Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Waiting for Pearls...

Three years ago (tomorrow), I remember placing a very delicate piece of jewelry on my neck for our wedding day - my late Grandmother's pearls.  As if the day wasn't special enough, wearing Grandmother's pearls made me feel like a rare princess...and I was going to meet my prince at the end of the aisle.

All through high school and college (and even after college), I marched through the season of "singlehood" with some pride, but a lot of heartache.  I questioned a lot of who I was, what I could offer someone, and if that prince would ever find me.  I withheld one relationship my sophomore year, but it ended in tears and more questioning.  Throughout my entire 4 1/2 years at Texas A&M, I remained single (by the way, I want to give a MAJOR shout out to our football team last weekend - WHOOP!).

Anyway, back to pearls...

I remember watching friends wear engagement rings and fancy dresses on all kinds of dates with their significant others, while I stayed in pajamas and watched reruns of Dawson's Creek.  I hate to sound so dramatic, but it was true.  I wanted to become someone's wife, and for a while, I didn't know if it would happen.  But, Jesus had someone waiting in the wings...just waiting to sweep me off my feet.

In 2008, Jeff likes to say he came riding on his horse to whisk me away.  And, he did.  Although it wasn't necessarily love at first sight - it was surely a match made from Heaven, and I didn't see it until it was right in front of my face.  After our first date, I felt like I was in Heaven...in love.  Some would disagree that it could happen that fast, but it did with me, with us.  I knew after one date of playing miniature golf, dining over my favorite meal - Italian food, and spending the rest of the evening playing with our wins from golf - I knew he was "the one."  

Now, three years later after our wedding, my prince still manages to whisk me away.  Last night, he gave me my precious pearls.  I opened two jewlery boxes with 1 set of earrings and a beautiful necklace...and he reminded me several times, "They. are. real."

If you're a lady and feel defeated, don't forget your pearls could be waiting just around the corner.  I promise they (he) is worth all the wait.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Throwing in the Towel

Shopping for Father's Day gifts is always a challenge.  You could say, each year I'm always ready to "throw in the towel".  Quite honestly, purchasing anything for the male in your family is nearly impossible - unless you go with the traditional gift card, tool box, or fishing gear.  Except, my Dad doesn't fish (often), he isn't really a "mechanical" guy and I'm really tired of picking up anymore Best Buy or Starbuck's as the "go-to" gift card for him.  It has nothing personal do with my Dad, my hubs or any other man in my life; men are just plain hard to shop for, right?  Can I get a holla' back on this one from my girls out there?

This year, I was going big, or going back to the gift card aisle.


After doing a little online research, I found a few ideas.  I came across this blog that gives you a great tutorial on creating a golf towel for that special guy in your life.  Perfect - my Dad DOES golf, so this was hitting the jackpot!  After picking up a few things at Hancock's and rummaging through the sale bins, I found some great fabric and pulled Sal (my sewing machine) back out to stretch her legs again.  

                                         What you need:
"Manly" Fabric (about 1/2 yard)Soft Fabric - terry cloth or I actually used flannel (about 1/2 yard)
Grommet Kit (instructions are clearly outlined on the back on how to use this fancy tool)
Hook to match your Grommet Kit
Thread to match your fabric
Iron-on letter (optional)


It went off with a hit - no pun intended!  I know Pops is swinging better, hitting further and you can definitely make bets that his game has improved with this little beauty by his side. 

I know Father's Day seems like it was ages ago - but life has happened in between the last couple of months and I've been sewing like crazy with my new little sewing busy.  Check us out Etsy or "like" us on Facebook to receive an extra discount when you shop! 




Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Swinging Doors

Picture from mysafetysign.com

For years now, people have encouraged and at times, offered a challenge that has stuck with me for years.  "The Lord opens and the Lord closes doors."  A solid truth that always reminded me of God's faithfulness in the midst of difficult times, but lately has posed some questions.  For doors to close or open, they must swing, right? Lately, I have felt more like I'm in a diner with constant swinging doors than perhaps a still, closed door or a friendly "welcome, please come inside," kind-of-door.  Ever felt that way?  Just when you feel the door open, it slams shut...or when it begins to close, BAM, you're surprised at the entrance waiting.  If you've spent any time in a Christian community, or let's be honest a "Christian Bubble", you know exactly what kind of language I'm speaking...

Let me be frank for a moment.  I believe that my God truly delights in pleasing His children and seeing us thrive in our environments.  I also believe that He views our environments very differently than you and me.  I'll share a quick testimony.  I have walked on an incredible journey with the Lord for many years now.  There have been opportunities I never thought I would have.  My time with Heartlight Ministries and currently with Mercy Ships has been nothing short of a testament to God's faithfulness and love.  Meeting my incredible husband and falling in love was a fairytale I never thought I would have the chance to witness, much less live out and serving the Lord in full-time ministry at Heartlight and with Mercy Ships has been a blessing and honor.  The Lord's eyes definitely saw more than I did before I took my last steps in Aggieland as a student.  The "doors" have been narrow, and at other times, have seemed W-I-D-E and inviting.  The path wasn't always straight and smooth, but it has led to times of growth, maturity and a very real and authentic relationship with Christ - something I would never, ever trade. 

