Sweet Summer Nightgown for Girls – Super Easy, Lazy Pattern

Beautiful, easy nightgown!

I have a soap box I need to stand on for a minute. I hate, hate, hate the flame-retardant material used in nightgowns for kids. The fabric feels nasty to me, and (perhaps the bigger problem), having these nightgowns in my house is a constant reminder of the power the tobacco industry has wielded in the US. Seriously; by influencing national legislation to require flame-retardant materials in PJs that aren’t tight fitting (by definition, all nightgowns), the tobacco industry was able to save a ton of money on lawsuits. When parents smoked in bed and caught the house on fire, kids sleepwear was less likely to go up in flames. This legislation is so restrictive that cotton fabrics meant for children even have to carry a warning on the selvage:

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So, yeah. If you want a nice, breathable cotton nightgown for sweltering summer nights, you have to make it yourself. Or go to Europe, where you can actually buy such things. Making one seemed a little easier, so that’s what I did. More

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Child’s Workspace Transformation

Workspace

My daughter’s art space has been, well, a disaster. This is a problem for several reasons. First, it’s impossible for her to find anything, and there’s no actual work space. More

Girl’s No-Pattern Mermaid Costume – Easy and Beautiful!

Easy DIY Mermaid Costume by Beautiful Entropy

So, W announced the other day that she Desperately Needed A Mermaid Costume. We’ve been doing a lot of swimming this summer (and playing mermaids), so I suspect that was the genesis. I’m not a big fan of pre-fab costumes; they’re cheaply made for what they cost, and I figured that the odds of finding a non-Disney* mermaid costume (without doing an Etsy order) were pretty slim. Anyway, in her typical W way, since she didn’t want something Ariel-specific, I knew she would have lots of STRONG opinions about how the costume should look, so I turned to the Interwebs.

*We have nothing against Disney, but W isn’t a big fan of those cartoons; she finds them horrifyingly scary – which, if you think about it, they kinda are (I’m lookin’ at you, Lion King).

I found this excellent tutorial, which I used (with some modifications) for the tail portion of the costume. I just sort of winged it on the top. One thing I tried to keep in mind throughout was building in room for growth; specialty fabric isn’t cheap, and while the costume didn’t require advanced sewing skills, it took a while (about 4 hours, though I was slowed down by the constant running commentary, offers to “help,” and requests for status updates from the peanut gallery). Anyway, by building in some growing room, I figure I’ll be off the hook on another mermaid outfit for at least 2-3 years. I’ve provided my tips for building in room to grow in the instructions below, though bear in mind that my child appears to grow UP without adding any significant girth; she can add 4 inches in height without putting on a single pound. As such, I worried only about costume length. If your child also grows out (as normal kids do…) you might need to modify the “room to grow” instructions, or leave them out entirely. More

Modern-Look Quilted Placemats

Oriental-Inspired Quilted Placemats by Beautiful Entropy Wow, has it been seven months? Yikes. I’ve been busy in the meantime, and have several projects to photograph and post about. We’ll start with the placemats I just finished. The backstory is that about a year ago, I was in a quilting shop looking for thread, and I found a pack of Moda 5″ squares. The specific pack I got (Zen Chic Juggling Summer) is getting hard to find, though I think it’s still available here. Just look at those placemats: isn’t the fabric yummy? I couldn’t resist. I had NO idea what I was going to do with the squares (there are 42 in a pack, so not enough for a quilt or anything), but I knew I had to have it! I think I may have a new addiction: not only was the fabric lovely to work with, but the Moda packs come in so many awesome designs! More

Dress Restyle – Fall to Summer

Dress restyle by Beautiful Entropy

I restyled a dress of W’s a while ago, and am only now getting around to posting about it. The dress was a cute long-sleeved bubble style, great for fall but not so useful here in AZ, where it’s summer for about 10 months of the year. I decided to remove the sleeves and use the material to make cute flowers for the neckline, in addition to new flutter sleeves. It was an easy project, as restyles go.

I started by cutting off the sleeves with a pair of scissors. I left the serged seam where the sleeves had originally been attached to the dress intact; I planned to use it as a foundation for attaching the new sleeves. On the top 2/3 of the armhole, I cut the sleeve off as close as possible to that serged seam. On the lower 1/3, which would remain sleeveless, I left a small strip of sleeve fabric in place that I could eventually use to cover and finish the serged seam. More

Night Potty Training and An Update

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Diapers don’t flatter my style.

I post so much less frequently these days than I used to. I wish that weren’t the case — I wish I posted more regularly — but the truth is that I’ve grown a little tired of the concept that originally defined this site. Analyzing parenting-related science is so much dang WORK, and frankly, I feel like I’m either preaching to the choir or pointlessly arguing with folks who don’t want to be convinced, depending upon the audience a particular article attracts. I enjoy the “blog” side of this site much more, but I feel guilty if the blog-to-science ratio gets too high, as though I’m eating dessert without finishing my dinner. Lately, everything I’ve felt like saying has been “bloggy” instead of “sciency,” and I haven’t been sharing it as a result. Screw it. It’s my site, right? I’ll leave all the old science posts up for reference, but those of you who have followed this blog from the start will probably notice a change: I expect that the pure science posts will be much fewer and farther-between (if they continue to show up at all). As a caveat, of course, I am me — a “squint” to the core — and I suspect science oozes out of my pores even when I don’t mean it to. Still, if I don’t feel obligated to analyze articles, I’ll probably write more, which is a good thing all around. More

Little Girls’ Swimsuits

I read this article by Pigtail Pals (which eventually made a stir at Blog Her, etc, etc), and it got me thinking. I don’t like the idea of a little girl in a “sexy” swimsuit, and I’d never buy W a string bikini, but what really got my gears turning was the argument for such swimsuits that I saw in the comments sections of the articles. Among them, the idea that a pedophile is a pedophile, and dressing one’s daughter in a specific way doesn’t increase or decrease the likelihood that a pedophile will think bad thoughts and/or do bad things. Regarding this, I heartily disagree.

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W at 9 months old, enjoying the pool with Grandma.

I want to share a story about a friend of mine. He’s a really good, stand-up guy with a moral compass that points due north, is in his late 20s, and is in a committed relationship with a great woman. I saw him at a social event a few years back, and as we were talking, we both noticed a very pretty young woman of about 18 or 19 walk by. She wasn’t dressed inappropriately for the event or for her age. Her clothing was attractive and stylish but not particularly revealing; her hair and makeup were impeccable. Still, despite all the appropriateness, she was one of those people who just sort of radiate a sexy vibe. My friend noticed her. Took another look. Really noticed her. Shortly thereafter, as he and I were still talking, we saw her walk up to a couple around my age and address the man as “dad.” Turns out, she was the couple’s (very tall) 12-year-old daughter, who — when all dolled up — managed to look completely legal. More

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