Sunday, June 22, 2014

31 By 31 Final Update

I have been 31 for about a month and a half now, so I thought I would do a little recap of my goals. (This is a list of 31 goals I wanted to accomplish before my 31st birthday.) Life got pretty stinking busy this last year, so I’m not going to be disappointed because I didn’t meet most of my goals.


Lets take a gander:


1. Paint, and decorate dining room. *I think I am focusing on the office and eat-in part of the kitchen this year. I picked out colors, and bought paint already. Have the paint, and a direction I want these spaces to go in, but not the time.

2. Build a display shelf for hubby’s decoys. *Have some ideas. Not this year…

3. Finish piano project. Nope.

4. Build a piece of furniture. Nope.

5. Plant garden. Can/preserve. *Garden is planted and looking great! I picked and froze berries in July. Made some refrigerator pickles. Froze zucchini and peppers. My father-in-law canned tomatoes for us.

6. Put together 31 meal binder. Maybe later…


7. Potty train boys. We have been diaper free for almost a year!

8. Go on a family vacation. We had a mini vacation around Christmas. (I’m counting it.)

9. Make a new chore chart. Been using last year’s, need to complete new one!

10. Mail Christmas cards. Managed this one!

11. Have Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving. Maybe next year…


12. Have 12 date nights (at least one a month). We were very sporadic with this one. We need to plan ahead.

13. Go on a mini-vacation with hubby. We were able to manage 2 overnight trips.

14. Go to a Tiger game. Hubby took me for my birthday!


15. Read 12 books. I read, but failed to document. (Do textbooks count?)

16. Start nursing clinical. If all goes as planned, I will be a RN next April!

17. Get a 100 bowling average. (Don’t laugh! I have been working on this for five years now.) I ended the season with a 106 average!


18. Whittle down debt. We managed to get rid of all of our small credit card debt, big thanks to selling my crocheted hats.

19. C.N.A Recertification, start working part time. I work very part time, but that is about all I can handle right now.

20. Sell crafts (somehow; etsy/farmer’s market/craft fair). *Opened Theresa’s To-Dos on etsy in August. Need to spend some time in shop.  I also have been selling crocheted hats via word of mouth. Update: My etsy shop is still opened (and I had a sale), but it is sorely neglected. I have been busy selling crocheted hats.


21. Clean out and organize garage. Hopefully we can get to this in the next couple of weeks.

22. Find a system for paper. Tackle paper clutter. Nope. I think I am going to go shred happy pretty soon!

23. Go through cookbooks. Not the year for this goal.

24. Organize photos. Didn’t manage this one either.

25. Work on blog organization. Ha! I have been lucky to get a post a month up. Let me tell you, I have some great projects to share also, just looking for time.


26. Sew everyday for 31 days, only using stash. This is still a goal I want to complete.

27. Crochet a hat a day for 31 days. I tried this one in August, and only made it halfway through (that was the same month we potty trained the boys).

28. Make a quilt. Nada, I don’t see this goal happening in the next year either.

29. Work on one photography skill a month. I was lucky to remember to get my camera out at important times.

30. Complete 31 pins. I tried a ton of pins, but didn’t document any.

31. Do 31 refashions. I would venture to say that I got about halfway done with this goal. What really happened is I kept sewing, but stopped keeping track of my projects. 

I know that this list looks a little sad, but i am just proud that we survived the last year. Everyone was fed. The house was in okay order. I made it through my first year of nursing school. The boys are potty trained (if we can only get them to make it in the toilet now…). I stepped out of my comfort zone and started selling my crochet. An even bigger accomplishment this last year (one I kept secret), I quit smoking.

As you can see, not too bad of a year. I think I may pick and choose just a few goals from this list to try to work on the next year. But most of them can wait until this crazy season of our life (aka nursing school) is over.

Your turn: What tips do you have to make it through a busy, and trying season of life? I want to enjoy every moment that I have been blessed with, but find that I am always saying, “after April..”

Friday, May 16, 2014

Wild Flower Top

The boys and I stopped at Jo-Ann’s to browse the clearance section. Their clearance fabric was 50% off the clearance price this visit. I know I shouldn’t have stopped, but I couldn’t help myself. This is the only time that I buy knit fabric new, when it is 50% off the clearance price. $3.00 a yard is golden for me!

