auntiemeesh: (sewing woman)
I spent the better part of today figuring out how to be a Princess In A Castle, and with an hour and forty-five minutes to spare, I'm finished. I've built myself a sandwich placard castle, complete with portcullis and functioning drawbridge. I made a medieval princess hat (the tall, conical kind with gauzy stuff coming out the top) that sort of stays on my head - oh, I still need to put an elastic strap on that, so not quite done - and I've decided on an outfit. Shift from Calvieri girl outfit, bodice and skirt from Five, and combat boots (a castle needs a strong foundation). I'll be sure to get pics of the whole outfit tonight, but in the meantime, here's Mal storming the castle.



To complete the proper look, I (almost certainly ill-advisedly) took a scissors to my bangs in order to trim them down to reasonable length. I then proceeded to mousse and spray my hair down so tight not even a hurricane would budge it. Which means it should be good for another ten minutes or so. Now I just need to figure out make-up and I'll be all set.
auntiemeesh: (Default)
Today was a howling wilderness in the threes room. Adults approach Friday with the joy of knowing that the weekend is within our grasp if we can just hold on for a few more hours. Three year olds approach Friday with social exhaustion and behavioral melt-downs. They're tired, cranky, haven't seen their parents in days (seriously, these kids often get picked up, given supper and a bath and put to bed on weeknights) and just can't hold it together anymore. Not even a rare chance to play outside was enough to overcome their utter misery.

The matter was compounded by the fact that a parent volunteer came in this morning to do some pumpkin carving with the class. Because of how many children we have, we split the kids into two groups. One group ate morning snack first and the other group did pumpkin carving first, and then they switched. Only thing is, these kids are little. It's hard for them to understand 'you'll be next'. One little girl in the pumpkin carving group was miserable because she was hungry. One little guy in the snack group was miserable because he thought he didn't get to do the pumpkin activity. By the time we switched, little guy was so disgruntled, he couldn't even participate in the pumpkin carving (not that any of the kids actually participated so much as observed and pulled seeds out of the gunky innards), instead isolating himself in the book corner. It was one of those rare days when we decided we'd better have lunch and nap early, and then also let them sleep almost half an hour later than usual. The afternoon was much better than the morning!

One bright spot - I got to read one of my all-time favorite Halloween stories, Big Pumpkin, to the kids.

Another oasis of joy and wonderment during the day - one of the parents (perhaps sensing something of what was in the air) brought a box o'coffee and a box o'donuts in for the teachers this morning. Truly a wonderful woman!

In other news, yesterday I received an almost last minute invite to a Halloween party, tomorrow. I have no costume, because I wasn't expecting to go to any parties this year. But the kids at work did manage to come up with some excellent suggestions for me, which included but were not limited to: Spider-woman, a king, a princess, and (my personal favorite) a castle. I've decided to attempt a princess in a castle. I'll be sure to photo-document the attempt at creating such a thing.
auntiemeesh: (Default)
Saturday afternoon was mostly just crazy-making levels of frustration. I wanted to make a pair of spats/gaiters for my outfit, and had found a couple of how-tos online. I don't know if I was just tired or my ability to conceptualize and modify was completely turned off, but it just didn't work. I spent five hours drawing out the patterns, cutting out various configurations on an old sheet, but nothing went together in such a way that it would fit my leg and shoe. Blah.

So I gave up for the day and went to a birthday party instead. Because the party was at [livejournal.com profile] eve11's place, I took some small crafting projects along. It was a lovely evening celebrating her boyfriend's birthday. Yummy food, entertaining people and a big bonfire at the end of the evening.

Yesterday morning we picked up some auto-body filler so I could start working on my pocket watch. I found a completely dead and ugly watch at Goodwill a little while ago. It had engraved lettering on the front commemorating a Bob Dylan concert tour. The watch face itself also celebrates the concert tour. Not much I can do about that at the moment, I'll have to keep the watch closed until I figure out how to get inside it to change that out. But I filled in all the engraved lettering on the front and painted the whole thing copper. The plan is to put some Gallifreyan writing on it at some point in the next week.

I also borrowed Eve's pattern for Victorian leggings. I cut them down to size and ended up with these:



The perfectionist in me hates these things because they're all kinds of red-hot mess, but they fit and they look okay if you don't look too closely.
auntiemeesh: (sewing woman)
I still need to put trim around the cuffs of the sleeves, but I need to play around with them a little bit first - they're not quite even at the top and the whole thing tends to ride to one side, so one sleeve hangs lower than the other. Fiddly little problems.

