Throw pillow love

After repainting our bedroom I got the itch to pretty much remove everything unneeded from the room, only return a select few pieces, and begin redecorating. With Josiah beginning kindergarten and exiting the little kid phase, I'm feeling like we can finally begin creating a home that feels "pulled together" vs. "thrown together." 6 months later...the room is slowly still evolving. Two of my very favorite additions have been a throw size quilt to drape over the upholstered chair (which will be replaced at some point with something non squeaky and non floral) and 5 pillows for the bed and the chair. I actually chose the pillow fabric last summer to compliment a massive California king sized quilt I've been working on (currently waiting for it to come back from the machine quilter). I absolutely LOVE them! They look fabulous even when the bed pillows are stored under the side table. In a room filled with grey and other neutrals they add just the right pop of color. 

When Jim's away, the kiddies will play!

The running joke in our family when Jim leaves town for work is now... "So what room are you going to paint while I'm gone this time?" A few years ago I painted the kitchen when Jim was gone for three weeks, last winter I painted our bedroom, and this fall I would have painted our living room had I not gotten sick. I'm not sure why he whines about this habit since it means he never has to help and doesn't need to deal with the house being a mess during the process. He should be bragging that his wife paints while he is gone on purpose! Anyway...I've been meaning to post these pics since March, especially since painting our room has now led to several other projects and a complete bedroom redo, and painting has become just phase 1...

Photo series 1 --- Former furniture placement and wall color with the "I'm just going to paint a few spots to see how the color looks...oops! Better paint it all now!" splotches. And my little helper...

Photo series 2 --- All done! I love how warm the grey feels during the day, although it gets a little "grey grey" at night without natural light. I also moved the dresser from between the windows to next to the closet, which totally opened up the feel of the room. Now, instead of seeing a huge dresser once you enter the room, you see a chair and side table and a little wall. This area has been evolving and no longer looks the same, but more on that later!


Oh, what a stash!

Almost exactly 2 years ago I sewed my first quilt and promptly threw almost all of the remaining scraps of fabric away. It's taken this long for me to regret that decision, and now I'm totally kicking myself. At the time, that quilt began as at project to check off of my bucket list, and I was more testing the waters to see if sewing was something I'd ever want to take up again than anything. It didn't take long before I started pinning ideas for projects and purchased my own machine, but without a dedicated space for sewing, completed projects were few and far between and pretty simplistic.

It wasn't until this past winter when Modern Textiles opened their doors that I really became enthusiastic about sewing, and not really until this summer before I began making a point to make time for it. I've limited myself to mainly purchasing fabric for specific purposes or projects to keep my stash of fabric pretty refined and limited, and since I typically use most of what I purchase I have a very limited supply of scraps. Up until this weekend I considered that smart sewing, until I met Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts and my jaw dropped when I saw her scrap quilts and pillows. Wow, I wish I had her eye for fabric. Her style of mixing vibrant colors and a huge variety of fabrics creates the most beautiful effect. Clearly I need to become braver and step out of my comfort zone, and clearly I need to not be afraid to collect a variety of fabrics that I love, even if I don't have a specific project in mind at the time. And now, of course, I'm wishing that I hadn't thrown away those original remnants of the fabrics I used for Josiah's quilt, since they would have been PERFECT in this pillow for his bed!

Isn't that bold, beautiful, cozy, and modern all wrapped up in one? I have never had any intention of sewing anything with little pieces or considered attempting to machine quilt anything I make, but the vibrant colors and prints just suck me in and make me want to attempt a few things that are out of my current comfort zone. This pillow is just one of Amanda's pillows, as you can see here in her blog post. After visiting with her briefly at the shop this weekend and getting to see and touch her work, I'm feeling oh so inspired to try a few scrappy pillows to work my way into working with smaller pieces. Through watching her do some spiral machine quilting in the shop and listening to her talk about how to begin small scale, I think I've mustered enough courage to attempt this on my own. Hence...let the stashing of fabric begin...

