Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An Actual Patchwork Dress

This IS what they meant by patchwork dress  :-) 
Here's the story:  I'm so persnickety about what I'm going to wear, that I end up with just about nothing to wear.  It has to be 100% cotton, it has to be a dress with a gathered skirt with flowers on it, it has to be made in the USA and I have to be able to afford it, unfortunately there's approximately one way to meet those qualifications, and that's to get busy.  I do get around to making a dress every once in a while, but then, it's usually a nice dress that goes into the closet for going to town in.  So what do I wear to mow or chase chickens?  Some pretty disreputable-looking raggy outfits sometimes...
So I set out to use up some of my scraps (to please the daughter of parents who loved to tell me about the Great Depression, in which they apparently had a rollicking good time stuffing cardboard in their shoes to keep their feet off the road, etc, and rule #1 was not to throw anything away, ever) and to make something extremely casual that can be worn outside to get dirty on purpose. 
Success! 


Showed "this ridiculous dress" to husband and he said it was pretty. 
I said I wouldn't exactly wear it in public, he said, "Why not?  Have you seen some of the things they wear??"
That's not comforting! 
Anyway I designed it for gardening  :-) 

Status of My Stash

On hearing the explanation of "She who dies with the most fabric wins," one of my children exclaimed, "Mom would win that!"
Ooooooh, no.  Nowhere near.  Not even in the running.  I have a pathetic stash compared with the actual competitors (I've read about a few of them!!) but it's about right for me.  For one thing, I have no more storage space than this!
So, for the amusement of the world, here's the status of my little me-sized stash. 
I have three closet shelves, each 2x2 feet square.

This pile was mostly donated by friends.  There's quilt-scrap calico in the front, and behind it, several nice pieces with whimsical pictures good for curtains, aprons or scrubs, none of which I have the least use for right now, but "you never know" (the song of the clutter-bug) also some four-yard cuts of satin or sparkly fabric that could be useful in case we suddenly need an emergency evening gown in gold, pale blue or royal purple (you never know). 


This shelf is nice fabric I've mostly bought over the years as I saw it for a good price, 4-6 yard pieces for making dresses out of, and some was donated.  The plastic box in the middle of the stack is lace fabric and trim. 


The third shelf is the solids or yard-dyed fabric that would be suitable for making medieval garb.  There's a couple of dark blue or green cotton sheets in there.  Am I above wearing something made of old sheets?  I think I've established my level already...
And there's one piece in here that actually looks somewhat like linen!  So, all of this is my SCA-picking stash. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Clock is Back on the Wall

I know, big whoop.
Hey, it's my blog, I can be as boring as I want to be.



This is the clock we inherited from DH's mother.  I liked it for a lot of years and then it stopped winding.  I took it to the clock place and the guy in there wanted $50 to fix it.  I got cheap and brought it home, I was gonna fix it myself.  He explained how to fix and gave me some tips.  I got as far as taking the whole thing apart.

Then it lay on the floor under the shoe rack for the next I don't know how many years (quite a few) gathering dust and pine needles. 

Last week I was having such fun making a list and checking things off it!  Even writing down the most ordinary things and then checking them off, makes one feel as if one has majorly accomplished things by the end of the day.  In this mood of efficiency, I spotted that clock, and gathered it up and took it down to the clock place.

I was resigned to having to pay more than that by now, the economy having started its downward spiraling motion in the meantime, but I do admit I'm not going to learn clock repair in the forseeable future.

The clock place guy was standing right there amidst the shiny beautiful clocks, I put my apart-clock on the counter and he fixed it with his fingers and proceeded to reassemble it while I held parts in place, and he charged me $20 for this. 

Happy camper has the clock back in business.  I really love that clock!  I like that nice mellow chiming every hour and half hour.  It reminds us of the progress of time. 



The Motorhome my Dad Made From a Frito-Lay Truck

My dad was a master mechanic, and for a project he made his own motorhome. He bought a Frito-Lay truck at auction and fixed it all up. He told me he had seen a motorhome spread across the freeway, with the people's clothes and dishes and toilet paper rolling across the lanes. He didn't want to put his family in a fiberglass shell, he wanted steel between us and the road.

He ripped the doors out of the back of the truck and put in a shaped back. Mom helped with the inside, she upholstered all the foam cushions and curtains, did wallpaper etc.

The date on one of these construction pictures is 1973, that means I was three years old, too young to have any memories of it going together.



I have those two ugly pictures of construction but not a one of the finished interior.  What a pity!  

Behind the driver's seat was the bathroom, which was an enclosed area with a sealed floor, for taking showers. I'm trying to remember if the toilet seat folded up out of the way, that's what my memory tells me. Next was the kitchen which included an oven, which Mom said she never once used, she should have skipped it and put an extra drawer there instead. All the cooking she did on the road was stovetop.

On the other side was a table with bench seats that made down into a bed, then a closet. In back was a table with benches all around it in a U-shape. The table was on a pole and lowered down, and the seat backs went over the table like a puzzle to make a large bed. Above the large bed there was a bunk that was mine. I loved "my" bunk, and I have a lot of great memories of the motorhome. When we were on the road I'd put all my toys and personal stuff up in the bunk. SO PEACEFUL to fall asleep while driving along, the motion and noise made me drop off to sleep instantly.

I have a clear memory of the ceiling which was some white material with a fancy pattern embossed all over it, because from my bunk I did a lot of looking at it at close range! You may notice in these pictures I'm not wearing glasses, because at that point nobody had noticed that I could focus no further than eight inches beyond my nose.

That was a classy machine and got Dad a lot of admiring, but puzzled stares. People drove by and looked all over it trying to find the make!







Karen's Latest, and My Organized Mike

I always believed in nature over nurture, based on my reading and personal opinions.  What would I say, maybe 75% nature and 25% nurture?
Since being a mother I'm gonna go with 95% nature.
They are BORN the way they are going to be, nothing else to it!  What about Karen's amazing artistic talent?  Sure, there is a good supply of ordinary-creativity and artistic skills in my family, in that when we do a project, we can make it come out looking nice.  That does not explain Karen.  Click the "Karen" tag to see more if you haven't been following  :-)
When this daughter was three, while the other kids were still scribbling, she'd divide up her kiddie coloring pages into mosaic patterns to make them more complex, and then shade them.

She's been unhappy with the inside of our house for a while now.  She didn't have a place set aside for painting, there just isn't enough room for it.  
(I feel SO SO SO guilty for having a sewing area set up, and every time the Karen painting space subject came up, I'd start talking out loud about whether I shouldn't be a good mother and sacrifice my sewing area for a painting area.  Then one day Karen said, "Did I ever ASK you to give up your sewing area?"  It's not by a window, so it wouldn't work anyway  :-)
The summer's mostly over, but she finally thought about setting her easel up on the deck, and she's been working out there for a while which is really good to see.
Here's what she came up with--


She hasn't decided yet what should be in the foreground  :-)  


And Mike!
Mikey is SO organized, it's really funny.  He wants to know when we're leaving.  "As soon as we're all ready,"  I say, or maybe, "When I feel like it." 


That is not okay with Mike.  He wants to know what time we're leaving, then he'll walk around being a human countdown timer-- "We're leaving in twenty minutes!  We're leaving in ten minutes!  We're leaving in five minutes!" 
Where on earth did he get that?

I asked Mike to put the fish sticks on the tray with space between them, and this is what I got:


I asked Mike to wash the silverware:


I want Mike to be a fireman when he grows up. With his organization and hard work and his caring people skills, he'll have no problem, and those huge eyes and wide shoulders he's getting, he'll be on the calendar for sure.

Cleanliness, that's another thing they never inherited from me. I'm an old time shirking expert. My poor mother had an impossible time with me from birth onwards, because I was always very careful how I treated my toys, but extremely random about when or if I put them away. I definitely would never CLEAN anything. Housework? I was allergic, and if pressed and given no way out, I'd do it halfway, the first, second and third tries. It was easier for Mom to do it herself and she basically gave up.

But I asked Karen to clean the recycle basket, which was all icky with dried dribbly gunk at the bottom, and this is what I got!


You can't win 'em all.
I asked Dave to put away the dishes...
This, he got from me  :-( 


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ModelMuse Barbie - it begins!

Someone wrote me with feedback on my free Barbie strapless pattern and asked if or when I was going to make any patterns from the Barbie Modelmuse body shape.  I had not up to that point even heard of the new body. 
They said I should make some free patterns for her because "there's a whole untapped market there". 
I went looking on ebay and found a Modelmuse shape doll for a total of $8 which is just about my right price range  :-) 







The new shape really is lovely!  It looks much more graceful and realistic than any they've come out with before. 
Rather than post nudie shots here's the full length view

Those are the shots the ebay seller provided.  The dollie's lying on my ironing board right now being inspirational, and I'm totally going to make some free patterns for her, but so far she hasn't moved for like two weeks and I haven't even taken pictures of her myself.  Sigh...



Gene doll dress from my free princess pattern

Someone from the internet was kind enough to write and point out a problem with my pdf!
For now, I've just put back the basic jpgs that I had originally. I took time to print off a copy and make a test dress before putting the jpgs up again.  

Find that pattern here:  http://www.janelwashere.com/crafts/gene_patterns.htm

Here's the 2011 test.  And I must say, it is a very clever pattern  :-) 


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Quilt on the Line

Told Husband that hanging the quilt out on the line was half the coolth of making it.  That quilt just has to be out there draped, looking like that!  It's so classic, so down-home! 
He pointed out that nobody can see it.
I insisted its just being there is all it takes, I still get my Country Girl points.
But later I started to wonder...
If the quilt is out on the line and nobody sees it, do I get still points?
So-- here, world!