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7/25/2015

Ahhhhh, this workweek was even worse than last week. I pretty much reached my breaking point Thursday evening, but I shook it off and had a good time at happy hour yesterday. Getting drinks with former coworkers to bitch about work and catch up on life is always a good stress reliever. The no-good, very bad, horrible project is still alive, but will hopefully end this week. It better. I also can't believe we're in the home stretch of July. When did that happen?? Craziness! I have another happy hour scheduled for this week, a mid-week all-gals one, which should be fun. Happy hours....the best way to make it through the work week.

Little Arya Mid-Grooming

Our new kitty is doing better. Her eyes have stopped watering, we're heading to the vet as soon as I publish this post, and she is a major cuddler! Nothing beats waking up to a tiny kitten snuggling next to you. I haven't done any sewing in awhile, but hopefully I'll sneak some in this weekend. I bought a large spool of thread for $1 in the garment district this week for my husband's henley. It was the perfect shade of blue, although it was covered in dust. I can clean it off though, right? And I need to work on those two dress muslins. I'm really excited about the prospect of sewing my own work dresses.

1. Since I hate trying on bras I am painfully unaware of the “best” lingerie brands. I recently learned about the Natori ‘Feathers’ Underwire Contour Bra and was incredibly surprised to see it has a 5 star rating on Nordstrom with other 500 reviews. How is that possible? Do you have the bra? Is it seriously 5-star quality? {Nordstrom via Elise Joy}

2. Speaking of lingerie, are you aware of Aerie, the American Eagle lingerie company? I wasn’t until this past week, most likely because I haven’t stepped foot in an AE store in ages. Actually, I only read this article because I thought it was about something completely different. I usually hate when that happens, but I really enjoyed learning about Aerie. Apparently they no longer airbrush their ads of models wearing their lingerie. I haven’t shopped at Victoria’s Secret probably since college (so over 10 years, *crying*), but I always thought it was so ridiculous how made up the models were. C’mon VS, the majority of us don’t look like that! I agree that it was refreshing to see the Aerie ads. Sure, the models are still all in pretty good shape, but they had more of a girl next door vibe or a ‘oh it’s just your bf showing you how utterly cute this bra and panty set are as she tries to convince you that you should try it on too.' {Aerie via Business Insider}

3. I’m gradually becoming a consumer of “natural” beauty products. Am I jumping into the whole “parabans are the absolute worst” camp? Um, yes…I am. I have totally changed up my facial skin routine. Makeup is the next step, including nail polish, which even upon first sniff you know is toxic. But it goes on your nails, so it can’t be that bad, right? I dunno know, but I’m willing to change things if I find a good brand, and there are some, I just haven’t tried them yet. One interesting new nail polish concept I recently read about is called Little Ondine, but unfortunately the brand is not available in the States yet. It’s a completely temporary nail polish (as in, one day temporary) that is chemical free. While I like having nail polish last for a week, I’m intrigued by the concept of being able to change up my nail color on a whim, especially if removing the polish doesn’t strip my nails. I signed up to be notified when the brand is available Stateside because I can’t wait to try it out. Are there any foreigners reading who have used this brand of nail polish? {Little Ondine via Sali Hughes Beauty}

4. Have you come across any of these business articles that tell you not to say this word or that word and here's how you should behave to be taken more seriously? Most are geared towards "helping" women in the business world. I read the one about not using the word "just" and it made me realize how often I say it and use it in emails. I don't like sounding pushy. I hate sounding bossy at work. I don't know what it is, but even though I really like being direct and bluntly honest in my personal world, I don't like acting that way in my work world. Another thing I know I'm guilty of is using exclamation points all the damn time. I want people to know that I'm happy or very appreciative that I received something from them. Call it silly, but I don't think I'll ever change that. I was pleased to read that Joy Cho, of Oh Joy!, feels the same way. So we like exclamation points. Big Deal!! Not going to change it! {I just actually like exclamation points! // Oh Joy}

5. If any of you reading this post are bloggers, then you may find this article quite fascinating; I sure did! It's over a year old, but I just came across it this week. The article highlights research that was done looking at the most ideal length of every type of social media or communication (facebook post, tweet, email subject line, newsletter headlines and subjects, etc.) {Proven Ideal Length of Every Tweet... // Fast Company}

Have a good weekend folks!
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7/21/2015

Fabric Haul


Every month I tell myself to stop buying fabric until I make several garments with the fabric in my stash. Unfortunately, most of what I currently have in my stash is for making dress/button-up shirts, which I still need to work out some fitting issues. I've gotten a lot better about not buying new patterns by the five-fold from Jo-Ann Fabrics during the Big 4 sales, although I have bought a couple new patterns from Sewaholic and Thread Theory.

