Embroidering: A Quick Start Guide

One of the traditions for state officers in CA IORG is for them to receive a quilt at the end of their year of service. It is always a pleasure to take part in this and last year was no exception. I waited to post this until (hopefully) well after the quilt was finished and gifted to ensure I did not spoil anything.

I am pretty boring, predictable, and make the same square when the opportunity arises. All the squares are then collected and made into a quilt. My hand lettering skills are sub-par (I cannot be good at everything) so I print out what I want the square to say and then trace over it.tracing

Design fully traced and ready to embroider.
Design fully traced and ready to embroider.

Once I have the entire square traced out the way I want it I embroider the design. My design is simple and I have a lot of experience with embroidering so it takes a matter of hours (if that) start to finish. Finished Quilt SquareAfter a quick pressing it was ready to put in the mail to the quilt maker.

Designing and embroidering anything can seem daunting. Here is a recap of how you can do them on the fly.

  1. Gather all of your supplies. Most likely you will need: fabric, needle, scissors, floss, pencil, design, hoop or frame.
  2. Print out a design you want to replicate (or draw by hand if you fancy like that).
  3. If you can back-stitch you can embroider. Fancier stitches like lazy daisy can be learned along the way – there are even YouTube videos. If you cannot back-stitch, head over to YouTube or leave a comment and I will help you out.
  4. Trace your design and get started! As with anything in life, the hardest part of any project is actually starting it. Once you take the plunge you will notice that your biggest obstacle is usually your own mind. (This is not to say you may not get frustrated or have set backs, simply that those can all be easily overcome.)
  5. Press it out. Once you have finished your project get out the iron and press it flat. Pressing it gives it a finished look.

Most of all, HAVE FUN! Let me know in the comments what project(s) you made or if you have any questions! Happy embroidering!!

New Year, New Something

Happy New Year! It is that time again, the holidays have come and gone and resolutions abound. Fitness equipment, workout clothes and athletic shoes are on sale; and everyone is pledging to be a better them. We are not immune from the excitement of the new year in our house either. I would be remiss if I did not admit to purchasing a treadmill and some new workout clothes. But I am not only about a new fitness routine. I have spent the last month (or so) studying for the Communications section of the Certified Paralegal exam as well as working on some side hustles.  Read more

DIY – Auto Repairs

The LIST
The LIST of repairs

My car is quickly approaching the dreaded 100,000 miles. Duh duh duuhh… the check engine light came on just before I took it for an oil change the other day.  $600.00 later I got a new thermostat and a list of some other repairs requiring attention in the very very near future.  Said repairs are general maintenance things, but to have the dealership do then will cost me a small fortune (like $1,700). I am by no means a mechanic, but I know enough to get by. I also know enough that I can get a new battery and install it myself (and/or get help from the AutoZone employee) for much less than $170.00.

Please do not mistake me, the gentleman at our dealership is very kind and not condescending or pushy. I simply know that the items on the list can be fixed for much less than what they would charge and can be done relatively easily. The internet has a wealth of how-to videos available in addition to car manuals and forums. You may also know someone who has mechanical experience or be brave and ask the store employees.

Who's idea was this?
Who’s idea was this?

Case in point: I borrowed my mom’s tools to change the spark plugs I purchased for $25.00. When I went to change them out I found that I needed an additional socket because my spark plug hoods are screwed closed. She brought them to me on Thanksgiving and my brother-in-law (who used to be a mechanic) changed them out for me while I held the flashlight. It took fifteen minutes, if that. I would have paid the dealership a whopping $200.00. I saved $75.00 just on this one repair.

Although not mentioned on the list, my passenger side headlight was out. I followed the online videos to change it out. I had to stop after taking off the bumper (yes, the bumper) because I did not have the right socket (note to self – buy sockets!!). Then the husband got home, reached his freakishly long fingers in, undid the cap thing, and changed the light. I then reattached the bumper, somewhat defeated. I am nothing if not good at following directions though. I have no idea what it would have cost us to have the light changed at the dealership or a service shop but I paid less than $10.00 for the light bulb. Even better, I got to take pictures of my boys “working” on the car – fun times!

Hard at Work
Hard at work on the repairs!

Auto repairs can be intimidating and costly – they do not have to be. Know what you think your limits are, like changing an air filter for instance, and do a little research. Chances are you are more than capable of doing the repair yourself and you will in turn save yourself some money.

The Results Are In

After a month and a half of some weird limbo and well wishers asking when the results will be in like they ask pregnant women when her due date is, the results are finally in… And I did not pass all five sections – and that is alright! I passed four of the five and will retake the communications section in January. Is this an ideal situation, no of course not; however, it is better than I expected when I made my prediction in September. Now, I suppose I could call and dispute the results as it appears that there was a typo and that perhaps I did actually pass – I needed 59 to pass and got 56 but the results say I needed 56 and got 56. But that would be a waste of time and energy that I could use on studying. I want to pass on my merits, not a technicality. Read more

Guide for Buying for Coworkers

We spend a tremendous amount of time with our coworkers and finding them a unique and meaningful gift is just as important. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to think of the perfect gift. That is where my guide comes in! You can check out my gift guide here to see some great (if I do say so myself) gifts for your family away from family – your coworkers!

A few weeks ago I had a gift guide posted on aftcra.com an amazing website that features exclusively American-made, hand-made items.

Since today is Small Business Saturday, it is the perfect day for you to check out aftcra.com and support small businesses! I am sure that you can find something wonderful for everyone on your list here.

Enjoy!