Thursday, September 27, 2012

Clever Links: September 27, 2012

Small things can change a life. That's my motto with these clever links. They don't mean a lot, just to make your day-to-day sewing easier, but they can be lifechanging! If you want to know more, then just keep on reading...

Costumized Hangers
Even though this isn't really sew-related, I'm still posting this one. 'Cause you need hangers to keep all your clothes - wether you made them yourself or not - organized. And how better to do this than with these cute hangers. All you need is a needle nose plier, wire cutters, drill and a pen or marker. Before you know it, you'll have your very own hanger with your name on it (or perhaps a nice flower or something).

Biais Tape
Grosgrain found this amazing how-to on making 5 yards biais tape out of a fat quarter. Really amazing! If you don't know what a fat quarter is, let me explain it to you. Basically, it's very simple: it's a piece of fabric cut according to a specified size: 18"x22" (46cm x 56cm).

Sewing Tips
Need some useful sewing tips, straight from industrial sewing? That's exactly what Coletterie had to offer to you. 15 ways on how to sew faster, easier or just make your sewing experience a bit more fun. 15 ways to improve your sewing and the look of your garments without buying an industrial sewing machine.

Pocket Detail
Also from Coletterie, I found this cute tutorial on how to make your pockets that tad more interesting. Bored of those plain old pockets on your jeans or jacket? No problem! Just follow the tutorial and you'll update your pocket just like that. Oh, and it gives your jacket that extra vintage look. Bonus!

Customized Hanger
Biais Tape

Sewing Tips

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The busy days... (part 3)

With so much stuff to do, all at the same time, I almost forgot to finish the story of our vacation at Chamonix. It's been a little over a month, but I can still recall all the details. And writing about takes me right back to that fairytale in France.

Last time I wrote about  the Mèr de Glace and our not so easy hike towards it. By the way, I'm very proud of myself that I was able to complete the hike, even if I despised it at times. After our visit at the Mèr de Glace I didn't really want to do a lot of hiking or even walking that day. Luckily, the next day we had planned to go to the Aguile du Midi, the highest point you can get to, without climbing the Mont Blanc. It was something I really looked forward to, except for one thing: We had to rise at 5am so we could get in line at 6am.

Lightheaded but still: 12602 ft above sealevel!

Now, I'm more of a night gowker than an early bird. But still, if we wanted to get a good look around without too many people who wanted to do the same thing at the same time, that's what we had to do. So at 6am we joined the small line that had already formed. We were accompanied by climbers who wanted to get as much time as they could on the Mont Blanc. Someday, I'll be one of those climbers. Someday. untill then, I need to practice a little bit (or should I say a lot?). Anyway, it was a nice experience to see those climbers getting ready, pulling their gear on and departing.

Climbers at the start of their journey

The fact that we were so early, gave us the time to look around without the stress of too much peopole. At some point, I even felt like we were the only ones there. No sound of anyting but the wind, no humans but those little dots on the mountainside, ... Heaven! My other half and I took some really amazing pictures. I just felt like being in a fairytale. One with dragons who ruled the sky, flying high above those snowwhite clouds...

The dragon imperium
By the time we got back in the village, it was to early to stop doing anything, so we decided to go on another trip. When you have your car with you, it just broadens the opportunities. We took the car and went to another hikingtrail a few kilometers away. This hikingtrail litterally crossed a mountainbiketrail - seriously, there were signs to tell you that you had to look out for the mountainbikers and vice versa. To be honoust, it's really strange to see all those mountainbikes crammed in a téléphérique and then in one of those ski-elevaters. Offcourse my other half was besides himself when he saw the mountainbiketrail. Luckily for me, he didn't have his mountainbike with him, so I wasn't worried he would break this or that whilst mountainbiking. Back to the trail, at the end of it, you have a nice view of the Mont Blanc, even though Chamonix is around the corner. The trail wasn't too hard (if you went from top to bottom, not the other way around), but we had to stop a few times because our surroundings were so beautiful.

The Mont Blanc
The beautiful view

The Mont Blanc isn't the only huge mountain in the area. I forgot the name of the second largest, but it's definatly worth a visit. So on day 6, we were off to take a look. Beautiful view, lots of really cool information, but there is only 1 downside to this story: the platform. It was just a steel grid that lead you over the mountains. You could see straight thru it to the pointy rocks beneath. So, there wasn't a hair on my head that wanted to step on the parts where there wasn't a concrete part beneath the grid. Even so, I did get a good look at the amazing view and it was all worth it. Afterwards we went to the cafetaria to get something to drink, because with all the stairs we did at that altitude, we were a little lightheaded. It was even worse than at the Aguile du Midi! but once we were back on groundlevel, everything was back to normal.

On the scary grid
The next day we were supposed to go parapente (a.k.a. paragliding). Alas, the weather wasn't in agreement: it was soooooo cloudy you could only see a few feet ahead of you. Flying in these surcumstances wasn't advisable, so we resceduled. Instead of paragliding, we went on another hike. The second most difficult, if you ask me. I was really, really glad when I saw the right picture below: the end of our trip! Or at least almost the end. Naturally, at the very end of the trail, when you think you're already past all the difficult parts, there was another climb to the top, just to make sure you are exhausted and craving for that delicious soda at the shop. And boy, did it taste delicious!

Together in the clouds
The end of the trail (almost)

The day before our departure was the day we FINALLY got to go paragliding! Yesterday the weather was bad, but today nothing could stop us! The sun was shining bright, it was a hot day, and still I was accompanied by a sweater. We'd never done paragliding before and thought that it would be cold up there. As it turned out, we didn't really need the sweater, but it wasn't too hot while wearing one. If you ever get the chance to go paragliding in the mountains, I urge you to take that chance! Trust me, you won't regret it. It was something I really wanted to do on our vacation, but my other half wasn't really convinced. Afterwards he told me he was glad I got him into it, because it was such a fun experience. I didn't have any trouble with the height and the fact that I didn't have a solid floor under my feet. On the contrary, I felt really safe and was never afraid of the heigth. One of the funniest things we did, must be take-off. But that's because I'm a small person and my instructor said that I had to keep running even if my feet didn't touch the ground anymore. So after three steps, there I was: dancing in the air! Oh, by the way, that day it was windlass, but because of our movement thru the air, we produced enough wind to glide along. I didn't even notice that there wasn't any wind! At the end of our trip in the sky - after I got to steer a little (it frightened me a bit more than I'm willing to confess) - my instructor did some acrobatic stuff in the air. I couldn't stop laughing! One moment - the best one of all - our parachute went almost beneath us (on purpose). It was just soooo thrilling and so much fun! Again: this is something I recommend to everyone! I had the time of my life and it was worth every penny of it! This is something I'll be thinking of regularly.

Paragliding: getting ready
High in the sky
That's that: our Chamonix-adventure! Sorry for the long post, but when something is this good, you just have to write a long, yet summorized description. We went thru and saw too much to describe everything, but the most memorable experience is written down. The way back wasn't bad. Tired but satisfied and with our batteries fully loaded, we've enjoyed our last day of vacation by doing nothing. :-)

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Quickie

My september contribution for the challenge is a real quickie: it only took my an hour or 2 to make it from start to finish. Something very simple: perfect for when you're sewing with jersey for the very first time - like myself. Besides that, I simply needed it: a camisole or vest or however you name it. I just call it an undershirt, because I wear these things as undershirts.

In stores you can buy these things voor €12 (about $15,25 USD). Too much money for something so small and siple. If you're lucky, you can find one for €6 ( $7,62 USD). This project cost me €1,5 ( $ 1.91 USD) for the elastic. The rest I already had. I didn't even need to buy fabric or take something from my stash. I used an old, oversized T-shirt. I even selvaged the hem from the original T-shirt (less work for me with a neat finish) and the model with the discriptions came from this lovely lady and her explanation. It's a free pattern wich you just have to check out.

Patterns like these are a gift of heaven. I'm definitly making several more from this one. Perhaps I'll even make some non-undershirts ones. Just to wear around the house or on a really hot day. What do you think? I know I'm sold!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Clever Links: September 10, 2012

A mannequin is one of the best inventions conserning sewing essentials. If you don't have someone to help you with fitting your clothes, this is such a good help to you! The only downside? They still come in standerd sizes, even though you can modify the dolls. Still, even after modifying, it's just not your own body. Well, from now on, things'll be different thanks to Its Sew Chic's tutorial. She explains how you can alter your mannequin to a perfect fit. It takes a little time to make the alterations, but they're worth it!

Threads has a great tutorial on how to make your lingerie look fabulous. One of the tricks they show you, is how to make those buttonloops look professional without too much effort. Really, that somebody else didn't come up with this (or even I), I don't know. It's just soooooo simple with a huuuuuuuge effect on the finishing touches. This is definatly on of my highly recommended tutorials I think you should take a look at.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Clever Links: September 7, 2012

It's been a while, but it's back! I've got some clever links to show you. be sure to check them out!

Have you ever wondered what to do with that old pair of jeans that's just lying in your closet? Sure, you could make shorts out of them, but wouldn't it be more fashionable and fun to turn them in one of these? You can still wear your shorts, but now they're just that tad bit more fun to look at! I've got a couple of old jeans that I might transform...

Melly, from Melly Sews, has this amazing tutorial on how to make your very own t-shirt pattern. You must have that one favorite t-shirt that fits just perfect but is mostly worn out. From now on, that won't be a problem anymore. With the tutorial you'll be able to replicate that very t-shirt and keep wearing it! And if you don't want to make a pattern, you could always buy a pattern. For instance: Sewaholic's Renfrew pattern. A real dream to sew!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sorrow and opportunities

Last night my sister left. My 'little' sister, 3 years my junior, is going on Erasmus in Finland. Erasmus is a European project in wich you can go and study in another country for a few months onto a year. 4 Long months I'll miss my best friend with whom I shared all my thoughts, doubts, secrets, happiness. Yes, there is skype and e-mail and internet and a bunch of other stuff to keep in touch with. Still, it's not the same as sitting together 'till the dark of night, discussing this or that. My feelings are simular to when my Other Half went on his mission. There's just one thing different: back then I had so much sorrow I couldn't even cry when he left (it took me a couple of days). I was just numb with feeling. Yesterday I was able to cry, so I cried my heart out. Because in all these years we've never been apart by that distance for such a long time.

