looking back...

Well, as promised, here's a look at what I did in my first year of sewing...

2007 in review (in no particular order)
Well, there you go.

And it's really not everything I've made... Just most of the stuff I felt was worth putting up somewhere... So take that Eric! (he thought I would never use the sewing machine he bought me for Christmas last year. Ha!)

looking ahead...

So I have this hunch that 2008 will be filled with a certain type of planning... But I can't get into that too much now, so stay tuned for updates. Sorry for the cryptic message, but here's some planning I can share.

2008 sewing project list...
Now, this is certainly not a complete list, as I am constantly finding new things that look pretty enough to make... But it's enough to get me started. Several of the projects were already in my side-bar, so I'm going to try to re-arrange things a little around here so they make a bit more sense. I'm thinking tomorrow will be a time for reflection... But until then,

Happy New Year!


clap on...

Are you jealous? Yeah, I thought so. Well, sorry your boyfriend's brother didn't get you one. Because mine did. He bought one for all the brothers and sisters (and their girlfriends!). Nice.

But that's just the least of the Christmas loveliness I got. Everyone was so generous this year. Thanks! It was a nice holiday, but the weather was rotten. Fog, rain, ice, snow... And then yesterday another 6 inches of snow here. Yuck. It was a lot of running around and then I worked Christmas day too. So I'm glad to have this weekend off. I'm going to do a lot of sleeping. And clapping.


I am a professional baker.

Yes, that's right. Professional.

It was an absolute baking spree this morning. I did a toffee bar for my dad's family's Christmas. It's one of about ten kinds of cookies my Grandma used to make every year. And they're good. I also did Millionaire's Shortbread via Bake and Shake's fantastic blog. They're cooling in the fridge as we speak. The chocolate on mine turned out not as shiny and gorgeous as hers, but I am quite hopeful that they will still taste as good as hers look. Cuz they're full of caramel. And there's a couple sticks of butter in there. So yeah. They should be alright. Seriously though, between the two baking feats I managed today, I went through 5, yes 5(!) sticks of butter. Nice. And I will have you know, I did it all with my $5.97 (gasp!) Wal-Mart hand mixer. So yes, I'll say it again. Professional. Watch out Martha, you have been warned...

Now bring on the stretchy pants!


Hey, look what I won!

I'm so excited. And I just can't hide it!

I won an ipod shuffle from Bling On My Sewing Machine's blog. She did a give-away because all the members of her family have an ipod already. Generous, huh? A nice little Christmas surprise. Thanks Rachel (and family)!

In other news... It will NOT stop snowing here. We got another 6 inches of snow yesterday. Honestly, enough is enough! I'm a little worried about trying to drive home next weekend for Christmas festivities... We're going to go to my mom's Saturday and Eric's sister's for dinner Sunday. So the snow can stop any time now! I'm going to have a busy week too. I offered to make some cookies for my family's Christmas next week and I'm going to do some stuff to take to Eric's too. And of course work too... But that's enough complaining. The gift shopping, making and wrapping are all done. Now I just need to finish the grocery shopping and cooking!


no more blueprint!

Did you hear? Yeah, it's true.

Another magazine I actually read and enjoy is done. First it was Jane, and now Blueprint. There's a whole discussion going on over on Flickr in the Martha Stewart Group. Ugh. It just upsets me so much! I really looked forward to getting my Blueprint every month. So now I wonder what they'll do with the rest of my subscription. When Jane folded I got the remaining issues of my subscription switched to Glamour. Yuck. I figured Glamour was better than the $6 or whatever I had left on the subscription, but let me tell you... It wasn't. So I wonder if Martha will pony-up and give out issues of Martha Stewart Living or what. We shall see I guess. But in the meantime, I need to find something new and intelligent to subscribe to. It may take awhile...


Ooooh... A date.

Yeah. Pizza and a movie. Nice, huh?

We saw The King of Kong at The Times theater. It was actually a really good movie. It's a documentary about a guy who tries to break the record high score for Donkey Kong. Which sounds really lame. But it was a really good story. I laughed, I cried. It was good. Anyways...

It's snowing again! Another 1-3 inches tonight. I'm kind of over it. Pretty and all, but not that much fun to drive in. We did go pick up Christmas cards tonight though. So I'll have tomorrow to stay snowed in and address them. And I'm going to do some more sewing too. At least one more Christmas gift... I won't be able to post pictures, because that particular gift recipient peruses this blog occasionally... So you'll all just have to wait (all two of you, hah!).


oh fleece, how I love thee

Aren't these freaking adorable? They're made from the softest fleece ever. And they took about 15 minutes to sew. Seriously. Not having to worry about seams unraveling is so wonderful. Now they just need to get packed into that Christmas bag with the baby-doll and baby bottles (Sophie loves all things baby). Honestly, could that be any cuter? My uterus is aching just a little. Sigh.

But seriously, that's two things crossed off the list. An adorable hat and some Christmas stockings. Nice. Now on to hot pads and an apron...


Martha-ish, right?

Not as nice a background, but hey- it's a rotten apartment wall. I think I need a mantle. They're still cute though. And now you can't say I haven't done any Christmas sewing.

Thanks for the inspiration, Martha.

In other news, there is an ice storm going on in this part of the world today. Yikes. We went out for dinner in Eric's 4-wheel drive truck, and I still held on for dear life the whole time... I forget every year what it's like to have snow and such until the first storm hits and then remember... Winter in Wisconsin. Fantastic.


bring on that christmas spirit...

I'm getting in the holiday mood a little bit... Thinking about gifts to give and what-not. I think I'm going to try to sew a few things if I can get my act together...

I want to make one or two of these adorable stockings pictured here on your left. It's by Martha of course. She always knows best, doesn't she?

I want to make one of these box bags since I'm getting a bit more confident with them-there zippers. And they can hold stuff. Nice.

I want to make an apron and some hot pads. Practical, eh?

I want to make a hippo hat. Or an elf hat. Or a devil hat.

So now's the tough part. Who in the heck am I going to give all this stuff to? I drew the names of two of my 20-some year old BOY cousins this year. I'm not sure how much they need aprons... Or Martha Stewart stockings. Maybe it can all go to my mom? Well, I guess not the hats. Her head's probably a little big. Hmmm... Or maybe I can keep it all for myself. Ha! Now I'm on to something. What to do with all those hats though...


my baby's back!

Sorry. I'm just excited, because Eric was gone for 5 days. But he's home. Yay! Hungover on the couch watching football. Just where he belongs.

On to other things...

The Sophia Bag is very close to being done. The sewing machine was fixed Friday, and most of the construction is done. I just need to hand sew (yuck) the lining into the bag. I was trying to figure out if there was a way of machine sewing it in that would look OK, but I think I'm going to suck it up and hand sew it. So it might be awhile before it's actually done done. But I can't wait to show you a picture or two...

You can see the pins holding the lining in still... I'm going to try to finish it by next week to enter it in the U-Handbag Amy Butler contest.


bag saga continues...

OK, I feel a little less crabby about the broken sewing machine today. So I thought I would show a picture of what's done so far with the Sophia Bag. Well, there's more done than this... But the rest isn't as interesting to look at. Well, maybe this isn't that interesting either, but too bad. Look at it anyways! Because it was my first time making (or even using) piping. I think it looks pretty cool, and once it's put together it should look quite professional. I may have to use it more often... The sewing machine is supposed to be fixed sometime this weekend, so hopefully I can finish the bag by Sunday. Eric is going to spend a few days with his family, so I should have time... If the machine really gets fixed. *crosses fingers*


a circus of sorts

Now, you may be asking yourself, "who are these crazily dressed people?" Well they're from Cirque Du Soleil of course. My mother was nice enough to take me to see their arena show in Madison last night. I didn't take this picture... No cameras allowed, but I wanted to at least put some kind of picture showing the wild costumes they had. It was one of those things that you watch, and just say "what the eff?" I mean, it was awesome. Don't get me wrong. Just one of those marvels that you can hardly believe. I'd like to see a show in Vegas, to see what it's like on their biggest scale. I'd probably have a heart attack though. I caught myself holding my breath so many times last night when they were doing their wild swinging and crazy feats of strength. It was something.


want to see a broken sewing machine?

Me neither. But you're gonna anyways.

