Needles and a Pen » Knitting, Sewing, and Nursing School

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  • Welcome to my blog!

    Hi! I'm Traci. I'm a nursing student and CNA who loves quilting, knitting, cross stitch, Project Life scrapbooking, and the great outdoors. In my pre-scrubs life, I owned Real Photography, and you can still see my old wedding and portrait photography site here .

    I great big puffy heart *love* comments, so please let me know you visited! I try to always reply!

Cinderella Disneybounding at the Movies

The Cinderella movie came out this week and Ellie and I thought it was the perfect excuse for a little Disneybound outfit fun.  Ellie and I were in disagreement over who she should go as.  She wanted to go as an ugly stepsister (?!).  I felt strongly that at least one of us should go as Cinderella and if I went as Cinderella and my daughter as an ugly stepsister…well, serious eyebrows.

I was really hopeful that the Kohls Cinderella collection would make this a no-sew Disneybound, but I was really disappointed in the quality of the clothing and decided we’d just have to figure it out ourselves.  Ellie and I came to a compromise on the whole ugly stepsister thing, and she agreed to go as CinderEllie in Rags.  I went back and forth on Lady Tremaine or the Fairy Godmother and after looking at what I had onhand I went with the Fairy Godmother.  A simple pink bow and I was done.

I made Ellie’s outfit in a record 3 hours from the portabello pixie claire dress pattern–the only thing that was ready when we got home from church today was the prewashed fabric, but it hadn’t even been ironed and the pattern templates hadn’t been made!  For her kerchief I used the fabric I had left from her apron, cut it into a square, used the rolled hem on the serger, and then sewed ribbons onto two corners so we could tie it at the nape of her neck since it wasn’t enough fabric to tie itself.  As I was working on the dress I had the studio door open and a bird flew in.  I can’t believe I didn’t make the connection immediately, but I’m sorry to say it did take me a while to realize that of COURSE a bird flew in when I was working on a Cinderella dress!  It was there to help!


These dresses will hang around for a while, ready for our next Disney trip.  I will be on the look-out for a cute wand pin or necklace and probably a lighter blue or pink dress to really bring home my Fairy Godmother ensemble!


Disneyland Sewing: What we wore, an accidental Disneybouding story, and Modcloth coupon codes!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, but the opinions are 100% my own.  I love Modcloth so much I joined their affiliate network.  They couldn’t be a more perfect spot for Disneybounding wardrobe shopping! 

I have coupon links for both new and returning Modcloth shoppers

The last time we went to Disney (Disney World), I made Ellie a bunch of outfits.  One of them was a subtle nod to the style of Mickey and Minnie Mouse:

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The other, a very seriously awesome nod to the princess Snow White.  I had wanted Ellie to have a princess dress, but didn’t want it to be the cheap looking official kind.  I wanted it to be a Snow White dress, but also just a really nice dress.

disneybound homemade snow white dress sewn

See the sparkles?  Oh they have not yet invented a fabric that speaks to me more than the bolts of sparkly tulle.

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(And a backup casual place dress in case the Snow White ballgown didn’t work out.)

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I enjoyed the results of that so much that for our latest Disney trip, I wanted to do that again.  But I wanted to be involved, too.  If Ellie could be a Disney princess, so could I.  So I both bought and sewed pieces that ran from subtle to overt nods to Disney characters.  I was very excited.  I loved the outfits.  On our very last day an employee asked me “This is kind of a weird question, but I have to ask–are you Disneybounding?”  Having no idea what that meant I said “no.”  It was awkward and I felt badly.  So I left the store and googled it.  Turns out that Disneybounding is dressing in clothing to give a nod (either subtle or overt) to a Disney character or ride.  Ooops–my bad.  I was TOTALLY Disneybounding, Mr Photopass Guy.  Sorry.

Anyway, here is a peek at our very successful 2015 Disneybounding at Disneyland.

Day one, a travel and Downtown Disney day.  Sadly the only shot of me is this partial waist-up shot, but just imagine the awesomeness of a red dress, yellow belt with Mickey Mouse fabric bow, and black and white polka dot flats.  Ellie had black glittery jeans, a red and white top, and a hoodie that was black and white polka dots.  Perfect for general Mickey/Minnie awesomeness.



Day 2, and our first Disneyland day, we again rocked the general Mickey/Minnie theme.  For Ellie’s sewn-together-last-minute-with-supplies on-hand improvised circle skirt I didn’t have enough fabric to make it as long as I wanted, so I added a layer of tulle underneath…and then leggings under that.  My red tulle skirt I made from this tutorial (which I followed more or less with Ellie’s skirt too).   I made my belt using this tutorial (except that I was doing all of my sewing last minute and so I used safety pins instead of proper fastenings)  The tank I got on clearance at Old Navy for $2.  I still love this outfit, but I trashed the skirt that day.  It ended up raining and the velcro on Ellie’s coat cuffs snagged against it for hours.  If I want to wear this again, I’ll probably need to rip out and sew on a new layer or two.  If I had it to do over, I’d also use thinner elastic at the waist.  I used 1″ elastic and spent most of my time trying to hide that white elastic under my belt (in spite of many many safety pins).

disneybound minnie mouse tulle skirt

(I made an effort to have Will coordinate with us on a couple of our days–next time he gets to Disneybound too!)

disneybound tulle skirt minnie mouse mommy and daughter


These flats were adorable but dang they tore up my feet something awful.  They are the kind with an elastic heel and I knew from experience that I’d pay for it, but BLACK AND WHITE POLKA DOT FLATS, PEOPLE!

disneybound minnie mouse

You can appreciate the tulle layer to her skirt in this shot as well as her sparkle toms.  Shoes are a real problem for Disneybounding at the parks–comfortable AND theme-fitting is hard.  But these silver glitter toms definitely worked for every outfit she had (but I was weak and also got her pink ones for her Sleeping Beauty dress).  They get my thumbs up as a great Disneybounding shoe option for kids!

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Day 3 was Meet Elsa day.  Ellie’s top was from Etsy.  Her skirt was a tulle circle skirt with a top layer of glittery awesomeness.  (I couldn’t talk her out of the ears and plastic necklace.  Oh well.)   My own outfit was my most subtle nod to Minnie, an adorable top from ModCloth (a shop that makes Disneybounding ridiculously easy if you just give them all your money), black jeans, and the perfect red shoes.  As was the theme of the trip, there really isn’t a good photo of me showing off the outfit (next time I will be obnoxious and insist) but here’s a group photo where you get the idea:



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It is the perfect skirt for twirling.


Day 4 was Ellie’s birthday and less of a Disneybound for her and more a straight up Disney princess costume that her mother slaved over for days and days.  Ellie adores Aurora, wanted an Aurora dress, and so of course we never met her on this trip (grrrrrrr).  Thank goodness the dress is a touch big and hopefully we can try for the Ellie Aurora + Aurora Aurora photo next time.  The top section is made from Simplicity 9384 that I paid a disgusting $20 for on ebay to get my hands on.  I adapted it so it doesn’t include the attached skirt.  For the skirt I used the same tutorial I used for my tulle skirts and used various shades of pink tulle topped with a layer of sparkling tulle (none of that shows up in photos but was gorgeous in real life).  The underlayer I made knee-length because I wanted to be able to quickly trim the tulle to knee-length if the full skirt proved to be a pain during our park tour.  (It was totally fine full length.) Her peplum was also made with a layer of regular kona quilting cotton topped with sparkling tulle (I simply held the layers together when sewing the peplum).


We were in a rush to get out the door that morning and I forgot her pink glitter headband that was such a perfect match.  I’m still mad about that.  Especially since the rubberband in her hair broke about 20 minutes into the day (her aunt came to the rescue with emergency bobby pins).

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I was so excited about this Sleeping Beauty dress–definitely the hardest thing I’ve made.

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See?  It sparkles.  🙂

My own outfit was also my most obvious–a tribute to the first and my very most favorite Disney princess: Snow White.  I got oodles of compliments on this outfit and luckily the skirt survived the day beautifully, so it will be back next time!  (And I have absolutely no idea why Ellie chose to make THIS face in the only photo of me taken on our camera that day.)

disneybound snow white tulle skirt

Day 5 was just me and Will, since Nic stayed back in the hotel with sick Ellie, so here’s a peek at my outfit courtesy of a Disney Photopass employee that really needs to clean his camera’s sensor:

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The dress and amazing yellow cardigan are from Modcloth.

(This, incidentally, is the day I hadn’t really had a particular character in mind but just really liked the headband with the outfit…and yet it was this outfit that prompted the question as to whether I was Disneybounding.  He thought this was perfect for Mr Toad’s Wild Ride.  I’ll take it.)

We did a little bit of other Disney sewing before the trip–Will made some pajama pants and I made a Dumbo nightgown to match Ellie’s favorite stuffed animal:


I also made some special Mickey pajamas for our first time Disneyland visitor in the group!