Another thing I've noticed is that the waist of the skirt is a little big. Just enough so that the front of the skirt slides down a bit, making the leading edge of the skirt hem hang a bit closer to the ground. Need to either take it in a little or possibly create a button on the inside of the bustier to attach the front of the skirt to.

But I put everything that's currently done together to get a sense of how it's going to look.

The inspiration:



The creation:



Pardon the quality of the picture. My camera, which usually takes very sharp, clear pictures, has been very cranky about using the timer setting. And I don't have a good mirror to stand in front of, so I'm stuck with the temperamental timer setting on my camera.

So, credits:

The hat came from Steampunk Emporium and was altered by me.
The outfit I made, based off the Simplicity 2172 pattern but somewhat altered.
The decorative celery came from an Etsy shop called Freckledcrafts.
The necklace came from Museum Replicas and is still unfinished. But I've taken off the ugly black choker band and in this picture it's just held on with a strip of bias tape and a straight pin.
auntiemeesh: (sewing woman)
Today's task was to fix up my hat.

A simple task, done simply. )
auntiemeesh: (Default)
What the jacket looked like with sleeves:



Follow the cut for more )

Up next: gaiters.
auntiemeesh: (sewing woman)
Today I engaged in an epic battle with bias tape. There was a small skirmish with buttonholes as well, but the bias tape was the true enemy. It's difficult to say who won. The bias tape is all roughly where I intended it to be, but it looks a bit like a blind three year old put it there. I'll call it a draw and ask that no one look too closely.

The sleeves are still sort of up in the air. I took them off and I can move my arms in the coat, but it maybe doesn't look quite as good as it would with sleeves. I'm toying with the idea of putting them back on with lacing, but I have to do a little research on the best way to do that. My first instinct is to just throw a bunch of grommets at the damn thing and be done with it, but that might not be best. Anyway, that's for another day. I've spent eight hours wrestling with that blasted bias tape today. I'm done.
auntiemeesh: (sewing woman)
That is the question. My coat is all put together (sans buttons and trim) but I don't like the way it fits across the shoulders now that the sleeves are on. My original idea for the jacket was sleeveless, so I'm thinking about taking the sleeves off and seeing how it looks like that. I can always put them back on again if I don't like it.

I have to be a little more disciplined in my approach to sewing this weekend. First off, household chores and grocery shopping must take precedence or they'll never happen. Second, no sewing late into the night. When I start feeling tired, I need to stop. But I'm excited. It's all starting to come together very nicely.
auntiemeesh: (Default)
Every costume I work on teaches me new sewing skills. Today I learned how to understitch a lining. The pattern directions were useless and the picture misleading, so thank goodness for Youtube. I understand the reasons for understitching, but the mechanics nearly broke my brain. I think I actually had to create a bubble of inverted space/time in order to do it, but I got it done. Attaching the one sleeve I got done was even worse. Well, strictly speaking, attaching the sleeve was fiddly but not that hard. Figuring out what they wanted me to do with the sleeve lining and then successfully doing it was a bitch. In theory the whole thing was supposed to be slip stitched in order to hide the inside sleeve seam. But my slip-stitching skills are minimal at best and I was tired, so I didn't even try to make the stitches invisible. They're mostly tiny, but they're not all that neat and they're definitely not invisible. But I'm now down to one sleeve, buttons and trim. Yay!

The cats were extremely well-behaved through the whole sewing process. I had Zoe locked up briefly yesterday and Mal for a half hour or so today, but otherwise, they kept their excitable little paws (and teeth) to themselves.

I also spent about an hour and a half on the phone with big brother M and his wife. Lil A is starting daycare in a couple of weeks and they wanted some advice on transitioning him. I can't believe he's already old enough to be starting in a toddler room!
auntiemeesh: (Default)
One bright moment. My knitted celery arrived today and I was able to find a ziplock bag to stash it in until I get the bug sitch sorted out.

Landlady called Orkin and they're coming out first thing tomorrow morning to do an inspection and see if there's any sign of bugs. A couple people have suggested that it might be fleas. It could be, but the cats have shown no sign of discomfort. Every great now and then I see one of them chewing or scratching at something, but never persistently or often. And I checked Zoe, who will actually put up with being poked and prodded, but didn't see even one little speck that could be flea-like.

Almost all of the bites are around my ankles and on the backs of my legs, butt, or lower back. Which could mean they (whatever they are) are in my living room carpet - I live on the floor. I almost never actually sit on my sofa, it mostly just holds my mail and other random crap that would otherwise be taking up too much space on the floor.

