Pillow Case Dress for Dolly

What does a busy mama do when she should be planning craft fair stuff?? She makes doll clothes for her fashionista daughter. :)

I had this random scrap of darling sparkly purple fabric that I used a few years ago to make princess crowns for my daughters birthday party. I think I even made an apron for a friends daughters birthday out of it. Needless to say I am a scrap thrilled and I need an intervention.

My oldest daughter has this amazing affection for her doll, Muffin. She becomes thrilled beyond words when I make her little things so it seemed necessary to use this scrap for its final project, a lovely little dress for her doll!

This project was simple because I just used my small quilters press to get a general idea of the dolls size. I guessed that a piece measuring about 9x10 would be about the right size.

I cut the pieces out of the fabric and actually tossed the rest! (You should all be very proud of me)...

I have to admit that I do not enjoy working with doll sized pieces. In an effort to reduce the amount of work I have to do I ironed all of my creases first.

I ironed about a half-inch crease on the left and right of both pieces. Then ironed the top about a 1 1/4 inch down, large enough to be a pocket for the ribbon. Then I ironed up the bottom hems.

I work with both pieces simultaneously, so that when I am done ironing I can jump straight to my favorite part... sewing.

With my creases all nice and pressed, I start to sew the parts that need to be sewn separately on the individual halves. First the bottom hem, then the ribbon pocket.

Take notice that the bottom hem is sewn so that the creases ironed in to the sides are open, and on the ribbon pocket, those creases are sewn inside.

I don't plan to do a lot of finish work on this little tiny dress. As a matter of fact, I plan to spend more time on this blog post than I did on the dress its self. Sewing those creases inside the ribbon pocket makes the piece appear to be more finished.

Once I have sewn the hem and ribbon pocket on both halves of the dress, I measure for the arm hole. From just above the shoulder to under the arm, taking the arms movement in to consideration, there is about 3 inches of space
needed there.

With the dress halves right sides together I marked 3 inches from the ribbon pocket. Then, i opened that crease and sewed straight down, starting at that 3 inch mark. This part is tricky to explain, but it was necessary to achieve the finished look, without doing the finish work.

Now, open your dress and sew a narrow topstitch down both sides of your seam, with the crease open underneath. This will make a finished edge in the dolls armpit, and have a pretty top stitch on the finished dress. If your doll is much smaller, this will not work. 

 The first side is much easier than the second. When you sew the second side the dress will be almost complete and it will be a circle so it may be harder to make a nice straight line.

The dress is almost complete! All you need to do is feed the ribbon through! I like to use one long ribbon and feed it though both sides, leaving only one bow to tie over and over again.

Now that the dress is complete, I laid the doll on top one more time to check the length. It appears to be perfect. (Yes, that is a little home made diaper, I never said she wasn't spoiled).

I slipped the little dress on the doll and tied a pretty bow for my sweetie. She was thrilled! Mommy wins this round!!

My Favorite Laundry Schedule!!

Ok... I have a love hate relationship with laundry... I LOVE cute clothes... I HATE washing them... I guess that means I actually hate laundry, and need to stop buying clothes...

In search of a simpler way I have tried a million, seriously a million, different ways to keep me caught up on laundry. After this trail of train wrecks I discovered the ever elusive laundry schedule that works for me!!

The truth really is that I have been working really hard to get out of it. Trying to find an easier way was really me trying to spend less time on laundry so that I could fit more things into my day.

It has often been said that sorting the laundry is better for your clothes, I agree with this. Too many times I have washed mixed loads and been unhappy with the result. I will not even start with the time my hubby washed blue jeans with seriously every light colored item I own... not a good day!

I don't really spend time sorting the laundry out. I have the three basket laundry sorter thing that I try to have the kiddos be responsible for sorting their own clothes into. Mondays I wash only light loads. My goal was to wash all light clothes, but if I put a full large load of lights in the wash I feel successful. Tuesdays darks, Wednesdays whites, Thursdays towels, Fridays jeans, Saturdays bedding and Sunday is nothing. If I missed a day I will make up for it Sunday.

This works for my family because separating the clothes by color makes the loads smaller and I can usually wash all of that one color/kind of load. After I get the kiddos going on their school work I will take the load out of the dryer, put the load from yesterday in the dryer and start a new load. I wash one full load every day. I fold one load every day. One.

Of course when starting a new schedule of any kind chaos abounds in the home. To avoid this chaos I, of course, had to make a new chalk board. I might be obsessed with chalk boards. There was this old "man cave" sign in the garage, and lets face it, hubby was never going to be allowed to hang it any way. I simply painted the back of the sign with chalk board paint, properly conditioned it and there we have it, new chalk board! I hung it with those picture hanging velcro like strips (affiliate link below) and done!

Now every one who can read, and wants me to wash their favorite shirt, can throw it in the load that day! Perfection!

Command Large Picture-Hanging Strips, White, 4-Strip

Magical Sunday Afternoon Routine!

Running the kiddos to 700 different activities all week long can become tiresome, to put it lightly!

I have to keep organized, or I will fail miserably! We have a special sanity saving routine that is a life saver! I have over simplified my routine to the point where everyone in the house can follow it! It is magical!

Here is my Sunday afternoon routine:

  1. Review Schedule for coming week/month.
    • Make sure all events are confirmed
    • Update todo list
    • Set alarms/reminders in my phone for events (to give me a heads up if I forget)
  2. Have the kids participate in their weekly prep!
    • The kids have a bag for each of their activities; soccer bag, dance bag etc. The kids know what uniforms and equipment they need for the week, so they are responsible for collecting and packing it all. The littles are helped by the big kids. 
    • All bags are hung on the weekly hooks and they stay there until we leave for the event they are intended for! (HUGE lifesaver!) 
  3. Check the menu!
    • I make my menus a month at a time, so I use Sundays to set aside all of the non perishables that I will be using that week. I place the items in their special place in the pantry and make sure I have everything I need in the fridge/freezer for the week of meals. 
    • Prepare list of any fresh produce items needed for the week.
  4. Prepare my stuff!!
    • This is my most commonly neglected step. I try to stay in the habit of practicing what I preach to the kiddos by planning the items I will need for the week. I often forget the importance of taking care of myself.
    • Set out clothes: I don't actuyally set out full outfits until the night before, but I will check the weather, set my clothes out for tomorrow and look through what is clean to keep in mind what I might like to wear throughout the week.
    • Clean out/organize purse. If I don't do this once a week, I will never do it, and I am pretty sure you will find live animals living in there. 
  5. Discuss the schedule!
    • At dinner time or just some time before bed, I talk to the whole family about that we need to do for the coming week. It might be all the same ole stuff, or all new, but either way it is important that we are all on the same page. 
I suppose I can say that is it in a nutshell. Add in a little yelling, a little prayer and a whole lot of OCD and you have the real truth. :)

Hope this helps at least one of my readers... It has been an amazing help for me.


Simple Silly way to keep Kiddos Clothes up to Date

Ok, I am writing this assuming that other moms have been happily folding laundry when they come across a T-shirt their 5 year old still wears that is actually a size 2t, that you just never put away for the next kiddo. As much as I try to stay on top of these things, I honestly cannot believe that I have moments when I am unsure what size a child is wearing at a given time.

When we moved I had this wild idea. The idea that everything needed to be fresh and clean before we could put it away. I was blessed with a laundry room that was HUGE compared with my previous one, and I had the space to create a laundry mountain like we have never seen!

I was excited, until about the fourth load.

I realized how bad I had been about sorting sizes. I make a specific effort to clean out closets and dressers every 3-6 months. The kids all grow so fast, and we have 5 kiddos, so we save all of the "too smalls" in plastic totes in the garage. Everything will have another life in a year or so. When my youngest grows out of things I donate them to others with little ones, because I refuse to have any more children. Apparently, I had failed at cleaning out drawers leading up to the move.

Now, I specifically clean out the "too smalls" as I wash and fold. Inside the cabinet (so no one can see it) above my washer, I have hidden little cheater post-its that tell me what size each kiddo is in right now. So I can let that info slip my mind, and fill that space with other things... like grocery lists... or play dates...

I know, uselessly simple... a little crazy... but a life/time saver!


I have to admit I do not like moving, actually I really really do not like moving. I think that if moving were cheap, and easy, more people would enjoy it! The truth is, moving is expensive, hard and when you have kiddos, it is traumatic for everyone.

My hubby has assured me that our new home will be the house of our dreams, and that this will be the last time we EVER move. So I guess I am pretty excited... :)

I am going to try to keep you all updated on my ideas about moving, making it easier, and reducing the amount of money wasted driving from one house to the other.

