Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Like I need more patterns... we'll say this is a tutorial instead !

Current Notes: My latest challenge !

Feeling better today, but still a bit dazed and really tired for no real reason. So we took it easy, and I mean ‘ramen for lunch’ easy. The too-boring-to-tell thing that was bugging me a few days ago has been resolved, and that’s been like a gift I appreciate about every 20 minutes or so. Beloved Hubby is amazing and can do and fix anything, I’m really impressed.

So I celebrated by buying a bit of fabric from my favorite Japanese fabric seller off Etsy, Kawaii Meow – I’ve been watching it as a ‘Favorite’ item for weeks ! - and a pattern for American Girl-size dolls that will supposedly help me become more confident with curved seams (there’s at least two I’m wrestling with in each doll shoe !) and teach me how to draft my own color-block doll clothes. Since I can use AG patterns for Timey, Dottie, and Chatty, the pattern’s not a complete waste, but once I figure it out, I wanna adjust it to fit the DP&M dolls.  

That used up all my PineCone survey funds in the best way possible for me. I got the pattern as an instant download, and the Japanese fabric will probably take about two or three weeks to arrive. A challenge to enjoy now, and something to look forward to in the mail. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The joys of spring...

The headache I took to bed last night blossomed into a full-bore migraine today, so I’m not moving around much. Glad I got some grocery staples yesterday. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

The dress actually looks good as a tunic with the white pants, too !

Current Notes: I have three different white fabrics on the Arena cutting area...

No sleep for the wicked, ya know. Up early with Beloved Hubby, seeing him off to work, then it was time to start my own. For reasons too boring to get into, I had to get most of my housework done today – the weekend’s dishes, three more loads of laundry, putting even more loads away (was lazy last week), bathroom cleaning, etc. And that’s on top of the usual stuff, like cooking lunch, tidying and taking out trash from the weekend, that type stuff. I’m exhausted ! Even getting it all done early, I still didn’t get a nap, between the kids next door screaming all day (yes, same kids, same high-pitched day-long screeching), trains, Dearest Son’s questions, and random door slams. Much as I love to have all the doors open on nice days, when they suddenly catch a breeze and slam, it’s gonna disturb anybody. And I was disturbed, long before today, that’s the truth.

I’d intended to spend the afternoon sewing, maybe getting a start on the Frozen Anna doll project, but it was not to be. Putting away all the clean clothes took longer than I thought, even with Dearest putting all of his own away by himself. And then I found m’self making excuses to not go sew. Soon as I realized it, I planted my backside in the Arena chair and got with it. Decided to work on the slip, just a simple elasticized tube, but then I went in a different direction with it. Remember the lavender mini-dress I made for Belle ? It was much too big, and I’d altered the pattern, but hadn’t tested it yet. Decided to sew up the dress using the new draft, edge it in lace, and call it a slip. It was still too big under the arms, but the hips were snug already. So I altered it again, but since I couldn’t remember if I’d scanned the last version, just drew the latest changes to the pattern with pencil, then scanned both. Now I have a restore point if Version 2 doesn’t work. Here’s hoping.

At least I did get a slip, even if it’s too altered for the project. I think it looks nice on Tia, very cool and pretty. Next time, though, I’m tucking the ‘gathered’ part under the hemlines. Couldn’t do that with the neckline, so I did the hemline to match.

I swear, nearly all my sewing is pre-loaded with ‘next times’ ! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

And it's only a month to Memorial Day, too !

Current Notes: I once wore white shoes to a Christmas party. 
Yes, I've always been a fashion rebel - although most
would say I'm more of a woman who just doesn't care about the rules !

Decided to hit the thrift today – had to go out anyway for milk, bread, and toilet paper. They had lots of new Barbie dolls, some in outfits I’ve seen hanging on Mal-Wart pegs for $6. Tempting, but I have my greedy eyes on two eBay lots, and if I snag either of ‘em, I’ll have spent more than I should have !

Still, $9. brought home over 200 sheets of good graph paper, in still-sealed 20 sheet packs, three sets of vibrant colored pencils, two single-subject notebooks, and a pack of elementary-lined filler paper, all bundled together, and five pairs of pants for my guys. I even got a bonus on one pair – there was an elegant handkerchief folded up neatly in the back pocket. The filler paper is already in a binder for Dearest Son’s schoolwork, and he and I each claimed a pack of pencils. We’ll save the other for art class or somesuch.

I was kind of proud of me for not buying the $6. bag lots of tiny Barbie accessories. I’m usually a total sucker for those, mostly because I love going through and sorting everything. But I already have a ton of that stuff, mostly too small to use, no real point in adding more. To tell the truth, I almost feel the same way about MH. Saw my first handless DracuLaura in the Barbie bin – the first Dead Tired one, in a torn, inside-out Gloom Beach Frankie’s swimsuit. I felt so sorry for her, but she remained there. Hope someone can restore her and give her some fun.

I’m starting to wonder… at first, I thought Frankie was the MH star, since  most of the early webisode plotlines revolved around her, she was the one you saw first in the ads, etc. But I think if you actually sat and counted all the releases, DLaura is the most widely distributed character – I think there’s maybe two lines (RollerMaze is one) she hasn’t been in. Frankie’s not in every release, far from it.  Plus, how many of the ‘movie’ plotlines have centered on her ? And of the few MH dolls I’ve seen second-hand, and often damaged, they’ve all been DLauras. Makes me wonder if Frankie is still the captain, after all, and DLaura is the designated red-shirt.

Stitched up three shoes today, and after much fussing and futzing, finally got two worth keeping. I even got a right and left foot one – no matter how much I turned the pattern, I always ended up with right shoes. They don’t quite match perfectly, but I can work on that. Yay, me ! I can make doll shoes worth keeping ! Although I think three a day is my limit. I’m looking forward to resting my eyes with some solid sleep. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I think I've OD'd on doll shoes.

Current Notes: I'm about to give up...

It was a really good day for Chez Insanity ! Beloved Hubby installed a new door he salvaged from a job site earlier this week – saving it from the Dumpster – and replaced the broken sliding glass one here. It looks so much better, lets in a lot more light, and actually opens without anybody having to lift anything ! And we added some insulation we had left over. Yesss ! The one we were looking to buy to replace the old slider wasn’t as nice, and would have cost $180.

He got called in to work a few hours, though, but came home with a loveseat. He’s been wanting somewhere to sit and loaf in the Study besides his desk, so when he called to say he had a worn but in decent shape one, I told him I’d clear the space so he could just drop it in once he got home. I’ve been wanting to eliminate that clutter-catcher table and put the stuff he dragged out back into the closet for weeks. Opportunity ! By the time he got here, all I had left to do was sweep and relocate the drafting table. He did that, and the loveseat’s right under a window, comfy and smelling a lot less like beer now. Febreeze is my friend (even if it is the cheep Dollar Tree knockoff version).

I also found a place for The Gale Encyclopedia of Science  I bought from the Library, and repurposed the box the six volumes came in to hold bathroom stuff. When he installed the new toilet and reinstalled the sink, we got rid of the listing-heavily shelves. With nowhere to put your usual bathroom stuff, it’s been in the bag I shoved it in since. At least now, we can see it, and if the box ends up sticking around, I’ll cover it with fabric, make it less of an ad for ‘Uncrustables’ and more of a ‘aren’t you glad we have  spare fabric’ thing.

We also finally got rid of the three shopping carts in the backyard. FIL occasionally ‘borrowed’ one to bring home groceries when we didn’t live here (there’s a grocer about five blocks away). But he wouldn’t take them back, he’d just borrow another one. It’s been bugging me, and I’ve wondered if I could get one into the 4Runner, haul them back one at a time. Just couldn’t get them through the narrow path between houses. I now think he just drove the carts right into the house, unloaded, then ditched ‘em in the back. Of course, that’s when the sliding door opened enough for anything wider than a cat to go through. The new door allowed us to wheel them through the house and out the front door, right into the Ranger truck. Alleluia !

However, my sewing tonight…(sigh) It’s bad. Real bad. Not quite ‘rend the fabric of time and space’ bad, but close. After all those shoes that were too big, I finally made them too small. And kept on making them too small. Seems as though nothing I did fit anymore. I gave up when the second to last kept falling into the trash can when I dropped it (three times !) and the fourth time, I left it there. The last effort was even worse. So, we’re literally back to square two, Friday’s efforts, until I can figure out where I’m fouling up.

Gonna take a shoe break for the rest of the night…

Friday, April 25, 2014

Yes, I have a shoe addiction...

Current Notes: It's just different than what most other women have. 

Shoe 1 (white), Shoe 2 (yellow)
Busy day today. Dearest Son’s lampshade broke, and he’s been ‘fixing’ it with masking tape… which falls down every time the heat from the bulb melts the adhesive. So I held it together with clothespins while I hand-stitched the fabric and plastic part back on to its metal ‘spider’ part – that’s the part of the shade that’s at the top, gives it a lot of its shape, and connects to the lamp harp, usually by a finial. Should last us long enough to find a new shade on sale. Or a new lamp second-hand.

Then, shortly after a slightly late square egg breakfast, Beloved Hubby called. He’d left a very necessary drill at home – could I drive it to him ? No problem, but I got lost and frustrated when he had to meet me at a nearby bank. But he did hand me a couple bucks to snag us a snack, so it all worked out.

