Adventures

Choosing To Go Gray

I’m choosing to let my hair go gray!  I have been dying it for as long as I can remember.  Initially it was to have some fun with it, a blond streak here, blond underneath and dark on top.  It was all in the name of having fun at first, but then somewhere along the line I started dying my hair to hide the grays – and that’s when the fun stopped.

I’ve realized there are SO many reasons to stop dying my hair:

  1. There are over 5,000 chemicals in hair dye, (according to the National Cancer Institute), and more than a few have been linked to cancer.
  2. Dying your hair dries it out!  I can vouch for that!!!  I hate having dry, brittle hair worse than having grays!
  3. It’s a colossal hit to the wallet!  Every time I get my hair done (cut and dyed) it costs me  $200-$300!  My last postwas about being debt free by the end of 2020, and spending $200-$300 every 6-8 weeks to dye my hair seems so insane given that goal!

Its been about 8 weeks since I last dyed my hair.  Normally I’d be itching to do a root touch-up, but I’m done!  I’m joining all those brave women of a certain age who have paved the road before me.  People like Alexandra Grant (Keanu Reeves girlfriend).  People either loved or hated her hair…  personally I love it! (and her boyfriend too)

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Truth be told, I don’t have THAT many grays given my age, but I’m done trying to hide them.  I think it helps that silver hair is the IN shade for 2020.  I’ve seriously considered taking the plunge and dying it all silver …. but I’ve been dissuaded by more than one hair dresser from doing that.  In all honesty I like the thought of going cold turkey from the dye box – it seems like a more natural way to go.

So with that said, this is what my hair looks like today:

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See my glitter???

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I’m feeling pretty good about this decision, and I’m looking forward to how my hair will look by the end of 2020.

Happy Sewing

 

sewing

Looking at 2020 Goals

Last week I told you about one of my goals for 2020: obtaining my Greek citizenship.  Another one of my goals is to get out of debt!  I will admit that I am one of the 169 millions of American’s who holds debt – and I hate it!  I was a pretty good money manager, up until about the time I opened my business.  I said it before and I’ll say it again:  I loved owning my own business, but man did it take a toll on me… physically, mentally and especially financially.

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I have no regrets – and I take full ownership of my debt.  I’ve been pretty steady with clawing my way out, but I am at a point where I want to claw my way out faster!  I think it was Suze Orman who said “Debt is Bondage” and man is that TRUE!!!  It’s been hanging onto me for too long now and it’s time to break free!

Dave Ramsey suggests that to help pay off debt one should get a side-gig.  So I make quilts… and sometimes I sell quilts.  I watch dogs via Rover.com – and that is fun, but during the winter months there just isn’t a lot of people traveling.  (no cash flow).

I am currently working on a t-shirt quilt for my brother and he is SO happy with it that he suggested I make custom quilts for people as a side-gig.  I typically don’t like to do custom work for people – after all I have enough projects of my own… but then I think “Debt is bondage – get your priorities straight!”

So I’ve added “Custom made T-shirts” to my Etsy store.  I’ve made each of my kids their own t-shirt quilt.. but I added lots of other stuff to ‘fill in the gaps”, so they are more of a memory quilt than a t-shirt quilt.

Drew's quiltDion's quilt

I also made my brother his quilt – he just wanted all his shirts sewn together – no sashing or extra stuff.  (my brother has ‘unique’ tastes in t-shirts).

Sam's quiltAnd, I can also do a t-shirt quilt that has sashing… I just don’t have a good photo of that style (but you can bet I’ll be working on one).

My debt is pretty large, but my determination to get out of it is even larger.  I’m curious to know what your side-gig is if you are also digging yourself out of debt.  In the meantime, feel free to contact me if you want a t-shirt quilt done… or know anyone who may.

Happy Sewing

 

Adventures

2020 Resolution: Citizenship

A few weeks ago I shared my completed 2019 resolutions, and today I’m going to share one of my 2020 goals: obtaining my Greek citizenship.

My grandfather was born in a village outside of the town of Kalamata, Greece. Kalamata is located in the southern Peloponnesus peninsula, (in the Spartan region) and is home of the Kalamata olive – and is one of my favorite places to visit in Greece.

This past summer while I was there, I obtained a copy of my grandfathers birth certificate…. the first document of many that I need to collect to prove that I am his granddaughter – because if I can do that then according to Greek citizenship laws, I am eligible to become a Greek citizen.

