Hippy-Dippy Birthday

Hey y’all – today is my birthday!

Celebrating my first birthday with a Hostess cupcake... back in the day before "smash cakes" were a thing.

Celebrating my first birthday with a Hostess cupcake… back in the day before “smash cakes” were a thing.

Today’s (self-serving) blog post is all about meeeeeeeeee! And more specifically, my personality as determined by my birth date and Disney character pairing, outlined in the book Disneystrology — which “combines astrology, numerology and the magic of movies to help readers understand their own personalities.” I was introduced to the book and this concept some years ago in a team building event at work where we all learned which Disney character was matched up with our birth date, and therefore, was supposed to be a reflection of our personality.

<i>Disneystrology</i> by Lisa Finander

Disneystrology by Lisa Finander

I had to laugh when I was told my birthday, February 7, had been paired with Fillmore – the hippy-dippy Volkswagen bus from the movie Cars. My first reaction was, “Ummmmm what?” I mean, there are definitely more awkward characters out there to be associated with (Stinky Pete? Did anyone out there actually get paired with him? LOL…) but I failed to see the connection to this one at a glance.

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Then I read the description for Fillmore a little closer, and the connection actually makes a lot of sense give my love of creativity and crazy ideas. Since then, I’ve been emotionally attached to this hippy-dippy bus!

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Here’s a little deep dive into Fillmore’s personality and where I feel I can relate (or not!)…

The three personality traits assigned to Fillmore are REBELLIOUS, UNCONVENTIONAL and IDEALIST.

  • Rebellious – My first thought was… no way! I’m a total rule follower. I made it through 12 years of Catholic school without a single detention (for the record, detentions were handed out liberally for untucked shirts or being caught in the hallway while class was in session, so 12 years sans detention is a terrific feat). But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I sometimes have “rebellious” ideas – I’m not afraid to go against the grain when it comes to social norms. From a creative standpoint, I don’t like being pressured to do what is expected just because the people around me can’t or won’t see it any other way. And to me, “groupthink” is a nightmare… because it usually results in the most bland outcome imaginable.
  • Unconventional – Um, yes. Unconventional holidays, unconventional weddings, unconventional hobbies – I’m a fan of all these things. I wholeheartedly understand the value of tradition, but at the same time, I loathe when somebody implies I must not be happy  just because I’m not doing something the “traditional” way. If “conventional” doesn’t make your heart soar, and you’re not hurting someone or something by switching it up, why make yourself do it?
  • Idealist – Am I a dreamer? Heck yes. Blue sky brainstorming is my favorite. I dread being in an environment where ideas are shot down quickly because they might not be realistic (I’m pretty adamant that wonderful, doable ideas can quickly stem from kooky, unrealistic ideas – but only if the kooky ideas aren’t immediately dismissed) . For years, my personal motto has been “Dream Big” – I even displayed it on my MBA graduation cap. It all started when I fell in love with the song Dream Big by Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band, but the mantra has carried me through my college and adult years and has never let me down!
The "Lindsay-fied" graduation cap I crafted last year when I received my MBA.

My “Lindsay-fied” MBA graduation cap!

Here’s what else they say about Fillmore:

You strive to bring your vision of the world into existence. (Hello crafting! Blogging! Creative ideas! Writing!) 

You believe in equality, freedom and green living. (Sure… these are all nice things… and I recycle ;) )

Because you are sentimental about the past and dream of a perfect future, the present can be the most difficult place for you to be. (This is pretty deep. It’s true that I’m sentimental about the past — I love nostalgia — and it’s true that I’m a dreamer — but to say that the present is “the most difficult place to be” seems extreme. I’ll admit that sometimes I feel paralyzed in the present because there is so much I want to do that I don’t even know where to start… I want to do it all!)

BALLOON HEAVEN on my second or third birthday.

GIANT BALLOONS on my second or third birthday.

Your friends and your livelihood keep you grounded. (Not really sure what to say about this one, it feels a little vague, but sure. I feel like this really only applies to celebrities who are so famous that they apparently need their family and friends to help keep them “grounded” by saying stuff like, “Hey [famous person], pick up your socks!” Someday when I’m famous, I’ll let you know if my friends make me pick up my socks, and therefore keep me grounded.)

