Disney Fish Extender – Reversable

I learned something new about Disney Cruises. In the past, I always wanted to go on a Disney Cruise and I am so envious of my husband since he went on a Disney cruise when he was a child. I found out recently that one of my colleages loves to take his family on Disney Cruises all the time and they discovered the magical world of fish extenders.

Fish extenders?? What is that? Fish that have long fins… No that doesn’t sound right. There is one way I can find out: Ok Google, tell me about Disney fish extenders…

This is how I understand what fish extenders are and what they are used for after researching on multiple sites that Google provided me:

About Fish Extenders

There are fish hooks that are installed next to each stateroom on the Disney Cruise ship that Cast Members leave you mail or messages. You can hang a fish extender on this fish to be part of the fish extender exchange and still use the fish for its intended use.

Fish extenders can come in all shapes, sizes, colors and designs. Some have multiple pockets with designs and/or names of family members on each while some might only be plan with just one pocket. No matter what it looks like, you can still have a blast and be part of the fish extender exchange.

Who arranges the fish extender exchange? Disney Groups arrange the exchanges. Anyone that wants to participate can sign up before a certain dealine date, about 2 to 3 weeks before the cruise sails away. The group ask for your info like your Stateroom number, Number of Participants and ages of each person involved (don’t worry adults can participate and have fun too even if they don’t have any kids!) Once you are signed up, you can buy or create your own items to exchange with others while you sail across the sea.  Fun!

Now I really want to go on a Disney Cruise! Sounds like a lot of fun and my co-worker said they even have places on the Disney Cruise ship that is for adults only. Hmmm… might have to convence the hubby to take me on a Disney Cruise one day. 🙂


 

Well, my colleage’s wife knows I love to sew and create things so she asked me if I can make them a special fish extender for their family to take on their next Disney Cruise on Aug 17th. When she asked me, it was already the end of July. Yikes! Talk about cutting it close. No worries, I can make it in time for their cruise, challenge accepted! Time to start designing.

She asked me to make a fish extender with three pockets with Mickey ear designs for her husband and her grandson and a Minnie ear design for her. She also wanted their names stiched out underneath the designs. She told me that I can choose any disney fabric I find at the store and the colors to coordinate for the pockets. Bascially, she gave me free reign to design the fish extender and trust me in my creative judgement. Awesome!

Time to go shopping at Joann Fabrics!! While strolling around Joann Fabrics, trying really hard not to buy anything other then what I need for the project, I found two Disney Fabric designs that would be perfect for this fish extender. Which one to choose though? I figured that I would buy both and have one side one pattern then the back can have the other. Wait! I have a brilliant idea! How about I make a reversable Fish Extender! That way they can flip it back and forth to change the style everyday or keep one side the same the whole trip. It is amazing how creative I can get. Hehe.

Below is the fabric, interfacing and some fun disney buttons that I bought for this project (plus I bought a little extra of some fabrics so I can use for other projects down the road). Oh, I have to mention that I found this really neat sparkling red, blue and yellow cotton fabric. It is hard to tell in this picture but I think you might be able to see it sparkle in one of the videos I post later in this blog post. I thought this fabric would add more magic and wonder for this project especially since it’s Disney themed.

20180810_0857397296094177081373125.jpg

While on the topic of being creative, I had another idea. I figured that since I was making it revesable with different fabric designs I thought that I should also have different character designs on both sides. Even better, right? I thought of doing a pirate Mickey and Minnie on one side then a sailor Mickey and Minnie on the other. I informed them of my idea and they were super on-board with it. Now to designing my embroidery appliques!

Here is a video of my embroidery machine stitching out the last bit of the Sailor Mickey design:

 

Here is a video of my embroidery machine stitching out the last bit of the Pirate Mickey design:

 

 

Oh my goodness, it took about an hour or so to do each design. I spent about 8 hours total just doing the applique designs. Wow. I still had fun doing it though! Hehe. Totally worth it! The designs turned out better then I expected, especially since this is the second time ever doing an embroidery applique project (first time I did an embroidery applique was when I made a T-shirt while on travel here.)

Below are the end results of the Mickey and Minnie Pirate and Sailor designs.

Mickey & Minnie Pirates:

 

 

Mickey & Minnie Sailors:

 

 

They turned out great!

I forgot to take some progress pictures of me setting up the fish extender, creating the pockets and showing how I was assembling it, but in my defense I was trying to get this project completed in time for their family cruise. My time line was very short and I did not want to disappoint them and not have it done in time. I figured I will make it up to you someday by creating a DIY fish extender blog post so I can share how I made this reversable fish extender. For now, I will show you how it turned out.

 

img_20180813_1851566085985834090952523.jpg

I am so proud of myself. Surprisingly, this was a little difficult to make since I had to sew in a straight line and it was my first time using binding tape to make the edges and pockets look crisp and professional looking. Your probably thinking, isn’t sewing straight lines easy? Yes, they are but most of my projects I’ve been working on lately have been plushies which I am mostly sewing curves and a few straight lines. This project was all about long straight lines plus since it was reversable there where a lot more fabric layers that can shift while sewing (I used a walking foot to help prevent a lot of shifting). In the end the hard work paid off and this fish extender turned out amazing!!

I can’t wait to see their faces when they see the final project! Hehe.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Check out my Etsy Shop here:

SewCraftNbead Etsy Shop

Traveling & Sewing

I cheer for both Cowboys and Jaguars

If you read some of my past blog posts you will know that this year I have been traveling quite a bit for work. This means I don’t have many opportunities to sew much between trips. For my final month trip down to Jacksonville, Florida one of my co-worker’s offered to drive down my sewing machine since he was planning to drive instead of fly. I was ecstatic! I can now create wonderful things on travel plus keep my Etsy shop open!

I may have sent more then just my sewing machine with my co-worker. I also sent a duffel bag full of fabric down with him and some sewing tools. Hehe. In my defense some of the fabric I can’t buy in any fabric store and can only get online plus there are certain sewing tools I didn’t want to buy again. My co-worker was a big sport and gladly took everything I needed to Florida. 😆

I might have felt like I was a crazy person having a sewing machine and fabric everywhere in my hotel room, but I can only imagine what other people have in there hotel rooms. Just saying. No matter what I was just happy that I could have a little piece of home while on travel.

