Vintage May :: Playclothes for all!

:::This post is a part of the fabulous Vintage May series hosted by Craftiness is not Optional and Skirt as Top:::

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We are so glad that Kristin and Jess invited us to participate in this year’s Vintage May series- and wow, what a line-up of talented ladies!

We’re not worthy!  We’re not worthy!

If you are new here, Welcome!  We are so happy you’re here.

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Last year, we sewed along during Vintage May, using floral sheets from yesteryear- here and here.  This year we got our Fraulein Maria on, repurposing bed linens into playclothes for our brood- that’s 6 kids altogether!

Okay, so we were a teensy bit excited for our FIRST GUEST POST!  ::sister high-fives all around::

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Some of our looks were designed around the unique beauty of vintage bedding, and some just have touches of them, as you’ll see below.  Repurposing sheets and pillowcases is great since a lot of the work is already done for you in the form of seams and hems- just make sure to wash them up in some yummy-smelling detergent.  You might find the aroma to be uniquely “vintage” as well.  ;)

Though our photo shoot reflects some nap-time delirium and lingering (and still lingering…) pink-eye- don’t worry, it ended with a full-on Vintage May/Gangnam-Style dance party!

It only makes sense to start with the oldest… so here’s Jet!

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Caroline:  Thinking about vintage looks for the boys, I kept coming back to this child actor, who was in some of our other favorite childhood movies (Swiss Family Robinson, Pollyanna, and Toby Tyler).  You know him right?  He’s the same in all those movies- scrappy, mischevious, and somewhat annoying.  But he’s so cute in the hats and knickers and suspenders!  So for Jet, I worked up a pair of HG tour pants  using a plaid pillowcase for the stripe.  I decided to chop the pants below the knee to encourage summertime boyish mayhem.  Get it?  May-hem? I love a good sewing pun.  The suspenders are simply made with 1″ elastic, and upcycled leather + buttons. 

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Erin: I fell in love with the details and colors of this pillowcase and knew right away that it needed to be a top for Ell.  I utilized the entire thing.  Normally, I’d leave the existing pillowcase hem for something like this, but I wanted to use the yellow in the flutter straps and the chest band, so I ended up cutting off a good chunk of the bottom.  The back closes with a big vintage button and elastic loop. The shorts are E and E’s bubble pocket sailor shorts pattern in yarn-dyed Essex Linen.  I love all the buttons!  You can get a better glimpse of them up in that first picture.

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Caroline: Avery’s look is also reminiscent of Pollyanna.  If you need a fix, watch this.  I loved her drop-waisted dresses and sailor ties.  Avery’s modernized version (say if Pollyanna were to take up tennis) begins with a Flashback tee (minus the sleeves) on top and vintage pillowcase on the bottom.  I simply cut the pillowcase in half and pleated it to match the circumference up top.   Using the same pillowcase, I made bias tape and stitched it around the collar and arm holes.

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ERIN: I love the idea of little boys in vests, but it’s not a look you really see anymore.  So, I decided to try one out for Grant using Lindsay’s tutorial modifying it into a racerback… and I love it!  I made it with Essex linen (same as Ell’s shorts), and the pockets are cut from the hem of a pillowcase.  The inside is a pretty yellow floral sheet (the most masculine one I had).  Grant’s pants are based on the Parsley pants pattern, but modified a bit to make them skinnier, and of course shorter.  If we had a creek out back, you bet this boy would be wading it.

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Erin: For Corinne, I definitely wanted to keep it easy!  I love the idea of a one-piece outfit for babies, so I made some bloomers from a sweet pillowcase I had and then attached it to a basic tank onesie- I used 1/4″ elastic to gather the leg holes, and added 3 snaps at the crotch.  I thought it’d be fun to add a faux peter pan collar since, they were and are all the rage, aren’t they?  I appliqued some shiny gold fabric and added a sweet ivory ribbon rosebud in the center.  It’s pretty, but so practical for summer days.  (note to self: make more of these.)

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Caroline: Wes is wearing faux-suspenders (grosgrain ribbon, d-rings, steam-a-seam) attached to a onesie, along with pillowcase lined pants (based on A.M.H’s Quick Change Trousers).  His newsboy cap is from this free online pattern/video tutorial that I found for an adult, and eventually had success with scaling it down for a small head. 

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Do you remember this part in the Sound of Music?

Captain Von Trapp: “Do you mean to tell me that my children have been roaming about Salzburg dressed up in nothing but some old DRAPES?”

Fraulein Maria: “Mmm-hmmm. And having a MARVELOUS time!”

Duh!

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Thank you all for stopping by!  Come back tomorrow for a tutorial on Corinne’s pillowcase romper- it’s an easy one! :)

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And if you know what’s good for you, check out today’s other Vintage May post by Jessica of Happy Together.  Thanks again Kristin and Jess for letting us in on the fun!

So long, farewell….

Erin + Caroline

“quickdress”

Suddenly, when Ellery turned about 4 years old, all that precious time I spent sewing into the night was wasted.  She stopped liking pretty much anything I made (except for this sundress that she all but slept in last Summer).

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i love this photo of her literally ripping off a Pierrot dress 1 second after she tried it on….

Why?  Oh, many reasons…. “it’s TOO BUMPY!!!!!” (i.e. made with woven cotton).  Or, “it’s just TOO short!!!” (i.e. it wasn’t a ball gown).  Or “I look like a BOY IN IT!!!!” (i.e. it wasn’t the color pink).  You can see why the dress above wasn’t her fave… hehehe.

So, I found myself buying cheap basic knit dresses from Old Navy and Target.  And no offense to those stores (i still do my fair share of shopping there), but if a dress significantly fades after 2 or 3 washes, I’m annoyed.  Especially if it cost me over $10.

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So, I started making these little dresses by attaching an existing tank top we already had to a thrifted skirt or dress, and she just gushed over them.  I’m sure she likes them because they are comfy… which means I can get away with some different colors she wouldn’t normally wear.  Actually when she first saw this dress she was concerned because there were 2 shades of brown polka dots on it, but she forgot about it once she pulled it on… Livin’ on the edge, my gal!

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 Really.  I feel like a cheater, but whatever- I’m so much happier spending about 12 minutes of my time whipping one of these up for a few bucks- as long as she’ll wear it.

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And wear it she does.

About 3 times a week.

Love my girl!

Happy Wednesday :)

-Erin

felt + fabric crowns

A few weeks ago, I gave you guys a little peek of what’s been keeping me busy these days.

And I’m here today to show you more!

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I’ve been into all things floral lately for some reason.  And I love a good felt project.

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And Ellery’s birthday is this week….(our theme is garden-chic.  Okay, I just made that up)….

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So I combined all those things and came up with these sweet crowns to be given as favors at the beginning of the party so the girls can have fun wearing them together.

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They are pretty quick to make, fairly inexpensive, and something that hopefully will get worn over and over again!

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I’m really loving them (so is Ellery), and I thought you might too!

So, read on for a step-by-step tutorial:

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First you’ll need some fabric strips.  Obviously, you can use any type of print you like… I used anything in my stash that was floral, including some vintage pillowcases.  This strip below was cut from the edge of a pillowcase.  I love the subtle colors.

Anyway, your strip should be about 4 1/2 ” wide and about 18″ long.

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Cut a piece of lightweight or medium-weight interfacing and iron onto the wrong side of your fabric strip.

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Make a little crown template on a piece of paper.  Mine is 4 1/2″ wide and 9″ long… this will be cut on the fold, fyi.  See below.

Draw any type of crown shape you like.  I made my center point right on the fold, slightly taller than the other 3 points.

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Trace the shape onto your folded fabric strip.

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Cut it out.

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Lay your fabric onto your felt strip. (I’m using a wool felt blend from Ohma- it has a nice weight to it and I highly recommend that you steer clear of the acrylic stuff for this project.  It’s too flimsy for this.  This yellow felt came in a large square so I was able to get a nice long strip from it.  Oh, and the color is called ‘Butter’… It was meant for me.

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Stitch the points to the felt.  Leave the sides and bottom open for now….

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 Now, I did not get all crazy-good with my top-stitching, and that does not bother me for this project…or, any project for that matter.  I’ve realized that I’m just not a perfectionist no matter how hard I try.  ;)

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Cut the excess felt away, but leave about a 1/8″ border.  Makes everything pop!

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Play around with any trims, lace, ribbon, etc… that you like for the bottom edge.  I’d say about 1 1/2″ high of embellishment is good.  I used 1″ grosgrain ribbon, and some lace.  Just stitch it on however you like, leaving a little overhang at each edge. **i love the look of gold thread, so if you have some, use it!

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I added some skinny ivory ribbon too….

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Cut an 8″ long strip of 1/4″ elastic- that’s a good length for 3-5 year olds I’d say, but if your kid’s noggin is handy, maybe do a little measuring and adjust that by 1/2″ or so either way.  For projects that have thin elastic that is visible, like for a button and loop closure here, or on a bag or the back of a dress, I usually buy swimwear elastic from Joann becuase it’s softer than regualr elastic and it’s not stark white.  It just looks a little more natural.

But, use whatever you have.

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Fold the elastic in half and slip the raw edges into one of the sides between the felt and fabric.

**If you only have wide elastic, like 3/4 or 1″, maybe just use one 4″ long piece instead of folding it in half… and don’t use a button.  Just insert the elastic and both ends and stitch.**

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Go ahead and fold your ribbon trim edges to the underside of the felt.

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Stich the edge down, and stitch the elastic in place.  I’m leaving the fabric edge raw all over.  If you are worried about fraying, dab a little Fray Check on the edges.

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Your crown shold look like this.  Minus the baby-photobomb!

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Next, find a medium to large button that you like.

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Sew it onto the other edge of your crown, so it sits just slightly above the ribbon.

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Almost done!  You can stop there or you can add a cute little ribbon rosebud right to the center.  Or a little bow.  Or whatever strikes your fancy.

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Try it on your kid!  Ellery would not look at me for these photos.  She loves to play hard-to-get.

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Grant wanted in on the action…. I’ve got to make him a boy version ASAP.

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Here’s Ellery “organzing” the crowns and choosing which ones her friends should have.  SUCH a first-born!

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This girl will be FIVE in a week!  No one is more excited than her.  She asks me at least 20 times a day who is younger than her… and squeals with delight when she gets to a kid who has a May or June or July birthday.  Seriously, I’ll be in the other room and I’ll hear her say, “Mommy?” and I’ll start mouthing the words she’s about to say:  “Am I turning 5 before _______ ?”

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“YES, ELLERY.  YOU ARE TURNING FIVE BEFORE ______.”

“heheheeeee yyyeeeeesssss!!  weeeeeee!!!”  :::happy dance::::

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Let me know if you decide to make one- don’t let my long tutorial fool you… they are so fast to make if you have everything on hand!

And I hope all of you KCW -sewing Mamas have fun this week and don’t putter out before the week is over!  I simply cannot get my act together to participate this time around…I am here cheering you on though and can’t wait to see what everyone makes!

Ciao!

-Erin

My First Flashback

I bought this shirt a while back at a thrift store, thinking that it looked big enough to fit me.  I just loved that retro squirrel print!  Trying it on at home, I soon realized that this shirt came straight from the tween department.  It wouldn’t even stretch over my rib cage!  That’s alright, I knew I could turn it into something cute for Avery.

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Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee was the perfect opportunity to use this fun print and to get some practice sewing with knits.  The thrifted shirt only provided enough fabric for the front and back of the tee.  So, I had to scavenge for sleeve fabric.  I found a  purple rayon knit shirt that I’d never worn balled up in my closet.  (I couldn’t take it back to the store because my parents’ puppy chewed up the tags, thank you Lenny. ;) )   It was the perfect color for my sleeves, albeit, a difficult one for a novice- so thin and drapey.

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Pretty sweet right?  With all new sewing projects, you learn a lot.  Rae’s pattern is perfection, and she gives so many wonderful hints and options.  My excitement got the better of me, and I made a couple of errors.

#1. I did not pre-wash that rayon shirt!  My cuffed sleeves shrunk to a 3/4 length!  I cut them off, and may decide to turn it into a short sleever later.  For now, its cool with a raw hem.

#2.  I did not measure my child.  She is 3 1/2 , and is always 50th percentile at the doc, so I just went with the standard 3T sizing.  I should have taken into account that she “has a pot”(Pulp Fiction anyone?) and used Rae’s instructions for adding length.  Oh well, I took out the bottom hem, and left that raw too.

Now we’re in business.

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I added the stripe across the front to cover up a seam that existed in the original shirt.  The back of the original shirt became the front of this tee.  I’m kinda glad it was there because I wouldn’t have thought to add such a cute detail!

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Avery loves it!  And so do I!  I cannot wait to make another Flashback Tee!  It is just so satisfying to be able to create something as mundane as a tee-shirt.  What kid would object to such comfort?  Not mine!

Happy Monday!

~Caroline

Vintage Spring Top

Well, I had to get in on the Vintage May action too, especially when I came upon this sheet set at Goodwill last month. 

The woman in front of me was fairly certain that her parents used to own a set!  Sweet.  My thinking was to use it for muslins, as I wanted to delve into some more advanced sewing.  But, then again, it would be great if I actually could wear my “practice” Spring Ruffle Top (minus the ruffles).  What do you think?

I like it!  You can find this tutorial by Rae, which appeared as a guest post a couple of years ago, on Sew Mama Sew, or in Rae’s tutorial section.  Looked easy enough, and I was really excited about maternity alterations that were suggested by another contributor (help, can’t find a link to the woman who made a few of these, one with a tie on the bottom hem?).  Anyhoo, yes, I said it, maternity.  16 weeks ya’ll! And now for the baby bump reveal…

Due date is very close to my birthday in early November, but I’m targeting Halloween, cause I just love it.  I don’t think I will have any trouble fitting into this as I expand, it is pretty roomie.  The new skill I attempted was adding piping to the bust seam and straps!  Check it out… and allow me to enjoy my temporarily voluptuous (ha!) bosom.

I thought the addition of the lime green piping added to the retro-vintage vibe.

I hemmed the back piece a good bit shorter than the front.  You kinda have to try it on and figure it out for yourself a bit.  I really wished I’d included the arm divots, but it wasn’t making sense to me in the tutorial pics.  I needed my mom to help me, but she was out-of-town!

Attempting a pigeon-toed pose.

I can just hear my childhood ballet teachers scolding me now.  Seriously though, what’s with all the pigeon-toed poses out there?

Anyway, I’m pretty psyched to be sewing for myself for a change.  I have a few more ideas up my sleeve, and some pretty fabric to cut up, so stay tuned.

Just for fun, I whipped up a couple of “Garden Skirts” for Ellery and Avery out of the big sheet.

Nice fourth position Ell!

I might have to make a grown up Garden Skirt.  I actually have yet to sew with elastic thread, gonna try it.

Cheese!

~Caroline

Vintage Pillowcase Tank Dress

Do you hear that?  That’s the sound of my sewing machine being revved up for the first time in 7 weeks! 

Ahhh… so nice. 

I really needed to get back to the sewing world- I didn’t know I’d miss it so much!  Anyway, I took Corinne on her first thrift store trip the other day and we scored some good stuff, including a few vintage pillowcases for $.50 each.  With all the Vintage May goodness going on at Skirt As Top and Craftiness Is Not Optional, I was inspired to bring one back to modern day life.

A quick and simple dress involving nothing more than a plain tank top and a pillowcase. 

Hello, Cheap and Easy!

Wanna make one?  Then read on….

Okay.  Raid your Grandma’s linen closet, or hit up your local Goodwill for a pillowcase.  (Random fact: according to the tag, this one was made close by in Danville, Virginia.  Sweet!  How’s that for going local?)

 Grab a basic tank.  This one is from Walmart and was probably $2…

Next, get an existing dress that fits your little girl well.  Use it as a guide for measuring the length to which you’ll cut your tank, and the length of your skirt piece. 

 Add an inch to the tank and to the skirt piece to allow for a seam allowance. 

**For my average-sized 4 year old, I cut my tank about 3″ below the bottom of the armhole. 

**I cut the pillowcase skirt piece 17″ long**

 

Most pillowcases have one side seam.  This seam will then become the middle of the back of your dress. 

Next, mark the center of the front of the skirt piece.  Make some some pleats 5-6″ across the front. I kind of winged it (wung it?)- mine are about 1/2″ wide.  It helps to iron them down a bit. 

Pin those pleats, and then sew vertically about 1″ down the fold of each pleat to keep it in place.  Also sew across the raw edge of the pleated area using a 1/2″ seam allowance. 

Next, you want to sew a gathering stitch (use your longest stich length and don’t backstitch at either end!) from one edge of your pleated area to the other edge of your pleated area using a 1/2″ seam allowance.  **don’t sew along the pleats!

Measure the width of your child’s chest.  Gather your skirt piece to equal that measurement PLUS a good 2″.  Ellery’s measurement is 21″, so I gathered my skirt piece to be about 23″ wide. **pull on the long threads that are at the ends of your gathering stitch to create the gathers- i try to keep most of  the gathers in the back of the skirt piece since the front piece is pleated.  This will make sure that your dress has some nice flow room in the front and the back of the dress.  Make sense?

Okay. Next, turn your skirt piece inside out.  Then, insert your tank top (neckline first) into the skirt piece.  The back seam of your skirt should line up with the back tag of the tank top (right sides together).  Meet the raw edges together and pin in place. This can seem confusing the first time you do it, but think about it for a minute and you’ll get it!

(p.s. once you learn this technique, it is easy to turn any shirt into a dress!! Even for yourself!)

If you hold it up, it should look like this. 

(Thanks to sis Caroline for helping! Oh, and for taking my kid strawberry picking so I could actually get time to do all this!! You da best.)

Okay, next you’re going to sew the tank to the skirt.  You’ll need to handwind elastic thread onto a bobbin (this video can help you if you’ve never done this).  Sew completely around the skirt using a 5/8″ seam.  Sew one more line of stitches very close to the previous one- just for good measure.  Using the elastic thread technique will ensure that the dress can be pulled on and off easily and have some give, but also fit your child snug around the chest.

*You can then serge, zigzag stitch, or use pinking shears to finish your seam- my serger is tucked away at the moment, so i haven’t gotten around to it yet*

When you’re done, pull your tank top back up and it looks like this:

Now turn your dress right side out to admire your handiwork.  And my sisters well-tanned arm.  No fair.

Give it to your girl!

I love how simple this dress looks, and I like the front being pleated instead of gathered…but I thought it needed a little more detail. 
So I sewed a piece of ivory lace to the neckline of the tank (sorry no photo of that, but you can figure it out- use a zigzag stitch.)

Here is the real finished dress… and my sweet girl being the BEST child model ever!  No bribes needed!

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(…really mom…get me out of this scratchy, snake-infested  field already…)

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Thanks for visiting!

-Erin

 

Thrifted

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted.  We got wrapped up in August with a weekend trip to NC, a visit from my sister and her new baby, some super-cool houseguests, and other Summer fun.  Oh, but mostly I got wrapped up in morning sickness… yup, baby #3 is on board and has officially knocked me on my arse!  (That said, we couldn’t be more excited to add another babe to the mix, and I am inspired to do some more baby sewing once these icky feelings pass!) 

Besides 3 straight weeks of nausea, the fatigue hit me right away… By 3 o’clock most days I’m a pile of yawns, doing all I can to keep my kids entertained as I rest on the couch.  I didn’t touch my sewing machine for a month.  Literally.  And as much as I wanted to make things (especially a new wardrobe for my preschool bound girl), I had zero energy!  The past couple of weeks have been better, so I will share a few recent projects in the coming days, but for now I will share some things I didn’t make.  A good day at the thrift store makes me happy- it brings me back to the time I got my prom dress (AND my date’s 3-piece suit) at Goodwill… for like $16.  And yup, they were actually cute!  Anyway, here’s what I acquired on my most recent trip….

A sweet hand-smocked dress (maybe for baby # 3?) in excellent condition…the color of orange sherbert.  yum. 

Another adorable smocked dress, in even more excellent condition.  Lemon curd, anyone?  (Yea, I’ve got me some cravings!)

This little number was actually a freebie from a yard sale, but I had to throw it in… it’s really old, and really short, and super cute on my 3 year old.  But, I probably need to soak it in a little oxy clean to brighten it up!

A cute corduroy dress that I have grand plans to dye deep red (and to snip off the shoulder bows too, I think).  A good Fall dress for Ellery.

A vintage sheet that I have already hacked up for pajama pants… and maybe a matching pillowcase for E.

My most expensive item at a whopping $3 was this fluted tart pan.  But really, what is a (temporarily retired) pastry chef without one? 

…and a couple of hand-painted Made-in-Japan plates.  Perfect for a slice of lemon tart!

My total for my thrifted purchase was $11 and some change.  Dang good if I do say so myself!  Any other savvy thrifters out there?? 

-Erin