Monday, December 31, 2018

2019 Sewing Plans and Make Nine Challenge

Happy New Year everyone!

The Make Nine challenge came about when blogger Lucky Lucille decided to post a Make Nine list instead of a best nine list on Instagram in 2016. I made up a wishlist willy-nilly of some items I wanted to make last year and posted it up on Instagram.

I think my choices were a little lofty but I did manage to make a few of these items. I made a red  cape but it was even nicer than the one pictured. I made it in wool and red taffeta. I also made the black and purple cape but I ended up putting a Harry Potter badge on it so it is reserved for Harry Potter events now. And finally I did make a men's vest for the fashion show that looked very close to the one pictured above. Unfortunately, that is all I managed to finish from this list. But there is always this year!

Having a look at the original post about the challenge again by Lucky Lucille I realize that she did give some basic guidelines and questions to follow for the challenge. So I thought it might be fun to answer the questions and put a little more thought into my make nine list this year.

Here are 9 questions to consider when choosing your 9 projects:

1. What do you want or need? Be forgiving about pattern choice but get specific about what you want/need to make this year.  Tops and skirts in more colours than just black. I know crazy right? More proper Victorian pieces in velvet to wear to events. A fitted jacket and maybe a few walking skirts.

2. What did you learn from last year’s successes and “failures”? If you didn’t finish something on last year’s list, ask yourself why. Well I din't get the big dresses made and I think that was because I had the fashion show to do. Some items crossed over but those that were just for myself , I didn't get to. I tend to put things for myself on the back burner but I would like to challenge myself with bigger projects this year.

3. What values are important to you? Are you working towards a capsule wardrobe? A more ethical one? Are you on a budget? Being practical about what you choose to make is not boring or against the spirit of a challenge. There is success in logic. Logical and practical are definitely not terms I would use to describe my sewing or my personal style. Ha! I think maybe I can do some better planning this year though in order to achieve better results and using time management would be a great improvement as well.

4. What’s in your laundry basket right now that you wear all the time? Are you interested in trying to recreate it? Lots and lots of black velvet is my laundry basket! But like I mentioned earlier, some more colour would be nice. Maybe some jackets and skirts to mix and match as well.

5. What types of things do you really LOVE making? What do you dislike making? If you hate making pants, you don’t have to put them on your list just to feel like you conquered some new technique. I love to make dresses and tops, especially knits or velvets. I loathe making pants. I haven't made a pair of pants since the 90s but I might be willing to make some leggings again. But I don't really wear pants often either.

6. Are you a seasonal maker? Maybe your Make Nine list only includes summer patterns. Or winter knits. That’s totally okay! I'm not a seasonal sewer. I make things all year long. Mostly dresses in the summer and spring. And Jackets and sweaters in the fall and winter.

7. Look at your calendar. Time isn’t found, it’s made. How much time can you make for each of the projects on your list? I'm lucky that I work from home and can fit in personal projects around making custom orders or stock for the shop. I do have the time as long as I don't waste it on social media.

8. Do you want to stash-bust? Why or why not? Don’t force yourself to make something just because you’ve owned the pattern for years. If you haven’t made it yet, maybe your tastes have changed. That’s normal. No need to feel guilty about that. Maybe it’s time to re-home some patterns that no longer speak to you and start fresh. I really need to stash-bust in a major way. I also need to de-stash a lot of fabric that I've collected over the years. I just don't have the room for it all. I am going to try and pick from the patterns I already own. I will try to make an effort to use stash fabric first, but I don't want to limit myself to shopping only the stash for fabric.

9. Is there a completely new-to-you type of project that you want to explore? Do you have the time and patience to explore it, knowing it’s possible you won’t like/wear it in the end? If yes, by all means branch out and try new things! That’s how you grow and get better. I made a corset years ago but I want to start making some more. I have talented friends that make corsets but I would rather make my own again.

And so onto my #makenine list for 2019!

This year I chose only fabrics and patterns from my stash so this will be a stash busting project as well! This will make my Hubby very happy. haha.

Fabrics left to right and top to bottom:

1. Thin printed knit perfect for a dress- McCalls 7812 for this print. Its a cute ruched front dress.

2, Dark red mottled sweater knit- Self drafted sweater with ribbon trim.

3. A leopard coat print I have been saving forever- Gertie Butterick 5824

4. Red and Black Floral stretch velvet- Vogue 9265

5. Black stretch velvet- McCalls 7869 Victorian style knit top

6. Black Jacquard- McCalls 7023 Vest and McCalls 7853 Jacket

7. Purple stretch velvet- Self drafted fit and flare dress (maybe long?)

8. crushed fur coat fabric- Vogue 8841 Coat with belt

9. Charcoal grey sparkly sweater knit- Self drafted sweater pattern.

I think that is enough to keep me busy for a while and will help deplete some of my huge stash! I will try to blog about all of them as I go.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

2018 A Year in Review

2018 was such a busy and amazing year for me. It seemed to go by in a huge blur. In January we took a family trip to Cuba. We had the whole family there, 8 of us went and stayed for a week. The trip was beautiful and we loved getting away in the middle of winter to warmer weather. We have been thinking about going to Cuba again this year but haven't quite decided yet.

In March I did a second fashion show with my good friend Madame Absinthe. The theme was Post Apocalyptic, but considering that really isn't my style at all, I decided on a Vampire theme instead for my collection. My thought was that of course the Vampires would survive the Apocalypse and come out of hiding to feed on whats left of the population. I was much more comfortable working on the Vampire theme so I could incorporate some of my signature velvet pieces. I won't go into too much depth and details about the show in this post as it really deserves its own post.

I did a few alternative shows after that including some new Pagan shows I hadn't done before which was really nice. I have been neglecting my blog for a long time which is a shame really because I do enjoy writing. The shows were a great success and I met some new friends and lots of friends I hadn't seen in quite a while. Hopefully I can do some Renn Faires next year as well.

I started doing more sewing related youtube videos and I would really like to get back to that. I smashed my IPad and that put a stop to the videos for a bit unfortunately. I stopped doing the Pagan related videos because I just find the topic too personal to share in videos to be honest. I admire those on youtube that can share themselves freely but that just isn't me. I am an Aquarius after all. There are some things I still keep to myself which includes my spiritual practices. However, I do love being involved in the community both online and in person. My local study group and coven had a full year as well. We discussed so many topics and didn't miss a single Sabbat this year. I am truly blessed to have such an amazing group of people to share my path with.

I did a few Harry Potter events again this year reading Tarot for charity. I love dressing up and playing Professor Trelawney for the events. I also taught a beginner Tarot class at my local book shop that went really well. Hopefully I will get the chance to teach again in the future.


We did several day trips in the summer with the Camaro, which is always nice. And a few road trips in the Jeep to trails in Cottage Country up north.



As for my sewing business, I did try some new items at shows and online this year. I introduced the Stevie Shawls in multiple colours and they were a big hit. I sold almost everything from the fashion shows, only keeping some of the special pieces like the black wool cape. I did lots of shows in the summer and fall but opted to not do so many Christmas shows this year. I'm glad I didn't because it made the season much more enjoyable for me and my family. I focused more on the online sales instead. I did make a few mistakes this year in my choices of jobs I took on. I need to be more selective in what I make and focus on my own style. When doing shows, it can be easy to get sidetracked into making items specifically to sell at shows instead of what you like to make. It's difficult to stay focused for me sometimes. I want to avoid being side tracked this year.


I also tried to share more Outfit of the Day posts on Instagram as people seemed to enjoy those. I learned a lot about myself doing that also. I learned what actually looks good on me and what I like to wear. I learned that I sew a lot but I don't have much of my own designs in my wardrobe which is a real shame! I need to make more items to incorporate into my wardrobe daily. I also want to start sharing more of the sewing progress both here on the blog and on Instagram.






My biggest success this year was that I made progress at losing some weight this year. I started a Ketogenic diet in the early fall. As of today, I have lost 30 pounds which is really exciting. The big issue with the diet is that I am also vegetarian. I have been vegetarian for at least 23 years now, so I wasn't about to just start eating meat. So I did the Keto diet as a Veggie which is really strict even with dairy included. I gave up sugar, bread, and pasta and tried to eat as low carb as possible. You can just imagine how tough it is for a Veggie, but I stuck to it. I am going to have to start introducing healthy carbs back in this year. I also want to get back to cycling this year.

So I would say that was a very busy and productive year all in all. It's good to see it all written out like that because I tend to beat myself up for not doing enough all the time. I think I will have to work on a list of goals for the new year now!

Happy New Year and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Happy Solstice and Merry Christmas!

I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Solstice, Blessed Yule, and Merry Christmas and to also say a big thank you to everyone that reads my blog! Thank you for stopping by my little spot on the internet and brightening my day.

I wanted to share a few holiday photos from my house to yours. Seasons Greetings!


A Visit From Saint Nicholas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

-Clement Clarke Moore

Monday, December 10, 2018

Hail Krampus! An Evening out at the Toronto Krampus Ball

A regular Yule tradition for us now is to attend the Krampus Parade and Ball in Toronto. A group of us get all dressed up and freeze our butts off outside in minus temperatures all so we can chant Hail Krampus! while walking down a busy Toronto street late at night. We started with a short parade and then a concert with some local entertainers and bands. Squid Lid was the headliner for the evening at the Opera House. I have to say that the parade was a bit of a let down compared to last year. We did a pub crawl instead last year which a lot more fun.

Who is Krampus? The Christmas Devil Krampus is described as a half goat and half demon spirit who travels with Saint Nickolas on Dec 5 (known as Krapusnacht) to determine whether children have been naughty or nice. If found to be on the naughty list. Krampus might beat the children with his twigs or kidnap them and steal them away to the underworld in his bag. He is much like the pied piper leading the naughty children away to their demise sometimes. He is basically a dark fairytale meant to warn children to behave correctly. He is believed to be a remnant left over from pre-christian times and definitely looks like the Pagan Horned God of the witches.

My hubby and I decided to make it a special event by staying in Toronto for the weekend. We stayed at The Broadview Hotel which is a historic Victorian hotel built in 1893. It has recently undergone a modern facelift and looks beautiful with amazing views from the bar on the 7th floor. We went in to the city early so we could check into the hotel and have a few drinks at the bar.

The following day we went to the Christmas Market at the Distillery District. There is a traditional German Christmas market every year complete with carolers and an outdoor market. I picked up a few ornaments and some treats at the market. We had a great time at both the concert and the market so hopefully we can go again next year and keep the tradition going.

A photo from last years parade: