My Visit To Yumiko in NYC

Two weeks ago I said my husband surprised me with a trip to NYC for my birthday. We were already on the East Coast and he decided it would be easy to drive into the city and spend a couple of days there. So as a treat that’s what we did. I had the opportunity to get fitted for pointe shoes at both Gaynor Minden and Grishko (more to come on that in a future post) and the following day I was able to visit the Yumiko boutique. I’ve been there before and it was just as fun. I know in the past I’ve said I really prefer Elevé leotards to Yumiko’s and that’s still true, but when an opportunity like this comes up you take it.

Now the first thing you’ll find is that you need to ring a doorbell when you get there. It’s not in the safest of neighborhoods. My husband decided to take my son to the park directly across the street to play while I shopped. My husband is from the burbs and didn’t notice anything amiss, fortunately my mother and sister are city dwellers. Naturally they noticed pretty quickly that the nearby public restroom was actually a crack den. So try not to visit after dark and maybe don’t go by yourself. If you’re in the store you’re okay though, you’ll be locked in.

The store itself is tiny and chic. The leotards they have on offer are basically what you see on the website. They generally have two of each style in two different color ways. One will be an exact match to what you see on the website. For example, on the site you’ll see the Becky in Cassi, Brule, and Chilli. That exact model was available in store. They also had it in another color way I can’t recall (I really liked the purple and orange as I’ve been thinking of doing one like that for some time now). The sizes for each varied, some were only in small, others were in a medium, and they actually had a fair number of larges to pick from. They also had a number of the dip dyed pieces on hand. I tried on a really beautiful Wendy that was in a stunning blue but despite being labeled a large it felt like a medium- it was also well over $200 and that’s just crazy money. I did not feel bad putting that one back. I can fit into a large, despite preferring the x-large. So I did buy two. Here they are.

First up is the Heather.


Yeah, had to do that to a few photos. I’m horrible at selfies. Not that this is supposed to be a picture of me anyways, it’s supposed to show the clothes.

I like this one. I tried this one on on a lark. I usually avoid spaghetti straps because of the shoulder thing but I think they actually look okay. I usually wear a crazy colored sports bra under this. As you can see from the very last photo, the white tag (by the little tag on the outside) is visible underneath. So this one like so many other Yumiko’s is semi sheer. This blue wasn’t that bad though. There were many (and I mean many) that I picked up and instantly put back because I could see thorough the fabric on the hanger. I don’t know who they’re selling some of these sheer pastel colors to. But they have a no exchange, or refund policy so I sort of think they’re just hoping people look at them and think “oooh pretty” and just walk out without trying them on knowing they can’t bring them back. The fabric is beautiful, honestly no other company is using anything like this. Their spandex is different. But it clearly has a trade off. I decided not to wear a bra or tights for these photos to show that you don’t need to. It is opaque enough for that (it has a shelf liner, all in store leos come with them). But I prefer to wear both to class. And when I wear a funky bra, usually something neon, it’s not so sheer with the bust panel that it looks odd. You really can’t see it from the front and I don’t care if you can see it from the back.


This is the interior. I really like how they’re using FOE on the bust panel. It lays flat, is comfortable, and doesn’t bunch or shift. This one did not have a crotch liner, I did not notice one on any of the other models I tried on and I must have tried on seven or eight styles.


As you can see the back straps are free floating, they’re not sewn down so it’s more comfortable. This fabric looks crumpled because I had washed it (I’ve already worn it) and I took the photos then kind of left them on the floor in a ball while I did stuff with my son before taking these photos. I know its weird that a leotard is holding wrinkles, but it’s just part of the nature of this fabric. It’s strange and silky.

I had a very difficult time taking color accurate photos. Both for this leotard and the next one. The colors of this one are Turchese/N and White/N. The blue is downright electric, not for the faint of heart. the other color they had available in the store was a yellow called Sun, a very accurate name. You can see it on their website here.

This one is one I’ve wanted for quite some time. It’s the Marieke but it’s sleeveless. I have one with sleeves but I regret getting sleeves on that one and have debated getting a sleeveless one for some time. Well, when I was in there store I made it a point to try on one of these and fell in love.


Now there’s just one little problem, and you may or may not be able to spot it. The bust panel. It fits very differently than the one in the Heather. You see now that I’ve worn this one a couple of times I’ve noticed it, but I wish I spotted the problem in the store, before I shelled out nearly $100.

As you may have noticed, I, in all my rectangular glory, am not particularly well endowed. I am not wearing a bra at all in these photos, I am a B cup at best. Yet, the bottom of the bust panel rides up and cuts across my boobs in a very visible way. I had just put this on so perhaps it hadn’t had a chance to rise up yet, but it’s too short on this one. I have to call it a defect because obviously I’m flat as the day is long. Not super flat of course, but I’m hardly popping out of my top- ever. When people complain about empire waisted tops and say who are those made for cause they cut across the boobs most every woman. Yeah, they’re made for me.

So I’m probably going to be forced to cut it out and that stinks. But I don’t really have a choice. I’m sick of having to mess with my boobs during class. It’s not a good look.


The color of this one is also off. The pink feels pretty spot on, but I feel like this is coming across very blue when in reality is has a much cooler slate grey thing happening. Imagine a slate blue grey color, that’s the actual color. I tried moving these to different rooms to access different light sources, but they refused to be photographed accurately. Not sure why. I know some colors are just difficult to capture, but I wasn’t aware blue was one of them. Maybe it just is for me.

The colors for this style are, Paros/T Mauve/T

When you buy in store you are limited with your sizes, they do not carry x-large which is a shame. I really prefer it for the length. I can make do with these, though I’m obviously much more comfortable in a longer length given that I’m so tall. Here’s both of my Marieke leotards so you can see the difference.


As you can see, there’s really no difference in width at all, it’s all length. I’d say it measures almost two inches, so it’s significant. In the future I may wish to simply buy online. But there is a savings if you buy in store. For me it worked out to be about $22, and that’s just what I saved on shipping. When you buy in store you’re not charged any sales tax or shipping, it’s just what you see on the tag. So my leotards were $71 and $72, that’s the base price for each plus the $10 upcharge for the bust panels. Then add to that the time you save. If you like the colors you see in the store, why not just buy what you see? It’ll be a 6-8 week wait just for production, then it has to be shipped- from Spain. All Christmas orders had to be in by October 1st and that date has long since passed. So the convenience factor is not to be overlooked.

When I bought mine I was given a reusable bag, it was quite cute.


The only dance shop that didn’t seem to do this was Capezio. No worries. I really liked this one though. It’s such a good size.

And here’s an updated shot of their color chart.


Full disclosure, the colors on this are a bit off. I was indoors and the overhead lights were competing with the outside natural light but I did my best. Please use this as a guide, don’t assume anything you order will be perfectly identical to the swatches in this booklet though. Also, this booklet is not going to be valid for much longer anyways. I was told by the shopgirl that they’re coming out with new colors in the Spring. Though she did not state whether or not the whole line would be overhauled, more colors would be added, some would be removed, or what exactly would be happening. Just that the line up is changing. So if there is a special color you feel you can’t live without, you need to consider ordering in the next few months, because it may not be around much longer.