The Wild Flower Top

I have been buying patterns when they go on mega sale, but have not had the time to sew them. All of those sales, and packages get me every time.

This pattern is the Wild Flower Top by Blank Slate Patterns. (affiliate link) I purchased it through the last Pattern Anthology pack; Just Add Jeans. (Yes, that means I have three more patterns to sew up!)

Wild Flower Top

I had planned on making myself some more clothing, so I picked out a few fabrics and had the boys pick which one they liked the most. They picked out this brown, purple, teal and gold fabric. Not really my favorite, but they liked it, so I obliged.

The colors and print are starting to grow on me.

The Wild Flower (affiliate link) has an inner bodice in the pattern (so you don’t have to layer it with a tank, perfect for summer). I choose not to add it this time, only because I didn’t have fabric to coordinate with this print. But I do have a few tanks that go with the fabric okay.

Wild Flower Top

I made one more modification to this pattern. I sewed up the V about an inch. Now I can wear this top sans tank on date night with the hubby. (If we ever get a date night…)

Melissa includes instructions to custom fit the top to your body. I love this feature because I have a long torso, medium top, and large bottom.

This pattern went together very quickly. The only step that took me a little extra time was pinning the pleats, this fabric is a bit slippery, and I had to re-pin a few times.

Wild Flower Top

I always enjoy sewing up one of Melissa’s patterns. She has a knack of simplifying the sewing process, yet yielding professional results. I always feel like a sewing rock star after sewing a Blank Slate Pattern. (affiliate link)

This pattern also features three different sleeve options, long, short, and bell. I already have dreams for future projects…solid top, sleeveless..or modify it to a dress, maybe bell sleeves?

Are you missing the boys? Here are a few photo bombs:

Wild Flower Top

Wild Flower Top

Wild Flower Top

*Links are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through the links and make a purchase I receive a small compensation. Pattern was purchased by me, and all thoughts and opinions are mine.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hands Free Asymmetrical Bag

Mama Nene did it again…came up with the most awesome, practical, useable pattern!

The Hands Free Asymmetrical Bag pattern (affiliate link) has been released today. I have the pleasure of being on the Serger Pepper Testing Crew, so I have already sewn one of these babies up. First the eye candy:

Hands Free Asymmetrical Bag Front

When I hear about a new project at Serger Pepper I think of two things: refashioning and color blocking. As you can see, this pattern has the option of color blocking, or monochromatic. There is also the option to add piping.

One of the (many) things that makes Mama Nene's patterns stand out from the rest is the refashioning tips she includes in every pattern. Most of the time, she even sews up a few of each pattern using her refashion tips. These tips are gold to me(I have actually bought patterns just because of the refashioning tips included). I love having extra inspiration to reduce and reuse.

All of the fabric used for this bag has been in my stash for (too many) years.

Back of the Hands Free Asymmetrical Bag

The color blocking continues through the back.

So many pockets inside the Hands Free Asymmetrical Bag!

This is by far my favorite feature; all of the pockets and compartments.

First I want to issue a disclaimer: all of these pockets and compartments are optional. But if you have the option for more pockets, why wouldn’t you?

So being a glutton for pockets, I made There is an elastic pocket on the outside of the bag, perfect for keys or a phone. The inside features two (2!) lined zippered pockets, customizable patch pockets, and a water bottle elastic.

The best bag for busy mamas! The Hands Free Asymmetrical Bag The arrow detail on the strap is what makes this bag POP. I have received so many compliments on this bag.

Now my thoughts on the pattern and experience: Number one, I LOVE working with Mama Nene! She is such a creative and inspiring person. Every pattern and tutorial of hers I have tried resulted in a positive experience that let me wishing I had time for more.

Number two, the bag: This bag is awesome, but it is not for the faint of heart. This pattern is more of an intermediate pattern. But PLEASE, do not let this deter you from trying the bag. Every step and skill is broken down into step-by-step instructions (another reason why I love Mama Nene's patterns). She also links to tutorials throughout her instructions, so no guessing or googling when you are stumped on a step.

