Well, I'm still here. Sorry! Life has gotten real busy with my new job. It's a great thing. I am really settled in there and it feels like I've been there way longer than 2 months. (In a good way!) The kids are great and so is the staff.
I'm also doing pretty well with running! Last weekend I went for a 5-mile run and did it in a little less than an hour, and felt great afterward (although I was pretty wiped by the end of the day.) I'm pretty enthusiastic about this 10K race I'm training for that is in May. If I can run 5 miles, it's safe to say I can pretty easily run 6. Now it's just practice! Unless we keep having these silly snow storms.
I'm home today for a snow day, and I finally have something crafty to share with you! I went through my bureau and pulled out a bunch of old things that I never wear anymore. I found this old pair of workout pants from Old Navy.
They're cute and comfortable, but I'll never wear them for running because they're now a little too big and will totally fall off the second I start. And I really have no use for more than one pair of "relaxing" pants. I'm a minimalist like that.
I love this jersey material, though, and it's almost spring (HOPEFULLY) and that means lots and lots of skirts. So, I turned my Old Navy athletic pants into a skirt! Here's how I did it.
The first thing to do is to cut the legs open. With the pants inside out, find the inside of the leg seam at the bottom of one of the legs, and cut all the way up to the crotch of the pants. When you reach the intersection of the crotch seam, keep cutting across and cut down the inside seam of the OTHER leg. Finally, pin each side together as shown above. You may need to trim off some extra fabric near the crotch seam, where the former pant legs taper out and get bigger.
Sew where you pinned! You'll have a long, boring-looking skirt. To avoid any awkward puckering where the original seam of the pants are, sew ALL the way up to the waistband. Then, cut some of the length off--however long you want your skirt to be in the end, minus about 6" for the colorblock portion at the bottom.
I had this really cool bright orange jersey fabric laying around. Cut a wide strip of it (just eyeball it, I hate measuring) and sew it into a tube. With skirt and tube inside out, pin the right sides together at the bottom of the skirt and SEW that puppy.
The final step is to sew down the hem. Guys, I am the laziest seamstress ever. I HATE ironing and I hate measuring fabric even more. The great thing about jersey is you can just kind of roll the raw edge up a few times until you have the length that you want, then just pin and sew it down!
The only thing I wasn't really wild about was the gray wasistband at the top that folds down. It was adding too much bulk to the top of skirt, so I just took each side of the waistband in by about an inch.
Now it's nice and snug! It's a pencil skirt!
This was a really fun, quick project. I have a few more jersey items that I am planning on either tossing or re-using. If only I had time to do this everyday!
How time flies. Two weeks have come and gone. My new job is going great! I am loving it and feel very comfortable there already. Every single other staff member there has been so nice to me and I couldn't feel more welcome.
During my two weeks off back in December/early January, I spent a lot of time relaxing around the house, getting a little bored actually, which is no surprise to me...or to Jeff. He knows I have a hard time sitting still. Which is why I started crocheting hats! Tons of hats! Jeff laughed at me because who needs this many hats?! He kept telling people that I'm crocheting myself a new wardrobe. Which is kind of true! But I can't keep all these hats, I don't need them! They're just so easy to make and they help use up all this yarn that I have.
This is a bad photo, but the yarn is sparkly! It looks even better when it's on a human head.
It's a few weeks late, but here is a slideshow of some cute animals from my parents' house. All 3 dogs are rescue dogs and all 3 cats were either adopted from a center, or otherwise rescued from a not-so-great situation. And all their pets have the best personalities and quirks. I didn't get photos of them all because SOME of them are very hard to take photos of, aka they never sit still!! There's a lot of fur flying around in that house, but it's worth it!
Finally, I have a confession to make. I am big on making my own things and if you read this blog at all, you know that I like to make purses. Well, my Mom and my sister love this one brand of purses, and I finally got bitten by the Vera Bradley bug. It happened when my Mom was visiting recently and to pass some time we went to a mall. We walked into a Vera Bradley store and I kind of looked around halfheartedly until I found this one fabric.
I just really loved it the second I saw it! I went on the Vera Bradley web site and when I found that this pattern has been retired, I was disappointed. Then I did a little research and found out that a lot of people sell this pattern in many styles on eBay. So I bought myself a big old tote bag for not a lot of money, and now I'm looking at other styles of bags I could treat myself to in the future.
I can't help but feel a little guilty about this. The bags are apparently made in China. Who knows who made them. I feel like a hypocrite for buying it. But at least I'll never buy directly from the company...or for full price. I like to think I'm saving the bag from lack of use by giving it a new, loving home.
