a quick note

too much ironing makes brain mushy.

so YEAH if you happen to get my RSS feed (which, what exactly is that?  is it like email?  you can do that here now! it's the little "oona in your inbox" addition to the sidebar.  but isn't that different than RSS?  yes, i know i can google it.  i want a factual and/or made up answer; bonus points for made up answer that is more believable than fact.  at this point i have strayed too far from the original sentence and will begin again).  so YEAH if you happen to get my RSS feed, then you got my birthday post waaaaaaaaaaaaaay early.  like, over a month early.  to be fair, i start thinking about my birthday on january second.  but still. 

this error in clicking could be due to the fact that i have been involved in a self made assembly line for the past four hours, and my brain is a bunch of 1/4 inch lines.  or it could be the manhattans.  ruggy made them with bulleit rye whiskey tonight.  as he called out pour #2, i was in the middle of a brainstorm involving compiling a wee blogger list.  "save" and "publish" are very much too close for comfort.  thwarted!  by my own true love, rye whiskey!  (you know i love you ruggy.)  

at any rate, if you happened to see it during the two seconds it took to correct my error, or if you have this RSS everyone is speaking of (really, WHAT IS IT), mum is le word!  the upside is i realize i need to put up details up next week to give peeps time.  time is of the essence.

ooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooh i am so excited.

UPDATE: all this tech talk pushed me over the edge and i've finally gone all custom domain.  SMELL ME.  ruggy has been holding oonaballoona.com for years (seriously, i do love him more than rye whiskey) and i finally switched. this shouldn't gum up the works for anyone except moi-- when you go all custom, you lose your blog roll.  i'll be adding that back this weekend. please let me know ifyou have any problems! 


the walls have ears

i'm shocked and appalled at myself, really.  not only did i spend two hours on twitter yesterday (a site that both myself and brother beast scoffed at years ago when big daddy said we should join), i mostly gummed up tilly's #sewingsocial chat with talk of booze.  i'm in danger of becoming a cliche.

(but really, wouldn't a cocktail bar with a vintage sewing machine at every stool be AMAZING?  i think i'd call it "the sew glow".  to combat the cheesiness of the name, it would need an old electric sign that buzzed and flickered dangerously.  as i tweeted and twatted: i would have cartons of multicolored cartoon bandaids on hand, and i'd devise some sort of clear protective shield around the needle for the more boozy clients.  beverages would of course be sewing inspired, "the singer sling", "the overlocked", "the seam ripper".   tailor made drink names. hell, that's a good one too!  of course each machine would also need a retrofitted cocktail tray hovering just above the handwheel.  whenever a sewist's hand reached for said wheel: why look at that, my glass is just an inch away, i might as well have a sip.  THAT'S PRODUCT PLACEMENT, YO.)

did you attend the festivities?  it was almost like having a real life meetup, which of course is scary in a ray bradbury the walls are living computer screens sort of way.  it's easy to get wrapped up in it and lose the day.  so what did i do to battle that sinkhole?  i spent another hour downloading twitter apps to streamline the process. elementary.

tweetdeck came up the winner.  i'm certain it will keep me from endless scrolling and refreshing on the next chat. it lets you add as many categories and columns as you like-- mentions, hashtag searches, conversations... it gives you little media previews...  it will project game of thrones on the back side of your house... no wait, that's bradbury again.  the screenshot looks quite vain, but i found so many conversations i missed during the chat. and, i like me some me anyway.  

you're pretty cool, too.       


chirp chirp

somehow i missed this, so maybe you did too... tilly is throwing a little tweety bird party, that is, a sewing social on twitter.  it's today, in just a few hours.  all of the details are here in her post.  use the hashtag #sewingsocial. this will be my first try at a hashtag.  que fancy.  had to actually google the meaning of it.  i plan to cut out a few patterns and tweet along while i'm sewing poolside.  don't hate.   (really don't hate, i'm not sewing for myself.  i'm sewing for a laundry list of blogger friends i need to repay!)

i'm @kalkatoonaOona (someone already had oonaballoona, so there, your hating has paid off.  HEY LOOKIE THERE NEVERMIND!  the imposter haz left the building!  (i don't actually know if she's an imposter, it's just more fun to think of her in a black cape and mask, sneaking out of a big blue twitter building and leaving the moniker behind, shimmering quietly in a stairwell, waiting for me to swoop in and claim it.)  i'm now @oonaballoona on twitter, i hope that doesn't mess things up for those of y'all tweeting with me so far.

happy sunday!


on friends, fraying, and finds

hello, gorgeous.  is she not a thing of beauty?

