05 December 2017

Mister Domestic's Tool Box and Aurifil Giveaway!

I was so excited to have won Mister Domestic's Aurifil Tool Box, if you don't know who Mathew is, I would suggest you go and check him out.  He is super amazing and always creating something that makes me say ooohhhhh...... you can find his blog here or on Facebook and Instagram as well.

He also does a lot of YouTube videos and even did one about the reason's he picked these 12 colors for his Aurifil Tool Box, go check it out here.
I was going to go into details about the threads, but you can really get all the info you need from his YouTube video, but I do want to share some of this thread.
So first I will be sending 2 threads to 2 different people who have never tried Aurifil before, gasp, what are you waiting for, just kidding.
  Both 50wt and very nice basics, the white white is Aurifil #2024 and what I like to call linen color is Aurifil #2312  Tell me in the comments if you have never tried Aurifil before and if you are a white white kind of sewer or more of a linen girl/guy.
Also I want to give away these 3 colors and 6 FQ's of Art Gallery Fabrics.
A mixture of weights, 50 wt. #2410 my favorite pink, 40wt. #2810 a gorgeous blue and the 28wt #2140 a stunning gold perfect for top stitching.
If you have sewn with Aurifil tell me what is your favorite color?  I use 2021 as my white (more like snow if you use those colors of fabric) and 4241 as my black (it's a blue black matches a lot of lovely fabrics out there) but my favorite blender is the #2600 Dove a nice grey.
Giveaway ends December 15th a Friday.

27 November 2017

What's a Name Day

I have always wanted to explain what a Name Day meant to non-Greeks.  It is really brilliant on the Greeks part, instead of celebrating Birth-days, the day you are born, they celebrate your name day.  Pretty much every Calendar year is the same, for example Nikolaos name day is December 6th every year, Katerina is celebrated on November 25th.  So every Katerina that you know you call her or visit her on her name day and wish her a Χρονια Πολλα (meaning Many Years).  So simple, you don't need to remember individual birthdays, just call all your friends that are named Katerina on the same day and your done, lol.
So since Katerina's name day fell on a Saturday this year we took the kids up to Thessaloniki for a day of fun.  Thessaloniki is a 3 hour trip and we paid over 20euros in tolls, the new government used to fight and block tolls because of the "expense" and yet now that they are in power our trip cost have gone up 30% and that's just the tolls, gas price is also up!   Right now at market a barrel of gas is at 59, and we pay 1.58euro a liter at the station or $7 a gallon for my American friends.  At the time of the old government a barrel was going for around 120 and we were only paying 1.35/1.40 euro a liter!  A good price considering the cost, what in the world is the new government doing with the money, a little rant, they got into power saying how they were going to cut taxes and etc. but OMG!  they are just gauging us with new taxes every day!  Our phone bill went up 30euros last month, not because I was calling my American family or anything just in taxes, extra taxes!!!
Okay back to our fun trip, that cost 120euros just for gas :)
We got even more food after this order!

We stopped at McDonald's first, no I never ate it while living in the States, but we love eating it here!  The Greek equivalent is Goody's and the burgers taste like cardboard, yuk.

I found the new McDonald's decorations disturbing, life size pixelated pictures of people doing things, a Grandfather and Grandmother reading on a couch, a couple walking their dogs, etc.

But they did have these cool magic tables that the kids played on, pretty sweet, and you could also order inside from a computer screen and with a credit card, kinda weird.
After McD's we went to the mall to watch a movie and walk off our overeating post belly's, we saw Despicable Me 3, it was fun, and then we ate at KFC, yes we ate again, haha.
Katerina also got a toy her first LOL doll and she hit the jackpot by getting the Ultra Rare glitterati Splash Queen I think is her name.
Anyways, to sum it up a name day is kind of like the birth day but everyone with the same name celebrates the same day, Nik's will be next!


25 May 2017

Riding An Ambulance

I took a little detour in my future business plans to go on my first Ambulance ride.  Let's back up a little, Nik got the stomach bug at the beginning of last week, Tuesday morning he woke up with stuff coming out the front and back, if you know what I mean.  The throwing up only lasted the one day and he did it only 4 times, but the back door was left open and there was a lot of that stuff going on.  Katerina also got sick with the same thing at school on Thursday so we brought her home, but she was feeling better by Saturday night, but Nik he was not doing good.  On Saturday and Sunday the diarrhea had started to look white and it still sounded like he was turning on a faucet when he went in the bathroom, it was just pouring out.  Monday morning he had another bathroom visit and we decided it was time to go to the Hospital.
The closest hospital for us to go to is in Trikala a 20 minute drive.  We arrived after dropping Katerina off at school and waited.  Greek hospitals are an interesting thing, you get your paper from the front (showing them you have insurance) then you go wait in your area for the doctor, the doctor's generally arrive between 9-10 and for the most part it is a first come first serve situation.  But some people can be a bit pushy, we had one on this visit, she didn't even have  a child with her, looked like a drug addict and was asking for drugs for her "sick child", the nurse and doctor just ignored her.
Our Pediatric doctor was young, she only ran a blood test on Nik and asked us to come back later when we had the results.
Waiting for the blood test results, Nik was born here just a little over 9 years ago.

