Tuesday, December 09, 2014

My choice: Guilty, or fake?

I just saw this, 18 People Talk About What It Feels Like To Be An Introvert. I think the first entry sums it up pretty well. It's well-worded, with "I" statements instead of accusatory "you" statements, and very clearly conveys the particular emotions she feels. Some of my favourite parts of what she says:

I feel frustrated when I explain to someone that I need alone time and she responds, “yes, I need that every once in a while.” No you don’t get it, that is my preferred mode, almost all the time I would prefer to be alone. I was just making it sound casual so I wouldn’t offend you or make you think I’m weird...

I feel fake when I am doing small-talk. I am very interested in you as a person, why do I have to pretend I’m not?

I feel lonely when I’m with a group of people and talking about nothing.

So here are some things I personally feel about being introverted, and about social interactions in general. Not trying to extrovert-shame, nor am I trying to throw myself a pity party or imply that only people like me are misunderstood. I also won't pretend to be speaking for all introverts; just as introverts are wired differently from extroverts, individuals are also wired differently from each other. I am introverted, yes, but I also have social anxiety that seems to affect me more than a lot of other people, even other introverts. So these things may not apply 100% to other introverts. They're just things I wish people would just understand about me.

I feel proud to be different from the norm. In general, I like rebelling against how society tells me how I should look, how I should act, what I should want/like/need just because I'm American/female/young/etc.

But I feel unacceptable to society. In 8th grade people started telling me things like, "Why don't you talk more?" and "Talk about something." To which I would respond, "What do you want me to talk about?" They would say, "I don't know, just talk about something." They weren't really interested in me, they were just trying to fix me. It didn't bother me then, because I didn't care what those people thought of me. But now that I'm an adult, the people around me talk to me because they assume I feel left out.

I feel guilty preferring to be left alone when they're just trying to be nice, so I talk to them, but I hate small talk so it all makes me feel fake.

Talking on the phone makes me feel nervous, and if I haven't mentally prepared for it first, I feel very flustered. I've passed up opportunities to apply to appealing, well-paying jobs before, because they required answering phones.

I feel fine being by myself at home. Or hanging out with someone. Or hanging out with a group, as long as I'm free to socialize or just watch from the corner, whichever I want. I don't hate people, and I don't hate socializing. I just want to have a choice. Sometimes, I'll choose to sit quiet and watch others. Sometimes I'll choose to converse.

I feel annoyed when people try to pressure me into dancing/going somewhere/etc. I feel angry when they insist I just need to lighten up. I feel lonely when they don't understand that I'm just not the same as them and don't always want the same things as them. (Hint: If I've already said no, don't try to pressure me. You'll fail. The harder you push, the harder I resist.)

I feel like I'm not free to be myself. I'm pretty chill, I just don't express my emotions visually. If I'm not smiling, people assume I'm not happy and ask me what's wrong. I'm sarcastic, but feel like I have to fake cheerfulness instead to appease them. I can't tell jokes because no one gets that I'm joking. (Then when I say something serious like "I don't want to," they don't believe me.)

When I'm myself, I come across as unhappy and/or rude. (Ever heard of RBF? Resting b**** face? I have been told by 2 very good friends that when they first met me, "I thought you were going to bite my head off," and "I thought you didn't like me very much.") But when I'm not myself, well, I'm fake.

I feel embarrassed when people make a big deal about me. For instance, I like to sew. When I make something I'm proud of, I want to share it. But the more people make a big deal about it, the more self conscious I feel. I wanted you to share my happiness, not tell me how wonderful and talented I am. I'm not any more talented than anyone else just because I can sew.

I don't care about my birthday.

I don't care about your birthday.

But I will remember your birthday.

I don't care about ceremony in general. Or a lot of things people do because it's traditional or classic or the norm. I sometimes go along with it just to avoid having to explain why I don't care for it.

I feel at ease in a crowd, and pressured in traffic.

I have a hard time saying no. If you're trying to get me to "loosen up," then forget it, I'm saying no. But if you're asking me to do something for you - work for you, drive you somewhere, help you out, I have a hard time saying no unless I feel like I have a legitimate excuse beyond my control (too busy, no car, etc). I have an even harder time saying I quit.

Sometimes I feel guilty. Most people aren't like me. Can't I just adapt, and get over myself (as people have told me to do, well-meaning or otherwise)? Why get so hung up on my personal bubble? Maybe I'm just being a wet blanket to everyone around me who's trying to have fun. And then I remember my first job, cashiering, two 4-hour shifts of pretend cheerfulness every weekend, and I remember how exhausting it was, and how much I dreaded the weekend.

So, it's my choice: Feel guilty, or be fake?

I don't wish I was different. I don't wish I was an extrovert, or more cheerful, or the kind of person that enjoys cashiering. Because, frankly, that scares me. I just wish I could freely be myself without being told to open up, come out of my shell, or get over myself.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Map necklaces

I made 2 map necklaces. One is a map in a tiny corked bottle (like a treasure map!). The other is a 1-inch round cutout glued inside a bottle cap. They're both the same map of Nairobi.

You can buy fake bottle caps in a craft store, but they're cheap looking in my opinion, and don't really look that much like bottle caps. So I used a real one, a Coke cap, which I thought was fitting because Coke is one of the 4 main soda choices in Kenya. Most places will have Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, and Fanta orange (and occasionally Fanta blackcurrant). I think soda was cheaper than juice too, so we drank lots of soda when we were in Kenya, and sodas in glass bottles were much more common in Kenya than they are around here. And all my American friends there agreed that the Coke in Kenya tasted better than American Coke. Different sugar maybe? I don't even like Coke here.

So a cap from a glass Coke bottle is definitely fitting, I think.

On top of the map I have a 1-inch clear epoxy dome that I got from Jo-Ann. The bottom side is adhesive, so it stuck right onto my cardstock. Then I superglued the cardstock/epoxy down into the cap. The tiny bottle, I just rolled up a tiny map and stuck it in there, followed by the tiny cork.

Here's the map, zoomed in and blown up a little bit. It's small in the necklaces, because I wanted it to be zoomed out enough to include both my house and my high school, as well as the "Nairobi" label. The red circles are my house and high school. My house was on a college campus, so both locations are schools, and they're colored brown on the map. (You can see the brown blobs on the map in the necklace, but they don't show up in the photo.)

I like the way the necklaces clink when I wear both of them together. I guess it's the glass vial sliding along the ridges in the rim of the bottle cap? By the way, if you're doing a project that involves cutouts and bottle caps, a glass bottle cap is exactly an inch across inside. So if you have a 1-inch hole punch, that's much easier than cutting.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ceiling fan redo

I redid my fan. I mod podged some fabric onto the blades. It was an easy project; just take the blades off the fan and mod podge some fabric or decorative paper onto them.

I didn't use fabric Mod Podge to stiffen the fabric so I could cut it out without fraying. That's what some tutorials I found said to do, but I figured if I cut the shape out ahead of time, I'd have a hard time lining it up on the blade. So what I did was sand the blades to roughen them and cover the wood surface with regular matte Mod Podge (like the tutorials say), and then just lay out a piece of fabric onto it, making sure I lined up the pieces on all four blades roughly the same as each other. Then when it was dry(ish), I flipped it over on my cutting mat and, with my rotary cutter, cut the fabric around the shape of the blade. Some of the edges are a little iffy looking, but I figure no one will stand underneath my fan and look directly up at it long enough to study it.

Here's a (sort of) before picture. It's actually a picture of the living room fan, but it's the same as mine, just without the light fixture.

That's what mine looked like before. Here's what it looks like now:

I actually put fabric on both sides of the blades. The reverse side is a brown cross-hatch fabric, but it's pretty dark, darker than it was pre-Mod Podge, so at first glance it just looks like I painted the blades a darker brown. So I flipped the blades over and tried another fabric on the other side. So if I ever get tired of the side that's showing, I can just flip it to the brown side. The brown side is nice, it's just kind of dark.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Overdue update on room redo

Okay, so several months ago I painted my room, and was planning to redecorate it as well. Redecorate meaning take down some stuff and put up/rearrange some other stuff I already had. Not buy new decorations, because I don't have money. (Or rather, I feel wasteful spending money to buy stuff, but not spending money to make stuff. Ergo, I'd spend $100 to make a quilt more readily than $70 to buy one.)

Anyway, here's the final current state of my bedroom redo. I've been meaning to post pictures for a while, but I was waiting until I finished my quilt, but it's still unfinished after five months. Also, I was never sure on the latest tweak I'd made, and was waiting until I achieved perfection. I have to remind myself that my room is always going to be changing, at least a little bit. So forget making it perfect, this is what it looks like now.



The before pictures show my room more bare than it actually was. When I took those pictures, I'd already taken a lot of wall decorations down so I could paint. I'd also already taken down my white venetian blinds, and that's why my "curtains" in the pictures were just lengths of fabric. My blinds now are bamboo. My room looks especially bare now, and it just looks so sparse and empty in the pictures. But I try to keep it kinda sorta bare, because the more stuff there is in it, the easier it is to let it get messy.

By the way, the cork map, I made that yesterday. It took me 6 1/2 hours. I saw one online that's self-adhesive, but most of the reviews said that it didn't stick, or it would only stay stuck for about an hour. So I looked around and found a great DIY here by The Sorry Girls. There are two of them, so it only took them three hours, but there's only one of me so it took twice as long. There's no Tasmania, Hawaii, or Antarctica, and it's missing a lot of Canada and many, many small islands. The map did have Sicily, Corsica, and Sardinia, but those were too small for me to bother cutting them. I've only marked the places I've lived - North Carolina, Kenya, and Mexico - but if I ever travel somewhere I might mark those places too.

My Eiffel Tower didn't turn out as well as when I was paint doodling before I painted the walls from light blue to teal. It turned out pretty well then, but this time not so much. I'll just say it's because this paint is a satin finish (last time was eggshell). But anyway, I don't feel like painting back over it, so for now it's staying.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Warm foxes and dinosaurs

I made a quilt this week. And I only sewed one square on upside down! (You can't see it in the picture, it's hanging off the far side of the bed. But it's not a picture print, just a directional design, so you'd only know it's upside down if you compare it to the other squares of that print.)

It took five days, and only five trips to the fabric store. (Once to buy enough to get started before payday, another because I just couldn't wait for payday, a third to a different fabric store for a different selection to choose from, once to buy the last of what I needed after getting paid, and a fifth time because I cut too many pieces wrong.) I made it to add to my bed for the winter, since my embroidered quilt and Kenyan shuka have lately been inadequate for keeping me warm at night.

It has 2 different dinosaur prints, 2 sheep prints, 2 prints solely with elephants, at least 2 more prints with elephants and other animals, and 1 with foxes. There are owls, robots, monsters, frogs, whales, hedgehogs, planets, turtles wearing hats and bows, and monkeys in spaceships. The back (and batting) is various shades a blues/blue-greens to match my room. All three layers are flannel, and it's a rag quilt so you can see the backing and batting in between all the squares on the front. The prints on the front are all kinds of colors and pictures, that really don't match, but they cohere a little better with the blue and green "ragging" in between them. The "ragging" is all blue and greens, and it unifies the different prints.

Here's the front:

And the back:

And a close up of some hedgehogs and whales:

Still in the works Haven't worked on in months:

  • My embroidered quilt that I started about five months ago.
  • A faux chenille blanket that I started for my niece about a year ago.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Some things I've learned from cleaning for a living

I'm a housekeeper, so I clean apartment units after guests leave, and before new guests come in. I was already just a little bit of a neat freak (well okay, my room is sometimes a total mess, but I am ocd), but here are some new things I've learned about cleaning.

  1. Hairs get everywhere. In obvious places, like all over the bathtub and the bathroom floor, but also in places that are a little bit more weird: on the mattress pad underneath the sheets, on the pillow inside the pillow case and cover, in the freezer, on the floor of the fridge underneath the vegetable crisping trays.
  2. People don't know what pillow covers are. Until recently, we left an extra set of sheets on each bed so that guests could change the bedding for the next guest before checking out. But often they would not change the pillow cover and would just leave it, still folded, sitting neatly on top of the comforter. One time I actually found a pillow cover on the pillow, OVER the pillow case, OVER another pillow cover. My speculation? A kid changed the pillow case, then found the pillow cover and asked what it was, and his mom told him to put it on the pillow, so he did exactly that.
  3. Kids have no concept of clean. As long as the sheet is technically on the mattress and underneath the comforter, then that counts as made.
  4. Sometimes adults are even worse.
  5. There's a lot I do every day at work, and never very infrequently at home. Cleaning the shower, washing and changing sheets, vacuuming, pretty much any actual cleaning. I pick up and straighten and rearrange and purge stuff, and then ignore all the hairs and dirt.
  6. Cleaning is much less stressful than customer service.
  7. No matter how confidently you can do something on your own, even simple things like sweeping, you will always start second guessing yourself once you're getting paid for it. Or maybe that's just me.
  8. Greased Lightning works great (though I already knew that from working in a manufacturing plant, where grease is everywhere, including in the air), and oven cleaner works great for tough messes too. But you can use Lysol to clean pretty much anything.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I hate storage

Because when people have storage space, they fill it. And when they fill it so it's full, they start cramming. And when they've crammed it all the way, they start making stacks nearby. And when they make stacks, "full" or "no space" become pretty meaningless.

I'm all for small organizational containers, because it's easier to keep large spaces/shelves/drawers/boxes neat with small boxes/bowls/bags/dividers, than if everything is just in there loose. But as far as just storage space...

I just spent 2 1/2 hours cleaning out the pencil jars and top drawer of the kitchen desk. I was trying to eat lunch, but I couldn't find the bread knife. It wasn't in the knife drawer, but about 15 other knives were (which we don't use very much) along with 2 pairs of scissors. I wondered why we needed 2 pairs of scissors there, since we also have one in the knife block (yes, more knives!), and several more pairs in the pencil jars on the desk. So I pulled one pair out of the drawer, and went to the desk to take some of those out too. It turns out we had 9 pairs of scissors - just in the kitchen!

We also had (in my opinion) way too many pens and pencils, so I emptied the jars, washed them, and put back the pens and pencils I thought should actually be in there. I threw away all the ones that didn't work, along with all the extra pen lids laying around. There were five highlighters, which we don't use, so my dad took them to use at work.

All that didn't take too much time, but the pencils I put back in the jar weren't all that sharp, so I made the mistake of opening the drawer to look for a pencil sharpener.

I discovered there's a liner on the bottom of that drawer, which I didn't know. I'm not exactly sure whether I've ever seen it before, because the drawer is always pretty full. I found 3 staple removers, 2 staplers (in addition to the one on top of the desk), about 7 various-sized boxes of staples, a Queen Amidala pen that came out of a cereal box when Episode 1 came out, about 10 MVP/VIP/CVS/etc member cards, 5 rulers, about a billion sticky notes, 8 larger pads of stick-on notes, 3 packs of index cards, 4 boxes of paperclips, at least a hundred loose paperclips (across the entire bottom of the drawer), 3 boxes of pushpins, maybe 30 loose pushpins, about 20 loose safety pins, 7 packs of pencil lead, a Scottish Festival flyer from 2009, a birthday invitation from 2008, 3 bottles of liquid glue and - yes - 2 pencil sharpeners.

And all I wanted was a bread knife.

