Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hancock's Haul !

Current Mood : Creative - who wouldn't be, with all this new stuff ? 

Well, I finally spent my six bucks. And an additional 94c besides ! But I have 200 4mm buttons in four colors on their way to me, so I’m happy. I kinda hate that the ton of Barbie-scale buttons I already have look waaay too large on MH clothes, but it is what it is. The ones I have coming are the same size as the ones on Clawdeen’s Sweet 1600 tuxedo halter. Maybe I can sell the bigger ones…  I’ll let you know when they arrive, and if they’re good, who I bought ‘em from. I’m hoping they’re tiny and thin, as most of the Barbie scale ones are from scrapbooking companies, and are ridiculously thick. They have fourteen colors, and I’d love some springtime bright ones.

TRU did not come through, no more dolls for me this week. They said to call again next Thursday. Whew. Got to spend a few bucks and minutes at Hancock Fabrics instead, and snagged a few new fabrics – quarter-yards of glittery stretch stuff in silver, blue, and black, two new fat quarters, and some 90% off trim, including two spools of navy-with-gold-stars ribbon ! Since I bought the last of one of the trims, they tossed in the plastic spool, too. As-is, the spool’s pretty narrow, but I think I can just pop off the cardboard parts and install my own dowels, to make seating at the right height – or leave it flat and use it as trellises or something else.

Didn’t need coupons because everything I bought was already on sale or markdown. What can I say, I love getting a receipt that reads ‘Total : $13.12. You saved $14.63’ ! Even when I know the ‘savings’ are in part due to puffed up prices in the first place. At least at Hancock Fabrics, I know they did try to get $3.99/yd for that trim at one point. It’s mostly fleece that’s perpetually on sale over there.

Hoping to sew a glittery simple tee tonight, from the new fabric. Wish me luck ! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pink dancing !

Current Mood : Joyful !

I got a wonderful gift today ! Had to take ‘the girls’ back to the Clinic of Eternal Waiting for their six-months-post-biopsy check-up. Amazingly, I got the squeezing done and we were outta there in less than a half-hour. Even got the results already – we’re fine. Everything is just as it should be in there. I have one more six-month, then I’m back on the standard yearly schedule. Whew ! How wondrous a gift of a clean bill of bust health is !

We were all in a jubilant mood, so on the way home, we ransacked old computer parts and picked up a few new, then got snacks and soda. Dearest Son now has a functional desktop computer, and he’s so happy. The laptop, while enjoyed and well-used, kinda made him uncomfortable, so when given the choice, he wanted his old desktop back. Too bad the suspected past issue – the video card – wasn’t it this time, but we used it and $120. in new motherboard goodness, and that’s all it needed. I even have to fill out a $40. rebate on that. Not sure what we’re doing with his still-damaged laptop (screen is broken), but I’m sure we’ll figure out something.

After that, we flopped around the house. I never sleep before medical appointments, so I claimed a nap. Beloved Hubby was home today, and his AirSoft order was due in via UPS, so he was excited, too. It arrived safely, and it was fun to be well-rested and watch both my guys play with their new ‘toys’.

I’m still gonna call TRU in hopes of catching the Lagoona and Cleo Scaris two-pack tomorrow, and if it’s there, it’s mine ! To be honest, though, I kinda hope it isn’t. I mean, I just got Catrine. Three new dolls in one week seems a crime somehow ! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pretty kitty !

Current Mood : Satisfied.

I got to have a ‘me’ day today, and I warned Beloved Hubby I was just gonna goof off all day and not do housework. I had a new doll to debox and I couldn’t wait to get the gunk out of Catrine’s hair. I also had new patterns to try out, a bag of my favorite chips, a soda, and a whole day to play !

First thing, I got Catrine free. Only four clear elastics and two plastic head barbs this time. She came with a stand, but no brush, which is fine with me ! I must have 50 of those brushes, and I don’t think anyone wants ‘em. I can only lose two or three at a time. Speaking of brushes, her shoes have artist paintbrushes for heels ! So cute. I love MH shoes, just wish they weren’t mostly platforms. Put ‘em on a stand with some of these shoes, and they’ll tower over Barbie ! Who probably also has an eye on some of their footwear…

Was a little nervous about her shampoo, but her hair was a wreck out of the box. Much as I feared losing those curls, her hair desperately needed it ! I tell ya, I really hate it when Mattel anchors hair accent pieces to the doll’s scalp with thread. It never stays, you’ll end up brushing it out of the thread loops sooner or later, and the style hardly ever goes back right. Catrine’s side curl was like that, so I just got it over with and pulled it free, and gave her a good soft-soap warm water shampoo. I could hardly wait for her to dry.

Her tail fits like Toralei’s, and we all joked about bobbing it like Ginger’s. But I like the curl at the end, so I won’t. Her skirt, while well-made and very pretty, isn’t really made for a tail appendage. It can go under, which really pushes the skirt up higher than it should be, or between the skirt and blouse, which interferes with the fit a bit as well.

Her hair still wasn’t dry after lunch, although I was able to brush-style it a bit better. So I decided to try out that halter blouse design I drew Sunday. First one was OK, but a bit too long and too tight. Second one was the right length, but needed a bit more width to fit under skirts and close properly. Third fits well, but I think I’ll add a bit more width to the collar on the next one, so I could tuck it under on the opposite side.

So, hey ! Pretty soon, I’ll have a whole bunch of patterns to release ! I had a grand time sewing today, and I’m thinking of adding buttons to the third halter blouse, for fun. And by the time Beloved and Dearest Son were back, Catrine’s hair was dry and soft and lovely. Well, shoot. I can say it again, I’m glad she’s here. A very lovely kitty like her is always welcome at Chez Insanity !  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Oh, Catrine....

Current Mood : Oddly pleased. 

It’s confirmed – I hate m’self. (sigh) I can’t believe I did that, but I still have no regrets. Got to go to TRU today, but despite a green sticker with ‘2/25’ written on nearly all the shelf-talker price stickers in front of bare shelves, they didn’t have squat that I was looking for. Ah, well. The only real disappointment is how used to that I am. They’re expecting a truck Thursday, and the manager said to drop her name if whoever I speak with (at around 11am) refuses to hold what I want for me. So that was nice of them.

From there, we hit the Mal-Wart nearby…where I saw similar bare shelves. Was giving serious consideration to Frankie’s Deluxe Fashion Pack when a flash of purple and white caught my eye. Yup. Catrine DeMew. Four of them, hiding behind a short wave of Dot Dead Gorgeous Lagoonas. (sigh)

I didn’t want Catrine. I’m tired of jumping through hoops, calling stores and chasing down dolls. I’m tired of being frustrated and hoping the latest line doesn’t sell out before I can get one – or the next line comes out. And I am monumentally sick of that stupid ‘race to that section before someone else buys the last one’ mentality I have to fight with every time I enter a store that sells toys. I don’t like feeling that way, and I kinda shoved it all onto Catrine, since she was the one I couldn’t find recently.

But here she was, in quadruplicate, without phonecalls or running around. I’d basically given up on her and moved on. Yet I still found m’self lining up all four – on the blank sections of shelf – and I’d barely stepped back when one seemed to ask ‘Please ?’.

You know what a sucker I am for cats. Especially when one seems to need me, I’m a pile of tuna-sharing gelatin. I had no idea the same was true for plastic ones. (sigh) As you already know from the photo, that one came home with us. Clearly, I hate m’self. I’d even bought her outfit already, so I wouldn’t buy her. Arrrgh.

I was still wrestling with my little self-drama when we stopped for lunch. Wasn’t very hungry, so I just got a Mighty Kids meal. Ever since BIL’s family was able to use a Ronald McDonald house, we like to support them with kid meal purchases when we can. Inside was a small pink Barbie doll – a ballerina that twirled on a stand. So I got a doll I didn’t want to want and a Barbie on the same day.

Tangentially, I had to look up an older doll photo, and found where I’d saved the first promo photos of Catrine. Dated July 14th. Over seven months. It really doesn’t seem that long ago. I guess it was inevitable. I kinda fear what’s gonna happen when Headmistress Bloodgood comes to TRU – I’ve wanted her just as long, and she’s not due out for a couple months yet !

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oh, Toralei !

Current Mood : Happy !

Current Image Notes : I made a funny ! 

An amazing thing has happened. I completed two surveys a couple days ago that’ve already paid out, right to my PayPal. Nice, and I always like the fun funds, but nothing really that special. What’s unusual is that it’s still there. Been there for three days now. It’s easy to spend, I have the usual choice of places to spend it, and six bucks really isn’t much one way or the other. But I haven’t spent it, which is so not like me. Especially when there’s new doll shoes I don’t own on eBay. Wonder how long I can hold out ?

Was all flush when I woke up, happy with how pretty that third white dress looked in the morning light. But then I saw a quote I liked – ‘Don’t let your success go to your head, or your failures go to your heart’ – and decided to move on. Cleaned up my Arena from yesterday’s efforts, and found a scrap of white fabric on the floor. Picked it up to toss it out…but it wasn’t just cutaway from yesterday. It was the ‘tuxedo’ halter top that goes to Sweet 1600 Clawdeen – the one piece that wasn’t still on Dearest Son’s “outgrown” doll. I soon knew why. He’d cut away the collar and tie part for one of his ponies, and tossed this part away. I could salvage the tiny buttons, at least. Maybe the good Velcro ™, too. It was cut beyond my repair abilities.

Or…I could use it to make a new one. Traced the as-is shape, guesstimated where the collar would go, drew new seam and hem allowances, figured out how to work a faux-tie on it using a fork bow. It really was just a simple halter, with a tiny pleat to suggest a front closure along with the three black buttons.  Already know how to make the pleat – two-needle stitch on top, with tension adjusted correctly, will form that tuck easily.

Didn’t get to sew it, though. Dearest’s computer was having some issues this morning, and I didn’t wanna wake Beloved Hubby to handle ‘em, so I did. That got me thinking, I have no idea how to use my webcam. I’ve never so much as turned it on for the year-plus I’ve owned my laptop. Don’t know how to, or where the controls are located. So I hunted for that for a half-hour, ‘til I finally found that it’s run by DirectorZone software, from an HP menu I never used before. Played around with that for a while, with Dearest skittering over to see his face wreathed in spinning stars, a huge crown, or falling snowflakes. Even took a truly ugly photo of myself with the twinkling sprites and e-mailed it to Beloved. I thought it was funnier to watch animated ‘devil’ and ‘angel’ girls fly around Gloom Beach Cleo’s head, though. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I sewed today...

Current Mood : Jubilant !

OK. So. Today I was all set to sew and finish that darn body / swimsuit pattern. I was gonna sew from the time Beloved Hubby left for work until the time he got back. Got lots of good sleep last night – and my throat quit hurting, it bugged me since Friday morning  – I was in a great mood, felt refreshed and well-nourished, and I was ready, finally !

But I decided to read some message boards. Trying to sew while Dearest Son is up and active is a challenge. Reading message boards and various web sites is a way to stay active with him – and his frequent questions ! I tooled around ‘Doll Clothes Patterns’ on Pinterest, although I’m not a member, saw a few for people that could be adapted, ended up touring some scanned ancient sewing books that were kind of like Home Ec from Heck. They purported to teach a young woman who can’t thread a hand-needle from that all the way to making her own sheer nightwear and necessaries. Whoa. Just the idea of sewing sheer, slippery fabric makes me quail, no matter how simple the shape is ! But there were some good ideas, and lots of other scanned volumes to scan through yourself – visit some here. Hit ‘Craft and Hobby Books’, then ‘Needlework Books’. The one I leafed through was School Sewing Based on Home Problems, dated 1916. Lotta neat ideas, though.

Anyway. Message boards. The MLP MH one is a current favorite, and I found myself pondering one person’s plaintive query, ‘Will there EVER be a Dead Tired Spectra ?’ . Hmm…now, that one could be fun. I figure she’d wear a shroud-like gown, ‘cause I’m simple-minded and she’s a ghost. And I should have been happily going after that swimsuit now that Dearest was settling down and Chez Insanity was starting the quiet hours. But…a simple, white nightie. Kind of like what I saw in that School Sewing book. Wouldn’t be too hard, and if I made it from whispery, slippery fabric, it wouldn’t need to be a huge dress to drape prettily.

Although I need practice with precisely that type of fabric, I didn’t want to test the pattern with it, or I knew I’d give up before I was done (blush of shame) and I didn’t want that. Again. Several years of buying huge bags of fabric at thrift stores have yielded tons of white and off-white fabric for me to use for precisely this kinda project. I think most of it’s broadcloth, but it’s cheap, I already own yards and yards, and it holds up well to my fumbling efforts. I grabbed the length I had standing by, some paper scraps, scissors, and my one-legged broken DLaura that I use for fittings. Also my favorite semi-transparent Disney Princess ruler and a freshly-sharpened MH pencil, from the Valentines card package. This would just be something fun to do, a sort of mental exercise, until Dearest’s bedtime. Then I’d get right on that darn swimsuit and knock it out.

Drew a rough sketch of what I wanted around the DLaura body, and decided how I wanted it. What about, just for kicks, I eliminated the top shoulder seam, but kept the pattern as one piece, cut on the fold at the shoulders ? No darts. Just one piece to cut out, then split open down the back from the neck to hemline, and the rest would be easy. Hem the sleeves and neckline. Sew the underarm and side seams. Hem the bottom edge. Sew up the back seam enough until it slides on and off the doll easily ( i.e., just under the butt) then add Velcro ™ to the rest. I could even test out my new ‘only fold one side of the back seam under ¼”  to avoid that pucker you always get’ theory.

And I soon had a working pattern. Well, shoot. Now I wanted to see if it worked. With Dearest absorbed in a MLP episode, I gave it a try. And, hey, that almost worked ! Just a little too tight at the back and under the arms. Redrew those, and did another quick-and-dirty trial, but this time, I actually hemmed it. And…whoa. So close ! But the neckline gapped and fell off the shoulders, and it needed just a bit more space in the back. But the new theory worked ! No pucker ! Yaaaay ! I’m almost ready to sell stuff now !

I also knew this wasn’t gonna be a shroud. It looked more like a day dress than a nightie. But, honestly, depending on the fabric, it could be either. Few more adjustments, and I’d have a Princess Leia dress ! Keep it simple, though…and another neckline tweak…oh, wow. I did it. I made a decent-looking dress out of a pattern I created ! After only three trials, too ! It’s easy to change the skirt length and the sleeve shape, takes maybe 30 minutes to sew, and most of that is hemming a darn tiny neckline, and it can be done with any fabric ! Dress it up with trims and accessories or keep it simple to show off yer sewing – or wilder fabric prints.

I gotta be careful, or I’m gonna end up impressed with m’self !

So I followed my Muse today, and she led me to some serious fun tonight ! Can always make a shroud later, ya know. I can’t help but think it’s a distillation of all the patterns I’ve looked at these past few days – even the ‘WTH ?!’ ones. So I wasn’t wasting time after all ! Sorry this puts off the bodysuit again, but I can’t wait to clean the pattern up and share it with you ! The original’s a mess, I made most of my changes with masking tape and the MH pencil.

(happy grin) I *sewed* today…

Friday, February 22, 2013

Kind of in a holding pattern...(hums along with 'Girl From Ipanema' muzak)

Current Mood : Drifty.

Well, we tried. Today, we attempted to repair Dearest Son’s old desktop computer, but it’s a DOA. Since it needed a new video card about every six months, we figured it was that again, but it seems that it’s the motherboard this time. So he’s still pigging it with a laptop connected to a monitor – he broke the laptop screen a couple months ago – but we got him a washable keyboard as well, that comes in handy. I think we’re gonna end up fixing his desktop, since that’s what he wants, but it’ll have to wait a bit longer.  

The window fighting with Ginger-kitty came to an end today, when she darted outside and noticed how cold it was. She chased a duck out of habit, then came right back in. She can care less about the window now. Since she gets her tail-stitches out Tuesday, she’s not a wounded, defenseless kitten, so we figured we’d start letting her out on demand after that. ‘Demand’ being the key word, of course. At least my eyes aren’t itching now that we’re both getting some fresh air.

I may be visiting a TRU soon – have you seen their exclusive Scaris set, the one with Cleo and Lagoona, yet ? Arrrgh, I don’t want either of the dolls ( again ! ), but I love their clothes and shoes ! Wonder if our store has ‘em yet…?

Got the new MH guys’ pattern scanned and ready to go. Had to cut the large pattern pieces' sheets apart, but they scanned faster and easier that way. Hopefully soon, I’ll get to use it ! Darn swimsuit pattern – will I ever get you finished ?

And how will I ever post it and keep it at the right size for whoever wants to download it ? Yikes. I never thought that far ahead ! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

More like 'Next To Useless' - (eye roll)

Current Mood : Enjoying an ironic treat.

It’s often said you can’t always get what you want. It’s weird, being as broke as we normally are, but more often than not, I do get what I want. Sometimes, though, it takes the form of a great big apple of irony.

Back in my Barbie days, and when I first started to have more success with sewing than failures, I went on a mad hunt for patterns. Patterns in books, patterns from pattern companies, online directions, semi-legal ‘pattern trade’ groups, eBay buys, library scans, Japanese/Korean/Yugoslavian/Australian works – it didn’t matter if I already had 32 versions of Barbie pants, I wanted all of them. And there was always Ken clothes, and any other sizes for any other dolls, to hunt down and claim for my stash. I think I still have American Girl patterns on my hard-drive, and the closest I ever came to owning one of them was a couple of yard sale Target knockoffs I never did anything with. I even hoarded patterns for dolls I never owned, because just maybe someday, I’d be good enough to alter the shapes to fit dolls for which those patterns were never intended. Besides, I haven’t filled a hard drive since my ole POS Packard Bell, back in ’95. And there’s always CD-Rs I can load up !

I have no idea how many Barbie patterns I amassed – legally and semi-so – before it crashed to a halt with the arrival of some freaked out monster-themed dolls I started obsessing over – and yes, the pattern craze extends to them, too, even now. But even though I found some of the rarest doll books ever, thanks to my obsessive nature and fondness for various second-hand venues, one book ever eluded me. I’d heard so many good things about Next To Nothing: Teen Doll Clothes, a book of only Babs and co. clothes patterns – the outfits were simple, didn’t use a lot of fabric, were easy for beginners but still offered a lot for more experienced sewists, and, well, it was just perfect, OK ?

