Category Archives: An Artist’s Musings

Sweet sweet fall

While others mourn the passing of summer, sunshine & heat, secretly I’m rejoicing: I’m a fall girl through & through, and I just wanted to take a moment to celebrate all the reasons I love this season most of all 🙂

Rain
Cool fresh air
Sleeping soundly
Fuzzy blankets
Cosy sweaters & socks
Great jackets & coats
Wearing tights & boots
Hot soup after a long day
Jammies & hot chocolate
Foggy mornings
Cold sunny days
Bonfire smell in the air
Waking up to the sound of rain

There are so many more but it’s only the second day of fall & I have lots of time to celebrate 🙂

I’m a little behind finishing my summer stuff but I’m hoping to have it mostly wrapped by the beginning of October and THEN!!!! Oh I have plans my friends…. hint: wool… lots of it ^_^

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An artist’s musings: knitting vs. sewing

So even though I’ve been quiet, I assure you I’ve been QUITE busy, and have a couple FO’s to show you but haven’t had a chance to photograph them yet.

In addition, I’m well ensconced now in the world of knitting. I have taken, and HIGHLY recommend Stefanie Japel’s Knit Lab course on Craftsy – I went from knowing ZERO to knowing basic stitches, patterns, increases/decreases, casting on/binding off, blocking, reading a pattern, and so much more… I didn’t even know what some of those things meant two weeks ago!! lol

I’m loving the knitting and am taking Stefanie’s “Fit the Knit” class as well now, because I want to make knitted clothes that fit me just as I do in sewing. I know I “should” try a hat or gloves before I go straight to a sweater but I don’t really want to wait lol. I seem to always want to ramp up my learning curve with new things – I’m irreverent like that 😉

Anyway, I got to thinking about the differences between sewing and knitting; not the obvious ones, but things like my process.

Because i am first and foremost, an artist, I tend to compare my other creative endeavours to painting. For example, I often have thought cooking is like abstract painting; it’s a free-for-all but you have to know what colours (ie: flavours) and textures work together.

Sewing is like watercolour painting or drawing with graphic markers: it’s creative but it’s much more planning than doing. (at least it is if you want good results). I love it, because it appeals to my OCD nature and satisfies my need to create at the same time. However, sometimes when I’m stressed or tired, I don’t feel inspired to conjure up the intensity I need to focus on sewing.

Knitting, on the other hand, is a much more tactile and organic form of creating for me, much like acrylic or oil painting. I always start with a plan but I know if something goes horribly wrong I can wipe it off (ie: unravel) & start again. Kinda takes some of the stress off, right? Not that anyone wants to undo their hard work, but at least with knitting you aren’t wasting materials 🙂 Plus I really love watching my work grow between my hands like magic 🙂

All that is cool but the REALLY cool thing is that the relaxing nature of knitting is actually allowing me to get more SEWING in!!! I’m really loving the synergy between the two & I can’t wait to wear a hand-knitted and hand-sewn piece together to embody this concept in a visual way 🙂

But, I’ve a long way to go – my very first project is still underway, and my fingers are not yet as fast as my brain ^__^

[BEHOLD: My fumbling first stitches… this scarf is gonna be SO lopsided, as I can see my work getting much neater & more defined as I go! lol]

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Did you miss me? :)

It’s been awhile, right???

I’ve missed blogging and this super awesome blogging community – although lately I’ve managed to start reading more blogs & catching up with what everyone’s been up to 🙂

So what have I been up to?

Well, since I started my job, I’ve gone through a somewhat tumultuous time, as the new job is not very suited to me. Add to that, I’ve dealt with the emotional runoff from losing my old job, while still doing contract work with them, and trying to stomach the dynamics/politics involved with that, not to mention a 3-1/2 hr commute every day and juggling the additional work in my diminished “free” time. I’ve had to reassess my career choices/path quite wholeheartedly in order to cope.

In short, this whole process has sucked a LOT of my time, energy, and passion from me, and I’ve been through some pretty depressing times. But I’m figuring it out, one step at a time, and while I don’t particularly relish the next year ahead, I know it will end and I’ll move on to the next chapter.

In the meantime, I have to work that much harder to regain my passion for my career and my creativity so it will be a challenge, but a good one, I think 🙂

But to end my comeback post on a very positive note, I have a happy announcement – we got a new kitten this week!!

