Upcycling: Make a Girl’s Dress from a Men’s Dress Shirt

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I have the Martha Stewart Sewing Crafts book and one of the first projects I wanted to try was making a dress for girls from a man’s dress shirt. You can also find the instructions for this project on the Martha Stewart website. That is one thing I like about Martha Stewart projects is that you can buy the book collection of crafts and recipes, but you can find the same projects on the site.

I used the Martha pattern on a first try at this dress.

I didn’t like the way the sleeves and body were all one piece. I also found that the pattern was sized small, the dress according to the description is for size 4-8. When you download the pattern it is a one size pattern. When I finished the dress it was more like a size 3 not great for my 5 nearly 6 year old. I finished the neck and collar with a contrasting bias tape and embroidered a G on the dress (a la Laverne and Shirley), to hide a small hole made when removing the pocket. I think it was cute, just to small.

So I decided to give the dress another try changing some of the problems from the first attempt. First I made the pattern larger. I had traced the pattern on to Swedish tracing paper and added an inch to the body. I also wanted to sew the sleeves on seperately so I marked a cutting line along the sleeves. I cut the shirt apart along the seams removing the arms and separating front from back.

I then made a a pattern for the sleeve and cut them out of the sleeves.

I began putting the dress together starting by placing right sides of the body together and stitching along the shoulders and sides. Don’t forget to iron the seams.

I wanted to gather the sleeves that I wanted to attach. So I adjusted the serger and did the gathering on the machine. I adjusted the tension on the needles and changed the settings on the differential feed. You can also do quick gathering on a regular sewing machine by increasing the thread tension to the highest number. It is so much easier than sewing to rows of stitches and pulling the threads to get the gather.

Match the seams on the side and the bottom of the sleeve and match the top of the sleeve with the seam at the shoulders with sleeve inside armhole, right sides together. I serged the raw edges of the sleeve and neck, and then I then folded, ironed and sewed the stitch under to finish the neck and sleeve.

To finish the hem I could have done the same as at the neck and sleeve, but I wanted to make the dress a little longer and add a little extra style. I thought about adding a piece of gathered white fabric a couple of inches long. I remembered I had some ribbon that went well with the pink of the dress so I added it. I gathered it in a tighter gather than the sleeves by increasing the tension the thread tension more than I had on the sleeve.

I attached the ribbon to the bottom of the dress with right sides together and then I turned it right side out and top stitched close to the ribbon to keep the hem in place.

Here is the finished dress.

The shirt cost $3.35 at the local second hand shop. I already had the ribbon and it took about 2 hours to make a new spring dress. My daughter was happy with the dress as you can tell from the modelling of the dress.

An Alternative to Plastic-Save the Planet and Stay Healthy

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Sigg Water BlanketsConcern about the environment has made me look at ways to improve our family’s carbon foot print. One of the easiest changes is to stop buying bottled water.

We have a filter to improve the taste of our water and I bought a couple Sigg bottles for me, Jay and Georgia. They are made from aluminum and don’t leach into your beverage, which makes them a great alternative to plastic. I picked our bottles up at http://www.reusablebags.com/

They also carry Klean Kanteen. The Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Sippy Cup includes a 12 oz stainless steel bottle, a sippy adapter and two Avent sippy spouts. which means you don’t need to worry about your toddler and bisphenol-a, BPA.

Angelina Jolie Pregnant with Twins? The Celebrity Baby Boom

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celebrity-blog.jpgLately, it seems, every time you turn on the television, open a newspaper or magazine, you hear about another pregnant celebrity.

Julia Roberts began the the trend when she became pregnant with twins in 2004. Since then, stars like Jennifer Garner, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Minnie Driver, and Jessica Alba, have all started their families. The celebrities who have taken family life to the extreme are Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Their ever expanding family includes 2 boys and 2 girls, and if you believe current celebrity gossip, twins are on the way.

I have wondered if this current celebrity boom has caused a baby boom in society as a whole. We are constantly bombarded with stories about the the lives of celebrities. We emulate their lives by following their trends—clothes, cars, and lifestyles—I think that may include children.

Have you been influenced to have a baby because of the celebrity baby boom?

Snug-A-Bug Blankets Featured in Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine

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Pregnancy and newborn magazineSnug-A-Bug Blankets “What a Hoot” minky baby blanket has been featured in the January 2008 Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine.

I would like to thank the editors at the magazine for picking one of my blankets to be featured, and I would like to welcome the readers to my website.

For those looking to purchase “What a Hoot”, or any of my new Snug-A-Bug Blanket styles, please follow the link to my Etsy shop.

Meet My New Mac

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We have a new addition to the family his name is Mac.

He is a 15 week old Brussels Griffon Chihuahua cross, also known as a Brissel Chiffon.

Mac came to us from Griffon de la Griffonnerie in Quebec. They breed both Griffon’s and Chihauhau’s and Mac and his sister were a good oops. He is a sweetheart of a dog. Very small with a lot of moxie.

Oscar our 8 year old pug is not sure what to make of him, but Georgia adores him.

Teaching Your Baby Sign Language

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Baby Einstein - My First Signs

Once again I have to tell you how glad I am that we decided to teach Georgia sign language. She is beginning to use more and more verbal words but I am not always sure what she is saying. Since she does know some signs, she uses them while she is talking—making it much easier to understand what she wants.

I had originally thought that the signing would be primarily for when she was younger and couldn’t talk, but I find that she is using a lot more signs now and using them a lot more consistently than before.

We recently bought Baby Einstein – My First Signs as a supplement to our other Baby Signs DVD. it is a really good starter DVD with lots of basic signs that are easy to follow and remember. She enjoys watching it and the signs are repetitive which is great since it helps me remember them. That is one of the big challenges when you are teaching your baby signs, you are trying to learn them at the same time and remember what they mean.

My favourite sign is for “cereal.”

Read my previous experiences with signing:

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The Cutest Sweaters on the Martha Stewart Show

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Friday’s Martha Stewart show featured a crafter who made the cutest sweaters for children.

They are made from adult sweaters that are shrunken and then turned into children’s sized sweaters. The instructions and the templates can be found on the Martha Stewart site. The woman who was doing the felting (the applying of the appliqué) also sells her sweaters on Etsy. They are very cute and you should check out her shop, Sweetest Thing Design.

I might try and make a cardigan for Georgia but the felting looked like a lot of work and may take a lot of patience to complete.

An Alternative to Etsy for Vintage Sellers

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Vintage sellers left looking for an alternative to Etsy can see the beginnings of a new website for sellers of vintage items.

The site, which is meant to fill a void on the internet, is aimed at buyers and sellers of vintage, antique and vintage inspired items. The blog has gone up and you can track the progress and leave comments about the site.

Check it out at http://www.futurevintagemarketplace.com/blog/

The Day the Scooba Died: An Experience with Great Customer Service

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My Scooba died unexpectedly last month.

I turned it on to do a quick wash of the front hall and it sounded funny, like the vacuum wasn’t working. It ran for about 5 minutes and then quit and the red service me light was flashing. I took it apart to make sure there wasn’t anything blocking the vacuum, removed the battery, and then put it back together. It started again and this time it sounded right with the vacuum working but it only lasted 5 minutes before it died again.

Since I had purchased it from eBay, I was concerned if iRobot would honour the warranty. I had registered it when it first arrived with no problem, but I wasn’t sure if they might give me trouble because it wasn’t bought at retail outlet and I didn’t have a receipt other than my PayPal transaction.

The customer service rep immediately knew what the problem was and sent out a replacement battery, free of charge. Apparently, the Scooba batteries are sensitive to heat and she recommended that we keep the top open when charging and to keep it away from heating vents while charging.

The new battery arrived within 2 weeks from the US to Canada. The Scooba is back to its old self keeping my floors clean while I do something else.

Don’t forget to check out my original post about my Scooba if you haven’t read it.

A Better Way to Keep and Share Your Family Recipes

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I saw a great idea for a Photo Book recently. A friend of mine wanted to make a cookbook of all of her favourite family recipes and give to her siblings so she made a photo book with all her recipes. She incorporated pictures she took of the food or put in family photos along side the recipes—it was a nice idea. I have made up recipe books before for friends and family, but this was nice because it was more like a real cookbook.

You can use an photo book company like Picaboo or, if you have a mac, iPhoto to create it. They have great templates to use.

One thing I like about Picaboo is that they have lots of tips and samples of books people have made. There is a nice one under the “winter” category—it had pictures from an ice storm.

Checking out Picaboo’s site recently I saw that they expect to have a mac version out sometime this year.

8.5×11 custom photo book. Buy 1 get 1 free with coupon code: 1PB1GF-CB