Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quarantine Day 7 + Sweet Harmony Handbag

My last day in quarantine. Tomorrow I will go back to work. The rash is basically gone except for a couple of tell-tale marks. I'm really grateful for how mild this case was and hope I don't get it again. Considering that this virus usually occurs in people over 50, with low immune systems, or people under extreme stress, I have realized that I need to slow down a bit. I'm starting to realize that every waking second of my day doesn't have to be spent doing something productive. Or more appropriately, that spending time doing something like reading to Ethan or doing a project with Haven IS productive. I will try to not book every single Saturday with something and will be more patient with my projects knowing that I don't HAVE to stay up until 2 in the morning to finish it. Of course I say that..... but last night it was about 1:30 when I finished this:

The Amy Butler Sweet Harmony Handbag
I really like this bag! I used heavy weight fabric (I think it was backing fabric) from the Roman Holiday Christmas collection from Moda from several years ago. I had just enough leftover cream solid from something else for the lining. The bag was easy to put together except for the bulk of the exterior with all the batting and interfacing. I went through about three needles. I should have bought some upholstery needles (and will before I make another one). I LOVE the design of the bag but it's just slightly too small. I'm going to try blowing up the pattern on a copy machine just a smidge. 

I also finished the hand sewing on my jacket. Now I just need the rest of the buttons and it will be complete! 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cash Envelopes Book

Rob and I have been doing the Dave Ramsey "Financial Peace University" system for more than six months now. We didn't take the whole class. I just did A LOT of research on the internet to get all the theories and main points. Mostly I wanted the budget percentages and to see how to go to the all cash system. In the spirit of reducing costs and because I'm crafty, I decided to make my own cash book instead of ordering theirs. So I made one out of a 7 Gypsies envelope album. I have worn it out so that the flaps on the envelopes are tearing and the pieces of the mixed media I decorated it with are coming off. So I started researching wallets to see how I could have a more durable envelope system.

I was first inspired by this Fossil Wallet because it has room for two currencies. I think there is another zippered section somewhere too, because I thought I could have both types of coins in there. But the price tag of 70 euros quickly made me put it back on the shelf. Funny, it's only $50 from the US website...

Then the Heather Bailey Folding Totes pattern got me thinking because it has a coupon envelope in the pattern. But how would I bind them together...

So I looked on Etsy for fabric envelope inspiration. There was this neat accordion folder, these envelopes within an envelope, and others. But then Sunday I found this seller and I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Her use of linen and magnets is great! This is the one that really caught my eye. Someone else thought it was great too because it sold yesterday!

So here's my version.

I used the very last little remnants of my favorite Nicey Jane fabric and green linen. I added gusseted coin pockets for US and Euro coins and a pocket for coupons and stuff. I also made the envelopes big enough to fit both US and Euro bills. The Euros are taller and the US$ are wider. Since I haven't used a checkbook in almost nine years I didn't need a spot for one. I used long strips of magnets to keep the envelopes closed, which make the book bulkier and heavier, but keeps all the pockets perfectly closed. I am now praying that all those magnets don't erase my credit cards.

This was a challenging project and there are some things I should have done a little differently, but I think I did a decent job and I think I'll use this for awhile. I talked to TresMarias before I blogged to let her know that I didn't steal her idea outright, but that it was a long thought through project that ended in a similar design as hers. She was sweet and said that that was one of the tenants of the program - if you don't have to buy it, don't, and she encouraged me to make my own. She also let me know that she's in the process of making a pattern for her cash wallets! So if you're interested in making one yourself, but not interested in figuring it all out, grab her pattern when it comes out!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quarantine Day 5

I think I'm past the contagious period so I've ventured out a few times, with hand sanitizer of course. I had to get the purple car registered and today was the last possible day. When I told the lady I was late because of illness she asked what I had. I told her, and then she proceeded to tell me her story of the time she had it. The funny thing was she got so engrossed in her story that she didn't ask to see my driver's license, proof of insurance, ID card... nothing. Hilarious.

Well, other than that, I sewed for about 9 hours straight, finally got to the Prof. Moriarty stories in the Sherlock Holmes books, read some blogs, and did some work on the digi scrap site. Tomorrow when the sun is out I'll take pictures of the project that took 9 hours and post it.

1st Lost Tooth

Ethan lost his first tooth today. It had been wiggly for a couple months now and his lunch did the final task of removing it today. So did we have a special place for it for the Tooth Fairy? A crafty little device to store the tooth? Something fun for this momentous event? Well, unless the Tooth Fairy can retrieve teeth out of little boy's tummies, I think we'll have to call this one a really lost tooth. Yup, he swallowed it. Still makes me laugh!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

BMW Magic Trick

My purple BMW failed its inspection earlier this month. So I took it into the shop (once again) for another round of expensive work. But I told them I really needed them to work some magic on the car because I couldn't keep bringing it in for repairs. 

So, I took it in. And then abra cadabra......

We came home with THIS!!!!!!

Pretty good trick right? Well, it just so happened that they had a used Mini that was within our monthly budget. I was able to surprise Rob by bringing it home for a test drive. Then we went together the next day to sign the papers. We had to wait two weeks before we could pick it up, but now it's ours. It's so cute! It's too small for my every day needs. I like to push my seat too far back, so the kids don't have enough leg room in the back. And the trunk is too small for groceries. But that's ok, because this paint job is EXACTLY what Rob would choose if he could pick any mini. So Rob gets to have the mini and I got his black 325. The purple car is getting passed on to one of my co-workers who needs a car for less than a year before he moves. So... there you have it. The BMW magic trick. :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Quarantine Day 3

Today I rested. I only did these fun things:
  • made breakfast for Haven's b-day - waffles
  • watched her open her gifts from us - the messenger bag and shopping money
  • took pictures of bag and beautiful 13 year old daughter
  • finally hung shelves in kitchen for cookbooks
    • realized nifty pot rack that hangs from ceiling won't work where I want it cuz that section of ceiling is only dry wall. Bummer.
    • laundry
    • dishes
    • organized Ethan's closet and removed clothes that are too small. Kara, get ready for a present! :)
    • listened to more Sherlock Holmes
    • made a cake

    • online shopping with Haven for her birthday
    • Digi scrapping pics for the blog
    • computer time

    My Teenager

    My little girl turned 13 today! We had planned for Haven and some friends to go downtown for a shopping trip. I couldn't go, so Rob chaperoned the girls. They had a good time shopping and eating Chinese food. Haven came back with about five new t-shirts and some jewelry. She also got to start her Facebook account today, which is where she spent most of the evening! :) We also did some online shopping on Etsy (for cheshire cat ears and anime hat) and (for Christian t-shirts). So this year I'm 31 and she's 13. Funny.

    But I prewashed!!!!!!!

    I washed this a while back and was just ill when it came out. I haven't been able to look at it. I pre-washed all the fabric on hot water for the regular cycle (not the quick cycle). But the red still bled into my beautiful white collar. Funny though, not into the white lining. So is there any way to get the collar white again without taking it apart and putting on a new collar?

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    Quarantine Day 2

    There's no major change today, which I hope is a good sign. A friend of mine called today to say that her husband has similar outbreaks every few years. The good news was that it sounded mild like mine and went away after about 10 days. The bad news was he gets it every three years or so. This year was one of his years. Whining to myself, I thought this was a one time deal. Well, at least if it happens again I'll know what it is and can treat it sooner. So want to hear what I got accomplished today?

    1. had my first cup of coffee since last Sunday. Mmmm so good. And probably explains the rest of the list.
    2. lovely morning with the hubby drinking coffee and discussing the world
    3. almost completed corduroy jacket. just the hand sewing left to do. (yes, Corinnea, I'm going to do it)
    4. lunch with hubby and the boy
    5. laundry
    6. dishes
    7. more de-cluttering
    8. computer time
    9. listening to sherlock holmes and loving it! the longer I listen the more I think they cast the movie perfectly. 
    10. mended 2 shirts, 2 buttons (with the sewing machine!!!!!), 1 button hole, one skirt, and 2 waterproof sheets
    11. payed bills
    12. worked on the budget
    13. almost got a picture of ethan with his head stuck in his shirt! LOL!
    14. made this messenger bag (without the stroller straps and with pockets). pictures of that tomorrow.
    Maybe tomorrow I'll rest. We'll see...

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Quarantine Day 1

    If you don't know what I mean by quarantine, read the previous post. I'm actually not quarantined, it just amuses me to say the word quarantine. I can leave my house, I just have to avoid contact with ... well, everyone. I mean it's hard to ask everyone if they've had chickenpox, are pregnant, or have a weak immune system before you shake hands. So just easier to stay inside and not risk it. So here's my rundown of today's activities (as if you're really interested... but it's fun for me to make lists! CHECK!)
    1. three loads laundry
    2. dishwasher
    3. began to de-clutter the dining table
    4. cleaned the pile of clothes off my floor
    5. cleared the dead plants off the balcony (side note, if you love plants, don't give me one as a gift)
    6. had lunch with Ethan
    7. held my kitty through two seizures
    8. lots of blog reading
    9. logged on to facebook TWICE (necessity only, don't expect to see me there any more frequently)
    10. cut some interfacing for the coat I'm working on
    11. helped Haven with her family tree project (a little more hands on than I probably should have been, but there were tree branches and they needed leaves!)
    12. finished watching the 3rd season of the funniest spy tv show EVER "Chuck" (which went out in a "Blaze of Glory" wink wink)
    13. And here was my favorite activity of the day

    Watching the boy play with legos. Yup. Good day.

    Oh, and if you're wondering about Self-Stitched September, I am still wearing my hand-made garments, but there will be a lot of repeats and no point in photographing. But if the sun stays out (please let the sun stay out) I do have one finished voile dress to unveil!

    Unintentional Stay-cation

    Why settle for a regular vacation when you can get really sick and be quarantined to your house for a week?!

    For four days a rash has been moving across my face. Today I finally went into see the doctor and after three doctors I was diagnosed with shingles and am home bound for one week. Ok, doesn't that just sound disagreeable? I would much rather say I have adult chickenpox. After subjecting myself to some rather horrific images on google I can safely say that this is a mild case and I'm really grateful it's not as bad as it could be. But just in case the doctor wrote me a pass to go immediately to the hospital. Wow, that's comforting. I saw the eye doctor and he said the virus is not affecting my eye, which is really important. So I guess it's just uncomfortable. I am dangerous to people who have not had chicken pox, pregnant women, and people with low immune systems. So that's why I have to stay home.

    Well, Rob says I'm an expert at finding the silver lining in any cloud, so here's my silver lining list:
    1. I visited three doctors in three hours, all within walking distance of each other, and only had to pay 22 euros for the whole ordeal. Insurance covers the rest.
    2. I get to spend every afternoon with Ethan.
    3. A craft a day will keep the blues away!
    4. I can catch up on house cleaning and laundry.
    5. Some nice church members will bring us some meals so I don't have to worry about exposing people at the grocery store.
    6. I can listen to the FREE audio books I downloaded from The complete works of Sherlock Holmes!

    So... it's not all bad. 

    Sunday, September 19, 2010

    More self-stitched stuff

    This is my basic weekend outfit. The shirt is the Ruffle Top from Made by Rae's tutorial. Jennifer gave it to me last year. I think she didn't like it on her... I've forgotten now what the reason was. But it's comfy and easy to wear and I love this cardigan, so this is my typical Saturday outfit.

    This is Simplicity 9825 again. This is the easiest skirt pattern ever. The fabric is so cool. It's is a soft corduroy with a fuzzy variegated thread that has been sewn down in this swirly vine design and there are little brown sequins interspersed. I got the last panels of this from Hilco. I left off the waistband from the pattern to make it sit lower. Then I cut into the skirt to make a lower waistband and put the piping in. The home front wasn't too excited. When I tried to show it off Haven said "did you make the design on the fabric?" when I said no she said, "well, then you just made a skirt." I guess it's time to move on to more impressive projects, huh?

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    1st Day of First Grade

    Ethan started first grade today. I really enjoyed taking him to school. I think he's going to do well. He was very calm and ready to go. He chose his first day of school outfit, which is the same as yesterday's photo... I had to wash it last night. I love that Ethan established his style right on the first day. And we had the schultuete (prounounced shool-toot-uh) with school supplies and sweets. Yes it's Star Wars, and yes his backpack is too. Are you surprised? They sequestered the parents in the auditorium until they released the kids so that the parents couldn't go peek in the windows and disturb the classes. I thought that was pretty funny.

    Many of the families go way out for the first day. There were some BIG elaborate cones (the schultuete) and some very dressed up kids. Anyway, for some more well-established families the whole extended family comes out for the event and then they go eat at a local restaurant. After class we took Ethan for lunch at the PX followed by shopping, where he chose... wait for it... a Star Wars toy.

    If you are not German and you're interested in this tradition, you can do a quick search and find some history about the schultuete. They are a cardboard cone decorated, filled with goodies, and tied at the top. There are tutorials on how to make them, or you can buy a pre-made one, which is what we did for both of the kids. The typical thing to do in our area is make it out of corrugated cardboard (colored) and decorate with whatever theme your kid likes. Then you put tissue paper or felt at the top to close it up. Inside you stuff it with school supplies, snacks (some sweets, oranges, nuts, whatever), and maybe a small toy or gift. This tradition is for the first day of first grade. It's a big deal here in Germany. It's not for any other year of school. Just first grade. (I'm emphasizing that because I know it's tempting to do it every year.) If you have a 1st grader getting a big cone and you have younger children, I have seen the Germans give the younger siblings tiny little cones with just snacks. But the big ones are reserved for the 1st graders. It's a very fun tradition and I'm really glad both of our kids got to have the experience.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    So 80's it hurts

    Is this me and my little brother from 1989? Nope. It's Haven and Ethan from 2 hours ago.

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Butterick 4789

    I. LOVE. THIS. PATTERN. It was really easy to understand the instructions and really easy and fun to put together. This is the dress length. Fabric is from the clearance bins at Hilco. The sun actually came out today and it was warm enough to wear this without a jacket. Did I mention I love this pattern?

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Star Wars Cookies

    In our house, every day is Star Wars Day. And thanks to Williams Sonoma even our food can celebrate! I picked up the whole collection - cookie cutters, sandwich cutters in Star Wars collectable lunch box, and pancake molds. You really have to grease up the pancake molds for them to work, but once you do they work great and are really fun. The cookie cutters are really cool, but I'm on the hunt for the perfect cookie recipe to go with them. I was really excited to use them so I just grabbed some pre-made dough and added more flour. That worked ok but not great as you can see above. Poor Yoda. I can just hear him saying "When 900 years you reach, look as good, you will not."

    PS. Yes, that's a Star Wars font.

    Self-Stitched September continues!

    Simplicity 9825 A-Line skirt. This skirt was made some time back and is one of my favorites. It's super soft green corduroy with a gray lining. I left off the waistband so that it sits lower and is more comfy. I cut the cord on the bias, so they come together in the middle in a "v." I love this skirt!

    This one is self-drafted from the H&M skirt that had the unfortunate incident with nail polish. I love this pattern. It's narrow at the top and then the panels flare out at the bottom making the ruffle/pleat/whatever-you-call-it look at the bottom.

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Self-Stitched September Day 7

    I have made it through one week wearing at least one hand-made garment each day. I didn't get pics over the weekend, so you'll just have to trust me. This top is the Amy Butler Lotus Tunic and it's one of the first clothing items I made several years ago. I made tons of mistakes, but I still like the way it looks and how it fits. I just tuck in the mistakes! :)

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    Book Covers

    Or, the coolest book covers in the history of all book covers! Haven needed to cover her books and wanted something a little more creative than the regular paper ones. So we brainstormed ideas and ended up with these.

    Haven has started watching this show called "Invader Zim" and one of the character's is "GIR." Zim is an alien invader and GIR is his robot who dresses up like a dog to blend in. He apparently loves cupcakes. We put GIR on the World Geography book because they are trying to take over Earth. We found that fitting.

    Aang is the original Avatar (before James Cameron made blue ones). His arrow is a tattoo from his tribe and it glows when he is in the avatar state. My favorite part of this one is the nose. I did that freehand on the sewing machine with the free motion foot.

    And lastly, everyone knows Spongebob. He has a bunch of little pieces but he was a lot of fun to put together!

    For all of them Haven cut out the little pieces and I sewed it all together. We enjoyed the process after a few initials arguments over how to make GIR. Haven was even clever enough to suggest we don't write the name of the book on the spine in permanent marker, but use stickers so that she can reuse them next year. Don't tell her she's crafty though, she'll deny it. :)

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    Self-Stitched September

    I am an official participant in Self-Stitched September, and have agreed to wear something handmade every day in September. When I wrote my goal I did not agree to wear a handmade clothing item every day because my fall/winter handmade wardrobe is not big enough yet. But I knew between earrings, purses, and clothes I could have something on me that is handmade everyday.

    I don't plan to post a photo every day. I know I will not get to the blog every day. And some days will probably be boring or repeats! But I'll try to update at least with the new, never been blogged before items. And today is a good place to start!

    The unveiling of Simplicity 2975 - the red dress, otherwise known as my favorite thing I've ever made, ev-ah.

    I added the red band at the bottom and the piping. It was my first time to make piping! And I love how it looks! Oooh.... forgot to write down the name of the fabric. Sorry 'bout that. The perfectly matched red flip flops are JCrew hand-me-downs from Jennifer that are comfortable all day long even if you walk for hours around an old city with only cobblestone roads with a heavy camera. I know from experience. This is an older pic though. Today was too cold for the awesome red flip flops. The big white retro plastic earrings also make a statement I think. The only thing this dress is missing is tall white go-go boots. Hmmmm....