New Name Change, New Blog, and Plans for 2018

Hi everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and their new year is off to a good start! Since this is the first post of 2018, I wanted to start the new year off by talking about some new things in my life. I’m anticipating this year will be a year of huge changes for me both in my career and in personal life, so I wanted to address some changes that will affect this blog and blog post in the future.

First, I’m changing my online name! Now, before anyone starts to panic, I’m not changing my screen name, Essie of Who. I’m actually changing my name from Mary Ruth Anderson to Mary Blanche. When I started writing my blog, I decided to use a pen name for my blog and social media sites. I settled on the name Mary Ruth Anderson because Mary is my first name, Ruth is the first of my two middle names, and Anderson is the last name of very good friends of mine. When I asked them if I could use it, they didn’t mind, but as the years passed, I began to feel uncomfortable my friend’s last name as my pen name. After talking to them and other close friends about this and what I should do, I came to the conclusion to change my pen name’s last name.

When I decided to change my pen name, one of my friends suggested I change my last name to “Blanche”. At first I was not convinced, but after many months of considering other names, I agreed that Blanche is a good fit. There is a story behind why my friend suggested Blanche, but I won’t go into that right now.

I already began to change my name on my social media accounts, but it’s taking longer than I anticipated so I don’t know when I’ll be completely done with the name conversion. So, if you see that I did not change the name on some of social media pages or here on my blog, that’s why.

Second, I have a second blog! This blog, called The Estella Initiative, is a lifestyle and travel blog I started in June 2017. I started it after a (Ok, multiple) suggestions by friends to start a second blog that does not talk about sewing, photography, or my art. So far the blog is doing well, but I did not do a lot of traveling in 2017 so there is not a lot of travel posts there. On the other hand. I do talk about fashion trends, makeup, and other “lifestyle” topics. The reason why I decided to mention my second blog is because I plan on writing crossover posts between the blogs this year. Because of this, I wanted to let everyone know what is going on and why there will be links to another blog I run. If you want to read The Estella Initiative, you can find the blog here!

And lastly, I wanted to mention a few plans I have for this blog in 2018. I created a youtube channel a few years ago but never used it until recently. I would like to use it more to post videos I recorded not just at conventions, which is what the channel has right now, but also videos showing how I sewing clothing and costumes. I already began work on a tutorial last year, but I could not edit it because I had some issues with my video editing software. I have new video editing software that works much better than the old software, so I plan on posting more sewing videos on there.

Well, that’s about it! Thank you for reading!

I’m Back and Life Update- September 2017

Hi everyone! I’m sorry this blog has fallen quiet for the past month or so. So many things happened in August and September that made it extremely hard for me to write post and finish projects. So, here is a little catch up on everything that’s happened to me lately.

If you followed me last year, you probably remember that my posting schedule here on this blog was not consistent and I would stop posting for weeks and sometimes months. This was because there was a family health emergency and eventually a death in my family. Although I dealt with the passing of my family member fairly well, August was the last month my family member lived. Even though I still finished writing posts here during the month of August, it was hard for me to work on anything for September’s posts, especially as it got closer to the one year anniversary of my family member passing.

It was also around this time I became very busy at my day job. My work load comes and goes, but at that time I became very busy. So, I had to make a decision: Work on posts that I knew I could not write as well as I normally should, or take a break from my blog and focus on my day job and mourning for my family member. I chose to take a break.

Continue reading “I’m Back and Life Update- September 2017”

2016 Sewing, Photography, and Art Roundup

Excuse the reflective beginning of this post, but to put it bluntly, 2016 was not a fun year for me. Also, please excuse the amount of photos in this post. I wanted I worked on this year that I’m pleased with to get mentioned in my post.

