31 January 2010

one step closer to awesome

So I went to Hancock Fabrics yesterday. I haven't bought any fabric for months and months and months, but I finally have a tiny bit of spending money, and also Hancock had this sale where (a) Kona cotton was $2 off and also (b) you got $10 off a $50+ purchase and $20 off a $100+ purchase. (Guess which discount I took advantage of?!)

Anyway! Huge sale, I bought a lot of Kona cotton for some quilts and/or purses, but more importantly, I bought a t-shirt pattern. Actually, a t-shirt + tank top pattern, and a yard of yellow cotton knit fabric. If this goes well, I am soon going to be able to make my own t-shirts & tank tops, which is awesome because (a) no more guilt over the conditions at whichever factory supplies Target and (b) I'll finally have shirts that aren't crew neck but also aren't v-necks that are so low cut as to be, um, distracting/inappropriate for teaching. For some reason, that second thing has thus far been almost impossible for me to find. I'm obviously quite nervous about sewing with knits, though, really, why? I have several different stretch stitches* on my machine, I bought needles made specifically for knits, the fabric cost maybe $10, what's the worst that could happen? If I screw up this first t-shirt, then I will probably not screw up the second one. So yeah, t-shirts!

Except I can't sew it yet because I have to read a book and two or three articles and also maybe start on a response paper. But if I get all that done, I will definitely have time for sewing either tonight or all day on Tuesday! Looking on the bright side, that is what 2010 is all about, dammit!

*Took me roughly 5 tries to spell that right, and it still looks weird to me.

28 January 2010

racism is still a thing

So my first week of school is almost over--just one more class tonight. I'm done with teaching for the week, and I'm going to continue to act on the assumption that talking about work on the internet is a bad thing, but I will say that I am pretty excited about both the class that I'm teaching and the students who are taking it.

I am really really not excited about the temperature right now. The forecast this morning was something like "high of 8, but with windchill it'll feel like -20." What?! Plus it's ridiculously sunny, which is an endlessly confusing, late-January/early-February thing that I love/hate about Wisconsin winters. (Does that sentence make sense?)

The only thing that has put a bit of a damper on the week is that I haven't had time to sew anything at all. I'll probably have time this weekend, so probably I should wait a week or two to let things settle, but I am definitely hoping that teaching isn't going to take over my life in the same way it did last semester. I guess my own classes could be time-consuming too, but it's a lot easier to make my own schoolwork fit whatever time is available.

Anyway, things are good. How are you?

25 January 2010

school started today!

I promise I won't neglect the blog for months and months again.

Okay, that's a lie, but I'll try my best.

In the meantime, read this and be depressed.

24 January 2010

sunday stash!


Look what I remembered to do! Pictured is vintage fabric, my xmas present from Nathan. The green & white fabric will probably end up as the backing fabric for a quilt; the red fabric will eventually be a dress, if I can find the right pattern. I don't know about the brown print. We'll see.

School starts tomorrow. I'm cautiously optimistic that this will be a good semester.

21 January 2010

etsy etc

brown + blue floral baby quilt

I finally listed some stuff in my Etsy shop, including this quilt. I have a bit of a stockpile built up too, so I'll be able to add new stuff next week too. I feel quite organized at the moment.

I have a meeting on campus today, which should be interesting. I woke up last night at 3am and didn't fall asleep again until at least 5:30am, so here's hoping I'll be coherent.

There's a better than average chance that I'll get my student loan check today, which means I'll be able to go grocery shopping, which is good as I'm getting a bit tired of lentils and beans. I will say though, I have been doing a great job at grocery shopping, because the last time we did a big grocery trip was the end of November. We've gotten by since then with small trips to the deli for milk/eggs/cheese, that kind of thing. I don't think I've spent more than $100 on groceries in the past month, so I'm feeling pretty good about that.

Anyway, time to get ready for my meeting! Go buy something from my Etsy store. Or don't. I'll still like you either way.

15 January 2010


So, it seems that my student loan excess check is going to be sent out next Wednesday, not today as I had assumed/hoped. Shit. No money for Doctor's Without Borders for Haiti, no groceries for me.

This will be okay though. Well, obviously it will be okay--being broke for a few extra days is really not a big deal--but I am determined to not let this get me all mopey/panicky. That would be dumb, of course, but it would also be the normal way that I react to such situations. Money sucks! Especially not having it.

Anyway! Look on the bright side, etc, whatever. This weekend, I will sew some things for a shop update on Monday, and I will make a whole lot of homemade pasta with my Best Christmas Present ever pasta roller attachment thing. (That might be Exhibit A in the This Will Be Okay/Things Are Not Actually Bad At All... case? Lost that one in the middle.) I made some fettuccine a few days ago, and Nathan said it might be the best dinner we'd had in months. Six eggs + a bunch of flour = fresh pasta for days. I will probably also do a lot of cooking with whatever we have in the house (so, beans and bread, probably).

