Learn how to make a beautiful embroidered Fall pillow from Dollar Tree towels. This is an easy an inexpensive craft that’s so perfect for your Autumn decor!Continue reading
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by Christina Dennis
Summer has come to a close and as of yesterday I am now 30 years old. I’ve been considering doing posts on my style for a little while now, and with your email & comment encouragement and with my “I’m 30 now, so what do I need to feel self conscious for” attitude as of late, I present to you my very first one!
I am rather short at 5’3″ and I wear about a size 10 to 12 in clothing at the moment (that number has been anywhere from size 6 to size 16 since marriage and two pregnancies). I’m not euphorically happy with the shape of my body at present, but I remind myself that it has carried two babes and that my goal is to be healthy rather than some shape that is unrealistic in the near future.
I really enjoy fashion and fashion blogs. I see a lot of images of tall, willowy and gorgeous women in the latest trends and I thought it would be fun (and hopefully helpful to some other women with a body shape like mine) to show you how I put together some of my favourite outfits and what I do to highlight my favourite and not-so-favourite features of my petite and curvy mommy self.
I also love to DIY (of course) and find things on a tight budget, so I’ll incorporate those things into my style posts which for now I’m going to commit to once monthly. It’s darn hard to take pictures of oneself while one’s baby is sitting on the lawn and there’s a toddler that may (or may not!) be napping in the house!
Here, I’m wearing a turquoise boho dress in a gorgeous silk/cotton with pretty lace detailing. I’ve cinched it at the waist with a belt to define one of my smaller parts, added chocolate brown tights for a more fall-ish look, and I’m wearing boots with a hidden 1″ heel to add a little lift to my short self. It’s a simple outfit, but I really love it and it’s comfy enough for doing errands with a baby and a toddler in tow. There actually is a DIY element to this outfit – underneath the dress is a simple slip that I made lat minute because of the sheerness of the dress. I’ll post a tutorial on that soon!
Thanks for sticking with me through my first style post and encouraging me to do it!
What is your favourite outfit to wear during the first part of fall?
By Christina Dennis
I love scarves; they are the epitome of fall accessories. They’re perfect for layering and transitioning lighter fall clothing into cooler weather and scarves can add a beautiful pop of colour or pattern to what might otherwise be a dull outfit.
Infinity scarves are a kind of tubular scarf that’s attached at both ends. They’re usually stretchy, and you can wrap them around your neck once, twice, or sometimes three times for different looks/warmth levels. This type of scarf is a breeze to make, and I’d love to show you how!
I used Designer stretch Polyester Jersey Knit Floral Purple/Teal/Grey for the floral scarf and a polyester jersey I found at a local fabric store for the leopard print scarf.
Cut your fabric in half lengthwise so that you have two long strips (you can make two scarves out of two yards!). Fold the fabric in half again lengthwise with the right sides together. Pin and sew the raw edges together (I used a serger, but you could use a regular sewing machine with a 5/8 inch seam).
Pull the tube to the right side out, and then pull one end over the other so that the right sides are together again and the two raw edges meet, as pictured above.
Here’s the trickiest part (and it’s not even that tricky), but it gives the scarf a cool twist that helps it lay flat: Twist the inside layer so that its seam meets the opposite side of the outer layer’s seam, as pictured above. Basically, you’re twisting the inside layer 180 degrees. Pin the raw edges together..
Sew the raw edges together leaving a 2″ opening.
Turn the scarf right side out and hand-stitch the opening closed. Voila! Your scarf is ready to be worn & loved.
Twist it once for a drapey look.
(I like to model scarves in front of my messy bookcase and beside my full basket of laundry.)
Twist it three times for a snug cowl.
(I also like to modal scarves in front of my fridge, at night.)
(Giveaway closed as of 09-30-2012 @ 10:00 pm MST.)
By Erin Heard
From a young age, my parents taught us how to tend a garden from seed to harvest, followed by the processing of all those vegetables and fruits to keep them through the winters. And at times, it seemed like a tedious and boring chore, but it gave me some life skills I can only hope to pass down to my children.
Even now with a family of my own, spring means planning our gardens and planting, and fall means harvest and canning and freezing. Our three girls have helped plant our gardens from the time they were old enough to be digging in the dirt, even if it meant that we have far too many carrots or squash planted then we know what to do with!
Last week, I passed on the family traditions by spending an afternoon canning some of our extra produce with them. It was an interesting adventure, outside of our normal baking mode, and we all had a day of making memories!
Before you jump in to canning or preserving, check your stove manual and find a preserves and canning book from the fifties if possible. On the stove note, ceramic stovetops require a flat bottom stainless steel pot for canning, as the long and high heats can cause your stovetop to crack if there is uneven heat distribution. This was my first year canning on a ceramic stovetop, so again, I have to thank my mom for having all the canning pots I needed to get the job done! As for a recipe book, really any good tested recipes will work (online I really like www.pickyourown.org). Company’s Coming also has a good starter book. The recipe books from the fifties through seventies have nothing but real ingredients, so it won’t call for a prepackaged pickling mix, or pectin, etc. (Harrowsmith was a good book).
Some basic rules for canning include making sure that everything (jars, lids, sealers) are all hot and sterilized. The dishwasher can help with sanitizing jars, but I prefer a simple boiling water bath for quick and easy. Also, anything with meat or vegetables that will not be pickled will require you to have a pressure canner, as they require higher heats and pressure to keep from spoiling. I recommend visiting the library and borrowing a few books on canning to figure out what you’ll get the most use out of before you buy anything.
Here are a couple of good basic recipes to start with (the second recipe for blueberry jam will be in Part Two of this series)!
You will need:
You will need to start by washing the cucumbers well in cold water, and remove the ends. Optionally, you can slice them in half or quarters or leave them whole.
Next, you will need to prepare all of your jars and lids. Everything must be hot and sterilized to prevent anything spoiling! Boiling water bath for the jars, and a hot water bath for the lids.
I don’t have a jar holder that’s small enough for my pots, so I improvised with Mason jar lids at the bottom of my pot to lift the jars off the bottom.
While those are sterilizing, make your vinegar mix. Mix 2.5L of pickling vinegar with 1 liter of water, 1/3 cup of pickling salt and just shy of ¼ cup of sugar. I also add a dash of mustard and celery seed as well as some red pepper flakes. Bring just to a boil and remove from heat.
Once your jars are sterilized, remove them and place on a towel on the counter. I use my kitchen table; however, I recommend a wooden chopping block or similar heat block, because the heat of the jars can create visible rings in your table. Add a few heads of dill and two‐three cloves of garlic in the bottom of every jar.
Next, stack in your cucumbers. My helper added some extra dill on top!
Now it’s time to pour in your brine, using your funnel to help prevent spills. Fill to within ½ inch of the top of the jar.
Gently, with a clean damp cloth, wipe the top of the jars to remove any spilt vinegar or residue. Place the sterilized metal lid on jars and screw metal bands on securely. Now it’s time for a boiling water bath to keep from spoiling. The shorter your boiling time is, the crisper they will be. Recommended time is 10 minutes.
When they are finished, remove the jars and place on a towel on the counter to cool. As each one cools down, you will hear the lovely pinging sound that means it has sealed! Allow to sit for at least one week, but ideally 4‐6 weeks before eating
Erin Heard is a mother to three adventurous girls, and the owner of Cosy Baby Happy Mommy Inc. You can find her award winning baby carriers online at www.cosybabyhappymommy.com, as well as on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cosybabyhappymommy.
by Christina Dennis
This sweet little knitted maternity tank top was a pattern I designed pre-children – back when I had time to fiddle with knitting! It’s from my old knitting blog, and I’d like to offer it now to you free. I love the little flower embellishment on the neckline – this would be a cute little embellishment for just about anything!
The “Glam Bump Top” is an easy-to-knit, chic maternity knitted top. It’s knit in the round from top to bottom with no seaming and minimal shaping. Short rows in the front allow extra room for a growing Baby Bump. The simple stockinette stitch is accented by garter stitch detailing in the neck piece, the center panel and the bottom hem. The look is completed with an elegant knit flower accented with a button center. Knit in a light silk/mohair/wool blend, this piece is a perfect transitional top from summer to fall. A great gift for a mom-to-be or for yourself!
• Yarn: 1000 (1000, 1500) Yards ArtFibers Sylph in colour #14 (or a similar sport weight yarn)
• Needles: Size 5 US (3.75 mm) circular needles (or size needed to obtain gauge)
• 1/2” button to coordinate with yarn
• Sewing needle & coordinating thread
Woman’s Sizes Small (32-34” bust), Medium (36-38” bust), and Large (40-42” bust)
Top is designed to be fitted in the yoke and then very loose in bust & waist.
