and to all

happy merry to all, to Every One and All, whatever and wherever you might be celebrating: may your days be full of color and sparkle and light.
love! oona


brighter than I think I am

okay, lemme clarify something for alla y'all speed readers out there.  in fact, lemme put it in big bold red letters:


ahem.  we now returned to our regularly scheduled post.

i wrote a bit about this dress last week on my blog; it was giving me fever and i was not happy.

mainly, i'm mad at myself. i did everything i could to second guess this pattern, the elisalex dress from By Hand London.  i made my usual modifications on the fly, thinking i'd head possible problems off at the pass.  turns out, there were no problems to head off.  this baby fit me right out of the exceedingly lovely box. (i'm talking about the packaging, peeps, soon to be drooled over--these patterns are something you'll want to display in your room, totally bookshelf worthy.) if i would have spent less time second guessing the exemplary drafting, and more time on pattern placement, a much happier kalkatroonaan camper i would be.

alas, i was too smart for my own good, and in thinking ahead i didn't concentrate on the cutting task at hand. Aal of the gorgeous lavender and orange bits of this pixelated wool print from mood were lost on the back bodice, arms, and dear god, remnants. at one point, deep in my regret, i cut out all the best parts of the bits and pieces and appliqued them to the neck line of the dress.

that did not go well.

i resigned myself to bright accessories instead.

let's not talk about the specific smart ass moves i made that bit me in said ass here. let's just say that at one point, i realized every precaution i took was ripped out in favor of doing it EXACTLY AS THE PATTERN SAID I SHOULD IN THE FIRST PLACE.

let's also not talk about my choice of fabric. can someone please keep me away from the jersey aisle at mood? maybe joshua should take that detail. he actually forbade me to buy this yardage, would not take it to the cutting table until we found something for ruggy! THE NERVE.

don't get me wrong, i obviously love me some stretch, but when i was handed this golden ticket, i decided i was going to play with ALL THE FABRICS. dive into some fascinating stranger every month, learn about new materials...but this marks my second jaunt with a novelty wooly stretch, and truth be told, there's one more jersey knit a'comin. (joshua found two bolts of shirting for ruggy, so obviously i walked away even steven.) but then! no mas, peeps! it's time for some boucle and washed silk and cotton voile and guipere lace...

i am literally. starting to salivate.

i also think this pattern cries for a sturdier fabric. so do the lovely ladies at BHL. read the envelope much, oona? this pleated skirt asks for something more substantial to create that lovely tulip shape. my first attempt at a fix for this was to serge all the edges of the pleats and the side seams of the skirt...on the outside. three passes for each edge, to be exact. i thought i could make the fabric stand up by sheer force of thread. i could not. see that chartreuse edging on the neck and sleeves? that's all thread, and the only bits that survived the attack of my seam ripper.

after that botched experiment, i hacked off about twelve inches of length, hoping for an intentional look rather than a droopy hang, and i almost succeeded. wouldn't quite call it a cigar... maybe a cigarillo. i'm going to chalk this one up to a learning experience, and a total V-8 smack by By Hand London. you will see the elisalex dress again...

but not until next year. the happiest of holidays to you and yours. may you be well, warm, and bright.

this dress was made using my monthly fabric "allowance" as part of the Mood Sewing Network. questionable fabric choice! the pattern was gifted to me by BHL. unquestionably good!


bourbon baking bling

hello all.  i'm about to hop on a plane for the holidays, after spending several days tromping around the city, trying to buy thoughtful gifts and be nice to everyone i see.  at the moment it's feeling right to be NICE. so i'd like to be nice to you and share a recipe i first posted about at sarah's sparkly joint, rhinestones and telephones. i hope you enjoy it, and if you do cook it up, share it with someone you love!   

did you know i bake?  or, much to ruggy's dismay, i used to bake before sewing took over in the extra curricular activities department.  i made key lime pies with eight inch high meringues, flourless chocolate tortes with glass ganaches, triple layer guinness cakes that could knock a horse over.  now i've got one standby that meets three important requirements:

1. it can be made quickly.
2. it makes the house smell delicious.
3. it has alcohol.

i adapted this recipe from emeril's chocolate bread pudding, and the ingredients (down to the brand name) are important for its success.  don't sleep on the thai kitchen full fat coconut milk!   i will allow room for alcoholic improvisation, as the inclusion of alchohol on hand is more important than the exclusion of alcohol.  you're welcome.

the brand names are also important if you are, like moi, apprehensive of the hormone wrecker that is soy.  me no likey the soy. and chocolate, bread, even eggs have gone the path of Soy World Domination in the form of lecithin and stabilizers and fillers... i tell you what, i downright loathe that crap.  long and tested story short, bumpy hormones make bumpy holidays. so the ingredients below have been checked and approved, but you can bet your ass i read that label every time i buy even a trusted brand.

that is your public service announcement for the day.

1 tsp unsalted butter (president)
4 large eggs (pete & gerry's heirloom bleu are wonderful)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (sunspire)
1/2 cup bourbon (knob creek.  lightweights can use grand marnier.)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (thai kitchen)
8 slices organic white bread (the supremely healthy kind that looks like it would be cardboard in your mouth. trust me.)

so, you've got your nasty looking organic hippy crunchy white bread. take eight slices out and leave them on the counter while you do the rest of the prepping.  that ever-so-wholesome perservative free bread will be stale in a matter of minutes!  huzzah for the hippies!  if your bread is nice and fluffy and edible right out of the package, you lose, and you must leave it out to sit on the counter for a couple hours to a whole day.  EEK.

next, melt ONE cup of the chocolate chips with 1/2 cup of the coconut milk over low heat, stirring constantly, and set aside to cool while you measure out the next ingredients.  listen you, don't go telling me that'll take too long. step away from the microwave, yo, it takes all of sixty seconds to melt this on the stove.  I SAID BACK OFF.

whisk together your eggs, sugar, spices, vanilla, and bourbon in a large bowl.  try to mimic the excellent wrist work of sarah jessica parker in The Family Stone (a most wonderful holiday movie, we watch it every year, sometimes twice).  pretend for a moment that you are SJP, wearing a foofy tutu and skyscraper stilettos. it makes the kitchen time go by ever so much more quickly. (having a good slug of that knob creek doesn't hurt either.)  next, add the rest of the coconut milk (1 cup) and the melted chocolate, mixing till it's looking smooth and happy.  then take your magically stale organic bread and cut it into 1/2 inch cubes, removing the crusts. and the bread cubes to the wet mixture and let it sit for 30 minutes.

during this li'l bit of marinating time, i like to clean up the area while sipping on a bit more of that knob creek, contemplating the gorgeous teeny all clad saucepan ruggy got me years ago.  it's my favorite part of a whole set, he had the bottoms etched with the maze at chartres!  ah, ruggy.

if you don't happen to have such a pan to ponder, you can preheat the oven to 350, and get the loaf pan ready, greasing it with that exquisite president butter.  now, and this is very important: at this point you need something to soak up the bourbon you've been sampling. throw a slab of that butter on a piece of that discarded crust. MERDE THEM FRENCH COWS MAKE GOOD BUTTER!

it's time to finish that puddin'.  pour half of your mixture into the buttered loaf pan, and sprinkle the remaining 2 cups of chocolate chips over the top.  eat a few if you must, then pour the rest of the bread mixture over the top. later, when you serve this, you are going to have a molten chocolate center in that baby.  oh yes. yes, my friends.


and that's about it.  let it cool for a mo before cutting, or you can premake and reheat for 15 minutes at 300 degrees.  best to keep it in the fridge, if you don't finish it all in one night.  extra points for dressing up in your evening gown while devouring.


how are you right

on saturday, it didn't seem right to be blogging about sewing, it didn't seem right to be playing christmas music, it didn't seem right to watch an endless parade of santas and elves walk down our street, on their merry way to santa con. i had planned to catch pictures of them for y'all, but that didn't seem right either.
there are so very many things wrong in the world.
on sunday, i decorated a christmas tree with my parents and beautiful nephews, and that did seem right.
and maybe if we do enough things right, the wrong will get better.


