The Bird Skirt

I did it! I completed a piece of clothing, from a pattern, all by myself. It was pretty frustrating. I wont lie. It also took longer than everyone said it would, but that’s OK.

So, I mentioned before that I had picked up McCalls M6931 after finding some fabric that I just had to take home and make something with.

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Turns out this particular pattern is supposed to be one of the absolutely go-to patterns for curvy girls looking for a fast and easy skirt. It only had 5 pieces to the pattern. I was pretty confident that I could finagle my way through this project. My brain can talk a pretty good game sometimes. Too bad it often times never backs it up.

Well, I managed to unwrap the pattern and started to read the directions. I immediately got overwhelmed and put it all away. That was Day 1.

 

Day 2. I find myself opening it up again and i start to research the terms I don’t understand. I have a composition book that I keep all my self drafted pattern notes in, and made a page for this new project. I managed to find a few good YouTube videos explaining things like cutting on the grain, the importance of lining up the pattern a certain way, and what a narrow hem was.  My brain was sufficiently burned out after my little homework session.

 

Day 3. I talk myself up. This cant be as hard as I’m making it out to be. It will make more sense once I’m looking at the pieces I need and ONLY those pieces. So, I take my fabric to the big dining table and start the process. I cut the pattern pieces that I needed for the skirt I wanted, and then pinned them to the fabric. I ran into my first hiccup when I noted that if I followed the recommended layout, that one of my panels on the skirt would have the pattern of the birds be upside down. So I had to fudge things around a little bit. Once I had it all layed out and pinned, and said a little prayer to the sewing gods and began to cut the fabric. I wish I would have had a rotary cutter for this part. I have some really great fabric scissors, but I wasn’t getting a crisp edge like I had hoped for. In any case, cutting took some time. It also didn’t help that the cats were VERY interested in what I was doing, and were desperate to try and help. Note. Kitty claws and pattern paper go together about as well as oil and water. The dog also now has added pattern paper to her palate.  After  it was all done, I took everything back to my sewing room and was ready to take the plunge.

 

Day 4. No I wasn’t. I psyched myself out and managed to stare at the cut pieces of fabric in a pool of stress.

 

Day 5. I’ve got this. I will not let the skirt win. I start sewing. Then I realize I didn’t transfer all the markings from the pattern to the fabric. I stop sewing and get right to it. back to sewing an hour of so later. Iran into an issue with the pattern  here. One of the pieces had me cut it out on the fold of the fabric. It was labeled Front Side.  So it was essentially one big piece when unfolded. Nowhere in the directions did it say to cut this piece in half, but it also didn’t say which side it was supposed to go on. I couldn’t find anything online about what I should do, so I made the executive decision to cut it. I would always put it back together and it would just be a little smaller. Turns out I made the right call. So I got the shell of the skirt done. I had a small oopsie on the pockets, and used a 5/8 seam instead of the 1/4 but  that turned out fine. I ironed all my seams and called it a day.

 

Day 6. Pleats. Oh those silly pleats. The pattern dove me crazy here too. It said to  “Put lines below circles together”. Ok. Which direction? In, or out? i pinned them all one way, and it didn’t look right, so I undid it all and pinned them the opposite way. I was still confused, and just went with it.  For the record, the excess “loop” of the fabric that is made when you put the lines together, goes towards the inside of the skirt for this method. Lesson learned. By this time, I had something that looked remotely like an article of clothing. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I only had to add in the wait band and hem it and skirt would be done. This spurned my motivation and I got back to work.  I guess I must have cut the fabric a little short, because turning the top down for the hem the way the pattern said to was going to turn this knee length skirt, into a hyper mini. I did the best I could, but it was pretty messy. I spent a long time trying to pull the elastic through the channel I had just sewn and it was not very cooperative. I pinned it in place, and tried it on. It was actually kind of cute! I went to put my hand sin the pockets and my heart sank. Turns out I sewed a pocket facing the wrong way thanks to the non descriptive instructions. I was pretty upset and spent some time debating on if I should just live with it and remember it for the next time, or if I should fix it. Well, I opted for fixing it. After all I had so much time invested in this damned skirt by now, I might as well add some more. So I shed a little tear, and un-stitched most of what I had just done for the waistband. I put the pocket going the right way ( Rounded sides facing the front of the skirt) and tried to put the waist band back. It wasn’t working. I fought with it for another hour before getting it into some semblance of the right place and sewed it down, partially out of spite. I was so done with this skirt. It still needed to be hemmed, but I had had it for the day.

 

Day 7. I couldn’t just leave the skirt un-hemmed, so I begrudgingly sat back down and pinned the hem. After a few straight lines of sewing, and a good press of the iron it was done.  It. Was. Done. The skirt that was supposed to take 3-4 hours took me a week. But it was done. I tried it on and it even fit. Granted, it was still much MUCH shorter than I had anticipated, it wasn’t totally unwearable. Next time, I just needed to add 4+ inches to the length and it would be what I had imagined. I showed it to my husband and he beamed with pride. I love this man so much. He knows exactly how to fluff my feathers so I feel proud of myself.  I put the skirt on my dress form and its going to sit there a few days so I can stare at it like the trophy that it is for me.

 

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I had said that I wanted to start making clothes for myself, and after many trials and tribulations, I took the first step towards that goal. I made a fair amount of mistakes along the way, but I know know where those mistakes came from, and how to avoid them in the future. It feels good to learn something again, especially on my own. I’m much more of a ” need someone to tell me, then show me, then watch me” learner, so to do this on my own was a real accomplishment for me. I know that its no ballgown, and in the big scheme of sewing its a very simple thing, but to me this was a gold star on the calendar achievement. I’ll make that ballgown one day, and will think back to the day it all started when I made The Bird Skirt.

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The Slow Season

So its clearly been a minute since I checked in. Sorry about that! I’m in what I have deemed “The Slow Season.” Nothing has been going on. I haven’t had much motivation to make anything. I even find myself just staring off into nowhere land for a good period of time before I snap back to the here and now.  It really hasn’t been all that pleasant to tell you the truth. But these times happen, and that’s OK. In the meantime, you just have to weather what gets thrown your way the best you can. As I mentioned before, its all about progress, not perfection. Progress can be a loopy, zig zag of a line sometimes, but its progress all the same.

 

So, in lieu of what I’ve done, I’ll fill you in on what I plan on doing!

I got some really cute fabric, and it inspired me to finally try my hand at sewing clothes for myself. I have a pattern.

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( McCalls M6931 if your curious)

I opened it up today with full intention to start and got really intimidated by all the lines. So I put it away and will try again tomorrow. ( Or maybe save it for when my mom comes up and she can walk me through it). I also have been mapping out these great “un-paper towels” for a friend of mine. Getting the right terry cloth was more of a headache than you can imagine, but I have everything I need now, and am anxious to start. I also want to make another headphone case for another fiend, and a case for an external battery for my phone. So I certainly have things to do, I just need to find that motivation and Oomph to get to work on them.

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In gaming news, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster was released for steam the other day. Final Fantasy X is one of my all time favorite games. I spend hours and hours on my Playstation 2 when it came out. I have really fond memories of that game. I’m really excited to get to relive them in a remastered form. So I have been spending a fairly significant amount of time playing that. I’m the kind of person that will grind out enemies for an exorbitant amount of time so that I can be over prepared for boss fights. It can get tedious, but thankfully games like this have phenomenal background music.

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I also saw that the next iteration of the Pokemon franchise was announced! Pokemon Sun and Moon are set to release Holiday this year. I saw the starers for the games, and wasn’t exactly blown away. The fire starter is a cat though, and seeing as how I will 99% of the time choose a fire Pokemon to start, that should be right up my alley.

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Litten, here I come!

That’s all for me folks. Sorry again for the huge gap in posts.

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Let the productivness ensue

This past week has been full of projects! We have been fixing things around the house, and the largest of these undertakings has been to repair the front entry way. It took several days of caulking, priming, and painting for it to be done, but I’m quite pleased with the end result! That being said, this project has sapped me of most of my energy and willpower to do much of anything else.

