Being Mama · Color · creative habit · five things

Five Things

Happy Friday! I took a little break from posting this week, and it was a good thing. It was nice to step back after weeks of project planning and doing and Halloween costume making to just relax. And catch up on my blog reading (and Pinterest and Instagram and….). Here are a few things on my mind this week:

1. Reading. October was so crazy, I let reading fall behind quite a bit. I tried to read a little bit of this book before bed each night. And the only blog I read consistently during October was Hollemama, by my friend, Mary. She kept it simple, posting a photo from every 30 minutes of her day, but to be so simple, it was really profound. Her words are good for my soul. Even if you’re not a Mama, her ability to find meaning and joy in the everyday will inspire you. Check out her whole 31 Days series here. (I found some new blogs and made some new friends during 31 Days – looking forward to catching up on their blogs now, too.)

rainbow pencils

2. Color. During October, a friend tagged me in a post on Facebook of this slideshow on NPR. Who knew the peacock feather doesn’t actually have blue pigment? (You know I love peacock blue.) And the part about Newton adding a 7th color on the Roy G. Biv spectrum? Fascinating!

drawing trees

3. Drawing. I stumbled upon this book at the library a few weeks ago, and I recognized the trees from this pin I found 2 years ago. I tried out a few sketches last night while I was babysitting. Such a fun and inspiring book! Great for a doodler like me who’s always looking for new ideas. (PS – The babysitting swap was my friend’s idea, and it’s totally brilliant. We alternate weeks – one night I go to her house for the evening while Husband stays home to put our kids to bed. After her kids are in bed, I sit and read in quiet without feeling like I should be doing laundry or the million other things on my to-do list. Then the following week, she comes to our house. Win-win!)

4. Spoons. Again. I just realized that I never gave you the update on the Spoon Story. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this first – and the comments section, too.) So back in September, before my birthday, an unexpected package appeared in my  mailbox. (I’m an Amazon Primer, and I am diligent in my tracking of packages, so there are very few unexpected packages.) When I opened it up, I found a sweet birthday note from my dear friend, Cathy, and these:

vintage spoons

Eleven spoons just like the one she stole (or perhaps I should say “refused to return”)! I texted her immediately to tell her my mom would get a kick out of it, and she said not to tell her yet because she had sent another set to her! My mom was thrilled, as was I. (BG loves them too – she calls them the “pretty flower spoons”.) Might be my most unique birthday present ever.

5. This quote. Thinking a lot about possibility and potential lately, so this quote made me smile.

What are you up to this weekend? I’m celebrating a dear friend and her sweet new baby, hanging out with my Mama friends, catching up with my Adopted California Mother over coffee, and I am finally getting my  haircut (it’s been 6 months). And for some of us, it’s a 4 day weekend. Let the fun begin!!



31 Days · Color · creative habit · Sewing · Style · Thrifts

31 Days: Color – Day 11: Peacock Blue Dress Shirt

You know I love a good shirt dress (here and here), and I’ve even had some luck making a dress out of a shirt (here and here), but today, I’m making a shirt out of a dress. Get it? “Dress Shirt”.


Peacock blue is one of my favorite shades of blue. It always reminds me of a luau we attended on our first trip to Hawaii. As we walked around the property, there were many peafowl (yes, that’s a word), the males shaking their feathers and showing off their brilliant colors to the peahens. Then, later that summer, we were back home in California, and I was in the kitchen at our old house, getting a drink after a day at the pool. I saw something funny that seemed to fall outside the kitchen window, so I went to investigate. It was a peacock, just fluttering by and then walking down the street! I grabbed Husband’s shoes (the only ones nearby) and followed the peacock down the street. It meandered slowly, picking up the pace a little when it realized I was following it (in big, clunky flip flops). It meandered around the corner and made its way down the bike path out to the farms which I assume were its home. When I got back home, I looked up peacocks and realized that the funny call I had been hearing in the mornings was in fact a peafowl call.

In the years following, I would see several peacocks out on my walks. It’s amazing the things you can find when you keep your eyes open. (In our town, some of the things you can find are owls, hawks, wild turkeys, and coyotes.)


So, confession, when I bought this dress, I was looking to fill a blue slot in my 31 Days challenge. I loved this dress immediately – the pintucks, the half sleeves, the shape of the dress. I began to wonder what on earth I could do to make it a project for this month. But then I tried it on. It didn’t quite fit. There was no tag (I would later realize it was a handmade garment), so I had no idea what size it actually was. The top fit well – shoulders, chest, and waist – but the skirt part was too small for my hips. Then I knew – it would be a shirt.

I tried it on and measured where I wanted the hem to fall. Then I added 1/2″ inch for folding and cut the skirt apart.

This is when I started to realize the craftsmanship of this garment. Each side had 3 different seams, each sewn with a different color thread. All of the hems were done with a straight-stitch, not with a serger as most garments today are made.


And then I found these. Weights. They were hand-stitched into the hemline on either side to keep the hem of the dress down. All of these little details made it a little bit harder to cut this dress apart, but I knew I wouldn’t wear it as a dress, so to the cutting mat it went.


I used my scarf hem technique to finish the hemline.

DSC_0160This might be my new favorite blouse.


I love the detail of the buttons on the back.

DSC_0153This was the easiest hem I’ve ever done, which made me ponder about all the little projects I’ve done and how, added up, they have really helped me improve my sewing skills, not to mention my creativity to figure out what to do with each piece I come across. I read this week that a peacock feather was an 18th century symbol for tailors. While I’m definitely not a tailor-level seamstress, I might need to hang a picture of a peacock feather in my little studio to remind myself that practice makes better.

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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31 Days · creative habit · Halloween · Kids · Thrifts

31 Days: Creative Habit – Day 31: Halloween 2013

So, lately it seems “Creative Habit” is really “Creative Every Spare Moment of My Life!” I’ve been working on Halloween costumes around the clock this week. As I was working last night while everyone else in my house slept, I remembered how I used to regularly stay up late (before kids, obviously) working on sewing projects and other creative things. For some reason, late at night, I tend to get re-energized and filled with ideas. I’ve forgotten that, because, after a day as Mama, I’m in bed by 10:00.

So, costumes. It all started with BB. He is obsessed with all thing police related – cars, officers, handcuffs, walkie talkies, everything. He’s talked of being a police officer for months. After finding a police hat at the thrift store, I was sure I could piece together his costume with a dress shirt and dress pants, and that I would be sewing badges on in the wee hours of the night.

amazon costume

For the first time in my life, the thrifting gods were not smiling on me. Neither were Amazon or Target. It seems to be impossible to find a navy blue dress shirt. So, I finally gave in last week and ordered the costume online. (This photo is from Amazon – it’s not BB.) It arrived in two days (thank you, Prime) without accessories, but I pulled those together with items from the dollar store.


I turned this lovely orange floral notebook (4/$1)


into a ticket book using electrical tape. BB LOVES giving us tickets. I also found a toy pack with a walkie talkie, police badge, whistle, binoculars, and a gun. Which do you think was BB’s favorite?


All this time, BB thought BG should go as a police car. I thought this was fantastic. She was game for a little while, but then she saw kitty cat ears and a tail, and she was sold.

But I’ve kind of had my heart set on a family theme for costumes. I know there won’t be many years it will fly, so I decided to make her a police car costume, have her wear it for a few fun photos, and then let her choose.


I have never seen a police car costume, so I started by sketching out some ideas and raiding our cardboard boxes.


I used a large box from Costco and cut down two smaller pieces from other boxes. The large box is the base of the car body, the smaller piece is the roof and windshield, and the smallest piece is for the lights.

I cut a hole in the box for the body and for the roof so BG could wear it around her waist.


I painted everything and put the pieces together with duct tape.


This thrifted t-shirt has been the workhorse for Halloween costumes this year, as you will see. I cut the bottom part of the shirt into strips to use as straps over BG’s shoulder to hold up the car.


And here she is. The black turtleneck and tights are the base of her kitty cat costume, too.


She changed back and forth all day. This morning at breakfast, she told me she was going to be a Kitty Cat Police Car.


BB: “You can’t be both.”

BG: “Yeah, I DO!”

And now for Husband and me. Husband is not a costume guy. AT ALL. But, you know I love a good theme, so I assembled items for him, just in case. We’re going to be robbers.


I started with a mask and a toboggan (out here in California, they’re called “beanies”). Husband has a black Raiders toboggan that will work just fine. I decided to make my own out of the t-shirt.


I cut the sleeves off and then into strips, which were the perfect size to make masks. (I did go back and reinforce the seams as they fell apart quickly.)


I tried on the mask, marked my eyes with chalk, and cut out eye holes. So easy.

The remainder of the sleeve ended up being the perfect size for my head. I knotted the cuff of the sleeve and had a perfect robber toboggan.

I thrifted black and white striped tees for each of us, and I paired mine with black pants and boots I already had.


As Husband will probably never make an appearance on the blog, here’s a photo of me, post trick-or-treating and post raiding the kids’ candy buckets. (We went out this afternoon in our costumes to visit Adopted California Parents. When we got back, Husband was in full costume, waiting for us. Yay! I’ve won him over to the dark side!)

Made it to the end of 31 Days! Woohoo! I’m calling it a night early tonight – Trick-or-Treat wears me out WAY more as an adult than as a kid.

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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