Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Robe-ish Thoughts

Every so often I get dreams of a home-based business that would cause me to spring out of bed each morning greeting the day and, of course, provide a steady stream of income. Fortunately reality sets in pretty quickly and reminds me that I'm never happier than working with others (especially teaching - especially teaching in a place I don't have to clean) and that the one time I did sewing contract work I really didn't enjoy it. And then there's the paperwork, taxes, processing order ... ick.

Still, it's fun to spend a few moments indulging in the fun parts of that fantasy. Lately my "product" has been robes, which is at least more practical than the line of movie-reproduction patterns for 18" dolls that I was thinking of for a while. Someday I'll get around to posting pics of that endeavor... but like I said, recently I've been on a cotton robe kick. And while I know I don't have the time or desire to actually make batches of robes, I do enjoy looking at fabrics and matching them up as though I planned on building up inventory. All the dreams, none of the hard work. I love it. So a few combinations that have caught my eye ...

The yellow fabric with coffee cups dancing around it would be the base fabric with the swirling pink used for the edging and belt. Perfect for a nice sunny morning waiting for the coffee to perk so that the world comes into focus.

Another pink edged gown but this one is far more sofisticated. I see this one with a vanilla cappuccino topped with whipped cream in the morning and a pink martini in the evening.

And this set is dedicated to my mom who believes that it's not Christmas without some tacky green and red garb. I'd try cutting the red edging so that it's lightest at the seam and darkest at the edge. Hey, I might even dare wear it. So long as there's Christmas coffee with french vanilla creamer and some eggnog to make it better!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Proposed Blog Schedule - aka, how long do you think this idea will last

As one of the nursery workers I oversee notes, I am a list fanatic. I have lists for what needs to be done each day, lists for how the nursery runs, lists for homework, books I've read, books I want to read, sewing projects I want to do ...

I have a lot of lists.

This is not because I'm an organized person, as she seemed to think. This is because I am disorganized. Horribly disorganized. If a project is not on a list then I WILL forget it. Even if it's something like my own birthday. It's happened before.

So, in honor of my obsessive list-making, I'm testing out a schedule for this blog. My hope is that the schedule will limit the "what should I write about today" blocks that come up and keep me from camping too long on one topic. Like I said, it's a hope.

The proposed schedule:

Monday - Weekend Sewing Report I do most, if not all of my sewing on Sunday since that's my official day of rest. Or afternoon of rest - funny, when you work at a church Sunday's not very restful at all. But despite half of the day being spent herding cats - er, kids - and then sleeping to recover, I try to spend that second half doing whatever I want which usually means sewing. So I figured Monday's a good time to report what's been happening in my sewing corner.

Tuesday - Greek Geekery Greek manuscripts, Greek grammar, Greek trivia - if it's (koine) Greek expect it to show up on Tuesday. Current ideas are a series on collating manuscripts for those who are interested (and to hopefully raise interest in those who aren't!) and a post or two on my very favorite NT city, Colossae.

Wednesday - Patterns and Fabric I spend more time looking at patterns and fabric then actually working with them so figure I should give at least 1/5 of blogspace to that. Hey, it gives me an excuse to keep it up!

Thursday - Randomness Whatever I feel like from sewing to Greek to children's ministry to neat stuff I find online. Both things that don't fit elsewhere in my tidy list and those things that fit but I don't want to wait to post them.

Friday - Monthly Series See the poll over on the right? This would be the day you get to see the results of your voting. And unless something strange happens it looks like this Friday will start a 5 part series on my sewing corner and it's organization (or, at present, lack there of).

So there's the plan. Let's see if it lasts through November!

Oh, and this schedule takes effect tomorrow ... right now Hebrew is kicking my little rear.

Monday, October 29, 2007

One Robe Down

You should thank me ... the original title of this post was "One Robe to Rule Them All" but I realized it was all cultural referent without any actual meaning. I mean, if this robe had rings or crowns or some other hint to royalty or Lord of the Rings then it would work. But since it doesn't I just couldn't justify the title.

Though now I have an idea for a future robe.

Anyway, the robe -

This is a bridal shower present for my friend. My friend who's been married for, um, 6 months. While I've never been the one who had my Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving, still, I'm usually a little more punctual than this. Fortunately this was just part two of the present - part one was a sweet but sexy nightgown made out of a fantastically soft and ever so slightly see-through cotton my mom bought long before I was born. So I don't feel as bad as I might over the delay in getting this robe done. Also I've had a few interruptions in my own life ... little stuff like finals, getting married, moving, and starting a new semester while unpacking to deal with. So anyway, the robe is finally done!

The pattern is my own design, modified heavily from a basic robe pattern from, I think, Simplicity. It's been a while since I've worked with the base, so sorry for the vagueness there! Anyway I made up one version with the original pattern for another shower present (for some reason all my friends have suddenly decided to get married) and even size XS was HUGE. Short but HUGE. It was absurd and just plain unflattering.

So for this second version I traced off the pattern and started modifying. As best as I can remember I thinned down the pattern by a good 2" on each side (more than 8" total), added a slight flare under the waist, reduced both the diameter and the length of the sleeves, straightened the shoulders, and shortened it a bit. While it's not yet perfect, I do like it.

I also really like the colors - my friend who's getting this is a huge Amy Butler fan so I wanted to make her something with that "look." This led me into colors and contrasts I wouldn't ever have picked for myself. But you know what? I love it. At the same time as I picked up this fabric I got a more subdued pair for my own robe (not yet started on) and in the 6 months between buying and making I'm still in love with these fabrics (more than I was when I bought them) and I'm tired of my own robe's fabrics. I think I need more bright colors in my life.

The pattern whips up in just a few hours, even under this slow seamstress's needle. I serge everything except for the hem and even that's just a basic straight stitch.

My favorite part of this pattern is the opportunities it presents. Since it's for home wear it's a great chance to do some crazy color-matching or use more novelty patterns that wouldn't make it out on the streets. It's also a blank slate for other modifications - add a square pocket on the front made from the edge fabric, perhaps make it ankle length from flannel for winter, some embroidery, trim or topstitching ... endless possibilities!

What would YOU do with this pattern?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pattern Trail

Ok, time to actually finish my little story that starts with this pattern:

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It's a mail-order pattern apparently bought through the Kansas City Star and sent to a Dallasite. Her full name and address was on the envelope but, just in case she's still alive and wants privacy, let's call her Millie. So Millie bought this pattern and did what I do to so many of them - cut out the pieces fairly roughly but never made anything out of it.

Curious to know about Millie I typed her full name into google, the knower of all things there are to know. And it actually found a hit. This picture of the 1960 graduating class of Braniff Flight Attendants:

Now some of you may have heard of Braniff International Airways but this child of the late 80s was clueless. Fortunately Wikipedia was there to help with a history of this Dallas based airline. So let's see, we have a late 50s/early 60s style pattern shipped to a Dallas address and a flight attendant for a Dallas airline starting her career in 1960? While it's not certain, it seems at least very likely these two are the same.

And in many stories this would be the intro to this woman's life, her dramas, her family, and an epilogue of either her death or current life. In many stories. Not in this one. This one picture and one pattern are where my investigation of Millie ends. Yes, I could go through old microfiche of the Dallas newspaper and find record of her marriage or death or something. But honestly ... I don't care all that much. It would be neat to know more about Millie but not that neat. Especially when I'm behind in my Greek collating.

So Millie's story ends here but it opens up a whole little world of absolutely amazing stewardess uniforms. You see, Braniff International Airways wasn't content with being just another airline. They wanted to fly with style. Granted, it took them a while to get to this point. Their
uniform for their 1937 debut was nice but, from what I've seen from other airlines of that period, nothing all that special.

This trend continued for a while, though their uniforms in 1943 included "scandalously short" skirts. I mean, just look at these skimpy things:

Horrors! You can almost see the knee! LOVE the shoes, by the way.

In the 50s they began moving towards more designer uniforms with Neiman Marcus designing this beauty which included kick pleats for walking and gussets that stretched from the underarm to the waist for all those times they had to put luggage into overhead bins. Stylish and practical - I love it.

And once again I love the shoes. However those bright white lapels are a bit much for me ...

Moving to the early 60s things got boxier and more subdued. While I like 3/4 length sleeves, those plus the gloves just make my wrists cold. But still, very stylish looks created by Nardis of Dallas. Whoever that is.

All fine and good - the stewardesses (this was long before flight attendants!) looked like nice, tailored stewardesses.

But that wasn't good enough for the new management of Braniff. They wanted luxury, style, and sexiness. For this they turned to Emilio Pucci (hear of him?) and this is what he gave back:

Take special note of those boots.

The fun doesn't stop there. These uniforms just kept getting more and more creative.

And yes, that's a large plastic bubble to protect the flight attendants' hairstyles while they walked to the plane. Apparently this was a concept that only lasted 3 months, longer than some of the other ideas that probably never made it off Pucci's runway. Still, neat ideas. And I love that coat. And no, these pictures aren't in chronological order. These are all Pucci designs spanning the decade between the mid 60s and mid 70s and giving just a hint at what it must have been like to fly Braniff during this time.

Pucci's bright colors and space-age styling lasted until the mid-70s when, for whatever reason, the Braniff suits decided to go with a little less inspiring look.

Listen, I'm trying to be fair and understand the times and all ... but that is NOT a stewardess/hostess/flight attendant look. That's mom heading out for her day job. Mom who never learned that color is good for you. Admittedly, it takes style to make a fluffy shirt and cardigan look good together but after the craziness of the 60s looks ... this just doesn't do anything for me. I don't even like the shoes.

The male stewards, who had until this point dressed like the flight crew, were also given a makeover.

For some reason some song about neighbors is now playing in my head. Can't imagine why.

Unfortunately the downturn of the uniforms was indicative of the airline as a whole. In May of 1982 the airline flew it's last flight. The era of Pucci-decked stewardesses was officially over. Still, while it lasted it was a colorful, wonderful time.

If you enjoyed this tour of stylish, modern, and sometimes crazy uniforms please check out the official website of the Clipped Bs, the Braniff flight attendants who were there to serve on every flight.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Pattern Story

Last weekend my husband and I did our customary Half-Price Books/grocery store run and I found myself over in the tiny pattern section they have. It doesn't matter that there's not much turn over nor that most patterns are overpriced ($4 average for modern costumes and early 90s power shoulder pads suits with the covers half ripped off), I still have to look. This time I lucked out, finding this fun little pattern stuck in the back with a .98c sticker on it. I couldn't resist. No, I don't plan on making it anytime soon (the short jumpers with sailor collar being a little out of my comfort zone) but owning the pattern makes me happy.

What I didn't realize was that this pattern came with a fast-pass to a story about the woman who first bought it and the places she saw and things she did ...

It's not a long story, nor is it really about her but rather about those she worked for and with. And the amazing things they got to wear.

Which I'll continue on tomorrow since this week is absolutely killing me with assignments. But to whet your appitite, can you guess from this picture (without cheating and clicking on it!) what she did? Oh, and this isn't my pattern's original owner, it's one of her coworkers. Still, neat outfit! And just look at that ... hat? turban?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Coming soon...

Coming soon to your computer screen...The drama, the history, the passion...

Or just the story (what I know of it) of the woman who first owned this pattern. It's a mail-order pattern that I found for 98c at Half-Price last weekend and, as a mail order pattern still in it's mailing envelope, it had the name of the recipient still on it. One short Google search later and I've learned a little about the woman who thought this a good idea and a lot about her job including some links to some simply amazing uniforms.

Unfortunately I still have another hour of Hebrew to do.

So stay tuned! Hopefully I can get to this story tomorrow.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A very productive day

Instead of the sewing I'd been planning on, I spent this day of rest very productively doing very little of tangible value - and I enjoyed every moment of it. One friend invited us and another dozen of her closest friends over for lunch and it was a great time. Or at least it was when the one family left - I love kids (which is good, given my day job) but at an event that's otherwise entirely adults and when the kids really could use a bit more discipline in their lives? Yeah, not so much. Especially since I spent the morning running our Children's Church bit entirely on my own. Which meant that when one kid really needed some time apart from the others I couldn't do a blessed thing about it. But back to the lunch. By the way, if you're child is used to giving orders DO NOT bring him or her around me. I've got a zero tolerance for a child telling me what I'm going to do. It's one thing when we're playing pirates and she tells me that I fell overboard. It's another when a kid walks up to me WITHOUT KNOWING ME and orders me to move. Right. That kid is going to get some tough love very quickly.

For what it's worth my "mom" voice has been known to snap teenage bullies to attention. When I was younger than them. So don't mess with it.

