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Sunday, August 31, 2014

It's probably not gonna be a problem if you step on these blue felt shoes...



Yaay ! I made shoes ! I’m still pleased with me - I got over my reluctance to hand-sew anything, and for all the mistakes I made, these still look good. Of course, that’s not to say I’m not actively figuring out how to machine-sew these and use other fabrics (felt is kinda limited, after all), but I’m happy I tried by the given directions. If you need shoes for your BFC, Ink large-size doll, or your DP&M girl, I can tell you that this pattern works. Even if you can’t half hand-sew.


Otherwise, there’s not much to say about today. Read Library books, watched some movies. We splurged and got a dozen tacos and had a little party, just us three. You can tell your kid’s a teenager when there’s never any leftovers !


Polished off the last of the laundry, then changed all the sheets. And Dearest found a couple shirts lurking at the bottom of his closet. I found two missed towels. So we’re about ready for another triple-loader. Maybe Wednesday.



My DP&M Cinderella is due to arrive Thursday, because Target.com’s doing SurePost again, which always takes an extra day. Least I’m not in a real hurry for it. I have the bucks for two patterns tucked away, we’ll see how that gets spent. I’ve been so spoiled lately, I want to wait and space out the fun. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Merri's ready for Back-to-School ! (that's good - it started last week !)



I should title this photo 'HeavyAlterations', so that
when it turns up on Pinterest or somewhere,
someone else doesn't get stuck wondering how in the world
I got those jeans past her hips !
Got going on altering the BFC, Ink outfit to fit my DP&M girls. Found the ribbon and resewed the side seams of the jeans with it added. Now it’s almost too baggy ! But it allows the girls to sit down with only half their painted-on panties showing, so I hesitate to tweak it further. May add a ribbon belt, maybe that’ll help.



I know, I’ve been spoiled lately, but… since I now know at least the BFC, Ink sneakers fit, I splurged a little further and bought a shoe pattern made for them. Hey, at least it was on sale ! Beach Baby Dolls has a 30% off code on their home page and on their main Etsy page, but I don’t know how long it would last. I had just enough left in PayPal, too ! You can see it here.

I’ve hesitated because the shoe pattern is mostly for hand-sewing, and I’ve said it before – my hand sewing is bad enough to make a cat laugh. But I wanted a better fit than what I’ve created on my own, so I took the plunge. And they fit pretty well ! It was kind of relaxing to just take needle, thread, felt, and scissors over to the sofa – just under the air conditioner ! – and stitch along to something on Netflix. And, like any craft I can think of, I can’t snack and create at the same time, so it took up some prime munch-outta-boredom time, which is all good.

And this’ll make you laugh – I had to finish the white stitching on the BFC, Ink brown jeans by hand. Yup. I’ve been hand-sewing all day. At this rate, my hand sewing will soon become decent. Hmpft !


Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Fun !



For the first time in so long I can’t even remember, Beloved Hubby not only has Labor Day off, he has today off, too ! Whoo-hoo ! A four day weekend ! Unfortunately, it’ll be a stay-cation, we have a few bucks to have fun with, but not enough to really go anywhere, but that’s okay. Between Netflix, Amazon Prime, and nearly a hundred DVDs (plus dozens of patterns, several new ones, too !), I doubt we’ll get bored. Maybe hungry, but never bored.



Ordered my Disney Princess & Me Cinderella doll this morning, mostly because between Target’s discount price and my Red Card (5% more off, and free shipping), it’s cheaper to do it this way than try to find the dress alone on line. Plus, I can sell all three of my DP&M girls and maybe make a few bucks to fund other purchases. Once Cindy’s here, probably Wednesday or Thursday, the only issue gown I still lack will be Ariel’s, and she’s most assuredly not available at Cindy and Merri’s price point. I’ll probably end up waiting and trawling eBay for the Little Mermaid gown I want. As with Cinderella, there’s more than one, and I prefer the newer gown to the first one.


And was I ever surprised when I checked on the BFC, Ink outfit’s shipping, and found that it’d already been delivered ! Yup, there it was, on the porch. Wow. I just ordered it Wednesday afternoon, and didn’t even pay for accelerated shipping. Good news, the shoes fit, and look pretty good. Bad news on the clothes, only the vest and backpack fit, the shirt can be worn, but it’s steel corset tight, and the pants are a straight-out no-go.



But you know me, I paid ten bucks for that, I’m gonna get some use out of it besides plastic shoes. I’ve already ripped the four pintucks out of the blouse, so it’s got some ‘breathing room’, and the side seams to the jeans are the next to fall to the hunger of my seam ripper. Think I’ll add some wide black grosgrain ribbon to the sides, that’ll be an interesting ‘design element’ that should get the brown jeans over the girls’ hips ! 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Frozen Kleenex !



Yaaay ! Got to go to Dollar Tree today – and we had such fun ! But I have to quit reading their online ads before I go. Ours never has that stuff in stock yet. Somehow, though, I still managed to spend money. Got MIL a silky eye mask to help her sleep, Dearest Son and Beloved Hubby’s customary treats, a birthday package of kid bracelets (you’ll be seeing more of those in the near future), some cleaning and hygiene supplies, sugar-free candy, more instant tea, flashcards, and a box of Frozen tissues. They had two versions, a ‘Sister’ one with more Anna, and a ‘Winter’ one with more Elsa and Marshmallow. If the picture hadn’t given it away, you could easily guess which one I picked.


It was Game Day, first one I’ve been able to attend in a long time. Wasn’t in the hospital or anything ! We were able to ride down with Beloved, since he has just the one late afternoon class today. Of course, that meant we stayed long past the time when everyone else left, but I’m not gonna complain about being ‘stuck’ in a nice, cool Library ! Dearest got to see his friends and have some social time, I snagged four books for me, two for Beloved, and a DVD for Dearest. And we had gyros from our favorite shop for supper ! It was a good day, even if I personally didn’t get a lot done. I still haven’t snagged the distilled water I need for my CPAP mask yet.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Too Darn Hot...



Kind of a boring, over-hot day. The air service (C&C)  was coming by, and they had to check my air exchanger, so I cleaned house all morning. Whew. I swept so much, the broom started to look more like a pet and less like a cleaning tool ! Got so many of the little ‘meaning to do’s done. I feel like I really accomplished something. Until I step into the kitchen or bathroom ! I could spend days cleaning either one before anyone noticed a difference.


I never know what they’re looking for when the tech comes to examine the exchanger. Probably to make sure I still have it, I haven’t sold it and skipped town ! Heck, I felt bad because we left a full cylinder in the back of Beloved Hubby’s truck and he was in FormerTown, in class, so it wasn’t there for inventory. But that didn’t bother them.



My latest funds from PineCone were deposited to PayPal today, so I ordered a little treat. I’ve been wondering if my DP&M girls could fit similarly sized Best Friends Club (aka BFC, Ink) dolls’ clothes and shoes. Mostly shoes – ya’ll know about my doll shoe fetish, right ? J There was only a few bucks in the PC fund, so I didn’t spring for two-day shipping, but thanks to our Amazon Prime membership, I didn’t have to pay for regular ship. I got this one. Should be here maybe Saturday, probably Tuesday. If the shoes fit, I’ll get the soccer one, too, once funds build back up. It’d be great to have well-fitting sneakers in different colors. I’d order them off eBay, but they’re much more expensive there ! 


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I swear, it's like being attacked with things you don't wanna deal with...



After wasting three yards of fold-over elastic in yesterday’s disaster-a-thon and not having anything to show for it besides an overflowing scraps box, I decided to put it down and back away for a few days. I was too upset and frustrated to learn, and it’d be better for me and Chez Insanity to come back to it in a better frame of mind.


Besides, I had an 8am and a 10 am appointment at the VA Medical center – sleep apnea consult and pulmonary breathing evaluation. Whee. The apnea appointment turned out to be getting my very own CPAP device, which scares the heck out of me. You may remember my last sleep clinic appointment, which was an even bigger disaster than fold-over elastic. I got no sleep at all because the CRAP device blasted my face with cold air every time I moved the slightest amount. Even blinking set it off. By the end of the test, I was beyond cranky and annoyed and well into irrational, and vowed I’d rather die in my sleep than go through that again.


Well, here it was again. But now, the CPAP thing wasn’t so bad. It didn’t  make me feel like Darth Vader, for one thing, and in some ways, it was easier to tolerate than the cannula. It still forces air to keep the passages open, but now, it’s just my nose, and it’s not really bad at all. The consultant even ordered a smaller nose piece for me when I muttered that the one I was trying out seemed rather large.


Even better, the consultant understood. Her husband had similar issues, lots of people do. And it took him nearly a year to get used to his. All she was asking is that I try. Maybe while watching TV, or taking a nap. If it bothered me after an hour, take it off and see if I can do an hour the next day. Well, shoot. If I’d have known that, I would have given it more of a chance back then. I didn’t know I could adjust at my own pace, it was presented to me as ‘take it or leave it’, and because it was so awful, I left it. Plus, the long-ago device was a lot more unwieldy. The one three feet from my ankles will allow me to move, to sleep on my side, you name it. It still feels weird, but I think I can deal.


My pulmonary evaluation took place mostly in a clear box with a breathing tube and several other odd-looking wires, hoses, and diaphragms plugged into it. If it hadn’t been for all that equipment, I’d have thought I was backstage before going on a game show, in a sound-proof booth. My tech explained what I’d have to do – mostly breathe in unusual ways – before I had to do it, then coached and encouraged me through. May I say right now that both of them were superlative, understanding and professional, but not detached or impatient. While I can’t truly say I enjoyed my appointments, neither of them were the trials they could easily have been, and it was because of them.



Of course, once home, I took a two-hour nap. My medical anxiety messes up more sleep…plus, we got to eat at the VA cafeteria between appointments. My bacon biscuit was good, and so was the hash brown plank, but I ate waaay more than my usual allotment of grease and salt. And fats put me right on to sleep. It’s amazing I’m conscious as much as I am !

Monday, August 25, 2014

My FOE...



Calm before the screech. 
My fold-over elastic arrived ! Both packages, a day early. I want to celebrate that, because actually sewing the stuff was a huge pain and a real letdown. With so many colors and designs, I figured FOE (ha-ha) had to be something spectacular, awesome, great… it may just re-shape my sewing ! I had pictures in my imagination of effortless skirts, magically gathered with but a few inches of this magical stuff becoming a gorgeous waistband in one easy step.


Turns out, there’s really not a lot of uses for it. Even the folks who love it can’t come up with a lot of ways to use it. Headbands and ponytail loops, mostly, and people enamored of diapers (ran into these folk when Dearest Son was still within) adore this stuff, but otherwise, it may as well be regular ole bias tape. Remember the first time you tried to use that ? Now imagine it’s stretchy, and so’s what you’re sewing it to. PITA of the first magnitude. I barely got it to sew straight, and if I wanted to ‘gently stretch’ it, I more or less had to pull it through the sewing machine. So much for even, uniform stitches.


