This isn’t a fashion post but I still wanted to blog anyway. As you may or may not have noticed I don’t sew everyday so if you assumed that I fill my other days with eating cakes and crumpets well you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. I like good food and I cannot lie. It could be anything from a Kit Kat bar to Epkang Nkukwo but your girl doesn’t mind snacking on a thing or two at any given point. My mum and sister are both food bloggers so even more opportunities to support the snackery.
This weekend, I took my mum to a vegan restaurant. Yes, my Nigerian mother agreed to vegan food. With MINIMAL persuasion!!!! Let’s just sit on that for a quick second. I’m still wondering what the catch was. She only mentioned meat once during the entire dinner and I feel we truly judged the food on it’s merit.
I was really inspired by my mum’s willingness to try something that frankly was not in her comfort zone in anyway. How often do we just play it safe, carry on with business as usual and never try to do something really new? It doesn’t always have to be a big thing like moving to another country or dying your hair spirogyra green. It could be the little things; like walking when you would have taken the bus or talking to people when you would otherwise have scrolled through Instagram for the 15th time in a 20 minute time-frame.
I guess all I’m saying is that you have to be willing to do the unexpected every now and again. Maybe it would work, maybe it won’t but it will be fun to try 🙂
So last summer, I got to attend a wedding as my boyfriend’s date which was super grown up to me but apparently is something regular people do…who knew? For the traditional wedding, the colors were all white with red accents so I figured this may be a fine opportunity to make my dress. The dress ended up being a pretty simple project, fold in half, cut out a neck hole, sew up the sides a few inches in to create the waterfall arms and add a collar! Easy peasy lemon squeezey.
In addition to just being excited for a new project, I knew I was probably only going to know maybe 3 people at this wedding, I figured it might be a conversation starter. Now the catch is, I suck at bringing up my sewing in conversation (lol) and I’m also really awkward around new crowds. Needless to say, I was pretty nervous about the ordeal and perspiring heavily.
I see people who move effortlessly through crowds and are able to completely be themselves from the first conversation and they baffle me. In a good way of course but baffled nonetheless. No don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate meeting people and I don’t spontaneously combust into flames of anxiety and frustration when posed with the opportunity to face people I don’t know. My main concern is usually that I have no control over the version of me they meet that day and following up as my regular self just gets harder from that point. For some reason, when I meet new people, my voice gets a little high pitched or my accent sounds a pinch more Canadian. I can never hear it in the moment but I can read it in the reactions of others who either try to mirror my accent or who question whether I grew up in Canada.
Honestly I think my real undoing starts with the introductions. I don’t have a very common name so even growing up in Nigeria, I got pretty comfortable with my name being mispronounced. I wonder if anyone experiences as much stress as I do when people ask me what my name is. I now spell my name on autopilot just to save people the trouble of calling me Enai. For the record, my name (Enang) is pronounced as follows: EH–as in Canada eh!–Nang–as in bang with an N. I think it may be too late for some of my friends now because like I said I got so used to mispronunciations that I’d settle for good enough.
So between awkward introductions that always last too long and involuntarily starting conversations in a Canadian accent that I can never seem to reign in on demand, this is my SOS. All my socially savvy readers, how do you do it??? How do you navigate the crowds and finesse the awkwardness?
As promised, I am back with this jumpsuit I made a while back however, I wouldn’t really be talking about the jumpsuit today. You already know the drill, a stitch here, a snip there and the inevitable complications with finishing touches. Instead, I want to talk about something that’s been gnawing at me for weeks/months now.
I have been so inconsistent with blogging, posting for my business and sewing in general this year. I basked under the cover of being busy at work for a while then eventually soaked in my lack of motivation. Neither of the two being particularly untrue, I still feel like I could be doing more.
So here’s are a few questions I’ve asked myself regarding my lack of motivation:
Why am I doing this?
Am I blogging/sewing because I feel it is a genuine outlet for my creativity or am I doing this because I feel like I have to?
