Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dabbling in Creativity

After that somewhat depressing post about missing Christmas and my family, I've decided to post about something a little more positive: delving into a form of creating.

My mother, in my eyes, is the queen of sewing. As a kid, and even as an adult, I would frequently see my mom at the sewing machine, half-watching a movie or TV show and making a dress, repairing jeans, doing who knows what. There are many pictures of me in my youth wearing her creations, one of which was a pair of shorts with cows on it. Cows. But I wore them proudly and still wear some of the clothes my mom has made me with pride and now with envy.

When I got married almost a year and a half ago, my mom gave me my very own sewing machine as a wedding present (as is tradition for each of her daughters who have or will get married). The October after getting that sewing machine, I bought a simple skirt pattern and tried my hand at "winging" it. I started cutting out the pattern and was mostly finished before I realized that I had bought a pattern for a size 12-14. I'm a size 4 (2 on a good day). So I quickly stopped doing anything and didn't touch the machine again until just recently. Over this Christmas break, I went home to Missouri and brought along the skirt and pattern hoping that my mom could fix it somehow. After a few hours of mulling things over and actual sewing, we had made a functional and rather cute houndstooth almost-maxi skirt.

That inspired me to start using my sewing machine even more.

Last year for my birthday, Ryan's mom got me a whole bunch of quilt squares and a border to make a decent-sized quilt. I planned to work on it over the summer with her, but that never ended up happening. So after finishing the dress and saving it from utter demise (with a LOT of help), I was dying to get started on my quilt. And so I made plans to do quilting with my mother-in-law every Friday, since I don't have class on Fridays.

Which leads me now to the main subject of this blog: With my creative juices flowing and my confidence waxing stronger, and at the request of my husband, I decided to make a little drawstring bag that would hold Ryan's Nintendo 3DS XL that he bought last weekend with some extra money we got from pell grants. He was a BIG help with this project since he had done something similar while on his mission but he hand-sewed it.

We went to Joann's earlier today and bought half a yard of fabric and 2 yards of rope. I also decided to make one for my newly inherited Nintendo 3DS (the one I bought for him last Christmas), so we got another half yard of fabric. After much deliberation, we ended up buying a flannel-type fabric for those of you who are curious.

Ryan cut out the "pattern" for his 3DS. He used the foam bag that was packaged around the gaming device when he bought it as a rough size for the bag and doubled it and then added half the size of it for some extra room. He added a couple of inches on the top so that the bag could close with a drawstring.
If any of you want specifics, I can go more into detail in an email or whatever, but for now, I'll just post pictures.

Here is the fabric and drawstring material we used (ended up being $10).

 My sewing machine.

 Ryan with his cutout for his drawstring bag.

 A really grainy photo of Ryan making sure everything is perfect with his pattern.

 Drawing out my pattern for my 3DS (the black not-remote thing in the lower right of the screen).

 Doing the finishing touches for his 3DS XL (the blue thing in the upper right).

 The finished products!

I did Ryan's first and that ended up being the better of the two, surprisingly. Though you can't tell and I don't really mind, the stitch for the drawstring part ended up on the outside because I wasn't paying attention when I started sewing the bag shut. Oops! But it still looks cute and I also have another drawstring bag that already works well with the 3DS, so I didn't need to make the bag for mine, I just wanted to.

This was a fun little project to get me motivated and feeing more confident as I continue making the quilt and possibly take on more little projects.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Winter Break in Missouri

I miss Christmas.

I don't know what it is about this year than any other year, but the dull ache in my torso keeps reminding me how much I miss the carols, the goodies, the bright lights and pretty wrapping paper. I'll be perusing Pinterest and there will be a Christmas-related pin that gives my heart a fresh pang of yearning. Or it might happen again when watching TV and a commercial promoting Christmas/New Years sales will make me wish it were the 24th of December again.

Ryan and I went to Missouri for Christmas this year. And it was different, but in a way that made me wish it were like the good ol' days back when I was a kid. The visit was good, though, if not a little long: we spent two weeks there and celebrated both Christmas and New Years with my family. I got to spend lots of time with family, even babysitting my niece and nephew for a few days, and I also go to relax. But something about the fact that Christmas was vastly different than I remembered it in my family home made it hard for me to move past December the 25th and into the new year.

When our visit was up, I physically worked hard not to cry when I hugged my mom and dad outside of the airport, but I allowed myself a few tears on the plane home. And since then, this entire week, I've had moments of wishing I were back in Missouri, back in the pet-filled crazy home that I grew up in, back surrounded by my brother and sisters who make me laugh and sometimes make me angry. But mostly laugh. But I'm here, in my apartment, adjusting to normality and preparing for the upcoming semester, which starts tomorrow.

I don't know...I can't pinpoint why exactly I miss Christmas so much this year and not any other years previously. It might be rooted in missing my family and the comforts of my childhood home, or it could be missing the things that exist during Christmas time that doesn't any other time of the year. I just hope it will go away soon so that I can enjoy 2013 and the events coming up in my life.

Here are some highlights of my trip to Missouri despite the depressing mood of this post:

1. Seeing "The Hobbit" again with my family on Christmas Eve.

2. The snowy walk Ryan and I took the day after Missouri got a few inches.

3. Historic St. Charles with the family and the Lewis & Clark restaurant afterwards.

4. The dog park in frigid temperatures on Christmas Eve.

5. Christmas Day (most everything about it)

Non-Pictured Events

6. Time with Lucy and Noah.

7. Sewing my skirt with my mom.

8. All the random movies that I got to watch with the family.

9. Seeing "Les Miserables" with the family on New Years Eve.

10. Barbecue with my parents for my Birthday meal.

Honestly, I loved it all. Even the moments I wasn't doing anything spectacular.

As a side note, my father-in-law handed down his old Panasonic GH2 to me for Christmas and it was TONS of fun getting affiliated with it over break. It was hard choosing the pictures I decided to post on this blog. But I do have a life that I need to get to.

Sigh, I will definitely miss this, being on break and everything. But tomorrow, it's back to the grindstone and taking my last winter semester classes ever.