Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Phase 6 of a project

Gratitude and relief that it is done. Along with a little bit of regret that it is finished. Which is not a feeling that I expected. Anyway, without further ado, here it is. The Project. The very very warm robe for S.

Lined to just below the waist with fleece and the hood lined with minkee, which is lovely
and soft but a PITA to sew.

Yes, it is oversized, very large and blanket like was
the way S wanted it.

Hood up.

Hood down.
The colours of fleece are black, steel gray/blue, oliveish gray, cream, navy blue, medium brown and lime green.

I am pleased with it. I will post in a day or two more about the details. 

Edited-Happy Thanksgiving to my American Friends.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Phases of a project

First Phase Inspiration and Enthusiasm. The idea comes to you. You have no idea how you will begin or complete the project. It is all very exciting, you spend every waking moment thinking about it.

Suggested DVD to play while working: Something happy, like The Gilmore Girls    

Second Phase Conception. You begin to plan and visualize. You are still excited and enthusiastic. You draw, you doodle. Fun fun fun. It's all rainbows and sunbeams now.

Suggested DVD to play while working: something amusing and fun, like Eureka

Third Phase Execution. The idea begins to take form, still fun, still exciting. You celebrate, it is finally coming together. WOO HOO. If you blog, this is when you blog about it.

Suggested DVD to play while working: Something adventurous, like Lost or Heroes

Fourth Phase Reality. A little less fun. You are discovering the contingencies that you didn't plan for. You are entering the "it isn't perfect after all", stage. But you soldier on.

Suggested DVD to play while working: a drama, something like, Nip/Tuck, Medium, Sopranos

Fifth Phase.  I hate this effing thing and how fast can I get this effing thing done and out of my sight stage. This is when you unintentionally hurt yourself by staying hunched over the sewing machine or serger far longer than you should because you just want to be done with it. You have made some boo boos and it is no longer "art". Your sewing dungeon looks like it is home to human sized gerbils who use fleece as nesting material. Pieces of fleece are everywhere, as are serger tails and pins. You have run out of black serger thread and you finally have to stop sewing until the next day, which of course is Sunday and the useless excuse for a fabric store doesn't open until noon on Sunday, which is probably a good thing after all, because you have come to think of Advil as being it's own food group.

Suggested DVD to play while working: something where people die and there is blood and gore, something like Dexter, Dead Like Me, Six Feet Under

Sixth stage. Madness. You are so close to being finished, you start to get a little giddy and giggly, you stay up too late sewing and you begin talking to yourself in (what you think are) funny accents and voices. You finally complete the project, lapse into a coma and stay unconscious for 12 hours.

Suggested DVD to play while working: something a little crazy, the less sense the show makes the better, Little Britain, Fawlty Towers, Monty Python      

Does anyone else experience this? Or is it just me?

Thursday, November 15, 2012


No, not the cancelled TV show (which I loved and I am very annoyed that it is no longer on the air), eureka as in this:

Recently someone anonymously commented on my blog and told me where I could buy Burda magazines in Kelowna! I didn't see the message right away as because the message somehow went into my spam folder.  Thank you anonymous reader.

For the legions of my Kelowna readers (notice the change to sarcastica font), you too can buy magazines that you will never use. That is if by using you mean sewing. I intend on fondling them. I went to this wonderful establishment today and they kindly gave me a choice of the magazine in either German or English, as I don't speak German, I chose English. Aren't I clever?

This is the place to go for Burda magazines in Kelowna, Illichmanns, on the corners of Gordon and Sutherland. I mean really, why wouldn't I immediately think of a German bakery and delicatessen as the purveyor of sewing porn? Seriously, if you want the magazine, you can go the store and they will add you to their list and will call you when it comes in. Awesome service, I must say.
Illichmann's Meats, Sausages and Gourmet Foods Ltd.

They also make great pretzels on Thursdays and Fridays. Actually all their baking is great, but I love me some pretzels.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A project I am on the fence about

The husband and I share our home with 5 dogs and another human. She is commonly known as rubber duck PJ friend, S. Sometime ago I promised I would make her a warm robe from fleece. Problem, neither of us felt like putting out $ for fabric for it. I have a fairly large bunch of fleece fabric in various colours, in smaller bits and pieces. I decided I would piece the fabric, but it took a while for me to visualize the completed robe.

Last Friday, it sort of came together in my mind (while being forced to be in a meeting on my day off and feeling very annoyed and passive aggressive about it) I doodled, what I thought was a great idea. It would be Art. Everyone would gasp in wonder at the beauty of it. Of course now that I have started it, I have been having doubts about it. Of course. Don`t you hate that?

Fortunately for me, S has lower standards than I do for clothing (she would agree), and she says she will wear it no matter what it looks like anyway. She is very easy to sew for, far easier than I am actually. I wonder why I don't sew more for her? Hmm.

So anyway, back to the robe. It is Burda 2653, I made one already in July for myself, it really was a muslin for this one. I wear it every day, I love having a robe that is actually full length. So, here are some photos of what I am doing. I basically am assembling bits and pieces of fabric and when I have pieces large enough I will cut out the fabric. We decided on the serged edges being on the right side, so as not to potentially have ridges poking into the fibromyaglia riddled body of S.

 This is the fabric cut into strips.

This is smaller pieces of fabric, serged together. The serged side is the right side.
 A panel of the fabric.
With the lens cap, so you get an idea of scale.

I don't usually ask for opinions, but I want yours this time. Is this going to be the fugliest thing ever made, suitable only for washing floors with. Or will it be Art? Or something in between,  I am convinced it is all three, my cycle of confusion runs about minutes for each opinion.  Be gentle with me.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my Dad's birthday. Or was. My Dad died 12 years ago. This is for you Dad.

I grew up in what I thought was a relatively normal family. I know no one is normal, but whatever. Dad worked, Mom stayed home, I went to school. Dad was caught with another woman. My parents divorced.  You know, the usual. It was only when I got older I realized what a character my Dad was. He lived his life by his own rules. He could have written the song I Did It My Way.

Dad was born in Glasgow, Scotland November 11, 1926, the oldest of four children and from what I hear the apple of his mother's eye. I don't know the year he came to Canada,I know it was in the 50's. The circumstances under which he left Scotland I won't divulge, as some people could have their feelings hurt, and I am not sure the information I have is 100% accurate anyway. I have two half brothers from Dad's first marriage, that we know of anyway. There could be siblings scattered throughout Scotland as well, one of my aunts has seen younger men (younger than her anyway) that look remarkably like my Dad. Both of his sons (my half brothers) bear a striking resemblance to him. One aunt upon meeting one of my brothers, announced "clearly a DNA test isn't required ".

Before I was born, Dad and his good friend G were working in a camp in northern BC and when the camp closed for the summer (due to fire hazard) they went to Alaska (this is before it was a state), they had full wallets and a thirst for alcohol. I don't know what they did, but they got kicked out of Alaska. It is really hard to get kicked out of Alaska. Really. Really. Hard. Even now. They were escorted on the only direct flight to Canada from Anchorage, it went to Toronto. Apparently the bender continued and somehow or other they ended up back in Glasgow, Scotland where apparently the bender ended. They didn't have enough money to get back to Canada for several years. There are other stories that I would love to tell but can`t as people's feelings could be hurt.

Mom told me some stories about when her and Dad were dating. When they met he drove logging trucks in logging camps on the coast of BC. Most, if not all logging camps are very remote and only accessible by sea plane or boat. My Dad was in camp and he would phone Mom and always ask her to call him. So one time she did, and he responded by asking "what do you want?". This apparently annoyed Mom, and she reacted in a perfectly normal manner. She moved, changed her phone number and didn't tell any of their friends where she lived. When Dad couldn't find her or or where she was, he behaved in a perfectly normal manner too. He quit his job, came to Vancouver, and sat in the lobby of the BC Telephone Company building where Mom worked, for four days, until she showed up for work. At that time he took her purse, her keys and her coat so she couldn't sneak out, and waited for her to get off work.

Another time, when Mom was living with one of her sisters, her and Dad had had a big fight, he came to the apartment building to see her, she wouldn't let him in, so he kicked in the window (it was a ground floor suite), climbed in and carried her out to the bar, where she had to stay because she had no shoes, purse, coat etc. Aunt M and Mom were evicted from the apartment.

Dad was only 5'7", but very broad and muscular. One of his friends we will refer to as R, was big. Well over 6 feet tall and even broader than Dad. The two of them got into a drunken fight once, they put each other in the hospital. Broken ribs, noses, concussions etc. The hospital staff made a big error in judgement and put them in the same room, so when they woke up they started fighting all over again. The point of this story is, Dad gave as good as he got in a fight between him and a much larger man. When he was older, if you slapped his face, his nose would break, because it had been broken so many times.

Sometime after I was born, Dad became a lineman/electrician, he worked on building the transmission power lines all over the province. He was never home for dinner every night, every weekend if we were lucky. Usually he would come home Friday night, usually under the influence, one time he came home and he had been drinking (like always) and had had an accident. He was bleeding all over the place. Mom, as usual kept calm, asking "was there anyone else involved?" He said no. She replied, "good, stop bleeding on the carpet," and then "Elle, go to bed".

After the divorce, Dad moved to Washington State. He continued to be a lineman/electrician. It was after the split from Mom that Dad began to develop even stranger habits. He stopped dressing like a grown up, would only wear jeans, cowboy boots and t-shirts. He got too lazy to shave, so he grew a beard, which he never trimmed that I could see. He didn't like driving, so when he had to drive long distances he would pick up hitch hikers and make them drive. This still makes me laugh, I mean really, who does this?

He always worked on contract, so once when his contract was up and he had no work on the horizon, he decided he wanted to go to Hawaii. A normal person would see a travel agent and book the plane ticket, hotel room and rental car. Oh god no, not my Dad. He got up in the morning, packed his suitcase and drove to the airport, and walked around till he found the next available flight and bought his ticket. He rented a car in Hawaii, drove around the island, found some kids living on the beach drinking wine and smoking pot and hung out with them for a few days. They were probably scared of him.

When I was visiting him, I noticed he had an award from the governor of the State of Washington for saving someone's life. I asked him about it and all he said was and I quote "Aw, I hate the bugger I should have let him fry". I found out what happened after he died. There was a bunch of men working on the tower, it was hot and the hot wire had been tied down. Somehow it came loose and charged the tower. Doing so, it threw everyone (including my Dad) off the tower and one man was still in contact with the charged tower. A good friend of Dad's told me the story at his funeral. He too, was thrown off the tower. He was unable to get up and watched my Dad get up over and over again.  It seems it took three tries, but my Dad eventually pulled the man off the tower, and the man made a complete recovery. This is something that all the experts say you should never do, as you run the risk of killing yourself. When the award was given at an annual dinner by the Governor, Dad wouldn't go to the dinner, he got someone else to go and accept it for him, he couldn't be bothered to get dressed up to go.

Dad and I had a difficult relationship, I always knew he loved me, but he was never emotionally supportive or available. I don`t think he knew how to be there for someone else. He was always very generous with money however, if he had it and I needed something, there never an issue, I always got it. Period. He was very giving with Mom as well, even after they were divorced. I remember one winter, he was in town and thought Mom's winter coat wasn't warm enough, so he gave her $200 to buy a new one. This was in the 70's and that was more than a months rent. Like I said, he was generous. He did what he could.

He had a very quick tongue and never hesitated to speak his mind. Once when I was in high school, I was visiting him, and he took a good look at me and said "Jesus Christ you're getting fat". I replied, after having a good look at him said "well I come by it honestly, don't I"?  He wasn't too pleased with me over that comment. Keep in mind at that point I was 16, 5'8" tall and weighed 125 pounds, definitely not fat, he just liked keeping people off balance and defensive. It pissed him off no end when it didn't work.

He had a lot of vices, drinking to excess (he could put away a dozen beers by noon and not even appear to be drunk), smoking to excess, gambling to excess (I heard about one weekend in Vegas-he lost $10,000), chasing women (probably to excess, he was married four times and I know he lived with at least two women as well), eventually smoking killed him, he died from emphysema. Because of his death, I quit smoking. Ten years now. Thanks Dad, I would likely have emphysema by now if not for you.

My Dad was a veteran of WWII. He lied about his age, joined the Green Berets and parachuted into France. He was shot and captured, then escaped by killing a German soldier. I only found out about this after he died. He never talked about the war. At least not to me.

Rest in peace Dad. Love you.

© 2012 Elle C Sews

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I love Vogue patterns, I hate Vogue patterns

Last month Vogue had a sale on their patterns for $3.99, a good deal, right? Nice people those Vogue folks, helping us obsessive compulsive out of control pattern hoarders buy every pattern in our category of choice, and we get to feel virtuous doing it too, cause like you know we saved money. The last sale they had, I even enabled someone from another country, I ordered them and had them shipped here, then I will forward them on. Aren't I an evil enabler  a nice person. Of course because I was buying some already, it only made sense to toss a couple in the basket for me too. It only seemed right.

Today, somehow my mojo came out of the dark place it has been hiding for months (thanks Shams, your last post did the trick!), the mojo doesn't know what it wants to make so instead of going downstairs to the sewing dungeon to get the patterns to take upstairs to the fabric closet of requirement, I decided to go to the BMV website where I found this:

When I say my heart sank, I am really not joking. This means endless hours this weekend on my laptop, checking the website against my spreadsheet on my computer, wondering if I really need that Claire Schaeffer pattern, or the Koos, or the (insert name and or number here). The mojo is worried that sewing won't be done this weekend because I will be obsessing about the pattern sale. Of course if I put it off until next week all the sizes and patterns will be gone. Oh gawd. A lost weekend looms.

This is why I love Vogue patterns and I hate Vogue patterns.