Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Everybody Needs a Minkie!

So I've been busy working on a few more things for our great-nieces from Tennessee, since we learned they will be visiting Arkansas next week for Thanksgiving.  Kelsey Lynn will celebrate her fifth birthday this weekend, so I thought she should have a "minkie" coat for the occasion!  I also made her a red and white chevron dress - and Zola got one, too!

Kelsey and Ellie Grace will both get red velour leggings/pants...and a set of red striped pants/leggings, just in time for Christmas!

 Meanwhile, I had purchased a red/white striped knit shirt off the Clearance rack at Wal-Mart ($2), and it was perfect for creating leggings for Zola to go with her red and white chevron dress.

A while back, I picked up this piece of black and white fabric at a yard sale our friends were having.  It had actually been used as a table topper for a wedding reception, so this piece of fabric was neatly hemmed (with fusible webbing) and measured just big enough for a dress for Zola.  There was not enough for the length I wanted, so I added the ruffle of red and black dot...and then it begged for an accent near the neckline; hence the rosette!

I really had fun creating all of these things for three sweet little girls...and they will be adorable in every single garment.  I still have a few decent-sized scraps that may have to be turned into headbands and bow-ties for Olivia and the boys...we shall see!  For now, it's time to think about Thanksgiving dinner and decorating for Christmas!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Walking on the Wild Side!

A few weeks ago, a friend posted a link on Facebook to a website that sells darling girls' clothing.  She was particularly interested in a little ruffled outfit for her toddler daughter - in "giraffe" and other coordinating prints. Trouble is...this one outfit was $74...and she said that was out of her price range.  It's out of mine, too!  Who wants to pay that much for one outfit for a small child, knowing fully well that they will only wear it a handful of times before it is outgrown?!

Later the same day, I was passing the fabric department at Wal-Mart, when I spotted a table of fabrics on clearance.  I promise I am not making this up...there on top was "giraffe print", along with other coordinating fabrics in blue, brown dot, and yellow.  It sounds crazy, but they all worked together...and they were $3 a yard!  I was in heaven!'s what I made for Kelsey, her baby sister Ellie Grace, and Zola.  Next outfit for Stella, the toddler whose mother found this idea in the first place. Stella has brilliant red hair and will be precious in this outfit! For about $22, I purchased enough fabric for four outfits...and counting.  I've even made a couple of baby burp pads with "giraffe" appliques out of the animal print fabric. 

Additionally, I found a clearance bolt of this bright yellow fabric covered in multi-colored "peace signs".  So I have three happy "hippy" girls now with flounced pants...and I had enough ruffles to make some toddler pants for Stella (which I apparently failed to photograph).

I think I am about done with yellows for a up is white thread and lots of red and white stripes (for the winter holidays)...and I have a few more ideas up my sleeve.  There is a stack of fabrics and items for repurposing on my sewing table that is calling my name...stay tuned!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Repurposing Fun...and What Do You Do With All of Those Scraps?

I've had the old sewing machine whirring lately.  It started with a tunic blouse that I no longer wanted to wear that was too nice to give away.  It had beautiful pintucks, intricate lace at the sleeves and hem...and I could just "see" the possibilities.  So I turned it into a girl's dress...and the sleeves became what else - TODDLER PANTS!

I sent pictures to our nephew's wife, Leslie, in Tennessee...would she like to have these items for her girls - Kelsey and Ellie Grace - or should I list them for sale on Etsy?  She responded right away that she wanted them.  A few days later, a big box of gently-worn clothing arrived from her to share with our niece Zola.  I'm talking a BIG box of wonderful things that came on the heels of another box that had been shared a few weeks earlier.  

Around the same time, Leslie "liked" a Halloween outfit on Facebook that was being given away by a children's clothing company.  I looked at the outfit and thought, "I could make that!"  The next time I shopped at Wal-Mart, there was a table of fabric on clearance, including a bright orange print and a multi-colored stripe that I thought would coordinate.  The applique patterns were downloaded online, and an outfit was in the making.  Kelsey, almost five, will get long flounced pants and a top with witch's shoes appliqued on it...Ellie Grace, who is four months, will get coordinating pants with a cut little hat appliqued on the bum!  And I still have more fabric...and more little ones to dress!

I had this piece of yellow fabric that I had ordered last summer, and it seemed to say, "Make pants for Kelsey!"  So I did...along with a little coordinating pair for her little sister. 

