Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Outfit Along 2019 - Hello! I'm Still Alive!

Hello, All! Man has it been a long time - I've never gone so long without blogging since I started in 2009, and while the initial reasons for the absence are still unshareable (but getting ever closer to the epic share post), I've also bought a house and moved in the interim putting many of the things I love on hold for months and months just to keep myself going forward with all the "have to dos" of my life. BUT I am in my house and look forward to not moving for at least 5 years or so, meaning I can start thinking about making things again. In fact, all I can think about lately is making things since my wardrobe is getting pretty tatty and/or ill-fitting. I'm spoiled now - I can't go back to hours of shopping only to have poorly made clothes that don't fit my body. Aside from the odd Target t-shirt or thrifted bathing suit here and there, I have had no new clothes in this whole time. Craziness. Anyway, I am ready to just back on this sewing horse and love my clothing again. Very apropos to the announcement of this year's Outfit Along today. 
If you've read this blog over the past few years, you'll know I've participated in the OAL since it's inception except that I skipped last year (again due to the wonderful but unshareable info I'm witholding, lol). Here are my finished posts from 201420152016, and 2017, all of which I still wear on occasion (or wish I could but are now too small). I've been trying to pick what project to start my sewing habit back with for a couple of weeks and just can't seem to decide with the vast choices available. Thanks to today's OAL announcement I will be able to narrow things down much better :)

In previous years, the Outfit Along has always had 1 group knitting pattern and 1 group sewing pattern the tutorials were based off of, yet you could still choose something different if the suggested patterns were not for you. The idea was just to complete 1 knitted item and 1 sewn item that coordinated from June 1st to July 31st and make yourself an "outfit". I've used the suggested patterns here and there but if that pattern wasn't my style I went with something that was more me. This year though, the overall theme has altered a bit. This year's focus is on finishing works in progress (wips). At least one of the items for your project must be an old wip and the rest can be new if you choose. This works out perfectly for me because I've felt guilty for a while about how long my poor Dahlia cardigan is taking.
In 8 days I can celebrate that project's anniversary - exactly 1 year since I started it :/ Disgraceful! I used to finish 5 sweaters a year. So sad. Anyway, I've really wanted to finish this up and now i will have a small fire lit under my butt to get it done and a reasonable timeline in which to do it. I may have majorly decreased/non existent knitting time but I only have the last 3rd of the front of the body, the sleeves, and the seaming left to do. Now that I have a deadline of sorts, I know I can squeeze out the necessary time.
I don't have my sewing projects picked out to make this an "outfit" yet, but I plan to work entirely from my stash on this project, technically making everything I make qualify as a wip by the new rules since I plan my projects when I purchase the fabric and patterns. So now I just have to narrow down what will go with the coral Dahlia cardigan and run with it. I'll report back once I've picked my projects :)
Now that this post broke the ice with my dusty 'ole blog, you can expect to hear from me every now and then., including the couple of projects I've made since last September but never blogged. Sadly my output won't be what it once was, but I plan to share some of my home improvement projects as well as other endeavors I've taken up in my absence. I hope you can stay in touch! And if you are still here after all this time, thank you so much for still keeping my little blog on your radar :)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

A Year In Books - 2018

Another year, another reading challenge. This year I managed to beat my goal of 50 books by a whole 2 books! lol There were some really good books on the list this year. But first - here's the nice Goodreads infographics :)
And now for the books themselves :) As always, I've linked all the reviews I managed to post (and as always, I only managed to get about halfway down the list with reviews). So here is what I read this year:

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey
2. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
3. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
4. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
5. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
6. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
7. Postcards From the Edge by Carrie Fisher
8. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
9. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
10. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
11. The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin
12. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
13. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
14. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
15. Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich
16. Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha
17. Thérèse Racquin by Émile Zola
18. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
19. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
20. Circe by Madeline Miller
21. Howard's End by E.M. Forster
22. Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy
23. The Odyssey by Homer
24. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
25. Les Liasons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Lasclos
26. Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer
27. The Practicing Mind by Thomas Sterner
28. A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean
29. At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
30. Calypso by David Sedaris
31. The Martian by Andy Weir
32. How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm by Mei-Ling Hopgood
33. I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron
34. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer + Annie Barrows
35. Women & Money by Suze Orman
36. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
37. The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
38. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald
39. Five by Fitzgerald by F. Scott Fitzgerald
40. Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks
41. Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébay

42. The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke
43. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
44. No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
45. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
46. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
47. Artemis by Andy Weir
48. Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
49. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
50. The Green Mile by Stephen King
51. Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
52. The Love of the Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald


Out of the 52 books I read, I gave 4 of them 5 star ratings. The best books were:
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Secondhand Time
  • East of Eden
And the easy winner on this list for me is East of Eden. Wow, what a great book. I can't believe I hadn't heard it spoken of more on the big lists of books you should read. This really makes me excited to read more Steinbeck next year, to say the least. I also finally read something by Stephen King (I know, right?), and I knocked Crime and Punishement and Gone with the Wind off my list. All in all I'm happy with the mix of books for fun and books with purpose.