There it is. Busted good. The needle will NOT pick up the bobbin thread. Apparently it's on strike. Or lazy. Or wants to see me in tears. Or needs to be re-timed (probably). But whatever the problem is... I'm just a little devastated about it. Because I was making some serious progress on the Sophia Bag. I was actually putting the piping on the outside panels when the disaster happened. I would take pictures, but I'm just too disheartened. Ugh. So I guess my sewing machine will need to go to Jo-Ann's or somewhere to be looked at. Which will probably be a fortune or take FOREVER. Or both. *Sigh*


the bag begins...

I have a feeling the Sophia Bag is going to be a project of drama. I don't know why I have this feeling... But I do.

I bought all the materials (which took me on a scavenger hunt to 3 different fabric stores and on-line) last weekend. But I'm still
waiting for the pattern! It was sent this week, so hopefully it will come in the mail today. But I have a quandary anyways. Polka dots for the inside or the outside? I was going to line it with the polka dots, but the fabric is quite a bit thicker than I thought. So I'm not sure what to do. I just hope that this is a doable project... I think it might be the test to see if I am still a "beginner" sewer, or if I'm moving up the expertise levels. We'll see...

We're off to Darlington this weekend. It's Eric's mom's Thanksgiving and a party for his Grandpa's birthday too. Should be fun. I just always dread the drive... Sigh.


yes, this is another purse

You must be saying to yourself, does she really need another purse?? Well no, but I wanted to try my hand at copying a pattern without instructions. It didn't work out quite how I wanted, but that's OK. I think I may go shopping today to browse for fabrics to do the Amy Butler Sophia Bag... But I've been caught up in a Project Runway marathon all day, so we'll see if I can make it out of the house. Did I mention that new Project Runway episodes start on the 14th? Well, they do. And I'm excited. I loved the show before, but now that I sew a little bit I love it even more. I can appreciate what they are actually doing in the time they have for the challenges.

So if I come back from a fabric expedition later I will definitely share pictures...


sew this, sew that

Do you ever feel like you just need a little organization in your life? Yeah, I had one of those days today. I don't sew as much as I'd like to, for a variety of reasons, but I thought maybe if I could get a little organizing going... So I went to my mecca (Target of course) and they had these peg boards on clearance. Nice. So I drilled a couple holes in the wall, and here's the result. I like having things up where I can see them, but I hate how white it all looks. I want to paint walls!

I did manage to make a couple more pairs of flannel PJ pants. But they're one of the easiest things to sew. I'd like to try something a little more ambitious... Like this. Isn't it cool? I don't know if I have the patience to finish a project like that, but I think I might give it a try.


just another weekend in milwaukee

We live in this big city, but we stay pretty close to home most of the time... So this weekend we did a little driving and got out of our little corner. Friday we went to The Oriental and saw The Darjeeling Limited. It was pretty good. Predictable Wes Anderson, but good. We walked around a little on the East side too. Went to Whole Foods and bought some expensive French cheese. Saturday I went to the farmers market in West Allis. I just got some flowers and apple cider, but it was nice. Lots of pumpkins and mums for sale. Saturday night we went to Great Northern BBQ in Pewaukee. It was good. They have really good barbeque sauces. One made with Sprecher root beer. Yum. And today we went to a flea market in West Allis. A flea market in West Allis you say? Well that must be quite trashy. Why yes. Quite trashy indeed. But Eric managed to find some CD's of course. And I got a $2 cookbook. So not a complete waste. Then we went to the domes. Which was cool. I haven't been there since I was a kid. I think Eric wants to move into the arid dome. He thinks the dry air is good for his skin (?). I don't really know what that means... But anyways, he liked the cacti. We also drove to St Josaphats Basilica and St Savas Cathedral. There's a ton of cool architecture around this city, and it's just begging to be photographed with my new camera. Here's one of Josaphat himself.
So that's about it. I think we're going to run to the store now and get something to put on the grill. Mmmmmm...


big eff-ing burger, no?

Yeah, he ate the whole thing. It was a one pound burger from DeRango's Pizza in South Milwaukee. Ate the whole damn thing and the fries too. I just thought it should be documented...



I don't think I've ever really posted about my job here on the little blog. But the last couple days there's been a lot of press about MRSA infections, so I felt like I had to comment. I am an RN. I work in a big urban hospital. And I'm exposed to patients who are infected with MRSA daily. I really love my job. But I really don't love the fact that I may potentially expose myself or members of my family to really gross stuff like MRSA. Honestly, it's scary. And frustrating. Because I enjoy the work I'm doing, but if I were an accountant, or a lawyer, or worked in any kind of office I probably wouldn't have those worries. But hey- I guess them's the breaks. Like what you do, hate the risks? Just makes you think... Wash those hands!


she blinded me with science...

Have you ever been to American Science and Surplus? Well I have... And so have some of the Stauffachers. Jed and Summer came up for the weekend, so Eric said we had to take Jed to see all the gizmos. Nice. Jed bought a Punching Nun which he used for various punching activities... It was pretty funny stuff. I'm looking forward to a weekend of sleeping coming up though. I don't want to make any plans, just sleep and maybe take some more pictures...



Can anyone help me understand this? Our downstairs neighbors are throwing bread off of their patio onto the back lawn. I guess I'm just wondering why... Feeding the garden gnomes? Or the neighborhood elves? I'm pretty sure we don't have any ducks around... Very curious. Very curious indeed. Just another reason I hate living in an apartment. At least we're upstairs. Maybe the mice, rats, chipmunks, etc. won't be able to climb up here... (hopefully)


dinner and such

I made a quick dinner tonight. Tamale Pie from Simply Recipes and a cherry crisp. Yum. I was a little skeptical about the tamale pie but it turned out well. I thought the cornbread topping would be soggy or undercooked, but it turned out OK. I'm a little worried about leftovers being soupy, but I'm sure it will still taste good.

Ugh. I was so sick this morning with a migraine. I've been having them really frequently lately. Not fun. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do to fix them... Easier said than done I think. I really don't want to take a daily medication, but maybe I'm going down that road. Hope not.

In lighter news... I'm LOVING my new camera. It was one of those purchases that I really didn't need, but god did I want. I had a little buyer's guilt after I bought it, but it's making me happy. And lord knows you can't put a price on that. Right? Right. I also finally downloaded Picasa to mess around with my pictures a little and I'm having fun with that too (as you can see from the picture above). Who knew you could entertain yourself so well with a little blog and a little camera...


more classic cars

There was a really cool car show today in West Allis. We walked around for awhile, tested the new camera. It rained a crazy downpour for a few minutes, but it was so hot out it actually felt good. I'm seriously sick of this heat wave... I love the Super Bee picture and the whitewalls. I think when I get old I might have to get a cool old car. There's just something about the old grills and the chrome... And they're fun to take pictures of too.


well, hello there!

to my new little friend...

I've been eyeing up this camera for some time now. And my willpower does have its limits... So here it is. My brand-spanking new Panasonic TZ3. It's really nice. I've never had a nice camera before... So I'm hoping this one will last me a while. I'm trying to figure out how to use all the different modes and whatnot, so I think we're going to have to go picture-taking this weekend. It's so hot out though! Over 80 degrees in October... Yuck. I'm ready for fall.

Cool weather and falling leaves, bring it on...


birds of worry

"The birds of worry and care fly above your head, this you cannot change. That they build nests there, this you can prevent."

I have been thinking about worry the past couple of days. Eric's sister had a friend disappear Monday. She just vanished from Mt Horeb of all places. How scary is that?? Well she's found now, but still... Makes you stop and think a little. The uncertainty her family must have felt. Nowhere to even start to look from...

And today at work I found out another nurse I work with (who's the same age as me) found out her husband has a brain tumor yesterday. And it's a big one too. He's having surgery tonight... So I'm worrying a little for them too. I can't even imagine having someone I love have that kind of uncertainty about their health, future. I hope, hope, hope he'll be OK. I'm trying not to let those birds nest... People with beautiful little babies aren't supposed to leave out of the blue... And girls my age should not have husbands with brain tumors. It's not OK. Not OK at all.


more from the pot

Made some Mexican rice tonight in the infamous pot. It's from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I got it from the library, but I ordered it online tonight (with free shipping, yay!). I'm very impressed with the variety of recipes and the cooking tips too. It's really a nice book.

And I really need to say Go Brewers! They're playing their asses off this week. I'm trying not to have a panic attack between watching them and the Cubs score. We're going to the game tomorrow so hopefully I won't have a stroke at Miller Park or anything. But really. Everyone just take a moment and say some words of encouragement for the boys... (and for me)


clown pants?

