Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year Around the World


Hola, Chicas! And Happy 2015 to you!

I believe that this has been the longest break I have ever taken from my blog.

I've even received a few emails from folks who were wondering what was up.

The short explanation is that I just haven't felt like blogging. Since starting my new job one year ago, I was really pushing myself to keep up the blog and it's been a bit of a challenge.

But, don't worry, you can't get rid of me that easily. I just needed to contract a bit, to breathe in.

The lovely Gayle Ortiz asked me to participate the Around the World Blog Hop last year. I agreed, and then I missed my posting deadline of Dec 22nd. I just didn't have it in me. I had spent three months (since mid October) preparing for the holidays and it was going into high gear about then.

So, let me do it now.

Gayle's Around the World Blog Hop post was stunning. Breathtaking. Mind boggling.

Such talent.

Mine will be different. I am using mine to inject a little introspection. I have been doing a lot of that, lately.

#1. What am I working on?

I have taken the last two weeks off work, combining some precious vacation days with paid holidays. At first I hoped to climb into my sewing hole and then pull the hole in behind me, churning out some significant work, but it didn't quite happen that way.

I found myself sewing slowly. Moving slowly. Deciding slowly. Finding other things to do. More of the burn out, I think, but I didn't want to regret having two weeks of potential sewing time "wasted", so I pushed through it, doing a little every day. (After Christmas, at least. No sewing occurred before the holiday.)

I currently have 4 projects in flow:

  • A cape that I started well over a month ago, around the time I did a blog post about capes. It is almost finished and it's been ornamenting my dress form. All that remains are the closures, but I set it aside to work on the Miyake jacket last November. DD2 saw it on Christmas Eve and loved it. She was surprised I had made it and it made me wonder if she's paying any attention. ;) It looked great on her, so if I tire of it, I know who to give it to. I just need to finish it.
  • A jacket using a pattern I've made before, but in a larger size, so I had to start over with a new pattern and all of the alterations. I was having a heck of a time getting the darts to look right, so I visited my good friend, Ronda Chaney, head of the fashion department at Cañada College, who helped me out. (Yes, I'm a lucky brat, to have friends like this.)
  • A couple months ago, I was shopping with my friend, Renee, in a local boutique that I like. I tried on a jacket that a) was very expensive, b) didn't really fit my bust, and c) didn't have POCKETS. I've always liked pockets, but since taking my new job, I find that pockets are essential. So I decided to replicate the jacket - it's a great shape on me and I can see it in lots of fabrications. I found an OOP Vogue pattern that has the right bones, and I traced it off, graded it up, altered it for me, and changed the style lines. I whipped up a muslin and took it along when I met with Ronda. She made several edits so I altered the pattern and made up muslin #2. I took it along when I was going to see my pattern drafting friend and Sewing Diva, Georgene. Many more refinements ensued and my next step will be to make a trial version. (Like I said, I'm a lucky brat to have such friends.)
  • Three years ago, I found some really cool notions at a local sewing store, but I had no idea how to use them. I brought some of them along to DOL in Taos hoping that inspiration would strike. It didn't. I get them out, every so often, and try to figure out what to do with them. I've made a few samples, but they continued to stump me. Then, last week, I had a flash of inspiration. I've ordered a bit of fabric that I hope will work, and I have more experimenting to do, but I'm excited about this idea. So we'll see.

I'm also doing some knitting. Yes, knitting. :)

#2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, I don't know of any other blogger in her mid 50s with überboobs, but with small hips and legs. I have a very particular shape that I sew for and a fairly specific style. I'm a niche blogger, and I'm ok with that.

#3. Why do I create what I do?

This is who I am. If you wonder who Shams is, this is it. This is when I feel most alive, most inspired, most authentic. Make of that what you will. :)

#4. How does my creating process work?

That is the million dollar question, isn't it? I think the truth is that my creative inner eye is pretty much always "on". Sitting on the subway, flipping through a magazine, walking along the street... I take note of things that appeal to me, surprise me, interest me. I love snoop shopping, it is pretty much one of my favorite activities to revive a flagging mojo, but my other favorite is the internet - Pinterest, googling, online sites. There is so much to inspire.


So, thanks to Gayle, for asking me to participate! I confess that I am not a fan of these hops when they are called blog "awards", but rename it to a hop and I'm in. ;) I have asked a number of bloggers (who haven't yet participated) if they would like to continue the chain after me, but all either declined or didn't respond, so I will let this thread die with me.

What Else is Up?

Those of you who've read my blog for awhile know that I don't do an end-of-year roundup in January. I do mine on my blogiversary in August, when I also do a giveaway. I don't do resolutions, but I do make plans. Last year I started a new job just before the new year and, while it's been the best year of my professional career, other things have suffered. This year I plan to focus on health and to do as much traveling as possible, given my limited vacation time. To that end, I plan to attend Puyallup Sew Expo, and a meet up with some sewing friends in the spring. I also plan to attend a health retreat next summer.

Imagine that. Travel with no sewing focus.

Happy 2015! May there be a lot more peace everywhere!

With silhouettes of my daughters made when they were 7 and 9. The 9-year-old was already a student at San Francisco Ballet, hence the "bun head".

63 comments:

  1. So glad to see your post! I was one of those wondering where you were. Sometimes you just have to take a break. Like you I don't normally do end of year round up, though I think I did last year. I also don't do resolutions, though I have plans. Enjoy Puyallup!

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  2. Nice to hear your "voice" in the blogosphere. I appreciate your uniqueness.

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  3. Wow - I just finalized my plans for Puyallup too. I've been following your blog for over a year & love you views & inspiration ! So glad you are back !

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    1. Hey, MaryEllen, I hope to see you at Expo!

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    2. Are you setting up a meet up time or ...

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  4. Good to hear from you. Have missed your creativity! But I do understand down time, too busy times, lots of obligations--part of my existence. I so want to go to Puyallup, but right now with other obligations, it's just too far and too long to be away. One of these days! Do enjoy and tell us all about it!

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    1. Thanks, Linda! I will definitely share about Puyallup. I got just a small taste of it last year when I was visiting Vogue.

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  5. As I read your answers I was nodding along, especially when you got to the part about the days off and slow sewing. Do you think it has something to do with the fact that you've had so many years of productive sewing that you are in a creative lull? Sewing has been at the forefront of my life so much in the last couple of years, and I'm finding its slipping back a little lately. There are a few other things that I need to concentrate on. Is that happening to you too?

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    1. I'm sure that you understand, Carolyn! You've been blogging a lot longer than I have at a very consistent rate. And, yes, there are definitely other things vying for my attention.

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  6. I really enjoy your blog, shams, whenever you have time and want to post, I'll still be here to read it!

    I have been thinking about Puyallup. It seems like it's the mother of all sewing conferences!! Maybe I'll price it out today.

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    1. You are sweet, Kyle! I was thinking about you several days ago. I was standing in Fabrix, eyeing their baskets of zippers. It was actually the last day they were to be open at that location. They are moving because their location needed to be retrofitted for earthquake safety.

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    2. WHAT????? ZOMG--I will pay you to buy zippers for me! Let me know if you're interested when they move. Alternatively I might come back through SF after going to PR weekend in LA to buy zippers at Fabrix!

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  7. I'm glad to "see" you back! You were missed!

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  8. No! No! No! I am another over 50 woman who sews for her uber busty and fabulous form! I'm almost 5' and 42-30-36. You are my mentor and style guru! I've been meaning to tell you I did that Tilton skirt and learned from your struggles with the waistband. I ignored the waist piece and simply added a 1" waistband. I had to drop a size down to make that work, but it did so beautifully. See me here (http://www.theurbanpheasant.blogspot.ca/2014/11/3-days-of-bliss.html). Love your blog! Many of us in Nova Scotia read and discuss you all the time. Any time you drop in we'll cook up a feed of lobster and celebrate!

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    1. Thanks, Lucille! I just checked out your blog and left a comment. I would love to make it to Nova Scotia one of these days and visit my silhouette sister. :)

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  9. heehee, i never wondered where you were; i many times wondered how you were able to keep up all that informative, inspired and inspirational blogging!!!

    Your plans sound really fun and i hope you do manage to squeeze in some blogging as well (from a purely selfish perspective). It looks like i may be able to pull off a little traveling to sewing meetup this year, here's to more meetups!!

    i don't know, i find many of your figure fitting tips very helpful - i'm an IT and the shoulders tend to make the bust look less imposing but it's still a lot bigger than the rest of my chest. Thank Goddess for the Busty Info Page!!

    Here's hoping for a great year!!! take care, steph

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    1. Thanks, Stephanie! Yesterday I made a rare trek to Stone Mountain & Daughter and Piedmont Fabrics. I thought of meeting you at SM on New Years a few years back. Here's to a good 2015 for you, too!

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  10. Happy new year to you!! Even though we don't share the same shape (or style, there's no way I could pull off the amazing designs you make!) I still find your makes and fitting discussion helpful. You so thoughtfully consider designs that work for your shape, style, and life, and it's very inspiring!

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  11. Even if your shape is different than mine (I'm a rare diamond) all your makes are very inspiring, Shams! I share a lot of your personal arty but practical style and I always learn a lot. Blog when the mood strikes and I'll be here to read it.

    I'm hoping to go to Puyallup this year too though unfortunately the Canadian dollar has dropped vs the US so it will be hard to do a lot of shopping! Sigh.

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    1. Thanks, Louisa. It would be great to meet you in Puyallup!

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  12. Happy new year Shams.
    Good to read a post by you, I like your original style. But also completely understand the need for some time away from the blog. I've gone from a frequent to a rather irregular blogger with sometimes a few weeks between posts, sometimes a few in one week. This works for me at this moment in my life. So definetely just blog when you like to but please don't disappear!

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    1. I totally understand that shift, Sigrid. And thank you!

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  13. Even with your new and demanding job you have made a lot of fantastic things this year. I think every so often it is a good idea to step away from sewing, just to take a break for mind and body. I find it lets me rest and recharge, to give time over to some imaginings and creative thoughts. Looking forward to whatever you come up with in 2015,happy new year, Beth

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  14. For sure you were missed! The silhouettes of your daughters are beautiful. Happy New Year!

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  15. I wondered too....and enjoyed your post. I can totally understand how difficult it must be to have a busy/demanding job at Google (no less) and sew and keep up a blog -- my hat (if I had one) is off to you, shams. Happy 2015! Hope it is a wonderful year for you.

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    1. Thanks so much, Pamela! I hope to run into you one of these days. :D

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  16. I certainly understand how hard it is to have a full time job, family, sew and blog. Sometimes you just need a break! May you have a happy, healthy 2015.

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  17. I always enjoy your posts but I understand that blogging can sometimes become burdensome (I haven't posted anything since starting my new job in May of 2011!). You've been in my thoughts the past few weeks as I've been dithering, dithering, dithering. Hopefully, I will get going again before my planned sewing weekend on January 10th! I wish you a happy 2015 :-)

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    1. Oh, Gigi, you are missed in the blogosphere! Sorry you've been cursed with a period of dithering, but it seems to be a main occupation in my creative life.

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  18. Happy New Year! It must be so hard to have long work days and then get creative at home. I find it hard and my work days do not involve long travel. Best wishes for 2015.

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  19. Whew! The world is right again, you're back. Thank you for participating in this, Shams! It was hard to ask. I know how busy your life is.

    All of your projects sound so interesting, I can't wait to see them. But no pressure!! The best part of being this age is knowing we can do things at our own speed!

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    1. Gayle, you were one hard act to follow, so I decided not to worry about it. Thanks again!

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  20. Hey, Shams I missed you, but I knew you would be back. I'm looking forward to whatever you want to talk about or show us in the future.

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  21. Happy New Year to you! Blog when you feel like it, it's more fun that way. We'll all still be here :)

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  22. I've also missed your posts but totally understand that we all need to take breaks from sewing and re-charge. I tend to focus all projects around the holidays for gifts rather than sewing for myself. I have great plans to sew more unique art garments in 2015 as that really makes me happy and fulfilled. Your creations always inspire me! Blog whenever you can and I'll relish them.

    Karen

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  23. A couple of things about Expo with apologies if you already know this: classes fill up fast, so best to jump on line quickly on the day that registration opens; a couple of the hotels are easy walking distance, as is a grocery store, so it's possible to be car-free once you get yourself to Puyallup.

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    1. Hey, Elle! Thanks for your tips! I already have a hotel with two roomies, a rental car, and air tickets. I plan to register quickly for classes, though I haven't even looked at the schedule yet. It will be fun!

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  24. Good to hear from your corner of the world, Shams! It sounds like you've been gentle on yourself during this hiatus from blogging, and that's good. When you don't feel like blogging - or sewing - there's no way forcing it is going to do any good.
    Thanks for participating in this thread of the blog hop. I'm a few participants earlier on the thread, and it's nice to have you at the end of it! Martha, Dixie, Louisa, Myrna, Wendy, Gayle, and Shams - wouldn't that be a fun gathering?! Anyway, it was fun to read more about your current projects and how you approach sewing.
    Take it easy and come back to your blog when you feel like it. No pressure from my corner of the world! Happy New Year, and happy sewing!

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    1. Thanks, Dixie! I knew you had already participated or I would have asked you. Happy 2015!

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  25. You have been in my thoughts a lot lately, so I am glad to here from you. I have realized that while I am quite overweight, my shape is similar to yours. I have three attempts at making tops lately that were total fails because I just do not yet understand what looks good on me. I will be going through your blog to help me better understand what looks good. I want to express my heartfelt thanks for all you have done on your blog through the years. You not only teach, but you inspire. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you, SG! What a truly touching comment!

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  26. You are amazing. I am in awe that you - 1. Sew as much as you do with your job, commute, and other "life" time constraints and 2. Have the energy to blog so that we all can enjoy and learn. You are my "dessert"! Brava!

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    1. Thanks, Kathy O, for that sweet compliment!

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  27. Happy New Year and power to the woman you are. So glad to see you blog again.
    New Zealand

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  28. Happy New Year shams! Many of your responses resonated with me too. Wishing you a safe, happy and healthy 2015

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    1. Thanks, Carolyn, and Happy New Year to you!

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  29. Love the daughters' silhouettes! Happy New Year!

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  30. Happy New Year, Shams! I'm redoing my sewing setup, so I'm using that as my excuse for why I have four pieces of fabric washed and ready to go but nothing cut out! I promised my niece I'd copy the Gone Girl black and white dress for her, so I'm hopeful that having someone waiting will incentivize me. Thanks for blogging, I learn a lot from you! Best, Martina

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  31. So pleased you found space to just do as you felt. I'm of course in the camp that finds your work exceptionally inspiring...so anything you write is fuel for my creative (& health) fire.

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  32. Is there any way newer readers can watch you do a walk-by while we cheer at SewExpo?

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  33. Everyone needs a break now and then -- hope you were able to recharge a bit and get inspired for the new year. I'm always inspired by your creativity! Looking forward to seeing your in-progress projects! I ordered the stretch taffeta you used for your dotty vest and used it as an accent for a jacket -- very cool stuff -- thank you for the info on that.

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