31 December 2006

My weather sticker says "Light Snow" as of 6:58 this morning. It's too dark outside to see if that's true. Maybe there's snow on top of Mt. Diablo?

The first bout of insomnia that I've had in ages arrived early this morning. I woke up from a series of strange dreams and couldn't get back to sleep. I didn't want to get up, though. The cats were all warm and snuggly with us in bed. It was so peaceful. But I got bored and since I couldn't sleep I came out into the living room. Fed the cats. Made some coffee. Checked out the internets. Grendel has had no problem going back to sleep. Ellie is up with me. (She's my familiar. But, the way she sticks to me like glue lately, Mike wonders if I'm her familiar? Whether I like it or not she has definitely chosen me to be her human.)

New Year's Eve. We don't even have plans, but I'm not that concerned. Resolutions? Not really. Resolutions set you up for failure and disappointment. Diets, quitting smoking, all that jazz. You're not going to wake up tomorrow as a brand new person. You'll still be you, and it will be even harder to start that resolution than you thought because you drank too much and you're too hungover to go running and eat vegetables.

I suppose I have some of the usual goals. Run a little more, eat a bit healthier. Try to sew more fabric than I purchase. Nothing serious. As long as we don't have to move in 2007, it will be a great year.

30 December 2006

Musings: The Black & White Wardrobe

Featuring my new fabrics from Textile Studios. Their sale goes through January 2.





For 2007 I'd like to follow through with at least half of the sewing I plan.

just testing



Originally uploaded by girl_in_bleue.
I'm trying out the Blog This feature on flickr. This is a sign posted at the back of Alcatraz. Photos of my mom's visit to San Francisco are uploaded. They can be seen here, or you can just click on the picture.

In other testing news, a woman is at our house right now doing Mike's blood test for his insurance. I had to lock Ellie in the bedroom because she made a beeline for the suitcase full of testing supplies as soon as it was opened.

28 December 2006

freak

My new Mac has a camera in it. I clicked an icon to see what would happen, and voila! Snapshots of me looking at the computer screen.

Last night we decided to have a quiet night at home and watch a Netflix. We have some nice bottles of wine that we always put off drinking, saving them for a special occasion. But we decided that we like to drink wine, not collect it, so we popped open a bottle and settled in to watch Jackass Number Two. Oh. My. God. So. Funny.

Mike gave me a book called Candyfreak, by Steve Almond, for Christmas. It's hilarious. A guy who loves candy writes about his love of candy. I've put Foucault's Pendulum aside for a few more days. (I really am almost done with that one. I learned the secret of the Templars two nights ago and I think there are less than 200 pages left now.) If you like candy, even if you just have one favorite candy that you love and you can't stand any other candy, you will find similarities between yourself and Steve Almond. I'm not quite the sugar junkie that this guy is, but if I were able to eat malted things and it occurred to me to use all my free time eating candy, I could be dangerously close.

27 December 2006

I knew it!

Saying Yes to Mess

An anti-anticlutter movement is afoot, one that says yes to mess and urges you to embrace your disorder. Studies are piling up that show that messy desks are the vivid signatures of people with creative, limber minds (who reap higher salaries than those with neat “office landscapes”) and that messy closet owners are probably better parents and nicer and cooler than their tidier counterparts. It’s a movement that confirms what you have known, deep down, all along: really neat people are not avatars of the good life; they are humorless and inflexible prigs, and have way too much time on their hands.

My Hot Patterns arrived today. I have to start my SWAP, so I can finish it, and then move on to other sewing projects, like these.

26 December 2006

Happy Day After Christmas

It's been a busy couple of days. My mom's here and we've been trying to give her a good San Francisco experience. It's her first visit to the bay area.

First things first, I am typing this on my new MacBook from Mike!

My mom arrived Wednesday night. On Thursday it was cold and rainy. We bummed around Walnut Creek for a bit. Friday was much nicer and we met Mike in San Francisco for the afternoon. (He got off work at noon.) We did some touristy stuff. We went to Ghiradelli and got hot chocolates, then we went on a fun little cruise. On our walk to Ghiradelli was passed a guy who charges $11/person for a cruise under Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz. It was a surprisingly nice day for being out on the water. Sunny, not too cold. I got a little seasick at one point--there are wicked choppy waves right under the bridge. The views of the city from the water are pretty cool.

On Saturday we drove Mom up to our wedding location. Then we went to Berkeley for some last-minute gift shopping, where Mike and I also found our wedding invitations! Oh, also on Saturday we felt an earthquake.

