DIY Dining Room makeover plus bridal shower fun

So my sewing has been a little scarse (read nonexistent) the past few weeks since I finished my Vintage May outfit. And I am so excited to show you the reason why! To preface- my brother just recently got engaged and it worked out for him to come home for a week in May and introduce us to his fiancée. Three weeks before they were to come visit, my mom realized this would be the perfect occasion to throw a bridal shower…at my house. Yeah, so I am not the world’s best housekeeper (who has time with two toddlers and sewing? 🙂 ) and my house was in no condition to host a bridal shower, but we decided to use this opportunity to get our bums in gear and finish up a few house projects languishing on our to-do list:

  • paint the dining room white and redecorate it,
  • give the entire house a good purging- specifically our den/junk room and back porch,
  • finish up some landscaping and, of course,
  • spring cleaning

a view of the green dining room- also before we painted the china cabinet so you get a sense of how much better it looks now!


Well it was a crazy few weeks especially since part of it was spent at the beach but it’s done and I got all the important things finished! Whew…now I just wanna sleep for weeks..and show of my house while it’s still clean. LOL.

Jared And Steph Shower (7 of 9)

It feels so good to have a freshly cleaned house that is empty of a TON of useless clutter. I took several car loads to Goodwill and several more to the trash! So much that we were just holding on to for no reason. We are trying to live a more minimalistic life and it is so rewarding and freeing to move toward that goal. Also my dining room is now a soothing white instead of its previous bright green. I am definitely in a “paint all the things white” mood right now. I love the calming influence that white paint has on things.

Jared And Steph Shower (6 of 9)

So let’s talk about the dining room projects a bit. I recovered the dining room chairs in this awesome Lotta Jansdotter Canvas print from her Glimma line (I got mine from Pink Castle Fabrics and they don’t carry it anymore but I found some on etsy here) that I’ve had sitting around for several months for this very purpose. Easiest DIY project ever: 1. unscrew the chair cushions from the chair 2. pull the new fabric over the cushion tightly and staple in place 3. screw cushion back on chair and enjoy! Make sure you pull the fabric tightly or it will wrinkle as the chairs get used.

Jared And Steph Shower (9 of 9)

Blue cart is the Ikea Raskog that so many other peeps have. It’s currently housing our cloth napkin stash and some pretty dishes. I’m still waiting on my light gray curtains for the windows but I have some family members making an ikea trip soon so they are going to pick them up for me. The 2 landscape wall prints are by Emily Jeffords (who happens to be local to us right now!) and I highly recommend them for their high quality! The prints actually look like originals. I love how peaceful her work is also. Please forgive the wonky look of the large one- we just got the frame for it and need to go get a new mat for it since the current one is not the correct size- which is why I don’t have a close-up of it.

Here’s some fun pictures from the bridal shower. The bride-to-be loves burlap, mason jars and roses so we took those things into account when decorating. My sister in law made the awesome bunting for the mantel by freezer paper stenciling onto drop cloth.

Jared And Steph Shower (3 of 9)

Jared And Steph Shower (1 of 9)

Jared And Steph Shower (2 of 9)


Hope y’all enjoyed a little trip around my newly-redecorated house. I always like to see other’s house projects and so I thought I would share a bit with you. Plus I needed an excuse to show off all our hard work! 🙂



Why I sew

I”m over on the Kid’s Clothes Week blog today talking about why I sew and sharing some details on my sewing journey. Here’s a sneak peek of what I say…click on over for the full post…

KCW logo

“Why would I make that when I can go to Target and buy it for$10?” “That’s nice for you, but I don’t have time to sew.”
“How do you find time to make all those things?” “That’s a lot of work. Not really worth it in my opinion.”

Have you heard any of these? I get these questions from people quite regularly as a matter of fact. I have a few sewing friends in town, but not many. Many of my friends and acquaintances appreciate the sewing I do, but from afar. They just don’t quite “get” me. Ya know what I mean? That’s what I love about this online community. There are so many like-minded people who totally understand my fabric hoarding tendencies, crazy urge to sew last-minute gifts and messy house because I’ve spent all week sewing kid’s clothes.

Go here to read the rest of it…

Oliver is three

oliver 3rd bdayWe had a birthday party for Oliver this weekend. Can you believe my little boy is three already? Wow that’s crazy! Anywho, we didn’t have a party for him last year, but now that he’s old enough to enjoy parties and such, we thought it would be fun to something with his friends. We invited a few of his little buddies (and parents, of course) to the park for a morning of play. It was a gorgeous day and they all had lots of fun.   oliver 3rd bday

Eliot could be found roaming underneath the picnic table trying to steal everyone’s snacks! lololiver 3rd bday Of course a birthday wouldn’t be complete without a handmade number shirt from mom, which I conveniently matched to his number shorts. He looked so stinking cute in his outfit. Shirt pattern is Raglan Tee from Sewing for Boys. I cut out the letters and appliqued them to the shirt after constructing it. I bought the orange Robert Kaufman laguna jersey from after reading several bloggers’ comments on how nice it was. And it really is nice! I’m definitely going to be buying more of it in several colors. It just has such a nice feel and drape! And I’m very close to’s new warehouse so it is so tempting to buy from them right now- I get my order within two days of placing it! Shorts were previously blogged here.oliver 3rd bday

Another fun part of the birthday party were the lightsaber favors. I am such a Star Wars nerd, and it’s too fun to pass that nerdiness on to your children! Oliver is at that impressionable age and loves anything we push as cool right now. 😉 He thought these were great. Ian made them the night before the party with pool noodles, electrical tape and duct tape. Easy, quick, and cheap! The kids had fun playing with them at the party and then got to take them home when the party was over. oliver 3rd bday

So, this kid. He’s got a lot of his mommy in him and it both frustrates me at times and yet completely endears him to me. 🙂 It’s so fun to watch him grow out of the toddler stage and full on into little boyhood. Can’t wait to see what three has in store for you, buddy! oliver 3rd bday



Happy Blogiversary to me!

Today is my two year blogiversary! Hard to believe it’s been two years since I started this blogging experiment. I thought it would be fun to go back and look at a few of the very first things I blogged. This is back before I really knew anything about photography so please excuse the lack of great photos…

First sewing project blogged: my Tova Tops that I sewed along for Rae’s Spring Top Sewalong 2012… This was my one of my first selfish sewing experiences and I have learned so much since then! I am hoping to try that pattern out again sometime because I really like that shirt style and think I could do a better job now that I know more about clothing construction.tova 2



Then it was the spring 2012 Kid’s  Clothes Week Challenge when I made Oliver’s first birthday outfit: appliqued onesie, treasure pocket shorts and a birthday crown. Look at little baby Oliver- sniff!



Another pair of treasure pockets was next on the list…153

The last project I wanted to show is my favorite quilt to date: my hand-quilted pinwheel quilt. All that hand-quilting paid off because it’s still my favorite quilt to snuggle up under on the couch! closeupSo that was a fun look back (in my opinion at least 😉 ) at the beginning of my blogging journey. Even though I know that I have much to learn still, it is encouraging to see how my writing and photography skills have improved. Excited to see where another two years will take me!

Bernina 350 PE- Year in Review

I’ve had my sewing machine for a year now, and I thought I would post a little of my thoughts/opinions on this machine now that I’ve had this long to use it. When I was researching machines, I read quite a few reviews and wished I could have found more, so here’s my two cents worth for anyone out there researching for themselves.

Bernina 350-SPECIAL EDITION---Flower design

My machine is the Bernina 350 PE. Before this machine, I didn’t really have any experience sewing with anything other than basic Singers. After using this machine for a year, I think I can safely say that I will never sew on anything but a Bernina ever again. Even though my machine is one of the more basic models, it has plenty of extras for all my needs. I love its solid construction- I can sew on it for hours and it holds up like a champ! I actually think the 350 is the perfect in-between model for the basic sewist. It’s a step up from basic, so you get a few extras like the walking foot, quilting foot, and some more stitch capabilities, but it doesn’t have all the computerization (and hefty price tag) of the 500+ series.

I have really enjoyed free motion quilting on this machine. I mean, I was able to quilt a king size quilt on this baby! Definitely would not have been able to do that on my old Singer.