i want to love you

several hours of my day were spent on the mess you see above you. at the time, i did not think it was a mess, and took this very picture so that i could include it in a post full of crowing and thest chumping.
turns out it is indeed just a mess. of the most hot sort.
the longer i worked on it, the more angry i became. i'm a Finish It kind of gal. if something goes wrong at any point, i usually grit my teeth and hammer forward. I'LL FIX IT IN POST, i whisper scream to myslef à la ed wood, grabbing something sharp and attacking with gusto. usually that works in my favor in a marie curie sort of way (at least in my opinion). but after collapsing in defeat at the end of the sewing day to play word games with ruggy, i felt the tunnel i'd been in for the several hours clear. whilst chuckling over a particulary delicious wordplay (i believe it was "tidbits" to "bitties"), i glanced over at my ironing board, and suddenly my brow darkened. i wanted to set fire to the area with my eyes.
i totally know how to do that.
is it possible... could it beeee, el guapo... sometimes you have to step away from the garment and decide, for the health of yourself and the safety of those around you: it's a wadder? i hate wadders. because i refuse, in every aspect of life, to admit defeat. I. WIN. AT. EVERYTHING. so if i can somehow salvage a project, even if it means something is fundamentally off in some way, i count it a victory. like the steelers of late, it ain't pretty, but it's a win. yet, if i walk into a retail store, i scoff at a wonky bias cut or a wavy seam. the horror! how do people buy this junk?! how utterly beneath my skill and prowess! i turn up my nose, turn on my heel, and prance home to my sewing queendom! where i'm probably working on a dress with a twinned back bodice and a lumpy thrice inserted zipper.
maybe making something passable doesn't make it good. maybe it just makes it on par with the RTW that i used to shrug my shoulders at, thinking it fit well enough for the price. this frightening thought will keep me up tonight: no one knows you made that slightly off garment you're parading around in, unless you tell them. and if it's wonky, you're not going to tell them. so really, as far as anyone knows, you're just wearing another poorly made off the racker.
what do you think?


boozy tips

what's up y'all! if you haven't been getting your fill of holiday sweets, skip on over to rhinestones and telephones, where i'm delighted to be saucy sarah's guest today. i've got some bittersweet bourbon chocolate bread pudding for ya.
you didn't think i'd forget the alcohol, did you?
and it occurs to me i never mentioned, the lovely kristiann of victory patterns did a sewing spotlight on me! egads! i was honored to be in the company of some of my favorite sewists sporting one of my favorite indie pattern lines.
and yes, meg! ruggy is indeed sporting a steelers cap, knitted by Sister Beast, who's getting all fancy and displaying her wares in a gorgeoug pop up brick and mortar. AND HOLY COW. BROTHER BEAST OF BULLDOG RADIO IS BACK. i would not call this a pg 13 podcast. i'd call it a howl in laughter and/or rage while slamming whiskey and sewing up your (frigging) christmas list podcast.
links. i haz them.


material girl

these are my new comfy Do Everything work clothes. they've been worn trekking to the subway five o'clock in the morning, at the ballet barre five o'clock at night, and the home bar straight after. happy work, all, deserving of something more than beat up jeans and pilly yoga pants.

although i already had leggings on the brain, i must place the 80s vibe of said leggings squarely on the shoulders of mood. hits from that pop-piest of eras were blasting the day i strolled in, and i gave in completely to the invitations from a-ha! and duran duran. there was no other choice. the object of my desire was a pair of forever 21 ikat leggings, bought years ago before they were trendy (i have a knack for picking up the one non-trendy thing in stores before it is trendy. TASTEMAKER WALKING, YO). but screw shopping for RTW. i had the maniacal serger and a city block worth of jersey, what was stopping me from knocking them off?

elastic, mostly. the f21 leggings had the usual band of elastic 'round the waist, producing the ever pleasing muffintop effect we women love so dearly. good lord. more on that later. i consoled myself with the inevitably lumpy result by picking out three of the craziest prints i could find, with the invaluable help of my good friend marlon, a gent who works (quite hard, i might add) in stock. it was hotter than a bananarama summer in the joint, the sheer amount of shoppers increasing the degrees, but marlon was happy to wrangle bolt upon bolt of goodness down while waiting for a free cutting crew. marlon, i said, so my idea is to photoshop myself in five pairs of leggings like I'm hanging out with myself, punctuating my words with a doofy pose here and there. he gave me a fist bump and we were off.

we were having a hard time finding five patterns that wanted to play in the same photoshoot, stalling at three. marlon! i yelled, the tunes sinking ever deeper into my brain, i need a flashdance sweatshirt to tie it all together! he nodded solemnly. yes. yes you DO. Magic Marlon deposited the bolts on a cutting table and we marched up to knits. the obvious and immediate choice was this grey sweatshirt knit complete with purple sparkle sheen. i'm sorry eighties throwback, did you just hop into a deLorean and pop into existence while we were in jerseys? i think you did.

as marlon bid me adieu and left me in the capable hands of michael, we discussed the tunes. you should be here when the Snoop Dogg / NWA station is on, michael breathed, not without some horror. i raised my eyebrows. for real? uncensored? i wonder what I'd gravitate to in that scenario....

while we're on the subject of horror, hell, while we're on the subject of the Doggfather, can we talk about the booty on the ikat pair? not my best pattern placement. the front, she is not much better:

EGADS. long slouchy sweater on this pair.

returning home with my bounty, i didn't give myself time to think, i just laid my RTW leggings down on a piece of paper and traced my one (ONE! HALLELUJAH FOR LEGGINGS!) pattern piece. it took a muslin to get the waist height right, and by "muslin" i mean the red and blue pair. my neverending refusal to do the safety dance that is a toile actually helped me in this case: i had to finish the pair, as it was part of the project. but the waist was too low, and my overflowing stash of elastic apparently existed only in my brain...so i used the excess yardage to create a tall fold over band, thinking it would make them somewhat wearable...

and holy animotion! a comfy waistband! WITH NO MUFFINTOP!! my obsession growing, i lunged for the rest of the jersey and finished all three pairs in mere hours. the midnight oil was already burning, no bed in sight for me, so i grabbed an RTW sweatshirt, traced that too, and clacked away on the serger.

i've worn the animal printish pair so much i'm in danger of becoming a one hit wonder. the costume department at work is in love with them, especially the waistband, and i'm actually going to attempt to make some for them. GET ME. i can see sewing for others in jersey, it's just so easy. (she said blithely. don't you be asking me for no leggings, Hot Mama. oh all right but you have to give me your hip measurement.)
have you worked with jersey? how do you feel about the stuff? if you haven't yet, run, don't walk, yah mo be there for you, this wonder stuff is nothing to be afraid of. it is the don henley of fabrics giving you forgiveness all OVER the place.

this romp through the 80s was made using my monthly fabric "allowance" as part of the Mood Sewing Network.


three dimensions

i fell asleep last night thinking about texture. the dress languishing in pieces on my ironing board ordered me to go to bed: oona, don't COMPLETELY ruin me, at this point you've emerged victorious. quit while you're ahead. tomorrow is another day. insert more cliched phrases here, but really, just go your ass to sleep.

Rational Dress was right, i had done an ABYSMAL job of pattern placement, and all the best parts of her print were lost in the remnants or on the back. not that folks don't get a kick outta gazing at le boo-tay, but i would have liked some orange and purple sharing the wealth between face and behind. but! i had an a-ha moment and started some fancy (cotes du rhone) cutting, layering some texture on the neckline. it reminded me just how much i love texture, and how little i use it in sewing.
these shots were taken in seattle's sculpture park. for real, i saw inspiration everywhere i walked in that sunny town. ruggy has learned not to give me the side eye when i'm taking twelve macro shots of a panel of rust, god, yoda and yaweh bless 'im. often, i will exclaim I WANT TO SEW THAT!!! while my man nods calmly and whatever friends we might happen to be with step quietly and carefully away, eyes widening as i take it down to a dull roar iwanttosewthatiwanttosewthatiwanttosewthat...
but, i can't say that i do sew that. i'm inspired by craggy textures and mossy growths and sweeping architecture, stuff that physically reaches out to you, but i think my makes are mostly one dimensional. i'd like to get more 3-D with it. make a dress that one requires special glasses for (besides the mandatory cocktail glass). tasia's latest jacket and the peplum craze come to mind, both beauties i'd like to try.
as for Rational Dress, we went for round two today. she may tell me it's time for bed again soon.
do you sew dimensionally?


that's not a star, that's a satellite

ruggy told me to be ready to leave by 5:45 last evening. destination unclear. on such occassions i am instructed only on dress and departure. we got on a subway and then a bus across the river, separated by an aisle on the second leg of our trip. i tried to tune in to the general noise of the bus, rather than a specific conversation: are you checking in?-- i hope we hear that-- i want some cornbread--. at various points, i thought we were going to 1) a college basketball game. 2) a wine expo. 3) neil diamond. but then, as we pulled up to the izod center, i heard a piercing soprano tone in the back pipe out so how many daves does this make for you?
WE'RE GOING TO SEE DAVE MATTHEWS i yelled smiling across the aisle. my knight grinned.
we watched a sixty-four year old jimmy cliff roundhouse kick and stomp and spin his way though an amazing opening set, over hot dogs and dave matthews' wine. (no, seriously. dreaming tree wines. click on the link to be whisked to an appropriately dreamy shot of dave enjoying a bottle in the backyard of the vineyard. i'd like to be in that picture, i breathed just moments ago. ruggy shook his head. yeeeeeaaaaah, i think i'd lose that battle. no, ruggy. no you would not. not for all the dave in china.) our reggae enjoyment was only marred once, as i stopped to lean back and chastise the extremely drunk couple just arriving behind us please baby PLEASE i'm begging you i love ya lemme hear the song. the smoke piled higher as dave and crew took the stage.
the thing that i love most about dave matthews: he sings like he's going to die. DIE RIGHT HERE AND NOW. he is actually going to pass out, keel over, expire from a consuming desire for whatever he is singing about. that subject is often a woman. as a member of that gender, i'm all for it. to me, there are a handful of people who sing that way: ray lamontagne, otis redding, thom yorke, john legend, bjork (though her subjects of passion are varied as the fabrics at mood). i simply cannot get enough of that kind of singing. can you call it singing? it's closer to wailing. not that riffalata wailing that drives me screaming for the eject button-- a wail that comes straight from the center of your body and shreds you and everyone lucky enough to be in earshot.
near the end of the concert, the band (who had jammed for over three hours) quieted, as he breathed one line again and again: that's not a star, that's a saaaaaatellite, a soft smile on his face. and although my lungs were pretty full up from the general exhaling of the surrounding vicinity, my heart was clear and happy.


