12 August 2016

My Summer Sewing

All about the SEA...
One of my utmost favorite themes, is the Sea, I just Love, love all Sea related things.
I made the kids matching Tooth Fairy Boat's, this is a free pattern offered by the Fat Quarter Shop (it is even available as a YouTube video if you are a visual learner), but instead of pillows I made mine bed post hangy things (is there a name for that?) Because I personally know the Tooth Fairy and she has a difficult time getting to the pillows, or under pillows and she thought it was a great idea to hang the "tooth" off of the bed post.  I personally think she is brilliant :)
Flat Tooth Fairy Pillows for the bed post.
 I put the tooth in the small sail and the Tooth fairy puts the money in the big sail.  Katerina recently lost her tooth at the beach, when we were on our trip in Sarti, and really I mean it came out at the beach.  Sadly the fairy couldn't find us at the Hotel (in reality Katerina was on the pillow and I couldn't get the darn tooth out from underneath it)

A picture at the hotel we were staying at.
She has a way of loosing her teeth in the most interesting places and always on trips, she has lost a tooth at the Praktiker (like Home Depot) in Larissa and a tooth at IKEA (I don't need to explain that shop, right?) in Ioannina.

Just yesterday, I finished up some matching Nautical Treasure Bags, from the book "A Spoonful of Sugar", by Lisa Cox , this fabric is Daysail by Bonnie and Camille for Moda. 

I always like the kids to clean up their room before bed, so these will also conveniently hang from thier bed post in case they need a place to stash some toys before bed.
I thought it would be fun to add charms to the tags and my good friend Betti had just sent me the most perfect Sea themed ribbon to use as the ties, which was a life saver since I couldn't find the cording suggested in the book.
I kind of fucked one up, you see how you trace around the boats with black thread, well I accidentally had the backing fabric along with the front while I was doing this "sewing illustration" and it really perforated the fabric after I used a seam ripper to remove the black stitching, so I had to make another boat and decided to play with it and make it facing the opposite way.
Also from the book is this SEA Doorstop, it's the first project in the book and the first project I did at the beginning of the Summer.
 Can you see how the S and A stand up a little better than the seahorse, it's because I used a piece of cardboard behind them and since this doorstop has a zippered bottom I can take them out if needed or if they get wet, but it helps keep the doorstop a little more formed in my opinion. Next time I make one of these I will use a thicker interfacing than suggested, or double it.

I have been hoarding this fabric for a while, LOVE IT!  It is Seascapes by Deb Strain for Moda, this is from the panel, isn't it fantastic!  And perfect for my Sea themed/rainbow themed hobby room, I have a verandah door down there that doesn't stay open with out some kind of prop, so I use this now.
Using fabric from the same line, I made these cute Starfish Pincushions.
Aren't these the cutest things EVER, this is a FREE Pattern that I have had printed out for a while just waiting for the right time to make it.
If you can see from the back, I do the pattern a little differently
 I do make the Stars a little differently, I'm lazy,
I do 2 full legs and 1 half leg, for each side for the top, when I get those sewn together I trace them out on the backing fabric, and then sew both halves together, for the back I leave a 2.5" gap, so I can later turn the Starfish inside out, instead of what the directions call for leaving a gap along the leg, it makes it harder to keep the shape and if you are using the pompom trim harder to make it look pretty.
I first started with these 3, to see which color way my #underthesea swap partner liked and she liked the blue one, well so did I :)  So I made 2 more, for a total of 3 that you see in the pictures above, the one I sent here says "Ocean" since she lives along an Ocean, I kept the Sea one since I live along the Sea :)
I gave my swap partner these options

I sent the Mendocino one along to a girlfriend of mine who admired it along with a beach themed banner that she liked from one of my swaps last year.

