I don't know why the last updates for some of the other blogs listed on the right side of the page aren't updating (for example, it shows the last update from A Suitable Wardrobe being two months ago, when it was really yesterday). I've triple-checked all of the links and they're all correct, so I don't know what else to do; hopefully it'll resolve itself eventually. It's frustrating, especially since the truth is I started this blog in part just so that I could have a list of all of my favorite blogs in one place, along with the dates of their last updates.
The heat "sealing" method to prevent fraying proved to be inadequate.
So I bought a product from Singer called "Fray No More" at Wal-Mart for $4.00. (The only way to buy it was in a twin-pack with another product called "Sew No More," which apparently is some kind of adhesive thread replacement. I have no desire to try it.)
It's a little bottle of clear liquid with a pointed applicator tip, like a bottle of Elmer's glue. I fortunately had saved the scrap pieces of bands, so I tried it on one first to see if it would stain. It didn't, so I forged ahead with all five bands. Just release the clear gel onto any cut edges and let dry for about 30 minutes. So far, so good.
I've tried grosgrain watch bands -- a trad classic -- in the past week for the first time. I purchased mine through the mail from Central Watch in NYC after seeing them recommended on the Ask Andy forums. (They're sold in sets of five for about $35 shipped.)
As I anticipated since I have small wrists, the only problem was that they were too long; this is one of the reasons I dislike leather bands -- because you can have the links on a metal band removed to make the watch fit snugly, as it should (there's little worse style-wise than seeing a man who's wearing a metal watch gesture upward with his hands and seeing his watch slide half-way down his forearm).
I had seen discussions on Ask Andy about cutting these bands to size.
Some recommended just adjusting the strap on the buckle side, which loops the extra ribbon across the back of one side of the band; I tried that and disliked it, both because it makes the band on one side of the watch have holes all the way up to the watch, and because it felt weird to have half of the band be twice as thick as the other half. I couldn't have about four inches of extra band flopping around, so the only solution was to try cutting them. I first cut about two inches off of the end of one of the bands, in order to use the curved end piece as a template. Then I put the band through the watch and put it on, to figure out how long it needed to be. After marking that place with masking tape, I taped the curved piece to the band at the taped point, then trimmed the excess band off around the curved template with scissors. I had read that grosgrain ribbon can be "sealed" with heat so that it doesn't fray. Using the flame on my stove top, I grasped the band with tongs and held the cut end of the band about four inches above the flame, moving it all around in the heat, for maybe 10 seconds. It seems to have worked. As I learned from testing this method first with the cut-off, scrap piece, if you hold the band in the heat for too long, it will burn the edges, rather than just sealing them, turning them black and ruining the band. So less is definitely more; if you still see fraying, you can always hold it over the heat again -- but, if you quit too late, you can't un-burn it.
Also, be sure not to let the band get too close to the flame, or you'll catch the band on fire and really burn it. For more on grosgrain bands, see these entries from Heavy Tweed Jacket,Ivy Style, and Thrift Store Preppy (which has a great, close-up view of what one of these bands look like when worn; I put mine on the exact same Timex model, which I purchased at Wal-Mart for about $25).
Welcome to 2014. Christmas is by far my favorite time of year, and I'm always sad when it passes. In fact, I spend all of November and December thinking about how sad I'll be when it's all over; this mentality actually affects my enjoyment of the season while it's occurring, but I can't seem to help it.
January is always such a let-down -- just a long, cold, boring month devoid of as much company, of beautiful Christmas decorations and music, and of the joy of giving and receiving gifts. If we were redoing things, it would make more sense for Christmas to be on January 25 (as far as I know, no one knows what day Jesus was born, and December 25 was chosen by various church leaders a few hundred years later for numerous reasons, mostly related to established pagan celebrations that occurred near the winter solstice); Thanksgiving and Christmas are packed too closely together. And it doesn't help that my birthday is on December 27.
I try to assuage my disappointment by taking advantage of after-Christmas sales on decorations, planning for things I can use next Christmas. I also keep my eyes peeled in thrift stores all year; I've bought a number of my decorations in the summer for next to nothing. And I remind myself that Christmas will come again, and that the holiday season will again be upon us in just 10 months -- which seems like a long time now, but when it gets here, we'll wonder in hindsight where 2014 went. Anyway, here's something I saw on Facebook last night; it's a nice thought to start the new year with: