Monday, August 25, 2014

Under Way

There is only so much time in a day, a week, a month and each year as we grow older & older, the perspective we have on time changes as we age.  We seem to advance from one state of mind to another.  When I was a teenager I could only think in advance about a year or two in time and even that is stretching it.  Each month was so long and the things I wanted always seemed so far away. Now I feel I have a better grasp on time, thinking 5 & 10 years ahead of time.  It might have helped that I'm a little past a decade out of those impatient teenage years.  I'm still impatient sure, but there is more and more balance to everything I do. 

With more of this there can only be less of that, and the balance is always fluctuating.  Change is a constant & we have to learn to go with the flow, plan the best we can and try to be content & grateful for all the big & small wonders that this world holds. 

My friends, all I can say is that I've learned I have to enjoy those around me.  Really connect with them.  Learn about them, love them however I can in the balance of things and store up all those moments that strike you as wonderful.

This week is the second that I've been working on the 30 Garment Challenge, found here   ----->>>  - where I am trying to make some new clothes for summer, fall, etc.  I'm trying to use up fabrics that I have already to make some patterns that are new and others that I've been meaning to make.  The first two on the list are almost complete!

To start, I commenced making a peplum shirt (project #2) with the cute cat, mouse, bird print.  There were two fat quarters that I got from my local quilt fabric store, Rosie's. The green & blue fabrics were remnants from other projects, left in the stash graveyard to hopefully be used later on.  The grey was a recent gift from a friend who cleaned out her stash.  So there is a lot of good stash burning going on with this particular piece.

The first bit of progress was exciting to see the top half come together.  My ability to line up seams the first time has improved.  I tried to make a blue collar for the shirt and the fabric shrunk with ironing.  I want to be able to iron the collar after a washing, so that wouldn't do.  Then I decided the grey to match the peplum would be best, instead of trying to introduce a whole new fabric.

 The collar came together okay.  First attempt with this pattern, which is always tricky.  The point aren't quite even, but once the button was sewn on, it didn't show all that much.  The button was a fun suggestion by my cousin Candiece.  She suggested a brooch and this was the best I could find for my taste.  There was a green button option that I almost chose, but I thought this one brought out more colors all at once.  It's all in the details.

I loved the pattern so much and it came together so well.  The dress pattern was very much the same pattern and I kept the same sleeves as the shirt, instead of longer sleeve caps.  I also added two extra panels to the front & A POCKET!!!!!  It's my first time remembering to install one before sewing everything together.  I think that when I make this pattern again for my Dapper Day @ Disneyland dress, I will put two extra panels in the back too.  The skirt will be slightly longer for one layer, this length for another, then a lace black fabric over that for the third.  I'm excited for that addition to the garment calendar.  It's a 1950's style, and this pattern here with modifications, so it will be wearable for other events & maybe regular wear.  But anyway, isn't that white dress cute? 

All that is left for these two garments is their zippers.  They were purchased today so now I just have to get over my fear of installing zippers and we're good to go!  Pics of them worn in full street style soon to come!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My 30 Garment Challenge

The very dominantly ambitious side of my nature wanted to make this a 30 DAY Challenge to add 30 new items to my wardrobe.  Then I started to think about what it would take to make one item per day.  Could I make enough items, that are simple enough, to make more than one in a day, so that other items could take more than one day?  As I'm sure you can tell, this led to me saying, "self, this is an absurd idea, get real..."

The outcome, after much thought & planning, is a 30 Garment Challenge.  The fashionista in me wants to keep the wardrobe fresh and full of fun options.  The pocket book however doesn't allow for the shopping and retail prices.  Even with thrift store shopping, adding clothes to one's wardrobe can be expensive.  That is why, this is also a challenge to empty out the fabrics that I have in my stores already, thereby spending no new money.  Killing two birds with one stone is always a great thing.

So now that the stash has been thrashed and the sewing room this weekend at random moments looked like we'd been searched.  You know, like in the movies, or your favorite cop show on tv, where the bad guy ransacks the target's apartment just before the cops arrive and it's a whirlwind mess.

Surprisingly, (or maybe not) there were plenty of fabric options & with additional items from my existing wardrobe needing alterations, I was able to put together 30 items.  30 items that can be sewn, from my existing fabric stores, quickly & with some ease.  I've also kept in mind that fall should be coming eventually and that I play in a band and I like to wear long sleeve shirts when I play.  It's important to look fashionable when playing a black & white bass guitar.

After putting the fabrics & patterns together, along with some from my Pinterest Refashion board
---> - I've put these sneak peak photos together for you.  I'm hoping this will help me stay motivated to finish these up before winter comes.

This first image is a two in one.  The top photo inspiration lead to deciding to make this pattern's dress.  Firstly I just intended to make a peplum shirt from the #2 fabrics.  Then the inspiration photo made it impossible to resist adding it to the list.

#3 will be plenty of easy fun! Just two hem lines to unite the rectangle at the shoulders. Using the natural factory edge of the fabric for the neck line & finishing the circle sides for each arm whole. Voila! A quick wrap to add a pop of color to a dark outfit.

These sweat pants have sat unworn in my closet for a year or more now.  They are cozy & the waist fits me just right, but they are high waters.  So I've decided to ruche them like in the tutorial detailed in the link on the photo.  Hopefully that will make them prettier to wear & as a by product, the bottom edges won't get soggy when I water the yard in my pajamas.

A light and breezy addition to my wardrobe in a neutral tone.  I'm hoping these fit well & are easy to put together.  If so, I'll be making more of this pattern.

For this pattern, I'm making the dress, but I'm doubling the layer.  The blue will go underneath and act as the color block where the cream is on the inspiration photo.  This should be a nice summer dress to add.

This next addition is the coat in the photo.  Sort of a 1950's throwback.  I might bind the edges in a burgundy red for pop.  Should be elegant and a nice use of this heavy fabric I've had in my stash for awhile now.

An existing garment redo.  This tank top is hard to wear because it's too tight in the middle. The plaid top is way over sized for me, but a great color combination. So I'm hoping to put them together to make something more wearable.

#9 is a dress project I've had half finished in my closet for about six months, maybe more.  So I've decided it's time to finish it up.

#10 The blue shirt at the top is unfortunately too tight for my comfort.  It is a nice blue and has lime green flecks through out the fabric, so I've decided to put panels in the side seams, as in the inspiration photos, out of a lime green dress fabric that a friend gave me recently.

This will be my go at a color block shirt.  The purple one has never looked good, too short, baggy, so I always look frumpy and I fidget when I wear it.  The grey shirt is my favorite for it's neck line, but it's plain and I'd like to jazz it up a bit.  The two should go well together.

This shirt is going to have it's sleeves split to put buttons or beads in, just as the striped shirt in the  inspiration photo.  The floral print shirt has always been tight in the sleeves for my liking, so this should be a neat fix.

This will make for a fun pop of color and a sense of office style.  I'll put in a leather band after making this old thrift store jacket into a chunky infinity scarf.

#14 A four seam caftan dress, which I intend to make from the blue & magenta floral print where the number 17 is.  #15 is the magenta heavy weight solid material that I hope to make into a pencil skirt with a tutorial pin from Pinterest as shown in the hand drawing. #17 will be a shirt like the pink one on the pattern to go with #15.  #16 is the white shimmer fabric that is heavy weight. I'm making with the free JoAnns Fabric pattern, which is also like the inspiration photo.  #18 will be another shirt like the pink on, made out of the orange, brown & pink floral silky fabric.  Should be a fun set to make.

#19 I'm taking one of my "nailed it" Pinterest attempts (the grey shirt on the bottom of the pile) and redoing it to match the black shirt.  The black shirt is my favorite fit & the orange will be added as sleeves like the inspiration photo above for a color pop.

Two quick & easy scarves to add multiple items quickly.  It's a speed challenge as well as a quantity challenge, you now.

I think I've become very excited about this addition.  Should be one, maybe two seams and it will be super cute for fall wear.

A simple tunic, in cream linen, given to me by my cousin Candiece, with a teal binding for contrast.

Adding lace to the bottom edge and on the sleeves to give this boring grey over shirt a bit of character.

The rest are simple fabrics made into simple garments.  The patterns are mostly chosen. #25 will be the left hand, sleeveless version. #26 is the skirt in the image, however this perfectly blue colored fabric is really purple, but man the photo makes it look like it matches.  #27 is a quick over, for anytime I want to add grey/black to an outfit. #28 will most likely be made with #29's pattern, third shirt down. #29 will be the fourth shirt down on it's pattern & #30 will be two color in the black shirt's pattern. 

So wish me a good time sewing, hopefully I won't go out of my mind getting all of this done. : )

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Working Vacation...

At the beginning of July I decided to take the rest of the month off from any costumed events; after the big 4th of July Parade celebration of course.  The date to look forward to was August 9th, which will be the Annual Cortha Summer Feast!  (This will be my third year attending!)  So far, I have successfully gone the whole month without a costumed event.  I thought maybe there would be something that would pop up that I'd just have to go to, but I was strong, and stayed home from the Comic Con's Steampunk Costume Contest (off-site, free event).  It was sad not to go.  The other thing I missed that will have to be visited next year was the "Hat Day" at the Del Mar Races.

But not all was lost in the land of non-costuming.  There arose the perfect job to entice us to consider me going out of town.  This takes a bit of work, me going away for any length of time.  There's a yard to water, the house to look after, things to be done in the office, and for the first time, we would need to find someone to watch our new dogs.  This year my mom & stepdad moved in with us to help with the house & yard part.  They did a fabulous job rising the occasion.  Then the owner of Sophie, our foster girl dog, was able to stay over and give the dogs their own sort of mini-vacation.  They all did wonderful while we were away.

The trip was to Lompoc.  Hubby & I both agreed their city slogan should be "No, we're not a disease!"  But in all seriousness, the town wasn't half bad.  Not super clean, but nice and quiet.  The jobsite was fairly quiet, which is always a bonus.  When you do construction site work a lot, in the middle of Los Angeles, a quiet little gym floor job, in a quiet little town, isn't half bad.

Our two days of work were half days, split overnight, for drying times.  We arrived in the morning on the first day, got breakfast and headed to the job.  The first phase went quickly enough and then we were able to rest.  After a 5 hour drive & working on your hands & knees for 4 hours, a break sounded really good.

We had a light snack to hold us over until we could have a nice lunch & went to check into our hotel. After resting for a couple hours and freshening up, we were ready to hit the nearby tourist attraction, Solvang, CA.  A small Danish town, nestled in the mountains, about thirty minutes from Lompoc.  This was a favorite stop, for any coastal drive that my family took when I was growing up and I wanted to share it with Thom a little bit while we were nearby.

We parked the car, which you can see on the far left in this photo, then started to wander around.  We could tell the town was starting to close up for the night since we didn't arrive until around 5:30 after our nap & drive time.  Which led to our decision to find a few shops to check out before dinner.  Besides we also determined that a walk around the town would be a great way to stretch our sore working legs.

We found this cute little craft store that was both a supply shop as well as a ceramic cafe & creation zone.  Their merchandise was all very cute and exclusive feeling, like everything was from a limited supply, or uniquely made.  Like hand dye yarns, these cute stamped ribbons, unique feeling fabrics, etc.

 Oh and please don't forget these ribbons of awesomeness!  Pom Pom Trim!!!!  In awesome colors!!!!!!!!  I guess you get the idea!!!!!!......

We looked around for a while and both of us found one item each to purchase.  Hubby got a book of techniques for mixed media artwork.  He's excited to work with his Mom on some new pieces for her growing art gallery, located in her room.  :)

There were some fun clocks in this town!

Grape vines, trellised in the middle of the lawn at the hotel near the town's entrance.  I guess, why not?

Local plant/hardware store, sold these awesome metal plants that were impossible to kill.  I told hubby we should get one and he reminded me that we don't have black thumbs anymore.  Pretty cool & colorful though!

So then we had worked up an appetite and nothing else that was open looked appealing.  We walked back towards the restaurant I'd scoped out online.  Succulent Cafe.  I was hoping that the name would speak of it's atmosphere.  Their outdoor patio was nice, as was the weather.  However, we found their succulent selection lacked variety & the overall health of their plants wasn't that great.  It just struck us that a place boasting in it's name that it has a great this or that, should have the goods to back it up.

 We both enjoyed their signs. Being that we are old school sign painters, we are always noticing the signs and in artsy towns, there is always a few choice pieces to check out. The other thing we enjoyed were their potting methods.  The wood planks with metal bar & bolts...simple.

 The food was amazing!  So that made up for it.  Hubby got adventurous and got the meatloaf.  Luckily the restaurant made it naturally without onions and we didn't have to worry about it.  Their cute little mini biscuits were only awesome because of their sauce; a blood orange marmalade. 

Their homemade mustard was wonderful & it offset the fried chicken & southern greens just right.  Then there was the mac'n'cheese dish.  Real ooey gooey cheese! Yum!

We got our fill, walked around a bit more & drove back towards Lompoc.  On our way, as the sun was setting, we thought that a trip to check out the beach would be a nice ending to our first day.  There wasn't much to the drive, and after crawling along on the man-made, single lane, completely surrounded by marsh, access road, we parked to go walked to the beach.

This was only a dream, a fantasy, never to be realized.  As we found out later from the rest of the gym crew, the beach was closed for bird mating season.  So it was a good reason to get out of the sudden gusty, chilly wind and drive back to our hotel.

Day 2:

Second phase on the gym, only slightly delayed by paint yet to finish drying.  We finish in decent time & started our journey home.

Hubby surprised me by saying he wanted to go back to Solvang for lunch on our way.  This I know was just for me.  He knows how much I love the place and said that we only come up here once in a great long while, so we might as well get our fill before we go.

 We walked around for a long time and nothing seemed to call to me.

Several, generally the same, restaurants later and this one stuck out.  Authentic Danish food.

Hubs approved of the menu & agreed that it made sense to eat authentic since we are here for the experience.

I had a special sausage with mashed potatoes.  Hubby had a Monte Cristo, which was, in my opinion, the best food we'd experienced all weekend.  It was ham & turkey, with cheese on French Toast, Deep Fried!  They included a raspberry dipping sauce and the combination of those things together was A-Ma-Zing!!!

Our journey home continued through rush hour traffic in Los Angeles, to Long Beach.  We stopped there to see Hubby's brother & help them with a sticky glue residue issue.  Then on the road again to complete our trip home.  The five hour journey took us nine hours.  Oh how soft & comfortable our bed felt.

Thanks for taking the tour with me, see you next time!