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!

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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

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block…the bane of writers everywhere. That feeling of wanting to write but not being able to put words to paper (or laptop). It’s beyond frustrating.

I’ve been stuck on and off for several months, and I think the only reason I managed to finish a crucial character profile yesterday was because I sat down and forced myself to do it. Plus, with a little help from my best friend, she helped talk me through the remaining details I needed.

Currently I’m stuck mainly because there’s a five year old running around and she’s very distracting. In a good and a bad way. Good because I love her to death and I love hearing her play and getting to play with her. Bad because she likes to scream as loud as she possibly can and can also be equally loud during a tantrum. Since I’m visiting her and her mommy, my best friend, it’s a bit difficult to get some quiet time during the day except when little one is down for a nap. That, on top of six seasons of My Little Pony, two seasons of Littlest Pet Shop, and feeling stifled in general with my story, has left me in a constant state of writer’s block, and hearing only the voices of the various ponies from MLP.

However, I must admit, I’ve been having fun and this small child has been giving me prime examples of how to show someone being temperamental. She’s the definition of temperamental. Now I just have to translate it to the behavior of a teenager without them sounding angsty. Not sure how I’m going to do that…

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.

Zelda-ed Out

Sorry for not posting much in the past few weeks. It’s been kind of chaotic here.

So, for the past two weeks, my friend Jerad has been spending the night here and playing (almost) every Legend of Zelda game he owns. He recently bought the last three he didn’t have previously, but they were not included in his marathon. He had estimated his gaming marathon at taking 10, maybe 11 days. Today is day 13 and he’s still working on the last one. Sounds like a long vacation of sorts, right?

To be honest, I haven’t minded having him here for that long. I’ve actually been enjoying his company and watching all the different Zelda games, some of which I’ve never played before, and I’m going to be a little sad when he leaves. On the other hand, I haven’t really been on my usual schedule for those two weeks and haven’t had much alone time to decompress so I’m looking forward to having that back tomorrow. But having him here for so long got me thinking on how he’s been a good influence on me and how I’m not completely drained physically or mentally.

Since he’s been here, I’ve had several days where I went over my step goal of 6,000 steps (and yes I know it’s supposed to be 10K a day, but I needed to work up to that from sitting all the time) because I went for walks with him while he went Pokemon hunting and we chatted during those walks, which was nice. I haven’t been stress eating because I’m not all that stressed, despite not having a great deal of work this week, which also means I haven’t touched my chocolate stash in several days. And on top of my lack of stress eating, I’ve been eating healthier foods and snacks all around, from grapes and apple slices to cherries, carrots, and asparagus. It hasn’t all been healthy (like the ice cream bars and the hot dogs and chips) but it’s been pretty balanced overall, which I haven’t really been able to do by myself.

I think the most important thing he’s done while he’s been here is not leave me feeling completely drained and overwhelmed, which is difficult in itself because we’ve also had extra company over the past two weekends that I wasn’t expecting. But he hasn’t made me feel frantic or panicked or anything like that. He knows about my anxiety and has been taking it into account, even going so far as to help with my impromptu babysitting needs. When a discussion about Gia came up (while I was still babysitting), I heard him mention something about trying to coax an apology from me to her (since she had told him she would not apologize to me until I did and maybe then she would admit she overreacted). But my dad told him something, I didn’t quite hear the details because I was in the other room with the four year old girl I was watching, but what I did catch was that after all the stuff Gia had said about me and my family, I was the one deserving of an apology and Jerad said that he hadn’t known about whatever it was my dad told him. Since then, there has been no discussion whatsoever about an apology or about Gia.

I appreciate that he still has faith the friendship will resume after we’ve both had some time to cool off and be apart, but we’ve been “apart” for four years now and I’ve just started to see how toxic she really is. After two years I’ve finally found my voice again, my own personality, and I’m no longer a needy, dependent little girl looking for any friends that’ll have me. I am a strong, independent woman who doesn’t have time for anyone else’s drama or issues. I decide which friends to keep and which friends aren’t worth the effort. Being in a one-sided relationship is never worth it, especially if you’re the only one putting in any effort.