My 10th birthday... I always had a cake from Baskin Robbins.

My 10th birthday… I always had a cake from Baskin Robbins.

It takes awhile for people to warm up to your ideas. (Yes, of course! See what I shared above about unconventional ideas! This adds an especially difficult spin to groupthink situations. It’s hard to break through the boring groupthink wall when my ideas come across as crazy, and there’s not enough time to successfully get everyone else onboard… or due to time constraints, something just needs to “get done” and selling my crazy idea isn’t even worth it.) 

Magical Gifts: Like Fillmore, you are interested in making the world a better place for everyone. He bestows the gifts of independent thinking, humor and inclusiveness. (Who isn’t interested in making the world a better place!? And at this point, I’m pretty sure we have covered the “independent thinking” bit. Humor? I’m no Joey Gladstone [CUT. IT. OUT] but there’s are some really nice people out there who tell me I’m funny [I think they are just trying to be nice and fill awkward silences when they tell me that, though]. Inclusiveness? Sure, yeah, you want to play Red Rover with us, come on over!)

Keys to Your Success: Living your life in a way that supports and reflects your beliefs. (Check, check! Pretty sure this blog post has covered all of these points, and more!)

My 9th birthday - the hot gift that year... Baby-Sitters Club dolls.

My 9th birthday – the hot gift that year… Baby-Sitters Club dolls.

Well, thanks for letting me take a deep dive into the personalities of FILLMORE and LINDSAY today, in honor of February 7! I searched for an inspirational quote from Fillmore to cap off this post, but not gonna lie… he’s not really that inspirational. He just says “man” a lot.

  • RESPECT THE CLASSICS, MAN! It’s Hendrix!
  • You know some automotive yoga can really lower your RPMs, man.
  • There’s a lot of love out there, you know man?

Peace out, man.

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And the nominees are…

Recently, someone at work heard about my sewing blog and asked me which project was my number one pride and joy. A simple question that should have had an easy answer, but… I was baffled that I really didn’t have an answer.

The first pathetic thought that came to mind was, “my most recent project.” Whatever my most recent project is – I consider that the “new, shiny toy” that I am currently taking the most pride in. But that’s a kind of lame answer. How could I not have one standout project that is my favorite?

The second, less pathetic thought that came to mind: my favorite projects are the ones that I have made as gifts that are actually being used out in the real world. Remember the the Mustaches and Elephants quilt I made for baby Liam some time ago? Well, Mr. and Mrs. Liam recently sold their house, and I got to see the quilt displayed on Liam’s crib in the photos on the real estate listing. That was pretty fun! It’s one thing for people to tell me they like the gift – it’s another to see proof that they like the gift.

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I also regularly see my friend Joe’s “man bag” / toiletry kit in photos. Every time he travels, he sends me a pic of his bag in action!

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Yes, this was a Snapchat, and yes, I took a screenshot – blasphemous.

More gifts in action –  Maggie’s birthday countdown wall hanging and Sophia’s quilt!

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Another Snapchat screenshot on the left!

I continued to ponder this question, determined that there should still be a clearer answer – which project is my pride and joy? I eventually decided that I have a bunch of favorites – but each a favorite for different reasons. So I decided to break my favorites down into ten different categories of favorites. Because I can never do things the easy way…

Favorite fabric combo: Brittany’s shoe-themed jewelry pouch. The shoes are already so cute, and the fact that pink polka dot lining matches the polka dots on the pink shoes? Perfection. Throw in the minty zippers and ribbon with glittery chevrons? Stop it. I’m in love.

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Favorite pattern conquered:Katie’s Knitting Bag. Although the pattern itself wasn’t necessarily difficult, I do feel like it’s one of the most impressive products that’s ever come out of my sewing room. It’s made of canvas and has all sorts of nooks and crannies, including a custom appliqué and  multiple zippers. This is the kind of bag I would buy. In a store. But instead, I made it! And I love that.

