Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February Feature Etsy Blogger

This month's Featured Etsy Blogger is…

Diana of Faerie Garden Fancies!

I stopped by her shop and found a few of my favorite things…


And don't forget to visit her blog!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fitness Friday: Journaling

Keeping track of your daily exercises and food intake is a really great idea. It's a great tool to that allows you to see your progress.

For a food journal write down what you ate, how much you ate, when you ate, and how you felt after you ate. Don't forget to keep track of what you drank too. After awhile you might start to recognize patterns in your eating. You might see how you eat when your stressed or tired or if you eat more when you've had a cocktail.

For an exercise journal, keep track of what exercises you do, your progress, and how you feel before and after your work out.

I have a form I fill out everyday and I can look back through to see how I'm doing or where there is room for improvement. There are also website online where you can fill out and keep track of everything. I don't always have instant access to the computer so I prefer to just write it down. I do, however, like to use www.myfitnesspal.com to track my weight loss and goals.

I'm not an expert in how to create a printable or PDF file but you can copy and paste my form (below) into a word document to use for yourself! Enjoy!

Exercises Completed: ___________________________________________
Time: _________
Motivation: (ex: a healthier me) _______________________
Mood/Spirit: (ex: good/bad/grumpy) _________________________
Post Work-Out Reward: (ex: hot shower, big glass of water, etc.) ______________________

Food Journal

Breakfast: {time-________}, [mood-________], meal:______________________________
Snack: {time-________}, [mood-________], meal:______________________________
Lunch: {time-________}, [mood-________], meal:______________________________
Snack: {time-________}, [mood-________], meal:______________________________
Dinner: {time-________}, [mood-________], meal:______________________________
Snack: {time-________}, [mood-________], meal:______________________________

Water (o o o o o o o o)


Friday, February 11, 2011

Fitness Friday Check In

Now here is the real Fitness Friday blog post (finally). And it's my birthday today… Happy Birthday to me! :)

This week has gone by so fast! I can't believe it! The faster the better because that will make spring come sooner.

  • Monday went well. I ate healthy and I got up early to exercise. I did one of the pre-set programs on the treadmill which last 30 minutes.
  • Tuesday was another good day. I did pretty good eating right and I spent 20 minutes on the elliptical.
  • Wednesday started out right. I got up and exercised for 20 minutes on the elliptical and things went well until my toddler woke up an hour and a half too early. Things went down hill from there. He ended up being tired and cranky most of the day. Ian had plenty of his moments too today. I was stressed and didn't eat right the rest of the day.
  • Thursday was my 'off day'. I slept in for an hour (yay!). No one got up early and the day went by a lot better. I ate pretty good but probably not the best. Ian ended up having the stomach flu and I was busy taking care of him today too.
  • Friday is my birthday! I slept in again and pretty much took a day off of everything. Hey, it's my birthday, so I'm allowed to! Ian was feeling better today but we didn't do much so he could recoop.
Beginning Weight: 1/1/11: 150 lbs
Weekly Weigh-In: 2/11/11: 144.5 lbs
I've lost 5.5 pounds!

Measurements {beginning 1/7/11} (current 2/11/11) [lost]
Neck: {12.5"} (12.25") [.25"]
Waist: {31.5"} (31.5") [0"]
Hips: {39"} (38.5") [.5"]
Thigh: {23.5"} (23.25") [.25"]

Not bad!

How are you doing on your Fitness goals?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fitness Friday: My SMART Goal!

*A Fitness Friday Special*

Do you have a fitness goal? Well, why not? It's something that would be SMART…

What is your Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Tangible goal?

S- What do you want to accomplish? The more specific you are, the better.
M- How do you plan on measuring your progress, and what is your 'end date'?
A- Is it attainable? Do you feel like you can complete this goal? If not, refine until you feel it's attainable.
R- Can you realistically get it accomplished in the given amount of time?
T- Is it tangible? Meaning - is it something you can DO rather than just feel?

Here is my SMART goal:

  • Short term: I want to complete the 10 week program I have made for myself and to exercise 6 days a week. (My program cycles through using the treadmill and elliptical for cardio and the total gym and weight machine for strength training. It also builds on itself as time goes on and I get stronger and more durable.)
  • Long term: Loose my belly fat, slim down and build muscle. I want to comfortably (and confidently) wear a bikini this summer. I'm going to avoid saying "I want to weigh..." because muscle weighs more than fat but I really need to loose about 20 pounds.
M: I will be weighing myself and measuring my waist, hips and thighs weekly as part of my routine.

A: I absolutely feel my goals are attainable!

R: Yes, I can!

T: Yes! I can do it (and I know I can)!

Alright now that we have our goals set it’s time to get exercising. It doesn’t have to be big or extensive as long as you GET UP and MOVE! I have created myself a 10 week exercise plan that builds on its self. I don’t have a gym available but I do have a treadmill, elliptical, total gym and weight machine in my basement. Most of our equipment was bought used but in practically new condition. If you’re in the market for exercise equipment, begin your search on craigslist.com. If you have a gym available then take advantage of it!

What are your goals? I'd love to know!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Fitness Friday Wake-Up Call!

*A Fitness Friday Special- I know it's not Friday yet. :)

A couple of years ago I started Fitness Fridays. The goal was to keep me accountable for my fitness, weight loss, to pass along any knowledge I might gain, and to encourage others who are also on the same journey.

Then I got pregnant and my weight loss journey was sort of put on hold. Then my baby was born and I just didn't have the time or energy to exercise. Then we started homeschooling. And, well, then I realized I was making excuses! I kept telling myself that I just didn't have the time to get in shape, exercise, or eat right.

But what am I really accomplishing by not doing anything of those things? I'm not getting any healthier and in doing so my quality of life is being challenged. And I'm not setting a very good example for my family, especially my 2 boys who watch my every move. And there was my wake-up call!

Now I am on a mission to become healthy and fit again. I'll mostly use this as an accountability for myself but I encourage anyone out there to join in. I'll post about my progress and any tips or tricks I learn about along the way.

So, are you with me?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pattern Drafting 101: Sewing the Basic Bib Apron

Follow the directions I laid out in Drafting a Basic Bib Apron to create the pattern for this apron!

In this tutorial I will walk you through sewing your basic bib apron.

My guinea pig is my 8 year old son, Ian.
Click to enlarge the pictures!

Begin by choosing your fabric and pinning your pattern to it. I'm using pattern weights instead of pinning. And I'm using the Army's ACU material for the front and ties and unbleached muslin for the back.

Cut out an apron front and back.

Cut out your ties from the pattern you made or use a rotary cutter and ruler. I prefer using the rotary cutter because it takes much less time and I know what my measurements are because I have them written on my apron pattern ~so if you choose to use your rotary cutter don't forget to write down your measurements!

We will begin sewing the apron ties first. I have 2 methods for sewing below, choose which ever one you like best!

Ties- Method 1

Iron the ties, wrong sides together, to create a crease down the center.

Open the ties back up and fold in your seam allowance on the long size, press flat.

Fold in the seam allowance on the end and press.

Fold your tie back in half, wrong sides together with the seam allowance tucked in, and pin.

Repeat for all 4 ties.

Skip to }*{ to complete the Method 1 ties.

Ties- Method 2

* My preferred method because it creates a cleaner/straighter tie.

Pin your ties, right sides together, length wise. If you want, then you can just hold the edges together while feeding the ties into the sewing machine, eliminating the pinning.

Before you begin sewing anything, sew a scrap of fabric in first. This is called a 'leader' as it helps lead in whatever you'll be sewing. I always sew with a leader because it keeps my stitches from gumming up right at the very beginning.

Sew along the long edge of the tie, back stitching at the beginning. I am using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

When you get to the end, stop leaving your seam allowance along the short end. Make sure your sewing needle is in the down position. My sewing machine has an automatic needle down position but if you're using an older machine turn the wheel so the needle is all the way down.

Raise your presser foot and turn the whole tie 90 degrees.

Finish sewing the top edge of the tie, backstitching at the end. Clip the corner off and repeat for all 4 ties.


There are 2 methods to turning the ties that you created in Method 2.

You can use a dowel rod or a turning tool. I prefer using the turning tool.

Dowel Rod

Turn a little bit of your tie right side out to begin and stick your dowel rod in.

Work the dowel rod all the way through until your tie is right side out.

Turning Tool

The turning tool has a little hook on the end with a little latch that closes. Open the latch and stick the tool all the way into the tie, until the hook is at the very end.

Poke the hook through the fibers at the end of the tie. Don't worry, the hook isn't sharp and won't break the fibers. Feel for the latch and close it.

Begin pulling the end of the tie through the center and work it through until you can pull the whole thing right side out.

The ends of your ties will need to be straightened out. The best tool I have found for this is an old empty mechanical pencil. Drop it into the open end of the ties and poke out the corners.

Iron your ties flat with the seam on the side. I little spray of water helps.

}*{Finish the Ties

Beginning at the opened end of the ties sew a 1/8" stitch all the way around.

When you get to the end, stop in the needle down position and turn the tie 90 degrees and continue sewing.


Attaching the Apron Ties

Pin the ties onto your apron top, leaving room for your seam allowance. My seam allowance is 1/4 inch so I'll pin my ties just inside that. Pin down your loose apron ties to the body of the apron. Leave them pinned down through out the next couple of steps.

Back stitch over the ties inside your seam allowance so it won't show. My back stitching is at 1/8 inch.

Finishing Up

Pin your apron back, right sides together, onto your apron front.

Sew all around the edge, leaving a whole big enough to get your hand inside.

Clip your corners and reach inside and unpin those ties.

Pull everything out through the whole so it's right sides out. Poke out any corners like I described in Method 2 of creating the ties above.

Iron all around. When you get to the opening, tuck in your seam allowance and iron flat.

Take the whole apron to your sewing machine and sew all around close to the edge. I sewed it at 1/8 inch.

Put it on and enjoy!

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