i've found that eliminating a center back seam helps very much in the fight against mount crackatoa.  but a side seam zipper means no pockets.  swallowed center back defeated!  mais non, where's a girl gonna hide her flask! enter casey's delicious slashed zipper tutorial.  zipper in the back, pockets in the sides, party all around.  

too bad the maxi skirt it lives in is a complete and absolute hot mess.  like surface of the sun hot.  i'm not abandoning it, but i AM giving it a healthy stay in solitary confinement.  the slashed zipper truly is its saving grace. i love it.  

i'm also in love with this little gadget, hollie's handy seam allowance guide.  i know you've seen this colorful beauty all over the sewing blogosphere, in fact the lovely lizz and karen have both done fantastic in-depth reviews of its major purpose: cutting out patterns that don't include seam allowances.  (i haven't tried it as such yet, as i seem to lack the will to use a burda pattern.) 

but here's where it works best for an i can totally eyeball that edge to a 5/8 seam allowance kinda gal like me.  to be honest, i am that kinda gal.  i have a ruler in my head.  the cool clear kind with the grid and everything.  but sometimes i'm tired, or boozy, or hormonal.  what have you.  that's when i throw this happy yella magnetic jammy on my ginghers and let it do the work.  

after sewing up this patternless draped skirt, i wanted to trim the allowance down to a reasonable width.  i just used my stitching line as the guide (ignore the part where i got drunk and veered off course, thankyouverymuch), matching it to the little black moveable hoop... et voila.  instant perfectly measured allowance.  no chalk lines, no held breath.  this works great for any occasion needing a trim--  you know, every time a pattern instructs you to sew facing to neckline, and trim down to 3/8s?  or attach bias tape, trim allowances to 1/4?  SHABAM.   

and if you happen to be the reckless sort of self taught draper i am, you can even use it to trim your fabric right on your dress form.  maybe you're eyeballing a high neckline and want to hack an inch off of it.  center your seam allowance guide up, and away you go.

i used it to trim my lace facing for le slashed zipper....

GUTS.  pretty pretty guts, thanks to casey and hollie.

and now i've got a tip for you!  after all, i think i owe one karmically.  maybe it's something you already know, maybe it's a tidbit that will rock your world and build my karma up to Hot Mess Maxi Skirt saving levels.

ever worked with loose knit fabrics that fray like a burlap sack?  part of this skirt's sentence to solitary had to do with the RAGE i felt sewing up seams.  never have i missed my overlocker more.  all the nice thick threads of fabric kept bunching up in front of my presser foot, they would just not lie flat.  and unpicking wonky seams did not help the fray factor.  fairly late in the game, a light bulb went off and i used a mini invisible ruler (my real one, not the one in my head) to hold the rapidly fraying edges flat, feeding them beautifully under the presser foot.  do this slowly, of course, i will not take the blame for any speedracers out there who sew through a ruler or cause a broken needle to fly into human beings and/or cats... but if you proceed with caution, this works like a charm.

happy weekend everyone!  in that area, may you proceed with WILD ABANDON!



Who is Pete and why is it for his sake?  I guess it's Saint Peter. That can't be right. He was all denying and stuff. Peter Rabbit? Something to do with easter? Why Peter Rabbit? Maybe it's Pete Rose! Well, now that's interesting too. Easter...Peter...Rose... 

I digress.


FOR THE LOVE OF RABBITS, BASEBALL, EASTER AND ALL MEN NAMED PETER SOMEBODY TAKE ME SALSA DANCING. You dialing in, Ruggy? I've got the outfit. I've got plentiful roses fresh from the garden. I've got "new" shoes (read: thrifted for 7 bucks). LET'S DO THIS.


The whole shebang is thrifted, actually, comprised of two separate garments. Yellow Dress was a size negative one hundred zeros, but I knew I could do something with the full pleated skirt. Blue Kamikaze Playsuit fit okay in the shorts section, but the torso was waaaaaaay too long. I loved them both for their vibrant colors and teeny price tags, I hated them both for their sizing.


In my closet, behind closed doors, Kamikaze gazed at Not So Mellow Yellow, brazenly caressing her many folds and pleats with his eyes. We are too colorful to be concealed in the dark, Kamikaze whispered to Yellow in silken tones, and you are far too voluptuous to be kept contained. What do you say we get together, my sweet. Ditch that tiny torso you are attached to. He is suffocating you! I will let you breathe. Open your seams to me, and I shall hold your pleats in all the right places. Come with me, my flower, to the casbah. Yes, I know I am mixing cultures! But is it not appropriate, considering my proposal of our intertwining? You must accept, my jewel... we will sip mojitos under the stars and be as one.


'kay, chirped Yellow, butchu gotta put a ring on it.  

I carted this braid from Daytona trims all the way cross country with me. It won a coveted space in my travel sewing stash, and now holds these two lovebirds together forever.   


Naughty Kamikaze.  


They are so very happy together. And their spurned lovers are learning to cope with separation , don't worry. Kamikaze's other half is actually quite happy to be rid of him, she's a high-waisted-shorts sort of gal, definitely not meant to be tied down. Suffocating Torso is another story. He's totally jealous of Yellow's new carefree attitude... but really he only has his tiny waist to blame. Hopefully he'll realize the err of his constricting ways and loosen up.

Till then I'm spinning Willie Colon, and letting the happy couple celebrate.


double header

i've got two posts for you today, it being a double header sunday and all.  for you sewists: scroll on down and have a look at a new revealing dress and a lovely vintage pattern giveaway.  for you drinkists and dad-ists.....


to big daddy,  the man who taught me to belly up to the bar and order a black satin (half guinness, half champagne), i give you the stout float, courtesy of bon appetit's happy hour series, found through the lovely lexi.

have one for me tonight, and save one for me in september...

it's a love hate thing

first of all, can i tell you how happy it makes me that you fell in love with this man and his music like i did?  i have nothing to do with it other than being fortunate enough to have ruggy find it and share it with me, it's not like i can be proud of its existence in a creative sense, but somehow when peeps share your love of music it does something to you, personally.   

lots of blogger sharing has been going on these past months, and i did a little mixing of gifts from two loverly friends-- miss peanut butter macrame, also known as lady katza, and she of the perfect nose, tj. the former sent a box chock full of goodies for which i did absolutely NOTHING, and the latter sent a box chock full of goodies for which i went downtown and shopped a little swaparroo for.  so basically i got to shop and open prizes.  


more details on all the prizes to come... but for now, look at this floral chiffon tj sent me and feel the jealous rage begin.  it's okay, you can hate.  i would if you had it.  you may quell your rage by knowing  it drove me insane.  slip.  per.  RY.   obviously, it's chiffon, i knew that going in.  so did i use any of the many tricks i've read about to cut it out?  did i pin it to my pattern, did i use an extra swath of tissue paper, did i EVEN USE MORE THAN ONE PATTERN WEIGHT?  no.  i threw a marble coaster in the middle of each pattern piece and call it good.

i don't know why i did that.  lately i've abandoned pinning for pattern weights.  let me clarify; marble coasters. they're flat, they're heavy, and they make a very nice place for my drink of choice.  but apparently, the cocktail was strong while i was cutting this baby. 

i used lady katza's gifted vintage pattern, an "anne adams instructor" pattern, one of those beautiful oldies with no pattern markings.  i like using them, it's a treasure hunt figuring out what all the hole punches mean.  

this is my attempt at those see through dresses you wear avec high waisted panties.  the pattern itself didn't call for bands around the skirt, i just slashed it where i wanted to insert lace, figuring my perfectly straight cuts would produce the results i wanted.  well.  the lace was straight.  the chiffon, she was quite drunk.  when i unfolded my slices, i found i had managed to make four perfectly U shaped panels.  i put them aside, refreshed my glass, and stomped away.

later on in the week i decided the world would not end if i sewed it up.  i eyeballed out the curves and somehow it all ended up straight (unlike the bottom crop of this picture).  i'm telling you: perfectly rectangular slices of lace + waterslide shaped panels of chiffon =  straight hem.  no clue how that equation worked out.  

now lemme show you the bad.  you'd think, after the sewing gods blessed my wonky ass cuts with success, i would appease them by finishing the insides perfectly.  you'd be 80% right.  i've never been good at divine offerings.  but i made a perfect little baby hem.  i french seamed all the lace.  i enclosed the raw edges at neck edges and waist seams with contrasting bias tape.  yet somehow i could not be bothered to line the waistband.  i just left the interfacing exposed.  THE GODS ARE ANGERED.

but i'm happy.


i trim my lion's claws

i woke up early this morning to this beautiful voice, ruggy having woken up even earlier for a coffee run.  he heard it in the car and we've had it on repeat since then.  bought the album two minutes into listening.  good god, this man can sing.


win some monday candy!

we're still in the middle of craziness at work (it involves, among other things, me standing on top of a bar deftly teetering around cocktails) but i had to jump in here and shout about something.  there's a new kid in town, kollabora, and as you can tell by the candied collage above, she's a beautiful child.  i'm in love with her.  at the moment you can hop over to the site and request an invite... which i suggest you do.  right now.  i'll wait.
edit: you don't need access to the site to win!  they're uploading new members as fast as they can.  all you need to enter the contest is a twitter or instagram account, and a photo of handmade item.  you've got some of those, yes?

okay, good.  isn't the front page gorgeous?  did you scroll down and see the yummy projects?  now!  to whet your appetites before the main course, kollabora is hosting their first contest.  over the past week, they've been giving away all those beautiful hors d'ouevres you see pictured above.  would that i could have come down off the bar to mention it sooner, but you still have time to win. today's prize is the colette patterns crepe dress kit, which comes with all the goodies you need to make your frock (including some gorgeous heavy fushcia sateen fabric from mood). 

all you have to do to win is upload a picture of your sweet self holding, wearing, or using something you made to twitter or instagram.  make sure you include the hashtag  #kollabora  so they can see your entry.  how easy is that? no stunt sewing necessary, just have a bellini, choose something pretty from your handmade arsenal and upload!*  you can check out the past winners on kollabora's blog.  i want the neon earrings.

*i realize most people do not work the odd hours i do.  if your boss frowns upon alcohol at 9am, you can always upload after 5, with, say, a martini.  you have until midnight to win, after all.  


right here in river city

this is a sad tale, y'all.

i had an hour to kill yesterday.  naturally i killed it in the garment district.  levine loft: 12 pounds of fabric for 32 dollars.  i walked out giddy.

but i'm realizing something.  i don't know if i'm in love with cheap fabric anymore.  egads!  yes, i said it!  as i loaded up the washing machine and looked at all the color, i was certainly happy... but when i took the yardage out of the dryer, i noticed it was... hot... and sort of... sticky... and quite heavy... bordering on chemical weaponry, really...

because i need a maxi dress in a print that will devour me whole.

this was a win, i will admit. 

the little devil-with-expensive-tastes on my shoulder actually started mouthing off at the top of my sixty minutes in the district.  my first stop was FIDM.  miss cation and i had had such great luck there, i thought: burnout velvet? silk? gold weave?  for a dollar a yard, why would i go anywhere else?  i might not even swing by levine loft! (yeah, i know.)  well.  i skipped into the joint, and was instantly underwhelmed.  thin flimsy jersey to the left of me, thick off colored upholstery swatches to the right.  um, where's all the good stuff?  i innocently asked.  the gentlemen happily pointed me to racks of hanging beauty, all priced at ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS A YARD OR MORE.  mind you, these racks were 75% off, but 75% of $250 a yard is... math i cannot do.  and neither can my pocketbook.

but, but... i stammered, this fabric used to be over THERE... pointing sadly to the sixty cent shelves.  the men eyed me suspiciously: were you here about a month ago?  

yes... i said cautiously, suddenly feeling like i might have to prove julia bobbin's theory true and go on the lam.  so YOU were one of the four!!!  a wide eyed and pointing FIDM man yelped.  i got in SO MUCH TROUBLE for that!   

cationasuarus rex and i just happened to be two of four peeps who stumbled into a one time vortex of designer magic last month.   the "holy hell we just put all of the good shit out on the floor for a dollar a yard GET IT BACK!!!" kind of magic.  (yes, tj, this is the same magic you put in the washing machine.  your save was gorgeous, but GODSAKES WOMAN THE METALLIC WEAVE IS DRY CLEAN ONLY).

pay no attention to the x in the corner.  naughty picmonkey.

determined to find gold in the cheap seats, i scoured the remnant bins and came up with four bucks of fabulous. but my cheated FIDM gent was not satisfied.  he coaxed me back into the designer section, with promises that there were yards there priced at $25, with the discount making it, um, i don't know. five bucks?  whatever.  i made horrible faces at everything he found and we were both in stitches (get it?) until my eyes landed on this silk.

yes, i bought it.  four yards of designer silk for $25 total.  i agonized over this decision.  but when i got home and really looked at my levine loft finds... quelle domage.  there's no comparison.  maybe the extra dinero is worth it.

this could be a problem.  especially considering i'm the kind of geek who cut all the tags off her fabric-by-the-pound yardage just to see how much that little bit of extraneous paper and plastic cost.


trouble, for sure.


mayday, mayday, IT'S JUNE?!

me made mission accomplished.  lucky number 13 of the month was a tribute to the mastermind behind it all, zoe, homage brilliantly suggested by the crafty gillian.  i was fortunate enough to have zoe's number one choice of backdrop handy: le red door, but i couldn't finish the job without my gent.  so he grabbed a little sunshine with me.  he's all ready for graduation, dontcha know. 

if you'd like to see my full mmm set with bigger pics (the last one bearing my thank you note to zoe), hop on over to flickr.  me, i'm done hopping for the night.  i'll be putting my feet up and having a little sweet vermouth.  i'll tell ya, it's a good thing this was me made may and not jacked up june, cause this next week is gonna be ca-ray-zy.

did you play?  are you celebrating with a toast?  cheers, baby.  and do tell what's in your glass.