Sunday, October 19, 2014

The calm before the storm

after pre-op, a relaxing evening stroll, enjoying the Texas sunset

THE SURGERY is tomorrow, and I think we're as ready as we humanly can be.  He's more ready than I am, but that's how it goes with moms, I think.  We met with a dozen different personnel and departments on Friday. . . .

We've been informed of every possible scenario and outcome, perhaps, and signed more consent forms than I could have imagined possible.  We're praying for less pain and more leg stability and functioning.  If that's the eventual outcome, then the surgery will be a success.

While waiting for Monday. . . .

We're staying with one of my sweet, gracious sisters while waiting for THE SURGERY.  Brendan is watching lots of football, resting his leg.  I got to visit one of my old thrift store haunts. . . .

this is where it all began. 

HEAVEN.  We don't have thrift stores like this out in west Texas.  Not. even. close.  Of course we found a few monstrosities, like this catty gem. . . .

BRRRREEOOW MEOW.  so ugly, it makes me smile.

But this. . . .

. . . this makes the digging SO worth it.  Three yards of new, pristine Amy Butler Lotus Morning Glory print, plus a couple of yards of new fleece (not shown,) bundled together for a paltry FOUR BUCKS.  Super-score!

And then there's this. . . .

many thanks to my other amazing sister, 
for sending me updates and reminders like this!

 I'm away, and they don't understand.  I've never been away from the home for an extended amount of time.  This is so hard on everyone.  But I'm so, so thankful for smart phones. . . .

This jumble of noise and confusion and smiles and squeals melts my heart, and makes this separation more bearable.  

Not easy, but bearable.  And hopefully, worth it.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dog toys and barking babies

Henry woke up wheezing and coughing (barking, really,) early Sunday morning.  He went into respiratory distress -- twice -- while in the ER.

We spent the rest of the day in a hospital room, watching and waiting.  He has an airway defect, laryngomalacia, which results in the narrowing of his airway.  Mix in some moderate croup, and we had a dangerous situation.  He's still wheezing a bit, so he's taking steroids for the next few days.

Thankfully, he's slowly on the mend.

Other barking. . . .

Our goofy rescue dog, Maybe, needed some new chew toys, but I'm too cheap to spend $10+ on something she's just going to destroy.  (Especially when pet toys are generally pretty simple to make.)  So I turned to trusty ol' Pinterest, and found this cool step-by-step photo tutorial on how to make a 4-strand rope toy.  It's really easy (and fun!) once you get the hang of it!  I used two old t-shirts to make mine.  They whip up in no time at all!

even easier and faster to make when you don't 
have an adorable helper like mine.

And since you're only cutting a few inches off the bottom of your t-shirt, why not make it into an eco-friendly shopping tote while you're at it?  I mean, this took me all of 4 fat minutes to make.  Cut the sleeves.  Cut the neckline.  Sew the bottom.  BOOM.  DONE.

But I digress.

The red t-shirt I used had a tag on the side seam, which made the braiding a little wonky for some reason.

 No worries. . . . I don't think Maybe noticed.

I have a whole Pinterest board full of pet-friendly crafts and treats, if you're interested!

Have you ever made pet toys or treats?  What tutorials did you use?  Leave a link in the comments below. . .  I'm always looking for new tutes to try! 

Talk to you soon!

P.S.  If you don't mind, please say a little prayer for Henry.  I'd be so grateful. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

I have Something to say

Did you know that when I was younger, I wanted to be a writer?  Writing came easy for me, and I loved everything about it... the brainstorming, the organizing and planning, the spilling over of words and colors and ideas onto paper / computer screen, and the rush of it all coming together.  Even the ruthless editing!  LOVE!  I shared that dream with one of my daughters yesterday, and she asked me why I never wrote anything.  I thought about it a minute, and shrugged, "I never had anything to say."

I never had anything to say.

Liar.  I mean, you're reading this, now, on a blog, so that's something.  But does it have to be epic and life-changing, the great American novel, to be something?

I'll be honest.  I started this blog, years ago, because someone told me it would help my brand-new business.

I kept blogging, because it helped me find my voice that I didn't know I had.  

Then I kept blogging because I met and connected with some super people:  you, my readers.

And then I sorta blogged, because I had to.

And then I half-assed blogged, because I thought it would save my shriveling business.

And now I never blog, because I have nothing to say.

Or maybe I don't blog because it's hard, and there are hard things to say or see or look at with honesty and sincerity, and I don't feel like saying or seeing or looking, at least not here.  I reckon most others don't, either.

I reckon people want pretty and easy, even if it's not really real.

just some stuff for our classroom

this used to be my sewing room.

Is there a reason to blog about real?  Because this is real:

the genius idea to mini-renovate / shuffle 3 rooms. at once.  
which includes moving my sewing room to a detached building.
days before company was expected to arrive.

