Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Dinosaur Quilt: It's Finally Finished!

Words cannot say how excited I am that I am finishing quilts! How awesome is that? I would say that it seems my motivation has gone up (which is partly the case) but also I am figuring out getting more time into sewing. And sew days with the guild help a ton too!

Granted quilts take a lot of work and a lot of time and are harder to work on, especially when you are trying to keep it a secret from a little boy who does NOT nap! Goodness me! This one has been one of my goals for several quarters. but this last one was it!

Little Man's Dinosaur quilt.

The Berry Bunch: The Dinosaur Quilt: It's Finally Finished!

We picked up this awesome panel when I took my first trip out to the local quilt shop shortly after moving into the area, about 2 years ago... I couldn't decide what to do with it and finally picked up some fabrics on the quilt shop hop in November 2013.

Then, it was just finding time to work on it.

The Berry Bunch: The Dinosaur Quilt: It's Finally Finished!

I finished it at the most recent sew day with the guild and was super excited that when I finished the last few stitches on the binding, the bobbin ran out. Can I say, perfect timing? I was destined to finish that quilt at the sew day!


The border is done in two different batiks and sorry that I cannot remember who did those batiks. But they just fit so nicely!

The Berry Bunch: The Dinosaur Quilt: It's Finally Finished!

The backing is a minky fabric. Perfect size and just so cuddly soft! I also wrapped it around to the front for the binding.

The Berry Bunch: The Dinosaur Quilt: It's Finally Finished!

For the quilting I just stitched the ditch on the borders and free motioned around the dinosaurs. I love the way it looks on the back!

The Berry Bunch: The Dinosaur Quilt: It's Finally Finished!

The Berry Bunch: The Dinosaur Quilt: It's Finally Finished!

And now, to give it to him. Since it was supposed to be a birthday present in 2013, I have no idea when to give it to him. I'm thinking for a road trip we will be taking in July? That way I don't have to hide it any longer...

The Berry Bunch: The Dinosaur Quilt: It's Finally Finished!

The Berry Bunch: The Dinosaur Quilt: It's Finally Finished!

I'm excited to be able to knock another finish off my list. It's slowly decreasing and I am not planning on adding anything to it anytime soon... ;)

The Berry Bunch: The Dinosaur Quilt: It's Finally Finished!

The Berry Bunch: The Dinosaur Quilt: It's Finally Finished!

The Berry Bunch: The Dinosaur Quilt: It's Finally Finished!

Happy Finishing!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Baby is NOT a Baby! {potty trained! and a quick round-up}

I can't believe my baby girl is potty trained. Aside from night time that is. Does that even count?

She decided towards the middle of last week that she did not want to wear diapers. So We decided to go bare bottom...

Little did I realize that her sitting on the potty was also practice for actually potty training. You know, because babies use the potty before 2!

The Berry Bunch: My Baby is NOT a Baby! {potty trained! and a quick round-up}

Now I now that kids can be potty trained early, and sometimes it just emphasizes the potty usage when there is an older sibling that does.

I didn't expect it.

Baby girl essentially potty trained herself. In 3 days. She has even made 2 trips out of the house without any accidents.

When wearing a diaper, she started pulling the "potty" yell after she did her business. When we went diaper free (no pull-ups or even underwear of any kind), baisically naked, we had only a handful of accidents.

I remember doing this with little man. He was a little harder. Took a little longer (like a week), and needed incentive: potty chart with smiley faces, jelly beans, chocolate... But he would loose it if he had an accident. We did the no diapers with him too. He was ready, but didn't want to give it up. He wanted the Big Boy Undies more though...

Honestly, if I were to do it all again I would do it the same way. I'm still waiting for the regression with Baby Girl. Like this was a fluke. After all she is only 21 months, not even 2 yet (but almost)...Accidents will happen. That's a given.

There are so many resources of potty training without diapers (quitting diapers cold turkey). So many people have written blog posts about them. And a lot more since we went through this with Little Man.

I thought I would compile a list of different reading for you if you were going through the same thing as I am right now, or did 2 years ago... - Extreme Potty Training - a fairly humorous diary account of a mom's bootcamp style potty training with two twin boys at 2 years. We would say the same thing with accidents. we didn't need much reward besides clapping for little girl.

