Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I'm baaaack!

Well, in case you've been wondering, yes, we made it to Honolulu and it is amazing and beautiful and we love it :) We are in the Army's Hale Koa on Waikiki and have hit the beach daily, it's amazing! We are still sort of half in vacation mode and half in work/new routine/find a house/buy a car mode. There are a lot of choices to make, especially about housing! On post or off, we just don't know what to do. In the meantime, the kids and I go to the beach as often as possible and yesterday I took my camera (the beach is not the safest place for a DSLR, ha!)

For my Colorado peeps who are experiencing snow today, I apologize in advance :-/








 A crab! It's so cute how they pop their little eyes up and swim sideways.
 We caught the lunar eclipse. Pretty cool.

So, we did find a car, a minivan, which we, like many hip young marrieds swore we'd never own, haha! But, they sure are practical for an area like we're in now. Easy in and out for the kids and easy for me to drive and park in crowded Honolulu. We pick it up tomorrow.

We were offered housing on Fort Shafter. It shares wall on both sides and has no sidewalks and no yard (like zero yard--there's a raised lanai in back and then a drop off into a jungly hill.) To play outside, the kids would be playing in the driveway, which is shared with three more houses, so them playing out there doesn't feel safe to me at all. But, the house is new and way bigger than they come here off post. And there's plenty of kids to play with. And we'd get to keep the money we've been saving for first month's rent and security deposit (which in Hawaii, is a LOT of money!) And Casey wouldn't have a grueling commute, which is rare here. Agh, but no yard! And shared walls, after what we had in Denver, that would be an adjustment. Zero privacy, really. We seriously do not know what to do. Do you share walls with neighbors?? If so, how do you make the most of it?? 

ALSO, eating is becoming a frustration. We have two mini fridges in our adjoining rooms. No meals are complimentary. Two of us don't eat gluten. I'm thinking about getting a blender (mine broke right before we moved anyway) so I can at least make a smoothie for breakfast (seriously, for all five of us to go to the breakfast buffet is over $40 per day. And that's just breakfast. We get per diem for food, but still...) There are a bazillion Asian food places at the mall food court, but most of the sauces contain gluten at those types of places. We had that today and now Natalie's stomach hurts. I need to go make a grocery list. Your thoughts and ideas would be appreciated, as we have at least three more weeks here in the hotel :)

Monday, March 31, 2014

We're here! And books.

First off, we arrived in Colorado yesterday and although the kids were seriously amazing the entire three days of driving, we were all super happy to be done with that, as I'm sure you can imagine. I have now resided on the East coast twice and both times we drove back this way, I was so happy and relieved to arrive in Missouri, then Kansas, where the sky is huge and you can see for miles. The solid walls of trees in the South make me feel closed in after awhile. I much prefer the openness of the midwest. I don't think I realized how much I missed Colorado until we got back!
This barn was somewhere in Kansas near a rest stop. I thought it was pretty.

Since the kids were so good in the car, I had time to read an entire book (!!) during those three days. It was The Maze Runner and it was GOOD! Seriously, I don't think I've been that riveted since The Hunger Games. I tried to get into Divergent, but quit 3/4 of the way through the second book. Way too much teen angst for me, not nearly enough plot. But, anyway, I wanted to read The Maze Runner because there's a movie coming out and I like to read the books first. I whizzed through it and Casey went to grabbed the other two books in the series for me. If you liked The Hunger Games, you'll love this series. I can't wait for Casey to read them, but he's still wading through Divergent (we agree that Tris is way too much of a girl, ha!)

While he was out looking for those books, he spotted this book and had to get it for me. I am a huuuuge Veronica Mars fan, it's my fave show ever. Not surprising, as Nancy Drew was my first read-all-day experience as a kid and I am just a born mystery lover. You can now watch all three seasons of Veronica Mars on Amazon Prime and you can rent the new movie on iTunes. But now, there's a book! I super hope this becomes a series and does not stop at one book!
I think I need this fan art, found here:
OOOOH, or this mug:
Ha, or these, but as magnets!
Okay, okay, I'll stop. Etsy sucks me in. It's the best place for cult followings ;)

I've been reading a couple things out loud to the kids too. We are really loving The Gospel Story Bible. I cannot recommend it enough. The illustrations are beautiful, the stories are well written and they always point to Christ, showing kids the thread of Jesus being woven through the Old Testament.

Also, I picked up a copy of Wayside School is Falling Down at a thrift store recently. I remember reading it when I was a kid and liking it. It is so funny. We laugh and laugh with every chapter. I'll definitely be ordering the rest of the series, they're so inexpensive. Did you realize they're by Lois Sachar, author of Holes?

I've also been reading Michiner's Hawaii. Its 2000 pages and I'm over halfway. I took a break for the trip--it's pretty hefty reading when you're a weary traveler, haha. But I read Chesapeake before moving to Virginia and he has such a way of bringing the history of a place to life, so I wanted to read Hawaii before moving there since I realized I knew nothing of it's past. It's surprising how little we learned in school about the history of our 50th state! There is a movie made from this book from many years ago. I was told it's not a great movie, but Julie Andrews in these stills sure is beautiful:
I heart Julie Andrews so much!

I'll leave it there for today. Happy Monday! Please share any good book recommendations! I love fiction, but good fiction these days is hard to find. Maybe I'm a little picky, I dunno ;)


Saturday, March 29, 2014

On the road

Hey, this is my first ever blog post from my iPhone, haha! Just thought I'd check in from Frankfurt, KY. We've been making the most of hotel life since Monday. Movers came, packed, loaded and left with our stuff, Casey hired a cleaner this time for the house (whata guy) and we hit the road yesterday. 

I've taken some phone pics I thought I'd share. You can follow me on Instagram if you want! I update our adventures there pretty actively. Find me there as nikkischreiner. 

There are some blessings to being without your stuff. I've taught Layla to play solitaire and war and other card games. And I taught Natalie to make friendship bracelets the old fashioned way and how to make lanyard key chains. Did you used to make those!? So fun. So anyway, these are things I'd be too distracted to do at home with other things I need or want to be doing and it was nice to have a chance to get on the floor with my kids without distractions ... Like my sewing room, for example ;)



Cheers! :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Stitchfix #2!!!

It's Stitchfix day!!! I tell ya what, when you get a Stitchfix box in the mail, you do not want to bother setting up the tripod and getting your camera ready, which is why this post contains *gasp* iphone selfies of me in my Stitchfix items. Please forgive me. When you sign up, which you can do with this link:
https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3384131
then you will understand.

Stitchfix, for a super fast recap, is a service where you fill out a fun style profile, pay a $20 styling fee (which later goes toward your purchase) and a stylist sends you 5 high-quality items to try on. You pay for what you want and send back what you don't, in the prepaid envelope. Easy and FUN!

This box was waaaaay more my style than my first one. I can really tell that my stylist got the gist of my Pinterest board (which I linked to in my profile), as everything in this box was very "me".

First up, a striped knit top and some orange shorts:
 It is SO funny, I have seriously been wanting some orange shorts! I just told Casey a few weeks ago, some orange shorts would fit nicely into my wardrobe. I even attained some orange fabric to make some, but I won't be able to sew after the movers come on Monday for several weeks, so I was beyond thrilled to find these shorts in my fix and even more thrilled when they fit perfectly! I absolutely love the color, they go with soooo many of my handmade tops, which is why I was wanting orange shorts. I really love that top too, it's very soft and fits great and I do love me some nautical stripes. But, living in Hawaii, I don't see myself getting much wear out of it since it has longish sleeves :-/
 This blue top was beautiful and the back was really pretty, but it gives me a bit of a maternity vibe. Sending this one back.
 Next up, a knit maxi dress. I like this dress in theory! The lace at the top is a nice unusual touch and I love lace. However, the fabric is thin and clingy and the stripes through the hips aren't hitting me in a very flattering spot. Furthermore, as a seamstress, the non-matching of the stripes on the side seams bug me A LOT! I would never make something that looks like this! Big stripes are easy to match so it's clear there was no trying here. I don't think I would choose this particular thin fabric for a maxi dress either. Who wants to wear a full slip with a dress that's supposed to be a cool summer outfit? This dress is going back too.
 The fifth item in my box was this great canvas tote! I'm pretty sure I'm keeping this, I think it will be great for the beach, but even more so, I think it will be great for all the travel I have coming up. It's very deep, so nothing will be spilling out, but things will still be accessible.
So this time, I am keeping the orange shorts and the tote. And I'm thrilled with my second Stitchfix experience! I always actually hope I won't like all five pieces 'cause I probably couldn't afford them all and I'd have to choose and that would just be traumatic, ha!