Monday, August 11, 2014


In the spirit of decluttering, and of finishing a project I first blogged about several years ago, and of discovering that DMC bobbins fit better in my floss organizer than my store brand bobbins: today I went through and cleaned out all the embroidery floss I don’t want. I had a whole bunch - some from a set of a bunch of 2-metre flosses, some I’d bought for actual projects, and a grocery bag full of floss that came from our free “boutique”. Most of those were colors I’d never use for anything, unless I needed to embroider vomit on something. So I finally went through them all and kept only the ones I love, which I wound/rewound around the DMC bobbins.

I’ve been using an off brand of bobbins, because that’s what they sell at WalMart, but they were juuust too wide for my organizer and had to sit a little bit slanted inside the compartments. But today I opened some DMC bobbins and discovered that they fit sitting straight. So anything I wanted to keep, I put on a DMC bobbin.

This inadvertently helped me make decisions faster about whether I really wanted to keep a colour. If I kept it, I had to wind it. Most of what I had already wound on my off brand bobbins were short (from the 2-metre set) so I didn’t bother rewinding those. I just decided which ones I love and wrote down the numbers (to buy 8-metre skeins later), and put the short ones in my donate box. Because they’re really too short to do much with. They’re not even long enough to do a single running stitch across the quilt I’m making.

I kept a few short ones (the skinny, slanted ones in the picture), but I'm going to buy long ones of them. As for the ones I wound today, I'm going to buy DMC number stickers (because I think it looks better than handwritten), but for now I just have the tag stuck in there with the number sticking out.

I have the color name written on the bobbins as well. It helps me sort them and decide which shades go together in a project. For example if I can't decide whether 2 pinks match, and their names are Cranberry Dk and Cranberry Med, then I can guess that they'll look okay together.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

(sneak peek...)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cleaning house

I got a summer job (and they've asked me to stay on as a permanent employee) as a housekeeper. So now I clean for a living. Not that I'm OCD and am always cleaning and straitening things anyway...

It goes in spurts, actually. My room will be a total mess for a while and then I'll finally clean it, which usually involves getting rid of a large number of possessions. Then it usually gets messy again pretty quickly (although it helps that I now have no car and almost no money, so I don't go out and buy a whole lot of stuff these days).

But now I clean for a living - specifically, I clean units after someone leaves, or before someone comes in. So I not only clean the actual dirt, but I also see the units without personal possessions, only the dishes/decorations/furniture/etc that we provide for the guests. There's no linen closet with 20 sets of twin sheets stuffed into it, no closets with 50 board games, and no huge bookshelves that still need an overflow box for books that don't fit. The beds are made, and we leave 1 extra set of sheets per bed, 2 sets of towels per person, a specific number of soaps, etc, and everything has a specific place. So every day I'm in furnished, decorated, livable units, but without all the excess unnecessary stuff everywhere.

As a result, I'm now getting a little bit obsessive (more than I already was) about not just putting things up, but actually having a place for everything. In other words, having few enough possessions that they can all be put away and belong somewhere. If you have a lot of things you don't use, there won't be space for it all, and you can never find the things you want to use, and there are things you would use, but you forget you have it because you can't see it under all the other things.

So in the past few days, we've gone through the cooking utensil jars by the stove, 2 utensil drawers, the cup cabinet, the video/dvd shelf, the game room, and the book shelf (including the overflow box).

In the kitchen we found (just from what I can remember):

  • 4 ice cream scoops (we kept 2)
  • 3 manual can openers (kept 1)
  • 4 cord shorteners (kept none)
  • around 10 each of big cooking spoons, small cooking spoons, rubber spatulas, and turners (kept a few)
  • about 6 whisks, several of them the exact same sizes (kept a few)
  • 8 sippy cups (for just 2 sippy-cup-using grandkids) (kept 4)
  • a set of 3 of something, we're not sure what they are (kept, I was going to see if I could look up what they were)
  • 2 EZ 3-way openers we don't know how to use (kept none)
  • 4 pizza cutters (kept 2)
There was a lot more stuff, but it was more normal things (or things it's more normal to have duplicates of) like measuring spoons.

