bethzylla: (FFD2012)
Can I take a mulligan on this weekend?  No?  OK, well I'll just do a little venting here, then.

Read about my wild weekend! )
bethzylla: (FFD2012)
I'm still here!  I just haven't done much that worthy of picture posts or even chatting about, really.  This time of year is always tough for me in terms of being motivated to sew.  Holiday prep, fall yardwork, and the urge to just cuddle up with my animals when the temps cool off wreak havoc with all my good intentions!

Sewing: I made a quickie cap, 18th century chemise, and faux quilted petticoat for the Georgian Picnic.  My chemise did its job, but it was sewed at the 11th hour and has some issues.  What is it with the 'simple' stuff actually being such a hassle?  I'll have to do some extensive fixing of sleeve and underarm seams before I wear it next.  Or maybe start over, I haven't decided yet.  I need to adjust some of the pleating on the petticoat now that I've seen photos but that's an easy fix.  The cap came out cute so I'll try to get some photos and make a post soon.

Sewing Plans: I have grand plans to make a new bustle dress this week.  It's for the guild's Candlelight event on Saturday.  Since it's a Christmas-y event, I'm going a little more literal than I normally would and using a jacquard cotton that has tiny pine trees woven into its pattern.  I need to get some solid cotton as an accent for the dress (as well as to help break up the pattern a little) but in my head it looks so cute!  I'll probably cobble together a new hat too.

My friend Chris is interested in coming to the guild meetup at the Kimball art museum for the Impressionist art exhibit.  Bustle dresses are encouraged (yay!)  Chris currently has absolutely nothing to wear for it, so I'll hopefully be making her an outfit from the skin out plus some accessories.

Holiday Stuff: I flew up to Indianapolis to visit my mom for Thanksgiving.  When I got there, she was recovering from a very nasty stomach flu.  On Thanksgiving morning, I woke up with a stomach bug of my own.  Talk about the worst timing ever!!!  So I missed out on the two holiday feasts I'd been planning to attend.  :(  I finally felt like myself again for the last couple days of my visit so flying back home was no problem.  Just super disappointing.

Next week is Ben's company Christmas dinner.  It's usually a small affair at a nicer restaurant, which is great since there are usually 10 people or less attending and we're all friends.  I don't know what restaurant they've chosen this year, but I'm looking forward to it!

I'm also attending a Holiday Cookie Swap that my friend Chris is throwing.  Everyone brings 3 dozen cookies, which are sampled and swapped at the party.  Then everyone goes home with at least 2 dozen cookies made by other attendees.  I've never been to a party like that before, but it sounds like fun!

Ben and I are planning to stay in town for Christmas this year.  We typically choose to go home for either Thanksgiving or Christmas, but not both.  I really need to take down my fall decor and put up my Christmas decor.  Actually, my Halloween decor is still sitting on the guest bed waiting to be packed up for next year.  Heh, whoops!

Looking Forward: I'm going job hunting soon.  I've really loved my time as a homemaker, but with Ben's work being slow this past year it just isn't a sustainable situation anymore.  I'm hoping to find something I like that isn't retail and doesn't involve too many evening or weekend hours.  I know that's sort of a tall order in this day and age, but I'm still hoping for it!

Ben has been thinking about going to college or a trade/vocational school.  He's interested in a mechanical engineering degree if he decides on college, or a large engine diesel mechanic certification (think train engines or mining/construction equipment) if he decides on trade school.  Neither option is possible at the moment since he's our breadwinner, which is another reason I'm going job hunting.

I still really want to throw a costumed dinner party in my backyard.  I've been planning this for over a year now (not to mention collecting all the dinnerware, glassware, seating, etc.)  I hit a snarl this spring when my neighbor's granddaughter came to live with him and brought her ill-behaved pit bull mix.  That dog never stopped barking at me when I was outside, which set off the other dog that lives there as well as most of the other dogs in the neighborhood.  I mentioned it several times to my neighbor but it never changed anything.  I figured if I was uncomfortable outside, then certainly my dinner guests would be too!  Well, the granddaughter has moved to Colorado and took the dog with her, which now leaves just one slightly-better behaved dog there.  I think the dog could stay in his crate for the evening if I asked my neighbor nicely.  So finally, I can start the planning in earnest!
bethzylla: (FFD2012)
I'm here and alive!  Sorry for the radio silence for the past...oh geez, the past month!  Yikes.  Well, I can honestly say it's been a bumpy transition from OMG-get-the-house-in-order to holy-crap-amazing-vacation to blah-back-to-real-life.  My ability to just roll with the changing situations reached its limit and some stuff (like posting here) fell by the wayside despite any intentions I had otherwise.  Allow me to remedy that now!

Hawaii! )
bethzylla: (FFD2012)
As promised, some before and after photos.

Read more... )

Next up for me is a vacation with Ben and his parents!  They drove down from Indiana and we'll be flying out to Hawaii on Monday to visit Ben's sister.  I'm so excited!  We get to stay for 10 days.  Woo-hoo!!!

When we get back, I need to clean up my sewing space (currently the only messy place in this house) and get going on a mourning outfit for the DFWCG's Mourning Tea in October.  Right now, I honestly have no idea what I want to make.  I don't think I'll feel up to entering a new era (and the full set of undergarments it would entail) so that means sticking to 18th Century, Regency, 1870-1890, or fantasy.  I'm guess I'm kinda leaning toward 18th century, but we'll see what happens.
bethzylla: (FFD2012)
The kitchen-facelift-project-that-never-ends just keeps on rolling.  The walls are fully painted now and I've moved on to the cabinets.  I decided I wanted to dip my toe in the water before I jumped, so I started with a base cabinet that has three drawers and is separated from the other cabinets by the dishwasher.  I did it the 'right' way - I removed the awful wooden handle pulls, sanded the drawer faces smooth with a belt sander (which removed at least two layers of paint in the process), laid down two coats of primer, lightly sanded again, then laid down two coats of paint with a foam roller.  I have some seriously white drawers now!

Check this out! )
bethzylla: (FFD2012)
So, this is what's going on at my house:
No, those aren't moose.  They're gigantic dogs who think they can still fit in a person's lap like they did when they were puppies.  When they both tried it together, I really did have a moment when I couldn't breathe.  Eep!

Adventures in Dog-sitting... )
bethzylla: (FFD2012)
Those of you who are on my Facebook have probably seen this already, and if so sorry for the delayed double post.  I just didn't have it in me to make two posts at the time.  Last week we made the decision to take Jack to the vet for the last time.  His tumor had invaded some of his lung space and it was making breathing hard sometimes.  He wasn't eating much either so it's possible it had affected his digestive system too.  While it was pretty painful to make the decision to have him euthanized, it would have been absolutely brutal to watch nature take its course.  The vet and staff were so kind and compassionate about everything, I got to stay with him and pet him the whole time, and I was allowed to bring his remains home for burial.  It's not really legal to bury animals within Arlington city limits, but we did it anyway.

This has been a tough week.  Even though I had months to prepare for this eventuality, it's been hard on me.  I didn't realize it until he was gone, but I spent a lot of time making sure he was comfortable and well cared for during his final weeks.  He had a comfy spot in my sewing room (which my nosy dogs can't access) and he did most of his sleeping there.  It's also where I brought him canned food in an attempt to get him to eat a little more.  We did a lot of cuddling, and even after his skin got too sensitive for the usual amount of petting he still liked his chin rubs.  On a few of the cooler mornings I took him outside so he could enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and feel the breeze.  It may sound weird, but it's a big adjustment not doing those things.  Walking into my sewing room and not seeing him there is still a little jarring.

Really, I'd rather try to focus on the 12 years we got to spend with him before all this.  We adopted him when we still lived in our first apartment in Indianapolis.  He was loose in our building but heard Micah, my first cat (who is still with us) meowing at me.  He meowed at her through the door all day until we let him in.  He was all sleek, glossy fur and firm muscles, very healthy.  I put up Found posters but no one claimed him, which was fine with me.  He was a very friendly and social cat, sort of the perfect balance to Micah's stereotypical prissy-cat mindset.  He moved with us to our first house, welcomed (or at least tolerated) new members of our animal family (even the dogs!), won the hearts of our friends and family with his easy nature, and eventually moved with us to Texas.  He enjoyed the sunny windowsill in my sewing room, and often hopped into my lap while I was sitting at the sewing machine.  When he wanted your attention he'd sprawl on his back, roll around,  and look up at you, waiting for you to succumb to his cuteness.  He did have the (slightly annoying) habit of hopping into your lap when it was most inconvenient.  Even if you shooed him away, he'd come creeping back, moving very slowly, apparently hoping you didn't notice him until it was too late.  Sometimes that actually worked!  He was an absolute purr machine which was perfect for those times when you needed some cat-comfort.  He even knew his name and came when you called him.  He was a wonderful cat, and a great companion.  I miss him a lot.

Cuddling with one of our other cats, Jesus:

Sitting in my lap while I worked on a bodiced petticoat:
bethzylla: (FFD2012)
I've decided this is the year to expand my vegetable garden.  The spot it's in right now just won't hold all the plants I want to grow.  So over the last couple years, I've been slowly working toward clearing an area at the end of the yard for additional growing space.  Due to some trees in the neighbor's yard, it won't get quite as much sun as my original space but that might come in handy during the worst heat of the growing season.  Anyway, this basically means one entire edge of the backyard will be garden and chicken coop - a suburban homestead!

Yesterday I started raking the last of the trimmed weeds (the kind that have actual bark, and become legit trees if you're not diligent about trimming/eradication) and counted at least 10 stumps that need digging up.  I managed one by myself:
First Stump
It's a long, hot, physically intense process to get even a smallish one like this dug out solo, but I figure manual labor is good cardio and I could sure use some of that.  Plus this success let me know that I'm physically capable of doing the needed work, which I wasn't entirely sure of until it was over.  I'm OK with being slow as long as I get results!

After lunch, I started on the biggest stump.  It turned out to be two tree-weeds intertwined.  Luckily for me, Ben got home from work and was wiling to help me.  Between the two of us we got it dealt with, but in the process I strained something in my back...again.  I have a spot in the middle that's been injured before, and it's the first place to get injured again whenever I lift something wrong.  Totally my fault - I know to avoid certain positions, to lift with my legs, etc.  But sometimes I'm in too much of a hurry and I forget, and I feel that dreaded pop.

So I'm taking it easy now.  It's supposed to rain, so I doubt I would have been digging stumps today anyway.  The two biggest stumps are out and everything else should be somewhat easier.  When my back is less tender I can get back to it slowly and carefully.  This getting older and more easily injured stuff really sucks!


Sep. 20th, 2013 08:32 pm
bethzylla: (FFD2012)
Surgery went well. There's a 90% chance the cancer didn't spread. They'll know that for sure once the pathology reports come back. They had some trouble getting her pain under control at first, but now that they're ahead of it Mom's doing great. She can be up and walking around tonight, and they plan to discharge her tomorrow morning around breakfast time. I am so relieved that she most likely won't need chemo! She's already been through more than enough health issues over the course of her life.
bethzylla: (FFD2012)
It's been a little while since I posted so I thought I'd better check in.  I'm still here!  I haven't gotten around to getting detail pics of my Safari at the Zoo outfit, so that'll have to wait for another post.  ;)  That's the only interesting project I've completed recently, so instead I'll talk about general life stuff.

Read more... )
bethzylla: (FFD2012)
I think I mentioned here that I'm finally trying to sell my house in Indiana, and that I'd be making a trip back there to get said house in a show-worthy condition.  I'm happy to say that I'm now back home and decompressed enough to give you all a highlights reel!  I'll warn you that it's not particularly exciting, but if you're interested in some of the gorier details of cleaning up after 4 years worth of not-so-responsible renters then this is for you.

Read more... )
bethzylla: (Default)
I'm going to take a second to organize my thoughts here.  I've got a lot to do in the next few days, so keeping it organized will really help my sanity.  LOL

Lists! )
bethzylla: (Default)
I had a laughable experience today that I wanted to share. I was at JoAnn's buying feathers. The cashier asked me what I was going to use them for, and I told her it was going to be a hat decoration for an Elizabethan lady costume. She said, "An Elizabethan lady...what's that?"

It took me a second to come up with an answer because I couldn't believe that anyone of high school age or older wouldn't at least have heard the term 'Elizabethan' in passing. When I told her it was a lady who would have lived during the time of Queen Elizabeth I of England, she said, "Oh, so it's for those crazy poofy hats?" While that's not really the case as Elizabethan hats tend to be smallish and occasionally tall, I just nodded anyway because I didn't want to get into more explanations that would confuse her. She said, "Oh, all right. As long as I don't see it in church!"

People are bizarre, and our education system is definitely failing.
bethzylla: (Alot)
I've been quiet on here and facebook for the past couple weeks.  The reason for that is because I was either rush sewing some things to take on vacation, or actually on vacation!  Sadly I don't have any pics ready to share here yet, but I thought I'd just ramble on a bit about it all to decompress.

Read more... )

So, total hours spent continuously sewing: 26.  I did stop for short breaks to eat, let the dogs out, stretch, etc.  That is definitely my new personal record, though.  My sewing room is in utter chaos, and I haven't set foot in there yet to start the cleanup effort.  I think I'll do that tomorrow since it's supposed to be such mild weather.  I'm still sleepy from the long drive, and all my animals are still clustered all around me like they weren't sure I was coming back home.  I think I was missed!
bethzylla: (Default)
I've had the worst time lately trying to get mentally in gear.  I have several sewing projects on my plate (all for paying clients) and deadlines are creeping closer every day.  I don't know what my problem is, but the sewing mojo just isn't there.  I utterly hate when this happens...I want my sewing to be something that makes me happy, not a chore to be completed under pressure.  I know everyone goes through creative slumps, but this seriously couldn't have come at a worse time.

There's a fun guild event coming up - a Victorian train ride - and I'd hoped to make a new outfit for it.  It's safe to say that's not happening at this point.  I'll have to wear my only Victorian outfit (the blue bustle dress) again.  I do like it, and I'm starting to get it accessorized to a level I'm happy with, but's not new and shiny.  At least all the hard work I put into making it is paying off with multiple wearings.  Besides, it'll be fun to see all my friends and go on a scenic round-trip train ride.  Last year Ben and I wound up leaving early because we hadn't eaten all day.  I'll make sure that's not an issue this time!

In the meantime, if anyone has advice for sweet-talking a sewing muse who's apparently on strike, please feel free to chime in!


bethzylla: (Default)

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