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Craft Rage

...Making a mess of things since 1973


Yet another new look

Every three months or so, I get bored with looking at the same old blog. I've been purple, brown, pink, blue, and green, so I decided it was time to go with plain old white, but with editable elements.

I stumbled across this template at www.suckmylolly.com, which has a number of really great templates, many with a distinctly vintage feel. Yes, the name sounds vaguely dirty, but then, so was Bettie Page, and who doesn't love HER?

Anyway, this is actually a two-column template, but I added a third column so that I could house my Blogher ads without having them cut off. I couldn't see the cut off bits on my home computer, so when I was in town today, I stopped by a friend's place and checked my blog on her regular 19" monitor. Yikes!

My monitor here at home is a 22" widescreen, so I honestly had no idea what my blog looked like to someone with a regular ratio monitor; those of you whose eyes I've been hurting, please accept my sincere apologies for all the strange overlapping my old layout did. I loved the colors and the design, but it certainly wasn't made with smaller monitors in mind.

At any rate, now that I have this template, I think I'll be able to satisfy my need for change by simply changing the picture on the left, maybe by using artwork from some of my vintage patterns!

I'm going to go get dinner in the oven, and then get to work on my next quickie project; Dinger's collar is HUGE and bulky;

see? I've decided to disassemble it and use the metal bits on a new, more lightweight collar, which I've decided to make myself. I wonder if it's safe to use sequins on a cat collar? Would sequins emasculate my cat? I mean, it's not like he's going to have his boy-bits for much longer anyway, so what the hell, right?



Who knew?

Did you know that Butterick released the Walkaway Dress in an updated version? Looks like it was in the late '70's or early '80's. Same basic look, much slimmer skirt! I had no idea!

I found it uncut, factory folded, but in the wrong darned size, so it'll end up in my Etsy store this weekend, I guess.

UPDATE: I didn't realize what I a prize I'd found until I started to get emails about this pattern shortly after I posted this picture. Since I'm a huge fan of all the folks who inquired, either by email or by comment, I was wrought with fear and guilt over having to make a decision. Lacking any ability to make a decision (it's Indecision Thursday, to be followed shortly by Wishy-Washy Friday and immediately preceded by Waffling Wednesday) I decided to feed everyone into the Randomizer, and the big winner is Jenny from Chronically Uncool, who not only sent the message/comment with the earliest timestamp this morning, but who came up first on the Randomizer.

My vintage pattern collection keeps growing, even though I keep trying to weed it out.

For every ten patterns I buy, there are seven I like, but maybe only one that I think I'll ever make for myself. The other three are usually what I call "soulless" - they're really generic looking '70's & '80's patterns, or anything that looks like Mrs. Roper would wear it.

Still, style is subjective, and essentially, 90% of my vintage pattern collection is stuff I'll never make or wear. Thus, my Etsy store, which I've been neglecting pretty badly. Over the next week or so, I want to get more of my stuff scanned in and uploaded. The big slowdown is that as I upload to Etsy, I try to also crosspost patterns to the Vintage Pattern Wiki; maybe I'll concentrate on getting my listings done first, and then go back and do the wiki afterwards.

And speaking of vintage patterns, I had my first vintage pattern identification experience this weekend!

I left the TV on in the background while I was kitten-sitting and trying to clean the house, when a Gidget marathon came on. Gidget, Gidget Goes to Rome, etc.

Well, when Gidget Goes Hawaiian came on, I actually sat down and watched some of it, after seeing this dress in one of the early scenes;

I can't even explain why this excited me so much; most of the sewing blogs I read have people who can look at any article of clothing and name five commercial patterns that they could use to make a reasonable facsimile of that item. I, on the other hand, am only starting to notice details like dolman sleeves and fancy button plackets, and topstitching. To be able to make a connection between something in my pattern collection is pretty exciting, even if, in this particular case, the pattern is so distinctive I'd have had to be blind to miss it.

On another note - I read a lot of blogs that have advertising, and I don't personally find it offensive or awful, and I hope you don't, either. I've had Google Ads for some time, and have recently joined BlogHer because if I'm lucky, I'll be able to afford the $125.00/yard fabric I finally selected for my wedding dresses, of which I appear to need 9 yards. Yeah, that's a whole other post.

At any rate, it's not like I'm trying to get rich or anything crazy like that; since December 07, my Google Ads revenue account has reached $1.29 - not exactly early retirement money. At any rate, I'm giving it a try, to see how it goes. If it goes well, my blog will get more traffic, which should increase my ad revenue a little bit, and I'll be dressed like a fairy-tale princess at my wedding. If it doesn't...well...actually, if it doesn't, it probably won't bother me at all. It's my freaking wedding - I'm not going to remember any of it anyway. If it weren't for the photographer, I might be tempted to show up in a t-shirt and jeans. With sequins.


No more cat posts. After this one.

Thanks so much for your comments over the last couple of posts. I promise, one last cat post, and then it's back to makin' stuff. Well, attempting to make stuff.

One quick point about my last post; it's not really that three cats or four cats are enough cats - it's just that I think I have the soul of an animal hoarder, and The Hotness is the same as me, or perhaps worse. I think we could probably live quite happily with 90 cats.

And 40 dogs. And some sheep and goats. And maybe a piglet, because I LOVE bacon. Not that I would eat my piglet, but at least I'd be doing my part to balance the bacon I eat against the bacon I feed. And now that I've said that, I have to add that I would also not eat any of my other animals, because I'd love them, too, even though I don't love lamb or dog meat. This paragraph has really taken a turn for the worse.

Anyway, if I don't put a limit on it, we're going to be one of those couples you see in the news who've built themselves a little shed on the back of their property to live in, while their 110 cats live in their 2000 square foot home, and they both work full time to bring home kibble and catnip.

I figured I'd give you one last kitten update, because in my imagination, y'all are on the edge of your seats, and lost sleep last night wondering about him. And I'm a fairy princess. And I don't have one lingering cankle from the fall off my deck. Hey, it's my imagination, so I can imagine whatever I want!

In order to get the kitten's pet insurance (all our cats are insured), I had to pick a name for him. I liked the name "Beethoven", as Summerset suggested, but when I ran it by The Hotness, he stared at me like I'd lost my mind - I think if I'd suggested Axl or Slash, I might have gotten a better response. Thus, The Kitten With No Name has been officially (and unimaginatively) designated as "Dinger" because he'll spend the rest of his furry life wearing a bell on his collar so we can find him. In reality, we'll probably end up calling him Kitty, or Cat, or GAHHH-getawayfromthere!!, because as Marjie said, he won't know or care, and as the joke says, he won't come when we call anyway.

Contrary to what most folks think, all our other cats are happy to come when called; heck, The Hotness even taught Bonzo to play dead. I'm not kidding - he points his finger and yells "Bang!" and she falls over and lays still, then he yells "Bang!" again and she rolls over and meows as though she's been shot again. I need to record that, one of these days. One of the days when my house is clean enough that I won't mind having pictures of it on the internet. About two days after hell freezes over, I guess.

Anyway, Dinger's doing pretty well - The Hotness was sick as a dog yesterday, so we spent the day crashed out on the couch watching movies, which suited Dinger just fine.

Today I'll need to run into town to pick up some kitten formula; he's very emaciated, as you can see from this picture - ignore the bum, and check out those hips and ribs! And that backbone! Cripes, you could slice cheese with that thing!

He's happy eating the hard food I've got for him, though strangely, he wasn't interested in the wet food at all, but with a high kitten metabolism, I don't think he'll be able to eat enough hard food to get to a healthy weight without formula.

Gaylen - yeah, The Hotness is allergic to cats, too, but that didn't stop him from already having three when we first met. He isn't allergic to dogs, but we don't have any of those yet. I stress the "yet" - as soon as he gets our fence up, I'm getting him the black lab he's been talking about for four years.

Karen - The Hotness is smitten by the kitten. When I called him to let him know that I'd emailed someone about a dirty, starved, deaf kitten, he got all excited, and called me every ten minutes for the next two hours to see if she'd emailed me back yet. Of course, he doesn't call it "excited," just "mildly interested, whatever". When she finally called and we made arrangements for me to pick Dinger up, The Hotness called every ten minutes until I actually had him, then quit work early and met me at home. But not because he cared about the new kitten, just 'cause he was tired, you know? Wink wink.

The rest of the cat-family (pride is as good a word as any IMO) is staying neutral. Except Smooshy, who's kind of angry/scared. Boobah and Bonzo both visited us on the bed last night (where Dinger was laying), although only briefly, but Smooshy is kind of unhappy. I've been picking her up and petting her and giving her lots of attention, but she's got no interest in Dinger at all. Meh, give it a week and they'll all be fighting over the catnip mice.

