Thursday, February 19, 2015

Exercising and not sewing

So much for more frequent posting.  After that last tutorial, I was all sewed out / blogged out for a bit.  Since then. . . .

we've had new babies. . . .

Our rescue dog, Maybe, had a little too much fun while Brendan was last in the hospital.  I sincerely wish the neighbors would keep their dog put up. . .  the very same dog that killed our chickens and barn cats.  >:-[  grrrr!  Anyway, the pups are here and adorable and opened their eyes today for the first time.  Sweet!  And don't worry... Miss Maybe will be having her lady surgery as soon as she's able.

  I mean, who doesn't love a puppy pile?

We also have a new smile. . . .

and new plumbing. . . .


and sweets. . . .

my valentine

and then Lent whispered in.

half the brood, after noon Ash Wednesday service

our Lenten prayer journals

Somewhere in all of that, there was this light bulb. . . .

Last summer, I went to the gym almost every day, and went down 2 dress sizes. And then I got all sad and mopey and depressed because of my frequent migraines, and then I thought the migraines were keeping me from the gym.  I all but gave up on exercise and health and stuff.

But then, a LIGHT BULB!  I reframed the migraine vs. exercise dilemma:  even if I have 8 migraines a month (I've actually had 5 so far this month,) there are still 20+ non-migraine days every month.  20+ opportunities to work out!  So, for the past couple of weeks, I've been going to the gym every day that I haven't had a migraine.  It. feels. wonnnderfuuul.

And I decided to get really serious about it, so I started tracking my food intake on MyFitnessPal again.  You can follow me there, if you want.  My food diary is even open to friends.  Don't judge....  Actually, you can if you want.  I just won't care.  ;)

I also found all sorts of fabulous instagram accounts (like this one and this one) of positive, happy people getting in shape naturally, the old-fashioned way -- hard, sweaty work and good, healthy eats.  They inspire and motivate me, especially when I really don't wanna leave my warm bed at 5:15 in the morning to go to the gym.  I've got to start somewhere.  Baby steps.

I've lost 5 pounds so far, but I'm staying off of the scale for a long while.  I don't even think I'll take measurements.   I used to obsess over numbers BIG TIME, and I refuse to fall back into my old eating disorder ways.  I'm using the my-clothes-are-getting-all-baggy method of measuring my progress for now.

Sewing and shop update. . . hello?  helloooo?

I have some other heavy-duty stuff on my plate right now, so I'm not sure when I'll update my shop.  The sheer enormity of writing all new item descriptions, styling new products, photographing and then editing hundreds of photographs... that pretty much overwhelms me just thinking about it.  I'll probably sew a wee bit when I find some snippets of time.  But in all honesty, those things are not really on my radar.  That's life.  My life, your life, our lives.  I'm sure you understand.

I'll be back soon.  I promise.
Talk to you later.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Updates all around

First, a Brendan update. . . .

sunrise on I-20

We traveled to Dallas last week for Brendan's follow-up.  Heading out well before dawn, we made the trip there and back in a day, with Henry and Matthew tagging along.  Henry doesn't like to sit still, but he enjoyed himself, just the same.  And miraculously, NO migraine for me at all.  My ears did their weird roaring thing when we got home, for about 12 hours, but no head-splitting pain, so I'd call the trip a success.

one of our many stops along the way, 
so Henry could stretch his little legs

We met with Brendan's new orthopedic surgeon (his other surgeon retired in December) and we were impressed with both his bedside manner and his credentials.  I like that he has very similar (if not the same) treatment philosophies as the other surgeon.  His other surgeon is still involved in Brendan's care as a consultant, and he, as well as the new surgeon and physical therapists, all continue to be amazed by Brendan's progress. . . .

He's completely off of his crutches now, and by tomorrow, he'll be out of his leg brace for good! 

The doctors are already discussing a quadricepsplasty for the other leg, perhaps in a few months.  I think we'll be ready, as we now know a little more of what to expect.

Sewing updates. . . .

