Laura H. Saturday, July 28, 2012

*I know. Most people do Wordless Wednesday. But 1) It isn't Wednesday and 2) I don't feel like waiting and 3) Most people do Wordless Wednesday.

Laura H. Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Well, I've learned several things this week. About myself, about my kid, and about sewing.

About myself I have learned (relearned) that I need lots of help in the patience department. These long weeks of summer with no playschool and the Boy Scout's mid-shift schedule have worn on me to the point that I struggle to not say No to everything, be moderately nice to my family, and not go absolutely crazy from the constant noise.

I have a real THING about noise. If there is constant noise (people talking, fans blowing, radio going, traffic, anything that makes noise) I can't hear anything. I can't hear people talking to *me*, I can't hear my own thoughts. I just can't hear over all that racket! I will NOT talk over machines, either. And when I can't hear, I get frustrated and angry really easily. This is not helped by the fact that the Boy Scout seems to think that the only acceptable tv volume is 'So-loud-we-have-to-shout.' That volume isn't good for him or for Elizabeth - he hears NOTHING else and she just zones out on whatever is up there because it is overwhelming her senses. And me, I just need and crave silence. The only time I really get it these days is when Elizabeth is sleeping in the afternoons.

I have learned this week that Elizabeth (at not-yet-2) can say and understand the word 'decorated.' From her mouth is comes out as 'dek-aw-ay-ted' but that still isn't bad! This is my fault. We played shaving cream in the bath one night and i decorated all her tub toys with it. Now, she uses her bubbles, glow-sticks, and anything else that comes to hand to decorate her toys. All the while talking about how ducky, seal, bear, and happy-face are decorated.

She's also been taking on longer and longer sentances. I'm inclined to believe that the people who set up the benchmarks of development are grossly underestimating what a small child can do. I mean, we have talked to Elizabeth from moment one and I have read to her since she could sit up on her own. But she didn't say anything past 'dada' and 'mama' until she was maybe 14 months? And then her vocabulary was limited to mama, dada, bubble, sticker, and cracker for a long time. It has only been in the past 8 or 9 weeks that she's really gotten to talking.

She can also say 'crap.' That is also my fault. When I have an accident or really mess up driving, I say crap! Well, now when I drop something that is loud or accelerate too hard in the car, she says crap for me. I ignore it, and she's said it maybe four times. Compared to what she *could* be saying, I'm mortified but not worried.

Sewing wise, I've learned what all those feet were, save one! Thanks to my friends N. and naiadkitty, I'm a lot more in the know than I was. That clasp thing is still elusive, but I suppose I'll just make something up for it. I've also learned that drafting a sleeve for a sleeveless dress is less hard than I thought. And that Oliver + S patterns are both cute and run big!

We can save this for fall.

I also have learned why everything I make comes out bigger than expected. I've been using 1/4 inch seams. Most patterns call for 1/2 inch. The half-inch seams on the Oliver + S Puppet Show Dress that I made this week seem HUUUUGE.

And I totally still stink at pressing and hemming on a curve. How on earth do you all do that without having wrinkles and folds?! UGH!

Laura H. Thursday, July 19, 2012

So I've had to rearrange my sewing space a few times since we moved. I've just got so much stuff! But in the rearranging, I've found all sorts of treasures.

And one whopping fat spider that freaked me right out by hiding in the safety pins and being invisible. Talk about screaming like a little girl! But the spider died* so everything is okay now.

Oh God, it was RIGHT THERE.

But, there are these THINGS. These things that I have no idea what they are or where they came from or what they do! Well, I do know where most of them came from, but the doing-with is lost on me.

As I've mentioned, my uncle has been so wonderful in letting me raid my grandmother's sewing room. Every time I've been tho, I have been a bit pressed for time and I've ended up with some oddball stuff that I really like, but i don't have a clue what to do with it.

Mimi used to make Majorette uniforms.

Like the little gem above. It was in with buckles and clasps. I really love the look of it and I'd love to use it on something for Elizabeth. But how do I use it? Attach it? What on earth IS it?

Eenie, meenie, miney, moe. What to do with feet without toes?

And then there's all these feet. I needed a zipper foot about 3 months ago having believed that I'd lost mine forever (it was in my sewing basket that landed in storage, of course.) But I could not find just a zipper foot for less than $20 and this collection of all these feet was $12 on Amazon. But, what ARE they? And what devilment can I get up to with them?

If anyone knows what these things are, I'd LOVE to know. And how to use them would be awesome too. 

*House Rule #2 - Spiders may reside all over the place outside the dwelling (and hence eat like kings/queens) but the minute they put one crawly foot inside, it is squish city.

Laura H. Monday, July 16, 2012

Once I buckled down and set to it, getting my sewing area in order did not take long at all. After all, it is only a linen closet with the door off! AHAHAHA!

See, there's a weirdo hallway leading from the master bedroom to it's attached bath and that is where the master closet and the only linen closet in the place is.

All I did was rip out the bottom shelf and stick this old Singer sewing table in there. Well, it is the iron base from the table with a plywood board on top, but it works! Lots of yardage, buttons, trims, odds, and ends are on the remaining shelves. I even have a radio in there - and THAT is a treat!

We stashed the door in the bathroom and all my recycling clothes in the bedroom closet. Sadly, the serger has had to be put on a tv tray in the bedroom. I never use it a wild lot except for finishing things, so the aggravation of it being across the room isn't too bad.

But oh, the things I've made so far! I've started keeping a list of everything that I sew up just so I know later on where stuff came from. And who knows, maybe someday someone will read through it and laugh their heads off at my scribbled notes in the margins.

