Friday, November 30, 2012

Happy Friday !

Current Mood : Weekend primed !

Ahhh, Friday. I ended up taking today’s photo three times, and even though the photos weren’t bad, they were pretty ‘meh’. I knew they weren’t really ‘right’ until that last one came together. It was worth all the false starts, in my opinion !

Knew I was gonna make the paisley UltraSuede skirt today, but I also wanted to stitch up a simple blouse, too. So I pulled up a sheet of easy-lookin’ shirts and picked out one. And I probably should have known it was one where the author doesn’t like to be bothered with hems or lining, or other techniques of that nature. I guess their dolls have lots of clothes made of leather, suede, and fleece, the kinds of materials that don’t fray.

Of course, I like a professional look, so I cut the ‘camisole’ pattern out from the paper printout and wrapped it around my fitting doll. As is sadly common, the design went around the doll’s hips, but it doesn’t even meet at the back center. So I folded it up so it hit a bit above the waist, and cut out two from the scavenged sheet. Sewed ‘em together at the top and bottom, leaving the sides open so I could turn it right side out, and added some ribbon straps at the top front. For practice, I top-stitched it, and it looks pretty good ! It still didn’t quite meet in the back, but I tacked the ribbons down back there anyway and fudged it. Ya can’t see the back, so there. Then I altered the pattern again. Even if it didn’t quite work because I didn’t sew it the way the author intended (it’s not like there were directions, anyway !), I liked how it came out, and want to sew it up again. A little more creatively, instead of just black ribbon on black fabric.

If you’d like to play with your own version, it’s here. Found it as an image during a search for MH patterns, so I have no idea who authored it. If you did, let me know, I'd love to give you credit ! I’m thinking of trying that one-shoulder version someday soon, but I think I’ll have to alter it first, if I wanna sew it my way.

The skirt went together as expected, and it’s made from the NG Creations second set, the Short Straight Skirt pattern. Together, they looked good on my fitting doll, a wrecked body DracuLaura (no lower arms, one lower leg, no head), so I put them on my former fitting doll, an intact Gloom Beach DLaura. I’ve had her since December 21, 2010 !

I confess, I’ve been trying a bit of meditation every night. Instead of reading m’self to sleep – and dropping my book several times before I give up and crash – now, after I’ve dropped it once, I mark my place, and begin to think of all the good things of the day. No matter how crappy it was, I usually ate at least one tasty meal, laughed at something silly, sewed something I like, talked with my guys, on and on. If I can’t concentrate on the wealth of the day, I think of ongoing things I’m happy about. Guess it’s no surprise I’m sleeping better these days ! That or it’s just autumn….

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"I like fluffy !"

Current Mood : Wondering...

Finally, the chicken legs defrosted ! Just in time for dinner. It’s been years since I made Bisquick oven-fried chicken, but it was so good – even with store-brand baking mix, and  Dearest Son liked them so much, he asked for them on Christmas Day. We’re hoping for a spiral-sliced ham, but I can make sure to have a pack of legs thawed out for Dec. 24th !

Ironically, now that I’m getting more confident in ‘real cooking’, expanded somewhat from my usual ‘real heating up’ skills, we’ve decided to get a microwave for Christmas. While we’re not reverting to buying boxes of single-serve dinners, it’d be nice to have, to melt butter, heat soup without dirtying pots, and keep stuff warm. I’ve always made mine do double duty as a breadbox. Tiny kitchens bring out the creative solutions in me !

While I sometimes get to sew in the middle of the day, I really like sewing when I’m all alone, and the place is quiet and still. It just makes it easier to concentrate, although by now, I’m so used to sewing in brief bits, having a long stretch of it’s a real luxury ! I realized during Boyfiends Week that I’ve been timing m’self, trying to figure out how to cut the time I spend on each piece. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s a holdover from when I planned on selling things – I still hope to sell someday, but now, it’s more important that anything I make is sewn well, not sewn fast. And it’s funny, but each piece not only got a little better, but was more fun. I didn’t realize I was rushing until I stopped. How silly ! I hate it when I find crap sewing on commercial purchases, why should I do less than my best when I sew ?

I’d planned on making Cleo a slim skirt to go with her jacket, but ended up sewing a fluffy yoke skirt. You’d figure a mummy would appreciate a snug fit, but everyone likes a change every so often. And I’m sure a pencil-style skirt sewn from the same fabric would look great on anybody, so I’ll sew that tomorrow. I’d toyed with making pants out of it, but just can’t imagine that they’d look very good. And if I have any time, I can make a simple white blouse to go with it. I don’t have many of those for the ghouls.

One good thing about having a scrap fabric box – when it’s time to iron, ya don’t have to hunt for a press cloth ! Learned the hard way to use one when I scorched Cleo’s jacket sleeve the other day. Ironing as ya go is kind of a pain, but the finished item always looks better, and pressed hems are much easier to sew. No pins necessary !

Hard to believe Saturday’s December. Seems like just a few hours ago, I was whining that I was surprised it was November already ! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Clawdeen's pretty in paisley !

