Saturday, August 31, 2013

goodbye august.

we meyerss had quite a day today. on top of being completely drained from last week, we started the morning with a birthday party:


went home for a VERY long nap (ok maybe that was just me), and then ended the day with a movie at the park (very appropriate since california has apparently been relocated to the center of the sun):


since now (finally, at 11 pm) it is FINALLY a pleasant temperature for existing, id like to take a few minutes, as promised, to talk about all the reasons im so excited for september, because i am really, REALLY excited for fall to start. 

and no, none of them is pumpkin spice lattes (ive never even had one before):

1. james and i are celebrating out 3rd wedding anniversary wednesday, and not only did james TOTALLY surprise me with an awesome gift, but i have something pretty rad up my sleeve as well, AND weve got some pretty spectacular dinner plans. 

2. im starting a new gig in a couple weeks, teaching classes at my churchs homeschool co op! im teaching knitting in the fall, and starting in the spring, ill actually get to use some of my fine arts education (for the first time ever) teaching color theory! as nice as my main job teaching at joanns can be, (though theres been some corporate level changes that have resulted in me not working much lately), i am so, SO excited to get to share some of my favorite things with the kids at church. 

3. BIG things are happening with this little blog of mine, im sponsoring the lovely aukele at 91 dash, which means im getting to be involved in some REALLY fun giveaways (stay tuned for details!), AND (thanks to the wonderful passionfruit giveaway over at hey love designs) im currently working on taking steps to start a sponsorship program of my very own. 

and most importantly,

4. fall is my favorite, because if its september, that means that october is next, and that means that ITS ALMOST MY BIRTHDAY!!! ok, and alices too, since her birthday is a week before mine, but still. birthdays. i love me some birthdays. 

and then theres the minor details like the weather cooling off and getting to wear sweaters and boots and being able to bake without wanting to die... but those four thing are really what im really pumped about right now. 

what are your thoughts on fall? does it make you excited for the change in seasons or sad to see the summer go?

Friday, August 30, 2013

happy friday!

i dont think that theres ever been a time in my life where i have been as happy about a day being friday as i am today. i am in a completely out of character TGIF mode right now. im sure youre all wondering to yourselves right now, "why on earth is victoria so happy?". well let me tell you why...

first of all, SCHOOL WEEK IS OVER!!!! (you can read a more detailed description of school week here). and it wasnt even that bad. james was able to carpool with some coworkers that live near downtown la (maybe twenty minutes each way), so while i did have to drop him off and pick him up, i didnt have to go all the way to whittier and back ten times this week.

but the big news here is that this weeks schooling came with a big, fat RAISE. and not an obligatory 20 cent "cost of living" raise like i just got from joanns, but a signifigant, life-altering, maybe-alice-wont-have-to-live-in-the-living-room-anymore kind of raise. so far this year has been our toughest financially (though its not like weve really ever done that great in the past), and we (but especially i) are so, so thankful that this raise is finally here. 

now all this is pretty freaking fantastic, but it gets even better!!!

this morning actually got off to a really weird start. alice didnt really stay asleep while i dropped james off, so instead of getting to spend an hour or so in the car playing animal crossing and listening to kevin and bean while waiting for her to wake up at a fairly decent hour, alice was up and politely asking for breakfast by 6:30. so i fed her a really sleepy breakfast, got her dressed and we sleepily watched cartoons until she took a really weird nap at around 10. 

at which point i noticed that the lighting in my bedroom was really good for portraits and i was able to finally take an attractive headshot for blog-related things (ive seriously been working on this for, i dont know, three months?):


THEN james had a half day today, so after i picked him up we went to in-n-out for a celebratory lunch. because we needed it. we ALL needed it. 

but were not even to the best part yet: 

yesterday james told me he had an early anniversary surprise (our 3rd anniversary is next wednesday). 

he asked what i was doing today at 2, because HE HAD BOOKED ME A HAIR APPOINTMENT WITH MY FAVORITE STYLIST. not gave me gift certificate, or money for it, or permission to spend the extra money on myself (because honestly i wont let myself do it under normal circumstances), he CALLED MY FAVORITE STYLIST AND BOOKED AN ACTUAL APPOINTMENT. when he knew i didnt have plans and he would be home. 

and so i got a haircut this afternoon. and its fantastic. for the first time in MONTHS my hair looks normal and healthy and, you know, like i have an actual haircut and havent spent the past year ignoring it:


this is by far the sweetest, most thoughtful gift james has gotten me, probably ever. i cant even get over how nice today has been. and to top it all off, alice put herself to bed. at bed time. 

this has been a tough week, but after today, it doesnt even matter anymore. heck, i dont even care that its literally 400 degrees in our apartment right now. im ready for this holiday weekend. and for september. actually im really excited for september. 

stay tuned for tomorrow when i talk about why im so dang excited for september. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

summer goals, revisited.

ok, so i was supposed to write this post yesterday but 1. it was grocery day, 2. alice barely napped long enough for me to finish my grocery lists, and 3. i got the very, very distracting news that i had won a year subscription to passionfruit ads from hey love designs (more about that later), so i didnt. also its still school week, and ive been waking up at 5 to drop james off, so actually i spent most of yesterday as a sleepy, cranky, emotional wreck. 

but back to business, as we all know, starbucks is about to bring back the pumpkin spice latte, meaning that summer is just about over. except we live at the beach and its summer basically all year round. but i suppose thats beside the point. what i wanted to do today was take a few minutes to re-visit the summer goals i made back in june, before i get myself too excited about all the changes coming up in the fall (stay tuned! september is going to be a big month, i can already tell). 

so, just to refresh our memories, i made three sets of goals, for alice, for me, and for the family. and heres how we did:

for alice: 

1. go to at least two new parks. this one we did, and then some. we actually made it to three new parks, we went to delthorne park, victor park, AND, most importantly, rocketship park:


(see, its called rocketship park because it has a ROCKETSHIP. how awesome is that?)

2. take alice to the california science center. ok this one we missed. but we did go to the sea lab

AND the skirball center, so alice still got plenty of museum time. 

for me:

1. get my etsy shop up and running. check and check! ive got my first batch of goodies up in the shop, a second in progress, and LOTS of new ideas. definitely feel sucessful in this one. 

2. work on improving my photography skills. now i cant really objectively claim that ive actually gotten much better at photography, but i have gotten much better at remembering to take my dslr with us places, and putting more care and thought into my photos. id like to think i have made a slow and steady improvement over the summer though. 

for the family:

1. deep clean and purge the house. HA! we were sort of forced to do this one due to our apartment flooding, and while its not quite done enough for say, before-and-after pictures, we COMPLETELY emptied and deep cleaned the house AND re-arranged things a bit more efficiently, so im really happy with how we did here. 

2. institute a weekly family bible study. ok, heres where we didnt do so well. i mean, we tried, we really did. and we did a couple, but we ran into some problems. our irregular work schedules and separate daily routines made it really difficult to set aside time to do it together, and the study james chose happened to start off with a difficult topic on which we dont agree, so we quickly got discouraged and gave up. not saying thats what we should have done, but thats what happened. 

so over all im really happy with how our summer goals turned out, honestly i did MUCH better than i thought i would (i guess maybe because i made it public?), and now that i can see how much we did, im REALLY excited to put my fall goals together (obviously family bible study is back on the list, though). 

so tell me, how was your summer?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

finally, a gluten-free victory.

as youve probably noticed, ive been eating gluten (as well as several allergens) free for about three months now. and honestly, its been really frustrating. i mean, im getting used to the whole not-eating-in-public thing and having to completely change how we shop and eat. ive definitely gotten through the detox/withdrawl phase and (with the exception of when i was making myself sick by testing my allergies) most of the time im functioning enough to forget that im on an incredibly difficult diet. like i said, im getting used to it. at least, im not crying every time i drive past a pizza hut anymore. 

but heres the frustrating part: im not actually feeling any better than i was before i went gluten free. you know how everyone and their mom goes gluten free and after a week theyve turned into wonderwoman and wont shut up about how great being gluten free is? well that hasnt happened for me. not even close. after about three months, all i can say is that im not feeling worse anymore, but generally speaking i feel just about as bad as i did before changing my diet. and most of the time, i dont even enjoy or look forward to food or eating at all. most meals are completely utilitarian and leave me feeling kind of sad. really, to be completely honest here, if i didnt for sure have celiac disease, id be right back on gluten. its just not worth it.

but unfortunately i do have celiac and going back just isnt an option. and as a lover of all things carby, i was not excited about this. i just wanted one gluten free dinner that tasted exactly like the real thing and didnt leave me disappointed. just one thing to come out delicious and not dry, flakey, crumbly, or powdery the way gluten free alternatives usually are. 

