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February 19, 2017

the dress | chapter three (a.k.a. it's got pockets)

How to add pockets to a wedding dress
How I'm making my wedding dress
Alright gang. I'm making some pretty heavy headway on my handmade wedding dress. To recap, I picked a pattern to roughly follow, then made a test dress from muslin fabric to make sure I liked the shape. Now I've started to work on the bodice, and the skirt is basically done. Today I worked on what has to be my favorite aspect of this beauty: pockets. Having pockets in this thing is an absolute must. My fiancĂ© and I are getting married in the middle of the winter, and while this year we are experiencing what must be a record-breaking heat spell, I want to be prepared for the harsher temperatures that the midwest can produce. So, in short, I need pockets. A place to hide hand-warmers and tissues and stuff. And, success! I love love love that this worked out and that I have a place to put my hands when I'm feeling awkward during photo-times. 

While I'm making my dress entirely myself, I imagine adding pockets to an existing dress wouldn't be that difficult. Before putting pockets in an already completed dress, you would need to break and remove the seam from the sides of the skirt - both the liner and the outer fabric. 
DIY pockets for a dress
Here is what the shape of my pockets looked like before I stitched them into my dress. They are each made of two pieces of liner and two pieces of outer fabric, stitched together with the top edge left open. I also left about 1/2 inch of room at the ends of the stitch to fold the top down when hemming. When lining the pieces up, it went: liner, outer fabric (right side up), outer fabric (right side down), liner. The outer fabric is the part that is touched when you put your hand in the pocket. 
How to: Add pockets to a dress, without a pattern!
My brain hurt while I was trying to figure this part out, and my one piece of advice when putting pockets in a dress is to pin everything in place, turn the dress right-side out and check that you did you pin-work correctly. With the dress inside out, place one pocket between the outer fabric layers. 
Who wouldn't want to put pockets in a skirt?
There will be two "sandwiches" to be pinned in place. Starting from the top, the first "sandwich" will be: the front liner, the front outer fabric, and the top piece of the pocket (both liner and outer fabric). The second "sandwich" will go in reverse: the bottom piece of the pocket (both liner and outer fabric), the back outer fabric piece, and the back liner piece. Pin these two "sandwiches" together, flip the whole thing right-side out and check to see it was done properly. Flip it back inside-out, and stitch the two "sandwiches" separately, along the pins. 
Who needs a purse when you can put pockets in a dress!
Now it's just a matter of stitching the sides of the dress together. Sew along the lines as shown above, stitching the dress together but skipping the pocket. I took these seams about 1/4 inch into the pocket as well, just to ensure none of the inside of the dress could poke out.
The Dress gets pockets
Pockets, you guys! This feels like a major accomplishment in my dress-making journey, and while I'm far from done, it's nice to get little details out of the way. I know the teeny specifics are what will draw out the time it takes to finish this project. But seriously, how functional is this beast? Side thought - why don't all wedding dresses just come with pockets? Where are you supposed to put all your stuff?
DIY This: Putting pockets in a wedding dress
More updates to come - I have pieced together much of the bodice, but am reluctantly avoiding putting in the zipper because that is like my greatest sewing fear. But, the boning was successfully put in, and it's starting to look like a real article of clothing. Stay tuned!


P.S. See chapter two, and chapter one in this DIY wedding dress series. 

January 25, 2017

simple diy hanging planter

Simple DIY Hanging Planter
Spider plants up high - how to hang a plant
Everyone, meet Grant the Plant. He's the latest addition to our ever-growing collection of green. He came to our home by way of one of Heather's work buddies, and he's a spider plant. When Heather brought him home last week, I did a little internet research to determine what kind of care he needed. Fun fact: Spider plants are a hallucinogenic to cats if ingested! Also a fun fact: our cat Donut loves eating plants. With that in mind, Grant needed to be air-borne.
Simple DIY Hanging Planter: What Materials You'll Need
I made this hanging plant by using:

  • A lightweight plastic planter
  • Clothesline rope
  • A ceiling hook
Create a hanging planter using clothesline cord and a plastic planter
First, I tied the rope around the largest part of the pot, nice and snug. I double-knotted all the knots for this hanging project.
How to hang a plant
Next, I cut the rope coming from the first knot about four feet from the knot (the length needed for the plant to hang from the ceiling, plus a little extra for braiding and knot-tying). I cut two other lengths of rope, also four feet, and knotted them to the original circle.
DIY Hanging Plant: Use braided clothesline to quickly get your sprouts off the ground
I then gathered the three ropes together, and knotted them together. Then I braided the three ropes together.
Simple DIY Hanging Planter
At the end of the braid, I looped one of the ropes, then knotted them all together. Done and ready to hang!
Hanging a Plant, Simple-Style
Meet Grant the Plant
The good thing about Grant is he doesn't need too much light, so hopefully this spot near the window will keep him happy. Plus it will keep the cat from tripping, so that's a bonus. 


