Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Maxi Dress Tutorial

As usual, my trip back home has flown by way too fast! Tomorrow I return back to reality and back to the daily grind (and the gym!). Before I get too busy, wanted to share my latest sewing project with you all!

I found this AWESOME tutorial on Pinterest. Surprised? The tutorial is great, she shows photos with all the steps and this project is easy for the beginner sewer. I love LeAna's blog, A Small Snippet. She just had an amazing Olympic themed birthday party for her son. Definitely going to keep it pinned for Little Miss one day...

The tutorial can be for either a maxi dress or a knee-length dress. I have been searching for a maxi dress and haven't been successful. Since I am being so picky, I decided that making one would be perfect!

I found my cotton tank top at the Gap Outlet, on sale for $4! I found the material for the skirt (also cotton) at Hobby Lobby, I paid about $8. The black material for the sash I bought at Hancock Fabric for $4. That is pretty inexpensive for a maxi dress!

Since I am at my parents' house I am having to use my mom's sewing machine. This sewing machine belonged to my great-grandmother so it is kind of old but it still works like a dream. However, I couldn't use this machine to sew with the elastic thread. I was so desperate to complete this dress, I stitched with the elastic thread entirely by hand. But guess what? The dress is holding up very well! I just made sure that the stitches were close together and small. The elastic thread is a must though, in order for the dress to give without breaking the stitching as you pull it over your head.

I like this dress so much, I am going to show it off to all the people on the airplane ride home tomorrow!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summer Hair!

Since my hair is very long, I am always looking for a cute way to keep it off my neck besides a basic ponytail. Luckily all of those hours I wasted on Pinterest actually amounted to something productive: I found a cute and easy way to wear my hair.

Here is the pin on Pinterest that I used!

My earrings are from Premier Designs Jewelry, Gold Lace

Its a little messy, but that is okay!

I know french braiding is intimidating, but braids are so cute for summer hair I just couldn't resist trying them out. 

This hairstyle was very easy and rather quick, I am definitely going to try it out again. I love how the french braids hold back all the layers of my hair and I don't have those annoying flyaways sticking to my face.

Oh and you see the super cute necklace I am wearing? It is called "On the Mark" and its from Stella and Dot. I won the necklace in a blogger giveaway and it is my current go-to necklace a daytime look. I love how simple and light this necklace is, perfect for the summer!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Time for a Rant!

I am long overdue for a rant and something really got my panties in a bunch. 

Diet Pills, the pricey kind you get from a doctor. And other "cheating" ways to lose weight fast.

It really ticks me off and worries me when I hear about perfectly capable people using such harmful means to lose weight.

What do I mean by perfectly capable: People who have no physical or medical disability that prevents them from working out or eating a reasonable diet.

Why would you resort to such an extreme to lose weight? Do you realize what the long term effects are? Do you realize as soon as you stop taking the pills (or laxatives, illegal drugs, etc.) that you will gain the weight back plus some because you DIDN'T learn how to maintain the weight loss? You took a shortcut, you took the easy way out. And you possibly have done permanent damage to your heart and who knows what to other important organs.

That is what makes me so pissy. I lost 65lbs the hard way, I watched what I ate. I watched my portion sizes. And I worked my ass off in the gym. But guess what? I will be able to maintain my weight loss easier because I know what it takes. It is so very disheartening when you see someone post photos on facebook showing off their weight loss and make it look so damn easy. It makes you think, what am I doing wrong and will this hard work ever pay off? Why should I be putting in all this effort when I can just take a magic little pill and I get the same results?

But you won't get the same results. Your hard work will pay off in more than just your weight loss goals. You are learning that by putting in the work and the effort, you can achieve more than just losing weight. You are learning how to take care of your body for the long term. You are working and seeing results that you earned, how can you not feel great about that? You are learning that with a little hard work, maybe you can achieve other goals than just weight loss. Maybe you have the confidence to try out other things you were afraid that you wouldn't be able to do, but hell if you can lose weight or run that marathon maybe you can do more than you though!

This is why diet pills, laxatives, illegal drugs, and all of those leading to drastic weight loss make me so angry. It discourages those of us that are constantly making the decisions to eat healthier and make the time to workout. Its rewarding those taking "the easy way out". I just have to keep reminding myself that they are putting their long-term health on the line for a short term solution. It reminds me that I should reach out and try to show them healthier ways to take care of their bodies. 

It also makes me want to rant so now that I've gotten that off my chest, I feel a little better.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tear-Drop Bead with Chain Necklace Tutorial

After my sister found out I was making the Double Tear-Drop Bead Necklace, she sent me pictures of similar necklaces for me to replicate. Since her birthday is coming up, I figured one of these would be the perfect gift for her! 

No worries, she doesn't read my blog so she won't know what the necklace looks like until her birthday :)

Isn't it pretty? She picked out the color, she had a specific outfit in mind she wanted it to match I guess.

Once again, I started out with the acrylic tear-drop beads and this time I added the circular beads. I had to paint all of them so they would be the exact same color, I didn't want to try to match a colored bead to the paint. I LOVED the paint I used this time, it dried much faster and was easier to work with. Plus it was cheaper. I used 2 coats of the acrylic paint and 2 coats of the gloss varnish on everything.

The acrylic paint and gloss varnish I used
After everything dried, I put jump rings on the tear-drop beads. I then strung all the beads on 26 gauge bead wire. It comes on a spool at the store. There are different sizes (gauges) of wire, they vary on thickness. After looking at all my choices of wire, I went with 26 gauge because it would work with my beads and I wanted something thicker in case my sister was rough on her jewelry.

The chain is 16" and I bought it at the same place as all my other supplies. I opened it up to split it into 2 pieces. At one end of each, I placed the respective parts of a 12mm lobster clasp. 

I am trying to show how I looped the wire through the chain before clamping the wire in the small crimp

I then looped the wire around one end of the chain (FYI - the end without the lobster clasp). I used 6mm small crimps to hold both pieces of wire and clamped it tightly around the wire. Then I cut the remaining wire that was sticking out. Repeat this on the other piece of the chain. So now, you have both chains connected by the string of beads!

This necklace was pretty easy for a beginner like me, I am glad I purchased a jewelry tool-kit so I have all the different pliers and stuff.

I hope my sister will like it, what do you think?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Where My Wandering Thoughts Take Me

Tonight my family was invited over to our minister's house for dinner. While dinner was cooking, they took Little Miss and I for a ride on the golf cart around the neighborhood. While we were carting around the neighborhood and I was looking at all the houses I was thinking about the "normal" sort of lives the people that live in those houses have.

To me, this means everyday the mom & dad go to work or maybe one of them stays home, the kids go to school, dinner is prepared, kids come home to do homework, dad comes home and is greeted by a kiss from his wife and hugs from his kids. They eat together around a dinner table and talk about what happened at school, what happened at work. They spend time together as a family, the kids go to bed and the parents steal a few moments for themselves before going to sleep. Then rinse and repeat, every day.

At first, I was envious about their monotonous, dependable routine. How nice it must be to be able to plan for weeks or months ahead. To be able to depend on dad being there to attend school functions, take the kids to soccer practice, take care of household repairs, and take his wife out for an occasional dinner date. Then I thought about how boring that might get, how they must be so used to seeing each other every day that they probably take it all for granted, they probably don't realize how lucky they have it. That is something I won't have to worry about. After these back to back deployments, my husband and I truly know how important and valuable our time together really is. We also know how much of a waste it is to worry about the small stuff. We know how to keep our love alive while we spend months apart.

How many people get the chance to fall in love with their partner all over again? That is one opportunity that these deployments have given me. We have been forced to prove our love for one another without physical touch. Without being able to pick up the phone and instantly be in contact or shoot a quick text. Our time apart could be the excuse for our bond to deteriorate, instead it has only made us grow stronger as a couple. Hubs has proven to me time and time again that he is just as deeply in love with me as I am with him. And he manages to do that through emails and a handful of phone calls. From thousands of miles away, I know he has my back. He is still my shoulder to cry on, though I do miss his arms swallowing me in a hug.

It was startling to realize how different life is here compared to life in a military community like Hampton Roads. If I would have made this cart ride down a neighborhood street in Virginia Beach, chances are those families are going through a deployment or preparing for one. It is also crazy to think that someday soon, we will be civilians. It will be the start of a whole new lifestyle for us. Though I welcome the day Hubs starts to come home every night and have our kids (yup, that means more than one something we need to work on once he gets home...) tackle him as he walks through the door on a daily basis, I know we will never be one of those "normal" families. We have been through so much as a military family and I thank God for all the lessons we have learned so early on to prepare us for whatever lies ahead.

I love my sailor so much and I think about him all the time. Even at seemingly mundane time like a golf cart ride through suburbia, my thoughts always seem to come back to him. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Simple Tutu Tutorial

Ohhh Hobby Lobby how do I love thee...While I was shopping for the materials for this necklace I came across spools of tulle for 50% off! My niece's birthday was coming up so I decided to make her a tutu like the one I found on Pinterest.

I found the original tutorial at The Ribbon Tutorial blog. This is another easy tutorial to follow, she even sells the supplies to make this tutu. I found all of my supplies at Hobby Lobby but I don't know if the stores back home carry the same variety of tulle.

Here is what I did!

I used 3 rolls of tulle per tutu.

The first task was cutting all the tulle. Its an easy step but takes a while (there are 25 yds per spool!). I cut my strips 18 inches in length.

This is the step I cheated on, meaning I had my mom help out. While I was cutting the tulle, she sewed the elastic together. She sewed by hand (she used a loop stitch), but you could easily use a sewing machine too. 

The elastic comes in a little packet and in varying widths. I chose a wider band. I simply measured my daughter's hips with the elastic and cut it to fit. 

Take the sewn elastic band and put it around your thighs. 

Take one piece of tulle and tie it in a knot. But don't make it too tight, you should be able to still slide the tulle along the elastic. 

Then tie it in another knot, but in the other direction.

These are the 3 colors I went with, so I just kept repeating this pattern. Notice all the glitter everywhere..

Once you cover all the elastic with tulle, decide which part is the top and push all the knots down accordingly. 

*This is an optional step if you want to add a cute bow!*

Push the tulle apart to create a space to wrap a piece of ribbon around. I used hot glue to attach the ribbon. Now, you have a place to clip on a hairbow to the skirt! I used THIS tutorial to make my hairbow.

Ta-Daaa! You now have a super cute, easy, and inexpensive tutu. I ended up making 2 tutus, one for my niece and one for my daughter. Both girls love playing dress up and I can see them having lots of fun with these tutus!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Double Tear-Drop Necklace Tutorial

So even though I am back home visiting the rents, I am still crafting a whole bunch. This is my favorite so far:

And guess what? It cost me less than $20 to make! 

I found this on Pinterest and put it on my "to-do" list. Well, when my little sister came in town to visit she was wearing a similar one and she got TONS of compliments. So of course I had to make it!

The original tutorial is found over here at The Morning Letters blog. She did an amazing job at the tutorial! I suggest reading it, she goes into great detail!

Here is what I did in photos:

First, I painted the teardrop acrylic gems. I found them at Hobby Lobby in a packet of 2 for about $2. They are 2 different sizes: one is about 3 inches long and the other is half that size. I painted them in acrylic paint. Since this was my first attempt and I am a perfectionist, I messed up a few times. Good thing about acrylic paint on these gems: You can peel off the paint if you mess up! I ended up painting 2 coats and finding it too clumpy so I peeled it off. The next time, I dipped my brush in water before the paint to thin it out. This worked much better even though I had to apply 3 coats this time. I let them dry one side at a time on wax paper. 

After the acrylic paint dried, I applied 2 coats of a gloss varnish that can be used with acrylic paint. This gave the gems a shiny protective coat.

*These gems are not the easiest to find. I tried Michael's, A.C. Moore, and a few other small craft stores. No luck. Hobby Lobby was the only store BUT I also found them on Amazon!*

After the gems dried, it was time to string them. I bought 1/4 inch ribbon, glass beads, and jump rings (big ones!). I decided the larger gems would be my bottom string and the smaller gems would be on the top string. 

After stringing both strands, it was time to tie them together. I wanted to use a larger bead but couldn't find any that matched, so I just used a bead the same size and it worked fine. 

I double knotted the 2 strands together after stringing them through the bead. I tied a knot at both ends. When I wear the necklace I just tie it in a pretty bow at both ends!

I plan on making a variation of this necklace for my little sister's birthday gift. No worries, she knows about it already. I plan on sharing that tutorial too! 

I hope you all enjoyed this tutorial and try it out yourselves, it was very easy for me. This was my first time making any sort of jewelry and it turned out great!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Unimaginable Heartache

I can't even imagine how a heart must ache to loose a life before they even had a chance to begin living. I can't begin to imagine what you are going through. I can't even find the words to say that will make your pain subside or help you make sense of things, probably because such words do not exist.
I will be here in whatever way you need. Just show me a sign, tell me what I can do to help you in your time of need. Remember that God is always there for you and He will carry you through this. 
I truly believe in guardian angels and that our loved ones never really leave us. You now have a guardian angel that will forever be with you even if you cannot see her, she will be there.

I have been searching for the right words to say, then I came across this poem. This is for all the mothers who have the tiniest of guardian angels.
"These are my footprints,
so perfect and so small.
These tiny footprints
never touched the ground at all.
Not one tiny footprint,
for now I have wings.
These tiny footprints were meant
for other things.
You will hear my tiny footprints,
in the patter of the rain.
Gentle drops like angel's tears,
of joy and not from pain.
You will see my tiny footprints,
in each butterflies' lazy dance.
I'll let you know I'm with you,
if you just give me the chance.
You will see my tiny footprints,
in the rustle of the leaves.
I will whisper names into the wind,
and call each one that grieves.
Most of all, these tiny footprints,
are found on Mommy and Daddy's hearts.
'Cause even though I'm gone now,
We'll never truly part."

Sneak Peek

I have been a busy busy bee since I got here. Where is here? I am back home getting spoiled rotten by my parents for a few weeks.

Little Miss and I have been getting settled in and I have started 3 different craft projects. I wanted to give you all a sneak peak and I plan on posting tutorials on each one!

The teardrop gems I painted for a necklace

My first pillowcase dress!

I am LOVING how this tutu is turning out!
 What do you think?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Laptop Craftiness

Since I will be traveling to my parents house here soon, I needed a bag to carry my laptop with. I have been looking online for months and nothing really caught my eye. I saw a few interesting bags but they were entirely too pricey. So while searching Pinterest late one night I came across this laptop bag tutorial and I was sold!

So I started out making the laptop bag....which turned in to adding a laptop sleeve...and eventually an accessory bag!

Keep reading to find out how I made all of this!

I ordered the fabric online from Lilly Bella Fabrics on Etsy in 3 coordinating prints. The only other items I needed to buy from the store was the fusible fleece lining, the swivel clasps, and the rectangle rings.

I followed Mother Huddle's Laptop Bag tutorial to make the laptop bag. This was one of the best tutorials I have used and I didn't have any problems recreating it! I bought 1/2 yard each of 3 fabrics, 1 yard of fusible fleece, swivel clasps, rectangle rings, and matching thread. It cost around $30 for all the supplies!

Okay, that is a little bit of a lie. I followed the tutorial exactly and after completing the bag I realized that my laptop is not a standard 15", it is actually 15.5". Which means my laptop didn't fit in the bag horizontally as intended! That was totally my fault for not double checking the specs for my laptop.

Total blonde moment. Oops.

I had quite a bit of material left, so I decided to figure out how to make a laptop sleeve so I could still fit it in the super cute bag I just made! I searched online for a few hours and while I liked some of each of the tutorials, there wasn't one that I 100% liked. Then I realized I could just adjust the bag tutorial to make a laptop sleeve! I ran out of fusible fleece but I noticed a few of the laptop sleeve tutorials used minky fleece instead, which I happened to have a yard of leftover from a baby blanket. 

So I wrapped the laptop in the fleece and cut out one long piece to use as lining, just like in the laptop bag tutorial. Then I just pieced together 3 pieces of fabric (like I did for the laptop bag) and made that the same size as the minky fleece lining. After piecing the sleeve in a similar manner as the laptop bag, I cut out a strap from another fabric piece and the minky. I sewed those together and sewed it to my sleeve. I sewed on the velcro and covered the velcro stitching on the strap with a big button.

Voila! A laptop sleeve! I am not going to lie, I was pretty impressed that I was able to put together this sleeve by combining elements from all the tutorials I liked.

Then you can guess what I did next, I made an accessory cinch sack!

Once again I combined a few tutorials I liked, here is a pretty good one. I decided not to use a lining for the cinch sack because I didn't see a purpose. I pieced together the fabrics just like in the laptop bag tutorial then used that piece to make the cinch sack. I am not too sure how well the openings for the ribbon will hold up, I coated them in Fray Check. Next time I think I will make button holes to slide the ribbon through.

Now I want to carry my laptop EVERYWHERE! I am so proud of myself that I was able to make exactly what I wanted, it was exactly what I needed, and it was so inexpensive to make! I managed to do the whole project in a few hours and it would've taken less time if I didn't have to scour the internet for tutorials for the sleeve and cinch sack.

I will definitely be using the laptop bag for other purposes since it is so dang cute!