Monday, December 23, 2013

Reflections on December

Photo credit:

December has knocked me on my a$$ this year, leaving me feeling like I'm WAY behind and VERY stressed and COMPLETELY unprepared.  In my books, that is exactly what Christmas is NOT.  So, I've decided that I'm just going to just stop stressing and enjoy the season.  After a mini-meltdown  major meltdown and tears last week, I'm now feeling rather relaxed (mostly because I got the majority of my cleaning done this weekend), all my sewing deadlines have passed, and I've decided I'm not going to stress about the knitting deadlines (yeah, some are getting wrapped up yarn and the promise of a completed pair of socks).

Speaking of sewing deadlines, I ended up having problems with my dress for the Christmas party, so I went with my backup plan - I just couldn't get the straps to sit right!!  They were fine if I didn't move, but any movement shifted them and they bunched inwards towards my neck.  I refuse to go out in something I'm constantly fiddling with.  I haven't yet thrown the dress into the wadder pile, I'm convinced I can fix it but I need some dedicated sewing time. I ended up wearing a dress I made this past summer for a wedding and had a great time at our party.

I have already celebrated Christmas dinner/gifts/etc. with my girls and my son-in-law, which was great as always.  The remaining gifts are all done/purchased/made (with the exception of the aforementioned yarn), and need to be wrapped.  Tonight's  plan is to run a few errands (thanks to an errant daughter - see what I did there??!! LOL - who doesn't have the sense to get things done well in advance of the crowds hitting the stores) then head down to L'Atelier (aka the sewing room in the basement) to clean and tidy because it doubles as my spare spare room where company will be sleeping over the holidays.  At the very least, I'll dump stuff into bins and shove them in the closet (LOL) and deal with them in the New Year.  It's mostly piles of fabric that "I have plans for."

I've also been thinking a lot about my goals for the upcoming year.  While this is addressed by most people in January, I have learned that "New Years' Resolutions" don't serve me well.  Jasmine of The Knitmore Girls Podcast has a focus for each year, and I've used this way of thinking this past year.  I chose one word to summarize what my focus was.  This past year was FAMILY.  I visited ALL of my immediate family this past year, which was really special to me because we live so far apart.  I made real efforts to try to stay connected and visit as much extended family as possible as well.  It doesn't take any real effort to stay connected with my kids since I'm lucky enough to have a great relationship with them both, but my connections with them were more conscious and as a result felt more meaningful.

I've decided that my focus for 2014 will be PURPOSE.  I think its meaning will evolve over the year, but I want everything I do this year to really have some sense of purpose to it.  That means everything from the way I spend money, to planning my wardrobe, to doing house repairs, to how I practice my spirituality, to what courses I take, to how I spend my free time, to what food I eat will have some sense of thoughtfulness and purpose for me.  I am not saying I will not be spontaneous, but I will hopefully have a year with more of a sense of direction instead of feeling like I'm just floating along.

I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays.  Enjoy this time with family and friends, and use the holidays to relax, rejuvenate and refresh yourself.  All the best, my friends.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Progress on My Christmas Party Dress

I've finally decided what to wear to my company Christmas party, which will be taking place a week from tomorrow.  I work for a small business and our company party every year is a dinner at a very nice restaurant downtown, after which we hit a bar or two downtown for drinks.  It is usually a very fun evening, and I look forward to it.  My co-worker and I decided years ago to make this party an EVENT, and get really dressed up for it.  Mostly because I don't have many other opportunities to dress-to-the-nines ;)

I took forever this year to decide on what pattern, and then what fabric to use.  After more than a month of dithering, I finally decided on Simplicity 1607, view A.  It's a Cynthia Rowley pattern, and I don't think I've made one of her designs before.  I love the design of the straps!


I am changing the skirt though, to a straight pencil skirt of a pattern that I've drafted.  I'm not really a ruffly type of girl, and the fabric I'm using won't lend itself well to gathers.  The fabric is of completely unknown fibres (manmade, I'm thinking) and has been in my stash for eons.  It's cool though (at least I think so!) with a brocade type simple floral pattern woven through it, and with either side being completely acceptable to be the "right" side.  I think I'm going to use the more silver-y side out to make more of a holiday statement.  Yeah...I dithered about that too.  Of course, I'm a bit of a magpie, drawn to sparkly things, so I didn't dither long!

