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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Life's Little Triumphs: Me-Made-May Edition

Happy Me-Made-May, everyone!

For those of you out there who don't obsessively read sewing blogs, Me-Made-May is a time for sewists (I'm following the lead of others and not referring to people who sew as sewers) to celebrate their handmade garments.  Many sewists make pledges, such as promising to wear at least one handmade garment every day in May.  Many people put pictures of their me-made outfits on their blogs or Instagram.  I didn't make any pledges myself, but since my collection of me-made clothing has grown slightly since this time last year, I've found myself making an effort to wear some of the things I've made this month.  Me-Made-May has also encouraged me to think about what I want to get out of sewing as a hobby and what sorts of gaps I have in my closet currently (knit tops that don't cling relentlessly to my midriff and button-up shirts that don't gap open anywhere are high on my list!).

With that being said, my life's little triumph for Me-Made-May was making a very specific garment that I've been trying to buy from stores for the past couple of summers: a charcoal gray knit maxi skirt.

There were a number of problems with trying to purchase a ready-to-wear charcoal gray knit maxi skirt.  The first problem is my height.  Unless I buy maxi skirts that are designated as "tall" sizes, the skirt will end an awkward few inches above my ankles.  Needing to buy "tall" maxi skirts already limits the retailers I can shop from.

The color charcoal gray turned out to be another problem.  For solid colored maxi skirts, black seems to be the most popular color, with navy blue a distant second.  In terms of gray, all I ever saw was light heather gray (think of the color you often say on men's gray t-shirts), which wasn't what I wanted.

The final challenge is that a good number of knit maxi skirts are designed in such a way that they cling to the wearer's derriere, showing undie lines devastatingly clearly.  This I don't understand at all.  I realize that not everyone has my height issues with clothing, and that not everyone wants the same colors of clothing that I do.  But I'm pretty sure that NOBODY wants visible panty line, much let alone extremely visible panty line!  This raises the interesting question of why such skirts are being produced in the first place.

So I decided to take the plunge and try making the skirt I wanted.  Even though it's technically a very simple project, it felt like a stretch in my skills because I only recently started sewing with knit fabrics at all and I had only made t-shirts up until that point.  I opted for buying a pattern rather than using one of the online tutorials for drafting your own knit maxi skirt, which I actually think was a mistake because the sizing was way off, which I tried on the waistband for size and discovered I was swimming in it.  After removing quite a bit of fabric, I ended up with a skirt that fit.  I wore it to work the other day, and I'm happy to report that it didn't fall down even once.  :)  There is still plenty of room for me to improve my sewing, but it's nice to think that now I can choose projects more based on my clothing needs rather than (lack of) technical skills.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

This Tops My List Of First World Problems

For the next week or so, I will be dealing with the fallout of  the king of all first world problems: pepper-infested feta cheese from Whole Foods.

I buy crumbled feta cheese pretty frequently to add to my salads in jars, and this week, I also have plans to add it to a casserole.  Whole Foods was horribly crowded today, and I had to reach over someone's head to get my tub of feta cheese.  In my hurry to get through the shopping and get the whatever out of the store, I didn't look closely enough at what I grabbed, and discovered the revolting truth once I got home.

I'll admit that I've always thought black pepper was pretty gross.  I have approximately 200 assorted spice bottles in my kitchen cabinet, so it's not that I'm against spices in general.  Just black pepper, the once spice that seems to be pretty universally enjoyed in the US.  But even putting aside my own personal distaste for black pepper, isn't it weird that pepper-infested feta cheese is even a product that is sold?  Does this mean that people were willingly contaminating their own perfectly good feta cheese with pepper before it was sold mixed together?  Did Whole Foods use a focus group to come up with this idea, or was this a pet project of some employee with idiosyncratic eating habits?

I have no desire to enter the fray of Whole Foods for a second time in one week, so I'm stuck with my weird, speckled feta cheese for now.  I'll see if my salads are better for the feta, or worse for the addition of black pepper.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Be Like The Mint Plant!

This will be my third summer in my current apartment, and for the past two years, I've grown small balcony gardens.  We've had an unusually chilly spring here, but I'm finally convinced that the plant-killing cold is done for the season, so I decided to buy a few plants at the farmers market today (yellow cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and basil--I'm hoping to buy a few more plants TBD). 

I haven't spent much time on the balcony lately.  Really, the last time I remember spending an extended period of time out there was in the fall when I decided that my dead plants from the summer were becoming too unsightly and I dug them all up.  My various planters spent the winter on the balcony, and I had noticed looking out the window that one of them had several green shoots growing up.  I just assumed that a bird had dropped some bird seed in the planter and that we might get a sunflower, but I didn't think too much about it.

So imagine my surprise when I went out on the balcony to plant this summer's crop of plants and found that the mystery plant in the planter was mint!  Sure, we had mint last summer, but I uprooted it in the fall!  When the plant appeared to be extremely dead!  Not to mention the fact that it spent the winter outside in the cold, receiving no water or attention from me.

So, I guess we're getting mint as a freebie this year, which is pretty cool.  I had been on the fence about growing mint this summer because even though I like the idea of having it, I didn't use it all that much last summer.  But apparently the mint decided for us.  I have to admire its tenacity, and if just being a plant on the balcony doesn't suit it, I can see it having a side career being photographed for inspirational posters.