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".