of feathers and frankensteined frocks

the feathers, they are done.
DONE! i scream from the mountaintop. i am Captain of Mount Accomplishment! never has ruggy been so inundated with my trumpeting!

on occasion, i know if i begin a hairbrained project, it will turn out the way i expect it to. in this case, i had a completely botched muslin of a wiggle dress, made from a stashed medium weight satin, i believe. this thing was overworked to death. for weeks, i thought i could wrangle it into a skirt and get something out of all that work, but the idea of measuring and slicing was leaving me cold. then, the ever inventive adri suggested that I make the feathered bombshell dress as a skirt instead, to get more mileage out of the whole shebang. eureka. last weekend, i woke up and decided to marry the botched wiggle dress and feathers in a frankenstein bill. i would do it. hack across the waist, and see what happened. cut into five yards of mood feathers. i'd had them for over three months. JUST DO IT ALREADY.

after slicing the dress in half, i removed the center back zipper, and laid it out flat on my table. marking a line all the way across at natural waist, i then measured down four inches from that line. and again, to get four loooong horizontal lines in all. working from the bottom up, i folded the skirt fabric around the feather trim edge, enclosing it. as i finished each line, and it began to take shape, i started to get excited.

and then there comes that point when you get a little too excited. things are working out, and you keep going even though you've been crazyface tunnel vision on a saturday for eight hours straight and you know you shouldn't attach a pleather waist band over sazeracs. but you do anyway. y'all, i ripped this waistband out countless times. i knew the self-made bias tape was not wide enough, but icouldn't be bothered to cut more. no, no, fifteen minutes of cutting more bias tape is MUCH more irritating than sixty minutes of seam ripping and reattaching. and once i caved in and cut more tape, did i decide to fix all of my errors in judgement and figure out a lining first? nope. i decided the guts were pretty enough and i would leave them as is.

guess who has a seam ripper and some lace lining in her future.

although it was meant to be paired with a bustier top, upon accessorizing, i found ruggy's dress shirt to be the best match. i love that it dresses down the absolute audacity of the thing. it is a delicate flower, this birdy skirt, made for standing-only events. you know the kind: where your hand is never without a glass of champagne. the kind of event i always seem to be beleaguered by, the life of a kalkatroonaan: it is fabulous.

this standing-room-only skirt was made using my monthly fabric "allowance" as part of the Mood Sewing Network.


dos and don'ts of a diner

we snuggled into our table, hungry like bears are hungry, as our distinctly mouthy friend likes to put it, and drooled over the diner menu. our savior arrived, looking like the quintessential motherly host, and requested our order. i went first. i always seem to have to go first. i'd like the blueberry pancakes! i chirped. special or buttermilk? she quipped. oh, i didn't know there was a difference-- does the buttermilk come with clotted cream? with a grand roll of her eyes, a la napoleon dynamite, she barked if you WANT it.
who does not want clotted cream?
as she impatiently awaited my decision, which at this point had taken up a good ten seconds of her time, i looked to the table for help. do i want buttermilk or special? godsakes people, BUTTERMILK OR SPECIAL?! i am, surprisingly, not a pancake aficionado. accordingly, i like to make the most out of these dessert breakfasts when they come along. silence filled the table. i turned back to Surly. umm, which do you like? i ventured, hoping to appeal to her with flattery. silence, avec irritated glare. finally ruggy muttered i don't think you'll go wrong either way and i stammered out special. special! just dear god STOP LOOKING AT ME.
what is it about surly servers (yes, i'm using the word server, it has a better ring in this case) that causes the most loudmouthed of folks to clam up? lemme tell ya, this was not a table of shrinking flowers. but clam up we did, i didn't give her an ounce of sass for her ample attitude. we enjoyed the hell out of our dishes, buttermilk or no, throughout the many rolled eyes and heaved sighs of Surly Server. it actually became a piece of enjoyable performance art.
at the end of the meal, Mouthy Friend said i thank you for your hospitality. he said this in all seriousness, he often says such things. what do you MEAN, she glared, as three friends and a Bebe looked anywhere but in her direction. i mean thank you for hosting us, it was delicious.
she eyed him suspiciously, ready for the kill: oooooooookay. you're.... welcome, she breathed, and rewarded him with what i can only call the most well intentioned smirk i've ever seen.
charmer, that Mouthy Friend.
it got me thinking: what is it about disgruntled waiters, waitresses, servers, restaurant professionals, that makes us do everything in our power to assure them we will bend over backwards to insure their good experience? is it the knowledge of their crappy wages? the thankfulness that we are not on the other side of the table? it ain't the lack of tipping, i'll tell you that.
at any rate, all of those perfectly reasonable theories bore me. what say you?

