Tuesday, January 31

Questions anyone?

I'm working on having a FAQ page.  When I visit a blog for the first time, I like reading a little summary of them.  Even just 2 sentences that pretty much says "I do/not have kids/cats/significant other.  Isn't sewing wonderful" sums up where they are coming from.  When people use a lot of made up names and words, I like a little cheat sheet when I'm new to their blog so I get the in jokes. 

Now a Frequently Asked Question implies that more than one person asked you.  Thus far, I'm just writing out what I would ask about, but that would be a FARQ - frequently asked rhetorical question (at least until I develop a second personality to answer I suppose). 

So... any questions? 

And while I'm looking for comments...

A while back, I signed up for Living in Red's Pay it Forward.  I think I had written maybe 25 posts and there were like 3 people visiting a week.  There are a few of you commenting (thank you!  it still makes me giggle) and there are more of you reading, so maybe it's worth revising that post. 

The deal is that Living in Red will be sending me something within 365 days.  I would send something hand made to the first three people who replied to that post.  Now I am looking forward to whatever Living in Red is going to send me, she does such beautiful work both sewing and knitting (those shawls are to die for), but I sure will feel like I'm not living up to my end of the bargain without sending something to someone.  This is open to anyone (yes, you, in Portugal, Germany and Australia, I'm looking at you), I know the bulk of my readers are not from Canada (particularly when I take out the occasional boost from Mr. Lina reading a month of posts in one sitting - I once emailed him all excited that someone in Canada was reading multiple posts on my blog only to find out it was him).  The parameters of Pay It Forward require you to have a blog, but at this rate, I'll send something to anyone so long as I don't feel guilty about getting an awesome surprise.

Monday, January 30

I'm going to a pants party

Well, not that kind of pants party.  I was one of the lucky winners of the pants blocker from 3 Hours Past The End of the World.  Steph will be offering this as part of her Consultative Dressmaker services.  What a fantastic concept.  You have an issue, need a second opinion, she's your girl.  Sewing can be pretty frustrating when you don't have someone to just push you in the right direction.  I've been able to ask my mom at times for help, but that's not always feasible and a lot of us are self taught.

Many of you know pants are a little scary to me.  Sewing can be like an itch that needs to be scratched.  Fabric calls your name from a distance and it doesn't matter what you planned, it NEEDS you.  I have yet to touch fabric and think, oh, what pretty pants you would make.  I don't even see pants in a store as interesting, just functional.  I don't look at a fly without thinking how on earth does that actually go together... my brain hurts.  I'm sure, like bras, that once you get to it and follow the steps it's not so bad.  But fitting...

Did any of you see the Slapdash Sewists attempt at pants fitting?  Yeah, that's the hell I imagine when I think about it, Trena is a brave woman.  I bow to the mastery of Tanit-Isis and her wonderful array of jeans history.  Absolutely incredible.  All these fitted pants...  sigh.  There is some mental build up needed to go through what Trena did and I've never been up to it.  I'm okay with the however many ill fitting bras I've made.  They don't take up a lot of fabric or really a lot of time, the results are pretty if unwearable by me.  I do get better in technique over time, but pants gone wrong...  my ego hasn't been up to it.

I read that I won the pants blocker while at work on Friday.  I damn near hyperventilated from trying not to laugh and giggle and cheer out loud.  People do not need to think I'm completely crazy.  I now have an idea of how I would react on winning the lottery (although I probably would laugh very loudly because I wouldn't be working there anymore and it's okay if they think I'm the rich crazy girl).  I am up to this challenge with Steph in my corner.  This is so going to rock.

Thursday, January 26

Time Management

Concert was great last night.  Raghu Lokanathan opened up for them, we hosted him in late October, it seems I only mentioned it in passing at the time.  Two of his songs will be on the final album.  It's going to be worth getting it just to hear Corin's version of "Genius".  Corin hit $1,500 in Canadian Tire money at the show.  You can see the finale performance of the show last night, "Don't Spend it Honey" on Now magazine web site.  Not that you can see me, but I was pretty close to the piano.

Down side?  It ended at 11:50.  Plus a drive home, brush my teeth... it was 1:30am when I went to bed.  Ouch.  I am glad we couldn't go to the Tuesday night show, I would have been a wreck by now.

But... I made use of my lunch hour today.  Went to Winners, found shoes (although I'm not totally in love with them, they will do), nylons and two options for support garments.  We'll see what I prefer.  I've never made decisions while shopping so fast.  It was a little surreal for me.  I enjoy the process of shopping for shoes, this was very purpose driven.  Are they closed toe shoes?  Is the heel too ridiculous for future use at work and dancing?  Are there stupid looking bows?  Do they hurt within 30 seconds of wearing them?  Yes, no, no, no... double check the price isn't ridiculous (ooh, leather soles, bonus - could become dance lesson shoes)... and purchase.  Fit was kind of far down the list there.

Tonight I think I am too tired to sew.  I'll just make mistakes.  Better to rest up tonight, read all of your blogs, have a bath and be all set for tomorrow. 

This is very true to Raghu's performance at our house, the Corin version is a little more rowdy.  The first 2:30 is the story behind the song, so if you're pressed for time, skip to about that point.  This song does have the word fucking very prominently in the chorus, if you have ah... sensitive ears, this may not be the song for you.  Personally, I think it's brilliant.  You all know someone like this.

Wednesday, January 25

Do you hear that?

It's my half finished bra calling me.  It is lonely, only one cup sewn in, the other limply waiting to join the band.  I was thinking about it as I was walking back to my desk and realized, it's going to have to wait a while.

Crap.


Tonight we're off to see Corin Raymond and the Sundowners at the Tranzac.  I'm so freaking proud of Corin, he has raised $1,000 in Canadian Tire money.  For the Canadians in the audience, he was even mentioned on This Hour Has 22 Minutes last night.  I've added a new blog roll at the side for musician blogs.  He's posted about this on Don't Spend It Honey.

Saturday we're going to a wedding, same bride as the bachelorette party.  I'm looking forward to it.  It's in the distillery district in Toronto, always a nice place to visit.  We decided that we'd get a hotel so we didn't have to have a driver. 

