I LOVE my closet

I LOVE my closet

Have you tried the capsule wardrobe when traveling for an extended period? There is  nothing like extended traveling to remind you how much you appreciate certain things.

Last week we returned from 7 weeks on a road trip. We went from the colds of a fall in Glacier National Park to a milder fall in Michigan to the wet of a SE US fall to the humidity of Key West, 17 degrees and snow in Denver and back. A packing challenge to say the least. I put my cold weather outer and under layers in a small backpack since they were the least time of our travels. This outer gear consisted of a raincoat, long underwear, a packable down, hiking boots, wool socks and a hat and gloves.

Here is my list for the rest of the trip:

  • 2 pair shorts khaki
  • 7 pair underwear and an extra bra
  • 2 pair foot liners
  • 4 pair misc. socks
  • 2 shirts (one blue t shirt and one grey sleeveless)
  • One pair grey jeans
  • One knit lightweight jacket in heathered grey.
  • One blue and white sundress with scarf (which I never wore )
  • A wide belt in brown.
  • A small bag of jewelry (2” x 3”)
  • A swimsuit
  • Flip flops
  • Walking shoes
  • 2 pair lightweight somewhat dressier shoes

It worked but I am so glad to see my closet. This was so repetitive. It did make dressing easy but I know I couldn’t live with just one capsule wardrobe at this point in my life. Variety IS the spice of life. Life IS too short to wear boring clothes. At least there was variety in locales and some new thrift and consignment stores to browse along the way.

How do you throw some spice in that travel capsule?

How do you plan your rides?

While doing some online exploring looking for great bike rides I came across this fairly unique idea for mapping a ride.

If you don’t have time to check out the link, it describes a Perth man with some time on his hands as well as a creative thought process who mapped out a ride on Strava using a picture of a goat as a template to set way points and map his ride. He then went out and rode it. It took seven hours, 126 miles and had 5786 feet of climbing.

I will need a little more time on my hands to plot my bike route that way (as well as more training to complete that goat ride) but maybe in the near future………… For now I use my knowledge of where I am  along with Google’s maps app set on bicycling. I have also had some success with Ride with GPS.  My favorite rides are the ones where I don’t have to think too much and can just ride. Long country roads with no stop lights and light traffic fill my dreams of the ideal bike ride. I especially love bike rides someone else has planned and I just make the turns when told by the arrows on the road.

Where do you like to ride and how do you plan it?

The bike bag

The bike bag

I have your typical bike bags (purchased for me by my husband) but I wanted something more- something with a little more style and that could be used on and off the bike, had a spot for maps and that didn’t require a trip to the fabric store.

I ended up with this.

The fabric came from some wool overcoats I bought at Goodwill a couple years ago. I was trying to felt wool by throwing it in a hot wash and dryer. A wool sweater felted very well but I haven’t yet done anything with it. The coats shrank and the fabric is not ravelly after the process. It was quite a time consuming process pulling the coat pieces apart.

Wool coat with pieces pulled apart

At the time I wasn’t sure what I would do with them but over the last few months I have decided to try bags. I made this red one from this stash.

Red bag from used wool coat

I loved the idea of using the coats button tab as my fastener because of both how it looked AND the fact that I hadn’t yet figured out the buttonholer on my machine.

As a side note in the future I will be looking at the Goodwill pound store outlet first because the actual coats were on the spendy side at $10 to $15 each.

This bag started out floppy and I wanted it stiffer because I believed that would result in a cuter bag both on and off the bike. I took an empty vinegar jug and cut out the end pieces in this stiff plastic. I then ended up also using vinyl as an inner liner with a thin blue decorative lining.. I am also hoping it will keep the inner contents a bit drier. Can’t wait to try it out. – not the wet part but the riding with it part.

What do you think? Would you use this bag? My husband’s answer was a resounding no but I bet he changes his mind when he sees it in action.

 

Focus

Focus

This post was started two hours ago and I am just now starting the first sentence. So not only am I having trouble figuring out what to focus on, I am having trouble focusing on what I choose. Since I started I decided to have lunch, manage my airbnb listing and put the laundry in. Now I am back and I promise myself to focus till I finish.

My original thought on focus was that I feel scattered in almost all areas. It is true I have created some priorities: Health through nutritious eating and exercise, learning and travel. It has become obvious to me that outside these priorities I am having trouble deciding what is most important and also how to integrate other interests into these main focuses. I want to do it all!

OR am I using my lack of focus as an excuse for lack of forward movement OR I am sabotaging myself so I don’t “succeed” – whatever that may mean to me OR I just need anxiety in my life.

