Sewing Project #2 Part 3

Whoa, two and a half weeks and no posts? My apologies! It’s been a hectic couple weeks.

Anyway, my second sewing project, the Pokemon trainer cosplay has been finished!

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I’m happy to report that everything went well, with only one minor accident with the serger where I cut into the sleeve. It wasn’t too big a cut and was easily fixed and could be covered with a Pokemon patch. I’ll be sending it out tomorrow to its intended recipient and hopefully it fits. She already loves it, as I’ve sent her photos of the progress.

In addition, I’ve been working on crocheting more amigurumi, mostly little fairies inspired by Navi from Legend of Zelda. So far, I have 6 done in my “inventory” and yesterday I sold two to my brother for two of his friends. They’re super fun to make and don’t take a whole lot of time. Plus, I’m also hoping to work on other characters, like Link, Mario and Luigi, various Final Fantasy characters, and others. I have a list written down of all kinds of characters I could make. I’m hoping to turn it into a business, since our current workload doesn’t seem to be slowing down any and I’m worn out.

Anyway, this sewing project has given me more confidence in being able to sew on my own, especially with stretchy knits, which are probably what I’m going to be working with most. I also have about 10 patterns for cosplay I need to cut out, ranging from Vincent Valentine to Mal and Zoe from Firefly, and Princess Zelda. I’m excited to do all of them, once I have the money to buy the fabric. But having completed my first cosplay (for someone else), my mood has improved and my stress levels have gone down a little bit, and that’s the important part. ❤

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Sewing Project #2: Part 2

Since my last post regarding this sewing project, I have obtained the rest of the fabric needed for the outfit, plus an additional yard and a half of a different, stretchy, pleather-y textured fabric for myself for a cosplay of my own, and I now have everything (I think!) to begin the actual sewing process.

I have a meeting on Saturday with a friend of my mother’s who is a seamstress and knows how to work with stretchy fabrics and will help teach me how to work with them. The only real qualm I have about this meeting is that I’ll be going by myself to her house to work. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, as I’ve been to her house twice, I know who she is, and I’ve made friends with her cat.

But for this particular meeting, I think what has my anxiety levels higher than normal is that it was made spur of the moment (we actually set it up yesterday), and because I’ve been extremely stressed out from work (running at 150% for over two months straight with no break except two hours sick leave and four days planned vacation) and not really having any peace and quiet to myself since early last week. I haven’t really had, or given myself time to mellow out and relax and not do anything. I had company Sunday and Monday, and while my parents were both off yesterday, during the time they were gone, I was working. And today, my dad decided to take a sick day and as I’ve mentioned before, he likes to watch TV and I can’t work with the TV on. So I’m hiding in the basement where I’m not as comfortable as I usually am and not having any natural light like normal either.

In any case, come Saturday, I may be hauling my own sewing machine and all of my materials to this woman’s house to start working on the Pokemon trainer cosplay, depending on whether or not she has a class to teach.

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In addition, I finished my first, all-by-myself amigurumi this week! I made them as housewarming gifts for Jerad because I didn’t know what to buy him. So here they are, Toon Link and Navi!

Amigurumi Link and Navi

I’m so proud of both of these, I’m considering making more! Navi can be in different colors and Link can have different colored tunics! I’m excited to get started on them!

Sewing Project #2

After my last sewing project, I was very nervous about doing another one, but as this one is for my best friend, I wanted to try harder to get it done for her for Halloween. This time, however, I chose to go into the store to pick out some of the fabric so I wasn’t as overwhelmed as my first adventure.

This will be my first cosplay attempt. I’m making a Pokemon trainer outfit that includes a romper, half jacket, and belt, and today I bought the fabric for the jacket, jacket/romper trim, and the craft foam for the belt. The pattern is already cut out so I just have to pin the fabric and get it cut out.

The difficulty in this project lies in the type of fabric we’re using. The sweater fleece should be ok, as it’s not too stretchy, but the romper fabric and the trim is an activewear type of fabric, which means it stretches a lot. The pattern calls for stretch knit, specifically activewear, but in getting what I got, it was simply a happy accident that it was the right type and color I needed. Now, I didn’t get all of the fabric I needed. The color that my best friend wanted is considered a fall color so I went in with the intention just to see what, if any, fabric was available in the desired color. Since it was, and there was so little of it, I decided to get it and it was also on sale. I still have to get the black stretch knit for the romper and I’ll do that next week.

