Sunday, September 14, 2014

Half tempted to make Merri a red cloak...

Merri was still wearing the ‘Hospital Gown’ while I fitted Version 2 of the shirt-dress, and when my eyes got tired and I decided to take a break. My dolls are terribly modest, you see, they don’t like hanging around naked while I fuss with Dress du Jour. On a whim, I just pushed the dress on over the shirt when I came back to the Arena. I liked how it looked, so this one is now a jumper ! Need to make a new white blouse, the gown pattern has over-large underarm-wide sleeves that don’t fit the jumper’s armholes well. I’ll use the white buttons, and probably a white ribbon belt at the slightly dropped waist seam.

I had to smile when I got some ad / recipe e-mail this week, that proclaimed ‘Dinner is back !’. Dinner never went away, at least not at Chez Insanity, it’s just been too hot to cook. Besides, ham sandwiches and microwave pot pies and lasagna never hurt anyone. Now that it’s cooler – and we’re broke-er – I’ve headed back to the kitchen these past few days, and actually used appliances that heat up. Biscuits for breakfast, pasta salad for lunch, fish for dinner … and a hour of dishes this afternoon. Whew. That should count as exercise !

I wonder if plotting and planning and digging through patterns counts as sewing… since I don’t think I’m going near my machine tonight. Ah, well. Never force anything that should be a pleasure and a refuge – and I just don’t feel like sewing tonight. I’m actually restless with wanting to sleep ! 

BTW, I don’t know why I love that silly solar sunflower so much. I remember the big sound-activated ‘Dancing Flowers’ from the late 80s that would twist around almost violently, but this one is infinitely cuter ! Anyway, it’ll probably be in a few more photos – if you suddenly want one, check out your Dollar Tree. I had a selection of four pot colors ! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pluto rising !

Coffee weather ! I’d snagged some International Foods creamer at Dollar Tree yesterday – same price as their generic stuff, for the same amount, so I splurged. DTree even has ‘pods’ for those single-serve Keurig machines. I’d love one of those coffee makers, but they’re so expensive. A tire place we went to years ago had one, and I don’t think I’ve ever stopped being impressed by it. But let’s face it, one box of those pods retail is three times what I paid for my coffee maker, so it’s very unlikely ! Plus, I like my cute little pot. Small as it is, it uses regular size filters, which I wasn’t sure of ‘til today. So I love it more.

I’m a little annoyed because the small bag of coffee I also bought at DTree a few weeks ago was already opened, and I hadn’t touched it. Neither had Beloved Hubby. Grrrr….

In other Chez Insanity news… years ago, I gave Beloved my Irwin Sailor Pluto, he always liked her. We found her, dusty and alone, in a box with other home office type plunder. I can tell you, there is zero room on his desk for her – there’s barely room for his laptop and calculators, with books and papers stacked hip-high over there. I don’t venture to his side of the Study unless I flat have to. So I asked if I could put her with the other sixth-scale dolls – I think Beloved was relieved. So, yaay ! I got my Sailor Pluto back ! I still have her original costume and garnet orb, even her (darn near useless) stand. I may have to make her some other clothes… At least her shoes are not a problem – I still have her boots, plus she can wear most MH footwear, provided there’s few tight straps. Her ankles are a bit bigger than the ghouls’.

Having some fun with the VA. My primary care assistant heard my whining about glucose numbers and said she may be able to request a referral to an advisor – not strictly a nutritionist, but someone who may be able to discern what’s going on with my glucose numbers. Just in case, it’d be great if I could keep a food journal… something I had been doing, but got rebellious and quit updating about three weeks ago. Well, no time like the present ! I’ve restarted it, and it’s a pain to keep up with (and confess that I ate half a bag of potato chips for dinner, even though I used to eat the whole bag !), but it’ll help.

I also got 120 vials of my breathing treatments. I’d requested more about two months ago, when I started to get low supplies. When I didn’t get them, I asked if I needed to keep up the 4-times-a-day regimen, and was told I could scale it back to as-needed. And I still have the original shipment. Now I have about 12 vials…plus 120. Ironically, I’m a little tight-chested today.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Even Clarice (Ghoulia) enjoys my ventures to Dollar Tree !

Went on a little shopping spree today, in slightly drizzly, nearly too cold weather. We actually had to close some windows !

Settled the ‘what to spend “my” money on’ dilemma by dumping the funds into house checking and taking Dearest Son to Dollar Tree. Better use of the cash, I think. He had fun with his usual purchases, I snagged a couple fun things, as well as snacks and stuff we needed around the house. DTree has just begun to put out Halloween stuff around here, and they always have such neat things ! I really loved the wine glasses, but glassware around here doesn’t last. I’m missing a Corelleware plate, and I’m fairly certain it was broken and disposed of, but I can’t prove anything. The four wine glasses I bought to replace the two broken ones are down to one now. (sigh)

Anyway. The thrift was kind of a bust- they had another Toddler Rapunzel, but this one was in much worse shape than mine, and didn’t even have shoes. I think they tend to overprice those – I paid $8. for mine in decent but far from ‘like new’ shape, and this poor bedraggled thing has $4. on her butt in what I hope is china marker, and not Sharpie. Most of their dolls are usually a buck or two. Saw a bear in a fluffy dress, but it was too fluffy to alter. Also successfully talked m’self down from buying more cheep kids’ clothes to rework into doll apparel. I have yards of really good fabric that’s much easier to use, don’t need more fabric in any state ! Much less pilled with thick elastic.

From there, it was off to Kohl’s, to use the latest ‘$10. off any $10. purchase’ coupon. I’ve had three in three months ! Wish the trend would continue. Their MH collection was sad and overpriced even on sale – mostly ‘Picture Day’ and ‘Frights, Camera, Action’ with a few ’13 Wishes’ and ‘Creepateria’ mixed in. At 30% off, the Creepateria dolls were $16., almost laughable. Dearest didn’t find anything at all he wanted in either clothes or toys, so it was up to me. If that gorgeous Elsa ornament had been on sale ($17.), it would have been a short trip. And yes, they did have Christmas trees up, twinkling and decorated, with a small Hallmark section. Loved the skates ! But it wasn’t, so the coupon was almost a long-sleeved tee for me, or a candle, or a small bag of Godiva chocolates for everybody, or some autumn-themed dishtowels, then a lovely emerald-green glass pendant with matching earrings.

I was carrying the jewelry to the register when I saw pillows on sale, $4.99. Something my guys desperately need. So I put the pendant back, let Dearest select his own, snagged one for Beloved Hubby, then realized something. The coupon is for $10. off a $10. or more purchase. $4.99 x 2 < $10. Well, this is where a real bargain hunter shows her mettle. I’d seen some plaque-type signs on deep discount over by the candles, and dug through them. Found a bunch that read ‘Keep Calm and Graduate’ – so cute for Beloved. And affordable, at 99¢ ! Got the whole caboodle for $1.05, and according to them, saved $33. Even got rid of some pennies. Yeah, I’m good.

Beloved was most appreciative of his new pillow, and thought that was the only thing I got for my coupon. Pshh. So he was impressed that I’d snagged two, and loved the plaque. It’s already hanging up, right above his desk. He liked the corn chips I got from DTree, too, but thought the tombstone was a bit crass. Well, yeah, that’s what makes it funny !

I even got to sew ! Attached a less-fluffy skirt to the shortened-by-an-inch bodice that Merri’s modeling this week, then saw that it’s really too loose. So I angled in the side seams a bit and altered the pattern yet again. Once it’s done to my liking, I could probably sell it, I’ve definitely changed more than 35% of it !

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Back to the tweaking board...

Drove m’self into the big city – diabetes clinic at the VA while Beloved Hubby had his own classes. Luckily, MIL was teaching Dearest Son while I was gone. I learned nearly everyone is frustrated about how diabetes pretty much wrecks your relationship with food, and that it’s very hard to trace what you ate to that spike in your glucose reading. Since most of diabetes medicine is all about keeping those numbers down, it’s really a pain. I think about food a lot more than I did when I just ate everything that came close enough.

But then I got home and learned that my A1C – blood test – showed my numbers had dropped from 9-something at my July test to 7.3 today. That’s a big improvement ! A result of 6 means you’re not diabetic. I wonder what caused it to jump up so high, and why it’s coming down now, and haven’t a clue. Sure, I’ve changed a lot of my diet (and I’m still whining about it !), and I try to be more active now, but that’s not much. And if anything, I’m more stressed now than then. Maybe it’s the insulin. Eventually, I just relaxed and went with it. And got m’self a can of Hormel tamales as a treat for late lunch. I haven’t had those since my birthday, when I got the big can and ate every bit ! And my tummy was mildly upset until suppertime. Glad I don’t get that effect from the smaller can.

Sewed this evening, to a couple episodes of Law & Order with Beloved Hubby. He likes having it on because it doesn’t require all of his concentration, and he can study off and on. Same with stitching up something new or familiar, for me. Decided to try those new alterations to the shirt-dress bodice, which is sort of new and old at the same time. Came out OK, the shoulders are right where I want them, but the armholes are still too big. Already tweaked the pattern. Not sure if I’m gonna cut off an inch from the bottom and make a blouse, or just add a rectangle of gathered fabric for a skirt. I kind of like making the dresses, but I’m not sure that I need a dozen of them. Universe knows I got the fabric for hundreds !

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dorrie sewed some bad, bad things...

I think Fall is here. Cats are chasing crickets and grasshoppers through the weedy lawn, and I hear cicadas in the trees when I go for a walk. Sure signs.

Plus, I suddenly want black shoes for my dolls. That’s even more of a sign than caterpillars. I’m watching a pair of Journey Girls shoes on eBay, but $8. is so much better spent elsewhere, especially when I really can sew my own. So I added that eighth of an inch to the outsides of the Beach Baby Dolls pattern and pulled out the black polyester I got from my last thrift haul. Let’s do it !

But first…Beloved Hubby was with me in the living room, trying to get comfy under a too-small blanket. Most of our bedding’s awaiting a trip to the Laundromat. I remembered the one-sided fleece that also came in the thrift bag. It was nothing I could really use. The pink and purple stripes were too big for doll clothes, kind of clashing, and even though it was only fleecy on one side, it was still too thick to use, even for doll coats. I don’t make many doll coats, mine don’t go anywhere ! I’d been toying with the idea of making bed jackets for M&FIL out of it, but I don’t think they’d much like the colors either. Maybe it’d make a good blanket ? There was at least two yards here…

Beloved loves his new blanket, and won’t even let me curve and cheap-serge the edges. He even cuddled under it at bedtime. Awwww !

I had shoes to finish. And I did, but… I still need to work on making sure my stuff’s parallel. I confess, I really couldn’t see the black pattern lines on the black fabric, and rather than do the intelligent thing and mark the inner curve with chalk and cut it precisely with scissors, I just ran my rotary cutter over where I thought the curve was, and, well, the proof is in the pudding. The color is about the only thing on those shoes that match. ARRgh. On the plus side, I probably only need to remake one shoe to get a match, but I’m still ticked at m’self for being cheap with my time. It would only have taken a few seconds to do it right the first time.

Well, it’s only a true, complete waste if I don’t learn from it, right ?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

All it needs now is buttons. Opinions ?

We did it ! Kept the air conditioning off all day. Even though sez we got up to 95° today, there were many cooling breezes, so it wasn’t bad at all. Past tomorrow, it’s not forecast to get above the mid-80s all through next week, so, yaaay !

I’m also happy because Beloved Hubby had to iron clothes today, so he finally reinstalled the fold-down ironing board. It was on the back of the Study door, can’t remember why it got removed, but now it’s up on the living room wall, just past my sewing Arena. Easy and perfect for me to use ! And I did, today. Before I put closures on the shirt-dress, I wanted to smooth down the front placket, so I did. I love it ! You may actually soon see more polished-looking doll clothes ! I went with Velcro © this time, but I think I'll use snaps on the next one. 

Speaking of polished… I’d like your opinion. I was thinking of white buttons going down the front of the dress, or maybe semi-transparent. I also have some dark green and black buttons… which do you think would look best ? Full disclosure – the semi-transparent buttons came from wrecked button down shirt collars. What’cha think ?

Oh, and guess what ? I got *another* ‘$10. off any $10. or more purchase’ card from Kohl’s. They must really, really love me ! At this rate, we’re gonna have enough towels for the Titanic ! Too bad they’re so overpriced on toys. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

While I enjoy getting what I want, there's something better about making what you want !

Third day in a row with the doors open and the AC off. It’ll probably go on tomorrow, but then off again – it’s only supposed to get up to 59° Friday.

I was in the mood for shoes again today, mostly because I’d found a great idea. Etsy’s Jenwrenne posted a PDF file of all her dolls’ feet, traced. I could easily print it out and compare them with my dolls. Maybe some other dolls had similarly sized feet, and I could find shoes for them that way ! Turns out, DP&M dolls have feet nearly identical to Journey Girls. Maplelea and Kidz n’ Cats, and just a bit longer than Girl for All Time. Unfortunately, each of these dolls have even fewer shoes than the Diz girls, and they’re even more expensive than mine. Much nicer on both counts, though. I need to publish tracings from my dolls, maybe it’ll help someone else.

I found several more potential additions to the shoe collection during the hunt. One was on eBay, very familiar – one of the six pair that comes in the TRU Journey Girls first shoe pack. Yes, there’s two now. I bought that first pack months ago, and found out that only  half of them fit my Princesses, the rest fit AG and clones. Ah, well. I wouldn’t mind a second pair of pink flats, could always paint them black. Asking price was a bit high at six bucks – the set of 6 pairs was $15. – but the shipping is what set me off. Fourteen dollars ! Just for shipping  one flyweight pair of plastic shoes, not even bringing up that they’re part of a set that cost far less. Just to verify, I asked if that was the correct shipping amount, and got a reply that they could see their way clear to stuff ‘em in a paper envelope, but they wouldn’t be responsible for loss or damage, and it’d only cost me $8. instead of $14. No thanks. I decided to wait for a better deal, and while I was waiting, I could always sew.

What I really wanted was machine-sewn shoes, in fabric instead of felt, that looked as good  and fit as well as the ones from Beach Baby Dolls’ pattern could. Hmm… Added a quarter-inch seam allowance to the uppers’ inside curve, cut out two of everything per shoe, and gave it a try. It worked ! Decided to use the fabric I’ve already made so many test runs from, since most of ‘em were worth keeping. I’d need at least one pair of shoes to match. Preferably two. Having a little trouble with the fabric fraying from being worked so much – I hand-sewed uppers to soles, then went over it with the machine – but I think that if I add just an eighth of an inch to the outer curve of the uppers, and maybe cheap serge the uppers together so they’re one piece *before* getting sewn to the uppers will probably work better without fraying. Less stress at the seam. Or I could Fray-Check ‘em. Either way.

So I’m pretty happy with the day. Should get back to finishing up that shirt-dress tomorrow, it needs to get done. I owe it to Tia. Isn’t National Sewing Month fun ?