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Monday, 29 April 2013

Monster face knee patch

My son actually wore a hole through the knee of his jeans.  Up till this point he always out grew his clothes long before he wore them out.

Both my children have embarrassingly large clothes collections but many of Walters are "handsome clothes" as he calls them; church, pageant and formal wear attire.  He actually doesn't have that many pairs of jeans.  And since jeans are day to day attire they are not something he can go with out.

So instead of buying new (ha!) or even heading down to the second hand store to replace his jeans, I figured it would be a good investment of my time to repair them instead.

As a kid my mom tried a few times to repair our jeans.  She bought the iron on denim type patches, and ironed them onto the knees right over the worn spot. Perfect- right? No. Although industrious and, from a mothers perspective, entirely functional, these were not things 12 year old me was looking for in clothes.  So although mom had "fixed" the problem with the jeans she soon saw that it was a waste of her precious time since we never wore the ugly patched pants again.

I wanted to avoid the same mistake with Walter, but new jeans were not an option.   Enter the monster face knee patch.  This might not be an ideal solution for a picky teen aged girl, but for my monster loving four year old its perfect!

And fortunately for me this fix comes easy and cheap- by cheap I mean free.

First, take the jeans with the worn out knee and cut around the hold, removing all the "stringy bits" (I'm pretty sure that's the professional sewing lingo).
Jeans with hole in the knee

"stringy bits" gone
Next cut a piece of craft felt a little larger than the newly created hole. I used red because it made sense to me as the interior of the mouth, but since this is a "monster" you really could use any colour under the sun.  Using a thread colour close to that of your pants hand stitch the felt to the inside of the jeans.  I did two rows of stitches because, well, obviously Walter is not gentle on his clothes.
Two rows of stitches
Then I cut out teeth, eyes and a tongue from felt.  The tongue I certainly could have done without, but Walter was insistent that they look like *this* (followed me around the house with his tongue hanging out of his mouth).  And since I want to be sure the jeans will be worn again I gave in.

Using my hot glue gun (don't judge me, it was a lazy sort of day) I glued everything down.
Monster face patch

Then I showed the pants to Walter.  He promptly, in our living room, stripped down to his underpants to try them out. I suppose that makes the monster patch a success!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Making do with the not-so-new

Making do with the not-so-new

When I say that I make do with the not-so-new many people figure my life to be a string of sacrifices.   Yet the reality is, gentle readers, that our frugal lifestyle affords me some of my greatest freedoms.

Cutting back on our expenses in a multitude of ways allows me to be at home raising our kids.  I still have to work, of course, but the modest income my home day care provides would never have been enough to make ends meet with our pre-frugal lifestyle.
So although we sacrifice vacationing (or even dinning out) whenever we want I now have the freedom to choose a job that allows me to be home with our children and now also to home school.

I doubt anyone looking at my children would feel pity for them because they make do with second hand, home made or repaired clothes,  In fact, I can say with absolute honesty that my kids are some of the most stylish kids I know.  In shopping second hand and consignment stores for them I am able to dress them better than if I were buying new.
If my son Walter needed long sleeved shirts, for example, and I went to a new clothing store I would be forced to choose from the limited selection of that store during that season.
But a decent second hand store carries clothes from many many stores- even across the globe as people tend to buy clothes while vacationing.  They will also carry a small selection of "off season" items. So I can get a bathing suit for swimming lessons in January, or a costume for a beauty pageant in May.
All for a small fraction of what it would cost to buy new.

Walk into my house and the first thing you might think is "Wow! Day care can get noisy!"  But likely not "Oh these poor people just making do".
That Guy and I bought our fireplace from kijiji,com as a fifth wedding anniversary gift to each other. We have had it for almost two years now and it looks exactly the same as it would had we bought it new.
A dear friend of ours co-owns a pawn shop. We were able to buy our flat screen TV and our digital camera from him at very reasonable prices.

We also accept help.  That's a really tough one for a lot of people. I certainly do not go around begging for money.  But if I need a table for the day care kids to eat/colour/play on and someone says "Hey, my cousin is looking to get rid of her table.  It's yours if you'll pick it up" I see no shame in accepting the help.
Same goes if a certain one of my children suddenly decides to out-grow ALL of her clothes.  If a friend happens to be cleaning out her own daughters closet and happens on a bag of clothes that would fit Audrey I  gratefully, gracefully, accept.

