Friday, May 31, 2013

Timey's Trials, Version #1

Current Mood : Pleased. 

It occurs to me that I’m in a unique position to view behavior similar to mine, but one remote over. When MH  first came out, a lot of previously devoted Barbie collectors were interested, some were obsessed, and a lot of fans ended up choosing sides. I completely abandoned Barbie for these new upstarts, and it looks like history repeats itself, especially with dolls. There’s now a big push in Ever After High fandom, with quite a few MH fans abandoning ship for EAH. Now I get to see how the Barbie fans handled it (if I remember correctly, it was mostly ‘If we ignore it enough, maybe those (negative/offensive description) dolls and their fans will go be (negative adjective) elsewhere’. Or, at least, it seemed that way at the time. It was probably closer to, ‘Cute ! Have you seen the new Silkstone vintage-mold Twilight exclusives designed by Bob Mackie available only to Barbie Secret Golden Circle members ?’, but I am sort of harsh and a little bitter.

Mostly because I paid eight bucks to get that darn Headless Headmistress pre-order delivered, and UPS handed it off to the postal service, despite the fact that it was less than 30 miles away for the last two days. If I’m lucky, I’ll get it tomorrow, I may have to wait ‘til Monday, if they decide to just issue a slip. I wouldn’t be so annoyed, but our TRU, the brick and mortar store less than three miles away, has had a shipment of the dolls in since Thursday, and yes, they’re still in stock. I’m so glad I pre-ordered ! I’ll be lucky to get it tomorrow, since our PO would rather leave paper than packages, and by the time they deliver here, the branch has been closed for hours.

So frustrating. Took my mind off things with some sewing. Just wasn’t into MH, and while I have tons of other projects ready for my attention, I decided to take the one that’s waited longest – sewing my own Timey Tell jumper dress ! I’ve wanted to re-make that nearly as long as I’ve loved Timey. I had no idea how I was gonna do it, but even if today’s efforts were a total fail, I’d at least know what didn’t work !

I always thought the easiest way to create a new pattern would be to take an original dress apart, but although I now own three Timey dresses, I just can’t make m’self rip one up. So I pulled out our lightbox and tried to trace the worst of the three dresses – it’s still in good shape, just looks faded next to the other two – and figured I’d take measurements, compare them to the tracing, and go from there. Unlike other similar outfits, this dress has a shoulder seam right at the top, instead of along the underarm. I have no idea why.

Anyway, in about an hour, I had a bodice pattern that worked – only took two tries ! First one was too tight in the armscryes, and that was easy to fix. Bodice isn’t perfect, but it fits, and just to see how it’d go, I gathered a skirt (again using the original’s measurements) and attached it. Yaaay ! I now have a Timey jumper. Now for the hard part – the sleeves and the front piece. While the original looks like a jumper over a blouse, it’s one piece, like many Mattel garments. I have some vague idea on the sleeves, but that ‘blouse’ part is a total wash. I have no idea how I’m gonna do that.

Probably like I did the jumper. Hopefully tomorrow !  While I'm waiting for a package to arrive...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

MH replacements ? I can't even work up a real care right now...

Current Mood : At a loss. 

So annoyed. Headless Headmistress Bloodgood and Nightmare are in the same state as me, finally – less than 50 miles away, to be precise. But UPS says it’ll still be Saturday before they get to me. I know I’m being petty in a whining fashion. Should be ashamed of this particular First World Problem. And I really should appreciate a long wait, since I don’t want anything from the Music Festival or 13 Wishes lines, and it’ll be a while before the Heath and Abbey Classroom sets hit here, so delays are actually a good thing…but sheesh, I just want my dolls already !

Perhaps Mattel wants me to examine Ever After High, another line of proprietary dolls / environs they own that’s been on the teaser burner for the last few months. You can find out more with videos and such at, but the gist is, MH with fairytale princesses’  and other characters’ children (mostly daughters) going to some type of Winx-like school.  According to sources, the male dolls in the line wear Jackson’s shoes, and prototype female footwear has been seen in the company of MH shoes – yup, same size. It’s rumored that EAH will have the same doll bodies, just ‘human’ skin tones, but no one’s seen an actual prototype doll yet. MH fans seem kind of split down the middle between ‘OMG!!1!!’ and “Meh”, with a scattering of, ‘No – no more blasted toy lines to collect…PLEASE !’.

