17 July 2012

Forgotten Buckles and the "Bastille Birthday" Skirt

EYEYEYEYEYEYEY! When I was going on and on about all my lovely gifts last night, apparently I missed something! I was clearing the section of my desk this morning where I'd dumped all the things from my parcels and I found this:

I don't see it in the photos Sue took of the giveaway haul, so I'm thinking it's probably from Kerry, but I'm not sure. Ladies, if you see this, which of you gave me these sweet buckles? Thanks, at any rate!

Now onto the other exciting news: I actually finished a sewing project!

I made a skirt to wear going out on my birthday night (as I've mentioned before, I love "occasion sewing"); E took some photos of me in it, which came out wicked blurry,

Here I am, out in the world, on the streets of Williamsburg! See, I DO leave my room occasionally!

and then I took a couple boring hanger ones so y'all can see the print on the fabric.

 "When three hens go to the country, the first goes in front, the second follows the first, and the third comes last."

I picked this fabric for two reasons. One, I bought it at the fabric store across the street from K and E's Astoria apartment last time I visited, back in February, and thought it'd be nice to "bring it home," so to speak; two, my birthday is la fete de Bastille, the French Independence Day, and I thought the red-white-blue print and French text would be appropriate for what was a jupe de Bastille as much as a birthday skirt.

The skirt almost didn't materialize, though, because guess what happened while I was panicsewing the evening before my trip (yeah, yeah, I know)? My (mother's) machine spazzed out! There is something (non-obvious, not solvable by simply adjusting) wrong with the thread tension that I, uh, didn't have time to fix. But after a slight freakout I realised something: I had a five-hour bus ride, and surely some time once I'd arrived and E and K's, to figure things out! I sewed the zipper, affixed the gathers to the waistband and folded over and secured it, hemmed the skirt, and applied the hooks and eyes at the waist all by hand.

This is obvious in some  places,

but overall I'm fairly proud of myself. The stitches are solid, and it all looks fine on the outside, so--that's all that really matters, right?

Birthday Presents and Postal Bounty

It's been a while, hasn't it, O Internet? I have had a crazy couple weeks since last we spoke. Work has been crazy, I've had a lot to do at the archive, I am getting mouth surgery, and this past weekend I globetrotted again!

I spent the weekend in New York visiting my friends K and E, who I love dearly and see seldom. I had a great time, we went on fun adventures, E gave me rockin' sidebangs, and they sent me home with a pile o' presents for my birthday (it was Saturday),

 All awesome on the giftin' front!

including two pulp novels (one old, one reprinted) for the collection, gold and leopard ducttape with which to build the world's most epic wallet, a bunch of headbands and hairclips (and yes, that IS LipSmackers brand scented glitter nail polish (with enclosed holographic nail decals that I forgot to put in the photo)), and these two pieces of jewelry handmade by K, who needs to tell me whether she has an Etsy store yet or if that is just dreamtalk, so I can link it here if it exists:

 World's coolest cuff bracelet

A pendant, of wire and beads strung over a seashell

I made a skirt for my birthday night (as I've mentioned before, I have a weakness for "occasion sewing"), but as I still need to photograph it I will post about that process later! Plus, I brought my "One of the Gang" Jacket from That's Sew Cinematic and I cannot overestimate how much swaggering through Penn Station in it made me feel like the baddest of asses (also, overheated, but that hardly matters when such unholy awesomeness is at stake, right?)

Going to work today was rough, and dull, in comparison to the weekend jaunt, but not all was sadness and doom! I got home this evening to the lovely surprise of not just one but two parcels waiting for me--from two of lovely you!

The first was my Summer Sewing Swap parcel from Kerry over at Kestrel Finds and Makes. I was overcome before I even started opening things in this one, it was so adorably wrapped up:

Purple polkadot ribbon? PERFECT. I have a new hairbow before I even open the package

But the stuff inside was even awesomer!

 Even the card is cute!

That fabric is a gem--nice weight, soft and drapey, and I'm a sucker for both a) red tones and b) a good geometric or tribal-ish print, and my only question now is what kind of dress exactly it is going to turn into! And the yarn is almost exactly my favorite shade of purple. Check the lovely thistles embroidered here, for a bit of local Scottish color:

...that stood a-GAINST him, proud Edward's AR-my, and sent him HOOOOOME-ward, to think a-GAIN.

