Monday, December 26, 2011

How Do You Know When You Have a Problem?

I think I realized that I might have  crafting/hoarding problem. For Christmas, my husband got me some parts from ScooterWest for my Vino 125 scooter. They are located in California.

The parts he ordered for me were in their original packaging from the company, wrapped in newspapers and plastic, inside cardboard boxes. The newspapers were Asian, of some nationality unknown to me, possibly from New York. Just about everything is in the character type alphabet, so I have no idea where they are from.

My problem? I thought the newspapers were interesting looking, so I saved them all for future craftiness. Most likely for card making. I also saved two stamps from a friend's package to us, as well as four decorative little soapboxes because I could cut those apart. I also thought one of the stamps matched one of the soapboxes.

I may need help. :)

Another Fun Movie I'd Like To See

Friday, December 23, 2011

Music Monday (A Few Days Late)

I'm tired of Christmas carols. How about you? Let's hear an under-rated Bangles song!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Having a Crafty Day

Today was a good crafty day, which made up for my migraine day yesterday. I finished up a crocheted Hobbes for a friend of mine. This won't be a surprise or anything, since Doreen asked me to make him for her.

He's made out of Red  Heart super saver yarns and an H sized hook. I used Sukigirl's great free pattern, because Doreen had this one all picked out. Obviously, this is Hobbes in toy form because an adult (myself) is looking at him. Hobbes only came to life for Calvin when there were no adults around.

The stuffing came from an upcycled throw pillow from a local CHKD Thrift Store in Virginia Beach. The eyes, nose and two head stripes are actually iron on patches. I could have sworn that I still had black fleece, leftover from some drawstring pouches I made for my husband earlier this fall, but was all gone. I wanted to buy a little section of black felt for Hobbes, but when I got to the closest Wal-Mart, I realized that one didn't sell fabric, so I had to improvise because Hobbes was definitely getting done tonight!

The only things I wish I had done differently would be to not stuff his head quite so much, and then to position his white tummy a little more to one side, to better cover the beginning of my rows.

Tonight's selection of Christmas kitchen towels were actually a last minute gift. My husband mentioned finding out that we had a package on the way from some friends back home, so we need to get cracking on something for them!

The fabric came from Hancock's and is called "Christmas Traditions." It's small alternating squares of Christmas designs. The towels came from The Dollar Tree. I did buy some Christmas ribbon for the bottom edge, but it was kind of wide and I just wasn't feeling it for these towels. They were done the same way I did the towels for IHeartsTheArts in the Jim Henson Swap.

Wash the fabric and towels first on cold and then dry. You don't want anything to shrink once they are used and washed the first time after they are gifted to the recipient!

If you wanted to attach a length of ribbon, I would do that part first. Pick a ribbon that is fabric in design. Foil or satin ribbon will not last as well as fabric ribbon will on a kitchen towel. Cut off the length of ribbon you need for the width of the towel and add 1/2" to each edge so you can fold it over and have a clean edge. Pin the ribbon at least 1" from the bottom edge. Pick a short stitch on your sewing machine and sew the ribbon on, both along the top and bottom edges. 

Cut out what parts of the fabric you want to be on the towels, and then cut out some Heat & Bond Lite in the same shape as the fabric. Then, iron on the Heat & Bond to the backside of your fabric. Once it's cooled, peel off the paper.

I used two separate squares of fabric for each towel, so I positioned the bottom-most piece first. Since most kitchen towels are sold folded in thirds the long way and in half the other way, it makes it easy to have guides to help position your fabric within the middle third of the towel, if you use the fold lines. If you have ribbon on the bottom, place the fabric piece at least 1" above it. If there is no ribbon, then place it at least 1" above the bottom hem.

I ironed it to the towel first, and then used a decorative stitch on my sewing machine to embroider the edges and trimmed the loose ends. Then I repeated the embroidery on the second piece of fabric, by overlapping it over the bottom-most piece. You might not be able to tell from the photos, but the stitch I used is tiny triangles.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hanging Bed Organizer

Just a quick posting tonight. Nicole the knitter asked me to make a hanging bed organizer for her bedroom to protect her glasses from Odin. He likes to play with the stuff on her dresser. Even though I knew what she wanted would be fairly easy to make, I checked online to see if anyone else already had directions for it. SewMamaSew had one that was exactly what I was looking for.

No picture of it to post here, but Nicole's was made out of felt and had three pockets. I took some non-slip pad from our laundry room that I wasn't using for the mattress portion of the hanger. She said it's working just like she needed but Odin is still trying to play with it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

All Done Now With the Jim Henson Swap

Just earlier this month, I got my goodies from IHeartsTheArts in the Jim Henson Swap on Craftster. A few days later, I sent my package to her and it has been received.

The towels came from the Dollar Tree, the fabric came from eBay, and the ribbon came from A.C. Moore.

The towels and oven mitt came from the Dollar Tree, the fabric came from Hancock Fabrics, and the ribbon came from A.C. Moore.

This is actually a mini Altoids tin. When you open it up, the cast of the show is on stage in the upper lid, and Statler and Waldorf are sitting in their balcony in the lower section. They have really tiny curtains behind them, and the critics were placed in such a way to make them kind of look 3-D.

The rest of the white fabric here is actually leftover from my Jedi dickey.

A dotee-type Christmas ornament: Miss Piggy. This was based on info I got first from Craftster and then Wikipedia: A dotee is a type of small handmade fabric doll ranging in size from 3-7 inches. They have a face, tail and hanger with no arms or legs. The tail and body of the doll may be decorated with various items like ribbons and beads. Dotee dolls were originally created by Dorothy Christian.

Another dotee-type Christmas ornament: Kermit's eye!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fa la la la la, la la la BLRT!!!!!

That BLRT above is supposed to be me blowing a raspberry.

I think I'm finally starting to get into the Christmas spirit this year. I'm almost done with my shopping and crafting for my friends and family, and I have a few more little things to make for Back-Up, Inc., but the big stuff is done or on it's way. I've actually been shopping and crafting since September, give or take. I hate letting that kind of shopping go until the last minute, sales be damned.

I've even decided what my New Year's Resolution will be: no more buying crochet patterns. If I can't find it for free online, then it means I have to create it myself. I've done a pretty damn good job with what already this year. I've only bought one pattern.

The reason I'm thinking about my resolution already this year because of this hat: Penny's double tail Santa hat from The Big Bang Theory. April Draven at Craftster came up with a crochet pattern for that hat and I meant to buy it earlier this year but I never got around to it. And as I lurked around the internet for a crochet pattern, I realized this is a damn popular hat!

I wonder if it's because of the show or the hat's design. Either way, I'm a fan of both now that the show's had some time to grow on me. It's programmed in our DV-R for the new episodes on CBS and some of the older episodes on TBS.

Last week, I decided I needed a new Santa hat for myself since I altered the one I had from the Dollar Tree earlier this year. I wanted Penny's hat, but I didn't want a typical red and white hat. And then I started to wonder why, if Santa uses chimneys to get into people's homes (if there is one), why does he have white trim on his hat and suit? All that soot and ash will just make a mess of the trim. So, I decided to take a crack at my own hat but with black trim and pom poms, to disguise that imaginary soot and ash.

I couldn't get a decent picture of myself wearing this to save my life!
Because there are so many people selling their patterns of this hat online, I didn't write down what I did to make this hat. I also didn't make cables on the sides of this hat because when I got to that point where the cables would start, I started getting frustrated and I had a headache to begin with. So instead of cables, I did front post half double crochets from the hat band all the way up: 3 FPHDC on the outsides and 1 FPHDC on the insides of the tails.

This was made on an H sized hook out of some ooooooooooooooooold black worsted weight yarn from my grandma and 1.25 skeins of Premier Yarns Mega Brushed in Wild Berry Sorbet (#51-205). To me, it looks more like a red cammo print than anything else, but it's super soft and very warm, with great shades of red throughout it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Wibbly Wobbley Timey Wimey Stuff

As if the other hats I've made for myself in the past don't show what I giant geek I am. But no, I went and made myself a TARDIS beret. I used Cathy Wood's beret pattern from Ravelry for the overall hat design and just winged the details as I went.

It's made with Lion Brand blue heather of some sort, glow in the dark yellow (for the top where the light was), unknown white and and unknown black, on an H sized hook.

There was a lot of swearing involved in this and unfortunately, I didn't count my stitches as I got down to the black signs or the windows, so they are not even in length. The rectangles' different sizes aren't enough to be real obvious to anyone other than me, I think. I looked for some small iron on adhesive letters to spell out POLICE in the black sign areas, but I didn't see any that I thought would be small enough, so I'm going for a "less is more" approach to this hat's design.

If it actually got colder out here, this would be an excellent hat for the winter. It's snug around the ears and has plenty of room up top for my hair,which is nice because if I have my hair in a pony tail, then it would still fit comfortably.

I would like to point out that I almost had a heart attack when I saw this on Geek Crafts the other day. I guess the bloggers of Geek Crafts saw my posing on Craftster about my hat and carried it over to their site.

Results of the Jim Henson Swap

I just got my goodies the other day in the Jim Henson Swap I signed up for on Craftster. My partner was IHeartsTheArts (aka Gretchen) of Springfield, MA. This was such a fun first swap and actually kind of stressful because I'm guessing what will be enjoyed by someone I've never met before (but am friends with on FB now).

Too funny! I mentioned that I always liked Ernie, although he was a part of "Sesame Street" and I always preferred "The Muppet Show,"  Gretchen sent this activity book and crayons. I should break this out at work sometime and see what kind of reaction I get. :)
Googley eyes! What an awesome idea! These bad boys are going to bet a lot of use! I never even thought about buying them before, and every great Muppet has to have good eyes (a la Cookie Monster). And two Pez dispensers: Yoda and R2-D2 (There were multiple puppets in the Star Wars Trilogy, but Yoda was the only one Jim Henson was involved with).
Now, they guard my desk at work when I'm not around. The candy was quite nice too. :)
A great appliqued Kermit reusable bag!!! I love this!!!!

