Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Upcycle and There's A First Time for Everything

So I posted this photo to Instagram the other day... 

and declared an #upcycle was about to happen.

 If you are not familiar with that term let me explain.  For a seamstress, an upcycle is when we take a used piece of clothing or other fabric item and turn it into something new.  I have an entire bin of these items.  Why?  Because I have three children who constantly test my stain removing skills and while I do have "skillz" in this area some nuts you just can't crack.  Can I get an Amen?  I really do enjoy this challenge and the opportunity for my mind to think outside of the pattern world it so prefers.

This upcycle began with a stained cream t-shirt that Addison wore when she was Allye's current age (2.5).  I knew that I wanted this to be a no cost upcycle, which meant I could only use what I had in my stash.  After planning it all out and photographing the materials, I changed my mind because my brain started doing somersaults when the words July 4th popped in.  Let me give you the image.

These were the outfits I made last year for July 4th.  The dresses on the older girls still fit.  However, Allye's is no where close and has actually been handed off to a friend so that I will see it again.  :)  My mind started racing and began the search for every piece of any of these fabrics I could find.  When I realized I could make this work I was beyond thrilled.  If you don't sew you might not understand just how wonderful this feels.  

Here's how it went down.  I decided on the final length the dress was going to be and made all of my cuts accordingly.  I completed the bottom of the dress entirely before ever cutting off the shirt, just in case I miscalculated somewhere.  It happens people.  I really put a lot of effort into this and was so thrilled when I got it all put together. 
  I thought from the beginning that I would monogram the final dress, but was unsure when it was done so I slept on it.  I have really cut back on the monograms for the older girls because of the need and desire to pass on the items being worn.  Ultimately I decided to go for it.  Allye was so excited her "name" was going to be on the dress.  She asked to help and I agreed.  After getting it set up and ready I allowed her to sit on my lap and press the button, her favorite job.  I was smitten from the second it came off the machine.  I hung it from the china cabinet just so I could marvel at it.  Then yesterday, on her way to the park, Olivia stops by the dress and says, "Mom, who did you make this for?"  Momentarily I wondered if she had lost her mind.  "Um, Allye," I responded.  "Why?"  "Well Mom, you put Addison's initials on it."  I died right there.  

First of all, if you monogram, this is your worst nightmare.  Second of all, it is worse than a nightmare to do it to one of your own children.  I really can't describe my feelings in that moment.  I let it sit there overnight.  This morning I put my big girl panties on and figured it out while I played at the beach with the girls.
  I saw this idea in my new sewing book, Sew Classic Clothes for Girls, and had been wanting to try it, not particularly for this reason but I knew it was the perfect opportunity.  It is a removable monogram so multiple siblings can wear the same item over the years.  You simply monogram the piece of fabric and attach using buttonholes.  When the next sibling wears it you place their monogram on it.  Genius right? 

So there it is.  A great way to turn something headed to the trash into a keepsake.  And in this case, a first time mistake that will be a forever memory.  I hope you are inspired to look at something old and trash worthy in a new way.  I would love to see it!

---- The Mama

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Adventures With Mama

When Man was told he would be going to Utah for a couple of weeks for work he was slightly excited.  However, he was mortified to learn it would fall over Mother's Day.  He has always gone out of his way to make that day special for me by giving me the day "off" or creating great big surprises like last year.  I decided two things immediately.  1. He was going to be off the hook for gift buying this year (All I wanted was a new vacuum and rain boots---this is not his area folks).  2. I was going to do something I love and take my girls with me.  Travel.


I have a little Florida bucket list and this particular place has been at the top for a year now.  I picked up a state parks book a year ago while visiting Tallahassee, and when I saw the promotional photo for the park I knew I had to take my girls there.  When all of this happened with Man's schedule it didn't take me long to know where we were going.  In the excitement of the planning I added on a few more days and stops and just like that we had a girl's trip planned.  He was slightly concerned about all of this travel without him, but he knew that it.was.happening.  And it did.  And it was marvelous.  And I would do it again tomorrow.  

