Roll Over Beethoven...

it's time for the bedroom furniture to get overhauled.

For a while, we'd been planning on dumping the antique furniture and going with something more modern and sleek like the Mandal series from Ikea.

It would have "only" cost around $700 to replace all the furniture. But when a series of life events dictated that this would not be feasible in the near future, I began to re-evaluate wanting new furniture.

The thing is, I LOVE my antiques. But I didn't like how they looked. Our room is decorated with a lot of Asian influence and the antiques just didn't fit well with the overall theme.

And I'm terrified of repainting antiques. I don't know why, but it's a twitchy thing about "ruining" a great piece of furniture. However, I had to do SOMETHING. I couldn't take it anymore having all mismatched furniture where each piece was not just a different color but also a different time period gave me a twitchy eye. What you don't see in the above pictures are the black shelves and picture frames.

The first piece to be reworked is the sewing cabinet in the first picture. It will have red legs and accents on the face while the body will be painted a satin finish black. See the project in progress:

The parts that are still brown will be red once the second coat ~ just applied ~ of black dries. I had a moment yesterday when I freaked because it began to rain out of nowhere and the piece was standing outside drying. OOPS!

It's a Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood

And the neighbors behind me are renovating the "government house" [long story that] into a dwelling almost twice it size and surely 3 times it's original value.

The birds are tweeting, the sun is shining and the children have played outside uninterrupted for the first time in a long time. School is out today and so I took advantage of the opportunity to kick them outside, lock the gates and let them run crazy. The weather has been so weird here lately [sub freezing in Central Florida???] so it was nice to get some sun that wasn't liquid or frigid. While the children played, I was able to run two loads of laundry and hang them on the line.

I'm not sure if I've ever blogged about the clothesline before. When we bought our house, there was a decrepit clothesline roughly where the chilrens' swing set lives today. Almost a decade ago, I would NEVER have dreamed of hanging clothes on the line to dry. That was for people who couldn't ~afford~ a clothes dryer. La jeunesse... I can't say where I got that notion from exactly. Perhaps it was subconsiously transmitted from my mother to me. I know my own mother would NEVER hang clothes out to dry, not even when her dryer malfunctioned recently. Perhaps that notion came from her own mother - the queen of narcissists. Nana has always had hangups about being one of the upper class. That's a long story in and of itself, and not one that I'm really at liberty to relay. Perhaps one day...

I don't know when exactly it was that I came to appreciate the clothesline. Perhaps it was the fresh from the sun laundry at my mother-in-law's house where everything is hung to dry and then ironed while slightly damp. Our clothes NEVER have felt nicer to wear than when we visit her. She has a washer and dryer but never uses them. In fact, I don't think they are even hooked up. She says it's better to hand wash everything because it lasts longer. I can't argue with that reasoning. It's true. But then, I don't have a daily washerwoman who comes and does the household laundry every day. I guess that's one of the benefits of living in a developing nation and being a business owner. You have access to things that those of us who work for other people in a first-world country don't. Unless one is in that very small percentage of people who can pay US wages for domestic help.

Maybe I fell in love with the clothes line out of necessity. Once upon a time, our clothes dryer gave up the ghost when we were short on cash to replace it. So it was either send the laundry out (spendy-ish), use the laundromat (even more spendy) or hang it up to dry (free).

One thing I do know, it wasn't necessarily the budding environmentalist in me (or my oldest child) that made the switch, although that would figure into it later. I think, at the end of the day, it's because I'm cheap [frugal, whatever]. I like not paying for something. Sunlight is free [for now]. And free is good. And since we live in the Sunshine State, why not take advantage of it?

Beyond all that, it's a lovely opportunity to get outside and smell the clean air and get some sunshine on my skin and ramp up the absorption of Vitamin D. And that's always a very good thing. There's something calming about the sound of the wind in the oak leaves and the sun filtering through the moss while the cat romps in the yard.

Of all the appliances in my household, the clothesdryer is the one thing I thought I could never live without and now it's the one that I really could do without. Funny that... I mean, I've got a microwave and blender and coffee grinder and juicer and 3 computers and tv and game consoles and whatnot that you'd pry out of my cold dead fingers. But the clothes dryer? It's nice in the winter time. Except for the fact that I have to go ~outside~ to use it. And in the summer, it's way too hot to run it [burns up the clothes]. And when the old one really did die for sure and certain last year [or was it 2007 or 2008?] we did replace it because it's nice to have when you've got sick kids or are potty training, by and large, I use it only about 50% of the time. And if I've got to go outside to do laundry *anyways*...

Which reminds me... I need more clothespins. Mine have mysteriously ~disappeared~.

The ever-growing "collection"

Of patterns...

It's a darn good thing that I didn't commit to not buying any new patterns in 2010. Because just this month, I've acquired at least 20. With another couple dozen to go. Today was the beginning of the Simplicity 99¢ sale at the local Mega Fabric Mart. It's always nice to know that there's a "10 per customer" limit so one doesn't go too nuts buying patterns.

And while I'm on the subject of nuts, I really want to say - to those of you who pull umpteen zillion patterns out of the drawers and leave them piled all over the top of the pattern drawer shelf: SHAME ON YOU. There's NO REASON AT ALL why you should just haphazardly dump your rejects rather than trying to replace them from whence you took them. For one thing, it's RUDE. I'm hoping you were raised better than that. For another, it makes more work for other shoppers who are desperately looking for the LAST one of something that you just left in a pile of pattern detritus. Beyond that, it makes more work for the people whose job it is to restock and straighten the area at closing time. Hourly retail isn't exactly a high paying job and restock? It's one of the WORST parts of the job.

Okey dokey. Now that I've got my little spleen vent over with, I can get on with my adventures at the Fabric Mega Mart. Let me say that I had no intention whatsoever of buying fabric. I was going there with the singular purpose of acquiring 10 of the 12 Simplicity patterns on my list of wants. But today was Day 1 of the "Winter Warmup" 3 day (or so) sale and so all those lovely clearance fabrics that are already 50% off or so? Yeah, 50% off the red tag price!

I'd previously blogged over at Sew Retro about a dress that I need to make - fast. As it turns out, there was some AMAZING polyester sari fabric in "dusty turqouise" with gold threading that would be [Jack Black voice] AWESOME [/Jack Black voice] for the project. Just enough sheen and detail work to be dressy but not so much that it would be the overdressed WOACA trying to look 20 years younger dealio. And it's a little shout-out to a portion of my ethnic heritage. Full of WIN anyway you look at it.

And check out the awesomeness of the sheer fabric. Perfect for Butterick 5032. Just perfect. I couldn't have asked for more from a fabric really. And of course, it's nice that turquoise is the "it" color for the spring season. Go on wit' my bad self. Go me, it's my birthday! Actually it's not, but you get what I mean.

Beyond these two awesome fabrics ($2/yd and $2.50/yd respectively) , I scored this lovely allover cotton eyelet for $3/yd. Regular price? $12.99/yd. It was like Christmas all over again. I'd wanted to make the girls some kind of springy eyeletty something and so now I can. W00T! Back to the reason I went to the fabric store in the first place... The patterns.

The first group are "Crafts":




The next group are 3 vintage reissues:




The last grouping aren't exactly crafts in my mind. More of accessories and possibilities to sell in my etsy shop:





The last one in this group is going to be fun because I'd really like a laptop bag that fits me and my laptop.

The funny thing is... Once I've made a pattern into something once, I'm fairly likely to completely rework it and change it around. It's just what I do. Patterns are more of a jumping off point than a set-in-stone thing. I'm so looking forward to playing with them.

Vogue and McCall's go on sale at the end of the month...


I'm so thrilled that the course I was supposed to take at the local Fabric Mega Mart is NOT cancelled. I only paid for the class back in September of 2009. I found my original class supply sheet for it last night as I was cleaning out the Pit of Despair office/sewing room that I share with the Hubs.

Let me recap this for you... In Sept, I enrolled in a jumper class to make New Look 6639. I even blogged about it!!! I never did update on the class progress as stuff (pronounced she and it) happened. The class got cancelled and I re-enrolled in the same class on a later date. Which AGAIN got cancelled. But I am NOTHING if not tenacious. Never mind the fact that I'd bought fabric and notions enough for TWO jumpers for the girls. Oh no. So the then-director of the education department agreed to place me in the "reusable lunch bag" class dated for January 9th. And all was well. I'm easy to work with. I'm a happy girl, generally speaking.

Somewhere between October and January 9th, though, things went awry. The then-director left for family reasons (which I know she had a LOT on her plate) and there were things left undone. Most notably: my enrollment into said class. I'll spare you the details, but I ~was~ actually enrolled in the class, I just wasn't on the class roster. Which is why I wasn't informed that the January 9th class was cancelled. I didn't find this out until I showed up for class with all my gear in the most gawrsh-awful weather we've seen in a WHILE.

The NEW director of the education department was extremely apologetic while bemoaning the "way things were left" when her predecessor left. Now I understand that this is standard when one is dissatisfied with their predecessor, but the predecessor had given ME an earful on how terrible a job her assistant (the new director) had done while she was out with the Swine Flu. Yeah. Drama much? So getting back to MY story...

I was placed in the January 24th "reusable lunch bag" class. Goody. But as of January 9th, I was the ONLY soul in the class. Today, I stopped by and there are FOUR people in the class. Hence the title of this blog post! Hallelujah. It won't get cancelled again. Unless at least one person backs out of the class.

And if they do? I will hunt them down like the dog they are and make them pay. Because I've been patient. Longsuffering even. And I'm out quite a bit of scratch on the supplies.

Hopefully, the February 13th Sewing 101 class won't get cancelled. Because that was the Hub's bug Christmas gift.

Wardrobe Refashionista In Training

I'll admit it. I'm TERRIFIED. Petrified. Scared poopless as it were about taking the Wardrobe Refashion pledge for life. I know that never buying new in a store again wouldn't KILL me. And there's "Get out of Refashionista Jail Free" cards available. But... but... I'd feel like I let myself down if I didn't make it. But you know what? I'm going to go for the 6 months when it's time to sign up again. I tried the 2 months variety. And it wasn't so hard. And shoes don't count... So that ShoeDazzle membership? Well that's just A-OK.

And the six months will be up before my birthday. Besides. I sew most of my own stuff already. And I could seriously get down with the Etsy love. So here I am... counting down until the Wardrobe Refashion sign up period rolls around again. I'm just a teeny bit disappointed that it's not happening now. But I can wait until February 15th. After all, I just scored an entire winter wardrobe at Target for less than $60 (including the latte from Starbucks, yo). So that won't count against me.

I can do this. I can. I hope know I can.

Refashion on my bruthas and sistas!

Pattern Stash!

Some people have fantasies of rolling around naked in piles of hundred dollar bills... Others... sewing patterns...

You know how it is. You're a collector of vintage patterns. You must have them. Suddenly you find yourself overwhelmed with them. And then it's not just ~vintage~ patterns anymore because you have children. And then those children have "Melody" dolls (American Girl clones to the uninitiated). And then there are Barbies and baby dolls who must be clothed. Next thing you know, you're drowning in sewing patterns both vintage and modern AND vintage reissues.

One day you realize you have a problem: Fabric Super Store pattern sales. 99¢ pattern sales are like the Siren's song luring sailors to their doom. You try and stay away. But with a "10 pattern limit", you figure it's not that bad and that you can stop anytime. Sure you can.

Well, as I said, one day you look around you and realize, "Hey! I can't get in my sewing room. The piles of patterns are a recipe for a massive trip and fall injury!" So you attempt to categorize them by type. Which works OK for a while. You have "Women's Vintage", "Current Women's", "Childrens' Vintage", "Current Childrens'" and "Costumes, Accessories, Crafts, Toys". So you organize away. Now if you've got a photographic memory, all is well. But you don't. So what happens? Next time you run in the fabric store for "just one thing" knowing FULL WELL that there's a pattern sale on (you sly dog), you sit down and take a little "me time" perusing the pattern books. And you jot down the pattern numbers on your handy dandy notepad and then get the (Limit 10 per customer, please) patterns and off you go home.

Now the thing is, you saw some AWESOME patterns that you'd REALLY like to make. But what you DON'T realize is that you already HAVE said pattern(s) because you bought them LAST TIME. But you won't realize it. Not for a few MONTHS anyway. So what's a geekgirl to do? You saw this coming right?

Yeah. You write a handy little spreadsheet with columns for "Pattern #", "Pattern Co.", "Category", "Description", "Size", "Picture" (because you're thinking about that database app for your mobile phone that you want your Hubs to write for you) and "Notes". And you grab a bin and get to work. And it goes FAST all things considered. You groove to your favorite tunes on your music player and tippity-tap-tap goes the keyboard because the "Cows That Type" aren't in your office going all "Click Clack Moo". You're a much faster typist than a typing cow, anyhow.

So you get done (except for the UFO patterns that are lurking around) and realize a couple of things:
  1. You don't have THAT many patterns when they're all corralled. After all, the bins still have room in them, so you MUST have room for more.
  2. You've "only" got 165 patterns and you know people with more than that.
  3. That spreadsheet you've got? Can be PRINTED and taken with you to the fabric store. Which would require a teeny bit of preparation on your part, but you can do that. Right?
All that remains is to stay out of the fabric store until you've sewn down some of the FABRIC STASH. Which we'll talk about in a later post.

New Year, New Leaf

I'm not generally one for making resolutions because they're so easily broken. So this year, no resolutions! I've got a few goals though.
  1. Rejoin Wardrobe Refashion. I'm working towards a "life" membership. It's a scary prospect to actually head towards sewing everything new or thrifting. Especially when sewing new is more expensive than shopping clearance and thrifting is NOT easy when there aren't any Op Shops about.
  2. DONE!!! Catalog my pattern stash in a spreadsheet complete with picture and category. I might even get crazy and add a catalog number. But we'll see. I don't want to act all "SuperWoman" or anything. It might ruin my rep.
  3. Write one pattern review per week. This should be easier to do now that I'm going to catalog my stash. I think I'll break these down by category (Men's, Women's, Children's, Crafts) and do them on a rotating basis. So you'll see 12 of each category per year. In a month with 5 weeks, you'll get a "bonus review" of my choosing.
  4. Try one new thing per month. It might be knitting or needlework or something I'm not very familiar with or haven't done in a while. We'll see.
  5. List one thing per month in my Etsy shop. It could be something I made or maybe something vintage, I dunno.
  6. Participate more regularly in Iron Cupcake: Earth challenges.