a DIY wrap dress + a windy morning

Every so often I see these gorgeous, flowy, maxi dresses online that make all my Hawaii beach dreams come true. And then I remember that I quit my job to be a stay at home mom and therefore these $200 designer maxi dresses will just have to live in my Pinterest boards forever.  But luckily for me, there’s a new sewing pattern in town: the Highland Wrap Dress. I was beyond excited when Allie Olson asked me to help test this new pattern earlier this year. I love testing new patterns and getting the opportunity to watch a pattern come to life. And this has been my favorite to date! I’ve been waiting patiently for launch day to share photos of this dress. So here we go:

The best part of this pattern (besides that I’ve yet to see anything like it out there in the patten world) is that I can see myself making countless variations: a midi length, sleeveless, cap sleeve, a chambray version, a maxi skirt hack, and on and on and on… Check out indiesew.com if you’re interested in purchasing this PDF pattern for yourself. 
The day we took these photos, we had such a busy weekend planned. But as a tester I wanted to submit photos of my finished garment by the end of the day. So we drove 3 minutes down the road to Sunrise park early on a Saturday morning. We hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet, Liam was still in his pajamas, and the wind was coming off the harbor so fast. But as I was waking around thinking the wind was going to ruin the photo shoot, Will looks up from behind the camera and says “I think this is the best thing you’ve ever sewn.” And he might just be right. I’m almost certain this dress is asking to be worn barefooted on a beach somewhere. 

The fabric is a lightweight rayon challis from Joann’s. I can’t seem to find it online but the local Charleston store had a large bolt in stock. That’s all for now.  If you’re over seeing photos of me in wrap dresses than, spoiler alert: I just ordered some fabric for my second Highland Wrap dress. You’ve been warned.  

xx Priscilla 

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do it yourself Smash Cake Photo Shoot

how-to-smash-cake-photo-shootI’ll let you in on a little secret about me: I HATE paying someone to do something that I can even slightly, half-ass do myself. Maybe I’m a perfectionist. Or untrusting. Call it what it is, it’s me and I am working on it. But in the mean time, my DIY flag will continue to soar high. After our holiday family photo shoot that resulted in zero photos of Liam smiling, I decided never again! The photographer was a very sweet lady. But she would make these cackling, turkey calls and high pitched squeals in an attempt to coax a smile out of Liam. And this child of mine, who seriously  smiles at every cashier and every old lady in line at the grocery store, would of rolled his eyes at her if he knew how. Not a single smile for her camera. So I decided that I would create our own photo session at home. And worse case scenario, if he didn’t smile for me, all I wasted was an afternoon. And it turned out to be a success! img_5530img_5544img_5537Here are some of my tips for how you can create your own smash cake photo session. 

1. If you have a room with a blank white wall, perfect! If not, get a white backdrop. I purchased this one from Amazon and have used it several times so I have definitely gotten my money’s worth. But a crisp ironed bedsheet would also work well.

2. It’s all about good lighting. This is crucial! More important than the camera itself! I know by now in my sunroom (where I’ve set up my white backdrop) what time of day the room gets good natural light. You want to aim for bright natural light vs light that is created from lamps or overhead lights. But you also want to avoid too much direct light on your subject (this will wash them out) and avoid shadows being casted onto the backdrop. Tip: set up your backdrop a day or so in advance and keep an eye on what time of day the lighting is best.img_55663. You don’t need a fancy camera! I used my Cannon Rebel DSLR for these, but I took some practice shoots with my iPhone and they also turned out amazing. I swear, the quality of the pictures on the iPhone these days is not too shabby.

4.  Use a tripod, if available. This helped me do continuous shooting and be hands free If I needed to quickly jump in and help/reposition/save a ballon. A husband or assistant also helps!

5. Create fun props! I simply blew up some balloons and made bunting using felt fabric, string, and a hot glue gun. You don’t need much. The cake and the baby will be the star!img_56106. Bake your own cake. Dude, did you know a box of cake mix is only $1.95? This is so cheap. Especially considering it’s just for photos. In fact, I didn’t evenly spread the icing on the back of the cake!  And side note, this cake stand came from the diaper cake from our baby shower. It’s from C. Wonder. img_55677. Once you are all set up, bring in your child and entice him to “smash” the cake! At first, Liam had no interest in eating, or even touching the cake. He just stared at it and crawled away. If you look closely in this photo, you may see some tangerine slices on the floor. Yep.  We had to entice him by adding his favorite food (which I guess obviously isn’t cake) and eventually, he went for the kill. Giving him a spatula at the end of the shoot helped us get some really messy pics too!

