Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Queen City Living

Happy Halloween!  I completely forgot it was Halloween until Matt Lauer mentioned it this morning on the Today show.  To be honest, I've been sorta-sick/sorta-allergic and was mostly focused on breathing out of my nose this morning.  My Halloween plans are making chicken parm and watching the Great Pumpkin.  Right now, I'm watching Barefoot Contessa and honestly, this is what Halloween is all about for me.

So, I have some good news and some bad news!  What do you want first?  Hmm, let's focus on the good news: we're moving to Charlotte!  I got a job with Nick's company and he'll transfer to a program down there.  We're both so excited; we've had our sights set on Charlotte for a year and it's finally happening.  Goodbye, moldy apartment!  Goodbye, expensive rent!  Goodbye, WMATA!  I won't miss any of you!  Wheee!!

So the bad news, and I know you're all terribly disappointed, is that I probably won't get to sew for the rest of the year.  I need to bind a mini-quilt I made my mom, and then all my fabric, patterns and notions are getting packed into Rubbermaid containers, awaiting their new home.  This is extra disappointing to me because I am so close to my goals for the year!  But sometimes sacrifices have to be made, and this will be mine.  Honestly, it's worth it, because we'll be in a bigger place, making more money, and spending less on groceries.  And I'm setting my sights on a sewing room!  Yes, that's right, we can afford something bigger than a one-bedroom apartment.  Can you believe it?

So hopefully I won't forget about this blog completely in the next month, but things are going to move pretty quickly, as I'm supposed to start November 19.  Whoa.  I don't even have somewhere to live!  Even if I do forget about you next month, know that I'll return.  I'm already starting my plans for 2013.  I can't give up yet!

Happy Halloween everyone!  And if you're in Charlotte, say hi!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Little Fall Projects

I've officially given up on my Minoru.  The fabric and pattern never magically arrived at my door, so I took it as a sign.  I'm two for three (is that the saying?) on my fall projects.  Sigh.

I've been doing a few other stitchings lately, though.  Nothing too exciting.

My mom's been helping me out a lot lately, quilting and now she's knitting an infinity scarf, so I'm working on a few things for her.  First is this little owl scene.  The close-up of that owl makes me think it's making this face: O___o, probably because I gave it a crew cut.  Sorry, little buddy.

These might turn into another gift for my mom.  At first I thought I'd make her a mini Modern Maples quilt, but now I'm considering making one of the Barn Bats blocks from Elizabeth Hartman.  Opinions?  

I was boo'ed this week at work (before you think I'm being bullied) and my job, in exchange, was to boo two more co-workers.  I don't have a ton of money to go out and buy fun things this week, so I used what I had and sewed up two Perfect Zip Pouches and stuck a Cadbury Dairy Milk in each.  The whole aim is to remain anonymous--like a ghost?--but, because I'm an idiot, I wore my Flea Market Fancy shirt today, not even connecting the two.  I don't know that my co-worker saw me, but lord, I really wonder about myself sometimes.


I'm heading to Charlotte for a quick trip Thursday and Friday, so I guess it's a good thing I'm no longer making a jacket before Halloween!  Speaking of Halloween, does anyone else think it's awesome ABC is showing It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on the 31st, instead of weeks before?  For those of us who don't get trick-or-treaters, it's a blessing.

See you soon!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Project 22: The Colette Sencha blouse

Two for two on my fall sewing goals!  Woo!  Unfortunately, something tells me I'll miss my Minoru jacket deadline, but you know what?  I'm going to stay optimistic and hope that the fabric and pattern land on my doorstep this month.  I've stopped buying fabric for the time being because I want an iPhone November 1 (when I'm eligible for an upgrade) and I don't want to eat ketchup packets because I can't afford real food.  So far, I'm doing okay.  I went to Joann's today (and saved crazy amounts of money) and didn't come home with a single cut of fabric.  However, I came home with thread, stabilizer, batting, and rotary blades instead.  This may not excite you, but damn, it gets me all wound up!

Okay, on to the pattern review.  But first, a question: if you haven't made a Sencha yet, well, why not?

Pattern description
Button-back blouse with cap sleeves and waist tucks

Pattern sizing
0-18.  This is a 6, as the size 8 (my usual Colette top size) would've been too loose.

Did it look like the drawing on the envelope when you were done with it?
Yes! (I always consider that a success.)

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Oh my gosh, yes.  This shirt went from start to finish in about 2.5 hours.  I bought buttons today--that was the only thing holding me back from completing it Friday night.  

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
As happy as I am with the outcome, and the fact that it was a quick sew, I do have a couple things I'd alter:
  • When I have it on (see below), there's a lot of extra fabric between my armpits and my bust.  I'm going to guess this is because I have such narrow shoulders.  I should look into working on that.
  • It's very short!  I have a short torso and normally everything is too long on me, but I'll need a camisole under this to wear it to work.
I can't wait until I have a house where I can actually take pictures of myself.  This is BS.  Also this photo makes me look so hippy.

Fabric used
Woven in Poppy from Lotta Jansdotter's Bella line.  I originally bought this with a Macaron in mind, but I really like it as a Sencha.