So that's something like a plan. I would write more about it, but I really want to start sewing. So, I will do that, and you will tell me what you're doing this weekend. Anything fun?

12 January 2010

pride goeth before the fall

Oh, you guys, I was so excited to make my new red dress that I decided to cut it out yesterday, even though I didn't have all the notions necessary to actually sew it here. What the hell, I thought, I'll cut it out here and then be ready to sew it as soon as I get back to Milwaukee.

Here's the thing--you know how they have those cutting layouts on the pattern instructions? And also, the note on the pattern about whether you should cut it on the fold or on the selvedge? Okay, maybe you don't, but both of those things exist, and it is really really important to actually pay attention to them. Which I knew! I know that! Normally I am super crazy nervous about cutting out pattern pieces and check the layout 300 times before I cut. But yeah, I cut out the front of the dress on the selvedge, because I was not paying enough attention! Also, I was a little too proud of myself for properly trueing the fabric. UGH. There is not any way to really salvage it at this point, as I am about a quarter yard short from cutting everything out from the fabric I have left, and there is really no way that dress would work with a seam down the front. I don't know, maybe I could possibly use the fabric for a dress with princess seams? Maybe it would work for Vogue 8408, which I would really like to make soon. Or maybe I'll give up and make a bunch of bags out of it.

Seriously though, I was feeling so good about sewing until I realized I screwed up that dress. I guess I still do feel pretty good about sewing, which is exciting. I had so little time to do anything last semester, but I'm quite excited to make a few dresses and sew some new clothes for myself. I also found a few pairs of pants in my closet at my parents house--I think I found them at thrift stores one of the last times I was here--and I cut pieces for 16 zip purses from 1 pair of pants. 16!! I cut out some cat toys as well, and I want to maybe do some handwork when I get back. Something like this; make something is such an awesome blog, and Karyn's shop The Workroom makes me want to move to Toronto just to take classes there. I have another two weeks (or so? don't want to think about the exact time) before school starts; I just want to sew as much as possible and get myself organized so I'll be able to make time for sewing once school starts again.

11 January 2010



Things are moving quickly around here. I traced out a pattern Saturday, Vogue V8552--I believe I've mentioned it before. The tracing went very well; I only had to alter it a bit, based on the finished garment dimensions, though I guess we'll see how the fit turns out in the end. I'm doing the version with side seam pockets, which should be pretty fun. All told, it's 4 pattern pieces, which is super exciting. Very possible that I'll actually finish this soon. Maybe today? I'm not going home until tomorrow, so I have all day today to sew. Though, shoot--I think I need seam binding and maybe tape. Maybe I'll cut it out here and sew & finish it when I'm home.

So, exciting times! I'm glad I came up for this visit; it's been quite relaxing. I'm really excited to get home, though, and do some sewing. And prepare for the semester, I guess. I generally prefer to pretend I don't have to go back to school until the night before the semester starts, but that generally leads to high levels of stress, so maybe I should change tactics. Do some reading, maybe some research for my thesis... sometimes I get the feeling that I might be a bit of a slacker, when it comes to grad school at least. Other people write articles, do fancy internships, and just seem so driven; meanwhile, I'm thinking that maybe I should do some reading or something. Sometimes I think I'd rather just sew all day, but maybe I'd just get tired of that too? Ugh, being an adult is hard.

10 January 2010

Sunday Stash!


Seriously, really know, I am going to do this Sunday Stash thing! Pictured here are recent finds at one of my favorite thrift stores. Roughly 20 yards of fabric, purchased for $40 or so. Excellent! If you click through, you can read notes on what I'm planning for each piece. You know you want to know.

09 January 2010

addendum to previous

I went to Treadle Yard Goods yesterday, a belated Christmas present from my mom. Did I mention I'm up north, visiting my parents? I am, for a few days. Anyway, definitely my favorite Christmas present. Except for the pasta roller attachment for my mixer. And the vintage fabric Nathan gave me. And the bees from Heifer International. Okay, this was a good year for presents.

Anyway, re: previous. I bought Vogue V8552, but I completely forgot to buy the Liverpool shirt pattern. I also found this pattern, which I am stupid excited to sew:

Vogue V8408. I bought an awesome grey ponte de roma double knit, which I think is going to look awesome. Somewhat nervous about the stretch factor, but it's such a heavy knit that I think maybe I'll be okay. I also bought some black cotton sateen, in case the double knit doesn't work out right. Wait, no, it's the other way around--black sateen for this dress, ponte de roma for a yet-to-be-found awesome dress with a cowl or something similar.

