Sunday, November 30, 2014

5 Favorites - November

I've been toying around with the idea of doing some sort of end of the month round up here on the blog lately and have decided to do a 5 favorites each month.  These could be new things that I have acquired or old things that I happen to be loving at the moment.  So here are this months things that I just can't get enough of.
Cup warmer She Knits in Pearls
1.  Cup Warmer:  In the fall and winter months there are few things I enjoy more than a good cup of tea.  However, I am a slow drinker.  I like to sip and savor each drink which often means that the last few drinks are luke warm at best (If I leave my cup on the window sill it'll be ice cold in a matter of moments).  Considering these things used to be really big in the 90's I was hopeful that I could find one in a thrift shop.  Yep, wouldn't ya know it, I found this treasure at Value Village for a whopping $1.99.  Just for giggles, I searched for them on Amazon and found tons of them for around $10, which I still think isn't to bad if you are a tea or coffee drinker like me.
Novelty brooch She Knits in Pearls
2.  Wacky Tuna Novelty Broaches:  I am so in love with my recent purchase from Wacky Tuna Vintage on Etsy.  The lovely and talented Britney from Va-voom Vintage has opened her own store of hand made, vintage inspired treasures.  Being the crafty gal that I am, it's rare that I'll buy hand made items that I can make myself.  However, I just couldn't pass up these 2 awesome brooches.  How cute are these?  The Alaska one is a vintage puzzle piece that I couldn't pass up and now wear it any time I wear my favorite green cardi.  The Day of the Dead felt skull is just too damn cute for words and even though it may have been more appropriate for October (Halloween pic above) I'm including it here in November because I just can't stop wearing it.  P.S.  I'm in love with all of her broaches and would love to have a stocking stuffed full of them.  *Hint Hint*
Lush She Knits in Pearls

3.  Buffy Bar from Lush:  Ok, so maybe I should have taken a picture before I used it but I had no idea at the time how much I was going to LOVE this product.  It's the Buffy Bar from LUSH.  This shower bar is AMAZING.  The exfoliating action of the ground almonds, rice and beans is nice, but it's the moisturizing that really blew me away.  The friendly sales ladies said that it works so well you don't need to use lotion when you get out of the shower.  I didn't really believe it.  Oh man, were they not kidding.  As soon as I rubbed this on my skin I could feel the moisture.  I thought it would rinse down the drain, but no.  My skin feels amazing!!! I jumped out of the shower and immediately called to my boyfriend to feel my skin.  I won't get graphic here, but I will say he wanted to touch every inch of my skin.  I am totally impressed with this company and will definitely be a repeat customer.
She Knits in Pearls
4.  Wool Pants:  Every winter I struggle with how to keep true to my sense of style while staying warm.  This winter is no different, but I'm making great progress.  I've recently discovered the awesomeness of wool pants.  I was originally looking for wool skirts at my local thrift shops and coming up empty handed so I ventured over to the pants section and lo and behold I found these.  With the high waist and pleats in the front I think these have a great 1940's feel to them.  I love them so much, I look for more each time I go thrifting and now have 3 pairs.  I had gotten so sick of wearing pants all winter but with all my new-to-me wool trousers I am finding it easier to embrace the sub-zero temperatures. 
She Knits in Pearls
5.  Vintage Faux Fur Coat:  After my old winter coat shrunk in the wash it was time to search for a new or new-to-me one.  This time of year there are slim pickings at the thrift shops but I decided to give it a try.  There were slim pickings for sure, but thankfully very few people in town seem to have the same taste or vision as I do.  This beauty had sure seen better days when I found her.  Missing buttons, stinking of moth balls and the bits and pieces of the lining were barely holding on for dear life.  But for $25 bucks, it was worth a shot to see if I could bring her back to life.  After airing it out and a good cleaning, I hand stitched the lining back together and added "new" vintage buttons and am so happy with the results.  Not only is this jacket very "me" it is also very warm.  We shall be great companions all winter long.
So there you have it, my first "5 Favorites" post.  What do you think?  Should I keep it up?  I've really enjoyed putting this little list together and hope to do many more in the future.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Knitting is My Xanax

