97 cents, genders, flowers & winners

my christmas present from jesse was installing a better organizational system for the sewing area. i cant wait to show you the before and afters. just a few more touches and decisions to make before i'm ready to stamp it fully after-ized.

with an empty etsy plate for the first time since september and a new year's holiday from work, i got to take my new area out for a spin with a quick project.

on a recent date night, jesse and i were trolling the clearance sections of old navy and i found this dress in just the right size for layla for this spring.

the pretty and bold print caught my eye, but then i was turned off by their random choices of long sleeves and a chunky bow--both in a blah pale yellow striped print--with the fun and bright dress design. they didnt seem to do anything for the overall look and were just boring and clunky to me.

but for that price, i can make this work.

now, i know you should NEVER buy something on sale that you wouldnt buy at full price, but that rule is for people who cant or wont take initiative and remodel clothes (or who dont think that's extra fun). i was willing to buy this dress ONLY because it was 97 cents because i knew that with some work, i could make it into something that i actually would pay more for. and enjoy myself in the process.

the long sleeves got a simple chop and then resew (to reinforce the seam that came loose when the sleeves came out). and then i seam-ripped the bow off and replaced it with a hand-made jersey flower to cover up the holes the bow had left and to add more fun and bold color. lucky me that i had the exact shade of deep magenta that was already in the print.

yes, our real camera is still being repaired. how could you tell?

the flower was tricky. i found two tutorials online and promptly pinned them. but after looking at one and finding it impossible to follow or replicate, and just not being completely in love with the other one, i made my own way and ended up with a happy flower of my own design that i am very pleased with, and which combined the best of both pins.

after practicing on a scrap of royal blue fabric, i made the red one for laylas dress and then attached that bad boy.

and when we as a planet get a little farther around the sun, this dress will be perfect for springtime sunshine frolicking. layla can hardly believe the transformation. i might even make the thing completely sleeveless for summertime.

and then judah got jealous. he wanted a flower on his shirt too.

now, i like to consider myself pretty progressive when it comes to parenting and gender roles. i LOVE the rare occasion when judah wants to feed layla's baby doll its bottle or when he asks to help me cook. if he likes something pink, we let him get it. we want the kids to know that there is nothing intrinsically masculine or feminine about any color or toy or interest. i know that--outside of our house, right or wrong--the world they grow up in will teach them that there are some cultural assumptions about girly or boyish things.

but 99% of the time, judah is an all-boy stereotype. stereotypes originate for a reason. the kid knew car and tractor noises before he knew english and has only ever had eyes for trains and superheroes when we are at the store. so i havent gotten to test my progressive parenting too much.

i will admit, recently we were at his grandparents' house and judah needed a pull-up to wear to bed. i was too lazy to go to the car and get his, so i put him in one of his cousin bella's old princess ones that was on their shelf. like, full color, all the disney princesses' pictures all over this thing. i told myself, it doesnt matter, it doesnt mean jack crap, it wont make him more feminine, or change anything about his preferences-- it will just catch his night pee. case closed.

but after about 10 minutes of watching him play in this pink travesty (and actually having to override his complaints about putting it on to begin with...which we have never gotten about diego or lightning mcqueen pullups) i couldnt do it anymore. i took it off and went and got the blue one from the car. so maybe i am just a filthy hypocrite.

so when he asked for a flower for his shirt, i was ready to try again and prove that i actually am open-minded and secure in my son's gender identity...whatever that may even be at this point. that flowers are cool no matter if you're a dude or a chick.

i just took the blue one i had been testing my method with and pinned it on his t-shirt.

he was thrilled.

and i was a little proud of myself when i took him out to run errands that night and he said he wanted to keep his "flower shirt" on. i let him rock that thing loud and proud. nobody said anything or looked at him weird that i could tell (but i wondered if the flower had been pink if they would have, or if i even would have let him wear it....this is stuff is tricky!).

i was secretly glad that he had a coat on at the playground because if anyone was going to say something, it would probably be a kid, and i would hate for judah to have been picked on or made to feel self-conscious.

i'm sure that this, the desire to spare your kids from pain, and not being simply closed-minded or controlling, is where the majority of parental bans on clothes or activities or colors or toys comes from. i guess it's just about finding the balance between letting the kids be who they are and not wanting them to become targets.

crap, this parenting stuff is complex.

to take our minds off of it, let's see who the winner of the caption contest was.

i got a kick out of all of your great submissions (layla as a flamenco dancer, as vanna white, and doing the robot, cha-cha slide or as a member of the happy hands club in particular all made me smile), but the TWO big winners i picked were these:

Tracy said..."Its a lesson in the importance of Unagi"
gldampier said..."Our next item up for grabs is a vintage tub as shown by the lovely Layla". "One dollar, Bob"!

tracy's won because it was reading my mind. i was totally on the karate wavelength when i looked at this picture, and then, she couldnt have known, but i have been watching friends reruns like crazy over the holidays, so this reference to the episode where ross tries to teach rachel and phoebe the self-defense mentality of "unagi" just slayed me.

and then gldampier's had to be another winner because it was totally an aspect of the pose that i hadnt thought of at all AND she managed to incorporate the huge antique tub in the background too. a perfect hilarious fit.

yall email me with what you want and what colors you'd like.

onward 2012!


  1. YEA! Thanks for picking me! I think this is the first time in my life I've won something in a contest. HA!
    I love the pic of Judah and his pin. He is so proud!

  2. The blue flower (or any color, for that matter) would be adorable as a boutonnière next tIme he gets dressed up. Hey, maybe you could start a trend like those chunky little man tie things I've been seeing different places online. Can't remember what they're called, and don't care to look it up, but you probably know what I'm talking about. You may even make them!