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Articles avec #life lesson tag

Blogmas Day 3 - safety and security

Publié le par Charly C.

Hi All!

Today's challenge was to request for our blogs to be transferred to HTTPS instead of HTTP. 

Some of you may know that my blog didn't have a secure connection in the past. But the staff worked hard and now all the sites can be accessed through the HTTPS protocol. 

This is pretty awesome, if you ask me, since we all want some sort of security. Especially after everything that happened this year. 

We find security in different ways. Some want security when it comes to a job. Others, want to feel secure in their relationships. For others, having a place they can call home or their own, is the definition of security.

Security makes us feel safe, protected. The first time we ever felt this was in our mothers' wombs, then in her arms, at her chest. Of course, there are plenty of people who didn't have the luxury of having a mother, a father, or even parents. 

I don't know how that must feel, and i can't really speak for them. I do know, they did feel pretty safe while inside their mothers' bellies as well. 

Some people, even in adulthood, feel better under heavy blankets, or when they're being hugged tightly. This is because towards the end of the pregnancy, there barely is any space inside the womb. Plus, the mother also wears clothes, gets covered with blankets as well. 

All these, weigh down on the belly and the baby inside. 

What makes me feel safe? Or where do i find security?

These are pretty hard questions to ask. I do know that having Anna in my life DOES make me feel safe.

She's the only one i can count on. i find her stable. this feels safe and secure. And nice.

Or when i go to sleep, i feel safer when the air is warm, the blanket heavy, or there is something heavy on me. I also need quietness. 

Some old things like abandoned places for instance, also give me a sense of security in a weird way. I guess, those buildings, being so old, but still standing, make me think that maybe life is easier than i make it be. 

It's somehow hopeful. Or maybe the quietness surrounding such a place makes me feel safe. I'm not 100% sure.

It's true that noise, constant and loud, makes me feel very unsafe and stressed. 

Overall warmth, but not heat, is something that also gives safety-related feelings. 

Keeping things to myself is a safety measure. I feel intruded upon and not safe at all when i'm being asked too many questions. or when people seem to know things about me. 

Yet, here i am, sharing part of my life with strangers online. How ironic, isn't it? 

I don't really know what i can say related to this. 

I'd like to hear from you and find out what makes YOU feel safer and more secure. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Overblog Challenge day 2 - Planning

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello.

I complete today's OverBlog challenge almost at the end of the day. Better later than never, I like to say.

The challenge is talking about planning the posts for the blog. I had a hard time writing about this until now because I don't plan anything. Or hardly anything. 

The thing is, when I try to plan stuff in advance, something always comes up that is somehow more important, more urgent. 

This means that my plans get delayed. Well, ok, if it was for blogging, all I have to do is to set a day aside and just write a few entries, and then schedule them.

However, it's not like I'm a stranger to planning. I started bullet journaling back in 2017. My proof? This entry right here

Then, I wrote about more plans in this entry right here

In real life, I tried using a bullet journal, but it didn't really work out for me. I still continued to use what i'd call more of a planner rather than a bullet journal. See the pics below. 

In 2017, i started mid-way. Then when 2018 started, I started a new agenda. I used the same one for 3 years, with a few pages to spare. 

various pages from my planner, from years 2018, 2019, 2020.various pages from my planner, from years 2018, 2019, 2020.various pages from my planner, from years 2018, 2019, 2020.

various pages from my planner, from years 2018, 2019, 2020.

Now, when 2021 starts, i'll have another agenda to use. 

These agendas are the type you find in any stationery store. They are not for the current year. 

I don't really care about the lines or dates printed on the pages because, as you can see, I don't use the whole page for a single day. 

I draw my own layout. And I had quite the handful of layouts in these past 3.5 years that I used a planner. 

So, if I don't plan out stuff, what do I use the planner for? Why do I even bother? 

There are a few reasons, and I'll list them in no particular order: 

  • To remember what happened - my memory is pretty bad, and tend to forget things very easily. I mean, I even burn water. 
  • To keep track -
    • of my sleeping hours/pattern,
    • of my workout (hardly any workout this year, but I did walk a lot),
    • of health-related stuff.

