Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vintage Lace Skirt

My Grandmother was an amazing seamstress.  She made beautiful clothes.  Around the time I got married, my Grandma Beth had a stroke.  She recovered most of her abilities, but her fine motor skills, required for sewing, never came back completely.  Grandma had cabinets and cabinets full of notions, fabrics and buttons.  One day while I was visiting, she decided to go through one of the cupboards and clean it out.  She gave me a big box of wonderful old buttons, some fabrics, and some beautiful lace.  I absolutely loved the lace, but I haven't found the right project for it.  Until now.

I recently joined this online bulletin board called Pinterest.  (Really great!)  While I was perusing the craft pages, I came across this gorgeous skirt.  I looked at the source location, and found that someone had written a blog about how to make it.

I finally had my lace project!

I read the blog, and saw that the author cut her own pattern from an existing skirt.  I am not that brave.  Fortunately, I had a great pattern I picked up several years ago that had a good pencil skirt pattern that was easy to alter.  (I have NEVER been able to find a pattern that fits me properly.  My waist is always about 3 sizes larger than my hips, so everything has to be adjusted.)

I began to cut out the main skirt, but realized I would be much happier if it was lined.  (White skirts are a little too revealing for my taste.)  Fortunately I had some spare muslin lying around.  I cut out my lining and started to put the skirt together.

It took a little while, but I got the basic skirt made, and began layering the lace.  I loved the way it looked!  I decided to cover the waistband with lace as well to give it a more uniform look.

I finished the skirt this morning, and decided it needed a fun button on the side.  I had the perfect one!

So if you have any unused lace lying around, give it a try!

Friday, January 28, 2011

We are moving to...

For the past 9 years, our family have been wandering nomads.  (See Boxes Post)  We have lived in Utah, Northern Virginia, Kansas, and now Iowa.  I don't have a good answer when my 8 year old asks where he is from.  "Wherever you want" is not an acceptable answer. 

Mike looked into jobs all over the country, and found several great options.  Somehow through each of our conversations, we kept returning to one opportunity again and again.  So yesterday, he signed a contract to work in... 


Yes, we are excited enough at this great opportunity to move to the Twin Cities and brave the infamous Northern Winters.

We are still in the process of working out the details, but by early July, we hope to be in our new home.

So, if any of you live near Minneapolis or St. Paul, and need a great eye doctor for your kids, Mike will be looking for patients!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bag ladies...

I have the most wonderful neighbor across the street.  (I'll call her Daffodil)  She and her husband moved in shortly after we did.  Our paths didn't cross for about a month or so.  (Probably because I didn't leave the house much because of my eye surgery, and when I did I couldn't see much.)  Anyway, in October, I noticed a really cute pumpkin quilt hanging on her front door.  She also noticed my witch door hanger.  We both had to ask if the other was a quilter.  Turns out we both are!  She instantly became my new best friend.  (quilters are a little odd like that.)

Daffodill is an amazing seamstress.  She makes georgous quilts and just recently started making these adorable bags.   My boys loved them. 

My youngest loves to put all of his trucks or legos or trains or whatever he is playing with in zip lock baggies.  I don't love it so much.  So, I decided to make some bags too!  #3 was thrilled.  He helped choose the fabric, and hasn't put the bag down since it was finished.

When #2 saw his little brother's bag, he wanted his own!  He wanted a bag to keep his Legos in.  He chose his own fabric, and helped choose colors for the label.  I thought it turned out pretty well, and so did he.  #2 even cleaned up all of the legos he had been playing with and put them in his bag!  Success!

I'm including instructions for those who might want to make their own.  For those who just want to buy one, I'm selling them in my etsy store.  Here is the link for the Toy Bag and for the Customized Bag.  I hope to add some little girl bags soon.

The bags are a pretty simple pattern.  I made mine 10" x 15" finished.

Here's how to make your own bag:

All seam allowances are 5/8"

1.   Cut 2 pieces of outside fabric 11" x 18".  Cut 2 pieces of lining 11" x 18" (I used white muslin).

2.   Sew bottom seam of outside fabric right sides together.  Do the same for the lining.  Press seams open.

(if you want to personalize or decorate the bag - do it now!  It will be much more difficult later.)

3.   Sew one side of outside fabric together starting 3 1/2 " from the top.  Do the same for the lining. (This will be where you put your string.)  Press seams open, and press the unsewn portion open at 5/8 "

4.   Place the lining inside the outside fabric so right sides are together.  Carefully match seams and pin.

5.   Carefully pull bag out through the opening left between the lining and outer fabric.

6.   Smooth lining into the outside fabric and press well. 

7.  Stitch around opening flaps close to the edge of the fabric, making sure no raw edges are showing.

8.   Fold the top edges over apx. 1" down.  Press and pin. 

9.   Sew the edge down near the bottom of the folded fabric.

10.  Thread ribbon through the folded fabric and tie.

You are done and you have a great storage bag!

Monday, January 24, 2011

One of the best treasuries I've seen

There are lots of treasuries on Etsy.  Anyone can make one.  Some of them are okay, but sometimes you find really great ones.  I've always enjoyed the treasuries that apply to my life.  There don't seem to be too many.  I don't have a little girl, I don't have a baby, I don't even own a home to decorate.

Today, a woman who owns Dirty Deeds Soap  made one of my very favorite.  It does include one of my favorite ties, but even without the tie, it is great.

Check it out if you have a second!

Little Boy Blue wants a Valentine Too

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Win a free tea towel!

To celebrate my plethora of tea towels (see previous post), I have decided to have a little contest, of which two people (at least) will win their very own custom tea towel. 

Here's how it will work:

Think of something I could put on one of these 200 tea towels.  It could be a quote, a picture of something or whatever you want (that I would actually be capable of making).  Post your idea on the wall of the Divine Domestication facebook page.  Then you get everyone you can to vote for your idea by making a comment or liking your post.  Whoever gets the most "likes" and comments on their post wins.  I will make the tea towel with their idea and send it to them. 

I will also choose my favorite idea and make it for the person who submitted it. 

Anyone can enter.  If you don't have a facebook page, you can enter your idea as a comment on this blog post, and have people vote by comments to the blog post. 

Each idea must be different.  If two people submit the same idea, then who ever submitted it first wins.  You can submit as many ideas as you want as long as each is different and original.

The contest starts immediately.  It will end at Midnight Central Time on February 7th, 2011.

May the most domestic win!

Who wants a Do Rag?

Who wants a Do Rag?  You want a Do Rag 

You might have heard about them.  You might even know someone who has one.  You could possibly have even seen one... probably from a distance.  

The Do Rag IS everything you thought it would be. 
-Perfect for any mess big or small.
-It has lasting power to get the job done.
-It doesn't give out like ordinary rags.  Like the energizer bunny, it keeps going and going.

"I love my Do Rag!  I use it all the time... at least twice a week, and sometimes more!  It cleans up even the biggest mess, and washes so well it looks like new!"  Carol*

"My Do Rag is the best.  My husband even uses it too!"  Tina*

"Things just run smoother in our house since we got our Do Rag!"   Brent*

Now you can have your very own Do Rag.
For a limited time, Do Rags will be available through Divine Domestication on Etsy.
Each Do Rag is lovingly and beautifully embroidered in your choice of color, so you can get one for every room in the house.

It makes the perfect Valentine's gift for the love of your life.  It also makes a great wedding gift, birthday gift or anniversary gift.  

This is a once in a life time opportunity.  Supplies will not last!  You don't want to be the only one living without it.

Click on this link to get your very own Do Rag!

Mention this add and get 10% off the Do Rag and any order from Divine Domestication.
Coupon Code: DoRag

*not customer's real name.  At Divine Domestication we respect our customer's privacy and have obscured actual customer's names.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

He must really love me...

My sweet husband has been incredibly patient and understanding about this new adventure I'm taking by trying to run a small buisness from our already crowded home.  He even pretends to be excited at my fabric purchases and crazy ties I make.  He doesn't complain that the house is a mess or that I have failed to iron a shirt for him for 3 weeks. 

Mike has been doing quite a bit of traveling lately.  He's been interviewing for a job all over the country.  I have been fortunate enough to have been invited on a couple of those trips.

About a month ago we went to Minneapolis.  While Mike was in meetings, I had the luxury of spending the day shopping.  Our hotel was across the street from Mall of America.  I believe it is the largest mall in the U.S. and it is amazing.  I've complained about the lack of options here, so I was in heaven.

I tried to mostly window shop, but I found some tea towels I fell in love with.  I bought 24 of them and thought that would be more than enough.  I embroidered some for Christmas, and for Valentine's  Day and listed them on Etsy.  They did pretty well.  In fact, I was down to the last one.

Yesterday, Mike had a follow up interview in Minneapolis for the day.  His flight left at 6 am and he returned home at 8 pm.  I mentioned how much I wished I could go and pick up more of the towels, and how I wished he were there longer so he could get me some.

