Friday, September 30, 2011

Teddy Hoodie Jacket: Sneak Peak

A little while back, I received the Mini Boden catalog in the mail. Did you get it, too? I thumbed through it, gawking at the adorable baby clothing items. They have some of the cutest, most inspiring stuff, but their price tag is rather high for this SAHM. This particular Teddy Button-through caught my attention.
I kind of loved it. But at $40 plus shipping, I wasn't so sure. Babies grow out of things too fast for that price tag! I ripped the page out of the catalog and taped it to my windowsill above my sewing machine. I was bound and determined to figure out how to make it.

I walked through Hancock and was pretty let down at what was available in the fabric department. Not only did they not have any cute striped jersey material to line it, they didn't have that super soft outer layer either. I knew I could find something just right if I looked online, but even that area wasn't coming up with the results I was aiming for.

Then, I went to shuffle around Wal-mart. Yep, Wal-mart. I was passing by an aisle when I saw these Kozy throw blankets just sitting on an endcap. I sunk my hands down into it! Perfect! Even the right color! It was that soft blanket that you touch and think, I could just curl up right here with this blanket and have a cup of hot chocolate by the fireplace kind of blanket!

I put it in the cart and headed home. I was so excited to have found my perfect fabric, that and a 3X Wal-mart t-shirt. I had to map out my design right away! It just goes to show that you can find the right fabric in a variety of avenues.
This is what I came up with!
Too cute for words, right?
Well, if you want to know how to make one for yourself, you will just have to wait a little bit longer. I took so many pictures during the making of this hoodie and revamped so many areas, that I have quite a bit of sorting to do. However, I will post something for you guys that want to make your own.

And for those of you that are wondering about the cost of making my own...well, the throw blanket was $15.88. And I only used about 1/4 of it, so I may be making more items out of that. And the T-shirt was $3. I do plan on including a zipper or some kind of button/hooks/closure when I post the tutorial (which is not shown in these photos), so I will add the cost of that, but overall I think I did quite well at saving money! Plus, I had so much fun making this and putting it on Cai. Can't you tell?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Being a Pinographer

I confess. I'm a redeemed Pinographer. 

Not too long ago, I joined Pinterest. Almost immediately I was captivated by the beautiful photos that showed off design perfection, surreal photography, and picture-perfect rooms. They danced before my eyes lustfully. My laundry list of to-do crafts grew exponentially. Something else grew, too.

My sin.

Out in the design world, I am pretty sure the subject of sin doesn't come up too frequently. So maybe I am crossing into new terrain, but as Christians, we need to be aware of being a Pinographer, of being captivated by the things of this world, and longing for them more than we long for Jesus.

Someone once told me her husband answered, when asked, "What is Pinterest?", his response was "The home-maker's crack."

It's easy to get sucked in. It's easy to see things that you want and keep them for your eyes to see again and again while using the site, but I want to encourage you, if you are a Christian not to covet in the process.

God says in Deuteronomy 5, "And you shall not covet your neighbor's wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his male servants, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's."

That's some good old Biblical language that basically says not to desire your friend's 3 story house, his picture perfect garden, his  pretty stuff, or his perfectly designed shelves that must go in your house!

It wasn't long after joining and using Pinterest that I saw this being repinned.
It was a proud declaration that, "I am a Pinographer!" It stopped me in my tracks. What was I doing here? I realized that I had been using the site, not as a helpful tool, but as a way to just build my dream home here on Earth. I had been longing for stuff I didn't have. I had been desiring things that weren't mine, and I had become more and more discontent with the things God had given to me!

It didn't help that I could see some of my Christian friends doing the same exact thing.

I decided to change my approach. I now am trying to use Pinterest for what it was designed to be, a tool. As I come across things that I need to remember, I pin it, but I'm not spending hours a day searching through what everyone else has posted so that I can longingly wish I had them, too. When a specific idea crosses my mind, I go search on Pinterest to find some inspiration or motivation. That's using it as a pretty handy tool that I am actually, quite thankful for! I'm not searching for the gazillion sticky notes where I wrote down something I need to remember, only to lose it later. 

It's not wrong to see a picture of something that you love and pin it to your board, but it is wrong to see that photo and want it more than you want your God or to let your desire for those things grow so that you become discontent with what God has already blessed you with.

I write this as a warning and an encouragement to be content whatever the circumstances like Paul. The truth is that I am a mom that stays home and no matter how hard I try the house is never as clean as I would like or there is always a dish to clean and toys scattered on the floor. There is never enough time to make things look perfect for a picture or to accomplish everything on my to-do list, but I need to find my complete desire in the Lord and be content with what he has given me. I don't come at you meaning to swat my Bible over your head, but I do want you to examine your desires and motivations, and change them to honor God if they are not a pleasing aroma to him!

 All this coming from one that DAILY and I mean, daily, has to be reminded to find my true contentment in Christ alone.

Love and prayers,
Vanessa

Monday, September 26, 2011

Oven Chalkboard: Before Photos & Inspiration

I am back from the beach and already making my Project to-do list for the fall! Apparently, I'm REALLY really late at decorating for fall. For reals? I mean it is hot and humid here in SC and it still feels like summer. It's kind of like the "You can't wear white after labor day rule" that gets religiously followed here in the south. Sillyness! But before I even climb up in my attic to pull down the decorations, I thought I would share my next project that I want to work on and the inspiration areas I am drawing from.

Let me introduce you to my oven. We'll call him Mr. Oven.
Take a good look. He's old, but he is my favorite. He works great and I'm spoiled to have a gas oven. We had an electric oven at the beach. It takes FOREVER for things to heat up. However, Mr. Oven, you have something ugly hanging up there. Can you see it?
That's plexi-glass. For some reason, this is a pretty annoying area of my kitchen! Since our budget doesn't really allow for me to tile like I would like, I have decided to paint a chalkboard above the oven. I think this will be a fun way to liven things up a bit, but not spend a lot of money either. 

Here are the inspiration areas I am drawing from:
 via
And other chalkboard areas that are fun:
Searching for "chalkboards above oven" on google and Pinterest bring all sorts of results and they are fun to sort thru. I think I like the idea of a framed chalkboard that I could take down, instead of being painted right on the wall, but I'm still going back and forth. What do you think? 
If you could paint my kitchen walls any color what would it be? I'd love some input on how to dress up this space!
*Sorry for the cluttered look...that's what we are going to be working on people! Before/NOW*
And the Dining Area Before/Now

Suggestions, please!

Friday, September 16, 2011

One Year Pics

Remember when I shared how to applique with an embroidery machine? Well, this is how it turned out on Cai's big day!
Some of you asked me where I got the plain t-shirts. They were from The Children's Place on the clearance rack for $1.99. I also found some plain stripped shirts at Wal-mart that I plan to applique at some other time for $1. You can't beat that! If you find a cheap t-shirt, then buy the applique pattern for a few dollars, it is really worth it!

The only other thing I embroidered for my little cutie for his big day was this USC jersey, per my husband's request.
Some of you have asked me if I ever feel like I really need a larger embroidery field. I have a Brother SE 400 that does a 4 x 4 inch area. Most of the time, I am happy with just the 4 inch area. It does great with baby stuff, and other gifts I make for people. It is times like this, though, when I would like a larger field, so that I could make a longer name larger. I used the Pep Rally font from my Pacesetter program when embroidering this jersey.

*TIP*When embroidering a silky fabric, make sure you use two sheets of thicker stabilizer material, so that it is easier and won't pucker and pull around the letters!

ON another note, I'm not sure if we are going to get 1 year photos professional done or what. We haven't really talked about doing it. We did a big photo thing at 9 months. I was feeling artistic and decided to take my point and shoot outside and take a few of Micaiah on his actual birthday this past Wednesday.

And one more...
My husband came home and thought it was pretty funny that I put our son inside of a suitcase. Haha!