I picked up "a few" fat quarters in both prints and solids to begin a collection of pieces to work with. The charm pack (bundle of tiny squares) will be my first project inspired by Amanda. Pillow tutorial on her blog here... Going to be going WAY out of my comfort zone on this one...putting together little pieces and lining everything up accurately, doing my own machine quilting, first envelope pillow assembly (red polka dot under the charm pack will be the backside of the pillow, envelope tutorial here...), and first attempt at making my own pillow form (her tutorial for that here...)...I just LOVED the weight and feel of the forms she made herself. Soft enough for napping on the couch, but much denser and heftier than the wimpy pre made ones. I'm sure no pillow fights would happen with these.

I am totally inspired to try quilting a few pillows to test the waters. Jim will "love" that! Piles of pillows are his absolute favorite. Lol! I just added 5 throw pillows to our bedroom on top of the 6 bed pillows. What's a few more, right? The living room and Josiah's bed clearly need a few.

If you are interested in Amanda's book, which I picked up (and had autographed!!!) this weekend, here is the link...

Happy stashing and sewing y'all!

Note: Credit for pillow pictures goes to Amanda and her blog. I snapped a few on my iPhone this weekend, but they just didn't do them justice. 


I heart fall!

Oh my goodness, we suddenly lost our brief summer weather, and oh my goodness does it feel like fall. This may go totally against the "norm" of teacher perspective, but fall is absolutely my favorite season. Here's a glimpse of why...

Top 10 Reasons I Love Fall (in no particular order)

  1. Crisp air and turning leaves
  2. Wearing jeans, hooded sweatshirts, boots, and my favorite Ugg slippers
  3. Apple trees & picking (haven't enjoyed this since my grandparents moved from their home 7 years ago, but luckily the home my parents just purchased here in town has one...YEAH for Josiah getting to begin the tradition of fall picking and applesauce making!)
  4. Jim's annual fishing tournament on Long Lake and a weekend with our dear friends in Park Rapids
  5. Making homemade pizza sauce and Jim's mom's freezer spaghetti
  6. Prepping tons of veggies to stock the freezer from our CSA (WAY more fun with my new Food Saver)
  7. The last few lawn mowings of the season
  8. Snuggling under lots of blankets with my boys
  9. Weaning out the yard work in favor of more inside hobbies (photobooking and sewing)
  10. Lots of walks, soccer games, and time outside savoring the last weeks of non-frigid temps
Ahhh, yes...now off to snuggle with that quilt and attempt for the umpteenth time to establish a nightly reading time before bed. Might be time to splurge invest in a new cozy chair for our bedroom...


Strip Quilt, Part 2

So the fabric fiasco that I alluded to in my Strip Quilt, Part 1 post is here...and here's the story. I picked out a group of gorgeous fabrics that all went together at my favorite fabric shop (Modern Textiles), and stacked the bolts on the cutting table. From a side view they appeared beautiful and well-balanced, but after I began sewing the strips together there was one fabric in particular that seemed to stand out more than the others. Yikes! After some major heartache and debate, I decided to explore another option and begin removing that fabric from its many locations in my quilt. My sister and I headed to the local quilt shop, which was filled with many not-so-fun prints, and we managed to find a substitute. The fabric in question appears in the left and center photo, and is a white background with grey leaves. It was replaced by the light grey herringbone, which appears almost solid in the picture on the right.

Did I make the right decision? At the time I was totally convinced that the white with grey leaves stood out too much. I really wanted the bolder prints to stand out, and I think since the white background was so bright it caught my eye more than I had anticipated. The grey herringbone is very soft, more muted, and definitely blends unnoticed into the quilt allowing my favorites to take center stage undisputed. Ironically, now that I'm typing this post and looking back at the original mix of prints, I am finding myself liking the brightness that the one I removed brought to the overall appearance. Oh well...too late now to reconsider any decisions!

I'm now in the process of sewing the backside of my quilt. Below are the three cuts that I am totally head over heels in love with. They will be sewn together in three large rectangles running horizontally. The two patterns are from the first line of Cotton and Steel, and the solid is Moda. They are such a beautiful blend of neutral ivory, and even though they are much less bold than the front, I think they are just as beautiful. 

As much as I'd love to say that the final post on this project will be out soon, it's highly unlikely that I will complete the back, get it to and from the machine quilter, and finish binding anytime in the near future. The holidays with all their road tripping fun might just be the perfect time for the seeming miles of hand sewing required to wrap up this monster of a project. 


Well that wasn't in the plan.

After writing my last post to describe all our issues with secondary infertility, I was suddenly inspired to get rid of our boxes and boxes of Josiah's old clothes, toys, baby gear, etc. We're talking 9 large totes, 8 additional boxes of clothes, and 10-15 boxes or other large items. I've been threatening to do that if we didn't get pregnant for at least a year. Between all that stuff, Jim's hardwood flooring shop, luggage, our "pantry," Christmas decor, gifts, what's left of the decor that was removed during "baby proofing," and who knows what else, the basement is one full level of crap. Ok, maybe not crap, but it's definitely piled with boxes that are collecting dust and sitting all over the place. Talk about a waste of space and probably the most overwhelming part of our house. It's been like that for 2-3 years. Anytime the thought of cleaning it up enters my brain it immediately exits. Way to much stuff just sitting in piles all over the place with no place to go through anything without everything getting dirty in the process. So, with only about 2 weeks remaining in my summer break and almost nothing checked off the list of things I wanted to accomplish this summer either at home or at school, I've impulsively pulled a huge amount of stuff out of the basement and started the process I've successfully avoided for 2+ years. Seriously, why do I do this to myself? At least by the end of this week (Lord, help me!) I'll hopefully be able to breath a sigh of relief when the task I've been avoiding so successfully for such a long time is complete. So much for that vision of me sitting at the picnic table in the back yard, umbrella and feet up, basking in the sun with a book while Josiah plays independently in the backyard. Hah! Let the countdown to Back To School begin...


So just the one baby, then, maybe???

Being ready to write this post has taken me a long time. Over the past 3+ years I've been reminded that our plan is definitely not the Lord's plan, and I've learned over and over again that I'm more than definitely not in control of everything in my life (as much as I'd like to think I am). I know I've learned many times both through my experiences and those around me that often our plan is not better, but that doesn't make some things any easier. Just a constant reminder to trust. I'm not sure why today, on my birthday of all days, I'm feeling compelled to write this. Possibly because another birthday signifies the passing of another year of my life, and another of the years in the window for growing our family. I know that window hasn't closed or is probably not even closing, but it is another year passed nonetheless. I've felt the need to share our story for quite some time, both to connect with other moms facing the same situation, and also to open up about something that has and continues to cause such turmoil for me, regardless of coming to terms with having just one babe. So here goes...again, not sure why I'm choosing to write this on my birthday as it means guaranteed tears, but it may be I'm hoping to give myself some semblance of closure as well as provide answers to many wondering friends.

No, having just one baby was not our plan. We always talked about three, and, ironically, in the hospital after delivering Josiah I remember saying I wouldn't mind four. But just one? I'm learning to love that idea too. One means it's easy to up and go wherever whenever. One means less expense for daycare, sports, traveling, college, and life in general. One means that one of us can fairly easily take off to golf or run errands. One means that we can lend a hand to one of our siblings with 2-3 kids when our families are together. One means that he can soak in all of our love and attention. Yikes...one means that he WILL soak in all of our attention. (Oh Lord, PLEASE don't let him have full-blown "only child syndrome!") One really is wonderful, because we are so unbelievably blessed by our one. He is sweet, caring, intelligent, talented, energetic, and such a joy to have. If one is all I have, I'm ok with that. Really. Having one makes me realize what an amazing gift getting that one is. 

So what happened? Well, the first one was easy peasy. It went something like this..."Do you think we should start trying for a baby?" "Sure, why not? It will probably take a few months, so by then we'd be due in the spring which would be great timing for a maternity leave." "Oh my gosh...it's positive?!" Yep, first try. December baby, and the most perfect time for a maternity leave as I learned.

Second time around went like this...11 months of trying, saw a specialist, went through all preliminary infertility testing, found nothing wrong, and after a simple procedure to make sure there were no "obstructions" remaining after my first pregnancy we conceived the next month. Great news for about a week until blood work showed progesterone levels were decreasing instead of increasing. Not a good sign. Begin supplements. Hear a heartbeat at 6-7 weeks. Miscarry a week later while Jim is out of town. Thank goodness for amazing neighbors and faith to carry me through on my own. 6 months later, after not conceiving again, we once again met with the specialist and began medication. 3 months and a few treatments later still no "luck," the end of that cycle of treatments, and the end of my rope. Clomid was not my friend. That was 2 years ago.

