a new city. a new sewing space.

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1. New sewing space (so far). One word: WINDOWS! 2. Taking measurements of rooms + spaces in the new apartment while we were still waiting on movers to arrive with our belongings.

Hi. My name is Raven.

It has been so long, I figured it appropriate to reintroduce myself. If you are reading this, I hope that you’ve been well! I think it’s been a long year for everyone, yet I can’t believe we’re already in the final days of September.

It is already FALL!

So anyway, I have moved from lovely, sunny San Diego to the Eastern time zone. (More about that in the video below!) This is something I swore to myself that I would NEVER do. But ah the things we’ll do for certain people that make both your heart light + your eyes roll.

Can I get a witness? No? That’s cool.

Well I’ve been trying to step up my Youtube video-creating game since I’ve really fallen off my craft and my hobbies for the majority of the year. I kinda blame my previous little sewing area (also showcased in the video below). It’s hard to work next to the kitchen sink and refrigerator, but I’ll take the most responsibility on this one. But now that I’m pretty settled in D.C., I’ve got a couple new projects on the table that I can’t wait to finish in between my work trips!

So cheers to new fresh starts here in my new city + my new sewing space!

P.S.– Before I go, I’d like to share some really cute sewing Youtubers that vlog their wardrobe makes, pattern/fabric hauls + sewing plans for each month and/or season. You guys, I’m obsessed! Check out a few of these ladies that you may, or may not, know about just yet!

Miss Judith Dee talks about her pattern haul + plans for her fall wardrobe. Umm can I say that I dig her fabric/pattern selections aaaaand her dark purple lippie she’s rocking in this video are on POINT!!

Meet Megan.
Ya’ll. She’s just downright adorable! In her second ever video she shows her completed makes that she models in different locations around her city. I really love how she showcases the imperfections as well, even though I thought her outfits turned out fantastic overall!

And finally there’s Elizabeth in her first sewing vlog ever sharing her makes + plans for her WEDDING!!!! I’m loving her fabric and pattern choices! (Umm can we all collectively swoon at her choice for the Kim Dress from the amazing By Hand London ladies?!?!?! *faints*)

Anyways. Okay. Seriously now. Bye!

Vagabonding.

My life is about to be split between three cities. My car and most of my personal belongings are currently in Houston. My transfer (job/base) is now in Seattle beginning tomorrow. My significant other and our future apartment together (that has yet to be found) is settled in San Diego right this moment. I will be traveling as usual for work, since that’s what my job ultimately requires me to do. But between my usual scheduled trips for work, I will be an exhausted blurry figure pulling a large carry-on between So-Cal, the Northwest and the Dirty South.

I’m extremely excited and yet I have NO idea what I’m doing. So that naturally also makes me terrified of this entire situation. I have no real ties or connections in Seattle, so I am going to be flying in the day before my trips begin starting on Monday, staying in a hostel to save money, and beginning my trips the following day. The operation in the Northwest is very very different and I’ll be training on a brand new plane in the fleet in Utah as well this month. It’s almost like working for a completely different company. So that’s not stressful at all.

San Diego though. I visited last weekend and it’s probably more perfect than I ever recall it. Me and that guy walked the coastline from Pacific Beach to Mission Beach exchanging words, smiles and mutual awe of our potential surroundings. It was oddly overcast when I went so we laid on the bare sand threw the blanket over us to keep warm from the ocean breezes. Tacos are basically my favorite food, and all I hear is that they have the best ever and I can’t wait to eat them all. Or at least die a happy girl trying. It’s the beginning of a lifestyle I could definitely get accustomed to. 

This. ALL OF THIS has been a long time coming. Leaving home yet again, but I’m kind of really hoping it’s for good this time. I’ve been just too scattered to sew things, make or complete any new videos or do any worthwhile updating on this little space of mine. Frankly I’m all out of sorrys – it’s just life and new adjustments! I went to Amsterdam at the end of May and turned 32 in June, but I just haven’t put the effort into sharing on any of my social media. I’ve made amends with myself that it’s probably going to be one of my last “fun” trips in a while. I’ve just been a little self absorbed with myself and all of the new changes I’m trying to gracefully accept and deal with. 

I know this is boring, you guys. Promise to bore you more next time though. Enjoy your holiday weekends!

the woes of packing

(The existence of this video is proof of why many things I set out to do just don’t get done at all.)

There is mess and destruction EVERYWHERE!!

Help meeeeeeeee.

another birthday another bathing suit

waikiki

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snorkeling

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eel

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tokyodress31. Strolling along Waikiki Beach in Oahu, Hawaii (!!!!!)
2. Panoramic shot of Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Oahu.
3. This is what you look like after you swim with a school of fish in Hanauma Bay. AMAZING.
4. Me in front of the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, which is one of the largest temples in Japan. Want a fun fact? We got here by accident. The cab driver dropped us here instead of our hotel….which is why I’m pictured at the temple entrance with my luggage. So frankly I still have yet to visit the grounds. Talk about lost in translation.
5. Apparently this is the best place to go for fresh Unagi (Eel) !!
6. Me in my latest handmade look on these Japanese streets!
7. Front + back look at Simplicity pattern #2222, version B.
8. Closer details of buttons, drawstring enclosure + pockets.

Since embarking on my third decade of existence, it seems like every birthday I get the recurrent itch to spend a few days as a clothing minimalist choosing to strictly live in only cute bikini tops + bottoms. This also means giving up real shoes, everyday life stresses and my usual concerted effort to avoid terrible tan lines and the overall process of natural skin-darkening in general. I think my back JUST finished peeling, and if I dropped trou right now I am totally the Coppertone girl doppleganger. I spent 3 full days in Hawaii tanning and catching sand between my toes (and other crevasses) for a living.

I am 31, and I have no regrets.

And I actually got in the water. Like, I didn’t just dance along the coastline and let those baby waves cover my shins this time. With some major coercing from the fellow pictured above I went rolling in the deep. Er, more like wading on a floater board that is. I’m so in love with the ocean, but it’s a beautiful force I’m deathly afraid of. It’s something about viewing the world as merely a head above water and all that is visible to you is endless sky stacked on a layer of endlessly unsettled water with no ounce of land cut in between because it’s mysteriously hiding somewhere far below your feet. Even the smallest wave becomes your own personal giant that can reel you far from the shore. The same shore where those people you recall who were your size now look a like a collection of ants on a sandy ledge.

Yep. That doesn’t sound unsettling at all.

But I didn’t come all the way to paradise to stop living. The next day we went snorkeling and even with a florescent life preserver I was terrified too. Did you know they have prescription goggles for blind folks like me??!! I was so impressed. All the while I wanted to breath through my nose, and I sincerely panicked when water seeped through my equipment a few times. But I did the whole little mermaid thing. Not to mention the romantic swimming hand-in-hand thing (he’s going to kill me for this, lol). These awful tan lines were not earned in vain I tell you.

Then onto Asia. This marks my 3rd time back to Japan. My Japanese tongue is still underwhelming. I told a hotel cleaning staff person ‘good evening’ at 8 in the morning. Oh well, I do try.

We spent two hurried and rainy nights at a hotel in Narita, which is the enclave nearest Tokyo airport. Japan is 19 hours ahead of Hawaii, so we lost a day and gained more jet lag. Determined not to be total bums, we managed to get a nice dinner out and some drinks in the city before his journey back to base in southern Japan and my 12-hour flight back to Houston.

I made this outfit in time for my birthday, so it would’ve been a total waste if I didn’t wear it out on the town. As with most shorter dress patterns, the skirt is always a bit TOO short for my taste. It’s my *ahem* backside. Other than that I think it turned out pretty awesome! I initially had other plans for this fabric, but this romper-style option from my pattern stash with racer-back detail AND pockets was too good to pass up. Not to mention a quicker project to sew overall.

Getting older is supposed to be terrible I think, but I couldn’t be happier about my 30s so far. Goals for next birthday definitely include going to another amazing beach, but not being as terrified of the water next time. So I guess the first step is learning how to swim beyond doggie-paddling and the deadman’s float in a regular pool.

And I’d also like to learn a little bit of French. Is that totally random?

I’m okay with that.

 

Why I’ll never be the Beyoncé of sewing + DIY

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I’ve tried, really. Like for the past few years I’ve beat myself up about not being super consistent with my sewing projects and new content for this site. But truth is….

1. I’ve got a job that requires mucho travel
2. When I am home I often just want to take off my bra, watch an episode of The New Girl, and just exist in one place on the bed.
3. Sometimes I just don’t feel motivated (ie. I don’t want to touch my sewing machine)
4. I told you all upfront – I am a LAZY perfectionist
5. I have 24 hrs in my day, but I’m very much convinced Beyoncé has at least 48

I have to come to grips with the fact that I’m not the long lost overseas member of the By Hand London sewing babe clan and frankly will never be. I do, however, sew really cool stuff sometimes. I’m also really bad about creating/following through with new DIY tutorials. I don’t know why I’m that way and other folks can seem to churn them out like it ain’t no thang, but I’m just tired of stressing out about it all.

Stressing out to the point that I really considered just shutting down my blog altogether.

I won’t though. (You can thank my mama for that)

I’m saying all this to get it off my chest. I’m saying all of this because I’m the type of young woman that always puts undo pressure on herself. I just want to be wonderful and on-top-of-it-all on everything I do – I always have. I partly feel like my job as a flight attendant is an awesome opportunity, yet a dead-end and several notches below my degree. And I just wanted something to supplement my creative talents (such as this blog) and I feel like it’s just another thing I’m failing to follow through with.

There. I said it.

But it needs to be said. And I’m saying all of this because maybe someone feels something similar. And no one says things or admits things like that. Not aloud they don’t.

And frankly, my job is just fine. And my degree is an accomplishment I’ll never forget. And at the end of the day, I just need to relax and give myself a break!

So. The blog goes on. But I have no idea when or how often I’ll be posting. You never know you guys. I could totally do it up Bey-style one of these days and drop 7 new DIY videos in one day when you’d least expect it.

(No)

And just know I may post about randomness not related to DIY stuff at all. Sometimes I just wanna say a few words about my hair, lol. I mean, it’s my little space that I pay a small yearly fee on the internet for.

And that’s just that. xo

P.S.– Unfortunately, I’m unable to disable the comments for this post on my blogging app. But please, do not write any comments on this entry. Just really wanted to put my thoughts out there. I appreciate it, thanks!

sunshine, tan lines + foolishness

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c rowley muslin

1. I never believed in love at first sight until I saw this fabric. Smitten.
2. Muslin fabric practice pattern pieces for above dress (Simplicity #2250 by Cynthia Rowley) + nearly-but-not-quite-finished-yet baby romper (Simplicity #1594 by Cynthia Rowley, again).

I’m loving being 30. I didn’t quite mean to begin the post here, but hey, why not? I’ll be 31 in a few months and it feels good to not be afraid of that. It just takes a while to get comfortable in your own skin; to be honest and proud of what you personally have to offer the world. You keep getting more steady with your thoughts and opinions, and more accepting of those personal “flaws” – which seriously aren’t flaws at all. 

I bring this all up because I’ve been following Sarai’s Wardrobe Architect blog series. She opens up and encourages us seamsters to honest with our personal style and unique needs when creating our own wardrobes. What hooked me in was the mention of buying a fabric, making a garment, and realizing that it’s not really YOU at all. It’s like you just get caught up in a pattern or fabric without even really looking at if it really suits you. As a result, very few have ever been worn again after the first photo op. That’s me all day. I mean, why do I have so many unused fabrics in my stash? My ultimate goal would be to sew more and buy less. Sewing already grants you the unique opportunity to take fashion choices beyond the department store racks, so why not create an actual wardrobe that would reflect my own core style?

First personal clothing project of the year will be this dress. No more snow. No more layers. No more polar vortex. YASSSSSSSS sunshine and tan lines!

Although I hate doing practice runs for garments, I really want to get this right. I’d like to wear this out more than once this summer and next. I think the sweetness of the dress mixed with the abstract/semi-ethnic vibe of the fabric will pull together a nice bohemian-chic look.

I’ll also be making a vintage bra top with the leftover fabric (I bought 2.5 yds).



 

HA! And how do I explain this foolishness? Well, my fellow is stationed in Japan for the Navy. Sometimes I’ll send him random life video snippets just because. So here’s me in the employee parking lot at the crack of dawn enjoying my last minutes of freedom before a trip. (And looking around to see if anyone has caught me!)

Sewing Tip #2 up next! Have a great weekend friends 🙂

mama needed a break!

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bed

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coastersfin21. One of the patterns I picked up on sale these last few days. Along with Simplicity 1590, 1425, 1426, 1607, S0507, and 1666. But this is the first one I plan to work on ASAP for my preggo bestie that is due in 3 weeks.
Who doesn’t love 5 patterns for $5 sales?

2. Finally assembled this FREE bed set that I scored from a flight attendant pal who’s moving back to San Fran soon. She just wanted to be rid of it. It’s been sitting in my room in pieces since early December.

3. I’ve been on a real serious no sugar/no alcohol kick lately. Went strong for a solid 40-something days (lent style)
Watermelon margarita though? Ummm…………

4. My fav restaurant/bar in Sasebo, Japan that I’ve visited many times has these unique handmade fabric coasters for guests, and this gave me the idea to make a set for my own place. I have so much scrap fabric saved AND I needed coasters for my coffee table. To me, coasters never seem worth it to buy no matter how inexpensive they are.  I made these and are so very happy with them. AND I HAVE AN EASY TUTORIAL FOR YOU THAT IS SCHEDULED TO POST IN A FEW DAYS!!!!! That’s right. I’m giving you a cute and real-life use for your scrap fabrics.
You. Are. Welcome.

