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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Random meaninglessness...


Today I’m just tossing out random thoughts. Bear with me…please ?


I knew, deep down, that I wanted to sew all week, and all my aimless shopping was pretty much insuring I wouldn’t have time to, again, but while I had projects I wanted to try, I really didn’t feel that even deeper *need*. Truth be told, I’ve been waiting for that to come back, since it’s what made all my sewing fun – the simple need to create something, to take flat fabric and magic it into miniature clothing, to feel connected to the past and future of thousands of others similarly engaged. .. to just feel engaged.


That’s when it dawned on me. I’m kind of slow. Well, that occurred to me decades ago, but what did dawn today was that I thought I was looking for inspiration. No, I’m looking for sharing, for creating, for enjoying past ‘Hey, look what I just did !’ which is about all I’ve done for months. No wonder I burned out ! Sewing for all the wrong reasons.


I think that’s why I suddenly got into the DP&M dolls. Seems like everyone’s sewing for American Girl and clone / similarly sized ones – about 90% of the patterns produced in the last decade or so have been for them, from what I’ve seen. That would go a long way in helping me feel connected… if I actually liked the dolls. The founder and Mattel can go on for days about history and antiques and inculcating taste and such, but facts are, that stuff was expensive and it sold. Even during an economic downswing. Unusual. But not enough to change my mind. I just don’t like the AG body. It’s blocky, awkward, flat where there should be some curve, and the combination of vinyl and woven fabrics makes for an odd juxtaposition that nearly every seamstress endeavors to hide, and I’ve never figured out a real reason for it. Honestly, Timey Tell as a barrel body with low arms and shoulders, but she looks more like a real child than any AG I ever saw did. To me, she’s more fun to sew for because things fit and hang on her appealingly. Even when you’re trying to hide speaker holes.



Still not sure if I’m sewing for the right ones now, but just maybe…

Monday, September 29, 2014

Yawny day.



Didn’t get to sew yesterday – there was just too much going on ! And since Beloved Hubby is gone most of the day during the week, and half the weekend, I wanted to enjoy some time all together while I could.


Decided to open my Happy Meal MH bracelet when I realized I could use the too-small bracelet part as a sort of building block for a doll’s hair bun. Kind of like those silly brown donuts that came with my 1978 Kenner Princess Leia doll. Pried off the Skullette and lightning bolt charms by breaking the link between them and the bracelet, and poking the pieces inside the hollow bracelet itself. Now I have unbroken charms to use, and with the edges pushed in, you can’t really tell it’s not intact. I may toss it in with the Halloween candy as a choice later this month, along with some MH tattoo boxes.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Playin' catch-up...


I feel so much better today ! I’d say it’s the bright, sunny skies, but they’ve been around all week – so much so, I’m starting to look forward to rain. I’d say it was the fun of taking Dearest Son out for breakfast, but mine ranked, so that was a bit of a bummer. No, I found a good site for free yoga videos (gentle yoga with a little guided meditation) and the one I did today was superlative. I had a great time, worked up a little sweat, and felt energized afterward. The host was awesome, and I’m glad to see he has lots more videos on the site. Splashed my face with cool water afterwards and really felt like the universe smiled on me today.


I even got a bit of a thought exercise out of it – pretty packed for a video less than a half-hour long ! – that’s been circling my mind ever since. It’s probably old and busted to everyone else, but it was fresh and wonderful to me. He said, ‘The heart smiles through the hands’, and I agree. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been so drag-butt this week. I just wasn’t much in a smiling mode, even though really nothing’s wrong.  In many ways, things are better than they have been, but I’ve still been so gloomy. I think I’m coming out of it, maybe it’s the yoga, but I feel a lot better now, and I wanna go sew !


But first… while I didn’t get to Kohl’s, I did get to go on a grocery shopping trip to Aldi’s with Beloved Hubby. I even found kettle chips on sale for 99¢, and a bags of pretzel chips (I so love those !) that’d be $2.49 at Sevvy (7-11) on clearance for 85¢ ! I can also tell you that Pumpkin Seed Tortilla Chips, while expensive ($2. for a 9oz bag) and not nearly as healthy as you might think, are delicious ! Right now, I’m basking in that nice warm full feeling from McLunch and a stocked pantry. What a great day !



Speaking of McD’s… they’ve a Monster High Happy Meal goin’ on. The toy everyone seems to want (m’self included) is the Ghoulia glasses, but that wasn’t offered today. I wonder if they’re gonna be as small as the bracelet (it was that or the Skullette fortune teller, and I already got the licensed one of those !), but I won’t know ‘til somebody gets a pair. I’m not yet sure if I’ll save the too-small bracelet and trade it in on another MH kids’ meal toy, or open it and saw off the skullette and lightning bolt charms as necklace pendants for my larger dolls and toss the remaining bracelet in with the Halloween candy … talk about yer First World Problems !

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mirror, mirror... notepad ? Sure, if it's got a 'Frozen' theme to it !




About all I motivated m’self into doing today was sleeping in an extra hour. That was mostly due to being wakened by one thing or another nearly every hour all night long. Dogs barking, trains screeching, air conditioners rattling, neighbors talking off the evening’s booze out front at 2am. I even went to bed early, because I was so tired from nearly the same thing happening Thursday night, and all that accomplished was getting awakened twice more. No wonder I’m so lethargic. Only other thing I got done was scanning all my newly-altered patterns for future reference and twisting. There’s at least three half-done projects there, not even mentioning that pattern I wanted so much – and now have – just sitting around. Ready to go, not going anywhere. Not unlike me.


Started to feel penned in again, so I went online window-shopping. Hey, it’s better than eating, my usual response. Saw a buncha stuff I liked, that was all too easy to talk m’self out of buying. I actually have a few bucks, but nothing I’m eager to waste. Supposed to go to Kohl’s tomorrow morning, for a little solo time, but I already know that’s not gonna happen. Beloved Hubby’s gonna be up all night working on a paper, so he’ll sleep all day – and the only way I’ll get to go anywhere is if I take Dearest Son with me. Kinda defeats the ‘solo time’ thing, even though Dearest’s no trouble… I just want some ‘me’ time, y’know ?



Finally opened the Dollar Spot Frozen mirror / notepad. It’s actually quite cute, very flimsy, but as I thought, darn near perfectly doll-scale. The pages inside are lavender, with the Frozen logo at the top, bordered by snowflakes down the right side to the bottom. Unlined. Still, it’s quite a clever, unexpected licensed item for just a buck. Belle needed a clear elastic to keep it in her hand – as expected, it’s top-heavy – but she looks so good with it ! 


Plus, I like the idea of one Diz princess being a fan of another DP movie - or that film's princess ! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

And it doubles as a leg cast !



Kept my promise to Dearest Son, even though ‘Emmy’ still needs new tires and is still up on a jack in the driveway. Just got up extra-early, grabbed a shower, did my usual morning med stuff, and we were there about a half-hour after Dollar Tree opened. Nothing stellar to report this week – most of our Halloween stuff’s already starting to look picked over, and there was a whole wall of Christmas ornaments up. Mostly we just bought some special treats for lunch for everybody, a few things we needed around the house, and a couple snacks. I decided to add a shiny-fabric cheaply made kids’ dress-up skirt to the pile, mostly for the fabric. Very pretty, and it’s already cheap-serged ! I’ll even salvage some elastic from it.


I had to have the Ranger-truck back to Beloved Hubby before 10am – while he doesn’t have classes today, he did have training for his on-campus part-time job. But since DTree wasn’t that compelling, it gave us time to hit a yard sale. Like DTree, it wasn’t much, but it was a nice morning to be out and about. I got a kids’ black sundress, again for the fabric, for a buck, and was happy.


For the rest of the day, I was kinda restless. Not sure why. If the tire situation isn’t solved by Sunday – and it probably won’t be – I’ll borrow the truck again to make use of my latest Kohl’s coupon, and maybe a quick run to the thrift. But I still felt really penned in today.


So I gave me a challenging task, as a distraction. Pinterest showed me a simple pattern and links to a tutorial to make Blythe size (kind of like a Skipper doll, with a really big head) Ugg-style boots. I’ve long thought that, once you have the shape, size is just a matter of scale, and I’ve had good luck with that theory. While I’m not a huge fan of those boots, it’d be nice for the DP&M girls to have something besides other-doll sneakers and clumsy ballerina flats to wear, so I decided to test the theory with this pattern. Cropped and expanded the original pattern until it looked about right, then grabbed a Princess and took some measurements. Amended the expanded pattern and knocked one together tonight. It’s not the best, and it’s lopsided, but it fits, and slides easily on and off. Next time, I’ll rubber-band the uppers to the doll’s leg, so that it won’t slide off center while I’m gluing the insole. The back seam is nearly a side seam, I didn’t catch it ‘cause I was too busy playing with glue, making sure it didn’t get on the doll. Otherwise, I’ll follow those directions given, they worked pretty well.


It was actually rather fun, didn’t take that long, and it mostly worked, so I made some minor adjustments to the pattern and hope to try it again later tonight. May have some use for those scraps of 6mm-thick craft foam I got cluttering up my drawers…


Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Timey Crew, just 'cause.





You’re not gonna believe what I just got in the mail. Another ‘$10. off $10.Purchase’ coupon from Kohl’s ! Haven’t they stumbled onto the idea that I’m cheap even when we’re not broke and only buy severe markdown or sale stuff with this – and very little else ? I almost feel bad about using it… but I will ! Wonder if that green glass necklace set is still there…


Beloved Hubby called during a break between classes. He’d seen a yard sale set up on his way to PreviousCity, just down the street, if I was interested. Was I interested ? Oh, heck, yeah ! Spent five bucks, got a ton of goodies. There was a die cast 1/64 scale convertible VW Beetle for Dearest Son, a fast-food type tray, large zipper bank bag, CurrentCity history DVD, a pedometer, 2 brand-new pairs of knit gloves, one pair used, non-matching new knit hat, fake Isotoner gloves, a cotton scarf in jewel tones, 4 pocket tape measures (two metal, two dressmaker’s), a pair of Wieder soft ankle / wrist weights, and a grommet / eyelet clamp, smaller than the one I have. Not bad, considering the weights alone – even used ! - are twice what I paid for everything. Dearest loved his ‘new’ car, and liked that one set of gloves had a GMC logo on them, but neither he nor Beloved Hubby will appreciate the gloves or the hat ‘til winter. We lose and destroy those things like crazy, so I buy ‘em up cheap when I can. I have about eight pair of gloves waiting now. Maybe four hats.


She had some gorgeous Autumn leaves dinnerware, a bit pricey, but just beautiful to look at. So I filled my eyes, and didn’t buy them. She also had something I hadn’t seen in years, a double storage rack for 45rpm records ! I had a smaller version as a teenager, left behind from previous home owners, so the seller and I shared a few moments of reminiscing pleasure. I wondered aloud how the next generation would use such a thing, and we both concluded ‘mail sorter’. Not enough support to sort scrapbook papers.


After scooping up all my goodies, I continued on my walk. Found a Cozy Coupe car at the curb further down the street, so on the way back, I knocked on two neighbors’ doors who might could use such a thing. Nobody answered. Oh, well. I’m sure someone leaving the yard sale will snag it before Tuesday pickup.


Some excitement today, too – a murder and cop-assisted attempted suicide occurred at a food processing plant about half a mile further down the street this afternoon. FIL used to work there ! We had helicopters circling for hours. I quite possibly spoiled their shots by waving at them.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tuesday, Tuesday...



Ugh. Kind of a boring Tuesday, especially after getting to do a little shopping yesterday ! At least I’m not in danger of being spoiled ! Well, not more spoiled than I already am !


Made a decision when I more-or-less stopped buying MH dolls that, from then on, one new / new to me doll in = one doll out. In this case, trading Neighthan for Skull Shores Ghoulia is an easy swap. I had nine Ghoulias, and never really bonded with SS Ghoulia. It’s mostly the somehow mean expression and acid green makeup. Neither of them ever grew on me like I’d hoped. Simple as it is, I liked her hair, but if she were any other doll but Ghoulia, I’d have never bought her in the first place. It’s almost good they didn’t have Invisi Billly, because I don’t know who’d go to make space for him !


I did get to see most of the newer MH dolls yesterday. And I was still underwhelmed. ‘Freaky Fusion’ should have been an easy slam-dunk. There’s plenty of characters to ‘twist’ together, and the results could have been much more intriguing. Why is the pairing always same gender ? I know, I know, nervous parents. Beyond that, why is there two ‘twists’ of Draculaura ?  ‘DracuBecca’ (DLaura and Robecca) is a lovely doll – so why does ‘Ghoulaura’ (Ghoulia and DB again) exist ? There’s lots of other schoolmates she could have literally bonded with. I thought about bringing her home, but in the end, the unremitting blue makeup left me just as cold as SS’s green, and the red and blue clashing together on her overskirted dress gave me a mild headache, although I love the style of it. But then again, I don’t know why every movie has to revolve around Frankie without fail, either.


Saw the new Target-exclusive ‘Sweet Screams’ dolls, too – well, sort of. Between the packaging and the costuming, I really couldn’t see the dolls at all. Pass. I liked most of the ‘hybrids’ dolls, but again, no space and little fundage meant they stayed there. Still, it was nice to look around and see them all. There was signage advertising the Catacombs playset coming soon – there’s another I won’t be getting. I hardly play with the School (and Barbie structures) I have ! Maybe it’s just me, but the Catacombs set looks even more fragile and even gimmicky, almost like a Disney Princess castle. If I could have just the Library, though…


I did get a notice that Flickr was gonna bill soon. Um, nope. I don’t use it anymore, so I’m gonna let it lapse. I’m not gonna remove anything, though,  but I can use my blog images and the free aspect, so I’m good. Made sure to cancel – that $24.95 can be spent better elsewhere ! Like Chinese food and a donation to Wikipedia…


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My satiny pill-holder ! Half-price, too.




Ugh. Kind of a boring Tuesday, especially after getting to do a little shopping yesterday ! At least I’m not in danger of being spoiled ! Well, not more spoiled than I already am !


Made a decision when I more-or-less stopped buying MH dolls that, from then on, one new / new to me doll in = one doll out. In this case, trading Neighthan for Skull Shores Ghoulia is an easy swap. I had nine Ghoulias, and never really bonded with SS Ghoulia. It’s mostly the somehow mean expression and acid green makeup. Neither of them ever grew on me like I’d hoped. Simple as it is, I liked her hair, but if she were any other doll but Ghoulia, I’d have never bought her in the first place. It’s almost good they didn’t have Invisi Billly, because I don’t know who’d go to make space for him !


I did get to see most of the newer MH dolls yesterday. And I was still underwhelmed. ‘Freaky Fusion’ should have been an easy slam-dunk. There’s plenty of characters to ‘twist’ together, and the results could have been much more intriguing. Why is the pairing always same gender ? I know, I know, nervous parents. Beyond that, why is there two ‘twists’ of Draculaura ?  ‘DracuBecca’ (DLaura and Robecca) is a lovely doll – so why does ‘Ghoulaura’ (Ghoulia and DB again) exist ? There’s lots of other schoolmates she could have literally bonded with. I thought about bringing her home, but in the end, the unremitting blue makeup left me just as cold as SS’s green, and the red and blue clashing together on her overskirted dress gave me a mild headache, although I love the style of it. But then again, I don’t know why every movie has to revolve around Frankie without fail, either.


Saw the new Target-exclusive ‘Sweet Screams’ dolls, too – well, sort of. Between the packaging and the costuming, I really couldn’t see the dolls at all. Pass. I liked most of the ‘hybrids’ dolls, but again, no space and little fundage meant they stayed there. Still, it was nice to look around and see them all. There was signage advertising the Catacombs playset coming soon – there’s another I won’t be getting. I hardly play with the School (and Barbie structures) I have ! Maybe it’s just me, but the Catacombs set looks even more fragile and even gimmicky, almost like a Disney Princess castle. If I could have just the Library, though…


I did get a notice that Flickr was gonna bill soon. Um, nope. I don’t use it anymore, so I’m gonna let it lapse. I’m not gonna remove anything, though,  but I can use my blog images and the free aspect, so I’m good. Made sure to cancel – that $24.95 can be spent better elsewhere ! Like Chinese food and a donation to Wikipedia…


Monday, September 22, 2014

A unicorn followed me home from Target. Gonna keep him !

