Weathering Storm(s)

The radio silence online over the last week has been filled with NOISE is my offline life. After contemplating whether I should wait until I was less pissed with myself to do it, I clicked publish on my last whiny post and went to bed. I was woken up by my phone’s vibrations 4 hours later.

It was my sister calling to tell me that my grandma was not breathing and her heart was not beating.

EMT’s were working to get her heart restarted before they rushed her off to the ER. Within hours my family had gathered there. And the news was not good. The whining about my grades and school and a sucky birthday were suddenly so absolutely ridiculous I shared it with my fam to try to lighten the mood.

But we could not lighten the mood. My grandmother is all that is holding the maternal side of my family together. Since my grandfather passed in June, we have been walking a tightrope of tension.

My grandmother has not spoken a word or moved on her own since Tuesday, October 23rd at about 6am.

As doctors give and retract diagnosis and give hope and then take it away, there has been ripples of discord. As she lays in the hospital, and Sandy rages through my city, my Brooklyn, the storm in my family rages on, too.

My grandma might never wake up.

I’ve reached the point where I can write about it now. I had been paralyzed and in tears for most of my waking hours. I have found a few outlets to extend myself. Focusing on my children and husband, storm prep and a fair I’m co-chairing at my big daughter’s school  has kept me sane.

But my nerves are fraying with this forced long weekend. As the days pass and my grandma still does not wake and my family drama continues to bluster and blow, I feel increasingly on edge.

I’m going to try to regroup and refocus.

And wait out the storms.

Today is my birthday….

and as of 1:53am, it’s pretty sucky.

AND of my own making, so I have no one but myself to blame. I managed not to totally fuck up on my cataloging midterm.  But, instead worked to the last second on my archiving class assignment (when I had a totally amazing time while completing my observation, more about that later when I stop being mad at myself) and didn’t get it in on time. This was the fault of Cablevision’s shitty service. But, mostly the fault is mine. I’m fresh out of school related get-up-and-go.

I might make myself some cupcakes, like these, tomorrow so I can cheer the hell up.

Maybe I’ll eat 33. One for each year.

Hey, How Ya Doing?

I feel like I fell into the black hole of no blogging for a while. In reality, it’s only been five days. It only felt like forever. Believe it or not, I’ve been busy studying (shocking, I know ;p, things were starting to make sense just in time to move onto something else…). I have also been scrambling for a field observation site for an archiving class assignment. Overlapping that I: resolved that personal problem, took the kids to Saturday classes, volunteered at my daughter’s school fair (it was absolutely FREEZING out that day), meet up with a dog owner friend so my son could get a taste of the pet life (It was a meet-up for Basset Hound owners. We are in serious danger of becoming a dog family) and then dove right back into the school week (even the kids were wiped on Monday).

Tired is OK because, I’m not certain that your childhood is complete without bouncing in a bouncy castle ;p

Or shaking hands with some pups.

This is Rudy, my friend Lisa’s doggy!

We spent some time snacking back at Lisa’s. My children are officially in love with her absolutely gorgeous home! They keep hinting about how cool it would be to have a second floor and stairs. Oh, and a backyard. Because that’s so easy to come by in NY ;-)

It was a pretty packed four or five days. I, literally, slept all day yesterday. I felt like the massive fatigue came out of nowhere, but reading back over the running around I did (not including meeting up with sewing peeps last Thursday) I guess I should have been tired. Despite that crazy amount of sleep, I was out like a light before midnight. That almost never happens. I woke up to a sick big girl (she has lady troubles. ALREADY. She’s only eleven. You cannot fathom the misplaced guilt I feel.) so I had company around the house today. We watched tons of DVR’ed Project Runway, and then Mulan, while I traced my Anise pattern:

And drafted version one of the affectionately dubbed Janice skirt:

You would not believe how fast my daughter got tired of Heidi’s repetitive catch phrases! Or how we laughed at Mulan despite having watched it dozens of times between us. It sucked that she was knocked flat most of the day, but it was nice to spend some one-on-one time with her. I normally travel with all the kiddies, so solo time is hard to come by. We all appreciate those rare times when we’re able to get that quality time in.

