Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Did It! I Did It!

It's done! It's done!  
I have finished my first project for The Summer of 2011 Challenge!  Woot!  Woot!  Holla!

Ellie's T-shirt is complete and she will wear it after her nap for our lunch and play date!  I don't often wish she would wake up early!

Now of course I wouldn't be me if I didn't point out a few mistakes...

There is definite puckering in the sleeves and the flappy things don't line up!

Oh well, more to work on in the future.  I'm so happy it's done!

And the final product:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Project 1 - Version 2

So I sat on the couch tonight after Ellie went to bed and thought about my choices.  Choice number one: take a shower and go to bed early, maybe read a little of the book I started in April and haven't touched since.  Lay there with the fan on and the cool breeze from the window, it's a beautiful night in Wisconsin.  Choice number two: work on The Challenge.  I picked choice two.  See for yourself if you think that was the correct choice.

I already had a start on the T-shirt (Version 2) from before vacation.  I'll refresh your memory (see picture):  Version one was a bust for two reasons (1) neck size and width and (2) flappy things.

I had already cut the pieces for another shirt while I was making version one (a good idea that I will continue in the future) so I thought it should be easy to modify.

I thought I could add to the width and neck size by adding sporty little racing stripes up the side of the shirt and make sure I tucked the flappies in.

Here is the shirt with the racing stripes sewn on.  It has potential right?  Color blocking on athletic apparel is very in this year.  :)

It looked great so I added the sleeves and started thinking about how cute Ellie will look in this and her denim shorts at our luncheon tomorrow...

Then I turned it right side out...

And laughed to myself at how awkward I am with these shirts.  How did I screw up this time you ask???

Yes, I did sew the sleeve on backwards and leave the little flappy thing out on the second sleeve!  See the up close picture below and you can admire my unfinished edge on the sleeve.
Well the first sleeve looks good at any rate.  :)

I'm leaving it until tomorrow, to try it on my Beanie girl and see how the size fits before I think about seam ripping or starting over.  :)

Oh well, it's still early and the breeze is still blowing - perfect sleeping weather in Wisconisn!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Wow!  What an amazing vacation!  I'm such a lucky girl to have such a great family!  Not everyone can have fun driving 1400 miles to Florida with two one year olds but we sure can!  We took our time on the way down, stopping at the end of Illinois, Nashville, and Macon.  The babies did wonderfully!  Truly only two meltdowns the entire trip!
Highlights:  Ellie loved It's a Small World - of course!
Loved the house we rented (how can you not love having your own pool!)
So much fun spending time with family.

But I feel like I haven't taken a breath at all in June!  First - finals and the last day of School on June 10th.  Then - one weekend to pack and of course the Rally (see previous post).  Off for 15 wonderful days of vacation (I'm so not complaining)!  Then back (straight) to a class at MATC (I didn't even go home first) for two days.  whoa!

I did spend some time thinking about The Challenge!  I have some big plans and hope to start working on them tomorrow!  Can't wait!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Diabolical Duo

Ellie wearing the shirt I made for her as we spent a beautiful summer day at the Wisconsin Capitol demonstrating with thousands of other teachers, police officers, firemen, and public employees.  Although the outcome was disappointing, I'm so proud of my friends, family, and the countless others lending their support to education, the middle class, the environment, etc.  I'm proud that I have these pictures to show my daughter that she participated in a movement that will be studied in school.

And what a good girl she was!  and what a dirty girl I brought home!  I'm surprised the bathwater wasn't black!  After the rally we went to visit Auntie A and Cousin R at her salon and I got a haircut and die job, so please ignore the terrible locks on the proud educator!  They were fixed shortly after the picture was taken.  Tomorrow we leave on vacation to Orlando, Fl with my family.  I'm very much looking forward to lots of laughs, junk food, and making memories.  I probably won't be posting, but I will be working on a project for The Challenge!  Until then... Have a great summer!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Prep'n for the Rally

Tomorrow is a big day is Wisconsin.  And I don't mean big in a good way, unless you like ramrodded legislation that benefits big business and the wealthiest 2% at the cost of drastically cutting services to the people that need it most.  I'm a teacher this effects me, but more importantly, I'm a mother and this makes me sick.

 This is not my political outlet, so I won't continue on the issues, however I must post this latest craft.  Ellie and I will be attending the rally tomorrow.  This by no means is Ellie's first rally.  She went canvasing at 4 months, voting at 5 months, and rallying at 9 and 10 months (see picture below).  Regardless of your political affinity, we believe in teaching civics at an early age.

For my fashionable Ellie Bean, I made the following shirt.  This time I decided to use a fabric stabilizer because of the overlapping pieces.  I hate the way it looks on the edges, but was so much easier to sew.  I used a onesie I had on hand, so this doesn't count as completion of a project for The Challenge, but it sure was fun!  Pics of the model in her outfit tomorrow!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Wow - Another new development in the T-shirt department...

The picture to the right is confirmation that I can't count the t-shirt as a completed project for The Challenge.  I tried it on her for fun today and the response was not good.  I'm glad I did though because I found out my pattern was too small on the sides and I couldn't get her arms in.  Poor little pumpkin.

After that disaster we went to a few of my student's graduation parties.  We ate a lot of great food and Ellie came home smelling like roast beef, which excited the dog and he wanted to make out with her when we got home.  It was a successful day!  The other picture of Ellie is of her eating her new favorite food for dinner - Cherries!

Happy Summer everyone!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Project 1 - Version 1

Day One of The Challenge!
I mentioned in my last post that I started the first project of my challenge.  I created a t-shirt for Ellie and it's finished! (well sort of) Here's the deal...

I used the pattern from this amazing blog - Made You really need to check it out!!! She has these easy to follow tutorials that are very creative and unique.  I also followed her tutorial on how to make a pattern, and now I understand the process much better.  The one thing I have found very interesting with this project is that I'm really looking at the structure of how clothing is made.  I'm turning everything inside out and looking at the seams, thinking, "oooh, that goes there and then they sewed here..."
So anyway, the shirt - she calls it the 90 Minute Shirt and even for the sewing novice that I am when it comes to anything that isn't a straight line, she isn't far off.  I used a shirt (12 months) that fits Ellie well and this turned out o.k. - for a first draft.

Overall, the sewing of the shirt went pretty well.  I don't have a Serger or an expensive sewing machine for that matter, but I think I made up for that with the creative stitch I used to sew the white edge on the shirt.  I really enjoyed making the pattern and sewing the edges on.  When I got to sewing the sleeves on I got a little frustrated, (wondered vaguely if the 'wife beater' look would be cute on a one year old) but powered through and sewed them on.  I think it might be a case of getting easier once you've done it a few times.

There are/were two major mistakes.

1.  When sewing the sleeves, I didn't tuck the end of the shirt under the sleeves.  Now it's just flopping out and looks unfinished.

2.  Then, remember the post about not sewing when you are tired? I screwed up when sewing the W on the front.  I'm embarrassed to say I sewed the front of the shirt to the back.

Yeah - that's embarrassing!

So tonight I ripped out the W mistake and finished it up and I'll show you one more time the end result.

This project for the challenge is not finished yet, because I'm not 100% happy with the result.  (this is a new rule I'm adding to the challenge)

I'm thinking about changing the design of the shirt a little and not having the overlapping onesie look for the neckline.  Mostly because I hate sewing the sleeves on the way the tutorial explains.  If you read my "about Sarah" page, you will know that I don't always follow crafting directions to a T.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

When Not to Sew

Don't sew when you are tired...
or drunk
or angry
or... I don't know, I'm out... As I've implied, I'm tired... but I may have tried all in the past with varying degrees of failure.  :)  Tonight was no different.

Today was the last day of school with students.  We have to go back tomorrow for a full day of grading, and cleaning, and celebrating, but tonight I felt crafty.  I wanted to get a start on a project for The Challenge.  My mistake was simple, I pushed it too far.  I should have stopped but thought, oh, I'll just do one more thing...  that one last thing was a big mistake I'll have to rip apart tomorrow.

Oh well!  I'm just excited that summer is almost here!  I'm going to miss many of my students but I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with themselves!  AND... I do believe The Challenge begins in two days!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

11 in the Summer of 11 Challenge

In the summer of 2011
(defined as June 11th - August 29th because that is the true time a teacher has off - interestingly enough roughly 11 weeks)

I will - Create, Document, and Blog - about
11 Different Crafts from my Crafting Bucket List

Here is my list in no particular order:
1. One T-shirt for Ellie
2. One dress for Ellie
3. A summer skirt for me
4. Painted dresser - Zebra print and it will be so cool
5. I've wanted a headboard for my king size master bed for 5 years.  I will make something awesome!
6. Stuffed pie making pretend play toys I saw at the children's museum.  (they are cooler than I can explain)
7. A rug - crochet or braided
8. I will master a salsa recipe and canning process for my garden produce
9. Homemade Hummus and homemade pita chips
10. Knit produce bags
11. I'm leaving this up to whatever moves me - it could be baby booties or something for my husband.  His suggestion (other than the ones he had that were not appropriate for the bloggosphere) was a cowboy hat made from an old beer case.  Who knows, that might make the cut!  :)

All made items will be from recycled or re-purposed materials and a very meager budget.  Ideas may come from other blogs or from the crevices of my brain.  
The picture of the booties above is of past work done to demonstrate I can create something snazzy.  I got the wonderful pattern at before I even got this crazy idea for this crazy blog!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The First Weekend of June

My Challenge of 11 in the Summer of 2011 hasn't started yet, because school isn't officially out until next Friday. Regardless, this weekend we were wonderfully busy while staying at home - for the most part!

Saturday - We finished planting the garden!!! Seriously glad to get that in the ground.  Went a little simpler than usual this year, just roma tomatoes, jalapeƱos, green and yellow beans, zucchini, and zinnas.  I want to try my Salsa Garden one last time (perhaps one of my 11 projects?) and I just love beans and zinnas.  I'm looking for a great salsa canning recipe that is easy.
Something I've wanted to do for TWO years got done on Saturday! Chris painted the trellis my dad built me and we planted Clematis.  (Love the flower but giggle like a high school student when I say it, I'm sorry, it sounds like as STD).

Sunday - Got up early and Ellie and I took these pictures of my flower beds.  They are looking fiiiiiiiine!  Jack the dog tagged along.  We also went to the mall, did some returns, went grocery shopping, and did a little flower transplanting!  A great day and weekend all around.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Well I feel entirely productive tonight!  I have...
1. figured out how to add pages and edit my blog, created info, bucket list, and inspiration pages
2. created a logo - for now
3. determined my summer goal / hook for the blog.

wait for it...
11 in 2011
Yup, I'm going to create and post 11 projects during the summer of 2011!

O.k - so it's not the most creative idea but I'm pretty happy with it!
Now to decide what I want my eleven project to be... oh the possibilities...

Now I think I'll have a bowl of ice cream to celebrate!

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