NeighthanRotBox, left

I had fun today ! Guess what I bought ? While Beloved Hubby worked hard on the CV joints and wheel hubs, he gave me the keys to Jeannie, his Ranger truck, to take Dearest Son on a little spree. The original plan was to hit Target then Dollar Tree, but I ended up with a severe case of stomach cramps and sweating, with nausea tossed in for fun, so we cut it short after Target. Besides, it’s better to space out the fun !


I’d fully intended to divest Tar-zhay of a Neighthan Rot and an Invisi Billy from their toy inventory - like their website said they had for the last month or so – but alas, no Billy. When I asked for the elusive ‘more in the back’, the associate told me I was free to sort through the hundred or so dolls on the shelves and pins, plus the double dozen on the endcap. Thanks for the help. So I did, twice, and somehow didn’t take my usual ‘keep this release all together in one place’ care on the second exploration. They were mixed up long before I got there. I know I'm about done with collecting MH, but I still keep my ears open, and I do love the guys. Besides, I have such photo ideas for this guy... once I get him out of those ridiculous pants ! Oh, wait... that didn't sound right. I hate his entire outfit, but the shirt gets a pass, and I will make him some less ludicrous pants tomorrow. Slim Goodbody was never a favorite of mine - always made me shudder, honestly. 


Is it just me, or are MH boxes getting more convoluted with each new release ? It was nearly impossible to get a decent photo of this dude, because of the box shape and how the plastic window is all fancy with indents and swoops. I always thought retailers hated weird-shaped packaging, especially on toys. 


Oh, well. Dearest found a lovely large stuffed Octavia from the My Little Pony section, and she followed us home. In a bag. They really didn’t have much MLP, odd considering the second Equestria Girls movie is due out soon. We split a Dollar Spot MLP ‘Fun Pack’ – a small coloring book, crayons, and stickers – and I found a misplaced MH lunchbox that price-checked at $4. Awesome ! The Sailor Moon one I’ve been using for my prescriptions is about to come apart completely, and I didn’t wanna pay too much for a replacement. I nearly bought a tin box version from the VA’s PX, but it was $8., too rich for the likes of me !


I also scored the oddest thing, from the Dollar Spot – a Frozen-themed notepad mirror. Seriously, it’s a hand-mirror shaped notepad with a kid-safe mirror stuck to one side. The other hosts an image of Elsa and Anna. It’s just about the perfect size for the DP&M girls, probably AG and clones, too.


Not much else in the Dollar Spot. Saw an MH yo-yo, and more dry-erase message boards, including one with a really cool lace print. I nearly bought it, but I couldn’t think of how to use it well. Besides, I wanted those Rarity stickers in the MLP fun pack more. Our Tar-zhay was awash in Ava Trotters. Seriously, there was enough clones of her there to launch a conquering assault on both the Barbie and Disney Princess aisles, and probably make a significant dent in the LEGO front lines. If they could just get the few MLPs to throw in with them… it’d be epic.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Here's Emmy !





Today was one of those days when there’s no way you could predict what happened – but you’re pretty glad it did ! Beloved Hubby and I, both seeing a financial wall coming right at us, with little way around it, have been discussing selling our 4Runner, Angel. Since we can no longer expect any help at all with utility bills, and we rather like electricity and water, and luxuries like internet and phone service, there wasn’t much else we could do. Beloved has a weekend job, and a part-time gig at the school, but neither of those, or mine, pay ‘til after month’s end. Even then, with all of it together, it’ll be snug going. So we’ve been as fiscally tight as possible for some time now, to the point where I wasn’t really driving much anyway. Most of what we drove to was eating out or shopping, and no funds means those activities are right out. So selling Angel made sense. I’d just adjust my medical appointments to fit Beloved’s school schedule and drive on.


Of course, FIL didn’t see it that way, and offered to buy Angel from us. With what, I don’t know, since he can’t help out with any of the utility bills he helps run up. And we’ve already gone that ‘I’ll pay you when I can’ route with him and cars, three times. And we got taken three times. There won’t be a fourth. So Angel went up on Craigslist last night, and, surprisingly, she sold today. FIL can stomp all he wants, if anything, he likes electricity more than we do, he certainly leaves on enough lights and appliances to prove it ! Actions have consequences, FIL. Even Dearest Son knows that.


I was OK with the idea of being a one-car family again. Lower insurance, less maintenance, less fuel, less careless spending. But Beloved started getting antsy and was soon back on Craigslist… looking at cars for sale ! Long story short, we now have a lovely green Acura in the driveway, and still have more than enough to make bills, and have a small amount of fun. Yaaay ! ‘Emeraude’ (“Emmy” for short) has quite a few surface dings and damage, but her engine is strong, her transmission is manual and kickin’, she’s quiet yet powerful, and she even has a sunroof ! It’s like she was made for me… Two door, though. FIL’s gonna hate that the first appointment I have to take him and MIL to, fer sure.


Part of our fundage will go to getting her beyond-worn tires replaced – they’re barely hanging on to ugly 18-inch rims I’m sure we can sell on Craigslist ! – and her CV joints fixed, but we figured that and her title fees into the equation while we were still on the test drive. After we got back to Chez Insanity, a quick tire inspection showed we were very lucky to make it all the way there without a blowout… and we’d been on the interstate for part of the trip ! Luckily we won’t have to buy standard 15-inch rims, the seller included both sets, although we’ll have to pay to dump those unfortunate tires.



Best part is, I don’t have to wait for the first of the month, I can do a little fun shopping sometime this week ! Whoo-hoo ! Now if only my funds from PineCone would show up in PayPal already…

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I still love Raquelle's smile...




Slowly digging m’self out of yesterday. Still in the same mood – I think it’s hormones, mine seem to be going bungee-cord base jumping lately – but at least my appreciation circuits have kicked back in. It’s a beautiful day, I got to watch Ginger-kitty stalk a gorgeous Blue Jay – I think the bird was playin’ with her – and while the hunt may have been unsuccessful, the chase was amazing. She got a split of tuna with MIL’s cat, who brought in a mouse yesterday. Briefly.


When I get in a mood like yesterday, it sometimes helps to reminisce. In my case, I was still hung up about my sewing equivalent to writer’s block, so I went there. I went back to Barbie. Whole reason I sew, most of the reason I’m into dolls. Barbie. Sure, I’m not ‘into’ Barbie as much as I used to be, there’s too many alternatives that suit me better. Dolls from my early childhood (Timey Tell), dolls that hit my ‘cute’ button (Little Disney Princess), dolls that encourage me to sew modern in larger scale (DP&M), dolls that just ‘get’ me (Monster High, Elphie) in a way that Barbie really never has.


Don’t get me wrong – I loved Barbie as a kid, I still have a faint love for her now.  She was there when no other doll was… until Princess Leia showed up ! J I still have a small collection of sixth-scale dolls, about half of which are Mattel’s. I feel bad for neglecting them, maybe that’s part of the problem. Despite the fact that I have roughly eight million patterns for them, I wanted something new… hey ! Remember that playsuit pattern I altered to fit the Princesses ? There’s a Barbie-sized one by the same author !


Hmm. Very baggy on Raquelle. Guess I shoulda paid more attention to the photo that came with the pattern. Still, it’s not bad, sews up quickly, and will probably fit Leia with room to spare without any alterations. I may do that next.


Right after I finish altering this one for Barbie, that is…



Friday, September 19, 2014

Perhaps it's just a pre-Fall funk ?



I don’t know what’s wrong with me today. Nothing gives me any joy, even spider webs that catch the morning sun and break it into rainbow iridescence in the bathroom window, or getting low glucose readings, or even the moon’s radiance in a gorgeous starry night. I can’t make m’self sew tonight, couldn’t yesterday, although I really enjoyed Wednesday’s project, the faux-beanbag chairs. Those were so great ! I didn’t have to be so precise in cutting them out, they came out great no matter how slapdash I was in cutting or sewing, or both ! The last one I made has the worst cutting and some seriously noticeable ‘wandering attention’ sewing, but it’s all inside and it looks the best of the lot. Fun project. The girls look great seated on them, and it pulls their legs in a bit so no one catches ‘em in passing the bookcase. Gotta be careful for the seniors walking to and fro.



Yeah, I could have made more for other size dolls, but it simply didn’t hold much appeal. I’m not depressed or unhappy – I’m worried about bills and this crappy house, but I nearly always am concerned about such – so that can’t be it. I’m driving m’self crazy and not only is it a short trip, I don’t know why I’m going ! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I had a thought... aaand now it's gone.



I may not be the best brain in the house, but occasionally I somehow scrape a good idea together ! Our Wii has about had it – it works great as an interface for Netflix and now Amazon Prime (also free as a Wii download, lotsa free movies to watch if you’re a Prime member), but doesn’t track the game discs very well anymore. It probably just needs a good cleaning. Ya gotta admit, for a device we bought nearly a decade ago, it’s served us very well ! I kind of miss Wii Fit, but it’s not like I can use it in the living room anyway – between M&FIL walking through and wanting to chat, and my questionable tastes towards light workout wear, it’s a sitcom disaster waiting for the first commercial break.


So I got to thinking (everybody RUN !!), what about Prime on the computers, or the tablet ? Lots of videos, maybe there’s some yoga or light exercise ones to guide me. I could run one on my computer in the Study, with a fully closeable door, wear whatever I wanted (or not), and get a little extra exercise while Dearest Son’s in class, or napping, or even late at night, whenever I want to. Amazon has so many free-for-Prime Yoga videos so that I could easily watch one a day for a month and not repeat any… and probably twice that ! And whaddya know, Jane Fonda’s in on this one, too.


I think I justified renewing Prime later this year… it’s cheaper than a gym, and even cheaper than the local church-run Zumba classes that only meet once a week.


Did another survey – that means that cheongsam pattern I’ve been wanting will be mine. In about a week. It’ll take that long for PineCone to credit my account, send the money to PayPal, and have PayPal deposit it. Ah, well. Maybe I’ll appreciate and use it more ‘cause it didn’t come easy.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What are those things ? Sea spuds ? But there's no DP&M Ariel doll in Chez Insanity...



Sea Melons ? 
Was kind of in a funk as we headed into the evening. Wanted to sew, didn’t really wanna make another dress. I remembered a website I’d passed on Pinterest that was said to feature a bunch of projects for AG-size dolls. Decided to check American Girl Ideas.com for inspiration – and I’m so glad I did ! Under ‘Sewing & Small Props’ (you know I’d go there first !), under Props, I found a great looking beanbag chair pattern. Read over the directions, thought this would be a great way to use up some of that heavy-weight fabric I got from the thrift a few weeks ago. Realizing that, if the first one looked good, I’d want three more the same size and shape, I opted to make a pattern from the get-go. While the directions call for a 17 to 18 inch oval, I went with a fifteen inch one. That’s how long my paper was. Sketched out a half oval about 3 1/4” wide at the center and cut out four fifteen by six and a half inch ovals. I wanted mine to be kinda square, too.


It sewed up easily, and used up over half of my two years of saved scraps as stuffing. So I’d have enough for at least two tonight, I spaced out the first one with a few Mal-Wart style plastic sacks. Looked good, and Aurora looked good on it, so I started the second one. Third and fourth happened after supper, and by then, I was completely out of saved scraps. What to do ? Well, I’d decided to donate some of the thrift fabric… and there’d still be plenty of it after I used a bit for stuffing. Cut several quick strips, found some more grocery sacks, and in less than two hours total, had seating for all my DP&M girls. And used up some fabric I really wasn’t sure about keeping.



Tomorrow I’ll rearrange my doll shelves, get ‘em cleaned up at the same time. I wonder if the Little Disney Princesses and Prince Beloved Hubby would like some seating arrangements, too…?


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

To Craigslist...or not Craigslist. That is the question...



Whew ! My diabetic test strips arrived today. Just in time, as I’d have run out Thursday afternoon. I’d been a bit worried, because the VA website said I wasn’t due for a refill on those ‘til next month ! But they’re here, and I’m happy, which was good, because we also got a Hancock Fabrics mailer, too. (sigh) So many pretty colors and fun Halloween prints…


I’m enjoying using the fabric I have, and truly, I don’t need any more of anything. My main problem is having to dig through the abundance to find what I know I have, not that I don’t have enough of this type or that color. At this point, I should truly only buy anything for a specific project, and as little of it as possible. Like the brown fleece I’m gonna need if the last dress pattern alteration works out. And don’t even get me started on patterns ! But then I get a mailer, and all my best intentions waft away on a sigh.


Decided to list my three DP&M girls – Cinderella, Belle #2, and Anna – on Craigslist, see if someone local would like to buy them. Was gonna put them up on eBay individually, but that meant having $30. in mailing fees readily available, in case they sold. Which we don’t right now. Yeah, I know, the buyer pays shipping, but it can be days before PayPal fully credits my account, days after the buyer paid. I don’t like to make my buyers wait that long. I like to ship when I get notice I got paid, hence having funds available. Plus, I’ll ask a bit more than I want for them, leave room to negotiate.


Every single Craigslist seller I’ve ever had – save for one – has always asked for ‘just a few bucks’ off. I’ll never forget the guy who got me to shave $10. off my asking price for an excellent Gene doll and about $200. worth of clothes and accessories by pleading poverty – then when he came for pickup, bragged about his huge collection and how cheap he got it from stupid sellers. He then handed me the pocket change (for him) for the doll and climbed back into his huge $80K SUV. The money he gave me was our grocery budget for that month. He has a special name and place in my memory, and I don’t think you’d be surprised to learn that neither are very nice.


More recently, we tried to sell an $800. working stove – that’d go for at least $200. at a resale shop – for $50. One seller went back and forth, all worried that we were somehow ripping her off before she spent a dime, asking the same eight or ten questions over and over, that it wasn’t worth her gas money… when she arrived, she liked the stove, and offered us $30. for it. Beloved Hubby told her and her companion to get back into their $30K pickup and don’t bother to call again. And he wonders why I’m such a hermit.



Actually, remembering all those fails makes me pause to wonder if I should bother with Craigslist at all …


Monday, September 15, 2014

No cash = no pattern ? No problem !



Decided on a theme for National Sewing Month, because I’ve already been doing it for weeks. Found another pattern I like, for a doll outfit I’d really like to make. Especially with Halloween coming up. Problem is, the pattern is for one very simple garment, and the designer wants over $8. for it. Wow. My limit is about five bucks for a one-trick pattern, especially when it’s of the kitchen-table variety. I don’t think I’d even begin to consider ever asking more than $2. or $3. for mine, even if I could conceptualize selling any of ‘em. And it’s not like I’d make ten or twenty of these outfits, it’d just be the one. Frankly, eight bucks is about what I’d be willing to spend on the finished item, not just the pattern to sew my own. Add to that, even if I did buy the pattern, it’s designed to fit a much bigger doll, I’d have to alter it before I could even start. Heck, if I’m gonna do that much work, I may as well save us the cash and create it m’self.


So, that’s my theme. “Create With What You Have – Learn When You Can”. Not just fabrics and thread, but patterns and procedures. What if I try this with that pattern ? Who knows what’ll happen ? I may already have all I need to create until I cross over ! Sure, trawl patterns online, it’s fun. But use their ideas to craft it m’self, from the pattern up. There’s still two patterns I want, but they’re less than $5., and I can wait to get them when I do PineCone surveys. (grin) That’s also what I (will) have.



This is what Simplicity 8519,
view 1 originally made -
until I came along ! 
Found a Crissy pattern in my digital stash that might work for the pattern I’m not buying – even if it doesn’t, hey, I got to sew. And now that I’ve finished the ugliest dress in the US… can you figure out what I’m trying to make ? While it is an eyesore, I’m kind of proud of me for widening the armholes, creating and successfully adding the collar, widening the dress for the front gathers, figuring out how to sew the thing together, and altering the pattern for the next trial. Beloved Hubby heard my tale of woe, and when the dress was finished, knew exactly what I was going for – I hadn’t told him the details. Just saved us eight bucks, I think ! Wish me luck with Trial #2 !


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Half tempted to make Merri a red cloak...



Merri was still wearing the ‘Hospital Gown’ while I fitted Version 2 of the shirt-dress, and when my eyes got tired and I decided to take a break. My dolls are terribly modest, you see, they don’t like hanging around naked while I fuss with Dress du Jour. On a whim, I just pushed the dress on over the shirt when I came back to the Arena. I liked how it looked, so this one is now a jumper ! Need to make a new white blouse, the gown pattern has over-large underarm-wide sleeves that don’t fit the jumper’s armholes well. I’ll use the white buttons, and probably a white ribbon belt at the slightly dropped waist seam.


I had to smile when I got some ad / recipe e-mail this week, that proclaimed ‘Dinner is back !’. Dinner never went away, at least not at Chez Insanity, it’s just been too hot to cook. Besides, ham sandwiches and microwave pot pies and lasagna never hurt anyone. Now that it’s cooler – and we’re broke-er – I’ve headed back to the kitchen these past few days, and actually used appliances that heat up. Biscuits for breakfast, pasta salad for lunch, fish for dinner … and a hour of dishes this afternoon. Whew. That should count as exercise !



I wonder if plotting and planning and digging through patterns counts as sewing… since I don’t think I’m going near my machine tonight. Ah, well. Never force anything that should be a pleasure and a refuge – and I just don’t feel like sewing tonight. I’m actually restless with wanting to sleep ! 


BTW, I don’t know why I love that silly solar sunflower so much. I remember the big sound-activated ‘Dancing Flowers’ from the late 80s that would twist around almost violently, but this one is infinitely cuter ! Anyway, it’ll probably be in a few more photos – if you suddenly want one, check out your Dollar Tree. I had a selection of four pot colors ! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pluto rising !



Coffee weather ! I’d snagged some International Foods creamer at Dollar Tree yesterday – same price as their generic stuff, for the same amount, so I splurged. DTree even has ‘pods’ for those single-serve Keurig machines. I’d love one of those coffee makers, but they’re so expensive. A tire place we went to years ago had one, and I don’t think I’ve ever stopped being impressed by it. But let’s face it, one box of those pods retail is three times what I paid for my coffee maker, so it’s very unlikely ! Plus, I like my cute little pot. Small as it is, it uses regular size filters, which I wasn’t sure of ‘til today. So I love it more.


I’m a little annoyed because the small bag of coffee I also bought at DTree a few weeks ago was already opened, and I hadn’t touched it. Neither had Beloved Hubby. Grrrr….


In other Chez Insanity news… years ago, I gave Beloved my Irwin Sailor Pluto, he always liked her. We found her, dusty and alone, in a box with other home office type plunder. I can tell you, there is zero room on his desk for her – there’s barely room for his laptop and calculators, with books and papers stacked hip-high over there. I don’t venture to his side of the Study unless I flat have to. So I asked if I could put her with the other sixth-scale dolls – I think Beloved was relieved. So, yaay ! I got my Sailor Pluto back ! I still have her original costume and garnet orb, even her (darn near useless) stand. I may have to make her some other clothes… At least her shoes are not a problem – I still have her boots, plus she can wear most MH footwear, provided there’s few tight straps. Her ankles are a bit bigger than the ghouls’.


Having some fun with the VA. My primary care assistant heard my whining about glucose numbers and said she may be able to request a referral to an advisor – not strictly a nutritionist, but someone who may be able to discern what’s going on with my glucose numbers. Just in case, it’d be great if I could keep a food journal… something I had been doing, but got rebellious and quit updating about three weeks ago. Well, no time like the present ! I’ve restarted it, and it’s a pain to keep up with (and confess that I ate half a bag of potato chips for dinner, even though I used to eat the whole bag !), but it’ll help.



I also got 120 vials of my breathing treatments. I’d requested more about two months ago, when I started to get low supplies. When I didn’t get them, I asked if I needed to keep up the 4-times-a-day regimen, and was told I could scale it back to as-needed. And I still have the original shipment. Now I have about 12 vials…plus 120. Ironically, I’m a little tight-chested today.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Even Clarice (Ghoulia) enjoys my ventures to Dollar Tree !



Went on a little shopping spree today, in slightly drizzly, nearly too cold weather. We actually had to close some windows !


Settled the ‘what to spend “my” money on’ dilemma by dumping the funds into house checking and taking Dearest Son to Dollar Tree. Better use of the cash, I think. He had fun with his usual purchases, I snagged a couple fun things, as well as snacks and stuff we needed around the house. DTree has just begun to put out Halloween stuff around here, and they always have such neat things ! I really loved the wine glasses, but glassware around here doesn’t last. I’m missing a Corelleware plate, and I’m fairly certain it was broken and disposed of, but I can’t prove anything. The four wine glasses I bought to replace the two broken ones are down to one now. (sigh)


Anyway. The thrift was kind of a bust- they had another Toddler Rapunzel, but this one was in much worse shape than mine, and didn’t even have shoes. I think they tend to overprice those – I paid $8. for mine in decent but far from ‘like new’ shape, and this poor bedraggled thing has $4. on her butt in what I hope is china marker, and not Sharpie. Most of their dolls are usually a buck or two. Saw a bear in a fluffy dress, but it was too fluffy to alter. Also successfully talked m’self down from buying more cheep kids’ clothes to rework into doll apparel. I have yards of really good fabric that’s much easier to use, don’t need more fabric in any state ! Much less pilled with thick elastic.


From there, it was off to Kohl’s, to use the latest ‘$10. off any $10. purchase’ coupon. I’ve had three in three months ! Wish the trend would continue. Their MH collection was sad and overpriced even on sale – mostly ‘Picture Day’ and ‘Frights, Camera, Action’ with a few ’13 Wishes’ and ‘Creepateria’ mixed in. At 30% off, the Creepateria dolls were $16., almost laughable. Dearest didn’t find anything at all he wanted in either clothes or toys, so it was up to me. If that gorgeous Elsa ornament had been on sale ($17.), it would have been a short trip. And yes, they did have Christmas trees up, twinkling and decorated, with a small Hallmark section. Loved the skates ! But it wasn’t, so the coupon was almost a long-sleeved tee for me, or a candle, or a small bag of Godiva chocolates for everybody, or some autumn-themed dishtowels, then a lovely emerald-green glass pendant with matching earrings.


I was carrying the jewelry to the register when I saw pillows on sale, $4.99. Something my guys desperately need. So I put the pendant back, let Dearest select his own, snagged one for Beloved Hubby, then realized something. The coupon is for $10. off a $10. or more purchase. $4.99 x 2 < $10. Well, this is where a real bargain hunter shows her mettle. I’d seen some plaque-type signs on deep discount over by the candles, and dug through them. Found a bunch that read ‘Keep Calm and Graduate’ – so cute for Beloved. And affordable, at 99¢ ! Got the whole caboodle for $1.05, and according to them, saved $33. Even got rid of some pennies. Yeah, I’m good.


Beloved was most appreciative of his new pillow, and thought that was the only thing I got for my coupon. Pshh. So he was impressed that I’d snagged two, and loved the plaque. It’s already hanging up, right above his desk. He liked the corn chips I got from DTree, too, but thought the tombstone was a bit crass. Well, yeah, that’s what makes it funny !


I even got to sew ! Attached a less-fluffy skirt to the shortened-by-an-inch bodice that Merri’s modeling this week, then saw that it’s really too loose. So I angled in the side seams a bit and altered the pattern yet again. Once it’s done to my liking, I could probably sell it, I’ve definitely changed more than 35% of it !



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Back to the tweaking board...



Drove m’self into the big city – diabetes clinic at the VA while Beloved Hubby had his own classes. Luckily, MIL was teaching Dearest Son while I was gone. I learned nearly everyone is frustrated about how diabetes pretty much wrecks your relationship with food, and that it’s very hard to trace what you ate to that spike in your glucose reading. Since most of diabetes medicine is all about keeping those numbers down, it’s really a pain. I think about food a lot more than I did when I just ate everything that came close enough.


But then I got home and learned that my A1C – blood test – showed my numbers had dropped from 9-something at my July test to 7.3 today. That’s a big improvement ! A result of 6 means you’re not diabetic. I wonder what caused it to jump up so high, and why it’s coming down now, and haven’t a clue. Sure, I’ve changed a lot of my diet (and I’m still whining about it !), and I try to be more active now, but that’s not much. And if anything, I’m more stressed now than then. Maybe it’s the insulin. Eventually, I just relaxed and went with it. And got m’self a can of Hormel tamales as a treat for late lunch. I haven’t had those since my birthday, when I got the big can and ate every bit ! And my tummy was mildly upset until suppertime. Glad I don’t get that effect from the smaller can.


Sewed this evening, to a couple episodes of Law & Order with Beloved Hubby. He likes having it on because it doesn’t require all of his concentration, and he can study off and on. Same with stitching up something new or familiar, for me. Decided to try those new alterations to the shirt-dress bodice, which is sort of new and old at the same time. Came out OK, the shoulders are right where I want them, but the armholes are still too big. Already tweaked the pattern. Not sure if I’m gonna cut off an inch from the bottom and make a blouse, or just add a rectangle of gathered fabric for a skirt. I kind of like making the dresses, but I’m not sure that I need a dozen of them. Universe knows I got the fabric for hundreds !



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dorrie sewed some bad, bad things...



I think Fall is here. Cats are chasing crickets and grasshoppers through the weedy lawn, and I hear cicadas in the trees when I go for a walk. Sure signs.


Plus, I suddenly want black shoes for my dolls. That’s even more of a sign than caterpillars. I’m watching a pair of Journey Girls shoes on eBay, but $8. is so much better spent elsewhere, especially when I really can sew my own. So I added that eighth of an inch to the outsides of the Beach Baby Dolls pattern and pulled out the black polyester I got from my last thrift haul. Let’s do it !


But first…Beloved Hubby was with me in the living room, trying to get comfy under a too-small blanket. Most of our bedding’s awaiting a trip to the Laundromat. I remembered the one-sided fleece that also came in the thrift bag. It was nothing I could really use. The pink and purple stripes were too big for doll clothes, kind of clashing, and even though it was only fleecy on one side, it was still too thick to use, even for doll coats. I don’t make many doll coats, mine don’t go anywhere ! I’d been toying with the idea of making bed jackets for M&FIL out of it, but I don’t think they’d much like the colors either. Maybe it’d make a good blanket ? There was at least two yards here…


Beloved loves his new blanket, and won’t even let me curve and cheap-serge the edges. He even cuddled under it at bedtime. Awwww !


I had shoes to finish. And I did, but… I still need to work on making sure my stuff’s parallel. I confess, I really couldn’t see the black pattern lines on the black fabric, and rather than do the intelligent thing and mark the inner curve with chalk and cut it precisely with scissors, I just ran my rotary cutter over where I thought the curve was, and, well, the proof is in the pudding. The color is about the only thing on those shoes that match. ARRgh. On the plus side, I probably only need to remake one shoe to get a match, but I’m still ticked at m’self for being cheap with my time. It would only have taken a few seconds to do it right the first time.


Well, it’s only a true, complete waste if I don’t learn from it, right ?