from the jazz age to the space age

Monthly Archives: August 2015

Late August, September, and October are Indian Summer here. It’s humid with no breeze, esp at night. As much as I hate the heat I do love the pale blue sky with the golden green leaves. There’s so much to look at. I just want to paint it all.Screen shot 2015-08-30 at 10.53.34 AM Screen shot 2015-08-30 at 10.53.18 AM


Last week we had a brief moment of cooler weather which I took advantage of. I mentioned that I inherited some clothes from my husband’s great Aunt, and here are a couple of them. The soft brown tea length skirt has wooden button that go down the side. I had to take it in about 4″ in the waist and body of the skirt. It has an elastic waist so there wasn’t going to be a really great way to do that without cutting the elastic on each side, trimming it, reattaching it and then trimming each side. Orrrrrrr I could take it out of the center back seam which would shift the side seams toward the back. I took it out of the back simply bc that way I only had to do it once instead of twice, which is what would have happened by taking from the sides. But, with this tightly gathered style, you can’t even see the side or back seams at all, so it all worked out.
My sweet Karl is too excited to get some vanilla milk at Target to bother staying still.photo 1 This is what I’m assuming is a home made brushed cotton dress. It had small shoulder pads that I cut out. The shoulders, even before this, were a little too wide for me & I contemplated taking the sleeve out and moving it in a bit. But that would change the sleeve length, which is like exactly where it is. So, I’m living with it. I cut off about 6″ from the bottom to make it a little more contemporary, otherwise it looked very “vintage drag”. There are pintucks running down each sleeve which really made me fall in love with this dress. ❤
My husband Mikael took both of these photos to send them to his mother so she could see that her Aunt’s clothes are getting a new life. And yes, they all knew I was going to have to alter them for a better fit 🙂
We are ready to go to the neighborhood diner. I LOVE diner food. Love it. Give me diner coffee, eggs and hashbrowns and I’m set!photo 2We’re in total agreement Agent Cooper damn-fine-cup-of-coffee-e1336535321587-290x290Coop is from Welcome to Twin Peaks


All I can think about the last two days is cool weather. It’s finally shown up, at least for the moment. I’ve already had hot cocoa twice. Screen shot 2015-08-20 at 4.12.04 PM Screen shot 2015-08-20 at 4.12.19 PM

Pinterest stopped working a while ago, maybe a year ago, when they changed their algorithm. But it was one of two platforms I actually like (the other being Instagram) and I’ve hung on hoping they would change it again. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, but I recently figured out how to make it kind of work. Basically you can either bookmark your favorite follows “pins” page and visit them individually or you can do the same through Pinterest, though that’s several more steps. I haven’t looked at my Pinterest feed in ages and now that I’ve found a way around it, I can’t imagine I ever will again.
It’s a crappy fix, but it’ll do while I spend 20 minutes downing 3 cups of coffee, bleary eyed in the morning and trying to turn into a human being, while my kids play on the floor.


It’s summer and I have a baby, so that means that like it or not, there’s a lot of sitting involved. I decided to revisit the glorious train wreck that is Once Upon a Time. I got hooked on it a few years ago and it remains my favorite guilty tv pleasure. The acting is mostly good and in some cases very good/spectacular- Robert Carlyle clearly acts rings around everyone, going from manic to menacing to tender in the blink of an eye. But the writing suffers from one of my least favorite narrative devices- telling instead of showing.
Seasons 1 and 2 are delightful. Imagine Dynasty and Dallas where everyone is magical. ZOMG! Beginning with season 3 and going forward the writers seem to just churn out stories with some new novelty and forget about developing the characters we’re (supposedly) invested in. Season 4 in particular was a nearly complete waste until the very last midseason episode. Luckily the second half of season 4 picked up a little.
Seasons 1 and 2 also have some of the best costuming. I’m not talking about the Enchanted Forest scenes, which are pure Alexis Carrington run through Drag Race- in the best way possible. No, I’m talking about what they wear in Storybrooke, which is a twee girl’s fantasy.

Mary Margaret Blanchard is werkin’ the Amelie vibe so hard! Of course I love it.
number 1- buy a cardigan in every color. Every. Color.

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I frequently page through my collection of Burda Magazines late at night and play dress up in my head. Can you tell I made a lot of paper dolls when I was a child… and a teen… and still. Anyway, Burda seems to have some holes in their pattern collections. I couldn’t find a simple shell with a lace inset collar. Obviously you can make one, which is what I’ll probably do. I don’t get paid by Burda, this is just because I love their patterns and find them incredibly reliable. But, I don’t spend much time on their website anymore since it turned into Craftsy.

