Oh the humanity.

I just finished up a croquis of myself based on the tutorial at Polka Dot Overload. Since I don't have any full-frontal pictures of me (nor are the going to BE any), I had to fill in the blanks from the closest thing to it. If my body image needed ANY more hits to the ego, this just about filled the bill. Don't get me wrong, I love who *I* am. I just really don't like the container I'm in.

And I'm entitled not to like the container very much. It's defective. And before you ALL jump down my throat about how I should "love the skin I'm in" and yada yada yada, let me explain. I have a couple of hereditary conditions that make living in my skin a bit difficult. I may have talked about them before, but if I haven't, here goes:

1. Multiple hereditary osteochondromatosis. Read: Bone spurs all over your body in very unfortunate places syndrome. I have a REALLY lovely example *right* by my femoral artery in my leg rendering it inoperable. It ALSO makes sitting with my left bent for any length of time very uncomfortable because it's shaped like a tiger tooth. Unfortunately, my oldest child also has the condition. It is EXTREMELY painful.
Ye Olde Inoperable Bone Spur
2. Short stature. Not entirely attributable to the above. Since my oldest child ALSO has growth-hormone deficiency, the doctor's believe I suffered from this as a child. I won't bore you with the intimate (aka TMI) details. Let's just say that the genetic deck was stacked against me from birth. My biological parents and relatives are all taller than me. By inches.

Unfortuntely, the medical conditions I have also have the unfortunate side effect of all of my torso being squashed down and out of proportion with the rest of me. My lowest ribs rest just above my hips. It's excruciatingly painful to have people hug my "waist" because in the process, they compress my floating ribs. For years I was accused of being "standoffish" because I didn't "like" being "hugged". To quote a high school buddy "No [bleep], Sherlock!" I do NOT like being hugged around my waist. It hurts like a mofo.

Because of my body composition/proportion issues, pants are a PITA - literally - to wear. They are generally 6-8 inches too long. Yes, you read that right. EIGHT inches. If I buy a size large enough to go around my distended middle section (thanks a lot Mother Nature!), they are going to be so long I could make pants for my kids out of them. Not literally, but you get my meaning. They are also going to be too big in the thighs. The odd exception to this is Old Navy's "sweetheart" jeans in bootcut/short length. For SOME reason, these fit every time. With no gap/sag/whatever. I buy them whenever they go on sale because I live in them since they are the ONLY pants that are comfortable.

The funny thing is, my bust and under-bust and top of my ribcage are a NORMAL size. But it all goes to hell the further south you go. I look Perpetually Pregnant™. In fact, since I was around 12, I've had a "baby belly". I've given birth and been asked 2 days later when I was due. Yeah. THAT went over well. I was carrying the fricking baby in the bucket seat with me and just STARED the Hell-Mart cashier down. Apparently she'd NEVER seen a lady who had given birth a few days earlier. When I was in high school, it was especially traumatic because people continually started rumours about me being knocked up. It didn't help that I changed schools often either. It only lent credence to the assumption. Let me state FOR THE RECORD that I first fell pregnant in 2001. I was TWENTY EIGHT. So for over a decade I had to field the "Are you pregnant?" questions before it was even a possibility. There's no phrase that makes me want to hurt people more than hearing THAT question. Just because I'm of child-bearing age (please GOD let menopause come soon), does NOT mean that my BIG FAT BELLY has a baby inside.

It might just mean I'm fat.

3. I have arthritis in some of my more important joints due to injury and pregnancy. Specifically my sacro-iliac joints and lumbar spine/facet joints. It is what it is. I've done as much surgery to those as I and my doctors are comfortable with (read KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!!!) and now it's just heating pads, ibuprofen and not heavy lifting/bending/twisting.

I'm really not bitter about this at all, actually. I've come to the realization that NO amount of "dieting" or "lifestyle change" is going to undo the damage done by heredity. I am in pretty good shape for the shape I'm in. All my "numbers" are excellent. Cholesterols, blood sugar, triglycerides blah blah blah. All GREAT. I eat a fairly healthy diet all things considered. When you're gluten free, you don't have a whole lot of choice. My ADD is finally being managed and I'm better able to focus, less anxious and better able to cope with life in general.

I am not my size. 

I am not my measurements. 

I am a creative individual.

I am a daughter, granddaughter, wife, mother.

I am what I am.

