Monday, November 8, 2010

Growing older...

I'll admit, turning 30 was a bit tough, but only because I had this feeling like I hadn't accomplished much in life yet. I had all of these goals when I was in my 20s, and of course all of the unexpected turns life takes were tossed into the mix and I was on the verge of a new decade feeling like I'd done only a few things I wanted to.

Back in June, I made this list. However, it was pretty ambitious for six months time, and again, life always has it's own plans that tend to overshadow my own! I've accomplished some, and am still working on others, but, I guess it's going to have to be before I'm 32, not 31, since I only have 36 days left for that!

But, last night I sat thinking about the things I have accomplished this year. Learning to sew, doing more quality activities with the kids, helping Alex learn math, teaching the kids that giving is important through our gifts to the shelter...these are all things that last night, I figured out were far more important than having attended a sporting event. Not all the items on my list were silly, because they are all things I want to do. However, sometimes it's the smaller, more unknown day-to-day activities that make me feel like I've accomplished so much more.

So in celebration of nearing 31, and in honor of my mom's birthday today (hope you're celebrating in heaven, Mom!), today I give you a list of 45 little tidbits of advice. I received these in an email from a friend. Enjoy!
1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come...

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."




Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Supergirl Dress for a Super Girl!

I was hard at work putting this dress together (matching cape in another post) as a gift for my daughter for her birthday. Her dad and brother are superhero fans, so when I saw this material clearanced, I had to pick some up. This is more of a jumper she can wear without a shirt underneath in the spring, and with a shirt in the fall/winter. It is a bit long (oops!) so she'll probably have to wait til spring to wear it, but oh well. For the top part, I used one of my old tank tops. I also created a matching hairbow. Because hairbows rock ;)




Happy Wednesday everyone!

Allie



Supergirl Cape!

I'm in heavy preparation mode for the holidays and my kid's birthdays, meaning lots of sewing. Last night, I put together three items: a Supergirl cape, a Supergirl dress, and a zebra stripe pillowcase dress. I can't wait for her to see her cape - she loves playing dress up, and always wants to play "Guys" with my son (meaning she wants to play with his superguys). So now she can wear her cape, and he can wear his (making that one tonight) and they can save the world ;) 

One side is Supergirl material that I got for the clearanced price of $2.95 per yard. The back is one of her old baby blankets, a fleece polka-dot material. I painted with fabric paint her initials on it.




Have a great week everyone!
Allie




Monday, October 18, 2010

The Best Friend Quilt

I have a very awesome best friend, named Patty (you can read about her awesomeness here, if you want). I've been working on a little gift for her, because she's been a bit homesick. I can hear it in her voice, even if she'd never admit it.

I cut squares from all my favorite, fun, funky fabrics I've collected this past year, and then sewn them into a little quilt. Lots of colors, lots of patterns. Why didn't I just use a couple coordinating patterns? Well, because this quilt is meant to be like friendship - there are so many different ways we love our friends and that our friends are there for us. We can have similarities to our friends and yet still be so different. And as the years go by, we may change shape or form but we still fit beautifully together with our true friends.



My next step is to complete the back piece. It's going to be a soft, warm fleece, and I'm going to sew a pocket on it. Then, I'm going to sew little squares, and make "letters" to her. She can only open one a day or a week or whatever she deems as the time period, and they are going to be memories or words of wisdom, etc.

She's going through a particularly hard time right now (that I cannot discuss as of yet) and so hopefully, this will give her something to smile about.

Happy Monday!

Allie


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Being grateful for what we have...

Today at work, our department volunteered to serve lunch at a local homeless shelter. This was my first time serving food like this, and it was definitely an eye-opener. We all think we know what it would be like to be there serving food, but I can honestly say that when you actually do, it is a different experience. (This is my coworker Eric and I.)

To see the people going through line was shocking to me - it wasn't just the homeless I'd anticipated. Yes, there were the homeless that you'd expect - a little bit dirty, hungry, some talking to themselves. And then there were men and women dressed in clothes like I would wear to work and in uniforms for their jobs, who obviously are working to make a living but cannot make ends meet and need the help of the shelter. There were senior citizens, which broke my heart. They are veterans, someone's parents...and they don't have enough money for a daily meal. There were teens (runaways or orphans or on their own, who knows) but each one obviously lost in some way.

The hardest part was seeing the little kids. Kids of all ages, from babies to teens. Hair done neatly by mom or dad or grandma, picking at their food because they didn't really want it because they didn't like the taste but knew they wouldn't be getting anything else. So sad! I almost cried a few times, because I cannot imagine my children having to live like that.

Each person went through the line, some asked for seconds, but nobody wasted. If they weren't going to eat the beans, they said don't put them on the plate. I guess I thought they'd just want anything and alot of it because they might not know when they'd get to eat again, but they didn't want to waste. They know how precious food is. Most of them smiled, many of them said "Thank you for feeding us" or "Thanks for being nice to me." Wow - to thank someone for being nice to them? What an eye opener.

Many of them did chores like the dishes or wiping down tables afterwards. I noticed a lot of dirty fingernails. I take for granted the simplest things like having clean hands - even though I know not all people have that, it's still somewhat shocking to see. Some people wouldn't look us in the eye - you could see having to go through this line and get food was a very difficult for them. They just wanted to get it over with and eat, and then go back out into the world. Some told jokes, some made small talk, and some just went through silently.

It was strange to see people my age in line, the mom's with children, and people my parent's age. All people who had similarities to me. They are all somebody's baby, someone's family, and by being told "Thank you for being nice to me," I assume the world might not treat them as such.

I guess I'm more blessed every day than I truly realize, because I have such a great group of friends and family that I could depend on if times got hard. It definitely makes you grateful for all of the things we have - and I'm not talking about the cell phones and the video games and all the "stuff" we buy. I mean the simplest things, like knowing tomorrow we'll be able to put food on the table for our kids and not have to worry about how we're going to pay the gas bill. The ladies running the show at the shelter were great - talking to these men and women and children, calling them by name. They knew who was having a really tough time on the streets, and who might need a meal for a disabled family member at home. They care about these people, and you can really see it.

It makes me wonder what I could forgo to help out a little more at places like the shelter, where people just want the most basic things in life that we take for granted -- food, shelter, and most important, a little caring and respect. Because I'd like to think that if any of my loved ones were in their situation, someone would be willing to do the same for them.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The new term for best friend: "I've Got a Patty"

FriendsYouLove
I think people should start using a new term for best friend, like how when you're going to spend a lot of money you're going to "make it rain" -- you should just say, "I've got a Patty."

We met over the sandbox in kindergarten. Or maybe it was the playhouse. I'm not sure - but either way, I knew she was special. In Sex and the City, Samantha tells the girls, "We made a deal ages ago: men, babies, doesn't matter; we're soul mates." That's the best way to describe it - Patty is my soulmate. Boys, tests, kids, moves – a lot has happened, but through it all, we’ve remained close. When I think about my life and my future, I’m not certain of what it will bring or where I’ll end up, but I always – always – know that Patty will be a part of it.

This year, we’ve been friends for 25 years! In fact, we toasted to that this summer in a beautiful winery in San Diego:

We started as sandbox buddies, grew into best friends, and now she's like a sister to me. From chocolate milk lunches to wine tasting; playing basketball to watching our kids play catch; from sleepovers and scary movies to -- well, sleepovers and scary movies ;) -- we've grown up together and grown even better!

 
(Pic: Patty and I and our kiddos, July 2009)
Birthdays, New Kids On the Block love, sports - we had a lot in common. Especially sports -- basketball in particular. To say we had our heart and soul in it...would be an understatement. We lived and breathed for basketball in gradeschool, and our team was good. Despite the scrunchies fad and the inevitable bad/high/fully hairsprayed bangs phase, we had a pretty good team who liked to win tournaments. And win we did.
 

I remember one time in particular, during our first year of basketball, our coach told Patty to foul. Now, she didn't specify how to do this. We were all still in the learning phases. So Patty goes out there, grabs the girl's jersey, and tosses her. (Keep in mind we were 11, so tossing was probably not the best word. More like, slightly moved.) That was Patty - follows directions. (Pic: Patty and I at camp - I'm waving at the camera, she's got big bangs). Now that I've shared that, she probably has a few stories about me...like Doug Bruno basketball camp and the girls de-pantsing me in a photo. I mean, what 13 year old doesn't love a picture of her in her undies with a suprised look on her face making it into their 8th grade video? Payback will occur a little further down in this post!!
 

I admire that dedication about her. She has always been one of the smartest people I know. Class officer, good grades, graduate with honors. She received two honor cords when graduating college while I only received one (she's sharing her cord with me in this pic), because she was studying and taking notes, while I was the one calling her at 11 p.m. asking what we had to read only to find out we had a test at 8 a.m. ;) (Here's the payback picture)




She isn't just book smart though.


She's smart in life. She knows what she wants, and she goes out and gets it. She's been with her now-husband for 16 years, since she was 14 (there's us at her wedding). She knew what major she wanted in college. A few years ago, she knew she wanted more in her career and took a job halfway across the country to a place where she didn't know people. How amazing! Of course, my heart was broken that she was moving, but it was also very excited for her - I can remember thinking (and still think) how incredibly brave that was, and how I only wish I could do something like that. I always knew she'd succeed out there, because she's the type of person you can put in any situation anywhere, and she'll exceed with flying colors. And above all, I knew that she and I would never lose touch. It just wasn't meant to happen - she's my soulmate!
I know because she's been there for me through thick and thin. Breakups with boys, bad grades, celebrations, graduations. We've had some great times together. I think the real test of a friend comes though, when the chips are down. Like when she got a call from a friend (me) who was at the hospital and has just been told her mom has a few days left to live after her battle with brain cancer, and tells her that she doesn't want any company and just wants to be alone; and she knows that her friend is lying through her teeth, trying to be strong. I remember coming home from the hospital that day, my nerves shot and my heart in ten thousand unrepairable pieces. My head pounding from the massive headache from non-stop crying. There were Patty and her husband Jose (my husbands bff), at my house waiting. No words, no questions or condolences – I just remember being wrapped up in their arms. I don’t remember much else about that night, except for having three of the people I cared about most in my life hugging me like they would never let go. They didn't say I'm sorry, they didn't stare awkwardly. They were just there, like she has been ten thousand other times in my life. There's never a question about how I'm going to get through anything - because I know she'll be by my side. Patty always knows the right thing in the right situation whether she thinks she does or not. There's no question between us that if one of us really needed the other, we'd be at each other's doorsteps to help or take care of the other's family. We don't worry about the future or what it will bring, because we know we'll always be taken care of.
 
Halfway across the country, she's still there for me. Relationship problems, stories of my kids - she is there to listen. She recently had her own cutie pie, and I know it's hard for her to be away from the family and friends she has had all her life, but she's doing it. She's a great mother, a wonderful wife, and an amazing friend - and no matter how far away we are, it just takes a couple rings of the phone to connect. (There's us at left in college, hosting our radio program. Oh yeah, we were awesome!).

I'm not always a great friend. I tend to get pretty self-absorbed (I know, shocking right?). Sometimes I talk to her on the phone and think, "I don't even think I asked her about how she is doing!" And she's still talking to me. I hope she knows that it never means I don't care about her, because I think about them all the time. I'm always wondering how she is doing.
 
What I never wonder is if she is okay. She will succeed at everything she sets her aim towards in life, because that's who she is. And like college, she'll probably drag me along kicking and screaming (haha!) And while I've always admired her kindness and humor for the last 25 years, what I love most about Patty is the fact that she's my friend - no strings attached, no judgements. She knows me and accepts me, and she is truly one of the most fantastic people I have ever had the opportunity to know. And to be able to call her my friend, and know that in 40 years we'll still be chatting the same way we do now, well ... I don't think you can ask for more of a person.

And now, our kids are the next line of friends from our families - we love to watch them play together!


Some people imagine sitting next to their hubby in rockers on the front porch admiring the sunset. In my front porch scene, hubs and I are with her and her hubs, sipping a beer and playing cards, laughing at all of the fun we've had in our lives. Soulmates, all four of us (well, and our other friend, Jake!):




Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Musical Rag Quilt

Don't forget to check out my giveaway!

After seeing all of the awesome quilts out there in blogland, I decided to make another. My awesome niece Kate had a piano recital this weekend (her brother, Sam, who is also awesome, also had one - but I am not very apt at homemaking gifts for 16 year old boys, lol), and so I wanted to make her a little gift. She's a really great piano player - she really wows me with how good she is for 12 years old.

Anyway, I had some musical fabric, so I wanted to make her a rag quilt with it. It was black and white, so I used some other black and white fabrics I had to make squares, along with some pink to add just a pop of color. (Note: Kate does not like pink, but I didn't have green, and I was trying to use all materials that I had!) I just hoped that she would like it!

Well, here it is all done. I had a lot of fun making it, and hopefully she will have fun using it. ;)



Complete with a musical note ;) 


The back has a strip of very fuzzy pink.


Thanks for visiting, and have a GREAT week!

Linking to:
Sew Can Do
Keeping it Simple
The Girl Creative
Crystal's Craft Spot
Craft-o-maniac
Creative Itch
Sugar Bee Craft Edition
Me and My Bucket
Sew Much Ado
Nikki's Nifty Knacks
Creations By Kara
Someday Crafts
Brown Paper Packages
Tea Rose Home
Dragonfly Designs
Blue Cricket
Seven Thirty-three
My Backyard eden
Night Owl Crafting
Tools are for Women Too
Paisley Passions



Allie






Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Burlap Bag. Is It Even Cute? Ugh.

This was a fail. Not just a fail, but an epic, heartbreaking fail. Because I was sooooooooo looking forward to having a cute new purse for tomorrow. Looks like I'll be trying to redo this purse over the weekend. I managed to salvage it into a tote bag, but honestly...blah.

I saw this bag yesterday from La Maison Reid. It was gorgeous! I totally wanted to make one just like it. So I stopped by Hobby Lobby, snuck my bag with the goods past my husband ("Oh don't worry honey, it's just a bag I brought to work with me to show some fabric to my friends." bwahahahaha!) and got to work.

I cut the burlap. Which wasn't easy. It's sort of like trying to pick up an ice cube with a fork - messy! Here's where my first mistake was:

I didn't look at her tutorial. I thought, in typical Allie fashion, I can just wing it. Um, no Allie, you can't.

So anyway, cut the pieces, sewed them together (except I gave mine a bottom, instead of just a flat purse), and then sewed the lining. The first attempt to attach the lining was beyond an epic fail (and you realize at this point I don't have pictures. I'm all about sharing my successes AND failures, but not tonight. I'm too crabby, lol!)

Finally got the stupid thing together, sewed in the lining and the straps, and glued on the roses. And it looks...okay. That's all I can muster. I am totally in love with the fabric I used for the lining. it was in the scrap bin. I must go back and purchase a few yards of it tomorrow.



So La Maison Reid, I'm sorry that I butchered your perfectly wonderful tutorial. Please rest assured that this weekend, I will be following it to a T ... and will hopefully have something better than this time-consuming tote bag disaster!

Have a great weekend!

Allie


I love flowers ;)

In a quest to add to the never ending pile of hairbows I am creating to give away as holiday gifts, I created some more tonight. I love the singed edge ones. It's part of my little:

 

Take a peek if you have a chance. I'd like this idea to spread across the country (or world). How awesome would that be?!

So here's what I made:


So anyway, they've become part of the pile of goodies that will be going to the little girls at the shelter, and the mommies. (the boys get toys. I'm not good at sewing for boys!)



Well, have a wonderful evening, blogging folks! Thanks for reading ;)
Linking to:
Sew Can Do
Keeping it Simple
The Girl Creative
Crystal's Craft Spot

Allie










Smocking - My very first attempt

I really, really wanted to learn how to use this elastic thread. And make an entire smocked top. But I know I have to start slow. Soooo...I smocked 5 rows on this pink, flannel-y fabric, and then added another fabric on with regular thread to make it a nighshirt.

However, I mismeasured for where the straps need to go. So I have to fix that so it fits. But I like the smocking! It worked out pretty well, and I can't wait to use it again. This was my test project - now I can do a real one.






Linking to:
The Train To Crazy
Paisley Passions

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Elastic Thread: Tshirt into a nightgown

Ahhh!

Yes, that's how I feel about this project. It was my very first attempt at using elastic thread. Which, in my first attempt last week, I decided to just try and figure it out myself instead of reading how. FAIL! Yeah. It was a mess. I had no idea how to make it work. So I caved, checked out the internet, and figured it out.

But I didn't feel like attempting it again yet, so the thrifted t-shirt (size adult small) and thread sat on my table, staring me down daily and daring me to try it again. Today I caved.

I gathered up my supplies, and decided to test the method out on a sleeve. The shirt was a thrifted shirt from Goodwill. It says "I'm a Pepper" and I bought it because I drink Dr. Pepper. Alot of it. And I thought it would be cute for her to wear it. My little one is almost 2, and she loves nightgowns instead of shorts and a shirt.

I used the elastic thread method on one sleeve. It worked. I did the other sleeve. It worked again. I put a loop of it all the way around like an empire waist, to make it fit her better. Then I turned the color in and used the thread around there too, so the neck wasn't so wide. It worked!

I LOVE how this turned out. Not to toot my own horn, but TOOT TOOT!! :) Lol. I am so excited to find a bunch of t-shirts that I like and use them for this purpose!

   

Linking to:

Chiffon and Ribbon Headband

Don't forget to check out my giveaway!


I stopped at good ol' Hobby Lobby today to see if there were any new clearance fabric (I swear I have a problem. I can't buy anything that is not marked down in some way.)

There are 2 Hobby Lobby's I go to - one near work, and one near home. The one near work has more/better fabric selection, which means more clearance fabric. However, the one near home always bundles the end of the rolls of special trim and lace in a zip lock bag and sells it for $3.00. So today, I picked up a couple clearance bin fabric odds and ends, and a bag of trim that had some really cute laces and trims in it. You'll see me using these items in future posts over the next couple weeks. Except for this long strand of sequins. I have no clue what to do with sequins!

So back to the craft of the day - I took a long piece of white ribbon I had, just made folds with it, and then glued it down to a headband. Then, I made a flower with chiffon. Okay - that flower was ALOT harder than it always looks like it should be. I saw one in the store and thought, I could do that! I can. It just takes forever! So anyway, after feeding this insanely long length of chiffon through the sewing machine and around and around a circle of felt (whew) I had the flower. Then, I glued it onto the headband for a sort of flapper/40's look. I loved how it looked on my daughter!



Have a great week!
Linking to:
Sew Can Do
Keeping it Simple
The Girl Creative
Crystal's Craft Spot
Creative Itch
Sugar Bee Craft Edition
Me and My Bucket
Sew Much Ado
Nikki's Nifty Knacks
Tools are for Women Too
The Train To Crazy
Paisley Passions



Monday, August 23, 2010

My beautiful Apron - Thanks Flamingo Toes!

Last week I talked about how I won an apron from Flamingo Toes for being a follower - well, it came today! What a nice surprise after a blah visit to the dentist, to learn I have another cavity. :( But the day is much better now that I have something pretty to open!
And seriously - it is even cuter than I imagined!

First I loved the cute tape on the box -


And of course, it was wrapped in tissue paper with a cute bow!



A sweet note from Beverly:




And finally - APRON! Oh my gosh - so adorable. It even has black tulle underneath - it's like a cute vintage apron and a tutu all rolled into one - it appeals to every girly sense I have!! Now I can get down to


and of course, little one had to try it on too, because she loves pretties ~


But soon she discovered daddy's shoes, and now she's all about those. Sigh. (P.S. Don't you love the big chip on my doorframe, from the boys trying to shove a couch that didn't fit through? Yeah. And it's been six months and it still looks like that. Double sigh.)


Thanks again Beverly - you rock!

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