Personal

Personal Projects Update

Okay, so a while back I posted a list of personal sewing projects that I wanted to complete… someday. And then, a slightly more recent while back, I posted an update. And now, here is an update to the update! So, here is the list, less the things that were completed as of the last update:

  • Jacket to wear over (completed!) corset – I have blueish purple silk dupioni for this, and superb inspiration for the style. UPDATE: Not even remotely started. Continue to think about it from time to time, mainly when I open the fabric cabinet and drool over dupioni.
  • Alterations to a dress I made a few years ago but now hate, to turn it into a simple skirt (with pockets!) to complete the above ensemble. UPDATE: I have actually spent about five minutes thinking about this one – does that count? Pretty much decided not to ever do this. Would rather start from scratch and make a new skirt because I just know so much more about all relevant sewing techniques now. However, may still do this only because I will never find this fabric again and I love it.
  • Corset for Julia that she has been begging me to make for the last two years. UPDATE: Uh uh. Not done. Reasonably certain I have not even thought about it since I posted the last update… sorry love!

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  • New pajama pants. Mine all have holes. (Lots of them, in unfortunate places.) I have awesome Flinstones-esque dark teal with black tiger stripe fabric. They will be so much fun to wear. UPDATE: Not at all done. But the growing number and size of holes in my pajama pants has moved this to the top of the priority list. DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE! Aren’t they amazing/terrible?? I love them. I have a whole coordinating pajama outfit now.
  • The aforementioned Great T-Shirt Project of 2010. You guys, in 2010 we bought 30 pounds of jersey so that we could both expand our sad, sad collection of ill-fitting t-shirts. (I have a long torso, so basically every t-shirt ever manufactured shows an inch or two of stomach, which I’d prefer stayed out of sight and warm.) UPDATE: Let’s jut admit there is no way this will happen before 2013 2014.
  • I have silky, stretchy, clingy, shiny teal fabric for a drape-y dress shirt. UPDATE: I still have it! It’s still folded neatly among all the other pretty things in our fabric stash… untouched.
  • I am determined to never purchase jeans again and start making my own, because there are no pants in the universe that fit me properly. (And the ones I have are dangerously close to being to worn to wear in public.) UPDATE: I still believe this firmly. It may even happen soon-ish. SO DONE! And working on a second pair! And on patterns, generally, so custom jeans can be offered to YOU! Pictures will be forthcoming when I write a whole post about them!
  • On that note, I need some dressier-than-jeans but not as fancy as wedding attire to wear to my clients’ rehearsals. As well as some more wedding attire to wear to their weddings. I know I’m getting sick of my same two outfits, and if you started looking at photos of me on fancy occasions, you’d be sick of them too. UPDATE: Zero progress. I have bought some fabrics and imagined some ideas.
  • I also have two pairs of corduroy pants in progress that need finishing. UPDATE: These remain untouched, but now that I have a functional jeans pattern, there is a decent chance of the pair I didn’t start cutting yet getting made soon.
  • And cranberry corduroy for a winter skirt. UPDATE: I thought about it last week because fall is here and this would be a great time to wear it. You know, if it had been designed/sewn already. I did this a while ago! Maybe a year? And I have been wearing it all the time. I will probably make another one or two in different fabrics.
  • Make my own swimsuit for the summer! (Long torso is a big problem in this department as well.) UPDATE: Maybe next this year.

And there you have it. I have crossed one personal project off the list since May, and that pretty much only happened because I had a really good deadline.

 

three.

Cake Cutting

Cutting our (homemade) wedding cake – July 5, 201

Three years ago, we got married. It wasn’t legally binding, and if it had been, it would not have been recognized in the state where we live nor by the federal government. (But we ate cake anyway!)

Two weeks after that, we made it legal with a visit to the Cambridge, Massachusetts courthouse – where the first same-sex wedding in the United States took place in 2004. In Boston’s Public Garden, a real Justice of the Peace from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts certified our marriage. (And then we ate a swanky, delectable French dinner.)

wedding 14

Getting legally married in Boston Public Garden.

Two years and four days ago, the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act went into effect, and we celebrated our first anniversary with an upgrade from legally unrelated people to members of a Civil Union.

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First Anniversary at the Pier

This year, we are celebrating our anniversary as federally-recognized spouses, thanks to the repeal of DOMA. Illinois is on the brink of becoming the 14th state to allow same-sex marriage (keep your fingers crossed this fall), and there are some cases making their way towards the Supreme Court that could result in marriage equality nationwide. That is a damn long way to come in three short years.

And we promise, when it happens, we will be throwing one kickass party.

For the time being, though, we’re eating Turkish breakfast, hitting the beach where we got married, grilling some burgers, and celebrating what we’ve got right now.

Third Anniversary at the Pier.

Third Anniversary at the Pier.

New York City

Center of the Universe. (Sing it, Girl…)*

So, I totally abandoned this blog, social outings, friends, sleeping more than four hours a night, and even wine for the first nine days of November in order to finish up that insane amount of projects we had going.

And then? Then I went to New York. And we were on VACATION. Like, the real kind, where you leave your laptop at home (I did!) and don’t even check your work email at all (I… almost did. I read them, but I didn’t reply to any! So that’s a half win?). Friends, if you haven’t been taking vacations – and I know you’re out there, because this was the first real vacation we have ever taken, in the 6 1/2 years we’ve known each other – and it was AWESOME.

Here are my new rules for vacation:
1) Don’t make any firm plans. Ideas, yes. Things you’d like to do, places you’d like to visit, restaurants you’d like to try – YES. Actual scheduled times at which to do any of these things? NO. Just wing it.

2) Groupon is your friend. Oh Groupon, I have never loved you so much as in NYC. You gave us fine French food, complete with appetizers, entrees, desserts, and a whole bottle of wine to split for $69. You gave us $40 worth of oxtail and Cuban pork, among other things, for only $20. You gave us organic mani-pedis for $19 each. You gave me a sassy new haircut with fiery highlights for half the price. And you gave us the most AMAZING couples massage with hot rocks, which we have learned is THE BEST THING EVER, for only $98. For both of us. And it felt like it lasted for three hours, somehow, even though it was only one. WHAT?!

Here is my list of foods I ate (some for the first time – marked with “!”) in NYC. I liked them.
Sea Urchin!
Escargot!
Foie Gras, which I may have finally learned to spell correctly
Veal Sweetbreads
Quail Eggs
The Tiniest Mushrooms I Have Ever Seen! – They were so cute I actually tasted them and they were even yummy.
Oxtail!

3) If you have a shopping weakness, say for fabric, it might be wise to set a budget for it before a very helpful Mood employee “starts a pile” for you, and hooks you up with a loyalty card. (Thanks, Stephany!) Else you risk getting halfway to the $25-back-after-$500-spent reward in one trip…

4) Do what you can to stay in a hotel that you love while you’re in it, but is not so cozy that you never want to leave. Our hotel was so awesome that it might deserve its own post, but let’s be honest, I will never get around to that. Suffice it to say, if you put the friendliest staff in the history of ever with the most efficient space design in an über-modern hunting lodge with chartreuse escalators, you win.

5) Splurge on something you will truly love. For us, obviously, that’s food. We did a seven-course chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings at Austrian restaurant Seäsonal, which we had both noticed separately while strolling through Manhattan. It was mind-blowing.

In summary, vacation was awesome. I am no longer completely stressed out, but I have plenty of good and fun projects to fill my time. I managed to decide Wednesday night to host/cook Thanksgiving, and totally rocked it (one of my guests declared it the best Thanksgiving dinner ever) and I get to keep eating it all weekend. Friday was our last wedding of the year, from which I got to bring home all manner of uneaten pies along with pride in a job well done. We may get an answer on the house we’ve been waiting for since June… sometime before New Year’s. And JULIA IS COMING HOME TONIGHT!

So – life is pretty sweet. As are all the pies in my fridge. Here’s hoping you have a vacation and some decadent desserts in your very near futures too!

 

*Bonus points to you if you got that reference.

Thank YOU!

I know it’s a holiday weekend, and you all have better things to do than read this blog, so I’ll keep it short:

THANK YOU.

Thank you to all the amazing wedding vendors who have shared their wisdom with us and collaborated with us to make some truly special days this year.

Thank you to the designers who inspire us, the creators of lovely fabrics, and those few wonderful people in the fabric store who actually know what they’re talking about.

Thank you to all our friends who have spread the word about Crafty Broads and helped it grow so much, so quickly. And who have listened to us whine when we got overwhelmingly busy. And have taken us out for drinks and brought us cake when we were too stressed to have a birthday party. And who are just awesome people that put up with us even though we are totally slacking on spending time with all of you.

Thank you to all of our clients, many of whom we are happy to now call friends, for being cool people, having great taste, bringing us fabulous inspiration, and including us in your love-fests. And for one by one, bringing us closer to making Crafty Broads a full-time gig.

This has been an amazing year so far, and it wouldn’t have been without all of you!

We hope you have a relaxing, happy weekend full of delicious food and time with your loved ones ahead of you. Happy Thanksgiving!

And Just Like That, She is Gone.

Yesterday, we got up while it was still dark, lugged two giant suitcases, one carry-on, and a messenger bag to my car, and headed for the airport. The sun was just coming up, and it was gorgeous and we realized that Julia had never seen the sunrise over Lake Michigan in the entire ten years she’s lived here! What an awesome image of the city to keep with her while she’s in New York this month. (If you’re there, you should go see A Twist of Water at 59E59.) And then I realized that the last time I’d been heading south on the drive early enough to catch a sunrise was… when I took a show to New York seven years ago. How appropriate.

So we both soaked in the glorious purple-orange-blue morning sky. Perfection.

Personal Projects Update

Okay, so a while back I posted a list of personal sewing projects that I wanted to complete… someday. Since I can’t think of anything better to blog about today – I got some good ideas from my twitter pals, which I promise I’ll use, but they are more effort than I have willpower for at present – I thought I’d update you. Maybe I’ll try to do this monthly, so that there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of any of these things actually getting done.

So, here is the list:

  • Corset for me (to hopefully finish in the next two weeks so I can wear it to Kinzie‘s wedding!) – I have an Asian-style embroidered brocade kind of fabric for this, and it’s beautiful. Also I’m hoping to recreate/modify a Victorian-style corset with this project. UPDATE: DONE! And I even finished in time to wear it at the wedding. Because I stayed up all night finishing it in my hotel room. Haha. Here’s what it looks like:

Dancing at Kinzie & Donnie’s Wedding!
Photo by Wasabi Photography – http://wasabiphotography.com/

  • Jacket to wear over said corset in case it is cold – I have blueish purple silk dupioni for this, and superb inspiration for the style. UPDATE: Totally not done. But here’s the inspiration photo for the style I plan to try:

I love the big buttons and pleat-like details.
Anthropologie jacket; Photo and styling via Already Pretty – http://www.alreadypretty.com


  • Alterations to a dress I made a few years ago but now hate, to turn it into a simple skirt (with pockets!) to complete the above ensemble. UPDATE: I have actually spent about five minutes thinking about this one – does that count? (Especially if those thoughts make me wonder if it’s actually even possible to make this particular transformation)
  • Corset for Julia that she has been begging me to make for the last two years. UPDATE: Not even started, but Julia did find some gorgeous fabric yesterday:
  • New pajama pants. Mine all have holes. (Lots of them, in unfortunate places.) I have awesome Flinstones-esque dark teal with black tiger stripe fabric. They will be so much fun to wear. UPDATE: Not at all done. But the growing number and size of holes in my pajama pants has moved this to the top of the priority list.
  • The aforementioned Great T-Shirt Project of 2010. You guys, in 2010 we bought 30 pounds of jersey so that we could both expand our sad, sad collection of ill-fitting t-shirts. (I have a long torso, so basically every t-shirt ever manufactured shows an inch or two of stomach, which I’d prefer stayed out of sight and warm.) UPDATE: Let’s jut admit there is no way this will happen before 2013.
  • I have silky, stretchy, clingy, shiny teal fabric for a drape-y dress shirt. UPDATE: I still have it! It’s still folded neatly among all the other pretty things in our fabric stash…
  • I am determined to never purchase jeans again and start making my own, because there are no pants in the universe that fit me properly. (And the ones I have are dangerously close to being to worn to wear in public.) UPDATE: I still believe this firmly. It may even happen soon-ish.
  • On that note, I need some dressier-than-jeans but not as fancy as wedding attire to wear to my clients’ rehearsals. As well as some more wedding attire to wear to their weddings. I know I’m getting sick of my same two outfits, and if you started looking at photos of me on fancy occasions, you’d be sick of them too. UPDATE: Zero progress.
  • I also have two pairs of corduroy pants in progress that need finishing. UPDATE: Haven’t touched them.
  • And cranberry corduroy for a winter skirt. UPDATE: I thought about it last week because fall is here and this would be a great time to wear it. You know, if it had been designed/sewn already.
  • Make my own swimsuit for the summer! (Long torso is a big problem in this department as well.) UPDATE: I bought a new swimsuit. I like it, but not as much as the fantasy ones I’ve designed for myself in my head. Maybe next year.

