Saturday, July 31, 2010

Post office?! (+a giveaway!)

So I FINALLY made it out to the post office to mail some projects/gifts/requests that had been waiting around to be mailed (Including the rag quilt for my sister that had been looking mighty nice draped over my couch.... I definitely need to make one for my living room now!), and I experienced a bit of shock over how much it costs to ship stuff, even regular ground mail (non-priority). After HAVING to buy the "cushioned mailer" envelope because they didn't have ANY of the plain ones in stock, and then paying for postage I paid nearly 5$ each for two packages that each weighed .75oz... and almost 11$ to mail the box with the quilt (which was what I expected there). Am I doing something wrong? What is the secret to affordable postage/shipping?? Flat rate boxes and envelopes? Buying the envelopes elsewhere? Help!

Also, another giveaway I found that sparked my interest, and should spark yours as well! They are giving away a quilting book, four FQs, and a charm pack of Bella solids at Stash Manicure. Hurry on over for your chance to win these great goodies, I'm sure crossing my fingers!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Christmas in July!

I am signed up to partake in the Christmas in July Blitz over at Monkey Dog Quilts, to work on Christmas-y projects for people on our list (I could use the time and headstart, that's for sure!) Well, we are supposed to post updates and progress every Thursday, so here goes :)

This is the laptop bag I am making for my sister. I know, I know, it's not a CHRISTMAS project, but its the only thing I have been able to work on lately. It is all finished now but the picture is from before I put it all together:

My first try doing a zipper pocket... You can see it's puckered a little bit, but since it's on the inside, I am not too worried about it ;) I can not for the life of me find "carbine hooks" for the straps ANYWHERE... Michael's had ONE, and Walmart, Joann's, Hancock's, and Hobby Lobby didn't have any... So, I haven't done the strap yet. I might just do a simple one with bias tape, like the tutorial does, and then if/when I ever find the hooks I can make one, send it to her, and she can cut the other one off.

What I DID do that was Christmas related, however, is I decided on what to do with my Fruitcake jelly roll! I am going to make a Christmas quilt, inspired a little bit by this tutorial at MBS, and of course make it more Christmas-y... I bet you can figure out my plans already! So I apologize for not having any Christmassy pictures to show, but that is some PROGRESS, right?

And on a non-Christmas related note, I am now almost 35 weeks, and the doctor has taken me off of the bedrest (ha, like I really got any rest as a SAHM to an almost two year old and two big dogs!) and says if the labor happens now, they won't stop it. Honestly, I am terrified! Yesterday was one of those days where everything was irritating me (and it was all stuff that would have whether I was pregnant or not, the hormones just made it far worse), and I just keep thinking how if sometimes just ONE child tries my patience in such a hard way, what am I going to do when I have two and both are in monstermode?

34 weeks with Aubree:
I AM ready to get my body back, however! I am hoping the weight loss this time will go like it did last time! My weight GAIN is just about the same for both, although I think I am at just a little bit less right now than I had gained at the same point with Cullen... 35 weeks with Cullen:
My pre-pregnancy weight was the EXACT same (based on first dr visit, both at about 6 weeks along) for each (163), and I was 185 at Cullen's birth (and 145 a week later!!) so I put on 22 lbs, and most of that was literally THE last week--coincidentally also when the stretch marks *gasp!* showed up.. I am at 174 according to the Doc's scale on Tuesday. To those who think that isn't enough, please understand that I had weight to lose in the beginning (I SHOULD be between 140-155 lbs for my height and muscle content), and horrible morning sickness the first SIX months last time, and FOUR this time! I had an Ultrasound on Tuesday as well, to check on the baby (last time around I had an emergency one at 30 weeks because I had only put on 6 lbs at that point, they were worried he wasn't growing), and she's head down and nearly 6 lbs already. They are estimating she will be around 8.5lbs at birth if I go to full term, which is more than a whole pound more than Cullen, who was 7lb 4oz! (I was 8lb 10oz, my poor mom!) Either way, I don't think I will make it past Mid August... Due date is Sept 5, my stepmom is betting on this Saturday (yikes! we are not ready for THAT soon!) and everyone else has scattered their bets throughout August/early Sept. Anyone want to put their vote in?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Friday Night Sew-in

Well, since Shaine had his wisdom tooth pulled yesterday, he was a bit out of it, so after Cullen went to bed, I actually had the night to myself! I didn't get a whole lot done, as I was having some tension issues with my machine (I am thinking it was the thread, since that was the only thing different)...

I did manage to put this together for my friend's little girl though:

I am unhappy with the look of the ribbon straps though, so I am going to make a fabric one today. I sent her a picture already, though, and she loves it, which makes me happy :)

Today I am going to try my hand at a laptop bag, and I am generally using THIS tutorial to do so, with just minor changes. My sister FINALLY re-enrolled herself for college, so I am making her the laptop/book bag as a gift.

And to those who would like a giggle to start off the day (or afternoon, evening, whatever it is when you read this), here is a video I recorded of Shaine while the anesthesia still had its grips on him! He was trying to tell me why it would be okay for him to drive instead of me!

Friday, July 23, 2010

I'm still around!

It's been awhile since I posted! Things have been hectic lately: out of town visitors, doctor's appointments, playdates, and now Shaine is getting his wisdom teeth pulled today! Poor baby... I know he is not going to take it well. I tell him it's a good thing he only gets sick once or twice a year, because the moment he experiences the slightest pain, sickness, or discomfort he turns into a big baby!

I have managed to get a few things done in the last 11 days:

A purse for my stepmother. This one is SO much better than my last one! I also used a thicker interfacing so it's still a "fabric" purse, but alot less flimsy! I even tried my hand with a zipper for the first time, and I made this:

Then, I decided to finally try something I had been eyeing over at Moda Bake shop, and I made these using this tutorial:The first picture is brighter because we finally got a new digital camera, so I don't have to take all the pictures with my phone! Anyway, Aubree's was the first time I tried free motion quilting, and I did just wavy lines. Aniya's I tried a wandering "pattern". I didn't draw it out first either time, and I'm sure some of you more experienced quilters can tell, but I still absolutely love both, and am really proud of them for a "first try". I can't wait to keep making stuff to get better at it! I still have to work on seam allowances, apparently, because it ended up being a bit smaller than it was supposed to be :/ I am hoping to have them finished up in the next week or so, but I have lots of other stuff going on.

I also won another giveaway at 44th Street Fabric! Great Halloween Night fabric (and Bev is doing another AMAZING giveaway right now, too!):

I think I may just have to make some cute "trick or treat" tote bags for Cullen and his friends, since this year he will be able to get into it alot more! He was a zebra for Halloween last year, but we didn't go trick or treating, he just helped pass out candy to the kids that came by... At 12 months old, he didn't need the candy, and neither did mommie!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Awesome giveaway :)

It still doesn't cease to amaze me how much generosity some people show with their giveaways! I know sometimes it is from a third party/sponsor, but often times it is precious fabric yardage, scraps, FQs, etc from that person's own beloved stash! One of the great blogs I follow, Little Miss Shabby, is having a giveaway with lots of little scraps from Swell by Urban Chiks. Hurry on over to enter before this Saturday!!
Meanwhile, the hubby and the boy came home last night! It's so good to have my little man back, even though it took until noon for him to give his mama some kisses! I can tell he was spoiled by all the family in Michigan, because his patience level is now zero. Where I used to say "Wait" or "Hold on" while getting him a snack, drink, etc... he used to put his hand down and wait patiently. Now it's an all out tantrum. *sigh* He'll learn soon enough that doesn't work when he realizes that while he throws himself on the floor whatever he wanted got put away!

I made a nursing cover for my friend this week:

And also finally finished putting together the rag quilt squares for my sister's quilt:

Still need to fray it... I only cut a few inches along one edge and already got bored. I can tell this will take me awhile LOL! I will have to find a good movie on TV, wait for Cullen to get to sleep, and get to town! (And yes I did buy spring scissors!)

That reminds me of a funny story that happened to me yesterday. I was nearly out of the thread color I used for Chelsey's quilt, so slightly before noon I grabbed the almost-empty-spool of thread and headed over to Hancock's, as it is rather close to the house. Well, they didn't open until noon, and with Walmart just across the street, I didn't want to wait in my hot car for 20 minutes. Went to Walmart, saw the spring scissors I need, one pair for 10.99, and another larger kind for 15.99, but nothing even close to the thread color I needed (even though I originally got it there!). Back to Hancocks. Walked in, found the thread, looked for the scissors and realized that the exact same brand/type/style EVERYTHING for each pair was 15.99 and 21.99, respectively. Now, I am not a huge cheapskate or anything, but 5$ extra for the exact same thing? I put the thread back on its shelf, and headed out to try a different Walmart (we have 3 within a 2 mile radius). It wasn't until I got to that Walmart, and grabbed the almost-empty-spool of thread that I realized I put the wrong one back!
I inadvertently just STOLE a spool of thread!
I felt embarrassed and a bit humiliated, so after I ran a few more errands I went back and paid for it. I believe what goes around comes around, and I need all the good karma I can get!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My first bag!

So I finally broke into the Moda Freebird Charm pack I won. I had been planning to use it to make a bag/purse, but just didn't know what I wanted to do. I love following tutorials, and I think it's amazing that people are nice enough to take their time to show beginners like me how to make great things. For a long time, I had this tutorial from MBS open in an extra tab, planning to use the charms to make that bag, but decided that it didn't completely fit what I had in mind... So, while I was debating about it, I happened to find an old purse of mine in the garage:

I bought it in Chinatown in San Francisco back in 2005, and as you can see, it was VERY well loved and well used for a long time! So, without actually FOLLOWING the tutorial, I took ideas from that purse (the pieced top and placement of the straps), and ideas from the Chinatown purse (the solid border and more "rectangle-ish" look) and voila!- this came together:

It is definitely FAR from perfect, but I absolutely love how it came out, and since it is just for me the imperfections are okay. I love tutorials, but sometimes its even better to just sketch out some ideas, work out some measurements, fly by the seat of your pants, and see what comes of it! A very small part of me wishes I had used some.... less loved.... fabric, and not immediately used the charm pack, but there is still about half leftover for something else... Hmm Maybe a matching coupon clutch? Those are so fun to make!

I did learn a few things I will have to remember for the next bag I make, however:
  • I need stronger/thicker interfacing. I thought it would be okay since it worked so well for the coupon clutch, but I guess because of the way it was folded, it already was much thicker than this simple tote.
  • I need a new technique for the straps (probably SHOULD have followed the tutorial for that part, the way it is done there is much easier, and would have come out much nicer, but I wanted to use fewer charms)
  • Stronger fabric for the interior lining. I used a pale yellow from my stash that coordinates with the exterior beautifully, but I am worried that it is so thin, that even my keys might one day poke a hole in the bag.
  • The brown I used for the borders is from Moda Marbles, and I absolutely love it! It came in a box from Heidi (from Handmade by Heidi) when she was giving away loads of fabric and scraps when she was getting ready to move. I only have scraps of the brown left now, but I do have lots of blue on the shelf. I love how great patterned fabrics look mixed with solids, but I just don't like buying solids alot. The marbles, to me, are a great alternative! You still get the one color, but with some illusion of texture!
There were some other things when I was thinking about it in my head last night, but of course I can't remember now! Oh, and -once again- I apologize for the picture quality... Best I can do right now, but SUNDAY Shaine comes home with the new digital camera he bought. Did I mention that he broke my old one (the one who had been through a deployment, a pregnancy, cross country move, and the birth and first 18 months of my sons life). I was quite partial to it, after more than two years, desert, sand, and international trips, it still worked great, held a charge for a long time, and had GREAT picture quality (12MP). Somehow Shaine thought it would be a good idea to put it in his checked baggage-- the big duffel bag with all his shoes, clothes, and random uniform items-- on his way back from Italy. The conversation when he got home and turned it on to try to show me the pictures was actually quite amusing...

Shaine-- "Babe, I think you're going to be mad at me?"
Me-- "Why is that?"
Shaine-- "Because I think I broke your camera..."
Me-- "Oh no, sad, but not mad, because now you get to buy me a new one!"

That was about a month ago, and we would have gotten a new one sooner, but Shaine graciously allowed me to switch around our "wishlist" priorities so that I got my sewing machine sooner. Until he gets home though, we have to settle for iphone pictures. Now, I just have to find some beautifully scenic area in my house/yard that I can display things when I take pictures.... It seems all of you bloggers live in houses that look like they came out of magazines! I see beautiful furniture, hardwood floors, fabulous decorations, amazing patios, green GRASS (we just have weeds. It's green, at least, and better than the dirt patch we had for a back yard a few weeks ago, but still mostly weeds). I'm jealous of you all!

Monday, July 5, 2010

RIP AJ Creighton...

I am so sad to be typing this now, but I need a bit of an outlet, so here goes. I just got word not long ago that we have lost yet another friend and soldier in Afghanistan yesterday.... On Independence Day. It is hitting me harder than usual because this is somebody with whom I had a falling out long ago, and never fully mended the fences. I should have known better, since losing friends and coworkers over there is nothing new to me, and hasn't been for years, so I am having a really hard time accepting that he's really gone now and I fell into the trap of thinking "there is always time."

Military or not, if there is someone you have yet to resolve an issue with, don't think that there is still time. Regardless of who is "at fault" take the time to smooth things over. You never know what might happen before you do.

Rest in Peace, AJ. You will be deeply missed by many, and forever remembered by all for your sacrifice.

Halloween Nights!!

I have been drooling over this fabric since I saw it for the first time about two weeks ago. Shaine says its too early to order Halloween fabric ;) HOWEVER, Bev from 44th Street Fabric is offering a giveaway, with two winners! One winner gets two yards of fabric from the collection, and another winner gets two charm packs! How awesome is that? Hurry on over to try your luck!

I probably shouldn't be greedy, since I won a giveaway there barely more than a week ago, but I just couldn't resist!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Pillowcase dresses

I have been scouring various patterns and tutorials for weeks of little girl clothes and dresses, trying to find something rather easy and simple to get myself started. Here is the first one I did:
And it was so fast to put together that I was hooked! I then used this tutorial from The Polka Dot Chair (tons of amazing tutorials for all kinds of things on her blog!) and made a few small changes and came up with this:
It was a bit harder than the first one, but I absolutely LOVE how it turned out! I loved the middle fabric SO much, that I went on and made another simple one out of it:This one I am going to hang onto for my little girl. Of course it will be awhile before she can fit into it (It is probably about a 24m-2T in size, although with the ribbon for straps it could last longer. I used a 24m tank top of Cullen's to kind of get a size idea.) I used double fold bias tape (store bought... I just didn't feel like making it!) for the arm holes and the bottom trim, and used an orange thread to do a decorative stitch on top of it, rather than the typical matching straight stitching. I absolutely love it!

I also finished compiling the fabrics for my sisters rag quilt, and cut out a TON of squares. Hopefully I will make a dent in some of the sandwiches I need to make today!

And today is day 2 without my little man! I am enjoying the peace and quiet, but its so weird. I have never spent more than a night away from him at one time. He is having a blast though! Went to see fireworks last night, played on a trampoline, and just been hanging out with TONS of family :) I will end the post with this great picture Shaine sent me yesterday :)