Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Baby Blankets

Oh my.  So you know I have to make a baby blanket for my cousin.  Well, I found out this weekend that one of Richard's cousins is also pregnant.  With twins.  Um..... yay!(?)  Now I have to make three quilts!  Lord help me get them done!

For the twins' quilt I think that I'm going to make two stacked coins quilts.  Or maybe this rainy days quilt.  Or even possibly this charm quilt.  I really, really, really like life in the jungle and it is gender neutral so it would be perfect to make ahead.  I'd really like to make it out of precuts since it is just so much easier, so the rainy days quilt has a disadvantage there.  We will see :)

So I've been trying out a lot of new recipes lately since I've discovered greek yogurt, wheat germ and milled flax. They are very interesting, versatile, and healthy!  One that I thought was interesting was a strawberry greek yogurt banana bread.  Well, I technically made muffins and substituted in 1/4 c flax and 1/4 c whole wheat flour for 1/2 c AP flour.  And you know what?  Two of them are only 120 calories!  Man.  My mind was blown because muffins are taboo.  They are better the second day since they have sweetened up for some reason.  Next time I'm going to chop up the strawberries really small because they kind of leave spots mushy in the bread.  See how pretty they are?


Now I'm off to body boot camp with my nicely strapped in fitness mat!  I hope you have all had a lovely week!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Yoga Mat Strap Tutorial

I have to bring my own mat to body boot camp.  I don't have a strap for it because I've always used it at my house and never cared if it unrolled.  Now I need a strap and instead of buying one ($5 to $20!), I decided to make my own.  Now I'm a trendy lady at the gym :)

Here's How:

1 strip 5" x WOF
2 strips 5" x 28"

  • (This is for wrapping around your mat and making a velcro closure.  I suggest measuring your mat before you cut this to ensure enough length.  See note below)

Coordinating Thread
Velcro strip

Measure your mat for the smaller strips
 *Note:  I have a large, fluffy mat for weight lifting and more back support, not a thin yoga mat.  My strip will be longer than yours if you have a thin mat.  Be sure to measure around your mat and account for finished seams and velcro overlap.  I also wanted a more adjustable closure since I don't always roll it tightly.

My three pieces.  I'm only using one fabric choice.

Working with the long strip:

This strip will be inserted into the sandwich made by the two smaller strips.  If you want to make a finished seam, feel free (ie, wrong sides together and then turning it right side out).  I'm not going to in this tutorial.

1.  Fold the edges in a half inch and press.  I'm not super great at this, so bare with me.

I started with the long sides and then folded the ends.  The ends on this strip don't have to be perfect because it will be inserted into the middle of the two smaller strips.

Ignore the bow.  Try for a straight line if you can manage.

 2.  Once you have your edges pressed, fold the strip in half, hot-dog style.

3.  To give the strap more stability, I added in some interface.  If you don't need or want this stiffness you can skip over this part.  A lot of people use fusible interfacing.  I didn't.  I cut a strip of interface ~ 1 7/8" (because my folded strip is 2" and I didn't want it to interfere with the fold lines) and slipped it inside of the creases.  This held it well.  If you have fusible, cut the same size strip and fuse the interfacing to the fabric where I did.  Follow the manufacturers instructions.

This is optional
4.  Pin your strip together.  Mine was pretty stiff so I only needed a few pins to hold it, but more certainly never hurts.  Sew along all edges of your strip.  If you want to ad design, give it another seam for fun.  I'm in it for speed, so I'm not going to.

Turning the corner
When you turn the corner, stop the desired distance from the edge.  For example, I was using ~ 1/8" seam so I stopped sewing ~1/8" from the edge.  Life the presser foot with the needle down, pivot your fabric strip, drop the presser foot and keep moving.  It is important to note that the closer to the edge you are the smaller the gap will be on the non-crease side of your strip.  So, a 1/4" seam will give you more... floppy fabric... if that makes any sense.

Working with the smaller strip:

5.  Follow steps 1 through 3.  You should now have one long strap that is finished and two small strips that are pressed.


6.  Now you are going to start putting your strips together.  If your fabric is directional, you may want to lay it out on top of your mat to ensure you will sew the fabric the way you like.  Locate the center of one small strip (length-wise) and the center of your long strip (width wise).  Make sure that your opening (non-crease side) of your small strip is point up towards your long strip.

Pins are in the center of my strip

7.  Insert the end of the long strip into the small strip, aligning the center.  Pin.

Go ahead and pin the rest of the strip together.

*Note:  These ends are the ends to be concerned about matching perfectly, since you will see these, though they will be on the underside of your mat.

 I had a little bit that hung over the edge, so I took my small scissors and snipped off a piece.  This way when I sew it together, the finished result will look nicer.  

8.  Sew the entire way around the small strip, as you did with your long strip.  Ensure that your long strip is tucked into your small strip and sew across.

 You will have some extra.  Just roll it up and continue on your way.

9.  When you come to the end of the long strip, back stitch to the beginning to strengthen the seam.  Stitch forward over, and finish sewing around the strip.

You should now have a strap that looks like this:

10.  Repeat steps 6 through 9 on the opposite end of your long strip.  You should have a result like this:

Center, Pin, and Sew!

Adding the velcro:

At this point I wrapped my strap back around my mat to make sure everything was going smoothly.  I flipped it over to gauge the overlap.

My mat had unrolled slightly from what I started with, but because I chose to have an approximate 4" overlap, this is totally fine.  Desired actually.

