Living in Texas: Fort Worth Stockyards

by Dana on August 29, 2014

This weekend marks exactly 5 years since we moved to Texas!
Wow.  I honestly can’t believe it’s been that long.  Or that Owen was younger than Clara when we arrived here (read more about our decision to move from California to Texas here).

Over the years we have really grown to love Texas.
I mean, we loved it from the get-go.  It’s charming.  And the people are so kind.  And there’s tons of great food, right?  But I guess there are things you never know about yourself until you move somewhere different….like how much I love wide open spaces.  I grew up in the suburbs of Orange County, California and then lived in Los Angeles for my young adult years, where people and street sounds were constant.  And it was great! And fun!  And I knew the best back roads and alleys to avoid the 405/101 interchange at 5pm (the SNL Californians. heh heh).  But today I love breathing in the space around me.  Every day I drive down a wide country road to get to Target, the freeway, Clara’s school.  And I just love it.

I guess there’s a season of life for everything.
And one day we might be back in the bustle of cityscapes.
But for now we’re exploring Texas.

Here’s a taste of our adventures so far:
Texas Bluebonnets
The Poppy Festival
Friday Night Lights
Lake LBJ
3 days at the beach
The Kite Festival
Trip to Dallas
Shopping for fabric in Texas
Weekend at the Lodge

And this summer we made it to Fort Worth! (which is near Dallas) and spent a couple hours at the Fort Worth Stockyards, which friends have recommended over the years.  The irony of our adventure is that the stockyards are great to visit with your kids….and we left ours at home (thank you Grandma and Grandpa for the day of freedom!)

So if you’re looking for a fun family outing, here you go.
And if you see this in your rear-view mirror it means (A) something fantastic is about to happen or (B) you parked in the wrong spot.

It was a little of both.

But mostly fantastic.

So, the stockyards are a slice of old Texas life.  It’s the place where cattle were once sold and traded and was considered the “Wall Street of the West” (read more about the history here).

Twice a day at 11:30am and 4pm, the Longhorn Cattle Drive comes trailing down the main street, giving you a glimpse of real Texas longhorns.   It’s a pretty short procession and kinda gimicky, but it’s colorful and cattle-y and so very Texas.
Hook ‘em!

And just like that it’s back to normal life….

…or to the awesome stockyard maze.

Just make sure you stamp your timecard.  And head to the lookout platforms if you’re totally lost!

There are spots for goodies,

and silly photo-ops (I need one of those signs).

And plenty of moments to look like you’ve mixed up your “Wall Streets”.

(which is what happens when the outing is planned at the tail-end of business meetings)

So head to MJ Leddy’s and you’ll be looking like a local soon.

Seriously, this store is worth a stop!  There is a boot for EVERYbody.

….and the boots are all fixed by the chimney with care….

Annnnd, we still look like idiots.

Sorry Texas.
But hey, need a knife? Need an alley?  We found both.

And this guy definitely made my day.

My name is Chong Wang.
John Wayne?
Chon Wang.
That’s a terrible cowboy name!

On the drive home we found a fantastic little hole-in-the-wall taco joint called Melis Tacos. Delish! The egg and bacon breakfast tacos (add cheese) were my favorite.  And we ate under a scrap-tin roof while the rain poured down.  I’ll always remember that moment.  And the sunset that followed us home.

Thank you Fort Worth for a fun outing.

Country roads, take me home,
To the place I belong….


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Before and After: Front Porch furniture

by Dana on August 28, 2014

Back when we were just thinking about building a home, I knew there needed to be a front porch.  I mean, there’s always a front porch.

…but how bout the kind where you can actually have furniture?
And sit outside with a cold beverage, watching the kids ride bikes and scooters down the street?

Or….maybe a porch is just an excuse to go shopping at the thrift store and not feel guilty about walking out with an entire bench and two chairs?  Yea, that sounds about right.
And when I saw this patio set at my favorite antique store in town, I just couldn’t pass it up!
The style was perfect.  Kinda beachy.  Kinda craftsman. Very simple.

They just needed a little facelift.
My first thought was to paint them orange like the flower vase above, or yellow like the basket below (which I also “had” to buy at the antique store.  Isn’t it cute??)

I asked on instagram (find me @danamadeit) for your input and the ideas were all over the board!
“Navy Blue!”
“Kelly green, black, yellow, white, red…..”
So I went with the obvious choice,

My mom.

She and my dad were in town and asked what projects they could work on for me.  So we pulled out the sander, pulled out the brushes, and they finished the whole darn thing for me!

Thank you mom and dad.

And thank you Sherwin Williams #7005 Pure White, for always being a fantastic paint choice.

Yep. I went with white.
Actually I really considered Navy Blue or Black. But against the gray color of the house it just had to be white!

And I love how it turned out.
You can see the white contrast against gray as you drive up to the house. And with flowers in the planter boxes, it’ll all come together.

Now I just need to make some pillows, and get out the bikes, and make some lemonade.
Your thoughts on these fabrics? (all of them are duck cloth from Hobby Lobby). I’m leaning toward the two V shapes.

Have a great day!


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MADE Everyday VIDEO: Placemat Bibs!

by Dana on August 26, 2014

Remember those quick little placemat bibs I made for Clara?
Back when she a wee little one?

Well she’s still wee.
And she’s still messy.
So I still have bibs lying around.

And so, I turned the project into a MADE Everyday episode!
Hooray for VIDEO!….which means you get to see this little girl in action.  It’s Clara come to life.
Seriously friends.  This project is one of my all-time favorites!
For about $1, I’ll show you how to turn a placemat:

Into this:

(baby and banana not included)
(and will take more time to make)

In the video I’ll even show you the PROPER way for sewing-on Bias Tape, which you’ve seen in my detailed tutorial here.  But seeing in video makes it all come together.  And you’ll get to brush up on your ribbing neckline skills which we worked on in the T-shirt video.

Just hit the PLAY button below and enjoy!

MADE EVERYDAY with Dana is a fresh new sewing show, where we create cool things using everyday items.
To watch other episodes:
• Click the video tab at the top, or….
• Subscribe to my Youtube channel so you’re updated as soon as the episode goes live.


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KID Shorts….with KNIT fabrics!

by Dana on August 20, 2014

Sometimes I can’t believe how old this girl is getting.
Didn’t I just cut her hair?…and talk about her turning 1 year old?

Of course then she picks up a blankie and paci, and she’s my baby all over again.
Old little Clara.  Stop growing up.
(But please start talking. That would be helpful)

But enough Clara shmara.  Let’s talk about shorts.

Many of you have emailed asking, can I sew the KID Shorts pattern with knit fabrics??
And the answer to that is Yes, Yes, of course Yes!
In fact, my approach to most sewing is—YES.  Go for it!  Don’t ask; just try.
Be adventurous and ask questions later!

Or in the words of Ferris:
A – You can never go too far
B – If I’m gonna get busted it’s not gonna be (because I didn’t try sewing shorts with knit fabric)

Basically, if you’ve never sewn with knits before, never be scared.
And read THIS detailed post about sewing with knit fabrics.

Okay.  We’re all on the same page.  Jump in your crib.

And if you’re ready to sew KID Shorts, let’s get started!

This post is one of many tutorials that accompany the KID Shorts PATTERN, which you can purchase HERE.

You do not need our pattern to sew these shorts but it’s recommended. If you’re using a different pattern, or if you’ve created your own pattern, follow along with the instructions and make shorts with us!
And check out all the variations we’ve made by clicking a button below:
Knit shorts are great for any occasion but I especially love them for lounging around the house and for PJs.  Pair them with a simple t-shirt and you have a very simple (and quick) pair of jammies for your kids.

Knit fabrics can be found in most fabric stores these days.  Manufacturers are catching on that we WANT to sew with knits!

Some are interlock knits; some are jersey.   And if you can’t find any at the store, you can always use an old T-shirt for fabric, or a jersey knit bed sheet.  Read my post for more details on types of knits and sources.

Most standard knits are 2-way stretch, which means they stretch in one direction, from side-to-side (yea, it would make more sense to call it one-way stretch but that’s how the lingo goes).  Some knits are 4-way stretch, meaning they stretch from side-to-side and vertically as well.  Most knits that have spandex added in will have 4-way stretch.

The interlock knit I’m using here is from Joann Fabrics and has 2-way stretch:

You want the fabric to stretch horizonally on the shorts; the same direction that the elastic and waistband will stretch. So just follow the grainline markings on the pattern pieces, line them up with the selvage edge of the fabric, and you’ll be fine.

Then use the Basic Shorts instructions for sewing and I’ll provide some tips.

You can use a serger to sew the entire shorts.  OR
You can use a zigzag stitch for the entire shorts. OR
Here’s what I often do…a mix of both stitches:

• Use a straight stitch for sewing most of the seams since those areas don’t really “stretch”.
• Use a zigzag stitch for sewing the waistband and for hemming the legs (although that one’s optional….the legs on these shorts are rather roomy so you don’t really need to use a zigzag stitch).  But the beauty of a zigzag stitch is that it’s able to stretch with the fabric, so it gives the shorts more ease when little legs are wiggling around in bed.

Continue following the instructions in the Basic Shorts Tutorial to string elastic through the waistband….and you’re done!

Now try them out and see how nap time goes….

And since they were so quick to sew, I made another pair with another knit fabric from Joann Fabrics.  I love the whole thing only cost me a few bucks.  Cheaper than any jammies I’ve bought at the store!

Here’s at peek inside. No serger needed, no fancy tricks.

….just a little bit of this to go on top.

Yep. It’s been one of those months, so I pulled out the Don’t Worry, Be Happy shirt again to save my sanity.  And I guess it makes me happy that her shirt and shorts are homemade and super comfy (and even more happy the darn thing still fits!)

Hope you’re turning your worries into happies too!

You can easily purchase the KID Shorts pattern using the ADD TO CART button below (read all the pattern details HERE.)
KID Shorts PDF Pattern – $8
Add to Cart

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