But fabric shopping....oooooh, I just can't help myself sometimes! I'll have an idea in my head and then I HAVE TO GET THE FABRIC NOW! I got into one of those fits last Friday. I blame Marrie and her amazing stretch cotton sateen dress. That dress is so cool and exactly the style and colors (black and white!) I would love to use as the backbone for my work wardrobe builder.

After thinking about stretch cotton all morning, I sped-walked over to Michael Levine during my lunch break hoping to find some fabric to make a dress. I was also hoping to find this flamingo print fabric I saw on their website.

Flamingo Print Fabric

I failed in both areas, but walked away with a really pretty polyester "woolen" suiting fabric, which of course I can't find a link to online (go figure...). I was drawn to the faint purple plaid lines. I've been thinking of making either a fitted or fit-and-flare work dress out of suiting fabric and this fabric was very affordable for me to attempt to make one. These are the two patterns I'm contemplating, neither of which I have ever made.


Then the following day, I read about The Fabric Store's storewide sale. I really don't enjoy driving to Mid-City, but 30%-50% cotton prints? Yes, please! I'll brave the d-bag drivers for a good fabric sale. Every time I walk in TFS I'm overcome with relaxed blissfulness. The store is clean, organized, bright, airy, calm. I love it!

I wanted to buy so much more, but I limited myself to a white/pink/black print stretch cotton (yes!!), a bright blue very lightweight merino wool jersey, and a fuchsia/burgundy abstract cotton print that I think will make a nice summery dress (see first photo above).

Later that day I made good progress by cutting out muslins for both dress patterns and I cut the merino wool for the Thread Theory Henley pattern for my husband. I had originally planned to have a marathon sewing day on Sunday, but then this little girlie came home with me after my morning volunteer shift at the shelter:

New Kitten in Town

!!!GAHHHHHH!!!! SO MUCH CUTENESS!! I CAN'T TAKE IT!!!

I first saw this kitten at the shelter two weeks ago. She was in the kitten foster area because she wasn't ready to be adopted. All last week I kept showing my husband her photo and he was surprisingly receptive of the thought of adopting her. On Sunday she was old and healthy enough to be adopted so I told my husband he better come over quick before she gets adopted. There were three other kittens being adopted at the same time so there's no way she would have been available the entire day. He met and played with her and agreed that we should take her home.

The rest of the day was devoted to making sure my other cat, Bailey, a three-year old giant of a cat, wouldn't kill her. He's very curious and is still trying to figure her out, but they seem to be getting along. Every now and then Bailey gets territorial and will be too aggressive, but I'm happy with the progress that's been made so far. Here's my favorite photo so far of our little Arya (yes, that Arya....my husband's pick seeing as how I named our first cat).

Little Arya Mid-Grooming

I haven't done any sewing since adopting little Arya, so I'm not sure how she'll react around fabric and thread and the sewing machine. Luckily Bailey doesn't try to eat thread and I've gotten a lot better about protecting any pins. I better get back on the sewing bus because I want to use up my stash so I can buy MOAR fabric!
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7/17/2015

My Handsome Bailey

Gaaaah, I'm so glad this week is over! It started with a meeting with a client that absolutely did not go well and I've been busting my arse trying to finish a lot of work in a short time frame. I really only have myself to blame, so lesson learned. Hopefully this time next week this particular project will be over and I can move on from it. Instead of beating myself up over this project, whenever I start to sense that I'm getting frustrated and overwhelmed I focus on how I will feel once it is over. I will feel so relieved. and happy. as if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. That feeling is driving me to finish this project and it's keeping me surprisingly sane and in good spirits.