A friend from work, M, came over this evening to help me clean-up, do a bug search. She helped me go over the bed, sofa and carpet. We found a couple of suspicious little black things that we taped to an index card, but no actual bugs (live or carcass). And then she made me eat when she realized that I hadn't eaten more than a Powerbar and a tiny little bit of pasta all day. I was so brain dead that it was almost more than I could do to focus well enough to make a salad with some lettuce, tuna and dressing. Stupid Meeshie Brain in action.

Now I'm torn between wanting to wash/vacuum/etc. everything in sight and wanting to leave any evidence that the Orkin man will need to decide what's going on.

Oh, and when I talked with the landlady this evening, she let me know that she has very reluctantly decided she needs to sell the house within the next year, so I need to start looking for a new place to live. I've been expecting that conversation for a while, but it just adds that little frisson of extra stress. Yay! I can't even really focus on that right now, though. I need to get through the rest of the summer, make it to Dragon Con without taking a cheese grater to my skin to get rid of the burning, itching, horror that is these bug bites. And then it's do or die time. Find a new job and a new place to live before this place disappears out from under me. It's time, anyway. I've been here for four years and haven't even unpacked some of my stuff. Time to do a huge purge and find a tiny/cheap place to live. That has enough room for two cats.

Oh the second, my steampunky choker necklace shipped today. I can't wait to see how feasible it's going to be to take it apart and remake it in the colors/style I want.
auntiemeesh: (to do)
It's 9:30pm and I'm just now getting around to remembering that I should eat something. It's been a busy day.

*Got my hair colored and trimmed. That should hold me for another four months or so.

*Went to the grocery store. Got all the way to the head of the checkout line before I remembered that my debit card wasn't in my wallet. D'oh! I had enough cash for the essentials, but I'll have to go back tomorrow if I want to have enough food to eat this week. This, btw, was the first warning sign that Stupid Meeshie Brain (SMB), which I've been suffering from all week, was still in full effect. Thank goodness I made sure to have cash for my hair, otherwise it could have been very awkward/bad/awful.

*I put together the lining for my bustier and got the whole thing put together. Got the zipper in and tried it on - it fits perfectly around the waist but was a little big around at the top. I put in a dart on either side and that seems to have mostly fixed the problem. The other problem with it is that I have love handles at the waist. Specifically, the one on the right side is a little bigger than the one on the left, so it pushes the bustier up on one side, making the top look lopsided. Other than very targeted fat-shaving, I'm not entirely sure what to do about that problem . But, it's mostly done. I need to do a bit of slip-stitching still this evening, but it's a functional garment at this point and I'm thrilled with it.

*Washed a ton of laundry. Five loads! Unfortunately, the last two of those loads were blankets. Cat hair laden blankets. All that cat hair clogged up the drain-sink's drain, leading to another adventure with a mop as I endeavored to clean up all the standing water (another attack of SMB led to me not ever even thinking to check the drains). But the last blanket is in the drier and everything else is folded and put away.

*Stripped the bed, washed the blankets and stuff, and vacuumed the mattress. There have been no more bug bites since the initial ones Wednesday night/Thursday morning but I'm taking no chances. If any more bites occur after this, I'll by a handheld steam cleaner and use that on the mattress. Of course, after the disaster with the blankets, I haven't tried to wash the pillows. But, SMB again, I did five loads of laundry and failed to wash any of my dishcloths so I will be doing more laundry tomorrow. I may sleep without the pillows tonight and throw them into the evil machine in the morning.

*And now I'm eating some Chunky Chili soup, which tastes even more abysmal than usual. I have a feeling Mal is going to get more than his fair share of this dreck. Time to put on some mindless tv and get to slip-stitching.

Things

Jul. 29th, 2011 07:48 am
auntiemeesh: (Default)
*I had an awesome run yesterday. I wanted to test my slow self a little bit, so I tried to do a ten minute mile. Did it in 9:58, then went on to finish my three miles in 31:25, my best time ever by almost a minute. Woot!

*In not entirely coincidental news, my left calf is tight and sore. I'll need to baby it for a little while so it doesn't get worse.

*The all-over itchiness is easing up, at least on the legs. My arms are still pretty bad. And now I have mystery bug bites on my legs. After some reading up, I'm concerned they may be bedbug bites.

*Again, in not entirely coincidental news, I'll be doing a thorough cleaning this weekend.

*Progress is slow on the steampunk fem Five costume, but it's still progress. The bustier is taking forever, mainly because of trying to sew the boning casings onto princess seams in something like a straight line without bunching up the outer fabric or messing up the casings. But! I've ordered my decorative vegetable, so it's all good. Thank goodness for niche Etsy shops.
auntiemeesh: (Default)
Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] eve11 picked me up from work and we set off on a little weekend adventure. A quick stop at Joann's for interfacing (me) and fabric (her), and Ichiban's for sushi before heading to her place. Last night I started putting together the mock-up of the bustier for my Steampunk FemFive outfit. I finished it up this morning and it looks like it will fit well - I was a little concerned that it would be too small, but the size I picked seems to be just right.

This morning we are just relaxing and looking at patterns until Eve's boyfriend gets back from his shooting match. Then we're off to Piedmont Lake in Ohio, where we'll spend the rest of today and tomorrow on a houseboat with D's friend J. I bought sunscreen and bugspray, which pretty much guarantees that it will be cloudy and rainy all weekend. At least the heat is starting to break. It's not supposed to get above mid-eighties in Ohio, which sounds heavenly after the last few days.
auntiemeesh: (Default)
My goal for today was to get the living room tidied up and vacuumed, and start laying out pieces for the costume.

Well, I got the living room tidied up and vacuumed. Then I decided that before I start working on the current costume, I should really do a bit of organizing. Previous costumes, props, fabric remnants and sewing supplies were scattered all over the apartment in bags, boxes, storage bins and even still packed in an overnight bag from last fall. So I spent the past two hours mostly just tearing my apartment apart. But. I trashed a bunch of stuff that I was hanging on to for no particularly good reason; found five or six packets of photos from 2003-05 (Carriage House kids, DragonCon, New Hampshire stuffs); found a bunch of knickknacks I forgot I had (I'd love to unpack them but the cats would destroy them in a red hot minute); got a framed photo hung up on the wall; sorted out most of my past costumes; folded and put away all the fabric remnants that are big enough to be of possible use again some day; and got all of my old patterns sorted out and tucked away in a dedicated drawer.

Man, Mal gets so stressed/wired whenever I work on anything like this. He was bopping around, jumping at every noise or movement, and then his favorite stressed out behavior - sitting in the middle of whatever I'm in the middle of that's stressing him out and attacking me every time I move. I need to remember to just put him in the carry box whenever I'm about to start something like that, because he feels safe in there and is always able to relax a little.

Oh, and while I was unpacking last year's costume, I found my little black ankle boots and had a brainstorm! I obviously don't actually wear these boots as everyday shoes anymore, since they've been packed away for almost a year and I didn't even realize they were missing. And I've been trying to figure out what to do about shoes for this costume. I wanted something that would be reminiscent of Davison's white leather sneakers, without having to spend $80-$120 dollars on new shoes that I'd never wear again. I think these boots might provide the perfect solution (if it works - if not, well, I think of something else). I could spray paint the boots white - or maybe use something else that would stick to the boot without flaking off - and then make a pair of white spats to go on over them. I'd then put some fake lace-up fronts on the spats to make them look like they should. There are details to figure out and it's more work, but significantly less money. I am cautiously optimistic that this will be a viable solution to the problem.

And now I suppose I should finish tucking away the last few things still adorning the living room floor, vacuum again, and start the original plan for the day.
auntiemeesh: (sewing woman)
Costume plans keep changing and changing but I bought fabric today so I'm pretty much locked in now.

I finally gave up on the Gangers outfit, for now, because I couldn't find the orangey-brown vinyl/pleather/what-have-you anywhere. So, [livejournal.com profile] eve11 did some brainstorming and thought about going back to femme Five and femme Turlough.

Big long description of what I'm doing, with pictures )
auntiemeesh: (shopping)
I did a lot of shopping this weekend. Yesterday I went to Radio Shack to replace my earphones and also picked up a battery charger and rechargeable batteries, since I've been going through them like nobody's business lately. I also got a new memory card for my camera.

I also made it to the grocery store yesterday, so I have some food for the week, yay!

Today I met some friends for breakfast at J'eet and then did more shopping. This time at the mall. I haven't been to the mall in ages, but most of the stores were having clearance sales on summer stuff. I found some tees I really liked at one place but the sizes ran small and they didn't have any larges. Another store had a top I loved but it wasn't on sale and I didn't love it nearly enough to pay full price. I did finally find a little top at The Gap on clearance so I managed to get at least one new summer shirt.

The most important part of today's shopping trip, however, was new running shoes. I'm pretty sure the bursitis can be traced directly to old, worn-out sneaks. So now I have new ones, with fancy replacement arch support soles. I can run again without damaging myself (in theory).

