Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

Having internet!  The internet in my house is really touchy, and shut down last night.  My brother hooked it back in, and now I'm happily wasting my time away on the computer.

The Hobbit.  Confession.  I claim to be a book lover, but have never read the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I tried 6 years ago to read them, starting with the Hobbit.  I kept the book in my locker at school, and read a few pages whenever I was bored in English classes.  I ended up reading the scene with Gollum over and over accidentally, and for that reason didn't really like the book.  I picked it up a few days ago, and found my bookmark in the last chapter; I never actually finished it!  Now that I have, I can't figure out why I didn't like it before, and I can't wait to read the trilogy!  

One Direction.  The music is pretty good, I thought.  On the recommendation of a friend, I watched the video diaries, and now... I. Just. Can't.  Feelings.

Being a homebody.  I love my friends, and going out and having fun.  However, I've been doing a lot of that since I got home from school, and I needed a break from society.  The last 2 days have been dreary and cold, so I've been huddled up in my room, sewing and reading and drinking coffee and eating toast.  Solitude is nice.  

Nice neighbors.  There's a quilting shop a few blocks from my house.  I hopped on my bike to run over there yesterday to pick up some white thread, and my bike broke halfway there.  The back brakes were locked up, and the wheel wouldn't turn.  I had to carry my bike the rest of the way there, and all the way home.  One of my neighbors saw me and came out with his tools, and loosened the brakes enough to wheel it home.  Somehow my wheel got dented to the point that it can't turn without brushing the brakes.  My poor bike needs fixing, but at least I know what the problem is!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How does this happen?

All of the pieces for the latest project are cut out and ready to go.  There is no white thread to be found anywhere in this house.  I guess I'll get started tomorrow, then.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


This past week, I picked up a fantastic book from the new books section of my local library.  Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, basically describes my whole existence so far.  

The argument that Cain makes is that despite the fact that society seems to think that extroversion is the best way to be, introverts have strengths and a place in society too.  She explains why being loud is looked on so favorably, and backs all of her statements up with recent psychological research.  

For as long as I've been alive, I've been told that I'm too quiet, that I need to talk more.  This book is a well researched argument for the opposite.  It's true that in order to get jobs and friends one needs some degree of social skills; however, lacking a desire to talk constantly does not make one a failure.  There is nothing wrong with a quiet child.  Most of this book was common sense to me, because I've lived the life described here.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed the validation that I felt for my lifestyle while reading this.  

I would definitely recommend that every teacher read this, and to anyone who ever has to deal with an introvert everyone should read this.  This book raises good points about how to deal with people with different personalities, and that is something that everyone can benefit from.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Love in an elevator

Love in an Elevator by Aerosmith on Grooveshark

I've been riding a lot of elevators lately.  There's no loving going on in said elevators, the song just sticks. Also, I think the end of this song would be really fun to play on a trombone, and trombone potential automatically makes a song fantastic, right?

It's been a busy weekend!  Saturday was my Grandparent's 50th anniversary, and I've been working and practicing guitar with friends.  One Direction covers, here we come!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

Good music.  I've been floating between jazz, 70's music, and One Direction all week.  All very different, but all wonderful.  

Time for reading.  I finally finished the Eragon series.  I've been curled up on the couch for the last three days, curled into a ball, devouring the last 1,000 pages of the series.  When I finished the last book, I felt so empty.  Does anyone else feel that way after reading a particularly emotionally strenuous book?  I'm not upset, but the book consumed all of my spare feelings, and I have no room for anything else.  It's a clean feeling, being emotionally drained by fiction.

Also, I went to the library and got a stack of books, which I swore I wouldn't do until I finished some of my own unread books.  But now it's done.  I'm reading a nonfiction book called Quiet, which is about why society values extroverts, and why being an introvert doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with you.  I'm enjoying it.

Summer friends.  My summer jobs are starting this week, and that means new friends!  I'm very excited about the new people at the pool this year.  Two of the new staff members go to my old high school and are in the marching band.  Finally, they've hired some of my people!  I can't wait to be friends with everyone.  Also, my internship starts Tuesday, and I'm excited to meet everyone there.

Late night coffee runs.  Getting coffee at 10 p.m. just because we can is a fantastic idea.  So is putting cornbread muffins into your purse to eat later, and then forgetting them and finding them the next day.  Yum.

Veggie sandwiches.  Melted cheese and tomato and basil, or peppers and cucumbers.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Maternity upcycle part 2

This part of the upcycle was a lot easier than making the shorts was.  I only took the side seams in and re-hemmed the top.  I did french seams, just to make the project a little more interesting to do.  It's nice to do easy things sometimes, but I probably wouldn't sew if everything was this simple.  I need a challenge!

I don't know that I'll ever wear these two together.  This reminds me a bit of the matching ensembles my mother used to dress me in, and that is a memory I'd rather not revisit.  Nevertheless, I can wear them together if I so choose.  

The only thing that may bother me is that I forgot to match the buttons.  The shorts have a pretty button, and the top has the boring white buttons that it came with.  I don't have any more that are similar to the one I used in the shorts, though.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Maternity dress upcycle

I've been working on this project since Thursday, when I finished the purple shirt.  It's been a busy couple of days, though, so I just got around to finishing the first part of the project this morning.  This is a dress that my mother wore during her pregnancy with me.  It's very 90's, though the print is decent.  Also, the fabric is really soft, and thus salvageable. 

I separated the dress into top and bottom, and used the short pattern that I developed for the HRC project with the material from the skirt.  The dress had pockets that were beautifully made with french seams.  I put the front and back pieces of my short pattern on the edge of the pockets, and this way cut the pockets in to the shorts!  That's one less thing that I had to do!

The shorts went together easily enough.  These have a little more give to them than the fabric from the last pair.  I'll definitely be getting a lot of use out of these!

Check back tomorrow for part 2 of this project!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pat Benatar

There's something about pop music from the 80's.  Maybe it has something to do with the John Hughes phase I went through, but I love 80's pop.  Pat Benatar is one of the best.  In addition, I've never read anything negative about her life.  This may be because I wasn't alive when she was going through her wild years; or maybe she was able to live a semi-normal life.  I hope it was the later.  It's always nice to see people be successful without a ton of drama and danger.

pat benatar by mycodos on Grooveshark

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The best day ever

Yesterday my friend Brooke and I took a road trip up to Racine for the color run.  We left early in the morning with the intention of going to the zoo, but never made it that far.  Instead we found a fantastic thrift store, a coffee shop, two separate bakeries, and a record store.  We hung out in the outskirts of Racine for a few hours until the race started.

The race itself was a ton of fun.  They throw color at you after every kilometer, which made the running a little easier, since there was something to look forward to.  I had a bit of trouble with my asthma, and wasn't able to run the entire thing, which was a little disappointing, since I've been running all year, and working this last month to get ready for this.  If I'm able to do this again, I will definitely run with a mask on.  

 Still clean.
 Oh, here's a funny story.  See how my right foot is a lot dirtier than the other one?  I stepped in wet cement while running earlier this week.  Oops..

 The weather was perfect for running.  It was warm and sunny, but since we were right by the lake there was a nice cool breeze.  

 The color was surprisingly easy to get off.  We just rubbed it with a towel and it all come off.  The exception is where it got wet.  My palms and the insides of my elbows are stained purple and green still.  I'm ok with that, though!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tutorial: Motivation top

Note: I put this all up on burdastyle also.

A few people have asked for more details on how I made the Motivation shirt, so I’ll try to explain it all here.  I didn’t think to take pictures as I go, so bear with me!  

There are really two parts to making this, as there is with any project; first you have to develop your pattern, and then actually construct the piece.  

A note on fabric choices.
I used sheer chiffon for this project, which necessitated several layers of fabric, for decency’s sake.  If your fabric isn’t sheer, you can save yourself a lot of work by eliminating the bottom two layers.

Making the pattern
Take a tank top that fits the way that you want your new shirt to fit and fold it in half so that the side seams are touching.  If you don’t have a tank top that fits this description, a plain tshirt should also work.  Lay the shirt on to your pattern paper so that the front of the shirt, where it’s folded in half, is on the edge of the paper.Make sure to mark where the side seam was, dividing the top in to front and back.  Trace the shirt on to the paper, so that you have a shape that looks like this:

Move the back shoulder strap to the center or the back of the pattern, and extend the back to accommodate the strap.  

Take the top 5 or so inches of the back strap and cut it off.  Rotate it about 40 degrees towards the front of the shirt, and tape it back in to place, and smooth out the curves.  Add seam allowance to the tops of the straps on both sides.

Round of the bottom corner of the back.

Cutting the pieces
Fold your fabric in half.  Lay the pattern piece so that the front edge is on the fold, and cut one full piece.  This pieces should have a full front and a back on both sides.

Skip this if you aren’t making the bottom layers.  
Leaving your fabric folded in half, lay your patter piece down away from the folded edge with room for rotating the pattern and cutting out a full front piece.  The finished pieces should have a full front and a back on only one side.  Be careful not to only cut half the front!

For both versions:
Cut a billion inches of bias tape from remaining fabric.  

Sewing the shirt
If you’re making the version with 3 layers, apply the binding tape to the two 3/4 layers from the armpit to the top of the back curve.  

Sew the shoulder seams of the top layer together.  Make sure that they cross in the back.  

Pin the two bottom layers to the top layer along the neckline and arms.  This way, you can match the shoulder seams together and ensure that the back petals aren’t twisted.  Keeping the necklines pinned together to prevent twisting, sew the shoulder seams of the two bottom layers with wrong sides together, so that the seams of the top and bottom layers face together.

Pick a spot on the edge of your garment that isn’t finished yet.  Any old spot.  Start pinning your bias tape around.  You should be able to pin continuously around every unfinished edge, provided you have enough bias tape and enough pins.  Be careful to catch every layer in the bias tape.  

Sew down the tape, and you’re done!

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

I almost forgot that today is Thursday!  It's funny how summer can distort your sense of time passing.

I have a job interview today!  A friend that I haven't seen in a long time recommended me to the company that she works for, and they called me, looking to set up an interview.  I'm not sure what I think yet of the company, but I'm open to finding out more, and if I like them and they like me, who knows?  Maybe I'll have another job this summer.

Getting in touch with old friends.  See above!  Hopefully we're getting together later this week to catch up.

Playing music.  I don't mean just listening to music, but actually making it.  I've been practicing my trombone and working on learning guitar all week, and enjoying it immensely.

Getting back in to the sewing groove.  I've got some plans for the next week.

Having a clean room.  This relates to the sewing thing a little.  While I'm working on projects my room tends to become a mass of notions and piles of scrap paper and fabric and loose threads.  I have to clean after each project or risk losing my sanity (and my pin cushion.  Not something you want to find in the middle of the night!)  Since I just finished a project, I'm going to get out the vacuum and really clean before I start the next project!

Running.  I never thought I'd say that one.  I started running to get in shape for marching band last season, and I've actually come to enjoy it.  Last night my best friend and I ran 2 miles at night, and it felt great.  She's a seasoned runner, and pushes me a lot harder than I push myself.  Surprisingly, I survived, and actually felt pretty good about the whole thing.

Road trip Saturday!  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Back in the game

It's been a week of lethargy and a severe lack of motivation for anything.  Thanks in large part to my friends for dragging me out of the house, I'm starting to feel normal again.  As part of that, I'm psyching myself back up for Me Made May!  I'm jumping back in.  

I've had this top planned out for about a month now.  Honestly, I've never made anything that went together as smoothly as this did.  It fits perfectly.  I traced a tank top for the pattern, and added the back details to that.  I was nervous that the draping would cause it to fit poorly, but this is really as close to perfect as I could have imagined.  

I tried a new technique while sewing this.  I used 306 inches of bias tape for this, and made more just in case.  I had a bit of trouble with not catching both sides of the tape, but I got better at this as I sewed, so that the arm-neck loop, which I sewed last, had the fewest trouble spots.  I added a bit of trouble for myself by not ironing the bias tape in to place before pinning.  Next time I think I may do that.  But really, bias tape is so cool!  There's no need to include seam allowances even, since the bias tape goes right over where the hem would be!  To think that all my too-short skirts could have been an extra inch longer, had I known of the marvel of bias tape.

The coolest thing about this top is that if you pick any spot on the edge, you can trace it all around the entire garment!  The neck, arm wholes, and the top layer of the body of the shirt are a continuous loop. I am very pleased with this, and might make another someday, once my bias-taping skills have improved even more.  

Monday, May 14, 2012


I don't know exactly what it is that I love about this song, but I can't stop listening to it.  I guess sometimes we all just need something a little crude and angry to pour everything in to.  

In other news, I've kind of fallen off the Me Made May wagon.  I've been feeling completely uninspired lately, for both sewing and putting outfits together.  I've also just been laying around the house, so I haven't had any reason to put on anything other than jeans and a t shirt.  My sister is making me take my sewing machine out tomorrow to hem some things for her, so maybe that'll spark something in me and I'll get my act back together.  Let's hope!

Hatefuck by The Bravery on Grooveshark

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Easy mother's day gift: Shhh, don't tell!

I'm a little short on money right now, as I'm home from school, but my summer job doesn't start for another 2 weeks.  Here's an easy gift that I whipped up in 20 minutes that I'm sure she'll enjoy!  I haven't made one of these in ages!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

Reading good books.  I'm working on Eragon this week.  I goal was to be finished with all four by Friday, which I just realized is tomorrow.  Yeah, that's not going to happen.

Funny texts from friends.  Some people know how to make me smile :)

New sheet music.  There's a music store across from my dentist's office.  Intro to guitar on clearance?  Ok.  Soundtrack to Anastasia for 3 part trombone?  Yes please!

Bike rides.  I love my bicycle.  It isn't a cute vintage style bike like Elizabeth's, but it is fully functional and I love it.  During the summer I live on my bike, and it's wonderful to be back on it, flying around the neighborhood.  I rode to the pool yesterday, where I've worked for the past 4 years.  I still know every pothole and every bump in the road by memory.  It's good to be back.

Exciting plans.  A friend and I are going on a road trip next weekend and possibly planning another in July.  Also, next weekend my brother is graduating from high school, and the week after that is my grandparent;s 50th wedding anniversary!  I'll get to spend a lot of time with family, which is wonderful.

Yummy food.  I was complaining last week that there was no healthy food in the house that wasn't molding.  My mom went grocery shopping, and now I can't wait for lunch time every day!  Yesterday I had an open faced sandwich with cheese melted on it and sliced tomatoes.  Delicious!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

MMM day 9

There's nothing better than waking up excited for the day.  I had a plan for today, and so far everything has gone as I'd hoped.  The sun is hiding behind some clouds, but I'm still excited for the rest of today! 

I bought these boots yesterday from Plato's Closet, and I'm in love with them.  My shoe collection barely fits in my closet anymore, but I just can't resist a cute pair of shoes!  This is a problem.  But these boots are comfortable, so I think I can justify the purchase.   

I made this shirt off of another shirt that I inherited from one of my cousins.  I wore it to death all through high school.  I don't wear this version much for two reasons: one, my style has changed since the beginning of high school; two, quilting cotton weaves just don't have the same amount of stretch that knits do.  I didn't add any ease in to my pattern to account for this, I just traced and went with it.  If I ever make this again, I'm adding ease, no doubt.  

Outfit Details
Shirt: self made
Cardigan: Target
Pants: Delias
Shoes: thrifted

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My mood changes with the weather

After a week of rain, today has been wonderfully sunny.  I woke up an hour and a half later than I had planned to a nice text from a friend.  What a good way to start my day!  I'm almost done cleaning my room, lunch was delicious, I found out that I get to start working on Friday, and I get to see my best friend in a couple hours!   I'm loving today!

This is yet another example of something that I made that is too short to wear independently.  This one was fine when I made it, but shrank in the wash.  The lesson: listen to your mother and pre-shrink your fabric, even if it means taking time to do laundry!  

I found my Yes and Yes calendar and hung it back up in it's rightful spot!  I had to displace some of my sister's decorations to do that, but hey, it's my room.  

It's really nice to have my room back.  

I'm all caught up in my journal too!  I feel so darn productive right now.  

Outfit Details
Dress: Self made
Leggings: Charlotte Russe
Shoes: DSW

Monday, May 7, 2012

No retreat, no regret

Well, I'm home!  The past few days have been really hectic, with packing everything up, and now with trying to unpack everything without going crazy.  My room is a disaster.  I'm trying to clean it as I unpack, which means that there are things that I don't know what to do with everywhere.  I'll sort through it all in the next day or two, though.  In theory.  I promise, I'm still doing Me Made May.  I didn't document anything this weekend, but I wore homemade things!

Interestingly enough, my dorm room is bigger than my bedroom at home.  I miss being able to spread out and organize myself.  I also miss my roommate, and having a reliable internet connection, and the food!  It's true that the "home cooked" food at school comes nowhere near real home cooked food.  It's the snack food that I miss.  I'm home with only one apple, a bag of moldy oranges, and an entire pan of brownies.  My brother and sister don't eat real food, so my mom doesn't buy it when I'm not here.  I just want to eat good things..

My brother left a cd in the car that he told me I would hate parts of, and love the rest.  There are really only a couple songs that I dislike, and they aren't even that bad.  My brother and I share similar tastes in music.  This cd was heavy on Gaslight Anthem.  It's kind of a dreary, lazy day, and Gaslight Anthem fits right in to the mood of it.  Good choice, brother.

gaslight anthem by mycodos on Grooveshark

This skirt is too short to wear in public.  Oops.  I miscalculated the waistband, and it ended up sitting higher than I wanted it too, which also meant that the hemline is higher too.  Someday I'll remake it, because I do love it.  I just need tights with it in the meantime.  While I was putting clothes away, my mom handed my a stack of old button up shirts of hers that don't fit anymore.  Most of them were a little too dowdy for my taste, but this one stood out to me.  My mom said that this one used to be her favorite, and she could never bear parting with it.  I can understand that.  It's soft and lovely, and mine now, hahaha.