As we waited Nik got sick again, luckily I had wipes on me, because the hospitals do no have toilet paper or paper towels in the bathrooms and first I had to find a bathroom that was not dirty, yuk...
We came back with the blood test results, and they had us do a ultra-sound and x-ray, then they admitted us upstairs to start some fluids for Nikolaos.
Arthur had gone to pick up Kat, we are waiting to do the X-ray in this picture.
When we got upstairs we had a different doctor and she felt it would be better if Nik went to Larissa, a bigger town with Pediatric surgeons, they didn't have any pediatric surgeons in Trikala.  Both Arthur and I were a little resistant to this since it felt unnecessary but she was adamant that with Nik's pre-existing condition, he was born with Hirschsprung's and half of his colon was removed.  That if there was any need for surgery he would need to be close to doctor's who could perform them.  So I waved good-bye to Katerina and Arthur and Nik and I went on an Ambulance ride.
Nik did this same exact trip when he was just a few hours old, so he was old hat to it and fell asleep on the journey.  I on the other hand had my fist clinched as we shuttled at jet speed down the free-way in the clanking metal death contraption, the 1 hour trip took only about 30 minutes.  We slowed down as we entered the city only because of the traffic and then we screeched into the ambulance entrance with the roof scraping the top of ambulance bay.  A doctor had sat in the back with me the whole way and when we arrived we waited for another doctor to come down to accept Nik into the hospital, by then it was 5 pm. and the place was dead, like scary dead, the nurse looked bored as she played on her phone.
waiting room with one of those cool air tube delivery system things in the corner

The hospital doctor arrived after 20 minutes, listened to what the other doctor had to say, looked at the X-ray and then admitted Nik.  The first doctor along with the ambulance crew, who had stayed took off back to Trikala.  This new doctor requested we do another X-ray, jeez, so an orderly came with a wheelchair to take Nik there.
This hospital was scary, no one around except us, loads of pallets all over.  The hospital staff were not friendly at all, poor Nik was just pushed around by the X-ray technician, no explanation at all, "hey we are going to lift your shirt off, move a little to the right" nothing, she just pushed him and undressed him like he was a Ken doll.  Then the orderly wheeled us up to our hole in the wall room, ugh.
4 beds, 4 closets, no bathroom, Thank goodness we were the only ones in the room.
The bathroom was in another room that had one child in it, otherwise it was just the 2 kids and their moms on this floor.
Thank goodness for Greek hospital verandah's I'm pretty sure American hospitals do not have these, but I would recommend them to any Hospital Architect to have these built, they are pretty sweet.
early morning silence.
I took this picture in the early morning and shortly after a nurse came in to put some medicine directly into the drip system, she must have pushed it in to fast because it ended up making Nik's arm balloon up like Popeye.  So out came the drip system.
 The Pediatric surgeon arrived, poked around Nik's abdomen declared nothing was wrong and sent us to the pediatric ward.  They wanted to put the drip system back in but even the head pediatric doctor had trouble finding a viable vein, even after assuring me that he knew what to do, versus people in other places, lol.
So we spent a second night in this hospital, at least here, they kept asking for pee and stool samples, which I couldn't understand why they didn't ask for those at the first hospital, but after the one night on a drip system, Nik was as good as new, and we were discharged after many hours of waiting on Wednesday, we didn't leave the hospital till 4, Nik fell asleep in the car and when we got home he went straight to bed and slept till 5 this morning a good 12 hour sleep, perfect for healing the body.
Funny story:
One time when I was walking to the room an elderly women approached me to ask if I could travel with her on the elevator, she was scared to ride alone.  I said sure no problem, poor little thing here all alone, but she had reason to be scared because look what was going on when we were exciting the hospital.
That's right, they were working on the elevator, I'm not sure if anyone got stuck on it or not, but it was the same one I had taken with the elderly woman the day before, lol.

