Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thrifty Thursday

For a long time, thrift shops have not been my thing. Not. At. All.It's not that I have anything against used things. In fact, I love used things. I love things with a past--things with a story I may never find out. But here's the deal, over the past several years it seems like when I've walked into a thrift store I find a worn-out Circo brand t-shirt marked for $3, get angry, and walk out. I'm not mad because I really wanted the shirt for myself. Rather, I'm upset that the people that are running the stores aren't doing the community any favors by offering a very used item (that was given to the thrift store for free) for the same price it was purchased for the first time around.  If I donate a shirt I bought for three dollars, I want you to sell it to someone who needs it for a quarter... not three dollars!

Anyway, I've recently been changing my tune.  I still get upset when I see old K-mart tees for way too much (is it really too much to teach employees how to appropriately price the most common brands that enter their back door?), but I am beginning to realize that some of these stores dramatically reduce the price of their merchandise at the end of a season--which makes me a happier camper.

Anyhoo, I told you I went to a sale with my cousin at a thrift store (where I found my curtain and sound of music dress fabric). I'd never been there before and was pleasantly surprised with their reasonable prices... vintage was a bit more at times, which I'm cool with. But even then the vintage things were pretty cheap.

Here are a few of my other finds I found that day:

A vintage S.A. pendant to remind me of our first two years of married life in a place that is terrific to visit... but one we wouldn't choose to move back to. 

As soon as I saw this pitcher, I thought: Who on earth would buy this on a trip to Worlds of Fun? I'm still not sure. It wouldn't be something I'd choose. But I'd sure buy it for 13 centavos at a thrift makes me laugh every time I see it!

And here are a few from my trip today (my in-laws love garage sales and thrift stores!):

Barely used Stride Rites for Cruz.

As soon as I found this sweater, I sent a picture of it to my sister. Her response was something like: "I've been wanting that my whole life!" My thoughts exactly. Unfortunately, it won't fit either of us, but Eliana is one lucky girl come next fall! 

All coats and jackets were $1.49 today! Perfect, because I've recently realized that perhaps it might be a good idea to have something nicer than a hoodie for a spring jacket--especially if I want to wear the vintage heels I picked up a few weeks back!

Have you been thrifting recently? What have been your favorite finds?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sound of Music Dress

After I found the fabric at the thrift store last week, I knew it was going to be time to try my hand at making Eliana an outfit.  Something I've never really done for her (if you don't count Halloween costumes, and I don't!)... something I've done for Diego and for my older nieces, but by the time she rolled around I felt overwhelmed like I would never be able to function normally again and certainly never break out the sewing machine ever again.  Anyway, it was time. She's three, for pity's sakes! And the fabric was practically free, so if I messed it up too bad, it wouldn't be the end of the world. I thought I might need a pattern, until I saw this and then I decided I could wing it like I've done in the past. (I'm really not a pattern kinda girl.) Then, I saw this, and wanted it desperately for her, but let's face it, money's kinda tight right now and it wasn't going to happen. Then, I took a closer look and decided it was close enough to the first dress that I could modify the directions a bit and at least come up with something similar.

I found this coordinating upholstery sample out of my granny's craft stuff and was amazed at how well it worked with the curtain fabric and decided to use it for the bodice. Then I picked up some other supplies out of my vintage sewing supplies I had laying around. The part I wish I would have bought was a better matching thread, but I'm really not at a place in my life where a fabric store run is an easy thing, so I went with what I had. Plus, I liked the idea of practically free. So, that's what I get!

Here's what I did:

Cut two matching rectangles for the bodice and then cut a small neck hole in both.

Cut a slit down the back.

Cut the front neckline a bit lower -- I actually went back and cut it even lower than this later.

I sewed some rick-rack across the front piece and then sewed the two pieces at the shoulder. Later, I decided to go back and narrow it a bit more-- I wish I hadn't because it's now a bit more snug than I'd like, but you live and you learn right?

I used some vintage bias tape to go around the neck hole.

Sewed the bottom corners of the bodice together, just a bit to give myself a bit of an outline for the sleeves.

I cut a good length of fabric for the skirt of the dress... too long, I think about 21 inches. (Again, you live and learn, next time I'm going shorter!)  With the right sides together, I sewed it together to create a tube.

Here's a picture to give you an idea of how much wider than the bodice the skirt was.

I tacked some more rick-rack onto the front and sewed in place. After that, I sewed on more bias tape to hem the skirt. I gathered the skirt and then with the right sides together, sewed it into place.

For the sleeves I cut two identical pieces that were doubled over and gradually got wider toward the fold.

I sewed the ends of the sleeves-- right sides together and then ran bias tape around the the sloped sides of the sleeves. Then I gather the other sides of the sleeves, tacked them into the bodice (right sides together) and sewed them in place.I finished the dress by using a vintage button and used some more rickrack for a buttonhole.

Forever in my mind this will be her Sound of Music dress because it matches my curtain. Don't know what I'm talking about? It's time to watch it--good grief, it's a classic!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Another Peek Upstairs

I've said before, that I don't like to let people see my upstairs. Today, I thought I'd show you another reason why. This window--Jesse and I purchased it in Fredericksburg, back when we were living in San Antonio. I was so excited when we bought our house because I finally had the perfect place to hang it--in our upstairs hallway window! It was going to be such a pretty greeting as you came up the stairs, I thought. But Jesse didn't like how the bottom half of the window was exposed to the backyard and anyone who was curious enough to look. Who would look? I'm not sure.  We're not that exciting!

Anyway, he decided to fix our bottom half of the window his own way-- with a baby towel. Needless to say, I wasn't thrilled, but didn't have another solution on hand so that was the end. It's been hanging there for almost four years now. Bleh! At one point recently, I found a curtain I liked at Urban Outfitters for $15, but then when I realized that shipping was going to add another $8 to the total, I chickened out and didn't buy.

Then last week, my cousin, Emily took me to sale and I found vintage fabric--fill a bag for $1.50. One of them was this, I thought maybe I'd make a summer dress out of it for Eliana. When I got home, I realized that it was actually 3 yards worth. More than enough to make a dress... and enough to make a curtain, too.

First I hemmed the bottom.

Then I cut 9-8 inch pieces of biased tape. (I bought a box of vintage bias tape for a couple bucks a few years ago.) After that I folded them in half and ironed them flat.

I pinned them evenly inside the top hem... alternating colors as I went along.

My technique for finding where to place the next one didn't require any math skills. I just brought two of the pieces of tape together to find the middle--where the next piece should go. After they were pinned in I sewed the hem.

When the hem was done, I ironed the bias tape tabs up.

And then, I got into my stash of vintage buttons ($2 for the jar) and sewed buttons to the front to keep the tabs up in the right position.

I took down the old bent curtain rod that was over the window. And placed a different one (that had been on the wall in Jesse's closet for some odd reason) in it's place.

As far as I can figure, this project cost me a total of $0.88 (50¢ fabric; 20¢ bias tape; 18¢ buttons; free vintage thread from my momma). Not bad.

And now this is what I'll see in the evening.

And this is what I'll see during the day. And I can live with that... and maybe allow more people to see my upstairs in the future.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Snapshots

Jesse doing the dishes after lunch. He said that two weeks ago when he did them, he noticed it worked to his favor and was hoping it would work again. We shall see, my friend, we shall see.

Cruz with his abuelo, Onofre Julian Cruz Rodriguez.

This is why my playroom normally is a crazy mess. It takes them about a minute flat to destroy the place.

Diego and I decided to make no bake cookies during naptime. I had forgotten how easy they were-- and how little clean-up it requires afterward!

We also tried our hand at a self-portrait... I think we took about 30 pictures before we could agree on one.

Our end product-- minus a few that we had already dug into. Yummo!

Hope your weekend has been wonderful-- tell me what your favorite part was. I'd love to hear!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Clean for Now

Well, I got the house clean... we'll see how long it stays that way.  I've already discovered the kitchen floors need major repair.  I guess I'll do that next. Looks like somebody sloshed strawberry juice all over the floor in a trail. Whatever.

If you think of it, pray for me this week. Our schedules are highly rearranged right now and I'm tired and am not reacting to things in a kind or gracious manner. And I really want to be a good hostess to my in-laws. That and I'm dealing with a language barrier which seems to make the days full of either awkward silent moments or misunderstandings. Pray hard for my heart to be softened, receptive, and obedient to God's Spirit speaking to me.

Happy Weekend!

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Dad {& Nest in the Sun Winners}

(photo courtesy Brian Dexter)
  • saved me today... I was stranded at the pediatrician's office because my car wouldn't start. Dad was there in a jiffy and did something to make it start again.
  • is my son's best friend. There's no one he'd rather spend time with... they are quite the pair.
  • called to tell Jesse he had won tickets to a basketball game last week; Jesse thought he was being invited to go along. He wasn't. Dad wanted Diego to go.
  • likes his KU, so we'll be eating at home tonight so he can catch the game.
  • supplies his entire family with enough fish to eat throughout the summer.
  • watches my kids every Wednesday afternoon so I can go to work. And even changes diapers.
  • was a youth pastor... until I hit high school. And then, he'd had enough.
  • is always watching out for his family.
  • can be very frugal, but extremely generous with his kids!
  • is stubborn. And passed it to his oldest child... they butt heads frequently. But they still love each other.
  • is 59 today! Happy Birthday, Daddy. I love you!
Congrats to Kyle and Sarah! Please contact me with your info--the first one to respond gets her pick of prizes!  And thanks again to Wendy, for such a generous gift!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Waving in the Breeze

I've decided I may need a clothesline...

This poor man's version didn't do too well. I'm desperately trying to salvage a vintage outfit that I want Eliana to wear for Easter... it's getting better, but still not where I'd like it to be.  Rust is quite the challenge to get out!

Anyhoo, today is the last day to register for the giveaway... have you registered yet? You can register up to four times by commenting here.

Well, I'm off to get some caffeine in me and then entertain the in-laws. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Keepin' It Real

Occasionally, I get comments on my blog that make me worry that I've caused someone else to feel inadequate. Which is never, ever my intent.  (I just find it easier to blog about the beautiful and pretty things in my life... it's easier for me to open about these things. Plus, I don't always want to come across as Debbie Downer--who I can easily turn into if I focus on the wrong things.)

But I want to let you know. This is my real house. Some of us are the cleaning type. Those of you who are, I deeply apologize for what you're about to see because it's most likely going to shock and disgust you. Those of you who are the cleaning type may wonder how I have time for some of my projects or estate sale shopping... this is it.  I let my house go.

(dirty dishes everywhere, overflowing garbage can, craft projects, & very dirty floors! oh my!)

Others of you, like me, may not realize I'm a messy because I usually don't post those pictures. I. am. a. messy. I don't want to be... but then who does? Most of the cleaning type would probably like to do more projects, but they couldn't survive in a house like mine. It all evens out in the end, right? We do the things that are the biggest priorities to us.

(vintage finds, teapots to return to my momma, my starbucks cold cup, & party decor 4 weeks later!)

I feel like I constantly battle the feelings of inadequacy because I have a momma who is as close to the Proverbs 31 woman as I'll ever meet. No really... she had friends who called her that when I was growing up. But being the wise and godly woman she is, (as she washes my dishes again) she reminds me that her sink used to be full of dirty dishes all the time when I was young. Because she doesn't want me to feel inadequate any more than I want you to. And this weekend, one of her friends told me that the dish story is true!

(kids' shoes everywhere, stacks of laundry--there's one on my printer, & tons of paperwork to file or shred)

So there's hope. Not that I'll always have time to do everything I want (my momma still doesn't have all the time she'd like), but that I may at least not have such a messy house. Today, however, I sent my older two with my wonderful aunt, Nine. So I could clean this mess. I'm still not done, but have a great start. Because even though I'm going to try to keep it real with you, I'm going to try my best to not make my in-laws live in my reality for a week and a half! And with that, I'm out (and back to cleaning)!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

All Things New

My momma and I took a drive on Saturday. We were supposed to go shopping, but by the time we were out of the drive we already had two sleeping babies in the back, so we decided to just admire creation.

As we drove, we marveled at how just a couple of weeks ago, everything had looked so dead, so utterly miserable. And now the beauty of new life is bursting forth from the ground. Momma remarked how God is amazing like that... He gives us seasons to remind us of His promises-- His ability to make all things new.

In order for there to be a spring, there must first be a winter. A death before a rebirth of the earth. The world is good at death, too. We've all (humanity and all of creation) have been scarred by sin in the world. (Romans 8:20-21) We are subject under the old law, to death.

Thank you, Jesus, that we are no longer subject to that law under Christ! His death has ended that curse on upon us! Through Him we can have new life. (2 Corinthians 3:6; Romans 5:17)

Just like the earth must die in the winter in order to receive new life in the spring, our sinful nature must die in order to experience life living in the Spirit. (Romans 6:6)

Thank You, God, for Your extravagant love poured out on us--that You made a way to save us from our sinful selves! Thank You, Lord, for new life and Your promise to one day make all things new! (Revelation 21:5) 

And in the meantime, thank You for Your beautiful reminder of these truths through creation! (Revelation 1:20)