My 2018 Sewing Goals

I realize we are now 2/3 of the way through the year so I’m just a weeeee bit late setting annual goals, but I have been feeling a real pull to set goals lately. This was sparked by a combination of binge listening to the Love to Sew podcast (specifically the episode on Planningand feeling very scattered (both emotionally as well as physically in regards to the fact that I have many works-in-progress collecting dust).

It’s also Libra “season” so naturally (as a Libra) I’m seeking balance 😉

 1. Sew my stash

I heard about this on Episode 30 of the Love to Sew podcast, but I have had this idea (to some degree) for a while.

Over the years I have really decreased my fabric-purchasing-sprees and tried to focus on buying only when I didn’t have the right substrate for the project. However, I was inspired to push this goal further after hearing about #makeyourstash.

Goal: For the remainder of 2018, I will sew only with fabric already in my stash – no new fabric will be purchased.

2. Finish sewing my current works-in-progress

I have several projects that I’ve started and abandoned (temporarily). I would like to save these WIP’s from dying a slow, quiet death in the dusty oblivion of forgotten fabric. Even if they are never worn (but they will be), they deserve to be complete.

Embarrassingly, I have more than the 2 listed below, but these are the 2 I’m forcing myself to finish.

Arenite Pants

At first I wasn’t sure this pattern was for me.. until I saw Meg’s version!

Arenite pants inspiration from Meg

I made it as far as sewing the leg panels together before realizing I cut the front seam incorrectly after sewing (I trimmed both seams preventing me from creating the felled seam in the instructions. I have a French-seam-ish idea + sewing a smaller seam allowance to finish the sides of the pants that will hopefully allow the pants to still fit #fingerscrossed). That said, I was frustrated with my irreversible mistake so they have been sitting in time-out.

Harrington Shorts

These shorts have been on my to-make list for years (literally. I promised them to Jeremy for his birthday 3+ years ago). I pulled the pattern out after Andy was born and cut into some Essex Linen I’d been hoarding. Sewing is my love language and my husband was incredible during those first few weeks having a newborn – I really wanted to make something special for him. He’s still wonderful so he still deserves these 😉

I’ve only found one completed pair of Harrington shorts in the blogosphere, but the review sounds like they’re worth powering through. I’ve got some minor adjustments to make before I hem them (they’re really close to being done!).

Goal: By the end of 2018, I will finish sewing my black Arenite Pants and the Harrington shorts for Jeremy.

 3. Purge my closet

I recently checked out a copy of The Curated Closet from my local library and have been reading through it…making notes and doing most of the activities.

Jenny posted a really great review of the book on The Curvy Sewing Collective if you’re wondering how this book relates to sewing.

Goal: Condense closet into 3 categories outlined in The Curated Closet: Basics, Key Pieces, Statement Pieces to identify gaps in wardrobe. Purge pieces that no longer fit my style.

 4. Make a PLAN for sewing in 2019

Sometimes I feel a little lost when I finish a project. I have so many ideas of what I want to sew next running through my head at all times that once I finally reach the point of being able to start the next project, I feel too overwhelmed to make a choice. Then I get stuck in the planning phase trying to decide what to make next.

Developing a sewing PLAN will help my indecisiveness and hopefully help me stay on track with my goals (and maybe even be more efficient!). Basing this plan off of what I discover based on Goal #3 above will be helpful to keep me focused on pieces I need and will undoubtedly wear and enjoy for years to come.

Goal: Use my Colette Sewing Planner to map out 6 garments to make in 2019.

Do you set goals? Do you stick to them? Share your tips with me!

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What I’m Lovin’ in September

Random Things I’m Lovin’ this Month

1. Flow Space Fitness’ Blog & Embracing moments of FLOW

Some friends of ours have opened a pop-up fitness studio and through the process they have both been sharing incredible posts on the blog.

Earlier this month, Zach shared about the state of FLOW. This can often be a buzz word, but if you dig into the science it is so neat.

Photo credit: Flow Space Fitness

I also loved this post from Erica about how she lost weight.

2. These 5 ways to stop comparing yourself to others

I recently set up a Flipboard account (which I totally recommend – it’s like Pinterest for news/blogs). A post called How I Finally Stopped Comparing Myself to Others – And 5 Ways You Can Do It Too came up on my feed and I immediately clicked over.

My favorite quote from the post:

Be more of who you are, rather than trying to be more of someone else. The former is exhilarating; the latter, impossible.

3. A Mediocre Life

I am really feeling Libra season approaching – seeking balance and harmony. I ran across this article shared by becoming minimalist on Facebook and it was just what I needed to hear.

4. Hearing how others incorporate self-care into their lives

love hearing how others are incorporating self-care into their lives. Not only is it refreshing to hear others talk about prioritizing their own happiness (you can’t pour from an empty vessel), but it sparks new ideas for my own life!

Sharnice from The Garden of She recently posted some ideas for Self-Care September.

PS: If you’re interested, you can read about how I balance creativity, self-care, & motherhood in this post.