01 May 2017

The Business Plan

I'm excited about my new business venture.
I will soon be selling Cottage Garden Threads here in Europe!  Don't know what they are, please go visit this page to see a small video and learn more, here.
I used some of the colors in this embroidery hoop, it was easy to make with the variegated thread.
I love these threads, they are already cut in easy to use lengths, the colors are gorgeous and unlike most variegated they change colors in short amounts and are easy on the eye as they change.
Detached Chain Stitch
 I have been following Nicole over at Follow the White Bunny on learning some new embroidery stitches,
Feather Stitch
It's a nice slow sew along.
Wheat Ear Stitch

My plan is to start with the threads and I am working with a local business in using a Laser Cutting machine to make "Embroidery Accessories" and also EPP papers, check my new Pinterest Page to get an idea of what I am talking about.
Very excited, let me know if you have any questions.

Floss Thread Giveaway

Sewing and Embroidery together, make me happy.
What I recently worked on, an EPP and Embroidery mini.

Last year I came across a new to me embroidery company, Cottage Garden Threads, they are based in Australia and are a Mom and Daughter team.  I really love these threads and I am hoping to soon be carrying them here in Greece, so they are easier to get to the rest of the European countries.
Butterfly and Cocoon are perfect choices for making pretty embroidered moths on Alison Glass fabrics.
So this means I want to get rid of all of my "old" threads, would you like to win a jar full of threads? (jar not included :)
25 skeins of Sublime Floss and several handmade wound paper bobbins filled with DMC and Anchor threads, most of them have their numbers written in pencil or Frixion pen in case you want to know the number.

How to enter to win this big bundle of threads.
  1. First entry is free, just leave your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.
  2. Second entry, if you already follow me somehow, just state where.
  3. Third entry follow one of my NEW accounts either on Instagram, @laserhobbies.eu or              check out my NEW Pinterest page and follow me there or                                                             on Facebook as well, you don't have to do all 3, but if you want to :) you can.
  4. Fourth entry, check out the colors from Cottage Garden threads (this is a PDF file) and try to pick just 10 favorites, e-mail me your list, not only will you get 5 points for doing this step, but I will also put you in a separate giveaway and when my thread order comes in I will give you a set of Cottage Garden threads!  WOW!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I also have several old embroidery thread sets for sale if you are interested, the first one is for kids, more information and pictures can be found on my Instagram account @mara.creates
Old "teach kids to sew" kits from a Greek elementary school. $15 shipping included.

     "Breakdance" thread set (never opened) 1/2 yard of Heather Ross snails, I think they look like they are dancing.                 $12 plus shipping $4

"Flowerbox" thread set (never opened) plus some fun matching fabrics. $12 plus shipping $4

11 April 2017

Aurifil Bag

I would like to Thank Everyone who has voted for my Sew Many Colors Rainbow Mini, and just in case you haven't and would like to you can hit this LINK and it will take you to the voting page.  Only 1 vote per person and I am number 12, just tap the heart.
Vote Here!
I took my Mini and turned it into a Bag, made a little tutorial for you if you would like to make one as well.
Warm colored side.

Cool colored side
You can get the free Sew Many Colors Mini pattern here.

To make your own bag, make the mini, I used Fat Quarter Shop's easy tutorial for using the backing fabric as your binding.  And now let's make the zipper closure.
2- 14" Separating Zippers (in Greece they call them Jacket zippers)
4- 2" x 15" pieces of fabric

 We are going to take the fabric and fold them like we would when making binding, first fold the short ends in by 1/4", then fold lengthwise in half (press with an iron) and then open out and fold it into the middle, you will end up with a thing strip of fabric like the one on the right.

I found it easier to unzip the zippers and then opened the fabric strip up aligning one edge and sewing as close as I could to the zipper.  Folding the fabric back around the edge of the zipper and then sewing it down again, getting the back side.
Be careful when sewing around zippers, I always change my needle to an old one, and leave a long tail of thread at the end so I can go back and hand sew a few extra stitches for where I tucked in the head of the zipper.
Start at the seam of where the Paper Pieced A is.
Wrap it around the sides, you can put a handle in if you like, mine is the selvedge (2) 2.5" x 9"

Place handles 1" from the seam created by piecing C and D together.
Hand sew the zipper to the binding just like you would when sewing on binding by hand.

If you have any questions let me know, it's a pretty easy adaption to the pattern and can open up fully and you can even put it back up on the wall, this picture was taken after adding the zipper and you can't even tell it's there.
And from the backside
It fits my box of Aurifil perfectly and I will be making a little fabric tray to go next to it, perfect for taking along on sewing retreats.
Would you like to have an Aurifil Bag? What colors would you use?

