Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Look 6025...a transitional top while I reach my New Look

In January, I had the good fortune to become a part of a fitness program through my insurance company. It was just the opportunity I was looking for...working with a personal trainer, and learning (re-learning) ways to adapt to a healthier lifestyle. I was motivated, ready to work and determined to be smart about my approach to fitness this time. More on that in a minute.

I've spent my life up and down the same twenty or more pounds. I feel great when I'm at a reasonable weight. I never know how to keep that great feeling. I've done it all...a three time lifetime member of Weight Watchers, and everything else under the sun.
Kwik Sew 0137 Ellie Mae Design....a round and chubby work in progress!

I was starting to feel defeated, thinking that turning 50 meant that my metabolism would forever be a roadblock to a healthy lifestyle. Turns out, my metabolism had nothing to do with me living a healthier lifestyle. Me sitting on the sofa, me eating whatever I wanted to eat whenever I wanted to eat it and me not exercising? That was my roadblock. It was ME. I was in my own way. And in January, I weighed more than I have in many, many years and I felt lousy, and I didn't like it.

Two weeks in to my training program, I injured my knee. For two months, I continued to go to that fitness program. For two months, I was limited in what I could do, but determined not to give up. I was given the use of a recumbent elliptical and a recumbent bike. While everyone else from my class was laughing it up while doing Zumba or group boot camp, I was on the recumbent elliptical. I went to the gym two other days a week, and while I couldn't do high impact, I could lift weights. And gently peddle that dang bike. Then my knee really gave up. The pain was pretty intense for a few days.

I had surgery within two weeks of diagnosis. And I could have very easily felt defeated again, but I went to therapy, followed directions, and slowly and wisely started to strengthen my legs and knee. Even though I was very limited physically,  I did what I was told to do and my pt showed me ways that I could really get a good workout without having to run, jog or walk hard. And I was told my recovery was in the top five of over 300 knee surgeries they had re-habbed. Because I refused to give up.

I think the key this time around was being smart about setting goals. Far too many times, I've been gung ho with diet and exercise only to realize I set myself up for failure with unrealistic expectations to maintain a certain (too low) calorie count or too extreme workout schedule. It's easy to give up when you can't keep up.

So, I figured I could reasonably make time for three workouts a week. And I could substitute the things I love to eat with better for me food that I love to eat. Not having a cheeseburger and fries twice a week, but maybe once every two weeks. Dessert on weekends instead of twice a day! I've discovered that grain products really give me a hard time, so I've tried to be wise in eliminating them. Not completely, but very limited amounts.

I haven't been perfect at this and I don't expect to be. But I do feel my body changing, becoming stronger and feeling better physically and emotionally. No more acid reflux. No more heartburn. I stop and think. It's a slow and realistic approach. I don't weigh myself every day. Since January, even with a knee injury and eight weeks of PT, I've managed to loose almost 15 pounds! I have five more pounds to loose. And who knows if down the road,  I will be in this very same position that I've been in countless times before? I'm hoping not, but I also know myself and what a struggle it can be.

So, this New Look pattern has satisfied my sewing itch while I transition to my New Look. I cut view A, without the elastic casing at the waist. I shortened the sleeves, too. This top is made from a poly semi-sheer fabric from Joann's. It works for now. 

My body is changing  and I'm doing more altering of my clothes than sewing new things! For the first time in a looooonnnnngggg time, I've cut a smaller size!

I guess I tell this story to remind myself and to encourage others too, that even when you think you can't possibly do enough to overcome your weight struggle, you can do a little...a little at a time. And pretty soon, it becomes easier, and you realise that you can make a commitment to change one thing.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

would you go braless in the woods?

Camping?  You know I love tent camping with a passion. I even like a pretty campsite. But when this came in my email yesterday, I just had to chuckle a little.

Truth be told, I secretly wish I could camp like this. But camping with a man puts the kibosh on the whole pretty glamping thing.  And actually, chilly nights, rain, mosquitoes, hiking and kayaking can also put a damper on this whole scenario.

I'm lucky I get to hang pretty banners at our campsite. And that my camp decor is color coordinated.

But I admit, the idea of pretty floral chair and ottoman covers excites me.
Even though I'm roughing it when we camp,  I can tell you without a doubt that I would not be going braless in the woods. And this skirt?  Have you ever had a mosquito bite on your tush? (Actually, I'm kind of loving that little lantern thingy in the background...might have to steal that idea.)

I do like this dress/cover-up thing. Might be nice for poolside, but where we camp, an old t shirt will suffice!

 Speaking of swimwear, did I ever tell you about the time my mother made me a bikini? It wasn't crocheted, she sewed it. We were so proud of that bikini she made. I wore it for the first time when we were camping with a big group of friends and family. I swam out to a floating dock, and when I jumped up on that dock, my bikini bottom stayed behind. Mom forgot to use bathing suit elastic that didn't stretch when wet!

This is cute. Very cute. I wouldn't wear it in the wild, but I would wear it at home. My husband might disagree, complaining this a close cousin to a mumu.

But I'm thinking I might need this. Soon.

Okay, so I'm getting to the question I really had on my mind...I love Burda patterns. I don't like to trace. Even more, I don't like taping patterns together. As more and more indie designers are making their patterns available online, I'm finding that I'm less and less likely to download a more complicated pattern because of all the taping.  Not long ago, I ordered a Burda pattern for a robe. Of course, it took two reams of paper because of the length, and two hours for me to tape the pieces together. It's still sitting in my sewing room all taped up, not sewn. I think I lost steam and just put it aside for another day...another month...another year.  I'm looking at that pattern above and thinking about how much I love it, but how much time it's going to take before I even start to sew. That's just me. It sort of takes the "instant" out of "instant." So, I'll browse around the Big 4 and see if there is something comparable.

What do you think about those downloadable PDF patterns? Do you use them?

(after writing this post, I was emailing with Lori yesterday about Scout Woven Tee, and what do you think I did? Of course, I bought the PDF and printed it!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

sewing into submission...the Sew Bossy Initiative

Well, I was browsing around my favorite blogs a few weeks ago and came across a post by Anne, at Pretty Grievances. She was telling the tale of being bossed around by a fellow sewing blogger,Cuckoo Chanel via the Sew Bossy Initiative. I loved the idea. Loved it.

SO, I found my way to The Closet Case Files, and then found my way to Paige and she agreed to swap! It's her second time around the block with this, but she loved it so much she was willing to do it again!

We’ve spent the last few weeks getting to know each other via email, blogs and pinterest. I love her style and her adventures with vintage patterns. In fact, after a browse through her Pinterest page, I was quite happy to see that she and I have a some very similar style interests! It's Kismet!

This week, I’m packing up the pattern, fabric and notions for a project for Paige. She is doing the same for me. And then, we get to sew into submission each other’s projects!

How fun is that? I’m excited to see what Paige is sending. I think it’s a fabulous way to try something new without having to do all the planning for it!

I’ll keep you posted when my project arrives and of course, every step of the way!

And of course, since I'm always up for a good swap and always excited about surprises, I might actually want to do this again if anyone wants to play along.

In the meantime, go give Paige some sewing love on her blog! She's making Hawthorne at this very moment!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

But I need my sewing time…like I need air to breath.


I hate them, I love them. And I am not always the best at dealing with them.
Wouldn't you think that after a lifetime of transitions, a person would get good at it?

In the upside down world of my full time job and a new business venture, I’m finding little time to sew.

We've been scrambling to prepare a retail location for Ellen j Goods, which has meant renovating the space and getting inventory ready. Which also means just about every minute of my day is occupied. Sunday, I was able to sneak away for a quick project. This was after JR and I had a Long Talk about planning our projects and priorities.

But I need my sewing time…like I need air to breath. It’s a way for me to work through Life Stuff while I’m working through Sewing Stuff. Does that make sense?

Anyway, back to my Sunday project. In an hour’s time, I made a caftan top. McCall's 6204.  JR came up to the sewing room at one point and gave me the old stink-eye because I was sewing instead of painting or working on marketing stuff or spreadsheets.

But I need my sewing time. And I got it. And , well, the caftan top was almost a flop.

While I liked the idea of it, it was too big...too something. And I wasn't quite sure how to wear it.

So, for two days, I've been taking in seams, re-doing, and re-fitting. maybe it works now.

Maybe it feels a little to dramatic and glamorous for me to be wearing a top with asymmetric sleeves! I'm not sure. One thing I know for sure, I am no Erica Bunker, my style muse for this pattern! 

My body has been changing. Which is a Very Good Thing. But I’m in this transition right now where many things in my closet are not fitting anymore, and I don’t have time to make new or alter. Each morning, finding something to wear usually means going through about ten outfits followed by a trip to the sewing machine to take in darts or seams where I can. I’m not even sure what size I am in patterns anymore!  But I am loving this reclaimed body and healthier life.

And how about our dear departed Google Reader?
I miss it. I’m having a hard time with the transition. I want to be able to read blogs and comment easily from my iPhone. I figured out how to do that through Feedly and that crashed. So now, I’m exclusively Bloglovin' and trying to work it out. Is anyone else mourning the loss of Google Reader?

Remember the Vintage Sheet Giveaway?
I really wish I could have given every one of you a vintage sheet. But as you know, I don't have the time right now to go out and search for 40 vintage sheets!  So, by random number generator (which happens to be my husband) Linda from Danville Girl  has won the vintage sheet and pattern!  Big happy congrats to Linda! 
Go check out her blog and say hello!

So, deep breaths, count to ten and get through the days ahead. That's what I'm going to do...how about you?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Got to find me a place in the sun...and a special, sunny GIVEAWAY!!!!!

"You know when times are bad
And you're feeling sad
I want you to always remember
Yes, there's a place in the sun" 
We had a break in the gray days over the weekend…and where was I?

moody and dark. On the verge of tears. And why? I have no idea. We spent Saturday thrifting, painting and then had dinner with friends and a night a Comedy Sportz. Lots of laughs, good times. Yet, Sunday I was a poop.

JR tried his best to be supportive and a somewhat typical man problem-solver.

“is it something I did?”

“is it something I didn’t do?”

“what do you need?”

“well, come over here and cry. If you need to soak my shirt, go ahead and cry.”

“do you want to go someplace?”

“what would make you happy?”

Bless him. He’s had the benefit of two wives and three daughters to gain this kind of wisdom. The truth is, I couldn’t explain my mood.

“ you know, honey, you could be hormonal.”

Double bless him. Before I kill him.

And finally,
“ you are pretty upbeat all the time so if you are having an off day, it’s okay, and you don’t even have to have a reason.”
I love this man.

Did I dare confess that I think part of my mood was that I didn’t get to sew this weekend? And my serger is sick? One project after being fixed because I ran over a pin last week?

I cut out a dress. Yes, another dress made from a bed sheet. Monday night I sewed it the old fashioned way with no serger. And I am wearing it today. And it feels like sunshine.

So, before you get tired of my vintage bed sheet dresses, I’d like to offer you a vintage bed sheet of your own so you can make a dress. That would make me happy.

Leave me a comment, and by Friday night, I’ll draw a name and send you a special sunny floral bed sheet from my collection. And a pattern to go with it!
(USA only, please)