5. Reading

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. Right now I’m reading Rising Strong by Brene Brown – I’m also on my library’s waiting list for Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection (I think I’m mistakenly reading these out-of-order, but hopefully that won’t matter). I’ve heard really great things about her books and am excited to dig into these.

I’m also reading and implementing the activities from The Curated Closet. This book is incredible if you are craving a simpler wardrobe and/or honing in on what “your style” really is.

Andy helping me read.

If you have any book recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

Motherhood

6. Public Restrooms with a Coat Hanger Beside the Changing Table

RANDOM I KNOW, but any parent who has held their dirty-diaper-wearing-baby while debating on a clean spot to set the diaper bag that will be within reach once the wiggly baby is naked on the changing table is clapping right now.

When Hurricane Florence looked like a monster barreling in to eat the Carolina coast, we debated using it as an excuse to visit the in-laws in Atlanta. Finally, we decided to go. The Hubs had to work and was going to bring the dogs so Andy & I were on our own for the 4-ish hour drive.

We stopped often and not once did any of the bathrooms have a hook beside the changing table (if they had one at all) and I kept thinking how great that would be. The next day we were at Zoe’s Kitchen for lunch and guess what I found beside the changing table?! So handy. And such an easy, cheap solution.

7. Reminders to soak up the littleness while I can

Andy is changing so fast. The cliche saying that “babies don’t keep” is totally true. What’s also true: time moves at lightning speed once you have a baby. From the beginning I have tried so hard to soak in the little moments and not wish any of this time away. But I’m human. And I find myself wondering and wishing for future milestones. Reading this beautiful post about soaking in the littleness was a real perspective-changer.

Share the article with your mama-friends. It might be just what they needed to hear.

Sewing / Creativity

8. Love to Sew Podcast

I saw a spike in blog traffic at the end of last month and realized Helen’s Closet was to credit (thank you, Helen!). Then I fell down the rabbit hole of the podcast she hosts with Caroline of Blackbird Fabrics called Love to Sew.

So far I have loved every episode I have listened to! My very favorite so far was Episode 34: Intentional Making with Aidan Owen.

9. Jess’ honesty about sewing & body positivity

I really appreciated Jess’ honesty in this post. She admits that sewing your own garments does not equate to high body-positivity which I think is a really good point.

Photo credit: Jess Sews Clothes

10. Kicking Libra Season off with a Destash

Libra Season has me feeling motivated so I purged my sewing stash! Starting on Monday (10/1), I’ll be posting sewing books, patterns, fabric, supplies and other sewing-related goodies that are looking for a new home on my destash account on Instagram: @jordans.destash.

Follow along for some stellar deals!

PS: Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts for your warm embrace and responses to my last post. Sharing my family’s story was scary, but I am so very glad we did. I can’t thank everyone enough for all of your heartfelt comments, messages, and thoughts – you are amazing.

What have you been lovin’ this month? Let me know in the comments so I can jump on your bandwagon!

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

Andy’s Journey

I have been holding onto this story for a while – guarding it with my Mama Bear paws. This innate desire to protect my child is not unique to me. However, through this parenthood journey I have found that my most vulnerable moments have lead to my most powerful connections. I have decided to lean into this discomfort and embrace what comes out of it.

Today is International Children’s Growth Awareness Day which feels like just the push I needed.

I have been struggling with what and how much to share since this not entirely my story – it’s really Andy’s story. And she’s not of an age yet to voice her opinions about what she is comfortable with sharing publicly.

I’ve discussed this hesitation with my husband who shrugged it off and made a very valid point: This is not something we want Andy to ever be embarrassed of. It is who she is.

So, I share with you today: the story of our family.

Enjoying our local public library, August 2018 (Andy at 7-months-old).

Jeremy and I were wide-eyed and bushy-tailed as we went into our 12-week gestational appointment. This was the appointment where we’d be able to opt into genetic testing – testing that would reveal to us the gender of our growing baby.

I had tossed the idea of keeping the gender a surprise (opting out of the genetic testing), but Jeremy quickly objected and we agreed that finding out was best for both of our personalities. 🙂

Our giddiness deflated pretty fast as the Nurse Practitioner who performed the ultrasound explained to us that the amount of fluid at the back of our baby’s neck was just at the minimum measurement for concern (i.e. it may be nothing, but it could be something).

My world started spinning.

As my mind raced through what this may mean, I looked over at my husband and saw the joy disappear from his eyes. He was no longer listening. He, too, was spiraling.

I don’t remember much of what was said after that point, but I remember trying really hard to be strong for our little family – there were three of us depending on that right now.

It’s been so long I barely remember how the moments after this played out, but I know I cried hysterically by myself at some point. And I know Jeremy definitely had his own intense moments of processing the news.

A few days later I got a call. I stepped out of my office and started walking the block around our building. The same thoughtful Nurse Practitioner who had performed the ultrasound was making this fateful call to me.

She handed me the news gently like the unknown gift it was: Our daughter (it was a girl!) had Turner syndrome.