Current Mood : All purple !

Another quiet day. Had to fill out a form for the Veteran’s Administration, and fact-finding for it – and re-filing all those papers so they’re not misplaced next time we need ‘em - took up most of my day. Beloved Hubby had to do the last one, when I was in the hospital. It’s amazing how far we’ve come in a year.

Unfortunately, we had to suspend Netflix for a bit, so we watched regular ole TV/cable. Ugh. I hate Christmas shopping ads. ‘Monday, I found my favorite pre-teen sized pair of jeans. The next day, I bought this designer purse. Who knows what favorite I’ll buy next ?!!’ just seems so out-of-place when so many people – us, and most of our friends - are struggling. The mail, burgeoning with catalogs from places that really shouldn’t waste their postage on this zip code, is nearly as bad. Sure, I’m positive *everyone* will want a $1899.99 coffee/cappuccino maker – but for those on a budget, the $300. ‘Margaritaville’ drink mixer will have to do. (sigh)

And after seeing approximately six thousand ‘Soda Stream’ ads, I did the math. Using local prices and estimated usage, I soon realized that it’s not a big money-saver. Counting just the syrup and carbonators needed, a two-liter bottle of soda would cost $1.66 to make with a Soda Stream. That doesn’t include shipping, the specialty bottles, water, or cost of the device itself, which is anywhere from $80. (small) to $130. (larger). Hmm...with the machine added in, and a couple extra bottles, it'd come to about $1.75 for a 2L. Not sure if it’s the same where you are, but generics (Dr Whipper) are usually less than a buck for a 2L around here, and fairly often name-brands (Dr Pepper) go on sale for that, too. Otherwise, most name-brands are less than $1.50 nearly every day. Ya gotta really like ‘green’ to be willing to pay more – or don’t have soda bottle recycling in your ‘hood. So now those ads really annoy me.

Thing is, I’m happy. Sure, funds are tight, but we’ve plenty of food, we actually *have* cable and DSL in a nice, warm (if small) apartment, and I have time to sew nearly every day. I even *like* what I’ve been making, which is new and amazing for me. I confess, I miss being all thrilled with buying one of the new MH dolls coming out, but really, I’d be buying the thrill, not the doll. There’s not one of ‘em I truly want. Football season is over, I’m enjoying three Library books, and we have a kitty ! So these ‘more, more, more !!!’ ads are kind of bugging me. Especially when it’s in the ‘spirit’ of Christmas.

I’ve gotten to where I don’t really care about Christmas anymore. It’s become so much about buying and shopping and less about enjoying and sharing that I can’t work up my old enthusiasm anymore. If it weren’t for Dearest Son, we probably wouldn’t even put up that tiny fiber-optic tree, since Beloved’s more sour about it than I am. Thank Everything Dearest still enjoys it all ! Wonder if I can talk him into cut-paper snowflakes tomorrow…?

Speaking of Dearest, I cleared out my former sewing box – now that I have a larger vintage one, the former’s been sitting around untouched  – and re-stocked it with what he’ll need for upcoming sewing lessons. He was happy, mostly because he now has a home for his pincushion tomato. Plus, he’s always liked that box. I did, too, it has glitter stars in it, but I just can’t justify keeping it uselessly when I know of a better use for it !

That made me drag out my current sewing box – the brown one I got at the flea market – and load it and rework it a bit. It mostly stores my used patterns, and I had a pile of altered ones to go inside, but they needed to be scanned first. So I got that done today, too. Now the desk’s a bit neater, and I’m wondering…what to sew next ?

Decided to try the Shannanigan sheath dress in UltraSuede – and who better to model than Gloom Beach Clawdeen ? It really came out nice, but took a little effort. UltraSuede doesn’t exactly glide under the presser foot, unless it’s lined. And this isn’t, but I may amend that later. Wouldn’t be hard to add a lining, or stitch up a simple tube slip.

Tomorrow, GB Cleo gets a skirt to go with her jacket. I’ve already picked out the pattern ! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cleo's comment ? "It's about time ! Have you any idea...."

Current Mood : Warm & happy with hot chocolate !

Get used to this UltraSuede print – you’ll probably see a couple more pieces made from it soon ! I’ve gotten to where I love this stuff ! It doesn’t fray, is soft but has a bit of firmness to it, it cuts and sews up beautifully (long as I have the lining side facing down !), and with this particular print, I can make six jackets and no two of them will look alike, especially if I vary the lining fabric. It’s a whole new design depending on where ya put the pattern piece. I’ll need at least a pair of pants and a skirt or two out of it – luckily, I still have nearly a third of a yard !

Folded up the scavenged black bedsheets after I hacked a quarter yard off one. It’s the  jacket lining, and it worked up just like I thought. And this time, the jacket got top-stitched. The pattern calls for it, I just got too eager on the last one, and forgot. Altered the sleeves to make them a bit longer, too, and today’s worked out just where I like sleeves to hit. Quarter-inch is all it took.

I also ironed it as I went. While I recently rediscovered what a valuable took I already owned in the Clover mini-iron, I still wasn’t using it much. It actually took less time to use the regular iron and the drop-down ironing board than it did to grab the iron bag, empty it out, crawl under the desk and move a notions bin to plug the iron in, find a place for the iron to heat up that wouldn’t burn me, set up the mini ironing board, and test the iron several times. Then, after using it for maybe five minutes, unplug and store it all – after waiting for it to cool.

So today, I fixed all that. Found a place for the iron to stay plugged in (it has an on/off switch) and heat up, so all I have to do is turn it on, make sure the temp setting is right, and get the board secured to the desk while it heats. Much easier, a lot more convenient, and my finished items will look much better. I just had to learn one more thing – the wire part of the stand ? When the iron’s hot, it’s hot, too. Yowch ! It’s funny that I burned my left fingers – I’m almost completely right-handed.

(Secret just for you – I scorched one of the sleeves, too. Ya can’t tell ‘til you touch it, and notice the difference in ‘nap’. Reason #612 I love this fabric !)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ev’ry day, I’m scroungin’, scroungin’…

Current Mood : Yawning.

Had a pretty good haul of ‘findings’ (found goodies) today – 16c, a foot and a half of silky white ribbon, and a set of black bedsheets, probably trashed due to the bleach swath on the flat sheet. I washed ‘em, and they’re perfect to sew with ! Thin, but not threadbare, crisp and dark – and free ! I already cut off the bleached streak, but I’m thinking of using that part, too. Can always use rags or scrap fabric…or for unique creations !

Kitty’s still here – we got her some cat food and a makeshift litter box, and she’s evidenced some interest in open doors, but no inclination to go outside. So, please don’t tell anyone, but we have a kitty ! She doesn’t have a name yet – I liked ‘Ginger Snap’, but it just doesn’t work, ya know ? I’m sure we’ll figure something out, sooner or later.

Otherwise, it was Monday as usual – laundry, dishes, and general housecleaning. Beloved Hubby got called into work early, so dinner was waaay early. That gave me plenty of time to sew…but what to sew ? I was ambivalent about making another shrug – kinda wanted to try something new, kinda tired of making three of ‘em already. Must’ve had jackets on my mind, ‘cause a quick tour of NG Creations Set #1 showed a nice one I’d never tried. I kinda wanted to make something for Spectra, because her new hand/arms came in today.

Remembered I had some purple/grey/black/navy paisley print UltraSuede that’d look good with her Shannanigan sheath dress, and went digging for it. I like how it came out, but I want to stitch it again – with black lining fabric and a slight sleeve adjustment. While these fit really well, I like ‘em a bit longer. I also wanna try to match up the sides a bit better. One side is sharper at the top than the other. And I love how that fabric looks ! I also wanna try a lined skirt with it. (grin) You may be seeing more UltraSuede, now that I’ve made something successful with it. I got a big bag of scraps years ago, at a flea market, in a Crayola boxload of colors. 

For now, though, I’m ready for bed ! Hope your Monday was fun !

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kitty For A Day, or, Please Don’t Notice Our Filthy, Lego-strewn Carpet

Current Mood : Hopeful

A calm, peaceful Sunday – holiday’s over, shopping rush has (hopefully) calmed down, even the big Rivalry game is over, except that all our parking lots are trashed. The breezeway fights died down about 2am, except for one drunken idiot who was still yelling for Other Team to return to their homes at 4pm. Yeah, they all did that last night, genius. Game was over at 6pm yesterday, and unlike other games, no one seemed to linger. I am so glad football season is over for us, it’s like getting a gift !

Still, with Drunk Fan loudly pontificating, we didn’t go outside much, but we had the door open, so Dearest Son could play in the sun and we could get some fresh air – it really was a lovely day. I thought Howard, the section’s semi-stray cat, was back for an overdue visit when Dearest yelled, ‘There’s a kitty outside !’. But instead, an orange and white kitty strolled in like she was returning from a call of nature, and proceeded to liven up the joint !

She is such a sweetie. She was already purring when I picked her up, and after a cursory check – no fleas or ticks in evidence – she head-butted me and burrowed into my arms. Awwwww ! She jumped down and obligingly chased a scrap of fabric Dearest dug up, and I let them play, then introduced Ms. Kitty to Beloved Hubby. He agreed – probably a girl, kinda young, not full grown yet, and evidently in heat. She purred and yowled at any morsel of attention, and rolled like a river under anyone’s petting. Served her some leftover meatloaf and water, and she daintily had just a bite before returning to Scrap Hunt with Dearest.

After a half-hour of vigorous leaps and chases and pounces, she plunked down on the sofa for a nap, happy for anyone’s attention, but fine with being by herself for a while.

That left Beloved and I with a problem. We didn’t want to turn out such a sweet kitty, who’d evidently had some trouble already. That spot on one side of her nose was a healing scab, probably from a fight. We’re not supposed to have pets, but it’s not like the office checks. A cute couple upstairs has a Lab mix they take on walks all the time – I wouldn’t dream of dropping a dime on ‘em. Long as we keep the rent paid, and don’t need repairs, we and the office prefer to pretend that the other doesn’t exist, honestly. 

