Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sewing: Pick Me Up shorts

One of the hardest things I find about sewing is visualization.  When I'm staring at all the bazillion choices of fabrics in the store I can't seem to "see" the finished product.  So, what I've done to remedy that is...experiment!  Last night, I got a hankering to sew  (I have a couple punk monkeys lined up waiting to be finished but I couldn't help myself).  I haven't actually used my machine to sew something for my kids in so long.  
Rummaging around in my fabrics stash I pulled out some cute print I bought at IKEA a while ago.  It's adorable. 

With summer on the way, I wanted to make Roma some light pants to wear with or without a skirt.  Taking concepts from both this and this, I created a little pair of knickers that I love!  Using an existing pair of her stretchy pants I cut out the general shape adding a little extra for seam allowances. I found that I needed to add more than I thought so these were just a tad snug...only a tad.

She's already peed her pants in them twice and sat in a puddle.  Let's see how long they last.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Running: Over the hill and through the woods

Ran with my instructor tonight.  She's amazing.  This past week has been the first time I've run more than ONCE outside.  It's being raining in torrents.   Not exactly good running weather.  But today it was gorgeous and we took to the hills for a sweet 3.6 miler.  AH-mazing.  I was so tired, like really tired.  My body isn't used to the hills anymore.  Stinkin' dreadmill made me lazy.  For sure.  But I am happy that I did those miles in a fair amount of time.  Looking to beat my time though.  Later this week I'm going to tackle that route again with a stopwatch and sheer determination.  It is not easy. 
My workouts, in general, however, have been very, very satisfying these past couple weeks.  Not so much the distances in my runs but knowing that I put the pedal to the metal and gave it my all.  I'm sore, but feeling stronger.  These Body Pump classes have really helped to give me an over all tone.  Just found out that we do somewhere close to 200 squats during the hour long class.  I do all 200 with 30lbs on my back.  Yesss, it burns.
After attending Body Pump for a month now, I've decided that it will be my soul form of cross-training.  I really, really miss yoga but the instructor quit.  So, from now on it will be Body Pump on Mondays and Wednesdays and me running on my own in between those days AND after the classes.

Right now, my body is achey.  Obliques, quads, shoulders, biceps, calves.  I'm burning a lot of calories and really trying watch my intake.  Ah yes, AND my vitamins...can't forget those.  I wouldn't be able to keep up with myself if it weren't for those trusty side-kicks of mine. 

Oh!  Just bought another pair of running shooooes!  So excited.  Photos on those guys soon.

Silent cheerleaders, challenged yourselves lately?  If not, why not?  Feel the burn.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Running: Truth be told

I have no idea what I'm doing.  Going by the seat of my pants and feeling great about it, but discovering that I need to do something to shore up the seat of my pants, too.  
Enter:  Vitamins

I take these every day.

I have always taken at least ONE form of vitamin.  As a kid, we had the huge, chalky orange tablets for vitamin C that my dad would get for me and my sisters.  
He always bought us vitamins.  
Well into my adult years he would send me bottles of vitamins and then hound me to make sure I was getting my daily intake.  So, I've always had a vitamin floating around in my life.  Grown kind of fond of them, actually. 
When I was pregnant, I thought taking those horse pills would be no big deal, since we went way back and all.  WRONG.  I think it's totally appropriate to use the timeless expression, "Gag-me", here.  So, I resorted to Flintstones' vitamins.  Yummmm.

I ran out of my fish oil a while back and my joints were really, really feeling it.  Like, it was amazing the change in my joints.  I started getting a sharp pain in my right knee and all of my joints were crackling like the fourth of July.  Seriously.  It made me worried.  But, no worries now.  Back on track and feeling better than ever.  Joint wise.

My runs are short and to the point as of late.  Not too happy, but I haven't stopped running.  Today I ran 3.1 yesterday it was 1.4 plus and hour of Body Pump.  Tomorrow it will be an hour of Body Pump and then mileage unknown.  I'll be running with the Body Pump instructor.  She's amazing.

Silent cheerleaders, where are you at in your journey to health and fitness?  Is there a ten minute brisk walk in your future?  Or a three mile run?  Do tell.

Oh, be smart take your vitamins, they love how you love them and they'll love you right back.  Promise.

Giveaway Winner! :: Butterfly Pendant

I was very honored to hold this giveaway for my dear friend and I hope you enjoy the fruits of her labor:


Be sure to share Sarah's talent with all your friends  :) 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sewing: Projects on my sewing machine's horizon

Giveaway!  don't forget about those sweet, handmade butterflies

My last post proclaimed my love for all things stripes.  And it's true.  And since I'm the only who shops for and sews clothing they are bound to show up.  Case in point, my next project for the kidlets.  Matching summer outfits.
The top two fabrics will be the summer outfits and the bottom seersucker will be shorts for Cy.

I'm thinking of doing a pair of shorts like THESE.  And then either this dress , another dress or a short set for baby R.  Choices, choices, but there will be a decision AND a finished product.  Promise.

On top of wanting to make these outfits, I've been tossing around the idea of making a patchwork quilt of sorts, out of vintage pillow cases. 

I have a quilt that was made for me by my mother and I love it.  Now, it's all boxed up, being preserved.  The relic. 
So the next best thing is to make one for my babies.  It was made from her old pants about three decades ago.  ShOOT, I'm old.  Oh well, get over it.  And you all thought I was 20 years old with tons and tons of endless energy.  PsshAH.  
Mmm, back to reality.

Sometimes, I feel like a racehorse, or a greyhound, or whatever animal froths at the mouth waiting to be let out of its little stall so it can run as fast as it can -- in circles.  Seriously.  I wake up out of breath, knowing that my days aren't getting any longer and there is so much to do. 

Wait, what?  You've never felt like that?  Come on, now.  What's on your "me must do" list?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sewing: Running theme in my closet

don't forget about the Butterfly pendant giveaway!  Not much time left

I have obsessions, as you all well know, and I kind of love them.  This particular obsession started last summer.  I saw a picture of Jackie O. and decided that I really needed some timeless pieces in my wardrobe. 

It gets expensive trying to "keep up with the Jones'" if you know what I mean.  And now, well, I just can't stop falling in love with stripes!  It's really killing me. 

This is only a part of the stripes that run in my closet.  I feel bad not giving you the full affect, but, really, I think you get the idea.  Between maxi skirts and dresses and cardigans I probably have a hundred feet of stripes, easy.  Poor David now has the stripe disease, and that's only because I'm the one who buys all of the clothing in the house.  

They make me happy!  What can I say?  A couple of my sewing projects have stripes involved, but I haven't had a chance to work on them.  Trust me, once they're complete there will be photos.  

O. And I think there is a new obsession on my horizon.  Color blocking.  Just shoot me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Running: Staying the course

don't forget about the Butterfly pendant giveaway!  

Pumped myself up tonight with an hour of Body Pump.  Felt good.  Felt even better knowing that I am taking my vitamins again.  Fish Oil rocks for my joints.  Anyway, after Body Pump, I set my feet to running.  AWFUL.  My first mile was like lead.  And I honestly just about gave up.  But I didn't feel right about not running AT least two miles.  Didn't think I could make it, my iPod was stuffed in my gym bag because I forgot my ear buds, and the guy with the mullet was running next to me again.  His hair really distracts me.  I have this sneaking suspicion that maybe his mullet is a toupee, makes me laugh.
Finally, I just fixated on the girl in front of me.  She had a curl on the back of her neck.  I watched it for a while then I shifted my eyes to the left and watched the heart light up and disappear on the elliptical. 
Anyway 2.5 miles tonight.  Really loving Body Pump.  Hoping I can keep going twice a week.  Tomorrow it's my low key day, but I'm hoping to get a good, hilly run in.  Been dreaming and dreaming about a 10 mile run.  Shoot.  I don't know how I'm going to mentally overcome that.  Ten miles!  Wish me luck.

