Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year ~2014~

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Just a quick note to wish you all a most Happy New Year!  I hope 2014 will be a wonderful year for you and yours.

2013 was a year of change for our family; I hope to reach goals in 2014 that I had to set aside this past year.  I look forward to 2014 being a year of growth.  

I thank you, always, for reading this blog, supporting my business, and interacting with me via Social Media.  Over the past few years I have made wonderful friends in the handmade business and craft world via Instagram and Twitter and I look forward to those friendships growing and making more!

Be safe and Happy New Year!

XxOo~ Melissa

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Getting Ready. {Shop Re-Launch}

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Just a quick little post to let you know I'm working on some behind-the-scenes stitching at SoChick, and will be re-launching the embroidery shop very soon... how soon?  In time for the holidays!

XxOo~ Melissa

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Nut-Free Dip Recipe {School Lunch v.1}

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I enjoy packing school lunches for my girls every day... of course, this is mostly only enjoyable when I have planned the week's menu, which I normally do, and don't have to put much thought into lunches the morning of.  An hour spent menu-planning on the weekend is totally worth it come 6:30am on any given weekday. *wink*

Here's a peek at some lunches I've packed recently:

Today it was Sunbutter & Jelly for the little chick (bottom) and Sunbutter & Honey for my 5th Grader, both on whole wheat bread; Carrots, apples, Rold Gold Pretzles (they are nut-free), and a Cocoa Crispy Treat.  I put wax paper around the sandwiches to keep the insides from coming out and so that the bread doesn't get soggy from the fruits/veggies.

 This lunch included whole wheat waffles, that I had made over the weekend with my new waffle iron (which i love and can't figure out why it took so long for me to buy one!), Apples, Cukes, Strawberry & Kiwi mix and Sunbutter Dip (See below for recipe).

My youngest chickie goes to a nut-free school, so to make things easier, I just leave nuts out of both lunches and also don't include nuts in our breakfast so as to avoid cross-contamination.  Some students have very severe allergies and I like to do my best to avoid anything that may affect them.

Sunbutter Dip:
This can be made with peanut butter as well.  It's super delicious with graham crackers, apples, waffles, etc.

1/3 c. Plain Greek Yogurt
1 Tbsp Sunbutter (or Peanut Butter if you're not nut-free)
1 Tbsp Honey
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate unused dip.  Enjoy!

XxOo~ Melissa

Monday, October 14, 2013

Embroidery and Zombies, Boo! {Handmade Halloween Fun}

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Here's a quick post to show you the fun designs I've been stitching...

I found this I Heart Zombies design and knew my 5th grader would love it, so here's a shirt I stitched up for Halloween:

I also have a friend who is a huge fan of The Walking Dead, so you know I needed... NEEDED... to make a shirt for her...

And finally, because Zombies and human hearts may be a bit much for my 4yr old's Pre-K class, I stitched up a cute "BOO" Halloween shirt for her...

I'm having so much fun; machine embroidery has always been a favorite and I love finding such awesome designs!

XxOo~ Melissa

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sew-Easy Criss-Cross Coaster Tutorial {Halloween Edition}

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Here's a sewing project that you can find all over a Google Search for "Easy Coasters to Sew" and "Coaster Sewing Pattern (or tutorial)".   My Mother-In-Law has a set in her living room, which were gifted to her, which led me on my search in the first place; accompanied by the actual need for coasters in our living room.  Once I made a set for myself, I felt the urge to make a set for Halloween... after all, it is Halloween Season, right?!

Each tutorial I came across had slight variations for using an interlining on the bottom fabric piece of the coaster.  Some chose batting; others used fusible web.   For my first set, I decided to forgo both, using only my fabric layers.  So far, they have done an awesome job of catching condensation from our glasses of ice water (my youngest daughter being the ultimate tester as she always has a glass of ice water which leaves puddles of condensation on my tables; these coasters have eliminated that completely).

I decided, though, that I like the cushy feel of the coasters when they do have some sort of interlining, so I decided to make the Halloween Edition with fusible fleece.

Anyway, here you go:

Sew-Easy Criss-Cross Coaster Tutorial {Halloween Edition}:

Materials Needed for one coaster:

- Six 4.5 in or 5 in charms of the fabric prints of your choosing.

