Welcome Fall!

As a person who has lived in Florida for most of her life, I have a deep-rooted appreciation for well defined seasons. I have always loved Fall because it was just one step closer to Christmas. However now, I can say I love Fall for her own beautiful self. Fall in Virginia means cool weather, warm clothes, and changing leaves. Its a wonderful thing.

I have really struggled with motivation to do much of anything lately, but I did manage to get my Fall decorations down from the attic and finally get put them up. I adore decorating for the seasons, but The Fall-Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas gambit is my absolute favorite. The house really feels like home this time of year. I love collecting fun knickknacks throughout the year and finally getting to give them a proper home once the season permits. I have always loved the little wooden blocks that had quotes and sayings on them, and with the completion of my first woodworking project, I had a few end pieces that I thought I could make use out of. So, I stained them with the leftover stain, and took my faithful sharpie to map out the letters. I’m really happy with the end result. <3

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So, Welcome Fall! Bring on the pumpkins!

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Its only an eye after all.

I woke up one morning last week, and couldn’t open one of my eyes. It was swollen shut. At first, I thought a cat had pounced on me in the middle of the night, or I had slept on my hand in a funny way and had a black eye. I laughed about it at first, but then get for worse. My vision started to worsen, and it burned. Of course it was its worst on a Sunday when no eye doctor is available, and trying to get into our normal optometrist was going to take a week, so we opted for the local walk in clinic. I was diagnosed with a non specific “eye infection”, was given some antibiotics and sent on my way. Well, it got worse before it got better, and today is the first day that I can open my eye more than half way. (yay!) I don’t know what I would do without my eye sight. Out of all the senses, Its the one I would fear loosing the most, so needless to say, I’m really glad its getting better.  That being said, its been really hard for me to do much of anything that I normally do. Having to superfocus with one eye has given me wicked headaches, and I didn’t want to work with any fabric since I have a tendency to scratch my eye without thinking. So, I was able to watch um on some Netflix since I love listening to shows, and spend some quality time on the couch with my dog. I am really looking forward to getting back to a normal schedule though. With it officially being Fall, I need to get to work on Holiday crafts.

 

So from my house to yours, Happy Fall!!! Let the Pumpkin Spice be plentiful, the leaves be colorful, and the weather warrant Beautiful boots and scarves.

<3

 

 

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I did it again…

At least it wasn’t for a year this time!

 

Things pile up and life has a way to make so much happen all at once. Sure I have a to do list, and you bet making a blog post was on near every one. I have the stuff to write about, but some form of opposition would meet me at every turn, and I’d fall back into the ” I’ll just do it tomorrow” spiral. Previously, I would beat myself up about this for months, and finally just give up. I always hated that about myself, so the only way to change, is to do. So here’s a post, albeit small, lacking real content, but a post none the less. I’m not going to be disappointed  in myself, because that only feeds the negativity. Instead, I will be proud that I can identify something I don’t like, but have the courage and grace to try and change it.

 

Anyway! Things to come!

 

  • Bullet Journal
  • Woodworking
  • Quilts!
  • Hand Lettering
  • FOOOOOOOOD!
  • FALL IS COMING!
  • Christmas gift ideas ( plan early my friends…)
  • Warcraft and Legion
  • Personal griefs and Triumphs

 

Till then. <3

 

A

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Gotta catch em all!

 

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Like the rest of the world, I too am completely obsessed with Pokemon Go. It speaks to me on such a nostalgic level. I was in trouble the moment I opened the app. If you have been living under a rock for the past week, Pokemon Go is a game for your phone that uses Google Maps to let you catch Pokemon in your real world environment. The key here is, that in order to catch, and train them, you will need to go exploring. Key landmarks become Pokemon Gyms,  or places called Pokestops, that give you items. After you reach level 5, you gain the ability to join one of three distinct teams; Team Mystic, Instinct or Valor. People are very devoted to their respective teams. While simple in concept, this game has taken over. Local businesses that are Pokestops will advertise and give specials to try and lure more potential customers. The sheer number of people who are out and about is amazing. The day after the game came out, I went to a nearby park and lo and behold, there were at least 100 people  scouring the entire area for Pokemon. A sideways glance and a smile at passerby’s, and you knew what they were doing. After 20 minutes or so, we kept running into the same people and conversations started. What team were you on? Whats your best catch? Have you found the ________ that’s around here yet? It was camaraderie like I have only ever seen on a playground full of children. awkwardness was thrown to the wind, as this large group of people came together over a simple phone game. I think this is fantastic on so many levels. Personally, I’m excited for the exercise. Walking for miles is now instantly rewarding. I have met new friends, and sparked some interesting conversations. I have explored areas of my town and city that I normally would never have gone to. This game is taking people who normally would never go outside, and giving us a common goal. Yes, there have been some bad experiences to spawn from the game, but in my opinion, the good greatly outweighs the negative.

