Thursday, July 31, 2014

Please don't squeeze my shorts !

It only took about an hour to cheap-serge the short set – wish it’d only taken that long to sew ! I’d originally planned to stitch up just the shirt today, but I had caffeine for the first time in weeks, so I knew I’d be up late, may as well get to it. Besides, the shirt was the hard part. And it’d be great to say I used nearly all the fabric - for what I bought it for ! - in the same month I purchased it !

I had the worst time with the neckline facing. Ended up doing it twice and it’s still not really right, just sort of fudged. And this is at least the third (possibly fourth) time I’ve used this pattern. I still don’t know where I  wrong either time, but hopefully the next one will go better. I’m thinking of adding a goal of stitching up something for me once a month. Heck, it’d be six months before I had to buy fabric ! However, I’m now out of non-roll elastic, so I need to snag more, probably from Mal-Wart. Not going back to Hobby Lobby ever again.

I also need a large safety pin. All I have are those tiny brass ones. Ended up feeding the shorts’ elastic through the casing with a big paper clip. Not as good as a safety pin, but works in a pinch. The shirt as plotted by the pattern has split sleeves and hips, but I think next time, I’ll sew the sleeves shut to the ends, mostly for variety. I do like the split hem, it helps the shirt fit better and stay in place, so that stays.

Wow, I’m tired. And it’s already August. White Rabbit ! (for luck)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What a gorgeous wet day !

Rain, rain, beautiful rain ! I was so happy to see rain when I woke up this morning, I was completely OK with the fact that I left nearly every window in the 4Runner down – and that I’d be dragging clean, dry laundry through it. Wiped down the wet in the car and tossed the towel back in the dirty clothes basket, was on my way right at 7am. With only barely noticeable breathing constriction.

I had just shaken out the last of the freshly triple-washer laundered clothes into the Laundromat dryer when Beloved Hubby sneaked a Big Gulp soda on the folding and sorting table at my hip. How sweet ! I was parched, too. Friday will catch up our laundry, and I’m happy about that !

Dug my used-thrice-before pattern out of the bin last night, and found a bunch of cat hair and dust, so I swept. Then I got the little cuttings and threads under the Arena. Then the small bits of whatevers by Dearest Son’s desk. And over by the sofa. And in front of the TV. My cleaning project always start small – we needed plates for lunch, but I ended up doing half of everything dirty before I even started cooking. Then I finally cleaned the microwave. That thing was getting gross, as no one cleans it but me. Things get behind fast when I’m ill, but the more I do, the more I have energy to do, and I wanna keep that up. Even if it means I mostly sweat sweeping and scrubbing instead of cycling and walking. I’ll be sewing Blouse A and Shorts D – or the purple outfit modeled on the envelope. I cut mine a size larger, so it’s not so fitted.

Actually, though, what got me sweating even more than dishes was cutting out that pattern. Turns out, I bought enough for a shirt and shorts, so I cut it all out at once. Not a lot of cutaway scrap, but I’m sure my dolls will end up with a few separates made out of it. Since today’s temps were much cooler, we were using fans instead of the air conditioners, and it wasn’t long before I had sweat running down my face and into my eyes. The fresh air was so nice !  But I really hate cutting fabric, so I wanted to get it all done in one swoop and one sweaty afternoon. It’s an easy pattern, and I only had to cut seven pieces for both shirt and shorts. Tonight I’m gonna cheap serge (zig-zag) all the raw edges, even though it doesn’t seem to fray much.

I’m pretty proud of me. It’s a rare project that I buy and use the fabric in the same month ! J

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The $5.75 Shoe Boxes !

Beloved Hubby decided to come with on my Dr. visit, so I was pretty happy – driving to Capitol City at the start of lunch rush made me a bit nervous. I was more than happy to let him do it, and we even left early to hit OfficeDepotMax. They had a sale on SkullCandy headphones he wanted, and sales on scissors I wanted.

Scissors were sold out – should have expected that when they’re 25¢ a pair ! – but I snagged three of those little boxes. They’re normally a dollar each, and they come in handy for all sorts of things. Especially doll jewelry ! That’s where the purple one’s going, in with the DP&M  accessories bag. And his new headphones sound awesome. SkullCandys are great.

While poking around the other back-to-school sale shelves, I found something I’ve wanted for years – the shoe tape dispenser ! I’ve always liked it, but just couldn’t bring m’self to spend $10. to $15. for it. Five bucks ? Heck yeah ! I looked over snakeskin and neon ones for the classic black. I might have considered the cherry red one I’ve seen before, but they didn’t have it in stock. They did show various tape and Post-It note dispensers in the ad, but it didn’t show the shoe, so I didn’t think it was included. It is ! And if I ever get tired of it as a tape dispenser, I can always fill in the middle with fabric scraps and make a doll chair out of it !

Dr.  visit went well, it was mostly an after-hospital follow-up, and it didn’t take long. Unfortunately, I got a bit lightheaded and loopy when we stopped for lunch, and Beloved ended up bagging everything and getting me home. I wasn’t crashing, and I wasn’t late for meds – I’ve been far later ! – but after I took everything I’m supposed to, I felt better and ended up falling asleep for nearly an hour.

I should be sewing now, but I’m still sleepy and tired. Plus, I think I’m gonna start my blouse with that fruit slice seersucker tomorrow, and studying the pattern would be a better use of time. I’m also doing laundry and hitting the thrift, so it’ll be another great day. And maybe I’ll even get a running start on my shirt ! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

I can draft my own patterns - here's the proof !

What a grand and busy day today was ! I left even before  Beloved Hubby to get a jump start on the laundry – and had to ask him to bring me the quarters I left on my desk. Arrgh. But I got a triple-load done, went to the bank, put gas in the 4Runner, grabbed a shower, and, yes, got my new driver’s license. All before 11am !

Of course, that nearly wiped me out for a while, but I perked up after lunch and took FIL to the grocery store. They were having some deals on fresh veggies, so I got a great cauliflower – Dearest Son picked it out – a nice bundle of carrots and some lush green celery. Since I have a noon Dr. appointment tomorrow, I also let him pick out something special for lunch, and I got the chips and soda Beloved requested. And I still have enough change for another set of laundry Wednesday !

It was wonderful that the heat wasn’t so oppressive today, and should be cooler than today for the rest of the week. I don’t know if I should thank the Polar Vortex or Elsa ! But I was still a bit drained, so during the heat of the afternoon, I enjoyed one of my favorite pastimes – trawling online for free patterns ! Found a couple I didn’t already have, as usual for American Girl-size, and realized something. Of all those wonderful patterns I got for Crissy and the DP&M dolls from Crissy and Beth, and the dozens I’ve amassed before and since, I was still missing one basic article of clothing. A non-elastic waist skirt ! There’s not one in the lot. I’m all for elastic waists even in my own clothes, but there’s times you just want a waistband or just a flat hemmed one. Odd that there wasn’t one already – but then again, there was only one skirt in the lot, and it was floor length.

Well. That can’t stand. Wasn’t sure how I was gonna do it, but I was gonna at least take a running stand at a flat-waist slim fit skirt. Traced Belle #2’s waist to her knees on a sheet of paper, then measured how thick she was at her hips. Divided that by two and added a quarter-inch seam allowance…and got a too wide skirt front. Took off about half of that, added a half inch and cut that in half for the back pieces. And it fit ! I’m still surprised that worked. But I have a working skirt pattern I can adapt in any of a hundred ways ! Go me !

Decided I wanted a new blouse to go with it, so I folded yesterday’s ‘Hospital Gown’ pattern to make a short one. Just barely had enough of that fabric for it, so I eliminated the back closure allowance, which improved the fit a bit. This time, the blouse took less than an episode of Law & Order, so I think I have my go-to shirt pattern. Wanna tighten up that neckline, though. (grin) There’s loads of alterations I can make to that pattern !

So, yaaay ! Belle’s wearing a complete outfit that I created the patterns for. True, they’re simple, rather blocky patterns, but I made them all on my own, and they work ! I’m feeling pretty proud of me.

Also very, very tired…

Sunday, July 27, 2014

OK, so my 'Hospital Gown' needs work...

Busy, fun day today. Although we slept in, it wasn’t too late before we were up and at ‘em. We’ve closed off the Study to keep the air conditioning in more populated areas, so my laptop has been relocated to the bedroom. It works a lot better for me that way – I can use it plugged in in there, or take it into the living room on battery power. Battery lasts a little over an hour, so I’m not on it all day long. I have to keep the Arena clean for a surface for it, too. And I certainly don’t eat near it this way, either. So I think it’s a good change for me.  

We’re also having to keep the living room cleaned up, so we did a sweep and relocate this morning. I was trying to decide what to create and sew today – yup, I wanted to make my own pattern instead of spending all day trying to find someone else’s to adapt – when Beloved Hubby was ready to take a couple loads to the Laundromat. We’re way behind, and I think the guys are outta socks and/or underwear. I went with, and since I can do that on my own, I’ll keep doing a couple loads here and there during the week ‘til we catch up. If I go early, it won’t be so hot and it won’t take long, so I’ll probably scoot right after Beloved leaves for work. Oh, and the citrus slice fabric is ready to go – hopefully I can make that into a blouse later this week !

Made the bed with fresh-washed sheets, and put the rest away, but I just couldn’t nap. I wanted to sew ! Got a reasonable start to a pattern when my guys proposed going out for a late lunch, to the local Italian restaurant. I could get a big salad from their bar if it looked good, and they had everything from pizza for Dearest Son to Lasagna for Beloved. I even had a $5. off coupon for doing a survey for them last week  – let’s go !

Oh, it was heavenly ! I did go for the salad bar, and had a great munchy one that filled a platter with cheese and sunflower seeds and eggs and spinach and bacon, with two kinds of lettuce and strawberries and pears on the side. I also had a small slice of pizza and some of Beloved’s toasted ravioli – I want that next time ! We pretty much had the restaurant to ourselves, so we took our time and enjoyed chatting about video games, differential equations, and the difference between sewing doll shirts and momma shirts.

Once home, my guys immediately slept. I still wanted to sew. So I did ! It was so funny – was working away like an idiot, sweating the details on a super-basic first trial, when FIL noticed my concentration and lavishly complimented the loveliness of the work in progress. Didn’t have the heart to tell him I was working so hard to create a hospital gown ! It was so sweet of him.

And, well, there it is, even with the ribbon ties in the back, it doesn’t look much like a hospital gown, it looks more like just a big white shirt. Which can also come in handy. I may try it again in a repeating print, see if that works better. I have numerous tweaks to wreak on the trial pattern… I always work out problems on the actual item while I’m going sewing, instead of on the pattern. Then I have to go back and measure how far down did I have to redo the neckline, and where did I put the new underarm seam start ?

And yes, that’s the Ariel doll I fixed yesterday. Can't hardly even see the seam. I like it when my dolls have their own toys. This is also Belle #2 - I still have to brush out her hair. I just thought it was kind of funny because my hair looks all tumbled and tossed when I'm an in-patient, too. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tia knows how to beat the heat !

The new air conditioner is great – which is good, the repair we attempted to the other one didn’t work – but it does pull quite a lot of power. We’ve tripped the breaker twice. I’ve contacted the broken window unit’s manufacturer, and we’re in the queue for a warranty repair, so here’s hoping.

Otherwise today, I crossed several smaller items off the meaning-to-do list. The Arena’s surface is nice and clean, all wiped down, finally. While that was going on, I came across a small Ariel doll/puppet I got from the thrift – been meaning to stitch up a seam in her tail, then the dolls would have their own Little Mermaid doll. Five minutes of hand-sewing later, that was done. Got the printed out patterns on the Arena organized, with the ones I wanna try left in the pattern catcher, the others filed safely away. I know, they’re just printouts, and I can always print a fresh one, but…

After a while, I realized I was stalling, and dug through the patterns again, looking for something to try. Decided to take a simple sleeveless bodice for an AG-size and fit it to the DP&M girls *and* make it reversible. What can I say, I love a challenge. Besides, the Arena is directly across from the new air conditioner… lingering was not gonna be a problem !

Making it reversible took longer than just lining it, or making two of them. Plus, I’d never really done many reversible clothes before, and this time, I had no directions at all. It was also really hard to pull it right side out via the shoulders ! Yeah, I think I know where I messed that up ! But it came out great, even though I had to take it in on the fly. 
Very pleased with it.

So pleased that I made matching shorts to go with it ! Well, not completely matching, I didn’t have enough of the white-on-white fabric I used for the reverse of the shirt. But this white worked well, and I have lots of it ! I think it used to be a sheet. I used the McCalls Crissy pants pattern from before, since the printout had gotten torn at the bottom edge. After I finished those – the cuffs were a major challenge, of course I wanted those after I’d cut the pants to the short length I wanted without cuffs – I sort of noodled around with her hair. She looks adorable with twin ponytails, but a bit younger than I wanted. I ended up with the top bun, which looks fun, sophisticated, and cool. I hardly ever get hairstyles right !

Finished altering the pattern, since I’d had to take in quite a bit at the side seams and in the back, and hope to stitch it up again soon, as either a longer, lined tank top, or a simple hemmed version. But I will say, lining or making it reversible sure gives a cleaner finish. Think how much better it’d look if I actually ironed it ! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

A/C Heatwave Blues...

Beloved Hubby thinks there’s one piece that needs to be replaced in the air conditioner, and it should work again. Luckily, there’s a heating/ AC/ plumbing warehouse near here that should have it, and it’s open tomorrow. Meanwhile, we got through today a lot like yesterday, slow and easy. I’ve finished three books on my ‘bought this for 25¢, now all I gotta do is read it’ list due to the heat wave.

Luckily, Beloved Hubby was off a bit early, and he swept by and picked me up. It was nice to get out for a bit, but he mostly snagged me before he bought our new AC because my veteran’s discount saves us 10% on it ! This time, that savings was a nice chunk of change ! Other times it’s been pocket change, and I appreciate every penny.

It’s already installed, and for the first time in days, I’m comfortable. It’s larger than our other two, so here’s hoping our living areas will be cool for the rest of the season. Hope our old one is fixable tomorrow.

I’m gonna lie back and watch a movie. Hope you’re comfortable, too ! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

So very hot...

Today was nearly too hot to publish – we lost one of our two window AC units this morning. You may remember that the central air conditioning in this wrambling wreck of a house hasn’t worked no matter what we did to it, so we’ve been making do. Well, today it became making don’t, and we need more cash than we have to fix it. We’ll be doing better tomorrow – in fact, we were planning on buying a larger unit for the living room this weekend – but for today, it’s gonna be another 100°+ scorcher, so we’re kinda out of luck. Kinda ranks, because that particular unit was purchased maybe three  months ago. But without a receipt, Home Despot says there’s nothing they can help us with.

So we did what we could and got through the day. I’ve put most of my patterns into a cloud server that I can access via the Tab – instant portability I can take to the sewing machine Arena, and prop up if I’m working on something detailed ! I’ve read a lot of my thrift-store origin books. Found I can’t read feminist classic Fear of Flying.  It’s so focused on being witty and clever to itself, it isn’t at all engaging to me. Best Friends was endless tales of two women who never went a day without food, shelter or anything except by choice, and then complained endlessly that their lives were just soooo hard.

Tomorrow’s gonna be the same, but Beloved says he’s  coming home with an AC, so it won’t be completely awful. Actually, today wasn’t too bad, I moved the computer into the bedroom where the working AC is, and used it sparingly. With breezes and ceiling fans moving the air in the living room, it wasn’t too bad until mid-afternoon, where we retired to the bedroom. Don’t worry about the IL’s, they have their own AC, and aren’t worried a bit about ours !

I’m looking forward to having air conditioning in the living room. It’s been too hot to sew since back in May, and I’m so wiped out by the time the temperature drops to the mid 80s, all I wanna do is sleep. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I sewed ! At least a little...

Yaay ! Once again, I got something done because I was tired of moving it out of my way ! In today’s case, I got tired of shifting the bought-for-her-clothes Babysitter’s Club doll I got from the Flea Market around, and made her a super-simple gown. For whatever reason, I just can’t donate undressed dolls. So now, she is ! She’s now in the Donations bag, waiting to get dropped off on my next ride around town. It’s just a simple tube, pin fit to her in stretchy fabric. I added the jewelry hoops to keep the neckline up, and help keep it on the doll.

That leaves only one project left on my Arena table – the charity infant blankets. I was given fabric and ribbon for those when we first moved here from a neighbor, and I’ve been sitting on them ever since. I really don’t know how to make them, but that’s no excuse not to learn. I hope the cooling weather will come in time for me to start this weekend ! I really want to get that done and over with.

Because I still have this DP&M  Anna doll to redress and sell once that’s done…

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Back to boring Tuesday... thank Everything !

Not much going on today – about all I can say I got done was some meals and dishes. Oh, and I cleared off the shelf I’ve held reserved for my DP&M dolls. All four fit, but I’m not sure about keeping two Belle dolls. I’ve toyed with making my a custom favorite Disney princess –Leia ! – from one, but I really don’t think I have the skill to get that hair out of Belle’s. And if I can make Leia, why have two dolls anyway ?  I figure I can do what I’m already doing. Instead of having, say, Cinderella, Aurora, Elsa, and Rapunzel dolls, have the one I like best – Aurora - and buy/make Cinderella, Elsa, and Rapunzel’s gowns. So far, thanks to my birthday lot, I only need to score Cinderella, Ariel, and Merita’s issue gowns, and I’ll have all that was made for them – and will have to go make my own for the rest of ‘em ! Or collect all the skating dresses, and all the tea party dresses…

But I’m not really fond of the tea party dresses, except for Tiana’s, with the awesome picture hat, and the only thing I liked about their skating costumes was the skates. And I already have three pair of those ! I’m hoping that, if I keep it to three pair of skates, I can keep it to three dolls, but I think, sooner or later, that I’ll end up with a redhead…

Monday, July 21, 2014

DorrieBelle, scofflaw at large.

There’s such a thing as making a good-faith effort, and I did. Found all the paperwork, got up early for breakfast and a shower, even went to the bank to get cash funds… but came home with the same expired driver’s license. Computers are down statewide. Even if they had been as bushy-tailed and eager as I, I’d still have no new license. It reads ’$21.50’ for a Class D renewal on the confusing DPS website. Turns out, that’s a fee that is only tangentially attached to operating a car in this state. It’s mostly used to make tag agency workers laugh. No, the real fee is $33.50 ! Whoa.

So I came home, put all those papers back, and picked up my Dearest Son and went to the thrift ! Hmpft. They can call me when their computers are back up, and I’ll call them when I have more money. Sheesh.

But then it sort of happened again at the store, so I just sort of shrugged. I was looking for two appliances that, while are pretty cheap brand new, might be available second-hand for even less – a coffee maker and a hot air popcorn popper. Darn VA’s got me addicted to coffee again, and I’ve given my last three pots to the IL’s. No popcorn makers, but I found a $10. coffeepot for $5. Well…then I remembered that I don’t have any coffee, I gave that away with the pot. I could afford one, but not the other, so I left it there. I can sub with some hot chocolate I remembered, and try the tea again until things ebb back up.

Neither of us found much else promising, either. Grubby Barbies and tired babies, not much else in dolls or toys. Maybe Monday’s not the best day to visit. But I’m glad we got out and about. The grocery next door had a special on strawberries - $1. a pound ! Got plenty to share, and made sure M&FIL had a nice box of them. Also got a loaf of rye bread as a treat for me, and blueberry bagels on clearance for breakfasts. Dearest Son had his own treat to choose, and even shared a bit of it with me. He’s so sweet !

Unfortunately, it soon got hotter and hotter, and even making lunch beyond a cold sandwich was a bit of an effort. Thank Everything for leftover Chinese dinners ! I was so relieved when Beloved Hubby came home early. I really worry when he’s out on days this scorching.

Here’s my second Belle doll, the one from the birthday lot. She’s about as I found her, although I cleaned the newspaper ink smudges from her face and hands. For whatever reason, my seller just dropped her and the clothes into a box, with no bags, no nothing, then threw two wadded up pieces of newspaper on top and sealed it up. Both of us were lucky the dirt came off. And none of the shoes or other small pieces fell out, due to the huge dent and minor tears on one side. She finally has her  crown – yaaay ! – and one earring, too. This is Rapunzel’s nightwear, with the robe behind her. There’s even a little gold initial on each robe, which I am seriously thinking of picking out and easing flat. I’ve always hated clothes specifically for one doll only, and as you can see, some colors look better on other dolls than they do on the one they’re issued.

I have the slippers, too, for all my DP&M nightgowns, but they’re huge and always fall off unless the doll’s standing on ‘em. I’m thinking of adding a strip of clear elastic to hold them on, or just resew ‘em smaller. Haven’t decided yet. (grin) Now those slippers may fit AG-style and clone dolls, now that I think about it….

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Everybody's Free (To Feel Reseated !)

Click to see everybody ! 

There’s an incredible, almost indescribable sort of satisfaction that bounces around in your head when the die-hard ‘lavender and tea tree oil’ all-organic botanist comes around to ask you for that big spray jug of pesticide you keep around for when the cats’ fleas get a bit too rowdy. Or when their head cold just won’t go away with baking soda and peppermint, it’s time for Mucinex. (shrug) Happens sometimes.

