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Showing posts from 2015

Pattern Review: Jane's Little Boxy Bag

I make time for sewing more than any other hobby. If I could spend a week off from work sewing all day, I would. There's nothing like the feeling of making something useful from fabric! Sometimes, I create my own design, sometimes I adapt a pattern, and sometimes I work from a purchased pattern. With bags, I prefer to buy a pattern. I feel more confident that the results will hold up if I work from someone's tested idea.

When Penny signed up to take dance classes with a friend, I decided to make each girl a little bag to hold their shoes. I wanted a bag that could stand on its own, would be small enough for the kids to carry, and could fit in a larger bag on occasion.

Jane's Little Boxy Bag Pattern from Projects by Jane was just what I was looking for. I made the two bags at once, one exactly as instructed, and the second bag using thin fusible fleece to underline the exterior.

Both bags came out cute. The shape is the same and the style is the same. The main difference is…

Review: Yumbox Leakproof Bento Lunch Box

I obsess over Penny's lunch. While I am not a mom who worries about a beautiful, fancy experience of gourmet school lunch delights, I do care about using a box that is easy for her to open and close, keeps food where it needs to be, and holds the right portion sizes for a young kid.

We've tried individual boxes that fit together, sandwich bags, wraps, and other random equipment, but it all has annoying drawbacks. Just picture a little girl pulling out 6 individual boxes with removable lids. Guess what happens after lunch? It's all piled back in the lunch box with sticky leftovers flying around on the ride home. It's gross.

Bags, plastic wrap, and foil are all well and good, but our school is very green and doesn't want unnecessary lunch trash. As a recycle first family, I do my best to avoid those options.

There are adorable bento kits on Amazon, but the best ones seem to cost more than $35 and I wondered if there was something out there under $30 that was kid-fri…

All-Time Favorite Sewing Patterns

Sewing is how I relax after a difficult day, what I enjoy during a quiet afternoon, and is definitely my favorite hobby. As a kid and in my 20s, I sewed a little, but starting around 2006, I got into it more seriously and now, I'm confident that I can make a dress, create doll clothes from scratch, and come up with cool pattern modifications for my daughter's outfits.

Here are a few of my all-time favorite patterns. Be sure to check them out if you're looking for new ideas!

Crepe by Colette Patterns
I've made the Crepe dress twice, once for my mom and once for myself. I loved the detailed instructions and a pattern that is quick to sew.

With both dresses, I underlined, which isn't part of the instructions. The dress for my mom is a cotton vintage Betsey Johnson print. I wanted a more stiff shape, so the underlining helped the skirt look more full. For mine, the fabric is a lightweight cotton batiste that was fairly see-through. I underlined and then lined the bodic…

eSalon Review Update: Still Awesome 9 Orders Later!

It's been nearly 18 months since I visited eSalon headquarters for a behind the scenes tour and in-house color. In that time, it's been the only brand I use for hair color. I just visited my eSalon account and found I've colored my hair 9 times since my trip!

If you've read my blog, you know I used to try all the store brands to test them out and post reviews, but eSalon has been so good for my hair, I don't want to use anything else.

My family has signed up and tried eSalon. My sister-in-law's hair looks awesome every time we visit! Now, my coworker who has been longing to do her outgrown roots for months, is ready to try. As soon as she tries it, I'll post before and after pics.

I got her some products to try on her light blonde hair in the meantime:


Since I'm a huge fan of eSalon, I wanted to point out a few products I enjoy, remind you that you can get $10 off your first order, and share some past hair color links, just to reminisce some of my good…

Penny Makes Yogurt Butter Cups

Penny loves Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. It's genetic. I'm addicted. My mom's addicted. And I bet, grandma was too.

I've made homemade peanut butter cups but they aren't the same as the yumminess of Reece's. It's all about the peanut butter. Since Penny also loves yogurt, she asked if we could make yogurt butter cups.

At first, I kind of giggled because it seemed kind of unusual, but then I thought we ought to experiment and see if chocolate stuffed with yogurt actually works. Penny provided all the direction for this experiment. I just did what I was told.

