29 August 2012

Perfection

There is an interesting thread running on Artisan's Square right now that piqued my interest.  Here is an excerpt of jem's original post:

"...After seeing some of the garments displayed on this site, I am both motivated and discouraged. Your work seems like absolute perfection.  I don't think I have ever sewn an item that is absolutely perfect.  There always seems to be one little thing out of kilter. I get really annoyed with myself and can't understand why I can't sew with perfection. I am not a new sewer either.  My work is decent and my non sewing friends are in total awe of the fact that I make my own clothes, but I still feel that after all this time sewing I shouldn't have to do these little tweaks to the garments.  Am I being too hard on myself? Do any of you have this thought process, or is it just me?"

This makes me want to sit down with jem and have a good heart to heart.

A Matter of Perspective

When I was new to sewing (at the age of 17 in early 1988), I was absolutely fearless.  The first real garment that I sewed was a prom dress.   I was either too naive or too stupid to know that sewing a prom dress was probably not the typical first project.  However, despite my lack of experience, I sewed that dress, I wore that dress and I was pretty damned proud of that dress.  I though it was absolutely perfect.  Well, I still have that dress and I can tell you, it was not perfect.  I won't go into a laundry list of problems with it, but suffice it to say that, although I did an amazing job for a beginner, I can do much better now.

I guess it's just a matter of perspective.  For the skills I possessed at the time, I did an excellent job.  But now, through study, experience and a healthy dose of  common sense (attained through simply getting older), I am a better seamstress than I was 24 years ago.  So, I submit that perfection is a matter of perspective, related to our age, our life experiences and our own personal standards.

Our Own Worst Critics

Why are so many of us always so hard on ourselves?  And why is self reproach such a female thing?  Believe me, I know that men aren't immune to self doubt, but it seems more ingrained in women.  Not to mention, the desire to compare ourselves to other women.  "If only I was as ______ as her" can be a common refrain for many women (how we fill in the blank may vary, but the general idea is the same).  Unfortunately, this attitude can undermine and weaken us.

Comparing yourself to another seamstress is a recipe for disaster.  Wanting to improve your skills is laudable, putting yourself down is not.  For me, sewing is a revelation, a salvation, a blessing and a joy - it makes me sad to think that someone would feel even a tiny bit bad about herself because of sewing. 

In the Eye of the Beholder

Like many things in life, perfection is defined by each individual - no two people will describe perfection in the same way.  I often cringe at the hours (days, months, years) that are spent by some seamstresses trying to get a "perfectly" fitting pair of pants.  All wrinkles and smile lines must.be.eliminated or else.  For them, that is perfection.  For me, it is an exercise in insanity.   But, as they say, to each her own.  What I might call a perfect pair of pants (or jacket or dress or...) may not be acceptable to someone else...and that's okay.  We all have our own guidelines (which are likely to morph and shift as we go on in our lives) that we live within.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that I feel for jem.   I really do believe she is being far too tough on herself and  I truly hope that she learns to cut herself some slack. I'm willing to bet that her garments are far more fabulous than she realizes.

27 August 2012

SWAP, SWAP, SWAPing Along

Where have I been for a month?  Sewing, sewing and sewing (and sewing!).  I have been going great gangbusters in the sewing room.  My mojo is back and it has been demanding that I sew.  I have learned to never question the mojo, so I have been following orders.

Since we last spoke, I have created 31 garments associated with my SWAP.  As many of the patterns are new to me, in many cases I made a wearable muslin (or two) to tweak the fit and then sewed up the real deal.  I did all the muslins in fabrics that coordinate with this SWAP (or another SWAP that I am already planning for winter), so I now have a ton of new wardrobe additions for the start of the school year (which happens in one week - eek!).

Needless to say, I have a butt load of SWAP garment goodness to show you.  Just gotta dust off the camera and slap on some make up.  So, stay tuned...


28 July 2012

I Love Fabric Mart

Yesterday, I showed you my new SWAP.  I mentioned that I still needed three fabrics to complete the plans.  Well, Fabric Mart came through for me with not only the fabrics I needed, but at a 35% discount to boot.  Yee Haw!  I have updated yesterday's post to reflect the addition of the new fabrics. 

