#BDSI Report (Boxing Day Sew-In)

I had a very relaxing day today. I’ve chosen to work tomorrow and Friday as it’ll be really quiet (everyone I serve is recovering from what Christmas is in congregational life so no one will want to talk to me). We’ve got lots of internal systems we’re working on so it’ll be good to have a couple of days without many phone calls or external demands on us to get things as settled as possible. All that’s to say today was my one serious pajama day, to just kick back and relax. I spent most of the morning reading a novel, as I said in a previous blog post. There was some cleaning to be done. But I did get to my sewing machine.

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The first thing I decided to take care of was finishing off the blocks from the Cotton Cuts Puzzle Mystery Quilt. If you recall, I was sent the wrong blocks the first time around and it caused several back and forth email exchanges with Kim from Cotton Cuts. However, I finally got the correct blocks and Kim was fantastic about the whole thing so the end result was that I have already signed up for their Spring Puzzle Mystery Quilt. It’s a fun, easy, fast way to keep myself sewing even when I have very little time or brain power.

This is one of the four blocks I finished (all identical). I had hoped to actually start working on piecing the top together but first, I had to get what was living on my design wall off of it. Which meant turning my attention to my other work in progress.

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I blogged about this one a few posts ago—I got all the blocks pieced a couple of weeks ago and had them up on my design wall as I’d had to work on the layout to avoid identical fabrics being too close. I had to give up in a couple of cases but it’s close enough. 

I still have to do the borders, of course. It’s not my favorite project but once I get the borders done it’ll be cute enough. Not sure what I’ll do with it once it’s finished—whether I’ll keep it or it’ll be put away as a future gift. 

By the time I got that piecing done, I was pretty much “put a fork in me, I’ done.” Christmas Day was a long day with family fun and such so I went back to my novel for a bit, then pulled out a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law that I was anxious to take for it’s maiden voyage for dinner....our new air fryer.

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Yum.  

Using the air fryer for the breaded chicken and my instant pot for the rice (I went old school saucepan to heat up the sauce, though), I had chicken Parmesan in just about 15 minutes for dinner.  

I’m so happy. Cooking after a work day just got SO much more interesting! 

And now my husband, daughter, and I are off to see Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse.  

Yes, indeed, a relaxing vacation day all around.  

December Aurifil Thread Club

You may recall from some post a few months back that I had subscribed to the Aurifil Thread Club. Unfortunately, month’s one delivery went down for the count when my husband dropped the enveloped onto the driveway without noticing when he got the mail, and then later backed over it with his car. I tried to squeeze those poor little thread spools back into any sort of shape that would fit on my sewing machine to no avail. He felt terrible. I figured it was probably for the best as I wasn’t getting in my sewing room any time soon anyway and that gave me a good excuse as to why not. “Well, I’d be sewing right now, but my beautiful new thread is a pancake.”

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I just got this month’s a day or two ago, and immediately spirited it to safety upstairs into my sewing room. The closest danger there is Auggie deciding the spools are chew toys, so I have to keep them off the floor.

So this month is the Peppermint Color Pack. I’m not entirely sure why. It looks more salmon-y than peppermint to me.


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Here are the spools in their non-plastic-covered splendor.

Left to right:

2230

2460

6729

2420

All 50 weight

And now, time to stop catching up on blog posts and get to actually sewing on this #BDSI. (As a sneak peek—I got the correction block for my Cotton Club Mystery Puzzle quilt last week so I think I may be able to finally get that top put together!)

December Sew Sampler Box

I’ve taken today, the day after Christmas, as a vacation day and, although my plan was to spend most of the day in my sewing room, a new novel beckoned this morning (from December’s BOTM: The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay. Loving it so far!). That, along with a certain level of weariness after yesterday’s family festivities, meant I spent most of the morning with coffee curled up in an armchair near the fireplace. Not a bad way to kick off a vacation day at all.

After lunch, I ventured into my sewing space. Oops, yes, there was some cleaning to be done first, as it was also gift-wrapping central. 15 minutes later I then realized I had the December Sew Sampler box that I had done little more than glance at when it arrived. So here’s my Sew Sampler box report. By now, I know anyone who has subscribed has already gotten theirs and knows what’s in it so I’m not ruining any reveals here!

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The theme, as you can see here, is “Winter with You.” That being said, the box had a much more spring feeling to me. Not sure how they decided this was a winter box.


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This cute little pair of Cherry Gingham Heart Snips from Quiling in the Rain by Jera Brandvig definitely make me think of summer picnics with the red gingham. With their short blades, I think I might be able to get these on a plane, as I’m really working my brain into gear for taking my embroidery with me on all the trips I have lined up this spring. (I’ll mostly be doing carry-on luggage so the scissor blade length is critical.) I’ll be spending a fair number of evenings by myself in hotel rooms so there’s really NO REASON not to have it with me…or so I’m reminding myself now so I don’t get a fit of the lazies when I’m packing and decide to leave it behind.

If you look carefully, you’ll see the bit of plastic tubing they included in the package to put over the blade tip. Nice touch.


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In the same “handy tool” theme, this box also included 4.5” swiss style tweezers, by Tula Pink Hardware. According to the package, you can use it for pulling threads, of course, but also as a stilletto or to get a hold of embellishments and such. I’m trying to decide where it’s best for me to store this tool—would I use it more in my embroidery life, and therefore it should be in my embroidery case? Or would I use it more at my sewing machine, therefore warranting a space in my tool holder next to my machine? Pondering. In either case, it looks like it’ll be a nice tool and, although I already have tweezers in several places in my sewing collection, these have a nice angled point that sets them apart.


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Ah, Aurifil. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! (Which we’ll be able to do with my next blog post as well.) I suppose you could think of this color as a wintery blue but, again, it definitely feels spring to me. Still, it’s a gorgeous color. (MK50-2805 if you want to look it up.)

The color is selected to match the fabric…


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This box includes the Woodland Rose Mini-Origami Squares (two packages) and a finishing kit for the totebag pattern below.

I messed up the nice packaging to show both fabrics in the photo. It’s a very nice collection, although not entirely my style. I went through a Shabby Chic phase many years ago but haven’t been there in awhile. Still, I certainly know people who might appreciate it as a gift.


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The fabrics and thread are all intended for this pattern, The Avondale Tote Bag Pattern, a Fat Quarter Shop Exclusive.

It’s a nice pattern but, as a tote bag, it’s just not quite my bag. Ar ar ar. Nope, couldn’t resist, especially as overtired as I am today.

I prefer to use totebags that have some sort of closure at the top. However, there is certainly use for open totebags—think “packing for a quilt retreat,” although I haven’t been on a quilt retreat in quite some time and, with all my upcoming work travel, don’t see myself getting to another one any time soon. If I am looking for a relatively straight-forward project at some point, though, this might eventually fit the bill. We’ll see.


