Saturday, August 25, 2012


Hey, I've been featured at some blogs lately!  How fun!

Diann at The Thrifty Groove featured my post a little while ago about my good day of yard sales.  And a good day it was.  I may be going out this weekend; we'll see how busy things get.  Today, unfortunately, groceries have to take priority over vintage Christmas ornaments.  Sigh. 

And Kristi at Creative Kristi featured my un-finished knitted pillow cover.  Who says you have to have a project finished in order to put it on your blog?  Haha.  I revel in my inability to finish projects within a year of starting them.  Revel, I tell you. 

Thanks Diann and Kristi, that was a really nice surprise!  :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sewing Tutorial: Using the Adjustable Needle Position on your sewing machine

OK, so, you all got treated to some of my family's mini-vacation photos.  Which I'm sure is only a small step away (up or down?) from being forced to watch someone's vacation videos.

Well, I knew I was going to take a lot of photos, going to Washington DC and all, and I thought, hey!  What better place to look like a full-blown tourist than our nation's capitol?  I shall wear my camera around my neck proudly In my mind, it beats a fanny pack any day.  But of course I wanted to look somewhat cute while looking tourist-y.  So I made a camera strap in 30 collective minutes (had I not been interrupted by about 1,257,302 things during that 4-hour time period).

Anywho, the strap itself: there is no "camera strap tutorial void" that needs to be filled out there.  Seriously.  There are about 500 camera strap tutorials all over blog land.  I loosely followed this one.  Basic, customizable, easy.

BUT...I wanted to use this little project to point out one of the most useful features of my sewing machine - I don't know if yours has this or not, but if it does and you have never used should give it a try!  Your whole LIFE is about to get a little bit easier.  :)

It sounds a little intimidating, maybe?  I don't know.  That's where a room full of people would be really helpful right now.  I have no idea if this is something that everyone knows, or something that no one knows.  Since most of my real-life friends give me the song and dance about how they're scared of sewing machines (as if they're about to be attacked by one?), I'm going to go ahead and assume that the adjustable needle feature is not one that is commonly used.  If I'm mistaken, and you're a pro at it, and you're finding this whole post just really inane and patronizing, then by all means skip it and go read one of the funny ones.  Like my Oven Mitts Story.  That's a good one. 

So anyway, the needle of the sewing machine.  Did you know that it can move to the right or left?  It doesn't have to stay in the middle? Here is why that is helpful:
When you are trying to stitch really close to the edge of fabric, but still want to have a clear guideline to follow when you are feeding your fabric through, you can move the needle over, closer to the edge.  Allow me to demonstrate with some pics :)

This is what it looks like on my machine. Do you have one of these?
In this first picture, the fabric gets guided along the right side of the presser foot.  But you can change the needle position (move it over to the right), making it possible to stitch closer to the edge, without having to lose your "guide."  Such a simple thing, but so handy.  

And if you wanna get fancy...

(Just kidding, it's not all that fancy.)  But look: in the first picture, the needle is in the middle.  I am using that little line in the middle of the presser foot as my guide for the fabric to follow.  If I kept the needle in the center position, it wouldn't really work.  It would just stitch along the edge of the fabric and do no good.  But if I move the needle to the left, then I can still use the line as my guide for the fabric, while still being able to stitch close to the edge.  Does that make sense?  Don't move the fabric; just move the needle over!  

So, if you were wondering why you would ever need to mess with the needle position on your machine, now you know.  :)  After having this feature, I would never buy another machine that didn't have it.  

Was that helpful at all?  What other sewing how-to's would you would like to see here?  

*Linking to*

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Little Update

Home, Sweet Pineapple!

We were away this week - decided to take a short trip and come home mid-week, to let the kids get rested up for the start of school on Monday.  (Boo hoo!)

Anyway, we were here...

Taken from the WWII memorial.  One of my favorite parts of DC.
...and it was just awesome.  I miss it already!  (Let me clarify: I don't miss the eternal walking or $6 hot dogs, but everything else was just great and I want to go back already.) I grew up about 1.5 hours away from DC, so we used to go there a lot.  But it had been a long time since I'd been there - we're talking 10+ years - so it was great to go back.  I definitely appreciated it a lot more this time around.  The kids loved it too, which was really the point of our trip.  :) 

They liked the monuments & outside things a lot, and of course the Smithsonian museums are just really cool.  We spent a long time in the gemstone exhibit at the Natural History museum; the kids loved that!  They also both liked the "Star Spangled Banner" exhibit in the American History museum.  No photography allowed in there, bummer!  Anyway, *the* flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem is on display there.  It is breathtaking. 

