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February 1, 2018

the dress | chapter five (final chapter)

I made my own wedding dress, and I'm really glad I did
It's done. My wedding dress is done. I set out to make my own gown, and I did it. And you know what? It turned out really nice. It's nothing flashy, nothing fancy. It's simple. And that's all I wanted.

Looking back at where I started with my original idea, I pretty much stuck to the plan. I did skip a belt in the middle, and added some extra trim around the neckline that I hadn't initially planned for, but other than that - that initial sketch has materialized into something real. Finishing this dress was such a relief - and with time to spare! It feels really good.
Thought on making my wedding dress
So... what's it like to make a wedding dress? While this isn't the first gown I've ever made (shoutout to my prom dress which I am totally NOT going to share pictures of), it's certainly the most notable. That's what stuck with me while I was sewing. I kept thinking, This is an important dress. I have to be mindful while I'm working on this dress. Normally, when I'm sewing for myself, I don't fret over the details. I don't care if the thread matches exactly, or if the hemlines are a little crooked. But not with this project. And I think it's that mindfulness that makes me love the dress now that it's finished. I took my time (um, basically a whole year), and I think that helped. I never sat down at my sewing machine for too long, because I never wanted to get frustrated with or tired of my dress. I wanted to love this dress, always.

Here are a few quick things I learned along my dress-making journey:

  • Test your stitches on scrap fabric first. Figure out the tension while you're testing, and write it down for future reference. Time saver!
  • Use ALL THE PINS when sewing a zipper in. Don't let it budge a bit.
  • Boning (the support pieces that hold the bodice of a dress up) will straighten out nicely if you keep your dress on a dress form. 
  • Speaking of dress forms - get a dress form! You can see what your dress will look like IRL without having to try it on over and over. The hemline is really easy to set on a form. And you can add trim with ease. 10/10 would recommend. This is the dress form I have, if you're interested.
  • Get your hands on a steamer. Even though you iron pieces of fabric as you sew, it's inevitable that the dress will get wrinkly while you're working on it. A steamer will fix all your wrinkly woes. 
  • And finally, buy your shoes before you pick the length of your dress. It's the easiest way to get the length right.

My favorite part about this dress are the pockets, and I can already tell how handy they'll be the day of our wedding. I'll be carrying everything in them. Chapstick, tissues (because I know I'll be tearing up), a copy of my vows... it makes me wonder, how do brides manage without pockets??
Are those wedding bells I hear? Thought on my DIY wedding dress
The last little details of our tiny wedding are coming together. We pieced together a ceremony, my soon-to-be-wife has her suit pressed and ready, and the day before our marriage we'll go pick up a bouquet or two of flowers. I absolutely cannot wait.

I don't want to give away what the final dress looks like yet - I'll wait until our much more qualified wedding photographer can snap some pictures of it. Until then, it's just a matter of counting down the days until I'm a Mrs.!

- m.e.

P.S. Take a look at the previous chapter in this DIY wedding dress journey.

January 15, 2018

life | links (mlk day)

Life, Links: The beautiful aftermath of a day of snowfall

Happy Monday from the icebox that is Minneapolis. It's emergency-level cold today, but yesterday it was warm enough for snowfall. A couple lazy inches took all day to fall yesterday, blanketing everything in the process. It was the best kind of snow, too. The kind that muffles every errant sound and forces the city to go into slo-mo. The kind that actually sparkles like glitter. The kind that crunches under your feet.
I have a lot to blog about (i.e. wedding dresses), but my head feels to scattered to do that today. Instead, here are some interesting reads. Today is MLK day, which means it's sort of still the weekend. For some, anyway. Which is why I don't feel weird sharing this type of post today, where I'd normally just save it for Friday. But running late seems appropriate in this weather. Here are some fun things I found around the internet this week:


Life and links | A red car in a Minnesota snowstorm
Martin Luther King, Jr. did not have an easy life. He did not have an easy death. Somehow, he left in this world a multitude of inspiring thoughts and quotes. Look some of them up today, because they apply now more than ever. Here's my favorite one: "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."

- m.e.

