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Friday, February 5, 2016

BB My Valentine

Emmalee woke me up yesterday and informed me she needed valentines for today.  Don't ask me where I have been.  Somehow I thought we were good for another couple days.  Everything else went out the window as she explained to me what she wanted to do.

She wanted to make valentines this year, and she wanted to do Star Wars since even girls like Star Wars.  Eventually, between the two of us, we settled on a little sticker kit to make a BB8 magnet.

I cut out the wood pieces, Emmalee painted them when she got home from school, and we included a little treat and a vinyl sticker of BB8.  It isn't a huge activity, but it IS an activity ;0}

Besides, I am totally enamored with this BB8!!!

We went ahead and glued the magnets on the back.  I don't know how many kids actually have hot glue guns at home these days.  If I had a tad more time I might have put a glue dot in the kit so there was one more step by putting the magnet on.

Anyway, there you have it, Enough BB8's for one 2nd grade classroom.  I have the files for the tags and the silhouette cut files HERE for free if you want to try this project.  I cut the BB8's from wood, but craft foam would also be a great alternative to standing in the garage at 7 degrees ;0}

Doesn't he look cute in the one clear spot on our fridge???

Adorable.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Giant Fire

I got a special request for an extra large fire.  This guy was huge!  He was 20" wide and 30" tall.  My customer wanted it to stand flat against a wall, but inside of a fireplace surround.  After thinking a few days on what to do, this is what I came up with.

I used my normal Cub Scout firepit pattern, enlarged it to the specified size, then arranged it so the large fire could be attached to just 1/2 a log.  I figured then it would be flat against a wall.  I still wanted it to be 3-d, so I made the smaller flame, just half of it, and cut it so the flame would hang over the log from the first piece. 

It came apart into three pieces like these.  I was pretty excited when it all came together, and could still be taken apart for storage.  It was even more exciting to hear how happy my customer was with the project.  I just wish I could see how she had it displayed ;0}

Let's Get Real

  This is just a warning, there are NO CRAFTS in this post.  I have been wanting, no, Yearning for the past 2 years to make a change here on this blog.  For the past 5 years I have showed up, way more often the first 2 or 3 years than the last 2, showing off my work, sharing my patterns and ideas, trying to share the crafting knowledge I hunted and searched all over the internet and library to gain.  I tried to pretty much keep my personal life and beliefs out of the posts.  I have tried to be upbeat, cheerful.  I have failed miserably at that at times, and other times far exceeded my original plans.  While feeding the crafting soul, I feel like I was smothering the spiritual.

I am not talking churchy spiritual, but the deep feelings of my heart on subjects that have so intensely changed my life.  I am so frustrated with where our current social trends are taking us all!  Terror strikes the heart when I step back and realize how little concern for others there is in the world.  As I approach my 5th anniversary as a blogger I need to clarify, more for myself than any of you, why I am still here.  I need to Get Real.  I am hoping to re-align my goals with those I originally had so that blogging is something I enjoy again, not something else on my to-do list I am not getting done.

If you do not blog, you probably are not aware of the incredible target you have on your back by blogging.  I get emails, letters, phone calls, all from marketers wanting me to endorse their crappy products I never would buy, much less advertise for free.  I am asked constantly to donate product for drawings to get "free" advertising in exchange.  There are surveys about what people visiting my blog would "respond" better to {respond = will go out and buy}.  There are people contacting me letting me know I can get more followers, more traffic, more centrally publicized posts, all if I just subscribe to their services.  My old posts get spammed constantly, people putting links to their own sites in my comments and I have no idea if those links are actually validly useful or links to viruses.  I closely monitor those now and only allow comments on old posts if they are real people, on links.

I have barely been able to post the past...basically 18 months and I still have this chaos constantly.

Beyond that, all over the internet are post and articles and podcasts on how to improve your blog, sell your product, tips for what you should be doing, how you know if you are terrible at what you are doing.  I hate to admit it, but ALL OF THIS has disabled me.  How could the thought, "Hey, I should start a blog!  Then I would have all my projects all in one place so I could find them!!!" turn into this huge, complicated, impossible-to-do-right, out-of-my-control thing.

--let me set this straight...  I do not care about how many followers I have.  It is a status symbol I am not seeking.  I do not care how search-engine friendly my blog is.  I no longer participate in surveys and focus groups and marketing groups.  That is not what I am about.  I need money, but I am not going to throw more flashy wastes of space at the viewers of my space in hopes of getting $.03.  I am not online for attention or praise or to be validated by others.  I am here to help, to share knowledge, and to lift.  When I cannot do this and take care of my family, my whole extended family, I will not be posting.  Family comes first.

I have let the pushing of people change why I blog.  That stops now.  I am sick of worrying if what I have is cute enough, interesting to other people, photographed just right, those photos edited because they can never be photographed just right, text written clearly, checked and spell checked and re-written.  I am over it.  And my house!!!  My house is ALWAYS dirty.  We live in it.  Not only that, but we left the new-styled house in sunny Arizona and moved to the always-grey midwest and live in a too-small house with dark trim and no storage and I can't find one single place to photograph my stuff.

It is time for a reset.  My whole life needs a reset, but part of that is having an outlet, and this is mine.  I get maybe 5 minutes to myself during the day.  There are days, weeks, and sometimes months when I don't get to think about myself at all.  I have gone days, weeks, or months without looking at myself in the mirror.  Ornament season on Etsy is that way for me.  From the end of October until the week before Christmas I am lucky to get 4 hours of sleep, dinner in any form from any location to the table is an accomplishment.  I am tired.

I want to be real.  I don't do fake.  I don't do keeping up with the Jones-es.  I will not compare my kids to other kids to decide if they are ok.  They are ok because I love them. I am ok because Jesus loves me.  If you don't believe in Jesus, that is ok too.

Let me tell you who I am.

I am Vanessa.  I was born in Utah.  I LOVE Utah, but I am embarrassed to tell people I am from Utah because of stigma.  My dad took me from my mom when I was a little girl.  She missed me alot.  My dad married an amazing woman who took care of me while I was away from my mom.  She is my mom.  This matters A LOT to me, for I am a mom and not a day goes by that I don't hurt for both of my moms.  One must have cried 6 billion tears to have her baby taken from her, just talk to her once in a while on the phone, to go years not knowing where her baby was or if she was safe.

The other woman must have cried not knowing how to raise another woman's child when she was just 20.  Surely she cried more when she had her first born and still had to take care of this other child, when she loved this child, but this child cried at night for another woman called mom.  She was called stepmom, like Cinderella's, even though she was not at all like her.  She had sleepless nights worried about another woman's child when that child was out on dates, worked late, cried over boys, watched her dad beat every member of the family.

Life is so not fair.

I am a Mormon.  My dad is a Mormon too, but the Mormon church is not ok with men beating their families.  My dad was beaten by his dad who was beaten by his dad.  It isn't a church thing.  Just a vicious ugly cycle that stopped with me.

As for my church, I L-O-V-E IT.  I cannot express in words the level at which I love the teachings and practices of my church.  The people are human, the the church is God's church.  You hate it?  That is ok.  I love it.  I love the church I was raised in with all my heart and wish EVERYONE in the world could know what I have come to know as I studied, not blogs and tabloids and smut put out by man or by word of mouth, but the very words of our scripture, the words of our prophets, the words written on my heart in permanent marker.

I am 39.  That is old.  Isn't that old?  I can tell you, it isn't as old as it used to be :0}  My body is tired.  I don't give it sleep and exercise and pedicures like it wants, but I pick it up every morning, move it where it needs to be and lay it back in a nice king sized pillow topped bed with scottie dog flannel sheets I scored at Black Friday this year for $12.  Many days I wish I could just leave that body in the bed.  But I don't.

I have three beautiful babies.  17, 14, and 7.  I wanted 6 kids.  I have 3.  2 weeks ago I had to have a hysterectomy so there will never be another baby born of this body.  That makes me sad, but I will deal.  These three I have, I don't even remember them when they were 2.  Life is so busy doing just what we have to do to keep those three kids alive and happy, that is the biggest reason whey I don't have time to look in the mirror.  I'm ok with that.  They are worth it.  When they leave my house I will have more than enough time to look at myself in the mirror.  Today, I look at them...and tell one to empty the dishwasher, the other to fill it and the last to READ FOR 30 MINUTES FOR THE LAST TIME!!!

I have a husband who is far better of a person than I am.  I love him like the stars love the sun and look up to the sun and wish they could shine that bright and make everyone warm like the sun can.  He lifts me body, mind, and soul.  He rubs my sore feet, my sore shoulder, my wounded heart.  He always has.  It makes me sad that there are people without a soulmate like mine.  I thank the Lord above we were smart enough to marry 19 year ago so we didn't waste a minute we could spend together.  He makes me feel beautiful even though I know I am not.  He makes me feel special, like there is no other woman in the world like me.  The world should be glad ;0}  I feel blessed that the good Lord in Heaven loved me enough, not that He doesn't love others just as much, but He knew me.  He knew I needed Scott.  He also knew Scott would drive me just crazy enough that he gave me a sense of humor.

I am broke.  I am ALWAYS worried about money.  I will not succumb to get-rich-quick or get-rich-at-the-expense-of-others schemes.  I do not want to outsource my Nativity ornaments because I put a tiny piece of my testimony of Jesus Christ in each and every ornament, each and every nativity vinyl cut.  We have money to meet our needs from October-December when ornaments are selling, but I am so tired and out of my mind during that time, we spend half of it paying for processed food and fast food and treats like a constant stream of Redbox movies to watch while picking nativity vinyl.  It is just a vicious cycle I need to figure out.  Still won't outsource.

This always-broke-thing is a crazy thing for me.  I feel the need to work to ease that burden, yet I desire to be here at home with my kids, with my husband, here when they need me, here when they want me.  I want that more.  Every 3-4 months I take all the wood pieces off my Etsy site because I feel too torn from my family by work.  I decide I need to focus on them...then the bills pile up or we want to drive out West to see family in the summer and so I throw it all back on the Etsy site and start the cycle all over again.

I am ok with it though, because I am still home.  My babies are never alone when they don't want to be.  I will not have regrets about that when they leave home.  This is one of those points of conflict, mom's staying home.  If it isn't your thing, if you can't or don't want to, by all means don't.  Go to work.  The other half of me wishes I had a day job, cause then we wouldn't be $2 from zero so often in the bank account and getting out of the house would be nice once in a while.  In the end, I spent so many days and nights alone 6 year old me swore I would not leave my kids alone.  They would have a mom around when they needed one.

I am a self-taught crafter.  The sweet woman that raised me had to figure household things out on her own.  I don't hold it against her that a glue gun was used like a sewing machine.  In fact, I still own her first glue gun.  I cut up sheets and made barbie clothes.  I cut up sheets and made skirts, hot glued together.  They came undone in the dryer, but a little more hot glue and we were good to go!  The hem on my prom dress was reinforced with duct tape.  You do what you gotta do.  Best thing I could have learned in life.  Make what you have work cause nothing in life is perfect.

Sadly, I am a perfectionist.  This is a huge downfall for me.  It keeps me from doing.  I don't have enough time, or supplies, or money to complete a project to my tight standards, so I don't do it.  I fight perfectionism every day.

I fight depression every day.  Some days are better than others.  I have a pretty clear cycle of functionality.  I have about 1 good week every 6 weeks.  That is usually when I get my wood cut. There is a clear 2 week downhill fall, one solid week at absolute bottom-unable to accomplish anything, making dinner is an accomplishment.  Then the slow climb back up out of the sludge to the sunlight.  It is exhausting.

The biggest thing I have been missing in my life lately is service.  Time spent in the service of others is the most incredible blessing possible.  I crave it.  I need it.  It is the best medicine for my depression, for my anxiety.  I see the hardships of others, find ways to ease their trial and in turn get to forget about my own.  The funeral we had yesterday did just that.  I went to my drs appointment today and had to count the days it has been since my surgery, 2 weeks!  More on that later, when life permits me time to tell that story.



This is probably more than anyone wanted to know about me in one sitting.  As anyone, there is so much more to tell, but there are also so many things I was supposed to get done today, all still sitting un-crossed on my to-do list.  Thanks for listening as I vent, reset, and carry on.  I hope the same for you.  I pray you feel the love of your God in your life today for you are so loved.

Crafts and patterns are coming, slow but sure.  I just needed a minute to get real first.



Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Death Star Nerd Shelf

The Death Star Nerd Shelf is not officially hung on the wall, but seriously, I can't wait one more second to show it to you!!!

So, so, SO much has happened since I was on the blog last time and posted that I was starting this silly shelf.  I worked the following 3 hours on the pattern on the computer, turned around, and discovered a tumor in my baby girls mouth.  Yep, A TUMOR!  Nightmare began.  Three days of crying later, we had a date set to get that lumpy thing cut out and we were on our way to a family Christmas party on Christmas Eve.  

I will tell you more about that all another time, but for now, here are my pics from the making of the Nerd Shelf.  Please ignore the junky background!!!!  It is the dead of winter here in Minnesota, plus I had just shut my Etsy shop down after the most INSANE selling season EVER.  

Nerd Shelf...So, I took a 4 foot x 4 foot piece of 1/4" mdf, found dead center, and had Madison help me draw a circle.  This ended up a 47" circle.

We cut that circle out, then Madison began to paint it grey while I cut out all the little black pieces from 1/4" mdf.  For a long time I was just going to cut them from black vinyl.  It would have been hours faster. In the end I decided the black pieces HAD to be cut from wood because, after sanding all the edges to a bevel, they would look so much cooler!  Hours later...I cut all the little pieces for the 9 rows of black pieces.  Madison painted them black while I worked on other gifts.


That is where everything sat from Monday night until Thursday night, Christmas Eve...or actually, Christmas Morning at about 2:30am.  That was the time Scott and I finally got everything out and under the tree.  I sent my hubby up to bed {since the nerd shelf was a gift for him AND my boy Eli} and I started to work on the shelf all by my lonesome.

I managed to come up with a way to staple the shelves to the circle.  It took me a good hour to figure out how to mark the grey circle, spacing all the shelves just right, cutting them to the right lengths.  This is what I did to hold the shelves in place....about a thousand clamps...2 kinds of clamps...and a drywall t-square and some extra hunks of wood.



Here I was, at about 6am on Christmas morning just getting ready to glue on the black pieces.  I marked the back of each one, before Mads painted them for me, with the {row-order in the row}.  I sorted them out by rows, then put them in order 1-whatever that goes on each row, then pulled out my woodglue and started squeezing.

Once all the black pieces were glued on, I grabbed a bunch of 2x4s from the garage and laid them on top to kind of press the smaller glued pieces of wood down onto the shelf.  I covered the whole thing with a giant blanket, then went upstairs to try and get 2 hours of sleep before the kids woke up.

After Eli and Scott opened all their Pop Vinyl Bobbleheads I quickly went in the other room, pulled the shelf from the table, and rolled it back to the Christmas tree.  The reaction was priceless!  Both Scott and Eli were so surprised and SO THRILLED!  The thing was not finished, but really was impressive.

Last night I was finally able to paint the shelves black and this morning I sprayed the whole thing with my 2x finishing spray.  Now that I have the shelf up on the table all ready to mount on the wall....I think I want to re-arrange the computer room...

So this sneak peek will have to do.  It will take me another week to get the room moved all around and get this shelf hung in it's official home.  I will post a pic once that is all done.  You will never believe the bobbleheads Madison and I found!  We had a little too much fun with this present this year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

On The First Day of Christmas....

On the first day of SewCakeMaker Christmas...that just began today

She made a deathstar nerdy wood shelf...or she will..starting right now..I'm back guys!

See you again soon!!!