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First and foremost, there's going to be another LA Sewist Meet-Up on February 21, 2015! We're planning on going to the Hollywood Costume Exhibit in LA and then head down to Mood afterwards. I first read about the exhibit on Jet Set Sewing and immediately emailed a couple gals (Erin, Kathy, and Marrie) about it. I figured going to the exhibit would be way more fun with people who appreciate sewing and design. This will be a super laid back meet-up. No need to RSVP, just buy your ticket ahead of time and meet us there at 12pm*. If you only want to join us for fabric shopping, then contact one of us and we'll text, email, or tweet to let you know our ETA at Mood. {*Maybe once the date gets closer we'll put together a group email so we can see who is planning on coming.}

How is it already December? As of Monday December 1st, I'm officially on the Slow-Carb Diet. I hate calling it a diet because it's more like an eating guide. I'm not trying to lose a vast amount of weight, but rather take down my candy/carb-heavy eating ways a notch during the lead up to Christmas. A couple years ago I followed the Slow-Carb Diet for a couple months and I felt amazing, all with just eating differently and hardly any extra exercise. So, whenever I feel a bit pudgy around the mid-section I turn to the slow-carb eating ways to get myself back on track.

I've been a horrible blogger recently, not even keeping up with my weekly link round-ups! I don't even have a good reason. My excuse can mainly be attributed to how much I dislike my laptop. The AC adapter stopped "being recognized" which means I can't charge my battery so now my laptop is not exactly the most portable gadget (the main point of a laptop).

Anyway.....below are some reading tidbits I collected over the past month. This link round-up is probably my most varied post yet. Enjoy!

1. Have you seen the new pattern from Jolie Marie Louise, the Chloe Blazer?!?!? I'm loving it! Curved hem, lined, fitted, two-piece sleeve. Check, check, check. Earlier this year I made a muslin of the Simplicity 2446 Amazing Fit Jacket, but couldn't quite get the fit right and I got tired of tinkering with the pattern. Now I'm tempted to try out the Chloe Blazer. {Jolie Marie Louise // Chloe Blazer}

2. I recently read a post by Brene Brown that had me re-thinking what *really needs* to happen during this time of year. There were a couple gift exchanges and card exchanges I almost signed up for recently and then I came back to reality and realized they were only going to stress me out as I searched for the *perfect* gifts and cards. I love this time of the year, but it seems like every year I'm trying to find a way to not get stressed out. Last year we spent Christmas at my in-laws' and we left a week a before Christmas and stayed till the day after. It seemed like an ok idea when we booked our flights (mainly because those were the cheapest tickets), but in reality it was a stressful few weeks in December. I was frantically trying to get shit wrapped up at work and buy gifts before leaving on vacation and I didn't even get around to sending out Christmas cards till right before the New Year. I just felt like a total mess. Sometimes doing less is the way to go and that's how I plan to spend the rest of 2014. {Brene Brown}

3. Jenna of That Wife recently closed the comments on her blog for good. It made me think of doing the same here. While I genuinely appreciate the comments I receive on my posts, they are so few that I don't think the vast majority of readers would miss it and I'm not always able to respond to comments right away, which I always feel bad about. I don't write the most thought-provoking stuff so it's not like I even anticipate a great back and forth, like what you can find at Charlotte's blog Seam Ripped. Readers can always reach me by email or via Instagram, where it's super easy to comment and respond on my phone, so I think at the start of the New Year I'll close comments on this blog. {That Wife // Breaking Up with the Comments Section}

4. My Money Blog linked to a NY Times article about a resource for state-by-state pregnancy laws. Having kids (or rather, one kid) is progressively more on my mind now that I'm in my 30s. My mom, who was primarily a stay at home mom, always asks me what what my work situation will be like when I have kids (mind you, she's been asking me this for at least as long as I've been married, so over 5 years). I've heard that California has more beneficial leave of absence laws than in other states so it was interesting to compare. {State-by-State Guide to Pregnancy Laws // Baby Gate via NY Times via My Money Blog}

5. If you're looking for some thoughtful, yet easy gifts to give for Christmas, Pinch of Yum highlighted some great photo ideas. {Pinch of Yum // Photo Gift Guide}
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Pincushion Top

1. I've started {and stopped} a bunch of blogs over the years. Of course none have ever gained any strong readership, but it's something I enjoy doing. Every single time I started a blog I had the most difficult time coming up with a name. I once re-branded a blog because I was so over the original name. I enlisted my brother for help and I think he eventually came up with the winning name.

I've gone back and forth many times over what I want to call this blog. I don't want to pigeon-hole myself into one specific craft (sewing, photography, lettering, etc.), which is why I didn't create a pun on sewing or include 'photography' in my name. I also knew I most likely wasn't going to become a hardcore photographer anyway. I use my name because it's an easy option and I haven't met anyone else with the First-Middle name combo so I'm assuming I'm the only one with this name so I think it has some uniqueness. For awhile though I gave this blog a different title, 'Calmez-Vous', but I recently removed it, which may or may not be correctly reflected in your reader.

Anyway, totally long-winded way of saying, I came across a book called, 'Don't Call it That' that is supposed to help you develop your business {or blog?} name. What's your opinion on business naming? Are you for or against using your name in a business? Would it be confusing if I re-branded this blog? I always think it would be cool if I could start a side business through this blog, which is why I care so much about the naming thing.
{Don't Call it That via Aeolidia}

2. I've never bought anything from ModCloth, but I am so tempted to do so after searching their website for alllllll the cat items! I may do some xmas shopping there for some feline-loving friends because there is some seriously cute and/or hilariously ridiculous cat items for sale.
{All the Cat Items at ModCloth}

3. I read CNN Money fairly religiously because I'm a personal finance geek. Recently they've been running a "24 hours with [...]" and have been highlighting some odd jobs. One was about a concierge for a very wealthy family and another was about a kindergarten teacher (ok, I guess that's not actually an odd job). The most recent story is about a professional cosplay character, which I didn't even know was a real job. She makes all of her costumes and the one she wears and created in this story is very intricate. It's mentioned that she'll spend 600 hours on a costume! Knowing how long it takes me to make a dress, I'm not surprised by that time estimate.
{24 hrs w/a comicon character // CNN Money}

4. How have I only just heard of Pattern Workshop????? I felt like I was living under a rock when I came across it.
{Pattern Workshop}

5. I'm heading to Hello Kitty Con this coming Sunday. I feel like I'm 8 years old again, but whatever. I know there are tons of people (men and women) my age who are really into HK and will be there. I'm going with a friend who may or may not bring her toddler-aged kiddo. She sent me an article the Hello Kitty Food Scavenger Hunt, which consists of several restaurants in the area preparing a special HK item on the menu. There are limited quantities available each day, but if you happen to order it, then you get a special HK pin. It's so ridiculous (umm, Hello, pink cheese??), but I totally want those pins!
{Hello Kitty Food Scavenger Hunt // LAist }
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Ever since I started this blog I had visions of diving into learning html and designing my own blog layout........LOLZ! ......obviously that never happened. I know very, very basic html (how to add a link, make things bold), but creating my own blog template was way out of my reach. Honestly, you guys, I don't know what I was thinking. I started my first blog back in 2004 or 2005 and even then I wanted to learn html, so yeah....I should have known when I started this blog that wasn't going to happen.

I found Dana's blog, Wonder Forest, somehow through the internets awhile back. She has such an interesting story in regards to web design. I was happy to see she designed blog templates for blogger that were in line with my aesthetic. I find that most people design for Wordpress, but it's not my favorite blogging platform.

The other day Dana had a sale on her pre-made blogger templates and I couldn't pass it up. I would get sad every time I looked at my blog because it was just so blahhhhh. It desperately needed a face lift! In case you always read my blog through a reader, here's a screenshot of what my blog looks like now:

I chose a very minimal design, but there are other more artistic looking templates if that's your jam. I still have plans to change my header, but I need to take a course or two to figure out how to do what's in my head. Anyone want to take bets on when that will happen???

