Hopeful Thoughts

Craft Fair TODAY

Come see me at the Mulberry Street Cantina in Denton, TX today from 2-5.

The Christmas Show 2013

I’ve been busy working on my stock for this year’s Christmas Show. We’ve had some weather in our area and we’ve had to postpone to Wed. December 11. If you can’t make it, here’s a preview of what I will have available.

Un-paper towel rolls.
These measure about 12in X 13in like a standard paper towel and are made of soft cotton flannel in adorable prints and backed with a coordinating terry cloth. They are super absorbent and can be used nearly anywhere you would use a paper towel, but without the waste. $45

Smaller sets of 6 un-paper towels stacked and ready for giving. $20

Not big on taking the time to roll your un-paper towels? Here is the solution! The same super soft absorbent towels simply stacked. $40 each.

Can't make up your mind what you're favorite print is? These single un-paper towels can be mixed and matched to your heart's content! $3.50 each or 6 for $20.

These are miniature versions of the un-paper towels. They measure just under 7 inches and can be used for all sorts of household tasks. There are 5 in each set. $4

These nap mats are awesome and feature removable 1 inch foam padding and pillow for easy washing. The blanket is super soft and the whole thing rolls up and snaps for easy carrying. $65

Snakes! These cute little guys can be yours for $10 each.

20 piece matching set, choice of shapes or flowers. $15

16 piece matching set, choice of lizards or shapes. $12

Letter or Number learning sets. Numbers are 0-9 for $8 and the Alphabet is $20

Hat and Scarf sets for women. Wool and Acrylic blend and super warm (I have a set just like these that I LOVE). $25

Fun ruffle scarves. Super long to wrap and wear however you like. $14 each

Simple elastic hair ties in cute color varieties. $5 per set of 4 ties.

Hand stitched flannel receiving blankets. These are truly a labor of love and priced great considering the time put in to each one. The perfect gift for a new little one. $18

Machine stitched flannel receiving blanket. $16

These Diaper Pail liners will fit a 13 gallon trash bag or any standard diaper pail on the market. $16 each

Water proof "wet" bags with handy snap loops and zipper closure. $12 for the dino print, $11 for the solids.

Wet bag

Small burp cloths in your choice of terry backed flannel or light weigh pre-fold diaper. $5

Waterproof changing pads in two sizes. $12 for the small and $15 for the large


These flannel cloths measure about 8 inches and can be used for tissues, baby wipes, glasses, or any other job that requires super soft reusability. This set of 24 is $10.

These oversized burp cloths are made with the best cotton pre-fold diapers I know of. They are big enough to use as a changing table pad. $8

Back up and Running!!

After lots of sewing for the craft show back in December, I was tuckered out and had to take some time off. Well, Hopeful Thoughts is back at the sewing machine and cranking out some cuteness for the baby booty in your life!

The web site is going to be updated over the next few weeks to reflect changes in my fabric stash as well as links to my soon to re-open Etsy shop. It’s an exciting time as spring is here and summer is on the way.

In the meantime, here is a glimpse of one of my most recent creations.

Where did the Summer Go?

Yes, it’s still BLAZING hot here in North Texas, but there are several signs that the summer “break” is pretty much over. I tutor math when I’m not chasing my toddler or sewing. (You can check out the details about that here!) I thought I was going to have a few weeks off before school started…well, before PUBLIC school started. Turns out a bunch of my kids went back to school YESTERDAY at a local private school. Which means, I have to go back, too, so my kids don’t fall behind. It’ll only be one day a week, but still! Not to mention, G’s Mom’s Day Out program finished up this week, so there’s 10 extra hours with my little guy until that starts back up at the end of the month.

It’s been a roller coaster of a summer. On the upside, we’ve been blessed with a lot of cool things this summer. Having G in Mom’s Day Out was such a blessing. I had a nice easy tutoring schedule…just 7 hours a week if they all were in town! I was even able to have 5 hours to myself every Thursday for 8 weeks. My kiddo finally weaned at the end of June, just a month before turning 2, which has lead to much better sleep for the whole family! I also enjoyed a great two week visit with my mom! On the down side, my dear friend Lori, the wife of our pastor, was diagnosed with stage 4 Melanoma and a very poor prognosis. This has hung a pretty dense fog over the last 4 weeks.

Death hit me the past fall when both of my grandparent on my Dad’s side passed away within 10 days of each other. That was hard, but I’m used to their absence. I live 1300 miles from home, so I hardly even saw them. It’s not strange to be away from them. Yes, I was sad, but their passing doesn’t affect my daily life. I’ve spent so much time with this family over the last 9 years, they have become part of my own adopted family. This blow is hard to take. God has perfect plans for her. This I know. We will be together for eternity in heaven when He calls us both home in His perfect timing. I hope to spend the time we have left making more precious memories with her, but I rest in the hope I have in Jesus.

I’d thought I might post a few sewing projects, but I think I’ll leave you here. God bless you, all!

Busy Bee, Sales Galore!!

I’ve been SEW busy with the sewing business over the last few weeks. I’ve even added a few items to the ever growing list of what I can do. Here’s what I’ve been up to lately!

I am now officially making the rolled towels for sale. I modified the pattern a bit...they are simply serged around the edges instead of turned a top-stitched. I think this makes a much nicer final product. The blue branches headed off to Florida and the swirls are in New Jersey. Whoa! National delivery!!

Cute Elephant wet bag. LOVE IT!

Projects Galore! Not a Paper Towel.

People are always asking me if I’m on Pinterest yet. Nope! And I plan to keep it that way. Why? I’m not opposed to the concept. In fact, it’s a great idea. The reason I stay clear is because if I see a project, I HAVE to try it, and I manage to find enough ideas through needs I see in my day-to-day life or simply stumbling upon them as I visit other sites. Take this one, for example. Last week I realized I was out of white caps for snaps. I had to order more, and while I was on the site, I noticed a link to “101 uses for KamSnaps”. I HAD to look! And here is the link that caught my eye

Of course I HAVE to make these “un-paper towels”. And so I did!

My finished roll of towels.

A single towel

The recipe called for two yards of flannel and two yards of terry to make 13 towels. Flannel was on sale this week at $2.99 a yard, and I got my terry with a 50% off coupon and scored an extra 23 of a yard from the end of the bolt. I spent $10.66 on terry and was able to cut 16 towel size pieces from it. It took about 30 sets of snaps (about $1.50 worth) and I had to buy a piece of plastic canvas for $1.79, but I think I’ll get four rolls from it. So, the project cost me around $17 (could have been double without sale prices). Oh…and I should factor in the cost of my machine…which I BROKE in the process. I don’t know yet how much it’s going to cost to replace the knife on my serger. 🙁

Pros of this project are that it’s pretty easy to put together and the towels are really pretty and practical.

Cons are a bit more involved. There seemed to be quite a bit of waste in pieces that aren’t really big enough to re-use. I was able to make 8 baby wipes from the leftover flannel, but the remaining pieces are too small to make anything that I’m aware of, as were all the terry scraps. (I’m pondering this problem, and I DO have some ideas…another reason I don’t need Pinterest!!) Also, I felt like the finished towels are really too thick to look nice rolled up. By the time I got the last towel snapped on, the roll was too big for it to fit all the way around. In addition, it took about 6 hours to cut and sew it all. (Not sure how much time the serger would have saved me since it broke on the third one!)

Overall, I like this project and I think that it is something I will make in the future, however, I’m going to try a thinner option for the terry layer. I’m leaning towards organic hemp French terry which would cost about $15 per set of 13. It’s more expensive, but I think the result would be well worth the extra cost. Not sure yet if I will add it to the list of items on Hopeful Thoughts (need to seek permission from the creator), but it’s definitely in the list of gift items!

First Shipment out of State!!!

Nearly two years ago, I headed up to NC for a 10 year reunion with my college buddies from the Meredith College Class of 2000. Hard to believe this is what I looked like back then! (I’m on the right).

G and H meet for the first time.

Yesterday I took these cuties down to the post office to send along to little H in Florida.

A couple of adorable pockets!

Losing the Baby Weight: Weighing In

I began my commitment to seriously working to lose the weight on July 26th. Tomorrow will mark one month since I began my journey, so I thought it would be appropriate to “weigh in” today and report my progress.

I’ve done OK at maintaining my work out goals. However, I hit a bump in the road when I injured myself. I’m pretty sure that I pulled some kind of muscle in my knee as a result of poor form. To other mom’s out there, form is important, and it’s hard to keep it when a toddler is floating around your workout space! G is REALLY curious about the blue lights on the heart rate monitors I wear for the PS3 game I work out with. He’s ALWAYS underfoot. He plucks the resistance bands, sits on my back while I do push ups, reaches for my hand weights, insists on being picked up while I do squats… I think he enjoys watching, but it’s easier if I can do it well before his nap time or while he’s asleep.

Anyway, I had to sit out for a week as a result of the pain. I started back Monday, and things seem to be healed. I’m really enjoying the program and it’s nice to be able to keep to a routine that I can do indoors with this INSANE summer we are having here in TX.

Now, drum roll, please! In the last month, I have lost TEN pounds!!!!!! I can officially say this because even at my heaviest time of day, the weight loss is clear! I’m so excited!!!

I think I only have another 5 pounds to go to be where I was when I got pregnant. I can’t find where I wrote that down at the moment. 🙁 I have another 15 pounds to go to make it to my goal weight. Yup, I gotta keep going. When I got pregnant with G, I’d just returned from almost three weeks in Argentina. Three weeks of eating empanadas, the best ice cream EVER, and polishing off an entire batch of brownies (or whatever chocolate treat we decided to make) with my three moth post-partum friend and her husband was NOT the best way to prepare for pregnancy weight gain!!

I’m finding it pretty easy to stick to the program. It helps SOOO much to have those extra points for nursing. I wish I’d focused earlier when he was nursing more often. The weight would have flown off! But, here are a few stats to illustrate my eating habits.

Week 1: Used 19 extra points (G’s birthday cupcakes) Had one or two extra points remaining on 3 days.

Week 2: Used 7 extra points (dinner at Chuy’s). Had 2-7 points remaining on all other days

Week 3: Used 12 extra points (ate out twice that weekend) Only 3 days with remaining points

Week 4: Used 5 extra points (Uncle Julio’s!) 6 days with remaining points, all but one day 3 or more

A New Resolution

It’s taken me a lot longer than I had planned to shed my baby weight. Everyone assured me that if I kept nursing I would be surprised when it slowly but surely melted off. Well, Grayson turned one year old on the 29th of July, and I still was nearly 20 pounds heavier than when I got pregnant, and the same weight I was two months after his birth. I knew something had to change.

So, I determined to change and boldly announced to all my Facebook friends (might as well have been the world) that I was going on a points based eating system (you know the one, but the old version, because that’s what I’ve used before) and committing to exercise. I knew that by telling everyone, I would have to stick to it. Sure enough, I’ve had a bunch of people asking me how it’s going.

I’ve made it through two full weeks so far. Most days, I have an overage of points at the end of the day, and I’m not starving. I’ve barely had to delve into my extra weekly points allowance. I’m in a weird place when it comes to the points allowance. As a nursing mom, I get 10 extra points per day. However, G is getting some solid food, so I’m wondering if I even need all of those points. I’m seeing some small weight loss, and feeling better, but I bet if I started using all of my allowed points, I’d be stuck.

The question I am faced with is whether or not to drop my daily points value. As it stands now, it’s pretty easy to stick with it. I know that if it becomes too hard, then I am less likely to stick with it. However, it’s all just a numbers game. I can’t decide if I’m better off using the higher daily points total and not dipping into my extra, or dropping my daily points and using the extra. It seems I’d probably end up using the same number of points either way.

Not to mention the fact that, as G weans, I WILL have to drop my consumption to keep losing weight. I’m inclined to leave well enough alone for a few more weeks, giving me time to learn the “secrets” of this program, so that, hopefully, when I do get less, I’ll know better what to eat to keep hunger at bay.

So far, I have learned a few staples to help me stay on my points target. Fiber and Protein seem to be the keys to feeling less hungry. Here are a few ways I’ve packed them in.

Smoothies are great for both fiber and protein, and you get a good dose of dairy. I’ve even learned that a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach blends right in without ruining the flavor. You wouldn’t even notice if it didn’t turn the smoothie a lovely shade of green! In an attempt to pack more punch into my smoothies, I tried adding protein powder. I experimented with it a couple of times, but it seems to mess up the flavor. Especially if you use soy powder. Soy powder is NASTY!!! However, I mixed some vanilla flavor whey protein powder into a glass of milk this morning and it was pretty tasty!

A good nutrition bar is also a lifesaver. I’ve learned to keep one in my purse in case the munchies hit. Most are 3-4 points and contain lots of protein and fiber. I like the Luna bars (just not the protein ones) and I recently discovered Odwalla bars.

Sandwich Thins and Bagel Thins are also great. Choosing the whole wheat versions give a big dose of fiber and makes for one tasty little sandwich. Whole grains in general stick with you longer and are lower in points. One sandwich thin (top and bottom) is a single point, but two slices of white bread rack up four! I also choose Miracle Whip over Mayo, although today I discovered the olive oil version of mayo. Pretty tasty and just 1 point per tablespoon! I was excited!

For exercise, I’ve been using EA Active 2 for the PS3. It’s a great circuit trainer with lots of variety. I haven’t been bored yet and it’s totally kicking my butt. In fact, I have to take a breather for a couple of days because I think I hurt myself. Most likely because it’s difficult to watch your form when a 12MO is dancing in your workout space and climbing on your back when you try to do push ups!

I’m looking forward to seeing the benefits of my choices, and excited to learn more about eating well.

Better Late than Never: Tribute to Fellow Crafters

Almost a year ago, I took a bunch of pictures to post on my blog. A sweet lady in my church launched a quest to get the other crafty ladies to band together to create matching handmade gifts for Grayson. She found an adorable fabric collection called “Chirp.” I received SO many cute things, and we have gotten so much use out of everything over the past year. So, here they are for all to enjoy.

The inspiration for all my diaper crafting. Two wet bags, two diaper pail liners, and a cute little water proof changing pad. All crafted by G's Aunt Bee.

Unique circle blanket crocheted by my dear friend Bethany. This size and shape was PERFECT for the stroller and the car seat. Not to mention keeping little guy warm for naps without having too much bulk around his face.

Quilt, pillows, and coaster made by Colleen (special mention to Megan who designed the owl on the little pillow). There was a lot of "tummy" time spent on the quilt, and the pillow and coaster were indispensable for nursing.

Hand-hemmed receiving blanket made by G's Grandma on his Daddy's side. Extra large size made this a perfect swaddling blanket.

Great Granny Gwen did the needlework on this cute little quilt. This got some tummy time, too!

OMG! Cutest diaper bag EVER!!!! Keri is amazing! Came with a burp cloth and extra bag to tuck inside.

Super cozy crochet afghan crafted and sent by my high school BF. G loved the weight of this all winter long, and still loves to cuddle with it! I'm so excited I get to return the favor and craft for her expected little one!!!!

Miss Lori made this colorful, useful little knapsack. It's served as diaper bag for air travel, and overnight bag to Grandma's. I expect G to get lots of use out of this over the years.

The satin lined receiving blankets are a family tradition. My Granny made them, and then my mother, and now my sister and I both make them as well. Here are the two that G's Ma (my mom) made for him. Jungle animals and Little Boy Blue.

Last, but not least, the beautiful work of Miss Vicki, the brains behind the whole craft crusade. Reversible bibs, a grab ball (oh my! What a lot of pieces to stitch together!) and a sheet for the pack n play (not pictured).

I am so blessed to have friends and family who would spend their precious time to create gifts with their own two hands rather than quickly buy something. LIfe is hectic, and spare time is sparse. These are gifts crafted with love, and I love the givers. Thank you all.