If I had a dollar for every item I’ve lost to a puppy over the years, well, I’d have enough to buy another puppy! But I won’t…because they’re terrible-and adorable! If I were as passionate about dog training as I am at sewing, I supposed I’d have fewer mishaps, but in this instance at least, I was able to use my passion for the one to make up for the lack of the other. Yay!
I had just bought this from Aerie, and it has quickly become one of my favorites. No cheap stores carry my size, so I have to wait for sales at places like Victoria’s Secret and Aerie. I was super-dee-duper excited (anyone remember Barney? No? Just Me Then?) when I was at the mall with my husband getting a softball glove for the league he’s in and Aerie had buy one get one FREE signs up! That’s almost unheard of. I mean, fireworks went of, guys and dolls! So, sure, this one was technically free, but it would cost about $50.00 to replace.
. . .And then my dog ate it.
When my initial upset dissipated, I realized the cups were still intact and it was actually fairly minor damage, even though the strap had been severed. Several months ago, I may have just thrown it away, but as I’m sewing more and more of my designs, I’m also mending a lot more. That’s partly because I’m getting more confident in my abilities and less intimidated by new types of clothing, and partly because I’m broke now-between staying home with my kids and this darn puppy!
How the Puppy left it-Wonk Wonk.
The first thing I did was cut off the jagged, mangled, dog-spitty parts (nobody wants that) to have straight edges to work with.I gave it enough overlap so I wouldn’t lose any strength in the strap. Using the closest color I had to this light lilac, I sewed the straps together, whip-stitched through the lace, and did a little reinforcing at the back.Voila!
It’s not beautiful, (although it wouldn’t be very noticeable at all if I had gotten thread that was an exact match) but it saved the bra. From a couple feet away, it’s not really all that visible.
Between 2 hour delays and working on a separate project last week, this top didn’t come along as quickly as I had wanted it to. But it came nonetheless. It was like Christmas…it came without packages, boxes, or bags, and there was nothing that old Grinch of busy-ness could do to stop it!
Now, I won’t be wearing it without another shirt on under it- unless I had really, really high waisted pants on and it was like a hundred and thirty degrees outside and someone could guarantee me that I wouldn’t run into my dad, or anyone from my conservative family for that matter. I used to throw caution-and modesty-to the wind, much to my mother’s chagrin, but poor girl, she wasn’t as strong-willed as I am. I had an unshakable argument, too. She had been a hippie, a real flower child of the 60s. Like she never went braless! If I had known then what I know now that mother’s are right in ways we can’t imagine in our naive, rebellious youth! Oh well. Now I have my own children to wrangle, so the tables have turned. I’ve already told them they’ll never be more stubborn than mommy, though, so I refuse to back down on the important issues. (That’s my sometimess-too-gentle-and-peaceable mother in the background picture. She was beautiful! Man, if I could take back the misery I caused her, I would. Well, sae la vie, I suppose.)
Back to the shirt. I may not wear it without something under it, but sheer is hot right now! Would I send it down a runway like that or put it in a photoshoot? Heck yes! I may be a fairly modest midwesterner, but I am, after all, an Yves Saint Laurent Girl at heart. . . Mastermind behind the iconic women’s tuxedo and sheer secretary blouses of the 70s- worn, of course, sans bras.
Also, Lets take a moment of reverence for these new palazzo pants. No, I didn’t make them, but I was just as excited to buy them for $11.99 at Sears last week! I will be wearing them with everything! And, yes, they do have pockets. Thank you for rejoicing with me over that fact. I know you did. Because nobody doesn’t love pockets!
This post is for you, Mom, the one who told me to follow my dreams and believed I would be a writer since my second grade teacher told you so. I didn’t want to be for quite a while-perhaps just to be obstinate-but I’m writing now. . .and I love it. I wish I had listened to you sooner, but thank you for never really backing down, even when I ran all over you. You had your way in the end. I love and miss you!
The Moral of the Story?
Always remember to be grateful for pockets! It’s not until you buy a pair of pants, bring them home, and then realize the front pockets aren’t real that you truly appreciate them the way they deserve.
