a routine

One week of MMM ’15 down! Time flies when you never leave your hobbit-hole. True to my initial me-made-May pledge, I’m NOT wearing a whole lot of me-mades, and when I am, I’m not documenting it a whole lot because let’s be honest, it’s a lot of bloomers and I’m not into showing the internet my upper thighs on the reg. However, also true to my pledge, I have been doing a LOT of sewing – two dresses down, and I’m starting a third today. My days are pretty predictable, but definitely enjoyable. I wake up, study until I go stir-crazy, then sew, and then study a little more. The studying keeps me from having marathon sewing days (which, ironically, were what I think kept me from sewing as consistently as I would have liked), and vice versa.

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In terms of my makes, which are both currently unblogged: the first one was a (sort of?) wearable muslin of the Anna dress. I had a bit of an issue with print placement (read: there was none), which was a huge brain fart on my part. It did not occur to me until I was piecing the skirt together that maybe I should have tried to line up these stupid stripes. WHATEVER. I’ll post more detailed photos of my horror later. Otherwise I am a big fan of the make, and the dress I’m starting today is another Anna! My other sewing product thus far is an infinity wrap dress that you have seen on every internet bridesmaid ever and will eventually be featured on my bridesmaids(!). More on that to come later, as well. Off to more sewing (:

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Late to the party, as per usual. But I’m here! So let’s move on. I spent a lot of time thinking about my MMM ’15 goals, mostly because I’m going to have a weird month. As I mentioned previously, I’m spending most of May studying to take Step 2 of my MD licensing exam, which means that I will be spending most of May at home alone with my cats, not wearing pants. I cannot possibly describe my own level of excitement. However, this isn’t conducive to wearing me-made garments beyond my Madeleine bloomers. For this reason, I think it would be a bit silly to make a rock-solid MMM ’15 pledge to wear me-mades all the time. However, my need for sanity in the form of sewing breaks (in addition to my constant need for more clinic clothes) means that I want to take this month to focus on getting into a groove of sewing more regularly, even when I’m busy.

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Also, when I’m not at home, I’ll be in one of two very exciting places: Champaign, Illinois, watching my excellent and intelligent sister graduate from undergrad, and Los Angeles, California, checking out the city with David and his padres to see if we could possibly live there for a few years while I do residency. Both of these trips are very thrilling, and very deserving of an excellent me-made wardrobe.

I, Ellie Ryan, of jelliefish crafts, pledge to sew for at least one hour every day of May (with the exception of the days I spend on vacation and thus away from my sewing machine). While on vacation, I will wear something me-made every day.

Ultimately, my goal is to have a couple iterations of the Anna dress (the By Hand London version, not the Frozen version) done by the end of the month. I’m toying with the idea of sewing a jazzed-up version of the Anna as a wedding dress, but I don’t want to commit to anything until I make it at least once. I’ve finished the bodice muslin.

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Since it’s already Sunday/Monday, I figured I’d do my first roundup post of MMM. I’ve surprised myself with the ease of wearing me-mades over the past few days. Hooray!

the happy haps (no. 3)

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A much delayed, but also very happy, communication of the most recent happenings in my life! When I last chitchatted at you, I had just finished neurology (hurrah) and I was on to the most medical school-esque (and probably the most difficult) of clerkships: internal medicine. It proved to be a doozy and really did a number on the past two months of my life (evidence: total lack of posting, total lack of crafting, total lack of many things). I feel like I have to confess that for the first two weeks of the clerkship, I had a literal temper tantrum every morning before I had to go to work. It was not pretty in the slightest. After having a completely undignified emotional breakdown in front of my attending one weekend, I managed to turn my ‘tude around. I don’t actually think it got any easier, but I eventually got into a groove.

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The medicine clerkship, as I previously bemoaned, was really tough, but I also learned a lot. I can manage things like GI bleeds, and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, and serious infections. I know how to talk to difficult, angry patients (hoo boy, did I get a lot of experience doing that). I can dose insulin and opioids with reasonable certainty (but don’t ask me for any drugs, har har). I have seen people who are sick, who are dying, and who deal with these things in incredibly different ways. I have spent hours trying to get venous access on a patient, and hours (and hours and hours and hours and hours) with medical records from other hospitals trying to get them to fax me pieces of paper that no one will ever read. I spent so much time with my team that it no longer feels weird or fake to call us a team, because that’s the only way to describe it. People taught me, supported me, and inspired me day in and day out, from 6:30 AM to 11:00 PM. And I have worked with some pretty phenomenal, inspiring women. Most of my many attendings over the past eight weeks were women, and fairly young ones at that. With a rotating cast of mostly female residents, it was really two months of #girlbossing around in the best way.

