Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My little snowflake :)

All the sudden I'm giving my sewing machine a much-needed work out :) Next up: A snowflake dress/pinafore for Little Miss to wear all winter! Forgive the terrible pictures, my model was (again) not in the mood to have her photo taken. One of these days...

I splurged a little on Black Friday. And by a little, I mean an awful lot. We were at Joann Fabrics over 2hr and walked out with a grand bag full of goodies. And then, I came home and indulged myself with a couple patterns I've had my eyes on for quite a while from the beautiful Lily Bird Studio. They're the perfect blend of classic and modern styling. Most patterns have a generous range of sizes and full photograph tutorials.

This particular pattern is called the "Birthday Party" dress. If you can't see in the pictures, there's an empire waistline just below the armholes where the skirt is ruffled on at about 2:1, then there is another hem ruffle again at 2:1. It's awfully fluffy by the end! Plus the shoulder ruffles, of course. And - believe it or not - I made absolutely no adaptations to the pattern other than cutting all one fabric instead of a combination of prints. Oh, and switching the buttons to snaps because button holes hate me. There are belt loops on the sides, but I haven't made a belt yet and we'll just see if I ever get around to it. It's pretty darling as is!

I am mad in love with this pattern. Which is good - it goes from sizes 1-8 so I'll be able to use it forever. Maybe not forever, but a good long while, at least until she outgrows the style :)

PS, I can't decide if it's a dress or a pinafore - technically a dress, but since it's snowflakes and short sleeves, it will never be worn without something underneath... historical fashionistas, can you explain the difference?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pretty in Plaid

I've had a sewing block for a long time because Gracie has So. Many. Clothes. We've been blessed with multiple trash bags of hand-me-downs in good condition, and one of her grandmother's love languages is so clearly gifts - most frequently shown with cute outfits for Miss to wear. I'm ashamed to count the number of garments I've washed, folded, and then had sit there never worn until she outgrew them. But! We're finally towards the end of the bags, and she is in need of winter clothing. Also, now that her growth is slowing down, it's worth putting the energy into sewing darling little garments for her.

If you haven't found Pinterest... don't. It's a problem. I found it. I've been collecting girl's sewing tutorials for months now... and it's time to break them out! Inspiration is easy to find:

Oliver + S Jump rope dress

Libby Top tutorial, Craftiness is Not Optional
I've combined the two ideas above, plus a handful of other ideas I've seen in person and online, to create this cutie:
I followed the Libby Top tutorial almost exactly, incorporating my own styling while following the directions. I'm not a huge fan of white bibs, which is why I used the same fabric as the body of the dress except set on bias. The pockets are on bias, too, just for fun :) They're gathered like on the Oliver + S dress. And since I thought buttons would detract from the lines to compete with the pink bias trim, I opted for three little snaps hand sewn into the overlap on the bodice center front.

And a ruffle to make it dress length :) And pink bias trim from a scrap in my stash. It makes me so happy.

What? You don't wear butterfly wings when you play?
This is the first time I've drafted a sleeve from scratch. It frightened me to no end, but I think they turned out ok. And Gracie smiled, right before flinging herself down the slide. Little Miss was NOT interested in being photographed today so I'm afraid the pictures don't do it justice. It's *really* cute and I'm *really* going to the Joann's doorbuster sale Black Friday morning to buy more fabric to whip up a couple more.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Biblical" Discipline

We have reached that age. You know the one: Where Miss is given a command she is capable of following and for whatever reason doesn’t do it. Where Miss knows what she wants but can’t have it, resulting in an epic melt down. And like many parents in this situation, I’m searching for tools to use to guide her through this stage.

I have to admit, even though I consider myself a strong Christian, I really hesitate to take the advice of Christian parenting experts touting a single “biblical” method of raising children. At first, I didn’t know why. I’ve spent a couple months now in the Scriptures themselves as well as outside sources, and I think I can explain my discomfort with that now. I’m writing this to anyone else who may feel the same way – especially if those who can’t put their finger on the “off” feeling. [Clarity: I am writing about those experts who have a one-size-fits-all method, or ritual, designed to be used after any infraction by the child. These books are poplar and wide-spread and frequently taught in churches.]

The main reason I distrust those who claim there is one biblical method of discipline? Because God himself doesn’t use one consistent method of correction. Nor does He lay one out within the Word itself.

First, a short reflection on the ways God interacted with His children who disobeyed him:
  • When Moses hesitated, offering an abundance of excuses as to why he could not obey, he was given a helper in Aaron. (Exodus 3-4)
  • When the Israelites stepped out of God’s protection, He allowed them to experience the natural consequences of being a small nation surrounded by larger, ruthless ones. (See most of Israel’s history, 1 and 2 Kings)
  • When Jonah fled to Tarshish, he was stopped and then redirected on the Godly path. (Jonah)
  • Peter, after denying Christ, was shown love and forgiveness and given an opportunity to make things right. (John 25:15-19)

If I had more time, I’m sure I could find more. Four problems, four situations defined as sin, four different solutions from our loving, involved God.

Second, there is no detailed method of disciplining children laid out anywhere in Scripture. God certainly could if He had wanted. Look at the detailed building plans given to Noah for the ark, and to Moses for the tabernacle (Genesis 6; Exodus 26-28). Every specific instruction of the required sacrifices was included (Leviticus). I also see that when there is one and only one way, God makes that very clear:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

But what do we see God tell us about children?

Jesus took a little child and had him stand among them. “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:36-37)

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:10-12)

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them upon your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

If God will take the time to craft every perfect snowflake to be unique, and no flower of the field looks exactly like another, why do we presume that one method of discipline would be correct for every individual child created in God’s image?!

Lest anyone think I jumped off the crazy train, I want to make my point exceptionally clear: I DO believe there is a biblical command for disciplining our children and to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). I just also believe that the specific METHOD of discipline falls to each believing parent’s freedom influenced by Godly wisdom (see 1 Corinthians 10:23-33) rather than a one-size-fits-all formula response. Clear as mud?

Oh, and don't be too surprised to see more of this topic. It's been the height of conversation around here lately.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

You Are My Sunshine

Hello Friends! Let's just pretend my 4.5 month absence didn't happen. I don't have any sort of explanation, other than life got in the way. A specific small person, to be specific:


My Miss is getting bigger every day :) She's definitely what one would call "spirited" - she has big feelings, and she feels them all the time. Happy isn't just happy. It's overwhelming giggles of joy and bliss. Sad isn't just sad. It's a puddle of angry baby who refuses all forms of comfort. Blessedly, the overwhelming joy is much more frequent than the sadness, but when it comes! Watch out!

Mommy's cell phone, AND jewelry, AND wings?! Yes please!
I'm really enjoying her more each day. I have to be completely honest - I'm not a newborn person. Having a tiny needy being was so draining to me. But now! The chirping of my little bird screaming "Mommy!" never fails to stir my heart (Sometimes negatively... little trouble maker... but always a stirring).
Sunshine still likes to be worn for chore time
This kid. LOL. Every time I pick her up from the nursery at Bible Study, my friend (the lead volunteer) hands her back to me laughing with a story to tell. Today Sunshine wandered around after all the other children, picking up their scattered toys and chanting, "Help... Help..." At least, until she climbed into the toy fridge and popped out at anyone walking by with a giant "HI!!!" At 18 months she is officially off the charts for height at 35" tall. My husband is 6'3" and I'm 5'9" but golly! She's in 3T in several brands!

As always, I've got ideas for big plans and big projects. But in reality, making it through the day is often an accomplishment with a toddler who demands so much attention - attention I get much pleasure from giving, but detracts from other necessities all the same. She falls in bed and I likewise collapse from exhaustion, only to return to cleaning the kitchen and plotting invitations to play for the next day. Oh, and seeing my husband occasionally ;)

So again, forgive my absence. There's just so much Sunshine to soak in :)