Life on the rocks: Colorado Springs 2017

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Colorado Springs with my friends Joe and Chris – just for fun. A vacation for the sake of vacation! And let me tell you… we had the time of our lives.

We climbed rocks!

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And mountains!

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We took a train to the summit of Pikes Peak – 14,000+ feet…

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Our heads were truly in the clouds!

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We braved a cave!

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We walked in the footsteps of Olympic athletes at the Olympic Training Center!

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And – the highlight of the trip – WE FED WOLVES (Disclaimer: We did this at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center. Do not try this at home).

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Sooooo… where does sewing fit into this story, you ask? Well, there are two sewing stories.

It’s rare that I take the time to sew for myself, but the deeper I get into this sewing journey, the more I realize how useful this skill really is. And this time, it played a part in my vacation prep!

Colorado Trip – Sewing Project #1

I really wanted to have a simple travel purse/bag for all of our adventures. I wanted it to be small so that I would only need to bring the bare minimum with me on each outing – cash, ID, credit card, phone, lip balm, car keys.

I really, really, really love the Zip and Go bag from Dog Under My Desk that I made a few years ago using a pair of Mickey Mouse boxer shorts. It’s my go-to bag every time I visit a Disney Park! But, while the Mickey Mouse fabric is perfect for a Disney Park, I thought it might be a little out of place out there in the real world. Plus, I thought the red/black combo might look a little “loud” in our photos, so I was looking for something a little more subtle.

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So, a week before the trip, I whipped up a gray, polka dot Zip and Go using fabric and hardware I already had on hand. I only had to purchase the zippers! The bag is lined with a solid teal fabric… which is not pictured, but I know it’s there! 😉 I had to add a little bit of color to the bag, even if it’s hidden on the inside!

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The bag was PERFECT for the trip! I am so glad I took the time to make it happen. I really adore the simple utility of the Zip & Go. Here’s a pic of it in action! We were hiking Helen Hunt Falls and I was giving a stern pose in front of a stern sign. You can see that I’m wearing the bag in a cross-body fashion for the hike.

Colorado Trip – Sewing Project #2

While I was packing for the trip, I revisited the rules on the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife web site. We had signed up for the special “Alpha Tour” because we really wanted to have one-on-one interaction with the wolves, but for obvious reasons, there are some pretty unique safety rules in place for those participating in the experience. For example, while interacting with the wolves, you cannot wear fur (even faux fur) or sheepskin. You also cannot have fringe, tassels, etc. on your clothes.

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These are the exact wolves we met! Raksha and Isha – they are Arctic wolves and only 10 months old.

While revisiting the rules, I realized that even skinny jeans were banned. Well, ever since I identified the need for skinny jeans in my life a few years ago, I have pretty much only worn skinny jeans. I’d outgrown or worn out all of my non-skinny options.

So, just a day prior to our departure, I headed over to Old Navy to grab some boot cut jeans for my wolf adventure. And of course… they needed to be hemmed. Once again, I experienced the magic of hemming jeans and maintaining the original hem. It’s one of my favorite sewing techniques. So useful and impressive!

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And honestly, I’m glad that I had two pairs of jeans on the trip. I ended up wearing the new jeans quite a bit, and I realized that the skinny jeans would not have been the best option for hiking, etc.

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So there you have it. Another vacation, a slew of life experiences, a million photos – and two more sewing projects for the books! 

Till next time!


 

In hot pursuit of an adventure: our experience at International Hot Glass

If there’s one thing I love more than sewing, it’s mini-adventures. I call them mini-adventures because I’m not talking about climbing Mount Everest, here. I’m talking about one-day experiences that typically include one or more of the following elements (mix and match as you please):

  • Close to home (no more than a day trip away)
  • A “hidden gem” activity that most people have never heard of (something more interesting than eating out or going to a movie)
  • An activity with local flair (I love being a tourist in my own zip code)
  • Trying something new (even if it’s just new to me or my friends)
  • And of course, as someone who writes a sewing blog… bonus points if it’s a crafty activity!

Past adventures that I’ve participated in, that I feel meet some of the criteria I’ve outlined above:

Well shoot, look at that long list of adventures! And to think there’s still so many more on my list that I have yet to conquer. For that reason, I try to plan a mini-adventure every year for my birthday. In years past, I’ve gone camping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort (hence the archery lessons!) or dragged all of my friends to one of those “make a fancy canvas painting while drinking wine” type places.

Archery lessons for my 25th birthday with my previous roomie, Elizabeth.

Archery lessons for my 25th birthday with my previous roomie, Elizabeth.

This year, I decided to go crafty with a glass art workshop!

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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)

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DONUT underestimate the power of paper piecing

This post is about donuts. And paper piecing.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…
Bright frosted DONUTS that haven’t been bitten…
Quilty techniques on the gifts Santa brings… 
These are a few of my favorite things.

I looooooooooooooove donuts.

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Donuts complete me.

So does my roommate Katie. When one of us says, “I want donuts,” the other roommate says, “NOM” and then we’re in the car en route to our local donut provider in a matter of minutes. We have donut ornaments on our Christmas tree. And the dog has donut toys.

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I’ve already told you about how Katie is crafty (or rather, “Krafty”) so this year’s Christmas present for Katie was a combination of our mutual love for both donuts and crafts.

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It’s your birthday, baby!

Meet my friend Laura — we have known each other since we were in kindergarten and she is still one of my dearest friends.

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Eighth grade volleyball, dorky haircuts… and proof that we turned out alright in adulthood despite the dweeby photos.

Laura is pregnant with her first child and due this month! When your childhood BFF is pregnant, and you’re a fan of handmade gifts — the pressure is high! When I first heard Laura was pregnant, I knew I wanted to make her something really special, but I wasn’t sure what it should be. Although I adore the rag quilts I made for baby Liam and baby Sophia last year, I wanted the project for Laura to be one-of-a-kind — not a repeat of one of my previous projects. Laura also sews (Reason #923498723 why I love her) and has made a number of items for her baby’s nursery, so making another quilt didn’t feel very earth-shattering since she had already conquered rag quilts herself.  I was also looking for a project that would stand the test of time. Continue reading

SEW ALL THE GIFTS! (Happy Birthday, Morgan)

Another friend, another birthday gift, another blog post! I know, this is starting to get a little predictable. But I can’t help it – my friends are awesome and they all deserve handmade goods.

The other day, I was working on a project that wasn’t going well, so I gave myself a pep talk — “Lindsay, if this doesn’t work out, it’s okay. You can just buy a gift instead.” But my own brain immediately argued with itself. “No you can’t! ALL THE GIFTS MUST BE HANDMADE! ALL OF THEM!” Thats when I realized I had a problem. A gift-making problem.

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But hey… there are worse problems to be had. And my friends sure aren’t complaining. 😉

Now on to the birthday gift post — today, we’re celebrating Morgan! Continue reading

Let’s go to the hop

Hey friends, it’s time for a blog hop!

Ummm… what’s a blog hop? That’s the first question I asked when I was invited to participate.

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Of course, my mind went right to this awesome Disney poster I had hanging in my bedroom growing up.

A blog hop is a way for bloggers to connect, get to know each other and share each other’s blogs. All I have to do is answer a few questions about my blog and writing process, and then nominate two other bloggers to do the same!

I was nominated by Jaime Johnson with Jaime Sews. Jaime has heaps of “real life” sewing experience so garments are a breeze for her… honestly, I don’t know her “in real life” but I’m pretty sure she could whip up a perfect, wearable item with her eyes closed. I’m so envious! She makes some really adorable clothes for her little ones and  has etsy shops for both handmade items and fabric. Check her out!

And now, onto the hoppy questions.

Why do I write?

I’ve always been a writer, although I didn’t label myself as one in the early years. When I was maybe 7 or 8 years old, my closest friend and I used to play a game called “mail” where we’d write little letters, magazines and even “junk mail” ads for our stuffed animals and dolls. We’d distribute said collateral accordingly and then spend time reading each other’s notes to our inanimate audience.

In those days, I also brought home stacks of books from the library and read incessantly, which led to quite a bit of story writing. I think I was the only one in my class who got really psyched about the annual story writing competition we had in my elementary school.

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Getting my Karen Brewer fix.

I studied communication and public relations in my undergraduate years and my career choices have led me to roles that largely focus on writing.

But WHY do I write? It basically comes down to this: I’m not a smooth talker. I’d be a terrible salesperson, lawyer or motivational speaker – but I bet I’d be pretty awesome at those things if I had 20 minutes to write out a thorough response each time it was my turn to talk.

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Words don’t fall out of my mouth as nicely as they come though my hands onto paper. I spend more time than I should in my head, regretting things I’ve just stupidly said out loud and wishing I could reword them. That isn’t the case with writing. I can make sure everything is just so before hitting the “publish” button.

I chose to blog about sewing and crafts for a few reasons.

  1. I don’t have a lot of people in my “real” life who want to talk about these things. Blogging = built-in community!
  2. This blog serves as a neat archive to look at all of the projects I’ve completed (and also gives me the ability to quickly share these accomplishments with friends and family around the world).
  3. I don’t think I’d have learned nearly as much about sewing had it not been for all of the resources available on the internet — especially from bloggers.

What am I working on?

As far as the crafts go — I recently shared my One Hundred No Pressure Projects idea, so lots of my upcoming projects will likely be from that list – but not all! With fall upon us, I really want to get started on Christmas gifts so I’m not blindsided when I realize Christmas is just days away. Making gifts is so hard because I have to keep everything a secret during the creation process!

Tina Fey understands.

Tina Fey understands.

How does this blog differ from others of its genre?

I’m new(ish) to sewing and new(ish) to public blogging. Sometimes I feel intimidated by the greatness of other craft blogs, or I feel dumb asking questions about the blogosphere as a whole (e.g., the cluelessness that ensued when I was initially invited to this blog hop). I hope my blog doesn’t intimidate other beginners because for the most part, I consider myself a beginner too. One of my (unofficial) long term blog goals is to write tutorials for beginners so I can help them have stress-free sewing experiences.

How does my writing process work?

I’ll often keep blog drafts in the queue for a long time before I publish them. Right now, I have 30 drafts just floating around in there. I sort of jump around between blog posts, developing the actual content until one starts to stand out above the rest.

Then I revise like a CRAZY PERSON. Right now this particular post is on version 20! Lately I’ve been trying to be less of a perfectionist when it comes to my writing. I have no choice but to be a perfectionist when I write in the professional world, so it’s hard to write in a more relaxed fashion here – even when I make a conscious effort to do so.

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That said, when I deem my blog post “complete” and it’s ready to go – it’s READY TO GO. This site gives me the opportunity to schedule posts in advance, but I rarely use that feature. I have such a hard time holding onto completed posts and I want to publish them immediately. If I try to wait more than 24 hours, my brain is like…

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When a post is done, I just want to share, share, share. Partially because I’m excited and partially because I know I’ll continue to edit if I don’t! 😉

Okay, that’s enough questions for me. Now it’s my turn to pass the baton onto two more bloggers!

First up, Leasa, who writes for Project Leasa and also has an etsy shop, A Piece O’Lease. Leasa’s blog is a lifestyle blog covering “Parenting, Wife-ing, Working, Crafting…. Everything!” She will often showcase her incredible quilting projects or things she has made for her cute son, Levi. I also follow Leasa on instagram, where she recently shared photos of a skirt she sewed using licensed Simpsons fabric — I got totally giddy at the prospect of incorporating licensed character fabric into grown-up clothing.