Over the past 6 months I obtained certified marriage and birth certificates for my grandfather, my father, and myself – which was no small task! And, to make things more interesting, up until last week I had always thought my grandparents were married in Iowa – and it took Iowa 8 weeks and $20 to tell me that they in fact, were NOT married in Iowa at all!! Thank goodness my son is a wiz at computer sleuthing and found the correct city/state for me.

So, minus the correct marriage certificate, I was able to make the connection between my grandfather and myself, so off to San Francisco (the nearest city with a Greek consulate) I went! I flew in early on New Year’s Day, and spent some time walking around the city, I found my way to Chinatown, had dinner and took lots of photos for the photo greeting cards I’m working on!

My meeting with the consulate the next day went well, and afterwards I found my way to Lombard street, Hyde street, and then onto the Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch!

My trip to SF was fun, it was my first trip of 2020 and it did not disappoint! I flew back to Seattle bright and early the next day, and I now have my work cut out for me with finalizing, translating, and certifying all my documents – and one more trip back to SF!

Hopefully by the time 2021 rolls around, my paperwork will be in Greece being reviewed by whomever makes the decisions on citizenships!

Hopefully,

Projects · sewing

Sewtropolis Signature Quilt

2019 was all about finishing up some of my many UFOs (UnFinished Objects)… including the Sewtropolis Signature Quilt.  I started this quilt about a year before I closed my store… not knowing at the time that I would be closing.   It was intended to hang in the studio portion and I thought it would be a fun way to have my customers assist in a quilt.  There are 100 signatures most from the kids who took my summer sewing camps, but also from my adult students, employees and customers. img_7006.jpeg

I managed to put the top together and that’s about the time I realized I needed to close my store…  and this project and so many others went into the UFO basket for the time being.

So here it is six years and a cross-county move later and I’m finally tackling that that UFO basket.   All I had to do to finish this quilt was to quilt and bind it so I waited till I had a few tops to quilt before reserving time on the long-arm.  After quilting the first two with no issue, I loaded this one and started doing my thing… and about 3/4 of the way into it I realized that the backing had somehow creased and was getting worse as I went along.

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I can “live” with a lot of mistakes, but this crease was not one of them.  I took it off the machine, brought it home and took out most of what I had done.  To be honest with you – I had heard of people doing this and thought to myself NO WAY would I ever do this  – I don’t mind a mistake or a few, I think they give a quilt character – but this crease was in a league of its own!

Once I was done unstitching, I re-quilted it on my home machine, putting a heart in each of the blocks, and a wavy pattern on the boarder – which is kind of a metaphor for my business:  I loved my customers, but it was definitely a crazy ride!!!

Overall I’m really happy with how this quilt turned out – I loved seeing the signatures of the gals that worked for me (miss you ladies), the signatures of the camp kids – some who were seriously SO MUCH FUN, and I even teared up when I saw Skilo’s block.. God, I miss that dog!!!

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Eventually I will pick off all the stray threads, but for now they are a reminder of the difficulty of my owning my own business and of finishing this quilt.

Happy Sewing

 

Projects · sewing

How You Doin?

Well, here we are at the end of another year – and it’s time to check in on those resolutions we all set at the beginning of 2019!  Personally, I think I did okay.  As a reminder my goals were: image

I went to Greece, applied to Law School (twice) and am still waiting to hear whether I got accepted.  I started watercoloring… did it everyday for a month and then stopped (I will get back to it).  My fitness goal was to run 3 miles without stopping – I’m still working on that.  Drink more H2O – which I decided wasn’t specific enough and I deleted it instead of feeling frustrated every time I looked at it.

And the big one:  Finish 1 UFO per month!  That was the kicker!  I started out great – had the first three done before the end of the first month.  But then I started to tackle the projects that took a little longer… Like this Roseville pottery appliqué quilt, which slowed me down big time!   For the record, I still haven’t finished it, and now it’s going on 20 years as a UFO. Roseville pottery

However, I did complete 12 UFO’s – deleting a few that were on the list originally, and replacing them with a few that I decided were ready to be finished.

Here is my “Complete” list.  Over the next few months I may write about a few – if you follow me on Instagram @Sewtropolis and @Shop_Sewtropolis you’ll see pictures of almost everything.  IMG_6908.png

And my list as we reach the end of 2019!IMG_0121.png

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you were all able to reach your 2019 sewing goals.  I’m looking forward to everyone’s year-end wrap ups on Instagram!

Love,

Nikol

Adventures · sewing

Foggy Wallets

I have not been posting as much as I would like – even though I have not slowed down in my sewing!  I’ve actually made quite a few outfits/items including a pair of shorts, a couple of summer tops and now I’m working on another pair of Ginger Jeans.  My problem is I have been pretty lazy about taking pictures.  Sometimes after I’m done making something – I am just DONE and don’t want to look at it anymore… other times I think I’ll take the picture when I wear it for real (i.e., presentable).  And then I’ll forget.  Whatever the reason/excuse I need to get better at taking the pictures.

I do have pictures of my latest make!  WALLETS!!  I’ve got a $hit ton of fabric leftover from my store and I’m bound and determined to use it – so I’ve been making items for the Holiday craft shows that are just around the corner!  Here are all that I’ve made.  I most likely won’t make anymore until I see how well they sell.  I listed a few on my Etsy site – but I need to take more pictures and get the rest up.

Here are also pictures of the road trip I took last weekend down into Mt. Hood and then up along the Oregon coast.  I have had Cape Disappointment on my ‘must see’ list for a long time (30+ years?)  Even though it was foggy – it was worth the wait!

Exercise · Projects · sewing

A Personal Record

I am part of the Ready To Wear Fasters group on Facebook.  If you don’t know what that is – it means I’m ‘fasting’ from buying any clothes for a full year – instead choosing to make all my clothes – and I mean ALL my clothes!   I’m happy to report that 6 months in and I’m still going strong.  This week I made a couple more bras (not showing those), I’m mostly happy with them – I feel like I just can’t get them right, but they’re at least wearable – and more supportive then what I had been wearing.

Last night I made this Xpress tank top from GreenStyleCreations (GSC) based off a recommendation from two other RTW Fasters in the group.

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My running skirt and sports bra are GSC patterns, so this makes 3 for 3 with the pattern company!

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Sewing this tank was so easy – two seams and then hem it.  I found the ITY knit fabric at JoAnn’s and bought a yard of it on impulse.  Good thing – because that’s exactly how much the patterns called for, but I think it will be the last time I buy ITY knit… it’s just way too stretchy and doesn’t hold it’s shape well.

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Anyhoo!  I wore this top today during the ParkRun event and managed a personal record (PR) breaking my old PR by seconds!!  Needless to say, I see more Xpress Tanks in my future!

Sew on!

Nikol

 

Projects · sewing

Let’s Talk Business Suits

I made my first business suit this year.  I used Butterick 6142 for the jacket and Simplicity 8056 for the pants.  I usually purchase McCall patterns and know what modifications I need to make to get those patterns to fit correctly.  I made the same modifications on both the Simplicity and Butterick pattern and seemed to get the fit close – but not quite right.

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I did make a muslin of the jacket and decided to go down a size based on the fit of that muslin.  But, the jacket still doesn’t fit quite right in the shoulder area.  I heard on one of my sewing podcast that a lot of people have fitting issues in the shoulder area due to our bad habit of hunching over our computers and phones.  Good to know for future projects!

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I didn’t make a muslin for the pants, but I did make my usual modifications and cut the size I normally wear for McCall patterns… and ended up with pants that are a  size too small.  I can still wear them, but at the end of the day I can’t wait to take them off!  (I’m not one for tight fitting clothes).

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I purchased the fabric for the suit at JoAnn Fabric… the good thing is I didn’t spend a lot on it, so I am considering this outfit my ‘wearable muslin’.  This weekend I’ll be making a trip down to Portland with plans to stop in at a fabric store known for its large selection of fabrics.  I’ll be on the look out for some nice suiting fabric for a fall/winter suit.  Wish me luck!

I wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

Nikol

 

Adventures · sewing

Starting with the last thing I made…

I tend to go in and out of this blogging thing.  For years I used to keep a journal, and even with that there were times I was more consistent than others.  Now that I’ve challenged myself to sew my clothes for 2018, I thought I would blog my makes as a way to remind myself of what I did and any modifications etc. End of June seems like a good time to start doing that!  HA!!

So, this top isn’t the last thing I made… but it’s the thing I’ve been the most happy with and that’s saying a lot since I’ve been really happy with my makes lately.  (finally!)