While the kitchen drawers/jars were full and hard to open, we had to get rid of a bunch of DVDs because the movie shelf was actually over capacity. For a long time, we've had movies stacked in front of movies, and a few on the floor in front of the shelf. So now we are at exactly 100% of the shelf's capacity, as opposed to 150%. One in, one out! I know that's a hard rule to follow, and it's very stressful for some people to "out" items, but the alternative is to "in" without "outing" and be stressed by the overflow of stuff in the house.

Here's a picture of a Goodwill run we had:

1 bag is some old baby clothes my sister had had in the attic, 1 is some of her old school books, and the rest of the bags are books from the shelf/overflow box in the living room.

What do you have in your house that you really don't need?

Sunday, July 20, 2014


I'm almost finished making my first quilt.

I started one once, and got about 6 blocks all the way finished (plus a few others mostly finished). Mostly I quit because it got repetitive and boring, and I paused for a really long time and never came back to it. Which is actually a good thing, because when I looked at them before throwing them out the other day, I couldn't believe how bad my completed blocks were. 4 of them looked awful (although 2 of them were actually pretty passable for a new-ish sewer with no patience and no rotary cutter). Also, I'd had the fabric (and patience) to make a twin size quilt with that design, but I have since switched to a queen size bed. So it was just as well. Quitting is sometimes totally okay.

So I started all over. Since I've been redoing my room (pictures will come, really!), I was looking for a blanket/quilt/comforter that would match my room better and be warmer than what I have now (a thin flannel duvet cover which neither matches my room nor has a duvet in it). Unfortunately, everything I could find either a) didn't come in a color that matched b) had the cheap backing that can get a little melty in the dryer c) was super expensive d) a and b but not c e) and and c but not b f) not enough information given.

Okay, just kidding about f. Just reminiscing about multiple choice math word problems from high school.

Anyway, I did find one I really liked, and was considering maybe committing the $70 for it once I got my next paycheck. But then I wondered if I could find an easy-enough quilt pattern I liked and in my folly thought I might actually save money. So I looked through my quilt board on Pinterest and decided to make this quilt from Make It Handmade, also posted on Moda Bake Shop.

So instead of spending $70 on a comforter I liked, there's over $100 invested in this quilt ($20 of it I already had in my stash, and $35 of it my mom bought for me, so I personally spent about $50 specifically for this quilt).

All stitching is done, it's turned right-side-out (it's bindingless), and it's pin basted. All I have to do now is the actual quilting. I'm going to do it with embroidery floss or perl cotton.

So, we'll see how it turns out.

Update Finished quilt found here and here

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Bedroom cake

I have my room all painted now.

Before (after removing deocrations).Doodling. (PINK FLOD is an inside joke.)
Mostly painted.Finished.

The walls are kind of teal-ish (Valspar "Starry Sky"), but they're more green than I expected based on the sample. The trim is Valspar "Vanilla Bean".

I think it looks like a birthday cake. Not that I've ever seen a green birthday cake, but the color of the trim looks like icing, and is also (roughly) the same color as my birthday cake flavoured candy melts.

I took the closet door off and replaced it with a curtain. That should make it easier to reach things in there, and will give me more space to put furniture (like a chair) on that side of the room. I also had blinds before, but I took them down and put up a length of fabric as a temporary curtain before this picture was taken. I may get new blinds, if I can find affordable ones that look like bamboo.

We finished all the painting yesterday, and today we waxed the floor. Right now I'm experimenting with curtains. I won't be using white (too different from "vanilla bean" to match, but too similar to be an on-purpose different colour), but I have them up to decide whether I like the more see-through ones or the more solid ones. So far, I like the see-through ones better for the windows, but they're just so frilly. They're not something I would have picked out. For the closet, I like what's there (except for being white). The translucence gives it a nice touch. Any more solid and it would be more boring; any more see-through, and you can see all the junk inside.