From the Distillery District web site http://www.thedistillerydistrict.com/gallery.php

Weddings are a great time for us to dance.  We have taken lessons off and on as schedules allow (this is an off period) for both ballroom and latin dancing.  Cha cha, salsa, merengue, tango, waltz, rhumba, fox trot and just a tiny bit of swing.  I'd say cha-cha, tango and foxtrot are our fortes but rhumba and waltz are useful for weddings.  Mr. Lina once dragged me out to tango to American Woman at a wedding.  Kid you not, it worked.  Cha-cha is great for nearly any modern/disco song they play at weddings.  So much more practical than I ever expected.  Here's hoping they have a decent sized dance floor, I hate feeling penned in when people don't understand floor craft.

Sunday evening we've been invited to dinner at my aunt & uncles house.  Given that they are north east of Toronto, we might just kick around Toronto a bit for the day instead of going home only to drive east again.  This might depend on how bad the hangover is. 

I do have two dresses I'm debating between for the wedding.  Either Lekala 5432 that I wore to the wedding in October or the red dress I wore for the work Christmas party.  If I wear Lekala (which I am leaning towards, different friends, they haven't seen this dress), I need shoes (my favourite black heels are broken).  I also would like some shapewear for smoother lines at the back.  So shopping is in order.  I'd wear my strappy silver sandals with the red dress.  Bare legs for a wedding that is not in the same venue as the hotel will be rather chilly for January.

So if shopping does not happen Thursday night, I might make some headway.  If it does, and I do buy shoes, then maybe Friday night I'll have time to sew.  Here's hoping one night is shopping and the other sewing.  I don't want both to be shopping.  There is going to be some serious pouting going on from that half finished bra if I have to wait until Monday.

Monday, January 23

These are the bras I know I know

I did get to sew this weekend, not as much as I hoped, but it was good.  I've made lots of bras and I thought it was time to try again.  I went to take a picture of the work in progress and thought I'd post a few other bras I've made that have not worked out for one reason or another.  Then I started singing in my head "These are the bras (Daves) I know I know" courtesy of The Kids in the Hall.


Before I get into my bra history, I have to give a shout out to K-Line.  She has been doing a fantastic little series on bras.  Pretty sure this is part of what gave me the push to make another.  Sadly I haven't been in the right mental state to comment on it much, but it's a good read.  Go over, I'll wait. 

Most of my supplies come from Sew Sassy.  Even with duty etc at the boarder, it seems worth it based on what is available at Fabricland (although most of the lace is from Fabricland).  The under wire are heavy, I love the channeling (922 - not 909), the stretch satin has a nice amount of stretch to it and washes well.  My parents go to Florida for the month of February, to save the crazy shipping I stock up once a year.  My other recommendation if you are going to make bras is the Beverly Johnson book The Bra-makers Manual.  This has saved my sanity and inspired me that I could make bras and it was okay to make a few to get it right.

To answer the first bra post from K-Line, I am not comfortable taking pictures of me in ill fitting bras.  I'm sorry these are not so great pictures because my 38D/DD bras do not look so pretty flat, but I still don't have a dummy to model them for me.  Maybe if I can get this looking good and no nipple showing, but for now, you get flat pictures.  If I do work up that courage, it sure as hell won't be sexy "oh look at me" bra-porn pictures.


So first up is the bra I am working on.  Elan 645.  I'm making it in purple stretch satin, lots of support with tricot in the cup, powerknit underlining the back.  So far so good, except...  I put the black lace in on the wrong cup so it is inside out.  I realized this after I had topstitched and cut the seam allowances so I'm sucking it up knowing it's not perfect.  Right now one cup is inserted, the other is not.  It will have under wire, I think that is optional with this full band bra but I like underwire if it's fitting properly.



I have made this bra before, but the cup is much too large.  K-Line asked if people like a snug band.  I am sad to say all the bras I'm wearing at the moment are loose from being too old and stretched out.  The one thing I loved about this bra was the feeling of the band.  It's snug, you aren't fitting much between my skin and that bra, but not uncomfortably so.  It is quite sad just how much retrofitting would be required for those cups to hold my breasts because the band truly is perfect.  My breasts get bigger when pregnant, maybe one day my band will stay the same and I'll fill those cups.  Doubt it.  So realizing a lost cause, there are no straps on this bra.

Bah, this is right side up in Photobucket.

 The first bra I was really pleased with was this one.  Elan 510.  Keep in mind, this isn't the first bra I made, there were a few white ones with the bra kits from Sew Sassy first.  As directed, most of these bras would be disappointing.  I don't think they give enough support as directed with the supplies in the kit.  I figured that out quickly.  510 appealed to me as a front closing bra.  I'm on the cusp of not being able to find front closing bras.  Either they cut off at a 36 and are too tight, or they only go up to a C cup and there are spillage issues.  I thought making my own would be nice.  I did love this bra.  It didn't lift them all that much, but I had a nice shape and I could wear a deep V neck shirt well.  I would wash that out in the tub, hang it to dry and wear it all over again.  The lace cup was starting to get a little stretched out when the front clasp broke. 

So I tried to make another one.  Not nearly as successful.  This one ended up too small if I remember right.   I think the satin shrank from the steam in the iron.  So frustrating.  Adding to that, I screwed up the straps, something is twisted.  I should revisit this one to see if the magic closet has helped. 

Ever try on a bra and you just know it's not designed for your breasts?  The shape is wrong, it is just... wrong.  That's Kwik Sew 2101.

All that lovely pink top stitching, black & pink lace...  Sigh.  Love the look, but it would take more engineering to make that fit than I'm willing to do.  That said, it actually fits my mother in law well.  At some point I'll finish the straps etc and give it to her.  Someone may as well wear it.

I'd say the consistent fit issue comes down to a few points:
  • Too much space in the upper cup, I'm a D/DD depending on the band, but it's not in my upper chest. 
  • My breasts do not push together, again, they just aren't spaced quite like other D cups I think
  • Fabric - a small change in the degree of stretch has left some bras (not pictures) just making me look flat and spilling.  Ick.
  • Fabric - shrinking.  One of them must have shrunk because by the time I went to sew it up, the band was smaller than the power net.  It wasn't that way when I cut it.
Even with all these failures, that one success haunts me.  I LOVED that bra.  When this works, it will be perfect.  Until I get it right, I'm not so interested in buying more. 

Oh and to answer another question K-Line asked, I have been for a proper bra fitting.  The first time was to get a strapless bra for a wedding I was a bridesmaid for.  A couple of years later I dragged a friend to get fitted.  I was wearing the right size and was pleased to hear that.  My friend, however, did have one of those life altering fittings that drastically shrunk her band and increased the cup size.  Go figure, the bruising from the under wire stopped with the right size bra.