So let's move on to what I've discovered the past two weeks. Hope you enjoy some of these links.
  1. Did you catch Norma's tip for working with lingerie elastic? Steam It! This was the first time I've read about this and now I can't wait to try it on my next lingerie project. Thanks, Norma! {Orange Lingerie}
  2. Sometimes I'll think about what type of job or industry I'd like to get into if I were to quite my job. I would love to do something fashion/sewing/fabric related. So I was curious to read about this startup (Maker's Row) that offers an online database of 6,000 American manufacturers for a small monthly fee. And since I've been on a recent lingerie kick, as I'm sure many in the sewing community are, I did a quick search for "lace" and it turned up over 1800 results.....Dare I get into the stretch lace fabric biz?? probably not. But, this sample search showed a sample factory profile, which I initially thought was a made up profile, but I googled it anyway because it looked really cool and I was pleasantly surprised to find that The Pattern Makers is a real business! That's a great business name! How many tangents can I go off on??? {Maker's Row via CNN Money}
  3. I didn't find out about Macaroni and Cheese Day (July 14th!) until the day after. Regardless, this "original" mac and cheese dish needs to happen in my house this weekend, albeit with far less superior pasta. Actually I think recently had this dish at Bucato here in LA and it was fucking amazing. The restaurant makes their own pasta, which really sealed the dish. You think "pasta" is so simple and easy to make, but then you have REAL pasta at a nice Italian restaurant and you realize the shit you've been making at home is essentially crap. {Caio e Pepe via Business Insider}
  4. My husband saw me watering my succulents one day and he asked how often I needed to water them. "I don't know", I shrugged.....I usually just throw some water at them if I have any left in my watering can after taking care of my veggies. Then the other day I was looking through Instagram and saw people use the term "propogating" in reference to succulents, which was completely foreign to me. I then fell down the succulents rabbit hole and eventually added 'Needle + Leaves' to my feedly blog roll. I learned more about taking care of and growing succulents and propogating in one evening than I had learned my entire life. I now need more succulents in my life. {Needles + Leaves // Blog and Instagram}
Hope you have a good weekend! I have a friend in town so we're heading out to an early bird dinner on Sunday evening to beat the crowds at this shabu-shabu place. It better be good!

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7/15/2015

I meant to post this on Sunday, but somehow life got in the way. By the way, how was your weekend? (I feel like talking about mine so I'm going to pose a rhetorical question first.) I felt so off all last week as I kept getting the days mixed up and my husband was out of town for half of the week and normally I'm all like "SEWING ALL NIGHT! Woooo!!", but I just wasn't feeling it. Instead I was mopey and sad that he was gone and my cat ignored me most of the nights (is that not the saddest thing you've read all day??)

My Sweet Bailey!
This is how I felt all last week.......mehhhhhhhh......
But the weekend made up for it. We celebrated our SIXTH (!!) wedding anniversary at Animal, which we first went to three or four years ago, I think for another anniversary dinner. Then two nights later, on Monday, we went out for sushi at Sugarfish, which in my opinion is the best value for the quality you get.

And now it's already Wednesday evening! Where did the week go? I have two muslins patiently waiting to be altered, both Sewaholic patterns. The Granville Shirt is nearly fitted just right, but the Thurlow Trousers wound up way too tight in the waist and thighs, but I want to slim down the fit below the knee as I think the wide-leg/flared look is not quite what I'm going for these days. I hope to get those done this coming weekend.

So let's talk about what I have finished! I finally, FINALLY finished a blouse that I started in January 2014. I started it hoping to "participate" in the Vintage Sewing Pledge started by Marie at A Stitching Odyssey, but I hit a roadblock and didn't know how to get through it. This pattern is Simplicity 2154, a vintage '60s retro style. Handmade Jane and Winnie of Scruffy Badger Time have both made wonderful versions. If you've read their reviews (here and here), you'll discover that neither of them interfaced the bow even though the pattern calls for it. Smart Ladies, I tell ya! I should have taken their advice because this is what happened when I interfaced my cotton voile with a lightweight interfacing. Last year I talked about my struggles with the bow here.