While I was buying the three fabrics I needed for SWAP, I may have also tossed in another three goodies and a mystery bundle.

Behold the bounty:

These three are the SWAP fabrics (silk crepe de chine, silk blend burnout print & silk animal print):




And, these three are the "just 'cause" fabrics (all three are RPL suitings):







And, that my friends is why I <3 Fabric Mart - like a great friend, they are always there for me when I need them.  Now, I just hope that none of the SWAP fabrics sell out before they get to my order.  If that happens, I may have to cut a bitch.  What?  Seems harsh?  It's fabric acquisition, people - there is no room for niceties when it comes to fabric acquisition.  Sheesh, I thought you'd know that by now.

27 July 2012

My Old Friend, the SWAP

SWAP = Sewing with a Plan

Many of you are familiar with this concept, having either read about it or participated in the contests.  Back in the day, Julie of Timmel Fabrics (Julie, if you're reading, I sure do miss you and your fabric!) ran the SWAP contest.  These days, the lovely folks over at Stitcher's Guild Forum have taken over the reins.

The SWAP concept (and subsequent Timmel Fabrics contest) was based on an idea presented in Australian Stitches magazine about a decade or so ago.  The idea was to create a wardrobe that is cohesive, both in colour and style.  The different garments (one jacket, two pairs of pants, two skirts and six tops were required in the original SWAP contest) in a grouping should work together to provide the wearer with several mix and match outfits.

I used to do almost all of my sewing in SWAPs.   However, over the last while I had gotten away from sewing this way.  Well, earlier this week I was perusing back issues of Australian Stitches magazine.  Lynn Cook (one of the editors) had put together a lovely wardrobe (see issues Vol. 15, No. 9 to Vol. 16 No. 4 if they are available to you).  In the first issue, she sewed up a jacket, two skirts, a pair of pants and two tops in black, white and red fabrics.  In each consecutive issue, she added to the mix with further garments.  Along the way, she added in other colours (orange, teal, bone, lavender, etc).  In the end, she created a beautifully coordinated wardrobe. 

This was very inspiring to read, so based on her plans, I put together my own version:

SWAP Phase 1 - based on Vol. 15 No. 9:

SWAP Phase 2 - based on Vol. 15 No. 10:

SWAP Phase 3 - based on Vol. 15 No. 11: 

SWAP Phase 4 - based on Vol. 15 No. 12:

SWAP Phase 5 - based on Vol. 16 No. 1:

SWAP Phase 6 - based on Vol. 16 No. 2:

SWAP Phase 7 - based on Vol. 16 No. 3:

SWAP Phase 8 - based on Vol. 16 No. 4:

The vast majority of fabrics were in my stash.  However, I do have three fabrics that are still alluding me at this point (ETA: I found three fabrics that finished off my SWAP, so the storyboards have been updated).  The patterns are a mix of recent and older ones that I had in my possession.  I may add or modify as I go along if I find it necessary.

I have already started on the plans above - one garment is finished and several more are cut out.  So, stay tuned...

25 July 2012

Button Love

I am a collector.













Actually,  let me correct that.  I am a hoarder.

I hoard fabric, zippers, shoes, food (remind me to show you my pantries some day), books, jewellery...Let me sum it up by saying that if a certain class of objects gives me pleasure, you can be sure that I will buy a wide assortment.



This holds true with buttons as well.  I love buttons.  I love the shapes, the colours and the simple (but powerful) utilitarian nature of buttons.  
My earliest and fondest memory of buttons is probably one that is not unique to me.  My maternal grandmother had a tin, full of buttons.  There were dozens of buttons that had been removed from discarded articles of clothing.  She often gave me this tin to play with - dumping out buttons, putting in buttons, organizing buttons into little piles, feeling the smoothness of some and the roughness of others.  I loved that button tin (and the late grandmother that is so intimately associated with that memory).  To this day the sound of buttons rattling around in a old tin evokes such strong emotion in me.

So, I hoard buttons.


I store all my buttons in small plastic bags.  Each plastic bag holds a different set of buttons.  I so enjoy going through these buttons to find just the perfect match for a new garment that is hot off the machines.  It stirs up fond memories every time I open the button drawer in my sewing room.

22 July 2012

The Taming of the Arse

So, you may be asking, how's that whole 'lose weight/eat healthier/ exercise more' thing going?

Well, I'd be lying if I said I was where I had hoped to be by mid July way back when I started this journey on January 1st.  Last we spoke, I had dropped nine pounds and was feeling much better.

Since then, I have had a few set backs.

My professional life was very stressful during April, May and June (let's just say that teachers are often taken for granted by many).  About that time, I noticed that I was becoming a bit obsessed over the whole food thing (not eating disorder level obsession, but rather just a smidgen too focused on every label, calorie and gram - a focus that I can't hope to maintain long term).  So,  I decided to take a step back and reassess my priorities and figure out how to go about getting healthier in a way that I can carry on over the course of my lifetime.  I don't want any quick fixes, but rather long term attitude changes.

Unfortunatley, I became too lackadaisical and my quantity of exercised decreased.  However, my food habits didn't deteriorate completely, so in the end I only gained back two of the nine pounds I had lost.

The last two weeks I have been able recommit myself to a healthier lifestyle and I have been increasing the exercise and cleaning up the eating.  So, I am hoping to shed the last few pounds by the end of the year.  Slow and steady and maintainable is my new mantra.


20 July 2012

Skirty Dozen

Here is another of my "Skirty Dozen" dirndl skirts that I have introduced you to previously.

This time the skirt is made from a mauve/dusty rose/rust print rayon fabric from (you guessed it) Fabric Mart.  It has the most interesting splotchy linear print that really has several more colours in it than I listed above.  I really like prints like this - there are so many mix and match possibilities with the other garments in my wardrobe due to all the colours that are present.

I have paired the skirt with a flouncy and ruffly purple sleeveless shell and a dark brown cardigan.  Both the cardigan and the top are purchased items.

My shoes are a comfortable pair of bronze wedge sandals from Clarks (I love Clarks shoes!). I also have these in silver - when I find a good pair of shoes, I often by multiples.  I can't be the only one that does this, right?

This is my typical uniform for work.  It is professional, but not stuffy.  Comfortable, but not sloppy.  And simple to thrown on - skirt, top, cardi - what could be easier?

18 July 2012

Memories of a Prom Dress

As many of you know, I chaperone Prom every year and this year* was no exception.  As per my usual, I sewed up a spiffy little dress.  I love attending Prom because it allows me to indulge in my desire for pretty party dresses by providing me with a venue to display said dresses.

This year, I revisited a lovely vintage pattern, Simplicity 3323.  I have made this pattern before, so knew how to put it together quickly (since I was coming down to the wire in terms of timing - why, oh why, do I always leave my Prom dresses to the last minute?).  I also had a list of tweaks to make to the dress that I had jotted down from the first go around.  The bodice was lengthened by 1" and I scooped away a 1/2" of the front armscyces, as the original dress was binding on my arms when I would reach forward.  This solved the really rather annoying straight-jackety feeling.

I chose a bright blue taffeta that had black flocked roses scattered over the fabric.  I had received this fabric as a freebie from Fabric Mart a year or so ago and it had been impatiently aging in my stash ever since.  I am absolutely smitten with this fabric, but I never would have purchased it on my own.  Thank you Fabric Mart's Free Bundle for providing me with interesting and unexpected  textiles! 

Only the bodice is lined (with some black silk dupioni that was left over from another project), as the flocked fabric is not transparent at all and I wanted the dress to be light and airy for a warm day.

I accessorized the distinctly 50s dress with a pair of metallic T-strap heels and a small sparkly pin at the waist.

I received many compliments (from students and staff alike) and I was cool and comfortable all evening.  This dress was a definite winner!