 

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I did manage to finally finish a bankers chair that I had been working on for the past year, and I restored a cool frame I found in the attic, and turned it into a chalkboard. I am drawn to antiques. I have been surrounded with them my whole life. My Mother is an avid collector. To me, its fascinating to think of the stories the pieces could tell if they could. I will almost always try to salvage an old piece of furniture or decor before buying something new. I’m a total novice when it comes to refinishing stuff though. I’m not really thrilled with the chair, but I can identify where I went wrong. I also like the idea of my chalkboard, but I think the quality of the chalkboard paint I had was sub-par. But, its all progress in a sense.

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The other venture I have been taking on , has been to try and find a planner that I like. I am a major write it down and make a list kind of person, and have had major success with Lara Casey’s Powersheets. I would really like to add some other features to really make it work for me. I cant seem to find a pre-made planner system that has everything I want in it though. I’m trying to design my own, with no such luck. Do you have a planner you really like?

 

I’ve also been playing a lot of the remastered Twilight Princess for the Wii-U. I was so thrilled to find out they were remaking the game. I never got to play much of it originally, because i was so atrocious with the Wii’s controls. I’m really enjoying it so far! I’m still in the beginning, I just got to Lake Hylia.

 

Sorry this post is pretty lacking. I do have several fun projects in the works for this week and next week though! I’m making some linen envelopes that I’m excited to share, and I’m doing my take on some Un-paper towels! Be sure to check back!

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If at first you don’t succeed

The last sewing project I did was the case for my earbuds, and its epic failure left me frustrated. I kept thinking about where I went wrong, and how I could fix it. I didn’t have another zipper to make the exact case again, so I pulled out my composition book and designed a new one. I recently got a bag of snaps, and a snap tool for an upcoming project for a friend, and wanted to try it out first. I sketched out a small envelope style case that would have a snap closure, and really liked the idea. So, I grabbed some fabric and got to work, determined to make up for my lack of success last time. Try, Try again right?

 

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I opted to make a pattern of sorts instead of just measuring out things with a ruler. My big oops here, was again, Somehow I forgot to double check my measurements before I cut the fabric, and where I had initially wanted the fabric to be 6″ by 4″, I drew something by eye, and got excited when the size looked right. It was’t until I had already cut everything that I realized it looked small for some reason. Now, like I had said before, ” do it right, don’t take a shortcut”. I didn’t want to waste the fabric I had just cut, and I figured that if it was going to be too small I would need to cut more fabric anyway, I should sew this one and make sure that my fabrication was correct. So, I went to town.

 

I initially sewed the front and back together using the “right sides together, then turn and hand sew shut” method. But once I tried to put the two pieces together, I realized that there would be no way to have a finished edge this way. So I ripped out 3 of the sides, making note of the ones side that would need to remain finished. I then sewed them together again, added the detail to the edge, and applied the snap.

 

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I don’t think I can properly iterate how totally thrilled I am with how this project came out. Not only did it end up being the perfect fit for my headphones, but its the first thing that I have made that looks pretty polished. I think its really cute, and cant wait to make another one like this for my business cards.

 

My biggest tips that I attribute to my success here?

 

  1. The “pattern”  – This made sure that the pieces I cut out were identical.
  2. Ironing my seams – I’m always so afraid I’m going to burn my fingers doing this, but I ironed all my seams open on this one, and I can really see where that helped to give it the polised feel.
  3. Patience – I really took my time. It was pretty much all straight seams, but I went nice and slow.

 

 

Also, my sewing buddy, Kora. She helped bunches too.

 

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Thanks for stopping by! Check back again soon!

 

A

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Pinterest Fail Number 1

So, sometimes great things come out of the lovely Pinterest. Other times, we get some not so great things. I am completely addicted to the site, and have boards upon boards filled with grand images for inspiration and future projects. So far, I have had fairly good luck with my results. That was until this little pouch came around.

 

I have been going back to this project for some time now, and with my new treadmill routine, I had the need for a nice pair of earbuds. So I though this was the perfect opportunity to make this particular little project happen.  I poured over the “instructions” if you could call them that. ( it was just a series of images…) and told myself that it wouldn’t be that difficult. I had some coordinating scrap fabric lying around, and just took a zipper out of a skirt, so its not like the project would cost anything out of pocket. I threw my caution to the wind, and dove right in.

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Here’s what I used! Some scrap interfacing and fabric and an old zipper. I started by tracing a circle form the ribbon to make sure they were uniform. I then cut out said circles., and cut one set of circles in half. I used what was left of the bottom fabric and cut a small tab out and sewed it together.20160318_130100

 

I used the safety pin trick of this one to turn it right side out again. It gave me a little trouble, but nothing a little finagling wouldn’t fix. I folded it in half, and sewed it together again, and tada! One completed tab.

 

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So, now for the body. The pictures made it look like you just layered them on top of each other, ( right sides together) put it on the zipper, and sewed. So I did just that.

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This is where I should have taken my first queue that something was amiss. The fabric and the interfacing didn’t line up right. I was excited with how things were coming a long, and  more nervous that this was the first time I had sewn anything with a zipper to pay it much mind. So, I sewed one side, the flipped it and did the same to the other. In hindsight, I don’t think I should have sewn the blue fabric, which would be the inside on at this point. It left a big bunch of fabric on the inside, that wasn’t exactly pretty. I think sewing the blue on separately may have hidden that part. Anyway. It didn’t look half bad  from this point. I placed the little tab, making sure the zipper pull was inside where I was going to be sewing.

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Again, I should have been paying attention to how the fabric wasn’t lining up, but I didn’t. So, at this point I put the back pieces together, ( right sides together!) and sewed the whole thing shut. Well… Tried to. This is where things went south FAST. The fabric slid a little and I ended up missing an entire portion of the fabric. Instead of taking out what I had just sewn, I just sewed a new line to get what I missed. Well,  as you can now see, its not so much a circle anymore, but more of an oval. I was OK with this ( or so I thought) and proceeded to cut off all the excess stuff.

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I then spent the next twenty minutes trying to turn the thing right-side out. The zipper could not be pressed downward, and I learned at that point, that there are such things as “locking zippers’. TIL.

I FINALLY managed to use a tool to pull the zipper down enough for me to get my fingers inside to turn it. My gut hit the floor. It was SO SMALL!  I figured that the earbuds were small, and compact, It would be fiiiiiiiiiine…. right?

 

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Nope. They didn’t fit. Not even a little bit. Sure i might be able to smash them all together and get it zipped, but that was the fast track to ruining the new earbuds i just got. So, I hung my head for a minute and tried to figure out where I went wrong. It then dawned on me, that I had never measured the headphones at all. So, here’s what went wrong.

 

  1. Measure the thing you want to put in the pouch.
  2. Measure the fabric
  3. account for seam allowance
  4. Remeasure everything
  5. Measure once more just in case
  6. if it doesn’t line up the first time, the sewing machine isn’t going to magically fix your mistake.
  7. Slippery fabric can require a different foot
  8. Don’t take the shortcut, take out your mistake, and redo it.

But in the end, I was happy with what I had done. Sure its to small for anything but a coin purse for a small child at this point. but I’, confident that when I make it again, I will have a much better product at the end. All of these things are lessons learned, and being a total sewing novice, these are all things I will have to experience to learn from.

 

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So, I’ll chalk this one up as a Pinterest Fail. I’m sure there will be many many more in the future. But there will also be some pretty awesome wins to come out of that stack as well.  Let me know about any Pinterest Fail you have encountered, or one of your best lessons learned from a project below! I’d love to hear!

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Unfinished Business

Over the past week, My husband and I got to celebrate our one year anniversary! It was wonderful. I got all dressed up and we went out to a spectacular dinner. Its so weird how it feel likes we have been together for a lifetime, yet its feels like we just got married yesterday. I’m so fortunate to be able to share this life with him.

 

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I have also had a pile of unfinished business in my office, that I have moved around several times , telling myself that I would get to it “next” week. well “next” week has been going on for almost 4 months now. I figured that it was high time I did something about it before the pile got any larger.  So, first on the list was a character painting I was supposed to be working on for an online craft exchange. I had had the outline drawn and inked for a week or so, but was dreading trying to put color to it. I figured that this was a good of a place as any to start. So, I got out all the different paints I had, and made some copies of the sketch, put on some great music, and got to work. The first one I did was in watercolors. I’m still a total noob with watercolors, and I tent to try to make them solid like an acrylic. The end result was on the right in the image below. It was OK, but not really what I was looking for. I didn’t like him sitting on a stark white background, so I tried the watercolors again, trying to keep them true to their medium on a background. That one is the one on the left.

