Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Art Therapy

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen plenty of this pop up already.  When I was in high school, I had a really amazing art teacher by the name of Mrs. Barbara Eadie.  She wore fluorescent socks with sandals; taught me how to properly clean my brushes; started my lifelong love of Jackson Pollock, Mary Cassatt, and the Group of Seven; showed me how add shading by remembering where the light was; and taught me that art comes in all shapes and sizes.  Mrs. Eadie, if you're out there, thank you very much!

My style is exuberant and colourful, along the lines of Tomie dePaola, so adult colouring books are perfect for me.  Dealing with my psoriatic arthritis is stressful at times and I often feel frustrated when it prevents me from doing what I love.  Enter colouring.  Chris was the one that discovered the Secret Garden colouring book by Johanna Basford.  He bought it for me for my birthday, along with a set of pencil crayons.  His thinking was that I could still do something colourful and creative even when I was having a flare.  He was so right. 

Colouring has already had such a positive impact on my mood and well-being.  I am not the best patient when it comes to having an IV (I'm a fainter) so bringing it with me to my infusions has been wonderful.  I colour for the whole 4 1/2 hours and feel relaxed and happy afterwards.  I colour in the evenings while watching TV (NCIS on Shomi is my current binge watch) and I colour on the weekends with the sun streaming in the windows over my new sewing area.  I coloured so much one weekend that I gave myself a blister on my thumb!

I love it.  I highly recommend it.

If you're looking for a creative way to relax or just want something fun to do, I highly recommend getting yourself a Johanna Basford colouring book and some really good pencil crayons and diving in.  Prismacolor are my favourite.  The leads are soft and blend easily and the colours are vibrant.  Curry's Art Store (or any art store in your area) sells them loose so you can really pick and choose the colours you want.  Right now, Deco Pink, French Lavender, Grass Green and Metallic Silver are almost worn to nubs. 

And remember what Mrs. Eadie always said: there are no mistakes in art.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ruby Tuesday and Sewing Off List

We're two weeks into FESA and I finally have something to show for it.  Was it part of my original plan. Nope.  I went off list with this one.  What a sewing rebel!

Looking at these photos, I can really see that I've gained some weight since my psoriatic arthritis diagnosis 10 months ago.  Some of that is due to being on three separate courses of Prednisone during that time, but, I think the bulk of it is due to my love for Cake and Loaf. Their lemon poppyseed eclairs and lemon shortbread are killer!  Their Harvest bread makes the tastiest toast. 

I am actually not too upset about my new plumper figure, to be honest.  Like any woman, random dissatisfaction with myself pops up now and again, but this new shape has me more focused on the new challenge of dressing my curves in a flattering way rather than weight loss.  Right now, I'd rather be healthy and happy than anything else.

Enter Made by Rae's Ruby pattern.  Let me start off by saying that Rae is one smart lady.  She understands that a woman's shape fluctuates often throughout their life - be it pregnancy, illness, or age changes - and she creates flattering patterns for us to sew. I fell in love with her Washi dress last year and this year's paramour is definitely Ruby.

I was looking for something to disguise my fuller tummy yet not feel like I was wearing a giant muumuu or a tent dress.  Not that there's anything wrong with either of those garments, as I believe they have their time and place, but I was looking for something flattering to my curves with lots of pretty details.  The yoke and gathers on Ruby won me over.

It's an easy pattern to put together and sew.   I think it took me all of 8 minutes to cut and paste my pattern pieces together.  There are 3 pieces in the pattern, although you cut 4 in fabric.  The front and back bodice are the same piece with different fold lines to differentiate which I thought was really clever.  As with all Rae's patterns, they are clearly marked and laid out and the instructions are spot on.  With one read through, I felt very confident about my ability to turn out a pretty garment.

I made a size medium with a 1" slash-and-spread to accommodate my generous bum.  I could have blended between sizes but I prefer to slash-and-spread as I get better results.  The only other alteration I made was to self-line my bodice in my woven version.  I like the neat finish it gives at the neckline.  I used the shortened sleeve piece from the Washi Expansion Pack (still one of the best pattern investments I've ever made).

