Saturday, December 31, 2011

New year/ old year

This has been a busy year.  I've grown a lot through it.  I accomplished a lot in 12 months.

  • I started working out regularly
  • I learned how to march correctly
  • I am a real tromboner
  • I passed speech
  • I didn't get a job I wanted, but I was employee of the year
  • I realized that if you hate your job, you can get a new one, and I did
  • I got an opinion

Now, I would like to introduce:
A friend and I dubbed 2012 as the "year of no fear".  We're at the stage of our lives where we can keep being kids, or we can force ourselves to grow up.  It's time to step up and take responsibility for my life.  Growing up is scary, but with my friends growing along with me, I believe I can do it.  That is my overarching resolution; to take more responsibility for what I do.    

eat one more fruit/veggie a day
be able to run 3 miles by May
be able to consistently touch my toes

make more of an effort to keep in touch with friends
read at least a book a month, for fun
save more money
use my camera more

learn HTML
reopen the etsy shop!

Friday, December 30, 2011

HRC: Ruboff/pinning

A while ago, I came across the term "ruboff".  The idea is that you pin fabric along the grain of a pre-existing garment that fits well, in order to remake it.  I decided to give it a go, as I discussed in here.   As I set myself to pinning, I realized that my precious blue blazer doesn't have a clear grain line.  There went all my plans for perfect darts and smooth grain lines.  I do have a good eye for parallel lines, so this shouldn't turn out too bad, but it won't be as perfect as I'd hoped.  I had to cut pieces from my fabric out to pin, because trying to pin my whole 3 yards of heavy suiting onto a little jacket was quite a mess.  I should have been doing this on muslin, and then translating it later, but the fabric store by my house is a quilting store, and the muslin was more expensive than my fabric.  So no muslin for this girl.  Luckily nothing ended up being cut too small for what I was trying to pin, but I wasted more fabric than I would have liked to.  
 One piece at a time, starting with the blazer front and working my way around to the back and sleeves, I pinned my fabric along the seam lines, and did my best to mark off all darts and other important points.
 Then I took my chalk-pencil and traced over the lines so draw a picture onto my fabric.  I really ought to figure out how to sharpen these pencils.
 Once the general outline was drawn on, I removed the pins and added seam allowances.  I use a 1/2 inch seam allowance on all my projects.  I know I ought to use more than that, but I feel like I can eek out more use from fabric with half an inch, and nothing bad has happened to my because of it so far.
 I cut my pieces out again so that I'd have a whole garment instead of the half that I rubbed off, and then cut them out of the lining too.
 I can't tell if my lining is grey or green, or something in the middle of the two, but it doesn't look too off, so I'm ok with it.
I'm actually interfacing this project.  Normally I'm much too lazy, but I want this to be nice, since I put so much time into it already.  I'm doing it by hand, instead of by machine.  I'll be talking about what that was like next time this project comes up again!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

So clear! So wonderful!

New camera!  It works fantastically.  I've been playing with it all week.  Seriously, I just keep taking pictures of my messy room because they come out so clear that I think it's beautiful.  Plus, it has a self timer, so I can do real outfit photos!  I'm a little nervous about how it will fit in my usual outfit place at school.  It's a lot of fun right now.

My family.  They're all wonderful people, and I had so much fun with them at Christmas.  I'm still giggling at my grandma's preference for large buns, and my uncle's velvet thong.  We've got some real characters.

New music.  I finally got my hands on Running from a Gamble, the newer Company of Thieves cd, and I've been listening to it on repeat since Christmas.  It's really good.  Pleased.

Tamora Pierce.  I love this woman.  Sometimes I think that I should find a new favorite author, one that writes for grown-ups, not kids.  Then I reread one of her books and I remember why I love her so much.  My dad got my two of her books for Christmas: Terrier, and the newest one, Mastiff, that I haven't read yet.  I spent the last few days rereading Terrier and Bloodhound, so that I would remember everything that happened before I started the series closer.  I have been looking forward to this book for ages.  I want her to end up with Rosto so badly.  Also, she should not die, and stuff.

The last time I read the first two of this series, I recall being surprised at the amount of politics in them.  Mrs. Pierce doesn't leave you guessing at her opinions of current public debate.  I like it.  I happen to agree with her opinions, and I think that if she can help people to see the reasons behind them, that a good thing will have been accomplished.  I didn't always agree with her, but I've grown up a lot since I first stumbled upon her books in the library.  A lot changes as a mot gets older.

Good asthma.  I ran out of my asthma pills for a week, before Christmas.  The last time I missed one for a day, it took me a week to feel up to par again.  I was kind of scared earlier this week, but I'm doing a lot better now.  I've been able to work out for the past few days and it hasn't killed me yet.  I like it when my lungs cooperate.

"Free time".  Does this actually exist in real life?  For the last week and a half I've been lazing around, hardly doing anything except for reading.  Occasionally I've seen friends.  Mostly I've been curled up with a book.  Life is good.  I don't want to have to go back to school, because then I will lose my free time again.  However, I miss my roommate and my trombone, so I guess I will be glad to get back.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Project: HRC

Generally, when I post about things that I've made, I do the making, and then the writing.  I'm about to tackle a larger project, and I feel it may be more beneficial to blog as I go.  That way, I'm not trying to recall all of the agony fun after the fact.

I found this photo in the January issue of Glamour:
I'm not particularly concerned with what the generic man's deal breakers are when it comes to dating, but I was very impressed by the model's suit.  I'm no stranger to blazers, but the idea of a whole suit made in a fun color, to be worn casually?  I like it.  It reminded me a little of Mrs. Clinton.  She is famous for her colored pantsuits, after all.
I got to thinking: what if I made myself a Hillary Clinton pantsuit, but updated to shorts? A while ago I learned about a technique for drafting patterns called making a ruboff, where you pin material to a garment that you already own, to copy it.  I have a blazer that I love that is starting to pill from overuse.  I bought it used for $11 a few years ago, and I wear it constantly.  Here's proof:
I wore it yesterday with a blue and grey striped shirt and a new green scarf, and today with a blue and white striped shirt and a borrow scarf.  This is my daily uniform.  I need my trusty blazer to last forever.  Unfortunately, that may not be possible.  That is why it seemed like the perfect victim to try doing a ruboff of.  I'll be using a lot of new techniques to try to get this project done, and I have very limited time to do it in, if I want to finish it before the summer.  I'm going to focus on finishing the blazer in the next two weeks, and not get my hopes up about finishing shorts by then, too.  I have never successfully completed a pair of shorts, and I don't have enough material to rush through and make mistakes.  Hopefully I'll be able to motivate myself to post about the new techniques as I sew.  

Monday, December 26, 2011

12 Days of Christmas

This is one of my favorite christmas songs.  My mom cross stitched a set of 12 days of christmas ornaments ages ago, and my brother and sister and I have a tradition of hanging them on the tree in time with the music.  On the last verse, we run around the tree trying to find the ornament for the line of the song that's being sung.  It's a lot of fun, and I look forward to it every year.

I had a fantastic christmas with my family.  I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard, or so much.  My family is hilarious, and I love them all.

12 days
dress, tightspumps, bag, bow 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fly free

On Sunday I went to JoAnn Fabrics with my brother, looking for something to occupy myself with over break.  I had an idea for a project that I'll be starting next week that I needed fabric for.  In addition to what I was looking for, I found this bird-printed flannel in the clearance section.  For $2.17 I got a yard of it.  Usually cutesy flannel is a no-brainer for pajama pants; however, I have an aversion to wearing pants to bed.  So, I made myself a skirt instead.  
I cut the yardage in half, and cut a strip off of the top of one side to make the waistband out of.  This left me with two uneven rectangles.  Instead of making them match up exactly, I cut tapering triangles out of the top of the larger piece, so that my side lengths matched, but the skirt would still be slightly longer in the back.  You can really see it when it's hanging up with the waistbands matching up, but while it's being worn it's not that obvious.  I thought this was kind of a great idea, although my mother disagreed.  I tend to wear my skirts lower in the front, but with this one I'm more confident that my rear end will stay covered.  
I lined the waistband with the sleeve of a man's dress shirt that I bought from goodwill for a dollar.  Remember that awesome video of different ways to wear a man's shirt?  Yeah, it didn't work that well for me.  But I have lots of plans for my man's shirt that involve chopping it to bits, and fully getting my money's worth from it.  
I'm also really happy with how the pocket turned out.  Usually I add pockets in as a last minute detail, and end up screwing it up somehow.  In the past, they've been too narrow to hold anything, the opening has been to small to get my hand into, and it's just looked sloppy from the outside.  This one works, though.  Also, I think that it looks even better than it did at first, after I ironed it and the pleats.  If there's one thing that my mother has taught me, it's that an iron can work wonders.  Don't ever give up on something until you've ironed it.  
Isn't the pattern the cutest?  
Since it's flannel, it tends to stick on itself, so I have to be careful not to flash everyone when I stand up.  Also, it turned out maybe 2 inches shorter than I would have liked it, but that's my own fault for not buying more of it.  I had a 2x4 inch piece left over, so there was no way to lengthen it.  Overall I'm really pleased with this.  I'm not sure that I'll wear it terribly much, but maybe I will.  If not, I'm sure I'll be able to find it a happy home.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

Being home.  It's so nice to be here.  That's all.

Time for reading.  After barely reading anything for fun all semester, I've done 2 books in the last 2 days, and I have a whole stack waiting for me.  Yesterday I went to the library to gather my supplies for the week, and all of my favorite librarians were there.  I got a big hug from Bonnie, who I've known all my life, and visited with Sue and Joan.  I wandered through the aisles and smelled the library smell, and finally felt like I was home for real.  I started tearing up on the way back to the car.  Emotional times.

Coffee.  I like coffee.  My mom makes coffee every morning, which means that when I get out of bed the coffee is already made, and I only have to drink it.  Also, my boyfriend got me my own coffee machine for christmas.  I can't use it now (unless I run it in my bedroom...) but once school starts, we can use it.  It's a lot bigger than my roommate's, which only makes enough for 2 people at a time.  Usually there are at least 3 of us looking for coffee or tea at once.  Mmmm coffee.

Sewing plans.  Wait and see, friends, wait and see.

Delicious holiday food.  Fact: I like cookies.  I like my mom's cookies.  There are lots of cookies, and I have no shame about eating them all.  Also, skorpa.  Skorpa is toasted coffeecake with lots of cardamom in it.  I've only ever dipped it into hot chocolate.  This year, it goes in my coffee, then in my stomach.  Delicious.

Seeing people that I've missed.  I've been slowly making the rounds of all the people that I haven't seen; my friends, my family, my librarians; it's wonderful to see everyone, and to spend time with them.  Being away from people makes me appreciate the time that I do spend with them a lot more.

You!  I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson last night, and now I just want to go around telling everyone that I love them and appreciate them.  To all my real life friends, I love you!  To everyone who reads my rambling, thank you.  Thank you for caring.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Something new

I got a haircut! 

Just kidding!  I didn't, but my camera is so bad that it looks like I did.  Yesterday I tried pin curls for the first time.  I've wanted to do pin curls ever since I was in grade school, when I read the Molly series from the American Girl books.  If I remember correctly, her older sister sets her curls with pins curls by wrapping hair around her fingers, and then making a bobby pin X over the curl until they dry.  I have very thick hair, and for most of my life it's been long, so securing a section with a bobby pin was out of the question.  Only recently have I begun to explore the art of bobby pin usage.  I wasn't sure that pin culs would work on my hair, since it's already pretty short.  It worked better than I thought, though:
When I first took the pins out I was a little skeptical, but once I combed through the curls they calmed down a little bit.  I don't know if I would ever do this regularly, since it took a while to get all the pins in place, and then I had to wait for a few hours for my hair to dry. (I hate hairdryers).  The results are unpredictable.  Sometime I'll try curling my hair with a curling iron, and see if I can't get the same results that way.

Since cutting my hair short, I've been thinking about going shorter.  I want to do a pixie cut while I'm young, before the whole 'society requires older women to have short hair' thing happens.  Looking at these pictures, it really doesn't look too bad.. it actually looks kind of good.  Maybe I'll give it a short this summer.  Hm..

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A day well spent

When I was a kid I used to go to the library religiously.  Every weekend I would totter through the door, a stack of library books balanced precariously in my arms.  I would curl up in the corner armchair and read until my bladder forced me to pause, and even that wouldn’t stop me for long.  I was oblivious to everything; the tv my brother was watching a few yards away wouldn’t even register in my mind.

I haven’t spent a weekend like that in years.  The ability to lose myself completely in a book is a skill whose loss is termed “growing up”.  That ability to tune the world out completely is never truly lost, but it becomes much harder to slip into the mind of a character and drown out the rest.

For the past 7 hours I have been reading The Thirteenth Tale.  At points, I had a hard time distinguishing the story of the author from the narrator from myself.  Sometimes, when I’ve been reading for a while, I become the characters.  I think like they do, I speak like them.  If I try to write anything down it comes out in their voice.  Sometimes I want to shake myself out of this funk and move about my day, my busy work.  Sometimes I want to sit and live in that quiet other world, the one that exists only in the book and in my head.  I put off contact with other people, because they revive reality, and I don’t want to be there yet.

I haven’t had time to sit and read for hours in ages, but now I do.  What should I read next?