I was all set to sew up that skirt tonight, but I got a(nother fucking) headache and I just got so totally sleepy that I’ve changed my mind….and don’t worry…I’m not pregnant ;p LOL! I better get the kids’ things ready for school and give myself a pep talk about tomorrow’s midterm and observation hours. I hate tests and I always get so nervous around new people. Here’s to hoping that both things go well!

One Big, Happy (International, Sewing) Family

I have been super lucky recently and I’d like to shout out the peeps responsible. It’s an international round up of sewing related awesomeness. I have been featured two, very cool, places. It’s always SO nice to make something that you love and have others love it, too!

Let’s head to

Canada

The super sweet Kristiann, of Victory Patterns fame, asked to feature my Roxanne on her blog:
My Roxanne :: Featured @ Victory Patterns!

I was so honored! Not only did I love working with her pattern, I truly have not interacted with a sweeter business owner!

Next, to

Australia

The same week, Erica of Recycled Fashion Finds featured my Black & White at the Night Circus refashion:
Black & White :: Featured @ Recycled Fashion Finds!!

I’m really proud of this outfit so it pleases me so much to know that it was well liked by other refashionistas!

A much anticipated package from super groovy StephC of Cake Patterns also arrived this week! As excited as I was about the package making it from 3Hours Past the Edge of the World, I was expecting an epic battle at the post office. New Yorkers will sympathize with me. Postal relations are crap here. But it was DEAD easy to get it!!

Watch this space for more of that awesome (though wrinkled from travel) dress!!

And back in

New York

I already waxed poetic about the chance to shibori dye with ladies full of awesome, but in this same week, I was able to see Christine again, squeeze Oona in welcome (back to NY) and congratulations AND meet Maddie!! I had to run relatively quickly (kids to pick up from school and all that) but the short visit was more than worth it!! I was even, lovingly, badgered into buying some gen-u-ine garment district fabric!

The sewing community is spread all over the world. I’m so happy to know peeps from all corners of it!!

Shibori Style

When not pre occupied with a pretty serious personal problem and pretty serious midterms (MIDTERMS!!!) coming up, I’m thinking about shibori. I want to do something really special with the pieces I have. I looked to Pinterest for inspiration and it didn’t fail me.

While I don’t have large enough pieces to replicate any of these stunning projects, looking at them gets my juices flowing. Perhaps in the future I can shibori with chemical dyes and have a go at one of them, then!! I might even give felted knits a chance if I can produce a scarf like the one above! I have two small meet-ups and two kid school activities coming up in the next several days, so I don’t know when/if I’ll have time to work on anything, but I hope I will soon!!

Shibori and Indigo

Two words I will now casually throw around so I sound like I know what it’s all about.

I kid!

I was lucky enough to be invited by the folks (if Evan and Katie, all two of them, can technically be called “the folks”) at Course Horse to attend a little blogger meet-up/shibori indigo dyeing workshop at the Textile Arts Center in the Village. I have zero photos of the other babes (Christine, Sonja, Clio [she of the awesome disclosure statement, lol] and Devra) that made up our fab five, I was too busy folding and clamping and being impatient to throw things into the indigo pot!

And also, my camera phone pics are hardly award winning quality, lol. Luckily, the others were generous with their snaps.

Tricia, Devra, Katie, Me, Addison, Sonja and Christine.

Indigo

The indigo! This picture (mine ;p) doesn’t capture how truly beautiful it is!!

The space, which was PERFECT for feeling creatively inspired with its exposed brick, big windows and this huge yarn display was the best place to play for a few hours. I’ve been past here tons of times and I don’t think I noticed it…

That’s one of the cool things about Course Horse, especially in the face of all of these new creative space places in NYC,  it leads you to the type of class that you want. Someone (a blog reader?? Shout out if you read this!!) once tweeted me for help in finding a place to rent time with a sewing machine while she vacationed here in the city. This site is perfect for hunting down that info. Textile classes?? Bingo!  Cooking classes?? Bingo!!  Stuff to do with little people?? BINGO!!! lol You guys know I need that info ;o)

I don’t need tons of encouragement to jump into trying new crafts and I certainly don’t need help with buying the tools of the various trades, lol. I took a risk and went anyway. Let me tell you people dyeing is addictive!!

