Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Sewing Room: After

We worked solid for those four hours and check out my sewing room now!!!
We started in this corner, with the bookshelf. Right away, she made some boxes for me to put stuff in. We had Donate, Office/School supplies, To Go Through Later, Toys, and Half-Price books. At first it was hard to start, but once I got going, it was pretty easy. I decided that this room is a good place for the school/office supplies, so as I got areas cleared, she got that stuff put away. You can see, in the very corner, about 3 boxes that I need to go through. They have things like picture frames, music cds, and important papers I need to file. The grocery bags are either books that have already gone to Connor's classroom, or outgrown clothes that have been passed on to a friend's 4 year old son. The white box has school supplies, and is now next to the computer (which you will see below). The white basket tower thing now has 2 sections for projects, a section where I put things to put away later (and I'm not allowed to let it get full!), and some empty binders that I'll use when I file my patterns. I also plan to take another pass through the bookshelf and maybe weed out some more books. The drawers are completely clean and organized with office and school supplies.

Check out my clean floor under my ironing board! You can now also use that door. She gave me the idea of getting some bookshelves to put on either side of the bay window, and then using canvas totes (I'm thinking like Debbie's) or some sort of uniform containers to corral stuff. I see a trip to IKEA in the near future. I also have lots of ideas on my sewing room Pinterest board.

She also suggested painting the paneling a pale color. Other friends have suggested that also, as this room is pretty dark at night even with lights. Right now I'm leaning towards a warm grey or cool beige. I'll also be taking down that ugly curtain rod. I'm still not sure as to what type of window treatment to do. I want the window to stay open, because that looks right out onto Lake Michigan, and is beautiful. In the cabinets underneath is where all my fabric is stored.

My sewing table is clean! It's clean underneath too! That large mirror is going to go, either to a friend or a consignment shop. It's large (about 3x5 feet), and I have another mirror in the basement that I'd rather use, which is maybe 2x6 feet. More appropriate for fittings, as I'll hang it vertically, probably over by the built in bookcase. Then I'll figure a better location to hang the thread racks and my drawer thingy that's sitting on the table right now. This is as far as the organizer and I got, before we ran out of time.

So, my homework was to finish up my computer area....

....which I did on Monday night. I boxed up the old desktop, which wasn't functional, and put it in the basement. I'll get the data and pictures off of it after the holidays. I still need to clean off the clothes rack, though half of it will be gone tomorrow when some alterations get picked up.

I've been sewing in here every day since! It is so nice. I've also been a good girl, and cleaned up my mess each time I finish, so that I can keep the room looking good. Next I plan to have a friend come over and help me go through my fabric stash. I'm pretty sure I like and want everything that I have, but I would like another set of eyes, and I don't want to keep anything I don't have a plan for. Right now I have a few things in a Facebook album that I'm offering for sale or trade.

edited to add:  Gwen asked if I learned anything new.  No, I didn't.  Basically, she said everything needs to have a place (and first I need to ask myself does whatever I have even belong in this room or would it be better suited somewhere else), and everything needs to be put in its place.  If the boys want to bring some legos down here to play with, that's fine, but they need to bring them back up to their room when they are done.  I asked her why was this so hard for me to do alone, but easy when she was there, and she said it was because I didn't know her very well, and so we didn't sit and reminisce about stuff that I found, and I didn't stop and play with things I found, and she kept me focused.  She wouldn't let me delay a decision, and if I wasn't sure about something (do I donate it?  do I keep it?), she'd ask me to justify keeping stuff.  If I had good reasons, that was fine.  I hope to paint over the school winter break, so hopefully I can show you some more pictures in the new year.  

My Sewing Room: Before

Back in May, I won a 4 hour session with an organizer at an auction. I knew I wanted her to help me get my sewing room in order, and last Saturday, we finally got together. I took some pictures of the disaster before we tackled it. It actually didn't look this bad when she got here, as I tried to do some stuff ahead of time. However, this room had become the "we don't know where to put it so we'll put it in here" room, and was really really out of control. Be warned, these pictures aren't pretty...
I know, right? Somehow, I still managed to work in here, though not very well, and the disaster here is probably why I haven't been sewing much. Next up, the after pictures!

Monday, October 24, 2011

My friend Rowena has a post up that I think my sewing/knitting/crafty friends might like. You might recognize one of the rooms (or at least recognize the alias).

Remember that 4 hour session I won with an organizer? She's coming November 12. Hopefully I'll have some great pictures to share.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's A Girl!

As of Friday, we finally have another girl in the family.

This is Esperanza. Sometimes I call her Chica for short. Maybe she'll be a bilingual dog, since I talk to her in Spanish half the time. She's almost 4 months old, and weighs 4 pounds. I think she'll eventually be about 6 or 7 pounds, like her mama. Best of all, she's already house-trained.

My mom saw a flyer at the VA (where she works) stating "Pom Puppies for Sale, 10 weeks old, to a good home". She knew we've been looking for another dog (and having no luck with the WI Humane Society or the rescue groups), and took the number down. I phoned, drove out, and got a dog! :)

She is so much fun! She stays near me most of the time, but on the beach she went exploring a bit. She isn't too sure about big dogs, and hides between my legs when they come by, but I am going to do my best to get her used to them. She also gets carsick, so I am hoping she outgrows that.

Right now, Randall tolerates her, but he's slowly warming up. She gets a bit rambunctious and tries to jump on him sometimes, and he's having none of that. Today, though, they ran around together on the beach, so I hope they'll eventually be good friends.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

State Fair Food Entries

My food entries were due at the fair yesterday morning for judging. I entered 3 items: banana bread (no nuts), scones, and strawberry jam (didn't get that in the picture).
Everything looks good to me, I hope the judges thought so too! I got up at 5 to bake the banana bread, as I work out with some friends every Wednesday at 7 (Mondays too). The scones I made the night before, up to the point of baking, and baked them after I got home from my workout.

It was fun to see and talk to the other entrants during drop-off. I usually don't enter food (except for jam, which I usually drop off when I bring my clothing entries), so that was new for me. More younger entrants than for the textile categories, and a lot more men. Judging was yesterday afternoon, but I didn't stay, so I won't be able to find out my results until I go to the fair (August 4-14 this year).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More HotPatterns

I made 2 more HotPatterns last week. These were for the WI State Fair, and I cranked them out pretty fast. I thought garments were due for judging last Friday (the 22nd), but after checking online, realized they were due last Monday (the 18th), with judging on the 21st. Without those extra 4 days, I didn't get all my entries finished.

Anyway, I made the HP Riviera Cote D'Azur top:
which went together very fast. It's a great looking top. I want to try the dress also, though I'm pretty sure I'll stick with a solid for that, otherwise I fear it will look a lot like a caftan or muu-muu. Not really a look I'm going for right now at this point in my life.

I also made the HP Primavera dress:
which looks lovely, but in all honesty I don't know if it fits me. I'm pretty sure I should have at least done a FBA, but I was under a time constraint, so just made a straight 10. I figured if it didn't fit me, I'd be able to give it to someone, and sure enough, when I posted the picture on my Facebook page, Stacy S piped up that she'd take it if it didn't fit. :)

Both garments placed (4th and 3rd, respectively), as well as my HP Kimono Wrap dress (3rd) and Caleb's waistcoat (1st).

My food entries are due for judging tomorrow morning. I won't stay for that, so I'll have to wait until I go the fair to see those results. I'll be entering banana bread, a plate of scones (I plan do to whole wheat cinnamon ones), and strawberry jam.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


It's strawberry season here in Wisconsin, or at least it was last week.
We picked strawberries 3 separate times this year, and got a total of about 30 pounds. I might have gone a wee bit overboard.

Here is the beginning of mango-strawberry jam. We ran out of jam about 3 months ago, and I am making sure that we do not run out this year.

See? I went a bit overboard (and this isn't all of it). Over the past few days I made strawberry syrup, strawberry jam, strawberry-rhubarb jam, strawberry-raspberry jam, mango-strawberry jam, strawberry sorbet, vanilla yogurt, frijoles, refrigerator pickles, and pickled garlic scapes.

It got pretty hot in the kitchen some of those days. We don't have working a/c.

It was worth it though, as it all tastes SO good, and we'll especially appreciate it this winter when we get to have a taste of summer.

I also celebrated my 41st birthday on Wednesday. Calvin planned a dinner of my favorite comfort food (homemade macaroni and cheese), and instead of cake (which I don't care for very much), my favorite dessert (creme brulee).

Friday, May 20, 2011

Auction Bags

I made some bags for a silent auction/raffle at school:
l-r: Chelsea handbag, In Town bag, and Swing bag, all from Amy Butler. Also, all from stash! :)

At the last minute I decided to add a button closure to the In Town bag. Hopefully all 3 bags will do well and raise some money.

In other news, my husband and I went to the MDA Black-N-Blue Ball last Friday. I decided to go all badass and went with leather. It was pretty fun. I bid on a few things, but really really wanted one of them, and I won! Soon a personal organizer will be coming to my house and working on one area for 4 hours. That area will be my sewing room! Right now I'm working on de-cluttering and de-stashing, because I want all 4 hours focus on organizing.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

HP Wong-Singh-Jones Kimono Wrap Dress

Dudes, I have a new dress, and I LOVE it:
I made this a few days ago. It didn't take long at all, and went together beautifully. This is a straight size 10, although I made some minor changes, such as lengthening the skirt 4 inches, and making full patterns of the contrast bands (instead of cutting them on folds as per the pattern).

The ties are VERY long, and I ended up shortening them 18 inches (they are already wrapped around my waist twice). My original plan was to make the dress green and the contrast bands in the print, but I did not have enough of the green. HP suggests about 2 yards of 60" knit for the dress for sizes 6-8-10, but I ended up using 2.625 yards of the print. HP also suggests about .75 yards for the contrast bands, and again, I don't think that is possible. I used about 1.75-2 yds and had to piece the ties.

To apply the bands, I trimmed 1/8" off of one side (seam allowances are 3/8"), so that the edge would overhang the seamline by 1/4". Basically the same way I finish off a waistband. This keeps the bands nice and flat.

It's a great dress, I definitely need more of these in my closet. :)

Full review is here.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Regionals (plus 4 other meets)

I don't know why I put off uploading Calvin's gymnastics videos, but I do. It's not like there is anything new in them, it's the same 5 (should be 6) routines each time. Anyway, there are a lot to catch up. I won't embed them all.

In mid-February, we traveled to Iowa City for the Iowa Boys Invitational. Calvin's all around score was 61.8, the best for the season. His routines are here: floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, and parallel bars.

March started off with a meet at Salto, where he got an all around score of 57.1 (floor, pommel, rings, vault, and p-bars).

The following week was our meet; his all around score was 57.3 (floor, pommel[painful!] , rings, vault [messed up his steps], p-bars).

The week after that was state, which Calvin qualified for, as they changed the qualification score. His all around score this time was 60.9 (floor, pommel, rings, vault [messed up his steps again!], p-bars).

Finally, this past Saturday was regionals. They were held here in Milwaukee, so we didn't have to travel anywhere. The boys started out on floor, where Calvin got a score of 13.85:

Next was pommel horse, which was painful to watch. He got a score of 6.2:

On rings he got a 12.8:

Then it was on to vault, where he got his steps right! His score was 14.45:

Last, parallel bars, with a score of 11.75:

His all around score was 59.05.

He also got to meet Morgan Hamm. Paul (his twin brother) was there as well. Morgan will also be at Porter Camp this summer, so they'll get to hang out again. :)

Competition season is DONE!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Swiss Cup

We had another gymnastics meet Saturday night. The team started on high bar, and Calvin did not compete on that event. He really needs to work through whatever issue he is having on it, because he will not be able to qualify for state without a high bar score.

After high bar they rotated to floor, where he got a score of 13.8:

Next was pommel horse, where he got a score of 7.6, one tenth better than last week, plus I think he didn't fall off as much:

After pommel comes rings, with a score of 11.2:

On vault he got a score of 14.2:

The team ended on the parallel bars, where Calvin got a score of 11.9:

His all-around score was 58.7, improving by two tenths from last week. Next meet is in 3 weeks, so he has plenty of time to focus on getting that high bar routine ready for competition!

By the way, this meet was especially fun to watch, as the session was for levels 7 through 10. Some of the skills the 10s do are just breathtaking, and sometimes it was hard to decide which event to watch.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Windy City Invite

Competition season has started again for Calvin. This year he is in Level 7. My understanding is that this is a particularly difficult level, and he has really been struggling lately. His first meet was Sunday. He actually did much better than I was expecting, since earlier in the week the team had run through their events with a judge and all did pretty terrible.

The boys started on rings, and Calvin scored a 13.2:

Next was vault, where he got a score of 14.2:

On the parallel bars he got an 11.1:

He did not compete on high bar (he needs to be able to do giants better)

Next was floor, where he got a score of 12.5 (he shouldn't be landing on his butt for a front tuck, he almost never does that!). I especially like his first tumbling pass, with that beautiful layout:

The boys ended on pommel horse, which was pretty rough for him. Calvin got a score of 7.5:

His all-around score was 58.5. Not enough to qualify for state yet, but now he knows what he really needs to work on, and has a goal to reach for. Next meet is Saturday night!

by the way, the team got new uniforms this year, they look pretty nice, no?