Progress on my version of the Smoochie Monsterpants for Miss Vinka! Still not thrilled with my short rows, and the gusset is a mess (kitchener stitch is not my friend!), but since this is the fourth time I’ve attempted these, I’m calling it good!
(My blog is) not quite dead yet!
Sorry for the radio silence of late. To be honest, there is almost no crafting going on in my world. Or at least no crafting that inspires or excites me. That’s because nothing seems to inspire or excite me these days.
Depression for me is like that dysfunctional ex that just won’t stay away. You want nothing to do with them. You hide and you run and you pretend that time in your life never happened, but it’s always lurking in the far reaches of your memory. Every time a hint of it sneaks up on you, you stomp on it with every ounce of your strength, hoping it will keep at bay. But sometimes, it just isn’t enough.
I’m doing many things to work through it. I’m in counseling, which is helping, and there shouldn’t be any shame in sharing that. But for better or worse, depressed is where I am right now. I’m really hoping something will shift, and break this forced stasis I’ve been in for months. Thanks for sticking with me through the blues. I hope I can kick my unwanted ex to the curb again very, very soon.
My “niece” Miss Vinka Margaret made her arrival last Wednesday during a snow storm, at 8 lbs 9 oz and 21” long. She gave her parents a very brief little scare, but has since been kicking butt and taking names! Auntie KP, expects much more of that in the years to come. Her mama is also kicking butt and taking names, and is recovering very well. I am so excited to get to know this little nugget <3
An Ode to a Year of Personal Growth
2013 was nothing if not a year of immense personal growth. I went through some major changes- physically, professionally, and emotionally. Though it can be hard to recall the good when times feel tough, there were truly some amazing things about this year.
First, there were these exceptionally wonderful, generous, and immensely talented people. Noises Off was, for me, the best theater experience I’ve ever had, and I felt truly privileged to lead it. I still sort of can’t believe they let me helm this show, but I think it worked out OK in the end. :)
Every rehearsal was met with enthusiasm, sometimes overly so! But it was underlined with this incredible urge that we all wanted to get it “right.” I remember being only a week into blocking, and the actors wanted to already be running at full speed. I think that’s why, on opening night, we shaved almost 10 minutes off the run time. They had wanted to run it that fast since Day 1, and when they finally got that chance, they seized it.
I’m also proud of the publicity we accomplished for the show. The mockumentary shorts are something I’ll always treasure. I’m also still chuffed that on closing weekend, we were able to use all 9 balls every single night in warm ups (my cast knows what that means!)
As you all know, I decided to go “vegan-ish” in July, and take control of my health. Over the past 6 months I’ve dropped an even 30 lbs, gained strength I never thought I could have, and ran my first 5K.
Losing weight has been great, but what I’m most proud of is that I finally understand what I need to do to maintain this level of health. I understand that I don’t need to starve myself to drop pounds, and I know how much I can eat and stay the weight I am now. I had a very unhealthy attitude toward dieting, starting from a really young age, and to finally crack that code makes me feel empowered to continue. That doesn’t mean I won’t have slip ups in the future, but I will know how to steady the ship if/when that happens.
I was privileged to officiate not one, but two weddings for close friends. Crys and Billy’s wedding was idyllic, and packed with smiles, laughter, and some out-of-this-world boogieing by their DJ/Photographer. (The phrase “high on life” came to mind…)
My best lady and her gentleman pulled off an immense feat of a wedding, thrown by a legion of their loved ones. I was so honored to be a part of it, and over the moon to see her so beautiful and happy.
Speaking of my best lady, I’M GOING TO BE AN AUNTIE! I can’t wait to meet my niece/nephew. There are already grand plans in the works to trick her into letting me steal said niece/nephew on a regular basis, for appropriate snuggles and spoiling. (FYI, this tummy is bigger now ;) )
Through all of these things, the wonderful and the not-so-wonderful, I’ve been lucky enough to have my best friend and partner by my side.
