Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Here's my costume--a Pioneer woman! I got the bonnet from a lady on eBay who makes them for re-enactors, the dress from my favorite fat-lady store, the apron from my sister (who made it herself), and the boots online for a clearance price. I added the extra ruffle on the bottom of the dress to make it long enough to reflect pioneer days--that was my first sewing-machine project. I also tucked in the wing collar and fixed it in place with a few tiny stitches so it would look more like a banded collar--again, more appropriate to the time. All in all, I think it turned out pretty well, and I got a lot of compliments on it. We had a costume contest at the office party (for the few of us who dressed up), so who knows--maybe I'll win! (I voted for myself. Is that crass? Too bad!)

Note the long apron strings. I discovered that if you don't tuck those apron strings into an apron pocket when you go to the bathroom, they might get dipped where you don't want 'em dipped. Nuff said.

Below are a couple more pictures. By the way, I have no idea who that fat lady in my dress is. An interloper, I would guess. Surely, she'll return my formerly svelte self one of these days.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sewing project complete

Gotta say, I like my beginner sewing machine a LOT better than the big, bad version I had to use in high school. My first sewing project, adjusting my Halloween costume (won't tell ya what or how yet), is complete and turned out pretty well. It also went a helluva lot faster than if I'd tried to hand-sew the thing. However....

Note to beginning seamstresses (and seamsters?): Do not choose something with gathers (e.g., a ruffle) as your first project, especially if you're pressed for time. I managed it, but, sheesh, it took half a day--half of a long day--to figure it out and get it done! I have some beginning-sewing books coming and I'll be interested to see if my solution matches their instructions.

One dumb mistake I kept making was forgetting to set the presser foot down before I started sewing--DOH! Oddly enough, you don't accomplish much when you do that.... And, as I discovered to my dismay, it's possible to get the thread tangled up in all the mechanical bits inside the machine when you do it, because the tension isn't right. I think I'm over that particular mistake now.

Oh, and working on a voluminous garment with a curious cat in the house is a real interesting proposition:

"No, Minnie, you can't be up there."
"Minnie, don't sit on the pins!"
"Minnie, stop, that's not a toy."
"Watch out for the needle, Minnie."
Pick up the cat, put her on the bed instead of my fabric.
Stuff the leftover bits of thread way down in the trash so Minnie doesn't eat them.
Pick up the cat, put her on her scratching post instead of my ironing board.
Bribe the cat out of the sewing room with treats....

Oy. Fortunately, the weather was gorgeous and cool this weekend--Minnie's favorite--so she spent a lot of time outside (her preference--she's an indoor/outdoor kitty).

On another kitty subject, I met my regular cat-sitter's helper this evening; she'll be taking over for my "main gal", the Critter Nanny, for a few days while Nanny's out of town herself. Imagine--after two or three years, she thinks she needs a vacation! The nerve!  :D  Minnie was a little nervous with the helper at first, but got over it--especially when treats were produced. Anyway, she's very nice and seems quite responsible, so I won't worry (too much) during those few days.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sewing 101

I've been assembling this year's Halloween costume lately, with the help of No.1 Sister. I couldn't make it work on my own unless I spent a fortune, and I wasn't about to do that for a silly Halloween costume. My sewing skills are pretty limited: I can sew on buttons, repair split seams, and do a little patching; I even converted a big denim futon cover from the thrift store into a Lazyboy chair cover, although it took ages because I had to hand-stitch the whole enormous thing. But I don't know how to make anything even as simple as an apron (Sister A. did a fabulous job on it, BTW!). It occurred to me--not for the first time--that a person of my (reasonable) intelligence and (vestigial) creativity ought to be able to learn how to use a sewing machine well enough to make throw pillows or simple garments. So, dang it, that's what I'm going to do.

I did take Home Ec in high school and used a sewing machine there, but that was [mumble, mumble] years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and I didn't do a very good job on the plain little shirt I made. The machine seemed to want to run like it was in the Indy 500--made me nervous. Anyway, I do remember a few things from sewing class, and from watching my mom sew, so that ought to help. And, of course, there are books for dummies.

I found a "beginner" sewing machine at WalMart yesterday that came with a DVD showing how to do all the basic things and went through that today. My wee machine did not try to run away from me, so obviously not all sewing machines are as touchy as the one I used in high school. I sewed lines and zig-zags and learned to reverse a stitch to finish it off. I Googled for instructions on how to do the particular thing I need to adjust my costume, and I've got print-outs for that (I love the Web). So now all I need to do is measure, make the pattern, cut the cloth, and give it a whirl. If it turns out ugly, well, it's just a costume, and I can restore the garment to its original state with my handy-dandy seam-ripper.

Such (sedate) adventures I have....  :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's rather frustrating...

...when you've got a Friday night with no big work project scheduled for the next morning, and you put all your warm blankies on your bed, and you're looking forward to a nice long sleep...and then you don't get it. Can't blame it on the cat, either (well, not entirely). I woke up at 3am, then kept dodging in and out of sleep until 7am, when I totally gave up. Don't know why--just pure cussedness, I guess.

On a happier note, I did my weekly weigh-in and I've lost another pound, for a total of 12 down. Slow progress, but (I hope) steady from now on. Now that my tooth is fixed, I can go back on my normal, high-fiber, nearly-vegetarian diet.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Dieting is a slooooow business

Of course, it might be a little faster if I'd (a) quit snarfing cheeseburgers & Dr.Peppers and (b) get off my ass in the evenings instead of doing endless crossword puzzles. I like crossword puzzles, but that's no excuse.

I misread the scale time before last and I'm only 11 lbs. down from my top weight, not 15. So I've got a ways to go still. Steamed veggies, water & tea, little meat, protein water, yogurt, fiber-y snacks.... Gotta get back to it.

*le sigh*