Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's the Little Things-A Show Us your Life Post

Welcome, friends, who found their way over from Kelly's Korner. We hope you will enjoy your stop over at Three Simple Girls. Be sure to come back often!

I have always been of the mindset that it is the little things in life that bring lots of smiles and happiness. I am excited to share a few things with you that bring lots of joy to my life. Some might seem silly, but ultimately, it IS the little things in life that are my favorite!

Little Joy #1: Sonic Happy Hour
Luckily on my way home from school everyday, I have the opportunity to pass by the local Sonic. There is nothing like an ice cold Cherry Limeade or a Large Diet Coke to help bring a smile to my face! And the fact that they are half price from 2-5 does not hurt either! My goal is to try all 168,894 different drink combinations. Anyone know of where we can find a list?

Little Joy #2: Music
It is amazing how music will take you to so many places. Back to your high school days at the Friday night football games, being with your family on a holiday, or to a place where you found God. I love discovering new artists and of course spending time with some of my favorites. Here are a few that I especially love, maybe they will bring a little joy to you too!
Shane and Shane
Bethany Dillon
Phil Wickham
Mat Kearney
JJ Heller

Little Joy #3: Paper Products
I am not talking about plates and napkins here but fun note cards, note pads and papers. I love being able to send notes to people I love or who might need encouragement. It brings me such joy. I am a bit obsessed with cards and such, I think I might have my own Hallmark store in my craft room. Would you believe one of my jobs in high school was at a Gold Crown store? Another great place to find cute note cards is the Michael's dollar bin! You never know what treasures you might find!

Little Joy #4: Getting real mail in the mail slot! I love my mail slot at my house and finding a handwritten note or card, a fun new magazine or catalog can totally turn a bad day into a great one!

Little Joy #5: Family

I am so blessed with an amazing family who love and support each other through everything. I love spending time with them and hearing stories of what life used to be like. I hope I will always treasure those moments!

Little Joy #6: New Chapstick

Little Joy #7: The TV show GLEE

Little Joy #8: My amazing friends

I wish I could take lots of space and tell you about ALL my amazing friends, but I just feel so blessed to have an awesome group of friends near and far who really challenge me to be more like Jesus. I love them all so much. Whether we are on a night out on the town, a random road trip or just sitting on the couch watching episodes of Friends, they are the best! I know that I am changed for better because of the people in my life!

Little Joy #9: A Reese Cup

Little Joy #10: Good Mexican Food

Little Joy #11: Being able to make other people smile

So, there are so many other things I could share about what I love or what makes me happy...I am just thankful that it is the little things that bring joy to our lives!

Be Happy...


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pillowcase Dress Tutorial

One of the many great things about having an adorable niece is that I get to use her as my guinea pig for new sewing projects. Reagan's been my little model for several of the designs over at the Whatta Cute Baby! collection and even my inspiration for a few new items (that will hopefully be launched this summer). And when I'm not trying out new products on her, I'm increasing my seamstress abilities by making her cute new clothes!

My sister-in-law and I had seen pillowcase dresses online and she asked if I could make some for Reagan. Of course, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to combine my love for cute fabric, sewing and dolling up that sweet little niece of mine! When made correctly, the pillowcase dress should function as a dress this summer and as a cute little shirt next summer. The idea behind the pillowcase dress is to trim up a pillowcase, add some ribbon and slip on your favorite little cutie for a sweet little sun dress. Well, since Reagan's still just a baby, and because cute fabric is way better than a pillowcase, I went on the hunt for the perfect fabric to make this happen!

My first attempt actually turned out ok. There were a few things I wish I had done differently, but overall, it looked cute enough and actually stayed on her, so I couldn't complain! Well, on my second attempt, I thought I'd document it and share with any of you Simple Girls who might want to give this a shot.

**I am not a professional. My cuts aren't always exact. My seams don't always match up. My stitches aren't always perfectly straight. The terms I use are probably not technical sewing terms. If you're expecting perfection in the sewing department, you should avert your eyes!**

Please note that all measurements in this tutorial are for a dress for a 7 month old. If you are making dresses for older girls, you will need to increase the measurements as needed.

