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Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Eyes Have It

This is the last zakka owl I'll bore y'all with, made as a gift for a little girlfriend of the bug's. I just really liked these old shell buttons, which were clearly made for no other reason than to be made into owl eyes. And that's another of the same series of prints, also purchased for Xmas stockings.

Número Dos

This is the second Barcelona skirt I made, again the layered version.

I made some modifications: I didn't line it (the dark print was opaque enough, and I wanted a cooler summer skirt), and instead added a narrow waistband in a silk I got for some other purpose a long time ago (blouse?) interfaced with medium-weight woven interfacing on the outside half.

I wore it around a bit and then made another modification. One thing I absolutely hate is when the inside of the zipper jams into the small of my back; the zipper on this skirt was particularly offensive in that regard, so I cut a strip of fabric along the selvedge, folded it once, and stitched it down to the seam allowance and zipper tape on one side of the back seam so that it overlaps the opposite seam allowance by about 1/8 inch. I also stitched up the opposite side at the bottom about an inch, then sewed the unfolded edges of the strip down to the actual skirt back using a blind hem stitch, just to help it lay as flat as possible. Not pretty on the inside, but it does the job and is undetectable on the outside. (I tried taking some pictures of the closed zipper from the outside, but lost patience with the whole camera-behind-the-back thing.)

The main fabric is Cho-Cho no Sanpomichi by Kumiko Sudo for In the Beginning—my new favorite fabric series (not that I've ever had a favorite series before). Incidentally, the print I used for the owl in this post is also from that group of fabrics, not Moda as I miswrote the other day.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spring Skirt

I made a skirt yesterday, the Amy Butler Barcelona skirt, layered version. The main fabric is a very fine gray-brown seersucker I got many years ago when I thought it would be fun to single-handedly revive seersucker in womenswear (then I couldn't think of anything cool to do with it). The skirt is lined with bleached muslin, which works surprisingly well as a lining, although a thinner voile or lawn might be better.

New shoes! It's been a while since I've worn such impractical footwear.

Don't know if you can see the stripes or texture in this picture—it was the best I could do this morning. I think it'll look better after a few more turns in the washing machine to unravel the edges a bit more.

The pattern is good—thanks to Heidi for recommending it. That doesn't mean I didn't, as usual, rip more stitches than I sewed on this project. I learned that invisible zippers are less invisible when they're inserted into striped fabric, even barely perceptible stripes like these. Had to redo it a couple times to get it looking okay. Also, I don't know why the directions tell you to fold over the top of the zipper tape—it was very bulky and weird that way, and it made it hard to cover up the raw corner of the tape. And I was kind of between sizes, so more ripping. Blah blah, who cares. In any case, I do plan to make another one soon, and have even ordered some fabric online, from, to that end.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"Owl. Hoo-Hoo. Owl. Hoo-Hoo . . ."

The above is what the bug calls those nocturnal birds. Rarely just "owl." A couple weeks ago, a friend's mom happened to find a string of pretty, sturdy old buttons in our crawlspace, tucked into the insulation. I cleaned them up and made owls.

The print and the woven striped fabrics are both Moda quilting cottons I had leftover from our Christmas stockings, which I made back in December (the woman at the fabric store was scandalized when I told her what I was planning to use them for). For the owls, I followed these instructions at Moonstitches as closely as I could, sort of eyeballing the shapes. They each took about half an hour, and considering that they'll bring good luck to all of us I think it was time well spent.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

For Seriously Bored Editors:

Fun style sheet excerpts! Here are some from a few of the books I'm working on at the moment:
hoe (for whore)
hot dog (n.)
LL Cool J
MTV Video Music Awards; VMAs
Munchausen syndrome by proxy
Naughty by Nature
Royce da 5'9"
Saint Andrews Hall
shit hole
shit storm
slept-on (adj.)
final load
finger palm (v., n.); finger-palm (adj. preceding n.)
Great Tomsoni, the
half dollar
hankie (for handkerchief)
Hindu shuffle [control]
inertia move
jog shuffle [control]
key card
King of Koins, the
letter C
Lulu Hurst-ian
Marlo’s switch control
pseudo-Hindu shuffle [control]
Native American
North Wales
plein-air (adj. preceding n.)
Santa Ynez Mountains
southern California; northern California
Spanish Revival
terra cotta (n.); terra-cotta (adj.)
wood (not wooden)
Obviously these are arranged according to how much I'm enjoying each project.

Green Gold

The bug and I picked a few—and by that I mean four—spears of asparagus from our yard the other day. (This is only the plants' second season after I planted the crowns, so I'm letting most of the spears grow into fronds or whatever to strengthen the roots. I'm not sure they'll ever yield a whole lot, though.) We took them straight inside, cut them into pieces, steamed them for about 60 seconds, and tossed them with a little butter and salt, and we shared them. It was the best asparagus I've ever eaten, and I'd say that even if I hadn't spent scores of hours digging, planting, weeding, and fertilizing them for the last thirteen or fourteen months. As I told Mr. Chalmers, when he came home from an errand and found me nearly in tears, this asparagus was like a different vegetable altogether from the asparagus we've been buying. I couldn't even say that freshness was the main factor: they just tasted so much more like asparagus! I guess I hadn't remembered the asparagus my parents grew in Virginia as accurately as I'd thought, maybe because when I was living at home we'd go through several weeks each spring eating the stuff three meals a day, and I took it for granted. I want the little bug to take it for granted too, but it'll take a lot more asparagus before that happens. She asked for more, and I told her next year.

These are the asparagus trenches; I weeded them recently, I swear!

Near the asparagus is another little project, a shed I want to kind of fix up so it's usable in some way (recording studio or goat shed, depending on how far we get). The main thing we have to do is pour a concrete floor. And run electricity out to it. And do something about the empty window . . . It's a long-term idea.

Here are some before pictures, which I must say truly do not capture the griminess of the inside when I started on it:

I do like how it looks in this picture; maybe when it's all finished we can let the brush grow back up around it. Nature's soundproofing.

And here are some during pictures: