Are you putting yourself out there?

In January we went to a portion of the West Seattle Art Walk. We started a little late and only made it to three businesses. After the event I marveled at the way these small business owners, artists and musicians had put themselves out there, exposing themselves and bringing their gift out into the world.

Our first stop was Viscon Cellars https://www.visconcellars.com/. This small winemaker has been producing wine since 2004. I believe this tasting room on California Ave has been open since 2014. The tasting pours were presented by the owner himself. A very personable and talented wine maker Ben was enthusiastic and described in great detail the blends used to create the wines we were presented. The one I remember the most is the Rhyme/Reason Syrah which used co-fermented viognier 5% and Syrah 95%. It tasted fabulous but the reason I remember it is the fact that I had never heard of a white and a red blended together. It apparently is a technique used in France but not used elsewhere very often. I love learning something new. We went home with a bottle of viognier to go with our salmon dinner.We also bought it because of the very attractive label and the story behind it.

Artist Greta Musland http://www.gretamusland.com/ was displaying her work at Viscon. She is currently using acrylic paints on one side of the canvas and an encaustic (wax process) on the other. Her portraits of urban wild animals were delightful. She has been allowing herself to be an artist for about 10 years. I find it fascinating to consider what would happen if we all allowed ourselves to be what we want to be instead of what society, family etc thinks we should be. One CAN dare to dream.

Next stop was http://cannawestseattle.com. They were displaying beautiful photographs of a wandering traveler. The one that caught my eye was of a camel in front of a beautiful body of water with arid mountains on the other side. There was a horizantal stripe effect in the composition that was dramatic. Unfortunately I can’t tell you who the photographer was since there is no link on there website to the artist and my memory is not that good. A traveling photographer journeying to exotic locales and a cannabis company taking a chance in the current state of legal affairs are both putting themselves out there.

Final stop of the evening was at C and P Coffee where it was open mike night. We caught the last 4 performances of the evening – all guitar and vocal performances. The first one wrote their own songs and the other 3 played cover songs from a wide variety of known artists. I am so glad they shared their gift with us that night.

What is your gift? Are you sharing it and putting yourself out there or are you keeping it bottled up inside?

Hike? Skirt? Update

To update my hike in a skirt post I wanted to add these pictures of the skirt I decided not to use. Problems – waistband too tall so it doesn’t fit my waist well (although it fit better after the hike). Skirt too long to provide needed cooling.

The skirt I did choose was also too long but had some advantages I would recommend in a hiking skirt – elastic waistband that made it easy to slide on and off before and after those clothing changes to either warm up or cool down. It had no pockets so that was a deduct.

I now have a personal verdict on hiking in a skirt and that is No for me. The chafing would have created another potential problem to deal with that I did not need. I did like having a lightweight skirt along at camp though. It was like a portable changing tent for the above mentioned changes.

Here are the pictures I forgot to include in the last post.

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?

The Honest Truth

My original intention for this site was to help teach others to find their colors and style. It has taken me 18 months to find my own so how can I help anyone else? I think the answer is to encourage you to experiment until you find the answer. A camera has really helped. Things I think look fabulous in the mirror are shown to be not so true from the camera’s objective eye. There are also some general “rules” which I will begin to share. But the “rules” can also hamper so don’t believe any of them are set in stone.

As you can tell this is also turning into a marvelous excuse to sew and experiment with fabrics, improve my skills and see what’s around me in a new way. It is also helping me see what my values are and how I want to spend my time. It is still a blog in the process of forming. As I am and as we all are. I am enjoying the journey. Because really all we have is the journey. The end is not the goal. It is everything that happens along the way. What you learn and discover are valuable.

Things that led me down the wrong path were “RULES”:

Tim Gunn’s recommendations. One was black and one was never wear shoes with rounded toes. I felt like a limping uncomfortable fraud. And when the camera showed me in black I can see why it is worn to funerals. Spanx. No comment needed.

Things that were difficult but that helped:

“Color your style”¬† book by David Zyla

“Looking Good every Day. Style Solutions for Real Women” by Nancy Nix Rice.

And a hundred little books, blog posts and photos.

Things that make sense

Tim Gunn’s rules of right silhouette, proportions and fit. (But figuring that out is hard work).

The other things that hampered me were internal.

Fighting against learning something new.

Recognizing habits and beliefs that were holding me back that I wasn’t aware of.

Fear of looking silly (and I’m sure I did a few times but everyone so far is polite enough not to say so).

Fear of spending time on myself.

Lack of desire to take and post pictures of myself.

What rules and excuses are holding you back? What has helped you? I look forward to your comments.

Slow Clothes

Slow Clothes

Brown skirt made from my muslin fabric

In the fall I decided I would make myself a new wardrobe in the next year. From scratch – this means coming up with the designs, making the patterns and actually sewing the garment (It did not mean making the fabric – although it would be a dream to actually find the fabrics I want to work with).

So far I have……………….. a skirt.And the skirt is only made from my muslin fabric.

I also have a …………………….jacket – a muslin jacket that does not fit because the mechanical part of putting together the front of it did not make sense until I had tried to put together the muslin. Now I get it but need to find the time to try again with the pattern altered slightly and find another piece of inexpensive fabric to work with for the test garment.

But it is OK. I am enjoying the learning.

It is a good thing I didn’t tell myself I couldn’t wear anything I didn’t make myself. Because this is slow clothes. Makes you think about what life was like before ready to wear. Your clothes probably¬† fit better but you better have planned way ahead if you needed something for a special occasion. Slow cooking – slow clothes – how did they do it?

Ready to wear doesn’t give us an appreciation for the sweat and tears that must go into the things we wear. From the raw materials being turned into cloth. From the original concept to the drawing, to the pattern maker, to the sample maker to the grader. Then sourcing appropriate fabrics or finding someone to manufacture what you need for a garment that may or may not sell. Textile makers guessing what will sell.

Then there is the actual factory floor where things are made. How can you be sure the process there wasn’t one of those horrors we hear about?

Then there are the hours spent by sales reps selling the clothes and warehouse and stock people getting the clothing on the shelves. I am getting exhausted writing about it.

Selling in volume to the masses is the only logical way to make a profit for many clothing companies. It explains why you can’t find a garment with pockets. It explains why it is hard to find a garment that fits. It explains why there is a lot of black.

Makes you wonder who got shorted when you buy that $20 dress.  And it makes the hours spent producing my muslin skirt seem like nothing.

Have you ever thought about all the processes what you wear has gone through? And all the lives it has touched?