08 April 2017

Bunny Easter Bag

I made one Bunny bag and then they just multiplied like, well rabbits!
Table runner pattern and blog post, can be found here.
I had to make them in ALL the colors, using V and Co. Spectrum fabrics with some of their ombre solids.
My daughter doesn't like her dolls or toys to have their eyes closed, so I made a special face for her bunny.  The lower lashes are the same shape as the upper lashes, I just turned the pattern upside down and added the lashes only to the exterior parts of the eyes.
The heart shaped eyes are a smaller version of the nose pattern.
They turned out so cute, I bet you want to make your own, right!
You can find the pattern and information here on how to make your own Bunny Bags.
Looking so pretty on my new table runner.
But 2 are going to be gifted to my nieces, they will be a little late for Easter, 
but I think that will be okay :)
adding a label is always important.

04 April 2017

Easy Easter Table Runner

This is a free pattern from Me and My Sister Designs, I used a mini jelly roll of V and Co. Ombre Color Theory solids with a few prints from their Spectrum fabric line.  Originally I was going to applique a bunny onto the runner, but then I thought that would limit the table runner to being only used during Easter.
Or course Aurifil was used and since I was using Ombre fabric, what better than ombre thread (aka. variegated)
4660 Pink Taffy, 3320 Spring Green, 4662 Spotted, 4669 Stonewash blues, 4670 Silver Fox
I also changed the pattern slightly to do a little bit QAYG (Quilt As You Go) style, since I have a hard time keeping my batting to stay in place while sewing (read here: I hate pinning)  So I sewed the 5 color groupings together and then sewed each one onto the batting.
Above you can see the Pink is down using wonder clips, I sewed just an 1/8 of an inch to the right of each seam and when I got to the 5th strip, I sewed on my light green (5) strips, right sides together, flipped it over, gave it a good iron and then continued by sewing just a smidge to the right of each seam and when I finished the light green I added the blue green and etc.
Then I followed the directions to add on the back/sides of the table runner.  I used the dark blue V and Co ombre for that.
It fits my table perfectly!
Just making a few more Easter things for the table and we will be ready for a great holiday, kids start school break this Friday for 2 weeks.
The cute Easter bunny basket is a pattern Hack from Molly and Mama's Darling Daisy Bag, find more information here.
I just might make an Easy Table runner for all the seasons, mmm.... summer hear we come!
Check out the hashtags #meandmysisterdesigns #easytablerunner or #12contestmeandmysisterdesigns on IG to see what other people have made

31 March 2017

Sew Many Colors Mini

Sew Many Colors Rainbow Mini

I love Aurifil and I just so happen to have a ton of Kona Cotton Solids.

I picked out my Rainbow of Aurifil and matched them up with the Kona, now in case you don't have 100 FQ's of Kona laying around or even Aurifil laying around you can always check with Play Crafts Palette Builder wonderful color tool, to find the perfect match!
Now my favorite Yellow and Pink from Aurifil is their Variegated thread, so I made my spools out of multiple fabrics for those spools.
4660 Pink Taffy, I use so much of this thread, it's crazy!

4658 Limoni di Monterosso
But my all time favorite color is Dove #2600
2600 Dove, works with everything, can only get one color get this one!
Did you notice I changed background fabric, yup, I was working along using Kona Snow (my favorite "white" fabric to use) and then when I was auditioning fabrics to represent Aurifil #6736 (my new favorite dark thread) it was up against my color blue and I realized that Kona Graphite made all the pretty rainbow colors POP!
Colors Pop off of the Graphite Background and the Aurifil #6736 matches very well
Sadly the only other color that I know for sure of as far as the Kona goes is my light blue color, that is Robin Egg, my all time favorite Kona blue color and I matched it with Aurifil #2805.
Mara's Thread Collection Box
 In my Thread collection you will find:
Red: 2250
Orange: 1133
Yellow Variegated: 4658
Green: 5016
Light Blue: 2805
Dark Blue: 6738
Purple: 2520
Pink Variegated : 4660
Grey: 2600
White: 2021
Dark Blue Grey: 6736
and for things I want to be invisible Aurifil Monofilament

If you would like to make your own box of Aurifil you can get one with Busy Needle Quilting, what will you put in your's?

This mini is fun and easy to make, if you would like the pattern you can get it here.

It was windy and off and on rainy as we took photos today, I was hoping for a real rainbow, but no luck there :)



I would also really like to Thank my friend CeLynn for sending me a Bobbin Winder, it was very helpful for making this mini.
I use Aurifil #2600 when quilting the Variegated Threads, I don't want to waste any of the pretty Variegated color in the bobbin.
Linking to the Sew Many Colors Contest with Aurifil
And you can vote for my mini here, if you would like, sadly only 1 vote per person, there are so many great one's good luck picking out your favorite.
Turn your mini into a Sewing Retreat bag, perfect for holding your Aurifil threads, Free tutorial can be found here.