For this project you will need:
*Iron & Ironing Board
*Measuring Tape
*Good Scissors
*Straight Pins & a Safety Pin
*Coordinating Thread
*1 Yard of Cute Fabric
*2 Yards of Coordinating Ribbon (7/8" Ribbon works best for smaller children)
*Optional: Approx. 40" of Bias Tape

First, you'll need to cut your fabric. I cut a piece that was 31"x21". (If you choose to make your own bias from fabric, you'll also need to cut 2 strips of fabric that are 20"x3". Instructions on how to make your own bias tape are located below.)

Heat up your iron and begin pressing your hems. Unless otherwise stated, you can assume that I turned the fabric twice before sewing for a more finished hem. Also, I always iron and sew one hem at a time so that I don't get too distracted and forget what I'm doing.
I created a 1/2" finished hem on the bottom (long side of the fabric). Then, I created a 1" unfinished hem on the top (the other long side of the fabric). At this point, you should have a rectangular piece of fabric in which the 2 longest sides have been hemmed.

Next, you will need to sew the short sides together. I used a French seam for this side to keep it from fraying. (You can find a number of tutorials for French seams on YouTube.) Now, you have a big tube of fabric.

The next step is to cut the holes for the arms. Lay the fabric flat (so that the side seam is either to the left or right and not in the middle) and then carefully fold in half. You're going to want to make sure your fold is as straight as can be or else the arm holes will end up being crooked.

With the fabric folded in half, you'll only have to make one cut but will get 2 arm holes. You can determine the size of the arm holes you'll need. Cuts that are about 5"x 2.5" should work for a baby dress. Cut a sort of "J" with those measurements in mind.

When you open up the dress again, it will look like this:

If you plan to make more than one of these dresses, I would suggest that you save the arm hole piece that you cut out. This will give you a guide for the next time.

To keep the arm holes from unraveling, you'll need to make or buy bias tape. Here's how to make your own.

Cut your 2 strips of fabric (20"x3") and iron flat.

Next, fold both pieces in half and iron again.

Unfold the piece of fabric. Fold one long side at a time into the middle crease and iron.

Once you have both long sides folded in, be sure to iron again.

Fold the long sides together, and use the iron to create a good crease.

Place your bias tape over the arm hole fabric so that in encases the unfinished fabric. Start at one side and work your way around, pinning in place as you go.

Once you have pinned the bias tape in place, it should look something like this:

Then, sew carefully around the bias tape to secure it to the dress. Try to sew as close to the open edge of the bias as possible. If you have extra bias tape at one end, wait until after you've sewn it on to cut off the excess.

Next, you need to create a pocket for the ribbon. Fold the top of the dress down and create a picket big enough for your ribbon. Since you have the unfinished top hem from earlier, you won't need to create an additional finished hem here. (For a 7/8" wide ribbon, I created a 1.5" pocket.) Press with an iron and pin before sewing.

Cut your ribbon so that you have 2 pieces that are 1 yard long.

Attach a safety pin to one end of the ribbon and feed it through the ribbon pocket. After you have fed both ribbons through, you can trim the ribbons. Also, I used a lighter to keep the ends from fraying (barely touch the flame to the end of the ribbon).

And, you're finished!! Here's a look at the finished product! Pretty cute, huh?
But not as cute as this!!
If you have questions about any of the steps leave a comment below. If you use this tutorial to make your own dress, we'd love to see it!
Happy Sewing!

If you're visiting from "Oops, I Craft My Pants", thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Dirty Little Secret

If you know me personally or have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I'm an organizer. I can't help's just what I do. Everything has to have a place and everything has to be sorted by color or alphabetically. Well...almost everything.

It's about to be confession hour here at Three Simple Girls and I really can't believe that I'm about to spill my dirty little secret. The information I'm about to divulge is mildly embarrassing, quite comical and strangely ironic.

I have an obsession.

I am an container hoarder.

I have a problem.

Don't believe me? Check out our hall closet...

Other than a vacuum cleaner, a drying rack and a few cans of spray paint, the entire closet from floor to ceiling is packed full of organization containers. Folks, we've got wicker baskets, lidded containers, plastic bins, drawer organizers, buckets and photo boxes. Yes, most of them were purchased for a clearance price. Yes, some of them are still covered in the original packaging.

I'm not exactly sure what it says about a person who is very organized yet hoards organization supplies. I do know that I'm past the first step (admitting that I have a problem) and maybe, just maybe exposing my little problem will bring the motivation and accountability I need to take this closet from that to something a little more like this:

Here's to more organizing and less organizing containers!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Picnic in the Park

I have a winter, summer, and soon-to-be spring babe.

