Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Learning to Sew...Finally

So the lovely ladies, Sherry at Young House Love and Katie at Bower Power have put on another Pinterest Challenge!  This time the challenge was kicked off with a video starring their kiddos!  I'd highly recommend checking out their pages for your daily dose of cuteness... now onto what I did:

Now that I'm officially out of grad school, I figured it was high time to dive in and finally learn how to sew.  I contacted Sherry on one of her blog posts to see if she recommended her Brother XL2600I Sew Advance Sew Affordable 25-Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine for a beginner, and she said she definitely did.  I bit the bullet and spent to 80 buck last month.  Then the machine sat, and sat and satsatsat around my apartment until the challenge. 

There are a bunch of pins out on pinterest specializing in beginners sewing projects or how-to's, but I just ended up doing a separate project to get a handle on my machine.

The man-friend's mother is a genius sewer.  She graciously offered up her expertise to finally give me the confidence to take the damn thing out of the box and get it ready to roll.  I still wasn't sure what to make(I'm still a beginner!) so she gave me some ideas and some scrap fabric.  I went with the beach bag option!  And here is the process:

Luckily, the Brother came with pretty clear guidelines how to set all your thread and needles up so after practicing going straight on some scrap fabrics, we wrote a rough outline for what was required for the bag. 

I maintained a 5/8 inch hem for all the sewing(and went over all my seems to give it double strength.)  I'm a visual person so here are the steps:

I began by collecting all my supplies and cutting my white liner and main fabric to size.  I made it so that when they would be sewed into a bag shape they would be a perfect match:
Then, working with the liner first I sewed around the edges, making a 5/8inch hem:
For strength I went around twice, leaving me with this beauty!
The same steps were repeated for the main bag material,
but since I was working with a stripe I tried a little harder to make sure the lines matched up.  A look I think I achieved:
 This part was a little tricky to figure out.  I put the liner inside the main bag.  Wrong side of the liner facing out(and the wrong side of the main bag).  I ironed down the the hem and pinned around the bag.
Somewhere along the way I miss calculated and the liner was a bit larger then the rest of the bag so I just folded over and sewed the seam down.  I did this by the end seem so it wouldn't be as noticeable.
Before I sewed the two together, I added the strap which was just leftover nylon material.  Make sure that you measure so that they are placed evenly and are even lengths.

I ended up switched the thread to yellow so that it wouldn't be as noticeable on the outside of the bag.  And I made sure to go back and forth over the straps 5 times to add durability to them.
I hemmed around the whole bag, maintaining the 5/8inch seam. But since this seam was a bit too far from the edge, ater some use the tight crease would eventually loosen up and become less crisp.
So, to make the bag look a bit more finished I went around once more just a smidge on the linerto keep the crisp edge!
 This bag was a greagreagreat beginner project.  All straight lines.  Next up, and Apron!  That will give me more practice with ruffles, making tube strapes and whatveer else I want to do with it.  One thing I wish I had done with this is create a pocket.  Though I can't wait to break out this bad boy at the beach or by the pool in 3 months, I think I'm planning on using it mainly to transport my crochet materials.  I love it and am glad I finally was brave enough to get it done!

If you have any questions about this project please ask!

Also, happy birthday to my brother, who I can always count on to match my funny face making in pictures!  Love ya bro!  

Friday, February 15, 2013


I read all sorts of blogs.  One thing that is very consistent is that every blog I read(except one) is that they are written by someone with two X chromosomes (That's females for those of you not nearly as nerdy as me).  But that's about all that unites them.  There are ladies that are rocking the single kick-ass female DIY-building-my-house-from-scratch blogs(here and here) there are married ladies(who have kiddos but don't center their blogs around their families but are still pretty kick ass DIYers) and then there are the occasional mommy blogs that are hil-ar-rious(here and here); Please read Leslie's gem.

But I do make note of one thing.  There really isn't anyone I read like me.  I'm not married, and I'm not single.  I've got, who I've been calling, my 'Man-friend' and Valentine's Day is as good as any to give him his proper introduction.

Hate to see you leave, but I love to watch you go ;)
 Why should he be getting an introduction you may ask?  'Man-friend' seems more like a glorified 'boy-friend' and I'd say you would be semi correct.  He gets an introduction because he is important to my everyday life.  And instead of refering to him as someone I went to customer service with(a few posts back), I guess I feel like my 3 readers should get a face to his non-name(still working through the whole what he's letting me put on my blog :P) and yes man-friend if a glorified boyfriend, because lets be honest, I'm not a 12 year old crushing on Justin Beiber.  I'm an adult and so is he.  He isn't a boy, he's a man. And the boyfriend terminology always kinda irked me.  So Man-friend he is.

Reppin' the fav band!
 But what makes him so special.  One, he puts up with me.  Sometimes, I'm crazy. I get super excited over the dumbest things but then I can be awkward and quiet sometimes.  He not only doesn't make fun of my nerdy-ness, but appreciates and embraces it. And not only that, he compliments me.  Not tells me I'm pretty(which he does, often) but him being around makes me feel like a better person and makes me want to be a better, kinder person.

Ah, the crazy captured by amazing photographer and friend Sarah Murray

With all the valentines days stuff going around today I read an article by a 40 something woman which was a list of things she wished her 20 something self knew.  One that stood out to me was this:  If a relationship isn't confusing, it's healthy.  And that's a good way to describe us.  I've been in some wacky relationships with all sorts of juvenile drama.  But there was none of that with us, no games.  And that is one of the best things about us.  No drama.  I know him, he knows me.  And that's that.  No games.  People need to give this a try, it's amazing!
burgundy&gold and black&purple!

So what am I doing for this amazing guy to make him feel special today while he makes me feel special everyday?  Well one, I'm ignoring his flaws(I mean its ok he's not a Redskins fan and he's not #1 fan of Downton Abbey... TODAY).  Really, months ago I saw this pretty bomb card.  I knew it was perfect because, it was cute showed the love but still funny!  I love supporting a small business and graphic designer.  When I had trouble with the online purchase forms, Amanda responded right away and helped me with the process.  The card was beautiful and I would recommend looking into Amanda at wit&whistle and her whitty and beautifully crafted cards.  This is the one I settled on:

It was so popular, my brother even considered buying it for his GF.  I'd say that was a success.
Remember how one of Man-friend's flaws was his lack of Redskins fanage, well, he is a fan of the Baltimore Ravens, a huge fan.  And though I'm typically not one to go buy a gift for V-day, he would never treat himself to some Superbowl winning gear(because remember, they won!) So I went scrounging around the Baltimore metro area looking for an acceptable gift and found something like this at none other then a girls best friend, Target!:

Image from NFL shop

I would have gotten one from Groupon, or a sports store but 1.)  Groupon's shipping is free, yay, but ridiculously delayed.  There was no way it was making it by V-day.  and 2.)  Looked at sports stores and talk about inflated prices on Ravens gear after a Superbowl win, no thank you.  And some throws were even miss colored and kind of brown instead of a bright purple.  A little snooping around and I think I made out ok.   I wrapped er' up in a paper bag adorned with a purple bow (go ravens) and orange tissue paper(Manfriends fav color).  But in all honesty, the themed bags at Target were too girly and I didn't have red tissue paper and they jacked up the cost of the paper bags with red bows by 2 bucks, are-you-kidding me?? I think it's more sentimental this way, no?  Hopefully he likies!

Moral of the story.  Get yourself a good man.  Be happy.  Feel butterflies every day.  And be a redskins fan.  :)

<3 us.
Happy Valentines Day all!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Year, New Goals

Did you all have as great a weekend as I did?   I totally meant to post this yesterday, but you know how that jerk life can be, he totally can get in the way and be all cool and say 'Hey, Katie, step away from the computer and do something fun' like go out to some sweet bar's with your man-friend in the snow, watch the Ravens win the Super Bowl (YAY!), and make some awesome quesadilla's which is exactly what I did this weekend and last night instead of blogging :)

I dove into the blogging thing in January, so I guess this could be considered a New years Resolution, but I'm not one for the typical "lose 20 lbs"(the perpetual goal) "Quit smoking"(don't do that) "Quit Drinking"(not happening) etc. But I have a problem.A big big problem.

Oh, I'm sorry did you not see that clear enough, let me zoom in for you:

Yeah that's right, 6,550 emails.  For someone as relatively neat as me, I have a big hoarding problem.  An email hoarding problem.  I wish I was exaggerating.  Momma done me wrong.  She taught me how to clean, to organize, to throw away, purge, but she did NOT teach me how to maintain a resonable working email inbox.  In my personal email inbox, I have over 6000 emails, and that's after a month of deleting emails as they come in and unsubscribing from catalog emails. It's disgusting.  But the problem doesn't stop there, oh no....

In my secondary account, 11,800.  Yea, that might be a lost cause.  Work email? 5,000. 

That's right.  Over 20,000 emails in total. It's completely ridiculous and completely overwhelming.  So welcome to my 2013 goal.  Maintaining an email inbox in ALL email accounts of less than 25.  Can I do it?  I have a year(well, 11 months) and 20,000 emails. that's basically 60 emails/day I need to organize or delete. I can do this!