Happy Valentine’s Day!

I know January dragged on and on for a lot of people, but it FLEW by in this house. I wasn’t prepared for February to be here yet! Luckily, with the help of of a printer and some heat transfer vinyl, I can pretend we’ve spent months planning! Check out our Valentine’s Day kids’ outfits and cards for this year, and a super quick activity from education.com!

Valentine’s Day Outfits

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I dug through my fabric stash this weekend, but couldn’t find any solid red, solid pink, hearts, really much of anything that screamed Valentine’s Day! Luckily, we never have a shortage of gray here 🙂 I found some scraps of red and pink heat transfer vinyl, and put together a cut file full of different heart faces.

E’s shirt is the Rowan Raglan from Made for Mermaids, with added cuffs and waist band so that I didn’t have to do any hemming. Woohoo!

Bee’s dress is the new Made for MermaidsStella pattern, with the Ainsley flutter sleeve hack and a little bit of length added to make it dress length. I paired it with a pair of hand-me-down tights and shoes from Old Navy, and some heart bracelets she scored at Target for $1.

I love how quickly they came together! If you need a last minute outfit but don’t have access to a Silhouette, a sewing machine, etc., here’s an easy DIY hack. 🙂  Get any solid colored shirt or dress, then buy a single sheet of black (for the face) and a single sheet of another color (for the heart) from Michael’s. You can trace your design right onto the vinyl, cut out using scissors or an exacto knife, and then apply the vinyl using your regular iron!

Valentine’s Cards

E and I have had fun finding candy-alternatives to hand out each year! In preschool, he gave out heart shaped crayons that we made together (you color my world….get it? teehee!). I think we still have a few of the leftovers floating around! Last year, he gave out tiny plastic dinosaurs (because his friends were dino-mite, of course!).

This year, we got little goodies for his classmates, but also picked out a little something fun for our neighborhood friends, too.

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For classmates – E picked out these bendy little super heroes to give to his friends at school. I made little tags that say “you’re super”, with plenty of room at the bottom for him to address them tonight. Or maybe tomorrow. We’ll see how organized we are 🙂 I made the tags in Photoshop, but you could do the same thing in Word, or have your child(ren) write the note by hand!

For specials teachers – I grabbed a couple Burt’s Bees lip balms in different flavors with a tag attached that says “Happy Valentine’s Day! You’re the “balm”!” We did this for his specials teachers last year, too. I always like to do a little something for them just so they know we appreciate them, and chapstick is easy enough to do for his male teachers too!

For his teacher and teacher assistant – I grabbed a small gift card from Target and a little zip up pouch to go with their lip balm. The Target poem I’m attaching to their gift card makes me giggle.

For our neighborhood friends – Bee, E, and I just loved these little dogs! They are so ridiculous, but so fun. The pink poodles were my favorite, but we also got little French bulldogs for our friends that are less inclined to like pink poodles 🙂 E is very into puns right now, so he has been cracking up over “pawesome.”

Valentine’s Day Maze Activity

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Love is in the air and this sweet puppy is here to help you make your way back to your Valentine. Education.com is full of learning resources and printables just like this! I didn’t print one out for Bee because she is mostly still into scribbling, but E was really excited about this maze! It was easy for him, but I think he actually preferred it that way. 😉 It was a fun little activity to do together after school. You can download both the puppy love maze and answer key for free! I would recommend this particular maze for younger children, but education.com has lots of resources for older kids too.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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*Post contains affiliate links.

*Maze from education.com was provided to me at no cost, to share with you 🙂

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Made for Mermaids Stella Sweater

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I’ve been quiet on the blog lately because I’ve been busy sewing up 1000 versions of all the new Made for Mermaids Lounge & Lace Collection patterns before release! The newest pattern in the collection is the Stella Sweater, available in Mama, Girls, and Dolly sizes!

Stella is quick and easy knit banded top or tunic (or dress if you want to extend the length on your own!). It is full of fun, trendy options. It features a slight drop shoulder bodice, 4 different back options (full back, v back with optional band or ties, keyhole back, and off shoulder), and several sleeve length options!

This sweater was PERFECT for using up all the stray french terry I seem to have been hoarding. This blue floral version is my favorite of all the versions I made for Bee; you can check out the hacks I used on the Made for Mermaids blog! Of course, I had to make myself one too:

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Mama Stella is perfect with the recently released Bridgette Bralette, and I’m wearing it here with a pair of distressed SOS Pants from Patterns for Pirates.

The only version I DIDN’T make was actually the full back option! I was having way too much fun with the others 🙂  Here are a few of my favorites that I made for myself:

 

Naturally, we couldn’t leave all of our dollies out! How cute are the little tiny Stellas?!

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Check out the Made for Mermaids blog for hack ideas, and stay tuned for the next pattern release in the Lounge & Lace Collection!

Each pattern is on sale individually or there are two (limited time!!) bundles. Sale and bundles end Monday 2/12 midnight cst.

Stella Bundle – all 3
Mommy & Me Bundle
Mama Stella
Stella
Dolly Stella

Need one made just for you or your little one? Get in touch with us on etsy, Instagram (@mamaandlittlee), or Facebook!

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*Post contains affiliate links.

Small Business Saturday Round Up

I LOVE to shop small, especially at Christmas time! Searching for unique, and often handmade, gifts has always been one of my favorite things about gift-giving. Luckily, my DIY gifts are much nicer now than they were 25 years ago 😆 Even if a handmade gift isn’t appropriate for everyone on your list, you can still shop small by choosing locally owned businesses in your area.

For Kids:

I put together a list of some of my favorite handmade shops, some larger shops that do a lot of good, and a few other ideas for imaginative play.

As Christmas gets closer, I find my Facebook feed filled with more and more articles about how many/what toys to buy for children, and many opinion articles saying absolutely no toys. We love toys at our house, and our kids still get some for Christmas, but we try to find quality toys that require some kind of active play or imagination.

We don’t have many toys that require batteries (I would say fewer than five!) We have tons of building toys that my son and now my daughter love to create with. We have a play kitchen that I rescued from a neighbor’s curb and renovated, which is the most played with item when we have friends over. The kids love their wood train tracks, dolls and stuffed animals, art supplies, play dough, and of course, books. They have a marble run, a wood castle, a vintage (it was mine, I think that makes it vintage?) doll house, piles of costumes and dress up clothes, and bikes. And I will admit, we do have a ridiculous 24v princess carriage because why not!

Here are a few of my favorites for this Christmas (and some from birthdays and Christmases past):

Unicorn Stacking Toy from Zooble– This is even cuter in person! My daughter still loves her stacking toys even now that she’s two. This unicorn one is just too much; she’ll be so excited to find it in her stocking this year. My son took a peek at their Etsy store and found a couple play sets he’d like under the tree this year, too!

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Play Camera from WoodandMoreUK – my daughter LOVES to pretend anything rectangular is a camera, so I know she will have so much fun playing with this and making all of us say “cheese” for her.

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Recycled Crayon Name Set by Art2theExtreme – both of my littles are getting these. They both love to color and draw, and my son will be so tickled to see his name.

Cuddle + Kind – This is not technically “shopping small”, but I love when my money can do a little good for someone in the world, too. We bought the bunnies for my kids, and the glasses on the boy bunny is my favorite part I think! They are pricey for stuffed animals, but they’re hand knit, and provide meals for others, so I’m in!

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Alphabet Peg Dolls from Zooble – I put these on Bee’s list this year. They are so fun!

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Other things that my kids have and love – Some of these are likely available at locally owned toy stores, so check there first! The Land of Nod toys are not, but we love to have some quiet play options in this house too 🙂

Hape Rocketship, Carry Home Dollhouse and/or Rocketship

Le Toy Van Wood Castle, Magnatiles, K’nex

For the Adults:

Jane + Cope Leather Statement Earrings – I think I have four pairs from these fellow military wives, with several more on my wish list! They are so pretty, and so lightweight. I want every color!

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Noonday Collection by Analisa Jernigan – Analisa is so sweet, and the jewelry is stunning. I adore all the stories about the artists that create the jewelry and accessories, and hope that everyone’s purchases throughout the year help add up to a big difference in the lives of these women and their families.

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Agnes & Dora by Tiffany Lantz– Almost every clothing item I own and wear these days is made by me, or made by A&D! I love their swing tunics especially, but honestly I love it all! My nieces are getting some A&D dresses along with some auntie-made dolly and me tunics this year!

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Cheri by Kate – If you’re local to Warner, NH, you can visit Kate and her handmade goods at her holiday pop-up shop (25 E Main St in Warner) through December. She makes crocheted accessories as well as gorgeous custom clothing.

Whipping Up Fairy Tales – Kasey is the world’s fastest crocheter (I don’t think that’s official yet, but it takes me roughly 100 years to crochet something that takes her 30 minutes!). She makes amazing bow ties, bows, headbands, beanies, bun beanies, and funky jewelry. I need to order some faux druzy earrings from her (I hope she still has them!!!).

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JamesMichelleJewelry – I have a personalized gold bar necklace with both of my kids’ names on it, and get so many compliments on it! I bought it for myself before right before Bee was born. It came out exactly as I hoped!

Custom Cutting Boards by CabanyCo – I got my husband a hilarious Breaking Bad themed cutting board a few years ago. He uses it all the time!

Butcher Prints –  I  got my husband a set of prints like these a few years ago. I can’t remember where I ordered his from originally, but he got a big kick out of them!

Personalized Bangles from Frosted Willow – My sister and I both have a set of bracelets from this Etsy seller. I like how delicate they look worn separately, but usually wear mine stacked! They also look cute mixed with other bangle bracelets.

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Herb Garden Set from The Gifted Tomato – The Gifted Tomato had lots of beautiful gift sets for anyone on your list with a green thumb (my thumbs are as black as they come so don’t look at me!).

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Handcrafted Yarn Bowl from aaharrison – We bought this yarn bowl for my mother-in-law a few years ago. I had seen several others like it, but I loved the little bird!