Favorite “selfish sewing” project: The Mickey Mouse Zip and Go bag I made for theme park usage, made from a pair of Mickey boxer shorts. I held onto those clearance boxers for such a long time, knowing exactly what I planned to do with them. I rarely selfish-sew, so the fact that I actually made it happen is so exciting. I love grabbing that bag every time I visit a theme park!

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Favorite use of an odd fabric: Mom’s casserole carrier, which required Insul-Bright… the insulated stuff that’s used inside oven mitts and any other item that requires protection from heat. My mom really does use this casserole carrier to bring hot or cold dishes to her neighbors’ houses for pot luck parties. She is also quick to grab it from the drawer to show it off to her visitors when sewing comes up in conversation.

My favorite item simply because it’s just so dang useful, part 1: My earbud zipper pouch definitely gets the most use of anything I’ve ever whipped together for myself. I work in two separate office locations and I’m constantly traveling between them, which means keeping all of my laptop gear organized and portable is critical. I use this pouch to hold my earbuds, plus some other cords and chargers that I used at work every single day. Keeping them contained in a little zip pouch means they don’t get lost in the abyss of my work bag… which, trust me, really is an abyss.

My favorite item simply because it’s just so dang useful, part 2: My hanging laundry bag, made from an old shower curtain. I use it every day. And Winnie has never gotten into my laundry again… much to her dismay. ;)

Favorite decorative item: The Valentine’s Day bunting that I created as part of #SewMyStash2015. Why? I LOVE Valentine’s Day, I LOVE bunting, and I LOVE that I didn’t have to buy any fabric in order to complete this project. It was made from a bed skirt! Plus, it’s also one of my first serger projects. AND it’s really cute. That helps. :)

Favorite problem-solving project:  Liam’s Mustaches and Elephants quilt! When Liam’s parents had conflicting opinions about the theme for the nursery – mustaches, or elephants – I loved that sewing could easily bring BOTH of those themes together into one, magical quilt. Problem solved! I have never loved sewing customization so much.

Favorite boring alteration: I have made quite a few alterations to my clothes since first taking the plunge, but my favorite still remains the very first – turning flared jeans into skinny jeans, and also hemming them to the appropriate length. I wear these jeans all the time! I still stand by my declaration that alterations are SO FREAKING BORING, but they are SO FREAKING REWARDING that they are totally a necessary evil in the sewing world. I love the fact that I was able to customize a pair of jeans to my liking instead of just dumping them in the giveaway pile. I feel powerful AND resourceful!

Favorite sewing memory: I had so much fun working on the donut paper piecing for Katie’s cross-stitch bag a few Christmases ago, and I get warm fuzzies when I think back to the time I spent making it. I worked on it over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday, when I had some days off from work and Katie was out of town. I enjoy the process of paper piecing because it is just mindless enough (but not too mindless) that I could run episode after episode of Gilmore Girls in the background while I worked. What’s happier than days off of work, sewing all day long and binge watching Gilmore Girls? There was probably some wine involved too, let’s be honest.

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So, that is probably the longest answer ever to “What is your favorite project? What is your pride and joy?” But at least it’s finally an answer… and a lot more satisfying than the “deer in headlights” look I was probably sporting when first asked the question.

What project is YOUR pride and joy??? Sewing related or not, tell me about it in the comments!

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I made a hat

I know the title of this blog post gives away the grand reveal, but… hey guys. I made a hat. A hunting cap, to be more specific.

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I’m not into selfies, so let’s just take advantage of this Snapchat…

Why? Just because. I had a pattern and wanted to try it. Also, making a hat or some sort of headwear was a bucket list item on my list of 100 No Pressure Projects.

I know – it’s kind of crazy for me to post about a project that was NOT inspired by friends or family and is NOT intended to be a gift!

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A project that isn’t a gift?

The hat I made is the Urban Wabbit Hunting Cap from the book Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders. Inspired by the plaid fabric used in the photo, I picked up some super soft gray and black plaid fabric on sale. A cozy winter project!

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I honestly thought making an item like this hat would be way more complicated. I was surprised that the hat came together quickly and easily, in just one evening. There was just one step towards the end that stumped me – I’m still not sure that I did it exactly right. But I just made some educated guesses and stumbled through and the end result is good enough for me.

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Overall, the hat is a little too big for my head, so if I made it again, I’d subtract an inch or two from the circumference. The pattern did come with directions on how to adjust the sizing if necessary.

I made just one change from the original pattern, and only because I’m a dum-dum: the “neck flap” is supposed to button up so you can leave it up or down, but I really messed up on one of the buttonholes (I need to practice using the buttonhole maker on my machine some more), so I just tacked the flap up and sewed some big buttons on permanently to cover my mistake. The buttons still give the illusion that the flap can come down, but it really doesn’t.

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I like big buttons and I cannot lie.

It doesn’t matter to me since I would have never worn the flap down anyway. After all, I live in Florida. The winds will never be that blustery! I will also never go hunting! And it actually looks kind of silly with the flap down anyway.

The cold temps have just recently arrived in Florida, and it seems like they’re here to stay for a bit (with the exception of today, which is in the 70’s). Me ‘n my hat are ready!

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#SewMyStash 2015 – Year End Recap

Happy New Year, gang!

Last January, I wrote about #SewMyStash2015, a fun internet-based initiative invented by my bloggy friend Leasa (Project Leasa), who challenged fellow crafters to use up their stash of (hoarded) fabric in 2015 instead of buying new fabric, whenever possible.

#SewMyStash2015

The brainchild of Leasa at ProjectLeasa.com!

It was so much fun throughout the year to participate in Leasa’s challenges and follow the hashtag on Instagram to see what else my peers were making! I thought it would be appropriate to do a wrap-up post to highlight the projects I made throughout the year using fabric that was from my stash.

I did purchase some fabric through the year, but in retrospect, I only purchased fabric for certain projects, and almost always, those projects were gifts with a specific vision. I can say with absolute certainty that I did not purchase any fabric “just because” without any real vision on how I was going to use it. In the past, I may have seen fabrics that I absolutely loved and wanted to have just for the sake of having… “I’ll just get a yard and figure out what to do with it later.” Not the case this year!

Here’s a list of everything I recall making using only my stash (or mostly my stash) in 2015! I’ll start off by reviewing some things that I have previously written about here, but at the end, there are a few little gems that never got a dedicated blog post…

This cute little paper pieced LOVE square! (I have yet to do something with this)…

Valentine’s Day bunting! Which is already proudly displayed above my desk at work. I love Valentine’s Day!

American Girl doll Valentine PJs! (Thanks again for not judging my decision to make doll clothes)…

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My Disney Parks Zip and Go bag, made with Mickey boxer shorts!

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My cute little paper pieced witch! Although admittedly, this project is still incomplete. Argh. Oh well. I’ll aim to finish by next fall. ;)

Foundation Paper Piecing on SewLindsaySew.com

Sarah’s “Zip and GO BADGERS” bag – the only thing I had to invest in for this one was the zippers.

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A gift-card wallet for myself! After I made one for my friend Chris, I knew I needed one in my life!

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This year I also started making cute (semi-dweeby) lanyards using up my tiny scraps. It all started when my mom asked for a lanyard to carry a spare key, and once I made one for her, I was hooked! I made two for myself to use at work (for wearing my ID), including this Christmas lanyard to wear around the holidays. Here’s a not-so-great photo of the Christmas lanyard.

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And here are a few little gifts for the holiday season that I didn’t get proper photos of because, hey, when Santa’s Workshop is whirring along, the last thing on Santa’s mind is proper photos. The first one is a zipper pouch for a fellow Mickey-loving “L,” and the second photo is a Star Wars coffee sleeve one one of those fabulous reusable Starbucks cups. To be honest, there wasn’t much sewing happening in Santa’s workshop this year with the exception of these two little nuggets. Sounds cliche, but sheesh, there’s just so much going on around the holidays that my Amazon account saw more activity than my sewing machine did.