Since then I have slowly come to terms with the idea of not having another baby. At first it was because I could no longer put myself or my family through the monthly cycle of 2 weeks spent wondering - maybe this month will be the month, trying, then 2 weeks wondering - did it work, finding out we weren't pregnant, then 2 weeks being disappointed and starting the vicious cycle all over again. It was like an endless emotional monthly roller coaster. I just couldn't do that to my family over and over and over. It interfered with my ability to be a mom, a wife, and a teacher. So I slowly learned to not expect or hope for anything. That may sound horrible and depressing, but the alternative was the monthly roller coaster. The choice to abandon continued medication and treatment has allowed me the freedom to celebrate my one and only, and freedom from dwelling on the loss of our second baby and the helplessness I have found in not being able to create another little life, and the freedom to trust that life is a gift from the Lord in His timing, not ours. It's allowed me to focus on our future as a family of three and embrace the freedoms we have in that number.

Would I take another baby at this point? Absolutely! Do I expect that to happen? No, I can't...and, actually, as I continue to heal from the experiences and disappointments we've had, I'm slowly giving away or selling our baby gear, toys, and the 20+ totes of boy clothing in our basement as the final phase of my healing process. If we do have a happy surprise then I will simply celebrate with new gear and new clothing that isn't 7 years out of style. And for Josiah's sake I will always hope and pray for the sister or brother (or both) that he regularly asks and prays for, or at least for the words to explain to him why he is one of the only kiddos he knows without a sibling to play with.

No, I don't expect to ever completely stop hoping or praying for another, and I don't expect to get past those random, heart-wrenching emotional moments that bring me to tears unexpectedly. Nor do I think our journey has been the harder than others. But now at least I've shared our story so that those of you who know me can understand the last few years of my life and the changes that have occurred in me and for our family, some subtle and others I'm sure very obvious to those of you who know me really well. Please know that I'm not writing this to gain sympathy, but rather to reach out to other moms who have or will experience the loss of a baby or inability to have one. Each time I've shared our story, someone shares a similar story in return. So together let's love and celebrate our little ones.


Strip Quilt, Part 1

From the lovely ladies at Modern Textiles who are quilt math wizards:

For a strip quilt in California King size (100" wide x 98" long), for those of us with 6' 4" hubbies, choose:
7 x 1.25 yard cuts for quilt top
1 x 1 yard cut for binding

Here's my stack! Go ahead and drool...

See that coral color piece peeking out? That's going to be my binding. It's also going to become one of 5 coral colored throw pillows in different prints. Love! 

Step 1: Iron and Cut
From each of the 7 pieces chosen for your quilt top cut 4.75" strips running parallel with the salvage edge. This will make the longest strips. Cut your binding strips 2.25" in whichever direction you prefer the pattern to run for your binding. 

Step 2:
Sew strips end to end, making sure to not put two of the same together. Also pay attention to the directionality of your strips. I had three fabrics that always needed to be sewn facing the same direction. 

Step 3:
Cut your one ridiculously long strip into strips of equal length. Since I completed this step at the lake without my cutting mat and grid, I used the tile floor in the kitchen for my cutting guide. :)

I "oopsed" the directions and bought too much fabric (that's why you don't forget the pattern at home when you go to pick out fabric). I bought 1 1/3 yards, so I had to adjust the overall dimensions. Instead of 22 rows at 98" long, I had 27 rows at 112". 
Upcoming in Part 2...my fabric fiasco...


New Planner = I heart Filofax

Ahhh...it's already July 23rd, and I'm just starting to feel like I'm getting somewhat on top of things. Summer always seems to appear with a blank slate and somehow fill faster than I can pick up a pen to start writing on my calendar. So far this summer I've been out of town for 3 weeks, in class for 1, and home for 3, and of course those 3 measly weeks were crazy full and busy with running here, there, and everywhere. With the end of July looming I'm definitely feeling some urgency to manage my time well, even though there is no feasible way I'll be able to finish cleaning out our house (and selling everything we no longer use), complete 3 bins of sewing projects, organize 4 months of photos, learn how to use Photoshop, start creating photo books, and create and plan the pile of school work I brought home to tackle this summer, all while spending tons of quality time with my boys and the many friends I want to see. Yikes! Does anyone else have the same problem?! So here is one of the few things I've actually managed to check off my project list...my planner!!! For the last few years I've tried a few options for trying to efficiently and accurately manage our family's crazy schedule. I tried Erin Condren twice, but as beautiful as her life planners are, they simply were not functional for me. Why? The vertical arrangement of the day-by-day section drove me crazy, and I need my planner to house all those random things that I need inconsistently and all the time. Oh, and they are HUGE. I also tried syncing various calendar apps on my phone with my hubby but found that won't work if neither of you are diligent about adding events (or you never remember to check it or look at it regularly). Lastly, I wanted the option to be able to add whatever I needed and eliminate past calendars or lists...so total customization.
Here is what I settled on, and I am SO in love with it. After several weeks of debating (with myself), blog hopping, and searching for the perfect option, I decided to spring for a Filofax (click here for the link). What is a Filofax, you might be wondering? Well, it's a super nice little leather binder that you can fill however you want. Sweet!!! Admittedly, I let it sit empty for a few weeks while I convinced myself that I didn't need to design my own pages (deep breath), but once I decided to just purchase Miss Tiina's printable calendar. Click here for her planner website, and here for her Etsy shop. Was that worth the $10ish investment? Oh wow, absolutely!!! And when I pulled up her Etsy shop I just discovered it's 50% off right now if you'd like to grab it!!!
So after a date with our printer and another with my paper cutter, the last decision was how to organize and insert all the pages. I didn't use the included Table of Contents and decided to create a system that fit me better, so I cut down some super cute file folders from Target and lumped everything into 8 sections: To Do Lists (weekly notes go here too, along with most other random lists of things I keep track of), Calendars, Meals (includes meal planning, grocery lists, and a few recipe cards), Money (budget tracking, bills, and receipts), Celebrating (birthday and anniversary lists along with a record of all the gifts I already have stashed), Mary Kay, Contacts (including sleeves for business cards), and Notes.
How do I love it after a week? OMG IT'S FABULOUS!!! I've already transferred birthdays and anniversaries, taken stock of gifts we have ready to give, added the list of the clothes I have stashed for Josiah in bigger sizes, clipped my coupons and receipts for shopping runs to the divider for shopping lists...WOW, has that been great!!! The last pieces to utilize thoroughly will be meal planning and budgeting sections. Yep, I'm going to be a little over the top and inventory what food we currently have in our freezer and pantry so I can be more intentional with meal planning and prep, but oh I can't wait to have everything I need to keep our family running (more) smoothly at my fingertips!!! I am so never going back to a prebound planner...


Sew Much to Get Ready!

So we're headed to the lake, and can you guess what my boys are planning to do???

Me? Not so much a fisherwoman. Jim's "rendition" of my trips out on the boat go like this..."Yeah, I'll go out for awhile and read while you fish." (30-60 minutes later, or just as he's settling in) "Ok, I'm ready to go back." Drives him crazy!!! I do like to be out on the water, but I don't like baking to a crisp or trying to read and relax in a super cramped boat seat while constantly having to move around to stay comfortable. Maybe someday we'll get a pontoon so we have the best of all worlds. 

I am, however, planning to sew, read, work on photos, sew, maybe nap, sew, read, work on photos some more, SEW... Thanks to Pinterest and the lovely Connie and Roxanne at Modern Textiles (MT on Facebook or their website) I have a pile of gorgeous fabric and a list of sewing projects as long as my arm. If you sew and you haven't visited their shop, seriously, you need to go. Now. They have impeccable taste, everything in their shop from the fabric choices to the displays to the decor is set up to inspire, their product lines are nothing but quality, and they take the time to get to know their customers while they ever so patiently help you find the perfect print (or 7). I am slowly becoming less lost in the world of sewing, though I am still belligerently sticking to things that only require sewing straight lines, for now.

And since a good chunk of our vacation is forecasted rain, I'm planning to spend much of the time my handsome hubby and adorable son are fishing turning these (7)...

...into a larger version of this...

...and these (4) combinations...

...into a few of these adorable elephants!!! (click here for the link to the tutorial)

I was going to make these two ultra and unbelievably soft fabrics into a baby blanket...

