Maybe I’m Overdoing the Disney Planning….

Not long now before a long-planned trip to Disney World with some girlfriends! I’m super excited, and have been madly planning and sewing for months now. So with apologies to my bike-y reflective fashion followers (and perhaps many more of you), here’s what I’ve been sewing for my trip.

In my last post, I shared my Spaceship Earth tunic. Spaceship Earth is not only one of my favorite rides, but the iconic feature of EPCOT. I’m really looking forward to wearing this not only because I love it and enjoy its subtle nod to the ride, but it’s not quite cotton lawn tunic weather here in Northern Virginia, and I haven’t gotten to wear it yet!

Style Arc Lennie Overshirt

I just made this fun Maleficent skirt to wear to the Villains After Hours party the last night we are there. I’m not normally one for the Disney villains but if I’m going to their party, I feel like I should dress respectfully, amirite? I had planned on downloading a skirt pattern from an independent company but they are on vacation and it wasn’t available. So I dug around in my pattern box and found this McCalls out of print pleated skirt pattern I bought ages ago. This is the perfect opportunity to test the pattern – if I don’t like it, I’m probably not going to wear a Maleficent skirt often, so it won’t matter if I don’t like it!

McCalls 7253 skirt pattern

Turns out, I love the pattern! And I love the skirt. The pleats are flattering and create the skirt fullness I love without making my hips look *huge*. I added some flame stitching, in homage to Maleficent (no dragon stitch on my machine, alas). Next time I will add pockets, since the pattern doesn’t call for them. Cause there is definitely going to be a next time for this pattern! Speaking of digging around in my stash – despite planning on wearing jeans with the tops I have made, I realized the weather might be too warm for jeans, and I might need shorts. Expect I don’t love the shorts I own. So I pulled out a knit skirt pattern that I have made multiple times for a friend but never for me, then discovered a big enough piece of navy blue knit fabric to squeeze out the pattern pieces. And voila! A new skirt that will actually be perfect for many, many casual occasions, even if I don’t wear it at Disney World.

I’ve also bought a few things for the trip that I probably could make on my own but didn’t want to work out with limited time. These clear vinyl zip bags are perfect for zipping (as it were) through the security lines on the way into the parks. I ordered one each from two different Etsy sellers, both of whom have fun options. But I really love the Mary Blair style of the one first one, and the calm parks scenes of the second one. I may be sorry I bought the smaller sizes; I have such a hard time packing light!

Clear vinyl pouch by Amy’s Small World/Etsy

Clear vinyl pouch by CYFCreations/Etsy

Another clever Disney trip thing I ordered from Etsy is this fun turquoise glitter Minnie Ear holder. The carabiner makes it easy to clip to any bag, purse, or belt loop, and the Mickey snap fastens easily around the headband’s bow. I should now, I tried all four of my ears on this! It also means I can take a smaller bag into the parks with me, since I won’t need to worry about fitting the ears into a bag when I opt not to wear them (they do squeeze my skull after a while!).

Minnie Ear Holder holding my silver Minnie ears on my #memade silver glitter purse

Going further down the Etsy-Disney rabbit hole, I found these *adorable* Hidden Mickey rose pins, and ordered a mystery pack. These will be so cute pinned to my tops or jackets!

Don’t worry, I will share my outfits with me in them after I get back (or you can follow along on my Instagram account)! Sewing projects never look the same on a hanger as they do on a body, so I do apologize for the lame photos.

MeMade Disney sewing – some subtle prints, some not-so-subtle prints!

Of course, once this trip is over, I need to start thinking about sewing for the next trip.! I’m all about the planning, haha! The Mechanic and I are going to Costa Rica with his family this spring, and although I don’t have much planned for that, I do have two garments that I want to make before we go. I’ll *try* not to over-plan that trip the way I clearly have this one though….

Really, I need to clear my table – literally and figuratively – to FINALLY make my reflective tweed jacket. That is a big project and I need to clear my head so I can really focus on that. I’m not good at slow sewing, but really want to do a good job on this.