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I think this makes me so happy is because it reminds me of my Memorial Day weekend in  Victoria, B.C. with my friend Jennifer.  We had to much fun!

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While in Victoria we did our own walking tour of the downtown area, stopping in to see the Empress Hotel, Totum poles and even walking along the waters edge – before heading out for a whale watching tour.

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Whale watching was amazing!  We saw 3 humpback whales, two adults and one younger.  They bobbed along and once in a while we would see a tail come up out of the water – which was very exciting – but not as exciting as seeing them breach!  (photo taken using my iPhone7+)

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The next day we walked around Buchart Gardens (amazingly beautiful) and visted the China town district.

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And afterwards did a little shopping at Fabric Land where I purchased this beautiful aqua and black  polyester crepe fabric.

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Of course I had no idea what I would make with it, but it was just too pretty to pass up.  I purchased  two meters of it thinking it would be enough to make a top of some sort.

After I got back I decided to make Simplicity 8138,  mainly because I already had the pattern in my stash, and I really wanted to sew something I could wear during the warmer weather we were having at the time.

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I combined view B and view C.  I liked the ties, but not the slit on the sides of view B.  And I liked the flare of view C.  I’m really happy with the way it turned out and I didn’t have any modifications other than my standard lengthening.  I’ve worn it a couple of times in the past few weeks and each time it reminds me of that weekend in Victoria.  Good times,  Good times.

Till next time!

N

 

Athena · Projects · Uncategorized

The Oslo Sweater and Possibilities

I’ve been obsessed with finding  patterns by indie clothing designers mainly because I want to see ‘what else’ is out there besides what the big patterns companies are offering.  I stumbled upon Seamwork magazine and fell in love!  They have a great online magazine, and if you subscribe, you get to choose 2 of their free patterns every month.  Sign me up!!!

The first pattern I downloaded was the Oslo sweater pattern.  To be honest once I downloaded it I was not looking forward to printing it off and taping all the sheets of paper together.  So I thought I would take it to Kinkos to see if they could print it off on a larger printer (hoping that it wouldn’t cost a fortune)  and lo and behold they had a printer on the floor – that I could use anytime  – no special skills required … and didn’t cost an arm and a leg!!!  I’m probably way behind the times here, but what a great surprise!!  It opens up a world of e-pattern possibilities for me!!!

For fabric, I chose a gray wool blend sweater knit from Pacific Fabrics – it was a little on the spendy side, but I thought the Oslo would be simple enough that I couldn’t screw it up too bad – so I splurged!

I have absolutely no room in Athena to cut out patterns, so I loaded up 3-4 other patterns that I’ve been meaning to cut out and headed over to the KOA’s day room to use the big tables they have set up.

Side note – they keep the day room locked because the kids like to go in and trash the place.  I had to ask them to unlock it for me and they made it clear that there were to be no kids in the room without their parents.  No sooner did the KOA guy leave when I looked up and there were 3 little heads poking around the corner to see if the room was empty! And then 2 more kids would poke their head in, then 3 more, etc. etc.  A few would walk in to see what I was doing, but for the most part they just hovered like vultures waiting for me to leave.  Ahhh kids!  Gotta love em!

Anyway, back to the Oslo!  I ended up being able to use my serger on the whole thing and because of that it took me about an hour to finish it!   It was SO simple! I’m glad I splurged on the fabric,  it turned out nice enough to wear to work. (which is where I took the pictures – sorry they are so aweful)  Had I bought a cheaper fabric it may have just ended up a ‘weekend wear.’

Next time I make it though I may try to make it a little longer.  I find that it sits right at the widest part of my hips – which is not flattering for me at all!

Another option may be to add patch pockets to the front – and maybe a closure since I kinda like wearing it closed.   I’d have to make it in a heavier weight fabric though if I were to do either of those, but I like this pattern because of all the possibilities – I like possibilities!

I like how the sleeves are done, I can either wear them rolled up, or down if I need them to be a little longer – again possibilities.

So that was one of my sewing project for the week!  I also worked on Athena, I took out one side of the overhead storage in the back, which gives me more room to add a closet!  No more fold lines in all my clothes – Yay!  It has really opened up the back area!  It doesn’t feel so cramped and now I’m thinking once I move out I’ll make that area the lounge area and put in a entertainment center…. the possibilities are endless, and I like possibilities.