I count myself incredibly fortunate to have such a supportive person in my life. We certainly tested the “in sickness and in health” clause this year. He was the one who encouraged me to try the vegan diet in case it would help my odds in ducking cancer. Any time I wavered with working out, he’d offer to come with me so my motivation wouldn’t go away. Through all of the doctors appointments, fear, and tears, he did whatever he could to listen and care for me. Even now, he’s still rooting me on, in anything I set out to accomplish.
We rocked out our 3rd anniversary in style, donning the first pieces of clothing I’d ever attempted to sew. I was pretty happy with how my first corset turned out. I may even attempt another one for next Halloween (but will start MUCH earlier this year!)
Over Christmas vacation, we went skiing. For me, it was the first time in over 10 years, and boy had I missed it! For Shawn, it was his first time ever trying to snowboard, and by the end of the day he had really picked it up (despite being quite sick!)
Also in the mix this year was a move, a new job, many new friends, amazing conversations, a wedding shower, a baby shower, and the start of the hunt for a new home.
While there were aspects to 2013 I won’t miss, I do hope 2014 is filled with just as much growth and meaningful connections as its predecessor. Happy New Year everyone!
Vegan butternut squash “mac ‘n cheeze" with wilted greens, scallion and tomato. My farmer friends sent me packing last week with about 50 lbs of winter veggies…so, so awesome :)
The Great Vegan Christmas Cookie Experiment
For the first night of our vacation, we had our nieces stay for an overnight, which has become something of a fun holiday tradition. I always try to plan an activity we can all do together that doesn’t involve screens. Last year, we made clay ornaments. This year, I thought it’d be fun to try out Christmas cookies. Since Shawn and I have spent the last 6 months staying about 98% vegan, I thought we’d try out some vegan cookie recipes.
I was really excited that my sister was able to come over. She pretty much saved the day, bringing fun cookie cutters and oodles of decorations. She wasn’t too keen on the vegan thing, but hey, her grinch older sister was making Christmas cookies, so, there was that.
There was a whole lot of measuring, mixing, taste testing, coloring, rolling, and decorating, but mostly it was a chance to groove to some holiday tunes and talk.
It was great to get a bit of Christmas in one day, since we’ve decided not to travel anywhere this year. We’re bummed to be missing our families, but sometimes, when the world tells you that you need a break, you need to listen. So we’ve planned to relax, do a few fun things together, and get our first real vacation of 2013.
I’d rate the experiment a success, though the end goal was really in the making. The sugar cookies tasted like sugar cookies, the icing tasted like icing, and the gingerbread cookies had waaaaaaay too much molasses for my taste, but had the mix been a bit better, they would have been fine. All in all a great day. Lots of smiles, and a great sugar buzz.
Happy holidays everyone!
Cloth Diaper Bonanza! Seren’s Shower Present
After sewing like a mad woman to get her stash finished, I managed to get all but 5 diapers finished for Seren’s shower last night (the last few are cut out and pinned, but I just didn’t have quite enough time.) I’ve said it before, but her friendship means the world to me, and I was really excited to be able to take this on for her.
I focused on sewing her SM/NB convertible fitteds (her hubs loved these when his daughter was a baby), SM/NB covers and One Size covers. As she jokes, she’s not fluent in “diaper” yet, so she doesn’t have any idea what will system work for her. I’m guessing she’ll favor prefolds and covers, but you never know. So I kept her covers flexible- making most of them Flip-style, with the option to snap in soakers if she ends up liking AI2s better.
Enough chat- on to the pictures! Not shown are a variety of snap-in soakers, made in contour, half contour, and snake style out of heavy bamboo fleece. I used them to line the bottom of the basket.
The basket was part of the gift- and is meant to be used as a nursing basket for her once the babe arrives.
One Size Covers (Sprout Snap, Arfy T&T OS, Arfy Mock Flip and Mock Grovia):
NB and SM/NB Covers (DD Free NB, DDU SM, and Arfy SM Fitted enlarged a bit):
SM/NB Fitted Diapers- all topped with recycled t-shirts (mostly Arfy SM fold-in with added snaps for NB setting or Arfy SM with internal gussets and sewn-in soakers):
And lastly, gotta support the family farm!
I hope to do a future post about the patterns, materials, etc. if people would find that helpful.
After two visits from the Etsy fairy on Monday, I scrambled to get some more goodies listed yesterday. My shop is looking slightly less comically empty, with 8 whole listings, woohoo!
My major problem with Etsy has always been that I make jewelry at a lightning pace, but the time and effort it takes to photograph, edit, and list them takes longer than it did to actually make the items I’m selling.
I’m trying to become more disciplined in taking less shots, and doing a whole slew of photos in one sitting, so I can edit and list as the week goes on. The result is photos that I am a little less happy with, but at least I’m able to be more productive. In Maine, daylight hours are limited for about 8 months out of the year, so I’m stuck doing my photos only on the weekend if I want to use natural light. This has always posed a challenge in keeping my shop running.
I still need to work out my preferred background fabric. The burlap I purchased is too dark to work with most of my pieces, and the white canvas isn’t reading as well as I’d like it to. It’s all a work in progress, and part of the fun!
Two more new listings in my Etsy shop today! I’m enamored of the dark, swirling gray of the Calla Lilly earrings against the lustrous peacock pearls. Can you tell I’m a pearl girl?
New listings up in my Etsy shop, with many more to come! Today’s selection of earrings feature freshwater pearls, cloisonne beads, and filigree metal links. All proceeds are going towards the down payment we’re frantically trying to scrape together in the next 6 months- every little bit helps :)
A Renter’s Memory Lane
Shawn and I have been renters for nine years now, and eight of those years have been together. Over these years we’ve experienced a veritable rainbow of landlords. And by rainbow I, of course, mean a widely-varying spectrum of (mostly) awfulness.
My first landlord was an 80+ year old woman who made it a habit to arrive without notice and angrily ring our air-raid-worthy doorbell at all hours of the day. My roommate and I would spontaneously flinch when we thought we heard the phantom start of the bell. We lived on the third floor, and there was one unannounced visit where she frantically climbed the stairs, burst through our door, and almost died on our futon. She kept the heat so low that we would put a popsicle on the temperature control box to try to do the whole building a solid.
Here is the futon she almost died on (I am clearly feeling no pain in this photo). This apartment featured the full array of college furniture- a metal futon from CL, a folding circle chair dubbed “the drunk chair” (because there was no way to pass out in it that was not comfortable) and the Pillow Corner- 4 giant pillows I sewed to take the place of a second couch:
Then came the next apartment, with a sketchy landlord who was a little too friendly with my female roommate. We broke that lease and left early due to the giant hole in our floor, that allowed the downstairs neighbor’s constant weed smoke to billow directly up into my room. The girls that took over our lease had the same problem with the creepy landlord.
That was followed by a couple of great experiences. We had a nice setup in a three bedroom apartment shared by a rotating cast of four roommates. It had a pirate bar (complete with a sunset ocean scene painted on the wall), so we had many a pirate party:
It also had foosball and air hockey in the attic:
Our rent was dirt cheap and the apartment floors were a bit wonky, but we had ample space, we all got along well, and our landlords (who I never had to deal with) were pretty great.
Shawn and I ventured forth from there to our own little garden-level apartment in a nice complex. It was essentially one big room, a small bathroom and our bedroom, but it worked for us. We were quite happy in that space, and the manager was fantastic. Here it was during pre-Christmas craft-splotion (still mad I sold that table!):
Since those two fluke nice experiences, things haven’t been quite as great.
Next were the psychotic landlords on Park Ave that were solely responsible for giving me a bonafide case of Landlord PTSD (which should absolutely be entered into the DSM as a legitimate mental condition.)
Despite how rough the move-out process was (I got lawyers involved, it was no joke) we loved that apartment. It had super tall ceilings, tons of sunlight, and our own private porch that overlooked Deering Oaks Park. It was super tiny and had ugly wallpaper borders in every room, but we really happy in that space. It’s where we got engaged, adopted our cats, and where we all got dressed for our wedding.
After that came Gray Street. When we were in landlord hell, desperately trying to escape Park Ave., our psycho landlords went so far as to give us a negative reference. We thought we wouldn’t be able to find anyone who would rent to us. So when we saw the Gray St. apartment, all we saw was tons of space and the opportunity to get out of Park Ave.
What we didn’t see was the total lack of cupboards in the kitchen and the o-v-e-r-w-h-e-l-m-i-n-g filthiness of that space.
Here’s the dead bat and garbage that was under our stove when we moved in.
And the lead paint literally crumbling off the walls in chunks.
It took us months and months of cleaning and painting before we felt comfortable living there. After lots of time, love, and heavy elbow grease, we made it a pretty happy home.
No sooner did we fix the place up, than our landlords sold the building. We were able to stay for one more year (while our new landlord renovated and moved in upstairs) before we were told we couldn’t renew our lease, he was renting it to his best friend.
So that brings us up to the present. We had grand plans to stay in our current apartment for years, hoping to save up a traditional down payment for a condo or house. But yet again, we’ve had a run-in with our current landlord that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was a minor misunderstanding, but given our long and winding history of less than stellar landlords, we’re done with it.
We have decided to pull a whirlwind move, and attempt to buy our own place when our lease is up. It gives us about 6 months to scrape together what we can for a down payment, and find someplace we can put down roots and make our own. I have no idea how it’ll work out, but am really hoping somehow the timing and money will just come together for us.
In an effort to add what we can to our down payment pool, I’m going to be reopening my Etsy shop. So expect to see a flood of jewelry blowing up my blog in the coming months, just in time for your holiday shopping. Anything and everything will help, right? So it’s worth a shot!
Happy Samhain! My dude and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary in style as our favorite fantasy characters from when we were younger. Our costumes are entirely homemade. He went as Raistlin Majere from the Dragonlance series, and I was Polgara the Sorceress from The Belgariad novels. Nerds FTW!
Finally done! And with an entire day to spare…so of course, now I can’t decide if I should attempt to fix the straps tonight so I like them more in the front. I love how they look in the back, but I’m wondering if using black ribbon that’s thinner than the straps I have now in place of the teal will make it look less weird.
As much as I don’t want a racerback, I think crisscrossing the straps might pull the bust to the center more (right now, they are smooshed flat and out to the sides because of how I placed the extra triangles of fabric in the side panels.) I’d get rid of the straps all together if the top bust line wasn’t so clearly designed for straps. Le sigh.
And the biggest consideration of all- if I mess with it tonight, there’s always the possibility that I’ll ruin the corset that I spent a lot of time on, the day before Halloween. Conundrum!
Final corset- sneak preview! I’ll be posting better pictures after I finish my whole outfit (please forgive the petticoat-as-skirt, lol).
There are a ton of things I’m not thrilled with about it, but I think I’m going to cut myself some slack that it’s not perfect. It’s the first piece of clothing I’ve ever sewn, and it’s for Halloween, so I think it’ll do the trick.
I still need to sew in a hook and eye at the top and bottom of the busk to close the little splays (I should have gone with the 13” instead of the 12” for sure.) The straps are just weird- mostly because I ran out of bias tape to go around the curved edges, and had to hide them behind the front of the corset. They were supposed to overlap in the front and tie with a ribbon into grommets. But I digress!
I learned a lot, thanks in major part to Lucy’s (bishonenrancher) amazing videos. If you’re endeavoring to make your own corset, she’ll teach you everything you need to know (clearly and concisely, which is so appreciated :) )