Happy Friday + Power to the Unicorn

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Happy Friday! Hello everyone, K here! Every year there’s a Halloween party at my school. Everyone dresses up in their Halloween costumes and comes for food and games (the fifth graders make a haunted house too). This year my mom made me an awesome unicorn costume with a rainbow mane and horn. I can’t wait for next year!!!

Haiku by K

Rainbow horns and mane!
Power to the unicorn…
Happy halloween!

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

Well, that’s a hard act to follow, but I thought you might want a few more details about the costume?

2016-halloween-unicorn2I am dubbing this the world’s most expensive unicorn costume.

Back in late September, I was cruising through Fred Meyer (similar to Target here in the Pacific Northwest) and saw a costume that looked strikingly like the one you see above. For $14.99, I was ready to insert my debit card into the nearest reader and call it a day.

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However. My child was oddly insistent that I make her a costume because it’s a “tradition.”  Not one to pass up a tradition, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

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Goodwill was the surprising source for the horn and the wigs that became the mane and tail. They were actually new and were probably slightly less expensive than buying them elsewhere, but one wig alone cost the same as the entire costume at Fred Meyer.

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A hooded onesie was what I needed to make, and I rooted around my existing pattern stash to see what I could hack together. I remembered the puffy jacket I’d made earlier in the year from Puperita’s Tiger Hoodie pattern and knew that would be a good starting point. I decided to frankenstein the hoodie pattern with a self-drafted pant pattern based on one of her pajama bottoms. Here’s the first prototype which we call her Kermit onesie:

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The fit was pretty good though she wanted the inseam to be raised a bit which was an easy fix. Then there was the issue of ears. A few years ago I went on a hat-making bender and what made them an instant hit were the bear ears. I made K a version here. The pattern was from the Oliver + S Little Things to Sew book, and with a little futzing about, I was able to replace the Tiger Hoodie hood with a modified version of the bear hat. Voila, the Miss Piggy vest:

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It’s possible that K loves the Kermit onesie and the Miss Piggy vest more than the unicorn costume, but that’s neither here nor there.

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I felt that bling was important for a unicorn. My mom had brought me an insane gold lamé flouncy dress a while ago, and I kept it in the bin with other fabrics fit for costume-making. It came in handy for the ears and “hooves” though they didn’t hold up well at all. You can already see the gold filaments sproinging in that image above. K wore the costume twice: the first time for the school Monster Mash and the second time on Halloween proper, but by Halloween the hooves were a disgrace.

I bought 4 yards of white fleece just in case I made a mistake and couldn’t believe it when I used up almost the entire yardage just for one version. K must be taking steroids! Thank goodness that I didn’t make any obvious errors. It’s a costume, after all, so I wasn’t too concerned about prettifying the raw edges and such.

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I sandwiched the tail wig between the back center pieces, and hand-stitched the mane onto the hood. I had a momentary loss of composure when I couldn’t find the hot glue gun for the horn, but there it was right where I put it under 19 tons of fabric.

Do I wish I’d gone the store-bought route instead? Hmmmmm…I would have saved a lot of $$ and time, but the look on K’s face when she saw the completed costume was priceless. She got so many compliments that she was positively luminescent and I have to admit, she looked pretty darn magical. Oh well, I better start saving up for next year’s costume…

2016-halloween-unicorn3Have a happy weekend, my friends! See you next week!

Happy Friday + Randomness + New Look Patterns

Happy Friday! I am deep, deep into edits for the next book and have come up for brief air. Wait, let me change that. I should be deep, deep into edits but as usual, I’m finding ways to put off the necessary task at hand. However, I’m getting close to finishing up, and as long as I submit everything by Halloween, I’m good to go.

That’s K’s unicorn drawing for me that I keep in my journal these days. I like that even its flatulence is rainbow-shaped. Dreaming and imagining are important. Believing in the intangible and supposedly impossible is also important.

So I am believing that I WILL complete K’s unicorn costume (so close) and my edits and a few other projects. If anyone will be in the Pierce County area tomorrow, I’ll be doing a short presentation at the DIY Fest through the Pierce County Library System at 11:30am. Sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun!

Aside from random blog posts, another favorite pastime (read: procrastination) is to plan all the marvelous things I’ll sew when I finally have this mythical, abundance of unicorn-like time.

I was picking up something from JoAnn’s the other day and was pleasantly surprised by the rebranding that New Look seems to be going through, at least for women’s wear. More neutral, a bit more chic. And then I saw them — tween patterns!

