sheer comfort


knitting a 1930's sweater

This is what I do to relax:
  1. Watch a good sappy black and white film. (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10)
  2. Knit a 1930's sweater which is turning out to be one of the simplest projects I've started in a long while.
  3. Pour myself a glass of red wine.
  4. Break off a piece of some amazing dark chocolate (which I admit is cheap, but still...sooo good).
  5. Continue to knit, eat chocolate, and sip wine; glancing up now and then to see Joan Crawford's knees buckle every time Melvyn Douglas enters the scene. (Um, yes, it's incredibly sappy, but who the heck cares?!)
  6. Repeat steps 1-5.

resisting the urge to consume


blouse in production
{blouse in production.}

It all started earlier this year, around the end of February (according to my receipts) that I decided it was time I made a change in my spending habits. I will admit, I love clothing. I love to figure out my "style" and wear clothes that express my personality. It's a bit of a hobby and it's also part of my job, so it's something I think about a lot. I'm not much of an artist in the sense of paintings. I barely know what "good" art is. I see what I like and I may not have a deep explanation behind why I love it, except that it makes me feel wonderful when I look at it. But I am getting off topic now. Ehem... (It's the art show I went to last night that is trying to sabotage the topic of this post; do forgive me.) Back to what I was saying... Clothing in a sense is my "art." It's my way of expressing myself while painting is a way other artists express themselves. So it can be really hard to resist buying stuff that I think will help express my personality. I know, that may sound ridiculous to some people, but I really do get excited about it. However, I started to see myself spending money on stuff I thought I "needed" when in reality, it was just something to make me feel good for the time being. I quickly realized that I wasn't feeling any better two weeks later when I was figuring out my spending habits. It's not that I've ever spent a lot of money on any one thing either. It could be little things like going to a thrift store and purchasing clothing. But it all adds up.

So I made a mental decision that I would refrain from buying anything clothing related, with a few exceptions. The gist of it is that I would stop buying clothing online or go shopping for clothes. I never was very happy with my purchases either, mostly because I don't have the money to spend on items I really would like. I have purchased some things like a pair of rad 1940s heels for super cheap that I couldn't resist at an antique store or a black slip to wear under one of the vintage dresses I got a few years ago. But other than little things, I stopped buying clothing. Instead what I have been doing is buying fabric, but even then I really hesitate until I know it's something I need or that I know I'll use before the end of the year. Part of the reason I decided to stop buying clothing was to encourage myself to make my own clothing. I know not everyone can make their own clothes, but this is something I'm good at, so why not use my talents?

Since then I have been wearing a lot of the same clothing over and over again, but I wear them different ways so it feels like I have a new outfit. And you know what? It feels great. Instead of going out to buy shorts (which I really don't like anyway) I wore skirts and dresses all summer. And when I felt like wearing shorts, I made some that I liked. I've begun making my own jeans and trousers. I'm actually happy with the way they look and fit! I've got two pairs of jeans I purchased last year that I wear on and off, but in my book two pairs is just fine. If I want more, then I have to set aside some time and make them myself. Not only does this help me appreciate the time it takes to put a garment together, but it also helps perfect my skills as a seamstress.

Another thing I did was to get rid of clothing that I knew I would never wear. For some reason I kept thinking that maybe someday, down the road, I will need said item for some random reason. But had I worn said item in the last year? No. Out the door it went and into the lovely hands of Salvation Army (or Goodwill, I can't remember). Hurrah for more closet space! Hurrah for less stuff! Getting rid of stuff is totally freeing for me. It's sort of the feeling I had when I totaled my car and didn't have the insurance to pay for it. I thought to myself "one more thing I don't really need." And that helped me put it all into perspective. (Until now where I'm like... "gahhh why don't I have a car?!!") But honestly, I feel like the more you get rid of, the less you have to think about. And that is the whole idea behind not purchasing things. I even have gone so far as to not buy shampoo. I wash my hair instead with a mix of baking soda and water and it actually works! Then again, that also has to do with the fact that my hair looks like a fuzzy plush toy when I shampoo my hair. And the fact that there is a ton of crap in shampoo that just looks plain scary! And heck, I'm pretty sure baking soda is better for our environment than a bottle of shampoo. (No offense to anyone who shampoos their hair, I seriously am not judging here!)

