Monday, April 20, 2015

iPhone 6 Armband Review

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*I received the following product for free in exchange for an honest review on my blog.
A few months ago we were finally able to end our cell phone contract and upgrade!
We've never had the newest phone, but this time we were able to get a really good deal and we went with it.
The iPhone 6.
A few short weeks later I got myself a gym pass, and I was ready to conquer the world!
Ok, not really.
I was really excited to start working out again, it had been over 2 years...seriously!
 My first night back at the gym was awesome. I had time to myself to just listen to music and get a good work-out in.
No one was asking me for anything, no one needed me, I got some ME time.
The workout was great, however, I was walking around holding my phone in my hand the whole time, while trying to lift weights and actually workout.
I'm sure I got some curious looks as I tried to stuff  my new phone in my sports bra or the back of my yoga pants...
Those things don't come with pockets!
So you can imagine my joy when I got the chance to review this...
The armband is made of a soft flexible Nylon/Lycra material, so it fits comfortably around your arm, it isn't hard and bulky.
My phone fit into the slot perfectly, and had a nice snug fit so I didn't have to worry about it moving around.
This particular armband is compatible with the iPhone 6 (4.7") from all carriers, as well as the iPhone 5/5S/5c.
You can use the touchscreen feature on your phone through the plastic, so you don't need to take the phone out each time you need to use it.
There is also a small key holder slot, which I haven't used since I take my whole key ring to the gym with me, but if you just have a house key or car key, it's the perfect little spot to hold that.

I only have two small tiny little complaints. not even complaints, just opinions I guess. There isn't an opening on the side to access the power button, if I turn my phone on to see something or change a song and then I want to turn it off I have to kind of find the button through the fabric. The other small complaint is the length of the velcro part. The strap wraps around your arm and is closed with velcro. I have a smaller arm, so the end portion of the strap goes past the velcro part and sticks out a little, so it would have been nice if that was a tad bit longer.
Other than that, this is a great product, and I will continue using it in my workouts!
Check the armband out on Amazon.com to see the other colors they have available.
 I didn't want to take a gym selfie, but I wanted you to show you what the armband looked like on, and my husband wasn't home to help me with a picture, so this is what I came up with.
By the way, do you know how hard it is to take a picture of your arm like this?? :)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Zippered Pillow Case Tutorial

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Guys, I am so excited about this post. What we have here is a Pinterest success!
So first, a little background...
A few months ago we were on the hunt for new couches.
We had owned a set since we were first married, over 10 years ago!
Our old couches were actually still in really good condition, but didn't fit our new home as well as we wound have liked. We ended up selling them and inherited a used L-shaped sectional from family.
After a few months with that couch we decided we wanted something a little bigger to fit the space better.
My husband also really wanted to upgrade.
We ended up finding the perfect couches, and after a couple of weeks they arrived.
My husband mentioned getting some pillows, but I honestly hated the idea of throw pillows. In reality I knew they wouldn't ever stay on the couch, they would be thrown on the ground, and I didn't want to give myself something else to pick up :)
I was browsing through Pinterest and came across an amazing tutorial from Corey at Tiny Sidekick for zippered pillow cases. The tutorial was so inspiring, and I really wanted to try something new.
This was my first time sewing pillow cases, and my first time sewing a zipper, and now I'm kind of addicted!
I think I want to make 2 more pillows now to go with these ones....
I've got a lot of pictures for you to kind of explain the process, but it's something that beginners can totally tackle.
Supplies you'll need
pillow forms (mine were 18"x18")
fabric (1" bigger one each side of the pillow, I cut my fabric 19"x19")
zipper (2" shorter than the pillow form, so mine was 16")
iron
seam ripper
rotary cutter
cutting mat
sewing machine
If you follow me on Instagram you have already seen this beautiful fabric I picked up from Hobby Lobby :)
I got a tiny bit extra than what I needed, just in case it was uneven or whatever.
To start, I cut the fabric down to just 1" larger than the pillow form on all sides.
You will cut out two squares.
Lay the two squares right-sides together and place the zipper at the bottom, in the center.
Put one pin in each side where the zipper ends (See below) don't pin the zipper.
Sew a straight stitch from the edge of the fabric just right to the pin, back stitching when you stop and start.
This is what it should look like.
With the widest stitch you have, sew from inside the pin all the way across to the other side. Do not back stitch, because you will be picking this stitch later.
On Corey's tutorial, she said she used a zig-zag stitch for this part, and I did that on my first pillow case, but I found that when I went to press the seam, it was a little uneven. So, for my second pillow case I just did a wide straight stitch and it worked much better.
Remove the pins and open the fabric.
It should look like this.
Back view.
Front view.
Use an iron to press the seam and make the lines crisp.
Place your zipper facing DOWN along the seam and pin it in place.
Make sure it is centered between where the pins were.
On Corey's tutorial she said to use a zipper foot on your sewing machine.
I did not have this fancy little device, so I just left my regular foot on and hoped for the best, and it worked!
Starting at the end of the zipper sew, using a straight stitch, as close to the zipper as you can get.
When I got towards the head of the zipper, my foot wouldn't go any further.
I backstitched a little, cut the thread, turned it to the other side, and sewed the other side with a straight stitch as well.
Now that the zipper is in place, flip the fabric over and pick the wide stitch that is under the zipper.
I couldn't find my seam ripper, so I used an Exacto knife :)
Can you see the zipper peeking through?
All unpicked!
Now that you have access to the zipper, unzip it a little bit so the head part isn't at the end, and finish sewing the zipper in place.
Are you still with me here? I hope this is all making sense!
Pin the wrong sides together all the way around the pillow, and giving yourself a 1/2" seam allowance, sew a straight line all around the pillow case.
Corey mentioned when you are coming up to a corner, to sew across the corner instead of going to a point and then turning the corner, and I tried that and it gave it the perfect pointy corner when I turned it right side out.
I just realized I didn't take a picture of that part, sorry!
Then using a zig-zag stitch, sew around the edge of the fabric to kind of give it a 'serge' finish so it hopefully won't fray when we wash it :)
My attempt at 'serging' the edges :)
Turn the pillow case right side out and marvel at your awesomeness!
Snip off all loose threads, stuff your pillow in there, and zip it up!
How awesome it that!?
Thanks again Corey for the inspiration!
As always, if you have any questions, please let me know!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Making a House a Home

