Friday, July 31, 2009


Necklace that I made today out of old jewelry. Pendant was originally an earring, blue pearl beads were from a necklace and the clear beads I bought. I love repurposing old jewelry into something new. Makes me sad that I never got a hold of my grandmother's costume jewelry. I bet I could have had lots of fun with that.

Compliments the sweater nicely, if I do say so myself.

Final (?) Thoughts

I finished the pink cardigan, all it needs is buttons - I'm thinking of going with silver. I am still debating if I will put the pockets on. This sweater has languished for about a year in a drawer, almost finished. I spent a lot of money on this yarn as it is a fine merino wool, which is why I picked a classic shape so that I could wear it for a long time. I just had to put on the front bands and collar. It actually took a little bit of engineering on the right way to do it so that it didn't cheapen the overall look of the garment. I managed to figure it out, though I ripped out the button band once because the first buttonholes were horrible. I tried a different technique and added more buttons, and then with a little bit of blocking, ending up with a very nice looking buttonhole band.

Overall this month has been pretty interesting. Did I actually succeed in buying only those things I needed? No, but I don't feel bad about it. What I realized was this wasn't an exercise in deprivation. I've already done that (out of necessity, not out of choice) and it's no fun (and why diets don't work). It was about becoming a more conscious consumer. Do I need to spend $5 on a magazine that I will read once? Probably not. Do I need 15 different shades of pink nail polish? Once again, I decided no (but I did have to think about that for a minute). If something is on sale for $10 do you buy it because it is on sale or because you really love it or need it?

I have started to reframe how I look at my life and my purchases. It's about quality over quantity. For instance, I did go and see two movies this month. They are obviously not a necessity, but I enjoyed seeing them and spending the time with my friend, who I treated for her birthday. To me that was a quality purchase - it enhanced my life and our friendship. It's about figuring out what really matters and then going with that.

Also, since I didn't have the distraction of shopping, I spent a lot of time making things. I think I accomplished quite a bit this month. It reminded me how much I really enjoy sewing and knitting. This is my thing - creating fashion. It's what makes me happy. I get a little thrill every time I figure out how to do something I didn't do before. Sewing and knitting are like puzzles, you have to figure out the best way to put the pieces together. I enjoy that. Others may enjoy playing sports, cooking, gardening or making music, but for me it's creating fashion.

The point is this: we all have something that we like doing, our own creative spirit (creativity isn't just about art, it's about personal expression) and when you give your time to it, you fill that void inside yourself that you think that money, food or things can fill.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 27

I am wearing the pink blouse from Saturday's post today with a cute black/white/pink/green print skirt. I think it looks cute but the males in my household don't notice these things.

I also finished knitting the armbands on this tank top. It fits well, the ribbing is very flattering. It will be very versatile - I can wear it alone in the summer or under a jacket in the winter.

I did a major reorganizing of my fabrics. Well, it wasn't so much a reorganizing as it was digging up the piles of fabric to see what I actually have. I started matching up fabric to actual patterns I could sew with them. I have some wonderful black wool that I am going to make a gored skirt with and then I have a very cute dress but can't decide if I want to make it in this very dark olive green or navy. I think the navy is going to win.

I also have two knitting projects that I haven't finished and decided before I start anything new I have to finish them. One is a pink cardigan (I spent a lot of money on the wool for it - it is soft and luxurious and beautiful). It's practically done, all I have to do is knit the bands, collar and pocket and sew in one sleeve (the other is already sewn). The other project is a blue cardigan that has wonderful texture to it with cable and bobble stitches. I need to finsh the back and sleeves on that one.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day 25

This blouse was interesting to work on. The fabric shifts alot so it was hard to get a handle on it but it didn't turn out too bad - a cute little summer top with some nice embellishments.
I also have another knit tank top in progress so hope to be able to post that soon. It's a lot simpler than the other one but still cute.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day 18

Sweater to match skirt is finished. I was a little concerned that it wouldn't fit but it's pretty stretchy and it's fine. Not only does it go with the skirt I made but I have another skirt that I can wear it with and didn't even realize it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 11

I won't bore you with day by day details, instead I'll focus on the finished products. Here is a dress that I completed. Luckily I had a zipper to match.
Picking the correct size in a sewing pattern can be tricky. They aren't sized like ready-to-wear. You have to go by your measurements and even then you have to check how much ease they put into the pattern. I went down a size for this dress because it had way to much ease in it and I am glad I did. It fits perfectly.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Days 6 & 7

I continue working on my knitting so nothing new to show there.
On Tuesdays, I have volunteered to teach a sewing class to teens at a local non-profit. The experience has been eye-opening. First of all, I was WAY too ambitious with my project, but in my defense, I was under the impression that the teens would SIGN-UP for the class, as in make a commitment to be at the class each week. That apparently is not the way things work at this place. Unfortunately, I have not had much direction from the director of the facility (in her defense, this was thrown at her at the last minute) so I pretty much dug myself a hole with this one. I don't mind working with the teens but if I had known that each week I would be getting a totally different group of girls (there is one girl who is very dedicated and has been there every week. I will make sure she gets her project done) I would have structured the class differently. I would have had a small little project they could conceivably complete in 2 hours, rather than an ongoing project where each class builds on the last.
I have learned a lot from this experience, it hasn't turned me off to teaching teens, but I am wondering if I should switch gears next class so that I can bring some closure to it because at the rate I'm going we are not making a lot of progress. Of course, I also decided that I am not taking any more new students until we finish this round. It may mean that next week I only have 2 students, but that's fine with me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 5

This is a tank top that I started knitting to go with the brown skirt that is in yesterday's post. The flowers on the skirt are actually an aqua color and this yarn just happened to match perfectly.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Day 4

Today's focus - skirts. Both of these skirts are actually remakes. I found skirts at a thrift store. Both were too big for me but I loved the fabric. The grey was a frumpy, long, old lady skirt but I loved the embroidery on the bottom and I figured worse case scenario, I could make a pillow with it. But I managed to actually get a skirt out of it. Unfortunately it is going to remain incomplete until the end of this month.
First of all, I like the length but still need to hem it, so I am going to create a bias binding hem - there will be a nice ribbon of black satin. I think it will look fab. Secondly, even though the original skirt had a lining AND I was able to cut out a skirt from the main fabric, I was NOT able to get a complete pattern cut from the lining fabric. Go figure. So I need more fabric for the lining (trust me, I scoured my stash and no suitable fabric for the lining was found.)

The brown skirt was a similar story except that I had already sewn it up except for the hem, so I just finished it.

By the way, the blouse is done.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Day 3 - Almost blew it

Blouse is sewn. Looks much better in white (and will be more versatile) than the print I used for the first one. Just have to do buttonholes and buttons. Did find buttons that will work.
Had a close call today. I've been eyeing a pair of boots on Zappos but they didn't have my size and wouldn't you know they emailed me today saying they came in. But when I went to check it out, they really didn't have my size ( I didn't think they were available in 8 so I tried to order an 8.5 but they DO come in an 8). I probably would have blown it for those boots. Hopefully it will take another month for my size to come in!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Be Very Afraid

For those of you who think I am crazy for doing this challenge this month, here are some pictures of my stash (although I admit these pictures are not good evidence that I am NOT crazy...) Note that this isn't ALL of my fabric and yarn (but it is a majority of it.)

Day 2

(Note, these posts will actually be a day behind) So far, so good. Here is a blouse pattern that I cut out. I've made this pattern before so I know the fit is good, but last time I made it I did it in a print and realized that was a mistake, so I am doing it in white this time. The hardest part about this month is going to be finding zippers, buttons, trim, etc, to match the fabric I have. I have a pretty big stash of those too, but by the end of this month I may have several half finished projects because I need to buy buttons or zippers.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day 1

One necklace completed. Of course, the shopping gods are conspiring against me as I got a whole bunch of coupons (Half Price Books, no less) in the mail today.



We have been doing a lot of little fix-ups around the house the past month - new tile, light fixtures, paint, etc and I have been incredibly busy shopping for said fixtures, coordinating trades people and painting. As much as I love decorating, I am a little burnt out and the wallet is smoking a bit too.
So I decided that in July I would institute a self-imposed ban on buying anything that wasn't necessary. My spending would be limited to the essentials like food/toiletries, gas and medication. Period. Nothing else. No, no Half-Price Books, no craft stores, thrift shops, garage sales, shoe stores, etc. NOTHING.
It's only day one and I am starting to get heart palpitations. But the whole reason that I decided to do this was because of my stash. My yarn/fabric/jewelry making stash. I have enough to make several wardrobes and decided that if I eliminate the shopping for the stuff (which, I'll admit, is half the fun) that I would actually have time to make the stuff.
Of course I did do some pre-July stocking up (sewing patterns, jewelry parts and of course, the Victoria Secret jeans which were on sale and are the first to actually fit me AND they had a 36" inseam so I can wear them with heels). The goal is that by the end of July I will have made a significant contribution to my wardrobe - clothes and accessories.
Stay tuned.