I hope that in the new year, i'll make more and better use of this agenda/planner thing. But we shall see.

Originally i wanted more discipline in my life, to help me be more productive. 

I didn't use the planner so far because i'm a freelance writer, so my job comes first. But there are times when I don't feel inspired to work, and i could at least work on this blog or on my site. 

I hope the planner will help me achieve my goals. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Being a minimalist can be a bad idea in a crisis

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello! Don't take this post that seriously. Really don't. 

I am well aware I posted a few entries talking against consumerism: here - here - here

I basically was wrong in that post, at least to some extent, because we need to consume things in order to survive. 

I am against buying more than we need, I am against always buying the latest releases of anything, and against buying things simply because so-and-so promotes the item. 

Minimalism is the other extreme. There is a whole niche on youtube related to minimalism. 

I started writing this entry on the 18th day of the martial law instated in Romania. At this point, it is unclear when this "protectorate" will end. The other day they said after mid-May. we'll see.

I'm posting this a week before the martial law is supposed to ease.

The thing is, we're not allowed to go out without a pass - we can write it ourselves. who we are, where we go, why, carry the ID, and heaven forbid the paper is wrong. All the stores and malls are closed. Supermarkets, drugstores, emergency dentists, hospitals are the only operating "businesses." And also places like home renovation and pet stores. Other businesses that still operate, the post office, taxis, public transportation, delivery companies. If you need anything else, like clothes, craft supplies, you have to order online. if you have $$. 

Can you see how being a hoarder is now useful? Can you see how being a minimalist is not/was not a good idea? 

Living in a city is also not a good idea. But living in the countryside, in Romania, usually means no running water. See the image below, for a better understanding - seen first in this entry.

In any case, in the countryside, we'd be able to go out of the house, in the yard to attend to the animals, to the food we grow, to the toilet (as in most cases it's separated from the main house where we'd be living). 

As I was saying, as a minimalist, you're probably missing many things you wish you had. As a hoarder, you're probably feeling pretty secure you're not missing anything you might need. 

As a hoarder, you might have:

  • Enough food to last you at least a month
  • Enough cleaning supplies to last you through the lockdown
  • An excuse to use them all up, clean the space and become more of a minimalist
  • Various games to keep you busy and entertained
  • A variety of tools that you can use to learn a new skill or make the things you wanted but didn't have the time.

As a minimalist, you might have:

  • A lot of empty space in the house
  • Not enough food
  • Not enough supplies
  • Just computer or smartphone games
  • No tools for a new hobby
  • A hard time finding in the supermarket what you need
  • An excuse to go buy some things that occupy space, but are needed during an emergency situation
Taken on August 31st, 2019 by me.

Taken on August 31st, 2019 by me.

This "pandemic" taught me that: 

  • Minimalism is not for me
  • Hoarding is not that bad - just make sure not to go out of control
  • You can be more sustainable as a hoarder as you have more items in the house to reuse and repurpose, and you dispose of fewer things, overall. 

Now, these are just some observations. I'm not attacking or praising any lifestyle or choices. 

You might hoard lots of plates and cups, but may have just 4 pairs of shoes and 5 pairs of jeans. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved. 

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Pumpkin soup -vegan!

Publié le par Charly C.

Is it Halloween? No, it's the lent before Pascha (or Easter, depending on who you're asking), and pumpkin soup is a vegan dish. We're supposed to eat vegan dishes during lent. 

It's also one of the easiest dishes I came across! And honestly, i have no idea why I waited for so long to make it! No, I do know why: I thought it's sweet, since I associate pumpkin with the pie. I was wrong, or at least this soup didn't turn out sweet. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • pumpkin
  • carrots
  • salt
  • powder black pepper
  • water (of course)
  • the tool to mash potatoes (in this case, pumpkin)

METHOD:

You need to peel the carrots and dice them. 

Throw the carrot cubes in a large enough pot, with water and salt. Place the pot on fire. Carrots cook slower than many other vegetables, hence it's ok to have them on the fire for a little longer.

Cut the pumpkin in smaller pieces, and remove the skin. I used my knife for this part. You might want to cut the pieces even smaller, to help with the cooking time.

