Saturday, February 28, 2015

If I didn't have the receipts, I couldn't prove today happened.

Went on a bit of a spending bender – got six embroidery designs and the witch dress pattern for my $12., thanks to some design sales. If Facebook is good for nothing else, it’s great for advertising temporary craft markdowns. Also spent the $10. I won with the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ shirt I made with a Magically Made Embroidery design. I got two of her adorable owl stuffie designs. That may be what digs me out, I really wanna try one of them.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

'Cruelest Month', indeed.

Still haven’t created anything, but I’m giving m’self a day pass – I finally hung up all the Barbie cases today. Yes, those have been sitting along the wall since late November, but they’re finally back on display, where I can get at the various props and wardrobes I’ve stashed inside them. Poor Beloved Hubby. Half our bedroom now looks like a cheapjack Mattel museum, but at least his desk faces away from it. He’s got his own whole wall to decorate, too, but it’s rare for him to do much beyond hang a few prints and posters.

Continuing with the ‘February is the cruelest month’ theme us denizens of Chez Insanity seem to be experiencing, we got word that Uncle T. was found dead by his room-mate / best friend today. He’s the youngest of MIL’s siblings, and while he had his own health issues, most folks would have played the averages and wagered on me going out a lot sooner than him. We’re all kind of in shock. At least he’s in the same city as his son and grandkids, and his ex-wife, and they’ll make sure he’s well attended. All we can do is stand by and be ready when they need us. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pretty, pretty sleepy snow...

The ‘winter mix’ (which should be a kind of candy, not weather !) really started in about 11pm, so furiously that we had to apply plastic sheeting to the bedroom windows. They billowed out, and it was like sleeping on the deck of a pirate ship as the wind blew towards the Caribbean. Dearest Son thought his was more like being mooned by a large, very pale giant.

The roads were darn near sheet ice, too, so we had Beloved Hubby at home. I had a rough stomach ache last night, and was still rocky today, so we ended up cancelling my VA appointment, and I darn near slept all day. Some parts of the state got four inches of snow, I think we got about two which partially melted to more ice. Yup. It’s all the snow’s fault I’m sleepy and lazy. I'm actually hibernating ! 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

I was so lazy, we didn't even go to Big Lots yesterday !

Well, we went to Big Lots today, as promised, really early. Despite the ‘snow at 4pm’ forecasts, it started snowing at 10am, and you know I don’t drive or otherwise function well in snow. Unless it’s behind a good solid window in a nice warm house ! But I promised, and since it wouldn’t get past freezing all day, figured it was best to get going and get it done. So I left Beloved Hubby sleeping, made sure Dearest Son was well-bundled, and off we went. Glad we weren’t getting groceries – from the parking lots, there’s probably not a gallon of milk available at retail for miles around.

He found the ponies he wanted, despite having to twice wait out a little girl who seemed to follow us around the store, singing praises about her electronic stuffed puppy set to ‘Jingle Bells’ and the standard sing-song little girl chant. I remember being that desperate for attention at her age, but I had to wonder where her folks were.

Snagged a few other minor items – they finally had the Sesame variety of the Wasa Crispbreads I like in stock – and we were at the register when I saw four Elmer Chocolate heart-boxes, just like the Dollar tree ones, on markdown for 50¢ each. Snagged the lot and learned something important. They may look the same and be the same size, but if the picture shows four candies on the back (instead of the five shown on the DTree ones), believe the image. Hmpft. At least they were on sale. And the cashier was glad to finally trash the shelf display on her register.

I don’t know why I’m so lethargic and lazy. Can I blame the half-inch of snow ? 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Peekaboo !

I put yesterday’s dollar red beans to work right away and cooked a big ole pot of Ham Bone Beans this afternoon – so delicious. I’m always amazed at how much ham remains on (and in !) a well-picked ham bone. House still smells good, and I don’t have to worry about what to have for lunch for the next two or three days. Only problem is, we’re out of ham bones. But if I know Beloved Hubby, we’ll have a nice Aldi’s ham around Easter time.. One day, I’m gonna spring for that deluxe 15-bean soup mix that’s always right next to the regular dry beans array…

I was kind of working on the assumption that we’re in our usual mid-to-late-month money slump, hence the beans. We’re actually not doing that bad. We’re not rolling in it, but we’re almost up to date on the usual bills. We even sprang for pizza for lunch, using the usual ‘two large for $7.99’ special with cheese sticks special – minus a $10. off $20. purchase register receipt coupon we got last time we ordered. We had a feast with leftovers for a bit over $12. Beloved was impressed.  

Friday, February 20, 2015

Only I could possibly get addicted to grocery cherry picking...

I’ve been waiting patiently for the cheap grocery down the street to have one of it’s 3 to 4 annual ‘sausage sales’ – a local brand of both chub sausage and link sausage go on sale for $1. each for 8 to 12oz. It occurred to me that I haven’t been to any of the more expensive grocery stores since the move, and pulled up Homeland’s sale paper – and you know what I found ! While it was just the 12oz chub sausage, we needed some, and I actually had a bit of a grocery budget left.