It's now time to focus on New Year's, and the daunting resolution-making that accompanies it. Many people refuse to make New Year's resolutions, with the realization that more often than not, resolutions are abandoned within a couple of weeks. I don't boycott resolutions, though; I just prefer to call them "goals." The word "resolution" has this wishful stigma attached to it. It makes it sound like all the things you resolve to change will just happen magically. Of course, a few days or weeks into the new year and no wonder people give up when their wish is not fulfilled.At this time last year, I resolved to lose 30 pounds. I made that resolution having some idea of how I was going to do it. It wasn't until February when my Mom pointed me to the website SparkPeople.com that I really started putting the effort in. And, of course, when I began running again. I've reached my goal and it's time to make a list of new ones. So, here they are! My goals for 2013.1. Run a 10K
2. Run a half-marathon (on my birthday!)
3. Lose another 20 pounds
4. Pass the English MTEL subtest & apply for a license
5. Pay off my only credit cardMy running goals are placed above my weight goal on purpose. I now understand how my body works much more than I did a year ago, and now I am aware of how much running affects my weight. My weight goal is not something I need to focus on as much as my running goals, because as I continue to run longer distances the weight will literally fall off.Not to sound like a commercial for SparkPeople, but it IS a really great web site. For starters, it's totally FREE! It has a ton of useful tools, like a food tracker and exercise tracker. The best part is that it's no pressure. You don't HAVE to track your food everyday (I don't unless I start to gain), and there are no requirements. Just set up an account and use it at your own will. I log on everyday just to read the articles and recipes.My career goal--to get a license to teach English--is to motivate me to continue to learn. I actually registered for the English MTEL (a test that Massachusetts teachers have to take to get a license) a couple of months ago, but I kept having to push back the test date due to me not studying and other outside factors. In my new job, I will be assistant teaching, but I'll also be in charge of teaching my students a lot about literature and writing. So, it works out really well--getting an English teaching license could really help me in my new job! Funny how things happen like that.My last goal is pretty self-explanatory. Student loans may rule me for a good number of years, but credit card debt is the WORST. I'm confident I can rid myself of it forever! I don't have a ton, anyway, and I haven't used the card in over 2 years. I will still blog about making things and I'll still be posting things in my Etsy shop from time to time! I can't just ignore the sewing machine sitting in the living room, or the big bag full of yarn that I have yet to put a significant dent in! :-)Here's to a happy, healthy, productive and prosperous New Year for us all.<3
Well, I knew this day would come at SOME point. I got a new job!
I start in the 2nd week of January, and I have a lot of emotions about it.
I'm really going to miss my students, but I'm also really excited for this opportunity. I get to teach drama for an ENTIRE DAY once a week! The other 4 days a week I'm an assistant teacher in the mornings for a group of 7 bright students.
The bonus is that I'll still have time to fit in runs and crafting! Most of the time I'll be home by 2:30 p.m., leaving most of the day at my disposal. So, not to fear: I'll still be bloggin' along.
I just got back from the Jingle Bell Run! It's a 5K race in Somerville. It was lots of fun! I am not expecting to have improved on my time at all, since they crammed about 3,000 people onto the course. It was just fun being there, seeing people's costumes and enjoying the joyful holiday spirit. People who lived along the course were on their porches, playing Christmas music for us all to run to.
If nothing else, it was a great excuse to hang out with my friend Mandy and to catch up on what's going on in our lives. We had meant to get together a bunch of times to run together once a week, but I kept having job interviews and life got in the way. Now that the race is over, I'd still like to run with her once a week or so just to keep me in the habit!
I took this picture within the last half mile of the race, at the top of a small hill, to show you how many people were running! By the way, this is on the street I used to live on. Memories! Look how far that sea of santa hats goes.
After we crossed the finish line, we got our beer opener medals (oy vey) and decided to try out a Davis Square bar for a free beer. By the time we got there, only ONE free beer remained and it was very foamy and bad and only half full. But we split it between the two of us anyway!
We worked up an appetite, so we headed across the street to Diesel Cafe and got some healthy tempeh burgers for lunch. YUM
And that was my Sunday morning! The race results won't be posted until tonight, probably, but if anything I bet my time increased. I'm okay with that though. The run felt so nice and easy! Upping my mileage has definitely helped with that. After all, if I can run 4 miles, then 3 is super easy! The only part that was rough was the finish. There was a hill right before the final 100 yards. So cruel. I hate hills!! I am proud that I didn't stop to walk it, but I felt kinda like puking by the time I got to the top. I also got a side stitch during the 100 yard end. So mean!! But I powered through. There were a lot of photographers so I'm hoping there's a picture of me and Mandy running and grinning like goofballs somewhere.
That's it! My last week at afterschool starts tomorrow. Then I have two whole weeks off before starting my new job. It will be nice to have some time to relax, and go clothes shopping for a more professional wardrobe!!
Yes, I am already getting into that holiday spirit! I think having my own place with Jeff is really to thank for that. Not having to share common spaces with a bunch of people makes it easier to decorate and organize at our own will. Plus, we have discovered that the main room of our apartment is like an ice box, so we've been trying to correct that as well. So far it's involved caulking a windowframe, buying a $30 space heater and--tonight's revelation--tacking a thick blanket up against the window. That was Jeff's idea, and it worked really well. Now I'm looking into buying these "thermal window curtains" that I've heard about!
Anyway, here's a picture of our tree!
I think the horror movie posters behind the tree add a nice touch. This was really the only place we could fit the tree! We have a very delicate setup over here. We even had stockings to hang, thanks to my Mom for giving them to me last Christmas! :-) A fun fact about this tree: We got it on the curb, for free, in August.
And now for this morning's quick fix project: Another thrift store dress! I've been really into the whole chevron pattern thing lately. I know it's a fad, but I really like the jagged line aesthetic! That's why I began crocheting those chevron headbands in my shop, and when I found this dress I couldn't pass it up.
Yes, I'm wearing pajama pants underneath the dress. The bathroom is the coldest room in the house!
What I loved about this dress were the colors and the very flattering chevron/stripe pattern. Upon further inspection, I found that this dress is old. I can tell because there is no brand label, but there is a label containing the size, RN number and lot number. It may have been some kind of uniform. It also looked as though it had been handmade, since the raw edges of the dress were unfinished--they were not serged or even zig-zag stitched. What I really thought was holding this dress back was the neckline. It was very awkward to have a chevron pattern with a regular crew-cut neckline! And of course to make it extra cute I had to chop some of the length off.
In retrospect, I wish I had gone only a couple inches longer. Oh well! I'm pretty happy with it. I'm all ready for work now!
I've had a breakthrough with my running in the past couple of weeks. I never had the desire to run over 3 miles until I went for a run with my good friend Mandy. We went to college together, and she studied marketing. Recently, she switched careers to become a personal trainer! She was into running long before she made that decision, though. She asked me if I would run the Somerville Jingle Bell Run with her, and I thought it would be a great way to keep my motivation up as the cold harsh weather sets in. We ran the course a week or two ago and it felt a little more difficult than it should have for me. So, I decided I need to train my body to run even longer distances so that a 5K feels like a "short" run to me! I ran a 4 mile loop for the first time a week ago. I chose a loop that goes around a nearby river, so it's very scenic...for the first 3/4. The last 1/4 of the loop is up a busy highway that has lots of car dealerships. Oh well, what are you gonna do when you live in a kind-of-city? I thought I'd be dying by the time I was done, but I paced myself pretty slowly and amazingly I felt great after the 4 miles. I've done the same loop a handful of times since then and on Monday, I did it in only 40 minutes!!! That's pretty fast for me.
My shop is FULL of fun gifty stuff for the holidays! What I've been making recently is TONS and TONS of Christmas gifts! To give to people! So I can't post about them, because those people MIGHT be reading this blog on the internet. I will tell you all about the gifts after the holidays, which is actually a good month away.
I want to post a tutorial soon, so keep an eye out for that! Until then...
Our "new" apartment (I can't believe it's been almost 3 months!) is right around the corner from the Salvation Army. This means that once a week, I usually treat myself to an hour or so of some light morning shopping.
Sometimes I brave the clothing racks when certain colored tags are 50% off. I've found a lot of soft t-shirts to make these:
I usually just browse the "knick knacks" section, because I've been so minimalist during most of my apartment-dwelling life and now that I have a space I can truly call my own, I want to fill it with awesome, inexpensive finds. Also, they make great gifts!
I've figured out a few "tricks" and "tips" to get the best deals. For some reason, the items I pick out are often unmarked. I think I just like finding the "odd" items that don't seem to belong. When I get to the checkout counter, the clerk usually makes up a random number--and that number is usually very low. That little Ball glass jar? 29 cents! A weird-shaped stainless steel scooping bowl thing? A dollar! And then there was this:
A lot of the time, S.A.'s vintage dresses can be overpriced. They usually run around $12-$15, which really isn't that bad, but by my expectations of something that calls itself a thrift store, that is expensive! This one had NO price tag, as you may have guessed, and I got it for $3. I loved the pattern and the pleats. I ripped out the shoulder pads before I took this pic, and then made some adjustments...
I didn't change much--just shortened some of that bulky length, hemmed it somewhat sloppily and opened up the neckline a bit! Hemming the neckline might have been the most difficult part. I had to be careful not to mess up those intricate pleats. I also added a thick, stretchy belt that I "borrowed" from a good friend like 3 years ago and never returned. Thanks Laura!
I debated shortening the sleeves, but I prefer longer sleeves right now since it's so chilly out! I also kind of enjoy how puffy they are--a true sign that this is a vintage dress.
I love being able to alter my own clothes. It's awesome to take something like this dress home and make it updated and wearable within an hour and a half!
Today, Jeff and I found a secret vintage stash. Well, it's not really secret, but I'm not telling you where it is because it seems to be pretty unpopulated...for now. It's somewhere in Somerville! There was all kinds of cool stuff and I wish I had brought more cash. Last week I'd bought an iron coat rack from someone on Craigslist for $25. The idea was to use the coat rack to display my scarves, purses and bags at December's craft fair. However, I quickly realized that an iron, 6' tall coat rack is not too easy to transport. We had kind of a hard time figuring out how to get it in the empty car, nevermind a car full of my product and other displays! So, when I found a cute little 4' tall wooden coat rack that had been painted white, I grabbed it for $3! Now I have to get rid of this huge coat rack. Jeff found lots of comic books. I also picked up a really cool and unique gift for his mom for Christmas, and a bunch of zippers for $1!
Thrifting and repurposing and finding weird items are just some of the things that make me happy, especially when those things are meant to be gifts for others! I also take great satisfaction in "rescuing" a piece of clothing from the impending doom of the landfill. Very few clothing garments are made in the USA these days. So when I find something that was made in our own country, but 40 years ago, you bet I want to hang on to it and keep it in circulation!
That's all I've got for now... I hope the weekend is treating you all well!
It was a beautiful day for a run, and I did it! This was the MSPCA's first annual Run Fur Fun 5K fundraiser. The course was a fast, easy, flat loop around the Charles in Brighton, MA and it was pretty relaxing.
I didn't take any photos at the event--this is from the MSPCA's web site. Jeff decided at the last minute that he would try and keep up with me on his skateboard, and having both my cell phone and my iPod in my pockets were weighing down my shorts too much--nobody wants that!!There was a heat for only runners, and 5 minutes after that a heat for runners with dogs. I chose to run with the dogs and I don't think I'll do that again! I always say before a race, "it doesn't matter what my time is, I just want to finish." But inevitably, my competitive urges get the best of me. I had silently hoped to myself that I would finish in 30 minutes or less, but alas, my time was 33:38. However, there was only a "gun start" and no "net time" on the time tracking bibs. What this means is I can probably shave off a good minute or so where the "start time" happened and it took awhile for the line of runners and dogs in front of me to get going. I also had to slow down at various points during the run because of the general mayhem that can occur when you're running with a bunch of dogs. Mostly I was afraid to step on their little paws!! It wasn't a bad race by any means. I suppose it just made me realize that my time matters a bit more to me than I thought it did. I got very nostalgic after the race and began thinking about my very first experiences running on the cross country team at good old Milton High School in Northern Vermont. The very first 5K I ever ran was the Milton Freedom 5K
. I believe it was only the 1st annual race of its kind back in the summer of 2003, that was 10 years ago!! I was 15. I'm pretty sure it was the first time I had ever run anywhere farther than down the street. A friend let me borrow her running shoes that were relatively new. I finished dead last, and I believe it took me over 40 minutes. By the time I reached the finish line, I had ruined that poor girl's shoes. With my blood! My heels bled all over her shoes. But I didn't even notice until I looked down at them. The paramedics had to come over and bandage me up. The part that I remember most is that almost everybody in the small race of about 20 people stayed to cheer me across the finish line. People were so supportive! If I hadn't done cross country that fall, I probably wouldn't have run today and I definitely wouldn't be as healthy as I am now. Even though I hated hill workouts, and STILL hate running up hills, in the end I know what's good for me. I signed up for another race in December, a little over a week after my exciting West Somerville Craft Fair, and I'm going to be running it with a great friend from college!! I always manage to keep busy. <3 <3More updates later on all this stuff I've been working on! For now, THIS:
Today is the 5th of November. That reminds me of this movie:
But that's completely unrelated. I am sad to say that the SomerStreets event was very unsuccessful for me, partially because of the irritating, cold mist that was falling on us the entire time. I was one of two vendors that didn't have a tent, and all our stuff was getting soaked! I sold nothing. The police did not do a great job of closing off the roads, since cars were still whizzing by and it was pretty unsafe. On the up side, my booth neighbor turned out to be someone I used to work with years ago at a local theater company when I was still in college! She stage managed back then. Her helper was someone I went to college with as well, so we got a chance to catch up briefly. She had gorgeous quilts, wine glass holders and other adorable sewn accessories. Her name is Adele and her web site is http://www.thequiltedchuppah.com/. Please pay her a visit and see her awesome stuff!I did leave early, and I know that's usually a no-no, but the weather really was ridiculous. My stuff was getting completely soaked, no one was even at the event, and we were going to catch colds if we stayed much longer. When we got home I just spread out all my things around the apartment to dry, which took a couple of days. At least I made friends with the woman from Starbucks next to us and got some free hot chocolate!In other news, I am running a 5K race on Saturday! It's a "Run Fur Fun" that benefits the MSPCA. People will be running with their doggies! And I will be petting ALL of them! Jeff bought me my final birthday present last night: a new pair of running shoes. They were long due, I think I needed them about a month ago. I looked at the bottoms of my old ones last night and saw how worn down they were in the heel! Also, the soles were starting to straight up peel off the bottoms of the shoes. I ran in my new shoes this morning and it felt like I was floating! The best part? Apparently the New Balance outlet store had a 40% off everything sale yesterday, and we weren't even aware, so when we got to the checkout the shoes only cost $23. Major score! My Mom and Sis visited us this past weekend and we had some fun touring the Cambridge Antique Market. It's a FIVE STORY building full of antiques. It's exhausting, but fun to browse! Jeff's Mom met up with us as well and she just had a blast. She was worried about getting tired and leaving early, but in the end it was the rest of us that were all tuckered out and she kept on trucking! I've been crocheting a lot, using up the plethora of yarn that Jeff got me for my birthday! :-) He also got me some pretty awesome fabric. That guy knows what I like and he has great taste! I just picked up a ton of zippers from a local fabric store, so you'll be seeing lots more zipper pouches in the next few weeks.I've got another new crocheted product for you--I'll blog about it when they're ready! :-)
Today, I turn 25! And Mongella turns 1! And THIS is happening!
I will be located on Somerville Ave. near Elm Street. If you're a more visual person, here's a map.
I'll be there with a handful of other talented artists! Do please come visit. There is not supposed to be any rain on Sunday, just cloudiness!
See you between 12-4 p.m. on Sunday! :-)
I've been spending MOST of my free time either running, crocheting, sewing or working on my displays in preparation for SUNDAY!
I've been putting quite a bit of thought into my displays this year, especially since I now have experience at a few craft shows and know the game a little better. But also, thanks to Jeff, I now have a super-fancy SMAHT phone and can use the Square to accept credit cards! So I'm excited about that and am hoping lots of people will come check out my cozy, handmade stuff. :-)
In other news, we had a mouse in the house. I only saw the mouse once, but I saw its refuse many, many times. I used the tried and true peppermint oil in a cotton ball trick to keep him away. They hate peppermint, FYI! We also plugged up all the holes in the apartment with brillo pads because they can't chew through them. We finally had to call the landlord because we discovered it/they had been using the insulation under our stovetop as a little mouse hotel. Not so cute, and VERY unsanitary. The landlord cleaned it out for us and all is well now!
The foliage down here in Massachusetts is finally in full swing. We had beautiful weather this past weekend and drove around a lot to run errands, but it was also nice to take the back roads and enjoy the sights while they will last. Along the way we stopped at The Wayside Inn, an old place where we bought some corn muffins. We love corn muffins!
A few weeks ago, we stopped by a park in Somerville. I never even knew this was nearby! It has an old castle/fort that was built way back during the revolutionary war.
A couple of weeks ago on a rainy day, we drove through a HUGE, really old cemetery in Cambridge and Jeff found another tower. We climbed it and took a terrible photo of ourselves looking terrified (well, me at least!)
And just yesterday we were driving around some suburban town, and found this cool abandoned old courthouse.
Urban exploring is so much fun! Part of me wondered what the heck was in there, but most of me didn't really want to find out. Especially since there were asbestos warnings plastered all over the building.
Well, that's what we've been up to lately! I haven't been posting items on Etsy, because I'm saving most of my items for the upcoming SomerStreets event. I hope to find more information about where I'll be on Sunday, and of course there will be a special birthday blog post this Friday! :-)