Pattern Review- Simplicity 8598

Sunday afternoon I made my youngest a new dress.  I had found a yard and a 1/4 piece of Cloud 9 Wildwood Pretty Posies in coral at SAS for a steal and had been saving it for something for one of the girls. The fabric is still available at, just click the picture.


The pattern, Simplicity 8598 I bought in college to make a dress for a friends daughter.  I haven’t used it since then, so it was like sewing it for the first time again.

It is a very simple and quick pattern to make, only 4 pieces to cut out + interfacing. I cut out a size 5 for my daughter and the sides were really big on her, like she couldn’t wear it without a tank top for modesty’s sake.  I took the sides in by and inch on each side, I probably should have cut the bodice width at a size 3.


I used an invisible zipper so I omitted the top stitching over the zipper as per the directions.  I simply folded under the lining on the inside and tacked it to the zipper tape.  I did top stitch the armholes and neck.


I cut the length at a size 7 because I wanted it to below the knee. Because this dress has a slight bell curve hem, I strongly suggest cutting the dress to exactly 1/2″ longer than you want it to be hemmed.  Use single fold bias tape sewn on and flipped up to hem, it will help you avoid a wrinkled up hem.


Overall, this is a great starter pattern for someone who is trying to learn garment sewing, and at only $4 on etsy its too good to pass up.  The smallest dress requires only a yard of fabric and the largest (a size 8) requires only a yard and a half.

Have a pattern you’d like me to review?  Just leave me a comment and let me know!

Valentine Candy Bags


I started playing around with red and pink fabrics and ended up making a few of these little draw string bags.  They are perfect for Valentine’s Day treats, candy, gift cards or any small gift!

sequin-heart copy

This heart was fun to create.  I used felt, invisible thread and sequin trim.  Each bag I tried something new, french seams (bad idea!), self casing (tricky to sew) until I came up with the best way to sew these bags.

candy-co-bag copy

I put together a pdf tutorial that you can download HERE (for free). This project is best for someone who has some sewing experience.  Its quite simple to make, but its written as if you already know a thing or two about sewing.

scrappy-heart copy


Please email me or leave a comment if there is anything in the tutorial that doesn’t make sense or you need more clarification. Sometimes I don’t explain things in the most clear way!  If you stitch one up will you tag me or send me a pic, I’d really love to see it!!


I just listed two oil cloth cosmetic bags in the shop, and will be adding more this week!  I still haven’t gotten the mini-bags ready for a giveaway…I have way more ambition than I do energy/free time these days. The small bags are $8 and the large bags are $10, they are super practical and can hold so much stuff


I’m also working on a Valentine tutorial.  I have it mostly written I just need to add photographs….tutorials always seem to take me forever to write, I just never know how detailed to be.  I swear it would be so much easier if everyone just came to my house and I walked you through the project!  Crossing my fingers I get it finished this week.



a little recap

We finished out 2014 with a trip to the beach and time with extended family, which was full of everything you would expect.

Sunset at Laguna Beach yesterday. Today it's back to cacti. #lagunabeach #beach #california

A photo posted by Heather Hales (@heatherhalesdesigns) on

I finally finished another book, The Friday Night Knitting Club, I started it in 2014, but didn’t finish it until the new year.  I sat down to check my book stats…2014 I was more than 10 books behind the last two years. Sigh, I guess I spent more time in the sewing room than I did hiding behind a book- which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

This rag doll was my first sewing finish of 2015.

First finished project of 2015!! #Ballerina #Doll #ragdoll

A photo posted by Heather Hales (@heatherhalesdesigns) on

December and January are busy months for our family, we have 2 birthdays in Dec (yours truly hit 37 on the 25th) + Christmas January has New Years, a birthday and our Wedding anniversary.  We celebrated 17 years this year.  At the risk of it being taken wrong let me just say marriage is work. No matter how much you love each other or how amazing your friendship is- its still work. I get so tired of the Hollywood stereotype of happily every after, it is just not real.

For Christmas I made my girl friends some fun oilcloth cosmetic bags, they are easy to make and super practical. I made one for myself and then kept going….I’ve offered a few for sale on IG- follow me to check it out.

I love making these! #oilcloth #cosmeticbag

A photo posted by Heather Hales (@heatherhalesdesigns) on

I’m going to give away 2 mini-bags later in the week but only on IG- so follow me to hear about it!

According to my kids the best part of Christmas was when we told them we’d agreed to get a cat.

Do share- what have you been up to?

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year


It doesn’t feel like the most wonderful time of the year. I feel like I’ve been riding an emotional roller coaster at the state fair after eating too much cotton candy.  My head is spinning, my stomach aches and the tears are just too close to the surface. All I wanted to do this past weekend was sit in my closet and throw myself a little pity party.  I knew for sure I did not want to dress up, put a smile on and be social….but my kids did, and my good friend was hosting the party…and I didn’t want to be the chump friend who wasn’t there to help.

I plastered my public smile on, reapplied some mascara and went out into the world in something other than my pajamas.  Our little family of 5 sat down and I began to survey the room. While wondering how long we had to stay and hoping one of the kids would act up and we’d all have to go home, someone asked me to help serve food.

I’m sure you have all heard the adage that when life is hard you should loose yourself in service to others- and maybe you thought ya right, who wants my help when I’m just being a grouch.  People, I am here to say all it takes is a willing heart.  Because let me tell you how I spent Saturday evening serving ham and potatoes with a genuine smile on my face- making chit chat with those who came through my line.  Feeling grateful to have something to do and knowing I was helping in some way. Not once did I think about myself, not once did I ponder on my own problems- I just served; both literally and figuratively.

I think God really wanted to underline the point of serving others for me because the next day in church were two beautiful, I mean beautiful, talks on kindness and service. About reaching beyond our own little circle of comfort and serving/showing kindness to everyone, for no other reason than they are our fellow men.

Serving didn’t solve my problems, it didn’t even change my perspective on them- but what it did do was provide a respite from thinking about them.  I suppose one could say serving others is a form of self medication….seems a whole lot healthier than numbing my problems with alcohol or drugs. Maybe my motives for service are selfish (just hoping to feel better myself), but I don’t think that makes the acts of kindness any less valid.

It is easy to get lost in your own problems and think you have nothing to offer, but I’ll tell you what…service and kindness don’t always take money and grand gestures. Sometimes all it takes is a warm smile, sitting with someone who is alone, offering a kind word, a genuine question of “how are you?”, a simple text message saying “I’m thinking of you”.

Example is a powerful thing and I am so grateful for those I know who respond to the world with genuine kindness and an open heart. I’m grateful to see those example, because you cannot become what you don’t see.

I guess I am standing on my tiny internet platform and challenging you to reach out to others- do something today that improves the day of someone else, and I promise it will improve your day too.


3rd times the charm

Back in September I bought a Groupon for the Children’s Museum of Phoenix,where I used to have a membership. I thought it would be fun to take my youngest there- but I kept putting it off.  I remembered how much work it had been with the older kids, chasing two small children around from exhibit to exhibit. Monitoring to make sure they were not taking too long of a turn with the trikes, that they were sharing the race cars. Then Groupon notified me that my pass was about to expire, so I bit the bullet and took her to the Museum today.


Oh! It was so much fun! I really enjoyed being with her and I didn’t just watch from the sidelines- we walked through the Noodle Forest together, we each made art projects in the Art Cafe, and I helped her make pizza, hot dogs and ice-cream. As we sat together making gingerbread men, she announced “I’m happy!” I about melted.


I spent the drive home thinking about the differences between our day today and the experiences I had taking her older brother and sister to the same place. For sure it was easier because I was with ONE child instead of being out numbered, but don’t get me wrong she can have her moments when its just the two of us. I think the novelty of the CMoP affected (or should it be effected?) how she behaved. This was the first time she had been since before she was one. She was old enough to appreciate it and was just in awe of each new thing we saw.  She happily played with the glitter play-doh for a good 30 min (making hot-fish, muffins and birthday cake) and chased pigeons in between climbing.



It reminded me of the first time we took the older children to Disneyland.  I love Disneyland, but taking my kids for the first time was even more magical.  It was one of my best memories of when they were little.  Despite the fears and mishaps they loved it, they were just so happy to be at Disneyland.  The second time we took them- about 2 years after the first. They complained and asked to go back to Grandma & Grandpa’s and eat ice-cream.  They were tired of being there and the whole experience was really not fun for anyone.

Maybe if I hadn’t had a membership all those years ago the experience of taking my kids wouldn’t have felt like/been so much work. The whole notion of entitlement and lack of gratitude. I made it too easy for them to experience fun, so easy that they got rowdy and ungrateful. I know why I got those memberships (to the zoo, the botanical garden, the CMoP)- it was under the guise of cultural enrichment, but really it was so I could get out of the freaking house at least once a week without having to drop $30! It was lonely and overwhelming for me to have two small children….at home…all the time. Had I known the long term price, I would have still done it anyway.

But this last child of mine…she is getting the best.  Its not too hard to have her home with me, I don’t mind if we never leave the house all week. Seeing her light up and truly enjoy these experiences I am able to give her on a much less frequent basis than the other two- is so worth it!



If you follow me on instagram you’ll see that I’m giving away one of my newest gift tags!


Winner picks color and letter. Head over to IG to enter before I pick a winner on Monday!

If you don’t want to wait, you can purchase a custom made tag in my etsy shop right now.


Dinner Rolls- in just over an hour


I’ve shared this recipe before- but wanted to re-share it as I’ve changed a few things.  This is the updated recipe, all ready for your holiday baking.  These really are light, fluffy and so good with butter!  Every time I bake these I get asked for the recipe.


Moment’s Notice Rolls
1 1/4c WARM water
1/3c oil
1/4c. white sugar
1 package rapid rise yeast (1/4 ounce)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 egg
3 1/4c white flour

**this recipe can be doubled** The printable pdf version of this recipe is HERE.


Mix warm water, oil, sugar and yeast together and let sit for 15 min. This
should be long enough for the yeast to activate.  FYI if you keep
your yeast in the freezer, bring it to room temperature before you use it in
this recipe.  Yeast should be bubbly after the 15min.


With a wooden spoon mix in salt, egg, and flour.  This dough will not be
soft and smooth like bread dough, it will be sticky.  You may add a
Tablespoon or two of extra flour to make it easier to handle.  It should
stick to the spoon but not be runny.  Let rise in a warm place for 10min.


This is how your dough will look after mixing in the flour

Lay dough on a floured surface and roll into a circle , dough should be 1/2″ thick.


Using a pizza cutter slice your dough into 16 slices.


Roll each slice up starting at the “crust” end of your slice.




Place rolls on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Create a proofer in your own oven by preheating your oven to 170, when the oven reaches 170 turn it off.  Place a bowl of hot steamy water (be sure to remove the bowl before baking) on the bottom rack of your oven and place the rolls on the top rack.  Close the oven door and let them rise for 20 min.


After they have risen preheat oven to 400.  I leave the rolls in during the preheat process and check them at 10 min, how long they cook will depend on how fast your oven heats up.  After the 10min mark (10 min from when I set the oven to preheat) I check them again at 2min intervals.  They are done when the tops are light brown.


If you are feeling fancy you can brush the tops with butter after rising, but before baking.

I hope you family enjoys them as much a mine!

When the Well Runs Dry

I’ve been working on some sweet Holiday Gift Tags to list in the shop….I had such a good time making them, I fully admit that I listened to Christmas music as I stitched(!!!)  I knew I wanted to offer a personalized gift tag- made to order but I just couldn’t come up with a design that I liked.  I felt like I hit a creative wall, like I was trying too hard.  So I cleaned up the massive Christmas mess in my sewing room and walked away.


I visited a local antique mall looking for some inspiration, and some inexpensive treasures.  I bought a few items (vintage bias tape, a cookie cutter and a box of shiny brites), and photographed a few more that I liked but wasn’t going to buy.



I just adored this pillow…I could build my whole living room around this pillow and those colors.


I loved this color scheme too….I’m starting to collect random oil paintings that I find at second hand stores. One day I’d like to have a gallery wall of small floral oil paintings.  I kinda wish I had bought this..stupid family budget!


This 1976 wall calendar was so gaudy and over the top, but I am a sucker for sequins!  Nothing says vintage christmas to me like sequins. I think they were the embellishment of choice in the late 1950’s (apparently they had a revival in the 70’s too).

I still haven’t come up with a design for a personalized tag, but I know if I don’t obsess over it, it will come. In the meantime I have a few projects that I’m itching to start on.  The holiday tags pictured above are listed in the shop right now, and I will be adding more each week as we approach the holidays.

Time Out


10:30 Friday night I got a text from a friend saying they had an extra ticket for the Saturday Session of TOFW and did I want to come?  My husband looked at me and said “you should go”- which means with very little warning he was agreeing to watch all of our kids, all day on a Saturday.  He’s a good man.

There were so many great speakers, but I really liked the message of Jennifer Brinkerhoff Platt.  The notion that everything we do, should be done through the lens of disciples of Christ. I also felt a strong pull to the message of Emily Freeman, when she said we need to be very careful what we bring into our lives and how it can disrupt our ability to hear the spirit.  Most importantly, I came home with a clear plan of how I was going to close the gaps between the spiritual highs of Sunday and the rest of the week….and if it takes me awhile to get the plan off the ground, and if I fall short sometimes its going to be ok, because Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I paid the price today of taking time for myself yesterday though!  We’ve all been fighting some upper respiratory junk to varying degrees this week…and I hit the wall today of not having rested yesterday.  I left mid way through the first hour of church to take a nap as my head was breaking in two. I came back in time to teach my woefully under prepared lesson to the YW.  I even apologized to them about how scattered it was today.

On ward and up ward…tomorrow starts a brand new week!