Super Cute Kawaii Mug Rugs

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For over two years, I spent a lot of time in an area of my life that made me completely miserable. I cried out for a very longtime. I was isolated, and I didn’t have the support that I needed at the time to handle things well. I would curse, and cry out in anger. I would think of ways to call off work. I would get to the work parking lot and then consider leaving early. I was in a unhappy state in my life. I was slowly spiraling out of control.

Throughout that time period, I watched as people walked away from me. I guess I was a reminder of what they didn’t want to become. Through that lonely phase of my life, I did have my little sewing time. I wasn’t a very skilled sewist. Mostly, I didn’t collect a lot of patterns. I basically would find ideas on Instagram, and I would go to YouTube to figure out how to make them. One of the cute ideas  I discovered was making mug rugs.

Mug rugs are these cute little patches of fabric that help you hold your coffee or a warm bowl of soup. They are similar to coasters. They don’t take a whole lot of fabric to make. I would go through my small fabric collection to find cute combinations to patch up.

My interest in quilting helped me get the motivation to start. It’s a small creative project that can be completed in a short time period. I felt pretty accomplished at the end. I didn’t bind them, mostly because I struggled with binding at the time. However,  I had a fun time making them before work or during the evening.

Making mug rugs with kawaii-like fabric  brings me joy. I love all things cute. I like being around cute things. One of the first things I did when I started sewing was collecting a lot of fabric that was cute, but didn’t make sense.

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I had these lovely ideas to take my favorite fabric and makes these little novelty mug rugs. The fabric matching didn’t make sense to some, but to me it screamed joy. My favorite fabric including prints featuring unicorns, cats, and cupcakes.

cats loveBefore I could give them away. My mom told me she would like to have one of my mug rugs. She took it to work with her and a co-worker asked about them. I flirted with the idea of making many more and perhaps selling them one day, but I needed to come up with better techniques I thought to myself.  I’m always this super perfectionist about things that you shouldn’t have to fuss about.

Overall, I really enjoy the idea of mug rugs. I certainly enjoyed making them while trying to beat the increasing frustration that I tackled during a bad period of my life. They make great gifts. The combinations that one can come up with are endless.

 

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Seeking Joy

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It’s my first post for the year 2018, and I can’t believe I’ve been away from my blog for so long. I started a new job back in December 2017. I’ve been feeling an overwhelming sense of anxiety. Have you ever been in a negative situation for a few years and when you get out of the negative situation you feel as if you will never be comfortable again?

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For the past two years, I spent a lot of time looking for signs of love and happiness. I looked for friendship and kindness when there was anger. I searched for empathy when there was spite. When I thought I discovered something great, it would eventually slip out of my hands. Just look for signs, I told myself. Let’s see how all these obstacles line up for my good.  I later decided that the safest way to live was to not have such high expectations. I would be gracious, but in the back of my mind I would try not to show how hurt I was from inside.  I want to be confident, but after all that has happened I don’t know if people want what I necessarily have to offer. I sometimes doubt my abilities because I can hear previous voices and visualize previous experiences.  I know what it is like to fail, and I know what it is like to be alone while failing. What really hurts is when people sit around and watch you struggle. What I’ve learned is that as long as I know how to find the right resources, depending on people is not something I have to do in life.  I can survive the struggle on my own. I don’t need who I thought I needed.

However, my faith in God and my love of crafting keep me motivated. God is someone I continue to depend on even when I look for beauty and sometimes see ugliness. There are going to be times when I don’t feel like myself.  When I find myself feeling overwhelmed I try to train myself to think about God, family, friends, and my hobbies. It’s very challenging. But, I’m determined to come out successful through this new experience in 2018. I know that things aren’t perfect, but if I can take my mind off of the negative things, then my perspective on life will improve.

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One thing I find myself indulging in lately is mindless sewing. I’ll cut strips of fabric and create a rail fence mini quilt. I’ll purchase pre-cuts of 5′ squares and make a baby quilt. Sometimes, the stress from work and this feeling of guilt and shame takes over. I have no choice, but to focus my mind on other things. I spend nights learning how to make new quilt blocks. Through the steady cutting, pressing, and sewing material together, I find peace. It’s hard work, but its good work that strengthens me.

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The quilt project I’ve been working on lately is my little red riding hood quilt. I love whimsical fabric. It reminds me of being a kid walking into this fairy tale world where anything is possible. Woodland animals, bright colors, and elaborate patterns fill my heart with happiness. I remind myself how blessed I am to be able to come home from a rough day and play with fabric. “It’s a blessing,” I tell myself. It’s a blessing to have a safe place to go to when it seems like your mind can’t find any rest from anywhere else.

 

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There are times you can’t always run to people. During those times, I remind myself that to be still. Find your peace. “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”-Psalm 46:10 That scripture takes me back to the present. When I’m away from work, I have a tendency to dwell on it. The truth is that I have a lot to be grateful for in life. Through the years, I plan to stay focus on God and his plans for my life. When it’s hard to stay at ease, I will turn to building a creative life centered around God and joy.

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The Halloween quilt that wasn’t

When I first started quilting, I unintentionally broke all the rules. The most I knew at the time was that I needed batting, a patchwork foot, and a walking foot. I don’t recall being an expert at cutting my squares. Luckily, I wasn’t working on any intense quilt pattern designs. After looking back at my first quilt project, I realize how far I’ve come in almost a year. My quilt turned table runner was definitely an experiment.

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Looking back on the project, I realize why I never finished a full size Halloween quilt. Several factors contributed to it. One major problem I remember was cutting my pieces all wrong. If I had only did research on different rulers and rotary cutters, I would have saved a lot of time. I wouldn’t have struggle so much with organizing my project.

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I struggled through the project, but at the end I came up with something that resembled a table runner to most people. It’s quirky, but it makes sense for the fan of Halloween. My family and friends enjoyed the crazy Halloween table runner and never noticed my mistakes or shortcomings.

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One thing I do look forward to during the change of seasons is being able to customize my own decorations for my home. Today, I know of smart tips and techniques to sew table runners. However, this past Halloween, I still pulled out one of my very first quilt project. It’s not perfect, but fabric and the idea of it represents me .

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Novelty Fall Display

 

What did I ever do with those woodland animal pillows?

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I created a fall display in little corner of my bedroom. During this present fall season, I haven’t been able to decorate the living and dining room with fall decor. I haven’t been able to complete a lot of fall crafts. Those who know me well know how much I love fall. I just didn’t have the energy and time this year. It bummed me out a bit.

So, I gathered the handmade items I had around my house along with a few pieces of fall decor to make a display. The display features my handmade throw pillows, Funko Pop vinyl figures from the hit television shows Stranger Things and The Walking Dead. I also featured a Halloween  table runner I quilted from last year that covered the table.

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I went ahead and added a few more items to make it even more festive. I hope you enjoy my fall display. I know I certainly enjoyed making it.

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-Stephanie

I wasn’t always a maker

I haven’t always been a maker, but I always had the desire to create things. I would see people making cakes, dresses, and accessories, but it was someone else’s life. No matter how many blogs or magazines I clipped through, it still wasn’t my life. What was stopping me? Why did I have such a negative outlook on life?

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When we are young, we often receive a lot of negative messages from life.  We become sensitive to what we hear. I was constantly reminded that I was bad at math, awkward, and possessed very little mechanical skills. At the time, I didn’t know what it really meant to have mechanical skills, but I took that to meant that I wasn’t efficient at working with my hands. But, the problem was that people didn’t explain to me that it was a set of skills you have to acquire overtime. When I didn’t quite understand new concepts I was called stupid or slow.  People just moved me out of the way. I was use to people moving me out of the way instead of giving me the chance to solve problems. It made me very anxious. Why was everyone expecting me to learn everything so fast?

 

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I was also told that I lacked hand-eye coordination. It made me laugh at times. I remember when  my mom enrolled me in ballet and tap dance classes. I believe she was trying to motivate me, but  it only made me feel isolated.  It took me a lot longer to get things, and eventually, the instructor told my mom that I had to drop down to a lower level class. It was like that with a lot of things. I was always trying to catch up.

My mom might have been proud of me. However, when you leave home, life has a way of humbling you.  I struggled with everything including  athletics, math, cooking, driving, dancing, dating, and meeting people. Some of my family members grew weary and they didn’t know if I could handle things on my own. It got to the point where they wanted my younger sister to look after me. I would grow angry at times. I was four years older than my sister. Why did I need her to look after me?

I don’t know how it all started, but I was struggling in life. I would stay up all night trying to figure out how I was going to make it. I know that in  high school, I received the help that I needed academically. I learned how to study, and I was able to graduate. But, in other areas I was following behind my peers. It took me longer, but I eventually, I went on to finish college.

However, I continued to hear things while I worked in my field. It was mostly about how anxious and too overly sensitive I was for the job. I struggled in my professional life. I can’t say it was one job, but it was a combination of feeling inadequate  and going home feeling down about my shortcomings. At the end of my twenties, I decided that I wanted more out of life. I was tired of working the way others wanted me to work. I was tired of living by someone else’s rules and standards.

(I didn’t quit my day job, but I did start looking for the  opportunity to give myself a part-time job.)

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I’m not sure what happened or what triggered it exactly, but I started doing research on hair bow making in October 2016. I didn’t have any kids of my own, but I just kept watching videos on people giving tips on how to make hair bows, and  I was fascinated. As I was watching, I kept hearing the word “sew.” I knew that I wanted to learn how to make hair bows, but I also wondered if I could learn how to sew. I thought I was going crazy. I was fearful because I’ve never really taken the time to actually make something. How would I learn how to sew? How could a buy a sewing machine?  What am I doing? I was very nervous, but at the same time I wanted my very own sewing machine. I kept wondering how I was going to make it happen and then I did. After reading various blogs, I decided to purchase my first sewing machine from Amazon. It was a Janome 2212. I also started going shopping two or three times a week, buying supplies and getting started on my new journey.

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The first few weeks were challenging. Unlike anything else I ever did, I didn’t care. That’s when I knew that I found my passion. I was struggling, but I didn’t want to give up. I wanted to learn. I suddenly didn’t care about what people thought. I had ideas, and I wanted to pursue them.

Today, I feel motivated. I still struggle with bouts of depression, but I feel like I have a blessing that will keep me going. It was something about buying my first machine and turning material into an object that gave me the confidence to keep going. Can you believe that today I actually own two sewing machines, and I’ve also been teaching myself to knit? I never thought I would be someone who sewed or knit after work. I’m blessed. I thank God everyday for not allowing me to give up on myself when I really wanted to.

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I apologize that my blog is too personal, but I had to share this part of my personal life with you all because I want people to know that there is hope. You don’t have to come from a perfect life or have this perfect background to pursue your goals in life. You are capable of  success. and anything you put your mind to today.

 

Making Woodland Animal Throw Pillows

During the last blog post,  I wrote about how I committed to sewing more with my fabric stash. I’m keeping my promise. What do you make when you are a sewing novice? My answer would have to be throw pillows. It’s a practical sewing project that you can use to decorate a particular area in your home.  If you are a beginner, the it teaches you skills such as sewing in straight lines and pivoting corners. As a sewing novice,  it’s instant gratification for me because it doesn’t take me a whole day to complete throw pillows.

I have plenty of novelty fabric stored in a bin. I also had a large bag of polyfill. I hate to admit it, but the bag of polyfill had been in my room for at least 9 months. I told myself, it was time to sit down and start working on a project. My throw pillow sewing project included fabric from Michael Miller’s Norwegian Woods line.  The fabric was perfect for the look I was trying to accomplish. I have an obsession with woodland animals. It reminded me of fall, yet bright enough to uplift someone’s mood. I think it’s a great fabric line for nursery items and quilts as well.

animalsReturning to the basics wasn’t a bad idea. I haven’t sewed any throw pillows in over 10 months. I remember hating my very first throw pillows because they weren’t firm enough. I did some research and started looking for popular sizes of throw pillows. I came by one tutorial, Sew Comfortable: How to Sew Perfectly Plump Throw Pillow Covers by Beth Galvin from Craftsy. The tutorial was very helpful for me  because I needed the correct seam allowance for sewing throw pillows. Although I lacked having a pillow form, I decided to  continue following the pattern by cutting  17 x 17 inch fabric squares for my pillow. I only had enough polyfill for two pillows at the time, so I decided to keep the purple shaded fabric for a later project.

I sewed around the fabric squares right sides together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance and left an opening at the bottom of the pillow for turning and stuffing. After sewing, I pressed my seams and trimmed the corners so that they wouldn’t be so bulky at the ends.

IMG_20170611_221733_675I also used a wooden stick to help place an even amount of polyfill on both sides of the pillow. Once I was happy with the firmness of the pillow, I pressed the opening at the bottom edge of the pillow tucking the raw edges inside. Finally, I machine stitched the bottom opening close.

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Now, I had two bright woodland animal throw pillows that would be great in my bedroom or my next apartment space. I’m one for going against fashion rules. Yes, I’m 30 years old and I still like adorable baby print fabric. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being a kid at heart. If you have any kids or have a baby on the way, then I would highly recommend it for a new nursery or baby gift making project.

Happy pillow making!

-Stephanie

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Fabric Hoarder to Sewist

When I started learning how to sew, I’ll admit that the majority of my sewing money went to novelty fabric purchases.  I wish I would have done my research on strategies for building a fabric stash before I made purchases. At the time, I was exploring and living out my inner child. I was bored with work, and I looked forward to receiving little happy mail during the week.  It didn’t take long for me to become a fabric hoarder. I started sharing my purchases on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. My online friends were always amazed of what fabric I found.  My favorite prints included anything with cats, dolls, food, unicorns, and woodland animals.

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During my first months into sewing, I gave myself a $50-$60 dollar fabric purchase  limit each pay period. I remember having the desire to make a lot of cute things I would see on sewing blogs, but my skill didn’t match up with my vision. I also realize that my work schedule made it nearly impossible to complete all those beautiful project ideas I found online. It was time for me to get serious about my what I wanted to learn and what did I expect to get out of sewing.

I don’t have the perfect strategy for buying fabric. However,  I’m working on a strategy as I do research on what works for other successful sewist and quilters. My goal it to acquire new skills and techniques with each project. I also want to make things that represent my personality as well as uplift my mood. Another thing I’m doing is learning to make things I can actually use in my everyday life. Finding projects take time, but if I don’t get out of my comfort zone each week then I’ll never make any progress towards my sewing goals.

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My summer goal is to make practical things from my fabric stash. It could be for my personal use or a gift to a friend. Some project ideas I have in mind, include pincushions, zipper pencil cases, pouches, mug rugs, throw pillows, and small baby quilts. The important part is that I’m not just collecting fabric, but I’m making something out of what I have.

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