Saturday, January 31, 2015

At least I'm helping the embroidery design economy recover !

Beloved Hubby surprised us all with Croissanwiches for breakfast, and as I was in a sort of reflective mood anyway,  I started playing classic Motown and Philadelphia sounds good ‘n loud on YouTube. We had a nice morning together singing and eating, and just sharing some memories. While Dearest Son’s too young to have heard those songs on an old 9v-battery powered transistor radio, he has very clear memories of Stand By Me. He favored Poison Ivy especially.

As I mentioned yesterday, I bought a bunch of new embroidery designs, ones I certainly didn’t need…but look at ‘em ! So sophisticated, but sweet, too. Could you have resisted, when they’re 40% off, sale ends Friday at midnight ? Fifteen really cool designs, for less than 50¢ each ? Plus, I got another Elsa… what ? Needed to spend $10. to get the discount, it comes in two parts I can use separately, and I really liked that one. Well worth the $7. total, in my opinion.

That said, today I hope to embroider a design I snagged back on the 10th. It’s a big, complicated one, but I just fell in love with it. Sixteen colors, 21 thread changes, original art I’ve never seen anywhere else. Same problem – colors given are not what I got. And the program I used to use that animated the stitching (quite helpful for selecting colors) doesn’t work, and the one I downloaded last year doesn’t do the stitch-out thing. So I found a new one, Bernina ArtLink 7, and it’s amazing ! It not only does the animation, it also shows a thumbnail of the actual design file, something I’ve never had before. I’m sure I’ve barely scratched the top of what it can do, but even if that’s all there was, it’s awesome – especially for a freebie !

Got to go to Dollar Tree today, and the display right after the solar-powered dancing cupids and li’l devils was of various ‘As Seen On TV’ products. Bacon Bowls, Hot Buns (hair styling), tiny Stone Wave microwave stoneware pots, and some sort of egg cooker were all there. I hope not many folks paid $20. for each of those !

Friday, January 30, 2015

And on Friday, I sat on my great round rump !

I’m doing pretty well with electronics this week. It helps that it’s easy ! Beloved Hubby borrowed my printer cable to establish Dearest Son’s temporarily wired internet connection – we’re still trying to figure out where to find the drivers to his wireless modem that’ll work with Vista – and I forgot and went to print something, to save m’self from buying more new patterns. What can I say, I get a few bucks in my hot little hands, and I can think of 50 ways to spend each dollar ! Anyway, no cable = no printing. Sure, I could just print at the Library a couple miles away, or run up to OfficeDepotMax and snag another cable for a few bucks… but what about this cable over here, where Beloved’s desk (and computer) used to be, before we moved it upstairs ?

Yup, that’s an internet connection. Runs through the walls between the living room and Salon, still connected to the modem in the living room. We ran a different cable for Beloved upstairs. The old one has the same connection plugs my printer and laptop use. If I pull this one through and plug it into Dearest’s computer, also in the living room, that should give him an online connection and give me back my printer cable without spending a dime. I had to move nearly all my stuff out of the Salon closet to get to the tangle of cord, but about ten minutes later, I’d accessed the cord and Dearest didn’t lose so much as a single web ad. Fifteen minutes after that, I’d taken advantage of the shuffle to sweep the closet then rearrange and tighten up the stash like I’d been meaning to, restored everything and printed out the page I’d started to. Go, me !

Working on the embroidery design I hope to stitch out tomorrow. It’s funny, but even now, when I no longer have to share my computer for hours and hours, I like to have everything all laid out ahead of time. And I still want to keep to my plan to stitching out a design at least once a week. It keeps me from getting too stressed about the whole machine embroidery thing, and keeps me from feeling too guilty when I buy a bunch more designs on a fantastic sale today ! Not to mention, it keeps me too busy sewing new one-of-a-kind goodies to eat out of boredom or other non-hungry emotions. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

What a day !

Had to drive back to the VA when I realized I was completely out of a very important can't-do-without-it-for-a-day prescription. (sigh) I thought I had another whole bottle. At least the VA's pharmacy's only an hour away, and we missed rush hour traffic. I have learned, however, that my personal vision of Hades is being forced to wait for something called in hours previous, with nothing to do but watch for my name (then get into another line) on the one screen that isn't showing endless reruns of How I Met Your Mother. And it's Service Dog / PTSD Dog Day, too ! Just glad Dearest Son was able to go with the flow. It was even more boring for him, I'm sure. 

At least we got to go out to lunch today, just me and him ! Once at the chicken place, I had a decision – get two nice lunch plates, or spend $3. more, and bring home enough fried chicken for lunch and dinner, plus a gallon of tea and an individual order of the fries he loves so. Yup. I made baked potatoes to go with our supper chicken, and we all ate well. Beloved Hubby was impressed with my economy. Hope he remains so when I start to whine I want something…

The chicken was also a good idea – the new hard drive we ordered for Dearest’s computer arrived, right on time, and that pretty much took all of Beloved’s evening. It was great to have a quick meal we all like that could be reheated according to the diner’s schedule and appetite. Dearest already had a brand-new copy of Vista (what can I say, he loathes Win8) to install, and it worked well except for a hundred or so vital updates (grin). Only problem we really had was that we couldn’t find the drivers for his wireless modem that’d work with the older OS. After trying for over an hour, Beloved borrowed my printer cable and gave Dearest a temporary wired online connection and installed his choice of browser. We’ll figure something out this weekend.