And there you have it. I have crossed one personal project off the list since May, and that pretty much only happened because I had a really good deadline.

Making Time

It has gotten crazy around here. Last week, I was prepping for an out-of-town wedding, working on a corset pattern, working my usual 12-hour shifts at the day job, and having to grocery shop afterwards to come home and make dinner alone because Julia was in tech for a show. Then I skipped town and worked all weekend, Julia stayed home and worked all weekend, and then we basically repeated that this week, except sub prepping for going out-of-town with catching up from being out-of-town, and sub being in tech for running a show and starting rehearsals for another show and making mockups for two different dresses and we both had terrible weeks. I cancelled my own damn birthday party because I was too stressed out thinking about losing the work time on Saturday to making cake and party food.

You can see why we both got super cranky today about having zero time for each other.

Julia said today, “I need a wife, not just a business partner.” And she is absolutely right. We both need each other; we especially need each other when we are overworked and stressed out. I am pretty sure we may have even promised something along those lines.

Us, on our very first trip away together, in 2006. Six years later, this remains our only trip away alone together, except for our legal marriage/honeymoon jaunt to Boston. I think we should get out of town more often…

I’ve probably talked about this before. Maybe I haven’t, I don’t know. You know who has? Christy. She talks about it a lot, and she is wise:

“The thing about maintaining a happy relationship is that you can’t choose to focus on it just one day every few months. Like those crazy crash diets that never work – you can’t just decide to not eat for a day and expect that you’ll keep the weight off for the rest of your life. No… you need to make lifestyle changes, eat healthier, and work on it day in and day out. Relationships are just the same.”

So what did she do? She literally took out her calendar and wrote a day off into every week. And I’m going to go ahead and steal her smart plans. (Thanks, Christy!)

From now on, we are designating one day a week as a No-Crafty-Broads-Work day (if you’re wondering, it seems to be falling on Sundays for the foreseeable future.) And somewhere in the week, probably on that same day but possibly not, we are scheduling Date Night. With a strict no computers, no cell phones rule. During which we might do things like actually seeing a movie in the movie theater. So, if you’re calling/texting/emailing and we’re not responding immediately like we usually do… be patient for at least 24 hours, ok? We’ll be snuggling until then.

Yeah, we really did carve our names into a tree trunk.

Let’s Get Personal.

Fellow small business owners and other busy people – how do you make time for your own projects in the deluge of Things That Must Get Done? I desperately want (need?) to sew some things for myself, but I can’t seem to find the hours in the day to get it done. The Great T-Shirt Project of 2010 has still barely been started. And in case you haven’t noticed, it’s 2012 now. Oops.

Because I think it might help to put these projects out into the ether, here is my current list of personal projects:

  • Corset for me (to hopefully finish in the next two weeks so I can wear it to Kinzie‘s wedding!) – I have an Asian-style embroidered brocade kind of fabric for this, and it’s beautiful. Also I’m hoping to recreate/modify a Victorian-style corset with this project.
  • Jacket to wear over said corset in case it is cold – I have blueish purple silk dupioni for this, and superb inspiration for the style.
  • Alterations to a dress I made a few years ago but now hate, to turn it into a simple skirt (with pockets!) to complete the above ensemble.
  • Corset for Julia that she has been begging me to make for the last two years.
  • New pajama pants. Mine all have holes. (Lots of them, in unfortunate places.) I have awesome Flinstones-esque dark teal with black tiger stripe fabric. They will be so much fun to wear.
  • The aforementioned Great T-Shirt Project of 2010. You guys, in 2010 we bought 30 pounds of jersey so that we could both expand our sad, sad collection of ill-fitting t-shirts. (I have a long torso, so basically every t-shirt ever manufactured shows an inch or two of stomach, which I’d prefer stayed out of sight and warm.)
  • I have silky, stretchy, clingy, shiny teal fabric for a drape-y dress shirt.
  • I am determined to never purchase jeans again and start making my own, because there are no pants in the universe that fit me properly. (And the ones I have are dangerously close to being to worn to wear in public.)
  • On that note, I need some dressier-than-jeans but not as fancy as wedding attire to wear to my clients’ rehearsals. As well as some more wedding attire to wear to their weddings. I know I’m getting sick of my same two outfits, and if you started looking at photos of me on fancy occasions, you’d be sick of them too.
  • I also have two pairs of corduroy pants in progress that need finishing.
  • And cranberry corduroy for a winter skirt.
  • Make my own swimsuit for the summer! (Long torso is a big problem in this department as well.)

I think that’s it. So please, give me your advice on balancing day jobs, working for yourself, doing your own projects, and relaxing (ha!) without accumulating sleep debt. And maybe, once in a while, ask if I’m getting any of this stuff done.

Meet My Other Wife

No, I’m not a polygamist. But every couple of months, my wife leaves me for a week or two. She leaves early in the morning, she comes home well after I’m asleep. We barely exchange a text message in the hours we’re both awake. Cooking dinner, laundry, grocery shopping, taking care of the house, any Crafty Broads stuff that needs to be done is all on me. Sometimes, if I’m feeling generous, I’ll pack her a lunch or a snack to take with her.

I’m talking, of course, about the Theatre. It is a magical place, except during that period of time right before a show opens, known as Hell Week Tech. When you’re in the midst of it, it seems unending. You feel like you will never see your significant other again. In those fleeting moments when you catch a glimpse of each other, you’re cranky and tired and you bite each others’ heads off. When alone, you pine for even five minutes to talk about your days.

IT SUCKS.

(And it sucks extra when the show is going hellishly and people are being jerks and everyone is extra-stressed as a result.)

Thankfully, Tech always ends. Usually within a week or so. (Unless you are this show.) And then, there is Opening Night. Where they attempt to appease the nightmares of the previous week by treating you to free food and libations. And it usually works.

So here’s to another opening of another show tonight! And more importantly, to the fact that I’ll have my wife back by this time tomorrow.

Until the next one, anyway.

Real Wedding Budgets

Ok, so it turns out I’m better at blogging if I give myself some kind of theme and goals. So, I’m thinking about a new, ongoing series about wedding budgets. Specifically, I would like to gather and publish actual data from real people – how much they spent on the weddings, what they got for their money, some photos that help us envision that, and what they thought about the money they spent.

I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I believe the way this will work best is to keep it completely anonymous. We’ll share the location and number of guests, breakdown of the budget, and if possible, some photos of the wedding (that don’t include any faces or other identifying information.)

SO. If you are brave, and you would like to help other couples get a clue of about what things cost, please click the link below to tell us about your wedding, and we will get it up here soon. We already have our first submission, and I can tell that this series is going to be really awesome and helpful, so if you are on the fence, hop down on my side and submit your budget.

Real Wedding Budget Submissions

FAQ
Q: I don’t have any good detail shots from my wedding. Should I still submit my budget?
A: YES! There is space to describe each element, so readers will be able to get a pretty good idea of what your wedding was like, as long as they harness their own powers of imagination.

Q: I don’t remember exactly what I spent on my wedding. Do you still want my budget?
A: If you can recall approximately what you spent, we’d still love to have your numbers. Even a rough idea can be helpful to other people. You can always look at the submission form and see if it jogs your memory.