vintage thanksgiving
Image source
It might seem a bit odd to title this post "Knitting is my Xanax", then start of with a Thanksgiving picture, but I promise you the two are very much related.  It is, as I type this Thanksgiving morning and I am writing to you instead of getting ready for Today's festivities (I am thankful that I am NOT cooking Today's feast.). Instead of sharing all of the many things that I am thankful for this year such as my amazingly supportive family, caring friends and my health.  I'd like to share with you why I am so very thankful for yarn and knitting.
I had the pleasure of traveling to Anchorage last weekend for my birthday to see some of my family and friends.  I had a great time and I will write more on my adventures at a later date, but the trip did not get off to such a great start.  As I was on my way to the airport the realization that I had forgot my knitting project in my boyfriends car hit me like a baseball bat to the chest.  NOOOOOOO!!!!  "It's ok, it's ok, I'm sure I'll be fine", I tell myself and my friend who was diving me to the airport.  Taking some deep breathes, I try to calm myself.  This is not the end of the world, in the big picture of life, this is not a tragedy.  Right?!?! 

I got my bag checked in and made my way through security all right and made my way down to my gate.  And there I sat......... With nothing to do........... What am I supposed to do now?........ I quickly texted every one I know who might sympathize with me and my lack of knitting.  My Mom, my Boyfriend, both of my friends who I was traveling to see.  All where incredibly supportive.  I didn't use an abundant amount of caps in my messages, but in my head I was SCREAMING.  I had absolutely no idea what to do with myself.  Where am I supposed to look?  What do I do with my hands?  How do I make my brain calm the hell down?!?!  I've said it before but I guess I didn't truly believe it until now, knitting is my Xanax. 

It took every ounce of strength I had not to go to the airport bar.  Knowing the level of panic I was feeling, I just might (definitely) have over indulged to the point of no longer caring about the fact that my hands are not occupied by smooth bamboo needles and warm wool weaving in and out of my fingers.  This would probably also be the point where they decide that I am too intoxicated to fly.  So, unfortunately this was not an option.

She Knits in Pearls - Horror

I hope I held it in, but this is how I felt on the inside.  True horror!!!  How do you non-knitters go through life?  What occupies you?  What calms you down?  Yes, I have anxiety issues, and yes I take medication for it.  I've now realized that without my knitting, I'd be on a lot more medication than I already am. 

I did not plan for this!  I could read to pass the time.  Unfortunately, because I had planned to knit, I didn't bring a book, I brought an audiobook.  You know, to listen to while I WAS KNITTING!!  Damn it!  I pressed play in a desperate attempt to occupy my mind that was now racing so fast I couldn't keep up.  This was no use. 

As the panic subsided, the depression kicked in.  I had all these plans.  I had brought with me a pair of socks to work on.  These are the only holiday knitting that I'll be able to share as I am positive that the recipient has never set eyes on my blog.  The plan was to take pictures of these socks as they travel around Anchorage, growing a few rows at a time.  I was going to use these socks to tell the story of my trip.  What a great plan, right?  I know, it was an awesome idea.  And now it's dead.  I will still share these socks with you, but it won't be nearly as awesome as I had originally planned.

That was seriously the longest 1 hour flight of my life.  Yes, I'm bitching about a 1 hour flight, get over it.  I don't remember the last time I flew without my knitting, it had to have been before I learned how.  Hopefully, I will never have to do that again.  I'm sure the people who have the unfortunate fate of sitting next to me hope so as well, as I must have drove that poor woman nuts with my consistent fidgeting.  Toe bouncing, finger tapping, can't get comfortable fidgeting.  That poor woman must have thought I was an annoying mess.  Thankfully she kept her trap shut as I have no idea what I might be capable of in such a state.

I had plans with my dear friend Terri the following day.  We had plans to go antiquing and thrifting all day.  Thankfully, as a fellow knitter and anxiety sufferer she was more than happy to make Jo-Ann's our first stop, in order for me to pick up a pair of needles and a ball of yarn.  At this point, I didn't care what I knit, as long as I was knitting.  I decided to cast on a simple diagonal scarf that alternated directions, a very simple knit but not boring. 

In my down time, I knit and knit and knit.  By the time I boarded my plane to come home it was about 3/4 done and I thought I just might finish it by the time I landed.  Then I realized that there was a massive mistake.  One of my diagonal triangles is going the wrong way.  I could have ripped it out to fix it, but that would be a big mess while on a plane.  Or I could put it away and wait till I got home to fix it.  Instead, I just kept knitting.  After all, I didn't really care about the idea of the finished product.  It was the knitting action that I needed.  Fuck up and all, I was still knitting and that's what mattered.  I cast off as we made our decent into Fairbanks.  The scarf will not be a gift to someone this year, it will never be worn.  But it served a purpose and it served it well.  I am so very thankful for that fucked up scarf.  It kept me sane. 

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.  I am thankful for each one of you who reads my crazy rants.  Aside from the usual, friends, family, good health and all, is there anything weird that you are thankful for?


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Happy Early Birthday to Me!

Chronically Vintage She knits in Pearls
I'm so excited that my birthday week is here.  I'm not one of those obnoxious people who thinks they get a whole week rather than one day, but this year has been a lucky one.  My birthday isn't till this Sunday but I've already received my gifts.  Yeah, I could have waited till Sunday, but I didn't and I don't feel bad about that at all.  See above all those darling gifts.  I actually bought them myself, but they arrived this week and with that beautiful wrapping, I consider them presents. 
She Knits in Pearls
Look, even the box it came in was wrapped (and cupcake was so curious).  All this loveliness is thanks to my darling internet friend Jessica of Chronically Vintage and her fabulous etsy shop.  I seriously can not speak highly enough of this gal or her shop, just go check it out.  And if you'd like to get me something for Christmas while your there, go right ahead.  So what was in that box and wrapped up in all the pretty pink tissue paper?  Lets see.....
Vintage Knitting She knits in Pearls
First to be unwrapped are these wonderful vintage knitting and needlework booklets from 1956.  Jessica is such a dear, in one of her first interactions I mentioned that I am always looking for (and rarely finding) vintage knitting books.  Now, when ever she comes across them, she keeps me in mind.  How sweet is that? 
She Knits in Pearls
Sorry about the shameless selfie, well not that sorry.  Next I unwrapped this adorable little flower pin.  I just love broaches so much and this little gem is no exception.  Next comes my new to me vintage 1940's hat.
Vintage hat She Knits in Pearls
This is just the back of the hat.  I wasn't able to get a great picture of the front today.  So you'll just have to wait till I find the perfect outfit and get some fabulous pictures.  But trust me, it is FABULOUS. 
As if all this weren't enough for the day, I also got a wonderful package from my Mother.  If you have followed me for a bit, you already know that we had to move last month and got rid of more than 50% of our stuff.  We are now in a much smaller (but nicer) place.  There is a whole new color scheme and set up.  Knowing this, my mother did a fantastic job of helping decorate the new place.  Look at these awesome table runners and pot holders that perfectly match the colors of the new place (beige, olive green and red).  They incorporate my love of all cherry prints with the new colors so well.
She Knits in Pearls
She's so talented, I'm so glad that she has passed on some of her creative genes to me.
She Knits in Pearls
Look how perfectly that fits on my side table.  She also made that little catch all with the skulls and lace trim.  It's perfect for those cable needles and stitch markers that the couch usually eats right up.  To top it all off she made Cupcake and me a new blanket to snuggle up on the couch with.
I think she likes it all ready.  I can't wait to snuggle up with her and have the comfort of my Mom with me.  I foresee a lot of knitting happening with this laid across my lap.  There's nothing better on a cold Alaskan evening than a good blanket, a dog and knitting.
So, all this and it's not even my birthday yet.  That I'll be spending in Anchorage with my two best friends and my Dad.  I must have been a child the last time I spend my birthday with my Father, so I'm looking forward to it immensely.  There will be lots of laughs, silly pictures, great talks, antique shops and many many hugs.  It should be a great weekend.  As I will still be out of town this weekend, I am unsure of whether there will be a Sunday post as usual.  I will try, but as Sunday is my birthday, if it doesn't happen, I'm not going to stress about it. 
What's your favorite way to spend your birthday?  Are they a big deal to you, or just another day?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Vintage Pajama Sewing - Part 1