You are probably curious to know what I ended up making while on this month long trip… Well…

I found that my Night & Light Fury Dragon Plushies were becoming a little popular so I decided to try and get ahead and make 5 of each. “Trying to get ahead” did not happen at all. I ended up making like 10 of each during my whole trip. Every time I thought I might be able to get ahead I end up getting another order. I am not complaining what so ever, but I definitly stayed busy on top of my long hours at work.

Surprisingly, I received quite a bit of orders requesting if I can embroider a small saying on the bellys of the dragons. After a few request, I updated my Etsy shop to include an option for some of my listing to have initials, date, or small message embroidered on customers plushies for an additional charge. Yay for new things!

One of the requesters wanted me to embroider a message on the Light and Night Fury Dragons for a special bond that she has with her best friend. She told me that both of them love dragons and she found out that she has to travel for a long period of time so she will be far distance from her friend. She thought it would be amazing if I could embroider the messages on the dragons so they both can remember each other while being apart for so long. Her plan was to give the light fury to her friend and keep the night fury dragon for herself. She told me the message she wanted on the light fury while her friend contacted me with the surprise message he wanted on the night fury for her to keep.

You want to know what the messages where??
Light Fury: “I am here for you. Indefinitely.”
Night Fury: “I am always with you.”

Night fury embroidery

So heart felt. Awwww. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the light fury embroidery but if you see the night fury embroidery you can imagine what it looked like. I promise I will try and remember to take pictures after I complete projects. In my defense, I was super busy and I spaced. I am just happy I at least took a picture of one.

Next little project I did on the road was a cute Pokemon: Sylveon (an Evolution of Eevee). This customer selected my new embroidery option and had me embroider initials on the plushie for his girl friend.

Sylveon plushie

Adorable!

My last and final project that I accomplished during my work travel was a sport team T-Shirt that I appliqued football team licensed fabric and embroidered on. This was a fun challenge since this person (the front desk clerk at my hotel who became a fan of my work) is attending the Cowboys VS Jaguars game in October and she cheers for both teams. (Oh man that must be fun to cheer for two teams that are going head to head… yikes….) This meant that she wanted me to design and embroider on a T-shirt showing both teams, their colors and have “I cheer for both” on the shirt. Hmmmm…. I like a challenge.

Below is my first design I showed her:

I cheer for both

She liked this design but it seemed to small and her concern was that no one would be able to read it from a distance. I explained that this design will fit on the largest hoop I have for my machine. Then it hit me, I can design something bigger but make the design so I can hoop multiple times to get everything she wants. That is when I sketched this design for her on the spot using my phone:

20180713_2108331143972481355593896.jpg

When I showed her this sketch and explained it she was ecstatic. Before I actually embroidered on her T-shirt I showed her the separate designs I made using my embroidery program to get final approval and also purchased the licensed team fabric at the local fabric store.

She approved the designs and how she wanted the fabric placed on the applique embroidery. Here I go! I can tell you one thing, it is slightly difficult to embroider a huge design on a T-shirt. My big hoop had the tendency to slip or not line up when I was hooping the embroidery stabilizer with the T-shirt. I had to finagle with it for like 10 minutes or so just to get it hooped the way I wanted. Lol. Don’t worry it was so worth it in the end though.

Here is a little video I took while my embroider machine was stitching the design:

Neat, right? I kind of wish I took more videos during the process but I originally only did this video to show my husband what I was up to while I was on travel. Hehe. My husband loves to see my progress on my projects plus he is interested in the new creations I make. I love that my husband is so supportive in my hobbies. 😁

You want to know how it turned out in the end?? I can’t wait any longer to show you…. Here it is:

I cheer for both Cowboys and Jaguars

I am really proud of myself. This was my first big applique project that I have ever created plus this was my first time embroidering on a T-shirt too! Yay! I should give myself a big pat on the back for this accomplishment. *Pats my back* Hehe.

It was amazing that I was able to sew and create while I was on travel. Sewing was a great way to occupy my time at my hotel room plus I wasn’t bored at all during my trip. Maybe the next time I go on a long trip I might bring along my sewing/embroidery machine… if I have an opportunity too or if I purchase a good traveling case for it so it won’t get damaged when I take as a carry on possibly?? I don’t know, I have to some research but it is possible. I am not sure if I am always going to have a kind co-worker to drive my sewing machine to a travel destination. 😉

Thanks for stopping by!

Want to make a special request or purchase items I create? Visit my Etsy shop here:

SewCraftNbead Etsy Shop

How to Train Your Dragon: Night & Light Fury Plushies

How to Train Your Dragon Night Fury Plush & Light Fury Plush kissing

My older sister loves How to Train Your Dragon movies. Her favorite character is Toothless (known as a Night Fury Dragon). When I discovered that there was going to be a third How to Train Your Dragon movie with a new character, Light Fury, I knew I had make a plushie for her. Actually, I need to make two plushies. I was planning to make her Toothless for her Birthday present, but with me traveling for work I haven’t had the time. I’m making it up to her by creating Night and Light Fury dragons as a belated birthday present and an early Christmas present. 😉

At first, I thought I could easily find a Toothless pattern in a laying postion that I had imagined in my head. Come to find out, that was not the case. Most are standing or in weird positions that I was not really interested in. The patterns didn’t peak my interest at all. Don’t get me wrong the patterns were cute and awesome but they didn’t fit with my imagination. I wanted something different. The next thing I could think is to look through patterns I already have and see if I can modify them to fit the creation I am imagining.

I found it! One of my favorite Plushie designers, Sew Desu Ne?, made a Kirin sewing pattern about a year ago (April 2017).

kirin-plush-title7498490145562218772.jpg
Sew Desu Ne’s Kirin Sewing Pattern (I was approved by Choly Knight [Sew Desu Ne?] to post her photo above).

This is the laying down pattern I had imagined! All I have to do is create the tail, ears, horns/spikes and the eyes for the dragons. I also found in my search that the wings on Sew Desu Ne’s free Night Fury Pattern was wonderful. Hehe. No point in making my own wing pattern when there is already a great pattern already made (plus it is the right size too).

nightfuryplush1817933455752185387.jpg
Sew Desu Ne’s Night Fury Pattern (I was approved by Choly Knight [Sew Desu Ne?] to post her photo above).

Aren’t those Fury Dragon wings adorable? I defiently think so! Hehe.

I have to say that Sew Desu Ne’s amazing patterns have inspired me to test my boundaries of creativity and also to design my own patterns (as of now just making small items or accents to add to existing patterns). I have also grown as a sewer too because of the patterns she creates and the helpful tips she includes in each pattern. Best part is she offers a variety of free patterns on her website (here) and she sells some awesome designs for a very reasonable low price on her Etsy store (here). You should definitely take a look if you enjoy sewing or creating plushies.

You want to see how the Night and Light Fury Dragons turned out?

How to Train Your Dragon Night Fury and Light Fury Plush
How to Train Your Dragon Night Fury Plush & Light Fury Plush kissing
Light Fury Plush
Night Fury Plush with detachable tail
Night Fury Plush with detachable tail

***UPDATE 6/23/18***

I realized that I made a mistake with the Light Fury Plush. 😦 My first Light Fury had too many spikes/nubs on her. I decided to make another Light Fury plush that represents her better. Here she is below:

How to Train Your Dragon.Light Fury Plush

If you are interested in having a night and/or light fury for yourself, you can buy it below or visit my Etsy shop.

Thanks for stopping by!

Light Dragon Plush (MADE TO ORDER)

Buy your vary own Light Dragon Plush! Measures approximately 6 inches wide, 14 inches long (includes the tail) and 8 inches tall (includes ears). This is a MADE TO ORDER item so please allow 10 to 60 days of production time before an item ships.

$65.00

Night Dragon Plush (MADE TO ORDER)

Buy your vary own Night Dragon Plush! Measures approximately 6 inches wide, 14 inches long (includes the tail) and 8 inches tall (includes ears). This is a MADE TO ORDER item so please allow 10 to 60 days of production time before an item ships.

$65.00

Night and Light Dragon Plush Bundle (MADE TO ORDER)

Night and Light Dragon Plush Bundle! Each measures approximately 6 inches wide, 14 inches long (includes the tail) and 8 inches tall (includes ears). This is a MADE TO ORDER item so please allow 10 to 60 days of production time before an item ships.

$120.00

Standing Fox Plush

I think I’m on a fox craze. I made this standing gray fox about a year ago (here) and I just recently made this sitting fox (here). I have a little bit of time at home before I travel again for work so I figured I should combine the two foxes by using the colors from my recent fox and use the standing fox pattern, like I used to make the gray fox, to create this fox below:

wp-152814722745988394754477912220.jpg
I used TeacupLion’s Fox pattern to create this fox.

So adorable!

If you are curious, here are the pictures of the standing gray fox and the sitting fox plushies I made:

20180607_191519.gif

Warning: Don’t be surprised if I create another type of fox in the near future. *whispers* I think I might use Soapy Bacon’s In-the-Hoop Fox embroidery pattern to make mini fox plushies. Hehe.

If you are interested, all of these foxes are available on my Etsy Shop:

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Lifestyle Changes: Healthier Me

There are moments in your life when you realize you have some major changes and modifications to do about your lifestyle. You know, those moments that finally snap you out of your daze and slam a harsh reality at you. The instances where your mind races to figure out what is going on and how did it get to this point?

My reality kicked in when I stepped on a weight scale a few weeks ago while I was on travel in Jacksonville, Florida. I was completely shocked to see what was displayed on the scale screen.  I witnessed a bright 250 lbs blinking at me. What!? You got to be kidding me! How did this happen? I’m a large frame 28-year-old woman who is 5’7 feet tall and weighs 250 lbs, this is not healthy at all. Don’t get me wrong, I think I look great but deep down I know if I don’t work towards a healthy lifestyle I will fall victim to a variety of medical issues as I get older. I don’t want that!

I use to be so active and swim all the time. Of course, that was when I was in high school and while I was in the Navy.  After I was honorably discharged from 6 years of service in the military 4 years ago, I slowly lessened my activity and ate unhealthy. These bad habits slowly reflected to my weight creeping up from 180lbs to 250lbs. That is 70 lbs over a course of 4 years which means on average I was gaining 17.5lbs a year! Not good!

I need to get myself back into a routine and create some goals. If there is something the military taught me is to never give up, get back up and make a difference. No matter how far you fall down you stand up, stop making excuses and make it happen. I’m the only one standing in my way towards success, no one else.

Let me start out with some goals that I believe are pretty straight forward and not outrageous.

Goals:

  1. Eat healthy
    • More Fruits & Veggies
    • More Lean Protein
    • Less eating out at fast food and restaurants
    • Meal Prep
  2. Workout
    • Minimum of 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day
    • Elliptical 2 or 3 times a week starting (eventually 5X a week)
    • Start Lifting Weights to build muscle tone
    • Continue Golfing with Hubby
    • Maybe start Swimming again?
  3. Drink more Water
    • Less Alcohol Consumption
    • Ease out of drinking Soda (even diet soda!)
  4. Lose Weight
    • Goal Weight: 165 lbs

Above are very reasonable goals I plan to transition into a healthy lifestyle for me but now I need some guidance to assist me through this journey. Next on my agenda: What kind of tools can I use to help me achieve these goals? After countless hours of research, I found something that might be the perfect fit for me. I found Weight Watchers (WW). I read so many testaments of people who have tried WW who actually lost weight and achieved a healthier lifestyle. This program is proven to work and my doctor even agrees.

I discovered that a couple of my co-workers used WW and they lost weight and they continually use it. This is awesome because they already know the program and are great supporters. They showed me different options I can choose for the program like: App/Online only, App/Online & meetings, and Personal Couching. I decided to sign up for WW app/online only option since I’m not too keen to do meetings every week when my work schedule is too busy and I travel a great deal. If I find myself struggling and the support from my peers is not enough, I might consider upgrading to meetings. Time will tell.

