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Why aren't all single-use plastic bags banned?

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello everyone!

A few months ago I came across a post on Instagram, that made me think of this issue. I'll share the post with you later, in a different entry. 

Well, i thought about it before, but I somehow didn't have the right muse around me to write about it. I think the time is better now. 

Many types and shapes of plastic

I won't dive into what plastic is made of. We all know there are many different types and forms of plastic out there, and i believe this wiki page is only an opener for a whole can of worms on the topic.

Here, in the images below, you can see some types and shapes plastic can take:

  • the hard shell of a mouse and of a regular pen
  • the soft-cover protecting the wires of a mouse, 
  • the faux-leather cover of an agenda (that i use as a planner AND mousepad),
  • my home-pants made of 100% polyester that you get a small snippet of as well (flowery blue, in the lowest part of the image) 
  • a pencil - the green one (the blue pencil is made of the traditional wood)

In these images, most of the mentioned plastics can be used just once. Granted, they can be used for a VERY long period of time. I have to find a recycling program for the mouse, and I'll most likely keep the agenda -as I recorded some memories in it as well. 

The plastic pencil is both useful (when writing or drawing) and wasteful (when sharpening), but it has just 1 life as well. When it becomes too short to still sharpen/write with, I'll have to somehow discard it. 

I got the pants as already worn, but they were still in a good shape. When I'll be done wearing them, I can turn them into something else, until the fabric can no longer be used. 

Speaking of clothes, I have 2 more types of plastics to show you. Well, one is a repeat, while the other is not. 

The vest is made of faux-fur and the coat of faux leather and has a polyester lining. These items too, can be used for an extended period of time. Additionally, they can somehow be reused when they can no longer be used as clothes. 

So, overall, this type of plastic is a tiny bit less problematic.  

Soo ... single-use plastic bags?

I'm not sure where in the world you live, and what the situation is with single-use plastic bags over there. In Romania, these are seen everywhere, especially when you go do your groceries. just look here:

This is a typical plastic shopping bag. It used to be free of charge, now it costs a few cents, depending on the store. They say this bag is single-use. Well, it is not really, unless it breaks. 

I often reuse these when shopping and sometimes as trash bags, when they become a bit too worn out. This particular bag is filled with other plastic bags, and many households across the country have a big plastic bag filled with other (smaller) plastic bags.  

The irony is that most single-use plastic shopping bags of certain compositions have been banned. They have been replaced with "bio" single-use plastic bags. I'll show you one below:

This bag is for fruits and vegetables. it's very soft to the touch, breaks easily, and I'm not 100% sure, but i think it disintegrates quite rapidly once it gets punctured. Currently, shopping bags are very similar to the touch to this 'bio' bag. I still re-use these for lightweight trash, if they didn't already break. 

I made 1 bag for fruits and vegetables, but as you can expect, I forget to bring it with me when shopping. And it's not even guaranteed I'll buy such goods. 

Now, the biggest offenders

I'm not even done, because these previous items can be re-used or have prolonged use if you care to spend less and have a creative spirit. 

Now, I'll show you the biggest offenders of plastic products. 

Cling film!

Cling film is indeed a pretty decent invention for covering foods when putting them in the fridge, or for the sandwiches you make for your lunch break. It probably has other uses that I'm not aware of. 

Regardless, this item should be banned! Or people should stop buying this product altogether! It can be replaced with at least 3 other items:

  1. casseroles with lids: These can be used to store food in the fridge and to take your lunch in. These can easily be washed and reused. I wouldn't recommend the ones made of hard plastic, but it's not very convenient to carry glass stuff around. Maybe metal containers can do the trick here, but I'm not sure they still exist. 
  2. lids or plates used as lids: These can be used only in the fridge. These are more accessible to those who don't always have a fridge full, and they can occupy more space. 
  3. zip-lock bags: Yes, they're still plastic, not great, but if we carefully handle these, they can serve for a long(er) period of time compared to cling film. 
Plastic bottles!

This bottle held apple cider vinegar. When you walk into any store, you'll see hundreds if not thousands of plastic bottles: for beer, oil, sodas, milk, laundry and dish wash, and on and on. 

These are BIG one-time plastic use offenders. Granted, some of these products cannot be sold in a different type of container. 

I think that all stores should request buyers to come with the old/empty bottles when buying a new product of the same type (regardless of brand), or else be forced to pay more. The empty bottles should be collected and recycled. 

I know some people re-use plastic bottles for various things, mostly instead of a traditional pot for plants. This is great, but not everyone has a green thumb or is creative enough. 

Packaging!

There are SO many items packaged in plastic! Above you can see a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and 3 small containers (I'm not sure what to call them), for milk for coffee. 

The bag above is a single-use bag that should be banned. it's too small to be reused and breaks quite easily when not careful. The only re-use i can think of is for the above-mentioned lunch if it comes as a sandwich. I must admit, I'm not sure what can it be replaced by, and therefore it can be spared for some time. 

Trash bags!

I saved the worst for last and i don't even know what to say here. We literally buy these bags to throw them away! Make this make sense because it doesn't make any sense to me!  

As far as i saw here, these rarely have a 'bio' version. And even then, they're way more expensive than 'regular' trash bags. It's also not a guarantee those 'bio' bags last for less time in nature. 

P.S.! 

I know there are also single-use plastic plates, glasses, straws, and cutlery, however, i don't own any such items anymore. Precisely because of their single-use attribute. Additionally, it's not healthy to eat out of re-usable plastic plates either - plastic can leech into the food. This is akin to slow poisoning.  

I don't think paper is a good alternative to plastic, especially not the plastic/paper combo we see on some products. We need to cut trees to make paper, and we need trees to breathe cleaner air. Also, many animals rely on trees to survive. 

I think that paper could be recycled easier than plastic and it decomposes faster when left out in the open. Maybe we could make packaging out of bamboo instead? 

I didn't watermark these pics as I didn't see the need to, but they were taken by me in june/july of this year (2021).

See you next time! 

©Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Cat-shaped "minciunele"

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello, world! 

Today I'll share with you my results trying to make a common Romanian dessert, called "minciunele." This word means little lies and they're a type of donuts. 

As you can see from the pictures, this recipe was supposed to appear quite some time ago. In fact, i had already posted this recipe on my first blog, before i rebranded for the first time. 

When I first started blogging, I thought i'd have a cooking blog and another blog for other stuff. As we all know, things changed, and now i have this "general" blog and my site/blog dedicated to reviews, called Being Obscure, hosted by WordPress. 

The recipe goes something like this, and you can see the original recipe and results here. This is the blog dedicated to recipes for Romanian foods. The post shows you how these are supposed to look like, and you can clearly see my cats don't look as nice as the original. 

If you want to know why i chose to shape my donuts as cats, I'll add the story AFTER the recipe. I recently realized people don't appreciate too much talking BEFORE the recipe. So, without further ado, here we go!

Ingredients:
  • 500 g flour (1lb?)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 yolks
  • 2 tablespoons of sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
Additional ingredients:
  • some powdered sugar for coating
  • some sunflower oil for frying; whatever other type of oil you use for frying food should also work. 
Method:
  • Beat the egg whites until they're fluffy.
  • Mix the egg yolks with the sour cream and gently fold this mix into the egg whites. 
  • Sieve the flour and the baking powder on top of the mix.
  • Gently fold these also into the mixture above, until you have a smooth dough. 

The original recipe doesn't say to let the dough rest and raise a bit, so I didn't do that. However, I think it should be done, and i think it should be at least 30 minutes. 

Roll the dough onto a sheet on the work table (about 5 mm or 2/8in thick) and cut your shapes. Of course, you can cut whatever shapes you want - i also did that. 

To cut shapes you can use cookie cutters, a glass, or directly a knife. The difference is that with the knife things will be easier and much faster, while with the cookie cutters/glass you'll need to reroll the dough. You don't want to waste all that yumminess. ;)

Fry your shapes in hot oil, over medium heat, and on both sides. If you have too many donuts and you run low on oil, add some more oil, and make sure it gets hot before you fry more donuts. 

When they're brown on both sides, remove them and place them on a plate or a bowl covered with some paper towel or (unscented, dry) paper handkerhiefs. The paper will absorb the excess oil. 

In the picture above, you can see I'm frying donuts in other shapes than cats. 

Once you're done frying all the dough, sprinkle some confectioner's sugar on top. These are always better with some of that on top. 

I never tried, but these could also be good with some chocolate or cream on top. 

Bon Appétit! Enjoy!

Why cat-shaped?

