i have a dream(catcher).

“I have a dream that one day, down in Shadyside, with its conveniently located gay bars, with its rich kid college students who double park with no concern about paying the resulting parking tickets or the inconvenience they cause visitors — one day right there in Shadyside, a group of women will join crafting supplies, metaphorically syncing menstruation as crafting sisters. I have a dream today!”

This passage is often omitted from Dr. King’s famous speech, as it has absolutely no relevance to the Civil Rights Movement whatsoever and everyone likes the other parts better. In fact, I’m beginning to suspect he didn’t even write it. Whatever the case, I’m glad we were able to make that dream come true for him (or you know, whoever) this past Monday in honor of his birthday.

Our third craft night was a great success! Kait and Karen were fabulous hostesses, we ate so much delicious food. Baked ricotta, hot wings, salad, fruit and cheese, it was a huge spread. Jodi made some very chocolate chip cookie dip and Hilary trekked out in the rain after class to help rep PPT. We even had a new friend named Heather join us! Stephanie was supposed to come but somebody just had to get emergency back surgery a few days before… According to her, the pain meds made her “too tired” to hang out, I think she’d have made the best dream catcher of them all. It would be catching them as she was making it.

So it turned out that even though some of us have been to summer camp (not me, for sure) none of us actually knew how to make a dream catcher. We found a tutorial here and watched this video several times.

By “watched the video several times” I mean that we would turn it on, make jokes about the crappy music, try to watch it for another couple of seconds, notice something else funny about the video, decide we were ready for more snacks and totally forget what we were supposed to be doing. Then we’d all get stuck and repeat. Then someone new would arrive and we’d set up their supplies and then we’d watch it again. We probably saw the first 2.4 minutes of this thing 15 times total.

It's all fun and games until somebody starts the crafting.

Naturally, given my crafting talents and ambitious nature, I was finished first. It really turned out beautifully:

This is totally the dream catcher that I made, not the one that Jodi made. Cause look how nice it is, definitely mine and not Jodi's.

Poor Jodi’s dream catcher just wasn’t the best I’ve seen. She even used the wrong letters for her name! Chin up, buckaroo.

I know that not everyone can live up to the "Laura R. Greenawalt" standards of crafting, so more than anything, I feel bad for Jodi's failure, not angry at her.

Also, the red splotch on the right there indicates that this string is now a lady. (Or that red dye broke open in my craft box and otherwise there wasn’t enough string to go around.)

Hilary wanted to prove that she's not just good at being pretty but also at tying knots.

Kait's is stupidly perfect. Still needs the tassels, but it looks cool.

This is Heather. She has killed a boar with her bare hands. Somehow this is important training for archaeologists. Her dream catcher is nice, but seriously, a fucking boar.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of Karen’s dream catcher. I’ll have to update another time with that one.

Once we finished up our dream catchers, since we had all the supplies handy, we made a bunch of friendship bracelets. You know, cause we’re 13. We also froze Kait’s bra and stuck Hilary’s hand in warm water so she’d pee her pants. Good times.

I gave my friendship bracelet to Trent cause we're buds.

In life events, I find myself now two weeks into the new job. It’s totally fine. A bit boring, in fact. I have a lot of free time until we start performances. I plan on using it to make this space more personal, more interesting, more hilarious. (I could do an entire post about how utterly inappropriate our conversations are but I fear it would put our department at risk.  Rest assured all references to cats become immediately unrepeatable.) It’s my first weekend at home alone while Trent works and it’s actually a little lonely. I guess I’ll start being one of those people who goes to brunch with friends every weekend. First I have to get friends.

In the meantime, I’ve watched so many movies. I’m currently watching “A Piece of Work,” the Joan Rivers documentary. I’ve been pretty obsessed with her since the episode of Louie with the pity sex. If you aren’t watching Louie, you’re wrong. Check this clip for evidence.

All irreverence aside, this was the first time I’ve ever done something to commemorate MLK day and I’m glad I did. Thanks ladies!

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Filed under craft night!, crafts

getting felt up for the holidays.

So I’m enjoying one of the last days of my normal schedule and life. I start a whole new job on Monday (It pays more! I get to get an MBA for free! I no longer have to manage a million people!)  and it’s like a real job where I have to show up during the day time. What’s that about?

I woke  up and played Zelda for 3 hours, because I still can. Then I did very productive things, like returning lost keys and buying groceries and windshield wiper blades.

Anyway, now I’m at home, having a very home-y night, waiting to hear back about a home that we made an offer on, just in case it might be our new home soon. 2012 could be bonkers. I’m wearing a home-made cowl and drinking a white russian made with home-made coffee liqueur, both courtesy of my fantastic god parents. I’m going to spend the rest of my night finishing a home-made gift for my best friend, as I won’t get to see him for a couple more weeks and I didn’t have to struggle to get it done before Christmas.

Onto the felt. So, I’ve got this super crafty and fun friend named Kait. I can depend on her to indulge whatever bullshit crafty thing I want to do, so we’re trying to make a monthly-ish crafting night together. We carved pumpkins at Halloween and watched Gnomeo and Juliet. (F’real. Romeo and Juliet with gnomes.) For Christmas, we made our friends Jodi and Stephanie pretend that they liked doing crafts and everyone came to my place for fondue, spiked hot cocoa and to make felt ornaments. For January, we’re thinking about making Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have A Dream(catchers).”

I found this waaaayyyyyy cute tutorial and had to do it: Vintage Felt Baubles by Bugs and Fishes. If you think we’re going to make it another calendar year to next Christmas, I suggest starting these suckers now. I mean, if you’re anything like me, that is. I had to finally limit the number of people that were receiving them as gifts because I just couldn’t enough done.

I’m not going to lie. I put way more effort into throwing a fondue and craft party than I did the crafts themselves. When I went to Kait’s for pumpkins, she had gone the whole nine yards… hot apple cider, rich vegetarian chili with all the fixin’s, a platter laid out with various tools for carving the pumpkin. It was way nicer than anything I’d have done. So for my night to host, I had to put in a little extra effort.

First, I asked Kait if she had a fondue pot. Of course she did. 3-4 in fact. I settled on a seafood fondue recipe from this vintage Christmas craft book:

Christmas 1979: Jello, candied fruits and puffy-sleeved night gowns were IN.

I served it was crusty toasted bread and veggies. I totally forgot Kait has a gluten intolerance and panicked about 95% of the way through our feast:

Kait:

Something, something. Gluten.

Me:

Wait!!! THAT’S REAL BREAD!

Kait:

Yeah, I know.

Me:

I’m such an asshole.

Kait:

I didn’t eat it. 

Kait eventually made chocolate fondue, we were all enjoying boxed wine and whipped cream vodka and it was looking like crafting would be limited. At some point, we made the commitment to move from the kitchen to the craft supplies buffet:

Jodi requested a craft buffet. I did my best to oblige.

This is about the point where I realized that I shouldn’t drink and craft. Clear thread is like really, really clear and hard to see when your vision is blurry. Kait had it together and started making crazy cute stuff with no pattern. Kait is to crafting what our friend Hilary is to pretty: too fucking good at it. All in all though, everyone’s stuff came out totally great.

Aren't they cuuuuuuute?

Jodi’s little banana-eating monster was funny and Stephanie made a festive bauble bouquet with gold stitching (which reminded me that straying from a pattern is totally acceptable in the name of aesthetics). Also, did I mention that she had never sewn before? My drunk tutorial went something like this: “Well, you put the thread in the little eye and then… you sew… Like, put it through the fabric. Um… You just sew. I don’t know.”

The night ended pretty much when Jodi (the only one who doesn’t drink!) dumped a box of teeny tiny beads all over my floor and we were in hysterics. When Jodi comes over, we inevitably do something that I’m sure is going to piss Trent off. (See: the ring-in-my-couch incident.)

Besides the felt baubles, I’ve been kind of a felt nut. I made yards and yards of garland to give out as gifts as well. Mostly it’s going out to my two best friends, as we’ll probably all be in new living situations next year by the holidays and we can all have matching decorations! Felt is mad fun. I got the pattern for the garland here: The Purl Bee.

So here are all of my finished baubles, all four of them. I found one more while organizing some craft stuff last night and I’ll probably finish it and keep it for myself since I gave the others away.

Also, here’s my super cute home-made wrapping paper and all of my presents ready for their recipients.

Alright. We’re almost caught up with Christmas crafts now. I’ve got a pile of other projects ready to start this week, so I can finally move past the holiday stuff. Here’s to 2012!

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Filed under craft night!, crafts, sewing, vintage looks

emily post.

Before I get into my seasonal crafting, I wanna give a little hello to my girl, Emily, over at Dinner is Served!

I met Emily through her younger brother and turns out they have awesome genetics. They’re cool and clever and not bad to look at. Emily also happens to be fabulously funny. She spends her time keeping up a blog (with much better frequency than I) all about her adventures preparing all the mid-century recipes from the Dinner is Served collection. She has made some stuff that I would eat with gusto and some stuff that I would pretend to eat while feeding to the cats under the table. That’s no fault of hers, however, she’s charged with preparing some of the most bizarre Jello and tinned seafood dishes I can imagine. Anyway, the real story here is that Em recently featured my blog along with 4 others for something called “The Liebster Award.” It’s like an internet high five for being awesome despite not being popular! This would have been great in high school.

The Liebster Blog Award is given to up-and-coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

The rules for the Liebster Blog Award are:

  1.  Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog. 
  2. Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
  3. Copy & paste the blog award on your blog
  4. Reveal your 5 blog picks.
  5. Let them know you chose them by posting on their blog.
Here’s my dilemma. I don’t follow a lot of small blogs. I have 2 that I want to share very badly and then… I dunno I guess I only read bog blockbusters. It’s cool, though, cause it encourages me to check out new blogs and hopefully they’ll do the same. I’ll wrap this up soon.

Thanks for the nomination, Emily!

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Filed under off week

back in the (craft) saddle again.

I’m back! This time for the foreseeable future. I think. Happy belated holidays! Happy early New Year!

I’ve been crafting like crazy during the holiday season while also blowing my life savings on dental work, shopping for Christmas, celebrating Trent’s birthday, working more than I care to and ultimately getting a new job. It’s been a busy month. And, really, my crafts were all Christmas gifts anyway, so I used that to justify not blogging during the busy (nearly over) month of December. I should have checked in, but instead I’m going to cram this week with multiple posts to chat about each of my silly projects and what’s on the horizon for 2012.

Oh, and, if you think this has anything to do with Zelda, it totally doesn’t. I haven’t played the game for 3 weeks. LAME.

Let’s start there, actually.

I took a night off work with the intention of playing Zelda and drinking Vernor’s Ginger Soda in my sweatpants. In preparation for this evening, I woke up early, worked out (another thing that’s been on hiatus) and cleaned my entire house. I wanted to feel absolutely no guilt for the 15 hour video game indulgence I had planned. According to the UPS tracker, it was going to arrive any minute. I felt like a little kid, sitting by the window, the blinds drawn, just waiting for the guy in the brown suit to bring my new toy! Oh! Was that a knock? But I didn’t see the truck… Must be a friend visiting my downstairs neighbor. I couldn’t quite see who it was from the angle I was looking, so I made a quick dash to my neighbor’s door to see if it had been left there by mistake. NOPE. Instead, I found one of those horrible little brown and yellow notes informing me that they couldn’t get my signature and so had to take the package with them.

Anyway, after many tears and a few texts of (bewildered) consolation from the boything, I mustered up the courage to make arrangements to just pick the stupid thing up from the distribution center in the city the next morning. This worked out swimmingly, rendering the previous eve’s tears unnecessary, though my plans to stay home and play by myself were still ruined. The game’s awesome. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’ve already got some ideas for the craft that I’ll do to commemorate that day.

Speaking of dreaming up great crafts, I’m looking for some suggestions. After all the pain (and time and money) involved in fixing my tooth, I’ve got some great souvenirs. I’ll show you those in a minute, in the meantime, let’s take a pictorial journey through my dental procedures.

WARNING. There are about to be a lot of pictures of my teeth. Don’t know if yinz like that or not, but there you have it.

Step 1. I break my tooth and ignore it for two years. I finally decide to get it fixed when I start having some jaw pain. The dentist is impressed with how crappy my teeth are. Dr. Julie thinks a crown will be a good solution to the problem of the hole in my tooth. Also, after several x-rays, she reassures me that the pain is not caused by a bunch of tumors in my head. We decide that I probably grind my teeth. Cause, you know, it’s comforting to know that even while I sleep I’m angry.

See that guy, wayyyy in the back? He's an asshole.

Step 2. The dentist sends me to an endodontist to see if I might need a root canal. Dr. Mario (no joke) determines that I do not. He sends me back to Dr. Julie to start the process of getting the crown. This will require them to file down the tooth into a gross little nub after cleaning out any decay. She straight up hits a nerve with her evil little buzzy tools and back to Dr. Mario I go. Surprise! Root Canal!

