Monday, November 10, 2014

Mystery Maxi Maternity Dress DIY Tutorial

     Now, what could be better than a jersey, maxi, maternity dress?  Not much, except, oh, y'know, one made from your own measurements!  I am telling you, friends, this dress is the most comfortable thing I own- and that is including my pajamas!  Plus, it looks beautiful and you can wear it to fancy occasions, doing errands or just hanging out around the house.  You could just make a whole bunch of these and not ever need other clothes.  And the cut of the top is perfect for nursing in, so no need to stop wearing it after your amazing little baby is born!  

   "But, wait…" you say.  "I can't just make a dress to my measurements with no pattern.  That is some sort of fancy advanced sewing I don't know how to do."

Wrong!  It's easy!  And I am going to tell you how, and even better I will show you!  I love a blog tutorial with copious amounts of pictures.  You don't know this blogger, you don't know if they have a clue what they are talking about.  Sometimes, the explanations make no sense.  But pictures!  Pictures prove it will work out, pictures explain that tricky step so much more clearly and simply than bloggers ever could.  So get ready friends, because this post has A LOT of pictures.  

     And speaking of this whole not knowing if it will work out… that is exactly why this dress is called the Mystery Maxi Maternity (MMM) Dress.  When I started working I had no idea if what I believed I could do would actually work out, but it did! Magic! Amazing!  So enough messing around, here it is (after the jump)!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Like, Serious Amounts of Whoa!

You guys!  More than a month since I have last written here, and so much has been going on!

We moved!  Out of our little green house in San Diego,

And into my parents' beautiful house, overlooking the ocean, full of family and dogs and cats (and love) in Aptos.  We are so incredibly lucky to get to live in this place, with my parents and little sister, while we get settled, decide where we want to live and try to buy a house.

I am spoiled rotten.

We have been loving loving family every day!  Early morning walks with Nanny, Grampy and 4 dogs.  Making faces at Auntie Lu across the dinner table.  Plllbbtt-ing at Grampy during breakfast.  Days filled with walks in the woods, trips to the pool, playing at the beach, exploring the aquarium, climbing ladders, swinging on swings, sliding down slides, running, giggling, snacking and a little bit of learning how to share with Nanny and Auntie Em and Jack and Norah and Shelby!  Camp Fun is living up to its name.  Good, fun, long and busy days, filled with a lot of love and laughter and just a little bit of tears, making for great naps and later mornings than we have had in a seriously long time.

3 of my very favorite artists.  

Do not stop driving!

Touch pool!  

Shelby <3s Auggie!

New dog park/ playground


We went to the fair!



Ok, I know you can not actually see any of these things, but Annie's faces!!!

And new baby girl and I are 24 weeks along!  This belly seems a whole lot bigger than this point last time around.

I had an awesome beach/ playing with glow sticks and glow in the dark parachute launcher things while eating cake, party for my 31st birthday!  And obviously, I got to wear a crown!

We have found a new yoga studio.  It is not Mosaic (to which nothing could ever compare or will ever be as good), but I think its a good fit and I'm going to like it.  A new kind of studio for the place we are at in life these days.  Not only Mommy and Me yoga, but also Crawler and Me, our favorite Toddler and Me, big kid yoga classes, prenatal yoga classes (which I haven't tried yet, but am really planning to,) vinyasa classes (which kicked my butt after more than a month off,) childcare I will probably never use, filled with super friendly people, tea, couches and kids toys in the lobby and some very peaceful and enticing looking massage rooms in the back.

A new car for Kyle!  His commute is horrible and way too long.  We miss him and he misses us.  But at least now he has a brand new car with blue tooth, fancy display options and awesome gas mileage to spend those 4 hours a day in.  And it's not all bad, because for now at least he is carpooling with Lucy and they are blasting through the Divergent audio books as they blast (and by blast I obviously mean go a little less slowly than the rest of afternoon traffic) down the carpool lane!

And in FLT news-

Another wholesale order out to Sprouts Children's Boutique in Whitefish, Montana.  Three other bib orders out to customers.

The shop closed for two weeks while we moved, and reopened- inventory refreshed, cleaned up and cleaned out.

I am discontinuing my onesie line.  I loved seeing them on Annie when she was little, and I love seeing them in pictures from friends, family and customers, but I no longer love making them.  I am uninspired by embroidery right now.  When an order would could in, I would feel blegh instead of yay, and I would procrastinate.  I did not start my own business to feel blegh about what I was making and selling.    I still have a few for sale- those that are already made.  Get them now before it's too late- even if you are just saving them for future babies you will love.  I will still sell Halloween and Day of the Dead onesies available in all sizes and sleeve lengths for the month of October and Christmas onesies after Thanksgiving.  I love holidays and making those designs gets me excited and in the spirit, and does not make me feel blegh.  It was a hard decision to make, the first big change for my shop since I started this business.  As soon as a I said it out loud to the people I love, I knew it was the right decision and one I needed to make, and I feel better having made it.
So, sorry all you triathlon people.  That set of three onesies was a hit, but I am over it and they are gone!  You missed your chance!

