Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Bought a Sewing Machine! {Be The Change Day}

Today is "Be The Change Day" over at The Shine Project. The challenge for today was to be the change you want to see in the world.  Today I bought a sewing machine!  It was so exciting.  I have no idea what kind it is.  I don't know what bells and whistles it has, or what color it is or if it comes with a ruffle attachment (which is my new favorite toy on my own sweet machine!)  Its a sewing machine I'll never see.  Why?  Because its going to a girl somewhere in a country I will probably never set foot on.  It is going to help change her life.  It is going to give her hope and a future.  I have partnered with World Vision to give a girl a sewing machine and lessons to learn how to sew.  In doing this, she will have a way to provide for her family which most likely currently lives in extreme poverty right now. 
I wish I could hop in the box so I could hear her squeal like a child on Christmas morning when she opens it.  I'd love to see the look on her face when she finds out she can do something to help her family. I wonder what she will sew first.  I wish I could include a big batch of scraps from my mountainous scrap pile.  Now that would be FUN!

THANK YOU! I could not have done this without the support of my faithful customers.  This was something that was made possible by YOU!  Thank you for your support of my sewing shop.  You have touched my life and now you have touched the life of a complete stranger.  Doesn't that just make you smile?  Do you have your own "Be The Change" story?   Please share it on Twitter with the hash tag #bethechange or post below. I can't wait to hear how others have taken the step to "Be The Change" you want to see in the world.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

De-Stashing My Stash {February Fabric Challenge}

I come to a 4 way stop. There are 3 other cars at each of the other stop signs.  I look to the right, cause that driver has the right of way, and they wave me to go ahead.  The politically correct "Minnesota nice" thing to do would be to wave back at them to go ahead and proceed first.  However my typical response is to hit the gas when anyone hesitates at a stop sign.  Its not because I'm not nice, its 'cause I'm not patient.  I mean wouldn't we all be happier to continue on our way versus sit there and wave to other drivers to go ahead of us?  
Speaking of patience, I'm going to do something in February that will dramatically try my patience--or addiction, my fabric addiction that is.  I'm going to attempt to go a whole month (note I picked the shortest month of the year) to go without buying any fabric.  Oofta!  Who wants to join me?  I may need a support group to help me thru the month.  Cue the happy music--see Huz skipping joyfully across a meadow.  He's ecstatic over this goal I've set.

So, February is the month!  I'm going to use what I have, de-stash my stash.  I'm looking forward to using up all my scraps, or at least a lot of them,  and spending  time in the studio cleaning out and organizing.  After moving last summer, I was reacquainted with so many totes of gorgeous fabric, that I probably collected years ago when I worked at Joann Fabrics.  The only way I'll ever "dig out" is to make a conscious effort to not acquire more for a little while.  I think a month should give me the time I need to make a dent in the mounting pile of scrap-dom, yes there is small mountain of it!

So, just to set the stage for the February Fabric Challenge, I wanted to share this awesome quilt that someone made with scraps from my studio.  

A lady from church told me her mom was coming to visit and was wondering if I had any fabric scraps for her to sew on.  Do I?  Um, hello, I'm a fabric addict!  So I was super excited to dump a bag of scraps on her and her unsuspecting mom.  Well, much to my surprise, she made me a quilt out of them.  Whaaaat? 
First of all, that takes an incredible amount of time (and patience) and also hand cutting.  Check out this great block.  Love the colors!  Have I mentioned I adore patchwork?  *sigh* 
And this one...the mushroom print makes me smile.  And look at all that hand cutting, yes I know I just said this. Its cause I rarely do it.  My style of quilt is usually termed, Quilt in a Day, or Easy, or Quick.  That is not the case with this quilt.  I'm in awe that she would make this and then give it away.  Its truly a work of art!  Ok, enough of the drooling.  So I'm inspired to go start using up my scraps.  What is your favorite project to use up scraps? I'd love to add them to my pinterest  board.  Well, here's to a month of patience,  self-control and maybe a little more Minnesota Nice!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Superhero Suckers {A Valentine Tutorial}

Owen asked me Saturday morning, "What projects are we gonna do today, Momma?"  I showed him a photo of these cute little treats and we were off, coffee cup in hand, making our own valentine's.  I'm a huge advocate of giving gifts from the heart.  Anything handmade has love written all over it, especially when it comes from a child.  I'm ecstatic that my kids are still enjoying making handmade gifts, I couldn't get enough of them when I was little, still can't!  I'm not sure that my creative activities compete with a good wrestling match between brothers in the family room on a cold winter day, but I'll amuse myself by believing its high on their list of things to do on a "stay-at-home" day.  Ignorance is bliss sometimes, ya know?

Below are step by step instructions on how we made these--enjoy!

Scrapbooking paper
Tootsie Roll Pop Suckers
Paper hole Punch
Sharpie Marker
Spaghetti Strainer

1. Cut scrapbooking paper into 2"x 3" rectangles.  I used my fiskars paper cutter and can do several sheets at a time.  These were done in a snap!

2.  Round corners on back and front.  I took a little more off the front than the back. Punch hole on front in the center.

3. Write your love note on the cape.  If you're 5 this can be a heart instead of words.

4.  Cut mask rectangle 4"x 1/2".  Color two little eye slots with a black sharpie marker in the center.

5.  Glue mask to sucker.  I glued the mask into a circle and also glued it to the sucker wrapper so it wouldn't slip. Don't you just love the preschooler handwriting?!

6.  Slide cape up the sucker stick.  It must go on top of the wrapper to stay in place.  I stuck mine in a spaghetti strainer to hold the finished Valentine's!

Hand out the super love!  XOXOXO

Thursday, January 5, 2012

With All the Trimmings

We'll take it with all the trimmings. I'm pretty sure this was what Huz and I said when we bought this place. Unfortunately, when it comes to home ownership, we don't get to order off the menu and have it brought to us on a platter, do we? Owning a home is not always as easy as opening a box of Annie's organic mac & cheese. Actually its never that easy. The "honey-do" list can get quite long once you move in and realize that the water heater didn't have the right valve on it to switch over from propane to natural gas.  Or that the countertop in the master bath, with only one sink, is a unique size and will require a custom order (cha-ching!) to replace it. Minor setback. The returns though....you gotta love it when you can see your hard work paying off! Huz and I have been working hard on our new little love nest and project by project are starting to make it feel more like our own. We are excited to share these updates with you even if they didn't happen as quickly as we would have liked....

Here is what the walk-out side of our house looked like when we purchased it in June 2011. Decent looking for sure, right? Livable and certainly good enough to enjoy the view from the beach for the summer. We had a lot of outdoor projects to work on this year so we had to be choosy about which ones to work on. Clearing overgrown brush next to the lake was a must! We seriously spent 3 months working on this. Our beach has a steep bank, so hauling the branches up and out was a full body workout! Did I mention we don't have steps? We'd work on it til we got a rash from either poison oak or ivy, (or maybe something else, we really never identified the culprit) and then we'd let it sit for a couple days and start up again once our "irritaions" had subsided. We learned to put on gloves and wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts after only a few times of getting these itchy skin irritations. What a good idea even if it meant you were bathing in your own sweat in 30 seconds!

In August we got a new septic system so our yard got ripped up on the right side of the walk-out to remove the old septic system. A new one was put in over by the garage. We are hoping the new grass--that we babied by watering it 4 times a day during our 80* weather in October--will have good enough roots to come back this spring. Note, it was not 80* until the grass seed was down and it was wet. Then it suddenly got hot. Can someone give me an "oof-da!"
Here is what a little paint with all the trimmings and Huz with a tall ladder can accomplish. I love the way the white paint pops against the red brick. And you? I've been waiting to take this picture til we had a light dusting of snow. Perfect timing, don't you think?