Sunday, April 26, 2009

I'm feeling so crafty!

So I started knitting my fun fur bikini titled "Grassy Knolls" It's coming along swimmingly, I might add. I wish I could find my pompom maker so I can make the dandelion pompoms.

This week I've been taking pictures of my outfits as I leave the house in the morning, and can tell you already that it's enlightening, but not too enlightening(thankfully) I saw myself in a long sweater and wow, no more long sweaters for me unless it is a dress. Everything's gotta stop at the hip. My little belly pooch sticks out too much for my taste and cutting it across the hip breaks up the line a bit. It also keeps my legs looking long while adding a little bit of length to my short waist. Cutting straight across the waist is baaaaad for me, except in very rare outfits.

I went to the dinner dance on Friday and made my matching fascinator and work my crazy eyelashes. I'll have to take some pics today of all have been working on. Lastly, I went to Jo-Ann fabrics and got some 1/2 off linen blends for a summer skirt and top. I used Lion Cotton and wooden beads for the yoke of a cute print top I will sew as soon as I figure out the pattern. I'm also making two more t-shirt bags for grocery shopping. Signing off for now. Lots of stuff to do!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

DIPR (Daily Individualized Progress Report)

The title of this entry is named after the paperwork I do at work. This is my run down on things going on. So. I made my earth day bag and it came out cool and I hope to actually do some shopping eventually so I can use it. It's gray and has Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn hugging on the side. It's also kind of stained and gross, but it's a shopping bag, so I can forgive that. I might make a matching Joker bag, if I still have the t-shirt hubby got me. I'm not a baggy t-shirt kinda gal, so a large, boxy black tee with the Joker's head on the front is not something I want splayed across my chest in public. However, it can work for holding groceries. Sorry for the lack of pictures lately. I lent out my camera batteries to a friend over the weekend, then forgot them at work today. I will catch up with them ASAP.

I tried to clean up my humble abode a little today. With my feet being all messed up and generally tired and depressed, cleaning hasn't been a priority. Big plans like wardrobe reconstruction and planning need a neat and organized place. It looked like a nuclear warhead exploded. Now it looks like there was an earthquake. A small improvement, but progress nonetheless. In any case, I can't physically reach the sewing table in the craft room so cleaning up that mess in also in order. (In case you're wondering how I made my t-shirt bag without reaching the sewing machine, I have a dirty little secret: I have about 4 sewing machines. It's absolutely nuts. I didn't buy any of them. One is a working treadle machine, one is a white from the sixties, one is a crappy singer, and one is a sears. Each one has it's own issues. I'm afraid to get rid of any in case I have a sewing emergency, like I'm working on my Halloween costume the night before Halloween when the bobbin bird nests and stops working altogher. Yes, this has happened before. So anyway, I keep a sewing machine on my nightstand for quick sewing jobs. What a freak!)

Lastly, a word about my etsy shop. I really wanted to open it, however, due to a few reasons, I have decided to put this off for a while. One, I don't believe I have a quality product at this time. I need more practice carding before I try to sell anything. Two, I do not have anything that sets my products apart from anyone else's. I need a niche. Three, I have no money right now. Making money means spending money, and it's something I just can't do right now. Lastly, because my feet hurt so bad, I haven't been using my wheel at all, and before, I had no inspiration to use it. I'm going to pursue other endeavors, like sewing, for now, until I feel I'm ready to get back to spinning stuff. For now, I will continue to simmer up ideas and research stuff. Maybe by summer I will find something more promising. There a few things cookin' as we speak...

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's finally done!!!!

Swallowtail has flown off the needles!!!! She's blocking right now, as we speak, on the living room floor on the rainiest day! She measures 27 inches by 58 inches. Don't know if that sounds right or not. The foam blocks are colorful kids alphabet blocks I borrowed from one of the "never use" closets at work. They work great, and the best part is that they were FREE :P I am starting on a pair of ruffle-y beaded wristlets to go with my navy blue spring jacket using some turquoise blue variegated Araucania Atacama that was on sale at AC moore a zillion years ago and sitting in my stash, waiting for the perfect thing to knit. I decided to buy beads for it, so that makes this my first official beaded knitting project. I might add some more if I like how they look.