Friday, January 20

Punch Drunk Humour

A very quick post so I can let my giggles out and get back to focusing on work.

My client Mad Men has an office in Quebec so we have team members there.  Somewhere in their emails there is always French, even if it's just their title being listed in both French and English.  My spell checker is rather confused by this.  It just took the word d'infos (Demande d'infos = Request for info was the subject line in this particular email) and suggested...

Dingoes. 

I also find it funny that the spell checker here made the same suggestion.  It will let you spell it dingos or dingoes. 

Dingoes looks better to me for some reason. 

That makes me laugh.  The word dingoes is just funny to me and it's so unlike the serious work mode of looking for information, it's even funnier.

It's not funny, is it?  Am I just so overtired that it made me giggle?

Dingoes don't come up in my particular line of work.

Now I want to misspell words just to see what the suggestions are.

I think the most I'm going to accomplish tonight is opening some wine and reading a fluffy book I've read multiple times.  Cotton candy for the brain is perfect when you don't have a brain left.  Then I can tackle something with substance tomorrow. 

Thursday, January 19

Work Life Balance Vent

There is something missing in my world this week.  Work-Life balance is completely off the hook.  Most of this is my own damn fault.  Some of those days where I haven't felt very happy or had focus at work, I've slacked and it's coming to bite me in the arse.

My week is usually comprised of 3 sets of good neighbours, Mondays with my employer, Tues/Wed with my client... um... Mad Men and my second client I've been with for all of my time with my employer so we'll call them Established.  I do not do work for Mad Men on Established days.  I do not do employer work on client days.  I might reply to email or answer questions, but if you're taking more than half an hour, then you can wait until your own day.  Each client is paying for 15 hours a week so they really should get 15 hours and I shouldn't try to keep track of an hour here or there that one client "owes" the other.  I get rented out at a far better rate than I'm paid for ad hoc projects so my employer really doesn't want me doing client work on their time.

Remember the wall maps I mentioned at the end of December?  That's still ongoing and is not being a good neighbour.  It often can't wait until Monday for the next step.  So I do it on client time or on my time.  Then because client projects are pushed back, I do that on my time.  Net result was me driving home at crying at 3pm on Tuesday because of an IT problem that wouldn't let me work on the maps at the Mad Men office and I had to get them done before 4pm.  Lovely to go home prior to rush hour, not so good to cry while doing it.  Maps are on a pause while samples are printing, but other client projects were coming due.

I have backed myself into this little corner, but it's not good.  I worked at the Mad Men office until about 6:15.  That's not so bad considering I had a dentist appointment in the morning so I had a late start to the day.  The bad part is working from 8-11 on it.  I was giving a presentation at one of the remote Established offices this morning.  It was suppose to be a presentation I gave a year ago just tidied up with examples that suited their business.  No big deal.  Then at 11, I realized I didn't have a copy of it with me. 

1:30am, I had the deck recreated.

8am I realized that a copy had been sent to me in setting up the meeting, I didn't look in those emails, I only looked at what I sent, not what others forwarded. 

Face to palm.

Anyhoo... meeting went well, presentation generated far more conversation than I expected.  36 slides (say 30 because some are just headings) shouldn't take an hour and 50 minutes to cover.  Thank heavens they booked 2 hours.  I thought 2 hours was ridiculous but people are happy to get out early, I didn't think we'd need it all.  It did remind me how much I like training and educating people on the data I specialize in.  It was a really good morning even on 5 hours of sleep.

Shhh... and it ended with someone hinting they forgot how close I live to that office... perhaps... if I wanted a shorter drive.... We'll see what comes of that, but it sure feels good to the girl who is stuck in a rut.

So, therapy tonight with Mr. Lina, then more work tonight to finish up the Mad Men project.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  There is an awful lot of open time on the weekend.  Dinner plans at a friends house Saturday (but nothing during the day) and Mr. Lina has plans Sunday that do not involve me.  What to make... what to make...

Tuesday, January 17

Signs It's Time to Pause

If you remember, my grey skirt was made because I didn't have matching thread.  I had cut out the slip (?) of a gift, but not sewn it up.  Friday night I tackled sewing now that I had matching thread.  I worked until 6ish, home at 7, went out for dinner with Mr. Lina so I did get a late start on the evening.  One thing I like about that pattern is that the pieces really line up well.  Even with me grading up 5" on the hips, notches lined up, the pieces were the same length, etc.

Lekala 5241 or Modern Pattern Sewing Red Slip
I did forget a few things. 
A.  I sewed the whole seam down forgetting about the cute slits at the front.  I was lazy on this front.  I could have unpicked the 2 seams but meh, it's stretch fabric, I put in a lot of extra fabric for her hips, pretty sure she'll have room to move.

B.  I cut the SA too big.  I use my overlock stitch on past versions as they were sheer and I didn't want to see the seam allowances.  As much as sheer wasn't an issue, I went to sew it the same way but I had cut wider than that.  I will admit to trying it on (over clothing, we have similar bust measurements) and realizing this was WAY too big at the sides and around the bust (although the extra at the bottom fell nicely).  Sadly this was after I had put the bias tape on so it was a true PITA to fix.

C.  My sewing machine is not a mind reader.  More on that shortly.

D.  Pictures.  Yep, ran out of time.  I was suppose to be at the bride's house at 3:00 (20 min drive).  I finished it a bit past 2, then wrapping, out of the shower at 2:30, I managed to leave at 3...  Sigh.

So the sign that it is time to pause in a project and go to bed.  I had it done, bias tape along the top/straps (black satin bias tape that Fabricland sells by the meter), all it needed was a hem.  I was getting tired, it was midnight, but I thought I'd push on so all that all I had to make were panties the next morning.  I bought a double needle a while ago but really haven't had a chance to use it.  In theory, this should be quick and easy.  I practiced with a scrap to see if I wanted to put some interfacing or tissue to stabilize but honestly, the part that looked best was left alone so I went with that.  Then I realized I should overlock the hem.  Switch feet and overlock so it doesn't shed so much.  Then go back to the double needle.  That was my downfall.  I did not change the stitch back to a straight stitch (see item C above) although I did put the width back to 1.  I was so confused why it was going through so much thread, then it struggled with every vertical seam, eventually coming to a standstill.  That's when I noticed the back didn't look the way it did on practice, way too much thread back there.  I rethreaded a whack of times and go figure it looked the same.  I went to bed with the hem half done and completely confused.

