baaaaaaallllls

I’m glad it happened, really. Things have been going so well on the Christmas front. Tiny, well-crafted yet frugal gifts; homemade music and Christmas cards out on time (um, today, so expect yours soon), a few home-sewn items, a few excellent purchases from our local bookstore (yay!), several very well-curated bits of goodness (specifically for my mother and kids; I’ve owned it this year). This season people often ask how it’s going and I’ve been able to truthfully say Very Well, very pleased to celebrate and honor friendships and family, but I also laugh and add there’s some mini- (or, and I hope not, major-) disaster on the way –

So today after literally sewing until I bled (Stabby McNeedleson) I put the finishing touches on the lovingly-crafted button-up shirt I was making for my brother, made from crisp and delicious Essex linen/cotton blend and Pam Erny’s awesome pro-weft interfacing, and stitched up all eight buttons with a trademark thread finish, 100% flat-felled seams (yes, including the armscye!) and a narrow hem to die for and a wonderful weight and hand and looking sharp. And I wash the shirt it and remove it to dry and press and immediately perceive THE FUCKING FABRIC HAD FURTHER PRESHRUNK, resulting in thoroughly ruinous interfacing/fabric bubbles that cannot be pressed out and cannot be ignored either as in, I will not be gifting this to my brother, no way. OH GOOD LORD NOOOoooOOOO

I can tell Ralph’s worried about money. By little subtle hints like his IM today that says, “I’m in so much pain right now, worrying about money.” Also more concrete sea changes like the fact instead of the typical breakfast cereal my kids like he purchased Junky-Os, you know the kind in the bag made of teflon-ass so a kid has to tear and tear and get a kitchen knife (unsupervised as I’m all Twittering and shit) and saw and tear and then suddenly BAM! the whole business asplodes all over the kitchen floor, which perhaps may even the financial savings inherent in a lower-grade purchase a bit moot, but my daughter cleaned the whole business up except for a tidy little pile of Os that later the cat was messing about with while tangling herself up in my serger foot pedal since the serger is sitting on my tiny kitchen counter since, even with a super crafty family, we have only one table, one, which is in the sewing room now which means we eat sitting on the floor again, no big deal but still.

Ralph and I are home at 1 AM after wrapping up Christmas presents at my mom’s house, our package for the Portland crew: my sister, my brother and his girlfriend (and her cat). At least I know my mom and the USPS won’t fuck-up the mailing of the package so all that will go well enough.

And that’s just all I have to say about all of that.

among interests: kittens, cuddling, creatures, manga

Phoenix opened her own FB account today. You should friend her because she’s a ray of light.

Phoenix at the Mia 1

Phoenix at the Mia 2

Phoenix at the Mia 3

Italian Wedding Soup! Well, my version anyway. (Spinach and parsley):

Spinach, Parsley

Evening. Phoenix intent, playing LOTRO:
Playing LOTR Online

She is just now bathed and wearing a t-shirt of Ralph’s. All four of we Hogabooms suffer dry skin in the winter months. We put lotion on the children after they get out of the bath, then a “daddy shirt”. It keeps the itches at bay.

I finished a testing garment today and got notes sent out and pictures taken before the fading light. I can’t show you pictures – secrets! – but you can at least look at the lovely yardage I used and what is obviously a well-drafted seamline.

Raglan

I also hauled the Wizard sewing machine I picked up at the thrift store ($8) to the local quilt shop. I’m a fool for old vintage machines, having them tuned and refurbished and oiled… oftentimes to give them away to those who want them. The thing is I can’t stand to have someone tempted to buy some POS brand-new plastic thing from Walmart or Sears when there’s so much old vintage goodness – better machines and not nearly as wasteful as buying a new one. And I guess it throws a little scratch to the local OSMG.

Tonight my mom took us to dinner at the local pan-Asian restaurant. Teriyaki chicken, sushi, a bento box, yaki-udon, chicken broccoli, egg flower soup in a clear lovely broth, tea. A lovely hot meal to scare away the rain a bit. When we got home friends were on our porch. The two kiddos stayed until after midnight, laughing and playing with kitties.

