Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pattern Review- Travel Craft Bag

One of the things I wanted to do differently this year was to make most of my birthday gifts, especially the ones for female friends.  (Men always seem harder to craft for.)  So, my first challenge happened early in the year.  I have two friends and two coworkers all with birthdays in the first two months.  I've managed to create something crafty for all of them, but since I haven't seen some of them to give them their gifts I'm not going to show them all to you guys yet.  :)  And as a side note, is it just me or is like everyone you know born in February?  Anyhow.... on to craftiness.

So, today I'm going to show you the Travel Craft Bag I made with a PDF from Craftsy.  The pattern is from Stitch by Stitch and free so if you think you want to try it out, go for it!  I think Travel Craft Bag is kind of a misleading description for this little treat.  I'd call it more like a basket with handles.

Crafty Basket filled with Goodies!
 Here's what I liked about the project:
  • Minimal amount of fabric needed (like 3 fat quarters and that is all)
  • No zippers, snaps, or closures to mess with.
  • The whole thing can be cut with a rotary cutter and mat.  No pieces to pin and cut out.
  • Small pattern pieces makes it a good chance to use up extra pieces of interfacing.
  • Finished project is cute and functional.  It's about six inches deep and can hold a magazine or some hand stitching fabrics or embroidery projects.  The pockets are great for holding your supplies (or chocolate).
Here's what I didn't like:
  • The instructions state to cut the interfacing 1/2" smaller than all your pieces, but when using Pellon 808 (my interfacing of choice for baskets and bags) I don't really have problem with seems getting too bulky, and cutting it the same size alows it to be sewn into place giving it some extra sturdiness.  (The exception would be the pockets, which are not lined.  The folding the seam allowance down over the interfacing produced nice clean results.)
  • I found the instructions on the pockets confusing and it took me a while to figure out what I was doing, and even so, I managed to goof up the sizes of the pockets.
  • The instructions for the straps have you cut two pieces of interfacing for each strap and make it much more complicated than it needs to be.
Overall, I like the boxed effect.  I think the final result turned out well and I wouldn't hesitate to make another one.  I would make the straps the way I'm used to (or maybe even eliminate them all together- they aren't really needed.) And I would cut the interfacing the same size as the fabric (except with the pockets).  But, it's super cute, and goes together relatively fast.  My coworker loved it.  And hey, the pattern is free, so you really can't complain. :)

If you want to find other great indie patterns on Craftsy, just  click the pic below.

Shop Indie Patterns

There's stuff for sewers, knitters, and crocheters.

(Links to Craftsy in this post are affiliate links to Craftsy, but the review is all mine.)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Musical Monday- I Will Wait from Mumford and Sons

Not going to lie.  This last week has been pretty sucky.  I don't know if it's because it's winter, or if it's because I've turned 32 and still feel like I don't know what I'm supposed to do with my life.  The girls at work were all sweet and bought me a cake and sang happy birthday, and what did I do?  Start crying.  It's just so depressing.  When you're a kid you always think that you'll know what you're supposed to do with your life by the time you're this age.

I feel like I'm in a holding pattern.  There's just not many jobs around here.  I could go back to school, but I don't know what for not to mention, I either have to drive an hour one way or go online, and then I'm still in the same spot (physically) when I get done.  I just feel like I'm existing.  Every week is filled with work, laundry, dishes, vacuuming, and then repeat.  I know it will help once winter is done and I can be outside.  I hardly ever feel this way in the summer.  Winter just makes me stir crazy and I think another candle on the cake is just adding to the hopeless feeling.

So, sorry I was MIA all last week, but it felt like too much work to even fill out the form for the Mug O' Comfort swap let alone to even think about shopping for someone.  So, this week my goal is to just get some projects done, and get outside (even if it is below zero around here) and get some fresh air.  Oh, and plan what I'm planting once the snow lets up.  I cleaned my office yesterday so I feel like being in there again.  :)  Does anyone else have a love hate relationship with their office?

Anyhow, for my song selection of the week, I'm going with Mumford and Sons' I Will Wait.  It's an upbeat song, and it makes waiting seem not so bad.  Granted, I'm assuming they're talking about waiting for a girl, but sometimes all we can do is wait (and try to prepare ourselves for what is coming next), and be open for opportunities that present themselves.