how a town dresses

we spent the better part of the weekend in middletown, connecticut, with our friends and their angelic bebe, for their annual christmas tree getting. the day starts and ends in this colorful place. every brick is fair game! here, my lavender house could never be out of place.
according to tradition, the day begins with a diner breakfast to end all diner breakfasts, and ends with a beer at the pub across the street. Bebe and crew thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
(yes, we actually decorate the tree as well. in my mind, all activities begin and end in food and drink.)


come to new york, i'll break your camera!

i should look far more chastened here than i do.

i had the pleasure of meeting the gorgeous goodbye valentino yesterday at mood, before she flew to lunch with the equally exquisite frabjous couture.  she glows just as she does in her pictures, as you can tell from this shot i swiped from marina.  sarah has no pictures of her own, as i broke her camera several minutes into meeting her.

(actually, it's her husband's camera.)

as usual, i got bit in the ass at the very moment of thinking just how amazing i am.  i had framed up a lovely shot of sarah & her man at mood (whose name has gone completely out of my head, my brain fritzed immediately following the electronic murder), and as the image popped up on the screen, i thought really i am SO good she is just going to love this picture oh the praise i will get i am TOTALLY an A student.  reaching out to hand the camera back, i simply let it drop from my fingers.  i didn't trip over anything, or get bumped by a bolt of fabric, wasn't attacked by a hoard of bees, WASN'T EVEN HUNGOVER, i just let the damn thing fall.  

i've been doing this a lot lately.  seriously, i've begun to wonder if dropping things is a sign of le preggos (no, i am not).  ruggy believes it is a sign of moving too fast.  that's highly possible.  i raced over to mood on a full day and maaaaaaybe i shouldn't have crammed so much in.  but i couldn't miss meeting sarah!  and just look at the joy i brought into her life!  now she gets to go CAMERA SHOPPING!

(i suggested the canon g12, which i did not bring, and never let anyone else hold for fear they'll drop it.  ironic.)

sarah was very gracious about the whole thing, and when marina arrived and innocently suggested our third of the mood sewing network ought to snap a picture, she got a great laugh out of the recap.  to be honest, it seemed a knowing laugh... at this point, we've met IRL enough for her to know the cut of my particular jib.  this time, she was stuck in traffic and i only got to bask in her warmth for a minute.  

(really, i could blame it all on marina's lateness.  we all know that she would never drop a camera.  come on, those delicate couture hands?  no dropsies there, baby.)

so the couture queen brought her olympus out to save the day.  i eyed it nervously and offered up my iphone with a request that someone throw it against a wall with gusto, but no takers. 

(OH FABULOUS i just took a wee proofreading break, checked my reader, and um, IT WAS HER BIRTHDAY.  GOOD LORD IN HEAVEN ABOVE.  erm, happy birthday sarah.  need a link?)


the bow-ie shirt

the first installment in my sewing with a semi half assed plan is finished! accordingly, it did not go according to plan.

the perp: mccalls, 8348.  you see, the bow tie, she was too big.  or rather, too weighty.  that keyhole neck opening did not exist until well into sewing.  when this shirt had a collar and two-inch wide ties, the neck looked like it was trying to do me bodily harm.  so i snipped out a keyhole opening and enclosed the raw edges with self made bias tape.  et voila! 

(yes, it still drags.  but it's no longer choking me.)  

the cuffs weren't much more pleasing.  they were also trying to kill me.  and doing a piss poor job of it, as strangulation around the mid arm is a hairbrained way to do anyone in.  judge and jury, i sentenced the ill willed cuffs to death and hacked them off.  guillotine.  old school in kalkatroona, baby.  after evening up the slice, i blind stitched a nice wide one inch hem at cuff, and told the sleeve it was better off without that bad influence.

oh, why yes, that is a horse of a different color.  while i was playing around with photoshop to coax the silk shirt into the right shade of IRL purple, i found i wished it were another hue altogether.  i can't have my way in my closet, but i can haz it here...

wouldn't it be so great in this colorway?!  i love how the blue plays with those ikat shapes.  are they ikat?  eyes? navajo thingies?  

the sleeve cap had about 5 inches of ease, which i mostly took out.  in hindsight i was probably overzealous.  the shirt wins that decision, it lawyered up.  

OH I WISH IT WAS WHITE.  it's so clean and chic and it matches the glass beads i chose for fun!  and, you know, no one ever finds a white shirt guilty.

but no, it is purple.  for you peeps who just look at pictures, let me reiterate, it is indeed purple, i did not make four colorways of a botched vintage bow tie shirt.  and although i still like it, i'm gonna have to let it do a little time in solitary confinement.  i blame it on photoshop, but the shirt is taking the fall.


too many things

i have about three hundred things to blog about and no clear way to begin.  there are three reasons.

1. i like to type in lowercase.
2. i have too many gadgets.
3. i have watched more news in the past two weeks than i have in the past twenty years.

i'm not a bad news kind of girl.  in that i don't watch the news.  because it is All.  Bad.  years ago, ruggy and i sat curled up on a thin mattress in a brooklyn basement, in our first apartment, my mind filled with every horrible thing my parents said could happen in new york, watching the eleven o'clock news.  i do believe, in the grand scheme of news hours, this is probably the worst sixty minutes of news to watch.  STAY UP!  the eleven o'clock airing commands. YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THE HORRORS GOING ON!  SLEEP AND YOU WILL CERTAINLY BECOME SAID NEWS!  as a video shot inside a deli played, a newscaster muttered oh by the by this is graphic as the tape rolled through the killing of a man.  all o'clock news officially done for oona.  while some might say i've got my head stuck in the sand, i say i've got it up where the air is actually breathable.

that said, i had no idea hurricane sandy was headed our way.  indeed, ruggy stays on top of things and informs me on a need-to-know basis (ruggy! what did that senator say?!), but when we left town that friday to hang with friends in vermont, miss sandy was not the monster she was to become.  as the bars on our phones began to creep back sunday afternoon, we found we had a couple hours to get back into the city before they shut 'er down.  caught the last train in, stocked the fridge with what little was left on the market shelves, and lamented the paltry amount of bottles in our liquor cabinet.

and... watched the news.  kept it on just about non stop.  we were horrified at so very many things, most of them not having anything to do with the storm: the makeup on the anchorwomen. the sportscasters stationed on docks.  the absolute flood of graphics and musical swells designed to make your eyes widen and your heart race. the incredibly stupid banter (here you see a helicopter keeping an eye on the situation!).  it was like my first sip of coca cola afters years of quitting the stuff:  EGADS! THE TOXICITY!  SURELY THIS IS KILLING ME!  KILLING ME RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE!

but we were unable to turn it off.  very serious news actually did happen, still is-- it is supremely disconcerting to be in the middle of manhattan, business as usual, while the surrounding areas are Apocalypse Now.  and then of course the news had to stay on for election day.  my alarm clock was set for 5am, but i couldn't tear myself away from the boob till we had some good news.  finally i had to get some sleep and settle for -ish, and this morning a very groggy kalkatroonaan read the news on a tiny phone while sitting on the porcelain throne.

i will always remember where i was when i found out president barack obama was re-elected.

with two crises averted, i believe our vast music collection shall resume its rightful place as ruler of the sound system.  once ruggy figures out what happened to our itunes, that is.  it crashed.  in protest, i think, against the never ending blathering coming from the talky side of TV.

if it keeps up this mutiny for very long, i fear nor'easter She-Ra will set up shop on our screen.  



who ever said NYC is unkind to bikers.

just popping in to quickly say we're fine here, thank you for the shout outs!  it's been bumpy but certainly we're VERY lucky in kalkatroona.  the news from Sandy is astounding, and i hope you and yours are well.

now i'm off to do some subway investigating.  sewing coming soon!


maybe I could be twitter for halloween.