(I cut 4.5 in squares from my spooky fabrics, also, I only had 5 spooky prints on hand, so I doubled up on two prints)
- Fusible Fleece cut into four 4in squares
- Thread

Planning to make a set of Four Coasters to gift?  You will need to cut four squares from he six prints you plan to use, for a total of 24 squares, plus four Fusible Fleece Squares.


Fold four of the six squares in half, pressing the fold.  

Decide which of the remaining squares will be the base square of your coaster, and which will be the lining square (and probably not visible).  Iron your fusible fleece to the wrong side of your base square. 

Stack your base and lining squares with wrong sides together with your base piece (with fleece) on top.

Next, place your first folded piece onto the base fabric, lining up raw edges and being sure that the fold is towards the middle. 

Continue with the next three pieces, stacking and aligning each with the fold to the center and the raw edges lined up with your base piece.

With the final folded piece, you will lift up the edge of the fist folded piece and put the last folded piece beneath it... like so:

Make sure all of the raw edges of your stack are aligned; I then went ahead and placed a pin on each of the sides where the folded pieces overlapped, just to keep things from shifting.

Now, sew around your stack, using a 1/4 in seam allowance.  You will sew all the way around the stack.  

Next, clip your corners (be careful not to snip the stitches)... 

...and turn your coaster right-side-out through the center of the folded pieces.  

Poke out your corners with the tool of your choice (I use a mechanical pencil); finish with a good pressing and, Voila, you've made a coaster! 

 Now, go ahead and make three more for a complete set!

I gifted this set to my friend Andrea, of Keepin' It Thrifty, along with this personalized mug rug that I stitched and machine embroidered...

What a festive way to enjoy your coffee or beverage of choice, don't you think?! 

Happy {Halloween} Sewing!

XxOo~ Melissa

Friday, October 4, 2013

{Friday} On My Mind.

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I see a red tree out my kitchen window... this is the first time in a long time that I can recall seeing the leaves change and I love it. 

So, I was checking out my blog stats and posts the other day and realized a few things:

- We have lived in Western North Carolina for 6 months now, four of which in our new home... time is flying by.

- While time has been flying by, I've posted six times on my blog since moving into our new home... what the heck!?

- In the midst of "Settling" into our new place, new routines, new everything.. I've totally let my blog and passion slide, almost to the point of calling it quits.  Gasp! I know, right?!

Lets talk about that last part...

Excuses, Excuses... that's what I've been feeding myself the past few months whenever I've had some brilliant topic to blog about.  I've also convinced myself that no one wants to see my recipes or know about any of the Mommy stuff that I do, like packing lunches, home DIY projects, etc... because this is a sewing blog and all of a sudden anything that isn't sewing related isn't "good enough".  What is the deal?!  

I'm also going to confess that I now know first hand that comparison is the thief of joy... like all of those Pinterest pins have told me.  When I'm not blogging I'm looking at everyone else's fabulous life via their blogs and Instagram and freaking Pinterest.  Which I love, by the way... have you seen my recipe board? I'm on it daily, no joke.

Today I stop.  Today I begin again.

I really freaking love where I'm at and what I do.  I really want to share that with you, and while I have big HUGE dreams for my business and were I would like it to be one day, I'm going to embrace where I am now.  Right now.

I love being a Mother to my daughters, I love being a wife and friend to my husband, and I love selling fabric, sewing, learning, creating, and everything that SoChick! is all about.  So, I'm embracing my life as it is, bigger things will come for SoChick! in due time, but for now I'm happy with where my focus is, and finding that happiness and balance again has reignited my passion.  Not to mention, I am so ready to get back to connecting with all of the awesome people I have met through blogging... have y'all noticed how slack I've been in most social media platforms?! I miss you guys.. uh, gals.. and guys?

No more excuses.  Just doing, living and loving.

Whats on your mind this Friday?

XxOo~ Melissa

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ruffled Skirt with Appliqued Top {A Handmade Outfit}

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I've been wanting to sew an outfit or two for my little chickies for quite some time, but am always hesitant; garment sewing freaks me out a bit.  So, before diving into all of the pretty patterns and kits that I've collected, I decided to try out an easy sewing tutorial to make a ruffled skirt for my youngest chick... of course I made a matching shirt to go along.

