Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thoughtful Tuesday

Oh hey there. Haven't been back in awhile. Sorry. My apartment is a complete WRECK which means my "sewing" room is even more wrecked. But today will be a day of muslin making and assembling, so that is good news!

I titled this post "Thoughtful Tuesday" and I really don't know why. Probably because I like alliterations. In all seriousness though I though of a brilliant idea today--brilliant in my mind at least.

Remember that time I said those really mean things about people looking at the pattern books during the pattern sale at Joann's? Yeah, me too. Not cool, Victoria, not cool. Well I came up a solution to this problem should it ever happen again. It is kind of obvious and I wished I would have thought of it sooner, but it could solve all of my problems on a busy Saturday sale day at Joann's, Hobby Lobby, etc.

I made a sewing stack in my Evernote account (if you don't use Evernote you should check it out) and my plan is to organize inspiration photos, patterns I do have, notions I have, fabric I have, etc. all into one place. In addition, I've made a list of patterns I would like to buy. Not all at once obviously--I think it is insane to pay $10+ for a commercial pattern when there are .99 cent sales happening all the time. But I made a note in my "Patterns to Buy" notebook that included all of numbers to the McCall's, Simplicity, Butterick, Burda Style and Vogue patterns that have caught my eye online lately. The best part about this idea is that I have the Evernote app on my phone, so the next time I spot a pattern sale I can be ready and not have to go through the pattern books at all! Genius, right?

Okay so it isn't earth shattering, but it is a step in the right direction. I scolded myself after posting that rant because it wasn't very nice at all. And now I have a solution to my problem! I've also been able to clip all the awesome patterns I have found for independent designers like Colette, Megan Nielson, Victory Patterns, etc. so I know which ones I would like to take a stab at next.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Getting Ahead Of Myself

So on Tuesday night I got all of my pieces cut out for my Black & White Challenge project. I thought I was going to sew it up yesterday (I read the directions and it doesn't seem like it will take too long.), but the hubby and I ended up running some errands. We did not get back to the apartment until after 10 p.m. and I was bushed. I told myself I'd work on it after work today. Enter the 2.5 hour grocery trip--without a list because I left it on the table. It actually was not as bad as it sounds, but I got home and ended up baking cookies and making ice cream for my man. Wife of the year award? I'll take it! (Just kidding. That was out of the goodness of my heart because he is too good to me!) Now I am telling myself that I will get it done tomorrow, but am realizing as I type that I made plans.

At any rate, I will be up on Saturday to work on this project because it is in my queue. In the mean time I have ordered the newest pattern from Colette Patterns, the Laurel, for my next project. I am excited to say the least! My vision for this pattern is to make a dress for a May wedding, but I don't have any fabric. I decided to poke around online. I found that the Fashion Fabrics Club has free shipping for orders $50-plus. I ended up coming away with a nice little stash for projects I would like to complete before the start of the summer. Plus, there is a little contest going on to show off the Laurel. My goal is to enter the contest with at least one variation.

Did anyone else order the Laurel pattern and are you planning on entering the contest? Let me know--I'd love to see what you come up with!

    Friday, March 15, 2013

    Friday Faves

    Happy Friday! I'm starting a new "series" if you will called Friday Faves. Nothing earth shattering or different, but I'm hoping it will motivate me to blog more. This will just include some favorite moments of the week or whatever is current in my life. Interested? Read on, my friend, read on!
    1. Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars from 86 Lemons via Pinterest. First of all, can I tell you all how much I love Pinterest? I'm sure you do too, but seriously. I love being able to search for things and create curated lists. It's fabulous. ANYWYAY, these bars are a little steep at 8 points per bar (IF you cut them into 16 squares from your 8 x 8 pan) and they are pretty tiny for a breakfast bar. BUT they are 100% homemade and unprocessed. And they keep me full in the morning! Check out the recipe--you can add and take away things that you personally like--and give it a try. It's been a great grab-and-go staple to have with my coffee this week.

    2. Organization. I had the opportunity to organize my stamping/card making materials this week (even though my craft area is still trashed) and I came up with the perfect solution to my pile of clear stamps that I use with stamping blocks. I had some small envelopes left over from our wedding that we couldn't use. I had no idea how to use them, and then it hit me: put stamps in them! The stamping on the front of each envelope corresponds with the stamps inside them. Now they are all in one place instead of in an unorganized pile.

    3. Continuous weight-loss. One item on my 25 before 25 list is to lose 25 pounds. Being the sweet person she is, Diane from Vintage Zest pointed out that it's not about the numbers on the scale but how you treat your body. So true! One thing I've really come to terms with, especially after putting that on my list, is the fact that I haven't been treating my body very well over the past 3-4 years. I'm grateful that my doctor didn't find any major problems at my check-up last December, but he did tell me that I was overweight (in a very nice way, of course). I tried to make excuses. I tried to blame my thyroid (family history). But guess what? It tested clean. So it was up to me to start making changes, and after starting WW last month I have slowly started to see a decline in my weight. The most important part is that I feel better. Even with (what I think) is a measly weight loss number for four weeks, I feel it. And it's awesome.