Throw your smaller pumpkin pieces into the pot as well. Hopefully you can tell the pumpkin pieces in the pot are smaller than on the cutting board.

Turn the heat up, and make the whole think boil for some 20 minutes. You might want to adjust the time, depending on the quantity. You have to make sure the pumpkin is cooked. It has to be soft when you poke it with a fork.

Now you want to take the tool you use for mashing potatoes, and use it to mash the boiled carrots and pumpkin. 

When you're done, you might want to add more salt, and some pepper. You can serve hot or cold.

Bon appetit!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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How To Enlarge a Tshirt - DIY, Upcycling, Color-blocking

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello!

Today I have a solution for old clothes that don't fit anymore, and thus they sit in the closet, collecting dust. This solution will save your wallet, give a new life to both your clothes and wardrobe, and create a unique personal style, because YOU ARE unique!  

Most clothes that we buy come in standard sizes. They assume that if your hips measure 100cm, then perhaps your waist is around 80 or 90 cm. This is not always the case. they make clothes in standard proportion, but our bodies are not always proportionate. 

My body for instance, is as much as an hourglass as it can, hence there's a significant difference between my waist and bust, and waist and hips. However, if it wasn't for my chest, i could fit into tops that are sized Small because my rib cage is pretty small. 

So, back to topic. I had these 2 tshirts you can see below, but i can't wear them. The light green one is too transparent for my tastes :( The other one was extremely tight. 

How To Enlarge a Tshirt - DIY, Upcycling, Color-blocking

I liked the beige one more than the greenish one, so i wanted to wear that one But i had to be larger.

I measured it against a tshirt with a fit that I liked. In my case, i needed about 32cm more fabric.

The idea was to find strips of fabric that were 16cm wide, cut the side seam on the beige tshirt, and attach the strips to the new edges. 

This is where the greenish tshirt came in handy. It provided it side seam, already had hems, and was a very similar fabric to the other one. At least in weight -very light weight, and feel - very soft and comfortable, breathable. 

I measured, marked, cut and proceeded to sew. the pieces in. I measured 8cm on each side of the greenish top. Since it's already folded, 8x2=16, 16x2=32. 

I think i should have used straight strips of fabric, and not the seam sides of another tshirt with a different cut. It turns out, the greenish fabric was somehow loner than the beige tshirt. I had to create some pleats, to make them match. 

How To Enlarge a Tshirt - DIY, Upcycling, Color-blocking

When laid flat, the new tshirt looks off, but on me, it looks ok. 

So, to make it easier, the steps are:

1. find out how much room you need - measure your top and measure your body, and see the difference. OR, measure the smaller top against another one that fits good. substract the smaller from the bigger, and that's how much fabric you need (it's width). 

2. the easiest method would be to insert strips at the side seams. divide the width from above by 2, since there are 2 side seams in a top - the ones going from the armpits down to the waist and to the elbow/wrist. 

3. find a similar weight fabric or texture, and cut 2 strips equal in width - the value from point 2. Add some extra for seam allowance. Ideally, these strips would be the same length as your top, but feel free to be creative here. Don't forget about the hem on the lower part and at the sleeve, so they might need to be longer than your top. 

4. cut the side seams of your tshirt. 

5. sew the strips of fabric to the open edges of your top. And you're done!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Victim blaming needs to stop!

Publié le par Charly C.

!!!!Trigger warning!!!!!

Please, if you are a victim of any type of abuse, AND the subject triggers you, it's best you stop reading now. The main type of abuse I will touch on is ra-pe. :( oh, and i dislike censoring myself.

I will add a picture to separate more the main/triggering part of this entry from this intro/warning.

 This article was triggered by the attitude/words/comments of a Youtube user who will stay anonymous

The subject of the video was neutral, peaceful, related to some degree to fashion. The user agreed with the video, but it was because of a wrong mindset, as the title (might) suggest. But perhaps you should not read further?

The letterboxes in a VERY creepy looking, old building in the Old City Center.

The letterboxes in a VERY creepy looking, old building in the Old City Center.