Why did I start blogging or sewing in the first place and what did I enjoy when I was at the peak of consistency?
Do I still feel like this blog is the space for my creativity?
If I never earned a dollar from sewing or creating content, would I still do it?
Am I happy with my work?
Is it time to grow?
Now of all of these questions, the one I found to be pivotal is the last question. I feel like I have been comfortable in this space for a bit too long. If I am going to be more consistent, I need to set clear goals for myself. These goals cannot be tied to external feedback or influence because my motivation will start and end with those bursts of views or comments.
Now when I started this blog, I was also just starting out with sewing and as such the name “Begin” held personal significance for me. While the message of taking the first step continues to be true, I feel that I have evolved past that starting line. While I am yet undecided on a new blog name, I feel like the name of my blog will be changing soon. (suggestions welcome).
All this being said, how do you guys stay motivated? Some days I really just want to lay in bed, eat and watch baby goats learn how to walk. Growth
Summer is coming to an end friends and I have not been very present here. No excuses just acknowledging my absence and letting that hang in the air for a few seconds. Alright now shall we?
Soooooo…I may not have blogged as much as I would like this summer but I haven’t left my sewing machine to rust and croak. Presenting my new and dare I say improved take on a romper. You may remember a couple years ago now my first successful attempt at a one piece with leg holes 🙂 ahh simpler times ❤ . Anyhow now we have grown and started adding zippers and trimming and bias tape like it’s not a thing!
Putting this together went relatively well however, no project is without it’s challenges so I will be remiss if I didn’t mention the challenges of sorting out a fly zipper. This is a newly acquired skill for me so I have to follow along with the YouTube tutorial. Between watching the screen and flicking away at seams with my seam ripper, I may have knicked the fabric once or twice (or four times). All things considered I am pretty happy with how things turned out.
To finish off, I will leave you with a quote that’s been getting me through the last few days of summer, amidst trying moments and moments of fear and trepidation:
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you” – Isaiah 26:3
My prayers are with all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and many others around the world displaced by war, nature or economy. I pray for perfect peace.
I’ve been pretty occupied with day to day living. Its kind of funny how easy it is to get looped into daily routines and to stop challenging yourself. Anyhow, I’m bringing you a wrap skirt I made for Gospelfest (Gospelfest is UTGC’s spring concert *X Soprano squad X*). Our colours for this year were White, Grey and Yellow so I decided to have a little fun with my outfit.
Now before I go any further, this outfit taught me just how important it is to be stocked on fresh, sharp needles. (cue tears)
I opted for a full circle midi length skirt. Simple enough to cut out and a google search yields many formulas on how to calculate your circle skirt length and circumference. Seeing as I wanted it to be a wrap skirt, I added half of my waist measurement to my actual waist measurement to get my wrap skirt measurement. That may have been a little convoluted so see the formula below
AW+ 1/2AW= WW
Once you cut out a circle skirt, you’re about 75% done 🙂 .
I cut out a waist band which was long enough to go around the waist of my skirt and have enough left over to tie
Another piece of equal width to the waist band also for me to tie the waistband
Finally two thinner pieces to tie on the inside of my waist band.
I decided not to go with a wrap belt that pulls through the waistband just because my sewing machine can’t make button holes and I didn’t want to have my fabric fraying as a result of that.
Now I began to sew and much to my utter dismay, my fabric kept puckering, my thread kept breaking and I started sweating. Who had I offended? Why do these problems have to start now? Oh and I should mention that I was sewing this skirt hours before I had to head out to the event. A couple YouTube videos and plenty of whoosas later, I managed to troubleshoot my issues enough to pull through.
I wore it on the matte side (glossy side pictured in this post) but honestly I think it could be rocked on either side depending on the occasion. Got lots of compliments on this skirt in the end so that definitely made up for the hassle. Nevertheless, I learned shortly after that majority of the issues I was facing were brought on by a blunt needle. Apparently you are supposed to change your needle after every 72 hours of sewing.
