Sunday, July 29, 2012


I'm sure you've noticed I haven't posted in a while.  We are moving across the country (we leave tomorrow!) and blogging just isn't fitting into my hectic schedule.  I'll be back soon... after we settle in, but in the meantime you can follow me on instagram, @crissybell ...if you are so inclined.  :)


Thursday, June 14, 2012


I know most of us like to participate in giveaways.  I love the fabulous sew, mama, sew! giveaways days that take place in the spring and winter.  I usually win one item and no matter how small it is, it feels like Christmas when you were a kid - so exciting!  Well, last December I spent hours entering all the giveaways.  I ended up winning one item.  Just one, but it was a good one.  A beautiful jewelry shop on etsy had graciously given away an item of choice from their shop.  I picked out a lovely necklace and eagerly waited for its arrival.  The shipping date came and went and I knew it would arrive any day.  Soon Christmas came and went, but we all know how crazy shipping is around Christmas, so I decided to sit tight for a few more weeks.  Pretty soon it was mid-January and there was nothing.  The end of January, still nothing.  I finally gave in and emailed the shop owner, wondering if perhaps I gave her the wrong address and the necklace was returned.  She emailed me back a few days later saying "Oh no!  I'll look into it!"  Then there was silence.  Months of silence.  Nothing was ever looked "into" there was no response ever given to me, and no necklace ever arrived.  I know that sometimes things happen, life gets in the way...and that is ok.  However, no communication, no explanation of what or why, that just leaves me a little bitter.  

So here's my message:  Don't host a giveaway if you can't keep your end of the deal.  That is just ridiculous.  If something does happen and you aren't able to ship the item, a simple email letting me know why would have been nice.  Maybe even a credit to your shop could have been a fair trade.  Instead I get silence, and a lie about "looking into it."  

Oh well, there will be plenty more giveaways to enter, I just be sure to pass your shop over in the future.

On a brighter are a few cute pictures to enjoy.  These three make me smile.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I did it!

Becoming a mom at a young age put a slight damper on my college dreams and then the years just started slipping by.  I felt like I would never be able to return to school.  Finally, in early 2010 I decided to go back and finish the last two years of my undergraduate degree.  Two months after applying and being accepted, I found out we were expecting a baby in January of 2011.  Hmmm, that put a little bit of a kink in my school plans, but I stuck with it anyway...and I am so thankful that I did!  Getting that diploma this last Sunday was such an incredible sense of accomplishment, I am SO proud!  Being a mom of three little kids and going to school was not easy.  I lost quite a bit of sleep, was pretty crabby at times, and usually pretty stressed out.  I am very lucky to have such great support from my family, especially my husband.  Without their help I wouldn't have managed to get a 3.93, write an honors thesis, and complete two research studies!  I have learned SO much since I started and I so thankful for the opportunity that I was given.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll even go back for a PhD! 


Wednesday, June 6, 2012


My favorite pattern maker featured me on her blog today!  Liesl, from oliver + s, liked my ombre ice cream dress and gave it a shout out on her blog.  I was more than delighted!  Check it out!


Monday, June 4, 2012

yet another!

I finished this in March, and am just now blogging about it.  Ha.  This time it is the oliver + s tea party sundress!  This pattern was the first oliver + s pattern that I saw.  I couldn't justify spending the money on the pattern at that time since it was only offered for birth-24m and miss L was already in a 12-18 mo, so I bought another pattern and decided to wait on this one.  Of course it was out of print by the time she was big enough for a 2T.  So sad!  As soon as a digital copy was offered I snatched one up in a 2T-5.

This was a serious stash buster, the lavender was left over from these dresses, and I didn't have enough of the gray fabric to match up the pattern on the bottom half of the dress, I hope nobody notices that.  :)

I love the hem facing, even though hand sewing is a total pain-in-the-you-know-what.  The lavender and gray are pretty together, sometimes muted colors are just the way to go.  I've been sewing with muted colors quite a bit lately, which isn't my norm.  I have some super bright fabrics lined up for the next few dresses, can't wait to start on them!  If I can just make it through this week (finals week), then I can dust off my sewing machine and start creating again.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Vintage charm.

I am proud of this one.  Another oliver + s... this time the family reunion dress.  I used a vintage, navy blue fabric with white polka dots.  It is from the 1970's, and belonged to my great aunt who recently got rid of most of her stash.  I've been trying to figure out what to make with this for a while.  It was one of a select few fabrics that were able to be salvaged from her stash as most smelled like cigarettes.  Phew.

