My Gratitude Journal

The Breakfast Club

Before the lockdown, my friends and I formed a breakfast club. Every month, on the second Sunday of the month, we had breakfast or brunch together. We took turns choosing the restaurant and we were encouraged to be as creative as possible. If you couldn’t make it, no big deal, you can make it to the next month’s brunch. Also, anyone is invited to join. There were usually about 10 of us in attendance every month. Although, sometimes there were more and sometimes there were less.

We started with the letter A. My friend, Alicia, chose Humble Bee in Lake Balboa. A really delicious breakfast spot. It was February 2019 and it was our first brunch get-together. It was raining that Sunday. I remember it being very loud in the restaurant. I ordered the waffles and they were very good. There were about 9 of us that day. We had two birthdays to celebrate that month so I made lemon cupcakes with a Valentine’s day theme. I sprinkled red sprinkles on top and put a heart on top of each one. Valentine’s Day Conversation Heart Cupcakes

My friend Adriana handed out little bottles with messages inside. My message said “Let go of the need to control, Trust…”

For our March brunch, my friend, Adriana, picked out the Tam O’Shanter Pub in Los Angeles. It was the perfect spot for a St. Patrick’s day celebration. She handed out little 4 leaf clover charms. Most of us ordered the corn beef hash.

April’s brunch was at the 1919 Cafe at the Huntington Library in San Marino. We ate outside. It was a beautiful sunny day. Afterwards, we took our customary picture together at the gardens and some of us walked around the grounds.

I wasn’t able to make it to June or July’s brunch. August’s brunch was at The Malibu Cafe in Malibu. It was a hot day but we were all dressed in our pretty sundresses. We ate outside. I ordered the most delicious drink with my waffles. It was called The Lazy River and it was a lavender rosemary gin with lemon.

Afterwards, we walked around, took lots of pictures and found the perfect candles:

In August, we met at a restaurant in Pasadena. I missed September’s get together which wasn’t a brunch but was actually a cruise to Mexico. October’s brunch was at the Village in Woodland Hills. After brunch, we walked around Costco. In November, we met at The Public School 818 in Sherman Oaks. It’s a school themed restaurant. I ordered the waffles. I don’t know if you notice a theme here, but I seem to always order waffles at these brunches.

Finally, it was December and it was my turn. I decided to be creative and although I didn’t pick a fun, new restaurant to try out (I picked Mimi’s Cafe in Northridge), I collaborated with my friend, Adriana and after breakfast, we went to her home which was fully decorated for Christmas to play games, drink wine and have dessert. We were too full from breakfast to have dessert but we did drink a lot of wine. We had two teams and we played Pictionary. My team won. I brought little prizes for the winners. Later, we exchanged our White Elephant gifts. The theme for the White Elephant gifts was that they had to be re-gifted items. I ended up with the coolest Christmas decoration. It was a little Christmas house that lit up.

January’s brunch was actually the most fun out of all the brunches and also the longest. Or at least it seemed like the longest. Everyone had a chance to pick and it was Alicia’s turn for the second time around. Round 2. She picked IKEA in Burbank. I’ve never had breakfast there and it was really fun (and cheap). Afterwards, we all broke off into groups and shopped. The group I was in, who were my closest friends, stayed the longest. I have never in my whole entire life, spent 6 1/2 hours in IKEA. I’m not much of a shopper anymore. I almost had a panic attack (I might be exaggerating) and I guess I could’ve left at anytime since I did drive there separately, but part of me didn’t want to abandon my friends. I think I was feeling claustrophobic. At one point (the point when I almost had a quote-unquote “panic attack”), I though we were almost out of there, but it turned out that there was a whole other section we had to go through. Finally we made it to the lines. After we paid, we ate for a second time, since we got there at 10:00 a.m. to eat breakfast and it was now 4:00 p.m. Good times…

I missed February’s brunch. And in March, I suggested that we postpone due to concerns regarding the coronavirus and not long after that, we were in lockdown.

