January 21st, 2014

kcw january 2014

Now that Kid’s Clothes Week has a new home (and new blog) I don’t talk about it as much on elsie marley, but I should. You might not know that we have 4 challenges a year now. Every season you can dare yourself to sew 1 hour a day, each day, for 1 week (I double dog dare you).

This season’s KCW is coming up quick: January 27- February 2. You have just the right amount of time to pick a pattern or two, stare at fabric for a while, and then jump feet first into KCW.

giveaway week on kcw

But before all the sewing begins, each day this week on the KCW blog we have ways for you to win new patterns and fabric. You have a full week to enter each giveaway, so there is still plenty of time to put your name in the hat for a new Figgy’s pattern (Monday’s giveaway). Today’s giveaway is for some amazing knit fabric from Girl Charlee. There are many more awesome prizes in store, so check in on the KCW blog every day this week!

alt slc

This week is exciting for another reason: I am going to Alt. The alt design summit is a conference for bloggers in the creative field. It is three days of classes, lectures, round table discussions, and fantastically silly theme parties. I am both super excited and completely terrified. To prepare for this conference, I have done things I haven’t done since high school, like plan my outfits and paint my nails…

elsie marley business cards

…and done things I’ve never done before, like design my business cards. Obviously, I went the goofy route. They are a little memorable, right? At the very least they serve a purpose–you don’t know how many emails I get that start, “Dear Elsie”.

This week is a busy one! You will be entering fantastic giveaways at KCW and I will be trying desperately to crawl out of my introverted shell and (god help me) network. Let’s wish each other luck.

pajama pillows

January 16th, 2014

pajama pillows on elsie marley

I usually get pajamas for my kids every christmas. I don’t ever make them, though one christmas I did sew robes for all of them. This christmas I thought I’d do something a little different: I made pillows to put their pajamas in (really branching out, I know).

pajama pillows on elsie marley

For my daughter I made the kitty in the first picture. I completely copied the design from a lovely pillow I saw on Pinterest, but can’t for the life of my find it now  edited to add: I based the design on this beautiful cat cushion by Jenni from Cloth & Thread. She makes absolutely gorgeous soft toys

The lion I made for my 6 (almost 7!) year old son. I hemmed and hawed a bunch about the design. I got great advice on instgram about what direction to take (eyelashes? eyebrows? tongue?). I skipped the eyebrows, made a tiny tongue, and trimmed the fringe to use as eyelashes.  I’m pretty happy with how he turned out–though I did forget the ears. Oops!

pajama pillows on elsie marley

My youngest has been obsessed with cheetahs for what seems like forever now. So of course I had to make him a cheetah pillow. Like the real thing, this cheetah has tear lines–the lines that run from his eye to his chin. Black piping worked perfectly! And the leather I used–on all the animals–gives it a beautiful texture. My 4 year old cheetah  approves.

pajama pillows on elsie marley

The back is done up just like a simple fold-over pillow. I’m keeping the secret construction bits secret, because there might just be a pattern for these guys someday…

pajama pillows on elsie marley

And here they are all filled up with pjs!


open wide zip pouches

January 14th, 2014

zip pouches on elsie marley


I didn’t do very much sewing at all for Christmas. What you see above is about half of it (the other half is coming up soon!). I made these little bags for my best friend this Christmas.

zip pouches on elsie marley

Her sewing, crafting, and knitting projects are very organized. She has a big basket filled with smaller bags, and in each bag is a little project. So she can grab the whole basket or pick and choose which project she wants to take to school or work or the doctor or any of the million places you end up waiting (for your kids).

zip pouches on elsie marley

I used the open wide zip pouch pattern by Anna from Noodleheads. I don’t often use patterns for bags, but I like the way this little pouch was constructed. I made some of the pouches bigger to accommodate larger projects, especially knitting needles.  Anna has a size chart to make color blocked zip pouches, but I of course didn’t follow that either. My proportions are off because of it. The bags have a big bottom (I cannot lie) and a lot of the fabric ends up there.  zip pouches on elsie marley

It’s too bad, because I like the fabric I did use: bits of a butter soft leather jacket I bought at the thrift store ages ago and lovely little scraps of fabric. Each bag is lined with natural canvas. All and all I think they will hold up nicely and work well for little project bags.

How do you organize your projects?


christmas and new years

January 8th, 2014

This was meant to be two posts, but well then the polar vortex swooped down and cancelled school and any other plans I had.

christmas letter to myself

Do you have all your Christmas stuff packed up already? If so (or even if not so) I have one more thing for you to put in those boxes: a letter to yourself. I stole this idea from my sister years ago. She would write a little note to herself about whose turn it was to put the angel on the tree, what things should be done early, and what things not to do at all. My twenty year old self laughed at her I’m sure, but my 35 year old self is totally in need of this.

chrismas-letter-to-me download Usually I write a quick note on the back of a ripped up envelope. This year I thought I’d get a little fancier. Click here to download this Christmas letter to yourself. Print it, fill it out, and slip it into one of those giant boxes in your basement. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did.

monthly goals printable on elsie marley

The let’s do better, get fitter, eat well energy in the air every January is amazing.  I love getting swept up in it. But I’ll be honest, resolutions where I have to change what I do every day are too hard. I forget, feel bad, and I’m back where I started. Something I have to do once a month, though, those are goals I can get behind.

printable monthly goals on elsie marley I made up this handy little monthly goal chart that you can hang up on your fridge or slap in your journal. Click here to download the Monthly Goals chart. I already started filling mine out and I may need to print another. I might also need to stop making new goals, because those cookies are starting to look attractive and I only have a finite amount of will power.

best of the worst 2013

December 31st, 2013

I was going to do a best of 2013 kind of post, but when I looked through my photos I kept finding funny little pictures of my kids. Bloopers! For every picture you see on elsie marley there are at least 20, sheesh sometimes 50 crummy, blurry, crazy, crabby, ridiculous, weirdo, or otherwise unusable ones. [all links are to original posts]

So here you have it, the best of the worst 2013:

bloopers reel on elsie marley

1. I made these shorts years ago and this summer they actually fit, but I never did blog about it. 2. anchors away! 3. I think his eyes were crossed in every single picture I took for this post. 3. a beetle and a smirk

bloopers reel on elsie marley

1. my little ham 2. nah nah na boo boo 3. bring it! 4. meh

bloopers reel on elsie marley

1. the hills are alive 2. hair! 3. ahhhh! wild animal! 3. the tiniest pocket in the world

bloopers reel on elsie marley

1. this photo shoot’s got me all tuckered out. 2. walk like an egyptian 3. the headless horseman! 3.say what?!

bloopers reel on elsie marley

1. dancing feet! 2. sir serious sticks his tongue out 3. oh, brother 4. blink and it’s over

Happy New Year, everyone!!