Truth be told, aside from some lingerie, about the only other use for it is what I bought mine for, swimwear. I’m glad I bought the big 21+ yard pack, because I used three yards tonight just putzing around. And once it was sewn, that was it. Even when I sewed on maximum stitch length with minimal tension, picking the stitches out of it left the FOE in a snarled, tufted mess. And if the fabric shifted and some of it escaped the fold, I have no idea how you’d fix that. All the videos and websites I watched, of people easily stitching lovely things, hailing the FOE miracle, somehow don’t mention that.


So, in short, I don’t think I’ll buy much more of it. I certainly won’t be getting the printed grab bag of the stuff I was eyeing. I may get another 21+ yard pack, so I can get used to sewing it without worry I’ll run out, but I think that’s my limit with this frustrating mess.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Belle didn't often wear fur... it made Adam a bit touchy.




What a fun morning we had at the thrift ! Beloved Hubby scored several new shirts and two new pair of pants, which is what we went for. I found a bedspread-bag full of fabric on the 25¢ table, along with a smaller bag of bandannas. Also got a cheapie DVD set of ‘Romantic Movies’ – so we now own two copies of Anna Karenina. We didn’t have one before, the set is so cheap, it has AK on it twice ! Since the kid swimsuit I didn’t get last week was on sale for a quarter, I got it and a pretty butterfly sundress I’ll cut down for fabric, too.


Once home, I ripped into the sealed bags. Big one first. I now have at least two yards of a deep black double-knit, about three yards of a denim print knit, two chunks (maybe a yard total) of a rust-colored eyelet fabric that may be textured cotton, but feels like ultra suede, a home-sewn school-print curtain, four yards of purple and pink striped fleece,  three yards of leopard print upholstery fabric, and at least four yards each of some random print knits, one pink/purple predominant, the other blue/green. Nearly all the fabrics are thick and heavy, so it may be a while before I sew any of ‘em, it’s too hot right now to !


It wasn’t until later I noticed some fake fur material in the smaller bandana bag. But first, there was a pretty pink and white pattern on black, a batty Halloween print, a headband scarf made from a black and white one…and the furry thing turned out to be a winter headband, to protect ears from vicious winds. Nice, but I thought it made a better stole for Belle, what do you think ?  (+1 if you’re humming ‘Material Girl’ too.) All that richness for a quarter a bag !


We also went grocery shopping and got the few last things Beloved needs for school. Then we enjoyed the rest of the day by watching Netflix, taking naps, and chompin’ on chips. What a great Sunday. Hope you found some fun, too !


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Though she be but little, she is fierce.



Huh. Labor Day is September 1st. Barely a week away. It seems so early, especially when it’s still 98° and hotter most days. Here’s hoping the climate gets a clue and starts cooling down soon !



See what Beloved Hubby bought for me today ? He was at BestTech for a new mouse and fun treat or two, and got me Elsa ! He said he’d seen me look and put her back several times, so here she was. He snagged Dearest Son a game controller for Windows – the one we bought earlier this month didn’t work, so we sent it back. I’m thinking Elsa can be used in the online Infinity game – I’ll let you know when it finishes downloading updates  and I try !


(grin) My review on Pixie Faire for the BFC Trendy Tee pattern got two thumbs up, even though it was buried on the second page, because I’m a verified reviewer, not a verified buyer. Yeah, seemed petty to me, too, but at least I’m not the only one they did that to. What’s funny is, I’m the only one out of eight reviews that got up-thumbs at all. None of the buyers got one. Heh.



Wow. Disney Infinity is amazing, but it heats my laptop right up. I may have to save this game for cooler days. At least I won’t have to buy a $60. Wii game to use my Elsa figurine – there’s a code on her card that unlocks her character in-game. Too bad I haven’t gotten far enough to see her yet. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Proto-Swimwear ! And other failures...

'I'm glad this doesn't fit,' thought Merri. 'Otherwise,
she'd sew matching bunny ears and
put a tail on this thing !'
I’m nearly ready – now that summer’s slowly steaming to an end – to make swimsuits ! De-tagged the Lycra ® kiddie suits I bought at the thrift, printed out the pattern and enjoyed placing the pieces, and figuring out which doll gets which color / pattern. Ordered the fold-over elastic I need, just waiting for it to arrive. I shopped and hunted and looked, and ended up going with an Etsy seller, who let me pick ten one-yard pieces out of sixteen colors, for $5.45, shipping and all. There’s so much from which to choose, from so many sellers ! I’d love to get one of those 25 or 50 (!) yard grab bags, but that’s way more than I’m likely to use for a while, and I just don’t have the fundage. To tell the truth, my current order pretty much wiped out all but my Pinecone funds for a couple weeks. No regrets !


I tell ya, you can lose a day just looking at all the varieties of FOE. Solids, shinies, glittery, prints, designs… I had to be careful. Many of the designs were very appealing, but I really would be folding them in half. So only the bottom part of the fleur de lis would show, half the in-a-row flowers, or only the necks of Monster High or Disney Princesses would be visible on the final item. And a lot of the big grab bags were actually more expensive per yard than the small assortment I bought. Many of the glittery elastic lengths weren’t really fold-over, it didn’t have that telling ‘trough’ in the middle, which would again be hard to use the way my patterns dictate. It was a hard choice, between buying a mystery lot and enjoying the surprise, or choosing  what I know I’d use, even if it was kind of boring classics like black, white, blue, pink, navy… Still, at 54¢ a yard delivered, I got a great deal, with lots to experiment with. If I find that I like to use it, I’m sure to buy more.


