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Subject:Stitching Weekly, #1
Time:10:21 pm
Doesn't that sound so nice and domestic. Anyway, here's what this is: I take photos of stuff I've finished during the past week, and dump it all here.
This will encourage me to: finish things, *iron* things, improve photographically, mend the vacuum cleaner ('cos I might need to take pictures on thee floor, and can't if it's covered in bits.)
You get to: look at finished things. You can critique/suggest/point&laff, if you like.

Today's offering is: two skirts which are twins, but different.
They're both the 'Portrait Skirt' design. First one I have shownoff before, but it was languishing unworn, so I gave it a new ribbon and got better pictures. I will actually wear it this year, for sure.

Green 'Victorian Alphabet' quilting cotton. Rose pink grosgrain ribbon, cream raschel lace trim but it's decent raschel and not revolting, honest.
I am in a blouse quandary with regards to this, though. I've just found a new supplier for blouse cotton, so I finally have a place nailed down (before I was going to about 4 different ones depending on who was out of what), but I want to redo all my blouses 'cos I'm tired of them. So until I get that sorted it might have to wait to be worn. Still, I am not wearing it in the sno.

Blue rose pattern cotton, ex-curtains. Go Curtains! I was hoping to suggest the perennial favourite Victorian Maiden rococo floral pattern with this. Or, I needed a blue floral classicy skirt, whichever. I'm looking forward to when I receive my IW black jumper (it's a totally plain black jumper, that's it, and it will match everything) and can wear it with this and a pearl choker. 'Cos I'm, like, 60 years old.
Oh, you'd wear a pearl choker if you had the chance. Anyway, I am quite taken with black+pastels, and once I get that damned jumper I will be wearing them everywhere.
Lastly, here's a slightly goony picture of me in the sno.

Or rather, you can't see any snow, but why would I be wearing all these layers? Skirt, top which you can't see: BTSSB. Coat, beret, muff, neck thing: me. I really like the hat.
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Subject:Obligatory New Year animal cuteness
Time:05:10 pm
You'll like this. This is Smulkin, a pig I've had since August. So he's not really a 'new pig' but he's new to here (because he is quite hard to get photos of- he moves). Enjoy Smulkin:

This is he from several angles.
He is white, as can be inferred. He also has a piratical black patch over one eye, which is comical; and, oddly, a naturally-occurring hole in one ear, so he could wear an earring if he wanted. (He doesn't want.) His feet and nose and ears are pink so from the non-patch side he looks a bit like a sugar mouse. His ears stick up (most pigs have flopsy ears, when they stick up they look more like rats.)
He looks dead guilty in that second picture...

Oh, and yes he is a lad! I've not owned a boar (not of my own- we had an accidental boar when I was little.) I don't expect it to make much difference but I do have to have him fixed (ominous music). At present he isn't allowed near Squonk & Honeycreep, but he does not seem to know what to do with them anyway; they are much bigger than him, so he just makes a sexynoise.
He is incredibly bold and lively and unafraid, not a skittish pig at all. He's still quite wee and does not seem as food-motivated as other pigs, he has better things to do. Like jumping.
I named him after the comedy gravedigger who sings all the way through Roger Corman's horrible film The Undead. He has been introduced to Jordan.
Wiki sez '[guinea pigs] are not particularly agile...[and] cannot climb', but Smulkin can get up on to the table, and down off it, and climb the stairs faster than you. I may film it one day. He keeps up a running commentary of grunting and clucking for whatever he is doing.
Extra Smulkin:

Smulkin investigates yarn; he looks thouwards; troughing.

ALSO: 'lo to maviscruet. I like your name very much.
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Subject:Update, I Have One
Time:08:40 pm
Good evening. Stuff's been happening which has encouraged me to come back to actually doin' stuff, so here we are.
Firstly- and this is quite big news for me: I am getting better! I swapped a sick head for a sick the rest of me, which was not an improvement, no, but that seems to be sodding off now. I had many blood tests and apparently have no horrible diseases that are easily found, at least.
Anyway, they* are taking me off Effexor! This is fairly huge. I've had it for about 2 years and it worked fabulously but evidently if I need any form of madtablets, I don't need any that are quite so serious as this. (Look it up on crazymeds.com if you want a laugh!) We shall see. I am on 1/2 the amount as of last Monday. It has horrible withdrawal symptoms and sometimes you don't successfully get off it but so far all that's bad here is that the new tablets taste revolting. That is very good as bad things go.

That's my big news anyway. It is making me feel brimful of optimism, or brimful of something... possibly tea.

I was really pleased 'cos I managed to get my loli on and go all the way to Oxford for a meet. It was super and full of pleasant folk. (Some of you are here, so hi. I likes you!) Although I was crap and had to leave early, I did have a good time.
Even better, I have infected scrabblemouse with loli-ness after shanghai-ing her into the Aya fashion show, so I get to dress her up. We're about the same size which is convenient. It is more fun to do stuff in pairs, of course, and I have too many clothes and only one me to wear them with, so it is also more practical. She makes an excellent frilly lass and can strike a blow for lolis with short hair and specs. Gamine loli is a go!**
So, good things. I'm going to have more tea now. You have some too, if you like.

*Who're they, the wizards?
**But I could always see Audrey Hepburn in Emily Temple Cute. I should make a paper doll of her.
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Current Location:Ben's computer. My internet all gone wrong.
Subject:Home again, jiggetyjig
Time:12:37 pm
Current Mood:thoughtfulthoughtful
I had a holiday! I am back now.
It was in France, Vendee region, not too far from Nantes. It is very rural.
It was superb. There was *nothing* to do. That sounds unpleasant, but enforced idleness is just what you need on a short holiday, I think- when the idleness is accompanied by constant sunshine, gorgeous surroundings, and good food. You can get a lot of reading done, for instance.
When you have nothing to do it makes you miss the things that you had become tired of.
The weather has never been better. This was earlier than we usually go- before Midsummer- so the days are very long and the temperature high. It did rain, but always early in the morning so it was dry before you got up. How convenient! thanks, rain.
There were very few people around, it being off-season (June?!) so we got the swimming pool to ourselves most days. I did not go on the beach for bathing but it was lovely for walks. Most time I spent either reading in the sun, or in the forest.
I did finish my stripy bikini so I got to wear that! I am very pleased with it, although I hardly got it done in time and didn't get to do any testing. It turned out perfectly functional though.
Masses of butterflies, flowers, lizards. :-)
I got home a good haul of cheese but I miss the bread. :-(

Pictures to follow.

Because I was not able to do any craft stuff there, I was mad to do it when I got home, so I have been going through my fabric stash to reduce the amount of uncut stuffs and actually do something with 'em. I also picked up some cloth in Nantes from a vintage shop which I am using for an abbreviated 18th century gown (robe a l'anglaise, worn polonaise, zone front, stays also- but it won't be technically period-accurate cos I'm not into that). Everywhere I go I come back with cloth! So I am putting the cosplay issue aside for a brief while, and mucking about with the following:
c18 stays with front lacing(pink and white striped with ivory lace). I've not made stays for ages. I need some.
c18 stays with closed front (black and white toile de jouy). Toile stays, drool.
Shirred bodice (blue and white toile de jouy). I made a dress out of this but it was a failure; reusing fabric for something quick and easy.
Lace chemisette (black washed silk), fancy name for a shirt I can wear under my corsetry. I make all these whack fancy things and no practical garments to wear with 'em. Drawstring neck. Big ol' sleeves.
Justacorps (pale iridescent poison-green silk taffeta, yum) basically a 1770s frock coat, not sure if that name can technically be used for so late in the century but meh... I don't do historical re-enactment, just histo-review clothes. Gurl version of a man's frock coat. The fabric is very light though, so I have to back it with something.
Justacorps (green brocade) my first attempt at a c18 frock, and still not bloody finished. I revisit it from time to time. Revisiting it seriously now.
Frock overcoat (black... stuff, with velvet). Not as historically-based as the above, but somewhat like a frock coat in the back, with a made-up front. It will be my autumn coat all being well.
Fancy jacket with long skirt (ivory wool); I have a jacket design which I really like but I don't like how it came out in corduroy. I am making a version in wool, just the same but with an extended skirt, so it can be worn like a coat but short at the front. Or maybe not... I need to do *something* with this wool.
Open-front pinafore dress (black and white toile-de-jouy). This fabric was either going to be a mad fancy coat-dress, or this pinafore. I made a pinafore for a customer and it was so bloody amazing that I really wanted one too. I can get more wear out of the pinafore than the coat-dress, so it wins.

Pictures of above to follow, also, cos I have enjoyed looking at others' in-progress images and want to get better at recording my own.
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Time:11:30 am
I re-organised StockingShock a bit, juggling the categories and so on. I have also added a new section for jewellery. Proper jewellery, with silver plate bits and beads and such, rather than the fabric'n'lace chokers and things I do already. It's not jewellery that requires flames and soldering (that's for my spare time), but I was going for some basic loli pieces rather than OOAK stuff, so I think it'll do.
There is this necklace, as a cameo necklace is necessary:

I don't go for really big necklaces unless they are for very dressed-up outfits, so this one is something you could wear with a blouse and not have it overwhelm the collar.
Matching bracelet:

Also (but not in the jewellery section, 'cos they are for hair) these cameo hair ribbons. I had a little of a cameo fixation recently. They are grand, you can wear a tiny little elegant one or go full-on mad old lady with a great big one. Versatility!
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Subject:Pin Me Up
Time:04:32 pm
I did a swimwear inventory. 'Cos I haven't been on a warm holiday for many years, or done any bogstandard swimming at home, I have *one* item of swimwear. And it's more 'lounging-by-pool' than 'lengths-in-it'. (I have a choice of Pool or Beach this year, hurrah!)
Hence, I'm going to be speedily making some swimstuff to take with me.
(Why don't you shop for some? you might say... I offer this hollow laffter in reply. Do you enjoy shopping for swimstuff? I bet you don't and you probably have more cash than me.)

Since I like even the most essential boring clothes to be fancy, I want some creative silliness in my swimwear. First step- look at my pin-up pictures!
Gurls gurls gurlsCollapse )
I have purchased suitable Lycra (which normally I will not touch) in olive green, dark plum, red & white candy-stripe, and black corded lace.
I'm planning 2-pieces mostly, 'cos I likes my navel. (I do belly-dancing now, so it has an exalted position and can do tricks.)
Ok soanyway I have these pinup photos. Some of them obv. had really good stylists because their undies are just *fabulous*, therefore these are what I used for inspiration:
I think this photo (subject is Hanai Miri, who is cute as a button*) is a treasure; just about the most seasidey bikini on earth. Even if they couldn't afford one which fits properly. Stripes ahoy!
I also am most taken with this top (as worn by Kitamura Hitomi); ok you can't see the details as she is showcasing the goods a bit there, but the ruffly scoopness of it is fetching. Turned into swimstuff rather than impractical undies, it should be striking. I am doing my ripoff of this in the dark purple with black net overlay/trim.
I have no refs. for the other things, they are sort of a mishmash, but the dark green one will be sort of boyshorts despite my inability to wear the things, and *possibly* some very small ruffles. Not sure what I'm doing with the lace, might do a sort of darkgoffic version of the stripes.
(Oh, and bonus? I did not expect to see this: the lady is one Takizawa Nonami, and she is wearing Angelic Pretty. For sure! (I checked the skirt on the Wayback Machine. Besides, she wouldn't be able to accommodate all that tubularboobularjoy in a Meta blouse, rite?) Wish she'd gone for pink shoes, though. Once again, proof that one measures a circle beginning anywhere, and all. I enjoy the random coincidences.)

So, that's my emergency lastminute summer project, written up here with extra gurls. I intend to post in-progress pictures of everything I'm doing now, partly 'cos it helps me with future projects when I can't remember what happened in the middle.

*I don't normally like 'cute' as a complimentary descriptor ('Area Woman Judges Everything by Whether It's Cute'), but occasionally it fits. OTOH, I recently saw Coraline... so scratch the 'as a button'. Shudder.
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Subject: Tonight Matthew...
Time:03:46 pm
...I'm talking 'bout Shaft. Well, actually, in truth I want to start my yearly cosplay ramble- this year I am pretty on top of things, so actually have stuff to talk about.

I have also received my clearance to do a kanzashi demo and workshop at Ayacon! Splendid! The big kanzashi project received a setback with the malfunction of the laptop (on which are stored 70thousand maiko photos and botanical specimens), but that should return to us soon, all mended.

I'm keeping one of the cosplays a secret. It's not one I'm wearing (Queex is the mug in question), but I am making it so it counts as mine. It's a secret 'cos I want it to be all the more impressive when we let it all out at the con. Although I have a loose tongue in person, so if you have seen me lately you might kno wot it is. Shush!

Here are mine that I am definitely doing:
*Ciel (Tsukihime), 7th Holy Scripture version (short dress w/tats). Tho' I am unsure of their 'large object' policy, so may not have the big gun.
*Yuko (XXXholic), 1890s riding outfit. That's on the cover of volume 5 manga. With the hat. All of Yuko's frocks are great and I would like to own them, but this one is particularly nice. It will require more ancient underwear than I have ever worn at any one time.
*Mikuru Asahina, battle waitress version. Haruhi gets under some folks' skin because it is vast popular, but I do enjoy the silliness. (Squeaky Haruhi fans irk me, too.) For this costume, I can muster my powers of Falling Over.
*Nagisa Aoi (Strawberry Panic). It is a solem black frock. Actually I really dig the skool frocks in this series, even detatched from all the lesbians. (Think they were LUGs? I like to think they all went off into the woods and founded a happy strawberry yuri commune. With solemn frocks.)

And so far it is proceeding remarkably well.
Solemn frocks are nothing new for me and I have nearly finished the Nagisa one, something that I actually might wear in real life. I am doing collar'n'cuffs at the moment (and yes they match).
Ridiculously fitted jackets too are nothing new, so Yuko's top half is practically finished; however I have had to extend my work from the usual miniature millinery (which does not have to fit) and make an actual full-size, *sized* hat. I don't size hats when I buy them, either; I think my antique top hat is 6 and 1/4? Who knows, I have a small head. It's a man's hat though so he may have been wee. Anyway, in proportions, Yuko's hat is larger than my actual real top hat, but I reason thusly: I will have masses of hair under it, and large hair/large hat will combine to make my face shrink, which will give effect of 'unnatural manga proportions'. I have seen otherwise-good costumes which are topped with a plastic fancy-dress hat, which never look good; for one thing, fancy dress shops always confused beaver hat with top hat. (One goes 'in', one goes 'out'. Or straight-up if it's a stovepipe.) Cardboard ones look better. Anyway, I am doing mine out of buckram mulled with flannel and wired and covered with moire taffeta, which at present is cerise but is being dyed black. I has no black moire.
I mentioned antique underwear; at present, I am looking at utilising, as underpinnings: steel cage crinoline, cotton petticoat, bum roll, bustle foundation, and steel-boned waist cincher. Also stockings and y'know, pants and that. The possession of said items is not a problem but they will require some organisation.
In addition to the hat, there is also a bird hatpin which I am doing out of tsumami-kanzashi, i.e many tiny silk petals. I have to dye the silk then boil it and starch it and fold it and place it on a cardboard and masking tape bird maquette. This is extra work, but this is kind of my 'showpiece' costume so I am glad of it; also the jacket has fully-embroidered blackwork lapels, more work. In the source image they are plain but, y'know, there isn't enough blackwork in my life. I think they will give an impressive effect.
Ciel... not much I can say about that 'cept 'Ciel=hot' and narcissism is fun. I actually prefer her long dress but I am already wearing something similar so went with the other fighting outfit. It's almost done but it is made of leatherette, which may cause heat problems. I'd like to see Ciel go up against the sparkly Twilight vampires.
Mikuru's outfit was quite a challenge to pattern, as it has to be supportive in the top without being fitted as such, and it is kind of a combination bodice/apron mashup. But I have reached a working solution and it is mostly finished, just some ribbons to sew on and more elastication.

Why am I so proactive this year? D'know. I am going on holiday on the 11th June (soon!) though and it might be something to do with that.
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Subject:Spring clean
Time:04:35 pm
I post news in dribs&drabs, so here is some more.

I lost my fab orange pig Coldpence last week. This is of course very sad and I will miss her loads, but she had been a bit off for a while (Squonk eats fur) and all thin, and was fairly old. She was about 5 which is what I aim for with my pigs, if they get to that age they've had a good innings and anything else is a bonus.
Spoon is no longer part of a great double-act. It wasn't a Lennon/McCartney, or even a Nasty/McQuickly, but they had been together since birth and she will notice the disappearance.
I can't do my Rodent Roll-Call anymore, we're one short. (In case you were wondering: HoneyCreep= Cambot, Coldpence= Gypsy, Squonk=Tom Servo, and Spoon= Crow. There are reasons for this. I'm more of a Joel than a Mike, I think.)
I have some nice pictures of her to go by, so there she is in her stripy hat, all cheerful and alive. Miss you, Orange.

Laptop is being fixed so once that's done I will have more computer access. (Upstairs is cold and the connexion all scaddy.)
I am a bit offcolour again, physical problems rather than mental ones. Ouch. I have boring normal blood apparently so I have to sit with it for a while then will be tested again.
I am Doing the garden. It's in-depth, but I now have a tree and maybe will end up with somewhere suitable to sit.
That's all.
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Time:02:13 pm
I can blog 'cos I slept, at night, for a whole night! (This has become rare.)

Last week went to see 'Watchmen' with Scrabblemouse (and Queex too, but he goes everywhere. Like a golf ball on your antenna.) Was enjoyable, but she and I have recently watched 'Space Mutiny' a lot*, so all action sequences were spoiled by us thinking 'Punch Rockgroin! Thick McRunfast! Slab Squatthrust!' and such.
Plus, big glowing blue fellow looked a little too much like Col. Glenn Manning for comfort. (Minus the US Army-issue nappy.)

Scrabblemouse & I are also doing belly-dancing now, and of course we are magic at it and never go the wrong way or overbalance or spontaneously do the Funky Chicken.

Tomorrow we are going to spend hours in the theatre seeing a very long play; His Dark Materials stage version, so all them hours will be good ones. I might fidget but they at least the two halves are technically two plays, so you get a nice rest. (Poor actors. At least it isn't 'The Warp'**.) Which will already mean I see more plays this year than I did last.

Are hospitals open on Bank Holidays? for, like, non-emergencies ('Go away, arterially bleeding man, we are shut.') I have to have testsesses. Also, any pointers for not being sick when they take blood? it happened 2ce so will probably again. I will try thinking about camels and that might work.*** Last time I had to hold some of the taken blood 'cos the nurse had full hands and was not Shiva and perhaps it was the holding of one's own fresh, warm vintage that proved nauseating. I don't usually mind blood though. So, camels it is!

*And now you can too!
**I miss Ken Campbell. :-(
***You scoff, but it takes your mind off anything. Try it next time you're getting a no.1 all over, and the stylist is a little too keen with the clippers.
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Time:05:47 pm
Clocks go forward, I come out of hibernation. Not exactly springin' forward though.
Like blossom on a blackthorn branch, or perhaps a great lolloping toad; more likely the toad. ;-)

Here is something amusing.
On the news the other day, about this Visteon affair, footage of some industrial unrest at their plant in Belfast. Shots of disgruntled workers with signs. Shot of sign saying:
'Down with this sort of thing!'*

*Like this, if you're not getting it.
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