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About a week or so ago I was inspired by Compass, a technologically savvy real estate company based in NYC, from a new project they began entitled Starter Stories. 
The project is about bloggers sharing stories where they are/were starting out in a home, apartment, wherever, and how to make that place your own.
I wanted to participate, but didn't know where I would start or what I would share. I had lots of ideas floating around that were how-to's and DIY's, but one project from our past stuck out in my mind.
Since being married, my husband and I have moved 7 times so far.
Each place we have been in we have tried to make 'our own', but we weren't at most of those places long enough to do too much.
I'm so glad this project got me thinking though, because I started looking through old pictures and it brought back so many wonderful memories of our first home.
Here is a picture of our home on the left during building, and on the right was 5 years later when we put it up for sale.
We accomplished so many things in this home, and really made it our own, but one of our biggest accomplishments was this built-in entertainment center.
My husband and I had been married for about 9 months when we found this new community being developed.
We felt it was right for us and signed the paperwork on a 3 bedroom 2 bath house.
We were so excited!
After months of waiting for the building process to be completed, we were able to move in.
Going through this particular builder we weren't able to make any changes to the layout or anything.
This is a picture of the entrance into the family room area.
We asked them if they could just leave this coat closet out, but they wouldn't do it.
To us it was pointless. It was the best spot for a tv, but we couldn't really put it in front of the door.
I remember telling my husband that we were just going to build an entertainment center there.
When I was younger, my family moved a lot as well, and whenever we made it to a new place my dad would start building shelves to organize and store things. My mom was also very crafty, always sewing or cross-stitching, so it was just inevitable that I needed to build or craft something!
I think we were only in the house a month or two before we got started.
We first removed the door and trim, and then took out the drywall inside the closet to get to everything behind it.
I still remember my husband taking the first swing at the wall. I think he was just nervous to cause so much damage to our new home :)
We had a thermostat, a return air vent, two outlets, and a doorbell that needed to be moved.
I must say, I am so grateful that we were able to use my dad and brothers knowledge, tools, and manpower.
After the drywall was out we cut the vent and took out all of the 2x4 pieces of wood.
We had a copy of the blueprints and had made sure beforehand that none of the 2x4s were crucial to the structure.
We cut new holes on the side of the wall (where the stairs are), and attached new duct work going down and over that direction instead.
One of my brothers also rewired and moved the thermostat and doorbell to the stair side as well.
My brother cut out these pieces of wood and glued them together to make dividers for cabinets.
He also drilled all the holes you see so we could move the shelves up and down.
Here I am staining the wood.
I cut out holes at the back so we had a spot to run cables through.
Sorry about the fuzzy picture, but this is the only one I could find from the process.
So we had three bottom cabinets/shelves, one main area in the middle for the tv, and the top shelf for decor items.
In the middle you can kind of see an outlet my brother added, and the sides kind of slant in.
We did that on purpose because the return air vent went down behind one side, and we wanted it to look even.
This is what our garage looked like for about a month :)
As soon as we were able to we put the tv in it's spot.
I later added trim across the middle, and all around the outside to finish it off.
The middle shelf was wood, and the two side shelves were a plexiglass type material.
The finishing touch was the double door you can see in the picture below.
I simply cut to rectangle shaped pieces of oak, then glued some trim around the outside edge to give it a slight design, and added door handles.
You can also see the return air vent and thermostat by the stairs to get a better idea of where they ended up.
We loved the way it turned out! We like cozy and comfy, and having our family room set up this way was exactly who we were, and to me that's what making a 'home' is all about, making it a comfortable inviting place for loved ones.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

No-Sew Quiet Book: Barn and Finger Puppets

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We're making it through all of our quiet book pages.
After this one I will only have two more to post, so stay tuned!
I think this page one was my favorite one to make, I love the little animals hiding :) 
I had been thinking about making a 'barn page' for a while, I just didn't know what else I wanted to do with it.
I was originally going to make some animals and have a place for my son to velcro them on, but it somehow turned into finger puppets instead, and I am loving them!
Making the puppets is pretty easy, I have included some pictures below so you can kind of see how they came together.
For all of the animals I cut out two pieces of felt for the body.
Using a hot glue gun, I glued the pieces together around the sides and top.
Leave the bottom open!
Then attach any details.
I had some googly eyes, so I glued those on.
An orange triangle piece for the beak, a cream-colored oval shape for the tummy, and little arms completed this little guy.
I ran out of the googly eyes, so I ended up cutting small white circles for the eyes, and smaller black circles for the pupils.
For the frogs mouth, and all of the other animals features, I used the black puffy fabric paint that I used on the Counting quiet book page.
For the cows spots I just cut out a few tiny odd-shaped black pieces and glued them on.
At first this was supposed to be a mouse, but it somehow turned into a cat.
I think it's the pointy ears...
Here are the pieces for the pink pig.
I just realized I didn't get an individual shot of him, but you can see him in the above picture with all of the animals :)
Now on to their home, the barn!
The grey colored felt I used is actually the back of the 'counting page' so if it seems a little bumpy, it's from the beads on the other side.
I cut out two red rectangle shapes and hot glued them to the grey.
Only gluing along the outside.
 I then cut out, what I thought, looked the top of a barn and glued it on.
 I then cut out a bunch of white strips and glued them on, giving it the 'barn' look.
I then opened the 'doors' and glued a blue rectangle piece, only along the bottom and sides so the animals could go in the top. 
And there you have it!
A nice home for all of the animals :)
Hope you enjoyed!
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