Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Blogging Philosophy

I am an average human being. I love sewing, crafting, cooking, doing preschool with my boys, and reading, but I am not extraordinary in any of those areas (except maybe reading, I am pretty fast).  I want my blog to reflect that. So you will see it all: the messes, the disasters, the chaos. But I will also show you the triumphs, the beautiful, and the entertaining. I want this to be a blog that people can look to and relate with. Where people can see that even bloggers don't have perfect lives but that we are happy, and love life and all the challenges and fun times it throws at us.

My boys playing hockey in my cluttered living room

I love sewing! My mom taught me the basics, and I took a few classes from 4-H. Even after all that, I still don't know everything there is to know. I'm still on a journey to perfect my sewing. I've got a lot of cool books that teach different techniques that I am slowly working my way through. I want to share my journey of becoming a better seamstress. I'm also working on creating my own patterns. For my birthday a couple of weeks ago, my husband got me an awesome book about creating patterns. I'll be sharing my journey through that and showing you what I've created and what I've learned. I'm not always the best seamstress, but I love it and I hope to show you that passion.
My cute three-year old in an awesome shirt I made him. I'll give you more details next week. 

I mentioned this before, but I am a budding photographer, so my pictures will not always be amazing. That's something I want to improve. I'll share with you what I learn and what works for me. I won't be buying a fancy camera, I'll just be using my 5 year old point-and-shoot. I want to learn to use that old point-and-shoot to it's fullest potential.

Cute boys being dinosaurs

We are a young family working on our financial goals and so my projects will often reflect that. I'll often be reusing materials to make fun things for my boys and husband and myself. It'll be fun to be challenged like this. I like blank canvases; I work better with unworked material in my hands. But I am excited to have to think differently when I use materials that have already been put together. A couple of months ago my boys and I were really into cardboard boxes. We made a lot of cool things together; I wish I had taken more pictures so that I could show youeverything. But that is what I'm talking about--taking materials that are already defined as something and changing it into something even more wonderful.
The silent piano. Great for jamming along with your favorite Taylor Swift songs. Yes, T-Swift is our favorite artist around here. 

Life is pretty chaotic time-wise around here. My husband works full-time and goes to grad school part-time. I'm a stay-at-home mom during the day and then work part-time at night. Our boys are 3 and 1 so they keep us busy. With so much going on my goal is to blog 4 times a week. I'll be sharing sewing projects, crafts, preschool ideas, thoughts on mothering, and anything else I feel I need to post. It'll be a mishmash of things, but it'll be fun and hopefully entertaining. Thanks for reading!  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Army Busy Book

I haven't blogged in a long time, but I felt that I needed a place to showcase all the projects that I create. So, I'm back here on the blog. I can't promise that I will always give tutorials, today for example will just be an overview of how I built this book, but I will try and explain how I made everything.

Also, I have terrible photography skills, fyi. Please forgive me as I work to improve them.

Today, I'm going to be sharing the Army busy book that I made my boys. My husband is in the Army Reserves, and hopes to get active duty within the next year, so the Army is a big thing around here. My boys know cadences, love to go rucking with their dad, play airborne ranger, and dress in camo constantly. Because of all this I felt that a busy book (or quiet book, whichever you prefer) dedicated to the Army would be a perfect fit. My husband helped me brainstorm ideas, so here's a big thanks to him for his help!

I used a really thick Pellon for the pages. I'm hoping that they will stand up against the test of time, and the test of boy children. In some of these pictures I have the captions written, but some I don't. Sorry for that.

The cover. Oh, the cover! How I struggled and cried over this. My sewing machine does embroidery as well, but it only has a range of 4", so in order to make long words (read, anything over two letters together) I have to rehoop and then get it to match up. As you can tell that didn't work very well on two of the words. I'll improve it later, but I wanted to get this post up before too long. And I'm still learning how to do embroidery, in fact I'm taking a class on it tonight! Hopefully that will improve my skills. 

First inside page: ribbon ordering. In the military on the dress uniforms (the ones they wear to be super fancy) you pin your ribbons, aka awards. I don't remember the names of all of these ribbons. The second on from the left on the top is the Iraq campaign ribbon, then the Army Service Ribbon, then the Global War on Terrorism *mumble, mumble, mumble* ribbon, and the Silver Star. On the bottom, the second one in is the Medal of Honor, then there's the *mumble, mumble*, and then the Afghanistan Campaign ribbon, and the Purple Heart ribbon. I sewed a piece of velcro onto the page and then glued the other side of the velcro onto each ribbon. 

Next is the pants page; no it's not a party ;). I cut up one of my husband's old uniforms into a pair of pants and added a belt that I had in my stash of sewing stuff. 

I used the idea of a bead maze made out of knit fabric from one of my favorite blogs, Pieces by Polly. She used it in a quiet book made from baby clothes. Go check it out! I drew a maze on a piece from an old t-shirt and then sewed it on the page, making sure to sew on the maze lines and include the bead (the bead is the bump down at the bottom, it's incredibly hard to see but it's there). 

"Keep your LT safe; buckle his helmet!"Very self-explanatory page. I colored the 1LT bar onto the helmet after sewing it on. 

This is my absolute favorite page. Hopefully you can tell that it's a parachuter. It's a threading game to help with those fine-motor skills. Neither of my boys is old enough to do this yet, but they will be soon. The guy and the parachute are made from felt and I used my sewing machine to put six eyelets in each. 

This is my least favorite page. I had such a hard time putting it together. It's supposed to represent a Army Combat Uniform blouse, but it ended up just being a really wonky rectangle with a zipper and a velcro tab on the top. Ugh, I really want to redo it, but my husband won't let me cut up any more of his uniforms; spoil sport, hehe!

These didn't stay turned when I uploaded them to Blogger, so forgive me for that. This is a representation of a ruck sack. I sewed a huge snap on it for little fingers to practice snapping things. The large piece of velcro on the bottom of the page will hold little things to be put into the ruck sack. My printer ran out of ink so I'm waiting for that to finish the page. I'll be doing things like a canteen, a little folded uniform, boots, and a map. Things that every Army man needs to pack around. I've captioned it "Help your LT pack his ruck!"

I want to add a puzzle page with pictures of guns cut into puzzles that they have to assemble. And I'll probably add even more pages as I dream them up. I punched holes in the pages and have them put together on rings, so it's super easy to add more. As I add more I'll add to this page. I'll also update the ruck sack when I get my printer some ink. 

Check out my other quiet book, and my Etsy shop!

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