To make up for the cell-phone pics, I took some actual nice camera/tripod photos of my new shorts with the top I was working on as this Stitchfix arrived.  Spooky.
 My friend Jenn in Reno went iphone fabric shopping for me again (she takes pics at her fabric store and shops for me) and this knit was one she sent. It is the softest knit fabric I have ever had! When the box came, I was on my couch draped in lovely fabrics, feeling them and smelling them, knowing they'll be going in boxes come Monday. But, I just couldn't resist sewing this one up before I left. And I cannot believe how perfectly it matches my shorts. Crazy!

So, again, if you decided to sign up for Stitchfix and give it a try because it is just SO MUCH FUN, you can use my link and I get credit! And you can can get credit when you sign up and tell your friends too and they sign up. Sweet, right!? https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3384131

Cheers!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I'm all for versatility!

I had a great pinstripe chambray in my stash from my last Denver Fabrics haul before leaving Colorado. I considered several things for it, but finally decided I wanted something very basic, since it's a neutral fabric and I'd like to be able to layer it and wear it many different ways. I definitely succeeded with that goal with this dress!

I used New Look 6080, a basic shift dress with cute pleating at the top neckline for a little interest. Here's the dress alone:
 And here it is worn six different ways! It can be dressy or casual (top left) or even take on the look of a pencil skirt (bottom center).
I spent a while on fitting and am glad I did so because everything about this dress is very comfortable. The armholes don't cut in when I cross my arms, it doesn't hug anywhere it's not supposed to, it's a perfect length and I adjusted the center back seam to the curve of my back. Happy to have such a neutral and basic piece in my wardrobe. It's definitely getting packed in my suitcase when we leave!

Speaking of which, Casey officially passed his Captain's Career Course this morning. He has been completely consumed with this huge final project for about a week and a half and even had to go in to work over the weekend, both days. So he definitely hasn't been in moving mode with all that going on. But, after he passed this morning, he texted and said he's ready to move to Hawaii, haha! So now the true prep can begin. I am thankful I have him here to help because I get overwhelmed with the to-dos quite easily, especially because kids do not stop needed fed, bathed, educated and cared for just because we are moving. I remind myself often that the kids are not the disruption here. They are my priority, it's the move that's the disruption! This helps me keep my focus. If they movers pack the pile of junk I meant to donate or a dirty dish rag, so be it, as long as the kids are secure :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

One-hour top

Packers come in about a week and a half. If I'm being honest, I'd like to skip over the moving process this time and just suddenly find myself in Hawaii. But, reality is reality and I must make the best of it. I find myself stressed. Not because I have a ton to do, but because I feel like I'm treading water. You know those seasons when you feel like you can't start anything or dive into anything or even really keep up the normal routine so you're just aimlessly passing the days, with a lot to do, but not knowing how to prioritize? Yeah, I'm in one of those. The kids, however, have no such sense of coming change and would prefer to continue making cardboard Barbie houses and building Lego cities as I try to prepare for the move.

But, the sewing must go on. Mostly because I am having no small amount of anxiety over being without my sewing machine for at least two, maybe three months. Boooooo! 

I quickly made this top last week out of a linen blend knit I got at JoAnn's. I used McCall's 6848, which is a pajama pattern, but I've had good luck with the top pattern out of knits. 

 The best part is that it's easy to accessorize and change with cardigans, etc... It's versatile and it's in my preferred color palette, which is the goal lately!
 I used the extra fabric to whip up an infinity scarf! Good idea, if I must say so myself.
That last photo and it's accompanying digital noise prompted me to get out my camera manual and do some online research about why my camera seems to underexpose everything. 