Anyway, I haven't had any direct interaction with Dana, but I've always liked her designs and knew from the first time I saw them {at least a year ago} that I would eventually buy a template from her. She has several different pre-made blogger and wordpress templates and I think she also does custom designs as well, so check her out if you want to change your blog layout.
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Day 6/365

I skipped a week because I haven't done much online reading recently. Here are 5 things that caught my eye the past two weeks, including some non-sewing links.

1. I've been very fascinated lately with how nail salons do some of the intricate nail art these days. The other weekend I got sucked into the nail art YouTube and Instagram blackhole for several hours. I was really into painting my nails and using nail decal art when I was around 12 years old. My mom was super strict when I was growing up, but she begrudgingly let me do this. Although, I distinctly remember her saying I looked like a prostitute one time because I used pearly/silver nail polish. LOLZ!! THE HORROR!!! {Buzzfeed//Nail Art Tutorials}

2. All you sewing bloggers talking about making your own lingerie has almost convinced me to try it too. I've always wondered whether I'm wearing the correct bra size and I was shocked, SHOCKED to find out my size based on this bra size calculator. { The Sophisticated Pair//Bra Calculator via The Nerdy Seamstress}

3. Handy tutorial for adding an Instagram widget to your blog's sidebar. {Xomisse}

4. Well....if Cynthia Rowley is saying 'get designing', then I better get at it! Also, she has a line of Band-Aids and a patented bracelet that doubles as a flask???
{Cynthia Rowley // CNN Money}

5. The podcasts I listen to have been so varied over the years. I used to listen to a bunch of different hockey podcasts, but now I'm more into NPR ones (Planet Money and This American Life). I didn't think I would enjoy a sewing podcast, but I gave The Sewing Affair a shot and I'm totally hooked! It's not very structured; it's more like two friends just shooting the shit. I highly recommend listening to the episode with Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch because she talks about her shop in a bit more detail. {The Sewing Affair Podcast}
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ok so not really an entire day, but a couple minutes.

The other weekend I took out my camera with intentions of photographing some in-progress sewing projects. However, as soon as I held the camera in my hand I thought, 'in-progress shots? ugh, so boring.'

Bailey inspecting the laundry

And that's when I saw my cat, who diligently followed me into our sewing room. Yes, it's his room too because he's a cat and owns everything.


It was just me and the cat that weekend and he was being adorably playful without the bipolar tendency to suddenly bite me. In other words, he was being just perfect that weekend. And too cute not to photograph.

Overstimulated Bailey
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super late to the "claim your blog on bloglovin" party.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
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Focusing on one project at a time is not my strong suit. I love working on one project, then starting another, then another, and another. One reason why I have multiple projects in the works is because I don't like doing things like buttonholes, buttons, hems, bias binding. Things that usually occur near the end of the project. Things that complete a project.

Another reason is that I like the variety of working on multiple projects. It might seem like I'm unfocused (I admit that I can be), but really it's just that my sewing life mimics my working life.

Especially at my last job, it wasn't unusual for me to work on multiple projects every week. One time a colleague mentioned he had only charged his time to four projects in his 5+ years of working for the company. Another colleague and I were shocked; we routinely charged our time to more than four projects in a single week. Juggling multiple projects is not something I was just forced to do, but I also loved doing it. In fact I hated working on a single project day in day out, every single week, month, year. It would get boring, dull, monotonous. Being bored at work is the absolute worst.

To avoid becoming bored with sewing I tend to jump from project to project. 'Ahhh, shiny new pattern/fabric/technique!'. I eventually finish projects, but it's not unusual for them to sit on my ironing board or in the closet for some time waiting for the final details. It's usually only when I *need* to finish a garment that it gets completed in record time.

The photos here are the ones I'm currently working on. The cat sleeveless shirtdress (McCalls 6696) may get finished first because I'm really excited to wear it. It just needs buttonholes, buttons, the hem, and sleeve binding. It may also require a narrow shoulder adjustment, but that decision will be made once I can "wear" the dress all buttoned up and get a feel for it.