Step 3. Dr Mario starts to give me a root canal. It hurts way worse than the last root canal I had and I cry silently in his chair while his assistant tries to wipe away my tears. He finishes it up and says “Come back  in two weeks, we’ll finish it up.” I continue to cry and pay my bill.

Step 4. Dr. Mario finishes the root canal. It doesn’t hurt the same way as before but my jaw locks up pretty bad and I spend the next week with the most god awful tension headache and a shitty spackling job of a temporary filling in my mouth. No pics cause it hurt to open my mouth.

Step 5. Back to Dr. Julie for the crown! Yay! Finally! Wait… it takes two procedures too? Oh ok. I was reassured by the hygienist that I would not need the painful looking metal rods jammed into my jaw because “Yeah, we only do that if you get, like, hit in the face with a bat or something.” I needed the stupid rods anyway, because “[I] really don’t have much tooth left for the crown to stick to,” according to Dr. Jules. They put a temporary crown on my tooth and it looked like it had Down syndrome. It hurt and stuff got stuck in it all the time.

It's all round and not toothy. Also, there's a hole in it already. It's clearly weaker than it's predecessor.

Step 6. Get the permanent crown and everything’s hunky dory.

Look at the detail. Those crevasses. That's a tricky fake tooth right there.

They pretty much just popped the temporary crown off in one piece and my mouth felt so much better. I kind of wanted to leave without getting the permanent. But it was already paid for and they assured me it wouldn’t hurt like the temporary. And anyway, the good thing about having your crown worked on is that it doesn’t happen in your mouth. So while they were filing and grinding away at my fake tooth, we were chatting about all manner of silly things. Like how Jules is really angry about the success of one Malcolm McCormick a.k.a. Mac Miller a.k.a. her neighbor’s son who just sings too many darned songs about weed, donchaknow? When I had a moment alone with the hygienist, what ensued was one of the more awkward conversations I’ve had recently.

Me:  So… do you think I could take home my fake tooth?

Her:  You want it?

Me:  Yeah, did you already throw it away? I mean that’s fine, I’ll still take it.

Her:  No, it’s right here. What are you going to do with it?

Me:  Well, I don’t know yet. But I have a craft blog and… well, I don’t really know. Make a necklace out of it?

Her:  A craft blog.

Me:  Shit. That sounds worse out loud. Never mind.

Her:  No, it’s fine, you can totally take it. Here do you want this mold of  your teeth too?

Me:  REALLY? I mean, you don’t need that for… the future or something?

Her:  No.

Me:  This is AWESOME.

Her: I’ll get you a bag.

So that’s how I ended up with a mold of half of my mouth that my little crown fits into perfectly. It’s sitting on my mantle currently and I’m trying to decide what exactly to do with it. Should I make a necklace out of the crown? Like a little resin charm? Anyone have any suggestions? I feel like eventually, the fake teeth need to be spray painted gold. Or maybe I paint it super realistically and just paint the crown gold and they stay together as a little weird sculpture. Hey the internet, let me know your thoughts! Here’s what we’re working with:

Finally, when I’m looking for craft supplies, I always check out the Frick Market. You can get anything there.

I’ll be posting for the next couple of days, going back in time to cover my Christmas crafts and other adventures. Sorry this one wasn’t craft specific. I’m planning for the future. Also, I’ve got to acknowledge some fun blogsy stuff. My girl Yinzerella needs a solid shout out and my next post will be perfect for it.

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Filed under for shame, inspiration, off week, upcycled

it’s electra. (boogie-woogie-woogie)

Rainy Monday in Pittsburgh. It’s the perfect kind of day to sleep until 1, drink too much coffee, fret about life and do some crafts. I even wore my “craft lady outfit” as Trent described it.

Yes, that is a Pittsburgh Public Theater denim shirt, you're not dreaming.

It’s teetering on a fine line between “Michael’s Craft Store Glam” and “Mad About You Casual”

I like to think it's leaning on the side of 'Mad About You' casual, only because I didn't have a clean turtleneck and time to trim my mullet.

So the vinyl bags are getting a bit out of hand. I always have pending orders for them it seems and, while I love making stuff, they are taking up a lot of time. The awesome thing is once I get paid for some bags sold on consignment, I’ll be well on my way to purchasing a new (probably used) industrial machine.  I’ve actually been approached by another local non-profit about manufacturing the bags for them as well, so it’ll be good to get something more appropriate and give my current machines a chance to relax. An industrial (or at least commercial grade) machine should help me get through them a little more quickly as I won’t be fighting the machine so frequently.