DIY helps a ton too. You want to update your bathroom but your budget is tight- like '80's jeans tight? There is likely nothing really wrong with your bathroom accessories- they are just...well...ugly. A can of spray paint will cover the ugly and give them new life.  Add a nice but inexpensive shower curtain.  Have a bunch of towels but none match? Add a decorative band of ribbon to them and Volia!- a set of towels.  See what I did there? DIY bathroom update for $30.

Making do with the not-so-new- it's one of the frugal things I do and you can too!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Toddler blocks- birthday gift DIY

Toddler blocks- first birthday DIY gift

Once again my children are invited to a birthday party. That's four birthday parties in five weeks- who is it who says home schooled children are under socialized again?

Once again I shall DIY a gift for the birthday boy. This one, however, is kind of a cheat. Scratch that. It's a cheat, no "kind of" about it. For one, I broke the bank. Rather than my typical $8 budget, this one cost me $12. Secondly, it took zero effort. I quite literally cut and pasted my way to a birthday gift.

To begin with I bought a set of three templates from this website.
I found the website while perusing Pintrest one day, and I thought it was adorable. I did spend $12, but that cost will be split between this gift recipient and others after him.  Since I bought the templates, they are mine to use as many times as I wish. So the next first birthday I go to will effectively see the cost of this gift drop from $12 to $6, and the one after that to $4 and so on. I printed the 1.5 inch version onto regular white printer paper. Card stock could also be used.

Next I took nine of my 1.5 inch wood blocks and sanded them down a bit. I take off the sharp edges and prep all the sides for the pasting step.  Yes, I do have wood blocks on hand. I often make baby blocks with letters, numbers, simple images, solid colours and patterned paper on them. The set of blocks I usually make calls for 15 blocks. Since the local craft store wants $1.79 PER BLOCK (hahahahahahahaha! Could you even imagine me paying that?! haha!) I go to the hardware store, buy a length of wood and have my wonderful construction company owning friend cut them down for me. This way I get about 25 blocks for roughly $3 (seriously, $1.79 EACH? hahaha, oh craft store, you crack me up!)

Using plain scissors I cut out the template pieces and using Mod Podge, adhered the paper to the blocks. Few little notes here.  One: Use Mod Podge, not white glue, not double sided tape, not a glue stick. I have even seen recipes for DIY Mod Podge- I promise buying Mod Podge is worth it. You are compromising the quality of your gift by using anything else. Two: Glossy Mod Podge takes longer to dry so I am a personal fan of the matte version. Three: Do not fret about the pieces not being cut exactly, or if they seem the tiniest smidge (is "smidge" a word?) too big. We will get there.
Mod Podge really is best
All glued down
Once your paper is dried to your  blocks, about 5 minutes, take your scissors and cut along the edges to trim them up a bit.
Trim up the paper
Using a fine grit sandpaper, I used 220, sand off the edges of the images on each side. Be gentle. You get best results if you sand in one direction only- away from the center of your image.  As you sand, you will reveal some of the wood block. That's okay, nice even. Sanding, rather than cutting down the images allows for a much nicer looking finished product, the paper looks as though it fades into the wood block rather than a harsh line. Also, sanding rather than cutting allows the Mod Podge in the next step to seal the paper  at the edges much better- not giving small children an opportunity to rip the paper off.

Next using a foam brush (or if you're super cheap like me you buy a 10-pack of foam kitchen sponges from the dollar store, cut the sponges into strips and use a strip in lieu of a foam brush) apply a top coat of Mod Podge to four sides of each block. Allow to dry.  If you have a wire rack (That Guy says its a cooling rack for cookies and the like, but I use it for craft drying) that's an ideal drying surface.  If you do not, a layer of parchment or wax paper on a level surface will work.  Do not use newspaper, as it might stick to the block if any Mod Podge comes in contact with it, ruining that block. When completely dry turn the block and do four more sides, being sure to include the sides that weren't done the first time.  I usually do three coats.
On the drying rack

Allow to dry.
Finished product
Bring to the birthday party and hope no one notices how little effort they really took :)

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Mother's Day Gift -$1!

Of course you know by now, gentle readers, that I make all my own gifts for all gift-giving events. My average cost for a gift is $8. When it comes to gifts for my side of the family this $8 budget has to include shipping since they live a distance away. Have you ever tired to mail a gift across the country for under $8? Not an easy feat.
Which means I have to be super creative, to find something I can make on the cheap (that doesn't look cheap!) and light enough to mail without breaking the bank.

So this, is my $1 (pre shipping cost) Mothers Day solution for my mom who is also the Grandmother of four.
Wall Art Mother's Day gift
I did this with a Scrabble board and tiles.  Since I don't have the game Scrabble and buying one would exceed my $8 spending limit I reached out to some friends to borrow one.  Luckily, I have some great friends, and in less than a day someone had dropped off the game for me. I simply set it up with the word "Grandmother" and the names of her four grandchildren.  Then I snapped a photo of it and the game was ready to be returned to my friends. 

I took the photo I had taken and uploaded it to  This is a free photo editing site that I simply love. However, I see a great value in paying the $33/year membership (indeed I am a member) and having unlimited access to all the tools, features and fun. **Since this site allows for unlimited photo uploads and edits I used to split the annual cost with a friend and share a login** I played around with some different features and colour combinations until I had the above as a result. I loved it!

Black's Photography is currently running a promotion on their 8x10 digital prints. Only $1 each! (Regular price $4.99- not over the top expensive, but would get close to pushing my $8 gift limit after taxes and shipping).  So I uploaded the digital image to their website for photo processing and within an hour it was ready for pick up. 

I know what you're thinking- how can you give a wall art gift that needs framing without a frame?! And you're right, you really can't do that.  But it also makes zero sense for me to ship a heavy, bulky and breakable item.  Instead I reached out to my sister who lives in the same city as my mom, and asked if she wanted to "go in" on the gift with me (since I had already put her kids names in the photo I was really hoping she would say yes, and she did!)  She liked the idea, and she was willing to buy the frame. So I just have to mail the photo to her - an additional cost of about $1- and her and I will have created a gift that I really believe my mom will treasure. 

Monday, 15 April 2013

Getting on the Potty Train

We have started potty training my 19 month old daughter.  She was giving some of the signs that she was ready, and I am so ready for toilet trained bliss- at least I imagine it as bliss.
I know there are a million blogs and websites dedicated to how to train your child, and many of them claim that success is only three days away.

Personally, I feel very annoyed when I read these how-to guides.  That's how the author may have trained their child, but there is no method to anything that will work with every child. As my daughters parents I believe That Guy and I know her heart better than anyone else, and much better than an author who has never met her.

Some authors claim there are a long list of readiness indicators for potty training. For Audrey we needed only two: she had to be able to communicate the need for the potty, she had to have physical bladder control. At 19 months Audrey cannot pull her own pants up and down, nor did she display any burning desires to watch anyone else use the toilet.  Those might be some of the indicators for your child, but not for her.

We use the least expensive potty chair on the market- I hope I did not shock you there ;) The molded plastic potty from IKEA is great for us. They cost under $4. They are compact and stack able. Stack able is nice if you want to get three or four for your home (one for the child's bedroom, one for each bathroom, and one for whatever room you're in most often) but when guests come over you would prefer to minimize the visual potty  experience.
At under $4 I feel justified in simply getting rid of it after a certain time and moving on to a new one.
They are small enough to easily fit in your trunk for long car rides.
They come in a large variety of colours so they can stand out and be highly visible in the room. Or your child might be the type who will only pee on a green potty. Either way, colour choices win.

I know there are potty's with happy faces molded into them, or ones that play music when your child pees, or some with built in potty-side tables for your child to rest their cups and literature on. We use a super simple chair, and the praise and happy faces come from us.  LOTS of cheering, clapping and "good girl!"s are key for Audrey who is a very praise driven child. That being said, I could clap until my hands are raw and it doesn't compare in Audrey's eyes to a simple "whoo-hoo!" from big brother Walter. We have made potty training a family affair. Lots of praise but no negative re-enforcement. We clean up any accidents, but do not sigh, fuss or condemn.

About a week before we started training, I quietly took Audrey's two favorite toys out of the play room. I put them next to the potty.  Letting her explore her play cell phone or the Leap Pad keeps her sitting long enough to relax the required muscles. Sitting down- or not sitting to be more accurate- is Audrey's biggest act of defiance. Not just about the potty- in general.  She is resistant to sitting for dinner, in the car seat, while putting on shoes...

We do not use disposable training pants. I simply wont pay that price for a glorified diaper. I did get Walter some padded training underwear when he was learning to use the potty. Being padded they hold on to more wetness than regular underwear would.  This is a benefit at home because it allows to child to feel cold and wet and thereby encourage them to stay clean and dry.  The padding is also a benefit when we are out because it allows a tiny accident to happen without wetting right through the clothes right away.
These training underwear cost $6 for two at Wal-Mart. It feels expensive, but its less costly than the disposable option, works better toward the desired achievement and if you have more than one child they can be passed down.   Yup, that means Audrey is wearing underwear with trucks and cranes on them.  She either doesn't notice or she doesn't care.

