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Posts Tagged ‘hobbies’

Three items arrived in the mail for me today! How exciting! I hardly ever get mail so it’s always a happy day when something bearing my name, other than a bill, drops through the letter slot. I received a glorious length of Liberty lawn fabric (quite thin, and $30(!!!) with the exchange rate, I’ll have to wear a crinoline and probably a camisole to “preserve modesty”), a pattern for a short-skirted dress from 1968, and this 40s Czech bead necklace with beautiful red translucent beads.

The pattern looks mildly complicated, but then I’m not 100% able to finish a commercial pattern without help yet, so any of them will be mildly complicated. In a few weeks, a sewing class opens up in my neighborhood, for £35 I can go in once a week for five weeks and get help on what I’m making. I’m not sure that’s worth it for me, yet.

Last night I got stuck on the pattern I’m making now, the white and yellow capped-sleeve version at the left. I couldn’t figure out what understitching meant and the glossary was no help. My mom was able to explain it via IM; free tech support is always better than paid tech support. The pattern has no buttons, no zippers, and is definitely a good place to start; it has already taught me how to understitch and a new technique for joining at the shoulders. I’m also pleased that even with all the mistakes I made and ripping out of stitches, I didn’t have a single hissy fit. Progress! It’s taken me two days already but I’m pretty sure I’ll have it done by today, at least I hope I will. Blech, it’s 1:30 p.m., I’d better get working on it!

In the coming days several more patterns will arrive but I will have to prioritize or I’ll overwhelm myself like when I ordered 10,000 patterns while in Florida. At least now I can make it all at my own pace.

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Prego Pattern

This maternity bubble jumpsuit pattern is what I would call A Terrible Idea. I can’t find a photo of it and the auction is only up for the next five days (I’m really truly seriously tempted to buy it just so I can have the horror for my very own for as long as I want to look at it) but basically, if you read this after the auction is taken down and aren’t able to view it for yourself, the pattern is what you would go for if you wanted to make a pregnant woman look like a very fat three year old. It’s very nearly a pair of footy pajamas with the wide legs that taper at the ankle and box-like torso. Add on, in the case of the middle one, sleeves, and picture it in blue, and bang! Insta-Muppet! I wonder if I would be cool enough to wear the hot-pants length one should the boyfriend (I mean husband!) and I procreate.

The sewing machine has finally been taken to a shop, coincidentally one near O+K, which suits me, and I will pick it up this weekend and (praise be!) begin on some projects I’ve been wanting to make, and have recently ordered from eBay, like this lovely blouse pattern at the left. I can see myself making all three of the blouses but purchased it specifically for the bottom one. Now that I know I will most likely be working in an office, probably required to wear office-like clothes, I’d rather wear stuff like this, that I’ve made myself, than something I had to buy out of H&M or UNI QLO. I prefer this aesthetic anyway. I can get away with dresses at the office, right?

I’d also like to see if I can figure out how to make a pattern for the pair of pants pictured in the ad for the webcomic Humans and Other Myths. I haven’t read any of it, but it does look lovely. Found it on the sidebar of another webcomic I read, Penny and Aggie, an Archie-style comic that sometimes has a Christian bent to it that I ignore (much like I try to ignore the Christian bent I often see if Grey’s Anatomy). I don’t have the skillz of an artist needed to create patterns yet, but I’d like to take classes, so either a) someday, or b) I find someone to barter with. I’m betting on the latter.

Still have some time on the job thing, apparently. I’ll need to get an American-sized passport photo, print out bank statements, and am waiting for a letter from my recruiter touting my hireability. It’s a word, I swear it is.

P.S. It is apparently much harder than it seems to make a mochachino. Maybe that’s b/c I never remember to use espresso en vez de regular coffee. Bleh.

