Meg Joins the Navy

A new member of the Navy Nurse Corps and a proud wife of a Navy corpsman stationed together at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

26 February 2013

DIY Victoria's Secret PINK High-Waisted Ruffle Skirt

 I have the awful (but not so bad) problem while shopping now that when I find something I like, it often crosses my mind, "Hey, I can make that! and save a lot of money by doing it too!"  So I inevitably have a folder filled with pictures of things I've found shopping that I told myself I would make and not buy.  One in particular was this skirt from Victoria's Secret PINK...

It is a really simple project.

You'll need:
  • Fabric of your choosing (you'll want it to be at least 20" wide... most fabrics come pretty wide anyways so this shouldn't be a problem).  Get it in a length twice as long as your hip measurement.
  • Ribbed cotton fabric for waistband (go by your measurements)
  • 25-30" zipper to match fabric (when in doubt go with the bigger size, you can cut it shorter but not make it longer)
 1.  Lay skirt fabric out, measure and cut for desired length, adding 2 inches for seams.
2.  Pin seams along long and short edges, folding over fraying side to be hidden under the crease (this prevents it from further fraying during wear and wash).
3.  Sew these edges, creating a rectangular piece with each edge folded over and sewn.
4.  For beginning sewers, cut a piece of yarn/ribbon/string to the length of your waist, plus one inch for seam.  This will be used as your guide when creating the pleats.
5.  Pin fabric in one inch pleats on one of the long sides of the fabric.  They should not overlap, but start where one ends.  You may need to play with the spacing when finished in case it has ended up too large or small in measurement for your hips.
6.  Sew 1/4" in from top to stabilize the pleats.
7.  With ribbed cotton fabric, measure a piece to be 7" wide by your waist measurement.
8.  Fold ribbed fabric length-wise (hotdog style) and pin both edges to close the fabric along pleats with the right side facing each other (when pinned, it should flip up and create a seam on the inside with a natural seam at the top from where it was folded over).
9.  Sew these pieces together.
10.  All that's left is to combine the long piece into a circle by adding the zipper.  Aligning the top of the zipper to the top of the skirt, pin in place on both sides. The ribbed fabric vs. the bottom of the skirt should naturally make a 45 degree angle, coming in smaller at your waist.
11.  Sew each side of the zipper.  If there is extra zipper on the bottom, simply cut off and sew a few times back and forth across the end.

I plan on making more of these in different fabric and patterns because it's a fun skirt!

21 February 2013

Mason Jar Decorations

Who doesn't love a mason jar?!

I needed more space in my little pantry so I decided to get creative with storage of items I don't use everyday, which means the baking stuff.  I also happened to need some sort of decoration above the cabinets to fill that empty space.  So I came up with the idea to store flour, sugar, brown sugar, and confectionery sugar in mason jars and put them on display.


I wanted to get on the band wagon with the chalkboard paint and went out to buy it from Michael's by Martha Stewart.  I painted the lid with the chalkboard paint only.  However, I was slightly disappointed because writing on it was like in elementary school when you got the portable chalkboard slates and you got the crappy one that was hard to write on.  Going to try some more with the chalkboard paint I bought before I totally diss it.

I love how the jars are decorative and freed up a lot of space in my pantry (I can fit about two 5 pound bags of flour in a large mason jar).

16 February 2013

Quick Sew & Zip Skirt

This skirt is a very quick sew and for beginning sewers.  It can make a nice pencil skirt and a quick sew at the top doesn't make the best waist line but if you're wearing a belt or shirt over top, it doesn't need one.

You'll need:
  • Fabric (desired width depending upon if you want it below, at, or above the knee)
  • Interfacing if your fabric is see-through
  • Matching thread
  • 6" zipper to match
1.  Cut fabric to desired width, adding an extra 3 inches for seams.
2.  Cut fabric length-wise by measuring hips, adding 4 inches for seam.
3.  Pin long edges by folding over the frays so that they are on the inside of the seam.  (This prevents them from fraying during wear and washing.
4.  Sew long edge seams, creating the hem.
5.  Pin short edges same as above.
6.  Sew short edge seams. (I prefer to do this to make sure the seams do not fall apart when sewing in the zipper.)  You should now have a rectangular piece of fabric with the edges all formed into seams.
7. While holding the outside pattern (right side) facing each other, use pencil or chalk to draw a 45 degree angle.  The widest part of the fabric will be the bottom, and the smallest the waist (Make sure your 45 degree angle does not make your waist smaller than your waist measurement).

8.  Line the top of the zipper with the top of the skirt using the 45 degree angle as your seam reference.  Pin into place with the zipper on the right side (so that it shows with the outside pattern).  Do not make it too close that you will be sewing over the zipper.  If you are having difficulties, try ironing the fabric to keep it more stiff.
9.  When you get the zipper pinned on one side, repeat for the other side.
10.  Sew along both edges of zipper, and include a straight stitch across bottom to secure the bottom of the zipper.

11.  With zipper in place, pin along the chalk/pencil mark to finish connecting the sides of the skirt and sew together.

This skirt is great because you can really change it up depending upon the fabric you decide to use.

11 February 2013

My Career as a Navy Nurse... 4 Months In

It's been quite the adventure already since graduating from nursing school in May, passing the NCLEX, going to Officer Development School, and first reporting for duty at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  A little insight into what my first 4 months have been like and what I expect as a new nurse in the Navy...

Upon leaving ODS and reporting to my first duty station, I spent 6 weeks hopping around the hospital, spending a day or 2 on each unit.  Typically (unless there is an intense need or you have previous nursing experience), you start working 9 months in MCIN (mother/child/infant nursing aka postpartum and labor & delivery), and then 9 months MSW (multi-service ward/medical-surgical nursing).  After that you get to make a "wish list" or a "Here's what billets are open, you can choose from these list."

I'm currently 3 months down on my MCIN rotation.  I've been working on a postpartum unit, which I must say, despite being absolutely bored there during nursing school, I like it.  I feel like I'm losing all sense of skills, except helping with breastfeeding, handling newborns, soothing babies, feeling fundus-es (fundi? fundes's?), and looking at bleeding vaginas all day, but I love all the people I work with and it's nice to be able to work on my own and not have a preceptor on my back.  I'm trying to remind myself it's my resume builder in case when my service is up I decided to get out of the Navy, I'll be diversified in my nursing experience.  I hope to get to cross-train soon in labor & delivery or the nursery we have for babies who need a little bit of monitoring.

Other lovely things I get to do as a postpartum nurse:
Yesterday I spent almost 2 hours throughout the day what every man dreams of doing... playing with a woman's double-D's.  Sleepy babies + breastfeeding difficulties = you gotta do what you gotta do... like milking another woman.

Dealing with foul language... if there's one thing about my military patients, it's the lack of censor when it comes to cursing.  But if you let the F-bomb drop, I will call you out in front of your family and friends.

I literally put my face inches away from bloody vaginas multiple times a day and don't even think twice about it anymore.

I fish clots out of the toilet with nothing on but a little latex glove. 

I deal with new moms with an average age of 21.  Makes me feel like I'm behind schedule in the military community.

But I also get to bring the baby in for the C-section mom and hand the baby off for her to hold for the first time.  I love being part of that experience and it never gets old. 

 Becoming a Navy nurse has been the best decision I've made for myself.

05 February 2013

See-through Shawl

 This is a great shawl to wear around the house when you're slightly cold, or gives that kick for a plain t-shirt.  The project can be modified by knitting more tightly to make it a more solid piece.

You'll need:
  • 1 skein of yarn of your choice (softer is better)
  • Large knitting needles (you'll be knitting loosely so size isn't important, I'd try 12 or larger)
  • Darning needle
  1. Cast on  20 stitches, extremely loosely. You'll want each stitch to be 1-2 inches long.
  2. Knit extremely loosely until piece measures 45 inches long.  Bind off all stitches.
  3. Using bind off edge of piece, sew together that edge to the side of cast on edge, creating a circle.
  4. Add tassles if desired evenly along bottom edge.
To make tassle:
  1. Using a piece of cardboard, book, or notebook that corresponds to how long you want the tassles, wrap yarn around about 10 times.  Cut end of yarn.
  2. Carefully remove off of  measuring tool and wrap yarn around one end tightly.  Cut yarn and secure.
  3. Cut bottom of tassle to free yarn to dangle.
  4. Secure to project by threading a darning needle and weaving through top of tassle through the loop of yarns.

    01 February 2013

    Emerald Isle, NC

    A recent half hour drive took me to a deserted beach on a nice 75 degree day in late January.

    It's still weird to think that I'm living so close to the OBX.  A ferry ride from Emerald Isle gets me to Ocracoke Island.