So back to the topic. The feeling of resisting the urge to purchase stuff has made me feel better about myself and it has encouraged me to be more creative with what I have. I'm not saying I'm "cured" of the spending urge, because there are still times when I will purchase a book or a DVD and then think "oh man...did I actually need this? No? Drat." So this is ongoing for me, but I am trying. And so far, I'm feelin' pretty darn good about it.

lots of coffee and tea on this rainy day



I am bursting to the seams with ideas today! I've been doing lots of scheming lately. It has a little something to do with fabrics and old-fashioned appeal. {You are probably wondering what on earth that means.} I won't say anything just yet because I've learned that my mind changes quite frequently and we wouldn't want anyone to think I was flighty, now would we? ;-) So I will leave you with a few pictures that are making me grateful for the change of seasons. Yes, I am finally happy it's getting cold outside!




{Also! If you haven't already seen Abby's shop, you should go take a look. Her photographs are so inspiring. And if you haven't been to her blog, check that out as well. You won't regret it.}

linking friday

I read a bunch of blogs and many of them will have "Linking Fridays." Fridays are the days they will link to a bunch of cool sites they've come across in the last week. I'm not going to start doing this every week, but I do have a bunch of links I've recently come across that I think would be nice to share with you all.
  • Feel like sitting down with a cup of coffee and a good read? Well, then you might consider reading this beautiful account of two sisters who decide to take their bikes and go have an adventure. It all began in the summer of 1944. "Perhaps it was a ridiculous venture, but we were determined never to be put into the category with those who say, I always wanted to, but never did." The Lure of the Open Road. {via Elizabeth}
  • For all you obsessive coffee drinkers out there, you might be interested in these directions on how to make yourself the perfect cup right in your very own home. I've been noticing these little espresso makers around and always wondered what exactly they were. I also noticed Target now carries them. {Though I secretly think I'm going to bump into one of these little confections at a thrift store for a couple bucks.} Yes, I covet them. But Christmas is coming up and I never know what to ask for, so... :)
  • This knitted hood is freaking adorable. I'm sure it would keep me toasty warm during the cold winter months. I'm eyeing these lovely wool yarns and can't decide which one to use, let alone which color!
  • Speaking of knitting {though I think this is probably crochet}, isn't this super awesome?!
  • Thinking of having a cocktail party? Here's a helpful guide from Behind the Curtain to get you started! {Besides, I'm quite partial to the picture she used of Myrna Loy and William Powell.}
  • Oh this makes me want to curl up with a good book and a cup of hot tea. {I LOVE wood floors that have been painted white.}
  • I know I said I wouldn't mention politics again, but this is too good not to post.
  • Pumpkin cake with whiskey in it? Bring it on!
  • Love!
  • Stressing out? Pioneer Woman has some advice. Take note!
  • Speaking of Pioneer Woman. There is something about her writing style that always makes me laugh so hard. I love it. And laughing is a great stress reliever! I love how her writing is so honest and down-to-earth.
Well that's it for the links today. I'm sure I'm forgetting a ton, but hopefully these are enough to keep you occupied for a bit. Hope everyone has a fantastic Friday! I'm going to an art show tonight! My friend Vaclav will be showcasing his art. Should be a good time! I was planning to go to a Sacred Harp sing Saturday morning, but it's postponed until next month. Enjoy your weekend everyone!

japanese craft books - copyright?



Okay, this may be a dumb question, but I've just spent a good amount of time googling to see if I can find the answer and I haven't been able to find anything. So, my question: Can you make things using the patterns in the Japanese craft books to sell or is there a copyright on those patterns? I can't read Japanese and have no way of knowing whether or not this is stated in any of the books. Anyone out there know the answer to this?

knitting, cold weather, budgets, books, kitties


{random kitty picture. who doesn't like random kitty pictures? she's a little feisty, but i don't mind.}