So, hop over to My So Called Chaos and see what Miss Angie and everyone else are listening to.  Hopefully they're feeling a little more cheery than me.  Here's wishing everyone a happy and productive week!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Monthly Goal Link Up- February

Last Sunday, my Masterminds high bred group met up and we went over how our goals went last month and what we're hoping for this month.  Here's how I did (green= success and read= didn't make it):

January Goals
Read Four Books- I read four, even though they weren't the four I had been planning on.
Post 15 times on my blog-  Almost, I only managed 13 blog posts.
Work out four days a week- Succeeded three out of four weeks, but totally slacked off the last week.
Sew four things- Managed to do more than four and even got a jump on some birthday presents
Get my church's website back up and running- Done!  Finally!  It had been on my to do list for months.
Have a daily quiet time every day for Bible reading and reflection- Success!  I'm also rereading Simple Abundance and Something More (both by Sarah Ban Breathnach) every day.

So, I did fairly well, and even the things I didn't have total success on where improved from what I did in December.


Here are my goals for February:

February Goals
Read another four books this month.
Post 15 times on my blog.
Work out four days a week.  (Ugh!  Exercising is miserable.)
Try four new recipes.
Drink 96 oz of water a day.
Continue daily quiet time, and spend more time in prayer and reflection.
Save $100 towards summer vacation.

Monthly Goals

So,what do you think, any advice?  Right now exercise is my biggest pain.  I do it, but only because I know I'm supposed to, not because I like it or feel like it.  I keep waiting to get to that point where exercise feels good and I feel sad if I don't do it.

And, if you want to share your monthly goals and link up, click the above picture to be taken to the link up. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February 2015 Reading List

Well, I did fairly well last month, getting through three of the four books I wanted to read.  I started the fourth, but it's an autobiography and slower reading than a fiction book.  So, I'm still working on it, but I have my February books picked out.  Ready to see what's on my list?


Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer
Good Reads says, The Earl of Spenborough has always been noted for his eccentricity. Leaving a widow younger than his own daughter Serena is one thing, but quite another is leaving Serena's fortune to the trusteeship of the Marquis of Rotherham -- a man whom Serena once jilted and who now has the power to give or withhold his consent to any marriage she might contemplate. When Serena and her lovely young stepmother Fanny decide to move to Bath, Serena makes an odd new friend and discovers an old love, Major Hector Kirkby. Before long, Serena, Fanny, Kirkby, and Rotherham are entangled in a welter of marriage and manners the like of which even Regency Bath has rarely seen.
 If You Lived Here I'd Know Your Name by Heather Lende
Good Reads says, Tiny Haines, Alaska, is ninety miles north of Juneau, accessible mainly by water or air—and only when the weather is good. There's no traffic light and no mail delivery; people can vanish without a trace and funerals are a community affair. Heather Lende posts both the obituaries and the social column for her local newspaper. If anyone knows the going-on in this close-knit town—from births to weddings to funerals—she does.
Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Good Reads says, A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography.

The Letters by Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger
Good Reads says, In this remarkable collaboration, New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger combine their unique talents to create a powerfully moving novel of an estranged husband and wife through a series of searching, intimate letters. By way of a correspondence so achingly real you’ll forget it’s fiction, they trace the history of a love affair and of a family before, and after, the moment that changed the course of two people’s journey forever.

 So, that's what I'm planning on reading this month.  What are you reading?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Musical Mondays- Shake it Out from Florence + The Machine

Ever feel like your life took a wrong turn somewhere, and the real you is living some alternate life that you always hoped for?  I feel like that a lot.  It's not that I'm miserable or have made huge mistakes that took me down a bad path.  Sometimes I just feel like I'm so afraid to branch out and try new things and that I'm impeding myself.  Sometimes I really think I am my own worst enemy.

Right now the number one thing making me feel this way is my job.  I never went off to college, I've lived in the same zip code since I've been 12, and I work at a job that I'm perfectly competent at, and pays pretty decent for the area I live in, but I don't feel like it's where I'm supposed to be.  Then I wonder if I made a wrong turn somewhere.  I debate if I should go back to school, if I should find a different job, if I should just accept that everyone feels that way about their job.

And basically, I've come to the realization that there's no alternate life, only this one.  And my life would have been different if I went to college or moved farther away, but not necessarily better.  I probably would just have a different set of problems and personal weaknesses.  I only have this one life so it's time to focus on the present.

That's why I picked Shake it Out for my song of the week.  It's pretty much spot on.  I chose the version with lyrics so you can read them while the song plays if you like.



I feel like I'm in a dry spell of life right now, but I need to focus on using that to prepare for what may come next.  I don't know what that is, but I feel like God is giving me this time to get rid of some bad habits and work on character flaws, so that I'm ready for the next chapter.
 
And if you want to see what everyone is listening to this week, head over to My So Called Chaos for Musical Monday.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Finishes- Simple Dish Towel Spruce Up

What do your dish towels look like?  If you're like me, they are stained, dingy, and old.  I was thinking back to when I bought most of them, they're mostly from when I first moved out of my parents house- 10+ years ago!  The majority of the remainder came with my husband when we got married, which was almost 8 years ago.  There's a few here and there that I got as gifts or picked up on clearance at Target or something.  But anyways, the majority are old and dingy.

Why do I keep things that are old and dingy?  Dish towels don't cost that much to replace.  I use them everyday.  Why am I keeping something ratty and discolored when I could have something nice and fresh for minimal investment.

So, I bought some colored tea towels and jazzed them up with some fabric out of my stash.  I just cut a strip about four inches wide and the width of my towel, sewed it down, topstitched all four sides and ta dah!  New dish towels, with a personal touch.

Out with the Old, In with the New

As for the ratty old ones, they're in the rag bin for dusting. 

I'm rereading Simple Abundance this year, and one of the things they constantly stress is taking joy in the small things in life.  You need to indulge in simple things: buy yourself fresh flowers, don't save the good china for just when company comes, contemplate life over a cup of tea.  I think making something pretty just for yourself (not for a gift, not because you have to, just for you, just because) is also a way to be joyful in small things.  I know I like looking at my new towels much better than the old ones.

What's something you can do to spread a little joy in your life?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

January Book Recap

So I didn't make t through all four of my books that I had planned on reading this month. I made it through the first three, but got hung up on the biography of Amy Carmichael.  I plan on finishing it, but will be moving on to four more picks for February to read as well.

Here are the books I finished and can now liquidate from my collection as well as new ones I've acquired in the past month.

Finished
  • Infinite Grace- It's a devotional I was reading in the mornings along with my Bible and some other books.
  • The Ultimate Gift- (Okay this is the DVD in the picture, I already gave the book to a friend.) The book was kind of hokey.  I mean, the message was good, but it was kind of heavy handed in parts and more than a little unrealistic.  But like I said, the message good.  The DVD was much better than the book.  They followed the book loosely and developed the characters and their backgrounds much more than the book did.
  • The Bookman's Tale- This was a book I got from my Secret Santa swap partner.  I love a good bibliophile mystery and this was a fun ride.  It had murder, secret passages, and three different stories that all wove together.
  • The Invisible Ones- This book was compared to Tana French's books which may be a bit of a stretch, but it was a pretty good read.  I don't recall ever reading anything about modern day gypsies before so that was interesting.  It was well written but I figured out the mystery well before the detective in the book did.  But, it was still a good read.
Acquired
  • The Lace Reader
  • Gone Girl 
  • Mrs. Peregine's Home for Peculiar Children  (All three aquired in January's Books n Bloggers swap.)
  • Traveling Light
  • Onward and Upward in the Garden
  • A Godward Life (These three all from the St Vinnie's in my friend, Lori's, town.)
  • I'd Know You Anywhere
  • Life Sentences

    The first three are from my Books n Bloggers swap partner, and you can read more about them in my swap reveal post.    The middle three I got from the St Vinnies when I went to visit my friend Lori.  I've been looking for Onward and Upward in the Garden for a while.  It's by EB White's wife, Katherine White and in Simple Abundance, she frequently talks about it.  The last two are both by Laura Lippman and they were on clearance for 99 cents each at Goodwill.  Can't pass that up.
In closing, I acquired more than I read, but I still got rid of some and I'm reading more than I used to.  I also threw some other books in the Goodwill box, so if you take that into account, it may come out about even.