As always I do hope this is able to help those looking to purchase one of these. Designer leotards are definitely a vice of mine. This week is Thanksgiving here in the US and the day after we have what’s known as Black Friday, a big shopping holiday. I can’t remember but I think last year Yumiko did something for it I can’t remember though. Be sure to check their Facebook page as that’s where they tend to announce such sales. Elevé always does something for either Black Friday or Cyber Monday, last year I think it was 15% off. They announce sales on their Facebook page first usually and if you’re signed up for emails you’ll get them that way as well. So if you were thinking about getting something it might make more sense to wait until the end of the week to see what deals may be offered first as these are expensive. Just be aware that neither brand will be able to deliver in time for Christmas.

I don’t plan to partake in the sales this year. But if any of you do please feel free to share in the comments section!

See you all next week!

Much To Come

Sorry all, there won’t be much of a post this week. I just got back from my trip the day before yesterday and I’m still very disorganized. I’m the sort of weirdo who can’t let anyone else do their laundry because they’ll do it “wrong”, so I totally suffer for it. I’m currently staring at a pile that dwarfs myself. I’m scared. Laundry nightmares aside there’s a lot of good happening. My hair is currently a shade I’m calling “blurple” and my husband suprised me with a couple days in New York on my birthday so I was able to get fitted for pointe shoes (again). The pointe shoe drama is real people. I’ve been burning through a pair per class and at $75 a pair that’s starting to hurt. I visited (in no particular order) Gaynor Minden, Grishko, Capezio, Yumiko, and Sansha. I bought quite a bit and I’ll be sharing all of it with you just as soon as I can. I’m trying to ease back into my schedule, class is tomorrow and the next day, hopefully I’ll have time Wednesday or Friday to take some photos? I really don’t know though. I’m still just a smidge under the weather. I don’t know if any of you remember, ages ago when I did my pajama pant tutorial I mentioned I was writing it from bed because I was sick? Yeah, it’s like the world’s most hearty virus. It’s held fast and resisted everything I’ve thrown at it. I’m feeling a lot better, well enough to go to class and I no longer think I’ll infect those around me. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve been contagious for some time, I think I’m just still somewhat congested for no real reason at all. Despite that, I’m trying to get more rest, just in case. So while I don’t want to outright promise a new post next Monday, I do want to say the next one I put up will be seriously awesome for my ballet readers. :)

Fingers crossed for next week!

Koolchicken’s Fall Fashion Favorites

Today is my birthday so in honor of that today’s post is just about fun things that I’m loving this fall.

First up is this amazing dress from Anthropologie.


I’m definitely in-between sizes on this one. The Medium was too snug and the Large is quite roomy. I don’t care though. This dress is so comfortable it’s worth the alterations. Add to that I never thought I’d be able to find an off the rack dress with long sleeves that fit. Usually they’re way too short. So hat’s off to Maeve my favorite Anthropologie designer, you’ve done it again! I wore this today with black tights, thick burgundy over the knee socks scrunched down to just below the knee, my favorite brown riding boots, and a thick plaid scarf.

Next up are Grace and Lace’s Alpine Thigh High Boot Socks

wineedit__29634.1385514667.1280.1280I bought these in their “Wine” color way and though I have yet to wear them out, I’m in love. These are seriously thick, and even on me they do come over the knee! I almost worry about them fitting into my boots they’re so thick, but I’ll figure it out. I suspect they’re going to be well worth it. When I bought these I used a 10% off promo code they had sent me and they were running a promo for a free gift with every order. I was over the moon when I saw they sent me a pair of their leg warmers for free! And in purple no less! I love wearing leg warmers and I’m in them from fall until spring since I wear dresses most days. They’re just a really nice extra layer to wear over my tights and under (and sticking up from) my boots. I’d have never bought the color ordinarily, but now that I have it I can’t wait to wear them.

This is the plaid scarf I mentioned above.


This is the Preppy Plaid Wrap from Francesca’s. I’ve been in the store a few times but had never bought anything, until I saw this scarf. I honestly don’t know why it looks so thin in these photos, it’s very substantial in person. I like to wear it folded in half lengthwise and wrapped around my neck. It’s a super cute way to embrace the plaid trend that’s happening now (clearly my prayers for plaid everywhere have been answered). And I love how the colors will work fantastic come Christmas!

This is a dress I’ve shown you all before, it’s my absolute favorite.


I steadfastly maintain it’s one of the best things to have ever happened to me, at least fashion wise. This dress is thick, warm, beautifully made, the detail is amazing, and did I mention it’s comfortable? You really can’t beat that. Tragically this is gone now, but it’s called the Needlepoint Garden Dress and should you ever stumble across one in a thrift shop or on eBay buy it without hesitation. May mine live forever.

And what do you top all of this off with you might ask? I present to you, the infamous Lady Day Coat from J. Crew.


I own it in the Navy shown, but a word of warning. To say that obtaining this coat was an odyssey would be putting it mildly. At one point I had about seven of them laying in my dining room and not one of them fit. I don’t know if they’ve sorted out their quality control issues, but it was a massive headache at the time. Discovering that their size 10 was actually smaller than a size 8 was not funny. And the Tall and Regular tags clearly meant nothing. I finally was forced to call customer service and the woman I talked to was very helpful. She ended up sending me a label to return them all for free, and then had someone go to the warehouse and measure every last coat until they found one that fit my exact measurements. I cannot tell you what size I ended up with because by the end I did not care, their labels hold as much weight as a tiny piece of toilet paper. I can tell you that my coat fits me like a glove. But I can’t see myself investing in any of their other amazing/beautiful/plentiful/drool worthy colors (ugh, Retro Pink, I think I’m in love…) due to the stress of ordering my current coat. I do have a lot of people approach me and ask about it though. So if you’re looking for something very warm, with classic styling, that won’t make you look heavy, this is the coat for you and it may well be worth the hassle.

And since I’m not a fan of strolling around town barefoot, I present to you the best boots I’ve ever encountered.


Tragically these have been discontinued. But, if you have very tiny feet you can still snap them up for a pittance! I looked all over for something very basic, that had a low heel, and I could wear with everything. I found these by chance and I’m so glad I bought them. I’ve actually had them re-soled already since I’m very hard on my shoes but it was worth it. I looked on eBay for more in my size but with no luck. These work with dresses, skinny jeans, you name it. They’re just the all around perfect leather boots and I truly hope the brand comes out with more similar styles in the future.

