Thursday, October 28, 2010


I'm on a map kick today. Have you fellow bloggers heard about "stats"? It's a feature on your blog that lets you check who has been reading your blog, and when, and where they live. I am currently obsessed with checking my stats. My favorite is the map that shows where your readers are. The most popular areas are dark green, but other ares are light green, can you see them? America makes up my dark green section, 149 hits this week! I secretly wonder how many are my Mum. But there are a few scattered across the world, and some I have had to look up online because I had no idea where they were, Slovenia being one of them. I seem to get about 3-4 views from Slovenia a week. I just like saying Slovenia, and also saying that people from Slovenia read my blog. It makes me feel really cool. So thanks Slovenian's! You rock. And a shout out to Clare, who keeps my Indonesian count right up there with Slovenia.

Goodnight world!


Start Collecting.....

Milkweed pods. It's just about that time of year. When the milkweed pods start to crack open, release their seeds, and dry out. That means it is time to start collecting them if you want to make ornaments for your Christmas tree with my coming-soon tutorial. I know it's a bit early to be talking about Christmas, but I wanted to make sure everyone gets their milkweed pods before they are past their prime. Here's a map of where milkweed grows:
Woodrow Wilson Foundation.
Sorry if you live outside of the red areas. To my 4 blog readers from Sloveia; first, hello, and second, you guys sure are lucky because I just looked it up and I think there is "Giant Milkweed" in Slovenia. You're ornaments should be awesome!

Stay tuned for my milkweed ornament tutorial!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sew N' Tell - Bonsai Bag

Last week Rae of Made by Rae sent me a tester copy of her Bonsai Bag pattern to test it out. I had already bought all of the supplies, or had them on hand, so when she sent it to me I literally dropped everything and started working. I got to send her some suggestions for the pattern release. It was pretty cool to have this opportunity and to be able to help out a fellow blogger. I also liked doing this because along with Amy's blog, Rae's was one of the first sewing blogs I started really reading and was one of the reasons I decided to start a blog. And now I have a snazzy Bonsai Bag of my very own thanks to the inspiration and patterns of Rae and the Sew N' Tell gang!
I found the corduroy at Joann's during a sale for about $3 a yard and the fabric for the lining and middle was also on sale. I added piping instead of pom-poms or ric-rack. I have finally figured out how to sew piping onto a garment or purse and make it look good and wanted to show off my new abilities. (Now I just have to tackle those zippers.)

The only change I made from the pattern was to add an inside zippered pocket. I am good at those, thanks to J Caroline steps 12-16, I am now a pro at lined zippered pockets.

I love this purse and would recommend Rae's Bonsai Bag pattern to anyone who wanted a cute medium sized bag to carry all of your daily necessities in style. Or at least that's how I feel when I use mine.

It's my 3rd week in a row on the Sew N' Tell. I am on a roll. Thank goodness I have settled into a routine and work and now have time to sew again! Can't wait to see what the others have to post.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shutter Shelf

Have you ever seen an idea in a magazine and said; "Oooo! I want to do that!"? Have you ever held onto the idea for 3 years until it finally became a reality? I have. And boy am I glad that I can now use that space in my brain for remembering something else, like how old I am, or my address; two things I seem to always struggle to remember.
Anyways, about 2 years ago I saw a shelf for an entry way made out of two shutters. We never had room in our old apartment for this to anything like that, or anything in general, but when we moved here I knew we would have to make a shutter shelf. I had seen shutters at yard sales a few times but they were all pretty pricey. Then the other day I went out to go to the grocery store but promptly decided to skip getting food when I saw a sign that said "Barn Sale." I'd never been to a barn sale before but it was pretty neat. I bartered with the old man there and bought two dirty shutters for $4.

While Charlie and I were visiting my Dad and Mary Lou last weekend we went to my favorite hardware store and bought the other supplies for about $30 and I put it together while my Dad and Charlie made the bathroom shelf.

Here's a before shot. This is after one spray down with the hose. I told you it was dirty.
I had planned on painting the shutters, but after scrubbing them they looked nice and I liked the color of them. I also realized that painting shutters would really stink and I got lazy so I just sprayed them with some Pledge, screwed in the hardware and called it a day.
I like the black metal touches and the swirlyness of the brackets. I also really like the heart shaped hooks. They are perfect for holding a coat and scarf.

