Finding Balance

Current project: Colette Patterns Hawthorne dress

 

It wasn’t until I started sewing that I realized how much I missed it.  I have difficulty finding balance in my life because I’m pretty much “all or nothing” about most things.  But I have to tell you, I don’t want to have another semester like this past one.  I was busy, of course, and I like to be busy, but I didn’t have any time at all to do things for myself.  I found myself falling into unhealthy habits simply because I was so busy that everything was hard.  I didn’t read, I didn’t sew, and I barely had time to make it to the gym once a week.

My goal from this point forward is to make time for myself, and to not allow myself to fall back into my stress habits.  I don’t want to feel this way every summer, but I love what I do.  Here’s what I plan to do from this point forward:

1. I’m not teaching at home this summer.  I usually have private students at home in the summers, but this summer I’m going to focus on only my classes.  No one wants to come to piano in July anyway!  Come fall, I’m keeping the students I have but not adding more.  I’m teaching through our preparatory program now as well, which is less stress because it’s at school and can fit into my normal schedule and not have to run from place to place.

2. I’m keeping my house neater.  I have always struggled with neatness.  My house was pretty much a disaster growing up, and while I figured out how to be pretty OCD in my own place, I’m not good at being that way while living with someone else.  We had a cast party here in April, and I neatened the place considerably.  I’ve been keeping it up since then (much easier when you do it over time) and I keep pointing out to my husband how much less stressed I am when things are clean.  So far my strategy is working!  I need to paint the trim/walls in my bedroom, but I think this may be a time to hire a painter (blasphemy!) because I just don’t want to right now.

3.  Make it to the gym more.    I’m happier when I get some exercise.  We have a gym at school… perhaps I should use that on my lunch break rather than eating unhealthy cafeteria food?

4.  Make time to sew and read.  These are my primary hobbies, and I did zero of either last semester.  I’m not saying I have tons of time, but I need to carve out time – maybe on weekends – to sew every week.  I know I can find time to read… I just have to remember to do it.

5.  Take time to do something for myself.  I’ve been getting Shellac manicures.  It keeps me from my bad OCD habit of picking at my cuticles til they bleed, and it makes me feel better to do something for myself.  I always thought it was silly, but now I understand why women enjoy going to the salon!

6.  Schedule my time more carefully.  I am lucky in that I have a lot of control over my schedule.  So I need to make sure that I’m making a schedule that works for me, not one that works for every person in the world except me.  That’s hard, but I think I can do it.

I love what I do… and I’d like to keep it that way.   I know I won’t succeed with everything right away, but I want to try and keep these goals in mind so that I don’t burn out.  In the meantime, look for plenty of sewing posts this summer!  I’m going to start doing book recommendations again as well, maybe once a month.

Is this thing on?

Hi there!  I know, I know… I’ve been MIA here.  My life kicked into high gear at the end of summer, and it hasn’t slowed down a bit!  I haven’t had time to sew, and I really miss it, but right now I have other things to focus on.  I thought I’d post an update, so people didn’t worry that something terrible had happened to me!

I’m still in graduate school, and I’ll be getting my MM in December.  At that point I’m giving serious thought to staying for a doctorate (I can’t believe I’m actually saying those words… so many things I never thought I would (or could) do!   I’m conducting a choir and directing a musical this semester, which as you might imagine leaves me little free time. 

I even have an official, conductorly (note: not a real word) head shot!

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I still love my haircut, and I never thought I would have hair this short!

I’m hoping to have time to do a little sewing before summer classes start – I have 6 weeks free.  No guarantees though – I now realize that you never know what life will give you.  We might go to visit my in-laws in that time, or I might finally get around to painting the woodwork in my bedroom – who knows?  I will be spending most of the summer in class every day, so maybe I will just rest and prepare.  But I do hope to be back – I miss sewing, and I miss the interaction with the sewing community.  I try to keep up with your blogs, though I feel so behind.  There are so many patterns I have pinned to my “want to make” board that I will never finish them all – ah well!  Farewell for now, hope to be back in a more reasonable amount of time!

 

Dropping by

Grad school is intense so far. I am taking 2 classes right now, one of which (musical form and analysis) is taking basically all my time and attention to get through. As it turns out, 10 years is a lot of time in which to forget things like counterpoint. Ah well… I love it so far. I didn’t realize how much I missed school until I came back! There is something so wonderful about being rewarded for being opinionated.

At the end of June one of my best friends got married, and I spent a lot of time preparing (I was in charge of all the music. I also cut all my hair off! It was sort of a whim to be honest, but I really love it. I don’t have a ton of pictures, but here is one from the wedding:

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These are my friends Malia and Althea, and when I saw this photo I just thought “Too much pattern!”  Aren’t we colorful?  Anyway, the hair is basically a pixie with extra length on the top.  I can do it like a regular pixie with bangs (think Michelle Williams) or in a fun quasi pompadour (think the singer Pink, but without the sides being shaved.)  That’s how I have it here.

I haven’t been sewing, and I probably won’t do much until this session is over (August 1st!)  We’re going to see my best friend get her PhD from the University of Florida in August (yes, Florida in August) between sessions.

I did buy myself a Nintendo 3DS for my birthday this week:
3ds xl

Pink/white naturally.  I’ve been gaming more because it’s something that doesn’t require concentration after hours of writing or studying.  Well… at least not frustrating concentration.  I do want to make myself a zippered case for it, so hopefully I will get to sew that this week!

I’d also like to make a quilt for our bedroom – we are buying a new bedroom suite and redoing everything in the fall.  I’m thinking of buying a latex foam mattress, so if anyone has any feedback on that let me know… I specifically don’t want memory foam because of the heat issue, but I like the feel of the latex.