Despite years of searching – and only finding it for about $50. or so, ridiculous even in the midst of my craze – I never found one. Only ever saw pictures on websites, and while the cover didn’t exactly inspire me, surely as with most books, the true treasures were within ! Guess what I stumbled over today. That’s right – a full scan of the book, online. Aaaannd…it ranks. It’s one of the worst doll pattern books I’ve ever seen. If I had found it, I would probably only have bought it for a couple bucks, for completion’s sake. I can’t imagine actually using any of the ‘designs’ in it.

First off, despite it being published in the late 80s, where photocopiers were available on just about every street and streetcorner, they used the ‘redraw this tiny grid in the right scale’ method of pattern reproduction. While this may be a real boon for many more experienced pattern makers, for the sewist just wanting to make Ken a couple pair of pants that don’t proclaim the status of the floodwaters in town, it’s a big PITA. Second, the finished items are blocky and don’t fit well, even on the dolls modeling in the book. If you’ve seen enough camisoles from Simplicity and Japanese books, you know how subtle the curves can be – and how blocky and oversized they finished item’s gonna look when they’re squared off with an extra quarter-inch added onto each seam. Third, the few pictures provided don’t show much. Half the time, the doll’s wearing a doily-like crocheted poncho over the blouse the photo’s supposed to show. Or the photo’s so dim and fuzzy, you can’t tell what you’re supposed to see. And I have no idea why dolls are still wearing granny squares in 1986 – I know people weren’t.

I guess I was just really disappointed. After hearing so much about this book, so many good things, it was kind of a shock to see how bad it was, and that I doubt any of its praisers actually made anything out of its pages. Frankly, almost all of my ‘kitchen table press’ purchased patterns are vastly superior, and easier to use with more stylish results. Heck, a couple of the patterns I fought through creating aren't as bad as some of the ones in this book ! 

Of course, now that the Barbie craze has passed me, and it’s been at least two years since I stopped looking for that book, Amazon has it for less than ten bucks, plus shipping. Glad I didn’t waste any money on it, and maybe I need to quit trusting that reviewers are looking for the same things I am. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Toys...they will come back to you....

Current Mood : Delighted !

Current Image Notes : From a whole raft of awesome Star Wars/other movie mashup posters, thanks go to Phil Postma’s Minion Factory for letting me use this without permission and not suing me. This is also my new wallpaper.

Dearest Son handed me a double big surprise today – DracuLaura’s roadster, and Frankie’s bed ! I forgot that he got the bed for Christmas a couple years back. Surprisingly, it’s nearly intact – even the comb is there – but all the small stuff’s AWOL. Including the hot-pink pins that hold the sheet and pillow in place. Ah, well. Not sure what I’ll do with this one, but it’s nice to have it back for a while. Not that I regret ditching mine for HooDude, not for one turquoise second ! Still…

We decided to keep the MH car together – basically, I keep it with my stuff, but he can play with it whenever he likes. Since he’s ditched his dolls, and his other toys don’t really fit with these props, they’ve come to me, at least for now. Only problem is, I’m not sure where to put ‘em, either ! Sure I’ll find some place for them…

Ordered a second Kristine Ann’s pattern – the guys’ one – even though I’ve either created similar versions of most of it, or have other working patterns already. I did want to try more detailed jeans, and shirts with inset sleeves. Since I already had funds and survey money, I decided, what the heck. Maybe this would get me out of my sewing slump. Well, it’s already here, I just have to get it scanned, and away we go !

Still wanna get that swim / bodysuit done first, though…

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

They're all signatures, except for Howleen.

Current Mood : Resigned.

The shaky peace with Ginger-kitty continues, and I’ve reached a total failure / surrender with Howleen’s hair. The cat’s still doin’ what she’s doin’, I just try not to get too hyper about it. Slowly but surely, she’s beginning to avoid the rest of my desk, and that’s all I can ask for.

Howleen’s hair, on the other hand…(sigh) Remember not too long ago, Mattel started making these Barbie dolls with white, fluffy hair that had the texture of cotton candy ? You may have forgotten that on purpose, it was the worst doll hair ever, and made troll doll hair look good in comparison. They weren’t made for long, probably due to complaints, because if that fiber was cheaper, we’d still have Barbie sporting it.

I was reminded of that debacle when I went to brush out Howleen’s boil-rinsed hair. Ick. It wasn’t all over wool, but parts of it were, and I had no idea how to fix it. Just straight and down, it was ugly. And redoing it with braids to add body was a total fail as well, but at least it didn’t make her hair any worse. And I was happy it was no longer poofy, too, and thank Everything I kept her bangs outta the hot water ! I’d about made up my mind to give her a pagegirl, but that wasn’t working either. It looked frayed and flyaway, and wouldn’t stay in the rubber bands well.