Immediately I felt dumbfounded – what on Earth was this?! I’d never heard of it (which is no surprise: it is pretty rare – affecting about 1 in every 2,500 girls – source: Kids Health).

My only response was “What’s the quality of life for a girl with Turner syndrome?”

She let out the faintest hint of a chuckle and exclaimed “it’s usually good! They can live completely normal lives.” She described complications our baby may have or issues she may face (that would be lifelong), but all-in-all, this diagnosis was fine – we would be fine.

Andy at 1.5-months-old {Fun fact: I made this hooded towel from a towel wrap I never used}

So, what is Turner syndrome?

Generally speaking, females have two complete X chromosomes in each cell. Females with Turner syndrome are missing a complete or partial X chromosome.

The most consistent features of TS are short stature and lack of ovarian development, however, there are other symptoms and characteristics that can appear in varying degrees, depending on each person’s unique genetic makeup. – source: Turner Syndrome Society

While Turner syndrome is a genetic condition, it is not inherited (despite the fact that I am also very short 😉 ).

I am oversimplifying my description of Turner syndrome because (frankly): I’m no expert. There are amazing resources out there if you are interested in learning more about it: The Turner Syndrome Society & the Turner Syndrome Foundation are two personal favorites.

  • THIS is a really good video about what it’s like for youth living with TS.

Andy at almost 3-months-old {yep, asleep in the yard}

I have said it a few times and I know it is very blunt, but this is the best worst-case-scenario after an appointment like that. My heart breaks for the families who go through such an experience only to receive devastating news. I may not know your struggle, but I know the fear you felt. I know the decisions you faced. My husband and I stared them in the face. It was a dark place to find yourself during one of the “happiest times of your lives.”

A few weeks later we met with a Genetic Counselor. She was amazing. Not only did she explain Turner syndrome to us in a very-technical-but-easy-to-understand way, but she was so warm and understanding.

She also explained the lab results in more detail: At this point, the chances of Andy actually having Turner syndrome was closer to 50% – really a flip of the coin. The only way to know for sure was amniocentesis (testing the amniotic fluid during pregnancy) or waiting until Andy was born (to test her blood).

Because of the risks associated with amniocentesis (which are still very low, btw) and the fact that the results wouldn’t change our decision to continue with the pregnancy or impact the path of care we were/would be receiving, we decided to wait until Andy was born to have her cord blood tested for TS.

Andy at almost 4-months-old.

The Genetic Counselor and her group followed my pregnancy until we were released around the beginning of the third trimester. Their ultrasound technician was the happiest person I think I have ever met and every time she found Andy’s heartbeat and confirmed her organs were functioning as they should she cheered.

Her contagious, uncontrolled excitement could have been because she knew the statistics.

My sister and Jeremy had found them too. They ran across the stats when we first found out.

Approximately 98% of fetuses conceived that have Turner syndrome will spontaneously miscarry early in pregnancy. – source: Turner Syndrome Society

During pregnancy, I refused to google anything. I wanted to put my head down and do.the.work. I knew we were fine – I was going to do all that I could to ensure a healthy pregnancy for both souls sharing my body.

Plus, as a researcher by trade, I couldn’t bring myself to believe that was a real statistic, but apparently it is (I’m not going to go into the research I finally did after Andy was born, but it’s a real stat).

Andy’s first 4th of July {almost 6-months-old}

The potential of losing Andy held me back emotionally. Subconsciously knowing the odds were stacked against her forced me to retreat into myself. My therapist once told me that I do a pretty good job of putting myself in a protective bubble when I need to. I definitely did this during pregnancy.

BUT…

Andy arrived.

Safe and healthy.

And a post-birth echocardiogram confirmed what the ultrasounds had indicated: she did not have any cardiac issues (this is at the top of the list of concerns for TS babies).

However, it would be a few days before we would hear the results from testing Andy’s cord blood for TS.

Andy around 7-months-old {Her great-Aunt & great-Grandma sent this dress from England. I made the bow!}

As anyone’s first few days with a newborn are, they were a fog. One evening, my friend (and Andy’s pediatrician) called. It was a little late for office hours so I wasn’t sure she was calling with the results. But she was.

She told us that Andy did, in fact, have Turner syndrome, but she has what is called “mosaicism.” Only about 50% of her cells are affected.

Mosaicism is when some cells in the body have two complete copies of the X chromosome. Other cells have only one copy of the X chromosome. – source: Mayo Clinic

At this point, we had done enough research to have an idea of what living with Turner syndrome might be like. We knew Andy would have lots of doctor’s appointments (yep) and she may be low on her growth curve (yep, but as her pediatrician says “she’s following the curve which is all we ask” and “Jordan, you’re short. She was always going to be small.”).

Andy at 7-months-old {also, mama-made bow}

So, what now?

Right now, Andy is doing amazing. She is 8-months-old and following her milestones. She’s small, but so am I. I know how to function in a world built for tall people. I will teach her all of my tricks (like having her Dad reach everything) and buy her own folding step stool so she can carry it around the house like I have to 😉 (…and hem all of her pants).