Shirley Bassey - 1983

Gloria Gaynor - 2012

It was a major weight off me (hah!) to come to the realization that I will not ever be a size 2 or 4 or 6 again. And there's NOTHING whatsoever wrong with it. It was cathartic to realize that all this time I've been fighting genetics and when you fight your genes, YOU WILL LOSE. DNA FTW! I don't LIKE looking at pictures of myself. Because I remember being a size 0. And a 2. And a 4. And a 6. My latest purchase ( a mere $8.98 on clearance) was a size **16**.
It was SO HUGE under the arms I had to take out almost 3" on either side tapering down to nothing at the waist band. I heart this dress so much. I want it in other colors, too. It fits amazingly well after my one alteration, even though it's probably "only" about a size 12 in "real" sizing. It makes me feel like a million bucks. So I don't give a [wha?!wha?!] what size the label says. Especially when I wear it with my RED shoes.

But it still stings when you look back and see yourself as a svelte 6 and KNOW that without MAJOR plastic surgery, your body will not look like that again. Now it's more bittersweet than hurtful. And that is the beauty of it. As you move from one stage of life to another, you celebrate where you are. Live in the right now. Not the 10 pounds ago. Not in the "when I get back into my college jeans".

My challenge for you is to THROW OUT everything that doesn't fit. Obvious exceptions are pregnant/lactating women. You get a pass. ;-D Seriously. Live in the size/shape you are. You don't have to like it. You just have to live with it. Cross the bridge of "My pants are so BIIIIIG" **when you get there**. Otherwise you'll just make yourself crazy. Take it from the crazy lady. I should know. I wrote the book on keeping crap that doesn't fit. I still have my senior prom dress in a bin somewhere. I think it's in the garage (whoops!). But at least it isn't in my closet mocking me.

If you MUST do something about your eating habits, then cut the *crap* out of your diet. Real foods are not crap. Stuff that comes in boxes with a shelf life of 15 years (Twinkies, I'm lookin' at you!) are crap. High Fructose Corn Syrup is crap. Don't eat it. Just DON'T. I'm not a nutrition guru, just a Regular Jane™ who has learned from experience that HFCS makes me sick as a dog that it's just no good. If you don't believe me, just sit back and listen to Linda Ronstadt. She lays it all out for you.

Yes, I sing that song to foodstuffs with HFCS in it. In the grocery store. I admit it. I should probably let you see the croquis that started this rant...

Yes, I am a sucky illustrator.

Looking back at 2012

or not!

I'm not interested in recapping '12. Instead, I'll point you in the direction of The New Yorker's "100 Best Lists of All Time". Have fun! And party like it's 1999... Or something...

The babe with the power

Or a testament to the power of social media and bloggers and their readers. Just yesterday, Jen Yates (facebook & twitter) of Epbot & Cake Wrecks fame blogged about Redbook Magazine appropriating some of her blog content without attribution. Her readership (and by extension all their Twitter followers and Facebook friends) were incensed on her behalf and let the world know just how unhappy they were.
A Modest Example - click to embiggen and read.
Names and faces have been obscured/changed to protect my friends' privacy.
By this morning, Jen was able to post that Redbook was making it right. Jen, you are officially the Babe With The Power™.

Who's on first?

This bit of comedy gold just cracks me up every time I hear it. So of course when I'm about to post about plans for the upcoming year it comes to mind. Click play before reading. Then try to read this post with a straight face. I dare ya. I double-dog dare ya.

First up the sewing projects:

1. Formal gown in emerald green and gold.
Formal Wear - my own design

2. Formal kebaya in citrus colors.
Inspiration - Source
These I have but a few days to work on. They need to be finished completely by January 29th (exactly 1 month from today). I have the fabric all ready to go, but the pattern pieces aren't even drafted yet. Fun times.

The "Next Big Thing" up is to completely de-holiday the house which shouldn't be a problem. Except for the fact that the sewing projects will consume all my time and then we're into pageant season which will last from February to March. So much for taking the decorations down right after the Octave of Christmas.

Sometime before Chinese New Year (2/10/13) I need to clear out the old and de-clutter. I'm really bad at multi-tasking. REALLY bad. So this can only end badly.

The kids go back to school January 10th, so I can start sewing in earnest then. Before then, I'm playing a waiting game trying to get all my supplies together, get measurements settled and put away all the stuff that has been inhabiting my dining room sewing table for the last few months. My poor children have been relegated to eating dinner sitting tailor-style in front of the TV watching Mythbusters since the late fall while I attempted to finish Halloween costumes, pageant costumes, holiday costumes and various and sundry baking/decorating projects.

In the midst of all this, I have to plan birthdays for an 11 year old, 9 year old and 7 year old. I can't believe my "babies" are getting so old... We won't talk about how old that makes ME. Let's just say that 2013 is a "decade" year for me.

I'm thinking about spending some of my Christmas money on a quilting class in the new year. It's one thing I've never done before. What say ye?

It's that time again!

It's time for the new pattern books to be hitting the tables at your local fabric mega mart. The Christmas Season isn't even over yet and frothy chiffon and pastel confections are staring up at me from the pages of the Big 4's pattern books.

As of tonight, I was able to browse the "Early Spring" collections of Butterick, Simplicity, McCall's & Vogue. Butterick & Simplicity are paying an homage to patterns of days gone by since they are having landmark anniversaries this year.

Butterick is turning 150. And is looking well preserved, I might add. Of note is Butterick 5859, a sportswear collection that is reminiscent of the 40s without being costumey. It's definitely wearable today.
Butterick 5859
 Honorable mentions go to a child's companion to the above - Butterick 5844 - and a lovely little formalwear pattern for little girls, Butterick 5845.
Butterick 5844
Butterick 5845
I appreciate the simplicity of the styling as well as the use of the mauve/lilac and ivory backgrounds. They give a little dimension to the photos and make it feel like a portrait rather than a really bad eBay auction photograph.

Simplicity has re-released a 1940s vintage blouse pattern in honor of their 80-something-eth anniversary.
Simplicity 1692
The styling on this one is also very pleasing to the eye. Here's hoping 2013 is better than 2012 for pattern catalog styling, eh?

Vogue has three dresses of note for early Spring. One in the 2013 color of the year - Emerald Green - which reminds me of "the" dress from Atonement:
"The" Dress - Source
Vogue 8814
With some great accessories and the right fabric, the Vogue version could be spectacular. I'm not thrilled with what they used for the sample, but it definitely has possibilities. There are two more Vogue patterns I'd like to feature, 8850 & 8851, from the Vintage Vogue collection.

Vogue 8850
Vogue 8851
Again, the styling is impeccable and they manage to make vintage work in today's reality.

Unfortunately, McCall's catalog seems to be largely a regurgitation of designs from the last few seasons, just photographed differently. Color blocking? Check. Little girls outfits made from 16 different fabrics stitched together to look like a crazy quilt? Check. Totally derivative work that I've seen a million times before? Check and check.

So there you have it folks, your preview of early spring pattern catalogs (without pity). Enjoy!

I'm a total slacker

I meant to post an "end of the world" post for 12/21/12. Whoops. Since we're all still here - we ARE all still here, right? - I figure it's moot, but I'll share it anyways.

I mean, really. The Mayans TOTALLY opened the door for this one. I had this on vinyl and wore it out in college on my roommate's stereo. I'm pretty sure I still have it - LEONARD BERNSTEIN!!!! - somewhere in my collection of vintage vinyl.

Now that we've got that all out of the way...

I haven't been as visible online as I'd like to have been. Funny thing is, since my last post, a crap-ton* of stuff has happened. I've sewn a lot of stuff including some of the MOST complicated stuff I've ever made in the history of ever. Which I've posted on facebook and instagram, but not here. Mea culpa. *That's the PG-rated version. And yes, that's an official unit of measurement defined as a container your own height + 16".

My oldest child has had some serious health issues which resulted in her being homebound (not in school) since the first week of November. She'll be headed back to school in January which will be a very good thing for my mental health. I love my kids, but being "on" 24/7 with an "exceptional" kid can be extremely stressful.

As I write this, my grandmother who is in her 92nd year is in ICU and isn't expected to live very much longer. My prayer is that she passes quickly and painlessly and celebrates Christmas in Heaven. She deserves it. She had a hard life but a full life. If you don't mind sending up a prayer or good thought for her, I'd certainly appreciate it.

In closing, I'd like to wish everyone a very happy and blessed holiday season, whatever holiday you celebrate and I'll see you in 2013. I'll leave you with a song my grandmother *might* have sung (she of the "I took a walk in the garden of love, but I got poison ivy at cherry-pickin' time" song). Enjoy!

There's nothing like a tree with balls...