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July 26

Knitting for Babies

I actually really like knitting for babies; you can make a garment in a fraction of the time and you can use smaller bits of yarn to do so – hello stash busting!  So when I found out my coworker was having a little girl, I couldn’t help but knit something up for her.

Baby Dress & Booties

I had a large, but not full skein, of this cascade heritage yarn in aqua foam in my stash.  (It’s left over from my aqua waves jumper.)  Instead of knitting something up in the ‘traditional pink for girls’ I thought this is a lovely change and settled on using up the rest of this skein on a baby dress.

And to top it off, this yarn is superwash.  Honestly, what new mom ever wants to hand wash a baby garment when they’re so busy doing everything else?!  I just think it’s a courtesy to make baby items in superwash – there’s no telling what will happen to this little dress when it gets worn.  lol

While the images make it look like the dress is a blue – it really is a lovely shade of aqua.

Baby Dress & Booties

This dress was made using the Little Sister’s Dress (free) pattern.  I’m a big supporter of using free baby patterns.  I’ll gladly pay for my own patterns, but I tend to prefer free ones when it comes to (unselfish) knitting & baby stuff.

I also happened to have a set of three pearl buttons in my stash to use for the button closure.  While the closure only called for two buttons, I think things look better in sets of odd numbers.  The southern most button is stitched on for decorative purposes only.  I made the button holes with a simple chain crochet stitch.  Lots of seaming with these little extra details.

Baby Dress & Booties

I decided to knit this up in the one-year size, instead of the newborn size.  From my small experience with my sister’s babies – they were large and only wore a newborn size for literally one week!  What really sold me on this pattern is that this dress can easily be worn as a little tank top once they grow, too.  So hopefully this little dress will be something that my coworker can use for even longer.

Baby Dress & Booties

And the booties… I’m just smitten with these little booties.

Baby Dress & Booties

They’re so mini & cute!  And yes, I’m even tempted to figure out how to make a larger size for myself.  lol

The bootie pattern is the Saartje Bootie (free) pattern, and I slightly modified it.  I added an extra increase (6 extra stitches) and used one needle size larger in attempts to make a larger pair of booties – something that would fit closer to a 9-month old to a one-year old vs. the pattern being for a 3-6 month old.  I thought it would be better if my coworker’s little girl could wear the booties WITH the little dress.

I was actually trying to use my whole remaining skein on the dress – but I still had about 68 yards left over.  So, I went hunting on ravelry to see if I could use more of it up in some way; which is how I came to make this pair of booties.

Seeing as how I can’t do anything simply, I decided that I needed to do a contrast with the aqua, since I was using some white bunny buttons (also from my stash).  I think they’re so much better in two tone than they would have been in an all-aqua.  I really do love how they turned out.  And my coworker will always remember me when she sees those bunny buttons.  :D

This baby sure is getting some nice spoils from my yarn stash.  I don’t think there’s many babies that will be walking around in a merino-silk blend dress.  heh

I was so pleased with how this set turned out – I hope it gets a lot of love and wear.

Happy knitting!

July 19

Adulting in Lakeside Pajamas

As I’m now considered an ‘Adult’ aka over 30 years old (that’s an adulty age yeah??),  I feel like I’m supposed to have actual sleep-wear in my wardrobe.  Adults have that right??  But sewing pajamas that no one will ever see besides my husband, hasn’t been at the top of my sewing list…. until now.

Lakeside Pajamas

So much skin… Eeek!  Over the weekend I made up a wearable muslin version of Grainline’s Lakeside Pajamas.

Lakeside Pajamas

My “wearable muslin” turned out 100% wearable as I don’t even need any modifications after picking out my size and stitching these up.  So on the blog they go!

This is surprisingly the first garment I’ve made using Grainline patterns, and I have to say… this pattern is PRECISE.  Lovely & precise!  All notches matched up without fail – all curves were just *so* even the waistband seam fell right on the shorts side seam without forcing it to happen.  LOVE!!!  After sewing for several years, I really have come to appreciate precision in pattern drafting.

This is truly how I feel with wearing shorts!

Lakeside Pajamas

Pulling these suckers down to my knees is my first reaction.  It has really-truly-and honestly been 10+ years since I’ve worn any shorts.  I don’t even lounge around the house in shorts….

So what prompted me to make a pair of pajamas???  Well… I’m going back to Paris in August and felt it was high time I pack & wear some actual coordinating pajamas.  It was just time… Adulting and all that jazz.

Lakeside Pajamas

I’m going kinda solo, too.  I was offered the opportunity to go to France (after applying of course) through my work, DePaul University, as part of a Vincentian Heritage/Mission Learning guided tour with about 25 other folks from DePaul.  My husband won’t be coming with and I’ll be with 25+ strangers from DePaul on the tour.  Its gonna be a great learning experience… and something totally different for me.  I’ll be spending the first two weeks of August on a bus/guided tour, which will be very interesting for an introvert like me.  lol

So… back to Pajamas.

Lakeside Pajamas

I’m sure I should have altered the back bodice in some way to prevent some folds – but again pajamas.  They feel great on and fit, so really that’s all that matters to me.

I got this cotton voile fabric for free and its not quite *me*.  It’s cute and all but I’m not exactly a paisley pattern kind of girl.  I do love the color though… Perfect for a wearable muslin.

Lakeside Pajamas

When I was cutting the bodice I made sure to align one of the major motifs down the center front.  Any other placement would be a bit…. wrong if you know what I mean.  Same goes for the shorts.

Lakeside Pajamas

As you can see I have done some skilled & precise image cropping – this is as much thigh as the public gets to see of me & my legs.  lol  My thick, nordic legs are best left undercover.  lol  Don’t get me wrong, I love how strong my legs are… but they’re pasty white and well… let’s just leave it at that.

Let’s see… I cut the top with a straight size 6 and I believe I made the shorts in a straight size 12.  Yup totally pear shaped.

Lakeside Pajamas

While this is so not my asthetic… you really can’t beat a comfortable pair of pj’s.  As soon as I made them up and tried them on – ON they remained for the rest of the day.  While making 7 yards of bias tape almost killed me – it could have been worse since I decided to make 7 more yards of bias for the second pair.  heh

I just got my fabric pre-washed for the second version and can’t wait to make them for my upcoming trip.

Eiffel Tower

Emma One Sock – Click image to fabric source.

Isn’t it perfect?!  I generally don’t want to look like a tourist and wear Paris-themed garments, but I kinda want to… so being made into pajamas is a total win.  :D

Happy Sewing!

July 14

Floral Molyneux Dress

As soon as I saw this Molyneux (Vogue Paris Orig 1841) dress pattern on etsy, I couldn’t get it in my hot little hands fast enough.  I knew it would be the perfect addition for my summer wardrobe as well as work for one of my Vintage Pattern Pledges for July.

Floral Molyneux Dress

While I’m more of a 40’s/50’s kind of girl, sometimes I can’t resist a Grecian, open-backed dress from the 70’s.  I seem to be branching out to a lot of different styles this summer…

Floral Molyneux Dress

This is actually my second version of this pattern.  While the first has yet to be blogged, I stitched up this dress literally days after completing the first.

I got this fabric as a large remnant from Sawyer Brook fabrics, without a plan of what to use it for.  When it arrived I had finished my first (long) version and knew it would be lovely as a second (short) version; the perfect pattern to show off the lovely abstract floral design.

  • Just an FYI – the remnants are actually in the regular fabric area and are called ‘last cuts’ and have special pricing on the Sawyer Brook website.  I found it kinda confusing at first so I wanted to let you know.  (In no way am I compensated here for my opinions or for fabric.)

This fabric is a rayon knit with lycra in it.  I find that if you want drape, it’s rayon all the way!  Or bamboo… bamboo has a really lovely drape also.  But I really can’t resist a pretty rayon knit.  And who knew that green + purple = wonderfulness.

Floral Molyneux Dress

Here’s the pattern envelope image.  The gal on the left is wearing the knit version, too.

Molyneux Dress

I ended up increasing the deep plunging back bodice by like 2″ or so as my first iteration wasn’t quite as close-looking to the pattern envelope.  I really wanted a deep V, almost to my waist, for dramatic effect like the pattern image is.

Floral Molyneux Dress

Most of the pattern directions are tailored towards using a woven fabric and I had to modify them greatly for my knit fabric – despite the pattern saying it can be used for either woven or knits.  In one stage, I’m supposed to close the bodice wrap section with no less than 7 hooks and eyes for a 4″ piece gathered section.  Nope!  I just stitched the two pieces together and finished the edges.

Gathered Section


What’s interesting about this pattern is not just the design but the construction.  There’s a whole under-bodice structure to this wrap dress.

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You may be able to spy some white tape on the front image.  Yuppp!  Girl talk time: I taped in some support with athletic tape.  This dress really can’t be worn with a bra but I don’t feel comfortable going bra-less.  Tape suggestion came from Meg/Michelle and was such a good idea.

While this dress is made in knit, I added quite a bit of clear elastic to some inner seam allowances to make sure this dress would hold up over wearings.  I added some to the under-bodice shoulder seam, the waistband seam, and the center back V area of the top bodice wrap section.


I didn’t bother to make a muslin of the outer wrap bodice, what I did work on was perfecting the fit of the underbodice.

When I first made up a knit muslin, no matter how much I reduced the shoulder height the bodice kept falling off my shoulders.

Muslin of Molyneux


What ended up being the fix was taking wedges out – triangles – both on the neckline side as well as the armhole side on both the front and the back bodices.

Unfortunately I don’t have any more photos of these steps, but I just made sure to keep track of how much length I removed from the underbodice so that I could remove the same on the outer wrap bodice pieces.

Floral Molyneux Dress

This pattern also has you sew on a cummerbund gathered piece on the front of the underbodice so that when the outer wrap bodice splits, you can still see lovely gathers in that area.  I did it on version 1 but it really just added bulk and was pointless, imo.  So on version 2 I omitted that piece, honestly no one is the wiser; but I will admit perhaps it is needed on a woven version…

Given my bad posture, I’m quite surprised that the shoulders of my dress actually stay up.  I was worried that this design was going to not work on me (due to bad posture) and also due to my narrow shoulders.

Floral Molyneux Dress

But I wore this thing for a whole, hot day at the garden nursery with my mom.  I bent over, picking up all manner of plants and I never had an issue.  *win*

Actually all of the plants you see behind me in the photos is what I got that day with my mom.  Got some knockout roses, hydrangea, lilac, a couple silver fluffy looking plants my grandma used to have, and so much more.

Floral Molyneux Dress

Now that I’ve switched to talking about plants & my garden I guess I’m all done talking about this dress.

Floral Molyneux Dress

I’ll leave you with a silly selfie and give my husband an ever present “Thank You” for taking my garment photos.



July 12

A Summery Outfit

I love sewing garments for summer so much more so than winter, I find.  While I love wool there’s just something to be said for easy, breezy garments.

Ondee and Tania

First of all – Rayon!  I am smitten with you, rayon.  Let’s just take a second and hear me admit out loud that this is the first time I’ve sewn a garment with rayon challis.  I know, right?!

Ondee and Tania

I’ve always known rayon is wonderful and I have several vintage rayons hoarded saved for the perfect dress.  But I really can’t believe I’ve never sewn with it before now.

Tania Culottes

I purchased this Cotton & Steel Rayon when I was in Austin a couple of months ago, knowing I was going to use it for Tania Culottes.  I was able to get my culotte cut with 3 yards, total fabric hog. But it is like making two circle skirts, one for each leg.

Tania Culottes

I bought the Tania Culotte pattern last year and promptly made one in a rayon/linen blend near the end of last summer.  Sadly that doesn’t fit anymore – so I knew I had to make up another pair for this summer.

My favorite part about this pattern is that you can’t even tell it’s a culotte – it looks very much like a skirt.  To me it’s a total *win* of a pattern.  No chafing when it’s hot out and no one is the wiser that I’m wearing culottes.

Tania Culotte

While the pattern now comes with 3 different lengths – I was forced to modify the original mini culotte pattern as I wasn’t given an upgrade for free (when I asked).  Kind of a pain in the butt… but it was easy enough to just lengthen this to a knee-length.

I did add some additional height to the inseam crotch, I believe 1″ or so.  In my first version my thighs still rubbed together – which negated the purpose of culottes for me to begin with (ie chafing in the summer).

I got some free sunflower seeds and I figured why not plant them up and see what happens.  I started them in my basement with the rest of my flowers and look how tall they’ve gotten.  I noticed that some of the seeds were gone in the center so I decided to give one a shot myself.

Summer Outfit

I love these daily surprises that are happening in my garden.

The blouse I’m wearing is Ondee, by Deer & Doe.


This is my first make using Deer & Doe patterns, although I do have a couple others by them sitting on my shelf.

I made mine up using a cream-colored, french terry knit.


I did have a bit of trouble getting the center front of the collar to lay flat and not show the serged edge, but it does alright.


I love that this short blouse has a vintage flair.  This silhouette reminds me of my earlier short-sleeved hand knits like this one.

Ondee Top

The blouse falls at your true waist, so wearing a skirt (or in this case culotte) that hits at the waist is pretty essential unless you want to show some skin.  Anyone tallish (aka over 5′ to me) may need to lengthen the bodice.  It’s perfect on me, but I’m 4’11”.

Ondee Top

These two patterns, the Tania culotte especially, is a summer staple of mine this year.  I’ve since made up a second rayon version with a third happening shortly.  All the rayon things are happening this summer, to be honest.

I’ve quickly learned that rayon and linen/rayon blends are my favorite summer fabrics.  And if you’re not tempted to use some rayon yourself, let me just leave you with this bit of rayon loveliness that is coming out in August!  You can be sure I’m getting that navy base floral as soon as it is physically possible.  The periwinkle base will be purchased second… lol

(In no way am I compensated for my opinions… I just am currently smitten and need to share.)

Happy Sewing!

June 29

Gabriola Skirt: It’s lovely but…

Every spring I get on a maxi skirt kick.  I’m not sure why, but every spring I find myself hunting for the perfect long skirt pattern to make up.  This spring was no exception.

Gabriola Skirt

I actually started on this skirt pattern late last fall and the fit wasn’t quite right.  I set it aside while I worked on some other garments and let it languish.  But the spring itch for a long skirt kicked in and I figured, I might as well finish my gabriola skirt that I had started.

Gabriola Skirt

I bought this fabric from my local fabric store and its to die for.  It’s wool & silk blend, with a twill-ish style weave.  It results in the most supple but drapey fabric.  The color is just another bonus; I’m pretty sure I would have bought this fabric no matter what color it happened to be.  In real life its a purple/blue kind of fabric – it changes color based on the light.  In short – its the bees knees of fabric.

Gabriola Skirt

When I tried on my skirt this spring, it was too large.  To get it to fit, I had to majorly reduce the side seams at the waistband, which resulted in a funky angle at that side seam – instead of a nice smooth waistband.  Lucky for me, non-sewers rarely notice seam lines and no one has been the wiser.

Gabriola Skirt

The other thing I noticed was that I found I had removed too much length from the hem.  I could only serge the seam and turn it up once (1/4″ hem) and you can still see the serged stitching from the inside of the skirt. Ack!  Not sure how I managed to do that given my short stature.  I can only wear flats with this skirt now, which isn’t a huge deal…

Gabriola Skirt

I had to majorly lighten these two detail images so you can see the yoke style lines.

Front View:

Gabriola Front Yoke

Back View:

Gabriola Back Yoke

As you can see, I added in my own lapped zipper, as I really loathe invisible zips and avoid them at all costs.

Lets get to the crux of my blog title for this one: “The Gabriola skirt: It’s lovely but…”

It’s exactly that with a big “BUT” at the end of the sentence.  I love the fabric, I love the swish factor, but…. it really doesn’t feel like ME.  I’m not sure what I envisioned with this one, but the style really feels off.  I feel like I’m wearing someone else’s clothes when I put it on.

I know I have been sewing up some more modern garments as of late – but this feels like I’ve crossed the line between ME and too modern/stylish.  It’s a hard feeling to have, given I love this fabric so much.  I put a decent amount of work into this skirt in order to get it to fit right.  So this conclusion is difficult to come to at the very end of a make.  As nice as it is, it’s just not ME.

