Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April Give Thanks, Week 4

April 22:
     My first block is done. I started my Halloween wall quilt. Its all done by hand applique. I am so thankful for the few hours after the kids go to bed, to work on this project. This first block took me a few days. Feels great to have the first one done!

April 23:
     Thankful today for those moments you get to catch, while your child learns/touches the kitty for the first time and really understands what it is. The laughter, the excitement, the puzzled looks, and the overall joy of the experience for him, is just the best feeling and a great experience to see. I love watching my kids grow and learn.

April 24:
     Today I am thankful for a HUGE milestone for myself. I have officially lost 30 pounds! Its an amazing feeling, and I can not weight for the next few pounds to fall off. I am half way to my goal weight. However, this overall life changing experience of putting the weight on and then slowly taking it off has helped me realize what healthy LIVING is all about. Its definitely a lifestyle change.

Left: December 2013, Right: Current weight today.
April 25:
     My youngest, Jared is 10 months old today. I am so thankful for all the wonderful days that he has blessed me with, and the wonderful experiences and life changing moments that have happened in the last 10 months. He is a unique, happy, funny, out"spoken" kind of personality, and a picky eater. I love him to death, and I could not be more thankful for him.

April 26:
     Since we arrived here in California, months ago; we still are going through stuff and trying to "clean up" and "clean out" the items we don't need or we don't use. Today, we spent at least an hour or more going through boxes apon boxes of stuff and posting them for sale, or putting them in the thrift store pile. I am thankful that we can give our unwanted or unused items to people who can use them, and still give back and help out our military community in return. Feels good.

April 27:
     Thankful for each and every second I get with my kids. They are my world, my only world. As a stay at home mom, this is what I eat, breath, and well... clean! Its my life; I never get a day off from it, even when I have strep throat, and I will work harder then I ever thought I would, at any other job. (No other job, can you go to work with strep throat and still have to work, taking care of 2 kiddos who also have strep throat... yeah this job rocks!) In a positive though, us all being sick means we are spending a lot of time cuddling and thats what its all for.

April 28:
     I am thankful for my kids love for one another... just look at this photo. It says it all. This is what life is about.
Holding hands... awwww
 Give Thanks,

Friday, April 25, 2014

April Giving Thanks, Week 3

April 15:
     Having my mother here with us, shopping, and talking, and everything normal that the rest of the world does; thats what I am so thankful for and very much so enjoying. Love my MOM!

April 16:
     The yearly photos with the Easter Bunny, oh how I LOVE this part of being a parent! Thankful for these moments of "torture" (for the kids in one way or another), and the yearly picture of development/growth for us, and future reference (for all those girlfriends and future wife). Yes, I am giggling at this moment.....

April 17:
     Another fun filled day with family and friends all at the Jelly Belly Factory! A tour, another Easter Bunny photo and lots of candy; what a blessed day to be thankful for.

April 18:
     My mother has left, and my eyes are full of tears, and the boys seem just as sad. However, in all of this we were in the car running an errand and my oldest started making a funny noise. I look back at him and asked him who taught him, but he wouldn't say.... ill let you in on the true answer, it was my mother! Thankful, that even when she isn't with us, the boys still are influenced by her. My heart is heavy, but I am still smiling.

April 19:
     Brian had his first ever Easter Egg hunt! I am so thankful that he caught on, and LOVED it!!! His face was full of excitement and joy. I just wish I had taken a video of him!

April 20:
     Jared's first Easter. I am thankful that we could celebrate together, as a family, and attempt to enjoy every second of today.

April 21:
     Spent the morning in urgent care. Yeah, not really a lot to be thankful for, since the boys and I are all diagnosed with Strep Throat. The boys are miserable, I am miserable, and thats where our Prince on a white horse shows up. The hubby to the rescue!! Thankful that he had a short day at work, was able to come home, let me nap while the kids napped, made dinner, helped get the kids to bed, and then sent me off to enjoy a hot bath.... oh so thankful today.... sooooo thankful!

Give Thanks,

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wall Art/Mini Quilts

I have spent the last few weeks working day in and day out, during nap time and time when I should have been asleep, working on these cute little wall art pieces. I originally wanted to make them for embroidery hoops, but later on once all the pieces were done, and I realized how much extra fabric I had left over; I thought, I could make these into mini quilts, and still hang them on my walls! I recently came across mini quilts on pinterest and fell instantly in love with them. I was so inspired I just hand to make some.

I started the sewing machine piece, way back when I first injured my knee (September 2013). I finally had a chance to clean my sewing/craft room and came across all the material and instantly got inspired again. It did help I had a chance to go to a local quilt show recently too!

The process was pretty simple. I cut out 12 x 12 inch squares of the black fabric, and then come up with a sewing design I want to place on it. I used the internet to find all my designs, and just blew up images, cut them out and placed them on the fabric I wanted to use.

With each block I used a different technique. I appliqued using a blanket stitch, a whip stitch, straight stitch, and embroider stitch. I did all this by hand sewing. I used the machine to piece the outer boarders on, quilt it, and then the binding. I did hand sew the folded side of the binding. I also placed small triangles onto the back of the mini quilt (while putting the binding on), and then used a small wooden rod to place between the triangles to hang each quilt. Super easy and perfect to hide how you hang the quilt.

Now, heres a look at the finished quilts and some detailed shots:

I made each boarder unique.

The back had triangles to hang them up.

Up on the wall and my room is starting to feel like a sewing room!

Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


When I was younger, I couldn't stand what mothers said about their kids. Ugh. Why? Why did mothers always have to say they loved that, or could do this with their kids for forever... and so on. It was just annoying, weird, and for me I was so over it. My mother raised myself, my sister and two brothers all by herself. She rarely had help, and when she did it was always appreciated. We had rough days, weeks, or years; but eventually, we just made it work. We lived a normal life, as I would call it, and we all enjoyed our childhood.

Now that I am a mom of two kids, I can officially say all those things I hated to hear, when I was a kid. Sometimes, I even catch myself laughing at my old memories of what I use to say. Glad time and life experience has changed me.

Heres a few I couldn't stand then, but say today:

I could watch my kids sleep forever.

I love watching them smile and laugh.

My kids are true love.

I never knew what true love was until I had kids.

They really are a blessing.

I can just see my old self, rolling my eyes, or giving the "for real, right now?" look. I recall when one of my friends had her son at a younger age, and she was just so over the moon in love with him. She really could not express the feelings she had for him, and I loved him on a certain level, but never as deep as a real mothers love. I still couldn't understand it then.

The bond you have with your child is so life changing, and as a young adult, or teenager I would never and probably could never have understood, or realized any of that. Love is powerful, and I found my soul mate while still in high school. So, I thought I knew what love was. However, when you are dating, or get married to someone, that kind of love is so different from a love for a child. I think its also a deeper kind of love from the mother then the father. As we make them inside our bellies, and slowly feel life take shape. Its an amazing experience to be a woman, get pregnant, give birth, and hold your baby for the first time. Its life changing.

I am not sure men could understand that as deep as woman do, but maybe men love their kids differently as well. Maybe all humans feel love for a partner vs a child differently? I know I can categorize it as different. What do you all think? Leave a comment, let me know; especially if you are a male and have children. Tell me how you see love for your partner and for your kids. Also, whats something you would have hated to hear parents say then that you would say now?

Love Life,

April Giving Thanks, Week 2

April 8:
     Excited and thankful to be working on a small hand sewn/quilted baby blanket, just for fun! Just working on my hand sewing techniques and practicing different stitches, which is making time for me. We all need that from time to time.

April 9:
     Today was by far a rough day, so trying to find something to be positive and thankful for is extremely difficult. However, I am thankful for my loving and caring husband who just knows me so well, and knows when all we need is a little chocolate to lift our spirits! Yum.

April 10:
     Thankful for a little motivation to get the house cleaned up and smelling like a clean house. When you have two kids who wear diapers, trust me this is the best thing ever.

April 11:
     Thankful for the time with our neighbors and new friends. The kids had a blast in the pool, bounce house and all the toys. I enjoyed all the adult conversation too!

April 12:
     So excited to have my mother here to visit. I am thankful for her safe drive and safe arrival!

April 13:
     Thankful today for the amazingly fun and exciting day down in Sacramento, where theres a Train Museum and old style buildings and stores. It was a ton of wonderful fun!

April 14:
     Thankful today for my wonderful mother being here and spoiling myself and the kids! Love my mother so much!

Give Thanks,

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Baby Quilt

I have tons of random fat quarter bundles, jelly rolls, and layered cakes. I get them when I see them on sale, or when I have a coupon, or if I am super lucky I get them from family or friends for free. This one I believe someone gave me. I have had it for years, I think. I know a mommy-to-be and wanted to make something personal for her and her soon to be born son. I came up with the design by taking a few different quilt ideas online and combining them. This bundle was 7 fat quarters. Two were the exact same fat quarter, so I really had a half a yard of one and 5 other fat quarters.

I wanted to do strips, but the size I wanted to do, I couldn't do with the fat quarters. So instead, I did a few strips (pieced together), a few blocks (quick), and a few small different direction strips/bigger blocks. Its a baby crib size, so when it was all done it was about 30 x 50.

