Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Met my goal!

I finished 5 things off my to do list before school started.  I actually finished Sunday, but I need to take pics and post.  I made the mixer cover, noodlehead tote, zippy wristlet, in color order drawstring bag and pink penguin lunch bag.  I also made a small pouch with an exposed lace zipper.  I am trying to figure out a way to use these zippers after I saw Carla trying to figure out what to do with them!  I also cut out all of the pieces for the sew together bag.  I am a little worried about putting it together, but I should be able to do it...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A New Sewing Machine and a To Do List Trick!

This is my new Brother 420 sewing machine and boy did I struggle with this decision!  I ordered it last Saturday from amazon and it came on Tuesday.  It is too soon to tell for sure, but I think I am in love.  Many of the super cool sewing bloggers that I follow sew on high end mechanical Jukis or super expensive computerized Janomes, Berninas, etc.  I have the means to buy what I want, but I am super practical and wanted to buy something that would not make me want to rip my hair out!  Also, sewing is a hobby for me, not my job.  Most of the sewing bloggers I follow are designers, authors or simply love to sew to supplement their income.  All of these things are admirable and fantastic, but they are also things I am never going to do.
My simple criteria - a machine that doesn't jam and have threads bunch up underneath the project, some cool stitches, a large throat area for big projects, and something without a huge learning curve. I picked this machine because I already own a brother.  The parts are interchangeable and I understand my current machine which is a brother 6000.
My 6000 was a great way to start 5 years ago, but I have put it through a beating.  It would jam and make multiple thread nests when going through thick materials.  I was hesitant because this was the same brand and not much more expensive but it had great reviews and I could always send it back if I needed to right?  I wanted to have it for over a week before I go back to school so I would have time to try it out before going back to school in the fall.  I have 6 days before I start work on Friday so I am going to play some more and I will let you know what I think then.  I have already made a Kitchenaid cover and will put pictures up soon.
This brings me to my to do list.  I have a Pinterest board of things I would like to do sooner rather than later.  I never seem to be able to finish a large to do list, there are always a couple of lone things that don't get done, which are then added to my next list.  My trick is to put more things there than I know I have time to do and set a number of things to get done from the list.  This gives me options and choices, which I need.  In other words if I have a to do list with 5 things on it I will probably finish 3 or 4 because at least 1 of those 5 things won't sound interesting to me at the moment.  BUT if I have a list of 8 or 9 things I would like to get done and set a goal of finishing 5, I will get 5 done.  It sounds stupid, but I think it is because I have a choice.  If I say I want to make a lunch bag, tote bag, wallet, car bag and cosmetic bag I won't finish because maybe I am just not in the mood to make the lunch bag, so only 4 of the five will get done.  If my list is longer I can choose 5 things that I am in the mood to make and 5 will get done.  Does anyone else have to trick themselves into getting things done, or are all of you just over achievers?
My sewing goal is to get 5 of the 9 things on the board done before the first day of school with kids on August 26th.  Do you want to know a little secret?  That goal contains not 1, but 2 tricks!
1.  I really only want to get five things done...
2.  I really want to actually be done by our 1st teacher inservice day on August 22nd.

My tricks give me room to breath and actually give me a chance of reaching my goals!  My big summer goal was to deep clean my house from top to bottom and I only have 1 room left to go so that goal is going to also be easily met!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Open Wide Pouch, Lace Zipper Pouch and More Penn State Items

One of my best friends recently celebrated her birthday.  We don't normally exchange gifts, but she has had a rough year and I felt the need to do something.  I made her a Noodlehead wide open pouch, a tiny boxy pouch with an exposed lace zipper, a Noodlehead Penn State wristlet ( I didn't actually put pleats on this one) and a Penn State key fob.  I also threw in a couple tubes of Almay lip gloss that I got on sale at rite aid!

Sewing is a great stress reliever for me.  I do it at my leisure and am not really interested in doing it to make money.  I feel that making items to sell would put me on the pressure of a schedule and take some of the enjoyment out of my leisurely activity.  I spend a good bit on fabric and supplies, but I feel that it is offset by the fact that I am making gifts for a fraction of what it would take to purchase a ready made gift.  I think that people are very receptive to the items and are touched by the fact that I didn't just go out and purchase a ready made gift.
I also feel that the prices I would need to charge to be fairly compensated for my time would make the items cost prohibitive to buy.  I live in an economically depressed area of the country.  I enjoy my hobby and I want to keep it that way, so sewing for leisure it is!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Penn State Graduation Gift with Noodlehead Gathered Clutch

My friend's daughter just graduated from high school and is headed to Penn State.  This is what I gave her for a graduation gift.  Upper left is a basket that I made following this tutorial.  Lower left is a Noodlehead gathered clutch.  I also included a key fob, 2 pillowcases (from this tutorial) for her dorm room and a little bit of cash.  I think it was well received.
This is how it looked all bundled together.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Simplest 3 Steps to Organization Ever!

1.  Pick a room in your house and get rid of half of the stuff in it.  Be ruthless.  Don't save it for a yard sale, just get rid of it!  This will bring you to a normal amount of stuff that will actually fit in the room.
2.  Once you have completed step 1, go back into the room and get rid of half of what remains.  Take it out of your house, off your property and completely get rid of it!
3.  Now that you completed step 2 you have only 25% of what you started with in the room.  It will now be easy to put away in an organized fashion!

Repeat steps 1-3 for each room in your house.  You will now be a minimalist with much more time for family, friends and hobbies and much less stress in your life!  This might sound like a sarcastic post but I have been doing this all summer and it is very freeing...  I have shifted to this thought - If my house burned down or blew away in a tornado, what would I really miss?  For me the answer is "not much".  Mostly photos and a few sentimental pieces.  The rest of it is just stuff.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday to do list!

I have Thursday and Friday this week and Monday next week off from teaching for our  mini spring break.  Yesterday we went out of town to Kohl's and to the Beef 'N Barrel in Olean, NY for a fantastic lunch.  I went to visit my mom to try and firm up some plans for Atlantic City this summer and we also made a trip into a warehouse club for some necessities and a few frivolous purchases.
That first paragraph might leave you wondering if I am really a frugalista or not?!?!?  Some explanation - lunch was definitely a splurge, but we do eat out once or twice a month.  It is something we like to do as a family.  We always take our 2 teenage sons with us and enjoy bonding over some yummy food.  If you recall I broke up with Sam's club a while back.  We received a notice in the mail that we could have a free 60 day membership to BJ's, so that is why we headed to Olean.  Honestly I am going to have to cave and rejoin Sam's Club.  I didn't like BJ's as much and there is only one within a couple hundred miles of where I live.  It would be a waste of money.  Although I will use the free BJ's membership until it expires so I can wait on ponying up the money for Sam's Club until later in the summer.  I wish we had a Costco, but I need to get over it and not whine.  What a first world problem to have.
We went to Kohls in search of nice sandals for the boys Easter baskets.  They always get sandals, a hat and a very small amount of candy.  That's Easter at our house!  As far as Atlantic City goes, as long as you are not a gambler, you can't beat the price for an oceanfront room in the middle of summer.  For a little over $100 a night we will be able to stay in a casino right on the boardwalk.  Win, win, win!

On to the to do list:
1.  Finish up capri sun wallets, pencil pouches and bags.  I have made enough for all of my students, but I want to make a couple extra of each in case something happens, or if a couple are defective.  Always have a backup plan!  I want at least 5 extra wallets and pencil cases and 1 more bag.
2.  Make 2 pillowcases for Konkerr Cancer.  I made 6 last weekend.  I would like to make at least a dozen before I donate.
3.  Cook some comfort food - no plan yet.  I need to go to the store.  We have been eating from the freezer and it is looking a little sparse!
4.  Actually book the rooms in Atlantic city.
5.  Order some new bobbins.  I never seem to have enough to match all my different yummy colors of thread I have.
6.  Sew 2 bibs - I like to have a few on hand for gifts.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Goals and a Menu Plan

OMG - isn't all of that vintage pyrex dreamy?  I love it so much, but I will NOT start a collection because I have spent the last several years trying to downsize our junk belongings.  I do not own this pyrex, I simply found the image on the Internet.  My collection consists of 4 pieces.  I have a tart dish with napkins in it on my countertop from a yard sale 2 years ago.  I paid either one or two dollars for it.  I also have a set of three mixing bowls that I picked up a a yard sale last summer for 5 bucks.  When I brought them home I put 3 old mixing bowls into my goodwill pile, following the 1 in, 1 out rule.  I actually use the pyrex bowl set and that makes me happier than sitting them on a shelf for worship.

Onto the rest of the post!

Menu for the week:
Sunday - homemade vegetable beef soup for lunch, homemade wontons for a snack later in the day
Monday - tuna noodle casserole - one dish meal full of veggies - son #2 will fend for himself as he is a tuna hater!
Tuesday - chicken parmesan
Wednesday - canned soup and grilled cheese - we have tons of soup that I got for almost nothing with coupons and we need to use it up!
Thursday - pancakes, fruit, bacon
Friday - order out - my husband is gone Thursday and Friday for work
Saturday - ?  I am not sure if we will be home or not!

Goals for today:
*Lesson Plans for the week - it took 2 hours!
*8 juice pouch pencil cases for Earth Day next month - this is all I can make until the rest of the pouches are dry!
*sew at least one thing beyond the pencil cases
*local taxes
*cook soup and wontons the boys loved the wontons!
*visit my mom - not home

I just don't think the rest is going to get done today.  I am just not in the mood.  LIsts help me, but sometimes I just have to let it go...