I have made some progress - I've made the pattern alternations (FBA, graded up the waist to my current pre-New Year's-resolution size, and switched out the skirt yoke and gathered skirt to my own self-drafted above the knee pencil skirt pattern), and I've cut it out.  I am definitely not sentimental about this fabric despite it being in my stash for so long.  My plan is to start sewing it on Saturday.

Heh...I've been known to start a dress the same day I need to wear it (though this one might be difficult considering I have to work during the day on Friday!)  I do have a backup plan though...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Accomplishments for November! And Pictures!!

Wow, looking back, I did get a lot accomplished in November.

I did a lot of local travel for work, including a two day conference in Kitchener, ON.  I finished my work related course, studied like mad and finally wrote an exam for it (AND PASSED!!), and wrote an exam for my  European Pattern Drafting - Skirts course.  I am well into my Garment Making - Skirts course, which I am absolutely loving (and have only two assignments remaining, with one being the exam).  I have registered for the European Pattern Drafting - Pants and Garment Making - Pants courses which will start at the end of January/beginning of February.  And...drum roll please, here's a review of my goals!

Knitting Goals for November:

I haven't actually had a lot of knitting time this month.  The time I would normally devote to knitting has been spent either sewing (homework) or studying for exams.

1.  Finish Christmas Socks #1  Yeah.  Nope, not finished, though I did finish the first gargantuan sock at knit night last night, and cast on the second one this morning, which is technically December, but let's avoid semantics, shall we?!
2.  Finish Christmas Socks #3.  Done!!

Sewing Goals for November:

I've spent more time sewing this month than I can remember doing in any month in the recent past.  I attribute this to the sewing course I'm in, which has just juiced up the mojo!!

1.  Finish cream crepe skirt V7607 - just needs lining to be cut and sewn  Done!!
2.  Cut and sew beige pleather/snakeskin jacket, M???? (It appears to be OOP and off McCall's website) This has been cut!! 
3.  Cut and sew grey doubleknit leggings  Done!!
4.  Cut and sew mustard ponte de roma pencil skirt Done!!
5.  Cut and sew red ponte de roma pencil skirt Done!!
6.  Finish grey/silver sweater knit drapey cardigan  V???? - sewn together but the darned thing keeps growing, so it's waiting on my dressmaker's form to hopefully stop growing before I can hem it  Hooray!  This is also done!
7.  Sew black and red flocked ponte de roma pencil skirt (already cut)
8.  Sew mustard yellow fine-whaled corduroy gored skirt (also already cut) in progress! Just have to complete the hand sewing for the hem 
9.  Sew animal print skirt (already cut) Done!!

Not on previously on my goals list but also completed are two bathrobes and eleven pairs of flannel pants (yes, 11 pairs of adult sized flannel pants!!)  for Christmas presents.

Here's the pictures (not very exciting, I know, I really must get a tripod for my fabulous camera...)

Before sewing, crazy tilt-y pile (only 9 out of 11 shown)

After sewing, neatly stacked pile of coziness (only 7 out of 11 shown)

Knitting Goals for December:

1.  Finish Christmas Socks #1
2.  Finish Christmas Socks #3
3.  Start Christmas Socks #4, and hopefully finish!
4.  Make toys from 50 Yards of Fun by Rebecca Danger for stocking stuffers

Sewing Goals for December

1.  Choose, cut and sew dress for work Christmas party (party is December 20)
2.  Sew Original Skirt for exam for the Garment Sewing - Skirts course (Due December 21)
3. Cut and sew flannel pants for Christmas gifts (2 more pairs!)

I've also become totally obsessed with the TV show Scandal.  I'm only on the first season, episode 6, but already Olivia Pope's become my idol, and her wardrobe is to DIE FOR!!!  I've been a pinning mad-woman, creating a crazy huge virtual wardrobe for myself!  (My Boards) I hope to knock off some of her clothing after all my Christmas sewing is done.