Saturday, December 25, 2010

Magic Kingdom Christmas!

Sleeping Beauty's castle says Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

This is Just for Sizing!

I can’t stress enough that this dress is just for sizing purposes! This is Bethie’s trial run of her sister gift. The theme I drew for her was 1950s, so I purchased a Vogue 1954 pattern in her size (more or less).
I naturally procrastinated quite a bit...I ended up sewing the following muslin-ish thingin' today. 
Chris said that he's never seen me sew a dress so fast, as this only took me about four hours to cobble together. However, it isn't hemmed at all (why hem the muslin before you have the recipient try it on?) and there are some sketchy parts of it, like the front yoke...don't look too closely at that. 
I look forward to making the legitimate version of this! It should be beyond awesome, all brown tweed and 50s.
Timber says, "merry Christmas!"

A Special Message from the Christmas Dragon

The best Christmas gift in the world is a saucer of whipped cream.
Or the whole aerosol container.
Merry Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ah, gift're bringing me down, man!

Today was our holiday party at the COG, replete with gift exchange. Below is an excerpt from the event appointment.
Please join us to celebrate the holidays SACOG-style with a potluck and "white elephant" gift exchange.  A sign-up sheet for the potluck will be placed at the reception desk the first of December. ...We've modified the gift exchange from previous years with the hope that people will bring a gift that others might actually want and enjoy.  For years, we had a white elephant gag gift, but we discontinued that tradition after people got tired of receiving the same old bad stuff every year.  A good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn't enjoy receiving it, then it's likely no one else would, either.
 Well, that is fair. Except...if we're not supposed to bring white elephant gift, why is it still called a white elephant gift party? I know I'm arguing semantics here, but it makes me snort each time I think of it. This prompted me to augment my original gift selection.
Behold, the White Elephant power pack!
I guess it is misleading. If you look at this for a split second, you are most likely to notice the Hello Dolly album and little else. However, when you remind yourself that we don't live in a flip book, you notice the Ginger Elizabeth bittersweet candied almonds and the (damn nice, if I do say so myself) tote bag. And the burned ELO CD is just icing on the freakin' cake. 
You might have guessed this by now, but the person who did receive this gift disregarded everything but the Hello Dolly, so the legitimate gift of candy and a tote was lost...forever. He pawned all of the items off (minus the album, which he wanted to see if he could sell--ill-advised plan of action) on another co-worker.
I'm too sensitive for gift exchanges when there are handmade items on the line, as well as chocolate that I swear by. That was a damn nice tote--I finished all the edges (for once) and I think the color pairing is wonderful, if not a touch springy.
And Hello Dolly is WONDERFUL!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Correlation or Causality?

While working on this purse,
I broke two needles.
I feel rather confident in my assertion that the purse broke the needles. I will defend this stance in court. But I guess the real question is how did some upcycled suiting and quilting cotton break not one, but TWO sewing machine needles? Anyone?
Christmas crafting continues, though I have been procrastinating like nobody's business on a particularly difficult pattern that has me in over my head. Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Look at the cutest beagle in the world!

This is Murphy, who I found walking the streets of midtown, sans owner. Poor little pup was without human, so she hung out with Chris and me for a couple of hours until we were able to get a hold of her mom. Timber was "okay" with the whole situation, but I think he was pretty relieved to see her part. Oh gosh, I have an only child/dog.
Aside from that, I made a sunglasses case from found objects and wrapped a number of gifts. Exciting stuff!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sacramento, get with the program!

Behold! The only fall color that I have seen in Sacramento. What the hell, it is NOVEMBER! I think apple season is over and it is still all Indian Summer out there. Color me (if not the trees) disappointed.
*Sister Theme update: our theme is Decades! The decades selected were 20s, 40s, 50s, and 70s. And I bought a quilt at the Bazaar.
 Eek! (Michelle and Sharon also bought quilts)

Current Status

Today is the Bazaar, which means that today is the day all of the sisters get together and bicker relentlessly determine the theme for Sister Gift*. I made a cake to smooth things over as we use the process of elimination to figure out what will torment us the most for the holiday season.
*Sister Gift is the drawing of names between Beth, Jenn, Michelle, and myself; each sister must get a special themed gift for the sister who they drew--today is the day we draw names and select the theme.
Regrettably, most of our sister proxies are not here--Leslie's cat is sick, Bryce's parents are in town, and Claire lives down south. Things are not looking good.
In other news, I purchased an obscene amount of fabric for Christmas gifts last weekend. As you know, there is nothing to motivate me to do things I've been procrastinating on than to give me a more daunting task. Once I got home from the monumental fabric trip, I mended my two brown skirts and finally made a holder for Timber's papers (for his walks, not to keep him in the country legally). I think it is pretty cute, don't you?