And listen to your mothers! Unless maybe they were hippies. In that case, go ahead and have a little fun with them. I think they enjoy the banter.
She actually uses volunteers for this show…no more hijacking unsuspecting frumpy moms like What Not To Wear! (The last time I saw Clinton Kelly, he was cooking on a morning show. Break my heart, Clinton!!)
The volunteers are women who dress so outrageously they often can’t make it in the professional workforce and come to Stacy for style help. The girl above, who had coined herself “Alien Baby,” turned out to be really gorgeous under all that black makeup.
So Pretty, Right?
My absolute favorite part of the new show? The theme song montage! Stacy actually dresses up using several of the genres she so vehemently opposes…and totally rocks them, I must say. Oh, how I love her sweet, biting satire!
I just don’t think life gets any better than this:
J-Lo Post-P Diddy Phase Stacy?
Teeny Bopper/Rockabilly Stacy!
Ah, Stacy London’s IFFY face. This is what pops into my mind every time I put on those jeans I’ve held onto since high school. I just know she’d burn them! They don’t even have any stretch in them-denim with spandex apparently hadn’t been invented yet. But I’ll keep them around, in hopes that one day she’ll catch wind of it and show up on my doorstep, elbows locked with Clinton, and make all my masochistic styling dreams come true! BRING IT ON, STACY!
Puppies Do Love Pattern Weights!And I’m starting to hate puppies. Just kidding- have you ever seen one? They’re adorable! I could never hate them, but I am a little blue about the fate of my weights- three of which were handmade! I’d been planning to write a how-to post on making them. Instead, here’s a post on why you should not leave your supplies lying around if you have dogs-EVER!
Most collies are farm hands. Not Scout. He’s my (big) little assistant designer, who only watches television if there’s an animal crying. (Here he is, really confused when they started doing animal calls on Monster Quest.)
I love the other side, don’t you? The grass seems to always be greener there! You have babies, you want them to be big. They get big, you want them to be babies. You have a sewing room, but you want to move your stuff to the living room so you can get more done. You do that and don’t realize how good you had it until you come across pictures of your sewing room the way it used to be. Alright, maybe that last one’s just me, but that’s what happened to me this morning as I was looking through my pictures trying to decide on the post for the day. I came across a set of what was meant to be “before” pictures for a post on organizing craft spaces.
I’m glad to have my epuipment in a more accessible space, but these pictures make me long for the cohesion I once had. Everything was in one spot! That was nice. Now I cut, sew, and iron in my living room, but have to run upstairs for fabric and pattern making supplies. Oh well, there’s always a trade-off, but here’s to reminiscing of days gone by:
This used to really drive me crazy, but it’s pretty inevitable on any flat space, isn’t it? I’ve gotten much better about not piling stuff on top of my cutting table and leaving it there now that I work right in our main living space. The downside? My daughters now use it to pile backpacks, coats, scarves, toys-and occasionally the cat-onto.
This cabinet had all of my knit fabrics in it. Now it has my kids’ craft supplies. (And honestly, I’d much rather dig through the bins my fabric is in now than let them have free access to their craft stuff, so in this case the grass is greener on my new side of the fence!)
It was really cool having my fabric stored openly, so I could see just what I had. And if you look really closely, you’ll see the expensive Shark steamer I just had to have to steam my wedding dress, plus it would be ever-so-practical, I told my husband, because I could use it for everything, all the time, but I never used. . .not once! Man, he’s smug when he’s right!
The Moral of the Story:
Memories of the way things used to be are to be cherished, not longed for. Why go back? Let’s look ahead to bigger and better!
Also, husbands can be horribly annoying when they’re right, so when they question a purchase and you find out you were wrong, don’t return it. Just keep it in your closet for years and years and pretend like it’s worth it because it will be very useful one day . . . invaluable, even!
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can finish today, right? And don’t mentally put off everything in your life until that Mythical Saturday-you know, the one you schedule house cleaning, family time, grocery shopping, date night, home repair, DIY, 8 loads of laundry, sewing, sketching, and ten or twelve other things that you swear you’ll get around to, because you have that day “free.” Procrastination can be a problem for creatives, and so can overbooking our time. We tend to overestimate what we can do in a certain amount of time. And when we come across a task that we really don’t have time for today, in our mind Saturday’s an inviting blank slate- distractionless, and filled with unoccupied time. Until Saturday comes, that is, and we remember just how little time we actually have to juggle.
I have found my Saturdays completely filled up on paper when I’m planning, but none of it ever gets done! I used to attribute it to having too much time, which makes me tend to think I’m ok as the time ticks away until suddenly it’s 8 in the evening and nothing on that long list is checked off. I know that’s some of it, but I’m starting to realize that just as my expectations for myself can be unrealistic, my expectations for how productive I’ll be on Saturdays often are, too.
If you, too, suffer from The Mythical Saturday Syndrome, there’s hope! I’m not sure exactly what it is yet, (I’m still trying to figure out just how to plan attainable goals for my Saturdays and as I come across tips that help me, I’ll share them with you guys) but I know it involves battling that old monster of perfectionism. And I know one day I’ll not only defeat that monster, I’ll harness it’s energy for success in life, art, and design. It’s my quest. (And just so you know, in this fantasy quest, I’m both the Princess and the Knight in shining armor. Oh, And Bruce Willis in Die Hard.)
I just found out it’s important when planning your time to schedule time for…wait for it- planning your time! Mind blowing, isn’t it? Now that I’ve had someone explain that to me and I’ve incorporated it into my life, it’s something that I simply can’t believe I’ve missed for all these years! How did that get by me?
I’m an uber-nerd and at just the thought of creating effective systems, well. . . I hear angels sing. Or maybe it’s just the crazy person in my head singing. But it excites me! I love the idea of my life being a well-oiled machine of prioritized tasks and time investments. I love starting out, pen in hand, making– joyous gasp– a list! (If you’re reading this, I know you love lists, too! Only deranged wackos hate lists. And maybe people who are just naturally organized, but we hate those people. We could never hate them as much as we love lists, though!)
I’ve tried all my life to develop systems for creating order in my life. With my internal organization lagging behind thanks to my creative/ADD brain, I’ve had to find external ways to overcome that. Whether you have ADHD or time management just eludes you, or you just love those darn lists so much, I’ve put together some common themes for a successful time management system.
1. Make it work. . .for you, that is.
What is your life actually like? Who are you, what are your habits? Take mental note of your needs, expectations, what things come easily to you and what things are like pulling teeth to get yourself to do. Consider how your energy swings throughout the day and the week and your normal habits. (If you watch tv in the evenings, is it realistic to plan a schedule where you do all of your chores in the evenings?) Don’t mark your calendar and make your schedule based on how you would like your life to be in an ideal world and as if you had amazing energy all day long every day, while only having to sleep for 5 hours a night. THAT’S NOT REALISTIC! If you tend to be more tired as the week wears on, schedule more of your evening activities on Mondays than Thursdays, for example.
For me: A time management mistake was that I would always make my plan on paper very ideal. I always planned as if I’d get up an hour and an half earlier than I had to and as though I’d stay up late at night and maintain a consistent, high level of energy throughout the day. And since I have narcolepsy as well as ADD (the one actually accounts for the other) It’s not realistic to think my life will just change and I’ll get some magic stream of energy that never wavers. It didn’t seem totally stupid while I was doing it, but now that I’ve gotten smarter, I can see how ridiculous that notion is. (To see a post of mine about unrealistic expectations, click here.)
2. Plan time to plan your time.
Such a refreshing notion! This has been a key for me..and it will be for you, too, if you haven’t done it already. The reason that it’s so important is that we take all this time to set up a schedule or an organizational system for our lives, but no time to maintain it and keep it going. (I’ve tried flylady’s control journal and the Sidetracked Home Executives card file system. I started…and gave up on, both of them, although I still have my card file system in case I ever get disciplined enough to use it and I recently went back to a modified-and easier-version of my control journal.) The problem comes after we inevitably mess it up and stop keeping up with the system or schedule. We just never go back to the drawing board to iron out the kinks in our plan and to re-motivate ourselves to keep it up. If you put the planning time in your plan, you can use that time to review your goals and maybe change your strategy if it needs to be tweaked.
For me: Sundays are now my planning time. I get out my control journal and the front section is schedule/planning. In it I have a list of the two or three main tasks for each day of the week, my work goals for the year, my work goals for the month, and the list of characteristics and habits that are important to me. Those include things I want to remember to keep up because they’re important to me (like Bible study and family time) and also things I’m not good at yet, but want to be (like mailing out Christmas and Thank You cards.) I learned the importance of scheduling time to plan time and doing your planning based on who you want to be instead of what you have to get done from a study we did on Bill Hybels’ Simplify book.)
3. Forget the to-do list.
Like I said above- plan based on who you want to be, not what needs to be done. Thanks, Bill Hybels. (Although I feel like the s on the end of his name makes me sound uneducated if I say it out loud. Like I’m one of those people who just add unnecessary esses to the end of words for no reason at alls. Get it?
If you get a good, WORKABLE schedule, you will have built in the time to tackle all those to-dos throughout your week or month.
For me: I would make my weekly plan based on everything I thought I should be doing. I’d look at all the things I needed to get done: House, work, family, projects. I’d squeeze all of those goals into my schedule as if I’d be able to get them done in the first week or month.
4. Pick a lane. Or in this case, a day.
Designate certain days for certain tasks. Especially if you’re one of those people who gets stuck doing something once you get into it and have a hard time pulling yourself away. Just allow for that in your schedule.
For me: I used to try to get like 20 minutes of every single thing I aspired to do in on any given day. I actually thought it was necessary to do all the important things each day. I figured I should be able to exercise for 20 minutes then study Spanish, then read for 20 minutes, then sew for an hour then do some pattern making…and so on…for, like, 50 items each day. Instead of assuming I’ll wake up tomorrow with a triathlete’s self discipline, I changed my schedule to match my personality. Now it looks like this:
I blog daily Plus:
Mondays: Sewing, List Items to Sell
Tuesdays: Pattern Making and Sewing
Wednesdays: Sketching, Watch fashion shows, Sewing
Thursdays: Photography practice and take pics for my blog, Learning-continuing education on blogging, sewing, Youtubing, etc.
Fridays: Craftsy Sewing Class, Look at other blogs, Social Networking
Note the lack of details. This keeps the schedule flexible and keeps me from pressuring myself into squeezing an unreasonable amount if items into my day.
5. Keep it regular.
That way if you skip it, it’ll come back up soon. Haaaa!!! This is like the way we get to stick it to the system…that we made, of course, but it’s still satisfying! If you do your bathrooms on wednesdays and you skip this week, don’t (metaphorically or otherwise) kill yourself over it. Don’t screw up your Thursday trying to make up for it. Just wait until next Wednesday! That sounds like freedom from guilt for me, people!
For me: I don’t really have a cute story of how I used to mess this up, because I’ve pretty much always known how helpful this could be if I could get a weekly schedule in place. I’m only now getting to where I’m using-and sticking to a system. I still don’t do it very well for chores, but I absolutely HAD to make a schedule for work since I’m working at home now and it’s going off like a charm. And by “like a charm” I mean I hardly ever do what I have listed for each day of the week, but it sure feels nice not to have to beat myself up over it, knowing that I’ll get to it next week!
Happy Scheduling, y’all. (Hmmm, I can’t get away with saying that, but it looks just fine when I write it. Go figure.)
While cleaning someone’s clock seems to have a negative connotation, (I guess depending on whether you’re the one being hit or the one doing the hitting.) cleaning someone’s closet is close to the nicest thing you can do for a person. And since not everyone will let you into their closet just because they know your neurosis is strong enough that you may physically die if you don’t get your hands on it (Thanks, Amanda. I know you truly love me!) I suggest doing it for yourself. A little post-holiday pick-me-up. A gift for your nerdy side, if you will.
It’s one of those things that we dread and put off for months-or years- and are astounded by how little time the task takes once we actually do it. Nothing like killing yourself with shame and anxiety over your procrastination on something that takes 5 minutes to do!
In the case of my bathroom closet, it took 25 minutes start to finish. I timed it because I wanted to know just how long this task I had put off for, hmm, at least 2 years would actually take me. 2 years of dread vs. less than half an hour of work. Our mental procrastination scales are very warped, aren’t they?
Here’s my closet the way it was. Belts flung around, piles of stuff stacked on top of piles of other stuff. Clothes, empty toilet paper rolls for crafts we never do, a blue basket of who-knew-what. Every time I looked at my closet I thought “I need to clean this.” And then I never did. Sure I would tidy it up, but it wasn’t functional because nothing had a great place of its own.
And everyone knows (or should know) the only way to remedy that is to empty the space you’re cleaning completely. Set a timer if you tend to get carried away with the details. Leave that for another day. This is not the time to start washing out your makeup brushes or sampling your array of lotions. This is a purge and sort. Keep the big goal in mind, which is to put your closet back together in a reasonable amount of time so that it’s organized and will serve all your space needs.
Here’s all my crap. I had like 3 or 4 of those gigantic peroxide bottles! I could have kept Lady Gaga blonde for months! This is the point to pick out the trash and/or giveaway stuff. Since this was my bathroom closet, I had no “Goodwill pile.” If it was my coat closet, I would have needed one. After picking out stuff you no longer have use for, pick one category of stuff to work on and put up everything in that category…and only stuff in that category! I did my towels first, since they were easy and getting them out of the way made it look like I had a lot less stuff to deal with. (Organizing sometimes takes strategy just to overcome our own excuses!)
Here’s my top shelf. First aid and medical on the right and makeup on the left. I DID NOT sort my makeup on this day! I know it’s a temptation of mine to get off onto cleaning tangents and before I know, I’ve spent hours organizing all my hair clips and bands, and I’m still surrounded by huge piles on the floor and I have no more energy to put it all back together. If that’s your cleaning story, you need to remember to set a timer and not get caught up in the little stuff!
Hair stuff…Also not sorted, well at least not in a way that everything’s standing up straight and it looks magnificent, but that wasn’t the purpose of this. The styling products, combs, and brushes are on the left. The headbands, clips, and beads are on the right. And that’s GOOD ENOUGH!
***TANGENT ALERT*** I had to really, really work hard to get to a point where I could be okay with “good enough” instead of “perfect”- which doesn’t really exist anyway. A lot of people with messy, unorganized houses are actually perfectionists, surprisingly. They don’t clean because it takes them hours to do what most people do in minutes and it gets exhausting. If you fall into that category-and I did-work on the “GOOD ENOUGH” philosophy! It will turn your life around. If you take on one project, don’t let it become ten projects. If I did this closet 5 years ago, after an hour, I would have ended up with perfectly organized hair stuff and makeup. (I would have started on the tiny items first.) I probably would have gone shopping for the perfect containers and I probably would have left the new baskets by my front door and piles of stuff sitting around the closet floor for a week or two until I got back to it. Trust me. Focus on Finishing your organizing project. You can always go back and take one category and go nuts. One day I’ll get my makeup better organized-probably. But if I don’t, it doesn’t really matter, because I know where it’s all at. And I can get to everything else in my bathroom easily. My family can quickly find everything they need and the best part is, my husband didn’t come home to a gigantic mess and ask what happened only to be confused by my response that, “I’m cleaning.” If that scenario rings a bell for you, we share a private laugh. And I love you!
(Click Here to view my post on why I blog about organization so much.)
I love glass containers. They just pretty everything up! I stuck band aids in here instead of with the first aid stuff on the top shelf because my daughters need to be able to reach them. You know, for when they have those owies that they swear are there and are killing them, but you have to squint to see them when they point them out. Moms and Dads get it.
And here’s the finished closet, in all its simplistic goodness! 25 minutes! Best part is, it’s actually finished!
Here’s your challenge, should you choose to accept it, and I recommend that you do: Pick ONE area that drives you crazy. Set a timer for a reasonable amount of time, take everything out, and put it back in so it’s nice and neat and WORKS! Don’t get carried away with details!!!! You’ll be surprised how quick and easy it is if you’re goal is Functional instead of Perfect, which, as I’ve already said, DOESN’T EXIST ANYWAY!
What do you do when the rad concert t-shirt you turned into a one of a kind, hand-sewn, work of strappy-backed art gets a hole in it? You make due with what you have, that’s what! One of my favorite sayings is “When life hands you lemons. . . you freeze ’em and throw them back so it really hurts like heck.” Or something like that.
What is design but making something where there was nothing before? So why did I let myself get all bent out of shape when the shirt I had just made ended up with a hole in it? (Stupid Cat!!!) I was just about to list it on Etsy when I noticed the anomaly, and I just let it hang in my sewing room for months. (Thanks to that lack of decisiveness that creative people are often plagued with.) I didn’t want to darn and mend it and then sell it. I didn’t want to list it with a hole in it. I felt like a flower over it may be too out of place. So I just left it. Ever been there?
But I did the brave thing and finally got it out. A flower was my only option for true repair that didn’t look awful, so that’s what I went with. It may not be part of my original design or intention, but aren’t happy accidents the part of design that I’m always touting, anyway? So now I have a kick-arse (Can I say that?) Led Zeppelin shirt that, yes, has a flower on it, and I love it. It’s edgy and pretty. Together. And because of that, in a happy accident kind of way, it embodies my whole design aesthetic. Thank you, fate. (I don’t actually believe in fate. That was a literary device lest you think I’m totally naive. I do like to personify ideas and attributes to sound like I’m talking to them. I also like to over-explain what I’m doing. You’re welcome.)
Luckily, I had some scraps from the fabric I used to make the godets for this shirt. (The little triangles I added to the sides.)
I cut out a shape that would work for a flower-It was already there. I just tidied up the edges a bit. If you’re using this post on a tutorial to make an easy flower, take any jersey knit (t-shirt) fabric and cut it between 6-12 inches and taper it so one side is wider than the other. I liked the curved edge for this flower.Using a running stitch, sew near the bottom edge of the fabric all the way across. Don’t worry about the stitch being perfectly even. Unless chaos kills you inside. Then you can be perfectionistic if you want to.
After you’ve stitched the edge, pull the thread to gather the fabric so your flower crinkles up. Cute, no?Using the same length of thread, sew the flower together. Just take the needle in from the back and out the front and vice versa. Make sure your stitches aren’t noticeable and don’t sew down that cute fullnes in the middle of the flower! Once it’s sewn together adequately, secure it with a knot in the back.
You’re done with your easy flower! Now you can sew it onto a garment or accessory, or you can hot glue a piece of felt with a safety pin to the back so it’s detachable. I used black thread for this flower so you can’t see any stitching and since there are so many flower options, I’ll probably do a whole post on easy flowers and break down exactly how to sew them together for newbies.
And here are some of the details I love about this top.
The braided binding. Boy, this stuff takes forever to make, but it’s so versatile, strong, pretty, and unusual! Plus, this shirt was entirely hand stitched and it lends itself to that medium.
Also, if this 2 for one post wasn’t enough for you, here are some other ridiculous and fun lemons quotes. Enjoy:
If life gives you lemons, keep them, because, hey, free lemons!
When life hands you lemons, slice those suckers up and grab some vodka.
When life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Then life will be all like…What?!?
When life hands you lemons, make grape juice, and sit back and watch everyone wonder how you did it.
If life gives you lemons, sell them and buy shoes!
Unless life also hands you water and sugar, you’re lemonade is gonna suck.
When life hands you lemons, freeze them and throw them as hard as you can at the people making your life difficult. (Okay, this was the one I was thinking of earlier. I got it totally wrong!)
When life hands you lemons, it’s time for tequila shots.
When life gives you lemons, make bacon. Discard the lemons.