And the best for last: a Shrinky Dink bracelet of Beaker, Professor Bunson Honeydew, Gonzo, Janice, Miss Piggy, Kermit and Animal! The colors are so great and bright! Gretchen got a lot of detail in this bracelet. I wore it to work today to show it off.
I sent Gretchen's package today. Once I know that she received it, I'll post pictures of what I made for her. I can see how these swaps are so popular!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Little Late on the Autumn Crafting

I actually did get this idea for this last fall but I didn't get a chance to even start it until right around Thanksgiving. I saw this wreath, the Simple Statement Wreath, on Craftster first and followed it over to it's original pattern at GoodKnits.

I think the inside of the wreath is about 8" across. I used Red Heart Super Saver orange and Marrakesh (#0947). The pine cones were picked up while I was walking my dog one night. The feathers were decorative picks from Michael's (where the wreath form came from), and the little bow and green leaves were leftover from my stash. In the picture (from my cell phone because my camera battery was charging), it looks like the feathers are black. They aren't. They are actually deep purple.

It's too late to hang it for this year, but at least I'll have it for next fall.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Shouldn't It Be "Transformers: More Than Meets the Ears"?

I had a bit of a Bumblebee/Transformers moment this evening on my way home from work.

This morning, my "check engine soon" light came on in my Blazer. I just got it inspected yesterday and it passed so I didn't know why the light came on today. It was bugging me because it was going to piss off my husband, who considers it a piece of shit vehicle now anyway, and I'm envisioning more time and money spent on it to get the light to go off.

Before I left work tonight, I checked the gas cap. If it gets loose, it can cause that light to come on. I took it off, put it back on and made sure it was tight before I left work. Then, I started it up, saw the light stay on and I left for home. Well, that didn't do any good.

While I was driving, I had the radio on the oldies channel and "Some Kind of Wonderful" by Grand Funk Railroad came on.

"Don't you know that she's
She's some kind'a wonderful
She's some kind'a wonderful
Yes she is, she's a
She's some kind'a wonderful
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah."

I looked down at the dashboard and the "check engine soon" light was off! It was like the Blazer was telling me that everything was alright. Corny but it made my night.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Support for Back-Up, Inc.

This year for Christmas, our office is going to try and support Back-Up, Inc. They are new to Norfolk and right now, they have three clients with four young children, and they've given us their Christmas wish list. "Back-Up Incorporated is non profit organization that assists teen mothers and expecting teens.  Our primary focus is to assist teenage females as they transition into motherhood. We offer these young ladies several programs to make this transition smooth."

One of the mothers has requested a blanket and hat for her baby girl. Guess what I got knocked out this long weekend...the blanket, crocheted, of course. :)

I forgot to measure it yet. I'm guessing it's about 2.5'x4', give or take.
This is Classic Ripple Blanket, from the Cozy Crochet Kit by Melissa Leapman. I made this as another stashbuster blanket with an H sized crochet hook and the following yarns:
--1 skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease in Rose Heather (#140)
--1 skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease in Dark Rose Heather (#139)
--1/2 skein of Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in Antique Rose (#143)
--1 skein of Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in Purple (#147)
--1 skein of Red Heart in Country Rose (#0374)
--1 skein of Red Heart in Pink (#0724)
--1 partial skein of some kind of eyelash yarn (probably Lion Brand) for the edging

Somewhere, I got away from the correct width of one of the sides. This was the first time I have ever made a ripple blanket, so the sides are not as straight was I would like them. You can kind of see what I'm talking about at the bottom edge where the green hanger is.

I'm going to use the rest of the eyelash and Antique Rose yarns for matching hat this week.

I also have made a few stashbuster hats based on this pattern, so each child will get at least one thing from me.

There's also a bright orange, tan and varigated hat as well.

I like the idea of supporting this charity. It gives me the chance to crochet, do some stashbuster projects, and even to make something by hand for some baby in the area.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Eyes Do Not Have It

Maybe it's time to take a break from Craftster for awhile. :) I saw something on there a few weeks ago that stuck with me: upcycled white sweatshirts turned into eyeball cat toys stuffed with catnip. I thought this was wildly innovative and I wanted to give it a try. Plus, sewing on the iris and pupil onto each eyeball was just a reason to play with the various stitches on my new machine.

I used Silver Penny's ball pattern for the white part of the eyes, and freehanded cut the pupils and irises. The white part of the eyes came from a Kid's Gap long sleeved shirt from the thrift store. I should have used a sweatshirt instead but I was in a hurry and didn't feel like going through allllllllllllllllllllllllllll the shirts to find a white sweatshirt. The colored pieces came from my stash.

Hannapt used four sections for her eyeballs. Silver Penny used six sections for their eye pattern. I think that if I had used four sections instead of six, they would have turned out smoother. I should have also used interfacing or fusing or whatever it's called to stabilize those colored parts before sewing. They look a little ratty to me without it.

I was actually hoping to make about twice as many eyeballs, so each cat I was sewing them for would get two for Christmas (Dixie, Odin and my sister's two cats). But I didn't like how they were turning out, so each cat is getting just one.

Monday, November 21, 2011

What I Did On My Vacation

I had enough time on my vacation to whip out two pairs of crochet socks. These are from the Learn To Crochet Socks book I bought when I started getting back into crochet in 2000.

This is the basic toe sock made with an H sized hook (because that's all I took with me).

Here are the second pair of socks. I just finished them (the top part of the cuff on one sock) tonight. The foot part is just a basic Lion Brand worsted weight of some sort. The cuffs, toes and heels are Malabrigo Yarn silky merino, #869 Cumparsita (God only knows where I got it. I've had this in my stash for awhile)  and I love how the colors go together so well. That Cumparsita is so rich looking against the Lion Brand, and it was so great to work with! These socks were truly made to fit moi. I lengthened the foot part (this pattern is worked with the cuff first and then from the heel down) so that it fit me more comfortably.

Ignore my linty floor. :)
This is the "Footloose," a lacy tube sock. The pattern actually calls for three different sized hooks, worked from the toe up and with the smallest hook first. However, I cheated and just used that H sized hook again.

This yarn is from Wisdom Yarns. It's the Poems 100% wool yarn (109 yards per skein). This was the same yarn I mentioned in my 2011 Favorite Things post a week ago. Each sock was a little more than one full skein. The picture in the book seems a little misleading. The socks look much shorter on the model's legs, but in reality, I left out a handful of rows because I thought they were getting a little long on my own legs. It's a very pretty pattern and the description of them being lacy is very accurate.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Favorite Things for 2011

I had almost forgotten about my "favorite things" entry for this year again, so here we go!

I just recently picked up a pair of Mossimo Paisley Platform pumps in red from Target. LOVE THEM! They are practically stilettos, which I've never had before, and such a hot shade of red that I couldn't resist. Normally $29.99, Target had them on clearance for $20.99 and all of the Paisley Platforms were going quick. They were also available in black and taupe. And for stilettos, they are quite comfortable and sturdy feeling. I don't feel like I'm going to tip over and break my neck in them!

I was also lusting after these shoes from K-Mart: Glo Women's Jayden Glitter Platform Pump in gold because my sister has them. These are very similar in appearance and shape to Target's Mossimo pumps but covered in glitter. While they look like something a stripper or Barbie would wear, I needed these shoes too! They are available for $24.99 online or $20 in the K-Mart my sister got her's from, but on Black Friday, I got these shoes for $12.99.

The Ocean View Dog Park just opened up here in Norfolk earlier this year. Before, our neighborhood didn't have a dog park and the closest one was out towards downtown and Ghent. "The park was finished with the help of Norfolk Sheriff's Office Inmate Work Crews who provided the free labor. Seven City of Norfolk departments also had a role in getting the open space fenced in, which costs $8,000.00, according to the Ocean View Business Association." This is turning out to be a great place to visit, with both humans and canines alike, and the people who frequent the park take real ownership in it. People have donated plastic bags, hand sanitizer, plastic chairs and even a picnic table to make it more user friendly. It even has it's own Facebook page!

I stumbled across the Poems brand of yarn at Three Oaks Knits in Waterloo, IA and instantly fell in love with this yarn. "Poems is a 100% wool roving yarn featuring artistic colors which shade easily from one color to the next. Perfect for sweaters, scarves, hats, and more --- and it felts like a dream!" This is such an easy to work with yarn. I got four skeins of it in Twilight Thicket and I'm almost done with the pair of socks I'm making with it. It actually works up incredibly soft, airy and lacy. It was $7.00 per 109 yard skein.

I decided it was time to replace my still working and reliable (corded) mouse this year to a cordless mouse, so I had my husband pick out a good one for me (I am so NOT a techy person). He got me the Logitech M305 Wireless Mouse from BJ's. "The 2.4GHz wireless connectivity and a plug-and-forget nano receiver deliver fast data transmission and a reliable connection. Intelligent battery management extends the battery life by turning off the mouse when it is not in use." It sells for $24.99 and I like this because it's very smooth when being used. There's no skipping or jumping. The mouse is powered by one AA battery. I don't always remember to turn the mouse off when I'm done with the computer, so this first battery lasted for several months. When the battery died out, it actually just stops. There's no warning about remaining battery life.

My husband introduced me to Tijuana Flats this year. "At Tijuana Flats we make innovative, exciting and fresh Tex-Mex food served in a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. We also offer a wide array of hot sauces." It's similar to Moe's in terms of menu and sauce bar, but without the line at lunchtime. From what my husband tells me, the line at Tijuana Flats moves faster at lunch than Moe's moves, but that might be due to the fewer ingredients Tijuana Flats has. However, you won't even notice the ingredients Tijuana Flats doesn't have. They also have an excellent range of sauces to try before you buy by the bottle; 10 varieties ranging from sweet to their little death face.

