Saturday, May 28, 2011

the recycled t-shirt dress

So, one day I am shopping at Wal-mart and a woman says to me, "look at you with all your little ducks in a row," and I became obsessed with the idea of making little duck shirts for my babies.  I made the duckling shirts for myself for mother's day and that Saturday I thought, "I have nothing to wear for mother's day", and thus this dress was born.  I used a yellow t-shirt of mine that was too short (why is it after having babies 86% of your shirts become too short?) and a white t-shirt that I stole from my hubby.

Step #1 was to measure myself around where I wanted the white part to start (30") then I measured from that point to about how long I wanted the dress (23")

Step #2 I divided the first number in half and that gave me the measurement for my first rectangle, 15"X23"  and that is my back piece

Step #3 Now because I am trying to hide the fact I have had 3 babies and I HATE doing sit ups I added 3inches to the first number for my second rectangle so 18"X23"

Step #4 with right sides together sew your rectangles along the 23" seam

Step #5 now you have a long tube that will be your skirt, at this point I did a gathering stitch right in the middle of my front piece about 3 inches long and played with the gathers until the skirt fit and the belly was hidden

Step #6 I tried on the yellow shirt and marked where I wanted the skirt to start  and continued that line all the way around my torso.  I pinned my white tube to the top all the way along that line.  Now I had a vision of the raw edge of the knit being visible in the dress so I just sewed the skirt right onto the top, it did not look as awesome as I thought it would so when you connect the two you might want to sew them with the right sides of the fabric together.  Now your dress can be done, but mine wasn't it was lacking a little something.  I grabbed some of the extra t-shirt fabric from Izzy's dress and I made a little belt.

There are probably a million tutorials out there on how to make a belt, here is how I made mine...

Step #1 how long do you want your belt to be?  Add 2inches.  How thick do you want your belt to be? Double that and then add 1/4inch.

Step #2 cut your fabric according to the numbers you got above, now you have one loooong rectangle.

Step #3 fold your fabric in half, hot dog style, and iron (if you have a right side to your fabric make sure it is on the inside of your fold).

Step #4 sew the strip together to give yourself one long tube

Step #5 pin a safety pin to one end of the tube and begin to feed it back into itself turning your tube right side out, and turning your seam in.  Iron your tube flat and so that the seam goes down the middle.

Step #6 fold the raw ends of the tube inward and sew closed.

Step #7 try your belt on and decide how you want to close it, you can make your belt close any way you wish.  Here I added a button/button hole, you could also use Velcro, or snaps, even just tie it, its your belt do what you want!

TADA!  The t-shirt dress, not super original I am positive you could find better instructions out there somewhere.  This is just me, and how I made my first dress for myself using what I had on hand.

Now this little cutie...

is also wearing a dress made from one of Daddy's t-shirts for mother's day (see the little duck ;)) To make this dress I used a tutorial on MADE (I am pretty much in L.O.V.E. with her blog).  I did mess up a bit though, for some reason when I gathered the front of the dress, I didn't realize I should do the same to the back part of the dress.  So the yoke is too big and there is not enough fabric for a proper tie.  Unfortunately I also finished this dress that Saturday night so when I put it on Sunday morning we just had to roll with it.
I used freezer paper to stencil the duck on this little dress and also on her brother's t-shirts.
Trying to get a pic of anybody was like trying to jump over the moon!
There you have it, my crazy mother's day dress making extravaganza!

Bodily Functions

If you are friends with me on FB then you know my week has been chalk FULL of bodily functions!  Asher is coming into a real knowledge of his body and its excrement's, he refuses to leave a diaper on if he has "used" it which means there is a trail of dirty diapers throughout my house.  On occasion there is also a trail left behind from those really really dirty diapers.  I did attempt to start potty training, it was a fail.  The instant that I put some big boy underwear on him, Asher freaked out, "I want my diaper, I want my diaper back!!!!"  And now, because I am tired and J is very busy, I am going to just continue to clean up the trail of diapers and streaks of poop until I can get myself together enough to actually train Asher how to use the potty.  Potty training requires a VERY put together mommy.  Now DJ has been trained for quite awhile, and he does a great job of knowing when to go and washing his hands.  Not so great a job at flushing or closing the lid, which was not a big deal until Iz became mobile.  The other night, while cleaning up after Asher, I heard the toilet lid and the distinct sound of water splashing.  I looked over at DJ changing into his PJ's and recalled that I had just sent him to use that potty and I did NOT hear a flush.  I finished cleaning Asher as fast as humanly possible and ran to the bathroom to find sweet Iz just as happy as can be bent over the potty splashing away, in DJ's pee. 
There are times in life you are never fully prepared for, the craziness of motherhood is one big season of never being prepared and always being amazed at the things your children can and will do.  The thing that blows my mind is that even though I am on baby #3 I am still not prepared, I am still amazed, I am still learning.  Not just with DJ but with each one of my children, they are so different from one another.  I guess that's what makes motherhood so special, what makes God so amazing, the unique beauty in each of my babies; even if it is covered in poo.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


summer lovin'

today we played in the sprinklers,
it is officially summer
a bit of a tantrum from the resident 2 year old


They LOVED the water

and they LOVED their super strong Daddy

they called this one the helicopter

Brother Helping Brother (of course it was DJ who knocked him down)

we tried to get Izzy in on the fun

but she would rather eat snacks
and share them with Harley

and this is the face that means its time to go inside :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Lately I have been "binge sewing" (as J calls it).  I can't help myself, I have all these ideas in my head and they are clamoring to get out, along with the things that I "have" to make like a sunbonnet for Iz and sweet baby clothes for my BFF's new baby girl.  I have been posting pics on FB and people seem to like what I am putting out, but my secret is that all the things I am making have been inspired by the much more talented bloggers on the Internet and I feel like I have to share the creative L.O.V.E.  So with my hubby's blessing I am going to begin blogging about my crafting love and hopefully share some wonderful information and inspiration for you along the way.  I will always give credit where credit is due, so if you are a crafty type please do the same.  Use these posts as a jumping off point to create something unique and your own, then you can share your creations with me!  If you are not the crafty type and you would be interested in having me make something couture for you, please leave me a comment and let me know. 

Since Izzy's birthday was this week I think I will start with her precious birthday outfit.
If you read my blog via my link on FB you are probably sick to death of this little number, but I am obsessed with it.  I used coordinating Moda fabrics that I purchased from a local shop in my small town, but I think you can find them anywhere. I made the skirt using this tutorial on MADE, which is also the same tutorial I used to make my Easter skirt
I will post more on this later

The cupcake shirt, not super original, I didn't base this design off of anything I recall seeing but check out its similarity to the birthday outfit my MIL sent...
(she popped this sweet thing in the mail the very day I posted the pics of the outfit I made, crazy right?)
I think its safe to assume the idea was floating around in my head from lots of other places. 
I found the tutorial for the precious hat online, and I also made one for a baby boy we know who's birthday is the week before Izzy's.

I also used some of the left over material to make him a bib, I just traced a bib we had for the pattern and used a washcloth to back it.  Since this little one is a bit of a drooler, I knew his mama would appreciate some extra absorbency:)

And there you have it, a birthday outfit or gift perfect for any baby :)

I also made these little mommy shorts, not too long, not too short.  I will post on them later too :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Well, it's here, our little Izzy B is one year old today and officially no longer a baby.  For some reason the time seems to be speeding up faster and faster with each baby.  I find myself watching the kids playing, and I have to catch my breath because what seemed like mere moments was in fact months.  Izzy has gone from her funny little army crawl to nearly walking, she has gone from an easy going ball of cute in a car seat to an opinionated little girl who wants to explore life.  One moment I was rocking her, stroking her hair, singing her to sleep and the next I can barely get a moment to snuggle before she wriggles out of my lap to go to find her puppy (who she LOVES and NEEDS to sleep with).  The same goes for the boys, I was watching a video we took on Mothers Day last year (three days from delivering Izzy) and I could not believe how much has changed.  I just wish that I had a bionic mind, one that could capture every memory and every smell.  I want to be able to re-live the sweet kisses from DJ, what it feels like when Asher says "Mommy, I lub you" for no particular reason.  I want to hear Izzy's belly laugh that makes everyone else giggle even though we have no idea what could be so funny.  I don't want to freeze time or live in this place forever because I know that where we are heading will be incredible as well.  I just want to be able to re-live these moments with every detail so crystal clear that I can smell their breath on my face, or feel their chubby hands around my neck.  Maybe if I do enough writing and collect enough pictures I can come close...

Izzy has been growing by leaps and bounds lately, tonight at dinner she tried to use a fork and spoon for the first time, insisted that she use them really.  Iz crawls into a room and the second she gets a smile from you she bursts into a giggle fit and falls to the floor, she laughs almost constantly and it is contagious!  Tonight at dinner she was eating some french fries (don't judge) from J's plate and she started dipping them into phantom ketchup mimicking what her brothers were doing, she mimics everything they do.  Iz loves and hugs on all babies, few adults, and she melts the hearts of everyone who catches her eye.  Izabella is amazingly special, and she will do great things with this incredible light that shines from within her, I feel so blessed to be her Mommy.  Happy Birthday My sweet Bubby, I will always remember this year as one of the best of my life  because it was the year that I met you.

I had to add a pic of the boys just because :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Nursing Mama

Note:  This is a post about breast feeding so if you are a man this may be TMI, however if you are a man with a wife who is now or will soon be breast feeding you might want to stick this out to gain a little insight.  On the flip side of this coin if you are a lady who has never experienced breast feeding, but you want to, I would skip reading this post.  Let your experience be uniquely yours and if while your in it you need help or a laugh or a cry come back to this...

Without a doubt nursing has been the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life, ever (and I gave birth without any drugs, once).  The toll that it takes on your body, your spirit and mind is incomprehensible until you are experiencing it.  I am about to wean my third baby, she will be turning one this month and I am ready to have my body back.  I have been pregnant or nursing since October of 2006 and I am tired, not to mention that since J and I still want one more baby, I will probably be prego again sometime this fall.  That being said this summer, the summer of 2011, is my one shot in the next two years to just be Amber, not Amber + Baby.  
Now in my quest to begin weaning Iz, I have been compelled to re-live some of my "greatest hits" as it were. I would like to write them down now, so that I can remember them when one of my sisters has a baby or when Iz is becoming a mother, to be more understanding and helpful. And perhaps, in the meantime, some of my stories will help the moms that read this blog.

DJ, my first born.  I was terrified, I had heard all the stories from my mom friends and I knew what was coming down the pike, or at least I thought I knew.  There was bleeding and blistering, and the special contractions that no one ever tells you about.  That is the first 2 weeks, always just 2 weeks, and then the skies clear a rainbow appears and the pain is but a memory.  So, if you have yet to experience nursing a baby, and you disregarded the warning at the beginning of this post, just know the pain only lasts 2 weeks.  You carried a baby inside you for 9 months, pushed that baby out of you, and you are a strong and amazing woman that can do ANYTHING for 2 weeks.  After the physical pain came everything emotional, I suffered from a mild postpartum depression.  I felt like nursing DJ was equivalent to being trapped inside a prison.  I was in no way discrete (in fact it took several weeks before I didn't actually need the help of another person) so if company was over I was locked away in a separate room.  I was the only one to get up with DJ in the middle of the night, all hours of the night, and as this small person sucked the nutrients from me I would stare at my snoring hubby and curse.  There were times I completely lost it, like when I spilled the entire first bottle I ever pumped.  I collapsed on the floor and my sweet mom just rocked me saying "I know baby, you worked so hard for that," and my husband looked at us both like we were from another planet.  I fell into a terrible habit of nursing DJ to sleep, I had a need to make sure he ate as much as humanly possible before bed.  One night in particular, I had yet to eat dinner and DJ was taking forever to fall asleep.  When he finally did fall asleep and I was able to go eat, lightning struck, and made the cheapo monitor in his room shriek, waking my baby boy.  I ran upstairs, smashed the monitor, and let some 4 letter words fly before J rushed in and sent me back to my sandwich.  However, when I arrived back to the sandwich I found my dog, standing on the coffee table, helping himself.  I curled into the fetal position and sobbed!!  These are just a few of the many stories I could tell, where the end result was me in a puddle sobbing on the floor.  I finally admitted that I needed help and I got the book, The Secrets of a Baby Whisperer, AMAZING!  It changed the way that I was parenting and brought me out of the slumps.  Nursing DJ still felt like a job at times, but there was a method to my madness and I felt more in control.  DJ was weaned at 9 months because I got pregnant with his brother and my milk changed so he was no longer interested.

