The Essentials of an Easter Dress

So, I thought I’d take a quick look at my latest Easter dress. A very quick look, because I didn’t like many of the photos I was taking of the dress, except a close up of the pocket. Then, I thought I would, very briefly, give my own opinion of what’s important for an Easter dress.

easter-dresses-for-women-51The idea has slowly dawned on me the last couple years: Easter dresses definitely have to be of some style. The classic Easter dress, more or less pictured on the right (courtesy of Bing) should be a simple but pretty sundress, possibly with sleeves, of a pastel coloring. A white sunhat fits perfectly too, and some nice little white sandals.

That, for me, is probably the classic (typical) Easter dress, obviously with variations.

It’s occurred to me that I actually rarely ever make a dress of that exact description. So, having come to realize a couple things I didn’t think of before, I thought I’d lay out a couple essential rules for an Easter dress:

  1. the dress should be comfortable and fun to wear. I discovered this point this year, when I had to make last minute adjustments to my dress, because I wasn’t really comfortable in it.
  2. I want to be happy wearing it. It shouldn’t be tiresome. At the same time, I’d be happy with a dress that’s just a little too special to be at all casual.
  3. It should be Sunday best. We all basically try to wear something nice on Sunday, but for me it’s because I like Sunday, it’s a special day for me. But Resurrection Sunday is extra best, and so it is important for me that I have something new, fun and special.
  4. It has to be happy. No explanation needed.
  5. It has to have flowers involved. Flowers are definitely necessary.

DSCN6728I think these rules definitely work for me. Some day I’ll make a classic Easter dress, along with the white sun hat and white sandals (both of which I have)

A few of my recent Easter dresses have been:

A pink maxi dress. When I say pink, I mean, real, proper, hot Summer pink with flowers of varying shades and styles. Surprisingly, it’s less obnoxious than it sounds. Definitely more along the lines of a classic Easter dress (except the pink should have been a bit more pastel)

A couple years ago I had another maxi dress, blue with tiny darker blue floral/leaf designs. Definitely not a typical Easter dress, except that the blue is almost pastel. Sometimes I get lovely fabric for my birthday, and I usually decide what I want to do with it by Resurrection Sunday, which was the case with this dress.

I found some lovely, plain pink fabric a couple years ago, and last year I made it in to a lovely ’50s inspired Vogue pattern, and put embroidery on it (pictured above).


This year, I did something a little different. It all started with Resurrection Sunday coming up sooner than I expected, plus I decided I didn’t want to make anything out of my new polka-dot fabric yet.

Last year I started to make the pattern on the left, with the interesting bias tape detail included (example given on the dress to the right on the pattern). Then I lost the bias tape, which is made out of contrast fabric (still haven’t found it, even after a good clean up!)

Finally, I decided to finish the pattern. I pulled it out, tried to remember everything I was supposed to do and zipped it up. I think this was the first time I’ve finished an old project for Resurrection Sunday. But it was thoroughly satisfactory, and basically fit exactly what I would want.

IMG_0774Pictured on the left is the pocket and side of my dress. I love the fabric (more or less selected by Abigail) and I love the contrasting fabric too. The upper part of the top is also the contrast fabric, which is slightly unusual for us. We don’t tend to be adventurous in that way of matching fabrics, but this time it looked right. I also did the sleeves, but they got a bit complicated and ended up being short sleeves.

It is extremely fun to wear, surprisingly comfortable and, also surprisingly, very Princess-y.

As you can see, this isn’t exactly what I would call the classic Easter dress. But as Hannah pointed out, it’s more or less the most Easter-y of all our dresses. Hannah made a beautiful ’50s inspired dress out of blue fabric and Abigail made a beautiful purple dress (actually quite Easter-y).

Being New Mexico, I probably won’t wear this in the hot months, since it has sleeves. So, I’ll probably be wearing it as much as possible in the next couple months.

And there’s a quick look at my Resurrection Sunday dress. I paired it with some beautiful light brown oxford-like shoes, provided by a wonderful friend, and I kind of liked it with my new denim jacket. I didn’t manage to figure out what jewelry I liked with it, but I think it’s OK without.

Of course, the best way to complete a fun out fit is to be wearing it on a wonderful day. That doesn’t necessarily mean a good weather day – although that is important to me – but just a good day with friends and family. This Resurrection Sunday turned out pretty wonderful, in my opinion.

– Sarah

P.S. a last minute addition: when I was looking at this pattern online, I ran across a version done that I really like! It’s exciting and subtle and interesting. So here’s a link if you want to check it out!


Cogs & Gears: And Cherry Blossoms


IMG_1123This year, the trees blossomed early in my neighborhood. It was a little irritating at first, because we really didn’t have much of a winter in New Mexico – only one decent snow storm, and mostly sunny skies and warm-ish temperatures. That sounds like I’m complaining about what a lot of people would consider a paradise, doesn’t it? But the fair and balmy weather was accompanied by dryness, unmitigated beige sand, and gray trees; I like a bit of cold and dampness to mix things up. So, of course, the blossoming trees (once I gave in to their charms) were a blessed relief!

It was another blessing that I had already designed some earrings that would perfectly celebrate this special and ephemeral time of the growing year. Our amazing friend Leslie has some beautiful floral die cuts and punches in her collection, and what could be better than to make some blossomy Ephemeral Earrings!?

I’ve made three kinds so far, all on my Etsy shop, and they turned out as beautiful as I could have hoped! They’re very exciting, and very seasonal, and so very feminine. Please go over and check them out: Cherry Blossoms, Cherry Blossoms on Lace, and Apple Blossoms.

A final look:

You might notice something new about my photos of the earrings: I’m using books as props and backdrop, to contrast with the bright new colors and compare paper with paper. We have a collection of old books, and they suddenly inspired me as the perfect accompaniment for my earrings! It’s turning out well so far; what do you think?

I will be posting more pretty spring flower earrings soon – as well as the Purim earrings that I meant to list on Purim (having Easter a month before Passover this year really confused me…). So keep an eye on my shop!


Easter Celebration!

It’s Holy Saturday!

I thought that it would be a lovely time to share some of the ways we celebrate Easter – or Resurrection Sunday, the slightly more complicated name we adopted for the holiday. Just a simple post to showcase fun stuff! We never really did Easter egg hunts and certainly never assumed the existence of an Easter Bunny. But here you are – a few fun things:

First, new Easter items on our shops, TheRaisinFairy and Annavania:

Fun and exciting earrings! I couldn’t resist this adorable die-cut.


And beautiful cards by Hannah


Next, a glimpse of our tradition of Making Pretty Easter Morning Dresses At the Last Minute. We often decide that we really need a new dress in the week before Resurrection Sunday, pull out some random fabric from our Stash, find a pattern (often also from our Stash), and zip it up. Hopefully, we’ll take some pictures of our completed dresses and put them up in the next week!

The fabric and pattern (purchased for the occasion this time) for Hannah’s dress. She’s still zipping as I write! These last-minute dresses are rather stressful…


And, finally, food! You knew that was going to be a big part of our celebrations, right?

Sometimes, we like to color eggs and of course there’s the candy (Easter wouldn’t be Easter without jelly beans and Peeps!). But lately we’ve started experimenting with the traditional Paschal foods of different cultures. Hot Cross Buns are a favorite (and currently awaiting their icing in the kitchen). Tomorrow, we’re planning a picnic dinner in the park with friends, to which we will bring ham and mushroom quiche, Hot Cross Buns, salad, sunscreen, and our latest culinary discovery – Pavlova!


And there you go! I hope that your Resurrection Sunday is happy and blessed!


Friday Featured Favorites: Vintage and Sweet

I don’t know what my favorite kind of Etsy shop is. What I mean is; a shop that has a lot of things like I sell (bags or sewn things) or maybe some beautiful art, or a selection of fun jewelry – or a shop that just has something unexpected and well made and gorgeous. Yeah, I can’t say what my favorite kind of shop would be, but there is something comforting about finding another shop that has sewn items.

So, as you may have guessed, I ran into a shop with sewn items. This Etsy shop is called Sweet Vintage Lady.


I’m going to be trying something a little different (I think) and go into why I am featuring the given shop, and what caught my eye.

So, I have to admit one of the first things that caught my eye was that it was a sewing shop! I can’t help but feel some kinship for something similar to what I do.

What I first noticed about this lovely shop was the nice clean-cut, professional but thoroughly attractive appearance. It’s fun but not silly, with the creator’s obvious love for fashion.

Another thing I noticed was the colors. I love colors, and any shop with colors will draw my attention.

The shop owner is Gladys. She looks like a lot of fun-someone I would love being friends with, particularly to help me with some of the most unusual fashions in history. That is the 1970s-1990s.


While these eras are unusual (not really my favorite) I have to admit one of my problems with it was that I could never exactly understand where people were going with it. However, looking around at Gladys’ shop, I could appreciate the design of the clothes.

Gladys grew up in Puerto Rico, and by the sounds of it, was surrounded with clothing design, with a father and mother who sold clothes door to door. When Gladys became a stay-at-home mom, she found Etsy to be a great place to base a small business.

So, armed with Psalm 139:14, a love for fashion and her mother in law’s 1970s Bernina sewing machine, Gladys opened her shop, Sweet Vintage Lady, in 2011.

She might be getting into more sewing too, apparently, since she has several patterns from the ’60s that she’d like to use. Hopefully she’ll be showing them online for us to see.


So, since I was trying to go a bit more in depth behind the Friday Featured Shop, I asked Gladys if she has any other hobbies and if she would start another Etsy shop to sell her products. Well, little did I know…

Besides redesigning and tweaking vintage dresses, last year Gladys and her husband learned how to make cold process soap. It sounds like it’s a hobby she enjoys, since she says she’d like more time to develop a soap store. For now, she actually is running another Etsy shop for soaps, monkeytreesoaps, which looks beautiful! I mean, she has lemon poppy seed soap! How fun is that? I’d have a bath with lemon poppy seed soap and eat lemon poppy seed muffins all day!


I wish I had time and room to feature more of the wonderful clothes Gladys sells on her shop. I know it sounds typical to say that, but I really do! There are just so many fun things to find here, as well as her beautiful soap shop, that I urge you to take a look. You will find a lot of fun things here.

Here is a link to Gladys’ Facebook page

A link to her Etsy shop’s About page  (because it’s a really fun About page!!)

and, most importantly, her Etsy shop: Sweet Vintage Lady.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Happy Resurrection Sunday!


P.S. coming up, a look at my Easter dress! I meant to do that blog post before the actual holiday, but I forgot about it. Sigh.


God’s Given Gift to the World

A post about Hannah!

A lot of stuff happened today. On this day in history in 1990, apparently, a lot of art was stolen. Also, it happens to be the birthdate of a couple friends (happy birthday to them, if they happen to be reading this)…

Oh yeah, and it’s Hannah’s birthday!!!!

Hannah at the Botanical Gardens

It took longer to get to this than I meant it to, so in case you’re wondering what ‘today’ is, it’s the 18th of March, apparently a great day to be born, since I know at least three wonderful people born on this day. Either that, or they make it a great day, which I’m pretty sure is the case.

It’s been a fun, exciting day, which is why we haven’t got to this sooner, and I’ll be writing the first part of this blog post, and Abigail the second. So, here goes:

5 things you might not have known about her:

  1. One of her favorite times of day is just after sunset. It’s not quite dark, just a little, but light enough to see the surroundings. Well, that might have been how I expressed it, but I think Hannah agreed. Maybe it was a tad darker.
  2. Her favorite  off-limits color is green. Technically, it’s not off-limits, it’s just that Summers (people who look best in “summer” colors) don’t exactly have many greens.
  3. She’s a stickler for cooking, especially custard-like things. This is a bit of a delicate subject, since I keep telling her that the results are still delicious, even if they’re slightly curdled, and it does get tiresome hearing the same insisting remarks. But she’s a real perfectionist with some recipes!
  4. She says she never notices noses. She’s an artist, so it seems like she would notice faces, especially since that’s one of her favorite subjects. But I think I remember her saying that she doesn’t often notice noses. It might have been mouths.
  5. She doesn’t like leftover pizza. Okay, I shouldn’t say she doesn’t like it, but I only just recently found out it’s not her favorite thing. I can’t say it’s my favorite, either, but it’s a very interesting fact!

I love my older younger sister for being a great friend – a sweet, thoughtful, sensitive and kind person. Of three things I am certain of her:

First of all, if she seems concerned for someone, she is. Secondly, it is no coincidence that her name means: “God’s given gift to the world.” And thirdly, if I really need her help, if there is really something that’s getting too much for me, I know I can count on her to help.

I love you, Hannah! Happy birthday,



Hannah and her art: passion and pursuit


Part 2

It’s late and I have a cold, so this post won’t have nearly enough in it! Quickly, then, 3 amazing things about Hannah:

  1. She always challenges me to think through things that I blurt out without knowing what I mean. Because Hannah always listens to me (which is an amazing thing for a sister to do!) I have to be careful not to say things that are silly and unconsidered.
  2. She has had her Etsy shop longer than any of us, and is committed to making it a thriving and amazing venture. She’s always working on something to add to it, and says that Etsy is something that she can be truly be passionate about. (Visit her shop here!)
  3. She is a sensitive, compassionate person, and way smarter than she thinks she is! Based on those qualities alone, she has a great future ahead of her!

Love you lots, Hannah! May this coming year be amazingly blessed.


Saturday Random Recipe: Sourdough Waffles (or Pancakes)

Last week, I shared with you how to grow your very own sourdough starter and, struck with irresistible inspiration, you rushed off to your kitchen to mix up your own batch! You bought a beautiful jar to be its home, named it something wonderful – like Lobelia or George or Hagrid. And now, you have been looking at it for the past couple of days with some trepidation as bubbles rise and then a creepy layer of clearish liquid formed at the top.

So, I am here with you first delicious recipe!

I’m rather proud of this one, since I sort of made it up myself. These waffles (or pancakes) are so light that they are almost lacy, with a sweet and slightly tangy flavor.

Scrumptious with butter and maple syrup! But also lovely with a good fruit spread or fresh strawberries or caramelized apple slices. Or even plain.


Sourdough Waffles

First, stir up your starter so that the “pot liquor” is fully incorporated.

Mix in a large glass bowl:

  • 2 cups sourdough starter
  • 1 1/2 cup reduced-fat milk (or substitute soy or nut milk)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour

Cover, and let sit overnight or up to 24 hours (another patience builder, I know!). This is called a sponge. Don’t forget to feed your starter by adding 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of oil (yes, it is a living thing!).

The next day, mix together:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder (increase to 2 tsp. for low altitude)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda (ditto!)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Combine with the starter sponge. Drop by rough half cup-fulls onto your waffle irons, and await the deliciousness!

This recipe can also be used for pancakes, of course – which is a nice option if you don’t have a waffle iron. Cut the oil to 1/4 cup, since pancakes don’t require the crispiness of waffles, and there you go!

Breakfast for tomorrow? I think so! Enjoy!


Continuing the Shabby…

I’ve recently featured a couple Etsy treasuries, which I’ve really enjoyed. I also mentioned that I would be trying a couple treasuries myself. Well, I have started a treasury I’ve particularly been looking forward to!

il_570xn-842345229_32rjI called this treasury Shabby Chick, after my latest Etsy listing – my Shabby Chick bag – for a couple reasons. First of all, I’ve been wanting to try a treasury, and I love the Shabby Chic style. Also, I was going for something specific with my Shabby Chick bags, and I thought it would be fun to put together a visual example of what I’m doing.

It’s not just Shabby Chic, but a selection of girly, almost tom-boyish look. I might almost say, if it made any sense, a more realistic kind of Shabby Chic. The beautiful and fun letters on the left is one of the items I put on my treasury, from the Etsy shop Ajobebe.

il_570xn-916400058_bae0I do have to confess something. You’re not technically supposed to feature one of your own items. Well, what with one thing and another, I somehow managed to feature a couple of my own items.

There, I’ve got it out of the way. I am guilty of not completely following the rules! However, you have my promise that I won’t feature any more of my items on this treasury or any future treasuries.

Now, back to what I was saying.

I can’t exactly specify what I was looking for when I was creating this treasury. For one thing, I kept finding some beautiful but not-quite-what-I-wanted baby supplies, which I knew pretty quickly was not the style I was going for. I do like the darker tones, and I think you get that impression from this treasury, to match the rather dark denim in my Shabby Chick bags.

il_570xn-609474336_jaesOn the left is a Shabby Chic dress! You can find it on the Etsy shop Amordress. I love the lacy stuff, which is definitely an important part of the Shabby Chic style…

which brings up an interesting point for my bags. I almost added lace, or trimming of some kind, but for some reason it didn’t feel right. If I do more Shabby Chic style – which I hope I can – it will have lace.