I like the structure of Weight Watchers. You receive a certain amount of points (Smart Points) each day which is dependent on your weight and eventually the number changes as you start losing weight. They display a healthy point zone to stay in but every so often if you need a few extra points you can use up some of your weekly points. The goal is to try and stay within your healthy point zone, which is between -10 of your daily smart point value through +5 of your daily Smart Points (i.e. mine is currently 30 pts so my healthy zone is between 20 pts to 35 pts daily). Best part is you aren’t constricted on the foods you can eat. You can still enjoy foods you love but you have to pay close attention to your portion size. They also have a list with over 200+ zero point foods which includes fruits, veggies and more. Awesome!

 

20180531_1313094839132619740970048.jpg

In this screenshot I took on my phone, you can see on the left shows my weekly Smart Points I have remaining, the center shows my Daily remaining points and the right displays the Smart Points I have used. You can see on the bottom I can select Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks and input what I eat.

Below is an example of me inserting my food for breakfast:

20180531_1314166857792058123604259.jpg

It is very simple to use. If you notice the barcode scanner icon on the upper right hand corner of the picture, this feature is amazing. I use it while I am shopping so I can scan items and see how many points it is per serving. It comes in handing when you are not sure about some foods. You can also use the search function and type in the food you are eating or drinking if you are unable to find a barcode for an item. Either way, it is easy to use the WW app for tracking.

You can also track your activities/workouts you do each day (Fit Points) using the WW app. I love this feature since I’m striving to be more active and the app allows me to set my weekly activity level goals to accomplish. Another option on the app, that I choose to opt out of, is you can swap earned Fit Points for more Smart Points. More ways that makes the Weight Watchers program more flexible and customizable.

20180531_1313558781523488732422663.jpg

In this screenshot you can see me tracking my daily activities and my Fit Points I earned so far this week. Neat right? If you have a fitness smartwatch that is compatible with the WW app you can sync your device and it will track for you. Unfortunately, my Samsung Gear Sport fitness smartwatch is not compatible with the app so I have to manually track my activities. No big deal. Maybe one day the app will be able to sync to my device. The only compatible devices that can sync are: Fitbit, Jawbone, Withings, Misfit, Garmin, Mapmyrun, and Daily Burn.

I struggled a little bit when I first started Weight Watchers. For one, I was on travel and living in a hotel for three weeks. Anyone who travels for work can probably relate that it can be difficult to not eat out at restaurants. There always seems to be so many restaurants and fast food places around hotels. Luckily, my hotel did have a stove top with all the necessary pots, pans and utensils, full size refrigerator, and two grills outside. This made it a little bit easier so I can lower my temptation of fast food and restaurants.

Fighting temptation is very difficult but manageable if you do it right. Any food that I know I have craving for a lot, I would research an alternative that was healthier or some other food that would equate to satisfy the craving that was way less points. For example, I love ice cream. I found that 1/2 cup of Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream is 7 points while the Breyer’s Delight Vanilla Bean Low Fat Ice Cream is only 3 points per 2/3 cups. This means I can still enjoy some ice cream every so often but I don’t have to use up a lot of points if I choose the low fat version. Yes, I can also use some of my weekly points to splurge a little but I am afraid if I splurge too much that I might fall back into my bad eating habits.

I was ecstatic that my hotel had a grill. I watched my husband cook on a grill for years but I never actually cooked on one. I may have called my husband a couple of times to make sure I set the temperature correctly and cooked them long enough. Hehe. I think I did great though. Below are some of the meals I made on the grill that are weight watchers friendly:

20180512_1733314756107119846591802.jpg
Grilled Chicken, Squash and Zucchini.

I grilled Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenderlions (0 pt), Squash (0 pt) and Zucchini (0 pt) which equaled 0 Smart Points! SCORE! I even had some left overs that I ended up packing for my lunches at work. Easy to reheat chicken but be warned, reheating zucchini and squash in microwave made them a little bit soggy but I stilled enjoyed eating them.

Next item I made on the grill:

20180508_180157-12830052961996577141.jpg
Grilled Steak cooked rare, zucchini and squash.

I was so proud of myself when I grilled this 20 ounce steak. I was afraid that I was going to over cook it but I didn’t. I love my steak rare! The rib eye steak is 5 pts per 3 ounces so in the end I cut my steak into 4 sections (5 ounces each = 8 pts). It was difficult to have 4 separate meals of steak so the day I grilled it I ate two portions (16 pts total) but I had enough points since my breakfast and lunch were very low in points. The other two portions I did eat on separate days, one for breakfast omelet and the other for a dinner.

This next meal I didn’t use a grill at all. I made it on the hotel stove top. Guess what I made? Yummy and delicious tacos!

 

I figured out, while using the scan option on the WW app, that I can still enjoy yummy tacos if I select lower point ingredients out there to make them. Instead of getting ground beef, which can be between 3 to 6 points per 3 oz (dependent on if it is lean beef or not), I choose to get 99% fat-free ground turkey (0 pts per serving).  Also, instead of flour tortillas (3 to 7 points per tortilla) I found these Ole Xtreme wellness tortillas that are only 1 point per tortilla.

These tacos I made in my hotel room ended up being only 4 points per taco! If I would have made the tacos like I did in the past they would each be 10 to 15 points each. Crazy, right? Best part is, these tacos tasted even better then how I use to make them. I thought that was weird but fantastic at the same time. I was so excited with this discovery that I made a Shrimp Taco version that was also only 4 points per taco:

Shrimp Taco
Shrimp Taco

Yummy! Another good thing is if you need the tacos to be less points you can minus the cheese (2pts per 1/8 cup) and the Taco sauce (1 pt per 2 tbsp) and make it only 1 point per taco! Hehe.

What about eating out in a restaurant? Can I still find foods that are Weight Watcher’s friendly? I enjoy making and creating foods that are healthy but sometimes I get so worn out from work I have no energy or drive to cook. Well, I am here to tell you that there are still restaurants that serve delicious foods that are still healthy and WW friendly.

There is a feature on the WW app that you can look up restaurants and fast food places that are the most common and use the app to look up foods on their menus or even search for the foods you want to eat.