Pretty things

Everyone should go check out Elizabeth Tyler on flickr.  (Maybe it's Tyler Elizabeth. I don't know).  But his/her work is really cool.  I'm a fan.  Go look.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dustland Fairytale

dustland fairytale
dress, coat, heelsclutchearrings, hairbow

The Killer's first cd came out in 2004, when I was 13.  It was the same year that I discovered Fall Out Boy.  Unlike FOB, I still consider the Killers one of my favorite bands.  Each cd means something different to me, at different times of the year.  This song is from their last cd, Day and Age.  This cd didn't seem to do as well as the previous ones; it's a different sound, for a different mood.  Dustland fairytale is the perfect example of this.  It's a little dreamy, a little too real; half cinderella story and half cornfield.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I finally got around to making some new collages, so I have some fresh material to choose from.  These looks are very clean and polished looking.  Is it the sharp colors, or the neat rows of buttons?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

My best friend is here! I'm so happy.

She didn't get a parking ticket from parking services.  They are serious about their shit.  We found a spot where she could park last night until 7am.  We got up at a quarter to 7 and shoved clothes over our pajamas  and went and got the car, and circled around waiting for parking services to open up at 7:30.  We got the parking pass, though, so now she's golden!

Eating wonderful pie/ frozen cookie dough and ice cream before bed/ chocolate for breakfast.

We'll be home tomorrow night.  I get to see my family and boyfriend and she gets to sleep on a real bed.  Sounds like heaven, right?

Talking about the future.  I'm going to meet someone in 20 minutes to talk about what I want to do with my life, and I'm pretty excited about it.  Also, wedding planning is a lot of fun.  For the weddings that may or may not happen, anywhere in the next 20 years or so.

Being done with homework.  For the next 3 weeks, anyway.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dorm decorations

Since we're all going home for the holidays, it only makes sense that we decorated like mad.  I really like all the decorations, and I hope that we leave them up for a while.  It's really nice to come home late at night to a dark common room that's lit up by these tiny lights.  So pretty!
This isn't a very good photo, but essentially we have ornaments hung from the ceiling where the hallway turns into the common room.

More tiny lights, and snowflakes on our fake brick wall! Our room is actually decorated as Hogwarts, so our christmas decorations are on top of our harry potter ones.  Best idea ever.
We also have a tiny christmas tree.

That just about sums up our festivity.  I've been enjoying it, and I'm a little sad to say goodbye to all of our work decorating, since we're likely going to take it all down once we get back.  I guess that's what happens with holiday decorations, though.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm a hufflepuff

 Or maybe a bumblebee.  More likely, I'm a hufflepuff.

Today has been really nice.  I worked and relaxed, and tomorrow my best friend is coming here!

Outfit Details:
Shirt: Kohl's
Skirt: self made
Collar: self made
Belt: H&M
Tights: Hanes
Shoes: Wanted

On another note, last night I cleaned out my closet.  I have way too many clothes, and not enough room for all of it in my tiny door closet.  For each category of clothing, I counted how many items I had, and pull the 1/4 that I wear the least.  Everything that I pulled is packed away in a suitcase to take home, and leave there.  If I can go a semester without missing it, then it'll be safe to get rid of it.  Although, I did cheat a bit by pulling warm weather clothes.  I won't need those here anyway, so those are better off home too.  Now I can close my closet doors and all of my dresser drawers without a struggle, and it'll be easier to find things that I really want to wear, since everything will be less crowded by things that I don't want to wear. 
going away, and eventually to a better home!

What's in my (dream) bag

I always found posts that people do about what they carry around with them to be fascinating.  To be able to see what it is that they find to be the most important things to have with them is like a privileged little glimpse into their real life, not the glossy version that we see on their blog.

When I was younger, I always spent my birthday money on bags.  Forget clothes or shoes, I was a bag girl.  Now, things have changed.  I still have quite a few purses.  However, they're all cheep kiddy purses that I've bought over the years.  Since coming to college, I've stopped carrying a purse altogether.   It's too hard to balance a purse with all the requirements for classes, so last year I did what I swore I'd never do, and bought a boring black backpack.  I love my backpack.  I don't care that it isn't the most visually appealing, because it's comfortable and it leaves my hands free.  I still wish sometimes that I carried a purse around.  I daydream about all the little things that I would stash in it.

This is the little bag that I throw into my backpack, or take with me if I'm going without the backpack.  It has my phone, inhaler, chapsticks, hand sanitizer, pocket mirror, ID, money, and bandaids, as well as my keys: my bare necessities.

What would I carry around in my dream bag?

A notebook and pen, something cute and functional.  I am a perpetual list maker (if you couldn't tell), and it really stinks when it's list time and there's no paper around.
I love these notebooks my Mossery on etsy.  They're so cute, and look really well made.  I'm a sucker for professionalism, and these guys have it down.

A water bottle.  Since coming to college, I've come to understand that a water bottle is one of the most important things that you can carry around with you.
I like this one from target.  It's small enough to fit into a bag comfortably, but will still hold enough water to last a decent amount of time.  Plus, having a filter seems like a pretty good idea, particularly since there's a rumored connection between the campus's water supply and kidney stones.

Food. I try to always carry around at least an apple with me.  You never know when you'll be stuck somewhere and starving.

First aid kit. I wouldn't carry a full on kit everywhere that I go, but I do tend to always have a few small items with me.
These are the bandaids that I currently keep in my little bag, as well as my inhaler and a package of kleenex.

Makeup things.  Because I'm a girl, you know?
I haven't bought one of these in years, because every time I find one that I like enough to buy, I end up shattering it within a month.  Once I break the one that I have now, I think I may invest in this one.  It's so pretty!
I am a chapstick addict.  I usually have 2 different types on me at a time, and countless more stashed in various places at home.   This one sounds great.  

In addition to a pocket mirror and chapstick, I would also carry qtips and nail clippers with me; the clippers for broken nails and emergency scissors, and the qtips for fixing rouge eye makeup.  

Techy things.  I always have my phone with me, but ideally I would always have my camera too.  You never know where life will take you, and when you'll wish you had it with.

Everywhere things.  You know, your keys, your wallet, all those things that you never leave the house without anyway.

An umbrella.
It rains all the time here.  Tragically, I tend to always take this out of my bag the night before a rainy day.  Always keep it with you!

Right now my dream bag looks something like this:
It's big enough to hold everything that I would want to carry, plus a little knitting.  It doesn't look like a kiddie purse, or like an old lady bag, either.

What would you put in your dream bag?

Monday, December 12, 2011

No woman no cry

No woman no cry

dress, stockings, flats, bracelet

I've heard debates about Bob Marley's version of this song before.  It's hard to tell exactly what the meaning of this song is.  Most parties fall either in the "be happy, you don't have a girlfriend and the stress related to her" or the "don't cry, girl" categories.   I personally belong to the second group.

The original is alright, but I love the cover by Joan Baez.  Her version seems more of an encouragement than anything else.  This week seems to be Trouble Week, so I felt that we could all use a little encouragement, courtesy of Bob Dylan's ex-girlfriend.  She never gained quite the following that he did (who has?) but she is a great artist in her own right.  If you've never given her a shot, I recommend doing it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Baby doll body con

I'd forgotten that this notebook used to be my journal for a spanish class, and that instead of ripping the used pages out, I just pasted over them.  Now the world will know of my messy handwriting.

I don't wear 'bodycon" clothes.  You know, the dresses that hug every single curve?  I envy those with the confidence to try it.  Maybe it doesn't stand for body conscious, but for body confidence.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tickle Me Dress

This is my creation from fall break.  I realize that that was ages ago, and that I really ought to be better about posting about these things.  I was really impressed with how well this turned out, considering how much time I put in to it.  I drew out my directions at work the week before break, trying to figure out how best to attach the lining and piece it all together.  
 I used the same pattern as the gatsby dress, altered to fix the problems that I'd had last time.  I also switched to a rectangle skirt, from the circle I used last time.  That saved me a lot of time, since normally I draft all my patterns out by hand.

I got the purple linen from the Pilsen fabric store that I love.  I also got the zipper there.  It was intended for another project, but I like it better in this one.  The lining is an old pillow case that was white at one time, and has yellow with age.  It's very stiff, especially compared to the linen.  I really liked the combination of colors.  It makes me feel a bit like an easter egg, no lie.
 I'm really happy with the way the lining came out, for the most part.  I only lined the bodice, but all the seams came out nice and straight.
 The only parts that I'm unhappy with are the hearts.  One side came out fine, but the other one is a gaping blob.  They look really bad from the inside, too.  I wanted to jump on the cut-out heart bandwagon, but didn't want to go for a huge cut out that would make me feel underdressed.  These side cut out hearts are just small enough, and perfectly placed, for tickling.

Oh, and I cut out the waistband that the gatsby dress had, and this version looks a lot frumpier.  I really can't wear it without the belt without looking like prego.
I've fallen in love with the deep hem.  I've been doing it on all my projects lately.  I don't know if it actually makes it look better, but it makes me happy, and that's what matters, right?