Of course, my year wouldn't be complete without mentioning my new Singer Fashion Mate 5500 from my husband. :) "Although automtically set for optimal sewing precision, stitch width and length is fully adjustable for all of the 100 built-in stitches. The stitch package includes 6 fully automatic 1-step buttonholes and 76 decorative stitches including intricate decorative designs." In the store, this sold for $189, just like on the website.

And to go along with the sewing machine is Dollar Tree's line of kitchen linens and textiles. As we speak, I'm working on a Christmas swap on Craftster, and with this new machine, I've learned how to embellish plan kitchen towels. Looks like I'm going to make some more of those for future gifts! And the nice thing about Dollar Tree? Even though it is a big corporation, they are headquartered in Chesapeake, VA, so it's kind of like supporting a local business by shopping there. "Just as important, especially during these tough economic times, we continue to offer our customers products they need at extreme values! We carry a broad, exciting mix of merchandise that includes many trusted national and regional brands."

So there's this year's "Favorite Things" entry. If you've got a favorite thing, let me know what it is in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Handmade Holiday Pledge 2011

I pledge that at least half of the holiday gifts I give are handmade by me, a friend or a super cool artist.

As it turns out, I've been doing more and more of this for Christmas over the years and I didn't even realize it until I saw this blog button on someone else's site.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Had My First Regretsy Moment

Sorry for the shitty picture, I took it with my cell phone.
Here is the last of my shared vacation photos. How many people take pictures of items for sale when they are on vacation anyway??? 

This was my first public Regretsy moment and it made me think of the "Compare and Save" category there. This was at a Hancock Fabrics and I saw this when I went in to buy a new glue gun.

They are advertised as “decorative clothespins,” 12 for $3.99.  Later on, I had to look this up to see if I was seeing it right

It made me think of the “Compare and Save” category they have sometimes. Amazon has 72 clothespins for $2.39.  And by the way, I sent this photo over to Helen Killer at Regretsy. I wonder if she'll use it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Going Through My Camera Again

I recently got back from a trip back home to see family and to get a little "mini vacation" in. While I was gone, my mom decided that since plans to go to lunch and shop with a friend were changed because of plan changes on both parts, that I needed to hit a couple of yarn shops that were new to the area with her: Crazy Girl Yarn Shop in Cedar Falls and Three Oaks Knits in Waterloo.

At Crazy Girl, I found two possible wool yarns for Nicole the Knitter to finish off the 25' long Doctor Who scarf she's making for a friend and a bar of sheep shaped soap (say that three times fast) for Michelle, as well as more crap I didn't need.

But the really interesting things were seen at Peekaboo Baby next door to Crazy Girl.

This homely green fellow is the Uglydoll Ox in the Box. Who does this look like to you? To my mom, it looks like the ugly bunneh pirate and other ugly dolls I had been making. Granted, those ugly bunnehs were not my own creation. I found the pattern on Craftster, but makes me wonder which version came first!

And here was the other shocker. A Hello Kitty crocheted baby hat with ear flaps. It's being sold for $24.99. Remember my Hello Kitty crocheted baby hat with ear flaps? All of a sudden, I thought, damn, maybe I should have stuck with the etsy shop idea afterall and sold actual items instead of just patterns. I'm not saying this company swiped my idea, because I'm sure lots of other people have crocheted their own Hello Kitty hats, but damn, that's kind of wild to see something in a store that you made as well, but you made it better. (As of today, if you go to etsy and search handmade for "Hello Kitty crochet hat," you'll find 404 options.

I had to touch this hat. It was thin and loosely stitched. It looked like double crochets instead of the single crochets I used in mine. I'm pretty sure this store version was not machine crocheted though. This looked and felt like the real deal.

More pictures to come tomorrow, since I'm still cleaning up the camera and phone. :)

An Early Christmas Gift For Me

Two weeks ago, my husband said we were going to Wal-Mart to look at sewing machines so he could get an idea of what I wanted in a new machine for Christmas. I believed him, that we were JUST LOOKING.

He lied to me. :)

Instead, he surprised me with one of the two machines that met my needs and approval by grabbing it off the shelf and saying, "Let's go get in line to pay for this." He decided I couldn't wait until Christmas.

My new toy: the Singer Fashion Mate 5500. Ooooooooooohhhhhhhh. Aaaaaaaaahhhhhh.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'll Probably Get Flamed For This

But I have to get this off my chest. I'm kind of sick of the media blitz that Susan G. Komen For the Cure has created in its bid to end breast cancer. Granted, men can get breast cancer too and their work towards early detection is important, but it is not the only cancer that women can get. Maybe men keep their breast cancer diagnoses quiet, because breast cancer is seen more of a woman's illness.

Pink stuff is everywhere. Oriental Trading has pages of pink stuff. Pink kitchen appliances. Pink gloves and football cleats in the NFL. Hell, event he Pittsburgh Steelers have pink Terrible Towels for sale.

I guess if your cancer affects how you fill out a shirt, then it's more important than female cancers that can't be seen. If your rack is affected by cancer, is it more important because of the sexualized views Americans have about breasts? What about uterine cancer? Cervical cancer? Ovarian cancer? Fallopian tube cancer? God, it seems like testicular cancer gets more health coverage than those cancers, because Lance Armstrong has been the coverboy for it for years now.

I don't begrudge him his recovery. But still...what does uterine cancer get? My mom has had it for years, so it's more important to me than cancer of the ta-ta's. The color of the uterine cancer ribbon is peach. Peach? Seriously? Uterine cancer can't even have it's own color of ribbon and awareness? It gets a variation of pink and the damn Susan Komen group? It's unrelated!

I know I sound bitter, and I don't care anymore. I worked for a medical non-profit for seven years. Now I work for a home health agency. I see illness and death in a variety of ways and still, that pink ribbon and breast cancer awareness is more prevalent than all others. It kind of makes me sick, and it makes me wonder: is Susan G. Komen for the Cure the cancer monopoly, overriding all others, or do other female cancers just lack the same tenacity and loyalty to their causes that the Komen group has? My mom has said she's not trying to raise awareness of her cancer, nor is she trying to raise money for its study. All the studies on uterine cancer before she got it hasn't discovered a cure yet, she said. And I tend to agree with her.

So there, I got my whineys off my chest and I feel a little better.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

These Are Not the Doids You're Looking For

Alas, Halloween is over. It always makes me a little sad to put the monsters and graveyard away. However, one post-Halloween highlight that I just discovered today: a pair of socks left in my front flower bed with the spider attack victim and the hanging skeleton. I don't know where they came from, because they didn't belong to either me or my husband. But maybe that means we LITERALLY scared the socks off some poor soul on Halloween night! :)

And finally, the photos of my completed Jedi costume. One Jedi costume site recommended using ties on the inside for a more secure, tighter fit. I'm actually using snaps on mine. There are snaps in the shoulders, and the other half of the snaps are in in the tabbards to keep them from slipping down over my shoulders. I didn't have the belt pouch on that I bought at Lil GI Joe's because I didn't need it in the yard.

My husband bought Yoda's FX lightsaber for me last year for my birthday so this idea actually took this long to come to reality. Only the lightsaber, boots and D ring belt were bought. The D ring belt was saved from the thrift store bag, once my husband was going to toss it out. The boots I wear on a regular basis.

I tried to follow the pattern for the belt and tabbards but they weren't long enough, so I abandoned the pattern completely for it and just winged it, by looking at lots and lots of photos of Ewan McGregor's costumes instead. The "official" costuming sites, like the Rebel Legion and the Jedi Assembly, were great in explaining the details of the costumes. I didn't try to copy the younger Obi-Wan's costume, which is why I went with slightly different colors for my costume, but I liked how the tabbards were tunic-length in the front and stopped at the belt in the back. That little detail makes it standard as an Old Republic Jedi costume.

And yeah, dress a grown woman in a Jedi costume and put a lit lightsaber in her hand and it's impossible to not grin, wave it around and fight invisible Sith.

I realize in looking at this photo, I should have pulled down the back of the tunic a little bit before my husband snapped this one for me.

These pants are actually from a woman's pirate costume pattern: Simplicity 3677 Misses' Pirate Costume Pattern. I'm going to actually take out the elastic from the pant legs, lengthen them a little bit and put the elastic back in, later this month.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Almost Done With the Costume

Well, all I have left to do is add in a couple of snaps for stability and my Halloween costume, the Jedi get-up, will be finished, but I'm saving them for tomorrow (or technically, later today). I just finished the belt and tabbards finally, thanks to Sarrah and Nicole the Knitter loaning me a Shark Euro-Pro sewing machine.

Pictures to come later, but I'm pretty happy with how they turned out but they were a BITCH to work on! For stability in the belt. I used some InnerFuse, double sided stiff fusible interfacing. It didn't "stick" quite like I thought it would, but it still worked. I almost wished I had more of it to put in the shoulder areas of the tabbards, but for those, I used Heat N Bond Lite. (This was the same stuff I used in the collar of the tunic).

I wanted to get some brown flannel or wool this weekend to whip out a (most likely not) quick Jedi robe to go with the tunic and pants, but I'm not going to push my luck. The Shark Euro-Pro only does one stitch and one length of stitch. It doesn't even go backwards to better secure the end of a hem, so I'm going to leave it as is.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Over Last Night's Temper Tantrum

My machine truly is dead. There was the slightest chance, according to one troubleshooting site, that it was a case of overheating and within 30 minutes, it could have started up again. I tried it this morning and there wasn't anything new to report.

Maybe I should set it outside for Halloween with a sign that says, "Beware the haunted sewing machine."

I will be able to do some sewing tomorrow morning after all (got a late morning at work anyway) over at Nicole the Knitter's house on a machine owned by one of her roommates. This is what I was able to get done so far:

I actually sewed this two separate times. The first time, it turned out horribly, even with making several tweaks and taking it in a few times. This is such a nice, simple linen-type material. This is light enough to be comfortable outside during a southern Virginia Halloween, and to probably be comfortable inside at a party with a bunch of bodies (which we will probably wind up at).

One Jedi costume site recommended using ties on the inside for a more secure, tighter fit. I'm actually using snaps on mine. There are partial snaps in the shoulders right now, because I'm going to put the other half of the snaps in the tabbards to keep them from slipping down.

I also put in a set of shoulder pads, but I actually put them in backwards on purpose. According to the Padawan's Guide, "Obi-Wan's tunic has a noticeable "tuck" where the sleeve joined with the shoulder. In Ep. II, particularly in the scene where Obi-Wan is floating in those electric cuffs, you can see a shoulder seam too." In the picture of Obi-Wan here, you can see the arrow pointing up to the tuck. This is why I added the shoulder pads. I tried doing a tuck like this the first time, and it didn't work out for me, but at least I have the overall shape that I wanted.

I am wildly happy with how this turned out. I changed the construction of the collar and added the interfacing.

Gratuitous sleeping kitty shot.
These pants are actually from a woman's pirate costume pattern. Like a dumbass, when I bought the pattern, I grabbed the first one I saw and didn't realize until I was cutting the fabric out that it was a PLUS SIZED pattern. I had to cut it down to the smallest size listed and got it right.

This is the same linen fabric as the tunic. I actually sewed these three times. The first time, they were HUGE. The second time, I eyeballed the fabric pieces, cut them smaller and made them too small. The third time, I cut down the pattern and started with new fabric and got it right.

I thought I had elastic when I was almost finished with them. Turns out I didn't, so I ran down to Walgreens. I was denied there. Their tiny little sewing rack didn't have any elastic and I just didn't feel like going any further. I dug through my stash of stuff and came across a fitted sheet I had used for a different project. I cut a bunch of elastic from it and reused it for these pants.

I really liked this pattern. By leaving the elastic out below the knees (I should have made the pants a teeny bit longer but they do work with my boots), I can do simple capris with this pattern. My husband already decided I'm getting a new machine for Christmas so my goal is to find some fun fabrics at the thrift store in the form of dresses and re-purpose them into pants for next spring and summer with this pattern.

Here is the only thing so far I didn't have to start over on: the dickey and the first thing I made. I didn't even have to tweak the pattern. How the collar was made here is what made me do the collar on the tunic in the same way. This was a random remnant from my stash that I bought for this costume, I just wasn't sure which part I'd use it for. The pattern called for making your own ties, but I had white ribbon so I used that instead.

My husband was tossing out a D ring belt a while back, so I swiped it for Halloween for this costume. I'm planning on checking a local military surplus store on Friday or Saturday for a pouch to add to the belt, since I don't have pockets in the pants.

Eventually, I'll be either making or buying a better belt and "accessories" and a Jedi robe because once I am fully finished with the costume, I want to try and join the Rebel Legion. I'd love to be a regular old stormtrooper from the original trilogy and join the 501st, but I've been looking at trooper armor online. A good set should run about $1500-1600 and I just don't have that kind of moolah, especially since next year it will be time to replace our Blazer. The fun thing is that I'm running into more people who are or know members of the 501st and Rebel Legion. They are more mainstream than I thought. :) And of course, I have my green light saber, courtesy of my husband for my birthday last year. That's what started this whole project, really.

And it's also inspired me to make a Jawa and a gonk droid for the yard for next year's Halloween. I am such a geek. My entire life is one big geek circle. :)

Who's Feeling Like A Halloweenie?

Who's got two thumbs and is feeling like a Halloweenie?


Time for Halloween pictures of this year's decorations around the yard. More pictures to come after I take some more once it's light out again.

I would have liked to get a full sized bale of straw but had to settle for the one little one this year. The Spider-Man yard bags were a giftie from Nicole the Knitter when she went up to New York a while back. The gargoyle came from Target and I have to be very careful with it. These were crazily fragile, and I had a smaller one that broke a couple years back. Two repairs is all it could handle. The two pumpkins were bought years ago on post-holiday clearance from Walgreen's.

The spider attack victim was made from CPR dummy adult legs, dummy child arms and a painted Styrofoam head. She used to have a male torso and sit on my front step, dressed as a witch for a couple of years, but I got tired of that. As the victim, she's wrapped in half a sheet from the Salvation Army Thrift Store, secured with strips of sheet from the other half, then bound in "scary Halloween fabric" (that's seriously what it's called at Walgreen's) and then the whole shebang in draped in spiderwebs. The hanging skellie is new this year, also from Walgreen's, but since yesterday, it's been wearing a Baltimore Ravens t-shirt that my husband ordered from Amazon. He's obviously NOT a Ravens fan (see the Steelers' mermaid?)

My zombie flamingo came from Cheeseburger in Paradise a few years ago. It was a regular old pink flamingo that I "rented" for $5 with the idea it would be used as a prop in some photography contest they were having. Once you brought the flamingo back, you'd get back the $5 and a couple for free appetizers. I couldn't think of anything good as an entry in the contest and just hung onto this. I repainted it and added a noose here.

I love this oddball. This little hanging ghoul is several years old and came from Walgreens too (see a trend yet?). This year, he was looking pretty rough and I haven't seen any other ones like him in the last couple of years. Shit, even if I had, I probably wouldn't be able to let him go. So this year, I fixed him up. His elastic string needed to be replaced, so I re-threaded his head with 550 cord. His cloak, hood and rags just about fell off his emaciated little body, so I hot glued them back on. I added the white fabric pieces this year to give him some more weight and overall size. It's actually very cheap fabric that was part of the packaging from a mattress pad I had ordered. It was stark bright white when it arrived, so to get it ready for the ghoul, I let it soak in a tea bath to darken it. Even through it's cheap fabric, it barely took the color, but it took enough to take away the brightness.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Bear with me while I have a little girl, laying on the floor meltdown, kicking and screaming, temper tantrum.

My sewing machine has shit the bed. It's about 11-12 years old and probably not worth repairing.

The bad thing is this: I am FINALLY almost done with the freakin' Jedi costume! All I had left was the belt and tabbards. Now, I have to go running over to Nicole the Knitter's house on Thursday morning before work to try and finish that part. One of her roommates said I could use  his machine.

Why oh WHY couldn't the damn machine have held on for just one more night???

Pictures to come later, but I will try the machine one more time tomorrow morning, just to see if I can get the damn needle to move or the fabric to pull through. :(

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New And Improved With 25% More Miniony Goodness!

Well, I finally did it. I got a project done. The Minion I've been making for myself is finished! I'd been working on him since June!

Please excuse the washed-out flash from my cell phone.
Aside from that wild ass, crazy smile, I like him. (Can you imagine waking up in the middle of the night and seeing that face at the end of your bed???) He's a combination of two patterns: Wolfdreamer's and Crochet-Machine's. I loved the body on Wolfdreamer's Minion and I loved the goggles, smile and hands on Crochet-Machine's Minion.

This Minion is actually a second version. I was working on a much larger one (this one is almost 22" tall) that would have ended up being about 4' tall if I had gone through with it, but the idea of stuffing something that large didn't appeal to me. I frogged that whole thing and came up with this guy.

I'm not entirely happy with how his little workboots came out but they are good enough for me. I actually did the smile first as an embroidered black smile and then changed it to a sewn on smile, and I still didn't like that. I ended gluing on that smile and teeth. But originally, that glued on smile had teeth on the bottom, but that smile was into shark-sized territories, as far as smiles go, so I cut off the bottom of his mouth to make it smaller.

I also didn't like how his little gloves turned out the first time. I winged those and they looked like tiny, tight little mittens. I decided to leave them and just crocheted new gloves for him, pulled them on and added three little fingers and cuffs for the bottom of the gloves. Much better!

The little G emblem on his overalls are two separate iron on patches that were ironed together and then ironed on to him as well. His little overalls have real buttons, two little pockets in the front and a butt flap over his little rear, with real buttons there too. :)

He's made out of Lion Brand pounders of denim and light yellow, with some yellow glow in the dark yarn mixed in.

As for the curtain I'm working on, I'm about 2/3 of the way finished with it and I could be done within the month. :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Music Monday

I do want to note that Bobby Pickett was a good looking cat when he didn't have his monster face going on. :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Starting Over For Halloween

If I were truly an OCD-type person, I couldn't function. However, my OCD-ness seems to only bother me where crafting is concerned.

I'm starting over on my Jedi tunic. The fact that I really did screw up the lengths of the front and back pieces is driving me nuts. So, I bought MORE fabric yesterday at Wal-Mart (an evil corporation that carries very little in terms of American-made products, I know) because it was easier to pick up everything I needed for a variety of things than going all the way to Hancock's. However, I did pick up some great linen-type fabric like what I should have bought originally. I've also trimmed down the pattern because I am not an XL where Jedi tunics are concerned. :) Sewing larger on purpose may have been part of my problem.

Damn it, I wish I had my mother's sewing gene!!!! On a high note, it's already going better and faster, but then again, maybe that first time was meant to be just practice. The cuffs on the sleeves turned out smooth this time, because I did the cuff hem first and then sewed them along the inside of the arm. The pattern calls for the inside of the arm to be sewn first and then the cuffs. I also got good interfacing for the collar this time too.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Geeky Wallpaper To Share

I was going through some files on my computer the other day when I came across these three wallpapers I made a few years ago. I thought I'd post them here for the hell of it, in case anyone wanted to grab them for their own use.