Desert Rose Dress and Tunic : Pattern Release


I’m so excited to have been a selected pattern tester for CailaMade’s new pattern release of the Desert Rose Dress & Tunic.

I am at a mild beginner level when it comes to sewing.  I bought myself a machine in late December 2013, opened it up sometime in January and started watching tutorials, scouring YouTube and searching Pinterest for the best advice on learning.  What I found was, jumping right in and sewing, sewing, sewing was the best teacher.  Let’s just say my seam ripper and I have become quite intimate friends over the past 6 months.


So as I have continued to try new projects: camera strap cover, pocket tissue holders, coffee sleeves, and the occasional skirt for my daughter, I found a lot of sewing and craft bloggers to follow.  Along that path I found Caila Murphy.  I read a post where she was looking for people to apply to “test” her new pattern she was releasing.  When I saw a picture of the Desert Rose Dress on her daughter, I fell in love instantly and applied to “test” it out.  On my application I told that I hadn’t used a pattern before, let alone tried to sew a complete, functional and wear out of the house dress.


There were over 300 applicants, and I was one of the thirty-ish chosen!  Why?  Caila said that I had no idea what I was doing (in a nicer way of putting it, though) and I would be a perfect candidate to test a pattern since EVERYONE of all levels would need to understand it and complete the project.  Wow!  So, they needed me, because I had absolutely no knowledge on sewing!  Awesome.

Desert Rose Floral Collage

We worked over a few months testing and sewing and trying and measuring the dresses / tunics.  Luckily, I have been blessed with a beautiful model that is sometimes cooperative.  So I began to test the pattern by printing it, cutting out my daughter’s measurement on the chart (Size 7), piecing it together, and planning what fabric to use.  While I had fabrics in mind, I wanted to do a “test” dress that allowed me to make mistakes unforgivably and not waste a ton of cash in the process.  So I decided to do the bodice out of Muslin as a cost effective choice.  Once I had the pattern cut out and laid out my fabrics to cut, pieced the bodice together and then sewed it, WOW!  I was amazed!  It worked!  I did it!  Almost, effortlessly.  Sure, it took some time to figure out how to properly pin, how to carefully stitch because the seam allowances would make a difference if I screwed it up…. but wow.  I did it.  I actually then decided to use some “real” fabric for the skirt.  I was able to cut, sew and piece that to the bodice making a complete dress!


I am so impressed about how easy to read and clear the instructions were (written and visually) for the pattern.    Caila has made this beautiful dress pattern to be so detailed that even novice sewer can pick it up but yet, so aesthetically pleasing for even the expert seamstress.  I am so happy to have had this experience with the pattern process that it makes me appreciate the dress that much more!  I had so much fun with it that I finished my “test” dress then quickly whipped up a second one using my “real fabrics”.

Eggplant Desert Rose Collage

My little girl was so excited to wear this dress as soon as I finished it, she wore it to school the next day.  Not only being proud of myself for sewing this, I’m even more excited she was anxious to wear it (as she’s a pretty picky fashionista)!


This pattern has officially now been released and is available for purchase on Caila’s site.  Head over here to purchase the Desert Rose Dress and Tunic .pdf Pattern.  This dress and tunic (option) have so many different alternations you can make to complete the dress for your needs.  There are steps for adding pockets, one button or two button, making a tunic or dress and more.  I love this pattern as this dress can fit for many seasons and be warn year round with a little sweater or shirt  and tights layered underneath.  


I am so happy to be a part of this release.  I was not compensated for my review and blog post.  I was provided a free copy of the pattern to test, love and make a thousand varieties for my daughter.  :)  Opinions in the post are ALL my own.


DIY Burlap Signs


Burlap signs are trending right now and they are so easy to make with items you may have from home. I was able to make 2 signs hanging above my coat hanger with everything I already had in my garage so I paid nothing out of pocket. If you don’t have the items on hand, you can find them inexpensively in the store.


To begin, cut 2 squares (or how many you want) out of plywood of the size you want. Then, cut some burlap sacks into squares so it can warp around to the back of the plywood square (you can purchase sacks for $1 at a tractor supply store). To reinforce it I used duct tape so it will stay closed. When you turn it over you will see the burlap covering the plywood square.


Finally, I went online and found some stencils to print off of the letter and number I wanted. I taped it down on the burlap sign and spray painted the letter and number onto each burlap sign. After it dried, my husband used a small nail gun and nailed it to the wall. If you don’t have spray paint you can always use paint and a roller.

*Tip: To avoid over spray cover the burlap sign with paper around the edges unless you want a different look.*


DIY Front Door Welcome Sign & Wreath


At first I had a plain navy blue door with navy blue shutters. I got bored with the color so I decided to paint the shutters and the door black. After staring at the plain black front door for months, I realized that it was boring. I needed to dress it up and didn’t want to spend a fortune on the design. I decided to try and come up with some things I had around the house or to purchase inexpensively.


To begin I needed to make my wreath. I used a wire coat hanger and bent it to a circle and connected it at the top by twisted it together with pliers. I purchased some fake flowers at a local store on sale for $1 a bundle. I began to wrap the flowers around the coat hanger and arranged it to the way I liked it.

To hang the wreath I purchased a magnetic hook from Amazon. You can get a 2-Inch Magnetic Hooks – 2 Piece Set on sale for $8.99 (price may change at any time without notice). These hold up to 15 lbs and will stick to your door if it is metal.


Next I needed to make my “Welcome” sign for the front of the door. I had some stencils in my craft supplies and laid them out with duct tape on my front door to how I wanted it. I also had some gold spray paint in my craft supplies. I decided to spray paint it gold right to my front door.

*Tip: Make sure to cover the rest of the door with paper for over spray and be careful as gold paint runs. It would work better if the front door was off the hinges and laying flat.*



Fall Craft: Re-purposed Toilet Paper Roll Owl



Owls are such a fun and whimsical way to welcome fall in. If you were to head to the store and wish to purchase a decorative owl, you could find yourself spending $10 and up for a cute piece. Instead, save your cash and create your own feathered friend from materials you already have around the house. If you have a toilet paper roll, you can easily whip up your own re-purposed toilet paper roll owl. Take a look below and see how simple and inexpensive it is to not only create one, but have a “hoot” of a time doing so. This is a simple craft that you don’t need to be a crafting queen to do, in fact even the kids will love getting in on the action. Take a peek!

[box title=”Re-purposed Toilet Paper Roll Owl” color=”#d72509″]
Supplies Needed:

1 empty toilet paper roll

Construction paper

Scrapbook paper

Craft glue



1. Lay your empty toilet paper roll on the construction paper. Make a small pencil mark at each end of the roll.

2. Take your scissors and cut the strip of construction paper so the strip is the width of the toilet paper roll.

3. Put some craft glue on the toilet paper roll and wrap the strip of construction paper around it. Press it firmly to the roll and allow it to dry.

4. Now, you are going to create the owl shape out of your toilet paper roll. To do this, choose one end of the roll to work with. Take your thumbs and press one side of the roll (just about ½ an inch at the top) inward.

5. Keep holding this section down and repeat on the opposite side. You will feel how a curve is created.

6. Add a dab of glue underneath the second flap you have created. Press firmly into place and allow time to dry.

7. While your ears of your owl are drying, make your wings and other facial features. A circle cut in half makes the perfect wings, two circles make great eyes, and a triangle works for the nose. You should use contrasting paper colors or prints so these features stand out. You can even take a strip of paper and line it around the bottom of the owl for extra detail.

See how easy it is to make these whimsical owls? Give this simple DIY a try and have a hoot of a time!


How to Make Chalkboard Labels


I wanted to organize my pantry but didn’t want to spend a ton of money doing it. I see the trend now a days is the chalkboard labels. They make it easy to label everything and erase it at the same time. I had to come up with a solution to make my own for under $5. I began digging through my house to see what items I had on hand. I found some colorful labels in my craft closet along with some Mason jars that I used for canning a few years ago. I went to the store and bought some chalkboard paint that costs me $4.67 at Walmart. I washed the Mason Jars in the dishwasher and began my project.


 Supplies Needed:

Mason Jars
Chalkboard Paint


First I spray painted the labels with Chalkboard Paint and let them dry.



Then, I cut them out into different shapes by hand with scissors. You could use wavy scissors or your own design.


Before I put them on the jars, I wrote what each jar contained with chalk (or you could use a white crayon if you don’t want it to come off). Stick the label onto each jar and organize your pantry the way you would like it. I put the jars on the top shelve of my pantry and lined them up to look nice. Here is a picture before and after of my pantry.





Amazon: Wallies Peel and Stick Chalkboard Sheet, Slate Gray, Set of 4 $15.40 + Free Shipping with orders $25



Here is a great way to keep track family chores, weekly dinner menu, grocery list, schedules and more! Check out the Wallies Peel and Stick Chalkboard Sheet, Slate Gray, Set of 4 $15.40 + Free Shipping with orders $25 or more available on Amazon. The chalkboards come in (4) 9×12 inch squares and can be taken off and reapplied and they leave no marks on the surface (they can also be easily cut to the size and shape that you want!). Available in slate gray, schoolhouse green, and grape. Chalk is included in the set!