Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How joyous it is, when you regain what you thought lost.

Current Mood : Beaming. With earrings !

I've had a really nice day today, and I'm a little proud of m'self. That alone is a rare day ! Did my housework early, and was a bit restless. Decided to look up 'ear piercing' online. When I was fourteen, I got my ears pierced (mostly because my father accidentally got me the wrong kind of earrings as stocking-stuffers - my mother was dead-set against it), and I loved that I could wear nearly anything, from titanium and gold works from nice jewelers to the cheapest nickel-alloys sold at the flea markets - I wore 'em all. Lots and lots of stars, go figure.

But when Dearest Son, in his first month of life, gave a good solid *yank* to some dangling galaxies, I reluctantly took them off and switched to tiny little orbs. Those weren't safe from his grasp, either. I went from changing my earrings with my clothes to quickly passing ten, then twelve years without wearing any at all.

When we moved my jewelry armoire into the bedroom, I decided that Dearest was old enough - I was wearing earrings again. Defiantly, I slipped in a lovely understated pair of black and gold discs...or, at least, I tried to. One went in smooth as a duck into a pond, the other crashed against the unexpected new barrier and slid like a swan on a frozen river that doesn't look like ice. Well, shoot. Guess I should have expected that one or both would seal up after a decade-plus. I figured I'd just have it re-pierced. No problem, right ?

Not exactly. The only places I could find were the ones that'd be more than happy to create a unique tattoo to enhance any new matching navel-and-brow gems. So much for $10. and a new pair of earrings. I resigned m'self to having a drawer fulla trinkets I couldn't wear anymore, when I decided to try one more time. Left went in smooth as a duck...and so did the right ! For some reason, I couldn't get them in back in October or November, but they were just fine today. Whoopee ! I have pierced ears again !

I felt a little pretty as we headed towards the library. Our county library system is the *best* ! You can not only peruse the entire card catalog online, county-wide, but you can request for books to be held for you, at the library of your choice. Late last week, I put pretty much all the remaining Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms books by Mercedes Lackey on my hold request list, and I got a note yesterday evening - they'd all been rounded up, herded to the local outlet, and were waiting for me for the next week. I thought it'd take weeks, but far be it from me to keep books waiting ! I was glad to grab my stack of six (including two more Valdemar- based stories) and return Barbie : A Rare Beauty that I just couldn't make a special trip to relinquish. Dearest picked out a dog story, a cat story, two DVDs, and a pirate book. And I snagged what Beloved Hubby requested. Thank Everything I brought a large shopping bag !

From there, we drove past a new thrift - and kept on going. It's just infant and toddler clothes, and about 50 nursing pumps, from what I saw in the window. Salvation Army was nearby, so we stopped there, instead. Dearest snagged a nice Plano tackle box that's now a Lego Pirates organizer, but I put back the kids' skirt I was thinking of snagging for the fabric. Um, I have tons of material already. I've got maybe three more projects outta that kids' hat before it's used up, and it took me years to get to it. Naah, when I really got down to it, I'd rather have a can of ravioli.

So that's what I got, from Family Dollar. They had the Barbie Glam Vacation House on 40% off, but even $30. was a bit much for it. If the cardboard walls slotted into plastic frames allowed for scene changes, I'd have given it some thought. They also had various Bakugan on markdown, but a basset hound-styled 'pillow pet' grabbed him, and luckily, it was on sale, too. And I had a good lunch, proud of me for not tugging more often too-thick knit fabric into the Arena to await reworking.

Besides, if I'm good, next time I do laundry, I'm gonna stop and visit that quilting and fabric store downtown. It's not a chain, just a mom-n-pop shop, so there's no telling what's there !

I'd barely finished my late lunch when I had a package from Amazon.com. My Bee Girl set was finally here ! But there was something funny about the box...huh ? Instead of featuring my first and last name - like what's on the credit card we used to pay for it, or how I'm signed in at Amazon - the box was addressed to 'DORRIEBELLE". No last name, just that, in all caps. I'm surprised it hadn't been opened and inspected ! Ah, well. Beloved had fun stomping the air cushions enclosed with it, and I had fun playing with it.

Full review tomorrow, I promise. Right now, I've already written a chapter, I haven't told you how the shrug worked (not) and how today's hat-dress did (poorly, hadda remake it, and it still doesn't look very good), and I'm sleepy. Tomorrow won't be that busy, and I can catch up, and take pictures. Pinkie-pie promise !

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lagoona says, "Hi !"

Current Mood : Sunny, with chance of shrug. 

Finally, 'After School' Lagoona gets something new to wear. You remember this lovely, she's the one I agonized over getting or not for weeks, because I wanted her 'hang loose' hand and clothing - but mostly those awesome, memory-triggering pink jelly shoes. I caved when the online Mattel store had her for 20% off with free shipping - and, beautiful as she is, she and I simply never really bonded. It's embarrassing to admit, but this is the first time she's worn anything except what a Mattel employee put on her. (cringe) Sewed this one up today, and hope to attempt a matching shrug later tonight. After sitting on it for two or more years, I am in a massive hurry to use up that Dollar Tree hat I'm using for fabric on these.

And I'm still not sure those colors suit her, but I think she looked great today out in the waning sunlight. The breeze really played with her hair, that's why one part's going one way, and another lock is going another. This underwater sensation will soon swim her way through a cardboard box ocean to get to her new home with DIsArmyWife. She and I are in deep, secret negotiations long into the night, involving lockers, Lagoona, and Fimo food. We're trying to avoid Sicilians, death on the line, and land wars in Asia. I've heard they're not good.

It's been more fun than I thought to play with her. The slight dent just past her hairline before her neck joint has eased out - I can only barely remember where it was. Oh, and she does have her leg fins - I forgot to put 'em back on for the photo. Hadda take 'em off to remove her original outfit. Her 'skin' has a really pearly sheen to it that you can't really see through the fishnet elements of her original wear, especially on her legs. What'cha think, DIsArmyWife ?

This dress looks a bit better than Cleo's because I took it in a bit at the top - and altered then scanned the 'new' pattern for the next one - and hand-sewed the hems at the top and bottom. The other two don't really have bottom hems. I  mostly stitched them with a zig-zag, trying to 'lettuce edge' them, and forgot that those need to be steamed with an iron to really ruffle up. So next time I break out the iron, I hope I remember to save some steam for these.

Another thing I forgot - UncleIL came home the same night of the accident, the hospital didn't admit him. Had some serious bruises on his knees, shin, and chest, and he ached all over, but nothing was broken, thank Everything. Insurance agents have already begun the voodoo they do, and we're all hoping things go well there. His car is a total write-off, the dash is bent up, it was leaking all kindsa fluids after impact, and all but one of the airbags deployed, which means it's a salvage-only title here, at best. He's got a few days to retrieve the last of his personal items, then insurance takes the poor wreck away. Sad, 'cause he really did love that car, even if the payments were less than cuddly. He thanks everyone for their kind wishes.