Second baton goes to Heather, whom I happen to know “in real life” as we worked in the same department for many years. She writes for Designed to Thrive, and also has an etsy shop with a variety of artwork, including intricate zentangle designs and customizable prints. One important thing to note about Heather’s shop: half of the profits are donated to the Center for Children’s Cancer & Blood Disorders at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children! Heather’s blog and shop are fairly new, but are sure to gain a quick following with all of that good karma floating around.

If you’ve made it this far in the post, kudos to you! Be sure to check out my blog friends – can’t wait to read their posts in the coming week.

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My friend furoshiki

I initially thought this would be a really basic story: “Look at the cute gift I made for my friend Melanie’s birthday! The end.” But this story ended up having a cool, coincidental twist! Read on.

My lovely friend Melanie (who, by the way, was the ringleader for our 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon running group) lived in Tokyo for a few years and once told me she really loves cherry blossoms because they remind her of her time spent in Japan. I have always remembered this fact because I, too, love cherry blossoms — but I really have no reason for loving them, other than I like the way they look (sadly, I have not visited Japan) (yet) (hint hint, Tokyo Disneyland anybody?).

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I had a bit of cherry blossom fabric leftover from some other projects, so I put it to the side for Melanie and revisited it while working on her birthday project. And the zipper, which matched perfectly, came from my crazy bulk zipper stash – I’m slowly working through those and finally starting to make a dent!

In the spirit of trying new things, and also tackling my 100 No Pressure Projects List, I decided to make a bow pouch that I had seen on Pinterest some months ago. As I tend to do with all zipper pouch projects, I used a mashup of tutorials — the Little Bow Clutch Tutorial on This Big Oak Tree and my favorite zipper pouch tutorial on Make It Perfect.

And I love the way it turned out. Love, love, love.

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I lined the inside with a charcoal/black calico print I already had on hand because it seemed to flow with the floral theme. I never, ever line zipper pouches with the exact same  fabric I’ve used on the outside. Because that would be boring!

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But here’s the fun (and educational) coincidence. Do you know what furoshiki is? Yeah, neither did I… according to the trusty (ha) Wikipedia, “furoshiki is a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth traditionally used to transport clothes, gifts, or other goods.” Apparently when Melanie was living in Japan, she received a baby gift that was wrapped in furoshiki and looked just like this bow pouch – so not only the cherry blossoms, but even the design, is sentimental for Melanie.

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An example of furoshiki from the Wikipedia.

So how coincidental is that? I had no clue. I just picked the bow design because I wanted to try something new and I thought it looked cute – but Melanie was destined to receive this design. It was obviously fate!

But whether it’s a bow clutch or furoshiki – there will definitely be a lot more of these bow clutches in my future.

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PS – After I wrote this post, it sat in my blog queue for awhile because I wanted to make sure Melanie approved before I posted. Between the time I wrote this and the time I posted it, Melanie brought me the most wonderful book — Furoshiki Fabric Wraps by Pixeladies. The book has beautiful photos and detailed instructions for wrapping all sorts of gifts in fabric! I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK. You can bet I will be writing about some of these wraps when I try them out. And now I’m convinced I need to buy a serger so I can serge all of my fabric and use it for furoshiki!

Furoshiki Fabric Wraps Book

 

 

 

 

Ninety-Nine and a Half

Remember when I told you the last post was number 99, and the next post would be my hundredth blog post? Well, apparently I lied. When I published the last post, I got a pop-up thanking me for contributing my NINETY-EIGHTH post. What! How did I mess that up? I thought I had this all figured out. Apparently not. I’m fairly certain I could have gotten away with this lie and just said the next post was number 100 anyway. But I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. So here’s a mini-update I’ll call Ninety-Nine and a Half… which would make my next post the hundredth. Sigh.

Anyway, this is perfect timing because I have a mini-update. Remember the Pencil Bunting 101 tutorial from my friend Joe a few weeks ago? Well, now that school is officially in full swing, he’s sent some photos of his banners in action!

On the Sew Lindsay Sew blog: how to create pencil bunting banners for your classroom

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