I’m curious about EAH, but not enough to really examine it thoroughly, because if anyone doesn’t need another doll line to collect, it’s me. Much as I love fairy tales and dolls, I don’t need more plastic representations of mermaids and magicked stepdaughters standing on shelves. I hate to admit it, but the breathless passion, the pure obsession I had waiting for MH just isn’t here. It may simply be I’m too old to have that kind of anticipation repeatedly triggered. Or I’ve given away / sold so many dolls in the past few years that now, I shy away from obtaining more. I’ve enjoyed seeing that excitement in other fans, but it’s just not ‘there’ for me this time.

Frankly, if MH ended tomorrow, I’d be vaguely upset I never got an official Slow-Moe, ‘cause Mattel just trade-marked a slightly different name version, but that’d be about the extent of my emotional state over it. I have all the dolls I want – or (grin) will have on Saturday and in a few weeks – and can make whatever clothes or costumes I want for what I already have. I sort of already have my own Slow-Moe, too. Goss knows I got plenty of shoes for them ! (grin) 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

To think, I wasn't 'shirr' how to use this tiny scrap !

Current Mood : Enjoying indulgence...

Beloved Hubby started up his Art classes at the Library again today, after a week or two hiatus, but I begged off. It’s been weeks since I had any ‘me’ time at all, much less a whole day, and I was becoming sharp and ragged around the edges. However, all I did with my two hours of quiet narcissism was make experimental pancakes from eight-days-past-expiry milk and loaf on the sofa to a rather boring episode of Jerry Springer. And talk to m’self, which is a long habit of mine that I can’t do anymore, not with anybody listening ! For lunch, while the guys enjoyed some ham, I boiled the last of the rotisserie chicken, picked it clean, and added Dollar Tree noodle soup mix to the froth. Delicious ! Luckily, the soup by itself is good –  and it’s especially awesome, since there’s three packets in the box – but the boiled bones and meat shards gave it some extra depth. Already looking forward to hambone beans in a week or so.

With the cleanliness of the Arena clearly mocking me, I knew I’d need to settle down and sew a bit. I’m now addicted to sewing every day, but I think it keeps me from going too ragged and self-clawing. While lonely people made rude remarks to the sideshow on stage behind the LCD display, I sifted through the book-shaped Box o’ Tiny Scraps ™ for inspiration. Since I have the solo scraps up top, I was soon staring at a neon-hued index-card sized print of sea otters, all fitting together like a mountain range with the ‘Saturation’ turned up to 11. Carefully arranged, I could maybe get a short dress or tunic out of it, with a cute smaller otter front and center. The seashell he held just yelled ‘Lagoona !’ to me, so I made it with her in mind.

The whole time, I thought to m’self – if we’re gonna do a shirred bodice, remember that you need thread in the bobbin first, for all the hemming, then the elastic thread. Of course, I loaded the bobbin with the elastic stuff, first thing. (sigh) I don’t know why I whine about Dearest Son not listening to me. Even I don’t listen to me. But less than an hour later, I had what was simply too small for a dress all stitched out, and a pair of long black shorts to go with it, almost ready to wear. I’m getting better at attaching Velcro ™ before I stitch the back seam, too. Seems silly to brag about that, but it’s true, and I am kinda proud of it in a sad sort of way.

Now I had to shrink my shirring. That’s what really makes it look good on a doll – the pleats and gathers get so tiny with just a simple application of steam. Or spritz the dress with water and iron it with a press-cloth, I’ve done it both ways. Today, I experimented doing it right at the Arena, with the tiny Clover ironing board. And it worked ! I’ll still need to drag out the full-size iron, as the Clover iron doesn’t get hot enough, but I don’t have to arrange anything to get to our wall-mounted human-scale ironing board. That’s in Beloved Territory, and that space clutters up quickly. Oh, I’ll be shirring this summer, for sure !

It’s quiet again, and the night’s creeping toward the Midnight Hours. We have another huge storm system over us, so it’ll probably rain all night. Can’t wait ! I always sleep well with rain at the window and a ham on rye in my cavernous belly ! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pre-orders with TRU are a pain...

Current Mood : Barely stirring. 

Got the welcome news that TRU shipped my Headless Headmistress set this afternoon. I was hoping to have it in hand by month’s end, but UPS sez it’ll be the first of June. Ah, well, it’s just a day later. According to the site, our local store is still sold out, but the CapitalCity one has a few in stock. They didn’t yesterday, so if you suddenly want one – especially after the 50 or so photos I’ll end up taking once they arrive – there’ll be plenty to go around. I’m actually less sure about obtaining the Heath/Abbey and Scarah Screams dolls. Luckily, I don’t want any of the 13 Wishes  line. Those are, btw, available for pre-order at TRU, if you like…I wouldn’t, they’re not exclusives, and we all know how TRU gouges. If HH had been available at Target and Mal-Wart, I wouldn’t have pre-ordered, that’s fer sure.