 

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I let these sit out for a day or two, telling myself that done was better than perfect. I was going to cut the one on the right out, and place it on the left. I still had a few copies of the picture left, and decided to give it one more go. I had some acrylic paints out and thought that the contrast of the watercolor background and the solidity of the acrylic might be a cool look. So, I sat down early one morning, fully intent to paint for an hour or so. Well, 6 hours later, I look up from a finished picture and marvel at where the day went. But that led me to this, and I will say, for a total novice, I’m pretty happy with the result!

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Next up on my unfinished pile was a cross stitch that I had given my husband for his birthday. I totally underestimated how long it would take me to do, so I had to give him a work in progress… back in November. So it was WAY past due that I knock this one out. As it would happen, I do my best stitching while on the couch and a good show on Netflix. Well… we had some catching up to do on shows, since Season 4 of House of Cards, and Season 2 of Daredevil have been out of Netflix. So it was time for a bingeflix marathon! It was great. Its totally lazy, but I love just sitting on the couch with my husband, surrounded by sleeping pets, with a fun project in hand. Both shows were excellent too.  They both just came out, and I already cant wait for the next installments!

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So here it is! Finished and framed! My husband works in the technology field, and had established quite the Lord Vader persona at work, which his staff  fully embraces. So this little guy will go with him to work. I made the pattern myself, and am really happy with the end result.

 

I also made some time for a fun sewing project! It was a Pinterest find, and was very easy to make. Although the end result was… well… I’ll explain in the next post.

 

Till then!

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Reorginizing

This last week has been filled with reorganizing. Reorganizing priorities, reorganizing my office, and reorganizing my newly acquired and ever growing  stash of fabric!

As I mentioned in the last post, I have been really trying to focus on becoming more active through the Couch to 5K program. This has been week 2, and its been going really well! I have just been repeating the week 1 Day 1 workout to really get more comfortable with the new activity level, but as of Thursday, I moved to Day 2 with no difficulty. I am so proud of my progress, no matter how small. I’m starting to feel better, and although I’m completely exhausted after my workouts, its a happy fulfilled exhausted.

I’m working on a sewing project for a friend, and needed to go visit  the fabric store to look for some Terry cloth ( which doesn’t currently exist in any color besides pastels) and I always have to go check the remnant bin. At my store, everything in the remnant bin is 50% off. For me, this is great. Most things are under a yard, and I can get some really great deals on more expensive fabric, that otherwise I wouldn’t be able to afford. For now, I will primarily stick to anything cotton, and man oh man did I find a ton of really beautiful stuff! My Mother always told me to prewash my fabric, and iron it before i put it away, and that has always stuck with me. I don’t mind ironing so much, but dealing with the flyaway threads can be a pain. So without further ado, here she is! My ever growing stash!

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I really get inspired by fun prints. I try to grab coordinating solids when I can, but the prints are really where I have the most fun. I got really lucky this last run and was able to grab most of this form one trip.

 

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This green one is one of my new favorites. I love the color and the little feathers! There were 2 yards left, but at $4 a yard, it was on the top end of my fabric budget, especially if I wanted to get all the others I had picked out. I opted to only get a single yard, and really wish I would have just bought what was left. That’s the only bad thing about shopping the clearance stuff. Often times, if you don’t buy it now, it wont be there when you go back for it.

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These three I thought went together really well! I have them set together in hopes Iucan find one more patterned fabric that would go well with it. I think I wan tto turn this into a quilt.

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This was everything after it was ironed and color sorted. I’m still not sure if I want to separate it all just by color, or by prints in one pile, and solids in another. How do you separate your fabrics? I would love suggestions!

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Last but not least, was my nerdy find of the month.

 

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I knew they had lots of licensed character prints, but i had NO idea they made Zelda fabric!!! When I saw that little Triforce peaking out from the remnant bin, I’m pretty sure I audibly squealed. Then the fabric on the left was just being cut, and I was bale to snag it too. I think they go well together. I’m not sure what I will do with them, but something awesome will come from it, I’m sure!