As it turned out, they were having a big “10 for $10.’ sale, and I had a great time cherry-picking all over the store ! I got my load of frozen sausage and big boxes of generic corn flakes, six-packs of ramen noodles, cans of orange Danish and biscuits, dry red beans, and even the two boxes of fish sticks turned out to be a dollar ! They were on sale for $2.99 and I had dollar-off coupons printed online – and Homeland doubled them ! About the only thing more than a dollar was Dearest Son’s lunch pizza. Typically, the receipt said I saved more than I spent, but this time, I actually felt it was true ! It was a great haul.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Good news - so very welcome !

Got a call from MIL – she needed a ride to a medical appointment. S’Ok, I needed a reason to get off my stupefied rump. And they had great news ! They’re moving to their own apartment, in ThisCity, at the first of the month. Whew ! What a relief. I wondered if their mortgage holder had lit the fire, but it’s nunnamybiz, we’re just happy they’ll be outta there soon. And it’ll be much easier to arrange future medical appointments. Get this – the Senior Ride bus service will gladly transport them from ThisCity to ThatPlace and back, no problem. But they won’t from ThatPlace to ThisCity ! Go figure.

They’ll be about ten blocks away, too. Close enough to be convenient, far enough for everyone to keep their privacy. While I’m a bit worried they’ll soon be depending on us again, at least their place is nearly all-inclusive. They have their own electric bill (but it’s the same company they have now, so no ridiculous deposits) and cable/internet, but considering they won’t have water, trash, or gas bills, hopefully it’ll be more comfortable for them.

While she was in for her appointment, Dearest Son and I hit Dollar Tree, just for a few snacks. Surprisingly, they still had Valentine’s Day candy, mostly of the lollipop and conversation heart varieties. Hey, I like conversation hearts, especially at half off. When we poked our heads into Dollar General (right next to the grocery store) yesterday, their leftovers were only 25% off. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cherry picking at the grocery is exhausting !

I think I’m magnetically attracted to the earth somehow, because moving seems darn near impossible. Only reason I got off my duff today was that we were out of milk, and eggs after I made breakfast. It’s rare for us to get breakfast together, unless it’s fast-food biscuits, but Beloved Hubby didn’t have to go in ‘til mid-morning, so I made us a nice meal of eggs, DTree turkey bacon, and toast points. Delicious !

Was glad to use up the eggs, as the grocery down the street had a special. But once there, I found a couple dozens on markdown – XL Organic Free Range brown eggs for a dollar a dozen, a little cheaper than the sale price. I dug through ‘til I found a carton uncracked and about a week out of expiring, and tucked them and a sale carton in the cart. I can use the originally overpriced dozen in a week or so, especially if I’m making us breakfast more often ! And Beloved loves him some egg salad sandwiches…

I also cherry-picked the loss-leader oranges, barbecue sauce, and shaved ham, along with the sale potato chips, Dearest Son’s choice of cereal, milk, and a Lunchable for, well, his lunch. I’m also making Beloved’s lunches – he’s so sweet, he says he prefers my sandwiches to going out every day ! – and you won’t believe how quickly we go through ham !

About all I did all day was run and empty the dishwasher and watch cable – I’ve got to start turning that TV off !

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hi, Aurora !

My familiar friend Insomnia has moved in, hopefully it’s just gonna camp on the couch for a few days, enjoy some Netflix and Chex Mix, and move on. So glad the implant surgery isn’t until next month.

On the plus side, I’ve lost five pounds over the weekend, and that’s on top of returning to my previous weight now that my diuretics are here – they were delivered Saturday. Amazing how easy it is to shed some weight when you just don’t feel like eating. Beloved Hubby’s worried about me, but isn’t hovering, which I appreciate. Unfortunately for my diet, he got me a bunch of comfort chow, and I’ve been steadily chomping through it. Still not interested in food, but the very act feels good right now. I tried like heck to not console m’self with snacks, but perhaps a one-evening binge isn’t so bad. Heck, not too long ago, just one of Mother’s messages would have me indulge-eating for a week !

At least I’m back to sewing, although I’m a bit behind in embroidery. Perhaps tonight. I actually won a contest – only three of us entered, so I think we all won ! – and the prize was a $10. credit in her adorable Etsy embroidery shop. Only problem is, I pretty much already bought everything I wanted from there during her pre-Christmas mega-sale. Wonder if the prize has an expiration date…

Aurora’s wearing a slightly shortened Elaine Snugfit blouse, almost identical to Tia’s most recent shirt, with a same-thread-stitched white mini-skirt from my own clumsy pattern. For some reason, this shirt seems to billow a bit, so I trimmed another 1/8 or 1/6 of an inch from the side seam allowance, and scanned it. I may sew it one more time before moving on to something else. What to sew next ? Decisions, decisions…

Monday, February 16, 2015

You might wanna skip this one, too...

(sigh) Feels like I’m absolved of one sin (my selfishness over a pricey Disney book that played out like a cheesy version of Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace”) and tumble headlong into a bigger one. I know I try to not get too personal here, but… well, you know we’ve been estranged from my parents since 2002. It never really stopped hurting, having to choose between them and my husband and son, being thrown out and cursed for my choice, but life goes on and you have to live what you chose, or else. Occasionally I’d get a poison pen e-mail from Mother, which I’d try to ignore, realizing she’s hurt and bitter and will probably never see that she hurt herself more than I ever could. And that I simply can’t let her damage continue to another generation, so all I can do is keep moving on.