I got a call at about 11 am from Mike saying he was at the store and how many towels did I want.  I said as many as he could carry home, thinking he'd get another 30 or so.  I was so happy!

At 9 pm Mike walked in the door.  The boys were asleep and I was looking at fabric online (a dangerous pastime).  He was carrying an enormous blue bag full of towels!  He had bought 200 tea towels for me!!!!  He had carefully packed them in a bag he bought, and covered them with another bag to protect them.

I was impressed.  He definitely won the Best Husband Ever prize.  Now I am brainstorming fun things to put on them.

Let me know if you have any suggestions or requests!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I got the good gene!

I've always felt that I got all the bad genes in my family.
I started wearing glasses when I was 4.
I am incredibly uncoordinated.
I have frizzy crazy hair.
I am dyslexic.
I gain all of my wight in my tummy.
I got the double chin.
You get the picture.

Yesterday, I got a phone call that showed I was wrong.

About 3 years ago, my then 3 month old nephew was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.  About a year and a half later, my niece was also diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.  In order to have cystic fibrosis both parents must be carriers of the genetic mutation.  That meant that both my sister and my brother were carriers as were their spouses.

About a month ago, I went to the genetics department to find out if I too am a carrier.

I'm not.  I inherited the normal healthy gene.

That means that my children and my future grandchildren won't have to worry about having cystic fibrosis.  Instead we can focus on finding better treatments and a cure for my niece and nephew.

You can learn more about my family and cystic fibrosis by watching this short video.

You can learn more about cystic fibrosis and/or make a donation to the cystic fibrosis foundation at The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's website

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Plaid bow ties

I recently got an order to make bow ties for a wedding.  I love the prints the bride picked out.  I've made two yellow plaid clip on ties for the ring bearers and am making five custom fitted bow ties for the men.

I loved the way the yellow plaid turned out.

I've always thought buying adjustable bow ties was silly.  How many men share their ties with other men?  Why not buy ties that are made your size and not worry about the bulky clips and slide adjusters?  So I make bow ties to fit the man.

Now I just need to find some cute plaid paper to put the instructions on!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ties for the men in your life

Sorry about the formatting in this post - I clearly have no idea what I am doing!  If anyone wants to give me a tutorial of how to format photos, I'm all ears!)

I've finally finished some of the traditional mens ties I've been planning.  I think they turned out pretty cute.  I love making these ties because they have so much hand work.  Once the fabric is cut, I make one machine seam to piece the tie together, and the rest is done by me.  I carefully press the tie into shape, fit the interfacing, place the lining and then stitch away.  It's a great evening activity, and I can take them anywhere while I am waiting.

I'm also making coordinating bow ties for a father son look.

I'm still working on listing all of them, but they should be up soon!

I love the wild shoes on this one .  Deffinately for the man who has self confidence and is comfortable in his own shoes!

This one has so many great colors.  It would be so fun for a photo or wedding.

This is Mike's favorite.  I have several a coordinating bow ties, one in reverse colors.  I'm currently working on a coordinated tie in the fabric I used for the backing, and this tie's fabric for the backing.

I love polka dots on ties - especially orange ties.  The back is lined in a coordinating orange plaid.  I have a matching bow tie in the plaid here.

This tie has spring all written all over it.  I love the way it turned out.  I think I'll make a coordinating skirt for myself and bow ties for my boys and have Mike wear this for Easter.  (We probably should also get a family photo since the last one we had was when my almost4 year old was born.)

This is my very favorite!  I love the feedsack reproductions and this is one of the few that really lends itself to a grown up tie.  It's playful and bright, but still sophisticated enough to wear to the office.  I have a great bow tie that coordinates out of the boots and umbrellas.
 More mens ties are coming soon.  I have a nice big pile of fabric just waiting to be cut, and several that just need to be hand stitched together.    

I'll also be listing coordinating packages for Daddy and son - perfect for Easter, Fathers Day or Valentines Day!  Now that we are coming to the end of interviews, hopefully Mike will be around long enough for me to photograph him modeling some of them!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'm done with boxes!

I admit it.  I am a box hoarder.  I have been for the past 9 years.  It started innocently enough, but it grew and grew.  I've finnally hit bottom.  I've had enough.  I am giving up boxes.

It all began the year we got married.  Mike rented a condo with his mom.  They couldn't agree who should have it when we got married, so they both moved out.  We moved them out.  It was a local move, and neither of them had too much stuff.  Most of Mike's mom's things were in Las Vegas with his Dad.  She was only in town for the 4 days she worked.  It was a relatively painless move.

Soon after, Mike moved his stuff into the duplex we were to live in.  Then, a couple months latter, after the wedding, I moved in.  In less than 3 months we moved out and into University housing.  We only lasted there for another 4 or so months.  We bought our first home, and I thought it would last for years.

Less than 2 years latter Mike was accepted to medical school in Washington DC.  That was when the hoarding began.  I started scavenging for boxes.  Costco, the grocery store, book stores, and even sporting goods stores.  I began my collection.  It slowly grew over the next couple of months as we began packing up our little home and all of the items we had accumulated for our new little boy.  We moved ourselves to the DC suburbs to a small apartment at the end of the metro line.  I carefully salvaged as many boxes as I could and stored them on our little balcony.  We lasted almost two years in that place before our growing family needed something a little bigger.

I began scavenging again.  We had several friends who had recently moved who were also box hoarders who happily donated to our cause.  Costco, home depot and other stores also contributed.

We moved again to a little condo with an attic.  All of my boxes fit beautifully carefully stowed in the rafters.  I continued to collect knowing that in less than 2 years, we would make another move.

We finished medical school and bought a home in Kansas.  We moved and used every box we had and more.  They had become precious, and I couldn't get rid of them.

We had a large basement with lots of storage closets.  In went the boxes.  I took a short break from box scavenging during our 4 year stay. The were put to use regularly as we remodeled, painted and outgrew clothing and shoes.

But I knew the move was imminent.  I pulled out my beloved boxes to start packing so we could show the house.  I began scaveninging again.  Friends saved their diaper boxes, car seat boxes, and any other strong box that came their way.  I hid them under the stairs.  The rest came out once we had a contract.  We didn't have enough, so I made several trips to Home Depot to purchase more boxes.

We made our move to Iowa.  We had only started to unpack when disaster struck.  Our house we had rented flooded and was growing mold.  To make it worse, a worker had sandblasted lead paint all over the exterior and the dust and debris were everywhere.  We had to move again.

That was in September.  Now we are settled...until July1st.  When we will move again.  But this time, I'm not packing the boxes.  We will have our first corporate move.

Now we just have to figure out where we will go.

The boxes though, are on the curb!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


One of Mike's best memories from childhood was eating his grandmother's cherry pie.

Every year he and his family would go up to Cherry Hills in Utah.  He would spend the day climbing the trees and eating himself sick on fresh juicy cherries.  They would also take ice cream buckets to fill with cherries to take home.  One year when he was about 9, Mike picked a whole bucket himself.  He planned to take that bucket of cherries to his grandmother who had promised to make him a cherry pie the following week.   The only complication was that his Grandma lived in Canada in a small town south of Calgary. 

As Mike packed his backpack to take on the airplane, he hid the bucket of cherries at the bottom.  He was traveling by himself, and wanted to make sure they were safe.  As Mike boarded the plane, the stewardess tried to talk to him and make him feel more comfortable.  Mike refused to even look at them for fear they would find his cherries and take them away. 

Upon arrival at his grandparents home, Mike proudly procured the cherries from their hiding place and gave them to his grandma.  She promptly began to make him his cherry pie.

Well, being the good wife that I am, I try to make Mike a cherry pie every once in a while.  He never complains, but I know he isn't a huge fan of the canned cherries I use in my pie.  I have looked at frozen pie cherries at the store for the pie, but I could never stomach the price.  It seemed crazy to spend $30 on cherries to make him a pie. 

One day in early November, I was out at an Amish grocery store not about 20 minutes from where we live.  They have all sorts of wonderful items in bulk including grains, candy, nuts and seeds.  They also have bulk frozen items available.  I hadn't ever paid much attention to the bulk frozen goods, but I noticed a sign saying that pie cherries were only $30 for 20 pounds.  I couldn't resist.  I had to buy the full 20 pounds to get the price, so I did.  I brought home a huge box of frozen cherries.

I was sure Mike would be thrilled.

He wasn't quite as enthusiastic as I thought.  He was trying to figure out where I was going to keep 20 pounds of cherries.  After some creative rearrangement of the deep freeze, the cherries were secure. 

I've been trying to use the cherries as creatively as possible.  I made a cherry triffle the day I brought them home.  I've made several cherry pies and cherry cobler.   Today I attempted a cherry crisp.  I'm afraid it's more cherry than crisp.  Those little guys have lots of juice.  Hopefully it will taste okay!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

So I went a little Crazy...

Anyone who knows me well, or has been to my house much knows that I have a number of weaknesses.  I love carbs in almost any form.  I can not eat just one piece of chocolate.  I make a huge mess when I cook.  And I am addicted to fabric.

