Honestly, I have had a hard time finding any motivation to sew lately.  I believe the reason is because I have recently added 3 workouts a week to my schedule.  It sure is keeping me busy!  The flip side of that is that it is also keeping a weight loss goal in my head.

It seems so silly to put time and effort into tailored garments when weight loss is a goal.  However, it is Renaissance Festival season here in sunny Minnesota, and I find myself without anything to wear.  The funny thing is, I have lots to wear, but nothing that I actually want to wear, making the lack of inspiration to sew anything more of a dilemma.  Alas, in a last ditch effort to be costumed, I scoured my closet.  I found that one of my best options also fit well! 

First wearing 2010
Last wearing 2010
After trying on what seemed to be a perfectly fitted lower/middle class bodice, I remembered that it had been a work-in-progress during that particular season.  I used Margo Anderson's Historic Costume Patterns for this bodice.  It was big for the first wearing, so it was altered until it fit me well.  Thankfully, this bodice didn't need much work in order to wear it for our first visit this year!  All I wanted to do was add tabs around the waist.  I chose rounded tabs, and they are the cutest!  I am very happy with how they turned out!

Opening Day 2012
It has been a couple of years since I've posted here!  I started using my Livejournal to post when I had something to share because I regained access to it during my work day.  However, over the past couple of years many of my friends have moved on from LJ due to problems, so I thought I would revisit this blog.  I probably will post the major highlights from my LJ here eventually, but if you would like acess, just drop me a line there.

Wow, do I have some excited news!  (Please note: slight sarcasm!)  Since I started sewing, back in...oh 2005, I have been attempting to get a ducttape dummy made.  I actually had one early on, but after a few years it got sticky and died.  Since then, I have been using my Uniquely You  dress form for anything I can except drapings & fittings, which I have managed to, mostly successfully, on my own body.  Evenstill, for some things, this is less than ideal.  So last year a group of gals had a ducttape dummy party, and I got a new one made!   I haven't had the chance to use it very much because I've been trying to solve a problem that I've had for years: how to use a beautiful cast iron stand  I got for a song to support my dummy.  Since the stand wasn't intended for this use (actually it used to have a vintage gumball machine on it, just like the one pictured below except mine was yellow >.<) this presented a problem.

Thankfully, we have a good friend who is an engineer.  One day I showed him what I was working with and we came up with away to make it work.  A steel floor flange and pipe.  It wasn't easy to find a flange that would hold a pipe large or small enough to work with, but in our last attempt we found one!  Success!

To finally finish this project, I have been wanting to retape my dummy for weeks with this cute Duct Tape I found at Michael's
Last night was my first chance to get it done.  I knew it wouldn't be a simple task, as I overstuffed my dummy to the point where she wouldn't compress at all.  I need her to wear my corsets for fitting, so I had to unstuff her, retape the opening, and then find a neat way to tape her using the patterned duct tape.  I bought the 2 rolls of tape the store had in stock, but I knew it wasn't enough, and I confirmed that last night.  Now I'm just waiting until I can find more tape, then, maybe you'll get to see a picture of my excellent, polka-dotted, duct tape dress form.  It's been years in the making and I am so close to getting her done!
The results from my small spring break have been few.  Officially I still have until Saturday to get things done and do have a few plans for this week.

What I have accomplished:
I traced a skirt pattern but still need to get them back to their owner,and I located the 18th Century Stay pattern, but that's all I've done with it.

I did organize the sewing room area, which wasn't on the list but severely needed attention.  And in the near future have plans to relocate any upholstery fabrics from my fabric stash bins to a place where they will be less accessible BUT won't take up valuable easily accessible fabric storage space.  I need to to this because I have bought a few new fabrics in the past couple of weeks and because I have to sort through too many upholstery fabrics to find the fabrics I'm really looking for when I need them.  It will make my life easier and my house more organized, so that's the plan.

I have gotten some work on on my next Victorian, which is dubbed the B&W Victorian as in Black & White Victorian.  Love Black and White, especially together :).  I decided on and have mocked-up the bodice pattern and have determined that if I make no mistakes I should have enough of the fabric to make the bodice and the overskirt I had planned.  Hopefully I'll get those cut and sewn together in the next few days.  I'd like to get the skirt cut and sewn as well and be mostly finished with them by next Monday.  Though I expect little details (little details = lots of time) like buttonholes, buttons,  and trims to take little bit longer.  Since this is more of a day dress, I'll need to figure out a hat for it too!  Accessories are one of my favorite parts which I generally end up with not enough time for, hopefully this time will be different!
I don't think adults with jobs that aren't school related actually get a "Spring Break" anymore...but I'll take a break where I can get it...even if it doesn't result in as much downtime as it used to when school was my only obligation. 

Sadly, I have grand plans for my Spring Break.  Why sadly?  Because there's only actually about a week where there are no class expectations and because that's not alot of time when you factor in the job, working out, and keeping up a home...but I'm trying to be optimistic and really, I'm looking forward to my little measly week.

I've been dreaming of the MNRF lately, maybe that's because we are on the downward slide (no, I'm not crazy, we are over halfway through the wait at this point) or maybe it's because I've learned in order to have things made in time for it, you should start when there's still snow on the ground....i dunno what it is...but I'm sure it has something to do with warm weather, green grass, and pretty dresses.  However, this really isn't that best time for me to start lingering on Renaissance Festival because I still have to finish the Blue Victorian.  I would also like to get into a little better shape before the MNRF which can totally ruin any plans for immediate costume gratification if you let it because I do have 6 months until opening day.

Unfortunately, this henders the headstart I'd like to make on my Renaissance projects for this year, but I do have a project for Brad that could keep me busy, and plenty of mock-ups and fiddly bits on other costumes that need to be done.

So I thought, in order to make the most out of my Spring Break, I should put together a To Do List: of things I probably should get done before I move onto another project.
Friday night I did get the 2nd drape made, but not without a fair amount of objecting by my sewing machine.  I brought it back in on Saturday to have it looked at again and was told that it could be the bobbin, that the bobbin was in backwards, and that maybe I should be using a different needle for the type of fabric I was testing it on...


Whaa?  I've been sewing on this machine for over a year and never have had this sort of problem until before I brought it in, and I've been sewing for 5 years beyond that....  So.  Embarrassing.  So, I brought it home and will give it another try with this new information in mind and see if I continue to have problems...hopefully I won't, but I don't want to test it out on my almost finished Victorian...so I'll have to find some scraps and maybe another lingering project to make sure it is in working order before moving onto the finer things...
The very short tunnel that was about a month long bout with homework...but I'm starting to see the light in the long-term tunnel as well!

This week:  Statistics Midterm.  So far, so good!  I'm a procrastinator, but can say that I'm pretty sure I've accepted this and am doing the best I can to stop being one, at least in the way of homework.  I feared this take-home midterm would absorb all of my out of work time this week, and so far it mostly has.  However, because I knew I had another engagement on Thursday, I planned to be done with it by Wednesday.  So far, I'm pretty on track!  I have one equation left to finish and a few more answers to tweak and it's done for...Midterm 0 Laura 1  ! Yay! Now, I just have to wait for the results of the thing, but that's another thing all together.

I get to turn in my  midterm on Saturday, then I am rewarded with accomplishing my homework in a timely fashion by having to sit through 3 hours of lecture.  I am sure that I will get through it in a daze.  Finally, I have an exam in my online Macroeconomics class, due by Sunday...but that's not as nerve-wracking.

Because of the expedited nature of my Statistics class, I have been looking ahead into what class I'd like to take next term.  That led me to the semi-annual evaluation of my transcript and optimistic future outlook at how quickly can I get this degree already.  Given my exciting plans to persue my hobby this year and attend two national costume conventions, and due to my own limitations as a human being, I probably won't be taking any classes this summer term because I don't think I would do very well being stuck in a book and certainly wouldn't have any time to get any new dresses made--BUT, if I can manage taking two classes starting in the Fall term, and for the next 3 terms I will be done with my degree by the end of next year...like 12/31/11.  That's the light at the end of my long-term tunnel, and I wish I could do it more quickly, but I can't see how it would be possible, even if I quit my job and went to school fulltime. 

The good news...yes there is more!  After Saturday's class I won't have class again for 3 weeks!  One of those is intended to be Spring Break, and even though there will be homework, I plan to throughly enjoy my "Spring Break".
So I've been a little quiet here lately...that surely doesn't mean life is quiet!  I think it's just the opposite alot of the time, if life is quiet I might feel like blogging and if life gets a little crazy then I disappear for a little while...though, life being busy can certainly lead to more blogging!

Earlier this week I timed out to do something for myself, even though I had other things on my plate.  I took my machine into the repair shop, and though I was fully prepared to leave it there I asked if he would check out the problem to see how badly it was need of fixin'.  He fixed it while I waited!  So I happily toted my machine home and it's just waiting for me to have some spare time to start up again.

Though I posted a while back about finishing up my blue Victorian soon, there is something on my list a little more pressing because spring is nearing and days are getting longer, which means the sun is coming up earlier and brightly shining into my window before I'm ready to wake up.  Don't get me wrong, I love sunshine, daylight and all the things that Minnesota lacks for most of the winter--just not when I'm trying to sleep....so what's the project?  It's not a big deal and really shouldn't have taken me so long to get back to it, but I have a drape to finish for our master bedroom, so I will try to get at least that done this weekend. 

What is keeping me so busy you ask?  Skewl.  Skool.  Schools.  Schools is probably the most correct as I am currently participating in two classes at two different school.  But my statistics class really lays the homework on thick and since I missed a class during our Colorado trip (I will try to NEVER EVER do this again!) I've been playing catch up for two weeks and since the world didn't just stop turning for me, after I was done with catch up still had regular work to get finished.  On top of that I have a midterm due next week, and though I have all week to do it it means I'll be working on it every night after work...ACK!

But midterms mean I'm halfway done with this class at least because of the short run of the trimesters at school.  That means I can get another class in before summer (if you pretend summer doesn't start until July).  But come July, I don't believe I'll be taking any more classes until September.  That's what I'm looking forward to...that and for the other class I'm in (which run in normal semesters) to be done in May, so I can focus on just one class for the Spring term.  This will be the last time I take a one class (excluding possible summer session) load, I am determined to finish my degree next year!
I wanted to post this yesterday when I was reminded of it, but thought it'd be better to post two days in a row, rather than twice in one day.

Today's happiness is brought you by Masterpiece Theater presenting Jane Austin's Emma.
 Even better is I missed the airing of the first two episodes and found out that they are available for viewing on PBS.org.  I don't even have to wait to buy the DVD, which, of course I plan to do!

So, PBS, Emma, and the BBC are making Sunday nights my historical movie night again (a longtime, casual tradition of mine).  I love cooking a good meal and being cozy in my house on Sunday evenings.  It's not a strict rule of mine, but it is something I enjoy, especially during the winter months.
The above clip includes my favorite part of the series so far.  When Emma and Mr. Knightley, well, you'll see, it's starts around the 5 minute mark. 


Can't wait to see what happens next (though I already know, I want to SEE it happen, dresses, these actors, etc.)
In the middle of winter, tredging into work everyday sometimes it's hard to focus on little things that make us happy.

In an effort to capture some happiness, as often as I think about doing so, I'm going to post about things that make me happy.

Today is raspberries.
Yesterday, while grocery shopping I spotted a great deal on raspberries and since they always make me feel like I'm indulging but are in fact a healthy snack, I bought some. 

Maybe raspberries remind me of decadant scenes from Marie Antoinette, or maybe it's the thought of raspberries surrounded by sweet champagne bubbles in crystal stemware...whatever it is they make me happy, even in the middle of winter.
Trying to be eat healthier and shed some extra weight, obviously is made easier when I remember the healthy foods that I love. 
Alas, no champagne for me this morning.  Instead, I've added them to my oatmeal and kept a few extra for an afternoon snack! 
Colorado was breathtaking.

No, really.  As soon as we were in our condo I could tell my body was reacting to the altitude.  But, it is also beautiful country!

Shortly after arriving to the Eagle airport, we were whisked away by a shuttle and dropped of at our temporary living quarters.

It was different than I expected.  When I think of ski lodges, I think of log cabins and Moose.  Maybe that's a Minnesota frame of mind, and unless you've visited or lived here you may not realize that log cabins are very Minnesota.  But even before having a "Minnesota frame of mind" I pictured ski lodges this way.  Maybe I'm thinking of old Newhart or Coach episodes.  Whatever the case, most of the architecture outside of Beaver Creek is what I'd called Southwestern Contemporary, a lovely surprise.  Sorry only mountain pics to share.
our view

Beaver Creek is modeled after a European Village, at least, that's what I'm told--I've never been to Europe.  I would then guess the style of the buildings in BC were also European inspired.

Brad and I went snow shoeing for the first time on Saturday.  It wasn't difficult unless we were on an incline, and that was mostly due to our own physical health and a little because we weren't completely used to the altitude yet.  There were some beautiful sights to be seen!
I'd love to go back someday, the company was great and the food was delicious...all in all a wonderful vacation.  But even though I love seeing new places one of my favorite parts of the trip is always coming home.