Fall Projects

that will probably become clear later, like the French Revolution

Fall Projects

The summer weather turned so fast I’m still reeling. We are amidst autumn traditions now: baking pumpkin bread, knitting, sewing up wool garments. I’m keeping busy in Halloween sewing (ONE more day. Well, one-and-a-half), rehearsals for Jesus Christ Superstar (I got my apostle name today! #w00t), and of course – raising my kids, caring for the home and five pets, and putting the time into my Recovery life. Kidney stones got the better of me a few days ago for a couple days but I hung in there. I’m still watching and reviewing vampire films like a menace. What can I say? Life carries on.

JCS, Keeping WarmKeeping warm in a chilly theatre.
Sequin Removal

This was my life before I knew anything different than the removal of sequins. Don’t worry, I got a lot faster at taking them out. I have removed one hundred billion sequins. The results are going to be amazing, but mostly the results are going to mean I am no longer cutting sequins, which is something I keep thinking I’m doing, because it’s the only thing I’ve been doing, ab aeterno.

Punkin

A little punkin’ & a big punkin’. Which is which?

My little ones had their school counseling sessions today with their father. I couldn’t be more proud of them. They are performing well, and better than that, they love school. I still miss them terribly during the day but the satisfaction I get knowing they are where they want to be (for now) is worth my occasional restlessness.

Nights I find myself having trouble falling asleep. But I have a warm bed, and loved ones, and (for now) some health. Life is very special. It is a miracle!

Toro T7

you know. like ya do.

Halloween costuming season is drawing to a close. I haven’t even put one toe in the waters of my own kids’ costumes yet, instead being quite involved in creating gear for kids around the North Americas. Today, sent out in the mail:

A TORO T7 LAWN SPRINKLER. For a five year old.

You know.

One of these:

Toro T7

Here’s a close-up of the top. I was told I had to be pretty accurate for this part. Like so:

Toro T7, Top

I finished the costume a little while ago but I was hoping to get a five year old to model. Still, I needed to mail it and five year olds were scarce, so my nine year old son stood in. Unfortunately his head is a little larger than the client’s, but I think you can get the general gist:

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

Sprinkling.

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

Not Real Water.

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

A close-up of the sprinkler housing. All papercraft – attached to a pleather “skirt” with side and back vents for comfort, and wire in the hems for shaping.

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

The top of the sprinkler… I didn’t want to make it uncomfortably tall for a five year old. Lined with a little pilot cap hat that snaps closed and is quite cozy!

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

A closeup of the water “spray”. Clear tubing and adjustable wire for the right arc.

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

100% cotton shell pilot cap and snaps!

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

The top. This is the part I’m crossing my fingers on. Hoping the little client is pleased enough with it!

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

A little card and some care instructions. The costume cost one billion dollars to ship on account of its size – it went off to CA today.

So yeah, I have a 100% return policy for all my stuff. I’ve been joking about this costume that if the customer, God forbid truly, does return it, I can always sell it to someone else.

#LOOOOOOOOOL

a little warmth, or maybe a lot of warmth actually

UM, it is super-hard to get rid of inventory. I made this a while back but hadn’t taken photos, posted photos, shared in any way, or even put the garment in a local shop. LOL at me because I am a pretty-okay seamstress but not really a businesswoman in any real sense.

Anyway – here we have an all-fleece Max, more in line with the film’s version of the costume than that of the book. Hoping this version finds its way to a sweet little 2T/3T kiddo out there.

[ Etsy listing ]

Super-Duper Extra Warm Max!

Super-Duper Extra Warm Max!

Super-Duper Extra Warm Max!

needle & thread in a cold studio

Ripslinger-To-Be

This weekend I went balls-out, without enough sleep or preparation, to host a booth in the only show I’ve yet brought my wares: the Fiber Arts Festival in Elma, WA. Let me tell you a few things, it is a great group of (mostly) ladies and they have a lot of passion, like don’t even make a joke about how goofy an alpaca looks or anything. The attendants out there raise the animals (alpacas, llamas, Jacobs sheep, angora bunnies, et cetera), clean and process the wool, spin, knit, crochet, tat, make bobbin-lace, and do all kinds of weaving. For some reason at this festival they let my seamstressing ass in although I’m the only garment-maker, ever. I even sold a few pieces – Sea Fan, Squidlet, and a few other odds and ends, including a blue-velour tentacled baby bunting I never even took pictures of.

But I’m glad to be home.

Currently I’m up to my tits in Halloween. Today I’m working up a Ripslinger costume (from Disney’s Planes) for a three year old. The project involves a heck of a lot of stencil work, and, as promised, I am putting together a tutorial on the relatively simple process of making great-looking motifs.

Stencil Work

In the post:

Papercraft Bits

I sent my most recent Max out to NV and am now working up a Max for a 4 year old, a Bulldog hoodie for an infant, and a Louise hat for a grownup.

It’s a little more work than I’ve really got time for.

So if y’all could just come over and do my dishes and give my dog a walk, I’d appreciate it. kthx

Max’d out

Max From Where The Wild Things Are (Upgrayedd)

Max From Where The Wild Things Are (Upgrayedd)

This is the first year I offered custom costumes online on Etsy. I haven’t done any marketing unless you count the occasional tweet, or Ralph’s Facebook plugs now and then. Now I’m glad, because I have found myself with a good number of costumes to sew this year and I’m late on two. Given this, I am presently only taking ONE more costume item before Halloween.

I’ll be back for Christmas gift awesomeness. If you’ve thought of anything simply wonderful I should sew, let me know.

Today I took pictures in the Max I made for a 9 year old up on Bainbridge Island. I am very pleased with this Max, and I have two more to make – one for a four-year-old, and one for a grown-up! I am also happy to answer any questions you put me on making your own – so you can post them in the Flickr comments or here on this post.

Happy costuming, tweeps. May your sewing machine bobbin run smoothly, and your glue gun not burn your hands.

Max From Where The Wild Things Are (Upgrayedd)

just a reminder this is a thing

Bitsie Boogie

MONSTER-ous booties available – be sure to check out the awesome papercraft Ralph and I designed to wrap them. Perfect for a newborn/0 – 3 month baby you know. But only a really, really fierce one.

Halloween approaches; after that, I’ll be making Christmas stuff. Suggestions are welcome – keeping in mind I prefer making items for babies and children.

A friend of Ralph’s suggested hobbit booties. What the hell are those? What does that mean? Like wee hobbit-feet looking things? I am intrigued. Because that is a pretty killer idea.

Currently: working on a Max costume. My best yet. I first overdyed cotton terry. I love simple dye projects:

Original Terry, White

Original…

Overdyed - Too Pink!

Oops! Too far (too pink)! – and then:

Corrected: Just Right

Just right. And super-soft.

Kind of, nothing is better than having custom sewing work. This was my first year listing Halloween offerings, and it’s been going well. [ she says, tentatively ]

sending the little ones to Dreamland, and the radio dial to “Spooky”

It’s 11 PM on a Thursday, and we Hogabooms are still on vacation, technically. Ralph doesn’t have to go back to work until Monday – even though he has two performances of Rocky Horror this weekend, and those are no-joke – both in time spent and in effort required.

Ralph’s schedule regardless, tonight I’m grateful we still have an unschooling schedule. I’m speaking specifically of my son, at the foot of my bed, fresh out of the bath, with squeaky-clean wet hair and wearing only a pair of wee underwear with scuba-diving skull motif. He’s eating ice cream out of a bowl, lying on his belly at my feet. Now he laughs and says, “Daddy’s biting my toes!”

So I’m speaking of my husband, too. He’s up a little late, and waiting for me to close up shop on the computer so we can watch a B-movie. Typically if Ralph wants to go to bed earlier than the rest of us, he heads into the guest bedroom to sleep. Tonight though, I get both the boys a bit longer; our daughter, a school-kid now, slumbers upstairs. And now, the home is settling into that comforting atmosphere I love, the quiet of night. The dishes are done, the carpets are shampoo’d, the pets are snoring, the little light above my bedroom’s shrine glows.

