Sophie’s Ball Gown

Well, it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon in the Shenandoah Valley.  I’m sitting on my front porch, watching Brayden ride his scooter down our driveway and Sophie is putting gas in her Little Tikes car.  It’s a cool 72 degrees…good day!!

I was checking my blog stats yesterday & I am about 49 views away from 1,500 all time views since I started blogging!!!!  I just wanted to thank all of my readers for reading it so much!  Maybe I only have 2 people reading the blog…a lot!  Whatever it is, I’m always excited when I see how many people are reading my articles 🙂

I was on Pinterest the other day (surprise, surprise!) and I found a tutorial for a Onesie Dress.  Here’s the link:

http://barefootinthekitchen.blogspot.com/2009/06/onesie-dress-tutorial.html

I was really excited to see this one, because all of the dresses I’ve made for Sophie so far haven’t had sleeves.  Now that fall is in the Valley, I was wondering what type of dress I could make her…I’m nowhere near ready to attempt sleeves.  This looked like the perfect project for me!

So, first of all, I was really confused by the measurements.  It’s not the tutorials fault…probably my own comprehension problems.  Anyway, after reading, reading some more, and re-reading, I came up with some measurements that I thought would work.

My first problem was I couldn’t find a onesie in a 3T size.  That’s ok with me…I love onesies for babies, but not so much for toddlers.  So, I found a really cheap shirt at Wal-Mart ($3.88).  Then, I bought the amount of fabric that the tutorial called for.  What I found out when I got home, was that she probably put those measurements on the tutorial because it was for a baby’s onesie.  If you make it for a toddler, you will most likely need more than 1/3 yard for the skirt & 1/4 yard for the ruffle.

Since I didn’t have enough of the fabric I had just bought for the dress, I started scrounging around in my box-o-fabric.  I found some material that my grandma had sent me to make a cover for a vanity in my son’s room.  It had baseballs all over it.  She had also sent me a cute red & white striped coordinating fabric to use on whatever.  So, the wheels started turning.  Brayden plays baseball…Sophie likes watching him play baseball…maybe I should make a baseball dress!!  Here’s what I came up with:

ImageAlthough I tried to measure the best I could, I think I ended up with too much fabric around.  Don’t get me wrong, the dress is really cute…it’s also really full!

ImageSophie loves it & that’s really all that matters to me 🙂

However, if I make another dress (and I probably will, because I bought 2 shirts, the other is purple), I have a couple of things I will do differently.

First: I will use a little less fabric around (width).  I think I will cut a couple of inches off my initial measurements, so that should eliminate some of the fullness of the skirt.

Second:  I have learned that I despise making ruffles.  I follow the directions.  I’ve watched YouTube videos, read tutorials.  I’m just not really good at it.

So, to fix those issues, what I think I’ll do differently is combine this dress with the pillowcase dress (see my earlier article, titled “Pillowcase Dress”).  I will make the skirt part like the pillowcase part of the dress.  Then, I will add the elastic to the top (or unfinished) part of the skirt and sew it on the shirt, like this tutorial says to do.  I will add a band to the bottom of the skirt, but will lose the annoying ruffle.

The possibilities for this dress are endless.  You can make it for a baby by using a onesie.  You can make it for a toddler by using a regular shirt.  You can do all sorts of fabric color combinations.  You can add ribbon, buttons, or other embellishments to make it your own.

Other than having to make the ruffle, and sewing the skirt on the dress was a little tricky, overall, the project was pretty easy…I’d give it a rating of “medium” difficulty.  Maybe it was just medium for me, who knows?? 🙂  Cost wise, it’s pretty inexpensive.  If you make it with onesies, you can get a pack of 3 or more and those range from $5 or $6 and up.  If you get the pack, you’ll get several dresses out of it, so the costs really go down.

Have a great weekend…what’s left of it anyway!!!  Back to the grind tomorrow 🙂

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What Did Yudu Today??

I have a toy…something my hubby got me for Mother’s Day last year.  It was something that I had demoed at Michael’s (I had a brief job for Provocraft, demonstrating their products at a Michael’s store).  When I demoed it, I thought it was very cool.  It’s called a Yudu machine.  It is a personal screen printing machine.  You can take any design that you can come up with and turn it into a t-shirt or whatever you get your hands on to screen print.

My original thought was to use it to make gifts for grandparents.  I had dreams of having Brayden draw a picture and then turn that artwork into a t-shirt, or one of those canvas bags.

So far, I have made t-shirts for our Celebrate Recovery group (at the church), a group called Hands & Feet (a group of our members who help with disaster relief after tornadoes or other natural disasters) and my latest project, our Ladies Day t-shirts.

I think it’s funny that what started out to be a personal item, has turned out to be so useful in church work.  But, you gotta use your talents however you can!!

So, I prepared the screen last night and test printed a shirt today.  I thought I would share with you the process.  I didn’t take pics of myself preparing the screen.  It’s a pretty tricky, but boring process.  Basically, you take your design and put it on a transparency.  The you use something that Yudu sells called “emulsion sheets”.  Think negatives for those old fashioned cameras.  You expose the design to the emulsion (there’s a special light box for it) and it burns the image in the emulsion.  The design washes away & that’s how the ink passes through the screen.

ImageSorry for the blurriness…it was really late 🙂

After the screen dries, you’re ready to print!  Here are my supplies:

ImageA test shirt, the ink, a squeegee, some tape (to tape the sides of the screen that didn’t get covered by the emulsion sheet.  This blocks the ink from going through the screen), a platen and the Yudu box.

ImageArrange the shirt on the platen.  It is sticky (well, mine used to be sticky), so your shirt will stay put.  

ImageNext, you do what they call “loading the screen”.  Basically, you squirt some of the ink at the top of your design, hold the screen up at an angle, away from your shirt and use the squeegee to spread the ink across the design.

ImageSorry again for the fuzziness…I was doing this part one handed (kind of ironic that the shirt is talking about “finding our focus” and yet my phone couldn’t find mine!!).  After you load the screen, place the screen down on your shirt and run the squeegee down the design again, putting even pressure over the entire area.

ImageImageTada!!!  You are now the proud owner of your very own screen printed shirt 🙂  All that’s left to do is let the ink dry (which doesn’t take that long) and then heat set the ink.  If you do everything properly, the design will last for a very long time.  I have a shirt I did a couple of years ago.  I have washed & dried it many times & the ink hasn’t cracked, peeled or faded.

ImageThere you have it.  Started the process (minus preparing the screen) at 8ish this morning.  By 9ish, I’m wearing my newly screen printed shirt!!  I love instant gratification 🙂  The nice thing about the screen is I can leave this design on the screen and print unlimited numbers of shirts.  Once I’m finished with the design, I can remove it and go on to the next project!

The Yudu does have some upfront costs.  The whole machine can be pricey, but we got it when it was deeply discounted.  The supplies seem pricey too, but the ink really stretches and the small bottle I have will be plenty to screen print the shirts I will need to make for this project.

I have been very happy with the quality of shirts this method produces.  I have been most impressed with the ink quality.  Like I said earlier, I’ve had one shirt for a couple of years and it still looks like it did the day I first screen printed it.  

It is also pretty easy to use.  When I was demoing it, I had not used it until I was in the store…demoing it!!  The company had sent me the screens already prepared.  I watched a tutorial video they sent me (the same one that comes with the Yudu machine) and went into it blindly.  However, it’s a simple process and that’s really the only info I needed!

The one drawback is that the Yudu machine is huge!!!  It takes up pretty much my whole dining room table.  That does not make it really easy to store, so if you get one, make sure you have a big shelf or an area large enough to house it.

I hope everyone has a happy Friday!!!!  Gotta love the weekends 🙂

Attack Of The Killer Stink Bug

I was attacked today…this morning to be exact.  I was minding my own business, not getting in anyone’s way and then completely out of the blue, I was hit, by a very bold and aggressive…stink bug!

We have an infestation of stink bugs right now.  Yesterday, we had 5 in our bathroom!!!  I’ve heard they like water & we always notice them after we’ve had a lot of rain. 

I hate them.  Most of the time they mind their own business…the crawl around the ceilings and stick close to sink drains (and then I can drown them!).  However, have you heard them fly??  They sound like an airplane coming in for a landing!  It’s really quite terrifying.

So, there I was, getting out of the shower and the stinky stink bug bombs me from above…smacks me right around the neck.  I, of course, flipped out.  I was jumping up and down, waving my arms all over the place…completely freaked out.  Luckily, I didn’t scream…I had sleeping kiddos and didn’t want to wake them up.  Internally though, I was screaming my lungs out 🙂

Unfortunately, the bug lives.  After he viciously attacked me, he flew up into the corner of the bathroom, probably chuckling at his handy work.  Boy, did I keep my eye on him…I wasn’t about to let him get me again.  I wanted to know where he was at all times!!!

That got me to thinking…as Christians, we get attacked everyday, by Satan.  Sometimes, it comes from out of the blue, like my attack.  Afterwards, we keep a cautious eye out…keeping our distance, but determined to not let that happen again.  Sometimes, the attack happens while we are keeping a watchful eye.  Satan works and works at us, wearing us down until we put down our guard.

He’s sneaky alright…and stinky!  I don’t believe we give Satan enough credit.  He is a quick study of human nature.  A couple of years ago, our Ladies Bible Class studied The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis. If you haven’t read it before, you should.  While reading, I kept getting goosebumps.  Although it was written in 1942, a lot of it still rings true today.

The book is a series of letters written between a “demon” named Screwtape to his nephew, Wormwood.  Screwtape is mentoring young Wormwood in the ways of manipulating his “patient”.  While the book takes some getting used to…the demons refer to God as “the enemy”, it’s amazing to see  how we, as humans, can let the small, insignificant day to day things get in the way of our relationship with God.

“Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  I Peter 5:8.

Yikes!!  Prowling…devouring…those are scary words.  They could be used to describe a horror film!  But, they’re describing instead a very real enemy that we have.  How do we combat him??  Read that verse from the beginning…be ALERT!  If we get comfortable and let our guard down, that’s when he strikes. 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think on such things.”  Philippians 4:8.

Dwell on those things.  Keep your guard up.  Don’t let them down.  That is the best way to fight our enemy.

There’s An App For…Me!!!!

Do not adjust your computers!!!  My blog is going through some changes.  First of all, I have changed the name of the blog to Mommy Matters.  I did this for a couple of reasons.  #1, the blog has become a lot more than just Pinterest related articles.  I felt like changing the name up would allow me to be a little broader on my topics.  #2, my little brother made an app for my blog!!!!!!!

I feel like it’s Christmas today!  I got a text from him this evening that the app was finally in the App Store!!!!  Here’s the link for it:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mommy-matters/id561866516?Is=1&mt=8

Hopefully that will work.  It wasn’t showing up in the “search” area earlier, but this should get you there.  So, why should you download the app??

ImageWell, you will get notifications whenever I write a new article.  I had to learn how to do “push notifications”.  Sounds pretty impressive & tech-y right??  Turns out…not too difficult 🙂

You can go back and read past articles very easily.  There is also a daily verse tab that you can click on the get a little inspiration every day.

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And, the app is FREE!!!!  So, why not go ahead and download it???  It is only available for the iPhone…sorry Android readers :(.  My brother only develops for Apple.

ImageIf you’re in the market for an app for your blog, or maybe your business or church, check out my brother’s website:

http://316apps.com/

You can also check out the apps he’s developed so far by searching under his name “Tyler Brassfield” in the App Store.  He does great work (maybe I’m biased) & he’s very reasonable in his pricing.  

So, I hope you all enjoy using the app.  I look forward to writing many more articles for “Mommy Matters”!!!  

Mrs. Jones, You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter

What were you doing three years ago today???  I was settling into a new house.  We had moved in 4 days previous.  Boxes were everywhere.  My mom and grandma had come in 2 days earlier for a visit.  Oh yeah…and I was 9 months pregnant.

Now, I do not recommend moving when you are 9 months pregnant.  It was not a lot of fun.  A friend came over about 1 week before the official move in day to help me set up my kitchen…what a lifesaver she was!!!  After a long day of figuring out where to put dishes and pots and pans, I took my tired, swollen feet and rested…for a little bit.

Tomorrow will be my daughter, Sophia’s, 3rd birthday.  I really can’t believe she’s already 3.  To put it in perspective, my son, Brayden, turned 3 about 3 weeks after we made the big move from Oklahoma to Virginia.

ImageHere she is…minutes old.