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Americans will remember the Alka Seltzer commercial where the dude wails that out but in this case, it is not I, in bed at night with heartburn but in the chair, in the afternoon, surprised that I have consumed an entire tub of Kozy Shack chocolate pudding. I have been on a mission to eat as many American delicacies (read that as “junk food”) as possible before I head back to an island nearly entirely devoid of such wonders as the aforementioned pudding, Little Debbie Snacks, decent peanut butter, Moonpies (oh! moonpies! Mom bought me a whole case of them to take back), Steak N Shake’s chocolate shakes, Checkers cheeseburgers, seasoned fries and milkshakes (inferior to those at SnS), Chick-O-Sticks, Miller High Life beer, and various other items. My hit count is pretty high, at present, and I’m sure that other things will spring to mind in the next three weeks.

Yeah! Three weeks left ’til I return to Ol’ Blighty! And then a month until my wedding! OMG, I finally understand why people say that weddings are stressful, but ours is less because of guest list/seating snafus than it is due to having roughly two months to plan it while both participants are out of the country. The boyfriend (neither of us likes the term “fiance/e” but both are happy with husband/wife) is on a 20 day tour with The Raveonettes as backline technician! Apparently this means setting up amps, tuning guitars, and if someone breaks a string on stage, handing them a new guitar and then quickly restringing & tuning the first one. I was really hoping to be back in England by the beginning of next week but who could deny their love the chance to tour with a rock & roll band? They are in Denmark right now. As soon as he begins posting on his tour blog I’ll be sure to add the link to my blogroll. One thing that I think is wicked cool is that some of my friends are going to be at the show in London on the 18th! Crazy, but then they head to Barcelona before finishing on the 20th and heading back to England.

Florida is expecting some crazy weather soon, especially the Tampa Bay region, which is lovely, considering that the temperature is expected to plunge (oh darn) and give me rain through Saturday, the day of my wedding celebration party. At least we have a decent-sized area inside, there may be no need for the screened-in porch to be made use of.

I made totally delirsh stuffed green bell peppers last night, who wants the recipe? Not for vegetarians or vegans.

Alright, time to get hand sewing on a wedding dress. I have a lot to do before 22nd December!

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1) Decide to knit a cowl from a pattern, in the round, on the first try knitting, ever. Fail miserably, rip out 7 times before finally deciding to give up on the pattern and simply knit it. Realize have forgotten how to cast on in the two months since you learned.
2) Decide to purchase silk taffeta for your wedding gown and make it at home.
3) Decide to overload your poor mother with patterns for a) wedding gown, b) mock-up for wedding gown (silk taffeta being a terrifying fabric), c,d,e) cotton blouses, f,g) wool skirts, h,j) cotton dress and matching jacket, and k) silk blouse with dolman sleeves. All vintage, all purchased in frenzy of eBay, etsy and other online searches, within about two weeks.
4) Decide to take on J (matching jacket) by yourself, when your mother is not home to troubleshoot. Get about halfway through before machine decides to pitch a fit.

On the whole, my crafting skills aren’t all that fantastic. I rely on my mother and on whim and on luck. I do have some sewing skills but they are leftovers mainly from middle school when I could still get away with running around in a halter top without wearing a bra. Still, I want to sew, I want to make things, and I am blessed with a boyfriend who likes to do the same. He made me the most fantastic birthday present ever last year, a custom-made tool roll for bike tools! On a background of blue-green (my favorite color), he’d cut out of felt a bicycle and the flowers it trailed, sewed it all together, covered it in plastic and made little pouches on the back for it all! I couldn’t believe it when I opened it up. Also, the awesome PB Tools rainbow hex key set I had no idea I desperately needed.

I’m pretty proud of the progress I’ve made on the jacket. It’s good to know that not all items of clothing I may have the skills to make are boxy, boring affairs. Nor that I am relegated to making pillow cases for the next year. I just need some more experience and continued access to my mother’s stash of fabric.

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With another plane trip in the works, travel preparations have been in high gear, as are my fears that I will forget something. I’ve made a list, and checked it thrice, but now that a friend has alerted me to the fact that my thrice-checked acupuncture points tattoo is incorrect on one side, I am even more afraid that I will have left something vital off the list. But there are stores, even in rural northern California, and anything I discover I need may be purchased when I get there.

