Are We Done Yet???

Summer. We’ve hit the wall, I’m ready for summer to be over.  June was a whirlwind of Summer School and Swim Team, we stayed busy but still had fun.  July? July has been dragging since day one- AND IT’S NOT OVER YET!  Without Summer School to keep us in check the July days have been one long drag of boredom.  My friend Dawn has been keeping track of summer via instagram, according to her count we are on day 59.  Every time I see her dated posts I feel a bit of pride and  say to myself “You’ve made it 59 days and you haven’t lost your you-know-what yet!”

Monopoly with Papa

Only I did loose it on day 56.  I couldn’t take the children’s arguing and deliberate sabotage attempts against one another one more min.  I snapped.  Thank heavens they were rescued by Papa- who arrived in the nick of time providing an excellent diversion!  Today he whisked those older two off to Wyoming with him; where they will spend the remaining weeks of summer frolicking through the green and pleasant-ness that is a WY summer.

Say Cheese -heatherhalesdesigns.com

Which just leaves the littlest and I to endure the brown and hot that is an AZ summer for one more week before we too join in with the green pleasant-ness frolickings.

bored-heatherhalesdesigns.com

The only reason I managed to keep my crazy in check for 56 days was by spending as much time as possible in the sewing room.  This dress (that my daughter was so thrilled to model this morning) is from vintage Simplicity 8714. I’ve made dresses, skirts, a bow tie, and started a bunch of embroidery projects.  What are you doing to keep it all together this summer?

If I’m going to pay for hosting…

I may as well use this space occasionally!  Its been a busy spring with lots of stitching…

Anthropomorphic Fruit

 

Easter Dresses

some traveling…

Balboa Fun Zone

N. Arizona

and quite a bit of house drama. I’m holding my breath that the house drama will be over very very soon.  I crave stability they way an addict craves the next fix.

I feel like using this space for more philosophizing and less (lets face it) self promotion of my perceived talents in the sewing department.  I’m striving for more depth in my life, and more self honesty.

My Favorites

I recently read an article that compared the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Semi-Annual General Conference addresses to TED Talks. I’ve only watched a few TED talks but I can see the similarities. Most of the Conference addresses focus on bettering ourselves and lifting others up.  This is one of my favorite quotes from this past weekend.

Forgiveness- heatherhalesdesigns.com

 

A few of my Saturday favorite talks were: Holland (have courage), Reeves (listen with understanding and love), Nelson (let your faith show), Zwick (avoiding corrupt communication).

faith- heatherhalesdesigns.com

My list of Sunday favorites is a little shorter as I fell asleep for most of the second half (oops!).  But, I really liked these: Monson (love one another), Bednar (spiritual traction), Stevens (the Gospel is wings), and Uchtdorf (grief).

Did you have a favorite talk, or phrase?

Simplicity 1598

I love vintage sewing patterns. I not only collect them, but I use them.  I buy them online, at Goodwill (they are getting harder and harder to come buy), but I find most of my patterns at Merchant Square.

vintage Simplicity 1598

After finishing my older daughters Easter dress, I decided to make a play outfit for the youngest- before starting her Easter dress (I’m still shopping for the right pattern).

This one really is easy to sew- I finished it in an afternoon.  I love how practical the pattern is- you use the seam allowance at the waist to make the casing for the elastic.  It is a simple pattern to alter as well (I had to lengthen it into a size 4).

photo 5

Rompers seem to be the new thing for girls (and women?!!!) these days- and I love that once you take the skirt off you’ve got a fun romper to play in.  The only downside is that she needs help to go to the bathroom.  The bias ties at the shoulders have to be undone…maybe if I sewed them into bows she could slide them off her shoulders without help?

photo 2

It is so cute on her- and she loves wearing it…and hearing her call it her “romper” is just the best!  Do you sew with vintage patterns?  For you or your kids?  I’ve only been successful with vintage patterns on the kids, each time I make a dress for me it just doesn’t work out right.

Twisted Headband Tutorial

teaser

 

Spring is nearly here (according to the calendar….but its been sitting here in AZ for the last month) and its time for fun, bright colors!  This is a super easy project to use up your scraps and add some color to your wardrobe.  Here is what you’ll need:

1. 2 strips of fabric 5.5″ wide by 16″ long

2. 5.5″ piece of elastic (1/2″ or 3/4″wide) -you may need a longer piece for an adult, but this length worked for my 4yo and 9yo

step1

 

Step 1: Sew your strips in half width wise (right sides together) and stitch.  Flip right side out and press.  I like to use a safety pin to help me turn it- I pin it to one end and thread it back through the piece- same as if I were threading elastic through a waist band.

step2 copy

 

Step 2: Lay your strips on top of each other in a perpendicular way, and fold each piece in half (see pic)

step3

Step 3: Take the raw edge of one length and turn it in about 1/2″ and finger press.  Take the other raw edge and tuck it in to the turned in edge.  Slip the elastic edge in as well and stitch closed.  Repeat for both of your ties.

step4

step5

step6

Your finished project should look like this:

done

This is a fun twist on the traditional headband, gives it a little “architectural interest”!

head_band1 copy

If you are wanting to make one for an adult, measure your head using a tape measure placed all the way around your head- as you would wear a headband.  Take that measurement and subtract 15, that will give you the length of elastic you will need.

Happy Spring Sewing!

Stillness has a sound

It all started on Monday when I posted a picture on instagram of some play dough I made mentioning that I always feel ambitious on Mondays.  I got some flack for the ambitious Monday part.  For me the week is brand new, the kids are back in school and I feel the unfolding week is ripe with promise.  On Mondays, I can do anything! (by wednesday I’m overwhelmed and ready for a nap -case in point it is nearly 11 o’clock and I am still in my pajamas contemplating how  much energy I will need to gird up to take a shower)

bee on cactus

This week my Monday was full to the brim and didn’t stop until nearly 1am when I finished grading a third grade class worth of homework (that my daughter forgot to tell me about until Monday after school, it was due Monday and she had been carrying it around since Friday!). Busy-ness is not a badge of honor or worth, nor is it something I aspire to. I have made very deliberate choices in my life to keep my days calm with moments of stillness. Sometimes the crazy still creeps in, and it is never just a little bit crazy either- when it rains it pours.

I barely drug myself out of bed Tuesday morning to get the older kids ready for school and then take my daughter and her friends to preschool.  My husband called between my errands and we talked.  I gave him the run down of my day and how it would be one activity to another until 8pm and how I barely had the energy to move!  In that moment of telling him about my day I realized that any number of calamities could happen to alter my day, and I knew that if they did I would be begging for my simple busy day. Buoyed by the thought that there is joy in the ability to make it through a crazy day, I picked up my daughter and her friends from preschool and we went to the park.

I get really overwhelmed at the thought of being responsible for entertaining lots (read more than one) of children.  I knew that it was my turn to have the girls over but the anxiety of keeping them cooped up in my house for 3 hours was sending me over the edge. With the weather so nice I decided I would take them to the park for a picnic.  After they ate, off they ran to play.  I sat back in my chair and enjoyed a moment of stillness.  I listened to the sounds in that moment…  the soft whoosh of the cars on the nearby freeway, the giggles and shrieks of delight as the girls jumped and slid gently piercing the otherwise silent park and the quiet call of a bird somewhere deeper in the neighborhood. And, the feeling of the warm sun on my back.

What I’ve Learned This Week

-I love my family.  After spending a night away from them I was actually excited to weed the back yard with them. Really and truly.

sisters

-I’m so glad these two have each other (and their brother too).

-My son wishes his name was Bruce, because it sounds like a big-guy kind of name. He asked me if I could name him over again, if I would ever choose Bruce.  I said no, because I wouldn’t even name my dog Bruce.

-My daughter asked at dinner about a German man named Hicks. She meant Hitler, which made us all laugh because that child is forever mis-remembering words in the most deliciously funny ways(My favorite was when she asked about Jesus praying in the Garden of Yosemite).

-Shortly after I woke up this morning my legs gave out from under me and I had to grab the counter and hold on to prevent falling to the ground in pain.  What I learned was, even when my day starts out like that, I can still haul all three children to the Dr. at two separate times, grocery shop, make dinner for my own family and another one that just had a baby, bake brownies, and make a baby blanket all before 6pm. (whether or not I can move tomorrow is yet to be seen)

-Sometimes it is really hard to pray for the people that it should be easy to pray for. But, sometimes I just need to do it, and hope that healing will come.

-I am grateful for my health insurance, but the red tape behind an HMO can be frustrating at times.

-Some doctors do not consider Chiropractors real doctors. And, not all Chiropractors are created equal (and why do people keep recommending the bizarre ones who graduated in the 70′s?)

-I should really get a flu shot.

 

Getting Crafty for Valentines Day

stitching

Something about participating in the Holiday Edition of the Pillow Talk Swap got me in the mood for holiday themed pillows.  If you’ve been following me for a while you know I love the scrappy look for projects.  This pillow is no exception it is a great scrap buster project!

pillow

I used some of my very favorite prints: Heather Ross Briar Rose , Find the Narwhal by Sarah Jane, Pinwheels by Sarah Jane all picked up for a steal at SAS.  Rachel Ashwell Twigs from the Wildflower collection (after searching 30min I could not find a purchasing link for you), a repro print from maywood studios that reminds me of wallpaper that I picked up in Afton, WY a few summers ago. My very favorite Liberty print that I got at Purl SoHo’s warehouse in Tustin, CA. It was $24 yd, so I bought a quarter yard and have slowly used to it here and there.  I also included White Floral from Tasha Noel and used it again for binding.

pillow2

It was rather simple to make as well.  I cut random lengths of 2″ strips of the prints and made a 14×14 patchwork block. Next I cut a 14×14 block of the light grey fabric and basted it to the patchwork square (right side of the patchwork to wrong side of the grey square). Using water soluble ink I traced a 10″ heart onto the grey fabric.  I hand basted around my hand drawn heart and then machine stitched along my inked line.  To make the patchwork visible I cut the grey fabric as close to my stitching as possible (making sure not to cut through the patchwork)- thus revealing the heart!

patchwork_heart

I sandwiched the heart with batting and a muslin back and hand quilted around the heart and along the horizontal seams of the patchwork.  I have decided hand quilting provides the best puckering post wash.  My daughter is tickled to have this pillow on her bed- so maybe it’s not just for valentines day!

Looking for more valentines day fun?  Check out my free printable valentines Here, Here, Here

The Hales go to Texas

For the long weekend we took the WHOLE family to Texas to visit my mom.

traveler

We’ve only ever flown as a whole family once before, because do you have any idea what air fare costs for a family of five these days?!! Let’s just say we could have bought a  lot of tickets to Disneyland.

rainbow loom on the plane

We had a great time but I only have a few pictures to prove it.   I’ve decided it is really hard to live IN the moment and still have the eye of a photographer to CAPTURE the moment.  While I wish we had more pictures I do not regret living in the moment and enjoying our visit.

dino

cata_2

The Houston Museum of Natural Science was amazing!  We spent nearly 4 hours going through so many exhibits- the kids were such troopers.  We ran out of energy before we could see the Faberge exhibit, but the Egyptian exhibit was so cool, one of the museum employees gave us a personal tour and a lot of extra details about the mummies.

pool

cold

sand

We went to Galveston and stayed at the Moody Gardens resort. The kids loved the heated pools, my mom and I just sat pool side freezing (doesn’t my mom look beautiful in that picture? I can’t wait to grow old and look like her).  We all had a great time at the resort and the beach, but the time of year to go is really in the summer.  The water park would have been so much fun, and the pyramids were closed for the time we were there.

heather

It was great to visit with my mom and hear stories as we went through family photos.  We were looking for “frame worthy” photos of me as a young child….apparently if you put me in front of a camera before my 5th birthday all I knew how to do was scrunch up my face and bare my teeth.  While I am confident I was an adorable child, photogenic, I was not.

Thanks for the great memories Texas, you were so much more green than the desert and your trees dwarf our cacti!

Reading

heatherhalesdesigns-book list

 

I’ve started the book list for 2014, RIGHT HERE.  I also joined goodreads, I’ll share the link once I start writing reviews.  Have you started any good books recently?

p.s. this image above was taken by me, but inspired by the images of Juilette Tang. After looking through her pictures don’t you just want to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea?