Friday, April 29, 2011

sew & tell - April 2011 - sewing groups

Hello! I feel like it's been forever since a sew & tell post, but it's only been a month.  It's been a busy month over here.  Time really does fly when, well. . .sometimes we are having fun.  Other times it's just a lot of running around and trying to keep up with everything!

I've met a lot of lovely friends since my move and have found that many of them:
  1. love to sew, and know what they are doing.
  2. have sewn a little bit and want to sew more.
  3. have a machine and want to learn but have no idea where to start.
I have taken it on as my personal mission to light the sewing fire under anyone who is ready and willing.  My plan for world domination starts with changing the world one new sewist at a time!

Most of my friends have young children that make it difficult to have uninterrupted sewing time and most of us have little girls.  So we hatched a plan.

A sewing night free of children where we make darling skirts for our girls!!  Remember these skirts that I made for mine last winter?  We planned a Saturday night to get together so I could show them how to make them. And it was so much fun to sit around and snack and chat and cut and sew!  I even got to take a trip to our LQS earlier in the day and found some darling Lila Tueller fabric.

Which I whipped into this little skirt.
summer skirts

I can't really stand how cute this fabric is!

This was the perfect skirt to work on that night because I was able to demonstrate how to make and sew gathers and finish it (except the hem and elastic) while I helped everyone else.

So that's my finish. I almost have a tiny one finished for babylouwho too!

But on to the good part of the story.  My friend Teri is an example of a the #1 sewer, she pretty much knew what she was doing and didn't need a lot of help.  Her first skirt was almost finished when we left.
Teri's first skirt

I was surprised the next day at church to see her daughter wearing it! I loved that she stayed up to finish it!

I was at her house this week and she showed me what she has done in the few weeks since we had our little soiree.  THREE more adorable skirts!
and her next 3!

She even added her own twist by sewing a tier on with that cute little ruffle at the TOP of the tier!  And doing a contrasting hem on the other!

Awesome!!  Her next project is a quilt from Amy's Modern Basics - she is just waiting on one more piece of fabric.  I can't wait to show you what she is going to do!!

Next up is Shayna.  She's more a #2.  She's sewn a bit but wants to sew more.  She has four darling children.  Her last two are barely 14 months apart.  She suffers from can't-leave-the-house-because-someone-is-always-taking-a-nap syndrome.  She was starting to get a little stir-crazy and wanted to do something besides clean.  She also needed a new diaper bag.

So she came shopping in my stash and I helped her make an amylouwho signature bag.  We spent a few days working on it together.  I would go over and help her with a section and leave some instructions.  She would call me as soon as she was ready and ask what was next!  I loved how eager she was and how driven she was to finish.  And I have to say, I'm quite smitten with it.  I almost wish it were mine....
Shayna's awesome bag

I love the Midwest Modern exterior with the LOVE sunspots on the inside.  And the key hook!  Everyone's favorite part!
Shayna's bag - interior

and don't you love her belt? And the way her hands are free but has everything she needs within arms reach?
bag in action!

She came to our sewing night too - I mean, she was on fire!! She sewed up this little skirt for her little cutie!
Chloe's skirt

and THEN, the next week she made a little matching bag, the amylouwho mini-sig.
amylouwho mini-sig

and for cuteness sake, I had to show the whole ensemble!
chloe's ensemble

I love how excited Shayna is to keep sewing.  She keeps sending me links of the next project she wants to sew! 

She has the advantage of not being a fabric-hoarder.  She picks a project and then buys the fabric.  Me on the other hand... I find fabric and dream of all the possibilities while my stash multiplies in the dark.

One of the other ladies who came picked out some awesome frog fabric with bright colors that fits her daughter's personality to a T. She's a number 3.  She has a machine, but it had been stored in the garage for quite sometime and she was finding all sorts of debris (read: dead bugs) in her machine.  We had some good laughs over that!  I've got to get back together with her so we can finish hers up.