For Christmas eve we went to dinner at Mike's cousin's home in Sacramento. My mom got to meet more of his family. It was a nice, fun afternoon. Yesterday, Christmas, we of course woke up early to open our presents. Then we went into San Francisco for Chinese food and a movie. About a million people had the same idea, and it was crowded but not too bad.

Today is Mom's last full day here. I think we are tired and even though she still has lots to see, it might be another bumming around day.

Mike and I both have this whole week off, so we can have a nice long Christmas vacation together.

19 December 2006

18 December 2006

Visions of hip new clothes dance in my head

I am giving in to the pattern enablers. It started with a note I saw about Lanetz Living giving a 10% discount with the "dressaday" code. So I bought a couple. Then, the next day, she advertised a 20% off "christmas" sale. So, I went back. What with all my purchases, I worked it out so that over the two days, two of my seven patterns were free! Oh, and there's free shipping when you order 3 or more patterns.

Then I got word from Hot Patterns that they have buy 3, pay for 2. I've never used Hot Patterns before but have heard rave reviews. After careful browsing I managed to find 3 patterns to buy. (It wasn't that hard, really. See sewing ideas post from yesterday.)

Okay, the shopping stops... now.

Christmas time is here!

Mike's home and we had the first normal weekend we've had together in ages. Well, relatively normal. It's not every weekend that we get a Christmas tree and watch Christmas movies.

We got our tree at Target. How soulless is that? Yet so convenient because we bought a stand and lights there, too. Plus paper towels and other household necessities.

So far the cats are doing fine with the tree. We didn't anchor it to the wall because it's pretty sturdy in the stand. We did use floral wire for hanging the glass ornament and that has already proved to be a good idea. Ellie has been sitting on the arm of the couch batting at ornaments and chewing on branches.

On Saturday night we went to a party with some of Mike's work friends. Drinking and merriment ensued.

Yesterday we decorated the tree and watched TV. We also went to farmers' market and Mike ran a load of stuff over to Goodwill. After clearing out the Goodwill clothes, the newly free space in the wardrobe was instantly filled with boxes of fabric I've purchased over the last few months. That wardrobe is like a vacuum that can't stay empty.

Today, Housecleaning Part II begins, as I get the place ready for my mom's arrival on Wednesday. (Part I was all the prepping I did for Mike's homecoming. Now I must tackle the guest room.)

17 December 2006

sewing ideas

I want to make this shirt:



With this fabric:



Hot Patterns and Emma One Sock

Note to self: Artful Dodger Culottes in brown pinstripe and Weekender Renaissance top (above) in pink blush jersey from Timmel Fabrics (if fabrics are still in stock when Julie gets back from vacation). I see SWAP Phase II is on the distant horizon.

12 December 2006

I bought some patterns from Lanetz Living this morning. I may tweak my SWAP a bit to work one or two of them in.

It's raining again. I really should finish the hem on my raincoat first, then go run errands with it on. But I really want to get the errands out of the way first so I can spend the rest of the day warm and dry inside.

Inspired by this post from the Project Gay Boys, I am unplugging my glue gun for the rest of the holiday season. I've made a few ornaments, wrapped the presents, shipped those presents, mailed the cards, and cleaned the house. I think that's enough. With Mike home and my mom coming to visit, it will be nice to just relax and ignore the glue blobs showing on some of those ornaments.

Pic from Lanetz Living doll collection.

11 December 2006

I zoomed through my raincoat yesterday. Got those sleeves in. Made the lining and attached it. All I have left to do is hemming. I even made the belt yesterday. I was in the zone.

Soon I'll be diving in to SWAP sewing. At first I wanted to make the coat right away to get it out of the way. Then as I was working on the raincoat I started thinking "Do I really want another new coat right away?" Now I'm thinking that I do, since it's not raining today and so I'd look silly wearing a raincoat. Especially now that I know how quickly I can sew it up when I put my mind to it. It will be nice having two winter coats (3, actually, with one being reversible) to choose from.

10 December 2006

Rainy Day Project

I'm making my raincoat from Simplicity 4403, View C, the one with the tie closure. I was planning on doing the exact same version for my SWAP reversible coat but in my work yesterday I realized 2 things: 1) I don't want to do this collar again any time soon and 2) Making this look exactly the way I want it to on both sides is going to be more work than I'd like to do. (One of the points of SWAP is that the garments are supposed to be quick and easy so you don't get tired of so much sewing.) So, after I pulled my collar/facing apart last night I sat and thought about the reversible coat. I really like this pattern and it's fitting well so far. In looking over the pattern pieces and instructions, it looks like View A or B (the 2 on the right) will be easier to do. I'm even thinking that the boucle side could be A, with the tabs, and the solid side could be B, with the pockets and contrast collar.


The reason I had to pull it apart last night was because I ignored a very important rule: Never sew when tired. Luckily I had the sense to stop before I attempted attaching the sleeves. I'm also glad I made myself take it apart last night so that this morning I could sit right down at the machine and sew it back together. I hate starting the morning with seam-ripping. It's such a negative way to start your sewing day. (You may be looking at the time stamp and thinking "This morning? But she wrote this post this morning." Immediately after the cats woke me up at 6:20 a.m. I re-sewed the collar/facing, even before I had my coffee. It's a miracle I could even see straight. I'm having a second cup now, before I work on the sleeves.)

09 December 2006

Quick Note...

I am working on my raincoat today! I've pushed Christmas aside for a bit. I got rained on yesterday and decided I've been neglecting my fabric for too long. Clouds are gathering, looks like rain again this afternoon.








Note to self--read these later:
The Economist, "Food Politics"
Stacy Sews

08 December 2006

Random Holiday Stuff

Martha Stewart recently did a segment on making your tree safe from pets. There were some good ideas, like fastening the tree to the wall with fishing wire and using floral wire to attach glass ornaments to the tree branches. What I thought was odd that throughout the segment she talked on and on about ornament safety. Not once did she mention pet safety. Sure, I'd be upset if my tree fell over and some glass balls broke, but I'd be even more upset if my pet was squashed by the falling tree. Good info, but odd priorities.

According to Real Simple, you should not be a superwoman or superman. Don't be a control freak, and get the kids involved. Kids can stick bows on packages and stamps on cards. Put the little critters to work!

For holiday cheer, listen to David Sedaris's Santaland Diaries and read his essay Six to Eight Black Men.

Gifts for Kids
Did you know Johnny Cash put out a kids' album?
I want some of this music for myself:
Children's Tunes Revive Spirit of Punk Rock

Festive Grendel Pics: Grendel Notices Fur Trim on Stockings

Most importantly, share happiness:
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
- Buddha

tv thoughts

Heroes. I was a little disappointed with the hero that died. And I can't believe we have to wait until January 22 for a new episode.

Gilmore Girls. I've been an avid watcher for years now. Does anyone else think this season feels flat? The episodes just aren't that exciting. It's getting less quirky and more soap-opera-drama-y. And, these kids go to Yale and are supposed to be smart. No one has noticed that Marty is weird and probably liked Lucy at first because she looks kinda like Rory?

30 Rock. I was intrigued by this show early on, but didn't actually watch it until they conveniently moved it to Thursday night after The Office. Then, even though I thought the first episode I saw was very funny, I was turned off by it being a 30-minute commercial for NBC and GE products. (And the same product-placement theme was used in Studio 60 the following week, making me feel ill. These are essentially the same show, but one is funny and hip and witty and the other is boring and trying too hard to be hip and witty.) I was sucked back in by the promise of Conan O'Brien on last night's episode. This show really is funny and I hope to watch it more often, if I can stay awake through Scrubs (which stopped being so funny about 2 seasons ago).

Looking foward to Top Design, starting in January.

07 December 2006

fashion rant

What are these women putting in their handbags and why so much stuff? Ouch! My Bag Is Killing Me! I can understand if you have a kid you need to carry a load of necessities. But:

“I carry an iPod, a book, a backup magazine in case the book doesn’t go over well, makeup, a phone, my wallet, extra shoes and workout clothes, most of which I won’t even need, but it’s nice to know that it’s there.”

Um, only bring workout clothes on the days you actually workout?

“I had over $2,000 worth of stuff in that bag,” said Ms. Thompson, who works in retail analysis for Cynthia Vincent, a fashion company in New York, “my iPod, digital camera, cellphone, glasses, sunglasses, makeup kit and a ton of other belongings, including a Care Bear that I’ve had since I was born.”

Seriously? Drop the Care Bear. She's 24 years old. Can you imagine how many germs that thing must be harboring by now?

The American Chiropractic Association recommends that a handbag weigh no more than 10 percent of its owner’s body weight.

To me that seems reasonable. Even a super-slim woman should be able to fit the daily necessities in one bag and keep it under 10 pounds (with the exception of a laptop I guess. but maybe that gets it's own bag on the other shoulder to balance things out?) I admit I like a bag large enough to carry a book. But I try to limit my traveling books to paperbacks so they aren't huge and bulky and heavy. And if I bring a magazine or newspaper I generally throw it out (err, I mean recycle) at the train station so I don't have to be bothered carrying it around all day. Cell phones and ipods are small, so they fit perfectly fine in a small- to medium-sized bag--if your bag is too big they get lost.

Okay, so to test my crazy ranting theories, I just weighed my regular daily bag--used for shopping and other errands, sometimes driving, sometimes on BART, sometimes on foot--and it's about 5 pounds. I have a rather large paperback (Foucoult's Pendulum still!), faceplate for the car stereo, cell phone, ipod, keys, chapstick, lip gloss, and pack of Kleenex. If I were going to the gym or carrying a laptop I would need a separate bag or a much larger one. Funny that no one in that article mentions carrying a laptop as one of their necessities.

Sasha Charnin Morrison, 42, the fashion director at US Weekly, admitted that her bags are so large that she often gets stuck in revolving doors. “They may not be practical, but so what?” she said. “When it comes to fashion, being practical is a huge bore.”

What's so fashinable about getting stuck in a revolving door? Sounds idiotic to me. If it's fashionable to clumsily lug around a huge bag, then I prefer to be a loser who is sleek enough to cruise through the turnstiles.

And, forgive my snarkiness here, but you should not complain about pain inflicted by your handbag! You are not an athlete or laborer. If your purse forces you into an MRI, lighten the load. And be thankful that the lifestyle that lets you afford such a fashionable giant handbag also lets you afford health insurance for your stupid injuries.

What do you think?

Pic is Louis Vitton Silver Streak, from The Purse Blog. While cruising for pics, I found this adorable site: Frankly, My Dear...

06 December 2006

<--- My mini Christmas tree, to keep me amused until Mike gets home and we get our big Christmas tree.

I'm in a fog this morning. I could really use a coffee robot right about now.

I did some sewing last night. Still working on Christmas things--unfortunately not the raincoat yet. I have the pieces cut out. I just need to attach the interfacing then I can start the real sewing. But my workspace is overrun with Christmas presents right now. I started wrapping them last night and even though it's a smidge early to start sending them, I would like to right away so I can get them cleared out.

Do you need more blogs to read in your free time? Check out some of those listed here: Best Blogs of 2006 that You (Maybe) Aren't Reading.

05 December 2006

Woo!

I just got us Guns n Roses tickets for next weekend! (It's not a surprise, I already called Mike.) The show also includes Helmet, The Suicide Girls Live Burlesque Show, and Sebastian Bach.

04 December 2006

I Want My Coffee Robot!

Sewing is hip: Circling Back to Sewing.

In other news, when will science produce a coffee-making robot for me? This is exactly what I want: Something that makes the coffee (simple coffee-maker with a timer technology that's been around for ages), then like a rolling hot plate on a pedestal, wheels it into my room, right next to my bed, so I don't even have to get up to have my first cup of coffee in the morning. There can be a little docking station in the kitchen where it puts itself back when I'm through with it in the bedroom, and maybe it can even be hooked up to the water, like the ice machine in a refridgerator door, so all I really have to do is add some coffee beans every few days. I imagine it would be handy for parties, too. At the end of dinner, press the remote, and a few minutes later, your hot coffee waiter pulls right up to the table for each guest. I think the Roomba manufacturers should get right on this!
I just got back from a run. It's high time I got my butt in gear and got back out on the street. Can you believe that it only dawned on me this morning that I should take my ipod with me? In college I got out of the habit of running with headphones because my coach discouraged it for training runs when we ran as a group--those took place 5 or 6 times a week, leaving little opportunity for running on your own. Yes, it's taken me this long to break some of those habits developed for competitive training. It's always so refreshing when I remember that I can run any way I want to now. So, I'm having a Tenacious D kind of day and the guitar rock plus hilarious lyrics distracted me from how much running sucks. (We don't have The Pick of Destiny cd yet. hint, hint.)

Tonight is the last new episode of Heroes for a few weeks!

03 December 2006

Sunday Blahs

Instead of housecleaning I am fooling around on flickr.

See my neat-o SWAP montage on the right?

01 December 2006

dressy

This morning, via Swagger Design, I found A Dress A Day. I can't stop browsing. It really makes me anxious to get on with my raincoat and then SWAP. But I have a few stitches left on some presents to finish up. I am going out to buy trims and notions this afternoon so I can finish those gifts over the weekend. By Sunday I hope to be drenched in raincoat fabric.

Chapter Six: The Shoemaker: A Tale of Two Cities with Women

For background on the project and to see all the chapters at once, go to the tag A Tale of Two Cities Project . Chapter Six: The Shoemak...