Thursday, May 28, 2009


So friend comes over today and he's just sitting around chatting when he notices the sewing machines. And, likely, the dress form, fabric, rulers, cutting mat, pattern boxes, two inches of thread scraps on the floor ... anyway, he picked up the subtle clues that there was a sew-er in the house. So he commented on it with the standard "hey, cool, always wanted to learn, great thing ..." then so casually mentions that his mom sews ... for Disney. She's head of the costuming department for Disneyland. With a warehouse of fabric, a team of seamstresses, racks and racks of costumes, designers finding ways to make two dimensional characters live and deal with all those little technical details like keeping Mickey from passing out from the heat and making sure Belle can get out of her dress without too much trouble. Also she apparently convinced the Mouse to buy what's basically a giant fabric printer so they can print up their own stuff. This woman is my idol. And friend has promised to pass on my contact stuff since his mom apparently loves chatting with younger seamstresses and loves passing on stuff she's learned. Squee!! Seriously, combining sewing and Disney and it's like chocolate covered strawberries - double the fantasticness.

Anyway, had to share my excitement de-jour. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Faire Day!

Yesterday we made our annual pilgramage to Scarborough Faire and had an absolutely wonderful time. It wasn't too hot (always a danger in Texas), the crowds were quite manageable and the shopping was, as always, fantastic. Funny, I can go a full year without stepping foot in a mall (and I think I have ... I really don't remember the last time we went) but trade out generic trendy clothes with ren faire garb and bath and body works for small scale lotion and oil makers and I'm totally there. Got some of the best jelly ever made - Raspberry Chipolte from Mrs. McArthur's (sold by the lady herself) - reloaded on some scented body oil which also happens to be the ONLY thing that consistently works to tame my hair (seriously), and picked up a gorgeous hand-thrown pottery cereal bowl. All while enjoying the sun and demos and fellow patrons and shows and food and time with DH. Great days!

The guy and I - my dress is a modification of a self-drafted princess seamed dress made up in a light faux suede with a boned bodice and side lacing over a very, very basic chemise. I think I need something new by next ren faire (Wisconsin's is late summer/early fall so we're double dipping this year!) as the chemise doesn't fit right and tends to ride up, requiring constant tugging to make sure my not-so period undies aren't part of the visible costume. And, on the opposite side, this is the ren faire, the one time in the year I rather want to show some cleavage. So might as well. :) The shoes are from Payless and are some of my favorites for looks but they're hot and hurt like the dickens after a few hours of walking so one more reason to retire the garb to the costume closet. Like most things in there, I'm sure I"ll find odd opportunities to pull them out again. DH is wearing a shirt I made years ago and which he also wore for our wedding. Pants are just basic dress pants - he has a pair he's making but didn't get done in time. So he's slowly building his own collection of garb.

This is the most adorable, gorgeous sculpture I've ever seen - a little brass dragon just hatching. I love dragons in general and this little guy was so alive, so personable. And, unfortunately, so very, very out of my price range. One day!

DH didn't finish his pants but he did finish making these felt boots from Butterick 5233. After a LOT of modifications, they worked. Unfortunately he didn't use enough glue on the soles and they didn't give the ankle support he wanted (granted, he seems to think ski boots are the base standard for that, so take that as you will) so he switched back to his old black hiking boots mid day. Still, I think he did a great job on these boots! They're his first finished sewing project and he survived! He did note that my perfectionistic and planning-ahead personality seems to be far better suited to sewing than his more loose, go-with-the-flow style. Since most of life seems to reward his personality it was rather gratifying to find one area that rewards my style. :) Still, he did a fantastic job (in my biased opinion) and he's still talking about finishing his pants so he apparently wasn't scarred by all the seam ripping and little problems that inevitably popped up.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Back in the game!

I live!

After the craziness of finals and finishing up the SWAP I just needed a little vacation and took it, as much as I could, last week. Now I'm back and keeping busy. Whipped up a ton of little rice and flaxseed heat packs for the shop as well as some nice little cases for them and have a few robes in process. But that's boring work stuff. For myself I'm participating in the Stitcher's Guild's Wardrobe in a Week sew along starting ... today? Yesterday? Now-ish, either way. The idea is to whip up four garments that form a little mini capsule. I want to start on a summer addition to my SWAP stuff, with the end goal of getting ready for the trip to florida we're taking with the in-laws later this summer. We'll be doing the standard sight-seeing, beaches, and snorkling. Or at least everyone else will do all that - last time I went snorkling I nearly drowned. And since I was in the "learn to snorkle" pool at Disney World it was rather embarrasing. Five year olds were flippering past me as I clung to a rock trying to breath. The problem's the mask - I breath with my nose, not my mouth, and that led to a string of errors that wound up with me almost needing the cute young lifeguard to come out and rescue me.

Come to think of it, I should have let him. Hm.

Anyway, plan is to make up three florida worthy pieces and one piece that needs ironing so no traveling but I need in my life here.

- Black drawstring skirt - mostly self-drafted by this point. It's in the background, being drafted.
- Black linen/poly sleeveless dress, with the white embroidered flowers at the hem. I think I'll add some more white details at the top... have to see what it needs. Anyway, cut out, will sew later this weekend.
- Blue TNT knit shirt from my old favorite, Butterick 3344. I'm playing with the sleeves on this one and cut out little bishop sleeves to see how I like them.
- Blue button-up shirt. I haven't cut yet but think I'll use Butterick 4985. A little labor intensive but if it takes longer than a week then that's ok.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to. It's great to be back!

Also, I'm starting up summer sewing classes. If anyone in the Dallas area is interested please shout and I'll send you details.

Friday, May 08, 2009


Thank you for the encouragement and all papers and finals got turned in and I'm officially and totally FREE from semester related duties now. And DH did a fantastic job cleaning so the place was nice and I got to doze while watching the new Lie to Me (I think I'm getting hooked) and the in laws came and were great and brought Cheerwine and we went out for the graduating class picnic and free food and now we're back, things are quiet, and I feel so wonderfully free.

Such a great feeling.

And now to pry the contacts off my little overused eyes and sleep for a day and a half. :)

Well, not quite since tomorrow DH graduates and I want to be somewhat alert ... but still, sleep for as long as possible.

Then hit the fabric store to get on the ball with the stuff I'm selling through a consignment store. My first little chance to really get my stuff out there! Looking forwards to it.

But that can wait until after sleep. :)

Odd things you think of during all nighters

The last paper is 4/5ths of the way done and now just to get it that last fifth. I really shouldn't have let it slide this long but anyway... almost done.

But on another track, does anyone from the west coast remember the Nut Tree in Vacaville, CA? For YEARS the memories of that place have been ticking the edge of my brain but I couldn't remember the name. Red Oak was my most guessed yet consistently wrong attempt. It makes sense, looking at it. Two short words, treeish in nature... anyway, it finally clicked and I was able to find pictures and stories of that old tourist place. And dear heavens the 80s were ugly. And almost nostalgic in the way only childhood memories can be. Children of the 90s and millennium, hug your parents to thank them for the far better designed (if slightly more depressing and overcrowded) world they gave you.

Anyway, back to the Nut Tree, anyone else remember the rocking horses, playground mirrors, little train, and toy shop there? We never did eat at the restaurant, at least not as I remember since my family was still living rather meager on a lower ranked officer's pay. My little brother has no idea how good he has it, being born later into a less transient, more wealthy family. Funny how a few years can make such a difference.

And that's really all. The musings of a brain on too much caffeine, too little sleep, and worn out from a long semester. And my in laws arrive tomorrow. And the living room needs only a pizza box to look like the worst stereotype of a bachelor pad. Ok, if bachelor pads had sewing machines, fabric scraps, and a dress form. Still, messy doesn't begin to describe the disaster of papers and fabric that bear testimony to all I've gotten finished in the last week. Fortunately my in-laws are fab ... but it's still annoying that their first view of the apartment can't be a little nicer. And DH has a funeral to go to tomorrow morning (no one close, but a 95 year old woman he got to know through church) so he's out for cleaning duty. Oh well. I'll try to see the mess as one of accomplishment. Four finals, five papers, and a SWAP all finished and turned in. That's something to be proud of.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

One success!

Got back my first final grade - 95%! Now to see if I can do anywhere near that good on the last one.

And still have three papers to get in. Eek!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Finals week in progress

Two finals down, two to go...

Three papers down, three to go...

SWAP finished, pictures still to go ...

I feel like I'm on that knife's edge - too far to quit, but still a lot to slog through ... but at least it's happening. Little by little it's actually happening. And many, many thanks to DH who's serving as my editor. It's fair, student wives have been doing it for ages. Time and past for a little equality. :)

Also joyous news, we got our move out date moved from next Tuesday (eek!) to the 25th. So I don't have to spend the weekend madly packing after a week of low sleep and high stress. You have no idea how relieved I am. We'll find out tomorrow if we got approved to stay through the summer but for now those extra few days are enough to make breathing far, far easier.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Writer's block

Seriously, brain is utterly blocking on me. I'm loosing the ability to form a simple sentence and all thanks to Turabian. Stupid formatting system - I know what I want to say but I keep getting tripped up with the footnotes and looking up exact details and my word processing program (endnote, not Word - endnote's free and minorly less glitchy) will NOT let me change it's standard formatting so I keep trying to fix it as I go which is NOT working. I need to give it a rest and just write the darn thing with bad formatting and go back and fix it later. I just hate how regimented it is - I totally get the need for some formatting and some way to cite sources so that facts can be checked or used to help others trace the trail of what you're saying but really, does it MATTER if I have my footnotes indented exactly 1.5" or whatever it is? Will you really have trouble reading my paper without that indent? Will my sources be any harder to find, will my research make any less sense if I don't spend a full half our changing every freakin' footnote to fit that arbitrary guideline? Grr. Making it worse, in college I got very friendly with APA style formatting and really liked it. For a bit there I could do perfect formatting without having to pause and look stuff up. And NO footnote citations, all in-text. Much nicer. Much easier. So now it's extra frustrating because not only can I no longer just type and format as I know how, I've got to use this incredibly complex, detailed system that my word processor doesn't like. Grr.

Ok, back to typing.

No SWAP photos today. :(

Meant to get the SWAP photos out of the way today but the weather went from dreary to drizzly to thunderstorm. Not so great for photos. However our apartment has the most fantastic view of the lightning strikes as the storm moves in - lots of air to ground strikes, very awesome. Must see if I can get a decent photo of that.


Update: So as soon as I got my camera the lightning strikes moved south and out of the line of sight so while they're still lighting up the evening sky quite impressively (and causing our router to go crazy for some reason), they're not very picturesque. Oh, well.