It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Artistry in Fashion 2012

Let me start off with a Note To Self for AIF 2013:  Self - Do NOT schedule an event the night before AIF.   Especially if said event keeps you out until 1:00 a.m.   Related Reminder to Self:  You are no longer 21. Nor 35. Nope, not even 47 anymore....and I'll quit there....  (However, the Pentatonix Concert was absolutely worth it!   And my eardrums have recovered nicely, thank you very much)*

After staying out way. too. late., and sleeping in way. too. late., I didn't arrive at AIF until 12:30. That's 2-1/2 hours of shopping/snoop shopping/idea gathering/schmoozing time that was wasted in bed.  But that's OK.   Really.   She says as she reminds herself that she's trying to pay bills off, not build them up......

For those who haven't kept up on posts about this event, Artistry in Fashion is Cañada College's annual event showcasing local designers, some of whom are or have been students at Cañada College Fashion Design Dept. (honestly, I would LOVE to take some of the amazing sounding classes they offer....especially since I have yet to take a real sewing class.   One of these days.......)

Reminiscing on yesterday's good news/bad news post, the good news is that I now know quite a few more of the amazing, creative sewists who show up at this event, and it was wonderful spending time greeting and schmoozing with so many of them!   The bad news is that, between chatting with said amazing creatives, and watching Marsha McClintock's Saf-T-Pockets fashion show, (and her followup presentation on creative accessories), there were booths that I never even got to before closing time!  Good for my pocket book, but I actually brought cash with intent to spend it!     Ah grocery budget benefits instead, which is a good thing (I think....).

One delightful aspect of the day for me was that, when I did spend time visiting with a vendor, and asked them how sales were, every single one of them said sales were great for them!   I so loved hearing that!   As someone who has both sold a few of my own creations over the years, and done my best to support makers of hand made goodies all my adult life, it really makes my heart sing to hear that creatives are doing well in business :)

Here is Susan Krimmer Designs' lovely booth - Sue is a first-timer who did very well (and with good reason!)  She is a local artist who has studied with Wayne Wichern, one of the talented teachers at Cañada College Fashion School.  Sue does not yet have an active web presence - I'll add a link when she does.
Sue's beautiful hats and scarves at the beginning of the day
(photo courtesy of Sue Krimmer)
Sadly, I didn't even make one complete round of all the booths, and all of a sudden it was 4:00, aka, closing time, and booths were being pulled apart :(   However, I had wanted to focus on jewelry, and I did score one gorgeous necklace - which I just love!
This is exactly the sort of long, slightly crazy necklace I just love to wear!
 This piece was made by Judy Thompson-Melanson of TerraLuna Designs (another artist without an active web presence yet)
Look at that beautiful lampwork bead!
(purchased by Judy and incorporated into the necklace)
My other purchase was 3 Saf-T-Pocket patterns.   I was impressed with a pattern I saw reviewed on Pattern Review a couple of years ago, but honestly, I've had a bit of a hard time since then getting past the photos and renderings on the pattern covers, so never bought a pattern.

Until the fashion show, and then seeing the garments up close, and trying them on.   Sold!!!  Marsha is brilliant with pockets, and she's delightful and comfy to chat with as well.   And her pieces are exquisitely sewn!  (an aspect I really appreciate in a professional pattern-maker/designer/sewist)  Not only are her pocket placements beautifully thought out, the clothes are really practical, and also wonderfully embellish-able (that IS a word, right?)
I was happy to be able to try on a sample of each of these garments to determine size, fit, and whether they worked for me - isn't it fabulous to be able to know these factors ahead of time?
I just love me a few good pockets, and I'm always trying to figure out a way to add a pocket to a pocket-less garment, so I cannot wait to dig through the details in these patterns!

Wendy, Rose, Lisa and I, bemoaning the fact that the vendors were packing up,
while we were still ready to shop!
It was a beautiful day, a perfect setting to showcase the vendors, and I already look forward to  next year's event!

*Re:  Pentatonix - who knew that I should have brought earplugs to an a capella concert???  It wasn't the musicians, it was the screaming fans!!!!  For those of you who don't yet know the music of Pentatonix, please DO check them out - 5 UBER talented kids!   Here's just one of them, doing what he did before joining the group:  Kevin Olusola and his cello

An aside:  My (non-sewing) friend Kim and I met my BABES sewing buddy Heather and her hubby at the concert, and after our initial greetings we realized that not only were Heather and I both wearing Decades of Style Shawls from the same pattern, but we were also wearing Marcy Tilton pants from the same pattern!   One of the great things about sewing: our outfits looked so completely different that even we didn't realize it at first :)   The proof:

One more sneak peek at the upcoming project (it will be finished today, I think!)  Yes, I did end up adding some silk screening after all.... :)

In closing, I'm many of you, like me, have never taken a sewing class or workshop?  And if you haven't, would you like to?  Those of you who have taken classes, what were your favorites, and why?   Inquiring minds and all that.......

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Good News/Bad News and an Artistry in Fashion Teaser

The Good News:  I've been working a lot lately, and as a self-employed person, I really needed to work a lot!
The Bad News:  I've been working a lot lately, and in conjunction with a general decline in energy/health, sewing (and blogging) have been nearly non-existent in my repertoire :(
The Good News:  Energy/Health is starting to bloom again, and I actually spent time in the sewing room and nearly finished a (UFO-for-over-a-month) project yesterday!
Sneak Peek:
I'll be blogging about this asap, promise!
The Bad News:  This project came to a standstill while I was waiting for weeks (!) to receive some silk screens from Marcy
The Good News:  Long after the silk screens arrived, I realized that it didn't want a silk screen, it wanted a silk tie embellishment (sometimes serendipity happens in spite of oneself...)
The Bad News:  Time and energy spent caring for sick kitties has also kept me out of the sewing room.
The Good News:  Kitties seem to be stabilized, and I have an AWESOME (holistic) vet :)
The Bad News:  I was overbooked this weekend, and arrived at Artistry In Fashion much later than I would have liked, and only took a few pictures - which were's proof:
If you can guess who & what this is, you win a copy of the picture!
heh.  };-)  (if you were there, you are disqualified...)
The Good News:  In spite of the fact that my time at AIF was too short, the event was fantabulous!   And in spite of the fact that I have no good photos, I have plenty to say, and I'll blog about it tomorrow. :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Please please pretty pretty please please....(captcha rant)

Warning:  uncharacteristic bitchy rant follows:  (sometimes a girl's gotta say what a girl's gotta say....)

If you're still using the  impossible-to-read-and-copy captcha images on your comments, I respectfully BEG you to consider the alternatives.  Even moderating all of your comments, if you're that concerned with spam, is (somewhat) more tolerable (to me, anyway) than forcing these old eyes to focus THAT closely, still knowing that I can only guess at some of the illegible letters....
Oh I dunno....15 easyscratches?

How about sucksur number?  No?
sisters 17?

I exaggerate only a tiny bit - I hope you get my point...

Some people are simply refusing to bother with comments on your captcha'd blogs...I quit after two failed attempts, and I'm beginning to wonder if even trying it once is worth it.

If you are on blogger, here is a previous post I did with detailed instructions on how to get rid of the dreaded Word Verification.   You may even have it set, and not know it - you might want to double check and make sure.... (just because YOU can comment w/o a captcha on your own blog does not mean that others're already cleared to comment on your blog, so you won't need to jump through the hoops like the rest of us)

I'll just toss another little mini-rant in here.  I get that you like your privacy, and you dislike spam.  I really do.  But when I enter a captcha code and then I find out that you are moderating my comment on top of it, it makes me feel...wellllll..... I won't go through all the silly Freudian flashes that zip through my feeble brain....let's just say I don't feel like my comment is very much wanted or welcomed, so I often pass at that point.

I find that blogger catches nearly every spam post I get - I still have to delete it from both my email and from the blogger comment spam list, but it takes a couple of seconds to do that.  Just not an issue.  Also, maybe I've just been really, really lucky in that I've never had a published comment that upset me (lordy, I hope I'm not opening myself up with that comment lol!), but I've certainly experienced my share of upsetting experiences in 3D life.  My tendency is to treat them like what they are - a FOG (F*ing Opportunity for Growth) and I move through it as gracefully as I can (which is often the clumsiest vision of non-grace ever, but hey....that's life.)

It's OK with me if you don't respect my attitude, but I know I'm not alone.  I think that most of us blog both for our own, personal reasons, AND we're putting our words out for public readership.   It just seems right to me to have some thoughtful consideration for our readers.

...Putting a smile back on my face, and going back to my regularly scheduling blogging.....  :)

P.S.  - per a request, you have my permission to re-post all or part of this post on your blog :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September's Sewing Habit Shift - Scissors Storage

I'm on a quest to change those sewing habits that bog me down in one way or another - August was all about snipping threads, and I'm delighted to report that I conscientiously thread snipped with focus and success all month :)    I was even given two additional thread snippers, so now every machine has a pair, and so does my ironing area!

Sarai is continuing her habit-changing challenge, and I accept the challenge!   This month, I promise to myself (and to y'all) that I will put my scissors away after each session.

Methinks this will not be as easy as the thread snipping.

Step #1 is to find a better location for scissor storage!   Currently, the 4 pairs in constant use hang from an artsy-craftsy scissor hook thingy.   I thought that would be a good idea, and it does work, but the location of the hook is a major issue here.  Just getting to the scissor hook in my tiny room involves navigating the narrow area between my cutting table and a bank of fabric storage drawers to the furthest corner of the sewing room, and I'm just flat out way too lazy to walk that far every time I want to put my scissors away.   So they get laid on the cutting table & buried under pattern pieces, or they meander into the ironing area & snuffle their way under a bit of fabric, and the paper cutters even manage to find their way out of the sewing room and into other areas of the house  (probably because the office scissors got used for pattern cutting when the pattern cutters went for a stroll somewhere, so all of a sudden I can't find a single pair of paper-cutting scissors, and the house contains at least 3 or 5 of these....)

The sharp-eyed among you may notice that there are only 3 pair hanging here - that's because #4 has managed to walk off - probably giggling at me from under a pile of rumpled fabric...somewhere.....I'll find you before the day is out though!

So.   I have a day at home today, and part of the day will be devoted to getting my sewing room semi-organized.  It's officially a disaster area, given the too-many-projects-at-once aspect of my life lately.  By tonight the scissor hook will be moved to a more convenient location.

And then, I hereby solemnly swear that I will make every effort to put. the. darned. things. away. After each use.

I can do this.   I did well with the thread-snipping thing, so I can do this.

She tells herself confidently.

UPDATE:  I've not cleaned up the sewing room completely, but at least I cleared off the cutting table, and have relocated the scissor hook to the other side of the cutting table.   This places them near the door as I enter the room (or exit it), right by the cutting table, close enough to the machines, and since the ironing board is a few feet away in the next room, there could hardly be a more central, accessible spot!   I also angled the scissor hook, so that the blades and points are less likely to touch each other.

Now then, all I need to do is use it :)

Are you changing any habits to make your sewing life easier or more efficient?   And if you worked on a habit in August, how did you do with it?  Join me in this monthly goal - I highly recommend it!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bustles! Times Two. And Stuff...

I've been sewing, but I have more half-finished pieces than finished to show for it.   Part of the reason is that ... (insert drum roll please) ... I received my first actual real-life honest-to-goodness Etsy order from a total stranger!   Out of the blue, unexpected!   Seriously, I had a couple of photos of finished steampunk bustles listed on Etsy as possible "Custom Orders"  (i.e., I'll make one similar to this in your color choice).  The only reason I had them up was to keep my shop viable until I was ready to actually start making stuff.   Sort of like a "Coming Soon" sign in a shop window.

I didn't expect anyone to actually ORDER one from me!

But someone did.

And wouldn't you know it, it was a "rush" order.   To be shipped to Australia.

So, in between a busy work week, my cat shredding both hands with another biting episode (my poor hands...yes, it was, and still is, a big "OUCH!", and poor kitty....this was the final signal that he HAS to get to the vet to find out what's going on with him - I just pray that it's a) curable and not too serious, and b) not going to break the bank [gulp]), settling my new housemate in (all is going very well on that front), moving through another episode with a damaged rib, and, well, life...... I made this:

for a delightful-sounding young woman in Oz, who is dressing up in a Harlequin costume for her birthday, and loved my "Tattered Series" Etsy bustle.  She gave me her wish list (including a matching neck ruffle), we struck a deal, and I got a real customer for my pretend store!

I also finished a reversible bustle - this was another one made for a friend - and I think I may have another viable concept for those traveling bustle-wearers who would like two options in one piece of clothing :)
Bustle Back - tattered side and smooth side

Side View - Tattered and Smooth options
I also went to TWO (2) gatherings with local sewists!  At my TNT group, BABES, I thought I was doing a GREAT job of clutter-clearing when I took a large box of patterns and fabrics to re-home, but I ended up filling the box to the brim and bringing home lots of shiny, satiny, bustley potentials!   So much for clutter.....  You know what one of the wonderful side effects of  making these sorts of goodies is?  It opens up a whole NEW WORLD of fabric possibilites!   All of the sequins and glitters  and polyesters and taffetas that never got a second glance from me before are now turning my head and actually making me go "squeeeee" with delight!   Who knew?  Then I was a guest at another gathering of incredible sewists - what fun it is to meet the many creative and talented people who abound in this area - sometimes I feel so utterly blessed.  :)  Although I have to admit that, when my "show and tell" items were passed around the room, I found myself cringing more than a little when I realized the scrutiny these talented ladies were subjecting my stitching to.   [gulp]

And then, to top it all off, I was browsing through Stonemountain on Saturday (I can't seem to drive within 10 blocks of it without my car finding its way to a nearby parking spot and pulling in.....) and I heard a familiar laugh coming from the next room ... and there was shams, with Elizabeth of Sewn, and Steph of The Dashing Eccentric.   Two more new sewists!  What a full and delightful week it's been.

Except for the cat thing.

Hope those of you U.S.'ers who had the luxury of a long vacation weekend enjoyed every moment of it :)  Oh heck, whether you had a long weekend or a short one, and wherever you live, hope you're enjoying your weekend and/or your week.  Let's all count our blessings. :)

And forgive our cats.