Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bat Fit 2015

I am joining Franny from The Curious Professor Z in a commitment to nourishment. Nourishment of the soul and the body in 2015. I feel like this year will be a really big year for change in my life. A change for the better. A change towards eating healthy, getting regular exercise, and attaining spiritual balance in my life.

2014 Recap:

2014 was a big year of change for me. I quit a job that was all wrong for me. I took a position at a big box store a few years ago thinking that it would be nice to have regular hours and a steady pay check. Unfortunately the job was all wrong for me. I was not challenged in any way there. It was just mentally exhausting to be that bored all of the time. My mind would wander about other things constantly. I am the type of person that needs to be busy all the time or I get bored easily. Most of my jobs previously were very creative and I love to be challenged every day to come up with new ideas or solving problems. The hours were another problem. The schedule required that I be at work for 6am. I am so not a morning person. I basically just went without proper sleep the whole time I worked there. Being sleep deprived is really bad for your health you know! I quit that job without even having a new one lined up. I just knew I needed a change. Lucky for me a previous co worker and good friend started a small home business sewing bridal dresses. I jumped in with both feet right away and we worked on several weddings together. She is an amazing seamstress and it certainly got my creative juices flowing again. I really feel that things like that fall into place for a reason. One door closed for me but several other doors opened. And I have been very happy to be sewing and creating new things again. Unfortunately I didn't make much money at sewing so I took on a part time job at my local fabric store as well. But this new job still leaves time to sew and I don't feel exhausted all the time. Yay!

Since I started the job at the big box store years ago I had not been exercising regularly. I used to mountain bike on a regular basis. In fact I taught other ladies how to mountain bike. I am the women's coordinator for my local bike club. I ride with some of the best mountain bikers in all of Ontario. But I have let my cardio get so bad that I can not keep up on group rides sometimes. Riding uphill takes some serious lung power! Another thing I have let slide is my diet. I have been a vegetarian for almost 20 years now. But I am a terrible vegetarian! I eat loads of junk food all the time. Chips and chocolate count as vegetarian right? No? Oh well...

Bat Fit Goals 2015:

-Get my cardio in shape this year. I want to be able to pedal up those steep bike trails this year without feeling like I want to collapse at the top! This means I need to go for lots of walks with Bella around the neighbourhood until the snow melts. There is an indoor bike park in the GTA. But it's not exactly close. We plan on going there with friends every two weeks at least. This will help get me into shape for the summer season. We also plan to do more down hill biking this year which is even more physically demanding than riding regular trails. 

-Nourish my body by eating healthy and satisfying meals. This means cooking more meals and passing by the chips, chocolate, and diet coke at lunch time. Become the vegetarian I'm supposed to be! Eat more salads and green stuff in general. 

-Continue sewing and being creative. I want to start an etsy shop selling some of my creations this year so I need to be more organized with my sewing time. I have a long, long wishlist of projects to make. 

-Nourish my soul by spending more time in nature and with friends and family.  I have taken a giant step towards being happy by ditching the wrong job and getting creative. However I still need to get more spirituality back in my life. I want to accomplish this with nature walks and being mindful of the people around me. I need to spend more quality time with friends and family. This means less Internet time and more face time!

-Get organized. The last few years I was so exhausted that I never fully decorated or organized my new house. I still need to hang all my artwork and organize my messy basement including my sewing space. No more excuses. It's time to get organized!  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2015 Sewing Projects Wishlist

Another year has come and gone. Every year I look back and wish I had accomplished more sewing and craft projects. This year is going to be different! This year I am going to make some goals that I can easily accomplish by staying focused and getting organized. 

 I think the key to getting more projects finished this coming year would be to organize my sewing space. This means organizing my basement and setting up a proper sewing space down there. I have been working on my dining room table for a long time now. And that means packing everything away constantly. My husband recently set up shelves to organize my fabric stash in the basement and I love it! I can finally see all my fabrics, notions, and patterns in one spot. The next step is to set up a sewing table so that my machines can stay out permanently. And a work light so I can see what I'm working on.  I've set up sewing rooms in previous houses but not at this house yet. And this house has the perfect space for it. Unfortunately I have to sort through boxes of extra stuff from previous houses in order to get it ready. This is something I have been dreading. But it's time for out with the old and in with the new! 

I am a Romanti-Goth at heart. I would dress in Victorian splendour every day of the week if I could. However modern life just does not agree with my love of velvets, lace, and brocade. It's not always practical and besides that I love to mix in a few Rockabilly dresses in the summer. If you're wondering what my dream wardrobe would be or what the perfect wardrobe for a Romanti-Goth would look like just have a look at my list below. 

Here are my top ten sewing projects that have been swimming in my head for months (or years) now:

1) A new winter coat- I would actually like to make two winter coats this year. One will be a black velvet flocked damask made from Simplicity 1732 with a purple satin lining. I'm starting with this coat because I think it would go perfectly with everything. I will most likely use view A with View B's sleeves. I already have the fabric so this will be my first big project of the year. 

And the other coat I want to work on is a crushed black velvet with a red satin lining using Butterick 5824 by Gertie. I've loved this pattern since it first came out. Black crushed velvet would look amazing and would go with everything. This pattern would also be stunning in Leopard as well.

2) Stretch velvet tops- velvet tops in all shapes, sizes, and colours. I used to make velvet tops all the time in the early 2000s and 90s. I need to make some new ones this year. I start with a basic bodice pattern such as Butterick 3344 view C and then I draft all sorts of different sleeves onto it. Mostly I draft gothic bell sleeves and add lace trim to them. Mixing velvet and and lace is really pretty too. 

3) Steampunk pattern Simplicty 2172 jacket and skirt in black.  I've cut this jacket and skirt out already in a black stretch jacquard. I just have to get started on it now. I want to add lace and velvet trim to it as well. 

An interesting side note is that Dracula Clothing has an almost identical jacket. They make it in several colours. It's very pretty and romantic. 

4) A victorian bustle skirt in black satin and lace. McCalls 7071 and Simplicty 1819 will work perfectly for a bustle skirt. I would love to make the jacket from McCalls pattern as well. 

5) A Morticia skirt. I've made this skirt many many years ago when I was younger and slimmer. I'm not sure how it will look on me now but I do remember lovingly the long line that it gave me. I certainly don't have Morticia's figure but I think I can still pull it off. Butterick 5270 works well for a long fit and flare skirt. It's an oldie but a goodie. I wish I had bought more of the 90s Essence patterns from Butterick. They were all very gothic. 

6) Velvet and lace shrugs. I made a lace shrug a few months ago and I love it. I need to make more. I used Simplicty 1819 for this one but McCalls 6911 would be nice in a stretch satin. 

7) Rockabilly dresses in fun prints for the summer. I made a few dresses last summer out of fun novelty prints and I really enjoyed wearing them. The sweetheart sundress in Gertie's book turned out really pretty in a Skully print. 

Here are some of the cotton prints I already have for next summer...

8) A Slouchy Hippie purse in black velveteen or novelty prints. This should be a quick project and make great gifts for friends also. I love big purses and this one looks like it would hold all my stuff nicely. A few pockets on the interior will help keep it slightly organized. 

9) Short stretch velvet or knit dresses for the early spring and summer. I love this pattern and it looks a a nice one for hot summer days. 

10) Victorian Capelet in black fur or wool melton lined with satin. It would be perfect for layering in the fall and early spring. This McCalls 6818 includes a little Capelet as well as a gorgeous jacket that laces up the back. 


Photos are all from Pinterest, McCalls, Simplicity, Butterick, Dracula Clothing, and Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Quick and Easy No Sew Fleece Blanket

Well we are down to the last week before Christmas. And if you are anything like me, you leave everything to the last minute! I realize now I have only a week to finish sewing some gifts, shop and wrap presents, and hopefully get some baking done as well. Ah! 

(Pic used was from World Goth Day facebook page)

Here is a quick and easy gift to make in only a few hours. This blanket is so easy! It's a no sew project perfect for a beginner. Just a bit of scissor work and some tying. That's all!

What you will need: 

2 metres of printed arctic fleece.
2 metres of contrasting arctic fleece. 
Tape Measure

Large green rotary mat
Large quilting ruler

First step is to lay out the fabrics wrong sides together and then even out the cut ends of fabric to ensure they are straight. 

Remove all the selvedges as well. 

The next step is to cut a 4" square out of each corner. This makes the corners nice and neat and easier to tie as well. 

I laid out the blanket on my green rotary mat and used the grid and the clear ruler to evenly cut the strips into 1" x 4" strips along all 4 sides. 

Then it is just a matter of double knotting all the ties. This will connect the two fabrics together. 

And here is the finished blanket! It was so easy. Two hours max from start to finish. The blanket is super cozy and the perfect size for lounging on the couch with a good book or a movie. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Spotlight on Small Business: Black Orchid Designs

The holiday season is the perfect time to shop local independent small businesses. Why fight through the crowds at the mall when you can shop smaller stores that appreciate and value their customers? I have been a customer at Black Orchid Designs for a few years now. The owner, Kerri, is a very talented  and creative designer. Her specialities are pretty one of a kind patchy dresses that remind me of something Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas would wear. She also does custom corsets, leggings, and beautiful cowls.

Last week Black Orchid Designs held a party to celebrate all things Romanti-Goth. On display were gorgeous velvet and brocade dresses along with new patchy dresses. It was a nice evening out filled with good conversation, snacks, and wine. And it's always nice to talk to like minded people and catch up with friends. I wore my best romantic dress and a custom corset by Black Orchid Designs for the occasion. 

So if you find yourself in Hespeler, Ontario be sure to stop in Black Orchid Designs for some pretty dresses. You can also find Kerri on facebook and on her website.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wine Bottle Cover Hostess Gift

'Tis the season for Christmas parties! Of course this means you will need a quick and easy hostess gift for all those holiday parties fast approaching. Personally, I love to bring a nice bottle of wine for the hostess. Good wine is always appreciated. And bringing a plain undecorated bottle just seems sort of boring. So I whipped up a few covers for some upcoming parties this holiday season. 

You will need:

1/2 yard of 45" wide quilting cotton. 
Thread to match
1 yard of 1/2" wide matching ribbon. 

First cut out a piece 14" x 16". You should be able to get two of these from a 1/2 yard of fabric. You might want to lay out your bottle of wine to determine the perfect size to cut in case your bottle is larger.

The next step is to pin together the two 16" sides. Sew together with a 1/4" seam using the side of the presser foot for a guide. 

Finger press the seams open and stitch along the one short end. 

Then fold the opposite way and stitch an 1-1/2" away from the point creating a small triangle dart. This creates a box style bottom to the bag. 

The next step is to hem the top of the bag with a narrow 3/8 inch hem. Turn the hem under 3/8" and then turn again 3/8" and top stitch creating the hem for a neat clean finish. 

The final step is to turn bag to right side out. Measure down 3-1/2" inch down from hem and tack ribbon down. Angle the edges of the ribbon with scissors and you're done! 

A perfect quick and easy hostess gift for parties! Of course choosing the right wine is the hardest part.