I have not started packing yet, but that is only because I just made kitchen curtains that will not fit in the new house, and things aren't set in place 100%.

Also, before I move in, if at all possible, I will be painting everything first!


Worlds Easiest Kitchen Curtain!!

I have been searching for a kitchen curtain to match my kitchen for ages! I have found a lot of different cupcake curtains and fabric, many of the darling, but all of them pink. I seriously painted my whole kitchen pink, not the same bubble gummy pink that the pic appears to be, but it is pink. I could not fathom having a curtain bring more pink in to the room! 

Finally I found the perfect fabric!! 

The window is pretty small, so I only grabbed 2 yards of fabric. I simply ironed it, folded it in half, pinned it in place and cut along the fold to make two equal parts.

I had very little time to get this done, so I did it the easiest way I could think of! I measured my window first and decided I wanted my curtain to be about 24 inches long.

After cutting I had two pieces that were 1 yard each, or 36 inches.

I left the salvage edge on, folded it over an inch using my ruler and ironed it in place. I went ahead and ironed it on both sides, on both pieces. Through the whole project, I just did both panels at the same time, to save time. 

Each time I iron the edges, I am ironing very well, making sure that my crease is going to stay if I move the piece around, so that I don't have to pin them all.

Working with the top of the fabric, to create my "rod pocket" I fold down the top edge about an inch to hide the rough edge.

 Pretty carefully making sure its a straight line.

Once ironed I fold the top edge down about 4 inches. I was very careful to make sure this was nice and straight, because this is my top edge.

Starting with making sure the edges are lined up, I pinned it all of the way across, spacing pins enough to keep the ironed crease nice and flat.

I treated the bottom crease the same way by hiding the rough edge, then folded  it up about 6 inches to reach my 24 inch goal.

I did the math before I ironed, I had 36 inches, I folded it about an inch to hide the rough edges top and bottom, 4 inches for the rod pocket, 6 inches for the bottom hem. That is 12 inches of folding, 36-12 = 24 inch panel.

When I was folding the bottom hem of the second panel, I double checked my length to make sure I had 24 inches. I noticed that I was off by about a quarter of an inch, so I just adjusted that before I ironed it into place.

I pinned everything into place and prepared for sewing.

I started with the top, where the rod pocket is, and with the rod pocket open, I kept the rough edge folded and sewed down the length of the panel, with a long stitch length.

When I reached the bottom hem of the curtain, I just removed the pin and sewed that pocket closed on this edge.

I have learned to do this because of the one time I bought a curtain and this was not sewn shut, and a family of spiders made their home in there!
I sewed both salvage edges first, then across my bottom hem, then the rod pocket.

When I hung the curtain, I was disappointed to notice that my cabinets are actually not level to the window. So I hung it above.

I use a washable marker, that I get all over my hands every time, to mark the place to put my screw. I do this because pencil is hard to erase and this marker wipes right off with a baby wipe.

Ignore the dirty dishes, I chose to make a curtain instead of clean the kitchen :)

So Cute!! It is really perfect, even my hubby liked it! 

My Kiddos Favorite Banana Bread!!

This is a vegan recipe, however, I almost never make it fully vegan. I don't buy the vegan butter often, but I always have actual butter on hand! The great thing about this recipe is that it always comes out great, even when I make substitutions!!

Vegan Banana Bread Recipe

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance(This is vegan "butter" any butter or margarine will work) , at room temp
3 very ripe bananas, mashed well
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup vanilla almond milk, mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 8×4 bread pan with non stick cooking spray, or lightly coat with margarine.
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
Cream together the margarine and sugars. Add bananas, soy milk and vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix well. Pour batter into pan. Bake for an hour to an hour 10 minutes.

Note: I am sure it is not the normal way of making these quick breads, but I find that I enjoy the texture of the bread more when after I combine all of the ingredients, I whip it just a little too much with my mixer. The extra whipping time does something to the ingredients and as long as your oven is preheated and you are putting it straight into the oven, it should not interfere with the rising.

Note: Also, I have added a handful of walnuts or pecans before, I like it better with nuts, but half of my children do not, so in the interest making peace, I leave them out.

** I did not create this recipe, I have used it for years and I am sure I found it on a website somewhere! I have adapted it to fit my needs, but it is not my creation! If I ever come across that website again, I will link it here and give proper credit!!