Random end-of-summer thoughts

It’s not quite the end of my summer yet, but it’s getting close…I have a faculty meeting for the school I teach band at on Tuesday, and school starts on the 31st. I don’t actually start until the Wednesday of that week, though, since I’m only there one day a week. I’ve also been trying to get an idea of what my flute teaching schedule is going to look like, and so far it’s been kind of a mess. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to work in time for both exercise and craftiness, but that remains to be seen. I’ve kind of been feeling like this may be the most hectic fall (which is always one of my busiest seasons) of my adult life to date, between juggling my band job, fitting in my teaching (which I have to rearrange my entire schedule due to schedule issues with music schools that I have no control over), and my brother’s upcoming wedding, which I still need to arrange one piece of music for and then find time to rehearse with the violinist. I really need to try and finish that next week.

In preparation for the fall, I’ve been pondering several things:

  • I’ve had cooking on the brain lately. Maybe it’s my as-of-yet unfulfilled desire to watch Julie & Julia (which, at the rate I’m going, won’t be fulfilled until it comes out on DVD and I can Netflix it), maybe it’s because I’m gearing up for fall and usually the only way I can eat dinner then is to take it out of the freezer. Probably both. But I’ve been in the mood to do it more. I did manage to concoct something on Thursday with some pasta, canned chicken, bottled mushrooms and olives, and fresh tomatoes from the garden–it wasn’t quite something I could call a recipe yet, but it might be worth experimenting with in the future. And I’ve spent a good bit of today cooking–an Asian-style marinaded pork in the crockpot, and a mushroom risotto to eat on the side with some roasted chicken I already had in the freezer. I used recipes for both, but ended up having to tweak both due to some ingredient constraints– the only day I could run to the natural food store to get dried mushrooms was Tuesday, and so I didn’t want to get both dried and fresh because I knew the fresh wouldn’t be good by now and used all dried. And I didn’t have as much sour cream as it called for. And I forgot to add teriyaki sauce to the store list, so instead of doing the peanut sauce that it called for, I ended up having to combine teriyaki, soy sauce and hoison sauce. (Probably just as well….the hoison had been around for awhile, so it was probably time to use it up. I ate some of the risotto for lunch, and it turned out pretty tasty (although better when I added a couple of pieces of bacon!) I’m not sure if it’ll be my go-to recipe though, because it was pretty involved– two saucepans and all. The pork is going to be my dinner tonight, and hopefully will be done within about the next ten minutes of when I’m writing this. So hopefully it’ll turn out ok.
  • Though technically my pledge over at Wardrobe Refashion is supposed to end at the end of the month, I effectively ended it for myself as of yesterday. I need too many pairs of pants to sew and thrift them all by the time it gets cold enough for them here (which, given how the weather’s been here in the mid-Atlantic this year, it’ll probably get suddenly cold right around the middle of October with no warning and no in-between season.) And JC Penney’s was having a sale that I had a coupon for. I’d been getting concerned lately about weight gain due to having to take my measurements for a recent sewing project (which will be elaborated on in a near-future post) and having the waist be a whole inch off from what I’d had written down before. I’m actually feeling kind of better about it after yesterday’s shopping trip, because as it turns out, I was fitting into pants a full two sizes below what I thought it would be! But here’s the problem: almost every pair of pants I tried on still looked awful on me. I don’t know if it’s my particular curves, especially in my thighs, or the fabric they were using to make these pants, but every single lump and bump was showing, and I just wasn’t comfortable with walking around in public like that. (The seamstress in me is inclined to think the fabric is slightly more to blame, seeing as how most of it was thin, clingy polyester blends.) So I ended up only getting one pair of trousers and one pair of jeans (to replace my now-defunct homemade ones, at least until I can rework the fit and have the time to make it.) I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way I am going to get pants that fit and look good on me is to make them myself….though I’m still going to have to try a few other stores in the meantime, because I don’t even want to try them again until I can get the whole fitting thing down.
  • Not to mention I don’t have the time to sew them right now anyway… I have a few other pressing projects on the plate. (Now try saying that five times fast.) I’ve been working mostly on a quickie Ren Faire costume for next weekend, but that’s pretty much done except for two accessories (a head-scarf type thing for my peasanty Gypsy-ish costume, and a drawstring pouch to hold essentials like my camera and money which I’m planning on hanging from my waist for some hands-free fun.) I’ve also been spending some time today on the last piece of my summer mini-wardrobe that I’ll be finishing at this time, my BWOF knit tank top. I’m hoping to finish that after dinner, so we’ll see if the storms hold off. And then the next thing has to be tracing out the pattern and making the muslin for the dress pattern that I’m hoping to use for my brother’s October 3rd wedding. It was a tough decision to make, but I decided to make things easier on myself and not actually sew them something for their shower gift. And I’m thinking that for the wedding, I might just give them an IOU on some pillows to go with the loveseat they bought. (No room in the condo they’ll be moving into for a couch.)

Food cravings aside (the teriyaki pork stuff is pretty tasty, btw! Eating that now), I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my sewing and my lifestyle and how they fit together. And I came to the conclusion that I’ve been putting way too much pressure on myself. Not in terms of quality of the garments, so much– I’d still like the finished products to look good and be finished properly– but more in terms of feeling like I have to make everything. I could almost define it as a pride issue– like I have to be totally DIY and self-sufficient or I’m failing. I want to be constantly developing my skills and stretching myself, of course, but I don’t want to suck all the fun out of sewing by feeling that I have to make everything. Plus that takes away from other creative endeavors that I’d like to do, like my neglected scrapbooks (I did finally get a new batch of photos developed, so that’s a start). And, on a practical note, I’m just not going to be able to sew many clothes over the next couple of months, not while I have an entire bedroom to paint and redecorate and sew for. As busy as this upcoming season of my life is going to be, maybe it’s ok to just step back a little. And not feel guilty that I have to buy pants right now.

(The next post will have a picture of some kind, I promise.)


3 thoughts on “Random end-of-summer thoughts

  1. Becky,
    I've had pretty good luck with making the freezer meals, such as the ones at savingdinner.com (NAYY.) The good thing is that you can buy ingredients when they are on sale, put most of the ingredients together in advance and then put the whole thing in the freezer. I've even managed to use the oven to bake several of the 'skillet' meals, with no loss (in my opinion) in quality and a savings in time ('futz'-ing time, not actual cooking time necessarily)

    Anyhow, I think you can save yourself a lot of grief when you know there's stuff all ready to cook sitting in your freezer and you don't have to do anything but pull it out and stick it in the refrig to thaw in the morning!


  2. Sewing + pressure that's not deadline driven usually = burnout * avoidance

    I haven't proven that theorem but I feel its truth in my gut. 🙂 I only took the WR pledge for 2 months, which ended a year ago, but I have bought very few new clothes since. And you've certainly kept up a long-term commitment to WR. No worries. Only goodness!


  3. I don't feel like I have a particularly hard-to-fit figure, but I have a heckuva time finding pants that flatter, too. I've just decided it's the manufacturers' fault at this point and on rare occasions I do find a good fit, I buy several pairs, because they are guaranteed to be discontinued by the time I need a new pair. It's some kind of strange Pants Law. And a run-on sentence.


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