So there you have it. A small list of things I’m really loving this fall. Everything is comfortable, yet stylish, and easy to move in. Important since I do have an almost three year old running around! My husband is forever calling my wardrobe “impractical” for a mother but I disagree. One need not wear noting but yoga pants and sweatshirts to be considered practical. Beautiful clothes make me happy. And yes, I may fret about something getting ruined, but it’s only because I truly love everything in my closet. If I didn’t care about the things I wore, and was fine with them being treated like a dish rag I think that would make me far more unhappy than the momentary frustration of having to explain to my son I’m in silk so he needs to go wash his hands. And while I do own many items that are dry clean only everything pictured here is machine washable! Well, besides the boots and the coat obviously of course. Bonus points top dress, with it’s fun texture and interesting keyhole detailing in the back is actually stretchy! So I looked nice today, but I still felt like I was in pajamas. Score! :D

A quick note, just so everyone is aware especially if you’re new. While none of these photos belong to me, you can click on any of them and they’ll lead you straight to the’s item page on the retailers website. And as always, I bought everything you see here myself. Nothing was gifted or traded for a review. These are all things I’m just very happy with and wanted to share with all of you!

See you next week!

Amy Butler Wide Leg Lounge Pants, Sewing The Pants

I’d like to start off by apologizing. I’m sick right now so while I am striving to be as coherent as possible, I may slip up and not catch it. I would put this off but I’m running out of time. We’re going on vacation again soon, so I need this up. Also, this is just such a quick and easy pattern once you’ve made the pieces whipping up a pair of these is going to take you maybe an hour (especially if you decide to omit the drawstring and go with an elastic waistband!). I’ve made two pairs so far and need to make a third. I’ll probably do that when I get home, but for now my two pairs will suffice! Okay, lets get started!

Last week we left off with drafting our pattern pieces and cutting out the fabric. As I showed you all I serged the edges of my pieces so you’re going to see that in this tutorial. This is a completely optional step but if you have a serger I highly recommend doing this. It makes the pieces a dream to work with and I swear you end up saving so much time. If you do not have a serger no worries, when you’re finished sewing your seams simply go over them with a zig zag stitch making sure you catch the fabric on one side, and that the thread goes over the edge on the other half of the zig zag. You could also use pinking shears.

The first step is going to be putting together one leg. Lay one front piece over one back piece making sure right sides are together. See the pretty design? Yeah, that’s going to go inside and you’re going to sew on the dull/wrong side so you’re working inside out. You’re going to sew the outside of the leg together first (that’s the side I’m pointing to).


Be sure to press your seams. The book says to iron them towards the back panel (that’s the part with the deeper curve). I personally didn’t like that. I sewed these according to the instructions this time, but with my second pair I ironed them open. It makes fitting the drawstring or elastic a little more fiddly, but it’s not a big deal. Do what works for you, just be sure you do press them. It’s very important for making a professionally finished garment. Having twisted seam allowances in store bought clothes is a major pet peeve of mine. So don’t let it happen in something you’re making yourself! Do better than the stores!


The next step will be to line up the inside portion of the legs (that’s the side with the curved part) and sew those together. Do this for both legs. It’ll look a little silly on you’re sewing table to have two legs just sitting there for a bit, but this next part is like magic I swear.


Now this is the part where a lot of beginner sewists get confused. “How do I put these two legs together” they ask. Well, get ready for this. If you’ve sewn before you know you almost always sew right sides together. But to get the pant legs together, with the seam on the inside, you have to turn them right side out! And this is going to feel very tricky and maybe even a little overwhelming, but I promise you, it’s not that hard. And bonus, I’m going to show you pictures of what you should be doing. They always include diagrams for every other part of a pattern but I swear there are none for this part ever. I think that’s what makes it so hard.

Start simple, get your pant legs and lay them like this, right side out. This way you’ll easily see the “front” part of the pants and the “back”.


See what I’ve done here? I’m going to lay them together making sure the curved seam lines up. Then I’m going to take it to my machine and sew them together. Now some of you may have noticed I haven’t mentioned anything about pins. Well, that’s because I don’t usually use them. If you’re an advanced sewist you may not need them. If you’re just starting out or are an intermediate sewer then I think you should use them, especially for this part. If you’ve serged your edges then I think it’s much easier to forgo pins. Especially for quilting cottons (which is what I’m using) or flannels. They’re stiff and don’t slide. But if you do need them do not feel bad, pin the heck out of that seam. It’s better to have to do the stop and go thing at the machine a million times to remove the pins (try not to hit them, it’s bad for the machine and you can break your needle).

Now, move this over to the machine and sew that seam! The pattern instructions suggest going over the crotch seam twice to account for extra wear and tear on this spot and I highly encourage that. Do your first seam then go back the the very center of the pants and sew a second line from about halfway down the front to halfway down the back.


Okay, so here you have it! You’re pants are starting to be pants. You could even try them on now just to get a feel for them. Be aware though, they have no waist band yet and they’re a very wide loose fit so they’re just going to fall off of you. But they are officially pants now!


The next step is putting in the button holes for the drawstring. Don’t worry, button holes are not that hard just be sure to practice on a scrap piece first if you’re not sure. Even I did that prior to putting them in these pants and buttonholes are one of my special skills. Doing dry runs on scrap fabric is always a good idea. Now, to do the buttonholes you’re going to want to use interfacing. You can find it at pretty much any sewing store, I actually invested in a bolt of it because I use it a lot. It’s just going to help stabilize the fabric so that over time the buttonholes don’t stretch out of shape or warp. The instructions say to cut a 2″x 2″ square.


Your next step is to iron it to your pants. I think about two inches down but I don’t have the book in front of me so please consult your instructions. You’re going to do this on the front side of your pants. The front side is the side with the shorter curve at the crotch. So look for that, measure from the top of the waistband, and iron it down. Be sure the bumpy side is touching the fabric and the soft side is facing you! Otherwise you’ll be scraping glue off your iron for a very, very long time…

As you can see I ironed my crotch seams open.


The next step is going to be sewing in your button holes. I forget how far down they’re supposed to be, again I don’t have my book with me and I feel too unwell to get up and get it. So please, consult your instructions.


Once you’ve added your buttonholes, cut them open with your seam ripper. This part is a lot of fun. :)


Next you need to actually make your waistband. So start by ironing down the top quarter inch. Then you’re going to iron down the next 1 3/4″. This hides that ugly raw (or serged) edge. and makes for a beautiful finished waistband.

A quick tip! If you have trouble iorning down such a small edge, I recommend sewing a quarter inch seam. The you can just fold along that line as you follow behind that hand with your iron!


Now that you’ve ironed this down the whole way, you’re going to want to sew the waistband down. Be sure you catch that folded under edge!


The next step is up to you. You can either make the drawstring or you can hem the pants. I personally think making the drawstring is the right next step. That way you can put the pants on properly and mark where you want to hem them. I don’t show the hemming of my pants, nor will I show adding the decorative border as shown in the book. I did hem them (obviously) but I did not add the border. I wanted to keep this tutorial as simple as possible. Also, there are many, many ways to add a border if you so desire. And one of the most popular ways to make these pants, is to use vintage sheets that have a decorative border to begin with so you don’t have to hem at all. Just be sure if you’re doing that that you account for it in your pattern! I made these with an allowance for a hem. If you’re using a border you don’t want to lose, make the pants the exact right length for you from the beginning. Also, the book recommends using fabric for the border, but it’s just as easy to add ribbon or another type of trim such as lace. Just sew it down over the top of your hem seam!