To wrap this up I’ll leave you with this photo of the pile I noticed as I was packing.  I felt like it was proof that we were totally winning at this whole Disney trip.

disneybounding minnie mouse

Ann - wow! That is amazing! I love all of the outfits, old and new. I had no idea this was a thing, but since I have an almost 3 yr old little girl I’m going to have to look into it! What great memories you gave your kids!

Louisa - What great fun!

Lace headband

A crazy thing happened today called: I finished another project!  I worked on this one for a year and a half off and on (and started it about 8 times before I had the lace pattern right).  This was my piano lesson project mainly because (a) it took me so long to get the pattern memorized so it wasn’t very fun to work on and so forcing myself to work on it once a week was good and (b) when it was on the needles and unblocked it looked like I was knitting a very long lace condom and so I tried not to work on it in public because Catholics have enough PR problems–no one needs me out in public knitting two foot long lace condoms.



Next up on my crazy finishing-what-I-started campaign will hopefully be these Mind the Gap socks.  I need to rip out the toe because they are a smidgeon too short, and since frogging is always depressing it’s been something I’ve been avoiding.  But it’s time.  Time to FINISH ALL THE THINGS!


ashburn shawl

I started this last September intending to have it done for the rest of fall…but predictably finished it now, at the tail end of winter.  Oh well, it’s all ready for next fall now!

Details: Ashburn pattern, The Plucky Knitter primo fingering yarn in Rachel, Ross, and Aperitif (which is how it earned its nickname “Date night for Rachel and Ross”)  The pattern was a little unclear on the contrasting color sections, but I was able to get an answer from the pattern author that you were indeed slipping the same stitch on the wrong side that you did on the right side, and that cleared things up beautifully.  The picot cast off was also a pill–normally I would have cast this off in one quick burst, but it was annoying enough for me to break it into three separate days of knitting.  Worth the effort, but not necessarily fun to do!




And a couple of in progress peeks at it:



Louisa - I absolutely love the colors that you chose! What a fabulous scarf!

A little bit of sewing

The biggest thing I did this year was this:

IMG_8475I finished all of my nursing school prerequisites with a 4.0 and got a job as a CNA at the birth center of our local hospital.   And also I kept up to date with Project Life, which anyone can tell you is a miracle.

(This is my way of saying there wasn’t a whole lot of sewing going on.)

But, I did do a little bit of sewing.  Here’s a roundup of some of the projects that crossed my machine this last year.

A baby quilt for my bestest childhood friend’s baby:


A bunch of bags for knitting projects:


I finished my bow tie quilt top, but stalled out on making the backing.  On the list for this year!


My love of the sandpiper top pattern is pretty well established, but I took that love to new heights this year when I made half a dozen of them.  I can’t find photos of some of them, so we’ll have to break them out this summer for pics!


Louisa - I just love that quilt! I would love to hear a bit about how you made it.

Speattle - Nursing school! How exciting and congratulations on making that leap. it’s a tough curriculum for sure, but you are up for the challenge.

I graduated with a BSN from the UW in 1978.

Oh, and referring to the photo with the 3 project bags, I had a fat quarter of the same fabric used in the 2 outside edge bags and made a cute triple zip bag from it. Such a sweet print. for the tutorial in case you are ever interested.

Good to see you back at your blog. ☺

The Halloween Sewing: Homemade Frozen Costumes

While there wasn’t a ton of sewing going on last year, things did get serious for Halloween.  Like everyone else in the world, we are big Frozen fans, and so for Halloween we wanted to be a Frozen family.  Ellie already had her Elsa dress from her birthday, and Nic and I found our costumes on the interwebs.  That left Will’s Kristoff costume to make.  I couldn’t find any tutorials so I had to wing it.  I was incredibly proud of how it came out, though–I think I found the absolute perfect trim, silk sash, and the suede fabric I used for his vest along with the fur trim (which I had to order from England) really made that vest as Kristoff-like as you could get!  I also made a quilt cloak for my Anna costume, knowing that it would probably blizzard (a Halloween tradition we gratefully skipped this year).  It was down to the absolute wire, so the details weren’t quite as on point as I wanted, and I couldn’t find the right woven fabric to mimic her wool so I went with flannel, but it kept me warm and was close enough.


(Will’s boots weren’t ready for our Boo at the Zoo costume debut, but we had them ready for Halloween.  🙂  I couldn’t convince Ellie to carry a snowflake bag–she ADORES the classic pumpkin trick or treat bag, but Will was happy to carry the bag I attached to Olaf.  Added bonus–the mittens perfectly covered the cast he’d just been put in two days earlier when he broke his arm!)