I love how sewing has brought something enriching to each of our lives.  It's time we can spend doing something we enjoy and bless others at the same time.  We as women really have a need within to create.   
"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul."
~ Dieter F. Uchtodorf
I just love this video that talks about just that. (It's only 2 minutes ~ And he has a really great accent!)

Remember a while back when I had a giveaway and as an entry you had to tell me about a favorite experience or favorite thing about teaching someone else to sew (go read your responses - they were awesome!)? Or when I asked you to share your favorite sewing memory (responses here)?

I remember being touched by the lovely senitments expressed.  Grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, all forming relationships over sewing.  Dresses, pillows, doll clothes, quilts, baby bedding, anything!  This desire to create not only is fulfilling on a personal level but also in those relationships we form while doing so.  I just love it!!!!

I've wanted to issue this challenge for a while now, but didn't know how to present it until I started thinking about sew & tell this month.  For the next two months (at least) I want you to find someone who needs some encouragement sewing. 

I'm surprised how many people I have talked to who have a brand new sewing machine that hasn't been taken out of the box in (fill in the blank) years.

They are out there, closet sewers in hiding!  Find them! Inspire them!  Sew with them!  AND THEN. Come back here for sew & tell and link up your blog post sharing your experience!

I promise it will be fun and rewarding and you will be happier for doing it!

But for today, what have you finished in the last month?
NEW RULES FOR LINKING UP!  Please read carefully.  The delete monster will be eating non-compliant links.
1. Please write the post for sew & tell - or add a blurb mentioning sew & tell to a post written since the last sew & tell.  If you are linking to a post with your own tutorial, please make sure it was a finish from this week and that the completed project is shown first.
2. One linky per person. (please put multiple projects in one post.)
3. Link to your specific post.  (See here for permalink instructions - or email me.)
4. Link back here with a link or a button.
5. Be sure to visit and leave comments on other's posts!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

on a lighter note

Are you ready to share what you've been working on since our last Sew & Tell?

This Friday, April 29 (also babylouwho's birthday - can you believe it!? and yes, I know the photo is blurry - but how cute is that little tippy toe?!)
tippy toes
skirt courtesy E. @ pinksuedeshoe.  Tutorial HERE.

I'm hoping to finish one or two things by Friday, if not I have some great things to show you that some friends of mine have sewn!

AND, I have a challenge for next month's Sew & Tell, it's a good one.  A hint: Pay it Forward.

See you soon!

Monday, April 25, 2011

change of plans and reality check

I've been feeling very frustrated at how little I seem to be able to check off my to-do list lately.  I had great plans to make skirts for myself and my two little ladylouwhos to wear to church for Easter.  I have not been keeping track of time and Easter week had snuck up on me.  I really wanted to show you a well posed picture of the three of us in our coordinated outfits.

A little over a week ago on Saturday night we had some bad weather.  Winds all day long were strong and gusty with warnings of gusts up to 80 mph.  That evening we put the kids to bed and were watching the weather on the news and there were tornado warnings up and down the state.  But they were all north and west of us, so we popped in a movie and relaxed.  It was a great night to tuck in and watch a movie, stormy and rainy outside, cozy and comfortable inside.

About 20 minutes before the movie was over the power went out.  We were so annoyed!  How dare the power go out just at the climax of the story!  So we fumbled around for candles and flashlights and hung out in the dark for a couple of hours.

When the power came back, I hopped on facebook and saw posts from friends who live here talking about hiding out in the bathrooms, tornados going past their houses, and all sorts of stuff!

After googling Jacksonville tornado, several articles came up about a tornado that ripped through some base housing and through 3 other nearby neighborhoods.  Initial reports estimated 5 houses destroyed and another 10-15 damaged.

In the morning light, the realization was that the damage was much, much worse.  There are over 50 families displaced from their homes on base, not to mention the damage that was done in the other neighborhoods.

It turns out the this tornado came down the river and landed just about a mile from where we live.   This is a little of what we saw on the way to church Sunday morning.
tornado aftermath.
Our meetings at church that day were spent organizing working crews to help several of the families from our congregation and their neighbors.  Clean-up has been going on every day this past week.
tornado damage, April 2011
It wasn't until Friday that I actually was able to go see some of the damage for myself.

Seeing the pictures online and in the newspaper just aren't the same as witnessing it first hand.  It was all a little surreal.
tornado damage, April 2011

My initial reaction as I drove down the main road and saw some of the damage was, well, it was just heartbreaking.  And this wasn't even the worst of it.
tornado damage, April 2011

Mr. LouWho had spent all of Sunday and Wednesday after work with the clean up effort.  I've felt pretty useless since my kids are so young, I couldn't really take them with me.  A group from church was meeting on Saturday morning to go volunteer and he had planned on going again.  I was thinking I could get some things done around the house and maybe a little sewing while he was gone.

Then he suggested I go and he stay home with the kids.  I was a little annoyed because as much as I wanted to help I felt like I had so much to do to get ready for Easter.  But then I figured it would be good to go and help out, the sewing could wait.  And hey! A morning off from refereeing mothering! 

What I had seen up to this point was nothing compared to seeing the spot where two houses once stood. 
the driveway with no home.
A friend commented to me as we found small toys, broken dishes, etc in the dirt that she was feeling very connected to this family thinking they probably had kids the same age, and what might they need, how could she help.  Her sweet children were finding loose change and salvageable items and leaving them in their mailbox.
tree tops missing
So many trees just had their uppers halves wrenched off by the storm.

It's hard to look at the damage and not feel grateful for our safety.
tornado damage, April 2011
It's hard to imagine how these people have lost everything and not feel grateful for the things we take for granted.
tornado damage, April 2011
It's hard to comprehend the sense of loss they must feel and not be humbled.
tornado damage, April 2011
It's hard to think of all the work that will go into rebuilding and not feel completely lame for some of the things I have been complaining about.
tornado damage, April 2011
I love how people come together after tradgedies like this.  The reality is that we all sense that something within us that moves us to want to help with these big catastrophes: hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc.

The little that I was able to do on Saturday was compounded by the fact that SO many others were out there doing the little that they could.  The thought kept going through my head, many hands make light work.  We spent most of the day clearing yards and making piles like this along the curbs.
curbside clean up piles
And that sweet boy taking a rest hauled wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow from the back of the house to the front and never stopped until we were done.

The truth of the matter is, we can all help. every day.  We don't need to wait for a natural disaster to be able to do something.  There is always someone in need.  We just have to reach out to our neighbors and friends.  No matter our religion, politcal viewpoints, or social status we are spiritually (and morally) obligated to help each other.  And if we do this we can make a huge difference.  Every single one of us.

This was a great lesson to be reminded of.  And very appropriate for this Easter weekend.  I believe in following the example of Jesus Christ.  Now I just need to do it more often. I hope you will too.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

a little photo post

 As in, I'm going to send you over here.

Sara, of Sew Sweetness, had a great idea to do a bunch of guest posts on photography this week.  She asked me to contribute, which was very sweet of her.  I didn't have a lot to add to the other great posts - but I do have some ideas of what-not-to-do!

So, go check it out if you are interested.  And see the other great posts from this week!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

possibly my favorite thing ever. or at least at the moment.

I was at a yard sale the other day with a lot of cool stuff.  I found some more dessert plate glass domes or cloches as they can be called, some IKEA play dishes, a tray, picture frame, and decorative shelves  that need makeovers, and a cool glass pitcher.   As far as yard sales go, I did pretty well!

While browsing, a friend and I spied these pretty blue glass pedestal plates!  They were so Amazing! And Turquoise! and Darling!  And taken.  I left, so sad that they had already been snatched up.

A few minutes later my friend called and said she found ANOTHER ONE!! And that she was going to get it for me!  If that isn't true dear friendship, I don't know what is (thank you darling, you know who you are).
cutest. dessert plate. ever.

And as soon as I read this post, I went and made the same cookies. Partly because they sounded good and partly because I wanted to photograph them on my plate. And mostly because I want to be just like her.

while we're on the subject of food.  This is my current favorite snack.  Pink Ladies + Monterey Jack. Sounds like a bad romance novel.
pink ladies + monterey jack

This pair is delicious.  And I love these plates.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

mission impossible: sewing room clean-up

Do you ever get to a point where you just can't take the disorganization anymore?
I had a little sewing night with friends last weekend and had to get my stuff together to take to my friend's house. WHAT A PAIN!! I couldn't find the things I wanted to take as I was searching through piles and making a bigger mess. Ugh. It was painful.

Here's what my sewing space looked like earlier this week:
I've got some organizing to do.
messes always look better in black and white.

And I started grouping things together the other day. Pincushions, patterns, fabric, WIPs, mending, etc. Here's my fabric. Well, some of it.
ready to get refolded and put away. Or used.

Then I started folding it all yesterday and organizing by print. Have you see this method for folding fabric?  I LOVE it.  And now I want to take pictures like Darci did of her polka dot stash!
sorting and folding

Do you have a fabric twin? I think Darci is mine. Every time I see something new in her photostream or on her blog, I die a little inside! Dieing of cuteness and adorable-ness. Like these pictures of the Denyse Schmidt fabrics you can buy at Joann's!

Here's to hoping I'll get my act together and then finish up some WIPs I have going!  I might be selling off some of my stash too, sooooo, stay tuned.   Nothing like pulling out all your fabric to realize you might just have a wee bit too much.  On the other hand, I've got all sorts of new ideas....

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

a new bag. really, a new bag!

When I say a new bag, I mean a new pattern even! If you've been around here since before I had the baby (a YEAR ago!!) you saw a lot of my bag, meaning the bag I designed, since I made a ton of them. Maybe too many of them. In fact, I think it's been a year since I made a bag. And I needed a new one.

I've had this Belle Chrysanthemum (Amy Butler) for a couple of years waiting for the perfect time to use it.  I think it's perfect for spring.  And The Abby Tote from Vanessa at  V. and Co. was a perfect fit!

So I whipped up a little bag this last weekend.  Actually, it's not little, it's a huge tote!
The Abby Tote by V. and Co.

Isn't that sash adorable!  I listened to her on Pat Sloan's internet radio show (look on the right side bar under recent shows, Vanessa Christenson) and she said the inspiration for this bag was actually the big bow and she designed the bag around that.  Love.
the sash/scarf
She suggests doubling up the sash as a scarf too. And I did today! It was perfect on this very blustery spring day. Vanessa is as sweet (and funny!) as they come.  I can't wait to make a houndstooth quilt.  Make sure you check out the rest of Vanessa's awesome patterns.

So I think it's bag season.  I helped a friend make one of my original bags the last couple of days and I can't wait to show it to you.   It was so fun to help her make something and see her get as excited about it as I do!  I have a couple of other bag ideas floating around in my head too, maybe I'll get on that.  Not to mention the curtains and quilts I'm working on.  But I just love the quick, satisfying, functional nature of a new bag.

Anyone else feel the need to finish something quick when working on longer projects?  What do you sew when you need some instant gratification?

Sunday, April 03, 2011

strawberry. . . shortcake?

I ended up with some really good berries the other day. We like to eat them lightly sweetened with whipped cream for dessert. Due to some star alignment I had half a bowl left and a very quiet house.  I was tempted to just eat them on the spot.  But I resisted...
what to do with these...
I was inspired by Pink's post from the other day. But I was too lazy to make biscuits. Or even some crepes.

But what I did have was sourdough bread.  Which is really good toasted.  I figured it wasn't much different than cake or biscuits, so, why not?

As the bread was toasting, I debated whether or not to butter the bread before putting on the strawberries and whipped cream.  Then I had one of those lightbulb moments.  OR, I had the nutella devil whispering in my ear.  After all nutella does taste good with everything (and yes, I had a period of time where I did try it on pretty much everything).

So out came the toast, on went the nutella, strawberries and whipped cream.  Repeat.
leftover strawberries.
Easiest. Shortcake. Ever.

Except it's not really shortcake.  It's like, well, lazy girl's shortcake. Or, super fancy strawberry-nutella toast. OR a really good reason to work out tomorrow.
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