sort of tutorial: Sawyer’s graphic tee

I thought I’d share a kind of tutorial for the shirt I made for Sawyer to wear in our family pictures. It was a last minute thing because I couldn’t find just the right shirt for him to wear. Solution: make one.

I wanted something with a bold black and white pattern. I really like herringbone so I went in that direction. (It actually ended up looking like tire tracks, which I guess is ok. Modern tire tracks?) I hand drew the pattern and used the ol' freezer paper method to stencil it. 
 First, I used my ruler to draw a pattern on a piece of printer paper and then colored in the dark parts that would end up being the black shapes on the shirt.
No, I don’t have a Silhouette. I don’t think I want one. I can’t justify it because ugh the thought of having to get out my computer, bring it to my studio and hook it up and design something and oops I just watched 5 episodes of Dawson’s Creek rather than do all that. Working with paper and pencil just feels better to me and I enjoy it a lot more than looking at my computer while crafting. I spend 8 (or more) hours a day looking at a screen, so when I get creative I like the tactile-ness of working with my hands and not a machine. I bet you wanted to know all of that.
After I had my pattern drawn, I laid my freezer paper over the pattern and traced the areas that would be cut out. I used an exacto knife to cut out the pieces, ironed the pattern to my shirt, and painted it using black fabric paint. I think it was actually puff paint but I just sponged it on so it was not, in fact, puffy. Make sure you put a piece of cardboard in the shirt so the paint doesn’t bleed through.
I let it dry over night and peeled off the freezer paper. I did not pre-wash the shirt and was worried that it might get weird once I washed it. Happily, I have washed and dried the shirt a couple of times since I made it and it is holding up as well as a white t-shirt on a 2 year old can.


christmas preview

Gold, black, white, turquoise, and a whole lot of glitter. Christmas is going to be so awesome.



the time has come

It is time. 

Pretty much the only holiday themed crafts I do are for Christmas. I'm not one of those awesome, fun moms who decorates for every holiday. I'm more of a "Here's a (insert holiday) themed episode of (insert cartoon) and let's call that good enough" kind of mom. I have to reserve my creative energy for the Big One. I have been going a little nuts making ornaments, wreaths, wall decor, and garlands. I am currently covered in a thin layer of gold glitter. 

I can't wait to share what I've been doing. 

I love Christmas.



stitching on the go

(This was another contributing post I wrote for Thirty Handmade Days. I thought it would be perfect for those of you getting ready for holiday travel and vacations. If you want to read about the vacation I mention in this post click here.)

We are gearing up for a family vacation in a few weeks, and I am starting to think ahead to what I'd like to pack. I've got the basics down - clothes, shoes, toiletries, swimsuits - but it's the little things you remember to bring that really make a vacation easier and more enjoyable. Like what? A power strip because there are never enough outlets in a hotel room, Ziploc bags for messes that happen when you are on the go, a white noise machine to drown out hall noise from other guests, and an important one for me - something to do in my "down" time. I usually bring a book and a few magazines, but on this vacation I decided to bring along some stitching.

I made up a little stitching on the go bag to throw in my suitcase and thought I'd share some tips for taking your stitching along with you.

What to bring:
1. A bag to hold it all: I made this zipper pouch using a tutorial found here. I used felt for padding like the tutorial suggests. I like the extra thick bag because I feel like my project will be safe in there.
2. A pattern: Choose your pattern beforehand and print it out. If your pattern is from a book or magazine, make a copy to take along with you.
3. A loaded hoop: Go ahead and load your hoop with your material of choice. You want to get all the prep work done that you can before you take it with you.
4. A pair of scissors: Make sure you have a cover for your scissors (not pictured) so you don't poke through your fabric or your bag.
5. A few needles: I made a few needle match books that I stash my needles in. Make sure to bring along a few needles in case you drop one or two.
6. A ring of thread colors: Since I already keep my thread organized on plastic cards, it makes it easy to grab the colors you need and keep them handy on a binder ring.
7. A pencil: I mark off rows on my cross stitch patterns so I always make sure I have a pencil with me when I'm stitching. I wouldn't recommend bringing a pen in case it broke inside the bag.

