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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I will definitely sink

It's like the tattoo or maybe a picture shared on Facebook; the image of an old-timey anchor along with the words, "I refuse to sink."
Look, I know it's not supposed to be literal, but the picture and words just don't match for me! If you've got an anchor that refuses to sink, then you've got a crap anchor and soon you won't have a boat.
August is almost almost over and that is sad because it means I can't really wear my nautical themed stuff. (It's the law.) I guess I was too lazy to do a proper "before" picture.
There it is on a hanger what do you want from me I must have been busy. I got that at Goodwill over the winter from what I can recall. I seemed to remember a certain dollar day when I said, "fine, I'll do something with it for a dollar." Here's a closeup of the bodice.
While researching dresses from the company "Lanz Originals" on Etsy, guess what I happened to come across?
Well, look at that. It's by a cool vintage dress label and WHERE'S MY LITTLE SWEATSHIRT/ JACKET?!
I knew this was going to be a nautical-sailor themed dress that I have such a fondness for. So, when summer came around, I pulled this out of hiding. I decided that I hate square necklines, so I did that thing I always do where I pinch a little gather in the center of the bust area. I'm pretty sure I took a picture, but I did this months ago and I'm just know realizing summer's death is imminent and need to post about this asap. No time to search through all my pics, you'll have to wait until the end.
Look at how full the bottom of this thing is:
I wasn't sure how I felt about it, but decided not to mess around. I just cut about 2" off the bottom for the sash. It wasn't fraying so I didn't hem it. Corner cut. Now scroll up a bit and look at those odd little sleeves.
God damn it, I need to keep my pictures better organized! You'll have to imagine how those pointy ends this dress called "sleeves" made it look like I had wide shoulders. I cut them off, but don't worry I did hem the armholes.
So, I was getting somewhere. I went through a bunch of appliques and buttons to look for some sort of boat/anchor to add. That way there would be no mistake that this dress was nautical. I rememberd that several months ago, I pulled this out of the bins at the Goodwill outlet:
Cool, a sexy Halloween costume! Everyone knows that when you wear rubber gloves and dig an item from a large bin of undesirable castoffs, said item should be laundered immediately. Unless...
I want my $.70 back. Can't wash it in any way? I'm guessing the cheap blue dye would run over everything else. I figured I could use it for spare parts. I was reminded of something I've seen when browsing vintage nautical dresses.
Look at that wacky, waving mannequin. See how there's a large anchor right up at the top? Maybe? I seam rippered the gold applique off my costume. Here's a preview with the bodice with the bust gather and anchor.
I'm glad I made the sash belt, because an actual belt might be overkill. I did add a few gold studs to it for some reason.
I guess this is the demure and modest pose that doesn't fit with the style of the post or the dress.
See you when school starts.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A crap-ton of candles and a lot of cake

It is my birthday. Well it was my b-day on Sunday, but I like to take a whole week. This post has a dress refashion! Which I will get to at some point. Preview?
There's the "before." But, before I get to re-do, I'd like to address something...
Earlier this summer, Facebook showed me one of those "memories". From that wacky, manic, sexy summer of 2012; this picture:
So, Facebook asked me if I remembered when I shared this pic. I sure do. I lightly dented the Internet with this one! It generated some great buzz! Awesome! I was modeling a cute little vintage one-piece. I used to love those. I even made it a tag back then!
It was a grainy mirror pic, but if you see what I see, you see a fine young thing. I looked so thin and in such great shape!
It wasn't that long ago...four years. Well, I guess I've made some changes since then. Here's a more recent picture from earlier this year:
That's a "before" shot of a referee-like dress that I haven't refashioned yet. Not a flattering look, I know. Does anything stand out to you? Here's another.
Looks like I put on a couple of lbs! Rounded out a bit! Added an extra layer of fat! Look at this:
Can you believe I posted a pic of these short shorts in 2013?
Over my birthday weekend, Chris and I went out for breakfast where I had a big-ass Belgian waffle and some sides. Upon my return from the restaurant, I felt like taking a nap and Chris lagged on the couch. "Why are we so tired?" I asked. "Because we're old as fuck?"
"Old as fuck, fat as fuck, and lazy as fuck," Chris replied, listing off some reasons we were headed for a food coma. I LOLed because it was such an exaggeration. I mean, we both look fine.
It was back in the winter that I first noticed that much of my clothing was simply too tight. I was horrified, but it made sense. In recent years, I have done some serious gorging on goodies like donuts, cake, cookies, etc. Up until late 2013, I had a part time retail job which kept me more mobile than I currently am when I'm listing crap on Etsy. Look, things happen!
I've started doing better. I'll probably never be that young gal in that picture again, but I've cut way back on the morning donuts (like hardly every get one) and I've started drinking fruit smoothies for lunch. I've had less ice cream than I would've liked to have this summer.
So, that dress:
What is that? A muu muu? The picture doesn't quite do it justice. Look at all that room in the armpits, and it really didn't have much of a waist. I thought this would be an easy fix. For once, I was right! It was easy!
I'll spare you the process, because once I took it in on the sides, I felt like it was mostly fine just like that. I also shortened those arm straps, they were quite long.
It's not very noticeable, but whenever I'm doing something with pink flowers I'm afraid of not looking cool. So, I pulled the old BeDazzler out and put some little round studs along the top of the dress and on the straps. Added my favorite helper, the waist cincher belt too.
Now look:
The pictures came out a little soft, but doesn't that dress look perfectly cute with a rockabilly vibe? Did you also notice those lovely shoes? Aerosoles! Brand new from Savers, $7!
It's kind of cheating, because I really just made it smaller.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