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I grabbed a few, along with three patterns for myself. With my dodgy memory, I’m already starting to forget which ones K wanted me to make for her, so we’ll use this space as my record-keeping method. As far as I can remember, the only New Look pattern I’ve sewn is 6648, which I talked about here and here. The New Look brand is under the umbrella of Simplicity — I wonder what the difference is? Maybe they’re easier to make?

Anyhow, here are the ones K liked:

New Look 6241 // View B

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New Look 6297 // Views A, C + D

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New Look 6320 // View A

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New Look 6338 // All of them

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New Look 6487 // Views B and C (She hates view A, which is the one I would have made had I not known…)

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“Please start with 6338 and 6297,” she said in her matter-of-fact, efficient way. She even agreed to get rid of some of her existing clothes so I’ll sew more clothes. Sounds like a fair deal to me.

For myself:

New Look 6482 // Views A, B + D

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New Look 6449 // Views A, B + C

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New Look 6414 // Views A + B

newlook6414Ahhhhhh, imaginary sewing continues to be my happy place. Alright, I’ll be back next week and until then, have a spectacular weekend!

Happy Halloween!
Our resident unicorn
is beside herself 

P.S. Furoku members! I’m shooting to get #20 to you by November 1st, but I might need a couple of extra days…thank you!!

Happy Friday + Faux Fur Pillows

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Happy Friday! Earlier this year when I did a little giveaway, I was poo-pooing the whole concept of faux fur pillows. So naturally, I decided to make them 9 months later.

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I’m not sure why. In fact, I rarely have a rational explanation for why I make things. I guess I might be classified as an intuitive sewing enthusiast who is completely guided by my whims. If something stops feeling good or right, I tend to quickly abandon projects these days (unless it’s a shirt for M). Life is too short to be wasted on subpar activities, I say.

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Not that sewing faux fur is a stellar activity, mind you. Especially when I thought I was being all clever and made it a removable cover with an invisible zipper for easy washing. Did you know that the fur gets ceaselessly caught in the zipper teeth, which has the potential of devolving into a sort of push-pull nightmare? Now I know. Strangely, despite the many factors that could have made this an unpleasant project, I really enjoyed it.

The more textured grey-and-black fake fur is from JoAnn’s and it’s incredibly soft — it feels like you’re caressing a bunny, though come to think of it, I’ve never caressed a bunny. Maybe they’re not that snuggly? The lighter grey pillow cover is actually more bristly, and the backing is also much thicker. My mom brought it for K when she visited Seattle in August, and I’m assuming it was thrifted from somewhere in Los Angeles. I found it tucked in one of my fabric baskets after she’d left. Very sneaky, Mama! I had asked her not to bring me any more fabric because…well, if you saw my fabric stash you would see why. It’s been pre-washed a few times, just to be on the safe side. Who knows what creepy crawlies can be in new-to-us fabric, right?

I used 20″ pillow inserts and cut the faux fur to 20.5″ squares. Looks like that worked out well. The key with faux fur, I’ve discovered, is to move at a snail’s pace. Cut slowly but steadily. Carry the pieces like they are made of the finest, most delicate china. Keep your foot light on the sewing machine pedal. Overlocking all the edges before assembling the pieces also helped. I felt richly rewarded because there were virtually no scattered bits of fur after I finished sewing.

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They are, of course, for K. And yes, she loves them. So much so that she sleeps surrounded by them every night and when I see her clutching the pillows while deep in slumber, I realize this is why I sew. To bring joy, to feel joy. It’s awesome. Faux-fur-tastic, even.

Have a delightful weekend, my friends! What are you making these days?

Unicorn costume*
is feeling sort of daunting
But I’m ready now

*I have all the supplies for the costume and will start sewing this weekend!

Happy Friday + Giveaway! [CLOSED]

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Happy Friday, my friends! I’m becoming comfortable with my new routines. I like posting just once a week, and maybe in a few months, the urge to post more will surface but for now, this feels just right. K’s school time has shifted significantly this year, which means that we have to wake up almost 2 hours earlier and that’s been a major adjustment. 5 weeks in, however, I’m starting to enjoy the early kick-off each weekday. I have books to work on for the foreseeable future and with each completed deadline, my body tells me I need major downtime. I’ve learned to respect that instead of powering through. Right now is my downtime, and I’m puttering around, taking it easy. It’s nice.

I’ve also been slowly plugging away at purging all our belongings. For example, we had this monstrously huge old microwave that we barely used and one day I thought, “what if we got rid of it?” Unfortunately, K seems to have an intrinsic hoarding instinct and vociferously argued against it. “How are we going to heat up the soup dumpling from Trader Joe’s that I love so much??” she keened.

We came up with a compromise. I proposed putting it in the basement and if we managed 30 days without using it, we would donate it.

40 days passed and we didn’t notice the lack of a microwave at all. I melt my butter in a cute, tiny saucepan. We steam those beloved TJ soup dumplings in a pot. I reheat leftovers on the stovetop or in the oven. They taste better that way anyway.

Once the behemoth microwave was gone (and yes, we donated it), our kitchen felt so much more spacious. It’s wonderful. I like my basement quarantine method.

The one thing I have a hard time letting go of is books. I haven’t officially counted all the books in my house, but I’m pretty certain that it would take me a minimum of 30 years to read them all.  It doesn’t help that amazing books keep luring me to buy more (I also check out way too many from libraries). But I’ve had to come to terms with the sheer ridiculousness of my book stash. Our house is simply too small to accommodate them all and I thought about applying my basement quarantine method, but clearly, that won’t work since I can’t possibly read hundreds of books in 30 days. I also tried the Marie Kondo method, but wouldn’t you know it, they all spark joy. So in a rather haphazard, there’s-a-method-to-my-madness way, I am attempting to tackle the issue.

Which leads me to my giveaway today. I have a copy of  The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees, she of the wonderful blog Into Mind, that I would love to pass onto you. I actually have the digital version of The Curated Closet as well, because I definitely want to read it and it’s beautifully done. I haven’t gone completely nuts-o so I don’t have a digital version for every physical book I own, but I thought this would be a fun giveaway and I am reducing the analog possession. That works for me.

Since I haven’t actually read the book yet, I can’t in good conscience give a review, but it looks like there are tons of helpful reviews out there already. I’m drawn, of course, to the chapter about the closet detox though I have to admit that my clothing situation is shockingly sparse these days.

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More on my whole clothing situation later. To enter the giveaway, any comment will do as per usual. And perhaps you’d like to share what your favorite apparel item for fall is? I myself LOVE boots. And big, chunky scarves. Yep, very much my uniform for autumn. I’ll leave the giveaway open until next Friday, October 21st. Good luck!

Minimalistic
That’s what I’m striving to be
Need lots of practice

Have a fantastic weekend, all! There’s a storm brewing in Seattle, and I intend to stay cozy. M’s parents are in town right now, and we’ll need to find some good rainy day activities!

 

P.S. [UPDATE]: The winner of the giveaway is Tammy!

 

 

Happy Friday + Randomness

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M used to have this phrase he would toss out whenever he wanted me to do something that he could easily do himself but was feeling less than motivated to execute. “Would you be a peach?” he’d say. Usually it was followed by a request to get him a glass of water, or roll up the sleeves of his shirt, or you know, something mildly inconvenient for me. But he’d say it in this jokey cute way, and of course I would do it.

Lately I feel like my days are an endless litany of these kinds of mildly inconvenient requests from myself to myself, except I’m not very jokey or cute about it. Would you be a peach and stop droning on about how little time you have? Would you be a peach and update your blog already? You get the picture.

Blog updating is actually still very enjoyable for me, but it’s amazing how quickly I can get out of the habit when I let a few weeks go without regular posts. Ugh. I’m still not done with my deadlines (a few new ones suddenly cropped up) and I’ve been feeling behind in everything. I have to keep reminding myself that I belong to Team Tortoise and not Team Hare. I plod along, one ponderous step at a time, craning my neck in curiosity and befuddlement as I sloooooooooooooooowly make progress.

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What helps is that I’m hugely enjoying this tea that my neighbor brought back for me from Guatemala. It’s Mayan cacao tea with all sorts of purported health benefits. Better blood circulation and improved heart health and all that good stuff. You just soak cacao husks and nibs in hot water for about 10 minutes and the traditional way is to drink it with a little honey, my neighbor told me.

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I add unsweetened almond milk and a touch of raw honey and mmmmmmmmmmmm. It’s not fully chocolate-y, but it hits the spot for me and it’s become a daily ritual. I’m almost running out, so I better get more! I can’t seem to find this brand online, but maybe this one or this one will do the trick…

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Be back soon. With giveaways, I hope. Or maybe even a sewing project of some sort. Gotta get started on that unicorn costume.

I’m wishing you a wonderful weekend, my friends!

Would you be a peach?
And forget that I complained?
Thank you very much