Moving from a smaller space to a larger one is great because there’s extra room to wrestle on the floor with dad (and leave LEGOs strewn about, for days).
(just watch your step)

Of course the funny thing with any house is that the furniture that once fit perfectly, in that perfect room, might not work in the new house layout.
And that was the case with our old table.
It was great in the old house; but too small for the new one.
It looked funny.

So, time for a new dining table adventure!

In a previous Home Building post I shared that fun green wallpaper we had installed.  And I had taped out a space on the floor where I thought a table should go.

Cause if you remember our old house, the dining table looked like this:

It was an old antique I found at a garage sale for $30!  It just needed a new facelift, which you can read about here.

And for many years it served as my white backdrop for photo styling, when the kids were so tiny.

I’ve really loved that table.  But we really needed something larger to fit the space.
So I started researching.

At first I thought about having one made.  Or maybe we could make it ourselves?
Maybe a very dark wood top with white legs?….to tie in with the exposed beams in the great room?
I still love that idea.

But then I went to IKEA, and found these, and it was just too easy.
(Norden Table •  Sigurd ChairsSigurd Bench)

The table is probably more space than we need….it actually extends to 119 inches!  Eeek…which just means we need to have friends over for dinner more often.  The table would be fantastic for a Thanksgiving get-together…and we could even pull it out onto our deck, which we did a couple times this summer.

Mostly, I love how well it fits in the space.

And the chairs make me smile, because they look like they’re smiling…..and remind me of school chairs, and being a kid.

I went for benches on each end so it would be easy to get in and out of the exterior door.  And so little kids could easily climb up and down.

….and torment older siblings.

…and so I’d be shocked at how tiny they look sitting all the way at the end!
How did I get to this point in my life?  Just yesterday I was single and living in Los Angeles.

Now, a word on the color.
I was a little worried about choosing a light wood shade since the floors look like driftwood and the beams in the great room are quite dark.  But.  I’m trying to pull in some more “natural” design pieces into the home so it feels more cozy.  I’m not a person that likes brown and tan, so this is a stretch for me.  But I think it’ll work.

…and it might be a good excuse to buy this rug for our great room.
Which, maybe I already did.
What is happening to me?? Brown? Tan?

I do think it’s possible though to pull bright colors and naturals in together.
That’s what I keep telling myself.
And guess what?….see those white bar stools below??  I JUST finished the covers last night!  Six of them.  I’m tired of sewing.

And I should point out one home feature in the photo above—the “floating” ceiling above the dining room table.  It was our architect’s idea to have the dining room pop down, since the great room pops UP.  Originally, we wired for rope lights to illuminate the box up toward the ceiling, which I was really excited about.  BUT.  We failed to put the rope lights and the large drum light on separate light switches….so they both came on at the same time.  And the large light overpowered the rope lights.  I was bummed.  And the only way to fix it was to cut into the wall, where we had JUST installed wallpaper the day before.
Let it go. Let it go!
So instead they installed a plug up there in the box.  So if I ever want to hang a mess of white Christmas lights from that ceiling, there’s that option.
Christmas Dinner at the new table with a bunch of lights, some chocolate-dipped gingerbread softies, and maybe a few sparkle skirts or a sash?  Sounds lovely.

Little by little the house is coming together.
It might take a few years before it’s fully decorated.  But that’s the journey.

You can read more about our new home adventure in these posts here:
We’re building a new home!
Groundbreaking Party
From foundation to frame 
Stucco, shingles, and a pretty paint job 
Sheetrock, paint, and a double-decker deck
We moved!…and an ode to the old house
Tile, Flooring, Countertops, and Color 
Guest Room makeover 
Mosaic Tile and Wallpaper
The big Chandelier

Have a great day!


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TUTORIAL: Skirt with a Sash

by Dana on September 12, 2014

My favorite item of clothing to sew for any girl is a skirt.
There are just so many ways to mix it up!
And with cooler weather coming, this version is a fun (and easy) way to dress-up for a holiday party, a Fall wedding, or just a day out shopping with mom.

It’s a Skirt with a Sash.
….a sash that can be tied in a bow, tied in a knot, tied in the front or in the back.

It gives the skirt that perfect bit of character and charm. And, it will impress your friends as they admire your sewing skills. Because although it might look tricky, it’s actually quite easy to make.

And like most of my favorite skirt projects, it’s a fairly quick-sew for such a fancy looking skirt.  Then pair it with a store-bought shirt and you’re ready for the party.

Here are some versions we’ve tried so far (click a button below for the full tutorial):

Let’s get started!

The Skirt with a Sash takes either the Simple Skirt or a Lined Skirt and adds a sash on each side of the waistband.  Of course this sash can be added to any basic skirt.  So if you’ve sewn a skirt before just keep on reading.  And if you’ve never made a skirt, I recommend reading through the Simple and Lined tutorials first.

In the Satin-Lined Skirt tutorial we learn how to add a satin lining and separate waistband for your skirt. which is what we’ll be making here.

Here’s what you need:

Fabric Types:
You can use a variety of fabrics  – cotton, satin, lace, chiffon, knits.
For my particular skirt, I used lace for the outer, satin for the lining, and satin for the waistband and sash.

Elastic Type:
I prefer Braid elastic because it tends to not roll-up inside the waistband the way other elastics might.  You can use 1-inch or 2-inch wide elastic.  For this skirt I used 2-inch wide to give the waistband a chunky look.

The Concept:
We’re going to create two sash pieces, sew them into a separate waistband at the side seams, sew the waistband on to the skirt, and string elastic through the waistband.  So, we need to cut two separate waistband pieces and two sash pieces.

Cutting and Sizing
Refer to the Simple or Lined skirt tutorials for details on measuring and cutting basic skirt pieces, then cut the following….

• Waistband
First you need to decide if you’re using 1-inch or 2-inch wide elastic.

If you’re using 2-inch elastic, the width of your waistband pieces should be cut 5.5 inches wide (2 inches for one side of the elastic + 2 inches for the other side + 3/4 inches of fabric edge to iron under + 3/4 inches at the other edge).

If you’re using 1-inch wide elastic, cut your pieces 3.5 inches wide (1 + 1 + 3/4 + 3/4 inches)

The length of each waistband piece should be the same as your basic skirt pieces.  In a nutshell: measure your waist, multiply it by 2 or 2.5 or 3 (depending on how full you want your skirt to be) then divide that in half.  This is the length for each waistband piece.

So for my daughter, I’m going to make a skirt 2.5 times her waist size.  She has a 20 inch waist so I need to cut TWO waistband pieces that are 5.5 x 25 inches.

• Sash pieces
For 2-inch wide elastic in the waistband, cut the Sash pieces 2 + 2 + 1/2 + 1/2 inches, or 5 inches wide.
For 1-inch wide elastic in the waistband, cut the Sash pieces 1 + 1 + 1/2 + 1/2 inches, or 3 inches wide.

For the length of each sash piece, take 1/4 of your waist measurement and then add approximately 25 inches (there’s some wiggle room with that measurement so you have extra length to tie the bow on the skirt.  We’ll cut off the excess in later steps).

So for my daughter with a 20 inch waist I need to cut TWO sash pieces that are 5 x 30 inches.
Okay, we’re ready to SEW!

Have a wonderful weekend!


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First Day Testing

by Dana on September 9, 2014

It’s been two months now since releasing the First Day Dress Pattern….and I absolutely LOVE what you guys are doing with it.  Browsing the Flickr group and checking the Instagram group #firstdaydressmade are so much fun for me.  Seriously ladies.  Cute stuff!

I need to do a roundup of your creations….all your creations.  Cause there are some killer shorts and baby baskets in that group too.  Um, like this?!  LOVE.
So today I’ll start by sharing the very Firsts, of the First Day Dresses and Tops.
These photos are from pattern testers who tried it all out for me, and who always make patterns better than they could be by giving great feedback and suggestions.
Some are them are bloggers; some are not.  And they’re all women who love to sew, like you.
So here we go.

I think I had you at bright floral, right?

• The bright peplum above is by Erin at Hungie Gungie.  She’s made a few different versions on her darling blog, and claims she was never in peplums…..till she started making this top.  Yay!
• Pink Emily on the grass is by sewing friend Melani
• Blue dots peplum is by Teresa at Dandelion Drift.  I love how grown-up she made this.  People are always asking for tween ideas.  Here you go!  She also made the white with gold triangles dress, altering the pattern for a slightly different look.  Oooo I love it.
• Stripey A-line dress is from sewer Corrine, who added extra length to the hem, which looks cute on her 7-year-old.  And she took these pics at a castle in Germany.  Yes!

Next up we have some colorful looks by Knitty Bitties (left) and Frances Suzanne (right).  The belts are killing me. Great accessory!  And the color blocking on Andrea’s dress is so much fun.  Click over to see the cute details on the front.

• Alexis at My Sweet Sunshine made three different versions of this dress–each with their own personality, and beautiful photos to go along.
• Another peplum from Hungie Gungie (please click over to see her daughter stepping on big brother’s bum.  Haah.  Made me smile).
• More photos from the Germany castle and sewist Corrine.  She used the placket front, which looks adorable.

Palak from Make it Handmade made a twirly version for her daughter’s first day of Preschool. Weee!

Francess Suzanne made another version for their darling niece (left) and sewer Ashley (right) whipped out a top for her little girl just days before moving across country.  Now that’s some sewing enthusiasm I’m sure many of you can relate to.

And below, another gorgeous shot from My Sweet Sunshine with a southwestern vibe.

THANK YOU pattern testers.
I hope everyone’s First Days are going well!

You can purchase the First Day Dress Pattern by clicking the “add to cart” button below.
And read all the pattern details HERE.

First Day Dress Pattern – $10
Add to Cart

(photo by Corrine, in Germany)


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It’s a funny thing building a home.
(I know I’ve said that before)
But really, it’s such a learning process!  Some things you can anticipate; some you never can.  And often you spend months searching, and researching, and stewing over photos of the perfect tile or flooring or light fixtures.  MONTHS!  And then you finally make a decision and order it (so that it’s ready to be installed on the proper day) and then the stuff just sits there for another few months til someone gets around to it!

On the other hand, you will make some huge decisions spur of the moment—like the design of our fireplace—and it will turn out beautifully and you’ll love it.

You never know how the story will go.

…or when the story will lighten up.

And then one night you’ll happen to drive by the house and notice….
WE. HAVE. LIGHTS my friends!
The electricity is ON.
And the house takes on a new personality.


If you’ve missed my other posts, our family spent the last year building a custom home in the Austin, TX area.
We didn’t physically build it ourselves—we hired a custom builder to do the hard part; we were along for the decision-making ride.

Check out my previous posts documenting the whole process:
We’re building a new home!
Groundbreaking Party
From foundation to frame 
Stucco, shingles, and a pretty paint job 
Sheetrock, paint, and a double-decker deck
We moved!…and an ode to the old house
Tile, Flooring, Countertops, and Color 
Guest Room makeover 
Mosaic Tile and Wallpaper

One of the most surprising moments for me with this whole process was the day these boxes showed up in our garage….which is hard to believe since we’d already experienced many other surprises, like all the wrong windows being delivered and installed, floor tiles being run the wrong direction, tan colored grout with gray tile….

But one afternoon I pulled into the garage and saw these:

It’s hard to tell the size.  But the box on the left is huge!   I really should have taken a picture with the kids standing next to it for size.

Anyway, after inspection I realized  Oh!  They’re the ball light chandeliers I ordered for the entry way and stairwell!  I couldn’t wait to see these in person…..I knew they would be interesting.

And they totally were.

But I guess what surprised me is well, the size.
I ordered what I thought was a small and a “large” ball for the house. But what I thought was going to be the Large, was actually the Small.  Which means that the Large was more like an XXL in our entry way! I worried for days that it was going to be way too huge until it finally went up, and I saw that it actually fits perfectly in the space.  And looks really pretty above the front door.

The smaller orange ball hangs in the stairwell and the two really play off each other, bringing in subtle pops of color and more of that modern-beach-home-craftsman-whatever-my-style-is look.

So the lights are called Coral, by New Zealand designer David Trubridge.   He based this design on the ocean coral he loved as a child.  And when I saw these in a local Austin store I knew they would be one of my “splurge” items for the home.  Funny enough, the design really ties in with the headboard I bought months later for the Guest room.  I love it when design features come together.

These lights come in so many different styles and colors and are really unique! I love how it looks in the gorgeous home from Uraguay:

And the other interesting thing about the lights, is that they’re sort of like a puzzle.

To keep down on shipping costs, the lights are packaged in individual pieces in a very small box.  Then the customer puts it all together with small brads, holding each piece of coral in place.  Crazy right?!

The good news for me is that, since we ordered through the lighting store, they put both balls together for us.  And it only took them 3 days.  Ahh!
Actually, Casey would have loved that challenge.
He loves puzzles.
I however, love shortcuts.
And I loved it when these little pieces turned into a huge ball!

I’m so happy with the character they add to the house, especially since it’s one of the first things you see as you walk in.

They look gorgeous in the morning light when the sun peeks through that very tall 2-story window,

and in the middle of a bright white day.

And ready for this…..

They’re really fun at night!
This is the other unexpected surprise that never really sunk in til the first night we lived here.  They might look a little spooky in these pics, but I promise it’s more subtle in real life.  Both balls glow a light shade and cast interesting shadows.

Since you’re probably wondering…yep.  We’ve already had a toy mishap.   Poor Owen.  He wandered downstairs in tears, nervous to tell me what had happened, and slowly pointed to the light.   And I just had to chuckle—there was Mr. Prickles, stuck in the giant jail of Turquoise.

And in case you also wondered…it was no easy task hanging those lights as well.
Just one dude, climbing a ladder, balancing 20 feet above the ground.

Totally safe, right?
I’m just glad I wasn’t there when he hung the giant blue ball, which is two-stories up in the air.

Those are the joys of having someone else take the risks for you.
I just hope those light bulbs never run out.

Sick of ball lights?
Then here’s some yellow to mix it up.

In the kitchen I selected the Farm Pendants by Young House Love from Shades of Light.  I pretty much love everything about that last sentence.  Seriously, check out all the lights they offer. They’re fantastic! And such reasonable prices. I love that I did NOT have to splurge and still got the look I was going for (btw, check out my lighting board for all sorts of links).

Even in a room full of chaos the yellow pops out.

Of course they look a little better like this.

And that’s a colorful wrap.
Have a good weekend friends!

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