Monday, November 10, 2014

heart blouse

until i made bffbf's costume (aang the airbender) a few weeks ago, it had been over three months since i had sewn anything.  i spent most of the summer baking, cooking, and working out, and just didn't set aside time to pull out my sewing machine.  inspired by the success of his costume, i decided i wanted to sew some more.  i had recently purchased some apparel fabric and using an old shirt as a guide, made a pattern for a basic blouse.  

here's the front view.   it's a little hard to tell but the front is scooped.  the back (below) has a v-neck with a strap across it. 

and here it is on.   i would love to say that i was able to whip this up in a couple of hours, but it actually took me many hours from pattern making to finish.  i'm really out of practice!   but it still felt great to sew again.

Friday, October 31, 2014

i'm ready.

happy halloween!

thank you ohhappyday for my costume this year.  oh and amazon.  that's where all the (free packing) paper is from.

i'm ready.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

stitchfix four - august 2014- goodbye, forever.

somehow it is october, and i am sorely behind on my blogging. i've been QUITE busy with life, but even though i didn't post a review right when i received my last stitchfix, i did manage to take pictures of the contents in box #4 (see my stitchfix 1 review for more information about this service).

after the last two disappointing boxes, i decided to request a different stylist.  my profile was already pretty detailed and specific, but i tried to make it even MORE so, hoping it would improve the contents of my next box.   for this fix, i requested dresses and tops that would be suitable for a photo shoot, with a focus on jewel tones.

in this fix i received:

under skies- jorja mini dot striped fit & flare dress- $58
susan monaco- edina scoop neck tank dress -$184
41 hawthorn- brydon twisted seams striped tank -$48
fun2fun- sonoma striped sleeveless top- $38
renee c- edmondo stud detailed split-back blouse- $48

i felt pretty lukewarm about the dress when i pulled it out of the box.  the pattern and colors weren't very interesting, and once i put it on, it was obvious that it was far too large on the top.  

the cut of this dress had promise.  i like fit and flare dresses, and with the exception of it being a tad more snug around my torso than i would have liked, i thought it was pretty cute.   

until... i looked at the price, which was $184, way WAY above my listed price range in my profile.  there wasn't even a chance that i'd shell out that kind of money for a jersey knit dress.   it wasn't that special, and i have no idea why the stylist even put this in my box.    

 moving on to the tops, the 41hawthorne tank was really soft and comfy and was kind of cute.  but, i thought it was on the large side, not particularly flattering, and not worth $48.    i also wouldn't want to wear something  this casual in a photo shoot.  this is more like something i'd wear for grocery shopping or maybe some casual outdoor outing?  

 the fun2fun top has an elongated round back which gave it some flare.  the material was also sort of sheer and scratchy, but the fit was decent.  i also wasn't particularly fond of the shade of orange used.  normally orange is my absolute favorite color, but something about this one (perhaps paired with the navy) was off-putting for me.   

when i first saw the split-back blouse, i was annoyed that it had mini gold studs all around the collar and down the back.  once it was on though, i decided they weren't that bad, and i kind of liked the idea of them. 

unfortunately, the cut of the front wasn't great.  at all.  it made me look bigger than i really am, and i felt really meh about it.   

the back however, was kind of cool, and i was sort of into it for a few minutes (i know. a few minutes is a long time.)

until i noticed some manufacturing flaws.  see how the studs are crooked at the collar? the fabric must have caught when the studs are were being... studded on. 

the studs on the front were an even more noticeable mess.  this was CLEARLY a return.  i briefly debated asking for a replacement, but after thinking about it, i really wasn't into the top, especially since it made me look so wide.  

once again, i was pretty disappointed with my box.  even though some of the items were okay, i still think the stylist missed the mark despite my detailed profile.  because i still had some stitchfix credit, i decided that instead of losing the $20 styling fee by not getting anything, i would just go ahead and keep the fun2fun orange/navy striped top.  i really didn't like it much (still don't), but i decided it was time to give up on stitchfix altogether--- and just use up my remaining referral credits.  i wound up paying something like $3 for the tank.  i figure it's worth at least $8, so i sort of won with that one.

