Wednesday, October 11, 2017

CraftingCon: Villains: Batman's Harley Quinn {2014 Halloween Throwback}

What to do for Halloween?!? It's that time of year again and I have some costume inspiration for you!

Pulling this post from the past! This is my middle monkey about 3 years ago!! Not the costumes this year, though the baby can for sure wear it!

You can check out the whole bunch and our costumes on the Batman Themed Costumes post!

This post contains affiliate links. all reviews and opinions expressed are my own. I did not receive compensation for this pattern to make this garment.


I'm Jessi, and I blog over at The Berry Bunch! Thanks so much for having me share some inspiration for costume, villain design! I am so excited to share with you the costume for baby girl this Halloween. Crafting Con has been such a fun event! Check out my July competition post for Star Wars here.

The Berry Bunch: Crafting Con: Batman's Harley Quinn

Our costumes always center around a theme and this year little man picked Batman. So what to do for baby girl? The hubby suggested she be Harley Quinn. Why not? And, it fits in perfectly with this month! We may not have a joker in our group, but when Harley Quinn is this cute, who needs a joker?

The Berry Bunch: Crafting Con: Batman's Harley Quinn

For the Harley Quinn outfit I used Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop's Aloha Burn Blocker. Baby girl is a funny size, 12-month length with 6-month width. My little skinny minny. I extended the shorts to be pants and moved the zipper to the back and color blocked. Instead of neck binding hubby and I (it was a team effort) drafted the collar and used a minky.

The Berry Bunch: Crafting Con: Batman's Harley Quinn

The Berry Bunch: Crafting Con: Batman's Harley Quinn

The hat is a basic hood pattern that I just sewed the seam until it was fairly tight fitting. Then added the jester/horns stuffed with poli-fil. and attached the ends under the chin. She did not like it at first, but I think she likes the feeling of the jester/horns bouncing as she runs! She would not stand still for pictures!

The Berry Bunch: Crafting Con: Batman's Harley Quinn

And the back! 

The Berry Bunch: Crafting Con: Batman's Harley Quinn

Hopefully, this offers some inspiration for your Halloween costume sewing! Isn't it amazing what you can do with any kind of pattern?

The Berry Bunch: Crafting Con: Batman's Harley Quinn

Thanks again for having me share for CraftingCon! Happy Sewing!


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What is This 'Calm' You Speak Of? {My One Word Update}

I was holding my breath, trying to keep from screaming at the top of my lungs. I needed to let it loose. I don't doubt my face was turning red. I'm sure the kids weren't positive how to handle mommy at that moment. The look of fear was plain to see in their bulging eyes, but then so was their attempts to stifle laughs as per the shape of their upturned little mouths. But good gravy man alive, if I had told them not to do something over and over again, day in and day out only for them to do it. I'm going to lose it. Or make a spectacle of myself trying not to. This was one of those times. I was making a spectacle of myself. At least it was from the comfort of my home without the many spectators at, say, Walmart. 

Me trying to stay calm is like telling the tide to stay out. Or, at least, that is how it feels to me. Especially when it feels the children are refusing to follow directions. It's amazing how something so simple seems to be forgotten at the drop of a hat. But, that is beside the point. They are children after all. Me on the other hand. I'm trying. I'm trying so hard to be a better mom. A better wife. A better me. I need to find some calm so I can be that better me that I know is in there. Somewhere.


I've been working on it. It has been 6 months since I made that my "one word" for the year and a million other things have crept up. I kept thinking that I should change it. But that would defeat the purpose of picking that word, of being guided through prayer and circumstance to that word. 

This is where that word has directed me so far this year.

I need to be intentional. 

Intentional with the kids: setting boundaries, laying down the rules for particular playtime, intentional with stating my expectations for them, intentional with setting them up for a great day. It's amazing how much I can do to make the day run smoothly. Of course, it is always after the fact when I smack my forehead and tell myself, "well Jess, all that frustration could have been avoided if you had just done _______." Yeah. Intentional. How many times do I lose my cool only because the kids just didn't know what was expected? It's not an innate quality of life. We are here to teach and guide them. They don't know unless I tell them, teach them, help them. 

Same with the Husband. Mostly this focus is expectations. He doesn't know unless I tell him. My mom-in-law said something along the lines of that. She was so right. And it is so true. I'm trying to tell him more. I let him know that I need to know too. It's amazing how much of my frustration with the kids was just bouncing off the frustration with him. That frustration stops there when we know what is expected when we know and understand the disappointment and can correct it at the source rather than spread it around to everyone. It's easier to forgive and ask for forgiveness when we know where we fell short.

I need to set goals for myself.

Now, I know what you are saying. "Hellooo, Jessi. Isn't that the purpose of the One Word? Not to have those resolutions and new years goals hovering over you all year only to fail because you didn't even work on them?" Umm... yes... but, no. Not those kinds of goals. Goals like, what kind of person do you want to be in 6 months? Your situation and circumstance is due in part to the type of person you are, right? So, the best way to change things is to set those goals for you. Set yourself up for the growth.

I want to be the type of person who finishes things. Like, projects and the simple act of putting things away. (seriously, how hard is it to put a pair of scissors away instead of leaving it on the counter, but I do it all the time!) In order to get there, I need materials and a place to work in. I have the materials and space but it is so disorganized. My brain is disorganized. The clutter is out of this world. I don't like waking up to a huge heaping mess in my room/office/craft room. I get out of bed cranky just looking at it. I do all I can just to avoid being around all that stuff!

Honestly. We had all the kids' toys (and I mean ALL of them) in our bedroom. Right at the foot of our bed. it was awful. We had bought a new thing and needed a place to put it. The space where the kids' toys were happened to be the best place for that huge thing. So we gave the kids their toys back. 

Having the room to move back was amazing! It helped me realize that I need to clear out some of the stuff I already have to make the room I need to be able to do the things I want to do (phew, that was a mouthful!). I am in the process of getting rid of a lot of stuff. Husband questions lots of it, too. He even suggested getting a shed to store fabric and things. I would almost never go into a shed for fabric. Create room by making a house just for fabric? A dream to some sewists, I get that. Maybe one day in the past it would have sounded perfect to me. I have read so many places "You cannot keep all the things and keep a clean house". I need to get a control on the excess first. I want to feel that I created the space by being better, not just shifting it from one building to another.

Now that all those things are making their way into the living spaces to be sorted, organized, and gone through, I find I have been getting more irritable more quickly. Mess? Yeah, mess, you gotta go and that means a lot of the stuff has gotta go too. 

I need to find contentment with what I have.

I need to not buy more stuff if I am getting rid of it, right? I need to be happy with thankful for what I have. I need to pass on those things so others that need it (or rather, want it) can get a hold of it and I need to do so with joy in my heart. That's such a big thing. Do the things with joy in your heart. It's amazing how much that joy can overflow. 

I'm working on a contentment challenge that will go through until Christmas. Just what I needed at the time I came to the realization that I needed it. Perfect.

I'm not perfect. Staying calm will always be a work in progress.

I imagine I will continue to hold my breath to keep from screaming at the top of my lungs just to vent frustration. After all, kids are the kings and queens of blatant disregard for rules and I am only human, after all. 

The fact that these lessons are coming up for me is just evidence that I am focusing on the right "one word" this year. I am doing my best to listen, pray, and learn. It's not easy, but then when is life ever easy?

What was your focus this year? What have you learned from it so far?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Mom Life: Let's Speak with Compassion and Grace

"If I can clean my house, vacuum my floor, do the dishes and still play with my kids anyone can do it. They are just being lazy moms."

I read a comment similar to this not too long ago. It made my heart rate speed up, my hands start to shake and I needed to talk to someone immediately lest I blow up at some unsuspecting person (namely the children due to proximity).

The comment was tagged with a blog post here. Now I can totally respect a mom saying to another mom, "it's ok, you can do the dishes. The kids wont miss anything and you wont miss anything. Just do the dishes." Sometimes we just need to hear that it is ok. In fact I try to keep on top of the dishes fairly regularly in my house. Sure sometimes it sits a little bit especially when it comes to unloading the dishwasher when the toddler is awake. Goodness knows that girl will drag every single spoon, fork and everything within reach all over the house only for me to need to wash them again.

But, if you were to come over a year ago, the kitchen counters would have been covered in dirty dishes. Cups with milk in the bottom, plates with syrup and crumbs, sticky pots and pans on my stove. I'll stop before I gross myself out. But, you get the idea!

Would I have called myself lazy? Probably. But why do that to myself? I was in a season of life where I felt I couldn't do anything right. Postpartum depression had taken over my life and you would have been lucky just to catch me in something other than my pjs! I wasn't lazy; I was sick. If anything, I was in a season where I needed compassion the most. I needed some grace.

Fast forward to about a month ago and you would have found me with a bunch of dirty cups all over my counters and sinks and clean ones in the dishwasher just waiting to be put away.

But that was the season of life I was in. I had 10 people staying in my house and we were grieving the loss of my mother-in-law. She was dearly loved and is dearly missed. My focus was not the dishes, but the people. The dishes would get done eventually. My people needed compassion. We all needed some grace.

Just like the seasons change throughout the year, so we enter seasons of motherhood. Seasons where our houses are spotless and every dish and cup gets cleaned immediately. Seasons where we can barely lift our bodies of the couch to eat a chip let alone cook a full course meal for our families.