First, I made the chocolate "wet," meaning I microwaved some chocolate chips she pulled out of our baking cabinet.


Next I put some melted chocolate in a mini silicone mold, topped it with a little Activia, and poured more chocolate on top. Penny didn't want to add sugar, butter, or other ingredients. Keeping it simple!

To speed up the setting process, I popped it in the freezer for 15 mi…

7 Awesome Back-to-School Must Haves

Did you wait until the last minute to buy school supplies? Me too. Here's a list of handy things to grab for your little ones as they get ready for the first day of school.


1. Animal Pals Pencil Case
My daughter has dozens of pencils, markers, and crayons and loves to bring a few along in the car. Whether your children need one for school, or if they're on the go and want to color in the car or plane, have them bring their drawing and coloring tools along in one of these super cute pencil cases. I love the yellow zebra one, available on Amazon at Cool Pencil Case - Animal Pals Pencil Case- Zebra. It's currently only $4.49 with free shipping.


2. Elmer's Washable No-Run School Glue
Chances are gel glue is on the school supply list. Our school requested gel glue, but it's actually hard to find in my town. So, I order Elmer's Washable No-Run School Glue, 5 oz Bottle, Clear (E305) from Amazon.

The clear glue doesn't leave those white globs when dry and can be us…

Road Trip 2015: Days 7 & 8

Days 7 & 8:Des Moines, IA to Minnesota After a long week, Des Moines was low key. On a very hot day, we spent the afternoon at a municipal pool and visited the Saylorville Dam.

Our second night camping at Saylorville was considerably louder. A neighboring family was quite apologetic about their baby's first time camping, though I never heard her cry. Others were much louder, including a party somewhere else in the campground that was loud enough to hear late in the evening. My husband was strongly considering packing up and driving home at 10pm, but P wanted to stay the night and so we did.

I'm so glad we stayed because not long after leaving on Saturday morning, we realized we were super close to Reiman Gardens at Iowa State in Ames. We'd been last summer when visiting SCAD friends in town from Savannah and decided it was worth another visit. But, first we munched on a delicious buffet breakfast at the IowaStater restaurant.

During our visit, we explored several stude…

Road Trip 2015: Days 5 & 6

Day 5:Cheyenne, WY to Kearney, NE The trip to Fort Kearney was uneventful. It's a long drive and scenery changes little. There are more trees and the Platte River runs along I-80 for more than half the distance between these cities. As it was early summer and quite stormy lately, the river was already above flood level and a flood warning loomed over our heads.

We arrived at Fort Kearny State Historical Park (no "e" for the fort) close to dinnertime, found our site surrounded by trees among a large acreage of camping spots. Few people were camping, mostly in RVs.

There's not much to say about Day 5. We explored downtown Kearney and found little to do. Shops were long out-of-business and we couldn't find a place to eat. There wasn't a soul in sight at dinnertime midweek, so we drove away from downtown and found an Old Chicago.

Fort Kearny was ridiculously overrun with mosquitos. It was so bad, I had no intention of spending any time outside the tent. Miss P an…

Road Trip 2015: Days 3 & 4

Day 3:Custer, SD to Cheyenne, WY After an hour-long drive around the animal observation path at Custer State Park, a filling breakfast, some tourist shopping at the lodge gift shop, and packing up camp, we departed Custer for a two-night stay in Cheyenne.

Honestly, I didn't know what to expect driving through Wyoming. I pictured it as a flat landscape dotted with ranches and sprinkled with cattle. During our drive, we saw little evidence of people. Aside from an occasional windbreak or abandoned farmhouse, the landscape was mostly flat, with few trees - but not much in the way of ranches or animals for many miles in the distance. We learned at a museum in Cheyenne that just because we can't see anything obvious doesn't mean there's nothing there and in fact, there are many lively species making their home in the vast plains. Pretty cool.

I was grateful we filled up the gas tank before leaving Custer because we didn't come across so much as a tiny town with a gas pu…