Thursday, April 30, 2009

Laugh And The World Laughs With You

Did you know that Ricky Gervais had a blog?!

Yup, the constantly laughing* star and creator of The Office and Extras?

GREAT, just like I need yet another blog to read...but read it I will.

Come on, join in, and get addicted here.

*Seriously, the man has the most infectious laugh ever!
Photo: Getty Images

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Buddy... My Sewing Machine

My Babylock BL2100 is over 15 years old. It is my first and only one. I remember buying another one, trying it for one day, and taking it back. I don't remember what it was, but I didn't like the way it worked. I bought the Babylock in 1993, years after I worked in a fabric store. Why didn't I buy when I had those discounts?

Though it might drive me crazy with tension issues and it's less than automatic one-step buttonhole (swoon!) deal it has treated me well. In my family we currently have my Babylock, a 10-yr old Singer, and a PFAFF Hobbymatic. I vaguely remember that my mom had a Kenmore (Sears) sewing machine and was just reminded that she also had a PFAFF from the 1960s, which was pretty recently sold. Our mother never officially gave us sewing lessons when we were young but we all can sew now. My sisters don't really make clothing but have done some very impressive draperies, bedding, and crib sets over the years. All the stuff that I don't do, so I guess we've got the sewing thing covered. Because we gravitated to it later in life after watching our mother sew all of our lives, I guess that still bodes well for my nieces and nephew. At least they know it's not some impossibly difficult thing that you can't possibly pick up.

I have two questions for you.

I was just wondering, if anyone knows of a sewing blogger out there who owns a Babylock, or am I the only one?

Also I know most of you have new (younger than 15) machines, but who out there is doing it old school? I don't mean with one older machine among your newer models, but who is working solely with a machine over 10 years old? Thanks!

Friday, April 24, 2009

New Vogue Spring Patterns

Speaking of Vogue Patterns...

Vogue 8576

I swear I hadn't seen this when I wrote that post. But how eerie?

Vogue 1107

This looks really cute but there's something about the collar, at the back or her neck, in this picture that makes me think a lot of sewers will be cussin' before long. If you attempt this one, let me know.

Vogue 1102

I love love love this one! But almost immediately I realized that it was because it was similar to something I have had in my pattern stash for almost twenty (!) years. If I'm going to make anything it will have to be the Claude Montana design from 1990.

Vogue 2507

Even their sketches are similar in silhouette (but not in design or details)

Vogue 2507
Vogue 1102

Anyway, if I made the new one I'd want to stand around all the time with my arms out to the side just like the model. Well, wouldn't you?

Have You Tried?

Has anyone out there in the blogosphere tried to make this type of top?

Junya Watanabe Check Twist Top

Now this is the kind of pattern I want to see offered by the Big Four. Wildly shaped pattern pieces that form a fairly basic T-shirt shape when sewn. So how can we get Junya Watanabe to create some patterns for Vogue?

Who do we have to call?

Hot, right?

Images: Totokaelo

Thursday, April 23, 2009

...and It's Right Near My Place

Discovered what looks like a bootleg thrift store on Broad Street a few days ago. No sign in the window and no hours posted. The note on the door says to contact the "ladies" next door at the Quirk gallery to let you in. So it seems kinda sketchy but...

Excuse the blurry through the window shot

it had two cool working dress forms in the window, a mini wire dress form-like sculpture, white lamp that looks like a mini dress mannequin with a full skirt (!), some really cool McCoy-like vases, a 1960's console, a low-slung 60's chair, and a few more sculptural lamps. I'll have to try to get down there during my lunch hour one day this week to take measurements on the white collapsible dress form and get a price on all that other stuff.

You know, like I could buy anything. Ha!

By the way, check out the cool window display in the Quirk Gallery next door where the "ladies" are:

Also see a bit of the architecture of the city reflected in the background.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sewing Mojo Needed

This is the third night in four days that I've hemmed an item of clothing. These are things that I've haven't been able to wear because they needed new hems. Tonight, I redid the lining hem of a skirt that shrunk in length a year ago. Because the back lining hung below the skirt I just stopped wearing it. Now I don't have an excuse.

Lately, I've been having a hard time starting new projects and using my old uncompleted projects as an excuse. I also think to an extent that my exposure to more concrete sewing techniques and sewist/sewer blogs have intimidated me a bit. There used to be a time when I didn't wash my fabric before sewing. I was never intimidated by knit patterns before, I just barreled through their construction no matter what. But I just recently started to always true up the fabric grain by pulling a thread or ripping, using flat-pattern measuring before I cut pattern pieces, and making muslins of the more suspect pattern designs. I know it's all worth it in the end but it doesn't help my procrastination problem knowing these steps should be added to the process.

I am going to try to push myself to finish as many as I can because I have a lot of new sewing planned ahead. The inspiration and ideas are there, I just need to get myself in gear.