So that's my year in books :) I definitely recommend some of these. To get my full reviews or my star ratings (if you're interested), head over to My Goodreads Profile. Now I get to start on the next 50 books for 2019 :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A Year in Yarn: 2018

1. Little Giraffe - The very first thing I made of the year - started on December 31st even :)  I just love this little pattern - it's such a cute giraffe, and I enjoyed getting to practice my colorwork. This will be a fun heirloom toy.
2. Accidental Baby Beanie - This is what happens when a baby is teeny tiny and you use a "newborn" size pattern. It turned out quite large. Also this was "accidental" because I meant to make a bonnet, not a beanie. Whoops.
3. Recoleta - My only finished sweater of the year! So weird! I really like this now that it's cool enough to wear it. The yarn is super soft and warm and the pattern is very pretty. This was an enjoyable challenge to knit at the time.

4. Bonnet 1 - I made an actual bonnet this time, but it would up huge again. Ah well, it still looked cute in the pictures, right? (It's the darker purple one).
5. Cat Butt Coaster - This was a last minute gift for my Mother in Law for Mother's Day. It went over well, lol.

6. Bonnet 2 - This was an actual newborn sized bonnet made as a photo prop for a friend, but I'm a bad friend and have yet to give it to her. Ugh. I should really do that.
7. Turkey Butt Hatt - This will have a whole post very soon. I had to make another turkey butt baby hat this year and it turned out great - just like the first one :)


Sadly I did not have much knitting time this year, so I have several items that are still WIPs:
Lady Russell Shawl - this is becoming my constant project. It seems that once a year I will pick it up for a while and then set it aside for something more exciting. I guess I'm really just know a shawl knitter. So maybe one day I will finish this...
Ducks in a Row - this is the sadest wip, lol. I started this last January! Shameful! I really buckled down and had plans to finish it for Christmas, which I would've done had it not been for the wood pieces I need cut. I'm still waiting for my brother to cut my dowel pieces so I can finish the assembly. Hopefully this happens soon.
Copycat Jaywalker Socks - So sad with these - I had most of one sock done when I discovered that I accidentally continued the stitch pattern all the way around the sock, meaning there was a bumpy ridges just under the center of the ball of my foot. Not good. So just last month I decided to yank it out to the heel. So these are even less done now than they were in this photo, lol.
Dahlia Cardigan - Man, I want to get this finished. I'm really so close - I'm mostly finished with the body and then I just have the sleeves and finishing. I'd really just like to be able to move on from this, lol. Hopefully soon.

And that's it! Isn't that crazy? I really do miss knitting, but it just isn't going to get to happen for a while. Ah well. Someday I will get to knit again.