For his part, Dearest is most appreciative, and said he can deal with a wired online connection indefinitely. And tomorrow (it’s still updating), he can customize his ‘new’ computer with the programs he wants. I’m thrilled – I get to keep my computer all day and all night tomorrow ! Wheeee !

After all the planned and sudden travelling all week, I just wanna stay home tomorrow ! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The cat's with the CRT in the other room...

The real reason I wanted a TV so much.
Cat entertainment. 
My MUGA test went very well – in fact, not only did R. hit my notoriously bad veins on the first try, he had me so relaxed, I think I fell asleep while the cameras and technicians did their work. I was even outta there nearly about an hour earlier than expected. My doctors will have the results today, and I guess from there, my pacemaker surgery will get added back to the calendar soon. At least, I hope !

Visited with DM&FIL a bit when I picked Dearest Son up, and we were off to the thrift ! He didn’t find anything this time, but as expected, I found a TV, an old-style 20” CRT, just a buck more than my budget. Bulky, but even I could lift it. And I found two pair of Levi’s in Beloved Hubby’s size, so, yeah, I over-spent, but a TV and two pair of jeans for $15. is still pretty cheap !

I then spent two hours trying to get either cable or the Wii to work with it. The manual our tech left was for the cable box attached to the TV, the one he left for us awaiting the second TV had no manual at all, and was markedly different. It completely lacked coaxial ports ! We had new co-ax outlets, and a second brand-new modem, but no way to get them to connect, literally. Tried to swap out the wireless, no co-ax cable box for the one working in the living room that had co-ax ports (completely unused), but that crashed our internet, so I put everything back. Dug through our wire boxes and found an RCA plug set and a co-ax, which the AT&T tech didn’t leave for us, and still nothin’. I think that, when I said we were getting a second TV, the tech thought we were getting a brand-new flat-screen, instead of a near-vintage CRT ! Can’t really blame him for that.

I thought I was just plain stupid – although I was following the signal path correctly – when I couldn’t get the Wii operational either. I was just idly punching the ‘channel’ buttons (no remote), when I heard the familiar musical notes. For whatever reason, on my ‘new’ TV, the AV channel is 2, instead of the usual 3 or 4. Yep. Guess what I’d been checking ? Still couldn’t get the Wii online, but I figured I could work on that later – I wanted to try the cable box again !

Booyah, baybee ! Worked perfectly. I hit ‘reset’ and it picked up the wireless like a bloodhound, and the RCA plugs connected the cable box and TV just like I’d hoped.  I have cable now ! Next, I start savin’ up for DVD player… I’ll get to sew to my favorite movies soon.

Even better, we got to order a new hard drive for Dearest’s laptop, and it should be here tomorrow. I can’t wait. While it hasn’t been a problem sharing this one, I’ll be glad when he has his own again ! 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I wore shorts today. It wasn’t pretty.

They're supposed to be snowflakes, but since I hand-stitched 'em,
they look more like stars. Oh, well. 
Jo-Ann Fabrics issued an Invitation To Shop to me today – so I did ! I also returned library books, donated the junk in the trunk, toured three thrifts, and got what I needed so we’ll be ready for tomorrow’s MUGA. Since Dearest Son will be hangin’ with his grandparents, I got them the cat chow they asked for, and I’m also sending him with a bag of his favorite popcorn and a fresh 79c cauliflower. MIL, like Dearest and me, loves raw cauliflower, and it’s been expensive since Thanksgiving. She can keep it all, I have two !

You may be surprised to learn that, while I hit three thrifts today – and found that ‘new’ hospital one, finally ! – I didn’t spend a dime at any of ‘em. Was tempted, but I’m really keeping my eyes open for a $5. or less TV I can lift. While I saw TVs from $5. to $25., they were all either huge or too expensive, so I’m hoping OldTown thrift will have something tomorrow.

And, the only thing I bought at Jo-Ann’s was the single silver sequin tiara they had left in stock. They had some pretty turquoise ones, several gold ones, and an overstock of red, but that one silver was evidently waiting for me. The fabric I saw on the website that I wanted to see in person wasn’t what I really wanted, so I didn’t buy any – even if it’d been perfectly what I did want, it’d have to wait ‘til Friday. Plus, I really want to make more of an effort to use what I got. I’ve pulled most of my white fabric together, and yes, it’s more than the drawer can hold, in every thickness from transparent to canvas, so you know I have plenty of everything else, too. While digging for a particular piece, I found a gorgeous ‘galactic’ print that’s too big for most of my dolls, but would probably make an awesome cover for Odyssey. Oh, and the Christmas gingerbread houses are still only 50% off. It was funny to see two of the three markdown fabrics I bought at the first of the month stacked next to each other on the sale rack !

I was about to throw away the hang-tag that was on the toy Furby I bought at Dollar Tree yesterday, but I remembered I have several out-of-date magnetic calendars waiting for a crafting. A few minutes with scissors, some glue and heavy books, and we have a new Furby fridge magnet ! And I’ve halved 2013. 

Well, tomorrow starts early. Wish me luck ! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

So sleepy...

