Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Mama Sews: Pillowcase Dresses

I wanted to make Ilona a dress to wear for Independence Day and a Clemson Tigers themed dress for the upcoming football season. Pillowcase dresses are super quick and easy to make so I went with that.

In addition to their simplicity, the sizing on pillowcase dresses is pretty forgiving so these should fit her for a while and can be worn with a shirt underneath in cooler weather or leggings once the dresses are too short.

These fabrics were found in my stash. I bought a 1/4 yard of purple fabric to coordinate with the Clemson and orange fabric I had since the Clemson fabric alone wasn't enough for the entire dress. I also bought ribbon for all three dresses.

The light blue dress was one I had made years ago and just needed ribbon to finish. This dress is a size 2T so I'll put it aside to grow into.

I always use Sew Like My Mom's pillowcase dress guide for measurements, etc.

After finishing the red gingham dress and trying it on the wiggly baby, I decided to bypass the ribbon ties on the shoulders for the Clemson dress and tried an elastic/ fabric shoulder strap instead. (I still need to adjust the straps to fit since she was sleeping when I sewed this dress.) Hopefully, it will work well. The ribbon ties are so cute but it is challenging to get the dress on and ribbons tied when your model is  a very active 7 month old! Haha!

I enjoyed my afternoon of sewing! 

The dress is adorable on her though and we got some really cute 4th of July pictures of the baby and Willie. Some great outtakes too--too hilarious not to share!

Lots of laughs during this photo shoot!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Mama Sews: Baby Sunbonnet

One of the best things about having  a little girl is that I can now sew all those cute things I've had my eye on for years.

Well...she's 6 months old and I'm just now getting the sewing machine out! This is due partly to my days being full of other things and because up to now, she really hasn't needed a lot of extras. She's received so many wonderful gifts since the day she arrived!

With summer being here in the South and the sun so bright and HOT, Ilona needed a hat or bonnet to shade her face. I'd had this bonnet tutorial from Purl Soho pinned on one of my Pinterest boards for a LONG time. Now was the time to try it!

I used some white dotted Swiss fabric for this first try. I printed out the pattern, cut everything out and had it sewed up in about an hour! Not bad for a Friday night sewing project.

I was a little unsure about how it would turn out with this being my first try at sewing head wear. But it was really easy and the instructions very clear.

Note: Definitely follow their advice and use tons of pins when sewing  the curved seams!

It really does make it easier to work with.

I used the 6-12 month size and it fits Ilona but is on the big side. I knew 3-6 would probably be the right size but wanted something she could grow into and wear a little longer. I may go back and make a 3-6 bonnet now that I know how fast it is to make!

A baby in a bonnet...oh so sweet!

I now am itching to get more things sewn up for her. Such small sizes sew up so fast and are so much fun!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Frugal Friday

A place to share this week's frugal wins, unexpected blessings from God, ways I've been resourceful or got ahead this week.

I hope you'll share your frugal ways in the comments!

This week's frugal wins, blessings and resourcefulness...
  • Packed all of my husband's lunches this week.
  • Our neighbor tilled our garden plot for us. Now to get some things planted!
  • Made a batch of homemade yogurt in the Instant Pot.
  • Stayed in budget when grocery shopping. 
  • Mostly stayed home!
  • Stopped in  at Goodwill (first time in MONTHS!) and found a few needed items for myself, plus cute shoes to put aside for Ilona to wear in a couple years. 
 I have a weak spot for Mary Jane shoes--so I pick them up for future use as I find them in good second-hand condition. 

  • Batch-cooked a bunch of ground beef and bacon to freeze. 
  • Froze some extra shredded cheese I had on hand. Also some chicken breasts I found on sale. 
  • We walked around the neighborhood and used our recumbent bike for exercise.
  • Drank mostly water and ate at home. 
  • Used cloth diapers and wipes when we were at home. 
  • Hung some laundry up to dry instead of using the dryer. 
  • Put several dollars worth of change in our change jars
  • Attended our electric co-op's annual meeting day--by doing so we will receive a $15 bill credit next month. (It was a rainy day so we opted for the drive-thru option.)

I spruced these rusty pots (not cute rust) up with some spray paint I already had. So cheerful!
How did you save money this week? 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Mother's Day

I greatly enjoyed my first Mother's Day! I'm blessed to have so many thoughtful friends and family members who remembered me on this day by sending messages, cards and happy wishes in person.

To be honest, I hadn't given much thought to being celebrated on Mother's day so I was a bit surprised when my sweet mother-in-law handed me a card when they were visiting and said, "This is a little early!"

I thought, "My birthday isn't until July!" haha

Andy created a special card for me then took me out for brunch after church with some friends. We tried a new-to-us restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch. It was wonderful!

I sent Mother's Day cards to our moms and included a special gift from Ilona. We did footprint hearts for Valentines Day so I thought we'd make hand print flowers this time. Turns out the footprints were easier (at least then). She kept her hands balled up so I had to pry them loose to get prints. ;-)

They are wonky but delightfully so! I chose the best ones and went with it. She is only 5 months old once. Perfection is way overrated--these hand prints show real life! Little hands that do what they want to!

We made 4--one for each grandmother, one to send to her birth mother and I kept one for myself to put in her baby book.

