Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Progress is one of my favorite words and concepts. I love the idea of being able to visually see forward movement on a project, an ambition, a goal. That's why I like lists so much, I'm sure. The visual representation of checking something off of a list gets me so jazzed, and I'm excited to share with you today that I have been ticking off a few things, despite my blog absence!

I am one of those people who can't stand to sit still for long. It's a trait I really like about myself and I feel like I can always be making “progress” on something. I'm often making jewelry or embroidering something while watching a movie, folding laundry, or making something. I can't not do anything--and it drives people crazy sometimes.

1. Read Books 

1aDesign Sponge at Home: Grace Bonney.
(loved it, the photos were beautiful and the projects were fantastic. I did a couple of them, but more on that later.)
1b. A Clash of Kings: George R.R. Martin
(obsessed over it, cried about a lot of it, and freaked out with my husband, who has read them all before. He likes to take my predictions of what is going to happen, and then I get to see if my ideas line up with George. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't. Once I finished this one, I just couldn't stop, so I picked up the third one from my local B&N and obsessed over that one too. I spent an entire glorious Saturday doing nothing but reading, and now I'm only about 50 pages away from the end. I have obsessed, cried, and freaked out through this one too. Sometimes these books are hard to read but maybe that's a mark of how well Martin has written these characters—I care about them so much!)
1c. The Western Canon: Harold Bloom

2. Be Active

2a. (free!) Movies at the Park
2b. Make my own clothes
(made a couple circle skirts! Will show later....)
2c. Host some Crafternoons
(Proud of this one. My friend Lori and I have had not one, but TWO crafternoons together and they have both been incredibly productive!)
2d. Art Lessons with my Nieces: Because I have some really awesome nieces.

3. Follow Tradition

3a. Pool time/attempt to tan/fail as tradition dictates
3b. blueberry picking
(I picked blueberries when the in-laws were in town and made Smitten Kitchen's blueberry crumb bars. They turned out fantastic! I ate the remainder of my blueberries too fast, however, and didn't end of freezing any of them... oh well!)
3c. float trip
3d. catch a lightning bug

For more on the crafternoons, check back in a couple of days! May your summers be productive and full of fun and relaxation!
3e. visit family

Friday, June 1, 2012

Working on List Item 2b

Which is, of course, to make my own clothes.

I have some experience in making clothing for myself, but it's certainly not extensive. Mostly it's been limited to skirts that can be made out of elastic waists and rectangle fabric pieces, and most other attempts have not actually been worn in public. This past year I actually attempted a few dresses and wore them to school. The  insides are really awful and full of mistakes, but at least the outside looked normal. No one ever asked me if I had made what I was wearing (which I hope will never happen--it means I've fooled them!) and I did have the pleasure once of telling someone it was handmade when they asked me "where I got" my dress.

I'm hoping to expand my skills beyond the rectangle skirts and elastic. In the first week of summer, I feel like I have already made a ton of progress! The biggest lesson I've learned over the past year of attempting to sew clothing: try out a new pattern first (in muslin) before you cut it out of the pretty fabric. I'm really sad how much ruined yardage it took to figure out that one. So here's my first muslin for my second top ever: the tova!

Photos taken with instagram! Because I am camera-less at the moment. 

Also, I have never sewn cuffs on sleeves before (let alone gathered sleeves) and I am having a tough time. Notice that one is done and I have just let the other one sit for a little bit to catch my breath.

After that second cuff, all that is left is the collar! Then I will dye it and see if my muslin is actually wearable. If not, at least I learned a lot about my own skills and this particular pattern. What I really like about it is that the pattern also gives you the measurement for dress length and I will definitely be making both dress and top!

The Tova pattern is by all around genius Jenny Gordy of Wiksten. The pattern (among others) can be found here, and the blog is here. The pattern and the instructions are really helpful and simple and I'm having a great time putting this together! I'm not sure who or what directed me to Wiksten, but I'm glad I found this top when I did. It's a nice challenge in the midst of the transition from work to summer.