Here’s how to make the drawstring. First cut a strip of fabric that’s 60″. If you plan to use leftovers from your pants don’t toss them until you’ve taken that strip! You can also use ribbon if you like. I may do that on a future pair but decided to do things “right” for this first pair as much as possible.

Please enjoy the image of my crumpled nearly finished pants underneath my table…


You’re going to need to iron the strip in half lengthwise. Then, once you have that center seam, you need to fold in each half and iron it down to “sandwich” the edges.


I don’t know if you can tell, but you see how I did that here? You also need to fold the edges in. I did not serge this piece because 1. It’s never going to unravel, and 2. It would be too bulky. Now fold that so it’s one long skinny strip and topstitch as close to the edge as you can get.


Grab a safety pin and feed that drawstring through the button holes and voila, you’re pants are finished! As you can see this was really very simple and anyone could pull off these pants in an afternoon.


I love these pants because they’re so comfortable. My husband hates them and calls them clown pants. They are seriously wide and in the future I may make them in a small. Remember, these are the same measurements the whole way down. So the legs are going to be seriously wide. But honestly, it’s what makes them so crazy comfortable. And there are so many ways to personalize them. Use a ribbon instead of making a drawstring. Use different types of fabric, try flannel, fleece, or satin! Heck, if you make the bottoms of these elastic and made the legs out of something shimmery you could have Princess Jasmine pants! This pattern is really perfect for that to be honest. You can add ribbon, or lace as mentioned above to make the decorative border at the bottom hem. You could also create a cuff. Embroider a monogram on the hip, or add an elastic waistband. This is just one of those really simple projects that is easy to do and once you do it you’ll be able to churn out multiple pairs quite quickly. In a weekend you could make several pairs of these. So should you be looking for a handmade Christmas gift for your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, whatever, these are perfect. To make them for children you could scan the pattern pieces and scale them down, or simply hand draw them, they’re really not that complicated.

Overall I really liked these pants and I’m happy with them. I’m actually wearing this exact pair I’m showing you right now! I’m sick and they’re so comfortable. So don’t listen to the nay sayers who say they’re too baggy and wide. They’re called lounge pants, not going out pants! No need to dress it up if you’re literally in bed, just be comfortable. And these really, truly, are. I don’t see myself ever using another pajama pant pattern.

I really hope this tutorial/walkthrough of the pattern and drafting process was a help to those feeling intimidated or overwhelmed. As you can see it wasn’t hard. I really like Amy Butler patterns and although I’m not much of a pattern user, I enjoy hers. I do want to offer a word of warning should you be interested in her other clothing patterns. Amy Butler is a tall thin woman who designs clothing for tall thin women. If you do not fit this mold you’ll likely have to do a lot of alterations. If however you do look like that, then congratulations, you’ve finally found a line of patterns that will fit you!

I’m headed out to Boston soon, and will actually be there at the time of this going live. I wanted to have a few posts lined up but sadly I do not. I’ll try to work on that this weekend but as I’m sick I don’t know if it’ll happen. So I might be on a little break. But I’ll be back soon enough with more fun stories to tell and stuff to show you!

Amy Butler’s Wide Leg Lounge Pants, Drafting the Pattern

I know I’ve said it before, but I need new pajama pants. Buying them in a store is not an option, so I have to make them if I want them to fit. I bought this book some years back.


I bought it mainly with the intention of making these pants.


But I didn’t, and the book sat. For oh, around five years… Yeah. I think it’s high time I make these. We’re going to pretend that the reason is desire and not intense need. I bought some fabric a year ago intending to make some pants, but then life got in the way. My first pair of pj’s disintegrated at around the same time we were supposed to move. Then the move got delayed, and delayed again. By the time we finally packed things up I was firmly living with just two pairs of pj pants and a “bonus” pair that was way too short from Target. I finally decided enough was enough (that and I’m now down to one pair). As soon as my craft room was set up, I got to work. To sort of kick off the completion of the room (and by that I mean the furniture, it still kind of looks like a bomb went off in there…) I bought some new fabric. Here it is.


Cute right? Now, lets get started, to make these pant you’re going to need some things as this is only a partial pattern. I know this puts a lot of people off, but honestly it’s very easy. And as far as pattern drafting goes, this is an ideal beginner project because you’re basically just drawing a rectangle.


The book calls for a yard stick which I do have. But if you have a drafting ruler (the clear one) I highly recommend using that. I did end up buying a huge one that’s even bigger than my yardstick recently (I love it and if you’re going to sew on the regular you need these clear drafting type rulers). But for today I’m going to keep things simple and just use my yardstick since that’s what the instructions call for. You’ll need paper do draw your pattern on. The book calls for freezer paper which is very good for making patterns (you can iron it onto your fabric!) but I never have any on hand and I like to recycle. This is just the packing paper that comes in most online orders these days. I got an order from Sephora today so I ironed and used that, but it comes in Amazon boxes a lot too. It’s just basic packing paper and it’s the perfect thickness. It’s thin enough you can easily see though it, it’s easy to pin through as well. But it holds up to repeated use really nicely. I’ve also been known to use kraft paper if I’m making a master pattern that I want to trace and reuse several times. Doing this saves money and enables you to build a bigger pattern library since patterns do wear out and get discontinued. So I make those permanent pieces, roll them up, and save them in a mailing tube.

These are the pattern pieces that come in the book.


There are actually three there, I just laid the bigger “Back” piece over the smaller one (that has pieces from the kimono robe on it). I elected to leave these pieces intact and simply trace them. You could cut them out, but as I said before I like to save my pattern pieces. And I’d prefer not to have a bunch of tiny pieces stuffed into the pocket of the book getting crumpled and ruined.

This is going to be your first step. Trace these pieces onto your chosen paper. When making the back piece remember that you’ll need to combine two pieces. Be sure they’re flush because you want to end up with back and front pieces that are the exact same length. Then, once you’ve traced those images you’ll probably need to tape some sheets of paper together. I like using masking tape because it’s easy to write on, but any tape will work.


Great, now you have one big piece of paper. The base pattern is for a size Small. If you need to make a bigger size it’s very easy, you’re going to add the required extra depending on the size you need to the outside part of the leg only. And because these are straight leg pants (there is literally no taper whatsoever, they fall straight from the hip) it’s very easy to modify if you go beyond a size Large. The only thing is, I think these pants probably look best in a Small. As I said these hang straight from the hip, so the larger you need to make them, the bigger the legs become all the way down. So if you are heavier you may wish to taper the legs somewhat.


If you’re like me you’ll have forgotten you need a bigger size (ordinarily I’d be a Small, but my nerve pain meds have made me gain weight) so I had to cobble together a bigger piece of paper for the back. :( I was smarter when making the Front piece. To add the extra just grab your ruler (here’s where a clear drafting ruler comes in handy!) and measure out what you need to add. If you’re a Medium or Large the measurements are included on the pattern piece itself. So just measure yourself at the widest part and do the math to figure out how much you need to add for your particular size. I added 1 3/4″ to the outside of the leg, do not add anything to the inside of the leg!

