2016: New Year, New Projects

As I’ve written before, I don’t do “New Year’s Resolutions”, I just like to work on things all year round. So since it’s a new year, I wanted to write about the projects I’m currently working on, and those I plan to start soon.

Aerial Dance

This is totally what I look like...
This is totally what I look like…

I’ve been wanting to try this out for the last couple of years, and I’m doing it now! I’m taking a class at a local Aerial Arts school. Fun!

Learn to Sew

tn_SewingDesk1My first step in this project was to make myself a Renaissance Festival dress, and I’ve started it!!! I’ve already learned a lot. I will post about it when I’m done. I would also like to learn how to put in a zipper, make pockets, use a dress-form, and use a real pattern (I’m using a home-made pattern for my dress).

Cut The Cord!

Coaxial_Cable1

I’ve been wanting to ditch cable for the last few years, and as online options have become better, I’ve taken steps toward cutting able until I finally took the plunge this month!! I got a basic tv antenna from Amazon for local channels, and I use Roku to watch stuff from Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, etc. on my tv. I plan to make a blog post detailing how to do this, since I think no one should use cable anymore.

Be Healthier

I started this project this past fall, and my main goals were to reduce my sugar intake and increase my exercise.

  1. Reducing Sugar Intake.

I’m always trying to eat more vegetables and protein, but my biggest problem is that I LOVE sugar, and I eat way too much of it.

So here are the things I’ve done so far:

-I stopped drinking soda at lunch. Yes, I used to have about 4-8 oz of soda or juice almost every day with lunch. So that was the first thing to go. I’ve been doing just water since September. I’m surprised at how easy this was for me. Because I LUV soda.

-Next, I’m in the process of cutting out soda almost altogether. I used to order a cherry coke any time I would eat out (because it is yuuuumyy), and I would keep mini-sodas in my fridge for dinners at home. I’ve switched to mostly water at restaurants (once in a while I’ll treat myself; I’ve had 3 glasses of soda in the last two months), and no sugar-added juice in my fridge. At some point, the goal will be to cut back on the juice as well.

a9a384eb105821583466dc975563f9c6
^These are microwaved eggs!

-I used to eat cereal every morning for breakfast, and even “healthier” cereal can have a lot of sugar (and just also not much actual nutrition), so I’m trying to mix it up a bit. Now I’ll have maybe one bowl of cereal during the week, a couple of toast-and-peanut-butters, and I’ve started eating EGGS!!! This is insane for me since I’ve always felt like I don’t have time in the morning for eggs, but I recently discovered that you can scramble eggs in the microwave, which seems to make it faster.

-I still eat more sugar than I should, so a future goal would be to reduce the amount of “treats” I eat (cookies, ice cream, etc.). Baby steps.

2. Increasing Exercise.

-I don’t like going to the gym, so I usually get my exercise through various classes (and outdoor walks when it’s nice out). This fall, I made sure to set up my schedule with a good mix of classes.

-I do Irish Dancing once a week, as I have for the last 7 years. In October, I added a strength training class on Wednesdays (it’s not dance, which I usually prefer, but I needed something that was more muscle building than aerobic. It’s a beast.), and in November, I added Zumba on Thursdays. My aerial class is also strength-building, particularly in the upper arms/shoulders and core. So this adds up to at least 4 hours of exercise a week, which I think is pretty darn good for the Deep-Winter Lazies.

-I did a lot of yoga last year, so I’m a little yoga’d out right now, but I’ll return to it at some point in the future. I really should take up jogging some day, but at this point, running for any length of time is my personal hell. Another future goal would be to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day, and/or to sit less at work. Baby steps.

That’s all the projects for now!

Bunting Tutorial

Bunting 11

Today was my nephew’s 1st birthday party, as well as the debut of a project my mom and I have been working on (see above). We made bunting to be displayed every year for Soren’s birthdays (or at least until he gets old enough to be embarrassed by it…I give it 5 years).

My mom and I are not big sewers (read: we do not sew at all), so this project took a while, and we kind of made it up as we went along. So here’s the tutorial for how we made it, which would be a great how-to for non-sewers (though it is not completely sew-free)!

Materials:

-Fabric (we used about 3 yards for ours…though we bought a whole bunch more than that…again…non-sewers.)

-Binding tape (or ribbon, though binding tape will allow for better draping)

-Pinking shears

-Fusible interfacing (double sided)

-An iron

-T-shirt printer paper

-Sew machine (or a steady hand and a bit of time)

Step 1:

Select your fabric (we bought about 7 different patterns/colors), and using pinking shears (to create a nice, clean edge), cut it into triangles. We used an 8′ by 10′ cardboard template. You’ll want to make two triangles for each flag you want. We wanted 21 flags, so we made 42 triangles.

Step 2:

Cut fusible interfacing into triangles (slightly smaller than your flags). Place them in between your flag triangles, and iron them together. This is a nice step, since it allows you to avoid sewing the triangles together, which is a bit difficult for non-sewers. You may need to just trim up the flags a bit so that overlapping fabric or interfacing gets cleaned up.

Bunting 5

Bunting 4

Bunting 6Step 4:

Lay out your flags and plan in which order you want them to appear. Then pin them to the binding tape. We used thick, folded binding tape, so we just slid the flags into the fold in the tape, being sure to overlap the flags so that there would be no weak spots. We left about 6 inches of binding tape on each end, to allow for better hanging.

Bunting 7

Bunting 8Step 5:

Sew the flags into the binding tape. You COULD avoid sewing altogether by using more fusible interfacing, and just ironing the flags into the tape. It would hold, though maybe not as well, and would definitely make it more stiff and would not drape as nicely. I used a sewing machine (which terrifies me), and just did it as carefully as I could. It went really quickly, took me only about 5 minutes. If I can do it, SO CAN YOU!

EEEEEEK!!!!
EEEEEEK!!!!

Step 6:

Using t-shirt transfer paper (available at craft stores and Office Depot/Staples), print out your letters. Cut around the letters (unless your fabric is the same color as the paper), and iron onto the flags.

Bunting 10

AND YOU ARE DONE!

Bonus: We also used our 3 “spacer” flags (the flags in between the words) as badge flags. We made removable (via velcro) badges (using felt and the t-shirt printer paper) that can be swapped out every year.

Bunting 12
We can change that to represent his age each year.
Bunting 13
Two badges representing accomplishments for the year. This year, we have a tooth and a foot (to represent walking).

Like I said, we kind of made it up as we went along, which means that we made a lot of mistakes (I mean, learned a lot!). Here are the lessons we learned:

1. We needed less fabric than we thought. Umm..moral of the story: plan ahead. We thought we planned ahead, but..you know..

2. Talk to someone who knows what they’re doing. We had originally planned to sew the flags together, but my wonderful Aunt Lyn, who is a sewer and knows a thing or two, was all “ummm….maybe not.” It was her idea to just iron the flags together using fusible interfacing. And it worked like a charm! She also helped me to get started with the sewing machine, which was SO HELPFUL. We definitely could not have done this project without her.

3. Let’s talk about t-shirt transfer paper. I had read a few tutorials on bunting, and I had seen someone using t-shirt transfer paper for their letters, and the kind that they used allowed them to iron on *only* the inked area. We learned, however, that that is a very special type of transfer paper (that must be ordered from England). How did we learn this, do you ask? Well, we just went ahead and (stupidly, without testing it out first), accidentally ironed on an entire sheet of transfer paper to one of our flags, expecting just the letter to transfer. So my mom had to kind of rework that flag (which was, mind you, already sewn into the binding tape). After a bit of research, we found that our best option was to use the regular t-shirt transfer paper that is available everywhere (and that we had totally messed up on), and just cut very closely around each letter. It worked wonderfully, it was just a little fiddly. I would recommend planning ahead and ordering that nice English transfer paper (find it here : http://www.photopaperdirect.com/). But this worked just fine in the end.