Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Welcome to the sewing room, lil brother

For Mothers' Day, I received an unexpected surprise...a humongous box on my front porch!  And it was heavy, too!  I racked my brain trying to remember if I'd bought anything online lately...I mean, I think I would remember...I was pretty sure I hadn't.  Nothing that big anyway.  Seriously, I could have curled up and fit in this box.  So I dragged it inside, tore it open, and...

My sweet in-laws had gotten me a new sewing machine.  I had no words!  It's a Brother CS6000i.  I've already taken to calling it the "CSI."  Like the tv show.  ;)  

So naturally, I went and sewed some things, including these nightgowns that you may recognize!

And played and played with all the way-cool bells and whistles on this thing:

Check out all the stitches...

And do you know what this is, and why it's so awesome?
That would be a drop-in bobbin.  Great for when I teach Abs how to use the machine - really use it.  But the best part?  YOU CAN SEE WHEN YOU'RE ABOUT TO RUN OUT OF THREAD DOWN THERE!  Can I get a whoop-whoop?  Why don't they ALL have this? 

Three speeds...I of course love the fastest one (which is really fast), while I can set it to the slowest one (which is really slow!) for Abby.  She's becoming quite the little sew...er.  Sewist.  Seamstress.

AND, it comes with one of these things for when you're doing big projects.  I'm guessing it would be handy for quilters, which I am not.  Yet.

Snowy likes it too.  She's like, "hmm, that looks like a new machine."  Actually, it's probably more like, "mmm, thread.  I want some."
Yes, our mostly black cat is named Snowy.  Please don't ask me to explain.  
Oh.  AND, you would not believe how lightweight this machine is.  AND it comes with a hard case.  Which means it will be perfect for when I need to travel with it.  Oh.  AND, when I do finally take the plunge into quilting...the CSI comes with a walking foot and some quilting attachment thingy that looks like the metal thing they wedge into your mouth at the dentist while taking x-rays.  I sincerely hope I don't have to use it like that at home, or my quilting stint (whenever it may begin) will be a short-lived one.

So, in short, the CSI is a welcome addition to my sewing room!  Thanks, Bonnie!  :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Stretch that wardrobe, save your money!

Hi there!  Hope everyone's having a nice, relaxing Memorial Day weekend.  It is a beautiful sunny morning here in western PA.  I'll enjoy it, because we don't get too many of these!

Last night, in about 30 minutes, I transformed 3 pairs of my little guy's pajama pants into pajama shorts.  I'll show you how to do it!

But of course, there's a story behind it.  There's always a story:

I had this bin (or tote, as DH calls them.  Is it a bin, or a tote? I don't know) of clothing for my son.  I have one for both of the kids.  It's the bin of clothing that people give me, or clothes I find on super-duper clearance that don't fit now but will fit later...all that kind of stuff.  You know what I mean.  Well, this bin also had all the summer stuff from last summer that would probably still fit this summer.  Three pairs of baseball pants, baseball socks, summer pj's, shorts that were too big last year, t shirts, swim trunks...a lot of stuff.

When tee-ball season came around, I tore the house apart looking for this bin.  Top. To. Bottom.  It is nowhere to be found.  My only conclusion is that it must have been accidentally thrown in with the "going to Goodwill" stuff.  *heaving a huge sigh*

So, the little guy has been running around in either shorts and tee-shirts for pajamas, or he tries to wear his fleece pj's that I still haven't put away for next winter.  (Well, I did yesterday.  Sort of.  I kind of threw them in the spare room.  I'll put them away later.)

Never (well, seldom) being one to run out and buy all new stuff when I don't have to, I dug some of his random light(er)weight pj pants out of the infamous "going-to-Goodwill" bag, and grabbed a pair of scissors.

At first I tried to wing it.  Or I wang it.  Or wung it.  What is the past tense of "to wing?"  Let's just say, it was bad.  I threw that pair away, it was so bad.  Here's a little example of the bad-ness:
what the...?  
Then I tried to find a tutorial online.  Would you believe how difficult it is to find?  I never did end up finding a good one, which is why I'm doing this one.   The best "tutorial" I found was one that basically said: "Take your scissors.  Cut the pants.  Voila!  Shorts!"  No joke.  That's all I could find.

So I ended up winging it again, but with more success this time.  Behold, the tutorial:

How to make kids' knit pajama pants into pajama shorts

1. Cut the pants - Have your kid try them on and make a little mark where you want them to stop.  Cut a little lower than the mark.

2. Cut the cuff off from the bottom - Trust me, their circulation won't be cut off when you sew this back on.  You'll see.

3. Cut the cuff right below the serged part - You'll have just a folded band with no stitching.  You can't tell from the pictures, but it's very stretchy now!

4. Position the cuff onto the shorts to get ready for sewing.  Make sure to have your raw edges lined up; you want the "unfinished" edges all facing the same way.
raw edges all pointing down

shimmy the cuff into position (even with the bottom of the shorts) and pin at the seam.  You don't really need to pin anywhere else, thank goodness.

5. Get ready to sew: Stretch the pant leg over the arm of the machine, sort of like you're putting a sock on it.
It's OK that it's not perfectly lined up.  You can do that as you go.
set your machine to a stretchy stitch - I used #8 on mine.  Check your user manual if you're not sure about yours.  I check my user manual a lot and I've been sewing for quite a while.  No shame in that!
Oh, and if you have a ball point sewing machine needle, put it on.  I have no idea what it does that's so darn special, but if you're sewing knits, you should use one.  

6.  Sew, baby, sew.  
all nice and lined up

I just followed the right edge of my presser foot.  
As you're sewing, try to let the machine do the work.  Let it feed through by itself, as much as you can.  But you do need to stretch the band to make it line up with the fabric underneath, as wrinkle-free as possible.  It'll go back to its regular size when you take it off the machine, so don't worry about stretching it out as you sew.  Does that make sense?

This part can be a little bit of a pain, especially if you come to the end and you realize you have a bunch of fabric left over and not a lot of cuff left over.  For some reason, I only ran into this problem on these pants.  Go figure.

Just fold it under as neatly as you can.  This isn't Project Runway, people.  It's pajamas.
this is what it looks like when you pull it off the machine.  trim the thread, flip it down, and...

7. Admire your work.  Admire it!

mistake?  what mistake?

super comfy pj shorts.  and just look at those little 5 year old leggies!  so cute!
If you have questions, please ask!  

I'm linking up to some sites this week; check out my "love to link"...uh, link...to see where!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

7 burning questions about me: ANSWERED!

"A major award!  It's a major award!" (name the movie)

Becca from from gardeners to bergers kinda made my day when she passed along the Versatile Blogger Award to me.  It's true what she said.  I do craft, sew, and cook.  What she does not know is that I also snack.  Uh-huh.  That's right, ladies, I snack.  AND, I also watch TV.  Lots of it.  Especially since we got Netflix AND a DVR within a few months of each other...it's like TV heaven around here.  So you better believe I'm versatile!

No but really (well, yes, those things are true), but really, thanks Becca.  :)  That's sweet.  I have totally enjoyed your blog ever since I discovered it, not too long ago!

So AS a "versatile blogger" (which sounds suspiciously euphemistic for "blogger with trouble focusing," but what do I know...), my first order of business will be to share with you 7 random factoids about myself.

1. I get the jimmy legs when I fall asleep.  (So I'm told.)  (By my husband who gets kicked all night.)

2. I can pretty much recite the following quotable movies: Napoleon Dynamite, Working Girl, Back to the Future, and The Princess Bride.  I'm sure there are maybe one or two more, but I can't think of them right now.

3. I learned how to knit when I was 34 - that was last year...wait...well maybe I was 35...well anyway, I'll be 36 next week.  My point is, it's never too late to learn something new.  Not that I'm old.  I'm just saying.

4. I have skinny lips.  ARGH!  CURSE YOU, SKINNY LIPS!

5. I have sworn off texting while driving, and going to the tanning bed.  Abstaining from these things drives me crazy, but I know I'm better off for it (and so is my family).

6. I have amazing "real-life" friends.  Just a few years ago, I didn't really have that.  I was really lonely.  So I prayed to God to bring some friends into my life, just maybe one or two, and He totally poured out blessings into my life and gave me such dear friends - some of whom were praying for the exact same thing as I was!

7. I'm saving up for a laptop.  Wait, that's boring.  You don't want to know that.  Umm....oh!  LOST will always be my favorite TV show.  I have the entire series on DVD and watch it occasionally to stave off the withdrawal symptoms.

So there you go!  And for my next order of business...here are 5 blogs I've recently discovered that I really like.  They are awesome.  I'm sure they've all already gotten this award, but whatever.

1. Life, Crafts, and Whatever - Hi-la-ri-ous.  this girl is so funny!  We could hang in real life.  If we lived near each other.  Which I don't think we do.

2. The Joys of Life with Lucy - Um, yeah, she introduced me to apples + peanut butter + nutella.  So she's definitely on my short list.  The good one.

3.  Sew Sweetness - Amazing.  Just amazing.  Sewing talent galore.  I will be joining some of her sewalongs this summer.  Can't wait!

4. Oh Mandie - I actually know this girlie in real life!  She is such a beautiful person, and our boys are buddies in Sunday school.  Next year she will be the creative activities director for our MOPS group.  I totally can't wait to see what she comes up with!

5. Maybe Matilda - if ever I had a "blog crush," it would be on Maybe Matilda.  I know that sounds weird.  But just go to her blog and see what I mean.  Awesome!  Love her!

So there you go!  Stuff about me and the blogs I read!

Oh, and btw, Blogger has not been rather temperamental this evening, so if any of you newly-crowned versatile bloggers see this and are like, "hey, where's my comment?", I tried!

I need a snack.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Goodwill Hunting

Some recent Goodwill finds...
1. This desk organizer.  Apparently I have a thing for these.  This one was 1.99.  It's actually plastic.

A thorough scrubbing and a quick coat of spray paint later...

I may or may not put a coat of Ralph Lauren tea stain on it...that was my original plan.  But right now it looks so clean & pretty; I really like it the way it is.  What do you think?  Glaze?  Or leave it?

2. This tray.  Don't know what I'm gonna do with it yet, but it was .99.  It's plastic, too.

3. This pile of sheets.  I love thrifted sheets.  Major yardage, pre-shrunk, pre-softened, cute designs.  What's not to love?

I have more plans for these...but for now, I've made my dearest darling daughter two nightgowns:

I totally love the striped one!  For one thing, it's the ever-so-trendy chevron pattern that is all over the place these days.  Also, it reminds me of Fruit Stripes gum.  Remember that?

And by the way, thanks to my sweet little guy, Nolan, for the title of this post. As we were sitting at breakfast this morning, somehow something came up in conversation (between DH & I) about something that was 99 cents. Out of the blue, Nolan said, "If you had three of those, it would cost $2.97." We just stared at him. I tried to do some math in my head. What the...? Did I mention that Nolan is 5??? Good Will Hunting. That kid is destined for a janitor's job at MIT someday. And the good looks, too! Matt Damon has nothing on my little guy. :)

Linky dinky doo:
DIY under $5make it wear itsouthern hospitality

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This year's teacher gifts

This year is a special year for two teachers in our lives.  My little guy will be graduating from preschool on Friday (sniff) and thus, barring a surprise-of-a-lifetime, we will be done forever (sniff) with preschool.  I'll officially have two "school-age" children.  How did that happen?  I feel like I was just nursing, putting down for naps, potty training, going to playgroups...how can they possibly be 5 and 7 years old?

Well anyway.  I won't get into it too much because it makes me too upset, but this year is likely the last year for that little church preschool that both of my kids attended.  There's just too much "competition" (I use that word loosely) from the pre-K programs that the public schools all seem to offer now, and enrollment is really low.  Two ladies have been running that preschool for more than 30 years.  And they are the absolute best.  They sincerely care about every one of those children.  And they teach what kids are capable of learning, not just the bare minimum requirements needed to squeak by.

I have appreciated these ladies so much over the last 5 years.  They have made a difference in my kids' lives, as well as my own.  So my standard "Starbucks gift card for the teacher" is not going to cut it this year.

Have you heard the "starfish story?"  I'm sure you have.  But just in case, here it is:

The Starfish Story

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. 

Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”
The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.
The surf is up and the tide is going out. 
 If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”
“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? It can’t make a difference!
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf.  
Then, smiling at the man, he said,”It made a difference to that one.”

And here's what I made:

On the back, there's a picture hanger, and the starfish story.  I hope they like them.

(Wanna see how I did this?  Read on.)

I've been on a "use-what-you-have" kick lately.  Sometimes I just feel like I have so much STUFF.  As much as I love shopping at the craft & fabric stores, sometimes I reach a limit where I just feel...almost wrong...about buying more crafting stuff.  I went to Michael's for the starfish (2 of them), and everything else I used out of my own home.

I had in my mind a general idea of what I wanted to do.  Step 1, find something plaque-worthy.  A tile?  I love using tiles, but it would be really heavy.  hmmmmm....oh!  Here's something I found in the dark, dank, depths of our basement:
uh, that's sideways.  But you get the idea.  
So I manned up and dragged out the DH's saw.  Sawed this baby into two 11x11 squares, and sanded the edges.
that's our basement floor.  it's scary down there!

primed & painted
After that, I just played around with the things I wanted on the boards until it looked good to me.

Mod Podge, baby!

Stinky, cancer-causing glue.  But at least it'll hold that star on.

And there you go!  Easy.  And cheap ($8 for both).  And meaningful.

Linking to...

Anything Related
Running with Glitter