Announcements!

This post comes to you today in four parts:

1.) An announcement

2.) A project
3.) A new series
4.) Another announcement
Part one – an announcement!
For the month of July, I have committed to writing a 50,000 word novel….as part of Camp NaNoWriMo. For those of you unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo here is a little background: November is National Novel Writing Month…NaNoWriMo. For the months of April and July NaNoWriMo has done, and will be doing summer camp sessions, and I have signed up for a month of insanity writing. A really good friend of mine (and fellow writer) is taking on this assignment with me, and I’m really glad that we will be cabin mates (in the same writing group) for the month! I’m going to try to update the blog throughout the month and let you know how I’m doing as far as my word count goal, and whether or not I’ve completely lost my mind yet!! 
Created by me with Studio for iPhone! Love that app!!

Part two: A project

I received a bag of fabric and sewing supplies from a dear lady at church and am looking for the perfect project to use this fabric for. I’m looking for some dress patterns with kind of a vintage feel to them. I’m also working this summer on making a custom dress form (along with writing a novel, and trying to read through that list I posted last week) so that I can make some better fitting dresses! So that was two projects really!
Part Three: A new Series
I’m planning a new series for the blog!! I’m calling it “Homemade” I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes, either made be me, passed down to me, or from some of my favorite bloggers. I have a few recipes in the works, and one that I will be testing tomorrow night! 
another graphic made (by me!!) with Studio for iPhone
4.) Part Four: Another announcement
Now that I’m at part four I forgot what my other announcement was going to be…..well, that tells you what this day has been like!!
I get to start writing in a few days, I have lots of fun recipes coming up, and maybe a fun collaborative post or two! 
See you tomorrow! 
Blessings, 
Megan  

Quilting Without a Pattern….

A metaphor for life perhaps? Maybe…..

So, I had this idea that I was going to make a quilt. I didn’t have a pattern, or any fabric at all….but I wanted to make a quilt. I went out and bought a couple yards of black fabric, lot of fat quarter bundles, and tons of remnants on sale. Still no pattern, and no plan in sight.

This is where Pinterest came in and basically saved the day. I found this pin….

….and I figured that I could do a quilt, following the same basic idea that my final product should resemble a bookshelf filled with books. Easy peasy right?!

Finally, after about two months of cutting, and sewing and repeating that process 50 million  thousand (Hey! Don’t judge, that’s what it felt like to me!) times, the top of this quilt is done!

Next I decided that I didn’t want a boring back. I was going to use a single piece of fabric, sized to fit the front then assemble it all and quilt it….well, no one ever accused me of not being ambitious so I started to cut into all of my scraps…..once again–no plan. No pattern.  
On a non-quilt related note: I learned a lot about my self during this whole project 1.) I would not be able to ever quilt by hand….EVER! I love, love, love my machine and I think I’ve taken it for granted….never again! 2.) My seam ripper is my very best friend. I made lots of mistakes while sewing the books, and that seam ripper got lots and lots of use. 3.) I do lots of things on a whim….with nothing but a general idea in my head, and I think I need to do that more often. I can kind of be uptight about stuff, but if I can learn to just go with the flow, and not over analyze or over think….I can be happy with the outcome! 4.) I’m my own worst critic…and I really have to get over that. People look at the top and tell me how great it is and all I can see are imperfections. I’m still learning how to stop being so critical of my self…..
Anyway, back to the quilt. I just started cutting……4 1/4 inch squares to be exact. Lots of them. Two days it took me to cut all the scraps into the right size…for what? That I still didn’t know. Then I organized them by color Roy G. Biv style….cause that’s how I roll! After a day of thinking about it I started laying them out, again on a whim, no real though behind it…..or so I thought. Here you have it, the back of my quilt all sewn and ready to be assembled! 
There is is, I can’t wait to start assembling the whole thing. I have my batting, and I’m all set to go! I just have to finish the embroidery on the bookshelf portion and that is almost done. Hopefully sometime next week I’ll start the quilting!
Good night all, 
Blessings
Megan 

7 Quick Takes: 7 Quick Pics

Happy Friday once again! I’m posting early (much earlier than is normal for me), because hopefully at my normal posting hour I will be on the road towards my weekend conference (watch for a few posts regarding the conference coming soon.) so 1:00 a.m. it is. I realized today that I’ve told you guys a lot about my quilt: the basic layout and pattern, all of the embroidery, what kind of progress I’m making…. but I never showed you proof of any of this, allow me to remedy that today with 7 quick pics of my quilt-in-progress. 
1.) This is the quilting station that I’ve set up in my room. I turn on some music (crank it up is more like it) and sew away until my eyes get tired or the creative juices stop flowing.
2.)  using waste canvas, I have embroidered some of my favorite titles unto the books. Here is the Harry Potter series…. 
3.)…..Gone With the Wind (sorry, it’s a little blurry) 
4.) To Kill a Mockingbird 
5.) Les Miserables….
6.) The complete works of Jane Austen
7.) Quotes from some of my favorite authors, and books will go in some of the big empty spaces. 
 I have had such a great time working on this! I can’t wait to finally have it all done and be able to show you my final product (and first quilt!). If you would like to READ something (other than just look at pictures…) check these out: 
Linking up with Jen like I always do….make sure you go check out all of the other QT-ers. 
I hope you all have a lovely weekend! 
Blessings, 

Homemade Dry Shampoo

I love dry shampoo! I love that I don’t have to wash my hair everyday, because when I was it would dry out, and become very brittle. I love that you can get it with volumizer! You can refresh your hair, and give it a little lift. What I don’t love is the price tag.

My favorite brand

Basically all dry shampoo really is, is some kind of oil absorbing substance…right?? Why not make it homemade then!? It really can’t be that hard all you need is something to absorb the oil at the roots.

Oily…(for me, this is very oily, the picture makes it look lots better than it was)

I grabbed a canning jar and lid. I started out with equal parts of cocoa powder (because of my dark hair) and cornstarch. I ended up adding an extra two tablespoons of cocoa powder to really darken the mixture.

Using a make-up brush, I dabbed the cocoa-cornstarch mixture onto my roots and let it sit for about two minutes. After sitting for a few minutes, I just brushed it out with my hair brush!

…and viola!! Good as new! So there you have it, very easy, very cheap (and smells good enough to eat) dry shampoo! I absolutely love it, and I won’t be buying it from the store anymore! I love DIY-ing health and beauty products, and saving myself lots of money in the long run! 
Try it, you just might decide you like it!
Blessings, 
Megan Marie

7 Quick Takes: 4/12/13

Happy Friday! Today, I will be spending the entire day catering for Casting Crowns….One of my all time favorite Christian Bands…..so let me apologize now that this may be a rushed post. 
I’m going to get right to it: 
1.) Check out my post Quilts, Pasta, and a Throwback to find a great recipe for some (amazing) homemade pasta! Trust me, you can’t go wrong with this recipe.
2.) I bought some more fabric today for my quilt, and while I still don’t have much progress to share with  you I figured I’d show you the fabric that I managed to find: 
These fabrics, though they don’t really seem to match match at all, I know….I.JUST.KNOW that I can make them work!! I loved these bundles when I saw them and honestly couldn’t pass them up (it helped that they were on sale).

What I didn’t show you was that one black square in the last photo. I took several pictures of it but was never able to really get a good one. I’m using the black as a kind of “background” I didn’t want to just use plain black because that’s no fun. I bought four yards (I was being generous, this is my first quilt after all) of black with (in a light black/dark gray) has a print of music notations! I love it, and it is going to add the right bit of contrast, and dimension. 
3.) It has been raining here for four days, and is supposed to turn to snow sometime today. I know the weather right now is wonky all over the country, so I am not alone in my weather woes….I just want to be able to get outside and uncover plants, and put in my garden….and just do spring-y things! I can’t wait to put my garden in this year. It is something that I really look forward to each year. 
4.) I’m an addict. Not to anything detrimental to my health (only if I fall out of my chair laughing). No, I’m addicted to A&E’s Duck Dynasty. Yes, yes I am, and I am proud of it! This family is amazing! They are so rooted in their Christian faith and share it each week on their show. It is so great to see a family interact the way they do, and more importantly share their faith the way that they do….and they are SO.DANG.FUNNY!!
5.) I have a random question that has nothing to do with any of the above quick takes…..do you know of a good homemade-or-inexpensive blister prevention or treatment? I have terrible blisters on my feet from my tennis shoes. They are not new….I’ve had them for years, and wear them all the time but all of a sudden I have these awful blisters after only a few hours of wearing them? Normally I wouldn’t care but when the weather clears up and I start walking the neighborhood again I don’t want to deal with blisters every day. Any advice or remedies would be very appreciated! 
6.) Only a few more weeks to the end of my spring semester. When it’s done, I have the summer off, and will then be starting at my new school, with my new major. I’m really looking forward to this new chapter that God is writing for me. There are doors being opened, and I’m moving forward and am totally committed to my new major. I’m excited to see where God leads me…
7.)  There is so much going on these next two weeks: work, small group, rehearsal, extended rehearsal, work, baking multiple batches of deserts, formal dinner for 75 (helping to cater), playing in the orchestra for Ordination service, catering a lunch for 50, delegate to two (or more) days of District Assembly, delegate to Missions Convention, work, work, small group, rehearsal, dress rehearsal, work, concert, final exam. Throw in Sunday morning services and some studying and there goes the next two weeks of my life. 
So, until I wrote it out like that it didn’t seem so bad…….please don’t let me get in the habit of writing out my schedule like this! It’s crazy seeing how much I actually have to fit in, but I take it all a day at a time. Focusing on what is right in front of me…otherwise I get run down. I realize now it sounds like I’m complaining, and I don’t mean to…..this week I basically just wrote what came to mind……there is a lot jumping around in my brain right now, sorry! 
Jen is not hosting this week, after just having her baby…..so, head on over to Grace at Camp Patton for more of this weeks Quick Takes! Be praying for Jen, and baby Joseph! 
Blessings, 
Megan 

Refashion # 2

Time for the second refashion! Here is the original piece…

I did the second (and final refashion) in the same manor as the first. I started by picking away at the seam connecting the skirt and the bodice.

Then, I had to pick at the zipper (very carefully, so as to not ruin any of the layers of fabric) to remove it. 
One of my main concerns with this dress was that all three layers of fabric, and the bodice were connected with only one seam. I pinned as I pick so that I didn’t separate the layers. I’m glad I did this because it REALLY helped me in the long run. 
I sewed all the way around the top, and I sewed up where the zipper used to be before pinning it again. This time I pinned it to the same elastic that I used in the last refashion, creating my waistband. Sew on your elastic, and viola! 
That’s it! So easy!! 
(I promise that’s how it is supposed to look. It has a high-low hem! It does look pretty odd in the picture though) 
This kind of refashion is so easy! If you can operate a seam ripper, and sew a straight line, you can do this!
If you missed the original post, or the first refashion I did you can find them here:
Blessings,
Megan 

Refashion #1

Good morning all! Today I’m going to share with you my first refashion from those deals I scored at Goodwill last week.

This is the article of clothing that I began with. I started with those pesky shoulder pads, and just ripped them out……literally ripped out….of all things, they were VELCROED in!!
After that, I did pick out the velcro strips using my seam ripper, and I also picked the the two halves of this dress apart so that I had the skirt part to use. 
(Let me apologize for the complete lack of pictures in this post) Once I had my two pieces, I cleaned up the top of the skirt and measured my elastic. I used a one and a half inch wide elastic, and just sewed it directly to the skirt. I like the look of it better (especially on this skirt) than doing a casing and threading the elastic through. Make sure though, that when you are sewing the elastic on you STREEEEEEEEEEEEEETCH it as much as you can! If you don’t, your skirt waist band won’t stretch, and that my friends could be a problem. 
I also decided that instead of letting a perfectly good top go to waste, I’d find a way to use the other half. I turned up the bottom hem of the top halve, and sewed a straight stitch all the way around. 
(This was before I’d cleaned it up a bit) Turns out, this makes a pretty cute little jacket! 
Now, for the finished skirt: 
It’s pretty comfortable, and surprisingly a really versatile color for me. So this refashion is pretty simple I know, but I ended up with more out of it than I planned! Check back next week for the second refashion that I have planned!
Blessings,
Megan 

7 Quick Takes: 3/1/13

Happy March 1st! I don’t want to tempt fate when I say this, but I will be enjoying a nice relaxing Friday today, and to start off my relaxing day….joining Jen at Conversion Diary for some Quick Takes.

Here we go!

1.) It is no secret that I love books, and I I am not ashamed to say that I LOVE used books. Used books are a story all their own (and they are dirt cheap!!). I just bought (from Amazon.com) A Countess Below Stairs and An American Heiress . From what I understand they have kind of a Downton feel to them, and I spent next to nothing to get them. I will let you know more once I have a chance to read them, but I’m pretty excited!

2.) I ventured out to Goodwill this week, and I bought three items….you can see my post about them here….I’m a pretty frugal  thrifty person. I have already done some prep work with what I bought,

I tore out shoulder pads…literally tore them out, they were held on with Velcro!! I then used my trusty seam ripper, and separated the two halves of the dress. It will eventually be turned into two separate pieces, a skirt, and shirt/jacket/multipurpose item.

3.) Also from Goodwill, I bought this gorgeous purple dress.

I payed $12.00 for it, it was smaller than what I would normally wear, and it still had it’s original tags on it.

this is a one hundred dollar dress! I couldn’t pass up this kind of deal! I spent a looooooooooong time inspecting this dress, and I now have a wonderful (wearable!!!) skirt! (I will post a short tutorial later, it was pretty easy to do though).

I know it looks uneven, but that is just the hi-low hem!!

4.) Here is another from Goodwill: Brand new, right size, just a little shorter than I prefer, cute with jeans or leggings,

Have I mentioned how much I just adore Goodwill!

5.) I have begun to work on my vacation scrapbook. I bought a Smash Book, and it’s pretty plain just as it is so I spiced things up a little bit by doing a Disney inspired theme on the cover.

6.) I bought the ingredients this week to make this recipe that Janssen posted. It is a vegan Thai Butternut Squash soup and it looks delicious! I can’t wait to give it a try. I will let you know how it turns out! I have never tried anything like this before…but I love butternut squash, and any time that I can find some new way to cook with it I’m willing to try anything!

7.) I always try to find a good way to end these posts, something that sort of ties all of my random ramblings together. There is nothing that can do that this week. I think my post may be too random, however among the randomness there is beauty. Like the things that I find and buy at Goodwill. Someone looked at that odd yellow dress and tossed it out, but I can see the beauty in it….with some work the beauty comes out. Much like our Creator, we may not see beauty, or meaning in ourselves or other things, but with the Creator always sees the beauty in what we see as random, or meaningless.

Have a great Friday everyone, and a great weekend. Check back later in the week for those tutorials, I’ll try to have them up so you can see the finished products…..if you’re interested that is.

Blessings,
Megan 

A Little Bit Thrifty

I found myself this week in my local Goodwill…..when I go into Goodwill, I don’t normally have a plan or anything specific that I look for, but when I see “IT” I know it. I walked out with three pieces.

It doesn’t look like much now. In fact, it’s pretty plain. You can’t really see it in this picture with the terrible lighting, but it’s kind of a dark mustard color. I saw it on the rack and knew that I could turn it into something that I would wear. 

I LOVE this dress! It fits great, and it is a great color and design, and the fabric is forgiving….but it is WAY TOO SHORT!! This one I don’t need to really do any work on. I fold up the bottom half when I wear it with pants, and I will wear a skirt over top of it and leave it long. No sewing necessary.

I inspected this one for a loooooooooong time when I saw it. I broke many of my own rules with this one. Number one, it’s too small (about one size too small). Number two, non-stretch fabric. If I’m going to do a refashion on something that is starting out small already I really like having a fabric that will stretch. After really inspecting it: Turning it inside out, looking at each seam, figuring out how the layers are put together, just exactly WHAT would need to be done with it….I bought it. I was drawn to it because of the color, the design, the feel of the fabric, and the fullness of the skirt.

So, with these I will be doing a little bit of refashioning to either update the look, or make it wearable for my own comfort. When I do the refashions look for the tutorials here! I am going out this weekend to get some supplies, so tutorials are coming soon!

Until then…happy thrifting!

Blessings,
Megan 

7 Quick Takes: 1/11/13

I’m so happy that Jen is back at the helm this week! She is still recovering, and still in my prayers, help her in yours as well. I’ll be linking up with her over at Conversion Diary……

Here we go…

1.) Friday caught me off guard this week, it really sort of snuck up on me and I wasn’t at all prepared for this post today. Well, there’s one!

2.) Winter semester starts officially on Monday, I have loved having so much time off….being home with my family, and just hanging out.

3.) I don’t mind winter, as long as there is snow on the ground, once it warms up and the snow melts away I want it to be warm and sunny all the time and get depressed with the next big snowfall. I know that it comes with living in Michigan but, it’s the same every year and after a while I just want to back my bags and head someplace warm…Florida, California, Arizona, Hawaii …..anywhere warmer than here would be perfect!

4.) I did a little sewing to keep myself busy this week, you can read about that HERE.

5.) After the holidays got over with, I got back to strictly counting my calories, and exercising….I’m to a point where my body is getting back in line, and I could eat anything that’s not nailed down in this house. I’m getting used to a certain number of calories again….but I feel GOOD!

6.) Tonight, I am (finally) going to go see Les Mis. I have been waiting a long time for this one, and I can’t wait!

7.) I wrote a little bit last week about the youth retreat that I am chaperoning, please continue to pray for as as we plan for this weekend. Pray for the kids as they prepare, and pray that God would ready their hearts for what’s in store. Pray also for Jen, as she continues to heal, pray that God will work in her, and bring a swift recovery.

Blessings,
Megan