Even though it hurts to see her leave for a couple of months, I'm one of her most fervent encouragers to take the trip. It'll be such an enriching, life-changing event that she'll regret if she didn't do it when she got the chance. I hope she has the time of her life, with the parties of her life, making new friendships, doing everything she wants to do. Because if there is one thing she can make up for all of this heartbreak, it's to have fun and never regret the decision.

You can all follow her blog - just like me - and learn her story. How the parting went with friends, family and partner, how life and studying over there is compared to home. The shorter days, the culture shock, the other way of life. Keep your thumbs up for my little big sister who's exploring her world. She might be my little sister, but she's a young, competent, willfull, strong woman whom I deeply respect. So, Sushi: Let those Finns know who we, Belgians, are!

The busy days... (part 2)

In my last post, I told you that my busy days were over. The wedding has past (beautiful ceremony) and still I haven't find the time to write something untill now. Originally this post was planned to go up ages ago, but sometimes life just catches up and you have no choice but to accept it's wishes and commands. But enough of that. Let's head over to my wonderful vacation from 2 weeks ago.

We planned to ride to our destination in 2 steps. Along the way - a bit further than halfway -  we would stop and go camping for one night. Bit as it turned out, everything went so smooth we decided to do it in 1 day. So we arrived a full day ahead of schedule at our destination: Chamonix (FR). That 'little' town below the Mont Blanc. It really is a lovely town and our campsite was just at the corner of the Mèr de Glace. I didn't even give my Other Half the time to set the tent to take pictures of our breathtaking view at the Mèr de Glace and the Mont Blanc.

The corner of Mèr de Glace
The Mont Blanc

As nightfall closes in and the clouds begin to gather, you really get the most amazing views of the mountains surrounding the town.

The first two days we just hanged out at Chamonix. One reason for that was because we arrived a day ahead and the other reason is that we couldn't go to our place the next day untill 4pm. Day 3 was our first hiking-trip-day. And i have to say, we kicked it off real good. It was a beautiful track, with it's ups and downs (litterally and figuratively). My OH even saw some real wild animals, but everytime I tried to locate them, they vanished or I just didn't see them! The first hiking-trail was one of the more difficult ones, according to the map. But I have to say: except for the beginning and the end, it wasn't bad or difficult at all.

Trail to Le Lac Blanc

If I'm not mistaken, that first hike lead us to Le Lac Blanc. 2 Lakes made purely out of ice water from the glacier. That ice water is really ice and ice cold! You know the funny part? When we were up there, 2 people just jumped in and began to swim a few rounds!

Le Lac Blanc
The Mèr de Glace viewed from Le Lac Blanc

The same day, after our first hike, we went to the Brévent, one of the mountains across the Mont Blanc with a terrific view at the Mont Blanc (ofcourse). We decided we had hiked enough for the day, we took the téléphérique, instead of walking up the mountain for several hours. Now, what you guys need to know about this specific téléphérique - an elevator on cables - is that it didn't just go up the mountain along the side. Nope, that was just the first part (wich was terrifying enough for me). The second part, you hang god knows how high above the ground, while two cables lead your cabin across, from one mountain to another. I'll tell you this: I didn't leave that pole in the middle of the cabin one second. I can handle hiking along the abyss, because I controll my own legs, but depending an a device (wich was really, really safe by the way) to take you across one, that's a whole other story! But, just look at the picture, it was worth it!

At the Brévent with the Mont Blanc on the background

Day 4. A day I will never, ever forget! Starting at Chamonix-town we hiked all the way to the Mèr de Glace. Dear readers, I definatly died at least 3 times along the path! But, Jesus, what a lovely and rewarding route! Lovely and rewarding, but oh so steep! And do you know the hardest part? At the beginning you think: ow, this must be the hardest part. Just hang on and it'll be over. And for a moment it does. But here it comes... Ones you get out of the trees and hit the rocks, that's where the real challenge begins. That was my first breakpoint. My OH encouraged me, so I did get to the first stop for some refreshments and ice cream (the best I've ever tasted and oh-so-welcome!). But it's not over yet. There is still a stiff climb ahead of you (I broke down twice). Even though, now I'm very, very proud of myself that I could do it, despite the times that I was so exhausted that the beautiful view couldn't even destract me of my suffering.

It's a good thing that after such a long and difficult hike, the reward matches up with your effort. The Mèr de Glace is something you have to have seen to really believe and appreciate it. At the picture below you can see some caves cut out in the rocks. Well, all that rocky-surface? That's ice. I'm not kidding. If you look real close, you can see the clear blue glow at the border of the cave. They cut the cave out, every year, because the Mèr de Glace crawls 30m a year. The other holes you see are the caves from the previous years. How amazing is that? A real river of ice, moving very slowly 30m a year.

The Mèr de Glace

Next time, I'll show you some more of Chamonix. We just did soooooooo much it's hard to put it all in one post, even though I'm just highlighting everything!