These two patterns are both going in my "please sew me up!" pile:

The second parcel was from Sue at Sewin' Steady, and contained the prize I'd won in a giveaway she hosted a week or so ago. I was running around like a chicken-with-cut-off head at the time and never wrote about winning or my excitement about it, but I won, and I was/am excited! This parcel's contents were also gold:

 I like how you can tell my knee is weighing down/slanting the mattress on the bottom left.

Again, red! And I have a weakness for old notions. I love the seam binding with the enclosed bobbin of matching thread! As for the buttons, C loves to "organize"/play with my button collection and I'm sure she will be gratified to have some new charges for the menagerie (assuming I don't use them before she gets her hands on 'em; I have some button-heavy projects on the slate and they're all so pretty!)

I think the thing in this assemblage I got the most excited about was the set of pinking shears:

  Fine quality! Unconditionally guaranteed!

Cool, eh?

So thanks, everybody in this post, for givin' me stuff and makin' my life a fun place to be! Errybody else, check out Kerry and Sue's blogs and give them lots of craftlove, because they are awesome people who deserve plenty of it.

05 July 2012

Canada Day, America Day, Way too Much Fun

Good (very early) morning, everyone! I've had a great time the last five days or so, and I hope you have too! Are you ready for a little life update? Yeah? Yeah!

The rest of my Canada Day weekend in Montreal was a great time. I saw plenty more friends; had a sweet picnic in Parc Lafontaine; went to a crazy block party in an alley in the Plateau with live music, art projects, and a dress-up costume box at the entrance; and ate bacon poutine, Romados roast chicken, and diner breakfasts galore. Canada Day itself our tribe actually hopped on four wheels

 V was very excited about the afternoon's Euro Cup victory by Spain and made sure we were advertising our Hispanophilia on the way out of town

and headed off the island to Shawbridge, where clan band the Argyles (accompanied by pals--including my former roommate M!--AlexeiMartov) kicked off a cross-Canada tour with a house show/party. It was a great time; we hung out, made and ate chili and pear crumble, drank beers, listened to the guys play some tunes, stayed up to watch the sun rise. I surrendered my camera to V for the night, knowing I'd forget about it the second the music started anyway; she had a lot of fun with my camera settings, and despite the drunk-picture-blur the photos came out actually really cool looking:

I'd yammer on about their tour dates for the benefit of those of y'all who are Canadian, but I don't actually know them and my Internet skills are failing me! The boys of the Argyles are blogging the tour, though, so check 'em out!

I got back in to Boston at eight A. M. on Tuesday and immediately headed to work/class...oof. After that I spent the evening at the historical society setting up our exhibit for Independence Day; since the headquarters/archive building is right in town square, toward the end of the parade route, we opened up for the morning/early afternoon and set up a mini-exhibit of wartime artifacts from our collection, dating mostly from the Revolutionary and War of 1812 periods. A and I presented the objects and answered questions for visitors. I only got one snap of the exhibit setup,

but I did manage a few of the parade itself when I slipped away to watch:

Folks lined up to watch across the street (our town square is really quaint, guys...)

We sent out a sign for the Historic House Tour,

and I was excited to see the Old Boston Road Base Ball League, who play baseball according to late-19th century rules (and have a game on Saturday co-hosted by my historical society, if anyone in the Boston area is interested! 3pm at Derby Academy in Hingham).

One of my favorite groups in the parade every year is the Kazoo Band, who march in Groucho glasses playing patriotic favorites on their kazoos. It's fun to watch and, I imagine, even more fun to do, and it speaks to a good attitude and sense of fun in town, I think.

