What the Hell Have I Been Up To??

OhMyGoodness! Where the heck have I been??? I feel like it has been ages since I’ve posted and it kind of has…

I promise I’ve been sewing, and reading(so much reading!!!) and I relearned a new hobby…Knitting!!! Which means I’ve been a lot more active on Ravelry so if knitting interests you find me there! I’m happyechos just like on the blog 🙂

I have been sick twice with a terrible cold in the last month and been down for the count and definitely not up for writing up posts and really really not up to photographing myself in the items. Work has been chaos on so many levels which cut in greatly to my crafting time and increased my stress/exhaustion level quite a bit.

So what do you have to look forward to seeing?

*a ton of book reviews since I have read 41/110 of my book challenge books this year so far! This leaves me just a tad behind schedule at the moment 😉

*some fun sewing project success and fails! Though I am going to label the fails as works in progress because I haven’t give up on them yet!

*a new knitting/yarn section since I am on my 3rd knitting project after reteaching myself about a month ago!!!!

*And I am thinking about adding a what I’m watching/what I’m wishing for/listening to blog post maybe twice a month or so

Also since I posted I had a birthday and turned 26 and decided it was time to get my act together and head back to school to finish up my degree so I’m in the process of that!

Okay so that was a lot of rambling about future things to mostly show that I promise I’m still here and thinking about this blog! I’m going to leave you with some sneak peak shots of all the fun projects I’ll soon be blogging about so stay tuned!!

Hope you’re all having a fabulous weekend and are reading, crafting and enjoying the sun just like me!

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The Blood Tells All…

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This book is the definition of a can’t put it down urban fantasy series. I received this first book for free at Emerald City Comicon and didn’t have high hopes for it…don’t ask me why because now that seems so foolish. I wanted to read it as a break after the Brandon Sanderson Mistborn Series novels before starting a different book he has written. Instead I have now ordered all four of the other books available in The Others Series on amazon and am impatiently awaiting the 3rd one now.

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The book introduces you to a world of “the others” and humans. They may coexist now but it certainly isn’t a peaceful one without trials and tribulations. The humans and The Others are both creatures of Namid who created all creatures on earth. She gave The Others all the forest areas and the humans safe places where they could grow and develop as a people. The trouble with humans is we always want more don’t we though? Soon people overgrew their areas and tried to shove their way into The Others areas but how can humans win out over claws and mystical powers? And when it comes down to it should we really triumph over everything?

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The series tells the story of Meg, a lone girl who has the simple power to change everything for The Others and humans alike…though we’ll have to see if it’s for better or worse. Once Simon allows Meg into the Courtyard there is no turning back for either of them, will Megs abilities sink ships or keep them afloat allowing the tides of change to keep them current(could I add any more water themes to that sentence??).
I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I’ll just say this… if you like books about vampires, werewolves, coyotes who turn into people and have ever wondered what the seasons would be like if they were represented in children this is the book for you. I couldn’t put it down and Anne manages to keep you on your toes wondering what will happen next till the very last page.

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When A Girl Walks Into A Clock Shop…

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What would happen if Pride and Prejudice met a steampunk universe? We’ll you would get Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine. I came across this book by going to a panel at the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle Washington. David was part of this really cool panel called Kicking Ass in a Corset: An Homage to Fearless Ladies in Fantasy! And three out of the four panelists were dressed in Victorian-esc clothing which instantly won me over because if it’s themed and you dress up I will instantly be a fan.

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Anyways, I’m allowing myself to get off topic. David of course spoke about his book and I loved the concept so I went and purchased it right after the panel so I could also have him sign it-because again I’m a sucker for anything that I can get signed by the author/artist. Sometimes this is a really successful move and I’m really happy with the purchase other times not so much. Luckily for me it was the former instead of the later.

Arabella exists in a world where space travel on ships that sail in the Victorian era is possible. She has lived her whole life on a colony on the planet Mars. She was able to learn English Victorian customs but also have the unique situation to be raised by a Martian and learn all the customs and freedoms that come with living on Mars. As what happens in all good stories this life promptly come to an end when her mother decides that she would behave in a more lady like manor if she was back in traditional London, England on Earth. Will a lady or an adventurer triumph in the end?

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The book is filled with all kinds of space adventures while fitting in with the societal requirements of the era the story is based in. I thought the concept was really interesting and it covers a lot of topics including immigration, race and gender bias while keeping the book light hearted and fun. It took me about a hundred pages to really get into the book but once I did it just zipped by. David had all kinds of unexpected plot twists that allowed for a lot of character development for not just the main character but the side ones too. If you like imaginative stories with strong heroines then this is a book for you 🙂

Time For Some Coco And I don’t Mean The Beverage Kind…

Say What? Another Coco…well this might be the first coco you’re seeing but it won’t be the last because I actually made three in quick succession. All very different of course 😉

 

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This was the last to make the cut(haha). I’ll in honest, it was totally supposed to have sleeves but I severely underestimated the amount of fabric needed- so sleeveless it became. I still really like it.

