Mini Adventures {Summer 2015}

Our family took a Grand California Adventure earlier this summer to visit the place where my Hubs + I grew up, fell in love, graduated college, married and made lifelong friendships. But, with our size family, it has become increasingly difficult to take long trips for extended periods of time--cost, time, cramped car quarters with big teen people:) But after the big plunge this year, we have decided to seek out small ways to have little adventures of our own, close to home. 

Zionsville, Indiana

Zionsville, Indiana

We have learned a few things from our simple mini adventures with our teens:

  1. It doesn't have to be far to be fun. 
    We have a few beaches within driving distance + love their waves as much as Cali.
  2. It doesn't have to cost a fortune
    I always pack water + simple snacks knowing my teens eat more frequently than newborn kittens. If a full day is on the agenda, we pack a lunch and find a family friendly joint for dinner to add to the experience. 
  3. Laughing is a wonderful stress diffuser.
    Make a purposeful decision to have FUN. 
  4. Food is usually a part of the adventure, so plan accordingly.  
    My Hubs likes researching food places that are known for something or that are off the beaten path--no fast food chains. 
  5. Give the teens some say in the course of the day.
    Usually there are a few hot spots in an area that we visit, so we take a poll and go from there.
  6. Be flexible.
    Traffic happens. Lots of bathroom breaks could be a fact. Relax + Enjoy are the rules.
  7. Bringing a friend along can brighten a family adventure. 
Indiana Dunes

Indiana Dunes

Mini Adventures. SugarBeans.org
Mini adventures. SugarBeans.org

        8. Even the mundane can become an adventure. 
             My boys needed school uniforms--boo. Not a fun shopping experience, but when you add grabbing a beloved burger + fries to the mix, a mini adventure can begin.  

Free tea day. Yes, please! We met my sister + niece at at a local deli for FREE tea while we chatted on the covered patio. Fun + free are a favorite combination of mine:)

Free tea day. Yes, please! We met my sister + niece at at a local deli for FREE tea while we chatted on the covered patio. Fun + free are a favorite combination of mine:)

Mini adventures. SugarBeans.org

Food is always an adventure for me. I love trying new places and flavors. This mini adventure was a double-date with some friends of ours that wanted to share a Tapas restaurant they frequent. It was such a delightful evening!

Mini Adventures.Portillos. SugarBeans.org
Mini adventures. Graeters Ice cream SugarBeans.org

And when a new ice cream shop comes to town, you have to pile in the hot car and plan out flavor combos. It's been a deliberate decision to look at our little family moments as mini adventures. They don't always play out the way I had hoped, but being TOGETHER is the point, and one day these little stolen moments will be what our children will remember + share with their families. 

Keep on keeping on, Mama's. School is just around the corner! 

Vintage Sewing Patterns {sewing for me}

A while ago, my Hubs and I had a weekend away in beautiful Michigan. While there we came across a Goodwill that had a TON of vintage sewing patterns for only .10 each!! Of course the only reasonable thing to do was to buy a few; so I thumbed through the stack and found a few patterns that I could see myself sewing/ wearing and purchased them.

Vintage pattern and fabric. SugarBeans.org

This vintage fabric was also found on the Michigan trip. It is an upholstery fabric-- sturdy and vibrant. { I joked that there is probably a couch + arm chair out there that matches my tunic}.

Vintage sewing + pattern. SugarBeans.org

After I washed the tunic, it was so soft and fit amazingly well. This outfit is probably my most favorite combination. Tunic/ dress/ frock over jeans or leggings. And now that I found a pattern that I love, I can imagine many more frocks joining my wardrobe. 

Vintage sewing and pattern. SugarBeans.org

Besides it being a one-of-a-kind tunic this lovely piece only cost about $3 to make. Fabric + pattern + binding tape around arms were all thrifted. That makes me so happy. 

More sewing for me is on my summer to-do list, for sure. 

Granny Square Pin Cushion {make + give}

Amazingly, I found yet another reason to crochet more granny squares-- the pin cushion. My sweet IG friend, Sarah shared this simple but adorable pattern for the Granny Square Pin Cushion. I made a few--one to keep and a couple to gift. 

Granny Square Pin Cushion. SugarBeans.org

Again, I used my most favorite cotton yarn from Hobby Lobby. There are so many colorful choices and with a coupon, it's so very reasonable to buy a few:)

Crochet + Bible + Tea. SugarBeans.org

One rainy morning {we've had quite a few of those lately in our parts} I gathered my materials, a cup of hot tea and my Bible to start my morning right. It took no time at all to whip a few of these cuties up.  Love those small flowers for the pin cushion tops. 

Taking it slow + easy in our parts. With 3 teens working, I spend a lot of my day dropping or picking them up, so in between the drives, I am attempting to enjoy this summer's pace. Puzzles have been made, books read and a few crafts completed. What has your summer been like? 

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Summer Adventures 2015

This summer has been AMAZING! We started our grand California adventure 4 days after school ended and loved our two week stay on the sunny coast. We invested our time and resources intentionally in a once-in-a-lifetime family trip to our home state of California. After twelve years away, we loved every blessed moment surrounded by familiar faces, places and FOOD. 

Summer Adventures 2015. Sugar beans.org

Of the fourteen days we had in California, we spent at least half on a beach; even if it was just a quick evening walk, we loved the sand, sun and waves. My teens were shocked that we could ever leave this place. 

In and out Burger. Sugar beans.org

Our first stop: In and Out Burger. A family favorite! SOOO yum!

Family adventures. SugarBeans.org

We had to visit some historical spots along the way; Olvera Street was my first kindergarten field trip and is a colorful favorite stop for visitors and locals alike. While in the downtown area, we also visited Michael Levines fabric shop and ate lunch at Philippe's for their famous beef dipped sandwiches. 

LA Shopping. SugarBeans.org

And for me, the best part of the entire trip was visiting old and dear friends. Having my children put faces with stories that have been shared over the years was priceless. So many wonderful chats and chuckles; my cheeks ached in the most fabulous of ways after days of belly laughs and tales of shared moments. 

California adventure 2015. SugarBeans.org

Our family returned a little browner, a little lighter and eager for more adventures as a family. I am hoping to make mini-adventures a monthly thing. Small trips around our region, day trips and small excursions to get away from the daily grind and routines. 

What adventures, grand or small has your summer entailed??

Travel Jewelry Cases {gift it + enjoy}

After a two week family vacation, it sure feels good to be home and step back into our 'normal' routines. Before we left, I made a few of these adorable Travel Jewelry Cases to accompany us on our trip to sunny California. I spotted Jess's Travel jewelry clutch on her Instagram feed and fell in love! But the full tutorial is over at Positively Splendid; lots of pictures and the pattern is downloadable. Go get one for yourself! And make a couple as gifts for your Dearies!

Travel Jewelry Case. SugarBeans.org

It's so fun to create something that is functional and pretty, right?!? I even splurged and used a bit of my Liberty of London fabric on my case. I let my daughters pick their color palette. 

Travel jewelry case. SugarBeans.org

These cases were so helpful on our recent vacation! The large pocket worked wonders in keeping long necklaces from getting tangled, while the earrings were nestled snugly in the leather patch or in the smaller pockets. 

Travel Jewelry Cases. SugarBeans.org

These would make the perfect gift for your recent graduate or a teen/ tween. 

Travel Jewelry Cases. SugarBeans.org

After making three of these cases for my vacationing girlies, I plan on making a couple more to keep on hand as gifts. Summer sewing is under way! 

What summer projects are you working on??

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Vintage Sheet Lap Quilt {make it + gift it}

The sweet and colorful patterns of vintage linens are a favorite fabric of mine to sew with// so many wonderful ways to use the cottony goodness in home crafts and usually found at thrift stores at reasonable prices. Big win! I pulled out a bunch of vintage sheets to make some Friendship Lap Quilts for some of my Dear hearts. 

Vintage Sheet quilt for lap blanket. SugarBeans.org

I started by finding a range of colors and prints in the sheets and cut five of them 8 inches wide, 50 inches long. After lining up the order, I sewed the strips together, right sides facing. The back of the quilt is a different sheet pattern in one solid piece. After making a quilt sandwich of backing + cotton batting + vintage stripes, I pinned the the whole thing all over with quilting safety pins. Next, I  quilted the strips vertically on both sides of the seam, and horizontally every 6 inches. Finally I added handmade vintage binding around all of the edges and hand stitched the binding on the back side. 

Vintage sheet quilt; lap blanket. SugarBeans.org

The final dimensions of these lap quilts are 36" X 45"; perfect for late night snuggles or book reading. 

