Friday, February 13, 2015

Let's Talk Handbags


Those who know me well know that I have an addiction to purses. I feel as if you can never have enough of them. I got several gift cards for Christmas this year so a couple days ago, I ventured out on a search for a purse. This is usually very difficult for me because I can never find the perfect purse. This trip however, I came home with three! As the hubster is reading this in his email, I can see his eyes rolling right now.

While I was searching I was thrilled to find that the tiny, cross body bags are all the rage again. I've never been a big bag person. For the most part I usually carried a medium sized bag. Cross body bags are my absolute favorite. I love the freedom of having both hands free. While I was shopping I found three bags that are much smaller than what I'm used to. The one that I'm using first (black purse on far right) is actually the smallest, in fact some may think of it more like the size of a big wallet.

When I got home I set my purse on my worktable along with my new bags. Even though I don't carry a whole lot, I wondered if I could actually downsize so that I could use these really cute small bags. As I was emptying the contents onto my table, I decided to set aside all the items that I carry around, but never used while I was out and about. What I ended up with was my cellphone, glasses, lip gloss, keys, money, debit cards, an ink pen, and a few Excedrin pain relievers. For the past several years I've carried a camera but since purchasing my new phone (Samsung Galaxy Note) I find that I'm using the camera on that rather than pulling out the real one. It takes great pictures and makes one less thing to carry.

So what is your thought on the perfect purse? Do you like to carry lots of things because you never know what you are going to need, or do you like to carry the bare minimum.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sewing Machine Maintenance - So Important


I know that many of my readers already know the importance of sewing machine maintenance. I get a lot of customers write me and share photos of the items that they made from my patterns, and many of them tell me that they are new to sewing. So I thought it would be nice to share this tidbit of information. I'm also going to give you my very own personal tips as well. I've been sewing with anti-pill fleece lately and figured this would be a good time to share some of those tips and photos with you. Just take a look at all the lint that was in my machine!

To begin, you will want to look at the manual for the sewing machine you are using. If you don't have a manual, I'm sure you can google your machine's model number and find a PDF version of the manual online. If not, you can do some research on the Internet. Youtube has some great videos showing the basics. I just popped over to Singer (my machines) and see that I can download any of them. While you're at it, you might want to pick up some sewing machine oil. Be sure it's for sewing machines. You can get this anywhere you can buy sewing supplies. 

How often should you clean it? I've seen some articles saying after every project. Well, that can be confusing because I may do one project that requires seven or eight hours of stitching time, or I might throw a mug rug together can be done in about an hour. It really depends on how often you use your machine. 

Is your machine a workhorse? 
Do you do assembly line sewing? 
Do you crank out a bunch of potholders for craft shows? 

In the above cases, you're going to want to clean it at least once a day. 

Are you an occasional sewer? 
Only sew once in a while? 

For these stitchers, you might want to clean after each project so you don't lose track of when you did it last. 

I personally sew often, but my machine isn't what I'd call a workhorse, so I make sure to clean and oil my machine once or twice a month.

My Personal Tips: Now you know the importance and basics, and have read your manual or researched your machine, so you know what to do. I'm now going to share some of my own tips with you.

1.  Fresh oil is a must. If you aren't sure how long your oil has been sitting in your cabinet, or your oil has turned yellow or another funny color, toss it and buy another one. Old and dirty oil will not be good for your machine. It's not that expensive to replace.

2.  When removing or replacing the throat plate, be careful with those screws to make sure they don't fall into the machine.

3.  Never blow into the machine to remove dust and lint. You can actually send the gunk to places you don't want it. You can use a small vacuum and remove it that way if you want.

4.  I'm not a fan of that small and stiff brush that comes with the machine. I use a soft makeup brush that I bought just for this purpose. The lint seems to attract to it like a magnet, and since it's so soft, you can really get a nice cleaning job.

5.  Now is a good time to discard the old needle so you can start your next project with a fresh one. 

6.  I always run some old fabric through the machine as if I were sewing (without thread) to run the oil through.

7.  Now that your machine is nice and clean on the inside, make sure you wipe off the outside and keep it covered until next time you use it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Once a Hero, Now an Angel


I'm a very lucky girl. Since I was about eight years old, I had two dads, and both of them are truly amazing and I love them both so much. Today I lost one of them after a difficult battle. As you may have noticed, I have not been posting much the past few months. Since we found out that my dad was terminal, my main focus was to spend as much time with him as I could and everything else will be there later.

The handsome man you see in the pictures was an incredible individual. He was a WWII veteran and his plane was shot down. Fortunately he was saved, hidden, and nursed back to health by the underground French. After returning home he joined the Gary Fire Department where he once again, spent his life as a true hero, saving countless lives. 

He married my mom when I was about ten. He never treated us as stepdaughters. He raised us as if we were his own blood. He was an amazing man who was loved by everyone who crossed his path, and he will be missed so much.

I promise to catch back up with all my blogging friends soon. While you are waiting for my return, please let all your loved ones know how much you love them. Tell them, hug them, and be there for them. When it's all said and done, there is nothing more important than the people you love.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What a Week!


Sometimes it can be tough to create a balance in life, and I'm still trying to find it. This week was one of those crazy weeks where we got a little bit of everything. 

Resident Fox: Notice what looks like dog prints in the snow. Well, they aren't dog prints, they are fox prints. Yes, we have a fox in the yard now. I noticed him about four or five nights ago when I saw something moving in the snow. I knew it looked too small to be a deer or the coyote, so I ran to the window and there was a really cute fox walking around in the yard. This morning when I took Bubba out, I noticed more of his little prints coming out from under the pool deck, down Bubba's potty path, and into the neighbors yard. Poor Bubba, we have to be so careful taking him out.

The BEST Part of the Week: Of course the highlight of the week was having Baby Paige overnight while mom and dad had a date night. She was so much fun and as usual, she was an angel for us. She loves her Grandpa Brian! She follows him all over the house and when he was on the floor cleaning out the pantry, she decided that cleaning time was not important because it was Paige time so she plopped down in his lap and started pulling bags out of the pantry one by one. She's so darn cute!

Florida Sunshine in a Blizzard: While I was out visiting my mom it started snowing so I decided to head home before it got bad. I decided to take back roads because I refuse to drive on the expressway in snowstorms. After two hours (should only have been one) I finally arrived home and found a box that was sent from my dad and bonus mom. I opened it up and it was full of grapefruits picked fresh! They know how much I love that grapefruit!

Busy in the Studio: A lot of time was spent in the studio this week as well. I was able to get some Valentine mug rugs finished and listed, as well as these bathing suit and burlesque style. Definitely ready to think about summer!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Project 365 - Week 52


Project 365 - I did it! I took one photo a day for a year! It was a fun project, and was the second time I did it.

Day 358 - My favorite photo from Christmas Eve. Santa filled Paige's stocking at Nana's house!

Day 359 - Paige and her cousins on Christmas Day. They certainly do make Christmas special. 

Day 360 - My studio is back to working order. It was a comfy place for Elyse to sleep while she was here.

Day 361 - Goodbye tree and decorations. See you next year.

Day 362 - Punkie misses Elyse. 

Day 363 - I got this really cute calendar for Christmas. Pictures of Paige all year long!

Day 364 - One of my favorite Christmas presents from last year. Brian made it for me and since I love candles so much, he added a glass shelf that holds a votive.

Day 365 - Our annual New Year's Eve dinner with my sis and her husband. Olive Garden this year, yum!

For more of my Project 365 - Click HERE

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Project 365 - Week 51


Project 365 - One photo a day for a year. Kind of like a photographic journal of my entire year!

Day 352 - Elyse and I picked up a few things on the way home the other day. As we were unpacking we realized that our choices were so unhealthy!

Day 353 - Remember my sewing table? With Elyse in town, it has become her jewelry making table! 

Day 354 - My son talked me into playing this game with him. Perhaps it's because he has been beating my butt, and he knew it would happen?

Day 355 - Cheating this year. All my gifts are in bags.

Day 356 - My favorite dinner of all!

Day 357 - Christmas shopping with the peanut! She's all about playing peek-a-boo now.

Day 358 - Baking up some Christmas yummies!

For more of my Project 365 - Click HERE

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Project 365 - Week 50


Project 365 - One photo a day for a year. Kind of like a photographic journal of my entire year!

Day 345 - There's nothing like a Lifetime Christmas movie while kicking back with a glass of wine and a few holiday scented candles burning. The simple joys in life.

Day 346 - To you this looks like a clean desk with a laptop. Yes, exactly! Just a couple hours before it was cluttered with papers, receipts, recipes, and a bunch of other stuff. All items filed, trashed, or put away. 

Day 347 - Baby Paige was all smiles and hugs for Nana today. Those bright blue eyes melt my heart!

Day 348 - Elyse arrived in town to spend time with her Papa who is now under hospice care at home. I love it when she comes home, but I wish it were under better circumstances. Her, the hubster, and I kicked back after our busy day with a bottle of our favorite wine, Vouvrey.

Day 349 - Grandma's Christmas tree. Most of the ornaments were white. You will see a couple odd ones that belong to the grandchildren.

Day 350 - Baby Paige and grandpa looking for some building plans on the Internet. Can you imagine the technology she is going to see?

Day 351 - Did a little Christmas shopping. Who do you think Elmo is for? Yep, Baby Paige!

For more of my Project 365 - Click HERE

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Challenge: What is it?


Took this picture yesterday. Does anyone know what it is?

Hint: I was out and about...

Scroll down for the answer
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Inside the car wash!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Tutorial - Decorative Jar Candles


Do you need a last minute hostess gift or just feel you need a few more decorations? Decorative jar candles are wonderful! Not only are they super decorative, but you probably already have things at home to fill them. You can make them to fit any decor, and if you don't have any mason jars sitting around, save your spaghetti sauce jars. I actually like them better because the glass is smooth. They aren't just for Christmas either. You can fill them with fun things for any occasion. I have a few that I keep for everyday that I fill with small beach rocks and others filled with shells. If you don't have anything laying around, run to the dollar store and grab a bag of potpourri or colorful candies. Seriously, anything can be a candle!

The only thing you might have to buy are clear candle cups that slip over the mouth of the jar. They should be tapered so that the top of the cup sits on the top of the jar while the candle part drops below the opening. I found them really cheap too. Some I bought from Hobby Lobby for 50 cents, the others I bought at WalMart for 75 cents. As long as you have some of those laying around along with some jars (not wide mouth), and tea light candles, you can create some fun candles that will suit any decorative style or occasion. If you can't find the tapered candle cups, you have two other options. You can use the little candle cups that are shaped like flower pots, or you can use any plain, clear candle cup that will fit inside the jar. But for these you need to make sure that the candle cup is securely seated and doesn't slide down or tip, because you will have a lit candle.

As you can see, I found all kinds of things for my jars. Search your house and your Christmas boxes and I'm sure you'll find all kinds of fun things to slip inside the jars.

My jars are filled with the following (from left to right):

Potpourri
Sparkly garland
Ribbon candy
Snowman ornament on cotton balls
Small decorative balls 
Soft peppermint candies, unwrapped
Floral pics

Use your imagination, these jars can be filled with all kinds of things for any occasion!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Project 365 - Week 49


This week has been a very trying time for my family. We had to put my step-dad into hospice care. My sister and I have always thought of him as a second dad rather than a step-dad. He's been in our lives since we were tiny tots. A lot of my photos for this week are of special moments with family, so I want to keep them to myself for now.

I chose the above photo to share with you because I feel that it's the best photo to represent this week. When he arrived at the hospice center they were so thrilled to have a WWII veteran. They treat their veterans like VIP's. They came into the room, sang to him, and presented him with a certificate thanking him for his service, along with this beautiful afghan that was handmade by one of the local ladies. They even tied red, white, and blue ribbons around the outside posts in the entry way, and United States flags in all the flowerpots so that everyone knew there was a veteran in the building. He felt so special and enjoyed the whole experience! It really lifted his spirits. At the present time he's resting comfortably at home under his new afghan.
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