Anyway, here's some pics.

The first thing I worked on was another Oliver + S Popover Sundress. I really like this pattern, but this poor little dress seems ill-fated.

I made it from a $5 twin sheet that I got at Wal-Mart, a leftover bit of a pillowcase, and some bought red bias tape. I love the print on the sheet and I've been struggling to not use it on every single thing I've made so far.

And the dress is too cute on the sweet girl. But the first time she was supposed to wear it was to church three weeks ago. The Friday before, she comes down with a viral infection and can't go. Then, the Sunday after that I go out to the car with her only to find it overrun with ants. Inside and out! Cue me freaking out and not going to church.

I didn't even tempt fate yesterday. She wore something else entirely.

Next comes the big runs of things. Usually, I make one or two of something and never touch it again, but in the past month, Elizabeth has outgrown so much that I needed to replenish her wardrobe.

 Cue the Warhols! I don't think I did them right and I sure didn't do them in knit. Knits I'm hoarding for fall and winter. But these came out pretty good, I think. Good for the 100+ days since they barely touch Elizabeth at all. I've had the fabric for the one on the left since before the small girl was born and the green on the right is a pillowcase I picked up at Goodwill a few days before I made them.

Sidenote: we have an amazing Goodwill! First Saturday's are half off everything in the place. Every day there's 50% off a different colored tag. And Wednesday's and Sunday's are $.99 on the colored tag of the day. Guess where I'm going to be August 4?

Then came the racerback dresses. Now, I bombed making them before and I was determined not to do that again! So I cheated the binding, redrew the yoke on the back, and used tees that I'd found on sale at our local Dollar General for less than $2 each. There are actually three of them, but the lime and brown one was in the wash. That one is actually the best of the lot - the purple binding is a little too lightweight and there's not much stretch to the pink print binding. But none of that is bad enough to make them be tossed in the pile to be scrapped.

I've also made about four pairs of shorts and this adorable top, but shorts are boring to photograph so there won't be any pictures of those.

Now, Elizabeth is about to turn two. For her first birthday, I made a quilt for her crib. This time around I'm doing something different. I'm going to make her a dolly! She loves to read her Raggedy Ann book, so I found a pattern for a little Raggedy Ann. I don't think I have ever in my life pressed a pattern, but I am this time. And I'm also ironing the pattern pieces on to butcher paper - a temporary solution for making them sturdy enough to work with. Since Annie is one size, I'm not concerned about cutting this pattern. There are some little stuffed pets too, and another of her gifts is a vet set, so I see a pup or kitty in her future too.

Laura H. Sunday, July 8, 2012

So, how about this frigid weather we are having in the southeast US? I'm about to break out the snowshoes to get to the grocery store!


So, we live on the top floor of an apartment building. It's nice to not have anyone stomping around in hooker boots over our head and vacuuming four times a week! However, the very hot roof right above us isn't helping the 107 to 115 degree Fahrenheit temps. For about a week during the worst part of it, the air unit couldn't keep up and we roasted indoors at 80 every evening.

But, the temps have mellowed to a not-nearly-as-miserable 99 to 102 and the a/c can keep up better. Also, a fan helps.

But a friend of mine and a very smart woman mentioned hanging her little one's diapers out on the line to dry. (Yeah, I use cloth on Elizabeth. No, I'm not going to get spastic and flip out if you don't.) I thought about it and decided to give it a try.

Well, let me tell you a little about my experience. And my hatred of all things math.

First, there was getting permission to put up a line. See, we have a balcony, and we aren't supposed to hang things over them. so I went to the office and asked about a line. They said it'd be fine, but just to be mindful of it so that nothing fell over the edge or dripped on anyone. That was easy! I don't want my diapers disappearing so I just put the line in the deck-area instead of at the perimeter. Tricky to get enough line and still get the door open, but it works since I'm the only diaper-washer around here.

So every diaper got washed as usual (first goof-up) and I hung everything out willy-nilly (second goof-up!) and waited. It took about the same amount of time as in the dryer for most all of it, but longer for my natural fibers - except the bamboo, but they aren't that tightly woven. And the natural fibers got all stiff and felt weird. But everything else was great! And smelled nice, too.

Some discussion with the Boy Scout and I now have a system for this. I'll get to why I'm taking this seriously in a minute. But first, I should have rinsed the diapers again. Just throwing in an extra 15 minute rinse helped so much with the stiff-and-weird problem! Rinse out everything that could dry stiff and things feel much better. Our water has stuff in it tho, so getting completely rid of the stiffness just isn't going to happen. Ten minutes in a cool dryer with two wool dryer balls fixes it tho (if I am so inclined. Which I am frequently not.) And hanging the natural stuff (cotton and hemp) in direct sunlight spots makes everything dry at about the same rate. We have a big shady tree, so not everything gets equal amounts of sun.

Why am I taking this so seriously? Well, I did some math. And I hate math more than I hate cooking. I can do it, but oh, how I hate it! Numbers never behave properly at math - they are forever switching, flipping around decimals, and goofing off in general. Math stinks, the end. But I did do some math - in order for everything to get dry, it takes one 99 minute cycle in our dryer set to regular heat (the highest it goes.) I usually wash diapers 3 times a week. That works out to 1188 minutes a month (or 19 hours and 48 minutes.)

NINETEEN HOURS. and FORTY-EIGHT MINUTES. Of hot, miserable air belching in to our top-floor apartment in weather that isn't fit for man or beast to be out in because breathing super-heated air makes things die.

So now, so long as things are hot and miserable, our diapers can go outside to dry.