As you can tell this post isn’t really about me (for once). Meet the man behind my pictures, photographer, brother, art director extraordinaire, Willyverse himself :D. Late last year I was reflecting on just how many shoots we had done and how kind and supportive he had been of all my endeavors and not once had he asked me to make him anything so I offered. I’ll be honest, I was halfway expecting him to shrug and say he didn’t want anything but then he actually had a request. He had an idea for a multi-functional “super suit” as he calls it or deconstructed overalls. Clearly we think alike because I feel an outfit maximizes it worth when it can be worn a few different ways.
So I began my research and found a super helpful video on men’s overalls by StyldByChris. It seemed simple enough to start with; make pants, make a top, add loops to attach them and fin, oui? Mais non! First there were the issues with the pant legs, then the challenges with the zipper where it would disrespectfully slide open every time he bent even slightly and then the top was a good width if the two parts of the overall were attached but way too wide for the super suit.
I have to commend William for working with me through the issues and making suggestions to fix the problems we faced. I was really just the tailor in this creative process, he fully committed to fleshing out his vision to the very last detail.
In terms of making clothes for men as opposed to women, there really wasn’t a stark constructive difference if I’m being completely honest. I thought there would be for some reason. Nevertheless this was a great challenge and I learned plenty from the experience. Pluuuuusss I took my own blog pictures!!! What an unexpected turn of events eh?
My hair has way too much attitude for her own good. Let’s call my fro Freddy. Freddy and I have been going steady for about 3 years. When I first met Freddy, I was still involved with my ex but that relationship just wasn’t working anymore. I felt I was getting burned too often and over time it became clear that we couldn’t weather the cold winters so slowly I stated cutting my ex out of my life.
Freddy and I have been through a lot since then. I’ve learned what makes Freddy happy and in return she’s helped me see myself in a completely different light. The longer we’ve been together though, the more Freddy and I don’t seem to see eye to eye. Don’t get me wrong, I love her to pieces but lately I think she’s taking my love for granted.
I’ll take some responsibility for this; I got a little lazy with our relationship. I started moisturizing less and using heat more. Things got so bad that I couldn’t even remember the last time I deep conditioned. That’s when Freddy started to pull away. I noticed my first heat damaged piece and only then did I step back and look at how much I was hurting her. I didn’t just want to apologize because I knew she would respond just like one of my best friends, “What are you sorry for?” while maintaining her salty attitude. I decided to change completely and start paying more attention. I started with a good trim, stopped leaving her out as much and started conditioning more. I thought things were getting better until she started acting up.
Now I’ve been a lot busier with work so I need Freddy to stay put till the weekends when I can give her my full attention but three days into the week she’s already begging for a wash. Now I know this is all a clever ruse to get me to condition her again because she’s gone much longer than a few days without any problems but now she’ll go dry and matted on the ends if I don’t answer her call for moisture.
I have tried new conditioners and even locking her in with her favourite shea butter mix but she insists on misbehaving unless I’m giving her undivided attention at least twice a week. Things really came to a head two washes ago when I hadn’t detangled properly after our last wash day and she wasn’t having any of my nonsense this time around. My arms hurt, the bathroom steamed up and I practically had to beg her to release the knots. Grudgingly letting one knot out after the other, it was like she was daring me to repeat the same thing. I promised her (and myself) that she deserved better than that and I thought we had both agreed to collaborate more.
Three days later we were back to an itchy scalp and that’s when I decided I had had enough. I told her it was time for some braids and even though she may not understand right now, I think we both need the break. Surprisingly she didn’t put up much of a fight going in and I had even started to question whether I had reacted too harshly but by the end of my first full week with these braids she’s already wiling out and trying to get itchy. I miss her but its probably best that we give each other some space for a couple weeks just to gain a little perspective.
Even with her attitude though she still makes me happy. Something about her keeps things interesting and speaking to other naturals I think they’ll agree, when you look at your thriving fro, it makes (some of) the stress worth it :p