Monday, February 28, 2011

Every Quarter Inch Counts...

Well, I told you I would likely blog today, but I sort of implied it would be about books...
I began and finished another project today, though!

This skirt is made out of kind of a fun, funky material. It reminds me of upholstery from the 1960s. I could tell from the get-go that it would be super challenging to work with, but I think everything turned out ok (except when I sewed the band on inside-out and had to seam rip the whole thing--yuck! I don't use patterned print much when sewing, especially when I'm making anything I'd wear in public (PJ bottoms are always patterned and cute, but there's no pressure--if I mess up, I'm the only one who sees them) because it gets complicated when cutting and I always seem to mess something up. This pattern was especially difficult to distinguish, because the right side and the wrong side look a lot alike, but different enough to where, if I had sewed it wrong, you would've noticed. It was a nice challenge to work with this fabric!

The McCall's pattern I followed was super easy and quick, which is always really nice when making skirts. It's my firm belief that skirts SHOULD be a simple project--I hate when they take a lot of time and stress!

I did have to "customize" the skirt a little bit. It's supposed to have darts in the back and in the front. I had originally put darts in both places, only to remember that I have a very wide waist (see picture above). When I wrapped the skirt around me, there was a big gapping section. Every quarter inch counts, so I took out the darts in the back, left the ones in the front, and sewed the sides at a 3/8" seam instead of the standard 5/8" seam. I'm thankful it turned out, though. I think that, had I gone up another size and included the darts and a proper side seam, the skirt would have looked too big.

The patten was for five "different" skirts. It's the same style of skirt, only different lengths. When I picked this one I liked that it went below the knee, which I feel is more appropriate for work. I ended up having to hem it up an extra 1/2" because it was so long it made me look like a midget (which, at my height, doesn't take much).

Now all I need to do is buy a cute pair of brown boots to go with it :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Project Complete!

I finished sewing my robe!
There's always such a strong sense of accomplishment when you're able to complete a project in a total time span of about 10 hours. As I had written in Burning Vinegar, I began working on this robe about a month ago. I had cut out the pattern, ironed the tissue paper pattern pieces, ironed the fabric, pinned the pattern, and cut the fabric. Usually, those steps consume about half of the total time spent on the project. Oh, and I also succeeded in stinking up the entire apartment.

Today, I began working on the robe again around 1:00, not expecting to get it done today. Surprisingly, it was done 5 hours later! I made a few adjustments to personalize the project. I'm also still considering having my mom embroider something on the two pockets just to add some fun decorations.

Now, in spite of all the coffee I drank while working on the project, I am exhausted. I think I will spend my Saturday night curled up with a good book and warm blanket. Who knows--maybe I'll have another blog for you all tomorrow ;)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Discovering and Developing Strengths

I have been slacking. Hardcore. I would like to apologize for that, and will try to write an extra long blog today to make it up to you. Well, kinda long. I do have a life, you know!

It's certainly been a busy week and a half. At work, my to-do list kept getting longer and longer. I keep my to-do list on a legal pad, which has about 30 lines? I rewrote that list at least once a day, because it would get too full. There was so much going on that I was, at times, convinced my head would spin right off. Another challenge was that I could hardly read, since my eyes kept getting worse. I went to an eye doctor (about time, huh?) and was given medicinal eye drops and told not to wear my glasses for a week. When I returned to his office today, my eye doctor informed me that my eyes have improved, but still aren't nearly where they should be. I will be meeting with him weekly until it's fixed...unfortunately, he believes it may take a whole month. Yuck.

On Friday night I had a girl's night with my coworkers, which was a lot of fun! It's been waaaaaayyyyy too long since I've had one of those. I spent Saturday doing laundry, packing, and reading an entire book (more of that to follow). On Sunday I left for Bismarck for work. I was there until yesterday evening, and headed back home. Nothing too exciting happened there--but I did eat at a restaurant called Grizzly's Grill n Saloon. It looks to be a Midwest chain, so should you be in the area, it's definitely a place I recommend.

So, now I am exhausted. Today feels like it should be my Thursday, since I have already put in 32+ hours this week. But alas, it is not. Hopefully this will be a very relaxing (and not so distant) weekend for me.

Now it's time to catch you up on the readings of the past 10 days:

Literacy and Longing in L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack has been sitting, unread, on my bookshelf for a couple of years. I discovered it in the clearance section of Barnes and Noble, and the description enticed me to adopt it. The novel even got a fabulous review by the New York Times! It is about Dora, a 35-year-old L.A. bibliophile, twice divorced. She dates a man who works in a bookstore, and goes on book binges any time she's upset. The end of the novel has a slight twist and then becomes predictable again. Character development was lacking, particularly Dora's past and her mother. I thought this book would discuss literature and Dora's passion for writing, but was slightly disappointed. I just didn't find it to be one of those books that will stick with me or have any kind of impact whatsoever. It's a book I would recommend bibliophiles read at some point in their lives, but it certainly shouldn't be a priority novel for anyone.

Literacy and Longing in L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack
Rating: 3/5
Pages: 315
2011 Reading Goal: 1564/12500

I can't leave a series unfinished, regardless of whether it is a novel, TV show, or movie. In May, James Patterson will be releasing the 10th book in the Women's Murder Club Series, and it drives me crazy that I'm nowhere near being ready to read it! Therefore, I spent Saturday evening reading 5th Horseman by James Patterson. Character Yuki Castellano is officially introduced as the newest member of the Women's Murder Club and undergoes a tragic experience linked to the case Lindsay Boxer is working on. Lindsay is also trying to handle a mysterious case of petite, blonde escorts showing up dead in high-end cars. Both cases captivated my interest. Alas, Patterson has done it again!

5th Horseman
by James Patterson
Rating: 4/5
Pages: 409
2011 Reading Goal: 1973/12500

Those of you who know me personally are aware of my interest/obsession with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. I have a true passion for understanding personality tests and utilizing them in management and leadership practices. For years I have been wanting to take the Strengths Finder. The Strengths Finder is based on the concept of discovering your strengths, then building on those strengths to excel at whatever it is you do.

Here are my five strengths and a quote or two I believe is particularly applicable to my personality:
  1. Learner
    • "The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. ... You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence"
    • "This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential"
  2. Communication
    • "Ideas are a dry beginning. Events are static. You feel a need to bring them to life, energize them, to make them exciting and vivid" (This perhaps explains my passion for writing)
  3. Includer
    •  " actively avoid those groups that exclude others. You want to expand the group so that as many people as possible can benefit from its support."
    • "You are an instinctively accepting person. Regardless of race or sex or nationality or personality or faith, you cast few judgments. ... Your accepting nature does not necessarily rest on a belief that each of us is different and that one should respect those differences.  Rather, it rests on your conviction that fundamentally we are the same. We are all equally important. ... Each of us should be included. It is the least we all deserve."
  4.  Input
    • First of all, the author accuses me of being a collector and lists books as an example. I think he's creeping on me. Unless...there are more like me?
    • "If you read a great deal, it's not necessarily to refine your theories but, rather, to add more information to your archives."
  5. Woo (Winning Others Over)
    • "...strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them. You want to learn their names, as questions, and find some areas of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport"
    • "Not only are you rarely at a loss for words; you actually enjoy initiating with strangers because you derive satisfaction from breaking on the ice and making a connection"
      I've been lonely my whole life. Can there
      really be other book collectors like me?
For those of you readers who are interested by individuals' personalities, take the test now! Each strength comes with an example and suggestions for working with others who possess the same strength.

What I discovered is that I really have the perfect job and career goals for my strengths. This insight is all very accurate and it will be helpful to utilize it in my career goals.

<---------I love Wall-E. I now feel like watching it, but Criminal Minds will be on soon. Dilemma!