Sunday, January 29, 2012

Like Taking Candy from a Baby

"Do you want this last piece of pizza for lunch tomorrow?" I asked Handsome the other night after dinner.

"Only if you don't want it."

"I can't take it from you.  I would be like taking candy from a baby!"

Handsome looked at me sideways, "I think you're using that phrase wrong."

"No, I'm not!"

"Yes, you are.  It means that it would be easy to take."

"Well, there are other meanings...  Like, it's mean to take candy from a baby.  Seriously.  So mean!  I couldn't take the last piece of pizza from you, because it would be mean... just like taking candy from a baby is mean."

Laughing, he accepts the last piece of pizza.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

DIY: Crossbody Purse

Remember that purse pattern I was working on last week?  I finished the purse this weekend and I love it!  It turned out way better than I thought it would (given all of my recklessness).  If you want to see how I made it (and make your own) visit my instructions post.

DIY: Cross-body Quilted Purse Instructions

Want to make this bag?  I'll show you how.  However, a warning:  this is not for the faint-of-heart or beginner sewer.  I am not very good at pattern-making (this was my first attempt), and I'm sure my instructions will not be detailed enough.  Also, if you're an expert (or mildly proficient), please excuse my seams, I'm still learning.

This bag is made from pre-quilted material.  The material is double-sided, so the bag and pockets have no inside liner.  I found this to be a tricky problem, but I like what I ended up with.

You will need:
  • 1 1/2 yd. pre-quilted (double-sided) fabric
  • 12" Zipper
  • 2 D-Rings
  • Double-Fold Bias Tape
  • Magnetic Closure/Toggle Button/etc. (optional)
  • Large safety pin (not used in final product)
The following photo is my (rudimentary) pattern.  All seams are 1/4".  Click on the photo for a larger image.

Cut out all parts and label pockets with masking tape.

For the body and pockets:
If you're like me, pin a section of bias tape on the top edge (if you're like my mom, who's awesome, just align it and sew away!).  Iron and sew all other edges (I found it easier to sew edges before pinning them on the body, because the fabric is so thick).

Sew inner zip* pocket on inside of bag, 2" down from the top and centered.

Sew outer zip* pocket on outside of bag, opposite of inner zip pocket, 2" from the top and centered.  It should be the same width, but a little longer than the inner pocket.

Sew double pocket on the inside of the bag.  Sew a line down the middle of the pocket to separate it into two pockets.

I hope you have a zipper foot.  It will be handy for the next part.  Sew the zipper on one side, then the other.  If you don't have a zipper foot, like me, you can hand sew using a back stitch.  Use sturdy thread (button) or double-ed up all purpose thread.

Turn the bag inside-out, right sides together, and sew the side seams and bottom.

Fold the corners so they make a box-shaped bottom and sew.  Make sure to finish all seams (I did two rows of straight-stitching because that's all my machine could handle, it's nuts, but that's a different story).

That wasn't too bad, really.  Just turn it inside-out and you're almost home-free!

Now for the strap:
Fold in half, right sides together, and sew edge.

Now we're going to turn this puppy inside-out.  The best way that I know starts with a large safety pin.

Pin the corner and then begin to push the pin inside the strap.

Keep pushing!

Once it's inside, begin to push it through the inside, pulling the fabric past it (getting rid of the bunchy-ness).  This is the hardest part, be patient and don't let go of the safety pin!

Once it's through, it's a piece of cake.  Just finish pulling the outer fabric over the inner fabric.

Sew bias tape on the raw edge.  Fold the end 2" over the D-Ring and sew a box with an X in it (as shown). Finish each edge this way.

For the strap anchor:
Fold in half (6" edges together, hotdog style), right sides together, sew and turn inside-out (in the same way you just did the strap).  Bias tape or just fold in and sew one edge to finish it (leave the other edge raw).

Fold raw edge through D-Ring to approximately 2" depth and sew to anchor.

Hand sew the anchors to the side of the bag, as shown below.  At this point you can attach a flap over the outer pocket or call it quits.

For the flap:

Fold the 6 1/2" edge over 2".  Fold in edges and trim excess if you want beveled edges, otherwise sew 1/4" seam on all edges and attach to bag.  Attach magnetic closure as instructed on package, pushing through only one layer on the flap.  Otherwise, use a cute button to close (or nothing at all).

You're finished!!!

I hope you like it!  Let me know if you make one in the comments!

*Initially, I was going to sew zippers on these, hence their name on the pattern.  However, the final pattern has no zippers for these pockets.  Sorry about the confusion.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Leadership Lesson from a Pop Quiz

When I arrived at my intersession class* this morning, the professor told us we were having a pop quiz.  He explained that there were 24 questions, 22 or above was an A, 20 or above was a B, etc., and that his goal was for all of us to get A's.  I noticed everyone tense up a bit, and I put on my game face ("You're going DOWN quiz.").

The prof handed out the quiz** and, to my delight, it was word pictures that hinted at Christmas carols!  During the six minutes given my hand flew over the page, resulting in 22 out of 24!

"Anyone with 22 or above?"  My hand and one other flew up.  "How about 20 or above?" A few more hands.  "18 or above?"  One hand.  Over half the class hadn't raised their hand.  "Are you all satisfied with your scores?  Some of you've failed.  Only two A's."  Murmers and nods showed disappointment.  "Tell you what, I'll split you all up into teams, give you a few more minutes, and maybe we can get some more A's."

My teammates helped me get the last two.  Aw, yes!  We're the best, I thought, we have them all!

After three minutes, we were the only team who had all of them.

After another three... we were still the only team.

Three more... still the only team.

"Are you satisfied with 15 out of 24?" the professor asked one of the other teams.
"We just didn't know the answers, sir.  I'm not from the U.S. and neither is he!  We don't know these songs."
"Ah, I see.  So you needed some help."

Then the prof turned to my team.  "I don't know whether to pick on the bright student or the army guy," the prof said referring to me and to one of my teammates, "What do you do when there's a man on the field who needs help?" he asked my friend.
"But, prof, they didn't ask for help!"
 "Do you wait for a soldier to ask for help?  Do you let him get killed?  No.  You go help him.  You are so stuck in your paradigms*** that you're letting others fail.  Whose team are you really on?  Who is going to be a leader?"

What did I learn?  While it may seem unlikely to me that I should be a leader, I had all of the answers to our quiz, but I couldn't see past my perceived rules to help everyone achieve the goal (to get A's).  Sometimes parts of an organization (or, dare I say, spouses in a marriage) perceive themselves as "teams" in competition against each other--they perceive rules, conventions or expectations that limit the team's productivity.  Who is going to let go of their paradigm to save the organization (marriage)?

*Introduction to Total Quality Management/Six Sigma
**A link to the actual quiz:  Christmas Song Picture Game
***We had been talking about paradigms as a major barrier to change in an organization.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

DIY: Braided Headband

Ever since I made that really big overnight bag a few months ago, I've been itching to use up the rest of that fabric on a crossbody bag.  So, as you can see, I've been up to no good planning the design and working through a pattern based on a bag I already have (but is getting worn out).

It may seem a little foolish, but I've been known to engineer my own patterns from time to time (just ask my mom about the Christmas tree skirt I made this year... on second thought, maybe not).

In other news, I finally made one of those braided t-shirt headbands that have been all over Pinterest.  (Mom, you would be proud to know that I read the directions before I started the project.)

I think it turned out pretty well (plus, it's comfy!).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Unmet Needs in Marriage

"It is very tempting to justify demands by thinking of them as needs and then to punish one another if those needs are not satisfied.  A needs-based marriage does not testify to God's glory; it is focused on personal demands competing for supremacy.  Two people, preoccupied with manipulating each other to meet needs, can drive their marriage down the path of 'irreconcilable differences.'  This is cultural language that simply acknowledges that a marriage can no longer carry the weight of demands understood as needs... The saddest part of driving down the road of unmet needs is where we end up... nowhere.  It is a forlorn, one-lane stretch of me.  All it leads to is more of me.  It's worse than a dead end--it's a circle that never ends."

from When Sinners say, "I Do", by Dave Harvey  (focus mine)