This is where I got stuck....with a silly stiff bow better suited for a clown.
I tried scraping off the interfacing, but I did such a good job at fusing it in certain places that I couldn't get the stiffness completely out of the bow. I didn't have enough fabric leftover to re-cut the bow and I didn't love the bow concept enough to buy more fabric. I was left with a blouse with a very high neckline with a keyhole front. It obviously looked like something was missing, but I didn't know what to do with it so I let it sit for over a year looking like this:

{Simplicity 2154} Voile // Keyhole

Recently I FINALLY had the motivation to just finish it. I roughly drew a neckline on some scrap paper, traced it onto the blouse, cut a new neckline and then finished it with a narrow hem. It's crazy how little time it took considering how long I contemplated what to do! It kinda felt like this:


But with a much better result :)

{Simplicity 2154 + BHL Victoria Blazer}

This blouse is supposed to have a side zip, but I made it juuust big enough to slip on and off without a zip. There are front and back darts for shaping and this voile is lightweight enough that the blouse doesn't look boxy.

After finally getting to wear this blouse, what I thought was going to be a complete dud ended up turning out to be something I really like. All day I kept thinking this pattern may actually end up serving as my blouse "block". It has a simple enough design and fits wonderfully. I could add a yoke, add gathers at the shoulder seam, completely change the neckline, add sleeves, etc. So much potential. So glad I finished this blouse. It works with a casual outfit, but I've also worn it with a suit so it's totally work appropriate. I also think it looks good paired with my By Hand London Victoria Blazer, which I finished months ago, wear a ton, and have not given it the proper blog love that it deserves (but I will). And I dyed the fabric per Erin's suggestion!

{Simplicity 2154 + BHL Victoria Blazer}

It's a good thing I really liked the fabric otherwise I would have tossed it a year ago. Have you let something sit for so long that you thought it would be hopeless, but later found out it was a total treasure??
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7/10/2015

Do you ever get so close to finishing a garment, but you don't finish it....and then you wear it anyway?

Yeah, I've done that. Twice. With the same garment.

{McCalls 6696 and By Hand London Victoria Blazer} Front

I made this McCalls 6696 shirt dress back in late 2014. I admittedly totally blatantly copied Mary of Idle Fancy. I saw her version and immediately bought the fabric. No shame. None at all. It looks amazing on her. I wanted to have it. And now I do have it.

I wanted to make the dress with sleeves, but I didn't have enough time to modify the sleeves. I was scrambling to get the dress done in time to wear to a friend's baby's baptism, so I just threw on a cardigan. "I'll work out the sleeves later", I said to myself. That was back in December.

{McCalls 6696 and By Hand London Victoria Blazer} Back

Then earlier this week I discovered all of my work pants were too wrinkly for me to feel comfortable wearing. I'm not above wearing slightly wrinkled pants to work since I sit all day, but even I have my limits. I was too lazy to iron any of them and then I actually thought to myself, "I really just want to throw on a dress", which happens like one time a year so I couldn't pass up the moment.

{McCalls 6696} Closeup of Front

So I threw on the unfinished chambray polka dot dress and topped it with my By Hand London Victoria Blazer {still unblogged, which is unfortunate because I wear it all the time}. After having an unusually hot March, we've been blessed so far {*knock on wood*} with a very comfortable, even dare I say cool summer so I didn't have any need or desire to take off the blazer while at work or during my lunchtime walk. The blazer lining kinda clashes with the dress, but idgaf.



I took these photos when I got home.  I was having some fun with the continuous burst of 10 photos, which I think make a pretty good gif. I should really leave this dress sleeveless and finish the armholes  so I could one day wear it without hiding my extreme laziness. I've made this pattern twice now (the first time was for the Crazy Cat Lady Sewing 'challenge') and I'm not sure I'll make it again.

