Archive | June 2012

Just TRI it!

Over the weekend, I was not as active in my sewing adventures because I had an extremely busy weekend filled with everything TRIATHLON!  How and why would someone do a triathlon?  Well, I’m glad you asked…

Finishing my triathlon with my prima ballerina cheering me on at the bottom

After I had my first beautiful daughter, my sister and I started to embark on fun little activities as a sort of challenge to ourselves and a bonding experience.  We used to run in the Firecracker 5k every year as a tradition, but never really trained for anything beyond that.  I have no idea why, but I said one winter that I’d love to do a triathlon and my sister agreed (I’m not sure if it was reluctantly or not, but I don’t think she was mutually excited).  We joined the local YMCA and found a beginners triathlon class for the biking and the swimming.  We were going to take this course for 8 weeks and then go on our own.  Why would we need to keep taking classes?

We asked questions from the other attendants in the class and the instructor.  Then we started talking about everyone’s lives, every day activities, etc.  Something odd started happening…friendships!  I enjoyed going to class every week to talk with these people. 

They talked my sister into a half marathon.  I thought, well that’s silly.  Who would run 13.1 miles?  I went to cheer everyone on and had such a great time, admittedly a little jealous that she achieved this awesome goal while I sat and watched.  We were hooked into this group and stayed in the class.

Daily I went home, telling my hubby about the people in the classes, the next events, and the conversations that left a certain VERY UNDERSTANDING man biting his lip on several occassions in what I can only think of as embarassing to listen to (women – if you have ever cycled, you know what I’m talking about).  My hubby kept hearing about these people and decided to join in on the next Firecracker 5k that the group did.  All these people who only really knew him as my husband, now supported his journey from the sidelines to the finish line.

Then finally came my day.  My FIRST triathlon.  I was nervous.  Swimming half a mile, biking 12 miles, and running 3.1 miles.  My sister ended up unable to compete, but she came at the crack of dawn, along with my cheering section, to wish me luck.

some of my cheering section

I FINISHED! 

I ended up doing 3 triathlons that year, 1 last year, and will do 2 this year.

Triathlon Group-Kenosha

More than that, though, I made AMAZING friends in all of this.  2 1/2 years later, a great deal has changed in my life.  That triathlon class has turned into a terrific group that supports all sorts of activities called Triathlon Group-Kenosha. My husband has turned from a person that thought anyone doing more than a 5k was crazy, to running in marathons and completed his first triathlon last year!  I kept up exercising throughout my second pregnancy (which I definitely did not do with my first) and had my second child, got back into training, and completed the Chicago Marathon 5 months after having her.  Yes, me, who thought my sister was silly for running half of that only a year earlier…  And now someone that is a crafting machine that started her own little business.

I am so grateful for people in my life now.  They have pushed me to becoming someone I never thought I would be or COULD be.  Someone who can TRI!  If it’s a race or a sewing project, I’ve learned that anything in life is possible, if you just TRY.

Advertisements

Summer Fun

Summer is finally here! 

While I love the holidays (even my birthday is on a holiday in the fall – Halloween!), my favorite season is the summer.  Pools, fresh air, running outside, gardening, picnics…oh the list is endless. 

To celebrate my favorite season, I made an adorable “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” onesie for my littlest lady bug.  Hopefully I’ll get some cute pictures of her in it this weekend.  I’m not holding out much hope, though, because she is quite the stinker when it comes to taking pictures.  She’s completely opposite of my prima ballerina, who like a moth to a flame when it comes to cameras.

Well here it is…

Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

Also, I wanted to share a little photo of my girls and I at a run this past weekend.  You can kinda see my little one in a minnie mouse inspired bikini onesie…but of course she is camera shy.  It was so amazing to be outside in the sun, running with so many of my friends, enjoying the great weather.  I seriously need to move to a warmer climate…

My girls and me relaxing in the sun

Happy Summer!  I’m going to get the most of out it, because in Wisconsin the saying goes, “don’t like the weather?  Wait a minute cuz it will change.”

Boy, Oh Boy!

At my little shop Bobbin’ Along, I had been getting many comments such as “Your stuff is so cute.  I have a boy, otherwise I’d be all over these tutus!”  I was starting to feel bad for my audience that felt that they couldn’t enjoy my shop because they had a boy.  I have my two girls, so it’s easy for me to overlook the boys.

One of my favorite thing about little boys is when they dress up for special occasions.  To see them in a little tie or vest makes me want to run to my hubby, asking him to agree to trying for a boy.  Luckily, some of my best friends have been having boys lately, so I’m able to get my fix of babies without our household getting more overwhelmed than it already has gotten.

I love ties and suspenders for boys, but I know how difficult it is to dress up little babies that either get too hot or take off all their layers.  That’s why you can have the best of both worlds with these tie shirts!  I have a lot of different variations, but I wanted to share a couple of shirts to give you a peek.  Hopefully this is the start of a bigger line of boys’ stuff!

Charitable Crafting

I love to craft to save money on things that I find online or in the stores that I know I could do just as well for less money.  I’ve crafted so many things from Halloween costumes to Christmas Stockings to Birthday Cakes and lots of things in between.  I do this because I’m not a millionaire, but I don’t want to live like a pauper.  I am even known to have my moments of “extreme couponing.”

One of the things that I always feel I could do more is giving to charity.  If I had the money, I would like to help so many causes.  I do donate used things to Goodwill throughout the year, but I’m always looking for new ways to give.

Then I found A Heart to Holdfrom ahearttohold.comA Heart to Hold is an amazing 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a mission to “offer comfort to families who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss by creating and sharing the gift of a weighted handmade heart.”  Losing a child is something that a parent should never have to experience.  The heart is to help those families find a little peace in such a difficult time.

I know many people who have been affected by pregnancy and infant loss.  Their Hearts from Afar program not only offers people like me the opportunity to give something meaningful without taking a huge chunk out of our bank accounts, but it also helps people heal from their loss.

Abi Crouch, founder of A Heart to Hold, says, “I believe that there is healing in helping, and our Hearts from Afar program and our local workshops were created to provide the opportunity for people who have been affected by pregnancy or infant loss to be a part of another family’s healing by sewing or filling a heart for them.  One of the things that allows A Heart to Hold to fulfill our mission is the help of our Hearts from Afar sewers.  Having the hearts that they have sewn allows us to fill and ship hearts to waiting families faster.  We are so grateful for their support and love getting packages of hearts made with fun fabrics from them.”

That being said, I’d like to share my experience in the simple tutorial of making a heart to show others that crafting can be charitable!

I received the pattern for various sized hearts to create from emailing heartsfromafar@ahearttohold.com

Abi stated that they have a large request for their extra small-sized hearts, so I decided to make that.  The instructions on specific fabric choices are well explained, and I went to the fabric store and decided on a neutral pattern in fleece to meet the need of any gender child. Note: They ask for specific washing instructions of the fabric prior to sewing of unscented detergent and dry without a dryer sheet.

I downloaded the PDF pattern, printed it out on regular printer paper, cut and taped it together.

Printed extra small heart template on 2 pieces of printer paper

heart pattern cut and taped together

When the fabric came out of the dryer, I pressed it and folded it in half, selvage to selvage (not the cut side). I folded it so the “nice side” faced in (a tip to finding the “nice” side is looking at the selvage.  If there are printed words on the selvage, you can read it on the “nice” side).

fabric folded, selvage to selvage

I then pinned the pattern to my fabric and cut, giving me 2 hearts.

heart pinned to fabric and cutting started

Keeping the nice sides facing each other, I sewed the two hearts together using a 1/4″ seam allowance, making sure to leave the part of the pattern that says “open” unstitched so that they are able to fill it later.

unstitched opening in heart

They ask to not flip the pillow so the nice sides face out to make it easier for them to store and fill.

Sewn heart

Now I’m done and ready to mail!  I made a couple of hearts since I had my sewing machine all set up and could quickly make many of them.  I feel so great about using my crafting for something bigger than myself.  I hope to do many of these to give to those dealing with the loss of their children.  I think this charity is a great example of a support system to help those in need that isn’t about how much money you give but rather how much heart.

I have also decided to donate one heart for every order that I receive in the month of June from my shop Bobbin’ Along.  This way, if crafting isn’t your skill, you can still give.  I urge you all to use your own skills to help others in need.  As you can see from my experience, just a little time and effort goes a long way to make a difference in a person’s life.

To find a workshop or request patterns to help this charity, go to http://www.aHearttoHold.com or find them on Facebook.

New Month, New Goals

It’s June 1st!  I am a person to make new years resolutions and stick to them for a whole 2 days before deciding that those resolutions aren’t smart.  If you want to do something like “get in shape” or “save more money,” you shouldn’t need to wait for January 1st to start.  Start now!  I was on an extremely strict “diet” during April in order to train for my first half marathon.  I felt amazing.  My friends and I actually ran in tutus from my shop Bobbin’ Along.

Then after my race, I didn’t have a huge goal to continue to strive to keep up the diet.

So earlier this week, I brought up to some people an idea to get back into a little healthier habits that I had lost in the month of May.  I am hoping others will join in on my fun experiment and start being healthier with me!  I do have a triathlon coming up in 3 weeks, so I’m hoping this will kick my butt into gear to start actively training for it.  The rules are SUPER simple.  There is no excuse to not do this.  So let’s do it!!

Here are the 2 (yes only 2!) rules:

Drink 8 glasses of water a day.  One simple tip would be to drink one glass (8 ounces) an hour during work.  If you don’t have a 9-5 job or on the weekends, go about your daily routines, but drink a glass of water before certain activities.  This weekend I will have to do my laundry.  I’m going to drink a glass of water before loading my washing machine (and since I have about 10 loads to do, I will quickly reach my 8 glasses goal!).

Now that you are drinking more water, more frequent trips to the bathroom are inevitable.  This is the only other rule!  Do a SHORT and EASY workout during each bathroom trip during the day.  I have a couple of easy “circuit” workouts to get your body moving in the right direction.  Please feel free to add/subtract different workouts.  If you have some to add, let me know!  I’d love to spice up my workout breaks.

  • 20 squats
  • 20 jumping jacks
  • lunges back to your desk (or from the bathroom to wherever you were coming from)
  • wall sits (count to 30)
  • 20 wall push ups (or real push ups, but I’m giving easy alternatives for those that don’t generally workout a lot)
  • 20 sit ups
  • balance on one leg for 30 seconds

Please note that these don’t have to be hard mini workouts.  If you can’t do that many, that’s fine.  Any amount is better than nothing!  The goal is to do this for the entire month of June.  If it goes past that, AWESOME!  It’s something so simple that should be easy to fit into anyone’s busy life, and believe me, I’m busy.  If I can do it, so can you!

Good luck, and let me know if you are doing it and what works or doesn’t work for you!