Today, we're taking the drive to my Granny's house, where I'll drop off this, the first quilt I've ever made (and quite possibly the only one I ever will, to be honest).  She'll take it to her local quilt shop to have it pieced together and all finished up.  I can hardly wait to see it when it's finished...
 and I can hardly wait to tell you all about the history of it too!


Our Dear Savior's Birth

On this holy night, a promise was fulfilled.

For no word from God will ever fail.
- Luke 1:37

Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Praying our world feels the thrill of hopefulness, 
the joy of grace from sin and error,
and the comfort of promises made and kept this Christmas.


We're Off!

It has been one crazy bananas week around our place with the sewing and the wrapping and the packing and the cleaning and the working.  I'm glad it's over and ahead of us we have nine wide open days of time with our families.  We're hopping in the van to the airport at this very moment, and will be in sweet, sweet Oklahoma later today!

Wishing safe travels to all!


Merry Christmas to Us!

Although we normally don't get Christmas presents for each other (we usually just consider the cost of traveling home our "gift" to each other - to get to see our families!), sometimes, it's too hard to resist.  Like two Christmases ago, when Scott got me my dress form, Vanessa.  And this year, when Scott mentioned Fleetwood Mac just enough times that I knew he really wanted to go, and so...

Can't wait to channel my inner Stevie.


Click, Click, Click, Flash

A couple weeks ago, I talked about how this was a super busy, but super encouraging, time of year for me and my sewing.  The biggest event I was hinting at in that post was something I did later that very same day:  my first ever photo shoot with clothes from my very own line!

I've overloaded this post with behind-the-scenes photos, so I'll leave my description brief:  IT.  WAS.  AWESOME.  Kate Ignatowski, a local NYC photographer, brought together a talented hairdresser, two preciously sweet and lovely student models, and my designs for our little romp around the Upper West Side.  We shot at the Museum of Natural History, on 75th Street, and in Central Park.  You'll see that Kate, Janice, and I were all bundled up with coats and scarves and huddling under umbrellas for the obvious reasons:  it was cold, and it was rainy.  Those poor models!  But seriously, what troopers.  They didn't bat an eyelash and stood out there with bare legs and arms as long as was needed.

This was an exciting, fun, learning-experience filled day for me, and I enjoyed every second.  See the bottom of this post for info on all these talented people, as well as the clothes that you see!  (And Kate's professional pictures coming soon!)
Photographer:  Kate Ignatowski
Hair:  Janice Latorre
Models:  Rachel Novick and Lilly Alanah
Clothes:  Dottie Adele

And here's everything you see:  Heart-Shaped Waistband Skirt, Polka Dot Top (sold out), Roses Skirt, Blush Pink Maxi Dress, Pleated Polka Dot Skirt, Lace Back Blouse, Peter Pan Blouse, Printed Shorts, Sweetheart Dress, Mustard Sweater Top (coming soon!)


Bleeding on Probing: Melting Your Face for the Holidays

Yes, last night brought great tidings of guitar-shredding and head-banging.  Yet another Bleeding on Probing show!

I am still so, so sad that the video function on my camera doesn't work (due to my excessive dropping of it...) because check out their set list from last night:  "Hot for Teacher," "Summer of '69," "Dream On," "Walk This Way," and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra version of "Carol of the Bells."  Rockin' around the Christmas tree, indeed.


Sisters Who Support John Bates

Only 26 days until the U.S. premiere of Series 3 of Downton Abbey, starting 2013 off in the best way possible.  (Although obviously I've already watched it via sketchy means, but this time I'll get to watch it on the real TV!  And then discuss it with all the other Americans who didn't watch it sketchily!)

The end of Series 2 found the upstairs and the downstairs in all sorts of varied states of shenanigans, but one of the main stories revolved around poor old can't-catch-a-break, too-noble-for-his-own-good Mr. Bates being sentenced (wrongly?  rightly?) to prison for murder.  His separation from both Anna and the beloved Downton is heartbreakingly tragic, so when I saw this shirt that Hugh Bonneville, aka Lord Grantham, sported at a panel this summer...
...I knew that I must have one of my own.  And I also knew my sister would want one just as badly.

So, I had Scott whip up a little design with his screenprinting gear...
and after screen-making, inking, squeegeeing, drying, and shipping off to Iowa, my sister and I both have our FREE BATES shirts!
Cue the comments of how much we look alike :)


Non-Wearable Sewing Project: Ironing Board Cover

After three years of almost daily use and abuse, my poor ironing board cover had more than one gash, is discolored, and a little misshapen.  It was way past time for a new one!
So, this weekend, I finally got around to making myself a brand new cover, using this tutorial!  I'll spare you the picture-by-picture steps, since you can see them all in the tutorial, and simply dazzle you with the finished product instead.  Because I kind of love it as much as I think it is possible to love an ironing board.

This actually made a fantastic project for using up scraps.  I colorblocked four colors of cotton fabric I have left over from making Heart Skirts, and I love the result.  Even if you only had a few inches of each different fabric, you could piece them together and it would still look really great.  The more the better, I think, actually!  Stripes!
I recycled the cord from my other cover  to use in this one (no need to buy new!), and I also gifted myself a new pad to go under the cover using some fleece or batting or something of the like that I also had left over in my stash.  In other words:  this little project cost me exactly $0, but made a big difference.
I've learned over time that sometimes, when there are unpleasant things that have to be done (aka ironing), it helps to at least have a pleasant space in which to do them.  I'm hoping ironing will feel like slightly less of a chore with this bright cover staring back up at me.

We shall see.


Crunch Time

Please allow me to take this one post to just wallow in this one thought:  Things on the Dottie Adele front are wonderful.

This afternoon, I'm off to do something incredibly exciting involving my clothing line.  It's a dream I didn't even realize I had until the opportunity presented itself.  I can't wait to share!

I've currently got no less than three different bridesmaid dress collections in the works.  I find doing these collections absolutely delightful, and I'm so excited to venture further into the wedding world.

On the flip side, these wonderful things also mean one more difficult thing to deal with:  more work.  Good work!  Great work!  Work I love!  But there are also only so many hours in a day.

From now until December 21st, when we leave for Christmas break (or the world will end, if you live by that ol' Mayan calendar theory), I have no less than 10 sewing projects to finish.  10 projects, 14 days.  (Did I mention I have a 9 to 5 job?  Oh, and that I would also like to attend all the Christmas parties coming up and get the presents wrapped and also enjoy the season?)

It is seriously crunch time around these parts.  But it's the best kind.  The kind of crunch time that means if you succeed, you're taking huge leaps towards achieving your dreams.  I can deal with that kind of crunch time.

The next two weeks I'm going to have to be functioning at my maximum efficiency, and I'm up for the challenge.  Come December 21st, after I succeed (see, thinking positively!), I'll get the best reward:  Christmas back in the heart of the Midwest with our nearest and dearest. 

Let's do this thing.


It's Beginning to Look Pretty Much Exactly Like Christmas

The holiday spirit has certainly taken over NYC, and we went out to see it all!
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It looked like the holidays, and it felt like them too:  we had Scott's parents for a visit this weekend.  Family + Christmas lights = no better feeling!


Books I Read in November

The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick

This Christian romance book is based on the cheese-tastic movie Fireproof starring Kirk Cameron!  Silliness aside, this book takes you through 40 days of "dares" to go through, each one reminding you of a certain Biblical principle on marriage and the way to treat your spouse.  I read through this book with my Bible study girls, and we didn't let our husbands know that we were Love Daring them, which was sort of fun and sneaky.  Everyone can use a nice reminder every once in awhile of what a gift from God your marriage is and how important it is to take the time to care for it the way you must in order for it to fulfill its purpose, so it was fun to go through these dares, and I might pick it up again every few years!

Reached by Ally Condie
This is the third and final book in the Matched/Crossed series, a favorite of mine from the dystopian theme currently taking over young adult books.  I can't say too much about the plot without just spoiler-alerting the first two books, but here's what I can say:  While the first book followed only Cassia's point of view, and the second followed Cassia and Ky, this one follows all three of our main characters:  Cassia, Ky, and Xander.  I actually really enjoyed the constant changes in perspective, as the three of them were often in completely different places working on completely different missions, sometimes not even knowing where or what the others were doing.  I also just realized that I can't remember how this book ends, even though I just finished it a week ago, so that might be a good indication that I was somewhat disenchanted by the plot, but, like the previous two books, I find the prose absolutely enthralling.  It reads like poetry or a song, and the author's choices of what she includes and what she very purposefully leaves out is so intriguing.  Hey, Hollywood:  I know we're already started on the movies of Divergent, but let's do this series next!


Sewing 101: New Tutorials on Shrimp Salad Circus

My Sewing 101 series of simple-to-sew tutorials continues over on Shrimp Salad Circus! Here are the most recent three that are up and ready to make:
Two different options for pockets to add to your Super Simple Skirt!

An infinity scarf to keep your neck cozy - also a great holiday gift if you're going handmade this year!

A matching set of a hat and gloves recycled from a sweater (the sweater I used got accidentally *cough Scott put it in the dryer cough* shrunk).

Happy sewing!


