Friday, September 23, 2011

Insider Tips and Tricks

When you are a newbie in any field or stage of your life, sometimes insider tips and tricks keep you going when you feel like quitting.  Quite often quitting is not even a choice.  You have to learn and evolve.  Most of the times you need some sort of teacher, mentor, or guru.  I am not saying I have never quit before - I have.  In college I tried out for the Michigan State Crew Team.  And, I am proud to say I made it!!!!  I was pretty proud of myself.  When I realized the commitment involved, I quit.  I was not exactly a natural super student.  There was always something infinitely more interesting than economics going on in East Lansing and I was never one to say "no" to a good time.  When you are that kind of person, maybe the crew team is not for you.  It is quite possible that I would have flunked out of college.  But, I have not quit all of the challenges in my life, after all, my kids are sleeping in the next room.

I remember when my kids were first born and the feeling of euphoria that took a giant leap into my body.  I was thrilled, excited, and in love.  I was also lost, scared, and really tired.  My husband was home for a couple weeks so I had a lot of help during the day.  At the time, very few of our friend had kids which is shocking because I was not a young mom.  I guess a lot of my friends were a little big younger.  While I had a lot of support, not a lot of insider tips.  As the months went on I started meeting new friends and developed friendships with a great group of women in my neighborhood.  And then my friends started having kids!!!  We were able to trade stories, figure out was normal or not, compare childhood diseases, diagnose childhood diseases, laugh, give advice and take advice, and just become friends.  It has been so nice.  But, without these tips and tricks, it is almost like you would have to reinvent the wheel.  I have been thinking a lot of about this kind of stuff lately because I am a new aunt.  I know what my brother and sister-in-law are going through.  Adjusting to having a new little person in their lives who needs them twenty four hours a day, seven days a week is downright draining and fun.  I wish they lived closer so I could go over there every so often with a plate of cookies, make them a sandwich, and give my niece a little cuddle whenever needed.  But, I don't live close so I am leaving by train on Sunday to meet a little girl who I love so much but have never met!  I hope that I will be able to give some love and support to my family and help them out whenever needed.  Maybe I will be able to share some tips and tricks with them, without being an annoying older sister.  

My mom and I!
Today my parents came over to retrieve their little dog and share pictures of my little niece.  While they were here, I asked my mom the sewing guru for a little help.  I am trying to make pajama pants and could not for the life of me figure out how to read the pattern, cut the pattern or even sew the darn things.  Seriously, they are four pieces of material.  What can be so hard?  Well, there will be a whole post devoted to these darn pajama pants, stay tuned.  What I will tell you, it is that I learned a few things today.  I watched my mom and she watched me.  The way I was pinning the pattern onto the fabric was just kind of stupid.  I was pinning up and down, my mom pins to the side.  We laid the fabric out on the dining room table in the basement instead of my basement floor.  What a novel idea!  A hard flat surface in which to work instead of my carpeted floor!  I can even cut a straight line!  Also, instead of cutting out four pieces at a time, Mom folded the fabric in two and just did it twice.  Mom is a GENIUS!  She also taught me about nap and grain.  Mom really needed to put on her teaching hat today because I just wasn't understanding.  As it was explained to me, the nap is the direction of the fabric.  This was illustrated to me by stroking the dogs fur.  That was my ah ha moment.  Right now, it is not really an issue because I am not working with fabrics like corduroy and velvet.  Then we moved along to the grain line. Up until now, I just sort of ignored the grain line in the fabric.  Mom has tried to explain.  I did not get it.  I ignored the grain line.  Another ah ha moment, the grain line is good.  Before you start pinning, measure the grain line to the edge of the fabric and pin the pattern to the fabric.  Keep this up for the length of the grain line and this will insure your finished product hangs the way it is supposed.  I am sure I am not explaining this all that well.  But, the thing is, the point of this blog is to share my experiences, I am not a sewing teacher, yet!  I do hope you generally get the idea of nap and grain from my description.  Next time she comes over, we are going to sew the pajama pants.  Here is a sneak peak:  They will be flannel AND paisley.  Yep, Victoria's Secret is going to be after me too!  

Today was great!  It gave me the boost I needed to keep sewing.  It is the little tips and tricks that make hobbies, jobs, and life a wee bit easier.  But, it is important to give these tips and tricks without sounding like an obnoxious know it all.  Let me remember this advice when I travel to visit my niece.  Give advice when solicited but give my love freely.  Enjoy your weekend folks.  I will be back sometime next week.  Oh, and I promise the next post will be heavy on pictures!

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