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The fabric is a super soft knit from Joanns because that is the only fabric store my town has to boast -which is still better than my last town which only had a Ben Franklins and they only carried quilting fabric(not that I’m complaining THAT much because that is where I found my precious banana fabric haha). Anyways I’m getting off topic…

The details of the last Coco I made but the first I’m blogging about. By the time I made this pattern it was an easy trick. This one literally took me I think two hours at most to make because the pattern was already traced and cut to my size.
DETAILS!!!

-I made fairly large because I really just wanted a comfortable top to drive to Seattle in and long car rides are no fun in restrictive clothing(at least I think so)
-I made it sleeveless and just did a simple seams around the arm holes with no bias binding or anything
-I made the back slightly longer than the front because I plan on wearing it with leggings and boots around town and wanted my butt to be slightly covered haha
-I did make the collar piece but it isn’t very obvious because I made it shorter with no interfacing so it kind of just drapes around my neck

-It’s made with a knit from Joanns that I picked because I LOVED the coloring and wanted to feel like I’m wearing pjs when I’m not(that is how I judge most of my comfy clothing)

As with all of Tillys patterns the instructions were so, so easy with fabulous pictures to explain every step along with all her blog posts you can visit. Also you can look up her patterns on pinterest and see what anyone under the sun has posted to get ideas of different looks and shapes the pattern can take. I followed my usual system of laying out the pattern, checking what the finished measurements would be and tracing it in wax paper. This pattern follows all the things I love/look for: looks nice without a ton of effort getting dressed, feels like pjs and transitions well for any season because I am not the kinda gal to have a seasonal wardrobe.

Can Misadventures Be Marvelous?

The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter lacks misadventures and pretty much anything marvelous. It should really be named the Boring, Lackluster Life of Ingrid Winters-almost divorcee, sad attempt of a teacher and a not-so-great mother.

This book was torture to read. Not at first because I kept hoping it would turn around. I had hope that the adventure would start or at least Ingrid would grow somewhat of a back bone and stop messing up her life. When I finally had to accept that this was just how the book was and it was NEVER going to turn around and become the fun book I thought it would be is when the torture started and continued until the VERY LAST PAGE. Why Ingrid why? Why do you let your husband treat you like crap? Why are you so neurotic? Why are you such a lackluster mother? Why do you allow yourself to be bullied at a job you so obviously hate?

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This story represents I feel like most women out there in the world minus the “adventure” to Russia to complete an agreement that no one really understands and doesn’t actually benefit any of the professors at the school. They think if they get this next great thing in the status quo their lives will become greater and more fulfilled. We feel we have to work harder so we can afford the bigger house that we just MUST have because it will make our lives that much happier.

This step will make us a better mother because don’t our children deserve the very best? And isn’t it much easier to spend money on a house that we can’t afford than to invest our time in another person or our children? This book shows how we let the “alpha” people walk over us even if they don’t really know best because we decide that it is easier to give in then fight or talk louder over them and allow ourselves to be heard…isn’t this really how Trump became president?

You don’t have to take my word on this book…I feel like when  I went on Goodreads people either absolutely LOVED it or really HATED it like me. I didn’t buy this book because it called to me but as a place holder between the Mistborn series because it was offered as a Kindle First to me from amazon.
Read it if you dare 😉

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As and end note…after my trip to Emerald City Comicon I may have bought too many books haha…

A Wonder Woman In The Making

 

(I was told I looked like WonderWoman a few times today so I thought I would roll with it haha)

Another wonderful Tilly and the Buttons pattern! This time not from Tilly and the Buttons book but the Arielle pattern from her website-though I actually bought this one through the website Modcloth where she also sells her patterns. I’ve loved this pattern since it was released and was so excited to finally give it a chance.

What I did: like all of Tilly’s patterns the instructions are just fabulous and come in a great little booklet with pictures. I traced the pattern on wax paper as has become my habit and then cut the traced pattern and cut out the fabric from there.It’s my least favorite but most helpful step.Chalked out all my darts and seams a little after. It makes the pattern more manageable to use and it is preferable to preserve the pattern for future use.

What did I use: a fantastic stretch denim with gold metallic polk-a-dots from Joanns along with gold metallic thread, and plastic gold shell buttons that I’ve had for ages from the button bin at Ben Franklins Craft Store.
…What did I try to use? a beautiful white fabric with gold polk-a-dots that I tried to use as the lining in the skirt. I even sewed in the fabric to the skirt before trying it on and realizing the denim had quite a bit of stretch and the lining didn’t-making it so the skirt didn’t fit in the smaller size I had cut for a more form fitted look.

Lessons learned and how I altered the pattern: use a fabric with stretch as a liner! Also do not use metallic thread no matter how pretty it looks and how much it matches the skirt fabric. That S.O.B thread snapped on me constantly no matter how I played with the tension.

I didn’t alter the pattern too much. Shortened it a tad but hell I’m a short gal so that’s standard for me. I also did the decorative gold stitching on the outside(that doesn’t show at all in the pictures well)  which also worked double in keeping the inner edge of the facing down flat.

All in all, I’ve worn the skirt several times now and absolutely love it. I can’t wait to make it in all kinds of different fabrics and in the future lining it with the right kinds of fabric. Maybe a wool with a silk lining next time…

Can Glass Ceilings Shatter?

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If scifi dystopian future met Romeo and Juliet it would feel a lot like The Breaking Light by Heather Hansen. The book is set in an off word colony that was once used for mining for the Earth before breaking off contact about a hundred years ago and becoming a society ruled by the founding families. The founding families are those that financially supported the company in its first stages of moving off world and now they rule it by controlling the drug trade. That is the best way to control the masses isn’t it? Hold their life saving medications hostage with high costs and forcing them to work low wage jobs? But I’m getting a tad off topic to our actual world in the United States…

Anyways, the story introduces a society where contact with the sun is reserved for the elite and to have any sort of tan or even just not having a vitamin D deficiency is considered a luxury. I imagined the new planet as kind of an indoor mall or one of those sky scraper buildings you see in large cities. the top floors have large glass windows and so does the roof and the lower you go the less light is available. Especially since you aren’t supposed to spend too much time in the outside air. I don’t know if that is an accurate description of the worlds layers but it’s how I imagined it while reading. Now to tie in the main characters: Arden and Dade. Arden is a sassy, street smart, beautiful teenager who helps rule one of the major gangs in the lower levels. Dade is exceptionally handsome(aren’t they always in YA novels?), smart and wants to change the world…oh yeah and he is the son of one of the major founding families big players.

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This is a book about love, loyalty, gangs, drug trade, and class war. The book covers a lot of topics. What do you do if the choices you are forced to make you know are ethically wrong but right for the protection and health of your family? Is it better to have a dramatic whirl-wind kind of love or an arranged marriage with a mutually respected partner and best friend who you know you could accomplish great things with? How long do you allow love and a sense of loyalty to your family to control the decisions in your life?

I was able to read this as a Kindle First edition it isn’t officially released until April first. Even though it has that typical Young Adult romance novel feel I really liked it. I associated it with the same vibes as Ann Agguire and anyone who knows me(or reads this blog) knows I absolutely love her. It’s a fast paced read with I thought the beginnings of a voice on the current drug trade hidden in a Young Adult trilogy with of course a lot of instant-love romance pulled in. The second book isn’t going to be released until December 5th 2017-I liked it so much I checked last night because I wanted to buy the second.

I’ll leave you with this really cute photo of Echo running in the snow.

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No Pattern Needed I Guess…

This post is about two fun projects I made this last summer that it took me this long to write about. The first is a simple tank top I made with some funky faux silk fabric from Joann’s.

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This tank top took about a half hour to an hour to make and all I did was trace an existing tank top I owned to create my own pattern. I tried to use a looser fitting tank because the faux silk fabric has pretty much no stretch what-so-ever. Then I just used some pink lace that I already had in my fabric stash and isn’t at all visible in my pictures because I wore my hair down in all of them haha. But regardless… for the straps I just measured a different tank top and cut away. Everything stitched up pretty simply and easily. I have it untucked in my pictures but I also love to have it tucked into my high waisted retro style jeans from Modcloth.

The next project is a bag that I LOVED from Hedgehog Fibers but couldn’t justify spending the money on the bag and shipping because it ships from overseas. mb_transparent_bag_square_web_1

Isn’t it just fabulous??? I loved it. Love Hedgehog Fibers website! And love their yarn. But yarn I cannot make but this bag I knew I could.

 

So what did I do? Went to Joann’s with a coupon of course! I bought a yard of clear, thick gauged vinyl just to be safe. I didn’t use the whole yard and now about half of it is sitting rolled up in the craft area of my garage but I like to be safe then sorry when it comes to sewing. I measured out and planned my whole pattern on paper. Then I traced the pattern onto the vinyl with sharpie and cut it out with scissors.