I keep promising new swaddle blanket, dress, shorts and bloomers listings.  I'm going to make that promise again.  Soon! I promise!  Well, at least I am really going to try!  Although I may have missed the shorts, bloomers and dresses season around here.  A little something special for my friends in Australia maybe.  Or San Diego, I hear it's still really hot there.

My shop is going to be featured for a week in October on the website, newsletter and Facebook of a pretty amazing, all organic fabric store!  Definitely stay tuned for news of that!

Big plans for a grown up apron tutorial- maybe this week!

Plotting and designing a maternity maxi dress.  Hopefully one nice enough I can wear it to the wedding of some good friends in Orange County in just a few weeks.  And hopefully I can do it this week for Selfish Sewing Week.  Watch your Instagram (@gracefunlittlethings) to see what happens!

If this actually works out there will be tutorial for this too! 

Bought the fabric yesterday.  This dress might be weird, or it just might be really cute!

New Go To Leggings for Annie because for some reason this girl keeps growing.  I love everything about these leggings!  Fun and easy to sew, and so incredibly adorable on her little bum and legs.  The 3T is really the right size these days, but she still wears the 2T and 12m pairs I have made her, just as smaller and tighter capris.  The 12m is really starting to push it though, might finally have to put those away soon.  But dude! They are so cute!  It's hard!

I so want to sell these leggings in my shop, but it's not my pattern and I feel shady selling things I made but did not design.  The pattern is copyrighted.  It does state to contact the designer for a license to sell, maybe I will look into that.  What do you all think?  Any interest in seeing these in my shop?

I think that is all the news for now!  We miss friends in San Diego, but are excited to be home again.  Excited to be with family.  Excited for Annie to really have all her family as a part of her life, not just people to FaceTime with and visit every once in awhile.  Excited to spend time with the friends here we have missed.

I love watching the fog roll in at night, being surrounded by big trees and feeling like I am back where I belong.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Shorts on the Line!

     The amazingly talented and inspirational Rachel of Imagine Gnats and some of her awesome sewing and blogging buddies are running a project/contest/fun things to do on Kollabora right now called Shorts on the Line.  All of this is basically just a way of celebrating shorts - handmade shorts! Shorts for babies, kids, teens and adults.  Short shorts, long shorts, baggy shorts, tight shorts! As not a shorts wearer myself (at least not in my adult life) I haven't really spent a lot of time thinking about all the different types of shorts that are out there, and let me tell you, this week, through the blogs and the Facebook and the Instagram, my mind is being blown!

     And it just so happens that I have recently been working on some shorts, for Annie and for the shop.  I have been hiding the 2T pair from her and from myself.  I didn't want them to get wrinkly and dirty before I had a chance to orchestrate the perfect photo shoot to really show them off and make an amazing blog post with all these new shorts.  Since ready Alida Makes' incredible ebook Style That Kid, I don't want to put any pictures of my projects out into the internet universe that aren't "perfect," that wouldn't make her proud.  But guess what?  That is ridiculous!  I don't know her, she doesn't know me.  I learned a lot from the ebook.  I'm glad I read it, but really? I do not need to be perfect. I need to learn from it.  Work at it a little at a time.  Do the best I can.  And be proud of what I've made, proud of the pictures I take, and just put it out there.  Share my excitement, share my joy.  And share how super cute Annie looks in all the pictures all the time.

    So I have been thinking about this Shorts on the Line.  And thinking about my shorts and getting them involved.

    And separately but at the same time, thinking about the fact that we are moving in two weeks (which means I should probably quit the photo shoots and online social sewing projects and blog posts, for that matter) and that where we are going, there will probably not be so much shorts wearing.  So everyday she is wearing shorts, most days multiple pairs.  But still my newest, handmade, adorable shorts stayed in hiding.

    Yesterday I had had enough!  They came out of the Fun Little Things cupboard and went on her cute little bum!  The plan was picking up Dad early from work, bringing a picnic and everything in the world that was packed in my huge bag, and heading to the new waterfront park.  And then, big time whoops, one block from Dad's office I realize, among the everything in the world packed in my bag, I may have forgotten the two actually important things… Annie's swim diaper and swim suit.  So, new plan!  Picnic in Balboa park it was.  And thank goodness, I had my camera. So photo shoot picnic in Balboa park it was!  And now I have photos to share with you!

