Friday, January 30, 2015

Joshua Tree

One of the things John and I did when we were out in California in December was go to Joshua Tree National Park.  We attempted to do so back in May, but it was super hot, even for the desert, and we weren't quite prepared.  We still didn't quite know what the park was like, but John got some good pointers from a co-worker, and so we headed out for a Saturday of exploring.  We went to four different areas, and each one was a totally different landscape - it's amazing how much variety was there.  The first hike we went on was in Rattlesnake Canyon, which was basically just full of huge boulders, so our first hike ended up being more rock climbing.  I'm not a huge fan of heights, but I was proud of myself for clambering around.

We went all the way up to the top of the peak in the middle of this photo.

The second hike we went on was about 15-20 minutes away, and was more towards the interior of the desert, of which the main feature was the Skull Rock.  It was much flatter overall, and there was a lot more plant life around.

Next we headed further into the desert and finally got our first look at the Joshua trees.  It really looks like a landscape straight out of Dr. Seuss.  We went to a wash, and saw some actual wildlife.

After popping over a slight ridge and around some trees, I jumped a little when I saw one of these long-horn sheep standing about 20 feet away, staring straight at me.  I then laughed, because it wasn't moving, and I somehow figured it was a statue.  Then it moved, and I jumped again.  :)  There was a group of about eight of them, and I was convinced they were some sort of aggressive antelope that was going to attack us, but John kept stalking them and I kept telling him to get back.  We eventually figured out they were sheep, not antelope.

After the wash, it was heading towards evening, so went went to an overlook of the Coachella Valley to watch the sunset.  As all the smog from LA basically heads straight for the valley, it wasn't quite as impressive as I thought it might be, but it was a neat view.

We then waited around for a while for it to get dark and check out view of the stars.  It was freezing, so we didn't stick around long, but it was a good end to an interesting day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Me Made Bird Edition - 1/26/15

One of the things about being so busy with work is that it requires stress relief, which for me means locking myself in my attic and sewing away.  When you spend hours shaking your fist at your computer because the model is not spitting out numbers that make sense, it's nice to take a break and make something with your hands that is a real tangible output.  That is, until you end up shaking your fist at your sewing machine because it eats your fabric. :)  Luckily I'm getting much better at sewing, and that doesn't happen as much.  Anyway, that was a long intro to just say that I've been super productive in my sewing so far this year, and probably am approaching the same number of completed garments for 2015 as I made in all of 2014.  

This tank top was actually the first garment of the year, and I finished it up on New Years Day.  As part of my effort to clean up my project list, this was a super quick task to cross something off the list.  I used the Wiksten Tank pattern, which is intended for woven fabrics, but I took about 2" out of the center to make it more suitable for a knit fabric.  I've been saving this bird fabric for a while now, and actually wanted to make a little cardigan out of it, but I didn't have enough, so a tank top it is.  The only other changes I did were to add the bindings for the neck and armholes, and I lengthened it, making the back longer than the front.  I just serged the hemline, since my twin needle has been acting up, but I could probably just do a normal hem, since it doesn't stretch that much going over my head.

Black and White all Over - 1/25/15

Playing catch-up a bit today!  I've been working from home quite a bit more lately, which means my daily routine isn't that interesting, and not much is blog-worthy. :)  Sunday I did get dressed up though, so I have an outfit photo from then.  Our old church in DC met on Sunday evenings and was quite casual, so I usually wore jeans.  Our new church here is also on the casual side, but especially since I wear t-shirts and jeans when I work at home, it's nice to dress up a bit more.  One of my favorite tricks to make myself like my clothes again is to put them away for a while and re-evaluate later.  I was planning on getting rid of this skirt (which I last wore in November - the beauty of both spreadsheets and a blog with outfit posts), but I gave it another shot, and decided I do like it after all.  The trick with this one is that I prefer to wear non-tucked in shirts that are black, which, while it's pretty specific, the skirt is busy enough that I don't wear it that regularly that it becomes boring to always pair it with a certain type of shirt.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Chartreuse Green - 1/15/15

I'm never entirely sure if I should wear this color or not, but I love it, so I do anyway.  Nothing too earth-shattering today, but a good basic outfit.

Stay at Home Kinda Day - 1/14/15

I worked from home yesterday, so went much more casual and comfy - nothing too exciting, except for my new scarf!  Back in November I mused about learning how to knit so I could make this scarf:

Being too cheap to spend the $99 on the yarn kit, I made up my own selection from JoAnn's, and spent a month and a half working away, getting about 3/4 of the way done before realizing I hated it.  Mainly because my yellow and pale pink yarns were different from the other three colors (much fluffier), and threw it all off.  I then unraveled the whole thing and started my own version, which is what is below, just using the coral/red and magenta.  My takeaway - knitting sucks.  It takes forever compared to crocheting, but that might just be due to my many more years crocheting.  I do have another knitting project on the back-burner though, so I will give it one more go.

Without further ado, I give you my scarf:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dressed Up - 1/13/15

I went a little dressier today, but my hair is crazy looking, and I'm not sure about the blazer over the dress.  I do like the dress by itself though.  The dress came with a belt that I thought was too fussy looking (it was black elastic, with a gold medallion thing in the front), so I switched it out for a belt that was more me.

Monday, January 12, 2015


I spent the majority of my weekend sewing away, and this is one of the three things I completed (all three had been previously started, so I'm not that super speedy).  I had been eyeing this cheetah twill (from the home decor section at JoAnn's) for a while, thinking I would make a simple woven tee, but then I got the Rosie top pattern from Style Arc, and even though it was intended for a more slinky fabric, figured I would give it a try.

Based on some internet perusing to see how others fared with the pattern, I knew I would have to make a few adjustments, as well as figuring out how the twill fabric would work.  I lowered the waistline by 2 or 3 inches (the line drawing is deceptive, it's actually quite a bit higher in the pattern itself), and I moved the bodice seams in towards the center 1" each.  The bodice still wasn't fitting quite right over the bust, so I took in the top angled bit of the seam some more, which made the neckline all wacky, and I lowered it to fix it.  I knew the sleeves would be problematic with the twill, so I cut them back to be tank top straps.  

The bust fit is still mushy looking, which I think was actually made worse by the fact I lengthened the top.  The pattern is intended to be a looser-fitting top without a zipper, and I think tightening it up and adding a zipper in the side would have fixed that up.

More looseness in the back, which again would be fixed up by adding a zipper and either slimming it up or moving the waist seam back up.

All in all, I'm not super happy with the fit, but I knew it was a bit of a crap shoot going into it.  It may end up in my goodwill pile, but it was a fun experiment.