JUNE Bag Sewing — Sugar Skull Run Around LOVE

July 23rd, 2017

LazyGirl Run Around Bag sewing patternYep, I’m just going to be honest. I’ve neglected the SewThankful blog for way too long.

Sew…I’ll try to catch back up by going back through and adding projects I’ve completed and reviewed the last year or so.

This is the Lazy Girl Run Around Bag I sewed for myself in early June 2017.

Living in New Mexico, Day of the Dead is a big deal and over the years I have come to love the celebration. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to reflect on and celebrate the lives of those I’ve loved and lost in this life.

SEW…I just have to say, I *loved* every second of sewing this super fun Sugar Skull Run Around Bag. She’s sleek and sweet and fun to wear. Yes, I’m done with carrying heavy “mom bags”…cuz my kids are grown or nearly grown and I’m ready to lighten the load.

I did a couple of change-ups with the zipper…notice two colors of zipper tape and a different color zipper pull? The “extended” pull is braided fabric used to make the bag with frayed/tattered soft end.

The Run Around pattern is super easy and goes together incredibly FAST. Can you say, “Instant GRATIFICATION?”

If you’re looking for a minimalist cross-body bag to carry your essentials and maybe a few small extras, *THIS is the pattern you NEED*.¬† This bag makes great gifts and uses hardly any fabric.

The Run Around Bag is a Lazy Girl Designs sewing pattern is ON SALE NOW at SewThankful: http://www.sewthankful.com/LazyGirlRunAroundBag_SewingPattern.html

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Quilted Sea Turtle Pillow — July 2017

July 19th, 2017
Scrappy Sea Turtle Pillow — original design and copyright Tracy Lee Chapman
and SewThankful Inc./SewThankful.com, July 2017.  All rights reserved.

This is the Scrappy Sea Turtle Pillow I designed and made as a gift for a very dear friend.¬†She listens without being judgmental, she encourages without being critical, but she also tells it like it is. She is the best kind of friend and she’s made a wonderful difference in my life so I wanted her to have something special to know that she’s important and cared for.¬† She adores Sea Turtles–and purple & blue are her favorite colors.

At first I was going to make this as a wall hanging. Then I decided to make it into a pillow instead so my friend can display it easily wherever she wants and it’s hug-able. Making the quilted turtle as a pillow sham (with a custom shredded gel-foam pillow insert) also keeps the quilted turtle sham easy to wash and dry.

This is my own original design, entirely from scratch. Where did I get the turtle image? I looked at many sea turtle images and sketched my own. Then I challenged myself to use only fabrics, threads and items from my own personal stash–no buying anything new.

First the turtle was outlined with a hand sewn big stitch using rayon perle from my personal stash.

I used raw edge fusible applique (using Sew Lazy Fusi-Bond http://www.sewthankful.com/Sew_Lazy_Fusi_Bond_Lite_Sew_Lazy_SLG101.html) to place the pieces of the turtle body & shell.

Microquilter Thread

 

Each piece is freemotion quilted using Superior Microquilter thread (http://www.sewthankful.com/superior-sewing-threads-microquilter.html).

Rainbows Thread

Then I added wavy quilting lines (to give the feel of water) using Superior Rainbows Thread (I used #831 Mediterranean – http://www.sewthankful.com/Superior-Thread-Rainbows.html ).

 

The scrappy binding was made from random small scraps of fabric used to make the turtle.

The finished dimensions of the pillow are approximately 27 inches x 20 inches.

I love how this sea turtle turned out. Even better, my friend was thrilled and loves it too.
Yes, a pattern is being developed…stay tuned.

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My GREAT Oregon Bicycle Adventure – July 2015

August 2nd, 2015

Sew…in May I gave myself a 50th birthday present. I absolutely love riding my bike and I’ve done a few triathlons and century (100+ mile) rides, and they were lots of fun.¬† But I’d never really done any real bicycle touring.¬† That was something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do.¬† So, I chose to go on a self-contained (meaning camping and cooking and you carry all your own gear plus a share of the group’s common cooking gear) bicycle adventure tour in Oregon with an all-women’s group through Adventure Cycling.

I filled out the application and sent in my initial payment. The application was accepted and YAY, I was so excited!

Then reality struck. And panic. When I first decided this was what I wanted, I *thought* I would be able to use my road/racing bike (carbon frame).¬† I was wrong. See: “Sew I Needed a Bike”.

BackOfBike

OK I researched, ordered and got the bike.

So…then I needed racks, panniers, a handlebar bag, a tent, a sleeping pad, a sleeping bag, my own travel eating utensils, cup, plate, etc. OH my! The costs were really adding up. Remember the first time you thought about making a quilt and that it wouldn’t cost much because you’ll just use what you have?¬† Until you realize you need a new sewing machine, special tools, a particular fabric, special thread, etc.¬† Yeah, it’s a lot like that!¬† OK…deep breath…doing it…figured that out.

 

THEN I needed to find time to train.¬† After all, we were going to be riding approximately 50 miles a day, 4 days in a row (on fully LOADED bikes that are steel frames, not lightweight carbon). My bike–fully loaded–weighed in at over 100 pounds.¬† OK…several deep breaths…doing it…figured that out. Time flew by and I did the best I could with the time that I had but felt uncertain if I was truly ready.MAPScreenshot_2015-07-19-09-00-12

Then the finally came, I loaded up my little Ford Focus hatchback with my bike and all my gear and I pulled out of the driveway on my way to Eugene, Oregon.¬† Just a little over 1300 milesand¬† I *LOVE* a good road trip.¬† Yes, even all by myself. After being a multi-tasking mom, employee and business owner for most of the last 30 years, having that time alone on the road seemed like a dream.¬† I could listen to the music I like…or no music at all.¬† I could have complete thoughts without interruptions!¬† Imagine that.

Sew…I had 3 days to get to Eugene but didn’t make any hard/specific plan.¬† I like it that way sometimes. Just play it by ear and see what the adventure brings.

As I was driving through Salt Lake City, I noticed an In N Out Burger place just off the upcoming exit.

OMGosh…I InAndOuthaven’t been to an In N Out since I was last in California (many, many years ago)!!! So I pulled off, ordered my meal from a fresh-faced kid who was obviously happy to be working (what a treat to notice that!) and I thoroughly enjoyed a lovely burger and fresh french fries (something I RARELY eat anymore). It was wonderful. After I finished, I filled the gas tank, checked out my MapQuest route and searched for hotels, estimating how much farther I thought I’d be able to drive without becoming too tired.¬† I picked a hotel, called ahead and made a reservation (man, that was QUICK and EASY…sometimes technology is AWESOME!!!). So, I made it just past Twin Falls, ID by a little past midnight of my first day of travel.

GROOVYbusThe next day was a little easier…I pulled in to my hotel in Eugene by 4:30pm Pacific Time.¬† The extra hour from the time change gave me a little boost!

Now I had a whole day to rest and acclimate before meeting my group.  So I decided to explore a little of Eugene on my bike.

Check out the super groovy bus I found in a gorgeous park!

 

RichardsonParkCampSunday morning arrived. I packed my stuff back into my car and drove out to the designated

MarinaRichardsonPark

meeting place at Richardson Park (just outside of Eugene).

After finding the group, we set up camp and began our 2-day study of self-contained touring. We¬†learned how to pack, how to travel, how to operate the gas burner we’d be carrying to cook our food, how to read our maps and cue sheets, how the cooking responsibilities would be divided up, how the shared cooking gear would be divided up and much MORE!

blackberriesThe second day of camping we did a short (under 10 mile) shake down ride to test our gear, re-check our bikes and make sure we had everything we needed.  We also stopped along the roadside to pick and eat wild blackberries.  They were so sweet and delicious!!!

Oh yes…there will be many MORE adventures to come!

 

 

Check out the current eCoupon Code at SewThankful.com — we are a genuine small, family business and we truly appreciate your business!

Sew–I needed a new bike

May 17th, 2015

My 50th birthday present to myself is a women only Adventure Tour in Oregon (Introduction to Road Touring) this coming July.  I booked the tour in March and started dreaming.

Then, I had a sudden, rude awakening!¬† It had not occurred to me that my current bike wouldn’t work for this new adventure.¬† Silly girl, I am. Well, of course I would need a new bike!¬† A carbon racing bike (my Maddie) is NOT a touring bike and definitely not what I need for self contained touring. Self contained touring means I’ll be carrying my own tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, clothing, food, cooking gear, etc. ON my bike…sometimes climbing mountains carrying all that stuff.¬† Maddie is wonderful, but she just can’t handle that type of work.

Hmmmm.

Sew…I spent several weeks researching what bike to get. I narrowed it down to 2 choices, then set out to test ride and make my decision.¬† Finally, I decided on the Surly Long Haul Disc Trucker .

disc-trucker-14_sv_930x390

 

 

 

 

 

Sew…now let me tell you about Two Wheel Drive Bike Shop and why buying a bicycle from a GOOD shop will always be 1000 times better than buying from a “cheap” shop.

I ordered my Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bicycle from Two Wheel Drive in Albuquerque last Friday (May 8th) with the understanding it would be 1-2 weeks for the bike to arrive.  I received the call on Friday, May 15th that my bike was in and built for me.

Sew…I went to pick it up and we discovered the size ordered is still too big for me. Even worse, the smaller size is NOT AVAILABLE in the disc version. WTF…ARGGGH!!! What to do, what to do?!!! Well dang…Charlie solved the problem. He ordered just the smaller bike frame (the frame only WAS available in my size) and they will build out my dream touring bike for me.

My mind is blown. My heart is blessed. While I’m disappointed I didn’t get my bike yesterday, I’m 1000 times MORE thankful that Charlie was willing to make sure I get the RIGHT bike for me (over just making a sale!).

BOTTOM LINE: Quality and service are at least 1000 times more important than CHEAP. Support your local bike shop if they support you. If you happen to be in the Albuquerque Metro Area, go see Charlie and his staff at Two Wheel Drive and tell him I sent you.

Make your own – Taco Seasoning Recipe

March 22nd, 2015

Sew…with age comes certain “issues”.¬† One of my own personal issues is blood pressure.

Salt/sodium is a key player related to blood pressure. My own doctor recommends I stay at 1500 mg. or less per day.

My blood pressure is under control with diet and exercise, but I have to be hyper-vigilant about reading product labels for salt (sodium) content.   Seasoning mixes are notorious for being loaded with salt (sodium).

One teaspoon of salt = approximately 2,325 mg.

These major health organizations recommend these as maximum daily sodium intake:

  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): 2300 mg.
  • American Heart Association (AHA): 1500 mg.
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND): 1500 to 2300 mg.
  • American Diabetes Association (ADA): 1500 to 2300 mg.

So, I’ve formulated my own delicious version that can be tweaked to your personal needs (or even made without salt altogether).¬† Not only is it delicious, it is healthier and much less expensive than purchasing individual packets at the store.¬† PLUS, I know EXACTLY what’s in it.

The following recipe will make enough to season 8 pounds of ground beef, ground turkey or other meat (enough to make 8 separate meals of 1 pound of meat per meal/dish).  I simply recycle/re-label an old spice container to hold my seasoning mix.

NOTE:  I generally use approximately 3 Tablespoons of seasoning per pound of meat.  Adjust to your taste.

1/2 cup chili powder

6 teaspoons black pepper

4 teaspoons ground cumin

4 teaspoons Spanish paprika

4 teaspoons red pepper flakes

4 teaspoons garlic powder

4 teaspoons dried onion flakes

4 teaspoons salt (This works out to 1/2 teaspoon of salt per meal or 1/8 teaspoon/approximately 290.65 mg per serving when the meal is divided into 4 servings. This is a modest/moderate amount of sodium intake for one meal, but generally WAY less than most store purchased brands.  You may choose to use more or less depending upon your sodium tolerance and personal preference)

2 teaspoons dried cilantro (optional)

2 teaspoons ground oregano

DIRECTIONS:

Place ingredients in a large spice container (or small food storage container or jar), cover/seal with lid, and shake until well mixed.

Be sure to label your container.¬† Yep, it’s THAT easy!