Ainsley Dress – Pattern Release and Review

Made for Mermaids is releasing their newest pattern today, the Ainsley Dress.  This adorable dress combines a knit top with a woven skirt, so it’s perfect for using all those beautiful cotton woven fabrics you love!  I’ve been holding on to this adorable princess and unicorn fabric for months, not quite sure what to make with it.  But when I was selected to test the new Ainsley Dress I knew it would be perfect.  

I found a beautiful coral knit to use as the top of the dress and used the princess unicorn fabric for the skirt.  And Pumpkin was over the moon excited to watch me sew it up.  This sweet pattern has a gathered sleeve in short sleeves, elbow length or long sleeves.  It also has a flutter sleeve option. 

The skirt has a few options, too!  You can make a simple skirt or one with a faux button placket down the front.  There is also the option to add patch pockets and waist ties.  I love having so many options!  Pumpkin loved picking out buttons for her faux placket skirt.  She wanted “great, big” buttons!  Or unicorn buttons, but we couldn’t find any…..

…..but I think these great, big white buttons are perfect!  The front waistband lays nice and smooth, while the back waistband has an elastic casing to help pull the skirt in and give a great fit.  I love how it looks like two pieces, but it’s a dress!  

I normally prefer to sew with just knits as they are so quick and easy, but even with adding a woven skirt this pattern is quick and easy.  The tutorial is very straightforward and gives you plenty of pictures to help you along the way.  Pumpkin just loves her new dress and is already picking out more fabrics for more dresses!  That girl just loves a dress………..

Another great thing about this pattern is it mashes with other Made for Mermaids patterns!  You can mix and match the bodices and skirts of Ainsley, Brooklyn, Riley and Cassie to create all sorts of cute dresses!!  For Cupcake I used the Cassie bodice and Ainsley skirt to create a super sweet dress perfect for a 7-year old with a bit of sass.

 

This girl loves the cold shoulder option of the Cassie dress, so I knew she would love this Cassie/Ainsley mash up!  She was so excited to come home from school and see a new dress waiting for her.  She insisted on wearing it to school the next day!  I paired it with a Barbie headband and she looked so cute!!!  

The only thing she liked more than the cold shoulder is the pockets!  The Ainsley pattern comes with a patch pocket option, but I used the pocket piece from Cassie to add pockets to her skirt.  And made her sister jealous.  

This is such a sweet dress!  And I’m sure I’ll reach for it whenever I find cute woven fabrics for the skirt!  If you think you’ll do the same go ahead and pick up your copy of the Ainsley Dress pattern while it’s on sale!  (through Sunday)

 

*post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using these links I receive a small commission, though your price remains the same. Thank you for your support.

Kid Craft: Painting Rocks

Have you seen the rock painting craze that is going on everywhere?  We’ve been having so much fun this summer with one of our local parks departments painting, hiding and hunting for rocks!  This is such a fun craft for you and the kids!!

We have painted so many rocks this summer and I wish I’d have taken pictures of all of them.  I do have pictures of some and our parks department Facebook page has a lot of posts of rocks people have found.  The girls get so excited to look through the page and see one of their rocks being found and rehidden somewhere else.  And found again!  

Pumpkin and I (and no she doesn’t actually wear glasses, these are just for fun) spent one afternoon while Cupcake was at school painting and we had such a fun time.  You can see her big rock covered in ladybugs (which is currently “hidden” in our front yard) and a few smaller rocks, one of which is a monster.

This ice cream cone was her favorite that she painted that day.  I did the lines on the “cone” but she painted the rest.  She likes her ice cream with a lot of sprinkles!

She wasn’t the only one who had fun that day, though.

I might have had hubby pick up a bag of landscaping rocks for me the last time he was at the home improvement store, so I could have some smooth rocks to paint.  Most of the ones we find in the park are jagged.  This was a simple rock, painted with a base of acrylic paint and the design drawn with a metallic paint pen (similar).  

And then I got a little fancier.  After painting a base coat on this rock I sketched out my design in pencil, then used a fine tip marker to outline then fill in my mermaid design.  And I used a paint pen to write the words.

The supplies for this project are cheap and easy to find!  Rocks can be found anywhere, but if you want super smooth ones I would recommend buying some landscaping rocks.  And these little bottles of paint cost anywhere from $1-$4 each.  Pick up some small paint brushes for a few dollars and you are ready to paint!  The paint markers are a nice to have tool, but they’re not really necessary.  

This is probably my favorite rock so far!  After painting a pink base I sketched the unicorn in pencil, then filled it in with a fine tipped brush (shown).  Once the paint was dry I used the end of a toothpick to add the details and the outlining. And then Pumpkin insisted I add some glitter to her hair, horn and heart.  Because unicorns are glittery.  (She is a unicorn expert!)