I found that for this bag, I had to break it down into a bunch of tiny steps. While it is possible to finish the bag in a day, I took several, doing one small step a night. This is how I manage to squeeze sewing projects into my busy schedule.

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to Craftsy and get your Hands Free Asymmetrical Bag pattern! (affiliate links)

*Want to see more of my Serger Pepper projects?

Sheer Plaid Top

Basic Leggings

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sewing For Mama; Centerfield Raglan x4

Good day! I have a few weeks off from school, so I figured now’s the time to get some sewing and writing done.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love PDF patterns? No, oops sorry- I LOVE PDF patterns.

I love the fact that you have the opportunity to connect with the designer on personal level (through their blogs, face book, twitter, etc.). This also means that you have a means to ask questions if any arise. I like that the patterns are designed for real people to wear, not a model or mannequin. PDF patterns usually cover a wide array of sizes. And my favorite feature; they usually have many variations. So you can be certain no two items will be the same.

Theresa's To-Dos, Selfish Sewing Centerfield Raglan

A great example of a versatile pattern is the Centerfield Raglan by Green Style Creations. A while back I had the pleasure of testing this pattern. Let me tell you; WOW! These ladies have thought of it all; multiple sleeve lengths, different torso lengths, scoop neck or regular neckline, and optional elbow patches are a few modifications this pattern offers. This pattern comes in sizes XXS to 3XL, how’s that for size range?

The first Centerfield I sewed up was extra-long sleeved with a regular neckline…in March. (and I am just now blogging about it?)

Sewing for Mama; Green CenterfieldThis shirt sits perfectly at the waist, so no embarrassing muffin show when I play with the boys. It also features an extra long sleeve length. This is by far my favorite feature (I have monkey arms).

I have been seeing “Selfish Sewing Week” all over the web this week, so I decided to add a few more raglans to my wardrobe. These next three are all short sleeved, scoop neck.

Selfish Sewing, Centerfield Raglan This fabric has been in my stash for a very long time, like more than a decade. Have you noticed the 30+ pound weight gain? No (I’m hoping you said no)? That’s because the Centerfield has the perfect hourglass shape. Every top I have made seems to hug in the right place, and cascade beautifully over my problem areas.

Sewing for Mama, Striped Centerfield Raglan This next one was the same fabric I used for the Sheer Top I sewed in February. Umm, I am glad this fabric is almost gone…I hate these stripes! I was so careful to match up the stripes, and they still didn’t match. I almost chucked this shirt right into my refashion pile. But I remembered a few testers tried ruching the sides, so I sewed about 3 inches of elastic on each side. I can still tell the mistakes, but nobody else notices. In fact my 12 year old step-daughter has mentioned a few times how much she likes this shirt. That’s a win in my book (or a lose, because I know she will be the happy recipient…)

Last but not least, my FAVORITE one:

Selfish Sewing, Sheer Sleeve Centerfield Front Check out those sheer sleeves! I cannot take credit for the idea, my inspiration came from Melissa Esplin. The day I saw her post I happened to find myself at Jo-Ann’s. This cute little cheetah print chiffon was sitting in the remnant bin begging me to take it home. I have never been so glad to have such weak willpower in the fabric store.

Selfish Sewing, Sheer Sleeve Centerfield Raglan The only thing I strayed from the pattern on was hemming the sleeves. I choose to do a rolled hem, to try and keep the sleeves a bit dainty. Otherwise, another successful Centerfield!

Have you been sewing for Selfish Sewing Week? If so, leave me a link, I would love to take a gander. I have plans for a few more tops this week and maybe a dress. We’ll see…

Friday, March 28, 2014

Basic Leggings for Boys!

This post should have been posted a few weeks ago, but life precedes over any other obligation –so here i am.

Refashioninng Long Johns using Basic Legging Pattern

It has been a long cold winter here in Michigan. It actually snowed yesterday! Usually we make it a point to get outside most days, but this winter has been so cold, we have been cooped up indoors.
On the days we have ventured out to play, I found myself wishing that we had long johns (or long underwear) for the boys.

*I understand long johns may not be a common thing, they are tighter fitting waffle knit clothing worn under regular clothes to add warmth.

