Hand Embroidery With Heather

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If you live in the PHX area and want to learn hand embroidery this is your chance!!  I’ll be teaching a 4 week course in October.  If I get a good response I’ll be doing it in November too!  Please share this image/blog post and help me spread the word.

For more information and for sign-ups click the image or visit HERE.

 

Summer Stitching

Pillow_full

A few months ago a friend of mine showed me a watercolor she had done- it was beautiful!  I asked her where she got the quote and flower design, she told me she found it on pinterest and just repainted it.  A little light bulb went off in my head!!  I am queen of not-reinventing the wheel and loved the idea of finding something you liked and then making it for yourself!

In May I pinned this

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I thought it was just beautiful and decided to take a cue from my friend and stitch it up.  It took me ALL summer long to finish it.  I made myself start with the lettering (my least favorite part) and only when that was done was I allowed to work on the gorgeous flowers.

heatherhalesdesigns- embroidered pillow

 

I got all fancy pants and used stitches I don’t regularly use for the flowers.  The round flowers are button-hole stitches sewn in round, plus a french knot or two in the center.  The leaves are a herringbone stitch, which is such a quick and pretty alternative to a satin stitch.

The whole number is backed in a fun orange/yellow/pink vintage pillow case and I added a subtle pink and white striped Lecien print as piping.

embroidered_pillow

 

I wish I knew who the original illustrator is, I would love to give credit where it is due, all I know is that the design was released by the LDS Church. If anyone knows- please share!

If you are at all interested in learning to do some of those fancy (and even the less fancy) embroidery stitches and you live here in the Phoenix area I’m in the planning stages of putting together a class for Tuesday evenings in October.  Email me (or leave a comment) if you are interested and I’ll email you when I secure the location.

P.S. I started another PUBLIC instagram account this weekend- I’d love it if you wanted to follow along!

http://instagram.com/heatherhalesdesigns/

I Smiled Today

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I woke up before 7am today. With a smile on my face. Today was the first day of school.

My kids and I, we’ve had a good run.  Our summer was full with daily trips to the pool, weekly movie dates, a venture to the California beaches with Grandma and Grandpa, seventeen hours in the car for our annual road trip to WY, fishing, hiking, biking and PLENTY of “I’m bored” time. Like I said, we had a good run, but I was ready for them to go.  I was ready for my space, some peace and quiet and a house that stays clean longer than fifteen minutes.

fishing -heatherhalesdesigns.com

I got up with my smile and made them pancakes with raspberries and whipped cream, took the obligatory back-to-school pictures in the driveway and headed to school with them. My 7th grader road off alone while the girls and I trailed behind;  my 4th grader still wanted me to walk her to the playground.  After I dropped her off I joined the group of Moms and Dads gawking from the sidelines. Recognizing some friends I commented on how the first day of school had finally come! And then I said out loud “it’s like Christmas for adults” (a phrase coined by my MIL  who attained sainthood by raising FIVE kids over a span of 30+ years). Inevitably when you say something like that someone always pipes up and says how they miss their kids and laments the seven hour school day.  In today’s case that voice was only in my head, the same voice that is constantly pointing out my faults and telling me what a good mother should do.

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Later while vacuuming I pondered why we (or maybe its just me) look at those women who adore their kids and bemoan the return of school and feel guilty that we rejoice about school and the exodus of the children from our home. Who made this standard that the definition of a good and loving mother means we have to want to be with our kids all the time and enjoy it 90% of the time (let’s be realistic, no one can enjoy kids ALL the time)? Why can’t we admire and look up to the mothers who enjoy their kids some of the time (and love them 90% of the time) but have a healthy sense of self independent from their role as mom? Mothers who like time away from their children to pursue hobbies and interests that have nothing to do with parenting….even if its just surfing the web uninterrupted!

I know there are other women who feel like this, but we hide in plain view with big smiles on our faces and whisper snarky comments to our neighbors because it doesn’t seem socially appropriate to admit how much you like time away from the children you intentionally brought into the world.

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Me, I’m rewriting my internal definition of a good mother. To me she is someone who loves her children (and mostly likes them too) and isn’t afraid to define herself beyond Mother. She enjoys (even relishes) time away from her brood to explore things that interest only her (good books and small coffee shops).

This Friday I will wake up early again and with a smile because my youngest will begin preschool.  I will have two and a half hours to myself three times a week and I will enjoy every minute of it.  More importantly, I won’t feel guilty about enjoying it…and maybe I won’t be afraid to share that.