I say that I want to learn and practice my sewing skills and share them through this blog and sewing meetups. In reality I am so busy traveling, trying to stay in shape and learning about how to share my skills that I am lucky if I find a day a week to sew. Plus now that I have free time I have not said no to many social opportunities.

Then there is the problem of what should I be making? There are so many things I want to try and then there is the looming reality of a trip coming up that involves hiking and biking. And wanting my slopers to be perfect before I use them to create new things for myself. I am back to some of my old habits that lead to less focus.

Spurred on by those distracting % off coupons from fabric stores I decided I needed to go out and get fabric to make a new hiking/biking skirt, two pair of outdoor pants that don’t look like outdoor pants and a couple t shirts that will dry quick and have pockets! And a bike bag to carry misc in on the trip.

My latest shiny objects

Here is my latest pile. 2 yards of fabric in each of 5 colors. Two meant for tops and 3 meant for skirts or pants appropriate for outdoor adventure travel.

I have limited time before the trip. Writing is helping me focus. I am going to make a hiking/biking skirt and a shirt with pockets and a small handlebar bag. Stay tuned. I already am getting unfocused by some more travel opportunities in my inbox.

How do you focus on priorities – or even decide what they are? If you are reading this blog is it helpful or another way to procrastinate?

Trippin and Travelin

Trippin and Travelin

I have been reading about the ten by ten challenge and packing and decided to try it for an rv trip to see our daughter graduate. The total trip time is fourteen days and my closet is ½ of a space the size of a couch cushion plus a drawer the size of a silverware drawer. In addition to traveling clothes I need something to jog in, hike in and bike in so I will be cheating on the 10 x 10 by not including these things nor all the various shoes needed to perform these activities. I am however doubling up on jackets for biking and hiking. Phew.

I chose 2 jackets (including my latest purple london cardi and reversible strip/knit combo, 2 bottoms, 1 dress (for the graduation), 2 pair of shoes and 3 short sleeve or sleeveless tops. I chose a combination of grey, blue and purple. My latest favorite jewelry combination is a pair of silver chain loop earrings, my looped circle silver necklace and a watch with a silver band and coral and turquoise. It all goes together well no matter which items I put on. Fortunately the mirror is small too.

Two for one jacket

A week in and so far so good. There is not a lot of variety day to day but getting dressed is quick and easy. Which is good because there is a lot of time behind the wheel and not much time to waste figuring out what to wear.

How do you deal with packing for trips?

Three jackets

Three jackets

This week I went through fabrics I bought last summer and have never gotten around to using. One of them was a reversible mid weight knit with a lovely smooth texture that is perfect for a jacket.  Since it is a reversible fabric I needed a simple pattern where I would not need to make too many seams. I briefly considered finishing my bodice sloper I started and then making a pattern from there but I am in the mood for a faster process than that right now. Instead I went through patterns I had and found a McCalls pattern that I had picked up at a thrift store.

McCalls 4093

I made the first version as directed to make sure I liked the style on me. I loved the color of this woven fabric I picked up at Goodwill. I had a button I had picked up maybe 25 years ago in Canada that is made from arbutus.  I added patch pockets on the outside and I am happy with the results. It is quite a roomy jacket so I need to make sure to wear it with slim fit bottoms or a pencil skirt.  This process helped me see and think about what I would need to do to make it out of reversible fabric.

To make the test garment I pulled a knit out of my stash (I love the color of it but it doesn’t love me) that had a similar stretch to my final fabric.

I took the extra step of tracing the size I wanted off the tissue paper pattern so I could use all the sizes available later if I wanted.

Tracing paper to trace the size I want

I chose a size down from the size I used in the woven because the knit would make it even roomier than the first jacket. This exercise stretched my brain as I tried to make it look good from both sides. I used a flat fell seam so it would look finished from both sides. This also required me to sew my seams as straight as I could to keep it all neat looking. The pockets were a puzzle. I felt patch pockets on both sides would be too bulky so I made a welt on one side that went through into the pocket on the other side. This knit was not thick enough to leave the edge unfinished so I added a narrow stand up collar at the neck and bound the front edge.  The finished product is a bit clunky but it helped me think out the steps to make the final jacket.

Testing Testing

The final product! I narrowed the welt and made it a little higher because the other one almost felt like I was dropping whatever I put in the patch pocket out through the welt on the other side.

I smoothed out any jagged cuts I had on the unfinished front edges and hems and left them as is. Added one of my favorite vintage buttons and I now have a reversible jacket in one of my basic colors that I look forward to wearing!

Have you tried creating a reversible garment lately?