Mother’s Day Make

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the Mommas out there. Now that the day has come and gone I can share the gift I made my wonderful mother!


A wallet! She was in desperate need for a new one so I looked up a bunch of patterns. This was by far my favorite so I just kind of ran with it and picked up fabrics that reminded me of her. Her favorite color is red but she’s a little too conservative to work an all red wallet, so I save the color for the inside. She was really pumped about it and so I am honestly. It came out great!

Here are some other views:


From the side


The inside. It has six card slots, plus large pockets on both sides for cash, extra cards, etc., plus a change pocket.  And trust me, she needs all the space she can get. Her last one was falling apart from being continuously overstuffed and forced shut. I also made the tab a little longer so hopefully she can always snap it close – no matter how many photos, rewards cards and pennies she hangs on to.

She and my family were all really impressed, which may be because we’ve never been a family of crafters so anything handmade that doesn’t look like crap is a total shock… but I do think it came out pretty well. They suggested I start selling them. What do you think? Would you buy one?


The rest of Mother’s Day was lovely too.


Unbelievable peonies from our garden!


They smell so good too!


We had a shrimp boil for Mother’s Day lunch!

It was ridiculously easy. Just toss a bag of Old Bay shrimp boil seasoning into a large pot of boiling water. Add a quartered lemon and then potatoes, corn, sausage and shrimp (at different times, in order of how long they take to cook, duh). Either dump it on a big table covered in parchment or fish all the goodies out like we did. The seasoning was just right and the lemon really comes through. Delicious!


Mom set out some boxes for me to take back to Indy with me in preparation for the big move. You have no clue how hard it was to not just box up this little (ok, he’s pretty big) cutie and just take him back with me. If I would I could Mr. Phil, sorry buddy!

I hope everyone else had a great Mother’s Day. What other things did people make for their mommas?!

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Happy 1st Birthday Francis!

It’s Francy’s 1st birthday!


Chinchillas are crazy sensitive and not able to eat all kinds of things so I just stick to things especially made for them instead making it myself. Better safe than sorry! He got a new chew tube and treat bar!

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Moving part 1: Easy graphic art

I was ridiculous for thinking I was going to get a post up on election night. That is honestly laughable – election night is probably the busiest and most important day of the year (technically two days a year, primary and general) for a journalist.

But despite my lack of posting I have actually been crafting – a lot! There hasn’t been a ton of sewing, more decor crafts for my new apartment, which I’m very excited to say I get the keys to on Friday.

I’ll post more of the projects as I complete them and get time, but here is one for you!

I saw this awesome typographic poster at Target but wasn’t going to pay for it. Instead I made a scaled down version for about $5 with letters from the sticker letters on card stock from the craft store and a dollar store frame.












I think this will look really cool mixed in with a collection of other framed things on a white wall.

Again, I’m getting lots of great ideas from pinterest. Follow me @arikaherron

Have you made anything from pinterest yet?!

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No, I haven’t died.

My apologies for the sore lack of posts lately. It’s been a very crazy few weeks and there just hasn’t been much time to fit in crafting, let alone blogging about crafting.

I don’t even have anything craft related to share tonight, other than to say I’m moving to a larger apartment and that (plus pinterest, follow me @arikaherron) has inspired me to get going again. I have a few things in the works that were actually started tonight but not quite ready. I should have a real post by Wednesday (election coverage will take all day and night tomorrow or I’d have it then).

Until then though I just want to share something completely unrelated to all things this blog.


Thats right, Pat graduated from Indiana University this weekend! Forgive me, but I’m so darn happy and proud and excited I couldn’t help myself. Congratulations Pat! I love you!

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A happy accident!

I’ll get to the sewing, but first: Francis.


Now if that’s not that cutest damn thing I’ve ever seen I’m not sure what is. Who doesn’t want to be greeted by that little face everyday?

Now the sewing.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about the PJ sewalong. I was still not thrilled with the pattern I purchased, as blogged about here. I wanted to add sleeves so I decided to start with the top pieces from the Butterick pattern as a base but modify the top to add the sleeves. Since I couldn’t wrap my brain around just whipping up those changes on my own, I used the top of another dress pattern I have made that has sleeves already and then further amended the sleeve pieces to make them a little longer and wider at the bottom (them were originally tight, elbow length sleeves).

After making all of those changes, which is really my first attempt to draft my own clothing patterns, I figured a muslin was in order to make sure it all worked. It did – kind of.

But first: WTF is up with Butterick sizing?

Based on my measurements I should have been making a medium. But when I cut out the pieces and compared them to other tops I’ve made I knew it would be WAY too big. So I cut it down to the smallest size, an extra-small.

I made a wearable muslin out of some pretty pink and white cotton that I bought on sale because it was too cheap and cute to pass up. I never had a real purpose in mind, so I guess this qualifies as my very first stash-busting project. I wish it had turned out better.

It was just a touch too tight across the chest (that problem is a first, let me tell you) and WAY too big still every else. Honestly, it was absurd. It looked like I was wearing a really pretty potato sack, which is why the photos below are taken on my duct tape me and not the real me.  Now I’m not trying to make some sexy skin tight lingerie here, but I still want my sleep dress to look nice.

I like the actual look of it, if only it fit. Also, since I was intending this for PJs its WAY too short to wear in public. But I thought the pleats turned out nicely for the first time I’ve tried them by hand like this (the pattern called for gathers but I didn’t think that would be very flattering when made out of a semi-stiff cotton).

Since I’m going to have to take the whole damn thing apart and rework the fit of the bodice, I didn’t bother finished the neck, arm holes or hem.


The pattern up close:


Just for kicks, I thought I would try my trick for all dresses that are too big – tight belt right at the waist. Since I’ve lost about five pounds this happens rather often and I’m not mad about it, I’d rather belt things that are too big than be too big to wear them.


It actually looked kind of cute this way, which is why I’m calling this a happy accident. Although this isn’t really screaming PJs to me, if I added a few inches to the length it’d be a really simple/cute dress pattern.

But needless to say my PJs for the sewalong need some more work/planning. I’m open to ideas at this point as I feel a little stumped. Hopefully everyone else’s are going better. How are your PJs coming along?


WWWP5K update: I’m trying to keep good my promise of sharing more of my fitness experiences as well in light of the upcoming Worldwide WordPress 5k. I’m still failing at getting in a run on the weekends I’m in Bloomington, which is every weekend right now as Pat’s about to graduate. I did get into my Zumba class yesterday though, which as always was awesome. Seriously, if you haven’t tried Zumba you should! But I keep telling myself I should run a mile or two afterwards to add to the workout and get more miles in. And yesterday I actually did it! I didn’t do a full running workout because I have other things to do than spend two hours at the gym but I did hop on the treadmill for a quick two miles. Fitting in shorter distances like this allows me to work on my speed too. I ran two full miles at a much faster speed than I usually do. I know that if I keep working on my longer runs for endurance and pushing the speed on shorter runs I’ll eventually be able to go longer distances at my faster speed. It’s a technique that’s worked well so far for me anyway.

[Tip] This is something I do when running on a treadmill to push myself a little bit further: I set a goal for my run, usually a distance goal. Then, after I reach that goal I look at my other two measurements – time and calories. Then, if I’m not completely dying, I push myself to extend my run to meet another nearby goal, like the next round number of calories burned or a time marker. This probably sounds confusing so here’s my example from yesterday.

My goal was to run two miles at a quick pace. When I hit that, I looked at calories at time. I was at like… 215 calories and 19 minutes (these are rough estimates… I can’t actually remember). So to push myself I said I would keep going until I hit 250 calories or 25 minutes, whichever came last (unless I died before then). It’s a pretty mental game I play with myself but it really does help push myself just a little bit further each run.

One more tip: If I’m running outside and I’ve reach my time or distance goal, I’ll try and make myself do just one more song (because I always listen to headphones when I run – usually Lady Gaga Pandora station, don’t judge me).

What do you do to push yourself through a tough workout?


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Please forgive my pallor.

And my pained expression. The things hidden off camera are my cardigan and coat – it was a very chilly and windy day in Indianapolis yesterday, out at a softball park no less! But I can’t complain since we were out covering an event for work and I badgered our award-winning photographer Tom Russo to take this for me so I could finally have a halfway decent picture for the Spring Top Sewalong submissions.

So here it is: my first spring top and second Sorbetto made of Simply Silky Print – Purple Paisley Floral Peachskin. I got it on sale for $4.99 a yard and used leftover hot pink bias tape, meaning the whole thing cost about $6. Can’t beat it!

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Spring tops and perfect PJ prints!

It’s done! Well at least the first one is!
The first of what you may be asking (amiright?)… The first of my Spring Top Sewalong submissions! Below is just a sneak peak. Im hoping our photographer at work will take an actually good picture of the shirt.


The fit of this Sorbetto is still a little off… a little shorter than I would like and too baggy, but it’s still perfectly wearable and I LOVE the print! It’s pink, purple, yellow and green floral paisley – so springy! And the material is a silky something-or-other which is super comfortable. Working with a fabric with more drape (as opposed to the stiff cotton Sorbetto I made a few weeks ago) let me really see how the pattern fits. I think I’ll be able to make some changes to hopefully have a better-fitting top the next go around.

And I made the whole thing in one night! Admittedly, I stayed up wait too late finishing it and am totally dragging at work today, but it was worth it. What an excellent feeling!

The last bit of exciting news it that I have selected my fabric and pattern for Karen’s Pyjama Party! The fabric is a silky peachskin (not nearly as fuzzy as I was expecting for such a name, but I’m glad of that) and I’m just obsessed with the print. It’s gorgeous. Actually, the more I look at it the more doubts I’m having about wanting to make PJs out of it. But good news is that it was on sale for half off. Whoo!

You can see both the fabric and pattern below. I’m going to make view B but modify it. I want it to have swingy three-quarter length sleeves, either with elastic or ties at the bottom of the sleeves. OR without at just trimmed with that black lace you see below. I think the lace will also go around the bottom and neckline… we’ll see.


Fabric close up:


Isn’t it great?

I’m very excited and I totally love these sewalongs. It gives me some direction and makes me try projects and things I otherwise might not. Thanks Rae and Karen!

Is anyone else participating in any fun projects right now?!


UPDATE: Argh. Just last post I said I was going to be more proactive about recording my fitness endeavors leading up to the Worldwide WP 5k. And I already forgot. But better late than never, yes? Well yesterday I was able to get in a quick mile and half before my Pilates class. I wish I would have had more time to run but I couldn’t skip Pilates for it. I’m terrible at doing any sort of strength training on my own and that class works me like no other. But for those interested in doing more running, I have found that squeezing in a quick mile or two when that’s all you have time for to be very helpful. It also gives me a chance to push up my speed – something I’ve been working on. I ran at 7 mph yesterday, a pace I’m not sure I could keep up running longer distances (yet).

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Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k

Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k

I am so excited about this! As I mentioned in I think my very first post (and not since then-slacker) one of the other activities I’ve picked up in my quest to not be bored and/or boring in my post-grad life is working out. I (try) to go to the gym at least three days a week. I’ve been running and regularly attending classes (zumba, pilates, yoga and cycling when my schedule allows). Now that the weather is getting nicer, I’ve broadened that to going to the gym OR running outdoors. Last week I went to beautiful Beckenholdt Park in Greenfield, Ind., and ran four miles. I’ve been running on a treadmill at the gym for several months but running outdoors is a whole different monster. While its not a huge distance I was pretty proud and that means I can definitely complete the Worldwide WP 5k.

I’d like to even post some tips for people working toward a 5k and record more of my fitness progress here, so stay tuned!

I just have one question: Are you with me?!

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Second sewalong!

Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself here, but I am going to publicly commit to my second sewalong!

Karen is one of the first sewing blogs I started reading and she just announced a pyjama sewalong! I’m so pumped and plan on making an extra comfy night gown, as I detest all pants (except yoga).


I’m not sure yet what pattern I’ll be using, but so far I’m thinking about taking a t-shirt piece of a simplicity pajama pattern I already have and just lengthening it to be a t-shirt dress like those soft slinky looking things from Vickie’s (who knew a t-shirt could be so sexy?!) or making a pillowcase-esque nightie, like the one found on The Mother Huddle. Obviously I’ll need to adapt it for big girl sizes, but how cute is this:


I’d like to do something a little fancier, but I’m not sure I’ll have the time or ability just yet and I’d like to make sure I get it done. I wasn’t able to do ANY sewing over the holiday weekend as Pat and I went home to visit the families. It was wonderful (waaaay too much eating) but I did have an itch to get started on some new projects. I’ll be focusing on this and the Spring Top Sewalong, my first top of which I’m literally dreaming about. Since I’ve chosen the Sorbetto – something I like and am comfortable with – I’ll be taking a lot of inspiration from Mena at Sew Weekly for variations to make on the original patterns. I definitely want to add sleeves!

I encourage everyone to join the pyjama party. If you are, what are you making and what comfy PJ fabrics do you suggest?!

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Pattern review and Spring Top Sewalong!

Pattern: Simplicity 2512 (Cynthia Rowley) View B

Fabric: Cream and Black Taffeta from the April Johnston/Project Runway fabric line at JoAnn’s

Notions: Black single fold 1/2 inch bias tape. Black 7 -inch invisible zipper

Difficulty: (‘d say it was in the beginner-to-intermediate range. It really wasn’t that difficult, but I did use some techniques (particularly the gathering) that I hadn’t tried before. This was also my first go around with invisible zippers.

Make it again: Possibly, but either another view or with some changes (see below).

Changes: The only real deviation I took from the pattern and instruction was using pre-made bias tape instead of making my own binding as suggested by the package. I found this to be easier and more economical. If I remake this style I will make the back flat instead of all gathered. All the extra volume in the back does not make for the most flattering back and side views for someone my shape. Someone taller and more slender (ie without hips/thighs/butt) might be able to make this work more.

The skirt, once again (see more views on previous post).

At the end of the day though its a pretty cute skirt and I’m happy enough with the end result to say I’ll definitely wear it, probably to work as soon as its not so chilly. Or tomorrow. I want to show it off a little 🙂

Also, I’m very excited to announce that I will be participating in my very first online sewing contest thingy!

Through obsessively reading others sewing blogs – so inspiring, so jealous – I learned about the Spring Top Sewalong hosted by Made by Rae. I’ve been stalking several other themed-sewing contests/challenges and eagerly awaiting one in which I could participate. I’m not so much interested in the contest portion as I just am in joining in on the sewing/blogging community. This will give me the perfect opportunity to try some of the Sorbetto modifications I’ve been thinking about with my stack of beautiful spring fabrics I picked up last weekend. I also like that these things have deadlines – as a journalist I’ve really come to love the darn things. They keep me on track and I’m happy to say I haven’t missed one (by much) yet!

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