Monday, November 17, 2014

An Ode To Sasha: Quilters Paradise

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An Ode to Sasha: Quilters Paradise


One of my most favorite things to do in life is sewing. I learned when I was quite young. My mom taught me how to hand sew by making sewing around the edges of a small circular piece of fabric, and then pulling it tight. It ended up making little flowers which she then embellished a school book bag for me with. Eventually she taught me how to use a machine, and to make projects with that. Then I took a sewing class in high school, and I got a bit better with garment making. Eventually, I also ended up taking a sewing class in college. although I never owned one of my own until I was 20. I have always found it quite relaxing. Due to my sewing machines recent downfall I have been feeling nostalgic over it, and have been remembering all of the projects that I made with it.

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P.s. If you weren't already aware, Sasha is my name for my sewing machine that recently died. Yes, I named my sewing machine. Yes, I'm aware that I'm a bit weird. It's okay, All the good ones are. 

www.savvysydney.com
www.savvysydney.com
Most recently it was this quilt that I made for my friends baby shower. It had a Minnie Mouse theme, but then again her entire life may very well be Minnie Mouse themed. I am big on hand-making gifts because they are so very much more special. So I decided to make her this appliqué quilt. I hand embroidered the name into it. Oh man, my fingers hurt so bad after that. But it was so worth it. It turned out absolutely gorgeous. It only took a few days to finish, the part that took the longest was embroidery.

(This is the close up of the embroidery while it was still in the hoop.)
www.savvysydney.comwww.savvysydney.comWhen I quilted the backside I decided to quilt around the Minnie so that it would show on the other side as well.

(This is the reverse side of the quilt.)


Another one I made fairly recently is my husbands Marvel quilt. I started to make it shortly after I finished my own quilt. I started it to give it to my husband as a birthday present... but it ended up being more of a "4 months before your birthday" present. Eh, close enough right? 

www.savvysydney.com I figured that a "hero" theme would be befitting a comic book quilt. That, and I had also just recently gotten my husband a new wedding ring a few months prior, and I had the inside of it engraved with almost the same wording. It was also befitting of the ring because I got my husband a gold and black Zelda themed ring; which went along with the Valentines day present I had made him. I like to tie all of the gifts I get into a little theme.. and that year I nailed it.

That... and my husband is a ginormous nerd, so it isn't particularly hard to think of a theme that suits him.

Although ironically my husband also bought me a new wedding ring too, and it happened to be gold and black as well. Herein lies the proof, that great minds think alike.  
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This quilt was actually the very first project that I made with my sewing machine. It also is the one that took the longest to finish. I started it just before I joined the military. I started sewing it by hand because I didn't have a machine. But then a friend of mine got one for me for as a Birthday/Christmas gift.

Now usually my biggest pet peeve on the face of the planet is "Birth-me-Christmas" gifts. Seriously y'all, they drive me insane. I can't even begin to explain how many times I have heard... "Well your birthday is so close to Christmas so I just got you one big birthday/Christmas present." The phenomenon happens to absolutely no one else... Being born in December  always gets you cheated out of gifts. That's all I'm saying. That... and the fact that it should be a CRIME to have a birthday present wrapped in Christmas paper. Don't do it guys... Just don't do it. Ever. The entire December/January born populace will thank you. 

(But yeah, back to my other train of thought. I'm easily side-tracked y'all. My apologies.) But for this one occasion... I wasn't upset about it at all. My sewing machine was essentially one of the best gifts I had ever gotten.

All of the quilts I have ever made, I have never once bought a pattern. I've always just drawn it out, decided how big I wanted it, and then did the math. I have made a grand total of four quilts in my lifetime. I don't have a picture of the very first one I ever made, I made it and gave it away as a Christmas present. But from what I've heard... It's still quite nice. I started and finished that one in ten days, while I had been in Texas visiting my mom and dad. The fastest I have ever made a quilt. Ironically so, considering it was my first, and the second one I made was the one that took me the longest. But that was also because I hand quilted the entire thing, and also wasn't able to work on it for almost a year while I was gone for training in the military.

Well, I do believe that my Ode to Sasha is complete. Farewell brave soul, you shall be missed. Sorry guys, I'm a bit dramatic... Can you really blame me?

So, those are my quilts that I have made. Do any of you have any quilts that you want to share?

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

DIY Sparkle Cross Stitch


So... Y'all know those times when life just decides to kick you in the rear, just to remind you that you're alive? Well, Life totally did that to me over the last few weeks. Nothing horrendous occurred, just general stuff that kinda builds up and brings you down a few notches. But that's how life is, you have to have bad times so that the good ones are that much better. But the outcome is that I haven't been able to post on here on time this week. Sorry for that guys. 

So last week Joann's was having a big sale on some of their fabrics. Conveniently enough for me, it was the exact type of fabric I was needing for some sewing projects that I intended to make. That fabric is usually $9.99-$14.99 for the fabric that I use for it, and they were all 50% off. So I went and bought about 20 yards worth of different patterns so I could start working on the sewing. But then... Life happened. My sewing machine decided to take a giant poo on all of my plans.

 I've only had it for about two years, and I treat it very well, but it does get used a lot. Well... Sasha (Yes, I named my sewing machine. Don't judge me. Or at least not harshly) decided that she had enough of my beating. She exploded. (Okay, maybe not exploded... But she did make a high pitch whining sound and then continued sewing even though I didn't have my foot on the pedal, and then refused to move entirely.) I cleaned it and did everything I could to fix it with no luck. Honestly it acted worse after I cleaned it. I know that it will probably be more money to get it fixed than it would be to just buy a new one. So I'm just going to have to save up for that. But seriously guys... I was legitimately devastated. I love that machine, and it was given to me by a friend so it meant a lot to me. Not to mention that I had no idea how I was going to finish all of the sewing projects before Christmas without one. Although, I did end up having a saving grace.  Someone let me borrow their machine temporarily. Which was exceedingly nice of her, and it really made my day. 

Me: half out of it, post medication for my arm. 

A few days before the sewing machine catastrophe I had an allergic reaction to some insect bite that I got on my right arm. It was so bad that my arm swelled from my knuckles almost all the way to my elbow. It was bad. Also it was horrendously itchy. It was terrible. I had to go to get a ginormous shot in my rear (Totally not fun. Also ironic, considering that I spend all day doing it to other patients. I forgot how much I disliked being on the other end of the table.) The shot along with the other medications totally put me out of commission for the next few days. It was all fine... Until I woke up this morning with another one. My arm is killing me, it itches like crazy, and the medication doesn't feel like it's working. I'm kinda going crazy. Also... My arm looks like an ad for night of the living dead. My car has been slowly taking a poo on me as well... (Gertrude is old y'all. She's going to have to retire soon.) So basically over the last week all of the little straws built up and just totally brought me down. I just needed a break from everything so that I could reset and refresh. Plus u had a weekend away with my husband in San Francisco. Which was fantastic. He got me some wonderful lilies, which made my day. So I did duck out for a few days, but I'm back and I'm excited to share this project with you guys. 



So this project I started with my friend Nora in mind. When I started this project it was close to her birthday and I was short on money. I am an uber sentimental person and I absolutely love homemade gifts, or gifts with meaning behind them. They are always the best ones to get. Don't you agree?  So I decided that I wanted to make her present. Nora is a super girly person who loves pink, glitter, bows, lace, and makeup. Every September is always entertaining. Nora decided a very long time ago, that she doesn't get a birthday... She gets a birthday month. Essentially what this means... Is whatever Nora wants in September, generally she gets. All in the name of her birthday month. It's kind of hilarious. For her birthday I wanted to give her something that would suit her perfectly... So I decided something shiny, and sparkly/glitter related would be best. I mean her nickname is "Princess Nora." Yes, there is even a tiara included guys. Last year she even got a wand too.

Princess Nora celebrating her birthday


So in search for the perfect quote I scrolled down Pinterest looking for "glitter quote" in the hopes that I could find something that suited her, and I came across about 5 quotes that I thought would be great for her. But then... I found another, that was far too perfect to pass up.  "Don't ever let anyone dull your sparkle." I was so excited to finish it, and I hadn't even started. 



A few weeks before this I went thrift store shopping looking for stuff to decorate with, and ran across a few frames with matting that were awesome. They needed a little love, to be wall worthy... But I got them there. So I pulled one of those out and it had this awesome double matting. One white, and another gold one behind it. It was a wooden brown frame that really needed some TLC. So I scrubbed it and painted it gold to match the inside matting. I was having a dilemma as to what colors I should use for the project but once the frame was complete... There was no other choice than to have the gold as a theme. So I settled on gold and black. 

So I decided that because "sparkle" seems like a word that should be shiny, I did it in gold and the rest in black. But once I went shopping I saw that metallic gold thread again. Basically the sister to the evil red thread from "diy zelda art." But some time had passed since I had used the red, and I decided it couldn't really be as bad as I was remembering. Boy was I wrong. It was a nightmare. I can't tell you how many times it decided it had enough and just decided to snap in half for no reason. There were many tears y'all. It also receive the great honor of being thrown across the room, multiple times. The best part is, I was so mad that I would throw it as hard as I could... And it would go all of two feet away. It's a bit like throwing a leaf. Pointless. Also with the added benefit of making you look like a pansy who can't throw.  So essentially I didn't really throw it across the room... I only managed to throw it across the foot wide table onto the floor. I usually don't have this kind of a patience issue... But cross stitching seems to bring it out in me. Eh. I guess you win some and you lose some. 



So I tried to use a site where it would pull up the pattern for me based on the picture I found. But after about four tries of trying to draw the word sparkle... I gave up on that plan. I ended up erasing what I had done and manually drew sparkle onto it, and just free handed drawing the squares until it looked good to me. For me it wasn't hard to do it that way... But I know not everyone is the same. So a site that renders the pattern for you to count and stitch might be the best for you. 



All in all it ended up being absolutely amazing. I was so in love with it I almost didn't want to give it away. But I had to. It was too perfect for her to not give it to her. I'll just have to make another one for myself! 

So what do you guys think about it? Would you make one for yourself or a friend? 

P.S. Everyone who follows my Instagram @savvysydneyblog gets to see little sneak peeks of my upcoming projects. 


Monday, October 27, 2014

What I'm Working On...



Good evening ladies and gentleman, and welcome to yet another riveting installment of... "What I'm Working On!" 

Okay, okay, I am very aware that I am a dork. But I'm having fun and that's partially what this is all about, right? 

So I decided over the very short weekend that I wanted to make this post a reoccurring one. I can't always have a brand new project... Because honestly, nine times out of ten I have three or more projects that I'm working on and none of them are finished. That or I had military weekend and therefore have worked 12 days straight with no day off and I'm too dang tired to write complicated content. Just being honest. I seriously have no idea how people blog daily and hold down a full time jobs. (I swear they are superheroes in hiding) 

So over the weekend I managed to get a lot of stuff done. Well honestly.... I managed to START a lot of things. I believe I started about four separate projects and I think I accomplished finishing only one. (The only reason as to why it got finished... I dragged my husband into basically doing it for me. It's the way of the world.)

Pictured: My poor husband, getting roped into hanging curtains yet again. 


P.S. My husband specifically asked me not to take any pictures of him when he was doing this... but I just couldn't resist. 

Ahem. But yeah, back to the curtains...

Those curtains have been sitting on that hutch since we moved back to this house in early August. They were unceremoniously dumped there when I found another set of curtains that I fell in love with for the master bedroom. More on that extended project a little later. 

But here is what the curtains ended up looking like after my wonderful husband put them up for me. I really thought that I was going to love the whole "puddled look" but honestly... I'm not feeling it. But I don't have the heart to tell my husband that I want to move them. He would probably kill me honestly. He even said when we were putting them up that they should go higher. Plus... My father in law would kill me if I moved them and put another four holes in the wall for the curtains. (P.s. This is my father in laws house. My husband and I live here and pay rent for the house while his dad lives in another house in California.) 

But onto another project... 

So as well as the curtains in the formal dining room, I was also working on decorating the master bedroom. This weekend I finally found some lamps that matched with what I'm going for now. I've been searching for reasonably priced ones that fit what I was trying to accomplish for about two months. TWO MONTHS. I finally found these well-priced beauties at Ross. They were $20 a piece, which is still expensive in my mind... but they were far better than the $50-$80 ones that I kept falling in love with. Considering I could look at the price tag without feeling sick... they were worth it. But the bedroom is most certainly a work in progress, and will likely be the focal point of a post (or five.) 

But as of right now our room looks like this. New lamps included. My husband does not understand decorating... And therefore did not understand why the old black mirror lamps didn't work anymore. They will have to be redistributed to another room because they aren't working with the new color pallet. But more on all that later. 

Over the weekend I started another DIY, but I didn't really take enough pictures of it... So I'm not quite ready to give a full post on it. But here's the end result.

I'm super happy with out it turned out, and I'm currently resisting going to the craft store and spending extensive amounts of money so I can make more. Especially because each one only takes about 20 minutes and a sewing machine to make. 

P.S. Sorry about the crappy pictures y'all... I'm just using my cell phone right now because it is all that I have. Hopefully this will be changing sometime close to this holiday season... and my birthday. *Hint Hint*

Something very important to me is Christmas. It has always been my favorite part of the year. It's the one time where family and friends come together and cherish each other. On top of that I am the type of person who absolutely loves gift giving. So another thing I've been working on over the last few weeks is Christmas. Yes, I just said that I have been working on Christmas for the last few weeks. Yes, I am aware that I am crazy. Also I am aware that it is still October. I started in September if I'm going to be completely honest. But seriously guys I'm almost entirely done shopping. The only stuff that I am still working on is the presents that I am DIYing. So I'm already wrapping, packing and waiting for the last few online purchases to meander their way into the mailbox for me to wrap.


So... among all of these thins I was doing over the weekend... I also went dollar bin diving at Target I love their dollar spot! Seriously those two little aisles are where I obtain about 90% of my stocking stuffers. Every Year. Seriously. I've found that the best way to get the best things is to go back every week and check what they have. I score some pretty awesome stuff there. Although I have to admit this has been one of their best years in a long time.

But other than all of the above, over the weekend I had breakfast with my mother in law and her boyfriend, caught up on a couple of shows I have been watching...(Sherlock, revenge, how to get away with murder etc. ) I broke my phone charging cord and had to Amazon buy myself a new one with my Prime two day shipping, and finally... My husband and I went shopping at Costco. So many samples were eaten that day. Sooo many. 

How did you guys spend last weekend?


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

DIY Skull Bookend

Diy skull bookend www.savvysydney.com #skull #gold #halloween #fun #diy #painting #bookend #craft #present #gift

Hey Guys! 

So I'm going to admit, that not everything I do is a completely original idea. Not all of us are craft masterminds. I found this on Pinterest from a blog called Curbly. That is the original link to the post where I got the idea. The major difference I made between theirs and mine... Is that I also used a backpiece, rather than just a bottom piece; also I sat the face of mine up higher.   

What you need for this project is:




  • Dollar Tree plastic skull
  • Sand (a pretty decent amount) 
  • A drill bit, or similar object that can be used to make a hole in the back of the skull
  • E6000 glue. 
  • Your choice of spray paint colors
  • One piece of thin flat wood cut into two pieces. Mine is 6" wide, and was originally 18" long. I had it cut into  6 " piece and a 5" piece. 
  • Two thin long nails. 
  • Hammer
  • Patience 
  • A husband who you can suck into helping you with your craft projects (because lets be honest. It's more fun failing with friends!)

Diy skull bookend www.savvysydney.com #skull #gold #halloween #fun #diy #painting #bookend #craft #present #gift

This was the original Dollar Tree skull. It's a really light plastic with almost no weight to it. Which is precisely why you need the sand. It's not much of a bookend if the books push over the bookend. 

So my first two steps were to paint the wood pieces and drill a hole in the plastic skull. (Honestly I painted it first and then did the sand... and ended up having to re-paint. So I am trying to save ya'll from another of my mini-failures) I'm definitely not perfect guys. Honestly... I make about a minimum of three mistakes with just about everything I make. It's the crafters curse. It haunts me... but I just live with it. Mostly because my attempts at thwarting it usually fail. (i.e. Me using gloves to protect my hands from paint here, and I end up covering 1/2 of my legs in paint instead.)   Whoops! (Sorry again babe... I'll get you some more!) So I used a drill bit to drill through the back of the skull so that I had an area to pour the sand in. My friendly advice: don't drill in one of the flat spots that you plan to use to glue to the wood... if for some reason it doesn't stick, you will not only have a broken bookend... but sand all over the place as well. 

Diy skull bookend www.savvysydney.com #skull #gold #halloween #fun #diy #painting #bookend #craft #present #gift


After drilling I tried to use a paper funnel to pour my sand through. Another bad idea ya'll. It ended up all over me. Terrible idea. Just make a lager hole, use a real funnel, and it would also be a good idea to do the sand pouring over a bowl. So that way.. when it inevitably spills... it gets caught in the bowl, rather than stuck to the wet paint on your legs and all over your clothes. Again: Sydney's friendly advise. Here to save you from the crafters curse. Once I had all the sand in my skull I then had to think of a way to seal it in. The bright idea I came up with? I tore a piece from the plastic bag that I had from Lowe's from my recent shopping expedition, flipped the skull on its face, and used the E6000 to glue the piece of plastic to the back of the skull. It worked really well quite honestly. I let it dry for about two hours. 

Then, in my case I had to re-paint my skull... but if you followed my advise you should be painting it for the first time now. I chose Valspar Metallic Gold. I really like the black on gold color combination, it meshes well and also gives the project a bit of a personality.  

Diy skull bookend www.savvysydney.com #skull #gold #halloween #fun #diy #painting #bookend #craft #present #gift

Next: I had initially used liquid concrete glue and glued the two pieces of wood together, and then nailed them together as well. The glue was just an extra touch. A backup plan essentially. Which actually ended up being a failure. The liquid concrete interacted with the spray paint and just would not dry at all.  I also used it at the end when I was trying to glue the painted skull to the painted wood as well. Essentially all it managed to do was strip the paint from the skull and rub it all over the wood and vice-versa. I had to re-paint both pieces and hunt down my E6000. It was a failure guys. It was bad. Very bad. Not to mention I almost got it in m father-in-laws very expensive deck. Sorry Bob! (Good thing it was almost an accident and not actually an accident...) 

Last but not least... After finding a better glue for the project, I glued the skull to the wood and let it sit overnight. This is what my end result is. 

Diy skull bookend www.savvysydney.com #skull #gold #halloween #fun #diy #painting #bookend #craft #present #gift Diy skull bookend www.savvysydney.com #skull #gold #halloween #fun #diy #painting #bookend #craft #present #gift
Also... Just as a p.s. I had the intention of posting all of this on Sunday, but ended up having a bad allergic reaction to a mystery bug bite. I thought it was a mosquito, my husband thought it was a spider, and my Dr. wasn't sure which it was. So I ended up with a pretty big injection and some other stuff to help it go away. It was pretty bad on Monday morning, and I didn't give into going into the Dr's until Tuesday. I actually had a patient ask me if I had chicken pox, and another ask me if I had Ebola. So basically it was embarrassing, very embarrassing. 

But on that note.... What did you guys think of my Halloween DIY? Honestly... I think it will probably stick around all year. I'm quite fond of it. 

Diy skull bookend www.savvysydney.com #skull #gold #halloween #fun #diy #painting #bookend #craft #present #gift #signature
   




Thursday, October 16, 2014

What I'm Working On...




Recently, I started a new job. It's fantastic and I love it. But it's been quite a transition for me. It can be very exhausting... Mentally and physically. 

So, at the end of my workday, I'm so completely drained that I don't want to do anything except watch a tv show, eat dinner and decompress. 

Because of the amount of stress that I deal with at work... The best part of my day tends to be the funny pictures my friends send me, and my lunch break... Where I eat excessive amounts of sushi, read a book, and dance around at a table with my headphones in. I look crazy ya'll. But it makes me happy... So the looking like a psycho is so worth it. Especially because at the end of my lunch, I'm able to walk back in to work with a smile on my face and talk to the hundredth patient of the day who thinks they have Ebola, because they have a fever. 

So if I haven't already made it obvious enough... I haven't done anything this entire workweek that's productive as far as decorating, and crafting goes. Clearly, that's what weekends are made for. Crafting, reading and planned naps. 

So while I don't have anything finished to share with you guys today... I have many things in the works. Last weekend when I was making those DIY Office Shelves I actually was working on about 5 other projects at the same time. I had a mass spray painting party in the backyard. It was crazy, even my industrial gloves couldn't save me from a mess. I ended up accidentally painting my feet white, my toes gold, and some teal even managed to get on my shins. (Please don't ask me how I managed that... because truly I do not know.) Also... My husbands sandals managed to get painted too, all because I was too lazy to walk upstairs to get my own. Oops. (One of the hazards of being the husband of a very crafty woman.)

But here is a sneak peek of some of the projects I have in the works. 

Mass spray paint party, where everything gets painted... including your feet. 

See the red spots at the top of my feet... Yeah... That's not red. That's just my normal skin color... The rest looks so weird... because my shins are blue, my feet are stark white, and my big toe on my left foot managed to get gold on it. I have no idea... Seriously trying to keep clean during a craft project is a lost cause. 

There was actually more projects laying around being painted too... They just happen to not be in this picture. But I don't want to spoil all of the fun in just one post! I'll be back at the beginning of the week to elaborate on another of the projects I started last weekend. 

P.S. Someone, somewhere... please tell me that I am not the only one who ends up a multi-colored mess at the end of a craft project.