Then we had the vintage car procession. I'm not sure what happened between the midcentury cars

and the old military vehicles/trucks (like this army ambulance),

as I was called back inside to the exhibit for a time.  But I got back out in time to see the WELLS FARGO WAGON and have the relevant song stuck in my head all day:

30 June 2012

TSC #4.5, Wrap-Up, and Thoughts

Greetings from Montreal! I am there, staying with friends for the weekend to celebrate a) Canada Day and b) the inexplicable day off work I have Monday. I'll probably be radio silent for the rest of that period (and possibly through Independence Day, depending how efficiently we get our mini-exhibit at the archive installed for Wednesday morning), but I wanted to drop in with a few things before I disappeared:

a) I didn't manage to finish it (my indecisive packing style slayed me Thursday night and yesterday morning) but here's a shot of my latest That's Sew Cinematic garment-in-progress:

It's Lenora's bathing suit from the first scene at Turkey Point; more thoughts on that, and photographs thereof, when I finish! Which brings me to:

b) Today is the last official day of That's Sew Cinematic, I guess? I haven't completed all my planned garments, which is no surprise considering when I started. I am a little disappointed, just because I am working so hard at developing skills with follow-through and trying to learn my way out of the planning fallacy, etc., but honestly I'm not too worried about it. After a week or two off to focus on some other projects I have lined up, I'm planning to get right back to the remaining projects.

Let's look at what I did finish, though, shall we?

There's the "Bad Girl Beauty Makeover" Top,

the "Jukebox Jivin'" Skirt,

and the "One of the Gang" Jacket.

Despite some of my fratchetty commentary in the posts linked above, I think I'm actually pretty satisfied with how all three pieces turned out. Hopefully I experience a sense of similar well-being when I get through the other three!

c) One of the reasons I am okay with not quite completing my goals for That's Sew Cinematic is the extent to which that shortfall is because of other fun, interesting projects I was involved in over the past six weeks. I made a Licorice and a first-draft Hazel for Sew Colette versions 1 and 2.0, am putting together a package for Kestrel's Summer Sewing Swap (which I need to mail, like, as soon as I get back from Montreal! Egads), and started (selectively/one might even say half-assedly, really) following along with the Sew Weekly. And over the past few weeks, the grade-nine-esque love of stenciling I rekindled with a couple of those projects has taken me over completely! I've made a tee shirt for my friend A,

tops for myself with the Tank Girl and Tsunami Bomb logos (because if I'm going to revert to my angry 14 year old punk ways, why not go whole hog),

and the logo for another friend's band, The This Many Boyfriends Club (go listen to them! Or something, they're great),

as well as a few other things that are still in progress. 

d) I made an exciting purchase the other day! Did y'all know that What Katie Did, the vintage repro lingerie folks, have an Ebay clearance store? I didn't, but I certainly do now! I bought a few things from it the other day, and they were so (comparatively) cheap! I recommend going over there and checking out what they've got in (over)stock.

This was especially exciting because the package arrived in the mail two days ago, along with a letter from a pen-pal that had a spring of beautiful smelling dried lavender from her garden, and it was basically the best postal day in history:

Whew, I wrote more than I was expecting there! More when I'm no longer a houseguest, guys (though since M is still asleep it hardly matters what I'm doing with my time); have a great Canada Day, if you're here, and a sweet Independence Day, if you're there and I don't get back online in time!

25 June 2012

Cry-Baby Cover Story: "The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane"

As we head into the final week of That's Sew Cinematic, I figured I'd toss y'all another Cover Story from the film! We're back to Baldwin and the Whiffles for this one, a version of "The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane" sung in the film to shame Allison after her night of drapey adventure at the Jukebox Jamboree (song is from roughly 5:00 to 7:00):

(Sidenote: the moment on the balcony that comes at the end of this song is one of the parts of the film that makes me love Mrs. Vernon-Wiliams so very much. She's faced here not only with Allison's disobedience and "inappropriate" behavior in associating with drapes, but also massive public embarrassment and scandal--Baldwin has brought the entire town down to see him make Allison capitulate, it seems--should her granddaughter stick to her guns. And yet, even as Allison turns to race downstairs, she cautions, "You don't have to decide today! Give your heart a chance to think!" There is no better indication that she truly has her granddaughter's best interests at heart--and that she is learning to expand the possible manifestations of those interests.)

Like the previous Whiffles song we've talked about, it's a multiple-cover! This one actually even more so: the song had been recorded by a number of musicians including Dean Martin and Ray Charles. Here's the former (with AMAZING video):

And here's a 1955 version sung by Dorothy Collins:

You might have noticed something a little different in tone, there! When Baldwin and his Whiffles use the song to try and shame Allison, they omit the original's central joke. And it has kind of a funny reflection on the situation--instead of being the story of a woman of scandal, it's the story of a terrible misunderstanding about who's innocent and good, which in the film is sustained on the squares' part right through the end.