Friday, September 28, 2012

Tote Tutorial (Repurposing Men's Dress Shirt)

I'm seriously pleased with how this tote turned out. I had seen a tutorial over at Make It-Love It Boys Church Tote Tutorial for a little boy church bag made from a mens shirt and tie and I fell in love. How adorable to use one of Dad's shirts and ties to make a bag for a little guy? Well, as things usually go for me I had to figure out how to make one for a little girl! I can't do things the easy way and just follow the tutorial given! I actually didn't follow her tutorial. I had made a tote before and really liked the way I had done it so I decided to do it that way. You can make the tote whatever size you would like and that your shirt will allow. 

1 Men's long sleeve dress shirt
Duck Cloth for lining (about 2/3 of a yard)
Jersey knit for ruffles (perfect time to use an old t-shirt) You could use a cotton but you would have to hem the bottom and sides of the ruffles to prevent fraying. 
1 yard of fusible medium weight interfacing 
Coordinating thread, pins, scissors, etc.

This tutorial uses a 1/2 inch seam allowance unless otherwise stated.

Step 1: Iron your shirt and duck cloth

Step 2: Cut out 2 lining pieces, 2 outer pieces and 2 pieces of interfacing 17"wide x 12"tall making sure the buttons on the shirt go down the middle of the rectangle. Try to cut it out so that the pocket of the shirt is about 2 inches below the top. Sew down the front of the shirt to keep it from opening. 

Step 3: Cut a square out of the bottom corners of all pieces 2" x 2"

Step 4: Cut 2 strap pieces from the shirt and 2 from the duck cloth 2.5" x 17"

Step 5: If you want pockets cut them now. I chose to use one pocket and cut 1 rectangle 8.5"x10" from the lining and the shirt
Step 6: Cut 2 strips of your jersey knit 2" wide by double the width of the tote. So my strips were 2" x 35".  I was using a t-shirt I bought at Goodwill so I had to cut 4 strips 2"x17" and sew them together to get the length I wanted. 

Step 7: Gather your knit strips. For a tutorial on gathering go here: Make It-Love It Ruffle Tutorial I am in love with her blog and her tutorials. I chose to only put ruffles on the front but you could easily put them on the front and back of the tote. She has a great tutorial on making a tote with ruffles. Check it out here: Make It-Love It Ruffle Tote Tutorial

Step 8: Attach the ruffles to the bottom of the front of the tote. I chose to add the bottom ruffle about 2 inches from the top of the notched out corners. Add the top ruffle so that it overlaps the bottom one. 

Step 9: Add the ric-rack to cover the stitching across the top of the ruffles. You can use ribbon instead. 

Step 10: Iron on the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the outer (shirt) fabric.

Step 11: Make dots on the back side of the lining and outer sides of the tote 1/2 inch in at each corner. 

Step 12: Sew your pocket right sides together leaving about a 2-3 inch opening on the long side for turning. Flip it, poke out corners and press flat. 

Step 13: If you want to add a closure  (like velcro or a magnetic closure) center them on the right side of the lining fabric about 1 inch from the top and sew them on.

Step 14: Sew pocket to center of back piece of lining. I don't close the hole left from flipping until this stage when I stitch it to the lining piece. 

Step 15: Sew strap pieces right sides together down the long sides, flip and press flat. 

Step 16: Sew sides and bottom of the outer pieces (right sides together) stopping at the dots you drew. 

Step 17: Sew sides and bottom of the lining pieces (right sides together) stopping at dots. Make sure to leave about a 4 inch opening down one side. This is so that you can turn it right side out in the end. 

Step 18: Make the squared off corners. Fold the corners so that the side and bottom seams line up. Sew across using a 5/8 inch seam allowance. Do this for the lining and outer shell. 

Step 19: Iron seams open. 

Step 20: Turn outer shell right side out. 

Step 21: Pin straps to the right sides of the outer shell about 3 inches from the seam and baste stitch in place about 1/4 inch from top. Make sure they aren't twisted. (I forgot to take a picture, sorry)

Step 21: Place outer shell into the lining (right sides together). Make sure the straps are tucked safely between the lining and outer shell. 

Step 22: Sew across the top using a 1/2 inch seam allowance back stitching across the straps to re-inforce. You can finish your edges at the top now to prevent fraying. I chose to use pinking shears instead of serging or zig-zag stitching. 

Step 23: Turn the bag right side out by pulling the outer shell through the hole left in the inner lining. Press flat. 

Step 24: Close the hole in the lining. You could choose to hand stitch but I just top-stitch about 1/8" seam allowance to close this opening. 

Step 25: Topstitch around the top of the bag about 1/2 inch from top to hold the lining and outer shell together. 