The Friday before Mother's Day we set out for Weeki Wachee Springs, FL.  I thought that we were going to be in a fairly small town, but not so.  There was a Target.  I judge every town on size based on whether or not they have a Target.  We traveled along two lane roads most of the way and it was when we found a Walmart and unloaded for a potty break that the most awesome thing happened.  Olivia (who was very worried about our ability to do this without her dad) excitedly said, "Mama, we are doing it!  We are making it without Daddy!"  She was so proud of us and had a great surge of confidence seeing what we had already accomplished.  This was one of my goals for this trip.  I want to raise three strong and confident women.  I will have failed them if they come out on the other side of my raising and do not believe that they can truly do anything.  So, we are starting with baby steps...that reward us with mermaid sightings.

Weeki Wachee State Park, FL

Looking for mermaids.

I totally chalked this up to a little girl's fantasy trip but I have to say it was truly amazing to watch.  They never go to the surface, instead using wands, throughout the performance, that blow air into their mouths.  The current show is the story of The Little Mermaid, based on Hans Christian Anderson's original work, per the information at the park.  However, we have studied the original tale of Anderson and they are not even close.  If you have never read the original story to your child, you should.  It is a work of art.  This was the work of Disney.

After explaining to Olivia that we really didn't need to inform the park (as bad as even I wanted too) we went and posed as mermaids...

 and with a mermaid...

We spent the afternoon swimming in the spring water, enjoying the water slides, and eating lots of yummy treats.  

We closed the park down, hopped in our car, and drove another hour south to Treasure Island, where we found a slice of Heaven on Earth.

When we stepped through the doors of our hotel we were met with music, dancing, swimming, and a beach view so far we couldn't see the ocean.  Crisp white sand drew us in as we threw our stuff in the room, slid on dry swimsuits and ran to see the beauty of this place.  With hungry bellies we meandered back to the patio of our hotel and ate pizza underneath palm trees lined with Christmas tree lights and beach music playing in the background.  The thirty minute wait period was put to rest as we went straight for the pool and swam well into the darkness of night.
When we checked in, the lady at the front desk said we should go down to John's Pass the next day and check out the Pirate Fest going on.  So we did.  Only after I got a serenade, sweet cards, flowers, and lots of hugs and kisses.  Oh, and some doughnuts for breakfast.

Pirates need swords to attack their bigger sister!

Since the girls were a little freaked out by the adults walking around dressed up and acting like pirates, we didn't last long.  Mostly, they couldn't understand why they were doing this.  And, since I couldn't either, we grabbed some Italian Ice and hit the road.  We had some more swimming to do!

These two built a strong bond around fun in the water during this trip.
 Late in the afternoon we gathered some things and went to the beach.  We spent a little time collecting seashells and jumping some waves.  Allye had not been feeling 100% so Olivia and Addison took turns playing the sand with her while the other one jumped some waves. 

As the sun set that evening I stood back and watched our girls stand along the edge of the ocean holding hands, laughing, and skipping waves.  I grabbed my camera, almost feeling like I shouldn't intrude on the moment, but it was perfection in my eyes.

The next morning we packed up and headed to Clearwater, FL.  When I studied the map and saw that we would be so close to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium I knew we were going.  My girls watched Dolphin Tale some time ago, leading us to view Winter, the star, from the internet several times.  If you don't know, Winter is a dolphin who's tale got caught in a net and was rescued and brought to this aquarium.  She swims with an artificial tale for physical therapy.  

I can not say enough wonderful things about this place.  Had I known how much learning could be done in this one place, I would have planned the entire day there.  The staff is dedicated to you learning about the animals, seeing them up close, and touching as many of them as you can.  All three girls loved it!

We spent the rest of the day traveling to visit a friend and spend the night close to her.  The following morning we drove the rest of the way home laughing over the funnies that happened along the way, wishing we were still splashing around Treasure Island, and so very grateful for the opportunity to make these memories together.

**I put together this video to share with you what I was so grateful to see in person.**
*If you are viewing this in the email subscription service you will have to click the title at the top of the page to link into the website to view the video.*

-----The Mama

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