Well, it is time to go walk that dog before we head off to Stockton. Sneak peak of Christmas fabric below, whee!

No definite ideas for this one yet, but isn't it pretty?
Send thoughts, ideas, projected recipients to me! (there is much more than this, but I already have those projects mapped out)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Timber is still a "Good Boy"

Just in case you were wondering, Timber is still a good dog.

Oh yes he is, what a good dog!
by the way, I am incredibly relieved to be done with MTP Workshops. Whee!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Christmas fun begins NOW! I received the keystone of my Christmas wrapping paper in the mail today--holiday themed packing tape!
Top to bottom, we have the Baroque Frame Tape, the Partridge of Joy, the Todd (just kidding, the Mod Blooms), and the Snowflake. The Snowflake and the Partridge are last year's designs; 15% off. The Todd was added to help us break the $15 dollar mark, which in turn yielded the Baroque as a free gift! Whee! If you are inclined to go crazy at Tapeswell like me, use the coupon code TSOCT  which will get you the free roll of Baroque in addition to 20% off.
Gifts and letters from me will look so awesome this year! They won't look like trash! I am totally jazzed, in case you can't tell.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Injustice of It All

Because of the extra night-time hours I've been logging the past few weeks, school was still in session as I ambled home past a nearby elementary school this afternoon. I couldn't help but notice a large cluster of 2nd and 3rd grade boys gathered at the base of a gnarled, mature sycamore. They covered a wide area on the southwest side of the tree, looking up and chattering. The group wielded two weapons: a football and black and red multi-purpose ball, the type claimed for basketball in the absence of a Spalding. These weapons were hurled and kicked at the southwest branches with all of the might of each eight-year-old boy given a chance, which is considerable if you take their size into account. On the eastern side of the woody mammoth, one impetuous boy continually tried to display his undeveloped climbing skills, likely thinking that if he could simply reach that first branch twenty feet of the ground, he could solve this problem.
In spite of their unwavering attempts to free whichever piece of sports equipment was sacrificed earlier, they next lost the football to the substantial branches. The bell rang a minute or two later, signifying their cruel defeat; California Sycamore 2, 2nd Grade Boys 0.
Washington Elementary School could use your extra footballs, or maybe just a large ladder would suffice.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Experiments with denim--opinions please!

Michelle and I were emailing the other day (before the desert claimed her) about fall fashion, she brought up a blurb from Robert Geller that she had run across in a NY Times article about the very same topic:
"ROBERT GELLER, designer I’m excited to get back to layering. One of my favorite things about cooler weather is that you can build up an outfit piece by piece and put together something really interesting — such as finishing up a look with a nice big scarf. I’m also looking forward to seeing denim used in a non-typical way this fall as well as a return to beautifully constructed coats that are well made and designed to last a long time."
In Michelle's brain, this triggered a thought process which culminated in the utterance, "denim obi!" Oddly enough, the same idea had been bouncing about this illiterati's brain (why don't I read the Times more often?), though I hadn't yet busted out the sewing machine. Thus, out came the denim scraps and now I have a four-panel strip of denim which is about eight feet long and five to six inches wide. 

Enter another problem: How do I pull this off without looking like a girl wearing a pair of pants around her waist?

I will obviously do something to treat the edges of the denim, but will it be a simple once-over hem, or should I use some accent color bias tape? My machine (and needle) can only handle a once-over (that just means that I would fold the denim over once and sew it down--the raw edge of the fabric would still show on the "inside" of the belt, instead of having nice-non-fraying folded fabric--I don't know the technical term for that kind of hem unless "lazy" is technical) hem because the denim would be too thick for it to handle three layers of denim. My machine could handle my ample supply of bias tape, but do I have over 16 feet of bias tape?
I meant in one color, and you know that. *folds arms
So, thoughts? This could be a total bust, but I'm willing to try!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Clear Lake...

was awesome, just in case you were wondering.
the view from my tent
weird creek in downtown Kelseyville, all 'osed down
the most perfect dog's first camping trip
and Olive tried very hard to behave

I ate a shocking number of s'mores, Chris made lots of fires, Melissa's cast was pretty clean, Scott didn't drink nearly his share of Coors Light, Jenn had a hotel in her pop-up tent, Michelle made salami/cheese crackers, Olive kept vigilant guard against the raccoons (her brethren), and Timber got tangled. Repeatedly. 
Everyone took a bath once we stopped camping. Victory!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Problem with the Ponies

