Category Archives: Artwork

Postcard: Sketch Journal from Montreal

My husband and I marked our 21st anniversary earlier this month while he was away on a work trip. We finally got a chance to celebrate the occasion this past weekend, with a quick excursion to Montreal, Quebec. I made a few sketches of our journey. Enjoy!

Montreal sketches - 1st spreadMontreal sketches - 2nd spreadMontreal sketches - 3rd spreadMontreal sketches - 4th spreadMontreal sketches - 5th spreadMontreal sketches - 6th spreadMontreal sketches - 7th spread

I took photos, too: architecture, streets, people, and eye-catching details here and there. But it was fun to use the sketchbook and add to these pages in a scrapbook sort of way to document certain things on our trip that I wouldn’t necessarily have photographed. I think it caught an entirely different experience than my photos—more personal, perhaps!

I used a 5.5″ square “hand•book” journal and a Pitt medium pen. I added the color later with a small set of watercolor pencils and a waterbrush. These tools were perfectly portable and I will definitely take them along on the next journey!

What Works For You

I’ve been attempting to track my food for a couple years. A couple years. I keep trying, but haven’t been consistent. I know this is a key component in weight loss, so I really want to give it a good shot. I have learned how to do burpees and run and lift heavy weights over my head, so I’ve been at a loss as to why documenting my food was so hard when I’ve done all these other things I never thought I could do. I have a notebook with charts and lines I keep going back to, and I’ve tried tracking online as well. Bleegh. It’s just a chore online – It feels like my timesheet at work. The notebook is useful, but I don’t feel inspired to use it, and I don’t see the patterns.

I had a great idea a couple weeks ago. I picked up The Artist’s Journal Workshop, and have been flipping through the pages, wanting to do something like that. Why not start by drawing my food? Why not draw the food I ate in one day?
What I ate on June 13June 14June 15June 18

I have been sketching my food intake every day since June 13th. I’m making better choices. I’ve had some days where my choices have not been great, but now I see the patterns. Oh, I need a little protein at 4pm or I go on a CarbFest right before dinner… Did I really eat three pieces of pie in one day? Uh, yeah, I did.

But the best thing of all is, I’m having fun. I feel like an artist. Sometimes I am Hungry Right Now and draw from memory – ha ha. Other times I try to capture the shape of the pear or the details on my sandwich before I take a bite.

June 21When I’m thinking about my next meal, I look to my sketchbook and see what beautiful food I’ve already eaten today, and I decide to make a healthy choice. I choose a color I haven’t eaten yet because I want it on the page.

What I ate on June 23Everyone always says “Find what works for you,” and I’m happy to say I finally did. I hope you enjoy some of the sketches! Find what works for you.

A Sketch Journal: MMM Days 25–31

Wrapping up  Me Made May :

Me Made May Days 25 through 31

One of these things is not like the others…

  1. Vintage McCall’s 5079 – repeat.
  2. Pyjamas – made years ago as casual summer pants out of cotton gauze. Now faded and comfy, they only see the dark of night.
  3. This looks like a chair.
  4. There were two of them.
  5. Wrap skirt McCall’s 5430 – repeat.
  6. Another McCall’s 5430 – this one out of a rayon batik.
  7. Butterick 4461 – embroidered linen from hell.

Day 25: This color makes me happy.
Day 26: Comfy.
Days 27 and 28: My weekend warrior project was to reclaim these two old wooden chairs that were props for my husband’s latest play. I painted the raw wood a bright poppy red. Several coats. It took a long time—look at all those spindles! I could have worn this travesty to paint in, but it was hot, so I didn’t. I kept thinking eventually I’d finish and clean up and put on something cute and me-made, but that never happened. Fail. But look! Two pretty red chairs! I’m thinking they’ll be perfect in the sewing area I have yet to carve out of the house.
Day 29: This skirt just works.
Day 30: Another version of the same skirt. The rayon print is covered with irregular batik polka dots. Very fun.
Day 31: This skirt needs to be retired. I picked up the embroidered linen from the red tag clearance section of JoAnn’s a couple years ago. I prewashed, ironed, and then underlined it, but the fabric has still grown and distorted away from the underlining making it impossible to iron. There is about an inch of play in each direction, and the top layer (linen) is bubbly over the bottom layer (cotton batiste). Time to let go and move on. The pattern is fine for a simple, basic skirt, but the fabric is all wrong.

So there it is—my attempt at Me Made May. Thanks, Zoe, for the inspiration! I had fun trying to meet the challenge. I realized that I enjoy and wear many me-mades on a regular basis, but there are definite gaps in my wardrobe if I want to wear more pieces I’ve made myself. Fitting and fabric selection make a big difference in whether a garment is successful or not and gets worn frequently.

Speaking of which, does anyone have any suggestions for the type of garment embroidered linen is good for or how to work with it? I thought underlining it would have saved the day, but I was just wrong. I have several yards of a dark brown embroidered linen that I fell for, and now I don’t know what to do with it.

A Sketch Journal: MMM Days 16–24 and New Blouse

More  Me Made May :

Me Made May Days 16 through 24

  1. Wrap skirt McCall’s 5430 – made last summer out of blue linen from stash with dark denim waistband and ties.
  2. Vintage McCall’s 5079 – blouse made out of Kaffe Fassett shot cotton – just finished, details below!
  3. New Look 6385 – wearable muslin out of quilting cotton
  4. Colette Sorbetto (free download!) out of an Anna Maria Horner voile
  5. Simplicity 2404 – out of tan striped linen
  6. Simplicity 2404 – again out of a gray polka dot cotton
  7. Yeah, didn’t happen.
  8. Repeat of the Sorbetto!
  9. Repeat of NL 6385

Day 16: This is a great wrap skirt pattern. Inside waistband fastens with button and buttonhole.
Day 17: Love this fabric – so light and airy and the color is wonderful! Details on the pattern below.
Day 18: I’ve been wearing the wearable muslin for many years. I think this pattern is out of print as there’s a new pattern with this number now. The color of this fabric is not flattering on me at all. Time to make another version with the tweaks I want in better fabric.
Day 19: Nice and simple tank.
Day 20: Comfortable dress that always makes me feel great on casual days. It’s linen and wrinkly and simple.
Day 21: Same as above. I probably should’ve made another version of the pattern, but it’s really perfect for hot summer days. The only issue with both of these dresses is bra straps showing. Oy!
Day 22: I think I’m averaging 6 days out of 7 for Me-Made-May. And on the 7th day, she wore jeans and a t-shirt. I’ve had no desire to make either jeans or t-shirts yet. Jeans seem like too much work, and I’m assuming t-shirts will be too expensive and time-consuming for an item I’m so hard on. (I might cave on the t-shirts eventually— we’ll see.)
Day 23: I’m ready for some new variations of this!
Day 24: Wore again so I could assess the fit throughout the day and tweak the pattern for the next iteration.

McCall's 5079 blouse pattern

Oo la la: editor’s choice!

Vintage McCalls 5079

View of McCall's 5079 from the side, sorta

View from the side, sorta, and bonus weird face

McCalls 5079 view C
directing the photographer McCall's 5079 view C from the back

Finished: McCall’s 5079, from 1959. I made view C. I’d like to make the other views too!

After wearing this for a day, I decided to let out 2 of the 4 back tucks. Even though I altered the waist wider I’m not used to wearing clothes that fitted. I think I’ll add more buttonholes to the front of this – I spaced these a bit too far apart. Next version I should make the sleeves wider to accommodate my arms better. I thought the muslin fit fine through the sleeves, but after a day of wearing this, it’s obvious I need a little more room. *sigh* (I am working on tightening up the arms in the gym, but that seems to be a slow process.)

Does anyone know what the frown-y drag lines near the armscye mean? Does the armscye need to be shortened? Or would just a little more width/ease across the chest help? Another fitting question!

They aren’t showing up in the tucked in shots, but I had just tucked and hadn’t moved, so I don’t know how representative they are of a blouse on a moving body. Of course, comfort-wise, I prefer the blouse untucked, which looks sloppier.

I’d like to make another version, but would like to fine-tune the fit a bit first.

Any thoughts appreciated!

A Sketch Journal: MMM Day 15 and a Warning

 Me Made May confessions: I shouldn’t have done it. I wasn’t feeling skirt-y or dress-y today with the steady rain, and I didn’t have the brain power to find something else. I reached for an emotional pick for an early morning walk (which I hid under a fleece) and left it on for a few hours afterward until I felt the urge to change, quickly! I wasn’t painting chairs or cleaning gutters—I was working! A little dignity was called for, even if the Skype camera couldn’t catch the crime.

Me Made May Day 15

Just because you spent life energy making it, doesn’t mean it should be worn.

Simplicity 2696– View F in blue cotton gauze

Day 15: Work at home. I made this two years ago, and Hand Embroidered (capitalized so you can understand the Time Invested in such an endeavor) flowers and a design around the exposed facing. On one of its first public outings, I leaned up against a counter in a restroom to wash my hands and got the front wet. I didn’t think too much of it, but to my horror, as it dried the mystery liquid turned out to be bleached-based and ate away at the color on the front of my tunic. 

I don’t have the heart to toss it, but I could certainly wear it gardening or painting or giving the dog a bath—that kind of thing.

Other options I’ve considered and shot down: Altering to a crop top. I am not a crop top gal. Being short-waisted I’m already cropped. Crop tops are not kind to me.

Taking the facing off and making a new blouse: Oh god, no. I think there was much Cursing and Fist-Shaking during the initial endeavor. I need to be honest with myself—the embroidery isn’t that incredible.

Warning! Bleach ruining your clothes

A cautionary tale

But let this be a warning to you: Beware of modern bathroom cleaners! Beware of wet sink counters! I use baking soda and vinegar in my bathroom, personally, but out there in the world there’s a war of disinfection going on. Don’t let it catch your me-mades off guard.