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That’s all I can think of off the top of my head for this year, but Leasa has kicked off another #SewMyStash challenge for 2016, and I’m completely onboard. Let’s see what I can whip up using my stash in 2016!

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Zip and GO BADGERS

Sisters. I’ve never had any. Until this past summer, when my brother got married and I gained an awesome sister-in-law, Sarah.

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Let me tell you about Sarah. She is the best.

THE. BEST.

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You know how little kids go through that stage where they copy everything their older sibling does? If you’re not familiar with this concept, let me demonstrate using a Full House example:

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Season 4, Episode 21: Stephanie copies DJ, which leads to a fight, a hole is punched in Danny’s bedroom wall. They sing a song about “Dad,” the secret of the hole is safe, Michelle copies her older sisters, everyone laughs, start the hugs and roll the credits.

Anyway, I’m 30+ years old and I think I’m going through this stage with my new sister Sarah because she’s just that cool. If Sarah likes classic white dishes, nude nail polish and Tieks, then so do I. Cue the Tanner-style copycat efforts referenced above.

Sarah is a proud alumni from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has introduced me to all of the wonderful things about her alma mater – including the lovely lakefront views, the central Wisconsin State Capitol building, cheese-a-plenty and the iconic terrace chairs.

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The terrace chairs are out, time to go nuts!

When it comes to universities, of course my loyalty will always reside with my own alma mater – Miami University – because, let’s face it, it’s the best. But visiting Wisconsin so often and spending time with Sarah has definitely caused me to develop an appreciation for UW Madison that I never thought I’d have.

For a long time, I’ve wanted to make something UW related for Sarah, but I didn’t have a chance to make the idea come to life until recently for Sarah’s birthday. The red and white striped fabric sitting on my shelf since last Christmas always made me think of the UW mascot, Bucky Badger, and his signature sweater stripes.
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Sarah lives near the university attends a lot of UW events, like football games. So I decided a Zip & Go (which I’ve previously written about here and here) would be a great idea since it’s the perfect bag for outings where only the bare minimum (phone, money, ID, lip gloss) is needed.

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I created my own “W” appliqué and love the way it turned out. It’s actually a layered appliqué – one for the background shadow, and one for the red “W” in the foreground.

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I did have a few instances where I thought… wow, these stripes are feeling pretty obnoxious. They made my eyes feel a little dizzy. But I know this bag will truly blend into the crowd on game day! Even though this bag is called the Zip and Go, I think it’s more appropriate to call this specific one the Zip and GO BADGERS! Ha.

One more thing – “Sew something for my sister-in-law, Sarah” was on my list of 100 No pressure Projects, so I have officially crossed another item off the sewing bucket list. Woohoo!

Thanks for being my favorite sister, Sarah!

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Chris’s (Mega) Birthday

Here’s the thing about birthdays: they happen every year.

In the words of Michelle Tanner… DUH.

Michelle Tanner Duh

But for me, that means that someone I’m sewing for this year may have already received something crafty from me last year… so I need to mix things up!

Remember my friend Chris? Last year, he had a birthday… this year, he had another birthday.

Chris. You’re so stressful.

A non-birthday celebration with Chris... drinking from mason jars in Disneyland.

A non-birthday celebration with Chris… mason jar twins at Disneyland.

Last year I made Chris this nifty “travel cable cozy” for him to store all of his electronics and cords while traveling.

Sewing a cable cozy // tutorial review on Sew Lindsay Sew

This year, I knew I wanted to branch away from the travel theme. But sewing for guys is hard… most fabrics and patterns are designed with the ladies in mind.

Then I saw this fabric, and knew that I couldn’t really go wrong with anything I decided to make, so long as the recipient was a millennial.

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Sewing for guys is a lot easier with this awesome, retro fabric in my back pocket (or on my sewing table).

I decided to make Chris a Mega Card Wallet (free tutorial here at Infarrantly Creative) – a pattern I’ve wanted to try for awhile now. So long, in fact, that it’s even on my list of 100 No Pressure Projects. Basically, it’s a gigantic wallet that holds 38 cards. I figured Chris would be getting some gift cards for his birthday, and this is the perfect place to store a zillion (or 38) gift cards without having to cram them into your primary wallet.