The vest (Simplicity 4762) is for my husband and is awaiting buttonholes and buttons. It also needs another good press; unfortunately I didn't understitch it and the fabric isn't pressing as well as I would like.

I started the Colette Moneta (the striped side) months ago, but had to wait until I found the right "lining" fabric to make it reversible. Just this week I sewed the black side. Both knits are very stretchy so I'm letting the dress hang for a couple days to ensure the hem will be even for both fabrics.

And then there's the vintage reproduction blouse (Simplicity 2154). I started this blouse at the beginning of the year, but it's sitting on the sidelines because I'm actually stumped with what to do with it. I finally scraped off most of the interfacing from the bow, but I still don't like the bow because it's enormous. And I don't like the collar pieces that are in the pattern. And I don't like the blouse as it currently sits. The keyhole looks odd without something tied around it. I may cut it open at the neckline and make a slight v-neck on the front. I really like the fabric so I don't want to toss this blouse into the failure pile just yet.

I anticipate more works in progress will join these guys because I recently bought more patterns and I'm dying to make this Simplicity 2145 pattern. I initially thought it was made for knits, but when I got home and read the back of the envelope I discovered the pattern is actually made for wovens. I think it would look great in a stable-ish knit, so hopefully I can make it work.

What's in your 'work in progress' pile?
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Another week, another round-up.

1. Have you heard of 'Fashion Camp'? It's a business in Orange County, CA offering sewing/fashion classes, workshops, and private events to kids and adults (although I think it's primarily geared towards kids). I think it's funny that I learned about this business through an article in 'Inc' magazine. According to the article I read, the owner is trying to decide whether to expand to Los Angeles or San Diego. It's an interesting business concept. Instead of a store that focuses on fabric, notions, and patterns with classes and events, Fashion Camp is strictly focused on the teaching part. {Fashion Camp // Inc Magazine}

2. I came across this tutorial for inserting in-seam pockets with french seams at just the right moment. The pockets in the photo above are the ones I'm using in my shirt dress for the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge; I definitely wanted to enclose those raw edges. {Deborah Moebes on Sew Mama Sew}

3. Dressing in only color. Seems like it would be easy, especially if you pick black or grey. But after reading about 5 different people who each dress in only one color, it actually seems like a lot of work. From keeping whites white, sourcing the correct color blue or green, not attending events because the required attire doesn't fit your color palette....woah, these people are dedicated to their wardrobes. {NY Mag}

4. I discovered another 'new-to-me' sewing blog with a very lovely aesthetic. Her post about the Colette Albion has given me hope that I can eventually make it. I'll dust off that muslin one of these days. {Evolution of a Sewing Goddess}

5. I've always wondered how people add a custom "signature" to their blog posts. {I Can Build a Blog}

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Little Apples Pillow Cover - Back

Another week, another round-up.

1. As if we sewists need another reason to sew and avoid fast fashion. {Medium}

2. Mise-en-place. A phrase associated with chefs and their insane organizational efficiency. Can sewists take a page out of that set-up to become more efficient with our practice? I know I definitely could (*goes looking for those shears and chalk pen and ruler I was JUST using*) {Organize Like a Chef//NPR}

3. Charlotte's post this week had me re-thinking the term "handmade" among a handful of other topics. The discussion in the comments is equally good (and I discovered more great sewing blogs!) {Seam Ripped}

4. My head was spinning while reading about all of Brooke's freelance gigs. Costume design sounds so exciting! She also linked to a video "what's in a ballet shoe". I did pointe for one summer when I was 9 or 10 just to get a taste for it. I never would have been able to hack it as a pro ballet dancer, but I've always been incredibly fascinated by ballerinas and the very personal and methodical relationship they have with their shoes. (Custom Style}

5. Ok, not sewing related, unless I can tie this into the sewing construction of tutus, but speaking of ballerinas, this video showcases the process three ballerinas go through to break-in their pointe shoes. I first watched it without sound and I still thought it was beautifully breathtaking. My mom always said dancers have the most injuries behind NFL players. And I bet that doesn't even take into account the destruction of their toes and feet. {The Australian Ballet//YouTube}

What articles/blogs have you come across that piqued your interest this week?
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quilting, quilting, quilting......I don't know what to think about it anymore. I really enjoyed quilting when I first started (maybe because of the newness of it all), but now that I'm really into apparel sewing, quilting has kinda lost its luster. That's not to mean that I don't want to do it ever, but man oh man, there is so much repetition in quilting and it really takes A LOT of patience.