 

wp-1527873085363130620595310525270.jpg

Only draw back is not every restaurant is listed so sometimes you might have to ask the restaurant if they have a nutritional information on their food so you can manually insert it into the WW app Point Calculator (another awesome feature).

20180601_1330433826990587252522207.jpg

Here are just a couple of example places I visited to test out the WW app Restaurant feature:

Ruby Tuesday

20180519_1933201449145927406420848.jpg
Grilled Salmon (1 pt), Grilled Zucchini (0 pt) and Green Beans (1 pt) = Total of 2 pts

 

Chick-fil-a

20180525_1033145894653674220349967.jpg
12 Piece Grilled Chicken Nuggets (1 pt), Fruit Bowl (0 pt) and Diet Lemonade (1 pt) = Total of 2 pts

It was very exciting to find healthier choices and low point foods at a restaurant and a fast food place. It is eye opening to see that foods I would normally get would be so high in points, no wonder I was gaining weight. It is nice to see it and very motivating to select better foods. Don’t worry, there are other food places you can find that offer great food selections and are low in points. Keep in mind, you can always eat some higher point items but watch your portions. You can always split the meal in half to reduce the points and eat the other half another day.

My take after three weeks of using Weight Watchers:

  • I have more energy.

This must be scary for my family and friends since I am usually hyper and talkative every day already. Sorry peeps! Looks like I will be super energetic at home and around the office. 😉

  • I have less aches and pains.

My right knee use to constantly hurt and give out on me every so often when I climb stairs but after my first week of eating right I find that my knee does not hurt much anymore. While I think of it, my knee hasn’t ached this week. Amazing!

  • Easy to track on App and follow program.

I love the features that the Weight Watcher app offers for tracking. Simple and easy to use.

  • Discovered better food options.

It is very eye opening to see some of the foods I use to eat a lot of are super high in points. I can choose to eat them if I want too but I would have to eat a small portion to not go over my daily points. What is nice about WW is there are tons of recipes that they post online or on the app that you can choose from the give you an option or inspire you to select foods that are healthier. You can still enjoy the foods you love but are lower in point value. It is very motivating and fun for me to come up with my own unique recipes that end up being low in points. I even have my husband experimenting too. Hehe. Hubby is super supportive.

  • Lost Weight!

I lost 12.2 lbs in 3 weeks! Eeekkk! I am thrilled that I am losing weight and that the program is working so far. I can even see a slight difference in my appearance. My stomach doesn’t look so bloated which means my size 18 pants aren’t constricting me anymore. Awesome, right?

 

My goal is to continue this program for a minimum of 6 months to verify it is truly the right plan for me. I have to admit though; this plan is starting out pretty well for me so far. Plus I feel like a new an improved person already. Woohoo!

I am super hesitant about posting pictures of me when I first started Weight Watchers but I figured that it would be super motivating to look back at these pictures and see my transformation unravel. Here it goes:

wp-152787545362457227274075124142.jpg

I can’t wait to compare this picture to what I will look like in 6 months. I have a feeling I will be very satisfied and happy to see the outcome.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Sitting Fox Plushie

I’ve been on travel so much this year that I usually have a short amount of time I am home. I am so busy that I thought I published this post the other month but I guess I forgot to hit the actual publish button. Lol. Well, this is going to be a very brief blog post but I had to share my cute fox creation. When I finally got the chance to make this fox, it was definitely gratifying when I completed it. I used Sew Desu Ne’s Werewolf pattern to create this adorable fox but I modified the pattern a lot. I created the ears, tail and changed the face slightly to match a fox look. I think I did a pretty good job, don’t you think?

wp-1520978272067957704703.jpg

Isn’t it cute?

If you are interested, this fox is available on my Etsy Shop:

Thanks for stopping by!

Jacksonville Adventures

Once again, I am heading back to Jacksonville, Florida for work. This time it is for 4 weeks. My husband is still down there so the best part is I get to see him. I had a nice break from him for 2 weeks 😉 but as they say: long distance makes the heart grow fonder. True statement. I am excited to see him!

I started out my flying routine by stopping by Starbucks at the airport terminal. I order my usual which is a Grande Green Tea Frappuccino with vanilla bean flavor and a cinnamon raison bagel with cream cheese. Unfortunately, the Starbucks ran out of cinnamon raison bagels so I had to resort to a plan bagel instead. No big deal.

Starbucks Green Tea Frappaccino and plain bagel with Creme Cheese

Yummy. Starbucks Green Tea Frappuccino is amazing especially if you add vanilla bean powder flavoring. It adds a nice sweet taste. It does not include coffee but still taste good, so if you don’t like coffee this is a drink for you.

As I was waiting for my fight at the terminal, I sat next to some nice guys. They were so sweet and full of energy. They had some very interesting stories to tell. I felt like I was watching a comedy stand up or something because these guys were hilarious. Everyone around was chuckling. They even brought their adorable cat Marlen with them. This cat was meowing like crazy, which added more to the entertainment. Adorable. Effective way to start an early morning, watching a live comedy show. 😊

Every time I fly, I prefer the window seat. You want to know why? I can look out the window and see the beautiful landscapes in the sky. Another reason why I like the window seat is if I get tired I have something to lean my head against and pass out. Hehe. My husband hates the window seat and chooses the aisle seat so he can stretch out his legs and get up easier to use the bathroom. I think he also likes it since he has an easier time escaping when we exit a plane. *Whispers* he doesn’t like flying so whatever makes him happy and calm, I am all for it.

I love this type of sight when flying. I get to see some interesting clouds. Very relaxing.

While up in the air, have to enjoy my diet coke and cookies at 20,000 feet. 😉

I love biscoff cookies so much and I always look forward to receiving these when I fly. I know I can’t be the only one… right?

Enough about flying. Time to get to the good stuff. Places to visit and food to eat in Jacksonville, Florida.