It’s time to wind down, after a busy day.

Schedule-wise, I’ve been busy enough to be distracted. I’m trucking away with sewing and I have a great deal of work ahead of me. Today another custom costume sold, and I ordered the supplies necessary to create this five-piece bit of awesomeness for a very, very cute child (I saw pictures! He is to-die-for adorable!). I also sewed up most of a baby bunting for the upcoming Fiber Festival in Elma. And this evening a client mailed me measurements of her child, so I can start on another costume – likely the most challenging of this season. My schedule is getting a little crowded and I will soon have to close Halloween orders. I’d love to do some Christmas gift sewing, so I am giving a little thought on what to offer. You bastards reading here know mostly I just want to sew a bunch of little woolen blazer-style coats for kiddos. YES THAT’S RIGHT, you jerks know me and I’m boring AF.

I’m grateful for a busy life; I’m grateful for a healthy and happy family. I am very grateful for being able to earn a little scratch, doing something creative. I’m profoundly grateful for my sobriety, without which I would not be able to be profoundly grateful.

Goodnight, my dear readers. May you rest well, and may you be safe.

Pack It In, Pack It Out

well and i even have a little left over, to help you

Pack It In, Pack It Out

Today on a Flats walk with our dog and three kids – two of the children mine, one from another family – we came across a dozen pelicans (of at least two species) diving for fish. It was really something to watch, as they hit the water with incredible force, like missiles. Along with the pelicans many species of gulls and other waterfowl messed about, and we spied at least two harbor seals. Obviously, there was a large school of fish in the water falling prey to this predation. In the course of the walk around The Flats, two different men along the trail told me two different stories about the species of fish out there (men love to tell you shit, even when they don’t know the shit!).

My dog was out of his mind with joy. In case you hadn’t been following: he’s been on near-bedrest for a few weeks since his incredible illness adventure with salmon poisoning. Today he was so excited he actually fetched a stick (unheard of) many times. He also played tug-o’-war with me and growled a lot. He has a huge, powerful mouth and very sharp teeth and I’d never heard him growl before. I was a bit unnerved!

The weather on our walk was so wonderful. It was balmy-warm – in fact, it would have been unpleasantly humid had it not been for a wonderful sea breeze. There were so many animals at The Flats – wild and domestic – and not a few people. It was a wonderful walk out and I’m glad I made the time.

***

Just lately: I am over-worked. Not only physically – besides having household responsibilities, more water aerobics, and two new Etsy sales that have me knee-deep in costumes – I’ve also been working intensively, and I do mean intensively with a new-to-sobriety alcoholic. I am astonished how much work she’s willing to do – but I’m also aware that yeah, it’s necessary. Watching someone reconstruct themselves from near-ruination is an honor and a privilege beyond what I can articulate.

And I’m a bit rueful: in Recovery communities you will sometimes hear those with long-term sobriety say, “I won’t work harder than the new guy!” [Meaning: as a sponsor to help him get and stay sober.] And yeah, I’ve heard it now and then and always thought that’s supposed to mean, Yeah that’s right, tough love, those lazy newbies! Well I never thought of the reciprocal. Because let me tell you, this new gal works like a dog, so that means I am working like a dog. I am not even kidding. Even if I didn’t think it completely unethical to share details, I haven’t the strength to write much about it. It’s working me, right now.

Many reading here won’t understand. [And yet she tries to explain anyway!] A big part of what’s hard on me is going through my own history – memories of what it was like to get sober, of those early days. If you’ve done it, you probably get it. It’s a big deal. Remembering what it was like invokes a kind of PTSD. Today and yesterday I’ve been thinking, Did I really do that? Did I really go through all that? And it’s like – yeah, I did. I felt like crying today and wanted to give myself a hug or somehow take care of myself in ways I neglected before. I had it hard. And I didn’t even know I had it as hard as I did. Does that mean I have it hard today, and I don’t know it, as well? It’s a scary thought. I am tired of suffering. It hurts.