Last night we went to the harness races in celebration of Scott's birthday; I can assuredly say that Michelle and I, like Aunt Sharon, have a problem with the ponies. Aside from the fact that there was no parking fee at Cal Expo, no entry fee, $1 beer, and $1 hot dogs, it was more wonderful than I could have imagined! All members of my family got the "crazy eyes" as we placed ill-advised bets.
The race near the finish!
 The choicest part was when we found out that we (Jenn, Michelle, and I) could ride in the motorized starting gate, aka the wing car that starts the race. It was so wonderful because you're in this 1970something Cadillac with eight horses thundering behind you pulling little carts holding grown men. Not only that, but they've installed this odd cockpit type of thing in the car so you are sitting, looking backwards at all of the horse noses! I was incapable of speaking throughout this part, instead opting to desperately clutch both Jenn's and Michelle's shoulders while Michelle filled the role of announcer.
Clinging to the fence, rooting for our horses!
There weren't any big wins (or losses) amongst us until the last race of the evening; I placed a $2 bet on "Only in Lodi" to place (1st, 2nd, or 3rd), which yielded $28. Whoa! Hot dog! Not only that, but I thought I lost my  original ticket for that bet so I had Chris and Scott buy me another while I took a joyride in the wing car. I found my other ticket (the original bet) this morning, so guess what has two thumbs and is going to spend some more time with the ponies?
This girl!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pattern Weights, the solution

What is something I have in abundance at my house that makes an excellent impromptu pattern weight?
Yep. Wine bottles. I actually remembered this at the beginning of July (the 1st, to be specific), but I didn't want to drop any hints about what I was making for Michelle's birthday.
Also, some of you might remember the stories of how Jenn and Michelle used to make me cry by putting my clothes on the dog.
Revenge is sweet.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It is storming like nobody's business!

I tremble with the anticipation of the power going out at any moment! Lightning is dominating the sky like a fifth grader in four-square! I avoid leaning on metal while outside!

St Louis! the City Museum

So I'm in St. Louis visiting Clara and Brendan and we are having solid good times! We monkeyed around at the City Museum for several hours today and exercised long-latent muscles while climbing around. I didn't get any pictures of our outdoor feats of strength because the camera was in the checked bag for most of our time there, but here are some us-centric pictures from the dark hallows of the whale room.

There are ten or so floors to the City Museum and we only devoted time to about three of them; it will have to wait until next year when we're out for the wedding, which will be in the same building. whee! Most of today's time was split between the architecture section, the secret tunnels and slides (I was not sliding well today, too sticky), and the outdoor MonstoCity. MonstroCity is a crazy metal wonderland that stretches about five or more stories high and involves (sturdy) mesh tunnels, not unlike monolithic slinkys but without the movement, from each section to the next. Clara, Brendan, and I each scrambled through a wire tube, approximately four feet in diameter (sometimes a bit smaller) and 60 feet off the ground, to reach the inexplicably secure hollowed out airplane (looked just like the crashed on in "Romancing the Stone"!) 30 feet away. These numbers are all estimates since I couldn't find any hard numbers, but if anything, I'm under-exaggerating. Wonderful!
If we're back in that area on Thursday morning when we go to the arch, I'll try to get some external shots of the place, but you should definitely go there when you're in St. Louis.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Thoughts on the Sencha

I spent roughly an hour last night looking at the Colette Patterns Flickr page for Sencha inspiration. By and large, I was not thrilled with a number of the products, but I think I figured it out. People were using very busy fabric, which obscures the pretty design features of the pattern, namely the tucks. Here is a picture from the Colette website (via polkadotoverload)
Now imagine 80 billion flowers and garish colors jammed on that. Yeah. Hrm. Well, at least the people who made them were happy with their results; I will attempt a different route.
Unfortunately, that means I'll have to actually acquire some monochromatic fabric--this will be much more difficult (and slow!) than any of us imagined.
Here's another thought, you all can weigh in if you like...what about this top in a translucent gauze? As in, wear-a-camisole-under-it translucent? I might give that a shot in the future.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

'50s Party Dress! Sort of

You might remember that at the beginning of June, I was yapping about making a dress to wear to Claire's wedding. Well, her wedding party was on the 19th and I didn't go naked. Behold!
The somewhat '50s party dress, based on another version of Simplicity 2588. I'm pretty happy with the dress all around, there are a lot of "bests" and "betters" tied in with it. For example, the bumps on the back zipper are much closer to non-existent, the zipper is well-installed, I actually used a method to hem the skirt (ganked from Gertie's blog), and I minimized my "winging it" with...some of the more critical parts. Now, if only I could find a belt that really matches it.
See, the bump in the back is way smaller, I think the dress is just a skidge too long for my torso and I need to slash out some of that length. Also, the top of the dress doesn't gap as much as the grey workdress I made. Yes, the bump is still there, but these are the little victories.

Here is something else I'm proud of. I tried on the pieces of the dress when I was stitching up the bodice to see if it was going to fit. It seemed like the dress would not be able to contain my midsection so I ripped out the back darts and made them much shallower and completed the dress from there. The dress was complete and I try it on and...something's not right. The damn thing is approximately one size too large in the midsection. Curses! But! Instead of just leaving it as-was and never wearing it again, I ripped the dress apart and re-installed the darts in their full capacity and--huzzah!--a dress that fits! Go me! I didn't wallow in my mistakes! (Chris might report otherwise, but that is another story.)
So yes, this dress is complete and in time for Make It, Wear It challenge. Whee!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ranch creek time!

On Saturday I dragged Chris down to the creek. The creek is wonderful right now! I just wanted to post some pictures to make you jealous of creek swimming. :) If you play your cards right, maybe you'll get a chance to swim too.
Serious joy!
Other side of the swimming hole
Why am I not in water right now?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mens shirt refashions

It might be time for me to throw in the towel and not try any more mens shirt refashions for a stretch. They never quite turn out the way I expect them to and they eat up far too much time. For example, I stumbled upon this refashion in the CraftStylish email and thought it looked pretty cute. 

Not only that, I remembered that Chris had a fun pink striped button-up shirt in the thrift store bag; this all seems like it should make for a really cute summer shirt, yes? Well...

Let me be the first to admit that I didn't follow the instructions to the letter--it simply isn't my style to do so. Maybe I had misplaced expectations, I don't know, but whatever the case that beast shirt is blousey as all get out in the back, making me scrunch my face like you just offered me the headphones blasting your Huey Lewis and the News marathon.
Overall, perhaps the most unflattering thing I've ever created... except for last summer's accidental maternity top. Man, I still shudder to thing of that one.

Stupid mens shirt refashions, wreckin' my day! I think a good number of us can remember the unfortunate tranny-top refashion from last summer, which I'm still trying to make work. Somehow. In spite of the negative shirt energy, I was able to make the necessary alterations to bring two skirts back into the "functioning" section of my life.

No number of refashions will stop me from dancing!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pattern weights

I recently came around to the idea of using pattern weights to keep the delicate pattern paper in place while I trace it instead of tearing it to shreds with stickpins. When I was making bloomers for KDVS, I had a stroke of genius and discovered the perfect household item that would double as a pattern weight.

Unfortunately, I forgot what that was and now I'm using kitchen jars; though handy, they leave much to be desired.

Did I tell any of you about the pattern weight revelation in April? Please remind me!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Finally finished!

Cate's purse is done!
Finally, I can go back to focusing on myself. What a relief!
Notes on this purse:

  • I still can't measure. I had to adjust the lining approximately 80 times. I couldn't tell you why.
  • I like how the bird is lighting on the button. Yep, I planned that! But I still can't measure. 
  • The outer Echino fabric was purchased expressly for this project, but the lining was donated by Preet last year, yay recycling! (thanks, Preet!)
  • I don't know why I was procrastinating so much, it only took me two nights of work--one for cutting, one for stitching. Could someone remind me of that next time?

I am medium pleased with the final result. My only quarrel with the purse is how it droops on the bottom when it is hanging. Dagnabbit purse, that is why you are lined! Actually, I take that back, I'm pretty pleased with this purse in spite of the sagginess. Might be my best looking satchel to date, and I had the foresight to include (two) pockets this time!
We'll see what Cate thinks next week. She's not too good at feigning reactions, so I just need to be there when she opens it. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Maker Fair Shenanigans

Ah, good times at Maker Fair this weekend. This was my third time to go (twice in San Mateo, once in Austin) and there is a good amount of repetition between years (high altitude kites, those Monkeylectric rims I covet, the Lego league members desperately trying to ignore those tall-for-their-age 8-year-old boys reaching over the guard rail to cover Legometropolis in stickiness), but I still enjoyed wandering around and taking in the sights.
Who am I kidding, the real highlight was that I finally got to ride one of Cyclecide's crazy bike rides. Claire and I became one with the pedal-powered ferris wheel of sorts.

Also pretty tremendous, I saw (heard? The place was seething with stolid giants) the OK Go show, where they all submerged themselves in water. Fishtanks on the heads of members playing non-submersible instruments... 
and a mobile watersuit for that dream of a lead singer.   

Quite the concerted effort to liberate him from that blobby contraption after the show.