I believe that at some point in 2017, the butter we usually buy came with a little cutter. There were 3 shapes: cat, car, and i forgot what else. They were meant to help mothers make cute sandwiches for their kids, to entice them to eat and enjoy the food more. 

I got the butter that had the cat-shaped cutter. I never really used it since, but one day, when i made these donuts, Anna jokingly challenged me to make them look like cats, thinking it would be impossible for me to do so. 

The expression on her face when i pulled out the cat-shaped cookie cutter? PRICELESS! 

So, this is how you make another type of easy doughnuts. i hope you liked the story about the cookie-cutter shaped like a cat as well. 

As a reference, i have 2 more cutters for cookies: one shaped like spectacles and another shaped like lips. These are from H&M Home. I got them on sale, i think right before the SHTF last year. 

The yellow disk is a cookie or cake decorator i found in the lid of a jar of Nutella. I forgot the year. maybe 2019. 

See you next time! 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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An all time favorite for Romanians - Polenta

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello everyone!

I'm not sure I was supposed to post anything today, but I realized this recipe wasn't moved from my old cooking blog. I thought it might be time I moved it. 

Quite honestly, I almost forgot I still had recipes on that old blog. 

As you'll see, the pics are very bad, undated, but they're from at least 2015. That's why they're bad and I don't have a visual step-by-step of the process. 

Ok, below you'll see the "original" post. Enjoy your reading!

Coming to Romania you'll want to try some traditional food, even though I don't believe there is any dish that is exclusively "traditional Romanian." What you'll eat instead is food almost every Romanian knows how to make, especially in the countryside. Sadly, eating this in the capital, might not taste the same as it would in some forsaken village, but this doesn't mean it won't be tasty.

From my old blog. i need new pics.

Polenta seems to be every peasant's replacement for bread and therefore eaten mostly with other foods. However polenta is so popular it can be eaten by itself as well.. well sort of by itself. Mixing it with butter and some type of salty cheese will make it delicious and a dish that can be served as a stand-alone.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 liter of water (or less)
  • some cornflour, better known as polenta in some countries. [all i know its that it's dry, yellow, rough, and made of corn]
  • some salt
  • between 1 and 3 spoons of butter - margarine also works
  • some cheese - feta cheese is just an example. Make sure the cheese melts, you'll thank me later.
  • Optional:
    • black pepper
    • boiled egg
    • bacon or sausages
from my old blog. i need new pics.
METHOD
  • Place the water with salt on fire and bring it to a boil.
  • When it starts to boil, start slowly adding the polenta-corn flour. Make sure to mix in a circular motion with a wooden spoon. You're better off at mixing with its handle - it mixes better, trust me on this one. Make sure it boils well!
  • Cut the cheese into small cubes. Best size? about half your thumb finger.
  • Add the cornflour until the mixture thickens and sticks to your spoon. It is done when you have the impression you can form balls with it, without them falling apart. You'll want it rather thick and sticky than runny or soft.
  • Add the butter and mix well. The butter will soften the mixture - this is what you want.
  • Add the cheese and mix. The cheese will start melting - this is what you want to happen. ;)
  • Add some black pepper on top after you serve on a dish or in a bowl.

This dish is best served hot, especially in winter, but having it cold in summer is just fine too.

I like it warm regardless of the season, lol. You could say this is a type of comfort food for me.

Here I had it with some fried soy pieces and some bell pepper. You can have it with sauerkraut, sausages, fish, and almost any other food that has sauce.

Bon Apettit!

PS: yes, all these failed pics are mine -_-' I need to make polenta again and to take better pics of the process. 


© Charly Cross 2013 - present.

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Very late Blog-march: Last 4 challenges

Publié le par Charly C.

Well, hello there.

We are well into the month of April and I know I haven't finished the March challenge. However, due to how this platform works, I can post this in March. ;) 

The thing is - I won't finish this challenge. Below we can see the remaining challenges.

March 27 - National cheese day

This is a French platform, run by French people. I suppose the stereotype that the French love their cheese is true if they dedicated a day to celebrate it. 

Personally, I don't live in France, so I have no idea if there is such a day celebrated, or if Cheese Day is every day. 

So, what is my favorite type of cheese? I do like cheese, so I have a favorite. 

I ate blue cheese a few times - I didn't find it bad, but also not something to eat daily, or even very often. I used to really like the Romanian telemea cheese, but not so much anymore. 

Of course, you may not or don't know what telemea is, so here is more about this cheese, from Wikipedia

Lately, I like Italian mozzarella cheese. Smoked yellow cheese is another type of cheese I like. This type of cheese is called Kashkaval and I can't recall seeing any that is white in color. Most of these are off-white or some shade of yellow.  

This type of cheese melts nicely on pizza, and any other dish you may want melted cheese on. 

March 28 - World day against endometriosis

I wish all women dealing with this problem, a lot of health. 

I wish everyone else who is not aware of this health problem, to learn about it. Also, please stop asking women "When will you get married?" "When will you have children?". 

It's none of your business. Unless YOU plan on being the 3rd wheel in the relationship or taking care of the baby with your own money and time. Not all women want to be wives or mothers. 

And women suffering from endometriosis may even have a hard time conceiving, even if they want to have babies. So, again, I repeat: Not your body, not your problem! You can ask questions and give advice only when you're very close to the person and you're concerned about their health and overall wellbeing. 

March 29 - Cinema spring

I have no idea what this means or what am I supposed to write about. 

In any case, keep an eye open and stalk my other site for at least one movie review, The Taming of the Shrew, an Italian movie. ;) I think it's a good movie for spring.

March 31 - World day of personal data protection

I think this is what it means. If this is what it means, I'll have to remind you to change your passwords often, keep them written down -in an agenda, diary, cookie jar, whatever. Do not share them with anyone under any circumstance. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Making Victorian-inspired pantaloons - Sewing with a vintage Burda

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello.

In November I had some time to make something and to even finish it. YAY!

Disclaimer: Well, I'm not sure they're really called "pantaloons" but this is what I'll call them in this article. I say they're Victorian-inspired because they have frills and lace. 

INSPIRATION

My inspiration came from 2 places if I can call them that. 

The first place is Subeta's (that is a referral link to this online pet and dress-up game) Magical Pirate Pantaloons of Sweet Love - you can see them here (This is a fan-made and helpful site for those playing Subeta).

The above image belongs to Subeta - used for informational purposes.

The second place is Bernadette Banner's video in which she makes a pair of Victorian underwear or combinations. You can watch the video here. She uses historically accurate fabrics and methods, including or especially hand-sewing. 

The end result is closer to the Pantaloons of Sweet Love mentioned above, as you'll see from the pictures. 

WHAT DID I USE

Fabric: As for fabric, I used some blue and very thin polyester fabric I had. Despite it being polyester, it feels quite nice against the skin. 

Pattern: For the pattern, I had nothing "historical" or something made for a (Halloween) costume. I had this May 1996 Burda magazine that had a pattern I could use. 

I needed some loose trousers with the simplest pattern possible. This one had just 2 pieces and was very loose. What else can I ask for?!

Other supplies: a pair of shears, matching thread, sewing machine, some elastic (not included in the picture), hand-made lace, and chord that i just had on hand. The lace and chord were either given to me or i may have found them at the trash

The white lace is the remaining piece from what i had. Because it didn't occur to me to take pictures BEFORE i use it. Click here to see a close-up of the lace and the chord thing. 

WHAT DID I DO

As you could imagine, first I had to trace out my pattern pieces and to cut the fabric. As a matter of fact, i wanted to make these Burda trousers for Anna, a while back. So i had the pattern already traced out and cut. 

I only needed to cut the fabric. I folded the fabric in half, placed the paper on it, and cut with no seam allowance. This design is quite loose, therefore cutting with no seam allowance is fine. Otherwise, Burda patterns require you to add 1 cm (about half an inch?) of the seam allowance. 

The next step was to sew 1 front piece to a back piece, then to sew the crotch. And at this point, you have a pair of trousers. I made a channel for the elastic at the waist, out of the pants - the design has a quite long crotch area, and therefore, you have plenty of fabric to just roll the top inwards twice for this purpose.  

As you can see, my seam allowance is pretty small, but enough.

You can use elastic or a chord. This depends on whether you just want to pull the pants on or you want to bother to knot the chord, as the line drawing suggests. For me, the elastic was just SO easy! 

And now comes the part where i made my first mistake which made things a bit more difficult for me. I constructed the trousers BEFORE i added the lace or formed those ruffles or channel for the knee elastic.  

If you ever sew something, you would know it's easier to put ruffles on something when the item is flat/2D and not in a 3D shape. I think i would have been more accurate as well. 

My next steps were as follows:

I measured about the place where i want the elastic to be, made the channel for it, eyeballed the place of the first ruffle, eyeballed the location of the hem, and completed the first leg. 

I assumed that finishing 1 leg and then doing the second one would be easier. I'm not sure if it was or not, but it did feel that way.  

Another mistake was not to measure the white lace, to ensure i have enough. From my eyeballing, it looked as if i did have enough. By now, you already know my guess was correct.

However, while I was working on the project, i had my doubts when time came for me to complete the second leg. I suggest you measure everything ahead of time, unless you trust your eyeballing guess. I'm pretty good at guessing, and this is why i didn't do the sensible thing of measuring. But I shall in the future. 

Once the ruffles and the lace were installed, the pantaloons were done! YAY! Now (as I type this), they're packed and hidden, as they're a gift for Anna. You'll be reading this after she gets her present, sorry. 

 

Previous Experience

What i want to also mention is that i actually worked with this pattern once before. 

I made a pair of trousers for myself, last year in October. Back then, i used this pinkish silk fabric, that only later i realized it could be silk and i nearly fainted. I was either brave or decided to just go for it, and make myself some trousers. 

That being said, this is how my pair turned out. There are many mistakes to be seen up-close. From further away, you can't tell. 

For Anna, I used size 36 -the smallest available and for myself size 44, the largest available. I chose the sizes based on our measurements, but i didn't measure the pattern pieces themselves to see how large the finished garment would be. 

For my pair, i tried leaving 1 cm of the seam allowance. My pair is a bit too roomy. It's because of this previous experience with the pattern that i knew not to cut with a seam allowance this time around. 

As you can see, the expectation VS reality hits again, hahaha. Don't ask about what i'm wearing - at the time i thought it looked OK. The top is also hand/home-made, but it's a hand-me-down, so i don't know the pattern nor fabric. 

Yes, sadly, the picture with me is not complete, therefore you can't see these pants are a tiny bit short on me. But this is because I'm taller than most and the pattern is for regular-height persons. 

© 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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Expectation VS Reality - DIY edition

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello there!

Did you expect to see me? neither did I. 

Do you know how people order things online hoping they'll receive something cool, something they think will look good, will make them feel better, and so on and so forth? 

I have done that. But i didn't expect things to be THAT amazing, to begin with. You can read more about that experience in this entry

So this entry is not about my expectations being ruined by a bad online shopping spree. Instead, I want to talk about a DIY project a did over the past 2 or 3 weeks. Well, i finished it last week.

I didn't plan on writing about it. However I shared it to this FB group and 87 people liked it and congratulated me for the result. 

The story goes something like this: 

When the stores finally opened back at the beginning of summer, fiance bought a small white Guess bag from an outlet. 

It was in a decent shape, with the only flaws being the several visible stains. On both sides. Unfortunately i don't have a picture of the bag :( 

I thought we can clean it. [FIRST EXPECTATION!]

[FIRST REALITY] hit when after several attempts, and several products, we realized that taking those stains out won't work. 

The DIY project begins!

THE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM

The solution we came up with, was to paint the bag. At least on the front.

This was a pretty easy idea to put into practice. All i needed was:

  • acrylic paints - done!
  • paintbrushes - done!
  • inspiration 

The inspiration came from a google image search. I searched for "an easy acrylic painting" or something along that line.

And I found this picture: [EXPECTATION 2]

I thought it's a decently easy image to reproduce. So i started working. 

First, i used a pencil to draw the circle in the middle, and 2 vertical lines in the middle to "split" the background into the night/day halves. I also drew the curved line for the crescent moon and the "flames" around the sun. 

This part was THE easiest to complete. 

I then started painting and i used the lightest colors first. 

I don't have much to say about the painting process. I tried to make sure i don't leave white spots as the surface of the bag is textured, not smooth, as you'll see from the pics below. 

So, this is what I got. [REALITY 2] it's not AS pretty as the inspiration photo, but it's alright. I think. 

And when you open it, you get almost the same image. I didn't want the image to be split or incomplete when open. I also have the impression it looks more "intended this way by the designer" and not "oh, I painted this and did the shittiest job."

It had 2 loops for a shoulder chain. My fiance said they'll use it more like a wallet than a purse, therefore, I thought that keeping the chain would be in the way, in a bag. 

I hope this entry inspires you to find a solution when your favorite bag gets dirty and you can't clean it, and you also don't want to get rid of it. 

I didn't use a sealant, but I should, and I'll be looking for some sort of sealant. The light blue side is a bit sticky to the touch even though so much time passed since I finished this project. So, if you do this, make sure to use a sealant. 

See you in the next one!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Good thrift store finds (summer 2020)

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello all!

As you guys know, this year started off on a meh side.. well, at first, Australia was on fire. Then the 'Rona happened, and now everyone is more or less confused about things. 

In Romania, the stores, restaurants, and other places have been closed for 2 months. Once they opened, we went shopping again. Of course, I feel like we went a bit overboard with some stuff, but let me tell you that 2 months is a long time. And some other places around the world were closed for longer, or had to reclose. And that's sad. Depending on when in time you read this, you most likely already know all this.

So, back to today's topic. If you don't already know, a thrift store is also called a second hand store; it's a shop where people buy items that have generally been already owned and used by other people. In some cases, the items can be in a 'like-new' condition, may even have the original tags attached, or simply broken or well-used, and i have no idea why they're being re-sold. 

With all of that to be kept in mind, you can find some really good deals or treasures in these shops, and today i want to brag about a few of the things we found. 

Two Pairs of Shoes

Personally, i try not to buy used shoes. I recently realized that i feel a bit icky about people's feet in general - especially touching them (i imagined a situation in which i'd have to give a pedicure to a stranger). My partner's feet are the only ones (besides my own) that i feel comfortable enough to touch. 

As you can see from these pictures, these shoes are in quite good or very good condition. The sandals look as if they haven't been worn at all. The shoes have been worn a little bit, but the top and the heels look very good. 

These shoes are not my purchases but given their condition and since they're under the same roof with me, I thought i'd share them. Let's just say these cost much less than what they would sell for on eBay or other sites. 

The pumps are leather all around, and this means that they can easily be repaired if needed. And if we find a good place that offers such services. 

I will not be wearing these as they don't fit me and aren't my style, but Anna will. And she says they're very comfortable and easy to walk in. 

Vintage Pyrex (approx. 1977)

These casseroles (?) are made by Pyrex England. This pattern is the JAJ Sunflower pattern. When looking it up, you'll see there are at least 2 designs called Sunflower. This is the "less popular" one? 

I blame the MadGirlsVintage youtube channel for this purchase. She has an impressive Pyrex collection, in generally 2 colors only: pink and aqua. She has a few pieces in other colors as well, as she tries to "complete" her sets. 

Well, I don't want to reach that level of collecting Pyrex items, but these 2 pieces made me pretty happy. They are also pretty useful in the kitchen as I actually cooked in them, in the oven. 

These Pyrex casseroles are round. I probably wouldn't have bought them if they were oblong. Most likely because I already have a heat-resistant glass oblong casserole, from the Borcam brand. 

Decorative Plate

I'm not sure what color you see, but this is a rather pale pink or pale red? I'm not sure. The plate itself is rather thick. Its design is clearly supposed to be in the style of the well known Spode Blue Room china sets. 

To be honest, I always liked those plates, I never knew who made them, nor did I know their price. I did think they are ancient plates and vases from China, which are very expensive. I just didn't know that companies reproduced and reinterpreted them. I was much younger, and now I do know those things. 

I purchased this plate because I thought it might be valuable for resale or something. Well, I don't plan on re-selling this plate any time soon, but use it instead. In any case, if I do decide to re-sell it, I would make a bit of money off of it. 

I want to buy more plates in this style. I'm hoping to find them in black or green, preferably blue. This pink doesn't look appealing enough to me. I find pink to be a difficult color. To match, wear, use...  In any case, I will have to see if I still find anything at all, as well as if I like the design and the color. 

These plates were sold in a book outlet. And I didn't buy any. I wish I did get a few. But In a way, I thought it's a bit ... hmmm ... offensive in a weird way.  

All in all, I'm happy with these finds. I will keep on searching for such treasures in the second-hand stores. 

© 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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Changing a jacket' sleeves

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello all! 