The notes were especially vicious this week. And I completely understand why. But if there are hundreds of ways to tell your disinherited, disowned daughter that her father has died, she pretty much chose the worst possible one. I’m not the inhuman monster she writes I am (maybe I am, right now, I really don’t know), I miss and mourn my father. But I also mourned the relationship I wanted and begged them for, for three years after we were ordered out of ‘their’ state. No, I’m not going to the funeral, yes, it freakin’ hurts, but I just can’t. If Mother was poison ten years ago, I don’t even want to be in the same time zone when she’s grieving and has blamed me for his heart disease for the last five years.

I’d love to believe we could reconcile at this worst of times, but I read her little love note from yesterday and know that’s as much of a fantasy now as it was in 2002. I think I’ve always been a disappointment to her, she sure let me know it daily growing up, so if she wants to believe I’m the worst creature ever spit from Hades, well, it’s far from a brand new thought to her. And I’m not gonna let Dearest Son be eviscerated by her the way I was just because I miss what I never had and sure as all (expletive deleted) ain’t getting now.

Sorry. Just… give me a day or two to deal and I’ll go back to scrap crafting and saying we’re broke, but look at this embroidery design I’ll add to the thousands of others I haven’t sewn yet that I got at 40% discount on today ! Like the rock trolls said, people don’t really change, and you know what I am, pretty much. Sorry if these past few days have altered your opinion, but I’d rather you know that Mother was probably right about me.

It kind of says something that I completely forgot about Toy Fair this year…

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A long and involved story, or, Dorrie Did a Bad, Bad Thing Twenty Years Ago

(sigh) Oh, Mickey...
So. Today’s trip to the Flea Market, a usually wasted visit except for the bit of walking exercise, netted several things. Namely a big, juicy reminder of how bad a person I am. And because I’m so bereft of character, I assume you want to know all about it, and proceed to share it with you. Consider reading it your penance for some sin far lighter than mine.

Okay. Here’s the situation. About 1995, when my ‘Animation As ART’ passion was at its peak, on a whim, a dear friend of mine and I stopped in a small art gallery near a craft store, and were surprised to learn they sold rare animation art. I soon latched on to a like-new copy of The Art of Walt Disney From Mickey Mouse to The Magic Kingdom, by Christopher Finch. I’d seen this book before, in the Reference section of our county seat Library, but the librarians guarded it so closely, I didn’t dare touch it, even as an adult. It is a stunning book. Curious, I asked if it was for sale, and was told that yes, it was – for the cover price of $75. My MasterCard was yanked from my wallet so fast, it left friction burns, and smelled like scorched leather for years. I was soon on my way with my treasure. I don’t think I even looked at the cels at all that day.

Here’s my fall from grace, my demonstration of exactly how much of a rotten human I am. A few days later, I get a call from the gallery. The answering machine got it, I worked second shift back then. That book was not supposed to have been sold, so could I please bring it back for a refund ? I got another, slightly threatening call, saying the same thing later the same day. And I… never returned the call, never went back to the gallery, avoided the street the overpriced craft store and guilt-inducing gallery were housed on, and hoarded the book away from so much as the light of day. I should have done the right thing. I could have been a better person. Because I never read the book. I wanted to keep it so much, yet was so upset at myself, and the book was so rare, I just couldn’t bring myself to even open it. Shortly later, I met and ended up marrying Beloved Hubby, and when it was time to move to his state, I cushioned the book in my passenger seat and drove to the gallery. It was gone. It wasn’t even in the phone book any more, and the phone number on my receipt (it was still with the book) got me an irate homeowner, not an art gallery.

Two years later, I ended up selling the book for exactly what I paid for it to someone who wasn’t nearly as enthused about it as I had once been, but I was sort of desperate to get the guilt and shame away from me. I’d done the wrong thing, and selling the book didn’t absolve me, I would always know that I was precisely what I pretended I wasn’t – a selfish, petty, greedy jerk, no matter what I tried to think otherwise. It still hurts to know that.

So today, when I found a beat-to-bits version of The Art of Walt Disney From Mickey Mouse to The Magic Kingdom in a flea market booth, I almost felt like I was being punished. But, with permission, I opened it up, and it was nearly perfect within, despite the battered, torn-up cover. I started to think that maybe I’d punished m’self enough, and that this was my chance to actually read the book that had haunted me for so long. Twenty bucks ? A bit on the pricey side, and pretty much all my spending money for the next week or two, but… okay. I told Dearest Son of my history with the book, and he seemed pleased to know his Draconian momma was just another regular human who screwed up and made bad choices, too.

While he watched his new DVDs, I had some time with my new book. At nearly 500 pages, it’ll take me a while just to read it, much less absorb all the gorgeous, rare art. And when I’m done with it, I’ll see if maybe our Library wants it, and can do something about the cover. Maybe in that fashion, I can be absolved just a little bit.