Right now I'm off to do a second coat of floor wax and then, when the floor dries, an Eiffel Tower on the wall.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014


I'm painting my room. What do you think?

Just kidding. Sort of. I'm going to use that lighter teal colour to cover the walls, and then I may or may not paint a design over it in white or off-white. So far the Eiffel Tower is the only one that I would actually want on my wall. Believe it or not, I don't actually want PINK FLOD on my wall. (Not a typo. It's an inside joke. We saw graffiti once that said PINK FLOD, with no Y.)

So here are some of the designs I played around with.

And here's my first try at an Eiffel Tower. This is why you don't paint famous landmarks from memory.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

24, and some sandal straps

I'm 24 now. Woohoo.

For my birthday, my mom gave me some Sseko sandals. I don't usually ask for specific things for birthdays or Christmases, but my sister had some Ssekos, and I thought they were the coolest thing, so I asked for some for my birthday. They're basically leather sandal soles, with loops for you to lace straps through. They're made by women in Uganda who use the money they make to be able to get a college education. They're fair trade, so they're not too cheap, but they help someone earn a liveable wage with dignity. I've lived in Kenya (right next door to Uganda) so helping women in Uganda makes these sandals a lot more special to me.

The sandals themselves are pretty simple - a sole with five loops for lacing straps. The straps come in various colours and prints, and you can lace them in many - probably hundreds - of ways. My mom gave me about 5 pairs of straps, and today I made my own. I'm all for fair-trade, but I'm also for making my own stuff. I can't not create. I got a fat quarter for 97 cents, and pieced together 64"-long strips and sewed them up lengthwise. They actually feel a little bit too beachy to me, I guess because of the colours, but still I like the way they turned out.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Never too early

It's never too early to start making a costume for the Renaissance Festival. Around here, that happens in October and November, but I'm starting to make a costume now. Mostly because I have nothing to do all day, since I'm currently unemployed, so I'm finally getting around to sewing stuff. Usually I put my ideas into action by buying fabric and patterns, but since I'm trying not to spend money (again, unemployed) I'm forced to put my ideas into action by using up the fabric and patterns I've acquired.

So far I've made a shirt. It's two colours, but it's all the same fabric; some of it is just dyed. I dyed it twice, and it still didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. It was supposed to be teal. First I used teal dye, then I tried again with teal and dark green. The second try ended up pretty similar to the first try, just darker. Still not teal. Also, the shirt looked cooler when it was still in my head. That's usually how it turns out. I imagine something cool, find out it won't work very well, have to improvise, and am disappointed with my work. If someone else had made the exact same thing, I'd think it was awesome. But when I have a particular feature set in my mind, I get annoyed when that feature doesn't work the way I thought I could make it work. Which is weird, since I never even have much of a plan when I start. I can never decide how I want to make something, so I sit there and stress about it forever, until I finally decide to just dive in and figure things out as I go.

So somehow I have almost no plan, yet I still am disappointed when things don't turn out exactly how I'd planned...?

However, I did successfully create a front facing, collar, a hem that doesn't look mangled, long-enough sleeves, and flat felled seams (or my variation of flat felled seams that I came up with before I googled how you're actually supposed to do it...I like my way...) I used McCall's 6613:

Here's my version:

Friday, February 28, 2014

19-28 of 28

28 in 28. Done.

19 Another baby blanket

This one was a lot bigger than I remember my first one being. The front is cotton, and the back is flannel.

20 Another baby blanket

Only it's not self-binding this time. It has no binding at all. I don't know why, but I just really like the look of binding-less things.

21 Fix my lunch bag

So it got a hole in the seam. Again. The things I sew tend to do that a lot. So I fixed it.

