Some people print hundreds of pictures and weird scissors and pretty paper and make beautiful things called “scrapbooks.” I try to get all my pictures downloaded from the SD card within the same year they were taken.
Last year I made a wordy graphic (inspired by Nicholas Feltron’s annual reports) about how I’d spent 2011. This year I went with more pictures. And it’s longer. It’s a lazy gal’s scrapbook. And kinda messy, just like me.
Click the image to embiggen. It’s big.
Today was the day I realized I forgot how not to look at a screen. Then today was the day I decided it was time to remember.
I could be a lot worse. I remember when someone asked with incredulity why I don’t have my smartphone by the bed. That doesn’t need to be the last thing I see at night and first in the morning. The rest of the day is bad enough.
I spend hours reading email, writing blog posts, and keeping up with communities in IRC channels. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. I often walk back from my daughter’s bus stop reading something on my phone. When I take a break, I might read a book on my Kindle or play a video game on the Playstation. Screen after screen after screen, non-stop.
Upon realizing this, I decided to take a break. Look at something else. I decided to bake gingerbread. Did I look up a recipe in the shelves of cookbooks I own? Nope. I searched for it online and referred to it on a tablet in the kitchen. Screen-escape fail.
I tried to think of what else I enjoy that doesn’t require a screen. Sewing! I’ve been putting off a corduroy jacket behind other priorities. But then I realized that I’d forgotten the trick to making welt pockets, and I needed to look it up. Back to the computer.
Having run out of ideas, I guess I’ll make lunch instead. Surely I can handle that without looking at a screen. Or maybe I should just write a quick blog post about it first…
There was vacation, and there’s always work, and there’s actually working on the costume… so I haven’t posted much progress lately. And all the photos are taken late at night with my cameraphone, so there’s that. But here’s how it’s going.
The skirt portion has been a special little beast. Back in July I posted about how I was working on the skirt hook findings, which were originally sourced in Turkey, and, well, I’m not in Turkey. I wrote that Sculpey would be fine since they were just decorative and didn’t have to actually hold the skirt’s weight. Then a week ago, I was looking at the pictures for the eleventy-billionth time and realized they do. The skirt is separate and attached to the bodice by those pieces. My mister suggested resin, and my superhero-pal-in-Dragon*Con-crime Neal helped me with his resin experience to start casting them. Only 20 to go! Then drilling, painting…
But back to the skirt itself–you ever start doing something, then think, ooh, I know a quicker way, all the while knowing you should do it the right way instead? Yeah, that. I started out putting the skirt together with the piping between the layers, all in one pass, like this:
The right way would have been to make the piping, then insert it into the seams. But I just knew I could shave off some time doing it all at once. When I started ironing them flat, I realized just how inconsistent the width of the piping was. I’m not a perfectionist. I’m usually a close-enoughist. But this time I knew what I had to do. I took apart the entire skirt, all 24 panels, all 184 feet of stitching, and I started over. I made the piping first, then put it in.
If you figure I’d already done some of them 2, 3, or even 4 times in places trying to even it out to fix my cheat, that’s about a tenth of a mile of seams.
I’ve put a few of them together. They still need a lot of ironing, but you can see it will be the skirt!
Then I started worrying that the points would lose their pointiness after travelling to Atlanta and hanging in a closet for a while. So I started thinking about stitching in the ditch between the piping and the panel. It’s a slow-going process to keep it from being a disaster on the second side, but I think it’ll work.
Finally, the bodice. I’ve gotten most of the leather piping sewn to it. Next up, gold beads and sequins.
Thirteen days to go!
I’ve made a lot of biscuits, but oatmeal biscuits are a new one on me. And that’s exactly what The Flying Biscuit sent out a recipe for in their daily email today.
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup butter cut into pieces
1/2 cup packed dk brown sugar
1 3/4 tsp double-acting baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk
- Chop oats in food processor
- Pulse flour, butter, sugar, baking powder and salt into coarse meal
- Add milk to make sticky dough, then add oats and knead until mixed
- Make two 6×3 inch rectangles and refrigerate until firm
- Cut loaves into 24 1/2″ thick slices and bake at 375 for 20 minutes
I kept meaning to post photos of some version of the muslin for this bodice, but I never took a picture of it, and now it’s in a dozen pieces. I’m no expert pattern maker, and this wasn’t an easy one. But the bodice is together! I haven’t ironed it yet, but I did serge the edges so it’ll hold together long enough to get the hand embroidery on in the center front.
I’m terrible at corners. V-necks, godets, things like that. So I picked a dress full of them. Genius. Practice by fire. I’m not too proud of the way the v-shaped insets fit in the bodice–I had to make some darts at the bottom to make it work out. But I am rather pleased with these two L-shaped corners on either side:
Look how smooth! And it’s not even ironed yet!
I also got most of the necklace made except for the pendant. I’m still hunting for the right pieces for the earrings. Just a few weeks to go!
There are a lot of interesting things about these little bits at the top of each pleat. First, there’s all the loose threads visible in this picture, but I guess I can let that go. I do love that you can actually see the hand stitching around the loops holding them on. They look functional,
but I don’t think they actually are. The piping down the center of each pleat is then attached through a loop on each of these. But they aren’t holding the pleats up or anything like that. Edit: After looking more closely at the photos, I’ve realized that’s exactly what’s happening–that whole skirt of godets is separate and attached by these findings!
I started my first shot at working on making them out of Sculpey. I’ve got the pearls to glue in later. I’m nowhere near any sort of Sculpey expert, so as usual, I’m totally winging it here.
First I traced the basic shape on a piece of the clay:
Then I used the needle to cut away “everything that wasn’t David,” so to speak.
I do think I’m going to get some of that Sculpey mold making stuff and do that rather than do this another 23 times. I just can’t decide how much to refine the design and how much to call it close enough. How much does the roughness add to the character, and how much should I try to buff out the fingerprints? This version is definitely too thick, but I’d rather it be a bit too thick and stronger than break apart. I also like the effect that the thickness has of making the bottom part of it look like a skull at a 3/4 angle: