My Crafting Space is Complete!

Bigger and Better – Craft Desk Expansion:

If you’ve been following my Instagram (@sewstrawberrysweet) you know for the past month I have been hard at work building my sewing/craft desk bigger and better than ever before.  I made my first craft desk about two years ago, but decided a fresh start was needed since I was making a big move to a new place.

A Great Start:

Below are some pictures of my old sewing table (ignore the mess) that I made for my Brother LB6800 Sewing and Embroidery Machine.  I got two cube shelves from Target for the base/legs.  Fun fact: that second cube shelf is actually brown not black…  I didn’t want to paint it, so I covered it with black wrapping paper and sealed it on with ModPodge.  It gave it a really cool look, but I still can’t decide if that was wisdom at work or not.

I absolutely fell in love with my first sewing desk.  I was so proud of myself.  I bought a jigsaw and power sander and cut the hole in the top myself.  Plus, I went in the with the washi tape and really gave it a personal flair.  I added magnetic knife racks from IKEA to the fronts so I could keep my little containers of notions and things super handy.

My favorite part though, as always, has to be the lace painting I did.  Lace painting is my favorite painting method and it is was easier than it looks.  You simply paint the surface with the base color you want, black in my case, and let it dry for a bit.  Then you lay your lace fabric over it.  You can secure it with some painters tape or something underneath if you like, but I personally like the depth that comes from having the fabric lay a bit less flush in some spots.  Then you just take spray paint and paint over the lace.  Bam, let it dry and you are done.  You can take the lace off and lightly sand for a textured look with a smooth feel.

So, all this is to say my original sewing desk was really awesome, but I wanted something bigger and better.  I really needed it too, because a few months before my move I upgraded to the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale Sewing and Embroidery Machine.  I needed a desk that could support (quite literally) such a gorgeous (and expensive, ugh) sewing machine.

A Failure to Plan is a Failure to Succeed:

The first step of any project is planning of course, so I made note of what areas I could improve on my new desk.  The top one was space.  My old desk was really just a sewing/embroidery desk, because there wasn’t much room for much else.  The first go round I used 2′ x 4′ pieces of wood.  My bedroom in my new apartment is by no means small, but if I was going to put my sewing space in there I knew I wouldn’t be able to push the width of the desktop any wider.  I decided on upgrading to (roughly) 2′ x 8′ mdf wood for the desktop.

The next thing I wanted in my table was functionality.  The magnetic knife racks on the front of the desk were pretty nice, but I wanted more.  More! Of course this meant heading over to Pinterest for inspiration.  See my Sewing/Craft Spaces inspiration board below.

After consulting Pinterest I deciding adding a trash chute and in table power strip were must haves.  I probably had the most fun with this part of the project.  Making the holes with my hole saw attachment on my new powerful corded drill was exhilarating.  I swear the table almost caught on fire from the friction. Don’t worry, my dad warned me if the table was getting that hot I just might be doing something wrong. *shrugs* I had fun though.

Don’t Try to Fix What’s Not Broken, Build it Up:

There were also features of my original desk that I knew were too good to change.  I’ve seen sewing tables built ten different ways on Pinterest, but I think I might have found the easiest and most functional way to do it with my two tier design.  Instead of trying to figure out how to attach a platform to the desk for my machine to rest on so it was properly recessed in the desk… I found an easier route to the same results that also allowed for extra storage underneath the desk top.

I bought two identical pieces of 2′ x 8′ of MDF wood and cut six pieces of wood I measured to the right height to make my sewing machine flush with the desk top. I then placed the pieces at each of the four corners and two in the center of the desk for extra support.  Below are some pictures of the table after I added the corner supports, but before I added the desktop.

This design allows for space to store cutting mats, rulers, a laptop, embroidery hoops or whatever else you want.  This means the spot the machine rests on isn’t adjustable, but this wasn’t a drawback for me.  I made the hole in the desktop custom to hold my sewing machine, so it’s unlikely I would ever need the machine rest at any other height.

Once the basics of the table were built it was time for me to add the trash chute and and round surge protector.  I ran into a small issue with the trash chute I ordered as the fit was a bit too snug, but it was nothing I could not fix with my handy sanding drum drill attachment.  I was also concerned with lining the base desktop with the main desktop, because the space between them made it a bit hard to tell when they were aligned.  However, I found that placing the trash chute into the holes was a great way to line up the layers.

It’s All About the Aesthetics:

After this my focus was on aesthetics.  I added the washi tape around the edge of the desktops like last time, but decided to use ribbon on the cube shelves.  I would definitely recommend this for anyone trying to recreate the look of my table as pulling the fabric storage bins in and out would rip the washi tape over time.  I also had to add a cube shelf to the center of the desk for support, so I added washi tape to the front and sealed with ModPodge before adding the magnetic knife rack.

I used a white ruler washi tape on my last desk, but wasn’t a huge fan of the huge space that was between ever 12″ increment.  I used some PeelnStick paper ruler tape I bought at Hobby Lobby this time around.  It stands out nicely against the desk top and had normal spacing between the 12″ increments.  Like everything else paper I used in this project I sealed it with matte ModPodge glue.

Behind Every Great Custom Table… Is a Beautifully Decorated Wall:

Once the desk itself was complete it was time for me to put some creativity into the wall behind it.  If you look on Pinterest, every single craft table that was created seems to have a pegboard nearby.  I couldn’t break with tradition, but I didn’t want to anger my landlord with the kind of hardware that’s necessary to support a pegboard.  Especially a metal pegboard, which I had decided on, because I wanted to be able to attach magnetic items to the pegboard.

So, I attached the pegboard to the desk itself by drilling through the desktop and aligning the holes in the bottom of the pegboard.  Then I used a smaller screw and washer to secure the board, so moving the desk later wouldn’t be an impossibility.  I leaned the top of the pegboard back a bit and secured it with two screws into the wall.  However, with how sturdy the pegboard already was I think the same impact could have been had by placing command strips on the back, but you live and you learn.

From there it was easy sailing.  I added my thread racks on either side using command strips and filled the pegboard.  I found a some pretty cool strawberry bookends at Target that were perfect for my Sew Strawberry Sweet branding that made an awesome addition to my desk.

And Then She Finally Showed Us the Darn Desk:

Well, enough talk…  Here’s the finished product!  Let me know what you think in the comments or if you have any questions on any part of the process.  Anddddd there will be a video tour of my craft space that I’ll post on my YouTube in a bit here!

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My Dad is My Best Friend: A Tale of Independence and Self Definition

It’s funny referring to him as that: my best friend. He’d never say the same about me, but not in a it’s one-sided way, more like, it’s just not the way his generation would refer to their kids kind of way.

As I worked on building my sewing/craft desk, I realized how I wouldn’t have been able to do any of what I was doing without my dad teaching me how. I think I was only like eight when he taught me how to change drill bits in a power drill. He’s also the reason I remember “righty tighty and lefty loosey” when I’m trying to remember which way to turn a screw.

My dad is also the same man, who, when I was about ten, promised he could fix my sewing machine when it broke. I didn’t believe him. I was thinking, “You’re a boy. Boys don’t sew.” However, my dad, with his distinctive deep voice, told me, “Sarah, I’m a machinist! I can fix anything.” And wouldn’t you know it, he did! He fixed my sewing machine.

He’s also the same man, who every Mother’s Day would say, “In order to be a father, you have to be able to mother a little bit.” Maybe he was half kidding, but the way he approached things… The way he taught me and my brothers, he showed the truth in that funny saying.

If he can plant beautiful flowers around the yard AND lay the bricks that surround them. Then I can sew something amazing AND build the desk my sewing machine sits on. I learned I don’t have to fit into someone else’s box; I can build my own.

Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. Or define what being a woman, a man, a daughter, a son, a human looks like. You do you. I’d wager you’re the only one that can.

I’ll tell you like my dads told me time and time again (he has the tendency to tell the same stories over and over, luckily they’re all good), you can do anything, it’s just time that’s the barrier, that’s limited. So budget your time and achieve something great; whatever great means to you.

Stay sweet, Sweeties!

Move Binder

My First Move Went Poorly – Your Next Move Doesn’t Have To

You might be wondering why I haven’t posted in a while.  Well, I’m moving!  Isn’t that exciting?!?  Yes, it is, but moving is also stressful.  My last move was a nightmare.  I left myself with too much stuff and too little time.  It was in those moments of pure stress and fighting the clock that I promised myself never again.  Never again!

However, I bet you’re wondering, “How exactly should I prepare for a move?”   Don’t worry I’m here for you.  I struggled so you didn’t have to.  I’ve spent the past months leading up to my move scouring the internet for moving do’s and don’ts to make the ultimate moving templates and an informational Pinterest board!

Click HERE to view and print my Move Binder pdf and click HERE for a Moving Pro Con List Excel file.  I love the Excel file, because it’s great for any big decision you need to make.  The link to the Pinterest board is below plus there’s a sneak peak of what’s inside the Move Binder Template.  Enjoy!

See you in a few weeks, Sweeties.  Moving day is this Friday, so I might be out of pocket for a while.  However, be sure to let me know what you think of my moving templates in the comments!  Stay sweet, Sweeties!

How I Started Sewing

Bear with me, Sweeties, because it’s been a while. But today I’m going to tell you how I got started sewing…

I think I started around 8 years old. It’s funny how as you get older you may still remember things from years ago, but time has a way of messing up the timeline in your head.

