Thursday, November 20, 2008

My New Machine

It's here. It's finally here.

I think that calls for a celebration.

The store on ebay that I ordered my sewing machine from only ships Tuesday and Friday. Since I ordered by machine Wednesday morning, I (falsely) assumed that meant it would go out on Friday. I had it shipped to my hubby, b/c it was easier (for me ;-). Since Monday, I've been hassling my husband to check the mail room at his work. The poor man was hopelessly tormented for days. I finally got a shipment notification and tracking number Tuesday. It said expect a Wednesday delivery. You have not idea how many times I went to the fedex site to see if they had delivered it. I sent my husband like five emails too (make that six).

They went something like this:

Is it here? Is it? Is it?!!!!!

It’s still on the truck, but it’s on the way!

The fedex site says it’s still on the truck. I hope it gets there in time. They’ll send it back to the warehouse if no one is there to get it. Sighhh.

Did you get it? I show it was delivered at 4:16.

And when he balked at the weight:

You can do it babe. 26 lbs is nothing for my strong tough guy. You could lift it with your pinkie toe.

Hey, I can't help it if I choose a super man. It's his fault for being strong, not mine, lol. There is no way I could lug that thing down the three flights of stairs at my work (or the elevator, but who's saying...)

Later in the evening, I finally got a chance to break out the box in try it. It was pack in tons of styrofoam peanuts. I made a mess. While I was cleaning it up, my husband was busy [messing] with the machine and took it out of the case. He was excited as I was (maybe an overstatement but he's not saying :-).

I was up super late the night before. Yes, I know it was a school night. I totally need to be grounded and sent to my sleep a long, long time. It was a for a good cause and a future post. I pledged to only play with it for twenty minutes before heading to bed. I mostly stuck to it. I'm very proud of myself.

I got it all set up on my coffee table. I know. I know. It's not at all an appropriate table. My back would hate me. It's a temporay make shift. My go to table, a tv tray isn't much better. I would love this cart.

It's fairly reasonable, but we have no space for it in our tiny apartment. None at all. Not to mention it's on sale for 3x more than my machine. That's a big no no in my husband's book. Believe me, I even tried. There are some things you just have to let go. I'll probably use my kitchen table for serious sewing time.

Once, I got it up and running, I used a trick my sewing instructor taught me to test it out. I used paper instead of fabric. That's of the mill print/copy paper. It's a disposible, easy, and cheap way to practice. Try it sometime.

The new machine works great. I'm very pleased. Tonight, I'll go home and work on the bag I never got to finish. I might even make a second.

Decorating with *Flowers*

I was checking out one of my favorite sites to visit, The Kitchn at Apartment Therapy. (Yes, I know how to spell kitchen...and no I didn't misspell their name) They featured these two sites for their pretty paper flowers. I haven't tried this idea yet, but it's been around for a while. I've been collecting variations in my (non-existent) idea book for while.

This beautiful flowers are from CraftStylish.

I like this close-up because it reveals the pretty pattern on the paper. It's not a simple white, but it has a subtle variation in color. It gives a striking, three-dimensional effect.

These lovely, trendy roses were originally featured on dozidesign.

For a fall take on the rose idea with real leaves, check out

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Dream is Back Baby

Since last week when my Singer sewing machine died a quick painless (I hope) death, I've been searching for a substitute online. I compulsively looked on Craigslist and eBay almost daily for a reasonable solution. Sometimes, I even browsed new models and dreamed of a beautiful land filled with 200 computerized stitches and embroidered designs. That land was just too expensive to contemplate at 300-700 dollars for a visit. Instead, I focused on used models.

I mainly stuck to the ones my repair man had recommended, Brother, Janome, and Babyloc. He assured me they were the way to go and would be quite dependable. The latter two I quickly found to be outside my price range, so I primarily sought out Brother models. I put half a dozen models on watch status on eBay and finally this morning I had a winner. One of the models that due to expire late in the morning was still at a very reasonable price. It was less than 50 dollars with only ten dollars shipping to boot. Now, that's a price even my husband could agree with. In the end, he did. Did I mention that I have a wonderful, loving husband. As much as he hates to spend money, he lets me buy and do the things that makes me happy :-). I so lucked out with him.

In the end, I got this Brother model for 53.18 with shipping included. A great deal considering it would cost me 59.95 plus tax to get mine fixed. I should get it next week and will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thanksgiving Ideas (Part II)

This idea comes to us from Purple Lemon Designs. It's a new blog to me but I love the idea. There is a whole tutorial on the website. It definitely sounds like some work, but the payoff is big. Do it well and it can be used every year until you tire of it. I figure that gives me two years of enjoyment, lol.

This fun idea is from our good friend Martha ;-). She's very creative. I like the place cards the best. The centerpiece is good to tie it all in (not to mention a help with a case of the munchies until dinner is served). I could see it on a dessert or coffee table too. Also, from my friend Martha:

I'm normally not into gold, but these are very festive and season appropriate. They could also be spray painted white, black, or red for a more trendy look.

This idea is similar to that in the previous post, yet on linen napkins. A great idea if you want a more permanent look. Fabric paint required though.

Also, a variation on an idea in the previous post. This pumpkin features a whole bouquet of wildflowers. It's so pretty and feminine.

And again, my best friend Martha (yet even I write the post we become joined at the hip :-) does it better. I like the simple elegance of her votives and rose vase.

Thanksgiving Ideas

Browsing blogs and the web, I found some fun ideas from Country Living online that might be good to implement for this holiday year.

I love this candle idea. The words 'Giving Thanks" appear on both sides of the candles, so you can see it on each half of the table. It's actually made with fabric which you can see up close in the next picture. I would rather attempt it with scrapbook paper. Either way, you want to make sure your candle is thick enough (much more than theirs) so that it burns a hole straight down the center. Otherwise, can we say FIRE hazard. Let's not.

I love love love this napkin idea, although my challenged penmanship makes it an automatic no go. In elementary school, my fifth grade MATH teacher actually made me stay in one day for recess to practice my penmanship, because she thought it was so bad. How, can you have poor penmanship in MATH. It still boggles my mind. I carry the scars to today. Sighh.

This one is a little more up my alley. Get a good ink pad that doesn't have ink that runs when wet. I like that it's disposable too. You can easily change designs every year w/o committing to one for a long time. Good idea for dinner parties.

This is a cute idea for a party favor. A pretty piece of stamped cardpaper is put in the bottom of the box. The top is embellished with a coordinating strip. This would be an even better idea to run with for Christmas for all those people you want to give a sweet, lovely gift to without breaking the bank.

And from Southern Living online, I discovered these jewels.

This one is my favorite. I'm not usually a calla lily fan, but I love the beautiful, deep color of these. I almost wish I knew they can in this color for my winter Christmas wedding. I might not have been so quick to write them off.

For those who don't know a lot of floral arrangement, this documents an important step in the process, figuring out in what order the flowers go. It helps to determine height and placement of the flowers BEFORE they go in your vase.

This is a great, simple idea. It's just a glass vase with popcorn at the bottom and some decorative corn stalks. I might actually use this one. It's beautiful and should be cheap. An important criteria in these hard economic times (or really anytime when I'm ask my husband what's okay to spend on decorations :-).

This is another simple, inexpensive idea. It would look great on a buffet or dessert table. It's a low laying centerpiece, so it would also work very well on a coffee table too. I hate when people put huge centerpieces on coffee tables. Why!!!

I'm not so fond of the execution of this one, but I like the original thought. It should really use different flowers. I like the wildflower idea. I do, but those seem wrong some how to me. They also think that you should only use two types of flowers, and I definitely disagree. A wildflower bouquet would be lovely. I would also get rid of that confusing, misplaced corn embellishment and tie it with simple raffia.

Well, that's it for now. I have to go share some thanksgiving love!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Death of a Dream

And no, I'm not being to melodramtic! This weekend, I took my sewing machine to a repair shop. I explained that the timing was off to the repair man, as he opened it up with a bit of a smirk. He was actually a very nice guy, but I think that he's seen too many people come in thinking they knew what was wrong and they were wrong, lol. Anyway, he exclaimed with a bit of surprise that I was right. The timing was off (thank you sewing teacher for being right :-). He looked at the machine and remarked that it seemed very new. I told him it was. My class was the first time I had used it. He kind of frowned and said that he could fix it. There was problably a problem with the inside of the machine like the gears or some such thing and it would take 60 dollars to fix it. 60 dollars!!! I got the machine as a gift. It was just a simple beginner Singer machine from Target and it did cost a lot more than that. I told him so and he nodded in agreement. It quickly went downhill from there. "Do you still have your receipt?", he said. I told him no b/c it had stayed in its box for the last two years. "Well, I can fix it," he said, "but you may want to consider just getting a new machine and use the money toward that if you are going to be serious about sewing. I would avoid Singer's too. The quality isn't what it was 20-30 years ago. They've changed hands to many times. Now, they pretty much make junk. If this machine broke the first time you ever used it, then it's probably not worth fixing."

How tragic! In that moment, I had to decide to let my sewing machine die. I could attempt to save it, but it had a terminal and uncurable condition. What a sad day. Sighhh.

So, now I have to turn my back on the sewing machine that was good to me for 30 minutes and seek another love. I hope that one day it will forgive me for moving on. In the meantime, I compose a haiku to show my regret at our parting and its passing.

For a moment
I loved you most dearly
Now I move onward

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Adventures in Sewing

This Saturday, I went to take my first sewing class. I lugged my new, unused Singer and my cute mini-Shark machine to the class. I was so excited. I haven't used my larger Singer, b/c I was quite intimidated by it. I had been using my mini-machine. Quite cute, but certainly less functional. My teacher laughed when she saw it. I don't blame her (too much :-). It looks like a toy. She said that we would work the the bigger one for the day, b/c it is really want I need to learn to use. I concurred rather stubborn insisted that I need to learn both. She very kindly promised to help me figure out the small one after the class was over.

I asked her what our project would be and was super pumped to find out it was a tote bag. When I called to ask about registration, she didn't say. I was just told to bring one yard of fabric and interfacing (HUH!). I got some curtain material at Walmart and the nicest thing they had with interfacing on the fabric board. Sadly, I wouldn't buy a bag with curtainish material, so why would I make one! Also, I got craft interfacing, so my bag turned out a bit stiffer than the others in the class. Not that I'm complaining too much. I like the stiffer look. It's more bag like.

Anyway, our class was small. There were two teens, one of which brought her mom, and and women in her late thirties or so. The woman didn't have a machine but was taking a class to see if she was interested in buying one and making sewing a hobbie. Isn't that smart. Now me, I got out and buy a machine and get all the gadgets and eventually accesories to start and then wait two years before I even open the box. What's wrong with this picture...

It all went rather well until I left my presser foot up on the sewing machine. Presser foot...nope it's not the triangular black box that you put your foot on to make the machine go. It's a little piece of metal that holds your fabric in place. After that, my machine refused to work. The timing was off my teacher says. Timing! I have perfect timing! Well, maybe not so much. Sadly, I'll have to take my machine in to get fixed.

She let me borrow a nice Viking for the rest of the class. It was a nice 600 dollar model. Not many people get to use it :-). I could definitely tell a difference. Now, I'm coveting a machine that I can't afford and would probably never use. Anyway, I quickly caught up to the rest of the class after that. I don't if I'm just that good or it's the machine. I'd rather like to think it's me. Unfortuantely, I got to attach my handles to my bag and POOF. No power. The whole block apparently shut down. They had to close the store and ask us to leave. I never got to finish my bag :-(. I couldn't even take it home to finish with my broken machine. Tears all around.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Do Remember you TM and Crochet and Sewing...

I haven't been good to you my new blog. I had such high ambitions. I will work on bringing you up to speed. Sighh.

Right now, I'm working on teaching myself to crochet. I learned years ago from my wonderful, sweet grandmama. She's 94 years old. I love her dearly. She is also quite the crafty gal. She can crochet, sew, embroider, knit. Of all those, crochet is her favorite hands down (aren't I awful with puns :-). It was relatively easy to teach a young girl too. Year later, lost and confused and completely forlorn about this art form, I've decided to take it up again. Please please don't remind me about my ill-fated sewing post. I will conquer that machine! Just give me some time... Maybe make that lots of time. I have an ambitious goal too. I want to learn to sew cloth diapers for the gazillon baby showers I'm always going to. Just don't talk to my husband. I told him and he rolled his eyes and laughed. The Very Nerve! Then, he said, "Go to it babe." Which is his code for buy everything you need :-). I have the best husband. He bears with me and is supportive even when he is sure that another project will bit the dust. Our office is filled with scrapbooking/sewing/art projects that never quite got off the ground and yet he remains faithful (abet a bit skeptical, but hey he's not perfect LOL).

Anyway, as I tackle the magical world of crochet. I'll try to also figure out how to post tutorials on my journey. Not any expert teacher by any stretch. I'm just a newbie working it out and hoping that it works out. In the meantime, check out a book that has been helpful to me (Tongue in cheek).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Found Responsibility

With great power...

Since learning to use a sewing machine, I've been scoring the blogosphere looking for great sewing ideas. I've accumulated enough fun in to last me a good long while. Oh my dear, what would I do without out you! I seriously don't know how I survived without this bordering on miraculous tool. For me, it's like the quintessential idea book.

Here are some links of things that I can't wait to try...

For Babies and Kids:
Cloth baby shoes so adorable I ovulate just looking at them.
Baby Rings would make a great chew toy for little ones. I love the geometric colors and patterns.
Baby Blocks are a wonderful idea for the same reason.
Blurb cloths need no explanation. I love the potential of this tutorial.

Boutique Blanket is not a tutorial but an inspiration. Can you imagine holding a little one in something so luxurious that you longingly pray you were little enough to enjoy it too?.. Or you can just be practical and go this route.

Taggie Blankets are new to me. I don't know anyone who has them. I can't imagine littles ones not loving it, with their affinity to sticking anything they can in their mouths. Here is another great tutorial on how to make them using super soft material.

Diaper changing pad that you can make match your individual style.

Bean bag chair would be so cool for my nieces. I would imagine most tweens would go for this. I'm thinking gorgeous, pink fabrics for the girly one and orange, earthy fabrics for the tom boy. I'll need some more confidence to attempt it.

A canvas city actually requires minimum sewing and a bit of artistic ability but could inspire endless hours of fun for the boys in your life.

Speaking of art, this Artist Organizer from Martha could inspire the artist in your life. Who was it that said that every child is a little Picasso?

And Everything else:
Sweater pillow is a great way to reuse that incredible comfy but no longer presentable sweater. Now, if I can sneak it out of my husband's closet without him noticing...

A Papertape dressform would be so useful if I ever get to the point I won't waste yards of fabric to make a top. Yes, you techically you don't sew it, but it helps you sew!

Won't you be the trendiest lady in your gym with this Yoga mat bag.

I'm not a journaler, so this is a gift idea for me. A Notebook Cover tutorial from craftblog to dress up your thoughts.

This tote bag tutorial looks like a good starting point for a newbie like me.

This slipcover is right now only a dream. Sighhh. Perhaps one day.

And finally, a neat idea for what to do with all those leftover pieces of fabric. Make a quilt. No way, too much hassle! Do gorgeous fabric panels like belladia instead.

Monday, September 22, 2008

To Sew or Not

A couple of years ago, I was convinced that I need to learn how to sew to be a true home decorator. From watching several years of HGTV, I knew sewing was a breeze. Episode after episode demonstrated this as one designer after another whipped out beautiful curtains, slipcovers, pillows, and so on. I was convinced that I would never reach the pinnacle of my decorating prowess without that one precious jewel...a sewing machine.

Soon, I convinced my mother of necessity of this purchase to complete my mundane life. That Christmas, she got me not one, but two sewing machines. One a basic model Singer that we got for a steal at Target, and a second smaller, almost child-sized travel model. Ahhh, my mom knows me well. I suppose that provides a nice intro into what is up with my blog title. Knowing that my desire is to establish a home no matter where I'm lead in this world, she wanted to give me something of home that I can take with me as I seek to create a home where ever I go.

Sadly, my new found convictions of making exquisite fabrics into pieces of artwork to beatify my home faded quickly away. Unlike so many craft-based hobbies that I have taken up, I have taken up and learned basic principles for (cross-stitch, scrapbooking, crochet...anyone with me here), this one fizzled even before it got off the ground. For two years, neither sewing machine ever made it out of the box. I guiltily let my mom borrow the Singer b/c it wasn't been used for a great and higher purpose. Don't you just hate wasted potential. That is unless you are me, a newly self-discovered under-achiever and self-proclaimed procrastinator.

Indeed, I had several pairs of pants and a dress that had been building up in a pile that needed to be mended. They were in good shape, so I couldn't reasonably throw them away. Yet, (this is where the procrastination kicks in) I couldn't bring myself to interrupt my quite busy schedule of cooking dinners for my hubby with regular interludes of CSI, Heros, and Grey's Anatomy (I know. I know. It's a very guilty pleasure...For the record, Meredith and Derrick are so NOT made for each other). My poor husband also had to forsake his favorite pants after I insisted that I would not be a good wife if I dared to let him out of the house wearing them. Not that it translated into the thought that I would therefore as a good wife fix his beloved pants. Far be it.

Well, what is a loving mother to do? My mother-in-law came for a long weekend this summer and somehow I guiltily admitted this great faux pas (Sighh, I can not tell a lie). Determined not to let this tragedy continue, she rescued me from a life of misery without the pleasures of bobbins and spools. Wonderful and gracious woman that she is, we took a trip to Joann's where I was gifted with such necessities that I was quite unaware I needed: needles, pin cushions, rippers (but not as in Jack thankfully), and of course the aforementioned bobbin. We were only left with the small machine, but it worked wonderfully. Despite its size, it made short work of the learning process and my mother-in-law feel in love with the cute practicality of it. Before the week was out, I had mended all pants and dresses and was happyily wearing clothes I never thought I would fit into again (and not because of the increasing padding that daily graces my thighs).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Great Husband (and so so wife)

I saw a fun test online a while back but only part of it was posted. It was a test to determine help your husband determine whether you are a good wife. I was a bit bummed that I couldn't see the whole thing. One of my favorite blogs resurrected my interest, and I hunted down the full version online. To my pleasant surprise, they also offered a test for wives to grade their husband. Lucky guy, this is what I found out...


As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

I did find out that he took the test and rated himself as a husband. His score for himself was apparently a good bit higher than mine for him. Now, that prompted some questions from him, lol. He's still a fantastic husband in any case. My husband was kind (brave) enough to do it for me too. He doesn't like it because it rates certain questions based on number of children in the home. Without any, you automatically get a low score.


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

At his suggestion, I look the test on whether I'm a good wife for myself...


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

H'mmm. Time to go get depressed now. At least, my husband thinks I'm great.