Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cute as a daisy

So I spent the afternoon putting dead plants in the ground.  Yes, I said dead.  Pitiful.  I had to keep telling myself that either I am saving their life or giving them a decent burial.  Yes, I bought plants and let them die in the pots before getting them into the ground........I'll admit it.  Not the first time, likely not the last.  I don't think that they were completely dead.  When I pruned away the dead branches, there was still some green in the stems.  That means there is hope, right?

Speaking of flowers....dead plants, flowers.....close enough.  These daisy pants have waited as long as I plan to wait on getting the after picture.  I've mentioned before, I hold up a lot of posts waiting to get an awake person in the outfit for the aftershot.  I guess I could start taking pictures of the kids in the outfits while they are asleep.  That just sounds creepy!  Can you imagine, a blog full of pictures of sleeping kids in wrinkled up clothes?  And the work involved in dressing a sleeping child?  I'm sure several of you out there have done that in the mornings, dressed them while they still slept.  :)  Ha, ha!  I digress.

This pair of ladies capri pants had the prettiest feminine daisy pattern, I just couldn't pass them up.  Capri's are one fashion choice I never made because I am too short.  Any that I have, which is usually exercise capris, I have to cut them off shorter and re-hem them so I don't look like I am wearing high-waters.  But I do see lots of really "loud" capri pants in the thrift store.  I grab them for the fabric alone or to make the daughter some pants in her own size.

Here is a close-up of the pattern.  These are a thicker jean type material with a slight stretch.

Now here are some of the details that I want to save.  First, this nice finished waistband.  I love it when the attention to detail is taken on the inside of the garment too....with the casing on the edge of the waistband, that will keep it from rolling up.  By the way this is photographed, there is obviously a side zip, that I would normally try to save, but not this time.

Now the bottom of the pants legs has a little vent that I'd like to save, but since these pants legs are much wider than I'll need, I'll have to lose it.   I'll just focus on saving the hem since it is a nice deep hem and will sturdy up the bottom.

Now, there are several ways that I can go about this.  I can go with full length pants since these are adult pants and the capri length is actually about right for my daughters height, BUT I would be left with a very long crotch area, if I just whacked them in from the sides.  I would have to completely de-construct the in-seam of the pants and cut the pieces down to size with a new in-seam, resize the waistband, cutting it down from the side opposite the zipper.  Then reconstruct as a full length pair of pants, saving my side zipper, and leg vents.  Sounds like a lot of work for a pair of pants that she'll outgrown in a couple months.  I did not go that route..  These pictures show the steps of my cheaterpants plan.

First turn the pants inside out. They will lie nice and flat if you lift the crotch piece into the air.

Now I lay an existing pair of the daughters pants on top of these, also inside out.  By lining up the crotches, I can see what I have to work with.  These pants will be shorter that her regular jeans but that is where my embellishments come in.  I can add a cuff or a ruffle if I want full length.  Or I can flip that hem up for a capri cuff or under to shorten a little more to make these regular capris for her.

I'll be able to cut them off right below the waistband and save it to reattach or for another outfit.

So that is what I do. Notice I left that zipper intact.  Who knows if I'll need it on something else.

I cut the band off really close to the edge, careful to not cut the band itself.

I used the stitchpicker to remove that excess fabric, leaving the band ready for reattachment.

I used the existing pants as a pattern to cut the legs down.

If I wanted to add embellishments, I would do it now while the seams are open.  But I think I'll just keep these simple since they have so much pattern already.  That's it, serge up the sides, put elastic in the waist, done.  One reason I wasn't concerned about keeping the zipper is the fact that these have a little stretch to them.  And in the end I chose to go with a simple elastic waist instead of reattaching the waistband since adding the band back would lengthen the in-seam.  A too long in-seam on stretchy material equals a droopy crotch.  They are long enough to wear as regular pants (maybe a little high-water) but turning that wide hem up makes the perfect casual cuff.

Now isn't she as cute as a daisy?

Is it bad to pull her away from homework and with a wet head to take a quick after-shot?  And then not take the time to fix the red eye?  Yeah, I know.

I see other blogs that look so awesome and it is obvious that much of the blog is about showing off their camera skills....I really need to work on those skills.  And keeping plants alive too.  Add that to the list.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pantry revamp

I have to admit that I did not complete this pantry revamp as part of last night's organization party.  I did it a couple of days before.   My pantry, which is the  old coat closet with added shelves (thank you daddy), had become a nightmare to navigate.  Not that I had tons of food in there but I had lost track of what I did have.   I have been checking out some of the pantry organization ideas on Pinterest lately and decided to tackle it.  Being organized here helps me when it comes to cooking at home instead of running out to eat because of lack of planning.  If it is a mess, I won't plan.  When it is a mess, even looking in it exhausts me...weird, huh?  I really want to do more meal planning and I want to have a surplus food storage for peace of mind.  It all starts with getting organized here.  Freezer is next....focus Belinda.

So here is how it looked after I had mostly emptied it.  I took the door curtain down during the project for easier access.  I was about half way in when I remembered that I wanted to blog about it.

I went to a dollar shop and bought the plastic bins to use for the small stuff.  I had quite a few already but started scouring thrift stores for more clear food containers, plastic and glass.  I started to buy cheap vinyl table clothes to cover the shelves but at the last minute decided to use some of my fabric hoard.  Why the heck not, right?

I had a pair of tab top curtains, a nice almost denim type material, to use on covering the shelves.  I wanted them to look nice and crisp so the stripes and thicker cloth are perfect.  So after measuring to make sure it would work, I folded the curtains into thirds and cut on each fold for three even pieces from each curtain.  I also removed the tabs and saved for another project.

I planned to staple the fabric underneath each shelf so it is pulled nice and tight and won't shift as items are moved.  But I can't find the staple gun anywhere, so it will just have to hang for now.  (Check back next year and let's see if it ever got stapled.)

I got these wire baskets at a dollar shop and they are the perfect size for canned food.  I saw on various Pinterest pins that you can re-purpose 12 pack soda boxes for this if you don't mind not being able to see the cans behind the first one (fine if each box is one type).  We don't drink soda at home, and I don't feel like scouring the recycle bins for soda boxes, so I opted this route.  We don't have tons of cans anyway, most of my veggies that aren't fresh, I buy frozen.

I had been going this route for a while now but once I finally converted most of my packaged good to containers, I had two garbage bags full of recycling (boxes and packaging).  Most of the plastic containers were from thrift stores....except that ice cream bucket with the fruity pebbles in it. :)

And ALL the glass containers are from thrift stores.  I have all sizes and am constantly adding to the collection.  I actually saw a Craigslist ad getting rid of around 100 of those huge pickle know the ones I mean....I emailed but got no response.  Those are perfect food storage clue what I would do with 100 of them but I really want them.  I would definitely have three months worth of food stored away no problem with those.

And those plastic bins make it so much easier to pull out of the way as I grab things from behind them. It is moving things to get to others that make the pantry disorganized to begin with.  I used my label machine at first but ran out of ink, so I'll have to go back and finish that.

Now that red container and the grocery bag won't stay there.  That is extra food that I need to store elsewhere.....just haven't figured out where elsewhere is yet.  Both elsewheres that I can think of (laundry room or attic) would need to be reorganized to accommodate surplus food storage.  At least in a way that I can actually get to it.

So I am pretty happy with it.  I can see what I have and get to it more easily.  I'll tweak it as I use it.

Now here is something funny to end with.  Of course, you are only seeing some of the work that went into this end result.  The mess I made moving the food into containers, I saw no point in showing.  So what did we end up doing during this whole pantry revamp process?  Going out to eat!

The gospel according to this sinner

As if I am the organization expert, here are the rules I decided on tonight in cleaning up the mess I ranted on in the last post.  I say these rules as if they are gospel, but Lord knows I am a sinner.

Rule number 1

Don't leave your bright ideas sitting around.....watching them tarnish as you plan the life out of them.

Here are the several glass containers I recently bought to make terrariums.

I plant to put a little succulent in each huh?