well, friday night i finally got that. i made an absolutely, perfectly beautiful, completely normal tasting mac and cheese:


it is completely unreasonable how happy this made me, but for the first time in months i have a food to be excited about. and it wasnt even expensive. 

i was able to make my normal mac and cheese recipe, with just a few small tweaks: gluten free noodles (target had some for $2.50, which i thought was fantastic, but the next day i went to sprouts and they got some new ones that were only $2.39, so i guess we can start having pasta more often), sweet rice flour instead of regular flour in the roux (i couldnt find any at a real store so i got it from amazon), and no breadcrumbs. it was heavenly.

it was EXACTLY what i (well, really, all of us) needed after three months of what i call "rabbit food". james and i stuffed our faces, and alice actually ate dinner (alice almost never eats dinner). and now, i FINALLY have an actually delicious (as opposed to "eh its ok for being gluten free") dinner to get excited about. finally. 

and now i have to stop blubbering about mac and cheese and go attend to my very whiny and cranky toddler that woke up two hours early, and is being very inconsiderate about her mom having to wake up three hours early. 




Monday, August 26, 2013

sunday sweets. another pumpkin pie and a family dinner.

yes, i know that im posting this a little late. i also realize that ive already made a pumpkin pie, but i really wanted to try out this dough my mom found at the 99 cent store:


and we already had all the other ingredients for pumpkin pie, so earlier this week i penciled in pumpkin pie as our sunday dessert. then on friday my mom invited us over for a family dinner sunday night, and requested that i bring "a dessert that involves whipped cream". so our sunday pie became a family dinner party pie with homemade whipped cream. and it was awesome. 

because my mom made amazing homemade chili and potatoes:


and alice got to play outside while everyone else ate (shes doing this thing where she wont eat anything except church donuts on sundays):


and we got to hang out with not only my immediate family, but also my grandma, aunt, cousins, and some family friends. outside, eating chili, in the summertime, because, you know, chili is totally a normal summer picnic food:


after everyone was done with dinner i whipped the cream (recipe here) and it was time for dessert (p.s. a pint of whipping cream is only $2.04 at target as opposed to $3.79 at the grocery store, just fyi):


which in addition to my pie and whipped cream also included a delicious gluten-free coffee cake that my grandma made. 

so about the pie, for the filling i used the same recipe as last time, but used the pilsbury crust that i mentioned at the beginning of the post. and well, the filling came out nicely, but the crust... it was much easier to work with than the mix i used before, ill give it that. unfortunately,  just like the regular pilsbury pie crust that comes in a tube, its really salty and kind of tastes like play-dough and doesnt really go well with pie. im thinking maybe it will be a bit more appropriate for something savory, like the quiche im making for dinner tonight. 

anyways, after dessert we all played an excessively loud and intense game of pit:


which if youve never played it, is a really great game for families (or friends) that enjoy yelling, screaming, and arguing over a very fast and competitive game that usually ends in someone throwing something. so its perfect for us, and we usually end up playing it at every family gathering at my moms house. 

unfortunately we couldnt stay late, since today was the first day of school week and we all had to get up at 5, so we went home and went to bed, and now today is kind of weird and sleepy because mine and alices sleep schedules are all out of whack, but its been productive, so i guess thats ok. 

what about you? did you do anything fun this weekend?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

how i (almost) never pay for anything from amazon.

this past week has been a really great week for free stuff. first there was this trip to target, then alices baby book got here:


this was also free. and not like the usual shutterfly promotion where the book is free but you have to pay for shipping, I won it from McDonald's monopoly and it was actually free. and im really glad I won this, because alice is about to turn two, and I hadn't even started her baby book. I know, what the heck kind of first time mom am I? but now i can stop feeling bad because at least she now has a record of her first year (in exactly 20 pages because im cheap like that). 

but the best part was when my package from amazon got here:


i got a desperately needed new pair of my favorite jeans (ive just accepted that im that kind of mom, that only wears one kind of jeans), some sweet rice flour so we can finally go back to making béchamel on a regular basis (i couldnt seem to find it anywhere i normally shop and yes, béchamel is kind of a staple over here, is that weird?), and some replacement spouts for the only sippy cup alice has that doesnt leak or get disgusting things growing in it (this one, if you have a baby/toddler i highly recommend it). i got three things that we totally needed, that would have run about $50, for free. 