Still running.  I'm still here, silent cheerleaders.  Boston Marathon just happened.  Got the warm fuzzies thinking about it.  What's got you going?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sewing: Spring time for Petunia

don't forget about the Butterfly pendant giveaway!
 I'm going a little nuts over here, but in the best of ways.  Orders are lining up for my punk monkeys.
A lady in our church saw Buster, and decided she had to have her own sock monkey.  I couldn't wait to get started.  It took me a couple of days in between the other sewing jobs I have, but I finally came up with the perfect little punk monkey for her.
Please meet:

I'm falling in love with the process of making these little guys.  Every time I make one, I just smile.   I hope you enjoy her, Kathy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Running Update: Body. PUMPED

Tonight's work out was, in a word -- fabulous.
I started out with an hour of Body Pump.  The teacher issued us a challenge and I accepted.  Bump up your weights.  I rocked out to whatever music they were playing with twice as much weight on my bar, tonight.  It felt good.  The burn was nice and I felt the lactic acid at work.  I was grunting trying to lift the bar up over my head, sweating and shaking trying to do the triceps.  uhg.  But I couldn't give up.  I talked to myself, we already established that I'm a little weird so this should come as no surprise to you all, during the really difficult moments of the workout because I thought I was going to burst.  Pushed myself to the end and then jumped on the 'mill.  Ran a spritely 2.2 miles on 2.5% incline.  The first mile was 6.5 mph the next .8 was 6.7 and the last .2 I gave it my all and ran at 6.9mph.  I almost fell off the treadmill I was so tired.  My legs were already tired from the squats I had done in the class, but I needed to push myself.  Tonight I totally redeemed myself and really re-focused my energies on the task at hand.
I CAN do this.  A 10k is in my future.  A 50 mile relay is to totally achievable.  And running a marathon is well within my grasp.  I now need to surge past my 8 mile lock.  This weekend is out, though, because I have somewhere to be, but I will be running a new record of 10 miles, soon.
Silent cheerleaders, when was the last time you challenged yourself?  How did you feel after?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Butterfly Pendant Giveaway!! ::Giveaway CLOSED::

I really, really like spring.  It never really meant that much to me, being from California, because our "spring" is only two weeks long and then summer sets in.  But here, it is vital to my sanity.  A little sunshine here a little sunshine there, while the weather slowly convinces itself to wriggle out of winter's frigid grasp into the silky rays of sun's light.  Then, the birds start chirping, butterflies float on the breeze, and the fireflies come out at dusk.

Today, I introduce to you a long time friend of mine, Sarah.  We grew up with each other.  I think a more accurate description would be to say, we grew up in each others homes.  Her brother was my brother and my sisters were her sisters.  We swapped everything from clothes to bathing suits and ...oh, my, the stories could march endlessly across this blog with lots of laughs and tears.  As we grew older, we grew apart, then later we reconnected and our friendship was stronger than ever.  She's a true friend, super intelligent, a giver and insanely creative.

On top of having a career in the medical field, she some how finds the time to crochet.  She and her husband are a dynamic duo.  He is a photographer, pushing the boundaries of normal.  I love my friends. 

Here she is:

Hi!! My name is Sarah. . . my hobby, being creative. My blog is the product of a variety of ideas. I originally started with the idea of taking something used, old, discarded. . and creating something new out of it. . something creative, eye catching and valuable. . thus the name Sui-Generis came about (it is Latin for unique, one of a kind). My dear grandmother, Nancy, then came out for a visit and taught me some crochet skills . . . the rest kind of just developed :-)

I also have a passion for missions work. . . I wanted to use my talent to promote missions and therefore have decided to donate 50% of all sales made to missions around the world. 

She has so kindly donated these two little butterflies just for this giveaway.  They're so sweet! The larger one has a clip and a pin and the smaller has a simple little clip.
Clayton's Site

Follow her blog!  Leave TWO separate comments letting me know (ex. I am a follower! #1.  ex. I am a follower! #2)  This is your mandatory first entry.  Other ways to enter are:
  • Facebook this giveaway.  Three entries (leave three separate comments and leave me a link showing me you did. there is a FB link at the bottom of this post, just click and let it do all the work!
  • Blog about this giveaway and come back leaving me a link showing me you did!  Five entries (once again, leave five separate entries letting me know)  
  • Follow me!  Just click the follow button :0) .  Two entries.  (once again, leave TWO separate entries telling me you follow)

This giveaway ends Tuesday April 26th, no entries will be accepted after 11:59pm on April 25th.  Winner will be picked by

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Giveaway Winner!!

**I couldn't help myself.  I'm announcing a little early**

Hey!  You've won:


How does it feel?  You will get your bag in the mail shortly, just send me your address!  Thanks so much for entering and tell all your friends about Jill and her Thirty-One.

Remember how I promised there would be THREE giveaways?  One down, two to go.  And you're really, super really going to like this next one.

All around update sewing, photography and running

Been busy.
Not sure how I found myself in this avalanche of activities but I have.  Enjoying it but also looking for a way to balance everything!  My weeks have suddenly become filled with stuffing sock monkeys, making bustle bottom skirts, sewing flags...and running?  Well, that's why I'm getting worried.  I haven't been able to put in any serious mileage in two weeks.  My longest run has been three measly miles. 
Tonight my babies have music prep class and I'm hoping D gets home early enough to take them so I can shoot off for a run.  Saturday I did a speed run and I won't even mention my time.  It was horrible.  Maybe I should try running on a flat route instead of one that has major hills to see what my time could really be.  The weather is slowly, SLOWLY turning warmer and with the little bit of extra daylight I will be able to run outside before the bears come out to play.  My legs really need to hills out here to make them stronger for my distances run.  Love my time at the gym because of those awesome cross-training classes, but that dreadmill gives me all kinds of excuses not to challenge myself.  
Oh speaking of good weather.  My camera has been jumping off my dresser itching to get outside and take cool shots of my kids in action.  For a long time my camera was having insane problems focusing and I couldn't figure out why.  A lot of my shots were coming out soft, a nice way to say a bit blurry, and it was driving me nuts!  Finally, this morning, I figured it out and was able to to nail a few close ups like this to celebrate.

I call this series: Black-eyed Me

Baby boy met up with a chair at church the other night.  Rude chair.  Gave him a black eye!  Now, is that how you make friends for life?  Why, yes.  Because the next service he was running around the sanctuary again doing just the opposite what he was allowed.  Recipe for disaster.  You would think he'd learn his lesson the first time around.  Battle scars from church.  Nice.
Be on the look out for more of me and my photos.

O!  Spring Giveaway ended last night, the winner will be announced shortly!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sewing: Bustle Bottom Skirt

don't forget to enter the spring giveaway!

Got down to business today.  Finished off the cutest of skirts.  I love them.
Piles of no-fray chiffon and a soft grey cotton fabric to make the magic happen.

All the little details.  Cutting, folding, ironing, making sure I don't sew my SAFTEY PIN INTO THE SKIRT.  Good lord, don't ask.  I have to be one of the most air-headed black-haired people, ever. 

I had my little Rambo side-kick.  She kept snatching my phone, pushing all of my straight pins down into the pin cushion and running off with my scissors.  You haven't sewn until you've sewn with a two year old biting at your ankles.

About an hour in, this is what starts to take shape.

Then, before you know it, voila!  This skirt gets cuter and cuter every time I make it.

So much fun!

POOF!  Magic, I tell ya...