* Prom actually occurred at the beginning of May, so let's pretend it didn't take me two months to post this, mmkay?

16 July 2012

Skirty Dozen

I have a backlog of projects to show y'all.  That's probably because I've been MIA for so long.  Hey, what can I say?  I've been busy and to be honest, really rather cranky because of the politics of my job.  But, I don't want to be a Sally-Feel-Sorry-For-Myself, so I'll spare you the gruesome details.  Besides, this is the third week of my summer vacation and I am starting to feel fine.

I have been catching up on a million little projects around the house (cleaning and home dec mainly), so I feel a sense of accomplishment.  Does anyone else feel really virtuous and buoyed up after they clean and organize the house or is that just my neat freakiness talking?  One of these days I'll have to snap a few room pics to share - considering we've been in the new house almost a year now and I have been remiss in not inviting everyone over for a cup of tea (or a glass of wine or a mug of beer - hey, what ever rocks your boat!).

Anyhow, I have another outfit designed around one of my Skirty Dozen to show today.  The skirt fabric is a black/pink/grey rayon woven from Fabric Mart (I bet some of you have this exact fabric in your stash closet right now) that drapes just beautifully.  The top is a sleeveless burgundy shell that has a ribbon swirl design around the neckline and the sweater is a silver metallic fabric.  Both the top and sweater are RTW items.  The shoes are also silver metallic (to tie in with the silver sweater) and my only accessory is a silver Celtic design pin. 

It seems odd to see a long sleeve sweater for those of us suffering in the heat wave in North America right now.  However, I took this photo a couple of months back when it was much cooler outside.

That's all for today - see ya soon!

8 April 2012

The Taming of the Arse - Week 14

I am proud to say that I have shaved off a pound this week - for a grand total of nine pounds since New Year's Day.  Not super fast progress by any standard, but I'll take slow progress over no progress any day.

Unfortunately, my eating habits have back slid a bit.  A few too many treats and a bit too much junk food has been consumed lately.  I am still eating mainly healthy meals, however I tend to punctuate them with chocolate far too often these days.  So, it's time to clean up the diet as I go forward.

My hip is still a bit sore, but it is certainly feeling better as of late.  

All in all, a good couple of weeks have just past by - here's hoping to better times ahead!

25 March 2012

The Taming of the Arse - Week 12

Twelve weeks or 84 days or 2 016 hours or 120 960 minutes or 7 257 600 seconds...how ever you measure it...how times flies...

Within this span, I have lost eight pounds, built up my strength (upper body, lower body and core) and cleaned up my diet a large bit.  My bum knee (the one I dislocated several years ago) has a broader range of motion and I just generally feel healthier.

Unfortunatley, over the last while I have a had a flare-up of hip pain (which a physiotherapist-turned-teacher friend thinks may be related to my sciatica), which worsens when I do jumping jacks or jogging or the like.  I have been trying to avoid activities that exacerbate the problem, but full-body exercises typically require the use of the hips.  So, I am going to look into stretching and strengthening exercises for this area. 

I have finally started to notice that my clothes are fitting better.  In the past few days, I have been able to wear some pants that have been too small for a while now - cue angels singing.  My body has a tricky habit of building muscle quickly (woo hoo!), but releasing fat slowly (boo hoo!).  It is rather disconcerting to work hard at healthy diet and exercise, only to have newly built muscle push out the existing fat, which results in my dimensions getting larger before they get smaller.  So, feel free to picture me laying on the floor, drumming my heels and screaming, "BUT, I'm supposed to be getting SMALLER!!"  However, it appears that the fat burning has begun in earnest now (cross your fingers please).  Whew!

So, if you have been playing along at home, how goes the battle of the bulge?

21 March 2012

Kimono Uno

It is a balmy 27 C (81 F) here today peeps!  Considering the normal average temperature for March in these parts is 6 C (42 F), this is a reason for celebration!  We have been having unseasonably warm weather for the last week and a half.  The sunny, warm days are welcome to stay for as long as they like!