Image Source

In the past few days I have been trying to organize all my holiday crafting and start to get the ball rolling.  All the while, in the back of my brain is the thought that I must get started on my pajamas for the Vintage Pajama Party hosted by the lovely Carla at Tiny Angry Crafters.  I cut out all the pieces (or so I thought) for them a few weeks ago and it's about time to get to the sewing.  I'm not a procrastinator, in fact, I'm usually the exact opposite.  I like to get things done quickly and as immediately as possible, so the fact that I don't have these all done, or even mostly done yet is very unusual for me.  However, knowing all the limitations I have going on with my back and my lack of knowledge, I'm willing to cut myself a little slack. 
I decided to start off with the pants part of the P.J.'s to get me back into the swing of things.  After all, I've sewn a ton of P.J pants in the past.  One year for Christmas I made probably 10 pairs as gifts for family and friends.  However, those were all very simple, elastic waist pants.  These are not.  These suckers have waist band panels and buttons on the sides.  What?!?!  I've never seen this before.  According to the world wide web elastic started being used in 1870, but it must not have been very popular or easily accessible during the 1940's, no doubt most of our resources were going to the war effort.  Anyways, let's get to the sewing.
First off are the pleats and I read "lap crease to the medium perforation, baste and stitch pleat". Ugh, here we go.  The feeling of what the fuck have I gotten myself into sets in.  I'm not sure exactly what they mean by that.  After a mini panic attack, I figure a pleat is a pleat, just do it!  If it's not exactly what the pattern Gods want, too damn bad.
Vintage Pajama Party
So I got the pleats done, they may not be perfect, but they work.  Let's move on to some really sewing.  My thoughts after the first seam?  So glad you asked.  "AAAARRRRRRGGG, why in the hell did I pick the slipperiest fabric known to man?". Seriously, it's like sewing two pieces of snot together.  I should have seen it coming when my Mom said, "I hope you have a shit-ton of pins, you're gonna need them.", after I told her what material I was using.  When will I ever learn to listen to that woman?  But I already purchased the fabric, so I'm determined to make it work.
My thoughts at this point, if I can make it thru this project without tears or throwing the whole mess off the balcony into the snowbanks, I'll consider it a win.  If I actually end up with a pair of wearable pajamas then I can conquer the world.

Vintage Pajama Party
 I'm really glad I have some P.J. pants experience or I would have had no idea how to make that crotch seam work.  I don't remember how or when I learned the trick of putting one pant leg inside the other with right sides facing (no doubt it was probably my Mother), but I'm sure as hell glad I knew how to do it.  Do all vintage patterns just assume you have the skills?

As I started on step 13 I realized that I didn't know what the crap was happening.  Of course, I called my Mom for assistance.  Here is where I realized that I hadn't really cut out all the pieces.  I somehow missed that for two of the pieces, I was supposed to cut two.  By this point my back is telling me that I've had enough and it's time to put it away.  I knew I wasn't going to get very far today as I woke up with my back hurting more than usual so I'm just glad I got anything done.  I may not have the pants finished yet, but I got the first steps done.  The first little panic attacks are over and I can now move forward with a little more confidence than I had when I started. 

So now it's time to get back to my comfortable spot on the couch to let my back rest while getting some more Christmas knitting done (and a blog post).  Are you all making your Christmas lists yet?  And, am I the only grown up who still calls her mom when ever she has a problem?  I can't be the only one.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Vintage Secret Santa

Chronically Vintage Secret Santa

The lovely Jessica of Chronically Vintage has decided to put together an amazingly festive Secret Santa for all of us vintage loving gals out there and I am so excited to participate.  If you are a lover of all things vintage and a fan of winter time gift exchanges (whether Christmas or otherwise) I encourage you to join in.  You can read all about the exchange and sign up to be a Secret Santa here on Chronically Vintage.  To you join, you must go sign up, find a gift that is either vintage, vintage inspired, or vintage appropriate with an approximate value of at least $15 and mail it to your assigned partner by December 12.  Sounds totally easy AND FUN!!  I'm excited to be a part of something much bigger than me and hope to connect with more vintage lovers and maybe even some move vintage loving crafters.

The reality of the holiday season is quickly sinking in to my brain.  I have so many gifts I want to make this year on top of the Vintage Pajama party mentioned in this post, hosted by Tiny Angry Crafter.  As much as I love joining on line events, I think I have reached my maximum.  So, please, no one else host any more tempting on line parties for me to join.  I have enough going on in my world.  It's not even December and I'm already stressing a bit.  It must be time to start making my lists and checking them twice.  Will your name be on the naughty or nice list?


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Qiviut Dream Smoke Ring

 Qiviut smokering She Knits in Pearls
The Qiviut smoke ring is final done.  As I mentioned in a previous post I have been working on this absolutely amazing project for my very dear friend who is battling colon cancer.  This project has been such a delight to work on that I'm a bid sad that is done.  Never mind how much of a dream it was to work with this deliciously delicate yarn, I truly enjoyed the feeling that something I was doing will be of some comfort while my friend is fight her personal war against cancer (and kicking its ASS). 

I must thank the people who have helped make this project possible.  It took many donations from friends to make this happen as this is the most expensive yarn I have ever worked with.  Thank you to Val, Daniel, Tara, Brenda, and Dave for chipping in and opening your wallets.  I quite literally could not have done this without you. 

                     Qiviut Smoke Ring She Knits in Pearls

If you like to read more about Jamie and her family (2 beautiful daughters and an amazing husband), you can go to You Care, a really great website that helps raise money for those in need.  I loved reading about their journey through cancer in their own words.  You don't have to know them to care and you don't have to be wealthy to donate, every little bit helps.

In other news, I have started on my vintage pajamas  for the vintage pajama party hosted my Carla oven on Tiny Angry Crafter. I haven't actually started sewing yet, but I got all the pieces cut out.  That is no small feat as this is my least favorite part of sewing.  Not to mention that it is also the most painful part of sewing due to my back injury and now chronic back problems.  I'm very happy to report that I was able to get it all done with very little pain.  I took many breaks through out the day and was able to get the smaller pieces done on the kitchen table (rather than the floor) which allowed me to have better positioning and in turn less overall pain.  Although I wanted to dive right in to the sewing I thought it best (on my back) to step away and wait for another day.  I'm still waiting for another day and hurriedly working on other knitting projects that I look forward to sharing soon.

On a side note, is anybody else being crafty with their holiday gifts?  I absolutely hate that the marketing monster that is America is already overflowing with Christmas commercials and every store has already been filled with the usual holiday garb.  I thankfully haven't had my ears burned out by holiday music yet (it has it's time and place people, DECEMBER).  However, as a crafty gal who likes to give hand made gifts, I am in that mode.  Making lists and checking them twice, I am working hard to get all that I can done.  How do I share those projects on the blog?  I want to show them off, but wonder if the recipients will be able to figure it out and ruin surprises.  I want to share who each gift is for but think I'll have to refrain.  I hope I'll figure it all out.  If I don't, I won't have knitting projects to share for the next few months.  Considering this blog centers around my knitting, that doesn't make much sense to me.  Wish me luck all, and I wish you all luck on your holiday projects.


Monday, November 3, 2014

The Misadventures of a Nervous Seemstress

1950's winter skirt
I've spent some time with my sewing machine lately and even though I've made many mistakes, I'm glad I have.  This amazingly warm flannel circle skirt, although far from perfect, is my new favorite wardrobe piece. 

I'm sure my Mother's jaw will hit the floor when she hears that I'm feeling like a very new and novice seamstress.  Thanks to her, I was working a sewing machine before my feet even reached the foot peddle.  I remember my first machine sewing project being a small 9 square quilt "blanket" for my dog.  I sewed my own Halloween costumes for years, aced 8th grade home ec, and took another sewing class in high school.  I have sewed off and on for as long as I can remember.  So why do I feel like I have no idea what the hell I'm doing?  I just haven't used this set of skills in way to many years.  Use it or loose it, maybe?  I'm hoping that it'll be like riding a bike (so they say), and my first time back on the bike was just a bit wobbly. 

For not following a pattern and winging it, I won't complain too much.  I used the circle skirt pattern piece that I had altered in order to use an elastic waistband.  Only this time, I used a regular waist band and a zipper.  The zipper is the best part of the skirt, by the way, I'm impressed with that.  So, now there was too much fabric at the top and I had to improvise pleats, which went all right other than the fact that one of them is backwards, darn it.  Plus, I made the waist band too big (better safe than sorry) and had to add 2 more small pleats in the back. 
vintage winter wardrobe
These are just some rookie mistakes that I'm sure wouldn't have happened had I followed a pattern and its directions.  I hope this is the case, as I have bought a few more patterns and will be starting them soon.  My goal is to expand my vintage appropriate winter wardrobe.  I've been reading tons of blog posts about cold weather vintage wardrobes, and founds some great inspirations.  I was, at first a bit skeptical of wearing a skirt in the winter, but having all this flannel wrapped around my legs was very warm.  Paired with leggings and winter boots, I was warm enough.  Although, at 22 degrees and no jacket, I hope you enjoy the photos, cause I was damn cold for the few minutes it took to take them.  This is a great winter outfit, but a jacket is still warranted, I am in Alaska after all.
Vintage winter hat she knits in pearls
I paired this skirt with a simple vintage cardigan with a hand embroidered pattern on it (sorry I didn't think to showcase it in a photo) and my most favorite hand knit hat.  I've never showcased the hat before because I had no pattern to share with it.  This was completely made up as I went.  I really wish I had written down what I was doing.  It turned out so well and is a staple in my winter wardrobe. 
Back to the sewing adventures, (hopefully not misadventures) I'm trying out my first vintage pattern here really soon.  I am participating in the Vintage Pajama Party sew-a-long.  Hosted by the adorable Carla over at Tiny Angry Crafter

I ordered my very first vintage pattern from Recycledelic on Etsy and received it yesterday.
vintage pattern She Knits In Pearls
I hope to go fabric shopping soon and look forward to getting started on Nov. 7th.  It's been many years since I've sewn anything more complex than a simple skirt and I'm a bit nervous, but I'm excited as well and hope to re-learn old skills and push myself to the next level.  The wardrobe of my dreams depends on it.
Seamstresses and vintage lovers out there, if you'd like to join in on the fun, head over to Tiny Angry Crafter and join our pajama party.
What additions have you made to your winter wardrobe?  Do you find it easy to add the garments you like?  Do you have your particular style of dress easily accessible to you?  If not, how do you work around that?
Until next time, stay stylish and warm my friends.

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