It’s too bad that I’m terrible at sewing by hand, and that it’s not as secure, because I’d love to be able to make stuff while I’m there. I will just have to content myself with knitting my cowl, which I have graciously neglected to do in order to give myself something to do out there. No phone and no internet and a mountain makes for an amazing forced break from the world but will I go insane? Only time will tell. So for now I dream of redwoods and cedars and drizzly rain and fog. I’m kinda hazy on the rest.

Portland is a bus ride away, and I have joined the fixed gear/single speed forum out there and already been offered a loaner bike when I make my way up there. That’ll make it much easier to get around, my trusty map in the back of my waistband and a non-binding itinerary in my head. I’d really like to see what that city’s like, what the people are like, how much apartments cost, what kind of jobs are available, how easy it is to get to nature, what the food’s like, the list goes on…

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood

There’s a mountain! How ’bout that? How amazing would it be to have the opportunity to look at a mountain every time you go outside?

Willamette River

Willamette River

And a river! It looks to be about the width of the Thames, with easily tamable bridges. Lookin’ better and better!

I will have only limited internet access for the next month or more, so please bear with me and keep checking back! I’ll update as soon as I can.

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London was better than I expected this time around. Last time I was there I had such hassles at immigration and getting into the city and paying for travel when I was there that I was pretty much turned off by the whole idea of London. Now having been there twice and thus it all being a little more familiar, getting used to traveling on the tube and meeting a ton of really cool people on the Tweed Run has really helped improve my outlook.

I’ve found another friend in London, a cool chick who I will definitely delight in learning more about, she’s an artist, will take me under her wing and introduce me to more chicks in London. Her boyfriend wants to cook for the boyfriend and me, apparently he’s an amazing cook, I’m truly looking forward to returning to London in a week’s time. Someone else wants to cook carnitas for us, a Texan, and I can’t tell you how much I’ve been craving Mexican food lately. That and good Chinese food, both of which are sorely underrepresented in Madrid. I might have to learn how to cook Mexican food just so I can have it any time I like. First step: enchiladas suizas. Seriously. And tomatillo sauce. And, and, and I need a molcajete. (I might give up italicizing Spanish terms from now on, it’s beginning to feel a little too too.)

The Tweed Run was amazing, something ridiculous like 140 people, all in varying states of tweedy old-fashioned fancy dress goodness, all riding bikes around 22.5 miles of London’s streets. Everyone was so very nice, there was only a minimal amount of the hipsterness that had I expected coming from a fixed gear forum’s members, people shared liberally of enjoyable chat and whiskey. I made sure to nip rather than guzzle even though it was rather a slow circuit. People on the street were on the whole very receptive to the idea, taking photos, asking questions, calling out encouragement; I wonder how much our attire figured in there. Few jerks in cars, mostly drivers were very respectful. There was a heightened police presence due to protests for Palestine, which was a surprise, and definitely aided us in staying safe and slowing down motorists.

This time I finally got used to keeping my Oyster card handy so that I could tap it on the indicator upon both entry and exit of the tubes, and after days finally got used to looking right, then left then right. However, it will never cease to amaze me that you can park any which way you please, which completely does me in for quick visual cues of which way the street goes. No one way signs in London, leastways I didn’t see any. Also, the light can be green but the walk sign won’t, so all of my hard-won visual cues while biking in the city are just about null and void and I will have to get used to a new system.

Speaking of getting used to new systems, as soon as I got used to London, I had to return to Madrid. Spanish and pressing buttons when I want to leave the metro but no need for that card upon exiting the station. Wish me luck, I go back in a week!

In the meantime, I promise myself to buy a few essential sewing supplies and getting out of my funk of boredom by just doing it and messing around with learning to hand sew. Goal – pin tucks. I want to do some ridiculously time-consuming bodice front and will practice on scraps I will beg off my girl of the lobster fabric since she’s sending me stuff anyway.

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