Asher, my second boy.  Asher was different than DJ, in that he would take a pacifier and he took a bottle right away.  When there is something you can give to your baby for comfort, besides yourself, it is a very freeing feeling.  It also happened to be absolutely necessary in this case since Asher had colic.  If you have a baby with colic here is my advice, just hold on!  Asher cried every day, 22 hours a day, for the first 12 weeks of his life.  There was little to no sleeping for either of us, and on the rare occasion there was sleep it was only if we were attached, literally (Asher slept latched on and in my bed for the first 12 weeks of his life).  Because of Asher's incessant crying I was sure that anyone but his Mama would loose their cool and shake him, so I cared for him and bore this burden alone.  I even worried when leaving him with J for too long, but this was a mistake, had a let more people help I think that I would have been a better Mama and I would have realized the strength and love in the people around me.  Like the time my sister, Danielle, came to visit and insisted that she would keep Asher from 9-midnight every night of her visit.  On the second night I came out to check on her and found Danielle crying on the couch bouncing Asher on her knee. She had been bouncing him like that for hours because he had fallen asleep and she could not bear the thought of waking him up.  So she sat and bounced and cried, because she love me, because she loved him, and all she wanted was to give us peace.  What a precious sacrifice and gift that was, it still brings tears to my eyes.  I decided to take my crazy train of a family back to my Mom's house (really I just needed MY Mommy) toward the end of those three months because J had to leave for 6 weeks of training.  I knew that all three of us would never survive 6 weeks without at least one of us becoming wards of the state.  During that time in CO, I went to the movies and dinner with friends (mostly bringing Asher with me, but leaving DJ with family) and I was recharged.  Then it happened, at 12 weeks exactly, the crying went from 22 hours to 20 hours, it was incredible.  I remember sitting at dinner with my mom and her husband and no one even dared to speak, we just watched as Asher played sweetly in his bouncer, we were in shock.  Every day from then on got better and soon the colic was just a very fuzzy memory.  If there is anything positive to say about colic it is that because of colic Asher and I will share a special bond for life.  We fought in a war together and we came out on the other side a little bruised and a lot battered, but together.  The colic also made nursing a side bar topic in our lives, no real big deal, and Asher also weaned himself at 9 months when I got pregnant with his sister, Iz.

My Izzy, the baby.  Is still nursing at (nearly) one year old, and she has NEVER taken a bottle of any kind.  "What?!" you say, "How can that be?!"  Let me tell you, things are very very different the third time around.  With DJ and Asher I could not wait to let someone else give them a bottle.  With Izzy the thought of getting out the pump, sanitizing everything, and spending the time to actually pump just seemed like way more hassle then it was possibly worth.  I had a 2 and a 1 year old to chase after, and I had become quite the acrobat when it comes to nursing and discretion, I could latch Izzy on while getting DJ dressed and still not flash anyone in the room.  Finally at around 4 months I decided to give Iz a bottle so that I could have a real date with my husband, it was a massive failure.  She literally screamed until she was purple and had made herself sick, so I gave in and nursed her, we tried a few more times but never really succeeded, and truthfully I didn't care.  I loved nursing Iz in the quiet of her nursery while chaos raged outside her door.  I didn't feel shut away, or like I was missing out on life, I drank up the peace and the quiet.  Now things are a little different, Iz will not sit still and be rocked she wants in on all the action, but she wants the comfort too.  We are in a stage I have never been a part of before, I have a baby who knows what I have, knows that she wants it, and knows where to go to get it.  It feels a bit unsettling to have a wee one crawl into your lap and demand you lift your shirt.  I feel like it is certainly time she moves on to big girl milk, but truthfully I am scared.  How do you deny your baby and make her understand?  Iz has never known anything different.  I know moms who have had their babies chase them around the house looking for their morning feeding, I feel like that is coming.  I guess I just have to leap into this unknown the way I have leaped into every unknown and when I come out on the other side I will let you know.  Wish me luck on this, my first real adventure in baby weaning...