Well, I'm gonna go try that shrug. Wish me luck, ya'll ! 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I'm getting better at simple tube dresses !

Current Mood : Content. 

While it isn't purple, it was fun to sew this today ! This is another part of that same picked-apart Dollar Tree kids' hat I bought a year or three ago - Frankie was wearing a blue dress from another part last week. I'm hoping there's enough to make a couple matching shrugs in a few days, and maybe one more half-striped, half-blue dress.

Today's model, Gloom Beach Cleo, is *the* doll I'm most on the fence about. Y'see, I don't need four Cleos. There's no way I'm giving up Basic, and I love Dawn of the Dance's short hair. That should pretty much satisfy my need for Cleos, right there. Fearleader really doesn't have anything special over Basic or Dawn, but I really like how mature GB Cleo looks. Every time I look at her, I feel a mild regret at giving her up. Only reason I'm considering it is because I just hate that green lipstick on her. It's fine for Frankie and Lagoona, but it looks too faddish for my de-tinseled GB. I've flip-flopped on finding her a new home a dozen times.

I may have finally made up my mind. Y'see, I'm getting a Cupid soon - Thanks again, Para ! - and you know I'm gonna repaint her lips. I've seen several repaints that really enhanced the doll's look, and is really what tipped me into wanting one of my own. And, since I already have the brushes and sealers (it's good to have an arty Beloved Hubby !), I may as well pick out a good color for Cleo when I get Cupid's. Gonna wait 'til Cleo's here first, though.

Ever watch an eBay auction just to see how it turns out ? I was curious the other day, when I saw some long-time favorite Barbie furniture - that mid-80s white plastic-as-wicker / rattan convertible set, with the chair that becomes a chaise and the sofa that slides out to a bed. Someone had painted it dark grey ('graphite', perhaps ?) and sewed coordinating cushions for it, posting it as remade to match the Monster High aesthetic. I wondered if it'd sell for more or for less than a similar used but unpainted Barbie set. So I found such a set in another auction and bookmarked them both.

Until today, they were running neck-and-neck, even the shipping fees were the same. But the Barbie white set closed at $6.50, while the MH set, still with two days to go, is over ten bucks. I wonder if the higher price reflects the paint job, the new cushions, or the MH tag the seller gave it.

Either way, I hope their buyers are happy - I have the same sofa and two of the chairs in a storage box, just waiting for me to have space to play with them again. It's a great set. Although I am considering painting mine...

Had to shuffle some MH dolls around on the shelf today. That 'Bee Girl' dress on Clawdeen is so tight, she can't sit, and I can't use the Mad 'crotch swaddle' stand under it. Hadda use a black MH waist-grabber stand for her. That meant I had to make space, so I got all the Fearleaders together, moved 'brain outfit' Ghoulia to the box I have two other dolls seated on, and shuffle the guys. Hrf. Can see clear up Broadway with Ghoulia at that angle, so I repositioned her to standing, and a Gloom Beach Frankie gets to sit down for a while. It was calming and fun to just handle them for a few, and there's more to see when the view's a bit different.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Now I wanna sew something in purple...

Current Mood : Worried

Must've been 'Clawdeen Day' today !

Finally cracked open the Clawdeen 'Fashion Entrepreneur's Club' outfit this morning. I confess, a good chunk of the appeal of this was the shoes. I put them on Ghoulia, to go with the 'Galactic' dress, just as I intended as soon as I noticed them on the peg at Mal-Wart. Beloved Hubby commented that they certainly looked futuristic. I said they reminded me of something Barbarella might wear, and he agreed.

And if my memory can be trusted, Mattel's only used three of the MH shoe molds more than once. Prototype photos show Clawdeen sporting a pair of the same 'Barbarella' (giggle) shoes in yellow for the upcoming two-pack Target exclusive with Howleen. Ghoulia's '#1 Fan' sneakers from the TRU-exclusive Fearleader set got repainted for her 'Comic Club' clothes, and the white snowboots under basic Abbey's fur legwarmers also got a recolor for her 'Snowboarding Club' outfit.

It was a bit difficult to get Clawdeen's boots on Ghoulia. Either the doll's big toe or little toe gets caught between the straps. I held them in my hands a bit, to warm them, then sort of pushed down at the middle while sliding them on Ghoulia's feet. That helped. Other notes - the 'claw' mark on the purple briefcase isn't repeated on the other side (yaay !), the 'Trapper Keeper'-like file folder is paper, and only shows pockets drawn on the inside, and it fits neatly inside the briefcase. My particular outfit was really hard to remove from the paper doll, as the tiny white plastic t-thingies were so short, I had to use embroidery scissors to cut them. One left a hole in the sleeve. I hate those t-thingies.

I also got an eBay win in the mail - when I was still deciding if I wanted just the 'Bee Girl' dress or nearly the whole set, I won an auction for the dress only. I forgot I bid, truthfully, and was surprised I got it with the pocket-change bid I made. I liked the vivid purple, and it was a near-perfect match for Gloom Beach Clawdeen's hair. Plus, she was already wearing those shoes, and it'd been a ridiculously long time since she scored anything new to wear. So she got it.

I'm a little disappointed with the dress, honestly. It's made from the cheapest sateen I've ever seen - it's almost like cardstock stiff - and so tight, I wondered if the Create A Monster bodies were smaller than yer standard Monster High ones. It was a real squeeze to get it over Clawdeen's hips, and the snug Mad Doll Stand 'saddle' pushed a visible poke in the skirt. That's tight ! Yet, the sewing is very good, only one loose thread (I got used to far more in Barbie clothes), and the fabric print actually goes all the way around the doll !  It's sad that I'm so excited by that, but there it is. I made sure to take today's photo so you could see it, too. I think it looks great on her.

With all that - and a buncha other housework - I didn't quite make it to the Arena to sew today. Uncle-in-law got hit in a car accident this evening, which totaled his car. Either the air-bag deployment, or possibly the crash itself, possibly both, hurt him somewhat. Not even his fault, some jerkazoid plowed into him, running a red light while Uncle was waiting to make a legal left turn, with the light on Uncle's side still green. Beloved Hubby just got home from work and had to take him from the accident site to the hospital. Wish there was something I could do.

Wish him a swift recovery, if you can. I know we'd all appreciate it !

Friday, January 27, 2012

Why I quit doing book reviews in elementary school. I always wanted to like the book, but...

Current Mood : Deflated

Busy day today. After a large laundry day flooded the drain and ran into the Garpartment, we started taking our baskets of dirty clothes to the nearby Laundromat. It's either that or spend all day in the dank, crowded garage, monitoring the drains and stopping / starting the washer to avoid another flood. Personally, it's worth about $6. three times a month or so to go to a warm, bright shop, do all our loads at once, relax with a book, and then bring it back here to the dryer.

So that was today's task, but I couldn't get started 'til Beloved Hubby came back with Starlight. He had classes and a Lab today, before work. Last time, he did the laundry over the weekend, for a chance to study quietly, but he has no time at all for the next two weeks or so. I rather enjoyed it, but hefting the wet clothes into the garage was a bit of work !

I took the time today to go over Sandi Holder's Barbie : A Rare Beauty tome, released this winter. I mostly got it 'cause it was new, I hadn't even seen it in a bookstore, but here it was, in our tiny library. Maybe it would even rekindle my former Barbie-love. It didn't.  I wanted to return it today, with my other books, because I'm done with it, and wanna give someone else a chance to enjoy it, but decided to keep it, in case. I promised ya'll a review, and want it or not, here goes.

It's a nice book. The photographs are lovely and sharp, the backgrounds are suitably pastel pink and swirly, and the text is often interesting. But there's no way I'd buy it. I'd want to do exactly what I did - look at it, nod appreciatively, and return it to the shelf. It's a nice book, an elegant book. But I don't have shelf space or mental space for it. In my life, 'coffee table books' are clutter-starters.

Without opening the book, I expected some coverage of her life-size recreation of the soda fountain from the Barbie Goes To College playset. I've heard of it in various doll magazines, and reporters are amazed, but for some reason, there seem to be darn few photos of it. It's not here. It's only mentioned as a place where she holds kids' birthday parties. Kinda sad, that. It reduces her 'I hired Disney and Pixar employees to design my space' specialness to just another Chuck E Cheese's, or local bowling alley. You'd think adults would love to visit there, with their just-purchased dolls, or it'd be perfect for area doll clubs to rent for meetings, or maybe even birthday parties for people who've lapped puberty and are heading on the down side of the hill. Nope. Ok, she's focusing on Barbie, not her own tribute to Barbie. That's thoughtful.

After giving it a quick leaf-through, I figured the lovingly photographed dolls were from Ms. Holder's personal collection - after all, she has the Barbie's Best Friend award (more later) and is presumably the world's biggest Barbie collector retailer, sales-wise. It's mentioned obliquely. But the flyleaf says every photo in the book was property of Mattel, Inc., and accompanying text usually details the stellar price someone paid Ms. Holder for it in one of her legendary auctions.

That was kinda my big beef with the book. It's charming, but not remotely comprehensive enough to be a real reference, or engaging in any way besides 'Look at the reeedonkulous amount someone paid for this doll'. I'd have loved more stories about buying from hoarders, engaging sales tales, meeting with Mattel reps - something besides 'Isn't this doll pretty ? Someone paid $357,951.42 for her !'. I think there are two chapters that don't have this kind of text, and they're both on dolls too modern to sell for much past their issue prices yet. Again, Ms. Holder is focusing on Barbie, not her Barbie store or her Barbie-dedicated life, but when it's just photos and closed auctions, there's not a human element to engage the reader, and without that, you're looking at a sales brochure.

The photos are pretty. But about 96% are of dolls and people I've seen before. There's two photos of the Handler family I've never seen, and maybe ten of prototype dolls and dresses. Everything else is 'seen it', occasionally veering into 'seen it six thousand times', and when you're not into early vintage, SilkStones, Bob Mackie, or extreme limited editions (like that first Holiday Barbie), there's just not a lot more here. This book will probably sing to a more dedicated collector. And I am definitely not a collector, even back before Monster High showed me what I'd been missing.

I can respect and even envy a bit of what Sandi Holder did here. It really is a lovely book, and a sweet tribute. But Barbie : Her Life and Times  by BillyBoy and Barbie All Dolled Up by Jennie D'Amato were much more enjoyable and fun for me. But remember, I'm not a collector, and this book may be a treasure trove of delights to someone who's not as broke, bitter, and boring as me.

But, lemme be straight and honest with ya'll - when I first got into Barbie as an adult, I kinda felt like I'd never fit in with the 'country club' attitude that comes with being a 'real' fan to some people and some message boards. I don't like 'inner circle' fan clubs, the National Convention often sounded like a snob-a-thon, especially from the Barbie Bazaar editors, and I felt I'd be judged and snubbed by my lack of 'serious' dolls if I dared attend one. Not that I ever would - we couldn't afford to tie up funds in the annual attendance lottery, or shell for the hotel and airfare. In some ways, Barbie - or at least her conventions - was for the wealthy. Barbie : A Rare Beauty made me remember all that. Not Ms. Holder's fault, but I really weary of the Barbie = money equation. And equating various dolls with how much they sold for doesn't help anyone who's just starting or merely curious.

I'll probably make a special trip to return it to the library tomorrow. I'm already a bit fragile this week, as you've probably noticed - I don't need another 'You're not good enough' haughty stare from my bedside. Someone else who doesn't have my issues is waiting for it.

Oh, and the 'Barbie's Best Friend' award - very disappointing. It's a real honor, and something to be exceptionally proud of, but the actual award shown in the book is an engraved ink stand with a bushy feather-pen, like what you'd see next to a guest book at a very pink wedding. I guess I was expecting a Barbie statue, a replica of one of the numerous Barbie trophies issued with doll outfits, or a brass-dipped Barbie sculpture - not something so much like what one of my friends gave me from the area mall's 'Things Remembered' store when I graduated college. Yes, I'm aware of how petty that sounds. My blog, my jerk opinion. Hmpft.

Tomorrow, I sew ! Feel free to crab on my pathetic sewing, but it's kind of a waste of time to criticize someone's opinion. At least that's what I think. (grin)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I can almost hear ya'll - "Skip to the end..."

Current Mood : Brighter.

We now return to your previous prattle about Monster High dolls, already in progress...

Guess what finally shipped today ? Yes ! Amazon.com shipped my "Bee Girl" Create A Monster mini-kit. Today. Four business days after we ordered it. I have no idea what the delay was - Beloved Hubby's part of the same order arrived yesterday, a day before mine was even shipped ! - since it never went out of stock, but I'm actually happy that it's finally on the way without being cancelled !

And that, along with another passage from The Ice Queen, has me thinking again. The Powers That Be tried to stop it by cutting our electricity for four hours today, but I am not to be denied ! Who knew thinking about yourself could be so much fun ! Anyway...who hasn't read the 'Things you buy cheaply are the things you give little regard to after the buy' truism ? Well, these days, some things bought cheap remain the most cherished - value is in the eye of the beholder, after all. If I didn't know the value and appearance of a #1 Barbie - and it wasn't mentioned at least once a chapter in Barbie : A Rare Beauty, review coming tomorrow - I wouldn't give five bucks for one. I've never liked how haughty and even cruel that doll looks. I'd rather have a troupe of 1976's Ballerina Barbies, a small forest of Steffie-faced any-dolls, or several SuperStar Barbies, complete with 'tacky' disco-wear. My values aren't everybody's, which is good. My 'plebian' tastes allow me to think I'm not haughty or cruel, which is important to me. I doubt 99% of people who adore #1s are either, but I seem to have snagged a truly stubborn 'you are what you play with' notion. Trying to delete it off the semi-functional hard drive I use as a brain...

But, if I apply that truism to the MH dolls, part of their value is their stories. Of shopping-avoidance master Beloved Hubby braving two TRUs in June heat to get me Frankie, Lagoona, and Draculaura the week they were first wide-released - then repeating it with me, having an asthma attack in rainy winter, driving two counties over for possibly the only Ghoulia in the entire state. Even the annoying phone calls, hours spent on-line searching, and minor jealousies are a part of every doll I own, and even some I don't. While it's frustrating, and most days I hate it, and I really hate Mattel for thinking that the states between California and the Eastern Seaboard are just rumors, if I love the dolls, I have to love even that. It's a part of them, and a part of me now. As always, it's up to me if I continue with it or not.

Some days, it's just much, much harder than others. Another stray thought wandered in before dying of lonliness...When things come easily to hand, it's even easier to believe you're entitled to everything. Yikes. While very few things have come to me easily of late, I never want to dwell in entitlement. I see it in six year old kids and sixty year old adults, and I wanna tie 'em together and watch them obnoxious each other to puddles. Being broke and being limited are often the best things when it comes to spurring imagination. And if your dolls don't spark you, well...I'm not sure what you're doing, besides spending money ! 

Yeah, all this is trite, and what's worse, I've 'learned' it all before. But I think I really needed this refresher course. I know I feel better - just rather embarrassed I dragged you into it ! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Books that make you go, 'Hmmm.....'

Current Mood : Pensive.

Current Image Notes : This Monster High character is unusually appealing - one day, I'll have to make my own HooDude.

It takes an exceptional book to make you take a look around and finally understand some things in your life that've been puzzling you, no matter how trite those things possibly are. While it may be just a fairy-tale upgrade, Mercedes Lackey's The Snow Queen struck some amazing resonation with me, and as I closed the book on its satisfying ending, I took up some threads that lay scattered across my mind and finally, I could follow their paths, and get them wound up and out of the way.

Most books and stories have a theme, and a fairy tale is mostly an oral legend with a moral. The lesson I took from Snow Queen was that a person's greatest weakness is often his or her great strength. Not everyone gets to show those things, unless Life demands it of him or her, but it's still worth some thought.

My childhood was...well, let's say 'repressive' for today. I learned early on that making myself quiet and unnoticed was the best way to avoid a lot of grief if things weren't going well. And sometimes even when things were going well. I often played Barbies in complete silence under the bed, with one foot sticking out, so they wouldn't think I vanished. Never saw anyone check, though. Add to that, I'm an only child, one of the youngest kids in the whole extended family, we lived waaaaaaaay out in the sticks, and my parents never wanted anyone in the house or wanted me to visit neighbors and friends without them nearby, and you got yerself some lonely summers and very quiet rooms. I didn't see it as repressing then, I just thought it was The Way Things Were, and that Angie and Lisa probably did the same things when I wasn't around.

I spent most of my younger days alone, and would often go weeks in the summer seeing no one but my parents, and even then, just for an hour or two a day. Far into my teens, I still played the avoidance game. But these events have stood me in good stead, although I'd never put Dearest Son through the same. I have no trouble being alone with myself for extended periods of time, I can keep my thoughts to myself, especially when they're damaging to someone else, and my 'inner life' is always nearby when I need it. I don't think it's the best way to gain emotional maturity, and I'm still very easy to tip into 'uber-emote', where I cry copiously over something I've imagined or laugh for no apparent reason, but, well, we are what we are. And...that's actually good enough.

Everything I am, I have chosen to be. I often choose to be a couple dozen different things in an hour. I don't always do my very best, but heck, that's exhausting ! When I try, and really mean to make something happen, it usually does - because I've placed a value on it in my own heart-mind. I'm not any better than anyone else, but I'm not the horrible creature I always feared I was, either. I really should have stopped snarling at small kids two years ago, though...

And only loosely related, I understand The Virgin Suicides now. I watched that movie three times and just didn't 'get it'. I was trying hard to not see, and doing quite well at it, until today. To me, suicide is like a permanent version of alcohol - neither makes much sense, so I avoid them and find other means of distraction. I mean, sure, you can booze it up and forget your problems, but they're still gonna be there when you sober up, and now you're head hurts, you're broke, and you're not entirely sure what happened that night. Not good. I don't like giving up control of me.

But when there's simply too many demands of perfection, too many restrictions to allow you to be who you are, there has to be an escape route somewhere. Any teenager flirts with suicide, it has an oddly romantic pull that I know too well. But I kept telling myself that things would get better, so they did. And I simply couldn't lose such total and complete control of m'self, when you get to the marrow of it.  But not everyone can delude themselves as completely as I do. For some, they only see the escape they so desperately need, and they take it. I still think it's a too-permanent solution to a usually temporary problem, but I can understand why it often feels like the only way out. 

I wonder if authors ever realize what thoughts their works can engender...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'm all set for Valentine's !

Current Mood : So much better...

Current Image Notes : This is the mailbox I got today. Love it !

Maybe I just needed a good night's sleep, or some new books. I feel much better now ! And 'feh' on what the Universe may or may not be tryin' to teach me. I already know I'm a greedy, rapacious little jerk - I try to do better and I stopped snarling at little kids last year, but you always return to your base instincts. So there.

And today was much better. Amazon.com has still not shipped the Bee set, but I'm tryin' to show patience and faith, so I'm gonna save my ire until someone earns it. Two lovely ladies at Mal-Wart (the one I ordered from, in another city) tried their darndest to try to find those Cupid dolls that still show as in-stock in their store on line, but it was simply no-go. So I told their manager how wonderful they were, and let it go. It'll be there one day, or it won't. Either way, stewing about it squanders the time I get to spend on better pursuits and more fun, and let's face it, my time on Earth may already be more limited than I wanna admit at this stage.

Today, I got to spend it at the Library and at - you're gonna laugh - another Mal-Wart. Beloved Hubby had the day off, and we had the funds to pick up a late birthday gift for Dearest Son. He was all-over excited about it, and he bounced around in anticipatory joy, which made us both happy to see. It also helped that the Monster High Valentines were in stock - both the lenticular ones and the 'mailbox' set. Snag !

I also got to peek at the slightly-shifted MH toy section. Which is reset with 'Sweet 1600' everywhere, but near-totally empty shelves. They had no dolls. Not one. They had three of Cleo's vanity, and a couple of Clawdeen's dress-up sets. Places for dolls - including Cupid - were clearly marked, but aside from clean shelves and air, nothing was there. The DracuLaura 'Newspaper' Club and the Clawdeen 'Fashion Entrepreneurs' Club outfits hung from pegs...and I didn't have Clawdeen's...

So I had a bagload of MH to play with today. I addressed one of the lenticular Valentines cards to Dearest and sneaked it in his birthday present bag. He found it about five minutes later, and happily played with it for about three minutes. Beloved had fun playing with the whole set for just as long, and expressed mild disappointment that Abbey wasn't represented, and Ghoulia had only one. Well, maybe next year. I snuck one in to DMIL's habitual chair, but I'm not sure if she found it yet, or what she thought of it.

I snagged a stack of books at the Library. Since it's evidently literarily vogue to rework fairy tales, I went for three written by favorite author Mercedes Lackey. Turns out, she has two series of fairy tale reworks - Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms and Fairy Tale Series. I scored two from the first, one from the second.  I'm about a quarter of the way through The Sleeping Beauty, which has been a truly fun read. I've loved her Heralds of Valdemar books, and this is the best part of them combined with familiar-but-different fairy tales, and you know what a total sucker I am for those ! 

I also got Barbie : A Rare Beauty, because it's new, and it'll be fun to leaf through, like that Making of Empire Strikes Back art book I scored a couple weeks ago. I'll definitely get some new sewing ideas ! And I got a pair of sewing books, one on making purses, another on remaking clothes into household items. Dearest picked out a couple for-kids pirate themed stories, including an illustrated Treasure Island, and Beloved got his usual political / psychological studies fix on. Nothing like carrying away a stack of new reading material to put a lift on the day !

Plus, it's raining. I've had a minor headache for days, and it's gone now. I'm starting to think my empty head is a barometer !

Monday, January 23, 2012

Am I supposed to be learning, or does the Universe just hate me...?

Current Mood : Resigned

Wanna laugh ? The tape recorder and Bee set Beloved ordered from Amazon.com yesterday ? Guess what didn't ship today. Oh, it still shows in-stock available, but... (sigh)

I also found that a nearby Mal-Wart showed Cupid in stock ! I could pick her up tonight if I ordered her today - and I did. Yaaay! No. Even though it still shows the dolls there, no one in the entire store can find them. It's possible they're on the truck, or in storage since they have Toys all torn up for resets. No way anyone could tell. So they cancelled my order, and said, 'Maybe tomorrow'. Maybe the Universe is trying to tell me something.

I feel a bit better after yesterday's blow-out, but after today... my obsessive nature is getting beyond ridiculous, and I'm the only one who can change that. Starting now. So I'm gonna. I asked Mal-Wart's website to e-mail me when they get Cupid dolls back in stock, and I'm done. If I find one in-store or snag one from an e-mail reminder, great. If not, I can contemplate if the doll's worth $40. plus shipping or not, and move on. I can't help but think this is a better course of action.

And I completely forgot to tell ya'll that, before my little life imploded yesterday, I got to go on a run-along with Beloved Hubby to his job site, to put up some samples and just get out for a while. Turned out, the site wasn't far from a Hancock Fabrics ! A very nice one, in fact. But I stuck to my plan of not buying anything ('cause I figured I'd be ordering the Bee set today) and only exchanged that cone of 'Graphite' for one of 'Black'. Whew ! No more worrying if that particular shade of dark grey would work or not. And I have 3000 yards of it to last a good, long time !

I also did the one thing I tell everyone else not to do - I sewed upset. Luckily it was just a simple fitted tube, but it was made from a kids' dollar store hat I was tired of moving around. Turned out OK, but it's nothing special.

Maybe if I get some sleep tomorrow will go better. Although, at the rate I'm going, Amazon is just waiting 'til then to cancel my part of Beloved's order. I'd hate for the universe to attempt to teach me with anything less than a total, crushing defeat.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I'm beeing a bee-otch.

Current Mood : Upset at m'self.

Today was not a good day. For me, at least. And most of it was my own fault, but it really showed how frustrated I'm getting - and I don't like how much of an unholy brat I am when I'm frustrated. Especially when it's not even over anything important.

So here's the whole stupid, sordid mess. Maybe by confessing and remembering and just plain being publicly embarrassed by my behavior, I can knock it off already. (sigh) We begin. A few days ago, I noted that I was attracted to various pieces of the Monster High (you knew that was in this craptacular somewhere, didn't you ?) Create A Monster "Bee Girl" add-on set. Didn't want the main sort~of two-doll kits, mostly just various bits of Bee. And, as luck would have it, those various pieces were available separately on eBay - for about twice the price of the MSRP of the thing (shipping included). So I did what I normally do, research.

And, amazingly, Mal-Wart's website showed it available, but not locally. Still, I could even ship-to-store it for free, and it'd be here a few days later. Yaay ! I'd get it all, and even 'bonus' pieces, for just $11., easy-peasy. For once.

For not. I told Beloved Hubby, who asked me to wait a few days before ordering it. Sure, we had the funds, but he wanted to get another check deposited. Okay. You already know where this is going, right ? Yup. Sold out about two hours ago.

I admit, I didn't handle it well. I got so wired and upset that I went for a walk. In 35mph winds. I was so looking forward to having something new that didn't involve multiple efforts that I completely overshot the original 'hey, I'd like to have that' and somehow tied getting it into rekindling my current slump mood and my own status in the household. Y'see, the money I got for selling my books both went into the household funds, since they both sold right when we needed some cash. Beloved promised I could get my too-expensive thing when we had money again, but...well, you know how that's going. My delayed gratification on this one is growing into 'not sure if I want it anymore'.

My mind was a near total blank while I walked - turns out I can hoof it all the way to the thrift bakery and back, no problem - but when I sat down afterwards, I knew what I wanted. I want to say, "I like that, and I'd like to have one" when promo photos come out, and, money permitting, go into the blasted store and just bloody buy one and be done with it. Not turn it into some ridiculous odyssey every. single. time. I've actually decided that I would like a Cupid doll - and we know how that's gonna go, and I'm already resenting it. I am tired of calling, driving, and bothering my family over freakin' dolls. It's not like I'm missing a part to our home nuclear reactor - it's a plastic doll ! It should not require this kind of intense effort to buy a darn toy.

What, after fifty, sixty years in the business, Mattel doesn't know how to ship their shite ? If the rest of their distribution was this lousy, ole Babs wouldn't have made it to her 50th anniversary, 'cause parents don't put up with this kinda crap for very long. If Mattel is this stupid, that'd be one thing, but the fact is, they're still in business. I can only assume they're doing it on purpose, and that *really* infuriates me.

(sigh) So I didn't handle things well, but at least I didn't throw things. Well, just that one thing. That rock really shouldn't have been in the middle of the road anyway. By the time I got back, Beloved had ordered the Bee from Amazon.com, along with a tape recorder he needed for class. Which, of course, made me feel worse. It's not Mattel's fault I'm such a spoiled little &^%$, but I really am frustrated with them. And they really, honestly, honor-bright just don't give a crap.

When I realize this is all over a doll, a cheap toy...all I can do is tell myself how ridiculous I'm being, how I've already done all this before, numerous times, and not learned yet...and I feel like crying for all the time and effort wasted.

Now if Beloved and Dearest Son can forgive me, maybe I'll move on and remember this time. I hate that they're the ones who have to see me this wound up. Again. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Go Team !

Current Mood : Disjointed

Song You Forgot : Shoop, Salt N Pepa

Winter is the big season for machine embroidery freebies. Seems like half my mail (that isn't spam from AARP and others concerned about my weight and male potency) contains links to free designs and sales to encourage my money to get spent over there. Thing is, we bought about $200. worth of designs the first year we got Brody, my embroidery machine, and spent maybe $20. a year after that. Last year was maybe half that, probably less. Since most sites don't have the kind of fangirl copyright violations I really like stitching up, it seemed to make more sense to design and rip off my own, and save the few bucks I spend on others' works for really spectacular versions of antique dress forms. I am such a sucker for those.

But now that it's been well over six months since I even plugged Brody in, I don't see me buying any designs at all this year. I don't even know why I downloaded those seven or eight freebies this morning, other than they were nice and they were free. I don't know when or where I'd use them, but in case I need three more interpretations of Christmas trees, snowflakes with birds wearing scarves, or a "<3 " heart inna curly speech bubble, I'm ready to go !

I really need to embroider something. Just...not today.

Not sure what's holding me back - I had all day, nearly. Just had to put some clean laundry away before it got mixed up with dirty and I ended up having to wash it all again, and cleaned up our room today. Gonna do dishes later. But I let the afternoon go, wondering why I still feel so blocked.

This 'thinking' thing is gonna kill me, I just know it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ponderances and carbohydrates

Current Mood : Thinkin' about stuff...

Current Image Notes : This is Beloved Hubby's 'media' contribution to his group report for college. Pretty scary, huh ? I'm really proud of his work, and the print shop did an excellent job on it, but I just can't bring m'self to hang it up.

Song You Forgot :  Doo Wop (That Thing), Lauryn Hill

Had my second of three diabetics classes this afternoon - and it was actually fun this time. Evidently the hair-splitter in our last class couldn't make it. Seriously, if the instructor said that any additional exercise above just daily routine was good, he'd posit that we should all be doing high-impact aerobics daily for it to make any real difference. Um...he was certainly not following his own advice. At least my big ole butt could be confined to one chair, 'nuff said. You'd think he'd be as glad as the rest of us, and encouraged, to exercise more with this advice, but nope. He did that several times during the last class on various points. We ended up running late 'cause the teacher'd have to carefully parse what he just said, to try to figure out what Splitter was taking issue over this time. Made for a really dreary class.

But this one was more lively, with some really engaged folks. I learned sooo much ! I can now count carbs - not calories or sugar ! - with the best of 'em, and know how much to 'spend' in a day, thanks to our teacher and a book they gave all of us, Calorie, Fat, and Carbohydrate Counter. The VA got a grant and bought hundreds of 'em. It's a big help. Only problem is, I get hungry just leafing through the pages !

And since half my carb load most days is soda, even though I'm drinking nearly equal amounts of ice water, well, it's still gotta go. Beloved and I picked out several intriguing diet sodas for me to try. So far, 7-UP Antioxidant Cherry is a bit too chemical-weird tasting for me. After the first few sips, I wanted to stand up, raise the glass, and yell, "Science !". Maybe when it's colder, it'll taste better.

Had an interesting reaction to a query today. Amid 35 other questions, a fellow LiveJournal MH group member asked us to complete this sentence : "If Monster High called it quits tomorrow, I would feel ­­­______." Without thinking, my first, gut and knee-jerk reaction was 'relieved'. I had to stop and think about it afterwards. And the birds outside stopped chirping, but I'm not sure if the two actions are related.

I love MH - I'm sure no one will ever question that ! (grin) But lately, between the constant array of new stuff, the fact that I can't ever find any of it, fans in Britain and Kuala Lumpur seem to have abundant shelves of the latest long before I ever see it anywhere but a computer screen, weighted against local economic concerns, I have to admit to being a bit weary already.

I'd love to see more of what Mattel has planned. I don't want the line to end, even if I never buy another doll. But I'd be happy with what I have, and wouldn't feel like I 'should' have this or that. Or that I have to keep funds available, in case I stumble over something I like - since it probably won't be there the nanosecond I let it go. I might actually be happier creating, when I have no clue what the manufacturer has planned. Could be that I'm simply too enmeshed to really be inspired anymore, since there's so much more out there now.

Hrmf. Now that I think about it, I wrote a lot more 'mental fanfics' when I couldn't see Star Wars any time of the day or night. Not having access to vast computer databases, or even many real-live fans where I lived, gave my imagination more room to play. Now I spend more time looking at fansites than I do creating, and that may be where my block is originating.

More thought is required, so be very afraid....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Heck with the heart transplant - can I get a stomach replacement instead ?

Current Mood : Not even gonna describe it, it wouldn't be good for either of us...

Current Image Notes : I think this is the next book Ghoulia will be reading ! If I remember correctly, it came from Cracked.com.

Song You Forgot : Kisses on the Wind, Neneh Cherry

Really had a sore tummy today, and slept late after Beloved Hubby left for work. So today's sort of a null-entry. I really didn't do a blasted thing. Sorry. Promise to pick it up tomorrow ! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Who hates SOPA ? Yes, we do ! We hate PIPA, how about you ?

Current Mood : Very hungry...

Song You Forgot : Star Wars Theme (Disco Version), Meco

I really, *really* wanted to do a super-special blackout version of today's entry, as I think SOPA and PIPA, as is, give waaaay too much power to people only looking out for corporate interests (coughRIAAhackgasp). But today was a busy one, capped off with another tummy twister I'm only over now, so it just didn't get done. Can we say I blacked this entry out for 24 hours and posted it late on purpose ? I really meant to. Even called my Congress-people and Representatives to tell them how I felt. It was only a tiny bit of power, but I felt dizzy with it anyway.

If you visited my Flickr page, you may have noticed I blacked most of the recent images I put up. I had the option to shade others' pictures, but that seemed to take things a bit too far. I'd have had no problems with anyone greying mine, but who's to say the person I targeted is just like me ? Just seemed rude and presumptuous to black any but my own images, and I really think Flickr should have given that option a bit more thought. I know that's sort of what those bills would do - give a buncha power to people who don't own those photos - but still.

I'm glad to say that most of the original sponsors and supporters of SOPA and PIPA have already started to back away from it, although the battle's not yet won. It'll come around again, I'd lay my non-existent fun money on it. But what was important was it got me off my unmotivated, lazy butt and I actually did something, however little. I'd hate to say how much I'd miss of you and everything I love if certain jerks got their way.

Nuff said on that. Today was a busy one because I went with Beloved Hubby to a jobsite. We got to talk a lot and I got to enjoy some peace and quiet time away from everything. Fed a vivid Cardinal some pretzel bits, and actually got to see him snag one, and fly off to a nearby fence stump to eat it. Worked a Sudoku (I like them because they let me think I'm smart), leafed through some craft project books, and read the diabetes and cardiomyopathy books the VA gave me to study months ago. Finally. (embarrassed grin)  I have another diabetes class Friday, so I hope I remember some of it.

We stopped off at Mal-Wart for Dearest Son's birthday cake, and I got to peek in at the Monster High section. It looked almost exactly the same as it did Dec. 22nd. No 'Sweet 1600' endcaps, no standalone display units, just the same space with the same stuff in it, and not a doll to be found. Just drawing books, costume bits, and cheezy electronics. It's probably the only place on the planet that still has those bizarre Electrocuties pets.

And on the plus side, I may be able to order my special book-money goodies soon - we kinda needed the cash for gas & groceries over the past week or so, but it looks like things are getting better, like they usually do. Here's hoping !

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I need to sew this one again sometime...

Current Mood : Content

Song You Forgot : Forever and Ever, Amen, Randy Travis

Lost power again today, from 9 until 2:30pm. It was supposed to be back on by 2, so I can only wonder what problems the power co. ran into. As a consequence, everybody slept in and just hung out. Didn't have much of a choice - the heat's electric. But about noon everyone started to get hungry, so we made a run to the local Hostess bakery thrift down the street - it's been years since I went there. It's less a day-old store and more a half and half with new merchandise now. Good prices, but some stuff was more expensive than name-brand at Mal-Wart. Have to admit, though, with a minute or two in the toaster, the cinnamon raisin bread was ridiculously delicious.

It was really busy there, for a store that mostly sells bread and bread accessories. (grin) I could easily have spent ten bucks in there on pretzels alone. And loaves of rye bread.... Sure, shoppers came in and were gone in less than ten minutes, but it was a steady stream of customers. I noted that many stocked up on three or four loaves of standard white bread from the rack closest to the door and checked out without looking around. Me, I wanna look at the pretzels and snack cake aisles again !

Put the newly de-stitichified Fearleader outfits through the test today - touched up a few spots with a Sharpie and let them dry last night. No ink transfers, no rub-offs, no holes, and very little decal residue. I am pleased. And immediately grabbed my original Ghoulia and put her in the best of the two. You know you'll get that photo soon !

Not sure who's gonna get the remaining one. There's a screen grab - I grabbed it - of Lagoona trying out for Fearleading, so she'd look great wearing one, once I've made her socks. I could extend the olive branch to kitty Toralei, and welcome her back to the squad, but I'm not sure if she'd swat at it or pounce on it. And I really wanna see how Abbey looks in it ! (sigh) Now I want three more of 'em...

It'll be a while, though. Ordered Dearest Son's cake today, and while it'll be delicious, those things are getting expensive. Got a quick peek at Toys, which was more like 'Where Toys Used To Be'. Not much there, like a normal January, and the Monster High aisle looked just as it did Dec. 23rd. I pity anyone around here looking for something new - unless they're creating it ! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Martin Luther King Day !

Current Mood : Wondering if there's any more potatoes left...

Song You Forgot : Jacob's Ladder, Huey Lewis & The News

Not gonna lie to ya, I spent most of today asleep. I'd just begun to sew a bit this  morning - more later - when it hit me. Another tummy twister. Slagged through what I was doing, ate some buttered rice with ice water, and went back to bed. Woke a couple hours later and felt better, but it didn't last. Had another scoop of buttered rice, mostly choking it down because if I don't eat when I take certain prescriptions, a 'poor me' tummy ache is gonna be the *least* of my problems, and crashed again.

That was pretty much my day - eat a little, take meds, go back to sleep, wake up to take care of m'self, eat a bit, go back to sleep, several times. I was hoping to hit the library today, but I forgot that it was closed for MLK day. It's not like I was awake much anyway.

But as evening vectored in on final approach, I was awake and feeling back to normal, so I ate some of the potatoes DFIL made for dinner, and didn't pay for it, so I also enjoyed most of the very juicy pork chop. That helped.

Today was another of those 'tired of shuffling this out of the way, let's get it done' days. Earlier, I'd gone rooting through my miniature sewing box - the one I keep in the bedroom for hand-sewing and on the go sewing - and cursed the 'song' skirt and so-80s Barbie jumpsuit I keep in there. You might remember the black 'short in front, long in back = song' effort from last year. Clawdeen modeled it with that strapless Barbie rose print dress I modified. I wasn't happy with how the back closure looked or worked, so it was in the sewing box, and the jumpsuit was slightly damaged. Hmmm...

My back closures have been looking better since I started following NG Creations' pattern directions, so I wondered - I made this skirt half a year before buying those patterns, would her directions work as well on something not of her design ? Had to take out the back seam, but I had good light for it, and a few minutes later, I was bearing it off to KJ, still loaded with that black spool of thread. And the answer is - yes ! I had to tough out sewing the back seam again, since I was getting sicker, but I am now happy with my 'song' skirt. It's no longer in the box.

And when I felt better, I was ready to try it on a doll...but who ? Sad to admit it, but Clawdeen's still wearing the rose-print dress, yet I didn't want to put it on her again. Instead, I reached for Dead Tired DracuLaura, who was wearing the 'Sweet 1600' dress that came with Clawd. You'll be surprised at how good it looks together...tomorrow.

Once I had that done, I wanted to get those markdown Frankie Stein Fearleader outfits I bought me for Christmas 'de-stitchified'. For whatever reason, Mattel loves to make Monster High clothes very character-specific, and what should be a simple cheerleader dress unfortunately got a decal of large blue stitches running across the chest and over the belly. It's unfortunate, because I think they would have sold more if the stitches were gone - some folks I know online probably would have bought one for each MH doll, if not for the stitch decal. But it may have worked out anyway, because a lot of fans bought the three-doll Fearleader TRU exclusive set, mostly to get the no-stitch uniforms and recycle/resell/customize the dolls. 

And while there's several methods out there for ditching the stitches, most of them still leave the residue beneath behind. I darn near ruined the first Fearleader outfit I bought, because I rubbed and scritched the residue so hard, I snagged the nylon and transferred some of the bodice's black to the waist ribbon, because I wasn't paying attention. Still had no idea how to do it better, but I was gonna try one suggestion - rubbing alcohol.

We had a whole bottle of it, too. In storage, in the shed. I kept meaning to go get it, but always forgot. Well, not today. After going for a walk in the park with Dearest Son and Beloved Hubby - and playing at the castle-themed playground with other kids and parents enjoying a springlike January ( ?) - there was just enough evening light for me to get it. Out from under the four boxes that had tipped over and landed on top of it. However, it wasn't light enough for me to avoid a patch of backyard doggie surprise. (sigh) At least I didn't track it through the house.

Couldn't find the cotton balls, so I used fabric scraps, and shielded the MH decal and waist ribbon with masking tape. So the tape wouldn't pull up the decal by itself, I folded a bit of tape over itself, enough to cover the decal, then used more tape to hold it there. Same for the ribbon. Some gentle rubbing and a little scritching with the alcohol-soaked fabric scraps soon had most of the decal and residue off. Gonna let 'em sit overnight, and touch up tomorrow, then add them to the rest of the clothes Wednesday evening.

Glad I gave one of my three to Dearest Son for his Toralei doll at Christmas. I was pretty bored by the time the second one was done ! Tossed out some packages, got some props and new stuff put away, and got the library books together. In case there's time tomorrow !

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pretty sisters !

Current Mood : Ready to celebrate again !

Song You Forgot : Romancing the Stone, Eddy Grant

In case you haven't seen them yet, there they are - the upcoming Target exclusive two-pack of Clawdeen and little sister Howleen. She's been a fan fave since before she was actually seen, thanks to the diaries, but she also had a good launch in the Halloween Monster High special last year. Cute, but another set I don't really want. I'm still trying to figure out one thing : if Clawdeen's hair grows so wildly she can be highly experimental with it, why does she only dye it purple or neon green...or in this example, purple and neon green ? Hair dyes aren't near as expensive as the clothes brands she favors !

And there's a new special coming out on Nickelodeon for Valentine's Day ! I know I'm horribly late on this one too, but just in case, it'll air February 12th, at 1pm, but I'm not sure which time zone that is. I'll just look it up early next month and set it to record. Or I'll wait a day and see it online, like I do with Hoarders episodes. I'm not as patient with MH specials, though !

They completely changed the style, from 2d 'cel' style flash animation to 3d cheap computer, but I'm here for the storyline first, favorite characters second, art direction...third or fourth. I screen-grabbed the one image in the whole preview that really tugged at my heartstrings - you'll see it tomorrow, promise ! See if you can possibly guess what it is when you see it y'self - http://youtu.be/cnsjqECRsNI .  

Meanwhile, we have a birthday to prepare for next week ! Our little baby boy is gonna be twelve ! I'm still staggered. I mean, I thought my inept parenting was gonna kill him in infancy, but he's a strong one ! And he's reminded me daily that his big day is coming up. And what he'd like to see wrapped up, to commemorate the day. Kids today, I'll tell you what...

For today, though, I finally got tired of moving the ComicCon MH tote bag around and emptied it so I could machine-sew the Velcro(tm) on and be done with it. I put the hard side on the part that usually faces out, because the black thread would blend in, and the stitches wouldn't be so obviously horrendous. It turned out really nice, though. On to the soft side...the side I usually have no trouble with. Um...yeah. Ripped it out twice because it looked like crud both times. The third go-round was better, but still not good. Ah, well. At least it's done. Stuffed the clothes and shoe bag back in and put it away. Finally.

Did some cleaning to prepare for the week. I have the second of three diabetic classes this Friday, and it's nearly time to start worrying about the stuff scheduled for February. Wheee. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Party Day Saturday !

Current Mood : Celebratory !

Song You Forgot : Silent Running, Mike & The Mechanics

We're celebrating today mostly by sleeping - Beloved Hubby's accelerated class finished yesterday with the presentations, and oh, did he have his 'A' ! He really busted butt, and we're all so proud of him. I let him sleep most of the day, and surprisingly, Dearest Son ended up crashing with him. In fact, I was the only one awake this afternoon for several hours.

I got quite a bit done, and enjoyed myself. Yesterday, while I was cleaning up, I cut up the quite battered and almost unrecognizably altered copy of the NG Creations dress and cut one out of the star field fabric still lingering on my cutting mat. This one would have a v-neck and slightly shorter sleeves - but instead of just hemming, the sleeves would have cuffs of ribbon, and the neckline would boast a small collar of the same ribbon. Heck, I could even add a strip to the hem.

So I did. Wasn't easy. Oh, the cuffs and hemline were easy-peasy, but that neckline didn't go right, and even now doesn't look that good. I think next time I'll use half-inch ribbon instead of a five-eighths. It won't fix much - the problem was my lack of skills in sewing ribbon - but it should look better. At least my back closures are looking much better these days ! Found a spool of black thread I forgot I had and used it instead of the new cone we bought Wednesday. Oh, that's right. I forgot to tell you about that....

In my eagerness to prowl Hancock Fabrics, but not buy anything but thread, I grabbed the first one in the display bin - they keep several sizes of that brand's cone in there, and they all looked black to me. I just made sure I had the right size (i.e., cost) one. Should have looked at the label. Turns out I got 'Graphite', a very dark grey. Not black. ARrrgh. I have no idea when we'll be going back there, so I don't know if I should wait and exchange it - I haven't opened the plastic yet - or just use it and hope for the best. Holding the cone next to the black spool isn't much help. I'll probably tuck it away and hope, but I still feel so darn stupid.

I've been warned off using cone 'serger' thread for sewing. I've heard it's both thicker and thinner than regular polyester thread, and either way, it won't stand up as well. But here's the deal - I mostly make doll clothes. And I've yet to have any of them completely fall apart on me. Even the really early crappy ones are still intact. Still, though, I'll do some stress tests when I get it sorted out. Just in case. If I can't tear it up, I'll give it to Dearest. If he can't tear it up, then I'll know it's darn near impossible to do so, no matter what thread I use. For the record, I got told the same thing about wooden-spool thread, and I wear clothes made with that stuff at least once a month...and I haven't made 'people clothes' in years !

DFIL went through his wardrobe this week, and gave me a basketload of discarded shirts for me to do with as I pleased. Since none were good for donations - like us, when he's done with clothes, the clothes are done for ! - I isolated four I wanted for fabric and cut them apart first. And then I went after the rest. When the dust settled, I had four bundles of new-to-me material, eight sets of button-bundles for the button jar, and two brick-ramen boxes heaped full of scrap rag fabric. DFIL approved.

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled ! I've seen several packages of Monster High Valentine's Day cards on eBay ! Some are clearly home-crafted, but at least two were commercially produced lenticular ones - you know, the ones that change pictures when you move 'em around ? And if they're there, you know they're in stores somewhere. Happy hunting - and let me know where you found 'em ! Our Dollar General didn't have 'em, that much I can tell ya.