It's -September 2019- scratch that. January 2020 is here now because i didn't have enough power to write this to the end.

I didn't post in a very long time. And I honestly I can't believe I have to type this title in 2019. 

The truth is that there are still people out there that STILL blame the victims for what happened to them. 

As you already read I was watching a video on why it's important to wear modest clothing. The subject was in the right spot, nothing wrong with it -from what I could tell, nothing triggering. The author was saying BOTH men and women should wear modest clothing. There was no judgement passed towards those who don't. I literally can't recall anything wrong with the video - I really want to make this clear.

The idea was that non modest clothing gives away information about your body that others can use against you, usually through insults and body shaming. the author continued to say that insults make people feel bad (you don't have to be a genius to know this), and feeling bad can easily lead to sadness or depression and other bad stuff. On the other hand, modest clothing hides these flaws, people doesn't have such info to use against you, and will have to rely on other stuff, for instance your knowledge, personality, personal belongings, skills, so on. 

The idea is that the body is very personal and intimate, and this is why only our partners usually sees us naked - we're most vulnerable when naked. Many of us feel vulnerable in front of the doctor as well, hence some hospitals have those robes/gowns, to protect our privacy as much as possible. 

 

Whiskey at the age of 9, judging me.

Whiskey at the age of 9, judging me.

The user who triggered me was someone who answered to a comment whose author simply said they noticed how differently they (she) were (was) treated when wearing modest clothing VS when wearing more revealing outfits. I personally noticed a similar change, and i'd like to challenge those reading, to try dressing more modestly when going out or to work. 

The 2nd user came to say basically that when a woman dresses in a revealing manner, it means "she's asking for it." I honestly can't believe i just wrote that. It was 2019. it's 2020. i can't believe there are still people out there who STILL think this way. 

Men AND women are STILL guilty of thinking like that, and teaching their children to think the same. This is why the majority of sexual abuses go un-reported. How come are women thinking this way? I have no idea, but they do. Not believe me? just research the case of the 2 female tourists in Australia who almost got killed and one raped, but managed to escape and the culprit also got arrested. The judge was a woman, she found him guilty on several accounts, except rape! WHAAAT...? HOW??? 

There are some countries where society is still very conservative, and perhaps the citizens can't think outside the box. Romania is one of them, sadly. But this is not a good excuse. It will never be an excuse. 

Victim blaming needs to stop!

I want to make something clear:

The only thing people are asking for when putting clothes on, revealing or not, and then going out, is to be left the heck alone. not to be cat-called, followed around, flirt with or worse.  

There are the older generations who think like that, and i can accept we can't really change their way of thinking. But we can change the mind-set of the younger generations. We also have means of getting informed or of informing others. 

Both conservative men and women should understand once and for all that nobody wants to be abused. in any kind of way.

especially not sexually.

And you know what? men also get sexually abused -by women or other men. these abused men surely didn't ask for it, and some of the ones abused by other men, are not even gay.  

Victim blaming needs to stop. it needs to go back to where it came from because the 21st century doesn't need it. it doesn't belong here anymore. 

If you have a child, or know someone younger than yourself in your family, try and show and tell them that it is not OK to blame the victim for what happened to them. Nobody wants bad things to happen to them. Tell them it's also not OK to catcall or try and flirt with someone just because they dressed in a revealing way. Try to tell them that when they grow up, they should try and help those who are being harassed or pestered in any way. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Life is weird

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello all. 

This post is some sort of an update until I receive the instructions for my current writing gig. I have 2 part in this update: 

  • health related
  • found treasures

I want to write another entry about some of my adventures in the parks of Bucharest. I was also working on an entry about how I changed the sleeves on a jacket, a horror movie review and a TV show review. These last 3, I already started writing, but my writing gig and some lack of inspiration prevented me from actually sitting and finishing them. 

i still wear them around the house until i can get new ones

i still wear them around the house until i can get new ones

Health Related Updates

Those were my 'good' eyes. i'm nearsighted. Long story short, I tripped in my long pants, fell onto the asphalt, hit my head, broke my glasses, and injured my dominant hand. OUCH!

