Felt-o-ween + 3 Free books

by Dana on October 2, 2014

It’s officially October!
Let’s get serious about Halloween.

How about 40 new felt projects??

About a year ago I was asked to contribute to the new book Felt-O-Ween (which is kind of funny when you’re sewing Halloween projects in the middle of summer) And now the book is out!….and selling like Halloween hotcakes.

It’s brought to you by the same fantastic creators of Fa la la la Felt and Heart-Felt Holidays (which I blogged about here).
And I love how simple, yet creative the projects are.  Felt is so much fun!  I’m pretty sure I need to drop everything and make a pair of those bat stockings….and a pair of fox ears to wear, just for fun….maybe when I pick up the kids from school?  Totally.
I’ll either be super fun, or super dork.

But what’s super cool….is that today we’re giving away a copy of each felt book!

That way you can start by getting your Halloween on (I love all these Day of the Dead projects.  That style of artwork and colors are just so intriguing).

(oh, and here’s my contribution—an update on the Bat Pillows)

Then you can segue right into the other holidays…..
With guiltless pie. YUM.

Okay. Ready to be Felt-y?

Just leave a comment below and mention which of the books you’d like to try out.
And THREE Winners will get one of the following titles:
Fa la la la Felt
Heart-Felt Holidays

• Leave a comment, that’s it.
• Only one entry per person.
• Open to US residents only.
• Three winners will be picked via random.org
• Giveaway ends Saturday 10/4/14 at 10pm (Central Time)

Winners will be announced next week.
And if you don’t happen to win, I highly recommend picking up the book…it’s only 12 bucks!


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The great thing about selling a house is that at some point, it’s as decorated as it’s ever going to be….and you get to take pictures of the whole blasted thing in it’s “finished” state.
Then of course, you try to sell it.
And cry about it all the day you move out!
(more on that here)

Seriously.  It’s hard to look back at these pics, even though I love our new adventure.
I just really loved this house, and the ways we transformed it.  We learned a lot in the process.

So here’s more of the virtual home tour.
You can see my first post about it in the The Sewing Room (before and after)

Today we’ll walk through Clara’s room.

And it’s funny that I would start with her room….because it was my least favorite rooms in the house (and the last to decorate).  It has the least amount of light, it’s the smallest, and it always felt kind of drab.  But one day I got the motivation.
And with just a few improvements, it’s a totally different room!

Here’s the BEFORE (when previous tenants lived here):


So much more cheerful!
Cleaning up the space with white, gray, and bright yellow really made the room come to life (wall paint is SW 7647 Crushed Ice).
Here are the changes we made…..

First another BEFORE and AFTER.
This cute dresser was my own as a child.  And I think we inherited it from my older cousins.  So it’s been well loved for 30 years and is still in fantastic condition.  It’s good solid wood; I just keep painting it from child to child.  It started out pink when Lucy was a baby, then it was a hot chocolate brown for Owen.  And now it’s a pretty gray (the color is SW 7018 Dovetail–which is the same color we used in our new Master Bedroom)

Above the dresser and changing table is my favorite piece in the room….our family portrait:

I made this wooden canvas back in California, and could never decide what to paint on there till it was time to decorate the house and sell it.  So I finally went for it!….and was inspired by the blankets I made for Clara as baby.  I mean, who doesn’t need more hearts in their life??

These wooden canvases are a tutorial I’ve meaning to share and just never have—I’ll add it to the list!  Cause they’re so fun to make.  And an easy way to decorate a space:

I love the color it adds in the room.
And our little yellow heart at the end.

Okay here’s another BEFORE and AFTER.
And please don’t hate me for changing what was already a really cool chair.
Because I really loved it in the brown and black (I found it at a thrift store).    But there was nothing brown in our house and I knew it would look cute in Clara’s room….so I painted the wood white:

Then I made a coral heart pillow and printed some artwork for the walls from the Caravan Shoppe (I seriously LOVE them!)  And I know the scale of these pictures should be much larger (which you can totally do with their download prints)….but I was working with a quick timeframe and just needed the room to be finished.  BUT, fast forward to today….And I’ve already printed a large 24×36 that’s up in Clara’s room in the NEW house.

This little corner of the room was just the right amount of toys and books for Clara to have some Clara-time.

Next BEFORE and AFTER….the Jenny Lind Crib.

Oh I love this crib.  I bought it off Craigslist in West Hollywood before Lucy was born.
(And that’s an interesting story to tell you in-person one day).
I kept the original 1970s wood color for both Lucy and Owen.

Then one night….in a fit of blogging passion…..I went in the garage and painted the whole thing yellow, just so it would look right in these photos.
You know you’re a crazy blogger when….

Readers often ask me about the crib, and what color I used, and did I use a special type of paint?
The answer to that is: whatever was in my garage (which—all paints in my garage are safe for humans and babies…and often I have a can of yellow laying around).   So I sprayed it with a paint gun and did a really poor job.  It could definitely use another coat.  And over the years it’s started chipping in places (as you can see in the photo above).
But it still works and looks pretty good!

And it’s perfect for Jedi mind tricks.

What IS that??
How about this…

Okay, the last splash of color in the room is the faux mobile:

I took yellow, gray, and coral cardstock, punched 2-inch circles, sewed them together in random order, and the hung the circle strings from the ceiling (with basic transparent tape).
Simple. Easy.
It definitely completes the room.

There you go!
The room I once hated became one of my favorite spaces in the house….and mostly because it wasn’t overcluttered with design.  You only need a few pieces to make a room look decorated and happy.

And the best part is….it all transferred over to the new house!
So Clara’s room was the last to be decorated in the old house; and the first to be finished in the new one.
Have a great day!


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RECIPE: Easy Teriyaki Chicken

by Dana on September 22, 2014

It’s Monday!
A new week.
A new start.
A new pledge to be better at fixing dinner for the family (at least that’s what I keep telling myself)

So if you’re trying to feel motivated too, then I’ve got your dinner menu ready!
And it starts with the easiest chicken, ever….which will make your house smell amazing.
We’re making:

My mom calls this Sunday Chicken because well, we often had it on Sunday for dinner.  Just the smell of it takes me right back to being a kid.  But this chicken is so easy (and tasty) I think it should be called Sunday-Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday-Friday-Saturday Chicken.
Okay. We’ll stick with Easy Teriyaki Chicken.
Here’s what you do….

This recipe works with any amount of chicken, and with any cut.
Mostly I prefer leg drumsticks because everyone in the family loves them—and I love meals that both kids and adults get excited about.

2-3 pounds of chicken
1 bottle of soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1-2 tsp dried ginger
dried onion flakes

• Prep your chicken by removing the skin.  (If I’m planning ahead, I like to do this the night before and then place the chicken in a sealed bag in the fridge.  Good time saver).
• Place the chicken in a large stock pot.

• Pour enough soy sauce into the pot to cover the chicken 1/2 way.
• Then pour water in the pot till it covers the chicken
• Add the brown sugar, ginger, a few shakes of dried onion flakes
• Place the pot on the stove and bring the whole thing to a boil.  Then turn the heat down and allow the mixture to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
• Turn off the heat, place the lid on the pot, and let the whole thing sit (covered) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

The waiting is actually my favorite part.
Cause while that pot sits there, I can get the rest of the meal ready.

When the chicken is done, you can eat it as-is OR grill it for a few minutes for that summer “grill” flavor.
Either way, the chicken is so delicious and moist, it almost falls right off the bone and into your mouth.

Then pair it with some Sweet Corn Bread, and THIS Mac N Cheese (oh wow), and some fruits and veggies.

And dinner is served!

Use the leftovers in your favorite chicken sandwich, on a salad, or in a wrap….and have a head-start on the rest of your meals for the week!
Have a great Monday friends.


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8 years of Halloween Costumes

by Dana on September 19, 2014

Am I allowed to say the word Halloween before October 1st?
Eek. Hope so!….because that’s all that Lucy keeps talking about at our house.
Mom have you started the costumes???

She and her girlfriends want to dress like Lalaloopsies, which I think is adorable…..and guess which pattern might be fantastic for that?….The First Day Dress! (assuming she doesn’t want to be one of the crazy lalaloopsies, like the mermaid.  But I think she’s hoping for Peanut).

So to get me in the mood for making costumes—rather than complaining and procrastinating—I gathered photos from the last 8 years of costumes.

Most are homemade, some are semi-homemade, and some are storebought—which I gotta be honest, can feel just as awesome as slaving away making something.  There are upsides to both.

So, here’s 8 years of sewing in a costume time capsule….

Last year I loved doing a semi-homemade/storebought routine.
Owen wanted to be Luke Skywalker.  And when I asked what we needed he said,
“we have everything!  I’ll get it together!”

My favorite part of the costume was the reversible hooded cape, which I made for the kids years ago.  I had made one for each of them.  And seriously….they are THE MOST USED item in our costume bin, constantly.  My kids love them, friends love them.  I should make more.  Read the details here.

With Owen being Luke, Lucy wanted to be Padme….which made this store-bought costume so fantastic.  Done!

Of course I thought they looked a little more like Wesley and Buttercup….

The year before that, Owen also wanted to be, yep….a JEDI. Specifically—Mace Windu.  This time around I made a few items and threw them together with things we already had.  It was also the first year the kids did not dress as an ensemble, which gave me mixed emotion.  They were growing up and also learning to have their own opinion.

Clara was a very simple Little Red Riding Hood.   (And I’m suddenly realizing….did I not even dress her up last year??   Guess I’ll have to make up for it this year.  Sorry 3rd child).

Lucy’s costume was one of my all-time favorites.  She wanted to be Sleeping Beauty….but we gave it a twist.  Just like the fairies in the movie, we couldn’t decide if she should be pink, or blue.  So we did both!  Just pick which side you want to stand on.

It was especially fun because her friends dressed up like the fairies, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather.

The same year (not on Halloween) Owen dressed up like Marty McFly from Back to the Future for the Film Petit series.  I had a blast putting this together, since this is a classic favorite at our house.  And this year is the 30 year anniversary!  That’s heavy.

And Clara was as a 50s diner girl.

Going back another year to when Lucy was 5 and Owen was 3….the kids wanted to be bats.  And if you live in Austin, TX—the city of bats—-you can only say YES to that request.

These were pretty simple costumes—I made wings and hats from felt and satin, then combined it with black clothes.   The kids were so cute together.  And spectators really loved watching them “fly” down the Congress Bridge in downtown Austin.

This year, my niece in California wants to be a bat so we mailed the costumes to her and the fun will continue!  I love when costumes get good use over the year.  And these ones definitely have with my own kids.  They’re pulled out of the costume bin at least once a month….even though they’re much too small now.

In 2010, the kids were a Costume Wonderland, as Alice and the Mad Hatter.

This photo shoot was really fun; the kids loved having a pretend tea party.
Has anyone noticed that I’ve taken photos in the exact same grassy field for the last 4 years?  It just always seems to work!

The year before, Lucy was obsessed with the book Green Eggs and Ham.  So we went with Dr. Seuss characters—Sam I am and the Cat in the Hat.

And back before there was a nice camera, or even a blog….the kids dressed as Halloween Traffic, since Lucy was really into STOP signs.  She pointed them out wherever we were and would say “S-T-O-P…STOP!”

Owen’s traffic light was a simple romper made of felt.  Oh he’s so tiny!

And another all-time favorite was Lucy’s 2nd halloween costume…. Little Strawberry Girl!

And finally, the very first year of making kid costumes, we went as Back to School Night.  Wow.  I got Casey to wear a “dress”.  What a man!

And there you have it!….8 years of ideas.

This makes me excited to get sewing for this year.
I hope you’re motivated too!  And if not, just head to the store and don’t think twice about it.

QUESTION for you guys:  I’ve been thinking about making a pattern for the Bat Costumes and wonder how many of you would be interested? I wouldn’t have it done in time for this year…..but could do it over the summer for next year.
Anyone interested in bat costumes?  They’re really fun as dress-ups all year long.

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