But my mother and I have never worked with anything stretchy before so we’re hoping to get some help from a fellow seamstress/sewing teacher, either to help teach us how to sew this fabric without it stretching too much or to commission her to sew it for us. Given the time crunch, it might be more ideal to have her sew it for us, but I personally would like to learn how to sew with stretch knit fabric because I intend to work on several cosplays in the future that may require stretchy fabric. I just need to find time.

Until then, you’ll find me cutting out patterns and watching anime. ❤

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On the plus side, I finished my massive crochet blanket, at least for the moment. I’m still deciding on doing crocodile stitches on the straight edges, but I want to see how they look on the blanket before committing to that particular design. Here’s what the finished product looks like:

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And it’s warm, cozy, and big enough to wrap myself up like a burrito, exactly how I wanted. ^_^

Facing the Future Part 2

On a different, but related subject, today while dredging through my workload, my mind wandered to a variety of other tasks I would rather be doing instead of my daily grind. Things like cutting out patterns, playing video games, trying to catch up on recorded anime while crocheting, sleeping (which I actually did before noon; I took a half hour nap because I was so drained), etc.

As it was, I managed to push through my work so that I could spend the rest of my evening watching Netflix and cutting out a pattern. But these wandering snippets got me thinking on how much I dislike my work. Lately, it really does feel like work. Whereas other things like crocheting and gaming make me feel energized and alive. Even the prospect of cutting out a sewing pattern was more appealing than working.

Which got me thinking on how much better (or worse) life would be if I could actually spend my time making things for other people. I love crocheting blankets especially, but I can also make hats and I recently began making amigurumi, but as long as I have a pattern, I could make pretty much anything, because crocheting soothes my anxiety. And I might still be learning how to sew, but I think once I became skilled enough, I could probably do some cosplay stuff for other people beside myself. I think I would enjoy creating beautiful cosplay items.

This also comes on the back of someone close to me wanting to make and sell jewelry on Etsy, and this makes me want to do something similar because I have this love of creating things. I already work on my own schedule, but it would be nice to not have to be at a laptop all day since I also have problems with my eyes. Still, there’s no guarantee of success there either, especially not right now. Crocheting blankets is great and all, but blankets take time and on top of my other work, they take that much longer.

So while it was a nice thought to get me through my day, I’m not sure it’s quite right for me at this particular moment. Still, I’ll continue to make things as a hobby to soothe my anxious mind. Until next time…<3

Post Vacation Madness

So I’ve had a crazy day. In coming back from vacation over the past five days, I was sent an email saying that I had gone into the negative with my paid time off and that technically I shouldn’t have been able to do that, but it happened and so I would not be able to take any paid vacation off for the rest of the year in order to “pay back” the time I’m currently negative. Quite frankly, I don’t think it’ll take an entire five months to pay it back, but what do I know? But the good news here is that I have no foreseeable “planned” vacations coming up in the next five months to worry about needing that paid time off.

That one email put me into panic overdrive mode and made me feel quite overwhelmed with things I wanted to do today. Not even things that absolutely needed to be done. To put it simply, my mind felt like a very busy train station, with six different trains running on six different but criss-crossing tracks and they continually ran the risk of colliding with each other.

After taking several deep breaths, I calmed down enough to make a list of things I wanted to get done and slowly did them one by one throughout the day. One of them was to sort through a massive pile of stuffed animals, mostly monkeys, and pick ones to donate/get rid of. While I was in college, my favorite band was called 100 Monkeys and my family and friends made it their mission to get me 100 monkeys and some time last year they succeeded. So I took one massive “family” picture of most of the monkeys and then sorted through them to divide them between keep and donate. Part of my desire to do this I blame on the show “Hoarders,” which I watched while I was on vacation because my best friend loves it, and while I don’t mind watching it, it makes me want to clean and sort and organize, etc. The other part of this desire to clean is from a genuine place of reducing clutter and initially I wanted to clean out the laundry basket these monkeys were sitting in so I could actually use it as a laundry basket. However, that didn’t work out so well because now the basket is full of the Disney toys that had been sitting on top of all the monkeys!

Now, granted, I still love monkeys, so I’m not getting rid of all 100, but I also realize that, with all of the other stuffed animals and other miscellaneous “nerd” stuff I have neatly arranged in various places in my room, I need to make space for new stuff and move some of the old stuff out. This is, in itself, a process and a time consuming one at that. Ideally, I’d like to go through all of my dressers, my closet, and a clear stacked “tower” and see if I can’t weed some non-essential things out of there. But I need to find time first.

So monkey wrangling was only one (well technically two) item on my list of things to do. The next two were fairly simple. One was to write a check to my dad to pay him back for several things he paid for me while I was gone. The other was to do some math for a store I wanted to buy from and find out how to get the best deal. Well, turns out the store had a flash sale so I ended up completing my transaction immediately and within my self imposed budget based off my latest paycheck. This will be my birthday gift to myself when it arrives. As for the check writing…well, I haven’t gotten to it yet, because I still need to finish working and then I need to balance out my checkbook.

The third item was actually making up a blog post. Since my mind was going a million miles a minute, making up this post actually helped to calm me down and slow down enough to remain calm throughout the day. This was probably the easiest one to do once I got rolling. I did a lot of venting this morning to my best friend so most of that was already off my chest.

Last on my list was making up several YouTube video playlists for working out. I have yet to find a good balance for me, since I love yoga for the stretching out, but I also like/need more cardio and strength training, which is where Pilates comes in, and a lot of the videos I end up watching become too challenging for me and it takes me a good hour just to get half an hour of actual working out done because I have to keep stopping. So my mad plan this morning was to do my cardio/Pilates once a week on alternating Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and yoga for the rest of the week. However, the yoga won’t all be just stretching routines. I know of some that include body weight based strength training in the flows. This task is easily the most time consuming. It will require making multiple playlists with multiple videos for different groups of body parts and searching for said videos to put in the playlists. I wholeheartedly believe this will be the definition of madness. If I get it done yet tonight, it’ll be a miracle.

The only relaxing thing I’ll get to do is some crocheting while watching one of my cooking shows. I’m making a very small, 3-inch figure of the spotted elephant from Rudolph for a friend. Last I recall, I had finished the head, body, and ears. Oh! Speaking of which, the Bumble has been finished and delivered to its new home. The recipient was absolutely delighted by it, even if mom did sew the arms on upside down.

So yes, my day has been quite hectic by my normal standards and to top it all off, last night on my ride home, I learned that I would have relatives coming up this weekend for our town’s annual festival for the drunks, and quite honestly, my first thought was, crap! That’ll cut into my gaming time!

Until next time, read on, peace out, and find time to chillax once in a while. Everyone needs their chill time.

The Power of Creation

As a writer, creating is something that’s ingrained in me. You might say it’s my lifeblood. I absolutely relish that feeling when something in my stories finally clicks and comes together in total perfection.

But lately, I’ve been feeling stifled in the writing area and every time I feel like writing, or have some urge of thoughts that need writing down, once I get to the page, they’re gone. Or as is in most cases, I can’t fully express whatever thoughts are going on in my head and I’m left unsatisfied.

Instead, as I’m sure most writers can appreciate, in the artful pursuit of mastering procrastination, I’ve been diving headfirst into my crochet projects, which give both a visible and tangible sense of creation. Take the abominable snow monster I was working on in the last post. I can pick him up, fill him with stuffing, touch and feel him…He’s a visible, tangible source of creation. The same goes for the blanket I’m working on, which has been set aside for the moment due to the Bumble. And just this morning, I had a burst of ideas jump out at me for future crochet projects, like an amigurumi Link and cosplay Silver/Gold Gauntlets from Legend of Zelda for my friend Jerad as a housewarming gift, and a My Little Pony Princess Cadence hat for my little niece.

Now I can’t be entirely sure why I’m getting all these creative bursts for yarn-related crafts; however since I’ve been crippled with what I can only describe as writer’s block since, well, January maybe, I’m guessing that’s what it is. There are still creative juices flowing. They’re just being focused through another outlet.

Writing isn’t as tangible, even if you’re writing in a notebook or printing off pages you typed up on the computer. You can’t see or touch or smell whatever it is you’re creating (unless you’re truly gifted and/or writing in a specific location that you’re basing your writing on, like a coffee shop, etc.). For me, anyway, there’s only the visualization process, where I can only see the characters and places I create in my mind’s eye. And lately, even that’s been getting more and more difficult for me to accomplish. It’s awful. It feels like an essential part of me is missing and I don’t know how to get it back. (Which is really resonating with me because I watched Moana last night before bed and it seems like that’s what happened to the “villain” of the story.)

Even now, in just trying to finish this post, my mind has gone completely blank. I hope this is not a sign of my gift with words is gone. I still have a book to finish writing/editing! But it’s more than just sitting down and getting it written, more than simply waiting for inspiration to strike (because let’s face it, sometimes inspiration strikes as rarely as lightning). It’s about being in the right mindset, being in the right mood, and being willing to shut everyone and everything out temporarily to get something, anything done on the page. And in such a fast-paced world, finding time to slow down is a challenge in itself.

What do you do to overcome writer’s block? Or overcome a challenge you’ve met in other ways, like a crafting project, a new workout routine, or even getting your dream job? How do you find the motivation to sit down (or stand up) and get whatever you’re working on finished? Please share your thoughts and comments below! Much love!! ❤ ❤

Writing on Command

Does anyone else have issues writing on command? I can bet that in at least every single creative writing class, you’ve been given a subject and five minutes to write about it. And I don’t know about you, but for at least the first 30 seconds to a minute, I stare at the page and my mind goes completely blank.

It could even be about something simple like apple pie. I’m sure there are a lot of people whose first thought is about the smell or the taste. Me, I’m trying to come up with the “Why” of the matter. Why apple pie? Why not blueberry or peach or cherry? And then half a dozen other questions arise, like who’s making the pie, who are they making it for and why, etc. and I’m being battered by all these thoughts.

Eventually I’ll come up with something plain like “Grandma’s apple pie sat on the windowsill waiting to cool off while the grandkids played outside and grandpa slept in the recliner in front of the tv.” And that will be all I can do in 5 minutes. Now, given ample time to think through all the random questions, and more than 5 minutes to write, I can make a paragraph that’s completely different and more descriptive.

“Grandma set her freshly baked apple pie on the windowsill to cool off. Its warm, spicy scent wafted through the house, as she had added a little extra cinnamon, just how grandpa liked it. She and her grandkids, Todd and Lily, had picked the apples that morning at the orchard just down the dirt road. Todd and Lily were still outside playing a game of hide and seek while grandpa dozed in his recliner in front of the old tv with the wire rabbit ears. Grandma smiled as she started to wash the dishes in warm soapy water. Once those kids smelled the pie, they would abandon their game and come running inside, begging for a piece of it while it was still hot.”

This paragraph covers more of the senses and is more descriptive that the initial sentence (and yes, it took me about an hour to craft just this last night). This is something that plagues me as a writer. I can work with writing prompts, but not time limits. My brain needs time to process and think through all possibilities and even then, I may not actually perceive ALL the possibilities.

It doesn’t help that I’m mentally bored with my job so naturally my mind kicks in to autopilot halfway through my day. There’s just not enough stimulation there, and then when I’m done with work, I need a break from the mental monotony and instead I dive into more hands-on crafting like my crochet projects.

I know I said I would work more on my writing this year but the last month I’ve really slacked off and I need something to jolt my creative juices again.

Over to you guys! How do you break out of your own ruts and get the creative juices flowing again? I’d love to hear your suggestions and tips!

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And now for a special update!

The past couple days, I’ve been working on one of my mother’s crochet projects because I thought it would be small and easy to crank out in a few hours. Well, it’s turning into a few days, but it’s not all that bad. I needed a break from my blanket and this has been fun. It’s my first amigurumi, the Bumble snow monster from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He still needs a face and arms, but I’ll work on those later.

Bumble Amigurumi

In addition, I have to commend my mother on starting one of her own sewing projects, which is a quilt of valor for my godmother’s son, who’s a Marine, and she is making considerable progress on it without my prompting. I’m really proud of her for putting as much effort in as she has over the past few days, whenever she had some free time. What she has done looks great. I’ll try to get pictures for next time.