Without sharing too many personal steps in this journey, I have learned that although I believe in this traditional saying, I also wholeheartedly believe that we are all on a path with swinging doors - in transition times - times of spills, falls, and at the very least - occasional and total wipe-outs.

The highlight is:  there is always an opportunity for your door to swing open again or perhaps an opportunity for you to see something else on the other side of your doorway that you didn't see before. Be encouraged, friends.  If you're in the "swinging" part of your journey, know you are not alone.  You never know when doors will open again or which entrance will serve as a new entryway, it could very well be the same one you're trying to close... 


Friday, July 13, 2012

Rockin', Rollin' and SEWIN'...

Never in a MILLION, TRILLION years would I have guessed that I would be telling you, my blogging family, about a small little business of mine.  Wait, let's rewind - blog and business.  Those two "b" words were never in my vocabulary before.  It's been so thrilling to introduce these two words into my language!  Who would have thought that Mom's Christmas purchase in 2011 would turn into the best gift that kept giving in 2012?

After week one of opening my Southern Sewendipity Facebook page, I have completed 8 orders of custom, homemade clutches for 2 sisters, 2 co-workers, 1 out-of-state friend, 1 "2nd mother", and 2 girlfriends.  Believe it or not, I just confirmed 1 additional order for another.  The world of technology and word-of-mouth is a girl's best friend when it comes to advertising her favorite accessory.  In the world of marketing and accessories, 8 is a small, very tiny number in comparison to companies like Coach or Vera Wang.  But, let's face it - I'm just a Southern girl, in a small town, just doing what she loves.  So, eat your heart out, Vera!  I see eight as the new 1K!  

Lessons learned so far:


  1. Don't be afraid to "take the plunge", even it means standing at the edge for a long time.  Don't watch what everyone else is doing...you'll jump when you're ready.  
  2. Practice.  You learn more with every step. 
  3. Ask for help.  There are many people willing to give you great advice.  
  4.  Let your creativity flow...sewing leaves the door WIDE open to create things that reflect you.  Take advantage of allowing this opportunity to show others a side they may have never seen before.
                                                                  and....
  5. Don't forget to HAVE FUN.  Sewing has become a hobby for me.  Something I enjoy doing when everything else around me isn't enjoyable.  Don't let it become "homework." 
 I think it's time to introduce Southern Sewendipity's line-up.  I think they are a pretty fabulous crew, don't you? 

(Don't forget, you can inquire more with our Etsy Shop: here and visit us on Facebook here):

"Wild Thang"




The "Su-Su" clutch (named after my Mom a.k.a Su-Su)



"Southern Belle"






























"Chevron"
"Summer Sky"

















Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Addicted

You may remember my post here when I introduced the wonderful world of clutches, or at least, the homemade kind.  I didn't realize at the time, I would fall so IN LOVE with them and making them.  I carry mine around like a champ.  I don't know what it is that has me so hooked in creating such a fabulous accessory, but it's totally my favorite sewing homework assignment right now.

Since creating my black and red beauty in April, I have made three others:  one for Mom, one for a dear friend and just finished one last night for my sister!  If had more fabric, believe me - a fourth would have made its debut.  Over the last month, I have learned the fun in making each purse one-of-a-kind.  Between choosing your fabric to picking out your pattern for the "flap" verses your "purse" and my latest addition:  a little embellishment.  The ways to make a Southern Sewendipity clutch are endless!  


Here are the final products:

 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dancers and Leaders

Most people that know me, unfortunately quickly learn that my biggest weakness is the need to control.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have thrived on organization, structure and at the very least, the need to have a clean room.  Anything less was always unsettling to my young mind.  At 29, not much has changed and sadly, some of those tendencies have only worsened over the years.  Last week (and since writing this, today again), I experienced one of those realizations where it was finally time to make a trade:  control for freedom.

When I married my handsome groom 2 1/2 years ago, I realized that control was not really welcomed in a marriage.  He is one of the most patient men I know and thankfully has put up with my shenanigans over the last few years, especially when I wanted things done on my time and my way.  (Yes, selfishness seems to be a weakness, too.  I think control and selfishness must go hand-in-hand.  Go figure.)  Just in case you are newly married and want to tell your husband to pick up socks again or re-clean something, it's not worth it.  In fact, it can be border-line disrespectful, in my opinion.  Control can be a messy thing - and can corrupt your life.  Don't let it creep into your marriage, your workspace, or any other area of your life.  In the end, I have learned that control seems to be one of those battles that I have struggled with for years - even before Jeff was in the picture. 

My expectations were set above any bar and in order to reach them, it was as if I had to climb 1,000 staircases to even touch the first floor.  This led to sleepless nights, headaches, unhappy moments, and many tearful conversations.  It was not only wearing to my mind, it was damaging my heart.  It shouldn't surprise you that I realized last last week that I have lived many (unprofitable) years mentally exhausted, trying to control things that are out of total reach and simply just out of my control.  A hard lesson for such a stubborn soul to see.  Never was anything "in my control" to begin with anyway, except maybe the occasional disciplines like brushing your teeth or perhaps learning to study for a test weeks in advance rather than the night before?  Nonetheless, I look back at my life and review the blessings, the very unfortunate heartaches and believe this: 
It is always the best policy to trust Jesus. He will consistently take better care of our hearts and plans better than we ever could or ever will. Sounds so cliche, right?  But, so full of truth, friends!  The best part?  When He takes the lead, you will find yourself in a place of true freedom, and I believe there is no better place to live.  How many years have I been living in mental bondage, when all I needed was a time of surrender to my Savior?  I hate to even start calculating the math.  