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I personally have a hard time keeping track of all the gift cards I receive, always forgetting to keep them on hand and use them accordingly. Which usually results in my finding them at the bottom of a drawer two years after the fact, and wondering if there’s still any money on them. A wallet like this is a great way to keep a zillion (or 38) gift cards all in one place.

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The tutorial was easy and straightforward, and I would definitely make this again. Since I really need one of these in my life, I’m actually about 3/4 of the way through making one for myself.

I had the opportunity to give Chris his gift in the presence of his family during his birthday dinner, and the best part was getting the stamp of approval from his mom and his grandma! I love showing the preceding generations how the art of sewing is NOT lost on the younger set… not for me, anyway. ;)

Happy Birthday, Chris! Next year, the pressure will really be on… I’ll have to come up with a new and amazing gift idea.

Or… I’ll give you a gift card. :)

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Bye Bye Bye (Brittany)

I’ve lived in Florida for almost ten years, and for the most part, it’s pretty great. Here are some of the best things about living in Florida:

  • I don’t have to drag a winter coat around while doing my Christmas shopping.
  • Outdoor seating at restaurants and bars all year long.
  • Publix subs are the bomb.

But on the flip side, here are the worst parts about living in Florida:

  • Water skiing is stressful, because the alligators are like, “stay out of my lake.”
  • Almost everything melts in the car… credit cards, deodorant, Mickey ears (the HAT, not the ice cream)… seriously, everything.
  • There’s always someone moving away.

Let me elaborate on that last bullet point. Living and working in Central Florida generally means being surrounded by a lot of talented people who have followed their dreams. Which for the most part is awesome, because everybody is confident and ambitious and ready for adventure. But sadly, hanging with Dream Chasers means there’s a high probability that they’ll be just as open to the idea of chasing their dreams right out of Florida. Which means that I’m constantly saying farewell to wonderful, talented friends who are moving on to other magical opportunities.

Mickey Mouse in "The Moving Day" (1936)

Mickey Mouse in “The Moving Day” (1936)

The most recent “Florida casualty” is my friend Brittany, who will soon be pursuing an exciting opportunity in Texas. While I’ve only known Brittany for a little over a year, the two of us shared an office at work – and spending 40+ hours each week in an office that is intended to be a utility closet, side-by-side, through thick and thin, means that I’ve gotten to know Brittany better in one year than I’ve gotten to know some other friends and coworkers in the nine years I’ve been in Florida.

Myself, Brittany and one of our leaders, Vanessa

Myself, Brittany and one of our leaders, Vanessa

Brittany will be one of the first to tell you that I have a quirky personality and unique brand of humor – which most people don’t necessarily see or appreciate unless they spend a fairly significant amount of time working with me. While Brittany became my officemate by circumstance, not by choice, she not only came to understand my personality and humor, but actually became an advocate for it… and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Oh yeah, this is a sewing blog, right? Whoops. Let me get back on track and tell you what I made for Brittany as a farewell gift.

Two little-known facts about Brittany that only someone who shares an office with her would know (hope she doesn’t kill me for sharing these):

Little-known Fact #1: She keeps a basket of shoes in her overhead bin. Like Mr. Rogers, she changes her shoes each day when she gets to work and once again when she leaves. Only, unlike Mr. Rogers, she’s swapping in and out of heels.

Fred Rogers’ daily shoe swap… just 20-30 years prior to Brittany’s.

Little-known Fact #2: When she gets tired of wearing her fabulous jewelry, especially large necklaces, she will take them off in the middle of the day and hang them on the corner of her computer monitor – making our office feel more like Claire’s than a utility closet.

So naturally, what I needed to sew for Brittany was a jewelry roll… using shoe fabric. Yes, a little zipper pouch for Brittany to keep her jewelry while traveling – or while at work. I knew I wanted to make a jewelry roll for Brittany, and I wandered the fabric store for a long time, indecisive about what fabric to use. But when I saw the shoe fabric – I knew. This was it. Love at first sight.

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I paired the fabric with some mint green zippers – and once again, it was time to bust out the One Yard Wonders jewelry roll pattern that I have made so many times over the years – like here, here and here.

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I have always used plain, boring ribbon for my jewelry rolls, but this time I couldn’t pass up this minty, silver chevron ribbon.

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I paired the shoe fabric with pink polka dot fabric for the ring placket and the lining…

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The finished product!

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Brittany is the epitome of personable, an out-of-this-world listener, a Zumba instructor extraordinaire, more structured and organized than Danny Tanner – and Texas is lucky to have her. But most importantly, she never let the box of Friday donuts leave our utility-closet-office until I came into work and was able to steal one (because you all know how much I love donuts). What I’m trying to say is that she is awesome… and I’ll miss her so much!

Did I also mention that one of the best parts about Florida is that people who leave will often come back to visit? Just sayin’!

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A rag quilt for Baby B

I love experimenting with different patterns and projects, which means I rarely make the same thing twice. But recently, I’ve repeated some projects-from-the-past and learned the benefits of creating something familiar and dependable.

Remember the Mustaches & Elephants quilt I made for my friend Amanda? It doesn’t seem that long ago, but Amanda’s little guy, Liam, is now over a year old – it’s crazy how time flies! And Liam will soon have a buddy to hang out with on weekends, because mine and Amanda’s mutual friend Beth is now pregnant with a little boy too.

So naturally, I decided Beth’s baby boy needed to have the same quilt as Liam. Only, instead of mustaches and elephants, I went with “sports” to match the theme of the shower and the baby’s nursery. Puppies playing sports, to be more specific. Who doesn’t love puppies??? Playing sports???

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I’m so thankful I made detailed notes about the exact measurements I used for Liam’s quilt right here in this blog — including an approximation of how much fabric I believed I would need in the future if I ever made the quilt again. I followed my own recommendations, and I’m so proud that I got the fabric estimation almost exactly right. I used almost every square inch of the fabric I bought for this quilt, with only a narrow strip of fabric thrown into the scrap pile. Bam!

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I also completed this quilt with lightning-speed, in comparison to the first one, since I didn’t have to question everything I was doing. I completed the entire project, from start to finish, in one weekend.

Saturday: I shopped for fabric and batting, serged the edges to prevent fraying and washed/dried/ironed the supply. I also cut all the fabric squares, sewed the fabric “sandwiches” and laid them out in the pattern I wanted. Then I went to bed and hoped Winnie wouldn’t frolic through the loose squares laid out all over the floor.

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Sunday: I stitched the squares into rows, and then stitched the rows into a quilt. I clipped all the seams (zzzzzz… that part takes way too long) and then threw the quilt in the washing machine for its first of three washes. The multiple washes are necessary for any rag quilt, in order to get that fluffy, “rag” quality. But there are apparently lots of benefits in gifting a well-washed sewing project – Beth’s husband commented on how good the quilt smelled. Ha. 

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Showering Beth with baby quilt love!

So as much as I love being adventurous and trying new projects, I have to admit, it’s comforting to know what I’m getting myself into sometimes. And in this case, it was worth it – the quilt was a hit.

Are you a project adventurer, or do you stay within your comfort zone?

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#SewMyStash2015: Harvest June (Fail)

When I started this blog, I promised I’d share the failures in addition to the successes. So here you go. A fail!

Well, in my defense, it’s not really a sewing fail. It’s just an unfinished project. So, a failed timeline. Rarr.

The #SewMyStash2015 challenge proposed by Leasa for June was called “Harvest June” and we were tasked with making something fall-related. I was pretty excited about it because I’m always behind when it comes to sewing for holidays. How exciting would it be to have a fall-related item completely ready-to-go in the fall because I had already completed it in June?

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Proactive crafting!

But, excuses excuses: dealing with all this moving nonsense in the past month or so has really put me behind. I’ve spent a lot of time getting the new house in order (or, attempting to – I still have so much work ahead) and sadly, getting the craft room in order has not been at the top of priority list. Boo.