DH & I could have spent literally all day in that one museum.  Among other things, we saw the re-creation of Julia Child's kitchen, which was really neat.  There is an amazing war exhibit that takes you, in great detail, through every war America has been involved in...we made it to about the Spanish-American war before we decided to get our super-antsy, super-bored kids outta there. 

So we did Natural History, American History, and all the outside stuff - in 1 1/2 days.  I cannot believe we couldn't do more, but each of those museums is just so packed full of really cool stuff to see, you can't just breeze through them!  Not to mention, kids get TIRED.  :)  One thing that would have helped, would be if they opened earlier than 10/10:30 am.  That really cuts into the day, IMO.  Anyway, we definitely will be going back, hopefully this fall.  Just so cool. 

So after DC, we drove a couple hours north to Lancaster, PA.  The kids were super-psyched to ride a "real train" (The Strasburg Railroad) and they were even MORE excited when we surprised them by meeting up with my parents, who live only an hour or so away. 

The "real train."  Very loud.  :)

Gram & Pap!

Learning how to twist pretzels at the pretzel factory!
So we all spent the day together, relaxing and taking in the beautiful Amish country.  A very nice ending to summer.  :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

UFO Sightings in My House

Oh man, do I have a lot of UFO's around here.

That's UnFinished Objects.

UFO #1: The African Flower Blanket
I came across this post from a fellow blogger (also named Rachel!) and it reminded me of my OWN in-progress blanket.  Started in March 2012 (so, at least we're still in the same year).  I was going strong for a while, crocheting my little heart out, and then I ran out of yarn.  Of course I couldn't have just made my own life easier from the start by using acrylic yarn from the craft store.  Oh, no.  I had to order from KnitPicks.  (I'm using Swish Worsted, if you're wondering!  Superwash's gonna be nice and soft, if I ever finish it!)   

Anyway, here's what's done so far:
Did I really do all of these?  Do I really have MORE to do still???
Looks like a big stack of Krabby Patties.
All 6 colors here.
In case you're wondering, I'm making 120 flowers.  Using 6 colors, in every possible color and "order" combo without duplicating.  I figured it out one day, and made a big list and I cross them off as I go.  That's as close to math nerd-dom as I'll probably ever get.  93 down; 27 to go.  It's not the last 27 that worry me; it's having to somehow join them all together that I find daunting.  I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. 

I'd say I have a long road a-ho.  Or a long row to hoe.  What is that phrase???

UFO #2: The Cabled Throw Pillow Cover

10 points to whoever can spot the mistake.  ;)

mmmmmmm, cables.
The sad part is, I have all the yarn right here.  And I already did the "hard" part (not that cables are hard...they only look hard!) All I have left to do is the back, in plain ol' stockinette.  And with size 11 (or 13? can't remember) needles, this thing goes really, really fast.  If I'd just finish it!

UFO #3: The Stripe Study Shawl

Can't wait to get this off the needles and all stretched out into its stripey glory!
Do you like my stitch markers?  I made them!
Asymmetrical stripes, yet so easy to do.  I could not love a pattern more.
 I love, love, love, love, LOVE this wrap.  LoveLOVE.  The pattern is awesome.  (It is, in fact, the first and only pattern I have ever actually paid for.)  It is unbelievably easy.  It is the perfect project to work on anywhere - watching TV, in waiting rooms, etc, because it's all garter stitch.  No concentration necessary!  I have no excuse.  I just lost steam.  And the rows are super-long at the last 4 inches, which is where I'm at.  The home stretch!  I really want to finish it before the weather gets chilly, which will be sooner than I want to think.

So that's it for me...what UFO's (knitted or otherwise) do YOU have floating around your house?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Linking.  It's what I do.

Creative Kristi

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Start Today

Isn't this quote awesome?  Thanks, Pinterest!  I never saw so many "inspirational quotes" in one place before there was Pinterest. 

"A year from now, you'll wish you had started today."  So true.  It's what made me join a gym back in February of this year.  It hasn't even been a year, and I'm already glad I started when I did.

