Friday, February 25, 2011

Fabric Hoarders Anonymous

So last year I bought a gazilion yards of jersey knit fabric.  I planned on making a bunch of baby slings in fun prints and some pretty little pint sized maxi dresses.  It never happened and I'm left with 3 shelves filled with the stuff.

I realize that I have a problem with hoarding fabric.  It's not horrific enough to get me on some gross tv show... but it is a problem nonetheless ... I can admit to that. And that is always the first step...

Fabric Hoarders Anonymous 9 Step Program

Step 1:  Come Clean

Go on, admit it girl.  You've got a problem too.  You can't go to Walmart without making a pit stop in the fabric department.  When walking the aisles of Hancocks, JoAnns or your friendly local fabric shop your mind is racing with the plans of a million dresses, pillows and accessories you could make instead of getting a decent nights sleep or tackling the mountain of laundry.  Don't fight it.  You've got it bad and that ain't good.

Step 2:  Find Support

The life of a fabric addiction can be lonely but it doesn't have to be!  Sometimes talking with someone who understands your struggle can be comforting and the support invaluable.  We can be here to hold each other up in our time of weakness.  NOTE: I can't promise that I'll be able to help you back away from the computer if you come asking for help before buying 12 yards of Amy Butler fabric on eBay. In fact, my response will most likely be "If you don't buy it I will!!".

Step 3:  Organize

It's time to go through this monstrous stash and see what you've actually got to work with.  Start sorting however works best for you... material, color, pattern, use... etc.  You might also make a place for your favorites and fabrics you are willing to donate or sell.

Step 4:  Display

You'll never use your fabric if you can't see it.  The first time you laid eyes on that amazing print from Ikea you were inspired to do something amazing with it.  But now that it's shoved in a drawer or at the back of a shelf you've forgotten all about it and the love is no longer there.  Bring it out of hiding and display it proudly where you can see it and be inspired once more!

Step 5:  Lay the Ground Rules

You need to create some rules that will work for you while you are completing the program.  Will you go cold turkey on new fabrics?  Maybe that sounds terrifying or won't work for you if you've got orders to fill for your business?  Maybe you'll only purchase new fabrics with a clear project in mind and a clear time line as to when you'll complete it.  Whatever you decide, write them down and post it somewhere you can see it.

Step 6:  Create a goal

Being completely honest with yourself and your abilities and time constraints, make a goal for how you will use this fabric. Maybe you can commit to one dress every week or one diaper bag every month.  Maybe something like one yard every week or even 2 hours every weekend... whatever.  But make a goal, write it down and post it next to your rules.  Oh and then do it!

Step 7:  Reduce Impulses

Consider where you buy most of your fabric and avoid it at all costs!  If you buy your fabric at Walmart... go grocery shopping at Albertsons (are they still open?)  If you buy it at at JoAnns stay the heck away from there! Seriously... go to the dollar store on the other side of town if you have to!  If you buy online you might try limiting your time at the computer (more time for sewing right!) And for Pete's sake block!!

Step 8:  Never Go Alone

If you have to go to the fabric store... or to the dollar store right next to it... don't go alone.  Bring someone with you who's capable of talking some sense into you.  DO NOT, under any circumstances, bring a fellow addict or your husband (I think the reasons here are pretty self explanatory right?)  If you can't find someone to go with you, round up as many toddlers as possible... this should cut your shopping time drastically.

Step 9:  Rinse and Repeat

When you've finally gotten your fabric stash in order and you are happy with how far you've come in this addiction, you'll be tempted to reward yourself.  And you should... with chocolate, a new seam ripper or a new pair of shoes... anything BUT a fabric shopping spree.  Remember that there is no cure for addiction so don't let the completion of this program be an unwarranted confidence boost and run out and unblock

Fabric Hoarders Anonymous

I racked my brain trying to come up 3 more steps without being totally redundant and I just couldn't.  So as lame as it may sound this is only a 9 step program!

If you are a fabric hoarder and need an extra kick in the bum to diminish that stash, check out  Extreme Makeover: Fabric Edition for a chance to win some great prizes!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's so hard to blog when...

...the last place you want to be is in the house!

The last couple of weeks have just been gorgeous outside.  It has been a perfect 70-80 degrees.  We've pulled out the shorts and tank tops and have had at least 3 picnic dinners at the park.

One day we took the kids to the park with their bikes and watched them go round and round and round on the little track.  

Another day we went to a fun little park with big rocks to climb, a little stream to race floating bark and a pond to throw big sticks in.  

We discovered a mountain bike trail and we tested our Mountain Buggy on the big hills and rocky roads.  It rolls right on over every obstacle like a dream.  I'm more in love with this stroller than ever before.  Easily the best $200 on Craigslist I've ever spent!

What else have I been up to?

I discovered an organization called Parental Care Ministries that takes care of orphans in Uganda.  It's an African lead organization but a family right here in Tyler, TX has gotten involved and helping to promote them.  They have 500+ children under their care and so far have sponsor families for a little over half of them.  I'm brainstorming how I can use my little blog to help them out some more.  Wanna get involved?

I'm also commiting to a major destash of fabrics.  Seriously... my fabric stash is out of control.  How do you keep your stash in line?  Maybe you don't?  Wanna join me in a destash challenge?

We just signed the kids up for baseball... I can't wait to see them in their little uniforms.  But man it's a chore shuttling 5 kids around to all those games and practices. Not to mention sitting in the stands with 3 little ones who just want another snow cone.   I'm tired just thinking about it!

Oh and I've had a revelation when it comes to my Victorian Bustle Coat pattern.  Instead of offering my pattern... since it could be YEARS before I have time to figure out how to get it online... I can just show you how to alter a commercial pattern to include the bustle!  Duh!  Why didn't I think of that sooner?  What do you think?  Will that work for you?

So don't write me off as another abandoned blog just yet!  I'm still here!  Just enjoying the beautiful weather and if I know anything about this crazy Texas weather it's that soon it'll be cold and yucky soon... just when I least expect it!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Anything Card

My husband and I don't typically celebrate Valentine's Day.

The agreement is we try to show each other how much we appreciate each other throughout the year instead of getting wrapped up in a commercial holiday.

I'm the first to admit that this is code for: "my husband is really crappy when it comes to Valentine's day so I'm angry at Halmark for starting another fight!"

So last year I gave him a wallet and included The Anything Card tucked inside.

What is The Anything Card you ask?

The Anything Card is a simple gift that entitles the holder to... well... anything. The catch of course is that this card doesn't expire and is fully transferable. In fact when you redeem your card you forfeit it and put yourself in at the mercy of the new holder.

My husband and I had so much fun with this card throughout the year. At first we were friendly and fair even apologetic when we were trading the card for an extra hour of sleep or a night off from baby duty. But towards the end of the year we were stealing it out of each others wallets.

Eventually we forgot about it and lost it so I'm excited about making us another card. Now we can get back to flirting and fighting over it again.

So print one off and  tuck it into your guys gift or if your like me and didn't get him anything... print it off and tuck it in his wallet and act like it's been there all along!

Happy Valentines Day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I LOVE Locketmoon Designs!

Sooooo.... what do you think of my pretty little face lift?! 

I love love love my banner!  Isn't it just perfect!

I knew I wanted a new look for my blog and tried and tried to come up with something on my own but I just wasn't happy with anything I came up with.

So searched high and low and finally found this amazing seller on Etsy!

Her designs are just gorgeous!  Fresh and fun and original!

But the best part is they are rediculously affordable.  Seriously... I paid $18 for my banner... ummm that's just about the best I found anywhere!

So go check out her shop and start dreaming about what she could do for your blog!  At the very least show her some love and heart her shop!

While I've got you here looking at my pretty new blog... what do you think of the background?  Is it too busy?  Does it take away from my banner?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kids Eat Free!

Okay this is HUGE in my family!!  Kids eat free at Chili's Feb. 8th, 15th, 21st and 22nd!

A lot of restaurants have these deals, so why is this one so special?  Besides the fact that it's Chili's and they are super yummy... the wording of their fine print doesn't exclude kids in large families like mine.

Usually when kids eat free the parents have to purchase a meal and you get a free kids meal for every adult meal purchased which means you only get 2 kids meals for free and have to pay for the others.  It's still a savings so you can't complain but this coupon says "Limit two kids meals per each adult entree ordered" meaning ALL my kids eat free!

We'll totally be there!  How about you?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Binary Conversation Hearts Tutorial

So if you've seen my Binary Conversation Hearts on American Crafter than you've already heard my mini rant about boy clothes but I'm going to rant some more because I'm still kinda mad!

Why is okay to put this crap on our boy's clothes?  "Eligible Bachelor".  Really?  What about my 4 year old son is "eligible"?  I promise I'm not totally lame and I don't think that everything is inappropriate.  Just the stuff that conveys a message that it's okay for our boys to be sexualized.  Would you put your daughter in a shirt that says "single and ready to mingle" or "future babe"... I certainly wouldn't!  My husband would have a fit!!  So why is okay for our boys to wear shirts saying the same?  "I only date models" "chicks dig me"!  I suppose I'm just old fashioned but my boys wont be allowed to date any sooner than my daughter and I won't be the mom applauding when my boys have lots of girls chasing them... unless of course my boys are telling them to back off.

Okay... sooooo, rant over!  Deep breath!

So these are super easy to make and you can go about it several different ways!

But first things first you need to read up on binary code.  There are several online courses you can take....


Seriously you don't need to know anything about binary code other than it looks cool on a shirt.  I found this cool site where this super cool geek figured it all out for us! Go check out Roubaix Interactive!

On this site you can simply type in your text just like you would want it to read on a card in the "text to encode" box.  Then hit "to binary" and it'll convert it for you in the neighboring box!  Cool huh?

So think of something clever to say and go get your code!

How to transfer?

You can put your binary code on a shirt like I did or on a pillow or maybe on your family calendar or something like that the possibilities are endless!  And super easy to do because it's just simple ones and zeros.

You can simply write them with fabric markers or stamp them or freezer paper stencil like I did.  I bet you could embroider them by hand or machine.  You could even print them on fabric with your ink jet printer and fabric sheets or this tutorial/recipe from Infarrantly Creative!

So what will you do with your binary?

0101010      0011010
00011000  01011011100

I'm a Project Toddler Runway Drop Out

Last week was happy and exciting with my first Project Toddler Runway win and making the top 15 on American Crafter.  I was excited and ready to go with my crafty competitions even if my husband was completely annoyed with me .

On PTR the theme was denim and I had been planning on making a James Dean style jacket and giving it a leather finish.  I found a tutorial on how to do this it and looked pretty simple!  So I got to work cutting my pattern pieces and painting them.  When it came time to put my little jacket together I realized it was way to stiff!  So I tried again with a much lighter denim.  Hmmmm... same result.  The fabric looked like leather and felt like leather but it just didn't move like leather.  I started thinking up a plan B but wasn't ready to give up on my James Dean Jacket just yet.  I tried washing it and it looked like it would work but when it dried it was just as stiff.

I had 2 ideas floating in my head... use my faux leather differently (think slouchy leather boots or a hat or belt) or scrap it make a cute little denim jumpsuit or romper. 

I decided to go with a denim jumpsuit.  The looked super cute and seemed simple enough.  I decided to take an early night so I could tackle it first thing in the morning.

I woke up a handful of hours later in my bed, freezing my tush off!  We had lost power at some point during the night and had no heat thanks to Snowpocalypse!

I spent the rest of my day trying to keep my 5 kids warm and entertained (no school for my 2 big kids).  The power would come back on for 15 minutes and I would run to check emails, send emails and microwave a bunch of hot dogs.

Thursday morning I woke up and had power and kids had school for part of the day and I told myself I would work as hard as I could to get something, anything turned in for both of my competitions.  I scrapped my earlier plans to make appliqued Valentine shirts for the American Crafter competition and I'm so glad I did!  I'm still not sure how exactly the idea came to me but I made my boys the cutest Valentine shirts using binary code and freezer paper stencils.  I was a little worried it would be too simple but was still in love with these shirts!  I submitted my pictures with less than an hour to spare!

With American Crafter behind me I could focus on PTR that was due by midnight.  I started on my little jumpsuit.  I gathered pictures online for inspiration and hunted for some tutorials or patterns but couldn't find anything!  I was just going to have to wing it.

The first jumpsuit I made... that's right... I made more than one.... looked dreadful. 

I made the legs to full and the top part fit all crazy.  I tried bringing the pants in and remaking the top but eventually I just decided to start over.  The second jumpsuit was off to a much better start.  The pants looked great and fit perfectly but the top was a different story.  I was almost all out of fabric and time and energy.  It was 10pm and I was in tears but told myself I couldn't quit until midnight.  And so I worked and worked and worked until about 12:15 and finally gave in and sent my email admitting defeat, giving up and dropping out.

I know I should be proud of myself for all of my designs and projects I created for PTR and proud that I worked so hard but I can't help but feel like a big fat quiter! 

So I'll still be working to make that James Dean jacket because I don't think I'll be able to sleep at night until I do.  AND did everyone see that Kelly from Sewing in No Man's Land posted a pattern and tutorial for a romper TODAY!  Ahhh just a few days to late for me but you'd better believe Miss Livi Lu will be getting one of those very soon!
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