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?

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?

 

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?

July 2019: Craft Beers and Craft Clothes

Let me see if I can catch you up on a whole month without overwhelming you! From Denver to duvets, there’s been alot going on, so let’s see how this recap goes.

Craft Beers

I went to Denver, CO, for the first time ever! Well, first time out of the airport, lol. It was a planned craft beer weekend – Thomasina’s Testament, a special beer was brewed to pay tribute to an amazing lady, one of my best friend’s aunt. Sister Thomasina was a remarkable woman – born in Germany  in the 1930s, engaged to be married but was called by God instead and became a nun, then moved to the United States, where she eventually earned a PhD and did social work in New Jersey, and around the world. She was an important role model and guiding light – plus, she loved her beer. Hey, she was German, after all! So what better tribute than a special beer?! Burns Family Artisan Ales brewed up a delicious lager and threw an awesome party, and set the standard for the rest of the breweries I visited.

I enjoyed Cannonball Creek Brewing Co., Mountain Toad Brewing, New Terrain Brewing Co., and Woods Boss Brewing Co., all for different reasons, and don’t ask me to pick a favorite, because I’d need to go back and study some more! Each one offered something unique and different – despite it’s strip mall location, Cannonball Creek had a fun painted water tower in front and tasty food truck. Mountain Toad Brewing had a fun mural on the side of the building, a lovely backyard courtyard, and bike chain incorporated into its logo, and New Terrain Brewing had me at their stylish flight stand. At Woods Boss Brewing, I bought a “crowler” (can-growler) to bring home their lager, named Saukerkraut in My Lederhosen – it was a whole German beer themed weekend, apparently!

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We also did some touristy things, since it was my first visit. We went to Golden Gate Canyon State Park, walked around but not into the Molly Brown House, toured a bit of the state capitol, checked out the brewery exhibit in the History Colorado Center, enjoyed tacos at Torchy’s Tacos, and explored mid-century design at the Denver Art Museum.

Craft Clothes

From Denver to a Crate and Barrel duvet cover, there has been a bit of craft clothing going on as well.

In Denver, we visited Fancy Tiger Crafts, a locally owned sewing and knitting store that I’ve followed on Instagram for a long time. The store was even better than I anticipated, and I barely looked at the yarn. I focused on finding some fabric to go with my Star Wars fabric. I ended up with a dark purple knit from Alabama Chanin as well as the Hey June Handmade Lane Raglan Tee pattern . Adrianna, the owner/founder of Hey June Handmade, lives in nearby Golden, CO, so this will be a super-Denver tee when it’s done!

Another on my Denver list was a visit to Rockmount Ranch Wear. I’d never heard of this company before, but the embroidery and piping on Western shirts has always called to me, so I made a point to visit this decades-old company (founded in 1946) in it’s century-old historic building in lower downtown Denver (aka LoDo). The company is know for putting the snaps in snap-front shirts. The store was huge, with a tin ceiling, and packed full of memorabilia, including a guitar signed by Paul McCartney. Everyone has worn these shirts, from Elvis to Bob Dylan to Heath Ledger, apparently! Of course I bought a shirt, but now I have to wait until it’s cooled off enough to wear a black, long-sleeved shirt.

In other craft clothing news, I cranked out a blue striped knit dress to take to Denver, along with some other #memades. I wore my IKEA duvet cover dress to the Thomasina’s Testament beer launch, my floral striped tee the day we went to the state park and breweries, and my knit dress for tourist day. I was very happy with all my makes on this trip, yay!

I haven’t had time to sew until this past weekend, when a Crate and Barrel duvet cover on clearance leapt into my hands. It’s now a Liesl and Co. Terrace Dress, with a reflective patch on the center back of the sash. And then I made my friend a skirt with the fabric she purchased in Denver at Fancy Tiger Crafts. I hope to be able to crank out one more project before the end of the month, then I feel like it will be time to focus on fall clothing. But I’ve made plenty of things this year and am happy to wear them all for a few more months.

