Monday, December 30, 2013

Where I've Been and Where I Think I'm Going

Well!  It's been quite a while since I've last written a proper post... eight months, in fact.  I started a sewing business about a year ago, and it took up most of my creative energy.  I was always busy with my two boys, my job and then the sewing business, and felt like I didn't have anything to write about. Nor did I have any time -- or creativity -- with which to write it. 

I've taken a break from my sewing business (my Sew Sweet Studio Facebook page is here) for the holidays, and I must say that I'm enjoying it.  At the same time, my job has picked up the pace and I'm enjoying new and varied work.  Let's just say that, without a sewing business filling up my free time, a firmer line has been drawn between work time and play time and I'm quite enjoying it.

Today I took the boys for a walk on the farm and just the thought of returning to blogging has helped me see the things around me that I haven't seen in so long.  I've been so busy for so long -- and moving too fast, really -- that I haven't had time for the things I used to hold dear.  Seasonal celebrations, decorating, baking.  Taking in nature.  Breathing deep and taking it in.  Gardening.  Enjoying the little things.  Being in the moment.  How did I let this happen?

It's time to slow down.  It's interesting how priorities shift and then shift back.  I'm so ready for this.  Only time will tell if I'll be able to be in this space regularly.  One can argue that blogging can take you away from being in the moment, but at times like this I know it's the opposite.  There's a way to keep it balanced, so that is what I'll strive for.  So the question begs to be asked.... are you still out there?  I'm glad to be back!!








Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Creating Ideal Bedrooms for the Whole Family

Hi everyone! Today's I've invited guest blogger Jessica to share her ideas for revitalizing bedrooms for the whole family. I hope you enjoy her useful tips and tricks.

Creating Ideal Bedrooms for the Whole Family

Renewing the bedrooms for the whole family can be a pricy prospect, but it does not have to break the bank, nor do you have to go through months of having only one or two good-looking bedrooms, while the rest of the family have to 'put up' with older, scruffier furniture and d├ęcor. Try to make small changes to all the rooms at the same time, by employing the following useful hints and tips.
Add a touch of glass: Glass looks wonderful, and, while not recommended for very young children, can add a real sophistication to any room. For children, especially young ladies on the cusp of teenager-hood, it can take the form of a lovely scaled down chandelier, while older children and the adults may enjoy a beautiful glass display on a dresser or shelf.
 
 


A patch of home comfort

Patchwork looks wonderfully inviting and comfortable, and the beauty of it is that you can now buy exquisite patchwork quilts from online vendors such as folksy.com, and even patchwork effect duvet covers and matching curtains can be obtained fairly easily. If you are lucky enough to source wallpaper that features a patchwork pattern so much the better and the room will soon look warm and welcoming!
 
 



Some masculine majesty: Treat the man in your life to a beautifully masculine bedroom. Strong clear colours on the wall, leather effect furniture and staid, frill-free lighting add up to a tempting, yet manly haven of sleep! Your choice of bedding must follow the theme and sites such as yorkshirelinen.com can help, offering a fabulous range of bedding. In fact, for every bedroom style, you will achieve a better effect by splurging on fresh new bedding for all the rooms.
 


Renew and restore: Save some precious pennies in the budget by re-using as much furniture and as many of the soft furnishings as you can. A pair of curtains from a large bedroom that are beginning to fray along the bottom can be cut down to fit into a smaller room. Large duvet covers with wear and tear along the seams can be made over into bolster pillows, quilted floor mats for the children or even into smaller duvet covers for single beds.
 


Go for contrasts: If you feel a bedroom looks a little dull, but is actually in quite good condition taken piece by piece, add some sparkle back into the room by utilising a strongly contrasting colour. For example a cream and beige room is completely transformed by the addition of crimson pillows and perhaps a throw – or even a rug. Alternatively, a gorgeous royal blue splash can add a cooling and comforting touch. Dress up browns with a hint of acid green and inject white rooms with a bit of the rainbow – not too much, just a little item here and there in lively and lovely colours!
 



Low maintenance is the way to go: For each awkward to clean, fussy piece of furniture removed from a room, add in one that is extremely easy to clean. Wipe down surfaces, rugs small and durable enough to fit into a domestic washing machine and floors that merely need the services of a broom once in a while will help you to keep the housework up-to-date in mere minutes each day. No matter how expensive a room's decor is, it can all be spoiled by a festooned cobweb or thin layer of dust on the surfaces. Rooms that are easy to clean will not be a daunting prospect and you will happily tackle the job more often than otherwise!



Implementing these hints may use up a little ingenuity and creativity, not to mention a small cash investment. But one thing is certain – you will love your new bedroom when it is done, and so will the entire family!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

To Wear to a Christening

Thomas is getting baptized in just under a month and I have to get in gear and organize the whole shebang, and pronto.  I ordered a cute not-too-girly looking romper for him to wear -- my boys look sweet and girly enough on their own, thankyouverymuch -- and found myself looking at shoes online to go with the outfit.  Um, shoes?  Don't I make those myself?  Oh yeah.  I'm so silly sometime (read rediuclous and blond).

So, now I'm off to see if I can find a cute sewing pattern to work up.  Do you have any favorite patterns that would look nice paired with a simple christening outfit?  I ordered him this one.

My first thought was to use one of the shoe patterns I already make for my Etsy shop, and in a somewhat funky patterned fabric.  Not too over the top or bright, but not your run-of-the-mill standard issue, either.  You know those people who show up in a handsome outfit but with funky shoes?  That.