Just like the seasons we enter, there is a blog post to coincide. It makes us feel guilty that we aren't doing the dishes when we know we should. Guilty that we aren't playing with our kids the way we feel we should. Guilty that we are being lazy. Let's speak with compassion and grace. Goodness knows we have enough guilt without having other moms adding to it.

Hugs to you momma.

Hugs to you for the season you are in. Whether it be with an itty bitty baby, a school aged minion, a teenager, or any of the seasons in between. Hugs to you with your dishes in the cupboard or in the sink.

Tough love is one thing. But, compassion gives so much more. We all need some grace. There is a reason these times are called seasons. They wont last forever.

Let us watch our words and speak with grace. Someone may be in a tough season of life and need to be shown some compassion. You just might not know who. One day, it may be you.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

My One Word {and} Why I Don't Want to Fly Standby

"I'm sorry, I can't check you into your flight."

Not words a mom with 3 unruly and tired kids wants to hear. Everyone is done with the vacation, everyone wants to go home. I'm trying to stay calm while my kids are obviously not calm and instead hooting and hollering at the counter in the airport.

"I'm sorry but the system locks us out 30 minutes before take off. I can set you up to fly standby tomorrow morning at 5am"

I look at the clock. it was 28 minutes before scheduled departure. I missed check in by 2-3 minutes.

That means another night it a hotel. The possibility of not actually flying home tomorrow, and another night in a hotel. The kids start chanting 'I want to go home' on repeat, and growing louder by the minute.

The lady behind the counter continues... "The plane is only half full, but it will get you to Chicago. Now, the next flight from there to get you home leaves 4 hours after you arrive, but there are only 10 available spots. Flying standby we can't guarantee you can fly. There are other non-direct routes that will get you home by 8pm tomorrow. If we can get you on the flight straight from Chicago you can be home by noon."

What were my choices? I can't go home. I'm tired and cranky. My hands start to shake I am so upset. I replay the car ride from DC to Charlottesville. My incessant nagging to get everyone moving and into the car. All missed by 2-3 minutes. My heart starts racing and tears start welling in my eyes. "Sure", I say. I'd much rather be home by lunchtime than by bedtime.

She starts to chastise me for being late. I did not need a lecture on punctuality. I was the one harping on the others to get into the car.

Stay Calm. That was all I kept telling myself all while this attendant behind the counter kept talking about arriving to places before start time. I wanted to scream. I wanted to ask her if she had kids, or how hard it would be for her to leave a family member she hasn't seen in 15 years. But mostly? I just wanted to scream.

Instead I say to myself, Stay Calm. I call husband and let him know to keep the rental car another night. He says he will bring it back around so we can load all the car seats, luggage and kids.

And then a person comes up to the counter at the computer next to me. Same situation. Late by 4 minutes. Going to New York. Instead of being calm, he throws an adult-sized temper tantrum. Yelling, cussing. The works.

Guess what? They. Let. Him. On.

Stay Calm.

Oh well, he didn't have three kids and a spouse in tow. It would have taken us 30 minutes just to go through security! I had a moment where I thought, "could I have gotten what I wanted if I threw a fit?" But I always tell my kids that doesn't get them what they want.

I take our itinerary, we get a hotel and board the 5am flight the next morning.

We arrive in Chicago. We find the gate, talk to the people.

"The flight is full. But we will call you once boarding begins if we can get you on the flight."

That means I have to wait 4 hours?!? The kids are tired and wont stay still. The baby is fussy, crying, hungry. The other two are whining every two seconds. I have to wait 4 hours to find out whether or not I can take my tired and cranky kids home? My palms start to sweat. I start to shake. My body is tired from lack of sleep (about 3 hours) and my emotions are going haywire. I just want to cry. I just want to go home! Stay Calm.

The attendants are working furiously on the computer moving seats, granting first class upgrades.

Boarding starts.

They call our party to get us onto the flight. They move some more people around to keep us all together and we are able to board the flight and go home! Relief!

The tears start running. I am so grateful and thankful. The kids are excited to go home.

I never want to do that again!

I continue to tell myself: stay calm.

I had been praying and asking for guidance on what I should use as my goal, or guiding word, this year. Last year it was intentional. I needed it with post-partum. I thought about re-using this word this year as I still need to work on it, but it did not settle well on my heart.

Calm, I heard it over and over again. Be Calm. Stay Calm.

But I didn't listen.

It took 3.5 months and flying standby (I NEVER want to do that again!) for me to finally hear.


Husband said he really wasn't ready to go home yet. I needed a slap in the face for my one word. The kids just wanted to go to sleep.

So we got an extra night of vacation. We got to get the kids to bed earlier than they had been the last few nights.

And, I was up for a 12 hour day the following day.

My one word this year: CALM

Our only group picture from our Vacation! Folly Beach, SC
Easter Day: Happy Easter!

what's your one word?