This happened on the evening of July 2nd. mostly because i didn't dare suggest A to withdraw money on the mastercard instead of the visa, when mother refused to pass by. 

Apparently the head is fine. Or as fine as it can be, given the circumstances. 

This is from that evening, in the hospital. Later on, the cheek was swollen a mile out! in the morning it was somewhat better. Ciel looked at me with very curious  eyes - he saw there was something wrong with my face. 

Today, the face looks pretty much the same. the bruise just started to form. I tried to drink more water than normal, to ensure my blood doesn't clot much, and so on. I had to sleep on my back or on my left side. (why is my left eye so fallen? o.o guess it's just the angle.) 

I have to stay with this cast on for a week. It ends before reaching the elbow, about where it doesn't fit in the picture anymore. I hurt a LOT the first night. Then i took some painkillers and it passed. I'm still getting some sharp pains when instinctively i try to move this hand in ways i'm not supposed to. 

The weird thing about all of this is that I could have prevented it. And i didn't listen to my gut feeling. AGAIN! will i ever learn my lesson?? So first, mother said she couldn't come, and i did think about the easier solution, i just kept silent. Then, I also had a supernatural experience - the first one i can remember. While being on the computer, in the morning, i SAW with the corner of my eyes, a brilliant entity sitting on the chair, looking at me and smirking. The whole corner where the entity was sitting, was engulfed in a VERY strong light. This was a sign/message to be careful. i was not. i pray next time, i will pay more attention. 

new found treasures

A while back, i talked about what's trash for someone, it's a treasure for someone else. Since then, my trash-found treasures increased. 

I found some Burda Style magazines and other vintage patterns, along with some crocheting tools and yarn. The yarn came later though. Also several books with knitting and crocheting. I gave some away, because knitting especially, didn't keep me interested. I got bored when i tried it. Crocheting seems easier, so I will practice with that. The crocheting yarn i will try give away as well, to the person who took the tools. 

Some of the books I found. Yes old - about 40 years old. The pics inside are not clear either. But I wouldn't go out of my way to buy these nor anything else similar. 

This is a pile of various things: 2 old notebooks, a photoalbum, a pile of various handmade crafts with 2 unfinished ones. In the plastic bag, there's some crocheting  yarn and some crocheted ropes that are used in the Romanian point lace needlework. You can see one peeking from under the blue cloth. The blue cloth has one of the unfinished handcrafts, with Romanian point lace. 

A close-up of the nearly finished work. The unfinished part is in the upper part in this image.

A close-up of the photo album. Covered in silk. I saw something similar sold for some 20 dollars (or was it euros?) I think it's gorgeous. It's brand new too, in a box. Can't wait to use it - I'd like to use it, I mean. The color is more vibrant in reality. golden.

Here I was boiling some cutlery I found at the same time with the handcrafts and photo album. It's a set for 12 people: 12 knives, 12 spoons, 12 teaspoons, 12 smaller forks (are these for fish or something? i have no idea), a soup ladle and a bigger serving spoon. They were made in Japan if I'm to believe the inscription on them. Stainless steel, not silver, though they're tarnished. :( 

I searched online and saw a similar set. It was dated around 1940s? 1950s? I forgot exactly, and sold for about 170 euros? I don't have the money to spend on cutlery. The cutlery we were using was all mismatched and ugly. Away it went. 

My injured hand prevented me from editing the images with watermarks. :/ 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Unconditional love and its issues

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello world~~~

I just watched a short video in which a (very wise) rabbi was talking about why unconditional love is problematic. And I agree with him. 

My earliest memory of hearing about "unconditional love" dates to several years back. I was visiting a forum dealing with spirituality. I came across this term in the section called "twin flames" (like soul mates, but apparently the bond is stronger - I just call it "special snowflake"). In a nutshell (and generalizing), the users (mostly women) posting here were obsessed with a specific man who entered their lives at some point in the past. In most cases, the man either had no idea or was simply not interested in the woman.

If a man came and posted a similar story, well his story seemed to receive less attention or he received a lot of criticism. Also, almost everyone was labeling him a creep. the women posting a similar story? no! they were considered normal, received a lot of support and encouragement.  Double standards to the maximum! 

