Still Scared of Sewing

As I was pinning a pattern and cutting fabric last weekend, I asked myself, how this would feel if I was the dressmaker for Meghan Markle’s wedding gown?

I find cutting fabric to be a daunting task, even for my small makes, so I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be cutting fabric for a gown that will be seen by millions of people, that will be the inspiration for countless weddings for years to come.  Do they pause before putting the shears to the fabric? Do their hands shake a little as they begin cutting?

Sewing is a skill I want to master, but it’s a skill that is impossible to acquire as long as I am terrified of it.  I see a lot of inspirational #memademay posts on Instagram, and sewing seems less scary when I see so many homemade makes.  But as I pull out a pattern and read it, it is a little overwhelming.

I’ve posted several of my makes on this blog before, but most of them were made in a classroom setting. I had an instructor walk me through each step. My makes have been less-than-perfect, but they’re wearable, and it’s not likely anyone else will see the mistakes that I do.

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As with anything else in life, I can’t improve until I keep failing at first.  Eventually, I’ll get better, but I have to quell my fear first.  And there’s no way to conquer that fear unless, with the fabric in my hands, I take a deep breath and cut.

 

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The Tonic of Self-Care

We live in a success-driven society, and I find myself falling right in line with its expectations.  I work hard at my job; I exercise; I try to cook healthy dinners at night with my husband (I don’t like cooking, but my craving for home-cooked meals wins); I have a multitude of crafty projects I want to complete at all times; and I want to PASS MY TEST DAMN IT.  Usually I can stick to my routine without a problem, but every several months, my body protests. I used to ignore signs of burnout until it was too late, but  I’ve learned to read these signs more carefully than I used to.  When I start dreading my morning workouts and make simple but careless mistakes at work, I know it’s time for a physical and mental recharge.

It happened to me this week – I was doing ALL the things until I noticed I was feeling listless in the mornings.  I wasn’t focused at work. So I took it easy – I skipped my morning workout on Thursday and did very easy, restorative yoga Friday morning.  I went on a leisurely run Thursday evening, not worrying about pace or distance.  I felt really good at the end of it.  And instead of studying at night, I curled up on the couch with Husband to watch Parks and Rec and work on this baby blanket:

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I’ve been a little extra on social media about reminding everyone that this baby blanket is NOT FOR ME.  I only say this because Husband and I were married for two hours before well-meaning friends were asking us about our future children at our wedding.  I mean – I definitely want kids, but one major life change at a time, please.

This baby blanket is for some friends of ours who are currently expecting.  We got the little shark toy from a cute shop we visited in Maui.  I can’t wait to send them this package! I just need to wash the blanket first (since Apollo decided this blanket was his), and block it.  I used Loops & Threads “Snuggly Wuggly Big!” yarn for this blanket, in the colorway “Petal Dots.” I used the Sonoma Baby Afghan pattern that came with the yarn.  This pattern took exactly a month to complete!

Several days of self-care was just the tonic I needed. I feel recharged and ready to tackle my to-do list.

 

 

A Handmade Wedding

Good evening everyone!  It’s a beautiful, sunny Saturday here in Texas, and I wanted to spend a little time catching up with you guys.  I’ve already been married a month now, which is a little surreal – we spent so much time and effort planning for this wedding, and it was over in an instant.  I’m still digesting and savoring the memories of my wedding and our honeymoon, and I wanted to share some photos with you.

While some elements of my wedding were handmade, we hired vendors for the really important stuff, like photography, food, and florals.  Other elements were DIY though – we used Spotify playlists in lieu of a DJ (no regrets! so much cheaper!) and went with an app called WeddingMix for our videographer (again – much cheaper than an actual videographer).  My mother-in-law also recorded our entire ceremony, which is wonderful.  But for other aspects of our wedding, it was important for my husband and me to incorporate handmade elements that reflected our personalities.

I decided that my contribution would be embroidered and cross-stitched designs to hang behind our sweetheart table.  Our venue had a tin wall that was the perfect spot to showcase the finished pieces.  I’d been working on this installation pretty steadily since January.  While I didn’t get to finish ALL the pieces I wanted, I was able to get a decent-sized collection for the wall.  All photos below are from our photographer, You Are My True.

Besides the embroidered and cross-stitched pieces, I painted some wood panels purchased from Joann (which I mention in this post).  Someone decided to use them for the sweetheart table and groom’s cake, which was a brilliant idea.

For the photos above, I’ve captioned each artist’s name and Instagram handle (with the exception of kits purchased from Dimensions or Bucilla).  I don’t have a close-up of the second embroidered “Love” piece (which you can see in the first photo, hanging right above the banner), but this design was by Brynn & Co (@brynnandcoshop). It was a kit that I got from Mollie Makes.

Some of these pieces were WIPs that I had long neglected, like the embroidered birds or the cross-stitched “Love” piece (in the first photo, it is hanging above the banner and is the first piece from your left).  That piece is unfinished, which is unfortunate since it’s a beautiful design. But I’m attached to the half-finished look (and also too lazy at this point to finish it).

Getting all these pieces together was a little stressful, but I’m so glad that I did – it was so worth the extra effort. I was happy with how they looked on the tin wall and that I could bring a handmade element to my wedding. My amazing bridesmaids did a wonderful job of arranging them.

And after all the planning and effort (and money, cough cough), I have to say our little wedding was perfection.

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Credit: You Are My True 

Project Complete! Fancy Tiger Sailor Top

I know promised a post about my finished Sailor Top from Fancy Tiger Crafts.  I’m not sure if I’m any more blog-worthy than I was when I first completed this top, since I am running on about five hours of sleep and Fiancé is probably getting sick, which means I WILL PROBABLY GET SICK BY DEFAULT NOOOOOO.

Ahem.

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Yay!!!  It’s done!!!

I think I mentioned in my previous post that my stitching was…not the best with this piece. Exhibit A:

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Um…Exhibit B.

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(Sigh).  Exhibit C.

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Honestly, those bad stitches are in spots where people won’t see them, so I’m just not going to be precious about them (and my laziness outweighs my desire for better stitches, in this instance).  I’m really happy it’s done…but I’m embarrassed it took me so long to finish it.  All I had to do was finish “stitching in the ditch” for the collar and the hem, but it took me months to get motivated to do it.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think this was a fairly accessible pattern for a beginner like me, though the gathering step might have been tough on my own. I think my problem is I’m still too terrified to do anything of substance when it comes to sewing on my own. I feel slightly more confident in a group setting, only because I am comforted by the fact that we’re cutting patterns and fabric together.  These are steps I find absolutely terrifying but unfortunately are completely essential to sewing.  I know I can only overcome my dread of cutting by making more projects…but I just haven’t been able to work up the courage yet.

Here is another obligatory photo of me with my completed top:

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Fiancé says he can always tell when I’m completely done with taking photos, based on my dumb expressions (my words! Not his).

I should also mention that I have very long arms, and half the time I just am not sure how I’m supposed to be posing with them.

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I’m definitely getting sidetracked, but you get the gist of it.  Though it took me months to complete two simple steps, I’m glad that my pretty Sailor Top is finally complete!

 

Wedding Procrastination Part 2: Craft Mania

I know it’s only Monday, but is it Friday yet?  Most of my mental energy has been occupied by work and wedding planning.  But I’ve had some time to sneak in some crafting.  As usual, there is not any real kind of logic to what I’m doing and why.  And of course, right when I sit down with the intent of doing wedding crafting, I’ll pick a completely unrelated project to work on instead, because procrastination, I never learn, etc.

Let’s throw some pictures up in here.

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Fiancé and I went to JoAnn on Friday night, because – I’m just gonna say it -we are getting overly ambitious with our plans for our wedding favors.  I mean, I LOVE our ideas, don’t get me wrong, but I’m pretty sure what will end up happening is (A) we will make a couple of prototypes of said item(s), realize how much work it will be, and will be paralyzed by the sheer amount of work ahead of us, and, (B) two weeks before the wedding, we’ll be like FUCK IT and throw jellybeans into mason jars or something.

Anyhoo, JoAnn had all these cute little wooden charms, so I threw a bunch of them into my shopping basket.  Like, there’s no coherent plan on what I’m going to do with these things other than paint them?  Maybe I can elegantly toss them at random friends as I walk down the aisle? I don’t really know.

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Sooo at some point this summer (spring? I don’t even know anymore), I took a Sailor Top class.  I didn’t finish the top while in class, but I had TWO MORE THINGS left to do before finishing – “stitching in the ditch” for the collar, and then the bottom hemline. That’s it.  That’s all I had to do, guys.  Yet this top has sat in my basket for at least six months before I finally dug it out and finished it.  While I’m glad it’s done, the stitches aren’t the greatest in the world. I’m just saying. Your six-year-old can probably do a straighter hemline than I did with this top.  But whatever, I was tired of it sitting in the workbasket, so it’s done.  I’ll make a post when I look blog worthy, aka not right now.  (Currently I’m wearing pajama pants with foxes on them and a Mickey and Minnie Mouse hoodie.  It’s a super sexy combo, you guys).

Ok, what’s next?

Blanket progress! I actually haven’t worked on this in a couple of weeks.

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This next project I started during the weekend, because WHY NOT:

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You eagle-eyed knitters can probably already spot my wonky slip stitches.  (Actually – the mistake is so glaring that probably anyone can see it.  IT STARES INTO MY SOUL).  But I’m too lazy to fix it. I honestly haven’t properly learned how to fix a wonky stitch, so it’s just going to be like that forever, you guys.  “Only you can see it,” my fiancé kindly told me as I showed him my progress and whined about my various mistakes.  So yes, I suppose only I will notice once it’s finished…but I WILL ALWAYS KNOW.  Yet my laziness overtakes my will for perfection. Sooooo ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Well, I guess it’s time for me to go- OH YEAH.  This project is legitimately wedding-related.

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I didn’t learn how to do French knots until 2015 or 2016, so I tend to get all FRENCH KNOT ALL THE THINGS.  I’m actually not liking how many French knots I added to this piece.  It’s kind of reminding me of this?