so there you have it.  my 4th and final stitchfix review.  i have a couple friends that have had pretty decent success with this styling service, but apparently it just wasn't in the cards for me.  i really, really, really, wanted to love it, given my hatred for shopping, but... i don't. i just can't.   

out of frustration, i immediately signed up for keaton row, another styling service with a very different model.  honestly, i probably won't write a review on my experience, but currently it is free, and i have had a pretty positive experience so far, in case you want to give it a try.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

stitchfix three - july 2014- another fail

i'm not going to lie.  after my last stitchfix, i greeted the latest box with more fear than excitement (if you're unfamiliar with stitchfix*, check out my post about my first one here.)i was almost afraid to look at the pile when i opened it. but look-- so colorful and prettily tied with a sash from one of the items.   

in this fix, i received a pair of earrings, two blouses and two dresses.   unfortunately, i forgot to take a second look at the prices, and i'm not entirely sure i remember them correctly:

pixley- fantasia rhinestone deco earrings-$32 (or $36?)
ark n co- silvie floral beaded detail dress- $68? $78?
creative commune- rye floral print short sleeve blouse ~ $64?
skies are blue- moraga cut out detail blouse ~$48?
papermoon- waters diamond print maxi dress- $78

but before i get into it, i first want to apologize for not offering a fashion show with this post.  i wanted to. i really did. i set up the tripod, i set the timer, but the camera and i were just not getting along. it was just one of those days, i hope you understand.  

i had mix feelings about these earrings. i think i could almost like them-- and they actually looked reasonable on, from a distance, with my hair partially covering them.  so basically, i guess i don't like them at all.  they were just too large and gaudy for my taste.  

i tried on the ark n co dress first.  i liked the warm pink color, but was pretty certain the cut would be unflattering on me... and i hated the beading detail on top.  like a lot.  i actually specifically noted in my profile that beading was a no-no.  as i suspected, it was a little too large, and not that great of a fit overall.   it reminded me of the dress i disliked so much from my last box.

the creative commune blouse was flat out too large.  i was pretty much swimming in it, not to mention that i didn't like the print, and the colors were so intense... reminded me of an andy warhol print actually.  i didn't even have to think twice about this one.  

initially i thought this skies are blue blouse had potential.  however, i found the material scratchy and uncomfortable, even though it fit well.  i also couldn't get past the cut outs in the front.   i'm not opposed to cut outs, but these were just too large and too many and it just didn't look right on.  

at this point, i was worried.  the last item i tried on was the maxi dress. the color was fine, i liked the print ok.  i have actually wanted a maxi dress for a while, but i don't own any.  the material is soft and stretchy, and i was also pleased to find that the length was perfect.  i had anticipated it to be at least 5-10" too long, but it seems this one was cut for petites.  

but i wasn't sure.  something felt off, and i couldn't put my finger on it.
i went back and forth between yes and no about a 53 times. i texted pictures to my girlfriends.  i asked bffbf no repeatedly what he thought. something felt off about the dress, and ultimately i decided that the dress is too frumpy, and the $78 price tag certainly did not help.  i do have referral credit, which would soften the blow, but in the end i decided i'd rather lose another $20 than shell out additional cash to cover the rest on a dress i don't love, and quite frankly only looks okay on me... and ages me significantly.  which leads to the question, why does stitchfix keep sending me FRUMPY CLOTHES?  there is nothing in my profile that says, "please dress me like a my great-aunt mildred".  i'm bewildered, really.

so another fail, another $20 referral credit gone, and i am really disappointed. i am actually pretty ready to give up stitchfix* completely, but i do have some referral credit left, so i might as well give it another go, right?  

maybe the next box will be a hit, but honestly, i am not holding my breath. 

