Sewing in small spaces

Makers gonna make… even in under 450sq feet.

When I first began making this little box into a home, one of my top priorities was finding the flexibility to continue sewing. Blessed with a large kitchen also meant there was little left for all the other living I wanted to do. In my pre-moving research about small spaces, tiny homes and the like, it seemed that many people didn’t have hobbies that required hosting physical objects. But as all makers know, we need stuff to make stuff.

In time I decided on 3 pieces of furniture which acts as the foundation of my flexible craft space which can be setup or hidden in a matter of minutes.

IKEA | NORDEN Gateleg Table
With options in solid birch or laminate, this table is the ultimate transforming furniture with the most compact to expansion ratio for the buck. The double sided drop leaf design allows me to open one side for small projects or open up to 1.5m in length to cut fabric and even set up both my machines on each end. Pull drawer in the center hold crafting supplies and tall spools of serger thread. I’ve seen versions modded with caster wheels for mobility but I haven’t managed that just yet. Keep an eye out on resale sites and you can snag this for half the price.

IKEA | KALLAX Shelving
Boxes, bins and a 4×4 Kallax shelving unit acts as the main/only storage system in my living space. I chose to have open compartments for easy access but Ikea offers a variety of inserts to create smaller compartments, drawers and closed cabinets. Everything from thread, to ribbon, unfinished projects and all my drafting supplies live in my Kallax. I currently put my serger inside the lowest cubby and I believe most consumer sized sewing machines will fit just as snugly.

| Too dark to photograph in my closet so here’s a gorgeous Amazon promo pic. |

AMAZON | Basics 3 Tier Shelf
Trust me when I say I’ve never seen a smaller enclosed space veiled as a closet until I moved in. On the bright side, there are 2 which means I was able to dedicate an entire closed door storage for fabric and sewing patterns. The snag was finding an easy vertical solution without building in more shelves and it must be narrow… really narrow, like less than 16″ narrow in order to fit inside. Luckily Amazon’s steel tiered shelving fits side ways even with a little extra room to spare. I assembled mine without the wheels, wiggled it into my closet and now it’s a cozy home for all my fabrics. As a personal rule, if it doesn’t fit on the shelf then something’s gotta go!

With almost 2 years of sewing in my small space, I might even admit that I’m becoming quite fond of it. Sure the mess builds up quickly in the whirlwind of an intense project but the small surface area also forces me to clean up after every single session. When the summer sun shines just right through the windows and an iced tea in hand there’s really no better place to be.

Chat soon,

G

CK | Eternity Aqua Perfum

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINK

Synonymous with approachable, fresh, modern classics Calvin Klein brands itself with a minimalist aesthetic way before the word went mainstream. The Eternity range of men and womens’ scents has a long history dating back to the 80s and there’s been an astounding selection of variations since then. Eternity Aqua for women debuted in 2012 and is marketed as an aquatic choice with hints of white florals. Although this isn’t one that is heavily promoted (or stocked in at many counters for that matter), I felt a ______ connection with it on first whiff and have chosen this as my main fragrance of the year.

SHOP CK | Sephora | Ulta | Shoppers Drug Mart (50ml @ $85CAD)

What Calvin Klein says….

Refreshing. Sensual. Pure. Eternity Aqua bursts open with juicy apple, apricot pulp, and rejuvenating cucumber water. The heart keeps the tradition of ETERNITY with a contemporary white floral bouquet, and dries down to a warm sensuality with sun-drenched woods and transparent musk.

Eternity Aqua, true to its name sake is a calming easy to wear aquatic fragrance that doesn’t manages to avoid the slippery slope of smelling like cleaning supplies (hint, no lemons around these parts). Most prominent upon first encounter is a cooling cucumber note with a subtle mix of apricot, a very faint hint of peony and a lingering of musk. The apple and woods have unfortunately evaded my senses.

On one hand it’s a sand in your bikini, carefree, salty ocean worthy fragrance fit for a day sailing at sea yet it can just as easily fit into a crisp linen blazer over a slinky dress for dinner out on the patio. I would even recommend it as a unisex option; versatile, modern, minimalistic and certainly very Calvin Klein.