I cannot begin to describe how many scraps I have.  Some are large...some, pretty tiny...but I hate to throw any of them away.  You never know when you might need a tiny snippet of pink fabric to become the ear of an elephant applique!  So I went through my scrap baskets the other day and cut coordinating pieces into long strips, which I then sewed together.  I serged the edges, then ruffled one edge to create a super-long strip of ruffled fabric. Then I took an old t-shirt and made a little knit skirt for Kelsey.  I made lines 2" apart and stitched the ruffling to these lines, creating layers of ruffles.  Then I added a little waistband out of more of the knit t-shirt...and voila!  I think this is a darling skirt that will go with all kinds of tops...don't you?!  Kelsey was just too tired to model this one! ;-)

Leslie is definitely a Tennessee fan all the way...with a slight tinge of Vanderbilt loyalty.  But John, our nephew, is a full-tilt Razorback fan.  So I had a little piece of Razorback print, and I couldn't resist making a new dress for Kelsey - and some pants for Ellie Grace.

I didn't forget about Zola!  I dashed into the local thrift shop on Friday, and there was a darling printed long-sleeved tee that just begged to become leggings and a matching top. I noticed after I got the pants finished that there was a tiny hole in the backside, so I just used a bright flower from the scraps to make an applique patch!  Even cuter than it would have been without, if I do say so myself!   I even had enough scraps to make a little cap, also!  Zola was thrilled.  I'm hoping for a picture of her in the new outfit soon!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Skirts and Tees...and an Overactive Imagination!

A few weeks ago, I was shopping in our local thrift store and spotted a large, gathered skirt.  It was black striped with an accent border of solid black.  There appeared to be several yards of fabric in this skirt.  I think I paid $2 for it.  I could see flounced pants for the little girls, for sure...and maybe something else.  I washed the skirt and carefully took it all apart...and I really did have a LOT of material!

Original thrift-store skirt.
The end result was a pair of pants for Zola - and another for Kelsey...a little ruffled "tie-on" skirt for our new niece Ellie Grace...and lots of appliques.  I always have good thrift-store knit t-shirts on hand.  A yellow one became a pillow-case dress/top for Zola...a lime green one will go to Kelsey.  Leftovers from the yellow tee became a bumblebee applique on a onesie for Ellie Grace!  I did have to purchase a spool of grossgrain ribbon for the ties on Kelsey's dress and Ellie Grace's skirt.  So counting materials like the onesie, iron-on adhesive and tear-away paper for the appliques, thread, etc., I am probably into these sets for less than $10.  I consider that a pretty good deal...don't you?!

Pants and "pillow-case" dress for Zola.

Onesie and "skirt" for Ellie Grace.
Pants and "pillow-case" dress/top for Kelsey.
I still have a few scraps that could become a headband...or more appliques at some point.  I don't ever let a decent piece of fabric go to waste, so these will go in my "scrap bin" for a later date.  Meanwhile, I think the girls will be adorable - and ready for summer - in their "flower power" ensembles!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On a slightly different note...last week, a girl posted an ad on Facebook for some Fisher Price "Little People" sets she wanted to sell.  I've bought things from her before, so I know she sells nice things - and she is very reasonable.  I went to her house, and she had a full-sized bed COVERED in "little people" - all for $35.  I bought every last piece - 3 garbage bags full!
I washed, bleached and sorted all of the "little people" and their houses yesterday, and I cannot believe what all I have.  I kept a "Zoo" set for the kids to play with here.  I have an airplane and school bus with people set aside as a birthday surprise for Nathan
.  Then there is a playhouse for Zola that is fantastic...Amazon lists it new for $159!  And I have all sorts of accessories for it, like a picnic set, a "patio table with umbrella", baby carriage and playpen and more.  The house makes all sorts of noises - the washer "runs"...the phone rings...the typewriter "types", the toilet seat lifts (but there is no flushing noise that I can determine! *ha!*).

THEN...there is an "amusement park"...all of the accessories for that, 2 dump trucks, 2 "girlie" cars, some little cars, 3 tricycles, a full set of "Easter" little people in bunny suits, an outdoor "playhouse" with 3 attachable swing sets, and I don't know how many "little people" to go with this.  And I paid $35 for EVERYTHING!  I'm guessing I have at least $400 or more of "Little People" if I bought everything new!

So I have Christmas pretty much "set" for the kids.  By the time I wrap up these things and separate out the various pieces, they will have lots to open and a "Little People" festival!   I can already hear Timothy doing the voices for these little guys! 

The same day that I saw these sets for sale on Facebook, another mom I know posted a different playhouse for sale for $ retails for $300+ with all the pieces.  Someone beat me to this one.  Then the girl I bought from advertised a farm set - 50 pieces for $20.  Someone offered her $15, and she took it.  I was so disappointed.  I told her, "I would have gladly paid you $20."  That's when she offered me the things I ended up buying.  I really would have liked to have that farm set, because it was so cute...but I cannot complain, and there is PLENTY here!  

I cannot believe people pay this much for kids' toys!  But I am more than glad to purchase them after the fact and refresh them for my kiddos! They may not have brand new stuff, but they don't know and don't care.  You would never know most of these little pieces are not brand new.  It pays to shop around...hit the thrift stores...and stretch a dollar...and I am living proof!