Baby Boy Quilt Top

Anyway, onto the quilt. You may not believe it after what I just said, but I really did want to make this quilt and I am so glad I did. This quilt is for a very good friend of mine from high school. High School! ....that was so long ago! When I found out earlier in the year she was expecting her first child, I immediately knew I wanted to make her a quilt. Then I found out she was having a boy and I was able to start shopping for fabric, probably THE BEST part of quilting! And seriously, there are some ridiculously cute fabrics out there.

Baby Boy Quilt Backing

I subscribe to Sew Modern's email newsletter and as soon as I saw the white New York City fabric I knew it was going to be the backing. My friend and her husband lived in New York together for years before recently relocating outside the US. Even though this quilt is technically for the baby, I thought my friend would appreciate the nod to NYC. I considered doing some embroidering along the building outlines, but I was worried it would look weird. {ok, I'll be completely honest. I was also running out of time to finish the quilt and was concerned about how long the embroidery would take.}

Hourglass Blocks

While I knew what the backing would be, I had no idea what I would select for the front of the quilt. I walked around Sew Modern looking at every single bolt of fabric until I saw a quilt hanging in the store with a rocket theme fabric and instantly knew I had to have it! The fabric would probably play a bit better on a larger scale (which it did on that sample quilt), but I kinda like being able to read and see bits and pieces of it all over the quilt.

Hourglass Blocks

I had a difficult time selecting what quilt block to make. While I really like the "plus" design I made last year, I didn't want to make it a second time. {I also realized this is the third baby boy quilt I've made. My friends need to start having girls.} After looking through the archives of some of the quilters I totally admire, I ended up being inspired by Rita's (of Red Pepper Quilts) Ohio Star quilt, which uses the hourglass block with a plain square. I used her tutorial for making the hourglass blocks and changed the sizes to accommodate the finished quilt size I wanted to make {36"x42"}. The finished blocks and plain squares in this quilt are 3"x3".

Hourglass Blocks

I kept things simple {and easy} by only quilting in a simple grid. I didn't want anything to distract from the city print in the backing so I used white thread in the bobbin and navy for the top. I made the binding on the cross-grain using this tutorial.

NYC Fabric

I have always made bias binding, but after reading a couple arguments for cross-grain binding, I decided to give it a try. And then I machine-sewed the binding on by stitching in the ditch. I think this method will provide a more secure binding than if I hand-sewed the binding on {oh and it was easy and quick}.

Hourglass Blocks

After procrastinating for over 4 months, I rushed through this quilt in a couple weekends. I think in order for me to really enjoy quilting, I need to not rush myself. Seems pretty obvious, huh? I had a lot of fun learning how to make hourglass blocks, which is something I had wanted to make for awhile, probably for a year or two.

Finished Quilt for a Baby Boy

Here are the details in case you're interested. I bought most of the fabric in Spring 2014, so it's possible some of it isn't available anymore or has limited availability. Instead of linking to a specific online store, I included the designer's website and the full name of the collection and print so you can search for it and buy from your preferred vendor.

Timeless Treasures - Great Gotham Cityscape
Riley Blake - Rocket Age - Captain
Riley Blake - Rocket Age - Ads
Sarah Johnston - Mod Geek - Molecular Impossibility
(I didn't realize until I was searching online for the proper names of the fabric collections and designers, that this particular print was part of Sarah's winning collection for the Spoonflower/Fabric8 Geek Chic Challenge)
Andie Hanna - Fox and the Houndstooth - Dashing Bowties
Kona Navy Solid
Geometric Print (bought at Jo-Anns)
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