My latest sewing obsession has been PJ pants. I think this is my 3rd pair. But this is the only pair that makes me look like a clown! They were a bit short, so I thought I'd add a ruffled bottom. Which is cute...

If you're 4! But I'm going to rock them anyways.

Really only Eric will see them, and I'm sure he won't make me buy a trapeze or anything...

I put them up on craftster too, and so far they're getting good reviews, so that is increasing my clown confidence a little...


mmmmm bread!

Well obviously I'm a little behind the bandwagon with the whole blogging thing, so of course I'm behind the times with the no-knead bread. But I made my first loaf today and I just had to show it off a little. I baked it in the Martha pot of course. So without further ado...My loaf ended up more oval than round because it didn't spread itself out well in the bottom of the pot. I think it was my technique for dumping it in, but I imagine I will get more practice. I haven't cut it yet... So I may have to update this post with inside shots. But I couldn't wait to put up a picture or two! Hopefully it tastes as good as it looks. I also *love* the idea of taking pictures of all the things made in my pot like not martha, so I think I might start myself a set too. Mmmmm.... bread and pretty blue pot. What could be better?


you say it's your birthday...

well it's my birthday too, yeah!

We went to Ikea(!) for my first time. It was wonderful. A little overwhelming, but it was very fun. I managed to get out only spending $100. Pretty impressive I'd say.
I got these cool hanging bar things for the kitchen to hang my new Martha collander and blue utensils! They were gifts from my mom for the birthday. And match my pot so wonderfully. She also got me the colorful kick-A Martha bowls in my wists... Very nice stuff. Very nice birthday.

As we were driving back from Ikea we stopped at a cool little car show. There were some way cool classic cars there. Here are my favorites...

cars, originally uploaded by adribancroft.

All in all, quite a nice day.


isn't flickr fun?

Originally uploaded by adribancroft

Just thought the blog needed a little pretty today... The top 2 pictures are taken in Mineral Point!


rainy day

I had the day off today...

To go to the dentist! Yuck.

But I did find time to make these oh-so-good for your teeth cookies. Yum. Oatmeal raisin. I have been messing around with my camera's settings too, trying to get a better close-up picture. I don't think this one looks so bad, but I still would love a new camera... Oh well, I imagine if I wait I can get the one I want much cheaper. That would be nice.

It has been such a cold rainy day today... I went shopping after my dentist appointment and found 2 sweaters 1/2 off at Old Navy. Yay! I also found a pair of jeans that fit me sort of OK. I never find jeans at Old Navy, so that was nice too. But back to work tomorrow...



Another bag... This one is from Amy Karol's book. I like the book well enough, but the patterns are meant to be copied and increased in size, which I didn't do. I just kind of eye-balled it and guessed what 129% would look like... Which translated to a rather shallow bag, but probably my fault not the actual pattern's. Anyways, I do like it, I just can't pack loads of stuff into it. I may also add some buttons or other trim to the stripe-y area. We shall see. (and the bottom doesn't actually look that crooked in real life)

My Grandma did pass on Friday. Very sad, but I hope that everyone can find some peace now. I know it was so hard on her and her daughters too. Tough time for everyone though.


I was thinking about gratitude today

I went to see my Grandma today who is in the last days of her life. And I was thinking about being grateful. For the time I have and for the people around me, for all the things I have and really for each day... It's hard sometimes to remember, but I do have so much to be grateful for. Easy to get caught up in being stressed and upset about small things.

So I just wanted to stop today and be thankful.


sewing day

Ooooh... Look-y here! A new little bag for me! I finally did a teeny bit of patchwork. I was inspired by this, and this, so I finally did my own. I absolutely love the tan outside fabric. I bought two yards of it on sale the other day at Hancock's. I love the way the pink thread looks in contrast to it on the straps and the top stitching. It is so soft too. Yay! I think I'm going to make a wallet to match. I'm also going to make something with this fabric. Maybe a purse lined with it? I was going to do a purse using it as the outside fabric, but I like the heavier feel of the thicker fabrics on the outside. I also added this scrappy little flower made with this tutorial. I'm trying to use up scraps if you can't tell.


I made pulled pork today in the crock-pot. I don't think I've seen Eric as happy about something as he was today eating pulled pork for a long time. He actually did the pulling too, and he was quite proud of himself... But it was quite delicious if I do say so myself.


who's that space invader??

Why, it's Eric of course!

Did I mention he started school Monday? He's going to be a welder you know... So of course he needs a fancy-schmancy new welding helmet. He looks awesome though, no? Very sci-fi, scary, space-man, robot-ish.

But adorable as always.
I had to con him into lifting up the mask thing for this one. But I actually got him to smile for a picture for once! Cute eh? He says he's going to sneak up on me some night with it on to scare me... Nice of him huh?

We cleaned our old apartment today and went through check-out with the old landlord. He wanted to take $65 off the security deposit to clean the windows!? I have never in my 9 years of renting had anyone say a word about windows, let alone take money off a security deposit. Crazy. So I said no thanks, I'll come back with some Windex and do those puppies tomorrow. I'm kind of salty about the whole thing though. He wanted to charge us for the oven too because I didn't run the self-clean, I just cleaned it myself with oven-cleaner. Hmmmm.... Oh! And the other thing we found today when we were getting the last of our stuff out of the bedroom closet was a bunch of black MOLD(!) on the closet wall and baseboard. Yuck! I can't believe we were sleeping in there. Gross. I'm just glad it didn't get on any of the stuff I had in the closet. But we better worry about those dirty windows... Right.


little this, little that

This is a new little doorstop I made from Lotta Jansdotter's book. It looks kind of wonky, but it's not quite done. I stuffed it with fiber-fil because I have no beans!
I was also trying to sort through my stash of fabrics today. I want to make a bag that has some sort of patchwork, but I'm not quite sure what to do yet. I have piles of fabrics, but for some reason I'm having a hard time picturing any of them put together... So instead they're all mashed up in a pile on the floor! Hopefully that will give me some inspiration?
I did get my Martha pans yesterday. They seem nice, but I'm a little annoyed about one pan. It has some kind of sticky black stuff all over the outside of it. I'll try to scrub it off, but it's a little disappointing... You would think Martha of all people would be a little more fastidious...

I also got my new driver's license today. I'm actually kind of pleased with it, because the picture at least looks like me. My last license was SO terrible I was mortified to show it to anyone. So at least now I can leave the new one picture-side-out in my wallet without breaking out in hives.


happy day

I got my new Blueprint magazine (which I love) out of the mailbox today, and I opened it up and found this...
Which is funny, because I had just been looking at a fake Le Creuset (sp?) pot at Target earlier for $46. So I of course looked this baby up on the Macy's Martha Stewart site and found it on sale for $49. Well there you go. So I then see the free shipping offer for orders of $125... So I imagine you can see where this is going. Right. A $99 dollar set of Martha Stewart non-stick cookware of course! Now, in my defense I have been contemplating buying new pots and pans for quite awhile. The ones we have now are probably giving us some sort of cancer or something because the Teflon is scratched off so badly. I was going to try to wait until we got married and register for pots and pans, but since I don't see a wedding in the very near future... I get new Martha pans in 5-7 business days!! The beautiful blue pot is on order, so it will be a while for that one, but that's OK. I think that this whole Martha at Macy's thing may be a bit dangerous, but hopefully I can restrain myself from buying all the pretty blue accessories that match the pot.

I also learned about spray adhesive today. I covered our NASTY lampshades with gorgeous Amy Butler fabric. Good idea right? Except for the spray adhesive still stuck to my fingers. They are NOT kidding about not getting the stuff on your skin. So I gave myself a nice acetone soak and hopefully it will wear off soon...

And I made this...

A yummy, yummy lasagna (the picture doesn't do it justice). I made brownies too (from a box, but hey, get off my back, the lasagna's from scratch!). I forgot how satisfying it is to cook. I didn't cook much in our last apartment for some reason. I think partly because it was a bad space to work in, and partly because there was no disposal or dishwasher. Not that that's a good excuse, but I'm definitely going to start cooking more again. I need to be better about spending money on eating out. It's been a little out of control lately. I was forgetting how satisfying it is to make your own meal.

So it was a nice day. And I will have all the more reason to cook when my *gasp* new Martha stuff gets here!