Sunday, September 04, 2011

Oh, Hello There

I know, I know, I am among the world's worst bloggers. It doesn't mean I haven't been up to things (I have), but sometimes, I feel selfish or lazy and the end result is, I don't share.

The biggest change was an accidental weight loss of about 30 lbs. I say accidental, because while certainly welcome, it was the end result of finding out I'm allergic to a lot of things I was eating on a regular basis. I ended up cutting out about 1/3 of the things I was eating on a regular basis and before I knew it, I'd lost 10 lbs, then 20 and finally 30. I've been at this current weight about 5 or 6 months, so I think I've found where my body wants to be with all the changes I was forced to make.

If you're wondering how you can apply the changes I made to your own life (because I've had friends tell me they wish they were allergic to food), I will tell you my secrets.

I am allergic to soy, which is surprisingly in EVERYTHING. Seriously. Go to your cupboard and check out the canned and pre-packaged goods, if you don't believe me. I'll wait for you... Now that you've seen it, you will understand the necessity of the first change I made: No more snacking. This meant cutting back on chocolate bars, too (since soy is used as the emulsifier in the majority of commercially available chocolate bars - it's cheaper than the alternatives), so in effect the no snacking rule also meant cutting back on my sugar intake.

The other major change was potatoes (I'm allergic to night shades - tomato, red pepper, white potato and eggplant), which I LOVED eating as french fries. So, this change meant cutting back on fried foods.

Now, that said, I can still eat certain foods I'm allergic too IF they are prepared in a certain way - basically, they need to be cooked at 200 degrees or above for a minimum of 20 minutes. This kills the allergens and my body does not recognize that a baked potato is bad, but since fries are cooked too briefly, they are in the no go column. Confused? Yeah, me too. I just know it works, but as a precaution, I carry Zyrtec in case I feel the familiar tingle. I haven't had a reaction since January, so I must be doing something right.

There's more, but the above will give you the gist of the changes I've made. Initially, it was difficult, but the fear of having a reaction made it easier (very easy to avoid fries when you compare it to the thought of itching and swelling from them).

The end result is I have a whole new body to sew for, and honestly, I am still not seeing it in the mirror. I keep buying and making things for the old one, and I am working to change that. I finally went and tried clothes on and found out what size I am (2 sizes down from where I was - I am still shocked by this, again my friends hate when I say this, but I think it is important to note we can all have body image issues no matter if we gain or lose weight).

So that brings us to the more crafty, less wordy part of this entry! I have decided to take part in the Coletterie fall palette challenge, if for no other reason to make new clothes to go with my new body! I picked out my colors, which I am sharing below. They go with a lot of things I already have, and I think the grey will be a nice neutral (as I think black is too harsh for me now). I've actually already got a lot of these colors in my fabric and yarn stash, and just need to finalize what to make before posting that.

Fall 2011 color board

I hope my post about food allergies is useful for others. I was really lucky to have had other friends who had gone through something similar and was able to discuss it with them, which made it a less stressful experience. If anyone needs recommendations for companies that do not use soy in their product, please let me know - I've found a few I can recommend.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

New From Old

I've sewn for a long time, and back when I was a teenager (read: cash-strapped), I would often remake one item of clothing into another. This was especially important if I loved the fabric, but hated the rest of it. The item that stands out was a pair of cropped pants that I made from the skirt of a jumper that was too tight in the bodice. The bodice itself was later remade into a hat. There's something really satisfying about taking something you love and making it into something you love even more.

The leather tote I made the other day is one case in point. I loved the skirt, but never wore it, and now that it's a bag, I've used it everyday this week.

Along the same lines as the leather tote, I just finished a suede bag that was made from another skirt. That skirt I found for $7 at the magical thrift store with the intention of turning it into something else.

Here's the before:
Before - Suede Skirt

And now the after:
After - Suede Bag

The pattern I used can be found in this mook:
Clothes Made of Linen and Cotton

And here's a picture of the original (not that you can even see it here...):
Tote and Handbag pattern

I have a small collection of Japanese mooks, but this is the first thing I've made from any of them. If you have any experience working with Burdastyle (formerly World of Burda) magazine patterns, you should have no trouble figuring out how to work from this. This particular pattern needed to be drafted by hand (the mook gives you diagrams and measurements), and then you can follow the pictures on how to put it together. I've made several of these bags from other material (mostly linen and corduroy) and they turn out awesome! Very roomy, and great for carrying knitting projects around. The bag is also lined, but for the suede version, I wanted it to be a little unconstructed, so no lining was added.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Risk Taking

Sometimes, I am my own worst enemy when it comes to taking risks. Playing it safe has gotten me far, but not far enough. This is especially true in my crafting. I am full of wild ideas, and then don't allow myself to follow through. The funny thing is, when I have allowed myself to take risks, I end up surprising myself and the idea comes out even better than I imagined. So, I have dubbed 2011 the year of follow through.

I went thrifting with my friend, Nico, a week ago and when we got to Playclothes, we started talking about this very thing - risk taking. I told her that I had a leather skirt that I never wear and have been intending to turn into a tote bag forever, but was afraid of ruining it. There is something about being a lover of all things vintage that makes you want to care for the things in your possession and the leather skirt was no different. Another friend gave it to me about 10 years ago, and in my own way, I felt it would hurt that memory if I messed up the transition from skirt to bag.

Well, with that conversation fresh in my mind, I thought, "What is the worst that happens? I could ruin it, sure, but better to try then have the skirt hanging around being useless." So, I measured my favorite tote bags to get an idea of the size I wanted, grabbed scissors, a measuring tape and the skirt and got busy.

Here's the before:
Before - Leather Skirt

And here's the after:
After - Leather Tote Bag

I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and have a brand new appreciation for the bloggers I read who work with leather. That is no easy task!

In the end, I got the bag I wanted - very simple shape to show off the seaming from the skirt, and I left it unlined for a modern look.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

Here we are at the beginning of another new year, a time of renewal, both on the calendar and in our souls. NxtDrGuy and I changed up our usual celebrations - instead of Black Angus, we went to Gulfstream. The food, as always, was superb, but since we were stuck in a corner, at some point, our waiter just kind of disappeared. We literally could have walked out without paying and I don't think anyone would have been the wiser (we are not the sort of people who dine and ditch, but given the lack of attention, it would definitely have been possible). Good thing we had no where to go except home for some Doctor Who and Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve, or we would have been a lot more steamed about it.

Eh, but enough with the complaining!

I have been on a paring down kick lately, and things I thought I couldn't let go of, have been let go of. My old bedside table resides with a friend, and clothes and shoes are slowly being let go of. I have a friend who takes my fabric scraps for his business, and yarn has also been parted with. It's a way for me to make some order out of the chaos, and believe me, there is a lot of chaos in my life right now. Nothing that is interesting to anyone other than myself and a few close friends, but I find letting go of things by finding them good homes is helping me to cope.

Speaking of order from chaos, I am updating/repairing/re-making a few cherished items, and wanted to share the latest success story. I bought a red cardigan from Anthropologie a few years back and then promptly dribbled salad dressing on it (grrrrr). In order to cover it up, I was inspired by another Anthropologie cardigan with trim. Here are the results:

Here's the sweater:
Anthropologie red sweater

And a close up of the spot (out, out damn spot!):
Close up - spot

Here's the inspiration - such gorgeous trim to play with!
Anthropologie striped sweater

And here is the outcome (well, just pinned on - need to find the time to stitch it down, plus, still not sold on the crochet flower...):
Anthropologie Sweater

Now for the close up:
Anthropologie Sweater - close up

Overall, it took about an hour or so to do all of the trims while watching TV/surfing the web. I even crocheted the squiggly bit and the flower (which I'm aware is not the best crocheted flower ever, but it's the first one I've ever done and I'm kind of partial to it's sorry state).

The best thing I got out of it is more life from a favorite sweater and a little practice with crochet (a craft I now want to try more of...).