Other suggestions for happy on the go stitching:
  • Bring a "small" project - not only in size but an easy pattern with only a few colors. You want something fun and relaxing and that doesn't require a lot of concentration.
  • Keep in mind - even these small scissors might be a no-no for air travel (I've heard people have taken them in their carry on, but I personally did not, just in case.) If you are going to need to cut your thread on the plane, bring along small nail clippers to cut your thread and stash your scissors in your checked luggage.
  • If bringing an embroidery project, trace pattern onto your fabric before you go. 
  • Bring old or cheap scissors you don't mind losing. 
  • This idea isn't just for vacation - think road trips, kid's practices, lunch breaks, craft nights, etc. 
Happy stitching!


geometric painting

A few weeks ago I did this geometric painting for a friend's bedroom. I was given the colors she wanted and a sort-of description of the inspiration painting with the instructions to "Do whatever. I trust you." Eek. Nothing freaks me out more than free reign. After a few failed attempts at knocking off the inspiration painting, I ditched it and did my own thing. I used a ruler to draw the geometric shape in pencil and then hand painted it in. 

I love it. It turned out better than I thought it would and it was hard to give this one away. It took hours upon hours to paint and I miss old Geo (I just named it). We spend so much time together, that painting and I, and it hurts to be apart. I hope you're enjoying your new home, Geo. Sniff.



family pictures

We had our family pictures done a couple weeks ago. I wanted to knock out Christmas card pictures and Sawyer's three (THREE?!) year old pictures in one shoot. The last time we had family pictures done, Sawyer did not cooperate. We didn't get a really good shot of all of us together, so I am beyond thrilled that this time we got multiple pictures of all three of us. The last picture is my favorite and will be hanging on our wall (you know, in about 6 months after I get around to ordering a print and then buying a frame for it). It makes us look so at peace with the whole parenting thing. That's the mark of a good photographer, I think. How dreamy can they make our family look? 

I can't believe my baby is going to be three in just a few weeks. Three. Stop it. Shut up. I cannot have a three year old. Well, he's not three yet so let's just not talk about it.



running update: my first race!

Things sure have been quiet around here, haven’t they? My husband told me he wants me to go back to posting like 4 times a week because he loves reading/stalking my blog. Isn't that sweet, but it’s not gonna happen right now. It’s the same old busy mom story. I work a lot, I’m tired, when I get home there is play time, dinner time, clean up time, bath time, and then, only then, do I have time for the old blog. At that point I am semi brain dead and can’t form a coherent sentence, so instead I watch tv (and fall asleep), read a book (and fall asleep), or catch up on other people’s blogs (and fall asleep).  I have made a few things but a good combination of laziness/exhaustion has prevented those things from ever showing up on my blog. I’ve edited the pictures, so we are getting there.
I am still keeping up with running. Most weeks, anyway. I am really good at making up excuses for not running, so sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I did reach one big milestone – my first race.
I signed up for a 10K about a month ago because I need a qualifying time for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Not like a “are you a real runner” qualifying time – more like a “should you be in the slow people corral or the really slow people corral?” qualifying time. So I signed up for a random race that means nothing to me. Inspiring, isn’t it?

I admit I was really nervous. I thought I wouldn’t be, but I really was the week of the race, mostly because of my dislike of large crowds and my ability to be intimidated by literally anyone. I do weird things (so many weird things), and one of them is buying special earrings for certain things. I have Disney earrings that I only wear to Disney World, so I figured I needed race earrings to wear while I run. I found these little gold wishbones and Target and bought them as my little security blanket/good luck charm. I don’t know why I felt better wearing them. Weird, I tell you. I don’t know what I will do when I am running a race in Disney World. Which earrings will I wear??
So then I ran the race.
(Imagine real race photo of me crossing the finish that I am too cheap to buy.)
My goal was 65:00 minutes but I ran it in 61:41. I credit my faster than my goal speed partly to the fact that I am competitive around other runners and partly to the fact that I really had to go to the bathroom for about 3 of the 6.2 miles. Instead of chanting in my head about being a strong woman and conquering the world, I was envisioning a bathroom stall at the end of the race. 
  Seriously though, crossing the finish line was awesome. I might have teared up a little. I have been pretty honest about my experience with running, and I have been openly telling people that I don't especially enjoy it. Training is a chore for me and I only truly enjoy it once it is over. However, the actual race was totally different. I had so much fun and loved the energy and the feeling of accomplishment. I might just keep up with training after the half marathon so that I can do a 10K every couple months. I had that much fun.

Since I started training in May, I have gone from an almost 13 minute mile to a 9:57 mile. I've run over 150 miles and have finished a 10K. Do I love running? Nah. But I do love setting a goal and seeing results. There's nothing more empowering.