I was all set to visit my neglected thrift shop when I stupidly stopped to verify my driver’s license. With a birthday in the dust, it’s always a good idea. Unless you really wanted to get out for a bit. Mine expired months ago – I’d updated it to vote in the 4-year before last election, and the DMV updated the whole license instead, months before my birthday. Guess what’s on my agenda early tomorrow morning ? Hafta spend a few minutes getting paperwork together – in our state, if you’ve let your license lapse, you gotta come up with a birth certificate.

So instead, I got to stay home and have fun with what I already got – always a good choice on a hot Sunday. All in all, and off and on, it took me about three hours to get the Monster High shelf cleaned and reset, but it really was worth it. Now I don’t feel so bad and neglectful when I look at them all. And I’m really glad I stopped when I did ! Cleaning and dusting that many took a long time, imagine if I’d had the more common twice that many. I even remembered to hang the three flying characters I could think of with MH-stand waist brackets suspended from screw-in cup hooks. Could have hung a few more, like the gargoyles, but the box the cup hooks was in is gone. In fact, the box that box was in has vanished. The things that happen when I’m stuck in a hospital room… Getting them finally hung up at last got those cup hooks off my desk, where the idea and initial experiment’s been waiting since May. Yaaay !

That job also had side-jobs, like digging out the stepstool toolbox to hang and clean with – it was buried under pounds of papers further wedged deep under Beloved Hubby’s desk. Took me 15 minutes and a ten minute break to get that out of there, much less use it. But since I also tossed out two boxes and moved some other things, there’s now space for it out there by the Arena. I’m the only one who uses it anyway.

Had to start and complete it today, since it took over a good chunk of the living room, and with all the traffic back and forth, it’d only be a matter of time before something got lost or broken. While I didn’t see any AWOL dolls, I still crawled under and checked – found some fabric pieces, three dead June bugs, and a live spider – and did a little cleaning there, too. So while it took longer, I stayed with it, and I’m proud of me. I think all 59 of my MH (Or, in the case two knockoffs and a Catwalk Kitty, MH-themed !) classmates are happy, too. Beloved was pleased to see me so industrious, so he sprung for Chinese for dinner ! Soo tasty… 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My snuggly birthday present !

I really enjoyed doing those put-off-forever little things this week, so I kept going with it. Finally got all those buttons from that grab bag I bought sorted out, and stored the long-ago washed fabric that’s been draped over various chairs for months. Moved around my rolling Arena carts and got them reorganized, too. Even managed to squeeze the last pattern purchases into the vintage pattern box I have for them, but it’s super-tight – any future purchases will have to be digital, for sure. I also discovered I had two copies of Simplicity 5276, pajamas and robes for American Girl-size dolls. To keep that from happening again, I updated my computer files to show everything I have, even if it’s not scanned yet. That was also fun.

Then I turned my attention to the box in the hallway. It’s been sitting there since I got discharged the first time, Beloved Hubby shoved it there while he cleaned. And my air tube has snagged on it ever since. So today, I cleaned it out, found space for the various stationery, CD Rom backups, manuals, and software. Finally – that box has orbited the living room since February. Now I can more around a lot easier, without the cannula snagging on it every time !

I’ve said it before so I’ll say it again – when you’re on a breathing tube, you’re modeling  the world’s most demanding train. Sure, it looks elegant and regal on Elsa, but hers doesn’t yank rather painfully up her nose at seemingly random moments, or snag on every little thing it can find on her ice crystal floors. Also, while we mean to or not, we all step on it. Even the cats.

I’m holding off one of the biggest jobs for tomorrow. Cats have knocked over nearly all my Monster High dolls from their seats on the bleacher shelf. Gonna clear it off completely, give it a good wipe down, then reseat everyone. I’m sort of dreading it, sort of looking forward to it.

I couldn’t find a good photo of my birthday present. Even the ‘buy this’ image isn’t the best, and I'm just too lazy to make my bed for photos. But I love my huge microfiber MH bedspread ! It’s so soft and cuddly, and will be fantastic when the nights get cold and stay that way for more than a week. Beloved Hubby and Dearest Son ordered it and it came just in time, so when it did get a bit brisk this week, it was ready for me to curl up under. I love it. It’s even reversible, so if I like, I can display skullettes and hearts instead of the ghouls. Even Beloved has liked having it over him earlier this week. What a great present ! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Did you miss the photos ? They're all yours now !

I sewed – just a little, but I did it ! Once the Arena was all tidied up (still have to really go after a serious cleaning, there’s cat hair everywhere), I cheap-serged the edges of that fruit-slice seersucker I bought a couple weeks ago. Basically, I traded two pair of Mal-Wart knockoff doll shoes that didn’t fit any of my dolls for three yards of that luscious summer print. At $1.50/yd, why not ? Soon it’ll be a simple ‘scrub’ style top, once it’s washed and ready. And I’m sure I’ll find some way to use up any scraps ! Since it seems a bit on the narrow side, I wanted to cheap-serge it so it wouldn’t fray much. And that’s done. Yaay !

I’m also taking pictures again ! This is the grey dress I was working on in between hospitalizations. 

Turned out OK, but it wouldn’t quite fasten at the top, which is when I got all itchy about eyelets. Not much on how the skirt turned out, either, but on the whole, it’s not a total disaster. I can do better on the lacing part, too. Here’s the fun part – it’s completely made from the legs Beloved Hubby cut off a pair of pants to make shorts ! All the stains are on the inside.  Not my best work, but not too shabby, either.

Either way, those photos are blog exclusive now. I haven’t been posting to Flickr in quite some time. In fact, I haven’t posted much there since I kind of resigned from Monster High. That spark will return eventually, but for now…I’m enjoying the DP&M dolls, even if I’m the only one. It satisfies my Fairy Godmother impulses. I mean, the dolls are $60. MSRP, but often go for $40. or less, brand new, and like MH, the clothes are worth more than the dolls. I can get a barely touched Belle on eBay for less than $15. all the time, but try to snag her ball gown separately. $20., if you can find one. (sneaky laugh) I have two…

So you can say – as I often do – that the DP&M dolls are under-appreciated, and that brings out my creative side when I have the energy to sustain it. However, as you may have guessed, I’ve been too ill to create much. So when my birthday came around, and so did this huge lot of DP&M stuff… well, we paid a lot, but got a lot, and a lot of hassle, but it’s here, finally, and I love it all. I now have a selection of tutus and nightgown/robe sets, three pair of ice skates and several pastel pairs of shoes, and even Belle’s red/pink gown and hooded cloak from the ‘Something There’ scene from the movie. And a second Belle doll. That’s how I have two of her yellow gowns. 

I’m very happy with it all, but my seller ranked. Took a week between cashing my funds and shipping the box, put two sheets of wadded up newspaper in on top of the doll so she was covered in ink, box was bashed in on one side…(sigh) I have no regrets buying the lot, or even what I paid – it was less than a third of the retail price for each outfit, and the doll was kind of a freebie – but I could have used a lot less hassle, since it’ll be a looooong time before I spend like that again !

I’ll start posting photos of the bounty, but tomorrow, I’ll show you what Beloved Hubby and Dearest Son ordered for me – it’s awesome. And with our weird weather, I’ve already been using it. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I feel like I can really say 'I'm BACK !' now.

It’s stupid, but I’m so proud of me ! Waay back in June, when I was first in the hospital, the cats pretty much took over my sewing Arena – especially the bars on the rolling cart that held ribbon spools. I’ve had to pick up unspooled ribbon about every day since, either winding it back up, or putting it back on the table when they finally pulled it completely off. Every first day I’ve come home, I see the pile and say to m’self, ‘You need to fix that.’, but either slept all day or got sick again. Well, today, I fixed it ! I got it coiled and stored, and hope to never see another Medusa-pile of ribbon on the floor. Darn cats.

From there, I was suddenly obsessed with doing all the little ‘meaning to do’ jobs, so I got working ! Found a new place for the battery charger. I had it by my nightstand, but now, there’s a lamp, a fan, a nebulizer, and the charger there, all using the same two outlets – even the extension cord couldn’t hold ‘em all. So I found a new place for the charger, something else I’ve been meaning to do, and straightened out everything else. Also got some long-delayed laundry put away, stacks of books reshelved, and the last of the hospital stuff and papers filed. Sounds like just a bit, but it turned out to be a lot of work !

(grin) I feel a lot better now, and wake up every morning with a to-do list long as a list of patterns I own… but only get maybe half done before my strength wanes. Well, half done is better than nothing done, and I can always pick up the undone jobs later. Long as I do something, I’m getting better, and so is this place – so hopefully I won’t get sick again !

I want to sew so bad…

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Awww... it's My First Diabetic Crash (tm) !

Ah, the glory of waking up in your own bed and choosing what you want for meals. No matter how the best hospital tries – and the VA does very well in the effort ! – or how hard the best hotel strives, there’s nothing better than a ham sandwich for dinner,  because that’s all you want for dinner, a ham sandwich. I had the world’s best frozen waffles and a banana this morning, and enjoyed every scrap. Beloved Hubby was all ready to celebrate me coming home, but I went for the sandwich option, due to sleepiness and funds. We can party later, when everyone feels more up to it, and we’re not broke.

Luckily, my sugar was back down this morning. It skyrockets when I’m in-patient. Probably because I eat everything on my plate if I can stomach it – there’s not a lot else to occupy time, even with a laptop and tablet. And despite the little warnings, I still get dessert, which is fruit half the time, a chocolate brownie or cake the rest. Stuff we don’t have at home, or I’d be even bigger ! So I’m sure it’ll drop once I’m back to my old routines. Plus, Beloved did the shopping, and he buys fruit, not snack cakes. Plus I'm still on steroids. 

Well. Talk about prescient. I just had a major hypoglycemic incident, and it scared the heck out of me. I thought I was just dizzy a bit, but I started pouring sweat and got dizzier and less coherent and more confused by the second. I couldn’t figure out why I was so hot, then so cold, so I looked up ‘profuse sweating’ on the tablet… ah. Guess it was down a bit too much. Oddly, my doctor’s office called to check up on me just as I was finishing my injection. A quick nap, and I was back up and ready for lunch. Talk about your learning curve… Thank Everything Dearest Son was here to help – he asked if he needed to call Daddy, or 911, or Grand-dad, offered to grab things for me, or just sit with me. He’s my hero !  

Anyway, I’m home and recovering – there’s bits and pieces of last week’s entries I need to post, and I never did show you what I got for my birthday ! So I’ll be around – and hopefully this is the last time I’ll have to come home from the hospital this summer ! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Whoo-hoo ! I'm home !!

Let's catch up a bit...

Well, guess where I’ve been – again ! Yup, few nights ago, my breathing treatments weren’t working, and my chest kept getting tighter, and the gunk I could occasionally cough up stopped coming out and instead settled in. When my o2 levels dropped under 85, we hit the button, and my butt was back on its way to the VA. I swear, I must have ‘RETURN TO SENDER’ on my hip…

Long story short, got admitted, got shuffled around, and got treated. Half the ward was coughing up gunk, you could hear us night and day. At least this time, I had one good room-mate, and then none, so I was pretty relaxed and focused more on my care instead of when I was coming home. I’m on steroids now, something I haven’t been on before for asthma- or at least, not on for a long time. It took me days, but I got most of the gunk out and my breathing is better now than it was the first time I got admitted in June.

Got sent home today, with new meds but not much else – there’s not much I can do as an out-patient for the defibrillator installation except make appointments and go from there. More exercise, more deep breathing, better food and activity choices, same as anybody else, nothing special. At least now, I feel like I can move !

Monday, July 14, 2014

OK, I think I finally caught up on my sleep...

Today I skipped the shower and Beloved Hubby and Dearest Son visited. Even they got bored. But I may be going home tomorrow ! 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Not much to say...

There’s no real exciting way to put it – I mostly slept all day and the high point of it was that I took a shower. Yaaay. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Still bored...

Still in the hospital. Not sure what they’re doing with me. Had another drive-by Dr. visit – I just barely woke up before he was gone ! About all I got was that I would be home soon, there wasn’t much here they couldn’t have me do at home myself, but the gunk is still in my lungs and I’m still not at my ‘correct’ blood oxygenation levels yet. No clue how I’m to get those fixed on my own besides continue ‘new breathing’ – clearly everything else I was doing wrong was enough to tumble me into my third ER ride in two months ! – but he had faith in me, at least, that I could.

Rest of the day was another sit-back and do what I could. But without new orders or instructions, it was mostly doll and computer time. Daytime TV still ranks. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Really bored.

Once my roommate moved out, I got moved, too – up to the 7th floor, in a room all my own. Yaaay ! I’m across the hall from a man who’s sure to heave a kidney up past his tonsils, he’s coughing easily twice as hard as me. Poor guy.

Beloved Hubby brought me my laptop, a few movies, more clean clothes, some cracker snacks, and the LDP&M Belle doll. Hope to get a few more measurements and compare more to patterns I already have. And watch a few more movies Sunday night. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I'm gonna be a cyborg soon !

Beloved Hubby left last night with a long list of stuff to bring back Friday – I gave him tonight off, he was just too tired after last night to come visit today.

They moved my room, and I have an awesome roommate. But she’s kind of vain, or maybe I just get that from the three bags of clothes and two of cosmetics she brought for a two-day surgery. She’s leaving tomorrow, too, but I don’t know how, since she keeps rating her pain at 8 or higher on the scale. (sigh) Hope I don’t get a crazy new roomie like the one from my last stay !

And I’m now slotted for a defibrillator. Already been approved, and they’ve explained some of what we’ll have to do to be ready for the installation. I’m scared fluidless about the surgery, but I really want the healthier, far less fragile life afterward, so I’m just gonna put my head down and make it happen. Long as they tell me what I can do to make it work, my Docs can consider it done.

Coughed up a ton of gunk today, hopefully there’s not much left in my lungs. Still not very strong, but they’re finally encouraging me to walk a little – even though there’s a ‘Fall Risk’ sticker on my hospital bracelet. Guess those steroids do leave me as off balance as I thought they did. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Once again, luckily with no real pain...

Guess where I ended up again today. Yup. I can hardly believe it m’self. But despite the nebulizer and the O2 supply, my chest just kept getting tighter all day. I found that I was stuck waiting next to the nebulizer for my next treatment, trying to make sure it was the right time, but wishing hard the ‘right time’ was ‘right then’. And even rushing from one to the next didn’t help much. Felt good, but I was soon tight again. And none of any of it was keeping me from coughing and occasionally kicking out some of the gunk I could still feel cruising around in my lungs.

All too soon, nothing I did got my O2 past 87, and night was fast approaching. We hit the button, and I was once again loaded into an ambulance. My breathing never gets better after 9pm. According to their device, I was closer to 82, and dipping into the high 70s while they scrambled to get equipment on me. And once at the VA, I wasn’t doing much better – they put me on steroids ! And an IV of Magnesium.

So now I’m admitted, and there’s no telling for how long. At least I’ll already be here for my Thursday appointments ! I’m in Critical Care, which means my own room, which is both scary and relaxing. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Boom Day !

Beloved Hubby had to work today, so it was like any other day at Chez Insanity. I discovered that 30 cherries for breakfast paired with a going-fast nectarine spiked my diabetes numbers higher than if I’d had a wedge of birthday cake, so I gotta be more careful with fruit. Even the healthy stuff’s dangerous ! My new life would be so much easier if I liked non-starchy vegetables…

My supply of DP&M clothes has begun to outstrip the capabilities of the box the Cinderella nightgown came in, so I’ve been looking at storage boxes. I’d reclaim the one that used to hold my MH stuff, but I let Dearest Son have it, and it’s been destroyed. Meanwhile, there’s the zippered plastic bag from my new bedding – show you what I got for my birthday tomorrow ! – drifting around the bedroom… and now I know about how big a box I’ll need if/when I buy one. There’s not a lot of clothes for them, but those gowns and tutus take up a lot of space. And there’s more coming…if my seller ever mails the box.

Anyway, I knocked out the dishes early – first time I’ve done them since I got back from the hospital ! – and had some afternoon time. By the time I cleaned up the latest cat-generated mess in the Arena, Beloved Hubby was home ! We had a nice dinner and watched fireworks from the backyard.

Hope your Fourth was relaxing and fun !

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Aurora's Babysitters' Club outfit !

If it weren't for stretch knit, this would be a waste
of a dollar.
It’s funny. I have a h-u-g-e birthday present on the way, and spent half of yesterday in various stores, so I’m not shopping for a while. Being online bores me, so I’m not often on like I used to be. I’m not hunting MH dolls anymore. If I weren’t still weak and often tired, I’d have hours to sew and clean with ! Well, sew at least. Dorrie hate cleaning.

Dorrie does need a small bedside trash can, since all my medical equipment generates trash. I’d thought to wait ‘til my next trip to Dollar Tree, but I wondered if I could *make* a little wastebasket. Darn shame FIL switched coffees, those Folgers red plastic cans would have been about right. Mostly, I was looking for something to hold Mal-Wart type sacks. And it turns out, I had that. Two plastic canvas sheets, ‘sewn’ together with woven strips from a thrift store craft grab-bag, can easily make a simple cylinder (or an inadvertent heart !) to hold a recycled sack. Ten minutes later, I had my new ‘trash can’. Or maybe ‘heart-shaped trash sack form’ would be more accurate. Either way, I had what I needed, and it was free, so I’m happy !

This afternoon,  M & FIL needed to go grocery shopping, and Dearest Son decided to tag along. So I had nearly two hours to m’self ! Wow. I started out like usual – had a snack, watched some YouTube, read a little – but then I snapped to and decided to go sew. Time was wasting ! And I finally finished the skirt part of a dress I was trying out before I landed in the hospital, then attached it to the bodice. Due to some slight alterations, this dress requires an exotic (for me) back closure, or it’d already be done. Only took a month ! J

I was about to start on that when Beloved Hubby came home. I made him a birthday cake snack while we chatted about the news and events of the day, just barely got him down for a nap when my phone chimed – my shoppers were ready for pick-up. I know when my time to craft is up ! But I was happy to have come so close to finishing that dress… who knows, maybe I’ll complete it tonight !

For today, though, here's Aurora wearing the blouse, skirt, and necklace I snagged from the Babysitter's Club doll I got at the Flea Market. Seems years ago. It's a tight fit, but it works ! I think the pink tights will fit, too - those were too dusty to wear, but they handled the wash very well and are now in the Accessories bag. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Honest... fabric just follows me home, I can't control it !

Don't need any of it, but I like having it ! 
Aand…it’s all blown over. The turmoil brewing in Chez Insanity has already boiled over and settled. I keep forgetting that the 'commun-ication style’ between Beloved Hubby and FIL is almost completely quiet until it explodes, then everyone retreats to quiet corners overnight and discusses it all together the next day. From there, we all move on. Drives me crazy, but somehow it works for them, I just have to remember to keep my mouth shut, let Beloved and FIL work it out themselves. I did that admirably last night, the fuming started while I was giving m’self the nightly insulin shot, which I kept on doing and didn’t move ‘til they were done. Not like they were payin’ me any attention anyway, but least said, soonest forgiven, I always say.

Busy day today – dropped off and picked up Dearest Son from a playday, visited the new-last-year ‘fresh market’ style grocery store, returned the Mal-Wart doll shoes that were comically large on the DP&M girls, and hit a thrift. Cherry picked sale cherries, celery, and nectarines, and got 3oz of no-candy trail mix. I’m so nutritionally unlearned. I stood there in the bulk aisle with the various trail mixes, dismayed that the cheapest of them was still $4. a pound. Then I remembered all the times I had no problems at all paying four bucks for a 15oz bag of chips…and this was all good stuff, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. And, oh, was it tasty ! You can’t eat a lot of trail mix in one sitting without risking a tummyache, but three ounces is a lot of tastes ! I also got a bag of cherries for S., as a thanks for hosting Dearest.

The Mal-Wart Customer Service Manager was kind of snitty about my return, but given the look on her face, she was possibly snitty on her wedding day. Nothing I could do about it, but I managed to get some neat seersucker fabric at $1.50 a yard to make a shirt for me with, a markdown fabric glue stick – we’ll see how that works, or if it deserved to be busted down to a third of its former price – and an extension cord for the fan. Since I’m gonna be sewing this summer, I wanna be as cool as possible.

The thrift had the sheets Dearest’s been needing, and I’m almost jealous of them. They fit great, and are so soft and smooth… I also found a nearly new copy of 501 French Verbs, the classic tome for any language student, and since that’s what Beloved Hubby’s gonna take in college, it was well worth snagging. As for me, I got a paperback copy of Stephen King’s  Everything’s Eventual, which somehow escaped me back in ’02, and a pillowcase of small Halloween prints that’ll end up as doll clothes eventually. Not bad for ten bucks and tax !

But I was exhausted by the time all that was done. I fell asleep during a breathing treatment, and I’m ready for bed now. But there’s some cherries in the fridge that really wanna be eaten…I can hear them.