Sewing June 2019: N + 1

In the bicycling world, there is a long-standing joke about N+1 when it comes to bicycles – once you have one, you need another, and then another, and then another. Look at The Mechanic and I – we have six bikes between the two of us! (One may or may not be in the bedroom, although neither of us are bothered by that. I know some spouses might be.) I suppose it is the same for any hobby. When I got my first tattoo I was told it’s addictive, and it kinda is – I do want another one…

My camera can’t capture the gorgeousness of this Iced Peach Floral Japanese Lyocell Cotton from Marcy Tilton so check out the website for better photos –> https://marcytilton.com/collections/woven/products/iced-peach-floral-japanese-lyocell-woven

But I hadn’t really put sewing into that perspective until this past weekend, when I shared photos on Instagram of some fabric I spontaneously ordered. It’s *gorgeous* fabric, but in a colorway I don’t really have any other clothing in. The fabric is intended for a blouse, so I’ll need either pants or a skirt to go with it. Or both. And then I need to see if any of the pants or skirt patterns I already own works with the fabric I need to get, the style of the blouse I plan to make, and anything else that might happen to go with this gorgeous fabric. So it totally made sense when one of my IG sewing friends commented “If you give a sewist some fabric, she’ll have to make some pants to go with it,” referencing the popular children’s’ book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. And then I realized – N+1. Fabric = more patterns = more fabric = more patterns, etc.

I’ve been trying really hard not to acquire more fabric and patterns, because I’m really anxious to make the fabric and patterns I have. But I feel like it’s too late to finish my summer sewing, and maybe I should move onto fall plans. Of course, I know that it will stay warm well into October, so there is plenty of time to get my warm weather garments made! But cold weather clothes take longer, so I feel like I need to get started now! Now, now now!!! N + 1 = more fabric and more patterns.

The irony is, The Mechanic and I are both not only pretty happy with the bikes we have, we are considering getting rid of some. I mean, it’s been a few years since I’ve dusted off my mountain bike – is there any point in keeping it?! We are planning a West Virginia road trip in October, though, so I guess I will decide after that. But is it worth keeping a bike for a maybe once a year opportunity? I don’t know, is it worth buying fabric that I may or may not every have time to sew up?

I have been sewing up a storm this month, unlike my bike habits. I’m especially proud of the New Look 6262 dress I made from an IKEA duvet cover, and the Vogue 9302 pants, made from IKEA curtains. The dress doesn’t fit great but it feels lovely, the cotton/lyocell fabric is silky and lightweight, and perfect for the upcoming hot weather. The pants are a wearable muslin for wide leg pants that I want to make for the colder months, something I can line with flannel, and/or fit thermal underwear underneath. And hey, tropical print pants! The shift dress is a nice basic, and the infinity scarf will be so great with many things.

I also ordered new sewing labels, yay! I have 100 – how long do you think they will last? I can’t believe I’ve already used 100 labels, frankly, so we’ll see what happens with these! Oh dear – do 100 labels mean N = 100??!

 

A Weekend Five Years in the Making

The Mechanic and I just celebrated our five year wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe we’ve been married that long, and yet it seems like we’ve always been together. Is that how marriage works?!

We haven’t done much to celebrate in the last few years since they’ve seemed a bit anti-climatic. I was in New York last year with a friend, if that is any indication of our attentiveness. But five years seemed like a big deal so we made some plans.

First up, we splurged on a fancy dinner at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, a plant-based restaurant in Washington, DC. It’s been on my list for a while but due to it price and exclusivity (Friday and Saturday night seatings only, wine pairings an extra $60 per person), we hadn’t been. But it turned out to be the perfect anniversary dinner.

Violet Moon cocktail and an empty first course dish – as the dining excitement begins!

Although we passed on the wine pairing, we did order cocktails. My Violet Moon appeared more gray than violet, but the vodka, kombucha, creme de Violette, and Freixenet Blanc de Blanc combo could possibly be my most favorite cocktail ever. I had two – just to test the consistency, of course! I can’t even begin to describe the food, it was so amazing. So many wild and different flavors in one mouthful! The Mechanic and I, not being foodies, credited our years of vegan Green Chef meals with introducing us to the possibilities of flavorful, exotic, and adventurous dining – if it hadn’t, this meal might have been a great shock! I didn’t take pictures of all seven courses but I did take a few of the more picturesque ones.

One of seven delicious courses at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw

Also, I wore my new Vogue 9091  linen culottes and the Named Clothing Inari Tee Dress, which I cropped into a top. I love this combination so much!!! Expect to see me in it alot – and sorry for the bathroom photo….

We balanced the fancy experience at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw the following day with a road trip to Shepherdstown, WV, where we had gotten married five year previously. We rented a (ginormous) pick up, and The Mechanic managed to nicely arrange our bicycles in the back so we could take them with us. Once in Shepherdstown, we started with a casual lunch at our favorite place, the Blue Moon Cafe. The food is always good, with plenty of vegetarian options, but the highlight is the outdoor seating with a small stream rushing through it. We love this place so much that we made it part of our unofficial wedding reception (we had a lunchtime wedding and reception, so everyone who stayed joined us at the Blue Moon for dinner that evening). We continued our wedding anniversary tour with a stop at the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery, where we had ordered our wedding cake. We purchased a slice of cake that was almost identical to ours – this was almond cake (instead of the lemon we had five years ago), with a raspberry filling and buttercream frosting. Just as delicious as we remembered!

Biking has always been a large part of our memories of Shepherdstown – we first encountered the town when we signed up for the CASA River Ride seven years ago. We also used it as our starting point for a bike camping trip down the C & O Canal that same year. We’ve returned over and over, since it is a perfect day trip destination. Luckily the weather this year was dry enough for us to squeeze in another bike ride down the canal tow path. It was so lovely and just perfect, and we agreed we need to do more of *that* sort of biking – adventure travel biking, casual, gravel roads, nature, trees, etc.

Our last anniversary-related stop was at the Bavarian Inn, where our wedding had taken place. We were one of the first weddings held overlooking the infinity pool, and there had been some question as to whether or not it would be ready for us – but it was, and provided a lovely backdrop of just nature and the Potomac River. We visited a few times since then, but not for a few years, so we were completely surprised at the remodeling they had done when they added Bavarian Brothers Brewery to the site last year. Walls were changed, decor was modernized, fixtures were new, the bar was larger, and there was an entire new dining area where our reception patio space had been. Wow! It looks amazing! We had a flight and some fondue, then took home a growler – which I had to bike back to our rental truck, since we’d gone there on our bikes. What’s more bike-y than beer and cupcakes on a bike?!

 

Part of my wedding reminiscences included pulling out my wedding skirt, which I made from my wedding dress. It’s a bit too small for me now <ahem> but I would still love to have a reason to wear it somewhere. Someone, invite me to a garden party!

So many changes since 2014!

Who knows how many changes there will be in another five years!!! We have enough to keep ourselves busy until then, so check in with me in 2024!

June 2019: What Happened to May?!

I can’t be the only person who is seeing this year slip through their fingers, can I? Is the year moving too fast for anyone else?

White embroidered tucked Butterick 5890 short sleeve blouse with gray linen drawstring Burda 6678 drawstring pants, black Dansko sandals

White embroidered tucked Butterick 5890 short sleeve blouse with gray linen drawstring Burda 6678 drawstring pants

First time I’ve used this white reflective piping and it’s pretty fabulous!

black linen Vogue 9091 culottes with whit Ready-to-Wear tee shirt, silver sandals

Showing off my new black linen Vogue 9091 culottes!

Admittedly, part of the reason why I’ve felt so busy is because I’ve been sewing up a storm. I’ve been trying to create some summer weather clothing, since a lot of my things from last year do not currently fit. So I made a white blouse and another pair of my favorite culottes in a larger size. I haven’t worn them together yet but they will be nice paired up. And they go with several things in my wardrobe, which means these will get heavy rotation this summer.

I finished up Me Made May 2019 having worn something Me Made a whopping 29 out of 31 days. The two exceptions were work-related. I need to make some super corporate-y things to wear to work events. Here are some of my favorites: 15 images of a tall, red-haired woman in different outfitsI keep analyzing what it is about my favorites so that I can spend more time making things that I’ll actually like once I’m done. A quick read here shows that I like things slightly fitted around my waist. And prints. Lots and lots of prints. Mostly floral.

My main Me Made May pledge this year was to not buy any new patterns or fabric the entire month, and I not only survived that, I realized I have at least half a dozen things to make before I even need anything. But of course, it’s now June, and I pre-ordered some Charley Harper fabric from Fabricworm.com. It’s barkcloth, and I’m not entirely sure what it will feel like, but I love the print. It won’t ship until July at the soonest so I’m thinking a pleated skirt or maybe some sort of cocoon jacket. While all this mad sewing was going on (and a million other things) in May, what was *not* going on was all the biking I promised myself I’d do. I’m not sure I biked any day in May – bad! I need to pull the bike out and clean it up and that’s part of my excuse. Weather, work schedules, after work activities, and everything else have piled up. Maybe I need to stop considering myself a bike commuter. Or a bike rider at all. <very sad face> Ah well, it’s a new month, so many more new opportunities, right?

This Star Wars print fabric *arrived* in May, but I ordered it in March, so that doesn’t count and still supports my Me Made May pledge : )