But the lunch. Once the family left (blessedly early) we all had a great time talking about campus politics, quirks of society, and new television shows. Just a great time hanging out with some Dutch Blitz thrown in (I won!).

Afterwards we came home and I indulged my love of all things Disney for a good 6 hours. I'm a certified Disney affectionado, with my greatest love being the Disney parks. I was literally raised at Disneyland, going no less than once a year (and, at some points, once a month) to the park until I was 9 and we moved to the east coast. A few years later my parents tried a "once-in-a-lifetime" trip to Disney World and since then we've gone more times than I can recall. Instead of having Christmas at my parents' this year, my husband and I are meeting up with my family and mom's extended family to spend a week at "The World," or, as my mom calls it, "home." Yes, we're Disney nuts.

And believe it or not, there's a sewing connection to all this.

In my afternoon of reading all things Disney I found this highly informative description of a behind-the-scenes tour of Disney World that includes two paragraphs on their wardrobing department. Did you know that Epcot has it's own costume shop? That it's patterns are drafted on a computer, resized for various castmembers, then printed out? That it has a highly specialized, hands-free cutting table that I would LOVE to test drive at some point? That's the gist, but I highly recommend reading the article for yourself. Granted, had I been the one writing there would be far, far more about the wardrobe department - but what he gives is great stuff. I don't think I'll ever look at those character costumes or cast member garbs the same.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Manuscript Treasures

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Today was spent staring at jpgs of "my" 13th (or so) century manuscript of the Gospels, going line by line through Mark 8 to see where it differs from the Majority Text and writing down variants. There weren't many, this is a pretty unoriginal copy, so it got a little boring in that respect, but it's ok. It just meant that instead of finding different possibilities of the original wording of the New Testament (well, book of Mark at least), I got to know the manuscript and it's writer just a little better.

It's amazing to see how much is hidden on each page. Today, when books are printed by printers not unlike what we have at home, bound by machine, and packed in boxes there's a good chance that, picking a book up off the shelf, you are the first human to ever see those exact pages.

Ancient, hand written manuscripts are different. In them the personality, habits, and beliefs of the scribe are woven into every line. The handwriting shows a bit about who they were as a person, the ink and vellum tells about where they live and how careful those who prepared them were, the notes around the text serve as a commentary on beliefs, and the wear around the edges and smudges on the page tell the story of the book's use. It's a very personal thing, like a diary almost, in vivid contrast to our modern books.

Don't get me wrong, I rate the printing press as one of the greatest inventions ever. But I can still appreciate what we lost, right?

At the top of this post you can see just a small section out of the manuscript I'm working in right now. Due to a number of reasons I won't post a larger picture or even give the name of the mss at the moment - but if ever I'm allowed I'll show more. In a later post I'll show pictures of more famous manuscripts (which I CAN name and link to larger pictures of) but right now I want to show off "my" manuscript. Isn't it beautiful?

Neat things to note:
  • The eusebian canon letters (well, numbers here to a Koine Greek speaker) in the far left margin
  • The places where the ink gets dark right after the pen's been dipped then lightens for a while
  • The red lectionary abreviations TE (telos - end reading here) and AP with and X above (begin here)
  • The margin notes in red - unfortunately my Greek isn't yet to the point where I can read them without a dictionary and some guesswork
  • The large capital letters filled in with gold ink
What this picture doesn't show is that the entire text is written in the shape of a cross. This is at the bottom of the cross where the text is narrower. In all it's a beautiful piece of art and a window into another's life. There's something very ... human, I guess about it all and I love it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A lead for the Sweater Dress

I posted about my deep longing (or at least passing fancy) for a sweater dress on Stitcher's Guild and Redhead pointed out this fantastic pattern Onion has. Just look at it:Deep cowl - check. Long bell or bishop sleeve - almost check. It's no problem to extend those babies from 3/4 to full length, especially for these short arms. I'm not sure about the overall fit but a little slash-n-spread below the waist would help it skim my lower parts rather thank cling. I'm seriously tempted by this. However I'm also tempted by the instant gratification offered up by using patterns I already have. Hm. Must think on this.