I’ve recently figured out that the sewing world has changed enormously in the last couple of years- and not in a way that interests me. There are a lot of beginner seamstresses, which is great, but as a result there’s a trainload of money to be made is in simple, beginner patterns. And that’s trickled into every pattern company, including Burda. Along with the current fashion trend of simple shapes paired with expensive fabric this has resulted in the same ultra simple patterns all over the internet. It’s not that I hate simple. I just made a shift out of quilting cotton for crying out loud. But I’m definitely suffering from samey pattern fatigue. So, I’m consoling myself with my stack of magazines. These however I pulled from their website bc I’m not up for scanning everything.OUAT1x03_1838

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blouse

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plus blouse

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I’m so into this outfit. I love the shoes. I used to have 2 pairs of lace ups that unfortunately wore out over the course of 15 years. I’m currently on the hunt for replacements. And how hot was Graham? He was on some British show I tried watching with Gillian Anderson, but I decided watching serial killers with my kid was a bad idea. 117A_tech_dwg_large

pants

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plus pants

OUAT1x06_0855 OUAT1x06_1068So many cardigans, right? Anyway, this was my least successful Burda find. While I enjoy a mandarin collar, i thought it was weird that there weren’t more sleeve options. I like the skirt pleats though. I’m so in love with both of the plus dresses.Jan_109_tech_drawing_large

shirt dress

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plus shirt dress

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plus 40s style shirt dress

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Have I mentioned how much I hate pockets on dresses? Or anywhere on the lower half of my body. I think I’ve sewn one things with pockets and they were totally decorative. Oh- they work. You could put items in them, but never in a million years would I actually do that. Probably bc I don’t want to look like my saddlebags are giving birth to my keys. Anyway, this dress has been on my “easy make” radar since the issue came out. I love the Dior darts.117b_c_tech_dwg_large

strap dress

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plus strap dress

This one was impossible to find! It’s such a basic design that it seems weird that it wouldn’t exist. But I’m thinking that since most plus women are rectangular or ovoid with waists close to their bust measurement that maybe it’s not a popular style? I do know that the plus sized women I know in real life won’t be caught dead in a dirndl skirt, so maybe there’s that too.

I’m not going to make any of these anytime soon, esp since I already have my Autumn sewing plan. But I do love to day dream. Between Mary Margaret in season 1 and Belle in season 2, I have lots of clothes pr0n to ogle ;D

Ugh- procrastination over!

Screencaps from http://kissthemgoodbye.net/onceuponatime/index.php?cat=2


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I first read Dune as a teen and every few years I go back to it. It never ceases to put pieces of my life into perspective. For years I’ve wanted to name a cat “Muad’Dib”, which inevitably metamorphosed into “Meow’Dib” because I love puns and am obviously incredibly lame. I can’t recommend Frank Herbert’s books enough- although for your own sanity avoid the horrible “prequels” that came out.
I wanted to show Paul with the waterfat cut away and old, slightly sad eyes staring out from his still youthful face… but, you know, as a cat. Crazy kitten Alia always makes me laugh. And the cheering “Furrmen” atop the Sandworm shout, “Meow’Dib!”
Available as a T-shirt for men, women, & children, as well as a print.

Next up- Unicorns for everyone!


Even though it’s only August, the trees here have already started to turn. I’ve been thinking about Autumn and everything that goes with it: shorter days, cooler weather, beautiful foliage, PSL (and everything pumpkin- I don’t care! I love it!), and cute clothes. Ahhhhhhhhh the clothes! Karl will be starting Kindergarten which means I’ll have a few hours (sort of) to myself in the morning, provided Tony naps on schedule.
I lost the baby weight so I’ve been eyeing my patterns and daydreaming. But, after buying some fabric over the summer I’ve vowed to work my way through my fabric stash before I buy any more. I’m pretty confident I can sew at least 2 things.
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I like the neckline on the Eleonore (from the Republique du Chiffon book). I plan to transfer it to my Built By Wendy shift dress so I don’t have to make a toile for this. This is seriously the only way I can ever get anything done, sewingwise. These days I just don’t have the time to make endless muslins (esp from newer companies) trying to get a decent fit. The fabric is cotton from Stonemountain & Daughter in Berkeley.  I’ve been meaning to peek in there for the last few years, but never got around to it. I really love their selection. Someone complimented me on my geometric dress and collar! But I was too shy to tell her I’d made them. Unfortunately the aisles aren’t big enough to get my stroller through, even though it’s not very big- which I understand. Space is at a premium in Berkeley. I ended up taking the kids back outside, putting the stroller away, and carrying the baby. Unfortunately carrying a baby and trying to carry a bolt of cloth to the cutting table requires a bit of dexterity. I’m going to have to remember to pack the Babybjorn or more likely just wait until Mikael’s days off.

Karl has been on a dinosaur roll so I’ve been making him paper dinos to color. He’s been hogging the dining room table with them. Archeopteryx and Pteranodon like to nest in the flowers. I have nightmares of the vase overturning and destroying any books I leave on the table.

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I’m definitely going to have to make a muslin for this. It’s Burda 8/2009 #112 (BEST issue ever). I’ve had this pinwale, twee as fuck, corduroy laying around forever. I think it’ll be perfect for Fall. My son’s dinosaurs agree. I’m really, really excited to make this bc in the same issue there’s a more complicated version that I’ve been eyeing for a gazillion years. And yes, I have fabric for that too.

I also sort of inherited some clothes from Mikael’s Great Aunt. She was quite the beauty and a clothes horse. The clothes were shipped to my inlaws and I was given the chance to pick anything I thought might fit me. I’m also the closest to her in build, being tall and somewhat slim- although she had more of an athletic 1940s body as opposed to my pear shape. Her mother did quite a bit of sewing for her when she was young and turning the skirts inside out has demystified welt pockets for me like nothing else has managed to do. I picked out a few wool skirts as well as 2 Pendleton wool suits, a couple of beautiful day dresses, and a long cotton dress with a crazy puffed shoulder jacket that looks like something Rachel from Blade Runner would wear while picnicking with Deckard. I’m going to have to alter everything, but it’s doable so I’m incredibly excited. The best part is the colors! The most beautiful greens and deep blues. Gah! I feel incredibly lucky. The few things my Grandmother kept stopped fitting me when I turned 13 and grew into the kaiju I am today. I am happy I have a dress my Grandmother and I made together.

Back to work! I’m almost finished with a new illustration- then I have a painting I’m itching to do- and THEN I should be able to knock out the Eleonore dress and the Burda cape(let).


August 2nd was our anniversary. Seven years of marriage! We think. We actually can’t remember. Two days before, I was lying in bed trying to nap while our baby Tony was napping- yes, sleep when the baby sleeps is the best advice ever. Suddenly I remembered and texted my husband in the living room- “holy crap! It’s our anniversary in 2 days!” Yes, I texted him bc getting up entailed trying to be a ninja across the squeaky floor to avoid waking the baby. “Holy crap!” he texted back. I’m pretty sure we’ve forgotten every year except the first one, probably bc having a young child/children means we can’t take off for the weekend. Luckily his parents were due in for a week long visit the next day. We spent our evening of freedom at the theater watching Ant-Man (so much fun) while eating chocolate and drinking beer (our movie theater serves beer on the weekends).
Despite the day to day of raising children, worrying about money, and never getting to watch what I want on tv, I’m still crazy about my husband.


Photo 879 Photo 880Well, these eyes have finally gone blurry. It’s pretty common for people in my family to need glasses in our early 40s, and sure enough I hit 42 and whammo! My eyes just gave up focusing up close. Reading and more importantly drawing and painting were giving me a headache.
I’d heard about Warby Parker through a friend and a few months ago we ordered some trial pairs for Mikael, who wears glasses full time and has since he was a child. I was hoping to find a pair for him that were dark on top and clear on the bottom- like these worn by Dr. Wells on The Flash (played by Tom Cavanagh):

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Or these worn by Jeff Goldblum:

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Sure enough, we did. The Huxley in Tennessee Whiskey. He looks even cooler- if that’s possible!

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So, I looked through Warby Parker for myself and settled on the Ripley  in Oak Barrel. Not only did they make me think of Sigourney Weaver’s character in Alien, but they were a winning combination of light and hugely owlish, so I wouldn’t be staring at the frames from the inside. We went into San Francisco to their store. Everyone was suuuuuuuper nice. We barged in, my husband, myself, our giant 5 year old Karl, and our stroller with baby Tony. Miracle of miracles, they didn’t act like they were allergic to children. We didn’t get any dirty looks at all from the staff, which was a welcome relief. The exact opposite. They had coloring sheets and crayons on hand, gave one to Karl, and seated him at a large central table. He was very happy and content. They even asked pleasant questions about our children and talked about their nieces and nephews. Shopping with children is stressful, and shopping with them in San Francisco is the stuff of nightmares, even though Karl is very well behaved. But people in SF hate children. They fucking hate them. And their parents. I know there are a lot of shitty parents who don’t control their kids in public, but damn! But no – Warby Parker was amazing! Mikael hit the nail on the head- they’re like an Apple store for glasses. And I don’t even care if it’s not genuine. It was great- like Mikael wants a second pair of glasses from them kind of great.

Also- I’m not shilling for Warby Parker- no offense to those who do- we’ve just had a genuinely great experience with them. And they’re inexpensive! Middle class Northern California inexpensive mind you, but yeah! And yes, I probably should have run my photos through a “make me pretty” Instagram filter, but it feels so gross to me. I know that’s really de rigueur for blogs, buuuuuuuttttt… I don’t go out of my way to post hideous photos of myself, but I also want them to still look like me. And I’m not a “blogger” so that let’s me off the hook. I think.

Anyway, wearing glasses, even a fraction of the time, is weird. I’ve always wanted glasses, but staring through them is taking some getting used to. And despite the adage that boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses, my husband keeps asking me to help him find a book…