I think of other things that I have been wanting to do for a long time.  Like, years.  And I think "darn it!  Why didn't I just go for it back then???"  Had I started a year or two ago, I could have been where I want to  (That makes sense, right?)  ;)  I can read my own posts on my own blog from over a year ago and see that I have been stalling. 

I have been wanting to sell the things I make for such a long time now.  But that means putting myself out there.  It comes down to this: putting a value on my own creativity and skills, and asking other people to, too.  That is scary!

But there are scarier things.  Like climbing that big pointy rock formation thing, like that girl in the credit card commercial.   Or going on the Tilt-a-Whirl right after lunch and risking it all.  Or living in Georgia with all those huge spiders and bugs they have down there. 

So.  Now it's all in perspective!  I do wish I'd started a year ago.  This time next year, I will be glad I started when I did...more to come on that, of course!  

Linking to:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Weekly Loot: Check out my new wheels!

I would call this a great day of yard sales! 

Usually, I choose one day each weekend to go with DH, because we feel kinda guilty dragging the kids around with us for hours.  So we limit that to only once a week.  ;)  Goodness knows we've already given them enough to talk about in their future therapy sessions; we don't need to add "endless yard sales" to the list.

Anyway, it's been busy, and they've been getting to bed later than usual this week, so I wasn't actually planning to go at all this weekend.  But we were all up early this morning, and I asked them each, on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being "so bummed out I just can't stand it") how they would feel if we went to yard sales this morning.  They were both under 5.  I took that as a "let's do this thing!" and away we went. 

First house, got some baskets.  I'm always looking for cute things to put stuff in, and I think these will be handy in my sewing room:
Normally I would offer less, but it was first thing in the morning.  I just hesitate to do that when it's right when they open...

A few houses later, got some jewelry!  So cute.  I love these earrings!  PLUS, it just so happens that I knew the girl whose house it was, so I didn't feel squeamish buying them from her.  (Of course I'll still alcohol-ize them!  For those of you who are worried.  Mom.)  ;)
Found these Sbux mugs, like we don't have enough mugs...
$1 each, with boxes!  There were two.

This one was .25, with no box.  Anyone know how to clean this?  (That's ink.)
Also at this sale, I got some Pilates DVDs for .50 each.  I've been a fan of Pilates ever since I learned that the Olympic women beach volleyball players do it.  Have you seen those abs?  That's endorsement enough for me. 

Next up, some glass Christmas balls:

The whole box was $1.  I only really wanted these two, though.  Love!!!
Oh, and some butterfly nets, .25 each, for the kids.  They have been on a bug-collecting kick this summer.

So I spent a total of $7.75.  That's actually more than I usually spend!  I think I blew it on the baskets.  I shouldn't have paid more than $1.50.  AND looking back, I wish I would have offered .50 for the two ornaments, instead of taking the whole box.  Oh well.

So we were on our merry way home, when we spotted THIS at a sale in our own neighborhood:
A bike!  For me!
I have been in the market for a bike for about half the summer.  Of course, ever since I decided to get one, they all seemed to disappear from the yard sales.  But today my luck changed!  DH pointed out that it has a "nice" water bottle I could drink from...
Looks, uh......refreshing.
So I checked it out, and wonder of wonders, the frame is actually MY SIZE, and it looked pretty nice!  I was going to offer $20 for it.  And then a little voice in my head said to ask the lady how much she wanted for it.  Well I'm glad I did because she only wanted $15! 

So that was the morning for me.  Not too shabby!  What about you?  Did anyone else do well at the sales this weekend?

Linking up with:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

As close to TMI as I'll ever get

So I'm in the shower this morning.

Minding my business.  Washing my hair so I can go to the salon to have them wash it again.  You know.  And DH (who has the day off), knocks at the bathroom door with a sense of urgency.

I say, "Come iiiiiiiin!" in my happy, sing-songy voice.  (Right, honey?)

And he comes in, mousepad in hand.  I poke my head out of the curtain to see what is on his mousepad.  Immediately I assess the situation and draw two conclusions:

1. It's from a cat.
2. I'm not entirely sure which end of the cat it came from.  You'd think it would be easy to tell...but seriously, this is an atrocity the likes of which I've never seen before.  On DH's mousepad.

I look up at DH and he has this look of horror in his eyes.  Horror mixed with - did I really see it? - accusation

WHAT is THIS??? he demands to know.  As if I personally supervised and approved the whole thing!

At this point in my story, things just fall apart.  Unable to think of anything hilariously witty and sarcastic to say, I just say, "Ewww!  I don't know!  Looks like one of the cats did it, though.  (laughing) What's it doing on your mousepad?" 

DH then walks away, mortified, and the story ends.

Please help me.  I'm doing a George Costanza here, thinking of a comeback after the fact.  It would just make it so perfect!

Let's try this again:


a. That's for "laundry basket jail."
b. Looks like another one of their cat-and-mousepad games
c. DUDE.  I'm in the SHOWER!
d. ________________________________________

10 points for the best witty retort!

Monday, August 6, 2012

New Blog, New Focus

Hi everyone!  Don't be confused!  :)  This past weekend I changed my blog from Pleased as Punch to

I'm really happy with the name change and new(ish) look; I think it's definitely what I needed.  I needed a fresh outlook on what I'm doing here!  If you've been with me for a while, you remember that I took an indefinite blogging hiatus right after Christmas last year.  Well when I came back in May, I knew I wanted to continue blogging, but it wasn't really the same.  I kind of had to find my "groove" all over again. 

One of the things I've learned is that I don't want to get caught up in all the things that aren't really "me" again.  I found myself doing projects for the sake of some link party...and that just totally sapped all my creativity and enjoyment out of crafting!  I eventually found myself totally "on empty" in the inspiration department.  What a bummer.  I remember when I couldn't find time to do all the things I was inspired to do.  I am slowly getting back to having that good flow of creativity, and I think the key is knowing what I truly LOVE to do & what feeds my creative spirit.  (I know that sounds kind of funny, coming from me...I'm not much of a "feed my creative spirit, kum-ba-ya" type of person...but that's the best way to put it I think!  Don't make fun!)  :)

So what is that, you ask?  I really pondered this, but it did not take long.  Sewing, hand embroidering, knitting & crocheting.  This is what I find most relaxing and enjoyable.  Picking up some knitting is sort of like biting into some really good dark chocolate for me.  It just feels so good.  Putting a needle & thread through some fabric and seeing those lines form...I just love it.  It seems that anything involving stitching is what I tend to gravitate toward....hence my new blog name.  :)

If you've been subscribing via email to my posts, I think you may want to make sure you update your subscription (on the right) by re-subscribing to this feed...and if you've been reading this in a reader, you may want to change it over to this new blog address...clearly I know & understand very little about "feeds"...ugh, all this tech stuff.  Bottom line: if you're reading this, and you're like, "Hey!  Why wasn't this in my reader/email?"  then you should re-subscribe by using the buttons or email form on the right. Sorry to not streamline it for you.  It was all I could do to get the buttons THERE.  ;)

So...that's that!  Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad to have you here!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Highs and Lows: "Date Night Before 8am" Edition

Hey everyone!  It's Sunday, and we went to church last night (yeah for Saturday night service!), and I'm sitting here procrastinating on making my grocery hey, why not do a Highs and Lows?  ;)  (This used to be a link party thing, but I don't think Jen is doing it anymore...but I still like to.)

I like to start with the Lows so I can end on a positive note...although I'm happy to say this week there weren't many lows...

1. Well, actually....really no specific lows this week.  I guess my only complaint would have to be the Dealing With the Bickering Children, what seems like every day.  Not all day every day, but at least once every day they get into it with each other.  It is so tiring to listen to.  I busted out a mini-lecture this morning and at present they are both playing individually and everything seems fine.  It's's like watching me & DH in them...SHE wants to play and do stuff, and HE needs his space.  SHE gets frustrated and tries to force him to do stuff, and HE digs in his heels and refuses.  Eventually one of them resorts to physical force (uh, that's where the similarities end!) and the tattle-taleing begins.  Depending on my mood/state of mind, I deal with it in varying degrees of "good mom-ness."  I'm really trying to not just yell every time...that really doesn't do any good.

HIGHS this week:

1. The kids went to day camp for the first time.  They had SUCH a blast and it was really awesome to hear them talk nonstop about their days when they'd get home.  We will definitely be sending them again next year.  I think it's so good for them.  And at the closing program (where they sing songs & do skits for us), each counselor chose one kid from their group to have the team flag - this was for the kid who was the "most encouraging" to the other kids.  And my little guy got the flag for his kindergarten group.  :)  I was so proud of him. 

