Me-Made May 2014

It’s almost here — Me-Made May 2014!

Me-Made May 2014

Since Blogger hates me and my comments, I have not yet been able to officially make my 2014 pledge.  (Seriously, if you have a Blogger blog and wonder why I never comment, it’s probably because Blogger and I don’t get along.  Like, at all.  It almost never lets me comment on a blog and if I somehow manage to get past all its roadblocks, half the time it eats my comment rather than posting it.  Blogger is just a b*&$%).

But, I wanted to get my pledge out there before May hits, and hopefully I’ll be able to play nice with Zoe’s blog before long and make it official.  In the meantime, here it is:

“I, Katie of the Creative Counselor (, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear almost all handmade clothing with no more than one RTW item each day (with the exception of the week of May 5 when I am in trial — I don’t own a handmade suit and don’t have time to make any) for the duration of May 2014.”

Is anyone else signing up?  I’d love to hear your pledges!

Coffee Date {#15}

Happy Monday everyone!  Or, as my bootcamp instructor always says, “TGIM!  We shouldn’t spend 1/7 of our life dreading Mondays!”  Sorry I missed our Friday coffee date, but I’m soooo glad we were able to get together today instead.


If we were having coffee this afternoon, I’d tell you that work is busy and is only going to get busier over the next few weeks.  In one of my cases, we got an order about a week and a half ago that the case is actually going to trial the week of May 5.  That has set off a flurry of frantic trial prep as we work on pre-trial filings.  I filed evidentiary motions on Friday, deposition designations (i.e. parts of depositions that are going to be read at trial) are due today, jury instructions next week, etc.  And that doesn’t include developing trial themes, planning out direct and cross examinations, opening statement, closing argument, etc.  It’s going to be a busy few weeks!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my parents visited this past weekend and my dad and Albert finally built the kids’ playhouse that has been sitting in our shed for longer than I care to mention!  J and N are thrilled with it.  Especially N — she’s such a domestic little thing.

Creative Counselor: Coffee Date 15

We had a beautiful day on Saturday, so my mom and I took the kids over to Kauffman Memorial Gardens here in Kansas City to look at the fountains and the flowers.

Creative Counselor: Coffee Date 15

Creative Counselor: Coffee Date 15

And yes, that is J with my camera up there.  He loves taking pictures with it, and actually isn’t half bad.  Who knows, maybe this will be his thing.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I pre-ordered the new Colette knits reference book and new patterns.  They arrived on Saturday, even though the patterns don’t officially release until tomorrow — yay for preorders!  Frankly, I was surprised to see them show up so far in advance of the release date, but whatevs.  I certainly wasn’t going to argue!

Creative Counselor: Coffee Date 15

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m in denial that tomorrow is tax day.  My federal tax liability more than tripled when I became a partner (and no, the salary did not go up enough to compensate), so in my opinion, April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15 are pretty much the worst days of the year.

If we were having coffee, what would you tell me?

Coffee Date Friday {#14}

Sorry I missed our Coffee Date last week!  Well, I guess I didn’t really miss it — I was emerging from the fog, remember?


If we were having coffee today, I would tell you that I’ve been thinking a lot lately about those trendy buzzwords — introversion and extroversion.  I think Albert and I would each define ourselves as “introverts” to varying degrees.  We both can be outgoing and like social contact (me probably more than him — hence the blogging and my desire to talk things out to an extent that he finds annoying), but we also both crave our quiet alone time (for me, it’s my sewing time).  It is becoming abundantly clear, however, that J is a truly extroverted child.  Not in the sense of being the loudest, most gregarious, boisterous kid in the room (though sometimes that is true), but in the sense that he craves company and needs to be around other people to relax.

I’m not talking about the phenomenon of a generation that constantly needs to be entertained — we have not spent his whole life entertaining him.  This really goes deeper, down to the very essence of how he processes his feelings and perceives the world.  Being alone scares him, it stresses him out and makes him really anxious.  In the same way that a truly introverted person gets stressed out being in a noisy room full of boisterous people.  J wants to be around other people all the time. Even if he’s doing a quiet, “alone” activity like reading a book or playing a game, he wants to do it while sitting next to someone.  If I’m going to spend some time sewing during a weekend afternoon, he sits next to me at my sewing table and plays a game.  He expresses his emotion outwardly, rarely, if ever, keeping things bottled up.  I’m gathering that this is completely normal for an extroverted child, but to the more introverted, like me and Albert, he can appear to be whiny or acting out inappropriately.

We’re slowly learning how to deal with J’s personality that is so different from our own.  This past week, I’ve been working with him on slowly getting used to doing small tasks by himself.  Little things like going to the bathroom alone, running upstairs by himself to grab a pair of socks, or going into the basement alone to set up whatever game or toys he wants to play with before we make it downstairs.  But I’ll admit, it’s challenging.  Can anyone out there relate?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am very happy to have my husband back home after his weeklong golfing trip with his college buddies.  They spent most of the last week in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, hanging out and golfing.  Obaachan (my mother-in-law) and I manned the kids while he was gone, and we had a nice week with more “Mommy-time” than they would typically have during the work week.  We had a beautiful, slightly windy weekend and spent lots and lots of time outside flying kites!

Creative Counselor: Coffee Date

J flying his kite.

Creative Counselor: Coffee Date

N, my little goofball.

Creative Counselor: Coffee Date

Me and my Baby J.

And please don’t ask when I’m going to get my “me time” vacation.  I’m still breastfeeding Baby J, so until he’s weaned (likely in the fall), I’m pretty much tethered to the kids.  Not my ideal situation, but a reality of being “mommy” that I accepted a long time ago.

On a lighter note, if we were having coffee this morning, I would tell you that I am LOVING the new spring collection from Republique du Chiffon!  I’ve seen this French pattern company pop up a few places in blogland recently (most notably, Kelly’s awesome Gerard coat!), and the simple, effortlessly chic vibe really appeals to me.  I love the loose silhouettes in this new collection — easy gathered dresses, elegant shifts, interesting but relaxed basics.  THIS is the style that I want to create for myself!  And so I bought four of the new patterns.  I know, I know, I have more patterns than I will ever be able to make, but I just couldn’t resist!  I’m thinking the Monique dress, a loose shift with cutouts on the sleeves, may be perfect for my brother’s Florida wedding this fall!

Oh, and I would also tell you how excited I was for the start of BASEBALL SEASON earlier this week!  I’m not a huge sports person, but to me, the Royals on television in the evening means summer.

If we were having coffee, what would you tell me?

Linking up with Diary of an Addict for Coffee Date Friday.

The Sally Dress

And another one!  She’s on a roll!

With Kids Clothes Week coming up and all (and me blatantly not sewing for my kids next week), I thought I’d at least try to get through some of my backlog of unblogged kids clothes.  You know, to help y’all out in your KCW planning — it’s all about you!  Today I present the Sally Dress(es):

Creative Counselor: Sally Dress

Disney Princesses Sally Dress

Creative Counselor: Sally Dress

Ballerina Sally Dress

Okay, I’m not going to beat around the bush — I la-la-love this pattern, and N does too!  Well, she may like the Disney Princess and ballerina fabric more than the pattern itself, but if she really thought about it, I’m pretty sure she’d agree with me.

I’ve sewn a lot of little girl dresses, and the Made by Rae Geranium Dress (blogged here) and Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress (still unblogged after 2 years — say what??) are definitely high up on my list.  But for an everyday, run around, play-in-the-mud sort of dress, you really can’t beat the Sally Dress.

** Bullet-point pattern review at the end of this post **

There are a few aspects of this dress that make it, in my opinion, superior playwear:

  1. HUGE pockets.
  2. No closures
  3. Plenty of flounce in the skirt

N’s favorite aspect of this dress, without a doubt, is the pockets.  She can stuff her blankie/rag in one pocket along with a toy or two and then fill up the other one with whatever toys she feels she needs to cart around the house with her.  For a 2-year-old, it doesn’t get much better than that!

Creative Counselor: Sally Dress

Pockets. Don’t be fooled, they’re huge and deep.

This dress is easy to construct.  There are no closures at all — it just pulls right over the head.  The straps have a funny little pointed shape at the top, which I’m pretty sure is what keeps the wide neckline from slipping off her shoulders.  You wouldn’t think that would be enough, but it works!  Never once have these dresses slipped off her shoulders.  And she wears them a lot.

Creative Counselor: Sally Dress

Gratuitous cute toddler shot. She loves these dresses.

The bodice is lined, which gives it a nice, clean finish on the outside.  I used Rae’s method for finishing the lined armholes, which is different from what Shannon recommends in the pattern.  Shannon’s method is probably fine too, but I was just having a hard time wrapping my brain around it, since Rae’s method was so ingrained in my head.

Creative Counselor: Sally Dress

Sally dress lined bodices.

If you haven’t guessed already, N picked out the fabrics for these dresses.  Both are quilting cottons from Hobby Lobby, and she LOVES them.  In fact, when we were at the store, she almost wouldn’t give me the bolts to have the clerk cut them, and then she proceeded to drape herself in the fabric as soon as we got in the car.  I made these back in the fall (again), and they have gotten heavy wear all winter.

Creative Counselor: Sally Dress

Lovin’ on her Sally Dresses

Creative Counselor: Sally Dress

See my dress?!?

Well, not much more to say, really.  I like this pattern a lot.  N wears them a lot.  I plan to make several more for her this summer, now in the 3T size.  When I finally get to it.  My list is pretty long right now :)

Creative Counselor: Sally Dress

Sally Dress back view.

Creative Counselor: Sally Dress

Back view #2

Pattern: The Sally Dress by Very Shannon

Size: 2T

Fit: Great.  The fit of this dress is pretty much on par with RTW sizes, at least for my daughter.  The fit of this dress is perfect for an on-the-go toddler — flouncy and comfy and easy to move in.

Modifications: None.

Fabric: Cheesy licensed quilting cottons from Hobby Lobby.  N hand-picked them herself and she loves them.  I hate them but love that she loves to wear them!

Pattern Format: This is a PDF pattern but is one of the most user-friendly PDFs I have encountered.  This is aided by the fact that the skirt and pocket pieces are just big squares, so Shannon skipped including an actual pattern piece that you have to trim and tape and trace and cut out for those pieces.  Instead, the pattern includes a graded bodice piece (that fits on one page — AWESOME!), and then dimensions for the skirt and pocket pieces for each size.  With only one “pattern piece” to cut out that fits on a single page, I did not bother tracing and I just print and cut out whatever size I need.


  • Huge pockets — a must for an on-the-go toddler/preschooler.
  • Appropriately full and flouncy skirt.  There is plenty of fullness to make the skirt very twirlable.  Again, a must.
  • No closures, which makes for easy construction and even easier dressing.  I can’t be the only mom who hates chasing her two-year-old around trying to fasten the snaps or buttons on the back of a dress.
  • Great way to showcase a large-scale print (I’m thinking some re-released FFA this summer!).
  • If you’re into color-blocking and mixing prints, this dress makes it REALLY easy to do.  Shannon did a great mixed-print one here.


  • Shannon’s method for attaching the lining at the sleeves was confusing to me.  No biggie, though, I just used Rae’s method.
  • The silhouette might be a little juvenile for older girls.  The pattern goes up to size 8.  I obviously don’t have an 8-year-old, so you guys tell me — would an 8-year-old want to wear a dress like this?

Overall Grade: A+.  This is my go-to dress pattern for little girl playclothes.  Fast, easy to wear, and super comfy.

**And in case anyone’s wondering, I didn’t get jack squat for writing this review.  I purchased everything, including the pattern, all by my little lonesome.**

The Berkshire Blazer

Stop the presses!! She finally got around to taking pictures of something!

Creative Counselor: Berkshire Blazer

The Berkshire Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns.

Granted, not one of the many things I’ve made myself over the last few months, but hey, it’s something!

Actually, I decided to get off my fanny and take pictures of this particular Berkshire Blazer (affiliate link) because Melissa is hosting a Berkshire Blazer sew along this month!

Anyway, it’s a nice little pattern, looks quite sharp and is surprisingly easy to put together.  I was actually a tester for this pattern before it released last fall, so this blazer has been sitting around unblogged for months!

** Bullet-point pattern review at the end of this post **

But, with several months between making and blogging, I am happy to report that J actually wears it!

Creative Counselor: Berkshire Blazer

My kids rarely stand still for pictures, and never hold still long enough for a fancy “photo shoot.” Hence, the iPhone photos at school!

Now, J is a pretty stylin’ kid, but I had a little trick up my sleeve to ensure that this blazer wouldn’t languish in his closet.  You got it — super hero lining!

Creative Counselor: Berkshire Blazer

Berkshire Blazer insides.

Creative Counselor: Berkshire Blazer

Super heroes. Lots of super heroes.

J was super-impressed with the lining of his coat, and loves to show it off.  Whatever makes him happy!

Creative Counselor: Berkshire Blazer

The lining is the best part!

I have learned that as much as I would like to make my kids clothes that look like they came straight out of a Tea Collection or Mini Boden catalogue, I have better results if I involve them in the process and let them help pick fabric.  Sure, I may be sewing with Avengers and Disney princess quilting cotton from Joann’s rather than the pretty linens or gauzes that I would prefer, but at least the pieces get worn!

But on to the details!.  This is a basic, shawl-collared blazer with a classic cut.  Rather than the more traditional welt pockets, this blazer has front patch pockets.  These pockets certainly are easier to construct and attach, but definitely make the blazer more casual.  It would be really easy to just swap out the pockets with the welt pockets from the Blank Slate Patterns Basic Blazer (affiliate link) if you wanted a more dressy look.

The pattern also includes optional elbow patches, which I did not include in my blazer.  They are a nice option though, and made up in tweed or corduroy, this blazer definitely has a studious professor kind of feel to it!

My fabrics are nothing to write home about.  I believe the main is a royal blue twill from Hancock Fabric.  The lining is a Marvel Avengers licensed quilting cotton from Joann’s.  I chose the twill because it was the bluest fabric in my stash of an appropriate weight, and J pretty much spurns anything that isn’t blue anymore.  The quilting cotton needs no explanation — he’s an almost-5-year-old boy after all!

Anyway, this blazer is a nice, fun little sew, and would make a good dressy option, particularly with Easter coming up.  And of course there’s no reason why it couldn’t be made up in pink (or other appropriate color) for a girl!

Creative Counselor: Berkshire Blazer

Mr. Cool.

Pattern:  Berkshire Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns (affiliate link)

Size: 4T

Fit: Good.  At the time I made this blazer, J wore a 4T in RTW clothes, and the blazer was a perfect fit on him.  I currently buy him a 5, but that’s mostly because he keeps growing up, not out.  He still can wear this blazer comfortably, and often does.

Modifications: None.

Fabric: The blue is a twill bottom weight from Hancock Fabrics.  The lining is quilting cotton from Joann’s.

Pattern Format: This is a PDF pattern in the common photo tutorial style.  Melissa does a nice job with her PDFs and generally has clear instructions and easy-to-assemble patterns.  I was testing this pattern so there were some printing issues when I made J’s blazer, but part of my job was making sure those were corrected!


  • Good, classic lines.  The shawl-collar blazer is a nice alternative to a traditional collar.
  • Fit is great.  I had never made a blazer before and it was really interesting to see how it all went together.  This is far more fitted than anything else I’ve made for J.  It took some puzzling to figure out the sleeve insertion, too!
  • Elbow pads.  Need I say more?
  • The lining insertion is pretty slick, and has a really polished look.


  • Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the patch pockets.  Sure, they’re easy, but they really detract from the overall polished look of this blazer.  In the future, I think I’d swap them out for welt pockets.
  • The instructions call for machine stitching around the sleeves to close them up.  In the future, I think I’d hand-stitch them.  Again, this would just make it look a lot more polished.  In my opinion, even though something’s casual, it should still be finished properly.