Tonight: I resolutely put aside my fears and my own traumatic memories. I am here now, my children downstairs want me now. My husband is available to me now. A small dish of strawberry shortcake awaits. Hot water and soft pajamas. A warm bed. A curious dog. Purring, comforted kitties.

I am here now. Tomorrow is another adventure.

shrinky-DON’Ts

Shrinky-DON'Ts: Hours Of Work!

I made twenty-one pincushions, out of two paired fabrics (you can flip ’em over and use either side). Every one has custom-drawn pins, a unique set of buttons (usually not matching) and their own thread scheme. It was a lot of work but a lot of fun.

Shrinky-DON'Ts: Red Skull Rising

“S” “E” “W”. Skulls and velveteen.

Shrinky-DON'Ts: Stars Abound

Lots of stars. This fabric from Britta’s shop.

Shrinky-DON'Ts: (This One Is Mine!)

Tapir. Bad-ass.Shrinky-DON'Ts: Spoonflower Mermaids

Getting to use the mermaid fabric Emily gave me. Yay!

I didn’t burn myself nor the shrinky-dinks, but you may be pleased to know I stabbed myself SO MANY TIMES handsewing on firm pincushions. I am hoping to be in the Fiber Fest again this year (although they haven’t returned my call, yikes) and making up some inventory.

I’ve got the obligatory Hendrix perm / And the inevitable pinhole burns / All down the front of my favorite satin shirt.

Sitting for twenty five minutes entirely still, and entirely silent, it’s not for the faint of heart. I elect for the cushion as I haven’t given the little meditation stools a shot yet and sitting cross-legged just flat-arsed for that long, without moving at all, well it is not for the ill-rehearsed. I have learned to observe the cold in my extremities and the occasional pain of sitting and fall into the trance of observing, of “resting in the breath”. In short, it feels good to meditate.

But what there is to observe, sometimes it’s not all that happy-clam. Tonight as I sit I almost fall asleep. I come to an awareness I am sick, and tired. I’d known I was sick (a sore throat and slight head cold) but hadn’t realized I was tired. That kind of bone-tired, an inexplicable exhaustion. And the longer I sit the more I realize the extreme discomfort I’d been ignoring, pushing my body past. The habit of a lifetime, or at least since pretty early childhood. Anyway I tell a friend later and she asks if I rested after this discovery, and I said Yes in fact, I even cancelled something in the morning so I could sleep as long as I needed.

The children, my children, are incredible. I call Phoenix on my drive home and ask if she’d turn up the heat in my sewing room and she says, “Gladly!” Her vocabulary is exquisite. Both kidlets are growing so tall so quickly that almost every outing, a friend or acquaintance comments on this.  Our Halloween was a four-day extravaganza of parties and silly Halloween food and costumes and spooky movies and friends over and one hundred thousand candy wrappers. Yes I have pictures, and yes I will be posting them.

It’s cold, the coldest Halloween I’ve ever experienced. I buy a new hat at the thrift store for $1 but somehow it shrinks, despite being a nonshrinking fabric, so anyway that’s for Phoenix I suppose (as if my kids need more hats!). What I really want is one of those Irish tweed handmade hats, they have them out at the beach. I have a cash stash and could buy one but I keep the money in my cigar box, unsure of what really to do. Our rent, electric bill, everything is increasing and my husband’s job faces mandatory furloughs.

The early winter weather brings a great sense of gratitude; for a job, food, a warm home, and for one another. Tonight I was watching my daughter in bra and panties brushing her teeth and I thought how I don’t think I’ve once resented the work of raising children. I’ve been alarmed at how much this has entailed, and I’ve been tired out – but let’s face it, I’d likely have tired myself out as a childless singleton if that’s the way I’d gone. I feel only gratitude, if a bit humbled, picking up what must be the four hundred millionth wet towel off the bathroom floor, and treading back to our little laundry room, and time to wash up and crawl into bed and watch “River Monsters” until everyone’s sleepy but one of the kids cheerfully gets up and turns the program off and we fall into one another’s arms and sleep very soundly.