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The Handwritten Home – Allyson creates gorgeous custom watercolors and chalkboards. She offers a range of sizes and canvases, and can create a print for just about any occasion.

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Bouchard Custom Creations – Amanda is the queen of all things monogrammed. She’s based in CA, but can ship if you’re not local.

For DIY Gifts to Give:

Made for Mermaids and Patterns for Pirates – Both companies offer a ton of free printable PDF sewing patterns for things like mermaid tail blankets, aprons, bookmarks, leggings, and many other goodies! They have lots of cute ideas for teacher gifts, gifts that kids can help make, etc. Most anything can be hand sewn, if you don’t have a sewing machine. Psst! Starting December 1, Made for Mermaids will be doing another round of 12 free patterns!!!

Thread & Grain – Cut vinyl cutouts, funky wood necklaces, and other goodies are available from Katy at Thread & Grain! She sells shirts pre-made, or you can order the vinyl to iron or heat press the shirts yourself, or you can order the digital file by itself! I have her sewing machine necklace on my list this year 🙂

Dolls and Daydreams – The CUTEST PDF patterns for dollies and stuffed animals, plus tons of clothing patterns. My kids each have several – if you’ve seen their Easter bunnies, or E’s ninja, or the elves I made them last year for the Polar Express, that’s what I used!

DIY Dollhouse turned Superhero Hideout:
One of my favorite gifts I’ve given my son is this “superhero hideout” I made for his 5th birthday. E helped design parts of the hideout so it was even more fun for him to see it all finished. There are plenty of plain wood doll houses/structures that can become something similar, or find a local carpenter! I made this one myself with a couple boards and a hand saw, so I know someone with actual wood working experience could make you something amazing.

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Take some time this weekend (and this holiday season) to support small businesses. Visit your town’s downtown area, check out local book stores and hardware stores. Swing into locally owned restaurants and coffee shops. Browse on Etsy for teacher gifts. Give gift certificates for a session with a local photographer. Gift experiences like art lessons, or passes to local museums or aquariums. See if your grocery store sells items made from locally grown ingredients.

I’m so grateful that this year I’ve had the opportunity to grow my own small business, and I owe that opportunity to all of you that have supported me along the way. Thanks for being a part of mama & little e’s story all these years.

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P.S. If you’re a small business owner, please feel free to leave a description of your business and a way for people to find you in the comments!

Catherine, Mama Catherine, and Dolly Catherine by Made for Mermaids 


Every time Made for Mermaids releases a new pattern, I think I fall in love all over again!

Catherine is a knit top, tunic, and/or dress pattern for girls in sizes 1/2 – 14. She features several yoke options, including a square or scoop neckline. Sleeve options include short, 3/4, flounce, hi low flounce, and long sleeves. Length options include top, tunic, dress with ruffle, and dress length. We just love the gathered skirt, the sweetness of the flounce and the ruffle dress, and I especially love how quick it was to sew up!

Mama Catherine features the same yoke and sleeve options as the girl’s version. Mama Catherine length options include top, tunic, dress, and curved hem dress length. There’s no mama ruffle length, though it wouldn’t be hard to draft your own ruffle if you are dying to have that option!

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This mustard & white striped double brushed polyester from Knitpop was perfect for this Catherine (curved lined yoke, ruffle dress, hi low flounce sleeve). I paired it with Bonny leggings now that we’re finally getting some chilly weather!

(Striped DBP – Knitpop; Floral DBP – Sincerely Rylee Fabric; Burgundy flats – Target; Boots – Amazon)

The other two versions I made feature flounce hacks; you can check out the full post I did for those over here! The burgundy floral finished shorter than the actual ruffle dress pattern is intended, but it will be perfect as a tunic!

(Burgundy floral velvet – Knitpop; Green Floral – Sincerely Rylee)

Dolly Catherine

Despite the teeny tiny pieces, Dolly Catherine was still worth it. So much cuteness!

Mama Catherine

The Mama Catherine is just as stunning as the girls’ Catherine pattern! I made three different versions during testing (and have made several others since), and I just can’t bring myself to pick a favorite! This pink floral version is the curved tunic length with long sleeves. I like my tops a little longer, so I would personally wear this as top length.

Full disclosure – I really thought I would hate the flounce sleeve on the mama dress. I offered to test any option, but secretly planned to chop off the flounces as soon as pictures were done so I could just hem the sleeve.  Turns out, I actually really love it! This red Mama Catherine is curved dress length with a hi low flounce sleeve and a lined curved yoke. The red is a bamboo spandex blend from Knitpop. I used a red stretch lace that I scored on Amazon lined with a beige colored double brushed polyester from my stash. The lace yoke is definitely my favorite part!

As always, I love to see just how versatile different pieces can be. I had fun pairing this Mama Catherine curved length dress with other Made for Mermaids/Patterns for Pirates pieces, plus a few ready-to-wear items and accessories for these 12 easy looks. Check out my full styling post here

Grab your copy of Mama Catherine, Catherine, Dolly Catherine, or you can grab the limited time bundle while it’s available!

Happy sewing 🙂

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Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Projects

Although I’m itching to get to December and celebrate all things Christmas, I still love the  warmth and comfort Thanksgiving brings. We usually dive head first into Christmas crafts, but I decided to pull in a few more fall themed projects this year.

The first project my kids and I tackled are these fun DIY napkins. I love how wild the little turkeys turned out!

Materials –

  • cloth napkins (we used cheap ones from WalMart; they were $1.97 for a pack of 2)
  • fabric paint
  • scrap paper or small pieces of cardboard (to put underneath the part you are painting)
  • paper plates or palettes
  • fine paintbrush(es)

I folded the napkins for both kids to give them a better sense of where to put the feathers. I made sure to put a piece of scrap paper in between the layer they were painting and the rest of the napkin to prevent bleeding through.

To make the turkey feathers, my son dipped his whole finger in paint, but I painted my daughter’s hands with a brush.

We found that the feathers came out best if we did one feather at a time.

For the bodies and heads, I painted the pinky side of their fist brown.

Once the feathers and bodies were completely dry, the kids hand painted the details on. Well, E and I painted them. Bee is not a detail kind of gal yet!

I considered adding a vinyl “grateful” to the top, but I found some flocked leaves that I wanted to set out with the place settings, so I left the text off. It was fun letting the kids create something that we’ll use when our company comes next week!

The second “project” was a fun little word search from Education.com! The former teacher in me loves to find little opportunities here and there to get a little bit of “school” in during our down time, so these word searches were perfect for my son. Education.com is offering the word search to my readers (and me) for free; when you get a chance, hop on over to their website to see what other fun, themed resources are available!

The holiday season is here! Get your family into the holiday spirit with this fun pumpkin pie word search! There’s more themed reading fun and resources at Education.com!

You can download the free word search here, and the answer key here. Enjoy!

Sew What Do I Wear? Winter Professional Mini “Capsule”

Thanks for stopping by as part of the Made for Mermaids and Patterns for Pirates Sew, What Do I Wear? Professional Edition Blog Tour! I have been working on a winter mini capsule that can be worn in the work place (with a few great date-night pieces, too!).  I know lots of people ask what sort of me-made outfits make appropriate work attire; I’m happy to share some of my favorite options with you!

The easiest part of a capsule for me is always the actual garment construction; the hardest for me is always choosing fabric and patterns! If you read about my fall or my spring capsule, you have a pretty good idea of how I plan my mini capsules. This one was slightly different – I made a no-floral rule (😱😱😱😱), and set a goal of including at least two woven patterns.

Fabrics

As in the past, I chose my two busiest fabrics first. The diamonds are a double brushed polyester spandex from Love Adore (just a note – their beloved founder, Kim, passed away a few months ago. Kim’s family opens up shop periodically to continue her legacy. Join their Facebook group to keep up with their schedule. I love to support them any time they’re open for business!). The animal print is a rayon spandex from Sly Fox Fabrics.

After I chose my two busy prints, I decided to stick to mostly neutral colors with just a little pop of color. I picked a bright blue knit (I think it was a french terry blend) from a clearance sale Knitpop, and a blush pink chiffon from Hobby Lobby.

The remainder of my fabrics were a variety of neutrals, including a great dark gray yoga knit (also from Knitpop), a gray and white striped rayon spandex, a gorgeous sweater knit from Sincerely Rylee, and solid black double brushed polyester. 

Choosing Patterns – 

After fabrics, I planned out which patterns I wanted to use. I usually plan 3 tops, 3 bottoms, and 3 layers, but I strayed from that a little this time for a total of 12 pieces. The two things I considered when choosing patterns for a professional setting were neckline for tops and length for dresses/skirts. I find almost all of the Patterns for Pirates and Made for Mermaids patterns to be work appropriate, but always check with your individual employer/existing dress code before you plan your own professional wardrobe.

One last thing to consider if you’re working on a capsule over a longer period of time is to take your measurements multiple times, especially if you usually hover between two sizes, and definitely before you cut woven pattern pieces since you don’t have the wiggle room you do in a knit pattern. I’m SO glad I measured again before I cut out my woven pieces; since I worked on this capsule over a period of two months, my measurements changed just enough that if I cut my “normal” size I would’ve  been unhappy! I still went with the same size for the knits I had already cut out/finished, but definitely consider measuring frequently!

Featured Patterns – Mama Isabel with Mama Quinn


Mama Isabel is true love for me because of how versatile it is. I love the option to wear it as a dress, a long cardigan, or over/under other skirts and tops. My fall capsule had several different ways to wear Mama Isabel, but one of my favorites is wearing it as a cardi. I made this one with 3/4 sleeves and dress length tulip hem.


One of the two woven patterns I included for this capsule was a dress length Mama Quinn, made in a cream chiffon with a lace (non-stretch) trim from Hobby Lobby.

This was a great way to provide a higher neckline and more coverage at the hemline without needing a ton of layers. Depending on your specific dress code, an infinity scarf is another great way to work with lower necklines! This hemline may still be a little short for your work place, but both Mama Isabel and Mama Quinn can certainly be altered to have more length! Quinn would also make a great cami-style blouse to wear under cardis, but the chiffon I used was a little too sheer to wear like that!

Tops- Mama Tara, Mama Mya,


I LOVE the Mama Mya pattern. It’s one of my most used patterns. It’s a quick and easy sew; even though it’s casual enough to wear with jeans or leggings on the weekend, it can still work in a professsional setting. I made the one above in a light gray & white striped rayon spandex. I used tunic length and 3/4 sleeves, with no height adjustments. 


Mama Tara is another quick sew, with a drape detail that gives it just enough of a boutique-feel. This Mama Tara is a lightweight sweater knit from Sincerely Rylee Fabrics. I LOVE the coziness of the sweater knit paired with heels and some chunky jewelry!

Dresses – Mama Mya with a Mama Kourtney inspired knot, Brunch Blouse, Mama Nina


The Brunch Blouse was the other woven pattern I knew I HAD to make. I had this beautiful blush chiffon in my stash left over from my fall capsule, and later ordered these rose gold sequins from Etsy to use as accent pieces. The finishing touch was two rose gold buttons I found at Hobby Lobby. The Brunch Blouse is just perfect in dress length. Mama Quinn also worked great as a slip underneath this, too! I also tucked the dress into the Pencil Skirt, because you know I like my clothes to pull double duty. I made this Blouse with the dolman short sleeve, dress length, with cuffs and button tabs. 

Of course, I couldn’t just make ONE Mama Mya, so I made a second in dress length in this gray knit that I believe came from Knitpop . This might not be dressy enough for all work places, but the length and neckline are both great if you have a less formal dress code. I loved the knot detail on the Mama Kourtney, so I added that to Mama Mya to give it a little something.


Finally, I made a Mama Nina in a black stretch velvet from Hobby Lobby, with a stretch lace neckband and trim (also from Hobby Lobby). I know winter comes with plenty of Holiday parties, concerts, dinners, plays, and all sorts of other events, so I wanted to make an outfit that could be worn to work, but also to those types of events (and around the house just for fun, because stretch velvet 😍). For this version, I shortened the back so the hi-low hem is less drastic. 


As a side note – when you’re not quite in love with something you’ve made, make sure you try it on COMPLETELY before you throw in the towel. This velvet Nina looked awful when I tried it on with my wild mom-bun and bare feet, but I liked it so much more once I tried it on again with a pair of shoes and jewelry that I would actually wear with it if I were going out in public and not just back down the hall to my sewing studio.
Bottoms – Peg Leg Leggings, Pirate Pencil Skirt, SOS Pants


The BEST part about the Pencil Skirt and the SOS pants is that I used a heavier yoga knit from Knitpop, so even though I look dressed, I’m literally wearing yoga pants. How’s that for a momiform?


The Pencil Skirt is one of my favorites because it’s so quick to make, and always looks so classy and timeless (pssst! I also sometimes wear them as a scarf or a strapless top!).


The skinny SOS Pants were much easier than I anticipated. If you must know, I did accidentally sew the front pockets on to the back (don’t even ask how that happened – I still don’t know!!), but was able to fix my sewfu (get it? Like a snafu? 😬) without too much trouble. I love that they look like dress pants, but are comfortable enough that they feel like sweats. I used a yoga-style waistband folded over once on mine, but the pattern calls for elastic in the waist band.

Last but not least, basic black Peg Leg Leggings to pair with the dresses when it finally gets cold out! I know a lot of employers have banned leggings without sufficient booty coverage, so I personally wouldn’t wear Tara or a top-length Mya with them to work (but at home or on the weekends, game on!!). However, they make a great alternative to tights or hose, because nobody’s got time for runs in those!

Layers – Grandpa Cardi, Cocoon Cardigan 


The bright blue of this Patterns for Pirates Grandpa Cardi is such a fun pop of color for a winter capsule! I love how fresh it looks against all the neutrals. This is perfect for winter, but also great if you work somewhere that likes to keep their AC cranked year round. I added 6 inches in length to the cardi. 

I also can’t get enough of this animal print Cocoon Cardi!  The Cocoon Cardi is another layering piece that’s great for the colder months, but also great for the AC months if you don’t get to be in charge of the thermostat. When I taught elementary school, I always kept a “school sweater” or two in my classroom! You can usually find another two or three in my car. I like to be prepared 🙂 For this version, I made tunic length with tall bands and no cuffs. 
Shoes & Accessories – 


I tried to stick to MOSTLY neutral colors with a few pops of color to make the shoes/accessories as versatile as possible for all the outfit combinations.

Shoes – animal print flats from Crocs (can you even believe that??); nude heels from Old Navy; faux suede booties from Amazon.

Bags – red wallet/clutch by Coach; bag by Michael Kors (printer ink stain on the interior bag is by me); faux suede clutch is an Old Navy clearance find

Jewelry – top was purchased at a craft show years ago; middle by Kendra Scott; bottom by Noonday Collection

Although it pained me a little to set all my florals to the side for a bit, I had so much fun putting together some dressier, professional looks in a more neutral palette. Here are just a few of my favorite looks: 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the ladies on the blog tour:

If you’re not into sewing, go through your closet and look for nine or so pieces that can be used in similar ways. Start with the same concept of 2 busy prints, 3-4 coordinating colors, and 3-4 neutrals; you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how many combinations you can come up with!

If you’d like to have a capsule designed and/or made just for you, come visit me on Facebook or Etsy. 

*post contains affiliate links*
Photo credit: Megan of A Beautiful Moment Photography

Made for Mermaids’ “All Dolled Up” Week

My Bee LOVES all of her baby dolls. I have such fun memories of playing dolls and Barbies with my friends when I was little, and I love sharing that with my girl. I have never pushed dolls on her, but if you’ve met her, you know it’s in her top three favorite things (with pumpkins and any sort of ball filling the other two spots). 


I was happy to test three of Made for Mermaids’ Dolly patterns as part of their “All Dolled Up” release & giveaway week, and even more excited to sew up a few new outfits for my girl to match her babies. Be sure to check out their blog for all the giveaway details! 

The first dolly pattern we tested was Dolly Ainsley, featuring a knit bodice and woven skirt, with Velcro closure in the back. It’s available in 14″, 15″ and 18″ doll sizes. The Ainsley has optional sash ties and elastic in the back on the girls’ version; for the dolly version, I opted for ribbon in lieu of the fabric sash ties, and did not use any elastic. If you use ribbon, just make sure it’s the correct width!

Don’t forget to grab the girls’ Ainsley pattern, too! It’s such a sweet and surprisingly easy/quick sew. 

The second pattern we tested was the Dolly Mya (shown with the Dolly Bonny Leggings). The doll is wearing top length with short sleeves and a cowl neck. The black floral is a rayon spandex, which is what I would recommend for a true cowl look. The solid mauve is a french terry bodice with a double brushed polyester cowl. The french terry looked like a turtle neck, so I removed and used a close-match DBP instead. It still did not drape as well as the rayon spandex, but certainly better than the french terry! No velrco on this pattern, but it is easy enough to take on and off. My Bee is wearing the girls Mya in tunic length (pink with and added ruffle) and top length (black and floral). Both Bee and her baby are wearing Bonny Leggings (and of course, Dolly Bonny). 

 

Finally, we tested Dolly Kourtney. Doll is wearing tunic length tank with no knot option. The back does have Velcro closure, though it would be easy enough to omit if you prefer no velcro. Bee is wearing the dress length Kourtney. Made for Mermaid’s Joy has been my go-to pattern for a while now, but she’s had to move over to make room for Nina and now Kourtney. ❤️ 

Like all of the M4M patterns, all three of these Dolly patterns come loaded with options and little details that give them a trendy, boutique feel. These patterns come at the PERFECT time for sewing up some cute Dolly and Me sets as Christmas gifts for your little doll lovers (or big doll lovers; my sister and I love the American Girl store way more than is probably acceptable so I certainly don’t judge 😂). 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the dolly patterns on the blog, and grab the girls’ patterns too! 

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Made for Mermaids Cora and Mama Cora Culottes 

I was so happy to test Made for Mermaids‘ newest patterns, Cora and Mama Cora Culottes! The best part about these sweet shorts, aside from how quick and easy they are to sew AND the fact that they look like a skirt but your legs don’t have to touch, is that if you purchase now for just $3 each, 100% of the  proceeds will go to benefit those recovering from the damages of Hurricane Harvey! Eventually, both Cora and Mama Cora will have a special code if you are a member of the M4M Facebook group, but if you have a few dollars to spare, now is a perfect time to purchase. 

**This post does not contain affiliate links, so that as much money as possible goes to Hurricane Harvey relief. Made for Mermaids also has several Texas-inspired cut files available for purchase, with 100% of the proceeds from those going to relief efforts as well. **

One of my favorite things about the mama Cora Culottes I made during testing is that I was able to incorporate pieces of my spring and fall mini capsules to make complete outfits! The black Made for Mermaids Mama Claire and striped Patterns for Pirates pencil skirt (shown as a scarf) are both from my spring capsule, while the cream Mama Claire and olive Mama Joy skirt separate are both from my fall capsule. 

I also used two pieces from my daughter’s fall capsule to coordinate with her culottes – the cream lace trimmed Tara top, and Isabel worn as a duster are both from her fall capsule. They looked so cute with her mustard boho print double brushed polyester pair, and her blue floral french terry pair! 


I opted for more fitted tops when I was styling mine. I loved my Mama Coras with a Mama Tara Twist Top, or a Mama Claire. I also paired with a few ready-to-wear fitted tops. I tried with a Mama Nina top, and I felt like there was just too much going on!  It did look a little better knotted if you’re determined to try it out. 

As far as fabrics go, my favorite wear-out-in-public pair is double brushed polyester (the mustard/white boho print pair – fabric was from So Sew English but I don’t believe it’s available any more).  Cotton spandex/lycra makes for great lounge culottes, but fair warning – especially in gray, they look like sweatpant shorts (sweat shorts? Pajama shorts?). I’m not mad about them; I’m actually wearing them right this minute! I paired my gray pair with a sized down Mama Tara (only sized down and cut off grain only because I ran out of fabric!! Eek!) in french terry. From the side I can kind of pretend I’m wearing a causal skirt, but the front is straight up sweats. Don’t ask me why, but I tried to jazz it up with a necklace anyway! 

I also loved Mama Cora and Cora in stretch velvet! It gave it a much dressier feel, and I’m excited to layer them over tights as the temperature drops! I wore this black pair with a rayon blouse from a local boutique. 

Culottes are really designed for knit fabrics, but I tried a pair in woven fabric just because I couldn’t resist the temptation to experiment; they actually turned out cuter than I expected! I used my normal length waistband, but cut out of double brushed polyester and extended the width to 8″ instead of the 6″ the tutorial calls for. I sized up roughly two sizes for the legs. It’s not quite the same fit, but I did like the skirt-like silhouette it had. If you are self-conscious about your hips, I would skip the woven experiments because there of course isn’t the flowiness of knit fabrics. This pretty floral woven is from Hobby Lobby. Tee is from my sweet friend Tiffany’s Agnes & Dora shop. 

A few notes – I only hemmed my woven pair. I preferred the unhemmed look on all the pairs I made. You certainly can hem them if you prefer! Also, I found the pockets on the size 1 shortest length Coras hung out the bottom, so we opted out of pockets. The longer hem lengths in size 1, and the larger girls’ sizes in all lengths, should be fine with pockets, though! Finally, there are definitely moments of diaper visibility in the length we made; if that’s something you are particular about, I would suggest going with a different length. 

Here are more pictures of the pairs I made for Bee & me! I’ll be making several more for both of us. Grab yours before the end of September if you want your patterns to serve a greater purpose! 







 

DIY Spring Mini Wardrobe 

Is it weird that I’m writing about my spring capsule AFTER making and posting about my fall capsule? No? Ok, great 🙂 

I’ll be honest with you – participating in the spring capsule contest, hosted by Made for Mermaids and Patterns for Pirates, was a COMPLETELY last minute decision! I made 5 or 6 of the 9 items in one very, very late night (technically morning!) of sewing. I’m so glad I did it, and I get a ton of use out of most of the items I made, but I was not nearly as structured as I was for the fall. 

The first two pieces that I included were from a different crazy late night/early morning of sewing. My husband spent several weeks in NYC for work, so we planned a quick overnight (kid-free!) trip one of the weekends he was up there. I decided the night before my flight that I could not get on that plane without a solid black Made for Mermaids Mama Claire, so I whipped one up. Then I decided I’d want to wear the Mama Claire out Saturday night, so I needed to make a different top to wear on the plane. I had some blue floral double brushed poly that hadnt been earmarked for anything, so I made a long sleeve  Mama Joy Peplum top. Basically, I live in a constant state of “if you give a mouse a cookie.” I think I went to bed at 3:30 am. Woke up at 5:00 to catch my flight. Here are my airport bathroom/hotel bathroom selfies for your enjoyment, haha!

I didn’t get much sleep, but I’m still obsessed with that Mama Claire, so whatever! I hadn’t been to NYC in way too long, so I made my husband do all sorts of touristy things with me. 

I didn’t think much more about the capsule contest until the day it was due. Several people had started posting theirs on Facebook, and I figured I could scrounge up enough coordinating fabrics to make it work. 

One of the similarities between my spring and fall capsules, besides the fact that I have a  stripes/floral problem, is the number of items I kept in each “category”. For this one, I also made 3 tops, 3 bottoms, and 3 layering pieces (plus some bonus wears, of course!!). 

Tops:

Since we were heading into spring, I only made one long sleeve top. I used Made for Mermaids Mama Joy Peplum top, Mama Mya in shirt length, and Mama Mya in tunic length. I don’t love the shirt length on me; the light blue floral will likely get repurposed or color blocked at some point this summer because it’s the piece I wear the least only because of the length. The Peplum and the tunic length Mya are love, love, love though! 

The two on the left are double brushed polyester; the tunic on the right is rayon spandex. I believe both navy florals came from Knitpop, although neither are currently stocked. The middle is from So Sew English. 

Bottoms:

For bottoms, I made a Mama Joy Skirt Separate (wine), Patterns for Pirates Pencil Skirt (stripes), and Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs Leggings (navy). If I had planned farther in advance, I would’ve gotten some lighter solids for the bottom pieces. P.S. The pencil skirt and leggings are both FREE patterns, so go scoop them up if you haven’t already. 

Wine – M4M Mama Joy Skirt w/ peg leg waistband, “raisin rage” double brushed poly from Love Adore Stripes – P4P Pencil Skirt, double brushed poly Navy – P4P Peg Legs, double brushed poly from Knitpop 

Layering Pieces:

My layering pieces for this capsule included a Patterns for Pirates Summer Kimono (pink), sleeveless Mama Mya (gray), and Mama Claire (black). 