8. Touch up the pictures in iPhoto/Photoshop. I always end up cropping my photos and using the blemish tool to remove anything unwanted that ended up in the shot. before
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I took a total of 120 photos and I ended up with about 30 great photos! And while I am a big fan of professional photography, it was nice to do these at home with daddy present and a warm bath waiting for us in the room next door!

xxoo Priscilla

 

a DIY quilt for the non-quilter

When I started learning how to sew almost 5 years ago, I gazed at photos of beautiful quilts that, for me, resembled pieces of art. And I thought, “I’ll make those someday! You just wait and see.” Then reality kicked in and I realized I’m all about the instant gratification that comes with garment sewing, and thus a month long project filled with hundreds of little pieces was never going to be my forte. That being said, I do still love the idea of making a quilt for a new baby. A special something that is just for him or her. A handmade gift they can treasure for years to come. A nice blankie where they can throw up and have poop explosions and their mom and dad will think of me each time.So when my dear friends Jason and Laura announced they were having a baby girl, I got right to it. Their baby had been given the nickname “bebe” early on in the pregnancy, so when I saw this fabric from The Little Ivie Cloth Co at Spoonflower. com, I had to have it! Rather than actually quilting together different fabrics, I decided to order a large panel size of the “Hello Bebe” print and let that fabric do the talking. Literally. Like, hey bebe, how YOU doing? Oh you know, just learning how to hold my head up and digest breast milk. Ain’t no thing. Anyways, like I was saying, I never quilt. In fact, this is only my second time making a baby blanket, following the quilt I made Liam when he was born. So I am by no means a quilter and if you are on the hunt for true tips on quilting, I would advice you go here, here, or here. But if you want a keeping-it-real quilt story, you’ve come to the right place. All you need for this project is a sewing machine, two large pieces of fabric (I used a quilting cotton and a minky fabric), double fold bias tape, coordinating thread, basting spray/glue (optional), and a whole lot of love. How to make your quilt:

Step 1: Iron your fabric pieces and line them up WRONG sides together. This is where you have the option of using basting spray to hold the pieces together, which can really come in handy.

Step 2: Trim the salvage edges (thats the piece on the side that has the manufacturer label) and any excess fabric, for example if you have one piece of fabric that is larger than the other.

Step 3: “quilt” your fabric. This is where you can go crazy and do whatever you want. I am a simple gal who does not have a fancy quilting arm on my machine, so I just sewed lines going vertically and horizontally across the fabrics, equal in size, which created medium size rectangles. You could make your lines closer together or further apart. Or use a fancy stitch on your machine to add some flare. Tips: Use a nice top stitching thread and increase the stitch length a little.

Step 4: Using pins to hold in place, add your bias taping to the edges of the fabric, sandwiching in both the front and back pieces of fabric in between the bias tape.

Step 5: Sew the bias tape in place. I like to use a fun curvy stitch just to add a little bit of design and also ensure that the stitch picks up both the bias tape and the fabric. Give it another good run on the old ironing board and you are done! I threw in some coordinating burp cloths with the extra fabric and bought some cute leggings to go along with the theme of “cute bebe girl who I hope likes floral print.” 🙂 xxoo Priscilla

Buy or DIY: sweet baby dolls for sweet baby cousins

img_5254img_5229img_5241img_5258img_5269img_5264One of my favorite moment of this year’s Christmas was seeing Liam and his 15 month old cousin Zoe really getting to know each other. We taught them how to “give a hug” and it was probably the best thing I have ever seen. So naturally I had to take a few photos of the two of them with their handmade dolls made by momma/aunt Cilla. The fabric used to make the dolls is from See Kate Sew’s doll fabric line for Riley Blake fabrics. I also made a the little gathered tulle skirt to match the doll’s bow. This was a quick easy project, with the majority of the time spent stuffing the doll with cotton stuffing and poking it into all the skinny arms and legs. For Liam’s doll I didn’t use nearly as much stuffing as I did for Zoe’s and you can tell a difference. So tip #1: buy extra stuffing! Tip #2: sew a second line of stitching next to your first row. I did a double line of stitching for Zoe’s doll so it should hold up for many years, even through her big brothers tugging and pulling on it. For those of you who don’t sew and would rather buy a dollie for the kiddos in your life, check out Candy Kirby Designs and Fink Toys (made here in Charleston!) I love this quick handmade gift that would be great as a first birthday present or baby shower gift for a new mom-to-be. I’m also interested in trying out this pattern next. Any other fun doll/stuffed animals patterns out there? Let me know! img_5245xx Priscilla

