Friday, December 8, 2017

Being Exactly What I Complain About

Walking to Starbucks yesterday morning in the predawn lack-of-light-ness, wearing dark clothing and a black winter coat, when it's near to impossible to see a pedestrian, I realized I was being exactly what I complain about, hard to see, as well as putting myself in danger. Luckily, I walk on the sidewalk but even so, adding a reflective element to my wardrobe would be a good idea.

The pond in my back yard has that layer of ice that looks black and clear, like it's not even there, so it was rather amusing to see the ducks fly in, land, and walk on water. There's a group of seventeen on the pond this fall and their antics will be entertaining. Earlier, when it snowed, they'd go for a walk around the edges in pied piper fashion leaving a row of duck prints behind them. The open water is closer to and just over from my house and, with seventeen of them, is edge-to-edge ducks.

Outfit One will be comprised of a skirt, a knit top, hand-knit wristlets, a large Chinese knot necklace, and a bag as well as the the gold leather shoes I found earlier this week. All of the elements are started; none are finished.

For the skirt hem, I used 2" wide elastic and tested different lengths in 4" increments starting at 40" and moving up to 52" before settling on 44". To make it easier, I marked the intervals on the elastic before inserting it and then slid back and forth to the different measurements. The skirt is complete except for the waistband which is waiting for the top so I can layer them and get the proportions right before hemming the top and adding the waistband to the skirt.

Because I want a large necklace, I raised the neckline on the knit top and even though I tested it before adding the binding, once that was in place the opening was too tight to get over my head gracefully... if I wanted to keep my make-up on... and my hair done... so I lowered and widened the neckline slightly. To maintain the shape that I'd worked so hard to stabilize in earlier steps, I fused a strip of non-stretch interfacing next to the binding before cutting it off.

That cut off section will go in my bits & pieces of potential box for use down the road as ties, maybe even on the purse. This pile of clothing came home with me from the thrift store along with the shoes. On top is a gorgeous fuchsia pullover that's never been worn, then a black velour cardigan with "in" sleeves even though it's obviously from the eighties complete with shoulder pads, then a hand-knit man's sweater with a bleach stain on one sleeve but so beautifully knit that I feel the need to save it in some way, and a pair of way too small jeans with fabulous fabric that co-ordinates with the plaid shirt I bought a few weeks ago. Potential. I'm addicted to it.

The Calgary Cardigan is back in balls. It turned out huge and hugely unflattering. My friend Mary sent me a couple more skeins of the yarn to finish and I sent her this thank you picture. I'd hoped for the cardigan but this is as good as it gets. I'll re-knit the balls. I love the colour and the yarn. The wristlet pattern is Madrid, free on Ravelry. I started it in a thin, fuzzy, perfectly co-ordinated with my knit top yarn and was going cross eyed trying to figure see it clearly enough to figure out the pattern so this grey version is a practice run.


AND... I've also been practicing making knots with this thick upholstery cording. The large knot will be the focal bead of Outfit One's statement necklace. Even though I haven't finished anything, I'm excited about the start and am really enjoy The Outfit Project so far.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - fabulous thrift stores

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Too Tight Jeans And Other Stretching Goals

When I asked for warm, somewhat stylish, and comfortable walking boots, all three sales women started to laugh. I know. It's a near impossible request and yet, that's what I wanted because I wanted to be warm, I wanted to be comfortable, and I still wanted to wear a skirt now and then. They found me...

... this low pair with a combination of leather, suede and fur trim. I needed boots because I am integrating walking with journal time and am making sure I have every opportunity for success. I have an umbrella for rain/snow and grippers for ice and a book bag that can hold these plus my wallet and I've gradually been increasing the walking distance by parking farther and farther away away from Starbucks. This week, I'm parking near Fabricland (which is another danger) and walking about 30 minutes one way, an hour in total. The weather is cold but not horribly below freezing and there's no snow on the ground meaning my resolve is far from being tested which is why...

... once a week, I wear my too tight jeans for as long as I can stand. At first, that was about twenty minutes. Yesterday, it was nine hours. This is an improvement. I have jeans in this current tight size, a size smaller, and a size smaller than that in my closet. I intend to keep trading my too tight jeans for a smaller too tight model. I must say that I have very strong and deep green envy for people whose weight never fluctuates more than a few pounds. I have no idea what that feels like. Imagine the wardrobe one could have if your weight never fluctuated. Deep. Green. Envy.

In September, when I went to my brother's wedding, I stayed with my aunt and we had a fabulous time together which is even more memorable since she had a serious stroke just a month ago and cannot be rehabilitated. She's one of my favourite people and I am feeling both devastated and motivated. We talked often and enjoyed having characteristics and interests in common... however...this is not something I want to share if I can help it. Although I am in reasonably good health, issues run in my family and her situation reminds me to take my own health more seriously.

I've realized that I like food far too much to make it the deciding factor. I cannot control my weight by diet alone. There has to be fitness in some form combined with - hopefully increasingly - healthy food choices. Walking to journalling is my start and I hope that as I see improvements - like 8 1/2  hours longer in my too tight jeans - that I'll be motivated even further.


Since the last posting, I've been paying attention to how enthused I am about creating outfits for my March holiday and whether or not the textile art ideas called to me. They did not. Instead, my mind has been bubbling over with ideas for each of the five outfits I "need" and so I've chunked down the time to figure out how to get what I want and it's a energizing and stretching goal.

I want to create five complete outfits with an upper garment, a lower garment, a layer of some kind, a statement necklace, and a bag that I create myself along with co-ordinating shoes that I may or may not need to paint. Each outfit will begin with a starting point and develop from there.

Outfit one started with the wide elastic of this ballooned hem. I chose the fabric shown earlier and yesterday, during a very quick trip into the thrift store on my way to the dentist, I found the leather shoes for $3.00. They have never been worn. There are absolutely no marks on the soles. WHAT a find and perfect for this outfit. The colour is more gold than my monitor shows and not my usual colour but perfect with the skirt and the shoes on your feet do not need to flatter your face.

SO... time wise... this chunks down into ten days per outfit. I added up all the weeks between now and the end of February leaving out March for packing and travel time and then I subtracted two weeks for Christmas and all the weekends and that left 53 days, divided by five outfits. As I said, it's a stretching goal. I'm aiming to make all new parts and pieces and at the same time I know I have some garments in my closet that can become a starting point if necessary. I'm very excited and ideas are flowing and that's a wonderful feeling.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - acknowledging that I'd rather make creative everyday clothing I can wear than wall art- YES YES!

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Week Of Not Much Getting Done

The last month of the year. Twenty-five days to Christmas. Really? I am beyond stunned at how fast this year has gone. A blink. Which is interesting considering that this week has been one of not much getting done. The plan was to spend concentrated time in the studio. That didn't happened but the bits and pieces of time were enough to get some things finished and others started.

I finished a pair of Capitola pants out of a black and white stripe. The draft has have no side seam and is an easy sew. There's only this detail shot of the cuff for now. My studio lights arrived yesterday and as soon as I have a non-black photo background and my tripod returned from my son, I'll set things up and get a picture. Maybe by then I'll have another garment to go with.

I also made a muslin of the French Fold Shrug with less success. Although the sleeve is a Dolman, it's a slimmer higher version with less fabric under the arm only the bicep was too tight and the shrug doesn't fit at all comfortably. I should have measured it first. It's amazing how often I miss something simple like that. HOWEVER... this can be fixed BUT... first I need to decide if I'd wear this style and whether it'll be worth the work. I may transfer some of the details I like to a more fitted base with a traditional set-in sleeve.

The before picture of the couch is missing the apron that went around the bottom. I stapled it underneath and cut off the excess and then mixed a turquoise chalk paint 50/50 with water and began painting on light layers. The first coat is shown above right and the finished couch below has three coats.

You can still see the texture of the original pattern but not the colours which stops the finished surface from looking too flat. The legs are spray-painted gold because the couch is for my new tenant and she wants gold accents in her home. I'd been wanting to try painting a couch for a while and it was an interesting project. The finished results are good but I'll need to price out what would have been less expensive - upholstery fabric on sale for a slipcover or the paint. The used couch was $20, delivery was $15, and paint supplies were about $150.00. It's a quality couch but... quite possibly I could have bought fabric for the same amount. I've signed up for a professional slip covering workshop at Craftsy so that'll be an upcoming project. I'll start with the ugly shade of orange footstool in the living room that is currently hidden under a throw.

AND... yesterday, I made a muslin of a carpet bag to check the size and then altered it to be shorter and wider since I want it as a book bag with inside - and possibly outside - pockets for all the parts and pieces I take to journaling.

My son-in-law sent me an email last night saying that on the way home from day care my oldest grandson was talking in the back seat saying that he hoped his grandma Myrna stops talking, because she will lose her voice, and she always talks so much. LOL - how sweet. I lost my voice during my last visit and he kept telling me to stop talking. I promised not to on the drive home. When I phoned to thank him for being so caring, I told him it was all better now and asked for permission to talk again. I'm allowed. YES YES.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - caring grandsons