Overall Grade: A.  This is a great option for a little boy and lends itself to so many looks!

** I received the pattern for free as a tester, but received no other compensation.  My opinions are my own. **

Slowly Emerging from the Fog

It’s been almost 7 months since Baby J was born and I’m finally starting to feel like I’m emerging from the post-baby fog.

I imagine the other moms out there know what I’m talking about — the general haze of exhaustion that comes from lack of sleep and ever-increasing demands on your time that results in feeling totally overwhelmed by your life.  Add in the demands of older children, running a household, and full-time job, and yeah, it’s all a fog.

There are only so many hours in the day, and only so much that one person can do, so this blog has admittedly taken a backseat for the last seven months.  I’ve managed to carve out a decent amount of sewing time  in the last several months, and I currently have 14 unblogged projects sitting around.  My main challenge has been photographs — I really suck at taking indoor photographs, I haven’t taken the time to learn how to edit them well, and this winter was so horrible and cold and dark that I haven’t gotten outside to take any in ages.  As I type this, I have 7 draft posts, almost or entirely completed, just waiting for pictures.

For whatever reason — maybe it’s the telltale signs of spring outside my office window, maybe it’s the promise of an upcoming California trip with beach backgrounds for photos, or maybe it’s the fact that I got something approaching a reasonable amount of sleep last night – whatever it is, I feel like I’m slowly starting to emerge from The Fog.

There are still never enough hours in the day to do everything.  And any newfound alertness will also be divided multiple ways, particularly as I plan to start baking more and work on gradually eliminating the less-than-ideal snack foods that J and N have become accustomed to since I’ve been engulfed in The Fog.

I’ll also be gradually preparing for the Whole30, which Albert and I have committed to starting on June 1, 2014.  I know June seems like a long way away, but with a California wedding coming up in April and three family birthdays in May, it was the earliest reasonable starting date for us.  And besides, it’s only 67 days away!

Not much of a point today, but I just wanted to drop in and say thanks for hanging out here with me over the last seven months.  It’s been rough going, as life with a new baby in the house always is, but the road is starting to smooth out a bit, and I hope to be able to engage in a more substantive and meaningful way soon.

As always, keep on creating!

Coffee Date {#12}


Hey everyone! Sorry I missed our coffee date yesterday. I had a different coffee date instead:



It was the last day of spring break, and I stayed home to hang out with N while Albert took J to his snorkeling camp. She entertained herself for over an hour in my sewing room while I finished up a couple of projects and then we had some time out. We didn’t do anything particularly exciting — just groceries, a little window shopping and a coffee/chocolate milk date!

If we were having coffee today, I would marvel at the ability of children to create a magical world out of a few bottles of RIT dye and a button collection. N had a whole storyline going with multiple characters and everything! Now I have a big mess to clean up in there but whatever — it was worth it!

If we were having coffee, I would lament about this space being so quiet on sewing-related matters. I am completely lacking in motivation and opportunity to photograph the many finished projects that I have to blog. Oh well, hopefully I can start to work through my backlog as the days get warmer and longer!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how Baby J loves his solid food! Mealtimes are some of his favorite times now. I’ve also noticed a distinct reduction in the amount if breastmilk he drinks, which has me even more encouraged that my supply really will keep up for his first year.



And he’s finally rolling over! Back to belly rather than belly to back but I’ll take it.

And to round out the kid report, I’d tell you that J loved his snorkeling class this week. He really is just a little fish in the water. We may have a swimmer on our hands!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that last week was a stressful one when it came to Albert’s business. But hopefully they’re through this set of speed bumps and will have some smooth sailing.

Oh and I finally got my tax document (law firm partners get what is called a K-1). So we’re meeting with the accountant to do our taxes next week. Grrr…I hate tax day.

if we were having coffee, what would you tell me?

Linking up with Rags to Stitches for Coffee Date Friday.