If I go to a fabric store, I can not come home empty handed.  Two years ago, I made a New Years resolution to not buy any fabric for 1 year.  I lasted about 3 weeks.  I simply love the colors and patterns and textures.  I also can't stand the idea of not being able to find a print if I don't buy it right then.  And therein lies the rub. 

My husband Mike, really likes this bow tie, and wanted me to make a traditional tie for him from the same fabric so all of our boys could match.

Unfortunately, I had only purchased a quarter yard.  Enough for a few bow ties, but not nearly enough for a men's tie.  I had purchased the fabric for the tie at a great little fabric and quilt shop in Hills Iowa called Inspirations back in November.  I couldn't find it online, so I decided I needed to head back and see if they still had any.

So, my really cute neighbor across the street also happens to sew and quilt.  I mentioned that I needed to go back to Inspirations, and she said she would happily come along. 

I live in Iowa City.  It is a small city and half of the population are students (Or at least it feels that way.)   There are very few fabric shops in the area that have much inventory.  JoAnns is your main choice, and it's pretty small.  Home Ec. carries several great lines of fabric, but their shop is small and as such, the inventory is limited. 

So, if one wants to purchase fabric and have lots of choices, one must be willing to travel. 

Fortunately, Hills is not too far from Iowa City.  It is a tiny midwest town, and just happens to have a great quilt shop.  (and a nice little bakery attached!)

I began to search for Mike's requested fabric, but to no avail.  It simply had all disappeared.  I couldn't even find the coordinating fabrics.  Fortunately, there was a large assortment of wonderful spring fabrics and new lines I hadn't seen before.  I was forced to limit myself to 5 different prints all of which will make great mens ties and cute bow ties.

As I was getting ready to check out and pay, I asked about Mike's print.  The owner of the shop directed me to the sale corner, which I had somehow missed.  Everything was 1/2 price and although Mike's print wasn't there, many of the coordinating prints were!  I simply couldn't resist!  I threw all caution to the wind and bought another 5 prints!

Now I have more great fabrics to make into coordinating sets for dads and sons! 

Good thing the boys are back in school so I'll have time to work on all of these new projects!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

11 years

Today is my anniversary.  11 years ago Mike and I got married.  I don't think either of us would have dreamed that our life would take us where we are now.  I'm so glad it did.

My husband is not your typical 30 something kind of guy.  He rarely watches sports, he reads mostly books about the eye, and he loves to play with his kids.  (I really am spoiled!)  I never seem to find gifts for him that he's really excited about. 

This year I found it.
The Lego Imperial Flagship

Mike has been obsessed with Legos since he can remember.  All three of our boys are following in his footsteps.  Even my 3 year old wants to sleep with his Lego truck and plane.  I think his eyes will light up like a child on Christmas morning... at least I hope so.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The tie dilemma

I began making bow ties for little boys in November. I made them for my sister to sell at her holiday boutique she holds each year as a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In previous years I had embroidered napkins and tea towels. I made up a pattern and went to town.

I also began an Etsy shop so I could sell them to other people outside of the annual boutique. I called my shop Divine Domestication. I tried to get my husband to wear bow ties. I even made him a Candy Cane Bow tie that matched the boys.

He wore it once.

He "is not into bow ties."

I really wanted to have coordinating ties for my husband and 3 boys that would match. Fortuitously, I was at a "not quite quilting guild" gathering at a fantastic local shop called Home Ec a fabulous little shop downtown. They happened to have a traditional mens tie pattern. I picked it up and thought I would give it a whirl.

The pattern was simple enough and went together very quickly. Unfortunately, I wasn't thrilled with the finished results. The bottom and back just didn't look quite right. The pattern had me sew the lining right face together with the front fabric. I needed to rework it.

I made some adjustments and made my own pattern. I pressed the front and lining separately and used a fusible interfacing to help hold everything in place. I then hand sewed the lining in place and was much happier with the result.

I was much happier with the points and the back. Here's a link to the good tie on Etsy. I decided I liked it well enough to make more too!

Here is one in a turquoise paisley and a turquoise dot print.

My poor husband will never be given a store bought tie again. (Neither will my boys for that matter!)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 - A New Start

Let's just say 2010 was not my year.

Countless Emergency Room visits for both myself and all 3 of my children (even the pet bunny had 2!).
Not one but TWO moves.
Lead Poisoning...
well, you get the picture.

So, 2011 is going to be the turn around year. I am going to embrace my life, my role, and my challenges. I will become Divine Domestication!

This blog will journal my attempt to become a domestic diva.