Belle’s new skirt is still a work in progress, one I hope to show tomorrow. For now, though, the larger girls have a new pet to play with ! Took Dearest Son to Dollar Tree this morning, and he found ‘pencil topper’ miniature, non-mechanized Furbies over in the collectable cards/sticker display. He thought they were finger-puppets, and they work just fine that way, too. Most were primary colors, but I liked this one the best. He has matching feet, and all the ones I saw share  the same expression, a decent version of machine embroidery. Kinda wish I had that design, I’d make some really odd Furbies ! His hang-tag is as big as he is (about 3” tall from feet to ears).

We also toured two thrifts and a pawn shop. Dearest found a CoolPix camera he liked at the pawn – it cost him all his saved-up allowance, but he’s very happy with it. It even came with the original box and manual, everything but the storage media card and USB cable. It’s easy to find the cable online, but since we’ll be at OldTown Wednesday, we’ll check that good thrift’s Wall of Cables first. I snagged Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Batteries Not Included from the 99c DVD shelves at the pawn. That's mostly why I go there, cheap DVDs.

I found two huge TVs, one on sale for $5., my target price, but there was no way to get it home, and I honestly didn’t like the picture. It looked way too orange, and very fuzzy. The smaller one I liked, with good color and small enough to fit in Emmy-car, was too expensive at three times my budget. Ah, well. We’ll see what happens later this week.

I’ve finished two Nicholas Sparks novels (The Guardian, The Lucky One) and remain unimpressed. I feel like I just read fanfic treatments of two Lifetime movies. About the only real difference in them was who owned the incredibly intelligent and fiercely loyal dog, and the motivations of the unhinged bad guy. Since the donation pile in my trunk is getting big, I hope to have ‘em both gone tomorrow.

Speaking of which, I gotta get some sleep. My medical anxiety has kicked in early, and gave me raging insomnia last night. It was further aggravated by Dearest waking me up every 20 minutes of my hour-long attempt at a nap. (yawn)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Embroidery Sunday !

Today I learned that leftover take-out crunchy tacos make a pretty good lunch after they spend about 10 minutes or so in a 350° toaster oven, flipped once midway through. Even the lettuce wasn’t bad, although tomatoes and sour cream might have been, so I’m glad these had neither.

And when it took me over two hours to select the thread colors for today’s two-for-one embroidery project, I learned that having over 200 colors can be just as bad as having only eight. Skin tones seem to be a real issue – they’re either too pink or too pale, or just plain look wrong. Years ago, shortly after I got Brody (when we had money at the expense of Beloved Hubby’s health), I got Beloved to get me the Madeira Treasure Chest, a gorgeous three-drawer cabinet with 194 spools of glorious rayon colors, a few more of black and white, and some thinner bobbin thread, plus bonuses of a sample pack of various stabilizers, a CD-R of designs, and a branded thread clipper, with free shipping, on sale. I love it still, so much that the main reason I didn’t give up and sell it all when my interest waned and I didn’t touch any of it for nearly two years, was because I didn’t wanna give up the Treasure Chest, since the thread’s rather too thin to use for regular ole sewing. That, and knowing I’d never get back the low triple digits I spent on supplies and designs encouraged me to wait it out and see.

I’m glad I did. Because even with the color fun – while most designs come with color suggestions, it doesn’t help when the designer suggests color numbers from Sulky thread and you use Madeira, and the equivalents are colors you just don’t have – I had great fun stitching tonight. Even got to use my sparkly magic iridescent thread (actually, a thin plastic much like cassette tape) on Elsa's cloak ! And I’m rather determined to use as much as possible of what I have, especially when it comes to consumables. If that means I spend about $10. a month on new, inspiring designs, well, at least I’m using up some of what I’ve already got, right ? But it is embarrassing going through all the designs I’ve snagged for free or on sale, and know I couldn’t possibly live long enough to stitch them all if I did ten of ‘em a day – and I’m buying more ! Not many more, and only the ones I’ve wanted for weeks, but still…

This was tonight’s project. I think I did OK with my color choices, even if you can’t tell that I used different colors for their skin. Each one took about 10-15 minutes, they’re about two inches tall, and they’re two separate designs. Ordinarily, I’d have used a program to combine them into one design, but my ‘forever free to you, the user !’ program (coughStitchEraUniversalhack) quit being free in less than three years, and is now a subscription based, cut-service version. I just used Brody’s built in software to position them, and didn’t remove the hoop in between designs. It’ll probably become a doll skirt tomorrow. I think it’s Belle’s turn.

And just for fun, I can tell ya that the Elsa design was the one I was tearing up Etsy to find a few weeks back. I kept finding it as a finished hair clip or small pin, with no credit given to the designer, Lynnie Pinnie , anywhere. Sad. I always try to say where I get a pattern or idea, because Heaven knows if I can do it, anyone can. It’s getting easier for me as I find my confidence, but I still act like it’s a house of cards, and I often feel I’m one wrong breath or nanosecond's distraction away from catastrophe. This one went so fast, once I began, I didn’t have time to freak out and worry. You may be seeing a lot of small, quick stitching designs in the near future, ‘til I feel less clumsy about it all.

And, as January comes to a close, I feel pretty good. How about you ? 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Hope your Saturday was quietly awesome, too !

What a nice Saturday ! We all slept in and Beloved Hubby made us pancakes for brunch. Then it was haircut time ! Our formerly long-haired Dearest Son requested a ‘high and tight’ cut, and Beloved delivered. I have no idea where my little boy went, but the obvious teenager standing in his place seems so much more mature.

I went next, and my longest-since-I-was-10 hair hit the ground, unmourned. I look so much more like myself again. He gave me an adorable blunt cut that’s curling by itself into a pagegirl that swings just above my shoulders – and hides my lined and wrinkled brow. I feel like a cross between Molly Ringwald and Princess Leia !

After a quick round of showers for all of us – we were all covered in sharp, just-cut  hair – Beloved and I hit Aldi’s. We’re well-stocked for another month. I snagged two heads of crisp cauliflower for 79¢ each, and can’t wait to cut into the first one. I’m also trying to hold off opening my bag of chips for as long as I can…

My task for the day was to empty out a shelf in the cubby. It was filled with small doll props and MH doll stands, and I had a better use for it. Tired of having to wash and re-wash white fabric every time I go to use it, so stashing all my white material in a closed-up drawer should help with that. Was gonna buy either a plastic bin or some bedding for the clear zipper bag, but this way was much cheaper. Had nearly all of it stored in a half-hour, and the fabric I washed last week is all tucked away. So is the Happy Meal MH pail I use for small fabric scraps, freeing up a piece of much-needed Arena space, important now that I have three sewing machines. I like getting what I want done, and not having to buy anything new to do it !

Got word that the test I missed – the one that got my pacemaker surgery cancelled – is called a MUGA (Multiple Gated Acquisition) scan. I’ve had one before, I think, about a decade ago. I get a pinch of radioactive chemical, and a camera follows it through my heart and provides images for further study. I remember feeling very cold when it hit my system, and being amazed at the images, but not much more. The VA helpfully sent me a brochure detailing the whole thing, and it’s happening Wednesday. Since it takes about two hours, I have to call DM&FIL, see if Dearest can hang with them, as it’ll be awfully boring for him, with no one to talk to. Hopefully it won’t be too exhausting, and we can hit that thrift afterwards !

Although, truth be told, I’m almost embarrassed about buying Odyssey last week. Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets, but… I discovered today that Brody also has about 90% of those same stitches. Erk. But since it took me a bit to get Brody set up for embroidery, I really didn’t want to use him for anything else. So, for less than $4., I got the best of both worlds – I don’t have to reconfigure Brody, and I get all the snazzy stitches with Odee. I feel a twinge of guilt that someone who doesn’t have a Brody won’t get Odee, either, I got all the candy, but I’m sure I miss out on a lot, too, and I don’t worry about it.

Forgot to get some thread order info off my computer when I let Dearest borrow it, and now I’m too sleepy to start a new design. So, tomorrow, for sure ! Kinda tired of doing shirts though. .. I might do a skirt instead. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Please meet the fully armed and operational... Odyssey !

Didn’t get to play with my new sewing machine until after supper, and it was too dark to take pictures. But, oh, I love Odyssey. Yes, that’s her name. She wanted to be called Rarity at first, but after being introduced to two dolls and several ponies by that name already, she settled on Odyssey, or Odee, for short.

She scared me at first. Finally got her all plugged in… took a breath and stepped on the foot pedal. Whirrrrr. But nothing moved. Whirrrrr. Unplugged the foot pedal and pressed the ‘go sew ‘til I tell you to stop’ button, and got a similar whirrrr, one that I could feel coming from the vent holes on the side as a light breeze. Oh, man, wouldn’t that be the luck ? She lights up and everything, but doesn’t work at all ! I was about to settle into some heavy-duty self-chiding and cursing the donor when I remembered. Brother machines have sort of odd bobbin winders. They barely seem to move at all when they’re engaged, and unlike my first Singer, the needle doesn’t move a bit. Yup. The bobbin winder was activated. Once I moved it back, she put more action in her whirr, and she was ready to sew !

As you can see, Odee is awesome. All the stitches I tried work, and I can even play with the sizes, as the scrap in the middle shows. Wow. It even tells me what presser foot to use with the stitches ! Which, again, I have all but the walking foot from Brody, and they fit perfectly. Printed out a few select pages from the manual for reference – didn’t need to print the whole thing, most of it’s identical to Brody’s. I blessed the donor, hoped he/she would someday be rewarded for his/her kindness, and had fun playin’ ‘til bedtime.

Today, however, has not gone very well. Got my computer back from Dearest Son to discover it’d picked up Bing somehow. I’m sorry, I don’t care how ‘benign’ it is, when I have to delete it three times from under hidden names and reconfigure my browser settings and restart twice, Bing is not benign. I reassigned my curses to Bing developers.

And I didn’t win the Tiny Doll Sewing Challenge. Didn’t even get a mention or a ‘thanks for trying’ note. Kinda figured I wouldn’t,  although mine had the highest view count, but while my images got favorited, it wasn’t  by Jen*Wrenne, the challenge and pattern creator. You can guess which ones did win. Oh, well. I’m still proud of what I sewed – let’s face it, getting that pattern to work on a doll with even a small bustline took a lot of skill ! Plus, I did it with a buncha 2 ¼” scraps on one. At least, that’s how I’m consoling m’self.

We went out to eat, and it was heavenly. I may have binged on the food, but I was good at the drink bar. Tried Sobe ‘LifeWater’, a beverage line I’ve avoided just because of the uber-grandiose name. The restaurant had Yumberry Pomegranate, a flavor I would have also avoided due to it’s ridiculous moniker, but it was that or sugar sodas. It was actually fairly good, kind of an adult Kool-ade – water with flavor, just more subtle than Strawberry Blast. In fact, I could say that a good chunk of the taste actually came from the scent and aftertaste more than the beverage itself. At least, at zero calories, it was something I could refill on, and enjoy my dinner most heartily with !

