30 August 2006

Good-bye, sweet boy...

So thirteen days ago, out of the clear blue, Egon bit someone. No one we know: a man bicycling by on the street. E got away from me, ran over, bit the guy, and ran back to the house.

After talking it over, and thinking of the sight of the giant bruise on that man's thigh, and thinking about how if he ever bit V, he'd break her bones, and talking for a long time with my dear cousin-in-law Colleen, who trains and loves dogs, Shaun and I decided we had to put our big white giant down. He has been more aggresive in the last year, just little things, but added together with the Big Bite, we felt it was too dangerous not to. It was gut-wrenching and awful and the only way to go.

It took many, many phone calls, and it's all such a horrible, sordid, nasty tale that I don't want to tell it again right now, but let's just say I think someone in the tri-county area needs to FIGURE OUT WHAT THE LAW IS so no one ever has to go through what we went through. But finally, this morning, we found an understanding vet hospital that helped us put our beloved pet to sleep without SCREWING IT UP. They were compassionate, respectful, and awesome, and if you're ever in Fargo and need a veterinarian, talk to me first because I know the one you should go to.

I'm sorry for all the yelling but truly, the 3 other vets we worked with are all staffed entirely by idiots. And it takes a lot for me to call someone an idiot.

Despite all this, we are feeling relieved now, and safe, and very sad and lonesome. I'm not sure I believe in heaven for humans, but by god, if there's a heaven for dogs, I hope our Egon is there, enjoying peanut butter sandwiches and lots of loving games of catch.

All I've been thinking about this week is that line in Dead Man Walking, when Sister Helen says "I want the last face you see to be the face of love." We were the last thing he saw, and every cell of me loved him. I hope he knew that.

23 August 2006

Seriously obsessed...

The pink camo is a bit wonky and has buttons instead of snaps. It took 8 tries to get the buttonholes right, but now I want to sew buttonholes on everything that stands still.

The brown with tan illustrates the shape/structure of the whole thing. It's just one piece, cut on the fold. I cut, hem, bind, and sew closures. I thought about lining this one, since the white back isn't too pretty, but it's pretty rare that it shows, anyway, and this is another upholstery fabric that is heavy enough by itself.

In my frugal living corner, each of these skirts take 3 yards, and both of these fabrics are from the 99 cent bin. Plus 50 cents in snaps (or 2 buttons from my old, underused button box), and I've made a skirt for less than 4 dollars. It fits me perfectly, I adore it, and I can adapt it in so many ways to have a whole skirt wardrobe.

Seriously, I think I may have to start a Church of Skirts. Who's with me?


I finally found a wrap skirt pattern in my size (nearly) that I really like. Butterick 3526. So I've made 3 so far, and cut one for my mom and my sister, and have fabric for me for 3 more. Can I wear one every single day, do you think?

Anyway, here's the brown with blue...the fabric was $1.75 a yard at Mill End Textiles: it's a denim-weight upolstry fabric. The waist is bound with seam tape, and I've used 2 snaps to hold it together. It's very comfortable and though I'm not as photogenic as I'd hoped, it looks quite cute and swingy.

Behind me is a quilt I've been needing to bind for the last 4 years. I figure if I show it here, I'll shame myself into finishing it. It was a Christmas gift for my sister-in-law and her husband many Christmases ago...I must remember to not give unfinished presents, because look what happens.

I have photos of the other 2 skirts, but they will wait for another day. School is starting very soon, and I have pencils to sharpen and syllabi to staple. And many, many more skirts to make before I sleep.

16 August 2006

Works in progress...

Why do I only think to take pictures after the sun is either going down or covered by storm clouds? I have been busy sewing while the sun shines, and will try to be more on top of photos tomorrow during daylight. I'm obsessed with a new skirt pattern, and have finished 2, cut 2, and have 5 more waiting to be cut. (yes, I think 9 skirts=obsession).

Also, for the last 2 days V and I have been in Hendrum, painting my sister's house. V loves it, because she gets to play with her cousin (or, more importantly, his toys).

Please tune in tomorrow for fantastic photos of the best skirts ever...

08 August 2006

Thrift store magic

A little thrift store shopping + $9.35 brought this pile o' stuff home with me. Here's the before sorting picture.

The fabric on the left is 2 1/2 yards of vintage something or other...I know it's vintage because it's 36" wide and gorgeous. The photo doesn't clearly show the shiny goldness of this fabric. I think it will make a lovely lining for a bag, and/or a little dress for V. The fabric on the right is part of a twin-sized duvet cover (and it came with a matching pillow sham), new from Target, which gives their overstock to one group of thrift stores in town. It's heavy cotton, almost denim-like, and the back is solid black. It's awesome.

In the middle is, as far as I can tell, a Gomez Addams doll. I love him, and I think every red-blooded American girl should have a Gomez Addams doll to play with. You'll notice Gomez is admiring a pile of notions. Here's the pile, sorted neatly.

It was a grab-bag, and here is the list of what was inside.
  • 1 package quilt binding
  • 3 pkgs single-fold bias tape
  • 6 pkgs double-fold bias tape
  • 6 pkgs flexi-lace hem tape *
  • 8 pkgs seam binding *
  • 1 pkg seam tape *
  • 2 pkgs hem tapes *
  • 6 pkgs hem facings *
  • 2 pkgs blanket binding
  • 9 pkgs rick-rack
  • 3 pkgs middy braid *
  • 6 pkgs biased & corded piping
  • 1 waistband skirt elastic
  • 3 zippers
  • 2 religious magnets *
Now, about 3 of these are faded or discolored, to the point where I might need to dye them in order to use them. And the ones with asterisks? I don't know what those can do...except the middy braid, which actually explains itself on the package. But still, I got 45 items! for $2.50! Which equals...less than 6 cents each. And I've been using gobs of bias tape binding lately, so this was a wise investment. Plus, now I can learn how to cord things in 5 different colors.

To sum up:
Notions grab bag: $2.50
Vintage fabric: $2
Duvet cover: $4
Gomez doll: $ .50
Tax: $ .35

Total: $9.35

Oh, goddess of thrift store shopping, thank you for your kindness.

Expect pictures of fancy things made with these notions in the near future.

06 August 2006

Between Scylla and Charybdis

I'm trying to decide if I want to open an Etsy shop, and if I do, what I might want to name it. "Languishing" is the title of a zine I started publishing in 1995 (and still do, occasionally), and it fits me well. It combines the idea of inaction with anguish: the urge to stagnate vs. the need to move forward...

Enough of my life philosophy. I don't know that "Languishing" is a particularly fun or ambitious name for a shop. I mean, if there was a store in the mall named Languishing, would you go in it? I would, of course, because I've been publishing a zine by that name for eleven years, but why would anyone else?

I would like to make and sell mostly gifts for children, both fun and utilitarian, and all lovely. So I want something playful, not too obscure (see the subject of this post for an example of one suggestion), that won't annoy me in two years.

Yet I hate it when people have different names for their blogs and their shops. Don't they know anything about branding? And even if I don't open an Etsy shop, I'd like to make some labels (or have them made) because I love the look of labels, and there are a couple of shops in town in which I'd like to place my wares, and I think labels would make things at least appear more polished.

Ach, this is almost as difficult as naming a child. I welcome suggestions/ rebuttals/constructive insults.

Here's a picture to cheer us both up. My mom took it last week on her way to our house. I love how gray the sky is, and how brilliant and yellow the sunflower's petals are. I think she considers this one an accident, but I really like it.

03 August 2006

33 Things

1. My middle name is Loy, after my mother's middle name.
2. I was a vegetarian for a year but came back for the bacon.
3. I am the messiest person I know, next to my husband.
4. I love the color red, closely followed by orange, yellow, and purple (in that order).
5. I have been making and selling earrings since 1994. Proceeds from them bought me my first computer.
6. I am addicted to Taco John's. So much so that they know me there.
7. I get in food ruts and eat the same things for months at a time (see #6).
8. I've been on zoloft since 1992.
9. My daughter's name is V
10. I have a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry.
11. I love to teach more than almost anything else on earth.
12. My sister and I first sang in public when I was 4 and she was 3.
13. The only pizza I really like is pepperoni and mushroom.
14. I drink coca-cola classic like it's water. I didn't when I was pregnant, and that sucked.
15. I love E.E. Cummings
16. On more than one occassion I've referred to Robert Downey, Jr. as "the best actor of our generation."
17. I made my first quilt 15 years ago. It has long since disintegrated.
18. I am learning to love baseball
19. I snuck into a bookbinding class in college and the professor let me stay.
20. In undergraduate school, I was obsessed with both the historical Richard the Third and the Shakespearean play by the same name.
21. I've donated at least 12 inches of my hair to Locks of Love on 5 different occassions.
22. I have never seen the ocean, except if you count the New York Harbor, which I don't.
23. I am very very very allergic to cats.
24. I collect vintage party books. My favorite is from 1924.
25. I majored in English in college but almost majored in cultural anthropology.
26. I have studied circus freaks extensively since I was nine years old.
27. I know more about Elvis Presley than anyone I've ever met.
28. Dansko makes my favorite shoes, followed closely by Ecco.
29. My father died in 2002.
30. I have 2 tattoos and would like at least 2 more.
31. We have a white standard poodle named Egon, after the character in "Ghostbusters."
32. I love to swim and don't do it often enough.
33. I make a mean porkchop and wildrice hotdish.

02 August 2006

Proof I am a total nerd

I was driving through town yesterday and noticed yet another personalized license plate. Now, normally these are not rocket science: it's pretty easy to figure out what they mean (for me anyway). LUV2SKI, for example. Anyway, this one said

Puck lover? Okay. So here's what happened in my brain.
Puck lover? Huh, someone really likes A Midsummer Night's Dream.
No, wait. That's probably not what it is...oh, sure, it's from the third season of the Real World. That obnoxious guy Puck. Huh, how obscure, to put that on your license plate.

I would like to tell you it was immediate, but no, it was several blocks, perhaps a mile, before I thought this:

Hm. Or maybe it's about hockey.

Ya think?

Criminy. This s l o w process makes me concerned for several reasons. 1. I am a college instructor. I'm on summer vacation, sure, but still, I can't be taking blocks and blocks to perceive the obvious, and 2. I live in freaking Minnesota. Kids play hockey before they can walk. 3. Not only did it take forever for the obvious to hit me in the ear, but I show my true colors by thinking Shakespeare first and MTV second. And 4. I felt strongly enough about this to blog on it.

Here's my moral: personalized plates are dangerous. You never know when a distractable college English teacher is going to have angst over your "obvious" hobby statement. Just stick with the JYF 884 variety. It's so much easier that way.

And Midsummer Night's Dream and past seasons of Real World deserve more recognition, dammit.

Portrait of a crafter as depraved

Because I am now obsessed with octopi, I am desperate to find the pattern for this octopus. Because I am a fool and don't know how the world works, I optimistically wandered to our local Salvation Army to find it. Of course it was not there, but I found this lovely book, copy right 1966. Mmm. Lookit how happy these ladies are to do stitchery and crafts! Now, I realize this has nothing to do with the aforementioned octopus pattern, but it soothed my savage crafting beast for only 75 cents. Ah.

But wait, I have inside photos, too! This kitty makes me want to learn how to embroider (click the photo for a bigger view, though it will still be blurry, I'm afraid):

And this page makes me excited and frightened at the same time. You MUST click for a larger view. And here is part of the description under the title "Just for Children": "Stuffed toys, in clever animal shapes, please the very young and find favor among teen-age collectors too." I wish that were true today. I wish I could give my 14 year old cousin that owl bag in the upper left hand corner and have her "find favor" and not stare at me with blank disdain. Ah. Maybe I just need to find cooler 14 year olds. The description of the owl bag, by the way, is "Golden owl, feathered with felt, is a wise choice for a carryall bag." Wise indeed.

At any rate, though I still seek the octopus pattern, I think I've already gotten 75 cents worth of pleasure from this crafty goodness book. Et tu?