Running Update: Sore

Rough week.  Like absolutely no running, type of rough week.  Came down with a bear of a cold and D informed me that I wouldn't be going out for my daily intake of calorie burning.  Then, I was swamped with sewing tasks.  I'm so, so grateful for the work, trust me.  I'm just wondering how moms like Carrie do it all!  
Sometimes, I feel like I've got everything under control, all my ducks in a row, then, BAM one ball drops and it seems like they all follow down at once.  One week.  Really?  My mood took a sharp dive south the longer I went without working out.  No bueno.
But, sometimes duty calls.  Had deadlines to meet, ya know?  

Anyway, enough thinking about that.  I went to workout last night.  An hour of Body Pump and then 1.6 on the 'mill.  I'm feeling pretty spritely this morning.  
I have a little news to share.  Last week, I was invited to participate in a 50 mile relay run.  Talk about exciting.  My heart gets all jumpy when I think about it.  I'm relatively new to running and this seems like such a huge jump for me.  Even though I have the nerves there is also this little monster in me that says, "you can do it, don't think about the others."  I'll be running with veterans who know that it will be my first run like this.  It's in October.  199 more days to prep.  Don't feel too confident coming off a week of no running.  Have to get my head back in the game.

June will be my 10k.  Looking to run a half marathon after that and then...well...wish me luck.

Silent cheerleaders, what was your workout week like?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sewing: I am a red thumb

My grandmother was a green thumb.  She took such pride in her yard planting, picking, pruning and moving the plants just so.  
And now, I'm a red thumb.  My poor fingers have been pricked and poked just enough to make them sore and bleed.  Band-aid city.  But look at the reward!

This particular monkey is going to a good friend of mine.  Her daughter is pregnant with their first grandchild!  Such joy.  And now, one of my little punk monkeys will be nestled beside that fuzzy little head while he sleeps.  

Congrats Deb, and I hope your grandbaby Bean enjoys little Buster.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sewing: Meet Binky, the hobo

My weekend was pretty much packed.   I had a slumber party for the young girls in my youth group and then the next day we went to a birthday party.  My goal was to make a hobo sack for the birthday girl and hoped that I could fill the sack with odds, ends and goodies.  But last minute I decided to whip up a sock monkey.  It couldn't have come together more nicely.  
I'm officially hooked on mid-calf length socks.  SO much easier and quicker to stuff and just the right size.
 Went and dug around in my stash of fabrics and found a nice happy color for the sack.  Green with polka-dots!

I needed a contrasting color for the tie, so I grabbed yet another happy color.  Orange.
(for some reason it looks red in this picture.)

And in a little over an hour I had a hobo sack!!

My little helper was so cute and very curious about all my sewings-on.

Luckily, I had a couple more helpers to lend a hand in the stuffing the monkey.  These last minute ideas can give you grey hairs...but these girls saved the day!

I finished stitching the monkey shut with five minutes left to spare and raced off to the party with the cutest monkey.  Binky.

And a hobo sack :)  Not bad for a last minute idea, eh?

But what really made my day was the birthday girl wearing Binky's color scheme.  TOTALLY worth the needle stabs and pin pricks.

And, don't forget to enter the spring giveaway!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sewing: I haven't stopped

I bet you all think that I've stopped sewing and have, in short, strapped on running shoes and that I live on the highways and byways running my heart out and begging for change to buy energy bars.  Not true.  Well, almost.  HAH

But, in all honesty, I have been sewing small projects here and there and then was hired by a friend of mine to help her with her business!  So, I have a little job now that takes all of my extra-curricular sewing time away.  It's only for a while, but I have to focus on that.  I've sewn a few things here and there and totally gagged because not everything translates as well into REAL life.  Uhg.  Recently, I made a skirt for baby R and totally decided that it should just be an INSIDE skirt, no use embarrassing my whole family in public with that fashion disaster.  Whatever, she likes it.   Today I am going to try and make a hobo sack for a little girl whose party is tomorrow.  I really hope I can smash this one out.  If it happens, there will totally be photos.

Stick with me, guys!  And, don't forget to enter the spring giveaway!