Sunday, October 17, 2010

When you least expect it...

things change.

I have neglected the blog.  I did it intentionally since the summer was so busy and the sewing was so little.  I did get to do some fun stuff (all gifts that have been given away BEFORE pictures.  Shameful.) like the gathered clutch and  my new tote bag pattern.  They both turned out really well.  Normally, I would not buy a tote bag pattern but it was suppose to be the basis of my very first beginners' sewing class!  So exciting.  The girls finally went back to school in Sept., I had time to sew.  All was well.

Two weeks in we had a trip to Germany scheduled.  Last year I resisted this trip because I think it is hard on kids to begin a new schedule only to be yanked out of it.  But this year, I realized that next year Sophia would be in KINDERGARTEN and we couldn't pull her out of "real" school.  So off we went to enjoy friends, Wurstmarkt, and Oktoberfest. Yes, we really ought to have had enough of these things, but no.  We enjoy them in a different way now with kids.

We had a WONDERFUL trip.  The weather and events were on our side.  The weather was perfect at 75F and sunny.  We enjoyed the Wurstmarkt with Anna and Filippo.  It was not the best place to catch up with friends, but the kids had a big time.

Filippo, Amelia, and Sophia,Wurstmarkt 2010

Mama and Amelia on the Riesenrad, Wurstmark 2010

Sophia on the Riesenrad, Wurstmarkt 2010

Sophia on random ride that goes round and round and round, Wurstmark 2010

Amelia enjoying her first Hollandische Pommes, Wurstmarkt 2010

We also had a great time with Joe, Melissa and family at many events, but the one that we loved the most was the kulinarische Wanderung in Rodenbach near Kindsbach.

Eric, Sophia, Heather, and Amelia at Stop #2, Kulinarische Wanderung  2010

After a few wonderful days in our old home state (Rheinland-Pfalz) we headed off to Munich to visit other old haunts.  I know we should break out, but we can't help it: we love these places!!  So, off we went.  The first day in Munich we actually traveled by Strassenbahn to Oberpfaffenhofen.  Then we endured enjoyed a 3 or so mile hike up to the Andechs Monastery.  If you love dark beer (specifically doppelbock) you NEED to go to Andechs!   The hike there is heavenly (even with two kids) and when you get there, the reward is...heavenly.  Sorry, there are just no other words.  The fact that the weather was still on our side was just plain old good luck.  The amount of people there surprised us, but everyone was having such a wonderful time enjoying the moment!

Amelia with the best strawberry ice cream ever, Andechs 2010

Mama and Sophia, Andechs 2010

However, our carefree times were about over.  While at Andechs, actually during our second bit of doppelbock, Eric got a phone call.  

Amelia and Eric hard at work, Andechs 2010

He got a promotion, yay!  We are moving to NJ, fun?! Holy **** we have a lot to do!  But before that, we still have several days of fun...

Amelia's first real taste of apple juice.  I swear it is like crack for babies!

Sophia and Amelia enjoying apple juice, Hirschgarten 2010

Collecting chestnuts so that we could feed the deer at the Hirschgarten in Munich.

Deer, Hirschgarten 2010
Taking Amelia on the Riesenrad at Oktoberfest.  This was Sophia's first ride when she was 9 months old.

Amelia, Eric, Heather, and Sophia, Oktoberfest 2010

Octoberfest 2010
Amelia's first kid ride, ever.

Amelia and Sophia, Oktoberfest 2010
Family time at a great event.

The family in the Augustiner-Festhalle, Oktoberfest 2010

The girls +girl/elephant, Oktoberfest 2010

After Amelia discovered her love of juice and Sophia her love of big, ol' pretzels, we headed back to Kindsbach.  We had a wonderful last few days that included a great Oktoberfest celebrations in Kindsbach and a lot of computer time on trying to figure out where we should move.  It was a great vacation!  And now, it is back to reality...

NJ bound!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sewer's Block

Unfortunately, I don't mean that I am going to talk about a block of a quilt.  I mean, I think I have sewer's block as in writer's block.  Between my month of family visits and a summer schedule that doesn't have a lot of free time (meaning when the kiddos are somewhere else), I've lost not only my time, but also my desire to sew. What is happening to me??  I hope when the summer chaos calms, I will find my inspiration again.  Maybe a new serger will help. Hee hee.  My poor hubby.

Even though my summer has not been full of wonderful creations, I was lucky enough to get the girls' Fourth of July dresses done.  I actually got them ready in time for Memorial Day which was fitting.  I even got pictures!!

The fabric was leftover from last summer when I made place mats and napkins for my mom.  I used the Leisurely Dress pattern from SewMamaSew for Sophia's dress.  Amelia's is just a layered version of the Summer Smock dress from Weekend Sewing.

Both girls were nice enough to pose.  And yes, that scrunched up face is what A does every time someone gets a camera out or says cheese.  Wonder how many years of that we will have? Well, at least she is happy!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bye Bye Sadie Dog

I know that she is just a dog, but we love her very much.  Today, we have to say goodbye and it breaks our hearts.  She was a very good dog, companion, source of entertainment and frustration.  She was my first baby.  

She has lived a wonderful life and made ours happier.  We will miss her terribly.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Randomness-Why Do We Love It?

So, there has not been much sewing going on here since the family has invaded.  We were fortunate to have my parents down over Memorial Day for Sophia's dance recital.  Talk about a whole lot of stress that resulted in a whole lot of entertainment and fun.  I still haven't decided if it is worth it for a four year old, but I am definitely happy we did it this year.

After oma and opa left, Tante Sonja, Eli, and Ella came down.  They are still here and Sophia and Amelia are enjoying their cousins a lot!  Eric, Sonja and I are just trying to get by.  None of us are used to four kids.  It can be a handful at times!!  

But Friday the World Cup started, so now Eric and I have something to enjoy for the next month.  Yay!  We watched the US tie England and enjoyed it.  But yesterday we got to watch Germany win over Australia 4-0 and we loved every minute.   

(picture from

As I was sitting there watching, several thoughts kept running through my head. The first was the normal: Why do we care so much?  I don't understand how sports can get us.  The emotion involved can be incredible: heartbreaking or ecstatic.  It is amazing to me because only international soccer has gotten me like that.  Before my first WM (weltmeisterschaft), I truly did not understand how men could get so worked up over college or professional sports. Now, I have at least gotten a taste.  My question, though, is: Do my emotions run high because of the memory, the spirit, the experience that I associate with it?

You see, my first WM was the summer after I moved to Germany.  I was a bit lonely without friends, family, or job.  So, when the WM started coming on, one game each day (we only had basic cable) it gave me something to connect to.

But actually, the whole love for soccer started before that.  In May 2002, Eric and I were fortunate enough to be in Madrid, Spain when Real Madrid was playing Bayer Leverkusen for the Champions League Finale.  Even though we were sort of rooting for Leverkusen, being newly expatriated to Germany, we were thrilled when Real Madrid won because the city went berserk in a very happy, fun-loving way!  The next day the joy continued as the team toured the city stopping at different squares to wave to fans.  They ended in a church to say mass. I loved the otherness of it all.  The players, many of them millionaires, all wore the same suit.  They all wore ties. It was just different than American football.

That otherness continued through the WM.  I loved how they have the kids walk out for the national anthems.  I found it inspiring how the players were so international even when playing on their national teams.  I mean, the German coach, Rudi Voeller, who is German gave interviews to the Italian reporters in Italian since he had spent much of his professional career in Italy.  The same was true for foreign players who played or had played in Germany.  They would give interviews in German to the German reporters.  As someone struggling to learn that language, I was impressed.  In the US, we (or maybe just me) are pretty quick to pigeon hole people and one of our favorites is "dumb jock."  Well, these guys, who do not go through a college system to play professionally or internationally were doing a fine job being informed about the places and people they encountered.

I really can not pin point why I fell in love with it all, but I did.  The memories of that WM after which I wanted, to the horror of Eric, to name our first born son Oli or the one in 2006 which was in Germany  (we never got tickets) and inspired two of my favorite German songs, Dieser Weg 

and Was Wir Alleine Nicht Schaffen,

must have caused my tears on Sunday. I love that place and that time.  I miss it lots even though I am so fortunate to have wonderful friends here.  We feel so connected to Germany and its team even though we have no right to.  It makes no sense, but life and love are often like that.  Hell, sports are often like that.  All I can say is, "GO DEUTSCHLAND!!" and I hope you all enjoy the 2010 World Cup.  We will be watching!
(picture from

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sneak Peek

Still working on that darn 1st quilt, but wanted to show it off anyway.  Here it is before the quilting begins. 

The actual quilting ended up being harder than I expected. I knew it would take some time, but I didn't realize that I wouldn't like the look of my stitches. I am now done with all the blocks (hideous stitches be damned) and need to start on the border area.  Since that is the step I have to draw out first, I'm currently procrastinating by blogging ☺

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Randomness-The Girls

No sewing. Just the girls. A picture of Amelia at the show and a video of Sophia's End of Year Program. It was just so cute even if you can hardly understand a word they are saying! I love the programs.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

I spent Mother's Day doing something I enjoy: sewing.  I actually sewed some things for my Mother (I won't see her until the end of the month, so technically it is not late.)  I threw in an extra for my sister since she is a mom too (and I had the fabric).  My sewing has resulted in a lot of gifts lately and that makes me feel good.  Mother's Day is a day for all of us moms to do something that makes us feel good.  Some go to the spa, some out to eat, some just to a park with their kids.  I sewed and now I am going to share.  Yay happiness on our day!

First, Sophia's Old Navy dress replica got gathered pockets yesterday.

The pockets are from Made.  I used them on her Easter skirt, too.  They are fast and easy.  You just have to be careful that you turn enough under and that you catch it when sewing the pocket onto the skirt/dress.  I must also confess that I did not put the button on because let's face it, it would never get used by a 4 year old.

My hope for today was to start quilting my quilt top from my class.  Yes, it is done, basted and ready.  However, my Mother's Day gift, a walking foot, did not get here in time.  Boo! Hopefully next week. 

That unfortunate event did allow me to focus on my mom.  She loves that I sew, but she doesn't necessarily want anything that I sew.  It is strange.  So that my feelings would not get hurt and so that I could try out some of the cute tutorials collected for Celebrating Mom, again from Made, I did not ask her what she wanted.   I just picked a couple of things I would want.

First came the brush holder from another fave of mine, Freshly Picked

I got carried away and poof, my sister got one too.

Then came the gathered clutch by Noodleheads.  I meant to make my sister one of these too, but ended up having trouble with the zipper in the end step.  It was just too bulky and stopped my machine several times (yes, I do need a new needle soon, but I am trying to push on through with this one for some insane reason.  I am strange.  I do admit it on a regular basis!!)  I think it might have been something about the length of the zipper since I have made zippered pouches before using the end pieces on the zipper and not had trouble.  Regardless, I ended up (after sewing and ripping two times) just taking the whole thing apart and taking off the end pieces.  It worked great after that. 

I plan to revisit the tutorial of the other zippered clutch with end pieces.  I really bet that the end piece was suppose to be 1" long after folding and mine was only 1/2".  I think the pair will make for a nice gift for my mom, though.

The final gifts that were made this week were my teacher appreciation gifts that will be given at the end of the school year.  S has had a GREAT year at school and I think a lot of that is due to her teachers.  She has learned so much and seemed much more comfortable than in years past.  I know some of it is her age, but her two teachers really are super nice.  I made them the Mama Bag from Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule.  The book was generously loaned to me by Melissa. Thank You!!

Like Melissa before me, I added a magnetic clasp and inside pocket.  On the second one I added a large, 1.5", circle of cardboard on the back of each side of the clasp.  It helps a lot to spread the pull on the fabric from the clasp.  I put a bit of cardboard on the first one too, but it was almost the exact same size as the metal back of the clasp.  I feel like I am going to rip the bag every time I open it.  But now, the question is: will the cardboard make a huge mess if the bag is washed?  If anyone has answers for me, please share!!

They look nice and springy though, so I hope they make two wonderful people happy!

OK, that is all for gift time now.  I still have two trinket keepers to make for my wonderful nephew who has a birthday tomorrow.  Again, won't see him until June 2, so not technically late.☺  Then, I HAVE to finish my second quilt top and quilt it BEFORE Father's Day.   That one is a must since I have been late with every gift for my Dad for about a year now. 

Good thing making gifts makes me happy!
Happy Mother's Day to all!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spring Top Week

You know what?  It has been over a year since I took that sewing class.  It has been over a year since I started this blog.  I am so psyched about what I can do and about what I see others doing!!

Part of that is Spring Top Week by Made by RaeRae's Ruffled Top was a new entry last year on Sew Mama Sew when I had first started sewing.  I soooo wanted to try it, but I didn't have the confidence to start sewing for myself until August.  Even then, I didn't do it often.  It is just so much easier to sew for kids: less fabric, faster results, a real need for those growing kids.  Finally, I started sewing for myself about two months ago and after a few successes, I so wanted to take part in Rae's Top Week.  It is like coming full circle.

I have tried for a month to figure out what top I should make.  I wear t-shirts.  I mean, I ONLY wear t-shirts.  I only wanted to make a shirt if it was wearable.  I only have two non-t-shirt shirts that I like to wear.  I thought about trying to replicate one of those (the one that is NOT a button down shirt), but let's face it, that is a bit intimidating in itself even after my latest success with Sophia's dress.  Then I thought about how that shirt was similar to the Ruffled Top.  Even though, it is probably "so last year" (must be said with a snotty teenager voice), I thought it worth doing.  So, I jumped up Saturday and started measuring and sewing.  I am pretty pleased with the outcome.  I especially appreciated the pockets that will keep little toys and tissues for the kids!

The fabrics are from my stash (the one that rocks!)  I used to say that I would never wear clothes that match my kids.  I have found in the last several weeks that indeed I will due to the stash.  I mean, 3 yards of each fabric will get something for me, for S, for A, and perhaps, for someone else.  I can not say that I am sorry about that!

So, here is to Top Week.  Here is to improvement and growth!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Having a Stash Rocks!

So, did I tell you about that crazy shopping spree at JoAnn's Fabric a month or so ago? 
Well, let's just say I am not allowed back and honestly, I should not need to go except for detail items like buttons.  I also have several items from my closet in the sewing room just waiting to be repurposed.  One such item was a floor length jean skirt.  I had finally chopped it up for use in my second quilt (no, the first quilt is not complete.  The class has 2 more weeks to go.  After that I plan on being a speed demon!)  The skirt had a nice waist area that formed a triangle in front and back that I preserved for use in a skirt for the girls.  I added the waist to some of the fabric I had bought during my spree and brought home thinking, "What in the world am I going to make with this?"  It ended up looking like this for Amelia...

I like it lots.  I also got to try out a peasant blouse/dress tutorial that my sewing circle friends informed me of.  I had been looking for one for a while.  You can find it and lots of other cool stuff at indietutes.  It is amazing to me that my friends always find new stuff on the web.  I feel like I spend soooooo much time surfing that I should have found it all by now, but apparently not.  We should just have a surfing circle so that we can see all the cool stuff that each one of us finds. 

I then tackled a replica of one of Sophia's Old Navy dresses that she had last summer.  It is just too small now.  I still need to add some details (pockets, embellishment on the top yoke) and get her to wear it, but other than that it is finished.  I am pretty happy with it, although I think I need to work on the attachment at the bottom of the yoke.  I bet there is a "way" to do it, but I don't know of it.  I just forced it to work. 

The cool thing about the dress and A's skirt is that I used elastic just in the back.  I had been wanting to try this and it seems to have worked fine on both items.  It helps give the outfits a less homemade look without having to deal with those pesky zippers and button plackets. 

I might be off to work on a shirt for me.  I so wanted to take part in Made by Rae's Top Week, but I only have 5 more days to get the shirt done and I don't even know what shirt I want to make.  Yikes!  Off to sew!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

At least one of them will wear it...

I haven't been blogging much because I am taking a quilting class and progress is ssssslllllloooowwww.  I did want to share A wearing one her Easter dresses though.  She looked so cute yesterday with her purse and keys ready to go, go, go!

Then she got distracted by the Glee trailer I was watching on Hulu.  Oh, a girl after my own heart!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A New World

A new world full of jeans that fit.  What a dream.  Well, the dream has come to my home.  Thanks to this tutorial from Freshly Picked (yep, the same wonderful blogger who supplied me with the elastic waist skirt tutorial.)  I had several pairs of jeans that just did not fit.  I had been fortunate enough to lose weight after Amelia turned one (yep, it takes me that long to lose all my baby weight.  yep, I know that I am lucky to lose all my baby weight.) A couple of jeans had been on the big size before pregnancy #2 and one I had bought about 5 months after A was born.  Well, the ones that were already big were really too big.  Finally on Tuesday, as I was taking S to school in the biggest of the big, I had had enough.  I mean, I was showing everything.  I came home, put A to bed and started ripping the seams.  An hour and a half later, I had jeans that I could wear without being embarrassed.  It was amazing.  It was the first time in a long while that I HAD to show someone what I had done. 

Two pairs and several days later, I have realized that this is why I learned to sew.  The joy that comes with being able to produce something tangible is so wonderful.  Yay sewing!!  It doesn't hurt that this is the first time that I got a real financial benefit from it. Jeans are expensive.  The time it takes to find jeans that really fit is also a cost.  With this tutorial, I saved both.  Honestly, it took a lot of time and flashing to get to the point of trying this tutorial.  I am not fearless, but I am happy! 

I wish I would have taken before pictures, but I was too intent on the results.  So, here they are:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Spring Clothes

So, I know that I made the girls Easter dresses, but then I saw this tutorial on Freshly Picked that was just like those dresses at Target that I have not been buying since I was sure that I could make them. I used some of the Easter Fabric that was used for those change purses.  And it turned out like...

 this, and...


Amelia's was so short though that it stuck straight out in the back.  I ended up adding another layer just so her modesty would not be offended.

The picture above was so blurry that I thought Amelia needed another photo to show off her cuteness. So...

Here she is modeling her sister's hat.  And since A got a cute pic then so should Sophia. 

I have been wanting to show off her blue hair anyway.  It matched her bunny.

I also made myself some pants using the shorts pattern. 

It worked quite well even though I had to fudge on the bottom hem and do something like bias tape or they would have been too small. I think that they will be nice for spring and summer since the cotton is so thin. 

The only bummer about all these new clothes is that they wrinkle very badly after being washed and dried.  I have been meaning to mention that.  It is ok since I always have my ironing board out in the sewing room, but man, it makes those store bought clothes all the better.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Spring Wardrobe

Well, as you may remember, blogs are wonderful things. This time I say that because my blog seems to have some psychological effect on me. After posting my entry about my dress and being intimidated about it, I finished it in the next couple of days. That is the second time it has happened like that. There is something about expressing your fears, in this case blogging about them, that allows you to get over them. Very strange and powerful.

The dress

turned out okay. I am pleased with it for several reasons.

1. I can actually wear it. This is my second dress, but it is the first one I will wear. The first one ended up looking like a hospital gown and I ended up cutting it off and using it as a skirt.

2. It contains a lot of firsts. My first sleeves (for me), collar, and button placket. I think they all turned out pretty good.

Things I still need to work on and change:

1. I need to remember to add pockets. I know that can mess with the style of some clothes, but with this dress it would have been fine. I could have added them in the seam and since it is quite loose at the hips (due to #2 below) it would have allowed me to carry tissues or little toys. I always say that the clothing industry is trying to keep women down by either not adding pockets or making them so small that nothing can fit in them. Do you realize what an advantage men have over us by being able to carry around their most needed supplies in their pockets? It is a conspiracy, I say!

2. I really need to figure out how to size myself. I am even contemplating making one of those duct tape dress forms of myself. Hubby is ready! We watched the videos the other night and it is amazing how happy men can get just thinking about using duct tape. I tried to fix my sizing on this dress by taking in the waist at the sides, but it caused it to lie a bit oddly at the hips. I could have added darts, but I thought that odd also since it has gathering at the top back. I don’t think darts and gathers belong on the same dress. However, since my knowledge of garment making is quite limited, I could be wrong.

So, I finished my dress. I also repurposed two of my old shirts for Easter dresses for the girls.

I like them lots, but neither girl seems thrilled. They will wear them anyway for at least that one day! I am thinking of having them wear leggings and leaving the dresses open after the third button so that the under skirts show more. I made the extra ladybug under skirts because I thought the shirts were a little thin for dresses.  I also thought it tied in well with the red buttons and ladybug ruffles.

After the dresses, I started on shorts. I made two pairs of shorts last year, but to be honest, I sort of wimped out and made them like pajama bottoms – no zipper, just drawstring. They are not the type of shorts I would buy at a store. Well, during one of those sales I am so fond of, I bought a pattern for “real” shorts. I have now made two pairs (the second one from one of hubby’s old shirts) and I love them. They DO look like shorts I would have bought. Yay!

They also have some of the problems store bought clothes have. The first pair is just a bit tight around the hips and gapes a little in the back. Story of my life! (FYI while trying on the shorts to take this photo, I decided they were not too tight, just too low.  I don't know if it was just another day or if washing them loosened them.)

I tried to make the second pair a bit bigger in two ways. I wanted a little more room in the hips and I wanted the waist to be higher. For those who know me that is strange, but these were really low waisted. I added an inch to the crotch area to raise up the waistband. I also tried to add a bit of fabric on the side of the front section of the shorts to make them roomier. Unfortunately, with the way the pockets are inserted, I needed to have increased the size of them and I didn’t realize that until construction. I ended up cutting off the extra fabric and just decreasing the seam allowance from 5/8” to ½”. It WORKED!

I am super thrilled with my progress in garment sewing, but I’m sort of projectless now that I don’t need anymore dresses or shorts. I may have to start on tops soon. I need to use some of my Easter fabric for the girls, but hate making things that I know won’t be worn more than once or twice. Suggestions for my next project are welcome (as long as they don’t involve stuffed animals. Sophia gives that suggestion every other day!)

Come on Spring!