I actually already have some FOE – headbands I bought from Dollar Tree months ago. I just untied the knots. When I went back for more, of course, they’d sold out. It’d take at least two former headbands to make one doll swimsuit, and if I get wired up enough and don’t wanna wait for my order, I might try.


OK, so I did. Just didn’t use the elastic. First one, from purple t-shirt fabric, had some stretch side to side and up and down, but nowhere near as much as the swimsuit stuff. So it didn’t close in back all the way, and didn’t go up quite high enough, but gave some indication of how it might work. Not too bad.


'At least yours doesn't cry out for fishnet
hosiery,' Belle chimed. 
Second try used that super-stretchy side to side metallic knit stuff. It easily fit all around, but came nowhere near fitting height-wise. So I added a hemmed strip to the past-the-waist panty fit of the trial, and ended up with a swimsuit that was long enough, it just wouldn’t stay up. Good thing the pattern has straps ! I added ribbon here, and if the finished ones fit that well, I’ll be happy.



And I feel a lot more confident about sewing up swimsuits now. My elastic has shipped, so there’ll be more to come soon !


(Glad I have some confidence somewhere - 
I fell in the driveway today after my feet found a divot between lawn and driveway. My hands still feel raw, but it was mostly my pride that stung !)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Aurora draws the short stick in clothes modeling rotation again...



"But I'm the elegant princess," Aurora thought. "Why does
she keep making me wear silly costumes and sportswear ?"
Finally got off my big ole butt – I think the walking encouraged me ! – and sewed up the playsuit I’ve had cut out and ready to go since Tuesday. It’s a free pattern, made for Sasha and similar dolls, available from Susan Kramer, here. She’s also got it for everybody from Barbie to American Girls on her Home page, all free, with lots of other dress patterns, even some for kids. I had no idea if the Sasha one would fit Aurora and the Disney girls, but I was willing to try ! Can always alter as I go, and I figured it’d be necessary, as the correct size printout looked huge.



Turns out it fit, if quite baggy. If I’d have been going for falling-off-the-shoulder, it would have been perfect ! Since it was fairly close otherwise, and was fine when the doll was seated, I adjusted the actual outfit, took a quarter inch off each shoulder, then a quarter inch down the center front and back seams. The original opened at the front and back, which I didn’t like, so I closed the front and expanded the back opening a bit further. Still a bit off the shoulders, so I may need to alter that later. But it looked good on Aurora, so I called it a success, cut the pattern printout to reflect my alterations, scanned and cleaned the new original for future use, and was happy.


Sewing it the first time – without all the changes – only took one Law & Order episode. Fitting it took a second one. Goes fast and I like it ? I’ll probably make several. Lengthen sleeves and legs, alter the neckline. That’ll be easy, the whole thing is four identical pieces, so I can make it open to the front without any changes to the pattern at all. Add collars and zippers… no end to how I can twist this poor, innocent Sasha pattern to meet my fiendish designs and desires ! (maniacal laugh goes on just a bit too long)



(ahem) Spent a good chunk of the rest of the day that didn’t involve Law & Order trying to fit my new Ariel doll on the LDP shelf. Now it can be told – the maximum occupancy for that space is six LDPs and maybe a scattering of MLPs. And my old Sailor Moon Molly (aka Naru) UFO Catcher doll. After Princess Leia, she may be next doll I’ve owned the longest in the bookshelf ! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hurricane Hair Ariel ! Or maybe she's cosplaying Merida...




Crashed hard on the sofa shortly after Dearest Son hit the hay, so no sewing last night. When I read the weather forecast this morning, I learned that it was cooler outside (80°) than inside (82°), so I went for my walk. Surprisingly, Ginger-kitty walked with me, all the way to the end of OurStreet and back. She meandered the softer, shaded green lawns while I was relegated to the black, slightly steaming pavement, but we both got some solid exercise. Did it again this evening, then next week, I’ll expand the distance a bit. It felt good to get some sun, sweat just a little, let my legs move beyond being tucked under a chair.


Watched both of the Sewing with Nancy videos on doll clothes. Nothing really new, techniques I’ve been doing for years, taught by Simplicity patterns - mostly sticking to flat construction and basic shapes. To me, it’s more of an ad for Joan Hinds’ 30 Minute Doll Clothes books. The 30 minutes claim is kind of a cheat, since she does a lot of steps ‘off the clock’, like serging all the edges, ironing, and gathering, or uses expensive tools to turn garments right side out, or iroining on trims instead of stitching them, also not ‘counted’. Plus, most of her dresses are actually blouses and skirts, at a half hour each. Yes, even I can make doll pants in 30 minutes, but only with a proven pattern. If I’m gonna hafta fuss with fit – and let’s face it, no two AG or clone dolls seem to have the same measurements no matter when they were made or by who  – it’s gonna take longer than a half hour, even with using elastic and wide Velcro ® closures. First time with an untried pattern will always take longer than expected. That said, the clothes are nice, but unless you’re sewing for an AG, the books aren’t very helpful. The videos are somewhat useful if you’ve never seen the techniques before, so you may wanna hit the link above when you have some time.


As for me, I’ve gotta quit hitting the thrift just after muttering, “I’m broke.” Because after I leave, I really am broke ! Thanks to a discount, I was able to get all the goodies, but… (sigh) As you can see, I found the LDP Ariel today, and also scored three girls’ swimsuits. Between the four fabrics on them, there should be more than enough for DP&M swimsuits – free pattern on PixieFaire ! – and various effects to make them each unique. May have to score some fold-over elastic, which isn’t expensive. Lycra swimsuit fabric is, recycling is much cheaper. I was gonna get a women’s suit, but then I’d have them all the same fabric and it was 50¢ more expensive that way.


Dearest Son scored a 1996 Wild West town playset that routinely brings $30. on eBay in worse shape ! His MLP ponies will have a great time there – maybe they can pretend it’s Appleloosa. We got everything for $9., less than half the price of a brand-new LDP, so I’m pretty happy.


Speaking of Ariel, she cleaned up very nicely ! She still had the original clear elastic in her hair, along with some hairspray, and three red stitches from where her hair was sewn to her dress. Gosh, I hate it when toy companies do that !



Not sure if I’m gonna sew tonight, I’m nearly as wiped out as I was last night, and I’ve barely done anything all day. I hope I’m not getting sick or anything. Here’s hoping it’s just the heat ! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My adorable Disney Girls !



We had power, so I used it to sew last night ! Finished up the second tee, same pattern, made from a shirt we got from the neighbors’ closet clean out, and started the skirt. Forgot how thick knits get when you fold it over for casings (or they’re doubled for any use), so I think next waist will get the elastic sewn to it in a stretch stitch instead. While it all looks great on Tia, to me, her waist looks thicker than it should be. Maybe I’ll add a sash or a belt… Reused the elastic that originally came in the Yale cheerleader skirt, too ! There’s just enough of the elastic left to make a headband, whenever I decide to.



I don’t know why, but I had a no-start day. I couldn’t get going on anything. And I didn’t get crap done, but it was OK. Got a good photo of Tia and Belle, and decided to try a playsuit pattern I found online for Sasha dolls next. Just looking at the pattern, it seems as though it’ll be huge on the DP&M girls, but patterns can be deceiving. And I have lots of fabric and need all the practice I can get, so even if it’s as wrong as it seems, maybe Timey Tell can fit it, or I can snip and re-seam as I go. Either way, it’s fun, and I’m not eating !



(sigh) I’m really concentrating on what I eat and drink lately, but I’m not losing weight. Not moving around much unless we go shopping either, so that’s probably it. We’re having 100° days again, and usually by the time I feel like I can go for a walk, it’s already at mid-90s, so I’m wilting on the porch. Well, I think maybe I’ll still push past it and at least stroll down the block and back. Like the pattern, it can’t hurt ! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Haunting Dollar Tree finds !



Spent the balance of last night repairing the t-shirt I sewed, the purple one Belle modeled for yesterday’s entry. Neckline now lies flat, but I found two pick holes that I really couldn’t do much with, save for touch up with Fray-Check. Maybe I’ll sew some silk rosebuds or a bow over them or something… Looks better already, though ! Only problem I have with that pattern is that it took me over two Law & Order episodes to sew. But I do need practice with stretchy knits and inset sleeves, it’s been a while since I sewed either.



But today was all about Beloved Hubby’s first day at University – and taking Dearest Son to Dollar Tree ! It’s been so long since we went, and we had a blast. The stock clerks were just starting to put the Halloween merch out, and because public school doesn’t start around here ‘til next week, there were plenty of school/ office supplies to buy. And tons of nail polish ! I kind of wanted that one in today’s image. In case you can’t quite see, the bottle is skull shaped. So awesome. All they had was orange, and only a few bottles of that, so I wondered if the other half of the display tray had been black…


And yes, I did buy nail polish. Basically glitter in a top clear coat. Wearing it now, because I like to see my fingers sparkle when I sew, like I’m magical. I’m such a child… but other than that, I mostly bought necessities. Coffee, facial tissue, allergy medicine, a few snacks, a desk calendar for Beloved, a spray of silk sunflowers for my Arena flower cubby (I like to change them with the season, and the white hyacinths weren’t visually ‘right’ anymore), smoked sausages for our lunch, air freshener. And a bunch of Nestea ‘Liquid Water Enhancers’ – basically tea flavor concentrate that squirts into water, like Mio, if you’ve seen those. Can be as strong or as weak a flavor as you like, in any amount of water… sugar free ! Wow. I can’t believe I found those at DTree ! I bought out the six Peach Tea bottles they had, and two half tea – half lemonade ones. Those are usually $3. to $4. each ! They also had Wyler’s and Orange Crush packets for water bottles, also sugar free. I’m so buzzed about that find – they’re delicious ! And no guilt or soaring sugar test results.


As for right now, we’re having a massively gorgeously dramatic thunderstorm – frequent lighting strikes and window-rattling thunder with cat-drenching rain. Of course, I’m sewing during all of this !  I’ve made a second t-shirt from the same pattern as yesterday, and I’ve only slightly skewed one sleeve, but the visibly oops! part is in the back, where it doesn’t show. Hem shifted while I was sewing it, I really need this practice with knits.  A single-fold hem really works better for these girls. Once the tee is done (only needs back closures), I’m gonna make a skirt to go with it, out of the purple shirt.



If we still have power all night, that is…

Sunday, August 17, 2014

BFC patterns work for DP&M ! Now if I can just find some BFC patterns I want...



So sleepy. Up early to get that laundry done – this time, it wasn’t that everyone was using the big washers (for some reason, they were using the smaller, more expensive single loaders), it was lots of parents with kids who seemed to believe the Laundromat was a playground with built-in babysitting. Gotta keep up on whatever’s so engrossing on the cell phone sometime, ya know. One small kid kept chasing her older siblings, all of them full-tilt running and yelling until she fell on her face. Then she’d let out an earsplitting shriek and start wailing ‘til the windows vibrated. This happened three times during the 30 minutes I was there with them. So glad my laundry was done, I don’t think my ears could have handled a fourth tumble.



I was so wired, I got everything put away before I even got some water and sat down. I’ll probably finish off the rest tomorrow, get it over with for another week. Tried to nap, couldn’t, so I decided to sew. Since I’d planned on reviewing one of my many Pixie Faire freebies, I figured I’d best sew one first. Gave the BFC, Ink doll’s Trendy Tee pattern a quick print, since I’d been wondering if those would fit my DP&M for a while now.


While DP is much bigger in the hip than BFC, BFC is slightly bigger in the bust and waist, so in average, it fit, and pretty well. After all, hip width don’t matter for most shirts. Sleeves are a bit tight, and really short. I think next time I sew it up, I’ll take a single hem on the sleeves and neckline. Pattern calls for a double fold, and you can see how I bungled the neckline. It was nice and flat on the first fold, darn it. And it’s ecologically sound – this was one of Dearest Son’s old outgrown shirts, and it came from the thrift to begin with !


Belle got to model because Tia’s shorts wouldn’t look good with it, and the light was already going when I took the photo, since I sewed kinda late. But since I wanna sew it again, I’m gonna pick something that’ll look good on Tiana next !


I also wrote my review, mostly because I’ve received so many free patterns from them, I felt guilty 1)for not sewing any of ‘em yet and 2) because they always ask for reviews. So I wrote what I knew… then saw my review tucked to the back. Not because it was the newest, but because I was a ‘verified reviewer’, not a ‘verified purchaser’. Yeah. I’d also been feeling a bit guilty for not buying any patterns when they gave me so many, and was planning on purchasing one soon, maybe next month. Well, if they’re gonna shame me about it, I’ll just keep my funds. Seriously, there’s a little sign under my name, different color and everything, that says ‘reviewer’. Hmmpft. The rest of the BFC patterns were so simple, I could plot ‘em m’self, and I hate paying for a pattern I have to almost completely redo, because most of what I liked was made for American Girl dolls. Not to mention I hate to lay out $4. to $10. for a one-outfit doll pattern when I get almost a dozen new looks for a buck with Simplicity on sale.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

In case you were wondering where the MH patterns were these past few Halloweens...




I was even lazier today – the only sewing I did was to cheap-serge the edges of that pretty pink fan fabric I bought yesterday so I can toss it into the laundry hamper. I can ensure it gets washed if it’s ready to go, since I’m probably gonna knock out a couple loads tomorrow morning. Beloved Hubby starts school Monday, and I wanna make sure he’s got clean socks… and other necessary apparel !



Got the Arena tidied up a bit, not just from my own usual project scatter. Seems mine is the only flat surface left that isn’t completely submerged under clutter – although the Arena is pretty full of my own stuffs – so it becomes a halfway station of everyone else’s miscellany. Heck, MIL hides her pills in with it, she didn’t ask, just did it then told me about it after the fact. Never puts back my stuff that she moves to get to her ‘scripts, either. (sigh) I’m thinking of using the spray bottle I educated the cats with to train larger mammals…



Ran across an interesting sign roadside today. ‘Cash for Test Strips’, with a phone number. I was wondering if the circuitry printed at the bottom of mine was gold or other precious metal, but I doubted there was much money in reclaiming it. What was the deal ? Turns out, the scam is that many diabetics get their strips from their health plans for a co-pay, say, ten bucks. While darn near everything else dealing with diabetes requires a  prescription, test strips do not. The organism at the other end of the phone number will pay maybe $20. for an unopened, still in date package of them, then sell ‘em to uninsured / underinsured online for about $50. when the retail price is $70. Some would say, hey, good all around, but the person selling the strips probably needs ‘em, and stinting their testing schedule to make a few paltry dollars may end up costing a lot more. I’m incredibly fortunate to get mine from the VA, and there’s no way I’d abuse their generosity. I just feel bad about it, that others are clearly so desperate. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Dolls & Dress Orders



I got my Frozen doll clothes 
pattern ! But it never fails – I go to Hancock Fabrics for a single 99¢ pattern, I leave with a bag of goodies and my checking account $15. lighter ! No regrets, though. I got another sale pattern, Simplicity 1344, mostly to modify the 70’s poet blouse into a graduation gown, and I can’t resist sailor dresses, even if the collar is separate.


Used a 40% off coupon to score a reusable bag of 24 200yd spools of thread for $6. It’s Allary, an off brand, but they’re good. Got six black, six white, two navy blue and 10 assorted colors from dark brown to dawn pink. Can use the pink on the yard of fabric I got, a M’Liss Paris design of romantic opened fans over a floral lace print. Very pretty, and on the 60% off display. Snagged a green measuring tape I needed from a display at the cutting table – now, do I keep the new one in my purse or with the sewing supplies ? – and a 3 yard hank of non-roll elastic for the next couple of me-sewing projects. 


Besides, it’s been a while since I did some hobby shopping, and I had a blast, even though the store was difficult to navigate and must be under renovation, ‘cause it was a mess ! Like it hadn’t been tidied up after several herds of panicked holiday crafters the week before Christmas. Spools of elastic scattered everywhere but the rack where they belonged, piles of notions next to the pin on the wall, no real ‘this is the pattern area, this is the quilting notions zone’ delineation. Never did find the remnant racks / shelves / bin / whatever. It was more ‘wander around ‘til you find something’. Not good when you’re on limited time.


It was nice to see the Frozen patterns – the doll one I got and a Halloween costume one for kids – in their cardboard display. They only had a few of the doll one left. The costume one was plentiful, probably because it’s a bit early for most folks to think of Halloween yet.


In other news, we’re getting Beloved Hubby ready to go back to school. Believe it or not, he starts Monday ! And I finally talked him into a new pair of shoes. His current sneakers were a year old when we moved here, and that was nearly a year ago.  



Sewed last night, Version #3 of the wrap dress. It fits the way I want, just flares out a bit too much for my tastes. Not sure how to fix that so there’s enough fabric for the doll’s undies to remain covered when she sits, but not angle out so when she stands. But I’ve realized I can now make one of these in about the length of a Law & Order episode. Can use larger than usual prints, too ! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Never did get the dolls... but my dolls will have their dresses !





I’m that much closer to becoming a cyborg. While the defibrillator’s pretty much in a holding pattern for now, I’m going high-tech soon with my numbers. I’m being sent a device that’ll take my weight, blood pressure, glucose, and other daily health test results, and beam them by satellite over my cell phone and/or broadband to an office that monitors them and sends ‘em to my primary care and other involved doctors. It even wakes me in the morning to ask if I’m ready to start my test cycle. Wow.


The device should be here soon, since I talked to the coordinator yesterday, and today, I got the updated directions and information I’ll need for it she said she’d send. I’ve already cleared a space.


Otherwise, we took a mental health day after all of yesterday’s fun – and today was awesome, too ! Beloved Hubby’s new ATM card finally showed up, as did a small deposit I’ve been eagerly awaiting, and I got some of my prescriptions, too. We did some half-necessary, half fun grocery shopping, and snacked and enjoyed the whole day. The Library finally got in a copy of Brave for me, and I admit it, I cried. It’s a very mother-meaningful story, and I never know how I’ll do with those, being estranged from my own. But I enjoyed it, and I’m glad I have Merri. Probably watch it again tomorrow, and at least once more before it has to go back.



I found a pattern I want very much, as you’ve seen, and hope it’ll be in the Hancock Fabrics store I’ll visit tomorrow. I had no idea this pattern was coming out, but now that it’s here, me want ! Oddly enough, I first saw it on Etsy. 


Going to sew tonight, wish me luck on Version #3 of the wrap dress ! And that Hancock’s will have that pattern – there’s a 99¢ Simplicity sale from today through the 17th. Happy hunting if you now want it, too !

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Better... but not quite there yet.



Pretty busy day today. Beloved Hubby decided this morning was the day to take the long-delayed, much worried over, even more studied for math test that would determine his college class placement. He’s been driving himself (and to a lesser degree, the rest of Chez Insanity) crazy over it all summer. I didn’t wish him luck, I told him to go be awesome. And he was ! He got exactly the place he wanted, and we’re so proud ! I’m gonna frame his results sheet.



He was also back in time to go with me to my cardio consult, where we hoped to find out more about the defibrillator surgery. As that turned out, they’re pretty worried about my other health issues – all my asthma attacks this summer, the sleep apnea, and my suddenly ramped up diabetes readings – pooching any surgery and recovery. So, I’ll soon see a lung specialist, the apnea appointment is scheduled for the end of the month, and only time and effort will have a hope to change the rest. I got praised for my weight loss and encouraged to keep that up, even though it was only a pound since my last result, which was thoughtful of him. 


I also got to hold a defibrillator. It’s heavy for such a small thing. About the weight of a filled Zippo lighter, and a little smaller, kind of a rounded version of a Zippo without the cap. Somehow that made it more real to me, and a bit scarier. But I still think it’ll do me good, so on with the show !


Was too restless to nap, although thanks to my usual medical anxiety, I was pretty restless last night. So I sewed the ‘new, improved’ wrap dress. Arrgh. It fits better along the back to the waist, but from there, it’s still too narrow, and poor Belle#2 (this is the one going up for sale soon) can’t sit wearing it without showing the world her knickers. So I modified the pattern again, and hope to stitch it tomorrow. One day soon, I’ll get it right. Meanwhile, I’m getting practice on narrow curved hems, which I need, and I’m honing an original pattern, which is fun. So here’s hoping tomorrow’s effort will go well. I kind of like the one white panel – it really makes the print side pop, so you can rest assured you’ll see that design quirk again. Long as I have white, or something to contrast with… and with the parsecs of fabric I got at my fingertips, that’s unlikely to be a problem anytime soon.



We went out to dinner to celebrate, a rare extravagance. (grin) I joined that restaurant’s online fan club this afternoon and got his meal for free with an e-mail coupon. I’m still full, hours later, but I didn’t overeat – I under-ate earlier ! Their portions are quite generous…  and now I’m sleepy ! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

You can skip this one. Really. Kinda preferred it if you did...



Augh. What a bland day. I couldn’t even get m’self to the Arena to sew, just watch first season episodes of Law & Order on Netflix. Pretty pathetic.


I’ve seen the new Ghoulia – the Sweet Screams one – on eBay. And the new ‘student disembody council’ Slo Mo. On the whole, I prefer the ones I have, and these are pretty much just like them, and the new clothes aren’t especially special to me, so I won’t be out shopping for them. Plus, I’ve kind of made a deal with m’self. No more doll buying until I can fund it with either Pinecone survey rewards or selling the two DP&M ones I have taking up space in the Arena. That should light some fires !



But even that just wouldn’t get me to sew today. I just didn’t wanna. So I’m gonna enjoy relaxing and hope that it leads me to more active days starting tomorrow. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Organization day !


After having to fight my way through the ribbon drawer to find some to use on Merri’s wrap dress yesterday, I decided to knock another of the ‘been meaning to’s off my list. The cats had played with the ribbon spools on my cubby rack over and over, until they’d pulled several completely off, which I had to sort and store with the loose ribbons. I’d left the empty cardboard things on the racks, but that was just wasting space. Today, I reorganized all the ribbon, filled the racks, got all of it facing the same way, and redid the drawer so I can now see all of it. Took about 20 minutes – when did I get all this gold ribbon, anyway ? – but the cats won’t find it easy to make their own toys out of my craft supplies again !



And I actually threw out all the emptied ribbon spools. True, most were too narrow to be anything other than table tops, and I already own plenty of those in plastic, but still, it’s indicative of how my thinking’s going… or how my storage space is not going !


From there, I couldn’t stop looking at my unfortunate Barbie display. The cats had, once again, tried to claim the space, to the dolls’ dismay, and I’d been too sick and weak to fix things. Not today ! I got everyone back in order, but was too lazy to dust, so I still have that to do, but it was more important that I take stock of the Disney Princess sixth scale girls, and do a bit of long-delayed culling. It’s so easy to buy bunches of dolls at thrifts, even if all you want is their clothes – not so easy to decide which go and which stay. I ended up with duplicate Ariels and Rapuzels, so started there. Plus, I really don’t like the frog-leg, super-tiny pivot feet Disney Store body. The proportions look off, and when a doll can’t sit attractively, the doll’s missing something, in my book. Add to the display the feet always pointing in painful directions… I’ll miss the pretty faces, not the rest, though. Ended up with four dolls soon to seek a new home, and spent the evening making simple tube dresses for them. I just can’t donate nude dolls, for some reason, and I wanted to keep the dresses I bought them for. I’m selfish that way.



I also redid the Little Disney Princess toddler doll shelf, although the cats left that one alone. I hadn’t liked how the dolls were seated for some time. There’s not a lot you can do with five dolls, all with open-leg seating, on a single bookcase shelf, but at least now they don’t look so weird. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

New doll, new pattern, new dress !



So now, back to Merida ! Believe it or not, she was out of box the day she arrived, that’s how I knew Jakks had cheaped out on the invitation and certificate. It may seem silly, but I was rather looking forward to them, for once getting the whole Disney Princess & Me experience, along with the doll’s crown and shoes. Not that I’m missing out on much when I buy a barefoot doll. Merida has the worst shoes yet. They look like she stepped into some blue lily pads and kept walking, secure in the knowledge that her big ballgown dress would conceal them. I’m starting to respect the shoes I make a bit more – ‘cause the issue ones fit worse, and are even further away from matching each other than mine are !


Oh, and much like I’ve adapted Tiana’s name to Tia, Merida is now Meri. Sorry, but to me, ‘Merita’ is a brand of bread, and Merida sounds too much like it. It’s been driving me crazy typing it. So, today, let’s talk about Meri !


I didn’t get anything done last night because by the time Dearest Son was ready for bed, I was past ready. I loafed on the sofa watching My Little Pony episodes with him, leafing through my new library books. Illustrated Hassle-Free Making Your Own Clothes Book was kind of a bust. Remember the patterns I made last week ? Chunky, thick, and beyond basic plain ? The author basically has you do that for your own clothes, or take a shirt you like, fold it onto your new fabric, remember to cut a seam allowance, and soon, new shirt ! The book had its origins in 70s hippie culture, and aside from updating the fabrics from velvet and burlap to old blankets and fleece, not much else changed. If you ever wanted to sew caftans and Arwen gowns, and contemplate the vast variety of ponchos available to you, the crafter, this is your book ! It’s 90% women’s interest patterns, for guys, make it ‘manlier’, for kids, make it smaller. Sophistication at its finest !


She also says hand-sewing is sturdier than machine. Not the way my hand-sewing goes ! The only strength mine has is in its randomness – it’d be impossible to pick out or fall apart, because my stitches (and the size of) are all over the place. If I had to clothe myself with my own hand-stitching, I’d sit around nude for weeks, trying to finish a blouse.


Back to Meri. Turns out, the wrap dress pattern adaptation I assembled yesterday was too large. Re-scaled it and printed it again, smaller. You’re gonna laugh at how much of a tightwad I am, but I reused the tape from the now-useless too-large version to piece the new one together. Frankly, if the shoe tape dispenser hadn’t come with tape, I’d have had to use masking or duct tape ! So I want to use it wisely, and if it’s cheap, too, well, that’s the way of things at Chez Insanity.



It still needs a few tweaks – the back is super-tight, necessitating very narrow side seams, and it still pulls taut across her butt – but I think I have a pretty good pattern ! Meri’s new dress is from a huge length of scrap fabric I found in the $3. Flea Market bin I got back in May (or early June), there’s about four yards of it. My next clothes-for-me sewing date will use most of it, although I have to admit, it’s not my favorite print. But as you can see, I’ll find a way to use it ! And it certainly looks better on Meri than it looks folded in the bin.