Tuesday, October 6, 2015

a new look!

About 4 years ago I did a cute little photoshoot with cupcakes and sprinkly nail polish, and it made a perfect blog banner for what I was going for at the time.

A lot has changed in those 4 years and I feel like a totally different person in some ways. Definitely time for a change here, too.

I wanted something fun and personal but less visually busy, so as part of this, I learned how to go from a pen and paper drawing to a stark vectorized image! It involved free trials of Illustrator and Photoshop, as well as this post and this video. I'm excited to have picked up a new skill that's pretty different from anything I've done before!

I also got to play around with a bit of CSS, which isn't a part of my normal programming job, but I find it super fun on occasion!

I consider this a work in progress, and there are tons of things I may fix up someday, but it seems kind of silly right now as I'm not sure if anyone actually reads this (which is fine, tbh).

Here are some before and after shots, so I can forever remember the oh-so-intense banner I had up here for several years. And hey, if you do read this, why not leave a comment and let me know!

RIP cupcake banner, 2011-2015


This birthday feels big. The last year of my 20s. In some ways I'm ready - the 20s are a year of growth and change and making mistakes, and it seems like many people go into their 30s in a much more solid place. It's just a number, but somehow it feels symbolic - I want to be generally content with where my life is when I get there, ready for the next stage.

The last year and a half have been really good for me. I've found exercise I love and feel really strong and healthy, got Tumbles and have settled into a routine with her, and I've learned to stop letting anxiety sabotage me at work and finally feel like I am building the career I've wanted for some time. Now that a bunch of stressors have settled down, I'm finding more time to do hobbies outside of just baking. I've even started being able to keep plants alive! This is all very new. I went into 28 just getting started on a lot of things - I'd recently gotten super into ballet, I had just (finally) shown myself that I could accomplish things at work, and Tumbles was still a pup and took a lot of work (in fact, my birthday was one of my most stressful, sleepless, and all around emotional days last year). I feel like I'm on much more solid ground now.

Things are good.

But I still feel restless lately, although I appreciate that this restlessness comes in large part from a place of comfort in my life. I've been in the bay area for six years, and it's wearing on me. I moved here for work and because I knew a few people (hi, Tim), but I never saw myself staying long term. I've always missed seasons, particularly the crisp air and bright leaves of fall and the cold of winter. San Francisco has been changing, before and since I moved here. Rents have climbed almost as fast as my cushy tech income, people not in tech can barely live here anymore, and the city itself just feels exhausting lately for an introvert like me. I've enjoyed most of my time here, but I'm ready for something quieter, where I can buy a house and have my own backyard for Tumbles and settle into a less hectic lifestyle.

I'm hoping the next year will bring some of these changes, but it's out of my control in large part - the downside of settling down with another person - so time will tell! Either way, I hope I can continue to enjoy what I have and focus on the many, many good things in my life right now.

Here's to 29.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

End of summer

This summer seemed to drag on and on, but it wasn't all bad - just a bit too long. Here are some pics from August and September. Summer was full of dogs, yoga, houseplants, lots of sewing, sunsets, and a work trip to NYC + rural Massachusetts.

So, so ready for fall and hoping the weather cooperates <3

Monday, August 31, 2015

Some things I've sewn

5 months after getting Love at First Stitch, I've finished every pattern in the book! Ok, almost everything - I skipped the blouse, as it looks a bit loose through the waist and I know I would never wear it. (Fitted tees for life.) But I did make three of one skirt, and redid another one to fit me better, so it evens out I think. Here is the first round of clothing that I made!

The first pattern is a simple hair scarf, which I made in red... and was promptly reminded that I cannot pull off head scarves (something about my head shape? or hairline? they sit awkwardly and then slide off). A good refresher if you haven't touched your sewing machine in years, though.

Next - PJ pants! these are pretty great, although I do wish they had elastic instead of just a drawstring. Another good beginner project, though, and a great intro to clothing without having to worry too much about fit.

Details: Drawstring, hems, and inside zigzag stitches in lieu of a serger (gotta finish those seams so they don't unravel).

Next I made the Delphine skirt, which I really love a lot, although mine reminds me a bit too much of fall and makes me long for cooler temps....

My first invisible zipper (or, actually, any zipper!), and a rather fancy finished waistband. This was probably my first "holy crap, I made this?!" moment.

My first time wearing something I'd made to work (aside from knit hats... but those are more accessories). Had to commemorate with a bathroom selfie.

I have since re-made the Delphine with the fabric I had leftover from the first one (I tend to overbuy in case I mess something up). The new one is identical but with a shorter zipper and tighter waist. I also tried to add pockets, but that was kind of a flop...

More to come - two rather complex dresses (so many darts!) and three color variations on another skirt. Stay tuned.

Edit: Inspired by my awesome coworker Kiran (omg go check out her blog!), I'm going to keep track of things I pick up with each new pattern I make. Hopefully I won't stop learning at least something new with each new pattern for quite some time :) 

These PJ pants taught me a ton of new things: pre-washing fabric; tracing a pattern and cutting out the pieces; fitting together a 3D garment; seam allowances and finishing seams; pressing (not to be confused with ironing.. although it's similar); hemming.

The Delphine taught me: making a toile to fit; inserting a zipper (an invisible one, even!); using interfacing to stabilize; creating a finished waistband. Also - being picky enough to redo it if it's not just right, because sewing my own stuff gives me that power.