Thursday, February 28, 2013

Realistic Expectations

Today's realistic expectation: grilled cheese sandwich for lunch

There was a time, not so long ago, when I was totally put together. I exercised for 45 minutes a day, ate really healthy, read real books on a regular basis (okay, so it was a book a month), planned fun outings with my daughter, made Christmas presents...

Yeah, Christmas presents. This was back in December. Pre-Christmas. Boy are those days gone.

As I sat on the big comfy leather couch at my in-laws' house, reveling in the joys of doing nothing all Christmas break, I made the following goals for 2013:

  1. Finish writing/compiling the first draft of my book
  2. Compile a draft of my book that is submission worthy
  3. Submit my book to agents and/or publishers
  4. Work on an e-book version of my book
  5. Learn how to play at least 5 chords on the guitar
  6. Go to the temple every month
  7. Read a book about temples
  8. Finish reading the Old Testament
  9. Teach a sewing class
  10. Finish reading Understanding Exposure
  11. Finish reading lessons book with Olivia
  12. Weigh 140 pounds
  13. Create a portfolio blog and post a new tutorial on it once a week

13 goals for 2013. How charming of me. Today's the last day of February and, if the stereotypes about new years resolutions are correct, I should have failed at/forgotten all of my goals by now. Let's see how I'm doing...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

This guy

I have a pile of work waiting for me, but I keep thinking about this guy. Unless you're family, you probably don't know him very well. A self-proclaimed introvert, he'd rather spend time at home hanging with Olivia and me (or reading a book or taking a nap) and I love him for that.

Something else I love him for? His respect for me. It is deep and runs at the core of everything that goes on in our house. He respects that I needed extra sleep instead of getting up early to wash the dishes that I was too lazy to clean up the night before. He respects that I have limits when it comes to being a mom. He respects that I need personal time. And, most of all, he respects my dreams.

A few nights ago I was up in our bedroom by myself folding laundry and thinking about everything that's gone into getting my book accepted for publication. There were a lot of little things that "just happened" to work out exactly right and at exactly the right time. I put so much work into my book proposal. My publisher has already been so flexible and helpful. I have a mom and several friends who have been doing some preliminary editing for me, a brother and a sister-in-law who just happen to be pros at writing resumes who offered their expert advice. There are so many tiny little things that have brought me to this point and given me the opportunity to write this book.

But as I was standing there, folding laundry, I looked up at the wall and saw a sweet little note that Bryan wrote for me a few days before when I was feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. He told me how much he loves me, how much he believes in me, and assured me that it would all work out. And in that moment I came to understand that none of this would be happening without him. I've been blessed with talents and supportive friends and family and perfect timing and unexpected networking connections, but none of this would have happened without Bryan.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


It's time to spill the beans.

I've got a bun in the oven.

And I've been on pins and needles waiting to tell you guys about it.

So it's time to cut the cord and tell you...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Just can't get enough

Ta-da! Our spoils from last Saturday's trip to Ikea: another shelf! This is our fourth one. In the same 1500 square foot house. (Don't judge.) Okay, listen, I know that's, like, three more than is probably acceptable, but, seriously, I just can't get enough. They're white! With squares that are just the right size for everything! Swoon.

Someone (ahem) was convinced it was going to take three hours to set up the new shelf (even though we've already done this three times before), so we waited until Sunday after church to set it up. (It only took 20 minutes, by the way.) Then I happily puttered around rearranging books and furniture and toys and games and random little things until it all looked just right. The result: our living room not only feels way more organized, but it also feels much bigger and more open. Score.

In other news,

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Instead, we went to IKEA

Probably no one in the world other than me noticed, but I (ahem) didntpostanewtutorialthisweek. (If you say it fast it makes it not sound so bad.) I know, I know, it's okay and life should come first and stuff. But I really do want to keep posting a new tutorial each week. I'm just not sure how realistic that is for me with everything else I'm working on right now. But I want it to be. We'll see what happens next week. The point is, I realized last night that I still needed to share a new tutorial this week and I had every intention of doing it today... but instead we went to IKEA. And, really, doesn't that sound more fun? :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

KATIE LEWIS: Author of "I Am Awesome At Making Everything"

So, recently I was asked to write a short biography. About yours truly. This, by the way, is AWKWARD. Maybe if I was one of those really annoying people who love to brag about themselves it would be easier. But, unfortunately, I'm this really humble person who's too busy giving her time to serve squirrels and bunnies to think of all the reasons I'm great. Anyway, I suffered through it anyway and wrote one. Or four.

After nine years (and several gold medals) in Olympic figure skating, KATIE LEWIS settled down with her husband and daughter to enjoy the simple life. Approximately one month ago, she learned how to sew and her book I Am Awesome At Making Everything is already at the top of the New York Times Bestseller list. She currently lives in Africa where she is perfecting the art of South African cuisine.

KATIE LEWIS is a great lover of all things cat. Her feline friend, Fuzzball, is the inspiration for her latest line of fabric, appropriately named "My Pwechious Fuzzy Fuzzball." Her other lines, "Cats Cats Cats," "My Kitty's So Pretty," and "If I Were A Cat I Would Be A Fat Cat" have been top-selling at fabric stores nationwide. She currently lives in Wilmington, North Carolina with her husband, daughter, and 63 cats.

Most know KATIE LEWIS from her starring roles in every single movie ever made, but what her fans don't know is that she is also an avid seamstress. Not only has she made every piece of clothing in the entire world, she has also hand-sewn enough quilts to wrap around the world and give it a big hug--twice. She currently lives in the White House where she works as the President of the United States of America.

KATIE LEWIS was born into the world with no arms, legs, or head. She defied all odds when she not only lived, but became an avid crafter and seamstress. Her novel, "Look, Ma! No Head!" climbed to the top of the charts in record time. She currently lives in New York City where she works as the creator and editor in chief of the magazine, "Katie Lewis Living."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hey blogger, where you gone?

In the grand scheme of things, probably none of you took much notice of the fact that I haven't been babbling away at you here quite as much as used to. If you're anything like me, you look at what's new and don't always think about other blogs until a new post comes up on your list. I kind of hope that's true, because I'd hate for you to be feeling all neglected. Because, in all honesty, the ol' blog has kind of been on the back burner lately.

It's just been one of those times when something has to give and, this time, the thing that gave was blogging. Partly that's because I have been for reals busy with awesome stuff. Like, working day and night, actually busy, kind of busy. But also it's because I've been doing a lot of thinking about blogs. Sometimes I feel like they're slipping away and giving way to Instagram and other click-and-share media. I've actually been thinking about that a lot, lately. I sure hope it's not true because it's hard for me to imagine my life without a blog.

There's that line in the movie Sabrina where she says something like, "I've been taking pictures all my life, long before I had a camera." This, in so many ways, sums up who I am as a writer. I think I've been writing blog posts all my life. In my head, in my journals, in letters to friends. Little blurbs. Silver linings. Relatively unimportant news. I cherish the moments. The little ironies and heartbreaks. Tiny smiles and funny things. And sharing those things here with you is such a joy for me.

Another reason I've been especially quiet lately is because I've been doing a lot of deep thinking. Which, I guess, is really just code for, "thinking about still not being pregnant." Really? I'm still going on about this? Yes. Yes, I am.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Valentine's Day on the couch

I've said before that the more my heart is full, the less likely I am to get on and post. Well, my heart has most certainly been full these past couple of weeks, hence the semi-quiet blog. But things never feel quite right when I stay away from here or stay quiet too long. So many things happened last week. One super sick little girl and something big and exciting in the works.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

New Tutorial: Cereal Box Lacing Cards

If you thought I was done making random stuff out of cereal boxes, think again! I never get tired of re-purposing that endless supply of pretty cardboard. This week's edition: cereal box lacing cards. These DIY lacing cards are perfect for teaching the kiddos to sew. Or maybe you need to practice some basic hand stitches too?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

3 for FREE! -- Fun Valentine's Day Printables

Everybody getting excited for Valentine's Day on Thursday? I know I am! If you're still looking for a fun way to spread your love, check out these three free printables from the archives!

1. Color Your Own (& pre-colored) Valentines
These fun valentines come in plain black and white that are perfect for coloring as well as classic, girl, and boy themes. Print 6 to a page and they're perfect for adding a pack of M&M's to the back. Or print the postcard size to send to friends and family!

Friday, February 8, 2013

New Tutorial: Mini Doll Books

I mentioned on Instagram the other day that my business basically runs on cardboard boxes. Today's tutorial is further proof. I just love the natural look of the cardboard, the fact that it's totally free, and that reusing it is kind of like giving the earth a hug.

Olivia has been really into writing books lately. She wrote me a "book" (scrap of paper folded in half) a couple weeks ago and she still talks about it all the time. She's also been carrying her dollies around with her everywhere lately, teaching them how to swim, making them share their toys, etc. I thought Olivia might enjoy writing some books for her dollies too. I created these little books from cereal boxes and scratch paper and then let Olivia go to town writing words and coloring pictures in the books.

As I sit here and write, Olivia's been busy writing the books and then helping her dollies learn to read them. So I'd say they're a hit!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Big days

@theredkitchenkatie on Instagram
It seems like everything exciting is happening this week. Best friends' babies being born, a party with some dear friends, and so much crazy work going on over here. In between celebrations I have been staying busy (and staying up late) to finish some big things I've been working on for my book. I'm nowhere near being done, but today I put a big check mark on my to-do list. I wish I could say more, but I'm not ready yet. The important thing is that I met my deadline and now I can take a break for a moment.

So tonight instead of plunking away on the big computer I'm hanging out in my studio getting everything packaged up and ready to go for a fun sewing class I'm teaching tomorrow night. Yikes! Things have sure been busy, but I love it. There have been so many wonderful things to celebrate in my life lately and I couldn't be happier. Hope you're all having a great week too! xo

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sew Fab e-Pattern Sale! -- 18 PDF Sewing Patterns for $24.95!

Today is the 1st day of the 1st ever Sew Fab e-Pattern Bundle Sale and giveaway, sponsored by The Southern Institute and Fat Quarter Shop!

Over the past eight weeks a lot of behind the scenes work has taken place to bring you this amazing bundle of ePatterns from several of the top pattern designers and bloggers in the sewing and blogging world. The result is a bundle of 18 PDF sewing patterns that you don't want to miss.

Buy Now

For one week only, ten pattern designers have come together to bring you 18 of their best PDF patterns, valued together at over $139.00, for the incredible price of $24.95! That's over 80% off of the combined retail value! Plus you can enter to win a dream of a giveaway valued at $390 from some really great shops!For less than $25.00 you will have a library of resources that you can use over and over again. The designers that have joined this sale are experts in their craft. They have been sewing for a very long time and are well known in blogland and elsewhere. Each designer has contributed one or two of their favorite patterns to create a bundle that is sure to please! Whether you are sewing for your own family or making gifts for others, these are patterns that you will love to use.If you've never sewn with a PDF pattern before, let me tell you how great it is! After downloading your pattern instructions and your pattern, you will print out the pattern itself, creating pattern tiles, if you will. Simply tape the tiles together to create the full pattern! At that point you can cut out the size that you need and pin the paper pattern directly to your fabric or you can trace the pattern size that you need onto sewing paper or tissue paper and cut it out, saving the paper pattern for later when you need to sew another size. Pdf patterns are so convenient because you can print them out as many times as you need!
Click here to buy the bundle!
Now let me tell you a little bit about the giveaway!
The Sew Fab Giveaway is amazing! One lucky winner will win a bunch of amazing prizes from Craftsy, Fat Quarter Shop, fabricworm, Jennifer's Jewels Custom Labels on Etsy, Green Bee Patterns, author Deborah Moebes, Mee a Bee, Gussy Sews, I'm Feeling Crafty, and Ball and Chain on Etsy. See the end of the post for giveaway details. This giveaway is not to be missed!

I know you're dying to know "What is included in the pattern bundle?"

18 well-loved ePatterns from 10 well-known designers are instantly accessible to you by PDF download upon purchase of the Sew Fab e-Pattern Bundle. Here are the patterns that you will receive (click on the links below to see more details):

Goodship Dress by One Girl Circus, Mommy & Mia Apron by Sew Much Ado, Ruby Lou Doll by Sew Much Ado, Mini Maxi Dress by Seamingly Smitten, Miss Mod Top by Seamingly Smitten, Love Your Lunch Box by Ginger Cakes, Modern Folksy Bunny by Ginger Cakes, Banyan Pants & Shorts by Figgy's, Banyan Top & Tunic by Figgy's, Go To Shift Dress by Go To Patterns, Go To Gift Bags by Go To Patterns, Sidekick Suitcase by Sew Fearless, Madeline Dress by Me Sew Crazy, Forget Me Knot Dress by Me Sew Crazy, Alex & Anna Summer PJs by Peekaboo Pattern Shop, Alex & Anna Winter PJs by Peekaboo Pattern Shop, Commuter Cowl by luvinthemommyhood, Scirocco Dress by Figgy'sThe Sew Fab e-Pattern Bundle is only available for one week and will never be available again! You can purchase the bundle from February 4th at 8 a.m. EST through February 11th at 8 a.m. EST and there will be no late sales offered. Due to the nature of the sale there will be no refunds offered.

You don't want to miss this unique opportunity to purchase a ready made collection of 18 PDF sewing patterns from 10 of the best designers out there!
Buy Now

And now for The Sew Fab Giveaway!

Friday, February 1, 2013

New Tutorial: Embroidered Heart Magnets

What with Olivia and me both being sick earlier this week and then lots of work on some other important projects, this week has been a busy one. But the weekly tutorials must go on! :)

In honor of this month of love, I'm excited to share this week's little project with you: Embroidered Heart Magnets! The secret ingredient? Cereal boxes.