Good company.

friday link-sausage

Culture
“The Cliched Family in Television”; a demonstration that satire has never been out of style (“Cut, dammit, cut!”, hee).

“Would you feed your own kid the same food you donate to food pantries?” at spoonfedblog.net. Considering discussion of what the poor and working class “should” eat often contains a lot of orthorexic asshatery, I thought this was good article – and a good discussion featured in comments. P.S. I hate brown rice, having had to eat a LOT of it growing up.

“Class, Privilege and Black Friday” by Black Girl in Maine
“At the end of the day, we all want good food, a warm house, clothing, love and maybe even a few extras however we define those extras, for some it’s iGadgets, Kitchen-Aid mixers and so on…yet who are we to judge someone else’s desires? Yet our ability to have these things will depend in large part on where we sit on the socio-economic ladder and even a decision of whether or not to brave crowds on Black Friday versus shopping on Cyber Monday from the comforts of our home and or office will depend on what we have access to. Just some food from thought from a lifetime card carrying member of the working class.”

“Fat-com: is that a thing?” at What Tami Said
Tami is on-point, funny, and completely correct. It would be a small and lovely justice if television writers, producers, and executives would read her piece, hang their heads, apologize for their suck-itude – and do better.

“Hobbits Are White, But Should We Pretend Otherwise?” at PostBourgie
You know, I’m going to vote Yes, We Should, or rather that originally non-diverse works do not suffer from casting actors of color but there is a lot to gain in doing so; there are plenty of white male actors getting big bucks and the pick of scripts and it’s okay to level the playing field.

“Humpday Hate: The Anti-Christmas Carol.” also at PostBourgie; seriously, there are holiday songs that should have languished and died long ago.

Human Rights
Long overdue: a few articles on birth rape. The first is a great 101 sent in by reader Kat: “What Feminists Should Know About Birth Rape”. An excerpt:

“Even though most women are choosing to invite trained professionals to their births, they still have an expectation of respectful and kind treatment. Despite where women give birth and how many medical procedures they may choose in the process, all women deserve to make their own choices and control their own bodies during childbirth. Every woman has an expectation of kind treatment, of decision making power, and of her legal right to informed consent and refusal. When those expectations are not met and she is assaulted and violated, she has the right to call her experience whatever she thinks describes it accurately.”

The second is from The F-Word at the UK and delves a little deeper: “‘It’s not RAPE rape’” by Amity Reed. Excerpt:

“Claiming that birth rape is an inappropriate term and ridiculing or dismissing women who choose to use it is incredibly insulting to those who identify with it. Much like you wouldn’t tell a woman who says she was raped while on a date with a guy she liked that she is exaggerating, that he probably didn’t mean it, that it isn’t ‘real’ rape if she went with him willingly or flirted with him, nor should women who feel they were raped while giving birth be disbelieved or discredited. “ (What’s sad is of course, many DO excuse date and acquaintance rape as “not real rape”, but Amity is speaking to those who in general hold better views – except, apparently, when it comes to bio-moms.)

I wouldn’t call my first birth a “birth rape” (and it’s my prerogative what I call it, as it is for the women who do use that term) but it is definitely in that arena. I’d like to write more on the subject at some point.

Consumerism
I want three yards of this So. Very. Much.

“world’s smallest postal service: holiday 2010”; adorable!

Celebration
“Opening the Door to a Simpler, Greener, Healthier, Happier Holiday Season” by Wendy Priesnitz
If you celebrate a faith-tradition holiday or honor the season changes, this article is full of restorative thought and ideas on how to reclaim the time and activities that keep so many, so busy, every year.

Help
A very local artisan creamery is being subject to product-seizure- and regulations are being pushed that would continue to stress independent, small foodstuffs by what is likely unfair and unnecessary legislation. You can help the Estrella Farm here.

Fashion

“make it look like you’re always receding” LULZLULZ

Craft
Patterns by Figgys is having a 25% off sale from December 2nd through the 20th. Use the code PDF2010 at their big cartel shop. I’ve sewn with many of their patterns (and, full disclosure although most my readers already know this, am currently working at pattern testing for their upcoming book) and they are fabulous!