Mama Nene to the rescue. If you don’t know, Mama Nene is the woman behind Serger Pepper. The blog is full of useful sewing tips, tricks, and tutorials. She has also started writing/publishing sewing patterns. (Remember my Sheer Top?) I am so fortunate to be on her pattern testing crew.

This time around she needed testers for Basic Leggings. I almost passed on this one because the boys in this house don’t wear leggings. But then the wheels in my head started turning…leggings look a lot like long johns!

I started by digging through my refashion pile.

Refashioning Long John's

I found a few castoffs that the older kids have outgrown.

Long John Refashion

I used the Basic Legging pattern. I choose a size 4, in hopes that they will fit the boys next winter too. (Because winter will end soon, right?) The pattern is sized from size 3 to size 14, so this is another pattern that will grow with your child.

This pattern was so easy to cut out and sew, and Mama Nene’s instructions are very clear. This pattern would be a great confidence builder for a beginner.

Basic Leggings, Boy Version

This pattern has two features that I feel make it a must have to any pattern library.

#1 Long leg length. I love that my boys can run and play (in the huge mountain of snow we still have) without the legs riding up. This feature also makes this pattern perfect for comfy pajamas.

#2 High waist. My boys hate when their butt is falling out of their pants. And honestly, while I’m talking about it does it really cost that much more to add an inch or two to the waist height? Too many of our store bought pants barely cover the boys’ tushies. I couldn’t imagine if they were still in diapers. Okay, I’m done ranting.

This pattern covers their rump, and keeps it covered while they are playing.

Head on over to Craftsy and get your pattern. New to Craftsy? It is quick and easy to sign up, then grab your Basic Legging pattern!

pattern was given to me to test, but all opinions are mine
Craftsy links are affiliates, I receive a small bonus if you sign up or make a purchase through my links.

What would you make with this pattern? I have plans to whip up some pajama pants from my t-shirt stash. There were so many cute girl versions too. The possibilities with the pattern are endless.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Spring Break

I am on spring break this week. I decided to use this week to play catch-up, and hopefully even get ahead.

Spring Cleaning

On my to-do list:

  • Study for exam and finish school work. (I know, on spring break?)
  • Finish orders. I have three crocheted hats, a chef’s hat and apron, and two zippered pouches.
  • Finish up on this week’s pattern testing.
  • Sew an outfit for each one of the boys. *Bonus, refashioning some clothing in the process.
  • Write blog posts for all the projects that are waiting to be shared.
  • Make some freezer meals to get us through the semester.
  • If I have time….I may clean….. (Or let the boys clean)

If you had a week with some extra time, how would you use it? I know I am a little crazy, and I should be relaxing or something this week. But…most of the things on my list are relaxing to me. So stay tuned, hopefully I can stick to it!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Plaid Footed Pajamas

Two posts in one week, what the?!!

This past fall I may have bought a huge mess of sewing patterns at a deeply discounted price…
One of those patterns is the Classic Footed Pajamas from peek-a-boo pattern shop. (affiliate link)

Plaid Footed Jammies

It is so hard to keep these little guys to stay still for very long. Needless to say, they like their jammies.

Red Plaid Jammies

I would call this pattern an advanced beginner, borderline intermediate sewer. While the pattern was not hard, there were a few more advanced techniques. Fortunately, there are detailed step-by-step instructions for said techniques (zippers anybody?).

I made these late at night (and any of you who have followed me for some time, know I tend to make mistakes when the sun sets), so there were a few spots that I had to re-read the instructions.

                    Gray Footed Jammies Red Footie Jammies

Both pairs are made from fleece, and the sleeve cuffs and neck binding are made from t-shirt scraps. The sleeve binding was a little tricky, but patience paid off.

The only problem I have had with these pajamas is that the zipper irritates the boys at times. This is not the fault of the pattern, I choose to skip the zipper facing. Next time I will definitely add the facing.

I love that this pattern (and most of the patterns in the shop) comes in sizes 3 months- 8 years. I have been thinking about making all of my nieces and nephews pajamas for next Christmas, and this pattern would have them all covered.
Have you made footie jammies before? I am not sure that these are actually cheaper than buying pajamas from the store, but they sure are cute! And I love that little sense of accomplishment I get seeing the boys run around in footed pajamas that I made for them.