Irony : Did some homework, as the cover on my ‘new’ one is far different than the paper slipcover that came with the ‘Art Gallery’ one. The one I hoarded was the full 458 page 1983 or 1988 reprint (i.e., not the smaller Concise editions released about the same time). The one I bought today is a first edition. Only one edition had this cover, and I got one of ‘em sitting here.  Unbelievable. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Hope your day was delicious !

Poor thing - I dropped the
pot carrying it to the register. Hope the
petals heal soon ! 
Happy Valentine’s Day ! Hope you made some sweet memories     today !

As for us, it was a really nice day. We slept in – Beloved Hubby and I had been up last night, watching old Venture Brothers cartoons and chatting into the ridiculous hours. He’s off all weekend, too, which is great. I wanted him to get some rest, so we didn’t really do much, plus we’re perpetually broke, but he made us some great video shelves out of discarded job site lumber ! At last, all the DVDs and video games are out of the paper grocery sacks we moved ‘em in and out where we can see ‘em. Now I really want a DVD player for the Salon. Sure, my computer can play ‘em, but I usually want the computer to show some project information I’m working on while a movie’s playing. So don’t be surprised if I buy a cheapie player at the first of next month. I figure, I’ll save enough for that by not buying a slow cooker.

We had to buy drywall screws, so we hit Home Despot, and we now own a cute little lotus-like succulent potted plant. According to the sticker on the plastic pot, it’s an Echaveria Fleur Blanc, and even I should be able to keep it alive inside. Wish the poor thing luck, I’m still not sure how the bamboo plant I bought Beloved Hubby for our anniversary two years ago is still alive, either.

While Beloved napped, Dearest Son and I decided to tour the Flea Market, mostly to just get outta Chez Insanity while the weather was still so gorgeous, and walk around while avoiding anyplace that might sell anything pink or red. Last two times we’ve hit the Flea, it’s been such a total wash, I didn’t even take cash this time. Of course, we both found something irresistible, necessitating a bank run. It’ll take an entire separate entry to describe what I bought and why I bought it, so you’ll get that tomorrow. For his part, Dearest has learned not to trust various streaming services, preferring to purchase DVDs of his most favored films. We found the two Batman movies he loves, and one of the two remaining Harry Potter movies we still lacked (Order of the Phoenix, I think all we need now is the second Deathly Hallows one), all for just $5., so he was thrilled.

In addition to my Mystery Find (more tomorrow), I snagged at least eight, maybe ten, yards of two designs of nautical-themed woven cotton fabric for $3. I think the two biggest pieces were possibly someone’s curtains – while they’re not faded, there’s a hem in them that almost looks like my hand-sewing, which is clumsy at best. The other piece I like better, kind of a reef with fish and sea life, is several yards big, too. There’s at least enough there for summer blouse-and-shorts sets for me, shirts for Beloved and Dearest, and for every doll I own to get a new wardrobe, and still have a yard or two to donate. It’s awaiting the next dark load in the washer.

Gonna finish the day off with some sewing and watching a movie with my guys. What a great day ! No candy, no roses – unless you count the succulent – yet one of the finest Valentine’s Days ever. I feel so very loved…

Friday, February 13, 2015

O, the struggle...

Story of my life, right there.
Stolen from
Happy 17th ! Yup, Beloved Hubby has been stuck with my crazy assets for seventeen years already. I’d feel sorrier for him if I wasn’t such a raging narcissist !

Picked out the fabric I wanted to use for the next Snugfit Elaine blouse trial, another thrift store grab bag scrap, so it’d be a good idea for me to wash it first. Luckily, we have tons of clothes and socks waiting in the living room to be washed along with it. First sign you live with guys – hamper’s empty, but there’s dirty clothes draped over every chair and often, just lying there on the floor, waiting. I still think it’s awesome to be able to do laundry anytime I want. I don’t even have to hunt for quarters !

I didn’t have a lot of time to sew, since we went out to eat to celebrate, and by the time I pushed m’self away from my plate at the favored Chinese place, I was darn near too stuffed to walk ! I fear my blood sugar numbers tomorrow morning. The diuretic prescription refill that became such a mess after I called in last week still hasn’t arrived yet (although another ‘script I called in afterwards has),  but I’m hoping for tomorrow.

About all I did was cut out the newly-altered pattern pieces, cheap-serge the edges, and iron ‘em flat. So they’re all ready for later tonight, when I feel like doing something besides lying around watching Netflix with Beloved, or tomorrow, which is more likely.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bye-bye Duct Tape !

Well, the embroidery design I planned on snagging this weekend went on a 30% off sale for 24 hours yesterday. So, it’s already snagged, and I saved a little cash. And since the ‘Snugfit’ shirt fit the DP&M  girls so well, I’m probably gonna go after the ‘Witch Gown’ from the same pattern author on Craftsy Saturday.

Also ran some errands. All the duct tape has been returned, I officially give up on that project. Luckily, I had the receipt for the roll I got from Dollar General, but I got less than a third of what I paid for that MH roll from OfficeDepotMaxStaples. It’s fine, I couldn’t find the receipt anyway, and it’s their rules in that situation, but I certainly didn’t wander the store afterwards. And I certainly will think twice about ever entering the place again, unless I can frame the receipt, just in case. Hope it was worth the five bucks profit, OfficeDepotMaxStaples.

We also got a Blu-Ray copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 from the Pawn with the good DVD shelves. Dearest Son was so excited, I took him to Dollar Tree, to make sure he had his favorite popcorn to enjoy with it. True, it’s more violent than the other HP films, but we discussed it afterward, and I think he processed it well. It helps that he doesn’t pay the strictest attention to anything on a TV screen… Oh, and no, we don’t have a Blu-Ray player, but we do have a PlayStation 3 !

We also visited a thrift well-known for being over-priced, and they didn’t disappoint today. Items I’d seen new at Dollar Tree were worn and on display at the thrift for 99¢. I found a neat doll tiara in a 50¢ grab-bag, and snagged it – and also got a Barbie stand mixer, an LED light spinner toy, and a broken bracelet I repaired to fit Tia as a choker and bracelet. Dearest Son claimed the Barbie baby bed (great for Lego minifigs) and a knockoff orange MLP pony.

Once home, I attempted to stitch up a ‘conversation heart’ out of some fabric bits. Total fail. Whole thing ended up in the ‘scraps too tiny to sew’ box. Since the demo was made of what looks like fleece, I’m guessing the pattern needed the bit of give and stretch that’s a part of fleece – something my woven cotton scraps lacked. Oh, well.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Poor Tia - she always gets stuck with the 'less than sophisticated' stuff...

Woot ! The pattern I decided to take out for a test drive last night worked great ! All I did was take out a quarter inch from the side seams and also from center front and center back, and I had a pretty decent fit without much work. If, however, you need a good AG-size button-front collared blouse with several variations for a mere $2., I can recommend Val Spiers Sews’ ‘Snugfit Elaine’ pattern, available over on Craftsy. I had to fuss a bit with the collar, but doing the same in Barbie and MH size is definitely more challenging. In some ways, learning to sew in sixth scale gave me a good grounding in standard sewing – not to mention patience ! But it’s nice to use up some of these larger print scraps once in a while.

She also has a ‘witch’ pattern I’d like to see what I can do with sometime – maybe next week. I’m kind of feeling over-indulged already, and know I’m buying a new embroidery design this weekend, so a bit of restraint will do me good. I also want to test my latest blouse tweaks. I’ve made it shorter, for kicks.  

I also got to go through my massive button supply – hundreds of ‘em, anywhere from 4mm to two inches big ! - and learned I have next to no red ones. You’d think I’d have hundreds, but that’s not the case. Ended up using the small ones ‘cause I had the most of those, and even then, I used half dark red, half bright red buttons so I’d have enough. Not sure if I need to buy more buttons or just some red Fusion spray paint…

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

German, by artist Anjana Iyer. Don't you love language study ?

Up early today for Dearest Son’s annual check-up. His doctors don’t really do appointments for that, they just set out a block of time for us to show up and wait. Can’t really whine, though, we were outta there in less than two hours – I remember one well-baby check-up that went six hours, ‘just a few more minutes’ at a time. We were down to one car then, otherwise I’d have bagged it before it got nearly that ridiculous.

He’s good and healthy, got a couple booster shots – clearly, we’re not anti-vaxxers, but I am anti-Jenny McCarthy, though – and refills on his anti-seizure meds. He took it all in stride, so I took him out for lunch and a slushie. My favorite chicken place has a Tuesday special – two dark meat pieces, chef’s choice, 99¢. I got him fries for being brave in face of needles. I was happy with just chicken, and in fact, only ate one piece.

When we moved, AT&T upgraded us to ‘Max’, the ‘fastest possible’ internet speed. Today I got a solicit in the mail, offering us $5. off for the next six months if we upgrade to the fastest possible internet speed, Max Plus. Ah, AT&T, you never disappoint when it comes to upsells. When we can run three computers, cable TV, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Movies all at once with no lag, I think we’re OK at Max. Besides, the only price given is the $5. off offer. Five bucks off what ? It doesn’t say anywhere.

Printed and cut out (and already altered) the $2. AG pattern I bought a few days ago. Planning on stitching out a rough draft this evening. It’s a simple button-front collared shirt in three versions – I chose the plain one for fittings. Wish me and Tia luck !

For the afternoon, though, I brushed Merri’s hair, intending to tuck her back among the other DP&Ms, but instead decided to tweak her green ‘Elsa’ dress a bit while I still had her out. Took out part of the skirt seams, widened the side darts a bit, shortened one of the straps. Much better ! Then I put the ‘Elsa and Olaf’ shirt back on her which covered it all. Well, at least I’m satisfied with it now ! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

'Cause there's not much, here's one of my favorite Wondermarks ! Visit more at, of course.

Don’t know what’s goin’ down with Chez Insanity, but all of us had to fight to stay awake all day. Beloved Hubby had to quite literally drag his anatomy to work, I had to make m’self coffee at 11am, and I still had to wake Dearest Son for a late lunch, after he fell asleep twice beforehand. Must be this amazingly beautiful weather. Junior-kitty loves it, as I can just prop open a window to the backyard for him to come and go as he pleases, without yowling at the front door.

Embroidery designers are really feeling the love – I scored six new freebies today, and spent a big $2.75 on four I liked on sale, only minor freebie guilt engaged. Trying to decide what next to create, as there’s so much new and so much ‘old’ from which to choose. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Odyssey's new cover ! It's sparkly, a little...

Hmpft. Kinda got socked early today, when I went looking for tips on how to convert Crock Pot / Slow Cooker recipes to regular ole stove top / oven ones, and the first site I found opined that not having a Crock Pot was ‘just sad’. Another direct quote, “You’re a weirdo. Ha, just kidding…sorta. :) ” . Yet she’s the one who admits to loading hers up in the morning and forgetting to plug it in or turn it on. Sure, I can get a $20. appliance, and there’s a good chance I’ll use it. I’m still amazed how much play that electric griddle gets. I love that thing ! I figured our toaster oven would gather dust once we had a working oven, but it’s still quite active. But a slow cooker, even if I do use it frequently, will still take up space, and the past times I attempted to use one resulted in dismal, barely edible failures. I know my family and our lifestyle well enough to know I can attend our recipe of choice, so we don’t really need another one-trick appliance. Yet in her opinion, I’m worthy of pity and mentally unbalanced. (sigh) Sometimes I hate the internet… Wonder if she did machine embroidery back in ‘09.

Anyway, I shook it off because I really like what I made yesterday – Odyssey’s new cover ! I decided to make one like KJ’s, a real amateur effort, but it’s worked these many years, and didn’t require a pattern or even a lot of work. Brody’s however, I made a paper-and-tape cover (because the one pattern I could buy that would include the embroidery platform was $20., ridiculous for something I’d sew maybe twice), then took it apart and used the pieces as a pattern, and it’s worked out well, too. There’s something uniquely satisfying about sewing a cover for your sewing machine.

It was fun from the get-go. The fabric I wanted to use I didn’t have enough of, but there was no way I could justify a shopping run with the parsecs of textiles I got sitting around here. Plus, it was already after 9pm before I got started. Took a few measurements, located a nice print that would coordinate, and allow me to use the first fabric for the sides and maybe an accent piece on the front. What kind of accent ? Hmm… well, maybe a machine embroidery applique, I’ve not had a lot of luck with those in the past, but I could try again with what I’ve learned since…

I knew which design I wanted to use. Years ago, several sites did ‘free design every 8 minutes’ rotations, and there were a couple I really wanted but always just missed. I took down numbers and checked occasionally until it was about time for them to come around again. Took a couple weeks – and I snagged several others in the process – but with no way to buy them, I had to be patient. My hunting / gathering skills paid off… and I never used the designs. The one I most wanted was an applique heart with a ring around it, like a Venusian Saturn. I could make the heart with scraps of the first fabric, and use the Sulky Holoshimmer iridescent ‘thread’ for the ring. Sure, there were only three colors, and I already selected the silver Holo for one, but it still took me a while to choose the other two ! I’m second-guessing m’self (as usual), but if I were to stitch it again, I’d probably go with a nice orange instead of pink.

Decided I wanted to embroider before I sewed, so I cut and ironed the fabrics, did a pin test for fit, and shuffled sewing machines around. Ironically, I used two machines to make the cover, neither of which was the machine I was making the cover for ! And yes, my hooping is improving, but I didn’t get the applique fabric centered correctly on the first try. That error got buried under the second effort, which went much better. Thank Everything I can repeat any steps I need to ! Had a few breaks in the Holo thread – typical, but I think I’ve come up with a way to slack the tension a bit more next time I use the stuff – but I was very pleased with the end result.

So pleased, in fact, that I intended to leave the actual cover crafting ‘til today, but I liked the applique so much, I couldn’t wait to see how it looked on the finished item ! Cheap-serged all the raw edges – something I really should have done with KJ’s cover, sewn over a decade ago – emptied and replaced a spool of thread, and voila ! Odyssey has a cover that I didn’t buy fabric or an embroidery design for, and I’m very happy with it. And proud of me ! It may be hard to see in the photo, but it’s not a camouflage fabric, they’re actually shades of green stars with a touch of gold trim outlining them. Probably Christmas fabric, but I liked it, and I have enough for a small doll dress or a larger doll separate. And a small doll only piece from the bits left of that most-wanted fabric, which was just dark green cotton broadcloth.

Rest of the day was tidying up, making plans, plotting and deciding what’s next on the cutting boards. I’ve got an idea for pants…

Saturday, February 7, 2015

I think this image was 'shopped.. I can tell. Originally, it probably said 'sewing' instead of 'crafting'.

Today was a total wash. I only managed to keep my promise to Dearest Son, who wanted to go to Dollar Tree. I got some beads for an upcoming project and another Elmer Chocolate five-piece Valentine heart – yum ! Same tasty candies both times, including the awesome ‘liqueur’-like round ones – but I just flopped once we were back home. I have no idea why I had zero interest or motivation today, but there it was.

Well, maybe I do know. I remembered the lynchpin that put me off machine embroidery for two years – I thought I was just gonna take a time-out for a couple weeks – and while it wasn’t a huge deal then, much less now, I still had to finish processing it. I didn’t want a bunch of bully-trolls to ruin Brody for me, and still don’t know why they targeted me, but I did the right thing by leaving what I thought was a great and kind forum quietly and letting things fall however they did. That particular forum is pretty much a shell now, I checked today to satisfy my own curiosity, but in truth, I just don’t care. Happened again with an MH forum, but the trolls had the good grace to go after everyone who didn’t agree with them, not just me, but otherwise, same sitch. I’m not much on forums these days… and I still don’t really open up to people, especially online. Ranks, but I think we’re all a bit shy sometimes, especially when we’ve been personally insulted for daring to have a different opinion on an inconsequential hobby-type choice.  

Or maybe it was the nail polish fumes. Yeah, I bought a new bottle at DTree – clear, but with tiny white and shades of pink dots in it. Kind of springlike, and almost Pinkie Pie random. Had to have it. Found it stuck in with some other wild, almost impossible colors, but it was the only one of its kind in the whole display. Who knows, I may go over this manicure with a coat of that glitter stuff I bought at another DT a few months ago.

It’s starting to get late, and I feel bad about not making anything. Think I’ll knock out a simple cover for Odyssey tonight… where’s my MH ruler…?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Fun stuff !

After yesterday’s little spending spree, I was glad to stay home and just watch guilty-pleasure cable, roll around a little on all the new stuff, and clean the mess of duct tape and fabric off the Arena. I started to want a new embroidery design to cover some stains from sticker residue on KJ’s cover, but that entailed spending funds I don’t really got. Oh, Beloved Hubby wouldn’t mind if I did, it’s just a couple bucks, but I don’t want to get into bad habits or entitled attitudes.

So I dug into the thousands -  possibly anywhere from ten to fifteen thousand, it’s hard to tell by file count when most designs consist of the design file itself, plus chart files, direction files, image files, and often the same design (and all its files) are stored in several different folders – of embroidery designs I have and decided to use my new glitter-green iridescent ‘thread’ to stipple a star on the stain. It wouldn’t really cover it, but it would camouflage it enough so that I didn’t mentally groan every time I saw it. I’m getting better at hooping, and the star stitched in less than three minutes – so I ran it twice. Minimal puckering, too. I’m kind of proud of me for using what I have and just making it happen, without kvetching about it for three days first !

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Baked Potato Feet !

Okay. I think I know where I’m going wrong on these shoes. Sides are too long, and the way they tuck under the toe cap makes the whole shoe look like it’s a baked potato awaiting a buffet customer. It also disrupts the fit, and is really hard to get to match. They might actually look better if I used something other than silver, but until I get it right – or give up, it’s about 50 / 50 right now – I don’t wanna use the good stuff. Heck, I might be able to take it back if I don’t open it ! But I wanna give it one more chance before I decide not to mess with it again. It’d be great if I could just get them to look as good as the ones eight-year-olds make on YouTube.

Still, trimming them down a bit helped a lot, so I’ve adapted the pattern. Hopefully Version 4.0 will be an improvement – or at least, something closer to a pair I’ll actually wanna keep. A good part of the problem is that the tape sticks in the wrong places so easily, but maybe I’ll get better at handling it the more pairs I attempt.

Anyway. I got to go to Hancock Fabrics without Dearest Son – Beloved Hubby only  had a half-day at work – and promptly spent too much. Arrrgh. But it would have been worse if I hadn’t taken my ‘skin’ embroidery thread spools with me. I was immediately drawn to pretty much the exact colors I already had ! But after intense comparisons, I found two that were different enough to give me a variety, one Sulky, one Mettler, both on sale. I also fell in love with another spool of Sulky Holoshimmer, much like the silver iridescent I already have… but this one was blue-green ! Like the ocean in moonlight. At less than two bucks, it was soooo mine.

I also took a dip in the remnant bins, and came up with a nice springlike pink knit and 1/3 of a yard of Heat N Bond Lite – pocket-change cheap, on sale at half the marked prices, and those prices were well-marked this time ! (grin)

Ya’ll know me, pretty much everything I bought was on sale. I got the pattern I wanted – Simplicity 1219 – on sale for a dollar, and dug through the button bin when I learned that all of ‘em were a quarter a card ! Spent $2.50, saved $25. – and that was the sale prices. Full price would have been well over $30. ! Not that I’d have bought ‘em at either full or original sale price… I also went through the 80% off holiday remnants and snagged a spool of gold/silver flat cording and green glitter rick-rack at 29¢ each.

It’s also their ongoing ‘Spot The Dot’ sale, where various fabrics are discounted on the fly according to the color of the sticker on the bolt end. The silky, starry fabric snagged me when I noticed one side was a darker blue than the other, but both sides could easily be used as the right one. Then a glorious small-scale brocade of all metallic colors ambushed me with dreams of foreign climes, so I left with a yard each, for less than four bucks.

So, yeah, I overspent, but Beloved was fine with it. And that concludes the February ‘First of the Month Fling’ – and then some – but, wow, what I have to show for it will last me for weeks, if not months ! Still can’t believe I bought more fabric, but I got no regrets. I think I’ll use the brocade for accent pieces with jewel tone solid fabrics, it’ll make an incredible Jasmine harem outfit ! Well, off to daydream a while before bedtime…

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Platypus Shoes !

Well, that’s sort of what they look like, to me. Kind of like those classic Duck Shoes from the 80s (yes, in high school, I had a pair in red and a pair in blue, why do you ask ?), without the ‘vein’ rows in ‘em. You can tell I made the one facing your right first. The left one is almost too tight, yet still looks all flappy. Not sure why the ones made for AG dolls look so much better, could be their round feet just lend themselves more easily to the dictates of the tape, but let’s just say it, these need work.

Lucky for me, this is an old roll of regular ole duct tape that Beloved Hubby has deemed only good enough for crafts and household projects. And there’s plenty of it ! So I’ll try making platypus shoes again, hopefully I’ll get it right soon. I’m still on the sheet of cardboard that came in that thrift-shop tin of cookie cutters, too.

Not much else going on today. I didn’t even buy anything ! It’s getting colder by the hour. Darn you, weather, for reminding me it’s still winter !

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

It'll look better with soles...

Go me ! I got the wireless and the Wii to work together – now I got Netflix and cable. If I find a cheap enough DVD player, I’ll be livin’ large !

Today was kind of a lazy one. I enjoyed a nice long nap when Dearest Son did, and downloaded several new Valentine’s Day themed embroidery designs. All free ! A ‘Love Monster’ in-the-hoop stuffie (another chance to see if I want that $10. cat design later), a heart-shaped zippered change purse, some other cute designs I didn’t really want. Lemme know if you want links, they’re mostly on Facebook and some require you to ‘join’ the fan page. I already was a member, no big whoop.

I also tumbled onto a  good sale, and spent another $5. on $12. worth of designs. Evidently snowglobe ornaments were big this year, I mostly missed it, coming back to machine embroidery after Christmas. But I found a sewing machine snowglobe ornament I really liked, and with the sale, snagged it, a cute butterfly pencil topper, two heart ‘felties’ (small felt designs, often applique, mostly used for hair ornaments, but great for doll clothes), and a heart-shaped photo frame. Not bad, five designs for $5., especially considering the snowglobe ornament itself was $5. without the sale !

At least these little sprees will end soon – the last of my funds will probably vanish into the Hancock Fabrics cash register Thursday ! In the meanwhile, I made a paper shoe today, espadrille style, so I’d have a working pattern to use with the duct tape I bought yesterday. It’s not my idea, I saw it on YouTube, but as usual, the directions are for too-large AG shoes. Since I still had Merrie on my desk from her new shirt photo shoot, I borrowed her foot. Later tonight (I’ll be up late, between caffeine and my nap), I’ll give it a try, and if it works, scan my pattern to make more later. Good thing I save that cardboard from fat quarters, it’ll come in handy for this project !

Monday, February 2, 2015

For a Dollar Tree box of candy, that heart sure was gooood !

Aw, man. I should not be allowed out of the house with access to money ! Actually, while I bought silly stuff, at least it was cheep silly stuff, and as usual, I got no regrets. And I still have a few dollars to play with ! Normally by now, I’ve spent all my first-of-the-month bucks.

Had a few errands to run today, and wanted to prowl a bit, even though we’re going to OldTown tomorrow and Hancock Fabrics Thursday. Ended up at Dollar General, since I wanted a cheap trash can to store Junior’s kitty-kibble in. He keeps digging at the bottom of the bag, tearing it open, even when his dish is full, and I’m getting tired of cleaning up Meow Mix leaks. While the smaller can for $5. would work – we tried it with a bag of chow from the Pet Foods section – I liked the bigger $6. can better. With that, a roll of starry duct tape, a Frozen sticker / mini coloring book, and the Little Golden Book for reference, we headed to the register. The nice cashier told me they had two trash cans just like that, in the back, each with some slight damage to the rim from shipping. They were gonna put ‘em out at half off due to the chipping – would I want one of those instead ? Oh, yeah ! I put the intact one back, picked the choicest of the slightly damaged two, and merrily left, having spent less than $11. on my little splurge. No more chewed-up cat food bags at Chez Insanity !

As if to show I don’t have to leave the house to spend my money, don’t forget I spent $7. on instant downloadable embroidery designs on line Friday, and then today spent $2. on a doll blouse pattern on Craftsy – but downloaded twelve more for free. Everything from patterns for me clothes to stuffed animals. There’s an adorable machine embroidery stuffed animal pattern / design on Etsy I want, but it’s ten bucks. If I were to make more than one, it’d be sooo worth it, but I don’t know that I’d ever make more than possibly three. I figure, I’ll see how I like making this freebie stuffie, decide from there if I wanna get the Etsy one. I’m not really a huge stuffed-animal enthusiast, but I like having quick gift options, and I love cats.

But for now, I had the makings of a doll shirt I wanted. So I knocked it together, learned that, if I wanna use the pointed-waist pattern with an embroidery design, the design’s gotta be three inches tall, or smaller. Elsa and Olaf’s height are a bare twitch under the limits of my hoop, four inches. I also didn’t center it on the fabric piece very well when I hooped it, so the sleeves on this now-familiar Hospital Gown shirt are very short. Kinda like ‘em like that, though.

Thinking of working on doll shoes this week, then working on another design this weekend. If I use a new design and a new pattern, and keep on doing so, I’ll soon be ready for more of both ! In maybe even less than two years…