IIIIIIIIIIIIIII have been working so darn much. Like basically ever since I’ve come back from Japan again (a few days before Christmas) I’ve been hardly getting a real 2 days at home. And these past few weeks I’ve been working out of Minneapolis, so every freezing cold small town you can think of (Brainerd, MN or Williston, ND or South Bend, IN just to name a few) I was being thrown to. This go-go-go had really been catching up with me. Tired all the time and just slower-than-usual getting back to people that I care about. But I’ve just had 6 glorious days of peace at home and on the ground!! I’m feeling so much better again, and hopefully I can focus more next month on the things that I enjoy at home.

I’m starting a 4-day trip tomorrow, but I definitely am looking forward to updating and sewing more. First up, this scrap fabric coasters tutorial in a few days. I promise!

 

death of a macbook + birth of a new project

kc1 kc2DIY circle scarves I made for 3 lucky new email subscribers for the launch
of my new natural hair site, Kinked & Coiled!

First let’s all bow our heads and acknowledge the bad news *sigh* My dear, dear Macbook. So many good times we’ve had. So expensive you were are. You can never be replaced (mostly because I just can’t afford you right now, or maybe ever again).  Although all of the hundreds of pictures, music, and other data files are now lost, your last remaining bill payments continue to live on with me every month. But you lived a good life. 5.5 Mac years is like 92 in human years. I can only hope we can soon meet again on the other side (i.e. I hope some Apple store Genius can save my data!!)

R.I.P. Macbook (2008 – 2013)

That’s merely part of the reason why this update comes so late. Lately I’ve working on my mom’s old laptop that doesn’t like being moved, breathes hard, suffers from perpetual hot flashes, and has to permanently stay attached to the wall. If this one dies in my care, I just don’t know WHAT I will do. But I throw those complaints mostly in good fun. I’m more than thankful for the use of this machine!

Not backing up your data is a hard lesson, but I just gotta move on. Right before it died I had the idea to begin an email newsletter about my kinda hair – very kinky, coily, textured in nature. I always feel great writing thoughts + sharing my ideas in post on here, but I also wanted to write about something that I was genuinely interested in learning more about – my own hair. And to anyone that has always managed their “natural” God-given hair type since birth, I just know that sounds rather silly. I’ve chemically straightened my hair for so long, all I know is how to deal with straight hair. But when you’ve now got something to deal with that is closer to a Brillo pad than a horse’s tail in texture, the learning curve is steep. I just know I’m not alone in that.

So lately I’ve been doing much research, collecting my thoughts, and making circle scarves for the official launch of www.kinkedandcoiled.com. If you are interested at all, definitely sign-up or at least check it out 🙂

Last order of business to mention is Thanksgiving! I was lucky enough to get the day off this time since I spent the holiday alone in Milwaukee last year. I told my mom that I would let her off the hook and cook the entire spread myself. She is very grateful. I, on the other hand, am very scared. What have I done?? The fam has already been warned that this will not be a grand affair. And since I actually work a flight to Charlotte, NC + back today, my lack of prep time is scarier and scarier.

Alas, here’s the menu I’m planning:

Of course I got bread rolls, the cranberry sauce, and maybe I’ll bake off a few sweet potatoes for good measure. But that’s it! I’ll definitely share how it goes, but let me know your plans/how it turned out in the comments. I’d love to hear it.

Happy Thanksgiving you guys 🙂

some serious progress meets a bit of inspiration

peplum pre1aGot the peplum piece worked out nicely.

This progress update is real proof that rearranging my space has worked wonders thus far. I’ll be all the way convinced once I produce the finished project. But I dare say if I didn’t have to work the last five days, I would’ve had this project done already. Absolutely baffling, since I am a professional procrastinator in my personal life.

I’ve also been meaning to finally earn my green thumb + grow a few plants on my balcony, and I have! It’s been over a month and my green onions and cilantro have sprouted, my cherry tomato plant is getting so tall I desperately need to stake it, and my bell peppers + strawberries are doing great! It’s mostly her fault though. She’s a young lawyer 9-5 and a green thumb technician on her own time, sharing both the triumphs + troubles in her limited gardening spaces.  If you take a gander at her blog, you’ll be inspired too.

A few other points of ideas + inspiration —

I’ve been brainstorming a way to set up my plants better on my balcony. I want to do something like this.

Of course I already believe sewing is incredibly awesome, but SHE makes sewing look SO FREAKING COOL. And I absolutely adore her style. Swag. Overload.

Do you like yogurt? Greek yogurt? How about cream cheese? Well you can make your own so easily + super cheaply. I tell you no lie.