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 :)
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 :) )
I fixed the busk, but it looks like I’m still going to have to let out the bust per my coworker’s suggestion (cutting a V in the gold side panels and inserting small triangles of fabric), Le sigh.
I think I’m vetoing the contrast stitching in favor of it blending in more. Looks like I’ve got a date with the seam ripper!
The Corset Saga- Part Two aka. The Mockup
As you might recall, I had a minor failure with attempt number one of re-creating my wedding corset. After consulting with one of my coworkers, who just so happens to be an insanely talented fashion designer who made it to the final round of being considered for Project Runway, I decided that I would re-trace my wedding corset with a lot more accuracy, before trying to get all fancy and alter my failed pattern.
I used push pins to help trace the panels this time (pushed through the fabrics along the seam line through my butcher block paper below, both holding it stationary and marking key points) and really stretched them out well. After creating my new pattern, I carefully ironed and traced my new pieces onto cotton duck to make the mockup.
And drumroll please…
Yahoo! Not gonna lie, Shawn laced me up and I did a boogie around the house. It’s sooo much better than the first go. The girls have support, I have a much more pronounced waist, and it’s pretty darn close to the original.
All I have left to do now is even out the bottom and top edges, and fit the straps so everything lines up, and then it’s on to the real deal! Only 2 more weeks until Halloween, and I have a ton of sewing ahead of me. Hopefully I can get it all done!
The Corset Saga- Part One
When I got married three years ago on Halloween, this is what I wore:
I love, love, love this outfit. I ordered a custom corset created to my measurements, and my mother lovingly made me a gorgeous and impeccable 1890’s style skirt to go with it.
Needless to say, I haven’t fit into that outfit again until very recently. I did wear the corset for a steampunk production of Midsummer that I was in, and it was abused mightily. I was too large for it to fit correctly, and the material they used on top of the corset wasn’t meant to be tight laced (stupid, stupid fine print- who makes a corset out of a material that rips under pressure?!?! ANYhoo…)
For some reason the other day, it popped into my head that since I’m now back to my wedding dress size, I should try to make my own corset for Halloween. And that I could use my wedding corset to make my own pattern.
Keep in mind that I have never sewn clothing. I have worked on a few costumes here and there, but nothing as involved as a tight fitting garment, let alone a corset.
I did my best to lay each section out flat and mark key points to each of the panels. I figured close would probably be “good enough”. See the areas along the seams of my corset that are much lighter? That’s where the fabric has ripped away from the pressure. Sad face.
For the fabric, I decided to use some brocade that was also (ironically) present at our wedding. We made a bunch of table coverings out of various damasks to dress up the space, and this particular fabric was on the candelabra stands on stage with us for the ceremony. (And this lovely lady with the beautiful tattoos lighting the candles is Shawna- hi Shawna!)
After doing my best to copy the pattern, I began to sew it together. I did remember to number the pattern pieces, but neglected to mark which seams needed to be sewn to each other so I ended up, ahem, sewing the corset pieces together backwards. I did this not once, but twice. Errgh. Have I mentioned before that I am working on my patience?
Finally, after clearly labeling which edges needed to be sewn together, I was able to make progress. (Check out that pattern matching!!) I used two layers of cotton twill for my flat lining and inner lining. I planned to turn and topstich the whole thing, and sandwich the bones in between the linings.
Finally, I got to the point where I could temporarily place the bones, and give it a try. I was sure it was going to magically fit the very first time! This was the result:
Wah wahhhh (sad trumpet noise). As you can see from the comparison, I somehow erased every curve I have. And there is zero support in the bust. Zero. The overall shape is very close. My back lacing panels lined up straight with each other when laced tightly. That will make the alterations needed much easier (I hope), because I think this means the pattern is relatively balanced as-is. I just need to let it out a little in the bust and hips, and hopefully, it’ll function like the original.
I don’t count this as a total loss. I now understand basic corset construction and how the layers have to interact. I know how the pattern pieces affect the final shape of the body. And I now get why making a “corset toile” or mock-up when drafting a new pattern is so important. Luckily, even though the fabric I used is beautiful, it was free! So this is sort of like a toile that could be a wearable finished corset for someone if I decided to finish it.
I went to Joann’s today and stocked up on what I need for my whole Halloween ensemble, including some heavy cotton duck to make the mock-up and refine my pattern. I’m very excited to see if I can make my own corset that actually fits- we shall see!
Click here for Part Two- aka The Mockup
Tonight was a whirlwind project! I hemmed and hawed over what to do about a coworker’s baby shower (which is tomorrow, hell-o procrastination!) I figured I probably already had whatever I needed for fabric, but the reason for the mess was because I couldn’t find any combo that I liked together. It took some creative seaming to come up with the final layout.
Out of the mess was born an “easy baby burrito maker” aka, a swaddle sack. When I explained to Shawn that it’s the “easy way to put the baby in the burrito wrap,” he looked at me like I had three heads.
I made my own pattern from looking at others online, and I think this will work. It might be a tad too big for the new-newborn stage, but it’s on par with the measurements I saw for many of them on Etsy. I think when I make it again (you know, because EVERYONE IS PREGNANT) I’ll shorten the wings so it can fit a smaller newborn.
I hope she likes it! She’s been really supportive- first when we were secretly pregnant at the same time, and later as I went through everything else. I’m not looking forward to the actual shower, I don’t know if I’ll go down for it. I’ll play it by ear and see how I’m feeling. But I did want to be sure to give her something special. :)
First things first…I have some news. I FINALLY HIT ZERO FOR hCG!!
Woot Woot! No chemo for me!! Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster!
As you can see from the above photo:
- I’m feeling good enough about the improvements in my fitness level that I am comfortable posting a picture of myself in sweatpants on the interwebs.
- I am super excited about hitting zero with no interventions. I have been interacting online with so many amazing women who had the same experience I did, plus chemo, plus cancer. I am acutely aware of the giant bullet I was lucky enough to dodge.
- I just purchased new running shoes and they remind me of a blue raspberry lollipop, which are my fave. They are my birthday present to myself, since my old ones finally bit the dust. I’ve shaved 17 minutes off the time it takes me to do a loop around Back Bay (3.6 miles), and I can run for 8 minutes straight now. C25K is awesome.
- Lastly, we bought a new couch. We actually picked it out the day we found out we were having a tumor instead of a baby. Gotta love the husband that said “ok honey” and acquiesced when I idiotically sobbed in the car “let’s make today the day we bought a new couch instead of the day we had a miscarriage.” We sensibly waited to purchase it for a couple of months, just to make sure it wasn’t a hysterical miscarriage purchase (that’s a thing, right?!?)
This week has been a much better week than last week. I think I hit the “anger” stage last week. I’m still there, but it’s significantly improved. I’ve been sort of quarantining myself so as not to spread the negativity, and doing my best to channel what I’m feeling into my workouts. And the workouts have gotten harder and more awesome. I can feel a big change in my body in just 7 weeks.
To break up my “KP SMASH!” streak, I decided that some craft time really needed to happen over the weekend. I hadn’t made anything at all in weeks, and it was long overdue.
I made curtains for our bedroom out of this poppy print that I am obsessed with. Shawn and I also picked out some really cool fabric to line the back of our new bookcase with (CL steal for $60- hardwood, from The Mill Store- amazing score!). Our bedroom is slowly becoming a happy place, instead of a dark, vehemently hated hovel. We hated our room so much when we first moved in that we slept in our living room for over a month on a blow up mattress. It wasn’t enjoyable.
I also took a stab at making my first Flip-style diaper cover. I have a close friend who is pregnant, and if I was a bettin’ woman, I think she’ll be a prefolds-and-covers type of gal. So I wanted to see if I could make one. All of the different varieties of cloth diapers are easy enough once you understand the basic construction concepts. I have two things I’ll change the next time I make one of these, but I’m quite happy with how it came out.
So yeah. Time is passing. I feel like I’m getting physically stronger and healthier. Our home is feeling more like a home. Summer is winding down, but that’s ok. I think the only thing between where I am now and where I want to be is more time. For now I’ll just keep on keeping on, and I’ll get there sooner than I think.
Craft projects have commenced for Seren’s wedding- vintage hat box restyled!
The “Litter Palace”- aka DIY Hidden Litter Boxes
Whoo boy have we been busy! So, so many projects accomplished, many more yet to finish. My fabulous mother came over this afternoon and helped me make something I’ve wanted to do for over four years. See this lovely new bench in our entry way?
It’s actually our brand new hidden-in-plain-sight litter box solution!
Our two cats are territorial about their litter boxes. When we had only one box, our Persian mix, Ozzy, would pee on things (like our brand new sofa). As long as we’ve had two litter boxes, they’ve always been fine.
In our new apartment, there is z.e.r.o. space in our bathroom, which is where we’ve always kept the litter boxes. Like, zero. I am going to have to work all kinds of magic in there to have any sort of towel and toiletry storage, but that’s another project for another day.
Long story short, I needed to find a way to hide the litter boxes, keep two of them, and not take away a whole bunch of usable space. A search on Pinterest turned up this pin:
I liked the idea, but it was way too expensive, and too small for our cats to use it comfortably. Two of those wouldn’t be usable in the entry way. I needed something bigger and with a surface that we could use as a table or a bench.
At the Mill Store yesterday, I spied that teak storage bench, and knew it would be perfect! I cut two cat-sized holes in the sides, lined the bottom of it with a vinyl mat cut to size from Target, and put in two high-backed litter boxes that happened to fit perfectly! Voila! We’ve dubbed it the “Litter Palace”.
My next big project will be turning this hutch base into a kitchen island…stay tuned for that one!
I have been a diaper-making fiend this week! My friends are about to have their new baby. To prepare for the transition from disposables, they’ve switched their older daughter to cloth to get the routine down before the new baby comes. They have a few gifted name brand diapers, but liked the fit of the Sprout Snap I made for them, and asked if I’d mind making them some more. Of course I jumped and said I’d be happy to!
I cranked these out in the past 3 days…4 Sprout Snap AI2s with snap-in soakers topped with CDMF or wicking pique, 1 Med DDU “nighttime fitted diaper” with snap in soaker, and 1 T&T Sprout Snap cover with 2 layers of PUL. Most fabric except for the minky and PUL was purchased at Goodwill. (The coffee mug fabric is an inside joke- they’ve posted all of these cute pictures of their daughter “drinking coffee” like mom on their FB pages, so when I saw that fabric I thought they’d get a kick out of it ;) )