starting a tradition, making a lasting treasure

We had plenty of Christmas traditions growing up, ones that I still do for myself and my kids. I adore traditions and the more I can partake in with my little family, the better.
One traditional Christmas activity that my family didn’t do was an advent calender. It’s something I always wanted to do though.
But each year, Christmas time would come and go and I didn’t even attempt to create one. I kept telling myself that I should do it in the months outside of the Christmas season so I could take my time and not feel the looming pressure of December 1st. Because once the 1st is here and gone, it just doesn’t make sense, the whole thing is blown. BLOWN. Sometimes I’m just very rigid yo.

My production schedule this fall season going into holiday and winter is NUTS. More than I can handle comfortably. But I just couldn’t let another year go by without making an advent calendar. I was determined! So I decided to do some image searches in hopes of finding something that struck my fancy. And was relatively simple.

Quickly, I came across this one. Adorbs, right?

I like how cute it is, how simple and clean the overall design is, and that it reminded me of a traditional advent calender. I usually think of little boxes or pockets. Specifically with the idea that each day is an ornament to be placed onto a tree.

I gave myself 1-2 days ONLY in order to complete this project. Very ambitious! My fingers were quite sore and angry with me when all was said and done. Every single bit of wool blend felt was hand-cut and fused together with fusible webbing using a ripping hot iron. Actually the felt work reminded me a lot of the alphabet train I made for the boys a few years ago.

I snapped some pics throughout my process:

The layout:

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LOTS of numbers to trace and cut out:

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Fusing all of the pockets and numbers down:

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I usually don’t work this messy:

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Each ornament tucked into their cozy pockets:

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Mitten, horn, skate, wreath, reindeer:

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Toy soldier, gingerbread house, candle, ball ornament, candy cane:

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Christmas lightbulb, peppermint candy, drum, present, sleigh:

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Santa, bell, gingerbread man, snowman, holly:

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Angel, stocking, dove, poinsettia, and of course the King of Kings!

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All together!

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I’m just in love with it! And my kids and Mike think it’s wonderful too, which is just icing on the cake. It’s something that I hope will last all the years of our family, throughout our history and future. Perhaps even being handed to a new generation. Just like tradition.


materials used:

wool blend felt
fusible webbing
thread
wood dowel
ribbon for hanging (not pictured)

pics from TC Williams event

Almost to the last minute I was unsure if I was going to do this show. I had applied and paid for it months ago and it was on my schedule for as long. But as the date was nearing, I was dealing with Halloween costumes, a last minute trip to Florida, and a horrible bout of family sickness (norovirus AND strep!). I didn’t have nearly enough time to produce an appreciable amount of inventory and I was feeling leery that I’d have adequate stock to present in my booth. I had sold A LOT at Art on the Avenue in early October and was worrying about how I could handle the TC Williams event and be well prepared for the Washington-Lee Bazaar coming up in early December. At the beginning of the week, I pretty much resigned myself to losing my paid up booth fee and just focus on the W-L event.
But on Friday afternoon, I had a wave of energy that served me well. I was able to prepare some new signage, price the box of new items I had produced, and mentally get myself ready. I went to bed early and woke up feeling optimistic.

And I did well! GREAT even!

The traffic was pretty steady, the space was nice, the organization was good. And my sales were really good. Better than I had hoped and better than the sort of arbitrary silent goal I had set for myself. By days end I had surpassed that goal by over a hundred dollars.

Here are some pics I took of my booth right before the customers started flowing in.

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lightening up Halloween night

Who says Halloween has to be all blood and guts? Candy and dress up are totally more my style. Which is why I leaned into this year’s Halloween costumes with much enthusiasm.

What could be more cheery, joyful, and fun than sunshine and rainbows?
Take that witches and vampires!

I know I say this every year, but these might be my most favorite creations ever. Well, until next year anyways.

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Have you ever seen a walking rainbow?

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His best friend, the sun! (Who happens to play the drums, heehee!)

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Even from the back, look how sweet:

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Sunshine + rainbow = best friends forever

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materials used:

craft felt
fusible webbing
polyfill
thread
spray adhesive


Bonus, my halloween nails:

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Booooooo!

Upcoming event!

I’ve been sewing like a crazy person trying to get ready for my next event!

Where I’ve spent the better part of the last few days/weeks. It’s not a full time job, but tell that to my bum and back. SORE! I’ve been sleeping with my heating pad most nights in order to get some relief. Why am I so old?

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A BUNCH of stuff cut out, all interfaced up, ready to start sewing. Mostly zipper pouches, wristlets, cosmetic cases and zipper totes.

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All smiles!

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Come see me at Art on the Avenue in the Del Ray section of Alexandria. I’ll be tired but cheery!

i’m on cloud 9

I discovered Cloud 9 fabrics sometime late last year. I specifically fell for their organic cottons. Cute prints and clean lines. My kind of stuff.

Last month my friend Denise and I discovered a lovely little fabric and yarn shop in (sort of) nearby Leesburg,VA. She actually found out about Finch online and we were so excited that we planned a day when we were without our kiddos in order to take the almost hour drive out there. We were not disappointed! It’s pretty much our dream right there on the corner! (Did I ever mention that Denise and I are DYING to open a boutique fabric shop? Indeed. But that’s a whole other post for another day!)

Look how charming!

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That’s Nicole in the white dress, the shop’s owner. She was so nice! And very patient as Denise (in the graphic print Moneta in the back), picked her brain about the store/business.

It’s really a wonderful shop, with space for sitting and knitting or taking a sewing class on one of the machines. We both just loved how Nicole set up a cozy space for creating and building a community.

While I was there, I fell in love with the Cloud 9 voile that she had in stock, Palos Verdes by Leslie Shewring. The print that really spoke to me was the La Venta. It was so crisp and summery. And I’m such a sucker for triangles lately. (I feel like there’s a Seinfeld joke in here somewhere!)

I knew I’d make a tunic out of it.

So I wound up buying three yards total for this Simplicity pattern:

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I like this pattern because it had gentle bust/waist shaping through the front, instead of just dropping straight down into a billowy square. But it’s not fitted, so the comfort and easiness of the garment remains.

The only modifications I made were:

I added a button sleeve thingy (what is that called anyways, I have no idea!) instead of the recommended sleeve/arm band.

I trimmed the inside facing a bit because the voile is quite see-through and the top looked better without seeing so much of the facing from the inside. (I’m really glad I did this!)

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Funnily enough, I semi-unconciously wore a green bra today which you can totally notice. But I figured, you can see through voile no matter what, so what’s the deal with seeing a green bra versus a white bra? Nada!

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I’m wondering just how many more cotton tops I’m going to wind up making before this summer comes to a close!

(T)art deco

I had a lovely little breakfast/coffee with my bestie Denise last week. We met at our “summer place”, a local spot called Obylee. It opened up right near me a few years ago and I’m basically SUPER DUPER in love with their nutella crepes. Which, how can anyone not be? Just look at them!

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They make a delicious vanilla latte as well!

While we were there chatting up a storm, I fell in love with Denise’s polish. Turns out it’s essie’s Tart Deco. How fun! I went to Target later in the week and picked up a bottle. Last night I finally changed polishes and I was excited to try this shade on me.
I decided to add some gold triangles to complete the art deco look.

Here’s what I used for this manicure:

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essie’s Tart Deco
Nicole by OPI’s The Next CEO
Revlon’s Extra Life topcoat
Scotch tape!

It was ridiculously easy, just two small pieces of scotch tape on each nail. I love the whole look, as I’m a fan of coral/peaches with golds for summer. However, I’m debating whether or not, in general, I like this particular hue on my hands. I think my hands on currently too tan to pull this off without looking like an old lady from south Florida. The reason it looked so nice on Denise’s hands was because she has a way paler skintone than I. The peachy hue looked sweet and delicate. For me, it’s a little jarring to have such a shade of coral against my golden skin. I still like the look enough to keep it on though.
Funnily enough, I showed Mike my handiwork this morning and his opinion, “Like the colors, hate the design.” Which, how can anybody hate triangles?? He thought they looked like pointy claws. Haha

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green eyelet top

I love that I’ve added a number of pieces to my wardrobe this summer. It makes me smile and feel accomplished knowing that I’m wearing something that I made with my own two hands!

This one is another version of Simplicity’s 4607. (You can see my previous one here.)

I purchased this cotton eyelet fabric at Joann’s a few months ago when I became interested in making some tops for this season. This one does not disappoint! It’s cool and cute and easy to wear. One thing that I modified was the facing bits. The pattern calls for using a suitable woven interfacing for those pieces but I didn’t want any white to show through the eyelet. I omitted that step completely and just used the facing pieces as is. It doesn’t take away from the structure of the garment and it still feels comfortable.

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When I showed Mike this new piece, his comments were, “That’s awesome! But what are you going to wear underneath it? That fabric is sort of see-through?” My response, “I have a green bra, and who cares!” LOL

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Because you can’t have enough of a good thing, right? Especially a dress this cute and easy!

I made this piece in one evening, it took me just about 4 hours, from cutting to finishing all edges. I took my time and it looks just lovely! I think I’m getting the hang of this. So much so that I’ve just ordered some adorable knit fabric from Girl Charlee. I can’t wait until it comes in!

All laid out ready to cut:

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(Some day I’ll have a cutting table and my back will thank me. Also, say hi to my cute red Saltwater Sandals, I just LOVE them!)

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Diggin’ that twin needle coverstitching! Who says you have to have an overlock to sew knits? Not me! (Although, that would be nice. Someday maybe!)

The completed garment:

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Did I mention the Moneta has pockets? It does and they’re wonderful!

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my new dress

There is a pattern that was (or is?) taking the online sewing community by storm. Have you heard of it? I’m sure you have! It’s the Moneta by Colette Patterns. You can read more about the company here.

My friend Denise was the first one to make me aware of this darling pattern. She made one, sent me a pic and I fell in love. I demanded to know details! She made another one, sent me pic, and also shared the link this time. I quickly purchased one for myself.

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I was super excited to get started. But also a little nervous. Years ago I attempted to make a dress and the results were NOT GOOD. I pushed through my trepidation however, because Denise never steers me wrong! Since I wanted to get started right away, I took to my fabric stash and tried to find enough yardage to accommodate the pattern. I thought I had it when I pulled out this adorable flower print knit. (Did I mention the Moneta is a knit pattern? Yeah, that only added to my anxiety, knit is so much more flaky than wovens!) I started placing my pieces and soon realized it wasn’t going to happen. I had a decision to make. Should I just make a tunic? Or head to Joann’s and get some solid black for the bodice? I had my heart set on a dress, so I went with that latter option. And I’m glad I did, because I love the final look!

Two things that I did for the very first time in making this garment: using invisible elastic for the gathered waist and using a twin needle for finishing the edges with a coverstitch. I love learning new things!

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