We copped out and let her decide. The door was opened – and she yawned and went back to sleep. We may have a cat now. Fashioned a makeshift litter box and got some cat food, which she ate gratefully, and rested some more. She played and purred…and I didn’t react, even when she head-butted my face. I normally break out when cats do that. She’ll have to find a new home if I have asthma attacks, but for now…it’s nice to have a purring, pretty kitty on your lap late at night ! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Stop me before I shrug again !

Current Mood : Very sleepy !

Am I ever glad today’s nearly done. It was the last ‘home’ game of the local university’s football team, and it was the huge ole rivalry between State U. and University of State. One big yawner to me, but the fans take it very seriously, so when it’s midway of a four-day weekend, anyone with any sense or sobriety stays off the streets. I’ve heard at least two drunken brawls out in the breezeway, so it’s best if my attention is focused elsewhere.

But it gets pretty boring at home after a while, when you’ve watched all the Law & Order episodes on Netflix ( or at least as many as you can stand !), cable’s showing the same movies in rotation they’ve had on since Wednesday, and nothing in ye olde DVD bin appeals. I actually washed dishes, wiped down the cabinets, and cleaned the stove hood. Needed doing, but that’s the kinda thing that only gets done when you’re waiting for something to finish cooking, or you’re super-bored. At least, around here !

Found an MH dress I really liked on Etsy, but can’t figure out how it was made. I don’t have it in any of my patterns, but I probably have it several times over in the Barbie ones. So I’ll probably dig through those and see what I can cobble together. I also saw a gorgeous holiday-themed asymmetrical dress from Tabitha (MeLoveGangrels on Flickr) and that got me thinking about my Christmas fabric. I have some nice prints, but it’s rare that I want to use any – you know me, anything that’s hyped frequently, I tend to shun whenever I can, and for many years, Christmas has been an in-my-face holiday.

But it hasn’t been too bad this year, so I found m’self gazing at the poinsettia, snowflakes, tree, and three other snowflakes prints, wondering. I settled on a remnant, white-on-white holly. That’d be versatile, and I could try the ruffled shrug again, this time lengthen the sleeves, and see if I still have the same issues as the last trials. It came out better than yesterday’s, and I think I know where part of the problem was – I didn’t sew the ends in front correctly, but it’s still off the shoulder unless I tug it. I also trimmed the seam allowance under the arms, and ironed darn near everything as I went, which helped the fit a bit, too.

I think I may actually be tired of shrugs, although I still wanna try one with a ruffled lace collar…

Friday, November 23, 2012

I have shrugged again !

Current Mood : Darn ruffle...

Yaay ! I did it ! I bought nothing today ! While we normally participate in ‘Buy Nothing Day’, we usually falter a bit and snag a soda or a suddenly-needed grocery item. But not this year – we actually succeeded in buying not one thing at all. I feel like I won the game, and I didn’t nearly get run over by someone driving a Range Rover, with a cell phone in one hand and a Starbucks cup in the other. True story. Happened BFriday 2006. I was in a marked cross-walk and had looked both ways, too. She blared her horn at me when I yelled, and, of course, not only didn’t she slow down, she was speeding up, and honked at other pedestrians in the same strip. Is it wrong that I don’t wish her the best of all holiday seasons this year, either ?

TRU seems to want the Obnoxious E-Mail Ad award this year. I got three of ‘em, all pushing the ‘today only’ 20% off coupon, at various times of the day. Then a fourth, inviting me to shop online for more specials. And then, a fifth, informing me of  Saturday’s specials. Overkill much ? There’s one place you’d have to bribe me to go to today ! From what I can tell, the MH dolls on special at various stores were sold out before fans got there, or just not in stock to begin with. So I’m doubly glad I parked my hinder at home ! And believe this or not, I’m kinda glad we’re broke.

Cracked open a fresh bottle of Fray-Check, my last one in the stash. After pushing the last few drops out of the old bottle for the last week, it was a pleasure to glide through a job with a full one ! I think that’s my fourth bottle since 2002. I’d go through at least one a year if I used it as often as I should !

Today, though, I didn’t have much choice. I know from experience – gained from lots of MH white collared guy shirts ! – that the inexpensive former shirt scraps I was sewing today frayed sitting still. But the bits from the box are getting so small, I wanted to use as much as possible. Pretty soon, I’ll only be able to use them as softie stuffing ! They’ll be too small for anything else.

But when I saw the heart-flower scrap, I knew I owed Robecca a shrug. It’d really set off the super-simple Shannanigan sheath I sewed earlier. There was just enough for the ruffle, with a postage-stamp size strip of cutaway. Here’s what’s funny. I used the exact same pattern – even the same piece of printout paper pattern – on today’s that I used for Ghoulia’s yesterday. Only difference was the ruffled collar and facing. Yet the one I sewed today darn near has to be pulled hard over the doll’s shoulders. If not, it resolutely hangs just off her shoulders. Somehow, the ruffle or my sewing of the ruffle, kinda pushes the shrug down the doll’s arms. Not sure how I’m doing that, but the last time I tried Simplicity #1955, view D, it did the same thing, and I thought I’d need to alter the pattern. View E shows that I don’t, but it’s possible I’m sewing the armscryes too tight, or too small.