Over the years, while sometimes there was a bit of sadness associated with Mother's Day, for the most part it hasn't really been the hardest day for me. One reason is that years ago, I read that the reason Mother's Day was established was to honor and celebrate one's mother. Everyone has or has had a mother. Maybe it isn't a great relationship but still everyone has a mother. This helped me to think about my mother and mother figures in my life instead of myself. When I did childcare in my home, some of the parents would give Mother's day gifts to me and that was always so sweet of them.

I hope all of you moms/mother figures had a wonderful Mother's Day!

**Flowers in jars are left from Ilona's adoption celebration. We have enjoyed them for nearly 2 weeks!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

So My March Goals Really Didn't Happen

I knew life was speeding up but made some March goals anyways. Well, I really fell off the bandwagon!

But at the end of March, this happened...

With the judge on Adoption Day!
 Yes! ILONA JOY is officially ours!

We had planned all along that after our finalization hearing, we would host a big adoption celebration to thank our friends and family for all their support throughout our adoption process.

Not only did they pray, encourage and support our decision to adopt, but many also helped us to adopt by supporting us financially. Did I ever mention that we were able to meet our goal of adopting debt-free? It took a lot of prayers, faith, hard work, fundraisers and humbly accepting generous gifts but it happened! And it was so worth it!

ILONA at 4 months.

After our adoption was legally finalized, we got right to work planning our adoption party. We had right about 6 weeks to pull it off since we wanted to do it before graduation and summer activities got started. Also, it's already getting hot here in the South so we wanted to do it before the humidity really kicked in.

We had the party on May 4. It took a lot of my time and energy to pull off but it was a really fun day.

Now that the party is over, I'm getting back into the swing of things and taking care of tasks that got thrown by the wayside previously. ILONA is growing and changing so her previous routine needed some tweaking. In addition, Andy started a new full-time job this week, so this is the perfect time for all of us to settle into a new routine.

So that's what's been happening at my house! What are you up to these days? 

Friday, March 08, 2019

February/March Goals

It's March already! How did that happen?

Time to review my February goals and set new ones for March.

These are the goals I set for February: 

1. Set up Baby Girl's nursery. We moved furniture around and got her moved in. She's doing great in her own room. We gave the full size bed to some friends as we no longer had room for it. There is still more work to be done. I have another large piece of furniture in there that I think will be better elsewhere. I still want to paint, get curtains for this space and put decorations on the wall. I knew this would be a longer-than-one-month project but it is coming together and we're very pleased with the progress so far!

2. Make several freezer meals. I met this goal! And am working on having a dedicated Kitchen Day each week to not only make freezer meals but work on food prep for that week. Even doing a few things ahead helps so much!

3. Continue to work on being a good steward of my grocery budget. As I mentioned last month, we trimmed our grocery budget to make more room for buying formula. This is a short-term sacrifice and one we are happy to make! Plus I love a good challenge! We stayed within budget for February due to some better planning on my part and an unexpected grocery blessing. I've been able to even find a few extras each week to stock our freezer and pantry. March is off to a good start as well!

4. Continue to implement good homemaking habits. I feel like I haven't kept up with this quite as well as I did in January. Some habits are sticking; some need more work! 

And here are my March goals:

1. Continue working on Baby Girl's nursery. We were given a baby shower last weekend which was so wonderful and sweet. We received many very nice and useful gifts! I need to find space for some of these things.

2. Start making garden plans. I hope to actually pull off a small garden this year. Our neighbor has offered to till my garden plot for me. I just need to clean it out and start making some plans.

3. Sell a few items we no longer need. Turning the guest room into a nursery has left me with some piles of things that we no longer have room or need for. A few of these items have resale value so I am going to work on selling them this month.

4. Declutter a few minutes each day. I'm starting with the most visible areas and working my way through the house.

5. Continue to implement homemaking habits. This is an ongoing habit for the year!

What goals do you have for March? 

Monday, February 18, 2019

Our Valentine's Day

We had a lovely Valentine's Day. It was a long busy day but I tried to make meals just a little more special!

Note: We did not eat low-carb/low-grain on this day. We had some treats which we do every now and again. I used what I had on hand.

Early in the morning, I was in the mood to bake some muffins so I decided on Cranberry Pineapple muffins. Yum! I also pulled homemade yogurt from the fridge and some already cooked sausage links from the freezer.

For dinner, I made beef tips and gravy using my mom's instructions. I'm still tweaking the "recipe" to get it just right but Andy loved it. It's one of his favorite meals and a great way to stretch a small package of steaks, which I often find for $3-4 on markdown. I had a pan of mashed potatoes still in the freezer which we had made to use up a big bag of potatoes the day we went to meet Baby Girl for the first time!

I had thought of making some cute little cheesecakes but then I didn't get the ingredients so I made a pan of brownies which are always a hit! I swapped out the vanilla for a tiny bit of peppermint extract and that was a yummy change.

Baby Girl has been busy crafting. She made these valentines last week to mail to her grandparents. Those tiny feet! The cards were well received, of course.

We don't typically give big gifts for Valentines Day but do like to celebrate in small ways! Andy worked for a florist many years ago and I haven't received flowers on Valentines Day since. It ruined him. LOL And I don't mind.

This year I had a hair appointment in the afternoon. Andy was running late from work so he met me there so we could do the baby and car swap. He took Baby Girl home so I could get my hair cut and it was a wonderful gift!

How was your Valentines Day?