Candy for the brain

“Can you believe this got bad reviews?”

I asked Ron this question, with my eyes closed, and my face snuggled up to his bare chest. We were watching tv in bed and I had just felt him chuckle at the campiness of RuPaul.

And yes, me facing away from the tv with my eyes closed also counts as watching. I consume a lot of shows this way – eyes closed, or head turned away while I’m doing something else. The bar is low when all you need is some background noise droning on that you can pay attention to in bits and pieces.

We all know how the detective series or romantic Christmas movie is going to end and missing a few details in the middle is almost irrelevant by the time we get to the good parts where we have to pay attention.

My Netflix queue is probably quite predictable in places – current binges, a movie or three for the weekend to watch together, shows Ron doesn’t like (bloody and violent) that I watch when he’s busy, and a few standbys to fall asleep to. Ron isn’t a true crime fan, but even he agrees the narrator of Forensic Files has a soothing voice. This series is especially good for naps.

I like non-English films sometimes, if the story is good, and when you take a chance on them the stories often are quite good. Dubbed is better since reading the subtitles (always on anyway) take a lot of concentration when I’m sleepy, and I can’t sew or make dinner and read captions at the same time. Occasionally there’s a show or movie enthralling enough it sucks me in and I don’t care – like the Korean detective that time travelled through the tunnel.

I mean, I’m aware I have pedestrian tastes. Almost every English movie in the Action & Adventure section has been watched at least once, even when you take out the overlap with Sci Fi. Honestly, the only ones left for me to view is the entire Batman catalogue and Lord of the Rings (which to be fair, would be excellent falling asleep material even if it does take a week per movie).

Sometimes I’m watching a Nigerian movie and think the story is so good it could have come from Hollywood, then I just enjoy it anyway. Watching ScandiNoir detective short series makes me want to visit Iceland – a place that was not previously on my bucket list.

The only issue I’ve had with dubbed films so far is the lack of variety in the voice actors. I’m starting to recognize them by the sound of their voices.

And I’ve noticed Netflix taking chances on lower budget films and series – maybe movies that wouldn’t have aired elsewhere, or in limited runs. Some look like film student projects. There’s a range, of course, like anything, but there’s been a few gems.

We’ve cut the cable cord so long ago now it’s weird when a “regular” tv show winds up in our queue. The obvious commercial break and canned laughs are weird and out of place. And of course, when we don’t have to watch what’s next in the evening lineup because we’re too lazy to channel surf, the bad sinks down the list.

Sometimes I do miss a Prime Time Lineup and would love a way for Netflix to just have a “tv” option where it takes the next episode of a few series in my list and throws them at me, sequentially, for those times when I’m not binging.

Otherwise, give me my early evenings and the droning explanation of mitochondrial DNA or the dubbed Spanish dramas or even the “Bitch, PLEASE!” as Ru tries to find AJ’s PopPop as they tour drag shows around the US.

I’ll cuddle up tighter to Ron and breathe it all in as I drift off and enjoy it all the same.

It’s about time

It’s weird, not waking up to an alarm after so many years. No pulling myself out of bed and stumbling to a laptop to check on the neverending help desk of tickets and Slack conversations and issues that might have cropped up overnight.

I lay there and wait, usually. Wait for my eyes to adjust to the dark room, my ears to fully open (they are always first) and listen for the sounds of the traffic.

A dozen cars in a row, turning the corner, means it’s 7:30ish, up here on the ridge. The perfect time to get downtown around 8. Except I can lay there until at least 8, when my reminder to take the morning meds dings at me. By then I usually have more than one eye open, scrolling through Twitter replies and Facebook ones that have happened overnight. Checking Twitter for any local news, with greater more orange and frustrating words muted. It’s a lot different with most of the have-to WordPress news gone. A lot lighter. Weird too how different things are even from this time last year – let alone two.

I can stretch a bit. Catalogue what parts of my aging self are hurting or tense, or not today. Open the curtain and gaze at the sunrise, late and low in the winter. Take my time.

I can sit here – tea and toast – two tiny slices from the smallest loaf of expensive bread I have ever seen, lightly skimmed with peanut butter and apple jelly, like when I was a kid – comforted by the simple life before when I was kid.

I don’t have to hit the ground running. There’s another hour anyway before my youngest (the only kid left in the house and now an adult) even gets out of bed or is ready for conversation. An hour or so before I see the first customer of the day after flipping the sign on the front door.

But messages are trickling in. A Facebook ping here, an email, a reminder from the husband. I haven’t looked at my planner yet but I know what’s there, as today’s quilt is right next to me, nagging. It’s been there a week since I’m a little stumped, but I’ll push through. I have a headache that is dissipating, from the late night out at a guild meeting where someone gave me two more of their quilts for me to finish, so the pile is growing.

It’s different, the things I do now. It’s more relaxed. And even though I woke with my usual late night crash hard sinus headache, there’s no more neck tension from endless days of sitting at a laptop for hours. No more teeth grinding and jaw clenching. No more grind 24/7, and a whole lot more of just taking it easy and unlearning bad work habits.

No one to tell me what I’m supposed to do next either, and no one to hand the work off to, so that’s a whole other post I guess.

It’s different, and I had to get used to the quiet and my own thoughts and being the sole person responsible for handling things. Also not panicking and freezing because of that.

I’ve been trying a lot of new things, or new to me now or things I haven’t done in literally years. This weird bit of being a strong independent woman and business owner. This part where I have to get used to taking care of myself for a change.

I’m going to try this new thing – morning pages if you’re prone to old school thinking. Everything blogged is new again if you’re into the tech side. I guess?

Ah look, tea refilling time and moving on with today.

Adventures in dressmaking

I’ve been on a dress kick lately – not that I’ve been wearing any recently (too cold) but I have been thinking about it since last summer.

I bought the Oolong dress pattern from Colette – they are not wrong, their patterns are indeed beautifully printed. I found the shipping to be steep but only ordered one pattern. It pretty much double the price, so I wonder if 2 or 3 or even 4 patterns could have been shipped at that rate.

That being said, totally worth it, gorgeous patterns, well made, beautifully instructed. I really admired the total package.

Of course, I couldn’t just do it as written, I had to make adjustments.  I don’t necessarily mean fitting adjustments either. This pattern was for woven fabrics cut on the bias. I used a slink knit cut on the cross grain. In cases like this, that’s actually a similar substitution. The fabric was a cut length of 3 or 4 yards I picked up at Value Village (thrift store like Goodwill) for a whopping $3.99.

I do have a serger but it is over 20 years old and probably on its last legs. It has a really hard time handling slinky knits like this. I did one seam and felt like tossing it out the window. The rest of the seam I did on a regular sewing machine with a slight zig zag stitch, nothing fancy. On some seams I made sure to stretch the fabric a bit so the threads wouldn’t break when the fabric itself was stretched.

I cut a 14 because that is my size and the size according to the measurements. I generally make up a pattern without much fitting to give myself a standard to go buy because often it should mostly fit with little issue. I traced off the size I needed onto tissue paper, which was a fair amount of work. The size lines are actually quite close together on the pieces, so my usual method of “fold back and hope for the best” was to difficult in many places.

I did make a dress form last year, but I think the form is actually larger than I am by enough of a difference to matter. The last two things I’ve made are snug on the form and loose on me.

Same with this dress.

If I made it again in a knit, and if you are considering the same in a knit, go a size smaller if you like a snug fit.  This dress should be slightly fitted and in a knit it winds up a teensy bit loose. I would also eliminate the darts when using a knit, the fabric should compensate. The gathers at the bust and using a knit means you don’t have to do a FBA (full bust adjustment). At least I didn’t.

The other changes I made were sewing the front skirt to the bodice. I just did a straight seam and not topstitched as directed. I have a similar dress with a pint in the front and it is constructed the same way. It was easier to do it this way with the knit.

I also did not line the bodice, but went with a facing. I did stitch the seams to the facing but this was still not enough to keep the neckline facings in place. So I stitched around the neck about 3/4″ in. It looks nice and keeps the facing in place. I will probably trim off the excess. I’d like to see how the neckline would work when using fold over elastic (FOE) instead.

As for the length – I cut it as long as the pattern and I knew I’d have to lop off quite a bit. Dresses on me need to hit just below the knee to look right so this means cutting off a good 6″ even before hemming.

That;s the only step left to do, and I hope to get it done before we go to Denver in May. Yes, it might take me that long. I’m also considering making a lime green drapey knit cardigan to go with it.

I will probably make this dress again (considering how much the pattern costs, yeesh) and try a woven fabric next time, and make adjustments to the pattern  itself before cutting out. It’s a similar style to the dress I’m making in this post, just a different pattern and something that looks reasonably decent on me.

This is where my title goes if I had one

It’s Friday afternoon and I’m on my half day. I’m too tired to do much though. Sitting in bed with Netflix on my big 42″ tv sounds like a great plan right about now.

I’ve been taking a screenprinting class, which is great but it;s like 2.5 hours of setup and prep work for maybe 3 minutes of actual printing. The good part is we are getting to the industrial type of screenprinting with photo emulsion. I like that a lot better.

I’d show you what I did but it’s for a top secret project I don’t want leaked yet, sorry.

There were so many storms that this week and next week we’re doing two classes a week to finish in the time allotted. It makes for busy weeks.

As fro my hair – I did get it cut since I last posted. It was driving me nuts. Now I have brown roots. I overdyed it in VooDoo Blue which looks pretty cool. That blue bleeds quite a bit more than other blues even within the same brand. Right now my hair is faded all out again (partly  on purpose) and getting shaggy again.

I’ve been looking at super short cuts on Pinterest and thinking about my next hair adventure. We’re going to Denver in May so I want a great cut with a super color dye job.

I had been planning on rainbow next, but I keep thinking about blonde with gradient bangs again.

Not much sewing is going on here and barely any quilting at all.

Sew for victory!

In an effort to jump start my blog a little, I decided to post my progress in Lucky Lucille’s Sew for Victory sew along.

Basically, I had a pattern already picked out from the 40’s and had the fabric on hand. I’ve been meaning to sew up this dress for a while now, and this was the perfect excuse!

The pattern is Simplicity … , which I bought at a yard sale a very long time ago. It was in a paper bag with maybe 6 other patterns. For a DOLLAR. I have made this pattern before, back in the late nineties. Then, I used a black knit with tiny white polka dots, picked the long sleeved version, and skipped the zipper insertion. It was a warm and comfortable presentable dress that was great for church and I got a lot of use out of it. It even held up to me teaching the nursery school kids there.

This time around, I had two fabric to choose from, both picked up at Value Village for $3.99 each piece. They are both either rayon/poly or poly/nylon.

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Definitely man made, and super slinky wovens with a nice drape. Polka dots again. It’s like I really love them or something and they look good on me. Go figure!

So I picked the 1930’s green – it’s perfect and cute! I am also doing the short sleeved option, not shown on the envelope.

You’ll note that since this is a vintage pattern, none of the pieces are printed. They are pre-cut for you, however. I do appreciate that. A quick press and I was pinning and cutting away.

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Now I have a nice stack of cut pieces waiting for me. Probably might not get to starting it till Sunday though.

 

Allergies

I’ve had allergies all my life.

Just the usual – pollen, pets, dust. The time we went to England and I stayed in a room with my aunt, one morning from her bed she said, “You just sneezed 27 times in a row. I counted.”

Finally, I decided to do something about it because I realized a little hazily how much it affected my daily life. I tried a few different OTC allergy meds and the one that wrks the best for me is Claritin.

It says 24 hour but it does wear off. Anything stronger than that make my ADD get worse, so the trade off of less sneezing and nose running and blowing is worth it. On bad days, I’d take Claritin twice a day.

Oddly, at least to me, I still had days where I was really tired and headachey.

Sarah suggested I try Advil cold and Sinus to clear my sinus out. I did and after a few days it had dawned on my I hadn’t had a headache.  On the days where I had been taking Claritin at night, I tried the sudafed instead. That worked way better.

This week, I realized I had a pretty darn good week, health-wise. Some restless sleep but nothing due to allergies or headaches.

But Friday night I forgot the sinus medication. Last night, forgot it again.

And at 7:20 this morning I woke up with a blinding sinus headache. Actually, now that I think of it – the same headaches I’d usually call migraines, complete with stars.  I could not get the sinus & allergy meds into me fast enough. I crawled back into bed next to Ron and thankfully was able to go back to sleep.  Woke up at 9:50 with only a mild sore head.

I’m just amazed this used to be normal for me. Once or twice a week or so I;d be knocked flat with headaches.

Giving myself another dose of the sudafed because I can, and that should knock it out for today.

I’m going to need a second bottle near the bed so I don’t forget the night dose again, sheesh.