Maroon Corset Top (Better Late Posted Than Never Posted)


Maroon Corset

I originally finished this project in January, uploaded the pictures, and created the draft for this post. I intended to post. Something about January and August that makes me think of blogging. January is the “clean slate” effect the New Year brings. August 17th is my birthday so I’m contemplating the existential things in the dog days of summer. Who am I? What progress have I made? Where am I headed? And the biggest question of all: Why have I paid hosting for a blog and not published in eight months?

I am always torn between by impulse for privacy and the desire to be known and understood with a generous side of not feeling like I or my work is ever good enough. I don’t say this as a play for pity or bait for complements. I am not unique in my feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty. I know my strengths and my stumbling blocks. I struggle with physical and mental health with sometimes nothing left after doing what has to be done vis-à-vis the requirements work and life. Yet I feel like I should push myself harder.

I’m sure it’s difficult for most people to understand why the pictures of my little sewing project musings on my well being. Yet my brain makes the connection between a perceived failure (both in quality of what I made and not posting sooner) and every single unsolved problem in my life, past, present and future. Not useful, but welcome to depression/anxiety thinking.

So as a small symbol of defiance, I’m posting. I’m not happy with how the pictures turned out on this project. I didn’t iron it again before putting it back on my dressmakers dummy. I didn’t take the time to get a good shot of myself wearing it. Funny thing is this garment is only a mock-up for a version of it made from a small piece of fabric left over from a skirt made from thrift store pants. I finally finished the “real” project a few weeks ago, but that is a post for another day.

wpid-20150120_225408.jpg

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Undisclosed Unfinished Project


Embroidery and Applique

It’s shameful how long certain unfinished projects have languished in boxes, bags or piles. This is to say nothing of supplies purchased and stashed for later use, some with intended ends and some without. I don’t think of those as unfinished as much as un-begun.

I am working on finishing up some of these objects begun long ago with such enthusiasm. Abandoned, but perfectly good ideas. I say this to differentiate from a scrapped projects. It’s one thing to quit and another to never get back to a bit of work. It is as of my creativity gets held hostage with intentions to complete a project.

Finishing, even with imperfect results, is the only way to make progress with skills in the arts. I was reminded of this, weird as it’s going to sound, by Guardians of the Galaxy Writer/Director James Gunn who some time ago posted on his Facebook page about how he didn’t start to have success with screenwriting until he buckled down and finished what he started. He’s not the first successful creative type I’ve heard this from, but somehow hearing it from a guy who really knows how to put together a mix tape stuck with me.

It’s true: Twenty first halves aren’t anything compared to one whole. Even if the whole isn’t fantastic, learning from the process is invaluable. Irreplaceable experience you can’t get any other way.

The photo above is from an ambitious project I began at least two years ago using embroidery and applique techniques. The design came from Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection: 400+ Easy Embroidery Designs. I enjoy Aimee Ray’s designs because they are modern and not too “crafty” looking.

When I saw this particular drawing in the book, I knew something would have to be made from it destined to go live with someone who’ll appreciate it. Until it is done, it is private. One simply doesn’t post spoilers on the internet.


I was inspired as well by the knowledge FedEx Office will print stuff as big as your imagination. I blew up the images from the book, got two copies: One for cutting a pattern and one for reference. My fabric stash of odds and ends I’ve picked up for doll clothes or other small projects became the crayon box for filling in the pictures. Working with different textures, colors and patterns in fabric gets my creative juices flowing like nothing else. I had a ton of fun digging through my boxes of scraps to find the right combinations.

It may be a while until this project is complete. It’s around half done with a few variables still in how it’ll be finished. Embroidery is an ideal TV watching project. I’m enjoying the process and happy to be back at it and looking forward to being able to share the results.



Here.


I’ve passed a milestone in my life without noticing it passed. Not everyone measures their life how I’ve measured mine. Most people do not start all their stories by saying “When I lived in…

Few people can say, at the age of thirty-five, they’ve beat their livelong record for living in the same place for the longest amount of time.

My previous record was Kent, Washington from Thanksgiving 1996 to just after July 4th 2001. I calculated it out today to 55 months or 4 years and 7 months. In that time, I got my first job, graduated high school, and moved out with a boyfriend who would become my ex-husband.