The "Things We Must Do Before We Leave The City" List

Scott graduates in less than 6 months (how did four years fly by so fast?!) and so our time in New York City is drawing to a close.  We've done a good job of being both residents and tourists in this city, but now that we only have a few months until we leave, the panic of "Did we do everything we want to do?" is setting in.  We've created an NYC bucket list of all the things we've been meaning to do, and hope to get them all done in the next 6 months!

Things we've done before but want to do again:
Things we've never done but must:
  • Visit the Morris-Jumel Mansion - a bit of American history in our very own neighborhood
  • Grant's Tomb - I can't imagine I haven't at least passed by this memorial before, but just not known what it was.  I've heard it's awesome.  (edit:  did it!)
  • Saturday Night Live - Camping out all night is now my only remaining option to get these tickets... (edit: did it!)
  • Go hiking upstate - unfortunately, this will likely involve the hassle that comes with renting a car...
  • Go to Montauk
  • Kayak on the Hudson - will have to keep this one in mind for when it warms up in the spring!
  • Sleep No More - We're seeing this in the next month, I hope - just have to pick a date!  (edit:  did it!)
  • Roosevelt Island Tram (edit: did it!)
  • Please Don't Tell - shhhhhh....
Vague things that we just want to make sure to do enough of:
  • More trips out to the other boroughs (I've only been to the Bronx once!)
  • Eat at more of our neighborhood restaurants - I normally make 6 of our 7 weekly dinners, and when we go out, it's usually to celebrate with friends somewhere downtown, so we need to make it a priority to do some local eating!
  • Hang out below the numbered streets - I get scared down there without the numbers to guide me!
  • Sporting events - We'll be going to at least one more NBA game, but I'd like to hit up an MLB game too (edit:  Brooklyn Nets game)
  • Embracing New York nights - there's really nothing like being in this city well past your normal waking hours
Think we can get all this done in a mere 6 months?!  I hope so!  I'll be revisiting this list each time we get something marked off!


Mini Minnie

My co-worker's daughter is 1) adorable and 2) obsessed with Minnie Mouse, so for her second birthday this weekend, I was pretttttty excited to make her a little Minnie costume!  A mini Minnie!

I've sewn shoes for babies before, but never any clothing.  The verdict:  I might be addicted.  How are children so stinkin' tiny?!  That skirt is actually MORE than a full circle - it's a 540 degree skirt - and it still took me no more than a half yard of fabric to make it.  I CAN'T HANDLE HOW PRECIOUSLY SMALL THAT IS.

So, if you have a child that wants to be Minnie Mouse, mail me a onesie and I'll get this bundle of adorableness back to you ASAP.


Diary of a Surgery Recoverer: Back to Normal

It's taken longer than I ever expected or wanted, and I'm still feeling pain that I wish wasn't there, but this week, things went back to normal after my surgery 6 weeks ago today.

I returned to work.  I made us homemade meals for dinner.  I let my body feel tired, but I didn't let it ruin my day.  I took the train downtown and met up with friends around the city (some whom I haven't seen in many, many years) and talked and laughed and stayed longer than I expected and dreamed up plans for my future and encouraged the future dreams of others.

I'm not completely well yet, and at this point I occasionally find myself wondering if I ever will be, but more importantly, I'm catching up with life.  The healing part I'll leave in God's loving hands.

I've learned a lot of things these past 6 weeks about the way my body works and how I'm the only person who can really tell what it needs me to give to it.  I've been more bored than I ever thought possible.  October 2012 will forever be the lost month of my life, and good gracious, did I watch a lot of television.

But this morning, I cooked and baked for the Thanksgiving meal we're sharing with friends tonight (truth:  I made 4 dishes, 2 of which were utter failures).  Scott's out riding his bike, and it's a gorgeous, sun-filled day.  We watched the parade from the comfort and warmth of our couch.  I'm wearing a new sweater and I slept well last night and I like my hair today.  We've called our grandparents and told our families we love them.  And I'm thankful for all of those things, along with a million others.


Holiday Shopping - Blog Style

Amy from The Charming Blog had a pretty darn genius idea for the holidays:  She had an open call for shop owners across the blog world, and then assembled all kinds of items + discounts in one really, really cute online magazine.  See:
Look how cute!

Click here to go check it out!  Not only is it a catalog of all kinds of gifts for the holidays, it also has articles with recipes and DIYs and is just pretty adorable to look through in general.

And keep your eye out for a little Dottie Adele on page 12!

There's also a discount for my shop all month in connection with The Charming Holiday Magazine:  10% off with the code CHARMING10.

P.S.  Have you started holiday shopping yet?  Every year, I think I'm really going to get on it and be completely finished by Thanksgiving, yet here I am, not having started at all...