This wears closely on the skin, with faint projection and is something I loose scent of within a hour or two though not necessarily meaning it’s lost to others. In this case, it means that it’ll be fairly office friendly, non-occasion specific and generally quite likeable which leads me to it’s main snag… there is nothing dramatically remarkable or unique about Eternity Moment.

So you may wonder, after all this, why I’ve chosen this as my fragrance of the year in all its vanilla mediocrity? The answer is that it checks all the boxes of my quest for a refreshing, reminds me of an ocean walk, non-fussy, wear it anytime anywhere choice that is simply…well… simple. Whether I am spending the day at home, out to the park, cozying up under a blanket or running errands about town, I can put this on without fussing over whether things go together and it just always seems complimentary.

After spending time sampling many popular, newer choices it was a surprise that what felt right is something that was close and familiar – I was once madly in love with Eternity Moment and it was seeing the shape of the identical bottle on the store shelf which drew me to pick it up.

CK’s Eternity Aqua is worth a whiff if you’re a fan of scents like Sailing Day (Maison Margiela), Acqua di Gioia (Giorgio Armani), Rain or Fresh Laundry (Clean Fragrances) – you know exactly who you are!

Chat soon,

G

Stop. Breathe. Try again.

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THE HAIR | Yes, it’s short(er) now. No it doesn’t look like this anymore ’cause I just got highlights. Yes there is a Get Ready with Me video styling this hair (for the 1st time).

I don’t think there is ever an easy way to write a blog post after a 3 month break so maybe this place of awkwardness is where I ought to start. After managing to squeeze out a last blog post at the end of August all that followed was… radio silence. September always meant going back to work (#teacherlife) but I figured I’d let things settle in and come right back to business. Nope, not even close. Work was draining me on all fronts, I found my life at a point of misalignment and worst of all I lost my desire and purpose in writing (more on that here).

In the last few weeks as everyone’s yearly reflections flooded my feed it was almost a relief to hear that 2019 has somehow been a dark fog for many people. Yet in those confessions there is always a tinge of promise for the new year. It reminded me that we must move on because stagnation never leads to happiness.

So let’s stop, breathe and try again.

-G

Sportswear on the table

This summer I took the initiative to make my rent worthwhile and started a workout routine and before you let your imagination get too creative, this consisted of mainly the rowing machine, station bike and some weights. As an attempt to divert my attention away from how awfully sweaty I felt peddling like a hamster on a wheel, my mind wandered to the idea of sewing sportswear.

Why, athlesiure sportswear is practically a stamp of approval for living in Vancouver! In a city where 3/4 of the year involves rain, why shouldn’t I aim to be comfortable and chic in say a pair urban chic joggers?

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It turns out that I had been slowly edging my way to the realm of sportswear without even knowing it and I think it all started with falling in love with a trench coat pattern and shopping around for some outerwear fabrics. A few trips later, some lycra rib and stretch mesh were purchased to be turned into a bodycon midi-dress. The more I wandered the aisle of technical offerings, I fell in love with the rainbow of nylon, lycra, spandex, mesh and dare I say it… even some polyester. And the truth is, there are loads of this stuff always on the clearance shelf ranging from $3 – 5 / meter so unless you are looking for some particular proprietary manufacturing or technology from a branded garment… sportswear can be surprisingly affordable to sew!

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Here’s a look at whats in my upcoming plans

  • Sueded Trench | Simplicity 0899 (sized for petites) to be made from an olive sueded outer wear fabric in style A or B
  • Cuffed Joggers | Butterick 3163 (sized for petites) elastic waist pants in style D to be edited into cuffed hem leggings
  • Open back workout top | McCalls 7663 made from a teal poly micro mesh
  • 80s Vibe Sweatshirt | McCalls 7869 in style D with teal loop back sweat shirting and coral edge piping

A few patterns not currently on my list but would be pretty cool too

  • Simplicity 8424 , McCalls 7636, McCalls 7986, NewLook 6644

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With all that said and planned, I’m still in the pattern tracing stages of most of these projects but I expect most of them to come together quickly with the help of my serger (maybe not the trench..the trench will be a monster). It’s also promising that most of these items will transition well into the fall and winter months not only as outerwear but also as luxe housewear and who knows…maybe a lounge bra in mesh lycra may be in my future but don’t hold your breath.