Before I sign off, here are a couple of gratuitous Dinger shots.

If this were a lolcat picture, it'd be tagged "I can haz up?" We have a really high bed, so it's quite the climb. I put up our cat-stairs, but he seems to enjoy staring at me until I lift him up, or else just using his claws to scale the side of the bed.

Does he not look like Brain from Pinky and the Brain?

Bony and bigheaded. And I don't know if his legs look long because he's so emaciated, or if he's just going to be a tall cat, but when he stands still, he looks like an imperial walker.



Seriously? I mean, really?

Because Boobah (he of the great head wound) doesn't have enough trouble?

I spent a very restless night with the Kitten With No Name; he yakked twice more and laid around lethargically until about 2:00AM, when he got up, took a tremendous, stinky dump in the litterbox I brought to the bedroom for him (yeah, I'm oversharing), then proceeded to eat, drink, and play like a perfectly healthy kitten, even though is ribs and hips are sticking out all over.

We've had two cool days after a couple weeks of heat, so I left all the windows open in the house last night. We live in an area where winds can gust quite quickly, going from 0 to 20 MPH in the blink of an eye. This morning, about half an hour ago, the gusts started.

Boobah was laying outside my office door, quite sound asleep when the wind kicked up, sailing through the house and slamming doors everywhere.

One of them slammed on the tip of his tail.

The very tippy-tip, the very end. And it hacked off about 1/16th of an inch of flesh and hair, as though with a meat cleaver.

Why. Why, why, why?

He's lost more flesh in a friendly catfight, but honestly, this cat just doesn't need any more injuries!

Poor, poor Boobah!


What do you name a deaf kitten?

Who cares, it won't come when you call it!

Old joke, and suddenly, not as funny. Well, okay, still as funny, but only because I have the sense of humor of a six year old.

The magic number of cats in our household is four. Two for The Hotness and two for me. I lie - all four are for The Hotness, because he is to cats as St. Patrick is to snakes.

In March, we lost our eldest cat to old age, and I swore up and down, no more cats, not for another two years. After about a month had passed, The Hotness started looking in the classifieds and on the SPCA website for kittens, but I was adamant - no more cats. At least, not until Smooshy was two - I don't want a bunch of cats the same age, because it seems like they all hit the wall at the same time, and that's hard on a cat family, much less the human family.

Three cats are enough cats.

In an attempt to subvert my will, The Hotness would print out pictures of kittens and tape them to the bathroom mirror, or leave them on the seat of my chair, or tape them to the TV remote, but I kept saying no - no more - no kittens.

Then yesterday, I was looking for sewing stuff on Kijiji - I have pretty good luck finding old sewing machines there - when I accidentally (I swear, it was an accident!) clicked on Cats and Kittens. The picture at the top of the screen showed the grimiest, skinniest, saddest-looking kitten I've ever seen. I'm not partial to white cats, but I AM a sucker for a sob story.

The lady who posted the picture had found the kitten in the ditch on one of the hottest days we've had this year. She was driving down a gravel road and stopped for a stop sign when she saw something white and small, just kind of laying there, swishing it's tail. She said "I told myself not to look, because I just KNEW it was going to be a cat, and that I wouldn't be able to drive off and leave the thing."

This woman is a dog trainer, and at the time, she had a van full of her own very large dogs, but she pulled over, shoved the dogs into the back, and walked over to this kitten, who didn't even have the strength to run away.

Unfortunately, after a night of trying to make it comfortable and help it eat a bit, she started to get suspicious that the kitten, in addition to its ear mite infestation and its malnutrition, might also be deaf. Turns out, she was right. The little guy is deaf as a fencepost.

She couldn't keep it, not with a house full of great danes and rotties (she's a dog trainer, remember) and our local SPCA is not currently accepting cats - they have NO empty cages at all, and have run out of cat litter six times in the last few months - if it wasn't for folks bringing in the odd bag of cat-litter for donations, they'd be in a world of hurt.

When I say "not currently accepting cats," what I mean is, they'll still accept cats, but it's not a no-kill facility, and once they reach, and, God love 'em for trying, exceed their capacity, there's little else to do but make room. Enough said.

What was I supposed to do? I already have one cat with missing head-flesh (apparently, the problem is the result of food intolerance, and isn't stress related, thank goodness) and two others, one just barely a year old. But I couldn't stop myself. I sent the woman an email, and made arrangements to take the little gaffer off her hands.

Long story short, meet The Kitten With No Name.

I've given him a bath and a really good ear-cleaning (along with an ear mite treatment - ugh!). He's barfed twice already, and has the shakes like he's coming off a three-day bender, and has basically lain in one position since I got him. He played briefly with a toy shrimp I brought him, but lost interest and fell asleep.

I think he'll be all right, once his tummy calms down. He drank a little water, and was a bit interested in the litterbox. But what's killing me is that he can't hear the sound of my voice, so he can't tell that I'm trying to be nice to him. I know he's just a cat, but it's really breaking my heart that he can't hear me, and that I'm scaring him by just showing up next to him.

The only time he's stopped shaking is when I sat on the couch and held him so that his head was resting against the side of my neck, then sang "You Are My Sunshine" about nine thousand times, so he could feel the vibration.

Poor little sucker.

I'm going to go play the xylophone on his little ribs for awhile, and curse myself for getting involved.

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How many more times can I use "Eeeee!" as a post title?

Look what I got!!!

Eeeee! Squeee, even!

Summerset, who won my ruffler foot giveaway, sent me this postcard, along with a pretty little thank-you note.

It's lovely, and sparkly, and colorful, and is ten minutes from being framed and hung in my sewing room!

Summerset, thank you, thank you, thank you! If I had any actual skills at all, I'd make you a lovely, handmade gift in return, but I'm not sure that you'd have a whole lot of use for a glitter macaroni bracelet.

But really, thank you! It was a lovely surprise to run into on an already very nice Friday!

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How much is too much?

I'm not much into astrology (which means that I read my horoscope daily, but for amusement purposes only) but as far as it goes, I'm a fairly typical Leo (which actually got me fired from a job, once - funny story, but we'll get to that later). I'm kinda loud, kinda passionate/emotional, that sort of thing.

The thing is, my personality and my clothing have never really matched - I'm REALLY plain jane in what I wear, so though I'm attracted to things that sparkle, I don't actually wear much of it. That said, I guess for my reception, denim skorts and a t-shirt probably wouldn't be completely appropriate. Still, I really wonder if this might be too much sparkle for a reception dress;
I found this at Anna's Bridal Lace & Fabrics on Ebay, and was immediately smitten. With it, I could avoid sequins altogether. That would be nice, since the thought of sewing even one more sequin on lace makes me want to weep. And angers the finger puppets. Well, not the Vulcan one, because he's pretty even-tempered, but the other one is quite wrathful.

Which reminds me, I never posted the pictures of the beadwork I completed before deciding to change the color of my dress from green to gold.

I'm in the process of removing the beads and sequins, but here's part of one flower and the scalloped border. Please remember that I'm new to beading, and if I recall correctly, this is one of the first flowers I did.
Originally, it had silver seed beads and swarovski crystals in the middle of the flowers, but they've since been removed, so you can only see them on the scalloped edge.

In any case, I do have a huge glut of a light gold crepe-back satin (about 20m - it's shiny, I'm a crow, ergo, when it went on sale for $1.99, I bought what was left on the bolt), so all I really have left to purchase is the lace. I need about 3.5m (about 4 yards) and then I'll be ready to get to work.

The lace isn't my only problem, though.

Stupid, stupid, stupid cat. This is Boobah.

Uh, yeah. He's dressed for Hallowe'en. He's SpiderCat. Don't laugh. Okay, laugh.

Anyway, every time I deep-clean the house, Boobah rips off part of his face. No exaggeration - he peels off flesh. If gross pictures make you queasy, feel free to stop reading here - picture to follow.

In the spring, he removed the hair and a few layers of flesh from around his mouth, and last week, while I was preparing to have the in-laws over for the weekend, he did this;
That collar is Boobah's personal version of hell - he backed up for a full day before finally realizing that no amount of backwards motion was going to free him.

I hate that I did this to him - obviously when I clean the house, it stresses him out. I know it's not the cleansers - I use the same things all the time, and unless I vaccum behind the furniture, pull out the stove and fridge, and catch up all of the laundry, he doesn't appear to be bothered in any way.

WTF? Seriously!?

I realize that cats' brains are about the size of walnuts, and that euclidean geometry is largely lost on them, but for a cat, Boobah is pretty smart. If he had opposable thumbs, I think he could easily handle some of the grocery shopping. Well, he can't read or drive, but...anyway, why isn't he smart enough NOT to flay himself when I clean the house?

Stupid, stupid cat.

He's sitting here staring at me, and I'm pretty sure he's thinking "Why don't you stop typing and go use your opposable thumbs to open a can of tuna, jerk?" I guess it's the least I can do.

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Empty House

Ah, family.

As I mentioned earlier, I spent the weekend hosting one set of in-laws - my fiance's older brother, his wife, and two children, ages 5 and 2. I'll call them the Jetsons (second favorite cartoon family, after the Simpsons, but before the Flintstones).

In the six years we've been together, it's the first time the George and Jane have made the nearly nine hour drive to visit us, a heroic feat with two young children. The Hotness and I were very grateful; our work schedules are a train wreck right now, so we wouldn't have been able to spare the time to drive out to see them until November.

I spent a good portion of the weekend nomming chubby cheeks and elbows, and making myself scarce when the little one's diaper started to stink.

As an aside, I love toddlers, but I cannot abide babies. I fear babies. I am baby-phobic. When I attend baby showers, I bring gifts, but prefer to see the baby from across the room, and I won't hold it for ANY reason.

Babies smell nice, and they're cute, but no matter how rugged they really are, to my eyes, they're these fragile little glass creatures, and if I touch them, I might break them. Everyone assures me that when I have my own, I'll feel differently. In turn, I assure them that when I'm certain that I can train a baby to use the litterbox, I'll start having babies.

That's always good for a blank stare.

I'm kidding about the litterbox (mostly) - in reality, I'm really looking forward to having at least one child - The Hotness is a stellar uncle, and he'll make a really wonderful dad. Plus, then I'll be a mommy blogger, which I think will be a lot of fun! Or will at least lead to more interesting posts than this one.

Anyway, to thank them for making the trip, The Hotness and I planned a number of fun activities, not the least of which was catching the live-action Sesame Street show. The kids enjoyed it a great deal, and the rest of us enjoyed seeing the kids happy. And the mini-donuts. And the thickly veiled adult humor.

We considered taking the kids to the Zoo, but the temperature reached a near-record high, so we decided not to bother. The Zoo here isn't really a big, magical place like some zoos. They're more of a wildlife preserve with large fenced-in areas, so there are a lot of ungulates (deer, caribou, bison, antelope, moose, etc) but not much else. They do, however, have a really excellent gopher exhibit. I kid you not. A gopher exhibit, in the prairies.

Ah well. Now that my house is empty, it's back to sewing. I've cut out the muslin for the big dress, and will be starting assembly soon, but I'm having a heck of a time finding gold lace for the reception dress. I was hoping to find something that already had a bit of sparkle, because I'd really rather not do all that sequin application if I can avoid it. And I'm not too keen on spending $130.00 for pre-beaded lace - I want to do some of the work myself. I just want something with a bit of metallic thread. Any ideas?



Thanks & have a great weekend!

Hey y'all! Just wanted to say that I've really appreciated your comments on my recent posts. Sometimes it's a little daunting to tell stories about the stupid things I've done - it would be so nice to be cool and together, (and to have less of a clear recollection of what my fingers looked like tangled in a hand mixer) but whatever!

Gaylen, thanks for the B-day wishes! I can't for the life of me figure out how you knew it was my birthday, but it's probably not half as mysterious as it seems, and it was very appreciated!

The Hotness and I are having the in-laws over for the weekend - my inlaws, not his - his older brother and sister-in-law, and their freakin' adorable children, so I'll get no sewing done, and no posting either.

One thing I did decide, though - I've suspended hand-beading the green fabric - I'm going with the gold wedding dress, which means that I need to go shopping for lace and sequins and beads and whatnot. (Tee hee!)

Not sure what I'm going to do with 9 metres of bridal lace and stretch satin - maybe I'll be making bridesmaid dresses after all!





Since I'm still beading that stupid lace for my stupid wedding dress, I thought I'd post another (quick) story about what it's like to be me.

I've spent a goodly amount of time in emergency rooms throughout the course of my life. Without giving it much thought at all, I can remember getting stitches six times, hard casts twice (including the faux cast they put on my fingers after the hand mixer incident, soft casts four times (including the fall I took off my deck), and three other incidents where I didn't get anything but good drugs. And that's without racking my brain - I'm sure there are more that just don't come immediately to mind.

This particular time I'm thinking about happened about a week after I learned about Karma in school.

