Things have been pretty crafty around here. In addition to the sewing, I’ve also been learning or relearning to knit. My knitting history consists of my Mom casting on for me, me knitting a goofy scarf, my Mom casting off for me. Times two. In my new I-can-do-it-all-by-myself phase of knitting, I made this simple cowl. By all by myself, I mean with the help of my YouTube teacher Elsteffo.

It’s knit from a bamboo wool blend. I got it at Joann’s.

Also, it’s handy if you feel like you suddenly need to hide. You’ll be the person inside the big red tube. Very inconspicuous. Nobody will see you.

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Or would you call them stripes? Let’s just say the pattern lives in the space between strips and checks…and plaid. Whatever you call it, I love it. Not only does the shirt have my beloved ruffles, but it also has a Mandarin Collar. My neck is on the shorter side, thus I’m not crazy about how regular collars look on me. A Peter Pan Collar can be okay, but a classic men’s shirt collar is just not great. I have a few shirts with regular collars that I like in theory, but every time I try to wear one, I end up changing out of it right away. I think it’s the collar. I’m now feeling inspired turn all my regular collars into Mandarin Collars. The internet must be awash with tutorials on such things.

This is my sewing machine. GM hooked me up with it not long before I moved to Los Angeles. It was her friend’s mother’s or grandmother’s. I lugged it out here, but I just got around to checking it out.

It’s a Singer Touch and Sew – II.

Judging from the looks of the manual, I think it’s from the late 70s. I’m so grateful and impressed that the previous owner still had the manual

and all the attachments

and all these disk that you use to make different kinds of stitches.

The first step (after the dusting) was getting the bobbin case back in place, so I could wind a bobbin.

Getting the bobbin case securely back in place turned out to be tricky even with the manual, which again I am so grateful to have. The instructions were basically slide the case in, turn, and then move that black metal shape on the right towards the left to hold the case in place. That all sounded good, but the black thing would hardly move. When I tried to wind a bobbin, the case would jump out of place and the thread would jam up. I got AVO involved and we used tiny pliers–my jewelery pliers–to lift the black piece up and force it to the right. This seemed like the kind of forcing that you are never supposed to do with delicate machinary, but it worked! I was able to wind a bobbin. I used the pink thread that came on the machine. Then I tried to sew and the tension was way off. All I got was lumps and knots. It turned out that unthreading the machine and rethreading it while looking at the manual fixed this. It came to me threaded, and I had just put the thread through the needle, but something about how it was threaded was off. Yeay, for easy fixes!

Then I made this necklace/scarf from an old T-shirt.

It only involved a little sewing, mostly it’s about braiding, but still I did actually use my new sewing machine to make something, so I was super pumped.

The necklace can also be worn doubled up. This is how I’ve been wearing it.

I used the directions from this site. I now want one in every color and I want to experiment with patterned fabric.

Fixed necklace two:

This necklace was from the Salvation Army in Hadley and I LOVE it. It was a real go to until it broke. It was originally strung on monofilament which my research (and experience) has told me is bad. From what I can tell, coated metal wire is what the beading community currently recommends.

Fixed necklace three:

Necklace three was my design from a few years ago and the only thing I’d beaded until now. The amber was from my dad, I think in the form of bracelets. I combined them with silver spacers, but I strung them in an ad hoc way and the necklace broke a while ago. I just restrung it and added more silver spacers to the back section to increase the length.

After I fixed necklace three, I made this:

These are green milk glass beads from Michael’s or Joanne’s. I had put the amber necklace on after I finished it, and I still had it on when I finished this one, which I thew on too. I wouldn’t have thought to wear them together, but their paths crossed on my neck, and I liked what I saw. I wore them both all day yesterday.

I got a beading tool kit and fixed the first of my three broken necklaces.

This necklace is from the thrift store a few years ago….maybe North Falmouth Thrift. I think the beads are wooden beads painted gold. It was originally strung on crappy wire that wanted to kink and brake apparently. I wore it a lot prior to the breaking. It’s now strung on new and improved wire that hangs very nicely. I’m a miracle worker, I know. (The gold pendant was my mom’s, but I got her to give it to me. Thanks, Mom.)

Happiness is a set of red metal drawers. I found this at Goodwill with AR during our thrift store extravaganza (which was more shop ’til you’re starving than shop ’til you drop). I’ve been looking for something to store my small drawings in for a while now and nothing has come close to the awesomeness of this.

I put all my small drawings in it and am so pleased–such an improvement over the “system” it replaces. LOVE it.

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There was some confusion about scale. It’s petite which is perfect for my drawings. Here is a picture to clarify:

Some women like to match their shoes to their handbag or their lipstick to their dress. Me, I match my furniture to my tools. That reminds me, I saw a lady on Martha Stewart who gold-leafed her tools. You have to watch the video to see them. I’m not saying I’ll go there, but I’m not promising I won’t either. If I do, you’ll be the first to see my golden hammer.

There isn’t much that needs to be said about this t-shirt. It’s from a thrift shop in Dillon, CO, and I got it while shopping with WV during our cross-country trip. Of course, this makes it extra special to me. Not that it really needed sentimental meaning to secure high office in Favorite-town. We’re already working with stripes, aqua, olive green and three quarter length sleeves. All “specialies” to me.

Special to me

As we consider the necklace, the words we should keep in mind are: versatility and golden. The golden part is self-evident. On to versatility. So, you’ve seen version one. Well, now this is happening:

You feel like you just saw Transformers, right?

And this:

Mind blown?

Wait, there’s more (and this is the biggie):

You're flippin' now

You: Whaaaaaat?! Where’s the necklace?

Me: It’s a bracelet now!

You (incredulous, shocked): NO!

Me: Yes.

Hey, remember the words I said we should keep in mind were versatility and golden. You have now witnessed golden versatility. Now, raise your hand if you want to see me wear it as a belt!

This post is brought to you per request of R.R.

Last night we went to two Halloween parties, a Haunted-House-Art-Show house party and a GMO-Rave-Luau. I was dressed like this:

Umm, can I go to bed now? It's 3 in the morning, and I am literally about to turn into a pumpkin.

As you can see I was out way late. As a result I had to sleep all morning and yet am still too tired to go to the parties that were on the docket for tonight. What gives?

The red blazer is from a Goodwill in Santa Monica. I almost bought it one day, but got into the checkout line and thought “what am I doing?!” before putting it back on the rack. The next day I thought “what I have I done?” I went back and happily found it was STILL THERE! I know! Can you believe nobody had scooped this baby up?

But wait, there’s more!

 

Wait for it…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a TWO person costume:

Holy, matchy-matchy! That is spooky.

A.V.O. received his blazer as a kind of passing of the torch. It has now been worn on Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July, and Halloween. Come to think of it, it totally does deserve a raise. Anyway, now that you know about A.V.O.’s red blazer (I couldn’t tell you before because I didn’t want to ruin the double-Christmas-Halloween surprise) you can fully understand how much I was toying with fate when I didn’t immediately jump at my chance to join The Red Blazer Club. What else could we have worn? Nothing, obviously this was meant to be.

The hats are via the Dollar Store which DOES, thank the Lord, sell Christmas goods before Halloween. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that would have me singing a store’s praises. See, never say never.

We have the dollar store to thank for these flourishes as well:

It's all in the details.

The ornaments-cum-earrings felt so heavy when I was dancing that I feared, probably irrationally, I would experience the dreaded earring pull-through and had to turn them into a necklace. I thought that work too, though. The mini plaid present is really freakin’ cute. I’m talking puppy cute. What could be in it? Candy? Jewels?

Happy Halloween, ya’ll!

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Note: this costume is a homage to the greatest TV show ever, Arrested Development. You know, the one where Lucille’s housekeeper is wearing a Halloween sweatshirt at Christmas?

Ooops I did it again. I took another super long skirt and tacked the hem to the inside of the waistband thus making a bubble skirt. Done, and done. And yes, if you look very closely, you’ll see there are elephants in the pattern!

Okay, because you asked so nicely, you can have a detail shot.

Check out these chinos! It’s like puffed sleeves for the ankles! I normally don’t wear chinos because something about chinos + my proportions = “mom jeans” look. Maybe I’m deluding myself, but I’m way into these with their special cuff.

Here is a shot of the purse, also a thrift score. Love that worn old leather. Plus the pocket situation inside is very good.