...but couldn't wait to put them together for a dear friend today...

...and created very possibly my most favorite baby blanket ever!!!

Almost every one of these projects will be made exclusively from fabric from Roxanne and Connie. I typically don't let my MT fabrics "play" with the other fabrics I had purchased previously elsewhere, but I had a few in my stash that were just too perfect for the elephants to not use. LOL


Have I done this before?

If I looked on my Facebook wall about this time last year, and probably the year before, I'm pretty sure I'd find pictures of my new / newly or organized / reorganized desk. Seriously?! Have I not learned that I need to take care of things right away as the only way to maintain an organized office? So often I hear, "You're so organized!" If only that were always true. Confession: I hate paperwork. I hate filing. I hate grading papers. I hate all that clean up stuff at the end. I have an ottoman full of paper that needs to be filed, shredded, or simply thrown. And I get totally overwhelmed when I've let something pile up. So...this is the year to finally "learn my lesson." I still have few odds and ends to go through, but after I go through the last two bins I'm eliminating any unused containers so I can't do it again. Can someone please check up on me at the end of July. :) (or remind me next year at this time that the reason I have a mess is because the last month of school is c.r.a.z.y.)

Here's my "new office." What do I love? My jar full of washi tape, my plethora of pens and other writing utensils, and my reshuffled shelf of projects that is no longer a mess (since twice during the school year I had the not-so-brilliant idea...yes, twice...to move cookbooks and then unfinished photo albums here). Talk about visually overstimulating. This is much better. I also love the cabinet that matches my desk, and holds almost all of my Mary Kay inventory perfectly. SO much easier to get at, and since it's out of the closet we can store all our office supplies IN the closet. What a thought, huh? And all the bins in my Expedit shelf? They're full of beautiful fabric, batting, scraps...everything I need for a brain break when I just can't take any more office work. Sigh...It's amazing how much calmer I feel when my space is settled and everything has a home. 

Now, even though I still have filing to do and a planner to create, I'm going to take a break from organizing for some "me time." I haven't just stopped to do whatever I want yet this summer. It's.About.Time. Look at these gorgeous fabrics so beautifully folded...they are going to become a quilt for our bed and 5 throw pillows. I can hardly wait!!!


DIY Camera Strap Tutorial 1.0

How ironic that after staying up super late on New Years Eve (Jim and Josiah didn't make it) to finish a camera strap cover that I should decide to make 2014 the year that I tackle our thousands of untouched photos. It's about time! I have unfinished photo projects dating back to college, and YES that includes an unfinished wedding album. (Whoops!) I'm also aspiring to create a photo book at the end of 2014 with one photo from each day, inspired by The Creative Mama's post, to keep myself focused on photography...taking better pictures on a more regular basis (this habit has seriously decreased as Josiah grows older), editing and learning to use Photoshop, finishing photobooks, & finding a system to organize and archive all those priceless images. And now I can be all the more comfortable and stylish!!!

On to the tutorial...I had pinned this tutorial awhile back from Doodles & Stitches, but I wanted more of a finished look and a pocket to hold my lens cap like some I had seen on Etsy. So I created my own plan merging the two. This is my first sewing tutorial, so no promises on eloquence or clarity of directions. :) Here's my plan, a few pix, and the changes I would make were I to do it again:

Cut the following pieces:

  •  2 pieces of fabric for the main strap cover based on the size of your strap. My desired strap dimensions were 28" long x 2" wide, so I cut 30" x 3".
  • 1 piece of Pellon Wonder-Under for padding and body (29" x 3" to make hemming each end easier)
  • 1 piece of fabric for the lens cover pocket (3" x 4.5")
Here are the layers for the strap...cute fabric is a must have!

Iron Wonder-Under to fabric intended for the back side of the strap. (I also used it in the pocket, but it turned out to be too bulky, so I wouldn't recommend that.)

Iron fabric for pocket in half (right sides facing) the hamburger way (yep, comments like that only come from a teacher).

Sew 1/4" seam along side opposite of fold. Turn pocket right side out and repress fold & seam for crisp edges.

The pocket will look like this...all set to keep that cover safe!

Back to the two main strips. Hem both ends of each (turn up half inch & iron both ends twice; then topstitch 1/4" from edge).