By the time I got the pagegirl setup out of her hair, I was halfway between ‘reroot’ and ‘buy another Howleen’, but in the end, I just pulled it back in a simple nape-neck ponytail. And I rather liked it that way. So, there she is, after Fearleader practice. I may try to do more with it later, but I confess, I’m darn near scared to try ! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Trials and drawing boards...I think this is Trip #7.

Current Mood : I'm SEWING !

I think Ginger-kitty and I have finally reached a d├ętente – she showed me she can still get in a window with an inch and a half of space, no matter what I do, but to humor my frayed human temper, she’ll use the wider space I made for her, and try not to stroll across my desk. But she has no apologies for whatever she knocks over !

At least her balance is returning. She’s adjusting pretty well to her ‘new’ tail, and now that she’s found her appetite, she’s not shedding nearly as much. So my eyes aren’t reacting nearly as badly. Win-win !

Beloved Hubby’s home today, so we went out for a nice family lunch. There’s an authentic Greek family-owned gyro place down the street – a less authentic one across town – that he’s especially enamored with, so we went there. Two lunch specials feed all three of us with leftovers for at least one more meal. It’s super humid and smoky in there, even though it’s a cigarette-free place, so I haven’t gone in since my last visit triggered my asthma, but it smells heavenly from the parking lot. I think we were all drooling by the time we got it back to the nest !

Settled down to a nice mid-afternoon sew. I’ve been putting it off for days. Then I realized why -  I don’t really wanna sew any more pattern trial bodysuits. I’m bored with them and want more fun projects, but even as I’m whining about it, I really want to get that pattern right, in order to share it already. So I compromised. I only need to sew up one a day, then I can make whatever else I want afterward ! Stitched up version 7.0 today, and there it is. Needs to be a bit higher, and the closure in the back is very narrow, so I’ve added a bit more to the pattern for 8.0.

It’s getting close, though. Looks better with a skirt, see ?

Also measured Howleen’s waist – it’s the same ‘about two and a half inches’ as a standard ghoul’s, so I don’t need to make patterns for her specifically. Well, probably pants. She’s shorter in the torso, so pants’ rise will need to be reconfigured, but skirts, blouses, and dresses should fit fairly well, both patterns and finished items. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

At least the 'Meaning To' list got a bit shorter today...

Current Mood : Hopeful

We’re still fighting, Ginger-kitty and I, but I think it can’t go on much longer. I’ve already shifted stuff around so that the window is now easier for her to get into, but is near useless to me. And she’s still trying to get into a now two-inch wide spot on the other side. The one with all the dolls in the way. I honestly can’t tell which of us is being more pig-headed about it, but I’m tired of losing more and more desk space. Won’t be long before I give up and move everything back.

But, on the off chance the latest version suddenly works, I’m moving on with it. Cleaning Dearest Son’s closets last week unearthed another of the dollar clamp lamps I got from Salvation Army last year, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to use it. Nearly all of our current living room lighting is in front of my sewing machine, which makes sewing and photography in front of it rather dim. If I could figure out the best place for this clamp lamp, it could help out a lot.

So I did that today. Luckily, I also had a regular ole extension cord tucked away, so I could plug it in to the foot-switch strip, and clamp it on the rolling rainbow drawer cart. That works out great – there’s room to move it around as needed, but have it out of the way the rest of the time.

With that task done, I got a few other ‘meaning to’s’ done. Redid the shade on our much-loved  Asian-style lamp, which has been needing it since we moved. The lighting issues resolved, I moved on to dolls. Boil rinsed Howleen’s hair – Ginger’d knocked her over so many times, her hair had returned to the bushy ponytails style without the rubber bands – and let her rest. What’s funny about that is, it dried completely straight and looked awful. I have photos, but…ick. So I braided it and hopefully the waves will look better when it’s dry than it did straight. All else fails, I’ll give her a cute pageboy. Just didn’t want to cut it unless I had to, but that straight is simply terrible ! Wish us luck !

Beloved Hubby’s picked up AirSoft again, so he was off in a field shooting at his friends early this morning. I’m glad for him to have some recreation – now if only I could get mine going again !

Meanwhile, Dearest Son made his own pony. Meet ‘iMac’ ! 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cat Fight !

Current Mood : Aggravated. 

Tryin’ to keep my desk cleaned up, because Ginger-kitty and I are in the midst of a turf war over it. I’ve completely cleared a space for her, for her to lie down, to get into the window, whatever she wants, but she insists on knocking over every single thing on my desk to get to the other side…where she can’t get in the window and there is no space for her to bask in. I just don’t get it, and I can’t move everything to suit her. I kinda feel miffed for having to share my already limited space with a cat in the first place, but to do that and still have to pick up dolls six to ten times a day….grrrrr !

