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Solution for Sore Hands: Paraffin Bath

When I’ve been knitting a lot, my hands get really sore. If I’m working on the computer too much, my hands get sore. Last month, I sent in a skirt to a magazine where I embroidered the entire hem in a very short period of time and my hands were so sore I couldn’t use them for a few days. I’m pretty brutal on my hands, I guess. A massage therapist friend of mine recommended that I start using a paraffin bath and it has been a godsend. I’ve been soaking my hands in a paraffin bath every evening and they are so much less sore! I did buy a paraffin bath kit although you can just pick up an old crock pot at the thrift store and some blocks of paraffin. I opted for the kit because it wasn’t very expensive, I didn’t see a crockpot when I went to the …

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Book Review: Coco Chanel – An Intimate Life

  “During the course of an extraordinary and unconventional journey – from abject poverty to the invention of a new kind of glamour – [Coco Chanel] helped to forge the idea of modern woman.” Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life by Lisa Chaney is a compelling account of a complicated woman who left an indelible mark on the way we dress, the way we think of fashion, and our idea of the modern woman. “Indeed, a woman’s wardrobe today is virtually unthinkable without, at the very least, one of Gabrielle’s innovations: a little black dress, costume jewelry, any bag with a shoulder strap, jumpers for women, trousers for woman, suits for women, slingback shoes, a trench coat, a strapless dress and, finally, that perfume in its modernist bottle, so iconic it has remained virtually unchanged for ninety years.” Before reading the book, I knew a bit about Coco Chanel’s life and …

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Class Review: How to Set Up 10 Essential Poses on Creative Live

Since I have been working on improving my photo-taking skills, I find that sometimes my biggest hang-up for getting quality photos is that I look like a doofus in so many of the photos I take of myself. I still get seriously awkward in front of my camera lens sometimes (and waaaay more so when my husband tries to take photos for me, although I seem to be okay when my mom takes the photos – I have no idea why.) To help overcome this, I watched the CreativeLive class How to Set Up 10 Essential Poses by Lindsay Adler. The class walks through 10 basic poses (standing, sitting, laying, couples, etc.) with live models, talks about how to arrange the pose to best effect, and then how to make each pose look like it’s a variety of poses by changing small things such as arm or leg placement. It …

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Class Review: Bookkeeping for Crafters

I didn’t really believe that it was possible to make an online class about bookkeeping fun and entertaining, but Lauren Venell managed to do just that with her Creative Live class Bookkeeping for Crafters! I highly recommend this class for anyone that runs any sort of small business and doesn’t have experience with accounting – the “for Crafters” in the name of the class is a bit misleading since the information covered was 95% applicable to anyone with a small business. The information contained was exactly what I needed as I get serious about the bookkeeping part of running my own business, but the information would also be helpful for anyone that sells goods as a hobby as well. Not only did the class have great information, tt was also entertaining because Lauren is a fun and smart woman who sprinkled the class with hilarious anecdotes about the mistakes she …

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Craftsy Class Review: Basics of Digital Photography

Last year I got a nice DSLR and really worked on upping my photography game. As I’ve said, I’m proud of the progress I made and plan on to continue working on it. I took a photography class at the community college in high school and had a manual camera back then, but I had forgotten a lot because, hey, I’m 30, and high school was a while ago. To remind myself of what I swear I used to know about apertures, shutter speeds and those sorts of things, I took a class on Craftsy: Basics of Digital Photography with Rick Allred. If you’re wanting to get more familiar with manual settings on your camera, I highly recommend the class. The class is really focused on explaining the “exposure triangle” – ISO, shutter speed, aperture – what they are, how you control them, and how they affect exposure. The class …

Sewing World Magazine July 2013

I received a free copy of this month’s Sewing World magazine in exchange for a review on my blog. They are celebrating a redesign and were looking for bloggers to get the word out. While I am used to getting my sewing community and inspiration from blogs, I must say that I really enjoyed having a print magazine to flip through. It almost made me want to sit in a bubble bath and paint my toes while I read it, just like I did as a teenager when I used to read lots of magazines (all of whose titles I am now too embarrassed to admit). In fact, I had already read on the blogs of A Stitching Odyssey and By Hand, London that they were featured in the magazine so it was great to see the printed articles! The projects were simple, suitable for beginning to intermediate sewers. I …

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Canning for a New Generation

Since canning my first batch of meyer lemon marmalade last month, I’ve been in a total canning frenzy. I’ve made salt preserved lemons, Indian lemon pickles, lemon curd, strawberry butter, strawberry jam with Thai herbs, strawberry and lemon preserves, strawberry syrup with chamomile, zucchini pickles, and cucumber relish. Whew. I’m running out of room in our tiny pantry and summer has barely started! All of the recipes that I have used have come from Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry by Liana Krissoff. I picked up a stack of books on canning from the library and quickly decided that this was my favorite so I bought a copy for myself. There are several aspects to the book that make it the best, in my opinion. The first is that the recipes really do have bold, modern, and interesting flavors. While plain jam is delicious, I will admit …

Pant Construction Techniques Class Review

I’ve seen many sewing bloggers write that they intend to tackle trousers this year. Might I make a suggestion? Treat yourself to a Craftsy class by Sandra Betzina on Pant Construction Techniques. (If you’re not an expert on fitting pants, you might want to try her class on Pant Fitting first). The class is a wealth of information helpful for any pair of pants you might want to construct in the future, certainly not limited to the pattern that they send you with class registration. In fact, I sewed a pair of trousers while watching the class and found her construction techniques to be very helpful.