I've managed to sew a bit in the evenings and on the weekends.  Here, I collaborated with my oldest daughter, Emily, on a messenger bag for COLLEGE.  Did you read that?  My baby is in COLLEGE.  *sigh*  Anyway. . . .

This messenger bag is made from reclaimed khaki pants, a super-frumpy suit jacket, and some rescued pink striped cotton.  Heavily inspired by this bag, I made the basic applique on the flap from felt and the suit fabric, and Emily embroidered all the details.  She loves it!

I've finally finished two (of the four) diaper bags.
Sorry about the crummy pics. . . .

These bags are made from an out-of-print Michael Miller baby print, lots of vintage linens, and some cotton quilting prints. Both are lined with gorgeous blue vintage linens.  Very sweet!  My sister-in-law loves hers (the top one,) and the second one will be listed in my shop shortly.

For my sanity, I took a little break from the diaper bag marathon to whip up a little messenger bag. . . .

sneak peek!

It's almost finished, and it's destined for my shop when it's done!  :)

And since it's February. . . .

Join us on instagram for The Idea Room's monthly photography challenge!  Fun fun fun!

I'll be back next Thursday with a new installment of sewing with thrifted materials.   Hopefully I'll be posting here before then, but meanwhile be sure to check out the sweet new tattoo heart tutorial that I posted yesterday!  :)
Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tattoo heart onesie tutorial

Henry neeeeeded a new shirt for Valentine's Day, and I wanted a design that could be worn long after the holiday.  I decided on a felt heart applique, with an embroidered banner in a flash tattoo-ish style.  I want to share the how-to with you, so you can make one for your little sweetheart, too!

I chose a t-shirt for Henry, but a onesie would be an awesome choice for this project as well!  Black or navy blue shirts would look adorable with this applique, too; I think Henry needs a black one next.

You can also choose any colors for your felt and embroidery floss, but I chose red and white felt, and black floss for my design.  You can also use a different name or word than "MOM" or "DAD," or a different font than I've included here.  There are a lot of cool, free tattoo-style fonts available!  So many possibilities!

Now, don't be afraid -- the embroidery part is easy.  Beginner level!  I promise!  I will link each individual stitch I mention below to clear instructions, which will open in a new window for you.

Let's get started!

Gather. . . .

You'll need:
  • my free pattern (it's a pdf, and you can print it HERE or HERE)
  • pre-washed onesie or shirt
  • 4.5" square of red felt
  • 3" x 6.5" piece of white felt
  • sewable fusing / bonding product, such as Heat'n Bond
  • black embroidery floss
  • washable or disappearing marking pen (like these)
  • pen or pencil
  • scrap cotton fabric / press cloth
  • tape
  • scissors
  • needle
  • iron
  • sewing machine
  • thread in your color preference (red, white and/or black)
Prepare. . . .

Make sure your shirt is pre-washed.  Otherwise, shrinkage disasters could be very possible.

Print your pattern.  Cut out your heart and banner patterns, and be sure to save the "MOM" or "DAD" section (template) for later.

Transfer. . . .

To transfer MOM or DAD to the felt banner, you can do this in one of two ways:
1.  Easiest:  Free-hand it.  Just write it however you want, using the disappearing ink pen, or you can use the template you printed as a lettering style guide.
2.  Trace it.  Tape the template onto a bright window.  Now, tape the felt over the template, centering your word on the felt, and carefully trace the word using the disappearing ink pen.  It won't be easy to see through the felt, but you'll get a general idea of the letters.  

Once you've finished, take down the felt and template, and referring back to the template, make any necessary adjustments in your letters.

Embroider. . . .

Using three strands of floss, embroider your word onto the banner.  You can use a simple back stitch, stem stitch or split stitch.  Use whatever is comfortable for you.  Fill in the heavy parts of the letters with a satin stitch, or more split stitches.  (I've linked to clear tutorials for the stitches mentioned. . .  clicking on them will open a new window for you.)  

