Monthly Archives: September 2011

09.30.11Evie’s Fall Wardrobe and Oliver & S

I have been DYING to start this series but ‘lil munchkin in the belly has been crazy lately, not to mention the 3 other monkeys bouncing around the place :) This fall I decided to make as much of Evie’s wardrobe as possible. Sewing cold weather clothes is always a bit more of a challenge but luckily I am teaming up with

to sew through several of their fall patterns! (There will even be a boy pattern or two for Sawyer and Finn!).

I LOVE their patterns and am so excited to share with you a bit of inspiration and some suggestions for each pattern. I will also have a fun giveaway at the end for those who leave comments! And, guess what? The first one is right now! Wooo hooo!

The first pattern I tackled was the School Photo Dress pattern:

I was pretty psyched for this one because of the collar options. As I have mentioned often I LOVE crazy collars so I was pretty excited to make Evie one. Chris and I have also been finding out more and more about our housing etc. in Paris and I have been reading the kiddos the Madeline books so that is what I had on the brain when I picked out what I think is fun “French” influenced fabric.

I decided to go with a dark navy blue brushed cotton for the main part of the dress and then a striped yellow accent around the neck and sleeves.

The sleeves were a deviation from the pattern and I am dying to actually get to serge them once my serger arrives… if ever ha!

I since I made the neckline a little bigger even then the pattern I thought it might bug Evie but she didn’t seem to mind at all.

I tried to point out the cool hidden pocket but she was WAY to busy having fun with Jersey May my parents bulldog whom she ADORES.

I am absolutley crazy about this dress. It is lined so it adds a bit of warmth and I can’t wait to pair it with retro knit leggings and mary janes. It has a LONG zipper in the back for quick on and off.

I cheated and didn’t do the hook and eye… I can never do those fast enough with this wiggly girl anyway and it seemed to be fine.

I am hoping it will still fit her when we get to Paris this summer… but if not it was definitely easy enough that I will whip up another one. I do have to mention that the hidden pocket was not the easiest thing to figure out. It took me several times reading over the instructions and unpicking it once to get it right. Just remember to go slowly and read everything throughly. I hope you enjoyed my interpretation and are inspired to make your own for the mini-madeline in your live… who may or may not eat sticks like mine :)

PS. Sometimes I just KNOW a picture will look WAY better in B&W that was totally the case with this one and I just had to sneak the B&W version in.



09.28.11Before and After

This weekend I worked on a large tutorial. One that I am pretty darn excited about. One that was so big it put me into labor… yeah. I had to take a little trip to the hospital Sunday. Luckily after lots of water, rest and a LONG uninterrupted nap the contractions stopped and I was out of the woods (for now). I still have 7 days until the hubby arrives in the sates and 13 days until my due date so I was VERY happy when I got to go home. Luckily I got the rough part of the tutorial done so now hopefully I can whip the rest out with out inducing labor ha! Until then I thought I would do a little photography post! I have been so excited about what I learned at Nicole Van’s workshop. When I went my main goal was to manage lighting better. Well, turns out I should REALLY go to her three day lighting workshop ha! But the rest of the long list of things I wanted to learn were all addressed. Now it just takes practice and discipline implementing them :) One of those is getting great images Straight Out Of The Camera (SOOC). I thought I would walk you through one of the images I edited from the Tee Pee shoot. Just so you can see what actions I have been using as of late etc. So, this is one of the shots of Evie where she is NOT looking away from the camera shouting “CHEESE!!!!” This is the image with no edits.

It is alright. A bit flat or dull in my opinion but we can take care of that. The main thing I have been going for as of late is a good exposure and while I would say this was a little on the underexposed side when I looked at the histogram it wasn’t too far off. I opened it up in Adobe Camera raw and bumped the exposure just a tad while also adding a little warmth. Which gave me this when I opened it in photoshop:

I then, as you can see created a New Adjustment layer, a new curves layer. I tugged at the highlights and the shadows to give it a slight “s curve” and give it some much needed “pop”.

Once that was to my liking it was time to run a few actions! I wanted to selectively make the colors pop even more so I ran MCP Actions Vibrant Color Finder Action.

I used this almost exclusively on the teepee and Evie’s dress (this dress by the way took me all of 20 minutes to make, I think I need to whip up a quick tut because I love the way it photographs!) This got me pretty much to where I wanted to be with this photo. Since I exposed it brightly her skin (which had lots of yuckies on it) was nice and smooth and her eyes were bright enough for my liking. I decided to add a very subtle vignette from Nicole Van’s Retro Action series, although at only 24% opacity the difference was pretty subtle.

And there you have it! The finished product looks like this:

For comparisons sake (who doesn’t love a side by side?)

This process took me all of 2 minutes… not even that. Which is what I have been going for, less time editing. Just get a great image SOOC and you barely have to do anything!



09.21.11Dreamy Teepee Tutorial

I love love love over the top dramatic things… um, well except for when my two year old goes that way, although sometimes that can be funny. But, when it comes to photo shoots and said two year old’s room the more over the top the better. I have been wanting one of the ruffle teepees that I have seen online and in gorgeous boutiques for a while but had yet to find one for under 200 dollars.

Since I don’t have that kind of mola, I decided I would have to try making my own.

While it isn’t “difficult” per-say it is time consuming, and a bit of an exercise trying to harangue all that fabric while sewing ha! The secret to keeping this affordable is sheets. Yup, sheets. All of the ruffles you see before you were once a flat bed sheet from Pottery Barn.

Um, cheap Pottery Barn sheets you say? If I weren’t currently residing in UT those sheets would be from Ikea or Walmart, but since I am here, I am lucky enough to frequent the Pottery Barn factory reject store. Whenever they mess up on a monogram or someone sends it back, it is destined for UT. This is how I have adorable monogramed stockings, tree skirt, trick or treat bags, PJ’s, Easter baskets etc for my kids for practically pennies. I headed to the reject store with the idea of a nice organic, white, beige and burlap tent in mind, but when I saw these awesome colors for 3 dollars a sheet I just had to go for it. After buying a plain white king sized sheet for five bucks that read “Muellller” on the top tab, the 4 flat twin sheets for 3 dollars each and the cute pillow case that you see in the pics for a dollar, I was out less then 25 bucks! (I totally didn’t even think to mention where this is in the original post. It is a Down East Outfitters Clearance center, NOT just any Down East, this is a special one that only has clearance items. It is located at 3505 West 3500 South West Valley City, UT 84119 , you will probably find me there with my head in a large bin riffling through ha! You have to hit it on certain days to get the awesome quilts, towels etc. I think they get in shipments on Wed but don’t hold me to that.) Of course things got busy and these sheets sat in the coat closet until this last weekend when I finally had time to whip it up and make Evie a new dress for the shoot. Note the shoes… yeah I had to wrestle them onto her. The only reason she finally wore them is she realized the ground was covered in sharp burs and she had no other option.

As I mentioned before this is not technically advanced sewing but it does take a good chunk of time to do. It is a hefty amount of gather  stitching with a lot of pinning and re-pinning. If you are up for it lets make a Dreamy Teepee!

What you will need:

  1. One King Sized sheet or two twin sheets sewn together.
  2. Several twin flat sheets (the number depends on how fluffy you want your ruffles and how many layers you think looks good. I had extra fabric left over)
  3. 6 PVC pipes (mine were the precut 5 ft. ones at Lowes for 1.30, if I did it over I would have them cut me 6 ft ones from the 8 ft poles, the ten is a bit squatty no?)
  4. Thin rope or several strong rubber bands (which they do not carry at Joannes by the way, I found that odd)
  5. Ribbon for ties and decor
  6. One Package of the widest quilt binding available.
  7. Optional: cute embellishments for the top of the Teepee