This is part of my wardrobe overhaul. My lack of interest in accessories has to come to an end. Usually, I don't wear any jewelry, save my wedding band. If I'm getting all fancy, I put on silver hoops, medium sized ones are the norm, huge ones to look extra-hooch. The right accessories are important, but I don't want to be an accessories-whore, so I'm trying to start with dolling up my jackets first, since they get the most wear. Since I'm working from my stash on this project, all I bought were the beads, and I hope to have enough yarn for a small lacy scarf. Not swallowtail, but something similar. This has become very exciting for me. I hope to have "influenced" about 1/4 of my wardrobe by the time I'm done with this project.

On my spring sweater front, I'm scared of binding off the shoulders and making sleeves with no pattern, so I put it on the back burner. The weather isn't exactly right for it anyways, so I have about two weeks before I could be using it regularly. Also, I decided that one slightly felted tan old-navy wool sweater can use an overhaul. I think I will turn it into a cardigan, but I haven't come up with all the details yet. I only know I would like to do some embroidery on it and a collar-very Anthropologie, I know... For Earth day, I'm making a t-shirt shopping bag with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn on the side. Hopefully, I'll remember to bring it to the store. Maybe I'll make a pouch for it, too. That's all for now. Feeling hungry. Must eat...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More obsessive wardrobe thoughts...

Still harping on this. Today I'm participating in the changing of the guards, winter/fall wardrobe to spring/summer wardrobe. I've been thinking about color palettes and have decided that organizing one based on my current items would be helpful to me when picking out new clothes and fabrics. Mainly, I hope to find a common color theme in all seasons to build my core wardrobe around and change accent colors as the seasons change. For example, I see that I wear pink, burgundy, brown, and tan pretty much all year long. In the spring, I can add aqua to the mix, in the winter, add olive green and in the fall add mustard. Something like that. In any case, I plan on doing some thrifting and reconstruction, too. I've seen lots of shirts on etsy that have inspired me to get some tees and bust out the machine.

I also have been thinking about the types of clothing I wear. In the summer, I wear a dress or a skirt with a cardigan almost every day. In spring, I wear pants and skirts with layered tops and cardigans/jackets. In fall, same as spring, and as of last winter, pants and sweaters with a shelf-bra camisole pretty much all the time, save for the occasional sweater dress.

It would be really cool to plan a wardrobe around unconventional accessory pieces, such as bustles, pockets, aprons, collars and sleeves, along with removable applique pins. I envision my a-line denim skirt being a backdrop for all kinds of crazy concoctions! Lastly, I'm thinking about my style. The way I dress depends on where I'm going and what mood I'm in. I have outfits based on different characters, like "the cowgirl" -a western shirt, frye boots and bootcut jeans for a going to the farm, or "the flirty romantic" -dripping with gauze, lace and ruffles, and puffy sleeves, or "goth girl" with black and burgundy and skulls. Finding a way to incorporate all these styles into one wardrobe is difficult. I think I may plan a mini-wardrobe around each of these styles so I can keep it interesting without having so many clothes that I don't wear.

The final thing I have been thinking about is what, exactly do I look like when I leave the house in the morning. Many days I don't even bother looking in the mirror, so I don't even notice until I get to work how rough I look. It's possible that I will run an experiment documenting what I look like for work for two weeks to a month. I want to become neat and put-together, and this will be the first step in assessing how long the road will be until I get there!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Back to the Wardrobe Business

I found a sewing blogger who has the same idea I have! Added to blogroll to keep up with progress. She had a few helpful ideas and linkys that I'd like to share :)

First it's the S.W.A.P. thing. Sewing with a plan. I guess the offshoot group I will start is K.W.A.P. Ha ha ha! It's the idea of planning fabrics and patterns to match your lifestyle and create a basic wardrobe. This is exactly what I was looking for!

This was borrowed from "The Sewing Journal" blog:
The plan recommends evaluating one’s lifesyle, then sewing 11 garments out of 2 basic colors and 1 complementary color.
2 pairs of pants
2 skirts, one solid, one print
6 tops, matching and coordinating
1 jacket

This website has more info on the concept and its implementation.

So I think I may go with olive and either taupe or steel(gray-blue) for my basic colors for summer work-wear. I'm excited to have a plan. There was a great idea to use paint chips when going fabric shopping so you can have a range of colors to coordinate with. Love it! It works for yarn, too! One woman carries a mini-swatch book of her basic wardrobe fabrics in her purse so when she is shopping, she can assess right away if something will match. I can't tell you how many times I have to carry a skirt or shirt around with me for days until I find something to go with it. I've got a garbage full of clothes ready to donate to the salvation army and I seriously hope that this year will be the last that I have to do these massive clean-outs. Parting with loved, hunted, but ill-fitting articles has become easier over time. After I clean out winter stuff and switch to spring/summer, I may take pics of all the saved clothes on me so I can get a better idea of what I actually look like. Also, I really do need good pants. I'm gaining weight and think I'm an 8 now, and I would like to exist without buttons and waists digging into my skin. Bye for now. Off to dream of matching clothes...(I really do need a life!)

Please cut off my feet!

I went to the podiatrist today. Diagnosis: Morton's Neuroma. Go ahead. Google it. Not much good news there. It seems all roads lead to surgery. The conversation goes something like this, "Well, first we'll pad it, then we'll shoot it and if that doesn't work, we're gonna have to cut it, but the padding and the shooting doesn't usually work, so good luck with that." He stabbed me with a cortisone shot before I could even protest effectively. I wish my feet would go back to normal. There's a dinner dance coming up and I'm going to have to wear a gown to cover my crocs. It feels like I'll never dance again. The pain and drudgery of my condition this past week has sucked all the life out of me and I don't want to do anything at all. I'm going to watch Reaper and pretend my foot isn't still cold and tingly. Signing off.

Monday, April 13, 2009

When too much is not enough...

WARNING: Long, drawn-out post with frivolous details. Turn back now if my wardrobe issues do not interest you!

I have too many clothes. This is not a new revelation, rather a reiteration of what was previously known. The last few years, (and those of you who know me personally can attest to this), I have been trying to organize my life. Though I have not met my goals, I certainly have come a long way in my attempts to achieve them. Case in point, my wardrobe. As a child, I felt very isolated. I learned in the 8th grade the importance of clothing, image and their relationship to the way others treat me. I'll never forget the first time I wore new clothes that I picked out and thought represented my "new image." A popular boy in my class said, "Hey look, it's Manhattan girl." At the time, this was the highest compliment I could have received. I was born and raised in Queens and full of self-loathing, and to be able to be sized up as "one who goes/lives in Manhattan" meant the world to me. From that point on, clothing was very important to me.

During my high-school years, I wore a uniform, so my "real" clothes were strictly weekend wear. I truly was a Manhattan girl from that point on, and spent lots of time in the East Village, wearing black leather and punk wear. On the flip side, it was just as important for me to be able to walk into Barney's or Bloomies and have someone ask if I needed help and not sneer at me and walk away. I learned how to blend in with my surroundings and felt just as comfortable at Maxine's in a cocktail dress as I did at The Building, listening to Nine Inch Nails dressed in black fishnets with skulls and crosses dripping from head to foot.

As a young adult, I spent much time going to clubs and my weekly allowance was spent at the Salvation Army, buying up clothes to repurpose and style for my outings. Spoiled as I was, I tried not to repeat any outfits at the same club and most of what I wore was, shall we say, memorable. I often wore wigs and 6-inch stiletto platforms and my best compliment at this time was "Are you a man or a woman?" Everyone knows drag queens do the best make-up jobs.

As a pastry chick, I lived in my checks and had little time or inclination to give a damn about what I wore. I went back to college, and this wardrobe suited me just fine. It was pretty much funky-thrift-shop-wear.As a matter of fact, it probably contributed to the idea of my classmates that I was their age instead of ten years older. (Never mind my ridiculously child-like behavior.) Then somehow it happened. I became an adult. A professional with a career that entailed that I look somewhat professional. What the hell is that? What do I do? Surely I can't wear my stained, holey, obnoxiously flower-printed velvet trousers in that environment. This was one of the the hardest things I had to do...

Well, my mom saved me. She brought me to NY and Co. and spent $500 on some new clothes. Comfortable pants that fit my long legs, coordinating shirts, even a vest!!! My first work wardrobe. Only one problem. I hate being a cookie cut-out. My first picture day, a girl at work and I showed up with the same shirt. It was horrible. This kind of thing had never happened before. Also around that time, I ran into an old friend in the subway. I felt so embarrassed to be seen in those clothes, almost ashamed, like I had given up the spirit I once had to sell out to my age and duty and responsibility. Though at the time I shrugged it off, I think it deeply affected me. Since then, I realize I have been on a quest to sufficiently define myself through my clothing once again. I miss the confidence I had when I knew what I was wearing was a clear representation of myself at that moment. I miss the excitement of the hunt to find something perfect, instead now I buy things "because I can wear them at work." I am boring. I hate it. Finally, it brings me to knitting.

