Monday, January 16, 2012

Weight Watchers, It Works and Now I've Got to Work It!

I joined Weight Watchers for the umpteenth time back in August. It's the only thing I've ever found that I can do and consistently lose weight.

I'm losing much more slowly this time around, but I've been OK with the slow loss. Slow loss is better than NO loss, right?

The thing is, I haven't worked the plan wholeheartedly.  I do GREAT for a couple weeks, but I have been known to slack off for weeks at a time.  Still, I'm mostly satisfied with my progress.

And even though 15 pounds(which is where I'm hovering right now) doesn't sound like much, when I compare the photo from my last post(which was taken yesterday) to the photo from the week I started WW, I can see a difference.

Now some of it may be the hideousness of the before outfit, or the angle of the camera, but I do see a difference, and I really hadn't until I compared these two photos.

Seeing the difference in myself has given me a boost! I'm resolved to stay on plan and work the plan in a healthier way!  Yes, on WW you really can drink regular cokes and eat the occasional candy bar and still lose weight, BUT, that's not using the plan to it's full advantage! I'm going to pay more attention to my daily points, be smarter about the plan by taking advantage of those 0 point fruits & veggies, and make it a priority to get some regular exercise.

 I've seen that I can be successful and lose weight by going about it halfway, so I'm pretty excited to see what I accomplish when I give it my all!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I fall for Simplicity's "It's SO Easy" lie yet again.

In my last post I talked about how I was determined to make my own clothes this least a few pieces. I was pretty excited about it and very much looking forward to getting started.

In's my first finished dress! Not bad, eh?
My bangs have a mind of their own...tonight they're saying "I'm going to look ridiculous!"
Now, before y'all get too impressed you should know this is a complete farce of a photo! It's amazing what a strategically placed belt, a giant hair clip(for hiding excess fabric) and my magic cowboy boots* can do! But at least in this photo it appears that I can make a dress!

Here's the reality of it...

What I made was a saggy, baggy, tent of a dress. The picture doesn't really do justice to how giant the skirt part is nor how ill fitting and wonky the top is. But it's bad, y'all. I actually put it on this morning thinking I'd wear it to the grocery. My husband said it looked like I was wearing a bell! So I grabbed my go-to for fixing wonky outfits, a denim jacket. It actually looked worse. Way worse. Especially from the side veiw.

I spent hours on it. HOURS. So much for Simplicity and that "It's SO Easy" bull printed on the pattern pack. I don't know how many times I have fallen for that one, but it's  never been "SO Easy"!  This time was no exception.

Although, as I was going along, I was feeling pretty confident! I got the skirt put together. I totally rocked the bodice. It's putting the two together where things went south.

And I know (now) what I did wrong.

I cut the bodice a size smaller than the skirt.  D'OH!  In my defense, I was using my measurements and following the pattern pack guidelines.  The bodice was supposed to be slightly gathered before sewing to the skirt. Since it was a size smaller, it didn't end up fitting the gargantuan sized skirt (which was cut to what I thought was my size). So I fiddled, un-gathered, and generally messed with the two pieces trying to get them to fit together until I got to that "I'm just going to sew the thing" point.

And then came the super fun job of trying to sew an elastic casing through all those layers and puckers and aforementioned mess.  Followed by even more fun...trying to thread the elastic through casing that way to small in more than one place. Super super fun.

If any of you notice a peculiar cloud floating by, pay no attention, it's probably just the remnants of the cussin' fit that accompanied the whole elastic casing/threading elastic business.

Despite my resulting tent dress, there were some good things that came out of this little adventure:
  • It was a good learning experience. I know what size to cut the next time and I will cut the top and bottom the same size. I think that might solve some of the trouble I had with the casing issue as well as the fit problems.  
  • It didn't end up in an angry heap forever banished to a ziplock bag in my closet. I finished it! I might even go back and work on it some more. Months from now.
  • I  actually made a dress. It was my first try, and even though I can't wear it, it is clearly a dress. I'd call that a success! 
My next sewing adventure will consist only of things I know I can sew successfully, like aprons, bags and quilt blocks. But I'm not ready to give up on making clothes just yet. I'm just not ready to try it again anytime soon!

*my cowboy boots aren't really magic

Sunday, January 8, 2012

And She Will Make Clothes in 2012!

Despite the fact that I've already got big plans to do a boat load more quilting and sewing this year, I rediscovered a website this morning that has me chomping at the bits to add more to my to-do list.

The Sew Weekly. I stumbled upon it through pinterest a while ago and pinned a couple of "Make this Look" posts. These posts show an inspiration piece from Modcloth or Anthropologie and a very similiar sewing pattern and fabrics, allowing you to create your own version of the originial. Brilliant!

This morning I spent at least an hour looking through the "Make this Look" section and scouring over gorgeous and fun vintage inspired outfits that users had made. 

Like this dress, which I am currently coveting.

I'm certain there are a ton more goodies on the site.  Which means I'll have to spend even more time there. Oh, bother. 

Still, that hour I spent at looking at the creations of others, has totally inspired me to drag out some sewing patterns and get busy!

I'll mention that sewing clothes is not what I'm most comfortable with. A simple handbag? Doable. An apron. No problem! A skirt? I've made exactly two. This one. and This one. I've got two more wadded into heaps in ziplock bags and thrown into the back of my sewing closet, perhaps never to see the light of day again. I've started two is in much the same shape as the two skirts mentioned above and the other was so bad that I just threw it away, pattern, pins, and all.  I've yet to tackle a dress.  Zippers and the mention of piping make me break out in hives.  Pants? Just plain scary.

Still, despite my past experiences with garments, I am inspired to try again! 

Between all the other creative things that I want to do and the fact that I have to go to work on a daily basis, I will somehow make time to myself some clothes. Clothes that (1). I can wear in public and (2). Won't end up in a sad heap confined to a ziplock bag.

The only thing I'm lacking are cute vintage patterns in my size and enough yardage to make clothes. I buy in FQ, Half and One Yard cuts...because that's what works for me w/quilting and the things I normally make. But that's an easy fix! I'm going to start thinking "more" when it comes to yardage!

The vintage patterns are probably going to be above my current level of skills, so I'm content with pulling out some A line skirts and the two simple dress patterns that I own. Once I master those, I'm totally moving up to the vintage inspired stuff and I will be making one of those Modcloth inspired this one. 

Now, I'm officially requesting that more hours be added to the day. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Scrappity Scrap Scraps!

2012 Sew Scraps Along There's something really exciting going on over at Pleasant Home!

For the entire month of Janurary, Pleasant Home is hosting Sew Scraps Along 2012. In addition to giving us tips on organizing our scraps and providing scrappy inspiration, PH is featuring a bevy of ways to use up those scraps that taunt you from sewing closets, bins, or wherever you hide them!

The first featured scrap project is a dreamy picnic quilt from Freda's Hive. I want to make one. Right now.

With an ever growing, getting out of control in a scary kind of way scrap stash, I'm pretty stoked about this month of scrapbusting ideas!

So excited, in fact, that I'm going to go visit my scrap stash right now!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Not Exactly Resolutions

I think of it more as a vision than a list of resolutions.

Looking ahead into 2012, I can see that: 
  • I'm enjoying spending more time with my precious family.
  • I'm a better wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend.
  • I am thankful more often.
  • I'm doing something creative every day, even if it only amounts to a doodle on a sticky note.
  • I've re-opened The Laughing Otter, am enjoying the creative outlet, and making a profit.
  • I'm taking care of myself for those who love me.
  • I'm working smarter and with renewed enthusiasm.
  • I'm relaxing as much as possible and reading more than ever.
  • I'm learning new things.
  • I smile and laugh even more than I did in 2011.

Here's hoping you have a wonderful 2012!