September 19, 2014

Olaf Preview...

It's been very busy behind the scenes at Joy2Sew lately. I've been creating an array of Olaf's for you! I've made adjustments here, shortened there, and now I'm very pleased to say that we're already one week into its testing phase! I have a wonderful and impressive team of seamstresses working to help me bring you another awesome pattern...and just in time for Halloween! 

Johanna is the other creative half of Joy2Sew and just as important! She digitizes all my work into beautiful, easy to read and print patterns, and adds the professional touch to our photos! We took all our boys out a while ago (that's right, no girls among us!) and took some great shots of them having a blast in their Olaf costumes! Such a fun time! We both know what a blessing and joy that it is to have such delightful boys! We hope you enjoy the slideshow! I'll be posting several Olaf Tributes throughout the week, so be sure to PIN (pin button at the post end) and Facebook your favorites!! 

I'm aiming for an Olaf release before September's end, so keep watching Joy2Sew and especially my Facebook page to catch the latest news! 

Micah is 4 and is showing of the 3/4 size, medium hat
Caleb is 5 and is showing off the 5/6 size, large hat
Daniel is 10 and is showing off the 10/12 size, large hat

 And don't those hats look so cute with their winter coats?!!! 
Such cuteness they will be all winter long!

 Johanna with her wonderful boys ~

 Caleb with my son James ~
 Me and all the boys! Although...I'd claim them all! Love these boys!

 On another day, I even got into the size 10/12! If you are a small adult, it will fit!! I was just having a bit of fun with my boys too..
 Nathan is 3 and is sporting the 3/4 size, medium hat
James is 10months and is wearing the 12-18mo size (unstuffed version), small hat
I'm wearing the 10/12 (but afterward made better changes to the body of this size), large hat

Are you ready for Olaf?!!!!!! 

I can't wait to show you some other cute kiddos in Olaf soon, as well as the awesome costumes my testers team are producing! Amazing!!! 

Like JoytoSew on Facebook and start Pinning away ("pin it" button right below)!!

September 10, 2014

Turning 35

 I turned 35 on August 25th. It was a whirlwind day, but I still managed to turn a year older. With each new year, I keep being surprised by how not-different I feel. Perhaps on those days during the year when my back or neck happens to pinch a nerve, or when my body just can't keep up with the pace I prefer to keep, I can feel older. Yes, on those days I feel about 85, not 35. But, those not so great times and all the struggles that life throws, makes it that much easier to look at all the good times, to cherish the small moments that much more, and to be oh, so thankful when my body is working just as God intended it to. Yes, I am thankful for all of those moments. I am thankful for another year of life that the Lord has given to me. 

How the birthday went...

My husband ran a fever on my actual birthday, but he still managed (and wanted!!) to take me to a wonderful brunch at our favorite, local pancake house. It was delicious, and he even held the baby and let me eat first : )...good man I have! My Mom brought my family dinner that night as well and the day ended up very peaceful and mellow. A week later, we had our special extended family birthday dinner at my Mom's house (a very special gift she gives each of us each year on our birthdays...we even get to pick the meal!!). I love these times and get togethers. A time with just family, just being who we are, and choosing to cherishing one another. Thank you so much to my family and friends who made me feel so special....and turning 35 not seem so bad, or different than turning 34. I love you all! 

September 1, 2014

Love Bots

For a while now Nathan has been really into robots. I don't know why really, but if you have a child or two, you will see their fluctuation in and out of certain loves for things. It's very cute. I remember him walking around the house just 6 months ago calling them "bots". And now that he can say "robots" I just smile at what was. Just melts my heart, all those cute words. So, I started looking for robot patterns for my little man (and quick sews at that for this overly busy mama), and came across the Love Bot, from Beverly of ButterBeansChicPeas on Etsy. It's just darling! I bought the pattern at a shop sale she was having and I'm so glad I did! 

Both boys needed one (of course)! And so there sat a pair on the couch waiting for the boys when they woke up. 

I used all fleece on the green "bot"...remnants from ikea fleece blankets I buy to use as fabric. The "bot" on the right has the same fleece, but for his body I used Robot PUL leftover from my cloth diaper pattern (AVAILABLE HERE). Robot fabric available at JoAnn Fabrics, Babyville PUL collection. 

Since I worked for 18 months as a telemetry tech (EKG monitor) on a med/surg floor when we lived in Florida, I well knew exactly what an EKG should look like on the robots tummy. And because I needed it to be really "real", I made sure to map out that P, Q, R, S and T wave just right. And if you have no idea what I'm taking about, don't let it worry you. The fact that your heart beats is the only important thing. 

When the boys woke up, they got to pick out which one they wanted 
(well, Nathan did at least. Little brother got the other one). But, they loved it!!

And I think they are super, duper cute! Beverly's pattern was so wonderful...well written, easy to understand, a quick sew, and oh, so adorable!!! A true joy to sew! So fun to make something again for Love that joy!

August 20, 2014

Garden 2014

I had a baby. We moved. I started a garden, looking back, I probably should not have. That is my story. And this is the story of how it ended up going, as I tend to often bite off more than I can chew (whaaat, really??)
You'll like this, trust me. Just when you (may have) thought I was good at everything....
 In May, my friend's Dad came over with his awesome farm tractor and tilled our desired garden space. Allen was so wonderful, so helpful, and Nathan just loved watching him every second! It was on this day that I started to have a little twitch when thinking, "what in the world am I doing?"...but I just smiled to myself and kept on thinking about what I would plant. After all, why shouldn't I go from last years 9'x9' garden to this years 17'x42'?? 
        I then drew my "layout" in my journal and got to work sectioning off the garden beds. I also grabbed some very long sticks from our backyard brush area and made plant tee-pee's for the cucumbers and beans to grow on. (I just stuck them in the ground and tied them at the top with twine). 
 Nathan ambitiously helped me put in the garden stakes around the perimeter, as I hammered them in and stretched the plastic fencing around to fit over them. We bought the stakes and fencing at Menards, and on-purpose, bought the "temporary materials" just in case I wanted to move or change the garden next year. At least I showed a little fore-sight there. The dirt is a little colored here because I added a few bags of peat moss to the beds. Note: I should have used 10x this much. 
 Nathan and I got to planting. We were both excited. We planted green beans, 3 types of cucumbers, corn, limas, (but none of those grew at all **sad face**), 4 types of lettuce, 7 tomato plants, 1 pepper plant, rhubarb, asparagus, zucchini and squash, onions and potatoes. Was that all??? I think so??
 We watered......
 And a week later saw some growth............look close...the lettuce is in rows:
And it grew....BUT ALL OF IT GREW!!! YES! So, just in case you ever do it, you will need to make sure you do a second tilling a week (or is it two) later to make sure those grass seedlings do not re-emerge. By July our garden was growing, but so was the grass...all over. By July, this Mommy's time in the garden was usually limited to just 12 minutes every morning (generally while holding the baby on my hip) watering what was growing, and trying to avoid the grass. 
Overcome by the grass choking out the good stuff, I googled ideas of what to do. Then, I went to Lowe's and bought 6 bags of mulch and had my Mom and neighbor bring me huge stacks of newspaper. I laid the newspaper in thick stacks (6-10pages deep), got it wet with the hose and then topped it with mulch. And that corner of the garden looked pretty awesome. The plants loved it, and I did too = no weeds, no grass, but thriving plants! 
And look how beautiful (for a few weeks) my tomatoes, peppers (pic below)... and zucchini, asparagus, and potatoes (pic above) looked! 
And then, with all the best intentions to return to Lowe's to get even more mulch and to the recycling center to get free newspapers, I folded, and didn't do a thing. I guess this Mamma was getting tired. Or maybe I was just too busy pattern making inside and playing with my littles outside. Who knows. But, I "checked out" about the end of July, and just made the best of what I had so far. 

It fortunately, has not been for nothing. We have received a plentiful from out there, and it's still coming in (tomatoes and kale). We have eaten fresh dishes, had fresh salads, and even got to give a little away. My starting goal was to breed a community supported agriculture program in my backyard, but that did not happen. But the hope is still there. I have a neighbor around the corner that sets up a delightful little veggie market around the corner, open on Saturday's. So, maybe I'll just leave it to her expertise alone for a few more years. 

In a's how GARDEN 2014 has gone...
 And you wonder what was James' doing that whole time Mommy (and brother) were digging in the garden?...Good question! At the beginning he was usually in the swing, but by July he could sit up on his own (which Mommy thought was just fabulous), so out came the blanket and toys. He loved it (except for the mosquitos on occasion). Yes, I think this happy baby of mine would be content to sit and watch just about anything. He certainly is that kind of baby that everyone should get to have. 
So, happy gardening to you! Whether you bite off more than you can chew or not. 
Just make it work. You'll be blessed even by the little. 

But you should probably not ask me for gardening advice, and this would be why. 
Happy Harvest everyone! 

August 13, 2014

A go-to bag for myself.

I don't sew much for myself at all, but after making my sister, Anna's awesome Go Anywhere Bag, I just had to have my own! I really made it a put-all-the-other-projects-aside-for-a-night kind of project. It's kinda amazing I don't make time for myself often for sewing, but every night you better believe after the kids are in bed I ritually sit down with some decaf coffee and some fudge mint cookies. Yes, every night. It's my reward for a day well done 
(or, even not done well at all...more common). 
And hold on to your horses...I actually got out my new tripod camera mount for these! Ha! It's more like the affects of some after church impromptu photo shooting...while my 3 year old scissored leaves off of tree branches nearby (I'm giving the trees "haircuts" he said). 
An ulterior motive in making this bag for myself was 
1. I needed a more girly bag
2. I've outgrown my first homemade diaper bag. Even though it was not too
deep, I could NEVER find anything!! My husband had to constantly wait on me to find
those keys that I promise you...I had just placed in there!! Good grief. So here we go. 

As you can see, I made 4 huge pockets inside this one that can hold lots of stuff....diapers and wipes in one, baby tethers in another, wallet and phone in another. So far, it works!!! 

I also enlarged this pattern by cutting it out about 2" wider on each side of the main panel and pocket pieces, and then 1" deeper as well. I may have gone a tad on the huge side, but slimmed it out by adding top pleats at the opening and snaps that let me bring it in at the top.
This fun retro circle print is duck canvas from Hobby Lobby. I used leftover grey cotton from making my sister's bag, and more grey to line it with. I used basic white cotton to line the outer pockets with.
In addition...I added 4 interior pockets to the inside (the Go Anywhere Bag has one, generous pocket pattern piece for the inside). I also changed it up by using two front pockets for both sides of the bag, instead of using the back pocket pattern piece (although that would have been fine too). 
Lots of pockets and so far I already feel more organized. This thing can hold anything! And, it's "girly"! Check and check! Mission accomplished! I can also bet that this is the ONLY time this bag will actually match my outfit, as I never plan that well ever (and don't really care that much)! 

I'm loving my new bag. Now to copy the design of a few pieces of favorite clothing I have sitting in my studio right now! And then there's that fabulous dress I saw on a girl at the market last month. I absolutely stopped her to see how her dress was constructed and several hours later, drew it in my journal. Yes, I must get to that. These are the things I think about all. the. time.