10/26/12

work boots and pj's


This is how I want to remember Sawyer at almost 3 years old - so excited to get outside to ride his bike that he grabs the closest pair of shoes and makes a beeline for the back door. Never mind that he is still wearing his pj's. 

I love him so much my heart feels like someone is squeezing it.

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10/21/12

we do fall things. see?











The Pumpkin Patch.

I'm just going to put something out there. Things like this are not my favorite. I think I'm supposed to love activities like this - the Pumpkin Patch, trick-or-treating, visiting Santa and the Easter Bunny, etc. Truthfully, I'd rather spend our family time at home, watching a movie or building train tracks or reading books. Social situations give me anxiety, and I end up feeling tired and drained after spending the morning around hundreds of other people and their children.

Despite how I feel, I realize that Sawyer doesn't seem to share my feelings about outings like this. He's an extrovert and thrives on being around other people. He just loved the tractor ride and the slides and the zip line swing. He spent a good ten minutes with the animals at the petting zoo and was so sad when we had to leave. He had such a good time that he only had 2 fits in the whole trip. That may be an all time low. 

Life changes when you have a kid. Everyone knows that. Everyone tells you that you have to make sacrifices, but only time teaches you the intricacies of the sacrifices you have to make. I have to put aside my introverted tendencies to cultivate my son's extroverted personality. Sometimes it's hard and I have to fight through the day with sweaty palms, but I never regret giving Sawyer these experiences. He's worth it.

Pretty deep for a trip to the Pumpkin Patch.

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10/16/12

no autographs, please

I’ve done it, you guys. I’ve made the big time. I’ve been featured in a magazine.
As I was thumbing through issue 256 of Cross Stitcher I saw it.
The name Allison caught my eye so I took another look. Low and behold, it was my name. Are you ready to see by big debut? 
HAha! I bet you thought I was actually featured in a magazine for doing something more creative than composing a tweet - a tweet in which I lament my lack of time to do anything creative. Sweet irony.
It is actually one of my dreams to be in a magazine. I don’t actually know how you get to do that. Are you discovered? Or maybe you submit your work? I don't know. It's on my someday list. 
 Until then, I might just have to frame this. It's too funny not to.
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10/11/12

tutorial: diy leather tassel

If you are visiting from A Lemon Squeezy Home for purse week, welcome! If you are here just catching up on my blog, lucky you. Christie asked me to be a guest poster for Purse Week, and I said yes which means you get a new project. 

When Christie asked me to be a part of Purse Week, my initial reaction was, of course, yes! Purse week is one of the first blogging "events" that I followed along with when I started reading blogs, so it's pretty cool to be asked to be a guest poster. Excitement faded as I reminded myself that I am really lacking in the sewing ability department. I am good at pretending that I know what I am doing, pinning sewing projects, buying fabric, and I am even pretty darn good at threading my machine, but when it comes down to actually making a finished project I'm a dud. Still wanting to be a part of this fun week, I asked Christie how she would feel about me making something "purse related but not a purse" for all of the other sewing-challenged folks like me. She's nice and said yes, so I knew I had to come up with something fun and something that would keep up with the talent of all the fantastic sewers out there.

I came up with a little something to dress up your purse that involves no sewing and takes probably less than a half hour to make. If you’re excited just reading that sentence, you are my kind of person. 


I really love how it turned out. I saw an over-sized leather tassel in a magazine recently (I think it was Real Simple, but I read too many magazines so I'm not sure) and knew I wanted one. A trip to Hobby Lobby, a few snips, and a little hot glue later, I had my tassel. 

You'll need:
-a small piece of leather scrap (mine was about 3.5" x 9", found at Hobby Lobby for $3.99)
-really sharp scissors
-a large lobster clasp and key ring (Ordered from Etsy. Try searching "bronze lobster clasp" and tons of matches will come up. Heads up - I could not find one single U.S. seller that had these so I had to order internationally. Not a big deal, but I was in a time crunch so international shipping worried me. Luckily I received these just in time.)
-hot glue (or some special leather glue if there is such thing)

Making this was so easy that writing a tutorial is hard. I cut a thin strip of leather from the top to use as the loop for the key ring and set it aside. Next, I drew a straight line across the inside of the leather so I would know where to stop cutting when making my strips. Last, I cut thin strips into the leather. I just eyeballed it and took my time. Sharp scissors really help keep the lines straight, so break out the fancy scissors for this one.


Roll up the leather and hot glue as you roll. After about 1 roll, tuck in one end of the long strip of leather that you cut off earlier, roll a little more, and tuck in the other end, gluing as you go. Use your hot glue very sparingly. Nothing looks more Crafty McCrafterson than hot glue blobs sticking out or glue strings hanging off your purse. I like my DIY projects to look non-DIY so I just took extra care not to go overboard with the glue. There is probably better adhesive to use on leather, but I have been proudly wearing this tassel on my purse this week and it is holding up excellently. I even tried to pull things apart and things are, well, stuck like glue.


I love it. I could have stopped there. I probably should have. But I was already in the aisle with all the leather and I came home with some leather cording. So I made another simpler version of purse accessory. 


This one is even more simple and I really can't write a tutorial for this. I picked up a few packs of bolts and washers from Home Depot, added in a few wooded beads, knotted things up, and I have a pretty cool looking purse charm. Simple and interesting. 

My favorite, by far, is the tassel. 

It's the perfect little pop of color on my plain purses. Thanks to the lobster clasp it can be easily moved from bag to bag or could even be used as a key chain. I am already planning on making a couple for Christmas presents (and maybe one or two more for me.) 

I am so glad to have been a part of Purse Week! Maybe by next year's event I will have learned how to sew. Maybe not.

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10/4/12

what i'm working on

I have so so SO many projects that I want to do, am in the middle of, or have plans for that I don't even know where to start. I have ideas jotted down here and there, I have supplies bought for a few projects, and I even have unfinished stuff stashed in almost every room. I just can't seem to pull it together and knock some things out. Here a few unfinished things hanging over my head now. 


This scarf. I started this a year ago. To be honest, it has been so long that I am not even sure I like it any more or would want to wear it. At the same time, I spent a nice chunk of money on the yarn and have invested hours and hours of some of the most boring knitting I've ever done, so I am invested. It's like the phenomenon when you are flipping though channels trying to find a certain channel and you are flipping up, up, up, and then you realize the channel you wanted was just a few channels back and you should just flip down to get to where you want. But you are invested in the upwards flipping you have already done so turning back would be a waste of the work you've already done so you just keep going up. Weirdest example ever?


I've been meaning to hang art ("art") in our room since we started the whole redecorating our bedroom process. I finally figured out what I want. It involves cutting pages out of a coffee table book and framing them as if they are gen-u-wine pieces of art. So I bought a Disney coffee table book for $25 that I am going to use for that purpose. I have two identical frames that I am re-purposing from Sawyer's nursery that need to be painted black, but since spray painting them is apparently too much work, this project stands just like you see here - propped against the wall. 

And before all the haters start hatin' - yes, I am going to cut up a book. A perfectly good, brand new book. I know that has the potential to really irk some folks, so sorry about that. I never want to offend, especially by simply making a craft. I had a couple comments on my book iPhone dock post (not on my blog, but on other blogs that featured my project) that expressed horror, even physical illness, at the fact that I hacked up a book. People. This is not the Middle Ages. Monks aren't slaving away, hand copying every page and painting every illustration. This book is mass produced from a printer, purchased for a relatively small amount of money. Plus it's almost all pictures so the world is not losing an educational asset. The book I made the dock with was literally buried away in an obscure box in a cheap antique mall. If anything, I saved that book (insert self righteous chest thumping). Have I gone on enough? Have I alienated all the book lovers? I don't want to, really! I love books - I promise. I love them so much that I forever memorialize them by turning them into other things. 

Moving on...


My mom bought Sawyer this stool at an antique mall. The vinyl needs replaced, and it needs some cleaning up and possibly a new coat of paint. Judging by the fact that I haven't made the time to spray paint some simple picture frames, I honestly have no idea when I will get around to fixing up this chair. I'm thinking most likely never, but it's kind of ugly in it's current state and I hate for people to see this at our kitchen table as is. 


Hey, here's a big picture of me!

I also wanted to mention that I have been getting a few comments, mostly on instagram, of requests for tips, tricks, tutorials, etc. on how I do my hair. I am flattered. I will honestly try to pull something together, but I have many irrational fears and one of them is being recorded in front of the camera. I tried to record a video tutorial once that only showed my hands and I panicked and froze up and needless to say, no video tutorial featuring my hands exists. Not that how I fix my hair is that complicated, but it is hard to capture in still picture form. I guess I am trying to say that I will work on getting something together. Perhaps a series of stick figure drawings? Just know that all of your kind comments about my hair are much appreciated and your requests have not gone unheard.

That's what I'm working on (and ranting about). What about you?

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10/1/12

tutorial: embroidered to do list

Today I am going to share how I made this embroidered dry erase board, and I'll even throw in a little satin stitch tutorial.


I love making lists - especially to do lists. It feels good to get all of your thoughts and tasks out and feels even better to mark them off. (Anyone else add tasks like "Wake up" or "Feed dog" just so you can have something to mark off? ha!) I have seen lots of great ideas involving using a frame to make a dry erase board, so I thought incorporating embroidery with that idea would be perfect.

What you'll need:
- an 8"x10" frame
-material of your choice (about 10" x 12")
-embroidery thread, needle, water soluble pen and scissors
-hot glue gun
-sewing machine (optional)

The first and biggest task is coming up with a pattern.


Start by tracing the inside of your frame. You should do it this way because even though you have an 8"x10" frame, that doesn't mean that the whole 8"x10" of your work will be viewable. In my case, you could only see about 7.5"x9.5" inches of what was framed. Add lines for the items of your list and a heading. If you are feeling extra brave, draw a few shapes. My drawing ability limits me to arrows so that is what I went with.


Once you have the pattern drawn, trace it onto your fabric using a water soluble ink pen. I used my light box for this, but a brightly lit window will do the trick.


After you have your pattern traced, use your sewing machine to stitch the lines. You could do this step last, in the middle, or even skip it all together, but I went ahead and did it first because my sewing machine is right next to my light box.


With your pattern traced and lines machine stitched, you are ready to embroider.


For all of the letters and shapes, I just used the back stitch. (See my tutorial for that here.) Did you notice that the "o's" have a little something extra? I used a satin stitch to fill them in.  Let's go over a simple tutorial for this pretty stitch.


1. Bring your needle up on one side (in my case, the left) and insert it down on the other side of the shape you want filled.
2. Under your previous stitch, bring your needle up on the left again. Don't try to save thread and bring it back up on the right - it is really hard to keep your stitches close enough and even enough to look pretty.
3. Put your needle back down on the right side, directly under your last stitch.
4. Repeat, repeat, repeat until you have filled in your shape. Keeping your stitches even and straight on both sides can be a challenge. Don't give up! Pull it out and try again, or do your best and make it work. After a few tries, it gets easier.

Don't worry if your outside edges aren't perfectly lined up or even. I have a solution for that.


Simply back stitch around your shape and it looks perfectly, evenly filled in.


  Finish stitching the rest of your piece and wrap it onto a piece of cardboard using hot glue. Once it's cooled, pop it in your frame and you are ready to get going on your list.


Happy stitching!

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