I started by drawing out what I wanted to do with the fabric. Making measurement marks on the paper; what they needed to be cut at and what they would (hopefully) be when I was done sewing them together. I always measure, cut, or sew something wrong; so I tend to add an inch or half inch here and there for safety.

Once I have the design on paper, I cut. I began by cutting the longest pieces and widest pieces, then I move on to the smaller pieces. If I don't have enough of one material, I use a different one. I then use my design wall to move items around and change the design if needed. Which I had to do, as I did not have enough of one material, so I made two long blocks instead of one.

This is the design on my wall. You can see nothing is sewn together.
 Once I move the pieces around and decide on a top that I love or like, I then begin to sew. With this one I went in sections. The bottom section, middle section, and top section. The three long strips in the middle is the middle section. The top and bottom section are above and below those. Does that help?

Moving on, I then piece the long blocks, to the small blocks. Then sew the three long strips together, and then add it to the bottom section.

Bottom and middle section done.
I move onto the top section. Finished that, trimmed everything up and made it as rectangular as I could.
Top is done.
I then decided on a dark blue for the back, in flannel. I wanted it to be soft, but I am also working on a budget. I had navy blue flannel on hand and it actually looks great with the other fabrics. I then cut the blue flannel about an inch larger then the top on all sides. I did the same with the batting as well. I layered all three on top of each other, and then pinned it down with safety pins. Lots of safety pins.

Pinned and ready to quilt.
Once I decided I wanted to hand quilt this baby blanket and not machine quilt it, I then grabbed 3 different embroidery floss colors. Each color matched the quilt. One was a light yellow, baby pastel blue, and a white. I then stitched just a simple straight stitch around blocks, and straight across the quilt.

The top, hand quilted up close.

The back, hand quilted up close.
I then used the same color for the binding as I did the back. This helped pull the back color to the front and tie everything together. The finished baby quilt was better then I had in mind. I was unsure of the quilt in the beginning, but after I put the finished touches on it, I love it!

Folded up and showing off the hand quilted and hand stitched binding!

I love the back. The hand sewn quilting is just so much fun.

The front fabrics with the back fabric.

The completed front of the quilt.
This by far has been one of the fastest quilts I have done in awhile, on top of that, I hand quilted it! Its so exciting. I can't tell you how thrilled, energized, and excited I am that I hand quilted something. Its like a drug for me right now. I am still excited about this project.

Happy Hand Quilting,

Friday, April 11, 2014

Learning Colors

My two year old is all about colors. Everything is GREEN, or BLUE, etc. I figured it might be a great idea to get him a color wheel or buy him something that will help with colors. I just never found anything worth buying, and nothing that seemed educational (in a fun way). I came up with the idea of using flannel and felt so he could hang the color next to the name. The idea was to use the color circle and the colored name to help him associate the two. Of course right now he can't read the color names, but he can match the colored word to the colored circle. In time he will be able to read them.

I had flannel on hand, and just purchased one felt rectangle of each color. I kept it simple and basic. White, black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. You can add more or others if you want to do this.

I cut out a circle and the word of each color. I then laid them on about a yard of white flannel. When I decided on the placement I then used fabric glue to glue just the WORD down. The circles do not get glued down.

I then just used some thumb tacks, and pinned the white flannel.

I then gave my son the colored circle, one by one and let him place the circles as close to the colors name as possible. He is totally in to it and so is my youngest... Well, he likes to just hold the circles, and carry them around.

See The Rainbow,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Soft Book/Toy Tutorial

 I made a soft book a few days ago and got a request to make a tutorial for it. I have done a few of these panels with instructions on them, but when I tried following the instructions I feel like I am ready an encyclopedia. Its tough to follow. Thankfully, I am pretty good at visually seeing what I need to do. So with out babbling too much here is the tutorial for the book and soft toy.

To start I want to show you how the panel looks. My wonderful mother-in-law got a few of these and then gave me them! I am so thankful for them, I love making them. Ok, so the panels are by Hugabook, which is one of many you can purchase. I have seen others just on a bolt at a store, so don't think you have to purchase something like this.

back with panel image

front, how it looks on the shelf
Once you open the package and take the panel out, it will look something like this:

Grab your scissors, or a straight edge ruler and rotary cutter. Carefully, cut out each panel piece. I used a ruler, but left a small 1/8th of an inch trim around it, as almost EVERY book page is wonky and NOT straight.

Cut out all pages. When your done you should have 2 front and back pages, and 4 regular pages.

