Back to life, back to reality

Some days ago, we returned from spectacular two-week trip to Japan. I’ve talked a little bit about my background in this post, but part of my family came from Japan several generations ago. I’d wanted to go since I was a kid, but somehow this was my first trip. I’m not sure I can adequately express my excitement and my expectations before going, or the mix of familiarity and strangeness of a culture my family came from many decades ago. | Roscoe Dress

What made the trip feel less overwhelming and the country more accessible was information and welcoming from sewing friends. I reached out to Gillian, Inna and Sanae with newbie questions about what to do, where to stay and how to get around, and they did a better job of getting me oriented and even more excited about the trip than any guidebook. | Kyoto

And as luck would have it, Inna and I overlapped by one day in Kyoto, during which she took me on an amazing whirlwind tour of the sewing shops near the indoor markets. Our menfolk met up afterwards for a fun little dinner. The very next day, we left for Tokyo by train and I got to meet Yoshimi, Novita, and Chie for tea! Talk about spoiled. (And I apparently managed to miss Amy by some minutes in Nippori Fabric Town!) | Nippori Fabric Town

For the past few years, I’ve intermittently asked myself if I want to continue blogging and why. It does require an investment of time, and I am purely a hobby blogger. The online sewing world is growing exponentially and becoming more commercial, and I wonder if I’m short-sighted for meandering along without any particular goal beyond sewing and writing/reading about it.

And then something like this trip happens, where I’m nearly 5,000 miles from my home and I have sewing friends to meet up with. And they’re just like they are on their blogs, only more interesting! | Tokyo bloggers

The trip revealed my infrequently-seen maximalist side. We walked over 10 miles a day for two weeks, pushing ourselves to see a tiny fraction of what was beautiful and strange in Japan, consoling ourselves with thoughts of a return trip. But now I’m back, adjusting to my regular life and have had some time to reflect on how grateful I am to all the sewing folks who made our trip wonderful.

Now, to make some time to sew up the fabrics I bought in Japan…

Color trip

Last weekend, Nathan and I went to the eastern part of our state with a group of friends. For those of you not familiar with Washington State, it’s bifurcated by the Cascade mountain range. Western Washington (where I live, in Seattle) is very green and a completely different landscape from Eastern Washington. Eastern Washington reminds me of Central California, and it’s where a lot of our state’s crops are grown.

On our drive out, I wore a tank I made and dyed last month.  I used my Wiksten pattern as a base, but made a lot of changes. The straps are thinner, the chest and back are narrower, and I shortened and squared off the bottom hem because I already have a few longer woven tanks.

I crumpled up both sides of the bottom to make a loose v-shape, bound it with rubber bands and used a vibrant orange dye. With my Grainline Moss skirt, it was a great travel outfit aside from the wrinkles.

When we got back from our trip, I was incredibly pleased to find that my dahlias had bloomed! We had a plot in a community garden near our old place, but moved at kind of a weird time to fully take advantage of our new yard. I left all of our veggie starts in the garden for the next gardener, but couldn’t resist digging up the dahlia bulbs that had just started to peek out from the ground. I wasn’t sure if they’d flower after the trauma of being transplanted, but two out of the four plants are producing gorgeous flowers.

I hope you have a great (perhaps three-day) weekend!

Busy crab

Me, watching the moss grow while I pretend to be busy. Photo by Nathan (Hall of Mosses, Hoh Rainforest)

Friends, you might have noticed that I’ve really been letting Erica aka Bee carry this blog lately. I’ve written more in the form of comments than I have in the form of posts! Especially after announcing my grandiose couch plans, I feel a little sheepish. But I suppose that’s what you get when you throw work, drawing class, special projects, and oh yes, planning a wedding into the mix!

The couch project is a little bit stalled because I’m scared of it and I really need to get started on a wedding dress. I’m going to base it on Simplicity 2250, which I already made once during Me-Made-March. I’m planning on making it long, removing the elastic and ties in the back, and generally making it super fancy. I have the muslin all cut out, just waiting to be sewn. This was the last Cynthia Rowley dress I made before realizing that their sizing runs one size too large. Providing expert help and personal accountability will be my good friend Casey, aka the talented Mr. C. Vincent Stitch.

I’m hoping, HOPING, I get the muslin done within the week. Fingers crossed!

PS If you haven’t already, consider signing EWG’s petition for safer cosmetics here!