First thing on the agenda:

Bono’s Pit BBQ

Best BBQ I have tasted so far in any restaurant! I love the rustic theme in this place. What makes this restaurant #1 on my scale is once you order, it was super quick to come out to enjoy. From entering the resturant to ordering the food then receiving food it was about 10 minutes! 10 minutes! I couldn’t believe it! I thought fast food was fast but this was super quick. Then I have to consider that most BBQ places have to start early to cook ribs and pork since they are most likely smoking them in some way. It takes hours to cook properly, I know since my husband use to smoke pork shoulders and ribs. Yummy!

Sorry, I forgot to mention what I ordered. I need to stop rambling sometimes. Haha. After looking at the various options on the menu, I decided to order the Bo-Hawg Sandwich with the side of Mac and Cheese.

Bo-Hawg Sandwich with a side of Mac & Cheese from Bono's
Bo-Hawg Sandwich with a side of Mac & Cheese

 

Doesn’t it look so delicious!? Let me tell you, this was some darn good pulled pork sandwich with sausage and cheese on top. Mmmmm. My mouth is watering just talking about it. Can’t wait to go back to Jacksonville again to try some more options on the menu.

Singleton’s Seafood Shack

When you first drive into this place you might judge it from first impression. It truly looks like a shack from the outside but I promise you the food is amazing. The place has an interesting theme inside (mostly random items placed throughout) and has great seating especially if you have a big group. They have a couple of big picnic like tables that can hold about 14 – 16 people.

Singleton's Seafood Shack Menu

One of my co-worker’s ordered the smoke fish dip to share with everyone. Omg, this dip tasted so good (sorry I didn’t get a chance to take a picture because everyone wanted to dig in right away). This fish dip is a great appetizer to start out with.

After looking at the menu for a while I decided to get a grilled shrimp taco and an order of hush puppies.

Singleton's Seafood Shack Shrimp Taco with order of Hushpuppies
Grilled Shrimp Taco with order of Hushpuppies

 

It tasted sooooo good! Yummy! Oh, I have to divulge I love hush puppies and these hush puppies are by far the best I ever had! I liked that it had a slight sweet taste to them.

I have to admit that the group and myself liked Singleton’s so much that two days later we went back there again for lunch. LOL. This time I choose to go with one of the lunch specials, grilled shrimp basket with fries and a hush puppy.

n's Seafood Shack Grilled Shrimp Basket with side of fries and a hushpuppy
Grilled Shrimp Basket with side of fries and a hushpuppy

 

Once again it was amazing!

Oh, and they have this hilarious hot sauce. From the title of it, I was a little scared to try it. lol.

20180323_112429193051965.jpg

Volcano Sushi

I was craving sushi so much that hubby finally decided to take me out to a place near the hotel we were staying at. This place was very contemporary and modern. I loved the red booths and seats they had which added a nice vibe to the restaurant.

After looking through the menu I decided to get a Philadelphia Roll (one of my favorite rolls anywhere I go since I love cream cheese) and the other roll I got was called the Rock N Roll No. 2.

20180323_18353786344143.jpg
Philadelphia Roll

 

The Philadelphia roll definitely had very fresh ingredients which is great and tasted good.

The second roll I ordered, Rock N Roll No. 2 was something different. It was a roll with salmon, crab and cream cheese in the middle but instead of seaweed wrapped around with rice they had thinly cut cucumber wrapped around.

20180323_1836161121539722.jpg
Rock N Roll No. 2

I was super impressed on how this roll tasted. Might have to try a few of their other options that offer a cucumber like wrap.

Hubby ended up ordering a Philadelphia Roll (copying me) and the Rainbow Roll.

20180323_183544163746195.jpg
Rainbow Roll and Philadelphia Roll

Overall, this sushi restaurant is a nice place to stop by and enjoy sushi. Oh, and you must try the cucumber wrap sushi rolls since it is unique and delicious.

Golfing

At Windy Harbor Golf Club

If you remember from my last post about Jacksonville, Florida I mentioned that my husband decided to take up golfing. Well guess who also decided to take up golfing? Yes, me! I would have never guessed in a million of years that I will take up golfing. When I was growing up I was always a swimmer and into a few sports but not golfing. I will admit that I always thought golfing was super boring until I actually tried it. I guess you should never judge anything until you tried it yourself.

I bought some cheap women’s starter clubs, golf shoes and golf balls. I spent about $280 total which isn’t a bad price starting out.

Here are a couple of pictures of me golfing. I was having so much fun that I forgot to take more pictures  and take some videos. I promise I will try to remember the next time I go golfing.

I had a blast. My best hole was hole 11 when I got a PAR on a PAR 5. Nice, right? I will admit that I did get worn out by the time we hit the 14th and 15th hole. I toughed it through but it was hard not to show that I was tired. I just need more practice, take lessons and work on doing some strengthening exercises.

At Windsor Parke Golf Club

I decided after my first time golfing that I really need to take some lessons so I can improve. Luckily for me, hubby and I ran into Nikki Martin, a Golf Pro at Windsor Golf Club, while shopping at local golf store. I only took one lesson, but Nikki taught me a lot and improved my golf swing. I am a fast learner so he was able to teach me many golf basics in a course of an hour. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take another lesson this time around since weather seemed to get in the way. I will be back in Jacksonville, Florida again for work so I can plan to take more lessons with him to improve.

Here are videos of hubby and I learning from Nikki Martin on how to hit a golf ball in a bunker:

 

 

Hmmm… just had a thought. I think my next sewing project I should make my own golf club covers! Stay tuned, I might decide to write a sewing tutorial. Hehe.

North Beach Fish Camp

After 5 hours of golfing, hubby really wanted to take me to a nice resturant to unwind and eat some fantastic food.

Today was my lucky day, the resturant recieved fresh Royal Red Shrimp and were serving them in an appetizer. I never had royal reds before so I figured I will try them.

North Beach Fish Camp Royal Red Shrimp Appetizer
Royal Red Shrimp Appetizer

BEST TASTING SHRIMP I EVER HAD! Omg, I felt like I died and went to heaven when eating these delicious royal reds. They were that good! I found out from my husband that it’s really hard to find resturants that serve or haven’t ran out of royal red shrimp. I wonder why? 🤔 Now I know why I have never heard of them before.

(Apparently its a golf coast thing for this type of shrimp, probably why I never heard of it until now).

