Friday, August 28, 2015

"Learn the rules like a pro ..."
2015/16 Project #1
New Look 0959/6259 Dress

"Learn the rules like a pro, 
so you can break them like an artist."

-att. Pablo Picasso

A few weeks ago, when I was going through some of my previous pattern purchases (yay $1.99 sales) to see which project I wanted to start first once SC was back at school full time, I realized I had a few patterns which she is at the top size, and just barely even that.  Unfortunately, I also have fabric for some of these patterns that I had already purchased, and needing to size up would mean I didn't have enough fabric to complete the project.  Of course I could always just add that fabric back into my stash for something else, but just look at that super cute puppy fabric.  I decided a new dress for the first week of school would be project number one.

2015/16 Project #1:


For this project, I used view C, a sleeveless dress with the longer skirt.  This pattern has an interesting design, in which the the front side panels and middle skirt band are cut on the bias.  In the example, a check fabric was chosen, so it is very easy to see the bias design.  Here is a close-up of the front panels.

In my puppy fabric, there is a very specific one-way design.  I bought extra fabric in order to match this design; however, I did not buy enough fabric.  The middle skirt band being cut on the bias took up an enormous amount of space when cutting the fabric (see the bottom picture below), and I couldn't follow the placement suggestion because then the puppies would not be going in the same direction all the way around the skirt band.  I ended up with the bottom band having to be cut completely upside down in order to cram it onto the fabric with the curve!  Luckily, the puppies still look cute, and it works because the bias-cut puppies are tumbling.  I also cut the lining pieces upside-down because it fit better that way.

The pattern adds fullness with inverted box pleats (my favorite kind to make), four on the front and then four on the back.  

The pieces fit together perfectly, with only minimal attention to matching up seams and corners needed.  The instructions were simple and made sense.  The only part of the instructions I was unsure of was that it called for hemming the lower band before attaching it to the dress.  However, I did it that way anyhow, and now I think that the bulk of the dress and the skirt  already being attached would have hampered creating a straight, smooth hem.

I struggled a bit with the zipper, but that is because I need to practice zippers more.  I opted for an invisible zipper because I like the look of them more, but I either need to find a source for invisible zippers that offers something other than the typical Coats & Clark brand (which require a special zipper foot made by C&C, and I don't have one), or find that special zipper foot.  My own machine's zipper foot is just a few millimeter off, causing my stitching to be either too far from the zipper teeth, or directly on top of the zipper teeth.  Also, somehow in all of the drama trying to get it in, the back of the dress now doesn't line up perfectly, but it is so tiny that I am probably the only one who will notice.

Here is a close-up of the bow at the back, which went together perfectly, and is just the right size for this dress.

Finally, here is SC modeling her new dress before school today!  The fit is perfect (I cut a size 8), with no changes needed, even though originally I wasn't sure there would be quite enough room in the bodice.

I hope to make view A & B, the bolero and leggings, next week as projects #2 & #3, so she can wear them along with the dress as (fingers-crossed!) the weather eventually turns a bit cooler.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"Never trust anyone
who has not brought a book with them."
2015 Summer Reading Challenge

"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them."
-Lemony Snicket, Horseradish

When AC and I came up with the 2015 Summer Reading Challenge, I honestly wasn't sure if it was actually doable, but I had confidence if anyone could read that much, it would be SC.  Well, not only did she manage to read 10,000 pages from May 1 to August 15 to earn her $200 total, but we decided we would continue to count the pages she read between the end of the challenge and school starting (August 24), and she read an additional 1,500 pages that we gave her $.02 per page.

She decided to use her money to purchase a new iPod, because the hand-me-down one she had been using didn't have enough space, and wouldn't play any of the games she wanted well, or at all due to the updates not being accepted.  She was very excited to finally get one of her very own, and with her own money.

If you are interested, here is the list of books (72!) and page count.  She read mostly novels and "chapter books," though a few picture books as well.  Some favorites that she discovered were the 26 Story Treehouse series, by Andy Griffiths, the School for Good and Evil series, by Soman Chainani (which I also read, at SC's recommendation), and the works of Raina Telgemeier.

Book TitleAuthor# of PagesTOTAL
Explorer: The Hidden DoorKibuishi125125
Whatever After: Sink or SwimMlynowski165388
Whatever After: Dream OnMlynowski157545
Whatever After: Bad Hair DayMlynowski165710
Contagious ColorsDeWitt265975
Freckle JuiceBlume471022
The 13-Story TreehouseGriffiths2391261
Encyclopedia Brown (Best Cases)Sobol1231384
Encyclopedia Brown #2Sobol781462
Ramona the PestCleary2111673
Dragons BewareRosado/Aguirre1531826
26 Story TreehouseGriffiths3682194
Whatever After: Cold as IceMlynowski1632357
Whatever After: Beauty QueenMlynowski1672524
Bad Kitty Does Not Like CandyBruel242588
Bad Kitty Does Not Like DogsBruel242612
Ellen TebbitsCleary1802792
Henry HugginsCleary1762968
Encyclopedia Brown #3Sobol963064
39 Story TreehouseGriffiths3443408
The Grimm ConclusionGidwitz3443752
Marvin Redpost: Why Pick on MeSachar643816
Ramona ForeverCleary1914007
Ramona's WorldCleary2094216
The Iron TrialBlack2954511
The Phantom BullyBrown1764687
In a Glass GrimmlyGidwitz3135240
Ramonda and her FatherCleary1655405
Bad Kitty Gets a BathBruel1255530
Bad Kitty vs. Uncle MurrayBruel1575687
The Boy Who Swam with PiranhasAlmond2345921
Eerie Elem: The School is AliveChabert906011
Happy Birthday Bad KittyBruel1596170
Puppy's Big DayBruel1556325
Game Over, Pete WatsonSchreiber2256550
Frozen: Spring FeverDisney806630
Grimmtastic Girls #3Holub1826812
Marvin Redpost: Super Fast, Out of Control!Sachar796891
Marvin Redpost: A Flying Birthday Cake?Sachar766967
Dogs Don't Tell JokesSachar2097176
There's a boy in the girls' bathroomSachar1957371
School of good and evilChainani5017872
Floods: Good NeighborsThompson2138085
SGE: World Without PrincesChainani5128597
Nancy Clancy: Secret AdmirerO'Connor1128709
Nancy Clancy: Secret of the Silver KeyO'Connor1218830
Nancy Clancy: Star of Stage and ScreenO'Connor1208950
Rotten School: Big Blueberry Barf-OffStine1289078
Miss Nelson CollectionAllard989176
BSC: Kristy's Great IdeaMartin/Telgemeier1819357
Rotten School: Great Smelling BeeStine1289485
Tales of a Fourth Grade NothingBlume1209605
Rotten School: The Good, the Bad & the Very SlimyStine1289733
Aliens for lunch549787
Goldilocks and other tales509837
Grimmtastic Girls #5Holub & Williams18110018
Grimmtastic Girls #6Holub & Williams17910197
El DeafoBell23310430
The Road to OzBaum13610976
The ScallywagsMelling2711003
Dump DogMorris3011033
Miss FoxPuttock2311070
The Baby that RoaredPuttock2911099
Marvin Redpost #8Sachar8111180
The Haunted LibraryButler12711307
Henry & BeezusCleary20111508

My own summer book list is much shorter, and I only read half the number of pages (5600), but I did read some very good ones.  I really liked the School for Good and Evil series, and I read both The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt.  I absolutely loved Okay for Now, and it was incredibly written.

How did your own summer reading challenges go?  Did you discover anything you would highly recommend?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2015/16: 2nd Year, Lower Elementary
"and now we welcome the new year, ..."

"and now we welcome the new year,
full of things that have never been."
-Rainer Maria Rilke

The lead-up to this school year was much different this year than it has been for the past few.  With SC accepted to attend the local Montessori school, I didn't have any planning to do do, nor curriculum to buy.  It was surprisingly stressful for me, as I had no idea what to expect going in, even though we had toured two Montessori schools.  We didn't even get to buy school supplies, as everything is included in the tuition and fees.  However, most importantly, SC was more excited than nervous, and that was a win.

Monday was the first day, and when SC came home, she said she was most looking forward to going back the next day (which is a dig at only getting to go for one day as a trial in the spring).  Hopefully she will be just as excited to continue over the next few months!

For my first day, I went to the spa, read an entire book, tried out a new tea shop, and planned out a few sewing projects.  I intend to attempt to keep blogging about what is going on, but there may be a much larger focus on sewing projects or cooking/baking than before, and much less specifics about schooling.  Maybe I will get back to posting regular book reviews, too.  As always, the ultimate goal of blogging for me is to share a little bit of our lives, and our continual pursuit of God's wisdom, all for His glory.
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