Bulb shoots!

2015_05_11 toes turned in

What I Wore to Work Today: May 11, 2015
Top: Target, new
Skirt: Ann Taylor
Shoes: Payless

Something is happening in the bulb pots! Look, a few little shoots!

2015_05_011

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May 30, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Links, Projects, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

Painting clothes

2015_03_20What I Wore to Work Today: March 20, 2015
Shirt: Goodwill, taken in
Pants: Target, hemmed
Shoes: Target

When I was growing up I always had a set of painting clothes: an old shirt and maybe a pair of pants that would be worn while painting because the paint splatters wouldn’t matter. This doesn’t make sense to me anymore. How often was I repainting stuff? Did my family really need designated painting clothes? Was it just the pull of hoarding, keeping a perfectly good shirt for painting instead of turning it into rags or even, god forbid, putting it in the garbage?

I wore this shirt while painting chairs several years ago and splattered dark gray paint on the sleeve. The paint is still there, hidden when the sleeves are rolled, and here I am wearing it to work on a Friday.

April 18, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Links, Pictures, Projects, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

Bridesmaid Dress Before and After

a beautiful bridelittle black dressI

How to wear a pastel yellow bridesmaid dress again: dye it black and hope for the best. I don’t have a true Before picture of this dress because I shortened it by a couple inches before realizing I hadn’t taken any photos. I added the straps myself, using wired satin ribbon. After the wedding, I removed the ribbon and dyed the dress black, which came out more of a dark gray. The polyester zipper and the thread I used for hemming didn’t take the dye, so I colored it in with a permanent marker. So classy.

Full disclosure: these pictures are from fall 2013 and I still haven’t worn the After dress anywhere except my balcony to take pictures. Turns out I don’t have many occasions to wear a “if you squint maybe it’s not a bridesmaid dress?” dress in my regular life. If this dress isn’t in the giveaway pile yet it’s headed there soon.

chuppah bearer

Several years ago one October I was helping a friend find a bridesmaid dress for a small, low-key wedding. We looked through rack after rack of dresses at inexpensive stores like Ross and a Macy’s outlet.

“This is so frustrating, I won’t be able to find anything pale yellow, that’s not a color in stores in October, and buying a new dress is expensive!” She was frustrated. I agreed that it was not at all cool that they asked her to find such a specific color and just a few weeks before the wedding even! She looked sheepish. “Um, well, actually they asked for my favorite color and when I said yellow they requested that I wear something in light yellow because the three women in the wedding are each wearing their favorite color in a pastel version. And, um, that conversation happened over the summer.”

She found a lovely cotton short-sleeve dress with eyelet hem detail for around twenty bucks. To alleviate her concerns about whether it was wedding-y enough we made a trip to Jo-Ann Fabric and she bought some satin in a pale bronze champagne color. I sewed a sash for her waist; she and the dress both looked great. She found the whole process stressful and costly and vowed that when she got married the people in her wedding would wear whatever they damn well please.

Fast forward a few years: She was engaged. The chuppah bearers were her friends, more or less bridesmaids. We were asked/instructed to wear $100-150 David’s Bridal dresses, short, in canary, with “a strong preference for satin or chiffon” (adding the note directed at me “I totally disregarded your advice there re: either direct orders or not stating a preference, but you’re not the boss of me anyhow”). The official bridesmaid were the couple’s collective sisters, and they were assigned long David’s Bridal cobalt blue satin dresses.

A friend and I went shopping together. We both chose the same strapless cotton dress, and I added ribbon straps to mine.

April 10, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. Leave a comment.

Spring quilt retreat: yellow, gray, and seafoam green

chico quilt vertical

A year ago I attended my first quilt retreat at the Triangle Y Ranch in Oracle, AZ. I loved it and vowed to attend more retreats in the future and to create my own “quilt retreats” at home where I dedicate two days to sewing and only sewing. It’s easier at an isolated camp setting with minimal cell service and unreliable wifi than it is at home with the usual home distractions and demands: a weird little white dog that needs walks and meals, laundry and chores that sit waiting for attention, internet that’s always right there…

I brought a small stack of new fabric in light greens, blues, and yellows. “I’ll help carry the rest of your stuff!” the other women said when I arrived. I had everything in one bag and my sewing machine in my other hand, there was no “rest of my stuff”. They delighted in my minimalism. I finished three baby quilt tops over the long weekend.

This quilt is made of six blocks that I arranged to create secondary pattern stars. I didn’t have enough fabric to make it a full 3×3 so settled for 3×2 in proportions that I wouldn’t choose on my own, The Quilter’s Recipe Book by Celia Eddy is fantastic and I highly recommend it, especially for new quilters. I gave this quilt to somebody at my improv theater and he asked if I had confirmed the crib size with his wife since it was exactly the right dimensions. Nope, just the universe doing its thing.

chico quilt back

chico quilt horizontal

March 22, 2015. Tags: , , . Links, Pictures, Projects, Words. 1 comment.

Weird stinky jacket

2014_09_02 hands on hips

What I Wore to Work Today: September 2, 2014
Jacket: Goodwill, $1 Thursday refashioned
Tshirt: Target
Skirt: Ann Taylor
Belt: Target
Shoes: Payless

I bought this jacket from Goodwill for a dollar. I cut off the fringe on the lapel and the pockets. I wore it once and then sent it back to Goodwill because it turns out it had a weird smell and I wasn’t particularly fond of it even if it didn’t, you know, smell weird.

And yes, we jumped forward six months, you noticed that too! And I got a haircut in July. And I started seeing somebody who skateboards and left an old board on my balcony until I finally threw it away when it became clear that no, he wasn’t actually going to do something arty with that board and if he did want to do an art project he’d have another old board a month or two later anyway.

2014_09_02 tan tweed jacket before

March 6, 2015. Tags: , , , , , . Pictures, Projects, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

Triangles quilt for me

triangles quiltIn December 2013 I attended the holiday potluck meeting of the local chapter of Arizona Quilt Guild. I had a delightful evening and became a member in January 2014. I am definitely the youngest member by a noticeable margin. Most women are in the 55-70 range, with some older and few in their 40s. And yes, it is all women.

I attended the spring retreat at a little camp near Tucson in March and I loved it. There were 7 of us working on our projects all day, breaking for meals in the dining room. “Breakfast isn’t until 8:00 a.m., so you don’t even need to worry about an alarm,” one woman explained in total seriousness as I set up my workspace upon arrival. Ha. Hilarious. I set my alarm each morning and stumbled to breakfast, looking for coffee more than anything. I was always the last one in the sewing room, usually around 1 a.m.

I signed up for the fall retreat too, this time in Prescott. Only 4 of us ended up in attendance due to last-minute emergency cancellations, which gave me the loft sleeping area all to myself. I probably would have anyway because the others didn’t want to deal with the steep stairs. (Thank you, 32-year-old knees!) Once again, I was the last one up every night. This time I didn’t set my alarm until 10:00 though, to get a bit more sleep and relaxation out of the long weekend.

This is my fall retreat quilt, which I decided to keep for myself. The bright and bold triangles are all from scraps, while the white is actually several white-on-white prints up close. Note to self: take a close-up picture, post it later. I was inspired by the Flying Farfalle quilt I saw several years ago on the fabulous Film in the Fridge. Each square is 6×6 unfinished, with the scraps between 2.5×2.5 and 5×5. I knew when I was making it that I wanted to keep this one for myself. It’s impractical with the mix of white and bright colors. I love it.

The back is mostly an Ikea sheet-turned-curtains-turned-backing.

triangles quilt back corner

triangles quilt landing

March 5, 2015. Tags: , , . Links, Pictures, Projects, Words. Leave a comment.

Turquoise and yellow baby quilt

kara quilt patio wall

I found these pictures on my computer from October 2012, a baby quilt I had forgotten that I made. I vaguely recalling being told they were doing a turquoise and yellow theme for their baby and I said “I can work with that!” The quilt is resting on the patio wall of the apartment below mine. It was the only nearby surface that would hold the quilt horizontally — I tried the pool fence gate and a nearby bush first — and I hoped the neighbors wouldn’t catch me at it. A rummage through the memory files confirms that I had ended a relationship a week or two before the pictures, meaning I didn’t have a quilt photo assistant handy.
kara quilt gate vertical

kara quilt

kara quilt shrub

March 4, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. Leave a comment.

A quilt of my own

blue & green quilt mine-001

I started this quilt 4 -5 years ago intended as a gift for somebody. Eventually I realized that it was long past time that I needed to just buy a present already for their life event, and I decided this quilt was for somebody else. That never happened either. Last winter it was a functional quilt, missing a binding and with minimal quilting. I started using it on my bed during a cold snap, exposed batting edges and all. Finally, sometime last spring I added binding and declared this quilt Mine. After making maybe two dozen quilts ranging from lap quilts to a queen size, this is the first one that I am keeping for myself.

Of course it is. Blue and green and blue-green leftovers from my stash on the front and soft flannel pieces on the back, it represents the colors that I gravitate to over and over. (I have over-corrected since then and now have an excess of vibrant pinks.) The picture isn’t particularly true to life in the specific colors, and it is still accurate. Blue. Green. Blue-green.

blue & green quilt mine back

February 14, 2015. Tags: , . Pictures, Projects, Words. 1 comment.

One of the first

2013_10_21
What I Wore to Work Today: October 21, 2013
Dress: Goodwill, refashioned
Belt: Target
Shoes: Target

This was one of the first dresses that I refashioned when my refashioning took a leap into dresses in 2010. (RIP Wardrobe Refashion.)

navy floral dress before 12-18-10

February 12, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Links, Pictures, Projects, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

More clothes I don’t have anymore

2013_10_02 hands on hips
What I Wore to Work Today: October 2, 2013
Shirt: Goodwill
Skirt: Target, new, shortened
Shoes: Payless

The top and skirt were both given away last year. Another skirt that I wore maybe twice.
2013_10_02

brown herringbone skirt before

February 8, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Pictures, Projects, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

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