If you want to read more about my Shabby Chick bags, here’s a link to the blog post about them.

I invite you to take a look at my latest attempt on Etsy! I love the way it turned out, and it’s fun to get a collection of things I think work with the style of my bags. However, regardless of the bags, I was just happy to get a collection of a style I really appreciate.

I’m still working on is this adventure. Hopefully I can add more things to this treasury, or edit things out. Anyway, I hope you enjoy my Shabby Chick Etsy Treasury!

Hope you have a great weekend, everyone!



Cogs and Gears: Binge-Crafting!

It is surprisingly hard sometimes to make yourself sit down and get something done! No matter how important the project, other things just keep popping up that need to be attended to first – and suddenly you find yourself behind on everything! This is true of making items for our shops: What should be a couple of simple tasks that won’t take more than an hour are pushed to another day, until they’re forgotten. And then suddenly we wonder where those items are and why they aren’t ready to be listed and…

So, we came up with a solution (of sorts): Every week or so (or more often if need be), we all get together with a pile of projects to work on and a TV show or two, and Binge-Craft!

With crafting-mascot along for the ride!

You’ve heard of binge-watching, right? When you watch way more of a given show than is good for you? Well, we decided to broaden the concept!

I always like working with my hands while something else is going on – usually entertainment, like TV or movies. It gives the mind something to do during the purely mechanical process of beading, sewing, crocheting, or gluing (or even doing dishes, but that’s not for a Binge-Craft session!).

And it happened that we had a couple of TV shows that we were watching that we needed to catch up on – so why not pair them up? That was how we started Binge-Crafting. And it’s been remarkably successful! It’s kind of amazing how much work you can get done in a couple of hours.

One of the shows we watch is “Arrow.” It has absolutely nothing to do with how hot the star is.
“The Flash” is another favorite. Again, nothing to do with the star’s gorgeousness.












We also like “Call the Midwife.” Told you!
And we sometimes choose a movie








This is probably one of the most fun parts of our growing businesses! Pull out all our crafting, pop some popcorn if we’re feeling indulgent, make a mess, yell at the characters, and perhaps have something new for our shops at the end of it all!



Random Recipe Saturday: Sourdough Starter

First of all, say the title fast five times. Go on! I dare you!

Ok, now that we have that out of the way…

Sourdough Starter!

It’s high time that I introduced you to Luther!

Luther is my sourdough starter. He’s been percolating on my counter for a few year now, the latest in a line of starters that I’ve tried to keep alive – and so far the most successful. Starters can be temperamental; most have died through neglect (they tend to get moldy and disgusting if you don’t use them regularly). And of course, each of the previous starters were named also (inspired by Sweet Herman, who was going around a few decades ago); there has been Zinzendorf, Erasmus and Calvin – all named after reformers.

Each has a distinct character. The flavor is effected by weather and ingredients, how often you attend to them, and other nameless factors. Luther is surprisingly sweet and good tempered, assertive yet pleasant; and curiously seems to get sweeter with a little neglect.

To make your own (a fun hobby!), just mix:

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups of (unsalted) water used to boil potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. dry yeast
  • a drizzle of honey

Leave in a covered glass bowl for a week so that it collects natural yeast from the atmosphere. Or, buy a special jar for it like I did!

After a week, you can use it to make all kinds of recipes – bread, biscuits, cupcakes, pancakes. The starter must be used on a weekly basis (otherwise, you know, mold and stuff…); with every use, feed the starter with a cup of water and a cup of white flour. I do make an exception and use only white flour for this, since wheat flour doesn’t behave as well.

By the way, don’t let the might-get-moldy part turn you off. This whole process is a bit of a science project – yeast is a fungus which makes bread rise by expelling gases, etc. That’s part of the fun of baking; making something delicious out of what belongs in a lab! The results are lovely.

And there you go! Go on, make up a batch of starter, and next week I’ll share one of my favorite recipes!