Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bloggy Giveaways Carnival

This is my first time participating in the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival.

You can click the picture above to go to the master list of giveaways.

For *my* giveaway, you can win a cute coffee cuff! Really, it will work for any cool or hot beverage to protect your hand, and you help cut down on waste because it's reusable! :) I have even used them on cups around the house.

This cuff is made from coffee cup themed fabric with several layers of quilted insulation.

To enter,
  • just leave a comment below telling me about your favorite elementary school teacher (I am about to head back to my third graders).
  • Be sure to leave your address or a link to your blog so I can contact the winner!
  • The winner will be chosen at random and posted on the evening of Saturday, August 2nd.


I spent some time yesterday and today making cards to help replenish my stash. Time *flies* after school begins, so I am hoping to build up my stock of cards for different occasions through the year. I need to make more, especially of birthday cards, thank yous, and all occasion cards, but here's a good beginning!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Another contest...

So I was talking to my friend Holli today, and the topic of cloth diapers came up (she uses them on her daughter). Then today I came across this contest for 12 free cloth diapers (the very brand she prefers, even!). "Hmmmm," I thought. That can't hurt to try for!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

So I haven't posted in about a week--but I have an excellent reason. :) My mom is visiting, and I've been busy soaking up all the time I can with her!! :)

We did paint the master bathroom while she's been here, so I hope to post some "before & after" pictures later this week. It's SO much better!!

Have a great week! :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Only Plan A

If you have not been reading the blog Bring the Rain, you should be (and you can start reading the story here). I have sat with tears streaming down my face and marveled at the grace and honesty with which Angie Smith writes. It's gut-wrenching, but it is beautiful.

Even though I have followed her blog for several months now, having been invited into God's story in and through the Smith family via Angie's writing, only this week did I follow a link she posted quite awhile ago. It was to a video a Nashville-area pastor made documenting the Smiths' trust and understanding of God's will through the loss of their daughter, Audrey Caroline. In this video, Angie made a profound statement, "There is no plan B."

When we feel like the road has twisted or turned into a dead-end or the bridge has been washed out that would keep us on the path to our dreams, we seem to think we have to switch to a "Plan B." But God has no Plan B. Isn't that amazing? That is hard for me to swallow and yet freeing at the same time... I believe in a sovereign God who knows what will happen, numbers our days, and will work all things for His glory and our good. But oh how that can cause us (or me, at least) to wrestle.... so when a job is lost, that was plan A all along.... when a couple struggles with infertility, that was plan A all along... when a dream is dashed, that was plan A all along. How can that be??

Knowing that was the plan all along makes me want to ask, "WHY??" as if my human understanding is somehow more insightful or greater than God's. That's a humbling realization... funny, Becca, to think you know better than God. Right. But it doesn't take away the hurt or confusion of the lost dream.

Here's where I have found myself wresting and then resting in knowing that God knows and Who God is. He sees, He hears, He knew this was coming. He has not lost control. God is still God. And in the beautiful words of Isaiah 61:1-3, "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, He has sent me to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."

As I recently read in an excerpt from Beth Moore's Breaking Free, that "doesn't mean we'll never mourn or feel despair. But Christ will minister His gladness to us once again. He will give us a heart of praise if we let Him [emphasis mine]; then one day all mourning and despair will be behind us."

When I finally quit fighting God's Plan A, when I stop furiously searching for a "better alternative," or a shortcut back to what I expected to happen, when I am still before Him and stay my heart in His wisdom and comfort, then my wrestling can turn to resting. And resting in Him is like no other resting I've ever known. The scars may still be there from me putting up a fight, but our God heals, our God restores, and our God never lost control. He never had to change His trajectory. He never had to change plans. Nothing pushes or sways Him from His path. You can trust Him. It's provoking and yet peaceful at the same time. There is no Plan B. God has only Plan A.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Old Red Barn Co. Giveaway!

Check out this AMAZING quilt full of Ginger Blossom fabrics! I'm enetring in the giveaway!
(click the image above to see for yourself!)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sandwich Wrap

I made my first sandwich wrap. I've actually had one since January that's from an online store, but I admit I asked for it (around Christmas) with the intent of figuring out how to do it myself. I can attest to it keeping my sandwiches fresh and yummy, and it's easy to wipe down. Not to mention, and it's easier on the bank account and the earth than pulling out a plastic baggie every day. :) There are definitely some changes/improvements I'll make when I sew the next one, but for a first try (and with vinyl), it's not SO bad.

Basically, this is how it works:

1. Place your sandwich (just 2 pieces of bread for the example) on the wrap

2. Fold the sides left and right toward the middle.

3. Fold the bottom up.

4. Fold the top down and "latch" the velcro

Here's what it looks like on the outside all spread out

I forgot to sew the velcro on before I sewed the vinyl (for one of the pieces), so next time I'll make sure to do that (and as a result, it's not centered very well). :)

Also, the vinyl is tricky! I looked for some tips online, because it sticks to both the foot and the feed dogs (so you can't put it on top or on the bottom). One person suggested putting scotch tape on the bottom of your sewing foot. We only had this super glossy kind that stuck to the vinyl instead of gliding across it. So the other suggestion I tried (that worked like a charm!) was to put the fabric on the bottom, vinyl on top, and place tissue paper of the vinyl. It was great! After you sew, you just tear off the tissue paper. It comes right out from the seam! I highly recommend it. It did take some getting used to, though, so I have a couple seams that aren't as straight as I would like.

I thought I sewed pretty straight on the old machine, but I am finding it more difficult with the new one for some reason.... practice makes perfect, right? And I think the tissue paper obscured my view at times, making it more difficult to sew straight. I actually just used the tissue paper-like backing the vinyl came rolled with--no extra cost or materials!

I hope to have some more improved models to show you soon (as soon as I get that embroidery software, because I want to monogram some before I sew them)! And I can post directions to make a wrap if anyone is interested. :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Scoop

So, I've had "making a garment" on my list of sewing goals for quite a long time. I think the new machine gave me the nerve to try something so new. I also had some fabric a teacher left out to take for free at my school, so I wouldn't even have to be frustrated with ruining cloth I liked if I totally messed it up. :) I used a Simplicity New Style "easy" kids pattern (6262) and chose the option that looked like the best balance for me of ease and cuteness. :)

The project included several new skills for me, including fusible interfacing, successfully using single-fold bias tape (and making my own), not to mention the actual dress construction.

I didn't have the right tools to transfer the pattern, so I made the biggest size it's designed for (an 8) so I wouldn't have to cut any of the patterns parts off. That means that even my niece won't be able to wear it for awhile, but I now have the confidence to try something smaller. :) I think I totally have the bug now. :)

I made 2 mistakes. On the back, the fabric isn't smooth at one part of the neckline. But I figure hair would cover it up, and it's not huge. Secondly, the directions said to "clip the corner" at one part (of the back neckline), and I clipped a part that shows instead of the underneath seam they intended. Oh well! Again, it will be covered when someone is actually wearing it. :)

I was super intimidated, but I'm really glad I just dove in and tried. As my mom said, "That's the way you learn!" :) Lastly, the pattern called for ribbon down the center, but I had this sweet, flowered scrap fabric someone gave me that I thought would look nice. I tried to be really careful to measure and press it, but I'm sure it could be even better if I'd used fusible webbing or interfacing. I think it's "good enough" for my first ever attempt!

I know the dress isn't perfect, and I definitely need to hem it :), but I'm really proud of my first ever piece of clothing for people (I believe I "sewed" some doll clothes back in the day)!

I have entered the land of....


I sewed my first piece of clothing this week. More details later (and I still need to hem it), but here's a sneak peek!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fabric Finds

Here are a few fabrics I found on our travels last week. :)

These were found in South Carolina.

The boots on the left and robots on the right will likely turn into part of some embroidered children's outfit or craft (like a crayon roll). The fried eggs in the middle will probably accent the casserole tote I'm making my mom, as I have other chicken/egg fabric picked out and this would be a great complement to it. :)

And these were in Tennessee.

The UT fabric is to make some sandwich wraps for Matt (to use less ziploc bags!), the dog fabric in the middle will probably become a pillow case, the knit puppies on the right hopefully will become baby clothes, and the ladybug fleece is for a Christmas present for Isabella.

Monday, July 7, 2008

It's Here!

Meet my new machine (my old machine did not have a name, but I'm thinking this one needs a name.... maybe Stella, because it's a "stella(r)" sewing machine... I haven't decided yet).

And my first sewing project with it (not finished, but getting there. I'll be adding Isabella's initials in orange once my Husqvarna dealer gets more copies of the 4D software in--because I want to pick any font I wish and not be limited to the standard set--it should be this week!).

orange with white polka-dots,
in honor our alma mater, for whom Matt's sister roots because she's a supportive sister like that (and knows tons more about football than I ever will).