22 s and 35 rows = 4”
Abbreviations & Explanations:
K = knit
k2tog = knit 2 stitches together
k3tog = knit 3 stitches together
M1 = make a new stitch by knitting into the stitch below
KF&B = make one stitch by knitting in front & back of stitch
KF&B&F = make two stitches by knitting in front, back & again in the front of the stitch
P = purl
St st = stockinette stitch
Garter stitch = in the round, alternating K and P rows
PM = place marker
Wrapping a stitch in a short row = Work to turn point, slip next stitch to R needle and bring yarn to front. Slip same stitch back to L needle. Turn work & bring yarn in position for next stitch, wrapping the stitch. Hide wraps in a K st when RS of top is worked in a K st as follows: on RS work to st before wrapped st. Insert R needle from front, under the wrap stitch and then into the wrapped stitch. K them together.
Directions are for Women’s Size Small. Stitch count for Medium & Large are in parenthesis.
CO 120 st (132 st, 144 st) onto circular needles, join in round being careful not to twist stitches. PM at join.
Work 8 rows in garter stitch (4 ridges)
Next Row: K4, *K1, KF&B. Repeat from * to last 4 stitches. K4. 168 st (186 st, 204 st)
Work 7 rows garter stitch (4 ridges)
Next Row: K4, *K2, KF&B. Repeat from * to last 5 stitches. K4. 212 st (236 st, 260 st)
Work 7 rows garter stitch (4 ridges)
Next Row: Continuing in garter stitch pattern, work 24 st (28 st, 32 st), BO loosely 59 st (64 st, 69 st), work 48 st (56 st, 64 st), BO loosely 59 st (64 st, 69 st), work 24 st (28 st, 32 st). 96 st (112 st, 128 st)
Next Row: In garter stitch, work 24 st (28 st, 32 st), CO 38 st (44 st, 50 st) using backwards loop method, work 48 st (56 st, 64 st), CO 38 st (44 st, 50 st) using backwards loop method, work 24 st (28 st, 32 st). 172 st (200 st, 228 st)
Work 4 ridges garter stitch, ending with a knit row
Make Ruffle: [KF&B&F, KF&B] 12X (14X, 16X), K 38 st (44 st, 50 st), [KF&B&F, KF&B] 24X (28X, 32X), K 38 st (44 st, 50 st), [KF&B&F, KF&B] 12X (14X, 16X). 316 st (368 st, 420 st)
Next Row (beginning of St st body pattern with garter stitch panel in center front): K 60 (70, 80) back st, K 38 (44, 50) sleeve st, K 45 (55, 65), PM, P30, PM, K 45 (55, 65), K 38 (44, 50) sleeve st,K 60 (70, 80) back st
Next Row: Knit
Next Row: K to marker, P to marker (St st panel detail), K to end of round
Work in pattern (St st with garter stitch panel in center front) until piece measures 10” from front neck top
**Making baby bump: Next Row: K 60 (70, 80), K 38 (44, 50), PM, K 45 (55, 65), work 30 st garter st panel, K 45 (55, 65), wrap stitch and turn
Next Row: P 45 (55, 65), work 30 st garter panel, P 45 (55, 65), wrap stitch (see explanation, top of page) and turn
Next Row: K 45 (55, 65), work 30 st garter panel, K 45 (55, 65), K 38 (44, 50), K 60 (70, 80)
Work 3 rows as per normal pattern**
Repeat from ** to ** until front piece measures 19” from front neck top or desired length
Next Row: Purl
Next Row: Knit
Repeat last 2 rows 6X
LARGE PETAL (MAKE 5)
CO 7 st
Row 1 : Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: K1, M1, K5, M1, K1
Row 4: Purl
Row 6: Knit
Row 7: K1, M1, K7, M1, K1
Row 8: Purl
Row 9: Knit
Row 10: K1, K2tog, K7, K2tog, K1
Row 12: Purl
Row 13: K1, K2tog, K5, K2tog, K1
Row 14: P
Row 15: K1, K2tog, K3, K2tog, K1
Row 16: Purl
Row 17: K1, K2tog, K1, K2tog, K1
Row 18: Purl
Row 19: K1, K3tog, K1
Row 20: Purl
Row 21: K3 tog
SMALL PETAL (MAKE 5)
CO 4 st
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: K1, M1, K2, M1, K1
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: K1, M1, K4, M1, K1
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: K1, K2tog, K2, K2tog, K1
Row 8: Purl
Row 9: K1, [K2tog] 2X, K1
Row 10: Purl
Row 11: K1, K2tog, K1
Row 12: Purl
Row 13: K3tog
Weave in loose ends & steam or wet block all petals.
Position the 5 large petals evenly in a flower shape on the left side of the neckpiece of the garment (or on side preferred).
Tack down petals with sewing needle & thread in center as well as outer edges so that petals will not fold.
Position the 5 small petals evenly in a flower shape on top of the 5 larger petals.
Tack down small petals with sewing needle & thread in center.
Position button in center of flower and sew.
Weave in all loose ends of garment.
Steam or wet block if desired.
Glam Bump Top pattern © 2008 Christina Marie Dennis of TheDIYMommy.com
Christina has made every effort to produce a pattern void of any errors. If you find any, please report them to christina(at)thediymommy(dot)com, and the pattern will be changed accordingly. This pattern for personal use only and is NOT for resale. This pattern may not be photocopied, or distributed in any hardcopy or electronic form without the written consent of Christina.
by Karla Zeigler
I’m excited to be able to share a simple infinity scarf tutorial with you today. As the summer draws to a close an infinity scarf can be a fun accessory to help transition your wardrobe into fall. This is my first guest post, so bear with me if I’m over explaining things ☺ The instructions are for a ‘mom sized’ scarf, but you can easily adapt it for a toddler or child by making a shorter chain.
Let’s get started! Here’s what you’ll need:
We’ll be making a simple crochet chain. To start, make a slip knot-insert your crochet hook into the slip knot you just made, hook the yarn and pull it through the slip knot. You’ve just made one chain. Continue to lengthen your chain-for my scarf I chained 180. You can hold the chain up to yourself to see if you’d like it longer or shorter.
Once your chain is the desired length (picture 4), join with a slip stitch into the first chain you made. Picture #5 shows you what this looks like. Once you’ve joined your chain, you’ll have a big circle.
To make the scarf thicker, we’re going to repeat the steps we just did. You’ll start chaining from the slip stitch you just made (picture 6). Chain 180-or the amount you used the first time. Then join with a slip stitch where you started the chain (picture 7 & 8).
Now you’ll have 2 strands to your scarf (picture 9A). To keep your scarf from getting tangled while you continue to add bulk; I recommend draping it over something to hold the shape. I used 2 little IKEA chairs (picture 9B).
Continue chaining and joining with a slip stitch at the starting point (it doesn’t need to be exact-we’ll be covering it right away). I made 16 strands for my scarf. Again, if you want a thinner scarf-use a thinner yarn or make less strands. If you’d like a thicker scarf with more bulk, use a heavier yarn or add more strands.
Once you’re happy with the size of your scarf, cut a tail of yarn about 1 meter long. Use the tail of yarn to tightly wrap the area where you joined all of your chains (picture 11). When you have a few inches left, thread the yarn needle and weave it under the yarn you just wrapped. Secure with a knot and tuck in the loose ends.
You’re done! Now you can wear it out or stay home and make lots more in pretty fall colors. This is also a super-fast last minute gift idea ☺
Karla Ziegler is a wife to one very smart guy, a stay at home mommy to one very active little boy and is very excited to be expecting a little girl this fall. In her spare time she enjoys designing and creating. Her Etsy shop, Twisted Fibres, is full of knit and crocheted goodies for both mom and baby. To see what she’s currently working on, find Twisted Fibres on facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/TwistedFibres or email Karla @ twistedfibresshop (at) gmail (dot) com.
by Christina Dennis
Well, August is just around the corner… then September… then back-to-school! I’ve rounded up 9 of my most favourite back-to-school DIY free tutorials on the web to start working on this month:
Have fun with back-to-school DIY’s this year! (Have I missed any fabulous free back-to-school tutorials for kids? Please link to them in the comments below.)
Christina Dennis is the creator and designer behind Golly Gee Baby, a collection of unique and colourful baby clothing and accessories that are ethically manufactured.