I noticed in my projects, yarn choices and pattern favorites that there is a terrible dichotomy of style and sensibility. I believe I have too much of the former and none of the latter. If someone cataloged my current wardrobe, there are a few assumptions that might be made about me. It would be surmised I am a salsa dancer, attend weddings, fine arts performances and charity events relatively frequently, go out to fine dining establishments often, host dinner parties, enjoy cooking or have a 50s fetish, that I have goth tendencies at times, also cowgirl tendencies, enjoy wearing feminine clothing, do lots of shopping or leisurely activities, and frequent bars and clubs at night. While some of it is spot-on, it is a bit exaggerated. I don't think I need 23 dresses in the summer, as well as 9 or so evening gowns. My 14 winter skirts were barely worn this year due to issues with finding appropriate and affordable legwear this year and my 8 swimsuits don't earn their keep when I wear one about 3 times a year if I'm lucky.

I want to create a wardrobe, not a collection of mismatched items I never wear. I want the sweaters I make to match something and be functional, not simply because I could, or because I had to use up yarn in my stash. This coming year I feel it. By next spring, I will spin a different yarn to tell. I did some research tonight and found this, a website about wardrobe planning. It had many helpful tips, and I hope when I do the changing of the clothes that I can start my planning. Spring and summer clothing is much easier to make than winter or fall, so I hope to sew and/or knit some basic pieces that I can really use. One person discussed thinking about the cost of an item in terms of how much you wear it. A dress that costs $200 that you wear once is expensive compared to a cashmere sweater that costs $80 that you wear 30 times over a few years. (This is also a good strategy for rationalizing high-end yarn purchases.) I'm ready for change.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Here's my Hot Cross Buns from the King Arthur Flour website.  I think they came out good and I used my mini-tripod to take the shot.  Photography is not my thing.  I consistently forget to take pictures, even when I have my camera.  I guess I'm too much of an attention-whore to remember everyone else.  Oh well.  I'm working on it.  Still been off my feet for the whole weekend.  It's really sucked to be on the futon for three days.  Soon, I'll have to get ready to make the rounds.  I want to finish my pink sweater before tonight so I can wear it to my aunt's house and have everyone fawn all over it, but I fear this may not happen because I won't bring it to work on at my uncles house or it will smell like an old man bar from the '80s.   Maybe I'll wear my green crocheted sweater that I still haven't gotten a good photo of instead.  Yeah, that's it.  My mom is good at taking pictures and never gives up an opportunity to get some of herself, either.  Do you see where I get it from?  Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday :P

Friday, April 10, 2009

Why me?

I will continue on with my theme this week, self-pity and loathing.  Today I could not walk when I woke up this morning.  My foot hurt all night and there was no improvement, so I had to stay home from work.  Besides a splitting headache (which I handle very poorly, as I seldom experience them), I was exhausted, and tried to limit any walking, keeping my foot elevated and watching 6 hours of Dr. Who Season 3 on Sci-Fi in between naps.  The only fruitful thing I did today was wind my 8 oz of pink mohair into a giant center pull ball in preparation of making my Twinkle evening shell.  I must finish a paper this weekend and plan on doing it tomorrow no matter what.  My leg hurts, too.  I left my "Fetching" supplies in my truck in my knitting emergency kit and couldn't spin even though miraculously I had the urge to.  (Damn you double treadle!!!)  Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Welcome to the Real World.

I'm broke.  Not just broke, but broke-ass damn broke.   I could've bought a used car for the price it cost to fix my car after the accident.  (It really was  a bargain AND my truck hasn't looked so nice since I first got it, so that's the only thing I could say that's good.).  Feeling down and out and like I really messed up my life.  DH is wonderful, and it's times like these I'm reminded why I married him.  I feel like the luckiest person alive to have someone so understanding at times like these.  So he can't stand my loud chewing or the way I hog the sheets and the bed, but when it comes down to when it matters, there's no one better. :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Finally, an FO!!!

I finished my shrug in a little more than a day! I'm very happy with it and have been playing dress up all day :D The picture on the bottom shows the major mod, a ruffle on the top half after the ribbing. (Separated by a lifeline) All I need now is a hat and I'm good to go. I'm thinking of a gold bird, some netting, a matching felted base, some ribbon and some feathers. Thats all. Maybe some flowers, too. Fashion pics to follow soon. I really want to set up an outdoor shoot soon.

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