2. SINCE the kids were in day camp every day, DH & I got to go out Friday morning and do the yard sales till our hearts' content, without having to cut it short because we feel guilty dragging the kids around with us.  We had such a great time.  Yard sale-ing is sort of like our "date night."  A date night that starts at 7:45 am, and I don't have to do my hair or pay for a sitter. 

3. I got my blog switched over, yay!  Gilbert Street do you like it?  :)  I think the name change is what it needed.  AND I did it without having to purchase a domain name, which I'm not sure I want to do right now...AND without losing all my content, links & friends.  I did it by following the most AWESOME step-by-step instructions over at this techie person's site. 

OH and here's a question:  I did the design myself (not that there's much to it...) and it looks great on my laptop.  But when I view my blog on our "main" desktop computer, my header (the yellow part) is all off-center and it looks bad.   -Insert Nancy Kerrigan "WHYYYYYYY?" here-  does it look bad on YOUR computer?  Can anyone tell me how to fix this so that it looks centered on ALL screens?  That would be super....

Well that's it for me this week!  Soaking up the last bits of summer with the kiddos....sigh.  I love summer.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Crazy stuff happening!

Hey guys,

This weekend I will be working on moving my blog over to a new address (yeah!) ...hopefully WITHOUT losing a whole bunch of links, friends, and all that stuff.  

WISH ME LUCK.  I'm not the most tech-savvy person in the world.  But I am possibly the cheapest person in the world, which is why I'm attempting to do this myself instead of letting a professional handle it.  Haha.  If it all goes horribly wrong, I think it'll be OK because I've backed everything up...

IF YOU ARE NOT GETTING ANY NEW POSTS in your reader or email by Monday, then make sure you click through from here to my blog and you'll be re-directed to my new one.  You'll want to update your RSS/email subscriptions, probably...I'm not quite sure if I can do that for you or not.  

Anyway, things could get a little weird for a few days!  Just so you know.  Hang in there with me, by Monday it should all be good.  :) 


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

$15 Office Makeover

Well, hi!  I have, in fact, NOT fallen off the face of the earth.  Just in case you were wondering. 

Today...just a quickie little "before & after" of a room in our house.  This is the sunroom, otherwise known as the "computer/sewing/whatever-else-we-can-cram-into-it" room.  One half is my sewing area, the other half is DH's office area.  I have a lot of supplies.  HE has a lot of supplies.  Usually this room is an absolute  nightmare to look at.


That's the office side.  My sewing side, when kept clean, is fine.  But this office...there were some inherent problems.

Problem #1: The Hutch.  Otherwise known as the "clutter magnet."  Really, it served no purpose but to provide a place for us to put stuff on, that we didn't know where else to put.

Solution: Get rid of it!
New Problem 1 1/2: Wanna see what 8+ years of sitting by a sunny window will do to a desk?

Yeah.  That's apparently the official place where the "sun doesn't shine."
Solution: Paint, of course!  I resisted the very strong urge to go to Home Depot.  I wanted to spiff up this room for as little money as humanly possible.  So to the basement I went, and much to my surprise and delight, we had almost a full quart of black semi-gloss paint.  AND primer.  AND I even found some little mini foam roller covers down there.  Our basement is a dark and scary place, but you can find good stuff there if you look!

Problem #2: The Big Hulking Chair
Just not fitting for such a teeny tiny room.  Plus, it spins around, so when the kids would get on it and use it like a piece of playground equipment, it put gashes in the front of the desk, making the desk even more unsightly. 

Solution: My $3 flea market chair!  A little paint & fabric, and there ya go.

And here is the new and improved desk, sans hutch, all freshly painted:

OK!  Moving on...
Problem #3: The Corner of Junk


Solution: Shelves...was going to buy some from IKEA, but DH reminded me that we had some shelves down in the basement (see?) that his work was just going to throw away.  They'd been down there for more than a year.

Brought them up, cleaned them off, spent $12 on brackets, and.............

Ho yeah!
And here it is, all together...SO much better now!

I still need to find a solution for all those wires under the desk.  But I'm going to wait, because I have a feeling that the big old computer is about to be forced into retirement, to be replaced by a young ambitious laptop.  We shall see.

Oh and I couldn't resist...I was taking this picture, and I looked up, and this is what I saw :)