{McCalls 6696} Side View

What's your honest opinion of McCalls 6696? I'm surprised it's gotten so much love in the sewing community because I do not love it. The full skirt version is so full that I feel a little cheesy wearing it. The gathers in the back are so extreme that I look like I'm hiding something back there. The collar feels too big. The construction instructions could use a lot of refinement. The pockets are too narrow. .....idk, this pattern just isn't for me. I'm ready to move onto another shirtdress pattern. Perhaps Butterick 6090? Has anyone made that one yet?
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7/03/2015

PBR Delivery

Happy Fourth of July Weekend, Fellow Americans!!!! Hope you have a wonderful holiday tomorrow and hopefully you have today off to enjoy doing whatever pleases you. We have a friend in town this weekend who is staying with us tonight and then with another friend tomorrow. We have a lot of eating planned this weekend as we take him to our favorite restaurants. My current plant-based diet will be on Holiday this weekend. But I gotta say, I haven't been missing meat or desserts this week and this is coming from someone who is probably addicted to sugar (candy). My husband told me about some ridiculous dessert he had the other night and I was like, "meh....not interested, that shit's so bad for you."

Here are some articles and fun tidbits I read this week. Enjoy!

1. I always think it's odd when Eastern Cultures build structures that are so Western looking, and vice-versa. So I was totally weirded out when I came across this article that highlighted some global cities, like Beijing, that are copying the suburban master planning model currently employed in suburbs in the US, such as Orange County, CA. The 'Burbs of Beijing? Weird.

{Suburbia Goes Global // The City Fix}


2. I don't have any good "America" links, but I about died when I read these Canadian Slang Terms. Then I emailed the article to my former boss, who is Canadian and he replied with a great response using a bunch of the terms. I was worried he would think I was making fun of him, but he got a good laugh out them too. "Hang a Larry", eh?. Oh man, never change, Canada.

{35 Canadian Slang Terms// Business Insider}

3. I love watching good documentaries, so I'll be on the lookout for "Straight/Curve" (a doc on the plus-size modeling industry), which is slated to be released in 2016.
{Plus-Size Modeling Documentary // Glamour}

4. Has anyone been following the recent J. Crew saga? That apparently one of their sweaters, the Tilly, has been such a dud that critics are crediting it with J. Crew's under-performance? This article dissects the sweater and points out all of its alleged flaws. The funny thing to me is that any sewer/ist knows this sweater could easily be recreated. In fact I have some merino wool that is just calling out to be made into a Tilly-esque sweater (but one that fits properly) ;)

{Anatomy of the J. Crew Tilly Sweater // EDITD}

5. If any of you are flying this Holiday weekend, you may want to check out AirHelp if you run into any issues. Apparently they help you track down money you may be owed from airlines due to long delays or overbooking. Pretty cool and definitely something I'll keep in mind the next time I run into problems while flying.

{Airlines owe fliers $10 billion // CNN Money}


Well that's it. Have a safe and fun 4th of July Weekend!
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7/02/2015

I almost declined testing Heather's newest pattern for Closet Case Files, the Sallie Jumpsuit/Maxi, because it looked sooooooo farrrrrrrr outside my comfort zone. Jumpsuit? Excuse me, what? Long, flowy dress? Hmmm, don't think I've ever spotted one in my closet.

{CCF} Sallie Maxi Dress

But I took a chance and accepted. It wasn't that I didn't like the line drawings or concept. It just it didn't seem like me. And it didn't seem like me because I had always, always, always stayed away from those styles. But if what if they were for me?

As I contemplated what to respond to Heather, I put myself in my private fantasy version of "What Not to Wear". I could hear myself telling Stacy and Clinton, "but I never wear maxi dresses! I'm short, I can't wear them." I could almost feel Stacy rolling her eyes as she forced several maxi styles in my hands and pushed me into the dressing room. Out I appeared in a long, flowy and ridiculously comfortable knit maxi dress. Stacy throws up her arms in victory, turns, and walks away, silently proclaiming "I fucking told you so!" and Clinton stands there with one hand cupping his jaw, delicately grinning with approval.

Yes, maybe these styles are for me. I accepted the challenge to make myself a maxi dress or jumpsuit because it was like the sewing Gods were telling me to take a chance. And let's be honest, I love testing patterns! I've said it before, how can I get a job as a professional pattern tester?

{CCF} Sallie Maxi Dress

The other reason I accepted to test this pattern is because I'm heading to a European wedding this year and one of the events is a 70s/disco-themed party. My friend had some inspiration photos and there were all these jumpsuits! There's also going to be a pool party as well before the late-night party so basically this pattern will serve as my European vacation wardrobe builder.