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Regardless of what the past eight weeks of work were like, the past eight weeks at home were phenomenal. David was an excellent force of goodness and magnificence and did such a great job taking care of me by doing anything from listening to my miserable ranting to prepping my lunches and dinners to getting up at 5:30 AM just to talk to me while I got ready for work. The guy is a champ. I did get to have SOME fun over the past two months, too. (Mostly thanks to David.) That fun mostly involved eating (I am a slug) or lying on top of my cats (again, I am a slug). But there were definitely bright sunny moments. My post-clerkship celebration involved a makeover at Sephora (see below, in my first-ever selfie sans cat) and visiting my excellent human of a younger sister at U of I.

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ANYWAY. This long vague introspective post about me finishing my last third-year clerkship also means something: I AM A FOURTH YEAR MEDICAL STUDENT! If it wasn’t totally obvious, I couldn’t be more excited about this. I have the month of May “off” to study and take another part of my boards (it never stops), and then I dive right back into a summer of pediatrics: PICU, my sub-internship, and electives in cards and heme-onc. But first up – some crafting!

a little addiction

I think I have a problem. Not a big one – actually, it is very small. Teeny tiny, in fact. What is it, you ask? Teeny-tiny MochiMochi!! I had been following the MochiMochiLand blog for a while and then on a whim I decided to buy the Teeny-Tiny book. (Secret: I really want to make the giant squid from the Huge and Huggable book, but I think that would be the finished object to break the camel’s (aka David’s) back in terms of apartment real estate that is devoted to knitting. Also it would scare CeeCee and Bess too much. Alas/alack – in the meantime, it’s just me and the Tinys.) Shortly after getting the book, I had the privilege of meting Anna Hrachovec at Sifu! Needless to say I was an awful shy fangirl and it was hugely embarrassing and David had to start up the conversation because I was too nervous. I am the worst person. However, she was awesome and so was Sifu.

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ANYWAY. Behold some of my Tinys! Why do I have them? No clue. What will I do with them? Probably make them into Christmas ornaments. Or construct elaborate and ridiculous dioramas and stories (living with a TV editor does have its perks – free animation services!). Or slowly amass such a collection that we’re wading through stacks of tiny gnomes and mermaids to get to the kitchen. In the end, it’ll probably be the final option.

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(Cats, which look more like mice – these were my first efforts and are admittedly a bit rough)

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One really fun way I found to make “use” of these little nuggets of cuteness is to make them into customizable tableaus and give them as gifts. My Feinberg big sib Phoebe celebrated a birthday recently, so I made her one. I knitted some gnomes (see above), flattened out some Sculpey (before I baked it, I poked holes where toothpicks could go) and glued toothpicks down onto the surface. The gnomes got impaled (sorry gnomies) and ta-da!

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Given the fact that Phoebe and I share the same passion for a) things that are a bit weird and b) signs, I thought I’d make this the gift that keeps on giving by including some blank signs. She can write on them as she chooses and put them into the gnomes’ arms. This is obviously the best way to convey any important message.

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Ultimately, someday, you know with all my copious free time and whatnot, my big dream would be to design medical knitted stuff. Obviously not as a big money-maker, because there are only so many lovely weirdos that want to knit that stuff on Ravelry, but more of as a hobby. At first I was thinking normal stuff like scarves or mitts with cool anatomical designs on them, but maybe doing knitted toys would be fun too. Welp. I’ve just bared my deepest darkest wish to the Internet! Time to make it come true?

the happy haps (no. 2)

And let me tell you, this may be the happiest of haps I have been in a while. Why? Neurology is over!*

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The shortest of months has also been one of my longest: I am getting exceedingly sick of winter. Alas, alack. On the bright side, I have a really wonderful fiancé and two very snuggly cats to make up for the slush and cold. And some really great pairs of long underpants, which I stole from David. They remind me of my Opa (a big fan of the momo hickeys, as he liked to call them), who passed away last fall, and wearing them reminds me of him and makes me happy. I also feel very cool in them and I am trying to get my cousins to help me start a fashion movement called Opacore. So far we don’t have very much momentum but with the colossal readership of this blog, I’m hoping things start to take off. In crafting news, I have been reaaaaally into making teeny tiny mochimochi lately. It’s a bit of an affliction, but at least I am putting these gnomes to work. On the other end of the crafting usefulness spectrum, I finally finished giving the bedroom a little facelift and I am slightly obsessed with it in a way that I have never been obsessed with a room. I will have real posts on both of these things soon!

*See the second-to-last photo? That’s what I’ve been studying for the past 4 weeks. My tepid enthusiasm for neurology might be better explained after that image. And the last photo? That’s my next eight weeks (internal medicine)! I’m just two months away from being done with the third year of medical school (:

don’t be fancy just get dance-y

Um, yes. That is a Pink lyric. I know, I know. But it’s relevant.

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I got this deep blue stretch velvet at one of my favorite Chicago fabric stores, the Textile Discount Outlet in Pilsen. The thing about this store is that it is enormous and has about a jillion employees. The only way you can identify them is by their facial expressions (they look much less lost/confused than the customers do). If you would allow me to pull out my conclusions mat and hop right onto it, the employee that cut my fabric seemed to have a particular hobby. A very earthy, herbal hobby, one might say. Why did I make this assumption? He stopped in the middle of cutting this fabric to run his hands all over it and exclaim, “ahh, I love how this just dances, you know?” Yes, my friend, yes I do (as evidenced by my little dancing photo).

IMG_8990I turned this textile dance party into another Lady Skater, sewn with three-quarter length sleeves with no pattern modifications. The sleeves are a little wonky and I’m not sure why, but I didn’t bother to fix them. My devil-may-care attitude about the sleeves was largely due to the fact that I sewed this whole dress the day David and I left to spend Christmas in California with his family. Thank goodness for simple patterns. I wore it on New Year’s Eve while David and I hung out with his family. They got a cake to congratulate us on our engagement and his cousin gave a very cute speech and it nearly brought a tear to my normally crabby eyeballs.

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The photos are by David – I think he did a very good job (:  (We took them on a very snowy day at my parents’, and I had only brought home a little pair of ankle booties – hence the velvet dress + shit-kickers outfit combo. I am not nearly that fashion forward otherwise.)

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* Note to curious, novice sewists: I do not have anything that could be defined as mad sewing skills, but this stretch velvet was NOT hard to sew with. I was even able to cautiously press it on the wrong side with a lower temperature and it did okay.  I would definitely recommend trying it! It makes for a very luxe-looking party dress, which is deceptively simple/comfy once you pair it with the Lady Skater pattern.

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IMG_9011 Shady’s back, back again, this time with more knits in a Ren(/Skater)frew overload. I got a buttload of this green knit from Girl Charlee ages ago and it just recently reached its final form: clinic clothes! But clinic clothes that don’t feel too awkward to wear outside of clinic. A true Christmas miracle.  I had actually started on these, and done most of the Renfrew, way back before Thanksgiving but then some weirdo just had to go and propose to me so I got a little sidetracked. I finally finished psychiatry, went home and then came back to Chicago after visiting my parents, and decided that since I had about 24 hours before I had to leave for California, I was going to make myself some clothes. Of course. That totally made sense. By some miracle, these things (and all the chores I had to do) were finished by the time I had to leave. Woohoo!

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This is my first Skaterfrew, but it definitely won’t be my last. The grading process was surprisingly easy, considering that I had never done it before and didn’t even bother to look up anything on the Internet, I just kind of went and did it. Heh heh. I have come to the realization that cowl collars are really 100% my jam and I love to make them/bury my face in them like a little turtle. Overall, I’m really happy with the dress, except for my performance on the skirt hem. It’s pretty gnarly down there. If I were to make an excuse for myself, it would be that I was watching the Balrog scene from The Fellowship of the Ring while I hemmed and things were pretty dicey for both myself and the Fellowship.

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Aaaaaand the Renfrew. Pretty standard, not much to chitchat about here*. Ta-da!

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*The only pattern change I made with both of these items is to omit the bands on the sleeves (and on the waist with the plain top). Overall I’m not a big fan of armbands/waistbands and find them a bit uncomfortable. Since the top will mostly be tucked into work pants, I didn’t want it to a) be so short that it stuck out when I bent over, and b) have extra bulk from the waistband.

I have one more dress I made in this mad rush to outfit myself for hanging out with David’s family but it’s all different and cool (even though it is still a Lady Skater it is special) so I will blog about it later.