Next morning I look at it, use some scraps, see the same thing happening (because it was still doing what it was set to do), rethread again...  I finally looked at the stitch setting and realize my mistake.  I went back to the hem and broke a double needle trying to go through a big lump of thread I was too lazy to pick out.  Sigh. 

So off to Fabricland.  10am on a members 50% off day, it was better than the craziness I expected.  I stayed away from fabric but I did stock up on notions and two double needles.  Sewaholic posted today about the triple stitch with the warning to sew carefully because 3 threads are a PITA to pick out.  Let me tell you, a double needle of overlock stitch was looking pretty painful until I finally saw the pattern of where the bobbin thread was.  After breaking one needle, it all needed to come out no matter what time was involved.

Ah well, it was finished in time, black lace panties were made to go with it.  The bachelorette itself was fun.  I like the bride, but honestly, some of her friends are a tad shallow and I said I'd drive, I wasn't sure how it was going to go.  Fortunately a very good friend was also part of the party, we had a great time.  Dinner was at The Chef Upstairs

This isn't us, it's from: http://www.thechefupstairs.com/interactive_dining.html
It's a cool mix of dinner and cooking lesson.  I got to plate the beets.  Dinner was not very Sera-friendly (carrot risotto is hard to adapt to being carrot free) but the chef was a trouper fixing what he could and I ate a lot of beets.  Good thing I like beets.  We were going to head out to a bar in Toronto, but the bride was feeling a little headachey and wanted to go somewhere closer to home.  Ended up at the pub where Mr. Lina and I had our first "let's meet for drinks and see if you look anything like I remember from Oktoberfest" (lots of alcohol at Oktoberfest, neither of us remembered names correctly, although he was closer than I was).

The boys had a longer day than us, beer tour starting at 11am.  They went to 4 microbreweries in Toronto, dinner then went to watch the hockey game at a pub.  They had some pub frustrations and ended up meeting up with us at the same pub.  Mr. Lina was crazy drunk, but oh so very happy drunk.  It can be annoying being the sober driver around drunks, but how do you get upset when he's asking for "hangaburs" as we approach a McDonalds?  In the drive thru he was muttering in frustration at the seat belt because he tried to tickle me and couldn't reach.  Ah, it was fantastic.

Sunday was recovery for Mr. Lina.  We were suppose to play Dungeons & Dragons, but he wasn't mentally up to running it and there was some miscommunication so one player couldn't make it.  There are 3 D&D themed board games that are a great time, highly recommend (and no, you don't need to know anything about D&D).  We played The Legend of Drizzt.  The characters are from a series of books I didn't read but for Mr. Lina bring back fond memories.  It's a great cooperative game for 1-5 players. 
Image from the Amazon site linked above.
If you are interested in board games, I'll add the occasional review.  I grew up playing with my dad and brothers with rules like "we play until 8pm or when Clone cries".  You know that rule was created based on experience.  As a result, I didn't want to play board games and I'm pretty fussy.  If it gets overly competitive, too "screw your neighbour", or boring as hell (why does anyone play Monopoly?) I'm not interested.  We're usually playing games that are a little less traditional than Clue, unless you go looking, you won't hear about them.

Well, off to bowling tonight.  I have the itch to sew after two projects finished in short order.  So rewarding.  The problem is that work is going to dominate my time.  Too much on my plate right now. 

Friday, January 13

Driving Blues

We've had a crazy mild winter here so far.  More often than not, it's above freezing, and outside of a couple of flurries, we haven't had snow that really stuck.  Today is the first "real" snow and I live with a bunch of wimps.  Granted, it was above freezing the past few days so the ground is relatively warm.  The first snow would have melted, and the temperature will be dropping all day so it froze.  So ice under snow is pretty bad to drive in.  But it's 2 freaking centimeters of snow.  Not even an inch.

Guess how long my drive to work took?  It is 44 km from driveway to parking lot.  27 miles for my non-metric readers.  Granted it's mostly on a slow moving highway across the top of Toronto, my drive in usually takes between 45 minutes and an hour.  35 on a really good day.

So you'd think, maybe 1.5 times as long, I mean, it's not even an inch of snow.  An hour and a half sound right?

Nope.  No accidents on my side of the highway to further complicate the drive.  There was one accident, a bus (not bug if you read this before I fixed that) hit an SUV about 600m from my house, it wasn't much of a hold up to get around it.  One car on the highway pulled over, another being hooked up to a tow truck, neither blocking lanes.  West bound had quite a few accidents, but none on my side.

Maybe twice as long.  Two hours?  No, you're not right either.

Two and a half hours.  Yep.  This is why I work from home when the first flake hits the ground.  I feel like a wimp doing that, but 2.5 hour commute is ridiculous.  I would have, but I moved a meeting yesterday because of the car issues and I felt bad doing that two days in a row.  Sometimes you just have to show up.

I figure that you can't move faster than the car ahead of you, so why bother getting upset?  I did make it to work safely, I enjoyed listening to music in Mr. Lina's car (he wisely stayed home so I took the car with better tires), and played the "what if I won the lottery" game in my head.  I have to say, it's easier with a piece of paper where I can keep track of where the magic money is going.  First thing first, I'd quit and move so I didn't have to do that drive.

And in non-weather complaint news...

Half a day into wearing my grey skirt.  Very happy.  The waist is snug and comfortable when sitting so maybe this is the right amount of ease.

Corin Raymond got us into doing house concerts, he was our first show as half of The Undesirables, then he came back to so his solo work.  Corin is going to be recording a new live album with his band of Sundowners in a couple of weeks.  He found out the recording studio where they plan on doing all the post production accepts Canadian Tire money on par.  For the non-Canadians in the audience, CT is a bit like a cross between Home Depot without lumber but including car repair.  Camping stuff, small appliances, paint, plumbing, gardening, sporting goods, some have gas stations, it's like they have a little bit of everything.  You are given Canadian Tire money when you pay with cash or earn it on your CT credit card.  Five cents here, 10 cents there, it kind of collects.  Well, Corin is on a mission to pay for as much of this recording in CT money as he can.  He made it on the cover to two Toronto newspapers yesterday, at least two television news broadcasts, Canadian Tire actually tweeted about him.  It's crazy.  Follow the saga here.  I know how expensive it is to do a recording right, where the perfomers all get paid rather than just helping a friend (which is nice, but doesn't feed them), where the art looks professional, the music sounds good.  Artists go into debt for to make it, then slowly sell them off to repay only to go into debt for the second album.  This is such a great way to get fan support from money they really didn't have a plan for anyhow.  I counted up our CT money and it's just shy of $30.  Those little bills add up.  We'll be passing them along to Corin on the 25th for the second day of taping.

Thursday, January 12

Rockin' the Skirt

The grey skirt is finished and Mr. Lina said the hem looks okay.  Here's hoping he's right.  I really should get around to making/buying a dress form at some point.  I imagine that would make hemming a little easier.  Here's a whack of pictures of it.  Love the skirt, not so keen on the pictures of myself.  I wasn't planning on going farther than the mechanics to get my car, so my hair is just pulled back, no make up, etc.  Shows how much I trust you guys.



I was wearing the red sweater all day, so I started off taking pictures with it (far right).  The problem is that it's kind of big and warm and not so good for showing off the skirt.  So I switched to a close fitting tee. 

StephC mentioned on her blog that she's more comfortable with her shirts untucked.  I'm the same way.  The tucked in look is growing on me, but I feel like there isn't enough space between my bust and the skirt with the shirt tucked in.  Untucked, well, it's maybe more casual because I'm wearing a tshirt in most of these, but it's not a formal skirt.  I took a lot of pictures, both tucked in and out, sorted it down to the 9 or so I liked, then down to 6 in a collage.  I looked at it when I was done and realized there was one tucked in and I only kept it because the pose was different.  I decided more pictures were in order, I even found some hot pink tights to match the top.

I see a few wrinkles near the waist at the back.  I actually think I have a pretty good fit back there.  The waist is loose, I could have made it a shade smaller.  I was so worried about making it too small or a tight waistband that would leave muffin tops.  The band itself is cut on the non-stretch direction of the fabric.  I didn't want something that fit in the morning and was too big at the end of the day, my denim skirt does a little of that.  It pouches out and then it doesn't fall quite the same.  We will have to see what it's like after a full day of wear rather than an hour or so for showing off.

Now to go sew up that Lekala slip.  We'll see how far I get before bedtime.

Wednesday, January 11

Not quite the day I planned

Yesterday Mr. Lina was feeling... snuggly.  A little sad in the morning, a few extra hugs before going to work.  I didn't realize how sad until I came home from bowling.  We try very hard not to remember dates from failed cycles and loss, it's just asking for ongoing heart ache I can't live with.  Yesterday was a year to my last miscarriage and while we weren't trying to remember, it seemed to be what was triggering his mood.  We decided to take today off work and spend it together. 

We talked last night about how each of us were feeling and it helped.  Mr. Lina said he slept better last night than he has in a week and I think it's because some of those feelings were let go.  For being a lazy day, we've been busy.  Breakfast together, our therapist had a cancellation so she could fit us in, my car went in for an oil change and repairs (sigh, not so keen on seeing that total bill), walked to get groceries and I finally got my thread.  Mr. Lina is making gumbo for dinner tonight.  I'm okay with that too.

Thread is not the only thing that walked out of Fabricland with me.  They had a lovely 100% rayon on buy one get two three (um, change that to free, not three), so 3m walked out with me for $12.  Also, ponte knit was on 60% off.  How can I argue with $7/m? 
Rayon to the left, ponte knit to the right.
I have also managed to get some pictures of my grey skirt.  Not finished yet, but maybe tonight.  You can see my extra long waistband.  The skirt is Style 1063 which actually has an entry on the vintage pattern wiki.


Here you can see a close up of the inside of the waist band at the zipper.  The lighter silver line is the selvage.  Fluff from this skirt gets everywhere, that's the grey specks on my ironing board.

And I'm freaking proud of that zipper there.  It's not quite high enough, but I am so pleased with how well it hides and still zips, I don't want to take it out.




Oh, gumbo is ready, time to go!

Tuesday, January 10

Thwarted by Thread

After posting Sunday, I went up to my sewing room.  The purple stretch velvet had been cut, it was ready to sew up.  I was pretty pumped.  I pull out directions, find the right colour bobbin, go to find thread.  The closest matching thread was showing most of the spool.  This was not going to be enough for more than one seam.  All my other purples were either too light or too plum, not suitable at all.  Bah.  I was not letting opportunity to sew get away from me.

I bought a remnant of grey corduroy (slight stretch) in December.  Washed and sitting in a laundry basket calling my name through the holidays.  I'm not one to buy many remnants, but it looked like a good weekend/casual Friday skirt to me and at 1.3m I'd have some options (50% off may have been a factor).  I dug up an A-line skirt pattern from my Mom's collection.  It's simple, view 1 & 3 is comprised of panels, view 2 & 4 have a centre back seam and darts, 1 & 2 are just below the knee, 3 & 4 are floor length, all have a side zipper and waistband.  It was a single sized pattern and my mom was much smaller than me when she was purchasing this.  5" in the waist, 4" in the hips.  There was some grading needed, but it's not a complicated pattern, it wasn't overwhelming.

Then I placed the adjusted pattern on the fabric.  The back of the pattern said I should need 1.6m and I have 1.3m, but I figured I could make it fit.  Well it didn't.  Not by a long shot.  Then I had the thought, hey, I'm not even 5'1", let's see how this looks in the mirror tissue fitting for length.  This was a very good call, the below knee skirt was maybe 3" above my ankle.  I think their sloper is for someone with 5' of legs rather than total height.  The more Sera-friendly length of skirt fit with room to spare.  Yay!

I did the waistband a little different, partially because I didn't read ahead and partially because of the fabric I was using.  First, the silly part.  This pattern was for a waist 5" smaller than mine, but there seemed to be a lot of ease.  So I put the waist piece down and cut a few extra inches.  Then I wrapped it around my waist and realized this was not comfortable.  I cut it again, adding a little more.  I did not read ahead to see that the waistband was suppose to overlap so the hook and eyes could connect (I'm likely going to use a button here now that I think about it).  Sigh.  Even the longer piece was not going to leave enough for ease, seam allowances AND overlap.  I sewed them together.  Screw it.  Now I had over 60" of waistband and if that didn't fit, well, we have a bigger issue.  I lined the seam up with the other side seam to look intentional which leaves me with two very long extensions at the waist right now.  I could do a side tie if it had any drape.  Second part of doing it differently is that their directions seemed to leave a lot of exposed seams.  This stuff sheds so this is not a good thing.  They recommended lighter fabrics and sew in interfacing (likely a sign of the times more than a particular love of sew in).  I thought why not just fold my waistband over?  It's acting like interfacing, albeit a bit thicker, I cut it wider than they recommended anyhow.  One edge was the selvage, I just sewed the non-selvage part to the skirt, pressed the seam, folded it over so it went a little lower than that seam and stitched in the ditch catching the selvage.  We'll see how it wears.

So right now, while I drag through a day at work, I have a skirt that needs the waistband finished and hemming and a velvet slip to sew up.  I'd rather be working on either project than sitting here.  I am just so not enthused with what's on my plate for this client. 

Oh and my thread saga.  I need more purple thread.  Lunch & learn yesterday made going out at lunch impossible.  Worked late, dropped of something at my uncles house and ended up chatting until 9pm.  Today, coworker for once in his young life brings his lunch so we eat in the cafeteria and I didn't have time to get both printer ink AND thread at lunch.  Ink is needed to print things off for bowling tonight so it wins.  And because of bowling, I can't go after work tonight.  Tomorrow, damn it, lunch time, people better not get in my way.  Come hell or high water, I'm going to Fabricland.

Sunday, January 8

Sewing & Dancing

Today is recovery day from yesterday.  Three part day - first birthday party, dinner & club-prep with friends and then off to a bar to celebrate a 40th birthday.  

First, one year old's birthday party for R's niece.  Last week when we took R home and stayed for dinner, it became clear that R's parents thought this party was being hosted by their daughter, and their daughter had told everyone it was at her parents house as her apartment was too small for all the people she invited.  I generally don't go to first birthday parties, but after hearing about the other grandmother of the birthday girl, well, I couldn't resist the opportunity to see months of stories in action.  Good time was had by all, the MIL in question was entertaining as expected.  And there were babies to admire from a distance.  I gave her one of the stuffed animals I made (Larry the cat) and it was well received.

The 40th birthday party was for one of the producers on the movie Mr. Lina made this summer.  End of the evening found us at Abstract.  I like this place because people wear a serious range of clothing and a wide age range.  Even at 40, the birthday boy was not the oldest person there.  Clothing ranged from men wearing sweaters with a metal small zipper at the neck (sort of Bob Newhart to me) to a full skirted dress complete with crinoline (LOVED!), and straight up goth bustier dress thingy, safety pins, tattoos, piercings, whatever goes.  I wish I knew how cool this place was when I lived in the area for university.

So my friend and I are watching the crowd before hitting the dance floor ourselves.  First thought was, wow, I could totally see Lazy Subcultural Girl here.  She could totally rock that outfit.  Then someone walked on the dance floor with dark short hair, petite frame, great cheek bones, skirt entirely of crinoline netting.  First thought, wow, that looks like Tanit-Isis.  Freaky.

A couple of hours pass where I dance, Mr. Lina and the boys get the birthday boy (and themselves) rather drunk.  Mr. Lina comes out to dance, somehow he manages to cha cha with me (and no one bat an eye, I love this club).  All is good.

Last call and we're back to just watching the dance floor as the boys are finishing up their last drinks.  I look over to see a blond woman with dark chunks of hair and an asymmetrical hair cut.  Who do I think of?  K-Line (more like the profile picture of her face than the full body shot).

Seriously, who thinks of sewing bloggers at an alternative dance club?  

On the lingerie front, I have it cut out.  I think I'm awake enough to tackle it now.  Yes, I know it's 4 pm.  But I went to bed at 4 am.  It's all relative.

Friday, January 6

Beyond Description

I know my description of the fabric was not so good.  I'm not sure how you would explain this and my memory at work wasn't so good.
It is darker than the pictures look, but I was right in thinking it just grey enough not to actually be black.  There is a thread top right corner I didn't notice when taking the picture, it's not part of the fabric.  It is actually a little more sheer than I expected, you can see the chair through the fabric.  Morning light from the patio door is likely making that more noticable than it would be in a bedroom.  And a close up so you can see the ah... fringes?  And the metallic threads I forgot about.
I included the back in the picture, it shows that these are really squares.  The threads don't go in any particular direction that I can see.  They kind of look like they are more aimed to the selvage here, but I think that's from being folded, some of them are going the other way.

A quick peek this morning found a couple of other options.
You can see the pencil underneath the fabric to give a sense of how sheer it is.  I don't think this would work well for Lekala for her, you'd probably see more than she would like.  It also has a crinkle to it that would end up diagonal, that could work out really well or really poorly.  The pattern itself is random

So a non-sheer options is this.

I don't know what kind of crack I was smoking when I bought this and the same fabric in rose, but it's stretch crushed velvet.  Suckered into a buy 1 get 2 free I imagine.  I know I have a dice bag made from similar stuff, but I don't need 3m to make a dice bag and I don't need two dice bags.  It feels nice and it washes better than I would have expected.  It's stretch so I could probably swing Lekala not on the bias and keep the nap.  I'd be pretty happy to get rid of some of this from my stash.

Also, I did find black stretch lace that is just shy of 6" wide.

Time to hit the road... 

Thursday, January 5

Friends with Ex's

Mr. Lina moved from Manitoba to Ontario with his girlfriend at the time.  Lots of other Manitobans followed them.  When I met Mr. Lina, it had been about 13 months since they ended their 7 year relationship.  While they weren't hanging out regularly, they were finding comfortable footing because of mutual friends.  All of his friends seem to have done what I think of as incestuous dating.  This baffles my suburban brain sometimes, I don't keep in touch with my ex's nor date my friends ex's (nor my ex's friends), I don't need to.  Small towns with a small pool of geek-friendly girls makes it harder to do that.  I saw his point about mutual friends and figured I could certainly be polite and civil.  We didn't have to be best friends.  Jealousy certainly wasn't a factor for me, I did feel anger about how they treated each other (sitting on a couch at her house that we were still paying off wasn't easy either, I'm told that made sense on paper).  It is surprising they stayed together as long as they did, but I think that has more to do with being stubborn than happy.  They are both good people who were so unsuited as to be comical.

She is getting married (for a second time, her first husband was an ass but that's a different post) in January.  I really like her fiance.  You can see that he loves her and values her, he will continue to care for her in a way she probably hasn't experienced in a long time if ever (I'm including time with Mr. Lina in that, those were not happy years).  We went to her first wedding, they came to our wedding, we're going to the wedding coming up.  I did skip her shower, I wasn't interested in going and fortunately it was while we were in New Orleans so I didn't have to make up an excuse to not buy her a toaster she doesn't need.  That said, I am going to her bachelorette party next weekend. 

At the NYE party, sewing came up.  Dave's girlfriend saw my Colette book under the tree and it turns out she sews.  Next thing I know, we're all talking about sewing, things I've made, bras and... I'm taking measurements for making lingerie for Mr. Lina's ex.  I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to go that route, but part of me doesn't want to buy lingerie that likely won't fit her and I did buy some fabric with her in mind last time I was in Fabricland.  Adding to this, we had a whole drunken (her more than me) heart to heart where she told me that she thinks of me as one of her close friends and how happy she is that we can be good friends.  It left me at a bit of a loss for words.  Net-net, I'm on the hook to make something for the 14th.

A few thoughts on what will suit her and things to consider in picking what to make:
  • She has a curvy, pear shaped figure
  • Similar bust measurements to me, but adjustments would need to be made to the hips
  • She is not confident in her body, she would not feel good in something too revealing
  • Her weight fluctuates a lot but even at her recent high points, based on pictures from 15 years ago, it's a whole lot less than what she was.  Her weight is distributed differently than the tape measure alone implies and I think it's because some weight came off more easily than others.  Fabric needs to float away from her body rather than cling to bumps.
  • It needs to be simple, I don't have a lot of time to step out of my comfort zone for a practice run.
I am leaning towards Lekala 5241 (or Modern Patterns Red Slip).  I've made this for myself (sheer cheap polyester) and my SIL (polyester satin) and I like the way the princess lines slide over curves.  I feel pretty in my version  It's not hard to make, grading out the hips wouldn't be too hard with 5 seams to play with.  Only down side is that there isn't bust support that might be good for her confidence.

 
Lekala 5241 - Red Slip

Other thought is to look at my stretch lace and see how wide I have and do what I think of as my usual (which this group hasn't seen so it's not usual to them).  A band of wide stretch lace (hopefully 6") and a circle skirt hanging from there.  I wouldn't say the support from the elastic is great at my (our) size but it keeps the girls in place at least.  I purchased the original like this and I still like it 7 years later (although I like mine better).  Straps are usually made from the skirt fabric.  I could see this working for her figure too because it comes in snug where she is small and floats out from there.

I did see some fabric on clearance ($3/m) that I bought with her in mind.  It's on the grey side of black, the fabric is a little sheer, but it has very short (0.5cm maybe?) fringe all over so it's not actually sheer because of the layers in the fringe.  I'll have to update with a picture because it's hard to describe.  What I like about it (for her) is that it only hints at being sheer and the texture of the fabric will hopefully hide any lumps.  Black is always a sexy colour.  It will be an absolute mess in my machine and cutting area, just having it cut at the store created a lot of fluff.  I'm going to have to check for nap.  Lekala is cut on the bias if I remember right and I'm not sure how it would go for the circle skirt.  I'll do a little draping when I take pictures to see how that would work.

Any thoughts or suggestions?   I like to ponder these projects before diving in, but I will likely work on it Friday night or Sunday.  I guess I have been thinking since I bought the fabric in December.  That still leaves some time mid-week if things go horribly wrong.

I just got word that Clone and his wife have left for the Northwest Territories this morning.  I gather their plan had been to leave Tuesday, drive to Edmonton, meet up with a friend and drive together to Hay River.  The friend needed to adjust his plans to be in Edmonton this Sunday so they moved up their departure plans to today.  I'm sad and happy.  It's going to be an adventure for them, I'm glad I won't see her belly growing so I can stay in fantasy land where she's not pregnant until I'm ready for reality, but, I feel sad.  My therapist was suggesting that maybe I wasn't up to doing Boxing Day with my family, maybe I should back out for my own mental health.  I said no, it was too hard to do that, easier just to suck it up and go.  I'm glad I did, that's the last time I saw them and I don't know when they will be back or if I'll make the 4,500 km trip to Hay River.  That makes me sad.  I'll miss them.  Clone gives good hugs and his wife really wants to be my sister. 

On the bright side, this is a good kind of sad, not the depression kind of sad.  So good to feel that difference.

Wednesday, January 4

Brain is on Vacation

Although I have physically returned to work, it seems my brain has not.  I left my purse at home.  I left the power cord for the new laptop at home (at least this one has a decent battery).  I forgot to take my medication with breakfast.  I'm quite impressed I remembered to bring my lunch.  So a quick trip home kept my laptop going this afternoon.  At least it's only 20-25 min drive during the daytime from this office.

I did not make the progress I hoped to on my sewing room, but it was a productive day.  I did some dusting, multiple loads of laundry, moved some of the boxes out of my sewing room back to their home in the guest room.  So the room isn't in good shape, but I can at least get in there.  Mr. Lina was given a paper shredder for Christmas.  I've already shredded a lot of 2006 bills, but I know there are older ones hiding in a file folder that could hold more recent documents if the crap was gone.  Pretty sure I don't need pay stubs and bank statements from the 90's and I know there are some in there.  That's kinda fun work actually.  I'm sure I'll get tired of the paper shredder, but not yet.  Hopefully with the old papers shredded I can put the new ones in a proper home.
I am not a resolution maker but I can see value in having a few goals, thoughts, and hopes for 2012.
  • The obvious, to be a mom, we'll see where that saga goes.  This is firmly in the hope section.
  • Buy less fabric, or at least shop strategically.
  • Use more of my stash, it's getting out of control and there are lots of lovely fabrics that would make lovely clothing.  Documenting my stash might be a good idea, get the mojo going for what I have.
  • Generally sew more.  I need to block off time for it and not let myself get too tired to bother when I do have time.
  • I love writing, this blog feels good to me.  4 months in and I'm not bored nor overwhelmed, it doesn't feel like a chore, so that's a good sign.  Thank you all for reading and commenting.  I'm not driven by having a big audience, but I like that people drop by every day and it pleases me to no end when I get comments.  I will continue to post as often as I have something to say.  As a child, I was occasionally knicknamed after the first talking doll, Chatty Cathy.  It is safe to say that I generally have something to say.
  • Musically, we have house concerts scheduled for February, March, April and May.  We're good on that front, I'd like attendance to increase so ongoing promotion on my part.
  • Find a way for work to be more fulfilling.  Maybe it's a change in my position, or changing employers, or whatever, but the ongoing sadness I experienced this fall could be eased if I felt happier about where I was driving every morning.
  • Weight management.  Yes, I'd like to lose 5 or 6 lbs from where I am today, but more than that, I don't want 3 lbs more to be added to that 5 lbs.  Today, I am pleased that I didn't add anything over the holidays.  Of anything, I'm down 0.6 lbs from Dec 21st.  I'd like to keep that slow downward trend going back to what I think of my comfortable weight.  Snow should fall and stay soon, hopefully we can get out snow shoeing through Jan/Feb and some of that 5 lbs will leave.
  • Physical health.  I have to say, outside of all the infertilty crap and allergies, I have experienced a lot of great health the past two years.  I'm due for a physical, but when I had my last physical in Nov 2010, my family doctor commented that I hadn't seen him since my previous physical.  Outside of my miscarriage, the same could be said for 2011.  This is a trend I would like to see continue for obvious reasons. 
  • Mental health.  With infertility, this is always an ongoing project.  Even if this is the year of the baby, I bet mental health will be again just with a different spin.  How can 6 years of dreaming and imagination live up to reality?  To make this a more specific goal, I need to get help when I need it.  I waited too long this fall to call up our therapist and I wasn't always upfront with Mr. Lina on how I was feeling which didn't help me or him. 
Did any of you stop by Hugry Zombie Couture today?  I commented that I feel both better and worse about my stash.  She has a MUCH larger stash of fabric than I do.  It's beautiful, but it makes me feel a little better that as much fabric as I have, it's not that much.  Down side is that hers is organized so well, it's okay to have that much, it's just a wall of inspiration.  Mine are in boxes loosely connected as mostly knits, mostly bottom weight, mostly woven, mostly craziness (i.e. fun fur, stretch velveteen, buy 1m get 3 free craziness), etc.  I actually need more boxes as there is overflow under the desk, but I'm not sure where the boxes will go as the shelves are full of various stuff (hence the need for more pitching and decluttering).

Monday, January 2

Happy New Year

Oh what a busy couple of days.  I mentioned my friend R in past posts about Summerfolk.  He has spent New Years Eve with Mr. Lina and I the past few years.  More often than not we end up hosting.
So this year, R arrived on Friday afternoon and we had a house concert for NYE.  We first saw The Warped 45's at OCFF in 2010.  They absolutely rocked one of the evening showcases, totally made an impression and left us wanting more.  Saw them again at one of the late night performances and chatted with Dave McEathron and his cousin for a bit.  5 members is too many for my little basement, but we said we would do what we could to support them.  They played Guelph maybe 2 weeks later so we sent out a few emails and organized about 10 or 12 of us to go to their show there.  Dave remembered us and everyone in the band came by at one point or another to chat.  Mr. Lina has kept in touch and even when 6 months have gone by between seeing us, Dave remembered who we were.

A bit ago Dave reached out to Darren.  It seems that the drummer had an injury, his cousin who also fronts the band is going to be a dad soon, the keyboardist became a dad in the summer, touring wasn't going to be possible right now.  That said, Dave still has bills to pay and wanted to keep performing, was there a way we could help him out?  NYE seemed to be the best opening for us and it worked for Dave.  He's actually been working on new material with someone else, he and Bryan Butler were going to come out for the show.

It was awesome.  18 friends, 4 kids running and dancing, Dave, Bryan and Dave's girlfriend, sure made for a full house and receptive audience.  R lasted until about 12:30 or so which is pretty typical for him.  I was up until just shy of 4 am by the time the last guests left, one stayed on the couch, Dave and his gf were on the pull out couch in the basement.  Better safe and staying over, I'm happy to have a full house.

The music was fantastic.  Dave really integrated with the audience.  So much so I found my dad telling Dave stuff that he just doesn't talk about.  It's pretty common to try and find some common ground, places you've been, where you are from.  The Warped 45's did a lot of touring in Western Canada, next thing I know I hear my dad talking about living in Cold Lake, Alberta as a kid.  These aren't happy years for him, he will on occasion talk about skating and playing hockey, or the summer that they didn't have on base housing so his family lived in a tent.  The party went on and I left the room for other hosting duties.  Second half of the show, Dave sang this song, George Chuvalo, as a nod to Dad. 



I knew the name George Chuvalo, he's a Canadian boxing legend, but that's about the extent of what I knew, I didn't know about him losing sons to drugs, a wife to suicide.  Dave introduced the song talking about how many people face tragedy in their lives and some deal with it better than others. 

In November 1972, my dads brother in law died from a heart attack.  Completely unexpected, he was young, worked construction so he was active, but it turns out he had serious heart disease.  My cousins were just little boys at the time.  Dad's parents and his 3 brothers lived south of Montreal, QC at the time and drove to Brantford, ON for the funeral.  Somewhere around Belleville they hit black ice.  Everyone except my uncle who was driving was ejected from the car and died.  My aunt had lost her husband, her sister was helping with her kids, my dad was left alone to deal with one severely injured brother and 4 family members to bury.  No wills, no plans, his brothers were barely out of their teens.  My parents had been married about 18 months at that point, hadn't even known each other quite two years.  I can't imagine what it was like for him to go through that at 29.  My dad doesn't talk about these things, and yet, there is something about house concerts and the intimacy they create that he sometimes opens up to others.  I'm sure it was more about stating facts than saying how it felt, but it amazes me what he tells others he doesn't tell his children.  And I was really touched that Dave could adjust his play list.  He didn't say anything specifically to Dad, but enough of a nod in his direction that I figured out what happened after the "I lived in Cold Lake" conversation.

So I have some thoughts brewing for the New Year.  I've really enjoyed the look back posts and going forward posts others have made.  I'm not a resolution maker, but there are some broader stroke goals to consider.  I booked today off work, my last vacation day for 2011 that I couldn't take because of deadlines.  The house is empty, I'm feeling well rested after doing nothing yesterday but read a book.  We'll see how much of my to do list I get through, first step is tackling the sewing room.  It's been the dumping ground of things to hide with guests here and I'm in the mood to pitch.  Yesterday I rounded up a garbage bag of clothing I don't wear any more.  Time to take that attitude to my sewing room and de-clutter.