If you plan to put these rocks outside I recommend you seal them with polyurethane.  You can find it in a spray can or in a bottle with the rest of the acrylic paints.

If you want a fun craft to do together, that doesn’t take a whole lot of artistic ability I would highly recommend picking up some rock and get painting!  It’s fun for all ages!!

 

*Post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using these links I receive a small commission, though your price remains the same.  Thank you for your support.

 

You’re a Wizard, Cupcake!

Cupcake is on a Harry Potter kick lately!  And I love it!  We just started the third book and it’s all she can talk about these days.  And despite the fact that Pumpkin isn’t reading the books the girls have been playing a lot of Harry Potter; practicing spells, playing quidditch, and drinking butter beer.  So when a local shopping center announced they were having a Harry Potter event I knew she needed to dress up for occasion.

When I told her we were going to the event and to head upstairs and get dressed she squealed with delight when she saw the new dress laying on her bed.  I used Made for Mermaids Harper, but added a little Harry Potter flair.  The pattern comes with the collar option, which was the look I was after, so it was a great place to start.  I found some Gryffindor fabric and used it to make a faux tie.  After much back and forth discussion with the hubby about how the tie should look I drafted a tie and “knot.”  I attached it to the bodice at the “knot” so it would still be flowy.

The flowy tie kept blowing in the wind.  🙂  She was a hit at the event!  We stopped to take a picture with this golden snitch and the artist who chalked it also asked to take her picture.  And then an organizer of the event also requested to take her picture.

The pattern typically has a solid skirt, but I added a stripe to the bottom, mainly because I accidentally cut the skirt too short.  But it adds a bit of extra fun to the dress, I think!

Look at her holding her tie down again.  So cute.  We had so much fun at the event.  She loved the bounce house and there was a bouncy “jump over the things or duck under the things coming at you” thing.  She wasn’t super interested in watching the chalkers chalk, but she did like to see the finished chalkings.  (I enjoyed watching them chalk!)

After all the fun we picked up some Chocolate Frogs and a butter beer and told me just how much she loved her new dress and that she had a great time at the event.  I was pretty darn happy to get to spend an afternoon just me and my girl.  

Just before bed she asked if she could wear her dress again the next day.  I suspect this dress will move to the front of the rotation every time it’s clean.  

 

*Post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links I receive a small commission, though your price remains the same.  Thank you for your support.

New Patterns: Linen Loungers and Little Loungers

Patterns for Pirates has released their two newest patterns, the Linen Loungers (for women) and the Little Loungers (for kids).  These two patterns are going to be a staple in your sewing.  With the options of curved hem or cuffed hem shorts, bermuda length shorts, capris or pants this is a year round pattern.

I tested both the women’s and kids versions.  The first pairs I made were in a linen.  Capri length for me, bermuda length for Cupcake.  

The comfortable elastic waistband is finished with topstitching to give it a professional looking finish.  There are two pocket options; slat pockets (picture above) for patch pockets.  

Cupcake got a pair in the bermuda length and she loves the pockets!   There might have been a rock hiding in her pocket during our photoshoot.  

Not to be left out, Pumpkin wanted a pair of shorts, too.  So I found this funky animal print linen and whipped up two pairs of shorts.  The elastic waist is great for the kids, so they don’t have to mess with buttons or closures.  There is a faux fly option, too, if you want them to look like they have a zipper.  

These are the cuffed hem shorts and I added a back pocket because a girl needs pockets.

Pumpkin loves having matching shorts with her sister.  And animal prints are her jam.  

I also sewed myself a pair of cuffed shorts out of a remnant of rayon I found at Joann’s.  For this pair I used the yoga waistband in a Supplex instead of the elastic waistband.  It makes for one very comfy, but cute, pair of shorts.  

Of course I needed pockets, too.  

You can use any drapey, woven fabric for these Loungers, so you can have a lot of fun with the options.  When it’s not 90 degrees outside I’ll have to whip up a pair of pants.  I’m also planning on adding a few pairs of pants to the girls’ fall/winter wardrobe in a chambray (since they don’t like to wear jeans).

And if you have little boys the Little Loungers will work for them, too!  Some of the testers sewed up some boy versions and they turned out great!

Pick up either pattern (or both in a bundle) today!  (on sale through Sunday, the 23rd)

Ragnar Relay Chicago 2017 Recap

Welcome to Friday Fitness: Ragnar edition!  A few months ago my friend, Katie asked me if I would be interested in driving up to Chicago to run with her team.  I thought for a moment and decided to just go for it.  If you’re not familiar Ragnar is a relay race made up of 12 runners covering 200-ish miles in less than 2 days.  You run day and night.  This wasn’t my first relay, but definitely the longest!

I drove up to Chicago on Wednesday and helped pick up our vans from the rental company (which took forever!!).  Then we ran back home, threw our stuff in the van and headed to our meet up point to pick up the rest of the team.  Once everyone was loaded (6 people to a van) we hit the road and headed towards Madison, WI.  We stopped along the way and had a delicious dinner (and were super disappointed we couldn’t take the leftovers with us).  We finally arrived at our hotel and crashed pretty quickly.  

Our team had an 8 am start time.  Van 1 headed to the start line early and van 2 (my van) arrived around 7:30.  We chatted, finished decorating the van (including strapping an inflatable flamingo, who we named Maggie, on top) and saw our first runner off.  Van 1 headed to the next exchange and van 2 headed back to the hotel to eat and pack up.  

We arrived at major exchange 6, went through our safety training, picked up our bibs and shirts and checked out the vendors and the merchandise tent.  There was a BBQ food truck there that smell so good, but I was runner #7, which meant I was the first runner of our van so I couldn’t eat.  *sad face*

My first leg was 7.5 miles and was rated “very hard.”  It started off (at 12:48 pm) on some surface roads and toward a trail, which was gravel and a little annoying to run on.  Luckily there was a good bit of shade, but the heat and humidity was rising.  I stopped to take pictures of flamingos and an MRTT magnet along the way, but the first 4 miles went really well and then we were off the trail and out into the blazing sun.  Mile 5 smacked me with a bug in the eye and a hill.  Mile 6 was a little better and then with about a mile and a half to go I choked on my water and a van pulled over to ask me if I was ok.  I was fading fast and it dawned on me that I hadn’t eaten!  I struggled to the exchange point, handed off the slap bracelet and headed to the van for food!!!

The rest of my van ran through their legs and we headed to the next major exchange to trade off with van 1. While waiting for our runner to come in an announcement was made that the leg would be held because there was someone chasing runners on leg 13.  We hung out for a bit with the other half of our team (the only time we saw them was at the major exchanges) before heading out to drive towards our next major exchange, which was about 40 minutes away.

We stopped and had some dinner and then headed to the high school that served as our exchange point.  Some of the girls took a shower, most took a nap.  I tried to stay awake because I was the first runner and I figured if I went to sleep it would be really hard to wake up and run.

My second leg started around 12:07 AM.  I was really nervous about the night run, especially after the incident at leg 13.  I was hoping to buddy up with someone, but the closest person to me was planning on running about 30 sec. faster per mile than me, so I just headed out on my own.  She passed me about a mile in, but it turned out there were quite a few people out there.  I was never alone.  I even ran into a banana!  The scariest part was running under an overpass.  We crossed a few bridges, through a park. The last one had the sounds of a waterfall and then the bridge started bouncing!  There were 3 of us on the bridge at the time and we all let out a squeal when it started bouncing.  It through our footing off!  The cooler temperatures and the adequate fueling helped make the run less painful!  6.2 miles complete!

By the time our 5th runner was out on the course I was really starting to feel like lack of sleep.  I had been awake for about 22 hours at that point and I was starting to feel sick, so I laid down in the van and tried to rest as much as I could in a moving vehicle and arriving at exchange points.  I don’t know that I actually got any sleep, but at least I didn’t feel sick.  And when we arrived at the next major exchange at 5 in the morning we were greeted with a beautiful sunrise over the lake!  As our runner entered the exchange we sang happy birthday to her and it was a very cool moment.

And then we headed to the hotel to sleep!  I face planted into the bed and got 3 hours of glorious sleep!  I was really disappointed when I woke up after 3 hours!  But it turned out to be a good thing because van 1 was ahead of schedule and we needed to get moving!  We rallied the troops and headed out on the 45 minute drive the our last major exchange. After a stop for gas and to restock water we arrived with little time to spare.   

I started my last leg at 11:52 AM on a very hot and sunny day.  There was no shade on the path! Luckily it was a short leg of just 3.1 miles.  I decided not to even look at my watch and just run the best I could in the conditions.  I took it slow and easy and it went much better than I thought it would!  I was so happy to be done and checking off that final box!

With just 5 runners after me we were nearing the finish line!!!  We saw some great sights along the way, pretty houses, gorgeous views of the lake and lots of runners heading toward the beach!  The finish line was at Montrose Beach and because it was such a warm day the beach was crazy busy!!  We got stuck in a very large traffic jam causing us to miss our runner coming across the finish line.  Van 1 and runner 12 came across it together on our team’s behalf and we met them at the after party.  We were done!!!

We were rewarded with our bling and took lots of celebratory pictures.

We finished in 31:49:36.0, which was almost 2 hours faster than our predicted finish time!

We didn’t stick around too long for the after party because the 20+ mph wind gusts were throwing sand everywhere, including into our pizza.  

It was a crazy whirlwind of two days!  I’m happy I can check it off my bucket list.  I’m not too sure I’d want to do it again.  Sleep deprivation and I don’t get along!  But I had a great team who made it a great experience!