I love this hand embroidered smocked jon-jon. I plan on learning how to hand embroider a smocked outfit at some point in life! I think this one is from a garage sale of all places... I love a deal! And I'm super happy with how these photos turned out! Sometimes you just need a burst of creativity to make things happen! While I dream of someday having my own Canon Rebel or Nikon.... It's amazing what you can do just with Picasa and your point and shoot!

I hope you guys have a great weekend (& week)! We will be heading off to our family beach trip! So, I probably won't be blogging much! Thanks Mom for house sitting! :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cai turned 1! Paw-ty Details

I have been so busy recuperating from our big ONE YEAR old birthday weekend, that my blogs have gotten hardly any attention...poor babies.

Our weekend was jam packed full of family and fun and lots of birthday-ness!

Cai turned ONE!
You can read a lot more about the party on our family blog if you are interested!

Do y'all (yes, I'm from the south and we actually say y'all ALL the TIME) wanna know something funny? I put so much effort into the details of Cai's day, then totally forgot to take decent photos! I handed my camera to my husband and this is what I got in return of actual party details:
That just makes me laugh. Lesson learned. I'm the memory keeper here. Got it! LOL! No close up of the cup cakes or even his cake!

That's okay. We got some of these others!
We had a memory banner that showed each month with his Fievel. Fievel was my brother's and my stuffed animal when young and the largest one we owned when Cai was born, so there we go! See...I'm too busy being the host or maybe eating the food to even smile for the camera!
I will give you props on this last one, hubby! We had dog bowls (borrowed from a friend). I ordered a cookie cutter from amazon that was dog bone shaped to make those sugar cookies and Hart made "Puppy Chow". All of my tissue pom decorations were made from Dollar Tree tissue paper using Martha Stewart as my guide. We used scoops instead of serving utensils. My other hanging decorations and that blue trellis paper in the center was from the Target Dollar bin!  It was so simple to put together!
Since I used wrapping paper (the blue trellis paper) I had to use two sheets back to back when making these, but they are super cute! I love how they turned out! Tip Junkie has the how-tos on these!

Mostly, we just enjoyed the day and enjoyed our sweet blessing from God! He loved his cake!
It was really fun seeing him dig in and get cake everywhere!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blog MakeOVER!

We got our hair did! Well, kinda! My sweet husband of mine just spent the last hour helping me get my blog more the way I want it to look! So, check it out! I love the pink chevron pattern he created for me! I'm terrible at doing the background blog stuff, but he is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, so we make a great team! Anyways, I hope this look will make you want to camp out here for a little while longer!

I also added two new tabs to the top of the blog. One is a page dedicated to the families that DBS helps raise awareness for their adoptions, their current adoption status, and links to how you can help them out. The other is for all of the tutorials that I have done, thus far that I want to share with you! I have so many more tutorials in my head, but being a mom of one takes up so. much. fun. time!

Anyways, let me know what you guys think of our new look! We still have some adjustments to be made, but overall I'm super happy with the way it is turning out!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blogging Pet Peeve

Well, sweet readers (that's your new name, btw), I finally have found a blogging pet peeve!

Do you want to know what it is? I know I'm silly!

Not answering an email back with some kind of response or acknowledgement! 

Running a blog is really, REALLY, time consuming. I get it! I have a baby and a husband and a house I clean weekly, among other things! I write out my thoughts, post my projects, and want to share life with those in Blog Land! Half the time I feel like I'm writing to a sea of internet glop that no one reads and half the time I get really encouraging comments, mostly from my real life friends, that make me remember why I am doing this blog thing in the first place!

If you blog, you read blogs, and something happens.... you get ATTACHED! It's like Facebook, but worse, because you relate to these personal experiences and what is going on in their lives and all of a sudden you have some strange attachment and feel like you just had coffee with a best friend. You look up and realize you are sitting by yourself and that odd feeling washes over you... they don't even know who I am!  But we are SO similar! We would totally be best blog friends, for reals, right?

I know...so silly, but so true! You know, I'm not crazy!

There have been a couple of bloggers that I just love, grew to just feel like their blog is a friend and actually took time out of my life to email (not just comment)!