ImageThe first time I got to hold her.  Of course, the first post pregnancy photos aren’t the most glamorous, but oh well 🙂

ImageThis is possibly my favorite pic.  Michael was in the nursery while they were giving Sophie her first bath & I was in recovery.  This is my mom, grandma and Brayden seeing Sophie for the very first time.  By the way, this is the quilting grandma I talked about in another blog 🙂

Sophia Grace was born on September 24th.  She weighed 8 pounds 9 ounces and was 21 inches long.  She weighed the exact same weight as her big brother & was only 1/2 an inch longer.  Their baby pics look almost identical.  However, that is where the similarities end.

I should have realized in the hospital that Sophie was going to be strong willed.  My hospital room was on the opposite end of the hallway as the nursery.  That meant that when Sophie was hungry, I could hear the nurses rolling her down the hallway long before she got to the room!!

The things I’ve learned about my daughter over the past 3 years:

#1:  I think she’s going to be a great mommy some day.  She has a baby doll that you can “feed”.  She is always very concerned if the baby says she’s hungry, and immediately gives her some “food”.  Whenever her brother hurts himself…either a stubbed toe or something else, she’s always right there to make sure he’s ok.

#2:  She loves her “Bubba”.  She will follow Brayden around, day & night and will play with him & pester him.  She loves riding in the Jeep with him and loves it when he reads to her.  And, she is his biggest fan when he plays baseball!

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#3:  She is stubborn and if something isn’t her idea, it’s not going to happen.  I’m not exactly sure who she gets that from.  She is not potty trained…she never really crawled & she walked after about 1 year of physical therapy.  Nothing physically wrong with her legs or muscles…she just learned that we would carry her around all the time :).

#4:  She is the orneriest almost 3 year old I have ever known.  When she’s going to be silly, she gets this little gleam in her eye.  Her favorite trick to play right now is to act like she’s going to give her daddy a kiss and then run and give me one instead.  I happen to like that game too 🙂

#5:  She is already boy crazy.  She chased a little boy down in the foyer at the church building and kissed him…on the mouth!  Both daddy & Bubba were not too happy about that one.

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#6:  She is crazy about chocolate…which she gets from me.  Her favorite??  The chocolate yogurt at Sweet Frog…yummy!!!

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#7:  She has her daddy wrapped around her little finger…

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#8:  She is the sweetest little girl I know.  She has this way of giving you the sweetest smile & you just melt.

ImageHappy Birthday sweet Sophie!!!!  I love you so much & I’m so proud of you!!!!  You have brought so much joy into our lives.

The Great American Pastime

Well, when it rains, it pours…two blogs in one day.  I couldn’t wait to share this one though, plus I may not have time to do it tomorrow.

Brayden is playing Fall Ball.  I had no idea there was “fall ball”, but there is.  Our coach’s son has played ball in the spring, summer and now fall.  That means, that he spends 5 months out of the entire year not sitting in a dugout!  Now that’s dedication!!!

Brayden loves playing baseball.  I get really nervous when he goes up to bat.  He’s amazing though.  When he hits the ball & gets on base, he’s super excited!!  If he strikes out or gets thrown out before he gets to first base…he’s super excited!!  That’s just his personality.

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We’ve been slowly changing his room decor from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (which for some reason, he has outgrown) to a more grow up and generic Baseball theme.  My grandma made him a lovely quilt and matching curtains.  We have proudly displayed his trophies on a shelf.  I added one more touch today…to his door.

I found this and several variations of the project on Pinterest.  I’ll post the link to the actual one I used.  Here it is:

http://www.thepinterestproject.com/2012/04/swing-batter-batter.html

Thanks to a friend, whose boys are into baseball as well, I got some old baseballs donated for this project!!  Yay!!  Thanks Heather, if you’re reading this 🙂

ImageSo, I grabbed my hubby’s trusty drill and my bag of baseballs.  The Cracker Jack box was left by my son, but I thought it went well with the theme, so it made the pic 🙂  I used a 1/4 inch drill bit, like the tutorial says to use.  At first, I started with smaller bits, but quickly found that the 1/4 inch bit worked the best…imagine that…the instructions were right!

Now, I had problems in the beginning drilling the balls, because the bit doesn’t go through the entire ball… it’s just not that long.  I had trouble getting the two holes to meet each other in the middle…here’s the ball I tried on first…

ImageAs you can see…many holes on many sides.  After getting really frustrated, I noticed that as I was drilling one side, the opposite side had a little bulge on it, where the drill bit was almost coming through.  Once I figured that out, I would put my finger on the bulge and then turn the ball over and drill there.  Things went much better after that!

ImageSee the bulge??  That’s where you want to drill from the other side.

I drilled about 12 balls in all.  Then, I simply strung them on a wire hanger I got out of our laundry room…fancy!

ImageFYI…it’s easier to put the balls on the wire if it is pretty straight.  Any twists or curves makes it a little tougher.

ImageOnce you have the balls on the wire, all you have to do is make a couple of loops and close up the ends of the wreath.

ImageThen, I added some ribbon to hang the wreath up on his door.  This is all I had on hand…it might change later on.

ImageTo give it a little different look, I just stuck his baseball hat in the middle…

ImageI think Brayden was pretty excited about it…

ImageNot sure what look this is, but I’m going to go with pretty pleased, but trying to act cool 🙂

I have a few more baseball decor projects to add to his room, but those may be a Christmas present later on.  I was just too excited to wait on this one!!

Since I got the baseballs for free, all this project cost me was a wire hanger ($0), some ribbon I already had ($0) and free baseballs ($0).  Not too bad!!!!  If you don’t have a friend who will give you baseballs, then I would suggest going to a used sporting good store or maybe a batting cage.  You want the baseballs to look old and weathered…plus brand new baseballs are expensive…even at Wal-Mart!!!!

Once I figured out how to drill the balls properly, the whole project only took me about 45 minutes…if that.  This is an easy weekend project that will add charm to your home!  

I hope you enjoy this project!!  Happy Weekend!!

Letters To God

What a busy week!!  I’m sorry I haven’t posted very much recently.  I have been helping plan Ladies Day for our congregation and have been busy building PowerPoint presentations (something I haven’t done since college) and other various things.  I knew it had been a while since I had posted, but I knew it was really bad when my mom thought I was blocking her from seeing my posts :).  

So, we had a planning session last night for our Ladies Day.  After the meeting, we all stayed and watched a movie called “Letters To God”.  It’s been out for a couple of years now.  Honestly, I had never heard of it before.  One of my friends highly recommended it, so we watched it.  

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It follows a true story about a 9 year old boy who has an aggressive brain tumor.  It shows him going through his treatments and then recovery at home.  It shows the different ways people act towards him.  Some sad, some mad and some even jealous.  If you watch it, make sure you have some bunches of tissues.  This is your warning…it’s a tear jerker!!!  

At one point in the movie, the little boy, Tyler, can’t understand why another boy, Alex, is being mean to him at school.  Tyler has a best friend, Sam, the cutest little girl ever!!  Sam lives with her grandfather and one day they go over to talk to Grandpa, to see if he knows why Alex is mean to Tyler.

In a sweet and funny way, Grandpa tells Tyler that Alex might be jealous of Tyler.  Well, Tyler can’t understand that at all.  He has cancer…what’s to be jealous about???  Grandpa explains that perhaps God has chosen Tyler to be His warrior…to take His message to everyone.  This gives Tyler an answer to a question he has, but more importantly, it gives him purpose.  For the short amount of time he has, he has a job to do.  He is a Warrior.

He takes this job very seriously.  He tells Alex he forgives him for being mean to him.  This small letter then has a chain reaction that has a huge effect on many people.  During the course of all of this, Tyler writes letters to God.  This is how  he prays to God.  The letters get collected by their mailman, who’s world is crumbling around him.  He lost his wife, his son, and he’s very close to losing his job.  He reads Tyler’s letters and delivers them to the people who Tyler is praying about.

Although this movie is heart breaking at times, it carries so many messages that we all could benefit from.  I especially like the part of Tyler being God’s Warrior.  His eyes lit up with excitement when he was charged with sharing God’s message.  

This got me to thinking (I know…scary).  We are all God’s Warriors.  We have been charged with sharing His message with the world.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20.

See…we’re God’s Warriors and He challenged us over 2000 years ago to share His Word with the world. Now, if a 9 year old boy with cancer could make such a big impact in the span of a few months, what can we do???  Tyler knew he had just a short amount of time on this earth, so it made his quest urgent.  What about us?  Do we know how much time we have left here????  It could be years.  It could be days.  Shouldn’t we have the same urgency that Tyler had?

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  James 4:14.

We are promised right now…and nothing more.  Please take every advantage you have and make the most out of every situation.