My wonderful husband is thrilled that I have taken such a love of sewing. He is so supportive in everything I do, and likes to help when he can. He found this great stand to organize my thread on. It sits on the corner of my sewing table, and is a happy little reminder of fun projects to come.

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Now that its March, I got to wrap up my first month of Lara Casey’s Powersheets, and start the next month’s for March. It was such a propelling experience sitting down and evaluating my goals and priorities. I have made real, measurable progress in the things I set out to do. Which for me is fantastic! Normally I will dive into something for a week or so, then let it fall by the wayside for months.  The Powersheets have been the key to my success, I’m sure of it. I really look forward to continuing with them , and watching myself grow.

 

Do you have a goal that you want to accomplish for March? How do you plan to work towards it? Comment below!

 

As always, thanks for stopping by! I’m thinking I might share some of the fun things I like to collect for the next update. We’ll see! Till next time!

 

A

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Compromises

Two weeks! Eeep! Sorry for getting behind! To make up for it, I have a HUGE post today!

So, first off will be my latest sewing project! I saw a great pin on Pinterest about a thing to hold the plastic grocery bags in. Right now, mine are all stuffed into a corner in the pantry, so I knew I would get use out of it. Yes, I do have the reusable bags in the car, but I only ever seem to remember to bring them in half of the time. I reuse the plastic bags for many different things though, so I don’t feel so bad when I opt for them. I drew up my plans and figured out my measurements in my notebook.

 

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I struggled with my fabric choice on this one to be honest. I have lots of pretty colors, but none of which would have looked good in mt kitchen. I then remembered that I had found a cute baby sling at the thrift store, and was going to try to resell it, but instead, I decided to use it for this project.

 

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Its a really fun pattern, and the fabric was thicker than my regular cotton. So, I proceeded to rip the seams, and iron it out. I decided on a plain black for the straps. I sewed  the straps with a 1/4 in. Seam, and turned them right side out. I cut the fabric for the body of the bag, and was really fortunate in that it already had a nice hem on both ends, one of which was large enough for my elastic! I found the middle of the body, and placed the strap like so, and sewed it on.

 

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Next time, I think I will move the straps farther away from the edge, as when it was finished, it placed the seam on the side instead of the back, but it wasn’t that big of a deal to me. After this, it was a matter of pulling the elastic through the bottom hem, and sewing the body together! It was that easy!

 

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Tada!! The whole thing took maybe 30 minutes to make. I’m really pleased with how it came out!

 

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I put the bags in it, and tried it out! Success!! So that was my creative venture for the week, but I also have a new obsession…

 

I have been an avid World of Warcraft player for YEARS. I love mmorpg’s. But that being said, there has been something really lacking in WoW for the past few expansions. As such, it hold less and less of my attention, and I haven’t played in months now. I really did miss playing some sort of MMO though. My husband and I were walking though Best Buy the other day, and I saw Final Fantasy XIV had a new expansion out. I played a free trial of the game a few years back and remembers that I really enjoyed it, but because I was raiding in WoW, I didn’t want to have to pay for two game subscriptions if I wasn’t going to have the time to enjoy them both, so Final Fantasy fell by the wayside. My husband was interested in the game, so we decided to give it a go for a month.

Oh man.

This game…

Is AMAZING!!!

 

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We got into a great Free Company, which is like a guild from Wow. The game itself is absolutely stunning. The visuals are awe-inspiring, and the music is beautiful. I have loved the Final Fantasy series for its earlier iterations, and so this game really hit the spot. One of the features that I really love is that you only need one character. Unlike other games, where you make a character and they can only be one class, IN FFXIV, your character can be every class, its just a matter of the type of weapon you have equipped. Its fantastic! I’ll definitely post more as we get farther into the game!

 

That being said, playing such an immersive game, means sitting at the computer for a long period of time, and its so hard to play games and not idly snack while you do. So, I made a compromise to myself. If I was going to play the game, I needed to set some time aside to do something active. I have a treadmill in my office, so I decided that that was going to be my tool for success. I unburyied it from the piles of fabric and clothes and gave it a good cleaning. I have always wanted to be able to run, but being so out of shape and overweight, its not something I could just dive right into. I had heard lots of great things about several apps and programs, but the one that stuck out most in my mind is the Couch to 5K program, or C25K. It was free on the app store, and really easy to use

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its designed for someone with no physical activity, to just get up, and start. That’s pretty much sums up my activity level, so I thought it would be a good place to start. I had a quick chat with my doctor to make sure it was OK for me to start, and it was a go.

