7 Quick Takes: 7/26/13

Happy Friday! I spent my morning garage sale hopping. There are a lot of subdivision sales going on right now, so mom and I spent the day together looking for really good deals! I love days like this, where there is nothing really important happening so we can just do whatever, and go wherever……but then I remembered that it’s Friday, and I hadn’t done my Quick Takes yet, so here they are.

1.)

I finished the back side of my quilt this week! I’m so excited that I’m almost done with it! 
2.) I mentioned in my opening that we went garage sale-ing today, but we also went to a new thrift store that just opened up in town. I found a pair of Nike running shoes BRAND freaking NEW! Never worn, for only fifteen dollars…..fifteen…..15….ONE FIVE…..15. I can’t believe it…I am going to put them to the test tonight! 
3.) I finished another book on my summer list: The Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee. It was a really cute story, and an easy read. It’s about a library in a small town where the city council is thinking of closing the library. The town pulls together, they form a book club, and do everything they can to save the library. I might do a full review later on. 
4.) I love this time of year, because I love to can! We have done lots of jam, and lots and lots of pickles! We made dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, rhubarb jam, blueberry jam, raspberry jam, cherry jam…….We freeze all the jam, and can using the water bath method….no pressure cookers around here. 
5.) 
I couldn’t think of anything for this one so here is a picture of the squares I used for the back of my quilt. I used up most of my scraps, but still have enough left to make a quilted tote bag. 
6.) I’m heading out now to mow the lawn. I love mowing the lawn! I listen to the Big Boo Podcast from Big Mama and Boo Mama. I do a lot of my best thinking when I’m outside mowing the lawn, honestly I look forward to it every week. 
7.) That’s enough rambling for me today. Make sure you stop over to Conversion Diary and check out all of the rest of the Quick Takes! 
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! 
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: 7/19/13

Happy Friday friends! I hope you had a wonderful week thus far! I had a few days off this week and am heading into the office this morning, so I’m going to get to the takes…..here goes nothin’

1.) I finally did it! I finished my quilt top! It took a while, but the hard part is finally over….now I can focus on doing the back. For the back, I’ll be using up all of my leftover fabrics and doing a patchwork for the back….but the point is, the front is FINALLY. FINISHED!!

Here is some proof!

I still have to do some embroidery on a few books, add a few more quotes to the empty spaces, but other than that….DONE! I REALLY, Really, really hope that you can tell at a glance that it is supposed to be a bookshelf…………..? 
2.) I have really enjoyed having a few days off of work this week. Mom and I made jam, and pickles, and pies, and all kinds of other goodies! We have some wild black raspberries that grow in our yard, that we picked and made into about 4 pints of jam, and we still have lots more to pick!
3.) I have crossed a few books off of my summer reading list……but I’ve also added a few! I love finding great bargains, and if I can find bargain books, that is even better. On Monday I went up to Birch Run Outlets and was able to find a couple books for just a dollar each. So, while I’ve made progress on the reading list, the list grows each time I find a new book to read! Seems counter intuitive, but I like it that way! 
4.) Camp Meeting starts on Sunday, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Church is held on our district campground. Our church Choir and Orchestra leads worship every year for the opening service of Camp Meeting, and this year is no different. We will be doing some of our best a biggest numbers from the year, along with lots of congregational worship songs. I love Camp Meeting, mostly because we don’t camp! We drive down for the services on the nights that we can, and that’s the way I like it. 
5.) Seriously though, this is a week that is pretty big in our denomination. Camp Meeting is like a week-long revival. We get amazing speakers, fabulous music, and you can really feel God at work during the services. We meet in a pole-barn turned tabernacle, in lawn chairs or folding chairs (pews if you want the front few rows.) and in true Nazarene fashion, there is usually something food related following a service. 
6.) Many will receive a call to ministry this week. Many will be saved this week. Many more will be Sanctified this week. In fact that is where I was sanctified. Saved in VBS as a child, Sanctified at Camp Meeting as a teen. God gave me all of Himself, as undeserving as I was…and years later I gave all of myself to God. Camp Meeting is life changing, and I expect this year to be no different. Please pray for us as we enter into this week, not just for me but for each and every person that steps foot on the campground this week, and in the weeks to come. God is doing big things! 
7.) I’m linking up at Conversion Diary, and on the off chance that Jen may read this, I’d like to say thank you! Thank you for hosting Quick Takes each week. I don’t even remember now how I found your blog, if it was through another blogger, or if I stumbled across it one day. I do remember the first time I added my link to Quick Takes though, and I was nervous as all get out, because number one, I’m not Catholic and that scared me. I don’t know what I thought, maybe I was afraid I’d be kicked out or something, I don’t know, that’s just me….I get nervous for no reason. Number two, I was afraid I’d never have anything to say, but I’m writing a couple times a week now, I’m actually keeping up this blog! That’s something I never thought would happen. Thank you for helping my find my voice! I have found so many wonderful blogs to read because of your weekly link-ups, and I’m not worried about that whole me-not-being-Catholic-thing, that’s the beauty of the body of Christ isn’t it?! So Jen, if you happen to read my little blog, THANK YOU! 
Have an awesome weekend everyone!

Blessings, 

Megan 

7 Quick Takes: 4/26/13

Happy Friday! I’m going to be quick today, because I’m heading into the office early today. So, let’s get right to it!

1.) I just made this darling skirt using THIS tutorial. Super simple, super cute, super comfy!

2.) I finally finished my first full row of blocks for my quilt….once I can get a decent picture I will post but trust me when I say it is my best work so far! It looks really cute, and everyone who sees it can tell right away that it should look like books lining a shelf! I’m excited to see how it turns out!
3.) Today after work, I will be finishing my (FINAL) semester as a nursing major. I’m excited to officially start studying Psychology, and seeing where God leads me with this new journey. I register for classes for the fall on Monday and am really looking forward to this semester!
4.) There are moments in life when I am so glad that no one is around to capture them on film of any kind. Thursday, mom and I battled a big, ugly, hairy spider that somehow found its way into our car. You should have seen it…..we looked ridiculous! You (like dad when we told him the story later), may think that we are wimps for freaking out over a “little” spider….but when you are trapped in a car with a far-from-little spider, you’d react the same way we did! It was pretty funny when we were telling others later on but at the moment not so much!
5.) I am so ready for vacation! It cannot come soon enough……….
6.) I’m boring today….sorry! My week was pretty uneventful so I didn’t really have much to share…
7.) Tomorrow I turn 20. I am spending the day with family, and that is absolutely all I want for my birthday! I couldn’t ask for anything better than hanging out all day with family! 
I didn’t really have a lot to work with this week….so there you go 7 Quick Takes….go see Jen for more! 
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: 2/8/13

Happy Friday! As always, I’ll be joining up with our wonderful host Jen, over at Conversion Diary…..and away we go!

1.) Last Saturday I spent all day writing, and writing, and writing and….well, I think you get the picture. I was alone at home and I had my computer in the living room, and I decided that I would put something on the TV just for a little noise….I went to NetFlix and I thought that I would see what all the hype is about with Downton Abbey.

I have seen the light! I watched all of season one on Saturday…all of it! I’m finally beginning to get caught up now on season three, and I’m wondering why I didn’t just start watching it to begin with back when it first started! I have gotten myself totally hooked, and I am falling in love with these people! It has made for some great TV watching!

So.Much.Love for this show!
2.) My research paper is finally finished, and (as I figured would happen) I didn’t stick with my original topic. I thought that the topic of Religion would be easy, but boy was I wrong. I had no problem finding the research to go along with that topic, but putting my thoughts into words was SO difficult for me! I finally just picked an entirely different topic: Parents’ Relationships. I used my own mom and dad as an example, and incorporated Alfred Bandura’s studies in Observational Learning……basically I said that kids learn from watching mom and dad, although I said it in more technical terms….I can tell, that this is where my heart is at. Not necessarily this developmental stuff, but Psychology in general, I can talk about it for hours, and I never tire of reading about it! I’m in for a fun ride!
3.) Sunday we had a preview rehearsal of the concert our Worship Arts Ministry will be presenting for Easter, and I was totally blown away by the music! It is a really good mix of some new contemporary worship songs, and traditional hymns of the church! The orchestration is gorgeous, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the horn part!
4.) I’ll admit this to you….please don’t judge me. I’m writing this late Thursday night….as I’m looking out my window, all I can see is swirling snow. According to weather maps, I am right smack in the middle of this “Massive snow storm”. Local stations are calling it “Snow Storm 2013” and the National Weather Service has even named it. Let me ask you this, when did we start naming something other than a Hurricane? I don’t know, to me it just seems silly….but that said, if you are on the east coast I know that you are about to get hit much harder than us here in the Midwest. Please, please, please stay safe, and warm. Don’t go out in this unless it is absolutely necessary. This stuff may look pretty, but it can turn dangerous in an instant! Stay safe!
5.) I’m hoping to head out soon to score myself some good deals on fabric, using my new student discount at Joann Fabrics. I have these grandiose plans of making a “vintage inspired” skirt. I have a plan, and a pattern, now I just need the fabric….that’s what I’m still trying to decide on. Solid or print? Pastel, dark, neutral? If I go with a pattern what should it be? This is why it has taken me so long to pick a fabric…I cannot decide what I want. Help!
6.) The cold bug has hit our family and two-of-three are down for the count, myself included. Mom and I both have it, however she is much worse than I am. Dad (lucky duck), seems to never get sick when her and I do, but so far we don’t have it so bad (knock on wood). Hopefully this is it and it will vacate the  residence soon…if not we’re in for trouble if dad gets it. 
7.) There are some things that need no words….and this, I believe, is one of them…..Take a look: 
By the end I was crying like a baby! This kid is amazing! I can only hope that his story will inspire people to think differently about handicaps. Honestly, I do not have words for how incredible this story is! I hope you enjoyed it as much as me! What an inspiration!
As I said at the beginning, go see Jen, and everyone else for more Quick Takes! Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend!
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