Knitcation with Mabel and Moneta

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!

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!

Bertha

My kitchen got a little bit prettier and a little bit more functional this last week.

See, after moving out on my own last year I suddenly realized how great a mixer is. Like, making cookies in a bowl with a wooden spoon is a giant pain. I remember my mom making cookies when I was a kid and almost always refrigerating the dough before we made them. I hadn’t ever thought about this but after making them myself a couple times with just a spoon it dawned on me it was because to get the butter soft enough to cream with sugar it was then too soft to make a non-spready cookie!

She had an old school Sunbeam mixer for a while (which was quite respectable, don’t get me wrong) but then found a Kitchen Aid stand mixer at a garage sale for like $100 (I think when I was in college already). And so for years I have been using her Kitchen Aid. Then I moved out and damn if she wasn’t about to let me take the mixer! I know (I do have several pieces of her old furniture, though, so I suppose it’s reasonable).

I finally decided that I was going to buy myself one. Did a little research, found the cheapest price (Kitchen Kaboodle!), and bought myself a lovely mixer. I was amazed at the array of colors available! Being a bit of a vintage stuff junky I was totally taken by the mint green. I decided it’s not only cute but subtle enough that I won’t get tired of it in 10 minutes. My mom dubbed it “international harvester green” after a truck she and my dad had when they were first together. Apparently it was a minty green.

After quite a bit of work I finally got a pic in here (camera cord still MIA). Tried to do pinterest but it just copied the code and then was a jumble of words vs an image. Not really what I was going for. SO, thanks to google image and whimsigirl.blogspot I found an image.

And, in the grand tradition of my family, I have named her Bertha. Because that is what we always name appliances, trucks, etc. My dad’s plumbing vans were always Bertha, my mom’s kid/hay bale/pallet-carrying vans were always Bertha, and since my new mixer is indeed, a workhorse, I think she should be as well.

I haven’t actually made anything yet as I’ve been too tired this week after work and then today it’s too hot to bake but soon, Bertha, soon…

Heartwarming and Hypocrisy

(Note to people who don’t know me: I’m an occupational therapist which means I work with people with illness/disabilities. I also have a sibling with autism, have spent many a day watching and cheering Special Olympics, and am in general pretty passionate about disability advocacy. Lest anyone think I don’t have a reasonable perspective on this. : ) )

I just read a couple articles in our local paper. They were written by a sports columnist who tends toward the human interest side of sports. Now, this particular set of articles were talking about having attended a kids’ track meet and watched a girl with Down Syndrome complete a race, coming in last, but being enthusiastically cheered by the people on the sidelines and her fellow students. A feel-good piece (he as much as says this, really). Having watched many a kid with disbilities run a race in the school day track meets I can totally get behind this and imagine it was a great moment. The second article was talking about all the feedback from the first and how apparently everyone cried when they read it.

Now, aside from the fact that I’ve read way too many heartwarming articles about kids with disabilities and wish they’d have a meatier focus, this is not in an of itself really even worth noting. However, this particular sports writer also hosts an afternoon sports radio show (I don’t listen but my brother, who has autism, loves sports and did used to listen to this writer’s show). One show a couple months ago this same writer used the phrase ‘short bus’ in reference to where someone should be. A family friend of our’s called in and objected. The host declared that it wasn’t an offensive phrase and basically blew our friend off. Now, my mother called in the next day to try to further explain why using that sort of language was offensive and he again pretended like he didn’t know that would be offensive. Never did he apologize or acknowledge in any way that he might be wrong. Seriously? Who thinks that ISN’T offensive? After getting into it with my mom (including hanging up on her) he did say he would come out an observe a session of the drop-in basketball program my brother attends to see the people he was offending. Strangely he has not ever showed. So I haven’t been a real fan of said person since then.

And to see that he is now writing a series of heartwarming article about a kid with disabilities? Well, seems a bit hypocritical to me. Because I have no doubt that girl would be offended if someone made fun of her for riding ‘the short bus’. And I can pretty much guarantee that her parents and her brother (who was mentioned in the article) would also be mightily upset. I know people  ‘don’t mean it’ when using words like ‘retard’ and ‘short bus’. However, having the good grace to admit you’re wrong is often all it takes to mend some bridges.

Organizing

Confession: I am NOT a great housekeeper. I know this is totally shocking to anyone who has ever met and/or lived with me. ; ) All I’m saying is cleaning is boring and I don’t enjoy it even one tiny little bit.

However, I do enjoy the outcome of a clean, orderly space. So every so often I have to suck it up and clean and organize. Being as I am the only one making the mess I am also the only one who can be expected to clean it. Jeesh. What the heck.

Recently I have been doing a complete and total overhaul of my apartment. It was not only cluttered but also totally disorganized which then made it very difficult to do anything fun in the house because there was not only no good space to spread out but I had to dig all over to find things.

I have come to terms with being a “relaxed” housekeeper and don’t mind it. I kinda like a certain amount of stuff out because it makes me feel like I’m more connected to the space and like I really live here (which, obviously, I do!). I mean, have you ever been to someone’s house and they just don’t have anything there? Like there’s a couch and a tv but nothing else around the living room? Or there’s nothing on the counters? Maybe I’m just too attached to all my stuff but I like to have stuff to DO at home! (There’s the Occupational Therapist coming out. We love DOING things! It’s how you get better!)

Anyway, I recently discovered some cool things to help organize myself. First: adhesive, vinyl chalkboard. Second: chalkboard paint pen!

I didn’t want to stick it to my walls for fear it would damage but I had an old frame with a cardboard backing. Used some command strips to tack it down (so I can move it if need be) to the cardboard and stuck in the frame! Now it’s hanging by my front door as a reminder board. The pen is nice mainly because I really don’t like touching chalk. Plus it doesn’t smear as much. Downside is that it is not as easily removed. However, per some online suggestions I used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and it works like a charm. I also put some up on one of my kitchen cupboard doors so I can write down grocery items I need while I am in the kitchen thinking about them. The cupboards are that delightful 80s/early 90s white laminate/wood trim special so I feel that chalkboard actually enhances the appearance. And so far it seems like it’ll remove easily when I eventuallly take it down/move out.

It’s a simple thing but very nice to write down reminders to myself.

I’m working on getting more pics; I tried using my computer camera but it’s crap and hard to maneuver and I can’t find my camera cord (classic!) but I will edit the pics in!

Growing

I was never really much for gardening. I mean, I love fresh veggies and there are few things better than a ripe, sun-warmed tomato right from the vine. However, I usually am quite happy letting someone else (uh, usually Mom) do the work of planting, weeding, and tending. I certainly did my share of weeding as a kid but it was never something I really enjoyed that much.

This year, however, I’ve been bitten by the planting bug. Last weekend Mom and I filled egg carton after carton of potting soil and seeds. Kale, tomatoes, peas, pumpkin, several kinds of beans. Seeds are certainly less exciting at first than already started plants but there is still an anticipationg that’s exciting. They are currently resting on shelves in Mom’s garage hopefully germinating away. And one set of lettuce is sprouting: little tiny tendrils are poking up through the soil. The chive kit I planted is sitting on my window not doing much but I’ve been holding out hope!

The prospect of having loads of fresh veggies is pretty thrilling and we have grand plans to can boatloads of tomatoes, dry beans, and stores of squash. (One year Mom and my brother canned 50 pounds of tomatoes, just for the record, so this is not a far-fetched notion.) Preparing for winter and having food we’ve grown ourselves satisfies that pioneer part of ourselves, I think. Self-sufficiency is a lovely thing and knowing we can save money on store bought food is a nice added bonus (crossing fingers! Weather in Oregon is a fickle thing. This summer better be sunnier than last year!)

I also decorated my porch with a couple hanging baskets of plants (just greenery at the moment; it’s not very sunny out there). They are technically NOT hanging baskets at the moment as I  haven’t gotten hooks for hanging them but they are baskets and they do have plants!

I’ve also been working on my house lately and have made some major strides so next post may be some indoor activity (especially since good old Oregon is supposed to have rain all week…)

 

 

Project Reclaim: The Beginning!

Being one who likes to make resolutions I decided at the beginning of 2012 to take back my life.

The thing is, being in school for years to learn a career and then starting a job in said field takes up a LOT of time. And once school ends it’s a little hard to make sense of what to do with one’s free time outside of work. Admittedly I struggled a bit and was a wee bit depressed for a while. However, this project is emphatically NOT about being depressed. I’ve been feeling better and trying to get more joy in my life so in fact this project is about re-discovering all the things I really enjoy and finding new loves along the way. The other thing that happened this year is I turned 29. Uh, hello! I need to do some momentous things before I turn 30, right? Or at least have some fun!

Also, the economy tanking has been inspiring many people to cut back, start making things, buying less, and being more resourceful. Growing up we never really had much money and we always did things like making our own yogurt, growing food, and creating on a nearly daily basis. My parents encouraged creativity and craft supplies were never far from reach. We had political debates around the kitchen table, listened to protest music, and in general were pretty engaged in life.

SO. The project is as follows: Be more engaged in life. Make things. Grow things (plants not like, warts). Get out and explore where I live (that would be Beaverton but Oregon in general). Go out with my friends more often. Make new friends (this may be the most challenging. Introverts don’t really excel at this. We do things like, well, blog!). Engage in community whether volunteering, work, or politics. In general have a more fun with life and be the person I want to be.

This blog is a bit of accountability…Even if no one is really reading this at least it gives me a place to record what I’m doing, and keep a record of all the awesome stuff I aim to accomplish! : D

And to celebrate the innauguration of Project Reclaim here is a photo of some celery I’m growing. In a dish. With just water! Celery I bought and cut stalks off. How awesome is that?! Nerd, I know.

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