I have been busy for the past few hours and made my first pair of pajamas bottoms from fabric I purchased a few weeks ago. It took a while since it was my first sewing project in 7th grade home economics class, but it was well worth it after seeing the results. At first, I was little apprehensive after attempting to decipher the pattern layout. I made the decision to layout the pants differently and the cutting was successful and managed.
The pants aren’t perfect, but it’s the accomplishing the goal of finally sewing. I still need a lot of practice, but learned the generally idea of cutting out pattern accurately, following the instructions, pinning, seam allowances, and sewing in a straight line. I thought taking a sewing course would improve my skills and learn new ones, but I certainly enjoy the pleasures of being self-taught. However, the down side of being self-taught doesn’t have the experience of learning from others and interacting with individuals.
I have another project I’m working on and it’s a skinny long scarf I began knitting the other day while reading The Jane Austen Book Club. I must admit that I like staying busy along things I do can be solitary, but find the activities relaxing. While I think it’s time to call it day and finally get some sleep.
Today is my birthday. That’s right, I am another year older and hopefully wiser (at least I like to think). Of course one thinks about the things he or she has not or has yet to do. At 42, I decided to start some new interests like sewing which only seemed natural after learning how to knit a couple of years ago. Yes, after many years, the creative side has finally decided to shine through and it’s a great feeling.
So keeping active both body, mind, and soul will what I have hope give me happiness and peace. It is my wish to continue living the best life possible no matter how long that might be as tomorrow isn’t promised to anyway, but it is how we live is important. I must try to new things and challenge myself further before, and not live in a state of regret as that will not make me go forward in life. Keep in mind that I should be kind to myself and others, and yes smile.
There are times when I visit Barnes and Noble or Borders and browse around the store to see books that might pique my interest to purchase. However, my trip to the bookstore was a little different. I wrote a movie review post about The Jane Austen Book Club and decided to read the book. I usually do not read the book after seeing the movie, but the book is always better than the movie as not everything from the written word is captured in the movie. However, I get a better connection reading the book than viewing the movie. Reading is a personal journal as you can become more focused on the characters in the story and better understand the theme(s) that author is attempting to convey.
In the past few years, I haven’t read any fiction due to finishing college, but enjoy reading for knowledge and pleasure. I had a discussion with a friend of mine the other day who is adamant about not re-reading books and told him that although you may have read the book 20 years ago your perspective about life has changed. However, he doesn’t understand it’s more just reading a story, but what you get from it and how does it relate to your life. Some people do think of fiction as story that’s not true, but tend to miss the point truth in the fiction. Of course the story and the characters do not exist, but if one thought about have you ever met someone like Attius Finch in your life who possess this great moral compass and an understanding about human nature.
Fiction is about someone we know, or perhaps identify a character that’s within ourselves. More importantly, fiction always has something about the human condition or human nature. Isn’t why we can profoundly relate to the character in the story? I recall an interview with Toni Morrison told the interviewee that she wanted to read a story that she has not read and that’s what drove her to become a writer. I suppose there is some truth to writing a story that haven’t read and having the old adage in mind of writing about what you know can have that ring of truth even if one created a story that isn’t true.
Reading is essential to becoming a writer as you can learn different writing styles. It’s a good idea to read outside you genre, for example, if you read romance novels, then read mystery or science fiction novels. I tried to read different authors and genres such as reading Jose Saramago or Zadie Smith. Reading African and Indian writers to give you a different perspective of how other people live in other parts of the world to give you some inspiration. Reading can open the door to us writing something wonderful.
One of the peaks of my job at the radio station is that I am sometimes privy to certain events like concerts, plays, and movies. I had an opportunity to see the advance screening of The Jane Austen Book Club. The story is an adaption of the book of the same title which I encourage anyone to read as well. The story evolves around six people in the book club and how their modern lives closely parallel to Jane Austen’s novels. The club decides to read all six books of Jane Austen which takes place over the course of six months. It is the during the six months that you can see the characters closely resemble the characters in the Austen novels.
I enjoyed the movies the evolution of the characters as they unfold over the six month period. You will see complex relationships between friends, spouses, lovers, and children. The movie is genuinely funny and one watching the film will like the characters with the interest of reading all the Jane Austen books myself to see how her 19th century perspective can be relevant in a 21st century contemporary world. The movie starts this Friday in New York and Los Angeles, and possibly in wider release in a couple of weeks (don’t hold me to that), but if you are looking for good and enjoyable movie that puts in a good mood, The Jane Austen Book Club is probably the film for you.
I decided to add another category to my blog, movie reviews. Now there will be times when the movie I watch is more than a year such like the movie I am going to discuss in this entry. The other night, I watched the movie Friends with Money with Jennifer Aniston, Joan Cusack, Christine Keener, and Frances McDormand as long-time friends. Aniston’s character, Olivia works as a maid while her other friends live comfortably as a stay-home mom with a trust fund, a successful television writer, and a fashion designer respectively. The movie ran for 88 minutes and wonder if that was the decision of director or did the budget run out because the storyline of the women’s lives were not well-defined.
Perhaps director assumed that movie viewer was the an amazing mind reader that knows what happens to the women. Another question came to mind about the main character Olivia who doesn’t seem to fit or have anything in common with the other women. I thought the concept of the movie was interesting, but it just didn’t seem finished or did I leave with a clear sense of what the director and writer wanted to convey. I suppose the point of the movie was about a group of very neurotic friends all of which made dubious decision in their choices of boyfriends and husbands.
I can said one positive experience came from watching the movie is that it was on cable and didn’t have physically travel to a movie theater and spend $10.00 to see it. I find it unfortunate that the potential of the movie was squandered and ended up with a disjointed film and left me in a state of confusion what happened to the characters and should I even care.
Well tonight, I came home from work and decided to prep my butterfly fabric for a pair of pajamas. It’s my first time making pants, but have confidence that they will turn out well and if they do not, no one will see me in them because it’s bed wear. It didn’t take me long to wash the fabric, dry them, and iron them, but realize that the process is very relaxing for me. I know that there are plenty of people who do not like doing laundry and ironing, but I do enjoy as it a stress reliever. This is the first part of making my pajamas pants and tomorrow I will lay my fabric and pattern to cut.
The butterfly fabric was not my first choice at the fabric store the other day as there was not enough fabric with my first choice, but I do like the butterflies and colors (wearing gray to bed can be dull). But more importantly, the pattern on the fabric gives me inspiration to not only look good during the day, but at night as well (even without the significant other). Another reason for doing the pajamas is pragmatic practice, practice, practice sewing! Yes, I like practicing as it will only make be a better sewer in the end to create my clothing collection. I think this process will give me what I need to lose some weight (yes I can afford to lose some pounds), and another skill of altering my existing clothes in the closet. I think sewing for me serves a dual purpose, create a wardrobe and altering existing clothes as way of not wasting and doing my part for the environment. I am making the world a greener, who knew.
Back in June, I decided to learn how to sew after getting the knitting bug a few years ago. The motivation beyond learning to sew is I wanted to create a wardrobe that suited my personality and style. Of course my wardrobe would consist of many classic pieces and neutral colors with a couple of pieces of a pair of black jacket, skirt and trousers as the mainstay.
I also did not want to look dishevel and dowdy as appearance is important, and no one can see true you looking inside. Mind you now, I can bit of a perfectionist and will create a mock muslin before the actual sewing project as a way to practice and correct any mistakes willing make the mock (It’s worth it in the long run). ant to feel great on the outside as no one can really see the inside. So, I order a Brother’s sewing machine for less than $85.00 and started practicing sewing stitches, learning to use the machine, and reading instruction manuals on sewing. I went a little pattern crazy with purchasing more than 15 patterns to get myself started. I chose the patterns that would fit my body type.
Along with the patterns, I managed to order and purchase some fabric for the different seasons. I ordered no more than five yards anyone particular fabric. I purchased five yards of the black cotton twill fabric to make a basic black straight skirt and black trousers for the spring and summer. I caught a nice deal of some stretch denim for the classic trousers to add to my wardrobe collection. Slowly but surely my collection will come together and I will have wardrobe of my desire including the coat (perhaps I will learn to make next year). The butterfly pattern on the top fabric will be a pair of pajamas bottoms for my next sewing project. This process of learning how to sew and creating my wardrobe collection has spark a lot of imagination and inspiration within me that just makes my day a little easier. It’s the littlest things that makes us happy.
I took this photo on a trip to South Carolina for a family gathering in Sumter. The event took place at Swan Lake as you can see by the photo how the lake earned its name. I thought about this as summer is fast approaching as kids return to school, back to work from our extended vacations, and a reminder the 2007 is coming to a close and before you know it people will be celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The swan, a beautiful bird that moves elegantly and gracefully across the water. What a magnificent symbol of summer watching a flock of swan move across the water with great symmetry. It is also a reminder that summer is fleeting and a need to hold to those memories when winter comes and you long for a nice warm day. However, the end of summer is another opportunity for other things like writing that book you promised to write for years, knit a new scarf and hat set, or read that classic novel you didn’t read because you were working on your tan at the beach. The end of summer can show promise of meeting new friends, having dinner with friends, or probably just losing some weight. The to do list is endless and look forward to creating in the fall and winter.
I watched the preview show of Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style as he and Veronica Webb help a 41 year-old mother and wife with finding her style underneath too much make-up and wearing too many revealing clothes to keep her sexiness (her look a turn of sluthly than sexy). I understand a woman wanting to exude her sexiness and allow the inner siren to come out. However, some women do not realize that being sexy is a state of mind and it does come through than the clothes aren’t going to make any difference.
There is a question that we should individually ask ourselves, what is style, better yet how can discover our personal style. I have a confession to make, I became a slave to wearing black because it was the easiest way to get ready in the morning. There isn’t much thought to wearing black as it’s a “neutral color” and goes with everything. I believe that until the BBC’s series “What Not to Wear,” when an unsuspected fashion victim told Suzanne and Trinny that black makes her look slimmer, and they told her that it does not make her look slimmer, it makes you look like you have jaundice.” Yes while it’s true that black can make you look slimmer, but if you have bags under your eyes or didn’t get much sleep from the night before, wearing black will make people notice your bags and tired eyes. With that in mind, I slowly got myself out the black phase and became to wear other colors such as brown, blue and gray as my neutrals and discovered red, pink, purple, etc. Yes I have fallen in love with tweed both silk and wool, and cotton is my best friend as I can wash and still look great. Deep down inside I have always loved wearing dresses, but they fell out of style and recently are making a comeback into wardrobes, particularly the wrap dress.
My style should reflect my personality, and like the fact that I can walk out on a fall day on a weekend wearing wool jersey pants with a cardigan sweater, a t-shirt, and nice pair of stylish walking shoes. A tweed jacket with a pair of denim trousers, and a pair of ankle boots (I think red is great with denim). I think of a nice wool knit wrap dress with a pair of boots going out to dinner with friends, or a dinner party at a friend’s house. I can’t forget the lounging PJs on the Sundays I don’t feel like going out, but want to treat myself to a nice and quiet day with a book, writing, or watching a good mystery. Sophisticated, sexy, comfortable, and well put together is my personality style. A style not created from pretension, but the way I want to live and look.