 

Week 1 Day 1. it starts you out with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk, and then alternating jogging for a minute, and walking for 90 seconds for a total of 20 minutes, then a 5 minute cool down period. Sounds easy enough right?

 

WRONG.

 

I was sweating like a pig after the warm up, and then after my first minute jog, I couldn’t catch my breath. I was amazed at how hard this was for me to do, and it was only the first day! I made it halfway through the workout before I had to stop. Instead of getting discouraged that I couldn’t finish, I was proud that I had tried. If I keep at it, it will get easier, its just going to take time and perseverance.

 

I am aiming for 3 days a week to start out. This way, I’ll have a rest day in between until I get used to being more active. Today was day 3 for me, and you know what? I finished the Week 1 Day 1 workout!! It was a challenge, that’s for sure, but I did it! I’m going to repeat this workout for a few days, before I progress to day 2, and we’ll see where it goes from there.

 

So! There you have it! Progress all around! Let me know if you decided to make the bag holder like I did! Do you play FFXIV? What class is your favorite? If you want to do the C25K with me, comment below with your progress!

 

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The Pen Caddy

Welcome back! I’m really excited to share this next post with you. I have been tinkering away with my new sewing machine, trying to learn what I can from phone calls with my Mother, and all the tutorials I can on the internet. Oftentimes the designs in my head seem oh so simple, until I actually try and implement them. Well, I had thought up this idea for a portable pen caddy for my nicer pens and stylus for my drawing tablet for when I’m out and about. I didn’t want them knocking against each other in a normal pencil case. I had remembered seeing something similar to my design on the wonderful Pinterest, and decided to give it a go. I wanted something that would roll up and tie, so I could put it it my bag, and here is what I sketched out.

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So,  I drew it out. I figured that if I would draw each step out clearly, that I should be able to physically make it happen. I worked out my measurements of how big I wanted each piece to be, and started digging for some fabric!

 

I knew I wanted it to be something cotton like. Easily washable if need by, and soft enough that it would bend and give a little. I had found this skirt at the thrift store that I fell in love with. The fabric was really cute, and I loved the floral pattern.

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All clothes are are precept fabric when you think about it, so I decided to use it.  I grabbed my seam ripper, and went to town. The skirt had a zipper, lining and a hook closure that I set aside to start my notion stash. I will say, you will appreciate clothes a whole lot more when you start to carefully take them apart. What looked like a simple skirt was so much more. I decided on just a plain black cotton to coordinate. After I had the skirt in pieces, I laid them out, measured and cut my pieces.

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I wanted to add some stiffness to the thing, and my Mother had told me about interfacing. Apparently there are tons of different kinds, used for a variety of purposes. I chose to go with the Pellon 950F, which is used for shirt cuffs, collars, and whatnot.

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This stuff you cut to the size you need, and just follow the instructions. This particular kid I had to iron on. I made my first oopsie here… I didn’t pay attention to the side that was supposed to go down, and so now my  press cloth has a nice little strip of interfacing on it… OOPS! Lesson  1 Learned.

 

So, now everything was cut out, the interfacing was ironed on, and I proceeded to pis all the pieces together. Remember! Right sides together!

 

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Now … Let the sewing begin!!! I started with the cords that I wanted to wrap abound and tie the whole thing closed. Instead of sewing two pieces together, I just folded one piece over, making sure to press it flat.

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I made sure to leave enough space open at the end to turn it. Here’s where I had another issue. The first cord was too small to easily just turn right side out. I tried stuffing a pen in it, I tried using my seam ripper to slowly pull centimeter by centimeter, nothing worked well. I just managed to rip pout a good portion of what I had just sewn. I then remembered a trick I heard who knows where about taking a safety pin, attaching it to one end, then pushing it through and essentially scrunching the fabric over it as you go. After some finagling, this worked. I sewed the ends up, and added a zigzag stitch for decoration on the ends.

 

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The cords were done! Now to move onto the body. This part was easy. I just went around the edges with a 1/4 inch seam, again leaving enough room to turn it right side out.

