Simplification: Check In

April 19, 2010

Well, it’s s been a couple weeks since my first post about simplifying my life and the goals I wrote. I figured now’s a good time to check in and see how I’m doing.

  • Haven’t touched my sewing machine. In fact, it’s still in the middle of my kitchen table. FAIL!
  • I have been cooking more!
    • I actually made FISH for dinner one night…. and it was GREAT!!! (I don’t normally like fish, and I’m scared to cook it since it’s so delicate.)
    • I also made a ham & pasta casserole and it sucked. BIG TIME. Oh well. That one’s crossed of the list forever, even though I followed the directions. I am okay with knowing we’re not going to like everything I make.
    • I am incorporating more veggies into our lives. Often, they are of the frozen “Steamfresh” variety, but that’s ok!
    • I have a loose menu plan for the week. I’ve subscribed to and have the meals picked out, and even have all the ingredients on hand. (If you also struggle with this, check it out. It’s inexpensive and easy!)
  • Less daytime TV – Check! More movement: FAIL.
  • Little chores: FAIL.
  • Remembering my reuseable grocery bags: FAIL.
  • Clearing clutter: a little progress. I sold a couple things on Ebay and I have a gone through a stack of old magazines, ripping out things I want to keep.
  • Gardening: not yet.
  • Purchasing less: good progress. We bought a few fun things at the Kings’ fan appreciation sale, but we’re talking team pride here. Otherwise, it’s just been food and gas, but nothing material.

What are you doing/have you done to simplify your life? Are you struggling with any of the things I am? How are you decluttering your life?


Sew What?

March 19, 2010

Inspired by my uncle’s wifes sewing skills as showcased by her gifts and blog, I thought “what he heck, why not drag out my machine and figure out how it works?” I have used it before but not properly. I picked up a beginners sewing book at Borders, dug out my manual, and realized I had been routing the thread incorrectly. No wonder it always broke! Also, I learned how to wind bobbins. First, I learned how NOT to do it, but after a bit of persistence, I got it right. I really felt accomplished!! Then I gathered up some scraps and practiced stitches. My machine has a number of feet and stitch selections, so I wanted to see what each of them did. I’m still afraid of button holes, but I am MUCH more comfortable with the machine now. 

Blue & White wine bag w/red hearts

Blue wine bag w/green ivy

I started simple with wine bottle bags. Imagine them with a prettier ribbon tied around the neck. Wonder if anyone would actually buy these? They will make good “gift wrap” since I like to give booze for gifts. And hey, they are reusable!   

Project #2 warranted a trip to the fabric store. I settled on a pattern “for dummies” thinking it would be really easy. Yeah right! I decided to make an appliance cover for my rarely used 4 slice toaster. After carefully selected appropriate fabric, off I went to tackle this project. (The “for dummies” moniker seems to be a branding strategy, since I felt I had progressed beyond a total dummy and maybe warranted a “novice” rating and was still dumbfounded. The kit included instructions, but unfortunately, they made no sense. Luckily, I grew up watching my grandmother sew, so I just winged it.)

Still unsure about how I should have cut the fabric (where do I fold, which end is which?) but I did manage to get what I needed. This project included a felt insert to give it some substance. Whew, this was quite a big bite!  The end result was definitely not perfection. I am, however, proud of my work. There are no gaping errors and it can certainly serve its purpose.  

4-Slice Toaster Cover


  P.S. Corners are hard! Especially when they are so thick (felt, 2 layers cotton, 2 layers of bias tape).