No creative title; tiki skirt

I have a lot of refashions to post. Let's get these done. I'll start with a skirt resizing. So...not really a refash, but it's a great skirt.
That skirt is too damn big. Too long and way too much room in that big fold-over waist at the top.
Can you see the pattern on that?
It's great. What are those tiki...things? Tiki statues? I bought it for three or four bucks, it was half off something. I knew it was too big, but small-ing it would have some challenges. For starters, it was in two layers. Underneath the visible layer was an additional layer to give it some poof.
I just cut out the whole inner layer. By now it was early June so that would be better. One problem solved. See that waist area? It's just a big folded over thing with no elastic in it. It was way too big and I seriously didn't know how to deal with that.
I decided I should probably take in the whole damn thing. There was plenty of room. I cut out sections from each side, but left the top portion intact so I could deal with that later.

What's that saying? Cut several times, measure never? Yeah, that's right. Let's see...
Ha ha ha, that happened. My estimates were way off! So, I went ahead and took in the sides of that knit waist area. Then I did this:
See that elastic piece that I just used to fill in the too small area? That would be the new waist. The material on top of that would fold over, hiding that "fix." This also solved the problem of the too long length.
It worked!
It's my favorite summer jam: the full midi skirt with cropped tee!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Throwin' shade; (and Mod Pdge Fabric)