Hard to see in this picture but there are a few rows of stitching at the bottom, which add a nice touch and stability.  The fabric isn't cotton, I think it is a blend of some sort.  Not sure what though, it falls nicely and isn't stiff but very "drapey" and soft.  Whatever it is, I like it.  

The buttons are vintage from my stash.  I thought having a new machine that sewed the buttons and button holes for me, would help me like buttons more.  Nope, even though they are really easy now, I still find them annoying.  I think it boils down to me not liking to switch gears in the middle of a project and change the presser foot to sew button holes.  So I am just lazy.

The neckline and pleats are adorable.  The button tab is cute too, but my stitching was a little wonky.  That was the cat's fault.  He likes to sit in front of the machine when I sew, it is not distracting at all.

Another easy to sew pattern with adorable results.  I've seen a version of this dress in dupioni silk on flickr.  Here is another gorgeous rendition, made by the same lady.  They are both amazing!! 


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Something old into something new.

Back when the weather was still cold and I actually had somewhat of a life besides studying for neuroscience/biological psych tests I had some free time to peruse through thrift stores every so often.  I usually make a beeline for the fabric section, the sheets/pillowcases, and then look for some pyrex.  I only give myself 10 minutes.  If I can't find it in 10 minutes, it isn't there.

On this trip, I got particularly lucky.  I found a pyrex bowl, set of matching vintage pillowcases, they are a really nice fabric, not cotton, almost silk like?  I even scored a few yards of this pink striped quilting cotton.

I am not sure what I will do with those vintage pillow cases, for now they join my stash.  The pyrex matches a set of four mugs that I have.  Cuteness.
The cotton became this...another oliver + s pattern.  (I know, I know, I'm addicted, I should seek help).  This time I sewed up the seashore sundress pattern.  Again, a superb pattern, very easy to follow and it turned out really cute.  The fabric was a bit too sheer, so I should have probably lined it.  Although, I figured this is going to be worn in the middle of summer in Georgia (HOT) so Miss L might be more comfortable with it unlined.  Either way, it turned out cute and I can't wait to sew up another.  Next time I'll use something that is a little more substantial.  But hey, you can't complain when you get two yards of fabric for $1.99, the buttons came from my stash, so this dress was a steal!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Stash busting.

Going thru my stash nicely!  Here's another top made for Miss L.  Another oliver + s pattern and another rave review.  This time it was the 2 + 2 blouse.  I used a butterfly print that I found at joanns a few years ago and a random polka dot print.  I this combo about three years ago to make this dress (2nd dress pictured).  

The pattern was a dream to sew up, and I cranked this out in only a day.  That was with several interruptions, of course.

It's not my favorite, I think because I just don't like the fabric.  Also contributing to my lack of love for this top is the fact that Leilani "wanted a dress" and was rather put off that I dared sew her a shirt.  She was downright offended.  In retrospect, I should have just added five inches to the bottom and this would have been an adorable a-line dress.  Ah, well, live and learn.  

I have quite a few more items on my "to-sew" list and I made sure that they are all DRESSES.  You can thank me later, Miss L.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cross another off the list.

I've been holding true to a resolution of mine: trying not to start any new projects without finishing the old projects.  So far it's been working nicely.  I hope it is a cure for my craft ADD.  If anything it keeps my house cleaner since I don't have five thousand unfinished projects lying around...and it certainly is a motivator to get one project done so I can excitedly start on another. 

This is just a simple zigzag or ripple crochet pattern, you can find similar patterns all over.

Originally I wanted a full size afghan but after going thru three large skeins of "slub-tastic" yarn, I figured a lap blanket was good enough.  The texture of the yarn is great!  I really like how it turned out, and it fits in nicely with my green/blue theme I've got going on in our living room.  Although, until it recently started warming up, this blanket was living on my bed and giving me some extra toastiness during January, February and March.

You know it's a hit when kitty likes it.

Next time I am going to use contrasting yarn and get the real chevron look.  Here is some yummy inspiration that I found on pinterest.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Spring has finally sprung here and the weather is slowly warming.
What a wonderful way to start a wonderful holiday.  He is risen!


Friday, April 6, 2012

ice cream, anyone?

Another dress!  This is the oliver + s ice cream dress.  I made two of these, an 18-24 mo and a 3t, the 3t is pictured here.  They sewed up quickly and I think they are adorable.  The options are endless with this one, I can't wait to try another version. 

I purchased the fabric for these dresses, but since then I have made a pact with myself that I can only sew with fabric from my stash...until I run out of options (which should not happen anytime soon, ha!)  We are potentially moving at the end of June and my fabric stash has become out of control.  It needs to be tamed before we move, because I have no room to bring it all with me!  It is so hard not to buy fabric!  Am I the only one with this problem?  It is a whole new kind of challenge sewing with what I already have.  I am definitely learning to look at what I have in a new way and I've found so many adorable combinations.  I can't wait to share more with you!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

sewing, sewing.

Over spring break I sewed up a storm.  I think I finished six dresses total for the girls, it was so much fun!  It really is amazing how much I enjoy sewing now that I have machine that doesn't chew everything up and make me want to scream in frustration.  My serger is still acting up but behaving better after having a few worn parts replaced.  I am hoping to upgrade soon, I've got my eye on another babylock.  

Anyway, back to the sewing.  These are the Oliver + s apple-picking dress.  

this one makes me laugh, miss L looks shocked.

 (blogger is still making my pictures look blurry, even if I resize them.  I'm starting to get irritated)

I made a 3t in blue and an 18-24 mo. in gray.  I found the fabric at Joann's, it's just a plain old quilting cotton, but I thought the print was cute.  Both dresses have the same matching blue buttons.  I wanted to put gray buttons on the blue dress but I couldn't find any that coordinated with the gray fabric.  Oh well, they are still cute and the pattern was very easy.  I can't wait to see the girls wearing them on Easter.  

Speaking of which, that is this coming weekend?  How can it be Easter already?  I guess I am just in denial that it is even spring, because the weather in Seattle still feels like winter, and it is gross.  I need sunshine!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

yarn and glass.

I have a love affair with crochet.  It is so easy and so much fun.  I whipped these up for my sister's baby shower around Thanksgiving, but I forgot to take pictures of them (of course).   I mentioned them here, also mentioned is my failure to take pictures of the items I make.

My nephew made his appearance last month and I couldn't wait to  take some cute pics of him with the 85L lens that I rented.  (If you ever need to rent a lens, use these guys, they are great!)  The lens was to DIE for.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I want that lens.  People were right when they said that once you use L glass you won't ever want to use anything else.  I look at pictures from my "normal" lenses and they make me sad, pictures from the L series are so crisp and clear!  Oh yeah, and my nephew, it was fun to see his fuzzy little head wearing the hats that I made him.  He's a cutie patootie, that's for sure.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cute in corduroy.

Grace, ever so gracefully (ha), helped me finished these two adorable dresses.  They are, of course, an Oliver + s pattern, the school photo dress.  They are my favorite children's patterns, what can I say?

(not sure why my images look so blurred right now.  Even when they are re-sized they look blurry.  If you click on them you'll see a clear image, hmmm...)

These are fully lined, have a cute kangaroo pocket in front, and an invisible zipper in back.  I used a light weight corduroy, and I messed up matching the pattern on the front left panel of the brown dress.  It drives me crazy every time I look at it.  Despite that, I think they are adorable.  They are even more adorable when two little girls are wearing them, but my models wouldn't cooperate.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some.


I can do it!

Well...I'm almost there.  I have one more final to write and then I get two weeks off.  I CAN'T WAIT.  This quarter has been so tough, balancing a family with school is hard.  Really hard.  Especially because when I do something, I do it 110%.  With school I've done the same thing.  I couldn't just do it with the basics.  No.  I had to go above and beyond.  Conducting a research study?  Sure, sign me up.  Writing an honors thesis?  Great, I'd love to.  Taking a full credit load plus TA?  Yes, please!  Do all of this, maintain a 3.9ish GPA, take care of three kids and try to be a good wife at the same time?  I must be insane.  I couldn't just go through and get a BA without doing a ton of extra work.  That's just not me.  Plus I have this ridiculous graduate school dream and we will see if that pans out in the next year or two.  So hopefully all this extra work will be worth it.  We'll see. 

Anyway, enough about school.  Let's talk about crafty things.  Like sewing machines.  I hated my old one, it was terrible.  I don't know how I lasted so long with it.  Seriously, it chewed up one too many invisible zippers and I almost threw it across the room.  I was so frustrated I wanted to cry.  A new machine was not in the budget, so I said goodbye to a lens and made room in the budget for a new machine.  

Meet Grace.

She's quite the lady, very polite, never chews zippers, always quiet, she's sturdy too and can sew through six layers of denim without a complaint, and doesn't require a foot pedal, which I love!

I haven't been able to use her too much because of school getting in the way, but you can be sure that over spring break we are going to get better acquainted.  

Apparently 2012 is a year for change because my serger is on its last leg and needs to be replaced...its a babylock and so old they don't make parts for it anymore.  Any suggestions for a new one?


Friday, February 17, 2012

Navy Lace Dress - Gorgeous!

I am breaking my silence with this...I think this dress is absolutely stunning! Love the color, love the lace, love it all!  Ok, back to work the thesis...


Monday, January 30, 2012


Whew, January FLEW by!  My baby girl had her first birthday last week.  How did that happen?  I am marching onward into February, which is going to be another brutal month for me, school wise.  I can do this, I just keep telling myself that!

I haven't had much of a chance to sew, my serger has been messed up for most of this month and I just got it back today.  Apparently it had a worn out something-or-other, which is why it was chewing up anything that I tried to serge.  My sewing machine is not being cooperative either.  I think it's time for a new one.  Any suggestions?? 

Instead of sewing, I have been keeping up with both of the 52 week photo challenges I started this year.  Although I don't have a ton of time to take pictures, I haven't fallen behind (keeping my fingers crossed).  Here are a few of my favorites so far...

The theme here was "open" or "responsibility" and this week we adopted a kitten, or we opened our hearts to a kitten and that also means I took on more responsibility.  :o)

I didn't submit this one, but I couldn't resist sharing it, this was day 2 of the snow fun and baby Bella's first time in the snow.  (don't worry!  she was only out for a minute before we brought her in a got her dressed properly)

This one was "my favorite things" something that I love (other than family/pets).  It was taken during our power outage/snowstorm, which is why I am wearing a beanie indoors.

 Everyday tools.

a self-portrait.  I got lucky, perfect afternoon sun, shining in my bedroom window, both girls napping, sometimes things just work out perfectly!

Theme here was "sparkle."  Yay for sparkle toms!


Monday, January 16, 2012


LPTG 2/52, originally uploaded by crissybell.
That's right, the snow fairy came to visit yesterday, there's even more today! I am trying to finish all of my reading/grading papers/studying so I can go out side and enjoy it!

School is back in session and is hoarding all of my time once again. So sad.


Monday, January 9, 2012


I've always wanted to try a 52 week photo challenge.  So I joined two.  This one and that one.  I am by no means a photographer.  I would love to do it on the side, someday.  

Although, one thing that bothers me is how saturated the world of photography is with "professional photographers."  It seems that everyone who buys a DSLR suddenly has their own business, and is snapping away, making tons of money (ok, I know that last part isn't always true).  Oh how I would love to be able to jump into something like that.  But I don't like to do anything until I am good at it, really good at it, and I am definitely not there yet.  

I've been taking picture for what seems like forever, I always had little cameras growing up, and in high school I took photography and fell in love with it.  

It has now been two years since I bought my little Canon Rebel and my skills have grown so much.  I've read, and read, and read, everything that there is to read about digital photography.  I've spent hours researching online and in books, how to get the most out of CS5 and lightroom.  I know I've come a long way.  But I also know I still have a long way to go.  25,000 pictures later and my little xsi is still shuttering away..  I've definitely outgrown that little camera, but I have also learned so much from it.  Without my rebel, I'd still be shooting in auto mode (terrible, I know).  

So who knows if I'll ever make it to pro level.  Maybe I'll always be an amateur (I hope not).  One thing is for sure, I will ALWAYS love taking pictures, because I can capture moments like this:


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Minty green.

I've been having a love affair with mint green for quite some time.  You can tell by looking at my house, there are bits of minty green loveliness tucked all over the place.  You can even see it in my fabric stash and my yarn basket.  I decided to share some of my love for this yummy color with my sister this Christmas. 

I took some fuzzy/soft yarn and a thin stringy yarn and crochet them up into an infinity scarf (there are "proper" names for these yarns, but I'm not about to go search for their labels).  I used a huge hook, 10mm, I think.  It's only two rows of double crochet, so I was able to finish this in a little over an hour.  It is SO soft and looks perfect when wrapped around three times.  I hope she liked it!

 I've been having a really hard time with blogger uploading pics, and now that they finally decided to appear, they are really "warm."  I promise, the chair is really not that orange!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Little hats for little heads.

Since the gifts have all been given and opened I think it is safe to post a few things I whipped up for the holidays.  I made quite a few of these for my nieces...

These are little owl hats made from a pattern by Inner Hooker.  They are a basic ear flap beanie which I think is so cute on little heads!  Easy to whip up in an afternoon, if all the naps align, of course.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Well, I started a little early on one of my goals for 2012.  This December, I actually sewed matching dresses for the girls!  I am so beyond proud of myself.  And no, I didn't finished them Christmas morning, or a 3am on Christmas Eve, or even on the day before Christmas Eve.  I finished these four whole days before Christmas.  Can you believe it?  That kind of nonsense is just unheard of around here!

Without further ado, here is the playdate dress from oliver + s.

I made a 12-18 mo, and a 3T.  Miss L picked out this fabric for me back in October when I caught the sewing bug again.  For a two year old I think she did a pretty good job!  Love the paisley print, so cute!

The collar detail is adorable.  I even found eight matching buttons in my stash that matched the light blue in the print of the dress.  The pattern was very easy to follow and of course I created a few short cuts here and there, mostly in the collar attachment.  If there are any short cuts to be found, I will find them.  

There hidden pockets on each side of the dress which is fun for Miss L to put little trinkets in.  Bella has no idea they exist.  Silly baby.  :)

I am currently cutting out fabric for another set of oliver + s dresses for the girls.  Hopefully I'll have some cute pictures to share soon!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Goals for the New Year!

I try to be conservative with my goal making lately.  It is a bad habit of mine to go above and beyond my abilities and make these lavish lists of a million different things that I want to do.  Then, in the end, I get disappointed and discouraged because there is NO way I can finish it all.

This holiday season I found a balance between what I need to get done and what I want to get done.  By setting very reachable goals I found myself able to accomplish more!

Here's my 12 for 2012, in no particular order...

1. 4.0 for Winter and Spring quarter.
2. Sew an outfit for the girls from each Oliver + S pattern I have (I have quite the collection!)
3. Paint the dressers/nightstand in our room.
4. Plant a garden
5. Visit Hawaii this fall
6. Sell stuff this holiday season in local craft/art shows (start prep NOW!)
7. Participate in a 52 week photo project
8. New camera
9. L lens
10. Read my bible everyday
11. Tackle debt and get rid of it!
12. Love my family and be thankful for everything that I have

What are your big goals for 2012?


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome, 2012!

Wow, I can't believe how fast 2011 passed by.  While it was in session, 2011 seemed to drag on, but then looking back, I can't believe all that happened in only 365 are a few highlights of my year.

On January 23rd we added #3 to our family.  Isabella Rae, she was the sweetest little bundle of love, with deep dark eyes, and fine, dark hair, so quiet and alert!  Always observing us.  We call her baby Bella.  What a wonderful new years gift after waiting SO long for her.

In the midst of midterms, in February, I cranked out the pink granny square blanket, the blue one I finished in January, while I was in labor with Bella.  It felt good to crochet again, it had been a while since I had to time to be creative.

In March, baseball started, and brrrr, was it cold.  It was an adventure taking R to his practices with both girls and no help.  Adjusting to 3 kids was harder than I thought it would be!

In April, we took a short trip to Austin for a special wedding.  We took Bella with us, but it still seemed like a lazy vacation only having to take care of the baby!  It was in the 90's when we were there, that is my kind of weather.  :o)

In May the cloud cover began to lift and we were finally able to crawl out of hibernation and go to the beach!  This is what I look forward to every year.  I am not a cold weather person!

June, we were settled in our "new to us" home.  We finally felt like we were at home, so much space, storage, a huge yard, and I finally got my own sewing/crafting area!

July arrived and we took our annual trip to south western Michigan.  We enjoyed ten days with family, on the shores of Lake Michigan.  Sunshine, and sand, I can't ask for much more.  :o)

I was a brave soul in August and took all of the kids to watch the Blue Angels practice, we saw them take off and land.  So cool!  August also brought summer quarter to a close for me (whew! I survived) and I started to study for the GRE.

In September, we enjoyed a week of the hottest days of the year.  After an unusually cool summer, this was a much needed way to end the season.  I tackled the GRE and then immediately started fall quarter.  Yikes, that still makes me exhausted thinking about it.

October brought sunshine, and pumpkins!  Miss L couldn't wait to pick out a pumpkin!  I also started to blog again, after taking a long hiatus. 

This little trouble maker started WALKING (at nine months!) in November.  I wasn't ready for it at all!  Even in the midst of midterms and finals I was able to crank out some fun DIY projects for around the house, can't wait to tackle a few more!

December arrived and along with it came sunshine (wow!) and very little rain.  Being able to see the mountain during sunset is always a nice treat.  I finished a ton of creative ventures, I needed a break from school and time to let my creativity take it's course.

It was a great year for us, despite quite a few ups and downs.  But that is normal, a year of all ups wouldn't be very interesting.

Cheers to 2012, I can't wait to see what this year holds for my family.  Here's to loads of fun, laughter, adventure, and memories.