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Her name is Lola, and she’s a little fireball!!! But SO affectionate and sweet; a perfect companion for my Hutchie… look, they are already getting along and it’s only been 3 days! 🙂

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I had to make do with the bad photo cause I didn’t want to risk going to get the camera & missing this moment ^__^ Also, she looks a little mangy here cause she had to have a flea treatment – ugh 😦

I was hesitant about getting a new cat after my beloved best friend (Hutch’s brother) died last year, but she is not without similar qualities to him – which I’m sure makes the transition a little easier for Hutch – but not TOO similar; she is a girl, after all, and quite the mischievous little princess at that ^_^

As for personal projects, I’m trying to work on them but it’s a LOT slower than before. Still, I count every little bit a victory, as my time is rare, and my creative energy & passion is still pretty damaged. So baby steps…. and hopefully something to show soon 🙂 Until then, God bless & keep smiling! 🙂


The Evolution of Skill: Skill vs. Dreams

I’ve had some time to reflect lately, and some of this post was inspired by the amazing conversations I had with Andrea of Stitch Parade, as I had the great pleasure of meeting her this past Thursday (she wrote a lovely blog post about it here).

We had a great discussion about knowing what styles work on us; not just because of our figures, but our personalities. I thought about this a lot on my travels home that day, and have been since then. That was the main inspiration for this post.

Also, at one point in our discussion, Andrea had asked me how I got into sewing, and it made me think. That was the other part of my inspiration.

My journey to sewing has been a bit backwards. I grew up with a familiarity towards sewing (my mum is an amazing seamstress, and used to make all our clothes, as well as tailor my dad’s suits, growing up). But despite the fact I always had an INTEREST in sewing and design, I didn’t develop the PATIENCE for sewing until I was in my late 20’s, and only began teaching myself just over a year ago.

That’s partly the reason I say I’m backwards, but also because I like to dive in the deep end with things – it’s the challenging, scary stuff that really excites me! As an artist, exploring new genres of creativity is my lifeblood – so this process is not new to me, and I typically learn the skill part of things very fast and then savour the process of perfecting them thereafter.

When I first started sewing just over a year ago, I had in my mind visions of perfectly fitting, stylish, unique and high quality clothes that would reflect on the outside who I truly am on the inside. I’d studied in depth the theory and science of draping and corsetry and had fallen head over heels in love!!

I began with such excitement; so much to learn, conquer and accomplish! And even better; I’d discovered the awesomeness that is this sewing community – a boundless support system of beautiful people, endless inspiration and so much information 🙂

But with so many decisions to make I quickly became distracted… I made garments that didn’t suit me in colours and fabrics that weren’t me. What’s worse, my dreams moved faster than my skills and I found it difficult to achieve the perfect fit and finish I’d dreamed of right away (gee, what a shock! lol)

I soon came to a phase where I was creating really slowly… I just wasn’t excited about my makes. I’d learned a lot in a short time, but my garments went unworn and I started to lose my passion. They were made well, and I was proud of my execution, but I had been more concerned with making garments that would ‘fit in’ and be ‘blog interesting’ rather than garments that reflected my own style.

The first step in the right direction was making my Bombshell Dress. I made it in colours I adored, a fabric I loved, and a style that screamed ME!! The combination of advanced techniques, including having to drape the bodice cups, was absolute aphrodisiac to me… I was in heaven!

I vowed after that not to make anything else that wasn’t me… I wanted to feel excited about sewing all the time! Of course, nothing since has been quite as intoxicating as making that dress, and one can’t exactly go around wearing boned vintage dresses everywhere, but it was a turning point.

So back at Square One, I still had no wardrobe and what little I did have was getting too big, as I was losing weight. I read a post by Steph C of Cake Patterns about creating a capsule wardrobe: carefully choosing a limited colour palette and a selection of garments that could work together. It’s a smart idea, and just what I need to keep me on track, ensuring my makes fit my style and what I’ll actually wear.

Since then a wonderful thing has happened: I’m making clothes I actually wear and I’ve found myself loving the process a lot more. I love planning, I love creating and I love the fact I’m finally building a wardrobe that feels like me. I’m developing MY style, and I’m letting myself sew colours I love without apology. Yes there’s a lot of black and red. I’m ok with that. I can see my skills catching up with my dreams and its pretty rad.

So I don’t participate in community sewalongs or challenges as much – but even though I don’t sport the Seamless badge, I haven’t bought any RTW in months; and though I don’t join in sewalongs or pledges as much, I can still live vicariously through all you wonderful, colourful, spontaneous sewists out there – I’ll keep sewing alongside you though…. in my ‘boring’ blacks and solid colours and simple styles ^__^

Lots of love & happy sewing – whatever your colours and styles! ^_^

And thank you, Andrea, for your wonderful company and for the amazing conversation we shared – I look forward to next time! ^_^


Love & Loss; Fun & Games

Hello friends!

It’s been a heckuva 2 weeks or so!

