Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Just a short, fun post for throwback Thursday and Halloween :)

Cow riding his cow, being like Dad, a monkey and a lil love bug :)

SPG early years

Interested in winning a $100 gift card?  Check out my giveaway via Tide Pods and Blogher here - all you need to do is comment!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Homemade Halloween - Children's Costumes Part 1

People who know I sew in real life always ask if I sew Halloween costumes for our children.  In the past, I always shamefully replied, "no" and felt like a horrible mom consumed with sewing only for herself.  This year, I decided to be less horrible (:P) and attempt making their costumes.  I asked the kids what kinds of costumes they wanted and they promptly responded, "Yo Gabba Gabba!"

  • 1/4 yard black and white felt (character faces and embellishments)
  • 1.5 yards of pink and red fleece
  • Velcro, elastic, and thin layer of foam

Pattern: Simplicity 2070, lopped off the top of the hood and added the character heads

Difficulty: Easy, but time consuming

Time: 2 weeks for a total of probably 6-8 hours.  I should note that the sewing part went very quickly, but pondering the head construction and cutting the felt pieces for these characters plus the 2 my husband and I are supposed to be seemed to take an eternity.

Yo Gabba Gabba: Foofa and Muno DIY Costumes
I swear the costumes are cuter with children in them :)

What the Muno hat looks like on our son

The hats are stuffed with a thin layer of foam I had lying around from another project to help them stand up.

I still haven't made the hats for me or my husband, but I'm hoping I finish by Halloween!  Hope to be sharing photos of us in full garb in the next post :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Katniss Inspired Cowl Scarf DIY

Inspired by Katniss' modified cowl scarf here, I was about to fumble through trying to crochet my own when my AMAZING mother offered to knit one for me.  The result?  A scaled down version made with love. <3

Katniss Inspired Cowl Scarf (DIY by Mom)

UPDATE:  Lion's Brand yarn has 2 patterns (one knit and one crochet) HERE for the Katniss scarf.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sailboat Blouse DIY

I finally finished sewing costumes for the kids and, while pondering if I should make matching adult costumes (I am THAT cheesy), I decided to sew something just for me.  :)

Material: 1 yard 45" width cotton fabric

Pattern: Butterick 3383.  Needed to slim sleeves and body.  Narrowed neckline by 2" (see how here).

Difficulty: Easy/Intermediate

Time: ~2 hours

Sailboat Blouse DIY

I'm working on a sailboat dress for E (A-line, asymmetrical w/ ruffle), but she's been less than cooperative on getting fitted so this might be postponed for a while.  Kids can be so funny!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's Reviews

On the creative front, I am working on Halloween costumes for the kiddos so do not have anything to show in terms of DIY at the moment.  So on to shopping!  :) I'm always curious about designer collaborations and the Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's line piqued my interest with the little Parisian themes throughout.

Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's Eiffel Tower Sweater, XS (here)
I loved the print of this, but would have preferred something a little more fitted / less see-through.  The material itself is not itchy or scratchy, and as you can probably tell, pretty lightweight.

I'm not a big fan of the winged effect either...
Verdict: Though this didn't work out for me, I think it looks gorgeous on the model in the stock photo and so might be a great option for others.

Catherine Malandrino for Kohl's Belle Brunch Print Blouse, XS (here)
Another one that was cute on the hanger.  The blouse seems large throughout - sleeves are very long and cover the tips of my fingers, torso is very loose.  
Verdict: No, didn't fit and I don't think I can pull off this type of print.

Jennifer Lopez Faux Leather Peplum Top, S (here)
Aside from not being able to fill out the chest, the Small didn't fit too badly.  It's a little edgier than I'm used to, but I'm rather drawn to it - particularly the material (coated ponte).  I think XS would give me a better chest fit.
Verdict: Am ordering XS to see how it fits

Elle Striped Lace Overlay Top, XS (here)
This is a rather cute tee and fit well throughout due to the knit material.  I was tempted to buy it, but I'm *still* feeling cheap and $25 seemed too much for a novelty tee especially when my average spend per garment at Kohl's is ~$15.  And yes, I wouldn't bat an eye at J. Crew even if this were $40, but I guess I really fall into the trap of perceived value depending on the retailer.
Verdict: No for now, but would consider at a lower price point

I might have mentioned this before, but the Kohl's site typically offers extended size options going down to XXS.  I once ordered a Lauren Conrad top in XXS that was SO small, I could only button the very top button and the very bottom button.  So while XXS doesn't help me, maybe it'll help others :)

Interested in winning a $100 gift card?  Check out my giveaway via Tide Pods and Blogher here - all you need to do is comment!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

J. Crew Factory Reviews: Field Jacket & Anchor Sweater

Though I didn't buy anything at the brick and mortar store last week (reviews here), I did order a couple of items online when they sent me a promo code (can never resist a sale upon a sale!).