To make the legs you may need to do some math. The measurements given in the pattern are to make a pair of pants with a 32″ inseam. That will never do for me, I need a good 5″ more. You may need less, so take that into account when measuring out the legs. The instructions say to add 29″ (I think), for me that meant I needed to be sure I measured 34″ instead. I also knew I wanted a nice wide hem incase these pants shrank over time. If you’re using brand new 100% cotton they’ll probably still shrink some even if you pre shrink your material, and you should pre shrink your material. It’s just the nature of cotton. I washed and dried my material in hot water and on the highest dryer setting twice before using it because I’m paranoid, but just once through should probably be sufficient to avoid puckered seams and shifting in the future.


And there you have it. Cut out your pieces, you’re finished! You do need to make the decorative border if that’s something you want to add. I decided to omit that on my pants so I didn’t make those pieces, but they’re just simple rectangles. Just measure and cut. Same for the drawstring. I didn’t even make a pattern piece for that, you really don’t need to. If you wanted to use a wide ribbon for the edge that’s also an option. And I have a thinner grosgrain ribbon I’m planning to use on a future pair for the drawstring. If you’re using bed sheets (a lot of people have made these using vintage printed bedsheets) they’ll come with a finished edge so in that case you won’t need a decorative border. There are a lot of ways to change and dress up these pants.

Once you have your pieces cut out be sure to make a note of how the pieces are laid out in the instructions. They will tell you to be sure you place right sides together. The right side of the fabric is the pretty part, the wrong side is the dull side. Some fabrics are less obvious about which is right and wrong and it can make a difference in the finished garment. But for these you’re likely using just plain quilting cotton, bedsheets, or flannel so it’s less of an issue. Just be sure that if you mess up and cut wrong sides together you remain consistent and do both legs that way. Because if you realize your mistake, and flip the pieces and cut out the other half of the pattern that way, then the pieces won’t line up. You’ll end up with one leg wanting to go the right way and the other wanting to go the wrong way.


These are my two back, and two front pieces cut and ready to go. Before I sew I often like to serge the edges of my pieces.


This is a completely unnecessary step, but I find it just creates a more finished garment that goes together a lot faster. It also saves me the step of finishing the seams after completion. If you do not have a serger that’s totally fine. You can just use pinking shears or do a zig zag stitch on the edges after you complete your pants. If you plan to do a lot of sewing, clothes sewing in particular then a serger is a worthwhile investment. I have just a simple Brother machine I purchased from Amazon. It’s not super fancy, nor was it expensive. It’s fast and easy to thread, and once you own one you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.

That’s all for this week. Next week we’re going to put the pants together so stay tuned!

New Fabrics and Project List

So this post was supposed to be a toddler nutcracker costume tutorial. But well, that’s not going to happen anymore. Same with the next two weeks posts. I was going to make my husband a rat king hoodie and the following week, there would be a full reveal with all the costumes. Plans have changed though, because that always seems to happen to me. It’s okay though, this is a good change. I’m going to get to go back to Boston and see my family this month. I haven’t been back in ages and I’m already planning what I want to do while I’m out there. My son’s also never experienced a “real” Halloween either so this is going to be really exciting. I never realized Halloween wasn’t a big deal, or even a thing in other parts of the US until I left Massachusetts. It seems to be celebrated here in Washington, but there’s a definite lack of frenzy. In Boston, our town priest used to kick off the annual parade around the Monument. I don’t think that happens other places… With that out of the way, on to this weeks post!

Joann has recently launched a new craft line called Buttercream. They have lots of different items like baking and party supplies but I was more interested in the fabric. I went into the store to check it out and I was pleasantly surprised. The prints are just as shown online and the feel of the cotton is just lovely. It’s in their premium cotton section, and premium it is. It’s $13 a yard but feels much nicer than that. It’s a good sturdy weight and I know that as I continue to wash and wear items I make out of it, it’ll just get better and better. It’s not overly thick though, so it’s better suited to summer dresses unless you plan to line it in something of similar thickness. But if you were to make an unlined top, it’s hardly so thin you’d be flashing people. I ended up buying two yards of the one below. I feel like my camera makes the print look a little “eh”. Those grain lines are just not so prominent in person. 


If you all recall about a year ago I mentioned my favorite pair died on me and I needed to get on it and make some more because the three pairs I owned were all the same age- ancient. Yeah, well…. Lets just say life got in the way and now I’m wearing pants that have literally disintegrated in some places. It’s just disgraceful. So while I’d love to say all the fabric I bought was just for fun and is there for me to dream about and make wonderful dresses I don’t need from. Some of it does serve a purpose.

I was initially going to make a pattern from my favorite pair which is sitting in a bag in my sewing room. However I bought Amy Butler’s, In Stitches years ago and never made a single thing from it.


I’ve looked through this book countless times and always dreamed of all the things I was going to make. But for some reason, I never got to it. The seal is still on the patterns if you can believe it! Since buying this book tons of other bloggers out there have made the lounge pants featured in it and I must admit they’re probably the one item that interested me the most. Clearly we have a match made in heaven. Pajama pants the blog world raves about, and my naked butt. It’s really not a game anymore, my other pairs have died as well and I’m cold!

I’m going to use these two new fabrics for my first pair.


It’s nice, thick, and really soft. It’s from Joann’s premium range and ran about $12 a yard. Since they always have coupons it wasn’t that bad. I have four yards here (I’m tall remember) so before coupons (that you know I used) these pants are costing $48 a pair. Now I know that sounds like a lot, but you have to remember something. I can’t buy pants in the store, not if I want them to fit. Most places don’t have extended sizes for things like pajamas, it’s just not something that’s made. Old Navy claims to offer “tall” sizes for many of their pj pants, but all they really do is slap a different label on their regular line and pretend it’s a Tall. It’s not. I had to buy several of each pair I own (I have three pairs) just to get ones that were as advertised. And FTR, when I say I bought several pairs, I mean I bought several of each individual pair. So they do produce Tall sizes, they’re just few and far between and for the most part they really do just put tall labels on their regular merchandise. If you want to buy from specialty sites then you’re going to pay $70 or more. And I’m sorry, but these are pjs. I’ll pay a lot for my clothes because obviously, I wear them to death. I want quality. Despite that I’m still not going to spend that kind of money on something that 1. I can make, 2. I don’t know what the quality will be like, and 3. will probably still fit funny because even the “tall” pj pants usually only go to a 35″ inseam. :(

I bought these two fabrics last year when I was initially planning to make some pants. It was so long ago I can’t for the life of me remember what I paid. But I seriously doubt it was more than seven dollars a yard. So these are probably going to be the least expensive pajama pants I’ve ever owned! And they’ll be the most fun too. My son loves elephants and I just thought the pattern was so cool. Not something you’d see on pj pants. It’s not really something you’d see on anything really. So I knew I had to have it. The foxes are flannel. I do know when I bought this I was contemplating Christmas fabric (because I’m always contemplating Christmas fabric). But I decided this was a little more year round friendly. As much as I love Christmas, I don’t like wearing those prints past the season. So while I’ll probably indulge at some point, that point will not be right now.


When I saw this print I just had to have it.


