Sunday, January 28, 2007

I spent much of Friday cutting out tiny baby shoe pieces from wool felt, which are now lying in various stages of unfinished-ness around my sewing machines because while baby shoes seem as though they are quite quick and easy to sew up, I had forgotten how fiddly it can be to fit the upper to the sole. I got a lot of work done on Ivy's kimono this weekend, but I keep thinking of more things to make from the kimono book--a little bag! Flower clips for her hair! I'm a little worried about the length of the kimono, I made it wide enough to put tucks in the shoulders so it can be let out, but it may be just long enough. I suppose I could add a border to the bottom if she wants to keep wearing it for a few years.

I finished the needle-felted bento. I tried wet-felting the finished food in hopes of achieving a smoother finish, but they still are rather hairy. I used one of those cardboard boxes you can buy at craft stores for decoupaging, it's about 5 inches at the widest part and not quite 2 inches high--I did cut it down so the height would be closer to the proportions of an actual bento box. I painted chou-tototo on the top with acrylic paints and finished it with an acrylic spray--which I used in the basement thinking it would be good to use it away from the kids, not thinking that there is no ventilation. After I nearly fell over from dizzyness, I moved it to the side door which I propped open. I had a moment of panic thinking I had filled the basement with fumes and it was going to explode when the furnace clicked on, but everything is fine. Sometimes I am not too bright.

The contents are onigiri, edamame, cucumber slices, carrot flowers, meatballs and strawberries.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Thank you and Welcome!

Thank you for all the nice comments about our new house. We are really enjoying living here. I also want to welcome the new readers to my blog--thanks for stopping by! It's always so heartening to see the proof that people are actually reading what I write.

We had a bit of excitement this weekend. I mentioned in the last post trying to get to the library, we made it out of the house and got home around 6 PM to a street full of firetrucks and police cars. One of the firemen told Brian they were asking people to voluntarily evacuate. Brian asked if there was a problem with a gasline (I guess there had been a fire in a house the street over the day before, and he thought maybe there was some issue with gas). The guy told him "yeah, something like that"

So we went out to eat and were going to head back home and see if everything was okay, when we heard a story on the radion news--stand-off continues in Lakewood, SWAT team on the spot, guy holed up in his house with a propane tank threatening to explode it. A little bit different from what we thought was the initial problem.

So, we hung out in a few stores, but by 10PM news reports still said there was no change in the situation. Brian's dad said we could come by and stay the night. So we drove over there and I actually had some quiet time to read my library books.

By morning everything was fine, apparently the police were able to get him out with tear gas:
Story here

Scary, but still impressive the way Lakewood responded to the emergency. Anyone who didn't have a place to go was put up at the high school, the city provided cots and food. Could have been one way to meet our neighbors, I guess.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hello Kitty!

Here is Hello Kitty in her new finery. I made a matching bow--she's a Buildabear Kitty and has a velcro by her left ear so her bows can be changed

You can see the bunchiness at the shoulders. I did a deep tuck on each side across the shoulder, this is how the kimono's in my children's books were sewn--maybe so they could be worn for a few years, letting out the tuck?

Ivy instructed me to leave a hole for her tail. I just tied a plain bow for the obi, I contemplated some sort of velcro construction with a pre-tied bow but decided Ivy wouldn't know the difference and it might be best not to get too complicated. She was very happy with the outfit. I have her kimono cut out, just need to sew it up. I've been getting a lot done this week, the downside is we haven't left the house except for a post office trip on Thursday. Think we'll head up to the library in a bit.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Work In Progress

Hello Kitty's Kimono

It's a little big across the shoulders, it was rather challenging to work with a stuffed animal's proportions. The shoulders are narrow with a big tummy, in order to allow the kimono to accomodate her tummy it's bunchy at the shoulders. Still, I am pleased with how it's turning out.

Kimono jacket

I tend to make these in florals, I wanted to make one that might be better suited to a little boy.

Overall, I am doing a good job working on the projects I had set out to accomplish. If I keep this up I may allow myself to attend the next fabric sale, haha.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New House Pictures

Finally! Pictures of the new house!

The window seat. I bought some crayons you can color on glass with, that's whats all over the window.

Front bay window

Front staircase. There's another staircase that exits into the kitchen, they meet on the landing. The other staircase is most likely a servant's stairs.

Looking into the living room from the front door

Ivy's playroom. I think this was going to be half bath on the first floor, but they never actually started it. The window is glazed like a bathroom window though.

Kitchen. Lots of cupboards!

More cupboards and a sink of dirty dishes. This didn't look so dark when I was editing it.

And the most important room of all, my sewing room

More sewing room

and more

bookcases in the sewing room.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

This morning I caught myself thinking, "the sale ends today, I could drive out to Joann's and pick up a few more things. Plus, I have another 50% off coupon.". Seriously. Am I just nuts? As I was putting the fabric away yesterday I realized I still actually have quite a bit from the last two sales. To be far to myself, I did use quite a bit of the stash--an apron and a dress for Ivy, pillows for the window seat in the new house. Hmm. Maybe I should have gone back out today!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Jo-Ann Fabrics has a sale this weekend on calico, 50% off. I just spent 45 minutes ironing all my freshly washed, newly purchased fabric...This time I did buy quite a bit with actual projects in mind, rather than my usual stocking up because "it's such a good price". So, I solemnly swear I will not buy any more fabric until I have completed the following:

1. Two kimono jackets for my Etsy website
2. Ivy has requested a kimono for both her Hello Kitty doll and herself. I am going to use this book. As long as I get the measurements correct it doesn't appear to be too difficult, everything is constructed from long strips of cloth. Although I've already discovered that Hello Kitty's needs to be altered to accomodate her non-human proportions. When will I learn to make a muslin mock-up first when I am trying to draft my own patterns?

That should be enough to keep me busy for a bit. Joann's has really started getting some great stuff in stock.
This is for Ivy's kimono

Not sure what these will be for, maybe spring clothes for Ivy

This really cracked me up when I found it, so I bought a yard. But then when I got it home and looked it up, the description said "dogs in Chinatown". The writing is clearly Japanese, although with the little I know it's pretty much gibberish. I feel a little annoyed with myself, maybe because it's the sort of thing marketed towards someone who has no knowledge of Chinese or Japanese and wouldn't be able to tell it apart, and just buys the stuff becasue it's cool. But that's kind of why I bought it anyway, I suppose 8-)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's my fortieth birthday today. I've had a few flashes of Holy Crap! How the hell did I get to be 40! But overall, it's pretty good. Except for the hangover. I could do without that but it's my own damn fault--last night was an Orthodox Christmas party at my former neighbor's house, and she bought me an ice cream cake. There was also much red wine drunk.

I need to get moving because I have some stupid errands to run, taking care of my driver's license and plates renewals, left to the last minute as usual. Tonight the girls and I are going to pajama party story hour at the library, which should be fun.

I feel as though I should come up with the grand plans for my fortieth year, but so far the best I've been able to come up with is working on becoming more limber. Sounds exciting, doesn't it!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Wet Felting

Why do I continue to be frustrated in my efforts to wet felt? This is so annoying. I found this book at the library which seemed to carefully explain things step by step. Except her photos result in a lovely pair of boots, while mine ended up a sodden mass of half felted fiber that separated into thin sheets. I did successfully make two squares of felt, but the boots continue to elude me. And I am not sure what I am doing wrong, I felt I was following the directions. I hate wasting the fiber as well, but I supposed I can make it into something else, it still will needle felt. But man, I feel as though I keep trying and trying and I just can't get it.

I'm feeling a bit like I did when I was 10 years old and my mother tried to teach me to knit. I ended up with a huge lump of yarn on one needle, insisting I had done what she showed me to do and bursting into tears at her insistence that of course I hadn't. There probably is something I am not doing the right way and eventually I will figure it down but for right now I am going to take a break and maybe make some of these lovely boots that Molly Chicken was kind enough to share.

New Year's Goals

One of my friends referred to her goals rather than resolutions and I really liked how that sounded, because it seems to put more emphasis on the process rather than the outcome. So, my goals for 2007

-drink more water. There was a period in my life when I was single where the only thing liquid I imbibed was coffee and alcohol. I guess there were ice cubes in the vodka tonics. I had to be so severely dehydrated. Anyway, I do drink more water now, but I need to drink even more. Our new refrigerator has one of those water things, so I am going to start getting something to drink everytime I am in the kitchen.

-stand up straight. I've always been kind of slouchy, but after my second pregnancy my posture was really shot to hell. I slump my shoulders horribly, and tilt my pelvis the wrong way. It looks awful. I am going to make a conscious effort to improve my posture, and not just when I catch a glimpse of myself in a store window.

-work harder on my Japanese. I was really pushing it seriously for a while, working from a textbook, doing lesson, I've really slacked off lately. This is a goal I intend to pursue for a while, and I don't want to slack off this soon, not when I've already made some progress

--Be more patient. Take a deep breath more often. Take that little extra bit to deal with things I don't like. I get so impatient with Miranda sometimes. I am getting better I think, but I still blow up at her over trivial things. I need to pause.

This list looks so trivial. I am sure there was more. Well, if I think of anything else I will post it. Sitting up straight and drinking a glass of water.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Now that Christmas is over, I have plenty of time to sew and with my marvelous new sewing room, there is no excuse not to. I've already started on curtains for the kitchen, made some cushions for the window seat and a dragon hoodie for Miranda (which just needs cuffs and a waistband). It's a lot of fun to sew when you can shut the door, or even when you don't shut the door and everyone plays quietly (or not so quietly) while you strew fabric about to your heart's content.

I have an itch to make a doll, probably one for myself. My daughters are more stuffed animal kids, the few dolls I've made them don't get played with very often. Which is fine with me, because I can be selfish without feeling guilty. This was one of my favorite books as a child, I wanted a Japanese doll and doll house so badly. Recently I've been researching Japanese dolls again and what I would love to own is an ichimatsu doll such as these but looking over ebay they seem to be a bit out of my budget. I am contemplating purchasing this e-book, it's a PDF complete with patterns, but I don't know--I am a bit hesitant about buying a PDF, it's just not the same as a book. The dolls at website are fabulous, I especially like the little girl in the sailor dress. I've used her pattern before and it's a good one, especally the construction of the head. It's got such an anime look to it thought, and I do want something that looks more traditional. I've been looking through my doll books at home, but I have a feeling I may go with the e-book.