Friday, August 29, 2014

Staying Busy

Oh my goodness, I'd forgotten just how busy going back to school was!  My kids went back last Monday so they're finishing up their second week today.  We've had Open House, karate lessons, Back to School lunch for the school staff, PTO meetings, doctor's appointments, volleyball games, football games...

But they are loving their new teachers and have lots of friends in their classes and come home everyday telling me something they've learned or a teacher said and it makes my heart happy.  :)

Here's their first day pics for you:




I've found a little time for sewing this week and made myself a new top, testing another new pattern for Jenny.  She's tweaking the sizing as I found it a little too big, but the pattern is great.  It's a split-neck raglan top.  Think peasant top for women without elastic in the neckline or arms.  I'm going to make some adjustments to the sizing on my top and hope to show it off Monday.

What are you up to on this long holiday weekend?  Gearing up for fall?  Celebrating the last bits of summer?  We'll be watching tons of football and spending time with some dear friends that are coming to visit.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Selfish Sewing done

So I finished up the shorts from last week.  They were really quite simple.  It took me longer to get photos of them than to make them for sure.

I'm not thrilled with any of the pictures, but...as my friend Mindy reminded me, we are our own worst critics.  So here goes:

I sewed these up with a cotton blend that had a slight stretch to them and a heavy weight.  It was perfect for these shorts.   The weight of the fabric really holds the shape of these shorts well and adds to the "dressier" look of these shorts.  I was hoping for a pair that could easily be dressed up or down and I think I've got that with these.



 The directions were easy to follow and quick to sew up.  I do want to go back and add pockets to these as I left them out since I was pattern testing.  I've even got them cut out and ready to add.  I originally cut the 6-inch inseam length on these shorts.  But once I got them made I felt that was too long so I turned them up about 1 1/2 inches for the hem.  Perfect.


Funnily enough, I had Chris take a few pics of me on our front porch in these shorts and just felt the lighting was terrible so I said we'd just redo them Saturday morning before my nephew's birthday party.  And after looking at all the pics, I ended up liking those original pics the best.

Does anyone remember the scene from the movie Clueless when she takes pictures of her outfits because she says they're better than just looking in the mirror.  I always think of that when I have Chris photograph me in outfits.  I would have sworn I liked the blue shirt better but after looking at the photos--the green shirt wins.  :)

Next up is some sashing strips from Oren's (never-ending) Star Wars quilt and a quick skirt for Emma for back to school.  Then I'm going to do some more selfish sewing and whip up those seersucker shorts for me too.  :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Work in Progress

We're home from the Bahamas and back to a normal swing.  Well, until school starts in 2 weeks and then we'll be back to that swing, but I'm enjoying every second of these last bits of summer!

Since it's been a long time since I blogged, it's been even longer since I showed a work in progress.  Today I'm in progress!  I've turned my machine back on in the last few days and I'm making things again.  :)

It's a good feeling.  It's a feeling I want to keep going and as school starts in 2 weeks, I'm hopeful that I can continue sewing now and making progress.

Today I'm doing some selfish sewing that's not really selfish at all.  My friend Jenny, the great pattern designer, has a new pattern for women's shorts with different waist- and hem-lengths and I volunteered to try it out.  So you see, while I am making something just for me, I'm really helping out a friend...  Really, I'm just the picture of kindness.

Emma and I ran by JoAnn's yesterday to look for fabric both for the shorts and for some skirts and maybe a new top for her for school.  And I found this great black and white cotton blend.  It's got a bit of stretch and a heavier weight so I'm hopeful the shorts will turn out looking tailored and fun.



I wanted some orange seersucker that would be perfect for summer days and Gator games, but their selections was miniscule.  I settled for some black that I intend to make into some shorts as well.

So, I'm ready to cut and after looking through the pattern directions, I'm hopeful to be modeling these for you tomorrow.

I've also got some bee blocks and some birthday party things I've made for my sweet nephew to show off soon.  And some Bahamas pictures.  Oh man, it was the best vacation ever!!!

What are you up to today?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Winner!

Hi everyone!

After a busy and hot weekend watching softball, I'm back with a giveaway winner and an update of my latest projects.

I let Random.org pick the winner for the Etsy gift card and it turned out to be Helen!!  Congrats to you, my friend, and I've sent you an email.

As for what I'm up to this week...I've got all of Oren's star blocks done and ready to sash. I'm going with a 2.5" black sashing to spread the blocks out, and I haven't decided for sure on final layout.

Why does blogger like to turn my photos sideways??  Oh well, I guess these aren't really directional blocks so it works...

And I've got the clothing itch again and as we're coming near our summer vacation (to the Bahamas!!), I want to whip up a few dresses to take with me.  I've asked Em if she wants anything new as well but she politely declined.  That's fine with me--more time to sew for myself.  ;)

So, I'm thinking of adding another Staple Dress and a sheath at least, but am up for suggestions.  I've got any number of great patterns and tutorials pinned to my clothing board and saved to my computer.  It's almost like I've got so many choices I don't know where to start...

Suggestions?

I've got some linens, rayons and cottons put to the side and ready to sew up.  I think I've actually got a dress or two in my WIP basket to get working on as well...


So what do you like to sew in the summertime?  Dresses?  Skirts?  Bags?  Handstitching?  Honestly, at this point I think I'd just be happy to get any sewing done.  But before I get to it, I'm off to the pool for a bit.  :)

Happy July 1!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Time flies...

Wow, time really does fly whether you want it to or not.

Hello to everyone still hanging on and I see I've even gained a few new followers in my long absence.  I never had any intention to stop blogging, but with surgery recovery became a new focus and blogging got less and less important.  Then, of course, sewing did too, and with no progress, there's not much to blog about.  :)

And then I just got out of the habit of coming to this space to talk with you all...

But I'm back.  I took the time today to sit down and write.  To say hello.  To assure everyone that doesn't follow me on instagram that I am alright.  I am mostly healed from my surgery and have been given the "ok" to resume normal life.  Exercise is still SLOW GOING and it's frustrating, but I do not wake up with back pain every morning.  I can stand for hours without my back aching and in turn my legs and feet.  I feel like a new woman--an out of shape woman, but still.  :)

We've been busy since I last posted.  There's been LOTS of softball and lots of karate.  There's been many hours spent driving back and forth between the two.  There's been hours of PTO stuff--book fair, coffee bars, testing fun days...  There's been proud Mama moments of field days, awards ceremonies, district softball wins, karate accomplishments.  There's been summer schedule adjustments with more swimming and less packing of lunches.

Like I said, we've been busy.

But I want to be busy here as well, with y'all.  So to thank you for sticking around, I want to give something away.  How's an etsy gift card sound?  That way, whatever it is that strikes your fancy can be yours and we're not limited to fabric or yarn or whatever else...

Just leave a comment here telling me what you're up to this summer and I'll randomly draw a winner this weekend.  Em's in the state tournament this weekend, so it'll probably be Sunday before I draw and Monday before I announce.  That's almost a week to get entered.  :)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I'm alive!

Hi everyone!
  So, so sorry to take such a long blogging break.  It was unintentional but couldn't be helped.  As you know if you follow me on instagram, I found out that my back pain and numbness in my leg was more than just a herniated disc.  That particular disc was completely shot and practically nonexistant.  What little of the disc was left had broken and a piece of it was pushing my nerves all the way back on my spinal column.  So, the only real answer for me was spinal fusion surgery.

I had it done on March 13 and am at the 3-week recovery point today.  I am feeling much better and while I still can't do everything I want to do, I am up, moving, driving and walking almost like normal.  I can't bend, lift or twist yet, but it will come with time.  I am improving every day and I go back to my doctor tomorrow to check my progress and see where I go next.

It seems perfect that today is a Totally Random Thursday because I've got so much to show off to you from the month and a half since I last blogged.

**Before the surgery I sewed like a madwoman to get projects done and out of here before I couldn't.  :)  So, I finished up 3 quilts and 2 sets of bee blocks.  Along with completely failing on a star block for Oren's quilt.  I ended up throwing away 2 attempts and just picking a different block altogether!

**First I made a baby quilt for Chris' cousin who is expecting her first.  Her shower was the weekend of my half marathon that I couldn't run so Thursday night I decided to whip her up a quilt for the Saturday morning shower.  And I did it.  I ended up loving the quilt and hating the quilting, but they can't all be winners, so I gifted it and called it done.



All the non-sewers loved that the quilt was "reversible."  I'm just glad they loved it at all.  ;)
**Next up, that secret project I mentioned in February--it was a quilt for the wonderful Michonne and her precious baby girl Greta.  Our Empower Circle of do. Good stitches made a quilt for them and I put it together and quilted it.  Meesh is famous in our group for loving flying geese blocks so I asked the girls to make anything using them in a soft palette of pastels.  I love how it turned out.  I just got some plates and pot lids and drew random circles on the quilt and quilted them using different pastel-colored threads.  Before sweet Greta was born, Meesh called her cupcake, so I found this great cupcake fabric for the backing.  :)

I wish I had gotten a better picture where you could really see the blocks better but I did this in a hurry and then never thought to look at the pics before mailing...



I've been trying out a new zigzag machine-stitched binding on quilts I think will be washed a bunch.  On this one I went around twice--once in pink and once in yellow.

**  I also mentioned that Kim was working on an orphan block project to get quilts finished and donated to a charity and that I had most of a quilt sitting here at the house already.  So I beefed it up with some extra blocks and got it done too.  I hated the blocks individually and once I got it sewn, I kinda want to keep it!  ;)



You can see the quilting better on the back--I just did a simple cross-hatch design following the blocks.  I started a quarter-inch from the block seams in gray, then 3/8 inch from those lines in yellow and then about half-inch from the yellow lines in blue.

** When mailing Meesh the quilt, I also included our February d.Gs blocks.  It was her turn in a great coincidence and she asked for Wheel blocks in a great and bright color palette.  I hope mine looks okay with the rest.  I liked all the colors I chose till I got the block put together and then saw others from the group.  Oh well...



**  And for March in our d.Gs circle, Kim asked for blocks that she'd designed herself.  She's calling them braided star blocks and once put together they'll make stars...duh!  ;)  These were really easy and fun to put together.  Kim wrote a great tutorial on her blog for these simple but stunning blocks.



**And last, in That Stash Bee, Whitney asked for Darting Bird blocks.  I'd never seen this block before, but they were quick to make and I think she picked a stellar palette. She's giving this quilt to a friend in need, and I can't wait to see it altogether.




** But also since last blogging, my favorite boy in the whole world turned 8.  He wanted to just take a few friends to see The Lego Movie, so we did.  I got these great lego candies from the candy store in the mall to put on some cupcakes.  They were a big hit and so was the movie!  It was a simple and great day to celebrate a great kid!






**The surgery went well and I came home from the hospital two days early.  It hasn't been exactly fun to lay in bed a lot and depend on others in the last 3 weeks, but I'm working on my patience and God is blessing me every day.  I'm up and mobile

**I'm sewing again and have already finished a couple of blocks and have some bee blocks to try and work on this weekend.

**Plus we've got softball...Chris' middle school team is winding down and Emma's team is finally getting started.  I'll soon have a picture of my sweet girl pitching to show y'all.  She's worked so hard and it's fun to see her sling it out there.

Sorry for the picture overload.  I've missed y'all and this wonderful community so much.  So glad to be getting back.  :)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Rising Sun Challenge

Nat and Lucy are so good about giving out interesting topics for Le Challenge each month.  If you've never heard of this, it's a blog that two friends started with the sole purpose being to challenge themselves and friends to think of and make something new each month based on a theme.  There's no competition, it's open to anyone who wants to participate, and one lucky participant is awarded a gift each month based on a random drawing.

Le Challenge

This month, the girls chose "The Rising Sun" which I thought it was an interesting starting point because there were so many places to go with that topic.  I searched rising sun quilt patterns and there were plenty of really neat blocks that would make awesome quilts.  But I didn't leave myself enough time for that.

So I thought about the suggestions they and their guest bloggers had given--Japanese-influenced designs for garment sewing or quilting; Japanese fabric designers from traditional designs to Lecien and kawaii cuteness; Sashiko or even just sunny projects.

My ever growing "to-do before I die" list grew leaps and bounds.

But in the end, I googled Rising Sun images and I knew what I was going to make.

I found this image on zazzle's web site and loved the combination of the rising sun and the clamshells, a traditional quilting design.
But I didn't love the red.  It was WAYYY a little too Japanese for my style and wouldn't fit into my decor. So I changed it.

I have always loved the song You are my Sunshine and often sang it to my children when they were younger.  I thought the lyrics would fit well here, so I used my favorite colors, a great, fun font and here you go:


I created an aqua background and then put a somewhat-transparent layer of gray canvas over it to soften the aqua and bring the gray theme into play.


Then I added the lyrics to the song in yellow and worked on the graphic.  I deleted all of the white background and then changed the entire graphic to be yellow.  After duplicating the image, I changed it to gray and then erased the top layer (the gray) away from the "rising sun" portion of the image.

Do the pics look a little fuzzy to you?  They don't at all in my editing software but do a little in blogger...weird!
Then I printed it in a 5x7 size and popped it in this frame.  I will DEFINITELY be painting the frame, but it's what I had handy.  I'm working on building a gallery wall in my living room of pictures, inspirational quotes, and images that are important to our family or just make me smile.  The photos are all framed in black, but I'm hoping to bring color in through the other items.

I think this will be a perfect addition.  What do you think?

Thanks girls for the challenge!  It was fun.  :) Head over and see what everyone else created this time.  :)