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Last is the usual Barn Block Recipe, and we’re up to #9. I’m keeping all of these although I’m not sure, again, if I’ll ever use them. But I can’t predict the future and they don’t take up much space in my sewing room, so it’s not a problem to hang onto them just in case.

So that’s it—my December Sew Sampler box opened, examined, and blogged about, and I even managed to get it done before getting my January Sew Sampler box!

And now I’ve gotten my first "#BDSI* project done—cleaning off my cutting table and dealing with the first past-due blog post.

On to blog post #2…

*Boxing Day Sew-In, if you’re not in the loop.

A more successful Saturday afternoon

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I did, indeed, go back to sewing after posting yesterday’s blog, and finished the blocks for the random jell roll strip top I’d started in those two weeks I had off between jobs.

So here are all the blocks laid out. I didn’t end up with as much contrast as I really should have in the nine-patches but it’s good enough for horseshoes. The design calls for a pieced border which I will do as it’ll use up more strips from the jelly roll, which is a good thing.

I don’t know if I’ll have sewing time today—I need to do groceries and some food prep for the week, plus my MIL is having folks over for a casual gathering for my husband’s aunt’s birthday. Several of the Fam are at the Bills game, though, so it’s not an all-out family gathering. Frankly, I’m still in enough of an introvert-recovery mode that I’d love to just spend the whole day at home in silence but I know I’ll have a good time once I drag myself out of the house-nest.

It does feel so good to have finally played with fabric again.

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Oh—and the almost-ending to the Cotton Cuts story: Kimberly got back to me this morning with a very apologetic email and refunding me the cost of month 6, and a promise she’s putting the correct one in the mail tomorrow. Turns out (as I’d sent her the picture of the block I’d made in error), that was month 6 of the previous mystery quilt. She has no idea how it happened that I’d get the wrong instructions with the right fabrics and the team who bagged all those clues is now gone. Anyway, her response was very nice and very prompt and she solved the problem exactly as she should have. So yes, I’ve just signed up for the next one. The Spring 2019 Puzzle Mystery Quilt “Stratford” just launched. I’m doing the larger one this time, and I’ve taken a complete left turn in terms of the color way as I chose one that looks very 1930s (“Juliet”). It’s not my normal schtick but I’ve been feeling a yen for doing a 30s quilt lately so this seemed like an easy way to work that yen out of my system.

So, that’s that! Tune in (probably next week) for more adventures in Sandy’s sewing room... 

Trying to re-enter the quilting world with limited success

So my last post was entitled “Survived my first week” and then you didn’t hear from me again. I guess that’s about as descriptive as I can be about life in my new job. Still loving it, but it has been busy! I took yesterday (Friday) as a comp day for the fact I’d worked most of the last weekend and realized it was probably the third full day off I’d had since I started five weeks ago. I’m slowly learning how to control my schedule better. Yesterday I spent running some errands and doing some Christmas decorating.

I decided to bag doing housework and such today (which has also fallen behind a bit) and focus on reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming (loving it!), and getting back into my sewing room.

Unfortunately, the sewing room part has been a bit frustrating. I have been sadly reminded of why I gave up doing blocks of the month. The first one I tried many years ago kept sending me incorrrect sizes of fabric to cut my pieces out of, and I ended up giving up and cancelling about four months into it. This time around, last year I bit on the Cotton Cuts puzzle mystery quilt. I loved the fabrics and the idea of everything being die-cut so all I had to do was assemble seemed tailor-made for my busy schedule while I was finishing my doctoral work.

However, I’ve had multiple go-arounds with Kim at Cotton Cuts trying to correct mistakes—I was sent the wrong size piece for month 6, then when she sent me the correction I received the same wrongly-sized pieces. We finally got that straightened out but, today when I went to finally assemble the quilt, I’ve discovered I was actually sent the wrong month 6 altogether. Each month we were instructed to label our completed pieces by some letter/number combination, which I did faithfully. The layout for the size I’m working on requires blocks labeled F. I looked over my stacks of blocks. “F? Where’s F? I have no F!”

I spent about 15 minutes going back through everything, laying them out in the order of the months I received (I did always keep the instructions each month, thank God, or I’d have been totally lost), and came to the conclusion that nope, I was never instructed to make blocks labeled F. Also fortunately, the last layout “clue” includes a list of which months we were supposed to make which blocks, so I could pinpoint the exact month that went awry—yep, the one I kept getting the wrong sized pieces for. Strangely, though, my instructions for month 6 are labeled for the correct size quilt I’m making, but the blocks are distinctly not what’s needed. Stranger and stranger.

I’ve sent yet another email to Kim at Cotton Cuts with photos of the two blocks I ended up with and instructions for month 6 to point out how messed up all this is, and then said that I had originally been thinking I’d join the new BOM mystery puzzle quilt that just opened this week but am now hesitant to do so because of these problems. It’s frustrating that something I was enjoying should have this kind of an end-story. Especially frustrating that I get so little time to sew and I was stymied at the get-go.

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So I have it all laid out on my design wall with big gaps where block F is supposed to go. I can certainly start sewing together the pieces that form the borders and such so I’m ready to finish it when I get the corrected month, but at this point I’m already a little worried they’ll be out of the fabrics needed. Fingers crossed I won’t end up with a slew of orphan blocks all for want of month 6.

At the moment, I’m also not keen on the fabric they sent for the binding. I’m going to wait until I get everything assembled and then decide final steps. But that’s a small thing. I would just love to finally be able to have a finish under my belt, for the first time in months!


Meanwhile, I am happy to say that my desk got assembled and my office is finally put together!

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The panoramic style makes it look a little bigger than it is, but it’s a comfortable space for me now. Note the space heater—the radiator under the windows is finicky and often needs help.

The quilt on the wall is one my mother made. I don’t know the origin story although it’s a sampler that smacks of a block of the month or class or something. But one of the blocks is a church and most of the rest are either crosses or biblically-related blocks (ie Jacob’s Ladder), and the office really needed some warmth and color in it, so it seemed fitting.

And no, I can’t put an area rug under the conference table because it’s strategically placed over a large old-fashioned metal outlet box that protrudes up from the middle of the floor. I do now (after this pic was taken) have a small quilted Christmas table-topper on the round wooden table at the side. Eventually more little bits and pieces may make their way into the office but for now I’m comfortable for working and have room for people to come visit and drink tea or coffee with me. And that’s happened a lot!

After 17 years of working from home, I have to confess that I’m enjoying having an office.

Now, back to my sewing table and figuring out what I might actually be able to accomplish today, that’s not under the control of external forces!

OT—Survived my first week

My new desk still sits in a box as my assembly has been rescheduled again. 

My new desk still sits in a box as my assembly has been rescheduled again. 

