The Rat Race Called Easter Eve

Well, in five minutes it will officially be Easter Sunday.  It has been a crazy day around here.  Matt and I took shifts hanging out with the kids so that the other could get done what we had planned for today.  Matt was out working on our in-progress chicken coop during the day – the chicks are coming in less than two weeks! (More on that later.) – and I am now on the night shift taking care of details for dinner and festivities for tomorrow.

In the perfect marriage of being busy and procrastinating, I had pretty much nothing done for Easter until after dinner this evening.  If I’m honest, I actually just called/texted dinner guests tonight as to the time to arrive tomorrow.  I know, I know – I’m the definition of classy (and so are my dollar store Easter dinner paper plates!).

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Spring, I Hope You’re Real!

Oh, my goodness! Not only do I hope (and pray) that Spring is real, but I really, really – we really, really need it to appear! Thanks to my good friend Zhong Gan Ling (disclaimer: I don’t use this brand; I get whatever my acupuncturist carries), cupping, along with some other natural/dietary helpers, we are finally nearing the end of acute bronchitis and sinus infections.

First it was A.W. with a couple scary asthma-like attacks, and then it went right down the line.  A.S. got it; I got it; and, finally, Matt is the last of us to get it, too.   I am sick of being sick and the worry that goes along with nursing the family back to health!  Spring!?  I need you!

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So You’ve Got Yourself a 66?!

Hello! Hello!

The title really says it all!  If you really did just score yourself a vintage Singer 66, congratulations, and welcome to your new addiction!  (Now hold on.  Give me a minute to let me fix myself up so no one can tell I was just doing the happy dance for you!)

I do like most of the old, iron, ornate machines that Singer put out; but the 66 is definitely special.  As I’ve mentioned before, it was the first machine I ever used (after my ten-minute run with a new, plastic, made-in-China Singer that had me proclaiming that sewing and I were not right for each other) — and it’s still one of my favorites.

Time and time again, I see someone purchasing one of these babies as their first vintage machine.  And, as they should, they decide that they’re not going to just use it for display; they’re going to actually use it to sew.  At first, you’re nervous and fear you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

Relax! Chances are, if you have one, it can be cleaned and oiled and used for many years to come.  You can even pass it down to your kids.  (My kids will get all seven, whether they like it or not! LOL) I promise, it’s not as intimidating as it looks.

Sew (I’m sorry, couldn’t resist!)  let’s talk it out!

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VSM Talk – The Fam is Growing!

As the T-Rex bed we made the kids has lost some of its nostalgia, there is no more sleeping through the night around here.  Currently, the first kid shows up at 1:30 a.m. and hops in bed with us, and the second rolls in around 3:45 or 4:00 a.m.  This has been happening for the last month or so.  Every parent reading this understands that while the idea of cuddling with your kids through the night sounds good, that’s not exactly how it works!  It’s so much better to cuddle them up in the morning, after a full night’s restful rest.

We all have our rough patches when it comes to little ones and sleep, so I’ll leave it at that — yes, we’re in a rough patch here at our house.  Ha, ha!

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The Cheap, (Ridiculously Easy) Way to Make High-Style, No-Frill Curtains (Tutorial)

Good Wednesday morning!

Let’s start today with one of my favorite things – a tutorial that will help you create something that will personalize your space in a major way!

Of course, since I am fabric-obsessed, I appreciate the perfect curtain to complement a room.  Matt and I moved out young and didn’t have anything beyond mini-blinds for years.  When we bought our first house in our early 20’s, I was so jazzed to go curtain shopping!  Finally, we’d be decorating a place the way we wanted to decorate it.

The curtains I wanted were gorgeously out of budget, but,oh,  so nice to look at.  They were long and flow-y, and pattern-y.  All great qualities in window decor.  But as a college student (me) and a five-years-out-from-college youngster (Matt), the curtains that we actually ended up getting were nothing special and weren’t all that nice-looking.  (And they still weren’t cheap, either!)

I had always loved the long, flowing, fancy style curtains and was sure that’s what I’d have someday.   And then I fount out I’m severely allergic to dust mites.  (They are everywhere, and they love to live in dusty, flowing curtains, of course!) And then I had children – children who like to rip and tear tug and pull and roll themselves into long, flowing fancy curtains. (Animals!)

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Primary Parent Guilt (PPG) Decoded

Shhhh!  Do you hear the crickets?  I kind of wish I could hear them in real life!  ;O)

As is the norm, life has been busy, but cyber-life here on the blog has been the opposite.  From birth and by nature, I’ve always been a person who struggles with balance (not usually with physical balance, but sometimes even that! lol).  It’s hard to stay away from my people-pleasing ways, and it’s standard for me to take on more than I can handle just to prove to myself that I can do it.

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How Do You Hold on to What You Will Inevitably Lose?

First, Happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope today finds you, number one, loving and approving of yourself; and, number two, having someone special to love and love you back!

As for me, I have to say that time has been getting the best of me this past week!  Lots of changes going on around here.   All positive, don’t worry!

I was really happy to get back to doing some quick tutorials, which are really my favorite thing about blogging; but I have missed blogging about my deep-thinking shenanigans, too!

I wrote the title of this post, literally, about three weeks ago, and have been itching to get back to it ever since.  I’d love to share mine and hear your thoughts on this topic, and tips and tricks to hold on to what must be let go.  Because, really, in the grand scheme of things, nothing is under our control.   There is birth; there is life; there is death.  It is all a natural cycle –  independent of our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.  And we all have to cope with some aspect of this cycle at one time or another.

I remember when I was preparing for the birth of my first child.  One of my sweet friends, who is also an alternative healthcare provider, told me that the biggest thing to remember during labor was that I would have to relax and just “let go.”  She said that that would afford me a much more relaxed and quicker labor.  She said that symbolically asthmatics (which I am) have trouble letting go.  (Something about holding on to precious air in a subconscious fear that this breath may be your last.)  It made perfect sense to me, and I’ve applied this thought process to many things in the last five years.

(For the record, my first labor was 21 hours of natural intensity and insanity; and then three hours of glorious epidural-induced calm.  Letting go was HARD!)

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Pre-Schoolers’ Valentine’s Day Craft (Tutorial)

So last week A.S. decided that instead of buying Valentines for her friends at school, she’d like to use her new snazzy sewing machine (1934 Singer 99-13 hand crank) to make something for them instead.  Of course, like any crafty mom would be, I was thrilled!

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Dino Chin-Strap Pattern Tester Winner!

Our winner is Sara Jones!!!  Sara, please keep an eye on your inbox tonight for a message w/ the subject SewOldSchool Pattern Tester!  You will be giving the Dinosaur Chin-Strap a test-drive!

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Thank you to everyone who joined in with us!

And, of course, stay tuned for more patterns to test!

Are Your Hands Cold Yet?! Let’s Make Some Upcycled Mittens! (Tutorial)

Do you ever see these gorgeous, boutique-style wool mittens that people are walking around wearing in the cold winter months and wonder where they get them?   Want to make some for yourself?!IMG_1022

Well, last year, when I was seriously considering selling some up-cycled cloth diapers I had made, I came across a consignment shop where someone was making them by hand and selling them.  They were absolutely beautiful, and I wanted to buy a pair so badly; but they came with an out-of-my-range price tag.  $45 a pair!  Continue reading

A Walk-Through of My Vintage Sewing Machine Collection (with Video)

I love making things.  There’s something about doing something completely by yourself that exposes and highlights all of your talents and shortcomings.  It’s a really humbling thing.  In this technologically-driven world we live in, it’s nice to come back to those things that are more simple.

I can’t really explain in words what happened to me once I taught myself to sew on my first treadle.  It changed the way I looked at all things handmade and gave me a passion about something that I really can’t describe.

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We Have Another Pattern to Test!

Good Morning! You know something good is coming up the pike when you see the picture of Toinie, my 66 Red Eye at the top of the post!  Yes, it’s that time again — more pattern testing!cropped-singer66.jpg

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Ditch Disposables and Make Your Own Un-Paper Towels ( a Close-To-My-Heart Tutorial)

For our family, it just made sense for us to transition to using only cloth paper towels.  I was already using cloth diapers on the kids and cloth pads (search The Hippie Chick Menstrual Solution in the search box at right for more info on that) for myself.  Let’s just say it was a journey,  an evolution towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle – one baby step at a time.  Luckily, everyone in the house was on-board (with a little resistance from Matt, who doesn’t do the laundry!).

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Mystery Pattern and Winner Revealed!

Calling Ms. Merritt T.!!

You are our Mystery Pattern Tester Winner!  You will be testing the SOS Reversible Six-Panel Fleece Hat with Ear Flaps (and optional visor) Youth Size!

IMG_0870 IMG_0871Keep an eye on your inbox tonight for email from me with subject title: Mystery Pattern Winner!

Exciting!

C

The Best Ashy-Skin Bath Soak is Probably Hiding in Your Kitchen Right Now!

I know this is insane, but I kind of feel like we are still struggling to get back to a sense of normal after the holidays.  I know, I know, you’re thinking we’re in mid-to-late January now and what the heck is wrong with me.

Well, I’ve been in a cloud of transferring my scratch notes to computerized sewing files, teaching myself to quilt, secretly searching online for another treadle for who knows what reason (hopefully Matt won’t read this!), chasing after my two crazy kiddos, and kind of, sort of catching up on Parenthood episodes (the only show I watch)!

But, I guess, in short, the holidays are just a whirlwind that takes weeks to recover from around here!  And in my defense, lots of people do still have those inflatable Christmas lawn decorations still up and we’re approaching Valentine’s Day now.  I think we should focus on what’s wrong with them… Continue reading