Monthly Archives: July 2011

Summer Playlist — Get Tattooed

I’ve wanted a tattoo since I was about 6.  As a kid, I didn’t really know what tattoos entailed but I knew they were permanent, pretty, and thoroughly disapproved of by my parents and that was enough for me.  When I was in college, I decided to get a koi fish on my upper thigh but for various reasons, that never happened.  As I’ve gotten older, fear of needles and allergies has held me back (I can’t even tolerate stainless steel in piercings).  But I keep planning my tattoo — the one the Hubs has finally said he will drag me to, kicking and screaming, if I haven’t gotten it by the time I turn 40.  I guess that’s something to look forward to about turning 40.

For about 3 years, I wanted a tattoo based on this song.  Every time I hear it, I still want that tattoo.  And I still love this song.

My God, I Need Sleep

I’m back from San Fran with one night of sleep in my own bed under my belt. You would think that would be enough. You would be wrong — I now need a nap to recover from my vacation. It would probably help if Lila didn’t insist on rubbing her cat love-drool on me at 4:30 am but it’s such a part of home, I didn’t mind too terribly. Here, while I doze off, I’ll show you a few pics of the spoils of war:

Kera, Fudge and Female magazines

Kera, Fudge and Female magazines from Japantown’s bookstore. Kera showcases punk, goth and Lolita fashion with a section of street style snaps. Fudge is basically high fashion as done by your very chic, preppy teenage neighbor. Female is a sewing magazine with patterns included — very basic patterns, but a lot of potential for customization, assuming I can understand the pattern sheet enough to trace them out.

Images from Kera.



I would totally wear these clothes.  I’m not sure what that says about me, other than I have no style and I’m stuck at age five.





Marine style from Fudge.




Fudge is probably closer to what I’d wear assuming I had any fashion sense whatsoever. I already have the dark short-shorts, just need a striped tee to pair with them. Also, I’m in love with this skirt:

I need to figure out how to knock off this skirt. 'Tis awesome.









I bought Female mainly for the sailor collar blouse on the left:










I also picked up 2 yards of this awesome fabric from Mendel’s in the Haight.  I’ve seen this print before but not in the black/white/pink/gray colorway:


Then I got these steampunk buttons, also from Mendel’s.  I only bought 2 of each because I don’t really know what I’ll do with them.








From Cheap Thrills in the Haight, I picked up a bunch of patches:




I’m gonna slap these on anything that holds still long enough.  I know, they’re so cliche but who cares?




I forgot the best part of the whole trip….getting to see friends we don’t see nearly often enough.

Yay for hanging with my peeps!

Greetings from the City of Love!

Hi guys!  I’m in San Francisco, having a blast.  I spent yesterday morning wandering around here:

I’ll probably go back tonight or tomorrow to pick up a few supplies.  The Haight is a good place for out-of-print Alexander Henry fabrics (at Mendels), patches for clothing and band t-shirts (Cheap Thrills) and shoes (John Fluevog and Dr. Martens both have flagship stores here).  I can’t afford Fluevogs, however much I may like them, but I’m tossing around the idea of another pair of Docs, or at least picking up more laces for my current pair.  There’s also a new store called Bettie Page which carries a lot of rockabilly fashion and Bettie Page print stuff.  It’s a lot of fun but definitely best for those with T and A (as someone with A but not much T, I didn’t really fill out the dresses).

After the Haight, I went to Japantown to pick up a few magazines.  Japanese fashion and craft magazines are amazing.  I hit up the Kinokuniya bookstore, then went to New People to browse.  New People is a department store that caters to Americans who might be curious about the fashions of the Harajuku district.  The two major brands I saw there were Black Peace Now and Baby, The Stars Shine Bright which carries clothing in the sweeter style of Gothic Lolita fashion.  The Baby clothes all look like cupcakes.

The reason I said browse is because it looks like the prices start around $200 on sale for a dress.  I also think I might be too old and cranky for this many frills.  On the plus side, everything I saw was very well made and the fabrics were high quality.  I could have afforded some of the things on the Black Peace Now side, which were on sale and more reasonably priced, but I had a hard time finding any size larger than Medium.  The clothes are darker:

There’s also more casual stuff, t-shirts and pants.

After all that, I came back to Union Square and had dinner at Cafe Bellini.  It has terrible reviews on Yelp, but I think that’s because it has pastries in the front and that’s why people go there.  The pastries (and calzones, according to the reviews) are all out of a box, cardboardy, etc.  I had a really good hamburger last time I was there, and this time I had an excellent baby caprese salad.  As long as you order from the sit-down menu, you should be okay.

Posting will be sporadic until I get back (late Wednesday night) because the Hubs is here on work and of course, monopolized the internet access in the room.  In fact, I’m posting this from his computer.  What kind of silly hotel only allows one computer access per room?  Hilton at Union Square, evidently.  Hmph.  So, I’ll be doing a full recap later this week.

Oh, and I wore my new shorts on the plane.  They were insanely comfortable.  I got randomly pulled out of the line to do a full search, but they didn’t do any body touching.  The TSF just wanted to scan my shoes.  Huh?  Oh well, ain’t complaining.

McCall 6328, View F — Finished!

Guys, I finished these shorts and they are AWESOME.  I did a deep hem rather than roll cuffs and two buttons for a closure instead of two hook and eyes (I extended the waistband a bit so there would be enough room).  Am I the only person who can’t stand all the pattern instructions that call for hooks and eyes when buttons would be better?  GAH.  You really don’t see that many trouser hooks on RTW.  Anyway, TA-DA!

A bit overexposed, but I wanted to show off the detail and that's hard to do on black shorts.

I think this might be one of my favorite things I’ve made.  They’re totally practical, everyday bottoms but just what I need.  The material is a black stretch sateen from JoAnn’s; in my experience,  their stretch sateen is one of their better fabrics and it really works well in a multitude of patterns.

Urgh, I just realized everyone can see the messy bathroom.  What can I say?  It’s laundry day.  We have a baby shower tomorrow and a trip to San Francisco to pack for, so I won’t be doing Sci Fi Sunday this week.  I know I missed my Summer Playlist post yesterday, but I have a really good reason — our dear friends S and L got married!  And since they are the best couple ever, and I’m feeling completely sappy today after watching their kids and our kids dancing all night, I’m gonna post one of my favorite sappy love songs.  Hey, you’ve been warned.

The Obligatory Social Event, Featuring New Look 6899

Friends, we have a wedding to attend tomorrow.  Since the Hubs is the Best Man, that means a rehearsal dinner tonight.  As much as I am excited about this wedding — and I AM excited, S and L are the best couple ever — I dread sitting through a rehearsal dinner.  I didn’t even like my own, and I’ve been to more than I care for.  So when the Hubs said, “Oh, it’s at their house.  Just dress your mood,” I considered that a perfect excuse to bust out my favorite rockabilly skirt.

New Look 6899, View E

Ignore my squint, that happens every time I take pictures outside.  Anyway, this was a ridiculously easy pattern.  Three pattern pieces and no complicated fitting (the waistline runs a bit big, but I just took in a larger seam allowance on the sides.  Easy peasy).  I did add belt loops because I felt the skirt yoke had the tendency to travel a bit, but skirt yokes do that on me anyway.  The material is a very lightweight twill from Joann’s kids section — I always check them because they occasionally have some fun prints, although rarely anything that works for adults.  I also paired it with this sweater:

In case you can't read it, the patch says "These are my Church Clothes."

This sweater is one of my favorites — I got it from Target and added the patches from Hot Topic (back when Hot Topic actually catered to subcultural girls).  I should wear this with my mary jane heels, but that just seems lethal in a grassy backyard.  Anyway, if you’ve wondered what is so subcultural about me — see outfit above.  It works even better with purple hair.  I really need a petticoat with this skirt, but that would probably be too much for the event.

I’ve been sewing my shorts like mad off and on, but still need to finish the waistline (and I’m not sure I have buttons I like for it — aargh).  Was hoping to get them done this week, but now I’m aiming for Saturday.  If I’m not completely insane between the wedding tomorrow/Oldest leaving for Scout camp at crack of dawn Sunday/packing for San Francisco where we are scheduled to arrive at 9 am on Monday, that is.

