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.

 

20160223_144620

 

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.

 

20160223_144527

 

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.

 

20160223_153814

 

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!

 

20160223_155630

 

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

 

20160223_155954

 

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!!!

 

ffxiv_pcw24002_1920x1080

 

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

.

c25k

 

 

 

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!

 

Continue Reading

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.

20160208_173013

 

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.

20160208_145103_1

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.

20160208_172958

 

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.

20160209_175722

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!

 

20160209_175732

 

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.

20160209_180918

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.

 

20160211_133933

 

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.

 

20160211_134005

 

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.

20160211_134018

 

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.

 

20160211_144648

 

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.

 

20160211_144659

( 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.

20160211_154537

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.

20160211_143815

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.

20160211_154606

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.

20160211_161031

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

20160211_162144

20160211_162927

20160211_162850

20160211_162915

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!!

Continue Reading

Loving Local

20160204_134746

 

Today I was on my way to the thrift store when I saw this sign on the way. Turns out a brand new quilt shop just opened up right under my nose! I put plans on hold and stopped in to check it out. I was immediately greeted by the smiling face of Terry, and we talked about all the things the great little shop has to offer. Classes, Meetups, Clubs, they have it! I’m really excited to check them out, Particularly this “Unfinished Objects” class, or UFO they have going on. For someone like me, who will start a bajillion things, then never finish, this sounds like it was made for me. They also have a “Block of the month” for the quilters, where you get a pattern and kit to make the said block, then they all come together to make a quilt. I really want to give this a shot after I learn the quilting basics, which Terry eagerly said she would show me how to do. The shop is all about promoting local business, as shown by some of the collections they have for sale. I took a peak around, and they have some absolutely stunning fabric.20160204_134530

 

These were some of my favorites. I’m in love with those graduating chevrons… I want to make something with them something fierce.

20160204_134455 20160204_134448

 

These were more of the finished products, and the patters to go along with them. Just being around such an awesome place filled me with excitement and inspiration. I grabbed a calendar, and can’t wait to get started. My plans for the thrift store were long forgotten at this point. I went straight home and dove into my fabric bin to start a new project. I would really like to make something to hold my headphones in, and a sleeve for my rotary cutter. I have a few ideas on my Pinterest page. I’m washing my fabric now, and plan on getting an early start tomorrow.

 

So, If you happen to be in the Chesterfield area of Virginia, I would HIGHLY recommend you stop by this lovely little place.  Check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/materialthingsva .

 

 

Continue Reading