What to Say

What does one say when they've been missing in action for a few months on their blog? How do you start writing again? Is blogging worth the time and effort?

These are questions I've been thinking about a lot lately. I've contemplated how to start up blogging again after not writing for a while. My friend Jodi recently posted after a long time away. When I saw a new post in my blog feed, I was elated. I was glad to read how she had been doing. I asked her how she got back to writing. She said, I just did it. 

So, that's what I'm doing. Writing. Blogging.

We've been living in North Carolina a little over 4 months now. It has been much more of a drastic change than I ever expected. We moved here to help with a new church that began officially September 8th. We are grateful for the community of people at our church. They have embraced Anthony and me with open arms. It's incredibly strange we've known this community for a few months, yet the friendships are already formed. We are so grateful to have friends in a new city. 

Anthony and I got our own little condo/townhouse in the middle of August and are beginning to feel settled in. Before we left Sacramento, we sold the majority of our household furnishings. After we got our own place, we bought a couch from a manufacturer in High Point, North Carolina and that helped us feel much more at home! The best part about our house is the proximity to downtown Raleigh. We are about 5 minutes away and love being so close.

I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy and our baby moves constanly. We found out in August we're having a boy and he's growing every day. The way I know: my ever-expanding stomach! Anthony and I flew back to Sacramento two weekends ago and our families threw us lovely baby showers. We were so blown away by the generosity and support we felt from our family and friends. I've officially begun nesting. Remember all the blankets and items I made for my niece? I started the same thing for our baby! My current project: burp cloths. I have 18 flannel pieces and terry cloth towels pre-cut and ready to be sewn. 

We are both in the process of looking for jobs. We have found the job market in Raleigh to be more challenging to enter than we originally expected. We felt very strongly that we were supposed to move here and continue to feel that way. Your prayers for favor with employment are greatly appreciated. 

Both sides of our families are planning trips to see us and we are excited to show them around our new city!

I've really missed writing and blogging and the community I feel from you. How have you been?

Spoonflower - Durham, NC

Today, we visited the Spoonflower's headquarters in Durham, North Carolina (very conveniently located since we moved to the Raleigh-Durham area recently). Spoonflower prints custom fabric, wallpaper, decals, and gift-wrap. You can order prints in swatches, fat quaters, and as little or as many yards as you want. They have 10 different that they print your unique design on. Or if you don't want to create your own design, you can buy fabric that was designed by others.  

Katie, a new friend of ours, works at Spoonflower and gave us a grand tour. We started with the Greenhouse, where the public can take classes and employees use it as a studio space.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to take pictures inside the plant. Some of the fabric they print is unique and we didn't want to take a chance on infringing on their customer's copyrights. The fabric we saw being printed was vibrant and different than other material I've seen! There is a huge room of about 35 printing machines and each machine is given a name, such as Kirk, since they all have their own personality. One machine is better at printing cotton and one is better at twill, etc. 

Once the spool is finished, it goes to a heating room where it is sealed in machines that run around 300 degrees. From there, the fabric is checked for accuracy, cut and shipped to you! If fabric isn't completely accurate, they re-print the customer's order and send remnant fabric to a flooring company who recycles it to make floors. 

I really enjoyed seeing how Spoonflower creates unique fabric. The fabric is from the U.S.A. and is organic. If you want to visit Spoonflower, you can contact them here or take their virtual tour here.

What I'm Into (November Edition)

I can't believe another month has flown by. I love when bloggers share the things they've been reading, doing, or watching lately. Anne inspired me to write my own What I'm Into today.

Reading

I've had lots of fun reading books recommended by Shelia (Deliberate Reader) and Anne (Modern Mrs. Darcy). I am still raving about Love Does by Bob Goff.

I finished reading An Invisible Thread and I have Lived a Thousand Years. Both were thought-provoking, inspiring reads. 

I skimmed Dinner: A Love Story, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, French Women Don't Get Fat, and An Everlasting Meal

I'm in the middle of reading Bringing up bébé by Pamela Druckerman and really like the ideas and concepts she presents.

Listening

New music and me don't normally go together. I have been loving 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. I bought Carl Goes Up from the Up Soundtrack. Other than that, I listen to what Anthony turns on.

Crafting

Since Olivia (my niece) was due on December 5th, we had a Ready to Pop baby shower in the middle of November. I made a breastfeeding survival kit for Heidi. It included handmade burp cloths and a nursing cover.

(Heidi at her shower)

I also made Olivia a hooded towel and washcloth set and a few more blankets. 

I made two table runners and have Christmas fabric ready for a pennant to decorate our front room.

I started knitting again last night and am making a little mauve and purple beanie for guess who? Olivia! She just can't wear something that isn't handmade by her Auntie.

Cooking

Last weekend I made a small Thanksgiving dinner. I successfully made a turkey and it was delicious!

(photo credit)

I've been making lots of red sauce using Jessica's recipe. And I've made 3 batches of brownies over the course of 3 days. Maybe that's why my clothes aren't fitting?

Blogging

The most popular post was Homemade Vanilla Extract. My personal favorites were A Simpler Season and the DIY Natural Laundry Soap.

Blogger Love

Nearly every post has spoken to me in some way from Donald Miller's Storyline Blog. My personal favorites were:

Nikki (Christian By Association) wrote an insightful post called "Why Christians Should Say Happy Holidays." It's worth the time to read it. 

PC Walker (Ragamuffin PC) always writes posts that cut to the heart. "When you say, "I don't want to gossip, but ..." has helped me stop a few times. 

Anthony told me about Diane's blog, He Speaks in the Silence, and this Sunday Scripture was food for my soul.

Buying

I took a big leap and bought Michael Hyatt's Get Published while it was on sale last week. I haven't started the program, but I have high hopes for it helping me with my writing. 

I bought some earrings from Hannah, a necklace from Tricia, and fun cards to put on my sewing projects from Lindsay.

(Sewing projects with cards)

Watching

We went to the movies and saw Lincoln with Heidi and Caleb. It was a great movie and I thought the casting of Daniel Day-Lewis was perfect. I enjoyed the filming and appreciated the way the cameras recorded a scene from the ground.

Going/Travelling

This month we went to Disneyland with Anthony's family and had a great time. But seriously, how could we not have a great time at Disneyland?

My favorite part of our whole trip was the conversations we had while standing in line for rides and driving in the car. Because of the trip, we have nicknames: inlaws (Anthony, Donna, Brianna) & outlaws (Scott, Chad & me)!

I loved recapping this month!

What have you been up to lately?

Linking up with Leigh for What I'm Into.

Gretchen Rubin & Miscellany Monday

Culitviating an attitude of contentment and joy is a priority to me. One of the first author's I have ever read that encourages happiness in all areas of life is Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen has written a number of books, but the one she's the most famous for is The Happiness Project. Last Thursday, Anthony and I drove to the Ferry Building in San Francisco to see her discuss her newest book, Happier at Home.

The minute she took the podium I was relieved.

Relieved because she was as kind and sincere in person as I had imagined! Gretchen shared why she wrote her new book and a few key points about it. As she spoke, I found myself with a continuous smile. The happiness and joy she cultivates in little things is contagious. 

Gretchen discussed a few roadblocks to happiness that she wrote about in Happier at Home:

Possessions get in our way and clog our minds. 

Outer order contributes to inner calm and they are disproportionately related to each other 

Stalled projects clutter our minds and decrease our happiness. Sometimes you need to abandon a project.

We stood in line for Gretchen to sign my book and take a picture with her too! If you ever have the chance to hear Gretchen speak, do it. You'll be glad you did.

This weekend, I tackled a few stalled projects with the help of my cousin Rachel! I cleaned out my drawer of yarn to free up space for fabric in my craft dresser.

I fixed a dress that had ripped (on Easter) and sewed a pair of Anthony's scrubs. I uploaded the last 4 videos of our Vancouver trip!

Here's the video of what we did on Day 3. This was filmed at Granville Island Public Market

P.S. For those of you following along with my weight loss, I weighed in this week and lost .8 pounds. I didn't think it was very much until I placed the equivalent in butter on my kitchen scale. I was impressed.

How are you doing with your weight loss? Let me know if you need a little encouragement.

Happy Monday! I hope your week is full of lovely memories and beautiful fall weather.

Linking up with Carissa for Miscellany Monday.

Sewing a Throw Blanket & Try New Adventures Link Party

While perusing the remnant bins at Joann's, I fell in love with this bicycle fabric:

It took a small search party (think Donner Party), for me to find the fabric and order enough to make my own blanket. I planned to use the cream-colored flannel material for the top and a brown fleece material for the bottom.

I've shared before how to sew flannel swaddling blankets for baby shower gifts. I planned to use the same method to create this blanket.

  • Cut the material to the desired size
  • Place right sides together 
  • Sew around the edge at a 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch seam
  • Leave a small hole (about 2-3 inches)
  • Turn the material right side out
  • Sew a zig-zag top stitch 

There were two problems with this method: 

1. The cream flannel material was not the same width as the brown fleece material. I facetimed Mandie and asked her how to sew a seam. She told me the best way to proceed.

2. The baby blankets are small enough they won't come apart when you wash them. I figured if I tossed an adult-sized throw blanket in the washing machine, it might lose its shape. While I thought about solutions to finish the blanket, I went to the Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild meeting. The gals there gave me a number of suggestions to quilt the blanket and I signed up for a Free Motion Quilting Class.

Once I realized what my blanket pitfalls were, I started cutting and laying out the blanket.

You might know of a better method to cut your fabric, but the only thing I could surmise was to lay the blanket on the ground. I should have used kneepads. I didn't realize how many times I would be up and down, down and up, cutting, pinning, cutting again. 

To make the cream material the same width as the brown material, I created a seam that added about 18 inches. The seam was a lot easier to make than I thought it would be!

I ironed the seam open, so it would be flat. Here's the blanket sewn before I turned it right-side out:

To create the zig-zag stitch, I used a cream thread for the top and brown for the bottom. I really liked how this made my imperfect lines barely noticeable!

I finished the blanket using my Machingers (gloves that help grip the fabric). I quilted with a pink thread on the top and brown thread on the bottom. 

Here's a close-up of the free motion quilting aka crazy-design:

The finished blanket is 55 inches wide and 65 inches long. The perfect size for both Anthony and me to share while we watch our favorite shows (like Downton Abbey)!

Today is a special day, because I'm hosting Try New Adventures Thursday.

Alicia normally hosts this fun link party, but she's letting me host the party today! Please share the new things you've tried lately. A few ideas: a new recipe, hair style, adventure, how you save money, etc.

In case you're wondering, here's how TNAT got started.  

Purse Giveaway from Thee Fire Wife

 I'm very excited to introduce a new friend of mine, Mariah aka TheeFireWife. We met through the It's a Girl Party I participated in and I have enjoyed getting to know her. Mariah has an Etsy Shop where she sells reasonably-priced products. Her work is detailed and I fell in love with her bags & purses. 

I loved them so much so that I bought two bags! Mariah also agreed to donate a purse to give away here. So you, my wonderful readers, have a chance to win!

*see below for details on how to win this adorable purse*


Hello there!  I’m Mariah from TheeFireWife, and like you, I am a great many things – wife of a firefighter, sister to 7, Yankee transplant living it up in South Cackalacky, and in love with Almighty God.  I am a mess-maker extraordinaire, and sometimes wonderful craftiness comes out of my messes!  During the week, I’m a major nerd, working on my PhD in engineering, but on the weekends (and really any time) I love to have adventures!  I have a dog that is not-so-smart, but he keeps me company when Handsome (that’s my husband) is on shift. 

Another thing I do while my Hubs is putting out fires is sew.  My grandmother taught me to sew many many moons ago, and I’ve just recently started dabbling in it again.  I have made a few quilts and I like it, but I fell in love with making purses and wallets!  I love the colors you get to play with, the quick turn-around time, and the functionality!  Designing my own purses gives me a great sense of accomplishment, although there are quite a few cute patterns out there that I’ve followed, too!