This is our instructor, Addison, showing us some samples and how they were folded to get the resulting pattern. Super groovy stuff!! As soon as we were dispatched to prep, I was off like a shot! Lol

Here are my first three resist attempts, all folded and clamped up:
Resist #1, #2 and #3

#1 Accordion folded in three (the long way) and then into triangles.

#2 Accordion folded in three (the long way) and then into squares.

#3 Accordion folded into small sections and pressed between plexi glass.

And my first timer LUCKY results!!
First three!!!!

First three!!!!

Can you believe that you can get such amazing results from the simple materials and methods I used??
Here’s try #4:
Resist #4

Accordion folded from one end to about a third of the way in and clamped. I started again from the opposite end and folded another third and clamped. Then I folded the middle section and clamped. I added more clamps on the ends and then wrapped rubber bands around the whole bundle.

The result:
The result of resist #4

I love how the different folding directions and clamp locations made changes in the pattern.

Try #5 was hastily thrown in with no before shot. This was achieved by binding five buttons with rubber bands. The middle button was added last. I think the diamond shape is a result of that.
Resist #6
This one also stayed in the longest, because I totally forgot I put it in there! I was busy wrapping up this one:

Resist method #5

I accordion folded the fabric lengthwise and started wrapping at one end, moved to the other and finished in the middle.
I think this one had the best result:
The result of resist #5

Doesn’t it look like an old bearded man??? Take another look:
The result of resist #5
Do you see it??? Lie to me, lol

This workshop was truly a blast!! Learning something new and creative is always a great time, but in a group it was extra enjoyable. The conversation was non-stop! Devra and I enjoyed a little fantasy indulging as we imaged being independently wealthy, ladies of leisure taking endless classes in our sunlit studies.

We all had so much in common (as women, sewers, bloggers, New Yorkers….) and all really delighted in the knowledge that we had those things in common. Evan and Katie joined in (look for Katie to start a blog any day now) and Addison encouraged us to try as many methods as we liked. She shared her knowledge freely and answered SO many of our questions. Bloggers are a curious bunch, lol

By the time we were done, the drying line was laden with projects.

And a good time was had by all.

Evidence!

Sonja really is that funny!

 

 

 

Future Refashions

My success with last week’s Sew Weekly refashioning challenge has made me take a closer look at some things in my “to refashion” pile and led me to grab a few new pieces when I hit the thrift store with Missy after our photo shoot (and again a couple days later. Thrifting with an impatient tween doesn’t allow for combing the racks thoroughly). Feel free to chime in with opinions on what works, what doesn’t and what is asking for trouble ;p

I have this mid calf length sweater that I got in the great-dorm-move-out-day-dash with my sister. It’s 100% wool and too tight to be worn as is. I’m thinking it might be a good jumping off point to transform into something like this, sans pockets:

I could also go for cutting it into a totally new look (which would address the tight sleeve issue) and aim for something with this shape (using this pattern, maybe) and kicky beaded embellishment, if the mood strikes me:

vintage blue cardigan yellow skirt d

I also have two sweatshirts to makeover. I’m thinking along these lines:

I picked up a gray one with this project specifically in mind:

Look who happened to be on the tag of one of the sweatshirts we bought.

It's Claire Huxtable on my tag!!

Claire Huxtable!!

This pale colored merino pullover is a bit more hole-y than I thought.  I could re-work it into something like this:

Or give it a completely new life as (un-felted, I hate felted knits) warm winter accessories:

I also have a black wool coat I got from a Freecycler. Nothing special, single breasted, long, wool and boring.

Some ideas to funk it up:

Chop it and add zips? I have a ton of long, heavy, metal zippers that would look awesome used this way.

Cut a new hem? It’s a longish coat, so I might have enough fabric to make a faced hem like this.

Or the stud the fuck out of it!?! That’s sure to make a statement!

That’s quite the full refashioning plate! This doesn’t even include the two pair of men’s pants I have on hand and the tux jacket I never got around to on my last refashioning binge.

I like to thrift for refashionables but these last two trips yielded some wear as is items, too. Like this cashmere (for $5.79!!!!) sweater from Lord & Taylor and this cashmere (also $5.79!!!!) cardigan by Grace. My daughter and I will be cable knit sweater twins in our, identical but differently priced, pullovers and she’s already worn two of her finds to school. All of our purchases can be seen here.