Boys, Birthdays, and Bow Ties

I'm back! And so is Made Monday! Even though I didn't technically go anywhere for vacation, I certainly feel refreshed and focused. Plus I got to spend time with my family and even the husband. We had 3 "Daddy Home Days" as Addy would call them. And by the way, less than 3 months remain till my husband graduates from his program! Yee! I am excited. And ready!

Anyways... now, about this Made Monday post...

I had finally gotten around to working my budget. It's not pretty. This happened to coincide with my son's 1st birthday. Needless to say, I had no money to buy him a birthday outfit. Which is okay. It's not necessary. But seriously, all he has is hand-me-downs. And deep down in this mother heart of mine I really wanted to do something special.

If you ever find yourself wanting to deck your little boy out in all manner of cuteness but have zero dollars to do this with, I have 5 words for you:

Make. Him. A. Bow. Tie.

(Or: Tell. One. Of. His. Grandmas. Also five words, and this will most likely do the trick too.)

All you need is 20-50 minutes of time (depending on your sewing skill level), scrap fabric (I used a hand-me-down shirt that was too stained to be worn as a shirt), scrap interfacing, about a foot of elastic, and thread.

Here's the instructions in pictures (I will add some written out ones with more detail after the jump.)

1. Find fabric. You will need to determine the size you want your bow tie and add a 1/2" seam allowance to the length and width measurements.

      My measurements:
  • Bow Tie: 4 1/2" x 3" (2 pieces needed)
  • Hold-Together piece: 1 1/2 x 6 (I cut this on the bias so my bow tie would have some added visual interest with a change in the direction of the print. By the way, I have no idea what this piece of fabric is technically called, so I made up a word for it: hold-together piece. I know, super sophisticated and technical, right?! Ha!)
  • Interfacing: 4 x 2 1/2 (2 pieces needed)
  • Elastic: 13"
2. Put two bow tie pieces together (right sides together) and sew with a 1/4" seam allowance the whole way around... BUT leave an inch unsewn in the middle of one of the longer sides. Sew the hold-together piece by folding in half lengthwise (wrong-side out) and sewing 5/8" from the fold.

3. Add interfacing to both sides of bow tie.

4. Turn the bow tie and the hold-together piece right-side out. Iron them nice and flat. To get the tip of the bow tie pointy, try using a pencil to push the tips out. Sew the opening in the bow tie piece closed. Turn hold together piece inside out. Iron it so that the seam is in the middle of one side.

5. Pinch bow tie in the middle (see picture).

6. Add hold together piece. Wrap once around the middle of the bow tie  and pull tight.

7. Slip a strip of elastic through the hold together piece on the back side of the bow tie.

8. Sew the hold together piece. Use the zipper foot on your sewing machine to get your seam line as close to the bow tie as possible. Trim extra fabric. Try the bow tie on your handsome model with a collared shirt on to get the elastic measurements just right. (Note: my elastic stretches to get around his head and into place on the collar, but it is NOT stretching when in place. Comfort is very important to keep in mind... especially if you want your child to actually wear it.) Sew elastic together. I added a few free hand stitches to keep the bow tie and elastic from moving.


This was SERIOUSLY easy and would require only the most basic of sewing knowledge. Definitely a great beginner project.

My handsome boy was dedicated two Sunday's ago. Immediately after church, we celebrated his first birthday with family. I may not have had a penny to use to buy him a strapping boy outfit, but I totally made it work. I think he looked adorable in his hand-me-down outfit topped off by the home-made bow tie and the grandma-bought white dress shoes.

Some pictures from the day:

 That boy right there has this momma's heart. BIG TIME! Happy birthday to my little Jedman.

Some candid shots from the day.
  • I am a big fan of baby dedications. Not the event, but the standing before God and witnesses and committing out loud to trust God with my child and to raise my child to know God. It's a powerful thing!
  • My sissy's in blue and my sister-in-law is in the picture with both my kids, aren't they beautiful?! God blessed me with two awesome sisters!
  • I also had no money for decorations, but I rigged up a happy birthday banner from 8x6 triangle pieces of leftover fabric, free-hand cut letters out of scrapbook paper and used modge podge to glue the paper to the fabric. I ripped a long strip of white fabric and zig-zag stitched the whole thing together. It's hard to tell in the bad lighting, but I think it turned out cute.
"Jed, meet Cookie Monster. Cookie Monster, Jed." Add a toy lawn mower to go places with and they are new best friends. :)
 First birthday cake.
Frosting Mustache=Best Kind of Mustache.

Have you ever had next to $0 to celebrate a milestone? How did you make it work?

We are off to Addy's very first day of swimming lessons today. Tomorrow, I have a something very personal to share with you all. I am excited about it, so do come back :)

Till Then...


This One's for the Guys: Romance

I have a feeling, I could be wrong though, that this will be my least read post to date (well, next to my cloth diapers posts... what's up with hardly anyone being interested in those... oh, that's right, they are about diapers. If you aren't diapering, you are NOT interested in diapering. Ha!) I don't know, maybe the guys will surprise me. Either that or all the curious women shall read this post... of course there is stuff in here for you too ladies. We will shall see.

This last weekend, my husband and I celebrated 6 years of marriage. And I have got to say, my husband kicked butt. Not that we somehow have this perfect marriage or that he always gets it right. He doesn't. (Of course, I love him as he is anyways.)

But this time, he got it right. These moments need to be cherished, written down, and reread so I can remember, lest I forget, that I am married to an amazing man.

I got a beautiful necklace and earring set by my favorite jewelry designer, Holly Yashi. I would describe it as classic beauty meets earth-loving hippie. That pretty much describes what my style would be if I had an unlimited budget and an unlimited amount of time to style myself every day. It's not fine jewelry, but it's made from cool materials, it's great quality and it's by a local artist... so it's not cheap.

He made reservations for a local restaurant... the kind that you dress nice for, choose your wine based on your food, hope to God you are using the right fork, costs well over $100 for 2 people and comes complete with a chef with a French accent. The restaurant happened to be attached to the same place we spent our first night those many moons ago. Good choice husband!

But here's the thing. My favorite part of the anniversary gift was the cheesy, handwritten love letter on binder paper attached to the jewelry box. It actually made me cry (yes I am totally a girl, but I do not cry over everything.) My favorite part of dinner wasn't the crab cakes, the walu steak with the macadamian gastrique sauce, or the creme brulee; it was the walk we took after dinner through the garden. Mike pulled me into the empty wedding tent in the middle of the garden and we waltzed by moonlight while singing our song, "Take my hand, take my whole life too, for I can't help falling in love with you..."

On our after dinner walk. :)

Guys, I gotta tell you, every woman who just read my last paragraph let out a big sigh "Awe." Every woman wants to be loved, cherished, ROMANCED. It's not about budget; it's about... wait for it... you aren't going to like it... wait for it...the THOUGHT. A woman wants to feel like she's the only woman in the room that you see, she wants to feel special, one-of-a-kind, and loved unconditionally. She needs you to create those thoughtful, special moments. I gotta let you in on a little secret that will set you up for Romance. Women don't make sense. Men furrow their eyebrows, scratch their heads and try to make sense of the ways of a woman... just stop. We don't make sense. We like gifts that don't make sense. Shoes that don't make sense. Shoot most of our conversations don't make sense. So, all you have to do, dear man, is do something that doesn't make much sense (at least to you... let's hope it makes a little sense to her) and you are golden!

I want to remind you of something we all know: All women want romance. All guys want sex. Man, you want the sex: give the girl her romance and she will blow your mind. And ladies, same deal: you want your man to be romantic, keep him better than satisfied.

I just started reading this book by Jentezen Franklin called The Fasting Edge. Albeit a fairly crazy comparison here (since when does the spiritual practice of fasting have anything to do with romance?!), but track with me here. Jentezen Franklin opens his book by talking about axes. A sharp axe cuts through far more trees than a dull axe. A dull axe is actually dangerous. Stopping to sharpen your axe actually benefits you in the long run. His point is that every now and again Christians need to break out of their routine and fast to get their axe sharp again. I think the same basic principle can be applied to marriage. Every now and again, you got to break out of the routine of your marriage and spend time caught up in Romance, and, yes, men, more sex too. Don't let your marriage get dull! Maybe you use the standard holidays (anniversary and Valentines's Day) to sharpen your marriage or maybe it's completely spur of the moment. Routine is so easy to fall into and so hard to break out of, and while routine is fine, eventually a marriage grows dull in that routine. Every now and again, you gotta sharpen that axe.

So here is my simple plea: Break out of your routine and romance the girl. Your woman needs it, and, perhaps, your marriage needs it. You will not regret this. Buy the flowers. If you have no money, pick some flowers. But don't stop there, leave the note attached to the flowers that says what your favorite curve of her body is or the moment you first fell in love with her. Help the mother of your child around the house. Do the dishes. But don't stop there, leave a post-it note on the dishwasher telling her how much you appreciate all she does around the house. Take your woman out on a date. But don't stop there, whisk her to her feet and dance with her in the restaurant, on the sidewalk, or in the parking lot. Oh and by the way, women don't care how terrible you dance. So spin her around like you know what you are doing, dip her (carefully), and kiss her.

The point: Don't just throw down money on flowers or dinner or jewelry and think that money just bought you a romance pass and you are now relieved from further romantic notions for at least 6 months time (and you certainly better not set your alarm in your iphone calendar to go off in six months to remind you to do that romance again... sorry men, women just do not work like that. There is no formula. Actually, now that I think about it, sure, remind yourself if that's what it takes; just don't tell your significant other it took an alarm to get you to be romantic. Ha!). Do that little bit extra: the love note, burning "your song" to a cd so it can play in the car on your way to dinner, the dancing, the sweet words, opening every single door including the car door, pulling out her chair...  And if you have no money, just do the little bit extra. Your special someone will not let you regret this.

(And ladies, allow your man to be romantic. Do not nit-pick his attempts like we can sometimes do. Don't laugh or scoff at his attempts. No one likes to be laughed at while they are making themselves vulnerable. Romance makes most men vulnerable because for most men it does not come natural. Recognize that men do not think like we think, and the things that seem super obvious to us make absolutely no sense to him. You see your man attempting romance, encourage him, appreciate it, and write it down or take a picture of it so when you start to forget it you can remember that you have a wonderful man. We want him to have the chance to practice Romance, and like anything practiced, he will get better at it over time. The point is to encourage him.)

Alright, there it is. Two words that sum up this entire post: ROMANCE. SEX. There you go.

Oh, and if you want more help/ideas in this area or have found yourself with a "dull" marriage, do check out Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage. It is the BEST series on marriage I have ever heard. I learned so many basic principles, got to better understand the mind of a man as well as my own mind, and I laughed the entire time while doing it. The guy, Mark Gungor, is hilarious! (And, hey, might not be a bad idea to check around local churches to see if any are doing or have done this series to try to get your hands on the DVDs)