Heather at SwissArmyWife.net is offering one of my items in her giveaway; you have two more days to enter!

Random
My favorite tweet of the week.

MST3K melon, from the Department of Win

This just in: ONE OF THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE

And – finally – time for a little discussion. First, watch this: Journey – Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) (Official Music Video)Journey

And now, tell me, what’s YOUR favorite part of this classic video? I mean there’s so much to choose from. For me, it’s a tie between the pants (rumor is Journey had an magic EnTightening prototype) and the overly telegraphed emotive lipsync moves so drastic it would appear the vid director was not only appealing to hearing-challenged viewers but also those who’ve literally never experienced human emotion & don’t know how to identify it.

But that floating wall keyboard is pretty fucking awesome, too.

friday links

In the good news, we’re all doing very well thank you and enjoying health and harmony together. In the bad news, Ralph is working through our spending plan as I type and we might not get to have a Christmas (not really, but you probably know what I mean). In the good news, my husband is growing a beard. In the bad news, he’s so anxious about this money thing that ANY LITTLE COMMENT may cause him to shave. Please, if you see him, or Facebook him, say REALLY flattering things about his beard. We shall all reap the benefits as its full-throated red glory is bestowed upon us during our most dreary winter months…

Here’s more good news – for those who are unfortunate enough to be stuck in an office job today, hungover and dyspeptic from yesterday’s feast, or cowering in fear or disdain of Black Friday, or who’ve shopped until they’re wrecked – I bring you the Friday links you so desperately need to sink your teeth into.

Culture
“‘Privilege Denying Dude’ and the Fight for the Right to Snark” at ColorLines
“The Internet has carried over the ‘neutral’ we’ve always seen, meaning that if it’s online, it better appeal to straight white men before and above anyone else. A lot of us hate it. We find humor in other memes, but sometimes we see a misogynist or homophobic joke in the bunch… and we just scroll on past it. It’s disappointing how used to that we are.” [ emphasis mine, because: Oh Yes. ]

Anton Vowl wrote “Breeding hell” in response to Howard Flight’s remarks. Look familiar, USians? The UK terminology referring to the “underclass” may be different from ours but you and I recognize what the author is referencing: “a narrative in which the young and the poor can be dismissed as a mass of animals, as an underclass of scum. They are always set up against the ‘middle-classes’, aka the hardworking taxpaying middle classes, the people who do all the work and pay for all the doleites popping out kids and getting free houses on estates up and down the land […] It’s the dehumanising thing that seems so depressing – dehumanising a whole class of people. It’s the language of hatred. It’s the language of class war.”

“Today in Journalism: The Disabled” at FWD/Feminists with Disabilities
“This contributes to the de-humanization of disabled people. ‘The disabled’ aren’t people, they’re a big collective noun who can’t be reasoned with, can’t be talked to, can’t be considered – they’re just to be placated, and dealt with, and put out of our minds as quickly as possible in case they sue us.”

Family
“The Effects of Video Games: A guide for the science-based parent” at parentingscience.com
The concept that video games are “bad”, or at least anything more than a very occasional play with them is “bad”, is so culturally-supported many journalists will take one study and blow it up to epic conclusions. I often think those loudest about how “bad” video games inherently are, are those who either don’t particularly enjoy nor excel at them; or those who’ve lived a childhood of externally-imposed values/activities which reify this message.

“Jong Got It Wrong” from Wendy Priesnitz
Much of modern-day feminism has failed so many – those with disabilities, those non-white, poor, trans women, those marginalized, those without “careers”, babies and children, and anyone involved in what’s often named as “traditional women’s work” (hi!) but what would be more accurately described as necessary human work (much of it often still performed by women and underpaid, under-respected, etc). Today many modern feminists (along with the maintream) continue to throw children under the proverbial bus as well as those who are responsible for children’s care (usually, other women) and especially those who give a shit about how these things all go down. As usual, Wendy Priesnitz delivers a succinct and apt response to the recent Jong dust-up.

Feminism
“Pre-Photoshopped Playboy Models (Definitely NSFW)”
“…the message is clear: even after a genetic bounty, all-but-certain plastic surgery and dieting, good lighting, a pro-photographer, and dozens of shots, even the fantasy woman is not fantastic enough.” (You can follow links to the original Jezebel post if you want example after example of women’s bodies critiqued, objectified, and dissected).

Subway Flasher Gets More Than He Bargained For
This video deeply upset me. First I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – the courage of this woman. Then I felt sick for the times I’ve been in a similar position and felt too scared to do anything. On second watch I so admired this woman and wish I could find her to say, “Well done!”

Craft
“Rural Roads” by sillyboodilly. Beautiful work; check the rest of her postings as well!

Make
Mushroom tutorial by my friend Kit. Mushrooms are out like you wouldn’t believe! I have a wee parcel of wool felt heading my way to make up these cuties with the kiddos.

Live
“How To Read Articles About Health” by Dr. Alicia White

“18 Practical Habits for Living the Golden Rule” at Zen Habits

Quotable
“The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which; he simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” – Buddha

Random
How did Alan Thicke land this sweet job, is what I want to know!

And finally:

My favorite tweet of the week.

maker

I get asked often how long I’ve been sewing. The truth is I can’t remember a time I didn’t know how to sew. I think I’m only a modestly-skilled stitcher, really, considering I’ve been exposed my whole life. Some of my earliest memories of focussed work are of pinning cloth and sitting on the floor cutting with a pair of orange-handled Fiskers; of crinkled tissue cut down to size and marking notches by painfully cutting small triangles. In fact in learning something as a young child the methods my mother used were the ones I thought were The Only Way To Do It. As a grownup I’ve learned my own methods and taught my mother not a few. For instance in contrast I iron all my patterns (shout-out Amore!) and never ¡EVAR! cut them; I dispatch yardage from a table and with rapier-like acuity using a rotary wheel and mat, and I mark notches by a chalk line or tailor’s tacks.

Rollin' On My 201-2

My mom sewed a bit more as a young woman, before she had a family and career. She didn’t sew all that much while I was growing up but what is most important is – I remember she loved it. She seemed to enjoy the feeling of competence in her craft and she definitely enjoyed the design process (such as it is when you’re sewing out-of-envelope). I often think the familial example of someone who does Work and loves it is the most likely avenue for subsequent generations to take it up. This is why I’ve never much bothered to try to get my kids to sew. My guess is they will end up doing it because it’s in their blood. They know so much about it already, without even knowing they know! (They also think everyone knows how to make clothes… they don’t realize how rare this is.)

Three years ago my mother brought me my grandmother’s sewing machine – a Singer Centennial 15-91 made in 1950, both popular and utilitarian. The very machine was manufactured and shipped from the same location, only days apart, from the one a friend gave me about eight years ago when she moved from PT (mine is a Centennial 201-2, another great machine). As a Mother’s Day gift in 2009 I got grandma’s machine tuned up and re-gifted it to my mother – who hasn’t yet used it.

If I had the room I’d have kept it myself. I currently own two working sewing machines. I’d love more and to have them set up – it really is helpful, especially given how quickly I construct things – but I lack the space. I sometimes fervently wish for a room to spread out and outfit myself further with a set up serger and a cutting table and, jeebus, SHELVES would be nice! Realistically this won’t happen for some time; we aren’t likely to have a larger house anytime soon. My husband has offered to rent me a studio space in downtown Hoquiam because he is a Really Fucking Awesome Guy. But even the incredibly-cheap prices of downtown HQX aren’t in our spending plan; neither much are shelves or more accoutrement to fill such a space.

But if I could, I would snap up that opportunity toot sweet.