We lazed around all day yesterday, only stirring ourselves enough to pick up pizza for dinner, and get the video game Dearest Son saved up for – Lego Harry Potter 1-4. So I cooked the ham today for supper and snacks…and it was heavenly. Looking forward to a ham on rye midnight snack tonight, too. I tell ya, no one bakes a fully-cooked ham like I do !

It was kind of difficult to overcome that level of lazy today, but I sort of did. The Arena, however, was so cluttered with patterns and fabric scraps and tools that I couldn’t move much. The MH tin box couldn’t hold them all, and while it was tempting to buy another cool book-shaped box, there’s no telling when I’ll get to Michael’s again. Plus, I got this nice rolling cabinet with these perfect narrow drawers…all I’d have to do was clean out one, and I’d have perfect pattern storage !

It took a while to relocate everything, but I ended up cleaning out the cubby cart, too, something I’d been meaning to do for weeks. Now, both my carts are tidy and so is the Arena. Once I get off my butt, I can sew up a storm ! 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

MH's 'tiger in the tank', Hutch !

Current Mood : Pondering...

Not much going on today – since I had the fabric out, I thought I’d make up a bit of a drama story by using it on a guy’s shirt, then having both characters attend the Wolf family BBQ tomorrow. Since Christopher Hutchinson (aka ‘Hutch’) hasn’t had any camera time in a long while, he got it. He’s the Create A Monster ‘Puma’ set I spray-painted last year. Paint’s still not a perfect match, but the altered bits don’t stand out nearly as much as the pink original pieces did.

Re-thinking my display area, especially with Headless Headmistress Bloodgood and her horse on the way. Yeah, it won’ t get shipped ‘til Tuesday at the earliest, but at least I’ll have mine around the first of the month. I’m really looking forward to making clothes for her ! From the reviews and photos of other owners I’ve seen, she has the exact same body as Nefera, so if I can sew for HH, I can for her, too.

With that on my puny mind, I’m thinking of selling my creations again. Giving major consideration to Etsy or just message boards. I’ve learned I can make something every day – long as I keep it simple – and that my quality of work has improved, so I can offer something I’m proud to sell pretty inexpensively. But since there’s thousands of awesome folks selling better clothes than I can make already, I figured I’d go more for a niche, like Nefera and HH sizes, or guy clothes. Neither of them is really a niche, either, but I’m looking at it as a challenge, so it’s more fun for me ! Fact is, my 2011 SDCC Sack o’ Monster High Doll Clothes ™ is nearly full, and at least half of it is my own stuff. It needs to go elsewhere ! Plus, a few extra bux wouldn’t go amiss. More when it happens !

Hrf. And I didn’t think there was much going on today, either…

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fun with rick-rack - I got miles of this stuff, in more colors than Rainbow Dash...

Current Mood : Weary

Of course, I ended up sewing the third dress in that NG Creations pattern, the A-Line Dress. I’m a sucker for sewing all of a pattern, even though I doubt I’ll ever use the bizarre ‘couture’ additions she includes. Mostly ruffles masquerading as capes, strange sleeves, and tiered skirts, so if you ask me, the cleaner, simpler lines are better, but ya’ll know me – I like trees that aren’t dripping four ornaments, flocking, and tinsel on each branch at Christmas. With Memorial Day on the horizon, I thought this fabric would work well. I got several large pieces of it in a thrift store scrap bag about three years ago. It’s kinda busy for doll clothes, but I really like it, so I used some. That’s the only problem with doll clothes in Barbie / play scale – a fat quarter can make a whole wardrobe when you really only wanted that print for a single dress.

Ah, well. If I ever get off my hinder and get busy on Timey Tell’s repro dress pattern, I’m sure I can make a cute dress to use more of it, and a set for Princess Dorrie and Prince Beloved, too.

Not much else going on, we don’t have really anything planned for Memorial Day, except going to visit DMIL & FIL for a bit. Mostly to talk about this move we’re getting pushed about. I’m hoping we can have our say this time, and have it stick a bit more than it has previously. And that they know what they want together for themselves. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Cupid sends you her love... but not the shoes she just bought !

Current Mood : Sleepy and stuffed ! 

Big dinner tonight. Meatloaf and roasted potatoes with baked beans. Sure, the oven does most of the work, but there’s quite a bit of prep work first ! Even though it’s kind of hot for such a feast, I was figuring there’d be leftovers for the weekend, then I’d pop the last ham into the oven Sunday. That, and the rest of the pantry stores, will easily take us to the first of the month and the next paycheck, and we’ll be fine for a while. I love it when everything works out.