The sweetest/most random newborn quilt that you ever did see

IMG_1182I knew I wanted to make a handmade item that I could give to the baby, but I had never tackled a quilt before. Cutting and sewing in straight lines and squares is not exactly my style. You see, I tend not to do any thing that requires precision or following rules and patterns exactly as I am told. And I had always assumed that a quilt would turn out to a be hot mess if I didn’t have all my shapes and all my squares exactly the same size. Well it turns out a quilt can be whatever the heck you want it to be. I am pretty sure that no two of my squares are exactly the same but I think thats ok. Because in the end, Liam has a sweet little quilt that he can one day tell all his friends “oh yeah my mom made that” and they will reply “say what??? Your mom is awesome!” And he will be all like, “yeah I know. Which is why I am never growing up so I can be with her forever.” (At least I think that’s how it will all play out.)IMG_3673IMG_3671The fabric I used for this quilt all comes from the Hello Bear Collection by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics. I have had my eye on this fabric and before I was even pregnant I bought half a  yard in 5 different prints, knowing that it would most likely sell out. This collection became so popular that Art Gallery now has released the Buck Forest print (the deer head) in eight different colors and also in knit and canvas.  Locals, you can pick this fabric up from Five Eighth Seams in  West Ashley. IMG_3682IMG_3679IMG_3677I had to do some creative fussy cutting so that I could include all the different mommy and baby animal pairs. In the end some pieces didn’t make the cut (ha, get it!) but I was able to come up with a variety of different rectangle and square pieces that I then appliquéd on top of another larger square piece. Here are a few online tutorials here and here that I followed to help me get an idea of where to start. And if you do like to do things precisely and accurately, there are tons of other tutorials online that give much better instructions than I do!

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Also check out this youtube video from Made Everyday to learn how to make your own bias tape and get you started on doing the bias binding. This next photo you might be able to see how I used a decorative top stitch to stitch my bias binding in place.  l have never used the decorative stitches on my machine before so this was fun to do. IMG_0055IMG_3681

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This quilt has been tummy time approved.

IMG_1181This photo means the world to me, not only because he is on his mommy quilt but because this was the first purposeful smile we ever caught on camera. Liam is one month old today and as much as I love watching him grow, it kills me at the same time to know that time is moving by so fast! Enjoy your week and if you are lucky enough to be around any sweet babies this week, take the time to just sit and stare. All your other problems will just disappear, I promise!

xxoo Priscilla

DIY Growth Chart

IMG_0664I wanted to share this quick little tutorial for how to make a growth chart for your home. Being pregnant really gets you thinking of things you did when you were a kid. Will and I have really had a lot of spare time to sit around and talk about what kinds of parents we want to be. Sometimes we get real deep. But that is another story for another day. But one day I was remembering how growing up my mom used to have us all stand with our backs to the wall in the kitchen and she would write on the wall how tall we had become. But when my parents moved in 2008, they lost all those markings, as my childhood home was bulldozed to the ground and replaced with a Harris Teeter shopping center or some other commercial shopping center. Luckily Pinterest saved the day and I found tons of inspirations for making a growth chart that we can take with us when we move houses in a few years and hopefully will stay with us for years and years.

Here are some of the inspiration photos I found on Pinterest:

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I liked the look of the ruler but then decided to keep it simple. And I wanted to add numbers that are more three dimensional. Also I knew I wanted to make it in white with gray numbers, as gray and whites has lately become my favorite colors for home decorating. So here is our finished project:IMG_3458 IMG_3459 IMG_3462

What you need:

  1. One 1x8x8 wooden board
  2. Six house/mailbox numbers
  3. white paint (or any color you prefer)
  4. sander or sand paper
  5. Flush mount wall hanger. we used these
  6. wood filler (optional)

Steps:

  1. Have the fine folks at Lowes (or in my case, husband) cut the board down the length you want. We shortened ours to 6 feet long. So here is hoping he isn’t over seven feet tall!
  2. Sand the board and use wood filler to fill in any crackers or holes. If you want to leave your wood distressed looking then you can skip this step. IMG_3182
  3. Paint the board a color of your choice. We painted ours white with leftover paint from doing the ceiling in the nursery.  Let it dry over night.
  4. Follow the instructions on the number packaging to attach the numbers to the board. Some take screws, or like me I used hot glue so that the numbers would be as flush as possible to the board. REMEMBER to place the numbers AFTER you decide where and how you will attach it to the wall. We decided to hang ours a few inches above the baseboard. So the bottom of our number “1” is where one foot starts, the bottom of “2” is where 2 feet starts, ect.
  5. Hang the growth chart on the wall using the flush wall mount.
  6. Enjoy!IMG_3464I think the plan for now is to add Will and I’s measurements and then we will add the baby’s birth height  once we bring him home and then re-measure him every six months (his birthday and half birthday). We hung our growth chart right in the living room coincidentally next to his toy box because his nursery has run out of room and wall space! Yikes! More photos of the nursery to follow soon!

xxoo Priscilla

 

DIY Silhouette Pillows

imageIMG_5419I am a big fan of handmade presents. And with the holidays approaching, I thought I would share one of my favorite DIY gifts: Silhouette pillows. A year ago or so, I was over at a friend’s house and saw the most beautiful custom made silhouette prints of her children that she ordered on Etsy. I quickly decided I would combine this idea with my love for fabrics.  And the voila! The DIY Silhouette Pillow was born.

