Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sew Much Sewing

Prepare yourselves for a month's worth of sewing recaps.  You've been warned.

Let's start with this month's quilt.  It started as paper piecing practice squares and just sort of grew.  I learned to make these blocks at Crafty Weekender several months ago and then shelved the project until recently.  I have a TON of baby blankets needing to be made and when I started listing them out, I knew these half-finished blocks would be perfect for one of them. 
While it's not perfect, I'm sure happy with it!  I hope its recipient will be too.  They're a non-social media type bunch so I'm free to talk about it!  :)
The backing is an old sheet.  Not vintage surprisingly, but bold and colorful like my friend!  In fact, nothing in this quilt is vintage.  Shocking, I know!
The quilting took a bit of time but I think it was time well spent.  I'm working more on improving quilting details (like burying threads instead of back-stitching) which I'm sure makes no difference to anyone but myself.  :) 
Next up is a pincushion!  At the beginning of the year, I joined the Tulsa Modern Quilt Guild.  They have monthly challenges which I participate in intermittently.  This month was a pincushion swap that I wanted to try and do so I did but not without its challenges.  This was my THIRD try at a passable pin cushion and was finished just last night.  It's due tonight.  Procrastination for the win!  I used this pattern but with my own tweaks, of course.  It feels very 'me' and is something that I'd be happy ending up with so I think it will work!  In related news, I pulled out the ol' jewelry stash to finish it up and am feeling inspired to play around with beads again! 
A fellow guild member loaned me the Geranium Dress pattern a few months ago.  I relate this dress to the great floods since I was working on it while mitigating flood waters!  I wish I had made more of these because they wear SO nicely.  I was honestly surprised I liked it so much!  It was really straight forward and came together quickly once I was able to focus fully on it.  Plus it has pockets so that's worth 50 points!
We're nearing the end!  Earlier in June, we celebrated my mom's and my sister's birthdays.  I celebrated by making them each a bag.  I'm in LOVE with making these!  I want to make a million more.  This one would be my mom's and she uses it daily.  Makes me all sorts of happy!  (I have loads of this exterior fabric in my shop if it happens to tickle your fancy!)
I also made my mom a tiny pillow out of a shirt that she gifted to me several years ago.  The shirt was almost ten years old and wasn't getting any wear by me so I decided that it would have more life as a pillow for her!  It was ridiculously simple to make and is the perfect size for the kid to use when she visits her Granny. 
And finally, my sister's bag.  Same as my bag and my mom's, just with different fabrics!  Let's talk about those fabrics for a moment.  Vintage exterior, Dr. Who pockets, and lined with sheets from our childhood.  Top that off with a little bag pizazz from Cat Buttons and you're on your way.
Next up?  Getting projects prepped for Sew OK!  It's NEXT weekend!

¡Hasta Luego!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

An A+ Weekend

Once in a blue moon, I have a stellar weekend where I actually remember to take photos and then actually take time afterwards to recap for my future self.  This is one of those instances.  Lucky you, lucky me.

First, my sister is in town!  She flew in last Friday morning for a quick visit and we're having a grand, laid back time.  She's our first official house guest in the new abode so that's been fun.  Rio is LOVING having her around, as are we.  We kicked things off by having our folks over for dinner, drinks and some Cards Against Humanity.  Try playing that with your parents.  Belly laughs galore.  During this visit, my sister also gifted us with song.  She recorded 'Rio' for Rio and it's fantastic.  Hear it for yourself.  The gift that will forever give.
Saturday was a whirlwind of goodness.  Rio and I first met up with my best friend and her two little girls for some kid-focused time at Philbrook.  The second Saturday of every month, they open up the museum for free and fill it with all sorts of kid activities.  I've been to Philbrook approximately 5 million bajillion times, but never while this was going on.  It was wonderful!  We will definitely be going back.

Fast forward several hours after a quick cat nap, I was back out on the town with the ol' bff without the kiddos.  We were headed to a concert (more on that in a minute) but ended up smack dab in the middle of Tulsa Tough on the way.  Up unto that point, I was a Tulsa Tough virgin and now I wonder why I waited so long.  It was amazeballs.  The energy of the crowd, the speed of the riders, and the excitement of everything coming together was indescribable (even though I've tried my best to describe it to everyone I see).  Oh, and there was a double rainbow after a random rainstorm.  The race ended up finishing up RIGHT when we needed to head over to our concert.  Serendipitous?  I think so.
Let's take a trip down memory lane now.  Many years ago, my bff introduced me to this band that was impossible not to love.  Kunek.  And when I say introduced, I mean we got to know the band.  They were talented, kind, humble, and fun.  We saw them several times over the years and before we knew it, the rest of the world discovered how talented they were and they blew up.  I'm talking opened-up-for-Radiohead-in-Europe blew up.  Yeah.  Over the years, they changed a few members and rebranded as Other Lives.  You may have heard of them.  They finally made their way back to Oklahoma last weekend to play at Cains and m'lady randomly won free tickets so of course we went!  Hell, we would have gone without free tickets!  It was a great, great show and we got to say hello to some old friends and reminisce some great times.

Our night wasn't over yet!  After THAT show, we headed to another show!  My mister's!  Brent started playing drums for a new band called American Shadows at the beginning of the year and the fit couldn't have been better.  They've been playing shows left and right and are even working on recording an album!  It's been awesome.  :)  It's not often that I'm able to get to one of his shows though but this night was different!  I love being able to see him in action and that night it was the icing on the cake.  The end of a perfect day!
Sunday started out slowly, of course.  We headed over to my folks' house later in the day to celebrate my sister being in town and her upcoming 30th birthday!  It was great fun getting together, as it always is.  I topped off that day with a grand nap, lesson planning, and binge TV watching.
 
The weekend may be over but the excitement still continues!  Tonight I'll venture to see a family favorite and the band my sister used to tour with, Tears for Fears.  Tomorrow, my sister will be performing at Main Street Tavern in Broken Arrow (come out!), and then it sounds like we'll be doing all we can to keep the house from drowning.  The fun never ends!

Until later!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Nine Months In

When we bought our house out of the blue last September, we knew the house required quite a bit of work.  It may sound strange to some, but we prefer a house that needs some TLC.  Owning a fixer-upper means that we are able to make the house our own, bring our style to its bitchin' bones, and learn about home improvements in the process. 

In a nutshell, everything needs something in this house.  That's not a problem but there are times it can be a little bit overwhelming!  With the recent torrential rains in Oklahoma, we learned that irrigation and landscaping is a top priority.  We knew we'd be working on the drainage at some point but had no clue it would be this soon.  Thanks, monsoon season.  ;)  Step one was removing several trees that had created dams and that were growing waaaaay too close to the house.  That was accomplished last fall.  Step two has been to remove the thousands of rocks laid back in the early seventies by the original homeowner.  Our neighbors have been great at re-homing many of them but we've still got a ways to go.  Anyone in the rock market?  Step three will be to have the stumps dug out, followed by bringing in dirt to level everything out again.  Finally, after working with the natural slope of the land and good ol' gravity, we'll have everything sodded and phase one of flood mitigation will be complete.  Sounds simple, right?!  

Our other 'big' current project is having some drain line leaks fixed.  We determined where the leaks were last week and much to my surprise, it's not the end of the world!  I was absolutely dreading what we would learn (like I-can't-sleep-or-eat type dread) but was thrilled to discover they are in two locations that are a) easy to access, b) in a room that we wanted to remodel anyway, and/or c) not dire.  Shew! 

In more fun house news (as opposed to a funhouse news), we are making our windows function!  All of the windows are original to the house so they are these great aluminum crank windows with crazy character.  The problem?  No screens in any of the windows.  Luckily, we located the majority of the screens and have started to clean them up and reinstall them.  It's been SO nice to be able to have open windows!  There are a few windows in the addition (circa mid-seventies) that will need to be replaced to function properly but we'll get to that eventually.  We made windows at our old house a low priority so we only got to enjoy them for a short amount of time before we moved, hence why were are making them a higher priority this time around.

The kitchen is getting some lovin' as well.  It's very, very, very seventies which sounds cool and is up to a point buuuuuut, needs some tweaking here and there.  Honestly, I really didn't care for the kitchen at all when we moved in.  That was probably due to the fact that I was enamored with our old kitchen and nothing would ever compare but I'm learning to love the new one!  It's definitely got potential and I'm finally seeing it.  :) 
We recently completed a full electrical overhaul (hooray family biz!) and Brent's now in the process of building an entertainment center out of an old game closet in the family room.  I've learned the art of caulking so we can now fully use our hall bath and we've made the guest room functional enough to house my sister next week during her stay.  One of these days we'll pull paint cans back out and continue the endless of job of covering up the butter-colored walls. 
If you need us, we'll likely be at your neighborhood home improvement store.  ¡Hasta luego!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Perhaps

After a near month of nonstop rain and flooding, things have finally dried out and the sun is no longer a stranger.  Perhaps it's been the soggy weather, but I had been a bit glum lately.  I'm feeling better lately though and am trucking on along!  Perhaps it's that forgotten sunshine.
I started back teaching this week and am leading a new-to-me class, American Cultural Readings.  It's basically an American history course for ESL students that focuses on reading skills.  One week in and I'm really finding that I'm loving it!  It's been several years since I've taught a summer course and I had forgotten what a different vibe they have.  Almost half of my class is made up of Mexican high school exchange students which I love.  It reminds me of the summer I spent studying in Mexico many, many moons ago.  The classroom refreshes me.

With my time off from school, I've been working on building a new website for my folks' company that we'll be launching soon.  The images in this post were taken for that purpose.  I'm surprised how much I've been enjoying the process and how much I've been learning!  I'm thinking another new site is near on the horizon as well.  More on that later.  :)
 
In house updates, we've encountered several large projects that need to be tackled at once.  Yay.  Tomorrow we'll get some big answers as to how many kidneys we'll need to sell to pay for said projects.  ;)  Feel free to buy some stuff to help us out!  They are all things we knew we'd have to deal with, we just didn't know they'd all be at once and would be so soon!  We are still in absolute love with the house, don't you fret.  I'll share full updates as to what we're dealing with once we have more of a plan.  In response to house stress, I've been deep cleaning and organizing a bit more fanatically than normal.  I'm cool with that though.  We're still knocking out little projects as we can which make us fall in love with the house more and more.  Hello, functioning windows!

And yes, I've been sewing here and there.  But more so, I've been doing a MAJOR clean-out of fabric and old projects that need to be finished or passed along.  I connected with an artist friend of mine preparing for a large-scale project that requires more fabric than one can imagine so what did I do?  I gave her every little bit of fabric that I didn't need or want.  Damn that felt good.  Purging is just as cathartic as organizing, ya know?  I've busted out a dress for the kid, curtains for the guest room, some top secret gifts, and tons of mending for myself.
 
I think about writing here all of the time.  I know I've been less present here lately.  There are so many things I think of discussing here, so many things I want to share.  I want to share my thoughts on having an online persona and being a teacher; on having my child with me 24/7 while I work; on spreading myself too thin; on the fine line of being humble and bragging; on learning to be proud of myself; on living with anxieties, depression, and obsessive tendencies; and so much more.  It's in all in my noggin, it's just figuring out how to get it all out.  And I think it would be very beneficial for me to share.  And perhaps it'd be good for you too, somehow?

Anywhoodle.  I'll be back.  Soonish.  Perhaps.  :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

All Over The Place

For a while, I felt like Edward Scissorhands with fabric and thread flying about.  Every where I looked, I had threads stuck to my clothes and had multiple projects sitting in-progress waiting to be finished.  Well, I finally got caught up and I've stepped back from the table for a few days to refocus and recharge (although I DID do some sewing last night but more on that in a minute).

 
The recent heavy rains have taught us what areas of our house cannot handle large amounts of water and as a result, we've been trying to figure out what our next steps are to make things flow better, pun intended.  The mister had a shift in work times while at the same time recording an album and being sick so things have been a bit hectic, to say the least.  I have about a week and a half before the summer semester starts back up so I've been working on various projects for my other job and StreetCats before getting back into the classroom.  Throw in a massive garage sale, my mom's surgery, and a toddler that hasn't napped since November and you've got a household in need of some reprieve.  

Cue stress cleaning.


Remember my embarrassing craft closet mess?  I'm happy to report that it has changed dramatically!  Seriously, cleaning and organizing is so cathartic to me.  I have a ways to go but it's actually functional now!  My latest crazy project is a product of cleaning the craft closet.  Since I started actively sewing, I've been hanging on to every single scrap by throwing them in a bin and tucking them away.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Not any more!  I decided that it was time to do something with those scraps so as I watched the last episode of Mad Men the other night (cue ALL of the tears), I started to sort and sort and sort.  There is a bit of a plan?  Maybe?  Kinda?  I started sewing some of this up last night but just like the craft closet, it has a ways to go.
 
Remember when I made pillows out of fabric made from one of my mom's paintings?  You don't?  Let me remind you.  There you go.  Well, I loved the way that turned out so much that I had more fabric made out of one of Rio's many paintings!  I'd like to make her a special quilt out of one of these days but I'm in no rush.  For now, I just admire her work.
 
And since this post started with a photo of a sleeping kitten, it seems only appropriate that's how it ends as well.
Until later!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bag Bounty & A Sale!

Bags.  I can't seem to stop making them. 
This dandy I made for myself on Mother's Day.  I've been in desperate need of a purse change for quite some time - I'm not the kind to change my bag day to day - when it dawned on me to just make my own.  Duh.  The problem was what style I wanted and how to execute it.  After planning the construction in my head for entirely too long and pulling some of my favorite fabrics, I started and finished this last Sunday thanks to some quality time with my machine.  And I freaking love it. 

I'm suddenly not petrified of zippers and feel like I'm getting better with each one I install.  In fact, they are kind of fun!?  I can't believe I just said that.

In addition to an exterior zippered pocket, I put in a split open pocket on the interior.  The bag functions wonderfully, is the perfect size for all of my odds and ends, and (to me) is fashionable to boot!

The rest of the bags I've been busting out have been gifts or commissions, and there is still one more yet to be made!  This next batch resulted as a need for a 4 year old birthday present and a lack of desire to buy something.  I came across this tutorial and churned out the first bag like lightning.

It was so fast and easy that I quickly decided that Rio and her little friends all needed one too so four more magically appeared.  They were each made with specific little ladies in mind and all share the same lining.  Fun, yes?

My last one for the weekend actually came before my purse shown above.  It was a commission that I ended up loooooving the functionality of and decided that I definitely needed to base my new purse off of it. 
The features are all of the same except this one has a cross body strap and different material for the strap.  It will be picked up tomorrow and then will go on a trip around the world! 
If you're wondering if I'd make a bag for you, the answer is yes.  Just start the conversation and we'll make it happen!

And for those who like sales, I'm having a 25% off sale in my shop right meow!  All sorts of things I've made, fabrics, and trims!  Use the code quartersale at checkout...expires this Friday!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Motherhood

Last week, my mom had to have a full hysterectomy.  It kind of came out of nowhere and served two purposes:  preventative measures and to know for sure whether uterine cancer was present.  That morning, Cinco de Mayo to be exact, an aunt of mine drove to town to stay with Rio (since my mom is my usual childcare) so I could join my dad, my Mimi, and two uncles to wait. 
I'm not one that is usually very verbal with words of love for my family; I never really have been.  While we waited that day, I thought about all of the things I wished I had more freely spoken to my mom.  With Mother's Day just around the corner, 'mom talk' was abundant and it was hard for me to imagine a life without my mom.  So many around me though have had to continue on without their mothers and I truly wonder how they do it. 

The wait was long, we tried to stay busy, and employed silly videos on youtube to pass the time.  For my dad and I, sitting and waiting isn't a strong point.


Several hours later, we had our answers.  No cancer, a successful surgery, and a loopy mother.  We shared a hardy laugh as colorful words were thrown about in regards to sports on the TV and we breathed a deep sigh of relief seeing her come back to being herself again.


After seeing her settled and after getting her blessing, my dad and I decided dinner was in order.  We headed to one of our favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican food joints and in route, spied a rainbow seemingly sent just for us.  A cold celebratory beer and food in our bellies never felt better.  Back to the hospital to say our good night wishes.  What a day.  Now she's recovering and is doing quite well, even got back to painting some yesterday. 

Yesterday's Mother's Day reminded me how lucky I am to still have my wonderful, creative mother in my life and Rio's.  It also made me sad to think of the amazing mothers no longer in our world.  My Granny, who I miss nearly every single day, and my Mother-in-Law, who I knew for much too short of a time.  I wish so badly they knew Rio and us and our world and our accomplishments and our fears and our hopes.  I wish they were here.
And then I think to my own role as a mother.  I'm far from perfect and I reckon I'm a bit worn thin on many days but dammit if I don't try.  That's all I can do - try my best.  I never imagined I'd have a child, that my child would be by my side 95% of the day, that I would find peace in rocking someone else to sleep, that I would welcome hugs and kisses so freely from someone, or that I would witness someone growing and changing daily.  It's amazing.  I don't know what I'm doing but I try to do the best I can with what I have and hope that someday, Rio appreciates my attempt at motherhood as much as I appreciate what my mom did for us.  I'm learning it's no easy job.

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