If only...I wish this was a scandalous blog post where I call out some unnamed hater and drop the mic on some fool who did me wrong.
This post isn't even about sunglasses...it's about lamp shades.
Woo hoo, look at those beauties...I bet I'm totally capturing readers with this image, drawing you in with a great pair of boring old lamp shades.
Even though I have a huge backlog of sewing projects to show you, I feel like it's been a while since I did a non-clothing DIY post. Here's how I did something to some shades. I'll throw in some pictures of lamps, too!
So, those are two small fabric lamp dealies. They're boring and beige but they were $1 each and just the right size for some $2 lamps I recently brought home.
Just a couple of fancy ceramic pillars painted to resemble french vanilla ice cream with the little black specks. How can I make them more appealing? With fancy shades. Or regular shades that I would fancy up. When I got this idea in my head, I impulsively got up and went to Savers to look at fabric remnants and pillow shades. I had a plan.
A plan that included Mod Podge for Fabric that I had to acquire. (I added that brand name to the title because maybe this post will come up on Google searches.) So, with my blue-labeled decoupage medium and two floral place mats --that's what I found at Savers-- I was down to do this thing. I cranked on the air conditioner and  for ready to attach some things to things.
That's pretty much my way of describing most of my projects. I take two or more items/materials and some kind of adhesive then join them together: attach things to things.
The place mats were very 60s-70s floral with a barkcloth feel. There's a hastily snapped picture of one of the place mats before I tore into it with some new fabric-only scissors.
...and here it is after.
What did you think I was going to do? Take measurements, mark where to cut, do geometry, and then cover the shade with properly sized fabric? That's what a good crafter would do. I decided to cut a bunch of the flowers and leaves from the mat in various sizes. I was going to do this collage style.
After a shit-ton of cutting, I grabbed a paint brush and started painting the backs of my cut-outs with Mod Podge, paying no mind to the fraying around the edges. Because screw it. I let my hard work dry overnight before adding the top layer of Podge to my masterpieces. Eventually, I had these:
Closer look?
High five me because I created these and these are great. The flowers are kinda 3-D, kinda trompe l'eoil (prob spelled that wrong), and maybe a little shabby. Buy my lamps.
High on my own personal satisfaction, I overestimated my technique and hauled one of these babies out of hiding:
Just the shades, not the granny lamps. Those are two perfectly good, huge, drum shaped lamp shades that also happened to be all dingy and ugly from their years. I got a fix for that.
The picture doesn't do it justice, but it's a glorious large pillow sham featuring botanical-looking wildflowers in beautiful colors! I repeated the above process...
Nope. That's a no for me, hard pass, do not want. I guess from a distance, it's doable but it just reminds me too much of a poster that has been plastered with images cut from magazines and layered with Elmers.
But, you should see the lamp I planned on pairing it with:
Nice find, right? It's all swirly and 70s colored. Mint condish, lamp lovers...for sale on Etsy.
I've got a whole lamp party over here. Boatloads of lighting! Stick around and I'll do a whole post of 'em, nothing but pictures of lamps.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

I guess this is growing up

So, to conclude my story about the 2015-16 school year...
Cat interpretation of me and my little girls as we strut down the hall.
It was a good school year. It was nice sitting at the end of the table with AB on one side and RW on the other. It was fun referring to them as "my girls" because I usually have "my boys" and this was a nice change of pace. I loved the whole class, really. I wasn't the only paraprofessional in the room. Christine was there too, so we had three adults as well as several students that needed attention. We had EJ, a boy with autism and a big mouth who had a hard time controlling his body. He was also smart as a whip and affectionate with friends. AB is not a cuddly child, but when EJ ran and hugged her, she allowed it as if she knew that physical connection was something he needed.
We had this sweet little curly haired boy, RD (not special needs) with a brother in first grade. Brother was always in trouble. In May, the "troublemaker" brother was hit by a car and had to be put into a medically induced coma. So, that was sad. I saw curly haired boy at Savers with his grandmother and I told her that it was really important to me that this boy come out of this, as I had just lost a family member.
The point of all this is uh...just pointing out the hard things that kids have to go through. I'm just glad we had such a good group of diverse children.
Here is a picture of me with a spring dress to break up all the text.
 So, as the spring went on it was clear that AB and her siblings were in good hands at their grandparents' house. I hoped that this would become her "forever" home. This would be good for her to have a stable home life, but...not so good for me.
You see the grandparents live a few towns over. AB and her sister GB were only finishing the school year with us and assuming they stayed with their grandparents in the fall, they should be at their neighborhood school. My little girl would be away from me.
AB, GB, and I never talked about this. I didn't want her to spend her last weeks at PV (our school's initials) having anxiety about the next year. I just wanted to enjoy the time we had together.
We started practicing songs for our kindergarten "graduation." One was a cheesy graduation-themed cover of "Dynamite" (you know the one). The other was a corny but seriously heartwarming rendition of "Lean on Me".
During one of our rehearsals, I told our class to really listen to the words. "The song's about helping each other through our hard times that we have," I said without being too specific. I told the class how they were there for me when I was sad. In my mind, I thought about RD and his brother's accident; I thought about WT, the brilliant Vietnamese boy when he had to serve a detention after ignoring the warning about running in the hallway (he was horrified!); and I thought about all the hardships AB had been through that brought us to this moment.
Four kindergarten classes would be performing and doing a little commencement activity on the last day of school, so we practiced on the stage ahead of time. During our first stage rehearsal, the other para, Christine was absent so I was looking after all of the children with special needs. One girl, LL, wanted no part of practice and left the stage, walking out of the auditorium. That would mean I had to chase after her.
I hadn't mentioned LL, as she was sort of an antagonist in AB's story. Her behavior was not so good and my little angel was often the victim of it. Sometimes they were friends and sometimes LL pushed, teased, and even stole from AB. I wanted LL to stay away from her, but AB always gave her more chances.
LL was stealing and her favorite thing to grab was Play-Doh. Yes, fistfuls of it would be hidden in her pocket. Therefore, she was not allowed to play with Play-Doh. One lazy afternoon, the children were moving about the room doing different activities. AB, RW, and some others with playing with the stuffed cats and dogs at the "vet center."
LL came into the room after speech services and was told she could choose an activity. Sadly, she whimpered that what she really wanted was to play with Play-Doh. She was near our group as Christine consoled her, reminding her of the consequences of theft and telling her to pick a different activity.
AB picked up her own Hello Kitty plush, walked over to LL and handed it to her. Do you see the heartwarming scenario I'm describing here? Just a short time previously, LL took a tiny Lalaloopsy doll out of AB's backpack. AB caught her doing this, but what was she to do?! Demand it back?! Tell someone?!
She can't do it. Even when an awesome toy is at stake, the mute child cannot speak.
Christine thwarted her plan to sneak Loopsy out of the room by hiding it in a bag of chips when she found a doll-filled chips bag. She asked AB if it belonged to her, who confirmed it did.
Less than a week later, here she is consoling the girl who stole her doll by offering her another of her toys! What incredible empathy! She didn't even need words. She invited a girl -who had previously been mean to her, but who was now in need of a friend- to join in with her activity. If she had been using her words, I imagine what she was saying was: "You look very sad, like you need a friend to help you. Here, take my precious Hello Kitty which I trust you to have, despite your previous actions. Let us now play with stuffed animals."
My heart heart melted. This would be the time to play...
It's "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World!" by Prince! If it's not taken down yet.
Back to where we were onstage. Our class had done two concerts with the music teacher and neither time, did AB want anything to do with being on stage. This time she was trying. As she stood on the risers, I told her that I had to go make sure LL was safe and asked her to stay with our friends. I would be right back.
I was, and she did. She stayed on the stage. I was so proud that I told her I would find a graduation Kitty with a little graduation cap and diploma. Like this one:
I should probably get a graduation Minnie too. Neither of which I was able to find in stores and had no time to wait for delivery. I ended up with these:
I was going to remove the caps from that bear and smiley face and place them on Kitty and Minnie. I decided that the Lollipop Kitty wasn't right and managed to find one at Savers that was just perfect, albeit a little large. I forgot to take "after pics", but I have one of Big Grad Kitty:
You shoulda seen that girl's jaw drop with delight when she saw that. Here's the little lady herself in one of the photos Christine took for me. I wish I could show you that face.
That morning of our graduation party was beautiful. All the children were so dressed up pretty and excited. It brought back memories, like from a few years back when B (Read about him here) was leaving kindergarten and I told him that I'd always be there for him. I had made the same blue cupcakes that I did in 2013. In February, I had to say goodbye to B, as he left our school to join the program for emotionally handicapped children; he needed more help than we could give.
I remembered even further back to Jesse's kindergarten graduation. As we mingled in the classroom after the ceremony, he lifted his arms to hug his mom and asked to be picked up. Even though he was headed for first grade, he looked so small in my aunt's arms.
These days are so bittersweet. As I looked at the glowing, happy little girl before me, I noticed that she was a world away from the one who started school earlier that year. Had she been staying in the neighborhood, I would've been looking forward to another awesome school year together; but I would have to say goodbye.
The others, I would see next year, except for EJ who I would also miss terribly. Even though I will see them again, it won't be the same because they won't be the same. There is no other year like the year they are in kindergarten. They grow up and us adults are forced to stand by and watch with nothing we can do to stop it!
Sometimes they grow so fast that you can no longer help them and for their own good, you have to say hope they are in a better situation.
This year I said goodbye to one of my angels, when we could no longer meet his needs.
Or sometimes, you watch one grow into a wonderful young man only to lose him forever.
So...I guess what I'm saying is that life is cruel. Children should stay little forever and should definitely never die.
So, that was my school year! When times were bad, I was fortunate to have had some sunshine in my life at work. I'll never forget that little girl and I know I'll see her again. I will never forget any of them.
The end.