And on another topic:

Note on the polls

I love polls. I especially love polls on my blog that let ya'll kinda do a choose-your-own-adventures bit, in a small way. My current plan is to run polls once a month for that whole month and then do what the poll tells me to do the first week of the next month. Looking at the numbers as they stand, I'll probably do a series on how I've got my sewing corner set up, what works, and what works better than nothing but needs some additional thought. This should also motivate me to clean up that area and get some of the non-sewing stuff off the shelves and where they belong. You know, so I can show how neat and organized I am. Yeah.

There might be other polls running at other times (I'm considering a "what types of posts do you like most" poll sometime in the near future) but that would be in addition to the CYOA (which, now that I look at it, is far too close to CYA... oh well) polls. And these polls aren't some unbreakable contract - that is, I'll do what the CYOA polls tell me s'long as there's no unusual circumstances preventing it. But I don't promise a poll every month. I reserve the right to get bored and change my mind. But for now the CYOA polls are amusing me so expect to see them for a good while!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cozy weekend plans

Maybe it's our sudden bought of cooler weather (meaning, below mid-80s) or maybe it's the halloween candy everywhere but I'm in the mood to make something warm, cozy, and very now.

I want to make a sweater dress.

I mean, just look at this beauty ....

Now I'm not exactly the standard figure for these current tube sweater dresses. I'm curvy all over with little lumps and bumps in different places. I'm actually a "normal" weight for my hight (that is, doctors don't give me grief about watching what I eat or getting more calories) but that weight is kinda all over in various distributions. So sweater dresses, at least the RTW versions, are inheritantly wrong for me.

This is why I sew.

My plan is to frankenpattern this whole thing - a close-fitting deep cowl-neck shirt from and OOP Simplicity pattern, bell sleeves from one of my many prospects (I like bell sleeves and wind up buying patterns that I otherwise dislike just because of that detail), and then draft in an a-line skirt. My two best bottom shapes are a-line and flared but the flared tends towards the sexy side and I want to be able to wear this to church. So a-line it is.

Right now all this is purely in my head but I'll try and get it out this Sunday (my sewing day). I might even mess with DH's computer and see if it likes my camera and upload some pictures that way.

If I do that I can even show off the cotton robe I made before I give it to the bride-to-be (who, incidentally, got married 6 months ago - so I'm a little slow with my presents) next week. So much to do, so much to do. But all very fun. In contrast to the midterm I should be studying for. (sigh) Back to the grind...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A note on pictures

You might have noticed something about my photos ... specifically that there are none. Two major reasons for that ...

1. I am not a good photographer. I know some theory, I know the basics, but somehow it never shows in my pictures. They always look like those family photos that are saved because they're better than nothing but they sure aren't getting hung on the wall. I'd blame my camera (and granted, I do have a very basic model) but my best friend can do wonders with it without doing anything noticeably different. She just has a fantastic eye for pictures and some how the lighting, colors, and all else respond to her. They respond to me too, just in the exact opposite way. So I'm always hesitant to put up a picture unless I know that, as bad as it looks, it does help the post.

2. My computer hates my camera. This is the main reason. Even if the picture looks like it was taken by an unsupervised 5-year-old I still would post it if I needed to. But I can't. My current laptop (which is temporary ... I hope) is older than many of the kids I supervise. This causes many problems. One is that it will not admit that my camera exists. Now I could set aside a few hours to work on this problem and hope my computer accepts the solution (unlike it's current problems with Acrobat which seem to be unfixable) or I could just hope the new-to-me hand-me-down laptop arrives soon. And that it's newer and less buggy than this. On a tangent, I am SO looking forwards to being out of grad school and financially stable enough to, say, buy the basics tools I need to get my work done. The grad school life of poverty looses it's glamor reeeeal fast.

So that's why you didn't get a picture of the cookies I made yesterday (and they were good!) or of the shirt in progress. I would have liked some visuals ... but for now I'm working within my limitations. Expect better things when the limitations change!