 

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Source: NPR

Now that I’ve given everyone nightmares, I’ll take this as my cue to exit. NIGHTY NIGHT.

Wedding Procrastination

I’m not going to lie – my default mode is being a procrastinator.  It’s hard to feel motivated for something when it seems so far away, right?  It’s why I waited 5 weeks before my test the first time around to study.

I’ve gotten better over the years, though.  You get burned enough to learn that maybe waiting until the last minute for EVERYTHING isn’t such a great idea.  Especially at work – you very quickly learn that rarely does a deliverable rely on one person.  If you wait until the last minute to complete a product, then you have to cross your fingers that the reviewers, the GIS person, and secretary can just drop whatever they are doing to help you.  Procrastinating at work is a great way to make enemies and have people hate you, so I prioritize my deadlines as much as possible.

For wedding planning, we were good about tackling the big items early.  Several weeks after we were engaged, we were looking at venues, and selected one by early February of last year.  (Though it was all for naught, since we lost our venue in December and had to scramble to find another. Ha! Ha! )  We lined up the caterer, day-of-coordinator, and photographer early.

Then summer and fall happened – traveling to Italy, studying for my exam, prioritizing work projects meant that wedding planning fell on the bottom of my priorities list.  In September, I was gripped by a sudden fear that I NEED TO BUY MY DRESS NOW, so I hurriedly made an appointment at David’s Bridal and purchased one.  And then I didn’t worry about how I was going to look until the beginning of this year.  OH GOD I NEED TO SCHEDULE A HAIR AND MAKEUP TRIAL.  AND A DRESS FITTING. AND I NEED SHOES.  AND A VEIL.

I scheduled my fitting the week before my hair and makeup trial (which was today).  While we were shopping, we found a pretty veil.  I was on the fence about getting a veil, but gave in and bought one.  (Once upon a time I thought I would make my own veil. Hahahahahaha.)  My mom and I went back and forth about getting a tiara (I was very firmly in the “not wearing a tiara ever” camp), but I found a pretty head piece that would accentuate my dress but wouldn’t give off Princess Diana vibes.  I also purchased an accessory for my dress that I don’t want to give away here in case my fiancé reads this, EVEN THOUGH I ALREADY DID ACCIDENTALLY OOPS.

After I frenetically found all the accessories I wanted, the seamstress showed me the tally for the alternations.  Now, I had purchased a cheaper dress well below my already modest budget.  But the alterations COST AS MUCH AS MY DRESS.  I started entering panic mode.  Since I wanted to have the veil and headpiece ready for my makeup trial, I resigned myself to dropping a bit of money on everything.

When I went to the cash register, I asked the cashier if I could do a layaway plan.  Nope, everything had to be paid for up front.  Of course it did.  When she chirpily read out the total, I sadly grabbed my debit card and mentally thanked the universe that I’d gotten paid the day before.  And to reward me for dropping a small fortune on accessories I would wear for five hours of my life, David’s Bridal decided to reward me with THREE FREE PRINTS TO SHUTTERFLY, YOU GUYS!

I was mad when I returned home, especially when I started pinning looks for brides with headpieces and veils, and saw veils I could have purchased at half the cost of the one I’d purchased at David’s Bridal.  If only I had taken more time to find a veil (or make one).

I was angry about it for three or four days before placating myself – the accessory plus the dress equals the modest budget I’d originally had in mind for a dress. The veil, alterations, and shoes would have been purchased regardless of the dress, so if I’d picked a more expensive dress, then that would have been even MORE money spent.

Or, Fiancé and I could have gone to the courthouse and I could have worn some jeans and a top from Target and spent $0, I’M KIDDING but kind of not really.

And yet the procrastination continues, because instead of taking the time to make wedding-related decorations, I am NOT doing those things and crafting things completely unrelated to the wedding.

Sigh.

Less than two and a half months to go, guys.  I have a feeling there will be more of these posts.

Little Box of Crochet – Christmas Decorations

I’m going to keep this pretty short because it’s January and we’re all grumpily trudging through this month. The last thing we want to be reminded of is, “HEY GUYS, remember how it was the holidays like last week?”

I’ll be honest, I didn’t finish these ornaments until January 1st.  Yep. I had promised myself that as long as it was technically the holiday season, then I could continue working on Christmas ornaments.

Let’s see what’s inside, shall we?

You get some beautiful, sparkly, festive yarn, along with a nice palette of pinks and peaches.

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You get some cute little treats with this box.  I really liked the Make Arcade’s  Christmas pudding felt kit. We don’t really have Christmas pudding in the States, but it was a fun little ornament to stitch up.

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You also get a stitch marker, postcard, and a mini candle.  It left the yarn smelling soooo good.  Sometimes when I would be working on the project, I would just shove my face into the yarn because it smelled so nice.

The ornaments were pretty straightforward and the patterns were easy to follow. Voila!!!

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I have to admit that I did not make the snowflakes.  The pattern looked a little challenging to my (beginner) eyes as well.  It was getting late in the day and I was feeling antsy about spending any more time on Christmas craft projects. I’m sure had I spent more than five minutes on it, it would have been fine.

Now I have homemade Christmas ornaments to enjoy for years to come!