So after my last post I haven’t done a darn thing in terms of project work. The last day of my job was approaching and honestly, it was too hard for me to focus, with trying to figure out finances & job searching.

Then last Friday was my birthday, and my partner and I (who are huge gamer nerds, FYI) trekked down to Seattle (just a few hours from here) to attend NA’s largest public gaming convention, Pax Prime!!

Here’s us on the bus very early Friday morning:

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Pax Prime is 3 days of gaming bliss: nonstop panels, shows, parties & demos – we had a blast!

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We even attended a party held offsite for a game we’re both super excited for; Dishonored – the party was a murder mystery held in the mansion of Lady Boyle; a character from the game.

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It was an awesome weekend but I’m glad to be back home – I missed my kitties so bad & my fluffy one (Mama’s boy, Starsky!) still hasn’t forgiven me entirely yet ^__^

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Now we’re back & reality must set in. But before I became a hobo (LOL) I had ordered some custom labels with my logo on them – very nice quality embroidered damask – and they arrived today to help cheer me up!

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I love them & can’t wait to start adding them to my creations! I know this will help me really focus on attention to detail & think of my clothing as I do my design; as representing me and my quality 🙂

It’s still hot here – summer isn’t through with us yet! Hopefully I can get back my focus & deal with all the business-y stuff so I can get some project work done too! 🙂

Hope you’re all well – I’m trying to catch up on posts missed so forgive me if I’m a bit behind! 🙂


Musings of a bombshell

Hi all! I wanted to share some of my musings from my time making the Bombshell Dress with Gertie 🙂

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I’ll start by saying, this class was a huge deal for me, as I only had a handful of basic garments under my belt prior to taking it, and by all accounts, had no business taking on something so advanced. But Gertie’s teaching made it very clear and understandable, and as a result, I have a beautiful garment & a whole pile of new techniques, not to mention a huge elevation of confidence in my skills!

The biggest revelation I had was how much I LOVED the hand sewing!! I loved it so much I opted to sew the zipper in by hand!! It is slow, meticulous & methodical, and made me appreciate every stitch, which I found deeply satisfying.

Although I’ve done pattern adjustments, this was also my first experience with draping/redrafting, and I really enjoyed the process, although I really do wish I had a dress form! lol

I really loved the process of adding my own seam allowance & thread tracing (another first for me!) – it’s just not possible to get this level of accuracy with regular techniques. In addition, I found the couture method of applying underlining very slow, satisfying and beautiful.

Overall I loved the precision and attention to detail, even in the things people don’t see; I hid all these pretty red details inside my dress, just for me! It also opened my eyes to how I could add couture and vintage techniques to other patterns, and not to always be so reliant on instructions.

A brief rundown on my firsts in making this dress and new skills learned:

1) adding seam allowance to a pattern without SA included
2) thread tracing
3) hand basting underlining to main fabric
4) draping/redrafting bust cups
5) shaping & structuring fabric
6) fell stitching
7) cutting & tipping steel boning
8) sewing boning channels
9) making/adding a waist stay
10) lapped zipper
11) hand picking zipper
12) installing zipper guard
13) making button holes (yeah lol)
14) making skirt vent
15) hand stitched invisible hem using seam binding

This experience has definitely taken my sewing to a whole new level, and I plan on carrying the things I’ve learned forward, to make garments I LOVE… not just passable ones ^__^


The Wave of Change… an Artist’s Journey

I have been slack in my posts and my projects lately, because as of late, I have been swept up in a tumultuous wave of change crashing through my life.

I’ve been working at the same design firm for almost seven years… which is the longest I’ve worked anywhere. This can mainly be attributed to the fact that the people I work with, including my bosses, are wonderful people – like family to me.

I have come a long way since I first started here. I took a production artist position, knowing there was no guarantee that I would ever get an artist’s chair. Eventually I was given a small job to test my skills, and it all exploded from there… to this day, where I can say I’ve earned my badges at being a skilled senior designer, packaging design expert, and illustrator.

The company is shifting and has been for some time now, though, so the opportunities for me to do creative work have been less and less, and so the inevitable has happened; I’m moving on.

There have been tears and laughter, incredible triumphs and some painful learning experiences. I am sad to see this part of my life end, but I’ve been stuck in place for a long time and I’m excited for more growth and challenge again.

I will still be working part time for awhile yet, and will retain work for them as an independent contractor, but there is definitely some big changes ahead. I don’t know yet whether I will move on to work for another firm, or open my own business and take contract work.

I’m scared but excited… I am a bit sad but I can’t help but look eagerly ahead to what awaits me. I know I will take with me the best of these last seven years, and build on them.

I am talented, intelligent, experienced and skilled… driven and passionate. I am positive, optimistic, and joyful!

I am a Creative.