Last Thursday, as I was cleaning, I landed on one of our music channels and found this catchy tune.  When I paused to listen to the lyrics, I couldn't help but giggle at the thought of the Lord saying, "This is for you."  I took a moment from cleaning and re-played it a few times - and found myself dancing with zero inhibitions.  Talk about a whole other kind of freedom! 




My favorite part of this song is not only the title, "You Lead," but the end of the chorus:  "I know what you've got for me, is more than I can see."  I kept thinking that as I moved around my living room.  How much greater are His plans than ours and what He has for us is more than we can see?  It reminds me of childhood, when all you wanted was to climb over the fence just to see the animals at the zoo, but Mom or Dad stopped you because what they saw on the other side, was far more dangerous than what you could see on your side.  Or what about the time as a young adult when you wanted so badly to date "Joe" or "Sue", but "someone" else saw him for what he/she was and chose to protect your heart instead or perhaps just had someone better for you around the corner?  As a Christian, I believe my path is directed by someone greater and His eyes see more than me.  I realize there will be bumps, STOP signs, and many "uneven" roads along the way, but I trust Him.  I give Him the control. 

I don't know where you are in your walk with Christ, or maybe you haven't yet given your life to Him or entrusted your path to His leadership.  But, let me tell you, there is some serious freedom when you give that up.  So much is completely out of our control.  I encourage you to live in freedom and allow Him to take the lead, I promise you - you won't regret it. 

 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Magical Moments and Fried Okra - A Tribute to Mothers













You may remember back in April, I wrote a little something to honor my amazing mother, here
.  In celebration of Mother's Day, I feel it's only appropriate to share about the other special women in my life.  My heart continues to remain full as I watch the blessings overflow in my heart when I think about all the mothers in my life.  In particular, I think back on November 14, 2009 when I officially became a 3rd daughter to my fabulous Mother-in-Law and for the years of my on-going, wonderful relationship with my amazing sister who became a Mother last year.  Today, I dedicate this post to them!

Colleen, my older (and only) sister, became official "Momma" to Tatum Lynn Carroll on February 2, 2011.  I'll never forget the day this little miracle came into our worlds.  Weighing in at 7 lbs, 15 oz., and 20 inches long, Tatum stole every heart that laid eyes on her.  She. Was. Beautiful. That day was unforgettable for many reasons, but one reason I will never forget is how my sister looked the very first time I saw her holding our new little bundle of joy.  She was glowing - beaming really.  I had never seen my sister with this look before.  I remember trying to "soak" in the moment.  Looking at Colleen and watching my niece so delicately gaze at her new Momma for the first time, was, well, magical....

Their connection was instant.  They say newborns can't really see - but for reasons I can't explain, I believe she saw Colleen.  Of course, I cried like a baby and tried so desperately to snap a picture of this moment that will forever be engrained on my heart, but I failed.  I just remember not wanting to take my eyes off my sister - as a new Mom - and my gorgeous new niece.  (I'm so glad Melissa - Colleen's best friend - captured it on camera so I can re-live it by picture, although this snapshot will never quite give that moment appropriate justice).   

Ever since that day, I have continued to witness my sister be one incredible Mom to our Tatum, every reason why little "Tay" will always want to hold her gaze on Momma...

Colleen has taken care of kids that were not hers for as long as I can remember. She stole the hearts of countless families for the times she loved, cared for, and nurtured their little loved ones.  She made a career of it and traveled to states near and far to carry the title of "nanny".  She spent time holding, calming, teaching, playing, and spending hours with kids - she was a second "Mom" to so many.  She played the role of big sister famously and made sure I was taken care of, too, especially on stormy nights when this kid just couldn't quite get to sleep.  Nurture was Colleen's second nature - no doubt about that.  Last year, she finally became Momma to a beautiful little girl.  Now, she spends countless hours bathing, holding, reading, teaching, playing, and loving on our sweet Tatum - and she does it beautifully and with complete humility.  Tatum is one of THE happiest babies I have ever seen and I give Colleen the credit.  What a fabulous job you have done with your own.  I am so proud to call you sister, friend, and now Mom to Tatum Lynn.  I love you!
Have you seen a happier baby?
I remember meeting Edie for the first time when Jeff and I were dating.  She ordered fried okra at a local restaurant and I instantly fell in love.  Not just because she ordered fried okra (one of my very favorite guilty pleasures) but because she had a smile that could warm your heart.  I felt an instant bond and knew we would be friends! 

Most people reluctantly share stories about their dreaded "in-laws" and visits home to see them.  I, on the other hand, have the blessing to call mine friends.  I have the blessing to call mine true family

In Edie's home, there is always room for one more, there is always food on the table and you better believe there will always be a hug to greet you.  She sets the example of a servant's heart and a humble spirit.  She loves people and she certainly loves her family - and she'll tell you that.  She will go to bat for them, too.  Sound familiar?  Yes - my mother and Edie are strangely alike and I don't doubt for a second God didn't have this in mind when he orchestrated his plan for Jeff and me to marry.  He's good like that, isn't He?

My most favorite thing about Edie is simply that she loves with every bone in her body.  She loves others more than herself and she'll do anything, for anyone, at any time.  When I think of Edie, I think of service and love.  My heart is full at the thought of God placing her in my life.
Thank you, Edie for being more than just another Mother-in-Law.  And, thank you for always sharing a good bowl of fried okra with me.  

My Mom?  What else can I say that I haven't already?  She makes me want to be a better wife and I only hope I'm half the Mother to my kids that she has been to Colleen and 
 me.  I love her more than cheeseburgers, a clean house, fresh flowers, and even fried okra.  You are, indeed, a blessing from above.  I love you! 
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY
to Colleen, Edie, and Mom!


I love you!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

From Old to New: A Throw Pillow

For months now, I've had my eye on the dreaded, boring, wide-striped, brown and green throw pillow in my guest bedroom.  A few years ago, it was a total steal at Target.  I loved it.  However, since my sewing ventures, I've wanted to really tackle it and convert it into something new and fresh for my bedroom (now in greys, blues and black).  This Saturday was another Sewing Circle day and a perfect opportunity to take on the challenge. 

The girls and I sat around as I pulled the pillow out among the sea of fabrics - you should have "seen" the wheels turning!  To re-cover it seemed like the easiest choice, but no one knew how to sew in a zipper and to make an outside stitch wasn't appealing to me or anyone else.  Then, it was like the silent wheels in our heads stopped and one spoke up and asked, "What about ties?"  Perfect.  That'll do it.  Our beloved teacher was unable to attend last minute, so it was up to us to help each other in completing each project: a few square pillows, 1 tie throw pillow (my project), a duvet cover, and the most grueling?  Recovering a couch.  Yes.  You read that correctly.  One of us decided to take the plunge and wanted to re-cover an old couch.  Let's just say I'm glad I'm not giving you a tutorial post on how to make covers for your cushions.  (Now, just in case your wheels are turning concerning my friend's supply list, she did not lug the couch to Sewing Circle - she only brought two cushions for measuring.  Rest assure, we're ambitious ones, but still very much girls in the truest sense when it comes to carrying our supplies to class).

For my project, all you really need is a throw pillow, some fabric (about 1/2 - 1 yard, depending on the size of your pillow, of course) and some thread.  Easy, peasy!

How To:

1. Cut your fabric to cover your pillow - make sure you leave enough on the sides to make holes for your ties.  Then make a nice fold with the side you want showing together:









2.  Sew your seams.  They should look something like this: 









3.  Next, measure (mine were about 24" each in length) and sew your ties. This was a little bit more time consuming than I had anticipated.  But, totally worth it.  You may choose to leave them with a frayed look and that is totally acceptable.  It all depends on the "look" you're wanting with your pillow.  I desired a more polished throw, while others may want a more rugged, unfinished look - which I think could look just as great (and certainly way less time consuming)!


















4.  Now, you're ready to stuff your pillow in your new lining to prep for the tie holes.  I took my trusty tape measure to see exactly where I wanted the holes.  I decided on two on each side for now, especially after sewing those pesky ties.
 
Then, I took my pins and used those as markers for where I wanted them. 

5.  I'm not proud of this moment - but I decided to make a small cut for each of the 4 holes.  I haven't conquered the world of button holes on my machine, but I will and I'm sure I'll fall in love with it.  But, until that day arrives, I settled for a simple, very unprofessional "half-moon-fold-material-together" kind of cut.  And, I think it worked out just fine.  Besides, no one can really see the unpolished holes because the ties are that adorable, don't you think?









6.  The last step is to put your ties through your holes and simply tie a knot or a bow - the choice is yours, my friend!  Clearly, my very outdated iPhone takes poorer pictures than my digital camera.  Lesson learned.

Friday, May 4, 2012

When the New Carpet Smell Fades...

For several months now, the hubs and I have worked diligently on bringing serious love to our home that desperately needed it when she called our names in October of 2010.  Between ripping out walls, sanding cabinets, tiling, scraping ceilings, and one of my favorite stages - enjoying the smell of new carpet - one thing I have so humbly learned is this:  Your house will never truly be your home, until you see the importance of those you're sharing it with. 
Jeff and I have only been married a little over two years now - some may say we're still very much in the "honeymoon stage".  We started our first year of marriage with moving cities (or from one city to a very small town), changing jobs, moving homes, and now living in a house that continuously asks for our attention daily, whether we answer her calls or not.  We quickly learned that change was everywhere: in our home, in our jobs and in our lives.  We embraced it and forged ahead...of course, I didn't quite know what I was getting into when we started the trek into the Renovation Stages...

