Friday, December 19, 2014

Boden: Sale is Now Up to 60% Off!

Now for news that most of you know by now...Boden has reduced prices even further (called second cuts!).  There is a lot of items reduced to very nice prices indeed, including many of my favorites, like all those darn cute dresses from this season.  (Visit my Boden Weekly Review Roundups for more on those, but definitely come by tomorrow morning for reviews on the Isla dress*, Beatrice Dress, and the Eliza coat.  I have actually reviewed the Eliza coat before, but it is only recently that our weather has gotten cold enough to justify actually wearing it out in public.

*I know I said I would sew up a version of the Isla dress instead, but I was gifted a $50 gift card on the weekend of the big Black Friday sale and so I ended up getting the one I wanted, in my size, for a lot less money than it would have cost to buy the fabric to make one myself.  But maybe I will still give it a try some other year in the future, especially now that I have one I can use to help me draft a pattern from.

I did see that a few items were reduced to 70% off, which is the lowest Boden will normally go, outside of that one or two weekends a year where they go crazy and reduce everything to super low levels (bound to be in January knowing what they have done before).

Okay, so that's it for me until tomorrow when I post the in real life reviews of the three items mentioned above.

I hope all of you are well.  I am hanging on and in there.  (For more on what's going on in my life since my last post go to the bottom of this post.)

Link to sale here:
Shop Boden's Winter Sale with Up to 60% Off EVERYTHING

So regarding my friend's got worse before I started to feel better.  I spent most of Sunday crying and while I had to keep it together at school from Monday-today, the beginning of the week was met with me tearing up while at school, which was very hard to swallow down.  I definitely stopped crying at school but it wasn't until I had a friend hug me real tight on Wednesday while I was sobbing that I felt better.  I am surprised that is what it took, but it worked.  She just met my pain with her own experience of depression and let me know she would be there for me. 

I want to thank all of you who came out of the woodwork to hold my hand virtually in my last post.  I really needed all of your support and your echoes of "YOU ARE NOT WRONG" to feel the way I have been feeling.  The more time I spend thinking about our relationship, the more I realize that even if no one else knew how close we were, the fact is WE WERE close, and ultimately I am going to react the way I react, regardless if anyone *knew* our friendship was there and viable. 

His funeral is tomorrow, and as some of you are putting together, that is the date we were supposed to hike together.  So that made me head into a separate tailspin apart from the initial "he's dead and I will never see or talk to him again" tailspin. 

I don't really have much motivation for anything, and I am sure most of that is because I am suffering from the loss of him, but I do know that subbing non-stop for second-graders the week before Christmas is not likely to make me really motivated to do much.  I hope that with sleep (very much lacking, it is hard to sleep right now) and rest I can get motivated to be the sewing, reviewing, blog person I enjoy being.  I'll know better by next week. 

So day by day and hour by hour and sometimes moment by moment, I am very much moving forward.  I guess that is what I can do now.

I do have plans to see a therapist, and I know that will help.  For those of you that have reached out to me with emails, I will email you soon, I definitely need to talk with others who have gone through this.

Okay, {{hugs}}, and thank you, again. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Boden: Big Winter Sale Time with up to 50% Off Everything!

I have been away a long time.  There is a LOT that has been going on, which is the only reason I have left the blog for nine days.  Most of it is for great reasons, but there is at least one sad reason for my absence.  I wrote more about it at the bottom of the post since it is likely to be a few days before I am able to post again.

Okay, onto the sale.  A few of us last week received a "early access" email to go to the Boden Preview site and check out the big sale (basically the clearance sale, but they don't call it that for a while) early.  I did have a peek around, but chose not to buy anything because of the crazy busy I was experiencing.  I normally would have mentioned it here, but again...

The sale is decent.  I was surprised to see some of the items that I expected to have a greater percentage off have a smaller percentage off, and see items which I was sure would be reduced less reduced more.  For instance, the Daisy Jacquard version of the Beatrice Dress, which did sell well in the holiday season, is 50% off, while its sister color Floral Jacquard, is barely reduced at all, and it has always had full stocks.  I purchased the Floral Jacquard version when it was 40% off (and I had a voucher or gift card of some sort), and while I love it, I am very glad I paid the price I did.  The Daisy Jacquard version price is very good, and I am not surprised to see it selling out.  For those of you curious, I did purchase a size 6L and it fits exactly like I need it to, barring a bit of extra length in the bodice I don't need.  (I have plans to wear it this week, btw, and as long as you can hold out, I will be able to do quite a few clearance item reviews this next weekend.)

