Category: Confession

Imagine That?

One of the things I stress in the beginner level sewing classes I teach is machine maintenance. Namely, that regular use is needed to keep a machine in good working order, as well as annual “spa days.” It’s advice that I more or less follow myself.

So I have this embroidery machine, a BabyLock Emore, which I affectionately refer to as “the paperweight.” I bought it 4.5 years ago for a steal because the model was on closeout and have since used it rather sporadically, mostly around gift-giving times (Christmas, birthdays, end of the school year). For the most part it sits on its own little rolling cart in my studio, gathering dust.

When my sweet and talented friend asked me a couple of months ago if I would let her come over and use my embroidery machine for a costume she had in mind, I of course said yes. We discussed technical details like thread, designs, hoop size and stabilizers. Last month she came over and we got down to business.

We stitched out designs, testing thread colors, sizes and fabrics. To say this is an embroidery-intensive project is something of an understatement. She joked about moving in for the duration, since she was (is) determined to do as much of the work as possible. We planned lunches, tossed around ideas for other costumes, talked and talked and talked some more. And the learning curve. Definitely some major navigation of the learning curve related to the embroidery machine since she’d never used one and I had basically ignored it for so long.

Funny thing about machines. They really need regular use and tune ups if you expect them to do their thing. It really should have come as no surprise, then, that said embroidery machine completely locked up after the third day of nonstop stitchery.

Oops.

I am eternally grateful to have a great machine repair guy who is not only fair in pricing but fast, too. He did point out that the damage could have been much worse had I not stopped the machine when I did.

Lesson learned, for sure.

Sew Fun Birthday

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Is anyone else addicted to Pinterest? I swear, I go back and forth between cursing and praising that site. On one hand, it’s such a time suck. On the other…well, I’ve definitely been inspired.

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Pinterest played a key part in Miss L’s seventh birthday party, which started with this blog post. I instantly fell in love and just knew my bunny would love to celebrate her 7th with a sewing party.

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I did a little appliqué and embroidery on linen for the party invites, scanned them in and added the rest of the details in Photoshop.

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On Saturday, our guests were met at the door with a fun “wreath” made for the occasion.

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We started out with some fun crafts with each girl making a little embroidered piece to take home and a funky felt floral headband.
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A lunch of heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches, baby carrots with ranch dip, caramel drizzled apple slices, yogurt with fresh berries and sewing themed sugar cookies was served.

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A cute-as-a-button cake and raspberry lemonade completed the meal.
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We played a laugh-filled game of “put the spool on the sewing machine” and trotted out the props in a photo booth session.
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The day ended with a piñata, also themed for the occasion (a giant spool of thread)!

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Our birthday girl thanked each guest for coming with a handmade goodie bag and chocolate button lollipop.
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The little miss deemed it “the best birthday ever,” which made it worth all the work.

Resources

Candy button molds, sewing cookie cutters, polka dot paper straws: Bake It Pretty

Flower Frill Clover template, party hats and crown pattern by The Quilted Fish, Michael Miller fabrics (polka dots from Children at Play, ginghams from Mini Mikes): Intown Quilters

Fabric pinwheels: tutorial by Sandi Henderson (modified)

Ruffled chair garlands: tutorial by Hank + Hunt

Cake: me and Publix (story to come)

Sugar cookies: Recipe from Cake Central, royal icing by CK from Cake Art Party Store, decorating tutorial (my first time decorating cookies like this!) by Sweetopia.

Drink bottles: Starbucks single-serving Frappuccino, saved for me by my son’s super sweet girlfriend (thanks again, Laura!)

Birthday banner: tutorial coming!

Spool piñata: tutorial coming!

Goodie bags: tutorial coming!

Tip Junkie handmade projects

So Long, Summer

Miss L headed back to school a week ago (first grade! OMG!) so it’s safe to say summer is over ’round these parts. I’m still in denial. Didn’t school just end? Summer has not passed this quickly since I was in school.

Zippppp. Over.

While I was taking a (completely unintentional) blog break, I did have what I thought were some pretty realistic plans for the summer months:

1. Take Miss L on a fabulous Disney World vacation.
2. Teach a week of sewing summer camp.
3. Sew a bunch of things on my to-do list (including my Dragoncon costumes).
4. Spend lots of great time with L.
5. Hang out at the pool to take advantage of our member$hip.
6. Clean out and reorganize my bedroom closet.
7. Help Honey with our major yard project.
8. Finish the proposal for my (possibly) second book.

Here’s what my reality looks like:

1. Take Miss L on a fabulous Disney World vacation.
Done and wonderful! We woke her up early on a Saturday morning with the news that we were going to the airport and flying to Disney World. She has been asking to go for more than a year now and it was worth all the saving and secrecy. My wonderful friend Tifani gave us the low down on the whole Disney thing, which really helped us enjoy the trip even more.

2. Teach a week of sewing summer camp.
Done — with changes. My plans changed up a bit in the spring and my original week of camp was dropped so I could instead cover for another teacher in July. One week of camp with two weeks of camp/working. Lots of fun but exhausting, too. The kids were so awesome and I had a blast, though.
3. Sew a bunch of things on my to-do list (including my Dragoncon costumes).
Yeah, not so much. Dragoncon is in two weeks or so and I have finished one piece. Guess what I’ll be doing between now and Labor Day weekend? On the upside, I did piece the tops of two lap quilts, make a few things for L, some shop samples and do a major cleaning of my sewing room.

4. Spend lots of great time with L.
Done! Loved every minute of it!

5. Hang out at the pool to take advantage of our member$hip.
Not as much as I would have liked. Trying to make up for it now.

6. Clean out and reorganize my bedroom closet.
Big fat FAIL. I’m afraid to open the door.

7. Help Honey with our major yard project.
In progress. We paid a landscape architect to design a yard plan last year and have slowly been working to implement it. I’m thinking it’s going to be a five-year plan given the labor and cost involved. We have made amazing strides this summer and the backyard is nearly done with the digging, tilling, landscape-fabric laying and mulching portion. Too bad we haven’t gotten any rain to help with the new-grass-growing portion.

8. Finish the proposal for my (possibly) second book.
Another one for the “fail” list. I’m not sure why I’m dragging my feet but I’m no closer to finishing it than I was in April. *sigh*

So, what’s your summer been like?

Crafty Fun

The ICE Atlanta Holiday Market was so much fun. I had awesome neighbors (Finkelstein’s Center and Microwave Girl/Preservation Society), saw some fave sewing pals (Hi, Colleen!) and met some cool folks, too. Also? I got to hang out with one of my favoritest friends, Sarah, who forced me to drive to Sublime Doughnuts, although she had nothing to do with my decision to buy a dozen donuts and then eat most of them during the course of the day on Saturday. (S’mores donut? ohmygoshsogoodiwantmore!)

Sadly, I didn’t get to do much shopping this year but I did bring home a really fun portable art set from The Long Thread to give Miss L for Christmas. Totally loved meeting Ellen! I was a little nervous about introducing myself to her (and dropped the name of our mutual friend when I did so I didn’t come off too stalkery) because she is so fabulous but she’s so sweet and friendly (and I am totally itching to get a copy of her book).

This was my first craft show and it was such a great experience on many levels. I came home with a few more things than I’d hoped, but that’s OK. It was just so incredibly rewarding to get my book and clothes out there and interact with the people who were buying them, and that just made it for me. Speaking of …


Personalize for


I’m now offering folks the chance to purchase an autographed copy of Little Girls, Big Style directly from me! Just click the Buy Now button above and you’ll be taken to a PayPal page to complete your purchase. If you want the book personalized with a name, please enter it in the text field above the Buy Now button (or you can put it in the Notes to Seller on the purchase page). The cost of the book is $25.95 plus $4.90 USPS Priority Mail shipping. Right now, I’m only able to ship within the United States but if you are an international reader, please email me and we’ll talk. 🙂

Makeover

I have a love/hate relationship with the space I refer to as my “studio.”

My dominance of the downstairs was kind of gradual, beginning when Honey kicked me out of asked me to relocate from the dining room (I think it had something to do with a sewing machine, serger and constant fabric piles taking over our dinner space). Over time, I’ve gone from having just a small desk with a sewing machine and serger, to completely taking over every square inch of our den/Honey’s former office. And that’s where my discontent arises.

Pros:

  • It’s a pretty nice-sized space.
  • I don’t have to share it with anyone.
  • It’s out of the flow of traffic, so I can leave it messy, if I want.
  • Convenient bathroom access.
  • Windows overlooking the backyard.

Cons:

  • It’s an L-shaped space.
  • With SIX doors (laundry room, garage, closet, bathroom, extra bedroom, backyard).
  • And a stairwell.
  • The backyard doesn’t get much sunlight.
  • And the windows are underneath our deck.
  • What little natural light there is does not reach where I do most of my work.
  • There is one piddly light fixture.
  • And it’s at the bottom of the stairs.
  • Ratty old nasty stained carpet.
  • Which is great solely for hiding pins.
  • Oh and the bathroom needs a new wall because of a water leak that destroyed the drywall.

Goodness knows I’ve done my best to make it work. Added lots of bright furniture and fixtures. Upgraded the original rinky dink light to the current piddly light fixture. Started saving for new flooring. Mounted an under-cabinet light fixture to a hanging shelf affixed over the sewing table. Researched track lighting and drywall replacement.

While thumbing through the latest issue of Studios magazine at the gym today, I had an epiphany: I can resolve my mom cave discontent by merely rearranging the furniture. As the light bulb appeared over my head, I heard a “well, duh!” from my inner snark monster.

Next week, while the boys are both out of school, I’ll get them to help me measure the room and all the furniture, then start playing around with the layout in Illustrator (what? you don’t use your graphics program for rearranging rooms?). Maybe I’ll even browse around the Ikea web site for inspiration and maybe gift ideas for Santa.

I promised my husband I would wait to actually move furniture until after I get new flooring (fingers crossed that it’s by February!), which gives me plenty of time to plot the perfect space. Although maybe I’ll get a head start by fixing that darn bathroom.

Hello, Reality

Oh my gosh, I wrote a book. I wrote a book and people can buy it. Are buying it. And now sewing from it.

I think reality is finally setting in. Until now, my book has pretty much only been seen by my family at Stash Books/C&T Publishing, my actual family, a few friends and about 70 people who received a copy at Market. But now it’s out there. For just anyone. Everyone.

Oh. My. Gosh.

There are times I’ve wondered if I was crazy, even trying to write a book. Worried that no one would want to read it, or like it. Terrified someone would discover a mistake*.

Now, I hold this beautiful thing in my hands and think, “I made this.” No matter what happens from here on out, I have accomplished something I’ve dreamed of since I was 8 years old. And I’m so excited — and nervous — to see where things go next. I hope you’ll stay with me on this journey, because your support has buoyed me along this far.

And I hope you’re interested in a giveaway, because I’ve got one cooking up. A big one. Like, with an autographed copy of the book. Some fabric. Some other cool stuff. I think you’re going to like it.

* I’d love nothing more than to have an error-free book. No one is more apologetic — or embarrassed — than I. Please check the errata before cutting. And I’m sorry. 🙁

Finally

My book arrived yesterday.

I knew it was coming and knew it would be here by 3 p.m. Wednesday, but I somehow was still not prepared when I picked up the envelope next to my front door.

My book.

I think most people would have just ripped into it right then and there. I’m not most people.

Instead, I thought about opening the envelope and felt like crying. Crying. I’m such a freak.

So I stuck the envelope in my bag and figured I’d be ready to open it…eventually. “Eventually” doesn’t work when you’ve told your friends and family on Facebook the book is on it’s way, and then that you have it but can’t open it. Still, I couldn’t do it.

Until this morning.

Maybe I can just pull the tab a little bit…

Maybe I can pull it all the way off…

Not so bad! Hey, what’s that peeking out?

Well, hello there!

Hey, that’s me!

It’s all flippy n stuff!

My book. My. Book.

Wow.

Susanne Woods, the acquisitions editor at C&T, wrote a beautiful introduction to Little Girls, Big Style on the Stash blog. It almost made me cry, too.

Lucky 13

Thirteen years ago today, Honey and I stood under a covered yard in the hot, Alabama August and said “I do” in front of our nearest and dearest.

I swore to love (check), honor (mostly check) and obey (yeah, not so much) the man beside me.

We are no longer those people, and for that I’m glad. We are stronger, more patient, more tolerant and more forgiving (really that one is just me). We’ve had amazing highs and frightening lows but have never questioned us.

Thirteen years, three kids, one law school degree, three states, two apartments, one house, five cars, two dogs, three cats, eight jobs. And I still get a tingle when he kisses me.

And I still can’t see a future that doesn’t include an us. A lifetime won’t be enough.