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!

Friday, August 5, 2016

What I'm Reading: August

Y'all, a NEW Harry Potter was released on July 31st! Of course that topped my August reads, without a doubt, but I read several fascinating fiction books in August too. It is a good month for books!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling and two other playwrights // This is technically not a real "book" because it's a published script of the play being performed in London. Regardless, it's a new Harry Potter installment, and I was unashamedly jazzed to get my hands on it the day it released. The story picks up nineteen years after the big duel between Harry and Vordemort at Hogwarts, and on the 9 and 3/4 platform at King's Cross Station with Harry talking to his son Albus before he heads off to his first year at Hogwarts. Poor young Albus is sorted into Slytherin instead of Gryffindor, and faces a sea of criticism and teasing from classmates over this. I won't give away any more of the storyline, you'll have to pick up a copy yourself!

Just know that while the play format is trickier to get your head around at first (compared to the books), you get used to it pretty quickly and can mentally fill in details about the characters and locations. I think that's why this play is able to be released as a book - the fan base is already there with the background knowledge to make this a total hit!

The Long Journey to Jake Palmer by James L. Rubart // Again, new fiction books make me a tad bit fidgety. I have so many books on my "to read" list that I hate wasting my time on a new author who lacks enticing character development. That being said (I know, I know, I say it every month), I did like this book.

The main character is Jake Palmer, a corporate trainer who coaches people to see deeper into themselves. Recently divorced and getting weary of his business life, he agrees to a lake-house vacation with friends, hoping to escape for ten days. The man who coaches others barely knows himself anymore, and when Jake hears about the legend of Willow Lake, he can't shake a sliver of hope that the corridor - that, as legends suggests, leads to a place where one's deepest longings will be fulfilled - is real.

I give this book a 7/10. It was a pretty good story and very thought-provoking. It's not my favorite book of the bunch, but I've also read some really fabulous books so far this month.

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks // I understand that the cover of this book is a sunrise in between two rock ledges (or a valley?), but it actually seems a little menacing to me. I was almost tempted to pass on this book because the cover didn't draw me in. This book is 3 of a 3-part series, and semi-frustratingly, I didn't realize that until several chapters into the book. I wish I would have started with book #1

The book revolves around forensic artist Gwen Marcey. While she's in between jobs, she accepts a temporary assignment in a small Kentucky town facing big city crime. Before Gwen can finish her first drawing of a serial rapist (first clue this book wouldn't appear on my favorites list) on the loose, the latest witness vanishes like the others have. As her time in the town continues, she suspects a connection between the rapist and the accidental deaths that are happening around the small town, but the local sheriff has surprisingly little interest in her theory. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the suspense storyline in book! I loved the character development and can't wait to add the other two books in this series to my library request list.

Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers // Since I picked up Redeeming Love and the Mark of the Lion series with Hadassah (if you haven't read that series - GO READ IT RIGHT NOW!), I've been a fan of Rivers writing. She has the most fantastic way of breathing life into characters, real and raw struggles and emotional hurdles. This book, however, was just a tad bit too predictable for my taste.

The main character, Abra, was abandoned as a baby under a bridge in the town of Haven. Now grown up, Abra is using the name Lena Scott as she continues to rise to fame in 1950's Hollywood. In fact, to the bigwigs of Hollywood, she's the hottest rising star to hit the silver screen since Marilyn Monroe. But as she transitions to from her small town to Tinseltown, her naivety lands her in some...interesting situations.  

Yes, this book is about redemption and is fabulous in bringing the truth that no one is past receiving God's redemption and love. But, like I mentioned above, it's a bit predictable.

Our Man in Charleston by Christopher Dickey // The book description on Amazon started off with, "Between the Confederacy and recognition by Great Britain stood one unlikely Englishman who hated the slave trade. His actions helped determine the fate of a nation." That's a lofty expectation to put on this biography. This biography focused on Robert Bunch (the British diplomat, who in the days of the Revolutionary War, was more like a spy) in the Americas in mid-1800's. He was young and full of ambition, but soon found himself plunged into a double life, bouncing between this amicable routing with his slave-loving neighbors and yet working furiously to thwart their plans to achieve a new Confederacy.

I love history, and I loved learning all I could from this book, not just about Robert Bunch, but also about this viewpoint of the Revolutionary War. Growing up in the North, I never quite understood the Confederacy, or even how other countries got involved in this critical part of our American history.

Home Sewn by Cassandra Ellis // Let me start off by saying that this book is beyond lovely! I found myself feeling inspired by the photos of Cassandra's projects as I flipped through the pages. Each one was well photographed, to really highlight the project.

That being said, I thought the actual direction was a bit vague. Because I sew quite often, I was able to fill in the gaps in instruction, but don't recommend this book to a beginner unless they want to fill in those gaps by Googling additional tutorials. What I DID appreciate was how Cassandra talked about fabric options and price difference. A couple of her projects included kits, which I wasn't a big fan of, especially since they were from UK suppliers (with no US equivalent - but easy enough to find via a Google search). Also, note that there are no patterns in this book - just measurements that you'll have to draw/tape/measure on your fabric by yourself. It would have been awesome if she would have included patterns.

Disclaimer: Several of the books in 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!

Monday, August 1, 2016

My Insta July

fabric combos // a gorgeous custom order baby quilt // Mocha // ThredUp continue to rock my wardrobe
making bias tape for quilts // my Mayan Mosaic quilt // the new Harry Potter // Disney bound in August!!!!!
Mocha, again // redeeming birthday rewards :) // West Elm fake tile backdrops // such pretty fabric paint
Mocha tail // love this quilt pattern // teeny notebooks! // another delicious fabric combo

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