Just because Cinderella’s mice friends made her a ballgown quickly doesn’t mean I need to make a tweed jacket quickly! Although if my fairy godmother would like to come along behind me to clean it up, that would be okay too : )

In Praise of a Crafty Long Weekend

January and February are two of my favorite months – not because of the weather (brrr) but because we get two long weekends. That means extra time for sewing! And I had a very productive Martin Luther King Day weekend.

First up on the craftiness list was completing my long-planned Epcot Spaceship Earth tunic. I bought this fabric from Marcy Tilton’s website in early summer last year, knowing that I would be going to Disney World in February 2020. It’s the perfect fabric to wear something *Disney* without wearing something DISNEY. I’ll be wearing plenty that screams Disney, but this is a tunic I know I’ll be able to wear in the office once the weather warms up. It’s a nice soft, lightweight fabric, maybe a lawn, but I’m not sure what the criteria for that might be. I not only cut the collar upside down though, and didn’t have enough fabric to recut it, but I didn’t like how stiff it was – why do I even bother interfacing collars when I know I won’t like it?!??! Despite venting to my Instagram friends and getting a ton of positive feedback on the collar, I decided to forego the collar and just left the band. And you know, I think I will really like it that way. The pattern is Style Arc’s Lennie over-shirt, and it was the first time I’d tried a Style Arc pattern. Good thing I know how to construct a shirt, because the first step in the instructions was to attach the collar. Uh, no.  Despite this and some other pattern hinkiness, I really love the way this shirt came out and can see making it again.

Style Arc Lennie Overshirt

Minnie ears to coordinate with the Spaceship Earth tunic

Speaking of pattern hinkiness (wait, is this even a word? How else do you describe something that didn’t work the way it was supposed to because the instructions were weird/hard to understand/etc.?), I also completed the long-planned Sew Sweetness Dot Dot Dash bag. I have been wanting to “improve” the crossbody bag I like the most, one I have been carrying for a few years now. It has some front pockets I don’t care for, it doesn’t have a back outside pocket, I wish it had a key chain lanyard, and the double side pockets are useless to me. So I took the foundation of the  small Dot Dot Dash bag and added a zipped back pocket, reflective pockets on the ends, simple pockets on the inside, and a key lanyard. I did not taper the top as the pattern suggests, and I didn’t make the carrying strap, but used cotton webbing instead. I knew I’d hate myself if I tried to turn a long skinny vinyl strap! Along the way, I managed to put the lining in backwards, so the small pockets I intended to be on the back are actually on the front (where the official and nice zippered pocket is). And somehow I managed to stitch the strap on backwards, so the hardware is in the front when I wear it how I prefer. Don’t even get me started on the top zipper installation; whew I really screwed that up!!! But you know what? I don’t really care – not too much anyway. I love the bag and will use it alot. I am already plotting another, improved, version though!

Sew Sweetness Dot Dot Dash bag in silver glitter vinyl with reflective pockets

Looking forward to road-testing my new bag!

The third crafty thing I did this weekend was take part in Old Town Alexandria’s Makers Mile weekend. For $30, I got a totebag and did a craft at the five participating shops. We also got free hot chocolate at Nicecream, plus a free dessert at Augie’s Beer Garden. My friend and I stitched up little fabric trays at Stitch Sew Shop, stitched fluff onto a wooden sheep using merino yarn at Fibre Space, crafted magnets at Penny Post, hand painted little wooden signs at AR Workshop, and mixed our own custom bath salts at Red Barn Mercantile. I also bought a pom pom maker, a button extender measurement tool, a “Hop to It” notepad, eraser and BitchStix chapstick, and a few pins.  The day started off snowy and ended in rain, so not the best day to be out wandering, but crafting keeps one warm, right? It was fun and I look forward to next year’s!

Maker’s Mile tote bag and loot

Now that I have a few projects crossed off my long-term list, I can turn my focus (for a while) to my reflective tweed jacket. It’s been waiting since August for me to get through some other, easier, things. But I think now is the time! I can make little bits of progress here and there while I wait for February’s long weekend, when I’ll have more dedicated time to sew. In the meantime, I need to focus on my Cheese-Chocolate-Champagne goals and get some other things done! What sort of things do you do on your long winter weekends?