* Use small stitches for your letters.

back stitch... small stitches

* Don't stretch the thread over great distances in the back of the felt.  The black thread would show through the front.
* Outline each letter individually first.

* Stop (knot) after each letter for a neater finish.

* Fill in heavy areas of lettering last.

I stink at pretty satin stitching, so I just fill it in with long stitches.  :)

Once you've finished the embroidery, remove any traces of the disappearing ink from the felt, using manufacturer's directions.  (Usually, dabbing with a damp, clean cloth will remove the ink. . . .)

Let it dry.   If you don't get the ink out, the next step (heat) could set the ink permanently into the felt.  You don't want that!  :(

Fuse. . . .

Cut a 4" x 4" piece of fusing product (like sewable Heat'n Bond) for the heart, and a 2.5" x 6" piece for the banner.

GLUE SIDE DOWN, PAPER SIDE UP, center the fusing product on the felt, and following manufacturer's directions, fuse it to the felt (making sure it's the BACK SIDE of the white piece.)

Let cool a moment.

Trace. . . .

For the heart. . . .

Place the heart pattern printed side down onto the paper side of the red felt, and trace the heart onto the paper.

For the banner. . . .

Flip the white felt piece to felt side up, and using the disappearing ink, trace the banner pattern onto the  felt, centering the lettering in the banner as best as you can.

TIP:  Hold the felt and pattern piece up to the light, to help the lettering show through the paper pattern for easier placement.  Remember that the disappearing ink will be removed, and felt is forgiving, so make adjustments / redraws if you need to.  No worries!

Cut and peel. . . .

Cut out both felt pieces.  Once again, remove the ink from the felt.

Carefully peel off the paper backing.  You've basically made a giant iron-on!

Iron. . . .

Give your shirt a quick press.

Place the red felt heart on your shirt, felt side up, GLUE SIDE DOWN, and centered towards the top.

Cover with a press cloth, and with a hot steam iron (refer to your own fusible product's instructions) bond the heart to the shirt.  Let cool.

Now, place the white banner on the heart.  Look back at the paper pattern -- the rectangular marks denote exactly where the banner should be placed.

Cover with a press cloth, and iron the banner in place.  Let cool.

Referring to the paper banner pattern, mark the banner fold using the disappearing ink if you want them on your applique.

Sew. . . .

This next part isn't hard, but you do want to sew carefully and slowly. 

As for thread colors, you can choose all black thread for the design, or red for the heart, black for the banner (like I did.)

If your sewing machine has a removable table / arm, remove it now for easier sewing.

Open the shirt from the bottom, and slide it over your sewing machine arm, and under the needle.

Sew the banner first using black thread.  Sew along the outer edge of the banner felt piece, as close to the edge as you feel comfortable, 1/8" or less.

***I made the mistake of sewing the banner fold lines first.  Definitely sew the fold lines AFTER you sew the outline of the banner, for a neater, less... wonky... finish.

Now, sew the heart, using your choice of red or black thread, again stitching very close to the edge.

* Be sure to make a reinforcing stitch (one back-and-forth) when you start and when you stop. 
* Make sure you keep an eye on where the back and bottom of the shirt are while you're sewing.  You don't want to catch them in your stitches!  (Don't ask me how I know....)

* Try not to pull on or stretch the onesie as you're sewing.  By sewing slowly, gently guiding the fabric, and allowing the feed dogs to bring your fabric through, you'll prevent most stretching and warping.  A little stretch is OK, and knit is a wee bit forgiving, but you want to avoid the pulling and stretching if you can.   
* For sharp points and corners. . .

1.  stop at the point / corner with the needle down in the felt
2.  lift the presser foot
3.  pivot your fabric
4.  lower the presser foot, and continue sewing.

Trim your threads, or pull them through to the back and trim there for a neater finish.

Give another quick press and. . .

We're done!

If you have any questions or suggestions about the tutorial or the process, I'd love to hear them in the comments below!  Have fun and enjoy!

I'll be back tomorrow with a Brendan update!  Talk to you later!