Sewed last night – at first, it was just cheap-serging the edges of some fat quarters I’d forgotten to wash, but then I got ambitious instead of sleepy and reached for the DP&M shoe pattern I drafted last week. It sewed together OK, but was waaay too big for the dolls. Too wide, too long, uppers too wide, too. I looked at the pattern and realized I’d originally drawn it with far too much ‘give’ at the sole, then added a bit too wide seam allowance. Since the sole determines the uppers, the whole draft was completely off. Ironically, it probably would have fit an American Girl doll. I tucked and took in the unfortunate result until it mostly fit, then grabbed a good pencil and a ruler. Redrew everything and let it go for the night. I know me. By leaving it halfway undone, with no good pattern yet, I’m darn near certain to go back to it the next day. And, even if I’m just gonna throw it out, I still want it to fit, hence all the fiddling with a mock-up shoe I know is trashcan fodder.

Wish I could take one of their ‘authentic’ shoes apart for a pattern. But they’re made of thin, scratchy nylon satin – if I got the slipper apart, there’s a good chance it’d fray too much to be sewn back together. Plus, the least expensive of the DP&M outfits is Tiana’s ballet costume, which I already have. Paid $7. for it, delivered. Cheapest I can find now is $13., and it seems silly to buy two of ‘em – but the tutus for other princesses are even more expensive. Plus, and I’m just gonna say it, Jakks Pacific gave DP&M dolls some of the lousiest shoes I’ve ever seen. My worst effort is better made than the ones that came with the tutu and Elsa’s Frozen dress. Cheap material fitted so poorly that only a thin elastic strip at the heels keeps the shoes on the dolls’ feet. Even with all the tucks and darts and fraying fabric, the one I made last night is the best shoe I’ve ever seen for these dolls. Nope, if I want fairly good doll shoes for them, I pretty much have to make ‘em or find ‘em – and at least making them won’t cost much in money (time is probably about equal, though !).  

Shoe 3, Shoe 2
True to me, I woke up burning to sew shoes. It only intensified while I was tool-running. I was barely in the door before I was cutting out the next shoe trial. Second one was still too wide and too big. Third one, the upper was too long for the sole. Fourth is about right, but I won’t know until I duplicate it, and right now, my eyes are strained and need a rest. It’s not every day I make two pair of doll shoes in less than 14 hours ! I’m pretty pleased with Attempt #4, though, and I’m already looking forward to trying it again. It’s certainly used up a lot of my smallest scraps ! I don’t even have enough of the pink rose print fabric to make a whole shoe.

Made the long-delayed cake with Dearest Son to rest my eyes from tiny details. And forgot to turn on the oven. (sigh) I’ve found that it works best to make two single layers, frost them, and hand one to M & FIL. They can eat theirs at their own pace, and Dearest isn’t worried that his cake is gonna vanish in the night.

Kinda funny, though, that I was so desperate for elastic Thursday – and it’s still in my purse. Haven’t touched it since I bought it. Well, that’ll change once I get a good pair of shoes made. I’ll want to give m’self a break from making shoes !

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Library Thursday !

Current Notes: Good read, especially for a kids' book !

Seems like I’ve been at the Library all day ! First, I had to make good on my promise to take MIL to the local one – I’d had to cancel twice, and felt bad. Turned in nearly all of ours that we were done with and picked up a kids’ book I had on hold. I liked the author’s other works, and this one was great, too. If you find yourself  looking for something to read to or give to the younger set, I can recommend The Girl With 500 Middle Names, by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

I also scored a six-volume complete set of The Gale Encyclopedia of Science, Second Edition for a whoppin’ big $1. Print encyclopedias just aren’t in much demand now, but I still love having a good reference I can use at my leisure. And when I pay a dollar for something that was about $1K new…wow.

Then, after a quick light lunch, it was time for Game Day at PreviousTown Library. I’d bowed out last time, but I promised to make up for it this time, so… At least we didn’t have to leave early – no shopping this week. Dearest Son still wanted to leave early so we wouldn’t get stuck kidsitting like last time. The other parents still leave en masse for more secluded discussion spaces once they’ve assembled and leave me to keep up with the mass of kids, and never include me in whatever secret symbol the flock uses to take flight. I countered by wandering around, so they could see I wasn’t monitoring, and it’s like none of them cared. I’d say I helicopter too much, but every week, I see game pieces and floor pillows being thrown, and yelling arguments start that I have to quell. I find m’self unwilling to abandon Dearest to kids wilder than him, and the Library staff shouldn’t be expected to quiet loud kids when their parents are 50 feet away and pretending they don’t have kids at all.

This week, S. was setting up Monopoly with her son, so we joined them. About halfway through, Beloved Hubby joined us ! They’d finished early today, and he’s been in PreviousTown most of the week, so it was great. Dearest ended up riding home with him, I finished out the game – S’s son won – and stopped by Joanne’s for some elastic.

Have to confess, I wasn’t very pleased with Joanne’s elastic. Oh, it was at a good price for quite a bit of elastic, but I didn’t get why a bundle folded one way was $3.99 and the same width, same length, even the same brand folded another way was $3.29. Maybe because one was on an eye-level shelf, and I’d had to hunt a bit for the less expensive hank ? Anyway, I found a 40% off online coupon thanks to my phone and joined the line. Pretty lady ahead of me said she wished she’d brought her coupons, I offered to share the link to them with her. Or if she let me use her phone, I’d find it for her. She told me yes, she has the latest brand-name phone, but she had no idea how to use it and didn’t want to learn, much less let anyone else touch it. Okay, then. She then paid $72. for three small bundles of fabric and made a nose-to-the-ceiling-camera exit. Well, it’s customers like her that help pay for my coupon discounts, so long as everyone was happy, she didn’t bother me.

By the time I got back, my guys were sleepy and napped. I read all three Omnibus editions of Kitchen Princess manga that I’d snagged from the PreviousTown library. Hope the next one is due out soon ! Cute as heck, innocent as a Harlequin novel from the early 70s, and comes with recipes. There is a fourth Omnibus, and I’ve already requested a hold for it.

Didn’t get to sew last night, it was raining hard – thunderstorm ! – and I always sleep like a brick when it rains. Crashed fairly early, so I’m hoping to use my new elastic tonight ! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Belle in gingham

Current Notes: I'm getting better at corrections on the fly !

I’m really enjoying my nightly sewing ! It’s quiet, I’m not in anybody’s way, I can take all the time I want, nobody needs me to suddenly stop what I’m doing to and go do something else, and I can watch Netflix or crank the MP3 player all the way up with my headphones. It’s almost meditative. And then, all of a sudden, boom ! New doll clothes in my hands !

I used a new pattern last night, one I found on Bella Online, here. It looked waaay big for Belle & Tia, but I wanted to try it anyway. I tell ya, after darn near learning to sew with Barbie and Monster High patterns, the ones for Crissy and DP&M dolls look absolutely huge ! It’s evidently been a long time since I sewed for My Size Barbie, that’s fer sure.

And I was right. It hung off Belle’s shoulders like a Mal-Wart sack, but it’d been easy to sew and good practice on narrow curved hems… I hated to trash decent hemming. So I eliminated most of the angled seams and sewed ‘em straighter, which eliminated a lot of the billowing flounce. Shoulders were still too wide, though, so I tucked a quick faux button placket down the front. Or I can add some lace to the hem, either way. The original pattern called for a ruffle added to the bottom edge, with perhaps some lace at the ruffle’s hem, so I can also try it that way. For a fitting trial, though, like Tia’s, it’s not that bad.  

And this afternoon, I made matching panties ! Only problem is, I’m out of ¼” white elastic – I only have narrower and wider in the stash. The quarter-inch bIack elastic I have showed right through the fabric, so I ended up making a casing for the narrower stuff I had, which takes more fabric. So Belle’s new undies are bikinis, instead of briefs. Maybe I’m just sleepy, but for whatever reason, that is so funny to me, that I made Princess Belle some tiny bikini panties, mostly by accident. Now that I know . . . need to make a pair to match Tia’s pants, so that’s probably tonight’s project. Too bad I never got near a store to buy more elastic. May just alter the pattern, since Tia definitely wants briefs. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ok, now that everything I bought is cleaned, stored, opened, and enjoyed... sewing tiiiiime !

Current Notes: Finally, the last Deluxe Fashion Pack...well, packaging ! 

Local transformer blew up late last night, looks like it took Dearest Son’s computer’s power supply with it. Or it just went belly-up on its own, no telling. He was actually fairly mellow about it – it helped that the tablet goes online, and he could use that. Plus I finally installed the Wii to the living room TV so that we can watch Netflix out there now. Been meaning to do that since we moved.

Dearest’s first movie choice ? Ghostbusters 2. Gosh, I miss Harold Ramis…(sniff)

(grin) Got the karate-gi style shirt stitched up late Monday night, and decided to wait for sunlight for a decent photo of it. The pattern called for bias tape edging and belt, well, since this was a fitting trial, I just hemmed it instead. This fabric also has some spots that didn’t think were very prominent… until I finished stitching it. Oh, well. Maybe they’ll come out in the wash.

Sleeves are still a bit long, even after I took them up about a quarter inch on the fly, so I’ll amend the pattern, but the fit is otherwise pretty good along the arms without any adjustment. I think it’s a bit blousy in the back, though, so I may narrow it a bit. Pattern also calls for a sewn-on belt secured with snaps, but I’m lazy, so I grabbed a purple fold-over elastic strip (formerly a 1-of-6 headband pack at Dollar Tree) and gave Tia a snazzy tie-on belt that holds it together instead.

I’ve already got the next pattern picked out – here’s hoping for early nights for my guys again !

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tia in Gingham

Current Notes: Gingham always says 'Spring' !

It got quiet early last night at Chez Insanity – Beloved Hubby headed back to work today, so he turned in early, and Dearest Son wasn’t long behind him, evidently having picked up the headache I shed earlier in the day. Not sure if it was due to the gunk we all breathed in while getting the first part of the kitchen floor repairs underway, or spring pollen, or it’s just my semi-annual ‘can’t breathe’ week, but we were all tired and mildly ill. I’d taken a nap earlier – if you wanna call falling asleep in my desk chair a nap – otherwise, I’d have hit the hay with my guys.

Dug around until I found the still-stained fabric in the laundry baskets and grabbed the Crissy elastic-waist pants pattern I printed from last week. It’s a shame about the fabric, it’s nice ivory cotton (I think) with a lovely linen texture to it, but it got dusty then a bit icky (have I mentioned my ILs survive mostly on fried foods ?), and unfortunately, a hot wash didn’t quite erase it all. But the slightly off-color spots remaining still made nice test fabric, and not all of it was damaged. Without even planning it, the biggest spot ended up on the pants seat, which worked out pretty well !

I used McCall’s 2182, View C, medium size. It’s possible Tia could even fit the small size, but as it was, the only adjustment I had to make was length and elastic. Pattern called for a ten-inch strip of elastic, I only used 6 ½, since I’d only used six inches on the panties. A bit snug with the thicker pants fabric, so next time I may use 6 ¾ or 7 inches, not a big deal either way. The pants slid on easily, crotched well, and had a nice wide straight leg without being bell-bottom dated, but were waaay too long. Even eliminating the half inch hem, I had to take off another half inch, which still included a half-inch hem. So, all in all, I took off about an inch and a half, and left a half-inch hem for the next trial. They’re actually still a bit long, so I may end up taking another quarter or half inch off then.  When I finally thought to read the pattern envelope, it turned out to be a general, non-specific one for dolls between 17 and 21 inches tall, so I shouldn’t be at all surprised I had length problems !

Still, I’m pleased. I could easily turn these into waistband pants with either gathering or darts, and only having to make the simplest alteration possible means I’ll be using this pattern again. I also have the coordinating karate gi-style jacket printed up – no telling where or when you’ll see that one stitched ! And now I want to try a pattern for slacks made *just* for Crissy, see if those fit as well.

Darn, it felt good to create again. So glad I didn’t go to the thrift – I’d have had to spend the time cleaning or otherwise focused on whatever new thing I bought instead of sewing !

As for today, I spent most of it cleaning. But Beloved and Dearest should be turning in early again tonight…

Sunday, April 20, 2014

See Tia Sparkle !

Current Notes: I have got to make Tia some new clothes already ! 

Skipped the thrift today. Just couldn’t work up an interest in time to go. Maybe later this week, but right now, I have enough of everything right here. In fact, I’m having trouble placing it all where it’ll be safe. So I may just skip this whole week. It felt good to linger around instead of dashing off this morning.

Learned I don’t like whole-wheat English muffins. Love the regular ones, but whole wheat is just too springy to toast up dry and crunchy, the way I like ‘em. At least they were from the bread section at DTree – and I scored regular ones last time I went !

While I didn’t get off my round rear to do it, I did make something today. Finally took apart the ‘bling’ lanyard I got from Dollar Tree earlier this month and made Tia a sparkly headband from it. It’s basically a strip of plastic ‘rhinestones’ glued to felt, so I simply measured her head, cut the lanyard and elastic to fit, and hand-sewed them together while watching old, nostalgic music videos on YouTube. Since that only used ten inches of the nearly 30, I had plenty left, and knocked out a similar one for Miss Rarity. With half remaining of the original strip, I can easily make headbands for other dolls. It’s a bit too thick for belts for most of the smaller ones.

I’m glad I hand-sewed it, as I had to clean glue residue off the needle with each line of stitches. That would have been a nightmare if I’d tried to run it through the sewing machine. The keyring originally included replaced a splayed and damaged one on my green star carabiner keychain, and the plastic clasp and black cord became a ‘tombstone’ necklace for Slo Mo. Not bad for a buck ! I’d get more – there were several colors available when I bought the silver one – but they’re long gone. Well, maybe they’ll come back one day. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Home Works #2

Current Notes: Sorry there's no image, but believe me, you don't wanna see our kitchen right now ! 
It wasn't that great before...

Och, my right arm hurts ! Today for fun and exercise, Beloved Hubby ripped up the crappy linoleum flooring in the kitchen, and removed the useless breakfast bar. He plans to tile the floor, which he’s done before, beautifully, and move the fridge to where the bar was. The current curling linoleum came up easily, since it was put on top of some other even uglier linoleum (sigh), but we had to scrape up glue and paper to get to bare concrete for the later tiling. That’s why my arm hurts.

All three of us were down there scraping, had been for a half hour, when MIL and FIL came in to check our progress. MIL asked if Beloved could move the bar to their bedroom (um, they’ve spent the last few days telling me how much space they’ve regained during their ongoing cleanout – why would they even want it ?) – he was happy to say he’d had to dismantle it to remove it. Nothing about their Hugh Jass TV plans, though.

Friday, April 18, 2014

So not worth $13., much less the MSRP !

Current Notes: Photo repeat. Sorry !

If you were slightly jealous of me buying the Winx ‘Stella Design Studio’ playset, well, have a laugh on me. I opened it today. If I’d have known some of what met my wondering gaze ahead of time, I’d have taken it back for a refund. First off, the ‘backdrop’ that goes behind the table ? Nice recycling idea, but they put an edge of it right where the box is glued shut. No way can anybody open it and not wreck part of the thing.

Second, the ‘Sewing machine makes real sewing sounds’ ? Don’t you believe it. Someone over at Jakks Pacific got the idea that kids are so weak, they can’t properly apply stickers to polyester, so they put a roller mechanism under the sewing machine. It’s supposedly to push down the stickers for better adhesion. Ok, fine, but in practice, it means the sewing machine doesn’t sit flat on the desk. Or anywhere. There’s no recess for it, it either falls forward or back, your choice. Kind of like if someone put a rolling pin under your sewing machine, and about as useful. I know I like to push my sewing machine back and forth while I’m using it, don’t you ?

As for the ‘real sound’ effects, well, you have your choice. A ‘rolling’ sound that pretty much sounds like any plastic free-wheeling car toy you’ve ever touched, or a snapping, cracking sound that would be very alarming coming out of your machine, for sure ! Beloved Hubby dug the roller piece out with minimal plastic damage, so mine at least sits flat now, and won’t make frightening snapping noises any more.

Not much else to the set. One polyester tube top. Stickers are very nice – two small sheets of pretty iridescent ones and four tiny Winx t-shirt designs, kind of like iron-ons, probably identical to kid-size designs on Mal-Wart tees. Table is kinda cute, even with the fairy-wing X legs. Just wish half of it wasn’t carved up for the rest of the set, which is mostly cardboard. Backdrop, coat hangers and thin cardboard chest-only dress forms. Wish they’d done something more than include four identical dress forms. A real dress-sized one would have been nice, and would have broken up the strict parallel pattern on the desk. Not sure what to do with cardboard coat hangers – there’s nowhere on the playset to hang them.

The Stella doll is a donation, for sure. I think I now know why Winx always wear such short clothing. Their legs are so long, they can’t help it. They buy a Barbie dress, and even after taking it in over an inch up the back, what was a knee-length dress on Babs is barely a tunic on them ! I was reminded of those old, rarely-seen Leggy dolls. Her shoes look great on Miss Rarity, though ! Her heels ride a bit past the shoes’ heels, but even that looks good.

Speaking of which, I’ll probably go to the thrift Sunday, so I’d best get my donations ready. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Beautiful, tranquil.....zzzzz...

Current Notes: I miss my old moon calendar...

Looks like today was our boring day this week ! No squirrels, no light installations, and not a lot of cleaning. Seems to be a headache – tummyache bug going around, and everyone here’s got it in varying degrees. So we mostly rested, relaxed, read, slept, and occasionally nibbled on crackers. If it weren’t for feeling ill, it would have been a good day !

I did sweep up some more – seeing all the cat fur, dust, unpopped popcorn kernels. and bits of cutaway paper under various Arena furniture yesterday really motivated me. Got most of the rest of the living room while I was at it, except under some of the tools and tool chests too big for me to move. At this rate, I may actually sew before month’s end !

We got to go out for a quick snack, so I got a regular Happy Meal with just a little cheeseburger. I’m slowly becoming addicted to apple slices. Today I got some weird monkey magnets, so I went in, hoping for pony. I was given four choices – DJ Pon3, Rainbow Dash, a Littlest Pet Shop monkey, and another set of magnets. What is with McD and monkeys ? Anyway, I already had Rainbow and DJ, but Dearest Son didn’t, so I got him that one. He was happy – a 10-pc McNugget adult meal and a pony he really likes. Guess the pony promo is nearly over. I didn’t do too bad, five out of eight. Next one is Spider-Man, so I can go back to adult meals with bacon next time we dine there, which will be some time, thank Everything. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I have my very own stars now !

Current Notes: It took me so many tries to get these to look right, instead of a buncha light blobs !

Today started briskly at about ten minutes ‘til 7. We were treated to our own version of a Mississippi Squirrel Revival, right in our own bedroom ! Somehow, a little grey squirrel got in there and was going for the candy bowl when he overturned it, knocked it to the floor, and in the ensuring panic, scattered books, Wii games, and dirty socks trying to get away. Luckily, he headed for the bathroom, so we opened the window, gave him a two by four under it to climb up, and left him alone behind a closed door. He was too scared to move, so four hours later, Beloved Hubby very casually picked him up and took him outside. I was grateful and relieved – and glad he’d put on gloves first ! Also glad Ginger didn’t spot him, or the carnage would have been longer, messier, louder, and probably deadly.

Beloved also hung the stars for me this evening. Actually, it was just a tacky light display string from the thrift store (possibly from Big Lots or Family Dollar originally, from the looks of the packaging), but I liked it, and it came home with me for a mere two bucks. And then, like me, it sat around for a month. With all the housework underway, I decided to either use them and enjoy the tacky I paid for, or donate them back - either way, they had to be elsewhere by nightfall. I got the end two hung, and the second on the right, but couldn’t get the other two without moving the whole Arena, even with the stepladder. Beloved got the last two from the first rung of the ladder without moving anything. He’s amazing !

And I have stars I can say were hung just for me, that shine day or night. And that I choose to enjoy my tacky. While everything but the main Arena was pulled out and shuffled around, I swept underneath things that shamefully hadn’t been cleaned for a while, and rearranged some tools so I could get to the Arena. Sometimes my chair gets blocked by tool chests and boxes. It’s an easy excuse, but I gotta get with it. We also need to redo our living spaces. I’m hoping FIL reclaims their HUGE television from the living room. We go weeks without using it, and frankly, I prefer our smaller, thinner one. Beloved’s planning to eliminate the living room closet and kitchen pantry, and install built-in bookcases/ DVD shelves with a TV shelf that’d make much better use of the space.

But that’s in the future. For now, the stars knocked over some of the MH dolls on the bleachers, which is OK – I’ve been meaning to take them all down, do some quick dusting and adjusting, and maybe eliminate a few. I’m way past due for that.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sparklies from Dollar Tree !

Current Notes: Shiny stars !

Busy day today. Beloved Hubby had a short list of things he wanted from Dollar Tree, and so did MIL, so I got to take Dearest Son ! Kind of the same-old, same-old, but they had my popcorn chips back in stock, so I was happy. I also found a pack of plastic ‘jewels and gems’ with four silver stars in it – it took some digging – and snagged it, too. Not sure what I’m going to do with the stars, or the other 26 plastic shinies in the baggie, but they’re certainly fun to look at ! They also had many colors of faceted thumbnail-size ‘gemstones’ that were just beautiful. I’d have a bowlful if I wasn’t trying to be careful of my spending. I was already having to justify two bags of popcorn chips, ya know.

They also had some nice kid-size butterfly wings in stock and new fashion dolls on the pegs. Dolls are the usual strange blow-molds with stringy hair, but many of their dresses trod that difficult line between ‘nice’ and ‘super cheap’. For the most part, the fabric was intriguing, the sewing and trim choices could be improved a twitch. There were two or three I wouldn’t have minded having, but my basket was already getting full. And I kind of hesitate when the dress doesn’t fit the doll it’s intended for, and it’s obvious.

Before and after, it was laundry day, and I’d sort of skipped it last week, as FIL had a lot to do because of the old water heater’s flooding. So I had mega-piles of it today. Saving the last load for tomorrow – bathroom floor mats – so they can dry all day in the sun, over the fence.

And thanks to an e-mail ‘Sale !’ ad, I scored my choice of two free machine embroidery sets from Designs By SiCK, and took a bit of inventory. I hate buying the same thing twice when I don’t have to, and not all embroidery places can throw up a ‘you already have this one’ flag. So I always check, just in case. I knew I didn’t have ‘Spring Sewing Blocks’, as it was just released last week, but the ’53 Miniature Snowflakes’ set I wasn’t sure about. And the Snowflake Alphabet they sell is pretty, but the one I already had, I liked better. I used the points I earned from dozens of promotions back when I was on that site constantly, so the two I got didn’t cost any money and there’s still enough for a couple sale sets left. Yaay !

I may actually get back into machine embroidery soon. I want to use the million or so designs I have sitting on my hard drive, not to mention my lovely machine, Brody. I’ve been thinking about some of my behaviors over the years, and just recently began to understand why I’ve done some things pretty much the wrong way for decades. Sure, it’s easy to say ‘I don’t try as often as I should, because I’m afraid of failure’, it’s another to see how that’s been working in my life – short answer, it hasn’t – and challenge it. I also get very frustrated very fast, and while I don’t normally quit, I do tend to ‘put off’ trying again once the original project is complete. By then, there’s twelve more projects that intrigue me. And, of course, most of them need me to purchase just one little element…

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mmmmm...tasty !

Current Notes: Dibs on the blue wing ! 