While I really wanted to test the jumpsuit, and I even made an inspiration board (for the first time ever), I unfortunately couldn't find the right fabric in the short time frame. I want a fabric with a little bit of body and a print that will help camouflage my hips and bum. I decided to make the maxi in a fabric that was already in my stash: this beautiful fuchsia and white print, lightweight jersey from The Fabric Store. I bought it during the LA Sewist meet-up with intentions of making a wrap dress, but I was always concerned it was too lightweight. However, the bodice of the Sallie Maxi dress is self-lined, so this fabric seemed to be just perfect for it.

Even though I'm writing about the tester version, Heather mentioned she didn't make too many changes to the final version. One noticeable difference is the hem of the skirt, which is now more of a curve.

{CCF} Sallie Maxi Dress

One thing to remember about CCF patterns is that Heather is conscious of suggesting just the right amount of fabric for her patterns. Sometimes I like to cheat with my yardage because I know I'll have to shorten hems (and I did shorten the skirt to accommodate my 4'11" stature), but I BARELY fit this dress on 2 yards of 60" wide fabric. The suggested yardage was 2.25 yards (now upped to 2.5 yards) and I would highly, highly recommend you do not buy less than that. I had to do some finagling to get everything to fit, including placing the print in opposite directions on the front and back skirt panels. I thought I had a non-directional print, but if you look closely, you can tell that the pattern isn't quite symmetrical.....but thankfully it's not noticeable from afar.

The pockets aren't very deep so you don't have to worry about large pocket bags getting in the way and contributing to unsightly bulge. Usually I don't actually put stuff in pockets of my dresses or skirts, but I really like having them there to put my hands or even just the tips of my fingers in (that sounds so weird, but you know what mean, right?).

{CCF} Sallie Maxi Dress

There is elastic casing at the bottom of the bodice (just above the waist seam), which helps prevent any ballooning of the dress. I tried attaching the elastic in a different method and it DID NOT WORK, so I would advise you to follow the instructions because they do work! Fancy how that worked out ;)

I made a straight Size 6 (except for all that shortening of the skirt) because it matched my measurements and everything fit really well. I told Heather that I thought the skirt portion was perfect around my hips and bum, but I thought the bodice could have been a bit more snug. However, she said the dress is designed to be a bit looser on top, so take that into consideration when you pick your size. I'm a way more conservative dresser, so having low cut tops that are on the looser side will take some getting used to on my end.

{CCF} Sallie Maxi Dress Slit

The slits aren't revealing at all, but rather provide extra movement and some sexiness! I'll be honest, I wasn't sure what I thought when I first tried on this dress. I was worried I looked frumpy in it and that the top was too loose. But after twirling around on my patio taking photos I really warmed up to it. I came back inside and realized just how comfortable I was in it. Not once was I worried about the top being too revealing or my bum looking dowdy. In fact I felt the opposite. I told Heather she has a way of designing patterns that bring out the sexiness in women.

Now for that jumpsuit version. Maybe instead of a printed fabric for the entire jumpsuit, I could do a color block version. A lighter colored silk or rayon jersey on top, maybe convert the kimono tee to a wrap bodice, and then dark colored jersey or ITY on bottom. What do you think of the Sallie Jumpsuit/Maxi pattern? The possibilities are endless! Thanks again, Heather, for letting me test your pattern!
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6/29/2015



Hello, hello, Happy Monday ;) How was your weekend? I meant to do a lot of cleaning since we have a friend arriving this coming Friday, but of course that didn't happen. Instead I did a lot of fun me-stuff. The highlight of my weekend was that I had my first volunteer shift with Found Animals,  at one of their adoption/retail locations. My first shift was a training session with their on-site kitten foster program. Apparently it's "kitten season" right now so there are tons of kittens that need taking care of so they can eventually get up to "adoption-ready" status. And then I got home and couldn't believe how enormous my own cat is!

I decided to do a mid-year check-in of the goals I set for myself this year. I enjoy doing a mid-year check-in so I can remember what I've done so far and what I need to "work" (or rather, focus) on. If you recall my 2015 Goals, (I sure don't so I doubt you do; here's the link to that blog post), I had some real broad goals so as not to micromanage myself.

1. Continuing Education - CHECK!
I signed up for an Intro to Letterpress class at the Otis Design School. It was a 10-week class held once a week on Wednesday evenings from 7pm-10pm. I absolutely LOVED it! Not gonna lie though, those Wednesdays were long and I did feel drained the second half of the week, but it was all worth it.

I finally printed my word this week in my Letterpress class. It's amazing how much prep is needed before you print and then how quickly printing takes.

Letterpress, with only type, none of that polymer digital stuff, is no joke, real hands-on, time-consuming work. I went a little overboard on my final project and spent hours setting type (see the first photo for a portion of it). I think my teacher thought I was insane because she certainly knew how much work it was. But that's how I am. Always starting with the most difficult stuff and then racing to meet the deadline.

I was *this* close to signing up for the next level during the summer session, which is the digital letterpress class and is held on Saturdays, but I don't know how to use Illustrator so I should really learn that first. Also, the class isn't cheap and my bank account was begging for a break. If I can focus on learning Illustrator this summer, then I'll definitely consider signing up for the Fall session.

2. Wardrobe Architect - in-progress
I started the Wardrobe Architect, but stalled when it was time to look for inspiration pieces. I don't subscribe to any magazines and I didn't want to buy any. I recently re-activated my Pinterest account, so I'll finally have an easy way to create inspiration boards. Even though I have a lot of ideas in my head, getting it down on paper (in Pinterest) will really help lay out the framework.

3. Sell Something - no progress
I saved a couple boxes so I could ship out shoes in case I ever do sell them on ebay. Baby steps...

I'm still on the fence with the whole "should I sell something handmade" thing. I do have a quilt top I pieced several years ago. I think I even have batting and enough fabric for a simple back. I dunno though; selling quilts seems like a losing money proposition unless you're an "artist quilter".

4. Make a Bag - no progress
I think I just need to buy a bag pattern and make it so I can have a better idea of exactly what type of custom bag I want to make. Anyone have any bag patterns they'd recommend?

5. Travel - CHECK!
This year is definitely the year of traveling.
Kencho-ji Temple

My husband and I went to Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New Orleans in April. We had an absolute blast and everything went so smoothly so it was thankfully stress-free (except for the power outage in New Orleans....it was a like a sign that it was time to go home). We're heading to Italy later this year for a wedding and I cannot wait. I think this year feels like it's flying by because of all the planning and traveling. I wish I could do this much traveling every year.

All in all, not too bad I think. This post is already pretty long so I'll end it here. I'll be back later this week with a look at all the stuff I sewed this year, most of which I haven't blogged about (of course)! How has your year been going??
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6/26/2015



This photo was taken a couple years ago. I came across this little guy chilling on the corner directly outside my apartment, when I went out to go for a walk. I quickly ran inside to get my camera because I didn't think anyone was going to believe me that a raccoon was just quietly sitting in the gutter in Hollywood! Several months later I almost came face to face with another raccoon when I was walking to the bus stop early one morning. I quickly ran across the street and was so paranoid the raccoon was going to chase me. Can I outrun a raccoon? I never want to find out.

1. I bring up my Hollywood Raccoon Stories because this week I came across an Instagram account of a PET RACCOON!!!!! I couldn't stop watching every single video clip. My husband was less than enthused when I kept texting him links to the videos. His exact quote:

"This lady is teaching her 'pet' basically everything it'll need to survive after it kills her and eats her face".

Well, yeah. But, look at the raccoon! It can open water bottles! It can sweep the floors! It can ride a fucking bike!! MIND. BLOWN! {Melanie the Raccoon //Instagram}

2. One time I took a tour at the Getty and the tour guide was an older lady. I couldn't take her seriously because she mentioned several times doing a Google search for facts. That experience seems a bit tame compared to these 'docents gone wild moments'. {Rogue Docents // Wall Street Journal}

3. I finally caved today and re-activated my Pinterest account. I can't remember the last time I used it so the stuff I currently have pinned is kinda old and random. My plan is to use it mainly for sewing/wardrobe building and cooking inspiration. What do you use Pinterest for? {My Pinterest Account}

4. This week I read an article about plant-based diets and now I'm super into trying it. I spent hours this week looking up enticing recipes. I highly doubt I'll ever be strictly vegetarian (or completely give up dairy.....I LOVE cheese!!) but I can see myself reducing my meat intake significantly. {Forks over Knives}

5. This isn't really a link, but I finally got around to buying and reading Mindy Kaling's book, 'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me'? It was a quick read (2 days tops, maybe) and it made me miss my friends from college. I don't live close to any of my close friends from college and since I'm terrible at talking on the phone, we don't keep in touch nearly that often. I definitely need to set up a phone date with one of my friends. We're much better at texting and emailing each other silly cat photos and videos. By the way, if anyone in the US is interested in having this book, email me your address and I'll mail it to you via media mail (aka the absolute slowest, but cheapest, delivery option). You don't need to pay me back, just promise that you'll give it to someone when you're done!

Have a great weekend everyone! One more week until the Holiday weekend!
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6/25/2015

My Garden 6/2105

After my initial attempt to spruce up my patio with succulents, I decided to go all out and start growing vegetables. I've been enamored for years with the gardens Pookie and Schnookie of Interchangeable Parts grow year after year. They're so lucky to have so much open land on their property! Let's see if I can have even a tenth of their success.

Here's what I've planted so far. Everything, except for the basil and "curry" plants, was started from seeds. Most of the plants were started in a little Jiffy "Greenhouse" kit, but a couple things were planted directly in pots or the garden bed.

The tomato plants have been growing the best so far. I think you're technically only supposed to have one plant per pot, but ehhhhhh....

Tomato Plant 6/2015

Next up are green onions. They look so feeble. I'm always concerned about knocking over those teeny tiny stalks whenever I water. I don't have high hopes for them so wish them luck!

Green Onion Plant 6/2015

The sweet bell peppers were late bloomers. These took forever to sprout. The seed packet I bought is a mix, so I'm excited to see what colors eventually grow. For comparison, I planted (sowed?) the tomato, green onion, and bell pepper seeds at the same time so you can see how fast the tomatoes grow.

Bell Pepper Plants 6/2015

Soooo.....I planted cauliflower and two varieties of squash on the same day and forgot to label them so I have no idea which is which. A friend told me that zucchini grows very easily. I'm assuming the plant in the photo below is a squash variety because it took no time at all the sprout. I left one in the pot and the rest are in the garden bed.

Squash (?) 6/2015

In case you're wondering, my garden bed frame is from Greenes Fence Company. There are various sized frame kits available on Amazon, but all of them are too big for my "yard". I needed a 3'x4' max frame so I ended up buying the pieces individually from the company's website. I almost didn't buy it because shipping directly from the company's website cost $15! I didn't even buy the corner "tops" that look so nice because I was being cheap. In the end, I don't regret the purchase, even if it was a lot more than I wanted to pay, because the quality looks good, shipping was fast, and all the pieces fit together really easily (you just slide the boards into the corner posts, no drilling needed!).

The Potted Bunch 6/2015

I have no idea what to do about keeping the pests at bay. I have noticed more flies around my patio, which has me a little concerned. And I swear, the very next day after I took these photos, the leaves on the cauliflower plants (there are a couple in the pot in the above photo) were completely riddled with holes. Either something is having a lavish feast or they have some disease, which is a bit disheartening. Anyone have any newbie-gardening tips? And by tips, I mean really, really simple tips. I've read all this stuff online about pesticides, bugs, netting, blah blah blah blah blah my brain hurts, so I'm trying to keep it simple.

I don't have too many crazy plans for fertilizing and keeping the pests at bay, but I assume I'll figure shit out as it's needed. I have noticed more flies around my patio, which has me a little concerned. Anyone have any newbie-gardening tips? And by tips, I mean really, really simple tips.

And what's your favorite vegetable to grow? I'm already looking forward to what I can plant in the Fall!

And in case you're wondering, yes, I'll get back to sewing eventually! It's just a lot easier to take photos of my plants than of myself.
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