I’d planned on calling our local TRU, see if the Headless Headmistress had made it to store shelves in yesterday’s delivery truck – I’ve been hearing reports of them available nearly everywhere. But I didn’t, because I got a ‘your order’s being processed for shipping’ notice this morning ! Yaaay ! Hasn’t shipped yet, but it’s showing ‘in stock’ and that mine should be here around month’s end. Hope I get a good one ! I figure it won’t ship ‘til Monday, and she’ll arrive here Wednesday or Thursday, that’s how it usually goes. Our store is showing out of stock, but the one in CapitalCity has a few. (snort) By the time I got Beloved Hubby to drive me up there, my mail order will already be here, so I’m glad I don’t have to worry him or anyone about it.

That’s good, because Beloved already has enough going on. We’re getting pressure from family to move, and neither of us think it’s a good idea right now. But the pushing continues, and I’m losing patience with the ‘pushers’. Be glad to help *them* move, if it’s the best for them and what they want, but if I’m gonna respect their decisions, they need to respect ours, too. Truth be told, we may end up there, if opportunity presents itself, but I really resent everyone leaning on Beloved. That’s my job, you guys !

So, in frustration, I sewed. Whipped out ‘Square Neck Dress’ from NG Creations’ Pattern Set #4, again using woven cotton instead of the stretch fabric the directions call for, since it was a test. Came out pretty well, even in the crappy green stuff, and I didn't even go thin on the seam allowances, I used the full quarter-inch. Fit is good, although it pulls a bit at the hips and the neckline is a bit too large – ya get a choice of the sleeves falling off her shoulders or the chest gapping open, not lying flat as it should. I can alter that fairly easily, and now that I know how easily it sews, I’ll definitely sew it up again ! It may be hard to see in the photo, but there’s a seam right down the middle, so you can mix and match prints and colors any way ya like ! I just went ‘boring’ ‘cause it was a trial version. It amused me a bit to run four lines of stitches down the front, super-easy and unusual for me, but it’d be so fun to add some of that rick-rack or other trim I have on that seam, or different thread colors.

Have no idea what I’m gonna sew tomorrow, though…

Thursday, May 23, 2013

(sigh) I made a tube blouse...where's my hair shirt ?

Current Mood : Kinda bleh. 

Kind of a ‘blah’ day again, but at least I got to sew ! Decided to stitch up a pair of ‘cat’ jeans, from the kids’ pair I got from a local thrift a while back. I’ve already made a me-size purse and several other doll outfits from it, but there’s still a whole leg left, and a ton of bits and pieces. Cleo’s jeans came from the best of the bits, cut carefully to give her as many cats as possible. As you can guess, with pre-embroidered fabric, there weren’t that many to begin with ! Didn’t get any of the pink cats, either, but the white ones really stand out and look great here.

Her blouse is just a bit of already-gathered gold trim I got from Hobby Lobby, on sale, Fray-checked and Velcro’d ™ in the back, and tucked up into a second hem – it already came with one – to get it the right length at her waist. After all, I wiggled hard to get that kitty at her waist, I didn’t want the shirt to hide most of it ! She’s the last of my ‘signature’ dolls (first releases) to finally get out of a Fearleader uniform and into something brand-new. Well, as ‘new’ as something made from recycled fabric can be ! I rather like how she looks so casual, yet so kitty-chic !

But I tell ya, I’ve gotten so I hate tube-clothes ! I really prefer some sort of sleeve or strap, ‘cause I know how too-easy tubes are…and how often they show up in auctions and sales pages for doll clothes ! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dot Dead Gorgeous Catrine ?

Current Mood : Dotty

Things always start to look up a bit, that’s the way of humankind, I think. We were able to make a small donation to the Red Cross, and calls to local volunteer agencies told us they were well-stocked for manpower in NearbyCity, but gave us some ideas for other outlets later. So we’re kind of resting a bit today, catching up on housework – I’m still exhausted no matter how much / how little sleep I’m getting, and my headache goes from ignorable to raging for no apparent reason, so I’m going with it, not much else I can do.

Sewing is always a good distraction ! Bought a friend’s pattern set last night, and it’s really cute, and so inexpensive – it’s here, btw – and I can’t wait to use it…but she uses a 1/8” seam allowance and hem, and that’s just too small for my clumsy hands. I’m gonna pretty much have to redraft the whole thing later today. Hope that doesn’t ruin the fit, but I just can’t deal with seam allowances that small. Hems, just barely, but that scant an allowance often leads to fraying and popped seams. I’d rather have my usual quarter-inch, and trim it later.