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The first time I made these, I used my parents as guinea pigs (not telling them what I was really doing) and it worked out so well that I gave the pillows to them as Christmas presents that year! I have since made the same for my inlaws for Christmas gifts and two sets of friends for wedding presents. Here is a quick run down on how you can make some for your own.

Supplies:

  • a pillow-  get one that has no embroidery, buttons, sequins, or other decoration. (If you live in Charleston, I have had great luck finding inexpensive pillows at Tuesday Morning.) My first set had a rough texture to them but the appliqué still adhered pretty well. I have also found solid white pillows that had a longer nap but, again the appliqué still adhered and last I checked still looked good!
  • black felt- You can pick this up at Michael’s or any craft store for super cheap.
  • No-sew Heat-n-Bond adhesive – I have used both the spray and the iron on adhesive and I HIGHLY recommend the iron on. Heat-n-Bond is my go to, the one in the red pack. And again you can find this at Michael’s, JoAnn, or any craft store.
  • an iron
  • small, sharp set of scissors
  • a printer

Now here is how you get it done:

  1. STEP ONE: Take profile photos of your victims. This step is the hardest because you want to make sure you have enough backlighting that you can make out all the details of the face. And this step can be sneaky if you are trying to surprise your gift receiver! As you can see below in my dad’s photo, the top of the head is blacked out. So that is a good example of how more lighting may of helped me catch a more detailed photo of his hair line.IMG_5346  IMG_5353
  2. STEP TWO: On your computer crop the photo so the face is the filling up the entire 8×10 page. This can be done on any photo editor or even in Word if that is all you have access to. If you wanted to make it bigger you could play around with your margins, but I have always done 8×10 simply because this is the largest size paper my printer can handle. Once printed, use your fine tooth scissors and cut out the photo very carefully, making sure to include small details such as lips, nose, glasses, and chin.  IMG_1014
  3. STEP THREE: The photos below show the paper once it has been cut out and then turned over to show the backside of the paper. I always do this to see how my photo turned out.  I also flipped my mom’s photo in Photoshop prior to printing so the silhouettes would be “facing each other” on the sofa!   IMG_5355IMG_5375
  4. STEP FOUR: Without using steam, iron on the Heat-n-Bond paper to the back side of the black felt. The felt does not really have a right or a wrong side so either side will do. DO NOT peel off the backing of the Heat-n-Bond, you will get to that later. But for now you will want to use keep the paper on the felt.
  5. STEP FIVE: So once the felt and Heat-n-Bond has cooled from being ironed, head to a table with good lighting and lay the felt face down. Next, take your cut out photo and place onto the  paper (the backside of the felt). If you need to use a few pieces of double sided tape to hold it into place, that is a good idea. Now using a pencil, trace around the photo directly onto the Heat-n-Bond paper. Note- your photo will be reversed when you go to iron it on. So if you really want the face going in a certain direction, make sure the photo is flipped the opposite way when you are tracing onto the back of the felt. Does that make sense? Still with me? ok, good!
  6. STEP SIX: Use your fine point scissors again to now cut out the newly traced image on the felt.
  7. STEP SEVEN: Now you can peel the backing paper off the back of the felt.
  8. STEP EIGHT: Place your new felt appliqué with the sticky side down directly onto the center of the pillow. If you can take the pillow out of the pillow case, do that. If there is no pillow case, you can iron directly onto the pillow. I do not use steam but I get my iron very hot and press over my appliqué several times.
  9. STEP NINE: put your pillow in the case and you are done!IMG_1013

Here is the photo and the finished pillow case for my mother in law:IMG_5366IMG_5376

I recently tried my hand at some lettering and an image from my friend’s wedding. This took a lot more detail but I love how it turned out in the end. IMG_0132

This is a great way to make a gift that is personalized and from the heart. And they are so easy to make once you get the hang of it. And no sewing required for those of you who fear the needle!

Feel free to comment with any questions or if you need further guidance in making your own! Good luck and happy holidays!

xxoo Priscilla