I can't help but smile in the morning when I put my coat on. Other reasons to smile today: our new couches are coming and it's a half day at school. Yippie!

I hope your day is great!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Apartment Improvements

Have I ever told you that my Dad is the best carpenter in the whole world? No? Well he is, but I might be a little biased. We moved into our apartment in August and since then I have felt like the list of things to do/buy/ look for/paint/ improve/ fix has been growing faster than we've been able to check things off. One thing that's been at the top of the list since then was to find something for the bathroom to store all of our stuff. For the last 3 months we've been using a wooden kitchen cart to store everything.
It looked awful, but I figured it would be temporary, until I realized that there was nothing this side of the universe that would fit into this space, hold all of our things, look pretty, match....etc, etc. I was at the end of my rope so I called my Dad and complained; "Nothing in our apartment is done!....blah blah blah more complaining. Luckily my Dad is the worlds greatest carpenter and also very good at telling me calm down. He said he would help us out so Charlie and I measured the space and drew some sketches. Over the weekend we went back to my hometown and Charlie and my Dad had some male bonding time in the basement using power tools and building a bathroom custom organizational system. They put it together while I worked on another project (post coming soon) and offered my highly educated opinions. Then my Dad took a nap and Charlie and my brother had target practice in the backyard while I applied 3 coats of white paint (only in New Hampshire, right?) On Sunday my Dad and I came back here and installed it, and by "we" I mean I help carry it up the stairs and cleaned up the mess.
Once it was installed I painted it another two times to make sure it looked nice and then it was ready to hold all of our junk ( 3 year supply of deodorant and 6 toiletry bags...guess I didn't need that one I just made, should have assessed my current toiletries bag situation prior to making one.) Either way I now have the space to hold all 6 toiletry bags and all of our other stuff. My favorite thing is that I can now display two of my most favorite things ever.
An elephant cup that my very good friend Zeke painted for me several years ago. Elephants are my favorite animal and I love this cup. The best part is on the inside it says "For Lauren love Zeke", whenever I drink from it I see that at the bottom and it reminds me of Zeke and our crazy 19 year friendship. The second thing is my favorite quote in a pretty little frame. It says; "Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall all get there someday. ~ Winnie the Pooh." I found this quote back in college when life was just beginning to feel stressful and since then I have held onto it to remind me to relax, and take each day one day at a time. I'll get there someday. I have always thought it fits well in the bathroom, where I get ready for the day and might need a reminder to slow down every now and again. It also seems to fit my current state of apartment incompleteness. I guess I just need to remember to take the improvements one step at a time and know that someday everything will look the way I want it to. But the good news is that now the bathroom is complete thanks to the best carpenter in the world! Thanks Daddy.



Friday, October 15, 2010

Sew N' Tell - Toiletries Pouch

The other week I was stumbling around the blog-os-phere and I found a new to me blog that I really like, A Lemon Squeezy Home. And in going through some of her post I found a free tutorial to make a make up clutch. The tutorial was a guest post from the Noodlehead blog which is where I found the tutorial for the scrappy clutch I made a few months ago. (Is that enough links for you?) I knew this project was perfect for the vinyl fabric I bought a while back because it was pretty and cool and on sale, not because I knew what to do with it. The tutorial was super easy and quick. Ta Da!
I don't wear very much makeup so I just thought it would be nice to have a toiletries case for weekend trips, and the vinyl makes it easy to clean in case my toothpaste explodes or any other toiletries disaster should occur. I didn't add the scrappy piece to the bag because I didn't have any fabric that really matched. I still think it looks pretty snazzy though. I just really need to work on those zippers, which seems to be a reoccurring problem for me, does anyone know of a tutorial for an; "idiot proof zipper"?
The only other problem is that I temporarily forgot when I was making this toiletries pouch that I am vision impaired and therefore need to bring two types of contact solution, a contact case, and my glasses wherever I go. Now I am all packed to go home for the weekend but the poor Clear Care bottle is too big, he'll just have to rest safely in my duffle bag away from all his other friends.
Be sure to check out all of the other Sew N' Tell finishers this week!


p.s. I was lucky enough to have Rae, of Made By Rae sent me an advance copy of her Bonsai Bag pattern and I have been working away to get it finished. It is turning out great thus far and I am so so excited to show it to everyone and rave about Rae's pattern.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

And One More Makes Three

The third was the most expensive, a whole dollar at a barn sale. I figured I could splurge, since I am collecting them now. Besides, how many of these identical vases can there be in one town?


Friday, October 8, 2010

Goodbye Yucky Spiders! Hello Crooked Curtains!

I have been wanting to make curtains for our kitchen since we moved in. Why you ask? Well we live on the main street in town, so privacy is kind of an issue. But it's a kitchen, do you really need that much privacy for a 2nd floor kitchen? No. Do I cook naked? No. Heck, I don't cook at all. I don't need privacy, but I did need something to block the view of 10,000 spiders.

That might be a bit of an exudation, but seriously the spiders are huge and there are lots of them. Whenever one dies another two take its place! There is a street light right outside the window and several google searches have taught me that where there is light at night, there are bugs, and where there are bugs there are spiders. Bleck!

I needed to do something about it. A few weeks ago I bought some snazzy eyelet cream fabric at Joann's, with a coupon of course, and a few tension rods. Let's just say that work seems to follow me home and training for a marathon kind of takes a lot of time and well I haven't had much time to sew, and it seemed as if I forgot how to sew a straight line. All of the curtains are crooked, some are accidentally sewed inside out. Oops. Just like the cabinets in my newly painted kitchen, please don't look too closely at the curtains in the windows.

They serve their purpose; hide the yucky spiders.
Charlie and I spent almost an hour trying to find the perfect fabric for a valance to match our kitchen, when we finally decided to give up we spotted this fabric on the way out the door. Does that ever happen to you? I like that feeling.
Here's a close up. It's Mary Englelbreit.

Now all we have left to do in the kitchen is hang up some pictures or that clock, or something, we can't decide. At this rate we'll be moving out before the whole apartment is decorated.

This is my first post on the Sew N Tell in a very long time and I am glad to be back.

Happy Friday!


Monday, October 4, 2010

14 Thoughts on Running a Marathon

  1. A marathon is long. 26.2 miles. You might not drive that far in a day! Or a week!
  2. Running a whole marathon when lots of other people are running only a half marathon is quite disheartening. When you get to mile 6.5 and over half of the people in the race with you get to turn around because they are half way done and you realize you're only a quarter of the way done, you might want to burst into tears.
  3. You might feel like you're going to puke. You might even gag a little. In which case it is completely acceptable to talk to yourself (in your head or out loud). If that doesn't work, maybe you should bribe yourself; "Lauren, I'll give you $100 if you don't puke." Trust me, it all seems totally logical at the time.
  4. You fiance might be a way better runner than you and might pass you when he's at mile 15 going downhill and you're at mile 10 going uphill and he looks great and you want to keel over and die.
  5. In the first few miles pacing is completely necessary, around mile 15, not so much. At this point you might even look at your watch and forget .1 second later what your watch said.
  6. Your brain might play tricks on you. "Hey Lauren, didn't you just run past that 18 mile marker sign?"
  7. People who cheer for you are nice, and might not expect you to say things like "What was I thinking?!?"
  8. If you family comes to cheer for you you are the luckiest person ever. If they don't tell you what miles they will be at it will inspire you not to cry at any point because they might be around the next corner.
  9. Nice people might give you a tissue if you ask nicely, or maybe just because you have snot running down your face.
  10. If your aunt used to run marathons and meets you at mile 19 to run with you you are also the luckiest person in the world. She'll most likely fill your water bottles and say nice things like; "You're awesome/ almost there/ doing great!"
  11. There might be someone in front of you who you really want to beat. That person might have the most annoying beeping watch in the word that tells her when to walk and when to run. Due to her mixture of walking and running it may seem like she is taunting you. And you may be motivated enough to run a lot faster than you should to beat her to the finish in the last 1.2 miles. And you may run an 8 minute mile and kick the annoying ladies butt.
  12. Once you cross the finish line there is almost a 100% chance you will cry. No one knows why, it just happens.
  13. Getting a medal put around your neck, a water bottle handed to you, and a tin foil(ish) blanket wrapped around you at the finish line might make you feel like people are waiting on you and you're awesome, but you'll probably still be crying.
  14. You will probably tell anyone who listens that you are never running a marathon ever again. But then a few days later you will probably be searching for long races to run in the spring.
The marathon was great. I still can't believe I did it. It doesn't seem real yet, hence the hypothetical post.

My official time was 4:12:42 and 494th place.

And as I said, I am already searching for more long races to run. I am hooked!

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