Saturday, March 29, 2014

What? Glass Breaks?

Generally I think of myself as a lucky person, or at the very least not unlucky. Perhaps I was overdue for some bad luck because I haven’t felt terribly lucky lately. Not long ago I shared that I ruined my khaki jacket with a big yellow curry stain, and now, my new glass water bottle has suffered an abysmal fate.

A couple of months ago I got a new glass water bottle because it’s smaller in size than my other glass water bottle. I wanted a water bottle that wouldn’t be too large to carry with me. I bought a different brand than the larger water bottle I have…and perhaps that was a mistake.

My new water bottle was cute, but last weekend I dropped it on the pavement and it shattered—just pieces everywhere. I guess it must have fallen on the weakest part of the bottle where the silicon sleeve didn’t protect it. It was disappointing since it was pretty much brand new…there’s nearly thirty dollars down the drain. So then I had to get a replacement water bottle and I did not buy same brand. While it’s unlikely this wouldn’t happen a second time, I’d rather not test that theory. If I’m going to be disappointed again, I’d rather it be a new something than an old one.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sporadic Pencil Skirt

I started sewing this pencil skirt a month or two ago and thought I’d whip it out quickly…that didn’t happen. I lost a bit of my momentum after I initially cut out my material and sewed the first couple of seams; I then sewed sporadically a weekend here and a weekend there until I finally finished.

I picked up this bottom-weight fabric a few months ago at a local fabric store. It wasn’t a very expensive fabric (and on sale too—which made me extra happy); I think it was about $5/yard. I chose it because I loved the subdued blue color and subtle pattern, and I also thought the fabric felt nice. When I saw it I immediately thought it would make a good pencil skirt, so I bought the fabric (which then sat in my fabric stack for a while…).

When I finally got into a sewing mood again, I wanted to sew my pencil skirt. However, looking over the patterns I had, I only had one pencil skirt pattern that was one of those super easy patterns for those learning to sew. The end product is just two pieces of fabric sewn together with a slit on the side. I had sewn the pattern once before and wasn’t excited to sew it again. I wanted my skirt to have a slit in the back and have a waistband (which I think is pretty essential in making a skirt look complete).

So I looked through my patterns and found a dress pattern that I thought I could steal the skirt portion of it; I just used its two pattern pieces and added a waistband piece (from a skirt pattern). The pattern also used a lining so I incorporated a lining into my skirt as well. I’ve done self-lined bodices for dresses before, but had never done a skirt lining before. However, I figured it couldn’t be too hard and I wanted to do it because I generally prefer lined skirts since they look and feel so much better than the unlined ones.

Having a lined skirt did create extra steps and forced me to think a bit more about how to do things. I followed my dress directions for the skirt to a point, but sometimes they didn’t seem terribly clear or weren’t applicable to my skirt, so I disregarded them and just sewed in a way that made sense to me. For the most part it was pretty smooth sewing it and I’m pretty happy with my finished skirt. It’s simple and I think it’ll be fairly versatile because it has a pretty neutral pattern.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Frugal, Not Cheap

I consider myself frugal rather than cheap. Cheap brings to mind stinginess, where the price of something trumps any other factor and there’s an unwillingness to spend more on something (even if it’s a better product). Frugal seems more positive to me. Yes, the price of something is important, but there are other considerations that are thought of when making a purchase. And in the end there’s a thought-process that asks, “Is this worth it?”

Of course I like getting a good deal on something, but I’m perfectly willing to spend more on a product if I think it’s worth it. For example, there are certain wardrobe items I have a particular desire for quality in: outerwear, handbags and shoes. These items can easily last a long time if they’re made well and properly taken care of so they’re worth spending more on.

The hard part is finding something I want that is well made…because there’s a lot of crap out there. There are quite a few stores that I might have bought a pair of shoes at a couple of years ago that I’ve finally given up on. I eventually came to the conclusion that it would just be a waste of my time to even peruse the shoes because while they may be cute from a distance, up close they’re a mess. They’re made of cheap and uncomfortable materials that I don’t want to walk in; they’re basically disposable shoes that will fall apart in a couple of months. [Pause.] It’s really quite disappointing.

In the end, buying lots of cheap shoes is more expensive than buying one pair of quality shoes. There are times I might need cheap shoes for a specific outfit or event, but for everyday use, quality is best.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Word of the Day Exercise: Week Fifteen

I finished my Word of the Day notebook on Monday—100 continuous days of drawing the Word of the Day each day. Overall it was a fun exercise. Some words I knew and some words were new to me, but I was always curious each morning to see what that day’s word of the day would be. Some days I instantly knew what I was going to draw, while others I felt less inspired and less motivated to do it, but I always did it.

Since there’s no “undo” function when drawing in pencil, I tried to think about my approach of each Word of the Day a bit before setting pencil to paper, because it’s rather time-consuming every time you make a mistake or want to try something different. [Pause.] And let’s just say I used my eraser…a lot. The most common issue I had in my drawings was trying to figure out the letter spacing (so I wouldn’t run out of room on the page towards the end of the word). Often the letter spacing was off, but I could only care to a point because I had my predetermined time limit.  

I’m a little sad that my exercise is over (since I got used to it and it was kind of fun). But I’m also glad it’s finished because it frees up quite a bit of time. While an hour was my maximum time limit for this daily exercise, on average I probably spent closer to 30-45 minutes per drawing (and maybe 20 minutes on the quick ones). Now I just have decide how I’ll use all that extra time…

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Word of the Day Exercise: Week Fourteen

I enjoyed doing my last full week of my Word of the Day exercise. But it’s a little bittersweet knowing that it’ll soon be over…

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Good Enough Sunglasses

Even if you love to shop, there are probably certain things you hate to shop for (swimsuits spring to mind). For me, one item I don’t enjoy buying are sunglasses. I want sunglasses and definitely need them when it gets sunny, but finding a pair I want is hard for me. I’ll try on sunglasses and they’re “too square,” “too round,” “too big” or “too small.”  [Pause.] They’re always “too” something. Sunglasses have to be the right shape or you look funny.

I’d had my old pair of sunglasses for quite sometime (maybe around three years) and I still liked them. They were nothing fancy, just under $20 simple black sunglasses that I thought looked good. But I wasn’t gentle with them and they landed many-a-time on the pavement until the lens became noticeably scratched in the center. I couldn’t ignore it any longer…I needed a new pair of sunglasses (much to my chagrin).

Women’s sunglasses often make me sigh in discontent because more than likely, they’ve been uglified. The front of the sunglasses may look okay and then I turn them to the side and BAM! my eyes are assaulted with ugliness. As though somehow, just because I’m female, I want my sunglasses to be bedazzled with rhinestones or have some tacky pattern or have some terrible “design” element that men’s glasses would never have.

I’m also rather annoyed by how many sunglasses have the name of brand on the side of it (as if I want to be a walking advertisement for a brand). The sunglasses I’m looking at are not high end…at all. They’re average “who cares” brands. They’re sunglasses that cost under $20. These aren’t brands people flaunt (not that I’m a brand flaunter anyway). But seriously, the name branding on the side is unnecessary and usually just makes the sunglasses uglier.

But after trying quite a few pairs of sunglasses, I finally did have success. I bought an unexpected pair of sunglasses that weren’t entirely black but had a bit of rose color in there. They were the most flattering pair I could find, and quite frankly I didn’t want to continue my search. They were good enough sunglasses. If I stumble upon a better pair later then that would be great, but for now, my search is concluded. (Thank goodness.)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Word of the Day Exercise: Week Thirteen

One more week down. I’m nearing the end of my Word of the Day notebook—there’s just a little over a week’s worth left to do.