Saturday, April 5, 2014

No Spend March

Well it's April 6th, so I figured it would be a good time to recap my no spend  March. It was a success until about the 21st of March. Up until then I had only spend $20 on skis for Charlie to do a craft project, and $11 to go out for nachos and a beer with my friends. Since I don't have a lot of friends around here I figured it would be silly of me to turn down an opportunity to see my friends just to save some money. Then while I was in Plymouth for a class I had to buy dog bones for the dogs and ended up buying other things I "needed" from Walmart. We also decided to kick off a month long (ha, two month is more like it) process of painting the downstairs. We had the paint already purchased but brushes and painters tape were bought to help the process. I figured if we were not going to go anywhere we could at least paint/ be useful while at home.

Some unexpected things did come up which forced me to spend money. The biggest was that Blaze chewed my expensive night guard that I use so I don't grind my teeth to tiny numbs and wake up feeling terrible. I had to go to the dentist and get fitted for a new one, that cost a pretty penny. Before you tell me to just buy the cheap ones from Rite Aid let me tell you that I grind through those babies in about 2 weeks. My last one was approximately 11 years old though so it was probably time for a new one anyways. Whenever I spent the night with friends I would always have to apologize profusely for my hideous morning breath.  Wow... that went off topic. Now you know something you probably didn't know about me. I also have to use prescription toothpaste because my teeth are so porous I just look at sugar and get a cavity. Too much information?

My one big splurge was to buy two PDF patterns that I have been pining for. When they went on sale for 25% off I just knew I had to get them. It was a sign.

I did feel good not spending money. I also feel like I wasted less time, since I wasn't just aimlessly shopping. My once recommendation if you do one of these challenges is to be on the same page as your spouse. Charlie was not into the no spend month idea and whenever he came home with something he had purchased I seethed with jealousy.

Six days into April and I have bought more paint (seriously, it's going to take us forever), some seed starting supplies, supplies to make a wreath, a new water bottle and a tiny ceramic elephant. Who doesn't need a tiny ceramic elephant for their bathroom? Honestly that thing was irresistible. We also got take out. It was nice not going out to eat but I was craving some Chinese.


Lauren

Monday, March 31, 2014

Beignet Skirt

Monday mornings are a lot less sucky when you have a new outfit to wear. Which is exactly why I spent the majority of the day on Sunday sewing this skirt. I also went to see Divergent, so basically I sat on my butt all day yesterday, it was great.





The skirt is from the Beignet pattern by Colette. (Side note, I actually have no idea how to say the word beignet, I know it's French and is a word for a pastry like a fritter. "Fritter skirt" just doesn't have a good ring to it though.) The pattern as is calls for 12 buttons down the front. In all honesty, I sewed one skirt with this pattern already and have bought buttons, but can't get myself to sew button holes because I am too afraid I'll mess it all up. So my first skirt is still sitting in the sewing room button-less. While searching other blogs for tips on sewing in twill tape to the skirt I found one that Andrea had made with no buttons and a zipper in the back instead. Invisible zippers are much more appealing to me than 12 buttons, so I modified the pattern.

I even got to use my invisible zipper foot, which was a Christmas present a few years ago from my in-laws. It seemed like a frivolous wish at the time, but now zippers take me one try and 3 minutes instead of eight tries, lots of seam ripping and subsequent cursing, and approximately 45 minutes.

I like the result. It's spring-ish without being too in your face about it.

To modify it I cut the front piece (A) on the fold and took out about 2 inches, which accounts for the overlap for the buttons. For the back piece (D) Instead of cutting on the fold I cut two separate pieces leaving an inch for seam allowances. The lining was created the same way with some general fudging/guessing for a few parts.

Lastly, I shortened the skirt by a little over an inch. I don't have to queen telling me to lengthen my hem, so it's okay. I do have a dog telling me to take him outside though.


Let's hope my spring attire will actually bring some spring weather. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book Reviews By Lauren

I haven't been sewing much. Too cold in the basement. But you know where a warm spot is? My bed. So I've been hanging out there and reading a lot. I figured I'd tell you the books I've been reading in case you're looking for a new book. I'll try not to give too much away. Warning...I've been reading lots of Young Adult Books.


1. "Divergent": I love any dystopian novels written for teenagers, mostly because they let me use the word dystopian so I feel smart, and they are fast reads. This is a movie coming out tomorrow . I might break my "No Spend March" to go see it.

2. "Insurgent": The second book in the Divergent trilogy. I got a bit annoyed with the main character in this book, but it was suspenseful and a page turner.

3. "Allegiant": Third book in the series. Currently reading. Luckily it was on hold at the library for someone else when I went in to ask about it, but the person didn't pick it up so I got it.

4. "The Goldfinch": This is not a young adult book. It was over 700 pages. Once I set a 50 page minimum per day I was good to go and usually exceeded the goal. It was SO good. I have heard mixed reviews, but I loved it. It honestly left me emotionally ruined for a solid week. The way Donna Tartt writes is so vivid I felt like I was in the book. This book is a commitment, but amazing.

5. "We Are Water": Wally Lamb is one of my most favorite authors, so I love anything he writes. This, however, was not my favorite book I've read by him. Everything was so depressing and sad for every single character. At least in his other books everything is sad but there is some humor mixed in. Not so much here. Also, he writes very vividly, which is probably why the sad characters got to me so much.

6. "The Fault In Our Stars": I saw on Instagram that my 16 year old cousin was reading this so obviously I was interested. I haven't read a book this quickly since I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I liked it a lot. I didn't cry though, which the book jacket said I would, so I'm wondering if that means I lack emotions, or if I just lack the emotions of a 16 year old. I don't think I've cried reading any book, with the exception of Little Women. I also have a gut feeling I will be one of those people who cries reading "Love You Forever" to their kids. I once had a boss who read that to students and bawled every single time. I fear I am doomed to be like her.

7. "Wild": A story about a woman who hikes the PCT. After reading this book I was 1.) happy I have my life together but also 2.) sad I had my life together and couldn't ditch everything to go on a long hike. Then I remembered I hate being dirty for long periods of time. And I hate camping. So I was just glad my life was together, sort of. ( Do you ever feel like you're totally jinxing your self by saying your life is "together"?)

8. "Bloom": This book is by a blogger that I started out reading because I liked her story, then I kept reading it because I didn't like her and wanted to see what other annoying things she did. One of my (many) New Years Resolutions was to stop hate reading blogs, but when my friend let me borrow her copy of Bloom I devoured it, and kind of forgot that I thought the author was a sell out. It's about a woman who has a baby with Down's Syndrome. I thought it was interesting from my career standpoint to see how people deal with a diagnosis like that.

Those are the books I have read recently. My mom told me she read one of my favorite books ever last week, per my recommendation. I'd just like to throw it out there in case you need a really hilarious book "Possible Side Effects". It's awesome!

Sorry for the lack of pictures, here is a TBT of my brother and I from the time we rode a moped in the rain. It has nothing to do with books.


Lauren

P.S. I couldn't remember if books should have " around them or be underlined and I only have 2% battery left so I did both instead of looking up the answer. Also, no links to the books because you can find them yourself, and I'm not getting paid by Amazon to write this so I didn't do that. 1% battery life, no time for more, can't even spell check. Sorry Dad! Goodnight!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pullover! No, It's A Cardigan But Thanks For Noticing

When I make blog titles from Dumb and Dumber references I know I spend too much time with middle school students.


I bought this sweater in January at Target for $3, and loved it! Then sadly on Saturday I spilled bleach on it. I thought it was ruined, and destined to be a crappy wear around the house sweater. Then I saw this idea on Pinterest. I figured if I screwed it up it was only a $3 sweater to begin with. The delayed opening schedule today afforded me the time to complete this project this morning before work.


Sad bleached sweater. 

I marked a line down the middle. 

Then cut the sweater in half and followed the directions from my Pinterest searching. Since the bleach stains were not straight down the middle I used fabric on the inside and outside of the left side of the sweater to hide the bleach spots. I made sure to decrease the tension so the sweater fabric would not bunch up. 


Now my sweater has been saved! And is now a cardigan, sans buttons because I am Petrified of button holes.

Now, can someone tell me how to get bleach marks off of the bathroom wall? I didn't realize the extent of my spill and bleach has stained the paint all down the bathroom wall. Oops.

Lauren

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Us. On a Saturday Afternoon

Snap shots of my three most favorite creatures on the planet. Plus a few of me. 
 



 


Bribed with coffee, dog biscuits, and peanut butter on a spoon to get these photos.

Happy Sunday!

Lauren

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Josephine Top

It's no secret that I love any pattern made by Rae or Made By Rae. The Josephine top/tunic pattern is no different. It was so easy to make, and came together really well. I made this originally as a muslin because I thought the white Swiss dot fabric would be too see-through to be wearable. Lucky for me it isn't, at least I don't think. 

I really like the tucks/pleats in the front. It adds something different than other shirt patterns I've made before. I accidentally cut out view C so I had to sew the middle together instead of having no seam through the middle of the shirt. Oops. Don't think anyone will notice though. 

I was a little worried the sleeves would be a bit too puffy for my (or Jerry Seinfeld's) taste, because no one likes to look like a pirate. Fortunately, there is just enough puff to be cute, and not enough to cross the line into pirate. 

Also, you can't really tell, but there is an elastic casing in the back which adds some shape to the top. It's only included in one of the three pattern views, but I think I would add it to all of the ones I make in the future.
I already have plans to make another one. And as I just typed that last sentence I realized I have already spilled something on this shirt. So much for March being a lucky month for me. Peanut butter. That's what's on the sleeve. Maybe Penny or Blaze will lick it off for me.

Lauren
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