(While looking for previous photo, I found another dress I must have/sew:

Vogue 8511. Actually, nevermind, the skirt section is pleated, basically. Yuck. Must find a similar dress without pleats, I think.

Okay, awesome! Treadle Yard Goods is full of wonder and inspiration; I am feeling quite optimistic that I'll make V8408, and I really think V8552 could become a wardrobe staple. And really, I cannot emphasize enough, Treadle Yard Goods is awesome. Great selection of fabric, classes that make me want to move back home just to take them, and the absolute nicest, most helpful staff that I have ever encountered. You should go there and buy a lot of stuff.

07 January 2010

things i will sew

In the alternate universe in which I actually sew clothes, instead of just half-starting projects and then either running out of time (e.g. Maxi dress I still need to finish for the Presserfoot Sewalong from September. September!!!) or energy or motivation or just generally running out of the ability to sew clothing I can wear outside the house. The point I'm getting at here is that sewing clothes is hard! Anyway. Here are the things that I will somehow, someday make.

New dress (the 'liverpool') from Amy Butler. Her Barcelona skirt is the only pattern I've successfully made and worn outside the house, so this could be something I actually make.

Super basic but possibly adorable dress from Vogue. V8552.

[stupid text link because Simplicity has a stupid website that won't allow me to show a photo of the pattern they're trying to sell to people UGH]

Kristen dress from BurdaStyle. I've been wanting to do this forever. Do you think it would be a proper dress for a wedding? I have a family wedding to attend in May, and I really want to make a dress to wear.

Oooh pretty. Need to get better at sewing and make myself some pretty dresses.

05 January 2010

dulce de leche

Look what I got for Christmas!

I wanted to include a photo of some of what I made today, but I couldn't manage to take a good photo of anything. Things I made: egg bake (delicious!), red beans (delicious?), 2 potholders, 2 zip purses, and... that's all! But it was a good day, really. Sewing and cooking and staying warm, mostly. Apparently I can't have my computer, sewing machine, iron, and space heater plugged in at the same time. But hey, on the plus side, my surge protector shuts off automatically when it's overloaded!

Anyway, I'm driving up north tomorrow, and Nathan is staying here, so we're going to go out for drinks or something, I think. But first, red beans and rice! I love winter break.

04 January 2010

oh dear

Embarrassing revelation #1: Bridget Jones's Diary is playing as background noise while I sew. In my defense, I don't own a copy, I'm watching it instantly on Netflix. [INSTANTLY!!!]

Embarrassing revelation #2: When it started playing, it was at the end credits, because Netflix saves your place wherever you last stopped, and apparently I've watched Bridget Jones's Diary before. Recently, probably. Yikes.

01 January 2010

happy birthday nathan

Ooh, I had such a good time last night. We had a bunch of people over for Nathan's birthday (and also the New Year, I guess?), and it was probably the best party I've ever thrown. I made hummus, pita bread, crackers, guacamole, and refritos for a taco dip thing that Nathan made. All from scratch! None of it turned out quite as good as I'd hoped, but everyone ate it real fast, so it must have been okay. Oh, and we had some awesome mulled cider (with whole cloves, whole allspice, and cinnamon sticks, and also a lot of rum). Oh! We had a cheese plate to go with the crackers, and I assembled some lumpia with potato filling, but I ended up not baking them because there was already so much damn food. So yeah, I am a crazy person, is the moral of this story. A crazy person who throws sweet parties.

Oh, and also there were people there! It was really pretty great being surrounded by awesome people at the beginning of 2010, and I think Nathan had a good time, which is probably the most important thing. He's at band practice [BZYBODIES, they don't have any music up apparently, but trust me, they're kind of amazing] right now, and he has a show tonight, but we'll probably hang out a bit this afternoon sometime. I gave him an eBay gift certificate so he can buy records. He also asked for a peach pie with cobbler topping, which will probably wait until Monday or Tuesday after we go grocery shopping. Oh, and this is just ridiculous, but he told me he wants me to sew for at least three hours today, because I haven't had time to sew in weeks, and he knows it'll make me happy. Yeah, I know, you kind of want to vomit from the adorableness. It is that kind of nonsense that reminds me how lucky I am.

So yes, hopefully last night and today will set the tone for the rest of the year. Last year was not so bad but not so great, and I would very much like to make 2010 awesome. I like that idea--I will choose to make 2010 a good year, regardless of what happens.

And on that note, I'm going to go watch Jersey Shore