Gabriola Skirt

I wore this skirt to work once and got some nice compliments on it.  I’ll probably wear it again on my “didn’t feel like shaving” days when the weather gets cooler again.  But I have to say, I’ve only worn it the one time and its not something I gravitate towards given the option of something else in my closet.

It’s really just too bad… but it’s my own fault in the end.  I feel like I should have known better – and I’ll be counting this in the ‘learning experience’ category of my sewing projects.  Lovely fabric doesn’t make up for a design that doesn’t reflect who you are.

Has this happened to anyone else???

June 23

A Novelty Print Shirt Dress

After I finished my first McCalls 6696 Shirt Dress last year, I knew I wanted to make up some other versions.  Time got away from me, good thing it did, as I finally found the perfect fabric to use for my second version.

Novelty M6696

I bought this novelty print from Emma One Sock sometime last year (I think).  I didn’t have a pattern in mind for it at the time so it just sat around in my stash.  I love the print, but didn’t realize the print was on a taupe/flesh tone background; not such a good pairing for a my pale skin-tone.  But this spring, I didn’t seem to care anymore and knew it would be the perfect, light-weight cotton match for this pattern.

Novelty M6696

I really wish I could find a vintage shirt dress pattern that fits as well as this modern McCalls pattern does.  I’ve tried over and over again to sew vintage 50’s shirt dresses but they never seem to turn out right.  At least the novelty print gives it a more vintage flare, which feels more like me.

No shirt dress is complete without pockets.  :D

Novelty M6696

Although you can’t see it in the images… I modified the waistband piece so that it’s easier to alter and fit.

The one thing that I always disliked about this pattern is the the waistband is one continuous piece around the body.  Which means, if you ever need to take in/out at the waist, you have to disassemble the entire dress & button band in the front – which is totally NEVER going to happen!

So I made my waistband into 3 pieces: one back and two fronts – with a side seam at either side.  That way, I can easily take in/let out the side seams to re-fit this dress.

As a side note: I actually do this modification now on nearly every dress & skirt I make.  I know the waistband isn’t clean with a side seam, but practicality is always a win for me!  And I do find my garments just fit better when I have that side seam as I’m curvy with a short waist.

Novelty M6696

And guess what??  I already have taken in the side seams before the first wearing!!  Felix and I have been consciously eating better and as a result I’ve lost a bit of weight. (YAAAYYY!) What’s sad is that between the time I stitched this up to when I was adding on the buttons two weeks later, I found the waistband didn’t fit anymore.

So I unpicked the inside waistband finish, took in the side seams, restitched the inner waistband again and voila, a dress that fits once again.

 Novelty M6696

I decided my dress needed some more flair, so I added this little pocket to the right bodice front.

Novelty M6696

Dark brown vintage buttons – directly from my time at the Paris Flea market.

Novelty M6696

Last but not least – I finally have a backdrop in my own backyard for photos!  I know its just a plain old fence, but it’s a huge improvement for us!  And my empty hanging basket has already been rectified with some pretty purple petunias.

Cheers & Happy Sewing!

June 21

An Ode to Renfrew

In light of last week’s news, I thought it was about high time I share my love of the Renfrew pattern by Sewaholic.

Boatneck Renfrew

If you haven’t heard, moving forward Tasia will no longer be the woman behind the helm at Sewaholic.  She’s turning things over to the peeps at Spool of Thread.  This came as a big surprise to everyone, with the exception of Ms. Tasia herself of course.  I’m attempting to remain positive about the change – but am holding my breath till the next pattern release.

I realize this happens all the time at large companies and in the tech industry – expected even.  But I feel like this is the sewing community and correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the first change like this in the indy pattern scene??

I feel taken aback – but of course I’m happy for Tasia, as this is obviously what she wanted.  It’s just hard to let go and to accept change sometimes.

Back to Renfrew:

Boatneck Renfrew

I’ve been sewing up Renfrews tops steadily since I learned how to cut & sew with knits in a Meg-Michelle-Liz sewing day August 2014.  But one of my favorite Renfrew tops doesn’t quite look like a Renfrew.

Boatneck Renfrew

I’ve made two of these particular versions – boat neck, wide hem, along with no binding.  This one is a creamy white French terry knit and my second is a cotton/rayon blend of some sort in a heathered-grey and black polka dot.

Boatneck Renfrew

How did I make it??  I quite simply took a boat neck vintage pattern I had in my stash (for wovens) laid it on top of my Renfrew pattern, lined up the shoulders (ignoring the shoulder angle difference) & then just redrew the neckline.

Boatneck Renfrew

I could wear this particular outfit every day of the week.  This is the closest I’m going to get to an Audrey Hepburn – style outfit: flats, ankle-length trousers, and chic top.  Of course in no way, shape or form do I have the figure of Ms. Hepburn – I am me.  Being said, I feel lovely and put together in my boatneck Renfrew tops.  Tres Chic.  ;)

Boatneck Renfrew

At this point in time, I’ve sewn up at least 10 Renfrew tops.  It’s a staple in my wardrobe as an easy summer Tee with short sleeves, made in rayon/lycra jersey blend; or made for the Chicago winter made up in a wool jersey knit with long sleeves and a cowl neck.  I know there’s more T-shirt patterns out there, but why fix a pattern if it isn’t broken?!  As it is – I’m happy as a clam to continue to make up version after version of my tried & true Renfrew Top.

Thanks so much Tasia for making Sewaholic what it is today.  Cheers & Happy Adventures!

June 8

Backyard Renovations: Part 2

If you missed my latest backyard post, this is what Felix and I were starting with when we bought our house.


Can you see me back there on the right??  heh

Last week I caught you up to 2015:

Backyard Renovation

But now it’s time to wrap up with what we’ve done so far this year in 2016.

Last year I missed out on vegetable planting for the season.  After apartment-living in the city, I’ve longed for my own vegetable garden!  This year I wanted to hit the ground running and make it happen!  What can be better than wandering in your own back yard to pick vegetables for dinner or feed some hungry bunnies?!

Early in the spring (but not early enough), I planted seeds to start plants in my basement under grow lights.

Veggie Garden Plans

All of my vegetable & herb seedlings are non-gmo, heirloom seeds from Baker Creek.


I have spaghetti squash, zucchini, yellow squash, tomato, bell pepper, yellow beans, green beans, cilantro, basil, parsley, and numerous types of lettuces.  (Shout-out to Michelle who told me about this company. Thanks lady!)


After much research – since that’s what I do before starting any new endeavor – I decided that we should build sub-irrigated, raised planter beds.


Image: Courtesy of Albo Pepper – FYI I used his directions to build out my box along with this.

There’s basically a reservoir of water at the bottom of the bed that always holds water.  That way the roots go down for the water which results in a nice root system; it’s supposed to reduce weeds, rot, and other issues that may happen with watering at the top.

Felix and I started planning and then building two raised planter beds, what feels like months ago.  But we finally finished them.

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The reservoir does need to be filled about once a week, but I can go several days (like on vacation) without worrying if all my plants are going to die on me.  There’s also drain holes on the side, at the bottom, to prevent any flooding from rains.

IMG_3216 gardeBoxProjectDay11_14 gardeBoxProjectDay11_11 IMG_3224 IMG_3232  IMG_3231IMG_3236

I have a tendency to ‘go big or go home’ with projects, so I do hope this works out for me this year.

As an FYI, Felix posted each and every time we worked on our garden boxes.  You can find many more in-depth construction blog posts here.

I intended to get these boxes finished like 2 months ago, so I missed out on some springtime peas.  But I’ll survive.  heh I have read that I can actually do peas again in the fall when the weather gets chilly.

The other large project that we worked on was a new fence!

Old Fence

The old fence was all warped and very unattractive.  I felt like I couldn’t really start to plan out my garden until a new fence was put in, since I didn’t want to plant & then remove it all for the fence install.  That and …… I was having some major territorial issues with the dog that lives next door.  It was getting to the point that I couldn’t be outside without my adrenaline rushing & having heart palpitations due to the dog.  (Happening again right just now thinking about it…) So Felix and I decided that it would be in everyone’s best interests (mainly mine) to make the fence a priority this year.

Of course, we like to save money when we can, so we did all of the leveling/grading of that fence area on our own which took us several days to do.

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Just a few bricks we found in the yard – even after things were cleared and leveled last year.

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We ran into some issues during the grading with an old tree stump that we already had ground down.  Turns out it needed much more stump grinding, so we had to call out our tree guys to get rid of it once and for all.


After the grading was done, we were able to just kick back and watch our fence be built by professionals.

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I now have a brand new fence and a vegetable garden in progress, in what once was basically wilderness!

Backyard Jungle

It feels like a fresh, blank slate that I can finally start building out/planting in.


I have all sorts of schemes saved in my pinterest page, but I need to sit down with my mom again so we can plan on how to make it even more lovely.

Some of the top things on my list that I’d like in the backyard are:

  • Espalier Tree/s
  • Lilac Shrub
  • Fire Pit area
  • Fountain


Even though I may only be able to do one of the four this year, it already feels like I can breathe again in my backyard with some privacy; I can enjoy being outside once again.  It feels so good.

May 31

Back Yard Renovations: Part 1

You saw my front yard renovations last year, but prepare your self – as the back yard is a horse of a different color.

Backyard Jungle

When we bought our house it was the end of October.  The first thing we had to spend our renovation money on was tree removal.

It was both sad and hard to spend so much money right off the bat to remove some lovely, old trees but they were either in the process of dying or in the way of power lines so they all had to go.

Backyard Tree Removal

Backyard Tree Removal

We always knew the backyard needed some work, but once the following summer hit we really realized just how overgrown and awful things really were back there.

Backyard Jungle

That first summer – young and naive – I thought I could just spend a couple hours each day/week and pull everything out gradually.

Backyard Jungle

I was ohh soo wrong.   As soon as I called it quits in the fall, I would look to back where I started and the area was once again covered in small weeds.

Felix and I had a *real talk* and we decided that we’d call in some professionals to deal with the situation, as it would take me far too long working as I had been.

Fast forward to Spring 2015, 2 quotes later and after much research (and drama) we had a crew working on the yard, clearing out all of the stuff.

Backyard CrewBackyard CrewBackyard Crew Backyard Crew backyardClearingTransformDay1_24

There was a crew of around 5 guys who came in with a bobcat and boy did they get rid of everything quickly!  As soon as 30 minutes had passed – Felix and I were looking at each other saying *we made the right decision* as doing the work manually would have taken us… oh let’s say 3 years!  lol

This landscaping crew was at our place for 2 days and cleared out so much stuff.  I can see the back fence again!  heh

Backyard Crew

Yes – we’re talking Summer of 2015 still.. and you may be thinking but Liz, this is 2016!  Bear with me…

After the crew was done with the clearing of the yard, Felix and I coordinated a sod delivery and we set about installing the sod ourselves which saved some major $ but was also quite labor-intensive, back breaking work.

Sod InstallSod Install

The string/line on the left is our property line actually.  The neighbor went in on the yard renovation with us which was nice & we were able to split the cost and share on the delivery fees and whatnot.

Sod Install

Felix would carry over each sod piece and I would put it in position and join up all of the seams.

Sod Install

On the second day, my parents came over to help with the remaining pieces of sod and my mom surprised me with a load of flowers.

backyardSodInstallDay2_10 Sod Install

We got into a good rhythm and we finished the sod install in 2 days.  Our section of backyard is roughly 25 ft wide x 70 ft long.

It looks so great!  Fresh sod – all the craziness gone!

Here’s where things got complicated…

The crew didn’t grade our yard properly and when we watered we were left with a large pool of water in the middle of the yard.

Water pooling

I have VERY sandy soil and there’s no reason why water should ever pool in my yard.  They tried to tell me I must have clay… which I don’t.  I’ve dug down over a foot in my yard & even more so in my basement and never, ever, EVER have found any clay.

The crew had to come back out – add more soil – and then relay the sod.

Backyard Crew Part 2 Backyard Crew Part 2 Backyard Crew Part 2

It was a major headache and made me feel quite icky at the end of the project.  Turns out Felix and I are better at laying sod than the landscapers.  You can totally see where our sod was used vs. the contractor’s sod.  Our was so much nicer, and greener.  Till this day the backyard section of sod is better than the front areas.  I’m still a bit sore about all of that as it was a lot of yard work to lay the sod ourselves.

This was mainly the happenings of 2015 if you can believe it!  Don’t you just hate it when you have to wait to see the second part of a two-part series?!  I’m sorry to do it to you guys, but this post is already huge and I don’t want to leave out too many of the details.

You can be sure that there will be another post up soon since I don’t want to leave you hanging.

May 4

The Scissors Blouse

Before I left for my birthday drinks & dinner, I was able to hop outside really quick and take some photos of my newest make & official first make towards my 2016 Vintage Pledge.

Scissor Print Blouse

I feel so very 50’s with my blouse & hair even though I’m wearing thoroughly modern jeans.

Scissor Print Blouse

I can’t believe it’s already May and I’m only now posting up my first ‘vintage garment’ of the year.  While I did post about my 1940’s suit, it technically wasn’t made in 2016 – just blogged about – so it didn’t seem fair to add it in as an official Vintage Pledge Garment.

Scissor Print Blouse

Oh and hello Me-Made-May, I am totally participating in you too!


I don’t have enough bottoms to feasibly wear more than 1 item per day – but I consider it a win if I do.   So I’ve just committed myself to wearing one me-made article each day.

Back to my blouse…

Scissor Print Blouse

I used the Spadea N-1149 pattern, I personally call it my Katharine Hepburn pattern.  It was a very happy day when I finally snagged this off ebay a couple of years ago!


I love Katharine Hepburn and her movies.  I think she’s utterly lovely but she had a dislike of her neck so you can always spot her in fashionable, high-necked dresses, tops, or sporting a scarf.  This Charles LeMarie (aka Spadea) design is no exception.

Katharine Hepburn in Spadea

Image courtesy of Blonde at the Film  (Quick aside: I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole that is The Blonde at the Film; such a great site full of old, new-to-me movies and love all of the drool-worthy stills.)

Katharine even wore a short necklace on top of the dress to ensure the neckline stayed closed.

As you can see – I didn’t make a dress but I made up a little blouse instead.

Scissor Print Blouse


  • Raised the armscye up by 3/4″ – both on the bodice and the sleeves.
  • Shortened the dress into a blouse height
  • Shortened the sleeves to elbow length
  • Omitted the cummerbund/belt

Fabric & Notions Used:

  • Stretch Cotton via Emma One Sock, currently being re-ordered & in stock soon.
  • Steam a Seam for easy hemming on sleeves and bodice
  • Iron-On Interfacing for neckline/collar facing

Scissor Print Blouse

My first iteration of this was a dress in green silk shantung for Christmas.  But when I made up my muslin I made it short & loved the look of it.  I knew I had to make up this dress but as a blouse later on.  The idea ended up in that “When I have time I’ll do _______” category of makes; its not high priority but would be fun if I did.  Somehow I just decided that now was the time to make it and I’m so happy I did.

Scissor Print Blouse

Being a second make, it was supposed to be easy and effortless.

Shall I just say it was a horrible nightmare of a make and the scissor print is a pun on my mistake.  Cutting!

I decided to cut this pattern late in the evening after a full day of something-or-other.  The first piece (back bodice) was cut and then by the second (front bodice) I realized I had to cut it shorter than I intended.  But… I accidentally cut it at the longer-length and had no room for the sleeves.

All in all, my cutting mistake meant I had to piece in one sleeve in the worst way possible – right across the arm.  Ugh!

Scissor Print Blouse

It was such a stupid mistake and I was just angry with myself… I mean I know better right?!?!  But I still love this little top.  Note to self: Don’t cut anything later than 10pm!

Scissor Print Blouse

I used my scissor print on this  top b/c I actually fell out of love with it shorty after purchase.  I know….I know!

This top started off as an easy make, just something to wear around the house – gardening and whatnot since I didn’t care for the fabric anymore & I wouldn’t care if it got grubby.

Scissor Print Blouse

But… now that it’s all sewn up I luuuv it and have since fallen back in love with my fabric – despite the horrible sleeve cutting error.  (So far no one has noticed which I find both surprising and entertaining.)

Happy sewing and remember to think while you cut!  :)