Anyway, this week has actually been about a couple of different crafts but I’ve started on Christmas presents that I can’t talk about on here . You know, as my followers are pretty much just my close friends and family, there’s a good chance that you, dear reader, are getting some crappy thing I spent too much time on and I don’t want to give away the surprise too early! I’ve also started the process of fixing up an old Finesse sewing machine from the 70s, but I can’t do much else until I learn how to fix the tension. The one craft I can tell you about is another vinyl bag in a new style:

Finished Electra envelope clutch

Back of the clutch.

This bag was made on commission for another actress from our recent production of Sophocles’ Electra. Now in addition to the wristlet and tote bags I had been making, I have a pattern (modified from this pattern) for an envelope style clutch that I absolutely adore. Honestly, I was feeling pretty guilty about not giving this actress one of the totes that I made, as they had already been requested and paid for by other folks, so I was thrilled that this turned out so well and I can get it in the mail to her soon.

In addition to all my crafts and projects this week, and events at work almost every day, I got my very first dental crown on Thursday. This does not, as I previously thought, make me in any way royalty, though at the moment I have a temporary crown while my permanent is being crafted in porcelain. Fancy shit. Anyway, I drained my savings for one fake tooth and it currently looks like it has Down syndrome. I hope the fancy permanent one I’m getting in two weeks will be based vaguely on what my tooth actually looked like. In the mean time, this thing kind of hurts. Lame.

With Thanksgiving on Thursday and the release of the new Zelda game (it’ll arrive tomorrow!), I’m probably not going to get any crafts done in the coming week.  It’s a hard choice between crafts and video games, but I know what I must do.

I hope you all (those that I don’t get to see, at least) have a great Thanksgiving. If you don’t, you let me know, we’ll fix it.

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Filed under crafts, sewing, upcycled, vintage looks

success in the clutch.

This week was one of my favorite projects so far in my 10 weeks (holy crap!) of weekly crafting. I think it comes in second to the pattern chop: top post. Turns out, I really like sewing a lot. I should do more of it. Admittedly, I’ve actually been done with this project since Sunday night and haven’t written about it yet. I was totally tuckered out on Sunday, so I went to bed after I finished. Yesterday, however, my good friend Colleen took me on a whirlwind trip to the Fairmont Hotel for…Wait for it…

A goddamn champagne tasting. It was baller. I drank this and this and endured being talked at by the sales guys. Truly a small price to pay for free champagne for two hours in the early evening. The night quickly escalated and the next thing you know, I’m in a bar eating fried raviolis shortly before falling asleep on the couch.

So for this weeks project, I started with a bag of scraps from PPT’s costume and clothing sale last month. I really tried to avoid bringing home more fabric and craft stuff I don’t have a plan for, but I couldn’t stop myself when I found a couple of awesome scraps. Out of this bag, there were two scraps that I really fell in love with: a hunk of thick, yellow corduroy and a long, narrow piece of patterned silk with pinks and golds and yellows. I didn’t know what to do with them just yet, but the juxtaposition of the two was great.

Then I spotted, on the cover of Making Vintage Accessories, this adorable envelope-style clutch. This was perfect. I had, a few days prior, nearly purchased a pattern for an envelope clutch, ultimately deciding that I didn’t want to pay for it. It was there in this book, I just had to enlarge the pages! So anyway, yadda yadda yadda, I made a purse. Here’s photographic evidence:

Do you know how hard it is to enlarge things using a photocopier? I'll tell you. Hard.

 

All the pieces cut out.

Shit. It's very obvious on the screen that the front isn't perfectly symmetrical. I didn't notice this until now. It's too late to fix it but it's going to drive me crazy.

I painstakingly made that little fringey band by carefully cutting it out and pulling a certain number of vertical threads. I'm proud, it's a good touch.

Anyway, that’s my craft for this week. I think next week will be the start of my Christmas crafts, presents or whatnot. I’m trying to get real serious about Christmas this year. The tree, dinners, planned and thoughtful presents that I bought more than a few days before the holiday. You know, the whole nine yards.

Oh, the week after that, I might have to take a “sick week” cause I pre-ordered the new Zelda game for the Wii and it’s bundled with a gold Wiimote and I’m thrilled. Look at this. Listen to its songs. I can’t wait.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under crafts, sewing, upcycled, vintage looks

you can lead a horse to joann’s but you can’t make it craft.

So this week is my first official craft and blog fail. I didn’t make a new craft at all and I definitely didn’t blog in time. Things that happened:

Bought the wrong size pattern and couldn’t get back to JoAnn’s in time.

Got a root canal.

Made my first from-scratch macaroni and cheese and some totally bangin’ catfish.

Went to visit Penn State just in time for the shit to hit the perverse fan.

Finished these Electra bags that are already sold and need to get put in the mail:

I suppose the bags could count as a project for the week, but I still had other plans. I was pretty bummed out when I realized that I bought the wrong size pattern, especially since I liked it so well. I stopped at JoAnn’s last night after we got back from State College and, while they still had the pattern in the size I needed, it was on sale when I originally bought it and I didn’t feel like paying full price. So that’ll have to happen next time McCall’s patterns are on sale I guess.

That leads me to now and I’m about to start working on the current week’s project and watching Death Becomes Her. This movie is perfect.

Bruce Willis and Meryl Streep, amirite? So good. And Isabella Rosselini was a pleasant surprise. I’m also a big fan of this scene:

Oh wait, that one isn’t in the movie. People that like this movie just happen to make a lot of weird videos in response. I’ll let you open that can of worms for yourself though.

 

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Filed under for shame, off week

knit or treat.

Halloween, a holiday that seemingly closes the window of fall comfort and opens the gaping barn door of winter and it’s never-ending holidays, has never been one of my favorite times of year. Trick-or-treating in my town sucked. My costumes sucked. It snowed (like a lot!) the one year that I really got dressed up and went to a bigger town for trick-or-treating. I gave up on that holiday at a pretty young age.

Then I got to college and was introduced to college Halloween. Slutty costumes? Movie characters that weren’t animated? Doing more than gathering skirts, scarves and bangly jewelry into a new iteration of a gypsy woman/witch? (regular gypsy, dead gypsy, regular witch, dead witch got me through at least 4 years). Then we don’t even trick-or-treat, we just drink? That last part was pretty much the only part that I could get my head around. I didn’t know people liked it so much. Anyway, adult Halloween was a whole different ball game that I still had no idea how to play.  Freshman year I had braces, so everything about my life was weird anyway. I just went to a John Mayer concert with a top hat on or something. Sophomore year, I opted out entirely, indulging in maybe one terrible PSU area haunted house. Junior year, my boyfriend at the time was all about Halloween and having corresponding costumes, so I went all out and made him a Han Solo costume while I went as Princess Leia. Although, I totally forgot about the sexy thing and went as this Leia by accident and not the slave one:

I mean, I made it, I didn't buy this crappy one. But still... I cringe thinking about the awesomeness of a home made slave Leia costume and how I failed.

Then the same ex-boyfriend refused to go as Peter Pan the following year so I could be a sexy Tinkerbell. As I mentioned in my previous post, he ended up going as Tinkerbell and I looked like this:

Seriously, the girl on the left isn't even anything in particular, she's just wearing leopard print. Why didn't I think of that?

I was Peter Pan. Decidedly not sexy. Then I did some terrible old Power Rangers costumes, then I skipped it for a few more years. Then I hit a new low and went as… (it’s only funny if you know the suburbs of Pittsburgh) Upper Saint Clair — I wore a halo and a wrap on top —  and Trent was Lower Burrel(lap) — he wore a regular shirt with burlap wrapped around his legs. After all these terrible experiences, I was finally ready to say I was done half-assing it and give up on Halloween altogether.

Then Trent wanted to have funny costumes this year. I told him to think of them and I would do whatever. Then he didn’t think of anything. I felt like a bad girlfriend, since he’s said how much he loves Halloween and costumes and all that, so I tried to encourage him to think of something. We had a brainstorming session. Nothing. Everything was either a) impossible or b) not very good. After a couple of these discussions, we hit upon the fact that there’s craft shit strewn all over the apartment and thus, a Halloween costume was born.

I would be a sexy ball of yarn and Trent would go as Knit of the Living Dead. 

Pretty good right? I love yarn, Trent loves puns. I’m not going to bore you with all the details. It’s not that great of a project. I’ll just show you the final product:

Trent’s wearing numerous knit pieces refashioned into some kind of knit zombie. He was pretty pumped about the latex stuff for his face and his head wounds oozing yarn. That and his scary-ass knitting needle claws. They made me uncomfortable.

On me, I knit the headband at work one night, it’s pretty sweet and will see further use. The top is just a sweater sewn onto an old bra. The ball-of-yarn skirt is also pretty cool, but we couldn’t get a good shot of it, sorry for the shaking:

So that was pretty much it. We went to a roller skating party called Down and Derby and had some drinks with our friends, but we didn’t skate at all cause Trent’s hands were dangerous.

