Tag Archives: Projects

On The Road Again!

On The Road Again!

Last night, I made an overskirt with a pocket and a muffin cap to go with the Renaissance Faire costume. Carolyn does not want either. Audrey has an overskirt, and made herself a drawstring pouch for her outfit. I might braid myself a belt from some scraps and make a little pouch for cash, but it’s nice to know I’ll have a place for keys and personal items hidden under a big pouffy skirt.

After I finished that, my back was killing me, and it was time for bed. When I was at the doctor yesterday to get something for my infected fingernail (owies!) I also asked for something that would put me really, truly to sleep. She gave me Ambien CR, and I took it and slept a solid 6 hours. That might not sound like much to some of you, but it’s a big step in the right direction for me.

We’re driving up to the orthodontist today, with a side trip to IKEA so I can finish organizing the laundry/computer room and get another table for sewing that doesn’t shake like mad. I think we might visit some people briefly, maybe get some seasoned laver from the Asian market up there, but we’re kind of seeing what happens as we go.

ADD Upside. . .

ADD Upside. . .

So last night, I decided to take the sleeping pill before lying down, but my busy brain had other plans for me. The thoughts were tumbling all over each other. I tried concentrating on the hum of the A/C unit, but it was like trying to turn on a table fan to cover up the loud party noise in the upstairs apartment. I tried a meditative technique – allow the thought, then let it go. But after I let it go, it called all its brothers and sisters and cousins and told them the grill was fired up and there was free beer in the fridge. Well, at least I’m prepared if I ever get any Jehovah’s Witnesses coming to the door early on a Saturday, I’ve figured out how to draft the pattern for my skirt and hidden purse for the renaissance faire, and remembered which box a particular piece of fabric is in. . .it went on for hours. *sigh*

One of the thoughts that occupied some time, though, was that this busy, busy train of thought that makes connections all over the place has served me well in not only learning things, but teaching what I know to other people. It’s sort of like super-mnemonics (for people who can’t remember anything with mnemonics. Go figure.). I always did well with languages, because they had obvious connections to one another, and in English as well as in Romance languages, I can very often figure out a word or phrase I’ve never seen before because it has connections to words/phrases/etymological roots in the language it’s in, or another I know. I always said I learned more in my German class than I did in my English classes, and now I understand that by taking German and Latin and Spanish and French, I was strengthening my knowledge of all of them by connecting them together. Once I’m teaching Spanish, this will come in very handy. In the beginning, when I started sewing, I did it to save money or to have something specific, like a long pale blue concert dress. It was a functional thing I did. But once I started to teach myself pattern drafting, and researched and learned the way my sewing machine worked, it started to make connections with other things, and even with itself. I never connected why the pattern markings were where they were, but then suddenly – this is where the armscye curves diverge, this marks the front and the back on nearly symmetrical pattern pieces, here’s a good place to alter, here’s a not-so-good place because you need to fool with other pieces, this is where the body curves in, this is where it curves out. . .and once I learned how the sewing machine made a stitch, I could thread any machine you put in front of me, and knew exactly why the take-up lever was the most important part to keep an eye on (stop sewing when it’s down, the next stitch pulls the thread out from the needle. If the thread comes out of the take-up lever during stitching, the thread doesn’t get pulled back up and you end up with a birds-nest of thread under the throat plate that might permanently damage your machine, and definitely messes up whatever you’re sewing!). As a result, I was able to teach my beginning sewing students how to find their bust points and make cup size adjustments, and I always started my classes by taking the machine apart and showing my students how it worked. Everyone who attended all the classes walked out with finished projects that fit, we had very few machine mishaps, and lot of people came back for more classes.

I also understand different learning styles, and being able to make connections meant that if I had a student who needed to do it herself to learn it, I’d see and walk her through as she worked. If a student needed pictures, I drew. If someone needed it explained, I could think of different ways to explain something if the first one didn’t take. And yeah, thinking through this stuff caused a lot of sleep loss, but it served a purpose in the end.

So. . .am I tired? Yes. Am I wishing for that doorbell to ring early on a weekend so I can argue religion? Heck, no. . .but I am looking forward to going to the sewing table today and having everything already worked out in my head so I’m less likely to make mistakes and waste time.

I Love Ken’s Hardware!

I Love Ken’s Hardware!

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s entry. . .you see, I’d gotten to the part where I was supposed to put the grommets into the vests for the RenFaire costumes. I hoped against hope that the grommets and grommet tool I’d gotten would work, despite the fact that they came from the craft store and were manufactured by Prym-Dritz (under a subsidiary label, the sneaky bastiges!) Needless to say, those hopes were dashed, but thankfully on scrap fabric rather than the costumes themselves. The amount of time and money I’ve wasted on their second-rate products should have taught me something by now, but I guess I’m just too optimistic about it. So my first call out to find a decent grommet setting tool that doesn’t cost $150 is to boating/fishing supply store – hey, they must have stuff for repairing sails, right? Well, they had something in their catalogue, but not in stock. No good. I find a couple of places online, and the kits are under $10 – you do need to buy one for each size of grommet, but that’s OK, I’m not going to be making tons of stuff with grommets. However, add in the shipping, and you almost double the price. Hubby, in the meantime, had suggested checking with Ken’s, since they’re local, and have every friggin’ tool and piece of hardware under the sun – and they have a website! He checked, and sure enough, they had these kits, in stock, and they were still open.

I went in, and not only did they have the size I needed, but a whole bunch of others, and additional packs of grommet sets, too! The hole punch needed some help, but the grommets worked, unlike the Dritz ones. Hooray for Ken’s! (They’re on Fischer Blvd in the Cost Cutters plaza in Toms River, BTW. . .)

We Be Wenches Three!

We Be Wenches Three!

Took two days of many hours bent over a hot sewing machine, but the girls and I are finally all ready for the Renaissance Faire.  I may make a couple of hats, Audrey could use an overskirt, since a little backlighting and there’s a perfect view right through, but that won’t take long at all.  Tomorrow begins the really hard part – cleaning up all the tiny fabric notches and clippings and threads and pins. . .

A Good Day, Overall

A Good Day, Overall

Got up and did an hour long walk. I’ve been exploring different routes in our little warren of developments, trying to find different ways of walking for an hour so I don’t get bored. So far, I haven’t gotten bored, although I did get lost once. (It’s a hazard of living somewhere where the roads stop for a few blocks, then pick up later with the same name. Sometimes more than once.)

The girls and I then hit the K-Mart, because there were a couple of everyday items we needed, and it’s in the same place as our nail place. I reasoned that it would be better to paw through plastic-wrapped merchandise and dig through the wallet to pay for it >before< the nails were painted and pristine. Good idea, since the kids, despite moaning about not having supply lists yet, were thrilled to find such cool back to school stuff, and we ended up needing a cart. I still like Target better, but you can’t beat $10 backpacks. Well, maybe you can, but not when you didn’t have to spend extra gas money to get to them. Then we all got manicures and pedicures. A couple of the manicurists are new (one is the daughter of the owners – they decided it was time she stopped sleeping in all day and did something useful. Heh.) so it was a little less expensive, and Carolyn got some art on her ring fingers for free.

I was feeling very, very motivated to take a nap. However, I’m still getting the stupid heart palpitations, and no way am I wasting a sleeping pill on a nap, so I started sewing instead. I did the three shirts, since those are super easy, offering about as close as you can get to instant gratification when it comes to sewing. Hubby, seeing I was really, really focused, and getting stuff done for a change, ordered and picked up Chinese food for dinner. Probably too many points, if it weren’t for the fact that I’d eaten only three points before that all day. Scarfed down some mu shu veggies, then back to work. After I place the straps on Carolyn’s vest, it’ll be no time at all to get it sewn, Audrey’s will be the same thing, pretty quick. Mine requires some hand sewing, and then I think I’ll make it a group project to place and set the grommets. Unfortunately, the grommet tools they sell in the craft stores are pretty cruddy, so we’ll actually have to very carefully mark and hand-cut the holes first. The good tools, however, run about $150, and unless I decide to make a complete wardrobe of corsets for myself, the kids, and everyone I know, I don’t think they’re in the budget.

New Plants. . .

New Plants. . .

No pictures, because by the time I was done planting and watering, I was too beat to haul wood chips and make it look nice. You’ll see something soon, I promise.

Mom and Dad are really avid rose gardeners now, with over 150 roses, most single specimens, on a lot that’s only 50 feet by 150 feet. As their fondness for the roses has grown, their dislike of all the other plants in their yard with different nutritional and watering needs has grown, as well. So I was visiting them yesterday, and drove home with most of the back of the van filled with stuff. We weren’t able to dig up the two pink spirea, because the roots were too dense and spread out, or else the van >would< have been completely full. I have oriental lilies, salvia, some roses that didn’t fit in with the theme, phlox, malva, and a few other things I don’t remember. It’ll be glorious.

The Woodchip Chronicles, part 1

The Woodchip Chronicles, part 1

OK, so when we got the trees taken down, I asked the tree guys to leave the chips for mulch.  then they asked me if I wanted more, and I said yes.  this was a good thing until I threw my back out, and I was left with scraggly gardens and a huge pile of wood chips in the driveway.  Here begins the saga of the wood chips, post-good-chiropractor-finding:

The pile. . .

 

Where the chips that used to be there went. . .

 

 

More Crafts

More Crafts

These are plain, ordinary plastic switchplates. I found the images online, tweaked them with Photoshop, and printed them on the inkjet printer.  After a few tries, I figured out that I needed to paint the switchplate and the back of the paper with Mod Podge, attach the image to the front of the switchplate, and let it dry.  After that, I glued the excess paper onto the back of the switchplate, mitreing the corners.  Then I cut an x into the hole for the switch from the back and pulled the paper through and back, and secured it with more Mod Podge.  I cut x’s into the screw holes and pushed the paper in with the end of a paintbrush.  For more depth, I added some liquid leaf in florentine gold, dabbed into the corner and feathered across the flower.  At that point, I raised the plates up on cans and sprayed them with a gloss acrylic, several coats for good coverage.  They’ll be dry enough to put up in 24 hours.  Try this at home, kids!!!

Today’s Project

Today’s Project

Besides all the other stuff. While I was waiting for hubby to finish hanging shelves in Audrey’s room, and before I started making dinner, I threw this thang together:

It’s three frames from IKEA. I bought a roll of fiberglass screen mesh from the hardware store, plus tiny hinges and 1/4″ staple gun staples. I cut the screen mesh, staple gunned it to the inside of the frame (after removing the glass, of course!) and then hot glued it into the frame for good measure. There are three little hinges at each joint. I think I’m going to find some tiny screw-in hooks for the necklaces, plus make a few hooks out of earring wire so I can hang necklaces from the mesh, too. However, I think the thing I really learned from making this project is that I need more earrings. Heh.