One feature I would definitely recommend is the walking foot. I had a walking foot that came with my old Singer, and I was never a big fan of it. In contrast, I use the walking foot all the time with my Bernina- knits, quilting, binding, etc. My only complaint with my walking foot is that it is pretty squeaky, but they were hoping to oil it up some during the tune-up so I’m hoping that will fix that problem.

Another recommendation I have is to go with a local provider. It is so handy to have my local Bernina store to run to when I have any questions or problems with my machine. I think that the 6 week class I took there (that came with my machine purchase) was the best help in teaching me how to use my machine effectively.

sewing room

My final thoughts- I think that this machine will last me for many years. It’s been one year and it still runs just as great as it did when I brought it home. If you are looking for a good quality, well-running machine I highly recommend the Bernina. I am so glad that I got one way sooner than I ever thought I would (Thanks to my amazing husband and his Valentine’s surprise last year!) because it has changed my sewing.  I feel that it has taken me to the next level and made sewing so much easier. I think the money investment has paid off in the fact that I spend way less time fiddling with my machine because I can’t get it to work like I wanted it to. Like I said before, I don’t have any experience with the other big machine brands (Viking, Janome, Juki, etc.) but I know that the Bernina is a good solid machine to choose.

On creativity and your personal style

Today I have some thoughts on defining your personal style and using that in your sewing projects. Several times over the past year, I have been asked to make things for people or to complete a particular project and I have learned a lot about myself in the process

For starters, I know that if the project is not my idea or style, I will procrastinate until the last possible second to get it done. Also I cannot copy someone else’s idea. That just doesn’t work for me. Every time I try to copy something, I end up with a failed project. What works better for me is to get an idea of what someone wants- through several different pictures, color, and styles options and then use those ideas to produce something that represents my own idea. I just cannot take myself out of the design process completely. I guess it’s how my brain functions.

Case in point. I was shown a picture of an apron and asked if I could make one similar. Sure, I say- no big deal, right? Wrong. Using a small picture and attempting to replicate it resulted in a disastrously ugly end result. Upon conversing with my husband about my frustration with what should be a simple project, he told me to put myself back in the equation and make it my way. So I took a step back, looked at key style elements of this apron, and tried again- making it my own this time. End result- super cute apron that was loved by the recipient.


Now maybe I totally over-think things and this is a silly topic which no one is interested in discussing. But since this is something I keep facing I thought I would bring it up on the off chance someone else has something to offer… Any thoughts?

(PS) I’m not referring to copying other’s work and selling it as your own. I realize in no instance is that ever ethical or appropriate.

Indie Craft Parade 2013

You may remember my posting about our Indie Craft Parade 2012 experience last year. I wanted to give another update about this year’s experience and let you know about some cool new independent artists I discovered. This craft parade was a week ago but we left immediately after attending to head to the beach for a week so I am just now getting to share my finds with you.

indie craft 2013

I am especially excited about the sewing machine necklace…been wanting one of those for a long time!

Indie Craft Parade defines itself as a celebration of handmade art. This craft fair is located in my hometown and showcases local artists from the southeastern US. This was the fourth year, and it just keeps getting better! I really enjoy going because it inspires me in my creative endeavors.

Instagram photo of the night

Most of the craft fair is free but you can pay to attend the Gala event on Friday night which includes food, drinks, and giveaways as well as a smaller crowd of attendees to wade through. And just like last year, I won a giveaway (more than repaying the price of our tickets!). We had had a rough week with Oliver and Ian both feeling sick so a Friday night date night was just the thing we needed. Here is a collection both of what I won and what I bought with links to the artists’ websites/stores. And if you notice, there’s a bit of a jewelry theme going on. 🙂

indie craft 2013

WON: handfelted terrarium from once again sam.


WON: handstamped towel from PerlaAnne

WON: handstamped towel from PerlaAnne

WON: Ring from Lily Pottery

WON: Ring from Lily Pottery

indie craft 2013

WON: Arrow necklace from Acorn + Archer
BOUGHT: Wooden Beaded Necklace from Spectrum
BOUGHT: Laser Engraved Wooden Necklaces from Once Again Sam


Baby Eliot has arrived!


Introducing Mr. Eliot Michael Crook… deciding to make his appearance into the world on June 6 at 2:57 in the afternoon and weighing in at a healthy 9 lbs 6oz! Yes I realize that was 2.5 weeks ago. But you see, I’ve been a bit busy snuggling with this sweetie and his big brother. 🙂 We are all in love over here. Eliot is such a sweet baby, and I am really enjoying the baby stage the second time around. Also really loving NOT being pregnant! FYI if you want more updates feel free to follow me on Instagram where you’ll be bombarded with daily baby cuteness! @brookecrook



My third baby (Bernina) is a bit sad to share her room with a newborn and not get any attention but hopefully she will get some love soon…when this momma starts sleeping through the night again and doesn’t have to nap during nap time. I am starting to get a bit itchy to get back in the sewing groove but so far haven’t been able to work up the energy! Soon, my friends. I can’t stay away for long. 🙂 In the meantime I’ll be back soon to share with you some projects completed right before baby made his appearance. Back to sweet baby snuggles for me now… mmm nothing like the smell of a newborn babe. 🙂

Already loved by his big brother 🙂

My New Baby

And here she is…

Bernina 350-SPECIAL EDITION---Flower design

Oh wait, hope you weren’t expecting pictures of a real baby. 🙂 That’s another 12 weeks in the making- though I’m ready for that baby to be here as well! Here’s my special present from a very sweet hubby. I was surprised on Valentine’s Day with the offer to go pick out one of two options at the Bernina store. This little scenario came about with my frustration at the inability of my Singer machine to keep up with the demands of constant sewing- leading to my trying a friend’s Bernina and becoming hooked on how amazing it was!

However I had figured this was something I would have to work and wait for another several years. The hubs was so impressed at the quality of the Berninas and how well they keep their resale value that he decided I should go ahead and get one now since I could put it to immediate good use. Just so happened that the local Bernina store was having a great sale and had ordered the special edition which came with an extra free-motion quilting foot at a cute skin. For those inquiring minds, this is a Bernina 350 PE.

My actual machine… Isn’t is so pretty?

I am loving my new baby…might be neglecting the other baby in the house to play on this thing. 😉 Free motion quilting is a dream on this thing! It’s amazing how smooth sewing can be… the Bernina brand definitely lives up to it’s hype. I was waiting a few weeks to write my blog review on this machine because I wanted to try it out for a bit, and I am here to tell you that I am still super happy with it. I don’t know all the ins and out of my machine yet, but my mastery classes begin in April, and I can’t wait to find out all the special things that it can do. Meanwhile I’m having fun learning on my own. I’ve got two quilts to be quilted on the list for next week and can’t wait to see how this baby does with them! And now I have my present for Valentine’s Day, birthday, anniversary, and most likely Christmas. 🙂 One stop shopping for the hubby!

This Weekend

First of all, Happy First Day of Fall! I am really excited about the upcoming cooler weather and all the fun fall happenings that go along with it! I need to go get some pumpkins today to bring in the new season.

This weekend is full of events so not too many crafting plans to share, but I do have a few things up my sleeve that I’d like to get done.

  • finish piecing together the guestbook quilt. I’ve been plugging away at this in my spare time and have gotten about 75% of the piecing done so I’m hoping to grab a few minutes to finish this…then to worry about how to quilt the humungous thing on my machine! I will share the finished top with you next week- fingers crossed!
  • tape together and cut out my pattern pieces for the oliver + s bedtime story pajamas. This week’s challenge on project run and play is to make something using a white sheet as your main fabric. What better to make from a sheet than pajamas? Probably not original enough to win but I am excited to see how these cute pjs turn out. It’s my first oliver + s pattern to sew!

Those are my two main sewing goals. Other than that we have: an outing to the park with our church group that a friend and I are heading up, a fun yard sale this morning for some friends heading across the pond, and, of course, church tomorrow. Oliver will be wearing his snazzy new outfit tomorrow. 🙂

Hope your weekend is full of relaxing, fun, and some crafting endeavors! Any big plans you want to share with the class?