2016 is almost over and I’m happy to see it over. This year, like many people I talked to, I didn’t really have a great year. My year wasn’t good mostly because I took care of an ill family member and that family member eventually passed away. When it sunk in that my family member wasn’t going to live as long as I believed they could, I had a very hard time talking care of my family member knowing that there was nothing I could do to help them. But, with the assistance of my immediate family, friends, and faith, I got through it. I feel a lot better than I did a few months ago, but when I decided to go through 2016’s post to see what I can talk about in this end of year post, I felt sad because I didn’t get to do nearly as much as I planned to this year.

If I learned anything from 2017, it is that life is unpredictable in both good and bad ways and no amount of planning can save you from the unpredictable. Although I am sad my family member is no longer with me, I know they are in a better place and that I did my best taking care of them. I also learned how important family and friends are in a person’s life, how much grit and strength I truly have, and what loyalty really looks and feels like. I am a different person now and, although what I went through was very painful, I am glad I went through it. I may be a different person than I was in the beginning of the year, but I am a better person now. And I’m thankful for it.

Since I had a hard time with my personal life, I didn’t have the time or energy to work on anything “artistic”. I would draw, sew, and take photos, but everything would fall to the waist side because I was more worried about other, more important things. Still, I tried to work the last half of the year so I could start blogging again. 🙂 Continue reading “2016 Sewing, Photography, and Art Roundup”

The Sewing Machines are Fixed!

I have wonderful news! My sewing machines are fixed! I was planning on taking them to someone to get fixed, but my duty as a caretaker for an ill family member forced me to delay this. Finally, I became so frustrated that I couldn’t sew that I began to look up how to fix sewing machines online in hopes of fixing them whenever I needed to. Both attempts to fix the machines was successful and both can sew straight stitches normally.

Posts like this one do not involve any photos to look at, but just to make things more interesting here is a photo of the machines I fixed…

sewing machines

Both are Singer brand machines. One has more stitches than the other so, right now, I have the machine with less stitches set up with the gathering foot so I can switch between the two without changing the foot so often. I’ve heard of seamstresses with more than one machine doing this, but I never imagined I would have more than one machine allowing me to do this as well!

Well, now that I know I can fix my sewing machines myself, this means I can fix the machines I inherited from my mom. All of them have problems, some I think need a good cleaning, others need more major work done. (Maybe even some parts replaced) I plan to eventually take the bottoms off the machines, see what is wrong, and if I can fix it I will. If it is beyond my very limited knowledge, then I’ll set them aside so I can take them to someone who knows more about fixing machines than I do. None of my mom’s sewing machines have computers, so it’s easier on me to figure out what is wrong with them. 🙂

Anyway, now that my personal sewing machines are fixed I can now start sewing again. I already started on an Easter dress to sell in my Etsy store, but progress has been slow for a verity of reasons. I also have a HUGE pile of personal projects I wanted to work on but couldn’t because I needed sewing machines to make them. One of them is to re enforce some of the seams on Anna’s coronation dress. Some of the seams do not need re enforcement, but I want to re enforce the serge edges of the skirt for my own piece of mind. I also want to remake some of my old costumes because I outgrew so many of them. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to sewing everything, but it will get done eventually!

That’s all for now! I’m still working on my blog posts about Anna’s coronation dress and the pattern I’m using to make it. I hope to get that done by the end of the month. *crosses fingers*

Thank you for reading!

2016 Sewing and Life Update

It’s a new year and I have so many things to talk about! First, I need to talk about my sewing machine…

I have some bad news about my sewing machine: I bent the timing on it. I did this last month while sewing so I was unable to work on anything for my Etsy store for the past month. I was hoping to get my machine fixed last month, but the holidays and a family illness forced me to delay getting my machine fixed. It still isn’t fixed, but I hope to get it fixed this month or next month at the latest.

This isn’t going to stop me from sewing my personal projects, costumes, or things for my Etsy store. I can still sew because before I bent my machine’s timing, I bought a new serger! I’m very happy with it, but I’m a little annoyed by my purchase because after my serger arrived, I found my mom’s serger in storage and found out I’m now it’s new owner. So, now that I have two sergers to work with. Because of this, I’ll still be able to sew things. I won’t be able to make things as fast as I’d like to, mostly because I’m still learning how to use the machines, but hey! I can still sew!

Although it’s taking me longer to finish anything I sew, I have a few blog post coming in the future about things I’m sewing and photographs I took recently. I’m not done typing them, but they are coming soon! I’m also working on some new drawings and fabric designs. I’m not sure when I’ll be done working on them, but they’re coming as well.

That’s all for now! Thank you for reading!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and A New Sketch

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Yule everyone!

I was planning on making a post to talk about all the things I drew and made this year, but after looking at the unimpressive list of things I made this year I decided not to. I did sew and draw a lot this year, but there are so many other failed projects and drawings that I never mentioned online that it makes me depressed to go through everything. I hope next year things will be better and I can make or finish a lot of projects I started this year, but that’s for another post. 🙂

In order to celebrate Christmas, I decided to draw a new drawing!

christmas holly sketch

I’m so happy I decided to get off my lazy butt and draw something to celebrate Christmas. I wanted to do this for years but I didn’t have an idea I liked, the drawing didn’t turn out right, or I didn’t have the time. Fortunately, this year I was able to make the drawing happen!

I want to color it, but right now I’m too busy to sit down and work on it. Knowing me I’ll probably end up like it in it’s black and white state and leave it be. 🙂

That’s all for now and thank you for reading!

 

Etsy 2015 Holiday Break (Plus a little life update)

I can’t believe I made only one post in November! I usually make at least three or so posts a month so I’m a little annoyed with myself for not blogging. This past month was chaotic because of preparation for the holiday season and continuing to deal with a family illness. Because of everything going on, whenever I sit down to type blog posts, I feel way too tired to think of something to write. Although things are getting busier for me, I feel better than I did in October and much better than I did the beginning of this year. I’m able to do more things by myself and I feel good enough to walk and even run a little! Reminding myself about how much progress I’ve made in my health helps me when I feel sad or depressed about everything that’s going on in my life right now.

Since I’m very busy with my normal life and the holidays, I decided to take a holiday vacation from my Etsy store. The vacation starts on December 7th and ends on January 18th. I will unlist everything in my store until January 18th, then I will relist anything non-Christmas for sale. So, if anyone wants anything from my store for Christmas, you’ll need to purchase it by December 7th.

During my vacation, I’ll still be sewing, but I will not work on the ballgowns and dress I wanted to make this year. Although I have a huge list of dresses and ballgowns, both costumes and non costumes, and I bought the fabric and supplies to make them, my recent growth spurts caused me to outgrow costumes very quickly. (I made a costume in August and, after I tried it on in October, I’m already too tall to wear it!) Since I want to wear the costumes for more than a month, I’m waiting till I’m done growing to make them. There are a few I can still work on and finish, but for the most part I’ll be working on making other things to wear. I hope to write posts about the new things I’m working on. 🙂

I’m also working on some new drawings. I’m not sure when I’ll finish them, but they are coming! Eventually. XD

Well, that’s about it! Thank you for reading!

The Liebster Award

Last week I found out that Just Jessica nominated me for The Liebster Award! I’m so happy she likes my blog and the costumes I make. It always makes me happy to know that others like my blog!

I couldn’t respond to the questions she asked as quickly as I wanted to because I was working on my website and personal matters that showed up this past week. Since things calmed down enough for me to write a post, here it is!

  1. What made you want to start sewing?
    I started sewing when I was 8 years old, but it was so long ago I don’t remember what made me start sewing in the first place!
  2. What has been the hardest technique for you to conquer?
    There are so many techniques I had a hard time conquering, but I’d probably say sewing button holes is the hardest. I can’t figure out how to sew button holes on the sewing machine, but I am getting better about sewing them by hand. Still, I really don’t like making button holes. I dislike them so much that I avoided sewing anything with button holes for years. My dislike of button holes are fading and I’m accepting them as part of everyday sewing, but I think I need to try to make more things with button holes to officially conquer this technique.
  3. Where do you pull your inspiration from?
    Ooo. This one is hard. I get inspired from many places, but I think most of my sewing inspiration comes from historical and vintage clothing. Although I do not sew a lot of historical and vintage clothing, I love studying it because it sometimes gives me answers to questions I have about assembling something I’m working on but cannot find information about in contemporary sewing books.
  4. Do you have any sewing books that are your favorite because of techniques or just for inspiration?
    I have a lot of sewing books (Not as many as some I follow, but more than my friends) but my favorites are…
    Glasgow Museums Seventeenth-Century Costume: I’m still reading this book (I’ve been “reading” it for two years) but I find the pictures of the costumes very inspirational.
    Couture Sewing Techniques: This book is not for a beginner sewer, but if someone is not a beginner and is curious to see how couture clothing is made, this is a great book. It also explains the fabric that is used in couture clothing, stitches that are used to make the garments (And how to create the stitches yourself), pattern making, and more. I’ve used this book as a reference more than once while hand sewing.
    It’s All About the Dress: This book was written by Randy Fenoli, best known from the show Say Yes to the Dress. It does not explain how to sew a wedding dress, how to draft a pattern, and so on, but I do find it extremely useful. After reading it, the world of wedding dresses made more sense to me than it ever did before. I like to use it as inspiration and sometimes as a reference, especially since it breaks down the parts of a wedding dress such as the different necklines, trains, and fabrics they can be made out of.
    Patterns of Fashion: I linked to the first book of the series, but there are four. I love these books! I find them very interesting because not only do they have an explanation about specific clothes from the time period, they have patterns. I’m currently trying to make one of the dresses in the first book, but progress on it was delayed for a while. Despite that, I find these books very helpful in trying to learn how clothes were made in different time periods. I’ve used them as reference in solving sewing problems I faced in my non-historical costume sewing.
    Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Fashion in Detail and Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail: These books are just pretty to look at. I find the attention to detail in these clothes fascinating and very beautiful.
    Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Servery and Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper’s Bazar, 1867-1898: These books are very useful references and inspiration for Victorian clothes. Although I never used either of them for sewing, I used them for my drawings! I know that when I decide to make a Victorian costume, I’ll use these books as a reference and to get ideas for my costume. XD
  5. What is your favorite thing to sew?
    Dresses! I love sewing dresses. Some of the dresses I love to make are complex and take a long time to make, but I still love making them.
  6. Other than sewing, what are some other hobbies you enjoy?
    Drawing and photography. I also listen to music. A lot. I hate to admit it but I sometimes go through withdraws if I don’t listen to music at least once a day. XD
  7. Where is your favorite place to travel?
    I don’t travel as much as I like to, but when I do get out my favorite places to go are outside such as parks and open air museums in Arizona. I love getting out in the air and seeing the different scenery Arizona has to offer.
  8. What’s your favorite place to purchase fabric from?
    I used to love buying fabric from Joann’s and Hobby Lobby because they are the closest fabric stores near my house, but lately I’m buying more fabric from Sy Fabrics and Etsy.
  9. Who is your favorite indie pattern company?
    I love Truly Victorian’s patterns! I really do like them better than Simplicity and McCall’s Victorian patterns.
  10. What is your favorite sewing tool?
    Probably my sewing machine. It saves my hand from sewing too much. XD
  11. What is a conversation you’d like to have with your sewing machine?
    I have so many conversations I’d like to have with my sewing machine, but I think it would either be if it needs to be cleaned or what kind of needle it would like to use so I could buy more needles and have them ready for when it’s time to change them.

In order for me to get this award, I need to nominate others for the award. Unfortunately, everyone I follow have more than 500 followers. (They did the last time I checked at least) So, I’m going to cheat and nominate anyone who sews and/or wants to answer my questions! (Yes, yes, that’s bad. You can commence with the booing right now.) If you answer my questions, please tell me so I can link to your blog!

And here are the questions I would like them to answer:

  1. Why did you start sewing/drawing/hobby?
  2. Is there a project you want to sew/work on but don’t because you didn’t feel ready to work on it?
  3. Where do you get your inspiration from?
  4. Do you listen to music/watch TV while working? If so, what is your favorite thing to have playing in the background while you work?
  5. What project did you work on that you are the most proud of? Why?
  6. What is your favorite tool to work with? Why? (Example: sewing machine, pencil, ect)
  7. When is your favorite time to work?
  8. Do you like to travel? If so where?
  9. Do you take your sewing/drawing/hobby with you when you travel? Why?
  10. Was there a time when you wanted to give up sewing/drawing/hobby? Why didn’t you quit?
  11. What is the best part about sewing/drawing/hobby?

Liebster Award Rules:

In order to be eligible, a nominee must:

•link back the person who nominated them

•answer 11 questions designed by the person who nominated them

•nominate up to 11 other bloggers for this award who have less than 500 followers

•create 11 questions for new nominees to answer

•let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them

I’m on Instagram! (Plus an Etsy store and life update)

After almost a month of not touching my blog, I’m still trying to get back to blogging. Like I said in my previous post, I was still sewing, drawing, and taking photos, but I never blogged nor updated my social networking sites like I wanted to. This was due to many things that happened last month that distracted me and/or took away any energy I had to sit down in front of my computer and type.

Although I cannot talk about nor can give details of many of the “things” here on my blog (I’m following my parent’s wishes for privacy), I can say my mom became very ill a few years ago. Her illness became much worse in the past eight months and, because of it, I had to dedicate most of my time to taking care of her. (This is also why I did not attend this year’s Phoenix Comicon) Last month was the worst month she had so I had to forget about anything personal I wanted to do in order to help take care of her. To make matters worse, I had yet another unexpected bout of growth spurts. The growth spurts was not as serious as the ones I had in April and May, but it was harder to find time to rest when I had to take care of my mom plus work at my day job. Although I can still feel my body shifting around and trying to get longer, I’m doing better and my mom is too, but I’m still weary of her health. Still, I’ve been able to rest more and I have time to work on things again.

Although I didn’t have the energy to continue blogging this past July, I did focus on sewing, drawing, and taking photos as a way to take my mind off the stress I was under. I hope to make posts about what I made, drew, and took photos of over the past month in the future.

On a happier note, after years of resisting, I finally broke down and created a profile on Instagram. Like with my other social networking sites, I’m Essie of Who on Instagram but I styled as essie_of_who and you can see my profile here. I’m trying to be good about posting photos on there, but since I can’t post photos from my digital camera, only using my phone’s camera which isn’t that great, I can’t guarantee the quality of them. Still, I was able to take some really nice photos of sunsets that impressed me very much! Since I’m still trying to figure out how to use Instagram, I’m cannot link photos I took here on my website like I can with Flickr. I did figure out how to post photos to my twitter, which is great because I let it go quiet because I like to use more spaces to say what I want to say than twitter allows. So, right now twitter has more activity than it used to, but the tweets are just links to Instagram photos. XD

I am also learning how to post photos I took with my digital camera onto Instagram. I can do it, but the problem is finding time to do it!

As for my Etsy shop, I reopened my store! I also relisted the two Rose Tyler Idiot’s Lantern dresses, but I added to the listings an option to include an underskirt with tulle on the bottom of them. I also relisted the Christmas socks I listed last year but didn’t sell. So far the only new listings I have are of earrings I made but never got around to listing and some of my art work. There are other drawings I want to list, but they’re much larger than the ones I listed so I’m looking into how to ship them safely without getting bent.

Well, that’s it for now!