Friday, August 16, 2013

Before I started Banana Bear, I used to design photo birth announcements, birthday invitations, and holiday cards for Belly Bean Designs.  It's been a few years since I worked for that company, but I've dabbled in it on the side and have a few exclusive designs.   (I can either print these for you on photo paper or cardstock or you may purchase a flattened jpeg to print at home or with your favorite printer).

Here are a few of my favorite birth announcements.  I have some birthday designs made to match my tees too.  Look out for those coming to the blog soon!

This design is available in any color.  Pink or purple would be great for girls!

A girly version also available.

Love this sweet face!  

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Guess what...I'm moving...yes, again

Yes, you read that right.  I'm moving...again.  It's been just over a year since my last post (I need to blog more!) and we're fixin' to move again.  This time we're leaving our house in CT, which we had hoped to stay in for four years and we're headed even farther north to Maine.  Did I ever mention that I hate cold weather?

Despite not wanting to move, I am pretty excited about the change.  I don't particularly care for the part of CT that we're in, so it's not going to be hard to leave.  I'm looking forward to exploring the beautiful Maine coast and enjoying lots of lobstah while we're up there.

My sewing room in the current house is pretty large (21x21 feet) and I love it!  It has room for a small sofa with chaise lounge, TV, and a small play area.  It's really nice to be able to have someone hang out up here with me when I'm sewing.  I hate feeling closed off from everything.  I also have plenty of space to spread out.

My new sewing room is a bit smaller.  I'm not sure of the exact dimensions, but it's probably something like 12x12.  I won't have space for a little playroom or the sofa, but it is right off of the great room, so  I'll still be able to be a part of the family.

New new room is a soft, bright yellow and there's beadboard on the bottom half of the walls.  Yellow isn't really my color, but it's pretty enough and I really have painting so I'll probably leave it.  There are other rooms that have paint that has to go.  I've been looking for a really cool, crafty quote or phrase to put on the main wall across from the door.  If anyone has a suggestion, please let me know!

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Thursday, August 2, 2012


As much as I've been avoiding thinking about it, it inevitable that we're moving in less than two months now.  I guess it's time for me to go through my stash and decide what I can live without and destash some things.  I've accumulated way too many supplies and blanks and seriously need to downsize.

One thing I really like about my current home is that it has a very open floor plan.  The bad thing about that is that my sewing room is in that very open part of the house.  It is open to the kitchen, dining area, and living room.  I only have one full wall and the room is completely open.  That means if I'm working in the evenings, I am annoying anyone who is watching TV or trying to relax quietly.  Then I have to hear the complaints and that annoys me.  Not only that, but the chaos of my sewing room is always staring at me.  It will be nice to have four walls and a door!

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pink Pirate Party

Last September, my "baby" girl turned five.  She originally wanted to have a princess birthday party, but I really, really, really wasn't feeling it.  After talking it up quite a bit, I convinced her that a Pink Pirate Party was the way to go.  I'm so glad that we did too.  It was a lot of fun!


Claire's invitations reflected the pink pirate theme.  I made the invitations (with purchased graphics) and had them printed on photo paper.  Originally I was planning to print on cardstock so I could add a pirate map to the back, but I didn't get them made in time, so I opted for photos, which I could pick up from my local pro-lab. 

We had a total of 15 little girls at the party.  At this age, it's really a toss up whether parents will stay or not and luckily we had quite a few moms (and a few dads too) who did stay to help supervise the bunch.
Here's the dining room set up for the party.  Justin hung black burlap on the wall and I adorned it with a pirate bunting and a poster for Captain Claire. The table has jewels, Hersey's (gold) nuggets, wine glasses, and gold coins.
As the girls were arriving, they were able to make some crafts.  I purchased some foam door hangers and frames that they could decorate with pirate themed foam stickers.  These all came from Michael's.

 After most of the guest arrived, lunch was served!  Unfortunately, I was so busy that I didn't get any pictures of the finished buffet, but you can see some of the set up in the photo above.  I purchased several pink and black bowls and buckets from the Target Dollar spot.  Those were perfect for serving dips, carrots, chips, and trail mixes.  Pink and black paper plates and napkins came from Party City.  Of course, we had to have food fit for pink pirates!  I made octo-dogs, golden treasure (chicken) nuggets, walk the plank crackers (Club Crackers), to name a few. I also served a fruit tray and pizza. I almost forgot...what's a pirate party without some Pirate's Booty!

The buffet was decorated in a hot pink table cloth.  This is a real table cloth that I actually use for craft fairs.  I purchased two of these large circular cloths a few years ago from a Navy Exchange sidewalk sale.  They were $2 each and I have to say they were well worth it!  You can also see in the photo that we have the pirate pinata and some framed photos of The Pink Pearl's adorable crew.

Elise, my teenager, and her friend Jennifer were an invaluable help.  They put together a treasure hunt for the girls after they finished their lunch.  It started out with one scroll with a clue to the next scroll.  The scroll hunt took them all around the house and yard and finally ended at the dining room table where they could enjoy their prize, which was a cupcake!  This was so much fun for the girls and it was cute listening to them try to figure out the clues.

I am some what of a cupcake snob.  I often make modified (box) cupcakes, but I HATE canned frosting.  I made these delicious chocolate cupcakes from scratch and they were decorated with hot pink peppermint frosting and embellished with pirate cupcake toppers.  I used the food coloring gel to get the frosting that bright fuchsia.

Instead of pink the tail on the donkey, we did pin the treasure on the "X."  This would have went better if I hadn't forgotten the blindfold!  Oh and learn right?
This map was used for our pin the treasure game.  I think it was printed to 16x20 inches.  It was nice and large.
 After the treasure game, we hung and busted the pinata.  I have to say that I really wish that it was one of the ribbon pull-string pinatas.  The girls went through the pinata busting line more than two times before the pinata would bust.  I tihnk finally Justin had to "help" it out a bit because that sucker wasn't going to break!

 Of course, what pirate girl's party is complete without her birthday shirt?  Claire wanted a pink pirate ship tee with the name of her ship, The Pink Pearl, on it.  I love the way it turned out and so did she!

I created all of the invitations, pirate map, cupcake toppers, food labels (not shown), posters, and framed pirate photos.  If you are interested in purchasing any of those,  please email me directly at mary @ Bananabearboutique . com (without the spaces) and I can help you out.  The invitations are $15 for you to print your own or $1.85 each for me to print on cardstock (minimum of 30) or $1.25 to print on photo cards. 

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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Twirly Skirt

On a recent shopping trip to a local quilt shop, my five year old fell in love with an owl/bird print fabric.  If you know me, you know I love owls too, but I just wasn't feeling the fabric.  It seemed too busy and it was on a white background.  But Claire begged me and begged me to buy it and make her a skirt from it so I relented.  

Looking through my skirt patterns, I couldn't find anything that wanted.  So I decided to make up my own.  Thus the owl twirly skirt was born.  Here's what I came up with:

Claire loved the skirt instantly especially the ric rac trim around the top layer of the skirt.  She was so excited to wear it to school the next day.  While she was in bed, I made her an owl tee to coordinate.  This adorable owl is from Applique Cafe.  I've had the design for quite a long time, but this was the first time that I've ever used it. I love the way it came out!

Lucky for me , Miss Claire wasn't too excited about her owl shirt.  She had other plans in mind, which included wearing a purple and red penguin shirt that completely didn't match.  I finally convinced her to put it on and wear it to school.  As you can tell, she wasn't too happy about it and let me know her day would be ruined. you think I have a drama queen on my hands?  

The good news is that within minutes of being at school, she had several compliments on her outfit, so the day was saved!

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Have you met Pumpkin?

About a year ago, I purchased this child's mannequin to model some of my creations and to use at craft fairs to display dresses and tees.  When it isn't in "official" use, I figured it would be a nice accent to my sewing room.  Even though this purchase was intended for use for Banana Bear, my dear Claire quickly fell in love with her and has taken her over.  
 One of the first things Claire asked me was "What's her name?"  I didn't really have an answer so, Claire demanded suggested "Pumpkin."

Claire and Pumpkin wearing matching dresses.

Pumpkin and her little sister Apple Dumplin' shared this modeling gig.
Pumpkin is versatile and even models boy tees!
Even after having Pumpkin for over a year, changing her clothes hasn't become old.  I rarely use her to model things anymore, but her outfit gets changed nearly everyday by my little diva.  Pumpkin is a favorite in my sewing studio. Pin It

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ruffle Bum Onesie Tutorial

An easy way to dress up a bodysuit is to add a ruffled bum!  This is such a cute project and can be completed with ease.

(Throughout the tutorial, click on the photos to enlarge.)

Before getting started you will need to gather your supplies.  You will need:
  • infant bodysuit
  • fabric - Scraps are okay, but you can make several out of a fat quarter.
  • ruler
  • fabric marking pin or chalk
  • pins
  • rotary cutter  

Let's get started!  Lay your bodysuit flat with the back facing up. Make sure that it is lying flat.  Measure from the top of the leg casing (see brown dots in photo) on each side of the bodysuit.  I am using a 6-12 month bodysuit and my measurement is 8.5".  Now use your fabric marker to draw a line from each casing top. This is the placement line for your first ruffle, which is your center ruffle. 

My ruffle bum is going to have three ruffles made out of the same fabric.  Sometimes I add four ruffles if I'm using two coordinating fabrics or three ruffles with three different fabrics. It's your bodysuit so you choose! 
You now want to mark your additional placement lines.  Measure 1" above and 1" below your center line and draw the placement lines for your top and bottom ruffle. Now that you have three placement lines, put your bodysuit aside.  We're going to make the ruffles!

(BEFORE you cut the ruffles, think about how you are finishing them (if you are).  If you are planning to sew a hem on the ruffles, add .5" or so to my measurements. If you are doing a rolled hem like me or going to keep them "raggy," then follow my measurements.    

I usually cut my ruffles so they are 1.5-2" tall.  I'm going to use 1.5" for this tutorial (this is without a hem allowance).  For the center ruffle and the top ruffle, you will double the measurement taken in the first step.  (Remember mine was 8.5" long.)  This will give you the length of the ruffle.  Cut two ruffles the same size (1.5x17").  The last ruffle will be shorter.  Measure the bottom line that you marked and then double that to get the length of your last ruffle.  Mine is 7" so I will cut the last ruffle to 1.5x14" long.  

My ruffles are cut and ready to have their hems rolled.
 I rolled my ruffler on the serger and now will gather the ruffles.  Start by taking each ruffle and sew a long stitch down the center of each piece of fabric.  If you want you can mark the center, but I just eyeball it.  (Just make sure that you don't back stitch because you need to gather it.)

Here are my ruffles waiting to be gathered.  If you don't know how to gather, there is a video here that shows you how as I'm not going into that step.  Be sure to have the shorter ruffle separated or marked.

Bring back the bodysuit.  You will start by adding the first long ruffle (once it is gathered).  That ruffle is going to be placed on the center line directly above the leg casing.  (My marker was running out of ink, so forgive me for the bad representation of the lines!)

Starting at one end of the bodysuit, pin the ruffle onto the bodysuit so that the gathering stitch is directly on the placement line.  I like to pin the ruffle at least every one inch.  It is far easier to just pin it rather than deal with the ruffle moving around when you are trying to stitch it.  Take care NOT to pin all the way through to the front of the bodysuit.  And if you do, make sure that you notice it before you sew the ruffle down.  Trust me...I know from experience that it makes it a pain!

Now that the ruffle is pinned in place SLOWLY sew the ruffle onto the bodysuit using the gathering stitch as your guide.  (I usually sew a 3-3.5 stitch length for this.) At the end of the line, stop your machine with your needle down and turn the bodysuit.  If you want to remove the gathering stitch (which I do about 50% of the time), it is easiest to do it now.  Carefully clip the gathering stitch and pull it out being careful not to cut the tack down stitch.  Once it is removed, go ahead and repeat the stitch you just finished ending where you began.

Your first ruffle is finished!

Next you will pin the last two ruffle in place.  As you do this, the ruffles might overlap slightly.  Just make sure that you don't pin the first ruffle down with the top or bottom ruffle.  Make sense?

The center ruffle is tacked down and the top ruffle is shown pinned.  Pin the shortest ruffle on the other side of the center ruffle.

Repeat the previous steps for sewing the last two ruffles in place. After that, just trim your loose threads and you're finished!  now you just need a little cutie to model it!

I hope that everything is clear.  If not, please leave me a comment and I'll try to answer your questions!

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