I moved to Simpsonville, South Carolina at the very end of August 2010. Sixty-one months ago. Or five years and one month. I did make one small move a few months after I arrived; I went from an upstairs one bedroom into a downstairs two bedroom in the same building in February 2011. Chris moved in with me in April. We’ve gotten married three times since then. Strange, but true.

I don’t regret having moved around so much both as a child and an adult. I do sometimes wistfully wonder how my life would have turned out with a more traditional path. I understand not everyone has the classic upbringing of Mom and Dad in a house in a neighborhood from birth until graduation with happy visits to grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins for summers and Christmas. In 2015, one would have to be delusional to believe a fantasy image from a children’s picture book bares any resemblance to reality.

Still, in moves per year, I’m an outlier. In big and small ways, it’s impacted who I am. My perspective is a little different in ways both helpful and challenging.

For now, I’m perfectly happy where I am, but I don’t credit geography with my happiness. If I’ve learned nothing else in my travels, I’ve learned wherever you go you take yourself with you. Change your behavior, thoughts, and associations to change your life. Otherwise, it’s the same story on a different set.

I have no plans to leave the Greenville area in the near future, but since when have my plans had any influence on what happens?



Why I Don’t Take Pictures at DragonCon (Thoughts After D*C 2015)


logo

DragonCon 2015 was my fourth year attending what one of my friends appropriately calls NerdiGras. More than a convention with celebrity guests, panels, and gaming, DragonCon is five days of 24 hour activity transforming five hotels and the surrounding area in Downtown Atlanta into a world where Storm Troopers, Doctors and Waldo are expected parts of the landscape.



The first year, I took lots of pictures. To a first timer, it’s overwhelming to see all the wonderful costumes and it all seems so novel. These days, with four DragonCons and other conventions under my belt, I find I take progressively less pictures. This is not because I am jaded to the experience. On the contrary, I find the experiencing to be vivid as ever.


For those who love to take pictures at DragonCon and get the perfect shots of the elaborate costumes, I thank you. Your pictures land online and keep the con alive. I hope you get as much pleasure from how you spend your convention as I do from how I spend mine. I sometimes suspect there may come a year when I decide to play photo journalist myself. After all, every year is a new adventure full of possibilities.

One reason I’ve stopped worrying about taking pictures is the flood photos online after the con by better photographers with far better equipment. Add the crushing crowds and the frustration of traffic stopping dead in a congested area while someone stops a cosplayer for a photo op, say, in the dealers’ room or on the path to a sky-bridge and I’d rather avoid the hassle for myself and others.


The biggest reason I don’t go out of my way to take pictures at DragonCon is my favorite moments are of the you-had-to-be-there variety.

The scenes I notice and remember are not appropriate opportunities to record. A tenet of “cosplay is not consent” etiquette is requesting permission to photograph as well as not photographing “off duty” cosplayers. This leaves my favorite moments from conventions off the table. If I can’t take a picture of girl Ninja Turtle cosplayers sitting at the food court having lunch or Princess Leia talking on a cell phone and holding a Starbucks cup, why bother?

My favorite example from 2015 happened Sunday as we were walking past the food court entrance near CVS.

On Sunday, the crowds have thinned significantly from the madness of Friday and Saturday. I’d noticed several sets of parents and small children earlier in the day without con badges, obviously locals checking out the part of the con that spills out onto the streets of Atlanta. I’d almost stepped on Thor’s cape on the steps of the Westin as he got down on one knee to pose for a picture with one of these kids. No doubt, made that little guy’s day.

Near the food court, we’d missed the photo op itself with the mom and little boy, all of three or four years old, and Batman. It was the aftermath of the pictures being taken as if DragonCon makes Atlanta a low-rent super hero theme park for the day that I saw. The mom stood with her purse open and holding out a folded bit of currency. The little boy stood behind, watching Batman. Batman graciously waved away the offer. Without even slowing down, the idea of attempting to tip Bruce Wayne was burned into my brain.

Like several years ago when I saw thirty or so Death Eaters, Dementors, and Voldemorts arranged for a group photo outside the Sheridan. Taking their picture was a beautifully costumed Disney style Snow White.

Only at DragonCon.



Retro Robots


wpid-20150823_190546.jpg

We leave for Dragon*Con in the morning. I’m so excited to get away for four geek-tastic days in downtown Atlanta. In many ways, con-going feels like I’ve finally found my natural habitat.

I find there are two kinds of reactions when you tell someone you are going to a convention. A typical reaction along the lines of “what is it?” Upon answering, the follow up questions run to “why?” and “what do you do there?” There’s little use in explaining to most of these folks. They won’t understand.

The second group says, “What costume are you wearing?”

It is little use to explain not everyone cosplays.

I have before and I surely will again. This year, rather than make costumes I’ve planned a couple outfits befitting the occasion.

The new creation is a bit of serendipity, really. First, a picture and then explanation.


wpid-20150830_190201-1.jpg



Several years ago when I was working at Target, a pair of men’s pajamas were returned. As an online only item, they were heavily discounted. Who was I to pass up the opportunity? 

I hung onto the pajamas with the intention to make something to wear in more visible situations. Turning pants into skirts is one of my favorite modifications. As is my usual creative process, I hung onto the material and idea for a long time. I picked up the red fabric to fill in the gaps several months back, but didn’t get started on the project until Teefury offered the Asimov University tee.


wpid-2015-08-30-21.05.21.png.png



How much do I love Asimov’s Robot novels?

Enough to make darn sure I completed my whimsical robot shirt and matching peter pan collar before DragonCon. I’d been saving this Burda pattern for an appropriate occasion for a while.



wpid-2015-08-30-21.33.47.png.png


I rather like how it turned out. It was no small task to line up the robots so their little heads didn’t get cut off.

wpid-2015-08-30-21.24.26.png.png



My Holy Grail: Skirts with Pockets


After with pocket


Oh, to live in a world where woman’s clothing are designed with deep, functional pockets. It is a far fetched fantasy, I know. The more feminine or dressy, the less likely there’ll be pockets. Some jeans and slacks will have decent pockets but even they don’t compare to what you’ll find in men’s clothing.


Plus, I don’t like wearing pants.


I don’t like compromising function for fashion either.


Today’s experiment involved putting a pocket in a skirt I bought a while back at Goodwill for a whole dollar. It’s a plain black skirt with lining. I suspect it’s original owner wore it to the office or to church and never paired it with a Doctor Who t-shirt and sneakers. It may not have been ankle length on it’s original owner either. Not high fashion but it’s useful to have a few easy items to wear to work.


I started by removing the lining. It was ripped and honestly I didn’t like the extra layer of fabric. Bonus: The lining fabric is what I made the pocket from. I used a pattern piece from one of my UFOs (unfinished objects) for a template.



Pocket pattern and Pinking sheers


I pinned the spot where my pocket would go. Only one would be possible as the zipper goes up the left side seam, but one is better than putting my cell phone in my bra. Am I right, ladies?


wpid-20150809_121631.jpg


A couple hours later, I’ve got a pocket. I did make a mistake in my methodology causing some seam ripping to take place. My first impulse was incorrect when I decided to sew the two sides of the pocket together before attaching to the skirt. Lesson learned.


I’m planning to do things a little differently the next time I attempt this particular modification. As you can see, in the top picture, the pocket doesn’t sit flush with the seam like it would had it been part of the original design. Next time, I’m going to rip out and resew the entire seam rather than just the opening of the pocket. For this particular experiment, I’m going to call it an improvement.


Empty pocket



Is this thing still on?


*taps mic*


Blogging is this thing I used to do.


There’s a strange dichotomy in the reasons I use to explain to myself why I’ve never picked back up a consistent blogging routine.


I am far more engaged with life and people than I was in the years I blogged regularly. I have less need to say things in the semi-public semi-anonymous forum of the internet as my social needs are mostly met.


On the other hand, with the advent of social media causing a torrent of voices, I feel it’s somewhat pointless to make a production about saying my bit. Not to sound self-pitying but who cares what I have to say?


What do I even want to say?


What topics are in bounds and out of bounds?


Where do I even start?



The most elaborate supper I could muster


wpid-wp-1422752684177.jpg

It was a productive day with a few wrinkles.

Vehicle related, one incident per vehicle in our household, but not catastrophic or costly. That’s something, but still unexpected time and effort spent. When I got home from my busy day, nearly seven hours of running around with a stop at the gym in the middle, the path to our apartment was blocked by a fire truck, an ambulance, plus two police cruisers. Ugh. I don’t know what the situation is but twice in the last couple weeks, I’ve noted flashing lights outside the window in the later hours of the evening. I wish our neighbors nothing but good, but I don’t know them well enough to know what goes on. I was simply grateful first responder party broke up quickly enough for me to avoid dragging my spoils from Costco down the length of the apartment complex. Either way, a small inconvenience in the wait or the lugging of groceries. I am mindful as I was when I lived across the street from a volunteer fire station and was so often awoken by sirens in the wee hours that whatever annoyance I’m feeling is nothing compared to the problems of whoever called for assistance. Still, after spending over 20 minutes getting from the Costco parking lot to the highway which Google maps tells me is a five mile journey, I was ready for the errands to over. Even more ready having discovered my headlight bulbs need replacing after getting on the highway. I drove home with the still-working brights on feeling like an ass-hole for blinding people.

It was a day, too, of pleasantness.

When I got head to our building from a parking spot by the complex office, I got the closest spot. I don’t usually mind, but unloading from Costco it’s a grand prize. Costco had Dark Chocolate almond milk, a new item for them, and so good. Creamy with just the right amount of chocolate and not too sweet. The peanut butter is natural, just peanuts and salt, and does perfectly with a sliced apple. Tonight, it was my version of “breakfast for dinner” as it is my go-to morning meal. I went to the fabric store and only bought what I intended and need for a project on a quick deadline. Having a gym two doors down from Hancock Fabric could not be more ideal. Yes, I went to the gym. I haven’t been super steady with it but it’s helped to put my gym bag in the car every time I leave the house. Plus, as hard as it is for me to act on, I know full well I feel a zillion times better with those sweet endorphins pulsing though my veins. Before the gym, I’d backtracked to my originally planned first task of getting a library card. Our Simpsonville library is rather nice and happily bustling on a Saturday afternoon. I got my card mostly for online access to Greenville County’s e-book lending collection, but also printed up the pattern pieces I need for my current project. Naturally, too, I checked out a couple books. I love my Kindle but how could a girl resist taking a couple new friends home from the library?

Best of all, my sweet husband was so grateful I came to his rescue on his way to work. Ironic, I think, when he is gracious in the extreme rescuing me from all types of trouble. Not to mention the fact I’m the one two decades newer car. These are things one would do for even a friend let alone the person who pledged to be by your side throughout life. Yet appreciation is no small thing especially in the small things. It’s a trait I noted early and often in Chris and one I would recommend cultivating for those seeking relationships. I didn’t mean to end this post waxing poetic about how special my husband is, really, but it’s only the truth.

Betting he’s going to appreciate the dark chocolate almond milk, too.



There’s one other name you might know me by… Star Lord


wpid-20150118_124136.jpg

Sometimes fate comes in the form of Wal-Mart clearance. What con-goer and sometimes costumer could resist a $6 Guardians of the Galaxy Star Lord mask that fits thanks to child sized head proportions? Now, I relate more to Rocket, but the universe is obviously trying to tell me I must cosplay Star Lord.

I made the choice by instinct to shoot for Peter Quill’s the trench coat, never considering the jacket which if memory serves appears just as much if not more in the film. The best picture of the coat I’ve found is from a toy but it gives you the idea.


photo credit: Marvel Toy News

photo credit: Marvel Toy News


I’ve gotten started on a pattern which always means modifications and making a muslin. The first step is because I am short and curvy; The latter because I’m only a moderately experienced sewist. I picked a pattern with a more feminine cut, Butterick 5966. Either way is a valid choice, I feel, for cross gender costumes and I was undecided at first as to how feminine I planned to make it. Obviously, my stature and boobs make anything I wear somewhat feminine. I was primarily looking for the correct collar style, not sure about what I wanted for the rest, but the wide skirt-like trench won my over as soon as I laid eyes on it. I’ve begun the modifications with shortening the sleeves as it’s the easiest part. I’m suspecting, as usual, the project will take far more time and effort than I originally planned. But where would be the adventure in everything working right the first time?

wpid-20150118_121047.jpg

midlifeportrait



Thursday night relaxation


image

My evening. I’d rather have started earlier today but better late than never. I have sinus dryness from the extreme cold temperatures and dry making my head ache. I’m pleased with the new additions to my comfort routine of tea and book. The new-to-us sofa with recliners is better than I’d ever imagined having never owned a recliner before. It goes without saying, the My Little Pony blanket is far more soft and warm than physics alone would suggest.



%d bloggers like this: