Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pencil Skirt fitting

Pin It This Spring, before I left for Afghanistan, I saw that Simple Simon was hosting pencil skirt sew along.  And it was not just a regular sew along; they were teaching how to draft one your self.  I really did not need to sew something for me, especially since I was leaving in 6 weeks, but I did.  

front of the skirt

It was a great learning experience.  I broke out some brown package paper, ruler, compass and tape measure and went to work.  But, despite my best efforts and trying it on along the way, I still had wrinkling in the front.

back view

I used a metal zipper in the back.  I thought that was fun.  And the fit back there was perfect.

side view

From the side view, you can see the wrinkles a little bit better.  In order to determine what went wrong, I consulted my Vogue sewing book.  It states that wrinkles like that are due to an abnormally large abdomen. hmmmm.  I think we call that left over baby belly in lay woman's terms.  And I really did not think mine was that bad.  But I guess, it is all about proportions.  So next time, I will adjust for that.  Or, while I am here in Afghanistan, maybe I can hit the gym a little harder and when I get home, the skirt may fit perfectly.


Here it is with a coordinating top.  I used the Parisian Top pattern from Go To Patterns.  I will blog about that on another day.


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Sunday, August 17, 2014

A purple zebra?

Pin It On Sew Cool for the Tween Scene earlier this summer I reviewed a McCalls 6548.  I sewed up the shirt for my daughter to wear for her school play.  They were supposed to wear something "western style."  She did not have anything that fit the bill, so I made her something that would work and would be a good top for the whole summer.

She also needed a "stick pony."  The kids were told to get creative and that parents were not to go run out and buy one.  Given that her mom is a bit crafty, and loves to sew, we had a great time with this project.


I sent her digging through my scraps of fabric and she found this purple zebra twill fabric left over from a pencil skirt I made me a while back.  I thought it was great!  Then we went on pintrest and looked at several other home-made stick ponies and adapted a couple versions to fit what we wanted.


She is just learning to sew, thus we made it a joint project.  She cut out the horse head and ears pattern.  That helped her understand how a pattern is cut and how the pieces end up going together.  She pinned the pieces together and watched me sew.  The main was made by wrapping it around a two inch wide section of a cereal box and then I stitched down the outside edge catching the yarn.  Then Abi cut the other side so that we had a bunch of short yarns connected together.  Then I folded the yarn along the sewn line and inserted that into the long top seam of the horse head.


Abi stuffed the horse head with poly stuffing and we wrapped the stick with fabric in order to keep it's rough edges from poking through. The nose was stuffed first, then we inserted the stick and then stuffed the rest.  Using both a basting stitch to close the bottom and a bunch of hot glue, we were able to finish it off.  I did not like the look of it where the stick met the head, so I simply hot glued a ribbon at that joint and then tied a bow.

The yarn and buttons for eyes also came from my stash of sewing and crocheting supplies.  And the stick was one that we found in the woods behind our house.  This allowed us to completely comply with the school's intent of not spending any money.  And in addition to being free, it was a fun project to do with my girl.  One of the things I really want to do when I return from Afghanistan is to do more collaborative projects with Abi.



Do you have any silly mom-child projects?



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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer play-shirt using McCalls 6548

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Before I left for Afghanistan, I madly sewed trying to get some things done for the kids to wear this summer.  One of the items I sewed was a shirt meant just for playing.



I used view B McCalls pattern M6548 which was a quick and easy sew.  And since this was meant to be just a summer play shirt, I used an old Busch Gardens adult sized t-shirt and some scrap knit for the fabric.
I have been trying to use my larger scrap pieces.  I cannot bring myself to throw them away, but they are really too small for even something for my 3 year old.  But, I had enough of this blue for sleeves … barely!
I simply placed the pattern such that I could get most of the monsters centered on the front and then cut the back.  There was a bit of controversy over me cutting this shirt.  My eldest child had been using it as a sleep shirt and thought I did not have a right to cut it up.  But it was too short for her to wear around anyway and some things just need to be handed down.



Eli loved it.  And I hope he is enjoying wearing it and thinking of me as he enjoys the Alaska summer while I am deployed.

If you are interested in hearing more from us, there are a couple ways for you to keep in touch!

 

Pictures from home

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First off, I need to say I have a really great husband.  Every couple weeks I get care packages crammed full of pictures of the kids, kid art, and kid crafts.  He also posts pictures of the kids and him doing fun things on Facebook nearly daily so I can see what they are all up to.

I recently received one of these great packages.  It had two framed pictures from recent outings and a whole bunch of snapshots and magnetic picture sleeves.  The snapshots now can be proudly displayed on my locker in my bedroom.  This locker is becoming covered in art and pictures.  It is wonderful.

As wonderful as it is; I had a pang of hurt when I saw all these great pictures.  You see, last time I deployed, my husband sent a lot of snapshots to be stuck to my locker.  I had a glorious collection of pictures of my then kindergartener and toddler.  But in the years that followed, sometimes one of them would say “Mom, remember when we ___.”  And I have to say “Well, I remember seeing the pictures.  You looked like you had a lot of fun.”  I don’t want to sound down in front of the kids, but I feel like that was a lost year.  It existed for them, but somehow it did not really exist for me.

And now I am receiving snapshots from baseball games, camping trips, playing in the sand at the beach…
Another lost year is occurring.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am proud of my job and what I am doing here in Afghanistan.  I am a part of a team that is making a difference.  But, it still hurts. 


I love those photos and I am sure my husband will keep them coming.  And I will continue to call and hear all about their adventures.  We will all be strong and make it through this separation.


If you are interested in hearing more from us, there are a couple ways for you to keep in touch!
 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The little things

Pin It I have been in Afghanistan now for over a month and have found a rhythm in my daily life. I am in a location that is not austere, so life is not too hard. But it is greatly simplified compared to home. 


My husband saw some pictures posted on FB of our living spaces and sent me a couple things to make me more comfortable. 

He thought the shelf in the shower looked too tall so he sent me a command hook shower caddy. I am not THAT short but the thought was very sweet. 


He also sent me a robe and another hook for my robe. 

The other ladies also appreciate the improvements. After all, it is the little things that can make life easier. 


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Smelling the roses

Pin It Near my work there is a rose garden.  Not only are they beautiful to look at, the smells are delicious as you walk through. And just trust me, this place does not often smell good.


Often on my way into work I take a detour and walk through. Sometimes I even have time to take a seat and enjoy my coffee. 


I have been told, though I cannot vouch for the historic accuracy, that this space was built by the Russians. As the story goes during the Russian occupation in the 1980s, a Russian General needed a space to think. So his soldiers made this garden.


And now decades later, it is a pleasant area for me to sit and think. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

A new direction

Pin It I have not been blogging a lot lately because I have been a bit distracted and busy.  I have just recently deployed to Afganhistan for several months.  So, instead of blogging, I used my free time getting ready or simply soaking up time with my family. 


I do have some projects waiting to be blogged but I thought I would also post little notes about my life here.  So, Without Directions will go in a new direction for a few months. 



The pictures are from when my family dropped me off and said goodbye.  I made the outfits with seahorses because my unit patch has a seahorse on it.  I was attempting to create some family unity as I left.  


I sure do miss them all but I am excited to be a part of some good work here.

I will keep you all posted on how it is going.
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