How to Win Friends and Shank People, and NOT Sew Knit Skirts

I had a post all planned for yesterday.  It was Youngest’s birthday party, and I figured I’d do a quick post before everyone arrived on How to Shank a Skank or a Douche.  This is part of a discussion I was having last week with Elizabeth of Flourish in Progress (, seriously, go visit her.  The girl oozes awesome).  Anyway, we agreed that this was a sorely needed skill set and that I should do a Monday Dare on how to shank people.  Because I’m clearly an expert — not on shanking,  but on my ego writing checks my body can’t cash.  So an hour before the itty bitty guests and their various parental units showed up, I was googling How to Shank Someone.  You know, like you do.

It turns out Google does not know how to shank people either.  There are the usual Youtube videos of teenagers goofing around, but the videos are so blurry, you’re more likely to get seasick than learn anything.  I did learn the definition of “shank” — to stab someone with a homemade knife as they do in prison.  I also learned the difference between shiv and shank.  A shiv is the homemade knife you shank someone with.  Good to know, I’d hate to get the usage wrong.

So this is my advice on how to shank someone: quickly, and not with anything that can identify you.  Shanking with a generic plastic comb, good.  Shanking with a letter opener with a carved ivory handle featuring the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil monkeys?  Bad.  Also likely to get you in trouble with customs, due to the ban on ivory.  Any questions?

The other thing I learned in the last 24 hours: it is better to sew a pattern you are excited about than to attempt to churn out a quick version of something you really can’t be arsed with.  I tried to sew two knit skirts this morning.  I now have two wadders, one of which was Simplicity 2368.  Another thing I learned?  Patterns for wovens that you don’t like are generally not improved by being done in knits.  2368 is the classic example of a pattern that is easy, that works on other people, and that looks like ass on me.  I am clearly not an easy person, and my pattern successes and failures prove the point, again and again.  So I opted to sew the pattern I REALLY wanted to sew:  McCalls 6328, View F.

This is how far I got today:

I pinned it on my dress form and the pleats are making it hang weird. I promise these shorts are not that pouchy.

I’m actually very pleased with View F so far, they seem like very practical shorts.  I did have some trouble with the pocket curve, even after trimming a lot and topstitching twice.  The curve is almost too steep to lay well, but I might use pinking shears to notch it next time and see how that works.  I cut a 14 because I wanted the extra room in the rise — I like my shorts baggy — but will need to take in the usual inch at the sides.  I’m also going to do a deep hem instead of turn up cuffs because I can’t stand the way cuffs bunch up around my legs.  Will I wear them in San Francisco?  Who knows and who cares.  I’ve learned my lesson…..don’t anger the sewing mojo.  It just might shank you.

(As an aside, Youngest had a fabulous party that lasted for 8 hours and Oldest fell down the stairs and got a nasty rug burn.  It’s not a real party unless someone gets hurt, ya know.)

Sci Fi Sunday

Currently reading:

Simon R. Green’s latest Eddie Drood/Shaman Bond Secret Histories novel, For Heaven’s Eyes Only.  The Secret Histories series is a pretty obvious spin on the James Bond theme.  Spy goes out on an impossible assignment, saves the world, gets the girl.  Of course, in Green’s universe the spy is assisted by alien technology, saving the world involves a bit more gore than usual, and the girl is a smart and foul-mouthed witch.  Similar to Green’s Nightside series, the drama and violence is played for laughs.  The series starts in The Man with the Golden Torc and continues in Daemons Are Forever.  For Heaven’s Eyes Only is the fifth book.

Currently watching:

Haven (on Syfy, Friday nights at 10 pm) debuted last summer, and was Syfy’s answer to the popularity of mystery shows like Lost.  It was interesting to see Syfy take a chance on a “darker” themed show during their summer season, a season that is usually reserved for lighthearted romps like Eureka and Warehouse 13.  Happily, Haven found its stride and has garnered enough fans to return for a second season.  Haven is a small town on the Eastern seaboard, where strange things regularly happen to the inhabitants.  Many of the incidents are supernatural in nature, and seem to have started during a time vaguely referred to as “The Troubles,” and the afflicted residents are “troubled.”  FBI agent Audrey Parker, called to town to bring back a prisoner, ends up staying and assisting the local police with their challenges.  She’s also attempting to investigate her own shadowed past, and there are plenty of townsfolk with dark secrets that will go to great lengths to keep them.  Haven is based loosely on Stephen King’s “The Colorado Kid,” and King’s influence is very obvious in the location and atmosphere of this show, although the show’s final impression is creepy rather than horrifying.  Like most mystery shows, Haven works best if you’ve watched it from the beginning, but I do think you can jump in at this point and not be totally lost.  The first season is available from Netflix.

