Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sewing Projects

For my birthday, I posted that my lovely husband got me a sewing machine! I do did not know how to sew when this machine was acquired. Luckily, there were great instructions with my machine that taught me how to thread the machine and prep the bobbin. Shortly after my birthday, Mitchell's parents came to visit and Mitchell's mom taught me some basics about using a pattern. So I went to JoAnn's and bought a "Sewing for Dummies" pattern for purses and set out to make my sister one. It went pretty well...

After that I decided I would attempt to make myself a purse. There are things I do wrong with each project but with each project I also learn, so I guess that makes this whole process beneficial.

I love the lining fabric but if you notice, all the birds are upside down :-/
Ok, after making two of the purses and not really caring for the other two options in the pattern, I decided I was ready to graduate onto something else. While looking through the McCall's catalog, I saw a pattern for making eReader cases. My sister has a Kindle Fire so I thought she needed a cute cover for that. Making this went really well until I had to attach the front and back together and then it got a little wonky. But she was able to fit her Kindle in it and I promised to try again soon.

If you can't tell, I don't get normal pictures from Liddy :)
Now that I have made 3 things out of patterns, I thought I was ready to move on to a project from Pinterest that did not have a pattern... a maxi skirt. Back at JoAnn's I found really cute kelly green knit (jersey) fabric. I have never sewn on a knit fabric before and was about to pull my hair out trying to get a flat seam until I found this blog and switched to a walking foot and twin needle. Sweet! After that, it was pretty easy except for the step that you attach the skirt to the elastic. That was hard and I didn't do a great job with that. But all in all, a cute skirt was made.

Sewing with some of the ladies!
And most recently, the project I am most proud of. In my last post, I mentioned that we bought some outdoor furniture and a seat cushion that was 40% off. Well if you looked closely you noticed that the cushion was about three inches too deep and hung out over the edge of the loveseat. Mitchell asked me to fix that problem or return the cushion... ok, point made. So I pulled the cushion inside, took out the stuffing and flipped the cover inside out. After almost attempting this on the wrong side of the cover, I got smart and figured out the easiest way to fix the problem. I ripped seams, cut off fabric, cut three inches off the inside pads, pinned it, sewed it, restuffed it and wa-la! Problem solved. Check out the before and after:

See the cushion hanging over the edge?
Now it does not!
I know none of this stuff is amazing but I enjoy learning on simple, unimportant projects so that my skillz will be beneficial one day. I want to be decent at sewing because I figure it's just a useful skill to have with many applications when raising a family/decorating a house. McCall's had their patterns on sale at Hobby Lobby one week for only 99 cents! I stocked up! You can look forward to seeing these items in the future. ;)
Some fancy bedding
Custom window treatments
Some cool dude trying to rock a diaper bag.
People are having babies left and right out here so
I figure it could be fun to make one for them.
And this pattern I am most excited about. I wanted to make Mitchell and I some comfy pajama pants for the winter so in my search I found this pattern and thought those pants on the left looked just right. And then I noticed what the people on the right are wearing... adult onesies! OMG, the potential for awesomeness of us having matching onesies, hahaha! Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Goings-on of September

Can I just say that despite how much we LOVED having people come out to visit this summer we are equally loving the calm that has been September! Our house is just our house again. We can choose to just stay around Sacramento on the weekends. We can save money and not live like we're on vacation. We can be us. :)

But we are not ones to just sit around idly either. Some fun and exciting things have happened that we'd love to share with you.

Over Labor Day weekend, Old Sacramento was taken over by cowboys and gold miners for the "Gold Rush Days". They brought in tons of dirt to line the streets, horse-drawn carriages, hay, actors in 1840s costumes and performed "gun fights" every 30 minutes. We went down there one evening with our friends to enjoy the festivities.

From L to R: Kim, Casey, Colton Jr., me, Mitchell, Allyson, Michael, Colton Sr.
Last weekend while we were doing our morning jog on Saturday, we ran across a garage sale that had this adorable wicker loveseat and cute Pottery Barn table out for sale. We have been looking for furniture for our very bare backyard and after discussing the price, knew we had to have it. There will be many mornings and evenings spent out here. :) I'm still working on what color I want to paint the chair.
If we keep that cushion, I'll have to adjust the size to fit.
It was on sale for almost 50% off!
Also, you probably know that we paid off our last debt and are currently debt free. We started Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University through our church to give us some direction for the future. My husband is incredible about planning for the future with our finances. He has wisdom beyond his years.

I started working for the fundraising company and go out every day Tuesday-Friday to different schools in the area and collect kid's orders and hand out prizes. I get calls to substitute 2-3 days a week but haven't been able to do that much yet with the other job. When the fundraising job dies down after October, I hope to be in the classroom more often.

Set up with prizes and ready for the kids to come!
This was not the day that I get all of the prizes out. That is more of a production!
I have also been doing more sewing projects. I still think all the stuff I make sucks but at least I'm practicing and getting better. Mitchell is very encouraging which is helpful. My poor sister is the recipient of all my novice projects. So far I've made her a purse and a Kindle Fire cover. Ah, someday I will be good at this and thankful that I took the time to learn.

I made the top left eReader cover.

We are looking forward to going to the East Sacramento Remodeled Homes Tour tomorrow. We live a few blocks away from million dollar homes and we have gone on many a walk in the neighborhood where I have desperately wished I could see inside these homes. Well tomorrow we will! Yay!

Next Friday, the 28th, Alternatives Pregnancy Center where I volunteer will be having a Gala at a hotel downtown. I am super excited about this because it's going to be an incredible night to celebrate what all our ministry does. Plus I was able to invite friends and so we'll have a table full of friends who will get to hear and experience the ministry too.

Good times in California right now :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Anniversary Photo Plan

I realized I never even mentioned our anniversary on the blog because, well, it was pretty uneventful as far as celebrating goes. My family was in town. I was so excited about hitting that one year mark. I don't like the beginning stages or the new stages. For example, the first day of school is my least favorite day of the entire year because you don't know your students, they don't know you, you have no routine established and it's unfamiliar. I was glad to have my first year of teaching behind me so I wasn't the "new" teacher and I'm equally as glad to have the first year of marriage behind us so we're not technically "newlyweds". Ahh, it feels good...

So I saw this really cute idea that a friend was doing and am totally copying. On our anniversary Mitchell and I took a picture holding a photo of us on our wedding day last year. Next year on our 2nd anniversary we will take a picture holding this year's photo. Our 3rd year, we will take a picture holding the photo of the 2nd year and so on! It's brilliant! How cool will it be to be 70 years old looking back at all those anniversary pictures and seeing how we've changed?!

Here is us on our first wedding anniversary!

So thankful my husband looks good in every picture he takes. I, however, am hit or miss. This was a miss!

Friday, September 7, 2012

We are Debt Free

Today Mitchell and I paid off the very last of our debt. We are officially debt free and it feels amazing. No credit card debt. No student loan debt. No car loans. Nothing.

When we got married, we had debt for my CR-V, his Tundra and my student loan. We set financial goals for ourselves right away and developed a budget based on our two incomes. Our goal was to live off of one salary (Mitchell's) and use mine to start paying off debt. Well that worked fine until we decided to move to California where I would have to figure out an entirely new work situation because my Texas teaching credential didn't count in California (dumb). We knew we were going to have to do something drastic to get out of debt sooner on one income...

We decided to go down to one car in California. We sold Mitchell's truck, left it in Houston (tears), bought a scooter for $750 and found a place to live in Cali 2 miles from where he works. Being a one car family has not been as hard as you would think. Mitchell rides his scooter to work every day and I take the car around for errands, visits with friends, volunteering and jobs. There have been probably less than 5 times our entire time out here that it was really inconvenient to not each have a car and then, we just made it work.

We were able to save and pay off my car in March of this year. It was a sweet feeling to receive the title on the car I bought in 2009. It took 2.5 years to pay it off.

Our last bit of debt was my student loan that I have been paying on since I graduated college in 2007. I/we had knocked out a good chunk of it over the years but still had a bit more to go. We kept doing the monthly payment and any time we had extra money in savings we threw it at the loan to get it lower. About a week ago, Mitchell was looking at our finances and realized we had enough in savings to pay off the rest of it in one chunk and have enough left over. So we did! Hooray!

We feel blessed that this was possible. That we both had awesome jobs when we first got married and Mitchell's job here in Cali is able to support us both. But it has also taken us both being super conscious of how we spend our money. Seriously. I have to say no to myself a lot. I know Mitchell does too. But it is worth it. Dave Ramsey says, "Live like nobody else so you can live like nobody else." Now our goal is to save, save, save whatever we can for the day when we are ready to buy a house or need another vehicle or whatever life may throw at us.

But for now, we are going to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate! :D

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DIY Workout Shirt

I spent part of my Labor Day pinteresting and saw this great idea for making a workout shirt from an old t-shirt. It seemed simple enough for me to try so I set out. Here is the tutorial link:

DIY Racerback Workout shirt

Before shot:

 After shot:
I feel like the things I do off of Pinterest never turn out exactly like they should but this is close enough!

*update 9/12: I was able to wash (on delicate cycle) and dry this shirt in the dryer and it stayed together just fine. I half expected it to fall apart but it did not!