2017 Holiday Gift Guide – To Make

I’m always torn on whether to make or buy holiday gifts. I have this debate with myself annually: Will the recipient appreciate all the hours of labor I put into making this? Will I become bitter from the stress by the time I finish making this? Wouldn’t it be easier to just buy something? Will I feel as excited about gifting something I’ve purchased instead of made?

Do you ever find yourself spinning in that same internal cycle?

Well, if you’re like me and your DIY spirit animal usually wins, here are some fun handmade gift ideas!

Gifts to Sew

1. Ultimate Sleep Mask by Ohhh Lulu

I have long been admiring Ohhh Lulu’s patterns and makes on Instagram and her sleep masks are so classic!

Find the pattern here and more inspiration here.

2. Mug Rug

Mug rugs are the best for practicing your piecing and quilting skills! Also a good way to use up stray blocks. They make the perfect gift when paired with a cute mug and some cocoa mix.

You can find mug rug inspiration and a free printable gift tag in this post!

3. Drawstring Bags

I have now made 6 of these and have several more planned. The bags are intended to be knitting project bags, but I think they are so handy for anything! And they’re a great bag to wrap up a few little goodies.

{See another version I made in this post}

You can find the tutorial from Very Shannon here. These are great for assembly line sewing – cut out several to sew at a time.

4. Biased Bibs for Baby

If you’ve got babies on your list, bibs are an easy go-to! For the perfect set, make a matching diaper cover!

bib front

bib back

I made this bib for my newest niece! I followed See Kate Sew’s tutorial with a few modifications: I chose to quilt the bib rather than use fusible fleece because I had a ton of batting scraps lying around. I drew the grid onto a big square of sandwiched fabric and quilted it before cutting the pieces (to avoid it shrinking too much). I also made my own bias tape from the lining of a Lilly Pulitzer dress I chopped up.

These elephant baby bib & binkie holders would also make an adorable baby gift!

Gifts in a Jar

Check your local thrift stores for glass jars with lids to use for these fun gifts!

You could even upcycle glass jars from your pantry – run them through your dishwasher if you have one and that should loosen up the labels. Alternatively, you could soak them in hot soapy water with a few drops of lemon essential oil {see my process in action here}. If the stickiness from the labels is stubborn, add a few drops of lemon essential oil directly to the area and scrub {it’s magic!}.

1. Gluten Free Cheerio Mix

This is a great idea for the GF friend on your list. As someone with a self-inflicted dietary restriction {I’m a vegetarian}, I find it so thoughtful when someone gifts me something that shows they remembered and/or took it into consideration.

Dress it up by putting it in a mason jar and adding some festive fabric to cover the lid.

2. Chocolate Chip & Oatmeal Quickbread

This recipe looks super easy and sounds delicious! You could turn it into a basket gift by wrapping it up with a loaf pan and spatula.

3. Carpet Powder

Gifting carpet powder to someone may be weird unless they are an unapologetic neat freak like several members in my family. The carpet powder can double as an odor absorber in any room just by adding a ventilated lid or leaving the lid off.

Find the tutorial here.

4. Shaving Cream

Anyone else find it near impossible to find DIY gifts for guys?! Shaving Cream or Beard Oil are my go-to’s. For the perfect gift, pair them with a new toiletry bag!

Find the tutorial for the shaving cream and beard oil here. For more ideas, you can find 7 DIY Beard Oil recipes in this guide from WiseBeards!

5. Infused Olive Oil

Not only do these look incredibly chic, but they look super easy to make! For the perfect basket, pair them with a loaf of fresh baked bread (if you’re not a baker, find your local bakery and support them!).

Find the tutorial here.

Don’t forget to whip up a handmade holiday card to go with your gift! You could even make your own envelopes to go with the cards – use any large paper scraps you have lying around (paper grocery bags work great!).

For more DIY gift ideas, check out this post!

Advertisements

What I’m lovin’ in November

I hope you had an oh-so-fulfilling Thanksgiving!

The cool weather has finally reached us in the South and it is fabulous! I love wearing cozy clothes and staying warm by the hum of my sewing machine inside 😉

Read on to hear all about what I’ve been lovin’ this month!

1. Hot Cocoa + Sewing Quilt Blocks

This one is a double whammy! 😉

While I still love the smell of fresh coffee, this pregnancy has totally thwarted my taste for it. As you know from my Pregnancy Tips & Tricks post, I have been enjoying ginger turmeric tea, but sometimes you want something a little…creamier. I’ve been lovin’ this hot-cocoa-for-one recipe. I make it with almond milk and it is totally delightful – particularly when paired with sewing!

Speaking of sewing: I took a skills building class a few weekends ago with one of the quilt guilds I’m a part of locally and learned how to construct the Hanging Gardens quilt pattern. I think it’s the perfectionist in me, but I am so methodical with how I do things that I never even unpacked my machine during class – I spent the whole time cutting (despite having my strips meticulously cut weeks ahead in preparation for class…). One of my fellow class-goers pointed out that at least by the time I get home I have the least fun part out of the way and can actually start sewing.

Honestly, I learned so much in this class! Lots of tips and tricks that will save me time {which in my case is invaluable since everything takes me forever!}.

The blocks are coming together quickly now and I’m lovin’ constructing them! I’m using fabric from Rifle Paper Company‘s Les Fleurs collection with Cotton + Steel for my quilt and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together! I’m kind of ashamed to admit that I had more than enough fabric in my stash for a queen size quilt… “Hiiiii! My name is Jordan and I have a fabric hoarding problem.

2. All the handmade baby goodies

Baby M is so spoiled. She has received so many handmade gifts already! My boss has knit her several hats {see 2 of them here!} and TWO blankets. The mother-in-law of a friend I’ve worked out with for years at our local YMCA made the most beautiful pink blanket for her {see it under the taggie below!}. And my dear friend Kristy made her the perfect quilt and the most perfect taggie! Fingers crossed this is an accurate representation of Baby M in a few years #FutureSewist

3. Knitting Progress

As I admitted in last month’s post, I made myself a knit project bag in hopes it would inspire me to work on the shawl I’ve been trying to knit since last year…

Well, I’m happy to report I’ve been making progress!

Since the photo above was taken, I’ve added the FOURTH ball of yarn and am plugging along. It’s far from perfect, but maybe one day it’ll be done and I can proudly wear my flawed shawl everywhere!

4. Nurture by Erica Chidi Cohen

I saw Laura Miller’s shout-out about this book and immediately jumped onto Amazon to order my copy.

It arrived just in time for my 29-week appointment where I had the pleasure (ha) of indulging in the most sugary of drinks for my glucose test and traffic court the day before. So, it was good company that week 😉

I’ve been really enjoying the message Erica shares. She takes a very non-judgmental approach to pregnancy, birth, and motherhood in a way that encourages you (as the reader) to practice more self-love and to open yourself up to the reality that nothing will likely go as planned {a hard pill to swallow for a Type A like myself!}. The book is so informative and [as a public health grad with a soft spot for nutrition] I really love how she has woven recipes into the book that incorporate foods your body will benefit from most during the differing months of your pregnancy.

If you have a preggo on your holiday list, get her a copy of the Nurture book!

PS: As is obvious in the photo – I’m lovin’ my new Birkenstock’s. Slip-on shoes that can loosen as needed when/if your feet swell during pregnancy = win!

5. I planned a Bake Off!

Staff in our building have been hosting monthly events for employee morale and this month was our turn! I was on the planning committee so I took the lead for my department. I kind of love planning events like this because I get to nerd out on organizing everything (and I got to see all the sweet treats being submitted – yum!).

One of the best parts about the Bake Off was that even our Superintendent participated! I had heard he’s a great baker so when he walked in with his cake, I was over the moon!

It says a lot when someone as busy as the man leading a district of 4,000+ employees & 24,000 students takes the time to bake a cake for the employee Bake Off…he’s great!

6. Chili

This weather is perfect for chili and I think there is nothing better than coming home to chili in the crockpot after a long, cold day! I was getting bored with the chili recipes I’ve relied on in past years so I found a new one to try – this vegetarian chili recipe is a winner! It’s smoky sweet and pairs perfectly with a spicy cornbread (try tossing 1/4 cup of jarred diced jalapenos into your usual cornbread recipe).

{Photo credit: Genius Kitchen}

7. The Nursery is coming together

If Baby M sticks to her due date, we’ve got 8 weeks left which I know will fly by! The Hubs and I are huge planners so he had the crib assembled months ago, but we only recently finished some of the final touches.

During our trip to Canada, I was 9-ish weeks pregnant. She was still our little secret since we hadn’t told family and friends yet. At the time we weren’t sure of the gender, but we both love animals so we were sure she would too. While in Ottawa, we stumbled upon Maker House Co.’s Craft Fest and picked up the bear and beaver prints for the nursery. They’re finally hung and I love all the memories they stir up from our way early #babymoon.

PS: If you ever visit Ottawa, you must stop by the Maker House Co. It is such a neat shop – filled with goods from local makers. You’re sure to find the perfect, unique souvenirs there.

8. my sister!

This month she threw a shower for Baby M and it was absolutely perfect. She spent a ton of time, money, and energy on this and I really appreciated it! We had a small group which was perfect – I had time to mingle with all of our guests.

After the party, my sister declared “Now Baby M’s closet has more than just blue in it!”

She has been my biggest supporter – constantly hand-me-down’ing clothes and baby equipment from Little Guy, sharing her maternity wardrobe, and calming all my fears. Without her, I don’t know what I’d do.

PS: My adorable sister greeted me at her door wearing a Canny tunic I made! She’s the cutest.

 

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.}

What I’m Lovin’ in October

October is one of my favorite months! My birthday falls on the 11th and it [usually] brings more fall-like weather which I love.

Read on to hear all about what I’ve been lovin’ this month!

1. These tips on decluttering from Motherly

love to declutter. Maybe it’s the “nesting” everyone talks about with pregnancy but lately I’ve been feeling a little extra overwhelmed with the stuff in my house. I feel like I’m always decluttering and purging, but sometimes I go through bigger spells where I make a more conscious effort to organize and let go of some excess stuffI found the tips from this post really helpful and plan to put them to use very soon as I prepare for all the baby clutter coming our way.

The best part about the post is how it breaks your decluttering down by space and gives you sample items in each room/space that are an easy place to start with tossing/donating.

2. Chocolate Covered Katie’s Gooey Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Blondie recipe

I have always had a pretty intense sweet tooth and I think pregnancy has definitely amplified that. Since I have been baking almost weekly (it’s become a productive creative outlet for me 😉 ), I’ve been searching for “healthy” [or at least “healthier“] recipes to enjoy.

October makes me crave all-things-pumpkin-flavored so I’ve been lusting over every pumpkin-inspired treat I’ve come across. The most recent success was Chocolate Covered Katie’s Gooey Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Blondie recipe.

I’ve tried many of Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipes over the years and am never disappointed. This one is a gem! The Hubs declared it “probably the best thing you’ve made lately” so I’ll say it’s pretty tasty!

I’ve found that when baking with beans (something I love to do 😀 ), using canned white beans [like these] creates a much smoother consistency – I don’t think you can even tell they’re there!

PS: My sister has gone dairy free which is pretty common during breastfeeding if your little one is having a tummy issues. Most chocolate chips have milk products in them, but not Trader Joe’s chocolate chips! (But their chocolate chunks do so beware.) If you are making sweet treats for a dairy-free friend, try TJ’s chocolate chips out!

3. Breakfast at College Grounds

Try the seasonal pumpkin butter with your biscuits!

Our Sundays lately have included a big walk around downtown and breakfast at College Grounds. The Hubs and I have been frequenting the place for the past 2+ years after we discovered how delicious their breakfast is. We mourn every summer when they close for the weekends (since they’re right on campus following the student schedule makes sense but it’s still so tragic).

If you live in or are planning a visit to Columbia, stop by College Grounds for breakfast and a stroll around USC.

4. Apartment Therapy’s advice to Stop Trying to Change Your Habits: Change Your Habitat Instead

I know, I know! I’m still on this decluttering/nesting kick. But I really liked the perspective of this post. There are tons of great organization ideas out there, but my take-away was if the placement of where the thing goes makes it less useful to you, it’s not the right place.

We have a place in our living room where the Hubs keeps his shoes that has worked quite well for us. Reading the perspective in the post felt like a little bit of relief mixed with forgiveness for keeping our things (in this case shoes) where they make sense and not just where they “should” go according to someone with a much neater house than mine 😉

Photo from the post – a lovely & practical space for your “stuff”

5. DIY Drawstring Bags

I found this free tutorial from Very Shannon on how to make a reversible knit project bag and knew I wanted to give it a shot. It was so easy – I actually assembly-line’d and made 3 at a time. I think they’ll make great gifts even for someone who doesn’t knit – who can’t use another bag?!

TBH, I really made the bag to hold the shawl I’ve been attempting to knit since last year in hopes it would inspire me pick the needles back up. I’ve made a lot of mistakes with the shawl which makes my perfectionist heart very sad, but I’m trying to let that go/worry less and finish it!

I used some upholstery-weight fabric scraps for the bags which made them really sturdy. However, it does make the drawstring top a little harder to “glide.” Maybe next time I’ll try a quilting cotton on the interior to lighten it up, make the casing a little larger or use cording for the drawstring which would definitely glide easy.

6. Getting my sewjo back

During the first trimester of this pregnancy my sewing room basically collected dust. As the 2nd trimester approached I started feeling much more energetic. Finally my sewjo has returned!

I’ve been slowly working on a few projects here and there. One of those is the Almada kimono from Seamwork. I’m making it from a beautiful, super soft vintage sheet. I thought it would be nice to have after the baby arrives to throw over whatever I’m wearing to feel a little fancier [without a lot of effort] if visitors stop by.

BUT…I’m an over-pinner (#perfectionistprobz) and one of the pins slid under my finger nail while I was working on the sleeve cuff last weekend. I didn’t even notice until there was blood all over my machine! Somehow it didn’t get on the fabric {YAY}.

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.}

Pregnancy Tips and Tricks from a Total Novice

I finally announced my pregnancy on social media {and in What I was lovin’ last month} so cat’s out of the bag! 😉

I’m now more than half way through this pregnancy and fast approaching my third trimester. I’ve been reflecting a lot on what has gone well so far, what I’ve discovered, and what I have found immensely helpful.

On that note {and the fact that I have found reading about the experience of other moms-to-be oh-so-comforting}, I have decided to share some tips and tricks with you!

*Disclaimer: This is my first pregnancy and I am very far from what anyone would call an “expert” so please take all advice with a grain of salt. Additionally, find a good doctor and remember that their advice trumps anything I [or anyone else] can tell you! 😉

Lessons to Learn

aka: What money can’t buy you

Just a few things I have learned (or am learning) along the way.

1. Slow down

Good gracious that first trimester was exhausting! {I can only imagine what the 3rd trimester…or the rest of my life chasing a tiny human around will be like.}

Forgive yourself when you can’t get everything on your to-do list done. Take some time to rest… nap if your body wants to! I hear you can’t get a lot of those after the little one arrives so soak it up.

I knew I wanted to sew something for the announcement and I finally settled on a pair of shoes in some coveted Liberty of London fabric. I had sewn the pattern before {see them in this post} which was comforting during a time when I wasn’t sure I’d have the energy to tackle something unfamiliar. I worked on the shoes little-by-little for several weeks {I wasn’t in any rush to share the news 😉 }. They turned out beautiful and I felt really great after finishing them.

Slowing down and taking the pressure off of myself was what I needed.

2. Find a friend who recently had a kid

Gold mine! The experience is fresh for them so they can answer all of your questions. Additionally, they’re going through baby clothes like hot cakes so they can hand-me-down more relevant clothes (rather than dusty bins from their attic). Bonus: If they’re similar to your size, they might be willing to share maternity clothes with you!

My sister (right) and I at her baby shower in January 2017.

My sister just had her baby in February. Regardless, I knew she’d be super supportive, but she’s also been an amazing resource!

Almost every time I see her, she has a bag of clothes or accessories that baby Guy has outgrown and is ready to share with his cousin. I really appreciate this – baby stuff is endless and can become a real bummer when you start to realize how short of a time the things you’re buying will be used.

If you’re already a mama – share the love! Pass along your maternity clothes, baby clothes/accessories & all that random equipment they require.

3. Do some meal prep

Start thinking of freezer-friendly meals. I have heard stocking your freezer with some easy-to-pop-in-the-oven meals for postpartum is a good idea. I plan to compile a few in the month or so before my due date.

Here are a few posts I found with vegetarian-friendly freezer meal ideas:

If you’re short on freezer space, dry-ingredient jar mixes like Spicy Three-Bean SoupChili Mix , Pleasing Pasta Soup (sub veg bouillon for vegetarian version) would also be good time savers. And this cheerio snack mix would be a good idea beside your nursing chair.

Here are 101+ meals in a jar recipes you can browse!

4. Switch sides of the bed

At the beginning of my pregnancy, the nurse recommended that I start trying to sleep on my left side (this seems to be more important further along in your pregnancy). When I mentioned it to my doctor she asked whether I slept facing inward or outward. Then she quoted a study that said regardless of which side of the bed you are physically sleeping on, if you typically face inward you will continue to do that or if you typically face outward you will continue to sleep in that position. So, figure out which side of the bed would allow you to continue to sleep facing the direction you prefer (in or out) while laying on your left side. Switch with your partner if necessary – I promise the adjustment isn’t so bad!

Things to invest in

aka: What money can buy you

There are a few things I’ve purchased and/or [mostly] been gifted/hand-me-down’d that have made pregnancy much more comfortable. Below are a few of those.

1. Body Pillow

This one on Amazon is similar to mine.

If you know someone who had a baby recently (or who holds onto things like this), they may have a pillow you could borrow. I have also seen several for sale on a local Facebook sales group {another great place to look for maternity & baby stuff since it’s where all the hip mamas hang out}. Most have removable, washable covers so if you can find a gently used one, that’s a good idea! I also got a coupon for one from my doctor after my first “I think I’m pregnant!” visit.

If you’re feeling up for it, you could even make your own – here’s a tutorial.

OR if you’re not loving the idea of investing in a weirdly shaped, very large pillow – you can build your own pillow fortress! This video from babycenter is a must-watch. It’s titled “How to sleep like a baby when you’re expecting one” and clearly the creators of the video totally get it. Honestly, even if you have a body pillow, watch it. It’s great if you’re traveling and don’t want to lug that heavy, awkward thing around with you.

2. Ginger Turmeric Tea from Trader Joe’s

 

Luckily I wasn’t very sick which I am very grateful for! But I had a lot of nausea in the first trimester. The Ginger Turmeric Herbal Tea from Trader Joe’s was amazing – it usually bought me some extended time of feeling more normal/less nauseous.

In fact, when we traveled to Canada {and climbed Mount Royal!} I was 9-ish weeks pregnant and was SO happy I’d packed this tea! It came in handy in the morning and evening (and anytime in between if we were back at our flat).

I still have a bag or two in my lunch box, drawer at work, purse…anywhere I might find myself in a pinch and not feeling so hot.

3. Comfortable Nursing Bras

A well known fact that can be quite awkward: Your boobs grow a lot (pretty quickly) and they get quite heavy. Do yourself a favor and go ahead and buy a comfortable nursing bra – that way you can use it after the baby arrives!

This one from Motherhood Maternity is so great – I bought three immediately and am considering more (keep an eye out for their sales!). Since your breasts can be really tender, I found that soft cup (no wire) bras with back hooks (no sliding overhead) worked best. I was also told this particular bra can “grow with you” to accommodate multiple sizes as you fluctuate before and after baby.

4. Buy skin products from the baby section

I tried to research lotions that were safe to use during pregnancy and had little luck. One of the best hacks I’ve discovered is – when in doubt, purchase from the baby section. If it’s safe for an infant, it should be safe for pregnancy (at least in terms of lotions, body washes, sunscreen, etc.).

I’ve been using The Honest Company’s Face + Body Lotion in ultra-calming, dreamy lavender and I love it! It’s light and the scent is not too strong.

5. Body Oil

Whether or not it actually prevents stretch marks is still debatable, but why not make your stretched skin feel a little more luxurious? My sister gave me some Bio-Oil in the beginning that I used up pretty quickly. I really liked it!

Out of convenience, I bought Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Nourishing Body Oil and I love it! It’s packed in my gym bag and I use it daily. I will warn you that it’s quite messy! No matter how you try to contain the bottle, the oil still gets everywhere so be warned.

6. Pregnancy-friendly clothing

Go ahead and make yourself comfortable. Don’t bother squeezing into your pre-pregnancy clothes in hopes of avoiding the expense of maternity wear. Check out your local thrift stores, consignment shops, and online for gently used maternity clothes. Better yet – find a friend who’s just had a baby & is willing to let you borrow her stash (ask her to put her initials in any of the items she wants back so you don’t have to rely on #BabyBrain to remember what to return).

My sister and her friend gave me 2 bins of maternity clothes which was wonderful! Their pregnancies were a year ahead of mine but lined up seasonally. However, they both wear a lot of separates and I’m more of a one-piece (dress) gal. So, I have purchased a few things myself. My favorite: LuLaRoe’s Carly Dress! If you have a friend who sells LuLaRoe, ask if you can attend her next party to snag some super comfortable dresses (they usually have good deals at the in-home parties!) that will last you through your pregnancy and beyond.

{PS: If you want to see more LuLaRoe maternity-friendly styles, check out this post from See Kate Sew for Gugu Guru.}

In a LuLaRoe Carly Dress just a few weeks into my 2nd trimester – Swing dresses are your best friend!

I had high hopes of sewing my own dresses but that didn’t work out {have I mentioned growing a human is exhausting?}. If you still have the energy, here are some recommendations:

Resources to check out

aka: What to read that won’t make you paranoid

In the beginning of my pregnancy, I asked a few trusted mom-friends what books I should read. One of them gave me some really great advice: don’t try to read everything. There are a billion ways to parent and trying to read about them all can be overwhelming.

I have been pretty reserved on the books I’ve read {though my sister passed down a copy of Your Pregnancy Week by Week and I have enjoyed reading that}, but I have found loads of articles around the internet to be quite informative and helpful.

1. This post from Motherly about whether you’re ever really “ready” for a baby. Over the years, I’ve struggled a lot with feeling like I’m not ready (I still feel this way most of the time). Reading this post made me feel much better!

2. This is a really comprehensive, practical list of what to pack in your hospital bag – and it’s written by a Labor & Delivery Nurse!

3. I appreciate the honesty of this list – 10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Becoming a Parent.

4. Some of the smartest hacks I’ve found – 31 Incredibly Helpful Tips And Hacks For A New Baby.

5. A great list of 25 Things to Do Before Your Baby is Born.

6. I like to over-plan and over-prepare. It’s a weird and obsessive thing that brings me lots of comfort when I’m feeling anxious. While planning for a natural delivery is great, preparing for all possible outcomes is ideal (at least in my mind). This “Be Prepared Guide to C-Sections” is a good read for all moms-to-be.

I would LOVE to hear your tips & tricks for pregnancy and beyond. Share them in the comments! 🙂

*Disclaimer: Because pregnancy is exhausting and staging photos is quite a task, most of the photos included in this post are not mine. I have linked the original sources so if you click on the photo, you will be routed to the website I borrowed it from.
//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js

What I’m Lovin’ in September

Perhaps we should call these “when Jordan remembers to post” posts instead of “monthly” 😉 I’m behind again, but here are a few things I’ve been lovin’ this September!

1. A big announcement!

I announced last month on social media, but have been delayed in announcing here {I blame it on the fact that my energy was completely zapped for that first trimester 😉 } – we’re expecting a baby girl in January! It’s our first baby and though the journey has been nerve-wracking, we’re thrilled.

PS: I made those booties {using the same pattern I used for the booties in this post} with some coveted Liberty of London fabric.

2.  hey, girl podcast

I am loving this podcast so.so.so much! I saw Laura Miller post about her interview on the hey, girl podcast and immediately downloaded it to listen to at the gym the following morning {look for episode 15 to hear Laura’s story}. Obviously it did not disappoint because I have now binge listened to the entire first season. If you have ever (or do currently) struggle with anxiety, depression, balancing self-care and life demands, etc. hey, girl is for you! With every episode, I feel like they are speaking directly to me. I love hearing about other women’s journeys.

3. Taking time for myself

With a baby on the way, I’m trying hard to slow.down. This was a good reminder.

4. Mr. Bunny is done!

When I started Mr. Bunny at QuiltCon in the spring, I didn’t know exactly what adventures were ahead of him. After sharing him with my quilt guild, they suggested submitting him in the upcoming two-color challenge [since he’s only one color: green]. The challenge entries will be displayed in an exhibit at our local library in the coming weeks.

This was my first wall-hanging and once he’s completed his time at the library, he’ll be hanging in a very special little girl’s nursery 🙂

5. This quote…

I saw this on Facebook and it hit me. Sometimes my anxiety can take over and make everything feel like an emergency. Truth is…it’s not! I’m trying to take this to heart.

I’m hoping to have more makes to share with you soon – I’m finally feeling more energetic and have been getting back to my sewing machine. I even took a free motion quilting workshop with my local guild last weekend – the wishbone pattern was my favorite!

One thing I whipped up recently was a changing pad – I didn’t take a picture, but here’s one I made previously. These are so easy to whip up as gifts – I used the tutorial in this post from Sew In Love {a great post to check out if you have any baby sewing to do!}.

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

What I’m Lovin’ this summer

Oops. I missed June’s what I’m lovin’ post so I’m combining it with July for a post packed full of summer lovin’!

Did you just start singing “Summer Nights” from Grease? Me too…

Ok now that we’ve got our singing out of the way, read on to see what I’ve been lovin’ this summer!

1. Kimberly of Straight Stitch Designs just released this free swing dress pattern that made it onto my summer sewing list!

I whipped up a version before vacation. I had to take it in a few inches after I finished but once I did I fell in love! I hemmed it [which I should not have & I don’t think Kimberly does] which made it too short for work but I’ve been wearing it steadily on the weekends 😉

I really like the gathers on the back – they add such a sweet touch. And the neckline is the same from her Montlake Tee pattern which I love!

2. This post with 3 Reasons Kids Should Never Open Gifts During Their Birthday Party. The author raises some really interesting points. I think this concept goes beyond children’s birthdays and could extend to baby/wedding/engagement showers too. I always feel so incredibly awkward opening gifts in front of people and I’ve been on the other end of that – feeling insecure about the gift I brought as the recipient opens all of the other far more fabulous gifts.

3. This beautiful post from Little Lamb Studio appropriately titled How Sewing Helped Me Find a Home in my Body.

The more I sewed for myself, the more time I spent unfazed by trends or the fast fashion market, the more myself I felt when I looked in the mirror. I would look at myself and see a girl whose clothes fit, a girl who could express herself, and a girl who had a million possibilities.” – Mary Ethel

Abby Glassenberg shared the article in her newsletter and my heart just exploded as I read it. Mary Ethel is a lovely writer and so perfectly captures why sewing your own garments can be so life changing.

4. becoming minimalist’s post To Declutter Any Room, Ask These Two Questions.

We just relocated my sewing room and in the process I gained work space but lost some storage. I knew I had a lot of sewing stuff but there’s nothing like moving it around to realize how very much I’ve collected (even since our recent move..). It was embarrassing! I started to pare down the fabric & sewing stuff during the transition. It was so tough!

Luckily I have a friend who appreciates fabric hand-me-downs so I was able to send some of my excess to a loving home.

I feel like I do a pretty decent job avoiding hoarder status in most aspects of our home, but when it comes to sewing and crafting I can’t say the same. After the first round of “paring down” [and filling 10 bags with fabric & other sewing/crafting supplies for donation], I put these 2 questions into practice. Very helpful!

5. This article about Toddler Grandma Style is so perfect. I found the post linked in Seamstress Erin‘s newsletter and loved it!

I feel like Toddler Grandma might accurately represent my style and certainly after reading the articledo feel like it “set me free”!

6. This Vegan Chilaquiles Recipe is super tasty and easy to prepare. A nice summer recipe!

We got tomatillos in our CSA basket early in July and I whipped up this recipe. I’ve never had chilaquiles and didn’t know what to expect. Upon tasting, the Hubs proclaimed they’re basically soggy chips but actually really delicious! This recipe will likely be on repeat this summer especially if the tomatillos keep coming through our CSA!

PS: CSA is “Community Supported Agriculture” – basically you buy a “share” from a local farmer to receive weekly boxes or baskets throughout the season. If you have the option in your area, give it a try! It’s a great opportunity to support a local farmer while receiving high quality, in-season produce. It’s also a great way to add variety to your diet – last year our farmer grew Jerusalem Artichokes which I had never even heard of. With a quick google I found an easy recipe & discovered I really liked them!

Find more information about CSAs here!

7. Homemade salsa

PSA: Trader Joe’s sells unsalted tortilla chips & they’re delicious!

Summer + homemade salsa go together, right? We got a giant bunch of teeny tomatoes (differing varieties, but cherry-sized) with our CSA recently and I used them to make this salsa recipe. Delicious!

I hope you’re all having a lovely summer! xoxo

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

Me-Made-May 2017: Week 5 recap and Final Reflections

It’s over! I made it. I can’t even believe it. I repeated a lot of outfits (shamelessly) and cheated a little with quilting or bags rather than clothes, but I feel like I fulfilled my pledge:

I, Jordan Slice-Metcalfe, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavor to wear, use, or accessorize with at least one thing I’ve made with my own two hands each day for the duration of May 2017.

I’m including the final 3 days in this post but the bulk of what I’m sharing are my reflections – what I learned this month. So keep reading beyond the pictures 😉

Day 29: Tammy’s Tulip Shorts

A repeat from Week 2.

I had plans of making another pair from a Lilly Pulitzer dress I thrifted {you can see it if you swipe to photos 2 & 3 in this post} but tragically I cut the legs the same rather than mirrored. I barely had enough fabric to get those cut so unfortunately those shorts are a bust.

  • Pattern: Ladies Tammy’s Tulip Shorts by Sew Caroline {affiliate link}
  • Fabric: donated from someone’s attic with self-made bias tape trim.
  • Blogged: not yet!

 

Day 30: a new Parkside Skirt

I made another Parkside Skirt from what was left of the crepe attic stash fabric (although I think I still have leftovers…this fabric haul was awesome. It’s lasted me so long!).

I wanted a “neutral” bottom for work. I don’t have a lot of tops but now I have more flexibility if I want to make some {because this skirt will go with anything!}

  • Pattern: Parkside Skirt by Sew Caroline {affiliate link}
  • Fabric: black crepe fabric donated to my stash
  • Blogged: not this particular version since it’s hot-off-the-sewing-machine, but you can read my thoughts on the pattern in this post!

 

Day 31: my refashioned Housedress

Another repeat from Week 1 & Week 3.

  • Pattern: no pattern – just an old house-dress taken in and hemmed.
  • Fabric: cotton
  • Blogged: here!

Me-Made-May/Sewing-related resources I’m lovin’ this week:

1. Christine Haynes’ tips for Perfecting the Travel Wardrobe in the latest Seamwork Mag issue – These are really great tips! The Hubs & I have a roadtrip to Canada planned in a few weeks and I’ve been mentally browsing my patterns trying to prioritize what I need to make for the trip.

2. From Becoming Minimalist – 3 Steps to End Closet Chaos – these are actually really great tips regardless of whether you have a handmade wardrobe or a ready-to-wear closet. I have clothes hidden all over my house that I know I should get rid of. I’m thinking of taking the plunge and dumping them all on my bed like the post recommends to force myself to purge.

 

#mmmay17 posts I’m lovin’ this week

Week 5 / FINAL Me-Made-May Reflections

This was my first year participating in Me-Made-May and it was quite a challenge! I started the month off worried that I’d run out of clothes to wear (which I quickly did). After a few moments of “oh no…what if I wear the same outfits again?” I realized 1) there was no way possible I wasn’t going to repeat outfits and 2) did it really matter? Clothes are meant to be worn more than once. That’s the point.

My major take-aways:

1. We should be proud to repeat outfits. 

I felt a bit insecure (particularly in the beginning) about the amount of times I repeated my handmade outfits this month. In a perfect world, I would have liked to have worn totally different outfits every.single.day. – but why?

I was worried that my “followers” would get bored if I didn’t share a variety of outfits. Why does that matter? It doesn’t…and shouldn’t. My life is not a TV show. In fact, it’s incredibly un-glamorous. I repeat outfits a lot.

At first I was ashamed, but then I started to reflect more and came around to the realization that repeating outfits is a good thing. It means that I really like the clothes I’ve spent hours making for myself – they make me feel good and I enjoy wearing them.

By the end of the month I felt like I was really being myself – being real. It felt like a badge to repeat my outfits and I was proud – proud that I have clothes I want to wear and proud that I actually wear what I make (vs. making impractical “unworns” or ill-fitting clothes).

2. I learned a lot about my style.

  • Separates for weekends, dresses for weekdays – I tried to incorporate some “separates” into my rotation {see Week 2} but quickly realized that those aren’t my favorites. I like wearing separates on the weekends, but for work I really prefer dresses. Now I know to focus on casual pieces if I’m making separates and dresses if I’m in need of work outfits.
  • I hate working with thin fabric – I had some really thin rayon spandex knit that I was working with at the end of Week 3 that reminded me of how much I hate thin fabric. That is also the reason I still have not finished my Darling Ranges dress – I was making it in voile and it was making me crazy. I’m not even sure I can tell you that I really enjoy wearing thin fabric (so perhaps it’s really not worth the headache).
  • If I like it, I’ll wear it a thousand times – I already admitted this, but it really came to light. I was not successful in “forcing” myself to wear handmade garments that I didn’t truly enjoy wearing. Proof: My sister brought me a bag of clothes I’d made for her (which were mostly first-drafts of patterns I’d later make for myself after adjusting the pattern). Despite my asking her if I could borrow them for “variety,” they never made it out of the bag she sent them in. I knew they didn’t fit me like they should and I would not enjoy wearing them so I didn’t try. Some people care about the variety of clothing they wear. Others like me care only about comfort. I can’t help it 😉
  • I really prefer uncomplicated patterns – There were tons of sewists sharing on the hashtag with some really impressive outfits. I realized that most of what I sew is very uncomplicated (which I already knew). I tend to steer clear of closures and patterns with lots of separate pieces requiring lots of additional seams to sew. I like the loose fit of garments without closures, but I also like that they do not take me any longer than they already do! I have limited time for sewing (and I’m very slow). Tackling a more complicated garment means I wouldn’t be able to create as much or as often and would likely become impatient and frustrated. Knowing this allows me to avoid purchasing patterns that may collect dust in my stash.

3. I am surrounded by really supportive people. 

Several people commented on my posts on Instagram, a friend sent me a text, and a few people told me in person how much they were enjoying seeing the posts each day.

Hearing this really made me feel so supported! Posting about myself every single day made me feel very self-absorbed. It was nice to hear at least a few people out there were enjoying them 😉

3. Me-Made-May is the perfect way to discover new patterns.

While browsing the hashtag this month, I found several patterns I’d not heard of. It was also neat to rediscover some I’d heard of, but had not seen “in action.”

4. I would participate again.

I really enjoyed being a part of Me-Made-May and now that I’ve taken the plunge and overcome my fears [mostly of outfit repeats], I’m willing to participate again! I’m excited to see how my handmade wardrobe will change from year-to-year.

This was truly a fun experience. It was very introspective and has given me confidence to love the clothes I’ve made {and not stress about how much I haven’t sewn yet}.

I hope you’ve enjoyed following along on my Me-Made-May journey! In case you missed them, you can catch up on the previous week’s recaps here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4.