Ironically, we had to pick up cat food today, and they were out of Meow Mix ! We ended up getting Be Happy instead, another Purina brand, and she likes it too. Darn cat doesn’t know how close she came to getting Ol’ Roy, a brand of dog food so bad, I’ve seen starving strays refuse to eat it. I’ve also seen dogs who’ll eat up sofas prefer the nastiest cushion on Earth to it. Yeah, you’re right, I couldn’t do that to her, but oh, the temptation !

Finally gave Howleen her boil rinse…I hope it looks better when it’s dry. Right now, it looks awful. About the only truly positive thing I can say about it is that the ‘poof’ is gone. It’s stick-straight, and close to her head. Some of it looks frayed. Thank Everything I didn’t allow the water anywhere near her bangs. I’ll probably braid her hair and do another rinse for some wave later, see if that works better.

Not much else going on, I mostly goofed around and finished my seventh Kindle app book on the Android Tablet. My main problem is, there’s too many free books, and even outright dumping the vampire-and-werewolf-themed ones, most of the cookbooks, diet books, and other ones I have zero interest in, so many more sound good. But by the time I’m done reading one, I’ve forgotten what half the ones I’ve downloaded are about ! At least I finally arranged a ‘drop zone’ that’s safe so I can use the Tablet to read m’self to sleep !

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy '50% Off Candy Day' !

Current Mood : Relaxed - since Ginger's asleep now...

Ginger-kitty and I have been feuding all day. The fifth time I picked up my dolls from where she knocked them over – and this is after I redid all my dolls’ seating to accommodate her – I showed her a new way to get into her window. I moved all my stuff around to make it easier for her…and eliminate the knocks-dolls-over egress. In retaliation or just to show me who’s boss, she jumped onto Dearest Son’s desk, looked right at me, and knocked two dolls over with one paw sweep. Cat’s on darn dangerous ground, especially when she remembers I’m the one who buys her food, and that Mal-Wart’s Special Kitty is a lot cheaper than Meow Mix…

Now that Dearest Son’s given me his MH dolls to relocate, I now have my first Clawd, Forbitten Love, back. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t kind of in my plans to begin with, so there, I admit it. I was considering letting one go out into the world, but…I probably won’t. That Clawd was a gift from Beloved Hubby, and my Sweet 1600 Clawd was thoughtfully found and mailed to me by a dear friend – Hi, Para-Presto ! – so clearly, I can’t let him go, either. Now that I have two, and need to come up with a new name for one. Any suggestions ?

I got both Clawds together today for a photo shoot – a board member wondered if Sweet arms would work with Love’s body, since there’s often color variations. And I honestly didn’t know m’self. Heck, until a Flickr friend asked a similar question about Signature Jackson and Deuce, I didn’t realize they have completely different skin tones. That wasn’t the case with Clawd, the only major differences was Sweet’s bend wrists and glossier finish compared to Love’s matte finish and straight wrists. Color-wise, though, they matched perfectly, and slight finish variations aren’t at all noticeable.

Since I didn’t like the pants Clawd was wearing, I took them off and replaced them with a pair of pinned-on Ken shorts I found on the floor. Then, in an effort to ease back into sewing, I took them in to fit without pins. This time, my alteration worked – yaaay !

And now that I have some new ideas and new inspiration…time to sew again ! Too bad it’s pretty darn late already. Ah, well. Tomorrow, then ! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day !

Current Mood : Sleepy

I can now cross ‘see a live ballet performance’ off the Life Goal list ! It’s amazing how much I’ve seen in my life – operas, Passion Plays, red light districts, holy relic processionals, ancient temples, WPA markers in sidewalks a few miles away – but I’d never seen a live ballet before. It was amazing ! At some points of the show, you couldn’t hear the dancers’ feet hit the floor at all, at others it was like snow tapping your windowpanes, and at another, it was like a sudden performance of Stomp. It really was amazing, and will probably manifest in my sewing. I keep wanting to make ruffly long skirts and those lace-up waist sashes. With miles of coordinating ribbons !

Dinner was nice, too – I had a place card with my name (spelled correctly !) waiting for me, which I slipped into my purse as a souvenir. I noticed most of my fellow feminine diners did the same. There was a live jazz combo and a singer, too. Dinner was… kind of reminded me of some weddings I went to, when the food was lovely to look at. The cheesecake was delicious ! It was all very elegant and romantic, and I think everyone enjoyed the evening. We sure did !

Meanwhile, Ginger-kitty is still recuperating, but she’s been eating and shucking off her soft ‘cone of shame’ collar every chance she gets, so I think she’s on the mend. She’s about to drive me crazy, meowing to go outside, though. I feel for her, there’s probably a cat community around here worried about her, but until her stitches are out, no way.