Hubby ordered baked scallops for his appetizer.

Baked Scallops with sun dried tomatoes, basil, cheese & garlic butter appetizer

Hubby let me try one and they were super delicious, definitely an alternative appetizer you can get if they don’t have royal red shrimp in stock. Yum!

For my main course I wanted to try crab cakes. Last time I had crab cakes was when my mom made them when I was a kid. I figured trying crab cakes will be a good choice since I like trying new things on travel.

Blue Crab Cakes with potatoes and seasonal vegetables

Super delicious! Sorry Mom but these crab cakes were out of this world good. Nice balance of flavors and the crab meat was divine.

Hubby got the grilled salmon.

Grilled Salmon with potatoes and steamed spinach

Hubby said the salmon was on point and tasted great. He said it wasn’t dried out at all which means they cooked it correctly. He said the seasoning was a perfect mix.

Next up, desert! I got the chocolate turiso. Delicious and rich in taste. I was super impressed and the peanuts add the perfext crunch and taste with the chocolate.

North Beach Fish Camp Chocolate Trazo
Chocolate Turiso

By far the North Beach Fish Camp is one of the best seafood restaurants I have been in. Beautiful decor plus the food was amazing. If you ever visit Jacksonville, Florida you have to go here. I do recommend making a reservation just to be sure since they can get busy quick.

SmashBurger

This place is kind of like any fast food burger joint but offer skme interesting options. You kind of can mix and match what you want on your burger or chicken sandwich. It stands out a little bit.

I got the Grilled Bacon Avocado Club with fries.

20180326_1134061610288559.jpg

Tasted pretty good, but the one thing that I didn’t like was that they didn’t tell me they ran out of Avocado and they put guacamole on it. I love guacamole, don’t get me wrong, but it still would have been nice if they would have told me instead of just putting it on my sandwich. What if I didn’t like guacamole? It was still a great tasting chicken sandwich though.

German Schnitzel Haus

A few of my co-workers wanted to go to a German returanut for lunch. I decided to tag along since I never been to a German resturant before and I wanted to try something new.

While waiting for our food, one of the people I went with had some secret skills. She took sweetener packages and built a pyramid out of them.

20180330_121517228294783.jpg

She has some skills. Lol.

I order the Schnitzel Sandwichwith beer cheese and a Caesar Salad side.

20180330_121359294452618.jpg

The served my Caesar salad first and it was not the typical Caesar salad I ever tasted.  Instead of croutons they put Spatzle which was surprisingly was really good.

20180330_1234041589351737.jpg

This sandwich had pork fried Schnitzel with beer cheese and served on a pretzel bun. I thought is was good except that since the pork was thin and the pretzel bun was huge it wasn’t really proportional. Meaning, every time I took a bite it tasted more like bun and cheese. I had to remove the bottom bun, then it tasted really good. Oh, this was my first time trying beer cheese and it was amazing! I can’t believe I never heard of it until now.


 

Well that is all I have for now. Until my next trip down in Jacksonville, Florida.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Cerberus: The Mythical Three Headed Creature

I received a special request to sew one of Sew Desu Ne’s patterns, Cerberus. Luckily for the requester I bought the Cerberus pattern back in September last year when it first came out on Sew Desu Ne’s Etsy shop. I’ve been waiting for the right time to make one just like all the other patterns I have collected overtime. Due to the special request I bumped it up to the top of the list of plushies to make. Hehe. BTW, I have over 30 plushies on my list that I want to make. So many! AAAHHH!!

I was unsure what color scheme I wanted to go with for this mythical three headed creature but I was thinking a dark gray would look cute. I asked the requester what color she would be interested in and guess what she said? Dark gray! I guess great minds think alike. Hehe.

I dusted off the virtual cob webs off the Cerberus sewing pattern and went straight to work. I spent the first day cutting my pattern pieces out and then the second day I sewed and stuffed the plush. Here is how the Cerberus turned out:

wp-15208655914671140542894.jpg

Cute and cuddly!

I showed the requester this adorable three headed dog and she was overjoyed. I even mentioned to her that I might make a different color Cerberus, like a brown one so I can offer more options. She suggested to me I should make an Albino Cerberus, in which she would also be interested in that one too. What a great idea! Back to work I went.

Here is the Albino Cerberus:

Here is the Brown Cerberus:

Oh my goodness, my creativity is in hyper drive now. I have so many ideas flowing through my head right now, like should I make a three headed black lab version? Or maybe a golden retriever version? Wait, how about a three headed husky version? So many ideas! What should I do? Have any suggestions? You can comment below if you like.

I will keep you posted on any new developments but be warned, it might be a little while since I am about to embark on a 4 week trip to warm and sunny Jacksonville, Florida for work. I am unable to sew during this time. 😣 Sad I know. Don’t worry I will be back to sew in no time, that’s for sure!

Thanks for stopping by!

Check out my Etsy Shop here:

Sea Turtle Plush Pillow

I definitely kept myself busy these past two weeks back home. If you read any of my latest blog posts you know I have a very interesting work travel and home rotation. This means less time to do fun crafting or sewing projects when I am home in my craft room. Don’t worry I make due with what time I have. I squeeze as many projects I can without overwhelming myself. So far so good.

You can probably guess from my blog post title what my next project is… hmmm…. yes, a sea turtle plush pillow. I was asked by a friend and colleague if I can make her a sea turtle plush big enough to be like a pillow. She told me that she could never find a sea turtle plush big enough or colorful enough to her liking plus it needed to very soft and comfy. She also mentioned to me that since I am the artist she wants me to design it anyway I want as long as it had many colors. Easy, right? Maybe…

I love having the opportunity to design a plush however I want but the problem is I am afraid of disappointing her if it isn’t to her liking. This is a huge fear I have but I know deep down I will do anything in my power to not disappoint her.  I believe I have good taste and a good sense of color selection and matching. I can do this!

I thought of designing my own sea turtle pattern but before I did that I wanted to make sure I don’t already have a pattern in my stash that I might have bought already. The past few years I’ve collected so many different patterns from some of my favorite plushie designers that I may already have a sea turtle pattern. After searching through my electronic files on my computer I found a sea turtle pattern by Funky Friends Factory. Perfect! Pauline, the owner of Funky Friends Factory, creates amazing patterns!