P.S. See this trick on how to quickly decorate your planters using rubber bands.

January 22, 2017

women's march | don't stop marching

When I went to bed Friday night I was hesitant, nervous, cautious. Today I feel on fire. 

I was nervous about going to Women's March to the Capitol here in Saint Paul, Minnesota. My fiancĂ©  has the flu and sciatica, so I knew I'd be going alone. I was worried about what was going to happen at the march. Would people be angry? Would anyone show up? I'm horrible at directions - would I even be able to find the meeting spot? Saturday morning I laced up my boots and walked to the train. The moment I stepped onto the platform I felt better. Two dozen other women with signs, husbands, boyfriends, and babies in tow were waiting with me. When we boarded the train car, everyone was buzzing. Each stop the train made multiplied the number of passengers - all protesters, all full of energy. I gave up my seat and by the time we reached our destination our train was so full we had to pass by the last four stops without being able to let anybody on. That was the moment that I felt it. The power that happens when women gather. And I wasn't nervous anymore. I was smiling. Everyone was peaceful, but ready to fight. We un-sardined ourself from the train and marched to the parking lot that was designated as the meet-up location. There were so many people (estimated 100,000 after it was all said and done). Babies in strollers, children with signs they clearly made themselves. Female firefighters in yellow suspenders. Older women, younger women. We gathered, marched, chanted, and it was all peaceful. It was beautiful, and empowering.

And it was sad too. The frustration could be felt across the crowds. Over chants of "Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go," you could hear muffled conversations of anger over the current state of our government. 
Young women chatting about disbelief. Older women complaining about having come so far just to be thrown decades back. Everyone looked fed up, and fired up. 

It was raining while we marched. I was freezing (and maybe now a little sick as a result). There were almost 70,000 more people there than estimated. Reading news reports when I got home, it seemed we weren't the only ones who were over-packed. But spirits were high, in spite of delays and the rain. It was all worth it.

And today I feel fire, because while yesterday was the most magnificent display of female empowerment I have ever witnessed, I know it's just the beginning. False reports from the White House about turnout numbers has me fired up. Cutting of arts programs has me fired up. The fact that there were protesters across the globe has me fired up. What happens tomorrow and the next day and the next day has me fired up.

I don't know what the future has in store, but I can tell you what my plan is. I'm going to stay vigilant. I'm going to vote in the mid-terms. I'm going to keep speaking out against what I think is wrong and what I feel is an abuse of power. I'm going to do everything in my capability to keep the momentum of yesterday's march going. I'm going to stay fired up. 

- m.e.

January 14, 2017

diy cat bed + curbly

So many things have been happening in my life lately. I've been working at Curbly for about a month now, and so far it's been a whirlwind experience. Even though my head is swimming at the end of each workday, being able to create content full time is a dream. Aside from work, I've been filling my spare moments with purging my life of stuff I don't need, drinking excessive hot cocoa, and working on my wedding dress (an update is coming soon, detailing the disaster that is boning) (that's what she said). It's too cold to do much of anything here in Minnesota, so aside from forcing myself to walk to work every day, I'm pretty much homebody-ing it up.

I wanted to share with you guys a little project I did for Curbly the other day. So back by popular demand my mother's request for more pictures of the cat, here's Donut showcasing this quick and easy DIY cat bed. See the full tutorial on!


P.S. In the spirit of New Years, you should check out this free template for a DIY weekly planner.

December 23, 2016

happy holidays

Merry Everything, from Donut the cat.
Happy Holidays, guys. Get lots of rest this weekend, snuggle with your pets, celebrate the good times, pick up the phone & call people you love, drive safe, & eat too much food. Wherever you are in life or in the world, I wish you peace. Here's to 2017 being the best year yet.

(& Donut, pictured above, who absolutely loves destroying anything Christmas-related)
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