Annual TN-52 Yard Sale Finds 2012


This year my mom and Precious and I hit up the TN-52 yard sale for a couple of hours. Nothing compared to the all morning adventure a couple years ago where we found a ton of great stuff. But, I did walk away with a few great pieces and a bag full of stuff for Precious, all for less than $20. For the mid-century modern lovers, this:

It’s a solid wood (walnut?) night stand or end table. The top needs to be refinished, or else the whole thing needs painted. I haven’t decided yet.

The rest of the finds are for Precious except for some necklaces I got for myself (costume jewelry, 3 for $0.50). I’m pretty excited about this handmade wooden play oven. It’s needs a little TLC but for $7, it will be worth it.

These suede Baby Gap apple boots are size 7 and Precious is just barely fitting a size 3 now. But… they were $0.25. I couldn’t resist. The Etnies sneakers are way too big too. They’ll either fit in a couple years or they’ll be for a future foster daughter.

A fall jacket for Precious and a warm winter coat that should fit her this year. It would work well for a boy or a girl. Not the cutest thing in the world, but again with the $0.25. I’m a sucker for a good deal.

Altering Jeans: Bootcut to Skinny & How to Hem Jeans


Recently, I was shown how to turn a pair of looser fitting jeans (flared, bootcut, straight leg, wide leg, etc.) into skinny jeans with a simple technique. I decided I’d give it a shot and combine that with the hemming technique I’ve done once before for shortening a pair of jeans.

I’ve had these jeans for years. They’re bootcut and too long. I have hardly worn them because I always felt like they were a little boyish fitting, even if I cuffed the bottoms. The waist and hips fit fine—I have a feeling that’s key in this technique working well.

To start out making my loose jeans fit like skinny jeans, I laid out a pair of jeans that fit well on top of the inside-out ill fitting jeans. The pair on top are actually a little too short but that doesn’t matter at this point. I lined up the inner leg seams and the crotches.

Then, I pinned along the outside edge of the template pair. The goal is to gradually meet the existing side seam of the loose jeans. This can even happen at the base of the pocket, as long as the rivet still shows.

Once both side seams were pinned, I was ready to sew along my pin line.

I didn’t take a picture of the sewing. You can imagine what that looked like. Just a simple straight stitch up the pinned line. I decided to sew a second stitch to give the new seam a little extra reinforcement. Cutting off the excess material is optional, though it makes for less bulk inside the pant legs. I left my edges unfinished where I cut and I don’t have a surge machine. That’s another benefit to having two stitched seams, in case the denim frays back after being washed several times.

Time to try them on! They were still way too long at this point so it was hard to tell if the fit was better. Cuffing is no longer an option because of the extra material or unfinished edges.

I folded up one pant leg to the length I wanted (my left leg). See the difference? The right leg is about 2″ too long. The length is a personal preference. I like for the back of the pant leg to just barely touch the ground when I’m wearing a pair of flats. If you where heels a lot, longer is probably necessary.

There is a neat trick to hem a pair of jeans while maintaining the original stitching at the bottom of the leg. The extra material was folded upwards, inside the pant leg.

Then, I stitched around the fold, as close to the edge as possible but making sure the tan threads of the original hem are still visible. I used light blue thread because it was already in my sewing machine. A little darker blue would have been even less noticeable.

Close up it looks a little strange but after ironing the seam and once they’re on, it’s almost impossible to tell they’ve been hemmed.

The finished jeans:

It’s a subtle change (made even more subtle by my poor DIY bathroom mirror photography…) but I feel like I got a whole new pair of jeans for free.

The Best Time to Buy a Winter Coat


…is probably the end of the winter, right? Much to my mom’s dismay, we’ve managed to get through the winter thus far without a winter coat for Precious. She has a giant snowsuit that my mom bought her but we’re tired of wrestling with it to get her into the car seat, especially since the majority of her van rides are under 10 minutes. Next year, however, Precious will be a toddler, a year a half old, the age/size of Ladybug (hard to believe!)…and she’ll need a proper winter coat. Since she’s growing an inch a week (it seems), I decided to hunt down a unisex, warm, hooded coat that Precious can wear next year and we can reuse for our future kids. It was surprisingly difficult to find a unisex (ie. boys) coat that was all one gender-neutral color…yellow, red, black, green, gray, brown. After a small bit of research, I decided on London Fog. I was pleased to find this artichoke green jacket on sale for just $18 and free shipping. Score! (Extra bonus: It came the NEXT day!)

It’s 2T size so it should be perfect next winter. And, she can even wear it for the last month of winter this year, too. Happy, Mom?

As someone who lives in an artichoke colored house and loves artichokes on pizza and pasta, I do with this “artichoke” was a little more yellowish green like the website images and a little less hunter green. I’ll just have to dress it up with a girly hat and mittens next year.

Phone Photo Friday


Phone Photo Friday


I found a pair of red TOMS baby shoes in a bag of hand-me-downs. Score! My daughter is now way cooler than me. They stay on her feet for about 30 seconds but maybe she’ll grow into them.

Phone Photo Friday


I got some new glasses from Warby Parker.


Back to School


Last winter wrote about how using an over-the-shoulder tote bag for my laptop was hurting my back. I used my old high school LL Bean backpack for a while until I forgot about the back pains and then stitched to a messenger bag again. When the back pain returned, I decided it would be worth the investment to get a nice, adult, laptop-friendly backpack for carting my macbook pro to and from work. After reading about the super-smart backpack that zips onto a carry on suitcase on Design Mom’s blog, I decided to check out FUL’s offerings. I ordered this gray Concrete Jungle:

I was thrilled about the padded laptop compartment and all the zipper pockets. When the bag arrived, however, I immediately realized it was too chunky and masculine for my taste. Bummer. I decided to give it a test drive anyway but was disappointed to discover that my laptop was too big for the sleeve. Double bummer. I also had some reservations about committing to a gray bag since I often wear brown. I sent the backpack back and started a new search.

Enter backpack number 2: The Victorinox Curb from This pack also boasted a padded laptop compartment (big enough this time) and various other zipper pockets. The simplistic design in rust colored canvas seemed to be just delicate enough for my style and would work with a brown coat or a black coat. I’ve been using it for about a week now and I’m very pleased. It’s light and comfortable with thick padded straps. It has more pockets than I know what to do with. And, I know it sounds corny but it somehow makes my laptop feel lighter.

A new backpack makes me feel like it’s time to start back to school shopping. Perhaps I should splurge on some new shoes, too?



A while back Jason and I found this trench coat at the thrift store. It’s a vintage boys coat actually. A BIG boy’s coat. We knew it didn’t fit quite right but I was dreading the alteration project because I wasn’t sure where to start. I’ve altered pants (slimming the legs or bringing up the hem.) but never a complex jacket. Like the pose? He wanted to emphasize that he felt like a bum wearing the baggy, long trench coat.

After a little research in the form of a Google image search, we decided it was too long. It needed to hit above the knee. (Though you can find plenty of longer mens trench coats, too.) Even these coats were a little too long for Jason’s taste. After snipping off 10″ or so and sewing the hem, we realized it was still too wide. I took in the seam in the middle of the back (not so much that I’d have to redo any of the work across the shoulders), made the sleeves narrower and shorter, and removed the bottom button and closed up the button hole.

At this length it is probably more of a pea coat than a trench coat. All that matters to me is that Jason likes it. It was cheap, it’s vintage and now it fits great. Of course, as soon as I was done he started looking through the other coats in the closet to see what else I could make more fitted.

Phone Photo Friday


Phone Photo Friday


Lots of stripes in the laundry pile!