Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fashioning My Cyber Microcosm: Cold Blooded.

Assignment time from the Curious Professor Z!
This weeks topic is Dog Days of Summer-- how do you survive the heat of summer?

I am asked this frequently as someone who literally has 99.9% black clothes (you can count on one hand the number of discernibly colored articles in my closet)-- even my undergarments are all black.

To which I tend to reply, I am cold blooded.
I hear this term thrown around, but I find it inaccurate in its use. Many people use it to describe a love of cold weather... but our real cold blooded critter brethren might disagree, and its their definition that I use this term with. When the cold weather comes upon us, I do as the reptiles and amphibian do... I slow to nearly a halt. I cannot function, and I sleep all the dang time-- not even moving around warms me up, because in order to reach the temperature I am comfortable at requires a lot of movement, which means sweating because of all the layers I am likely in-- and well, if my skin is even slightly damp it cools me off immediately. You could say that I'm just as picky about the temperature of the ambient environment as our little brethren, too. It has to be precise in order for me to be a happy guppy-- hot by the norm, but something cool (preferably no ice) to drink or take a dip in to be just right... I can get overheated, but it takes a special/extreme circumstance to get to that point.

A little kindred spirit I found on my way to work one day.
Don't worry, I didn't keep her from her business for long.

Yes, I am Canadian, in case you had your doubts about me now... but this Canadian was born from a pair of sun loving folk who aren't originally from those parts. Naturally, I inherited said weakness to the cold (heck, if it isn't dessert food, I refuse to eat cold food because I get too cold with that and a cold drink)... but! My skin resists burns better than anyone I personally know. During a vacation in Hawaii, I stayed on the beach from dawn till dusk nearly every day for two weeks, and the worst I suffered was a tan that lasted me several years. Even in the scorching heat of the desert sun, where my hubby would likely receive severe burns (which he has because of carelessness), I get a soft glow to my skin.

My daily bike ride to work is usually in temperatures reaching upwards 90 degrees Fahrenheit, all while clad in black... and the one thing that usually crosses my head is 'winter bike rides are going to suck'.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Fickle Nature.

So, tonight's post was intended to be about the progress I was making on a dress that was supposed to be nearly done by this point. The intended fabric was covered with little pentagrams, but isn't technically part of a wicthy themed series... no... it's actually from a western themed batik series that we carry in the shop-- it seemed witchy to me, for the stars and colors.

The intended pattern was ordered during the pattern buying binge I did during the hotel stay. It's cute, and I couldn't resist the collar.
'great, another peter pan collared piece'  you might be thinking in my entirely self destructive and self conscious-consciousness.

Alas, the cats seemed to have enough of my pan collar obsession too.

Luckily, I always copy the pattern pieces instead of using the original... otherwise, I would be much more unhappy about the incident than I am.

I turn away to play a bit of dota2... hum.
Remember, readers, cats can get annoyed about your passions if it doesn't include them 24/7. Or at least, mine don't like pauses from their petting flesh-thing.

Unfortunately, it put a kibosh on the desire to re-copy and continue the work. No matter how often I tried to tell myself how cute I would look in it, if I just got it done.

So, instead, my heart began settling again on another pattern I had purchased in the rather large bundle of patterns I had bought. View A of Simplicity 1697.

By now my fabric stash is impressive, I have tons of fabric to choose from. But no, my heart and my head agreed that I need to make this in a fabric that I obviously don't have... something that's also incredibly hard and expensive to acquire. Striped fabric, but not just black and white (that would be too easy!), it had to be black and purple and it couldn't have any sheen or shine to it.

As you might assume, I never found that fabric, so I decided to improvise with 2 yards of tone on tone purple quilting cotton.

Que masking tape, spray paint and sore knees from being on that blasted wood floor. Yes, I said spray paint-- the kind you would preferably use on indoor or outdoor furniture, but I didn't because I wanted to see if it would work just as well as fabric paint. I wouldn't recommend anyone doing so if you're concerned about the chemicals within a can of spray paint.

I took my yardage outside and went to work... in about 100 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 37 Celsius) at 60% humidity. 

No, I wasn't feeling well at all after this endeavor, but my head and heart agreed that I couldn't stop this train wreck yet.

After a day of curing, and a run through the washer... it turns out that a 12 oz can of spray paint does indeed work just as well as a 2.5 oz of fabric spray... only you would definitely need more than one can of that fabric paint to completely stripe 2 yards of fabric. The only downside? The initial stink. Spray paint isn't known for its delightful bouquet, after all. I noticed the stink fade away quite a bit after the first wash, and I imagine after more it will disappear completely.

It was during my scheming inside the creative laboratory that it dawned on me that I didn't have any material for the lining, nor the 9" silver industrial zipper for my version of this skirt,. It was at the precise moment of realization that I completely lost all the steam I was harboring for the construction of this skirt.

How irritatingly fickle.

So, sitting in my lab... I decided to end the day by painting a strip of bacon for a friend.
At least I can say I tried something new now; up until this point, I had never used watercolors in my life.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Skeleton Closet: Smoke, Mirrors and Scissors

I have a gift.

This gift isn't particularly significant, and it's worth exactly a few laughs and maybe the occasional look of befuddlement.
I appear years younger than I really am, and I can exaggerate it with the slightest change in my general appearance.

A few days ago I had a bash to alter something on me a little more permanent than changing the way I do my makeup.

I cut my own hair. My fringe to be specific.

This was a rather momentous occasion for me, considering I haven't ever personally held a pair of scissors near a single lock with an inkling of intention. Why? Because I used to know better, and left it to someone who had better vision than I.

That day, I was feeling more than a little confident in my own abilities and desire for some tangible change.
Well, I'm not saying I hate it nor that I don't like it... but my colleagues and I agree that it has made me look exponentially younger than I already do. Ah well, might as well go with it.

What I am wearing:
  • Top: Secondhand
  • Suspender vest: Ebay
  • Skirt: Self made
  • Shoes: Amazon
  • Rosary: Self made

Friday, July 4, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: A Pastel Addiction Edition.

Boy, have I been a busy spender, lately.

My job at the fabric store keeps me quite busy cleaning, organizing... and spending a quarter of my check each week...
Not that I'm complaining, by any stretch-- this is me at my highest point in life, living the feeling of overall life satisfaction. Now if only I could see my momma regularly, it would be extremely difficult to put me in a sour mood.

You all have no idea how much I've added to my stash-- with a 50% discount, it's really a wonder I haven't purchased the entire store. 
Oh how Halloween will hurt so good.

Which, somehow, brings me to my main point. My latest and greatest obsession right now is the construction of bags. All bags-- from pencil cases, and makeup bags, to totes and messengers. Clearly, I need them to contain the contents I've recently ceased to carry-around. Funny how that works-- I could never find the perfect bag to carry my life around in, but as soon as I relinquish the desire to carry it all, suddenly I begin obsessing about the receptacles in which to house them.

I was about to say that this particular fabric caught my eye, but that would be a blatant lie... it all catches my eye. This just happens to be one of the choices that actually made it through checkout, along with a purple on lilac polka dot print to go with it.

Unlike most impulse fabric purchases, however, I did have something very specific in mind for this-- especially because I only bought them in fat quarters.

That's right, a makeup bag-- surprise, surprise! But what else can one really do with mere fat quarters. Besides... I honestly couldn't think of better in my pastel stupor.

And, to add, I was also on a roll... with figuring out the equation to make a pattern specifically around any size zipper I had on hand.

I now have patterns for a smaller, medium, and large makeup bag-- to match any future bag scheme.
I'm wondering if I should contribute this creation onto furthering the pastel goth movement... add an eyeball to the bow, or drip black puff paint along the topstitched edge, something like that.

I tried doing something fancy for the topstitch, but my machine is very limited in the number of decorative topstiches it has... which is ironic, because it doubles as an embroidery machine, with a mechanical hoop arm and all those trimmings (that I haven't even used yet).

Clearly, my secret love of pastel goth is showing with this... quick! Avert your eyes and convince your brain you've just seen something that's Kawaii and not "pastel goth"!

Well, if you're having trouble convincing your brain, here's a distraction in the form of a useful tip.
For stabilizer I used a fusible fleece, and like all fusibles they tend to really gunk up your iron very quickly. My advice is to tackle that task before it gets past the point of replacement, and it need not be that tedious and equally gunky as most iron cleaners in tubes.

After one makeup bag, my iron is looking a little rough... and since I appreciate its quality and lack of drippiness, I am doing everything in my power to make it last. I'm a huge advocate for preventative maintenance!

Most household alternatives to iron cleaners area little too abrasive for the surface plate of an iron of this type. Vinegars, baking sodas... you might want to skip those altogether. Instead, try...

A magic eraser!

No, I am not being sponsored... hell, use the generic; they work just as well. Wet the "eraser" as per usual, but don't have it sopping wet. Then place a towel on your board with the sponge on top and run your iron over it on a high-ish setting as if you're trying to iron out those ridges on it. Wipe down the plate with the towel, and you're done! Even on a really grimmy iron this has worked for me-- and I'm talking about countless burned fusible glue. The sponge will be icky... but your iron plate will look like new! Assuming you haven't chipped it like I have with my past irons...


Someone of more sensible tastes is welcome to purchase this little bag, as is, without the eyeball black drippiness I am including in the next version.

I am asking $12.50 U.S.
Email me to inquire for total including shipping charges to your area, and other specifics.
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