Happy Friday + Randomness

vancouver-sketch

Happy Friday! So, we’re getting out of town and heading to Vancouver next week! K’s friend is visiting from Guatemala and on the spur-of-the-moment, we booked tickets for Amtrak plus an Air BNB, and off we go on an all-girls’ trip to Canada. One senior citizen, one middle-aged mama and two tweens. This should be interesting. We’re all about the same age mentally, so it’s going to be a blast. Due to the crazy number of things going on, we can only stay for a couple of days which means we won’t be able to hit the Harrison Hot Springs, but the place we’re staying in (Yaletown) has a pool and sauna. Fabulous.

We’ll explore Granville and fabric stores and if anyone has recommendations/suggestions, I’d love to hear! We’re looking for some good restaurants in or near downtown.

With travel and party/launch prep, etc. I’m scaling back a little and will post on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next couple of weeks, but I’ll do my best to make them extra fun posts. Happy, happy weekend everyone!

The house elves won’t stop
‘Lectric crisis and the like*
How to appease them?

*We are now experiencing electrical problemos and I keep finding baffling new ways in which the house can fall apart and other oddness. Who knew that bees would be in our lighting fixtures? I’m ready for a vacation!

Happy Friday + Randomness

askforthemoon

Happy Friday! I’m heading into the weekend sneezing up a storm due to the bountiful pollen floating in the air. If I could ask for the moon, I would implore the allergy gods to please leave me alone. On the flip side, the blooms are breathtaking, and I love the scent that the cusp of spring brings. So fresh! Unlike the flowering beauty everywhere, I’m looking and feeling pretty rough, my friends.

If I could ask for the moon, I would also inquire after some peace and calm. My book is coming out in less than two months and the jitters have shanghai-d my normally serene (ha!) disposition.

So I’m off to hunt down and guzzle some raw apple cider vinegar to quell the ah-choos (did you know that apple cider vinegar helps with allergies?), and I’m eager to indulge in some comfort routines over the weekend to soothe my jangled nerves.

If you could ask for the moon, what would you ask for?

***************************************************

Cherry blossoms time
Crisp air, sunny, pretty days
I need some tissues

Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend. May you be allergy-free!

Happy Friday + Randomness

blue-girl-branches

Happy Friday! I’ve been noticing that I like to go in cycles when it comes to making things. Right now, I’m feeling a huge resurgence of love for sewing and my sketching/painting is taking a back seat. I had a brief fling with knitting and then my enthusiasm waned, but I can tell that I’ll want to go back once the sewing bug eases up a bit. Do you find that? Are you the alternating or concurrent type? I used to think I liked to dabble in a variety of crafts at the same time, but lately I want to focus more — what is it that they call it? Single-tasking, I think.

Anyway, I painted this li’l blue-grey lady a while back with some beautiful handmade Greenleaf and Blueberry watercolors (based here in Washington!).

We had a balmy, sunny, I-want-to-run-around-without-my-winter-coat kind of day yesterday and I’m hoping for some more of those.

I’m wishing you a happy weekend!

Haiku by K:

Friday is the best
No homework I need to do
I get to relax

 

 

Mishmash of Thoughts on 2015 + Happy 2016!

 

happy2016

2015 is about to end, and I’m full of nostalgia already. This has been a year of so many magnificent firsts — I’ve mentioned them relentlessly at this point, so I will spare you the replay. Will 2016 top the surreal awesomeness that was this year? I can’t wait to find out.

The rose illustration you see up there is one of my favorites that I’ve done in the last 12 months. It’s a departure from my usual style, with more dimension and a botanical painting vibe. I want to do a whole lot more with the series that I created (there are about 10 flowers in total).

Ah, but that “want”. It’s one of the things I noticed as a recurring theme this year. I publicly announced so many things I hoped to accomplish, and don’t get me wrong, I got a lot done but I left far more than I was comfortable with undone. That was my biggest challenge — to find peace with incompletion, to not beat myself up. I hate hate hate not following through, and I feel like so many of my promises to myself and others fell to the wayside. Things like my grand aspirations to sew up jeans and a stylish grown-up wardrobe, to devote serious energy into an online shop (I’ve sold 2 items to date and have stalled on adding more items), completing the custom illustrations (it’s been over a year, for shame), providing monthly income reports, etc. etc. These are not mission critical tasks by any stretch of the imagination, but few things feel worse for me than letting myself and others down.

It’s made me a lot more cautious about what I declare as goals. And I’ve also learned that I have to be careful about talking about money issues here on the blog. Not everyone on the interwebs is kind as I was sad to discover first-hand, and I need to beef up my emotional armor a bit more should I choose to resume sharing financial information. I’ve been very open and in-depth with the Furoku members about the behind-the-scenes aspects, where it feels like a very safe arena. I think we all need spaces like that. Even though I’m always riddled with self-doubt, I believe that little membership is one of the best things I’ve come up with. It’s pushed me to become more honest, to try new illustration styles (the rose illustration at the top was created for one of the monthly offerings), to get out of my comfort zone and attempt new things. I feel like I’m a slightly better version of myself as a result.