Are We Done Yet???

Summer. We’ve hit the wall, I’m ready for summer to be over.  June was a whirlwind of Summer School and Swim Team, we stayed busy but still had fun.  July? July has been dragging since day one- AND IT’S NOT OVER YET!  Without Summer School to keep us in check the July days have been one long drag of boredom.  My friend Dawn has been keeping track of summer via instagram, according to her count we are on day 59.  Every time I see her dated posts I feel a bit of pride and  say to myself “You’ve made it 59 days and you haven’t lost your you-know-what yet!”

Monopoly with Papa

Only I did loose it on day 56.  I couldn’t take the children’s arguing and deliberate sabotage attempts against one another one more min.  I snapped.  Thank heavens they were rescued by Papa- who arrived in the nick of time providing an excellent diversion!  Today he whisked those older two off to Wyoming with him; where they will spend the remaining weeks of summer frolicking through the green and pleasant-ness that is a WY summer.

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Which just leaves the littlest and I to endure the brown and hot that is an AZ summer for one more week before we too join in with the green pleasant-ness frolickings.

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The only reason I managed to keep my crazy in check for 56 days was by spending as much time as possible in the sewing room.  This dress (that my daughter was so thrilled to model this morning) is from vintage Simplicity 8714. I’ve made dresses, skirts, a bow tie, and started a bunch of embroidery projects.  What are you doing to keep it all together this summer?

If I’m going to pay for hosting…

I may as well use this space occasionally!  Its been a busy spring with lots of stitching…

Anthropomorphic Fruit

 

Easter Dresses

some traveling…

Balboa Fun Zone

N. Arizona

and quite a bit of house drama. I’m holding my breath that the house drama will be over very very soon.  I crave stability they way an addict craves the next fix.

I feel like using this space for more philosophizing and less (lets face it) self promotion of my perceived talents in the sewing department.  I’m striving for more depth in my life, and more self honesty.

My Favorites

I recently read an article that compared the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Semi-Annual General Conference addresses to TED Talks. I’ve only watched a few TED talks but I can see the similarities. Most of the Conference addresses focus on bettering ourselves and lifting others up.  This is one of my favorite quotes from this past weekend.

Forgiveness- heatherhalesdesigns.com

 

A few of my Saturday favorite talks were: Holland (have courage), Reeves (listen with understanding and love), Nelson (let your faith show), Zwick (avoiding corrupt communication).

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My list of Sunday favorites is a little shorter as I fell asleep for most of the second half (oops!).  But, I really liked these: Monson (love one another), Bednar (spiritual traction), Stevens (the Gospel is wings), and Uchtdorf (grief).

Did you have a favorite talk, or phrase?

Simplicity 1598

I love vintage sewing patterns. I not only collect them, but I use them.  I buy them online, at Goodwill (they are getting harder and harder to come buy), but I find most of my patterns at Merchant Square.

vintage Simplicity 1598

After finishing my older daughters Easter dress, I decided to make a play outfit for the youngest- before starting her Easter dress (I’m still shopping for the right pattern).

This one really is easy to sew- I finished it in an afternoon.  I love how practical the pattern is- you use the seam allowance at the waist to make the casing for the elastic.  It is a simple pattern to alter as well (I had to lengthen it into a size 4).

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Rompers seem to be the new thing for girls (and women?!!!) these days- and I love that once you take the skirt off you’ve got a fun romper to play in.  The only downside is that she needs help to go to the bathroom.  The bias ties at the shoulders have to be undone…maybe if I sewed them into bows she could slide them off her shoulders without help?

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It is so cute on her- and she loves wearing it…and hearing her call it her “romper” is just the best!  Do you sew with vintage patterns?  For you or your kids?  I’ve only been successful with vintage patterns on the kids, each time I make a dress for me it just doesn’t work out right.

Twisted Headband Tutorial

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Spring is nearly here (according to the calendar….but its been sitting here in AZ for the last month) and its time for fun, bright colors!  This is a super easy project to use up your scraps and add some color to your wardrobe.  Here is what you’ll need:

1. 2 strips of fabric 5.5″ wide by 16″ long

2. 5.5″ piece of elastic (1/2″ or 3/4″wide) -you may need a longer piece for an adult, but this length worked for my 4yo and 9yo

step1

 

Step 1: Sew your strips in half width wise (right sides together) and stitch.  Flip right side out and press.  I like to use a safety pin to help me turn it- I pin it to one end and thread it back through the piece- same as if I were threading elastic through a waist band.

step2 copy

 

Step 2: Lay your strips on top of each other in a perpendicular way, and fold each piece in half (see pic)

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Step 3: Take the raw edge of one length and turn it in about 1/2″ and finger press.  Take the other raw edge and tuck it in to the turned in edge.  Slip the elastic edge in as well and stitch closed.  Repeat for both of your ties.

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step5

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Your finished project should look like this:

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This is a fun twist on the traditional headband, gives it a little “architectural interest”!

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If you are wanting to make one for an adult, measure your head using a tape measure placed all the way around your head- as you would wear a headband.  Take that measurement and subtract 15, that will give you the length of elastic you will need.

Happy Spring Sewing!

Stillness has a sound

It all started on Monday when I posted a picture on instagram of some play dough I made mentioning that I always feel ambitious on Mondays.  I got some flack for the ambitious Monday part.  For me the week is brand new, the kids are back in school and I feel the unfolding week is ripe with promise.  On Mondays, I can do anything! (by wednesday I’m overwhelmed and ready for a nap -case in point it is nearly 11 o’clock and I am still in my pajamas contemplating how  much energy I will need to gird up to take a shower)

bee on cactus

This week my Monday was full to the brim and didn’t stop until nearly 1am when I finished grading a third grade class worth of homework (that my daughter forgot to tell me about until Monday after school, it was due Monday and she had been carrying it around since Friday!). Busy-ness is not a badge of honor or worth, nor is it something I aspire to. I have made very deliberate choices in my life to keep my days calm with moments of stillness. Sometimes the crazy still creeps in, and it is never just a little bit crazy either- when it rains it pours.

I barely drug myself out of bed Tuesday morning to get the older kids ready for school and then take my daughter and her friends to preschool.  My husband called between my errands and we talked.  I gave him the run down of my day and how it would be one activity to another until 8pm and how I barely had the energy to move!  In that moment of telling him about my day I realized that any number of calamities could happen to alter my day, and I knew that if they did I would be begging for my simple busy day. Buoyed by the thought that there is joy in the ability to make it through a crazy day, I picked up my daughter and her friends from preschool and we went to the park.

I get really overwhelmed at the thought of being responsible for entertaining lots (read more than one) of children.  I knew that it was my turn to have the girls over but the anxiety of keeping them cooped up in my house for 3 hours was sending me over the edge. With the weather so nice I decided I would take them to the park for a picnic.  After they ate, off they ran to play.  I sat back in my chair and enjoyed a moment of stillness.  I listened to the sounds in that moment…  the soft whoosh of the cars on the nearby freeway, the giggles and shrieks of delight as the girls jumped and slid gently piercing the otherwise silent park and the quiet call of a bird somewhere deeper in the neighborhood. And, the feeling of the warm sun on my back.

What I’ve Learned This Week

-I love my family.  After spending a night away from them I was actually excited to weed the back yard with them. Really and truly.

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-I’m so glad these two have each other (and their brother too).

-My son wishes his name was Bruce, because it sounds like a big-guy kind of name. He asked me if I could name him over again, if I would ever choose Bruce.  I said no, because I wouldn’t even name my dog Bruce.

-My daughter asked at dinner about a German man named Hicks. She meant Hitler, which made us all laugh because that child is forever mis-remembering words in the most deliciously funny ways(My favorite was when she asked about Jesus praying in the Garden of Yosemite).

-Shortly after I woke up this morning my legs gave out from under me and I had to grab the counter and hold on to prevent falling to the ground in pain.  What I learned was, even when my day starts out like that, I can still haul all three children to the Dr. at two separate times, grocery shop, make dinner for my own family and another one that just had a baby, bake brownies, and make a baby blanket all before 6pm. (whether or not I can move tomorrow is yet to be seen)

-Sometimes it is really hard to pray for the people that it should be easy to pray for. But, sometimes I just need to do it, and hope that healing will come.

-I am grateful for my health insurance, but the red tape behind an HMO can be frustrating at times.

-Some doctors do not consider Chiropractors real doctors. And, not all Chiropractors are created equal (and why do people keep recommending the bizarre ones who graduated in the 70’s?)

-I should really get a flu shot.