I took my camera and manual to the park and I think I have some things figured out. The park is so boring. Am I the only mom who thinks that?? 

What a cutie. 

So, just as with my last move, photography will once again have to be my hobby of choice. Hooray for portability, amiright? 

Friday, February 28, 2014

mixy matchy

I really love the Lisette line of fabrics at Joann. I think they're one of the few lines at JoAnn that's designed with clothing in mind, since there is such a wide variety of weights and fabric types, from voiles to bottomweights. Everything I've made from that line has held up really well, I love all the prints, the colors and the feel. They're a dream to sew on and unlike many Joann fabrics, they wash nicely and are on-grain! There is little more annoying to a sewer than getting a wonky cut of fabric, amiright?

So, I love it when I score a Lisette fabric during the clearance sales. I don't really even look for them, my eye is usually drawn to the print and then when it turns out to be Lisette, I say, "of course." Ha!

This cotton voile was one such fabric. I grabbed it knowing it was in my desired color palette and knew right away I wanted to make a basic woven tank from it. There are little turquoise dots inside the white dots, if you look closely.

I like it so much, I might have worn it two days in a row ... but I'll never tell ;)

It's great by itself and will be nice and breezy for Summer. I love cotton voile because it's lightweight, but not so much to require a cami unerneath! 

The best part is that it goes with two things I've made that are unique colors for bottom pieces and that I needed more to go with than a black tee. This might be my fave:
That's my yellow corduroy skirt I made almost two years ago. Still a favorite! 

AND, it goes with my green shorts I made last Summer! Also a Lisette fabric, incidentally:


It goes with several of my cardigans too. Like this great coral one:
I love the fit of this cardi, but it wasn't getting a lot of wear until I started pinpointing my color palette and focusing on a mix and match wardrobe.

One tank, many ways!





Wednesday, February 26, 2014

basic black

I've been thinking a lot about wardrobe planning. If you've been following me here for awhile, you might know that we started a serious overhaul of our "stuff" maybe a year ago. I honestly believe at this point that we have pared down by half. It's a good thing, too, because the amount of junk we had room for in our old house would have made us crazy living here.

My wardrobe did not escape the purge. I recently did yet another clean out of my closet and gave two huge bags of clothes to a friend who wears them and loves them. Even a few of my handmade things--out the door. That was hard! But, she's wearing them and I wasn't. So, really, it's better.

That said, I think this is the smallest my wardrobe has been in my adult life. But, somehow, I feel like I have more to wear than ever. Isn't that funny!? Part of the reason is that I've been focusing on making pieces that go with other pieces. Having a color palette in mind, with a couple go-to neutrals (mine tend to be black and navy/denim) and then a few color genres. I gravitate toward two color palettes usually. One is a nautical look with blues, kelly green, some coral and white. Another is pink, gray and plum. Pinterest has come in very helpful in this effort to pinpoint what I like. Looking over your style board, you might notice some trends! My mom reminded me that wine is considered a neutral, which explains why that wine colored Stitchfix cardigan matches everything!

Anywaaaaaay, with all this in mind, I've wanted a basic black dress for awhile. Not a fancy LBD that works for cocktail parties, to which I have never been, but an everyday black dress that can be styled a myriad of ways. I finally landed a great knit at JoAnn's last weekend when all the clearance was half off.

I used McCall's 6744, one I've made a couple times before:
 After the dress was completely done, I had to take it apart to take huge chunks out of the sides. I think the bodice is supposed to drape, but this look was not working with this knit, it's too substantial. In the end, I'm glad I made the effort to get it right. The fabric is a perfect weight, with a crinkly texture.
 This purple wrap cardigan is one a made months ago and had literally nothing to wear it with. Dumb! It's such a soft rayon knit and I love the print so much, so I'm glad I finally have way to wear it.
 This button down plaid top is one I just made! I'm really proud of it and it matches several other things I've made, so I'll give it it's own post soon.
 I wore the dress with a simple cardigan yesterday.
I've been sewing fool this week! I whipped up a very simple top yesterday, can't wait to show you!

Cheers :)