    That's all I have for this Friday Faves! I hope to take some great pictures over the weekend from the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival and I hope to cut out my pieces for the Black & White Challenge. And I have another project I started and never finished that I will be revamping. It's a full weekend, as always!

    Thursday, March 14, 2013

    Goodbye, Google Reader

    If you are like me, you catch up on a lot of your favorite blogs via Google Reader. It's a great way to stay up-to-date and gather inspiration. I haven't been a huge Google Reader user until I started this blog and discovered the online world of sewing bloggers. However, once I did I was hooked. Unfortunately I went to my Reader feed this morning, like I do every morning when I sign into my Gmail, and I got this message: Google Reader will not be available after July 1, 2013. Not cool, Google, not cool.

    The first thought that came into my mind was "what am I going to do?" I don't have any of the blogs I follow really written down anywhere else, so I was almost panicking (which I realize is kind of ridiculous). But then I remember a free app that I downloaded in January to get my feed on my phone: feedly. This is not a sponsored post. Really, I just want to make sure that Google Reader users like me know that there are alternative, almost better, options. There's a great article on the feedly blog about making the transition from Google Reader to feedly.

    feedly has different views, one of which has a magazine-like feel to it, and the best part? If you sign-up and sync to feedly with Google before July 1 you are good to go. No downloading your subscriptions or importing them to another site. It will (hopefully) be a very smooth transition.

    So if you are looking for an alternative to Google Reader I would highly recommended checking out feedly before July 1. They also have a free iPad and iPhone app for iOS, and it is a great way to keep up with your favorite blogs and news on the go. Additionally, I use Flipboard for my iPad to get all of my social media, blogs and news in one place when I feel like flipping through it all at once.

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013

    Black & White Challenge: Pattern and Fabric

    Over the weekend the hubs and I went up to my parents' house to visit since it is pretty rare that he has an entire weekend off. Luckily this past weekend was one of those rare ones. My parents live about one and a half to two hours away (depends on who is driving-ha!), so needless to say it is hard to make the trip up with our schedules.

    On Saturday my mom and I traveled across the PA line into Ohio so I could weigh-in at Weight Watchers. (Side Note: I've been trying doing Weight Watchers at Work, but while I was traveling I missed the meeting. I'm pretty serious about it, especially since it is coming out of my paycheck, so I found a place to do my weekly check-in.) After that pit stop we had breakfast and geared up for some shopping. Tuesday Morning, Hobby Lobby, the Mall, Joann's, Ulta...it was a full day. But I love shopping with my mom--we work so well together. We can be shopping together or go our separate ways and meet up in the middle. It's perfect.

    My initial plan was to buy fabric and possibly a pattern at Hobby Lobby for the Black & White Challenge. Unfortunately I didn't see anything I liked there, and there was no pattern sale. My mom was looking for yarn and didn't find anything either! Except we both did walk away with the same embossing folder that was under $5. You can't beat that.

    I figured I would try my luck at Joann's since they were having a coupon commotion this weekend. (Spoiler Alert: Of course everything I ended up buying was on sale and I couldn't even use a single coupon, but I still got some good deals.) I ended up finding this really pretty black/white "fake lace" fabric on clearance for $6 a yard.

    There was also a Butterick pattern sale going on (5 for $5), but they only had two books available to look at. I went to grab a book by a grandmother like woman and politely asked if I could look at it. She flat out closed what she was looking at and said "no." Um, OKAY. The other book was being hoarded too, so I waited. And waited. And I finally got to look at the book, write down five patterns I liked, and then I couldn't get to them because one of the ladies must have chosen 20 patterns to get out of the drawers. And she wasn't even really looking for them--I could tell she was going through each of the rows. They're numbered for a reason! |END RANT|

    Sorry about that! It was just really frustrating. I actually ended up scrapping the Butterick patterns I found because I wasn't completely in love with them--I just wanted them because they were a dollar. The pattern that I ended up buying for the Black & White Challenge is New Look 6148:

    It seems like a very versatile pattern, and depending on how I like it I might do a few variations. For example, you could make the yolk part of the shirt a pretty lace or eyelet.

    For the challenge I'll be going with look E. The clearance fabric I purchased will be the top portion of the shirt, and I have a black poplin for the bottom half. I decided to go with a shirt because I am always in need of new shirts to wear. Seriously, if you entered my apartment before the end of the day or in the morning you would hear me crying to my husband about how I have nothing to wear. Which is ridiculous, but that is a tale for another day.

