Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Because They Really Love Each Other

A few weeks ago when my sister was visiting from California, we spent a girls day in a town known as the
“Little Switzerland of Ohio.”

While she was here, she wanted to get some pictures with her favorite little niece.  A friend told her about the lovely Karis of Karis Joy Photography.  Karis lives in the heart of “Little Switzerland” on a gorgeous piece of property that just begs to be photographed.  

Here’s what she captured:



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Can you tell that they love each other?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tutorial: Toddler Sleeping Bag

My husband loves to camp.  Me? Not so much.  Anne Taintor shares my same sentiment when she says, “I love not camping.”
That’s me.  I love not camping.  However, it looks as if I may be outnumbered and outvoted in our house because Twinks has sparked an interest in camping.  On our way home from church one Sunday, her tiny voice from the backseat said, “I want to go on a camp trip!”  My husband looked at me with a big, silly grin on his face.  I quickly turned around and pleaded, “Oh, honey.  Wouldn’t you rather stay at a hotel?” 
The conversation gave me the idea for my next project:
 I used:
2 pieces of fleece for the outer shell measuring 32”x56”
2 pieces of flannel for the inner lining measuring 32”x56”
2 pieces of quilting batting measuring 32”x56”
Pillow stuffing
Approx. 16” of 1/4” wide elastic
I started by washing and drying all of my fabric.  I wanted to get all of the shrinking out of the way now, so that it did not shrink or get wonky after it is all assembled.
I then cut out all of my fabric and batting.  Since the pieces are large, it helped to lay them out in a large space.
We’re going to start with the top of the sleeping bag.  I layered the following pieces on top of one another as shown:
Next I got my sewing machine ready and sewed all the way around this piece.  I left about a 7” opening so that I could turn it right side out. 
I turned the entire piece right side out and added a little bit of cottony fluffiness!  I measured and marked 3 equal sections, but you can make as may as you want.  Using the opening that I left, I begin placing stuffing into the upper section that I marked off.  Then I sewed a straight line, stuffed the next section and sewed a straight line.  I continued until I was happy with the amount of fluff.
Then I folded inward and pinned the opening.  I sewed directly on top, making sure to catch both folded pieces of fabric.
Next I worked on the bottom of the sleeping bag, layering the pieces on top of one another as shown:
Just as I did with the top piece of the sleeping bag, I sewed all the way around the bottom piece, leaving an opening to turn it right side out.  I don’t know if I made a mistake at the cutting counter, or if the lady actually cutting my fabric made a mistake, but I ended up with a piece of my lining that was significantly smaller.  So, I had to get a little creative, cut some of my extra fleece and add an extension, if you will.  I put this at the bottom of the sleeping bag so that no one will see it.  After I turned it right side out, I closed up the opening just as I did with the first piece.
Now that I had my top and bottom pieces complete, it was time to put it all together.  Before I did that, however, I wanted to add some elastic for rolling up and tying the sleeping bag for storage.
I stacked both pieces together and folded in half length-wise.  Then I rolled the sleeping bag and wrapped elastic around it so that I could see how much I needed.  I used 16” of elastic.
I took a strip of scrap fabric that is twice the length of the elastic and about 3” wide and folded the length (right sides together) and sewed.  I used a safety pin to turn right side out and thread the elastic through the tube.
Once I threaded the elastic through, I sewed the ends together to make a circle.  With the outside shell of the bottom layer of the sleeping bag facing upward, I pinned the elastic band about 1/4 of the way from the edge. 
Now it was time to assemble the sleeping bag!  I took both pieces and layered together with the outer shells facing together.  I pinned all the way around, except for the top of the sleeping bag and the space I wanted to put the zipper.   My layers were so thick that I had to use safety pins.  Regular old straight pins just weren’t cutting it.  Because of the thickness of my sleeping bag, I had a horrible time sewing it all together.  I removed my presser foot and left it in the upper position and was able to make some progress.  After 2 bent and 2 broken needles, I finally gave up on sewing it by machine and I called in reinforcements. 
My grandma, also known as Gigi is a seamstress extraordinaire.  I showed her what I was doing and the trouble I was having.  She went to work, did her magic on her heavy duty machine and voila! The Big, Fluffy Sleeping Bag was no longer doomed to be filed under “Projects that FAILED.”  For the finishing touch, she helped me add a cute pink zipper to the side. 
(Full disclosure: I am terrible at zippers.  Going to work on this!)
It should be noted that we had to do a bit of hand sewing in some areas because it was just too thick for even her heavy duty machine.
My sweet girl is thrilled with her new sleeping bag.  And I am, too.
 You know, for not camping.


I'm linked up with these parties.

I'm linked up with these parties.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Our Weekend

Our weekend was spent as a couple, just the two of us. 
Celebrating 10 years of marriage, relaxing and being adventurous.

My birthday is 3 days after our anniversary, and my husband has always been a firm believer that they are two separate occasions, requiring separate gifts.  What a guy!  This year, however, he whisked me away on a little weekend get away to celebrate both.  A two-for-one, he called it.

At first, I was nervous about leaving Twinks for two nights, but once we got on the road, it didn’t take long to get comfortable with the idea of a kid free weekend!  In fact, I’d forgotten how quick and light one can travel without a tot in tow.

Heading out…

10 yearsI can’t believe we’ve been married for 10 years!

Shawn has always been much more adventurous than me.  So, our first activity of the weekend?  Zip lining!


Check out the stylish harnesses. 
I was starting to get nervous at this point. But I finally went for it.


Next up: Horse back riding.

My horse was a beauty named Blaze.  He was calm and gentle and I really think he was sad when we had to part ways.  Shawn’s horse was a brute named King who wanted to eat trees.


The rest of the afternoon included golf, a massage at the spa, followed by dinner that evening. 


On Sunday, we hit the trails for a Jeep off road excursion.
It was rough and bumpy and at one point I was certain that the Jeep was going to roll over onto its side.   In the first year that we were married, we had a Jeep Wrangler that we took off roading on occasion.  So this felt just like old times. 


My husband was seriously a rock star at driving that thing. 


And even better at parking it.


It was a fabulous weekend.
We laughed and created new inside jokes.
We reminisced about our early days of dating, our engagement, our wedding and honeymoon. 
We talked about 9-11 and how it happened smack dab between our first anniversary and my birthday, just days after we purchased our very first house.
We talked about the next 10 years.  
  We thanked God for the gift of each other.
I am blessed and my heart is full.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

10 Years

I met my husband in a high school Spanish class when I was 15 and he was 16. 
He was recovering from a knee surgery and was on crutches.
He asked me to help him carry his books to his locker.

I did.  And today is our 10th wedding anniversary.

Here we are in 1994.


 After 6 years of dating, 10 years of marriage, 1 apartment, 2 houses, 6 cars, 1 child, 4 jobs, 6 knee surgeries and 10 million airline miles later…I love him more today than the day we said
“I do!”

wedding2September 9, 2000

Happy Anniversary to us!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tutorial: Custom Photo Bookmark

These days, most of the books I read include lots of pictures and have characters named Larry the Cucumber, Fancy Nancy and Little Nutbrown Hare.

Every now and then I get to sneak in a good read of my choice.  And here’s how I keep my page.


What I used:
2 pieces of fabric 3”x9”
1 piece of thin batting 3”x9” (I wanted to use fusible interfacing, but I didn’t have any on hand, so used batting)
1 piece clear plastic vinyl approx. 2.5”x2.5”
1 piece cardboard square approx 2”x2” to use as template
1 photo approx 2”x2”


Lightly trace the cardboard square onto one piece of fabric.  Carefully cut it out to create a window for your photo.


Tape plastic vinyl to wrong side of fabric and then sew a zigzag stitch around the frame.



Tape photo to the backside.


Stack your pieces in this order:
batting, non-frame piece of fabric (right side up), frame piece of fabric (photo down)


Sew around three edges, leaving the top open.  Trim off excess, paying special attention to those pesky corners.

107_4973 Carefully turn the entire piece right side out.  I often use chop sticks to get a nice point in the corners.

Fold the top edges in and pin into place.107_4975
Stitch the top closed and continue to top stitch
all the way around. 



Place your bookmark into your current good read. 
Done and done!