Knitcation with Mabel and Moneta

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Whew…It’s been a long while. I know, it’s a little shocking even to me that I’m posting!

OK, that’s out of the way. The focus of this post is the contest set up by Colette Patterns around their newest patterns Mabel and Moneta . I can honestly say I LOVE these patterns. Genuinely they are well drafted, simple, involve knit fabric which is always a plus in my book, and have lots of variation possibility. I’ve made 4 Mabels (the skirt) and 3 Monetas (the dress) so I think that says it right there.

Of course when Colette announced they were holding a contest around making a travel wardrobe of Mabels and Monetas I jumped on board! The basic premise is to make 7 days worth of outfits using at least one of each garment and combine with accessories and pictures of the destination to tell your travel story.

I’m going to come right out and say that this project was so much fun! I’ve been sewing up a storm lately and working on making my wardrobe fit my life (Colette’s Wardrobe Architect Project was totally inspiring to me!). Since it turns out that I really love wearing knit dresses and skirts these two patterns fit right into my wardrobe and my life. In fact I am wearing one right now. SO comfy. Feels like pajamas but looks like real clothes.

So, let’s get to the point! For my vacation I am going to Florida. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea specifically. We went several years to visit my grandparents back in college and it is so lovely. Slightly run down timeshare right on the beach, warm water, relaxing days. Oh man, I want to go back even though both my grandparents have since died. It was such a great place to just hang out and relax. Sooo in my fantasy land I am going back!

Here’s a couple establishing landscape pics to help set the scene.

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That’s the timeshare hotel (or one nearby. They all looked about like that). RIGHT ON THE BEACH!! Oh man…

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The beach. So unlike the Oregon coast where it’s so cold and the water is trying to kill you with sneaker waves and giant logs. In Florida it’s all nice and warm and delightful (I mean, yeah, there are hurricanes but the water itself is gentle!)

Ok one more. This is the view from the balcony.

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See?! I wanna go back! Oops, that may be someone’s arm in the side of the picture. I hadn’t noticed that before!

OK, now here are the outfits! I really enjoyed playing dress up and was surprised at how many outfits I could make from those 4 skirts and 3 dresses! And major thanks to my mom who helped take the pictures. Well, first here’s some nice packing for the trip shots! Love me some vintage suitcases!

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I mean, who doesn’t want to carry all that awesome luggage?!

Day 1: Airplane outfit! A little more coverage for those chilly airplanes/ports but the flexibility for taking off layers if needed.

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Day 2 Walking around Lauderdale, a little shopping time at those tacky tourist boutiques! Comfy and breathable but still classy and doesn’t involve a bikini printed on your shirt.

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Day 3 A little walking, Floral Sorbetto with a light cardigan for the air conditioned restaraunts.

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Day 4 Maxi Moneta! This is one of my favorites! Long and comfy but pulled together. Good for walking along the shore (holding the ends up) or strolling to get some food. Because I eat on vacation. Alot.

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Day 5 Um, duh, Swimsuit time! Perfect paired with a Mabel! Let’s go sit by the pool. And then go to the beach. And then sit in a hammock! (Ok, this is actually every day!)

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Oh, and then put on a shirt and shoes to go grab some food!

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Day 6 For daytime walking around and perhaps some more shopping/eating.

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And night-time grabbing a mojito (or 2! It’s vacation!) at the beachside bar.

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Day 7 Making the most of the last day…A nice cotton Sorbetto with a Mabel. (Hello! Look how good that makes my butt look! That is another great thing about Mabel. She’s a curve-hugger.)

 

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Ahhh…palms…

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So there you have it! My awesome fantasy vacation full of comfy knits!

 

 

New Year, New Resolve!

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As the delinquent blogger (huh, maybe I should coin that!) I am determined to do better this year! At least once a week seems reasonable, for heaven’s sake. So here’s to that!

I have great hopes and plans for 2013. I turn 30 in 3 days so I feel that entitles me to make big plans, right? I am looking forward to finally being out of my 20s and being able to focus on the next phase of my life. One where  I can build myself in my career, focus on hobbies, save toward whatever (travel? house?), and just enjoy being.

My 20s were rather defined by change, lots of change. Some was better (school, starting a new job, meeting people). Lots of it was more in the worse vein (lots of housing loss and instability, finances, family stuff). At this point my housing is stable, I have an actual job in my chosen career (for which I am very grateful even if I whine about it sometimes), and I can work toward changes I WANT to make which is  serious blessing.

So this year’s goals?

1) Actually DO projects I plan. I am really bad at this…

2) Sew more! This also sort of falls under 1 but I feel it’s important enough to warrant its own point. I am working on my Tiramisu dress right now!

3) Organize. This is a big category, I know. But it is a huge issue for me. I love organization and systems I just don’t always use them. In particular I need to organize my papers. I’m thinking file cabinet is probably the way to go!

4) House Refresh. It’s been a little over 2 years since I moved into my own place and it’s time to just tweak things a bit and get things changed a little!

5) Plan a trip to New Zealand. This is a big one. I know it will take me time to save and plan but I really, really want to make this happen! I am really drawn to the place and it’s time for travel.

Happy 2013!

Working On…

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Highlights of the last couple months:

Starting up an etsy store with my mom. Yes, that’s right. We finally took the plunge. Now we just need some sales. ; ) It was overload production for a couple weeks there and now we need to keep the momentum going to make some updates and improve our products and site overall. It’s been pretty fun to get this going! We’ve got a blog started in connection with the etsy store but it’s still a work in progress. Yesterday I roughed up a weekly schedule for us so hopefully that’ll help keep us on track a little better. If you are curious, we’re at http://www.etsy.com/shop/CaffeinasBoutique?ref=search_shop_redirect (whaaat! I just finally figured out how to activate links. Oh dear me, I know, I know!)

Attending the Oregon Occupational Therapy Association Conference: Honestly, it was a good one this year! I won’t bore you all with details of our sessions but it was so great to connect with other OTs and gather all sorts of useful info. We also had a great keynote (Donna Beegle http://www.combarriers.com ) who talked about poverty and the culture thereof which was really interesting. She runs all kinds of workshops and conferences as well as just doing speaking engagements about poverty. If nothing else she makes you think about how much this issue affects the nation and how we need to do something about it!

Goals for the next month or so:

1) Complete 2 dress patterns. One is a Vintage Vogue fancy evening dress pattern that’s been in the works for a while. Aka I cut out the muslin mockup pieces, sewed like 2 of them together and didn’t finish. I have some lovely wedgewood blue crepe-back satin to use and am determined to get it sewn together!

The other is from Cake Patterns and is also pretty sweet. http://www.etsy.com/listing/110405305/tiramisu-dress-from-cake-patterns-multi Tiramisu Dress from Cake Patterns- Multi-Size 30"-50" high bust, 25"-50" waist

She also blogs over at http://3hourspast.com.  Much more faithfully than do I! I am really excited to try this pattern out! 
I don’t have fabric for that yet but am thinking about my options. What, an excuse to buy fabric? Oh, ok!

2) Keep my banana plant alive. Seriously. I moved it inside because it got cold but it is not looking so hot. Like the leaves keep getting all dry. I’ve been watering it! Maybe it needs a bigger pot? Maybe it needs a blanket? I don’t know. Any tips? Admittedly a banana plant wasn’t my best choice living in the NW but I was so taken with it’s lovely, dramatic leaves this summer! Does anyone have experience with this dilema?

3) Actually do some of the many projects laying around. Craft things, re-covering a chair I bought, hemming some pants.

4) Going to NYC! Family trip to visit my sisters. I have never been so I am excited/slightly nervous. This is the uber-small budget variety of trip so we are trying to carefully plan. Any tips on cheap/free places we should go? (We will be there in early December. So indoor activity would be best.) This week also holds promise of a shopping trip. Because apparently my scrubs and jeans/tshirts are really not good enough for December in NYC. ; ) (Kidding; I don’t wear scrubs outside work. Sweatpants, maybe sometimes. But only in my apartment!)

I cannot even believe it is almost Thanksgiving already! This year seems to have flown by. I have to say it has actually been a pretty good one. I am awfully thankful for many things….But that’s for another post.

Balance and musings thereon

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That’s a word that’s thrown around so often, isn’t it? Balance…This elusive notion that we can (and should!) have a perfect mix of work and play, of activity and rest, of home and bigger world. Our culture is obsessed with it but doesn’t really nurture much the rest part. Unless you happen to have a lot of money in which case perhaps you can go on long, exotic vacations. (I’m not saying that’s completely true; just the message we often get!)

I’ve been trying to make balance. That’s part of the whole point of said blog (poor, neglected dear that it is) is to document the challenges and the successes of that project. I’ve made some choices to enhance my level of balance (like working 4 days vs 5) but of course there’s always a trade-off (like getting paid for 4 days vs 5!) and sometimes it feels like I never have enough time and money together. Of course, that’s a common complaint, right? Does anyone ever have both?

Seems it’s awfully hard to feel like we have enough in this world, especially considering all the economic mess around us. There’s been a noted resurgence to making do, and craft, and natural approaches which I find comforting since that’s how I grew up. But there’s still that cultural push to have and buy and move yourself up which sometimes seems to drown out the voice of reason telling me that I do have enough. Sometimes the draw of new, shiny, ready-made is stronger than the slightly delayed gratification of making from scratch or making do with what I already have.

But then I do make something or fix something I already have and I remember why I love it. I’m happiest when I am creating whether writing or crafting or sewing. It reminds me to take a step back and take a deep breath. I have to remind myself that I have a say in how I spend my time. Writing it down makes it seem silly…especially since I don’t have kids or pets or anything. But seriously, how many times do we feel ‘guilt’ or ‘pressure’ to stop doing something enjoyable and be more ‘productive’?

I say stop a minute and take a deep breath! Schedule some time to do something enjoyable into your week! (Each day would be better but I know that’s hard sometimes.) Maybe if it’s on the calendar we’ll do it!

4.5 mo…

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Til I turn 30. My goal for this year was/is to pull myself together and participate in life again. To do things I enjoy and become a happier, more contented person.

So far I’m doing a decent job of it! I’ve been getting out there, doing stuff, making stuff, meeting people, etc, etc.

It hit me the other day that I’m only 4.5 months away from turning 30. Now, this is exciting (weird yes, like back a million years ago when I turned 20 and was no longer a teenager) and I’m ready to move onto this next decade. But also the end of an era…and a time for reckoning with myself, I suppose.

I do have a question, though. What should I do before I turn 3-0? Those of you who have made the milestone already surely have some words of wisdom? And everyone can at least give some good ideas! I’m curious as well as sort of wanting a challenge. Admittedly travel is gonna be a challenge but day trips and/or short vacations could be possible (like 2-3 days bc I don’t really have much vacation chance for the rest of this year). So places to go? Things to do? Philosophical stands to take?

In the meantime I will be thinking of my own list so maybe I can work that into the blog, too. All suggestions are welcome. They’ll at least be food for thought even if I don’t make them all happen!

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Garden Update

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Trying not to be super irritated that I already wrote this blog and then it was eaten by the ether…

Anyway, I have been totally delinquent in updating this blog but I’m trying to re-dedicate myself to regular updates. Those of you who have blogs: how do you keep them up? Do you have a schedule? Or is it more relaxed just whenever you feel like updating?

Back at the farm…well, ok, Mom’s backyard…we’ve been growing! Tomatoes, kale, tomatillos, pumpkin, beans! It’s been so much fun watching all those plants sprout and grow. A few of the tomatoes were from starters but most of th plants we grew from seed (as mentioned in previous blogs) and so it’s been especially satisfying. There is just something amazing about the whole process. I know, I’m gushing but I can’t help it!

Garden! This was a little while back. It’s much bigger now.

These were the first 2 ripe tomatoes! Mmmm

 

And my patio/balcony has been re-vamped with plants, as well. I don’t have any veggies out there but I do have flowers and greenery. Including a banana plant which is pretty sweet. They’ve had some ups and downs but things are looking pretty decent right about now. Two battles with aphids but I think I’ve beaten them. And the one fuschia did NOT like the hot weather so it’s looking a bit sad. But the two ferns that I thought had given up completely are coming back with new, strong, green leaves!

Banana, hosta, begonia…I also put some globe string lights up around the door, hence the mood lighting.

A few of the plants on the balcony: some marigolds, creeping jenny, fuchsia

Pretty pleased with how it’s all looking! I had hoped to find some patio furniture (just a chair, pretty much) but that hasn’t happened so maybe next year…In the meantime I’m enjoying the view of my plants. Just makes it seem a bit more like home and more inviting, I think.

Has anyone else been bitten by the gardening bug this year? What are you growing?

Reclaiming: Retreat Style

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For me, part of reclaiming myself and my life is to reconnect with me. Since I spend most of my time talking to people and focusing on other people the introvert in me needs some serious downtime every now and again. Since I finally had some vacation days this last week I decided to gift myself a stay away. I didn’t really feel like going far away but I found that the Oregon Garden which is only like an hour away has a hotel attached to it with a spa. Uh, yes, please! I admit it. I am a total girly-girl when it comes to spa treatments. Needless to say I scheduled an afternoon at the spa. Which was amazing. And my massage therapist reinforced that I really, really needed to relax when she said, “Woah, you are really tight”.

I had never gone away by myself before (I mean, I’ve travelled places alone but always to go stay with friends or travel with friends) so it was a whole new experience. I admit I was a bit nervous about how to fill the time. I mean, I am really good at just hanging out but it’s different when you’re away from home.
In doing the planning my mom gave me some books to read (I tell ya, the woman has a book for everything) to help guide my experience. One of them, “The Woman’s Retreat Book” is especially geared toward retreat planning so it was pretty helpful (http://jenniferlouden.com/). She has lots of ideas about how to re-connect with yourself and nurture yourself even if all you have is 5 minutes. She reinforced the need to bring things to do whether books, journals, or art supplies to make sure you have things to occupy your time.

I did lots of reading, writing, reflecting (ok, maybe some tarot card reading…it’s helpful for triggering reflection topics), and walking. The gardens are really beautiful and defintely reinforced that I need to get outside more often!

That’s the view from the top of the hill by the hotel. One of the clear moments; it was cold and drizzly/raining most of the time I was there (go figure. Oregon).

My goals/intentions for the weekend were:

No TV: Check. (for the record, I did bring my computer with intention of working on the blog. However, the internet was terrible so I never could connect after the first 10 minutes. I decided that was really fine)

Read: Check (very engaging mystery novel and also some more reflection/discovery type books)

Relax: Check! (spa, lounging, sleeping, walking around)

Enjoy nature: Check. (Even if it was cold and all those summer dresses went unworn I still got outside quite a bit)

Take pictures: Check! Hello, garden=photo opportunity

Reflect/do some ‘inner work’ type stuff, listen to myself a bit: Check. I did lots of this and came away feeling ready to take some things on.

All in all, I would say it was a very successful trip! My only complaint was that the food was, in a word, crappy. Seriously, bland and sad. Like buffet breakfast of mass-eggs and cardboard waffles. Honestly I was pretty disappointed. But, I didn’t starve and I did still have a good time. Next time I’d bring more snacks and maybe go into town for a meal (though I didn’t really want to leave to eat).

So, here are some pictures. Even if you only have a minute maybe these will bring a little retreat into your day!

Bathroom Garden! I thought this was pretty funny…What can I say, I’m a plummer’s daughter.

View from my little patio

Crane I thought was real til I took the picture and looked closer…