Monday, April 24, 2006

No. 9 ... No. 9...

My mom had her ninth back surgery today. Nine! At this point, they should just put a zipper in to get to her spine - spare her some of the agony. :-( She's doing well, blissed out on morphine. I got to spend some time after work with her and she seems to be in good hands at the hospital, which is important. The doctors *think* they solved most of the problems she's been having, which if that's the case, would mean she won't have to use her cane to walk anymore. Crossing fingers, toes, eyes, whatever. For her sake, I really hope things improve to that point. Did I mention it sucks getting old?

My dad barely said two words while I was there. I get the impression he was dying to ask totally inappropriate questions like "do you talk to my sister?", "when are you getting a raise?", and my current fave "do I need to get the kneepads?" - a reference to his wanting to ask M to ask me to marry him. Ah, family... I'm just waiting for him to tell me to call my own sister so I can tell him not only have I called her, but I've emailed, too, and heard nothing back. It's such a weird situation, I really don't even have words for it anymore.

At least mom and I have been working on our relationship, and as she seems to be the most amenable of the holy trinity, I may have a foothold to eventually developing a better relationship with my dad, too.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Little Retail Therapy - Thrift Store Style

Work's been pretty crazy this week, and promises to get even worse (lovely). Basically, I've gone from having almost nothing to do (except surfing the web to look busy) to having more work than I can handle. I've even brought out the headphones to block it all out so I can concentrate better. Thankfully, we're on a network at work, so I'm at no shortage for new music to listen to while I slowly wilt in my cubicle.

To take the edge off, one of my best friends from 5th grade suggested a day of retail therapy - more specifically - thrift store hopping. She printed out a list of shops to go to, and we were off in the Neon. I've lost count of the number we hit, but we did find a treasure trove out in the West Valley that kept us very happy on our journey. Overall, we each spent less than $30 and got loads of goodies! She got the score of the day with a vintage 50s evening jacket that looked like it had never been worn.

In no particular order, I got:

Some gorgeous fabric, that is either silk or a highly polished cotton (I'm leaning towards silk, but will try the burn test later to be sure). It'll be turned into either an a-line skirt or summer dress (using a pattern I picked up at one of the thrift stores we went to):

Some vintage craft/fashion books. The Vogue Sewing book has a case it slides into - I'm in love with it! I had a similar one from the era, which I gave to a friend when she started sewing, and have wanted another ever since. The other book has interviews with a bunch of 70s designers, and is unfortunately water-damaged, but still good for reading/ideas:

Some gorgeous 60s glass bowls - possibly Murano. Very good for entertaining. I have another set in brown, so these will go nicely:

A vintage Pyrex serving bowl - goes very nicely with the table and chairs my bro and sis-in-law got for me. (pardon the coffee grounds on the counter - I guess I didn't wipe the counter down so well)

A vintage Pyrex decanter. It's missing the lid, but I can probably make a functional one out of some quilt fabric and a rubber band (it won't stop spills, but it will keep bugs out if we're outside). I'll probably get another with lid later - you can never have enough decanters for summer beverages!

And finally, a huge batch of patterns (sorry - no photos). I'll be posting some on ebay, and others will be used to make some gorgeous 70s style clothes pour moi.

Once it gets super hot, my insomnia should kick back in and I'll have loads of time to sew! hehehe. Kinda looking forward to it - my sewing machine's been neglected for way too long.

Oh, and one last thing - after a day of thrifting, M and I went to the bookstore after dinner and I got the most fabulous cross stitch book ever! I've gone to this website for years and kept meaning to purchase a kit or two, and now I finally have her book and can't wait to make loads of insane cross stitch.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


We had a Blythe mini-meet at Snoopygirl's place yesterday, and I stupidly forgot my camera. Ah, well, I'm sure the other girls and guys will be posting them on flickr soon enough ;-) There were some truly lovely dolls there, and Snoopygirl's piano was the perfect place to display them all!

I've been cleaning the apartment (boring) and knitting this weekend (fun!), and thought that since I've neglected posting any of my creations that I'd do so today...

We won't get into the ridiculous amount of yarn I'm in possession of, nor my FOs (those will be separate posts later on), or even any of my sewing, which is sadly neglected... Instead, today's post is just going to be about my current WIPs (works-in-progress). There are two more than I'm sharing here, but that's because one doesn't photograph well on needle (my gold Paris Loop looks like a giant glob of yarn at the moment) and the other is a gift and therefore can't be posted without fear of giving up the secret ;-P

So, with that said, here's my current batch of on needle projects:

Cropped Bolero by Veronik Avery:

It's a really gorgeous, thick Lopi type yarn, and should be nice and toasty once sewn up. I've finished the three major pieces, need to sew the shoulders together, then I get to pick up stitches around the neck and sides for ribbing and then I'll finally be done. I learned how to properly M1 while working on this, as well as learned to CHECK MY GAUGE. Only had to knit the back 3 times - 2nd time for gauge problems the third for making proper M1s (I was making eyelets instead - oops!).

Eyelet scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts:

I originally bought this mohair to make the Branching Out scarf from Knitty, and then realized there's a reason why they suggest doing your first lace project in something other than mohair - it's a biyatch to rip out! It's coming along nicely, and I'll probably use the leftovers to make a doll sweater.

Branching Out from

I was supposed to complete this for the Knitting Olympics back in February, but ran into some problems with timing and YOs. It's now about halfway done and aside from the fact that I have to knit it in slience away from others, I'm actually enjoying it.

Brilliant Retro by Teva Durham:

It's knit on tiny needles, and takes seemingly forever, but as long as I work on it, it will eventually get done. I love pretty much anything by Teva as she's really clever in her stitch combinations and this piece is no exception.

Rowan Linen print crewneck:

My first proper summer sweater (an oxymoron, I know...). I didn't think I'd knit anything for the summer, but then saw the linen print yarn on and couldn't resist. I have a gorgeous pair of linen pants I made that this will go very nicely with when done.

As long as I keep working on these, they'll get done. I keep trying to remind myself of that and not get discouraged by the amount of projects I've taken on... What can I say? I love a good challenge!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bald is Beautiful

I adopted another Lounging Lovely Blythe from the TIB forum, as I just couldn't bring myself to customize Lucy. This new one has the most gorgeous hair I've ever seen - absolutely perfect bangs. I really want a Goldie, but they're somewhat rare and expensive, so I've decided to customize my new girl a bit to make her *inspired* by Goldie. Because of this, I've named her Fish. A girl named Fish... I kinda like it. Here's her pic:

I was checking out Puchimadam's site about removing the hair and was fiddling around with Fish's scalp, when it started to pop off and I was left with this:

She's really quite gorgeous bald! Obviously, she won't be staying this way, but I might play with her this way for a few days while I look for the tools I need to finish customizing her. I've already tucked her scalp with preserved flange away in a box, lest Dolce and Gabbana get a hold of it. I have to say, her scalp looks like a dead animal when not on her head. Ewwwww.

Anyway, the things I plan to do include: boggling her eyes, adjusting her gaze, sand matting her, repainting her makeup and swapping out her body for a Licca. Hopefully, she'll turn out well and I won't be embarassed to say "I made this!"

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Design Flaws

It's such a pain to create patterns that I often just modify existing ones - it's comparable to stepping into the middle of a relationship, rather than having to go through the whole dating process over and over until you find the one you like. Anyway, occasionally, I luck out on the first attempt. Like with M, for instance - although, that's technically a special case since we were friends prior to going out, so we both knew what we were in for. ;-) I also really lucked out with a skirt I designed yesterday for Blythe. It's not exactly what you think - one of the girls on the Yahoo LA Blythe group and I swapped Blythe bodies (I had a Takara one she wanted and she had a Licca one I wanted), and she also had some fabric scraps and needed clothes for her Blythe. So, in exchange for the fabric, I promised to make her something out of it. There was just enough to make 2 prairie skirts. It was a long strip she gave me, so I cut it in half length-wise, and then again height-wise, and used those strips to test out my idea. I even had some lace from another girl that I added to the bottom. I really love the way it turned out, and am so glad I have enough to make the second one for me.

Here's the finished product:

Cute, huh? It turned out even better than I'd expected.

It was also really simple to put together. Here's what you'll need:

3 fabric strips (one each of the following lengths - all sizes in inches):
5" x 1.5"
8.5" x 1.5"
13.75" x 1.5"
delicate lace for the bottom of the skirt - 13.75"
bias tape in color to match/complement the skirt fabric - 4 3/4"

All of the above include seam allowances (I'm not that cruel...)

Press under 1/4" to inside on one long side of the 13.75" piece, pin lace on the inside, covering the part you just pressed, allowing the lace to show at the bottom of the skirt - sew from wrong side (when you look at the right side, it should look like the lace is peeking out). You've just done the hem and attached the lace. Gather the top of the long piece and sew to the bottom of the 8.5" piece. Gather the rop of the 8.5" piece and attach to the 5" piece. Now it gets a little tricky. Gather the top of the 5" piece - the easiest way to do this is to pin it to the bias tape (which will eventually cover the top of the gathered skirt, but to start, hold the bias tape open to get the skirt gathered the way you like it). Fold under 1/4" on the right back of the skirt, and pin it 1/4" in from the end of the bias tape. Pin the left side of the skirt to the bias tape, also 1/4" in from the end of the tape (do not fold under the left side of the skirt though). adjust the gathers, then fold the tape over the top of the gathered part, fold in the 1/4" on each end and stitch the waistband (ie - the bias tape) onto the skirt. Now, fold the skirt (vertically - you're going to create the back seam now), and stitch from the bottom, ending where the top tier joins the middle tier (where you sewed the 5" piece to the 8.5" piece). Because you turned under 1/4" at the top of the right side, you'll want to press the back seam in that direction (instead of opening it up). Sew a snap to the waistband where you turned under the 1/4" on bias tape. And you're done!

If you're unsure of any of my instructions above, let me know - I've tried to make the instructions as clear as possible, but I may have taken some stuff for granted since I've been sewing since I was 10.

And now, just because I can...


Gabbana tried to get into the box I brought Maia home in... Shortly after this photo, she knocked the box and its styrofoam popcorn all over the floor and was banned from the living room while I cleaned it up and put the box far away from prying kitties.

Friday, April 07, 2006


I've been thinking about the direction of my blog, and have come to the conclusion that I want to use it to focus on my hobbies - knitting, sewing, collecting and, obviously, writing. I figure we all have enough crap going on in our personal and professional lives, and want this blog to be my little haven away from all of that. Anything crappy goes in my journal, away from *prying* eyes, leaving me to focus on the good stuff here.

So, I expect there to be loads of updates in the next few days as I have been sewing, knitting and, um, collecting like mad. ;-) And, what can I say, I feel the need to share...

M and I have tried out a couple of new games, and we've both gotten hooked on Animal Crossing for the DS. OMG. It starts out rather annoyingly as you have a character who's your boss and never pays you, and you have to do all of these chores and you feel like you'll never get through it. In fact, I'd put it aside for quite awhile until M said it had won some awards for best game of 2005. So I picked it up again last night, and now all I want to do is play it. We played it all through our sushi dinner and I'm sure the sushi waitresses just thought we were the weirdest - but then they've seen me come in with my knitting or Blythes, so they probably thought "oh, there's that crazy couple again - at least they tip well!" hehehe.

On top of Animal Crossing, I also picked up Me and My Katamari for the PSP. I like it - what's not to like about portable Katamari?! But, I find the controls a little wonky. Well, nothing a little practice won't cure. M said it felt totally natural to him, but I'm still having trouble going in one direction...

Oh, and I've gotten M hooked on puzzle video games - he's mad for Luxor! And after he saw me play Jewel Quest, he got into that one too. It's funny how he and I have had a huge impact on each other's interests. I didn't play video games at all before we got together and now I have a huge collection of games to choose from. :-D

I know there are some people who think it's a waste of time, but it's our way to escape the stress of work - some people eat, some people drink, and some people do drugs. We play video games. And that's just the way we like it. ;-)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

She's Here!....

It's been quite the week trying to get my little MIA Blythe. I missed the postman by minutes on Saturday, and then tried to pick her up yesterday. It's a long story, but can be summed up in one word: Shirley. If you've ever been to the Valley Village post office, you'll know what I mean.

Finally, after getting the A/C on the Neon fixed (and the mysterious rattle along with it), I stopped by the post office and finally got my girl. This time, it only took 2 stop lights to get the tape off. Once I confirmed it was the right girl, I waited until I got to work to take a good look at her. It's funny, even though I bought her from a woman on ebay, I feel like she really came from the other girl whose doll I received. I send major kudos to catpower on TIB forum for being so awesome and helping get the whole thing straightened out when the seller really couldn't be bothered. Funny thing is - the seller has three more Blythes, only now she kinda knows what they're worth, and has suddenly increased the BIN price six-fold. Yikes. So there goes my hope of getting a Kozy any time soon. I guess she'll have to remain my dream girl for the time being.

In the meantime, I've already posted pics of my new girl on flickr, who has been named Maia due to her MIA status all last week. I think it suits her. She also seems to be quite into video games, as evidenced by the below pic. We even have matching teal Nintendo DS. Yes, I realize this is an illness, so if my brother is reading this, you can stop snickering now. hehehe

Anyway, in terms of Blythe, she's my first BL girl, which basically mean she has Gumby limbs, perfect for things like holding miniature DS consoles and knitting. :-D

This week/weekend, I'll update my knitting progress as I have tons of WIPs and tons of FOs that need to be documented - some really cool stuuf, I think.