 

In the past 3 days, I have walked over 20 miles. 20 MILES. Nothing has motivated me to get up and go like this before. I’ve started to track how many steps I go everyday in my bullet journal, and I cant wait to see where this takes me. What an amazing time to be a nerd!

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So, I’m level 14 so far, and I’m a proud member of Team Valor. I chose Charmander as my starter, and what I have caught so far is below.  I really want to try and find some of my favorite Pokemon, Raichu, Archanine, Ninetails, Charizard and Dragonair. That’s proving to be quite difficult. Guess I just have to get out and and do more Pokexploring!

 

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The Herringbone Quilt

 

 

While my parents were here for a visit, I desperately wanted to do a project with my Mom. She is a wonderful quilter and its because of her that I wanted to learn how to sew and quilt. I have been scouring Pinterest for months trying to find something that I liked that looked like an easy first project. I finally decided on a herringbone pattern because I feel it would withhold the test of time pattern wise better than a chevron.  I got most of my inspiration from a pin over at  Persia Lou. So, off to the fabric store we went!

 

I wanted this to be more of a plain design, using only solids for the front, and a patterned fabric for the back. I knew I wanted grey in there somewhere, but everything i really liked was way out of my meager price range. Fabric can be so expensive! I want to the budget friendly section of my local Joanns, and found a navy blue with white flowers and liked it well enough. It went with the grey, and I could use white as a secondary color. They had a solid mustard color a few bolts down, and I liked the contrast of them all, so instead of sweating over if there was something I liked more, I just went with it.  I got some quilt batting, and some white thread as well, and it was time to start!

 

I do apologize for the lack of in progress pictures! I got a new phone right at the end of this, and in my excitement, didn’t save my old pictures and lost them. =/

 

Mom and I sat down at the table and tried to work out the logistics of how this was going to work. I knew that I wanted a lap size quilt, and most of those were 50’x60. so we went off that. I didn’t know how I was going to get the herringbone cut out, but then my mom showed me that it was all about rearranging different shapes. The herringbone in this case, was just two triangles, so by making a ton of the triangles into squares, I would have a quilt block. Then arrange the quilt blocks into rows, and sew the rows together. Sounded easy enough!

 

First things first,  I washed dried, and ironed all my fabric. after that, we cut strips of the grey and the white, then cut those strips into 6 in squares.  Next, we took a grey square and a white square and put them together. we drew a line with the frixion pen diagonally down the middle, and I sewed a straight stitch 1/4 inch to each side of that line, then we cut on the line, and ironed it flat. we did this until all of the squares were done.

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Next, we took the squares and set them all out on the table. This was the fun part because you could see how the quilt would look, and you can play around with different designs. Remember doing tessellations as a kid in school? Well, here was a real world application for that. We got the rows in order and piled up the squares in the order they appeared per row. The next part was difficult. Its not just sewing all the squares together, you have to make sure that the diagonal seams but right up to one another, or else the points will not match up. Apparently this is a big pride point for quilters. Take your time, and it will be worth it in the long run. Now you sew each square to the next until you form a row.

 

From here, I opted to sew all my rows first, then put them all together. I was using a basic sewing machine, and I was having some trouble after a while of having the quilt bunch ump in a way that it was difficult to sew. I fixed this by rolling what I had already done up, and that fit nicely in my machine. After all the rows were finished, my quilt top was done!

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The back of the quilt was the navy fabric. I knew the quilt should have been 50’x60′, but the fabric I chose was only 44′ wide. Mom told me we would have to piece the back. I had planned on just sewing two pieces together so the seam went down the middle, but apparently that’s a no no. So Mine has the seam off to one side. Why this is the right way to do it, I don’t know. I do know not to argue with Mom when it comes to quilting, so off to one side the seam went. After a good press, we took that quilt batting and some basting spray, making sure to cover the table with newspaper to the spray didn’t riun the wood. The basting pray was like arasol glue in a sense. It was a two person job, but really helped to not let the fabric slide everywhere. We put some safety pins in for extra measure, and flipped it over and attached the quilt top the same way.

 

Now, it was time to quilt! Mom said that long lines were best, so I decided to go with a chevron design. First I did what is called a “stitch in the ditch” which is essentially sewing in the seam. I did this vertically in the columns first. Then I did a 1/4 in above and below each herringbone seam, then once again above and below that. I loved it! I experimented with adding a few extra quilting rows , but didnt like teh overall look, so I left this as an added detail to the bottom of the quilt.

Finally, it was time for the part I was dreading the most…BINDING. Mom had given me a book that’s everything you ever needed to know about quilting, and in it was an entire section devoted to different styles of binding. I had remembered her saying that a continuous binding was easy for her, so I went with the tube method. It was a PAIN IN THE BUTT! My lines from measuring weren’t straight, I couldn’t get things to line up right, I misread the instructions several times, but finally, got my bias tape made and ironed. I sewed it to the back of the quilt first, and used a wrap around method to bring it to the front. I had some difficulty with mitered corners, but that should get better with practice. I also had some difficulty with sewing the binding, but that was from my measurements being off and my now cutting straight. When it was finished though… Oh man. I loved every little imperfection it had.

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This was my first quilt. It is by no means perfect, or technically accurate. It means the world to me though. I got to work on it with my Mom, and has immense sentimental value already. I really loved this project, and cant wait to do it again. All in all, it took approximately 20 hours of work from start to finish. I may be new to the quilting aspect of sewing, but you better believe that I’m hooked!

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And we’re back, with an amazing even announcement!!

 

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The Bird Skirt

I did it! I completed a piece of clothing, from a pattern, all by myself. It was pretty frustrating. I wont lie. It also took longer than everyone said it would, but that’s OK.

So, I mentioned before that I had picked up McCalls M6931 after finding some fabric that I just had to take home and make something with.

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Turns out this particular pattern is supposed to be one of the absolutely go-to patterns for curvy girls looking for a fast and easy skirt. It only had 5 pieces to the pattern. I was pretty confident that I could finagle my way through this project. My brain can talk a pretty good game sometimes. Too bad it often times never backs it up.

Well, I managed to unwrap the pattern and started to read the directions. I immediately got overwhelmed and put it all away. That was Day 1.

 

Day 2. I find myself opening it up again and i start to research the terms I don’t understand. I have a composition book that I keep all my self drafted pattern notes in, and made a page for this new project. I managed to find a few good YouTube videos explaining things like cutting on the grain, the importance of lining up the pattern a certain way, and what a narrow hem was.  My brain was sufficiently burned out after my little homework session.

 

Day 3. I talk myself up. This cant be as hard as I’m making it out to be. It will make more sense once I’m looking at the pieces I need and ONLY those pieces. So, I take my fabric to the big dining table and start the process. I cut the pattern pieces that I needed for the skirt I wanted, and then pinned them to the fabric. I ran into my first hiccup when I noted that if I followed the recommended layout, that one of my panels on the skirt would have the pattern of the birds be upside down. So I had to fudge things around a little bit. Once I had it all layed out and pinned, and said a little prayer to the sewing gods and began to cut the fabric. I wish I would have had a rotary cutter for this part. I have some really great fabric scissors, but I wasn’t getting a crisp edge like I had hoped for. In any case, cutting took some time. It also didn’t help that the cats were VERY interested in what I was doing, and were desperate to try and help. Note. Kitty claws and pattern paper go together about as well as oil and water. The dog also now has added pattern paper to her palate.  After  it was all done, I took everything back to my sewing room and was ready to take the plunge.

 

Day 4. No I wasn’t. I psyched myself out and managed to stare at the cut pieces of fabric in a pool of stress.

 

Day 5. I’ve got this. I will not let the skirt win. I start sewing. Then I realize I didn’t transfer all the markings from the pattern to the fabric. I stop sewing and get right to it. back to sewing an hour of so later. Iran into an issue with the pattern  here. One of the pieces had me cut it out on the fold of the fabric. It was labeled Front Side.  So it was essentially one big piece when unfolded. Nowhere in the directions did it say to cut this piece in half, but it also didn’t say which side it was supposed to go on. I couldn’t find anything online about what I should do, so I made the executive decision to cut it. I would always put it back together and it would just be a little smaller. Turns out I made the right call. So I got the shell of the skirt done. I had a small oopsie on the pockets, and used a 5/8 seam instead of the 1/4 but  that turned out fine. I ironed all my seams and called it a day.

 

Day 6. Pleats. Oh those silly pleats. The pattern dove me crazy here too. It said to  “Put lines below circles together”. Ok. Which direction? In, or out? i pinned them all one way, and it didn’t look right, so I undid it all and pinned them the opposite way. I was still confused, and just went with it.  For the record, the excess “loop” of the fabric that is made when you put the lines together, goes towards the inside of the skirt for this method. Lesson learned. By this time, I had something that looked remotely like an article of clothing. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I only had to add in the wait band and hem it and skirt would be done. This spurned my motivation and I got back to work.  I guess I must have cut the fabric a little short, because turning the top down for the hem the way the pattern said to was going to turn this knee length skirt, into a hyper mini. I did the best I could, but it was pretty messy. I spent a long time trying to pull the elastic through the channel I had just sewn and it was not very cooperative. I pinned it in place, and tried it on. It was actually kind of cute! I went to put my hand sin the pockets and my heart sank. Turns out I sewed a pocket facing the wrong way thanks to the non descriptive instructions. I was pretty upset and spent some time debating on if I should just live with it and remember it for the next time, or if I should fix it. Well, I opted for fixing it. After all I had so much time invested in this damned skirt by now, I might as well add some more. So I shed a little tear, and un-stitched most of what I had just done for the waistband. I put the pocket going the right way ( Rounded sides facing the front of the skirt) and tried to put the waist band back. It wasn’t working. I fought with it for another hour before getting it into some semblance of the right place and sewed it down, partially out of spite. I was so done with this skirt. It still needed to be hemmed, but I had had it for the day.

 

Day 7. I couldn’t just leave the skirt un-hemmed, so I begrudgingly sat back down and pinned the hem. After a few straight lines of sewing, and a good press of the iron it was done.  It. Was. Done. The skirt that was supposed to take 3-4 hours took me a week. But it was done. I tried it on and it even fit. Granted, it was still much MUCH shorter than I had anticipated, it wasn’t totally unwearable. Next time, I just needed to add 4+ inches to the length and it would be what I had imagined. I showed it to my husband and he beamed with pride. I love this man so much. He knows exactly how to fluff my feathers so I feel proud of myself.  I put the skirt on my dress form and its going to sit there a few days so I can stare at it like the trophy that it is for me.

 

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I had said that I wanted to start making clothes for myself, and after many trials and tribulations, I took the first step towards that goal. I made a fair amount of mistakes along the way, but I know know where those mistakes came from, and how to avoid them in the future. It feels good to learn something again, especially on my own. I’m much more of a ” need someone to tell me, then show me, then watch me” learner, so to do this on my own was a real accomplishment for me. I know that its no ballgown, and in the big scheme of sewing its a very simple thing, but to me this was a gold star on the calendar achievement. I’ll make that ballgown one day, and will think back to the day it all started when I made The Bird Skirt.

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The Slow Season

So its clearly been a minute since I checked in. Sorry about that! I’m in what I have deemed “The Slow Season.” Nothing has been going on. I haven’t had much motivation to make anything. I even find myself just staring off into nowhere land for a good period of time before I snap back to the here and now.  It really hasn’t been all that pleasant to tell you the truth. But these times happen, and that’s OK. In the meantime, you just have to weather what gets thrown your way the best you can. As I mentioned before, its all about progress, not perfection. Progress can be a loopy, zig zag of a line sometimes, but its progress all the same.

 

So, in lieu of what I’ve done, I’ll fill you in on what I plan on doing!

I got some really cute fabric, and it inspired me to finally try my hand at sewing clothes for myself. I have a pattern.

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( McCalls M6931 if your curious)

I opened it up today with full intention to start and got really intimidated by all the lines. So I put it away and will try again tomorrow. ( Or maybe save it for when my mom comes up and she can walk me through it). I also have been mapping out these great “un-paper towels” for a friend of mine. Getting the right terry cloth was more of a headache than you can imagine, but I have everything I need now, and am anxious to start. I also want to make another headphone case for another fiend, and a case for an external battery for my phone. So I certainly have things to do, I just need to find that motivation and Oomph to get to work on them.

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In gaming news, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster was released for steam the other day. Final Fantasy X is one of my all time favorite games. I spend hours and hours on my Playstation 2 when it came out. I have really fond memories of that game. I’m really excited to get to relive them in a remastered form. So I have been spending a fairly significant amount of time playing that. I’m the kind of person that will grind out enemies for an exorbitant amount of time so that I can be over prepared for boss fights. It can get tedious, but thankfully games like this have phenomenal background music.

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I also saw that the next iteration of the Pokemon franchise was announced! Pokemon Sun and Moon are set to release Holiday this year. I saw the starers for the games, and wasn’t exactly blown away. The fire starter is a cat though, and seeing as how I will 99% of the time choose a fire Pokemon to start, that should be right up my alley.

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Litten, here I come!

That’s all for me folks. Sorry again for the huge gap in posts.

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