22 Shopping bag

I've made 2 of these before. One of them, I use as my lunch bag (the one I fixed in the project above). For this one, I made it a little bigger than before (bigger than I thought it would be. Usually things end up smaller than intended, so sometimes I overcorrect and they turn out extra big.) I also made what I call "little thingies" - they're basically like big button holes, and hopefully they'll fit on the the bars that hold plastic grocery bags at the checkout counter. So hopefully it'll be a little easier this way, easier than just looping the handles on the bars.

23-24 Coat hanger and clothespin bag

Totally 2 different projects. I made sure to make the coat hanger cover first, and THEN pretend that making the clothespin bag to match was an afterthought, so I could count them as separate projects. The coat hanger thing was easy. It's lined with a single layer of fleece, and I didn't even sew it curved. It's just a straight tube with the hanger slid into it. And the metal part of the hanger pulls out of the wooden part, so I could slide the wooden part into the tube, sew the end shut, and then stick the metal part back in through the little gap I left in the seam.

And then the clothespin bag matches. It has 87 clothespins in it, plus the one in the opening holding the flower. It could fit a few more, but I'm not sure exactly how many, because 88 was all we had.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

16-18 of 28

3 more from last night...

16 Key fob

17 Chapstick carrier

18 Bookmark

[Also notice my fancy schmancy lanyard with my name on it from Meredith College.]

I used tutorials for a couple of these. Key fob here and Chapstick carrier here. The bookmark is pretty self-explanatory. It's just a rectangle, whatever size you decide you want your bookmark. I used craft weight interfacing for all three, which makes narrow rectangles very hard to turn right-side-out, so I had to use very big gaps for turning.

So now, including the rest of today, I have 3 and a half days to finish my last 10 projects for the month. We'll see how it goes.

In the works (still)

  • Faux chenille blanket that I probably won't finish by the 28th

Monday, February 24, 2014

9-15 of 28

[pictures coming...]

9 Oven mitts

Yes, they are baby fabric. But I liked it, and why can't I use fabric I like for my sewing project?

You can't see it very well in the pictures, but one side (left picture) is quilted in red, and the other (right picture) is quilted in blue).

10-11 Hand warmers and Heating pad

Little bitty bags of rice. Don't get them dirty. I don't know what would happen if you washed them in cold water, but if you use hot water you'll end up with a bag of wet, cooked, mushy, clumpy rice. The heating pad is like the hand warmers, but bigger. Plus I divided it into sections (just sewing the layers together in parallel lines) so the rice doesn't all fall to the ends when you drape the heating pad over your neck.

12 Apron

Late birthday present for my mom. At least a week late. And the bib part is tiny, making you look kind of like a French maid. Turns out I printed the pattern "to scale". Which I wasn't supposed to do. I got the pattern and tutorial from Flamingo Toes (click), only I made the top one piece instead of two and omitted all the frilly stuff.

I used an overall buckle for the neck strap, and made the waist tie long enough to wrap back around to the front.

13 Kitchen mat

Leftovers from the apron - that's why I used strips like that. All I had left were strips, and that's how I could make them fit into a rectangle shape. It's kind of like a very small quilt. Two layers with batting in between, with stitch-in-the-ditch quilting. It has no binding (I like the look of binding-less stuff), and it has flap thingies on the corners to hold a non-slip pad. I didn't attach the non-slip pad to the mat, because this way it's reversible.

It looks like it might get dirty often. I was envisioning standing on it to do dishes. It didn't occur to me that the male persons in my house also stand there in their muddy shoes when they wash their hands.

14 Fix my jacket...again

This time I sewed on buttons that came off. Actually they were just loose, and I yanked them off so they wouldn't come off without me noticing. But I sewed them back on with embroidery floss, each one a different color. So far I have grey, blue, and red but several more are loose so I'll yank them off and sew them back on with green, yellow, and probably orange. Or maybe something minty.

15 Cloth napkin

It was supposed to be a set of 6, but I'm running out of time until February ends, so I'm counting it anyway. Also, I'm going to make placemats that match the napkins.

So now I have 4 days to finish 13 sewing projects. Eep.