Lately I've been thinking a lot about budgets. I know, it's not exactly a fun topic, but I came to the realization that I really need to put one together for myself. My brother is a whiz at this sort of thing and he's always asking me about my business, so I thought I would see if he could help. I emailed him (as he's living in Russia at the moment) and he sent me a list of questions to fill out. That's one of the things I think I'll be doing this afternoon. It's the kind of task I SO dread. Money makes me ill, but it's also something I need. I've been reading The Boss of You, which is a fantastic book for anyone who is thinking of starting (or who already have started) their own business. I'm telling you, this book would have come in handy when I first started my business. As I'm reading the book I keep nodding my head "yes, yes, YES!" So much stuff in that book I can relate to. From hating money (but realizing one needs it and money isn't always a bad thing) to the whole reason for starting your own business. I never ever started a business so that I could make it "big." That has never, nor will it ever, be my intention. It was very simple. I loved sewing and I loved historical clothing a TON. I couldn't find anything else that I could see myself doing in the future, so I took it upon myself to begin a business that fit my needs and my skills. As with anything (be it college, experiences in life etc.) you gradually find what you are best at and what you enjoy the most. I think I'm still figuring this out, actually. But after all this time, I still enjoy historical sewing immensely. And the more I do it, the better I get and the more confidence I have in myself. (Confidence in oneself is always a plus.) ;-)

I think now I look at what I have done, nearing on my 5th year in business; asking myself where I want to go from here and what exactly is it that I want from my business. One thing they encourage you to do in the book is to jot down the reasons you have your own business and what exactly will make you feel that your business is a success. It could be as simple as paying rent and taking a month vacation a year or whatever. But they strongly encourage you to write it all down. I've never actually done this before, because it's easy to think you've got it stored up there in your brain, so there's no need to put it on paper. The problem is you tend to forget about these goals when times are stressful and little bit by little bit, you end up changing your goals without realizing it. So having a hard copy on a piece of paper to look over every now and then is a smart idea.

I'm not even halfway through the book yet, as I'm just taking a little bit at a time, trying to drink it all in slowly. But so far it's been very encouraging and I think it's exactly what I needed, to get "back on track" as far as the vision of my business goes. So go pick it up if you think it's something you might find helpful!

Okay, enough talk about that! Let's get onto something maybe a little bit more fun. Like...knitting! I finally took out my knitting from last year and began knitting one of the sleeves that was almost completed. I knitted two rows before I realized I made a mistake at the beginning. I ended up ripping that out and haven't started it up again. But it's one of those projects where I had to take the time to figure out where exactly I left off and how I was doing it. So now I feel like I've got a pretty tight grasp on all the directions once again. SO next time let's hope I don't make the same mistake. I've got the rest of this sleeve to do and then just one more sleeve. After that comes the blocking and assembling. I can't wait for this sweater to be done!

And because whenever I have one project to finish, I always begin another, I have been looking at a lot of different projects to start on. Here's my list so far! I'm not sure which one I want to start with, except I'm really fond of Jenny's slouch hat, so will probably begin with that. :)
Doesn't it just make you feel so cozy? Since the weather is changing and it's starting to get a bit chilly, I feel like knitting everything at once. I'm not the greatest knitter ever, but I'd like to get better at it. Though with every hard project where I have to think a lot, it's nice to have an easy project to work on during movies or while meeting with friends over coffee. Now I need to run to the store and pick up some needles that I thought I already had. grrr. Another project: organize my knitting needles.

small town iowa


Check out these pictures of a small town in Iowa, 1939-1942 from Everett W. Kuntz. {via for me, for you}

Just had to post that. :)

music for wildflowers

Last night I made a bit of a mixed-tape for my blog. Inspired by Marjorie, yet again! :) I'll probably add to it and change it periodically. Mostly I am adding "easy-listening" selections. Enjoy.

After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains.
-Walt Whitman

times they are a changin'


{times they are a changin'}

sewing sewing sewing
{working hard on a project.}

I'm not really sure what I'm going to write about tonight, so bear with me! It's been awhile since I've actually blogged. I mean, I have blogged, just feel like I haven't really put much into my posts lately. My mind has been everywhere and I've been thinking a lot about everything at once. Do you ever get that feeling where you want to just put all of your thoughts on paper and forget about them for like...a month? And then by the time that month is over you can go look at your thoughts; they already will have worked themselves out and you can be on your merry way? Well, this is how I think. :) I feel like my mind is everywhere and sometimes I forget to think about the stuff that really matters. I'm too caught up with all the worries of the moment. They may even be legitimate worries, but sometimes you just have to put them aside, read a magazine, look at a pretty picture, take a walk, smell the fresh air. I think for me, those are the times when I really step back and look at the big picture. When I see that life really does go on, even when you feel overwhelmed with everything.

...Moment... I'm listening to Marjorie's beautiful music selection {scroll down} and right now it is Midlake "Young Bride" and it is perfect. Btw, I love Midlake. Yes, you should check them out.