Take them over to your ironing board, and iron all the pages out.

Make sure you place each page RIGHT sides together. If you forget which orders they are, simply refer to the packaging (or take a photo of the panel before you cut it up). Even if you mix them up, these are kid books and honestly doesn't seem to be any specific order.

Pin the two pieces together.

Continue doing the same with the other pages, RIGHT sides together and pin.

Once they are all pinned, head over to your cutting board.

You can use any batting, but to make the book fluffy I use this brand with low loft. You can purchase any, even high loft, but I just prefer this brand and type.

Lay the batting over the pinned page (one at a time), and cut out a piece of batting about 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch larger then the page.

Pin the page to the batting.

Continue doing this with all three pages.

Note: the front/inside cover/back/inside back pages are LARGER then the other 2 pages, thats why I said cut each page separately.

Grab all three pages and head over to your SERGER or SEWING MACHINE.

Using my serger I sew around the edge of each page. Leave a hole about 2 inches on the BOTTOM of the pages. If you are using a regular sewing machine you can just use a straight stitch, but make sure you sew slightly inside the black line around the edge. If you feel that wont hold, you can always go back over and use a zig zag around the edge to the right of your straight stitch.

Once your done, the page should look something like this:

Don't forget the hole:

Continue on to the second page, leaving a hole.

Complete the third page, leaving a hole.

Using the hole, turn the material inside out between the two cotton pieces.

Push each corner out as much as you can.

Completely finish flipping the page inside out.

Do the same with the other pages.

Take all three pages to the ironing board.

Don't worry if this happens, and you have a small hole where you didn't mean to have one. Its an easy fix. Just push the two pieces inwards and pin.

Push the pieces inwards towards the batting, and iron if you need to. This piece was in a corner so it wasn't hard to pinch shut.

Make sure you pin it well. This was a small hole so I only needed one pin.

With the big hole that you flipped the pages inside out with, fold each piece inward towards the batting (you might need to trim the batting with scissors, but be careful to not cut the pages).

Hold the pieces down, and iron over them to help keep them in place.

Pin the hole shut.

Do the same with the other pages as well.

Take your pages over to the sewing machine. Straight stitch about 1/8th of an inch from the edge of the page, making sure you back stitch or lock in stitch, and then carefully make sure you catch both pieces where the hole was. Stitch around the entire top of the page, and finish with a lock in stitch or back stitch.

The page will look like this:

Continue onto the next pages, and complete them as well.

Get all three of the pages in order. Cover, page 1/2 - 7/8, and 3/4 - 5/6 in order.

Then stack them, lining up the center as much as you can. Again, note that the front page is larger then the other pages, so be sure to center the other inside pages inside the front cover.

Fold the book to make sure you pinned in the center.

Take your pinned center to the sewing machine. Lock in stitch or back stitch at the top and carefully stitch in a straight line down the center of the book. If you need to you can always use a pencil or washable fabric pen and draw a straight line with a ruler.

Then clip any loose strings, and your book should be done!

Now you can make the toy. You can make the toy flat, or puffy. Ill show you both ways if thats what you want to do.

Cut out the trucks/toy. Cut out slightly larger then the outside (I leave about 1/8th of an inch around the edge).

You can see the 1/8th of an inch around the edge.

Iron them, and place them RIGHT sides together.

Pin the pieces together.

One way you can make the toy is to use the same batting and cut it out as the same size of the toy (just like the pages), this will make the toy flat, not big.

Otherwise, if you want a plush toy then use your serger or straight edge and sew around the edge of the toy, be sure to leave a hole.

I left the hole at the bottom, so you can't see it. Turn the toy inside out.

Push all the corners and curves out.

Go back to your iron and tuck the pieces towards the inside, and iron the hole flat, so it lines up with the rest of the seams.

Add your poly-fill, pushing it into the corners and curves, then the center. Don't put too much in it, just a nice handful.

Take a few pins and pin the hole closed. You can hand sew the hole shut with invisible stitch, or use your machine.

I used my machine. I simply started with a back stitch (or lock in stitch), and pull the stuffing away from your machines pressure foot. Carefully sew the hole shut with a 1/8th inch seam.

Finish it up with back stitch (or lock in stitch).

You are now finished!

Hugabook is only one brand, heres a few others you can find:
Christmas Panel
Bunny Book
Pooh Bear
Busytown Panel
Golden Book Panel
Fuzzy Duck Book
Lion Panel
Mother Goose Panel

and so many many more. Just check any online or local fabric or craft store. Be sure to check the fabric section, as some of these do come on bolts, and are not individually cut.

Enjoy Reading,