Ta-da your bag is done! 
I chose to add a flower to the base of one of the straps. I made the flower based off of this tutorial: Make It-Love It Shirred Fabric Flower Tutorial. I machine stitched it to the bag at the base of one of the handles. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sewing Day Success

My first sewing day was a success in my eyes. I was super nervous that it wouldn't turn out the way I had planned or hoped but I think all went well. We had about 15 people there helping. There were a few more that wanted to come but couldn't and a few that couldn't be there but brought fabric for us to use. I had cut out some diapers and hats (with the help of my mom and sister) so that people could get started on sewing. I hadn't had time to get some to the turning stage or to the top stitching stage and I think that next time I will have to work on that to help get more finished product out of the day. All in all it was a great day. We ended up with about 30 completed diapers and about 100 that are ready to be flipped and top stitched. We also have about 30 completed hats. I met some wonderful ladies who love to sew that were happy to take home some things to complete and bring back to me. I even met a lady who recently moved here and is going to get some of her friends to help who live out of town. I was able to share my passion with others and watch them truly "get it". My little sister took some pictures of the day that I will have to share with you when I get them. I shared with these women that my goal is to diaper every baby bum from Waco to Round Rock and they are willing to help me accomplish my goal.

I even had a helper that is a new friend brought to me by God. Here is our story. A few weeks ago a woman contacted me through email, we will call her E. She sent me an email explaining that she had been reading my blog for a few months. She found it by reading a blog that led her to a blog that led her to my blog. She was reading these blogs because, unfortunately she too knew the pain of losing a baby. Her son C was stillborn at 21 weeks in January. See, she had been reading my blog all this time and had never said anything to me until now. I was seriously giddy as I was reading her email explaining this. Then she gets to the part where she saw my blog post about my sewing day. This is what prompted her to contact me. I don't usually post about where I live for safety purposes but when advertising the sewing day I had to put where it would be held. She saw that it was in the same area that she lives in. She lives about 2 miles from me! What?! Now as I was reading the email I was seriously giddy. How God works amazes me. She was asking if she can come to the sewing day and of course I say yes. I also ask her if she would like to meet for lunch. We met for lunch that same week. She was so so sweet and her little girl is beautiful. She is also expecting her rainbow baby. During lunch we were talking about Grant and C. We were sharing their stories. It is so nice to have someone who truly understands you. We talked about our experience in the hospital and how these items are going to bless other families. She mentioned that she had an amazing nurse. I mention that so did I. I ask who her nurse was. She tells me S. What?! That was my nurse and she was fabulous, a Godsend. We then find out that we had the same Ob/Gyn and the same specialist do our ultrasounds. Our hospital is a big place with lots of doctors and nurses. This can only be orchestrated by God. We lived a few miles from each other and shared the same people in our life. We had probably crossed paths countless times. We also found out that she lives in the same neighborhood as one of our best friends. Our friend that my husband was a nanny for, only 1 street over, what are the odds. The odds are not that. God doesn't care about odds. It amazes me that my little boy brought me a new friend who only lives a few miles away all because our God cares about us. Today we found out that E's husband J has been mowing the yard next to our friends (that my husband still mows despite that they moved) because the house next door is vacant and the yard is overgrown. Seriously?!

So now we have new friends that God brought in our lives because of our boys Grant and C. Perfect!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

6 Months

September 23. 6 months. 26 weeks. 182 days. I still miss him. I miss him so much it still makes me catch my breath sometimes. Other times it doesn't sting quite as badly, but it is still there. In the last 6 months I have known pain that I wish no one knew. I have also seen things more clearly and appreciated things more deeply than I have in the previous months and years of my life. Loss will do that you, you know. Break you down and make you see what is truly important and make you appreciate the little things. I have always loved sunny days but ever since losing Grant on the brightest, clearest days I will stop and thank God for the sunshine. Grant was born on a beautifully sunny day and it makes me smile to think of him. Sometimes I smile and cry at the same time. I am so so thankful for his life. He made me a mommy. He gave me a wonderful 21 weeks and has taught me to see things so differently. I love him and miss him every day. I love him and what he has taught me. He's taught me things that I don't think a living child could have.

We went to church today. Not to our normal church but to church with a new friend. There they sang the song "10,000 Reasons" by Matt Redman. I can't remember if I have heard the song before. I think I have but I don't ever remember it touching me like this. My favorite lyrics are in the first and last stanza. 
Here is a you tube version with lyrics to follow. I lost it in church. I sat there sobbing. "Blessed the Lord, Oh My Soul. Worship His holy name. Sing like never before, oh my soul. I'll worship His holy name." I could do a better job of worshiping God through my grief. I know He is good and full of mercy, kindness and grace. I love that He is full of grace. It means it's ok that I screw up because His grace covers it. It means it's ok that some days I am angry that my son is dead. It also means that I can come back to Him and he will hold me tightly and love me. That is what I'm doing. Going back into God's embrace. I am going to worship Him in my pain. The two stanzas that are my favorite are highlighted. 

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

[Chorus x2]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

I still need to feature my sweet hubby on here. He recently wrote a sonnet for class that is beautiful. Maybe he will let me share it with y'all. 

I love you more than I have the words to say. I miss you daily but I rejoice in knowing that one day we will meet again and I will spend eternity with you. I am thankful for the 21 weeks I had with you. I am also thankful for what your life has done for mine. I have made friends and have been able to be an encouragement to others on this journey, all because of you sweet boy. Your life is truly a miracle and I am so thankful God gave me you. I love you. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Teeny Tears Donation 1&2

Today my sweet sweet hubby and I traveled to Waco to make our second (but first in person) Teeny Tears donation. We enjoyed a lunch out and then went on to Providence Hospital to donate diapers, hats and blankets to their Labor and Delivery and NICU units. Earlier this month we shipped 40 diapers to Houston to a Threads of Love chapter there. Today we delivered 60 diapers, 60 hats, 60 blankets and about 5 sleeper/hat combos.

I have thoroughly enjoyed sewing these over the last few months. It has been so therapeutic to sew things knowing that they will bless another family during their darkest moments. I know how much something so small can mean to these families. The nice lady I met with at the hospital today has worked very hard to get our donation along with a donation of memory boxes from Luke Lives On. She was so excited to receive these and as a mommy who has lost a baby herself she really "got" it.
Here are some pictures of the finished product!

I can't wait until Saturday when we have our sewing day. Hopefully we will be able to supply two more local hospitals in the near future and expand to a few more soon! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thankful Thursday #9

Today has been a great day! Here are the things I'm thankful for this week.

1. A friend who sent me a very sweet birthday present in the mail. It included a card that still makes me laugh when I think about it. I love you Kimberly!

2. I have completed 30 sets of diapers, blankets and hats for my first delivery to be made next Monday. That's 60 diapers, 60 hats and 60 blankets! I can't wait to deliver them.

3. My first sewing day is coming up and I'm super excited about the help that will be there and the things we will get accomplished to bless families in the area.

4. I'm meeting someone for lunch tomorrow who has been reading my blog and is coming to help on the 22nd. This is totally God working and I can't wait to share more about it.

5. It's STORMING!!!! I love thunder storms and we need a good rain.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Burst Bubble

My bubble has burst. My innocence bubble and my hope that my body may actually do something right bubble. After I delivered Grant I was told my cycles would resume in no more than 6 weeks. They were right. I didn't really expect them to keep cycling regularly though since they have never really done that before without medical intervention. I was instructed to start taking my metformin again for my PCOS, so I did. Lo and behold a month later another cycle without further medications. I was slightly sad that I wasn't pregnant again but I was actually happy that my body was doing what it was supposed to. I thought that hey, maybe being pregnant had kicked my hormones into gear. Jonathan and I had talked about how long we wanted to try to get pregnant on our own before we would be comfortable going back to the fertility guy, Dr. W. We decided that if we hadn't been successful by October we would go back. Fast-forward to the end of August. My cycle came again as it had done 4 times before without medication. I was disappointed and frustrated that I wasn't pregnant again. I called Dr. W to schedule an appointment thinking it would take me about a month to get in since I hadn't been there since last November. Not so. I had an appointment for today. It actually worked out perfectly. I should be mid-cycle today so I should be ovulating soon and they would be able to see it on ultrasound and confirm that my body was doing what it was supposed to. NOOOOOO. My body has apparently been fooling me all this time. My ultrasound showed absolutely nothing going on besides my PCOS. I was so flabbergasted and mad at my own body. How could it have tricked me like this? So, here we go again with hormones and an injection at the end. I'm really frustrated, and pretty sad, right now. I really didn't want to have to go down this path again. The medications make me feel terrible (and not so nice). It's just frustrating (have I said that already, sorry). I really hope that this works quickly this time. We are ready to welcome a baby home. Dr. W is starting me on the same medications and same dose that I took when I got pregnant with Grant. No need to re-invent the wheel. So, for my records, I will be taking 200mg of Clomid for 7 days along with 2.5mg of Femara the first 5 days. I will also have an injection of HCG at the end of it all to stimulate ovulation. I will start taking the medications on Friday.

Please let this work quickly and end in a healthy baby being brought home with us. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thankful Thursday #8

I haven't done a Thankful Thursday post in a while. I decided this evening that it was once again time to list what I am thankful for. I have had some really really hard days recently with my grief and pain almost being as raw as it was in the beginning. It really does help to remind myself what I am thankful for so here goes.

1: I'm thankful that my friend's baby is healthy and doing well despite being born early.
2: I'm thankful for a husband who hugs me tight and understands when I am upset.
3: I'm thankful for a job that I love where I get to impact children and families lives.
4: I'm thankful that I have a beautiful son that has inspired me to be a better person.
5: I'm thankful that I have found a way to help other grieving families and that I have friends and family members who are willing to help me.