*leads to a referral link if you'd like to help support my fashion roulette habit.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

easy beach wrap tutorial

... and somehow it's summer again.       
in anticipation for some warm beach days this summer, i made a simple wrap around beach cover up.   
simply modish has a really nice video tutorial here.

this was an easy, hand-sewn project that i mostly did sitting on the couch watching hgtv. i've posted only a few pictures of some of the steps below; i recommend watching the video first for the full tutorial as her directions are nice and straightforward.    

to make this yourself, you want to purchase enough fabric, roughly 1.5 times the circumference of your hips.    
i bought a yard of pink jersey knit fabric (because the width of 54") from joann's for this purpose, which was regularly priced at $13 a yard, but i saved some bucks by using a coupon.   

if you don't have a lot of experience with knits, be aware that it shrinks.  54" would have been perfectly fine for me if it hadn't shrunk several inches, but i was too cheap to purchase more fabric-- as it would have been, at that point, cheaper to buy one of these online somewhere.   even with the shrinkage, it fits fine, however, it doesn't drape as much as i would like.  

it is also normally recommended that you wash your fabric before you use it.  for this project, i would actually recommend that you not, as knits tend to curl at the edges and it will just make the cutting process annoying.  since you're not sewing anything complicated, i would just skip that step and wash your beach wrap after you've made it.           

first cut out the arm holes. i used a salad plate to cut out the arm holes using my rotary cutter.   you could also use a tank top you have as a guide.  you should be cutting one arm hole on each side (on the longer edge).  

from the bottom (opposite side from the armholes), cut the strips to make the straps. i eyeballed the width of the strips, and they were probably only .5 inch thick each at most (width of 54").  i found that three strips braided all together was more than enough to make two straps. 

take one of the edges where the armhole was cut, and tuck it through part of the braid.  pull the edge out far enough so you can fold it over the knot.  

hand sew around the knot to secure the strap.  repeat with the other end of the strap, and then do the same on the other armhole.  and you're done.           

it should look something like this.     

i haven't made it to the beach yet, but i've been wearing it around the house a lot... because, it's just so comfy.

Monday, June 2, 2014

washi tape address labels

if i had my way, everything i could ever need or want would exist on amazon, so i would never have to leave my place to run errands again.  my hatred for errands is far greater than my love for crafts, and because of this, i have had a gift card from michael's waiting, unused, for over 6 months.  but over the weekend, i had a sudden desire to procure some supplies/tools, and out i went.  gift card utterly depleted (+more), i came home armed with some new toys.   

one of my new tools is a xyron 1.5 inch sticker maker, which i bought without really having a need for it, until i was almost home.  as i pulled into the garage, the words 'washi tape address labels' mysteriously popped in my head.  

i used to design and print out my own address labels on label sheets, but since i've been out of labels and my new printer has terrible terrible color output, i've been without since moving to san diego.  
with the image of what these washi tape address labels might look like burning in my brain, i had to make some, like immediately.

my trial run is pictured.  the addresses are printed in grey, on a regular sheet of paper, spaced out in rows and columns.  i trimmed off the excess with my trusty paper cutter, and eyeballing it, stuck on washi tape (that i recently purchased at daiso), as you see below.   i then trimmed again.  i'm a big fan of the city themed washi tape. so cute. 

enter the xyron sticker maker... and i had labels.  i love how simple the sticker maker is.  all you do is put the paper in one end, and pull it out through the other side.  i'm sort of surprised i never bought one before, especially since making stickers was a childhood fantasy of mine. i already want the 2.5" and 5" xyron machines!  

i'm looking forward to making some more real address labels using this method, especially with my recent washi tape purchases.  i don't send out a whole lot of mail these days, so it's nice that i can make small quantities this way with supplies that can also be used for other purposes.    

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

paper flowers

these days i seem to make crafting a pretty low priority.  i always seem to be busy doing something else, mostly just the everyday ho-hum tasks of life with fun and relaxation splattered in wherever possible.

but one recent afternoon, i found myself playing around with the silhouette studio (software) with no particular agenda.  after a few minutes of fiddling with basic shapes and the welding feature, i created simple flower petal and stamen shapes, and went on to mass produce a bunch of paper flowers in vibrant colors.  

the text weight paper i used from paper source was quite perfect for this purpose.

my machine wigged out a couple times, and didn't always make very clean cuts on my petals and even destroyed some sheets of paper entirely-- possibly because of the dulling blade or the no-longer tacky mat... or both.

that was  a tad frustrating.  luckily i could hide most of the poorly cut edges within the layers.

once all the petals and stamens (did you know that the plural for 'stamen' can also be 'stamina'? strange, no? i thought so.) were cut, i curled the edges up before gluing them together layer by layer with a glue stick.

so simple! all i needed was paper, a glue stick... and a personal cutting machine.  *wink*

i chose to take these to work to decorate my cubicle, and stuck a couple on my monitor, and the rest all over my back wall.

it's no wonder that my colleagues think i'm like, five years old.  it probably doesn't help that i wear clothes with safari animals on them and they overheard me singing the 'yummy yummy' song while i was eating lunch the other day.        

i think these flowers would also be fun in garland form, hanging straight down from the ceiling.  perhaps with some leaves (my original plan with these was to make leaves, but i got lazy).  oh, and as gift toppers.

Friday, May 16, 2014

stitchfix two - may 2014

on saturday morning, i found my second stitchfix box on my door step, and immediately busted it open to see what i received.   if you're unfamiliar with stitchfix, check out my post about my first one here.

my initial reaction was good. i had requested items with lots of color, and my stylist was definitely paying attention.   i also had requested dresses and a moto jacket, so i felt pretty pumped when i skimmed the product style cards that were included.

this is what came in the box, in order of appearance (below):

moon collection- steph sleeveless belted floral dress~$58
under skies- bria floral shift dress ~$48
evolution by cyrus- beyonce french terry asymmetrical jacket~$88
c. luce- mike floral print fit & flare dress ~$68
under skies-abbie pintuck button-back blouse ~$48

before trying on this dress, i thought maybe i could like it, despite the rather bohemian print.  it certainly wasn't something i would typically pick out, but i tried to be open minded.  however, once on, i felt chubby and unattractive.   although you can't see it in the picture, the back part of the dress was too loose and baggy.

i hated this under the skies dress at first sight.  while i am more than happy to wear a floral print, this one reminded me of an old lady's wallpaper, and looked something that my mother would wear.  i love my mother, but she's not the most stylish of ladies.  however, i dutifully tried on the dress, and my stylist was right about one thing-- it was a flattering cut, and fit quite perfectly.   bffbf actually quite liked it, but in the end i just couldn't get over how much i disliked the combination of the print and the cut of the dress together.

i really liked this jacket.  i am a huge fan of white and grey, especially together, and it fit well.  however, style-wise it was too sporty, and i was looking for something more feminine that i would actually wear frequently.

this mike floral dress was okay. the fit was about right, maybe only slightly too tight, and i liked the color.  but once again, the style was just off somehow... even though i realize that this floral print is somewhat similar to the print of the blouse from my first fix that i loved... yeah. i don't know what to tell you.  i just felt like this dress was either too old or too young for me-- i couldn't decide which.

the abbie blouse had potential.  i wasn't that big of a fan of the pleats + the lace cut out + the button back together (seemed too busy), but style wise it was acceptable.  i still wasn't over the moon for it though, and unfortunately it was just too loose and made me look too shapeless and chunky.   i may have kept it if it was a size smaller.

needless to say, i didn't keep anything in this stitchfix, and lost the $20 styling fee, although luckily i have a couple referral credits.  i am pretty sure i'll try the service again, maybe in july or august, and see what happens!  overall it was still fun to get the fix, even if it was disappointing that i didn't end up keeping any of it.  fingers crossed for next time!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

daiso haul: washi tape

this past weekend bffbf and i decided to do some exploring in socal, and drove up to huntington beach for a short excursion.   it was a beautiful day.

this excursion was most likely a loosely veiled excuse to stop in irvine, not once, but twice, to get our fill of taiwanese food.  the taiwanese food in irvine is infinitely better than it is in san diego, and we enjoyed some quality beef noodle soup, hot pot, and a variety of taiwanese breads, tea and coffee drinks.

we also stopped by daiso, the japanese 1.50 store, and brought home an armful of random things, including a few rolls of washi tape.  

i really don't know why i stopped at four.   there were at least 10 patterns.  i should have bought them all.

now i must go find something to tape.  like, immediately.


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