Feel free to poke around my shop and see if anything speaks to you!  I take custom orders as well, and I’m willing to try and make pretty much anything you can dream up!  Thanks for taking the time to meet me today, and please come visit anytime over at TheeFireWife or check me out on Twitter or Facebook.  I love making new friends!

<3 TFW


 There are two ways to enter (only one entry is needed to win): 

  • Entry 1: Leave a comment letting me know you'd like to win the Happy Kat Purse
  • Entry 2: Tweet or Facebook the giveaway and leave a comment here saying you did (you can use this if you want to: @malisaprice is hosting a #purse giveway from @theefirewife, check it out! http://malisaprice.com/blog/2012/4/29/purse-giveaway-from-thee-fire.html

This promotion is open until Sunday, May 6th, at 8 pm PST. A winning number will be chosen with Random.org and will correspond with entries in the comments section of this post. Make sure to leave an email address when you comment, as that's how I'll notify the winner. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. 

My First Giveaway!!!

In honor of Christmas being a mere 40 days away, I thought it would be appropriate (and awesome) to have a giveaway. It's my way of saying thank you for coming to my site and reading what I write. 

As you may know by now, I LOVE Christmas. I enjoy:

  • Watching family and friends open the gifts I've chosen for them
  • All of the streets with their beautiful lights and decorations
  • Baking, baking, baking
  • Spending time with the people I love
  • Remembering the birth of Jesus and his unconventional, unpretentious entry into the world

This year, I've been in to sewing and I made a Christmas pennant (aka banner, bunting, etc.) that I want to give to one of you!

There are three ways to enter (only one entry is needed to win): 

  • Entry 1: Leave a comment sharing your favorite thing about Christmas
  • Entry 2: Tweet or Facebook the giveaway and leave a comment here saying you did (you can use this if you want to: @malisaprice is hosting a Christmas giveway on her site, check it out! http://malisaprice.com/blog/2011/11/15/my-first-giveaway.html) 
  • Entry 3: Subscribe to my newsletter (link is on my homepage) and leave a comment saying you did

This promotion is open until Saturday, November 19th, at 8 pm PST. A winning number will be chosen with Random.org and will correspond with entries in the comments section of this post. Make sure to leave an email address when you comment, that is how I will notify the winner. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. 

Sew-what? Tote Bag Project

A few weeks ago I wrote a review about a local sewing store called The Tin Thimble and let you know that I would be getting to take a few lessons there. Well, this past Wednesday (August 10), I had my first class where I made a tote bag! Once again, the employees at The Tin Thimble exceeded my expectations. Emma and her sister Hannah, were the class teachers. 

I was greeted with a warm smile and given a name tag. Emma showed me to the table I would be using for my sewing "station." Hannah proceeded to be the teacher and was so encouraging throughout the entire class. Actually, both of the ladies were! There were 6 people in my class and 2 of the gals had never sewn before. This wasn't a problem at all. The shop had extra machines and Emma/Hannah threaded the machines for the new seamstresses. They gave each of us individualized attention and we were able to proceed at our own paces. 

I brought my own machine and Emma & Hannah helped me adjust the tension. They explained how to carefully measure and press my project to ensure it turned out neat and orderly. I also learned how to do a basting stitch on my machine. 

The best part about the class was that by the end of the scheduled 3 hours, I had a beautiful finished product. I would definitely recommend the classes at The Tin Thimble for any level of seamstress. I'm sure you will learn at least one new thing from the knowledgeable ladies! 

Lastly, I want to give a shout out to Anthony. He is such a wonderful husband. He bought me the sewing lessons, chauffeured me to class, and carried all of my stuff in and out of the store. I love him.  

Coming Soon...

There are a number of topics I want to discuss here over the next couple months. I wanted to give you a preview of what they will be:

  1. Characteristics of a Christian, this would be the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It is based on the text in Galatians 5:22-23. Be looking for posts on this topic soon.
  2. Continuation of my Spirit of Food Series.
  3. My sewing journey - I have my first lesson on Wednesday to make a tote bag at The Tin Thimble. I want to share what I learn here. I've been using Stitch by Stitch to help me.
  4. A discussion of the legacy I am leaving - what do I want others to remember about me when I'm no longer here?
  5. Book review on "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. I can’t bring myself to spend $10 on the Kindle version, so I am in line to borrow it from my sister, Heather (she has a wait list).
  6. My yearlong study on the book of Acts begins in September with Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). BSF is a non-profit, non-denominational organization that was created 50 years ago by A. Wetherell Johnson. It exists to teach participants how to study the Bible on their own. The classes are incredibly structured and are based on a 4 point structure: study the Bible on your own, discuss it in a small group, listen to a lecture on the lesson studied, and review lesson notes. I have been attending for about 1 1/2 years and I am really happy it is starting back up. 
  7. Travel adventures Anthony and I plan to have. We are going to the Monterey area in October and I will be blogging about our trip there and others we take.
  8. Recipes! I have quite a few different recipes I want to share here. The holiday season is coming up soon and I can’t wait to start baking. In fact, I already did.
  9. Saving for a new car...is this something only teens do or are there adults that save up to buy cars? 
  10. This one is up to you! What topics would you like to read about? 

I'm linked to Amanda's Top Ten Tuesday blog carnival:

The Tin Thimble - Loomis, CA

This past week there was a Groupon for sewing lessons in Loomis. When I clicked on the Groupon and read the details, I saw that the store hosting the lessons was called The Tin Thimble.

Immediately, I remembered that I had met a lady in my Bible Study class who owned a store with that very name. Anthony insisted on buying the lessons for me and I had the chance to visit the store yesterday with a friend of mine.

Old-fashioned General Electric refrigerator

The Tin Thimble is a shop located inside High Hand's packing shed. It reminded me of an antique version of the American Tin Cannery in Pacific Grove, CA. Before going into The Tin Thimble, my friend and I enjoyed a delicious brunch at the High-Hand Conservatory.

It is one of the cutest nurseries and restaurants I have ever been to. They have lots of plants for sale and specialize in Monrovia plants, which are one of the highest quality plants (thanks to my friend for this info!). 

The restaurant serves local eggs and meat that is locally grown and free ranged. 

Local eggs, homemade sausage & scone, strawberries, & potatoes. Delish!

Once our bellies were full from the delectable food, we strolled through the High-Hand shops and found The Tin Thimble.

Upon entering the store, I informed my friend that this was going to be a money pit for me! It is full of high quality fabric bolts, buttons, yarn, patterns, antique machines, sewing notions of all kinds, etc. Lovely items that I can't wait to explore (aka buy) even more! Fortunately, I had planned on visiting the store, so I brought cash to spend (thanks to budgeting). 

The store is adorable!

The store is set up with lots of shelves that form little rooms, but they all open into the main walkway. In the back of the store, we found my friend, Emma. She is incredibly helpful and very friendly.

She quickly assisted the other customers who were shopping, as she gave us a listing of all the classes they teach at the store. I was very impressed that she knew the customer's names and greeted them with a cheery smile.  

Emma, one of owners of The Tin Thimble 

She helped my friend and me choose which classes to take based on our level's of sewing knowledge. She also recommended a local sewing machine repair shop for my friend's machine. I really appreciated Emma's expertise regarding the whole sewing industry.

I signed up for three classes: one on making a tote bag, another about getting to know your sewing machine, and one on making a pennant (an example of the pennant is above Emma in the picture). Thanks to The Tin Thimble's blog, I had read that they just got in their Christmas fabric. My pennant is going to be an old fashioned Christmas one! I can't wait to take the class and show you all how it turns out. 

Button, the store's newest employee!

While we were there, a Nuno felting class was being taught. Emma informed us that Nuno is an agitation technique that combines raw wool onto silk or cotton fabrics to make new pieces. To get more details on this, you will have to visit the shop and ask Emma. The ladies in the class seemed to be having a really fun time, who knows, I might just end up taking a class on Nuno felting next. 

I can't say enough wonderful things about The Tin Thimble. Please take some time and visit it, I know you'll love it!