Vintage sheet lap blankets. SugarBeans.org

I bundled up a few of these friendship blankets recently for some sweet friends as a 'thank you' for their presence + love in my life as our family was in a storm of dark days earlier this year.  

Vintage sheet blankets + gifts. SugarBeans.org

And of course, chocolate was added. Also, a handmade gift tag

Vintage sheet lap quilts. SugarBeans.org

I LOVE making these happy quilts. I am planning on adding a couple to my Etsy shop later in the summer after our summer vacation. Come take a peek in July! 

Friendship lap quilts from vintage sheets. SugarBeans.org

Creating with friends + loved ones in mind is something that makes me giddy, truly happy. And the soft cottony goodness of vintage sheets are always fun to play with. Blanket making for days, Dears! Go-- make one or two and bless a friend! 

Happy Granny Square Pillow

The granny square love has not diminished in my home. Today I am sharing my granny square pillow in variegated yellows. The lovable quality about the beloved Granny is that it's an easy pattern, finished quickly and ready to enjoy. 

Variegated yellow granny square pillow cover.

If you'd like to make a Granny Square pillow cover for yourself, you can follow the full tutorial here. The back of this cushion is a favorite vintage pillow case. 

Granny square pillow cover with vintage linen backs. SugarBeans.org

The backs of these crocheted pillows have an envelope enclosure, which makes switching them out or washing them a cinch! But, I have a feeling these two will stick around for a while! 

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Hexie Tea Pot Cozy {Quick Tutorial}

So, once I finished my big winter project-- the Hexie Quilt-- I found a few hexies were left and decided to use them up on a quick project. My little white tea pot was the perfect recipient of the Hexie Tea Cozy. 

Hexie tea cozy tutorial. SugarBeans.org

Step 1: Measure your teapot by placing it on a brown paper bag. Using a pencil trace around the teapot, adding a 1/2 inch seam allowance all the way around while pot is on it's side.

Hexie tea pot cozy tutorial. SugarBeans.org

Step 2: Hand stitch the colorful hexies into random rows, making sure your rows are long enough for your pattern from Step 1. Continue connecting rows until the desired height is reached.

Hexie tea cozy tutorial. SugarBeans.org

Step 3: Iron your two pieces of hexie fabric. Make sure the hexies overlap the paper pattern a bit. Trace and cut. 

Hexie Tea cozy tutorial. SugarBeans,org

Step 4: Iron fusible fleece onto the hexie pieces. Cut a 5 inch piece of ribbon and pin to the top center of the cozy.  Sew the two pieces together, right sides facing around the curved portion of the cozy. Leave the flat bottom open.

Hexie Tea cozy tutorial. SugarBeans.org

Step 5: Use your brown paper pattern and trace 2 coordinating fabric pieces and sew in the same manner as the hexie pieces. {This will be the lining of the cozy}. Turn inside out and tuck into the Hexie top. 

Hexie tea cozy tutorial. SugarBeans.org

Step 6: Line up the lining and hexie pieces. Pin bias tape around the edges and sew closed. 

I used my tea cozy last week with a friend over cookies and chats. This little cutie really worked; the tea stayed warm for quite a while. Colorful and functional, my kind of craft.

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Granny Stripe Afghan {picot edging}

This afghan is the perfect project to use up your scrap yarn bits. I wanted lots of color in this afghan, so I grabbed a new color after two rows without planning or plotting. This is a lap sized afghan and perfect for movie night with your Lovies or snuggling while reading a favorite book.

granny stripe afghan with picot edging. SugarBeans.org

I made a larger Granny Stripe Afghan last winter using gray as a unifying color and it's HUGE; I love this smaller version as well. The picot edging was new for me; I  adore the way it finishes off this little lap blanket. 

Granny stripe afghan with picot edging. SugarBeans.org
Granny stripe afghan with picot edging. SugarBeans.org

Lots of colorful yarn made this a fun project. Raiding my stash to create something useful and pretty was a fun way to wile the gloomy, cold days away. And I loved learning a new stitch in the border edging. Next, I want to try making this in a rainbow variation for one of my girlies. 

Granny stripe afghan + picot edging. SugarBeans.org

Happy Monday, Dears! 
Are you learning any new techniques for your hobby?? Share please in the comments...

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