  • There are times you flip a switch and nothing happens.
  • Water may not always be hot when you want it be.
  • Shower knobs aren't a guarantee.
  • Covering outlets is the last priority.  So are baseboards.
  • Parts of your home may be ready for stage 2, but stay in stage 1 for many months.
  • One of your rooms may quickly morph into a "tool shed" to keep track of all the crazy amounts of hammers, nails, saws, machines, carpet pieces, paint, baseboards, etc...
  • People will ask about progress and you often give the same report from the previous months, "No change."
  • And, the new carpet smell eventually fades...
For months, my O.C.D. would strike and my attitude wasn't the best, I'll admit.  I thought, "We are in way over our heads.  There is no way we'll ever finish this and will live in an unfinished house for years, and never be able to sell it."  Most of this was "internal" thinking and often shared "externally" in increments when I would see a loose plug or when all I wanted was a bath and the knob would conveniently break off.  Over time, I've realized that all of these things are just that: things.  This house has not only saved us money, it has allowed for many teenaged boys to play video games until late, hosted Bible Studies, created a safe place for youth to come over when they needed a place to vent, gathered family together, enjoyed late night rituals of Law & Order with my man, eaten meals with our church families, and taught us the blessing to receive from so many wonderful, dedicated, loving volunteers who have helped along the way to transform this place!  Who really cares if my backsplash isn't up just yet?  I still have a place to cook meals for anyone who walks in my front door.  I may not have sheet rock up in my hallway bathroom, but I DO have a new shower/bath and my heart delights when I see my nice, white, clean shower walls each day.  

And, there are some rooms that eventually receive the attention they deserve.  That fresh, new carpet smell may have faded - but it's only because we've had shoes, feet, traffic, people between the walls of our home over the last year and a half...and that I wouldn't trade for the world. 

Besides, that's what vacuums and professional carpet cleaners are for, anyway?  Right?  Nobody knows clean and organization like this gal, but don't miss out on people and relationships, because your focus becomes so involved on things.  So, whether we sell this house with every inch completed or not, I pray the next homeowners feel the love, the blessings and that they experience the kind of relationships we have built in this home, because that is what has made this house a home. 

Joshua 24:15 (NIV) "...as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

    Monday, April 30, 2012

    Eat Your Heart Out!

    Just when you think there isn't anything else you can do with your leftover scraps of fabric, "eat" your words, friends!  There is another small project just around the corner, or wall!  (Okay, I promise - no more cheesy jokes.)  I found this little venture on one of my favorite blogs, A Bowl Full of Lemons.  It's easy, it's quick and my favorite part - totally affordable! 

    The original idea came from Pottery Barn's moss letters.  If you're anything like me, your eyes went straight to the price line - these babies walk out of stores at $79/each!  Can you believe it?  Now, don't get me wrong, I delight in walking the aisles of Pottery Barn, but I can only dream of decorating my home at prices like that.  In true D.I.Y. style, A Bowl Full of Lemons took the idea and made it something people like me could fashion in a home like mine. 

    Supply It:
    • Three letters, "E" "A" "T" - I scooped these up at Hobby Lobby for $2.47 here.  Now, can you believe that price?
    • Hot glue
    • Fabric scraps of your choice
    • Ribbon
    • Scissors  
    • Nail & hammer
     Let's Do This:
    1. Lay your fabric out and cut around the letters, giving some extra fabric to fold over the back.
    2. Take your glue gun and fold the pieces over as if you're wrapping a gift.  Note:  During this stage - be forgiving.  The corners are hard to perfect. 
    3. Once you've allowed your letters to cool and the fabric is set, take your ribbon and make a long loop and tie a nice bow to hang your letters.  I use the glue gun again to paste the ribbon on the back of each letter.  So easy!
    4. Take your wall of choice, your nail, and hammer that little beauty in.  Stagger, space and shazam, friends!  You have a nice little addition to your kitchen wall.  
    5. Easy as E-A-T!
    6. Now...what to cook?



        







    Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    Clutch Me

    Every lady needs a clutch - a small "handbag without handles".  I love them, especially when painting the town red or having a glass of wine with my girlfriends.  For whatever reason, they make you feel dainty and more girly.  If you don't have one, make one!  I used the "It's So Easy It's Simplicity" pattern (to the right).  It's pattern #2906 and includes two skirts and one clutch pattern.  If you've never used this company for pattern ideas - I highly recommend them.  They're super affordable and for the most part, easy to follow.  

    The first step is to cut your fabric according to your pattern pieces.  When you have more than one item in your pattern, remember to only cut the pieces you need.  For example, in this number I only needed pieces for the purse - so make sure you leave the other pieces for the skirt to use later, if you choose to dive into sewing a skirt! 


    In this case, I needed to cut 1 piece for my lining, 2 pieces for the outside (the main color/pattern of your purse) and 2 pieces of the interfacing - what makes the purse tough to carry around those important things while you're out and about.  Make sure you mirror the triangles like you see in the picture above - this will come in handy when you have to match them up later.

    The next several steps are outlined in your pattern directions.  The finished product is well worth the cutting, sewing, lining, matching, and hours spent.  I recently carried mine to a very important afternoon meeting.  It totally pulled my outfit together and was so handy.  So, whether you're out with your honey, or just want to add a little pizazz to any outfit - go with a clutch!  I promise you won't regret it, especially when you make it yourself.  







    Friday, April 13, 2012

    Table for Two


    *I promise to get back to sewing posts - but I had to share a little piece of my heart with you after my Easter weekend*

    All of my growing up years, I cherished holidays with my family.  In fact, I still love them.  But, I will say they've changed quite a bit over the last several years since losing all four blood-related grandparents.  Both sets were the "hub" of all things holiday.  It was always one place for Christmas, another for Thanksgiving and so on... They were generally loud (in a good way) and bellies were always full (not always so good).  It was about family, food, and fellowship.  But, like I said these have changed over the years due to deaths and my new marriage. 

    As you know, my husband is a Director of Youth Ministries at our church.  You learn quickly that most major holidays are also some of the busiest times for the church.  We've missed spending holidays with family as our commitments are with our church family during these times.  At the beginning, I struggled with missing home, missing my parents, missing his parents, siblings, in-laws, all of it.  I missed Christmas Day with family.  But, to be frank, I was really missing the whole meaning of these days anyway.  Let me explain...

    What's important about holidays is not whether you're at home or not.  It's not important that you have 10 people at your table or two or about the biggest, greatest meal you can prepare - although I love every bit of these traditional holiday celebrations!  What I can tell you, for me, it's not so much about "the day" or the preparations for it. It's about the person you're celebrating.  Ever think about that when it's someone's birthday?  Just a thought...

    My Easter this year was quiet.  Jeff and I ate a wonderful meal after a long, fruitful, blessed day of worship with our church.  As I sat across the table from Jeff, I realized my table of two is enough - it always has been.  Our two dogs sat close by and we ate and reflected on the morning.  We didn't have 10 at the table, we didn't have kids running around nor did we have an extravagant meal, neither sets of our parents were able to join us.  What we DID have was time to reflect, be thankful, and enjoy celebrating the reason we have Easter - the reason we can celebrate everyday - not just on Easter, or Christmas, or Thanksgiving, or any other holiday.  He is enough.  I miss my family and wish all the time they could be here for holidays, but when we can't spend Christmas or Easter Day together, that's okay, because I can still look across the table at my family of two and celebrate what Christ as done for us.  (And, in case I'm missing the noise - you better believe I can celebrate with any of our 100ish-member congregation on any given day of the week!  In fact, we have invites every holiday to share with families in our church - what a blessing!)

    Reflecting this Easter, I've learned this:
    holidays are not about how many people are at your table, what meal you prepare, or even if you're able to be with all your family.  All these things are great and such blessings, but it's not completely the reason we celebrate.  We celebrate because of what HE has done.  So, next time you order for 10 or two, there's a reason to celebrate, because...
    He. Is. Enough.


    Next holiday, I hope to remind myself that my table is never empty and my heart is always full when I walk with Him, right?  Hebrews 13:5 "...Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you."  What a promise!  Friends - pass on the green bean casserole next year and feast on the Bread of Life - I promise it'll fill you up way more than any casserole dish or apple pie!



     

    Monday, April 9, 2012

    Celebrating Momma Bear

    Today, April 9th, marks my fabulous mother's birthday.  I celebrate her today, although she deserves honor every day, really.  She's been the best mom to my sister and me and to say she's been a wonderful wife would be an understatement.  She displays grace, beauty and faith like no other.  She protects and consoles.  She loves and adores those around her and never meets a stranger, much like her mother, I'm told.  If you've ever met my mom, you would certainly agree.  And, if you haven't met her, you should!

    A while back Mom earned her "Momma Bear" title when I was deeply hurting and in so much emotional pain.  I'll never forget the day she told me, "When my children are hurting, Momma Bear will come out."  In a moment of such distress and pain, she made me laugh.  My Mom is a gentle soul - wouldn't hurt a fly - unless you hurt her cubs and then Momma Bear comes out of her cave.  We still laugh about that day.  But, you better believe those words...



    So, today, I celebrate my Momma Bear - for the times she protected me when I needed it most.  The times she fought for me when I didn't have it in me and for the times she just listened when we both knew she really wanted to talk.  I celebrate the Mother-in-Law she was the day she humbly gave me (with my precious Father) away to my sweet husband on our wedding day and how she continues to bless our marriage with her gifts and encouraging words.  I celebrate Su-Su, the grandmother she has become to my beautiful niece, spoiling her every chance she gets.  And, for the Su-Su she will be to my future children.  (And, I expect the same amount of spoiling, too)!  I celebrate her as a wife to my Dad.  Their marriage is a true example of love and faith.  She is a true example of a Godly wife, one I hope to be to Jeff through the years. 

    And, above all, I celebrate you as Mom.  What can I say?  You are fabulous!  I love you and I know you are loved.  


    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!




    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    My Go-To

    When I'm feeling any kind of discomfort or discouragement about sewing, my go-to for sewing is to make a set of curtains.  It's the best project to stretch your sewing legs.  If you want to remind yourself that sewing isn't just about breaking a nail (or needle, for that matter) or sewing uneven lines - make curtains. 


    You learned here
    that this is initially how my I got the "itch" for sewing.  Naturally, curtains has become my "go-to" when I need a quick pick-me-up in my sewing world.

    A few tips/tricks:
    1. Always iron your fabric before you sew.  Whether it's the whole piece of fabric or your edge.  It makes a world of a difference.
    2. Always pin down the line before you sew.  It's time consuming but until you reach "Expert" status, PIN IT down, girl (or guy). 

    3. Sew an extra-line at the top of your hem for an extra "fluff" at the top.  It gives your curtains a little pizazz. (I'll add a "how-to" on this later)
    4. Remember: You have a seam-ripper for a reason.  Don't be afraid to use it.  I use mine all the time. :)
    5.  Did you know there are actual sizes to your machine's needle?  If your sewing thick fabric and want some extra muscle for your machine, trade out your needle for a stronger one.  I was sewing a thick piece of interfacing with two other pieces of fabric and using a 9 needle.  I found a 14 needle made quite the difference.  I got this information regarding Singer Sewing machine needles (below) from Wikipedia here



    Shank color Point type
    red regular, for woven
    yellow ball, for knits
    blue heavy-duty, for denim
    brown chisel, for leather
    Shoulder color Shaft size
    green 9 (thinnest)
    orange 11
    blue 14
    purple 16 (thickest)

    Whether you're sewing curtains or interfacing - remember that important piece of your machine - your needle!  Otherwise, you'll be breaking and bending needles more than you'll ever imagine.  I've already broken 1, bent 3 - all because I was using a 9 when I should have been using a 14 or 16.  
    Finished product, however, ignore our unfinished back splash, please.

    Anyone else out there have a "go-to" sewing project? 





    Friday, March 23, 2012

    I am WOMAN...Hear me ROAR!

    *Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with sewing, but (I think) completely blog-worthy.

    For the past 17-ish months, we've been painting, drilling, nailing, cutting, scraping, tearing, and pulling apart and transforming our old house to make it the "new" Siemens' home.  It's been a LOT of WORK and most days, it's no fun.  To be honest, I don't know that I would buy a fixer-up-er again, but every now and then we see a glimmer of hope when a new light is up, a wall is re-painted, or like last night...a piece of our lawn is changed. 
    I've had a gargantuan cactus that's starred at me every time I've pulled into my driveway.  It was absolutely hideous and disgusting.  For months, I've toyed with the idea of hiring someone to remove the sucker because it was such the eye sore.  Our front and back yard are complete disasters anyway - but this beast just made it sad.  After working in a one of my front "flower" beds after work yesterday, I kept eye-ing it. So, I picked up a shovel and went at it.  You would have thought I was trying to kill something or was furious and needed to let out some serious aggression.  The rotten pieces actually fell off easily, while the healthier ones gave me a run for my money.  I worked after dark and even flipped on my car port and porch light to help me see the thing.  I waited for the morning to see my work, my hard work, my "I am WOMAN, hear me ROAR" kind-of-work. 

    I couldn't find a before picture, but you can see the pile on the left and the spot under the tree where the cactus with legs once stood (on the right).




    Food for thought:  In relation to your own life, is there something you have that you may need to get rid of because it's spoiling the life out of you?  I couldn't help but think last night as I was tearing into this half-dead cactus why it took me so long to (at the very least) try to get rid of it?  Of course, it made me realize there may be things in my personal life that I may need to get the shovel out and get digging.  What a difference it makes when I rid of the things that are rotten and only producing thorns. 

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    No-Sew Fabric Covered Headboard

    And, might I say, this was one of the easiest, most affordable way to transform my boring queen size bed!  At the time I took on this project, I was searching for the perfect headboard, but one I could afford.  Those suckers are PRICE-EE!  When I stumbled on Young House Love's tutorial on how they transformed their guest room's headboard, I was hooked. 

    Materials I used:
    • Plywood (free - backyard find) - I actually had this wood in my backyard.  We're currently rennovating our house and I had two huge pieces from all the work we're doing.  It wasn't being used, so jackpot for me!
    • Fabric ($20ish) - Pending on how big you want your headboard, this will depend on how much fabric you need.  Just measure ahead of time and get plenty of it.  Hobby Lobby was my stop for this.  I recommend the 54" wide for a queen bed or more because you want to cover your board without having to cut your fabric in half and see the seams. 
    • Batting ($10ish) - Also at Hobby Lobby and I don't remember exactly how much it was, BUT, there are a million to choose from.  Just go with the thickness you desire for your board.  You can't really mess this up.  I think I even asked one of the Hobby Lobby Ladies for help - she was very generous and pointed me in the right direction (and complimented me later on my choice of fabric, always a plus.)
    • Elmer's Spray Adhesive ($6.99 found here at Hobby Lobby) - I'm sure you can use any brand.  But, Elmer served me well. 
    • Scissors (free - in my kitchen drawer)
    • Jigsaw (free - borrowed) - You'll be amazed at how many supplies your neighbors, friends, and family members own.  Don't be afraid to "just ask" for a simple borrow-for-a-day item.  Take care of it and return it.  You'll save a lot of money this way.
    To give you the idea of what I was dealing with:
    To remedy:
    1. Measure behind your bed the length and height you want your headboard to sit/hang.
    2. Once measured, cut your wood (with a jigsaw) to those measurements.
    3. Using your cut wood, take the fabric and place it under your wood.  Cut the fabric giving a little extra room on the sides and corners.  In other words, let your fabric "hang" off the wood.  (This will allow you to "wrap" the fabric around the wood)
    4. Do the same with your batting.
    5. Using your batting first, place it under your wood and use your spray adhesive to attach the batting to the wood.  
    6. Do the same with your fabric to the batting.
    7. Once the two are attached, "wrap" the corners, using your spray adhesive.
    8. Let it dry - for an hour or two.  
    9. Ta-Da!:

    Quite a difference, right?  I have added pictures, too above the headboard to add more pizazz.  But, I think it's a great project and any first DIY-er can do this.  

    Now, I know those directions aren't great without pictures - but YHL does a great job with words and pictures.  Once I start blogging more and designing more, I will take more pictures to help with directions.  Until then, please visit Young House Love and drool over their blog and all their beautiful ideas and DIY projects.  The above link will take you directly to the headboard directions, including pictures.  

    Oh - and total used on this bad boy - $37ish.  I say that's quite. a. deal.  Wouldn't you?

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Just Call me Betty...Betty Crocker.

    About a month ago, some of my girlfriends and I decided to share our love of sewing with each other.  Or, maybe we needed some extra help with our new ambitions after we got our sewing machines?  We picked a Saturday and the next thing you know, we had 6 ladies in our "Sewing Circle."  It was one of the best Saturdays I've spent in a long time.  We laughed, we ate, we drank some wine, and of course, we made our sewing creations.  Deb was our fearless leader and went from one station to the next giving her expert help to all of us!  One apron, two tops, pants, and curtains all made those sewing machines really "stretch their legs."  This was the very first time I opend my box and brought THE machine out to play.  I remember the excitment mixed with, "Now, what do I do with this?"  I just starred at the thing.  It was so intimidating.  It didn't take long for Deb to come to my rescue and show me the ropes. 

    Did you know patterns are tricky?  Did you know the triangles in the pattern are to be mirrored when you cut?  Did you know not all of the pieces in a pattern package you'll want to cut out?  Do you know what fusible interfacing is (and did you know that I just googled that because I thought it was "infusible")?  Clearly, there is so much to learn in this sewing world...and I'm just. getting. started.

    So, of course, it makes sense that the once beautiful hum of my sewing machine didn't quite drown out the frustrations when I doubled over some fabric or when I skipped a step or when I cut the fabric instead of cutting the fusible interfacing?  But, like I've said before, you keep going, because in the end - you have a new creation...for me, this time, it was an apron. 

    Our next Sewing Circle is already scheduled...and yes, I've picked out my pattern.  It's a small, clutch purse.  I actually started on it already.  And, yes I stopped because I got confused.  Waiting till March 24 for Sewing Circle and Deb to come to my rescue! 

    Friday, March 9, 2012

    A Real Rookie

    The "itch" started with my first set of kitchen curtains.  Straight lines, no pattern, easy stitching.  It sounded so simple.  Without the help of my wonderful Sewing Coach, Ms. Prissy, I don't know that my first experience with a sewing machine would have given me such joy - even though my lines were definitely not straight, my cutting was way off, and once hung, the signs of a real rookie stared back at me.  I quickly learned (and hopefully you will, too) that isn't the point of sewing.  It's all about learning, growing, and to keep creating new things.  All from a piece of fabric.  I know, I know, it sounds really cheezy and corny - but if you are reading this and have wanted to pick up the dusty sewing machine, or take that first sewing class, or even call your Mom for a lesson - just do it!  It's really quite magical, don't you think? Give me a thread, a needle, (good) scissors, and some great fabric and you can make anything - really, anything.  Have you SEEN all the patterns, clothes, bags, etc.. out there? 

    So many ideas waiting for you, particularly at stores like Hobby Lobby and Hancock Fabrics. As a rookie in sewing, I've asked many questions to the Hancock and Lobby Ladies.  They're so helpful to ones just starting out!  And, it's no secret these places have great values, coupons, and a world of fabrics to choose from, too! 

    Here's the finished product: 

    And, with my very patient instructor, Ms. Prissy, who spent a few hours (ok, let's be honest - more than a few) giving her wisdom to me while allowing me to use her sewing machine. 
    What are you waiting for?

    "Sew" here we go...

    The world of sewing was never quite appealing to me - in fact it was intimidating and daunting.  But, let me tell me you something.  The last two months I've taken the leap, I've truly experienced the serendipity of my "sewendipity."  I come from a line of seamstresses who were more than good - they were great.  It's only fitting that my Mom decided to completely surprise me with my very first sewing machine last year for my 29th birthday (yikes - is it already close to 30)?  I gave her a small hint several months ago that I was "dipping" my feet in the pool of sewing, and she decided to give me a little push in the deep waters.  And, I have to say, I'm so glad she did. 


    All that to say, I'm taking the "other" plunge and starting this blog.  I'm inspired, sewing is fun, and taking on something new is good for your soul.  Here's to starting a blog and mastering sewing!  Cheers!