Since the weather was so darned fabulous today, I was feeling like bright colours.  So, I popped on a recent creation, the Diane Kimono Dress from Serendipity Studio.  The addition of some strappy red sandals and a turquoise with coral necklace and I was out the door, ready to enjoy the day.


The fabric was from a free bundle from Fabric Mart - another of the awesome rayon wovens they had a while back.  I must admit that when I first got the fabric I was a bit skeptical.  The colours are not really "my" colours and the bold pattern is a tad loud (okay, it's bloody well screeching).  However, the fabric kept making eyes at me every time I opened the fabric closet.  So, I succumbed to its fibre wiles and used it despite my reservations.  Well, I'm glad I did.  I got a ton of compliments on my dress today, which is a sure fire way of elevating a so-so garment to superstar status!

But, let's talk a bit about the pattern.  The design of this dress is quite simple to put together and so easy to wear.  The pattern gives you many design options - the crossover bodice, with cut-on sleeve, can be paired with a slim skirt, a fuller skirt or a tiered skirt and the garment can be finished with varying widths of hem and sleeve bands.  The torso is nipped in at the waist with a drawstring made of self fabric.

In the pattern envelope, there are several inspiration photos of sample dresses, each made with two or more coordinating fabrics.  However, I decided to stick with the entire dress made from one single fabric - I didn't want to get too fancy on my first go 'round (which I have dubbed my Kimono Uno).  I also settled on using the fuller skirt, combined with 1.5" bands at sleeve and hem.

After some flat pattern measuring, I cut out XS, with no modifications.  This proved to be a good choice and I was fairly pleased with the fit.  My only complaint is with the width and depth of the neckline - for my small frame, the neck is a bit too big for my comfort.  I will be fixing this issue for future dresses.

I have plans to sew up many more Diane Kimono dresses.  This pattern will certainly get a lot of mileage this spring.  It's fast to sew and it provides a ton of style possibilities.  I can't wait to start mixing and matching fabrics and design elements to create some interesting dresses.  So, stay tuned, because my creativity has been unleashed.

20 March 2012

The Skirty Dozen

Happy Spring, Northern Hemispherites!

In honour of the changing of the season (goodbye winter, hello spring) and the fact that it is a lovely warm day, I decided to don a cheerful outfit today. 

The skirt is another of my "Skirty Dozen," made from a rayon woven that many of you will recognize from Fabric Mart offerings a while back.  It is soft and flowy fabric - perfect for a skirt.  It is also quite pretty with the sweet little floral pattern.

Both the teal top and the watermelon coloured cardigan punch up colours found in the print of the skirt.

The teal sandals and amber pendant are the finishing touches.

Every year, I always find winter so dreary and thus I'm positively itching to put on some bright colours by this time of March.

And it goes without saying (even though I am saying it) that I am ecstatic when sandal season rolls around.  I love banishing the socks and letting my toes feel the breezes.  Ahh... delicious...

But, enough chatting.  It looks like a certain pup is telling me it's time for a walk.

17 March 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Kiss me, I'm Irish adorable!


14 March 2012

The Skirty Dozen

Sometimes I like big, involved projects that challenge me and expand my skills.  Other times, I prefer quick and easy.  These twelve skirts (I like to call them the skirty dozen*) fall soundly into the second category.

 
Anyone can make an elastic waist dirndl skirt - all you need is a bit of fabric, some wide elastic and about an hour.  To make your own:

  1. Find a piece of pretty fabric.  Make sure its width is large enough to go around your hips with some wiggle room.  Let's say I am using 50" fabric - that will give me around 10" of ease.
  2. Determine the length you would like your skirt (for me, I usually like 22").  Add 2" to that measurement (24" it is).
  3. So, I cut out a piece of fabric that is 50" by 24" and stitch up the selvedge side to make a big tube.
  4. Cut a piece of elastic (I use 2" wide elastic) that is comfortable on your waist.  Attach the cut ends together to make a tube.
  5. Gather the fabric tube onto the elastic tube.  I pin the skirt to the elastic in quarters.  Then, I stretch the elastic as I serge the fabric onto it, one quarter of the tube at a time.
  6. Finish the bottom with a 2" hem.
  7. Wear and enjoy.
All the skirty dozen are made with light weight fabrics (like rayon and linen) and are therefore, great for the warmer weather. However, because of the darker colours of some of the fabrics, those skirts can be worn with tights and boots in the winter too.  So, many of these skirts can serve my wardrobe needs year round.

Here's one example in action.  The skirt is made from a coral/red/grey/black print rayon woven that Fabric Mart was offering a while back.  The coral ruffle front tank top is from Land's End and the black fulled wool blazer is so old I can't remember where I got it.  I have on black textured tights and pair of black leather boots to cozy things up.

Over the next while, I'll post each skirt as I have styled it for work and/or play.




* So, how many of you caught my awesome play on words?

11 March 2012

The Taming of the Arse - Week 10

What a busy few weeks I have had - I could barely keep my head above water.  The biggest culprits were progress reports and parent-teacher interviews.  But, all is well now.  Can I get a big, "Oh, yeah, baby!" for March Break (some of my international readers may call it Spring Break).  One blissful week off, to do with as I please.  Sigh...

On the healthy living front, I have been doing pretty well.  I am still sitting at seven pounds lost, as I seem to have hit another plateau.  However, I am taking it in stride as I can tell that I am fitter. 

My biggest accomplishment to date is my increasing ability to do push ups.  Six weeks ago ago, I could do five bent-knee push ups, one month ago I upped the tally to ten and as of today I can do eighteen.  Even though they are the sissy push ups, I am still very proud at how much stronger I am getting. 

So, tell me, my little health nuts, how goes the fight?

26 February 2012

The Taming of the Arse - Week 8

Week 8 already?  Wow, time has flown since New Year's Day when my new and improved healthy lifestyle began. 

In that time I have managed to lose seven pounds and a bit of body fat.  I can climb stairs now with ease.  My knee, hips and back are feeling fine and I just feel better overall. 

My food choices have improved immeasurably.  I have even gotten to the point that sugary candy holds very little appeal for me.  When I do indulge, I go for the good stuff - high end dark chocolate rather than cheap, waxy chocolate bars.

The only issue I have had is with exercise.  I was into a regular exercise routine, but the last two weeks have not been stellar.  Two weeks ago I spent all week recovering from the previous week's field trip - between exhaustion and work demands, my exercise time was very, very limited.  Then, this past week was a write off because of a nasty head cold.  So, I only had three days with exercise over the past two weeks.  However, I am feeling better now, so I will be back on the work out wagon from today onward.

How are the rest of my healthy living buddies doing?

****************************************************************

Just so you don't wonder if I will ever post about sewing again.  I have a few finished projects to show you.  It's really just a matter of getting some photos together.  So, stay tuned...

19 February 2012

The Taming of the Arse - Week 6 & 7

Hello all!  It's been a while!

I returned from the Florida field trip last Sunday and immediately fell into bed.  All week long, I went to work then went to bed.  I guess I was a wee bit exhausted, eh?

So, I had a break from exercising for a few days last week (the week I was on the field trip there was plenty of walking and snorkeling to keep me busy).  Yesterday was the first day that I felt up to doing some exercise.  Boy, did it feel good!

I did manage to keep my eating under control for the most part.  Unfortunately, the food served at the Sea Camp (during the field trip) was processed carb, after processed carb.  And very few veggies to be seen.  When you're used to eating whole grains and heaping portions of vegetables, it's a bit of a shock to the system.  Thankfully, I have returned to my regular eating habits now and my digestive tract is much happier for it.

I am now seven weeks into my new lifestyle.  I have lost six pounds, shaved off some body fat, cleaned up my diet and maintained a regular exercise regimen (for the most part).  I am starting to see progress in the mirror and I am definitely stronger.  Yay, me!

So, folks, tell me how your journey is progressing.

5 February 2012

The Taming of the Arse - Week 5

I have had one more week on the health bandwagon.

The bad news is that I am still plateauing.