I came home from school a bit late, and as I was walking down my driveway, I could hear my mom yelling. My mother isn't a screamer - she's pretty even tempered, so I ran into the house to find out what's going on. Turns out, she was shouting at the dog.

The door we used to get into the house led directly into the kitchen, where the yelling was happening. I walked in and watched my Mom loudly ask the dog several questions as though she expected answers. She was waving her hands and her face was all red.

Duke was pretty nonchalant about the whole thing - he sat down and started licking at his nether region, clearly not caring what she had to say. This INFURIATED my mom, who apparently didn't realize that Duke was A DOG, and therefore ill equipped to have a rational discussion with her.

Of course, I was standing in the doorway laughing my ass off, because I was a teenager (and therefore a jerk), and because catching my mom acting crazy wasn't an everyday occurrence.

She yells at me that I'd better stop laughing, then goes to shoo Duke out of the open kitchen door.

Duke's looking at her like "Seriously? You want me to go outside? Can't you see I'm licking my junk, here?" and is clearly reluctant to go anywhere, and since my Mom isn't a hitter, she won't reduce herself to smacking that smug look off his furry face, so she gestures wildly and starts to swear at him.

My mom is TEENY. She's barely five feet tall, and weighs maybe 98 pounds soaking wet - the dog is probably big enough to take her down without a problem, and frankly, I've never seen her this excited, so I'm laughing so hard I can barely stand up. I'm holding myself up by the door jamb when she turns on me and shouts at me some more, which really just eggs me on.

Finally, she's had it. She bends over and plants her hand on Duke's back (he's sitting in the doorway, having gone back to his...erm...personal hygiene routine) and gives him a shove out the open door, then SLAMS the door shut with all her might.

The door pops back open.

She stands there looking stunned for a moment, and I laugh even harder - seriously, you shoulda seen the look on her face. She reaches out and slams the door again, this time hauling it back as far as it will go before whaling it shut. BAM!

It pops back open.

I am SHRIEKING with laughter at this point - seriously, I've never SEEN my mom so mad, and right now, she's five feet of exposed nerve.

She grabs the door with both hands and flings it shut again, following with a kick, and guess what...the door pops back open.

Still shrieking with laughter and gripping the door jamb to keep myself upright, I suddenly realize that something's wrong. Terribly wrong. With my hand.

Mom's given up the slamming, realizing that if it won't close after that two-handed slam/karate kick, doing it again probably won't do it - now she's trying to figure out why it won't close.

Suddenly, we both go very still and silent, and I slowly turn my head toward the door.

Toward my fingers in the door jamb.

In the way of the slamming door. Keeping the door from slamming.

Instant Karma. Universe is back in balance.

I am yelling for my mom to stop laughing, and my mom is, no exaggeration, rolling on the kitchen floor, laughing her guts out.

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I've gotten a great deal of beading and be-spangling done on the lace for the bodice of my wedding dress, and have come to a few preliminary conclusions.

One, I am a crow - shiny things make me very, very happy. This has led to a certain amount of possible overkill. I'm not totally sure, but I think I've just plain gone too far. I think I've gone from wedding sparkly to circus sparkly. I'll post a picture later, to illustrate my point.

And two, I've begun waffling on the color for my dress, so this all may be a terrible waste of time.

I saw some of this same kind of lace in a warm, non-sparkly gold, and I just happen to have a whole BUNCH of heavyweight, light gold, crepe-back satin in my stash. Gold is still a little nontraditional for a wedding dress, but it's much more traditional than, say, green. Plus, it's on sale, and I only need four metres of it. Well, three, really, but it's nice to have a bit extra.

Plus, I find myself further waffling over the dress itself.

My original plan was, in fact, to have two wedding dresses - one for the aisle, and one for the reception. The one I've been posting about was to be the reception dress.

Then, I decided that all I really want is one dress, and again, that's the one I've been making muslins for. But the thing is, all these stupid bridal magazines make me feel unsure of myself - like maybe I'm missing out if I don't have a giant poof of a dress.

Then, like a dork, I went and tried on a few poofy dresses, and man, did I LOVE swishing around in all that taffeta and crinoline. Since we're having an August wedding in a venue with no A/C, I wouldn't want to spend a bunch of time in such a large dress, but I do rather enjoy the idea of making a spectacle of myself that way.

Anyway, when the original plan was in effect, I bought a whole schwack of taffeta in a number of different colors, plus white, and a crinoline (well, hoop-skirt, actually), so I've got everything I need to MAKE two dresses. I also picked up a few patterns to choose from:

and even

although that last one, M5321, got pretty badly panned on PR. Plus, as you've probably noticed, I'm kind of a fan of a more vintage look, so that last one's probably out, though it's my mom's favorite.

Meh. It's unlike me to waffle around and be indecisive, particularly about clothing. I suppose there's a case to be made for the idea that it's normal to obsess a bit about a dress that will be forever immortalized in pictures, but really, if I'm going to worry about something, I should be worried about the size of my rear end. Strangely, all I seem to care about is the dress.

I guess the best way to answer this question is to make a muslin of the poofy dress - if I do it and hate it, then I won't have to duplicate it. If I do it and I love it, then I guess I'm going back to plan A - two dresses.



Why I seldom use hand mixers

When I was eight, my mother banned me from the kitchen.

There were a few episodes of burned pots (hot chocolate that only made it to the stage where you put the milk in the pot and the pot on the stove, then get caught up in the latest episode of GI Joe, and then suddenly, the kitchen is full of smoke), and one episode of a recipe for green bread from some kid's TV cooking show (which also ended in a kitchen full of smoke).

Unfortunately, such a ban is only enforceable if you're actually there to enforce it, so I still did kitchen-related activities on the sly.

One day, I decided to make hot chocolate with marshmallows. Remembering the last burned pot, I stood over the stove, listening to GI Joe instead of watching it, and made a perfect pot of heated milk.

Since we'd had mashed potatoes the night before, the electric hand mixer was sitting on the counter, with the drying beaters on the tea towel by the sink. I got a bright idea - instead of stirring the hot chocolate mix into the hot milk with a spoon (how old-fashioned!) I'd use the mixer to make it really fluffy!

Remember I was eight, so the idea made perfect sense to me.

So I plug the mixer into the wall, put the beaters in the pot, and very carefully use the mixer to make frothy hot chocolate. Yay me, right?

I finish watching GI Joe, then Transformers, and half of the Smurfs before I remember that I'd better have everything cleaned up before Mom comes home. So I go to the kitchen, wash the pot, wipe down the stove, and try to eject the beaters from the mixer.

I'm an eight-year-old city kid - I have hand strength approximately equaling that of wet bread. So I push on the button, and push, and push, but nothing happens. I try with both thumbs, and still nothing happens.

Oh crap. Now Mom's going to come home, and the beaters are going to be covered with hot chocolate, and she's going to know I used the stove, and I'm going to get in some real trouble!

Again, I'm eight. I have the perfect solution!

I fill up the sink with soapy water, and with the mixer plugged in, I climb up on the stool I use when mom and I are doing dishes, and I drop the beaters into the sink and turn them on.

All is well so far - it's making a sink full of foamy bubbles, and when I pull the mixer out of the water, I see that they're sparkling clean! I'm awesome! I'm She-Ra! I can figure anything out!

I hop down from the stool and face my second dilemma - I need to dry the beaters. I grab a tea towel and start dabbing at the beaters - remember, that thing is still plugged in. Suddenly, I DO remember that the thing is still plugged in, and I get the bright idea that the best way to dry them is to put the tea towel into the beaters and turn it on, then pull the towel out the other side.

I'm not entirely stupid - I realize that there's a risk to this endeavor, but I figure that I am cool enough to take the risk.

With the mixer still plugged in, I gently tuck a corner of the tea towel into the beaters, and hit the power button, pulling my hand away from the towel quickly.

The beaters whir to life, but the towel falls to the ground - I let go too early.

I pick up the towel and tuck the corner in again, and hit the power button, once again pulling my hand away from the towel. Once again, the towel falls to the ground.

Now I'm kinda mad. Why isn't my brilliant plan working? How will I ever earn a spot on the Joe Team if I can't figure out how to dry these beaters?

I'm determined that it's going to work this time. I tuck the tea towel in, hit the power and THEN try to let go.


Those beaters? They move FAST.

That tea towel? It's laying on the ground.

My fingers? All four are woven through both beaters, with part of my palm wedged in between the two and my thumb sticking out.

Somehow I have the presence of mind to take three big steps backwards, pulling the plug out of the wall, but that doesn't solve the problem.


OMG OMG OMG, I need to get this thing off of me! But wait - remember my weak fingers - if I couldn't eject the beaters with both hands, then trying it with my left hand by itself certainly isn't going to work.

As I dance around the kitchen, I start shrieking in panic, (because even though the pain hasn't really set in yet, I'm very aware of the fact that it soon will).

I dance around for a few more seconds, then realize fully that no matter what I do, I will not get this mixer off by myself. Waiting for my mom to come home is not an option - she might leave me in the mixer to punish me for using the stove (hey, that's what I THOUGHT, not what my mom would actually have DONE).

I suddenly remember the next door neighbor, Christine. She has a son about my age, and we walked home from school together. She waved at me from the doorway when her boy got home, so I know she's there. Without stopping for shoes, I bolt for the door, the mixer's power cord dragging along behind me like a tail.

Now, for just a second, imagine you're Christine. You're making dinner and suddenly the doorbell rings. You wipe your hands and start down the stairs to answer it, and when you get halfway down the stairs, you hear this strange, inhuman whimpering. When you throw open the door, you're confronted by the sight of the strange kid from next door IN HER UNDERPANTS with an electric mixer attached to her hand. Oh, did I forget to mention the underpants? Yeah, the last time I got busted for using the stove, it was because I got hot chocolate mix on my pants and my Mom saw it. So in order to enhance my stealth, I'd taken off my pants before I started cooking.

I can only remember my childhood in snatches and bits, and some of my memories are foggy. That said, the memory of Christine's face as she opened her door and took in my half-naked, finger-tangled glory will stay with me forever.

She stared at me for about ten long seconds, then slammed the door in my face, laughed hysterically for about five more seconds, then opened the door again, face completely composed. She grabbed the mixer and tried to eject the beaters, but no surprise, since the things aren't easy to get out in the first place, the process is no easier when there's a bunch of flesh wedged between the beaters. So she grabbed her kid, bundled both of us in the station wagon, and took me to the ER.

It's anticlimactic, but in the end, nothing was broken except my spirit, since EVERYONE laughed at me - the nurse at admitting, the ER nurses, the doctors, my parents. I wonder if it would have been as funny if I'd been wearing pants.

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Eeee! It's baaaaack!

It's been a little while since I posted - my apologies. I've been in hand-beading hell, and trust me, that's not a good place for a clumsy accountant.

I've caught myself counting the f-ing sequins as I attach them, and from my calculations, each sequin itself costs .001 cents (yes, that's one hundredth of a cent), and the time to attach each sequin, at my regular hourly rate, costs about 52 cents, both because I am slow AND because I am expensive.

I've figured out that by the time I'm done beading the fabric for the bodice, I will have invested $2.00 in sequins, $8.00 in Swarovski crystals (thank you, Ebay!) and other beads, and $6000.00 of my time. I will have also lost two pints of blood, and most of my sanity. Needle, meet fingertip. Needle, meet fingertip. Needle, meet fingertip. Why don't you two get a room, already!

Is it still called finger puppets if there are no actual puppets on the ends of your fingers? Is it wrong that I have different voices for the index fingers of each hand? Is it wrong that one of those fingers swears in Japanese, which I'm pretty sure I personally never learned? The other one appears to be Mr. Spock, so it doesn't swear much at all, but have you ever seen a finger try to raise a disbelieving eyebrow?

Oh, sweet sanity, how I miss thee!

I've made a few other garage sale scores, which I'll post in detail about later (I know, will you be able to sleep tonight, knowing that I've bought more vintage patterns but haven't told you which ones?) but for now, I'll just say this; remember the giveaway a couple of months back? Where I gave away a ruffler foot because I had four of them, and four is too many?

Well apparently, God or the universe, or fate, intends me to own four ruffler feet, because I bought another box of antique Singer attachments sight unseen - the lady told me I could have the box for $2.00, but only if I didn't open it first - and lo and behold, there was another ruffler foot, in perfect condition.

There's also a gathering foot, a roller foot, a bias binder foot, a zipper foot, a rolled hem foot, and an adjustable hemmer foot, which made me emit a high-pitched manic giggle when I recognized it after opening the box. I sort of wish I'd at least made it to my car before opening the box, because I'm pretty sure that a few people actually left the garage sale because I started doing the squealing happy dance in this woman's driveway.

Anyway, I'll post pictures of my beading progress when the effects of the blood loss die down. Until then, the left hand finger puppet hopes that you will live long and prosper. The right hand finger puppet says "kusu o taberu na!" but I'm pretty sure it's talking to me.

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