I had a thin Zara jacket with faux leather sleeves. I bought it several years back during the summer sales, if I'm not mistaken. But as it goes, faux leather started peeling and I don't like that. I don't know who likes peeling leatherette, to be honest.  So, I thought to myself that I won't be wearing the jacket anymore though I could try to change its sleeves now that I have some good fabric shears and a decent sewing machine. I also have a few books that teach how to make sleeves and attach them to the garment. The only downside was that I would be ruining the pretty (and very cheap) fabric A got me (from a second hand store. It was there because someone cut it twice on bias, and it probably wasn't enough for their project.) 

So, my thoughts were:

  • I wanted to make something with the fabric
  • I HAD to use it (the fabric) in the end, somehow
  • the fabric was cheap - about $1 for a yard or so? I didn't measure it, sadly. 
  • I wasn't going to wear the jacket anymore
  • I would be learning something
  • I received encouragement to "just go for it!"

I don't think I needed more excuses. So I started with ripping the seams apart because I wanted to use the existing sleeve as pattern for the new sleeve. 

  • the sizing was the right one, especially the arm-hole
  • the length was ok - i could always cut a few extra cm if needed, which I did anyway.
  • I wasn't in the mood to learn how to make a sleeve pattern from scratch. That day will come, but it wasn't this day. 

Sadly, I don't have pictures for all the steps :( I thought of taking pictures when it was too late. Some steps don't even need pictures because anyone can do those with the right tool.

the process

I started by removing the sleeves from the body of the jacket using the seam ripper. My sleeves also had zippers, so I also removed those after. 

Once I had my sleeves, I took one and I placed it flat on some newspaper to make a sleeve pattern, so I can cut the new sleeve from some fabric. I placed the fabric folded over.  When I cut the fabric, I included more seam allowance vertically, but not for the width. 

I didn' like what the fabric felt against the skin, as I knew I would wear this jacket over a tshirt as well. This meant I had to find some fabric to make a lining. The fabric I found is brown and ugly, but serves the purpose just fine. 

You can't really tell from the picture, but first I sew the sleeve to the lining (former sleep wear i believe) at the wrist-end. I then pinned down the sleeve to the rest of the fabric, and then I cut the lining. (note 1)

I also sew the lining to the tartan, before assembling the sleeve together. I figured that shiny and slippery fabric would be difficult to work with if it's not attached. I also ran a zig-zag stitch. (note 2)

Originally, the previous sleeves did have lining as well. I couldn't use it though. The seam allowance was fraying badly. Additionally it was shorter, because the leatherette was folded over some, like the sleeves on suits and coats. 

As I said, I wasn't going to learn how to make such sleeves. This means that the brown lining can be seen at the wrist level, on my sleeves. It also looked ugly. I decided to run a top stitch to see if it looks any better, and it did! See the picture below.

If you do a sleeve like I did here, I highly recommend you do the same. In my opinion, the piece looks 'done more professionally.' You can do this top stitch AFTER sewing the sleeve, so that  the seams would lay flat against your wrist, and rub less. If I ever do this again, I'll know what I need to improve :)

 After my sleeves were complete, it was time I attached them to the body of the jacket. The sleeves I made were a bit larger than the arm holes of the jacket. I started pinning the sleeves starting at the armpit seams going to the top. At the shoulder part, I needed to create 2 pleats. Gathering the fabric is an option, but not for this lined tartan. The pleats give the sleeves a more structured, put-together, "professionally done" look, in my opinion.

And this is the final result! What do you think? 

extra step

However, before attaching the sleeves, I decided I wanted some lining for the back part of the jacket as well. I used the same ugly brown one as for the sleeves. The jacket is very thin, and the spring was cold this year. I wanted some protection from the wind, and the lining would provide just that. 

I used the back of the jacket to serve as guide for a pattern, drew it on paper, cut the brown fabric, and sew it onto the seams of the jacket. I don't have more pictures, sorry. :( 

 That's about it! Don't skip reading the notes below to learn what I wish I did differently.

See you soon! 

Note 1: The funny thing is that while I tried to sew the right side of the tartan fabric to the lining, i only managed with one sleeve. The other one, the tartan is on the wrong-side. I obviously saw too late. I didn't and won't go back to fix it. 

Note 2: I wish I assembled the tartan first into a sleeve, then the lining, and then attach the tartan to the lining at the wrist. I thought of this too late. 

Note 3: This project is from April 2019. I didn't get to watermark the images. Now with my arm in a cast, doing so is more difficult. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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