Though throwing parties in the colder months can require a little extra thinking on my part to accommodate everyone, it still can be a lot of fun. Thankfully, though, I love the ease and simplicity of also having a little gal whose party can be taken to the parks and fields.

As we start to prepare for the summer fun, I am reminded of her very first birthday bash... a picnic in the park!

We held it several hours away at my parent's church picnic area, so that meant I needed easy food prep. I bought several packages of hoagie rolls at our local discount bread outlet and froze them so by the time we arrived they were perfect for the sandwiches. Nana picked up yummy meats and cheeses from a local Amish store and we kept them together with olive topped toothpicks. That was the most elaborate of all the food... nice!
We had two coordinating ribbons (on plain jane brown paper sacks) depending on whether the lunch was an adult or kiddie bag. The fillers were apples or raisin boxes bought in bulk from Sams, granola bars bought in bulk from Big Lots, and pretzels or goldfish divided into snack sized baggies to get the most bang for our buck. Pink lemonade pouches and water bottles completed the easy picnic theme! The kids decorated cupcakes for everyone's dessert.
The favors were big, swirly lollipops as well as a few sticks of sidewalk chalk from the Dollar Store and clearanced pinwheels from the Hobby Lobby.
Decorations included lots of paper lanterns and some little daisies in mason jars... really, we kept it pretty easy at that. Oh except for our centerpieces on the picnic bag table... these cute little cupcake stand-thingies Nana found at Tuesday Morning. We printed off pictures of my daughter in the same chair taken each month up until a year. Then we tied them four to a stand... so fun to see how much she had grown!

With sidewalk chalk on the pavement, bubbles in the field, and a park next door-- that was all we needed to ring in a celebration of her very first year.

Somebody pinch me, though, because I can hardly believe we're about to ring in number two!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Girls' Weekend

It's been a running tradition (almost a decade now!) for us three simple girls to get together with about four other college friends. Each year takes on a little different flavor because we all rotate turns in the planning and putting together of the details.

But a few things pretty much always stay the same. In no particular order those would be... cuteness, encouragement, laughter, and brownies.

Lots and lots of brownies.

This year it wasn't up to any three of us to do the planning, but two other gals with true simple girl style did some kind of a beautiful job! We thought we'd share a few of the details to encourage you to get together some girlfriends and enjoy one another.

In order to save money we stayed at a friend's beautiful home in Georgia. One of the best parts of pulling up to the place where we make a weekend home is the smidge of adorable plastered on the door:
"Spring" was the theme this year... in the past we've seen everything from colors to our shared love for butterflies to... well, you name it. Just inside the door, this sweet table setting got us right in the mood for flowers and all things sunshine.
Throughout the weekend the hostesses shower everyone with agape, little gifts given out of unconditional love and joy. These tidbits are rarely ever expensive and typically handmade. One of our favorites was given during a devotional (another favorite part of the weekend!). As we talked about the depth of the Father's love for each of us, we were given hand painted pots (in colors that matched each of our styles!) with a journal, some matching gloves, and "forget me not" seeds. Precious!
We are often happy to lounge in our pjs until as late as possible. This time, though, we had a little motivation to get us up much earlier than usual on Saturday morning:

The neighborhood sale was RIDICULOUS! Don't think any of us spent more than ten bucks, and we came back with all sorts of treasures.

The rest of the time was spent doing things we enjoy... a trip to the Hobby Lobby, Sunday morning church together, girly movie night (complete with each person's favorite drink and candy), a free mini-spa that had us all in stitches, and sharing many good meals together.

Speaking of sharing, one of our friends also started a tradition to ensure we all got to open up with everyone during our short time together. Each of these flowers had a question on it that we'd pull out as we sat around eating or whatever. The questions ranged from the hardest thing we had faced in the past year to our favorite books... we all loved this and left the weekend feeling like we had truly heard each person's heart!
As we all got on the road to head back to our respective homes, we always have one more thing to look forward to... a burnt CD with a couple of each friend's favorite songs. This somehow makes saying goodbye a little bit easier! After getting home this go 'round, we had another thing to look forward to as well... pics of us that a friend of a friend took for basically nothing per person. It was awesome to have so many group shots without having to set a timer all while making a mad dash for a crooked end result. :)

Well, there you have it... a little slice of Heaven from some of our girlfriends to yours!

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