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But aside from the monotony of moving, June brought about some pretty magical distractions too: my brother got married! So for the first half of the month, I was wrapped up in finalizing everything I needed for the wedding. And then I traveled to Wisconsin for the big moment.

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Magical wedding distractions in the north woods! Also, let’s talk about how much I love that bear ottoman.

Anyway, when the wedding was over and I finally felt like I had gotten my craft room to a functional place (please note that “functional” does not mean “finished,” “completed” or “ultimate dream craft space”) I did put some of the housework aside for a bit and took the time to get back into my sewing. After such a long hiatus, it was incredibly comforting to hear the hum of my beloved machine once again. The past month or so has felt so task-oriented. Taking the time to get back to my “old self” for a few hours was a much needed break.

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My first night back in the sewing biz – with a little help from an episode of The Bachelorette.

For Leasa’s challenge, I decided to tackle a (free) witch paper piecing pattern that I discovered last year (around the time I paper pieced this pumpkin). My favorite, favorite part about this piece is the witch’s green face and striped stockings. They add a burst of color to the otherwise black-and-gray color scheme. I do worry that it’s a little too reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz when I’m shooting for Halloween here. But hey, a witch is a witch, Wizard of Oz or not!

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My goal is to make a Halloween-inspired wall hanging that consists of this witch and some additional quilt-y elements. Unfortunately, the other pieces I am working on to piece with the witch are taking longer than expected. So technically, I did not meet the “Harvest June” deadline because I didn’t finish this project in June. #Fail

But, #SewMyStash2015 challenge aside, let’s think about this scenario logically: I’m about halfway done with a Halloween project IN JULY. So… is this REALLY a failure?  No way!  I’ve never been this far ahead of schedule with any of my holiday craft projects. So I still consider this a win!

July’s challenge is “Holiday in July.” I wish I could participate, but I’m committed to my witch! I’m determined to finish up the Halloween piece before starting something new.

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Maybe I’ll tackle holiday projects… in August. Well let’s be honest, by then I’ll be thinking about Halloween costumes. Sheesh – we just celebrated July 4 yesterday, and I already feel like the fall holidays are rolling in too fast! Eek.

How early do you start fall/winter projects? What are you working on now?

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#SewMyStash2015: Bag Challenge

In the spirit of #SewMyStash2015 (the latest challenge is to sew a bag consisting of 75% stash fabrics) — here’s my latest, magical addition!

I made a second rendition of the Zip and Go bag I made for my mom using the wonderful pattern from Dog Under My Desk – only, this time, I went the “selfish sewing” route and made it for myself. With all the time I spend perusing Disney parks, I was determined to make a a Zip and Go theme park bag for myself.

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My new bag’s Disney theme park debut!

Where did that magical fabric come from, you ask? Um. Well. It used to be a pair of boxer shorts! How’s that for upcycling?

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Don’t worry, the boxers were brand new! I got two pairs on clearance a few years ago and have been holding onto them ever since, saving them for something special. But of course, #SewMyStash2015 is all about setting our favorite fabrics free! So it was time to cut up these beauties.

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The solid black lining I used inside the bag was also a part of my stash, as was the interfacing and hardware (leftover from the bag I made for my mom – I’d bought the hardware in bulk to save money). I did have to purchase the black dot fabric for the strap – I didn’t have any matching fabric in my stash that was long enough to serve as the strap. I also had to purchase the zippers. So sadly, this is not 100% stash, but I can pretty confidently say that it is at least 75% stash (per the #SewMyStash2015 rules).

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This bag is the perfect size for a theme park bag! It held my phone, keys, IDs/tickets and lip balm, and then I maxed it out by folding up a rain poncho and shoving it in the larger pocket. Everything fit perfectly. And the fact that the strap could be long enough to wear as a cross-body bag while on rides, or short enough to hang on the side of a restaurant chair while dining, was a huge plus.

What’s your favorite go-to bag for theme parks, day trips and outings?

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