 

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Forgive all the lint. Its solid black I swear! Its amazing what fabric can pick up… Another trick I learned  from the internet, was to trim the corners off so it makes turning them out easier. Like so.

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So, after I did this for the top flap, and the pocket, It came time to start putting it all together. I knew I wanted the flap to just come out of the top of the main body, so I slid it in between the two pieces of fabric, leaving just enough out for a seam.

 

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I also put the cords on here. But after sewing all the way around, I realized that when I went to turn it right side out, the cords would be in the inside… So, I ripped out a few of the stitches and removed the cords. Once it was right side out, I stuck the cords back in the hole, and did a straight stitch to attach them.

 

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( This is what you don’t want to do… Lesson 2 Learned!)

So it started to really come together at this point. I could see the finish line! I was really happy with it so far.

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I had to think for a little bit on what to do for the holes that were left from needing space to turn them. I did a quick google search and found  whats called a “Blind stitch”. It essentially closes the seam by grabbing the two innermost pieces of fabric, so you cant see the stitch from the outside. I did it by hand.

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Now its time for the channels. My Mother is an avid quilter, and told me about the magical little thing called a Frixion pen. Its an erasable pen, whose ink disappears with the heat from the friction of the rubber tip. Well, with a quick press from a hot iron, the ink will disappear. If you ever need to temporarily write on fabric. Buy. This. Pen.

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I decided that I wanted them about an inch apart, which would leave me with one larger channel at the end for my stylus. I measured them out, and let the machine do its thing.

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And TADA!!! Its done!! I gave it a quick press, and put it to immediate use!

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I am so over the moon happy with how it came out. I will want to make more of these, and make them larger. They don’t even have to be for pens, the possibilities are endless! I’m not sure what I want to make next, but I’m positive it will be another sewing project!!

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Snow day? How about a Sew Day!

My amazing husband gave me a new sewing machine for Christmas this year, and I have been positively itching  to play with it. Sewing has always been a skill I have wanted to learn. My Mother has an amazing gift, and some are my earliest memories are of things she had sewn for me, and me watching her at her machine. From Halloween costumes, to Renaissance Fair gowns, and just about any other project I had in my mind, I would run to her and ask if she could make it, and she would roll her eyes and she would make it happen. I have always wanted to be able to mend clothes, but as the prospect of a family comes closer and closer, I would really like to be able to do for my future kids what my mom did for me. So, with my new Janome all set up and ready to go, I took the dive and started somewhere.

I spent a good hour reading the manual and trying to familiarize myself with the machine, and had some scrap fabric to test out different stitches. I knew going into my project that I wanted something simple, quick and easy, and with one of my best friends having a baby recently, I’ve been all about the baby blankets.

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So, First step was to wash my fabric, and iron it out.  I believe I used 1 yard each of snuggle flannel that was on sale.  I then laid it out and trimmed it square, making sure my right sides were together (Its inside out).

 

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Next, I pinned the two layers together!

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Now…. TO THE SEWING MACHINE!!! I read a really great tip for beginners was to put a line of painters tape on where you wanted the end of your fabric to be, so help you with a straight and even seam. It worked wonders for me! This was somewhere around 1/2 to 1/4 inch.

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Slow and steady wins the race for me until I get more practice. I sewed around the whole thing, being careful to pull out my pins as I went along. I left about a 4 inch gap so I could get my hand in to turn it right side out.when I noticed….

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I was naughty and used the image on the fabric instead of my tape guide, and my seam went waaaaay off. That little blue ting is a seam ripper. Its my best friend and worst enemy. I spent the next 30 minutes tearing out the last foot or two of stitches. Apparently this is a part of sewing, and my mom told me to get used to it… lol

 

So I redid that seam, and turned it rightside out, making sure that I made the corners as square as I could. I then did another line around the blanket to give it a look and feel like there was a binding to it.

And here she is!

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Im so proud of my silly little project, and cant wait to go make something else. I want to make another of of these, but make it my size and try my hand at embroidering some designes on it, or to actually try to quilt it. Who knows!  I do see a trip to the fabric store in my future this weekend though. <3

 

Have a great weekend everyone! Till next time!

 

A

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