And this:

the "before," of where my sewing room was moved to.

 in transition / pit stop in the dining room.

 the "after," in all of its hoarder-themed glory.

And this:

just breakfast.  cake for breakfast, but still.

and let's not forget this:

my daughter's recent car accident, where she flipped a truck 
with her little Camry.  they walked away relatively unscathed.

we're big toyota fans now.

So if you're still here, and still reading, I'm going to blog real for awhile.  Because my life is about to get REALLY REAL, and I don't have the energy for any fake-ass pretty blogging.  So be warned. Maybe I'll see you soon.

I hope so.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fabric Friday and a WIP

Currently up on the cutting table. . . .

 Some more ideas and pairings for upcoming totes and bags

And I recently found this gorgeous hand-dyed cotton fabric yardage at the thrift store. . . .

dreaming up the perfect use for this.

And  the WIP. . . .

An in-progress shot of my current project (the boob scarves). . . .

during the fleece cutting stage

I'm constructing them sweat-shop style, so all quantities of each step are completed at once before moving on to the next step.  Not as much fun as making each one from start to finish, but it sure is efficient when you want to make multiples of something.  Since I'm almost finished with them, the tote / bag / surprise sewing will soon begin.  YAY!

What are you working on today?  Any crafty plans for this weekend?

Talk to you soon!  :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Car seat cover remake: a tutorial review

Three days before Henry's arrival, I decided he'd need a new car seat cover.  There was nothing wrong with Monkey 9's old one; I just wanted a cover with bright, happy colors!  I took to Pinterest, and came across a tutorial by Make It and Love It.


The tutorial, I mean.  Well, and the car seat cover, too, but the tutorial is pretty darn painless.  The author's pictures are clear, and her instructions are easy to follow.  I would recommend this tutorial for intermediate sewists, just because of the bulk and wrangling that I had to do to sew the all the fabric layers together.  (I also recommend not waiting until the last 72 hours of gestation to begin a project such as this.  The thought that I might not finish it in time was a little stress-inducing....)

click on any photo to enlarge to see more details

In the tutorial, you will use the original car seat cover as a pattern for the new one, and attach the new fabric directly onto the old one.  I loved this process for simplicity's sake, but also for the safety factor involved. Since you're merely attaching more fabric to the cover, you're not changing its design integrity in any way.

*** Please do your own research and use your best judgment on remaking car seat covers.  Some have said that this voids the manufacturer's warranty, and some are of the opinion that this renders the car seat unsafe. I am obviously of a different opinion on that last bit, which is why I made the new cover.  So use your best judgment, folks. ***

2 1/2 weeks old, right after Monkey 4's bone surgery

Following the tutorial's instructions. . . .

I deconstructed the existing car seat cover.

 I was SO lucky that there were so few pieces involved!

I took notes and made markings directly on the back of the cover.  No one would see it!

 LOTS of notes. . .

Then, I constructed my new cover fabric panels.  I wanted patchwork, so I used some cotton batik and a gorgeous Spoonflower elephant print fabric. . . .

pieced and pressed.

I used reclaimed denim for the middle panels.  I wanted something strong and tough, but soft to the touch. The denim was perfect!

I used the basic idea of QAYG (Quilt As You Go) to attach the new fabric to the old cover.  I added one panel / pattern piece at a time, stitching it firmly and securely in place, directly on top of the old cover.  I then adding topstitching for details and additional security.

you can see the QAYG process in-progress on the right-hand piece.  I attached the center denim panel first, then added the two side patchwork panels, finishing off each panel with lots of topstitching.

patchwork, topstitched and pressed

I don't have any in-progress photos of the assembly of the car seat cover.  Which is probably a good thing. No one wants to see a huge, sweaty pregnant woman wrestling with her sewing machine.  Those last layers (the old car seat + new fabric + darts and folds + bias tape) were quite a beast.  Go slooowwwww.  Take your time. No rush.  Unless you waited 'til the last minute, like I did.

Next, you'll need some bias tape, to finish the car seat's edges, and to help hold everything in its proper place.  I made my own bias tape, using my favorite crafty friend, Erin's awesome tutorial.  Here's a closeup of the back of the seat (and the bias tape.)  The cover looks a little loose, but I assure you, it is not. . . .

The new cover fit perfectly, and has never, not even once, slipped off, slid down or become shifty.

finished, with about 10 hours to spare

And here it is today, 7 1/2 months later!  Grubby, in need of a good washing, and the batik has faded a little, but no weakened seams, rips or tears.

If I had it to do over again, I would NOT choose a print with a white background, and I would certainly NOT place it on the high traffic (or scuff-prone) areas, such as the head rest or the "bumper" areas.  What was I thinking?!

White background aside, I LOVED this cover, and highly recommend Make It and Love It's tutorial if you decide to make your own!

Have you ever sewn / recovered a car seat cover?  What tutorial did you use, or did you just wing it?  Any tips?

Talk to you soon!