Pattern design changes or alterations made
Very minor ones: I didn't catchstitch the inside of the sleeves or the back placket.  For the back, I decided the buttonholes and buttons would keep the placket in place, and on the sleeves, I topstitched the edges.

Would you sew it again?
I might!  I'd like to try the other necklines, with the tucks or the tie.  Maybe in a fancier fabric, though.

I think this is a great fall blouse!  Yay orange!

Yesterday we had big plans to go to a pig roast in Palmyra celebrating the new By Hand magazine.  Well, that failed after we sat in traffic on I-95 for what seemed like forever.  Please tell me why we live in a region with rush hour on the weekend.  Okay, turn around, get back on I-95 north--we decided to head to Sur La Table and Total Wine, and then up to Frederick to check out the area.  Neither of us had been, except to drive through on our way to Ohio.  It's such a pretty drive up I-270: once you're in Frederick County, the mountains come into view, and at this time of year everything is red, yellow and orange.

Downtown Frederick is a cute area with a sweet downtown.  I mean, first you have to drive through the ghetto to get there, but once you're there, you're fine.  We stopped in a record store and walked through the main strip, and tried to get dinner at Brewer's Alley but they had other ideas: our wait was over twice as long as they originally estimated and when we told them we were leaving, they weren't the most sympathetic.  By that point, I had been hungry for five hours, so we drowned our hunger sorrows in Five Guys.  Thank god for French fries.

Today has been busy: besides the aforementioned trip to Joann's, I also went grocery shopping and have been baking like a crazy person all afternoon.  I have a potluck tomorrow at work and offered to bring the desserts.  See below: doughnut cake (thanks to my oven being uneven, it got a bit too brown) (also I don't have a cake tester, which explains the knife mark!) and chai tea cookies, and I just pulled some pumpkin bread out of the oven.  Isn't fall the best?

Have a good week, everyone.  Hopefully I won't be a stranger as much soon!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Inspiration Conundrums

Have you noticed everyone is at Sewing Summit this week?  I feel like I should have registered when I had the chance.  I'm missing out on everything!

Because Sewing Summit is such a large group of women I admire and look to for inspiration, I thought today I'd talk about said inspiration, and when does it become more than my own?  If you're anything like me, you read dozens of blogs about sewing, crafting, embroidery, quilting, whatever.  You follow the bloggers and creators on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest.  You buy their books and listen to their podcasts.  (Yes, I listen to modern quilting podcasts.)  I credit these women with the reason I stuck with sewing and took up quilting and embroidery, and for my current outlook on what I buy versus what I make.  Their creations are amazing!

The flip side to this is I get my ideas from these women.  When they blog about a pattern, I check it out.  I also buy their patterns and fabric.  I have pinned so many projects, most of which I reference when I'm looking for something new to make.  This is how I've always worked, but in the past, I mostly relied on magazines and books instead of blogs, because in the past, I wrote poetry and shopped a lot.  But regardless of my creative outlet, I've always looked to external influences to guide me along.  I'd love to be one of those women who is effortlessly creative and original, but I'm not, hair withstanding.

I learned as an art history student that art doesn't exist in a vacuum, so it's natural for bloggers and Flickr users and what have you to bounce ideas and projects off of each other.  We all understand that what we're doing is part of something bigger, not to sound completely pretentious.  Our quilts can be described as "modern," for example.  Modern quilting is a movement that wouldn't exist if only one person was doing it.  But I'm starting to wonder where their ideas start and mine begin.  If I use the same pattern and fabric as another blogger, is it truly my creation?  What if I embroider text on fabric like Merriweather Council--am I copying her?  It's my handwriting, on my fabric, spelling out the words I want--but is it too close for comfort?  What if I want to sell something?

This is such a sticky topic because we all want to get along and none of us wants to create a riff between perfectly nice bloggers.  But at the same time, I see projects everyday that I love and want in my home or closet.  Because these quilts and clothes are made for personal use, is it so terrible to copy them for myself?  And considering the quilt (and quilt designs) were invented long before blogs, if I'm not using a pattern, am I able to sell it if I want to?  I feel like I'm oversimplifying this, because it's a very gray area.  My friend Melissa and I discuss all the time the ethics of blogging and selling, and how we don't want to be "that person."  I'd rather get comments telling me I did a great job than comments saying someone is going to take legal action. And obviously I'm talking about this on a small scale, though we've all heard stories about Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters stealing designs from Etsy sellers to sell to the masses.

Where's the line, or is there one?  Can more than one person sell similar products without someone getting their panties in a twist (and in some cases, rightfully so)?  I'm asking a lot of questions because I don't have a definite answer, if there is one.  I think this is a very gray area of blogging, as we all take a risk when we put ourselves out there.  Sometimes that risk pays off--blogs have gotten people book deals, fabric lines, etc.--but there's always the chance someone will "copy and paste" your entire idea into their own internet space.  And if their followers don't know better, you're out of luck.

What's your take on this?  And why do I have heavy thoughts on Fridays?  For the love of God, I'm watching Say Yes to the Dress, I think I can take it down a notch!
Images by Freepik