Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Current Obsessions

Iced chai's with an extra pump of chai. Perfect summer drink.

This ballerina doll by my friend Aleks of Aleks Handmade. Gahhh, so adorable!

Like I said last week, this tote pattern from Noodlehead. Finally, buying it this weekend.

These Moleskine journals. There's a slight chance I went overboard and currently have five different colors of the same notebook (yellow, lime, navy, dark teal and lavender) for when I finish my current light teal journal.

ThredUp because I can't stop lovin' on this brand new J.Crew purse I bought on their site.

This bias tape machine, which I was lucky enough to snag when it only cost $70 instead of $345. What IS that price jump? So dumb. It hasn't actually arrived yet, but I'm already obsessed with it.

Harry Potter books on CD for my long drive to and from work. And also, the new Harry Potter book.


Monday, August 29, 2016

A Book on Natural Dying

The more I fall in love with the quilting world, the more intrigued I am about where my fabric comes from and what dyes are used in it. I'm starting to think about creating a whole new line of quilts and wall hangings based around natural dyed fabrics, but knew I needed to do some research on this before jumping in wholeheartedly. And a simple Pinterest search didn't quite qualify as research. Any Joe-Smoe (is that how "smoe" is spelled?) can upload a tutorial to Pinterest. I wanted a real "expert," I wanted to get my hands on a book about natural dying.

Lo and behold! The same week I was trying to decide what book to add to my library shelves, Blogging for Books listed this book on natural dying. It's called Natural Color: Vibrant Plant Dye Projects for Your Home and Wardrobe by Sasha Duerr. I requested a review copy and waited rather impatiently for it to arrive.

This book is simply gorgeous. The photos are exquisite in their details, which had me all shades of inspired as I flipped through the pages. Beyond the book's aesthetics, it was informational. Almost like a cookbook for how to combine different natural elements to achieve colors. Each "recipe" uses seasonal weeds, the by-products or scraps from your most recent meal and common everyday plants.

Duerr writes in chapters that talk about what plants are available to use in each of the four season. That was helpful for me! I didn't want to fall in love with a project that's only best suited for tracking down a plant that will yield the best color in winter when it's still summer in Indiana. After flipping through these pages and reading several sections on the technique of plant dying, the safety process for dying and seeing her recipes for creating colors and vibrancy, I feel excited to try it. Definitely better than a Pinterest search!

Also, you'll notice that I post book reviews on my blog. Several of the books I review every month come from either Blogging for Books or BookLook Bloggers. These two websites provide books to bloggers in return for their unbiased reviews on consumer websites, like Amazon. They have a code of conduct that requires reviewers to post 100% honest reviews. I just wanted to take a quick minute to explain that, even though I receive books in exchange for my reviews, all my blog posts and reviews are completely my own opinion on these books. They don't tell me what to say to try to sell a book, and they don't require that I only post positive things.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Patterns I Keep Coming Back To

Being a sewer can be overwhelming in the best way. You're constantly looking at the hems on clothes, or how well the stripes are matched up at the sides of that cute J.Crew top, or even stalking the stores to get inspiration for things you can sew yourself...because after all, there's GOT to be a pattern for this and that and that.

As I'm starting to think about my fall capsule wardrobe (seriously, I'm officially doing one of these for the first time ever!), I couldn't help but make a list of all the patterns I keep coming back to, aching to sew.

Lane Raglan by Hey June // I've said it before and I'll say it again - this pattern is amazing! It's such a staple piece. The possibilities are endless and the instructions are clear. Sewing another version of this pattern ASAP.

Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline // Another pattern with a ton of options. Short sleeves?Long sleeves? Full length skirt? Shorter skirt? Totally up to you. Could it be any more fun to envision how to personalize this dress? Also, taking a moment to mourn the long hair I had when this photo was taken of my black & white heart dress.

Dropje Hooded Vest by Waffle Patterns // I purchased this pattern, but want to sew it ASAP. Fall will be here before we know it, after all. I'm just trying to decide if I want to do a quilted version with a great patterned fabric, or a more simple solid fabric on the with a fun contrasting fabric on the inside.

Eleanor by Kzjo'Studio // Can you have too many cardigans? No? Okay. Sorry for asking such a silly question.

Biscayne Blouse by Hey June // One of my very favorite styles in cold weather season is to pair a collared tank with a sweater. This top doesn't have a collar, but its high neckband will look great with a v-neck sweater.

Maker's Tote by Noodlehead // Sooo this isn't an article of clothing, but I just keep coming back to the Noodlehead website to look at this tote. Is it too early to dream up all the Christmas gifts I want to make for friends and family this year? If I do make these gifts, it would be great to also make this tote to keep my gifts-in-progress with me at all times. You never know when you'll be stuck somewhere (waiting for a train on my way to work is a real thing) and be able to sneak in ten minutes of project work!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

My Birthday Recap

My birthday was earlier this month, and it was a big birthday! My 3-0 birthday.

The day itself was fine, considering that I did the adult thing and actually worked on my birthday. I started the day by stopping at Starbucks to redeem my free birthday drink. They accidentally made a hot chai instead of an iced chai, so I ended up with TWO VENTI chais. Absolutely perfect way to start my day. One of my co-workers brought in donuts. Another one of my co-workers surprised me by dropping off some pizza for my lunch. Dinner was full of cheese fries from The Outback Steakhouse (their cheese fries are my favorite!).

Joel spoiled me with a couple items I've been wanting - a Michael Jackson #1 hit CD and this snap maker. I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to be attaching snaps too, but it's just so fun and easy to use that I'm might be randomly adding snaps to any and everything! We tested it that night and seriously, it's fun guys.

My parents spoiled me with some gift cards, which I've used to buy sewing items I've been eyeing for months and months. I was able to use my $40 gift card to JoAnn's to get $80 worth of stuff by strategically making purchases when I had either 50% or 60% off coupons, adding this quilting ruler, this box of thread and a couple other things to my sewing supplies stash. And by using another gift card, I was giddy over buying this bias tape side winder and more bobbins. I still have some monies sitting on a gift card that I might use to buy this enamel pin...because SEWIST. Sewist is a combination of the two words sewer and artist. Totally fitting for me? I'd like to think so. :)


Monday, August 22, 2016

My New Mug + Some Books

So many good things in that photo! Earlier this month, my friend Aleks and I visited the Vistaprint "VP On the Road" truck in Chicago. They were generously giving out free credit to small business owners. I was able to use that credit to order a banner for possible Dearly Quilt Company house shows and markets, a logo stamp and labels, this super duper awesome logo mug and some adorable floral notecards. (Give me floral everything right now!) Visiting that truck and experiencing their customer service in person - plus seeing them give away over $100 in credit to EACH business owner that stopped by their truck - made me appreciate Vistaprint in an entirely new way. (This isn't an ad! Sharing because I appreciated their generosity to my small biz.)

AND, can I talk about how excited I was to get my hands on these two brand new books by Shauna Niequist and Lysa TerKeurst? They were released last week and hit the #1 and #2 slots on the New York Times best sellers list.

Shauna's book Present Over Perfect is focused on pushing for connection, meaning and depth over settling for busy and perfection. After finding herself exhausted and isolated, Shauna was sick of being tired, burned out and busy. This book is an invitation to a journey that changed her life - the journey away from frantic pushing and proving, toward a path to find the person you were created to be before you began proving and earning for your worth. I have read other books by Shauna and truly love her writing style. She has a way of weaving words that is absolutely artistic. Vulnerability is found in her pages, and this book is no different. It's a collection of essays filled to the brim with stories soaked in grace. Seeing her speak at The Influence Conference a couple years ago and at the Belong Tour in Columbus, Ohio last weekend increased my love of Shauna! She's so real and genuine, and it shows in her speaking and in this book! I highly recommend this book.

And next up! Lysa's book, Uninvited. I can't wait to share my review with you soon.


Disclaimer: The books this post were provided to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Also, affiliate links used. This means that if you purchase a book via the Amazon links, I'll receive a small percentage. Thank you for supporting Sunday Charm!
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