Me-Made in the Garden

I watered plants in the garden yesterday after work, while wearing my Tunic Dress from the Japanese sewing book Happy Homemade Sew Chic.

The dress is made of Japanese double gauze, which is very airy and comfy in hot weather.

The hanging plants in the background are hops vines. We’ll harvest the hops in the fall and give the crop to friends who brew beer.

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Trying “The Artist’s Way”

A lot of people think that creative genius just … happens. You’re born a genius, like Madame Curie, outshining all the men in the lab, or you’re struck with a bolt of inspiration, like Georgia O’Keeffe in the southwestern desert, or you just see the world so differently that you can’t help but be creative, like shy Emily Dickinson in her little room in Massachusetts.

Nonsense.

Genius is hard work. Creativity requires dedication. Success requires a belief in yourself, as well as a willingness to tell naysayers to go to hell.

I’m learning this as I started reading “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron this week as a self-improvement project. I find myself frustrated by my inability to do what I really want to do and instead I keep going on with jobs that don’t satisfy me. I throw up roadblocks to success. I allow self-doubt to creep in. I just don’t put in the work.

The book has a spiritual component that does not appeal to me, but the advice so far has provoked thought and action. I started with two central activities:

  • Morning Pages – Every morning, first thing, write three pages of longhand stream-of-consciousness prose. This discipline is meant to remove cobwebs from your brain and get creative juices flowing.
  • Artist’s Date – Once a week, take a small, solo adventure somewhere for a couple of hours. This is meant to open your eyes to new experiences and unexpected connections.

Morning Pages has been interesting. Since I am comfortable with writing already, I’m not challenged to fill the three pages most mornings. After a few days of doing this, I noted how themes repeated themselves – my various aches and pains, my husband’s various actions and inactions, and the little things that set me off or please me, plus (as always) diet and food. I’m interested to see where this goes.

Yesterday I went on an Artist’s Date. For a mid-afternoon break from work, I walked from my office in Times Square down to Columbus Circle and back. I have done this a couple of times before, but I took a different route this time. I didn’t bring money or a cell phone or anything but my badge to get back into the office. I made note of anything that surprised me, such as:

  • Aggressive peddlers of bicycle rentals, including one guy who was using his job to harass women.
  • A coffee truck promoting the new “Twin Peaks” TV show. (“Damn good coffee.”)
  • A tall young man dressed all in black except for hot pink high-top sneakers.
  • A group of young people drawing some promotional thing on the sidewalk with chalk.
  • The startling green of Central Park in early spring.
  • An older man dressed in what looked like a cricket uniform.
  • So much “French” food – little bistros and quick-serve places with French names.

I didn’t immerse myself into this experience as much as I wanted to. It was my first try, OK? But I noted a few things that attracted my attention – bright colors, fattening food, and the somewhat puzzling activities of people young enough to be my children.

I am already thinking of where I want to go on next week’s “date.”

 

 

You made it! Admit it!

If someone complements you on a Me-Made garment, do you admit, acknowledge or otherwise disclose that you made it? I am of two minds about this, but in the spirit of Me-Made May, I figured I’d ‘fess up.

At the hairdresser’s Friday I wore my red Simplicity 8174 moto jacket and carried the matching red tote bag from Burda 2562 (OOP).  I never use these two items together. Matchy matchy matchy. And a bit homemade-y too. But I just grabbed them because I was running late, without a second thought.

When I arrived, the receptionist noted my outfit and complemented me on it. “Thanks,” I said. I paused for a few breaths. And then I said, “I sewed this myself.”

WHAT???

Yes, I sewed this myself. It’s a thing people do. It’s not crazy (OK, not THAT crazy)… I took off the jacket so she could see the pretty silk lining and all. My hairdresser and a couple of others got wind of this and came over to look. I got lots more complements, spiced with a dash of disbelief.

Then the woman who runs the boutique next door to the salon came in for some reason. This lady has nice stuff in her shop, and I buy things there on occasion. She really looked over the jacket, with a knowing eye.

“I know someone you should meet,” she said, “if you’re interested in taking this further.”

“What do you mean, taking this further?” I asked.

She sells jackets from an area designer who has her own line of officewear blazers for women. The blazers come in several cuts and fabric types to complement various figures and budgets. I explained that this was just a commercial pattern, nothing I drafted myself. No matter, the boutique owner said. She took down my name and number and said she’d call if her designer friend was interested.

Who knows? Nothing will probably come of it, but maybe something will. At least I got it out there into the universe. Yes, I make my own clothes, and yes, they’re fabulous!

Me-Made Evening at the Theater

My husband and I and went to a play last night. It’s a new musical by Adam Gopnik, a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine. While the play was just so-so, my outfit was fabulous, if I do say so my me-made self.outfit1.jpg

The top is a raglan-sleeve blouse from Simplicity 1202 and the skirt is Simplicity 8058, a Cynthia Rowley design. The blouse was made as directed, except that I lengthened it 1 inch and omitted the keyhole back closure (I can slip this over my head easily). The skirt was iffy. This is a “wearable muslin” version I whipped up in some cheap poly ponte knit. I love the color but not the hand of this stuff – it’s scratchy and just crummy. I lengthened it and omitted the tabs at the waist buttons because they just looked like crap every time I made them – two never came out the same. I topped this with a RTW dolman-sleeve duster.

Me-Made Sunbathing

Today’s warm enough for a quick bit of sunbathing, in my Me-Made swimsuit from Simplicity 1116. IMG_20170512_150440 I was a bit thinner when I made this, so it’s a skosh tight. Definitely for backyard sunbathing!

It wasn’t as hard to make as I thought. Spandex is very forgiving, after all. I got the material and the lining from Stretch House, a shop in New York’s Garment District that just sells spandex fabrics.

If I had to make another of these swimsuits, I’d use a self-lining. Despite a soul-sucking amount of understitching, the lining still shows a bit. (The extra 10 pounds don’t help either, truth be told.)