Cheese, Chocolate, and Champagne Goals for 2020

It’s a new year, and a new decade, and it seems like *everyone* has been busy posting goals and resolutions and predictions for both the year and the decade. But it seems to me like rather than “New Year, New You” resolutions, everyone really sees the new date on the calendar as the opportunity to return to their pre-holiday season selves. “Eat healthier!” – we were all doing that before Halloween. “Work out more!” – even the best intentions somehow fall aside during the last few weeks of the year. So rather than set resolutions, I’m simply going to return to where I was before the holidays.

But let’s be honest – it gets tiring after a while, the same ole, same ole. The Mechanic and I were discussing goal setting, and how really, there are BIG goals and little goals, and they should be categorized differently. He objected to my Bronze-Silver-Gold level goals idea, so I suggested Cheese-Chocolate-Champagne instead. This sounds much more fun, doesn’t it?!

The Cheese goals are the smaller ones, like “Doing 15 minutes of yoga four days in a row,” or “Biking to work RT once a week.” And yes, that means I earn cheese for achieving these goals. The Chocolate goals are a bit bigger, like “Biking to work four times a week (or RT twice – I’m splitting my bike commutes with the bus these days),” or “Blogging once a week.” Champagne goals are, as you might now guess, The Big Goals. I’ve included in this category “Not buying any fabric in a month” as well as “Not buying any clothing in a month.” Ad yes, I am creating a big ole giant spreadsheet to track all this.

Not buying any fabric in a month might seem a bit radical to you, especially knowing how much I love to sew. But I have such a long list of lingering projects that I want to finish, and need to finish, before starting anything else. The other reason for this goal is the fabric buying spreadsheet I started in June. I was curious to track when I was buying fabric, and from where, since I couldn’t keep it straight. Then I noticed that not only was I spending a ton of money on fabric (not even expensive fabric!), I wasn’t making the planned garments as fast as I was planning.

June-Dec 2019 Fabric Purchases Spreadsheet

And really…. I don’t *need* any more clothing. Well, I always need pants. I can’t seem to find pants I like, #memade or store bought. But I have plenty of shirts and sweaters and skirts and things. So anything I make now is just for fun, “frosting,” if you will. Of course, this is why I sew, because it’s fun, but this past year, I was really trying to focus on things I need to have a more complete #memade wardrobe. I don’t think I’ll ever achieve a 100% #memade wardrobe but it is SUCH a satisfying feeling on the days it does happen.

My fabric stash runneth over! Yes, that’s bin is pretty much my only stash and many of the pieces are earmarked for things. I don’t tend to stash, but buy with a plan in mind. I just need to stop planning!!!

That being said… I have several trips in the first half of 2020, which means sewing for them. Doesn’t everyone do vacation sewing?! First up – a girls’ trip to Disney World; then a trip to Costa Rica with my husband’s family; then a trip to Germany with my mom and aunt in August. Naturally I have sewing plans for each of them! A glitter vinyl crossbody bag, a Spaceship Earth-inspired tunic, and a Maleficent skirt for Disney World; a shirt and skirt for Costa Rica (from some of the fabric I bought in West Virginia); and most likely pants for Germany. I’m not making any plans for that trip for a while, though!

Maleficent print for a skirt, for the Disney Villains After Hours event – hand for scale

So circling back to my goals – finishing up these projects are definitely Champagne goals! Thank goodness for some long weekends in January and February to crank out some easy projects. Of course, there are many more goals on my list for this year, but I feel like setting them out this way, with things I enjoy as the rewards, will make it much more fun. Have you made goals, set resolutions, or ignored the whole “new year” thing?

Beginning and Ending the Years with Travel

The Mechanic and I rang in the new year and decade in Quebec City, Canada, keeping with our tradition of traveling to really cold places in the winter. Planned back in March, it was a short and minimally planned trip that gave us the excuse to get out of the country in 2019 – just barely! And we had a blast, even in the cold temperatures and the snow.

As the tourism website boasts, Quebec City is feels so European, and is so close – two one-hour flights got us there through Toronto. French is the predominate language, but luckily for us, everyone is bilingual. I had to stop greeting people with “Bonjour!” because they then responded in French, which made my brain switch to the only other language I know, German – not so helpful. Adding to the European flair is the 400 years of history – Old Quebec was founded in 1608. And Old Quebec, where we stayed, is simply the most wonderful place to spend the holiday season! It’s decorated within an inch of its cobblestones, with lights everywhere! Twenty-four hours of snow over New Years Eve only added to the romantic feel of the city. Pictures don’t do it justice, but of course I am including some. : )

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Highlights of the trip included:

Toboggan slide!

Right on the walkway between the Chateau Frontenac and the Saint Lawrence River is a toboggan run, La Glissade. This is the only thing I remembered from my brief time working here in the 90s. For a nominal amount, you stand in line, are handed a toboggan, and drag it up to the top of the tracks, then slide down at a breakneck speed. It was SO FUN!

Dragging the toboggan up the ramp to the top

The View from the top is amazing!

View of Old Quebec and the Saint Lawrence River

Dining!

Quebec dining is not for the faint of heart, apparently. Every place seemed really expensive, even with a favorable exchange rate. Of course, we were in the middle of the historic and touristy area, and it was the holidays, but whew! We don’t normally eat like this! Thankfully we found a small grocery where we stocked up on bagels and Nutella for breakfasts in our hotel room. Nevertheless, we ate and drank some amazing things!

Visual Winner: Hands down favorite was Bistro L’Orygine, a boreal bistro. Located within steps of our hotel, this place dazzled all the senses – I was as in love with the decor as the food.

Eye-candy as well as delicious!

Historic Winner: While attempting to find a quick and cheap lunch on New Year’s Eve, we ended up instead at Restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens, in a building built in 1675-76. Oh you know, that old place – !!! The food is considered traditional, and it was tasty, especially my maple syrup pie! Think of a pecan pie without the pecans, and yep, that’s what it was. The prix fix lunch in a cozy location was perfect on a snowy day.

As its stood since 1676

Fanciest Experience: I decided that our toboggan experience called for fancy cocktails at the bar in Chateau Frontenac, and that decision paid off. The bar was fancy but didn’t feel stuffy, and the drinks were fun and inventive. My cocktail, Genie in the Bottle, was poured from a lamp! Personal Tradition: Apparently raclette on New Year’s Eve is a tradition in Germany, and we have done it several years when we are home. We haven’t had it in a restaurant since our honeymoon in Zurich, so having it for New Year’s Eve in Quebec was a nice way to keep this personal tradition going.

Fancy raclette set up for New Year’s Eve

Surprise Dining: Who would have thought that the tastiest meal would have been in the Toronto airport?! We ate at Twist by Roger Mooking – vegan cauliflower tacos, and the most delicious side of maple-glazed carrots, arugula, pistachios, and huge chunks of salt. This was a *side*!!! Why can’t restaurants here serve sides like this?! Would I fly an hour to Toronto just to have this again? I am not ruling it out.

Best side dish ever, in the Toronto airport!

Spa Day!

Lest you think all we did in Quebec City was eat, let me share with you possibly the biggest highlight of the trip. We went to Strom Spa Nordique. Just typing the name brings back memories of the eucalyptus steam sauna, ahh….. Located along the river and easily accessible by public bus, this experience was similar to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland but totally different. On the coldest day of our trip (“Feel like” temps of 5*F), we went outside in our swim suits and terry robes to jump into thermal baths then dip into cold pools. We tried the steam sauna, a dry sauna, and the flotation pool, plus ate a light lunch in the bistro there. Sitting in the hot water with the cold wind off the river blowing frozen steam over us, I felt like one of those Japanese monkeys in the hot springs, and it felt AMAZING. I don’t have photos of any of it but the memories will stay with me forever.

View from the Strom lobby, out towards the thermal baths and saunas. Not seen: *freezing* weather!

New Years Eve Festival

The Mechanic and I prefer to stay at home to ring in the new years, but a new decade, an international city, and a free festival of electronica and traditional music was the perfect way to celebrate. The streets were shut down, and full of Bud Light (???) pop up bars, so we stood in the snowy cold, drank our hot wine, listened to the music, and shouted “Bonne Annee!!!” along with everyone else at the stroke of midnight. So worth it.

Laser show and electronic dance music for New Years Eve

Happy 2020, everyone!!!

Up Next: 2020

We returned home on New Year’s Day, ready to start a new year. As with so many other people, my mind is spinning with the possibilities of a new decade, and thinking about where I was ten years ago when 2010 started, and twenty years ago at the dawn of 2000. But that’s a topic for another blog post!

I hope you all enjoyed your holidays and are ready (or starting) to face what this new year brings. All the best to you and yours!

Our hotel celebrated with champagne for everyone!

Wrapping Up November (Where Has the Year Gone?!)

Anyone else mourning the speed with which this year has flown? I guess it happens every year, but I still think that somehow, some year, it will be relaxed and I’ll be able to let it unfold slowly. But no – and now we are weeks away from 2020!!!

Things that have been keeping me busy this month so far – Sewing, friends, and bunnies. And sometimes a combination of those, like the day a friend and I took a bunny yoga class, a fundraiser for one of the local rabbit rescue groups. Not often you take a yoga class where the instructor keeps say, “Just watch for bunnies before you _____!”

First, to catch you up on October sewing: I finally finished my Zodiac mesh top! I appliqued the Taurus image onto the back – I am a Taurus, so why not show it off! Besides, I hated to not use as much of the gorgeous fabric as possible. I also made a skirt, McCalls 7891 – it’s probably too long but I won’t shorten it until the warm weather returns. The reflective piping and heavy drape of the fabric makes me soooo happy! I like this skirt pattern a lot and have a ton of plans to use it again.

I also bought some fabric on our West Virginia trip! Fayetteville, WV has a Ben Franklin Crafts store, so *of course* we had to go in. Some of the fabric was so cheap! I bought four yards of this blue fern/leaf cotton because it was $2/yard! I think it will be a dress eventually but who knows. The green batik will be another McCalls 7981 skirt (probably without reflective details, ha), and the turquoise butterfly print will be a fun summer shirt of some sort. Doesn’t fabric make the best souvenir?! I’ll always remember how amazing that trip was when I wear something made from these fabrics. Most of my November sewing has been Christmas presents sewing, so I can’t share photos right now. But I did squeeze in a super easy and highly satisfying Hey June Handmade Lane raglan tee out of this adorable (but most likely licensed…..) Star Wars print I found on Etsy. If you remember, the pattern and the purple knit I bought at Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, CO earlier this year – yet another souvenir of a great trip! And part of my wardrobe for a 2020 trip with some girlfriends to Disney World (90 days but who’s counting?!?!). In other crafty but not sewing news, I took a class to learn the basics of spinning! My long-term goal is to be able to use Sullivan’s angora fluff to make yarn. The class was at Fibre Space, in Old Town Alexandria, and the class was taught by Maiah, who spins lovely lovely things. #goals I’m still not interested in knitting, but the idea of spinning and dyeing yarn is rather appealing. I just have to get much, much, *much* better at it! Our fluffsters have been taking up much of our time (#parenting lol) because they are not getting along as well as they should, so we’ve taken drastic bunny bonding measures. Basically this means going on car rides, because yes, you do sort of scare them into being friends. They are mostly friends, but occasionally, poor little Gaston (the oldest at 6 years old but the smallest at 3lbs) freaks out and runs from Sullivan. He’s totally falling for Henrietta though, and likes to snuggle with her. Awww…. SO worth the work! The remainder of the year will include more sewing (of course!), more bunnies, lots of holiday cheer with friends and family, squeezing in bike commuting when it’s not freezing cold, and making plans for 2020. What do you have planned for the rest of 2019?

 

West Virginia Autumnal Eye Candy

The Mechanic has been busy for months rebuilding his vintage (if 1987 is vintage, lol) truck, all leading up to our West Virginia road trip last week. We spent a relaxing (and chilly) four nights/five days exploring south-eastern West Virginia, an area of the state neither of us had ever visited. And that brief trip was enough to convince me that we need to go back – we barely scratched the surface of all the things there were to see and do!

road sign saying "Welcome to West Virignia, Wild and Wonderful"

Welcome to West Virginia

Lewisburg

The first night we spent in a hotel in downtown historic Lewisburg. Our room overlooked an old house and some lovely trees, and we were walking distance to a recommended hotel‘s bar with absolutely delicious and very inventive cocktails.

From Lewisburg, we stopped in at Lost World Caverns and were amazed at the large open cave with stunning cave features. I just love caves, and always try to imagine the first people to discover the dark holes armed only with candles. It was the perfect stop on the one rainy day we encountered.

Fayetteville

We then spent two nights in a “legacy” cabin in Babcock State Park, just outside of Fayetteville. The legacy cabins were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corp.. Heated only with the fireplace, and complete with a complimentary mouse visit in the middle of the night, this was absolutely my favorite place that we stayed. I wish we’d had more time to just hang out at the cabin, so maybe next time. The biggest photographic draw is the refurbished mill, and although I hate to take *the same* photos as everyone else, I couldn’t help it. It was far too picturesque not to!

 

While in the area, we visited the main attraction, the New River Gorge Bridge. Completed in 1977, this bridge is the longest steel span in the western hemisphere and the third highest in the United States. It’s -mind-boggling to think about – and since we drove over it, and the original (ish) route it replaced, I can see how it was a welcome feat of engineering for the region.

New River Gorge Bridge, seen from the river

Beartown State Park

Admittedly just about everything we did on this trip exceeded our expectations, but probably our visit to Beartown State Park blew us away. The description on the website, and what I’m about to tell you, is a complete understatement about how stunning this park is. A series of boardwalks leads you around these massive, moss-covered rock formations on top of a mountain that defy proper descriptive words. Even photos can’t show how amazing this park is. Here’s a few of the best: Seneca Rocks

After a somewhat lackluster and chilly night of camping at Seneca Shadows (too close to our neighbors AND the main road below us), we spent our last morning at Seneca Rocks, in the Monongahela National Forest. This is another one where the online description fails to impress how imposing and incredible this rock formation is. I think we took a million of the same photo of it from every angle! Then we hiked up to the observation platform – it was a beautiful yet steep climb, worth the view, but only when we were having lunch at the pizza place below did we realize how high up we’d been. My legs still feel it.

We were way up *there*?!?

There’s so much more tell about this trip but I promised you eye candy, and here’s more of West Virginia, in all it’s autumnal glory:

Difficult Decisions When Hobbies Collide

This past weekend, several of my hobbies and interests all took place on the same day. Emergency preparedness, biking, bunnies, and fiber arts events all happened on the same day! What’s a girl to do?!?

The first event was a combo event: Arlington’s second annual Disaster Relief Trials, held in partnership with BikeArlington and the County Office of Emergency Management. I love this whole concept – people discovering all the different ways their bikes are the perfect vehicle in an emergency, when roads are possibly closed and no one can get around.

The second event was the first-ever Arlington bunny parents meet-up, organized through Instagram. Connecting with other bunny parents who live nearby is a great opportunity to compare notes on bunny care, adoption histories, and swap sitters’ contact info.

Then the third event was at the GW University Museum and Textile Museum’s 40th annual  Celebration of Textiles. This free event promised sheep, hands-on activities, and family-friendly entertainment. I was especially attracted to the line that said local artists would be spinning and weaving. I’ve been thinking about spinning Sullivan’s angora fluff….

It was a hard decision, but I ended up going with the bunny meet-up and textile event. Meeting other bunny parents was fun, and somewhat gratifying to know that we all go through the same bunny challenges, they all have silly personalities, and we aren’t all crazy!

I’m sure everyone else in the coffee shop wondered what on earth was going on….

The Celebration of Textiles was really cool. My friend who went with me and I tried Japanese embroidery and bobbin lace making, oohed and ahhed over the sheep and llamas, admired some looms, and talked to a woman who does needle felting creations. But most excitingly, the women who were there spinning actually spun some of Sullivan’s fluff (which of course i took with me) into yarn! I’m so inspired, I want to try this myself. It would take a long time to make enough yarn to knit anything, but that’s okay. It’s not like I have a ton of time for a new hobby.

Speaking of new textile hobbies, I also took a shibori fabric dye class last week. Hosted through Arlington adult education, a local artist walked the five of us in the class through different types of dyes and fabrics and techniques. In two hours, we didn’t get much done, especially when we realized that some of the textiles the instructor brought were polyester or polyester blends which didn’t take the dye at all. But the last two that I dyed were clearly all-natural fibers and took the dyes quite well. The resist technique I chose for those two were the same – desk clips! I folded the fabric different ways, which resulted in different designs. I have no idea what I’ll do with these but with Christmas around the corner (ack!), I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

Fresh out of the dye pot!

The successes: fuchsia cotton and red linen

The polyester failures: indigo poly/silk, and turquoise what I think was a polar fleece, not wool, as the instructor suggested. You can see how the one on the left didn’t take any dye at all, and the other took some dye but didn’t “shibori,” despite being twisted and tied.

I am sorry that I missed the Disaster Relief Trials for the second year in a row. From what I saw on Twitter, water and even “pets” were transported by bike! Maybe next year all my hobbies won’t collide on the same day!

Don’t worry, Sully, we’ve already thought about how to evacuate with you if we have to!

Sew Long, August!

AKA – what the hell happened to this summer?!?!

August was super busy, as you may have guessed from the total lack of any blog post. So I’m going to see if I can summarize everything in a singular post – here we go!

Work Conference in NYC

A work conference took me up to New York at the beginning of August, so I ran through some of my sewing shops and bought a minimal amount of notions and a maximum amount of reflective piping. I had a good time at the conference, and as always, it was great to see colleagues from around the country.

“Make It Fit” Workshop at Stitch Sew Shop

The weekend after I got back from the conference, I took a 2.5 day workshop at Stitch Sew Shop, in Old Town Alexandria. The “Make It Fit” title meant that the eight of us in the class had plenty of one-on-one time with guest instructor Taylor of Blueprints for Sewing. I made two muslins of the jacket I eventually will make out of my lovely reflective tweed from Dashing Tweeds, and now feel confident in the fit. I need to clear my sewing “schedule” a bit first so I have time to focus on this Big Project. The workshop was a ton of fun, and I hope to take more workshops in the future.

Actual Sewing!

I managed to make a dress and a pair of pants in August. The dress was a quickie Terrace Dress by Liesel and Co., out of this delicious Windham Field Day Bloom Sycamore cotton print that I obsessed over the entire workshop weekend at Stitch Sew Shop. One of the women working there had made a lovely shirt out of the lawn, which they were out of, so I made due with the quilting cotton. I really love the way this dress turned out and see wearing it alot, even through the colder months.

I also made another pair of wide-legged trousers out of this Art Deco-ish Charley Harper “Skimmerscape” barkcloth. An Instagram sewist suggested I make pants out of this fabric and she was right, they are fab-u-lous! I can also see getting a lot of use out of these in the coming months, because I can fit thermal underwear under these and won’t feel like a stuffed sausage. ; ) Biking in Dresses!

I’ve done a teeny bit of biking lately but it’s been dreadfully hot, and I just couldn’t bring myself to voluntarily add to the sweat. I noticed that the biking I have done has been in dresses – there’s something wonderful about biking in a dress. It feels so much more freeing and fun than anything else.

Reflective Meet Up!

A definite highlight this month was getting to meet a social media friend *in person*! But Iris isn’t *just* a social media friend – she’s the designer and owner of Reflective Society, creating lovely, imaginative, and simply wonderful reflective accessories. We spent hours talking about All Things Reflective, life, the crafting world, and why we love reflective things so much. She knows about so many more reflective products than I do, and gets to spend way more of her waking hours thinking about reflectiveness, and I love her work. She even made me a lovely set of lace-covered reflective buttons! I can’t wait to pick a pattern to use them. Textile Museum

Almost the last thing I did in August was become a member of the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum. Then I was able to take the Members’ Tour of the new textile exhibit, “Woven Interiors: Furnishing Early Medieval Egypt.” The textiles predominately date from the 4-7th centuries, and the details and fine work is just stunning. It’s amazing that they have lasted as long as they have, and we have a very intimate look into every day life of that time period. Even a small wooden toy horse was shown along side some of the home furnishings.

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Looking Ahead

The advent of September suddenly makes me feel like I need to start planning for the holidays! But first, I am taking a workshop on shibori fabric dyeing, have some big sewing projects to complete, we are doing a road trip through West Virginia in October, and I have some biking to do. Ideally I’ll blog more often, but I know how life is, and have to confess that probably won’t happen. You can always follow my adventures in between blog posts on my Instagram account.

What do you have planned for the fall? How do you manage the lead up to the holidays? Who else is planning to sew gifts for family and friends?

July 2019: Reflective Revisited

It’s July, and still the longest days of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is), there is still a ton of daylight. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about all things reflective!

I recently stumbled cross two reflective things in unexpected places: LeSportsac and Target! Who knew that LeSportsac would even make a reflective bag?!?! I was looking at their Fifi Lapin collaboration (a fashionable bunny, be still my heart!) and somehow came across the reflective bags. Reflective AND on sale, I ordered a cross body bag with no hesitation. Yes, I passed up the bunny bags for the reflective one. Thank goodness – the color I ordered is now sold out. Flat, with two front zippers, short handles on top, but with a long strap, this bag is surprisingly spacious. I was able to fit my water bottle in it with no problems the day we went kayaking. There are still other bags in this collection available, but don’t wait too long! I might buy all the rest.My Target find is admittedly pretty random, especially for someone who has short hair. By the time scrunchies came on the scene in the late 80s, my long hair was already long gone, so not only did I never like them, I never had the need. Apparently scrunchies are enjoying a renaissance, as many sewists are making them with fabric scraps. Again, not something I’ve paid any attention to – until I walked past a display of *reflective* ones in Target the other day!!! And yes, I bought one. I figure it will be a great bracelet. And maybe I’ll get another so I can wear them as wrist ruffles. There are also some to be found on Etsy, like this listing for a totally reflective one.

Another favorite place for reflective scrunchies, as well as other fun accessories, is Reflective Society. I’ve mentioned this company before, because I’ve ordered some of the buttons before. I’m currently in love with the tassel earrings and absolutely adore the little pom-pom pair. The knit reflective scrunchie seems like a good fall piece, if you are looking for one. I haven’t been doing much reflective sewing lately, but I’m gearing up for a big project. I have some luscious wool from Dashing Tweeds that will eventually become a jacket. I just ordered the lining fabric for it. I’ve been *obsessed* with this Moonglow Mystery by Abigal Halpin for Spoonflower print for years, and decided that it would be the perfect lining for the jacket. I ordered two yards of it in satin, and it feels wonderful and the print is nice and sharp. I’m taking a workshop in a few weeks at Stitch Sew Shop in a few weeks that will help us fit any pattern we want. I will definitely want a muslin for this jacket, with all these expensive fabrics, so this seems like the best way to get the best fit. Hopefully Taylor McVay of Blueprints for Sewing has a lot of patience for me, as this isn’t a quick and easy pattern.  (Of course this could all go terribly wrong – I hope I can squeeze these pattern pieces out of the tweed I have; I haven’t laid it all out yet….)

So there are a few summer reflective accessories for you, if you want to add something small to your collection while I work on something big. Tell me, did you wear scrunchies in the 80s? Will you wear them this time around?