Anyhow, there will be second cuts eventually, so if something you love is not reduced enough, there is a chance it will be further reduced soon.  But--and this is important--if your color is a popular color and it is selling out or in low stocks now, there is less likely a chance that it will be reduced by a huge amount in the second cuts.  For instance, many colors of the Millie Skirt may hang around just 20-30% off simply because the silhouette and fabric construction have made it popular and easy to wear year round, so Boden will be less likely to want to give them the big heave ho at 70% off (which often happens in the second cuts). 

Before you take a look around, there are quite a few reviews of these items at the most recent Boden Weekly Review Roundups.  :-)

If you make the order early enough, and it comes from the PA warehouse, you will definitely receive it in time for Christmas.  But, remember, some of these come from England, and while the shipping times have gotten better from across the pond, there are still times when the shipping is slow enough that Christmas delivery is not likely, so if you need something for Christmas, call and ask if your item will ship from PA or the UK.

Do you all have any picks?  Would love to see them!  Let us know if you have any in the comments section!

Below is the link to the sale, and below that is the "my life" update. my life right now (if you are interested):

1. I am subbing like a mad woman, I started last week and will continue into next week (the day before break starts is my last day).  I am subbing in my son's class and while that is great and all, they are in second grade and RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.  They are wearing me out.  There are twenty-three of them and they are bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and busy.  BUSY!  LOL.  Wish me luck!

2. When I returned from Mississippi, I had to start and finish a major sewing project for the Fabric Mart blog.  I had hoped to do it while in Mississippi, but unfortunately my mother-in-law's machine wasn't up to the task of handling such a challenging project, so I waited until I got home.  But the project's delay meant all of my energy was devoted to that upon returning home.  I will eventually publish the sewing project here, but the blog post is done over at their blog, so check it out if you would like to see it!

3. On Friday night I went onto Facebook and saw that a friend's wall had been written on by one of his friends with an "RIP, brother."  This friend and I had reconnected in March (he was my first date ever and I was his, aww!) and we were very close.  I spent many nights chatting with him on facebook and texting with him over the phone.  It was SO easy to spend time with him virtually and we were making plans to go hiking with each other next weekend (the 20th). 

So of course seeing that wall message sent me into a tailspin.  I really hoped that it was a sick joke, and while highly inappropriate, at least it would be a JOKE.  But then I went to that friend's facebook page and he had written more for his friends about my friend's passing, and it sunk in that it was real.  My friend, W., was really gone.  Suddenly, without notice, with such finality.  I had to take a week off from messaging him (I last chatted with him on the 2nd) and on the 9th I wrote to him a quick apology note with a sticker message with foxes holding balloons hoping that he would see that and get back to me when he had a chance.  He never did write back.

I am gutted.  I spent all of yesterday attempting to process what happened.  I cried a lot, I barely moved, I am unsure of what I should be feeling.  I feel like I shouldn't be feeling the intensity of pain I am since I hadn't seen him for years and only reconnected with him recently, but then I vacillate wildly to the other side of thinking of course I am feeling pain...he was one of my best friends out there and he understood me in a way very few people do, and I think maybe I understood him in a way that kept him wanting to spend so much time with me, too.  (You all thinking of my hubby, he was fine with my friendship, he knows how important my friends are, male or female.)

Then in addition to devastation, I am SO angry.  Like really mad at him.  Especially because his dad recently suffered a stroke and he texted and chatted with me multiple times that he had to be strong for his mom.  Well his dad is still alive (thankfully recovering).  And his mom is the one that found him in their basement (he did kill himself).  I cannot even imagine what her pain is.  All I know is my own love for my children and what I can imagine my pain would be if I had the same thing happen and it is so awful I have to stop myself after two seconds of that thought.  I am SO mad at him for doing this to her.

But then I swirl back to he must have been in so much pain and in such a dark place himself that he couldn't process it and this was his only option.  And that makes me so sad and angry at myself that I didn't do more to help him.  I didn't know, true, since our conversations were always very fun and light-hearted, but hindsight has allowed me to reflect and he had moments where he let me know that times weren't great for him.  But because all was peppered with humor and levity, I just assumed he was fine.  I wish greatly I could have seen him and hiked with him before he took his life, and that is a selfish thing on my part.  I don't think for a moment that a man in that sad of a place would have made a different decision, but what I would do to go back, be less busy, and see him one last time.

Anyhow, I am not sure of how I am going forward.  All I know is that I am VERY SAD right now.  I miss him so much.  I obviously can't lose it fully since I have kids and a house and work and such, but I feel like I want to tell someone and since I know some of you have spent years on this blog with me, you would notice the lack of posting and you would notice my lack of happy.

If you are able, could you please say a prayer for his soul and for his family?  I think both need it immensely right now.  Thank you!

Okay, that's it for me.  Thank you for continuing to read here.  All of you blog friends me so much to me, and I really want you all to know that.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

OOTDs: Dressy Casual Teacher.

Last week, the day after I arrived in Mississippi, I wrote up a post on what I wear when I substitute the younger grades at my school.  (Overall pretty casual looks and very easy to wear shoes!)

Today, as I leave Mississippi (it's been ten days!), I figured I should finish off this round of subbing ootds with what I wear when I am teaching the older grades.  Although I like to dress up, the colder weather of late has necessitated the wearing of pants, so the only real dressy look you will see here is the day I needed to best represent the school, the last look, which is also the one look that is not technically from me subbing.  (I was there as a guide for the school, so I wanted to look really put together for the prospective parents.)

Next week and the week after, I will be subbing in my son's second grade classroom.  Hee!  I am looking forward to it for many reasons, of course.  Although I do tend to go more casual with the younger grades, because it is Christmas week festivity time then, I guarantee there will be at least a few dressier outfits to celebrate the occasion.

Okay, onto the outfits.

Day: Friday, November 14, 2014.

Where:  Subbing Fifth Grade.

Ease of Wear: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  I bought these pants when Angus was young, maybe six months old, and while they fit okay then, they fit exactly as they should now, so the little bit of extra pounds off has made a huge difference in comfort.  The handmade sweater is always warm and never fails me, so I am glad I made that one last year.  I need to make that pattern again, I think another sweater should be on my sewing table.

Though the coat didn't exactly match, I needed its' warmth that day, so not really worried about color matching.

Cool Factor: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  Decent look, though with a better choice in outerwear, this look would have fared better on the "cool" chart.

Day: Thursday, November 6, 2014.

Where:  I was in for the older grades' Spanish teacher (there are two Spanish teachers--one for the youngins and one for the older kids)..

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  No complaints, at all.  Very comfortable, easy to wear outfit. 

Cool Factor: (3.75 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  Poor Talbots.  Though a purveyor of some fine looking items, it will never be cool.  ;-)  Therefore, though darling and pretty, the top dings the overall coolness.  Though if it read Zara, would you all be fooled into believing it was cooler?  Hmm...

Day: Wednesday, November 19, 2014.

Where:  Leading the prospective parents on a tour of the school, going to a moms' group, and attending my daughter's Thanksgiving Feast activity in the afternoon.  So not busy at all there that day.  ;-)

Ease of Wear: (3.75 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  A very very slight ding for the tights not fully staying up.  I had to tug them up a few times throughout the day.  I wish these were control top, that would help keep them up on my frame a bit better. 

The Amy Dress (here on sale) was a champ, though, very easy to wear, and it surprised me at how well it wore in winter temperatures.  I did a second, more in-depth review of it at this Boden Weekly Review roundup.

Cool Factor: (3.5 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  I love it, but it is pretty darn prissy, lol.  The shoes make it a bit cooler since the shape is a bit unusual, but really, this is very traditional and conservative, which was what I needed that day.

Okay, that's all for today.  I hope everyone has a great Thursday, and we'll talk soon!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Made by Me Files: Floral Tunic Top and Shetland Wool Skirt. Kwik Sew 3463 and Simplicity 2152.

Before I begin, I wanted to give another shoutout to Katie, a blog friend of mine who is also a Stella and Dot consultant.  She wanted to let me know that the Black Friday special I mentioned in this post is extended and that there is a Cyber Monday special, where you can purchase the very chic Avalon Bracelet Clutch for $9.99 (retails for $49) when you spend $50 or more.  You can read more on that here at Katie's Stella and Dot page.  :-)

Okay, so the made by me files today you all have actually seen before, but I have not formally dissected their creation here at the blog. 

I am most excited to show off the Kwik Sew tunic because not only do I LURVE it, but it took so little time to create on my serger and my sewing machine, and I feel like I have beaten a hurdle that I wasn't so sure I was going to be able to successfully jump over.   (That hurdle being able to complete a knit project almost fully on a serger.  I was just so worried about destroying the fabric in the process.)

The skirt is great and all, but I have made skirts before, including lined skirts with a waistband, so the completion of that didn't seem like such a success to me, even if it did take longer to create (and by longer, I mean a lot longer).

Yes I did color my hair red.  It is a demi-permanent and will wash out very slowly.  Having fun wearing it, but it is very different, lol.
The way I styled the Kwik Sew tunic in the outfit I created for the Fabric Mart blog made the tunic look like a top, which I have done before with the Grainline Scout tee/top that I created for my first entry in their Fashion Challenge competition.  Clearly I have a thing for tunics that can also be worn as tops.  ;-)

This fabric is SO soft and cozy.  The colors are that vibrant in real life and though do read a bit early 90s, seem fresh enough that they don't completely seem outdated.  This fabric is from Joann's, and that surprises me as much as I am sure it does some of you all.  Joann's is really upping their fabric of late.  When I started sewing on my own a few years ago, it was very difficult to find nice, on-grain, well made fabric from them.  Now it seems every time I go in there I find another fabric to salivate over (I am even wearing some pants today made from a fabric that I randomly picked up two or three weeks ago). 

I was worried that handling the soft and thin rayon knit jersey would be a bear, but it cut easily enough, and required only a small amount of tweaking with the tensions on the serger*. 

*On my Brother 1034D, I usually have the needle tensions in the normal range but the looper tensions have to be super high on knit fabrics.  I find the average tensions on the 1034D work best with normal wovens, like cotton sateens and quilting cottons.

I chose to sew up a size small in Kwik Sew 3463, but I did grade out to a size medium at the hips.  The neckline is not super large, but I might have been able to start at an x-small.  I love how this tunic fits everywhere else.

The neckline was finished with a foldover elastic in a very pretty mid-pink shade that perfectly matches the fabric.  I sewed that on using a traditional zigzag stitch.  Next time I will cut it shorter than the neckline and slightly stretch the elastic as I sew since this neckline can gape if I am not careful.

The hem and the sleeves are finished with a process I learned watching Linda Lee's Sewing Fashion Knits at Craftsy, which is to take a fusible tricot interfacing, ironing it to the hem, folding up, and sewing the hems.  I chose not to do a twin needle finish since this fabric is so busy, instead doing a lightning bolt stitch, while slightly stretching the fabric as I sewed, to ensure a clean, stretchy finish to the tunic.  The lightning bolt stitch is not for the faint of heart, though, it takes a long time to sew, and if you make a mistake, it takes a long time to unpick. 

I laid out the fabric poorly when I started the project so I ended up having to do the back with two pieces instead of on the fold.  In the end it was a smart choice since I got to practice my serging more AND I was able to make the back pieces narrower, and on me, with my narrower back, it worked out well.

Detail shot of the neckline and floral fabric.  I really love how easy the foldover elastic was to work with and how nicely finished the project felt afterwards.  This tunic is close to ready to wear in the sense of how it is finished, all serged seams and no excessive facings, etc.  The hemlines are what give it away since I don't have a coverstitch machine to allow me to create that kind of hem.  (I imagine how fast it would be to make a project like this with access to one of those, lol.)

I did change up this neckline from the choices, which were to either have a crewneck or a very exaggerated boatneck.  I simply drew a curve in between the two on the front pattern piece and voila, a perfectly normal scoopneck.

I definitely am planning on taking this pattern and shortening it to a regular shirt length.  I had to trace the pattern since the pattern was an old school Kwik Sew type with the heavy white paper, so it should be relatively easy for me to shorten it.

This is how I wore the tunic a few days ago.  I brought it (and the pink skirt) in hopes of wearing the outfit as I presented it over at the Fabric Mart blog, but it has been quite warm down here in Mississippi, and is going to stay that way, so I am afraid that poor skirt came along for the ride and gets no action.  ;-)

I already spent quite a bit of time on this skirt at two separate places, so I am going to be brief in my description of the process of sewing this skirt up, but I do want to at least point out a few things about its completion over here.

For the best, most comprehensive review, check out the post at Fabric Mart.  I go into how I sewed it up with a fine tooth comb, focusing especially on how I managed to make this skirt from a very small remnant of Shetland wool.

For a brief, but still decent review, go to the Pattern Review post.  It speaks more about sizing, etc.

I thought I had made up the size 14 in Simplicity 2152, but I had made it up in the 12.  I chose that size because the upper hip/waist measurement most closely matched mine.  I think I will do the 14 next time, though, since my natural waist is SO high that it would benefit me to wear the skirt a bit lower, and a larger waist measurement would allow that to happen.

I love pockets, but this time I think I chose wrong.  I didn't have enough of the wool to add the pockets as they show on the pattern itself, so I added inseam pockets made from the polyester lining fabric.  They work great but gape a bit and so the poly fabric shows from the outside more than I would like.  Sigh.  I may just sew them up and deal with no pockets.

This is view D, and is a great length, not too short, and not too long.  This is a nice length for most women, so if you are thinking of this pattern, definitely try this view at least once out of a traditional, classic fabric like this.

Yes, that waistband facing material *is* the same as the tunic's fabric.  This fabric, though, is a very HEAVY stretch cotton stretch denim from Joann's that also happens to be double-sided.  I have plans to turn it into a dress and a skirt (the dress will be from the floral and the jacquard print will be for a pencil skirt). 

I felt like the exterior of the skirt took so much less time than the interior.  I can't believe how long it took me to sew up the lining, add the waistband facing, properly attach the two, hand sew the lining to the zipper, and hem the lining.  It is worth it because it does look quite nice (even if I am really bothered by a couple of things--but what sewer isn't annoyed by things in their projects?).  The lining also ensures the Shetland wool can last a long time and can go longer between drycleaning visits.

Okay, I know some of you are just dying to know more about the red hair.  LOL.  Here is another photo of it.  I had washed it one time by the time I took this photo with CW and it had already lightened a bit further to a mid-copper color.  My hope is that it fades down to a lighter copper color and stays there, but I don't know that will happen.  However, whichever shade of red I end up liking best I will try again since I quite enjoy being a redhead.  ;-) 

Alrighty, you all have a great day, and we'll talk soon.

Boden: New Sale Announced!

Boden must be doing very well indeed this season.  This Cyber Monday promotion isn't really for Cyber Monday and is quite *wee* in its breadth and depth, especially when you consider what the deals were last year.  I'm not saying that there aren't great deals out there, it is just that I remember walking away from prior Boden Cyber Monday promos going, "wow, those were some screaming good deals."  Oh, well.

There are three categories of sales that will last until Sunday, December 7, 2014.  All the brands in Boden are included, and all have special categories for 30% off, 35% off, and 40% off.  As per usual, only certain colors/patterns are available in certain percentage categories.  For instance, the Amy Dress (here) is available at 40% off in the deep blue/brown color, but the version I own is at 35% off.  And the pink version of the Amy Dress?  Only available for 25% off, which is what the current coupon is for (I placed the proper coupon in the bottom of this post and in the sidebar for those of you who need it).

To help you out, I have the categories listed below with links to items I have personally tried and reviewed here.  For other items, it is very possible the Boden Weekly Review Roundups feature them, so definitely take a look there, too.  :-)

40% Off:
Selina Dress
Selina Dress.  (Multiple Colors are 40% off.)   My review of the 8L (it includes links to my FB photos of it in the 6L).  Both of these reviews are for the summer version, but Boden rarely changes the silhouettes.

Milano Dress
Milano Dress. (Grey/White/Black)  My review is here at this BWRR.

Sophia Dress
Sophia Dress.  (Pink Floral) My review is here at this BWRR.

Glamorous Knitted Dress
Glamorous Knitted Dress.  (Blue)  My review is here at this BWRR.

Amy dress
Amy Dress.  (Blue/Brown)  My review is here.  Winterized it here at this BWRR.

Charlotte Top
Charlotte Top.  (Both Plaids)  My Review is here.

Everyday Sweater
Everyday Sweater.  (Yellow Floral)  My review is here.

Rainy Day Mac
Rainy Day Mac.  (Yellow/Blue Plaid)  My review is here.

Millie Skirt
Millie Skirt.  (Brown Yellow Vine)  My review is here at this BWRR.

35% Off:
Amy dress
Amy Dress.  (Teal/Light Grey)  My review is here. Winterized it here at this BWRR.

Glamorous Knitted Dress
Glamorous Knitted Dress.  (Grey)  My review is here at this BWRR.

Everyday Sweater
Everyday Sweater.  (Blue Floral and Light Grey)  My review is here.

Pattern Sweater
Pattern Sweater.  (Dog Pattern)  My review is here.

Rainy Day Mac
Rainy Day Mac.  (London Print)  My review is here.

30% Off:
Chic Tweed Shift
Chic Tweed Dress.  (Navy Blue)  My review is here.  This is last year's version, but the silhouette is exactly the same.

Rainy Day Mac
Rainy Day Mac.  (Blue/Red/White Polka Dot)  My review is here.

Okay, so there you go!  Do you have any favorites from the selection that is available for the extra % off?  Definitely share with us in the comments!

Link to the Sale:

If you have a need for a coupon on something not included in the 30-40% off sale, I have put the current one below.