Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How ya like my new fridge magnet ?

I did it ! It’s not perfect, but the two designs I wanted to combine for my birthday hat were stitched out last night and took shape today. Used all three of my sewing machines on it, too – never did that before ! Got things started last night after Beloved Hubby called to tell me he was working late. I figured ‘now or never !’ and made it happen. The hard part of this whole business was aligning the two parts – which were not the same size, as I’d assumed. That’d be a cinch if I had a bigger embroidery field, but I like to use what I have, so it really got down to skill more than execution. 

My skills are a bit lacking – you’ll see that, and the hat, tomorrow – but it really gets down to fear of failure, and you saw how I tried to dawdle my way out of facing it yesterday. So, even if the design alignment is far from perfect, at least I did it, and I’m actually rather proud of m’self. Today I had to take a gulp and actually cut the fabric, which I’m sure you know how, if the fabric’s special or dear in any way, that can also be a fear trigger. 

One thing that’s improved – I used a lot of that cassette tape-like iridescent ‘thread’ on the design, and it didn’t break once ! Last time I used it, it snapped once, time before that, six or seven times. And that was using it as other stitchers advised. Didn’t do anything special this time – I actually just put it on the pin like any other thread, and watched it hyper-carefully. Perfect ! Now, of course, I not only want more colors, I want to use it more. So I decided, at nearly the last minute, I wanted to add a bit more of it, to the bottom edge. 

That’s where the other sewing machine came into play. Remember, that one I got for a mere couple bucks at the thrift store ? Odyssey / Ody ? She has the same stitches built in  that Brody has, but isn’t an embroidery machine. I tried to do the glitter-thread edging on Brody, but the super-soft fleece went deep into the feed dogs and that was a serious challenge to dig out. Regrouped, and when I got a long enough string done to see – thanks to some tear-away stabilizer scraps – it wasn’t at all what I wanted. So, Ody took care of it. Not a single break in the iridescent thread this time, either. Then KJ finished of the back seam. Yaaay ! 

Celebrated by mixing up the no-bake cheesecake box mix – it’s chillin’, waiting to be demolished shortly. If it lasts two days, I’ll be amazed. Meanwhile, there’s the roller skate fridge magnet I made yesterday – same design, just bigger than the one on Merri and Aurora’s shirt. Same fabric as the hat. So it’s sort of a preview.

Monday, June 29, 2015

You win *this* time, sidewalks... (growlmuttergrumble)

Well, pedestrians, pets, and other drivers are safe ‘til Friday, at least. Turns out it’ll cost almost $400. in various fees and title miscellaneous to get Emmy-car back on the road legally. We had a little over half that budgeted. Honestly, it cost that to plate Beloved Hubby’s truck, and it’s from this century. I didn’t think it’d cost the same to plate a car nearly old enough to drink,  but there it is, so it’ll hafta wait a bit. Meanwhile, we bought her new tail-lights, and at $80. for the set, I can see why they were never repaired by the guy we bought her from.

Got gently but firmly chewed out by the VA for some weight gain over the weekend, so I’ve reigned m’self in from the excess of the weekend and gone back to stay busy = don’t snack. Had the Jen Wrenne Week #4 leggings stitched up shortly after noon. They. . . weren’t as easy as the other patterns. She called for twin needle stretch-stitch sewing on this one, and the walking foot balks a bit at zig-zag. You don’t wanna know what it did with the one sharp twin needle I had that was narrow enough to stay within the limited clearance of the foot. Neither a pleasant experience nor a satisfactory result. Ended up ripping it out and going with stretch stitching with a single needle until I can find a narrow ballpoint twin. Plus, I had to go with a narrow inseam, and even though I just did a foldover casing, not a separate waistband one, if I wanted the leggings to fit at the inseam, they rode up to just below her chest-plate. So I can cut that down a bit while I’m widening the legs a little. Otherwise, they’re pretty cool. I was super-careful to match the fabric before I cut it, ‘cause I wanted the legs to match. One good thing about stripes, it’s usually pretty easy to get hems to match ! 

Before that, I cut out some fabric for my birthday hat. I’m still really timid about it. So I researched fitness centers and gyms around here. Now that I can drive, I can go ! Too bad the one I was most interested in costs double what they advertise, plus a big maintenance fee, and more for supervised Dearest Son care, which isn’t part of the membership, although the ads make it look that way, and it still doesn’t have much of what I need. Of the six in the area, only two even gave prices, but hey, I can tan free everywhere ! If I wanted to tan, I could go to one of the 50 salons around here, why do the gyms have to do that, too ? 

So I think I’m gonna get another Wii. I really enjoyed Wii Fit until our console quit reading discs, and still have the balance board and software. Maybe, at the top of the month, I’ll see if that pawn shop still has any – they had dozens months ago for just $30. GameStop wants $70. for a guaranteed used one, but they throw in three cheapie games, Amazon has new for $100. Always good to have options.Meanwhile, there's Grokker.com and hundreds of other workout videos, if I want to try 'em.

Centered and marked the blue fleece I bought in place of the blue felt I wanted but couldn’t find for my birthday hat, then figured I’d better test a scrap, since it’s been a long time since I embroidered fleece, and never for something that I wanted to add stabilizer to permanently. Long story short, I stitched up a larger version of the roller skate design on Merri’s shirt to a scrap of fleece with felt appliqued on as the skate boot and pink finishing the back. Cut it a bit too close on the heel, but it looked OK. So it now has a magnet glued to the back and has a home holding up a Chinese menu on the fridge. Used up some stabilizer scraps, too. Yaay !

I’m hoping to actually start embroidering the hat tonight. . .

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Everybody off the sidewalks – I’m driving again soon !

It took hours, $80., and a chance search result online, but Emmy-car is running again ! Beloved Hubby replaced the master cylinder, several times, and her clutch was still limp as 30 - minute pasta. I tried to help by bleeding the lines of air, which gets tiring fast – Dearest Son and I had to trade off frequently. Still nothing. He refused to read any of the paperwork that came with the parts or research the problem on line, so I did. A lot of the search results were parsecs past my meager knowledge of car mechanics, but one possible solution made sense. Replace the slave cylinder, too. That worked, in about 30 minutes ! 

We could only give her an around – the – block test, as her license plate expired at the end of February. Longtime readers might remember we had a truck towed away because long-term borrower FIL was supposed to renew the tags and never did, so the plates on it were over a year out of date. Cost us $800. between tow fees, storage fees (for one hour), plate update, and penalties to get a $500. truck back. It won’t happen again. I’m calling a tag agency tomorrow, see if we have enough fundage to get her plated. If so, Beloved can take care of it during lunch - I may be driving Emmy-car again by Tuesday ! If not, maybe Friday or Saturday. Yippeee ! 

We also changed the brake pads on his truck, and made a list of everything both vehicles need. Had a nice McLunch, then the guys fell asleep watching Pirates of the Caribbean : Dead Man’s Chest, but I stayed awake – we had the garage open and lots of tools scattered around, didn’t want to leave them unattended. Sad to say I just sort of dawdled around instead of working on my birthday hat. Guess what else is on my agenda Monday ?

Made PDorrie a new necklace out of some old Mardi Gras–style beads I got in a long-ago toy grab bag from a thrift. Squeee ! I’ll be able to go thrifting again soon ! When I was a kid, these necklaces were great to play with, and I still liked them when I was older. Figured out how to shorten them with scissors as a teen. Basically, ya just measure out the desired length, add an extra bead or two, then push the end beads together (they’ll join at the threads) and twist. They stay together all day that way. For a more permanent necklace length you can slip off over your (or your doll’s) head, the end beads can be melted together over a candle, provided you have asbestos fingers and good reflexes. I preferred twisting. I liked it best when I had several identical necklaces I could customize and wear all the different lengths together. Who cares if they’re cheap if they look cute ?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Not sure where the rainbow came from, but after yesterday's Supreme court Ruling, I'm delighted with it !

Slept fairly well, so I was in a ‘let’s go’ mood that left me behind in the face of leftover potato chips and another movie or two. I tend to be adrift when Beloved Hubby works all weekend. However, I did manage to get off my backside long enough to use one of the embroidery designs I bought last week – on sale, of course ! – and got a very small start  on my birthday hat, ‘cause July’s coming up fast. 

Managed to get the keychain made ! It calls for a snap tab plier set, available online and in various versions at most craft stores, to snap the strap down, but I don’t have that. It’s not even that expensive, but I hate to buy another one-use tool for just one project. Even though many sellers have dozens of designs that would use the same snap tabs, it’s  unlikely I’ll make that many keychains. I hand-sewed this one shut, and while it wasn’t fun, and doesn’t look professional at all in the back, the bottom line still is that I’m just not gonna make enough of these to justify a $25. investment.   

Beloved’s putting in a half-day tomorrow, and will be home to work on Emmy-car tomorrow. I don’t know who’s more excited, me or Dearest Son. He gets to be Beloved’s helper, something he’s been looking forward to. Here’s hoping getting her plated won’t cost more than what we have !

Friday, June 26, 2015

For a relieved sort of Friday, I'm oddly not that excited.

Maybe it wasn’t funds-worrying that’s stealing my sleep. Went to bed happy and well- fed (we used part of the ‘inconvenience’ money to dine out last night !) , but still woke up several times and it seemed like I barely fell under before I woke up again. 

So I didn’t get much done today, and wasn’t in a mood to sew at all. And clumsy as I was all day, it probably wouldn’t have been a good idea even if I’d wanted to. Caught up on a little housework, watched some of the movies we taped from a recent free HBO weekend. Gone Girl kind of bugged me – must be nice to be gorgeous and rich and have every man who’s ever known you obsessed with you years after you dumped ‘em. How she inspired such love and devotion when she’s cruel and just plain full of mean head games escapes me. Not to mention the huge ‘home surveillance camera’ plot hole, one of several. Maybe the book is better. We all liked The Lego Movie much better, although I could have done without more Will Farrell. Seriously, what does he have on half of Hollywood, that he has to be in every other movie I’ve ever seen ? 

Got to run up for some much-needed groceries this evening, so we had chips for movies, and I got more celery. I’m going through two stalks a week now. Not losing any weight, but I feel better about m’self.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A blast from my doll past. . . remember Princess Dorrie ?

Well. . .I didn’t intend my try at making that boatneck blouse in Little Disney Princess size to end up as another Flashdance shell, it seems to be what I ended up with ! Waaay too low on the shoulders, too wide, and actually a bit shorter than I wanted, too. Sleeves are also too tight, and that’s with a narrow seam allowance. Already redrew the alterations, but LDP Dorrie is so happy to finally get new clothes, she doesn’t care how they fit ! 

Got the new Jen Wrenne Summer Sew Along pattern – the latest and penultimate, ‘til she compiles all the participants and sends us the final one, in early July. I’ve already met the requirements, but I want to make the leggings she released today before I submit my request. I’ve even got ‘em cut out, but even with the walking foot’s help, making PDorrie’s blouse seemed to wear me out, although it was lack of sleep more than somehow suddenly strenuous sewing. 

(sigh) Late last night, I discovered that a check Beloved Hubby got for completing a side job bounced.  Luckily we hadn’t spent much of it – we’re kind of saving to get Emmy-car back on the road – but if the writer didn’t fix things and quick, we’d be in a world of hurt. Since Beloved was already asleep, I couldn’t discuss it with him  (not like he can fix it at midnight, after all), so I went to bed worried. Not good for sleep, that. 

And as it turns out, it ended up being a tempest in a teacup. Check’s author not only made good on  it, he added extra for the inconvenience, in cash, and we got it into the bank before we bounced anything. Whew ! Serves me right for worrying. Just wish I wasn’t so sleepy. . .

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Aurora, you're a firework !

After having so much fun with knits these past few weeks – especially now, with the walking foot ! – I wanted to play with wovens a while. So today, I did ! 

Ever since Week #3’s Summer Sew Along pattern was shown to be a boatneck blouse, I’ve thought of a shirt I used to have, years and years ago. It was actually a failed sewing attempt of my mother’s, a simple white nylon shell that was waaay too big for her, and the neckline would only stay on one shoulder at a time. Of course, I loved it – these were the Flashdance years, and the thin shell  was much more comfortable over a tank top than the original sweatshirt version. I especially loved it over a swimsuit or my red tank leotard that I liked to wear skating. I think I wore it out. 

So, when the roller skate boatneck blouse, with the altered sleeve / underarms went so well, I decided to alter the pattern a little more, and try it in a woven cotton for a change. Pushed the neckline wider about a half- inch, cropped off an inch from the bottom, kept the sleeves the same from the skate blouse – and it came out great ! Exactly the Flashdance shell I remembered. Drapes great over other shirts ! And will be great for embroidery. Heck, I’m seriously tempted to stitch out one of the several firework designs I have on this one – it’s the same fabric I used on the ‘Elsa’ tote bag, but here, it looks more like fireworks and less like snowflakes. So cool. . . 

And it took me maybe 45 minutes, start to finish. I’ve about concluded that rushing leads to bad sewing, there’s never any sense in eliminating the fun for some arbitrary self-imposed timeline, and ’30 Minute Anything’ books should be outlawed for lies and deceit, but it is nice to know about how much time to budget for projects. 

So I’ve cobbled together another boatneck blouse pattern, this one for the Little Disney Princess dolls, namely Princess Dorrie. They can fit DP&M outfits, sort of, but they’re kind of between DP&M and 14-inch sizes. That’s ready for tomorrow, but I really need to get some housework done !