Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Scary Patterns V: Creepy Geese Version

The First Rule in the Alien Expeditionary Force Handbook is: We don't talk about the Alien Invasion. Instead, it instructs, dress to blend in with the Earthlings. However, as with all advice translated into a second language, they missed a few finer details. For example, Non-Alien Invader Geese do not dress in hats, bow ties and raincoats. The one in the Yellow Raincoat thinks he is blending in with just plain folks, but we all KNOW he is one of THEM.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pocket Love

This designer must have decided that he/she was tired of skirts with no *&^$#&@* pockets! Here is some serious pocket love. If you are a pocket person, this is your skirt. I confess to never making a skirt or pants without pockets. I dislike carrying a purse everywhere and pockets, lots of pockets, are the answer. Vogue 1248 has lots to love for the pocket addict.

Of course, this is a whole lotta look, so keep the top and shoes and jewelry simple.
You could even make the pockets smaller, but I have to ask - why? To wear a skirt like this, you have to own the pockets.
Now for my whine. McVoguerick recently changed the way they show the pattern information on their website. They used to give the finished garment measurements, but now they blithely say, "FINISHED GARMENT MEASUREMENTS: Printed on Pattern Tissue." Nice going, McVoguerick! Like I am going to UNFOLD the entire pattern to see the measurements! This small change annoys me to no end. It annoys me enough to actually write a cranky letter to the Pattern industrial conspiracy. Put the damn measurements on the envelope! Sincerely yours, Mrs. Hunting Creek

Friday, March 25, 2011

Organizing Solutions for Every Quilter

This new book looked just right for starting my new sewing studio on the right foot.
I'll freely admit to being a disorganized sewista. My patterns are in an order known only to me, my fabrics are sorted by my own Secret System and I have a whole basket full of UFOs. I'm hopeful that reading this book will enable me to change my wicked ways. If changing your own wicked ways appeals to you, find a copy here.
I'll be reading the fabric storage chapter very closely.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Scary Patterns IV Blue Jean Holiday

Even though one would never see reindeer, penguins and turkeys together in the wild, here they are in blue jeans for your strangely twisted holiday decorating enjoyment. (it's Artistic License, my professor would say. Stop being so Literal!) What possible holiday it might be that allows for reindeer plus penguins plus turkeys in jeans on hay bales, I'm not sure.
But if that's totally your thing, it's here.
This is not as creepy as those vacuum cleaner covers, but it's close.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Look for the Union Label

We watched the Triangle documentary on HBO on demand last night. (Thanks to Meg for pointing it out!)I knew about the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory from my days as both a history major at UC Berkeley and as a US History teacher. But watching the story and hearing from the families made me both sad and angry. I kept saying to Mr. Hunting Creek, "This is why we need collective bargaining and unions! This is why we need regulations!" I was angry because I feel that the current political climate is trying to demonize Unions and destroy them for the benefit of the powerful. Look how they try to make the the non -Union workers hate the Union ones! Turning the workers against each other to get rid of benefits for everyone! (It's not a coincidence that the companies moved U.S. textile jobs overseas where there are fewer worker protections.) Don't even get me started about what's happening in Wisconsin. After working as a teacher, I can testify that it's not an easy job and is not very well paid. When I was a kid my parents had an office next to a Hawaiian shirt factory, and those women worked all day long turning out beautiful shirts at high speed- not an easy job. Their conditions were palatial compared to those in New York for those poor women. Watch the documentary. Write to your elected representative. Make your voice heard!
I'd like to force certain governors to sit and watch. It should be a job requirement.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Scary Patterns III Dolls Gone Wild

It's a running joke with my family that I don't like scary movies, scary pictures, scary anything. I especially don't like movies with dolls that come to life and kill people, or dolls that have evil intentions. Some people love dolls and country-style decorating. We had a next door neighbor who was a very sweet person, but her house was full of ducks with kerchiefs and ruffled aprons and dolls and cute bunnies. It was enough to give me nightmares.
My brother and sister are well aware of what gives me the creeps, and that's why they were especially happy when they found this pattern in North Carolina. (I have nothing against North Carolina. Great Barbecue, lovely people.)
What a sinister mind that thought up doll vacuum cleaner covers! I make no claims to be a perfect housekeeper, but never in a thousand years would I have dreamed of covering my vacuum cleaner with a doll-shaped cover that has a bonnet and a ruffled apron. I don't consider my vacuum cleaner in need of a cover. It's fine by itself, and when not in use, it hangs out in the closet of my workroom.
However, I know that different people have different tastes, and to those people I say: enjoy. (But don't those eyes remind you of Coraline?)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Even Beethoven did it

From the Writer's Almanac this morning: On this day in 1802, Ludwig van Beethoven published the "Moonlight" Sonata. Its official title is Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor, Opus 27, No. 2. He was never happy about the sonata's popularity. He said, "Surely I've written better things."

How many times has someone complimented you, and you replied, not with a thank you, but with a , "But, I messed this up here..."
To quote my new favorite philosopher Charlie Sheen, "Everything after but is dial tone."
I almost did it the other day. A friend of my son's was visiting, and I mentioned that I was in the middle of organizing my new sewing studio. She asked if she could see something I had made. There was a little throw quilt on the back of a chair, and while she admired the colors of the batiks and the intricacies of the piecing, I just barely kept myself from pointing out all of the flaws. After she left,I was talking to Mr. Hunting Creek, (my second favorite philosopher) and he pointed out that when someone admires something we've done and we point out the flaws, what we are doing is criticizing their lack of discernment. Just think of what Beethoven was really saying...he had written better things, what rubes we are to not appreciate those things, and what fools we are to like the Moonlight Sonata instead. That's not very nice, is it? My mom always said that when someone compliments you, just say thank you and shut up. (Along with never complain and never explain. Charlie might keep that in mind).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Big Sort

With every step between my bins of fabric up from storage and the new Giant Wall O' Fabric installed in my new Sewing Studio, I have to step over the above Springer Spaniel. Petey is 11 and "retired" so she sees no reason to move just because she is In My Way. If I move, she moves. It keeps me alert. When my sewing cave was packed up by Mr. Hunting Creek, in his frenzy of organization last November, he just tossed everything into boxes and bins. No rhyme or reason. Now I am unpacking and wondering why I kept certain things. Teeny tiny scraps from a baby quilt or a shirt I made 10 years ago? why yes, I have that.

I had a liberating thought this morning. I didn't have to keep tiny scraps. So I have been throwing them away. My daughter should be here; she loves to throw stuff out. Big pieces will be donated to a worthy quilty cause - there are lots to choose from.

What I am keeping is being neatly folded and added to my Wall. It looks pretty. I'll have to have my daughter the Dominatrix Organizer whip it into colorful artistic shape, but for now, it's moving from the boxes to the shelves. I'm trying to decide how to separate the quilting fabric from the fashion fabric. Or should I just do everything by color? (This is what we call a high class problem.)
I've been jittery and crabby without sewing; I've been like an addict without my fix. Sewing calms me and makes me happy. I've missed it these last few months while my room took shape.
While I sort and fold, I'm trying to decide what my first project will be. I dropped a piece of flannel, and turned around to get something out of the closet before I picked it up. But never fear, Petey laid right down on it to keep it secure on the floor. It's so nice to have helpers!