Okay, back to whatever it was I was saying...

Oh yes, what was I saying again? Anyway, some random thoughts. I think too much. Lately I have been appreciating the outdoors around me. Not that I have had a whole lot of time to go outside, but I am noticing the weather is changing, leaves are beginning to change and I smell the crisp air. I have rediscovered my stockings and my leather lace-up boots. {The ones that make me feel slightly Victorian.} And they make me feel taller and maybe a little older. :) I've been thinking of stuff to make for the colder weather which is creeping up on us. I have visions of flannel shirts and plaid wool coats. I picked up a Vintage Vogue pattern at the fabric store the other day while they were on sale. Perhaps I will find time to make this coat on the weekends, among all the other projects I am envisioning to make for myself. Yes, I have way too much on my plate of things to make already, but I can't help but think of new things. Sewing things for myself really does help me take that much needed break, as strange as that sounds. I sew all the time for work, but I actually have more fun sewing things for myself and I'm not ashamed to admit it! It renews my love of sewing, because when I sew for myself I sew whatever the heck I feel like sewing. It could be a top, it could be trousers, a coat, a bag, the possibilities are endless! And if I get tired working on a particular project and want to move onto another, well there is nothing stopping me! I'm totally free to be my artistic self and it feels absolutely marvelous. I'm telling you, it really takes the stress off of me. Perhaps one day I will get to the point where I am only sewing items I feel like sewing, but I honestly doubt that will ever happen. I can dream!

I am thinking, though, that I will eventually get a little more organized in what I will and will not sew {for work}. Perhaps I will actually get around to making that line of clothing or make a run of leather bags as well. In fact, I am thinking more seriously about those leather bags. I will keep you posted, as I know several of you were interested in them back when I first made mine.

I realize this is a bit of a jumbled blog this evening {er, morning} but I felt like writing and when I get those urges, it's best I take them while I have them. I'll be back. Lots of projects ahead of me and lots and lots of work to get done. I keep telling myself not to get overloaded. I think more walks are in order to clear my mind! They help very much. Very much indeed.

P.S. I love banjos {Marjorie posted this awhile back I believe - thank you!} and I also love fiddles. Music is also a huge stress reliever for me. And these tunes sooth my soul.

old town clothing


I ran across this website awhile back, I have no idea where or when I first discovered this place (maybe in a magazine??) and completely forgot about it. Until I read Casey's post. Thanks, Casey!! I'd like one of each, please. :)

right on

"Politics consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable."

-John Kenneth Galbraith

{p.s. this is probably the only time i'll say a word about politics in this blog.}

colorado girl

Oh man he's such a hippie, but I love him just the same.

into the wild


tj, dave, jay, anna and silvana
{in the parking lot before the event started: tj, dave, jay, me and silvana.}

I'm back and getting into the swing of things once again. Going off for almost 4 days in the wilderness was exactly what I needed. So far this has been the most challenging living history event I've attended. I found out I could live on a lot less and still make it through. I discovered washing your hands is last on the list when your water supply is limited and you are left with the decision to drink it or stay somewhat clean. I'll stay hydrated over cleanliness, thanks. :) My nails were packed with dirt by the second day and it stayed like that throughout the entire event.

marmaduke's raid
{trying to figure out the old flintlock.}

We scurried up sides of cliffs, ran around the woods (my skirts catching everything in our path), slept in patches of poison ivy (somehow I never got the stuff), got maaaaybe 2 hours of sleep the whole time, watched shooting stars at night, became engulfed in the nature which surrounded... and it was magnificent. The funny thing is I never really saw myself as a camping girl. But ever since I've been doing living history, I feel like I've almost got a natural connection. There are so many things we take for granted here in our convenient homes of luxury. Everything from finding water, getting enough to eat to keeping warm was a chore. But somehow we managed and now I wish I were back out there. Can't wait to do it again!

{More pictures here.}

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. Okay, I realize last weekend is long gone and it's almost the weekend again, but my schedule is all off these days so give me a break. ;) It's getting chilly here again. Think maybe it's time to take out the knitting.

OH! I almost forgot! I was referencing something in a past entry about some thrifty goodness and I never posted pictures. Well, here they are. A pair of 1940s heels that I got for super cheap.

1940s shoes - thrift find!

Here's a better picture.