I thought this would a cute terrarium for the kitchen.

Designate a place for them to live until you get to them....yes it is hoarding but at least you don't have to stare at it everyday.  I plan to put a reminder on my calendar for each one as a project for the day. Nerdy? Yes.  Do I care? No.  My "not forever" home for these little ideas will be under my bed.  Did I just recently clean that area out, and get rid of a ton of old bright ideas that never happened?  Yes.  But I didn't use the calendar idea then.  We'll see how this round goes.  So far I have a plan on the calendar for terrarium day.  The fact that I've already bought the succulents and they sit in the yard as we speak will not phase me.

Okay, so terrarium day will be this Saturday.....but you get the point.

Now why it was easy for me to traipse out into the yard in the middle of the night to take the photo but too much work to actually transfer the plants is beyond me.  Maybe it is that "gotta do it now" attitude  that I've taken with the blog to make it happen that I need to take on more in daily life.

Rule number 2

Don't let your failures stare you in the face....get rid of them!  Immediately!

This is a plant that was once beautiful. I've had it for years but recently someone over watered it and I've been too lazy to climb up, take it down and try to save it outside.  It is right in my front door, staring at me in its neglect every day as I walk in.  I feel like a bad mother. I am a bad mother, I am the one that over watered it in a pot with no drainage.  It has been drowning in a puddle of water for months.  Well, it is coming down tonight!  I am putting it out of its misery.

Again, don't let your failures stare you in the face....just let some things go.

Those place-mats are laying there from a recent pantry revamp (an upcoming post) and  were pretty but not functional for what I needed.

Every time I moved an item in the pantry, they shifted.  I used the green ones just like them in the sewing room as a "backsplash" in the shelves.  I could save these for another project but I've been looking at them for a year now.....what is the likelihood I'll want to use them?  Now that thought is lurking in the back of mind of me finding a piece of furniture, fixing it up and selling it....someone else will love these in the back of a cabinet.  OUT you demon, I cast thee out!  I will not continue to hoard, I will not continue to hoard, I will plate IS pretty full right now.  I think I can let these go.  They were only a dollar a piece from the dollar tree.

I am letting those wire baskets go too.  I knocked them off every time I pulled an item too.  If my cabinets were taller they may have worked better for me.  I don' have anywhere else I can use them now.  I could save them for our future home, it will likely have more shelf space.  AHH! I am letting them go!

Rule number 3

Once you decide to let it go, LET IT GO!

As in, get it out of the house immediately.  Don't leave little thrift store piles everywhere.

I've been trying to do this already and I tend to ride my minivan around with a load of thrift store items all the time....either ones I am taking or my recent buys that I hate to bring in until I have home for them.  Well, new home, under bed.  And this stuff that I am getting rid of is out to the van TONIGHT.  If I let it hang out, it is clutter and it will start sprouting new ideas and reasons to keep it.  If I hear it rattling around in the van it will give me incentive.  And if I can't get groceries to fit because of thrift crap.....then I really gain incentive.  It's all about forcing my hand.

Speaking of new items, here are a few I had to unload to make room for the "getting rid of" stuff.

Set of four will look pretty hanging in bathroom, especially when I make that red ruffle curtain.  I still have that planned.

I thought this would make a pretty planter in the garden. Using some of that coconut weave grass to hold the dirt.

 This has drippy chandelier written all over it.  I could use a lamp kit or just use a wad of Christmas lights to light it up.  I could also just use a candle, maybe for outside.

And I grab these every chance I get.  You'll see more like this in the upcoming pantry revamp.

Rule number 4  

If your eyes don't light up, its dull.  Let it go.

I can definitely admit, with the kids I am more "do as I say, not as I do".  They get overwhelmed with clutter too and I've taken the approach of telling them to look at the pile and grab the things that make their eyes light up.  The rest can go.  And it works like a charm.  Now I just have to take the same advice for myself.

I don't have junk drawers, I have junk piles.  Baskets that collect things, laundry hampers where I collected up the miscellaneous in a room, all the papers they bring home from school.  The pile keeps growing and when I finally get the time to put those items away.....well there is the problem. What is all this crap?  Where does it go?  What does this piece go to?  Well, if its been hanging out in the bottom of a basket un-missed for this long, who is going to miss it?  Instead of mulling it over, I should just glance through the basket, grab what makes my eyes light up and let the rest go.

So then tell me why is it so easy for me to let all this go.....

but these curtain tabs I cut off,  I just have to keep in case I need them.  My mind is scary.

Rule number 5  

Put up or shut up.

If the problem is that everything needs a home....then give it a home!   This lovely pile of baskets and containers was my attempt at this.  It was not meant to sit as a bright idea for so long but I bought them to give me a place for some of the items I mentioned before.

Now I have baskets to corral the cords.  A basket for the mail, one for the miscellaneous small toys, rocks, and legos that I find laying around.  A basket for the to be filed.  Now managing those baskets is a different story but a home is a home.  Maybe for the miscellaneous basket, I'll use the "eyes light up" rule with the kids.

Rule number 6  

Touch it once

I've seen this one in tons of self help books and it truly does work when I actually implement it.  Once you pick up an item, decide its fate then and follow through.  This is especially good for mail.  I tend to backslide a lot on this though.  Well, the clean-up tonight utilized it quite a bit.  Of course that means that the piles in here often shifted to a pile in another room, so I'll have to tackle upstairs tomorrow night.  But I did decide to get rid of stuff and took it straight to the van.  Carried up school clothes and shoes.   Weeded through the papers and put bills in a to do basket and filing in another.  Now to really do this right, I should have a filing system set up to file immediately.  A rule on how long to keep school papers.  Should have actually hung the clothes.  And a set night to pay bills......but baby steps are good too.

Rule number 7 

Moving from one pile to another IS progress.

I know that some would disagree, but when one pile is down stairs and the new pile is upstairs.....just getting it upstairs IS progress.  As long as the new pile is tackled fairly quickly.  That is where my problem lays.  I work my magic at night and the family sleeps at there is a timing issue. Just getting the stuff up there without waking them is a challenge.  Maybe I'll make a fort downstairs tomorrow night and let them sleep in the living room while I tackle upstairs.....sounds like a plan.

I am not done in here but it feels good to accomplish something.  Enough for one night.  I am going to bed.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Constant Cravings

Hello out there!  No, I am not dead.  I'm not really sure what happened, I just became uninspired for a while there.  I am the type person who is either overwhelmed with the number of ideas, to the point of not acting on them at all......or psycho crazy with working on so many ideas at once that I don't complete anything.  I know that about me and will admit it.  So I just went through a "not acting on them" phase....sorta.

See there I am, alive and kicking.

But actually I do know why.  I am crazy, that is why.  As crazy as my life may look with all the projects I have going on, I love order.  I may be a bit of a hoarder of supplies, ideas and plans, but I hoard them until I can bring some sort of order to them.  And sometimes, all my frantic movement reverts to inaction when I don't have the order I crave.  Did that sound poetic?  Well, let me tell you, inaction on the outside does NOT mean inaction on the inside (my head, that is).  Chaos around me festers in there and I am READY TO POP!  Can I get an amen?

So usually, I need a catalyst to bring order back to my life.  To get me moving again.  You may have seen some of that through my mom visiting got me on track with some of the home projects, my clothing challenge got me on track with my fabric hoard, my list of ideas for sewing projects at least got those idea out of my head and on paper.....more on that later.  Well what I have now for a catalyst is school starting.

Am I prepared?  Heck no.  It is Thursday night and my kids start a new school on Monday (just built across the street).   And here is what my house looks like:

Random piles of crap everywhere!

Camp Lunch Central, most of which will not work for school lunches because of the nuts!  And why does it all live on the counter?

Crockpot that was never put away, cords galore because there is no drawer to hide them and no other easily accessible plug in.

The dumping ground for all that enters the house.  New school clothes?  Still sitting in that bag, waiting for a home in a closet full of stained camp clothes.  I guess they will walk themselves up the stairs and hang themselves.  And those class bowls?  Another bright idea that hasn't taken off because I've been fretting so much over the clutter.

More crap that never made it up the stairs.....and don't think I am blaming my family, as you can see, I am just as guilty.  Those are MY shoes.

And what is that lonely crate?  An honest attempt at helping that craving for organization coming out.  Too bad it came out at the end of the school year and that crate has been sitting there ALL summer.  I am ashamed.

More clutter, with no home.  Yeah, any empty purse from a purse swap out, still living in the dining room.

Well at least the bills are stacked in one place.....

Only because they wouldn't fit in with the other pile that needs to be filed.  Nice addition to the room, huh?

I know, I know.  I can hear you now, it is really not that bad.  A little clutter never killed anyone.  But that is the kind of thing that drives me crazy!  I HAVE to get organized!

So why not just grab a pile and put it away?  If it were only that easy.  Like I said, the new school clothes need to be put away, but I don't want to do that until I have a chance to clean out the old clothes from camp.  The shoes need to go in my closet but it is a mess right now so why add to it.  The papers need to be filed but I need to set up a new filing system first.  The cords need to be contained but I have to figure out a decorative way to store them because I don't have a free drawer.  Do you see a running them here?  Me too.

I am driving myself crazy with this.  This is where the overplanner, procrastinator comes out in me. Oh, I'll hit this mess like a whirlwind once I get going, I actually plan to stay up tonight taking care of I said, I only have this weekend to get ready and this little bit of clutter is just the tip of the iceburg on me needing to get organized to make school mornings go smoothly.  But WHY oh WHY is it so hard to get going?  I crave the order, plan like crazy for the order, feel great when I get the order, it makes life so much smoother to have the order.......what makes it so hard?

I'd love to hear thoughts on this.  I do get and respond to your private messages and on facebook, but feel free to comment on here if your thoughts might help others.  I assume (hope) that I am not the only looneybin like this.

Anyway, rant over.  More posts to come on how I put some of my overplanning into action to get this mess in shape.  And I have another clothing challenge ready, I just have to....  There is that running theme again!  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Something is fishy here!

This looks like a clothing challenge with the before photos....but I just couldn't do it.  I WANT to be fun and playful and make wearing fish look hip on a grown woman....but I just don't think I can pull it off. :)

It actually isn't too bad once it is fitted but I just don't see being taken seriously at work with a fish starring at you.   

I have this lovely rayon mix skirt with almost perfectly matching fish on it too that I will use along with the linen dress.  Both are lined with a silky material.  The outfits will be for the daughter but I know that she likes the lining so I'll leave it in.

I believe I can get three separate pieces out of this project.

First I cut off the bottom of the dress, strategically to save the fish.  There is an invisible zipper on the back that I would be able to use for the daughter so I saved it.

This is upside down, but you can see how I made sure to not cut through the fish and I retained the already finished bottom with the vents.

I used the serger to attach it back into a skirt.

I also finished the top raw edge so I could sew it into a channel for elastic.

I used my trusty elastic tool to pull the elastic through.

And here it is, waiting for daylight so that the daughter can try it on.  I REALLY need to take her measurements so I can fit things without her being up.  I just keep forgetting and I tend to ......SQUIRREL....where was I?

The daughter has a nice little skirt that has a little pizazz to it without being a swirly ruffle skirt.  She needs a few of those.  It's got fish-azz.  It's fizzazle.  Okay, I'll stop.  It's cute.  Even with the demon eyes....even with red eye corrector on, it is nearly impossible to avoid red eye with her blue eyes.

Now I still have that top.  If it wasn't so large, I'd just finish the bottom and let it be a top, but the neck and arm holes are just way too big.  And I have to long zipper to contend with.  And bringing in the sides to reduce the arm holes would mean cutting awfully close to those fish.

So I separated each side....

At this point I could finish the sides and bottom and let it be a smock....too nice for that.

I separated the shoulders so I am left with a front panel and a back.  I removed those ribbon hangers and will use them later.

That front panel, combined with the fish covered skirt will be a second project.  That back panel and the ribbon hangers are a third project.  Very exciting to get so much out of one idea.