Wanted some new colors besides scrap fabric from the crap box, and I’m beyond bored with blacks and greys. They’re classics, and always look elegant, but there’s times ya just wanna sew all Pinkie Pie, and use wild colors and/or crazy prints. In order to dig through the prints box under the Arena, I’d finally have to box up all the dolls under there, so that got done first. Pulled out a pretty purple with white polka dots piece, and the cat-embroidered kids’ jeans remnants next to them. The purple was bright enough to suit my mood, and I’d been wanting that denim as well.

Figured I’d test out the slight alterations I’d made to that one-shoulder NG Creations dress, and wondered if I made it out of non-stretch cotton, if it’d fit Howleen. So I did it. Ironically, I had to take half-seams for it to fit at all – yup, I sewed 1/8” side seams today anyway – and when it was done, it was just a bit too big for Howleen. Fit the standard ghoul body better, with just a slight side-seam tuck to keep the top from gapping. Added some vintage giant-size white rick-rack to the hem, and it was done. Modest enough to suit me, pretty enough to use again. While several ghouls are overdue for new apparel, it looked pretty good on Catrine, so she got it. Yaay ! I think I finally got it right !

Started re-drafting the new pattern anyway. Yeah, I might be able to sew 1/8” seams, but I don’t really like to ! We’ll see how it comes out soon. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Once you have a good LBD, how about a nice LGD ?

Current Mood : Mildly ill. 

Heck of a 24 hours. Yesterday, I was worried about our internet service, today I’m worried about NearbyCity, which has suffered devastating, heartbreaking damage and loss due to what will probably prove to be the biggest, most fierce tornado ever to brutalize the state. DMIL & FIL live in NearbyCity, luckily they missed that swath, but I’ve driven those streets, shopped those stores, slept in the city limits, and remote as I am, I mourn.

Our service came back up way late last night – I only knew because Beloved Hubby’s phone chimed an ‘I got a message for you !’ alert – so I smacked up yesterday’s already-written entry and photo without changing them. I had no idea how bad it was elsewhere, and went to sleep with a weather-type headache, hoping that’d go away in the night.

Not feeling much better today, it just migrated to my over-active stomach. Ever have an ‘afraid to eat’ day ? One of those. So I pulled up yesterday’s NG Creations pattern, the one I used for Abbey’s Little Black Dress, and studied it for a few minutes. Turns out, it’s made for stretchy fabric, but the stuff I used 1) had the stretch going north-south when it needed to go east-west, and 2) didn’t have sufficient stretch – two inches of the black/silver fabric only pulled about two and three-quarters inches, when it needed to go at least three. Ah, well. Decided to try it again, using the silver side, and orienting it correctly.

Went pretty well, and the fit is much improved. It’s still a bit low to me, so I may tweak it. It’s super-tight at the hips as well, the dolls’ joint outline can be seen if she’s not wearing the sash. The sash is just the selvage cut off, folded and sewn with Velcro ™ at the ends, but I think it sets off Spectra’s dress very nicely. I kind of think of it as her ‘Stormfront’ dress, since it was darker at 2pm today than it was at 7am. Yup. More bad weather ahead.

I think I’m gonna go have a nice lie-down…

Monday, May 20, 2013

Abbey looks darn good in a LBD ! The jacket, though....

Current Mood : Sleepy

Serves me right, bragging about being so fortunate after a storm killed several people not that far away. Had another storm today, and lost internet. Ah, well. Plenty of stuff to do offline, although it was a bit of an adjustment for Dearest Son. No internet, no Netflix, no cable. No cell phones either – turns out, the storm knocked down at least one tower. Luckily, we’d been neglecting the DVDs for some time, so it didn’t take us long to find one to watch. Ratatouille, to be precise ! And he soon remembered some Lego structures he wanted to build, so we soon had both going on in the living room.

As for me – Beloved Hubby napped through the whole thing – I decided to sew some trim on yesterday’s jacket trial, to cover up the stitches and a slight bobble on the right armhole, where the hem came a bit untucked as I was stitching it. Since I was kinda feeling under-teched anyway, I hand-sewed it, although I could have machine-sewn it. Figured it’d be a twinge easier, and I could put that trim precisely where I wanted, with some hand-stitches.

After that, I wanted to set it off with a little black dress, even though I’m still not convinced adding trim improved the jacket. It occurred to me that I’d never made the dress I bought the fourth NG Creations pattern for, and it’d make a good LBD. Cut it out of the same silver/black stuff I made Frankie’s pants from, got it Fray-checked and ready to go.

We learned about the true damage when we visited our friendly neighborhood 7-11. No ATM, no food stamp reader, no gas pumps, no Pay Bills Here, no credit cards – it was all connected, and all out of service. If you were there to do anything but buy a snack and a soda with cash, go to the bathroom, or air up your tires, you were out of luck. I wondered what the rest of OurTown was like, and if there were any lines of communication still functioning outside of newspaper, radio, and carrier pigeon.

The LBD didn’t quite come out as expected – it hung a bit lower than modesty allows, so I took in a quick dart along the underarm seam, and that cinched it up. I need to sew it again, since I used stretchy fabric on a non-stretchy pattern, and that may have caused the error. Won’t know for sure ‘til I try it again, and I will.

Maybe tomorrow. Especially if our internet is still down ! 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Welcome to Tornado Season !

Current Mood : Satisfied and de-wired. 

Finally, the last tornado warning has expired ! We had some sightings and other areas in the state were damaged by a documented one, but it’s over, for now at least. We luckily didn’t lose power, or even wireless internet, and I hope it’s that way for everyone today.

I’m continuing the ‘craft your way out of the slumps’ project / experiment, even though I can’t really spare the time most days for really involved projects. You know, the stuff I really wanna do ! So I’ve been poking around my patterns, looking for something I want to make, that won’t take long. Should get bored of MH sewing about mid-week. Or next month, honestly I’m amazed I haven’t gotten bored of it already !

I saw this one pattern for Barbie that I snagged off Pinterest – as is usual with those, there’s no directions, no image of the finished item, and there’s no telling if you have the whole thing or not. But, hey, they’re free ! I probably have dozens. The one I was looking at today was for a collarless tuxedo jacket – interesting. I liked the curved edges, so I’d snagged it with the intent of sewing it for MH, ‘cause I loved Sweet 1600 Clawdeen’s tux-inspired outfit. Why not today ?

First off, I cleaned it up, arranged it so it fit on a single sheet of regular copy paper, and ran a printout. Looked to be about right for Barbie, so I reduced it 72% to fit MH. I once read someone else’s comment that taking Babs patterns down to 72% often works – if you go by the classic ‘what you want divided by what you have’ computation, it’d be 91% of a Barbie pattern, and I can tell ya, that doesn’t work at all. So I went with 72% this time. Also the crappy green fabric and yawnfest white thread. While the sleeves printed out, I skipped ‘em, since it was just a test. While I do need practice in sleeves, it really wouldn’t matter if the jacket wasn’t in any way gonna fit. I mostly wanted to see how that curvy side would fit with the back anyway.

Turned out OK, although I had to rip the side seams – the hems were all OK at ¼” standard, but I had to go to about 1/8” for the seams, or it was much too small. Might go with 75% next time, so it’ll close. As-is, though, it’s a cute long vest and I like how the neckline works. Again, a lot I can do with it, now that I know how it looks !

And it kept me off the message boards and such for over an hour ! 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sewing the Mattel Way !

Current Mood : Sleepy

Wow, was that basketball flannel scrap small ! It was maybe a half inch bigger than the one I used for Frankie’s t-shirt yesterday, but still much too tiny to make even a sleeveless tank for the guys. It could make the *front* of a sleeveless tank, though…hmmm. My favorite tank pattern is a super-simple one-piece-on-the-fold kind, so using even two different pieces of fabric would be awkward. How would I even do that ? There was a woven orange cotton scrap, that’d work for the back, but…how ?

Kinda simple, actually. Just sew the basketball print and the orange piece together, along the largest sides, fold, and cut the pattern like usual. And Fray-check the heck out of it. I had a little extra fun sewing down the seam allowances at the shoulders, where the two fabrics met. Rather than exactly center the pattern on the fabric, I placed the pattern a bit more to the flannel print side, so you can’t really see the orange back unless the doll modeling is turned completely around, back to you. I wondered if that’s how Mattel does Barbie’s ‘print on front, solid color on back’ dresses. It’s so simple, it pretty much has to be, especially when ya make a couple million of ‘em at a time. Just wish they kinda angled Barbie’s patterns a bit more to the pretty print front, ya know ?

Anyway, I’m happy with my latest sewing effort, and I have a few more questions answered, a little more experience sewing flannel, and I’ve spent a lot more time away from eBay, Etsy, and various message boards. I think crafting’s really helping me a lot. Much as I love hanging with fellow fans, these are, after all, the slump months, and I can complain enough on my own ! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Frankie's so bubbly tonight !

Current Mood : Happy

Beloved Hubby’s done well on his exams – on one, he only had to get a score of 5 to maintain his 100+ average – and is studying for the last one now. I’m in a place where caffeine now makes me sleepy, I’ve had so much of it, and nearly nothing can keep me awake.

