Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals. I'm a recovering former vegan and vegetarian, now healing with a nutrient-dense mostly Paleo diet, and love at-home CrossFit and yoga workouts. I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

New mom to baby Otto born April 2018!


Portland Bloggers' June event photos!

Sharing some photos and a recap from the June Portland Bloggers event from last weekend! It was picnic-themed (read: it was going to be a picnic, but Oregon's temperamental June weather had other plans). So, we had lovely summery decor and some lively blog discussions inside and were able to spend some time outside during the sunbreaks.  This month's event was a picnic open to bloggers and their families--there were definitely some cute babies in attendance, and thanks to my sweet husband for coming along, and he was in good company!  Several other significant others were there, and some of them have blogs, too!

As usual, Jenni of A Well-Crafted Party did a great job planning the shindig and we all had a lovely time!, and are excited for the next one!

New this event, we had an official photographer for the day. Macey of Motormouth Studios is new to Portland and a blogger herself, and offered to take the photos for us and post them!  So, these are courtesy of Macey!

More photos on her site!

Lovely bloggers in attendance were, from left to right...
Macey of Motormouth Studios
Courtney with Charmed in PDX
Justine with A Teenie Tiny Blog
Kae with Paper Morning
Suzannah with Adventures in Dressmaking
Jenni with Leave the Laundry for Later and A Well Crafted Party
Adi with Garden of Edlen

These events are open to bloggers of ALL types, so if you're in Portland, email Jenni for details, and it would be great to see you at the next event in August!

And a little How to Wear DIY for ya... I was excited to get another chance to wear my girly half-lace dress that I made to wear to my bridal shower last summer. I love the warm pink skirt and white crocheted lace!  I definitely needed the sweater over it this time, though--no worries, gave it a new look!

I looove that cotton crocheted lace!
Sweater: Target via Goodwill. Belt: Vintage, via Goodwill. Flats: Land's End.
Necklace and bobby pin: Forever 21. Dress: DIY!

These Portland Blogger events are such fun, and are a great place for all of us to wear cute clothes! I always love seeing the looks on everyone.

If you're a Portland Blogger, email Jenni and get on the email list! If not, I totally encourage you to meet up with your city's blogger group--fun and motivational!!



House progress update!!!

So, time for another house progress update! We're buying a townhouse that's not done yet, and keep checking on its progress while we twiddle our thumbs. The cabinets are picked out, the earnest money is down, but it's still not done... but, here's what's happened since you saw it last!

A few weeks ago, it was pretty cool to drive by it while they were painting it! We actually still didn't know what color it was going to be when done--I mean, one of four, but still.  Back view...

Front view, and the park area...

Then we drove by again last weekend... it's yellow! Ish. Orange-yellow-tan.

And, when we went inside last weekend...

Drywall!!  So cool to go inside now that the walls have shape and it's really starting to look like something!

Dining area...

Here's a good view from the master through to the other upstairs bedrooms.

And... yay... master bathroom!

So, the agonizing part is, they're behind schedule and we actually still don't have a move-in date. Our current place is still 0% packed, and it's hard to start when we don't have room for boxes or an end in sight! But, hey, plenty of time to peruse Craigslist and Overstock and keep an eye out for sales--we are gonna need a lot of furniture. Eek!

Sewing Circle: Upcycling those 90's denim jumpers you surely remember...


Sewing Circle: Upcycling those 90's denim jumpers you surely remember...

Funny blast from the past on today's Sewing Circle.  I got this fun question from Alyssa:

Q: I was searching through some old clothing bins in my attic the other day and found these two denim dresses that were my mom's from the 90's. I was thinking they could be super cute if I could upcycle them a little bit. I was wondering if you had any advise or ideas of what I could do. I still want to keep the 90's vibe to them, but make it a little more modern and wearable and obviously more flattering since they hang like a trash bag on me haha. Thank you so much for your help! 

A: Hi Alyssa,
Haha, I totally remember those dresses; my mom had those, too. I think you could totally upcycle them into something that gives homage to their original era but is also wearable! My first thought is something with a shorter, gathered skirt. Those “iceskater” dresses are totally in now—short and fuller skirt, like this Forever 21 lace dress for example.

So you could try something like that!  I have even seen some sort of similar silhouettes in chambray or denim:


Halter button-up


Also, the easiest thing to upcycle them into would probably be a strapless or spaghetti strap little sundress like this ModCloth one, but that would probably only use one dress!

So, if you’re looking for a cute contemporary but 90’s-reminiscent dress, I’d say check out one of these patterns and cut up the two denim dresses you have (using this tutorial for technique if you need it).

  • Something like Simplicity 1873 for the bodice, no pattern but just the bottom of the fuller dress for the skirt, gathered into the waist.

  • For a similar thing but with princess seams, you could use Simplicity 1913, and again, give it whatever skirt works out.

  • If you don’t want to worry about a lining, you could use Simplicity 2497, but perhaps give it a contrast fabric bias binding (the denim will be a little too thick to do it on itself). I even used this one for a similar upcycling project--90's floral jumper into cute dress!

Of course you could use any pattern that used as much as or less than the fabric you have in the two dresses combined, but the denim is probably a little too thick to do anything with much fancy pleating or extra shaping seams over the bust, yoke, etc.  And really the key with making an upcycle look classy and original is keep it simple and let the fabric/base show off on its own!

Hope that gives you some fun ideas!

Readers, what great upcycling visions do you have for something like this?  Have you done a similar project before?



How to Wear DIY: A fave dress and perfect beach weather!

Whew! Finally done editing all the pics from our little mini-vacation to Long Beach and out favorite Oregon coast places.  Here's some pics here, but I also had a chance for a little How to Wear DIY and am sharing it now!

We had THE perfect Oregon coast beach weather, we got really lucky.  I brought quite a few clothing options but luckily got to wear the nice-weather ones.  Which included this dress, seriously one of my faves ever.  Made it a couple years ago now and it's definitely just one of the most wearable, easy-cute summer dresses I've owned.  Guess that means I should make more that are sort of like it!

Got to wear it walking around Downtown Seaside, one of our fave places to go.  Love the pedestrian-friendly layout of the downtown area leading up to the boardwalk.

I also rocked my new hat for quite a lot of the trip.  I'm pretty late to the fedora trend, but I really like this one!  This is super new for me, so I experimented wearing it with several different outfits! Yellow jeans one day, homemade dress the next... hope it worked ok.  I have a huge head, too, so usually hats off the rack don't fit.  But Forever 21 had about 15 different styles I swear, and this one fit the best.

P.S. Sorry for the blue, shady hues of all the pics... sunny day = harsh shadows and I don't know how to make that look good in a photo.  But, check out the coolness of my new lens!
Hat and sunnies: Forever 21. Jacket: Nordstrom Rack. Flats: Land's End. 
Watch: AE. Necklaces: Forever 21 (similar/similar). Dress: DIY, one of my faves!

(Hey, that reminds me... anyone have any tips for taking quality pics in full sun?  Know of any great posts or tutorials?)



Summer Sundress series post!

A while back Melissa of Melly Sews asked me to contribute to her Summer Sundress Series this month.  A bunch of talented bloggers, sharing out love of sundresses for adults and kids, in a variety of projects, tutorials, and posts.

Of course I loooooove sundresses--making myself cute clothes over the summer break was how I got into sewing!!!--so of COURSE I had something to say!  I considered posting a list of my top fave sundresses, but I decided you all probably wanted to see a new dress. ;)  So, I made one that incorporates a lot of my fave elements for spring and summer: hint:

Colorblock + bustier + flounced skirt + MINT! + linen...

So head on over to her blog today and read my Summer Sundress Series post!  You know you want the details and how I did it.  Here's a teaser...

Check out the story here!



Vacation is good for you. Pics!!

I mentioned last week husband and I went on a mini-vacation to celebrate our dating anniversary.  We had a great time, which was suprising considering we've had a really rough month and I was not in a super party mood.  But OMG, I forgot how good it feels to be on vacation!

My first vacation since our honeymoon, and the only vacation I've planned this year--and it was only one night.  But it was a great refresher.  Vacation Suzannah is much more fun than Regular Suzannah.  ;)

We started out our trip with a picnic at Cape Disappointment State Park on the Washington Coast.  (Oh, and I should note--this was also my first time playing with my new 50mm lens and I am in love. Changed my life. ISO down to like 1.something and love the sharp focus! So happy I bought it!)

Then we checked into our cool eco-friendly hotel in Long Beach, Washington, the Adrift Hotel... I had a special discount thing, but it's super affordable anyway and I def wanna go back sometime. We relaxed in the cool, modern, minimalist room and used the iPod dock...

Then we borrowed bikes from the hotel lobby--cool feature, right!?--and biked around Long Beach.  Here's the famous Marsh's Free Museum.

Other, uh, attractions...

And even rode onto the beach!

The hotel had a super cool restaurant/bar thing on the top floor, with a great ocean view and cool west elm-ey decor.

After dinner we borrowed a movie and game from the lobby, and ended up just playing Risk for a couple hours! Amazing how fun something so simple can be. Helps when you're staring out your window at the sunset over the beach, though.

Oh, one of my favorite parts... Friday morning, we sat on the comfy couches in the cool, modern lobby and read our books for two hours!  And enjoyed the organic coffee they had.

They gave me a special French press for my decaf.  Luxury... ;)

It was still super early and gorgeous out, so we went for a walk in the sun on the beach--this is pretty rare for the Pacific Northwest coast in June!

Then we headed down the coast to Seaside, Oregon, one of our favorite places, and had some lunch. And saw the annual vintage car show, which we remembered we've seen about five other times celebrating other anniversaries over the eight years we've been together and liked going to the beach. Funny. We also went to the saltwater taffy place where you get to spin the wheel. We didn't win anything.

But, Seaside is great in the sun, too!

Then it was back home, feeling refreshed and festive.  Vacation is the best.  So glad it's summer and hopefully I'll have the chance for a few other short trips away!



DIY summery wedge project... before and after!

I'm totally into shoe projects this summer!  After the complete success I had with these ones that I dyed, I'm on a roll and am totally stoked to make more totally unique DIY summery wedges.

The next project I've done is give these faves from last summer an update.  I was totally in love with these when I got them at JC Penney last year, but now they just seem sort of boring and a little tired.  Not quite as high as some of the trends this year, either, so they needed something else to give them some excitement!

So, I gave them a colorblock facelift and spray-painted the middle leather band with a bright coral spray paint. Wahoo!
They're real leather, right, and pretty nice quality compared to some of the cheap summer shoes I've owned, so I had a mini- panic attack after the first whoosh of spray paint.  But, there was no turning back, and I think it worked out fine.

I considered doing something to cover the row of stitching in the middle, but after I painted them, I figured... hey, they look pretty done!  I don't know if they need anything else, any other accents, so hopefully the textured row in the middle doesn't look too weird.

So, did my mint wedge DIY inspire you to update any summer shoes?? Did this project?  I wanna know if I'm the only one out there doing this--I don't think I'm crazy but it's nice to check! ;)

And, how would you wear tan leather colorblock espadrilles?!?



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