Embracing My Inner Geek – MegaCon 2013

I admit it…I am a geek.  I have a soft spot for anything Star Wars.  I also kind of have a crush on Spock (although I would NOT consider myself a Trekkie/Trekker), can quote the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and love various other pop culture phenomenons that lean towards the nerdy end of the spectrum.  To top it off, if you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I’m a Disney geek, and also a history geek.  And…I married a geek too!  He not only loves all of the things I have already mentioned, but he also has a HUGE video game collection, loves Harry Potter (something I never really got into), and reads comic books.  I’m not sure why, but I have always been drawn to guys who have some kind of geeky streak to them (see above crush on Spock).

We are planning on attending Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this coming May for my birthday, just like we do every year.  I have always felt left out that I didn’t have any Star Wars clothing to wear.  Everyone always dresses so festively, whether it’s an actual character costume (which I would never do…too uncomfy and hot!) or just a Star Wars themed t-shirt and/or hat.  I decided I wanted to participate this year, so I found this shirt from Old Navy with a very sassy Princess Leia on the front:

I wanted something a little extra, and remembered the Star Wars fabric that I had bought awhile back.  I decided to whip up a quick headband for myself (used this tutorial…SO easy, it literally took me about 10 minutes).

I ended up getting to wear my new geek-ensemble sooner than I thought!  Tadd and I ended up going to MegaCon 2013, which is one of the largest sci-fi/comic book/fantasy conventions in the southeastern US.

Now I am all ready for Star Wars Weekends!

What do you geek out about?  Come on, everyone has SOMETIHNG!

Top 5 Projects of 2012

Can you believe that 2012 is almost over?  It seems like it has flown!  Tadd and I are ready for 2013.  If it’s anything like the past year has been, then we are in for some good stuff.  Can’t wait to find out!

Instead of a typical year in review post, I thought I would share my top 5 most popular project posts of the past year.  I always find it interesting to see what posts people like to read the most.  And it’s always fun to reflect on all I have done in the past year!

5. REUSABLE PRODUCE BAG

This reusable produce bag was one of the first sewing projects I completed at the beginning of this year.  I believe it was the first time I boxed a corner!  And it was one of the first projects that seemed to go really smoothly from start to finish.  Successes like these are what encouraged me to keep going with teaching myself how to sew this past year.  And on top of that, it’s just plain cute!

4. PINK SANGRIA

I love a good sangria recipe.  And although I do love this very popular pink sangria recipe that I made last May, I think my all-time favorite version is the peach sangria I made over 4th of July weekend!  It’s my new go-to summer drink of choice.

3. FALL TABLE RUNNER

If you know me, you know that fall is my favorite season.  When I saw this adorable fall fabric at JoAnn Fabrics, I knew I had to think of a project to make with it.  This lead to this reversible fall table runner, which was my very first ever sewing project where I made something just based on what I wanted, as opposed to following someone else’s tutorial.  It was also the first time I used a decorative stitch.  It obviously wasn’t anything super complicated, but I was still so pleased with how it turned out.

2. CHOCOLATE CHIP CHEESECAKE

My chocolate chip cheesecake post from last spring has REALLY taken off in the past several weeks.  As I mentioned previously, this recipe has been pinned and repinned a TON of times now.  It’s super easy and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients.  I not only made it for Easter 2012 dessert, but made it again last week for our family’s Christmas dinner dessert!  It’s always a big hit.

1. TERRACOTTA POT SAUCER COASTERS

This is, no question, the most popular post EVER on my blog.  It’s the closest thing I have gotten to going viral and it still gets a ton of hits almost every single day.  As a matter of fact, this post has gotten more pageviews than my blog’s regular main page!  Everyone loves these terracotta pot saucer coasters.  I’m glad everyone loved this project as much as I did, although I certainly did not come up with the idea.  I was inspired by this great post from the Joy Is At Home blog, and she was inspired by someone else and so on.

What were your favorite projects that you completed in 2012?  Any goals or ideas for 2013 projects?

Pretzel turtles and a bow wristlet!

Wanted to share two quick last-minute Christmas projects with you before I return to my pre-holiday to-do list!

This idea can be found in about five zillion versions on five zillion blogs and Pinterest pins.  I used this version from thehungryhousewife.com.  All you need are mini preztels (the waffle shapes or the traditional twists), Rolo candies, and halved pecans.

Toast the pecans for 7 minutes in a 350F oven.  In the meantime, lay out your pretzels on a foil-lined baking sheet and top them with the Rolos.  Stick the Rolo-topped pretzels in the oven for 5 or so minutes, then smoosh a pecan half on top of each melty Rolo.  Viola!

I was worried that they would stick to the foil, but I put them in the fridge to firm up overnight, and this morning, they popped right off of the baking sheet.

Can’t get much more effortless than that.  I have seen other versions using Hershey Kisses (the white chocolate candy cane ones work great) topped with red and green M&Ms.

Second project is a sewing project.  I wanted to make something special for a relative that will be in town for Christmas, so I decided to make her a wristlet.  But I wanted to do something different from the wristlets I have done in the past.  I found this tutorial from elmstreetlife.com, and decided to make it my own by using natural linen for the body, and one of my favorite quilting cotton fat quarters (beefed up with some medium-weight interfacing) to give a two-toned look.  I really love the size of this wristlet.  I might have to make one for myself.  I hope she likes her gift.

And with that, I am signing off until later this week.  Off to make my cheesecake and finish cleaning the house!

Scrappy Patchwork Tree Ornaments!

I was recently inspired by this post on noodle-head.com and decided to try my hand at making some scrappy tree ornaments like the ones she made.  I found I could make them quickly with very little materials.  I already had a large amount of brown felt leftover from another project, so I cut them into the appropriate shapes (get the printable template on noodle-head.com).

Then all I needed was a few cute pieces of festive holiday fabric.  You barely need any…just some small scraps will do…  (small print works best)

And a little bit of ribbon….

And you’re ready to sew!

It’s pretty simple.  Sew the tree scraps to one piece of felt first.  Then sew the two pieces of felt together with a ribbon at the top for hanging.  One nifty trick is that you stuff a little bit of batting into the ornament while it’s still on the needle, just before continuing on to sew the third and final side of the felt together.

Viola!  Cute, rustic ornaments that take about 5 minutes to make.  I made mine in a very speedy fashion and they are far from the perfect little trees posted on noodle-head.com, but I kind of like that they look handmade and rustic.

A couple of other ideas I had regarding this project:

I made one without the ribbon loop at the top and gave it to my kitties as a toy.  I would like to make another one for them, but put a little catnip in with the batting.

These would be great with some kind of scented item on the inside.  Maybe some cinnamon?

Linking up!:

shabby creek cottage

A Jumble of Thoughts and Goings-On…Brought to you by Hurricane Sandy

It’s a very quiet day around here today.  At work, most of our clients and colleagues are based in NYC, so many of them are quite understandably spending the day preparing for Hurricane Sandy and not concentrating on sending me stuff to do.  Nice change of pace for the day, but it can get a bit boring.  However, I am definitely thinking about all of my many family, friends, and colleagues who are dealing with this Frankenstorm.  Please stay safe, all you North-easterners!  Having been through the Florida hurricane-palooza of 2004 (Charlie/Frances/Ivan/Jeanne), I know it can be scary!

We were not planning on dressing up for Halloween this year, which would have been kind of sad.  But a friend of ours put together a last-minute party about a week in advance, so we had to scramble to figure out costumes!  We decided to do the reverse of what we did 5 years ago.  In 2007, I was an angel and Tadd was a devil.  This year, I got to be the devil!  And Tadd was an angel (although let’s be honest, he’s no angel…ha!).  I reused his pitchfork and the red cape from my Little Red Riding Hood costume from last year and found a $5 set of horns, bow tie, and tail.

Here we are in 2007:

And here we were last Saturday (sorry about the poor quality…as you can see from my friend’s reflection behind us, it was taken with a phone in dim lighting):

Tadd and I went on a date night to one of our favorite Park Avenue dinner spots last night, but beforehand I was able to convince him to take me to JoAnn Fabrics!  I spent way more than I should have, but I got all kinds of stuff to make a few Christmas presents, and what I hope will be a Thanksgiving wreath.  So stay tuned!

I did get started on a new sewing project last night, but something in my sewing machine malfunctioned and it just was not working correctly.  Tadd is going to try to fix it tonight.  I hope so, because I was almost finished with what I was working on.  It was frustrating to be so close to finishing without being able to finish.

And in the spirit of Halloween, I will leave you with this:  At work, one of the executives’ wives is an amazing baker.  Their family had a Halloween party over the weekend and the leftovers were brought to our company breakroom for us to share.  Incredible!  There is a brownie graveyard, a haunted castle cake, a huge cauldron of candy, adorable cupcakes, etc.  I know I shouldn’t have, but I took one of the cupcakes and a chocolate oreo kitty.  How cute are these?  That little knife in the “bloody” cupcake is actually a tiny cookie!

Fall Table Runner

I recently found some really cute fall fabric at JoAnn’s and decided I wanted to make a really simple reversible table runner for my kitchen table. I got a yard of each fabric, eyeballed the size that I wanted, sewed them together with some light batting to give it some weight, and then top-stitched with a decorative stitch. Simple, but really cute!

This was my first time using one of the decorative stitches, and I have to say, they are fun! But also take a ton of thread. This entire project took almost my whole spool of beige thread.

And here’s the finished product. Excuse the battered scratching post in the background! Maybe I should have staged a little better…

And here you can see the other side, which is a really pretty orange print.

Linking up to the It’s Fall Y’all link party at The Lettered Cottage and Transformation Thursdays at The Shabby Creek Cottage!

shabby creek cottage

Buy all the things!

I had promised myself that I would pull out all my fall & Halloween decor last night, but I got something in the mail that I had been waiting for, so that derailed me for the evening.  However, I have now re-promised myself that TONIGHT will be the night!  Tadd and I stopped by JoAnn Fabrics on the way home from work yesterday and it was Halloween-palooza!  They have some freakishly adorable Halloween stuff.  I wasn’t as keen on their fall stuff this year, but they had one aisle where I seriously wanted to BUY ALL THE THINGS!

I bought a few items, but will probably go back for more.  And I need to stop by Dollar Tree.  Even though I REALLY don’t need anymore Halloween decor.  I think I have a problem.  I started shopping for this season hoping for more fall stuff and less Halloween, but for some reason I am always drawn to the Halloween stuff.  Go figure…

I didn’t buy any of this stuff, but I wanted to!

I also bought some fall fabric, which I am HOPING to turn into something pretty.  My idea is simple, but since I am still fairly new to sewing, I sometimes worry that constructing something very simple on my own (without a tutorial) will still conclude in failure.  But I don’t know until I try, so I suppose we will see.

I bought about $54 worth of stuff, but only paid $18 out of pocket, thanks to my favorite shopping combo: sales + coupon + giftcard (I still had $10.78 left on one card from my birthday).  Tadd was impressed with how much stuff we got for so little.

All that rambling to tell you that hopefully I will be able to share my new purchases, and some of my old items in new ways starting tomorrow!  Bring on the fall decor!

A plethora of stuff in progress…

Sorry things have been somewhat quiet around here.  I have been working diligently on a few projects that are not near ready to share yet.  Here are some sneak peeks:

Project #1 (which involves lots of cutting, and lots of sewing small pieces of fabric together):

…and Project #2 (squee!)

Yes, we have started our mini-remodel in the kitchen.  I’m still not entirely sure how far we are going to take this project, because now that the beadboard is up, the countertops offend me even more than usual and they JUST HAVE TO GO.  But if we replace the counters (even if we just start with the counters on the island), then we have to replace the island sink.  Then you have to replace the faucet.  It just begets more and more and more projects.  We will have to see as we go.  I have a feeling the kitchen will be in transition for a long time starting now.  But hopefully it will be fun for people to follow along?

We have also been happily distracted all weekend by this:

In other exciting news…My husband recently signed up for Birchbox for Men.  Can’t wait until his first box arrives (should be any day now), so I can share and tell you his impressions of the products!  Still patiently waiting for my invite for the women’s version…

Red swirly mini zip wallet

I know I tend to make the same projects over and over again, but I thought I would share the latest mini zip wallet that I made as part of a friend’s birthday gift.  I might have to make the exact same one for myself because I freaking adore that red fabric, and I just really find these tiny wallets incredibly useful.

You can see the other mini zip wallets I have made here.

You can find the original tutorial I used to make the wallet here, at noodle-head.com (which is an excellent resource for easy-to-follow sewing tutorials).

I promise I will try some totally new projects soon.  I am already thinking about fall, and saw a great fabric for a fall table runner.  Also, I found a great tutorial on making a scarf that I would like to try.  So bear with me on the overabundance of project repeats!

shabby creek cottage

Ah, weddings…

I love weddings, don’t you?  Aside from just sharing in the joy of the bride and groom, there are so many ancillary things I love about weddings.

  • I love seeing the personalization that each couple puts into their wedding to make it unique.
  • I love the creativity involved.  I very often find the settings, colors, flowers, and overall look of each wedding to be inspiring.
  • I find the gravity and sincerity of the occasion to be so moving.  It’s amazing to share such a special moment with a couple that I care about.
  • Weddings are just plain fun.  I get to dress up, slow dance with my husband, and have a great time with friends and/or family.
  • It always makes me reminisce about my own wedding, nearly 8 years ago…

I’m sure I could go on.  And it makes me SO happy that tomorrow I get to see my friends Lara and Tom do just that, get married!  I wish them SO much happiness on their special day and for the rest of their lives.  It’s going to be a beautiful day and I am excited!

On a related note, Tadd and I both went out and got new outfits to wear tomorrow.  Well, Tadd got a new shirt and tie that  he will wear with an existing suit.  I, however, got a new dress, cardigan, shoes, and jewelry!  That is another reason weddings are great…they are a great excuse to shop!  I purchased the below dress.  It’s the most lovely shade of yellow (it’s actually slightly deeper in person), and I love it.

I decided to do something I hadn’t done yet since I started sewing.  I decided to make myself something special…A wristlet to go with my new dress!  I used that awesome yellow floral fabric I bought during my birthday shopping spree.  I have to say, I think it came out pretty cute!

I used this same tutorial that I have used for all of my wristlets thus far.  I urge any of you sewers out there to give this one a try.  It’s such an awesome tutorial, easy to follow with great results every time.