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.

Sweet Saturday

What I Wore :: 10.6.12

I had such an unexpectedly good day!! The weather was beautiful! It was the first day of Saturday class for my oldest two. My son is always so anxious when he starts anything and my daughter can be equally as nervous. I dropped them off, after a pretty painless commute, and occupied the twins while we waited.

They frolicked and collected leaves and twigs. We sat and snacked. They climbed all over this monument while I knit. Perfect diversion.

What I Wore :: 10.6.12

Dress :: Banana Republic via Domsey’s
Tights :: Forever21
Shoes :: H&M
Bangles & Earrings :: From my sister
Bracelet & Rings :: From my hubby
Purse :: Express
Details

We picked up the other two kiddies, who were BOTH wearing HUGE smiles when we arrived, and went to visit my grandma (who was back home from two days in the hospital). My sister gave me a bag of, mostly tangled, booty. These gems were tucked away in this small bag.

Those bracelets are unbelievable in person!! I love my sister ;p

After visiting with my maternal fam, we walked over to see my paternal grands. I know, I’m lucky that everyone is so close together. We only spent a little while there before my dad dropped us home. I always appreciate a ride home. Getting sleepy people, myself included, home on public transport is the hardest part of going out with all of the kids alone. The twins would have been asleep before the bus pulled off.

Once inside, they started a leaf rubbing project (everything is called a project in my house) after eating some snacks. They’ve been playing quietly since then. After dinner, I expect a deep sleep to fall over the entire place.

Sweet Saturday

 

 

 

Playing with Color

 

BEHOLD!

Ombre Oxford

The results of my dip dying experiment!!

Ombre Oxford

I kind of love it!! I thrifted this pink oxford from Domsey’s for $4.59. It’s a boy’s size 16 (which makes it a bit snug around the hips) by Sean John. I dyed it in a basin in my kitchen sink, using Dylon dye in a deep, navy blue. I could have/should have left it in longer, but I was impatient, lol

Ombre Oxford

Ombre Oxford

I pinned the front, back and sleeves together in that hope that it would result in an even line across the shirt. I think it worked really well! This layered technique did result in the back of the shirt being slightly lighter. I like the effect, but it’s something to consider if/when you decide to dip dye something.

 Instead of hanging the shirt, I laid it across the side of the sink and lowered it a little in 10 min-ish intervals. One packet makes enough dye to cover a much larger item than this shirt. I went a little dye happy and threw in a rayon scarf and a thrifted cotton skirt. Just to see what would happen. I love the result of the scarf! It was peach colored and belonged to my grandma. I’m much more likely to wear it, now that it’s darker. The skirt was more subtle, but still quite pretty. It was a size 1X, gathered skirt, so once I cut off the waistband I had a huge piece of fabric to use in the future.

I don’t know that dyeing is something I’ll do very often. But it was fun to give it a try!

 

 

 

 

The “Grayscale” Ensemble

The "Grayscale" Ensemble

That life line TOTALLY WINS with my heart tights*!!
The Facts
Fabric | Kenneth Cole Poly/Rayon blend men’s slacks, $5.00. They’re size 34/32. Banana Republic tissue thin 100% Cotton top, $5.00 (I think). The belt was inspired by this Burberry one.
Patterns | None
Year | Current
Notions | Thread, elastic and a hook and bar for the belt.
Time to complete | Almost no time. I spent more time futzing around on the internet, waiting to be inspired by a refashion for a top to wear with the shorts I knew I wanted to make.
First worn | To take these photos, initially. We, my daughter and I, ended up walking to the thrift store together and taking more on the way. We scored some great deals on things we both wanted. YAY for mother/daughter time!! Funny aside, there were two college students filming in the spot we often go to take pics (the super colorful ones are taken across the street from each other). They were working on a lighting assignment and switched their focus to shooting us when we arrived. They were so sweet. I gave them a card and asked that they send me some footage ;o) EDITED TO ADD: They sent it! It was very weird to see how frowny I must look to other people, lol! Here’s a smiling still from the footage.


Wear Again? | Yes, definitely! I can’t believe how much more wearable this sweater is now and I’m a huge fan of making shorts from men’s pants. The time I’ve saved on making all the details that are staple features in menswear trousers is not lost on me. I need to re-work the bow portion of the belt. I’m not ashamed to admit that it did not immediately occur to me to INTERFACE the bows for stability. DUH! I’m wearing lace heart tights from Forever 21 (I have a gray and black hounds tooth pair that I planned to wear, but they were SUPER tight!) and my H&M oxfords.

The "Grayscale" Ensemble

I like this pair of man shorts more than my last. This time. I narrowed the legs and raised the crotch by taking them in at the inseam. Genius, the person who first posted that to the interwebs. This had the effect of making the waist fit better and the overall fit being more like that of a lady who does not need room in the crotch area for man parts. There, I’ve filled the blog’s crotch talk quotient for the next little while ;o)

The "Grayscale" Ensemble

The "Grayscale" Ensemble

This top was once about mid thigh length. It’s also meant to be worn the opposite way. See, here. I hated looking for this one black tank (that I wear under everything) whenever I wanted to wear it. And I always ended up bunching it up after about 2 seconds of wearing it full length. I lopped off about a foot, cut the ribbing off and reattached it to the new, shorter, sweater. Then, to solve the the need for a bottom layer, I wore it backwards! I think it works. Even my husband, who would not hesitate to (nicely) discourage this plan if it didn’t, agreed.

The "Grayscale" Ensemble

I put it together with lace heart tights and my much loved oxfords and away we went! The belt idea, the part that took the longest, came about when I hated the way my existing belts looked with the outfit. I have always had it in the back of my mind to knock off the Burberry belt and now was the time. Using one of the pant legs, I made a long casing (about 50 inches), turned it right side out, feed the elastic through and caught it in the ends when I tucked and stitched them closed. In hindsight, I should have made the casing with one seam, so it would be easier to hide it at the back. As I stated above, I also should have used super heavy weight interfacing to give the bows some dimension. I think I’ll replace this bow (which is just pinned on, I have tons of broken costume jewelry pieces to swap it out with once I figure out how to attach them, lol) and use the remaining pant leg (or, you know, any of the metric ton of fabric I have on hand) for another go. I have tons of thick elastic for more. I will be belted in the future, people! You can see more pics here!

That’s all folks!

The "Grayscale" Ensemble

*I thought that this line kind of looked like a life line when we stopped to snap this pic. I hadn’t even noticed the actual one in the other pictures that were taken first!