    They are not Style That Kid perfect.  They are not at the golden hour, but it was overcast which is good.  Most of them do not have enough color contrast, the benches and fountains are all almost the same color as her shorts, and right at shorts height.  But the Koi Pond, buildings and orchids are beautiful.  And so is Annie.  And if I don't say so myself, so are the shorts.  And she really was having so much fun climbing and running, splashing and smelling the flowers.  And I loved our picnic and I loved our photo shoot.  And I love these pictures.

     Here they are, my Not-So-Girly-Girl Adventure Shorts.  Annie likes to put my sunglasses on top of her head, wrap a colored silky around her neck, strike a pose and giggle.  But she also really likes to climb and run, dig her bare feet in the dirt, chase and be chased by dogs at the park, climb up inside chicken coops and go on all kinds of dangerous and not so clean adventures.  These are her shorts.  The fabric is grey, with bright flowers, Kaffe Fassett Guinea Flower in grey.  Girly, but not so girly girl.  They are long enough to keep your legs from sticking on the slide.  They are baggy enough to bend your knees up high when climbing ladders and benches and fountains.  They are elastic waisted to stay in place while you run and spin and dance.  The perfect shorts to keep your little one happy while playing, and mom happy with how cute they look.

    The pattern has done a lot of evolving.  It started out as Go To Leggings (I think my all time favorite pattern purchase!)  It went from there, to bubble shorts, thanks to a tutorial by Monica of Adirondack Inspired on the Imagine Gnats Blog. And then the shorts lost their bubble.  I love everything I have made with the patterns and tutorials that got me here, but love these the most because I feel the creating of them was the most mine, if that sentence makes any sense.

    I have made some in other fabrics and other sizes, and they will be coming to my etsy shop when it opens back up after the move.  After our picnic and shed cleaning/playing in the backyard yesterday, this pair is officially Annie's, not just hers if they don't sell.  And I can promise you this, she will be wearing them as many times as I can wash them between now and when we leave the heat.

I know you can't really see the shorts in these last two, but I love them.
Just look at her!



Again, can't see the shorts, I don't care.

And one more in the finally empty shed, wet and dirty, slightly twisted, but so adorable, and the lighting is great!

And thank goodness, she has enough room to grow that we can still bust them out when the sun decides to shine in Aptos for a week in the fall, or when we go for a hike somewhere warm.  Check out all the amazing shorts on the Kollabora Shorts on the Line sew alone.  There are some crazy talented and creative people out there sewing things for themselves and the people they love!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Camping in Julian - William Heise County Park

     When I first started this blog, I envisioned many more travel posts than I have written.  I love traveling, seeing new places, meeting people, usually speaking Spanish, eating yummy food and relaxing on warm beaches with cold beers.  And I know there are lots more amazing travel adventures in my future, but for the last two years, and maybe the next few, our travels are keeping us closer to home.  We have still been exploring new places and eating good food.  There has been some speaking of Spanish, but less than in the past.  And less drinking of cold beers too.

     Most of the traveling in these last few years has been camping.  I love camping, like, love, love!  I have been camping with my family my whole life and it is something Kyle and I have been doing together pretty much since we started dating.  We may live in the city, but I am an open spaces, trees, ponds, fresh air, flowers, beaches, streams, sitting on rocks or in the dirt, easy hiking kind of girl.  I do not need to backpack to the top of the highest mountain (done it, contemplated trying to get med-evac'ed - true story!)  But I do need to get out of the city, shut off my phone, play with the people I love, and breathe.

    In the 4 1/2 years we have lived in San Diego we have camped in a few different spots.  Laguna Mountain a few times, and most recently when Annie was only 4 months old.

    Near Idyllwild with friends the first summer we lived here.  How did I not take any pictures here?

     Palomar mountain twice, once when there was ice on the ground and we had the campsite to ourselves.  Once when it was hot and crowded and 6 month old Annie cried the whole night.  Sorry again, campground neighbors.

    Near San Gorgonio with friends when we first told them all I was pregnant.

    In the snow in Mammoth on Memorial Day.  I kept whispering to Kyle - "we can pack up and go home anytime, just so you know".  But that hike, in the snow, to the gorgeous frozen pond, Buddy's last hike and maybe happiest day of his life, made it so worth the cold.

    Outside of Bishop and outside of Yosemite on our way to Lake Tahoe.