However, my earliest memory of sewing is my mom getting me one of those little sewing machines that are meant for little kids (me). I loved that thing! It was super loud and so tiny, but for 9 year old me, it was everything. I used to take it with me to the summer camp (daycare, lol) I went to that was inside a woman’s house. Me moms coworkers daughter and I along with some others there, would spend the day sewing. I honestly can’t remember anything I made, but it was tons of fun.

Sometime after this I went to “Camp Mary,” my Aunt Marys house for the summer and enrolled in a week long (?) sewing camp with another girl my age (around 12) from my Aunt’s church. I had so much fun that week making a beach bag, cup coozie and other beginner items. To this day I credit that beach bag for inspiring me to get really serious into sewing and even start creating my own patterns.

A little while later my mom let me use her old sewing machine. It was a beautiful old Singer. We had some good times together, that machine and I, until one day I was sewing and it broke! I still feel guilty, but it’s hard to say if it was me or the machine was old… Luckily my mom wasn’t too mad.

My mom mustn’t have totally given up on my sewing because that Christmas she gifted me a Brother Project Runway sewing machine that had so many stitch choices I didn’t know what to do with them. Sometime after this I took a Home EC class at school with one of my friends. I think that class is the reason I still don’t like making clothes. Ugh!

Sometime after that, circa 2013, I entered the dark times of my sewing hobby. A friend of my brother asked me to do a sewing job for him that seemed simple enough, but OMG it was not. He sent me about 20 ties and asked me to turn them into bow ties. Simple. Not! I’ve always had sewing talent, but this project tested me. Not to mention my procrastination, which I recently realized was my anxiety taking form (can’t mess it up if you don’t start, right? Not!)

What seemed simple enough at first got so stressful and complicated. I made a few prototypes to start and asked for the requesters approval. He had many requests. One of which, was to make sure the design of the tie was horizontal so it wasn’t turned on it’s side when it came time to tie. Maybe it wasn’t impossible, but it was impossible for me. There’s only so much fabric to work with when you’re taking a necktie apart, not to mention the fabric constraints and working with the bias.

Honestly I’m nauseous just remembering the disastrous saga that was the bow tie project. I’m embarrassed to say it took me a year to finish. And oh boy was the guy heated. I was too far into the project to stop and too far from finished to find it worth it. Long story short. I did it! I even still got paid too. Check out the pics. I may be embarrassed of the journey, but the final product is definitely something I can be proud of!

The Before

Anyways, I was downtrodden for a while. During that whole year with the bow tie project I found myself unable to sew anything else knowing I had that huge project looming over my head. Ugh, but with the completion of that project came inspiration to really start sewing.

I’ve never been a real beach person. Like the beach is awesome, but it’s not really my thing. However, I do enjoy time spent outdoors and the fashion that comes with going to the beach. This inspired me to create a pattern for a beach bag and make my own.

Of course this meant I had to head straight to Pinterest. I love Pinterest and Pinterest loves me, haha. The great database that Pinterest is inspired me to get creative with the fabrics I chose.

Burlap is an awesome fabric. It’s seems so boring and rough at first. But you can really make a bag stand out using it. I have the very first beach bag I made using burlap and duck cloth somewhere… Here’s some low quality pics for your enjoyment. Ignore the mistakes. Just kidding, they made me the BA sewist I am today. *flips hair*

The burlap accented beach bag led to the tote bags I started to make that use the same idea of wide burlap ribbon with a duck cloth binding. Here’s one I made one of my aunts.

I love these bags! I left a gap where the strap crosses over the burlap so you can stick your sunglasses through.

Well, it’s been fun taking a look back at my sewing journey with you Sweeties! There’s certainly more I could say. But I’ll leave that for another post. This one was about how I got started sewing after all and I’ve already taken you through my first ten years of sewing.

Hope you enjoyed reading how I got started sewing. Leave a comment and let me know how you got started sewing or if you don’t sew, what you’d like to see me make next!

I Tried a Silicone Toothbrush

The Foreo Issa Mini 2 Toothbrush to be exact.  Silicone is one of my favorite materials for skin and oral care right now.  I love how easy it is to clean, how long it lasts and it’s waterproof.  And of course, recently, my Phillips Sonic Toothbrush died… Right after the warranty ran out.  It was time for a change.

If you read my previous post where I reviewed the Luna Foreo FOFO you’ll know that was my entrance into the Foreo brand.  While browsing their site I noticed that they also had silicone toothbrushes, so with a 20% off coupon in hand I thought it might be worth a try.

There are a few different brush designs and colors to choose from on their site.   The Issa 2 that is marketed towards adults (Millennials, if you ask me) and the Issa Mini 2 that is marketed towards children or those with small mouths.  However, to me, the Issa Mini 2 screamed to me that it had a cheaper price and offered my favorite shade of yellow.