Which shoes would you go with for a christening?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Capturing Babyhood

This weekend we hired our wedding photographer for the third time -- to take our family portrait again, now that we're a family of four.  The last time we had family portraits taken was when Nathan was five months old, so in keeping with tradition, we hired Robert again, since Thomas is already (!) five months.  Actually, he's five and a half months. 

In all honesty, I don't know why we don't hire him every year.  I've been taking Nathan for portraits at Walmart each year (I'm sure our photographer would wither up and die if he heard that), and paying an arm and a leg each time.  Some photos came out good and some just okay.  But Robert's photos come out amazing every time, and I love that he shows me what he's getting as he's taking them.  He is such a talented photographer.

It's so important to capture our babies' babyhoods.  They're over so regrettably fast.   In less than two weeks, Thomas will be 6 months old and his babyhood will be half over -- and I'm already feeling sorrowful for it.  Sure, he'll still be baby-ish for close to another year, but how I wish he could stay this little, sweet and innocent (and immobile!) forever.  My heart is already starting to break.

But my mom raised a good point the other day that gave me some perspective.  If babies always stayed babies, we wouldn't cherish this time the way we do.  This really is the best time of my life, even though some days all I feel is the exhaustion, hard work and the balancing act I play each workday. 

I must remember this feeling during those occassional night wakenings that last up to an hour (I know), poop explosions (they're not that bad, really) and the exhausted feeling I usually have these days when I wake up in the morning feeling like I haven't slept at all.  Thomas is such a happy, joyful baby.  I need to capture his babyhood and remember what I'm feeling now forever.  This is what life is all about.



 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Some Extreme Cuteness... Sewing Pattern Preview!

In a fit of creativity, I let loose recently and came up with my very own sewn design!  Meet Who the Taggy Owl!


Thanks to my two little ones, my job and this house, it takes me quite a while to accomplish anything extracirricular -- but in this case, it was a good thing.  It gave me the time to simmer on the details and let the elements come to me -- which they righteously did.


I love the tufts of yarn on the tips of his ears...

...his hand embroidered eyes, which can be sewn on or ironed on with fusible web.

...his wings with contrasting fabric, made heavier with fusible fleece and crinkly with cellophane lining.

...ribbon tags on the bottom, which Thomas always makes his way to after going to town on the ears.




I just love him!!!  And I hope you do, too.  The sewing pattern will be available here soon.  I just need to double check the instructions and edit and add all the step-by-step photos.  You know, because I have time for all that with these two adorable boys keeping me busy.  :)



Stay tuned!
 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Woven Wrap Chopping and Hemming Services at Sew Sweet Studio

Sew Sweet Studio now offers woven wrap chopping and hemming services!  If you want your woven wrap shortened, send it to me, and I will chop it to your desired length and professionally hem it. 

I will move the middle markers if they had been sewn on after the rails were hemmed by the manufacturer (like Didymos's wraps).  For wraps with middle markers that are incorporated into their rails' hems (Girasol, Natibaby), I will leave the original middle markers in place and add a small piece of ribbon to mark the middle, if that's what you desire.

There are lots of reasons to chop and hem a woven wrap:
  • Your wrap is too long, but you love the color or pattern and just can't part with it, even though you rarely use it.
  • You love your hard-to-find wrap, but don't like the long length -- and, stalk the Facebook swap as you might, you just can't find it in a shorter length.  (I know, first-world problems!)
  • You're tired of dragging long tails in parking lots and stores and would prefer a shorty.  Hemming your long wrap is much more affordable than buying another, shorter wrap.  Plus, you'll get a scrap out of the deal, which you can sell or use to make something.
  • Your baby is now a toddler and you have no need for really long wraps.  Make 'em into shorties!
To get your woven wrap chopped and hemmed, visit my Etsy shop, Sew Sweet Studio, and click on Woven Wrap Chopping and Hemming Service.

Like Sew Sweet Studio on Facebook for updates on services and new products, plus woven wrap scraps to choose from and specials.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kid's Craft Idea: Colored Rice Art Activity




Nathan's in a fun crafting phase now, and he's eager to try new things.  Although he's getting bored with standard variety crayons, an activity he never seems to get tired of is gluing colored rice to construction paper.  He's getting better at making designs on paper with the glue and I can see his coordination improving when it comes to sprinkling the colored rice on the wet glue.

 
 
 
I dyed all this rice a few months ago to use with Nathan and my friend's kids when they came over for a visit.  Each child got a small plastic cup full of each color: red, yellow, green and blue.  They managed to share one bottle of glue and get colored rice all over my dining room floor.  But, hey, that's what vacuums are for.  I knew in advance it wasn't going to be neat, but also not prohibitively messy.  I like to keep my messes somewhere in the middle.

Now the colored rice has been recycled many times and is of the rainbow variety, no longer in separate cups by color.  Even better!



Here's how I made colored rice for this art activity:

In a small ziptop bag, mix:

1 cup of uncooked white rice
1/2 tsp rubbing alcohol
a few drops of food coloring

Make up a bag for each color.

Mash around until the food coloring is spread evenly throughout.  When it comes to the food coloring, more is better if you want saturated colors.  The first color I tried came out weaker than the others because I was timid with the food coloring for some reason.  Get wild!  Really go for it!

Then spread out the rice on a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet (or counter top, if you don't need the space for something else) to dry.  It's helpful to shake the wax paper before the rice is fully dry to keep it from sticking together and forming clumps.  Even if clumps do form, they're easy to break apart with your fingers.  You could even get your kids to do it.

The alcohol keeps the dye from coming off on your/your kids' fingers, but if their fingers come in contact with the glue and then they touch the rice, all bets are off.  The color will transfer.  FYI.  But it's food grade, so what the hey.

Have fun!  Let me know if you give it a try.  :)
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