In order to use this sea turtle pattern I had to resize it to the size I desired for the project. Good thing is that Pauline has a blog post on how to enlarge or shrink her patterns with multiple options, you can see here. This post is great if you’ve never enlarged or shrunk a pattern before since it includes many helpful tips. I’ve referred to it before a long time ago but I may reference it again if I ever need to use a different method when resizing a pattern.  I use the printer option to enlarge the sea turtle plush to 170%, which ended up being the perfect size for a pillow plush.

Now that I have the pattern, I need to figure out my colors. I got a little stuck when trying to figure out what color palate I wanted to go with. I also had to keep in mind that my friend wants the plush pillow to be very soft so my type of fabric gets narrowed down to minky or some faux fur fabrics since they are soft to the touch. Fleece fabrics can be soft too but not as much as minky or faux fur fabrics. I realized very quickly that there is not a huge selection of colors at my local sewing and craft store for minky or faux fur fabrics. Great… What am I going to do?

There are some online stores that have different patterns and colors for minky fabrics but they can be a little costly or take a while before they deliver it. This makes it difficult since I am only home for a short amount of time before I have to go on travel for work. You know what, there is one place I have not looked yet. I have like 8 storage containers underneath my sewing table full of remnant fabrics I have collected over the past few years from my local sewing and craft stores, in which one local store has been closed for over a year now :-(.  Who knows, I might find something that will actually work plus I can start using up some of my fabric stash for once.

20180313_0924181795048464.jpg
I know, I have a lot of remnant fabric…

After looking through all 8 containers, I actually found a colorful minky fabric! Woohoo! Even better, I have a coordinating solid minky fabric color that matches perfectly with the pattern minky I found. Yay, amazing!

20180210_1310531892278842.jpg

Perfect color combinations, don’t you think? I know my friend will love these colors. I plan to use the pattern minky fabric for the shell and nose tip of the sea turtle and the light sea foam green solid minky color for the flippers, tail and head. Oh I can’t wait to see how this turns out.

I don’t think I ever mentioned this before in any of my past posts but I kind of do this thing where I separate cutting fabric and sewing fabric into different days.  I discovered a long time ago I would get frustrated or worn out after cutting a lot of pattern pieces that when I would sew the pieces right after I would get even more frustrated. This resulted in many bad sewing mistakes and me having to re-cut pattern pieces. I admit that I wanted to give up a few times and this is not a good feeling to have. I had to come up with a solution so one day I separated my days out. Over time I realized that if I cut the fabric pieces on the first day then sew them together the second day I usually get better results in my sewing. I felt more accomplished and stress free. . I don’t know how to explain it, but it works for me.

Oh, if you are wondering I usually do my embroidery stitch out the same day I cut fabric pieces out too. Sometimes I do end up separating embroidery and cutting fabric into different days depending on how I feel. For this project though I decided not to embroider the eyes since I had these beautiful big blue safety eyes that would work out perfectly for this sea turtle. I bought the safety eyes years ago thinking I was going to use them in a past project but found out that they were too big for it. You can imagine I was super excited to finally use them in a project. You can see for yourself in these photos of the finished sea turtle on how well the safety eyes worked out:

sea turtle plush pillow

Cute! Look at those baby blue eyes, precious.

You know what? When I look at this sea turtle I think of the sea turtles, Crush and Squirt, from Finding Nemo. Hehe. I don’t know why but it was the first thing that came to mind. If you haven’t seen Finding Nemo, you definitely should. It is an adorable kids movie that anyone can enjoy. You can say it, my mind is a little weird sometimes but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love my creative and intricacy of my mind. Makes it more fun and enjoyable.

Well this turned out to be one cute and adorable sea turtle. Oh BTW, my friend loves it! Hooray! Fear of her hating it is over. Now to my next project…

Thanks for stopping by!

Check out my Etsy Shop here:

Drawing to a Custom Plush

During my time back home for two weeks, I recieved a special request. A grandmother wanted to give her granddaughter something unique and meaningful for her birthday. She sent me a picture of a drawing that her granddaughter created. The drawing was of a “Peacock Butterly” according to the 6 year old.

20180303_1627102010204698.jpg

Love the mix of colors the child has chosen for this drawing. Good thing is I have these colors in my stash of fabrics. 😉

I accepted the challenge to create a representation of the drawing and make it into a plush form. This was my time to make my own plush pattern instead of using someone else’s. I told the grandmother that I would make a mock up plush first using muslin fabric and send her pictures of it for approval. If she likes it, I will start making the plush using the soft minky fabric.

Here is the mock up I made:

wp-15205981777881065054407.jpg

I did not have a pink and blue marker so I used black to show outlines. There are small adjustments that I need to make on the head (like making it a little bit bigger) but other than that it turned out pretty good. The grandmother approved the mock up but asked if I could make the wings not floppy. She wanted them to stick up like the drawing. I agreed and continued on.

To make this plush extra special so I tried my hardest to create the squiggly lines that the six year old drew on the body and repesent them using a satin stitch on my embroidery machine. I had to upload the picture to my embroidery program and trace the squiggly lines to create the satin stitches.

My next task was to figure out how to make the wings stand up. I used white fleece for the wings which the material stands up a little but they can still flop down easily. I looked through my fabric stash and found an ultra firm craft interface that I had left over from a craft project I did last year. This is perfect! I cut two pieces and slipped them into the wings. TADA! The wings stood up.

Here is how the final custom plush turned out:

wp-15205983457612112354185.jpg

Isn’t it adorable? I am so proud that this turned out great! Better than I imagine. The grandmother was thrilled and can’t wait to give this to her granddaughter for her birthday in May. I believe this 6 year old will freak out when she sees that her drawing “came to life” in plush form. I know I would if I was a kid again.

I had fun creating this little guy, I have a feeling I might create more custom plushies and design my own plush patterns. Hehe. Exciting!

Thanks for stopping by!

Check out my Etsy Shop here:

%d bloggers like this: