipper is awful and I didn't finish the waist inside, but that dress has been worn by five girls and has lasted 12 years. I was so proud of myself when she wore that first dress, and the sizing was terrible so she was able to wear it for a few years, too!

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terrible zippersleeve put in backwards(The really sad part about all of this is that I do not have a single picture of my daughter wearing that dress! It was in the days of 35mm film so either I didn't take one or it didn't turn out. I am certain to do full "photo shoots" when I make dresses for my girls now. I am so thankful for digital cameras!!!!)

Now my oldest daughter is 13. She has outgrown the cute little girl styles and hates pink. My little girl who played in the mud wearing a Cinderella dress is now equal parts fabulous and sporty. She rocks a fashionable ensemble and a soccer uniform. She loves high heels and muck boots. She has reached an age where I don't know that she would want her mom to sew her an Easter dress next year, and she could actually sew her own if she wanted to. I really think this will be the last one I make for her, so I wanted to make it special. Instead of scrambling to make five Easter dresses in a week like I usually do, I decided to concentrate on this one.

ombre chiffon halter dress with a high-low hem

ombre chiffon dress

She chose this beautiful aqua/teal ombre chiffon from Joann's and the lining is a soft aqua rayon. She requested a high-low hem, but she didn't want a circle skirt. This dress felt like a final exam because it combined so many sewing skills. The top is a combination of several of my own tutorials- HERE, HERE, and HERE.  The pleated chiffon overlay was really tricky, but it softens the look of the bodice. The rhinestone ribbon was hand-stitched over the waistband to break things up a bit and match the bracelet (more on that later). Since the top was pleated, I decided to pleat the skirt, too. I used a french seam on one side and even french seamed the lining for bonus points. I actually didn't use my serger at all on this project. Everything was done the hard way, but if you see how smooth and neat the inside is, it is definitely worth it! The overlay has a narrow hem that took forever, but everything had to be done right to keep this chiffon light and flowy. I even redid my french seam to make it 1/8" finished and that piece I trimmed off became a pretty flower hair clip.

chiffon pleated halter dress

chiffon hi low dress

chiffon halter dress

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Finally, because I am sappy and sentimental, I got out the scraps from every Easter dress I have made for her and created a charm bracelet. There is a trick to it, so I will try to do a tutorial later. I used glass domes on most of them, but a few were too thick so I just coated them a glaze. I was really sneaky, so I was able to surprise her with the bracelet during the photo shoot! Also, I have just enabled fabric hoarders everywhere because this is another great idea for tiny scrap pieces. You are welcome!

glass charms made from fabric scraps

surprise-bracelet-edited_edited-1fabric scrap charm braceletcharm bracelet made from dress scrapskeepsake bracelet made from fabric scraps

I am a little sad to see my girl so grown up. It is bittersweet. We have both changed a lot.

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first and last easter dresses

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clcNB_EUao8

Put away the tissues and go vote HERE for the Project Run and Play Season 13 final round!!!

I am overwhelmed with the amount of support I have received from family and friends during this competition! Thank you so much!!! You are all amazing!!!

Egg Nest No-Bake Cookies

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Every now and then I find that one of my blog posts has disappeared. I probably accidentally deleted it at one point when I cleaned things up around here. "Cleaning" the blog is better than cleaning the house- it actually stays that way! Anyway, the other day, I was on a crazy cooking spree with breakfast sandwiches, muffins, and cookies. Spring sports are starting up and with three of the girls on three different teams it is about to get a little crazy. (Ok... crazier.) I wanted to stock the freezer with lots of snacks and easy meals for later.

I made a bunch of no-bake cookies to freeze and, since I never got around to it before Easter, I did some as little nests with candy-coated chocolate eggs to eat now. My 4yo LOVED helping to put the eggs in them.

I once made these for a baby shower and added a pink and blue egg in each (which was perfect because, although we didn't know at the time, the twin babies were a boy and a girl!)

Of course, most of the time I just make regular no-bake cookies with this recipe.

Since I accidentally deleted the old post - I only discovered that because a friend was looking for it before Easter- here is that recipe again...

 

No-Bake Cookies
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (Special Dark is yummy, too!)
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups quick oats
Melt butter in a large pot on the stovetop. Add sugar, vanilla, milk, and cocoa. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil for one minute while still stirring. Remove from stovetop. Mix in oatmeal and peanut butter. Use a cookie scoop to drop on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If adding egg candies, cool slightly and gently press eggs into cookies. Refrigerate until cool and firm. These also freeze well- just remove from the cookie sheet and store in a plastic bag.
Link Parties where I sometimes hang out...

Easter Baskets 2016

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My shop isn't officially open, but I made some Easter baskets this year for new babies who wanted to match their older siblings. :)

I accidentally dyed my hand aqua with this one. Oops!

The camo baskets were dipped in natural walnut hull dye.

They are probably all a little too young to hunt eggs this year, but I am sure they will carry a few treats on Easter. I am glad that I am able to make something quality that will be an heirloom for these children and will last for a very long time! 

WIP Wednesday ~ Bring on Spring!

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OK. I am slacking on the blog posts again. Yes, I have all of these awesome projects here and I am only giving little teasers about them. One of these days I will catch up enough to start blogging about them for real.

From last week...
~No, still no pics of those doll quilts. I am not sure if our wood glue is any good- it might have frozen- so the doll bunk beds still need repaired.
~I need to scan the bear pattern and edit more pictures to finish that post. I just didn't get around to it yet.
~I did finish the crochet cow hat, but the blue button eyes looked super creepy! I bought new ones that are brown, but my kids ran off with them. I have only relocated one so far.
~My organizing spree brought on by 40 Bags in 40 Days has continued. In fact, I broke open a bag of m&m's on Friday and was able to fill the back of my car with donations by purging through my kitchen and reorganizing. Maybe I will do a post on my organizing efforts, too. Ha! Who am I kidding?

So, what else has been going on? Glad you asked.

I attended a baby shower and whipped up one of my flannel rag edge baby blankets. (Tutorial available HERE.)

If you look REALLY close, you can see the variegated thread that I used around the edges. It matched perfectly! I still had a full bobbin left from THIS quilt so it was a win-win.
I am starting to get ready for Easter! No, I haven't started the girls' dresses yet and I don't even know what I am going to do for those yet. 
However, I did start something I hope to put in my 2yo's Easter basket. It is going to be a spring themed quiet book to coordinate with her winter book. This is all that I have done so far. I bet you can guess what the next page will be!
I am also working on some baskets for a few customers who ordered in the past and have expanded their families, hence they need a matching basket for the new baby. I use textbooks and those dumb hardcover Cabelas catalogs my husband thinks are collectible to flatten the bottoms as they dry.

As you can see, the kids like to play while I am weaving.

Speaking of kids, the girls and I made a list of decorating ideas for their playhouse (another thing I haven't blogged about) and started one of the projects. Any guesses as to what this will be?

I am linking up with Silly Mama Quilts.