The sleeveless Mama Mya had very few modifications. I was originally going to make a P4P Essential Tank, but I didn’t have quite enough of that fabric for it. I made it shirt length, and added lace trim, but I still wish it was a longer top! To make it sleeveless, I literally just made it sleeveless! I turned and coverstitched instead of adding bands. I should have lowered the armscye, but it was already late when I was working on that one 🙂 



Pink – P4P summer kimono, double brushed poly from Knitpop Gray – modified M4M Mama Mya, gray modal Black – M4M Mama Claire, double brushed poly from Knitpop 

Bonus wears:

I didn’t get quite as many bonus wears in my spring capsule as I did in my fall fall version, but I did get some versatility! 


The pencil skirt is just as cute as an infinity scarf and as a strapless top! I didn’t take pictures with the mama Joy skirt, but it can also be worn the same way.

Mama Claire is great because it’s effortlessly versatile! It can be worn two ways just by making it per the pattern, and it’s easy to layer over other pieces. 

I also wore the sleeveless Mya as a separate tank and as a layering piece. I love being able to get several combinations with just a few pieces! 

 

Stay tuned – I’ve already decided I need a winter capsule too. It’s safe to say I have a problem! 🙂 

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Bee’s Fall Mini Capsule 

My wild little Bee is the last person on the planet that needs more clothing, especially since I JUST finished her “spring” mini-capsule wardrobe a few months ago. Alas, I can’t resist.
Here is her previous mini-capsule, that was really just an effort to give her dad a fair shot at dressing her in something that wasn’t pajamas. We love him, but he’s dressed her in some interesting things!

Anyway, I’m in LOVE with her fall capsule that I just finished up. There’s a perfect mix of textures and fun details, but everything (ok, ok, almost everything) is still very practical.

I’m a little more methodical when it comes to planning my own capsules since they require so much more fabric, but you can see I still have a balance of prints, coordinating solids, and neutrals. And some gold sequins, because….well, sequins.

If you have kids, you know they often go through more than one outfit a day! With that in mind, I decided to do a few more than 9 items for Bee. I did 6 tops and 6 bottoms, with 3 layering pieces. I figured that would get me through at least a day and a half. 😜

Tops:

I was tempted to just make a bunch of modified Made for Mermaids Joy since they’re so quick and easy, but I’m so happy I included a little more variety. I made her a short sleeve Nina tunic, sleeveless Holly, short sleeve Holly, twist sleeve Tara, 3/4 sleeve Nina, and of course, a modified Joy 🙂

Gray/gold – M4M Nina, gray cotton lycra from Knitpop/gold sequins from Hobby Lobby (fair warning – the gold sequins are SO itchy and literally scratch up skin. If you use it for something that touches skin, you might want to line it!) Teal floral – M4M Holly, floral woven from Hobby Lobby Beigey floral – M4M Holly, wovens from Hobby Lobby Cream – M4M Tara, cotton lycra from Knitpop, lace trim from Hobby Lobby Burgundy floral – M4M Nina, double brushed poly from Knitpop White floral – M4M Joy with shortened bodice, knit from Hobby Lobby


Bottoms: 

Remember how I said ALMOST everything was practical? Yea, there’s nothing practical about the sparkly tutu-skirt. Woops! Hobby Lobby had a whole bolt of it already on elastic and ready to go, so it was of course a required purchase. I just did a quick seam up the back and the skirt was finished! It did look really cute layered underneath the shorter tops, and as a high-waisted skirt over the longer tunics.

Since we live in the south, I also included a couple pairs of  Made for Mermaids Olivia Bloomers. Once it actually starts to get chilly, she’ll be able to wear tights underneath them to get a little more use out of them. The last 3 are Made for Mermaids Bonny Leggings, our favorite wardrobe staple.

Pink tutu skirt – no pattern. Fabric from Hobby Lobby. Tan/teal/olive leggings – M4M Bonny Leggings, double brushed poly from Knitpop Bloomers – M4M Olivia Bloomers, woven fabric from Hobby Lobby

Layering pieces: 
If you checked out my fall capsulealready, you know how much I love the Isabel as a cardigan. Naturally, I had to make a mini one! This silvery sweater knit was the perfect fabric. I think it came from Hobby Lobby, but I’m not 100% positive. Love that Bee will be able to wear it as a dress or a sweater layer! I also whipped up a little plaid infinity scarf (not practical), and this adorable Vest (free pattern from Made for Mermaids!!), for some added texture.

Scarf – no pattern (but M4M does have a pattern!), plaid from Hobby Lobby Vest – M4M Free Faux Vest Pattern, “fur” from Hobby Lobby Dress/Cardigan – M4M Isabel, sweater knit from Hobby Lobby (I think!)
I’m so happy with these sweet little additions to her closet. No way this girl was going to try on 36+ combinations for me (even though I’m not above bribing with chocolate and/or ice cream), but I know we’ll get plenty of wear out of all 15 pieces this fall!

Need help planning a fall wardrobe for your little one? Come visit us over on Facebook or Etsy!

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