Let me repeat that I do not use disposable training pants.  Not even when we are out. We put her on the potty before we go. We bring a change of clothes in case an accident happens. We keep trips short while she is training.  We arm ourselves with lots of patience.

Since I run a home day care, diaper free days are still many years away.  But I am so excited for diaper free weekends. I imagine these weekends to be sun- filled, have theme music and perhaps even happy montages... or maybe that is just my imagination running away with me. I guess we will find out soon enough!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Having supplies on hand

One of my gentle readers found themselves a little frustrated with me recently. She was frustrated at my cost break downs for my DIY projects, citing the number of supplies I have "on hand" might artificially decrease the cost involved in the project.
So I want to take a moment to address this.  I do, indeed, have a decent to well stocked project stash. My stash may or may not take over our basement with reckless abandon. My stash is large enough that I am very often able to  do a "test run" of a project without purchasing any new materials and sometimes even complete an entire project for zero new dollars spent.  That Guy has become so spoiled with my DIY/ minimal cost projects that I occasionally get light push back from him when the time comes to spend $20 on new sewing patterns (of course I am getting them on sale for $1.98 each!) or $9 on Mod Podge because I ran out.

I have made it perfectly clear several times that I am NOT a cook. Yet since I am married to a chef I feel justified in likening my supply stash to the average household pantry.
Most people see the value in maintaining a well stocked pantry.  This way they can cook their recipes with ease, convenience and a handle on cost.  In the same way that it makes sense to keep salt in ones pantry so you don't have to run to the store every time a recipe calls for it, it also makes sense to keep a few commonly needed DIY supplies on hand.

Here is a quick list of some of my most often used supplies
-craft felt in a few colours
- hot glue gun and glue sticks
- fiber fill
- decorative buttons
-ribbon (different widths, colours and styles)
- acrylic paint
- foam paint brushes
- sand paper
- Mod Podge
- glitter! (yes, that is an exclamation point for emphasis)
- fabric assortment
- scrapbook paper
-basic sewing supplies such as needle, thread in basic colours, straight and safety pins, measuring tape

I also find great value in some bigger ticket machinery, such as my sewing machine, Cricut cutting machine and my laminater. My sewing machine was $100 new, and has paid for itself several times over.  My Cricut machine was almost $300 new, and does include a reoccurring cost for the required cutting mats. It pays for itself several times over each year in money saved when I make gifts.

I am not suggesting you go out right now and buy everything on this list.  I am suggesting that as you do projects that call for scrapbook paper, wait for it to be on sale at Michael"s Craft Store 4/$1 and buy four or eight sheets of paper.
If you need a 1/2m of fabric for a project consider buying a meter with the thought of looking forward to building you supply stash
If you're at the dollar store anyway picking up some items, maybe you can make the budget stretch to include one or two bottles of acrylic pant.,
In this way you will quickly have a reasonable supply stash and be able to complete last minute (anyone else out there find themselves without a gift three hours before the birthday party starts? or is that just me?) and low to no cost projects.

Although supplies of course cost money, DIY is almost always a more cost effective way to go, and a major way my family is able to keep our financial goals on track.

Monday, 8 April 2013

DIY Baby toy for $0- Soctopus

I don't mind doing laundry, gentle readers.  In fact, I get pretty tense if That Guy tries to help me out by doing a few loads for me.  I do my laundry my way and that's how I like it done.
As I sort the laundry I take all the socks and toss them into our sock basket to be paired later.  The sock basket is not laundry. It is a cruel reminder that sometimes as an adult you have to do things you really do not want to do.

So why do I find the sock basket so cruel while at the same time I have no problem doing the laundry? Because I am always left with a pile of un- matchable socks.  I know whoever wore the sock wore two. So in great likelihood two socks went into the wash. Where is the other sock??!!?? Some questions I may never have answers to, I suppose.

So when I saw this "Soctopus" toy made from a single sock a light bulb went on in my head.  I have a single sock- I have a whole basket full!

The tutorial I originally found was in German.  I tried just following along with the photos.  While the result wasn't DIY tutu dress FAILl bad, it was....less than desirable.  So here is my tutorial.

What you need:
- a single sock
- scissors (fabric scissors are ideal)
- two large hand fulls of fiberfill
- thin ribbon
- needle and thread
- craft felt
(All materials on hand.  However, if you own a magical dryer whom does not eat socks, men's socks are currently on clearance at Wal-Mart for $2/pair making this a $1 toy)

1.  Cut the toe and heel from your sock as pictured.
2. Turn the "foot" section of the sock inside out. Gather the top together and tie as tightly as possible with your thin ribbon.
tie the sock while inside out
3. Turn right side out and stuff the head with fiberfill
stuff the head with fiber fill
4. Cut the "leg" portion of the sock into eight strips leaving approx 1 1/2 inches along the top uncut.  Gently pull on each of the new eight legs to help them curl slightly.
cut into eight
5. Fold the legs accordion style and tuck them into the head.
fold the legs
6. Using your needle and thread sew up the neck opening with the edge of the legs inside.  Stitch this well.  Children will naturally pull on the legs making this the weak spot of the toy if not done well.
starting to come together
7. Cut two white and two black circles from  your craft felt.  I lack artistic ability so spectacularly that I cannot do this free hand.  I used a spool of thread for my white circles and a spare sewing machine bobbin for my black circles.
yeah, I am unable to draw a simple circle freehand

8. Stitch your black circles to the center of your white circles.
9. Stitch the eyes to the head.
he can see you!
Since this particular Socotopus is headed to Alberta, Canada (brrr!!!!) he needs a scarf.  To add this accessory I simply cut a length of craft felt with fringe in either end, then tied it around his neck.  I also considered making a tiny bow tie, but the scarf suits this guy I think.

chilly soctopus

cozy warm in his scarf soctopus

Friday, 5 April 2013

Great news and a DIY New Baby gift for under $4

Some great news to share, gentle readers! Wednesday afternoon my sister safely delivered my second perfect and beautiful nephew. I adore new babies.  There is a wonderful warmth in being needed, and tiny ones need you 100%.

Unfortunately my sister lives half way across the country from me, so I  will not be able to snuggle tiny Easton for a while.  But I do want to celebrate him! So I am going to make him a little onesie as a "welcome to the world" gift. Its not an expensive or time consuming gift, but it gives me the feeling of having done something to celebrate this new guy, and its a small token to let him know I'm thinking of him.
This is how I faux screen print.
What you will need
What you will need:
- white or light coloured onesie/t-shirt (Wal-mart $3.50)
- freezer paper **This is not wax paper.  Freezer paper has wax on one side but is plain paper on the other. You cannot buy the white stuff on a roll here in  southern Ontario.  I bought mine from Safeway when I was last in Alberta.  If you cant get your hands on the white stuff, butcher paper is exactly the same just red.  Red paper will not affect this craft.  Most independent butchers will allow you to buy it by the foot from them for a minimal cost.** (Safeway $6/ per roll.  Need about 20 cents worth for this project)
- fabric paint , darker the better-  on hand
- Cricut cutting machine OR a craft knife and a tiny bit of artistic ability
- scrap cardboard
-foam craft brush

1. Choose your image or phrase you would like to faux screen print.  I chose "Special delivery" but I have also done a car, firetruck, pirate ship, bicycle, "Birthday Boy" can do almost anything as long as you keep the image from being over complicated. Next choose the size that would be most appropriate for your project.  For this 3-6m onesie my phrase was 6 inches wide.

2.. Place the freezer paper wax side down on your cutting mat (or cutting surface if you are doing it by hand). Load in your cutting mat and allow it to cut out your desired image. on the Cricut I use the "kiss cut" feature. Unload your mat.  OR you can use a skill set I will never possess to cut the image by hand from the paper.  Some people have found it helpful when doing this by hand to draw the image on the paper first, then cut- or print your image from your computer and lay the sheet under your freezer paper as a cutting guide.

3. Because my phrase had quite a few tiny bits (centers of "a"s and "e"s ect) I decided to iron the whole, lightly cut image to the onesie as is.  Then after ironing I  removed the letters for "special delivery" to achieve the negative space design I was after.  If your image or phrase is more simple you can skip this step and go right to step 4.
4. Iron the negative image freezer onto your onesie. Place the freezer paper wax side down on your garment. I use the cotton setting on the iron.  Press firmly and iron slowly, but keep the iron moving.  Take care that all edges are well ironed.    My next step included peeling the letters up from the shirt, leaving behind only the ironed down negative image.
Negative image remains on the shirt
5. Place your scrap of cardboard inside the onside to prevent the fabric paint from bleeding through

6. Run a bead of fabric paint on your garment. Using your foam brush brush it over the desired area.  To get even coverage and prevent any possibility of bleeding I use a dabbing technique around the edges.
add fabric paint
paint the image
7. Allow the paint to set for about 30 seconds before peeling off the freezer paper.  Don't forget about those "a" and "e" centers.  I use a knife to help me lift them off.  Allow to dry completely.
peel off the freezer paper
8. Admire your totally customized, very inexpensive gift!
Finished product
For the record this can be used on many kinds of garments.  This is a sneak peak at the birthday gift I made for That Guy at the same time as I was making this onesie. Cute, right?
That Guy's new underwear birthday gift, teeheehee

Enjoy, and happy weekend, gentle readers!

Monday, 1 April 2013

DIY tutu dress FAIL!

I had this vision, gentle readers, of my daughter in a lovely cloud of puffy lavender tulle - a tutu dress I was going to DIY.  I was so in love with this vision that the Easter Bunny even ordered a new lavender bow hair clip and head band for her Easter basket.
Thursday evening, after my day care kids had gone home I made a run to the fabric store and picked up meter after meter of lovely lavender and light purple tulle.
I had the elastic on hand.  I had read and re-read every online tutorial I could find. I had watched all the videos. I had lavender beads and beautiful lavender ribbon to make sweet sparkly accents for this dress-to-be.   Thursday nights are my sewing class.  I showed up full of excitement with my materials in hand.  Surrounded by talented and upbeat creative women I was certain this would be the dress Audrey would wear for Easter.  So certain that I made no other arrangements.

For over two hours I measured and cut, tied and sewed. I dreamed and smiled. By the time I got home from class it was almost 10pm, a solid 3 1/2 hours after Audrey's bedtime. Please don't think me cruel, but I woke her up just so I could try the new dress on her.

It was bad. Not waking her up- shes such a good lil sleeper she just went right back to bed after without the tiniest peep- the dress.  If you could even call it that.  This tulle nightmare I had created.  It was, hands down, the biggest DIY fail of my life to date.

To begin with, the sweet, pale lavender tulle was entirely transparent. You shouldn't be able to see a child's belly button through her dress. The bottom of the dress came up way too high in the front, but if I adjusted it to be even with the back then the front of the dress way too low on Audrey's chest. The tulle was static-y and getting crumpled every time I touched it.  It was one hot mess.

That Guy, observing the situation shrugs and says "Meh, I guess she will just have to wear a different dress for Easter."   He was kidding, right?!! A different dress? After I had dreamed about this one? Worked on this one? Told everyone I was making her Easter dress??!!!!  It was getting late and That Guy suggested we go to bed.  Just  like that, as though a major calamity had not befallen me. I watched his faced carefully- he appeared to be serious and have no idea the level of stress this was causing me.   I agreed to go to bed, but made no promise to sleep. I was up almost all night thinking about the dress, how I could re-work it or save it.  With the help of our tablet I was able to obsess all night long, from our bed while Googling how to salvage tutu dresses, or at the very least how to create a whole new dress from nothing in  time for Easter.

In jumping in with both feet so enthusiastically to this DIY and frugal living world, I have created a bit of a monster. It means that I feel I am being watched, even judged on everything I do- everything I make and everything I buy. When someone sees my kids in "new" clothes one of the first question I hear is "Did you make that?"  Often times I am able to reply with much pride, "yes! I did!".  Yet if I say I did not, I sometimes feel the cloud of disapproval pass over- that I am somehow being a hypocrite, even though "new" non home made clothes for my kids are almost always second hand.
Even without judgement I still feel the expectation to always have made or done something impressive.

A friend told me recently "I really admire you.  Your kids are always dressed in clothes that match and I see photos on your Facebook of you building a recreation of the Eiffel Tower out of nothing but toothpicks and marshmallows (*she was exaggerating here*) and I have barely managed to get out of bed."  I told her that was only because I didn't post pictures of all the fails. Of all the attempts gone wrong,. Of all the times I curled up in a ball and waited for the Crafting Fairy to come make it better.  My friend suggested I post exactly those photos and stories She said it would make people feel better, people who try DIY and perhaps are not successful their first times.

So this blog is my story, but there are no photos.  The dress really was that bad.
I did go to the second hand store and buy Audrey a yellow Easter dress with big white polka dots on it.  And I did have to explain half a dozen times at church that no, I did not make this dress.

Hopefully, gentle readers, you can some how take comfort in this. :)