Alphamom - How to Potty Train Your Kid (Boot Camp Style) - We did not do underwear right away. Neither kid like the feeling of pee running down their leg being stark naked. We did underwear by day 3. and I didn't bring only 1 pair of change of clothes... My little girl prefers to be naked. It's hard to use that as a consequence when that is what they want.

The Unemployed Mom - 15 Tips for Potty Training Boot Camp Style - Totally makes it easier when you remember to bring the training potty with you. It was difficult going out with little man without a potty and so much easier when we brought it with us for little girl. Positive attitude is half the battle. You don't want to discourage the little learner.

Four Moms For Moms - Potty Training the Cold Turkey Way - I almost needed to use candy as bribery for my son. Towards the end we used it as a counting game (subtracting and counting again). Anything can be turned into a learning experience. Little girl didn't even care about the candy... You really don't need all the baby potty training paraphernalia. Just strong whits, positive attitude, and endurance to make it through to the end. They will get it, eventually. Every child is different. Read your child;s cues.

BabyCenter - Potty Training in 3 Days or Less - honestly this was too much to read for me... too much prep. I would much rather dive in head first and get it over with... Like showing the kid how to do a potty dance... I never did that, didn't need to. A kid will think of something all on their own once they have the control. You'll see it too... But it does off some great resources at the end.

Toilet Training in Less than a Day by Nathan Azrin (1989) - I haven't read it, but it shows parents have been doing this for a while, right? Your local library might have a copy.

These are just a few in the web bound with LOTS of info... I'm sure you can find whatever you are looking for!

Happy Training!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Establish a Budget: What to Put in Those Envelopes {create an envelope baseline}

Last time I posted about budgeting was at the beginning of the year when I shared some free printables that I use for my budgeting. We had added the envelope system to our budgeting system about 6 months prior to that post and i have to say, it has helped up tremendously. Especially with the talk of the capsule wardrobe and the effects that has on a budget, it is something that I thought I should touch on.

I've had a couple conversations with people about this, I thought I would share this with you. And, one of my resolutions, or new years goals, was to pay off debt. The envelope system is nearly critical in the success of becoming debt free...

We are still paying off debt like no other. But not quite with "gazelle speed" as Dave Ramsey calls it.

I talk about budgeting with people all the time. Not that it rules our life, but really that it sets the guidelines and parameters of what we are willing to do, for now. But living on one income (and not a grand one at that) we can't do it all, all the time, at the moment.

Don't get me wrong. We still do stuff. We have memberships to things. I still go out to dinner with friends for book club and other things. But I have made the decision that I do not need to order anything. I am there to visit with friends. I haven't gotten kicked out of a restaurant yet for not ordering food. Did it feel weird at first? Definitely! Does it still feel weird? Totally! I rent things from the library instead of buying from the store or getting netflix and hulu.

You know what, it works! We no longer over spend, even with the fabric purchases that I may not have made after starting my capsule wardrobe. Those evil credit cards don't get used.

But one thing I get asked whenever I get to talking about budgeting, or just what I hear, is I just don't know how much to put in one/each envelope! Don't use it as an excuse not to get started. Especially if you have a goal to becoming debt free!

This is what I suggest... Build a Baseline.

1. Establish a Budget. Just like everyone else says to do, this kinda needs to get done first. You need the roof over your head and the electricity/gas to cook your food. This part doesn't mean necessarily what amount to put in what envelope. It simply means to designate the different bills and things that need to get paid. The envelope amounts can come later. It doesn't all have to be done all at once. just as long as you know how much you have after all the bills are paid is the foundation needed to begin the rest. Establish this. use it for a month, or two or three to get the feel of it.

check out these helpful places for building a budget.

I used a budget for about a year before I started using the envelope system. It might set me behind a bunch of other people. But at least it's done now.

2. Collect your receipts to track your spending for the month. You can go between pay periods or for the entire month. I do pay periods. The husband when from every week to every other week when we started the envelope system and it helped us not run out of money in the middle of each pay period. You know, so we could buy food!

This includes credit card receipts! But, the goal is to not use those credit cards! Keep tabs on your account, or just withdrawl cash and use that so you can physically touch and actually see how much you have left. But if you so happen to use a credit card, keep that receipt too.

This is why I suggest to use your budget to help you know how much you have after bills, but also to track your normal spending habits. It's easier to categorize when you have your typical purchases in front of you.

3. I just organized by receipt. you could probably track items using excel, quicken might have some options. I just used pen, paper, and receipt.

  • separate them by pay period or month.
  • Organize your purchases by category that makes sense to you. The common ones I have Household supplies, Personal Care, Baby supplies, care maintenance, animal supplies, date night/entertainment (and after the fabric purchase fiasco when I was building my capsule wardrobe, fabric and sewing). If you sort your receipt by pay period/month you can see the amounts that you typically spend and can use this as a stepping stone for your envelopes.
  • Tally the amount you spent in each of these categories
  • compare these numbers to the remaining amount in your budget. did you overspend your remaining amount

4. Add these categories to your budget and the amounts that are established. If you establish a baseline, it helps. You can do this over the course of 1-2 months and average out the spending.

Once you have that baseline established and those amounts written into your budget, take the time to reflect on your spending after each paycheck, each month. It's not written in stone and you can update and change.

I also add envelopes to account for birthdays as they draw near, anniversaries and even holidays, also known as like a sinking fund. I know it's not a saving tool, but it is working for us for now and it prepares us for those things.! But I am sure it will change as our needs change!

Don't be scared to start! Anyone can do it! You can do it too!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Good Pair of Pants Aren't Sewn in a Day: Women's Bundle Up {BlogTour with Winter Wear Designs and GreenStyle Creations}

I love jeans. They are comfy. And, when they fit right, they make a girl look good.

The hard thing is? A good fitting pair of jeans are so hard to find! For the past year, I have been wanting to make my own pants but scared out of my mind! The Bundle Up Women's tour was the perfect opportunity to check this one of the list, and I sewed up a super cute tank to go with my new jeans! (don't worry, they both fit in my new capsule wardrobe)

There was so many awesome patterns, it was hard to pick. But having been wanting to sew up a pair of jeans, the choice was clear. Check out these awesome patterns in the Bundle Up Women!

I signed up to sew GreenStyle Creations Jillian Tank and Winter Wear Designs Real Deal Jeans.

Isn't this such a cute combo? Love the jeans, so comfortable! The top is so lightweight, cool, and flowing. Perfect for summer! The under tank is perfect to pair with other tops, or on it's own. Love the whole combo!

Winter Wear Designs Real Deal Jeans:

Modifications: I adjusted the rise in the back to account for my tiny hiney. sadly, most of my girth is in the front. But, I haven't been in single digit sizes since I first met my husband a little over 8 years ago and this was a size 8! I am super duper excited about that!

Embelishments: I added some free motion quilting to the pockets. Love how it looks and adds that perfect extra touch!

The Pattern: Honestly, I was terrified to sew up a pair of jeans. Why did I wait so long? So I could sew up this pair! The directions are simple and easy to follow. The pattern pieces themselves weren't difficult either. The pattern has cutting lines for shorts, capris or pants! I almost went with the shorts option, but I rarely even wear my capris. I just love pants.

One thing that I think scared me was the time. You have got to make a muslin first to get a great fitting pair of jeans! Make sure you are at your best physically too. Trust me, when you are bloated is not a great time to make a muslin! I may, or may not, know this from experience. ;) But in the end, with the time invested, you get an awesome pair of jeans!

GreenStyle Creations Jillian Tank:

I added nothing and changed nothing to this pattern. Isn't it awesome!

The Pattern: super simple. easy to follow directions. It is also a quick sew! The outertank works great for woven or knit fabric! It comes with a bandeau option, or even a sports bra! This is really like 4 patterns in 1!

The back is cool. And I am so proud of these pants!!

Check out some of these other amazing bloggers and their creations!

Have you already gotten your patterns? Sew some up and share your creations on instagram using #bundleupwomen and if you haven't gotten your bundle yet, head over! The Bundle Up sale ends May 8th!

Happy Sewing!