It’s Saturday, and I’ve officially survived my first week. It still feels good. But.... I still don’t have a desk. I didn’t realize we were supposed to have Monday off and scheduled myself three meetings that day. After today, I don’t have a day off scheduled until Thanksgiving. I haven’t touched my sewing machine. I had a 90% fail rate at making dinner. 

So clearly I still have some stuff to work out. :-)

I had planned several slow cooker meals this past week thinking about not having to cook when I got home, but didn’t get the time in the morning to do the prep that would be needed. By the time I got home, most nights I was too fried to even think about standing at the stove. DH gets home later than I do as he has a much longer commute, so if we wait for him to make dinner we’ll be eating at 9p. I need to do better meal planning around my schedule, it seems. Less slow cooker, more Instant Pot.

A beautiful bonsai from my former colleagues

A beautiful bonsai from my former colleagues

Now, that being said, I was in the office fairly normal working hours this week, and that won’t continue. Once I really get into the swing of things, my day-to-day schedule will shuffle around based on when and where I have commitments. I did go through my calendar last night and designate certain days as “no meeting” days, and some days off. This is a reminder for me to not overschedule myself all the time. It’s easy to do, and I have an emphasis on being with people. However, I do need some time sitting at my desk for planning, administration, and email or phone calls, so I’m going to have to schedule it in for myself and keep it as sacrosanct as possible. As for days off, I’ve started scheduling those in too. Eventually it’ll settle down. For now, I need the visual reminders: “Don’t schedule anything on this day!!!”

More greenery from a member of the region

More greenery from a member of the region

I head out of town for a few days this upcoming week, and the week after that is Thanksgiving, so it’ll be early December before I can really work on getting into any sort of routine that includes gym time and sewing. (I do have a few days off around Thanksgiving so Black Friday Sew-In, here I come!)

I’m writing this post far less for all of you, my readers, than I am for myself. I’m reminding myself: Don’t overschedule. Rework meal planning. Designate days off. Sew. Exercise.

Aug-dog   is always ready for some cuddles.

Aug-dog  is always ready for some cuddles.

And hug my dogs on a regular basis.

Letting Fabric Live

So I was all ready to “off” another jelly roll by whipping up a second jelly roll rug today. I even had in my head where it might go in my house. And, of course, since I’d already made one, this second one would go ever so much faster and turn out even better. At least in Sandy’s Make-Believe World it would, and that’s a happy place to live.

But I never got the chance to find out.

I started my sewing retreat day this morning by pulling a jelly roll out of my strip drawer that’s been in there at least eight years. Remember Moda’s Portobello Market from 3 Sisters? It was all the rage back then. I figured I’d had it so long and had never found a use for it that I might as well whip it up into a rug.

As I was pressing the strips (those darn wrinkles in the fold again!), though, I totally fell in love with the fabric all over again. I kept trying to picture it as a rug and thought, “I just can’t do that to these strips!” Too many of the gorgeous prints would totally disappear.

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So after I got them all pressed, I pulled one of my many jelly roll pattern books off my shelf and flipped through it for awhile, and now this is happening.

I’m using another fabric that’s been in my stash for eons as the background. All in all, it feels good to be using up some fabrics, especially ones that have been haunting me for so freaking long.

Of course, this is going to take longer to finish than a rug would.

And, of course, I’m totally ignoring all the UFOs I’ve already got stacked up.

Oh well.

I think I’ll be making besties with a long-armer soon to knock out a bunch of those UFOs. It’ll be money well spent!

I do still plan on making another rug—but I think I’ll use a bunch of my scrap strips on it instead and focus on color designing rather than just using a packaged jelly roll. Might be more fun, even. We’ll see.

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Meanwhile, Auggie had a couple of days at his new doggie day care this week (one only 5 minutes from my house), getting ready for when I’m back to work next week. The day care owner had told me that Tuesdays and Thursdays were her “puppy days” and Augs would probably find lots of friends to match his energy levels, so that’s what I’m shooting for. Once I’m at work, though, it’ll all depend on my schedule in any given week. He doesn’t need to be in every day—I’m mostly doing this to burn his energy so he’s not pestering Old Princess Doggie (who just turned 14 a couple of weeks ago) out of boredom. I can alternate days because it takes Auggie a full 24 hours to sleep off a day in day care, LOL. The owner texts pictures of the pups every afternoon. After several pictures of these two wrestling, I particularly enjoyed this one where Auggie (right) and his new buddy have clearly worn each other out. Yay!

Speaking of which, time to go pick my day care doggie up, bring him home, and let Princess Doggie spend 10 minutes sniffing him. Basically, Auggie being in day care is also bringing Spencer some in-home entertainment for her nose.

Look, Ma, I have a finish!

I started out with this.

(Artisan Spirit Water Garden by Northcott.)

(Artisan Spirit Water Garden by Northcott.)

And this. Because I felt too lazy at the moment to cut strips from my leftover batting.

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Unfortunately, when I opened up the jelly roll, the insides looked like this.

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So I had to do this.

Eventually, a podcast episode or two later, I ended up with this.

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I’m sorry to say, this gave its life for the cause.

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Soon I was able to start doing this.

For hours. And hours. Sheesh, it felt like it took for-freakin’-ever.

But finally, yay! I got to this!

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I wound it into a ball as per the directions, and the final step went by speedy-speedy compared to the rest of the process. Within a couple of hours, I had this.

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Well, that and a new iron.

So, my first jelly roll rug is complete. I’ve learned a few things along the way. I had difficulty choosing thread and now that I know what really does end up being visible I’d have made different choices. But trust the pattern—when it says to wind five bobbins before starting, wind five bobbins. I went through four and some.

I did my best not to let it get wonky (kidney-shaped) during the first few passes but my first few rows were way off. I was able to beat it back into almost-submission as I continued to go around that curve so it didn’t end up as bad as it started. I’m not sure I liked the way the pattern described the initial start, but now that I’ve made one I have a better idea what to look out for.

This was meant to be a gift. I haven’t decided if I like it enough to actually send it off. On the other hand, I don’t necessarily want to keep it around, either. I like those colors but I have none of them in my house. So I’ll ponder a bit.

This is addictive. I could easily see myself making more and, next time, actually cutting the batting strips to use up some of my odd left-over pieces.

Sew Sampler Unboxing Video (and a little about life)

It was faster for me to do a vlog post yesterday. So you get to see me unboxing the October Sew Sampler box as well as talking a little about life.

And the end of the story was that I got 1 1/2 months done and started month 3. It would’ve been two complete but one of the months was missing a couple of pieces. I emailed Kimberly at Cotton Cuts yesterday and already heard back today that they’re sending the missing pieces—woo! (Great customer  service!)


Dia Active Box

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Finally! I signed up for the Dia Active box probably about two months ago. I knew it would be a wait—it was a new launch for them. But it was a longer wait than I thought. Still, as my weight is going up and down many of my work-out clothes aren’t particularly comfortable for me anymore. I wanted something I wouldn’t want to rip off as soon as possible. Thought it would be worth a shot.

Not a bad first box, all things considered!

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First off, a pretty comfortable sports bra. (Yep, I was heading to the gym shortly after I opened the box so this got used right away.) The zip front makes it easy to get on and off—a perennial issue with sports bras. I’m not sure this would be sufficient for high impact but I’m not doing that these days anyway because of my foot. VERDICT: Keep.

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Next up, the first of three tops. I’m actually showing the back here so you can see the detail. I don’t normally go for “Mad Max” decorations but it’s relatively subtle and the shirt is so soft, comfy, and a great color, I’ll live with it. Yep, also wore this one to the gym right away. VERDICT: Keep.

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The second top fit well and is a nice teal (the photo took all the green out of the blue—really, it’s a dark teal). It was a nice cooling fabric. I just didn’t like the way it looked on me. VERDICT: Return.

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The third shirt is a baseball style that I didn’t even particularly like to wear when I was in middle school and it was all the rage. It fit well enough and was a great wicking fabric. It did hang a little oddly in the sides—I think it was actually a little big on me. In any case, it didn’t jazz me enough to spend money on it. VERDICT: Return.

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Finally, the box finished with a pair of Capri work-out pants. I tried these on and immediately decided to keep them, even though I’m not usually a fan of Capri length. (Having to shave my legs just to go to the gym? Pshaw.) But these are super comfortable and a great fabric, and the design on the leg is fun and unique. VERDICT: Keep. I also wore these to the gym right away. They’re actually a bit big through the hips—when have I ever been able to say THAT before???—but they didn’t move at my waist as I was working out so it’s all good.

3 out of 5 on the first box isn’t bad! I’m getting another box in a month—I need to replace some way old workout gear that just isn’t cutting it any more. It’s nice having stuff that feels comfortable to wear! 

Stitch Fix October 2018 Unboxing

If you didn’t read the previous post about Causebox, here’s the update: Auggie ate my tripod so I can’t do a video unboxing at the moment.  

I had a flurry of boxes towards the end of the summer when I knew I’d be having to build up an actual work wardrobe, now that I’ll be out in public most days rather than working from a home office. I then put them all back on the usual rotation, so I’m getting a StitchFix now, and Natalie Attired and Dia will be coming in a few weeks. (I do finally have a Dia Activewear box coming but that’s a whole other story so stay tuned for that one.) 

With apologies for the bad lighting on a rainy day, here’s what came in this month’s Stitch Fix. I’d asked my stylist (Patience), for tops that would go with a couple of tricky-to-coordinate-with blazers I’ve gotten in previous boxes. I also asked for a roomy pull-over sweater that I could layer, and said that scarves are always favorite accessories. Here’s what she sent. 

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This sleeveless top is meant to go under my olive blazer from a couple of Stitches ago. Although I love the fabric and print, I don’t like not having wider straps to cover my bra straps, even if I’m wearing it under a jacket. Also, the lattice work down the center didn’t hang quite straight when I tried it on. VERDICT: Return.

 


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This scarf is wonderfully soft, a nice weight (pretty lightweight but not sheer), and has great colors for my fall wardrobe.

Plus, we all know what a fan of scarves I am.

VERDICT: Keep.


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This green top was meant to go with the strange-blue blazer I’ve been working on finding something to coordinate with for several boxes now. It’s a great top in terms of shape and color (it’s a pretty emerald green, even though it may not quite look it in the photo), and the way it drapes, but it’s super-sheer. You can see how much the tags are showing through. I was disappointed. This would’ve probably been a keeper if it had been a slightly heavier fabric. Yes, I could layer it over a cami, but I struggle with tops that I can only wear if I have to wear something underneath them. Even in the cooler months that can get too warm.

Plus, even though color-wise it worked fine with the blue blazer, there was something funky about the two necklines—they didn’t play nicely together. VERDICT: Return.


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Yes, I’d asked for a pull-over sweater, but although I can look at this objectively and say it’s a cute sweater, it’s really not at all me. I didn’t even bother trying it on because I didn’t want to be tempted by the “Well, it does fit” demon. Sometimes I’m so glad to have something fit I talk myself into thinking I’ll like wearing it. And then I don’t. It’s also incredibly soft and I didn’t want that demon to come into play either. So it was better for me to just leave it in the box and not even pretend. VERDICT: Return.


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Finally, this was the only item in the box that was a total loser for me even at first glance. There’s something about the colors or the way the stripe works or something that was a total turn-off for me. Other people could easily love it. I just couldn’t. (And yes, the color is actually pretty true in this—it’s sort of a dark brick red.)

I did try it on just for the sake of argument and nope, it was still a turn-off. VERDICT: Return.

So if you’re playing along at home and keeping track, out of the five items, I only kept the scarf. That’s fine by me—I’ve been adding enough to my wardrobe anyway! 

And I just got a notice today that my Dia Active box has finally shipped—woo! Looking forward to seeing how that one works. So stay tuned!

Subscription Box Unboxing: Causebox

So, two things:

1. I was gone this weekend for a work event and between going with a mild cold and ending up with bad allergies while there, I’m down for the count and not particularly up for doing a video unboxing, which is good because, in any case... 

2. Auggie ate my tripod.  

Well, to be accurate, last week Auggie chewed up the piece that holds my iPhone on my tripod to do a video unboxing.* That one little piece renders the tripod useless. I’m looking into plan Bs. Meanwhile, I have to go back to photo blogs for the unboxing. (Sorry about the odd coloring on the photos—it’s a very dark and rainy day and I was taking pictures in my dining room which has a chandelier with red shades, so everything’s a bit rosier than normal.)

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I’ve looked at Causebox for awhile and finally decided to subscribe as a gift to myself when I got the new job. Causebox comes four times a year and is a social entrepreneurship box. In other words, it contains items that give back to women who create them and/or portions of proceeds go to not-for-profits benefitting women in poverty. This is my first box. I was very excited to get it!


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The box comes with a multi-page pamphlet that describes all the items and the women supported by the proceeds. The box itself features designs by different women artists each time—I almost hate to recycle the box! If only it were archival cardboard so I could use it for quilt storage.    

 

 

 


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You can see a totebag laying on top of the box. Now, mind you, I’m not exactly needing yet another totebag. But this is a really nice one, so it’s definitely a keeper! It’s very sturdy canvas and extremely well constructed. A zipper pocket and little keychain clasp are on one interior side, and some open pockets on the other.

This totebag is October Jaipur brand, a company owned by Akash Sinha and Rabia Singh, college classmates who decided to design modern products connected to their Indian roots, employing local artisans and paying good wages. (Check out their website—they have a lot of nice products!)


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It has a nice little slip pocket on the outside, but I think it’s a bit too small for my cell phone. I’ve got my hand pushed to the bottom so you can get a feel for the size of the pocket.

The "vegan leather” handles fit comfortably over my shoulder, although I would wish they were a little wider if I had the totebag really weighed down. Still, it’ll be a nice totebag to grab for the random farmer’s or craft market trip, or to pack more for quilt retreats (if I ever get back to one, that is).


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And here’s everything that was hiding under the totebag.

The paper filler and the box are all recycled materials.


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The next item I pulled out of the box was a scarf. We all know how much I love scarves! Indeed, I have to confess, it was probably pictures of scarves included in previous boxes that enticed me the most.

This scarf is from Bloom & Give. Partha Raghunatha and Madhu Rajendran created this handwoven textile company to support projects that send girls to school. The Causebox partnership allowed them to complete funding for a camp for 50 girls in Rajasthan (India), adolescents who had dropped out of school to help out at home or on the farm, or due to arranged marriages. They spend summer in the camp to study hard to catch up with their peers so they can go to high school or sit for the GED, making them more able to get better jobs or go to college.

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This is a wonderfully soft, light-weight scarf that I will absolutely be wearing this fall!


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Paper Source is a company owned by Winnie Park. The company creates handmade paper with makers in India, Nepal, and Japan. This particular set of notecards is made with recycled cotton scraps and remnants from the garment industry. The pamphlet also states that the paper is made using “human intensive techniques and solar power instead of heavy machinery.” It feels and looks beautiful! Who knows, I might even start writing by hand again.


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I’m not typically a fan of eye shadow palettes like this as you only end up using one or two and the rest go to waste. I also don’t change up my eye shadow colors all that often—I tend to find one that works well and stick with it for, you know, years. However, I have to say this one looks promising, and I absolutely love the color names.

They also included a shadow brush from the same company, so I’m looking forward to some play time.

The company is named RealHer. It produces vegan and cruelty-free products. The founder, Bill Xiang, apparently started the company after the birth of his first daughter, and realized the “standards and messaging of the beauty industry” were not what he wanted for her. There’s a positive affirmation in each product. 20% of the proceeds go to the American Association of University Women. They’ve also donated to other organizations, such as for breast cancer research, LGBTQ groups, and organizations that provide makeovers and products for women in hospice and those who are homeless.


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Natura Brasil is a beauty product company committed to sustainability. They use mostly recycled packaging, water reclamation systems, and have been carbon-neutral since 2007. They source their ingredients from local communities, which creates better economic opportunities for those families.

I haven’t had the opportunity to try this one out yet, but I’m game.


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Finally, the thermal bottle. This is so cool, although I already have so many water bottles I’m not sure how much use it will get.

It’s not in the pamphlet because the item that was supposed to be in the box (a hand-carved wooden cutting board) had run out before they’d managed to fill all the box subscriptions, so those of us who were late to the game got the water bottle instead. It’s from Swell, the “fastest growing woman-owned company” in the U.S.

It’s very beautiful and feels nice to hold. I went on the website to check out what else they had and would’ve preferred one of the other designs, but hey, this works. I suspect this will be better for my husband tail-gating at Bills games if he doesn’t think it looks too frou-frou for that purpose, LOL.

So, all in all, I really enjoyed this Causebox. Oh—and the pamphlet includes coupons for all the companies featured in the box so I may be doing a little more shopping (ahem, scarves). I’ll get the next one sometime in the winter—looking forward to it!

*He’s clearly entering his second childhood—he’s been chewing up a lot lately. We’re dealing with it but it’s a good thing he’s so dang cute because otherwise....

Jelly Roll Rug and Thread Treat

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So here’s the most recent project that’s caught my eye: the jelly roll rug. I know some of you have been making them. And I’ve been admiring.

You may recall that one of my goals has been to use up my boatload of jelly rolls and 2 1/2” strips. I’m not sure where a rug like this would end up being used in my house but I’m sure it will be! 

I ordered the pattern and two rolls of the 2 1/2” batting today from The Fat Quarter Shop. Yeah, I know I don’t really need the pattern as there are tons of videos and tutorials out there on it, but I’m not in the mood to think at the moment, plus I like supporting indie pattern designers. Also, I know I could cut my own dang strips of batting (and have scraps I could use up) but, again, for now, there’s the “not wanting to have to think” thing paired with the “instant gratification” thing I’ve got going on. So little time to sew, don’t really want to spend most of it slicing and dicing and piecing mini batting strips together to get the length I need. Maybe for a second rug down the line... 

I have two weeks off between my jobs and yes, indeed, I plan to spend a lot of that in the sewing room.  

And maybe I’ll end up with a cute little area rug to brighten up my new office in November.  

Oh, and the thread treat? While I was on the Fat Quarter Shop website I succumbed to the lure of their Aurifil Thread Club. I haven’t bitten that hook for a couple of years now because I don’t want to end up with boatloads of odd-colored thread (I mostly use neutrals). But I’m an Aurifil girl, so maybe having pretty pretty threads hitting my sewing room every month will keep me in said sewing room, you know, sewing! 

A Life Update—Significant Changes

So for those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, you now know (although you may not have realized it) why I haven’t been posting a whole lot these last few months. I was in a process that I couldn’t talk about publicly—and that was the main thing taking up all my brain power, so I never felt like I had much else I wanted to talk about. I have just accepted a new ministry position that will start in early November. I finish my current position in late October. Although I’m still denominational staff, it’s in a very different way: the new position will be REALLY new for me—all sorts of a learning curve. I. Can’t. Wait. It feels very, very right. I’m already being welcomed in by my new networks-to-be and my calendar is already filling up with requests for my time. I’m looking forward to having new challenges in front of me.

On the other hand, I will really miss the women I’ve been working with for the last 17 years. I’ve been getting wonderful messages of support since the news went public. I joked with a friend of mine that reading Facebook and email has become a sort of “This Is Your Life, Sandra Hasenauer,” with people sharing memories and moments that I’d entirely forgotten about. It’s been very bittersweet. Fortunately, we’re a small enough denomination that I know I’ll keep running into many of them at denominational events in the future. Still, I’m going from a network of relationships I’ve grown quite comfortable with and close to, to having to build an entirely new one. We’ve talked about that introvert thing before! 

What that has meant for the blog and podcast is that I just haven’t felt like I had much to say since I couldn’t yet talk about the thing that was taking up most of my attention. I haven’t been at my sewing machine much, I haven’t done any embroidery, and there are even bigger cobwebs in my dye studio than there were when I was in school. I have been sort of living life in limbo, in a way. Funny how our mental state can have an impact on everything else. It’s not that I’ve been particularly busy or anxious. I just had difficulty wanting to focus on anything. 

And now, having officially gotten the new position, I’m still not sure what my future will look like. I strongly suspect it will be a lot busier than it’s been. I’ll have a lot more travel on my schedule, although it’ll largely be more in my control rather than being told where I need to be and when. I’ll be preaching a lot more, and bringing greetings and generally being present at congregational and community events. I think there are a lot of chicken and spaghetti dinners in my future. I’ll be on the phone a LOT, and I’ll be spending a lot of time in coffee shops with folks, and I know for sure I’ll be in meetings. And then there’s all that administrative stuff that will still be on my desk for when I am not in coffee shops or on phones or eating chicken or preaching.

I haven’t officially gotten myself to put the podcast to bed, but I will be honest with you and say it’s extremely unlikely I’ll have the time to get back to it. I think the only reason I haven’t just cut it off is more from affectionate memory of enjoying doing it than a realistic expectation it will ever happen again. (I think iTunes may have cut me off at this point anyway.) I’m trying to get my mojo back for quilting because I know that it’s great stress relief. I think I have to start putting it into my calendar like everything else instead of just thinking “well, I’ll do it if I have time.” When I have time, I’m still more inclined to sit down with a novel. 

But now that the deed is done and I have been officially voted in and notification has gone out to my current organization so we can all just move on, I am working on setting up new schedules, new habits, new plans. The podcast won’t be a part of it. But quilting and embroidery will be. So this blog will return to talking about interesting sewing stuff and not just be about clothing subscription boxes. Although there will still be some of that—after all, I’m no longer working in a home office and have needed to ratchet up the ol’ work wardrobe! 

Thanks for your patience, and stay tuned! 

Trunk Club Try-On--Input Needed!

I have extremely mixed feelings about Trunk Club, but every time I decide I'll never do it again they come through with a bit of a win. Frequently the stylist sends me things I'd never in a million years wear, and some things that, although I might normally consider them, the price point is too high. This time, however, there are several things in the box that I'm seriously debating, so I need your input.

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Here's what the box looks like when you open it up--not very fancy like some of the subscription boxes, but you're also getting a lot more stuff. It varies by box, but this time I had two pairs of shoes, two pairs of pants, two cardigans, two jackets, three tops, and a bracelet. I feel like maybe there was even more than that. Between the pics and video below, you'll see all of them.


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The jewelry included this time was a very nice gold (plated) bracelet with an interesting pull-tie type of closure. It's pretty and, if I weren't keeping other things, I might have seriously considered it.  At $35, it's higher than I normally go for bracelets (most of mine have been bought at flea markets for around $10!) but still reasonable, especially for Nordstroms. However, I don't wear bracelets all that often and I've got plenty for the times I do wear them, so although I liked it, this is a return.


I've returned to the try-on videos for everything else. Let me know what you think! By the way, I said in the video a few times I only had three days to decide. Trunk Club is actually a five day decision-period. So I'll wait to do my return until Monday. That gives you the weekend to help me decide! (And by the way, I've already decided to keep the coral "babydoll" style top--in fact, I'm wearing it today because it's stinkin' hot and muggy out!)

As I'm posting this, YouTube is still processing the video. I have to run out the door for appointments so I can't wait. If you try to watch this immediately and you can't get the video--try it again later. The video is about 12 1/2 minutes long. You can use YouTube's tools to click through faster if you'd like. When I get back from my appointments I'll try to remember to update this blog post with more information about the clothes--in a hurry right now!

 

Modeling Monday (StitchFix August 2018)

Okay, so I got some feedback that you really prefer seeing the clothes on. Much as I'm not keen with post-foot-surgery-weight-gain, here goes. 

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I got my StitchFix box on Friday and it would've been 5-for-5 except this canvas tote that was way too close to one they'd sent me the first year. I use that one all the time--in fact, it's currently my flute lesson tote--but I really don't need a replica. In the grand schemes of things, other than the fabric, color, and materials, it's a different tote--this one is more hand-bag sized and shaped, and I like the little zipper pouch, but it's nothing I really see myself using all the time at the moment. However, I have a sister-in-law that expressed interest so it's already been passed along.


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I'd asked my stylist for "transitional" items--things I could feasibly wear now in the summer but would transition easily into cooler weather in the fall.

This sleeveless top totally fits the bill! It's a Daniel Rainn Marcelle Tie Neck Top. I'm not good at identifying fabrics that aren't 100% cotton (hazards of being a quilter and not a garment sewer), but it's got sort of a silky feel to it, although it's not sheer. It fits beautifully and absolutely makes my boho side happy. And due to the colors, it'll easily work in the fall under cardigans of various fall hues. I've already worn this to a family event this weekend and was very comfortable in 85 degree heat. Definite keeper!


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Speaking of "under a cardigan..."

This is the Honey Belle Rivington Textured Open Cardigan. It does work perfectly with this top, although I'd probably usually go with a navy blue cardigan (or a rust or gold, which will go on my next "ask" for my stylist). It's arguably not the best color for me but, honestly, up here in snow country, people don't tend to quibble about what thick, comfy cardigan you're wearing when the snow is flying outside. This is a good mid-weight knit. Too warm to wear right now but won't break me into a sweat in the fall. (I have another comfy cardigan that I can only wear when it's at its coldest outside because it's too heavily knit.) This will be a good office-cardy. 


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I can't wait until I can start wearing this one! It's a very lightweight knit but it's so hot and humid today that I immediately wanted to rip it off as soon as I took this pic.

This is the Laila Jayde Bowie 3/4 sleeve Dolman Knit top. Again, it's a lightweight knit so it'll be absolutely perfect as our nights get cooler and then into the fall. I do have to wear a cami under it as the neckline is a little low--and it's a slouchy design so the neckline tends to work its way even lower pretty quickly. 

It's casual but given my normal work environment I could wear it with nicer pants and maybe a cami with a little lace on top and still get away with it for a lot of my work events, which is nice. And with a funky scarf in the fall? Sold! 


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I like this shirt, I'm not happy with the way I currently look in this shirt, but it'll be good motivation to get back on that bandwagon. If I can focus, I should be easily able to look a little more "smooth" in this shirt by early winter, and it's a shirt I'd easily wear until next spring.

This is the Daniel Rainn Darrel Crochet Yoke Knit Top. Although it's a bit clingy, it's not actually at all uncomfortable or tight. With the pleating down the front it would actually be pretty slimming, so for now I'll likely just wear it under jackets or blazers or whatnot until I can deal with some issues. Meanwhile, I like the fact that it has the crochet top but isn't as revealing as many lace or crochet tops are. The shape of the hem is also pretty flattering--or would be, anyway.

It's a basic navy top I can easily throw on with jeans or dress pants and feel presentable. The fabric is nicely breathable too, so even though this is long sleeve I didn't feel as immediately warm in it today as I did in the dolman knit top. 


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Now, back to my first Dia & Co box and the deliberation over the yellow top. I thought, as long as I was modeling clothes for you, I'd go ahead and snap a pic of me wearing the top so you can see what I mean about the color. 

Although it's a little tough to see in the bathroom lighting, you can tell I immediately look washed out. However, I just love the shape and feel of it, and I do think it would work well under a navy cardigan with some gold shiny jewelry--that would help pick up the color in my face again. The tie can go front or back but I do actually like it in the front, especially if it's under a cardigan. That would be a nice unexpected little detail. 

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting to find out if they have it in other colors. I'll keep you posted on that.

If you're interested in trying Stitch Fix, here's my referral code! Thank you in advance!

Togs Thursday--Dia & Co

Okay, so that doesn't work quite so well as "Wardrobe Wednesday." Still, I have a bit of a clothing subscription box update.

I tried out a new subscription clothing box (new for me, anyway). Actually, I talked my daughter into trying it out first and then succumbed myself. I've had a pretty stressful summer, and am unhappy with how I've regained weight from the foot surgery and all my wonderful new clothes from before no longer fit quite right, so I indulged in some retail therapy. I don't know if I'll keep this one up but I have to say I was really impressed with their customer service, regardless.

So the new one is Dia & Co. It's a subscription that focuses solely on plus sizes: 14-32. My daughter and I wear close to the same size although we have very different heights and body shapes, and we're 28 years apart in age, so I thought it might also be interesting to see how they dealt with both of us.

DD got her box a couple of days before mine, and hers was a 5-for-5. She was really happy. It had two very cute tops, a pair of dress pants, a pair of jeans, and a necklace. I wasn't as keen on the dress pants on her but she said they were really comfortable and would work great for work, and she's 25 so her choice. Everything else looked fantastic on her, though. The jeans fit her perfectly and looked great--although, like with most pants, she really ought to have them hemmed. (She's my fun-sized daughter at 5'2".) She wouldn't let me post pics on the blog--sorry about that! 

I was encouraged by seeing her box, but I wondered if the company would do as well with someone of advanced years. There are a lot of things DD and I can swap out--we have similar tastes in style, too--but I've tried other boxes (translate: Wantable) in the past that just skewed way too young for me. 

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I got my Dia box yesterday. When I first pulled the items out of the box (at 9:30 pm after just having walked in the door from a one-day turn-around flight down and back to Philly for meetings, requiring me to have gotten up at 4a), I looked at all of them and said, "meh, I doubt I'll keep any of these." Today, when I was feeling marginally more fresh and definitely in a better mood, I actually tried them on. At the moment, I'm definitely keeping two, likely keeping a third, and will only keep the other two if my daughter wants them. 

It comes in the usual bundle, with a letter from the stylist. It didn't feel overly personalized to me at first (you fill out the usual quiz when you sign up and let them know what you want/don't want), but after I thought about it, I realized she probably had tried to personalize it to me as best she could given the comments I'd made.

But none of these subscription box stylists seem to know what the words "bright colors" mean. Apparently true bright isn't the thing these days, because I NEVER get anything I think of as actually bright no matter how many times I ask.

I'm using the pics from the app of what was in my box because trust me, with yesterday's trip, I do NOT look good enough for style photos today, LOL. You'll just have to imagine what these look like on!

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This blouse is the one that sent me into a conversation with Dia's customer service. I love the blouse--it fits beautifully, it's a great material, and I love the fact that the tie can go in front or back as well as being able to adjust how form-fitting it is. It's very flattering. At least, it's flattering in terms of the cut and style. The color, not so much. This is not a great shade of yellow on me. I need more saturated, more golden yellow. This made me look even more overtired than I already am. I checked in with customer service to see if it's possible to exchange it for color. It comes in two other colors (coral and teal) but they were sold out in both of those in my size. She gave me an extension on my return date to see if they get any more in their next shipment (she has no way of knowing ahead of time). If they don't, I'll keep this one and just, in true Tim Gunn form, make it work. It would be adorbs under a navy blazer or cardigan--of which I own both--which also makes it a good transitional piece summer to fall. And if I wear it by itself, I'll just wear shiny gold jewelry and really, really good make-up that day.


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This blouse was a total miss for me. The color is worse on me than the yellow blouse above--I looked even more tired (like, totally strung out, death-warmed-over, should-be-crashed-on-the-couch-the-rest-of-the-day tired) in this color. It also had no shape on me. It just hung all over.

My daughter is going to try it on when she comes over this weekend as with her different body shape it may work better on her than it does on me. This isn't her usual color or style, but I think the color would look better on her too. The only reason I even asked her if she's interested is because, in the way these subscription boxes often work, I only save $10 if I send two things back rather than keeping the whole box, because of the various discounts you get. So for $10, if she likes it, she can have it.


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When I first pulled this out of the box, I thought, "Nah, I don't really need another dress." Then when I tried it on today, that changed to, "But hey, I really need THIS dress." I absolutely love the way this fits and feels on me. 

The neckline is great--it's pleated to have the visual effect of a deep-V which is best for my neck and chin, but it has a panel that comes across keeping it appropriately modest enough for work. The overall cut is extremely flattering, and it's a great color on me. I also tried it on with an off-white, deconstructed blazer I bought recently and it looked good, so that makes this another very versatile piece. 

I don't have a history of wearing dresses much but that doesn't mean that habits can't be changed. Dresses like this might make me tempted. So I'm keeping this one.


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I'm a sucker for a great necklace but this one didn't do it for me. Partly, it's not nearly as prominent a green/blue color IRL. It's quite a bit more muted than this photo makes it appear. And somehow this just looked old fashioned to me, and not in a good way. I already have another necklace I got over a year ago from Stitchfix that's in similar colors that I really love, so I'm not keeping this one. However, DD might take it off my hands. Again, $10 difference. Go figure.


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And now I really do have to tell all these boxes to stop sending me pants. Again, as I pulled these out of the box, I thought, "Nope, don't need another pair of navy work pants." And then I put them on. Boy, are they comfortable and they fit beautifully! They've got stretch to them but still look structured. And I think they'll travel really well. Surprisingly, some of my other dress pants wrinkle in my suitcase. Ain't got time for that on a work trip. These are more like a Chino than a formal dress pant, which means I can dress them up or down a little more easily if I want something slightly nicer than a pair of jeans, but they'd still be fine for most work events. 

For most of my adult life, I'd have gasped at spending this much on a pair of pants. $25 was my upper limit. $35 felt like a luxury pair. What I've learned over these last couple of years of subscription boxes is that, often, you really do get what you pay for. A good, comfortable pair of pants is well worth the money!

So my experience with Dia & Co is fairly positive to start. They have an athletic wear box you can do instead, so I may give that a try next time as I really don't need much in the way of clothes at this point, especially as I have another Stitch Fix on its way that I've already peeked at and am looking forward to! I also did another Trunk Club which I'm not as excited about--I don't know why I keep going back to them. Anyway--I'll give that report when it comes. 

Here's my Dia & Co referral link if you want to check it out for yourself!

Meanwhile, I really have to get back on that "healthy lifestyle bandwagon." It's amazing what a stupid thing like toe surgery does to your entire psyche. Well, that and stress. But really--it's time for me to just get over myself and get back on that elliptical!

Sew Sampler Unboxing July 2018 and some bookish sundry

I got home from my work trip Monday afternoon and have had yesterday and today as comp days. On top of the usual exhaustion of board meetings followed by running a conference, I was sleeping in a dorm room, drove four days round trip with people in my car half of both ways, and had a lot of significant interactions with people while I was there. So I've been in Introvert Recovery Mode and trying to talk to as few people as possible the last couple of days, even via social media. 

However, I did come home to Happy Mail: My July Sew Sampler box was waiting for me! If you haven't gotten yours yet, SPOILER ALERT! You may not want to read any further!

Once again, there are some very handy tools and notions in this box, although it's all built around a pattern I'm not sure I would actually make. It's not entirely my style. It's a Dresden Plate block, which I do like, but I'm not keen on the setting. However, I'm glad to have the tools to make a Dresden Plate as I could see me putting those to use someday!

I'm just dumping everything into a gallery--it's on automatic but you can also use the forward and back tools on either side of the photos to move at your own speed. If you're reading through through a blog-reader, you may need to go to the web version to get the gallery.

See below for some bonus material...

The best thing for Introvert Recovery is a cup of tea and a good book. I've been merrily sipping away at more of my Plum Deluxe teas: Oregon Breakfast Black Tea is my current go-to AM tea for after I'm done with my coffee but before I cut myself off of caffeine at lunchtime. In the afternoons, I switch to iced tea made with whatever blend strikes my fancy. Somehow, caffeinated tea does make it into my iced tea brewer but I think that's because the ice cuts the caffeine significantly so it doesn't bother me the way a normal cup of black tea does. So lately I've been drinking Spiced Berry Refresher Iced Tea Blend. I make so much iced tea over the summer that I got impatient with my former "sun tea" method using a glass pitcher on my back patio, and ordered myself the Takeya Iced Tea Maker from Amazon. Well worth it. Now I can have fresh brewed iced tea in about 15 minutes. 

In terms of good books, my almost-niece (my nephew's long-time girlfriend) and I both belong to the same Book of the Month Club so we've started coordinating what we order each month and then swap. Plus she'd belonged longer than me so she had a stack of books from before I'd started that she handed over to me a couple of weeks ago. I pass books along to my MIL, and she passes them on to Almost-Niece and/or my SIL, and eventually they make it back to me to pass along to my other-niece-from-another-sister. It's very complicated, but it keeps us all in novels! Here's what I've recently read:

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Still Lives by Maria Hummel: And here's my Goodreads review of it. I was fair to middling on this one. I liked it as far as it goes, but would've liked it better if she'd pushed some themes a bit more.


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The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs: And my short review that tells you almost nothing about the book itself. (I've been busy--sorry!) I can saw that I enjoyed this more than Still Lives, and it surprised me how much I liked it as I read it, for some reason.

I've put Pillars of Earth by Ken Follett on hold for a bit. I'm struggling to really get into it and decided I wanted to read other things for a bit. I haven't completely abandoned it, though. Maybe I'll be more in the mood in the deep midwinter when snow falls and it feels more the thing to be immersed in a slow-moving epic.

I'm still reading Us Against You by Frederik Backman. This is the sequel to Beartown and it's just as good--it drew me in from the first couple of pages. If you decide to read this, you do really have to read Beartown first as this one assumes you know everything that happened in that one. There's not a lot of time spent on backwards exposition.

Hey--did you know that if you use the Goodreads app you can super-easily scan the cover of a book to get all the information about it and add it to one of your shelves? Honest--I don't get any kick-back from Goodreads. I just use it ALL THE FREAKING TIME to decide what I want to read next, check out books in the bookstore or on my neighbor's lap in an airport waiting area, and add what I'm reading to my shelves. Their scan feature got super-fast and easy in a recent update, so I highly recommend it!

That's all my catch-up for now. I only have one short turn-around trip in August for work, and then vacation at the end of the month. Meanwhile, I'm hoping to have some quiet time for sewing and embroidery--and maybe more blogging and podcasting!

Quilt Spotting at My Friend’s House

I’m halfway to my work event and am spending the night at a friend’s house near Columbus, OH. As she was pointing out my bedroom and sundry this evening, she took me into a spare room to pick out a pillow (she had quite a selection!) and what to my wondering eyes did appear but a gorgeous antique quilt on the bed! She had planned on showing it to me anyway, as she knows I’m a quilter, but I don’t think she expected me to then spend the next 10 minutes or so fondling it, pointing out to her the difficulty of particular techniques, and snapping pictures!

I introduce to you her great-grandmother’s absolutely gorgeous Dahlia quilt. I’m guessing something like early 1920s—she thinks it may be in the 1910s given when her great-grandmother lives. (Apparently her great-grandmother died at age 51 of a heart-attack—tragic.) I’ve strongly encouraged her to get it appraised for insurance purposes, but also so she can hear the story of the fabric, pattern, and time period that I was so fascinated by why I had my family quilts done. 

Check out the border and what it must’ve meant for binding!  And be sure to take a gander at the beautiful hand-quilting!

Because I’m on my iPad and in a hurry to go to bed (another long day’s drive tomorrow segueing directly into meetings), I’m just sort of dumping these pics up there. Sorry if it freaks out your blog readers! 

 

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Gorgeous colors! The lighting makes it a little yellow but you can still get the beautiful color combo. 

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Look at this corner! I mean, Shut the Front Door!

Here’s the border close-up. I pulled a part of it up onto the bed to show it better. The room was small so I couldn’t get a good shot of the whole border. The binding has frayed significantly—I told her she could have that repaired if she wanted to but I actually sort of like it with the original. Shows it’s well-loved.   

Here’s the border close-up. I pulled a part of it up onto the bed to show it better. The room was small so I couldn’t get a good shot of the whole border. The binding has frayed significantly—I told her she could have that repaired if she wanted to but I actually sort of like it with the original. Shows it’s well-loved.

 

And a really poorly lit picture of the hand-quilting. There were so many beautiful spots I couldn’t decide where to get the picture and I could’ve easily taken about 10 more detail shots but, you know, bedtime and all that.  I love seeing beautiful antique family quilts. I don’t see myself ever collecting/buying those that I don’t know, but seeing them in their natural habitat, with family history attached, is just lovely.    Now I’ll sleep well and dream pretty quilty thoughts... 

And a really poorly lit picture of the hand-quilting. There were so many beautiful spots I couldn’t decide where to get the picture and I could’ve easily taken about 10 more detail shots but, you know, bedtime and all that.

I love seeing beautiful antique family quilts. I don’t see myself ever collecting/buying those that I don’t know, but seeing them in their natural habitat, with family history attached, is just lovely.  

Now I’ll sleep well and dream pretty quilty thoughts...