The back
Since my partner liked the blue colors of the Seascape fabric I could continue the larger project I was making her. You see she is an underwater photographer and her feed has some really beautiful pictures, but I was taken with the one that she did of a Jellyfish, just gorgeous and was so excited that I got to be her partner.
I debated with myself in keeping the embroidery all white and now I wish I had, but oh well.
 Using different colors of white to off-white, cream, and grey I embroidered a Jellyfish onto some Batik fabric that I have had in my stash since I began to sew, I love Batik fabrics for water, what do you think?
Interior Patchwork Panel
Using 2 blocks for the Seascapes Panel and a few strips from the same fabric line along with 2 batiks and 1 fabric from Alison Glass I constructed the interior of the Sewing Portfolio.
Sewing Portfolio
 The Sewing Portfolio is also a pattern available from the book "A Spoonful of Sugar" , the instructions show you how to make the hourglass block that you see that I did for the back of the portfolio.
I guess I had a thing for Starfish while I was making her gift :) also sent along a Handmade fridge magnet.
I really hope she likes it, crazy enough it had a shipping incident luckily enough it made it back to me with out incident and I was able to re-mail it, this time sending it with tracking which doubled the cost of shipping, but I really can't complain cause my shipping from Greece is still so much cheaper than what my American and Australian friends have to pay each time they mail Internationally.
Sorry for such a long post, it's just I haven't written anything in ages, enjoy the rest of your summer, the kids here don't start school till September 15th, can't wait.

16 May 2016

Le Challenge Blossom

It's been 2 months since I have posted anything on my blog, so sorry blog :)
I have been crafting, mostly swap items.
And it just so happens that as I was making my latest swap extra, I realized that this month's Le Challenge fit right in with what I was making.

I love making small needlebooks as swap extras, they are quick to put together and you can never have to many of them (or at least I can't, I have 4 just right here next to me as I type this)

Plus you can fill it up with a few little extras and this time my partner said she wanted some sewing extras, so I'm going to include some needles, pins, a needleminder and threads made here in Greece.

My other favorite thing to make for swaps is needleminders that match the fabric I used for the swap item, since I always try to use a person's favorite colors or designers, plus again you can never have too many needleminders, hehehe!

The front was inspired by the book "Alison Glass Applique" and yes this is all Alison Glass fabric and also some of the wool I purchased from Alison Glass, Weeks Dye Works Wool and matching thread.  Tracing the white lines of the moth with embroidery thread is an idea that I have wanted to play with since seeing some examples on IG (my favorite place to find inspiration and where you can find me easier as @mara.creates).

Linking to Le Challenge - Blossom

04 March 2016

Greek Hospitals

So I have always wanted to write about my experiences with Greek Hospitals, in fact I have done it many times talking to myself (don't worry I'm not crazy I don't actually talk out loud).  I would really love it if someone invented a little microchip you could implant in your brain and you could say "Start Blog post" and talk to yourself (mentally) and it would write everything down for you and automatically publish it, wouldn't that be so awesome!

So back to all About Greek Hospitals, I'm writing now because we spent all day yesterday in the Hospital for Katerina, she has been feeling chest pains when she wakes up in the mornings, it has happened twice and then on Tuesday at school a boy hit her in the chest and it was hurting her all afternoon and into the night, so we took her to the hospital.
My first experience with a Greek Hospital was on my Wedding Day, funny right, I had to go in for blood test and a chest X-ray so I could have legal papers at the Taverna that my husband owns, just in case the food police stop by, they know I am disease free.
There ARE NO Appointments in Hospitals, you just show up and whoever is first gets served first, but the fantastic thing about children is that there aren't many in the hospital.  But if your an old person then you will have one hell of a wait.  We saw the Pediatrician right away, she did a cardiologist test and a blood test, then we waited for the "head" Pediatrician to come in and take a look at Katerina.  Kat did a great job with the first doctor, but she wanted nothing to do with the second, this was of course after a 2 hour wait, so I'm pretty sure it was just pain and exhaustion on her part.  She was freaking out and screaming and well it did not go well, Arthur kind of held her down as I tried to help the doctor listen to her heart, breath and etc.  Thank fully the next step went much better after I carried her through the maze of the hospital to have a chest X-Ray.
Now here is the nice part of Greek People, when you say it is for a kid, they will let you cut right in line, awesome right?  The X-Ray area had about 20 people waiting, but since we needed it for a child they let us go straight to the front, but we still had to wait an hour for the film and I saw some old people pretty much get there's straight away, but I'm guessing they were more of a life or death situation since they looked pretty knocked out as they were wheeled into the X-ray room.
After the chest X-rays came back clean the Head Pediatrician told us we should go to the Private hospital and have her checked there as well.
We Paid Nothing at the Government Run Hospital.

But we were there from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, and had 1 blood test, 1 cardiologist exam, and 1 X-ray.

At the Private Hospital in the same City (by the way we drove to Larissa an Hour drive since they have a better hospital than the one that is closer to us, plus Kat was born in Larissa, at the hospital that we just came from)  It was our first time there, and it was pretty nice, there was actual parking available for the car so Nik and I hung out in the parking lot and played Hide and Seek and Arthur took Katerina inside for a visit with a different doctor and also to have an Ultra Sound and they also did another cardio test.  It only took an hour at the Private Hospital but it did cost us money, 46 Euros, still a really good price, right?

So the end of this story is.... One of the only things I like about Greece is their almost free medical care, it is crazy!!!  For Katerina's birth a Cesarean and 5 day stay in the hospital it only cost us 450euros. 

Nik has had multiple surgeries and medical equipment that has cost us next to nothing.  Drugs are cheap for example we needed some Antibiotics a few weeks ago, they cost 4.30 euro and the same antibiotic sales in the US for $70 

They found nothing wrong with Katerina, but she is still feeling pain in her chest, so if it doesn't clear up by Sunday we will be going back, I hope it does, she is in such pain and it always hurts.

 I always tell my friends if you are going to have a medical crisis, do it in Greece, even for tourist it is practically free medical care.

25 January 2016

Michael Miller Mini Challenge

I love a good challenge, especially when it falls into plans that I already had in mind.  I just found out last Thursday that Michael Miller was hosting a challenge to use it's fabrics to make a mini, well it just so happened that the week prior I got a whole package of Michael Miller fabrics!  Yippee, so fabric was no problem now to decide on a design, mmm... well my daughter recently requested to have her walls filled with mini quilts because and I quote her "I don't want you to make me any more dresses" aww... sad day for me, I had wanted that to be a new years resolution, to learn more about sewing garments.
Instead I am thinking about dressing her walls now... we will be painting her room later in the Spring when we start getting warmer weather and we already bought a Princess dancing barbie border, (picture on IG) so I used that as my inspiration for the first mini.
And used one of my favorite song verses "You've Got To Dance Like Nobody's Watchin'"  The size of this mini is 20" x 15"
I used Cotton Couture Solids for the girls and top and bottom border, Wee Sparkle Heart Sprinkles for the background, Arrow Flight Fuchsia for the binding. 

The second one came about from the love of Unicorn's that my daughter and I share, I bought this pattern during Christmas with the idea of using it to make a mini for my daughters room so this was the perfect excuse to get it done.
The pattern is from Quiet Play, and I used the opportunity to practice my FMQ skills and I broke 2 needles, crazy huh! The size of this mini is 10" x 13"
This one sparkles so much, I used Fairy Frost for the body, you can't see it in the picture, but I love it!
Fairy Frost for face, ears and unicorn horn, Out to Sea by Sarah Jane for the hair, Wee Sparkle Heart Sprinkles for the background, Arrow Flight Fuchsia for the binding. 
On both for the back I used Hayley Crouse's Color Me Fabrics
My daughter is very excited about coloring these, but first I have a few scraps to wash up and see how they do, using different markers to "test"
I colored the top one, my daughter colored the bottom :)
I enjoyed making these mini's
Can't wait to get them up on the walls, but first we need to do some painting.