I’ll name a couple differences between the Issa 2 and the Issa Mini 2 in my review, but just keep in mind that some of the features I mention are specific to the Issa Mini 2.  Now let’s get to reviewing!

Long battery life between charges: “ISSA mini 2 puts the power of improved pulsations into a combination brush head sonic toothbrush and a 265 day charge that can keep up with the busiest schedules!”  This has yet to be tested, but as someone who has used an electric toothbrush for 10+ years I can say that I’m already impressed with both the time to full charge and the battery life.  It used to drive me crazy how long it took my Phillips Sonic brush to charge, 12+ hours!

Sonic Pulse Technology: After my first brush I could already feel the difference between using a standard manual toothbrush and the Issa Mini 2. My teeth felt sparkling and my tongue plaque free and fresh.  Comparing it to other top of of the line brushes it might fall a bit short, the Issa Mini doesn’t give you the option for increasing the pulse intensity like the bigger version, but it’s certainly more quiet which is a major plus.  Nothing was more awkward than brushing my teeth in the dorm with my standard electric brush and people popping their heads into the communal bathroom to see what that suspicious noise was…   That woudln’t be a concern with the Issa Mini 2; you can barely hear it!

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Long Lasting & More Hygienic Brush Heads: The Hybrid brush head that comes with the toothbrush can last up to six months!  If you decide to go for the all silicone brush it can last up to a year!  This definitely beats out the standard electric toothbrush. Those heads barely last three months and are super expensive to replace.  Issa Mini 2 wins here, hands down!  There’s also a little extra bristle going on to the neck of the brush that’s great for brushing your tongue.

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The Design:  It’s much easier to hold on to than a standard toothbrush, electric or manual and looks great while you hold it.  Now I made my choices, so I can’t complain, but if you have big hands you may find there’s not quite as much to hold onto as you might like with the Issa Mini 2.  However, all in all it’s not a bad size for an adult.  I have large hands, but after some adjustment in grip the small size of the Issa Mini 2 hasn’t been a problem.

In Conclusion:

Pros: Fast charge time and long battery life.  Fun colors and non slip grip.  Brush heads that last a long long while and are super hygienic at the same time.  Awesome for tongue cleaning.  Vibrations to remind you to switch sides of your mouth and make sure you get in the recommended brushing time (the mini even frowns at you when you cut brushing short or smiles and lights up when you hit the recommended time).

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Cons:  The price, even though the battery life and brush head replacement cycle are unreal the price still seems a bit too steep.  However, with the right coupon I think the value is definitely there.  Brush head size, with the mini this wasn’t a problem, but I can only imagine how big the brush head on the full size Issa 2 must be.  Processing time before shipping, they have a couple different ways to pay.  I decided to use Amazon Pay and had to confirm my order with a screenshot of the confirmation email.  The approval didn’t take long but it took a day to get that email and a day after that for my order to say shipped.  In a world of 2 day shipping (including processing time), it seemed to take eons for my brush to arrive.

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All in all I give the Issa Mini 2 4.5 stars and would definitely recommend.  The brush works great; I certainly expect it to much outlive the warranty.  This isn’t an endorsed post (Foreo, please love me, lol), so I don’t have some nifty personal promo code to share, but I do have something for you.  You’ll be seeing another post about this soon, but I can’t recommend the browser add-in Honey enough.  Honey scans the inner-webs to find you the best deal and promo code.  Below is a screenshot of the code it found me and how much it would have save me on a Foreo Issa 2.  Give Honey a try!

Foreo Coupon

My Sewing Bucket List

Every sewist, or anyone that does any kind of DIY, needs a Sewing Bucket List! Creating a Sewing Bucket List has been on my, well, bucket list, forever.  So here is the day!  I bring to you, Sweeties, my Sewing Bucket List!

I’ll put the list here, but if you want to see what is my inspiration for completing this list go see the Pinterest board I’ve linked to this blog post.  I may have colored outside the lines a bit as the list includes sewing, embroidery and related DIY projects.  Sew here’s my list…

  • An avocado backpack
  • Guitar shaped backpack
  • Convertible backpack purse (can you tell I love backpacks?)
  • An applique tote bag
  • An embroidered wool cape
  • A tote bag with wood handles
  • A rolling tote for my Designer Ruby Royale
  • A full skirt winter coat
  • The ultimate sewing table (check out the My Creations page on my website for my current sewing table)
  • LBD (Little Black Dress)
  • A high-waisted swimsuit
  • An ombre quilt
  • A high neck, low cut back wedding dress
  • Festive Applique Fabric Banner

Be sure to follow my Pinterest board to see what else I add to the list!  Let me know in the comments what’s on your Sewing Bucket List.