How to Sew Lined Panel Drapes with Button Accents

And again it has been a long time since I have sat down to write anything.  As you can tell from this post I am detouring again from talking about food.  My blog is definitely going to be all over the place (because if you know me, then you know I’m all over the place), but the main theme is probably going to me more about crafty stuff since that is typically what I enjoy doing the most.  Today I’m going to show you some lined panel drapes I made for Maddox’s room and also show you how I made them in case you want to do some like mine.  Before I get started I am assuming you have basic sewing machine knowledge.  And when I say basic I mean very basic because that is all the knowledge that I have.  The harder stuff (sewing buttonholes and buttons) I am going to include in the tutorial.  Before you read my tutorial though you need to go read this one because I am actually picking up at the end of hers.  This tutorial explains to you how to make the basic panels.  When cutting your fabric you do need to add 16 inches to your panel instead of the 10 she says.  The reason for this is that we are actually making a casing to put the rod through instead of using clips.  Once you use her tutorial and get to step 13 come back here.  You don’t want to do her last 2 steps because we are not hemming up the top like she did.

Step 1: Measure 4 inches from the lining of the panel.  I chose to do it this way because my fabric that was cut for me was not actually even and I knew I wanted 4 inches for the final hem.

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I made several marks so that I could see where to fold up the hem at each point.

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Step 2: Fold up hem, press with an iron, and sew across (sorry, not picture here).

Step 3: Fold again this time giving yourself 4 inches.  (In the picture I used 5 because I cut my fabric one inch too long, but you should use 4).

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Step 4: Press the seam.  Here is a hint:  Actually press down on the seam, don’t iron it all the way across.  If you just press down on it instead of sliding the iron across it will keep your fabric straighter.  Don’t sew across yet.

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Step 5: Unfold and on the back measure how long your liner is.  Mine is 36 inches so I spaced my buttons 6 inches apart (this gave me 7 buttons total per panel because I had a button on the edge of each panel and then 5 in between).  Measure every 6 inches and make a mark with a fabric pencil.  Your marks do not have to be lined up straight just yet, we will do that in the next step.

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Step 6: However far you want your buttonhole from the top is how far you need to measure from the ironed seam.  I wanted my buttonhole one inch from the top so that is how far I measured.  Remember the marks you made in the last step?  Make sure your one inch marks lines up with those and make a bigger mark so you know this is the true spot for your button.  Hopefully that makes sense.

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Step 7: Put a pin through each one of your marks.  This will show you where to start your buttonhole on the front.  The reason I did it this way was because I have trouble getting marks off the front of my fabric so I did not want to mark it up on the front.

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See the pin on the front? We will need that in just a moment.

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Step 8: Attach your buttonhole foot (mine might look different than yours).

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Step 9: Line up the pin so it is the middle of your buttonhole foot.  You can see my buttonhole has 7 markings on it.  Those are each 1/8 of an inch so the biggest buttonhole it will make is 7/8 inch.  My buttons were 7/8 inch buttons so that is why I started all the way at the back.

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Step 10: Set your stitch length somewhere between 0-1.  I set mine just barely above 0. Your width should be at 5.  Now put your pattern selector on step 1 and sew straight down.

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When you get to the bottom make sure you have the needle out and put your selector on step 2 (this sew a zig zag stitch to make the bottom of your buttonhole). Sew 4-6 stitches.

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Raise the needle out of the fabric and put your selector on step 3 and sew up to the top.

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Raise the needle up out of the fabric and put the dial back to step 4 and sew 4-6 stitches at the top.

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This is what your final buttonhole should look like.  Mine is actually orange but I forgot to take a picture so here it is in white :).

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Step 11: Replace your buttonhole foot with your button foot and darning plate.

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Step 11: Put your fabric under and line up your button on top of the buttonhole.  As you can tell we are just making fake buttonholes.  I wasn’t going to actually use the buttonhole to support the fabric weight so I just decided to sew the button on the top instead. Much easier.

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Step 11:  From here it might be easier to follow your machines manual with how to sew on the button, but for my machine what I did was set my stitch length to 0 and stitch width to zero and sewed 3-4 straight stitches into the the left hole.  After I did that played around with the width of the zig zag stitch (mine ended up being set at 4) and I sewed 6-7 zig zag stitches back and forth between the two holes and then I went back to a width of zero and put 2-3 more straight stitches in.  Continue with this for all of your buttons.

Step 12: Remember that hem we ironed before?  Now it’s time to fold it over and sew it up.  Ta Da!!  You now have pretty buttons on the casing :).

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Step back and enjoy your final project and give yourself a pat on the back!

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If you have extra fabric left over like I did then you could also make some matching pillows.  Here is a great tutorial for how to sew an envelope pillow cover.  The only thing I did different was sew the buttons on the top piece before sewing the back and front together.

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The birth of Maddox Highfill

So I’m taking a little detour from talking about food to write down Maddox’s birth story. I have been wanting to do this for awhile because the farther away you get from an event, the more you forget about it.  So with that being said, read at your own caution: this is about birth after all :).

I want to start off by saying that Kai’s birth was great. Looking back I don’t regret anything at all. It went perfect and as planned and there were no complications.  With that being said, I wanted Maddox’s birth to go differently.  With Kai I did the all med route (induction & epidural), but with Maddox I wanted a drug free birth.  When I had Kai in never even really dawned on me that people still give birth naturally and over the course of the last 2 years I have met many inspiring women who have done it, which made it seem all the more possible.

So with that in mind we signed up for for a Bradley Birthing Class and in Lewisville and our awesome friends Matt and Shannon watched Kai every Sunday while we went to class.  Each week I felt more and more confident that I could do this until all of our plans came to a screeching halt when I went for my 30 week ultra sound.  Maddox was breech. I was so discouraged, I really had felt that God had put this desire in my heart and I was very upset because it was looking like we were going to have to have a c-section unless he flipped.  I started looking into all my options to get him flipped (laying upside down on an ironing board, going to the chiropractor, walking a ton, using essential oils, etc.).  If someone had a suggestion I was going to try it.  Week after week went by and still nothing was changing.  I had an ultra sound at 32 weeks and he was still breech.  I went for my 35 week check up when my doctor checked to see how far I was dilated, still breech.  She scheduled me for another ultra sound at 36 weeks because she wanted to check exactly where he was at to see if we could possibly try a version (that is when the doctor tries to manually flip the baby from the outside, ouch!).  We went in for the sonogram at 36 weeks and I had not felt any big movements so I was pretty sure he was still breech. The tech put the wand on my lower abdomen and we saw a head! He had a flipped :)!  It was amazing the amount of stress that lifted from that day.

Each week went by and he stayed head down so I was feeling more and more confident about it working out.  I went in for my 40 week check up and was dilated to 4cm and 75% effaced.  Things were looking good.  My doctor was going on vacation the next week so she was very antsy about me trying to have this baby naturally.  She really wanted to induce me, but I was dead set on not having that done.  I did want her to deliver Maddox, but not at the expense of having a drug-free birth.  I went home and took a walk with Kai around 2 and I felt like I was having very mild contractions.  I stopped walking and went and sat down and they stopped so I thought it must be false labor.  Around 4:30 they kind of started coming back again.  My mother in law had come by for a bit but I didn’t say anything because I still wasn’t real sure, but around 5:30 they started getting a little heavier and around 6:30 I texted Zach to let him know that I thought I was in labor, but contractions were still pretty far apart.  They were pretty intense when they did come, but still around 10 minutes apart.  Zach got home a little bit after that and we sat down to eat dinner and he started timing my contractions.  Over the next 30 minutes they started coming closer together (like 4-5 minutes) so we decided to go for a walk to see if anything would change.  Pretty much as soon as we started walking the contractions went from 4-5 minutes apart to around 2-3 minutes apart and were very intense when they came.  I had been talking to my mom during this time and was unsure about whether she should make the drive up from Oklahoma.  Looking back I don’t know why I wasn’t sure this was labor.  In our birthing class they hound you about not going to the hospital too early and so I think I was scared about that.  I didn’t want to get there and have things stall and feel pressured to intervene.   We didn’t even make it around the neighborhood and I said we needed to go back and get ready to head to the hospital.  We made it back to the house finally and I laid down on the couch while Zach was rushing around trying to get last minute things together.  He went outside and asked our neighbors to watch Kai for us while we went to the hospital and when he came back in I told him I thought I was going to throw up….and then I did.  Side note: do not eat pasta with red sauce if you think you are going into labor, it’s not fun to clean up :).  We got all the stuff together and headed out to the hospital.  When we got to the hospital the lady asked us if we had pre-registered (which we had), but we still had stuff to sign and insurance cards to give.  She asked me if I was able to sign the documents and I looked at Zach and said “I don’t know”.  I was having a hard time making any type of decision.  She asked if I had thrown up at all and I said yes and she started rushing after that.  Throwing up is usually a sign that you are transitioning from stage 1 labor to stage 2 (the pushing part).  She asked if I wanted to walk or be pushed in a wheel chair and I again wasn’t sure what the best decision was.  Zach took my hand and said we would try to walk.  I took about 3 steps and said “no, I think I need a wheel chair”.  At about that time I turned around and threw up again.  I felt so bad, but the girl was so nice and said she had cleaned up vomit many times before so not to worry.

When we got back to Labor & Delivery they had no rooms left so they put us in a tiny triage room that they don’t usually use for delivery. I didn’t even care.  I got undressed and put on my cute hospital gown that I made (but seriously, at this point I was not even caring what kind of gown I had).  The nurse came in and checked to see how far as I was dilated, but she couldn’t really tell because the bag of water was so far down it was in the way.  She estimated I was around a 7-8 and that it was probably time to call the doctor.  They called the doctor and she got there not long after that.  One of the things that we were pretty adamant about was that I did not want my water broken.  When your water breaks you are pretty much on a clock to have to have the baby within 24 hours and so we wanted it to break naturally so as to avoid being on that clock.  When my doctor came in and checked me she told me that Maddox was at a -2 station (that is very low) and that if I let her break my water I could push him out right then.  I said go for it :).  Zach later told me that for about a mili-second he thought about saying no, because it was something we felt strong about before the birth.  One of his job as the coach was to help me stick to our plan when my reasoning went out the door.  The whole reason we didn’t want the water broken though was to avoid the 24 hour clock and I can tell you 100% that there was no way I was going to be laboring that hard for 24 hours without having this baby one way or the other.  So she broke my water and we started pushing.  I had never been so tired in my life.  My legs were shaking.  She kept telling me to push through the count of 10 but there was no way that was happening.  I made it to around a count of 7 most of the time.  It did seem like I pushed forever, but in all actuality it was about 15 minutes.  At 10:10 pm Maddox Joel came into the world weighing 9 pounds 7 ounces and 21 inches long.  He was and is perfect in every way.

Like I said at the beginning, I loved Kai’s birth and I have no regrets about it.  I also don’t want this to come off as being judgmental if you choose to have a medicated birth. I had it with Kai and he is perfect as well!!  It was an amazing experience with both of my abies and I really just want this to serve as an inspiration if anyone is thinking about possibly having a medication free birth.  It is possible and doable.  My recovery was AMAZING after I had Maddox.  I stood up and walked out of my room like 45 minutes after I had him.  Birth is such a miracle and I have been blown away by God’s glory during both births!

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Whole30 Day 30 +slower cooker freezer meals

So I never did get around to writing about day 30.  We did manage to make it to the end and I forget what I had for breakfast and lunch that day. I’m sure breakfast was eggs and smoothie as always :).  Dinner was one of my favorites that night though.  I made tropical turkey meatloaf  and it was delicious.  The recipe is actually tropical chicken meatloaf, but I used ground turkey instead.  I do that alot with ground meat (just use whatever I have). I was a little worried that it was going to be too sweet, but the jalapeno pepper and the bell peppers really evened out the flavor and it was very good.  Zach ended up losing 20 pounds and I lost 8.  I am so proud of us for accomplishing the goal and I feel good about continuing to eat healthy.  We have definitely indulged over the past week (two birthday celebrations has not helped), but overall we have pretty much still stayed on plan.  My running is going great and i am consistently running 3 miles and working now on reducing my time.

I posted on facebook about making 20 slower cooker meals so I wanted to talk a little bit about that because I had lots of people interested in it.  I used this website for everything.  Recipes, instructions, shopping guide, etc.  She said she was able to assemble everything in an hour and 50 minutes, but I found it harder than that.  Part of it could be the fact that I have a 3 month old and I work from home so I was not able to just work for 2 hours straight.  What i do HIGHLY recommend if you want to do this is to buy the $5 plan she has for sale.  It was well worth the instructions on how to assemble it all and to do certain tasks in certain orders. It did save me a ton of time in the long run. I’m not going to share that because I feel $5 is pretty cheap for the service she offered and she asked that it not be shared between people.  She has another printable available for $1.50, but all it includes is the recipes and a grocery shopping list.  The $5 package is what includes the assembly instructions.  You also get links to watch her do the entire process in under 2 hours.  I didn’t watch that, but if you are a visual person than that is nice.  A few things to note:

  • Costco did not have sweet potatoes for sale so I had to buy those at Sprouts
  • Her price breakdown said the pork chops and the stew meet were going to be $15 but they were actually $20+.  I looked all around but couldn’t find any for the price she listed.
  • Her recipes only called for 10 of the 15 pounds of potatoes, but I ended up just cutting them all up.  We like potatoes and I know we will definitely eat them.  Plus, those potatoes will just go bad if I didn’t use them.
  • ^^Same is true for the onions.  I ended up cutting up 8 onions instead of 5.
  • Instead of the curry chicken I used the recipe for maple chicken.  Basically all I did was pour maple syrup in the bag instead of coconut milk and curry powder
  • Go sparingly on the carrots.  I did two heaping cup fulls for each recipe and I ran out on the last one.  Luckily, I had a small bag of carrots in the fridge that I could use.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.  All of the recipes look delicious, but I think my favorites are going to be the sausage, peppers, and onions and the chicken and sausage stew.

Tropical Turkey Meatloaf:

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All of my meals assembled and ready to freeze:

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Whole30 Day 29

Day 29 woot woot!! Yesterday was CUH-razy busy.  We were at home for just a couple of hours total between when we left for the morning and came back for the evening, but it was a fabulous day.  We had church so we got up early for that.  We teach in the college group and all the kids are starting to flood Denton again so we’re getting excited about that :).  We had our standard eggs and smoothies for breakfast.  After church we had leadership training for college group led by our fearless leader Austin. It was at 1:30 and there was no child care (which I didn’t realize until last minute) so our AMAZING friends Matt and Shannon stepped in and came to the house to watch Kai and I took Maddox with me to the meeting.  Anyways, we rushed home after church and ate a quick lunch (I’m losing my mind because I don’t even remember what we ate haha).  We have just been cleaning out the fridge so it’s really been a hodgepodge of things.  Our meeting went a little longer then expected, but our other AMAZING friends Susan and Ben had us over for dinner so I didn’t have to cook that day, yay!  We came home and chatted a bit with Matt and Shannon and then got ready to head over to Susan and Ben’s.  Susan made a very delicious dinner.  She fried chicken thighs and made a superb mushroom sauce to go with it.  She also roasted potatoes and made asparagus.  Kai loved all of it and gobbled it right up.  Yesterday just made me feel so blessed by the friends we have in our lives.  Life is so much better and easier with awesome friends.

As I sit here and write this I am at the end of day 30.  I really want to just finish it up today, but I want to keep my posts separate so you’ll have to wait with baited breath…..was I able to make it 30 days?

Whole30 Day 28

Today was our last big shopping day before whole 30 has ended. I will still continue to shop at Sprouts even after this is over. It has truly become my favorite grocery again. I don’t really know why I ever stopped going in the first place.

I was able to get up and run in the morning because Zach didn’t have to be up to the football office until 8.  I ran 2.5 miles and I definitely could have done 3 if I had enough time, but he was needing to head out the door so I had to stop.  For lunch we were just trying to clean out the fridge.  I had the last of the chicken thighs and a half of a baked potato and Zach had the last of the chicken sausages and the other half of the baked potato.  As soon as the kiddos got up from naps (Maddox slept 2.5 hours by the way, oh yeah!!) we headed out to go grocery shopping.  We went and looked at the new Ford Explorers because we are thinking about getting a new car so that made it pretty late by the time we actually got to Sprouts.  I didn’t really have anything thawed at home so we looked in their meat section and they had lemon garlic chicken kabobs.  I asked the guy what was in the marinade and he brought out this giant bottle of marinade and started reading off the ingredients very loudly.  He was about as happy as the cafeteria worker was when Josie Geller asked what was in the coleslaw on Never Been kissed (I was trying to find a clip of this scene, but I couldn’t find one). Once he read off everything that was in it we decided it was whole 30 approved so we brought it home and grilled it for dinner.  I will say that I was a little disappointed in the taste. It was actually pretty bland, but at least it didn’t require much work.  We sliced up some mango for a side and ate the last of the silky zucchini ginger soup as well.

Even though we are officially done with whole 30 on Monday my menu for the week still consisted of pretty much whole 30 foods.  Really the only difference for this week is that I have brown rice planned as a side for one night….living on the wild side haha.

Whole30 Day 27

I seriously can’t believe we are almost done. I still struggle with exactly what our life is going to look like after whole 30 is over. We are done on Monday and we went grocery shopping today and all my meals for next are whole 30 except for a side of brown rice one night.  I think we’re really going to just try to keep up with it at home (other than doing more grains for sides) and limit our eating out.

Last night was probably the worst night I have had as far as cravings.  It was a very long, tiring day and at the end I seriously just wanted some ice cream and a coke.  Instead I ate a chicken thigh and some apples and almond butter and it actually hit the spot pretty well.

For breakfast we got up and had eggs and smoothies.  For lunch we had left over hamburgers and portabello mushrooms.  I put a little mayonnaise mixed with the wholly guacamole and it was really good.  Zach had leftover fajitas, and we both had apples as well.  Tonight was the first football scrimmage and several of the coaches wives got together to meet for dinner at Fuzzy’s.  I decided to go and get a salad and brought my own salsa since most salsa’s have sugar in them.  I was pleased to find out when I asked that to cook their fajita grilled chicken they just put spices on it and grill it with steamed water.  The girl behind the counter was so helpful and pleasant about helping me figure out what I could eat.  Zach ended up just eating some chicken thighs and an apple when he got home.  I had put potatoes in the oven and they had been cooking over an hour but still weren’t done.

I’m not going to lie to yall, this last week has been rough and at this point and I am ready to be done with this journey.  I do feel great, but I am looking forward to being able to not have to cook every single night.  That has definitely been one of the hardest challenges of this journey.  I am so grateful for what I have learned and I know we will be so much better for it, but I am also excited for it to be over :).

Whole30 Day 26

Yesterday Kai decided to wake up around 6:30 am to ring in his birthday. In the last few months he has been sleeping in until about 8:30 or 9 but over the last few weeks he is getting up earlier and earlier causing me to be tireder and tireder. I know tireder is not a word by the way, but it’s what I want to use so I will use it :).  My gracious mother was here and she got up and sat with him and watched Jake and the Neverland Pirates while I slept in for another hour and a half. Thank you mom!  When I did get we finished off the last of the egg muffins for breakfast and I eventually got around to making smoothies not too long before it was time to eat lunch.  For lunch Zach went and got brisket from Bet The House BBQ.  It’s a new barbecue place that opened up a couple months ago and the owner works at Ryan with him.  He asked him what all he puts on the brisket and he said just some spices (no sugar), so he went and got 1.5 pounds of brisket and yall, we ate ALL of it.  It is so good, if you live in Denton you should definitely give it a try.  Dinner was also very good.  One of the best we have had, I think, since starting whole 30.  I thawed some ground beef and mixed garlic salt, pepper, and salt together and rubbed it in good.  I also put about 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos.  I used our patty press to make the hamburger patties and they turned out very well again!  We bought giant round portabello mushrooms to serve in place of the “bun” and I absolutely loved that.  I am a big mushroom person though.  If you’re not a mushroom person it might not be your thing.  I grilled them on the top of the part of the grill for about 10 minutes while the hamburgers were cooking and they turned out very nicely.  It was also nice because I had something to put my mayonnaise and mustard on.  I also grilled asparagus and made avocado fries. The avocado fries were so good, I would definitely recommend them to anyone who is doing whole 30 or even just eating paleo.  The picture below is what they looked like.  I actually dipped them in a little bit of mayonnaise (because that’s just how I roll), but they were also delicious all on their own.

avocado fries