I really enjoyed all of our brunches together and I look forward to doing it again sometime in the future. Maybe 2021…

So today I am grateful for breakfast, brunch, waffles, messages in little bottles, lucky charms, lemon cupcakes, sun, rain, pretty sundresses, group pictures, trying new things, Costco and 6 1/2 hours at IKEA.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

Sewing

Adventures of Cloned Blouses

When I first learned how to sew, I was a little more adventurous. I first learned how to sew in November 2015. I bought a New Look pattern and watched a lot of YouTube videos on how to make a dress using a pattern. I mainly watched Professor Pin Cushion videos. I did a really good job, considering that it was my first time. I actually wore my creation to work and received many compliments.

Looking back, there were so many little mistakes but I was much more adventurous back then. I didn’t know much about how to choose the right fabric. For this first dress, I chose a quilting fabric, which I know a lot of people who sew actually do. But now, that would not be my preference. Since then, I’ve learned much more about different apparel fabrics available. Also, with that first pattern, I learned how to sew darts, pleats and put in a zipper! Definitely not a beginner pattern, but I did it. I didn’t even realize that I could have sewn a more simple dress. I also didn’t know much about sizing and ease. I’ve learned a little more about that topic but somehow with that dress, everything just worked out.

Four and 1/2 years later, I have learned a lot and can definitely say, I still have a lot to learn. Unfortunately, I’m not as adventurous as I used to be. I stick to a pattern, directions and recommended fabrics. I think it’s good to be adventurous. You learn more and with those risks come beautiful creations.

Back to being adventurous. In 2016, about 8 months after that first dress, I wanted to learn how to make a blouse without having to use a pattern. I found a few videos and articles on how to clone clothing. I wanted to make a simple blouse and my two cloned makes actually turned out well.

My first blouse was a simple short sleeved blouse. I used a loose blouse as my template. My fabric was a crepe de chine with little birds on it which I purchased through Fabric.com.

My other make was also a simple blouse using a loose blouse as a template. With this one, I added cap sleeves. I used a crepe de chine that I bought from Fabric.com with little Eiffel Towers on it.

I would like to go back to being a little more adventurous. I am going to try to clone a couple of my favorite dresses in my closet. We’ll see how it turns out.

Happy Sewing!

Sewing

New Look 6413- A subdued 80’s Vibe Dress

I made this dress back in October. I wanted to make a dress that I could wear to work. I used a crepe de chine fabric that I bought from Fabric.com. I really like the print of the fabric and felt that it would go well with this style of dress. The print kind of reminds me of an 80’s style dress with it’s geometrical patterns except not as loud. No neon colors in this 80’s vibe print, so it’s a more subdued 80’s vibe.

There are 4 views and a belt pattern included in this pattern. There are 2 options for sleeves- short and elbow length dolman sleeves. There are also options to make pants, a short dress or a midi dress. The pants option is a jumpsuit. I decided to sew up view D which I chose because of the sleeves and length of the dress.

New Look 6413

I decided not to sew in the zipper since it’s not really needed anyway for the dress. I took the front piece, folded on the line and took into account the 5/8 seam line on each side. I also took that into account for the front facing piece which is also part of the zipper. My calculations were not perfect (and also not correct), so the V neck was not a perfect V shape. Somehow it worked out. Another sewing lesson learned.

I also sewed in the pockets, but somehow when I put the elastic into the waist, the pockets stuck out. I think it’s because the pockets are aligned with the waist where the elastic sits? Or maybe and most likely, I didn’t sew them in correctly. I tried to figure out how to tack down the pockets, but nothing worked so I ended up removing the pockets… What’s a dress without pockets!?!

Overall, with all of it’s flaws, this dress turned out pretty well and most importantly, still wearable. In fact, I wore it a few times already (mostly to work). It’s very comfortable. I really like the print. I like the sleeves. I like the 80’s vibe. If I make another dress from this pattern, I hope that I’ve learned my lessons from the mistakes that I’ve made so that I can have a smoother V neck and most importantly, pockets! I might consider making the pants jumpsuit. I’m not very good at invisible zippers yet, so I might wait until I’ve mastered that.

Practice makes (almost) perfect! Happy Sewing!