Summer Playlist — Library Girl

When I was ten, we lived in a small town in the Northwest.  I didn’t much like the town and it didn’t like me back, but one of the few friends I did have was a girl named Jill.  Jill and I spent hours together that summer, riding our bikes down to the library and dodging the creepy employees by browsing in the adult section.  That was the summer I met Stephen King (we didn’t get along and still don’t) as well as Ray Bradbury.  This song reminds me so much of that part of my childhood.

Best Laid Plans, And All That

This, my friends, is Union Square in San Francisco.  Also known as where Her Royal Laziness will be going in a week and half.  The Hubs has been called in to SF for work, and since I have a couple of pals who relocated to the Bay Area not too long ago, I’m taking the opportunity to hit the party circuit.  It’ll be a three day whirlwind tour, during which I hope to fit in dinner with my best guy friend and his new girl, plus shopping the Haight with my BFF.  Plus some quality time with the Hubs, of course.

I was gonna sew some shorts.  I was gonna….well, a lot of things.  But now all I can think of is what to wear in the city.  The interim period will also include Youngest’s birthday (party on Monday) and the Hubs friend’s wedding next Friday.  Plus dropping Oldest off at camp.  Sewing is going to have to fit around all of this, and it’s going to have to be something appropriate for breezy, 55-70 degree weather in the middle of summer.  Most of my twill skirts would work, but won’t pack well.  I could cop out and bring jeans — actually, I’ll probably bring one pair just in case, but I don’t like jeans.  What to sew for travel when you have neither the time nor the inclination to iron?  Knit skirts, I think.  I’ve got knits in my stash and if I stick to elastic waists and avoid gathers, a few skirts are doable.  They’re also warmer than woven cotton.

I’ve been to SF before so I know the climate, and I won’t waste my time with landmarks (Alcatraz?  Golden Gate?  Been there, done that, phffft).  I’ve also hit Britex, the famous fabric store — too pricey for someone who shops the Fabric District in L.A.  I’ll be cruising the Haight for all the little boutique shops we don’t have here, and hopefully plunking down a bit of fun cash.

I CAN’T WAIT.  It’s gonna be epic, if I can just get my travel wardrobe sorted.

McCalls 6328 — For the Supremely Confident

So, I finished McCalls 6328, View C (which I made without the tie belt).  I had just enough of this lightweight denim to make the pattern work, although I had to cut the yoke lining on the crossgrain.

McCalls 6328, View C from the front

Please disregard the messy bathroom!  Anyhow, I cut out a size 14 although I really could have done with a 12 (which is why the sides are wonky, I had to take them in about an inch).  You can’t really see the circle detail on the side because I did the shorts all in the same fabric with same color topstitching.  I also didn’t follow the instructions on how to put in the circle detail since I knew I would have to take in the sides.  Anyhow, this is a very well-drafted, very well-fitting pair of shorts.  I hardly had to adjust them at all, aside from being a bit big.  They really need to be in a softer fabric also, but that’s for next time.  Other things I will change next time:

1) The back zipper is set pretty low if you go by the pattern instructions. I need to move it up about 1/2 an inch.

2) These shorts are SHORT.  I would feel better if they were another two inches longer.

3) I want to add the flounce detailing in the pattern because it accentuates the side cut-outs.

If you need further proof of how short these are, look at the side view:

Side view, standing on my bathtub.

They also flare out quite a bit at the sides and back.  You have to be pretty confident about your legs to wear these (I’m not, but the heck with it).  Anyway, I’d recommend the pattern with the understanding that it runs about one size large, and people who are not teenagers anymore might want to lengthen it a couple of inches or so.