Friday, December 28, 2018

A Year in Thread: 2018

I'm Alive, friends! I can't believe it's been over a month since I last posted. Craziness! This past month literally tried to kill me, but I have made it to the other side of Christmas and I am so ready for things to slow down a bit again. I couldn't let the end of the year pass without doing my usual round ups, so if this bores you I suggest you come back next year sometime :) Cause I have several round ups coming this next week. I decided to start off with the one that will have the most to show: my year in thread. This is everything I sewed this year along with a little blurb about how it worked for me. Enjoy!
1. Yellow Stripe Boat Neck - my first make of the year and I still wear this quite often. I did learn that you don't pull the neckband on a boat neck like you would a scoop neck or else the neckline will always be wavy, which does annoy me on this make. Now I know for next time.
2. Faux Field Bag - I seriously love everything about this bag. I used it constantly throughout the year, but I have a few improvements I would like to make to the next version (which is always on the edge of being made). I've had a lot of requests for instructions on how to make this, so maybe that is something I will manage to make happen next year. We'll see.
3. Khaki Melissa Skirt - This is a somewhat successful make even if I have issues with some of the on the fly fudges I made. Don't cut your twill cross grain! You will see it! Also I hate that I gathered the back of this so much and wished I had taken my time to really ease it all in. I do still wear this fairly often though since my shirts cover the waistband.
4. Sassy Stork Blouse - This is one of my most popular makes of the year in real life - I still get compliments every time I wear it. I love this fabric and the style. I don't wear it super often because it needs a forward shoulder adjustment (and now that I know why it sits back on my neck, I find that uncomfortable). I have a stack of other fabrics I wanted to use for this pattern, so hopefully I can make one of those in the near future.
5. Green Banksia - This was a sad experiment that I seriously have only worn out once. The fit on the shirt itself is just not right on my body in many ways. I do still love the collar and placket though, so I still plan to use those on a knit shirt sometime.
6. Disney Sorrel - This year's Disney-going shirt. I wore this a few times and always got compliments from the employees at the parks - they see so many prints that they can tell which ones are unusual, so I take that as a compliment :) Still love this pattern, lol.
7. Otari Hoodie - Possibly my most used item of the year. I was lucky to be a pattern tester on this pattern and I learned a lot in the process of making it. I love my lightweight, "Florida" hoodie. The fabrics are super cute and it's light enough to be useful here year round, so it's often in my bag or in my car.
8. Blue Linen Skirt Redux - I finally hit it right with this remake of a remake - isn't it funny that something as simple as changing the buttons and adding tiny pockets would take this from never worn to worn often? I wear this at least every couple of weeks.
9. Blue Laurel Mimi Blouse - This was technically a muslin, but it had several fit issues combined with a color combo that just makes me feel dowdy. I have never worn this out.
10. White Mimi Blouse - My first part of the Dress Like Your Grandma Challenge. I really thought I would wear this all the time, but in the end the fact that you see the facing from the front really does bug me :/ So I never wear this.
11. Red Hollyburn Skirt - Just like all my other Hollyburns, this turned into a frequently worn item. In fact I just wore it yesterday! This was the bottom half of the DLYG Challenge.
12. Pacifier Clips - These were used a ton when these babies were little, so I'm pretty happy with the whopping 30 minutes they took to make.
13. Yaletown - I really wanted to like this dress, and I was bound and determined to have something wearable, but it just has way to make fit issues. I have worn this a few times to church, but I almost exposed myself each time, so until I figure something stronger out to hold the wrap closed, it will not be worn.
14. Navy Agnes - So sad that this fabric was so terrible because I love it in theory. I did manage to wear the shirt with my Pippi Pinafore, but that's the only way it gets outside the closet, lol.
15. Flamingo Agnes - This shirt was worn All. The. Time. This whole outfit, in fact. I should really give this shirt a shave cause it's getting a bit pilly.
16. Minty Floral Skirt - Another great piece - I should just make 10 of this pattern and wear them all the time. If I had more shirts to wear with this, it would get worn even more.
17. Lotta Jansdotter Sailor Top - This gets a surprising amount of wear for being a quilting cotton shirt. It didn't work with the skirt I wanted it for, but it goes with a lot of other skirts just fine and it's very comfy.
18. Quill Peggy Skirt - I seriously love this fabric and I was so proud of my pattern matching on this skirt, but because I had such a hard time with matching a shirt with it, it has been worn very few times. So sad.
19. Pippi Pinafore - This was a fun and different make for me that paid off nicely. I really like the pinafore look on me since this is more fitted, and this helped me wear a few tops that never get worn otherwise.
20. Serger Thread Catcher - Such a useful little thing and it was so easy to make. I hope people were able to use the tutorial and make their own :)
21. Acid Agnes Refashion - This was quite the remake project, lol. I'm still proud I made this from what it was, but after washing it once I had some holes pop up in the friction areas :/ I sewed them closed by hand, but it still doesn't bode well for it holding up. Consequently I haven't worn it much.
22. Rifle Sun Girls Apron - This was a big hit for my sister's birthday this year and now all the other family members want one of their own.
23. Sparkle Peony Agnes - I was so bummed about this shirt - I knew better at the time but I didn't pull the neckband enough and the neckband sags which was just personally embarassing. I finally started to take it apart a few months ago and then never got around to fixing it. So while this did get a little wear, it's out of commission now. Hopefully I get the time to fix it soon cause it was a cute shirt.
24. Burgundy Melissa Skirt - A big win here - this is a comfy skirt that doesn't wrinkle much and goes with a surprising amount of things in my closet. I don't know what this fabric is, but it pills like made in the wash - I had to do a complete shave down just to make it wearable again. It was worth it though. I'm wearing this as I type.
25. Botany Voile Sailor Top - Another big win. Man, I love this fabric. Pretty, light, and breathable in a loose design that goes with a lot. I wore this with the burgundy skirt at my baby shower so I think of that every time I wear the top.
26. Sorrel Dress - Another pattern test for me. I was excited when I signed up for this, and it did get me out of a few style preconceptions I had. I like the dress but really haven't been able to wear it much due to some mistakes I made making it. Cute pattern though.
27. Rifle Sun Girls Oven Mitts - Can you believe I only made ONE Christmas item this year? And then I FORGOT TO TAKE PICTURES OF IT. Ugh. I made my sister some oven mitts to match her apron so she can look super put together in her kitchen. She loves them :) She says she will send me pictures, so I will post about these soon, lol.

And that's it. 27 items sewn, almost all of which were from before I moved in July. I have to say that my output was kind of disappointing, but then I know the behind the scenes reason and it's all ok. I've just had to come to terms with the fact that I will not be able to make much over the next year or so, and that's fine. The items I already had made have kept my wardrobe going strong in this time that I can't make new stuff. Sure, I had some duds, but I also managed to make several items that have turned into staple items that get worn all the time. Many of these are items that I planned forever ago and I finally set out to make (Banksia, Sassy Librarian Blouse, Mimi Blouse), and I did make sure to complete all the items I stated making this year no matter how much work it took to finish (Yaletown, I'm looking at you). All in all, not a bad year of stuff to show :)

How did you do in 2018?