Memphis Botanic Garden

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I have a terrible memory. I mean TERRIBLE. Ask anybody, but there are some days I hope I never forget. This one almost two weeks ago now, was one of those. It was perfect in every way, from the weather to the well behaved children. We started at the Memphis Botanic Garden and ended at the IMAX for Flight of the Butterflies. The kids area of the Botanic Garden is filled with fun swings.

Memphis Botanical Gardens

Some sweet friends met up with us for the fun.

Memphis Botanical Gardens

Memphis Botanical Gardens

Memphis Botanical Gardens

There was even a rope spider web to climb.

Memphis Botanical Gardens

After getting our fill of the kids area, we cut over to the Japanese Garden to feed the Koi. It was intriguing for both child and adult. The Koi swarmed together for a chance at the food. 

Memphis Botanical Gardens

I actually have tons of pictures, but unfortunately there was a random little boy without a shirt on that kept gathering around us. Not necessarily what I’d like to post!

Memphis Botanical Gardens

If I lived in Memphis, I’d have to have a membership here. It would certainly be our go to photo setting.

Avery has always been drawn to butterflies, and she loves learning new things about them. The Flight of the Butterflies movie at the IMAX was amazing!! We learned a few new things, and really enjoyed the experience of the 3D movie. The kids were adorable as they attempted to “catch” the butterflies that appeared to be flying in arms reach.

I’m so thankful for this beautiful day and the experience of it all!

Retro Rucksack

Monday, July 14, 2014

Retro Rucksack Inspiration Tour | Radiant Home Studio
When Sara of Radiant Home Studio contacted me to join her Retro Rucksack tour, I was a bit caught off guard. Me??? I don’t really have a history with sewing bags, but okay. I’m game for just about anything. Remember, I like challenges!?!?

Retro Rucksack

Turns out, the trickiest part was deciding on the hardware. (Oh, and sewing the straps on the right side, but who’s counting that.) The pattern calls for two different strap and hardware sizes, but since I opted to use 1 1/2” cotton webbing throughout for my straps, I purchased all 1 1/2” hardware. Sara gives a few suggestions on where to buy the hardware, but I also suggest checking your local hardware store. I came very close to using some cool clips I found at Home Depot.

Retro Rucksack

The pattern calls for two exterior fabric options, but I liked the idea of using ticking stripes in two different directions.

Retro Rucksack

The back straps really make this bag unique; a bit more on that in a second.

Retro Rucksack

A recessed zipper keeps everything where you want it.

Retro Rucksack

The interior of the bag has a zipper pocket on one side and a large patch pocket on the other side.

retro rucksack carried
Back to those unique straps. The design gives you two carry options, backpack style or tote. Don’t you love my handsome model?!? I cheated in my photo styling a bit, but it comes together here. I’ve actually made this for my sister-in-law to use as a diaper bag. She was thrilled with the backpack option since she’s having twins!! From the looks of this, my brother-in-law won’t feel uncomfortable carrying it either.
Here’s a few pattern tips I noted along the way:
  • If you use decorator weight fabric, I recommend adding interfacing to stiffen things up a bit. I only added it to the bottom accent piece and it seemed like enough
  • It helps to use a zipper foot when sewing on your hardware.
  • After my husbands brilliant suggestion, I added a velcro closure to the large interior patch pocket to keep it from flopping open. (Boy, did he come in handy for this project!)
  • Again, check your local hardware stores for the closures and clips. You might find something out of the box to use!
  • If I sew the pattern again, I will try to find a way to conceal the zipper and fabric edges inside the lining. I zig-zagged the unfinished edge, but it’s not as clean as I would like it.
There is more inspiration to come, so follow along the rest of the tour! I can’t wait to see what these talented folks came up with!

Retro Rucksack Inspiration Tour:

Monday, July 14th Radiant Home Studio || Sweeter Than Cupcakes Tuesday, July 15th Quarter Incher || Dandelion Drift Wednesday, July 16th Glitter + Wit || EmmylouBeeDoo Thursday, July 17th Casa Crafty || Behind the Hedgerow Friday, July 18th SewVery || Raspberry Sunshine Saturday, July 19th Mia's Creations || Made By Sara

Adventures with Modkid

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Not only were we celebrating the 4th of July this past weekend, but I was also celebrating a week of working with the Modkid team. You’ve heard me sing the praises of Patty Young and the Modkid patterns over and over here, well now you can hear it there too. Patty gave me a huge welcome on her blog early last week, so I let you read all the details there. Then, I popped in later in the week to say hi with a bunch of Modkid oldies plus this new Malibu.  The Modkid Facebook Group is hopping with activity, so come join us and share or be inspired. See you there!

Modkid Malibu

Oliver + S Croquet Dress for Flip This Pattern

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Did you know the Flip This Pattern series with Frances Suzanne is still going strong for a short summer 2014 line up? It’s is full swing! They’ve kept what we’ve all loved about the series then added some new things. One of which is a intro post from a previous viewer’s choice winner. So, here I am to kick things off for the month of July. 

This month’s pattern to flip is the Croquet Dress by Oliver + S. The pattern already features great details such as a square neckline and dropped waist. View A provides a great collar detail, while view B has a gathered front yoke.
Croquet Dress

My favorite approach to pattern flipping is scouring the internet, usually Pinterest, for inspiration from other designers. I collected a few ideas for you as well. As you can see, these dresses all included the square neckline which is one of my favorite features of the Croquet Dress. But don’t let this limit you by any means!! You can find the sources for each dress below the collage.

croquet dress

  1. Navy A-line Dress
  2. Eyelet Dress
  3. Lace with Dropped Waist
I certainly couldn’t leave you without a sewn example, so here you have my flipped version of the Croquet Dress inspired by the navy Oscar de la Renta dress featured above.

Oliver + S Croquet Dress

The changes to the dress pattern were actually very minimal. I omitted the bottom skirt and extended the a-line of the top to the length I needed. I added pockets to the front that are trimmed in bias tape. Then, I added bias tape accents at the sleeve and bottom hems.

Oliver + S Croquet Dress

For the neckline, I used white fabric on the shoulder pattern pieces. Then, I used the front facing piece on the interior and exterior of the dress to mimic the white neckline of the Oscar dress.

Oliver + S Croquet Dress

I continued the nautical look with a vintage anchor button at the back. This was the first time I used a thread chain for a button loop. It certainly isn’t my favorite feature of this pattern, but I think I probably should have just used a thicker/stronger thread.

Oliver + S Croquet Dress

Be sure to head over to Frances Suzanne and get in on the fun with the Oliver + S Croquet dress this month!


Sewing a Pegboard

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

One of my favorite features from the Sewing Party was the pegboard backdrop. It is literally so simple to stitch on a pegboard that a six year old can do it.

Sewing Party backdrop
There really are no rules to stitching on a pegboard so this is just a quick guide to how we did it. First, I laid out the location of the letters to center the word.

Sewing Party backdrop
Then, I lightly marked out the X’s in pencil to form each letter.

Sewing Party backdrop
Avery loves to be a part of the party prep, so she took over with a plastic needle threaded with yarn to form the X’s.

Sewing Party backdrop
We knotted the yarn on the back side to secure the ends and applied a little duct tape to hold it in place.

Sewing Party backdrop
The back is a bit of a mess, but the front…

Sewing Party backdrop

… is a work of art.

Check out my Pinterest page for a couple more unique pegboard stitching ideas.

Follow Courtney's board sewing / playroom on Pinterest.

Happy 6th Birthday Avery!

Friday, June 20, 2014


Well, this is a tad belated. I’m not sure how I just skipped past my little notes of remembrance, but better late than never.

On your sixth birthday there are a few things I would like to remember about you….

  • Crafts and art are still your favorite activities.
  • You’ve declared you will be a famous artist one day.
  • You also told Daddy that if you couldn’t buy him the house of his dreams, at least you would paint it.
  • You skip almost everywhere you go. You skipping down the sidewalk was my favorite site at Kindergarten pick up.
  • We love to read together. First you read to me, then I read to you.
  • Today, you said, “Emery is my best friend, but Jesus is my best, best, best friend.” I pray no thing or no one will take that faith from you.
  • You are brave and kind.
  • Your spontaneous hugs are my favorite.

Sewing Party

Thursday, June 19, 2014

When Avery latched on to the idea of a sewing birthday party for her 6th birthday, I tried not to get too excited. After all, the day after her 5th birthday is a bit early to assume a 5 year old won’t change her mind. Well the idea stuck! (I guess this would be the positive side to her stubborn streak.) You’ve seen the dress and the invitations, now here’s all the rest!

The party started at 10:00, so we offered a couple brunch type snacks in the form of yogurt parfaits and sausage cheese balls.

I tied in vintage finds from both of Avery’s grandmothers in the backdrop with the doll clothes hangers and children’s patterns. A not so vintage pattern sheet I would never use made for fun tassels.

The straws were outfitted with paper buttons.

If you are going to have a sewing party, there’s got to be things to sew!!

In the interest of safety, especially for the younger siblings that would attend the party, I kept the sewing limited to kid friendly plastic needles. First up, the girls each received a bag with a paper doll lacing card. You can find the free printable I used here.

Next up, each girl had a blank burlap embroidery hoop to embellish to their hearts content. I was thrilled to find these felt buttons at Wal-mart since the plastic needles would not work with standard buttons. You can see Avery’s sample hoop in the display photo above.

We also played a little guessing game.

We’ve finally arrived at the dessert table! Avery actually stitched the “sew” in the pegboard backdrop, and I created the button six embroidery hoop.

The button sugar cookies rested on vintage wooden spools.

The strawberry cake featured a miniature (dollhouse maybe?) sewing machine my mom found while antiquing. The tiny washi tape bunting is held in place by paper straws and spools. Candy melt buttons trim the top and bottom edges of the cake.

My first attempt at the strawberry cake sunk in the middle. The best thing to do with a “ruined” cake, is make cake pops! The vintage sewing machine I scored at a garage sale was a beauty in the rough.

The best thing about spool cake pops is they don’t need perfectly smooth sides. Nilla wafers made for quick spool tops and bottoms.

Every once in a while sewing requires a little stuffing, so we threw in some cotton candy push pops for more fun.

I can never send guests away empty handed, so we had a little favor station.

The mini spool necklaces came from this tutorial.

More candy melt buttons on printable button cards and measuring tapes were up for grabs as well.

I dressed up craft paper bags with sewn tags to carry the sewn projects and favors home. Little button cups and lots of fabric scraps were sent along to continue the fun at home.

That’s a wrap! This 6 year old certainly had a special day being creative with her friends.

In case you are wondering, discussions of next year’s party have already begun. I’m hoping the watercolor party sticks and the Frozen party fades, but only time will tell.

Modkid Malibu Cross-Back Dress

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A sure sign of sewing success in my house is Avery hugging me over and over and thanking me for sewing her pretty dresses. The new Malibu dress by Modkid elicited that very response and then some!! Patty Young combined breezy, comfortable, and cute all in one with this pattern. She’s also done it again with creating a look that can be sewn in either knit fabrics or wovens. With three length options (mini, high/low, and maxi), you’ve got a lot of versatility.

Modkid Malibu Cross-Back Dress

Avery’s crazy about maxi’s, but for them to work for everyday for this active 6 year old, they can’t be too cumbersome. The Malibu style is the perfect solution. I love how Patty paid special attention to the skirt sizing to conserve fabric. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with how little yardage is actually required to make such a great maxi.

Modkid Malibu Cross-Back Dress

And, here’s where the back steals the show!! It seems that showy backs are a summer trend this year, and Patty adds a fun twist without leaving to much exposed for the young wearer.

Modkid Malibu Cross-Back Dress

You may have seen enough already, but we were having such a great photo shoot that I couldn’t resist including more.

Modkid Malibu Cross-Back Dress

Modkid Malibu Cross-Back Dress

Modkid Malibu Cross-Back Dress

The Malibu cross-back dress goes up to a size twelve, so I can see lots of Malibu dresses for years to come. In fact, I already mentioned to Patty that I could use one in my size!

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