Monday, April 20, 2009

This Weekend was Full and Fun!


Saturday (THE most beautiful Spring day):

  • Went down to Plan 9 for Record Store Day with a friend and scored 4 CD samplers, 3 full CDs, 1 Morissey sticker and 1 LP (remember those?) sampler of singles from various record labels. ALL FREE! And yes, I do have an adorable Crosley portable turntable to play that LP on!
  • Sat at an outside table and had a snack at a Thai restaurant. Mango & sticky rice...yum!!
  • Went to visit my friends and their three daughters. Watched some of Star Wars* with their middle girl, who was being introduced to the movie for the first time.
  • Hemmed one pair of those pants that have been waiting around for ever. This included also hemming the lining!

  • Attending the Spring Bada Bing craft show run by the Richmond Craft Mafia with two friends. Didn't buy anything but was bolstered by all the DIY goodness.
  • Suggested dropping by a fabric store and was amazingly heartily agreed upon by all. (Feeling very Dickens and Austen just right now)
  • First stopped to have lunch first at Kitchen 64. Yum! Will have the remainder of that meal for lunch today.
  • Purchased a long-awaited copy of Stitch magazine at Quilting Adventures.
  • Stopped by both Sally's Beauty Supply and Ellwood Thompson's natural foods store to purchase items for my new hair care regimen; it involves Amino Acids and Castor Oil!
  • Took a long nap.
  • Hemmed another item; this long-hated top, after many more revisions. Have to think about it a while before I can say if I like it now since It has been the most frustrating experience!
  • Watched another wonderful installment of Little Dorrit!
Whew, I feel like I need a vacation now!

*Never call Star Wars "The New Hope" to my face, it will always be Star Wars period, to me. Changing it's name gives the prequels far too much importance. (Boo to Jar Jar Binks & Co.!)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Domino Giveaway Extended!

Hey, I've decided to extend the book giveaway deadline to Tuesday at Noon. So if you haven't left a comment on this post, go and do it now!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Job, Schmob...

What a kick in the head...

Everyone in the US is currently trying to KEEP the jobs that they currently have. However, I can't afford to stay at my job any longer. I am in the hole every month due to my school loan payments and the minimum payments of a credit card or two. I also can't afford to continue with school any time soon. Without my tax refund, who knows where I would be today. Seriously.

So, out in the job market I must go. I have a great idea for a side business for extra money; however, I don't make enough money that I can leisurely wait the one to two months to get it up and running.

I always believed in doing something that you were actually interested in, if not love. However, it seems I tend to like the unappreciated jobs; basically anything involved in keeping old things around like buildings.

The resume was rewritten months ago but it was written around my strengths in event planning and logistics. So I have to rewrite it now to emphasize the more marketable administrative assistant-type things that I do that I don't necessarily love or enjoy.

So that's what's weighing on my mind recently.

Psst! On a lighter note, don't forget about my giveaway!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

There's a Giveaway at SHELTERhome!

Still missing Domino magazine like I am?

Well, two lucky readers of my blog, SHELTERhome will receive a brand new copy of Domino's The Book of Decorating: A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You Happy.

Just click here and let me know in the comments if there was a particular Domino story that influenced a specific design purchase or project in your own home?

I'll be picking the winners on Friday. Good luck one and all!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Positively Toxic Smell!

When I left for work this morning I opened up a new shower curtain liner for the first time. Being a vinyl material I knew it would have a strong odor and was hoping it would do some major airing out/off-gassing while I was gone. However, when I opened it I was blown away with the extremely strong gasoline smell. I mean, strong enough that I started speeding up my morning routine to get out of there as fast as I could.

Tonight, it's the same; it smells exactly as if I was standing next to the unleaded pump filling up my car. I can't imagine using it tomorrow in a hot shower. I am sure my sinuses and my head would be messed up for the day.

This particular product is the Heavyweight Anti-Mildew vinyl shower curtain liner from Target's home collection(#3064 08 0694). The smell is mentioned in all the product reviews on the site. In fact, this one describes it exactly as I would:

"While indeed the weight of this liner is one of the heaviest I have found, it has an AWFUL Odor. Not the typical, gone in an hour "vinyl" shower curtain liner most of us have experienced type odor, but a very strong, petroleum/diesel fuel odor. It gave me a horrible headache, and is so bad that I had to close the door to my bathroom and run the exhaust fan and an air purifier. I even tried washing the liner in the washing machine with a little white vinegar. All that did was instantly rust the "rust proof" grommets, and the smell is only slightly less three days later. It is still all I can smell when in the shower. It really makes the product unusable."

I'm glad I wrote this AND read that review because I just walked over to it and realized I don't even want to touch it because of the smell. Therefore, I'm going to package it back up, wash my hands again, and take it back to the store. I hope they'll let me exchange it for their ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) PVC-free ones, despite the $6 difference. If they try to give me a hard time, I'll just make them smell it! That smell CAN NOT not be good for your health!

Monday, April 13, 2009

PBS, Oh How I Love Thee...

How I've been spending my Sunday nights in April:

Claire Foy as Amy "Little" Dorrit

Watching the PBS Masterpiece Classic version of Charles Dicken's Little Dorrit. Originally broadcast in England in 14 segments, we Yanks get to see it combined into five episodes. This makes me so happy because even after 1 1/2 hours of each episode I'm dying to see more. I have no idea how I would have lasted watching it a measly half hour at a time!

If you have not read the book (like me) I suggest you check this page at the PBS Masterpiece site to keep track of the multitude of characters.

Matthew Macfadyen as Arthur Clennam

If you wish to read the book online, here are two great sites, one is actually searchable so you can jump whereever in the book you wish, the other is just more appealing visually.
  • The searchable version here at
  • The easy to read HTML version here from the library of The University of Adelaide in Australia.
Also, if you've seen The Lord of the Rings movies, pay special attention to the character of the evil Frenchman Rigaud. Let's just say that the most strange and bizarre evil characters in both have something in common.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fashion In Film: Little Edie and Anthropologie

I was just looking through this post full of costume images from the new HBO movie, Grey Gardens on the Edie Beales, Big and Little. I definitely will need to check this one out.

Halfway through the post, amongst all the gorgeous and eerily accurate costumes, I saw this dress:

Drew Barrymore as Little Edie

How close is that to the wonderful plum dress I showed in my last post? The same plum dress I vowed to look for when it goes on sale.

Of course, now I want it even more!

More images from the movie here via The Los Angeles Times.

Friday, April 10, 2009

More from the Anthropologie Clearance Room

Two dresses I loved at Anthropologie. Though the plum tailored dress is still at full price and only the denim ruffly one is in the sales/clearance room. If you run, you may still be able to get the denim one in a store near you.

The lovely full lining. This dress could practically be worn reversible, the lining was so comprehensive and made so well!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Inspiration to Reality

3.1 Phillip Lim skirt

My version

Finally, it is done! Oh, and the hem is actually straight, it is just bunched up because of the sash, which I made far too long. It's over 100 inches long, so in this picture it is doubled and then tied, cinching and interfering with the skirt's elastic waistband. I still have to figure how to get it to look like the one in the inspiration picture. Whereas on that skirt the sash seems to create a small waist mine makes my waist seem thick and boxy. Which of course, is probably because there are so many layers of fabric encircling it.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Anthropologie Clearance Room (Part 1)

That is where I spent almost two hours, two Saturdays ago. I just wanted to find some sewing/crafty inspiration and the store did not disappoint. I took SO many pictures it was ridiculous. Good that the store pipes music into the dressing room so that it blocked out the sound of my camera's shutter. I thought I would post these pics with the coordinating info from the web site after I got home but as it turns out most of these things were no longer available on there. So, unfortunately, I don't have the manufacturer for any of these or what the sale prices were either.

So, just enjoy the eye candy (the clothes, not me):

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Natalie Chanin in my town, no way!


Designer Natalie Chanin, who I've written about a few times on this blog will actually be in my little city of Richmond, VA soon.

She will conduct one of her full-day studio workshops as well as a sampler session at the Visual Center of Virginia (formerly the Hand Workshop). There will also be a trunk show where she will sell her clothing and project kits, and have her book, Alabama Stitch Book, available for purchase and signing.

The Friday workshop on May 15 is $75 and includes an Alabama Chanin bandana kit with all the materials and tools you’ll need to work on it. This workshop will be held in the VisArts fiber studio.

I also wish I could go to the workshop on Saturday, May 16, but for $450 it is truly out of my budget! Though if you can afford it, the price includes an Alabama Chanin kit with all the needed materials and tools to work on it, and a catered luncheon celebrating Southern food-ways. After there will be a cake and champagne reception all in the VisArts’ fiber studio in a reclaimed dairy in the historic Fan District. Swoon!

For some drool-worthy pics of her new collection, Songbirds, check this post on her blog.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


And the day came
when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

anais nin

Friday, April 03, 2009

Update to Misc.

The Wee Wonderful animals have been completed along with the baby booties made from this tutorial. Since the photo, the blue kitty has received her own pair of navy blue mary-janes.

The mammogram went well (but...OUCH!) and the dance classes are still really great.

I will try to take pictures of the gray skirt and finish the Anda dress this weekend.

The NY & Co twist-tie dress (in motion at the baby shower buffet) got tons of compliments! It is now on sale for $25 at the stores, if you're interested. I was amazed how many were still on the racks.

And this week, using another great coupon, I finally purchased the NY & Co textured cardigan in stone gray for $19 along with a coordinating knit top (similar pattern and colors as the dress above) for $15. I told you I love that store!