The good news is that I reducing my body fat percentage.  Over the last five weeks, I have decreased my body fat percentage by 2.5%.  So, although I haven't seen the scale budge in a while, the nasty fat is going away.

Also, keeping me happy is the fact that I am feeling so much better than I did five weeks ago.  I am not winded going up long flights of stairs.  My bad knee (dislocated the little sucker several years back) is feeling stronger and my sciatica hasn't acted up in ages.  I feel younger and healthier and not so cranky all the time.

On the eating front, I have been doing well all week - plenty of veggies, whole grains and lean meats.  However, I will admit that tonight I will be indulging in heaping plates of Chinese food during the Super Bowl (I don't like football, so I need something to keep me interested!).

So, my intrepid buddies, are you still with me?  I sure hope the answer is yes!


*************************************************

I won't be around at all for the next week.  My colleague, Andrew, and I are taking a group of students to the Florida Keys.  Every couple of years we venture down to Newfound Harbour Marine Institute & Sea Camp for some sun, snorkeling and marine biology. I am not a biologist by any stretch of the imagination, but I always tag along because we are required to have teachers of both sexes along for the ride.  See ya when I get home!

30 January 2012

Lacquer Lundi

I noticed something the other day.  I stick out my tongue (like a focused four year old) when I am carefully applying nail polish.  I do not carry this practice into any other activity in my life, just painting my nails.  This leads me to believe that polish application must be the most brain-frying procedure that I carry out in my daily life.  Huh.

On to the pretties...

Sally Hansen Nail Prisms - Emerald Amethyst
- purchased at The Bargain!Shop (chain deep discount store) for $1.08 CDN

Colour: A gorgeous light purple and green duochrome.  A duochrome is a polish that appears two different colours, depending on the angle from which it is viewed (see the video for a demo of this colour change trick). 

Number of Coats for Opacity:  Two 

FormulaReally good - not too thin, not too thick. Slides on so smoothly - really a dream to use.

Wear: Excellent - only tip wear after three days.

Comments:  I am not too shy to profess my love for these older polishes.  Man, oh man, did Sally Hansen ever get it right with this one.  The colour is simply stunning, the formula is excellent and the wear is great.  Awesome sauce!

video



Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Blue Me Away!
- purchased at Zellers (chain store) for $2.99 CDN

Colour: A bright blue creme.

Number of Coats for OpacityTwo. 

FormulaReally good - not too thin, not too thick. 

Wear: Great - only tip wear after three days.

Comments: I have gushed about this particular brand of polish in the past - amazing stuff for the price.  Oh, and I love, love, love the wider brush.


Joe Fresh Style - Coral
- purchased at Zehrs (chain grocery store) for $3.33 CDN

Colour: A coral creme, just like the name implies.  This one is for the polish colour traditionalists in the crowd.

Number of Coats for Opacity:  Two, although a third coat would have evened out a few streaks.  I just didn't have drying time for a third coat.

FormulaGood - perhaps a smidgen on the thin side.

Wear: Great - only tip wear after two days filled with hand intensive activities.

Comments:  Joe Fresh Style is a brand known by any Canadian that lives near a Zehrs or Superstore.  I love this line of polishes - they are a truly great value.

29 January 2012

The Taming of the Arse - Week 4

Ahh, the dreaded "P" word.  "What word is that?", you might ask.  It's the word that strikes fear into the heart of every person trying to shed a few pounds.  The word that makes grown women cry and large men gnash their teeth in horror.  The "P" word, my dear friends, is plateau.

Yes, I am stalled on a plateau.  For ten days now.  Just sitting static at one number on the scale.  Unmoving.  Immobile.

At first, I was very philosophical about the whole thing.

"Every dieter hits plateaus.  They are inevitable.  No need for alarm," I'd say in a flippant tone with a wave of my hand.

Five days later, "Huh, so I seem to be firmly entrenched in this plateau.  Wow, this is disconcerting.  I sure hope it gives up it's strangle hold on me soon." 

This morning, as I stepped off the scale, I believe my exact words were, "What the f#@k!"

I think I may be getting less zen about the whole thing.

Admittedly, my bad attitude this morning might also be due to the aching in my sad little muscles.  Two days ago, I added some strength training into the mix.  Up until now, I had been doing cardio (treadmill, walks with the dog) and stretching/balance work (yoga). I figured tossing in some weight training might help break the plateau.*

Unfortunately, our weight machine is still in pieces from the move - we hope to have it set back up in the spring.  So, I turned on my XBox and loaded up Yourself!Fitness.  It is one of the first exercise related games that came on to the market (way back in 2004 for the XBox - that's like the stone age for technology by today's standards, but I still like it).  There is a animated instructor, Maya, that leads you through aerobics, strength training and yoga routines. For each workout (which can be 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes long), you choose a main focus:  weight loss, cardio, upper body strength, core body strength, lower body strength or flexibility.  You can also choose to use had weights or a step bench during the sessions.  If you don't want an actual workout, you can spend 20 minutes in the "Meditation Garden" doing yoga.

On Friday I did a 60 minute upper body strength session, followed by a 60 minute core strength workout on Saturday.  Today, I plan on moving as little as possible since I might have overdone it a wee bit.  Okay, so descending a flight of stairs is excruciating and trying to sit down is tortuous, so yeah, I believe I let my enthusiasm get the better of me.  But nothing is irreparably damaged, so hopefully once the pain subsides, my new routine will blast me out of the Plateau Zone (cue eerie music).

How about everybody else?  Still going strong?  Tell me all about it.



* Strength training is excellent for women.  It staves off osteoporosis, which is always a concern as we women age.  Not to mention, studies show that muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells, so increasing the body's muscle mass is always a good idea when you're trying to lose weight.

23 January 2012

Lacquer Lundi

Straight to the pretties...

Quo - Flirt
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $10 CDN

Colour: A sheerish purple with teal and pink flashes.

Number of Coats for Opacity: Three.  I was trying to get it as opaque as possible.

FormulaReally good - not too thin, not too thick.  I realize it's meant to be a sheerish polish, but I would have loved it with more pigment.

Wear: Tip wear and one small chip after two days.

Comments:  This is a nice enough polish, but it didn't blow my socks off.  Great colour, but too sheer for my  taste.  Also, the shape of the bottle is cute on the shelf, but a PITA to use.  The square handle (which holds the brush) is difficult to manipulate when applying the polish.




Avon Nailwear Pro -Splendid Blue
- purchased at Avon.ca for $2.99 CDN

Colour: A dark navy blue with silver shimmer. 

Number of Coats for Opacity: Two - plenty of pigment in this one.  If I had been more careful I may have gotten away with one coat. 

FormulaReally good - not too thin, not too thick.

Wear: A bit of tip wear after two days.

Comments:  I love this polish - the colour, the formula, the wear - everything.

22 January 2012

The Taming of the Arse - Week 3

Week three is all wrapped up and all I can say is that I'm glad it's over!

I started the week by over-eating, due to the monthly surge of hormones.  Is anyone else completely unable to say no to chocolate for around two days a month?  Please tell me it's not just me.

Also, there has been a stomach flu going around school lately and usually I am immune to those nasty little buggers.  Usually.  Not this time though.  By the end of the week, I had it.  Apparently Mother Nature felt strongly that I should do a cleanse.  So, I had to go with the flow (snarf!  flu humour - hilarious!). 

And the timing on this sickness could not have been worse. This is the end of the semester, so I'm finishing up classes and putting together final exams.  Busy, busy, busy.  No time time for this crap (again, with the flu humour!).

All this meant that I was only able to exercise  two days this week.  However, I did eat healthy most of the days (except for the days I didn't really eat).

So, when it was all averaged out, I actually came out ahead...or behind - I guess it depends on how you look at it.  Regardless, I am down another pound (for a grand total of five pounds lost in 2012).  Yay, me!

So, fess up folks.  How did your week pan out?  Down a pound?  Up a pound?  Still working out?  Sitting on the couch with a bag of Fritos?  C'mon, tell me all about it.