11.  Now you need to think about how you want your velcro attached.  I wanted mine to have a large range of fastening options because I don't roll with the same consistency each time.  To do this I placed two "fuzzy" pieces, length-wise and one "rough" piece width-wise.  Pin velcro (bobby pins work well), one on the top side and the other on the bottom of the opposite side.

I chose to sew these on one at a time to reduce bulk.  I started like this:

12.  Sew around the edges of your velcro.  I back stitched for security.  I would suggest not not using sticky velcro since you will probably end up ripping it off if you use your mat enough.

I changed my thread color so that it was more invisible.

This is what it should look like after you have sewed on your three pieces (if you are mimicking my closure method).  

*Note:  I am not concerned about how this thread pattern will show through my straps, though I did use a much more muted color so you couldn't see the stitch unless you really looked.  If you are concerned about this, attach the velcro pieces to one side of the pressed hot-dog before assembling the straps together (before step 6).  This will hide the seam lines. It may also involve more thinking on your part, so watch out.

13.  Attach velcro to opposite side.  I wrapped mine again, just in case!  Make sure your shoulder strap doesn't turn on itself or you won't be a happy camper.

This is what you will have when it is finished.

Wrap around your mat and enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hey! I made something!

So I was pretty happy with myself for sitting down and sewing this weekend.  I didn't have a ton of time, but I did manage to make this:

It's a case for my cell phone so my purse won't kill it.  I'm pretty happy with it other than the fact that I made it too big width wise.  The tutorial I followed used an iPhone and I have an android so I attempted to make it bigger to accommodate my larger screen.  The problem was it didn't really give good finished dimensions to work backwards from, so I googled how big an iPhone was and then guessed from there.  It gets the job done, and that's all that really matters.  Plus I love my turtle and hedge hog (left overs from the little apples charm pack).

I also made a napkin.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A napkin.  They apparently take a lot longer and are a little more finicky than I thought so I got impatient and left the room.  One person next Christmas will have a nice napkin though :)

This week I started a body boot camp class.  It was obnoxious.  I've been running 3 miles at an incline every day and have been incorporating some weight exercises after, as well as an ab routine.  I thought I was doing pretty well and this class could help me overcome my plateau that I've hit.  Well let me tell you, running 3 miles is apparently a cake walk compared to this.  My instructor is the equivalent of a psychotic Jillian Michaels on steroids.  I was dripping (ew) sweat within the first 5 minutes of class.  I couldn't even believe it.  At one point the entire class was bent over, panting, just watching the instructor do the move we were supposed to be mimicking   I would be lying if I said I wasn't humored.  It made me feel better that we were all in it together.

That was Tuesday.  I have another class tonight.  And I feel like I've been run over by a semi-truck.  My abs, back, and shoulders are killing me.  I am shaking in my boots for what is to come and praying that I don't look like a miserable idiot this evening.  The good news is though, if the intensity keeps up I will probably end up crawling over this plateau on my hands and knees.  Assuming I will be able to exercise this weekend.  Here's to health!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mystery Block!

Does anyone know what the name to this block is?  I'd like to make it but I have no idea what it's called...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Really, I will do something this weekend.

Or at least I'm going to think about it really, really hard.

I just can't seem to sit myself down in front of the machine lately.  I don't think I've touched anything since I've finished my MSU wall hanging.  Mostly it was to let my thumb heal from all of the little pricks until I got a thimble for Christmas, but getting back to it has been tough!

Husband started his busy season so I've been doing a lot of running.  I think I've already hit 15 miles since last Thursday and I took yesterday off.  I'm back to it tonight though.  I have another 8 lbs that I want off that is going to be super tough to shake so I want to stay motivated while the hubby is away to get a jump on it.  I also signed up for a body boot class that starts next Tuesday.  I'm hoping it doesn't kill me.

I did buy some fabric for napkins this weekend.  I'm going to host my family's Christmas next year so I was going to pick some up on clearance, but they were still expensive!  I thought I could make my own, and more of them, for that price!  So I just got some nice fabric and hopefully they will be in my linen closet by Monday.

I'm also determined to get a start on my cousin's baby blanket this weekend.  I pulled out the graph paper and the panel last night, so that's a start at least.  I feel like I need a cheer team for this one since I have to design around the panel.  I've been more occupied searching for baby shower invites.  Bad, bad, bad!

Apparently I just need a good kick in the pants so pick something up.  I will do it though.  One day :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Remember the bad?

Well here it is.

Looks like we will be remodeling our basement!  Not exactly how I anticipated it happening, but at least we caught it before it got worse.  This Friday someone will be out to take a peak and let us know how much it will cost to repair it.  My uncle (who is amazingly awesome) said that he could help us rehang the drywall to save some cash.  Without me asking.  What a nice guy :)

So, it's 2013!  Happy New Year everyone!  I couldn't wait to put 2012 behind me and get on with 2013.  So many bad things happened this year for so long that '13 will almost certainly be better!

Any-who, I've done exactly zero sewing since the last time I posted.  I took some time off to spend with the hubby before his busy season started (today), so now I won't see him until February.  I'm sleeping when he gets home and he's magically in bed when I leave in the mornings.  The good news?  I get to eat cereal and not have to make dinner for an entire month!  It will definitely give me some good treadmill time in the evenings.  And in my defense, I did clean my machine at least, thanks to craftsy.  And I watched some serious how-to videos.  I mean, that's almost like making something.

I hope you all had a lovely new year!  Any resolutions?