I think it is a true test of blogging character to see the response! I hope that if you ever email me, I will always email you back! I hope that if you ask a question, I will always show you that you are important! I think for me, I want to be a real life friend in the blog world! I honestly feel like I have a few of those and it is so great!

So, do you have a pet peeve...or am I just kind of coo-coo this evening!? 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How to Machine Applique with an Embroidery Machine

Sweet Readers,
I am so excited about this post! If you have an embroidery machine and you are wondering about how to machine applique, let me tell you this is EASY! Way easier than I originally thought! I was frustrated trying to teach myself, because I could not come up with any clear cut tutorials anywhere on this subject, so here I go with trying to teach YOU!

For this tutorial, you will need these basics:
  • a sewing/embroidery machine
  • embroidery lettering software (I have Pacesetter Embroidery Letter Software)
  • an applique pattern 
  • your fabric, stabilizer, thread, scissors, and the other stuff you need while sewing
I am making this 18 month size t-shirt with a birthday dog pattern that I ordered from SwakEmbroidery.com for $4.  This is Cai's first birthday shirt that he will wear for his party!
Ready, set, go! Place your stabilizer on your hoop.
Put your shirt or whatever item you are embroidering on onto your hoop and you can use the little measuring thing to make sure it is straight. Your stabilizer is underneath your shirt.

(The above picture is blue, the below picture is white...I had an utter failure the first time around...always practice first!)

So here is my {white/2nd} shirt laid out.
And now on my hoop positioned how I want it with stabilizer underneath.

Load your applique pattern onto your machine. Depending on your pattern, you will have varying steps to follow. Mine had 9 steps. The VERY FIRST STITCH the machine will do when embroidering an applique is just a basic outline of your pattern. Then it will stop.

Here it is in the middle of the FIRST basic stitch. It doesn't really matter what color thread you use here, because it won't be seen, but I just use the same color I am going to use anyways. Make sure you change your threads when your machine says to change them.

Lay your fabric that you want to be the applique on top of your t-shirt. I used a jersey knit fabric for this part, but you can use cotton knit, too.

Press your machine button to go again and it will stitch another outline of your pattern. Then it will stop.

Below is the finished outline stitch of my birthday dog body.

Take your hoop off of the embroidery carriage, but DO NOT TAKE THE FABRIC OFF THE HOOP! Trim off the excess fabric. Get it as close to the outline thread as possible without cutting into it. About 1/8th of an inch. *Sharp {little} scissors here are really nice!*

It should look like this.

Place your hoop back on the embroidery carriage.
Now depending on how advanced or how many steps your pattern has, you may or may not have a secondary applique. Some applique patterns have lots of different fabric areas on them. Mine has not only the birthday dog body, but also a birthday hat, so below is a 2nd applique on the same applique pattern. It repeats the above process, but I am using another coordinating fabric for the birthday hat.

The machine will do an outline step of the next section of your pattern. In this case, my hat. Then it will stop.
Place your next fabric down over your guide outline stitch. And press the button to make your machine sew.

Take the hoop off the embroidery carriage, but NOT the fabric off the hoop, and trim off excess fabric as close as you can to the thread line.

Put your hoop back on the carriage and start the machine again. It will begin sewing the outline of your appliques. Change thread color where prompted.


It will sew your outline thread wider to cover up the fabric edges. Below is a photo of my practice birthday dog & hat pattern. See how it will sew the thick outline... AND how fun it can be to use fun patterned fabric!

Below the finished {practice} dog!

Here is the finished shirt again in my little collage:
When I first loaded this into my Pacesetter, I added the word "One" to the pattern and saved it altogether as one pattern, so after my machine finished the applique pattern, it went over and did the word One. I chose Whistle as my font. It's a standard Pacesetter font.

I think it turned out SO cute and I am going to go ahead and tell you that I'm hooked on doing appliques now with my machine!
Learning appliques makes you able to accomplish that boutique look for WAY less! Here's some other cute applique patterns you could try!

All of the above photos courtesy of Swakembroidery.com

Yeah, I'm pretty much in love with my embroidery machine all over again! How about you!?