Happy Sewing,

G

MILK | Hydro Grip Primer

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS

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Well, this is unexpected – today I’m talking to you about the MILK Makeup Hydro Grip Primer which for a couple of months had gotten an incredible amount of chatter when it first released. This is also my very first product trial from MILK, their too cool for me holographic aesthetic is a little wild for my taste but when on the look out for a summer time foundation primer that’s silicone free, this was a high contender.

Here’s what MILK says about Hydro Grip…

HIT OF HYDRO: Hemp-derived cannabis seed extract hydrates to plump and smooth for blissed-out skin.

GRIP IT: A shot of blue agave extract forms an invisible layer to grip makeup for all-day hold. Allow formula one minute to fully absorb to activate full grip effect.

DOSE UP: Aloe water, cherry blossom, hyaluronic acid, and B vitamins boost skin for a healthier-looking base and a glassy, post-hot-yoga-class glow.

UNIVERSAL GOODNESS: Silicone-free, oil-free, green-tinted formula blends in clear to work across all skin tones and types.

THE BASICS

Brand: MILK Makeup
Product: Hydro-Grip Primer
Claim to fame: Hydration, grippy texture, silicon free, oil free (hyped up cannabis extract), made in Italy
Size: 45ml
Price: 40CAD
Would I (re)purchase: Undecided
Shop this product: Sephora, MILK website

Ingredients | Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Water, Glycerin, PEG-150 Distearate, Alcohol Denat., Polyglyceryl-10 Eicosanedioate/Tetradecanedioate, Diglycerin, PVP, Benzyl Alcohol, Sorbitol, Pullulan, Inositol, Betaine, Carbomer, Maltose, Xylitol, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Phytate, Benzophenone-4, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Agave Tequilana Stem Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Niacinamide, Propylene Glycol, Panthenol, Vegetable Amino Acids, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Extract, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Flower Extract, Prunus Avium Flower Extract, Citric Acid, Benzoic Acid, Yellow 5 (Ci 19140), Blue 1 (Ci 42090), Red 33 (Ci 17200).

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PACKAGING & DESIGN

When it comes to packaging design, MILK has done a fantastic job of keeping a cohesive look to their brand while also making things practical. I have no complaints about the sturdy plastic pump and cap design; even more so I love that it’s an air sealed pumping system which means the bottom pushes up as you deplete the bottle. Clear packaging also means you can see exactly how much is left. Spring system is accurate and easy to control – total win!

TEXTURE & APPLICATION

It feels like rubbing aloe vera gel on your skin … and that’s not a bad thing once you get used to it. Note that aloe is actually the first ingredient on the list which in hierachical order means that this primer is packed full of this cooling, slightly sticky, skin calming substance. The gel consistency is best applied with fingers in a dap and rub motion then left to set slightly on the skin before foundation, MILK recommends 1 minute.

Foundation application does get a little tricky; the tacky texture means product doesn’t blend as smoothly on the skin because of the grip. I recommend applying liquid foundation with a beauty blender for best results… powder foundation would seem like a really bad idea. Brushes tend to drag across the tacky surface, again making foundation hard to blend.

Satin and luminous finish foundations with more fluid textures work best with the Hydro Primer, matte finishes just becomes a bit of a clumpy patchy mess and blending over my nose is a no-go altogether. This means its not a universally friendly pairing with my foundation collection and limits its usage.

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WEAR & LONGEVITY

Here’s where things get a little interesting. I don’t find my makeup lasting longer in total hour count however it looks better for longer throughout the day. In the final hours, it wears off just like any other foundation/ foundation primer does. Essentially, it does hold itself together a little longer and takes longer time to break down but I don’t find it extends my makeup wear by an extremely notable amount of time. When it starts going downhill, it goes down hard just like most primers I own.

SKIN SENSITIVITY

No sensitivity at all. No strong detectable fragrance in product. No breakouts.

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THE FINAL VERDICT

MILK’s Hydro Grip Primer is a good silicone-free under-layer to your liquid foundation that gives a small boost of initial moisture and a little extra stick to your base makeup… literally. The tacky texture is less compatible with matte foundations or powder foundations (including mineral makeup). Hydro-Grip is not going to make your makeup bullet proof or sweat proof but if you want something that simply holds your face together a little better than usual and you don’t like matte primers, this is a very likeable choice.

Chat soon,

G

Handmade |Foxy Cardigan (NewLook 6378)

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The foxes are here, the foxes are here! Yes this is a perfectly lovely and breezy summer weight cardigan – for saving you from a little breeze or sun – but let’s cut the fluff, the fox is the real reason this thing is a stunner. This was one of the first pieces of fabric I bought purely because I couldn’t walk away from the print and despite it not being a practical fabric for me (previous experiences with rayon did not end well) the fact that it was never seen again after I bought the rest of the bolt heightened the preciousness around it. I hoarded it for years for fear of not picking something worthy enough or messing it up.

PATTERN: NewLook 6378

MY NUMBERS: 34 – 27.5 – 37″ (Height 5’2)

PATTERN SIZE MADE: XS (32/34 – 23/24/ – 32/33)

ALTERATIONS: None. Made as per instructions

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This is a cardigan pattern I’ve made before (see the first version in knit) so I felt pretty confident with the process and in all this is a great easy sew which I definitely welcomed because most of my energy was spent on making sure this delicate, slippery rayon fabric lined up properly and did what it was supposed to do (especially with that curved hem).

I sized down in this pattern to account for the generous cut in the style, no fit issues.

DETAILS | There’s quite a few bits of contrasting colour details in this cardigan from the light blue top-stitching and the flash of bright yellow in the bias edge finish. Admittedly this particular store bought bias tape is not my favourite as I find it slightly too stiff for the fabric but I’ve yet to conquer making my own. Using what I already had in my box, I do love the peek-a-boo colour contrast. I’m just hoping this won’t make the edges wavy/pucker after a few washes.

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This cardigan is such a smile inducing number that I can see it being worn casually as a cover up, lounge wear to through over a camisole or even as a bathrobe – the feel against the skin is cool and comfortable – exactly what I’d want to be wearing all summer!

Happy Sewing,

G

January Bits & Bobs

Not quite a favourite post, I thought I’d round up some goings and happenings from the month of January…

COZY | This is absolutely the the theme word for January and it’s completely validated by my recent accumulation of UNIQLO clothes. With a few shops around town and easy skytrain access, I found myself popping in regularly to look for an item here and there. While their fit can still fussy, I’m really loving a few of their casual items such as their cotton turtleneck shirts and furry zip up mid-layers. I talked about their rayon button up shirts in my 2018 favourites as well and I can’t wait until they bring back a few more colours for spring.

ALL THE GREEN THINGS |… literally! Over the holiday season I discovered my love for pesto and proceeded to make an unusual amount of pseudo-Italian meals in order to try putting pesto on everything. Come January, I had finally (judge as you may) bought my very first avocado. Now as you pick yourself up from the floor in shock, let me explain – while I’ve certainly had this in sushi over the years, I’ve never actually eaten it any other way nor have I bought one from the shop. Annoyingly, before I could make up my mind whether or not I liked it, the rest of my bag had gone brown… so the verdict is still out on this mystery fruit.

TIDYING UP | Netflix blessed the start of 2019 by releasing an exclusive show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, a TLC style series of episodes where Marie teaches everyday Americans (or ought I say Californians in particular) how to find organization, inner peace and joy. While I have dabbled in her best selling book, it was great to see her in action and must say I found her charming. After binge watching the first few episodes as soon as it, I will say that the format of the show didn’t hold my attention though I liked having it in the background and would happily continue to keep it on if they decide to release a next season.

TWO GUYS IN BASEBALL CAPS | The internet is truly a strange and wonderful place because a few weeks ago I stumbled upon the traveling singing duo Endless Summer and was instantly smitten by their covers of popular songs. Brothers Clint and Bob setup their guitars in the middle of nowhere, play you a song and its simply perfect – I’m fairly certain I had a smile the entire 3 minutes 19 seconds of Stand by Me. Their acoustics and harmonies feel authentic, inviting and it helps that they have a sprinkle of country which I love. Now for the cherry, I just found out that the brothers were actually part of the wildly popular, teenage-girl-scream-inducing band The Moffatts… so now you really do have to check them out.

Chat soon,

G