Do you work on one project at a time? Several birthday weeks ago, ruggy gave me, among other things, three days of sewing all day. I was so excited I couldn't decide what to work on. So I worked on EVERYTHING. I had a "rack" of five dresses, two skirts, and several refashions hanging from our reading lamp. After a few hours on princess seams, I'd switch to jersey, then to vintage seam ripping, I never got bored or frustrated with what I was doing, it was genius, I tell you. Every fifteen minutes or so I'd yell across the room: I AM SO HAPPY THIS IS GENIUS. Since then I've always had myriad things going on at once. It keeps me from wanting to tear a project apart when it's not going well, or rush through an intricate step because I want to get it done and play with something else. So it should come as little surprise that I've moved on to feathers in the midst of boucle.

These sketches were done in Hell A, oh I'm sorry, I mean L.A. My brilliant idea to pair an Anna Sui silk print with bird hair was met with a lackluster response from ruggy and crew, so I used my croquis to visualize it mo' bettah..

I actually thought this was the version I wanted. At least, in my mind it was... once it was on paper, it was an INSTANT no. Hoe down, anyone?

But I was determined to get them in that dress. Another friend cautioned against creating the effect of "vagina feathers". This gave me serious pause, and I went vertical at that point...


I finally settled on something completely different from my original plan, which would have made pathetic use of the silk print...

And that's when I stomped off to my machine and draped a dress sans feathers. 

But it seems their time has come again. With all the Halloween sewing going on, I feel like making something dramatic. Where will I wear this? No earthly idea. You would think the end of October would be the perfect opportunity, but in a nice tidy incident of Post Coming Full Circle, ruggy's birthday week falls on Halloween, and we haven't dressed up in centuries. I AM NOT EXAGGERATING. We're either still celebrating or recovering from celebrating, which is just fine by be. I kind of play dress up all year long anyway.


boooooooooooo ucle

It is, after all, the scariest month of the year. Accordingly, I have chosen a fabric that is scaring me to death. And what's more, I'll tell ya, this sewing with a plan is killing me like Michael Myers. Already?! YES.  

That there's some exquisite boucle I picked up for my next mood make. It's thick and soft and wonderful and I hugged it like a box of kittens all throughout the store. I got every last bit of it, there were about three yards left on the bolt, it was absolutely too bratty to pass up. As I tromped through the aisles, everyone stopped to fondle it, saying: Ah! How beautiful! You're going to make a jacket?

No, I replied, I'm going to make a wiggle dress.

(insert looks of confusion and trepidation here.) 

Since then I've been carting a small swatch of it everywhere, pulling it out every fifteen minutes to ask a fellow sewist, a Mood employee, the mailman, DO YOU THINK THIS WILL MAKE A GOOD WIGGLE DRESS I WANNA MAKE A WIGGLE DRESS IT'LL TOTALLY WORK RIGHT

Honestly, my friends and family are going break into a run when they see me coming.  

May I present the contestants vying for first place...

First up: an entry from Daughter Fish, who not only did not run when I informed her of my desire (although she might have scrunched her face a little), she actually took me to her pad so's I could borrow a vintage pattern or two. Holla for sewists in the 'hood!

We both thought this number would be stunning, with leather bias edges on the pockets and lapels... I'd make the buttons fakearoo, as buttonholes on this boucle are so not happening.  But, too much bulk on the fancy bits? I'm also wondering if it'll come off too mature... I love the details but I want this to be edgy. For some reason I think this pattern in a "print" could evoke ladies who lunch. Mais, only days ago I was completely sold...

I like the look of this jammie, middle view, no collar, no pockets, lengthen the sleeves. Though i'm a little meh about it now.  You know what forget this one. 

Okay please ignore that crazyface tulip. Hard to do, as that crazyface tulip is actually PRINTED ON THE PATTERN PIECE. This is actually not the dress i want to make. But it does give the boucle and myself room to breathe. I'd draft three quarter length sleeves (she said blithely). And this could save me from Carolyn's prediction upon seeing my wiggle dress swatch: Ooooh, you're gonna look like Winnie The Pooh.

That Carolyn is a hoot.

Though as i'm spellchecking this post, this one is starting to look like the winner. It could be swingy and fun. Seriously? This was dead last fifteen minutes ago. You see my flip flopping dilemma. 

Alright hell's bells, here's what I REALLY want to do. Gertie's wiggle dress. But the teeny seam allowance on those underarm gussets will most certainly be the death of this material. 

What say you?  Which strikes your fancy? The tulip dress is really on my brain now.  And while you're at it, if you haven't already, throw an opine in there about my recent discovery of the Shift Key.  Ruggy and I have a bet going.