There are several great tutorials out there on how to make a plain ‘ole teepee and the choice is totally yours. Originally I planned on actually cutting several triangles and sewing them together but then I was concerned about how the square bottom would be with the ruffles. In the end I made my Teepee a lot like Meg’s on Sew, Mama, Sew. This used the least fabric and was super quick and easy. I used two twin sheets sewn together and ended up with a bunch of extra fabric. Once you have your “half circle” cut out is where I deviate from that tutorial. I had previously cut all my sheets into as long of strips as possible. I wanted my ruffles to be wide so that I didn’t have too many tiers (not that I don’t think this could be adorable, I would love to see one with 20 tiers I would just pull my hair out doing it). Once cut I laid made a long chain by sewing them all together. I would match up two ends, right sides together, sew down the edge then open them up and repeat the process on the new end until I had a looooong snake of fabric. After this process I did a gathering stitch all along the very long top. I did sew with one hand while holding the thread a bit taught as seen in this ruffling tutorial. I wanted it to REALLY be noticeably ruffled and the machine needed a little help with this. I did NOT hem the bottom. You totally can and maybe one day I will regret this decision AND if I were selling these I totally would. But since it will mainly be used as a photo prop and toy I really like the frayed unfinished look, plus it probably saved me a good hour of monotonous sewing.

Once all your ruffle tiers are prepped, lay out your teepee half circle on the floor. (please excuse the horrible carpet in this picture. Our hotel room does not have the best crafting space, but you gotta do right?)

Letting the bottom of the ruffle overhang the bottom of your teepee slightly pin your gathered edge to your half circle alllllll the way around, following the curve. Do NOT skimp on the pins, it is near impossible to keep this straight otherwise. Once you reach the end reposition your “ruffling” and cut off the extra to be used at a later tier or for making embellishments :) With the ruffle well pinned head over to your sewing machine. Now topstitch the ruffle into place. It can be tricky managing so much material in a small space. I pulled an extra chair right next to me so I could rest the extra fabric there and not have it hanging down pulling on the stitches as I went. Once you are done head back to your floor and spread it out. Remove all the pins (this can take a while but make sure you get them all). Grab your next tier. Again pin the gathered edge to the half circle only this time the bottom edge should over lap by at least 2 inches with your bottom ruffle.

Again pin all the way around, remove excess then topstitch. Continue this process until you are right up next to your semi-circle at the top. You should have a very heavy, somewhat awkward teepee cover. I guess you could finish off the semi circle and call it done but I think this next part really adds a professional looking touch. Using pins, pin down the ruffles at the opening edge so that they stay nice and in place. Do this about 2 inches in from the edge. Now take your quilters binding and starting at the bottom of one side, slide it over the ruffles (it is already nice and folded for your) and topstitch it in place, going up one side, around the small semi-circle and down the other side. If you prefer you can stop at the top, cut the binding, sew a second piece down the other side then finish it off with a third piece around the semi-circle top. It is totally up to you. I then sewed on some fun puff ball embellishments, though I think a over sized ricrac would be pretty darn cute as well.

This gives it a nice clean edge and a great place to sew the ties for keep it together. In keeping with my “unfinished” look I sewed ripped strips of fabric one across from the other to tie the top of the teepee. I ended up sewing 6 strips so that I could tie three knots but again this is up to you. I then grabbed some ribbon and on the inside of the quilters binding, every 8 inches or so sewed some ribbon used to tie the edge to one of the PVC pipes.

I finished off the look with a giant oversized fabric rosette with birdcage netting over it. If I hadn’t been pressed for time this is the part I would have gone hog wild on with lots of rosettes and ribbon etc. I also had fun making the massive, over the top rosette head band and butterflies in a jar.

I had heard somewhere you could get these cool lightening bugs in a jar at Michaels where when you tap the glass they glow and fly but everyone here looked at me like I was nuts when I asked. I am a big fan of giving kiddos something to hold during photoshoots. We as adults have no idea what to do with out hands half the time, kids are the same :) Plus then you get cool shots like this:

So there you have it. Easy right? I am absolutely going to make the rustic, romancy white and beige one I had in mind and maybe a boys themed one? They are so cool and the kids LOVE them. I still had everything in the car from the shoot when we headed to soccer tonight and both boys begged me to put it up. Which any other time I would have obliged but I was snack mom tonight and seriously if I had to carry one more thing down the slope leading to the field I absolutely would have fallen over and with three weeks until Daddy gets home I am doing everything humanly possible to stave off labor ha! I hope you have a blast creating and using yours!!



PS The teepee does not stave off all crying during a photoshoot like I had hoped….. Lila was not impressed ha!

09.20.11The Workshop and the Ruffle Tent

Well, I am back and so full of photography ideas and theory I feel like I am going to bust! The workshop completely stood up to all my high hopes. Which is saying something because my expectations were HIGH. Nichole Van was an amazing teacher. The workshop materials were staggeringly thorough, yet gorgeous at the same time, and when it was all over I was sad to go but so excited to try to absorb the mountain of information I received. If you EVER think about attending a workshop I would absolutely recommend Nichole‘s. Believe me, I have attended other workshops and researched them a ton and you will simply not find one at the same caliber for the price, she is a total steal. One of the highlights for me personally was learning to work with flash. I have a hate hate relationship with flash. I think it usually makes people look awful and I tend to rather not take a picture then have to use a flash… well turns out that is just because I was REALLY bad at using flash ha! (hey that’s why we got to workshops right?) Unfortunately our models all up and cancelled on Nichole at the last minute (apparently they “forgot” it was homecoming) but luckily enough my lil’ sis and her adorable former roomies were totally game to drive all the way up to SLC on a moments notice and pose for us. Then, as is my luck, it started to pour rain. I was bummed until it started letting up and the sky was full of amazing dark moody clouds. We headed out to the suspension bridge and had a blast.

Annie was ADORABLE with her ridiculously cute cheeks and toothy grin.

One of my fellow workshop attendees just happen to have a red umbrella, which looked fantastic in the pics.

Laryssa dances with my little sister at college and it was so amazing to watch her “jump” on demand. It was like she would float into the air then gracefully land. Of course now needless to say there is thousands of dollars worth of equipment I absolutely “need” :) I really wanted to try using the equipment I had and some of the concepts I had learned and do a shoot, like NOW! Well, I have been dying to do a tutorial on my “dreamy Teepee” and Andrea from the Train To Crazy asked me to be in her Hand Made Dress up series that I thought would be perfect for it! So here are some sneak peaks of the Dreamy Teepee, and my first shoot since the workshop. Don’t be to hard… still digesting all that amazing material!

To say I love this Teepee is an understatement. I am dying to start working on a boys one!! What was hilarious was the prickers in this field were so awful that I had to throw away my flip flops after the shoot!! We had four little cuties to shoot and had to make sure none of them took off their shoes or feel down or man would they be hurt.

I can’t wait to share the tutorial with yah!

Cheers, Kelly

09.15.11All Scrubbed Clean

I promise I have a heap of tutorials waiting for me to organize them but this week I am finally fulfilling one of my “photographic dreams”. Tomorrow I am headed to a three day photography workshop with Nichole Van.

Three days soaking up fantastic photography tips, tricks etc. Ekkkk! I was getting all my equipment ready while the kiddos were going nuts in the bath. When I pulled them out the natural light pouring in was irresistable. I had my camera, I had lovely light, I told the kiddos we needed to take some pictures for Daddy since he missed us so much.

I had to photoshop some drool off Finn’s chin ha! They were being so cute I was in shock.

When I told them to make some funny faces they just sort of looked at each other like “ummmm what does she mean?”

Evie kept saying “Momma, CHEESE!!!!!”

I can’t wait to take everything I learn in the next three days and do some fantastic photoshoots!! I also wanted to make sure to give ya’ll the link to the crown tutorial. The original tutorial can be found HERE. When I get a chance I will post what I found worked well and what absolutely did not. I hope you have as amazing a weekend as I plan to have!!!

See you in a few days!!