And I think I’ve solved why my back closures – even with improved hand-stitched snaps and better machine-sewn Velcro ™ - look so consistently bad. I think I’ve been taking out an extra ¼” seam allowance, which leads to a pucker in the back. D’oh ! Why didn’t I realize that before ! Well, most of the time, the outfit still fit when I did that. What’s been happening is, I folded the back closure over before sewing on the hook side of the Velcro – for more stability, ya know ? But that just takes out extra fabric that really wasn’t called for. Most patterns don’t call for a fold-over in the back unless it’s a facing. It still seems odd to sew the Velcro to just one thickness of fabric, but when I look at Barbie Mattel-mades, yes, that’s exactly how it’s done. So I’ll probably start cheap-serging the back raw edges, for an extra bit of density, but my back closures should lose the pucker-pleat very soon. Wish me luck with the first experiment ! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lagoona's Mom finally gets her name ! Well, from me at least...

Current Mood : Relieved.

This is Panope Blue - isn't she so young-looking ? 
Our kitty is home ! And is she ever wanting some comforting ! She’s barely been out of our laps long enough to torment the fish with her presence, knock over four to eight dolls, tip her food bowl, and pick at her stitches. The veterinarian left as much of her tail as possible, which is a bit less than half, but it’s amazing how much more of her emotional state we can see now. The way she tapped and swept her tail while she ate seemed almost like applause for the deliciousness of Meow Mix Original, and yes, she still smacks me in the face with it. It’s just not long enough anymore to whisk fur in my eyes in the follow-through. I’d also say she’s at least 50% less nervous in a room full of rocking chairs than most other cats.

Her balance will be a bit off while she gets used to her ‘new’ tail, but I know she’ll adjust. She’s already jumped up to my desk twice, scattering dolls each time, to get at her window. Poor kitty, you know how much of a trauma it’s been for her. Far as we know, she’d never been in a car before her trip to the vet, and I really doubt she’d ever been to a vet before. We have to take her back in two weeks to get her stitches removed, and keep her inside that whole time. Luckily, it’s gone back to cold winter weather, so I won’t miss having the door open. The soft cone she has to wear looks like a bonnet ! She still hates it though – it messes with her whiskers and she can’t see as panoramically as before. Only 13 days left for her to wear it…

Kinda had a mini-sewing fail, but it turned out OK. The cute wrap dress I bought a Barbie for at the flea market last weekend went under the needle today, in hopes of being taken in a bit to fit the MH crew. It just didn’t work. The bodice part was simply too big, and any more taking it in, and the sleeves wouldn’t fit anymore, and it didn’t hang right at all. So I removed all the stitches and kinda sulked. It was too small for a standard TNT-body Barbie, too big for Skipper, too big for MH…hmm. There’s always my sole remaining Midnight Magic clone…yes ! Fits her perfectly, go figure. I’d already taken off the oversize bow, it’s now decorating her ponytail. I wouldn’t mind bows on Barbie clothes so much, if they weren’t so darn big ! I mean, sure, there’s always a place for big bows – on the butts of bridesmaid dresses or shoulders of avant garde gowns. Not on a day dress. 

And she finally told me her name. Please meet Panope Blue, one of the fifty Sea Nymphs of legend, and Lagoona's mom. The sea water does wonders for their youthful appearances ! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Farewell To Tails

Current Mood : Worried.

Ginger, in lazier, more restful times. 
Today didn’t quite work out into a ‘me’ day after all. Ginger-kitty came home late last night with a limp, sore tail…and as today dawned, it was clear not only was her tail broken, it was…um, bad. Could see stuff. Not good. So we got her to a local vet and it’s gotta be amputated, poor kitty. She’s getting the surgery tomorrow morning, and we bring her back home Wednesday night. I miss her like crazy, but anyone could see in her eyes she was in a lot of pain, so I’m glad she’ll soon be fixed up and free of it. We’re just lucky we had a few extra bucks to pay for all this !

After we dropped Dearest Son off at his grandparents, it started to snow. Big, fat, wet flakes that came down like a snowball fight from the heavens. Gorgeous, but a bit scary. Made sure DM & FIL were OK, grocery-wise, then picked up a few of our own we needed anyway, and headed home. Classes were cancelled, and after a quick late lunch, Beloved Hubby and I both fell sound asleep. But I had some luck – Toralei’s tail and both of DracuLaura’s boots were on a shelf in one of the living room book cases !

So, between sleep, Ginger’s tail, weather, and changed plans, I didn’t get to sew or do anything ‘me-centric’. It’s OK, I’m me-centric most other days anyway. And I didn’t clean anything either, so it all balances.

Hoping to pick it all up where I left off tomorrow ! For now, Dearest Son is home, we’ve had a nice dinner, and while everyone’s thoughts are with Ginger, we’re also about ready for some more sleep.  Snow didn’t stick, but it sure was pretty. This is gonna be one interesting year !