Monday, August 27, 2012

My Special Brother

Last weekend was the Old Home Days festival in my hometown of Hancock. As always I ran the 5k, and as always Charlie (obviously) and my brother, who runs once a year, beat me. This year there was something different on the schedule. A Lawn Mower race. Being a little "outside of the box" my brother Garrett decided to enter.  Here is the play by play:

My Dad assessing the course. Many obstacles were laid out to maneuver around both going forward and backwards. Not to be outdone in any ways shape or form Garrett decide that he should wear his Rod costume, cape and all, as well as a helmet he got at the dump that I think resembles something you would wear if you were being shot out of a canon. After a demonstration of the course and a run down of the rules Garrett was off on the riding lawn mover. 

He got points added to his total time because he hit one of the obstacles. Next he had to hook up a trailer and back it into a tight space between the bales of hay.

Next he had to back up around the obstacles. This seemed pretty hard to me. After that he had to parallel park and he was done.

Here is Garrett's competition. The guy said he woke up that morning and decided to fix up this mower. I thought he was kind of cheating because he didn't even have the apparatus on the mower to actually mow a lawn.

Now here is where things got even crazier. Garrett had an old push mower that he brought as well. We weren't sure if they would let him use it or if it was strictly motorized lawn mowers. Luckily only 3 people were entered and since this was the first year the organizers didn't care. Also, who wouldn't want to see someone dressed up in a costume with a cape and helmet push a lawn mower around at top speed? So he got to do the race with a push mower as well. It was much speedier than the riding mower. Check out his game face.

Speeding through the obstacles.

Making the turn for the finish. Cape flapping in the wind.

And he won a shirt! Hurray. I've never been so proud. Great job Garrett. You kept at least 30 people watching highly entertained.

Someone from Hancock even made a video:

And because this post was not about me enough, and in case you ever thought I was cool, here is a picture of me at one of my summer jobs:

Yep, people called me "Mow Girl" and I got to mow all the fields, commons, and all three cemeteries in Hancock when I was a young gal. That puppy could turn on a dime and go at least 25 mph. Pretty sweet vest huh? And to think I was so confused as a 17 year old as to why I had no boyfriends.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

School Purse

This summer I toted around my "Vacation Purse" stuffed to the gills with junk. I was getting tired of carrying it around, and knew I needed something smaller to carry to work. I saved the pattern pieces from the "Fall Purse" I had made, when else, but last fall. I even used the same fabric for the outside. It was pretty easy to make after having made essentially the same thing less than a year ago.


My other purse got gum on it at the last day of school assembly and had to retire it. It worked out alright because it was getting kind of tired and pilling anyways. One change I made was to shorten the length of the strap. I liked the idea of an adjustable strap on the first one but I never actually used it and the two belt loops I used to make it adjustable always came apart. I love the inside fabric. 

It was purchased at the Portsmouth Fabric Company several months ago. Yesterday my brother in law said he knew the purse was my creation because of the inside fabric. I like that the outside is basic and plain but the inside has some pizzazz. 

As with the original purse I added a cell phone pocket, and a front pouch for my check book and (essential) wet wipes. All of the things I absolutely need fit perfectly; cell phone, wallet, keys and of course my camera which I keep safely nestled in a soap container.

I did make one terrible error. Well, one error that turned into many. As with the Vacation Purse, and the Huge Fail Wallet, I used the fake suede material which melts when it comes close to heat. Due to this I didn't iron it at all. Luckily it doesn't have any huge creases down the middle, but I was too scared to correctly iron the zipper I added in the back. Now the fabric shows, which I don't mind, but it's also coming apart so I've been hand stitching it in sections where it's come undone. I was also so worried about melting the fabric that I didn't notice how crooked the zipper was. The positive side to this error is that the back side rest nicely on my hip and no one ever has to see it. Also, the zipper still works and the pocket holds my flash drive, chap stick, and some extra hair elastics.

The purse is done just in time for vacation to be over (wah!) and school to start tomorrow.

Off to get a good nights rest!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Big Fail: Wallet Edition

I'd hate for you all to think I am a perfect sewasaurus. (My Dad doesn't like when I say "sewer" because it makes him think of a place where dirty water goes, so I've decided to now say "sewasaurus") Anyways, I do make mistakes and sometimes a project turns out terribly. Case in point this awful little wallet.

I wanted one to match my Vacation Purse and I saw THIS tutorial on Pinterest so I whipped it up one night. The tutorial seems alright, but my measuring and fabric choices were all just poor. As I've mentioned I'm afraid to iron this fabric so I didn't and now the wallet has a huge line down it.

My measuring and seam allowances were off too. First you put the credit cards in it looked good, like this:

But then then you close it up and open it again all the credit cards fly everywhere. Building good credit will be hard when I drop my credit cards everywhere. Did you like how I blurred the number on my Old Navy card? That puppy has a $250 limit, wouldn't want anyone running up a bill on me.

The one time I did iron the wallet the fabric kind of melted and warped. Major bummer.

All and all this turned out to be a huge flop. I hope you don't think less of me and my skills, or let me fall from the sewing pedestal you've put me on top of. Har har.


P.S. Like my photo editing? I used, not as cool as Picnik, but it'll do.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New Dress

In case you fell of the planet recently I'll fill you in on what you missed. Rae, of Made By Rae,  released her Washi Dress pattern last week! Waahoo! Once we returned from vacation I purchased the pattern online, printed the pieces and got to work. I bought very expensive fabric (with a gift certificate) to make a Washi dress, but was nervous about cutting into it before trying the pattern first. Enter "Teacher Appreciation Day" at Joann's and 30% off of Denyse Schmidt fabrics. 

I love it. I planned on making the tunic so I only bought 2 yards for $12. After realizing I could be sneaky and make a dress with only 2 yards I went for it. 

There were only 5 pattern pieces and it was super easy to follow the directions.  One key is to make a muslin, which is great so you don't cut into expensive fabric and then realizing you're a different size than you thought.  Wouldn't that stink. It's also good to practice the darts. 

The dress even has pockets. I think on my next one I will make the pockets a bit lower down. I guess I have long arms.

The neckline is the key reason I liked this pattern. It was quite easy to make. Next time I make one I am going to do the neckline with a full lining not just a half one. The only thing I don't love is that you can see the underlining seams even thought I hand stitched them. 

 I always have had a fear of smocking, but it was so easy I think I'll be smocking everything. The key is to use good elastic thread not the cheap stuff.

All and all I love this pattern and am excited to finish the other one I've been working on.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Life Updates

My new computer is here and I am in love. I don't even miss my ipad from work anymore. This puppy weights nothing and is so fast. The keys even light up so I can type in the dark. Useful for those nights when I stay up late and Charlie wants to sleep....oh wait that never happens.

I am coaching middle school cross country. It's fun. The only downside is that I have to shower twice a day, total bummer. At least now I have a solution to the lack of music:


Thanks Steve! It was worth waiting over a year for a wedding present. Now the only thing that I risk falling off of the sink is the tissues.

Have you seen Anna Maria Horner's "Feather Bed Quilt"? I'm in love. I don't think I'll take on a whole quilt, maybe just a pillow.

House hunting is the most terrible thing ever. The only plus side is looking in people closets and realizing how weird they are. It's also nice to know that I am not the worst housekeeper in the world. But those are the only good things. Everything else stinks. I really wanted to buy this house and host Harry Potter parties but it wasn't for sale, just a crappy one down the street.

I went to Maine last weekend and did this:

It's all about the stance. 

Every Friday and Monday morning this road sweeper drives past our apartment. At 5:45 am! Jeepers. It's most annoying. 

This weekend we are going to my Dad's house for the "Old Home Days" celebration in my hometown. I've missed approximately 1 in my 26 year span on earth. I hope to not be last in the 5k. One year I won first in my age group...then found out I was the only one in my age group entered. Wha wha whump. 


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thanks Aunt Carol?

In March Charlie's grandmother passed away and recently her children went to her house in Florida to clean some things out in order to sell the house. Charlie's aunt, Carol, asked if I wanted "some" yarn and cross stitch materials they had found at Grandma's house, so I said yes. Today two huge boxes showed up at our apartment.

And then the boxes exploded all over the kitchen. And two hours later I am done sorting through them. There were tons of fun finds.

There were a bunch of very old knitting patterns. I asked Charlie if he ever got an knitwear from his Grandma, he said he didn't so I wonder who she knit all this stuff for. Or maybe she did knit him something but he was too "cool" to ever wear it. Wouldn't you love to see a family dressed in matching hats and mittens? The preschool patterns are so adorable. Would you like to take a gander at when the "Classics" pattern was published? 1948. What?! A lot of the patterns I am going to take to my Mum's house, she knows tons more about knitting than I do and I think she will like them. 

 Maybe if I ask her pretty please she will make me this sweater. It's so cute!  One thing I noticed is that Charlie's grandma only bought patterns when they were on sale, a gal after my own heart....or vise versa. 

 The box included tons of yarn. Most were just scraps and left overs, but there are several skeins of this tan, a blue, and a very soft light brown. On top of buying things on sale, Charlie's grandma was also not great at finishing projects before she started something else. Another thing we had in common. There were tons of half done projects.

 I'm not very into needlepoint, but this half done project one caught my eye. I love elephants, in case you didn't know. Maybe I'll try to finish it, after I finish THIS cross stitch.  The box also had a magnifying glass you wear around your neck, and a clip on light with a magnifying glass. Maybe that would make cross stitching easier for me...probably not though. I think it has more to do with feeling like I am getting nowhere than with my poor vision.

Another huge perk of the package explosion was all of the knitting needles. Please friends, never rush out to buy a set of size 6 needles because I now have 5 sets. I also have two sets of size 1 needles, so if I'm ever low on toothpicks I can just use those. Have you ever tried to knit with a size 1? Ugh. It's terrible, maybe the magnifying glass would make it better. 

We pulled out this paper star and I got really excited because I had a bunch of those when I was younger and thought it would be cool to have another, but this one has the baby Jesus in it. Kind of weird don't you think? Lastly, do any of you have any idea what this contraption is? We've very confused. 

 It was fun learning more about Charlie's grandma through looking at all of her crafting stuff. I only got to meet her three times, and twice were at parties where we didn't really get to chat much so it feels nice to know more about what she liked to do in her spare time.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Technical Difficulties

As you may, or may have not noticed, I've been absent from blogging lately. Mostly this is due to our vacation, but also due to my broken computer. Back in June my old and slow yet still working Macbook was resting peacefully on the bathroom sink playing music for me to listen to in the shower, and then she decided her time was up and fell onto the floor. The screen was cracked and was originally not to bad to look at, but then it got worse. Then in an attempt to save pictures and space on the broken computer I accidentally deleted all of my pictures, cried for 30 hours straight, then moved on. Most of the pictures I liked are on Facebook,  my blog, or on CD's, so after realizing this I felt okay about it, but still kind of sad. Then I took it to the Apple Store where I was told it was "going vintage" which seemed like a good thing, but wasn't. Here's what it looked like in June (sorry it's blurry)

I thought I could make it with just an ipad and occasionally using Charlie's PC (on which I am typing now), but I cannot live without a computer, and I, the snob that I am, cannot live without a Mac. I need my keys to be separated and have shortcuts, and I hate right and left click! Also having a computer that looks like this is very difficult to do pretty much anything with except use it as a paper weight.


After much debating I finally bit the bullet and bought a Mac Air. I figure my old Mac lasted a good 6 years so if this one lasts me that long it will be a good investment. As a cherry on top I got a $150 discount for being a teacher, score. And in case you were wondering here are 5 reason Macbook Air Rules. Isn't it pretty?

This post was mostly just to warn you that coming August 16th I will be posting on this blog daily (ha) because my new computer will be here and will be so light and easy to use that I will be uploading pics and blogging away! Get ready.


P.S. This is an unpaid advertisement for Apple and an unwanted dis on PC's. R.I.P. Steve Jobs.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Vacation Purse

Reflecting upon my vacation purse I realize that the purse was a lot like my suitcase over our two week honeymoon which turned into a three week vacation. I've noticed that when it comes to packing, I will fill whatever space I am given, and not just fill, but stuff until the zipper is hanging on my it's prongs and ready to burst. I knew before we left that I wanted a purse that could fit my camera on our trip, as well as my wallet, and of course my Chapstick and cell phone. Knowing that I made a rather large purse, and the problem was and is that it was TOO big. I literally stuffed it with everything on our trip. Two cameras, a wallet, then  my necessary Chapstick turned into a thumb drive, nail file, contact case and mini solution, floss, eye drops, Advil, Tylenol PM (without which I would not have slept a wink in Yosemite), my glasses, sun glasses, a book, wet wipes, the ipad, random chargers, rain coat, the list goes on and on. This purse was just as stuffed as my suitcase. I felt like Mary Poppins, except that I had to dump out everything in order to find the one thing I wanted.

Photos below are not of the purse stuffed, in fact I took stuff out and threw it on the ground because Charlie said it looked too full.

The fabric was found in the red tag section of Joann's and was only $3 a yard plus my 15% discount. Hurray. It is faux suede, which is a total pain but is sturdy and I think looks more professional and like a real purse as opposed to a homemade purse. The only issue is that I'm petrified to iron it because it kind of melts and could destroy my (expensive) iron. Due to this issue I didn't iron it to begin with and now the purse forever has a fold mark down the middle from where it was folded after cutting at the store.

It's the "Reversible Bag" pattern I've used twice before for purses, one of which my Mum still uses. The only change I made was to add a pouch in the front with a snap closure like the "Go Anywhere Bag" I made in February. Oh, and it's not reversible.

 It's also covered in dog hair and sand after being used for over a month.

The purse worked out great for carrying all of the above mentioned "necessities" from the car to the hotels we stayed in, and at times lugging into a restaurant or two. It mostly stayed put due to the massive size, and the nature of our trip (driving around and stopping at places that looked cool). In San Francisco however I made the terrible mistake of loading this baby up with junk and setting off down a hill to the Pier. All was fine until we had to walk back up all of those hills. Who knew San Francisco had so many hills. After that I started being a little bit smarter/conservative about what was really needed in the purse.

This accent was a happy accident. As I said before, I was afraid to iron the fabric so the piping feel to this pocket/pouch was caused by my fear of ironing it.

 Although I really like this purse I also recently finished another one, I'll show that off soon. Stay tuned.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Vacation Skirt

Hello friends! I realized it's been almost two months since my last post. My B. We went on our Honeymoon for almost 3 weeks in July, only a year late. Before we left for out trip I did a bit of sewing and wanted to show some of it here. Today I'll show you the skirt that I wore several times on our trip and have been wearing ever since we got back. It's a "Flirting the Issue" skirt by Anna Maria Horner. I had made one last year for my bridal shower and loved it but wanted another one that was more of a summer color.
I used more voile fabric by AMH. I love this stuff, it's so soft and flowy. It took me about 30 minutes in the store to decide on which voile fabric to pick, no wonder Charlie loves going fabric shopping with me.

He also loves taking my picture when I model my new(ish) clothes for my blog. He gave me five mintues to take these photos, so I gave him as much sass as I could muster. In case you were wonering, I have a lot of sass.

Penny also wanted to be in the shoot. Seriously who could give this pup up? She's too adorable. We love her.

And now Penny is not too impressed about me blogging and not paying attention to her.

Photo from Instagram. Because I don't have enough social media outlets to begin with.

Off to play with Penny. I'll be back within the next 2 months to talk about the other things I've sewed recently.

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