Anwyay, this year I got into the Halloween spirit full tilt. All in the week leading up to Halloween, I watched Beatlejuice and Hocus Pocus, made our costumes, went to Scarehouse (which was awesome), drank spiked cider and carved this pumpkin in the likeness of my boss, Ted Pappas:

It's not bad, but it's not good either. The stencil is far more accurate.

So that’s all for my Halloween spirit 2011. It was a good year for festivities. This week, I’m getting busy and making some pants. Or maybe getting a jump on Christmas presents. I should pick, like, tonight.

Oh, and one more thing. Thanks to my girl Emily over at Dinner Is Served! I went down a dark Courtney Stodden rabbit hole again today. For Halloween, she and her creepy 50 something husband BOTH WENT AS HER. Only, to make matters worse, SHE WENT AS A “CHILD” VERSION OF HER 17 YEAR OLD SELF, according to her completely bizarre alliterative twitter feed.

Girl knows how to hold a lollypop.

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Filed under crafts, knit, sewing

a dress worth dyeing for.

Once again, the project was done a day ago but the blogging was postponed. C’est la vie, amirite?

This week’s project was a quick turnaround, from blue and white striped dress that had some issues:

Obviously, Trent designed this as I have no imagination. I asked him to make it look like there were explosions with words. This is probably better than that. Too bad this is the last photo that I'm adding to this post. The rest look like crap now.

To this, slightly better slate grey dress that still needs work:

One day I'll teach Trent to use the camera so I can have photos with my face in them. That day wasn't yesterday.

My, what a sassy back I have!

When I picked this dress out at the Pittsburgh Public Theater costume and clothing sale last week, it was entirely with the intention of turning it into a wearable silk dress that I could layer with tights and sweaters in the winter and pair with sandals and colorful accessories in the summer. I liked the blue and white stripes a lot, but after some special Oxi-Clean attention didn’t clear up those stains and the fading was so obvious under good lighting, I needed to make a bold decision. Rit. I was going to dye the shit out of this dress.

This meant a trip to JoAnn’s (yay!) around Halloween (sorostitutes!). The place was crawling with cute college girls trying to figure out how to make homemade slutty costumes from slutty things they already own.

PSA: Gentlemen, if you’re reading this, be aware that this happens and take advantage of it. Go to JoAnns around Halloween, ask a coed for help estimating yardage and she might touch you. Jagermeister optional.

Anyway, the fabric dye aisle was a sea of off-the-shoulder sweatshirts, denim mini skirts and UGG boots, and the Rit was way down near the floor, so I needed to pick something quickly and get out of there for fear of seeing anyone’s brazilian. I went with boring old black. I should point out though, that even though I worked quickly that day, I still got out of there with armfuls of project materials for about $20. JoAnn’s coupons are amaaaaazing. My next couple of projects are totally lined up!

So I brought the stuff home on Friday, had a busy weekend with work and all and spent Monday house hunting (again), cleaning my kitchen, making dinner, preparing my work space and then finally putting together a big old pot of black dress stew. Not necessarily in that order, now that I think about it, but it flows so fuck it.

Making some dress stew and a little tea.

Starting to look blackish. More purple really. This was at the beginning of the 30 minutes that I had to stand over the chemical soup, stirring constantly.

Dyeing the dress couldn’t have been easier. I had one unsuccessful dye attempt years ago, resulting in a really bad Tinkerbell costume for an ex-boyfriend. It was bad for myriad reasons and I’d love to show you all of them, but the photos are lost to the ages (or, at least, I’m not going to spend too much time facebook stalking him to find a good example). So I thought dye-jobs were better left to the professionals and didn’t give it much thought again for years. Just the other day, however, while facebook stalking a college friend (who is not an ex-boyfriend but still… well nevermind) I came across a really bad-ass example of some clothing she dyed to make a totally rad steampunk outfit. I’m actually going to try to get her permission to use a couple of her pics for an inspiration post I’m planning to put together. Anyway, her jacket came out really well and I thought I could pull off the same technique with my dress, especially since it was an all natural fiber.

In the end, I loved the color and texture that came out of the dyeing process. I think that part was a total success, I even love that the stripes are still there (albeit very faint). On the other hand, every little flaw and tear that was hardly noticeable when it was a patterned, light-colored dress, suddenly is very obvious on a solid-colored black dress. I made some small repairs (patching holes, fixing seams) that weren’t too offensive, but now I realize that there’s a lot more work to be done on this piece. I only tried it on quickly in the bathroom at the sale and didn’t really look at it in the mirror, so I didn’t realize just how large the bust was, so I’ll probably take that in couple of inches or so. Once the top fits a little better, I’ll make alterations to the length, as right now the sagging bust makes the hem look a little uneven. It hits just below the knee and I’m more partial to above the knee for casual dresses. Then, once I’ve trimmed some of this extra material away, I can use it for patching some of the bigger holes in a less obvious way.

So that’s it. I’ve successfully dyed a silk dress, breathed a little new life into her and know how to go about round two. Honestly, for less than $5, the outfit isn’t bad whatsoever, and with layered sweaters and tights, you can hardly notice the dress’ flaws. Yay!

My project for this coming week is my Halloween costume, which will likely shock and amaze. Think Lady Gaga meets craft blogger. My-my-my-knitting-face-mymy-knitting-face.

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Filed under refinished & reloved, upcycled, vintage looks

a stitch a day.

This week’s craft has been pretty much finished for almost two days. Unfortunately, I was too tired on Sunday night to wrap it up and thought I’d get to it yesterday and just couldn’t fit it in. Today, I finally sat down and finished the seams on these finger-less gloves or wrist-warmers or whatever you want to call them:

This is actually the second set of these that I’ve made. The first set will probably be given to one of my nieces, as I made them a bit too snug. The pattern is super simple: cast on as many stitches as it takes to go around your wrist, do a little ribbing if you feel like it, continue knitting until they’re as long as you’d like, bind off and sew up the seams leaving a gap for the thumb to fit through. The End. Just to give you a time frame, these gloves took me approximately 2 shifts at the theater (during the downtime), 3 episodes of Modern Family, 3 episodes of Parks and Recreation and 2 episodes of Louie. I’m still a slow knitter, but I’m getting better. I think my next big project will be this:

The file name for this photo is Mickey McYarn Pants. I challenge you to find pants in this photo... or not. That probably gets you on some kind of list.

Just kidding. That’s a little ambitious. I’ll make this for a little kid that I know instead:

"Indian" ski mask pattern? This is everything that's right with America. The look in his eyes says it all.

But even that might be too much for a beginning knitter like me. Instead, I can work on this and each piece would count as one week’s craft:

I don't even want to know what the black cloth behind him is covering. Also, is that a really tiny donkey pinata?

Clearly, people who knit are bat-shit insane. Where do they come up with this stuff? The first two are clearly from an era when LSD flowed freely around the offices of McCalls. And don’t get me started on the fetish knitting community, it combines all the worst elements of rubber play and furries. Honestly, I don’t think you could wear any of these items in public without be arrested for indecency. I’ll stick to my very functional, plain, wearable, non-embarrassing knit crafts, thanks.

Dramatic lighting... potted plants... I must be blogging from my parents house.

So the reason I didn’t get everything done yesterday is actually much more interesting than this craft. First, I was going to do my hot girl work out, but it was just too beautiful outside to stay in. I knew I had to be downtown to work by 3 so I decided to hoof it instead of catching the bus. It’s about 3 miles and was absolutely perfect. I didn’t even get all sweaty and out of breath. Once I got to PPT, I was on duty at the costume and clothing sale, which is a cool tradition where the theater sells off years worth of old costumes and clothing in an 8 hour crazy fest downtown. By the time I got in, stuff was pretty picked over, but there were still a couple of things I had my eyes on. The last hour was a total free-for-all: for $5 you could fill a bag with whatever you wanted. I didn’t get as much as I could have, but I picked some things I knew I would wear/could make wearable. Here’s my haul:

The crazy black pants are actually pretty amazing. They just need a little love and they'll look less like hammer pants. I think.

I fell in love with these shoes even though they're at least 25% ugly.

Anyway, here’s my real knitting inspiration for the fall. It’ll take a lot longer than several sitcoms, so I’m making it a side project that I’ll update as I can. The poncho itself should be easy, though I’ll have to use cable needles for the first time. My biggest concern is figuring out how to make that collar, so if you have any suggestions, let me know.

I’m going to wrap it up here, as I’m blogging on location from my mom’s living room. I came out today to spend some time with my lovely motorcycle and I smell dirtbike farts. I should get back to the city and shower, f’real.

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Filed under knit