    That's what's on my sewing agenda! Nothing too fancy, but I am excited to cut out the pattern ASAP. I do have some grocery shopping and cleaning to do after work, but I'm hoping to get everything cut out tomorrow or Thursday. I'm going to the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival with my mom and godmother on Saturday, and I am going to try to not buy any yarn while I'm there. Here's why:

    Yeah. (Please ignore my closet mess. This reminds me those garbage bags are full of clothes I need to donate.) I know that may look crazy to you non-knitters. That's why I told myself no more yarn unless I'm making a specific project for someone. But my needles yearn for something nice and new! AHHHH! At least it's color-coded. In all seriousness if you are looking for yarn (color, etc.) to start out with to see if you like knitting let me know. Even if you'd like yarn if you knit already let me know. I'd be happy to send some your way!

    There will be a few new things coming up...if you are reading this on the actual blog you may have seen that I did a little revamp for my header and nav bar. I added a "daily bliss" button that I hope will motivate me to start taking my camera out more. I don't know why it intimidates me so much.

    Monday, March 11, 2013

    Finally: My First Sorbetto!

    Happy Monday! I can't believe we are into the second week of March already. I also can't believe that I've been so late on my promises. Sorry! I know I said I'd post over a week ago. But fear not, the wait is over. I'm here to show you my first try at the Sorbetto top. It was my first PDF pattern, and it was much easier than I expected! I always psych myself out when I attempt to try something unfamiliar. This pattern had a center front pleat, bias tape edging, etc.--all new to me.

    Okay, okay I won't make you wait any longer. Here are my photos:

    Not bad for my first shirt ever and my second wearable garment since my 4-H days, right? I must say, I love this pattern. It's very simple and I can tell the difference in a more customized fit. The only thing I didn't love was the length. It's hard to tell from the pictures (sorry, I'm still working out the kinks to all of this!), but it sits just at the waistline of my jeans. I have a longer torso, and my personal preference lies with shirts that hit just below my belt line but above my pockets. But who knows I could have a totally distorted idea of what looks good on me and what does not. I plan to pair the top with a skirt for work, as it will look great tucked in!

    I cut out a size 10 for this pattern and tried to lengthen it just a tad, but I didn't add enough for my taste. There's always next time. But the pattern truly is simple and easy to follow. I plan to make more for sure! I might even try making my own bias tape to match like the pattern suggests. The options are endless!

    So that is it for my Monday. I'm playing around with a few design elements of the blog this week, and I will also be unveiling my project for the Black & White Challenge that I talked about in this post. I found some fabric and a pattern over the weekend, and I will be starting soon!

    Until next time (I promise it won't be as long as the last)!

    Friday, March 8, 2013

    Still MIA...

    But I promise I'll be back. I thought it would be easier to do both of my new posts on my iPad and did not bring my camera on my recent trip. Oops!

    A preview of my work trip excitement accompanies this post via my iPhone. Lots of exciting things are coming! :)

    Friday, March 1, 2013

    Friday Fun: Sewing Facebook Group and a Sorbetto Preview!

    About a week ago, Diane of Vintage Zest reached out to me about being part of a group for new sewing bloggers who were new to the whole sewing world. I literally jumped at the chance. None of my friends from home sew, and my mom is almost two hours away. Needless to say, I loved the idea of having a way to contact other beginners with questions/experiences/etc. Enter Stitch Once, Rip Twice.
     The idea is to all choose a project/trend/etc. that will allow us to share our results and any issues we have along the way. (If you are interested in joining let me know. We can invite you ASAP!) I am just so excited to be part of a group that will help me stay motivated to start/finish projects.

    Group members:
    Diane of Vintage Zest
    Kristin of Sew Classic
    Rachel of Layer, Stitch, Repeat.
    Sabrina of Sweet French Toast
    Tiffany of Tiffany's Notions and Knits
    Victoria (me) of Very Blissful

    Our first project will be different takes on a Spring 2013 trend: black and white.

    I'm super excited, but I have no idea what I'll be doing! I'll have to make a Pinterest inspiration board for this challenge soon. There are so many possibilities!

    Although I am very excited to get this underway, living in a small town is proving to be difficult. There are no fabric stores within 30 minutes, so I unfortunately won't be looking for fabric (and maybe a pattern depending if there is a sale) until next weekend.

    Speaking of fabric, below is a preview of the fabric I used for my FINISHED Sorbetto pattern! Yes, I said finished. I will hopefully post a full review with pictures tomorrow. Lots to discuss!

    The fabric looks a little purpley, but I promise its a royal blue. More on all that jazz tomorrow or Sunday. Tonight I am heading to Pittsburgh to celebrate a friend's birthday and have a bridesmaid pow wow for my other friend's shower in April. I'm really excited, and I hope to have some pictures to accompany a new post series. 

    Who else has fun weekend plans?