My son saw it and yelled “Winnie the Pooh!” and I knew he was on to something. It was so inexpensive too, I want to say $5 a yard plus I got an extra 30% off! The color is a bit off here, it’s a nicer, brighter, marigold color in real life. I plan to make a skirt out of this one. I recently bought Sew Many Dresses, So Little Time from Amazon. I desperately want to make the dirndl skirt in it but I can’t. I bought one copy and the patterns were missing from the back. So I called them and they sent me out a second copy overnight. Well, that copy was also missing the patterns. Seriously Amazon? Clearly someone’s stealing them out of the back of the books because there’s no way the publisher is sending them out that way. So if I want this book it looks like I’m going to have to buy it in store. Because I’m just not trusting Amazon again. There are far too many other people commenting on the missing patterns in the reviews. They should have dealt with this by now. Supposedly if I call them and report the same problem again they’ll pull the book from the site so they can “investigate”, but it’s way too late for that.

I ended up buying this from Barnes and Noble, it cost me $10 more. Not the biggest deal (or largest sum) in the grand scheme of things, but I’d have rather saved the money and had the book days earlier. Now that I have it I’m so overwhelmed with all the patterns. There’s just sooo much to pick from. And from what I’ve sen, this is a very solid book. I fully intend to do a review of it because I think it’d be a great addition to anyone’s home sewing library, but more than that, I think it would be really helpful to someone who’s looking to branch out from craft sewing to garment construction. When I make my skirt I’ll be sure to take photos of the process. I’m not usually a yellow fan but I love the damask print and yellow is a bit of an unusual color. Paired with a red cardigan I think it’d look lovely. And just perfect for a Winnie the Pooh DisneyBound. Or even just any old day.

Some of these fabrics are destined for dresses, or parts of dresses. I want to try embroidering on patterned fabrics. I want to find some floral embroidery patterns that are similar to the prints in the fabric and do some designs around the hem. Just to add a bit of heft and interest. My most favorite dress in the world (seen here) is covered in embroidery. I love the weight and thickness of it. It’s so warm too. So I’d like to experiment with creating something similar.






This last one is actually a very small print.


This is my favorite out of all of them. I literally love it so much I went back for more yardage. I actually spend time just thinking about this fabric I love it so much. I don’t know what I’m going to make out of it, but I have six yards so it’s more than enough for anything I might think up. :)

This is the current state of my craft/sewing room. I think it’s is really coming along.


I swear this is an improvement.

It’s crazy to think this was just a pile of stuff for so long (one big pile, not just several smaller ones…). And it’s even worse realizing I haven’t sewn since moving into this house last February. That’s waaaay too long. It’s no wonder I haven’t been happy. I mean I’m happy, but I could be happier. Not being able to make things is frustrating for me. The pile of ideas in my head is ever growing and if I don’t see some of them realized soon, they’re going to topple over in there! I do not want to see that happen! Also, I have so much fabric that I bought ages ago with the intention of making things straight away it’s really starting to bug me. Much of what I have (and by that I mean nearly everything, there’s more than what I showed you just now) was purchased before we moved last winter. I really want to start seeing those things I dreamed up so long ago come to life.

I’ll be sure to post more photos of the craft room as it evolves. It really has come a long way. It wasn’t that long ago that it looked like this.


I hope one day it’ll be covered in the things that I love. I plan to save some of the scraps from my projects and do something with them. A crazy patchwork slipcover for my chair? Bunting perhaps? I definitely want to start compiling a fabric archive (look for that in a future post!). I just have so many plans. I am traveling a lot between now and March but I’m going to still try and get as much done as I can in my spare time. There really isn’t a lot of that what with a husband, toddler, and ballet four times a week. But I think I can get at least a few projects done if I really try. And I know I took a break last month but September really isn’t a practical month for me to be on hiatus seeing as I do costume/sewing posts. I’m thinking Spring would be better for me. So maybe April is when I’ll take my annual break? Or maybe I’ll hold off until summer and do it in July. That’d give me time to work out my costume posts. The sewing obviously takes a long time, then there’s the time I need to write. So I need to start work on those posts pretty far in advance if they’re going to happen in time. I don’t know, whatever. I have plenty of time to figure it all out.

Here is a list of things that I’m planning to make. You may or may not see them as blog posts or tutorials. Please do feel free to comment and let me know if there is something you’d like to see a tutorial on!

*Pajama Pants

*Simple Cotton Skirt

*A Dress From This Book

*Ballet Legwarmers

*Ballet Warmup Shorts

*Play Mat For My Son

That’s all for now. See you next week!

Sugarplum Fairy Costume

Hello everyone! I’m back from hiatus and ready to get back to work. I think I’m going to need to take an annual vacation from the blog but September and October will just not work in the future. I feel bad knowing I like to post sewing/costume tutorials and I dropped the ball when people need time to prepare. So if this can’t help you this year, then I hope it can help you next! With that out of the way, lets get to it shall we?

In preparation for this year’s Halloween costumes I decided to present my son with some options. Unfortunately for me, he decided to be difficult. I suggested Beauty and the Beast and he told me “I Belle, you Beast”, same went for basically everything else I suggested. He wanted to be the girl and I had to the the boy. No. I want the frilly dress. I suggested we both be the girl and both he and my husband didn’t like that. Fine. New route. I suggested a ballet theme and it’s what we’re going with. I’m sooooo not changing this again now. I thought about being Clara initially but decided against it. Most people picture Clara and think nightgown. Boring. I want to be the Sugar Plum Fairy! Everyone loves her and she totally has the best costume. Plus, tiara. Do I really need to say more?

I first bought this leotard.


I bought it in the light pink color and I have to say it veers slightly peach. Not a deal breaker. But then I got to thinking, wouldn’t something that looked like a real bodice look better? So then I (stupidly) went and bought this one.


It only came in white and black and obviously that’d never do. So I dyed it. I used these Dylon dye packets as they specifically stated it would work on synthetics.

I used an entire packet of Flamingo Pink and about a third of their Intense Violet and was left with the most stunning orchid color. The stitching didn’t take but you can only tell if you’re holding it to your face. If you wanted a deeper color I don’t know if that could be achieved with these dyes and the white stitching might be more obvious, but I’m happy with the outcome.

There is still a problem though, I don’t think this leotard/bodice is going to work out. The rhinestone appliqué doesn’t fit that collar (it does fit the other leo) and it’s sleeveless. This really wasn’t very well thought out. It’s okay though. I’ll need something to wear at Disney World (where it’s usually pretty hot, even if it’s not you work up quite the sweat getting warmed up) if my friend and I do ballet photos. She loves taking pictures, I love ballet, we both love Disney and are totally princesses so I need to have some sort of outfit for our next joint trip. So I’m thinking I’m going to hold off embellishing that top and do it once I get closer to that trip. The long sleeved leotard is more practical for a cold climate, though there’s still another problem, it’s the wrong color. That’s okay, I’ve learned $5 and an hour of my time can fix that. :)

I bought this collar from LaceNTrim on Etsy.

I plan to tack it down as best I can so that the neckline will still stretch, but so it’ll lay flat. Sadly the quality isn’t quite what I was hoping for, and really I’m not 100% sure what I thought I’d get. Basically this is a long strand of rhinestones on a piece of plastic vinyl that has an adhesive side. The spots where the flowers are in the center of the design? Yeah, just stuck down onto the glue. So I can’t even peel it off and sew it down, there are just some elements I’d have to totally lose if I did that and it’ll totally fall apart. I could try it, and would probably be successful. But the amount of work versus the payoff? I don’t think it’s worth it for a Halloween costume. I also bought some lace trim from the same seller and it’s actually top notch. Not the best quality I’ve ever seen. But for what I paid for it it’s much better than I thought it’d be. Equally as good as anything Joann’s is selling or even better, but for less. It also came super crazy fast. Like less than two weeks! So do plan ahead just incase if you’re going to use a Chinese seller, but know this seller doesn’t just sit on orders!

Next up is the skirt. I was going to use a pancake tutu but that proved impossible to obtain. Discount Dance sent it out with insufficient shipping and I had to go to the post office and wait in line for 20 minutes then pay the difference. They eventually credited me for that, but they still sent me the wrong size. Then they shipped me out the right size, but it looked like it had been trampled by a herd of wildebeest. No amount of steaming was going to fix that. I thought about trying to buy another, but decided the shape and size was probably just too impractical overall and I didn’t want to deal with Discount Dance anymore so I scrapped that. I actually wrote a pretty bad review for this particular tutu and Discount Dance apparently decided not to publish it. I guess they don’t want anyone knowing they know there’s an issue with the way they’re shipping this tutu because it’s happened to other people (according to the guy on the phone) and they’ve done nothing to fix the issue. Oh well, I’m telling you all anyways. Don’t buy the Natalie pancake tutu from Discount Dance. The carry bag will be filthy ripped to shreds and probably missing one or more of the handles, it’ll be crushed, the hoop might be bent, and you’ll have to go pay out of pocket to pick it up from the post office. And even though they know there’s an issue with the way they’re shipping this tutu, they’ll require proof you had to pay. So don’t get rid of the door tag or receipt!

I bought what turned out to be way too much tulle (I was going to embellish the tutu which only came in white) but now I’m going to do a romantic tutu. I know it’s not traditional, but it’s not a “real” costume so who cares? I only hope I’ll have enough to do what’s in my head. I’m going to need to measure and see if it’ll be long enough (I bought 108″ wide tulle) or if I’ll need to piece it together. I’m going to do my usual circle skirt thing because again, this isn’t a real tutu and it’s easy. I am going to line it as well because I don’t want to be walking around in a sheer skirt. I got lucky and was able to find some of the foiled tulle (that’s what it’s called, but I don’t think it’s especially descriptive) that I used in my other, shorter, circle skirts and I think it’ll look really nice as an overlay. The only thing left to consider is embellishment.

I have the lace from my Etsy order (note: I only got the lace on the left, and the light pink on the far right bottom).

I’d planned to use it on the platter tutu because well, it works on such a tutu. On a romantic one, I don’t know? I’ve been thinking about sewing it onto the hem, but I’m afraid it’ll look awkward. I’ve also considered sewing it to the top of the skirt by the waistband, but I’m not sure how that’ll work either. I am lining this skirt, and sewing it onto the lining is a possibility, but I think with the fullness it just hanging underneath it might look sad. I might also want to place it onto the leotard, or add a ruffle to the (slightly too short) sleeves. I like the idea of adding sequins or beads, it’s easy and you can do as little or as much as you’d like. I’m still fleshing it all out. We’ll see what ultimately happens.

All in all this is a pretty simple costume to construct. If you’ve read my post about the circle skirts here then you know how to put this skirt together. The only difference is that I’ll be using several pieces rather than just one layer of tulle. The process is the same though and I’ve done multiple layers before, I just hand baste them all one by one before sewing them down. It’s really the secret to making the construction of a tulle skirt as painless as possible. Otherwise it shifts out of place, tulle stretches, bunches, and I could go on and on… Trust me, just hand baste unless you want to hate your life.

Lastly is the topic of shoes. I have two options. Wear dead pointe shoes, which isn’t that big of an issue. I’ll have killed another pair between now and the end of next month (probably two pairs, ugh) and I’m a sadist who finds them comfortable. If I’m going to be inside it’s no issue at all either. My other option is these.

I own them in both this color, and black. They are both thrilling and comfortable. I actually saw a woman trying them on the other day and told her how much I love mine and that she had to buy them. The only thing is, I always used to feel like something of a fraud wearing these. Like, they look like pointe shoes but they’re obviously for pretend and I do dance, but I wasn’t en pointe until this summer. So, well… It’s was just weird. But now I feel like I can wear them. Granted it’s getting cold out now so I don’t want to…

So these are my options. I can wear “real” pointe shoes that’ll still look pretty darn good and brand new with it’s shiny unmarred satin, or I can wear regular shoes and feel a bit more secure. I guess we’ll see what we’re doing and decide from there what I want to do. Maybe both?

I do still need to sort out a headpiece. I have one, very, very nice tiara. But it cost hundreds of dollars and I’m not sure I want to wear it for play. So I’ve been considering this one from Amazon.

I am mildly concerned about quality, it gets good reviews but a lot of Amazon reviews have been paid recently. It is less than $30 though, and it only really needs to last one night. If it goes past that I’d see it as a real bonus and will totally use it on that Disney trip I mentioned above. And if I’m being honest, I’ll probably keep wearing it to Disney (and at home) because I’m secretly only five. Amazon does have a lot to pick from, and they’re selling for very little. I feel like I need to make my decision by the beginning of October, just incase it needs extra time to ship.

Next up will be my son’s costume. I asked him if he wanted to be the Nutcracker himself, or the Rat King. He proclaimed the Rat King “naughty naughty” and was unwilling to go along with it. The Nutcracker however peaked his interest (probably because next to Clara he’s the fancy one, lol). We went to Joann’s and he picked the trim himself (trim that includes, but is not limited to, red sequins). He’s also announced he wants a tutu of his own so I may whip up a tiny black one for him. The materials alone would probably run me around $4. He’s so tiny a yard of $2 tulle will do. And I may just do the no sew method. He’s a kid, and kids want the poof. This will keep it nice and short (so it doesn’t snag on anything) and he’ll be happy. Plus it’ll take me like 15 minutes, win win.

That means my husband will have to be the Rat King. I think this one will be somewhat tricky as I’ve never done this before. But I’m going to pick up a simple grey hooded sweatshirt from Target and add ears and a crown to the hood. He doesn’t really like dressing up and allowing him to wear either sweatpants or jeans with a t shirt and a hoodie is like his dream come true.

The only thing that will come as a crushing blow to either of them will be the lack of swords though. There’s just no way. Someone’s going to lose an eye. Yes, I’m that mother.