I’m aware, however, that the blog is getting the short shrift since I’ve been pouring so much of myself into the membership and books. I keep hearing that blogs are dying — do you think so? I feel like I’ve asked this before, but at the time it still seemed like blogs were thriving. Because I didn’t want to become too influenced by anyone while I was working on my books, I stopped visiting other blogs for a good year. Now that I’m starting to pick up where I left off, I’ve noticed that many of my favorite bloggers have either stopped or dramatically reduced their content. Or they’ve become much more commercialized. Or just…different. I suppose the same could be said of mine, and really, change could be a good sign.

I very much wanted to give myself a lovely new handmade wardrobe and had pumped myself up that this would be what the blog would focus on for 2015. But I made a total of 7 items. 7! And I’m sort of cheating because I made one of the tops (Renfrew) in 2014 but had never blogged about it. Almost everything I made was blue, and I didn’t count the muslins for my jeans. I suspect there are some psychological reasons I’ve resisted sewing for myself, because I somehow managed to find time to sew for K even when it was sure to result in sleep deprivation. A sure sign of commitment. The good news is that almost every single thing I made for myself has been in heavy rotation — the Nani Iro stripey top in particular (4th from left) is starting to look threadbare from constant wear:

2015-memade

 

Linen Top

Renfrew Bamboo Knit Top

Nani Iro Top #1 and Nani Iro Top #2

Romper and Strappy Tank 

Knit Dress with Keyhole back

Anyhow, onto 2016! I don’t have any sweeping or specific goals for this shiny new year. I still love to blog, I still love to write and sew and paint and make stuff in general, and I hope I’ll be able to do all that and more for the foreseeable future. The intrinsic rewards trump any insecurities I may be experiencing and it’s my answer to the ubiquitous Mary Oliver quote I keep bumping into: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” I’m not much of a poetry gal, but I got her latest book, Felicity, and the last line in her poem “Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way” caught my attention recently: “The point is, you’re you, and that’s for keeps.”

So simple, yet so true. Brava, Ms. Oliver! I love how unpretentious and relatable her language is.

preciouslife

 

I’m wishing you all a 2016 in which you get to be spectacularly you!

 

P.S. Furoku members! The next edition is aimed to hit your in-boxes at 11:59pm tonight (or, you know, possibly on New Year’s Day).

2015 RECAP: Sewing for K

2015-recapfork

Good morning! I hope you all had a restful and celebratory Christmas, and perhaps you too are now looking back upon all the happenings of 2015. It’s been a big year for me: one book launched, another completed. I inadvertently started something that could be considered a side business. My little family of three had highs and lows, but the good times outweighed the bad. I hadn’t been quite prepared for the emotional turbulence that was part of this year, but in hindsight it stretched and pulled me like taffy, loosening me up, adding flexibility.

Given the many life-altering events that happened in the past 12 months, it’s no wonder that my personal sewing took a major hit. But I can’t really blame it all on book activities. The inevitable seems to be happening, and as K grows older, she’s less interested in wearing clothes that I’ve made. She wants to live in t-shirts/knits and leggings, preferably with characters and bright designs on them. “The non-stretchy stuff you make is uncomfortable, Mama,” she tells me.

So it makes sense that I tended to default to stitching up knit clothing, just because that upped the chances of them getting worn. Even so, she’d rather wear the store-bought hand-me-downs from our neighbor — I can understand that.

I’d assumed I made about a dozen things for K this year, but as I looked through my archives, the grand total came out to 27 (if counting each component of her Halloween costume separately). Not too bad! An average of 2+ a month is far more than I thought I could manage.

So here they are by month (surprisingly, the only month I completely skipped was May):

JANUARY

raglan-navy-floral5

 

Raglan Navy + Floral

frogtastic10

Frogtastic Tee

 

perripullovers5 perripullovers6

Perri Pullovers

FEBRUARY

plaid-wool-dress1

Front Placket Dress (Wool Plaid)

geometric-placketdress1

Front Placket Dress (Geometric)

coral-giraffe-print1

Coral Giraffe Print Top + Leggings

MARCH

bow-dress5

Bow Dress

robe-jacket7

“Robe Jacket”

dotted-sailor-dress3

Sailor Dress

APRIL

bunny-tee-dress6

Easter Bunny T-Dress

JUNE

maritime-y-dress4

Maritime-y Dress

non-recital-dress7

Recital Dress That Wasn’t

whitefloral-naniiroshorts3

White Tee + Nani Iro Knit Shorts

JULY

bralette1

Bralette

henrydress-gradientgrey8

Henry Dress in Gradients of Grey

AUGUST

bedfordinblackandfloral1

Bedford in Black and Floral

 

rockstar-pants14

Rockstar Pants

SEPTEMBER

ottobre-marja3

Ottobre Marja Top

 

animal-knit-dress4

Second Day of School Dress

OCTOBER

superherok6

Superhero K

NOVEMBER

fauxfur-vest8

Faux Fur Vest

DECEMBER

gold-recital-dress3

Gilded Recital Dress

27 items! There were a few pairs of leggings I didn’t post, so it’s probably closer to 30. I’m not sure how to approach 2016 and sewing for K… I’m in the midst of making her a puffy jacket — it probably won’t be done until this Saturday — and I will continue to make her necessary clothes, I’m sure. But it’s different from when I first started this blog and I could make whatever I wanted for her and she happily donned the outfits. She’s no longer my dress-up doll, and we are entering a whole new phase of tweenhood and strong opinions and self-consciousness.

I’ll figure something out, though. Maybe 2016 will be about teaching K how to make her own clothes. Now, wouldn’t that be something?