Everett Field Jacket, XXS, Black, $62.50 (here)
(unzipped, zipped, and belted - I think I prefer it zipped and unbelted)
Factory's version of the popular Downtown Field Jacket features a similar look with an added belt.  Online, it looks like the jacket only comes in black - which looks like a dark gray in real life, - but I thought I spied some navy blue and olive ones at the store in limited sizes last week.  Currently on sale for $62.50 (Downtown Field Jacket is $148), this is a great option at a lower price point.  The fit of the retail versus factory version is the same.  XXS fits well in the shoulders and chest with a straight cut through the torso.  The sleeves are a little on the long side for me, but I prefer this to being too short.
Verdict: Keep, love the fit and price

Intarsia Charley Sweater in Anchor, Sm, $29.50, (here)
I was a tad hesitant on ordering a size up in this sweater, but was so enamored by the nautical theme and sale price, I decided to get it anyway.  It's a little slouchier in the torso and the sleeves seem a little longer, but I think it fits decently enough.  My favorite part of Charley sweaters are their comfort level - they're always soft, nicely stretchy, and never itchy!
Verdict: Keep and have already worn :)

Check out even more Factory review's over at Gigi's :)  

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Buckled Cowl Top DIY

Inspired by this funnel coat, I decided to make a buckled cowl top.

Material: 1 yard white stretchy knit from Joann's, leather craft bracelet from Michael's

Pattern: Self-drafted based on existing sleeveless top (see tutorial here), leather bracelet is looped through a button hole at the base of the cowl

Difficulty: Easy/Intermediate

Time: ~2 hours

The top is tunic length to allow for layering over leggings or tucking into pants / skirts.  I find that a "bubbled tuck" shown here (I'm sure there's a term for this that I just don't know) is great for tummy hiding :)

Interested in winning a $100 gift card?  Check out my giveaway via Tide Pods and Blogher here - all you need to do is comment!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

J. Crew Factory Fitting Room Reviews

I heard about J. Crew Factory's 40-60% in store promo, and like always, felt compelled to go check it out :)

Warmspun Herribone Jewel-Collar Sweater, XS (here)
I actually DIY'ed the retail version here earlier this year, but was still excited to try the Factory version. The XS seems a little larger than typical J. Crew sweaters in XS (reference the XS sweaters below) so depending on your tastes, you may want to size down.  The sweater composition is a little on the scratchy side.
Verdict: It's a lovely sweater, but even at 40%, it was more than I wanted to pay.  Will wait for further sale.

Jeweled Necklace Top, XXS, (here)
Bring on the jewels!  XXS fit well - not too tight, not boxy, didn't billow in weird areas to make one appear pregnant.
Verdict: Still feeling cheap, will wait for further sale

Factory Beaded Sweatshirt, XS (here)
I was delighted to see a factory version of this sweatshirt!  It fit well throughout, but something about it - maybe the shorter length - seemed to make me look wide in the torso.  I prefer the retail version here.
See also on Gigi.
Verdict: No, not flattering on my body type

V-Neck Sweater in Colorblock Stripe, XS (here)
I rather liked the pops of green on this sweater and it fit pretty well.  Ultimately, I have so many stripes in my closet that the colorblocking wasn't enough to warrant the purchase.  BUT it is a very cute sweater and it was in the clearance section (sale + additional 40% off) so this may be a good option for others.
Verdict: No, I have similar items already

Silk 2-Pocket Blouse, XXS (here)
It's strange that the online version shows color-matched buttons while all the store versions had white ones.  I'm actually not a fan of white buttons on colored shirts, I find the contrast to be a bit jarring.  I did really like the fit of this shirt.  It had a nice drape and fit slimly without being tight.
Verdict:  Liked the fit, but ultimately would prefer a more emerald green

I didn't wind up buying anything in store, but did wind up ordering this Charley Anchor Sweater online.  Hope it fits well since it's final sale!

Be sure to check out Gigi's recent JCF reviews here.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pop In, Stand Out

I've always viewed product demos with a mixture of skepticism and awe.  There's no doubt that they're compelling, but I've been let down too many times by "miracle" products to fully trust in anything these days.  So when I got an opportunity to review Tide Pods, I decided to put it to the test and see what it could really do.  And since I'm a former lab geek, let's approach this old-school experiment style :)

Purpose: To test the performance of Tide Pods on frequently encountered stains like food, dirt, and makeup

  • White fabric swatch
  • Tide Pod 
  • Food stain 
    • soy sauce - high usage frequency / high staining
  • Dirt stain 
    • the black gunk stuck to the car.  I don't know how, but the kids and I are constantly brushing up against the cars and leaving long, black streaks on our clothes
  • Makeup stain 
    • black powdered eyeliner.  I drop the container at least once a year making a giant mess of everything and nothing seems to completely remove it.  I've tried makeup remover / dish detergent / laundry detergent, there's still a faded black glob. :(

Procedure:  Apply stains to new white t-shirt fabric and toss it in with a load of laundry.  Household of 5?  You bet we always have some laundry somewhere at the ready.

Results:  The whole load of laundry came out clean as expected, but I was really interested in seeing my fabric swatch.
I was amazed by how completely the stains had been removed.  The swatch was 100% clean and there was no sign it had ever been stained.  The best part?  I didn't have to do anything special to achieve it - no soaking / stain sprays / scrubbing / pretreating at all.  All I had to do was start the washer, pop the pac in with the laundry, and let it do its magic.  Per the package, each pac contains 3-in-1 detergent technology that cleans, brightens, and fights stains.

Conclusion: While laundry isn't rocket science, I loved that this made it completely brainless.  No more squinting at hard to read measurements on detergent caps and trying to determine which one best correlates to your load size, no giant, heavy detergent bottles, no crusty detergent caps, and no accidental spills - this might now be the cleanest, most organized room in the house!

Tell me what you think the toughest stains are for a chance to win a $100 gift card!

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