So those two costumes will be coming up over the next couple of weeks. I hope to finish off the month with a complete reveal of what my costume looks like. I wish it could be included in this post but I suspect I’ll still be working on it right up until the last minute. I’m writing this in advance and honestly, I haven’t picked up a sewing needle at all. My craft room furniture has finally been assembled and I have a number of projects that need to happen urgently. Nothing is put away and the place looks like a disaster area. I’m going away again next week (end of September) so it’s just crazy for me right now. I never know if I’m coming or going anymore. Hopefully I can get something done on it before I leave next week, I’ll probably start work on the skirt tomorrow. Or at least unbury my poor serger and start laying out all the supplies I’ll need for this in a box so I don’t have to fish for stuff while I’m working and I can put off organizing until I really have the time for it. I also need to get out and get more dye or see if I can get it on Amazon. Because as soon as I dye that leo, I can start embellishing it!

Happy Labor Day!

I’m still on my temporary hiatus but I still wanted to wish everyone a Happy Labor Day! Hope you’re all having fun today, trying to squeak out those last bits of summer while you can. Here in Washington the leaves began to change last month! Despite those early signs of fall the weather was still sunny and hot. I suppose I should have know it wouldn’t hold. It literally went from eighty degrees everyday to sixty overnight. That’s okay, I’m enjoying the sweater weather. 

I put together this little arrangement last night with things I found at Homegoods. The stacked pumpkins and the tiny orange one light up, but I prefer them as is. Maybe come Haloween I’ll start turning them on. I’m still working on my arrangement, I bought a lot of pieces and I keep moving them about the house. But for now I’m happy. 

I found the little letters at Target in the dollar spot and the chalk pencils I used on the little chalkboard are from there as well. I’m sort of in love with those pencils. They work and feel like regular colored pencils but they’re chalk, they’re so vibrant too! 

Not You’re Regularly Scheduled Program

Hi all. I just wanted to get something up for this week, but it’s not a real post. Sorry. I’ve been traveling a lot, and have gotten really behind on everything. Like, seriously behind. The house is a mess, the power was out all day yesterday, I have ballet at least three times a week, and the kid is a toddler, lol. So yeah. There are just a lot of “must do’s” and this is a “like to do” on my list of “to-do’s”. I’m headed back to California this month and with that in mind I think I’m going to take a short hiatus from the blog. A belated summer vacation if you will. I had really wanted to get some costume posts up for those of you looking to make your own. Even a year on my Frozen costumes are still seriously popular posts. This year will be very different, but I promise, I’ll get something up in time if you’re making your own costumes. My goal is to be back by October 5th (that’s the first Monday of the month) and hopefully I’ll have written and scheduled a few posts by then so I don’t get caught up like this again.

So I leave you all with this image because it’s all I have.


These are cheese biscuits from Blackbird Bakery on Bainbridge Island. I was a little confused that day and in the days that followed (I was still new to my nerve medication) but I’ll never forget these! If they’re too far for you to visit (and you’re a better chef than me) you can make your own. They have a cookbook that gets rave reviews, you can buy it here. :)

Frozen Berry and Milk Smoothie Popsicles With Zoku Molds!

Hello all! I just got back to the mainland last night and I’m working quite hard to get as many posts written as I can because apparently, I’m going away again next week! Crazy right? Well, I’m sick as it is so I may as well use this brief break from ballet to get something done!

I originally wanted to do this post sooner, but as it happens, life got in the way. I actually planned to make these pops in Hawaii using these molds.


I actually bought mine from World Market last month for half the price Amazon is selling them for. Williams-Sonoma had them on sale as well. Given that it’s so late in the season you can probably get these for a steal in a local shop if you’re willing to look. I first bought the individual molds at a local supermarket and my son and I thought they were so cool when we saw these we knew we had to have them as well. We know own most of the brand (hangs head in shame). But basically they’re silicone molds that you fill with your chosen recipe and once frozen you pull straight out. The silicone turns inside out, and you’re left with the coolest (pun intended) frozen treat! So what you see in the photo is actually what you’ll get.

I know there’s a lot of hype now about how all sugar will kill you, so lets all be miserable. Or something like that. So people are trying to cut out the store bought foods and make things from scratch. I don’t mind the store bought things. A sugary popsicle is something every kid should know, and a few a week, a few months out of the year, is not the end of the world. Everything in moderation, right? That said growing up I had both. My mother had these plastic molds from tupperware.


If you’re feeling nostalgic, these “vintage” popsicle molds can be found for a pittance on eBay and Etsy. This photo actually comes from Etsy, but tragically it seems this item has sold. :(

The way my mother used to do it is the way I’d imagine most mothers did. You take whatever juice you have in the fridge, fill them, stick them in the freezer, and a few hours later voila popsicles! Amazing to your average toddler. I can still remember the way they tasted, with that healthy no sugar added juice that I swear tasted like incense my mother bought from the food co-op (my mother is a hippie, there, I said it). I do things a little differently. Here’s a recipe my son and I like.

Frozen Cherries

Milk (I prefer Silk Coconut but use your favorite kind)

Yougurt (This is a sometimes for me, I don’t always have it around. I like Fage Greek yogurt when I use it)

Take all these, and blend until smooth. Fill the Zoku container to the fill line and pop in the freezer overnight. Be sure there’s enough liquid, otherwise these might not freeze solid enough. If you’ve ever just had a frozen fruit straight from the freezer (especially cherries) you know what I’m talking about. If you’re using a fruit with a high water content like watermelon you don’t even need to add any liquid. Just stick the fruit in the blender and blend until liquid. You want it to be quite soupy. Once you fill the molds, and before you add the sticks I recommend giving the mold a few firm taps on the counter to force any air bubbles to rise. With the cherry mix I’ve found sometimes you may even want to wait a few minutes before doing this since it seems to separate and froth a bit at the top. Don’t ask me why, it just dose. It doesn’t hurt anything, nor does it taste different. It’s just not very pretty.

So that’s it. I don’t see the sense in simply freezing juice. Whole fruits are better for you because they have the fiber, vitamins, and other good for you things that pressed juices just don’t have. The milk and or yogurt adds calcium and vitamin D, and depending on whether you used dairy or not, sometimes other things because they tend to add stuff to the dairy substitutes. I really want to keep experimenting with these. I feel like for the most part you can’t go wrong. You could use just plain juice if that’s your thing. Some people just love that texture. But for me, I like freezing smoothies. It just gives the pop a ice cream or fudgesicle quality.

Now comes the boring part, clean up. Washing these things seems like it’d be a pain but it’s really not. I’ve found that if I pull the silicone part straight up and out, I can put them on the top rack of my dishwasher. If you don’t do that, then basically you just have a cup in there collecting water regardless which way you turn it. Hand washing them isn’t difficult either if you don’t have a dishwasher. I’ve done it both ways and they come up plenty clean. I’ve just found that it helps if you rinse the mold as soon as you remove your pop. Everything seems to just come off (assuming there’s anything even on there, it’s usually just a sticky film) if you rinse it promptly. Otherwise it turns to glue, just like when you have a smoothie in a glass and let it sit in the sink without rinsing. Not that I ever do that…

So that’s it for now. I’ve got some fun stuff planned in the coming weeks, I’m going to get to work on those posts now and come back and edit them later before they go live, I hope. See you next week!