09 January 2016

Athens Trip

The Greek Parliament Building, located across from Syntagma Square and McDonald's
 We took a quick trip down to Athens for our "Holiday" trip.  A train ride from Kalabaka to Athens takes 5 hours and for us this year it only cost 110euros and that was first class tickets.  I think it was a great deal.  Just driving a car cost almost 50 euros in tolls alone, not including gas and paying for a parking space.
Train ride up, these are the photos the kids will do, funny faces or hiding.
We left early Monday morning the train was supposed to arrive at 5:40, but did not appear till 6:10 am, thank goodness it was not that cold, but we were still not very happy about the wait.  We had our own little compartment which was very convenient considering Nik threw up like an Alien exploding out of a body, chunks of his breakfast (pistachios and cookies) went everywhere.  Arthur got the majority of the spray since he was sitting across from him, but both Katerina and I also got sprayage on our pants.  Which meant I got to go pant shopping in Athens since I only brought the one pair :)
On the metro
After arriving in Athens and taking a  short metro ride to our Hotel right off of Syntagma square, we ate lunch at McDonalds.  Then the kids and I walked around Ermou street, while Arthur did a little business.  We rested for a bit at our hotel and then met up with Katerina's Nouna (godmother) Ero who is working in a Hotel in Athens, just down the street from the one we were staying at.  We ate at Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner, are you seeing a trend here?  Yup this trip is all about eating and NOT eating Greek food, yippee!
Ero and Katerina and I went on a little shopping trip to find a new pair of pants for myself while Arthur and Nik went back to the hotel, so much easier to shop with out the boys.
Th LONGEST WALK EVER! The white lines above are the Olympic Stadium, close to the Golden Mall.
For about 2 months Arthur has been telling me how he has been planning this trip and has everything figured out, he showed me where we would be going on google maps street view.  I was just along for the ride, hehe.  Well I should have known that I'm the only one that can plan good trips.  Our next outing was to go to the "Chocolate Factory" and then to the Athens Mall to watch a movie in the Cinema.  Instead of taking the bus that is just outside of our hotel directly to the chocolate factory Arthur made the mistake of having us take the metro, we got on the wrong one, which then meant we needed to get on the train and then back on another metro and that dropped us off at the Mall and not the chocolate factory, so we took a bus, partly there and then had to walk, OMG!!!!  Have you ever done so many steps, the kids were complaining the whole way, you know "Are we there yet?"  "How much farther?" " My feet hurt"  "I'm hungry" grrr... All I could think about was how much I needed to go pee.  I made Arthur carry Kat, because she is like a bag of cement and it was his fault we were taking so many steps to get to our location. 
Chocolate Donut filled with Chocolate Nutella eating it at the Chocolate Factory

Well, we finally made it to the Chocolate Factory, which by the way I might add, Arthur didn't even recognize it from the street level and almost AGAIN took us the wrong way, but I did recognize it from the google maps that he showed me and insisted on just going around the corner for the entrance for the chocolate factory. Well (I'll be using that word a lot) Katerina did not like the smell at the entrance, haha, it was a very strong chocolate smell, so we just went to the cafeteria and ate the chocolate they had for sale, instead of spending 20euros on tickets and not getting any chocolate we spent 11euros and ate all of the chocolate.  Now it was time to go to the Athens Mall, I would have just hailed a Taxi, but Arthur again insisted on walking, we walked half way there, found an amazing donut shop called California Donuts !!!! Yippee, finally a good ol' American donut, I got a delicious donut with Bavarian Creme inside, I normally get the one topped in chocolate but since we just came from eating a massive amount of chocolate, (I ate all of the kids leftovers, chocolate overkill) I got the powdered sugar bavarian creme donut, plus with a Cappuccino coffee for only 2.50 euro, that is a steal!  I seriously want to move right next to this shop!
Trying to get her to put her shoes on after watching the movie.
Well the walk ended up being a little more than what Arthur bargained for and we were able to flag down a Taxi to finish the rest of the trip to the Mall.  We immediately went to the Cinema and it was perfect timing since the Star Wars movie was going to be showing in 10 minutes, we picked up a bucket of Popcorn, the kids were super excited as was I, this was their first cinema movie and Arthur and I's first cinema movie since watching "I am Legend" that came out December 2007, just before Nik was born.
Nik did okay in the movie, it was a little to much for Katerina, she is still a little young and the whole time kept talking about wanting to watch the " Scooby Doo" movie, cause Arthur told her there was one, when in fact it was a "Snoopy" movie, again, me, grr...

We enjoyed Kentucky Fried Chicken at the mall and some ice-cream, then went in search of the Lego store (which Arthur had promised the kids legos) but they didn't have a lego store at this mall, SOOO.... back to the other mall, this time with an immediate Taxi, I was not going to be walking again.  We got the Lego that Kat so desperately wanted, an Ariel princess one with the prince and a boat.  Since we were back in the vicinity of the chocolate factory we took the bus and it dropped us off right in front of our hotel, easy peasy.  We slept very well that night.
Picking out sweets for the cousin, but taste testing first.
The next day was a national holiday, the Nameday, Fotini, ( Φωτεινη) and everything was closed except sweet shops, florist and restaurants.  We picked up some sweets for Arthur's cousin who happens to be named Fotini.
Found the perfect sweet, cream filled honey soaked filo "cigar"
It was supposed to be a quick little bus ride to see his Uncle and Aunt, I wanted to take a few photos of the changing of the guard outside of the Parliament building since that was happening as we were walking by, Arthur continued to walk up the street toward the bus stop.
Changing of the Guard.
 Well, I went to go find them and they weren't there, I panicked and walked back to the bus ticket counter, to confirm where the bus was supposed to leave from and then found Arthur and the kids at the parliament building waiting for me
Waiting for the bus, tired from walking up the big hill.

We catch the bus and of course it is the right bus but going in the wrong direction, we drove ALL over Athens, a 15 minute trip turned into an hour bus ride.  

Running on the bus, cause we have so much energy, and it's a long ride.

It was a nice visit with his Uncle and family, his wife has a very large family and they were all there to celebrate Arthur's cousins name day, so it was kind of like an American Thanksgiving party, loads of food, the only difference, the men eat first and at the coffee table/turned into dining room table and the women stand around the kitchen eating, but of course after the men have been served (Yes,  Greeks are very sexist)  

If your partner wants kids and you don't you can always invite us to your house, my kids are little terrors and they will make anyone rethink having children.  They wrestled the whole time, ran between rooms by going out on the veranda and running around to the next room.  
Ducking to avoid the camera and wrestling behind the couch.
 They took Aunties placemats and used them as light sabers to fight with (and asked to take them home with them, and being the Greek hostess that she was she said Yes, oh my) You can see Nik with his in the picture below.
left to rt., Arthur, Uncle, Auntie, cousin Kristos, cousin Fotini, and Nik behind.
 We left to go hook up with Ero again and this time we ate Chinese for Dinner, YES!! so super exciting, for me, that is, our hotel was located to what one person could term the Asian district of Athens, a whole lot of Asians walking around and 6 Chinese restaurants on one block.  
be prepared to have your purse rifled through if you meet my children.
 It was a fun meal, family style, wish we could have eaten more, but the kids had eaten a gyro just before we arrived but that didn't stop Nik from eating 5 Jumbo Fried Shrimp.  Arthur enjoyed the fried rice and Kat's nouna enjoyed the Spring Rolls which was a wonder since she does not like vegetable at all, hehe. 
Ero, Katerina's Nouna (Godmother)

HERE is a link to the map of where our hotel was just off of Syntagma Square, we stayed at Arethusa Hotel, I would recommend it, it was very nice and in a convenient spot.  We ate at Attic Moon, now if you eat Chinese food often then of course you don't want to come all the way to Greece to eat it, but if you don't get to eat it often I can also recommend this place, come hungry and eat family style, yummy! 
I really wish I had stopped at this sweet shop one more time before leaving, they had the most amazing sweets, even macaroons.  We don't have to many good sweet shops here in our town, of course that probably is a good thing for my waist line :) 
 Now the return trip Thursday morning was so much fun, for the kids, we again were in first class and this train had a kids padded play room, so awesome, we just let them in there and they wrested for a good 2 hours, came back to our private compartment and slept for another 2, it was a very nice return trip home.

Is your husband as bad with making traveling plans?
Or your kids as wild as mine, trust me, they are wild!