Pin pocket approximately 1" above one end of the top piece. Sew a quarter inch above the bottom of pocket to topstitch and secure the pocket in one step.

Pin two sides of the straps right sides facing (pocket will be inside) & sew half inch inseam along both long sides of the strap.

(Just beginning to sew along the second side. The seam running across is the bottom of the pocket.)

Turn strap right side out & topstitch (a quarter inch) along each long side. Done and ready to slip over  the strap of your camera!


Skip the Pellon in the pocket. Start with a longer strip of fabric for the back of the strap since it shrunk when fused. Use a 3/8" seam allowance instead of 1/2" along two long sides to make it easier to turn, slide over the strap, and allow for more lens cap room. 

Be sure to measure the diameter of your lens cap. If you have a full-size DSLR then the width of this strap will be too narrow. Our lens cap is very small, for now. Hopefully this year we will upgrade our camera, which will mean that I have to make a wider strap! Oh shucks...guess I'll have to go get more fabric from Modern Textiles...maybe by then I'll be better at scribing sewing directions and can write version 2.0. :)


2014 Resolutions

Over the last day or two my brain has been doing what the rest of your brains are probably doing...thinking back on 2013 and ahead to 2014. Did I accomplish what I wanted to? Was it a good year? Well...it was a year...I wouldn't call it a great year, but I wouldn't call it a bad year either. I did go back and reread my resolutions or yearly "goals" posts from 2012 and 2013 (Thank you Molly W. for introducing me to blogging! I love sharing myself and my heart on my blog, & tonight I love that I can look back.), and realized that those two years have many resolutions in common...and many goals that I'll continue...and several that I didn't complete. :)

Here's last year's list:
1 - Be healthier --- exercise and balance those food groups!!!
2 - Make time for things I enjoy --- Blurb books, sewing, blogging, and cooking
3 - Plan monthly times with friends, or weekly if possible
4 - Hang out with my hubby and DO something together
5 - Establish a consistent bedtime and get out of bed time to support all of the above!!!
I think those are actually pretty wise. Hmmm...I think I might actually need to publish and post those in a prominent location to remind myself of their importance in our lives...

The themes that emerge from the last two years are SIMPLIFY and BALANCE. I'm not sure I've completely achieved simplification or finding balance in our lives, but both of those are ideals that I will continue to strive for into 2014 and beyond. I'm going to add on MAINTAIN. Maintain simplifying daily life, simplify the possessions in our home, simplify the process of completing meaningless tasks instead of making a big deal out of nothing...maintain a healthy marriage, consistent parenting, close and regular friendships, healthy habits...maintain working toward a balance between work & personal life, pleasure & business, with family & time alone, being a "housewife" & choosing what I want to do, maintain our budget, maintain our businesses, maintain hobbies and our family photos, maintain posting regularly on our blog...do you see where I'm going with this? That list could keep going and become a novel! After two years of truly working toward regaining control of what should be day-to-day and not trivial turned tumultuous, I want to maintain those efforts while rounding out life with things that often go by the wayside. For example...family photos...I have thousands of them...they keep being saved on my computer and going nowhere...they are a mess...I haven't organized, edited, or compiled them in three and a half years!!! IT'S TIME!!!!!!!!!

Can you guess my #1 goal for 2014? PHOTOGRAPHY, etc.
  • Organize the thousands of pictures and folders of pictures on my computer (the pictures imported from my iPhone are a mess...no idea how it sorts, but it seriously has created thousands of folders in two and a half years...utter disaster).
  • Learn to effectively/efficiently use Photoshop to organize & edit pictures
  • Create photo books (through Blurb?) in the style of Family Yearbooks
  • Create a photo-a-day blog & book for 2014 --- luv this idea & LUV that it will put the three bullets above into daily use to keep me going!
  • Learn to use all the features of our camera to their full advantage & how to capture better images --- preferably through a photography class first
Yeah!!! I'm so excited to start!!! I already created our photo a day blog and am researching Photoshop Elements vs. Lightroom. Once I get that program loaded I can tackle managing all the photos we currently have with a vengeance. Next step...learning the art of photography!!!

Now...better wrap this up since I'm already violating my getting to bed early plan...shocking!