    And most recently, this past weekend to a campsite just outside of Julian.  For those who don't live near here, Julian is a tiny mountain town known for its apple pie.  They have at least 4 pie shops in the 3 blocks of town and sell apple pie all year round.  You can buy a whole pie, or just get a warm slice with ice cream, cinnamon ice cream.  How awesome a town is this?  And all this time living here, only 1 hour away, and we had never been.  And then a few weeks ago, right after we sold our warm and easy to set up, but tiny 3 person backpacking tent and bought a huge 6 person tent, and have been wishing and planning and talking pretty much all the time about camping, I read a blog post.  Shocking! Ha! I read too many of those every day!  But this post was different.  It was about camping.  Family camping.  Family camping with pets!  And it talked about this beautiful campground, pet friendly, family friendly, full of hiking trails, only one hour from San Diego… and right outside of Julian!  Perfect! Read her (much more concise) post here!

William Heise County Park - Go there!

    It was hot and dry, but come on, it is mid July in San Diego, two years in to a pretty serious drought, we knew what we were getting in to.  The campsites were big, ours (site 91) had shade at all times of day, and no close neighbors.  It wasn't a huge hike to the bathrooms, but no one was walking through or past our site to get there.  There was a water spigot two sites down.  The dogs had lots of space to explore.  We were right across from the trailhead.   And one of my favorite parts - our whole loop was tent only, no RVs! Amazing! And the entire campsite was no generators.  Double amazing!  There was also a playground by the campground entrance.  But in case you are someone who is delirious from pie and ice cream like we were when arriving and don't notice how far it is from the entrance to your site, it is far!  We decided to take a quick walk down before going on a hike, and let me just say, after walking back up that enormous hill, we did not go on a hike!

 So here it is in a more logical sequence, our quick weekend in Julian!

Pie, ice cream and a fruitless attempt to buy Annie a sun hat in town.  Someone forgot to pack hers.

Playing at the campsite.

Exploring the trails.

She speaks for the trees!
And the trees want you to know she is a little sad after Lacey
helped her hit her head on the pavement.  

Recovering from all that hard hiking!

Discovering gorp and M&Ms.  Don't worry, I have bleach.

Obsessively playing in the car.

Dinner.  We love cooking good food while camping.  It is one of our favorite activities.  This trip dinner was mac and cheese, and chicken, mushroom, zucchini, bell pepper and onion skewers.  I cut, marinaded (olive oil, soy sauce, peanut sauce, sriracha) and skewered everything at home, threw them in a foil covered pan, and threw that in the cooler.  Okay, okay, carefully placed so it wouldn't spill.  We wanted delicious, and something we could feel pretty confident that Annie would actually eat, but not too time consuming or tricky.  This was the first camping with Annie in about a year, and we weren't exactly sure how it was going to go.

Her first ever s'mores.  She did not like the sticky fingers.  Poor, poor mama had to clean them off for her.  Its never too early to get the head lamps ready.

Rinse all the yucky goodness out of your mouth!

Milk, snuggles, songs and bedtime.  All went well until about 1:30am when she woke up and realized we were all in the tent together.  This was obviously worthy of some celebration.  A long ergo walk, another cup of milk, a pretty serious sleeper hold and several rounds of Baby Beluga finally got her back to sleep about 2 hours later.  Not the best, not the worst.

Amazing morning expedition outfit.

Breakfast.  Again, we really get behind cooking and eating while camping (like we don't the rest of the time, ha!)  Breakfast burritos are a favorite.  If you have lots of people, are staying several days, are somewhere cold or just feel like making a fire in the morning, we learned a great breakfast burrito trick from our friends Mo and Gabe on our first Southern California camping trip.  Make a fire, make a bowl out of tinfoil, fill with raw, beaten eggs, cheese and all your other yummy burrito fillings, fold up that foil tight, and throw it in the fire!  Every once in a while peak inside.  As soon as the eggs are done, open it up, plop it in a tortilla and you are done.  It was not cold, and we did not feel like making a fire, so camping stove it was.  Eggs, bacon, avo and tortillas that may have been heated up in a little of the leftover bacon grease.  mmmmmm.

Monumental voyage to the playground.

More gorp, selfies, pregnancy announcement family photo session and packing up.

Annie gets to nap in the car.  Mom and Dad are tired, but happy, all afternoon.  And we just kept pretending we were still camping.  Hot dogs for lunch (and a beer for Dad.)  More gorp, and lots of playing in the car in the backyard.

We wish we had had more patience/ done some better planning and been able to get a spot for two nights.  We probably would have made it on an actual hike.  The beginning of the trail and the views from it were gorgeous.  I totally recommend this campsite for any San Diego friends wanting a quick get away.  You will have to let us know how the hiking trails are!

Did we miss any great camping spots in Southern California?  What are some of your favorites?