My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Planet side July 20, 2014

 

 

earth

 

 

 

No, I haven’t fallen off the planet… it’s just summer craziness.  And with us that always includes some sort of drama.

 

Between beach trips, dog watching, lost military paperwork, evictions (not ours), camps, summer classes, heat waves and colossal yard projects, we’ve just been stretched thin.  Due to some lovely hay allergies (read: I sound like a barking seal), I’ve been forced to slow down for a week or so.  Which is making me grouchy.

 

I’ll leave you with this little picture.

 

 

face

 

 

Today at church I saw a man.  He looked very similar to the husband in the couple that has been “mentoring” me through the bible.  (I *love* these people!)  So one would assume I know what they look like.  In my snot-bogged brain’s stupor I mistook this man to be the husband.  “Hey (insert name)!  Say hello to your wife for me!”  His face was the perfect definition of confused.  As I walked on further I realized… I don’t think that was who I thought it was?  I know, I know, we’ve all done this.  I got home and texted them just to make sure.  Sure enough, they weren’t there tonight.  

Instead of being completely embarrassed, I’ve decided I’m going to do this every week, sans the name, just to make him wonder.

 

I’m slightly evil.  I know.

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Sew seamless June 23, 2014

Filed under: Sewing,Sewing lessons — blankenmom @ 1:31 am
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I wanted to demonstrate how you can make a seamless elastic top seam like you would buy in the store.

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You could just sew straight through the elastic on this top, but it would make a very noticeable line across the top.  Which, unless you are adding it on purpose with a design in mind, wouldn’t look very good for this particular look.

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We want a clean line that doesn’t look like anything is really holding it up so that the pleates can fall freely.

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I’ll start by saying, all I did to measure this was wrap it around me.  I will also make sure to mention (if you didn’t read the other post on this dress) to make sure to measure it around your largest body part.  Once done, sew up the side seam or seams to make a long tube.

When selecting an elastic for this dress, I wanted something larger so it wouldn’t roll or fold.  I wanted it to act as a foundation and as a sort of facing.  It also had to be able to hold up a large amount of heavy fabric.  I believe this was 2″ elastic.

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Sewing the end of the top to the end of the elastic.  (Ok, you could really do this with the machine, but I was watching the World Cup, but you get the idea.)

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What it should look like when you’re done joining the two.

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Flip the elastic over, only showing the fabric.  Here is where you would normally sew it down, creating a seam line.  Instead, tack the elastic down at the side seams and any other inconspicuous places, making sure to add a mark for front and back if necessary.  (Some tops or dresses this isn’t necessary as it’s obvious, but this type of dress, it’s a bit harder to tell.)

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That should be all you need to keep the elastic in place and from flipping every time you try to dress.

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A very nice clean look!

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Bob Ross moment

Filed under: Church,Made by me,Places,Sewing — blankenmom @ 12:57 am
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… “You made a mistake?  Turn that mistake into a happy little bird.  That’s it.  A happy little bird.”

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If you’ve never seen Bob Ross’ show, you have no idea what I’m talking about and now officially think I’m nuts.  Go google him.  He was awesome.  He was also excellent at putting my first-born down for a nap with his quiet tone and calm.  I’m sure the hair helped somehow too.

But beyond that, he teaches a great lesson.  If you make a mistake, you can always turn it into something good!  I got a “two-fer” on this post.  The dress I just finished (and LOVE) was designed around a mistake I made.  And some people I have met at church have shown me that even when we make a mistake, God can use it to make something great!

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Let’s start off with my spiffy new dress shall we!

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Amazingly comfortable btw!!

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So you’re asking… “What was the mistake; it looks fine?”

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That nifty little pleat in the front and back weren’t at first supposed to be there.  It was supposed to be one piece of fabric, wrapped around.  That’s great when you wrap the fabric around your pathetic little chest to fit it and forget that you have an ever-growing posterior.

So what fit up-top, didn’t so much around the middle and ended up looking more like a stylin’ hospital gown with cheeks flapping in the wind.

So a back was also cut out and I figured I’d just gather.  So boring!  When I wrapped the dress around “Betty” for the night, I just really liked the way it looked.  So clean and simple.  And if I really wanted to add more, I could always add a pin or a belt.

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When I first realized what I had done, short-changing my backside, I thought I had ruined a yard or so of fabric.  But when I sat and thought it out, it turned out perfectly!

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Now, on to the people I met at church.

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On my day to volunteer, I had asked the woman who oversee’s our area if she knew of anyone that would be able to help us out with “that house”.  You know, a little business advice.  I obviously suck at this and needed some serious guidance.  She thought for a bit and said “Yes!  Can you come by next week to meet them?”  I of course said yes excitedly and even offered to volunteer again since I was there.

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After service, she brought them over and I explained the situation.  They talked with me a bit and I became sort of disappointed that they didn’t have much in the way of business advice as they don’t have rentals.  However (and that’s a GIANT however) what I got instead was not only much better, but what God knew I needed instead.  The encouragement, advice, scriptures, prayers and reassurance that God can turn a mistake into something amazing was much more than I was expecting.

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The place we live in now is called Selah, meaning to pause and reflect.  After meeting these people and a few others here, I really believe that we are here to pause and reflect.  Regather.  Recoup.  Learn and get ready for the next adventure God has in store.

Have you made a mistake?  Selah – Pause and reflect on God’s goodness.  The answer will come and His goodness will set things right.

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selah

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As for your sewing.

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Turn that mistake into a happy bird… that’s right… a happy bird.  Or in this case, a purdy little dress.  That’s right… a purdy little dress.

 

 

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Birth control named Shadow June 14, 2014

Filed under: Boys,Family,Made by me,Pets — blankenmom @ 12:16 am
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wall hanging

One of the things I’ve been up to this week.

 

It’s been about four weeks now that we’ve had the puppy.

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It’s been a very loooong four weeks.

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At one point the third-born asked, “Is this what it’s like to have a baby?”.  Which made me pause… yes, yes it is very much like having a baby.  A baby that chews on you with Parana like teeth and goes to the bathroom in random corners of my house, but still very much yes.  The biggest difference being that you can, if you need to, leave the puppy in her “cage” without CPS becoming involved.  I however, hesitated to say this as he was lamenting at having yet another shift at watching her while I needed to head out the door and I’m still hoping for grandbabies in the future – the distant future!

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As I drove away it occurred to me; schools should start handing out 8 week old pugs to teenagers.  Boys and girls.  To be given to the disabled at the end of the puppy stage.  When they’re fully potty trained, done teething and relatively listening to commands.  After all, that is what happens at 18 when they move out, right?  At least we hope?

Early morning wake up calls, late night potty breaks.  Meals usually including some sort of medication that the puppy absolutely refuses to take.  Messes in random places, shoes missing, and doing nothing without knowing exactly where that little devil is!

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Am I making you want a puppy?  Yeah, it’s working about that well for the boys wanting kids about now too.  But in due time, I think they’ll come to realize as the puppy grows, that it was all worth the work… the scratches, bite marks, funny smell in the corner, the lack of sleep and not being able to do what they want for the time being.  But just like kids, all you really remember are the good things when it’s all said and done, after all – they are the good things!

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Ahhh… a sleeping puppy.  Quick – go take a shower, clean the kitchen and make dinner!

 

Shadowed. May 24, 2014

Filed under: Family,Hubby,Made by me,Military,Pets,Sewing — blankenmom @ 10:38 pm
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I haven’t been busily sewing or knitting the last week or so, I did however get a *little* yard work done, but not really.  Why you ask?

 

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Meet Shadow – no, not because she’s black, but because she’s Lady’s Shadow.  All 8 weeks and almost 5 lbs of her.  Named by the first-born’s girlfriend.  (We all wrote the name we wanted on a slip and drew.  She won.  She has now declared part ownership.)  This is my dentist man’s new lap warmer, once she eventually stops moving.  Someday.  (Don’t let this picture fool you.  She’s faking.)

 

selfie ^Girlfriend^

 

Lady wasn’t quite as impressed as we thought she’d be with Dean’s next-in-line, but has finally decided the puppy, at least while asleep, isn’t *too* bad?  And besides, she’s digging the extra treats and walks she’s getting out of this, even if it does come with being jumped on, chewed on, and being licked in random and weird places.

 

Jowl cleaner anyone?

 

With all this, Lady has still taken it upon herself to show Shadow the ropes.  “This is where mom makes dinner every night.  Lay under her feet, and when she trips over you, she’ll drop food right where you can reach it.  And the boys are super messy, so lay right over here if you want something else tasty.”  I may have the cleanest floors around!  (If we’re not counting the dust bunnies and dog drool.)

 

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You’re digging my 1980′s linoleum aren’t you!

 

 

Thank goodness school is now out, so the boys can spend endless (and I’m not far off on that) hours playing with her!  We’re now up to about 5 walks around the 2 1/2 acres a day.  Yes she walks majority of it and yes, she *still* wants to play when she get’s back.  But at least it slows her down a bit.

 

But lest you think I’ve been shirking my duties and *only* playing with the puppy…..  pfft – who am I kidding, the new phrase in our house is “You wake it, you play with it!”……  I have been getting a *little* sewing in.

 

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I can’t tell you how giddy this shirt makes me!  Even the boys were impressed with the sparkles.

 

Admittedly, this shirt should have only taken about an hour, but instead it took about 5 days with all the antics going on.  However, now that it’s been a week, the puppy is settling in and I’m getting more sewing time back in.

 

Priorities here!

 

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With company.

 

 

Please take a moment this weekend while bbqing, camping or sleeping in, to remember what Memorial Day is truly for.  Thank you to those killed or wounded and their families, who made the ultimate sacrifice for us all.

 

Tutu’s and bbq’s May 13, 2014

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We’re in full bloom out in our little desert.  Luckily I don’t have these particular allergies or I’d be one grouchy woman!  Hay season should be interesting?

 

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One of the boys (the one I have to sit with) has finished his schoolwork for the year, allowing me to start some outside activities.  I have bushes cut back all over the yard.  I have one GIANT one left – I can feel it’s fear!

This has left me pretty tired by the time the sun goes down at night, but I did manage to finally finish my costume.  I had started it so long ago – it’s almost sad.  Between Sandy, renters, church costumes, moves and dog issues, this was one tough costume to get finished.  Doubly glad it’s done!

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I need to point out that I can’t fully tighten a corset on “Betty” or I’d crush her poor old body.  It looks way better on me than on her without all the wrinkles and a fully closed back.  

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I love the costume, but realize the mistakes in the top.  But since it’s my first corseted type top, I’m ok with that.  My next one should be much easier and much better looking.  This is still fully wearable though – where ever you’d actually wear this?

I also learned that if you want a nice, stand-up bow, use a wired ribbon.  I know of a few costumes I could have used this on.

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This was also Mother’s day weekend.  And while I’m not big on pomp-and-circumstance for any occasion, the fam realized we were in need of something and decided Mother’s day was the perfect day to get it.

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My Mother’s day gift – don’t be jelly!  

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I really do love my new grill!  And we’ve discovered that I’m a better cook on the grill than the oven for some odd reason.  We had the best roast yesterday along with some asparagus from a co-worker.

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While I was out to pick up my new grill (I got to pick it) I managed to lock myself out of the truck…. again.  And when I say again, I mean, this was the third time since we’ve moved here!  AAA says I get one more lock out this year.  *sigh*  But while I waited I managed to pick out the flooring, lighting, windows and almost found the back splash I want for the house!

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Lowe’s needs to hide people’s keys.

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Once I got home I realized the two spares we have were on the same key chain.  *double sigh*  But I managed to get a few things picked out and a nice tan while I waited – can’t complain!

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With the weather changing and school soon to be out, we’ll see what new trouble I can get into….

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…..bbq anyone?

 

 

 

 

 

Mistaken May 4, 2014

Filed under: Made by me,Sewing,Sewing lessons — blankenmom @ 12:17 am
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d'oh

 

 

A while back I had promised to share a few of my sewing mistakes.  I went through my closet and found some of the items that I couldn’t quite bring myself to get rid of, but didn’t wear either because I *knew* what was wrong with them.

 

Some are obvious, some not so much.

 

It reminded me of a few items that I no longer have, mostly because they were *so* bad, I just couldn’t bare to look at them long enough to repair them.  *Lingerie that I overstuffed the chest in.  A nightgown that was poorly sewn and impossible to wear.  Tops that I didn’t pay attention to the grain on and they ended up longer on one side than the other and oh so many more…..

 

Why am I showing you these things?

 

When you watch sewing shows, read blogs or magazines, I want it to be understood that those people weren’t born with needle-in-hand.  They too had wonky seams, pockets that didn’t line up and crooked hems.  Granted some people are more talented at this craft than others, but by no means do they *never* have mistakes.  The exact opposite actually – the more creative the person and the better the designs, the more mistakes they most likely had beforehand!  You have to make several mistakes before you get it just right.

 

Let’s get started shall we:

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This shirt, in itself, is not bad.  The sewing is actually done quite well.  The problem comes when I didn’t pay attention to body style.  This is ALL wrong for my body, hits me in all the wrong places and makes me look like a fat old woman.  Which will be fine when I am, but I still have a few years until then.  Maybe I’ll just hold on to it until I get there?

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This top was obviously meant to be worn over a tank top.  I actually made it to go over a mandarin top that turned out excellently!  This however is just sad.  Very sad.  The sleeve caps don’t match and the ribbon edging on the front is pathetic.  I will be fixing this one, once I figure out exactly what I want to do with it.

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Where to get started….. To begin with, yes the print is FAR to big for my small frame, but have you ever tried to look for small tropical prints?  Yeah, there aren’t a lot of them.  Especially in gauzy type fabric.  This little item was sort of slapped together in an attempt to look “casually put together” (read: slapped together).  It’s terrible!  I will be taking the strap off, that dorky under-bust seam will go, and turn it into a strapless maxi.  Because we all know how often I wear dresses?

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This dress I’m actually very proud of – other than the major mistake I made on it. Here’s the back-story:

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“I custom-made this costume about 10 years ago.  I draped the whole thing.  Sewed on all the beads, some you can’t even see here.  It took over 6 months.  I made the whole thing on “Betty”, who is covered in slightly “sticky” flannel.  What a surprise when I put it on my body and realized I had made the opening to the dress far too big for my smooth skin to keep up!  In an attempt to fix this, I made a “collar” of beads to hold the dress up.  Fast forward to the churches Fall Festival.  As I’m escorting my four small children around the church, some poor, random child walks up the back of my dress and proceeds to pop off all the beads on the “safety collar” – the only thing that stood between me and nekedness.  AWKWARD!

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I love this dress.  I WILL figure out a way to fix this.  Idea’s anyone?

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And finally:

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How could you not love this jacket with that lining?  Anyway, the problems include sleeves whose outside fabric is longer than the lining fabric, causing sad, sad ripples above the cuffs.  Pockets that aren’t attached very well, that you can see the lining from the outside of.  And while it fits quite nicely, it looks sloppy when buttoned because the jacket isn’t tacked or sewn down properly to the lining.  This one will also be fixed – I just like it too much to keep it in the closet any longer!

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While there were more, and will be more in my future, I proudly hold on to these few as proof that it can only get better!

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Now go out and make some mistakes!

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