New Year, New Resolutions

Happy Belated New Year Everyone!

Winter is here!

Apologies for the unscheduled delay in blog posts....Christmas seemed to sneak up on me this year and I was lost in a flurry of last minute plans, events, and yuletide craft times. AND THEN we actually go snow on the local mountains this year and I couldn't resist the temptation to drop everything and go play in the snow! I'm not a huge snowboarder or skier but I love a good snowshoe. The photo above was taken on Mt. Seymour from the Dog Mountain view point. I'm really excited to get out and explore some more this winter so brace yourselves for more pictures like the above on my Instagram in the following weeks!

Fun times aside this also happened....

ahhhhhh so stressful! scroll back up to the nice mountain photo above!

ahhhhhh so stressful! scroll back up to the nice mountain photo above!

I believe in truth in crafting, hence the craft disaster bomb photo above.....our den, aka the craft room, routinely becomes the 'AHHHH the people who are coming over are actually downstairs already! Quick throw everything in here and close the door!' room, and while it's never been this bad before, the quickness with which Christmas snuck upon us this year resulted in this disaster. Given the horrible state of the room it became really easy to just shut the door and not think of it over the holidays which really didn't make anything better.....and meant that I was cut off from sewing until I ovary-ed up and cleaned....  

Since the craft room was in such a mess anyway, we took it upon ourselves to do a through deep clean of the place, a process which is still in progress but has given me time to think about some of my crafting resolutions for the year.

The first, of course, is to not let the craft room look like like this again which means keeping the whole place a little more tidy in general.

The second is to use up more of my stash of fabrics and yarns.... As we started going through all of the stuff in the room the amount of fabric I have squirreled away quickly became apparent, hidden in boxes and stuffed in corners waiting for their time in the sewing spotlight (I'm basically on fabric prohibition until further notice, the #fluffyblondemonster may even start handing out flyers with my photo to local fabric stores asking them not to sell fabric to me unless I am accompanied by another sane adult....). I've been pretty good, in recent months, about only buying fabric for projects I have planned immediately but even then sometimes projects get set aside or more urgent ones (ones with due dates!) crop up.

excuse the not so nice hand writing.....there was a lot of fabric to get through which resulted in hand cramp....I don't think I've had to hand write this much since undergrad essay exams....

excuse the not so nice hand writing.....there was a lot of fabric to get through which resulted in hand cramp....I don't think I've had to hand write this much since undergrad essay exams....

To help me make better use of the materials I already have I've created a little binder filled with swatches of all my stashed fabrics, complete with details around the amount I have, if it's already been used for another project, and it's location in my various fabric bins.


I also went through all of my 'scrap' fabrics and threw out those that I knew I would probably never have another project for and then organized all of the remaining scraps in a single tote, taking a swatch of each, so that when I need a little fabric for a pocket or to make a small zipped bag etc. I know exactly what I have.

Side note: those that say 'better to have a bit extra than not enough' clearly do not have my problem of needing to hold on to almost every cut off of fabric I have 'just in case' I can use it for something else!

I'm hoping to jazz up the binder a bit, make it feel a bit more 'crafty', in the future but for now I think it has given me a good place to start effectively using my stash. It was also a nice trip down memory lane, seeing all the fabrics I had used and thinking about the projects I've done and how much I've learned and grown since learning to sew.

It was also a quick trip down 'what was I thinking' avenue, with some scrap fabrics being cut in such a way that even I can figure out what I was thinking at the time, or some fabric purchases seeming completely balmy now....Which brings me to my next resolution: planning ahead

I know that everyone has these moments, and really sometimes in the overwhelming presence of so much fabric in a store an impulse purchase seems totally sane! But I'm going to make a more conscious effort to better plan my projects and re-commit myself to only buying when I have a clear project in mind (and I've already checked that I don't have a fabric that I could already use in my stash!). Sounds easy but this can be hard when you're just popping in to the store to grab some thread and then 'oooo shiny new fabric' and then next thing you know you're out the door with a huge bag and a light wallet......

The wardrobe architect series on Collette has some really good advice and tips for planning out your wardrobe, from identifying your personal style and colour pallet to plotting out a sewing plan. While I haven't taken the full plunge on completely planning out a wardrobe, the articles have certainly been helpful in getting me to think about holes in my wardrobe that I can fill with handmade items. I think that by starting to plan ahead on my projects, while taking into account my current wardrobe, I can work towards fully planning and creating a wardrobe in the future.

Another minor resolution of mine, finish up the projects I started in December that got pushed aside! This includes this felt wreath I started using the Winter Wreath pattern from the Purl Bee. Next year guy will be ready!

Now for some more 'fun' resolutions, my personal crafting challenges for the year - making actual jeans/pants! This is actually a resolution I started on last year, I resolved to make a pair of shorts first, thinking that I would then get some experience in fitting and making all the main bits of pants (the zipper fly, fitting the crotch etc.) without investing in all the fabric needed for full length pants. And I did accomplish that resolution (yay!), so this year I think it's time to advance to full on, long pants! :D

So far I have my eyes on a pair of Thurlow Trousers from Sewaholic and a pair of Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files, with the jeans being the more ambitious of the two. When I use to work every day (currently between jobs at the moment) I use to live in jeans, and I would wear pairs until the inner thigh area disintegrated (I still do but now I mend them!). Comfort is also key, so I've been addicted to the yoga jeans from Second Clothing Co. for years (and they're made in Canada!), and while they do fit me pretty well there are definitely areas that I wish I could alter so I'm really looking forward to trying my hand at making some custom jeans. The #fluffyblondemonster has also expressed some interest in at least some new shorts for the summer, and since he helped me clean the den I guess the least I could do is make him a pair of shorts, I'm thinking the Jedediah Pants from Thread Theory :)

Some practice dip pen calligraphy I did about a year ago while prepping to defend my thesis. I needed a distraction so I practiced some dip pen calligraphy using some 'inspirational' quotes. I often find it hard to practice without having something in mind to write so looking up some quotes made it also felt justified as I figured writing down motivating quotes would be better than just reading them.

My final resolution is to spend a little more time practicing dip pen calligraphy. I took up this little side hobby about a year and a half ago, using the 'learn calligraphy for a latte' worksheets over at the Postman's Knock to learn some modern calligraphy styles. While I've gotten pretty good at doing 'faux' calligraphy, done with a regular pen, I would like to get better at using a dip pen. I'm going to commit to an hour a week of practice and see how far I can get :D

That's it for my New Year's resolutions! Do you guys have any crafty resolutions you want to share in the comments? While you think some up I'll leave you with some teasers for some of my projects I currently have on the go, as well as some of the awesome sewing related Christmas presents I got this year!