I hope you are all well – I will be back soon, even if it’s without any new sewing!

Simplicity 1615

Simplicity 1615
Pattern:Simplicty 1615

Fabric:: Swiss Dot lawn from Joann Fabrics

Notes:

This was one of my favorite of the new Summer Simplicity patterns, so I knew I had to make it up right away!

I’ve seen a lot of woven tops in the stores this season.  There are still plenty of knits of course (and my next top is a knit!) but the blouse seems to be having a moment.  I hardly own any blouses, as I have a very hard time finding the right length in the quality I prefer.  I have a long torso and shorter legs, plus I’m pear shaped and I prefer tops to cover past my widest part (if I’m wearing with slim pants, as I am here).  Making tops means I can add length.  I added 3 inches to this one, though I might remove and inch.  I’m undecided, as I pretty much love it the way it is, even if it is a little longer than some of my shirts!

The collar, which is invisible on the pattern cover, is the nicest bit:
Simplicity 1615

It was much simpler than I thought it would be!  I constructed the straight seams on the serger, and made my own bias tape to enclose the neckline.  The shirt has a really nice clean finish on the interior.  I like the sleeve detail:

Simplicity 1615 detail

The fabric is a lightweight cotton lawn/swiss dot that I found on the clearance table at Joann’s.  It’s slightly sheer, but not too bad.

I really love this top – it feels modern, but with the print it still feels like me!   This is not an outfit I would have ever worn 2 years ago… it’s funny how things change!

Next up: Vogue 8866 (the skirted version) in a kelly green bamboo jersey.

 Simplicity 1615

 

McCall’s 6554

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Pattern: McCall’s 6554, Fashion Star

Fabric:  Stretch sateen (main) and Kaufman Radiance (silk/cotton) for belt

Notes: 

Is it bad if I confess that I could have finished this a week ago, except I was waiting on the tube turner set I ordered to arrive in the mail?  I really don’t know how I lived without this device.  I had no idea turning tubes could be easy!

I’m pretty pleased with how this dress came out.  I admit that I made it because the fabric matches my walls, even though I was afraid of the butterflies making it a little too young for me.  And to be honest, the fabric does limit the places this dress can be worn.  It feels appropriate for an afternoon tea, but alas my life is short on such events.  I think I will wear it to a wedding later this summer – it’s good for an outdoor wedding!

I didn’t have enough fabric, so I made the sash in a contrast.  I like it better that way – it makes it less matchy.  The pattern itself was easy, but do yourself a favor – do not line it the way it says!  Use the method that avoids handsewing instead.

I trimmed 3 inches off the length because, again, I was afraid it was too young looking.  I cut a straight size 10, but I would do an 8 if making it again.  The belt helps it fit, but it’s a still a little too wide in the upper chest (the neck gapes a little in the front.)  This is one of McCall’s Fashion Star patterns, but I confess I have never seen the show.  I’m surprised at this, because it’s really such a basic pattern.  Easy enough for beginners, no problem.

So… I’m back making things again.  My personal style has changed a little, and this feels more of the old me, so I plan to examine that soon, hopefully before making something else.  I am in grad school now, but luckily all my summer classes are distance learning (I was not looking forward to commuting every day!)

Back soon with more plans…

 

First project in my new room!

Thanks so much for all your nice comments on my sewing room – I really love it, and I’m pleased that so many of you do as well!  It feels like a million years since I sewed something (actually, about 2 months) so I decided to get right on it.  I’m starting out with something totally in my comfort zone, McCall’s 6554

McCall's 6554

The fabric is a stretch sateen that I bought last summer at SR Harris in Minneapolis.  I’m thinking this will be my Derby dress if it turns out well.

How long has it been since I sewed?  So long that I didn’t realize I was completely out of light colored zippers and batiste for lining!  A trip to the fabric store will be in order tomorrow, and then I think I can make this dress up quickly.

So far the new room is great – it’s smaller than the old room, which makes it easier to use, and it’s so nice not having to look at all that attic clutter while I sew!  I’m someone who doesn’t function well in clutter – I won’t realize what’s wrong, but I get all cranky and tired when surrounded by a mess.  Now if only my desire to de-clutter could keep up with that!

 

Sewing room complete (for now!)

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It took a month, but I’m happy to say that my sewing room is complete for now!  I painted all the trim white, and then painted the walls Benjamin Moore “Misty teal,” a pretty pale aquamarine.
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I really love the color – it’s such a change from the old purple (seen here, in the process of being covered.  I’m sure my husband appreciates me showing his painting shorts to the world!)

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The chandelier and curtains are new:
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The chandelier came from Overstock.com (link in my last post) and the curtains I bought at Target.  I thought making my own, but the cost for 2 windows was a bit much, so when I found these fabulous border print curtains for $15 a panel I snatched them up!  I found the thread holder at a yard sale for $5, and I had one of those jumbo packs of Guttermann from some day after Thanksgiving sale at Joann’s.  I love how pretty the thread looks on the wall!

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My machines are sharing an extra long desk (Malm from Ikea, very sturdy!)  I have a sewing table with my Rocketeer downstairs, waiting to be repainted and added to the room.

I bought a new ironing board.  Mine always seem to rust out every year – does anyone else have that problem?  My dress form (which, admittedly, is mostly decorative, as it doesn’t adjust down to my bust size) is happily sitting to the side.

I’m still planning to build my project table, but for now I’m ok with my portable table from Joann’s.  At least it doesn’t take up much room!

Now the only question is, what to make in my new room?

I’m starting graduate school this summer, so I’m hoping my things being more accessible will make sewing in small bursts possible.  It was just too depressing in the attic.  But I love my pretty room, and I’m hoping it proves inspiring!

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