This ‘n That

— 1 —

Emma has been doing a dance class through her daycare since August. From what I can tell, she loves it. But good grief is there a lot of overhead associated with dance class! I found out last week that I apparently missed the memo on getting dance shoes, etc. And I made the executive decision this week that we’re NOT going to participate in the big spring recital because it’s just way too complicated for a 2-year-old.

There are a lot of things I’m good at, but being a “dance mom” is not one.

— 2 —

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I thought I had a design plan for one of the baby quilts I’m about to start, and I bought fabric accordingly. But after messing around with it in Illustrator, I changed my mind and it’s back to the drawing board this weekend…

— 3 —

I spent the last three days in a training class at work about “leading complex projects.” I hoped it would be solid and engaging, but it fell a little flat for me. Oh well. On the positive side, Jose took the class too so we got to hang out together at work for three days. Fun!

— 4 —

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Jose was able to take his new telescope outside for the first time earlier this week after all the various parts (telescope, mount, etc) arrived. He took this picture of Jupiter from our backyard! Amazing!

Instagram Tote Swap

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After Monday night’s bump in the road, I was able to finish up this bag for my Instagram tote swap partner on Tuesday night. The topstitching around the mouth of the bag is far from perfect. I sewed, ripped it out, sewed again, and finally left it because although it still isn’t as good as I wish it was, I realized that it’s as good as it’s going to get.

I must admit that the topstitching debacle left me feeling frustrated by this bag, despite the fact that everything leading up to that last step gave me happiness and a sense of accomplishment. I have been reminding myself that overall, I’m really proud of how well this turned out. It’s by far the most technically difficult bag I’ve made and 95% of the construction is really pretty darn good.

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The pattern is the Evelyn bag by ChrisW Designs. Over the last 3+ years, I’ve made enough bags to realize that a contributor to my topstitching misfortune was the way the lining was inserted into this particular bag. As part of that process, you always have to leave an unsewn gap to allow for turning the bag right-side-out at the end. That gap then has to be closed with topstitching or handstitching, and in my experience getting the seam to lie just right is always a little tricky.

Most patterns I’ve used leave that gap in the bottom of the lining where any wobbles are nearly invisible — because no one stares at the bottom of a bag lining. But this pattern left the gap along the mouth of the bag smack in the front. In hindsight, I could have easily modified this pattern to leave the gap in the bottom of the lining, so I’ll keep that in mind if I use this pattern again!

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I really love the fabrics here — all three are from the Acacia collection by Tula Pink. I’m kind of on the fence about Tula Pink fabrics in general, but my partner listed her as a favorite fabric designer and I obviously wanted to do something she will like. Happily, I do really like this particular collection and colorway too.

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In the end, despite my nitpicking and perfectionist tendencies, I totally want to keep this bag for myself. I figure that is the best sign of all that I made something good for a swap partner, and I hope she enjoys it!

Loving: January 2015

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1.  I’ve been trying to figure out some sort of new shelving arrangment for our living room — something that would go on either side of the TV console. My best idea is some sort of wall-mounted shelving (I like this one, although it’s probably a bit too utilitarian for our house) but Jose’s not really onboard with that yet. Maybe I can convince him…

2. Champion workout pants, i.e. fancy sweat pants. I needed some new pants for walks to the park, etc and picked these up at Target. Super comfy!

2. Andy Grammer’s new album, “Magazines or Novels.” On one of the few days recently where I listened to the radio in the car instead of a podcast, I heard a song off this album. I’ve liked all his stuff in the past, so bought the album on a whim. I think this is the first full album I’ve bought in months…maybe years! I like it so far.

4. This recipe for parmesan-herb roasted potatoes. I made these on New Year’s Eve — so simple, so quick, yet so tasty. You can’t go wrong with potatoes, herbs and cheese.

5. Hot chocolate K-cups from Brooklyn Bean Roastery. This is the first hot chocolate K-cup I’ve found that doesn’t taste like slightly chocolately water. Win!

 

 

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