[The Project] 
Little Girl's Ruffled Skirt w/ Appliqued Tee

[The Skirt]
Pattern Used:
I used Tanya Whelan's Ruffled Skirt Tutorial, which I found on Pinterest.  I have also pinned the tutorial to my Sewing Board on Pinterest.

Fabrics Used:
Appleville Village, in Chocolate, by Suzy Ultman, for Robert Kaufman Fabrics. 
Tortoise Shell Coral, Saltwater by Tula Pink for Westminster.

[I love being able to keep my iPad open on the table while I work on a project!]

[Pieces cut]

[First Steps complete]

[Finished w/ elastic in the waist and hemmed]

[The Shirt]
Embroidery Machine Used:
Singer Futura CE-150

Embroidery Design:
Bella Frame Applique from PlanetApplique.com
Monogram from my Singer Software

Thread: Floriani & Isacord polyester embroidery thread
Stabilizer: Floriani Fusible Mesh & Oesd lightweight tear away
Fabrics: Same as I used in the skirt
White Tee from Target

[Hooped & stitching]

[With Monogram and trimmed]

[The Verdict]
This outfit was sew fast, easy and fun!

I quickly stitched the skirt while my little chickie was at preschool, on an abbreviated schedule, meaning I got the skirt cut and sewn within two hours!!

I completed the Tee in one evening; using my embroidery software's font feature, I was able to put little chick's Monogram within the Bella Frame Applique design.

I love the way this outfit turned out and the colors are perfect for fall.  We will add tights and a cardigan for chilly fall days.

I think it's safe to say that my little chick loves this outfit, too, because she has worn it several times since I've made it.  Success!

I have Tanya Whelan's book, Sew What You Love, and I like her quick and easy-to-sew patterns.  Have you visited Tanya Whelan's website?  Have you seen her book?  Let me know if you try this Ruffled Skirt Tutorial!

You can find Tula Pink's SaltWater Collection in my Esty Shoppe.

XxOo~ Melissa

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ready for Fall, Almost. {Weekend Wrap-Up}

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Tell me the truth... have you had a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks?  I'll let you in on a not-so-secret secret... I have not. Ha!  What have I been up to, you wonder?  Well...

I turned 30 last weekend, so I've been Thirty for a week and two days... I have to say, it's not feeling much different than the past few years.  The kicker may be that both of my girls are now in school, well, the youngest is in Pre-K, but, still...  I now (for the first time since starting SoChick!) have actual, dedicated, work time during the day! Yay!

So, back to this weekend's wrap up...  I may not have had Pumpkin Spice anything from Starbucks, but I did enjoy a homemade pumpkin spice coffee at home, in my new mug, which I picked up at World Market with my $10 Birthday Coupon!! (Along with the pretty new earrings shown)  

Here's how I made my Pumpkin Spice Coffee:

- One mug fresh brewed coffee, I use World Market's Breakfast Blend.
- A drizzle of pure maple syrup
- A dash of Pumpkin Pie Spice
- A splash of organic 1/2 & 1/2

I know you love my exact measuring... *wink*

We spent the weekend enjoying the company of some wonderful friends of ours who were out this way from the coast.  It was a short and sweet visit, but we were so, so glad to see them!

 Lastly, because it's been quite brisk here in the Mountains the past few mornings, I decided it was time to put up a fall wreath on our door.  Of course, since we are in a new home, I thought it'd be nice to update my previous wreath, using supplies I had on hand.  I'm very happy with how it came out and very glad to have used the brown satin ribbon I've been holding on to for years!  I swear, years!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, and I hope to have more to share, very soon!

XxOo~ Melissa

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Girl's Room Makeover {A DIY Project}

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While my girls were away to the beach this summer, lucky kids, I decided to give our eldest a surprise room-makeover.  My goal for this makeover was to ultimately create a space that she could: easily keep tidy/organized, have room to hang out with her friends, quietly do her homework (away from her little sister) and read, etc.  The girls shared a bedroom for the past two years, so this was a nice way to celebrate her having her own bedroom.

Previously, my chickie and I sat down to pin some inspiration to a Pinterest board, so I had an idea of what she was wanting the room to look like.  I also kept the budget for this makeover super low, using items we already had and chalk painting a desk (which I got for free a few years ago).  The only purchases I made were:

1 gallon flat paint for the walls
2 paint samples containers for the desk (though I only used 1) 
1 can of Minwax furniture wax (which will last the rest of my life, I'm sure)
1 package plaster of paris
Desk Lamp base
Lamp Shade
Clear drawer pulls, for desk

Alrighty, here are the pictures & details:

Kind of a "During" shot... but you get the idea, lots of junk and beige walls.  I painted the entire room in one day, did the desk DIY the second day; put the room together the third day.

{Desk DIY}

I used a chalk paint recipe that my Stepmom found somewhere on Pinterest, the same recipe I used on the shelves in this bathroom makeover from our old house.

Chalk Paint Recipe:
- Plastic Container for mixing.
- Plaster of Paris
- Interior Flat Paint 
- Water

Mark lines on the side of the plastic container to divide it into four equal parts.  Add Plaster of Paris to the first line.  Mix in an equal amount of water to make the Plaster of Paris smooth, it should still measure to the first line.  Stir in the paint, to the top line.  

I painted four coats of Homemade Chalk Paint onto the desk, not including the drawers, lightly sanding after each coat.  After the final sanding, I wiped down the desk and applied Minwax furniture wax to the entire desk, again, not working on the drawers, and polished.

I chose to modge-podge fabric to the front of the drawers, picking colors that matched the room.  I pressed and trimmed the fabric to fit the front of each drawer, leaving a slight overlap so I could fold it around the drawer front.  I used Elmer's Spray Adhesive to adhere the fabric to the drawer fronts, being sure to smooth all bubbles.  I then applied two coats of Modge Podge to seal the fabric.

I used a drill to drill through the fabric into the original holes on the drawers, then put on the new drawer pulls.

{Ta Da!}

We have artwork and photos to hang on the wall at some point.  Not pictured, is the wall space to the left of the foot of the bed, where we have her gymnastics memorabilia hanging.


My chickie was super-duper excited when she saw her new room... I actually took a video of the "Reveal", but I don't want to completely embarrass her by sharing it with the world... sharing on Facebook was engouh to do the trick. *wink*

XxOo~ Melissa

Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer 2013 {Weekend Wrap-Up}

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This summer year has been crazy, an adventure, but crazy... to say the least!  While the fabric shop has reopened and is doing well, I thank you bunches and bunches, I have been totally lame in the "work" department.  I am trying not to feel too guilty for that though, as I have been really enjoying settling in to this new place with my family, enjoying the summer with my little chicks and thinking about where I want to go from here on out, with SoChick.  More on the latter in another post.

This is my long overdue first Weekend Wrap-Up, aka Summer Wrap-up, post from the mountains of WNC...

I quickly found a Local Quilt Shop and picked up some Geekly Chic prints, which I paired with some Jennifer Paganelli fabrics from my Fabric Shoppe.  This project was a practice in piece/quilt as you go, which I've yet to complete.

This is one of the first views we had when we moved to WNC, from the balcony of our temporary apartment.

We've taken several drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway, here is a view of Looking Glass from the Overlook on the BRP.

Across from the Looking Glass Overlook on the BRP, we hiked to Skinny Dip Falls.  We came back another time to try to swim here... no thanks, I'm not ready for icy mountain water. Brrrr!

My youngest chickie was completely bummed about not having "pretty" jammies to wear to bed, so we took a trip to a local fabric store, they picked out their shabby chic fabrics and I got busy drafting and sewing my first set of girly summer nightgowns.  I'm not going to be making children's sewing patterns anytime soon, but it was much easier than I anticipated.  Let me know if you're interested in the tutorial by leaving a comment below!

This past week I sewed these coasters for our living room.  These were sew easy, my little chicks even sewed their own coasters to use on their nightstands, for their nighttime water.  The girls used Geekly Chic scraps, from the above project, for their coasters.

XxOo~ Melissa
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