Look, I’m a modern woman. I can adjust to all kinds of thinking that most emphatically aren't my own, but applying the word ‘vegan’ to stuff that has nothing to do with food is really annoying to me lately. First time I ran up against ‘vegan leather’, I had to laugh – it was an old coat that was cheap crappy vinyl when it was new ! Today, though, really took the gluten-free biscuit. Was touring some craft sites when I saw ‘Vegan Butterfly Art’. I actually had to blink my eyes a couple times and look again. The page still read ‘Vegan Butterfly Art’. Wow. Paper butterflies attached to more paper.

But I started thinking about it. How much meat is on a butterfly ? Have they ever been raised for meat, or all they all free-range ? Who among us hasn’t pushed away from a lovely midsummer butterfly buffet, patting our tummies and declaring that we usually just eat one, those big beautiful monarchs are just too much meat ! And the last time I had to leave my vegan-certified paper salad partially uneaten, I nearly cried.

Now I’m all hungry.

Believe this or not, last night I finally got off my lazy butt and made something. But even then, at the pinnacle of my creativity (at least for that night), I was indolent. Instead of walking all the way to the kitchen for some better cardboard and picking up some clean drawing paper from the Arena on the way back, I dug around what I could reach from my comfy chair. And traced Tia’s left foot on a square of paper that previously separated an unfortunately delicious piece of provolone cheese from its twin for breakfast that morning. I expanded the tracing with a seam allowance sketched out on a flattened pack of cigarettes. May not have been the best cardboard in the house, but for what Beloved Hubby pays for a pack, I’m sure it was the most expensive ! A shoe pattern – finally !

It was such a rare thing, it snowed this morning. Just a flurry that melted before it hit the ground, but snow in April ? Bizarre. I can only conclude that my sudden movement has shocked the planet and caused it. I’ll try to be more careful in the future, I promise.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Darn you, Thrift Store !!

Current Notes: All this and a bag of clothes for less than $22. ! 
I keep hitting sales like this, we'll need to finance a house expansion ! 

Got to hit the thrift just as the doors opened – in time to see someone sweep an armload of 25c porcelain dolls into her cart. At least now I know who buys all the dolls on Sunday tag days ! Glad I don’t like porcelains. And these had been around since I started going there - plenty of dust !

I admit, I couldn’t help looking for that bag of dolls I didn’t buy Thursday. Wasn’t behind the counter. Wasn’t with the dolls on display (very thin display this week, as most of the porcelains were in that one woman’s cart). Not with the bagged toys in the front bin. Not with the toys in the usual loose bin in the back. I’d resigned m’self to knowing someone else bought them, and I was OK with it – truly, did I really need to spend another $7. on dolls, and that mostly for their clothes ? – when I found the bag over in Stationery/ Crafts.

So, of course, I had to buy it. It was destiny ! Ok, ok, I just went ahead and bought it. What the heck. I also bought five pair of pants (three for Dearest Son, two for Beloved Hubby), and the whole adventure was $11.60. I knew I wasn’t gonna save any money on the dolls, as they’d just been put out for sale a few days ago, but I am kinda proud over the pants. Beloved loves his, it’s harder to get a reaction out of Dearest when it comes to clothes.

Debated over buying the unopened Dazzle gold/red cowboy outfit. Remember those ? Miniature Barbie dolls from Mattel. So tiny ! So 80s ! So…unopened…worth anything ? In the end, I decided that, if I wasn’t gonna play with it, it was kind of a waste of money to buy it in hopes of resale. Of course, I looked it up once I got home… and it’s selling for about what the thrift was asking. Take away eBay and PayPal’s cut, and I really would have lost money. So I’m glad I bought what I did.

I also found Disney Store Cinderella again, wearing the pink ‘made by mice and birds’ makeover dress – I was tempted, ‘cause I never had that dress either, but it was torn in three places and sewn back together in two, perhaps by the mice and birds again, so I’ll wait. Snow White seems to have found a home, and I can’t even remember what she was wearing.

After Dearest Son was absorbed in a movie and Beloved Hubby was napping, I tore into the bag. I scored three well-dressed dolls – Disney Store Pocahontas, as previously mentioned, in the Cinderella Work Dress, a Mal-Wart Rapunzel definitely wearing the second accessory pack Jasmine purple dress, and Mulan, still in her signature gown. I’m fairly certain that both Pocahontas and Mulan are late 2012 Diz Store dolls. It’s amazing how pale Mulan’s skintone is, especially next to Pocahontas and Jasmine. It looks even more translucent next to Rapunzel. I can see where the previous owner cut most of her stray lock of hair. Wish her expression was as lively as the animated version’s.

But before the afternoon had passed, I’d finished with all the new dolls’ hair and cleaning. So tempted to reroot the second Rapunzel with short brown hair. Slo Mo watched the parade of pretty girls swap clothing and was idly eyeing the red ‘slave girl Jasmine’ pants, so I hid them. Although, if I’d had the bra top to match… still, red’s not really his color, ya know. Now, the turquoise pair, or the Mulan gown…I’ll leave those out for him, in case he gets bored tonight.