September Showcase: Small Fry Skinny Jeans.

Small Fry Skinny Jeans pattern review at www.thesoutherninstitute.com

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of meeting Ashley and Emily of Frances Suzanne at a sewing bloggers meet up here in Nashville. They are two of the sweetest women you will meet, and it was so much fun to hang out with them for the afternoon. When I got an email from them a couple of months ago with an invitation to be a part of the September Showcase for the Flip This Pattern series I was so excited!

September Showcase

For two weeks, the September Showcase features 10 Indie Pattern Designers that have released fewer than 5 patterns, and bloggers like me get to review the patterns for you. There are fun giveaways and discount codes for you to take advantage of too! For the September Showcase there’s no need to “Flip”, we were able to just sew the pattern “as-is” for review, which was good for me because I chose to sew the Small Fry Skinny Jeans pattern from Titchy Threads. I was really excited about this for two reasons…

1) Laura of Titchy Threads is a friend and has been a contributing designer in the Sew Fab Pattern Sale… I love her and I love her patterns.

2) Never in my life have a attempted to sew a pair of real deal jeans before. This seemed like the perfect time to do it!

SF front loops

First of all, I’ll start by stating that this is a great pattern. I have been really intimidated by the whole make-your-own-jeans thing. I’ve seen other sewing blogger friends make the Small Fry Skinnies for their kids and figured I couldn’t do it. But I was wrong, because Laura has created a pattern with wonderful instructions and great photos, which make it very doable for someone who knows their way around their sewing machine.

The exterior details that this pattern includes are so amazing! Everything that you would see in a pair of jeans from, say the Gap, is on these jeans, from the top stitching on the side seam, to the flat felled seams, to the coin pocket inside the front pocket on the right leg. It’s all there! Except for the rivets that I didn’t get on in time to take these photos. Oops.

SF single front pocket

I sewed these as basically as I could, with plain back pockets. We don’t really go for the fancy top stitching on the back pockets in our family. If I had put any on these, chances are my husband would not have let our son leave the house in them, lol. So I kept them basic, and I love them that way. I prefer my back pockets plain too.

SF full back

What details are not shown in the photos are the interior details, which are great. The Small Fry Skinny Jeans include an adjustable waist! You heard me right… an adjustable waist, just like those more expensive manufactured jeans do, with buttonhole elastic that grows with your child. I LOVE that detail!!! Luke is very petite, but he has a high waist so typically he needs length in the legs that his waist size can’t keep up with, so an adjustable waistband is a necessity for him. Putting one in was a cinch when following this pattern. I was shocked at how easy it was! The pattern was true to size as far as I could tell. I measured, consulted the sizing chart in the pattern, and made the size 6 (which is what he is wearing in Old Navy jeans right now) and they are just a little bit bigger, not much at all.

The only problem that I have with the finished jeans (and I stress that this is my problem) is that the fly cover pulls away from the zipper when he moves, so the zipper shows, and I’m not a fan of that. Laura has already given me some feedback on where I went wrong there and I’m excited to get it right next time. Other than that, I couldn’t be happier with the way these jeans turned out, and though they were a labor of love and stretched my sewing skills further than I’ve taken them, I can now say that I have made an actual pair of jeans! And Luke loves them… that’s the icing on the cake. I know you know what I mean.

SF collage

Check out the other designers/patterns/and bloggers that are part of the September Showcase:

September Showcase Patterns

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkuerst.

This post is part of Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE.

The Best Yes blog tour at www.thesoutherninstitute.com

Does the quote above speak to you in any way? It does me. Maybe this sounds familiar: You have a hard time just being still. Your day consists of you rushing from one thing to the next. You feel guilty taking any time for yourself. When is the last time you just sat and read a book for the fun of it? Before you know it, it’s 11:30 p.m. and you realize that you haven’t even stopped to spend time with God today. You haven’t cracked your Bible open or uttered a word of thanks to Him, outside of the dinner time and bed time prayers that were spoken with your children. The day is ending and you wish you had about 8 more hours because your to-do list is no where nearly checked off and you feel completely drained and empty, falling into bed, exhausted, and yet your mind is still going 100 MPH thinking about what you need to get done tomorrow.

Does any of that sound familiar?

“When a woman lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule, she’ll ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.”

How has this played out in your life? Does your soul feel underwhelmed? Yes? Here’s the thing…

“The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul.”

Did you see that? It’s an eye opener isn’t it? Life doesn’t just happen to us, at least not the majority of the time. The decisions that we make determine the schedule that we keep. If I haven’t made a point to carve out time with God in the morning then guess what? It ain’t happening, because there is ALWAYS something else fighting for my time and attention. Always. And I let it. And I let it win more often than I should. I’m left overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

This book is about finding your best yes.

Lysa TerKeurst is learning that there is a big difference between saying yes to everyone and saying yes to God. Because really, when we say yes to everything we are saying no to something, right? Is that implied “no” the very thing that is your best “yes”? I can’t answer that for you, but The Best Yes just might be able to help you figure that out. In The Best Yes Lysa will help you:

-Cure the disease to please with a biblical understanding of the command to love.
-Escape the guilt of disappointing others by learning the secret of the small no.
-Overcome the agony of hard choices by embracing a wisdom based decision-making process.
-Rise above the rush of endless demands and discover your Best Yes today.

I have not even gotten to the end of this book yet and it’s already got me thinking in a new way. Whenever I read a book from Lysa I feel my soul saying, “Yes! You get me, Lysa. Thank you for putting into words what I haven’t been able to verbalize. Thank you for helping me think through this!”

Here are some more great quotes from The Best Yes:

“We must not confuse the command to love with the disease to please.”

“We have to put our hearts and our minds in places where wisdom gathers, not scatters.”

“If you desire to please God with the decision you make and afterward it proves to be a mistake, it’s an error not an end.”

“My imperfections will never override God’s promises. God’s promises are not dependent on my ability to always choose well, but rather on His ability to use well.”

“Not making a decision is actually a decision. It’s the decision to stay the same.”

New York Times Bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst’s new book is about finding your Best Yes. Many call this book “inspiring” and “fabulous.” I call it a game-changer. Go grab a copy here, I’m going to go read my Bible. ;)

On friends and sunglasses.

Firmoo review atwww. thesoutherninstitute.com
Last year turned out to be a pretty great month. I turned forty years old… FORTY! Do you remember the fundraiser for Enchanted Makeovers that I posted about? Maybe you contributed! If so, thank you so very much, because you were one of the many that helped me reach my goal of raising $1000 for that amazing non-profit organization. Because of our coming together there will be hope where there was little hope before. I’m so excited about that!

Earlier this year I had told my husband that my fortieth birthday wish was to go away for the weekend with my two best friends, and my sister if she was able. So, I decided to make it happen instead of just wishing about it! We found a weekend in July that would work for all of us, I rented a beach house on the coast of South Carolina, and we hit the road. Sadly, my sister wasn’t able to come with us.

Folly Beach sunrise

We had the best time, just three 40-year-old girls who were college roommates and have been best friends for 20+ years. We listened to 80′s music, we laughed, we cried, we laid out on the beach, we went out to eat, and we relaxed. It was exactly what we needed, a time to catch up without kids and husbands, just like we used to. It had been years since we had time to spend together like that. I missed it. It’s so important to nurture the relationships in our lives. In this online world it’s easy to get caught up in the social worlds of Facebook, IG and Twitter, but please don’t neglect the real life friendships that you are blessed with. They are a gift.

Folly Beach South Carolina

Funny story about the trip. I brought my favorite sunglasses with me, of course, because they go with me EVERYWHERE! Seriously. I don’t really like wearing contacts so I wear my glasses almost all of the time, but I’m also out and about a lot. I wear my prescription sunglasses most of the day when I’m out. My first pair of prescription glasses were from Firmoo.com. Yes, they were huge on my face, but I loved them! The picture at the top of the post is of my daughter and me in my beloved Firmoo sunnies…

So, my besties and I were enjoying a cool off in the ocean. The waves were rolling in, no big deal, they weren’t that big. Silly me, I turned my back to the waves, and I bet you can guess what happened. Oh my goodness, I never even knew what hit me! A wave hit me from behind and put. me. down. All of the sudden I was underwater and had no clue for a few seconds which way was up. Thankfully I had only been up to my waist in the water, so I found the ocean floor pretty quickly and emerged from the water, sputtering. That dang wave had knocked my sunglasses right off of my face. Needless to say I never saw them again. LUCKILY, Firmoo had just emailed me the week before to ask if I wanted to review a pair of their new glasses, and of course I agreed. Could the timing have been more perfect? I think not.

Firmoo review at www.thesoutherninstitute.com

So here I am in my new prescription sunglasses from Firmoo.com, and I’ve already gotten compliments on them. People are shocked when I tell them how inexpensive they are and that they are prescription sunglasses. You really cannot go wrong with Firmoo. Especially if you are prone to losing your glasses (who me?). You can even take advantage of their First Pair Free program and get your first pair of selected frames free! Even outside of that offer, the average price of frames is only about $33! Some of the prescription sunglasses are a bit more, but frames are still $80 or less. So go take a look and see if something catches your eye. I bet you’ll find a pair that you love.

Just don’t wear them in the ocean.

I received my sunglasses free of charge through Firmoo’s blogger program, but I would gladly pay for them myself! All opinions are honest and my own, as always.