how, you ask? by using those dumb websites that send annoying emails that everyone ignores. 

really, if youre patient, you can earn free amazon giftcards. and its pretty easy. it took me maybe 3-4 months to save up the $50, but since it didnt take much effort on my part, im not complaining. im sure there are more ways you could do this (and im sure the "serious" money saving blogs will tell you all about it, but im all about whats realistic for a normal person with a life to do), but i only use these two:

1: plink.com. honestly i remember how i first came across plink, and at first it seemed kind of scammy, but after some research it seemed legit so i signed up out of curiosity. basically, you make an account (email me at wifeofmeyers@gmail.com for a referral and we both get a bonus), link your debit/credit card to it and when you make "qualifying purchases", you earn points that can then be traded in for giftcards. honestly i really dont shop or eat at any of the places that they offer rewards for (ok weve been to 7-11 a couple times), and i was about to get rid of my account. but then i got an email saying that i had eared points for no reason. and this kept happening. at least once a week. so i kept it around, and so far ive earned about $20 in amazon giftcards, for doing nothing. so if you were to actually shop at any of these places (old navy and gap give a lot of points), you could make a lot more. 

and 2. www.valuedopinions.com. valued opinions is one of MANY online survey sites, and of the several sites ive personally tried, its the only site that 1. actually pays a worthwhile amount per survey ($1-5 depending on length), 2. has surveys that dont take forever (most say theyll take 20-30 minutes, and usually only take half that), and 3. pays out quickly (once you earn enough credits to cash them in, they immediately email you your giftcard). this wont make you a lot of money, but if youve got a few extra minutes a couple times a week (i can usually do a few during naptime), its not a bad way to get a little extra spending cash. 

between these two sites, i usually have enough credit to at least pay for part of my order whenever i need something from amazon, but in this case, since my jeans went on sale, i was able to get the whole order for free. not bad for spending a few extra minutes checking emails, right?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

accordion potato recipe.


a recent visit to the nutritionist revealed that my diet was severely lacking in starches. i wasnt surprised. my main source of carbs used to be bread, and since gluten free bread is gross and expensive, i just did without. well apparently a lack of carbs is really bad and can cause long-term health problems. since i already have plenty of those, i started working really hard on figuring out how to add more starchy foods to our meal rotation. 

and it got old fast. i mean, im half asian, i LOVE rice, but do i really want to eat it every day? not really. im not that into quinoa (cue everyone on the internet telling me how to make quinoa taste better), and gluten free pasta is usually out of our budget. so weve been eating a lot of potatoes. potatoes are nice. theyre cheap and versatile and it doesnt take a lot to make them taste good. 

ive seen this type of potatoes on pinterest a lot, and once i tried them out they instantly became our favorite type of potatoes. theyve got a better flavor and texture than regular baked potatoes, dont take nearly as long, and they look super fancy. what more could you possibly want? how about the fact that you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry. 

accordion potatoes
(recipe is for one potato, make as many as you want)

ingredients:
small/medium russet potatoes (speaking from experience, this does NOT work with large "baking" type potatoes)
olive oil
salt, pepper, garlic powder, and herbs de provence to taste

start by pre-heating your oven to 450 degrees. next wash your potatoes really well (since youll be leaving the skin on), and carefully make vertical cuts about 3/4 of the way through the potato (not slicing it all the way) every 1/4 inch or so all the way across the potato. repeat for each potato. place your potato(es) on a cookie sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil. next top with salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs de provence (or other seasonings, if you want to get creative) and bake for about 45 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. and thats it! 

if you try this out, please let me know how you like it, and stay tuned for tomorrow when i talk about my favorite way to get free stuff!




Tuesday, August 20, 2013

how i met my husband.

four years ago i met my husband for the very first time. 

if youve been following my blog for a while youve probably noticed that weve been married nearly three years and have a toddler and youre probably thinking that this couldnt possibly be true. but it is. james and i have known each other for exactly four years. 

i know that "so how did you two meet?" its a totally normal, small talk type question (and for some reason i feel like its been coming up a lot lately), but usually i go far out of my way to avoid answering it. not because its bad or embarrassing or anything, in fact its a pretty funny story, its just... im always afraid that nobody in their right mind would be friends with us if they knew just how insane we are. were. still are? anyways, i usually just dodge the question by saying, "well, the short version is that we met on hollywood boulevard", because, you know that is a totally normal, acceptable answer that doesnt raise any questions or red flags (sarcasm). 

but in honor of this momentous occasion, i thought id share the whole story, for anyone thats interested in hearing it (even after all this time we still have friends and family who havent heard the whole thing). if youre going to stick around though id recommend you go get a drink or snack or something, its a long story.  

on august 20th, 2009, i was 19:


and when i was 19, i was really, really cool. you know that "manic pixie dream girl" character trope? well that was me: i had recently dropped out of usc and very impulsively enrolled in a low-budget cosmetology school. because, just like any 19-year-old, four years of studying fine arts in college left me burnt out on the bourgeois ideals of academia and i just wanted a real job. i had pink hair and a really stupid haircut and most of my clothes were either homemade or found in the trash. i was terrible at things like cooking and driving and being employed, but i had a moderately profitable etsy shop and spent a lot of time volunteering for music saves lives. i had been vegan for several years but had recently expanded my diet to include the eggs from my own pet chickens (which by the way, was way before pet chickens was cool). i was really into concert photography and upcycling and urban homesteading. i was really really sick (this will be important later) and my sister and i lived in a re-furbished chicken coop we called "the doghouse". we also had a tendency to do things like invite six strangers from arizona to sleep in our backyard. 

yeah. that was an actual thing we did. and thats where the story starts. but first a little background: 

i never went to opc winter camp, because winter, camp, and organized activities are three of my very least favorite things ever. but all my friends did, and they became friends with a pair of sisters from prescott, arizona. well eventually these girls came to visit california a few times and i got to know them and we became friends too. then one of them started dating this guy and my sister and i became like, facebook acquaintances with him. then like, a year later (long after he and my friend had broken up), we found out that his band was driving all the way out to hollywood to play one show. so we did what any nice people would do and offered them a place to stay for the night. except we didnt exactly any room for guests in our house so we offered them a tent in our backyard. they accepted, and also invited us to hang out before the show, and perhaps maybe show them some cool stuff around hollywood. so we made plans to meet them on hollywood boulevard around noon. 

so thats where the story actually starts. my (then 15-year-old) sister and i went to hollywood to go hang out with some strangers we met on the internet (spoiler alert: we didnt get murdered). this whole time we had been talking to the the frontman of the band (my friends ex-boyfriend), so when we got to hollywood, we called him up to find him and he says hes outside the kodak theatre with their roadie/friend because everyone else was eating lunch. and that roadie/friend was james. 

i wish i could say that there was some magical love-at-first-sight-angels-singing type thing, but in all honesty, my first thought was "ew, who even wears a baseball cap anymore? arizona people i guess" (i felt kind of bad about this, and later when we were dating i asked james what his first impression was and he said it was something like "wow that girl really needs a sandwich. or ten", and then i didnt feel so bad anymore). 

anyways after some introductions and small talk we try to decide what we should do for the afternoon, and i suggested going to amoeba records. because, you know, thats a cool la thing to do. but parking is really expensive in hollywood and we had too many people to go in one car so someone (probably me) got the brilliant idea to walk to amoeba. from hollywood and highland. which is actually a really really long walk. but we had the whole afternoon so we did it anyways:


and it was really fun! we saw an old man with the worlds tiniest kitten, went to an army surplus store, accidentally found an art gallery with a weird show about bananas, and of course, eventually made it to amoeba, all the while having a great time getting to know our new friends. the thing was, by time we got to amoeba i was really tired and sore and not feeling well (for some reason i thought cowboy boots were a good idea) and i just wanted to sit down. also neither emily or i had any money so we were done with looking around amoeba pretty quickly. so we just hung out outside. after a while james joined us and we talked about cameras and music and stuff. we also saw chris rock leaving amoeba, which is really funny because i always tell people that you never see anyone famous in hollywood. 

anyways then we had to walk all the way back to the knitting factory for the show:


which wasnt actually at the knitting factory, but at the weird tiny third room of the knitting factory thats roughly the size of our current apartment, which is probably the absolute very worst venue in hollywood. and while our new friends played a really great set, james, emily, the bartender, and i were literally the only people there. they didnt sell any tickets and they didnt make any money. i felt bad, but i mean, if they had asked me about this gig, i would have told them not to do it. then after the show we went back to our house and showed the guys (and one lady) to their tent and went to sleep. 

now remember in the beginning how i said i was really sick? well at the time i was having a really hard time digesting food and every morning, i woke up really early, went into the house for an egg and toast, and then curled up on the couch with stomach cramps for about an hour. that morning i made sure to do it extra early so that id be done before anyone else woke up. 

and when they did, my mom made everyone coffee and pancakes and sausage and we hung out in the backyard with the chickens all morning and it was great. at that point i really enjoyed james, he was interesting, and funny, and nice. but he lived in arizona, and i was pretty sure he mentioned having a ladyfriend back home so i left that at that. 

they invited us to go to the beach with them before they drove home, but i was beyond exhausted from the adventure and in so much pain, so i declined and stayed home. after all i had the matches farewell show the following night and warped tour the morning after that (remember, i used to be really cool). and that was it. 

actually james and i didnt talk again until MONTHS later, when my sister stalked him down on facebook (thats her special talent, if this were the my little pony universe shed have a facebook stalking cutie mark), and i told her to send him a message saying "you should marry my sister", which he didnt take nearly as seriously as i had hoped. but we started talking a bit on facebook, then we started texting, and talking on the phone, and i really started to like him. 

but i thought dating was stupid and a waste of time. and dating long distance was even stupider and a bigger waste of time. so one of our earliest conversations went something like "you know, i like you, but long distance dating is stupid so im not going to continue this unless we are absolutely for sure going to get married", "i agree, lets get married". 

after about nine months of long-distance dating/engagement, and spending every penny we had on trips to visit each other, we did get married in his grandparents backyard, a year and twelve days after we met for the first time. and its been absolute madness ever since. 

so thats the story. the whole thing that i always hope doesnt get brought up at a dinner party because i dont want to spend the entire dinner party with everyone looking at me.  sometimes i wish we had one of those sweet, normal relationships where we meet at church camp and then go to the same college and get married after graduation, but then i realize, thats not really my style. and it doesnt make for a very fun story, does it?


Monday, August 19, 2013

simplest aline skirt tutorial

remember how i said i was going to do a little tutorial soon, and it never happened? well, i havent exactly been on top of my blog scheduling and it kind of slipped through the cracks. but im finally back on track and here it is!

today well be making a quick and simple aline skirt with an elastic waist. if youre new to sewing this is a really great project to practice your sewing fundamentals because its all straight lines. if youre a more advanced seamstress (or seamster, i wont judge), this is a really good project to have memorized, because i guarantee that it will come in handy for when say, your daughter gets invited to a party that you forgot about until the last minute (a, ahem,  purely hypothetical scenario) or when you find yourself buying way too much adorable fabric and need to justify the purchase (again, completely hypothetical). my favorite thing about this project though is that you can scale it up or down pretty much infinitely, from doll-sized to plus-sized, and the basic instructions remain the same. 

anyways, back to our project, heres what youll need:


materials:
fabric (light/medium weight wovens work best, yardage depends on the size of skirt youre making, here i was making a 3t and used just under 1/2 a yard of 45" wide fabric) 
scissors
fabric marking pen
rotary mat and clear ruler (optional)
measuring tape
pins
thread
elastic (here i used 3/4 inch elastic, this is fine for baby/toddler sizes but for girls and womens sizes i would recommend a wider elastic)
large safety pin (not pictured)
sewing machine (not pictured)
iron and ironing board (not pictured)

and heres what to do:

(note: if youre making a size 3t you can skip step 1 and just cut out two rectangles 21.5 inches wide and 15.5 inches long)

step 1: first youll need to take a couple measurements: the circumference of the intended wearers waist and the desired finished length of the skirt (if youre making the skirt as a gift, heres a handy list of measurements for toddler and girls skirts). in this case im making a size 3t, so i want a 20.5 inch waist and 12 inch finished length. now take your waist measurement and add one inch for seam allowances (making 21.5 inches here), and add 2.5 inches to the length for your hem and casing (making 15.5 inches here). 

step 2:  if you want to keep a paper pattern for reference, trace these measurements onto paper or interfacing, otherwise just trace them directly onto your fabric, and cut two rectangles to your measurements:




(note: these measurements are for a 1 inch elastic casing, if youre using wider elastic, you will need to add some extra length for the casing). 

step 3: pin your two pieces wrong sides together along the shorter (length) sides and sew a straight stitch using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, making a "tube" of fabric:



step 4: press your seam allowances flat like this:



step 4: sew a small zigzag stitch on your seam allowance to prevent fraying (if you have a serger this would be a good time to use it), and trip off any excess if necessary:



step 5: now were going to make our casing, start by taking the top edge of your fabric "tube", fold it down 1/4 inch and press:



step 6: fold the top edge down one inch, press and pin:



step 7: starting about one inch from one of your side seams, sew a straight stitch very close to the fold of the hem (shift your needle alignment to the left): 



stopping about one inch before you reach where you started, leaving an opening like this: 



step 8: to make the bottom hem, repeat steps 5-7 on the bottom of your skirt, only this time sew all the way around, like this:



step 9: cut a length of elastic about an inch shorter than your desired finished waist measurement (so here i cut a piece about 19 inches long). to insert the elastic, start by cutting a length of elastic about one inch smaller than your desired finished waist measurement (in our case, 19 inches), and attach a large safety pin to one end:



use the pin to push the elastic all the way through the casing, being very careful not to let it twist:



until it comes out the other side of the opening:



step 10: sew the ends of the elastic together, again being very careful to make sure it doesnt twist:



step 10: stretch out your waistband so the elastic gets sucked back into the casing:



and sew the gap closed, stretching the elastic as you go to make sure the seam stays flat:



and thats it! just give it one last quick iron and youre done:



obviously you could stop here and have a super cute basic skirt, but the potential for embellishment and customization is endless (i sell a pocketed version in my etsy shop). 

please let me know if you try this project out, id love to see what you make with it!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

a totally awesome trip to target.


yesterday i broke one of my biggest shopping rules: i went to target for "just one thing". this is a pretty big deal since, you know, ive worked really hard on getting us on a schedule of going to target once every three weeks. but i really, really needed a new datebook, right now, and we were a good week away from an actual target trip for diapers and cheese (i dont know why but the target sliced cheese is way cheaper than the grocery store sliced cheese).

so alice and i went to target for just a datebook. im really picky about my datebook, it needs to be cute, compact, and have both a weekly and monthly planner in it, but thankfully the first one i looked at was perfect and it came with a nifty desk calendar perfect for scheduling my blog posts (no matter how hard i try and do it on ical or write it on paper, i just have to write it out, on a calendar or i cant stick with it). i was also really happy to find a new weekly to-do list pad in the dollar section, because mine is running out of pages. and so we were done. mission accomplished. i even managed to avoid buying alice candy. we can go home now. 

except, of course i wasnt going to something as terribly inefficient as taking alice to target for one thing. thats just not how i roll. at least, thats not how new and improved uber-efficient to-do list master victoria rolls. i also got all the rest of that stuff in the picture. for free.

see earlier this week couponmom.com said there was going to be a TON of stuff at target that was free after coupons. well, coupon mom (in addition to having a terribly designed and impossible to navigate website) isnt always very accurate (at least in southern california), so i double checked. and most of the target printable coupons she mentioned didnt exist (or were regional). BUT all of the deals with manufacturers coupons were legit. so i got eight folders (which i actually need for work and my upcoming gig teaching at my churchs homeschool co-op), two packs of pens, two packs of razors, AND six bottles of shaving cream. for sales tax. all i payed for were the datebook and notepad. it was awesome. 

i posted a picture of my haul on instagram, and accidentally fell down the rabbit hole of tags and got a glimpse into the world of extreme couponing (apparently people trade and SELL coupons through instagram. seriously). and i realized something: i am SO not one of those people. i mean, i LOVE finding deals and cutting corners to save us money and make our life more comfortable, but i have WAY more important things to do than go to the same store four times a week and buying 75 tv dinners. i mean its great if youre into that, but thats just not how we want to live, and thats DEFINITELY not how we eat. 

so i got an idea. im working on starting a semi-regular feature of completely normal ways to save money on groceries. because while i totally believe that most people are spending too much, i KNOW that there isnt one foolproof method to grocery shopping (which, by the way, is exactly what EVERY money saving blog or book says). so stay tuned. im really excited about this. 




Friday, August 16, 2013

a movie night and an outfit post.



last night my dad treated james and i to a movie downtown while alice got to hang out with my stepmom. now this in and of itself was a very rare and special treat, its not very often (especially lately, with how things have been going workwise) that we get to go out and do something fun with adults for no reason. but this wasnt just any movie, it was rifftrax live: starship troopers. basically this is a screening of the terrible, terrible movie starship troopers, featuring live (well, tape delayed on the west coast) voiceover commentary from the original cast of mystery science theatre 3000.  

im going to let you in on a little secret here: i am a huge nerd and mst3k is by far one of my favorite things of all time. when i was a kid my dad and i used to watch it together, when it was only on the scifi network at like midnight on weekdays. when netflix first came out (i think i was 13 or 14?), i hogged my families dvd queue for MONTHS watching literally the entire series. then when james and i first got married i got him hooked on it too, and we watched it just about every day for almost a year (seriously, theres nothing to do in prescott and i was really sick for the first half of my pregnancy, so thats all we did for a couple months). all that to say that all three of us were SUPER excited to go see the rifftrax version of starship troopers (which, as a sidenote, i have seen WAY too many times because when my brother was little he was obsessed with it). 

anyways, getting back on track here, even though this wasnt really a "date", james and i still decided to dress up and get a treat since we would be meeting my dad downtown after we dropped alice off with my stepmom. so heres what i wore:


dress: homemade, sweater: hand-me-down (kimchi & blue brand) with diy buttons., shoes: shoemint, necklace: gift, bracelet and purse: vintage, glasses: zenni optical
first off, i know youre not supposed to say stuff like this about stuff you made yourself, but im going to say it anyway: how great is this dress? i mean really. its the best dress ever. it was a major staple in my old etsy shop (i probably sold around 15 of them before i ran out of fabric), and i am so, so, so glad i kept one for myself because i love it so much. unfortunately its strapless, and a little big right now, so in order to avoid wardrobe malfunction i have to wear it with a sweater. which is totally fine because that sweater is my favorite. and what goes better with spaceships than leopard print? nothing. 

i loved this outfit so much because it has so many special little details, like the record hole necklace that was a gift from my dear friend zoe, who i rarely see because she lives in portland, and the vintage buttons i added to the cardigan because by time it got to me the original buttons were gone (im pretty sure im at least the fourth person to own it):



its really rare for me to get a chance to use a little purse, so i was really happy to get to use this cute vintage leather one i got at a thrift store in prescott (please excuse my horrible manicure, i accidentally used the worlds worst nail polish and didnt have time to fix it):



so, this bracelet has kind of a funny story: back in prescott james worked for a few months as a buyer from one of those "sell us your scrap gold" companies, and one day a lady came in wanting to get rid of a bracelet given to her by her ex. james told her that the metal part of the bracelet is sterling silver, but since he couldnt pay her for the weight of the stones, he would have completely dismantle it in order to weigh it, and his best estimate for the value was only a few dollars. i guess this lady REALLY didnt want this bracelet because she told james he could just have it instead of taking it apart, so james brought it home for me (actually this is how i got a LOT of my vintage jewelry). 

i really love it and wear it a lot, but i never really thought  much about its age and origin, until one week after church a friend noticed it and said she thought it looked really old, like 20's or 30's old.  she started googling for similar jewelry right there, and lo and behold, it most likely is very old (it has a weird old-fashioned clasp), and similar bracelets sell for hundreds of dollars. so apparently this funny little gift is actually a very special and precious antique.

ok, enough of that, we got downtown quite a bit early because i always severely overestimate how long it takes to get there, so james and i stopped at the pantry for a milkshake while we waited for my dad:


the pantry is a neat little piece of los angeles history, it opened in 1924 and allegedly has never, ever closed, and has never been without a customer. its also a neat little piece of meyers family history because its one of the very few places that james and i have ever gone on an actual date. see, we didnt really "date" in the traditional sense (i promise ill tell you the story later), but one time when we were dating james came to visit and i had to pick him up at the greyhound station late at night and nothings open late downtown so we went to the pantry. 

so we enjoyed our milkshakes:



then my dad got there and we went to our movie:



and it was HILARIOUS. so great. THE best thing ive seen, probably ever. seriously, if you enjoy bad science fiction, comedy, and things that are great, i HIGHLY recommend you check it out, because theyre doing it again on september 12. and theyre doing night of the living dead in october. i think i found my new favorite thing to do. during the show, the rifftrax guys were REALLY dropping hints that some of the stars of the movie would be attending the la showings, but unfortunately, i did NOT see neil patrick harris at la live, which is literally the only thing that could have possibly made the evening better. 

of course all good things have to end, so we left the theatre, picked up alice, and went home to sleep a few hours before getting up for work (for james) and chores (for me). thats the only downside to staying out late on a thursday...

stay tuned for tomorrow when i talk about my most awesome trip to target yet!