Friday, January 20, 2017

Big Girl Toys

You know that old-fashioned idea where you save coins in a jar until you have a decent amount and then go spend it on something fun? Well, I have been saving coins for the past few years without any real plan of what to spend them on. I just emptied out the change pouch of my wallet every time it got full and put the coins in a jar...and then transferred them to a larger jar, and then got a second large jar...

Those two jars got pretty full, and one morning in the week between Christmas and New Year's, it suddenly occurred to me: Why don't I buy myself a serger? So I got on the computer and ordered one. It felt rather impulsive and yet made perfect sense. Merry Christmas to me!! I think it's the best present I've ever bought myself. Of course, by the time it arrived, my life had gotten busy again and I really didn't have time to learn how to use it - until this week. Then I spent a good while figuring out how it worked and trying different stitches (after I finally got it threaded and running properly, which was quite the job!). It's fun to be able to sew stuff like this:

After several trial runs, I sewed my first serged hem on a tunic top I'd been altering.

So fast and easy! No stretching of the fabric, no unevenness - just one long straight seam and it was done! I love my serger!!

The other "toy" I've been having fun with is the dehydrator that my parents let me borrow. I've been making myself granola for the past few months, and drying fruit for it in the oven, but I often ended up with burnt pieces of apple or rather charred banana. The dehydrator is wonderful!! I can dry so much fruit at once and it comes out perfectly!

Bananas and kiwi for the granola and cinnamon apple slices for snacks...or maybe a future batch of granola. Hooray! The possibilities are endless!

So, I have been playing with my new toys, and working hard at the same time. Because sometimes those two things overlap, and that's the best!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Break from the Ordinary

Christmas break has been nice. I've actually had a few days that I could sleep in and even wear sweats! I've decided I love sweats. I hardly ever wear them because I hardly ever have days when I can just stay home. Yes, break has been nice. And will continue to be nice for the next few days. Then I start back into real life next week. Oh well. I like real life, too.

There are some other reasons  - besides getting to wear sweats - that I like break. I have kept myself quite busy with sewing, and I recently opened up two new Etsy shops. I had opened one before on which I listed every random thing I sewed, but now I have two much more specialized shops. One of them is for my Pet Palz. I have had fun designing a few new ones. I think turned out rather cute:

The second Etsy shop came about through the inspiration of my sewing student and her mom. One day, during a sewing lesson, my student took out a book full of craft and sewing ideas that I had received as a gift a while ago. She found a picture of some cute, crocheted mushrooms and immediately decided what her next sewing project would be.

That night, I was trying to think of what I could give my aunt for Christmas. She is a very creative lady, always crafting things, so I wanted to make something fun and unique for her. Why not mushrooms?? I got to work the next morning figuring out exactly how to make them. I knew I wanted to use fabric, rather than crocheting them. I found some short wooden pegs in one of my drawers (I "discover" things all the time in those drawers!) and decided to cover them with fabric and use them as stems for the mushrooms. Here is what I came up with:

I totally fell in love with them! I had to make more! At this point, I was just thinking of them as decorations, but when my student's mom saw them, she asked if they were pincushions. Why not? It was a brilliant idea! So I made more. When I ran out of the wooden pegs, I bought some little wooden spools at Hobby Lobby. They were a better value than the pegs, and they ended up looking better, too.

My mushroom garden is growing!

So break hasn't exactly been break in the way most people think of it, but I have enjoyed this detour from the ordinary. I even got to teach my sewing student make a stuffed bear - the first one either of us had ever made! It turned out so cute, don't you think?

I hope your new year is off to a good start! Be sure to check out my new shops (just click on the pictures below) and spread the word to anyone who might be interested in what I have for sale!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New Things

This year, for some reason, Christmas gift ideas seemed a little harder to come up with. In my family, each person usually writes up a list of things they want so everyone else knows what to get. Of course, some people don't write lists, or come up with so few ideas that most of us are left wracking our brains for what to get them. And then there are the gifts for friends. I like to get people things that are fun, unique, and practical. That can be difficult.

I ended up making a lot of gifts this year. It was quite fun! The most ambitious project was a button down shirt for my brother. I had gotten a pattern from a friend and really wanted to use it. This was the perfect occasion! I had never made a men's shirt before, so I was a little apprehensive, but it turned out to not be as complex and, well, scary, as I had thought. Here is the finished product:

I was happy with how professional it turned out! Patterns are nice like that! I was especially afraid of sewing so many buttonholes, but they actually went pretty smoothly. The grid-like pattern of the fabric made it easy to place them and make them all the same size.

I didn't have the shirt done for Christmas, so my brother got to open an unfinished gift. It ended up being a New Year's shirt. I made myself something new for New Year's Day as well.

So quick and easy! And comfortable! And I love the color. Also, check out that necklace!! It was a Christmas gift from a friend, and I am pretty much crazy about it!

Happy New Year!