Sunday, December 1, 2013

Advent Fun Day One

Thanks to Pinterest & the YouVersion Bible app reading plans, I have simple and fun advent activities and devotionals planned for the month of December. Today we used a craft item that has become an obsession for my son - perler (aka melty) beads. Here is the result of the first two creations. Fun, simple and one of the only reasons I ever get out my iron!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Not in a "house divided against itself" way, or in the mathematical way my middle schooler feels a worthless endeavor meant only for her torture. Division of my blog. I will now be dedicating Studio j to my creative endeavors. I will blog about home improvement & decor as well as my sewing and other crafting projects. I want to get my Etsy shop (which has been open and empty since December) up and running, and I'll blog about those products and projects here. Blog posts of a more personal nature about parenting, spiritual discussions, my Africa trip, struggles, etc, will be posted to the blog I share with Scott. It's a family blog we started more than 5 years ago and then ignored. I have moved all previous posts of a more personal nature over to that blog. I would love it if you would follow both blogs. Occasionally I might publish one post to both (the My Mansion post for example), but mostly they will be separate. For now the personal blog is simply called "Reisig Family" as it has been since 2006, but it will soon have a new name (at the same address). Thanks for following both sides of me, and I love it when you occasionally comment also!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My mansion

I love to do projects around my home. We purchased this home, in part, because it didn't need much work, but before we even moved in I had plans to add an additional bedroom in the basement. Add to that list, plans to do a laundry room remodel / bathroom addition in the basement, master bathroom remodel, kitchen back splash tile and under cabinet lights, overhead lights in 3 rooms that don't currently have them, replacement of 80s-style bathroom lights, removal and replacement of popcorn ceiling texture on entire main floor, and I'm sure there is more I'm forgetting. That's in addition to what we've already done: replaced 2 gates and the entire front of the fence, painted multiple rooms, added framing and a door to the master bedroom (yes, it never had one), built a raised garden bed, and probably a few other things I'm forgetting.

I'm not discontent with my home. I like my home a lot, but I love to look at the design and function of something and see how I could make it better. I set a budget and a goal, watch for sales (we tiled the floor of a bathroom in our old house for under $40 using 18" tiles found at more than 80% off), and refuse to hire anyone to do the work for me (that would take away all my fun).

Scott teases me that when I get to heaven, I'll know which mansion is mine. It will be the run down one in need of repairs and ripe for all the projects I've been eager to do. People will probably glance down the golden streets, spot my mansion, and wonder what bad things I did on earth to deserve such a place. I, however, will be in heaven...well, yeah!

I've been thinking of this in context of going to Africa. I've wondered if I shouldn't be on a construction team instead of a teaching team. But there isn't a construction team going this year (they built the school last year), and I do love teaching too. Who knows, maybe I'll find a few opportunities to do some projects too while I'm there. And, if something happens and I don't come home from Africa (don't get me wrong, I fully intend to return, but I'm not in control of my fate), you'll know where to find me when you get to Heaven. Just look for the fixer-upper mansion.

Tiling the kitchen back splash in our old house.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Confession: I hate to knit

At least 15 years ago, I taught myself to crochet. I enjoy crocheting. The stitches make sense and are easy. Patterns, while often initially confusing, soon can be repeated with ease. Crocheting is fun and fast and easy, but it's also kind of ugly. The stitches are big and bulky and don't lay slick and neat like knitting does. So I decided to teach myself how to knit. I decided this over a year ago. I've practiced many stitches (I've probably made the equivalent of dozens of coasters), but I have been unable to produce anything. It takes forever. Forever. It doesn't come easily to me. I want it to. What I want to make the most is socks. The socks in the store say "size 4 - 11." They lie. Maybe the cotton athletic socks, after washed in hot water a few dozen times, would comfortably fit my size 5 1/2 foot. Fashionable socks never fit me. And I hate bunchy socks. So...I want to knit my own cute, comfortable socks. I know socks aren't a beginning knitting project, but I don't mind a challenge. I do mind that it took me over an hour to get 4 tiny knit/purl rows on my double pointed needle. It took that long and I only used about 2 feet of the beautiful brown/grey wool sock yarn I purchased. In that same amount of time I could have crocheted an entire market bag using 2 skeins of yarn, or 3 hats, or at least half a scarf. But, as I said, I like a challenge, so I'll keep at least for now.
A small sampling of the yarn I've purchased from a local wool manufacturer (and a few of my sample stitches).

Africa skirt

I've purchased many patterns over the past few years and sewn zero. Not that I haven't wanted to or didn't intend to. It's that whole "too much to do in too little time". In addition to the purchased patterns, I have clipped pictures of many skirts and dresses I'd like to try to make without a pattern. I've even purchased some fabric - I'm good at the purchasing part! (My husband would agree with that last statement.)

Tonight started on a skirt that is part pattern and part idea from a catalog. It's a skirt that can also be a dress. I intend to wear it as a long skirt while in Africa, and wear it as a dress while in London. I'm big on minimalist packing, so an article of clothing that can double as 2 is a good choice. (I'm currently trying to decide on one, or at the most two, pairs of shoes that will be allowed to trek across the world with me.)

I know a dress/skirt combo sounds strange, but bear with me - it's is actually cuter than you'd think (if I can make it work without a pattern). And it isn't strapless - I'm not really willing to go there, even in London. Tonight I laid out the pattern part of the skirt on a yard of Moda fabric I bought a year ago from a little fabric store in our neighboring town. It was somewhat of a splurge. I like to get good fabric, but I don't like to spend a lot (translated: I buy on sale, with coupons, and out of town). I paid over $10 for this yard of fabric, so for me that was a spurge. Unfortunately this pattern called for 2.5 yards of fabric. I knew I wasn't going to cut out the top of the skirt (that's the part I'm modifying - a different fabric will be used). Even so, getting the few pieces laid out on that one yard of fabric was a challenge. After about 5 tries, I found the right layout. Here it is all ready to cut (I had to cut duplicates of the pattern pieces to make sure they would all fit on the fabric).

And look here for an example of a skirt/dress combo: T9's switch skirt.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I've been accused of being a perfectionist...because I am (see my last post for confirmation). I go all out. I'm unwilling to do things half way. I want it how I want it. It also hampers me from doing what I could be doing. It stifles and even paralyzes at times. For example, I currently have 6 blog posts I began weeks ago. None says quite what I want it to say, so even though I should post weekly, I don't click "publish" because I've let perfectionism get in the way. I have a hard time committing to or sticking with something I can't do perfectly. If I begin a workout program and miss a day or two, I stop altogether. I can no longer do it perfectly, so instead of continuing on as well as possible, I throw in the towel. To some it might not sound like perfectionism, but it is. It can no longer be perfect.
I've begun a new business venture (using the same name as this blog). I love to sew, and I've been making a variety of items I'll be selling in my Etsy shop and at the (very) occasional craft show. My first show will be this coming Saturday. I've been working on projects for two weeks and while I like what I've made, I'm not perfectly happy with any of it. The work is good, but I can see minor imperfections. I've had to fight to keep from stopping. I've wondered why I'm doing this. I can't make everything exactly perfect. I may have missed something here or there. What if no one buys my stuff anyway (to date, the only items I've sold have been to my mom, so does that even count?).
But by their very nature, handmade items aren't perfect. I love what I'm doing. I want to keep making and selling my creations. I don't want to let my perfectionism get in the way. Too often in my life I've gotten in my own's time to step aside.

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