My clothes generally last so much longer than what people buy. My kids’ closet is bursting with garments I’ve sewn. When they grow out of the pieces (which is relatively quickly!) the clothes go off donated or gifted… I am rather shy about giving off my sewn clothes because I’m unsure of what people like and want (and I hate to mail stuff. A lot. So locals are easiest for me to gift to). A surprising number of garments end up going to the Salvation Army. Whatever their future destinations, I hope they are as well-worn and well-loved as they are when in my home.

Currently I’m only a few minutes away from finishing a couple wool coats, which I’ll post soon. Tonight I’m on another pair of Monster Booties, much requested by readers here and there. I have to put a pause on Yes to favors and outside-of-the-family work; Christmas approaches and one of my chief pleasures is sewing for those I love.

Wool Underlined With Cotton

Wool, wool, wonderful wool! How I wish I had yards and yards and yards…

French Seam

French seams on the inside of a coat – underlining exposed.

In other news, we have my mom’s (incredibly submissive, aged) terrier Tuck here for a few days while she cat- and house-sits in Portland. My mom brought this huge dog bed as well. Last night, his first night, Tuck curled up on the bed and a second later alpha-kitten Hamilton walked over and put her paw on his face. He immediately self-telescoped using his own butthole and slunk off; three of the cats took the bed in a neat feline coup. Ralph and I trained the cats off the bed (this was very easy and involved putting them outside in the snow every single time they so much as stuck a claw towards it) but I had to snap a picture for my mom.

They STOLE It From Us, The Precious!

While I did this the fourth kitty Mable watched and decided if she wanted in on the Hot! Sleeping! Action!:
Watchinz

She voted “No”, on the account of she would have had to move her body, which resembles the form and function of a Guild Navigator, about eighteen inches. Much easier to stay on the goddamned chair.

gollum, gollum

Today:

Play

The kids, playing together. They got wise to me taking pictures and giggled and ran off, thinking I was going to grab at their little toes. I would never!

Fabric in the mail, spoils of my testing work! The contents of one of two packages:

FAVRIC
From mid-left (green sliver) clockwise: leaf green cotton mini-corduroy, woven Irish linen mini-houndstooth, Very Wang wool rayon (so. soft), Hooty Hoot flannel (Hooty Jacks), Retro Rocket Scientist flannel (green on black), cotton canvas fabric (chocolate brown), cotton canvas fabric (deep amethyst), linen/cotton (dark grey), linen/cotton (melon).

Then off to downtown Hoquiam in the (cold!) sunshine. We took Ralph’s bike to the bike shop as his chain was seizing – and stopped at the River Landing too.

Little Guy On The Hoquiam River

Terry (Bike Shop Guy) measured  the chain and oiled it and put air in the tires and wouldn’t let me pay him anything, then opened the door for me in a very chivalrous manner. When I got home I even hex-keyed Ralph’s bike seat back to the (improbably high) position he uses. Partly because this was nice to do for Ralph, partly as a passive-aggerssive hint because when he uses my bike he always neglects to do the same (I love [ /sarcasm ] getting on my bike after he uses it just to get high-crotched in a most alarming and painful fashion!).

It gets so dark so early and we “sleep in” – so the Hogabooms aren’t getting as much daylight as we need. However the beautiful fall weather, although cold (for me), is lovely to venture out in.

Guilty

oh the suspense!

My favorite Hitchcock film – so far, as I haven’t yet seem them all – is Dial M For Murder. The director was brilliant – and yes I realize he had about a hundred and one issues with women, and none of them bore very good results – but. Still.

North by Northwest is another I enjoyed –

And of course, Vertigo. On my first viewing my favorite part was the nightmare sequence (which is, it goes without saying, far better viewed within the context of the film):

So of course, I thought I would make a baby bunting thusly. Because it just makes sense.

Vertigo!

This was my first experience using Spoonflower’s printing service (you can view my brother’s uploaded designs at their site). I was very disappointed in the results of the twill, which faded quite a bit upon my initial wash (gentle, in cold water). However, I am not done with Spoonflower by any means. I’d like to continue to work with them (and if you, dear reader, know of another custom-printing house for small batches, let me know) although I feel some consternation I do so potentially at my own peril of lost-materials cost. An in-house screenprinting studio is hard to negotiate given we four live in a two-bedroom house… but my wheels are turning as I’d like to be able to do more with the fabrics I use.

Lined With Organic Cotton Softness

(Hee hee, lined in the iconic Vertigo poster art!)

You can read more about the construction and materials of this in the Flickr tagset. I put it up on my homesewn sub-site. And I’ve decided I need to make, oh… like a billion more sci-fi, classic, or B-movie-film-based clothing items.

ALSO: NEED ACTUAL BABY TO PUT IN THE BABY CLOTHES I MAKE

friday link-up!

Culture
“Accounting for What Matters” by Wendy Priesnitz:

“Aside from allowing academic and personal freedom, life learning is about living more mindfully – acting altruistically (instead of earning gold stars or the approval of authority figures), respecting individuals for who they are rather than how much money they make or how many degrees they have, overturning discrimination, working cooperatively, and learning about and improving the world by living in and acting on it. The kids who are growing up in that way should be able to solve many problems.”

“The false and harmful rhetoric of family life vs. work life” by yours truly

Cute Overload on the U.S. elections

Craft
How-To: Linoleum Print Cards & Invites at Craft

budgeting for your creative habit” at Scoutie Girl. I have to squint real hard on this one… For one thing, the “budget” and notes thing isn’t how I roll (It’s how Ralph rolls though, and it appears to work okay). Also, those mentioned “cash-eating demons” for some people I know are things like rent and utility bills. And maybe this is why I’ve started thinking a lot more about gifting and donating some of my work – I want to create opportunity for other people to feed their souls. I do, however, wholeheartedly agree wtih this: “When your expenditures don’t line up with your values, you get that icky I-ate-too-much-ice-cream feel in your stomach. And it’s hard to shake.”

calaveras, dia de los muertos – beautifully-done in polymer clay with hand-painted detail.

Viewing/Reading/Listening
New on Masterpiece Theatre – “Sherlock” (can watch online)

Good documentaries (links go to the titles on Netflix instant): Awful Normal, Man On Wire, and I Have Never Forgotten You

Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook (but I will be getting my copy through Jackson Street Books)

“One Kiss Can Lead To Another” – a great mini-anthology!

Quotes
This one comes via Mamapoekie:

When we adults think of children, there is a simple truth which we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life; childhood is life. A child isn’t getting ready to live; a child is living. The child is constantly confronted with the nagging question, “What are you going to be?” Courageous would be the youngster who, looking the adult squarely in the face, would say, “I’m not going to be anything; I already am.” We adults would be shocked by such an insolent remark, for we have forgotten, if indeed we ever knew, that a child is an active participating and contributing member of society from the time he is born. Childhood isn’t a time when he is molded into a human who will then live life; he is a human who is living life. No child will miss the zest and joy of living unless these are denied him by adults who have convinced themselves that childhood is a period of preparation. How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize the child as a partner with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing him as an apprentice. How much we would teach each other… adults with the experience and children with the freshness. How full both our lives could be. A little child may not lead us, but at least we ought to discuss the trip with him, for after all, life is his and her journey too. – Professor T. Ripaldi

angel in blue

My daughter loves this ensemble but personally I think it’s a tiny bit too matchy-matchy. For my taste, anyway. One won’t deny the teal is a lovely color for this time of year.

Friendly

Funny: as soon as I finished it (handsewing at the soccer practice last night) I knew my daughter would love the dress but be less enamored of the pinafore: and I was right!

Hood

Both she and I love the hood more than anything (the pattern for both pieces is Olivia from Farbenmix).

Grimms' Fairy Tales

The dress is a 100% cotton Michael Miller; the pinafore is made from one of my favorite current fabrics to work with, a linen/rayon blend.

Skirt

The linen/rayon looks better and better with age, too.

“It’s the pleats.”

Button, Flowers

Handsewn flowers via a tutorial by my lady Karen.

Laugh

Phoenix laughs, watching her dad play hackysack.

I’m offering either/or/both pieces in my little shop; you can also view more detail photos in the Flickr tagset or read my pattern review.