So I’ll probably try again, with more stable fabric. I rather like the shrug, and think I can do a lot with it – vary the ruffle size and fabric, lengthen and shorten the sleeves, iron it down, on and on. Just wanna get it right first ! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Hope you're stuffed !

Current Mood : Fat & Happy

Happy Thanksgiving ! Hope your day was good to you, relaxing, and full of great food. As for us, we had a great main meal, and sat around all day, fat and happy.

You know me, though – that didn’t stand for long ! Too bad it took me so long to decide what to sew that I didn’t have much time to do it. Luckily, Ghoulia’s new jacket didn’t take that long. It’s the View E collarless shrug from Simplicity #1955, ‘small’ size. It’s pretty much designed for Bratz, so I wasn’t sure how it’d fit, but it’s not that bad. It’d probably fit a bit better over a dress or blouse without sleeves, but a bit of tuck in, and it looks pretty good. I like how it give her a suit look ! I had something very similar  a decade or two ago – mostly wore it for interviews and funerals. No glitter on mine, though. Longer skirt, too.

Anyway, if I remember correctly, I got this pattern last year about this time, and tried the jacket with the optional ruffled collar. It came out a bit too big then, so I stitched it up today with scraps from the rag box, figuring I’d figure out how much to take it in if necessary. Don’t think I’ll have to now ! So the next trial will probably have that ruffle, ‘cause I like it. I also wanna try it with gathered lace and other trims. Wish me luck ! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Rant !

Current Mood : Stuffed !

Kind of a challenging day. In the interest of using up what’s in the freezer, I scheduled a fish fry for dinner. While my tilapia lunch experiments had gone well, despite my best intentions, we never managed to do fish for supper. Well, first time for everything ! It was a bit frantic, but it all came out well, and my guys ate heartily. Which is great, because we have a whole bag of frozen flounder to munch on !

Hard to believe tomorrow’s Thanksgiving. We’re having a big (for us) meal, but it’s nothing wildly special. Since we home-cook most meals, it’s kinda more of the same for us. I can’t wait until we can go back to the ‘restaurant once a week’ meal plan !

Kinda ticks me off when I get an e-mailed ‘Black Friday’ ad from Dollar Tree. Not that I mind DTree ads, it’s just…what ? This is the same stuff ya’ll had in stock last week ! Including the silly solar Dancing Non-Copyrightables. And it’s all always the same price. What’d be really funny is if they had a half-off all stock sale for two hours. Place’d be mobbed worse than Mal-Wart ! Guess it goes without saying I was a ‘Buy Nothing’ kinda girl long before we were broke, huh ?

Finally got the Halloween project started – and that’s about where it ended. I got it about one-third sewn together when I realized it wouldn’t work, and was much too large and ill-sized to work even with alterations. Kinda glad I wasn’t obsessing over that for two months, I had too much else going on. Plus, I really needed some successes for my psyche, not failures and fussing. So I’m happy it worked out the way it did. Not sure if I’ll try again, but who knows ?

I also gave Dearest Son his first sewing lesson today. He’s been interested in learning, so we made it happen. Super-basic stuff today – threading a large-eye needle, knotting the ends, sewing a running stitch and trying to keep them straight, small, and even. He practiced for a half-hour before he got a bit bored, but he did very well for a newbie ! I gave him a bunch of small thread spools and a spare tomato pincushion for his needle, and told him he could dig in the scrap box when he wanted practice fabric, or could ask me for a specific piece from my stash, anytime. The tomato was studded fulla pins when I got it in a yard sale lot of sewing goodies, so I pulled ‘em all out. Some were rusty, many more were bent, but I saved the good ones. At the rate Dearest’s going, we’ll need ‘em for his stash soon !

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Plus, skirts use up scraps faster than pants !

Current Mood : Sleepy

Made my last purchase for a while, at least until mid-December, but I can’t wait to get them. Not sure why they were being sold, but a member of a message board I like offered original Spectra hands and arms, cheep ! I had a couple bucks from a survey, and it was just enough. I have Dot Dead Gorgeous Spectra, and while I love her, the molded silver bracelets on her hands limit her a bit. The ‘new’ hands are as blank as most Signature (aka ‘basic’ dolls, the first-issue ones with diaries) figures, and I’m sure I’ll make much use of ‘em.

It’s rare to find just hands or arms for sale. Heck, back in my ‘big spending’ days, I bought a couple dolls just for the different hands, and ended up keeping the whole doll. That’s kinda how I ended up with so many ! No one would want a handless doll, it’s kinda creepy to store just hands in a box, and heck, I liked the dolls ! It was cool to be able to swap ‘em around. (grin) Even when I thinned the herds a bit, I ran a quick hand-check before any of the ghouls left home. I still hope Mattel will come out with “High Five” fashions – that come with matching or posed hands. There was a rumor the older fashions would be reissued with hands included, but I haven’t heard anything since. I admit, I was ticked at the idea of rebuying clothes, but since I never even saw half the fashions, it faded fast. Besides, there’s always someone on eBay willing to buy something for ten bucks and sell it as two lots for $7. each. Plus shipping.

Anyway, it was a gorgeous day today. Warm and sunny, with just enough of a breeze to stir the gloriously colored leaves around. The pool was half covered with them, and I just wanted to dive into the golds and reds ! It was kinda hard to settle down and sew, but with Beloved Hubby at school and Dearest Son playing outside, I decided to go for it. A quick dig in the scrap box got me enough for Ghoulia’s dress – it uses the same free-with-purchase NG Creations pattern I used for Abbey’s dress yesterday. Still haven’t cut the skirt out like the pattern calls for, but I think Ghoulia’s looks great anyway. Even the belt is a scrap of Target Dollar Spot ribbon. I tried to lengthen the blouse just a bit, but forgot to add a bit to the back, so it’s a bit off balance. Comically, the sleeves match this time ! Again, a lot I can do with this one, and I’m looking forward to going for it !

Later, though. Thinking of finishing up that leftover Halloween project, just to get it out of the way, tomorrow. Thinking more that it’s bedtime ! Hope your Tuesday was a good day ! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

I gotta say, Abbey makes this look better than it is !

Current Mood : Kinda floaty

Kind of a slow day today – it was a lot like yesterday. Made a temporary seat cover for my chair, so we’ll see how long it lasts. Dollar Tree had some holiday-themed tie-ons, and I hope to snag one soon. Of course, it won’t stay that way for long – I’d take it apart and remake it with fabric I like better !

I also found the test I made for Bard’s Tacky Wax. Yikes. Both the thin smear and the wad left visible ‘grease marks’ on the paper, even with most of the stuff scraped away. I still think it works great, but don’t use it on anything paper – like the MH floors, walls, or the odd kinda ledge in the classroom. If it’ll grease up copy paper, there’s a good chance it’ll do the same to the stickers and cardboard there.

Beloved Hubby made an interesting discovery – Netflix went from one season of Law & Order : Criminal Intent to eight seasons of the original ! So I got to listen to episodes while I sewed. It took me longer to decide what to sew than actually sew, since there’s so many projects I want to start. I’ve kind of put off HooDude because – cue the ‘loser horns’ from Price is Right – I don’t like the felt I bought. (insert horns  here) It’s thinner in spots and, while the colors are spot-on, I don’t imagine that blue’s gonna look good if you can see the stuffing through it. However, I found the unbleached muslin, so I may try to sew a pony soon.

I tried to push m’self into trying the shrunk-down Ken Blazer pattern, but I simply wanted more space before I started another guy project. Remembered I hadn’t tried the pattern that came free with the third NG Creations MH set, an empire-waist dress that kinda looked more like the ghouls’ lined short-sleeved shirt pattern from her first set, with a skirt added. Which it more or less is. I’ve liked her freebies – made bunches with the other two – so decided to give this one a go.

Made several mistakes. The skirt part is a cut-off scrap from the second MH box project, and really is too thick for anything that has to be gathered. But I used it anyway, since it was about the right size, and the scrap bits box has been kinda full lately. And I got the armholes wrong on the bodice, one is visibly bigger than the other. Which made the whole thing hang off-center, darn it. Next time, I’m gonna measure it *before* I try a fitting when I’m nearly done. Still, it worked out OK, so I’ll try it again with better fabric.

In fact, I have something I want to try…

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why I don't toss patterns, even when I don't sew 'em anymore.

Current Mood : Stuffed fulla Chicken & Dumplings !

Kinda took a day off sewing yesterday, and spent a good couple hours awash in fabric reorganization last night. It’s almost as much fun as shopping for it ! Turned out, I had lots of solid colors and prints, and even ‘tweedy’ pieces that’ll make great suits, for lots more male doll clothes, and they’re all stashed in the nightstand cube, easy to get to and root around in. That freed up space in the other two boxes, and refreshed my memory of all the wonderful pieces I have. One thing I know, unless it’s for a very special project, I don’t need any white fabric – and won’t for years ! My stash of black, however, is very thin. Yard or two of inexpensive black broadcloth, and I’ll be fine for quite a while.

There’s always a couple more things I wanna make, but I’m not sure how. I’m already planning on expanding the t-shirt facings so I can make better shirt necklines, but I kinda want to sew a few dresses first, before I forget how to make those ! (grin) Want to figure out how to make a tuxedo jacket, or sports coat – and a letterman jacket ! I’ll probably have to adapt a Barbie pattern, since I’ve seen how Ken’s pink plaid dinner jacket fits MH guys…not bad, just visibly too big. I want better.

So I pulled up the first Ken pattern, Advance E, and shrank the blazer pattern, View 1, down ten percent (what you want divided by what you have = percent to increase or reduce your pattern), and saved it. Those first Kens are thinner and taller than any guys from 1969 on, so I think it has the best chance of being on target, since shrinking it doesn’t tailor it, just gives you a good starting point. I just wasn’t in a mood to sew it, though.

Instead, I did some minor repairs, stripped the other MH Operetta shoe, changed my MH mousepad a bit and sewed it a new seam, then sewed an elastic sling for one of my broken Barbies. Thinking of digging out some denim and making a slipcover for my chair, since one of the patches is coming off. Don’t wanna lose the best chair I ever had !

Considering listing my Frankie Stein and DracuLaura beds on Craigslist, since they’ve been stored since we moved here in June, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. While they were both gifts, Beloved Hubby understands, and we kinda need some cash. I’d at least make back what we paid for ‘em, and about the only item I have that’s worth any real money is Gil – and I’d just spend more buying him back if I sold him ! That’s the main problem with wanting what you’ve got – ya don’t wanna sell most of it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gazingus pins and stranger things…

Current Mood : Well-fed

 If you knew how much time and effort
it took to strip that shoe.... oh, well, one down, one to go !
Was putting some new-to-me MH shoes away – I’d traded some made-by-me headbands and duplicate Mattel bits for them, so the only price was mailing our respective items to each other – when I started thinking of gazingus pins. I’d read the term in some ‘how to save money when you don’t have any’ manual or another, before I scrapped the lot to a second-hand shop and decided to save money by being  careful and practical, instead of buying idiotic books about it. In short (too late !), a gazingus pin is something you always buy, whenever you see it. Maybe it’s books, or a shiny pretty guitar pick, or socks… thing is, once you have it, you’re happy – but it ends up in a drawer with all the other gazingus pins, and the drawer only gets opened to add the latest one. I always thought of it as sort of a gris-gris, or talisman, but I don’t think a gazingus pin is that revered. It’s just something (usually inexpensive) that makes you happy for a little while, and it doesn’t hurt anybody that you have quite a few of ‘em. Unless you just keep getting ‘em, and you’re soon drowning in gazingus and you have no idea which ones you have and don’t have anymore.

I think I started out with MH dolls as a new gazingus, maybe a week after I got the first three. They somehow gave me so much more than Barbie ever did. They were a challenge, they were unique, they were sought after, they were mine. While I loved dolls, I wasn’t fond of teen dolls, but soon, I had the whole set. And Ghoulia and Holt. I was soon scouring sites and groups for more. I literally had it all, even things like beds I really didn’t care that much for, because if I found it, I bought it. That was around December 2010.

Then my semi-wish was granted, and new dolls and series came out so fast and frequently, there was no way I could have them all. No more doll room and far less money curbed that gazingus pretty darn quick ! But I think I just switched it – to their shoes. With trades and eBay’s kind arrangement of ‘low to high’ prices, I’ve assembled quite a collection. My big splurge this year was four pair of still-don’t-regret-it Jemgirl Creations shoes. If my last count is any indication, I probably have about a hundred pair now. There’s maybe three pairs I like that I don’t own, and I routinely trawl for them, even when we’re broke beyond belief. I won’t bid, but the urge to look is ever there.

I once had one soft-sided box I made just for the shoes. Added baggies of belts, jewelry, glasses, hair accessories, and hosiery as well, so it was all together when I went to dress my dolls. Had to make a second box for the baggies, because I had so many shoes, I had to take out everything to root around for specific or likely pairs. Yes, I think I have a gazingus pin overload here. And I think, for me, simple awareness normally eliminates it. After all, who wants to admit to a gazingus addiction ?

I think it was the fabric clean up that started all this. Yeah, I still can barely pass a Mal-Wart fabric section without claiming a 99c fat quarter. Decades old gazingus ! I’ve probably donated more fabric than I’ve ever used, twice over. But now that I’m sewing nearly every day, I’m starting to make a dent – and decided I need new storage options, not new fabric. Thinking of relocating the ‘guy’ selections to the bedroom nightstand cube, and keeping the more girly options out here. Mostly because the cube is one of the smaller storage choices, and it’s already half fulla UltraSuede and upholstery leather scraps. One of the big problems about sewing for the guys these last two weeks has been finding fabric that wasn’t floral or pastel or just didn’t say ‘dude design’ to me. Once I did, I was sooo ready to sew it. I was inspired all over again by seeing all that 'new' material ! I’m thinking that, once I know getting to it is easy, I’ll dig through it more often !

Hmmf. May have knocked down two gazingus today. It’s not that either’s been expensive, it’s just that ever-present nagging feeling that ya want more isn’t part of enjoying what you have. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Simple Sewing Friday

Current Mood : Bright, but sleepy

After yesterday’s hurry-scurry, be everywhere kind of day, it was great to have a quieter one today. Only problem was, I was so tired, I really couldn’t manage anything complicated. Just wanted to keep things simple.

But I made so many changes to the NG Creations Boy T-Shirt, I had to print out a whole new one to make the regular version – then cut into it to narrow and shorten the sleeves. Printed the original instead of the scanned alteration. Need to start labeling things better.

Poor Holt. He went from wearing a pair of ‘Made In China’ khaki-colored UltraSuede pants with a bright Hawaiian-style shirt to wearing khaki-colored corduroy pants with a bright t-shirt. Like Gil, his new outfit wasn’t a great deal different from what he’d already been wearing. Ah, well. Now that I know I can make a full outfit, shirt and pants, in a little over an hour, I know I’ll keep sewing more. I have bunches of ideas…

One thing – corduroy is easy to sew, but this piece sheds like a vengeful cat. I keep finding tiny bits of it on his shirt, on the table, on KJ’s cover…long after I put the scissors away. Wonder if it’s just this recycled piece or if all corduroy is like that. I have a dark blue piece I want to use later, but I was too lazy to de-lint. I figure ‘cords aren’t cool yet – they weren’t when I was in high school, mostly for that ‘shoop, shoop’ sound the walking wearer inevitably made – but they do look good on the guys. Wasn’t sure about giving him a short-sleeved shirt, since heaver-weight cords are normally cooler-weather wear, but I think it’s fine. He probably has a jacket in his locker.

And…that dresses all my dudes. ‘Boyfiends Week’ is over, almost two weeks from when it started, but I learned much, have piles of fresh ideas, got over a slight fear of sewing for guys, and created quite a bit, so I’m very happy. Considering I only used four patterns – and altered them into five more – I did pretty well. Now I won’t be so timid about making new fashions for all my dolls !

Y’know, I originally got into doll clothes sewing ‘cause I hated what was sold as Ken clothes. Pants were always too short, or he was perpetually stuck in stuff no real guy I knew would ever wear, like shorts and a crop-top in fuchsia, or he got maybe one new outfit for every 30 Barbie got – and it always suffered from one or more of the previous complaints ! After I got great patterns and fantastic material for *my* Ken fashion revolution…I chickened out. It was just so easy to make another strapless fluffy dress for Babs and co. – and I convinced m’self that after a doll has black pants and a semi-acceptable t-shirt, that’s all he’d need, and I didn’t know anything about male couture.

Well, I still don’t.  Most of the ‘good’ fabrics are long gone, donated or lost in various moves, and 90% of the patterns won’t fit what I have now. But this month, I did what I meant to, years ago – got comfortable ( and even a little creative ) sewing for my male dolls. Sheesh, if I thought Mattel shafted Ken with clothes…the guys of MH really get it. Most fans complain that there’s been few ghoul fashion sets, and they’re all hard to find  – what, there’s been *one* for the guys ?

I feel like I respect m’self and my hobby a bit more, because I did what I needed to. Even if it was as silly as sewing doll clothes. Now, where can I find a pattern to mutate into a sports jacket, or a suit…?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nice comfy sweats !

Current Mood : Exhausted.

It was one of those days from the start. Was up late with Hubby, got only a couple hours sleep, and overslept. Ran clothes to the laundry room, grabbed a super-fast shower, got dressed, put Dearest Son’s breakfast in the oven, took out the trash, reclaimed the clean clothes, hung them out, served Dearest breakfast, woke Hubby and got him fed, fried a quick egg for m’self, grabbed my prescripts for the morning and afternoon, fed the fish, fed the stray cat, helped Dearest gather his things for a few hours at his grandparents, ate without tasting anything, took the morning pills, and we were out the door on time. Therapy day. At least we have the next two weeks off.

To save on diesel, I hung out at the Library during class, and fought nodding off. Got several new books on Hubby’s card, so I’ve got lots to read ! Snagged some rye bread from the thrift bakery and picked up Dearest, and finally, at 4pm, we were home. Even Dearest was wiped out, and didn’t even want to go out when the girls knocked. Whew !

I swear, I stared into space for an hour – Hubby’s working tonight, so at my urging, he got some sleep. If I wanted some sewing time, I had to get it together. Although, for a few minutes, I thought that all I was gonna get done was repairing a slightly split potholder. Some stitches at the binding popped in the wash. Couldn’t pin it on both sides (too thick), so I hand-tacked it down, then sewed over it. At least I fixed something !

But that just made my need for stitchin’ stand up harder. So, I figured, why not try the sweatpants I’d been meaning to make ? I had some heather grey t-shirt scrap fabric ready to go, so I grabbed a guy and got to work.

Figured I’d simply lengthen the NG Creations shorts pattern, and gather the pant legs into cuffs at the bottom. I didn’t have any matching webbing, but figured I could just use the same fabric for the cuffs, since only about a quarter-inch of them would show. Played with paper to get the right diameter for the feet to fit through, and got to work.

Worked out OK, but with fabric even the slightest bit thicker than yer average quilting-type cotton, it’ll make the guy dolls’ pants really paper-bag at the waist. Can camouflage it for now since most shirts don’t tuck in, but I think I’ll narrow the pattern a bit there, for less gather and bundle. Length looks fine, but I think an extra quarter-inch would look better, so I added that, too. We’ll see how the next one goes.

Only problem was, it knocked me out ! After sewing and dinner, I literally passed out on the sofa for two hours. Not sure why I’m awake now, but it won’t be for long !