The trick with sewing with vinyl is to use tape instead of pins to hold the pieces together so it doesn’t move when sewing. The other trick that I found online is to use tape on the bottom of your regular ol’ sewing foot. They sell special ones online but I don’t really think it’s necessary… good old scotch tape is cheaper and does the trick just as well.

So how do you think I did???

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I used colored thread because I liked the visible look with the clear bag but that’s just a style opinion. It also doesn’t have the cool grommets on the Hedgehog Fibers bag but I saved myself like $30 so to me that’s a fair trade haha.

So there was my two “recent” patternless sewing projects! Overall I’d say they were pretty damn successful don’t you think? 🙂

When The Change Drops…

I’m going to be honest…when I first started this book I complained A LOT. It took about one hundred and fifty pages for me to start liking it and those pages took about five days to get through because since I wasn’t liking the book I kept falling asleep while reading it. Good for my brain probably but not good for reading progress. After I got past the point where I hated the book I actually started to really like it and then by the end I loved it. Causing me to race to the book store to get the second and third in the trilogy to have them not have the second book! So now I’m patiently waiting on Amazon to bring deliver them to my doorstep haha.

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What did I have to complain about you might ask? Well character development of course. The book is very environment focused. So you hear a lot about the buildings, the plant life(or lack there-of), a lot about walls and desolate wasteland. I was tired of the reader being expected to bond with the main character instantly because they’re “broken”. I don’t care that they’ve had bad things happen to them. It isn’t going to make me instantly connect with them as a character if they are poorly written. At first I thought this was the case with this book and was so disappointed because I’d heard such fantastic things about the author.

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In the end I grew to like the characters and even maybe get slightly attached …but still not to the point where I cared whether they lived or died. But maybe George R.R Martin has just got me used to not caring about the characters with his unpredictability.

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The book is focused on two tiers of people. There is the nobility, merchants etc…the higher ups and then there are the Skaa who are no if, ands, or buts about it slaves. The higher tiers of people believe they are superior to the skaa in every way even in their breeding. It is banned to have any half children and if a noble man has sex with a skaa female he must kill her immediately that night. Half children are hunted down because only nobility are allowed to be mistborn or have allomancy powers. Everything changes when Kel comes into the picture and wants to flip the switch on the way society is set up but to do that he has to kill the Lord Ruler who has essentially infinite power an has lived and ruled for a thousand years. To me he was the physical manifestation of peoples racism, fear and intolerance. Ken though he represented hope and goodness was not all that good though. He killed without remorse and did anything to achieve his goal as you’ll find when you read the book.
All in all…
Story writing: Great.
Story concept: Fabulous. I loved the way the magic existed in this world and how people controlled it through burning metals and throwing coins to Pull and Push.
Characters: totally grew on me even if it wasn’t love at first sight.
Moral of the story: don’t judge a book by its first hundred plus pages because now I’ll be starting the second book in the next few days.

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Plaid to Meet You Mimi

Another one from Tilly and the Buttons fabulous book. I decided to expand my skills-or at least try to-and give the Mimi blouse a try. Funny story to go with the name of the pattern…my younger brother used to call me Mimi when we were both younger…if I’m remembering correctly because he couldn’t pronounce Shelby and it just kind of stuck. Of course I hated it because that’s how all nicknames that stick are like. I had forgotten about it completely until I went to write this post actually, funny what the mind dredges up in unexpected times.

As true of all Tilly’s patterns I’ve attempted the directions were very clear and concise with lots of helpful pictures to talk me though all the steps. The top is a loose fitting button up blouse. There is a gathered yoke in the front and the back with pleated sleeves for another nice detailed touch.

What I used: a plaid fabric from Joanns for a nice drape and to give it a fall/winter feel and glass blue vintage buttons from my stash I’ve hoarded for about 7 years.

Things I struggled with: the collar. Especially the interfacing in the back…I accidentally chopped it a bit too short so it kept threatening to stick up in the back. I also had a hard time keeping the gathers on the back yoke even. I had to unpick it twice to straighten things because it drove me crazy otherwise haha.

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Things I would change: I would definitely go down a size because even though it’s meant to be loose fitting I think its too loose. I’m also torn because I would like to say I’d make it a bit longer fit wise but if I wear it tucked into my skirt the length wouldn’t matter anyways.

I loved the pattern though and it was first experience making button holes on my machine. It was also my first time making that kind of collar and it was certainly a learning experience but I can’t wait to make this pattern again in a thinner fabric!!