In progress: Simplicty 4047

To start off my SWAP I cut out and began sewing the shirt in this wardrobe out of some heavy black mystery polyester. Unfortunately this will probably have to suffice as an unwearable muslin... The poly fabric is giving me as much trouble as it physically can. Each and every seam and dart (and this pattern has a number of them) is ruching up and the entire effect is very cheap and very handsewn (in the worse sense of the term). Since I'm not certain the fabric is the problem I need to play around with some scraps and use a smaller needle, different thread, and try holding the fabric taunt as I sew. If any of those provide a cure I might go back and try and salvage the shirt. Otherwise I'm not entirely sure. I'd like to make this shirt in something shiny black but now I'm a little tired of poly. I love working with cotton but I've yet to see a black cotton I really like. Mostly they just look faded and worn. So I'll keep my eyes open next time I go fabric shopping. Hm, maybe silk ... now wouldn't that be lux!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Orange Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Yesterday one of my friends was having a bad day so I made her a plate of these cookies. Though, to be honest, I was looking for an excuse ... I've been having some pretty serious chocolate cravings and these are the perfect cure.
The cookies are pretty basic - they're based on the Nestle ones I grew up making with various modifications which came from looking at my cabinets and wondering what would happen if I added this or that ingredient. Out of all the variations I've tried, this is my favorite - very chocolately with a divine orange richness to it. Enjoy!

Orange Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Makes about 5 dozen (if you don't eat too much of the dough)
First batch ready in about 30 minutes (15 prep, 10 cooking)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa (powder stuff)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter or margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp orange extract
2 large eggs
1 cup (6 oz) white chocolate chips
1 cup (6 oz) milk-chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Unwrap the butter and put the sticks in a large, heat-safe bowl and put the bowl somewhere warm. I put it over the back burner which also serves as the heat exhaust for the oven. The goal is to get the butter about 1/4 melted, give or take some.
  3. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Take butter bowl off (or out of) heat and beat in white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla and orange extract. Beat until creamy.
  5. Mix in the eggs, one at a time preferably.
  6. Gradually beat in flour mixture, a little at a time.
  7. Mix in chips.
  8. Drop by the spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets
  9. Bake for 10 minutes (more for crispier cookies, less for moister ones) and let cool on racks (if you can stand waiting!)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Yet another great swing dress

It's the buttons at the shoulders that really make this dress something special. And I personally love the interaction on the cover. Pink dress lady is obviously the good little southern lady with her white gloves and hat, probably the kind who's been raised to attend the local women's society teas and appreciate different roses. Without, of course, getting her hands too dirty. And just prior to the drawing something happened that was ever so shocking. Glove hand to the forhead - it solves all dramatic problems. The brown dress woman is just in from the city. She's a Career Woman who has her own secretary and can stare down her male counterpart until he weeps. She's not at all impressed with Pink Lady's drama. In a few moments she'll tell Pink Lady to snap out of it and get a degree. Pink Lady will tell Brown Woman to (in essence - she'd make it sound more polite than this) get a life. And on it would go, each one getting more sweet in that way that clearly says they wish the other would perish in a terribly painful way. Too bad we don't have a drawing of that.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fabulous Fabrics snoop shopping

For some odd reason I've recently started to drool over novelty cottons. I really don't get it. First, I'm NOT a prints person. Look in my closet and you'll discover that the closest I have to a "print" anything is the wool skirt with gray and black threads woven in. Yeah, that's some daring there. Second, if I WERE to get into prints I'd expect something small and classic. Maybe a shirting fabric with light stripes or something like that.

Nope, I'm gravitating towards full-on prints with a bold flavor and very "now" color scheme, the kind I'm nearly garenteed to be sick of in a few months. Go figure.

This week's snoop shopping I've in love with some bird-based cottons. I can see any of these in a cute little a-line or half-circle skirts with a solid band along the bottom, maybe even some rick-rack (gasp). Enjoy with me and click on the pictures to buy the fabric and thus remove my temptation.

Greek Discoveries

I'm an New Testament (NT) Greek Geek. For better or worse it's who I am. I'm currently working towards a degree in this and, as a current class assignment, get to go through a currently unpublished Greek manuscripts (ca. 1300s) and see where it differs from other texts. Sometimes those differences will suggest new variants, or possible wordings of the original texts. Sometimes those differences are just silly.

Yesterday I was working through Matthew 27, the crucifixion narrative, and all I can figure is that the scribe was tired. It was a long day, he'd been up before the sun with prayers then he had to work a bit in the gardens, maybe brother John stole his ink and he had to make more ... who knows. But towards the end his writings just got odd. He'd drop the end of a word so it just didn't mean anything or skip a very vital word(but not it's adjective ... like saying "I gave the girl a which was large and yellow). My favorite came right after Jesus says he's thirsty. In most manuscripts they give him vinegar mixed with gall. Not so tasty. But my scribe went one worse. They gave Jesus a road to drink.

Granted, there's just two letters difference between the two ... but still.

Things like this get me wondering about the men (and women! There were female scribes!) who wrote these manuscripts. Did he ever pick up his own hand-written text and read it? Would he, every time he came to this verse, chuckle a bit or was he embarrassed? Did he have a fellow monk that he shared the joke with? What about the next monk who inherited this text? Did the odd word ever trip him up? Why did no one correct it?

I wish there were some way to travel back in time within the manuscript and see those who paged through it, were changed by it, who threw it aside, and who first put pen to vellum to record the words of Scripture.

I guess that's part of why I do what I do - while I can't travel back in time I can take the few clues the text gives, from ink types to margin notes, and trying to piece together what story I can. It's like having just 8 pages out of the Fellowship of the Ring and trying to figure out the whole story, but it's worth it for what details do come out. I love what I do. :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Glam Wiggles

From Lanez Living

The only thing keeping me from buying this pattern this instant is all those buttons. Neither of my machines do button holes and I've never gotten around to learning how to do them by hand. Granted, both machines SAY they do buttonholes of the 4-step variety but in reality neither really puts much effort into it. No matter how carefully I follow how-tos and button hole masters the effects always look crooked and half-hearted. So for now I'm sticking with zippers and snaps. With that said, this is the kind of dress that almost justifies taking the dress to a tailer or drycleaner and paying for all those buttonholes to be put in. I LOVE that whole side of buttons, though I'm sure I'd find some way to sit on them wrong and wind up with little imprints up my leg. Still, it would be worth it for this level of glamor.

In the topic of "things I just learned," the seller calls this a "wiggle dress." ?? Fortunately for everything you don't know, there's google. A quick search pointed me to where the ever-helpful Erin pointed out in an early blog that a wiggle dress is one with such a narrow skirt that regular steps are impossible. I'm guessing that, by extension, more active things like swing dancing are out. Oh well. It's still fabulous!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

40s Senior High

Isn't this the cutest little top/skirt combo? I especially love the green and brown version. It's more of a high-school senior dress than a hanger dance dress but I still love it.
(from Out of the Ashes Collectibles)
If I were to make this (in, of course, my large, well lit, and always organized sewing studio, where it's always spring outside and french doors overlook a well-tended herb and flower garden) I'd probably start with a brown wool flannel for the body of the dress and crisp cream cotton for the collar and sleeves, giving it a cute jumper look. Then I'd start experimenting with stripes on the bias, maybe go a little crazy with quilting cotton like this from with solid color collar and sleeves. Because print to print matching should only be done by a professional and numerous attempts have shown I'm not quite at that level. Actually I'm more of a thrice-over remedial student in that area ... there's a reason my stash and closet are almost all solids! Still, in my imaginary studio I'm sure I'd suddenly be inspired to print-matching genius and come up with the perfect combination!

Mental Health Day

Yesterday while cleaning out the fridge I stood up a little too quickly and met the fridge door. Hard. I'm still dizzy, a little weak, and having trouble focusing my eyes today. Since most of those symptoms are also common to me when I'm exhausted (which I am, it's been a rough week), my guess is that the head injury is just a small part but I'm using the excuse to take a mental health day off from work. Unfortunately instead of sewing I need to spend the time collating some Greek manuscripts for class. Right now I'm going through Codex Sinaiticus (pictures of it, not the original!) and matching it with a newly produced critical edition of the Majority Text and seeing where they differ. All this is being done so that we can see if some newly discovered manuscripts are more like the text of Sinaiticus or the Majority Text. It's pretty tedious work since most differences are spelling - the difference between the American "theater" and the British "theatre." At the same time it's oddly exciting. I love reading the New Testament as it was written (by hand!) well over 1000 years ago. It's amazing how perfect most of the writing is and to think about how much a labor of love it must have been to some scribe (at least you hope!). So anyway, off to do that. I might post more vintage fun later, we'll see how the head's doing!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

40s Nostalgia

With everything going on this month we completely forgot about the Hanger Dance! Live swing band, vintage airplanes, and so many people decked out in the neatest retro garb. Wes (aka Dear Hubby) and I went with a group two years ago before we started dating and it was so much fun. I went in a dress that was more 40s inspired than actually vintage and I keep hoping, one of these years, to rectify that. Unfortunately this year won't be it, we're too busy and most of our swing friends have moved or married non-swingers or are too busy. So this is just pure dreaming which has the benifit of being far cheaper and faster than actually making the dresses. On the other hand, I LIKE making them ... oh, well. Later!


Isn't that girl on the right featured in Threadbared?

Well, odd pose or not, isn't that dress on the right just perfect for some swinging? Imagine it in a navy blue crepe with cream sleeve and pocket, paired with a little blue hat, cream gloves, and navy purse. Or would that be navy gloves with a cream purse? Or a whole different color all together? I really need to try these things out in life, my imagination doesn't do visuals all that well. Still, after a few glove/purse/shoe combos I'm sure you could get just the right mix to look completely in the period.

I also like the printed cottons the dress is modeled in. What I DON'T like are all those ruffles on the left dress. I know they're cute, I know they're period but I just don't like ruffles. Oh, well.

Monday, October 08, 2007

My Top 10 for Winter

A recent post on one of my fave sewing sites asked what our personal top 10 fashion trends for this season are. I was thinking through this (while reading up on the Atticization of the Koine Greek of the New Testament - fascinating stuff, I tell ya) and came up with my list. Now be forwarned that I'm no fashion maven - sadly a good portion of my wardrobe is older than most of the children I work with. Which isn't too bad because they're mostly 1st grade and under ... but still.

Ok, enough stalling. My top 10:

1. Knee high black boots
2. Unfitted, knee length dress
3. Opaque black tights
4. Ballet flats
5. Fitted jumper
6. High-waisted pencil skirt
7. Chunky knit jacket
8. Dark wash jeans
9. Long tunic shirt
10. Fitted belt

Of all those I currently own ... four. Numbers 1, 3, 4, and 8. Granted, those first three are pretty much wardrobe staples, especially if you were a female at a private Ohio college that required women to wear skirts in spring and fall. Knee-high boots were a bit edgy when I bought them (one of my friends kept referring to them as prostiboots until I kicked him) but they were WARM. And those black tights help block that horrible wind. So I really can't claim to have anticipated the trends. I was just trying to survive and somehow, in the lottery that is fashion, those two came up winners.

And I'm suddenly wondering why I still have those winter things now that I live in TX. Great. Now that I'm in fashion I have to wait for our one cold month to show off my amazing style. Life!

SWAP early ideas

Here's my plan as it stands right now. At some point I'll take pictures of the fabric to prove that the colors really do go together, despite how it looks in the plan!

Winter 07 SWAP - Getting started

This will be in installments mostly because that's all the time I can give right now (schoolwork and all that) and because I like to think outloud and posting in installments is one way to do that.

So the overall SWAP plan ... After going through my patterns and fabric I've come up with a collection that I'm calling, for lack of a more creative title, Forty-Naughts Night. The idea being that it's a mix of 40s and current (the "naughts" as some call our current decade) styles with an evening color scheme - lots of black (my DC background coming through there), dusky purple, dark denim, and olive green.

At this point I've only decided on the 8 separate pieces (4 tops, 4 bottoms). I know the pattern I want to use for the jacket (the Threads trench) and I know I want it to be non-black but that's all I know at the moment. I figure I'll get a better idea after some fabric shopping. The two dresses, however, are still very tentative. Since they only have to match the jacket (though it would be nice if I could layer them with some of the tops or skirts) I'm willing to give them time to brew a bit.

And that's it for now. Not much, I know, but I promise to post my wardrobe pattern and other separates later for your critiques!

My blog once more

For a while there this was the site for all my Children's Ministry Newsletter archives, random children's ministry blogs, and stuff like that. At some point it occurred to me that a blog with my name as the title might be a little egotistical for that ... so I've switched most things over to my other blog, Notes from Children's Ministries. So if you're looking for that kinda stuff go there. This site is once again mine. :)

Hopes are to use this blog to share my sewing adventures (and somehow, no matter how basic the project, it somehow turns out to be an adventure), SWAP progress, and stuff like that.

I might even show off my sewing corner which should make everyone feel much better about their organizational skills. :)

Anyway, that's the plan, we'll see how it goes!