The fabric is a gorgeous rayon challis from Gillian.  It has horses on it.  And horseshoes.  She also gave me some lovely slate blue polka dot challis which I turned into an Akita (my third).  The fabric is an absolute monster to cut (slippery!) but, oh, my!, what a dream to wear and the drape?! Fabulous.  I adore the deep raspberry shade, too.  It's one of my favourite colours.

I took 3" off the hem to make it a tunic length for me.  I wore it to work today with leggings, ballet flats, and my favourite thrifted glass bead necklace.  I felt like a million dollars.  Seriously.  The fabric was lovely to wear with just the right amount of swish.  With my newly pinked bangs and glasses (OMG! I can SEE!), I smartly dressed and even a bit pretty. 

That's a feeling I would love to bottle.  Thank you, Rae.  Feeling like this is important, especially in clothing you've made yourself.   

I love this version of Ruby so much I went and made one in light pink knit.  I'm not totally sold on the colour yet as I think it washes me out a bit (it may take a trip in a dye bath) but I sure do love the fit.  It is comfortable and ditto on the pretty feeling.

Ruby and I are fast friends now.  I have a few more versions planned.  Currently, Mrs. Singer, my trusty dressmaker's assistant, is sporting a partially completed Ruby in Birds of Norway fabric.  I even have some amethyst purple jersey to make leggings.

Was any of this on my original FESA plan? Nope.  I guess sometimes I just need to go with it. Denim Moji trousers are definitely on my horizon, though.  I need something to cover my bottom now that I have some fabulous Ruby tunics!

* * * * *

What are you sewing?  Has fall arrived where you are?  Summer is still present and accounted for, although I do need to leave the house with a sweater in the mornings.  This makes me utterly gleeful.

Monday, September 21, 2015

In the Pink


Things have been quiet on the blog lately but I have been busy in the background.  A bit of it was feeling punky after my last Remicade infusion (I'm on a short course of Prednisone and have become a food vacuum!) but most of it was rejigging my house here and there.

I live with a small filmmaker.  A tiny Tim Burton, if you will, who needs more space than her modestly (she says very small) bedroom can provide.  Every set has to be available ALL THE TIME.  So, I moved my sewing room out of the basement and gave that over to La Kiddo.  She now has her own movie studio, complete with Prop Department.  It has perfect film-worthy lighting - both overhead and spot.  She is delirious.  I am delirious for her.

Our home is a little 1920's one and a half story, two bedroom home.  I love it.  I fell in love with it 8 years ago when I was 3 steps in the doorway.  Although it looks teeny from the outside, it's quite spacious on the inside with lots of clever storage and quiet nooks.  I'm big on nooks. One of the best nooks is the back wall of my dining room.  The window is set high up (chin height for me at 5'3") and is perfect for bird and squirrel watching for our cats. Incidentally, it is perfect for a small but functional sewing space.


I wanted a work surface that was about 2 feet deep that would work with the space with plenty of out of sight storage.  While I was happy to make do with a sofa table, some sort of counter top + cabinet configuration was the eventual plan.  On a whim, I checked Kijiji at lunch today and found the PERFECT solution!

This is the corner piece which will be in my potting shed. Pretty colour, right?

PINK COUNTERTOP!! The seller was renovating their cottage kitchen and sold us the whole whack for $50.  I'm using the super duper long island piece which Chris will custom cut to fit my new space.  I cannot tell you how excited this makes me feel! It's a lovely soft pink colour and compliments my aqua dining room and pink + mint kitchen perfectly.  I was so excited when I found it I ran around the office like the crazy person I am ejaculating PINK, PINK!

Chris is going to install it for me tomorrow, complete with holes for cords for my machines and my lamps, and I've already picked out fabrics from my stash for curtains to cover the underside of the table, as well as a cushion cover for my chair and new sewing machine covers.  I honestly wish there was enough to redo my kitchen counter tops, as well!

MOAR pink!!

I will be sure to share my  new space as soon as it's fit for public consumption.  Oh, the downfalls of being a  pefectionist! Then, on to FESA sewing!!

Incidentally, when I was downloading the photos from our camera, there were about a squillion shots of her American Girl dolls.  She made two stop-motion movies.  On a point and shoot. Seamlessly.

Tim Burton, eat your heart out.