I also checked out the local Joann Fabric in hopes of finding something suitable for the Ganger costumes, but they didn't have enough of anything that came close to what I wanted. Apparently there are some stores down in the Strip that sell upholstery fabrics, so I might have some luck there. I'll find something eventually, just don't know how close it will be to the show. Eta: And I just found a site that I hadn't seen before, that has a promising vinyl. A sample should be winging its way to me shortly. *glee*

I'm now conducting another crockpot experiment. I couldn't find a recipe for what I wanted so I just threw a bunch of stuff together in blind faith that it will be edible several hours from now. I'll keep you posted.
auntiemeesh: (Default)
I got a lot of housework done yesterday and today I spent the entire day working on the mock-up of the ganger coveralls. I am a slow worker, but I have most of the top done. All it lacks is sleeves, some sort of interface or lining for the collar, and the bits that go across the shoulders at the corners. And a zipper, which the mock-up will never get. I want to get the top done this week so I can start on the bottom next weekend.

I had some dvds playing to keep me company while I worked.

Trial of a Time Lord )

Burn Notice: Season Four )

Oh, and it was a banner weekend for Zoe. After being so cute yesterday morning with her toy, she has since chewed through the wires on my headphones, tried to eat my pins and sewing needles, and chewed through the usb cable for my camera (thank goodness my newly repaired laptop has a card reader). And now she is curled up on the sofa, sleeping the sleep of the innocent and adorable. Mal contented himself with pouncing on the sewing patterns and is also sleeping the sleep of the innocent and adorable.

And because I can't see my cats being adorable without taking their pictures, here are the pictures.


auntiemeesh: (sewing woman)
I've finally made myself sit down and start the process of adapting the coverall pattern I have into the coverall pattern I need. And I decided, just for fun (and because I can't do anything without having some sort of distraction) to do a bit of live blogging as I go. This may be the most boring post ever.

You've been warned )
auntiemeesh: (Default)
So, there's been a change of costuming plans. I'm putting my fem Fifth Doctor on the shelf for the time being and focusing on a new challenge. I've got a Kwik Sew coverall pattern on order from Amazon (men's shapeless coveralls - it's going to be interesting to see how I can adapt this just to fit my height/weight proportions, let alone adapt it to have the look I want) and about six yards of muslin on order from Joann's. Time to get to work mocking up a usable pattern. Note to self: I probably also need to buy a bunch of tracing paper. Oh, and I also ordered a sample of a clothing grade vinyl that might do for the fabric. I'm not feeling a hundred percent confident that I'll ever see that though, since I never got an email confirmation of my order. I did write down the order conf. number, so I'll have to give them a call tomorrow and make sure nothing went wrong with my request - I probably just entered my email wrong, but you never know.

Things I learned this weekend:

* Simplicity costume patterns are very strong on fantasy and period outfits, not so much on scifi.

* Finding patterns for coveralls in general is difficult. Finding patterns for women's coveralls is nearly impossible. And the one place I did find a women's pattern, didn't have online purchasing. I'd have to leave a message on their answering machine with all my info. Yeah, I don't feel real comfy with that.

* Some people's ideas of practicality amaze me. I came across a thread on a sewing forum, with a woman asking for a coverall pattern. Another woman chimed in with her desire to take such a pattern and make herself a coverall for when she did her barn chores. Seems perfectly reasonable until she said she wanted to make it in silk organza. I'm guessing denim and other such fabrics would be far too rough on her milky white, buttery soft skin. And I'm also guessing that when she says doing barn chores, she means supervising someone else doing barn chores.
auntiemeesh: (fifth doctor)
I've decided that now is the perfect time to start working on this year's Dragon Con costume(s). I'm doing a fem 5th Doctor, which means altering the outfit a little bit. Although it isn't exactly the right style (or even close, really) I might get something like this sweater, add the color stripe around the neck and then wear it over a short-sleeve fitted white button down. If I can find a short, pleated skirt (and lose weight again so I can wear a short pleated skirt) it will be ridiculously schoolgirl, but I think that might work for Five. I suspect I'll probably end up making my own jacket, though, since I have an idea how I want it, but I'm not sure I'll be able to find what I want on a rack anywhere. The hat and shoes are still TBD.

This is the first year that I pre-registered for the next year before leaving D*C, so now I get to stress out about making sure I actually get the time off work. The days around Labor Day weekend are always black out days. It's super early but I already talked to one of our subs (well, our only sub, truthfully) to see if she thought she'd still be subbing/actually available that week. She'll let me know tomorrow, but that would be so helpful because then I could go to my boss and say 'look, I have coverage, see?'

And yes, stressing out about an event that isn't for another eight or nine months is totally a way of avoiding stressing out about all the things that I'm tired of thinking about/stressing about right now. I know that, but I'm running with it in the hopes that it will keep me sane.

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