I’ll probably sew tomorrow. Just not in the mood for it today. I’m leaning towards some more embroidery…

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Haven't seen a takeover bid like this since Turner and Murdoch...

Snow ! We woke up to about a half-inch of it, pretty and white, showing the cardinals and wrens in the backyard to their best advantage. Too bad it was nearly all melted by 11am, Junior-kitty could have used it for camouflage. Birds here are kind of mean. When he goes stalking, they tease him !

Speaking of snow, is it wrong that I sort of want to read those new Frozen chapter books ? The sample chapters, available at that link, along with some downloadable activity pages, were actually fairly well-written, if rather too slow for me. After all, the target audience is less than a fifth of my age ! And the illustrations are pretty, even if you’d think Elsa’d get tired of her ‘snowflake’ gown and train after a while. Just dragging around a cannula and oxygen tube got on my nerves in less than a day, not to mention it picked up dust, stray socks, and the occasional slumbering cat. I guess I’m behind the times yet again, I was surprised to learn the 120+ page books are ten bucks each, although that is for a hardback. A little more if you’d prefer a more durable Library cover. Guess that’s a cheap price for parents if it encourages their kids to read – over on Amazon, they’re flagged as bestsellers. You go, Arendelle !

And I even have the perfect snack for a cozy read. Yup. Frozen cereal. Those white and blue blobs are supposed to be snow and ice crystal marshmallows. No one’s explained the weird shape of the cereal itself. I find m’self wanting to see exactly what a Collector’s Edition box of cereal looks like. I’m sure I’ve seen other Collector Edition cereals before, I just wasn’t aware of them when I was looking for knockoff corn flakes. And yes, I have seen the Frozen fruit snacks. They always lose out to Cheez-Its or potato chips. Maybe one day…

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Elsa finally gets a new shirt !

Who knew that toothpaste and a soft rag removes china marker / grease pencil from textured plastic ? I didn’t, but I know now ! Was trying to erase the thrift store’s price marks from my new sewing machine, and plain water and paper towels were only smearing it in circles. Orange degreaser, Awesome Spot Remover, and knockoff Windex all struck out. A gaming chat board discussed how to remove marks from second-hand board games, and that was suggested. Worked like a magic charm. Removed a few other stray marks, too, and discovered that the LCD display was still protected by the thin plastic it shipped with. Between that and the Brother-wound bobbin, I seriously wonder if my newest machine was ever used at all. Either way, it’s now minty fresh ! And my hands smell good.

It’s actually a good thing that the sewing machine was there. It’s the only possible thing that would have distracted me from the $3. TV. True, it was an old CRT, and not even very big, but it’d allow me to actually watch cable in here. Told Beloved Hubby about it, and he said I was welcome to fetch home an old TV if I wanted, but he was planning on upgrading our family room TV soon, and allocating our current one to the Salon. So, if I find another super-cheep one, I’m going for it !

Dearest Son’s hard drive spun in last night, so we’re sharing my computer. Fine with me, gives me more of a reason to sew ! Figured I’d get that embroidery design worked out, and if there was enough time, sew Elsa a new t-shirt. Even though it’s an awesome Greek goddess design (Nyx) from Urban Threads, things did not go well. Ever do the right thing, and it backfires on you ? The fabric I washed yesterday was nice and dry, and wrinkled as a great-grandma pachyderm. It’d sew just as well wrinkled, but it’d be easier to work with and end much nicer if I ironed it, so I got it all set up. Very first stroke left a huge rusty spot square in the middle of the fresh white fabric. Arrgh ! Washed it out in the sink, cleaned the iron’s sole plate, and ironed it dry. Same end result, just took a lot longer. And I used a press-cloth this time.

Once I started Brody, there was some trouble with the design. Thread broke four times, for no apparent reason. Probably time to replace the needle. Or my thrice-used stabilizer, now down to odd-shaped strips, was a bit too thick in spots. Had to make a few hand-stitches to recapture the flow, but while I can’t set a straight stitch, at least it didn’t take long. Give me a day and I’ll forget where my stitches are and like it better. I only had one of the three recommended colors, but I think the ones I chose blend together just as well. As for now, I think it came out pretty good, despite its shaky start. Both Beloved and Dearest could make it out as ‘a doll shirt with a girl on the moon’, so I consider that a success.

Used my trusty KJ today to sew the blouse together, instead of the new, as yet unnamed Brother. Figured I’d take tomorrow to stitch up a cover, and just play and familiarize m’self with all its charms. Maybe even learn his or her name. Turns out, the new one’s a lot like Brody, even came with nearly all the same initial accessories, so I’m not missing much buying used. Mostly a hard case/cover, a walking foot, and a quilting table, and the usual consumables. Truth to tell, if I didn’t already have a couple years with Brody, I’d have been a bit intimidated by this one. It has the same ‘stitch ‘til you say stop’ function that negates a foot pedal in the first place, the option to cut threads and raise/lower the needle automatically, and a needle threader that’s a bit more challenging than Brody’s, but that may be unfamiliarity talking. If I didn’t have any experience with them, I’d be sort of hesitant, instead of hopeful. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My reward for my sinless, blameless life...

Ya’ll are sooo gonna laugh at me. Got tapped to take M&FIL to their doctor’s appointment today, which is driving an hour to drive them a mile. Then to their pharmacist, for some reason – they always get a prescription delivery the next day, but I have to drive them to the pharm (on the other side of town) the day of their appt. Still, that meant I could hit that good thrift in PreviousTown while Dearest Son and I were waiting, so I was looking forward to it.

Evidently I’ve been a good girl. Because what was waiting for me at the thrift store ? A lookin’-like-new Brother CS-6000i computerized sewing machine ! For $4.98 ! True, almost everything it came with, from feet to pedal to power cord, was gone, but I knew Brody, my Brother embroidery machine, had the same exact power cord and foot pedal sockets, so I figured I could use those. In fact, it rather looked like Brody, too.

I’d be kind of taking a chance, because without the cord, I didn’t know if it’d even power up, but it looked like a really nice machine. And the bobbin was loaded with familiar thread – this was the pre-loaded bobbin that came with the machine. I also knew the thrift has a wall of 99¢ random power cords on hooks… ah ! That one looks familiar. Let’s take it over to the Test Area …Yes ! It powered up and looked to be pretty stable, even if I wasn’t sure what it was doing. always has manuals for free download, so that wasn’t an issue. Was it worth $5. for me to have a third machine, with all these pretty stitches ? If it even worked at all ? 

Oh, wait. It’s Tuesday. Military Appreciation Day = 25% off ! Sent Dearest off for a shopping cart, this little beauty’s goin’ home with us ! Power cord, too. He found a game peripheral he wanted, and I found a Dollar Tree package of party favor mini tiaras, perfect for dolls. 19¢. Then a pair of kids’ velvet pants, flawless and perfect for doll crafts, 29¢.

And the hits just kept on coming. Snagged two like-new sweatshirts for Beloved Hubby, a decorative hardback copy of Gene Simmons’ Ladies of the Night (what I previewed was an actual more-or-less scholarly study, with art and literature throughout), and a vintage tennis racket. With my discount, I hauled all that home for the stunning sum of $11.11. Wow. I could hardly wait to get home and play with my big new toy, but M&FIL’s appointment wasn’t over yet, and I was a little tired of spinning around the thrift. So Dearest and I got a cheap snack and sale teas from Walgreen’s across the street, then ate and talked in the parking lot. We pulled in Beloved via text messaging. He didn’t know about the sewing machine yet. (giggle)

A short while later, they were ready to come home, and they didn’t need the pharmacy, their doctor wasn’t there today, and would call in their ‘scripts for delivery tomorrow. Yaay ! I left feeling good for helping them a little, and excited to be home soon with my new goodies !

Beloved was very impressed, and didn’t blame me one bit for snapping up the deal of the year, even when I have two working-great machines. He said that it was clever of me to check the Wall of Cords, and since I was the only one to take the chance, I not only deserved it, but it was clearly made for me. Kinda ranks for the person who paid $200 - $145. for it, but these things can’t be helped.

Only thing is, I was all prepared for a night of machine embroidery. I’d washed and bleached a load of white fabric – it goes to blazes quick, between the dust and the cat, and the piece I wanted to use had a stain – and was all set to hoop it up when we got home. Instead, I’m reading the new machine’s manual, comparing it with Brody’s, and cackling slightly. Guess I need to make a new sewing machine cover. And visit Jo-Ann’s again soon, if I can’t find my rainbow crown ! I’m thinking silver for this new sweetie !

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hi, Clarice !

I am so stupid. Soon as we woke up, I reminded Beloved Hubby that it was Martin Luther King day, so anybody selling anything would be open to flog MLK sales, anyone providing financial or government services would be closed. Not that he had to deal with either. However, I spent 20 minutes frustrated that, even at 10am, I was still getting the standard overnight message at my primary care doctor’s number at the VA. Stupid !

Once I was aware, I shrugged and went on with the day. Laundry and weekend clean-up, although I was good about keeping the kitchen clean, so it wasn’t much. Of course, it wouldn’t have been much anyway – we had takeout fish for Dearest Son’s birthday Friday, McD’s on Saturday, and pizza at M&FIL’s Sunday. If it weren’t for cereal bowls, I’d have barely set foot in there the whole weekend.

After a while, I wanted to stitch out that outfit I did all the preliminary work on last night. So I now have three outfits in the contest – probably still won’t win, but I’m proud of me for getting it done before the deadline, and how they turned out. Bodice still ripples a bit on the sides, so it needs more work, but as-is where-is, it’s a keeper. May stitch up a jumpsuit with that bodice in a couple days, as I don’t need a dozen tiered dresses these days. Still, it looks good on Clarice ! Contest ends tonight, results Friday. C’est la guerre.

Lost three pounds, but two of them were the same two I lost last week, darn it, so I’m almost where I was last Monday. Getting better at turning down snacks in my head lately. The bags of chips Beloved Hubby bought us Saturday are long gone, except for mine, which remains unopened. In fact, the corn chips I got us Friday from Dollar Tree were finally consumed today – I gave the last of the bag to Dearest. Those rarely lasted more than a day not too long ago. Like in December ! 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Scraps an' stuff...

Really not a big whoop of a day. Finished my library book, had a nice nap, dug through some fabric for another go at the contest dress I’m altering millimeter by millimeter. The first trial used a tiny scrap of fabric, which I liked, and wondered how small I could go to try the newest alterations.

Found the sandwich baggie of small squares and decided to try to use some. I got them in a bag of ‘scrape fabric’ from a thrift, and didn’t realize a good chunk of the intriguing fabric within was a buncha small 2 ¼” squares. Evidently someone was gonna make a quilt, as several were already stitched together. Since I wasn’t doing anything special anyway, I sorted out all the squares, and realized I had a lot of ‘em. Even took apart the stitched strips, just to have the maximum options available.

Of course, I liked the ‘falling star’ red print – I’ve had it in white and blue before. I had ten squares, would that be enough ? Two stitched together was enough for the bodice, and if I hemmed instead of lined it, yeah, that was enough. I used three for the first tier, five for the second, and went ahead and sewed up the pieces into skirt strips, and hemmed the bottom tier. Applied Fray-Check to the raw edges and had to let it sit. We had a date with M&FIL to celebrate Dearest Son’s birthday.

As I’ve concluded before, now that I don’t have to live with them, I can love them again, and we had a nice visit up until my eyes started to itch. Six cats and a dog will do that to me. But up ‘til then, they got Dearest pizza and a home-made cake, and we had a fun time chatting. He even took it well when their gift was a couple home-schooling modules. My boy’s becoming a young man, so fast.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

First World Problems, yeah, I got 'em...

I’m still getting postcard and phonecall reminders of my cancelled pacemaker surgery, so I gotta call my primary care doctor, make sure it’s been cancelled. If it shows that I simply stood the appointment up, it’ll be 2016 before I get scheduled again, if I’m lucky – I’ll get put at the end of any queue for months. Of course, the cards and calls didn’t come ‘til today, so it’ll have to wait ‘til Monday. Ah, well.

Got a little restless this afternoon, so I left my fellas watching various screens and headed out to Big Lots. I’ve been wanting to just wander around there by m’self, and today seemed like a good chance to do so. I may be the only person in America that looks on the Wasa Crispbreads as a delicious treat, not just tummy-filler diet food, but I do know BLots has ‘em for $2. a package, instead of the usual $3-something everywhere else. I got Sourdough, Light Rye, and Multigrain, one of each they carried.

They still have Christmas candy, and it’s just now at 75% off. Nothing I wanted, but I bought a tray of tree-shaped Peeps for the sheer cheep sweets factor. D├ęcor was 90% off, but we already have plenty, and Dollar Tree was still cheaper before the holidays than some of their stuff on markdown. Got oven light bulbs (they don’t work, gotta take ‘em back) and a three pack of full-size bags of Cheddar and Pretzel Goldfish for $3. That was so weird. There’s a sticker on the package, saying Pepperidge Farms deemed these not quite up to specs, so they’re cheap, but they hope they still satisfy. How strange.

Started feeling a little light headed and fuzzy, so I got to the car and ate a tree. Nothing like Peeps, in all their sugar-coated marshmallow goodness, to get your blood sugar back up. Felt so good I ate another one. Wow. When you curtail your sugar and suddenly get some, it’s like rocket fuel when you’re used to water.

A trip to Dollar General got us the soda Beloved Hubby wanted, along with a pretty snowflake-etched juice glass and a thin oven mitt with sugar cookie mix for 75% off. If they’d had more of those glasses, I’d have bought ‘em. The cashier wanted to debate me on the potholder, saying it was food and was only 50% off. Fine with me, but I showed her where she needed to move the box of ‘em, as the holiday food display was an aisle over, and all the signage up and down the aisle and  taped to the potholder display box was a solid 75% off all around. Honestly, I’m not sure why I was so compelled to buy it, other than the lure of sugar cookies for maybe a quarter cheaper than the Aldi’s pouch mixes…

Is it wrong that I want to critique the applique and embroidery technique of someone in China who’s probably only getting paid pennies per piece ? Yeah, I thought so. I am such a First Worlder…

Friday, January 16, 2015

Hi, ElsaPop !

(grin) Guess I forgot to tell ya’ll – I redeemed most of my Disney Movie Club points to score a Pop! Elsa figurine about a week before Christmas. And she arrived today ! She is so cool. (ha !) And she looks even better than the one I saw at TRU today. I’d heard that early runs looked far too ruddy in the face to resemble Elsa (ummm.. that huge head is a true resemblance anyway ?), but later ones were more pale and true-to-character. I wondered – but yes, mine’s a lot more pale. I kinda wanted to go back to TRU for comparison photos, and I may someday. Just trying to frame in my mind how to ask so I can leave with the doll I came in with.

Only reason I was in TRU was for Dearest Son. He’s got a birthday coming up, and wanted to see what Transformers they had. As it turns out, they had more DVDs than robots. And while I didn’t spend more than a minute in the MH aisle, I could see they had nothing new since Halloween. (shrugs) Nice to see they actually had MH dolls, but it seems like some (like the remaining Scaris and Scaremester) are destined for discounts when the 2015 stuff starts rolling in. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hi, Rarity !

Took today to just relax and get over things. And go through my neglected e-mail in-box. And my wreck of an Arena. Found the Tiny Doll Sewing Challenge free pattern I printed out from Wren*Feathers, and figured out that the bodice – with some of the too-long back length snipped – would fit both the MH and MLP dolls, and that little scrap left from the Elsa fabric snowglobe ornament.

It stitched up a bit too…suggestive as a dress for MH (ok as a high-waist skirt, though), but kinda cute on Rarity, so I worked it up again, altering the bodice to make it longer, but keeping the original back closure. Instead of a single skirt, I decided to go for a tiered one, letting the fabric scraps dictate the skirts’ fluffiness and length. Came out OK, but a bit loose along the sides. So I drew in a pair of darts, and we’ll see how they go.

For now, I went ahead and entered today’s image in the contest. Prize is three free similarly sized patterns for a doll I don’t own, but what the heck. Since I don’t desperately want the prize, it won’t be a big deal if I don’t win. I never do win these kinds of contests, and it usually ends with me hating on myself and my limited skills, so it’s rare for me to enter, but I think I can handle disappointment this time. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Even after 48 years on Earth, I still don't handle disappointment well, not at all.

Well. Three guesses who isn’t getting a shiny new pacemaker next week ? If you guessed it’s me, then you deserve the huge cookie I wish I could send you. It’d make me feel better if I could. I spent all week scared to death that my cold would make them cancel the surgery, so I’ve been resting and crap instead of busting butt like I should have, sick or not – and as I’m walkin’ out of the VA from all three of today’s appointments, I get a call. They forgot to schedule me for a very important test, and it has to happen before the surgery. So Doc put in a request for the test, and if I haven’t heard from them about it by next Friday, I have to call them, remind them again to schedule it. They’ve already cancelled the surgery. No telling when 1) the test will be or 2) when the pacemaker implant will be rescheduled. Hoping for March or earlier.

I was actually getting rather excited about it, I’m sure you can’t tell. (deep breath) It’s probably for the best, and I did get some good news. One, the cold isn’t an issue, they can barely hear it in me. So, it hasn’t settled in my lungs or anything dangerous. I was feeling better for a reason ! (grin) Two, my heart is quite stable in its current state. There’s even been some very minor improvement, surprising since it’s only been two months since the last EKG. Three, I don’t need the second lead. Some pacemakers have one lead, there to establish the rhythm in the right atrium, usually. That’s often plenty. Others have two, one for the atrium, one for the ventricle. I was right on the line for getting a two-lead, but recent other tests have revealed my ventricle spacing has visibly improved, so I don’t need it. There’s even a three-lead pacemaker, but I was never in the running for it, so we’re not gonna discuss that one. Even on the tail end of a vicious cold, I’m actually a bit healthier now than I was a couple months back ! Gee, what else has changed for the better in the past couple months… hmm…

For the truly curious, I’ll leave this right here. It’s a video showing what a pacemaker does, how it’s implanted, and how it helps. It’s computer animated, reminiscent of color science films from high school, so it shouldn’t squick any but the most squeamish of us. Dearest Son actually wanted to see it – he went with me today – and was impressed at his momma’s future Borg status. (sigh) Whenever it happens. BTW, he was awesome. It was almost as fun as shopping, but the fifth waiting room we got stuffed in, it was starting to get a bit old. In the end, we saw seven waiting rooms for three appointments. Why ? Haven’t a clue. Just went where they told us. And also on the plus side, we were off the highway and local thoroughfares before Rush Hour. Best part of the whole day, excepting the free roast beef sandwich from Arby’s. Joined their FB group, got a coupon, enjoyed a late lunch there. Yum.

Anyway, I also got a test to run tonight that was ordered when my oxygen subscription was about to run out… back in mid-November. Oxygen’s been gone since early December. (sigh) But we’ll run it and mail it back tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, the VA is taking excellent care of me. But some of this ‘oh. we forgot about you. again. ’ (expletive deleted) gets to me after a while. And I made someone’s day when I told them Finding Dory is, in fact, an actual Pixar movie due for release this year. And Ellen is still Dory. Hm. I need to see if that release date’s changed at all…

Learned a couple other things. One, Emmy-car will do 80mph if I ask her to. Darn trucker. ‘Nuff said. Two, asking the security officer in the booth where parking may be found is a good idea. He told me where he saw people leaving from, and bingo ! Two spots fairly close that I didn’t even have to circle for. A trick worth keeping. And I lost a pound and a half over the last two days. Not sure how, but if it weren’t for the coughing and phlegm, I’d wish this cold – or at least it’s appetite suppressant power these past couple of days – would stick around. Maybe corn flakes for supper is a secret fat burner or somesuch ?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Not dead yet. Not sure if getting better...

Still feel awful, but it’s a slightly better form of awful… I’m not coughing as much, and not eliminating quite as much gunk. I may actually be on the rebound, thank Everything. Especially now that Dearest Son is starting to sniffle.

At least the kitchen didn’t get too bad during my neglectful exhaustion. Beloved Hubby brought home groceries, so we attacked various cereals and milk for dinner. No one was really hungry for anything else, even though I offered. Thoroughly enjoyed my two bowls of corn flakes, and washed up everyone’s favorite bowl for breakfast tomorrow when I cleaned up. Hey, if I can keep the kitchen more-or-less clean enough to cook in even when I’m too sick and weary to cook, that means I can do it any time, from now on. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Wish I had stock in Kleenex...atchhoo !

What the washed Frozen  'Magic Towel' looks like.
A washcloth.
You're welcome.
I swear, if I cough and leak one more time, or go through one more tissue, I’m gonna howl. Going back to bed, wishing for a home IV and catheter combination. Ugh.