So we went out for a while, to Hastings. Dearest Son found a Lego book, and the adorable Darth Vader and Son. There’s an even more adorable Vader’s Little Princess, but I’d already settled on Ben Burtt’s Sounds of Star Wars, on massive markdown from $70. to $17. I even found one with the sound effects device working ! Sure, the sound player makes the book a bit gimmicky, but the book itself is an actual scholarly tome about how sound is harvested, used, mixed, recycled, and reused from decades past. Only problem is, the sound player makes the book a bit hard to read. Very heavy and awkward. But it even has a headphone jack and it uses standard AAA batteries, so I love how they went above and beyond with it.

Once home, everyone napped and I had some quiet time. Before we left for Hastings, I’d been leafing through the fabric scraps I had in the ‘Paris Book’ box I bought last month. I wondered how I’d use some of the smaller ones I only had one of, since they only looked large enough for some small applique works. Two and a half inches by three inches is pretty small ! Although…if I didn’t mind shorter sleeves, that dress pattern I made could be abbreviated to a t-shirt.

I confess, I haven’t had a good track record with flannel. When I made Elphie’s pajamas, it frayed and fell apart while I was sewing it ! But I had several super-cute print fragments among the scraps that I wanted to use soon, so I needed to learn a better way to use it. Fray-check helps – a lot ! Or the scrap was better quality flannel, one of the two. Still had some problems getting  a line of stitches started, it didn’t want to slide under the presser foot, just sit there. Got around that by going slow and easy, and pulling just a little bit to get it started, especially where there’s thread from earlier. The shirt came out so cute, I got out some stretchy fabric that’s silver on one side, black on the other, and made a pair of black pants to go with it. It’s been a while since Sig Frankie got new clothes, and those colors would look good on her, so there ya go.

Now I’m looking at that basketball print flannel scrap, and wondering which of the guys would like a tank top from it, it’s too small a scrap for sleeves ! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sometimes being a voracious reader bites you in your butt !

Current Mood : Bitter

Had the best lunch – I’m gonna hafta try that again sometime ! We’re out of bread, but have flour tortillas, and I had some markdown going-fast pastrami to use up, plus a dozen and a half eggs… Gave the tortilla a light buttering, and crisped it up a bit, then fried an egg and warmed up the pastrami. Tucked inside the tortilla, which got another round of grilling, they made a great sandwich. Made me a little sad we’re now out of pastrami !

For whatever reason, I just wasn’t in much of a mood to craft today. Plus, it was Beloved Hubby’s last day of class, so we were both up late. I had to finish up with those books I had from his school library, he had two finals today, and one tomorrow. I can tell you this, I absolutely hated Not Buying It : My Year of Not Shopping. If I ever finish it, my first book will be titled I’m Gonna Slap the Taste Out of Judith Levine’s Mouth. I love reading how over-privileged, over-paid, over-indulged Ms. Perfect makes the supreme sacrifice of not buying green buns and yet another pair of boots in between shuttling between their NYC home and his acreage in Vermont. It was thrilling to learn of her relating her supreme disappointment to an unfortunate volunteer that the library didn’t meet her needs, although she’s a childless free-lance writer, in either hours or supplies of books on how to make silk roses as a gift for a just-graduated-college boyfriend’s relative. She ended up regifting a repaired necklace she admitted that she never wore.

I can’t really state my favorite part of the book. She compared herself favorably with the Amish, and enjoyed breaking her own rules for her little experimental year of not buying, by using her friends and just doing what she wanted. Then she had no clue why Saintly Boyfriend, who kept all her rules, although he wasn’t at all required to, got annoyed with her. She mentioned all her free time, since she wasn’t shopping – did it occur to her to volunteer with the elections (yes, you get her skewed view of politics, too) or the library, or anywhere ? Of course not !

I just hope I can forget this book soon…

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sweet Howleen !

Current Mood : Improving a bit...

Maybe I can lose my little funk by crafting. Making all those bags was oddly satisfying, and I can do a lot more. I was looking over my dolls – now down to 45 from 50 – wondering what to make next when I realized that Howleen was still wearing her Fearleader shoes. I’d been idly wondering if crafting fold-over booties out of my felt stash would look more like boots than the taller ones, and figured, why not try ? I hadn’t made any of those felt boots for her slightly smaller feet, but the ‘pattern’ is adjustable. Basically, I hold felt to the doll’s feet, trace, then sew on the traced lines. Doesn’t work well on fabric with no stretch, but felt and fleece have just enough.

Unfortunately, the ‘boots’ still look like really thick socks. Or slippers. Maybe fleece would work better. But I’m happy with how they look and fit, so I’m gonna keep practicing with various fabrics  until I get it ‘right’. Even though, in my own mind, they’re right enough right now !

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

At least my dolls have a shot at being organized...

Current Mood : Slinking out of the slump...very slowly. 

Few days ago, I snagged a great set of box and bag patterns and designs, in the style and scale for MH  and Barbie, and made a couple. It’s this one.  You get all the designs pictured, in two bag sizes and two types of box – one piece (lid is part of it) and two (separate box and lid) pieces – in full color print outs e-mailed to you about five minutes after you snag yours. Only one problem. We only have a black-print laser. Can always go to the library, but I wanted to play that first day a bit. I was surprised to see how good my efforts looked using greyscale and copy paper, even though it’s designed for cardstock and color. I knew I’d have to have more.

So today, I cleared the desks and played ! I made…two, six…eight bags and just the one box, a one-piece version. So. Much. Fun ! We had some yellow cardstock that worked well with the printer…until the toner started coming off. More I handled it, the more came off. Even waiting an hour didn’t help. Ah, well. That cardstock was older than laser printers, so I know it wasn’t made for them, I wasn’t too surprised.

We also have lots of colored paper and construction paper, not to mention scrapbook sheets, so… Decided I needed a template, so I wouldn’t use the printer so much. Stripped the fold guide for the paper-handle bag and printed that on cardstock – perfect ! Now I had something to trace and make as many bags as I wanted out of whatever I wanted. Made one from copy paper (green), construction paper (pink), cardstock print (yellow), and a scrap of star-print vellum I snagged on sale from Hobby Lobby’s scrapbook section. For kicks, I used my tiny star punch and threaded glittery trim cord through the holes for handles, and it looks great. Stickers from an Etsy order made the plain bags into birthday gift bags, and soon I could go from trace to bag in less than 15 minutes. I like this purchase !

Just made the one box so far – it’s a bit fiddly, but quite sturdy, even out of copy paper – so I need to experiment with them, too. Now that I have blanks, I can print out any bag or box I want, and even scale them down or up a bit, too. I love it when a craft works as-is…and I can easily mold it to my own fiendish needs, too !

Only problem is, Carlin brought all that pink kelp – two different kinds of it, too ! – like Lagoona asked…but where is Lagoona already ? 

Monday, May 13, 2013

I wonder if HH can wear Barbie clothes...? And if I can salvage that desk !

Current Mood : Excited !

While I hate to steal images, I’m gonna cop out and say ‘at least I stole from scalpers’. While we’ve never seen it from Mattel, and had to use eBay for news, I’m glad for any way I get to see the Headless Headmistress set. I’m happy with it – it looks great, and I can’t wait to get mine. It’s a good thing I don’t have a hundred bux plus $30. shipping !  Wonder if I can scavenge that cardboard desk, it looks really cool…

Looked ‘Fronti nulla fides’ up, just to make sure it wasn’t package testing gibberish. Turns out, it’s Latin for ‘No reliance can be placed on apperance’. Yup. Ms. Bloodgood hit us with ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’, just like a real educaton maven. I really am excited about her doll now !

Decided to spend a little time on Baby Belle today. And I can tell you that ‘Magic Eraser’ cleaners – at least, the Dollar Tree knockoff ones – will fade ink stains on dolls, and scrub off some grime, but they don’t even come close to removing markers and ink like the boxes say. It’s OK, though. It somehow seems ‘right’ that a Belle doll, even a baby one, would have inkstains on her right hand. Maybe her feet, too, but those are covered by shoes now. They got a lot more grime off my Arena desk and a pair of Charmin Chatty shoes I intend to eBay soon. While they didn’t work as well on Belle as I’d hoped, the DTree ‘magic eraser’ sponges are still worth the buck, and I still have half of the package left.

Took the rubber band off her bangs, and they’re staying mostly down, so hopefully I won’t have to do another boil rinse to them. Not sure if I wanna cut them to her eyebrows or leave the little curls alone. With the clear elastic band down on her face, she looks like she has an oxygen cannula, I just have to push it under her nose for the full effect. After the next rain, I’ll see if I can take the band off completely – her bangs tend to lift up when there’s a lot of moisture in the air.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day, if you are one or know one !

Current Mood : Fat & happy.

Hope you had a great day – Mother’s day Stateside, if you are or know one ! After a late sleep-in, we had home gourmet sandwiches, which I love, for lunch. Roast beef and turkey with romaine leaves and smoked gouda on rye, with red grapes and chips on the sides, yum ! For supper, we snagged the local take-out chicken shack’s special, which will probably feed us for lunch for the next few days. Dearest Son made me a card, as you can see, and it’s now hanging in a spot of pride in the hallway. Reminders of love are always the best decorations !

About all we really did was sleep and eat. It was a perfect day. Hope yours was fun, too !