December 6, 2017

how to make a security pillow (a.k.a. topponcino) for baby

How to make a security blanket (a.k.a. topponcino)
Before you get any wild thoughts - no, I don't have a baby. Nor am I expecting! Nor am I ever going to have kids, but that is an entirely different blog post. My brother and sister-in-law, however, just brought a beautiful baby boy into the world. He's amazing. He's cute, and has chubby lil' legs, and even though I haven't met him in person (yet!), I can tell the world is a little better of a place with him in it. I sewed this topponcino for him just a few weeks before he arrived, along with some washable covers. I'll be honest, though - I still don't totally have a grasp on what a topponcino is.
Topponcino pattern
Topponcino - it sounds like a drink you'd get at Starbucks, right? If anything, this might be the opposite of a latte. It's to make baby feel secure as they are passed from one adult to another. They're supposed to sleep in it always, so that is smells of them, thus creating a safe space. And there's definitely no caffeine. The topponcino is used in the Montessori Method of child-rearing (which is basically a no-frills/more adventures method of raising kids). You can buy them off of Etsy, but they're so easy to make at home. I did some research before I started this project (here and here), and here's the method I took:

November 24, 2017

diy felt xmas banner | make the yuletide very, very gay

DIY This: Make the Yuletide Gay Felt Banner
I have been, to some capacity, ready for Christmas since November 1st. On an entirely different level, I suppose I am always ready for Christmas. Anyways, this will be my first year working the entire holiday season at Curbly, and with needing to stay ahead on content, it's been all-Christmas-all-the-time for more than a month now. At home, the transition is slower. Not too slow, though. I made this felt banner a little while ago, and have really excited to hang it. Keep reading to make your own!
Materials needed to make this felt banner
To make this banner, you'll need:
  • Felt in various colors
  • "Make the Yuletide Gay" printable template (page 1; page 2)
  • A pencil and pen
  • Fabric glue or hot glue (truth be told, I was too impatient for fabric glue and ended up hot glueing everything)
  • Scissors
  • A dowel or long stick
  • Baker's twine

Queer Christmas Felt Banner | Step 1
Print out the template (page one here, page two here), and cut out each letter and shape. With the letters facing right-side down, trace their shape on the felt. For lighter-colored felt, use a pencil. For darker felt, use a pen. Cut out each letter.
Queer Christmas Felt Banner | Step 2
Align the lettering on a large piece of felt. Glue each letter and shape in place. 
Queer Christmas Felt Banner | Step 3
On the back of the banner, fold the top down over the dowel, and glue down. Tie a piece of baker's twine to each edge of the dowel. Hang, and get merry.
Make the Yuletide extra gay by making this DIY banner
Details from this queer craft
Queers + crafts + Christmas = This
I'm pretty happy with how this banner turned out. If you've been around for a while, you know I appreciate a good play on words (seen here and here). Who doesn't? Happy holidays, gang.


November 22, 2017

a little thanksgiving dinner for two

A little Thanksgiving dinner for two
Happy Thanksgiving, all! This may be the most prepared I've ever been for a Thanksgiving dinner. Arguably over prepared, if you ask the slowly softening beets in the bottom drawer of my fridge. My fiancĂ©e and I figured out our menu over two weeks ago, we finished up most of the shopping that following weekend, and I spent some time this weekend in the kitchen! Honestly, I might be a little bit bored tomorrow since there is so little cooking to do. I'm thinking I'll use my free time to hunt down a streaming of the National Dog Show online. 
We're munching on some new recipes, and some old classics. Here's what we're cooking:
  • Butternut squash soup from Moosewood | I haven't made this recipe before, but Moosewood is always a win in my vegetarian household
  • Potatoes gratin | This is my favorite scalloped potato recipe, and not just because it's stupid easy
  • Roasted beets from A Clean Bake | Fun fact: I've never roasted beets before. I've never cooked them at all! Which is a shame, because I have always loved a good beet. It's what I'm most excited about cooking tomorrow.
  • Vegetarian roast | No major cooking here, we're just popping a Field Roast in the oven with some cut root vegetables. Btw, if you are a vegetarian who's been burned by the blandness of Tofurkey, Field Roast makes a proper roast you can actually get excited about.
  • Pumpkin cheesecake | This will be at my table every year forever and ever and I'm SO PUMPED about eating way too much of it tomorrow.

Chopped veggies for a vegetarian feast
Prepping squash for butternut soup
Roasted butternut squash
Don't forget to take some time tomorrow to think of a few things you're grateful for. I'm most thankful for flannel sheets, hot coffee, animals that appreciate cuddling, our health, creative outlets, and a partner who is patient with me. Happy Thanksgiving!


P.S. You still have time to stitch a few "Get Stuffed" napkins before tomorrow!
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