We feel so incredibly lucky to not only have Andy here, but to have her diagnosis so early. We didn’t have to wait until she had a handful of issues pointing to TS. Andy is being followed by a wonderful medical team. We have the luxury of prevention and early intervention. We are so grateful for this.

Andy at 7-months-old.

Life is so incredible.

One of my coworkers has a daughter who lost her hearing as a baby. She has cochlear implants and is doing amazing. Whenever we discuss the girls she always tells me “God gives us our special babies for a reason.”

Andy was always meant to be ours. This was always supposed to be our journey. Life was always going to play out like this for us. We are not in control. The universe has a plan for us and we are trusting in that – because so far we have not been let down.

Andy at 6.5-months-old.

Finding our community

The desire to share this story more widely has been pulling on my heart. Close friends and family were following our journey all along. They prayed for us, held our hands, and didn’t question us relentlessly about it but gave us the space to share what we wanted to when we wanted to (to all of you: you mean more to our family than you will ever know).

When we first found out Andy had TS, someone said to me “I know you have tons of support, but you need to find your community. We will support you in any way you need, but none of us will know what you are going through. You need to find other parents with daughters who have TS. They will be able to relate to you.”

For the past few months I have been on a journey to find that community.

In the spring, I ran across information for the Turner Syndrome National Conference. I told my husband about it as a “tuck this in our back pocket as something we can take Andy to one day,” but in true Jeremy fashion he immediately insisted that I go. He knows I hate to trust the internet with medical concerns and I want to hear about TS straight from the doctors, physicians, researchers, and women living with TS. We weren’t quite ready to travel with Andy so he suggested I take my sister for a girls weekend.

I told my sister and before we could even make plans, she had already emailed the conference hosts for information about sessions. {She is literally the most amazing person on the planet. I wish everyone could have a Katie.}

In July, my sister and I attended the conference. The best part was seeing all the women and girls – of all ages – living and thriving with Turner syndrome. They were (& are!) amazing. They embraced each other in the most heart-warming ways. We met other families and connected with parents of daughters with TS that I am still in contact with.

While I am absolutely thrilled about the connections we made, I have been struggling to find and connect with families of girls with TS around Andy’s age (she’s 8 months old now!) in or around our area (South Carolina). As someone who is absolutely relentless in my pursuits of just about anything, if I am having a hard time finding this community, I KNOW there are others out there having the same struggle.

Our lives are much messier now, but so very fulfilled. {Andy at 7.5-months-old}

If you know someone affected by Turner syndrome, please share this post with them. If you are that person, reach out! Let’s connect – you can find all my information here.

What I’m Lovin’ in August

Does August always feel like summer’s Sunday? It’s still summer-level-hot where I’m at, but that doesn’t mean I’m not giddy that fall is just around the corner!

Ch-ch-ch-chaaaannnnggeess

Did that make you start singing?! 

I realized while constructing this month’s post that most all of “what I’m lovin’” fall into one of two buckets: Sewing/Creativity or Motherhood. In true Type A fashion, I’ve decided to start organizing my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts into sections. Because some things I’m lovin’ may not fit into either of those 2 categories, I’ll start the list with my un-categorized loves (aka: the random things I’m lovin’). After I share those, I’ll separate the things into 2 sections: Sewing/Creativity & Motherhood.

As a follower of many blogs (and many blogs whose content evolves along with the blogger…like this one), I was hoping this would help you – as the reader. Whether you are following this blog for sewing content or my ramblings about parenthood, now you can hop-skip-jump right to the section you’re interested in when it comes to reading all about what I’ve been lovin’ that month.

This will be the first post organized into the sections so please share your feedback!

Random Things I’m Lovin’ this Month

1. Adopting Zero Waste Habits

Photo Credit: Jess With Less

I ran across these 10 Zero Waste Habits that will save you money a few weeks ago and found them really helpful! There are several I’m working to adopt – like storing my leftovers in glass jars (and reusing glass jars more often instead of tossing them carelessly into the recycling bin) and using a safety blade razor.

2. This friend and all the work he is doing around body positivity

Kelvin {aka Notoriously Dapper} and I attended the same high school. Following his blog over the past few years and watching his status in the male-modeling-world grow has been really refreshing. He is doing some really incredible work around body positivity and I love reading the messages he shares on Instagram.

{Click the image to read an article from The State about his latest work}

3. This diffuser

I’ve had this diffuser for three years (still love it!), but I have found myself recommending it a lot recently so I thought I’d share it here 🙂

Dare I say: I like it better than the super expensive version that came with my oil subscription. I admit that I haven’t been using essential oils as much as I used to, but I have a ton and reach for them often. Diffusing is definitely my preferred use.

If you are looking for diffuser-blend-inspiration, my sister & I have some idea saved on our Pinterest board. My favorite is lavender – plain and simple. It’s my very favorite oil for everything.

Motherhood

4. No longer saying or listening to someone say “oh, you just wait”

Earlier this month I shared a post (rant?) about why I will not be saying “you just wait” to anyone. Shortly after, a friend shared this article with me – apparently I’m not the only one who finds this saying annoying.

And whether you are running a marathon, doing yoga or taking a walk down the street – I can assure you you’ll have zero regrets you ignored the nay-sayers of the world and did your thing.

Live in the moment… in YOUR experience (don’t let someone else’s experience cloud your view).

{Click the image if you want to read my post 😉 }

5. These reasons why no mother should ever feel guilty about having a Cesarean Birth

This was my favorite quote from the article:

C-section mothers should be extra proud of themselves. When offered the choice between risk to their unborn baby and risk to themselves, they chose taking on the risk in an effort to protect the baby. If that isn’t the essence of motherhood, I don’t know what is.

Photo Credit {because I did not look anywhere close to this poised after birth}

I do not feel guilt about how Andy was born. The shame and stigma around C-sections / Cesarean births / Belly births needs to go.the.fluff.away.

No matter how I got there, I’d made it to the finish line of my pregnancy, and won the real prize: A healthy baby.

6. This article about rebranding motherhood

I found so.much.truth. in this article! Like the author, I have found myself in quiet moments confessing to myself that I am enjoying this journey. Parenthood is so different than what I expected (and different in the best way).

Sewing / Creativity

7. This post about doing something [sew / knit / quilt / eat eggs] for the joy of it

Without space and time and joyous freedom, my work as a human, not just as a mother, is substandard.

I felt like I could really relate to Felicia’s message in this post. We are so often stretched thin with tasks we “must” do.

Over the past few weeks I have felt a little shift. One Sunday I found myself sewing into the evening finishing a quick little project to be gifted to a coworker. I should’ve been getting Andy ready for her nightly routine, but instead she was rolling around under her baby gym – having a great time entertaining herself. My husband was upstairs cooking dinner. My dogs were taking their thirtieth nap of the day somewhere in the house. And I was downstairs lost in the process of sewing – feeling pure joy in the process.

I had to stay up a little late to get my things ready for the week, but it was worth it.

Sometimes we need a little reminder that being lost in our own moments of joy is worth the sacrifice of all the “shoulds.”

What have you been lovin’ this month? Let me know in the comments so I can jump on your bandwagon!

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

5 Ways to Make Your Sewing More Eco-Friendly

After stumbling upon #plasticfreejuly, I’ve been feeling super inspired to decrease my family’s wasteful behaviors. {Easier said than done when you have a baby in diapers.}

Since I can’t control how often my husband buys bottled water at the gas station, I started reflecting on things that are in my control – what can I do to decrease my impact on the planet?

Because sewing is my self-care and something that I do a lot of, I felt like it was the perfect area to focus on improving.

“Zero waste” feels completely un-achievable (for me), but I am a firm believer that small steps add up to a big impact. So, today I’m sharing 5 totally-manageable, realistic ideas to help you become a more environmentally-friendly sewist.

FIRST, what do I mean by “eco-friendly”?

According to Dictionary.com, ecofriendly is…

having a beneficial effect on the environment or at least not causing environmental damage

I like this! It feels achievable – don’t we all want to live a life that benefits the environment?! (If you answered No, this may not be the post for you! 😉 )

Like with just about anything, there is always room for improvement – sewing is no exception.

Below are 5 environmentally-friendly ideas to influence your sewing habits.

1. Sew reusable items

Is there something disposable that you use regularly? Is there a way you could make a reusable version?

Example: I pack my lunch/snacks everyday for work. I like to wrap my silverware so they stay clean. For a brief time, I was using paper towels for this. Then it occurred to me that I could (DUH) make some reusable napkins to wrap my silverware. So I did. They were super easy to make and opening my lunch box to find fun fabric peaking out at me makes me so happy. Win-win.

There are loads of tutorials out there for sewing napkins – this is the one I used.

The utensil holder below by @greenindyblog is way fancier than mine – the flap can be used to set your food on! Genius.

{Click the image to read how this can be made!}

More ideas of reusable items to sew:

  • My friend Shanika recently shared a tutorial for making your own produce bags.

2. Alter and repair your existing garments

I can’t tell you how many garments I have made (or purchased) that just don’t fit right. I love the fabric or the style, but there’s just a little something off that’s preventing me from enjoying wearing the item.

I have a bad habit of finishing sewing a garment and being done with it forever. Rather than taking the time to take apart the garment and/or alter it so that it fits better, I either try to make it work/get used to the imperfection or hang it carelessly in the back of my closet to collect dust.

A better idea would be to take the time to alter it. And if the finished product is too small to alter to fit, you could wrap it up and gift it to a friend or rip it up and make something new (like an outfit for your little one, a bag, some coasters or any other small project) with the scraps.

Just a wee bit obsessed with how fun these mended leggings look {source}

Additionally, as garments become well-worn, take the time to repair them. I’m guilty of wearing garments with holes in them or with buttons missing because I’m lazy. I’m on a mission to love my clothes more and I need to pour the investment of time into a few of them so that they will serve me longer.

Inspiration for repairing garments:

  • This slideshow from Martha Stewart has some really great tips for how to mend knit sweaters.
  • If you have a garment with a grease-stain that has already been through the dryer, try this to remove the stain so it’s wearable again.
  • To make mending more fun, you could use fabric scraps to DIY this mending kit!
  • This mended butt.
  • Cover a hole with an embroidered patch – like this.
  • This post has some great resources to get started.
  • Visible mending is less desirable in the crotch area, but let’s be honest: if your thighs touch (hello, everyone), it’s the first place to go. Here’s some inspiration.

3. Upcycle with material you already have

I love the challenge to refashion existing garments! As proof (& hopefully inspiration): check out my Thrifted Thursday posts!

One of my very favorite upcycled sewing projects was an old t-shirt from my Grandpa that I turned into a Montlake Tee. You can read more about it in this post from Me-Made-May 2017.

Top right: My Grandpa’s original shirt | Bottom right: My freshly sewn Montlake Tee.

Taking apart a garment to then reconstruct it into something new is so much fun! It’s a challenge to fit pattern pieces into a limited amount of space, but what results is a re-purpose of something that would have become trash and very little fabric waste/scraps {look at the video in Trish Stitched’s recent post to see what I mean!}.

Need some inspiration? I got you covered:

Another idea: The other day I bought new sheets for our bed. I saved our old worn-out sheets to use to make muslins for new garment patterns I’m trying. When I create a bodice muslin, I save the fabric to reuse for a smaller project to keep reuse of the material going.

Speaking of bed sheets, if you have cool printed sheets, here’s a tutorial on how to turn them into a dress. Or if you’re like me and have boring white sheets, you could try dyeing them!

4. Make use of your scrap fabric

It’s very tempting to toss your scrap fabric because at some point you’ll run out of storage {and if you’re a neat freak like yours truly, storing scraps is a bit annoying}.

BUT Meg of @sewliberated recently shared a Metamorphic Dress that Jen made from scraps of rayon fabric that blew.my.mind.! I’m already working on a Metamorphic dress, but I may be incorporating patchwork into a future version!

This makes my heart go pitter-patter! {more photos here, here, here}

Below are more ideas for using your scrap fabric:

  • Make fabric twine – a member of one of my quilt guild’s showed us how to do this and it’s super easy! The twine is great to have on-hand for gift wrapping embellishment.
  • Use knit scraps to make a headband & woven scraps to make a neck scarf.
  • Find someone willing to use your scraps. Maybe you have a friend who sews or is learning to sew and could use scraps. Maybe you know a teacher or childcare center worker, etc. who could use scrap fabric for art projects. I have a friend who is crazy creative with scrap fabric so I pass mine on to her and at some point I will see a bag, fabric planter, shirt, etc. that she has made with fabric I recognize from my stash.
  • Make a scrunchie. {I heard they’re coming back in style so pack up your judgement and leave it at the door}
  • Make a mug rug – these are great for gifting with a coffee mug, some tea, etc. {You can download my free printable tags in this post}

Mug Rugs are perfect for fabric scraps & make great gifts!

5. Pre-wash new fabric with sheets or towels

It’s tempting to toss your new fabric by itself in the washing machine to pre-wash, but try washing it with sheets or towels that you wouldn’t mind if the new fabric bleeds/stains them. This will cut down on water waste and be more efficient overall (plus, we all love a lower water bill, right?!).

Photo borrowed from my recent purchase of the Metamorphic Dress Kit from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics

For the safety of your fibers, try to wash your new fabric with similar material (i.e. try washing light weight / delicate fabric with bed sheets instead of towels).

What are some ways you make your sewing practice more eco-friendly? I’d love to gather more tips!

What I’m Lovin’ in July

July’s saving grace (because #WayTooHot) is that it’s my sister’s birthday month – in fact, TODAY is my sister’s birthday!! Happy Birthday to my very best friend and favorite person in the whole world.

My sister during our trip to DC this month – enjoying the hotel jacuzzi to its fullest.

This year we took a trip to Washington, DC together! It wasn’t specifically for her birthday, but it was close enough that it was the perfect excuse 🙂

1. These 10 Asheville Airbnbs worthy of a getaway from Cola Today

Asheville is one of my favorite places to visit! It’s not too far of a drive and the weather is always a little cooler which is a nice escape from the relentlessness heat of Columbia. It’s also a vegetarian foodie’s dream destination 😉

The Hubs is going to Asheville this month for a lacrosse tournament, but unfortunately I didn’t see this list until after we’d already booked his Airbnb. Hopefully next year Andy & I can tag along (or else we’ll have to make an excuse to visit soon!).

How gorgeous is the inside of this BUS?! Click on the image to go to the Airbnb listing – this one’s really neat!

2. This Weekender bag pattern

I’ve been following Trish Stitched for a long time now and absolutely love her blog! I really like her style and rely a lot on her garment sewing posts to see what kind of alterations she made to the patterns she shares (she’s also petite!). She’s really talented and I was excited to see her Weekender Bag Tutorial on fabric.com! I wish I had found time to make one of these bags before my trip to DC this month – it would’ve been perfect!

I’m definitely adding it to my queue – I’m trying to work on traveling light & this bag would be the perfect motivation 😉

3. This Peach Pie Scone recipe

Earlier this month, a friend brought me a bag of beautiful, fresh peaches!

I wanted to do more than just cut-and-freeze (my usual go-to for fresh fruit so I can toss it into smoothies). I jumped on Pinterest and searched for peach recipes and ran across this recipe for Peach Pie Scones with Vanilla Glaze. It sounded easy enough so I gave it a shot!

They were delicious! I will definitely whip up a batch of these again.

4. Sewing Baby Bows

I’m on a baby-bow-sewing kick lately. They are super easy to whip up with scrap fabric and of course Andy always needs more bows. This quick fabric bow tutorial is our favorite lately. It’s the perfect scrap buster.

Andy is wearing the 4-inch bow from this tutorial. I made hers from a Lilly Pulitzer dress I found while thrifting!

She seems fascinated with the sewing machine lately so she helped me sew a few bows for one of her friends!

Andy helping me sew a bow for her friend.

5. Our Local Library

I renewed my library card earlier this month and Andy and I have been loving visiting our local library!

Andy dressed festively for our first library visit 😉 This was during our stop in the Parent Lounge.

They recently renovated and the interior is so great. There is a lovely play area for kids and a Parent Lounge with a big, comfy chair for feeding, a changing table and a sink. I love that addition – it makes it so easy for parents to come and explore with little ones without the worry of where to feed or change them. Being that Andy is not a huge fan of the heat & humidity (who is?!), we may be spending many summer days at the library.

6. Ideas sparked from #plasticfreejuly

I recently discovered #plasticfreejuly and enjoyed browsing the hashtag for inspiration. I really love the plastic storage alternatives @ecowithem_ shared in this graphic!

Other awesome #plasticfreejuly posts:

7. Plants

I went to a Plant Swap last month {read my friend Shanika’s recap of the event here}. Andy & I were way late so we missed some of the fun, but it worked out so Andy could get lots of cuddles from one of our favorite friends (you can see pictures here).

Before | After – the plants & seeds I adopted at the Plant Swap

I took some leaves from our office succulents and propagated them a few weeks before the event. I planted them in teacups from the thrift store and gave them names and backstories (yes, I’m THAT nerdy).

Before | After – my succulent trimmings propagating in the teacups I thrifted for the Plant Swap.

If you’re a plant lover, check out these neat DIY planters from upcycled items!

8. The idea of Zero Waste Grocery Shopping

Ok, so this is not something that I am actually doing, but I am really intrigued by the idea! These Practical Tips and Ideas for Zero Waste Grocery Shopping from Green Indy are really great.

Click the image for 7 Ways to Make Zero-Waste Shopping Second Nature

In addition to the obvious (bringing reusable bags to the grocery store which I already do because they hold so much!), I plan to start attempting to shop in bulk. There are a few stores nearby that have bulk sections. I’m planning to take my own jars too! Wish me luck.

What have you been lovin’ this month? Let me know in the comments so I can jump on your bandwagon!

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

9 Favorite Children’s Books

Whether you have a little one (or twelve) of your own and are wondering what books you haven’t discovered yet, are expecting your first child and wondering what on Earth you’ll do to entertain them, or have friends/family with little ones you might want to get a gift for at some point, this list is for YOU!

Andy has always loved “reading” (yes, we realize our #BabyGenius cannot actually read yet). The Hubs and I genuinely love reading to her. Children’s stories are so fun – I love the rhyming and excuse to get really animated while reading (#Nerd). We started reading to her in the beginning because, honestly, what else are you going to do with a newborn? Plus, we knew how beneficial talking to her is for her language development and it’s kind of hard to come up with your own stories when the listener can’t respond yet…so books are great! 😉

Before Andy was born, my sister (who is not only a Reading Coach, but also a true love of books!) stocked our nursery with more books than we ever thought we’d read (wrong…we’ve read almost all of them. Most of them over & over). If you don’t have a book-loving sister willing to dump stacks of baby reading material on you, check out your local Facebook sales groups (Moms love to hang out in these places & they sell some pretty amazing “used” things) or browse your local thrift stores (great place to find classics!).

The books below are in no particular order – we love them all equally!

 1. Cloudette

This book is about a cloud that’s smaller than all the others (as a short gal raising a fellow tiny gal, I truly appreciated this perspective!). While she acknowledges the advantages of being small, she struggles with the limitations. In the end, she shows that with hard work she was able to make the impact on the world she wanted to.

Perfect for: the vertically challenged tots on your list 😉

Buy Cloudette here.

2. Bear Says Thanks

Bear wants to throw a feast but his cupboards are empty. One-by-one his friends show up with something to contribute to the gathering. I like this book because it shows how special time together with loved ones can be (even if you have nothing to contribute but stories – like Bear).

The first time we read this book together, it was before we were heading to gather with family for a potluck lunch. It was very appropriate!

Perfect for: Because of the theme of gratefulness and the gathering of friends (with food!), it would be a great book to read at Thanksgiving. It could also be a good book to read when learning about manners (Bear thanks each of his friends as they bring food for the gathering).

Buy Bear Says Thanks here.

 3. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

This is a great story about embracing what makes you unique. Molly Lou encounters a bully at her new school. Because of the confidence her grandmother has instilled in her, she knows how to handle the bully and ultimately (no surprise 🙂 ) they become friends.

Perfect for: This would be a great story for a child who is moving and/or starting a new school where they will be making new friends. Also a great story for children dealing with bullying.

Buy Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon here.

 4. Olivia and the Fairy Princesses

A few books from the Olivia series arrived on our doorstep unexpectedly one day. Andy’s Aunt Olivia had sent them to her!

While I try to be cautious about Princess-y books (and clothes and nicknames…), this story is a good one! Olivia is fed up with everyone wanting to be Princesses – honestly, I really like the way her fierce personality shines through as she rants about this.

#SpoilerAlert: I do wish that in the end she decided to be something other than a Queen (sorry for giving away the ending!). Nonetheless, this is still great inspiration for being unafraid of standing out.

Perfect for: Encouraging little ones to follow their heart – there are no wrong choices on the path to discovering who they are. While the title and cover (and most of the images) are very gendered, I think this is still a good story for both girls and boys. It’s also a great book for newborns because a lot of the interior images feature red, black and white – good contrast for little ones who can’t yet see all colors.

Buy Olivia and the Fairy Princesses here.

 5. Lily the Unicorn

The author of this story also illustrated the book which I found really impressive (having the imagination to create a meaningful story + the ability to illustrate such beautiful pictures is quite an impressive pair of skills!).

The story is [obviously] about Lily the Unicorn. She loves making new friends, but her newest friend doesn’t feel quite the same way. She works hard to find ways they can connect and shows him all the fun possibilities that await him.

Perfect for: While the cover print may make you think this is a “girly” book, I assure you: it’s one for all children! The high contrast of the drawn images inside (notice the thick black lines around the images and letters on the cover) are great for newborns. This is a great book for a wide range of ages – the pages contain short sentences/few words, but are scattered with accompanying images with smaller text…a great option to incorporate more discussion/lengthen reading time as the child gets older. The story is perfect for children who are entering a phase where they will be making news friends (i.e. starting daycare or school).

Buy Lily the Unicorn here.

6. LMNO Peas

This is the Hub’s favorite book! He reads it to Andy every morning and then sings the ABC’s to her (he is literally the best, right?!). I was hesitant to read it at first because some of the ABC books are quite boring, but this one is really creative! I love how the peas are all sorts of things (as the Hubs pointed out when he was trying to convince me to read it, there’s a quilter and a weaver!).

Perfect for: Not only learning the ABCs, but also learning about all of the cool occupations and hobbies that exist!

Buy LMNO Peas here.

7. She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World

No surprise that this book is an absolute favorite. It was one of the first books I read to Andy. The nonfiction stories within the book are truly inspiring.

There’s another version of the book, She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History – it’s on our wish list!

Perfect for: Any kid! But because of the strong message of female empowerment: especially girls.

Buy She Persisted here.

8. Lily Wool

I found this book when the Hubs and I took a day trip to Greenville a few weeks before Andy was born and stopped into M.Judson Booksellers.

I love the story of Lily Wool! She is an endlessly creative sheep who doesn’t fit in. She learns to use her creativity to contribute to her herd in a positive way and becomes a creative entrepreneur!

Perfect for: Inspiring young ones to follow their passions and find ways to use their creativity for good. Also a great book for those with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Buy Lily Wool here.

 9. Beautiful

This book is so cleverly illustrated! My sister got it for Andy. I love that the statements in the book are sayings that we hear about girls all the time, but the illustrations show a spin on the saying by flipping it to show basically the opposite of the stereotype. It’s really a neat book!

Perfect for: Any and every girl! The content paired with the illustrations is really powerful, but not in a hard-to-understand kind of way. It’d be a great gift to a girl in your life to show her that beauty is defined in so many ways.

Buy Beautiful here.

*Disclaimer: For convenience, I’ve included links to the books so you can buy them online, but I highly encourage you to try to find used copies OR (better yet!) visit your local library and rent them! #SaveThePlanetOneUsedBookAtATime. Also, I don’t understand affiliate links and I’m certainly not popular enough to be bribed into a good review so you can rest-assured the statements in this post are totally unbiased.

PS: I’ve posted about several of these books on Instagram. If I did, I’ve linked the picture to the original post so you can read more there and see what others shared in the comments. Just click on the pictures and they’ll take you there!