Monday Musings: Change

Have you ever bit into your lip so hard that it takes forever to heal because you keep biting it over and over again? Last weekend I was talking to some friends at a BBQ we had at our house. Out of nowhere, I munched into my bottom lip and the damn thing bruised! It hurt so bad and after that, every time I thought it was going away, I’d bite it again. Ugh… I’ve resorted to using Orajel to keep the pain away and help it heal. I’m so annoyed with myself for biting it over and over again!

Anywho, Happy Monday and for those state side, Happy Labor Day! I’m off on a camping trip this weekend so this post was written ahead of time. Figured I could write about a few things going on in our life that’s not quilting.

Team mom duties are in full swing! We’ve collected money from most of the parents and our banner is underway. We are the Star Destroyers! A very boy name, if you ask me. Our thoughts were to make the banner a galaxy theme with stars being hit with soccer ball meteors.

bannerKinda like this! Only…better. But that’s our idea so far. And instead of little lines we’ll have crimson flames as they crash into the golden starts. Cute, no? I’m in charge of the backdrop so I’ll be sewing the seams to slip over the pipes that make up the frame. I’ve got some left over fabric from the Peaceful Planet quilt I finished last week that will go great as a background!

This is going to be a BIG month for us. I’ve touched on the subject a bit but haven’t really divulged details yet but now that it’s official I can: I’m leaving my job of 7 years at the family business to return to teaching!! This is a huge deal. I got my credential years ago but never got to have a classroom of my own. I was a substitute from day-to-day and then took some long term jobs that never went anywhere. After months of trying to get interviews and having to return each school year as a substitute all while raising my son on my own, I got the opportunity to take a spot at my family business. A long time employee was retiring and a spot was opening up. I needed the security and insurance for my then toddler son and decided to give up my dream of being a teacher.

Choosing to have my son was a hard decision but it was the right one for me. But choosing to leave teaching was even harder because I didn’t know if I’d ever get the chance to come back. I got lucky when my husband and I reunited after 15 years apart (we were childhood sweethearts) that we both had the same hopes and dreams for our future. I mentioned that teaching would be something I’d like to do again. And we agreed that it would be wonderful for me to use my credential I worked so hard for. Well, after 7 years, I decided to apply to work as a substitute teach and I got accepted!!!

It’s only a small step towards my dreams but it’s better than missing this chance by being too scared to try.

So this means A LOT will be changing. My schedule, our finances, even our need for a sitter will diminish. But I’ll be freer to get our son to practice and be home on his days off. Dinner will be made each night instead of prepping all on one day and then reheating leftovers. Lots will change, both good and not so good.

I also got some good news. I mentioned in a few posts back that my little Canon PowerShot broke. The lens won’t retract and it won’t reset itself. I was so frustrated I wanted to chuck it and just get a new one. BUUUUTTTT, those cameras ain’t cheap! Instead I did some research and found that certain serial numbers of the S100 series have an issue with faulty wiring to the lens. So I put in an email to Canon and got a prompt response. Mine has one of the faulty serial numbers. They are going to send me a packing ticket to have it sent in for a full check-up and repair. I’m so thrilled that this may solve the problem and I’ll get my camera back!!

Well, that’s it for Monday. Hope everyone’s week has started off well and that the weekend as relaxing/exciting/fun! Can’t wait to share any pictures from our trip!

WIP: The Zig Zag Whatever It Shall Become

Have you ever started a project without a plan in mind and just let it go where it wanted to go?

Not long ago, my son and I picked up some half priced bundles of brightly colored zig zag fabric. My son has a real eye for color and he’s draw to the primaries. Originally this stuff was meant for a mug rug for a teacher but we ended up making her a baggie for all her teacher goodies. As we wrapped up that project, I was left with a pile of this vibrant fabric just waiting to be used. So, I began teaching my son how to sew using the colors he picked himself!

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His first attempt came out great! Then I moved onto to other projects and this team effort got put aside.

After finishing a quilt I had been working on for years, I sat down to take a look at all the projects I wanted to start, continue with, or finish. I’m very ADD when it comes to sewing. I always have a project or two in mind along with a few I’m in the progress with. That’s when all those bright colors caught my eye and I thought it would be great for the two of us to get working on whatever this project turned out to be. My kidlet got into a spot of trouble this past week so all video games were off limits and he had a lot of free time on his hands. He saw me working in the sewing room and asked if he could sew too.

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And we did! He sat down with me and helped sew together a few strips. I guided the fabric through the machine as he was my “peddle pusher”. He worked on his pressure and watched how he could manage a slower stitch or a faster one just with a simple press of the peddle. There was no method to our madness but we had a good time picking up and stitching them together in any combination we grabbed.

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Then we got down on the cutting board and worked on cutting more strips of his zig zag fabric. Unfortunately, my little lefty really struggles with the rotary cutter. He was really having a hard time putting enough pressure down to cut through the fabric while rolling it forward in a straight line. He got so frustrated that one of his attempts skipped over the clear ruler and nicked my thumb. Nothing bad but enough for me to call a time out and to take over the cutting.

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After that we pressed the seams and I showed him how to iron it flat. We played with pressing the seams to one side versus pressing the seams open. It takes a bit more time but I found that my pieces laid flatter when I pressed the seams open. He got a kick out of using the iron but wasn’t too careful with it. I could tell he was nervous about getting burned even though I was there with him, guiding him. So I took over the ironing, too. We decided his job would be to sew the straight lines.

So, I have NO idea what this will be. I’m figuring it will be a blanket of some sort but it’s going to come about organically and based on both my ideas and my son’s. We have enough material to make a good sized blanket if we wish but with my son being only 8 and with a kid’s attention span and with me being all over the place with projects, it could turn out to be a pillow or two, some mug rugs, or maybe a table runner. Who knows!? The ideas are endless and I’m kind of excited to see where it goes!

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Teaching My Son To Sew!

My son is 8 years old. He’s growing like a weed and venturing out into new and unexplored territory. This Spring he played baseball for the first time and he’s reading more and more.

It’s hard to believe that this baby…

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Is now this boy…

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And after all the years of watching me sew, he’s now interested in it himself. After I brought my sewing machine home from the repair shop, he’s been very curious about the story behind it and what I use it for. He’s watched me repair his costumes and create mug rugs and now he’s ready to learn how to sew!

My favorite part of being crafty with him is watching how his mind works. Seeing how he picks his patterns and colors amazes me. Even without knowing much, he’s got a great eye for color. The end of the school year is upon us and as a gift to his teacher, we plan to make her a bag and a matching mug rug. So together we walked to the craft store and bought some fabric to make her an adorable reservable bag.

He’s a little antsy to get the whole thing started but I had to explain how we had to clean the fabric first and get all the prep work done. He wasn’t thrilled. When everything was ready and it was time to cut, he was STILL frustrated that he couldn’t sew yet. So we sat down to cut our strips for the mug rug.

I’m keeping that pattern simple. Just 2 inch strips sewn together with a simple border and binding and solid backing. I taught Jake how to hold the rotary cutter and how to measure out the strips using the clear ruler and our green rotary pad beneath. Math is a WONDERFUL thing to learn when doing a hands on project. Makes it much more easily understood plus it makes fractions fun.

My lefty

My lefty

At first I couldn’t figure out why the rotary cutter wasn’t working for him then I realized my lefty was angled wrong. He was cutting from the wrong side of the blade so I had him switch his position. Much better!

He did get frustrated more than once with the cutting. He would roll it along the ruler and it would skip across the fabric, only cutting here or there. I explained to him it takes pressure against both the ruler and the cutting pad to cut through the fabric from one end to the other. And then I explained that the time it will take to become good at all this won’t be in a matter of minutes but over a longer period of time. That for some it takes years. This seemed to ease his frustrations and he continued to work on it.

After cutting enough strips we pinned two together and set to work on the machine. He threaded the needle (!!) and took his time to sew a straight simple line. I was soooo proud!!!

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And here he is with his first piece! It came together great and he did a fantastic job sewing and cutting. I plan to work a bit with him each day and to remind him that sewing isn’t an overnight project. It takes time and patience, something I hope he will learn to have more of. The side benefit, this project will hopefully strengthen his hand and eye coordination AND build his fine motor skills, an area in which he’s always struggled.

He may not be interested in sewing for long as all 8 year olds tend to jump from interest to interest but I’m thrilled to have someone to share my love of sewing with, even if it is only for the time being.

This mama is super proud!