What I never understood is what exactly they understand or mean by "unconditional love." After hearing the rabbi talking, I finally understood almost everything. I'll post the video first, and then I'll go a little deeper into my reasons of thinking why "unconditional love"  (as a term) has problems and so on. 

NOT my video

As you can see, according to the rabbi, telling someone "i love you unconditionally (no matter what you do)" disregards the person, their personality. You also force your emotions or feelings onto them, and if they don't feel the same ... you appear as a creep, selfish (you decided how you're going to feel, and nothing can change your mind).. 

Now, I've been thinking about it. I can't see how people CAN think that they "love unconditionally". There's always a condition the person or the item MUST meet in order for you to feel anything towards them/it. And I'll give you a few examples next. Unconditionally comes from the word condition, which in many cases is a cause for something. 

You hear many women saying they want to become mothers. If you suggest they adopt, they'll flat out refuse no matter the arguments you bring. Their main reason to refuse is that "they can't see themselves loving the baby/child the same way they would on who grew in their bellies, who shares their blood." It's clear that many mothers love their children BECAUSE they gave birth to them. Giving birth is the condition a child must meet, to receive their mother's love. 

You can say there are many women who love their adopted baby/child. Not going to deny that. In this scenario, she loves him because she generally loves children and REALLY wanted one. She might also find the baby really cute, and I have yet to find a person who DOESN'T like/love cute people or items. Getting used to living with or caring for some alive creature can also lead to loving them. 

You'll also hear people saying "I love (ITEM) so much because it...". BECAUSE! And yes, they said they love an item. This simply means they're really happy to own the item, BECAUSE -it makes their life easier; or it's of a really good quality, and they won't have to buy another identical (similar) one any time soon, or because it's a status symbol (shallow reason, but still a reason). 

Unconditional love and its issues

Now, I should mention that "love" is a pretty strong word and feeling. This is why in some Asian countries, you'll be hard pressed to hear anyone saying "I love you" or "I love this (thing)." They'll say instead "I really like you" or "I like you a lot." You'll often hear these people saying that "love" is a word they'd say to their significant other, on the death bed. 

Looking at a situation in this light, I don't think anyone would say on their death bed "I love this (ITEM)" but they'll say they love their children, partners, friends maybe. in this light, you can safely assume these Asian people would actually say "I really like this ITEM" and never "I love the item." This is something WE (Westerners) should also do, if our languages allow it. I am doing it. I started using less "I love/I hate....." a couple of years back. I still feel like saying these words, so I'm not perfect. 

I also think that some folks might sacrifice their lives (life?) to save that of another human. Sometimes the other human can be a total stranger -it happened, after all. I don't think anyone would sacrifice their life to save an item from destruction, even if it was the item they said they loved. I find this beyond absurd. Items can be replaced after all, even if the new one won't compare to the original.  

Now, I hope that you can see there are different levels of "love," at least is English. Some other languages have different words to point to the intensity of the feeling.  

So, what do people mean when they say "unconditional love"?

I also hope that you managed to see there's always a reason a person or an item receives our attention or affection. So, "unconditional love" doesn't exist. What does exist instead, is "love without expectations". 

You can easily say "I love you. I know we can't be together, so I have no expectations from you." This will put some pressure on the other person, or make them feel uncomfortable, however, they have some choice in how they'll act from now on. In the first option, they have none, they'd feel like a prisoner. 

You can see how this 'love without expectations' can be directed towards children and pets too. And I believe it's pretty obvious that when a person says "they love the item," they actually EXPECT it to perform the same for a very long time. This 'term' (if I can call it that) cannot be used in relation to items. 

Just a side thought from A. A says that they felt unconditional love in the past. They said it's VERY rare for humans to feel this type of emotion, because it's nearly impossible, as I tried to show you above. A does believe it can exist, however I personally don't think i ever felt it. I will not deny A's experience.

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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6 Tips for a beginner seamster or seamstress

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello World~~~

As you probably know already, I recently started my journey into the DIY and sewing world. I was gifted a sewing machine for Christmas by my mother and a pair of tailor's shears last month, by someone else. The shears i linked are very similar in appearance to mine. 

DISCLAIMER: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. I used these affiliate links to give you the option to check the book out, for yourself, if you so wish, through a well-trusted seller. While I will be very glad if you buy any of the linked items, the decision to do so or not, belongs to you. Thank you for reading!  

Aren't they beautiful? To me, they're beautiful. And they're also heavy. 

Well, they were cheap and made in China - the box was covered in Chinese writing, and although I started studying this language, I'm still a beginner (read that, as in I made no more progress since this post) and hence, I cannot read what it said. I also threw the box away. What matters more is that they cut what I need them to cut.

While 4 months are definitely not enough to say "I know things," I did learn quite a bit. Here are my few tips if you just start this journey and you feel overwhelmed.

Fair warning though: some of these tips are for those who consider making a living out of their skill, hence they need to appear professional. Other tips are more like a warning, details I didn't think of when I decided to take on this hobby/journey.

1. learn the right names of the tools

I'll talk about 3 different tools, as examples. 

a) For instance, I was saying "my scissors" when in reality I own a pair of shears. In all honesty, I thought these two words refer to the same item, but they're used in different parts of the world. In a similar fashion to how some people say "trousers" and "pants" when referring to the garment covering the body from the waist down, with 2 hoses, one for each leg. 

When it comes to shears and scissors, the difference is in the holes through which your fingers go in order to manipulate the tool. The shears have a larger lower hole, while the scissors have equal holes. 

b) Similarly, if you're into sewing or making (your own) clothes (or for your family), you also have to learn the proper names of the fabrics. If you're interested in up-cycling or refashioning clothes, this aspect might not be as important. 

Personally, I'm in the process of learning about fabrics:

  • fibers (how the name of the fiber was used to name the fabric, though in some cases it's another type of fiber used. Take for instance "linen" used for "linens" made of cotton), 
  • origin, or where you're more likely to find certain types of fabrics. As an example, lacebark originates in Jamaica, and is as fine as muslin.
  • how they're obtained - knitting or waving, natural, synthetic, man-made.

c) Still related to tools, you'll find 2 types of sewing machines: domestic and industrial. You should learn the differences between them! This video explains better, and even shows an industrial one. There's also this other video better showing the differences between sewing machines at different price levels, though all of those are for domestic use. I learned the following from the 2nd video:

  • sewing machines with a front loading bobbin are faster than the ones with a drop-in bobbin. 
  • some machines have 2 lights instead of one, and the difference that makes is quite something.  
  • industrial machines will only have 1 type of stitch - for instance, just running stitch. They can also load a bobbin at the same time you're sewing, whereas a domestic one can't. 

 

2. learn how to correctly use them

If you learn what differentiates one tool from the other (say, shears and scissors), you can also learn how to use them. Usually this happens at the same time.  

This page opened my eyes to how I'm supposed to hold and use my shears. This other page has more types of such tools, and names some of the best you can find. 

Maintenance is important and part of correctly using the tool, if you want it to last for years to come. Not long ago I learned that I'm supposed to clean and oil my sewing machine every week, if I use it often. If i use it now and then, I'm supposed to clean and oil it every time I plan on using it. 

In my experience with my machine, it needed cleaning and especially oiling after about a month since I got it. I can't say I used it a lot in January, but in February it already started to be rather noisy. Once I oiled it, it started purring again, like when I got it.  

Learning about textiles, you'll learn that some fabrics simply are not good for certain projects. You also learn how to care for the end product without destroying it, say through bleaching or simply washing.

3. find some sort of mentor and/or muse

Or at least a person with whom you can connect, or inspires you to go through with your project. As a beginner in any trade, actually doing the task can be a bit scary, right? "What if I cut this fabric wrongly?" "what if it turns out really ugly?" 

Well, I'm lucky and happy to say that I found at least 1 person to support me when I feel scared, or when I'm not sure of what I do. They are A, and they also inspire me with things - mostly with the written stuff. But A can also give great advice when it comes to color combination, or gives an honest opinion if asked "how does THIS look?" 

I'm pretty lucky to have discovered someone I could call a mentor - Angelina, the lady behind BlueprintDIY (her Youtube channel, and her Instagram). /shoutout! She actually gave me the push I needed to enlarge a pair of jeans so that I could wear them. Let's get real, I wouldn't have lost the extra 5kg I needed to get in these pants. I will post another blog entry about this process. ;) 

Someone telling you "just do it!" or "go for it!" is all it takes at times, to actually get over the "what if ..." fear. Instead, you could get the excited "what if this turns out great?!" Which is what happened with a 2nd project about which I will write soon enough, but I will offer a spoiler for it right here:

 

4. don't be scared of making mistakes

As a beginner you'll definitely make mistakes - everyone makes them. And you know what? Even those with experience in the field will make mistakes. Luckily, when you sew, a mistake will not cost someone their life, like it would happen with a doctor for instance. However it can prove more time consuming and more expensive. 

Remember that you don't really learn anything until you try things out and make mistakes. One of the things you'll learn is what you could improve, what technique to stay away from because it's incorrect, and so on.  

5. fabric IS real fabric - no matter its origin

This point was triggered by a video I watched - I forgot which one. The lady speaking (giving advice) was saying to go to thrift stores to buy sheets and curtains to use for your projects, especially as a beginner. This way, you avoid ruining "real fabric" and waste money. I suspect she meant brand new (virgin, if you will) fabric, that was never used for anything else before. 

But, in my book, when you take an item and cut away its seams, it turns into "real fabric." It still cost some money, even it was just 50 cents yesterday, or 100 dollars 10 years back. As long as the material is in a good shape and big enough to make something out of, I call it "real fabric." 

6. it takes time and more actions than what you thought

Let's just say you can't just take a needle and some thread and start sewing: you need a plan first, or a goal. This can be - fixing a hole, applying a button, re-doing a hem, and so on. 

But before you get there, you might have to measure some stuff, draw a pattern or two, cut it, cut fabric, and then sew pieces together in a certain sequence. Depending on what you're making, you might have to try the item on from time to time. Depending on the item and number of pieces you have to sew together, and details you want to add, you'll be spending a few good hours "sewing."

But don't worry: the end result might be worth all the effort. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Forgotten knowledge from my granny - by A

Publié le par Charly C.

This entry is written by A. She shares valuable life lessons and common sense tips she learned from her (now deceased) grandmother. I think these tips are a must know for everyone these days, no matter where you live or who you are. 

This entry is a bit overdue, but the tips can still be applied. A second part might follow at some point in the future.

 

The cold season is also the season of the flu, and every year different strains show up. Of course, you can catch the flu or the common cold at any time. So, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about how my family dealt with issues like this in the past and to be honest never got sick. 

 

When I was a kid, my grandma used to be really careful with me so I wouldn't sick. There were times when I lived with her, my mom, dad, aunt - and sometimes other people would also show up. My grandma always made sure to separate every single dish, kitchen tool, and ask the sick person to wear a mask if it applied. 

 

Every dish was washed right away, boiled - which is really important when trying to get rid of germs - and the healthy people in the family were not allowed to use the same ones as the sick person. (We didn't have dish washers back then, and they're not popular even now.

 

Physical closeness also wasn’t permitted. No hugs,  no kisses, no nothing - you simply had to stay away from the sick person for as long as they were contagious. 

 

These things really helped and as a result,  my mother's sister and all the other family members didn’t get hepatitis when my mom got it. Of course, every disease requires different rules... 

 

Every time I would get a stomach upset I was put on a 24-hour liquid fasting period, after which toast, boiled potato and carrots were introduced gradually.

 

So, I would get well a lot faster than my friends and other people who usually suffered for days while still eating their usual diet. This is because the stomach truly needs rest when sick, and allowing it that time results in a much more speedy recovery. I’m still following these tips up to this day, or try to.

That was it for now.

Credits: 

text: © Charly Cross (2013 - present) and A. All rights reserved.

pictures: are from a book called Florals and Nature - Memories of a Lifetime, published in 2005, ISBN: 1-4027-1998-1, and they're free to use for any type of project. Read more (or buy) here. (Not an affiliate link. Not a sponsored post.)

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