Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Seasons Greetings ! This one's only about five years late...

Well, darn. Poor Emmy-car is having transmission issues – we found out when we tried to leave for Game Day. She won’t go in gear unless her engine is off, and once she’s started, half the time, she pops out of whatever gear she was in. Completely unsafe to drive, so we stayed home. Dearest Son handled it well. 

I used the sudden time to sew ! You’ll get to hear about the new version of the Disney Princess & Me shoes, and see them, tomorrow. I figured out how to fit them much better ! But my poor Brody can only hold twelve designs, past the ones that are permanently installed by Brother, maximum. As you can imagine, I ran out of space really quickly, especially when you know I still had six designs on there from '11 and earlier, when I thought I'd be back soon to stitch them out, once things settled down. Week or two, tops. 

Three are the MH designs I digitized a couple years ago, and I’m still kinda wishy-washy about removing them. One is a design I created for Beloved Hubby, and I hope to use it soon, another is a dress form design I still don’t know what I want to do with, but I have my usual reluctance to commit to even ditching it. It’s not like these designs vanish if I take ‘em out of Brody’s memory – they’re backed up on DVD, USB, and Dropbox beyond their standard storage on my hard drive. I think I’ll ditch that dress form next time Brody and I play. 

The other is a design I altered years ago, a Christmas kitty. The biggest Brody can stitch is a design 3.92 inches square. Many designs are made that size or smaller – it’s kind of been the base size for years, and sellers know that, for a lot of us out in ‘Let’s Buy Designs’-land, that’s all we got. Embroidery fields go up to 7” x 12” in home machines, no telling how big  commercial machines can do these days, but smaller’s still much cheaper, and frequently available used. Heck, it wasn’t long ago that 4x4 was all there was, and they cost $1K and needed fragile, difficult to use cards and complete PITA card readers if you wanted to add or remove designs at all. 

Anyway… I liked this Christmas kitty design, it was free, but was too big for Brody. But I printed a worksheet of it out anyway and figured that, if I could move a few stitches and lose the holiday greetings on the top and bottom, it’d be something Brody and I could make. The free software I had was kludgy, but I wrestled with it and soon had it small enough. So I printed out a new worksheet for it, loaded it into Brody’s memory… and ignored it for a year before I ignored machine embroidery for two years. I didn’t want to remove it without stitching it, seemed a waste of a lot of fussy work, but I needed space … so it’s stitched ! I’ll probably sew a felt back and ribbon loop to it, call it a Christmas ornament and be happy that, finally, it’s done. 

Came out cute, didn’t it ? 

As for the remaining six designs on Brody… wanna guess how many are Elsa-based ?

Monday, March 30, 2015

My barefoot Timey Tell #2 gets new shoes !

Dang, I can feel the edge of my ICD, just where my chest becomes my armpit, and it itchesssss….. It’s not the suture though, that’s nearly healed up. Trying not to scratch. (grin) I had an appointment with my primary care doctor today, just a post-hospitalization check, it’s required, but it was cancelled, ‘cause she had a doctor appointment of her own !  

Spent a good chunk of the day the usual Monday way – cleaning up from the wreckage of the weekend. I couldn’t even put a bowl of cereal down anywhere on the Arena this morning, it was so cluttered with felt and thread and notes and dolls. Gosh, I love creative disaster areas ! I happily tidied up, knowing I’d mess it up again later. 

Beloved Hubby was home early, so we had a late lunch/early dinner of pizza, and I got set up to make another pair of doll shoes – this time, to see how they fit Timey Tell. While I was told from my earliest years that pink and red clash, it was fairly typical to see those colors together on dolls of the 70s. Besides, I wanted to use as much as I could of the small spool of red, one of the eight spools of Mettler I bought shortly after getting Brody back in ’09, a couple months before getting the glorious Madeira Treasure Chest. Yes, I did experiment with regular thread first. Brody didn’t seem to mind working with heavier-than-expected stuff, but once I saw how much better embroidery thread looked, I never looked back. 

But first, Beloved wanted to get a few groceries, so off we went. I snagged seven more sheets of felt – Mal-Wart had colors and patterns Hancock Fabrics lacked – and an eight-pound bag of Red Delicious apples. I’ll eat fruit if it’s available, and we haven’t been buying it, so my taste for chips and crackers has roared through my psyche. Time to beat it back down, with juicy, sweet apples. I’m so going back for oranges soon. 

I saw Frozen yogurt, Frozen water, and pseudo-Frozen chicken soup. I have to say ‘pseudo’ , because while Anna and Elsa were the only characters pictured on the can, the ‘fun pasta shapes’ were actually mish-mash of all currently popular Disney Princesses and a few props. Sneaky Campbell’s ! 

Once home, I stitched up the doll shoes I’d started and enjoyed a fantastic apple. And the shoes fit Timey great ! A cheep sheet of felt (about 23¢ or so around here) makes three shoes with some scraps for smaller projects, so colors I want for shoes for both Timey and the DP&M girls, I have to buy two of !

Well, it’s late, and we have Game Day tomorrow. Not sure how I feel about having a social life again… but going is all about Dearest Son, not me.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sweetheart ballerina flats ! Better than duct tape loafers, any day.

I don’t know why, but today, I was really restless. Even after going back to Dollar Tree – we needed a large envelope for our tax documents – I was unable to sit still, even though I longed to go back to sleep. Can’t, or I won’t sleep tonight, and get inverted. 

Went through my backlogged e-mail, found an offer from Embroidery Library. A good one, five designs for $5., and I’d get a code for three more of my choice free after my purchase went through. But I realized as I contemplated it, I have enough (at least six times over !) designs for decorating other things. I want designs that make things ! 

So I instead spent a few bucks on the design I wanted most but was also the most timid about buying – a very rare one. There’s lots of designers who sell many, many versions of AG doll shoes… but nearly every last one is for a 5 x 7” hoop. Brody and I have had lots of fun, ‘limited’ to our 4 x 4”, but most of what I like, I can find to fit him. And, with A Stitch For You, I found 4x4 shoes, quite reasonably priced at $4.25. It’d be so awesome if they’d fit my DP&M girls, but there was really no way of knowing if the design would until after I spent the cash. Yeah, it’s only four bucks, but you know me, that’s cold hard cash still, and I didn’t want to waste it. 

I’d about decided to go for it anyway – if the finished shoes were too big I could take ‘em in on KJ, or stuff ‘em with more felt – as they’d be sure to fit Timey Tell, Hi, Dottie, and 1972’s Chatty Cathy. They can wear most AG shoes, except sandals. Their feet aren’t quite long enough for toe-showin’ footwear. So it wouldn’t be a waste of money or effort, all I needed was four bucks. 

Beloved saw me all antsy – I wasn’t interested in stitching up an owl or cookies, patterns I already had – and told me to go for it. Hey, at least this way, I wouldn’t wonder any more, I’d know, and that was worth four bucks right there. Looking at the printout, I saw there was next to nothing I could sew smaller, and placing Merri’s foot on it made it seem impossibly huge. But, since I was already ready already, might as well go for it. 

And, as you can see, it works ! I think to fit the AG girls, you’d need the stretch inherent in the felt, as they fit here, there’s felt scraps in the toes and I was super-careful to not stretch them out as I turned them. Each shoe takes about 5 minutes of prep, 15 minutes of stitching, and I can leave off the hearts, or make each heart a different color, or use the tie guide I skipped this time to add straps or ribbons. Or use the printout as a pattern to KJ sew them, perhaps work with new designs of my own. And the seller has several different styles, so…I think I’ve solved the DP&M shoe deficit ! With a side bonus of making Timey and Dottie some, too ! Glad I got lots of felt last week…

Saturday, March 28, 2015

And Beloved Hubby's almost as bad.

Slept like a rock last night after a terrible visit to Golden Corral last night. Ugh. I don’t think we’ll be going back there again. Sure, I ate my fill of pot roast, but it was not only more expensive than ever, but a bigger mess. The staff was too busy embarrassing birthday guests to attend to the massive press of sheer humanity (not their fault, but still…) and various items were emptied before we arrived and weren’t refilled by the time we left. At the carving station, the carver watched me saw off a chunk of meat after waiting a minute or two – the knife was on his side, but I got tired of trying to get his attention from whatever he was staring so intently at. It’s not like he was busily carving anything for anybody else. The nibble of steak was pretty good, but I’ve gulped ocean water that was less salty than the bacon it was wrapped with. 

Oh, and the heavily promoted ‘Vegas’ thing was just plain stupid. We got one ticket to spin the wheel – as you exit, please ! – and one glace at the thing told me what I needed to know. The big prize was nearly impossible to obtain, due to opportune peg placement over a tiny sliver of opportunity to begin with, and it was for one free meal. Most of the other ‘prizes’ were one free drink or free dessert… um, don’t you already get sweets with your meal ? Breads are now down to just yeast rolls and cornbread, and the cotton candy machine is gone. I actually got elbowed out of the chocolate fountain line (I just wanted a couple strawberries, those gimmick things always utilize cheap crap chocolate, and despite ample use of sticks, people still get their fingers in there, watching folks around those things is fascinating) by some kid… and I’m still wearing the sling ! Clearly the place is attracting more jerks than anything else, an opinion I solidified after hearing Beloved Hubby’s report of the state of the men’s restroom. I’ve had better dining ambiance at 7-11 than I got from our $60. meal last night. We were one of the few tables that tipped, too. If we go again, it’ll be by Dearest Son’s birthday request, nothing else. Ugh. 

But, as mentioned, with all those fatty meats in my belly, topped off by a very good salad and a thin chocolate pie slice, along with having the end-of-month bills paid, I slept very well. By the time everyone was up and moving around today, it was much closer to lunch, so we went out for a bit. Ended up at Hastings, where Beloved saw me eyeing the miniature Elsa, and I told him it was a tossup between her and one of the blind-box Frozen series, but at least this one was a dollar cheaper and I knew what I’d get. Of course, it was the only Elsa left in a bin of Olafs with two Annas. Tiny as she is, she still shows a thin sliver of leg through her gown, just like her bigger sister. Beloved snagged her and said I’d get her once I helped with taxes, and he kept his word. Taxes were much easier this year ! We were done in less than two hours. 

And I found some new embroidery designs to want, darn it. Expensive ones. The only sales I can find are from designers that don’t have anything I want. Anymore. Downloaded a free set of doll-sized Valentine’s Day cookies, but if I skip the ‘Be Mine’ cursive, they’d be fine for any time my larger dolls want a snack. Since I got both the beige and dark brown felt on my last Hancock’s run, they can have milk and dark chocolate versions !

That reminded me that I’d bought some uber-cheep glass seed beads to use as ‘snow’ in the snowglobe designs I already had… and  had no idea how to use those beads. I poured some glitter in the Elsa one I did, and it was too dangerous to repeat. If the needle drove the sandlike stuff down into the works…yikes. So when I saw some other designs using beads, I figured that had to be much safer to poor Brody’s innards. Then, I realized I had no idea how to keep the beads from getting under the rapidly plunging needle, any more than I knew how to keep the glitter away. I could either buy a design that offered to tell me how in the directions, or I could do a little Google-fu. Fu is free. It didn’t take long ‘til I had the answer. You kind of baste-sew a couple strings of beads into the design just before the vinyl for the dome is stitched in, and when the design’s done, pull the threads and loose the beads. I was thinking I’d have to pop and re-sew a few stitches, but the thread sounds much easier. 

Now, when’s our tax refund due in…?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Dollar Tree, you are NOT helping me get over my Frozen fetish !

Didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, and ended up sleeping in a bit this morning. My VA Health Check monitor – not the pacemaker monitor, that’s not arrived yet – mucked up yesterday, and it was still dicey today. I’d called my rep to let her know yesterday, and she’d instructed me to unplug it, wait a half hour, and plug it back in, it’d reset itself and find whatever tower it needed to transmit. I did that last night, and it still acted strange. Then I realized, I’d unplugged it from the back of the device. The part that plugged into the wall had some sort of green LED light transformer on it – maybe that made a difference ? It did. Works fine now, and somehow during yesterday’s potato chip sorrow suffocation, I lost two pounds. (sigh)

Dearest Son’s job is to tidy up the living room on Fridays, mostly because he does most of the living in it. I promised we’d go to Dollar Tree once that’s done. Amazing how little time that can take ! I got my first full shower since the surgery – heaven ! A one-handed shampoo in the shower is a million times better than a birdbath in the kitchen sink, even with both hands and the sprayer nozzle. Two weeks down, two to go before I don’t have to focus on keeping my left arm down anymore.

He made his two selections, I got him a pack of three blank CDs to burn for his stereo and a knockoff Nerf football to toss with Beloved Hubby in the backyard, plus a box of pizza rolls for lunch. 

You can see what I got. Last time we were there, I saw these novelty huge Frozen pencils in a single cylinder at the register, too late. No biggie. I figured they’d be long gone by our next visit, but as you can see, I got one ! There’s at least three different designs, and they have different labels on them – some say ‘Star Student’, others read ‘Diva’. Mine identifies me as a ‘Drama Queen’ and after March, I don’t think many would disagree. I got the last plastic ‘sisters’ cup – the four others were all Olaf – and the last little tote bag. I couldn’t resist the bag. It reads ‘Strong Bond / Strong Heart’… well, that’s the hope ! Perhaps I should name my ICD Anna ? Maybe she’ll keep me cool and strong. J They still had plenty of plastic kiddie plates, straws, snap-lid snack bowls, and cereal bowls, but oddly, those all featured Olaf, too. I'm sure that's just a coincidence and everyone's favorite Discount Sid snowman remains as popular as ever !

I got two of the ‘Caution !’ signs – Beloved’s says ‘Genius at Work’, mine of course, mentions stars. They also came in blue, red, and green, but all the green ones were ‘Genius’ and I really wanted ‘Superstar’. They’ll look great with nearly any size doll, I think. Charmingly oversized for Barbie and the MH classmates, adorable with Timey, Dottie, and the DP&M girls. They fold flat, too. Score ! 

The black paint set may seem odd, especially considering I don’t have any use for the cheap foam roller, plastic gloves, or paintbrush inside. But there is method to my madness. The tray is about perfectly sized to hold my sewing machine pedal in one place under the Arena, and with some of the nonslip shelf foam left over from the sewing machine pocket pad project adhered inside and out, it should stay in one place. 

I know I don’t need to explain the popcorn. It’s delicious !