Saturday, February 12, 2011

Spring, spring, spring!

I have spring fever, in a big way. To make things worse, two of my friends are in LA right now, enjoying the warmth. I oughtn't to complain, though, it was a beautiful day today. It is funny how we acclimate to our weather. Right now it is somewhere around 40 degrees outside, which, if it were fall would be FREEZING, but since it is winter, is positively balmy. We have been enduring temperatures in the teens and twenties lately (or lower if you get up at an unholy hour, which I do not), so when the thermometer gets above 30, we think it is lovely and warm. And I am not kidding. I went to the mall the other day with my mom and The Small One, I think it was around 32 degrees outside and The Small One refused to wear her coat. It was too warm. I couldn't argue with her, because I had already removed mine.
Tonight, we decided to go spend TMOTH's gift card at the local ice cream shop. Yeah, easy to see that things had warmed up here in Utah. The place was PACKED. That is what Mormons do when it is warm(ish) you know. We eat ice cream. Since we can't have alcohol, we must have other vices! Ice cream and Diet Coke, baby. Not that I drink Diet Coke, I think it is foul. I am a Dr. Pepper girl.
That is another funny thing about Utah. We like our fountain drinks. Convenience stores abound here, and I think they make their money off of fountain drinks, not gasoline. When I travel, I am always surprised at the scarcity of convenience stores. And when I do find one, there are only 5-6 options for soda! You go into the local convenience store/gas station here and, I kid you not, they have 4 banks of fountain drinks, with 8-10 drinks per bank. Not to mention the non-carbonated banks on the other side. Also, convenience stores are WAY bigger here. Lots more candy, nachos, hot dogs, etc. It is a wonder all Utahns aren't fat.
Which brings me to another peculiarity. When road tripping through the states, as I have done, it is easy to notice when you have crossed the state border into or out of our lovely state. You know how? The restrooms. Public and business. In Utah, for the most part, they are clean. Very clean. Once you cross the state line, well, ew. You are probably better off on the side of the road. This is not to say that there are not nasty restrooms in this state, just that in general, they are clean. And I know my restrooms, folks.
I know, fascinating, isn't it?

I'm me again

About six weeks or so ago, I decided I wanted something a bit different for my hair. My hair, in case you don't know, is pretty long. I am generally in the habit of cutting it off every two years or so and then growing it back out. There are a couple of reasons for this. One, I get bored easily. Two, it grows crazy fast and I am too lazy and too cheap for the upkeep required for short hair. I love short hair, well, when it is the right haircut. It is sassy and suits my personality quite well. Long hair suits my temperament as well, though, because, as mentioned, I am lazy. Sweep it up into a french twist and Bob's your uncle!
So, as I was saying before I got a bit distracted, a while ago I wanted something different. The Man of the House asked me not to cut my hair off yet, to leave it long. Not because he doesn't like the way I look with short hair (he does) but because he says I complain too much while it is growing out! How rude. Since I am kind, I obliged him and didn't cut it. Which left only colour to change. Well, see, that is where I don't get very adventurous most of the time. It is silly, really, because hair colour is very easy to change, unlike whacking off your hair. But, I tend to keep my hair the same colour all of the time. Because it is me. It identifies me (at least to me), it makes me feel more like me.
Sometimes, though, me is BORING and I want something different. So, I went for it. I told my SIL (cosmetologist) that I wanted to go dark and weave it in with my natural hair colour, which is a dull strawberry blonde. So, we did it. And it was dark. And not very red.
I really wasn't sure what to think. It was a colour combination I had wanted to try for some time, but it wasn't red.
And I am a redhead (with all that entails, apparently)
The reactions I got were interesting. Polarized, really. TMOTH's family liked it. It was cool, different. My family? Not so much. It was different. They don't like different. Tara has red hair, therefore Tara should have red hair. They were mostly kind and simply refrained from commenting on it, but I know.
So, I kept it. Why not? Something new! Change is good!
Well, last night, I noticed I had about 1" of growth and when your hair colour changes significantly, 1" is rather noticeable and with my hair colour, not attractive.
So, I grabbed my boxes of dye from the grocery store and went to it. Colour, rinse, blow dry. Then back upstairs to join my family.
The Small One took one look at me and said "Oh, mom, I like you with red hair again."
Me too, Small One, me too.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bleh and stuff

This is my motto right now.

Or possibly this-

Do you know what it is from? Well, the first one, anyway, which has spawned many like the second. It is a morale booster poster from Great Britain during WWII, I believe. Might have been WWI, but I think it was II.

Anyway, story of my life.

I have had a wretched cold for over a week now, which culminated in one of the beastliest migraines to attack me in recent history. And, I assure you, migraines do attack. If you are prone to them, you know whereof I speak. If you are not prone to them, well, count your blessings that you know not whereof I speak. They are beastly. There are not words to describe just how beastly. There are some lovely migraine meds out there, sadly, the one that works for me does not work for my insurance. And they cost $25/pill, at at least two pills per migraine, well, sometimes I just stick it out and hope for the best.

Also bleh, I have watched all there is to watch of my fave TV programmes. Kingdom ended after 3 seasons, all of which I have watched. Doc Martin's next season hasn't even shown in the UK yet, so goodness knows when we will get it here. I don't even know if they have started filming it yet, quite frankly. And, I am all caught up on Lark Rise to Candleford, which is fortunately available on youtube, because it won't show in the US anywhere else for some time. And this is the final season. Grrr. Downton Abbey is filming their next season, but again...who knows when we will get it.

I am addicted, ya'all. Completely addicted to British TV. Of course, I find myself longing to be back there again. Sigh.

I have found that in times of high stress, that is where I want to be. In the UK. Why? Well, I think because the time I spent there was one of the lowest stress, most enjoyable times of my entire life. I was quite young, 21 in fact. I was living with good friends. Not to say that there wasn't conflict, of course there was. You put 5 strong-willed and opinionated costumer designers in one very small flat, conflict is bound to happen, but nothing major. I had enough money to do more or less what I wanted and I was in a beautiful, accessible, history filled city. Paradise, my friends, that is what that was. London is my dream. My stress reliever.
Paris was a sad disappointment. Perhaps my expectations were too high?

Currently, though, where I long to be is North Cornwall. Too much Doc Martin, King Arthur and Over Sea, Under Stone, you might say. And you might be right, but it seems so idyllic. Warmer (currently) than it is here. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Small, peaceful, old. I could happily sit on a green cliff and knit and dream and sleep. For hours. Compared to the stress I am currently experiencing here, yep, idyllic would be the word.

I have insomnia right now. Which is absurd, considering that I got about 2 hours of sleep last night thanks to the stupid migraine. I should be exhausted. Well, I am exhausted. What I should be, and am not, is sleepy. I am very tired, though, as is probably evidenced by this rambling, idiotic post full of run on sentences. I may delete it tomorrow, depending on how idiotic it seems when I wake up.

Onward and upward. Keeping calm and carrying on.

I shall be more entertaining anon, I assure you.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ooh, look at the pretties!

I knitted some mitts for my Rav group's February Mitt-along. They didn't take very long, so I think I might make another pair. Kelly says she wants some like these. Kell, if they fit you, they are yours! They are too close in color to my other pair for me to want to wear them very often.
You can tell when I am feeling stressed, because I knit. A LOT.
Stupid pic is too big, but I am too lazy to fix it right now.

Mormon Mommy Blogs

I am waiting for some water to boil so I can dye some yarn, and I thought I would take the time to post.
So, recently, there was an article in about Mormon Mommy Blogs. First off, I didn't really realize that was a genre. Secondly, well, I think the author's view of Mormon Mommy Blogs is a bit, well, less than complimentary.
I think she was trying to be complimentary, but honestly, I did not like the way "we" came off. I have to include myself in the Mormon Mommy Bloggers group, because I am Mormon, and I do blog about my family. Among other things. And, I read some of the blogs she referenced. A couple of them anyway. Truthfully, the big reasons I read the two MMB's that I do is because I know the women who write them. Those being, CJane Enjoy It and The NieNie Dialogues.
Anyhow, it sort of struck me that she concluded that we are all "cute".
(Water is boiling, dye is added and yarn is in the pot, in case you wanted to know)
I am not cute. My life is not cute.
I suppose some of the things she says apply to me. My husband does look like a cute graphic designer, except he isn't one. I mean, he is cute and does have the cool glasses and wear plaid shirts, but he is a contractor. My house is cute, and I do reupholster my ottoman with thrift store fabric. Well, not quite true. I don't have any ottomans. But I do reupholster my couches and chairs. Sometimes twice a year. With cheap fabric, but that is because I am not loaded. My wardrobe wishes it were Anthropologie-esqe. And some of it is. But sadly, most of the time, I am wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Sometimes a sweater if I am cold.
My house is rarely clean, in fact, the only time it gets really clean is when my mom comes over and does it. She is handy that way, I am not. In fact, as I sit here typing, I am watching 3 little girls make paper dolls on the front room floor, making rather a mess. Around them are a spinning wheel that I didn't put away, some laundry that I ought to be folding but don't want to and all of the pillows off the couch. Because for some reason, pillows never manage to stay on the couch. At least I vaccuumed this morning.
If you look through the door facing me, you will encounter my studio. Which is about standard for an artistic temperament. Meaning, there are stacks and piles of things hither and yon. It's a mess, no question.
I don't have a picture perfect child. Far from it. But I love her more for being not picture perfect. Sometimes she is a perfect little wretch. Goes with the territory of being three, I think.
The author of the article also states that Utah is the state with the most anti-depressant use. That is often attributed to the cultural pressure we all seem to face to be super mommies. Clean house, perfect children, dinner on the table, etc. None of which describe me. I am more inclined to attribute it to the fact that we are all so damn inbred that we all suffer from the same mental illnesses. I kid you not, I think 75% of Utah is related to me. I do have Mormon Pioneer Ancestry, you know. It stands to reason that we would all have similar problems, exacerbated by inbreeding, right? Okay, I jest, but only a little bit.
The truth of the matter is, we may be happier than some other people. Like it or not, we believe the Gospel is the path to that happiness and if you follow it, heart and soul, you will obtain some of that happiness. Now, the problem is, we don't always follow it heart and soul. Goodness knows, sometimes I let my life get in the way of my happiness. This doesn't mean that things are going to be easy all the time. I am here to attest that they aren't. See my previous post about things sucking.
Maybe I don't read enough Mormon Mommy Blogs to have an opinion. Maybe the large majority of them are cutesy and perfect. If that is the case, I think we are doing ourselves and the rest of the world a disservice. We aren't perfect, our lives aren't perfect, but I think, for the most part, they are good. I know mine is. Despite the current suckage.
Perhaps I am different. Well, I know I am different than a lot of my contemporaries in various categories. Based on the number (1) and age (3) of my child(ren), I should be about 24. I'm definitely not. Based on my age (36) I ought to have many more children of a much higher age. Probably should live in a bigger, better house and drive a bigger, better car. I don't. I live in a lovely, very old house with a bizarre layout and unidentifiable drafts. I drive an older car (which I like very much) and my yard is utilitarian, for the most part. I am a feminist WAHM with a college degree and a lot of work experience. I got married late by Mormon cultural standards and had a kid WAY late.
I would say I can fruit and veg and make bread weekly, but that would be a lie. My husband does that stuff. I sew, I knit, I spin, I watch British programmes on Hulu and Netflix and I am a rabid reader. I think my daughter is ridiculously intelligent, and I know I am. I am, like most good Utah Mormons;), surrounded by my immediate family who may not be the friendliest folk, but are ready and willing if needed. And will talk your ear off if given the chance. Well, probably not yours, they don't like very many people. But mine, anyway.
What was the point of this post? I don't really know. Basically, that the article seems to think that we are all kind of one-dimensional people. And we aren't. But, if that is how we are presenting ourselves, perhaps we ought to change that.
But what do I know?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Post Edit, Only Not

Okay, so I got some better pictures of the wedding gown reno I just did (and posted about) I changed the back so it was a better shape, but since I only have half a brain, I did not think to take pics of it on the bride, so it is still kind of hard to tell, as it does not fit my mannequin. And how was that for a run-on sentence?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

In Other News...

I did forget to mention where we got the cat. Back in that post labeled Kittens. Or whatever I called it. So, here is the dirt.
Once upon a time, I drove to a small town near mine to meet up with one of my brothers. The reason for said meeting was simple. He had run out of gas on the freeway. Being the kind sister that I am, I went down to the gas station, bought a gas can and filled it up, then off to the location of the dead car. Fortunately for all concerned, he had been able to pull off onto the shoulder of the freeway, and just down a small embankment was a road. So, I drove down said road, delivered the aforementioned gasoline, then arranged to meet the brother at the nearby gas station. This meeting was arranged to take care of a few things, number one among them, the fact that I had his small daughter in my back seat and I wasn't keen on keeping her forever. I wished to deliver her up to her father. And to get some money to pay me back for the gas can and gas, (gas cans are not cheap!).
So, off we drove to the service station. In my car were myself, my mother, the previously mentioned daughter of brother and my only child, The Small One. We arrived at the gas station and had a small wait. Brother had to fill his car (with the one gallon of gas the can held!), get back on the road, off the exit and over to the VERY BUSY service station. As we waited, The Small One noticed something. Were those kittens in that box in front of the convenience store? Indeed they were! Of course, she wanted a looksee. I let her out of her seat and took her over to the box, not really thinking of possible consequences. But, alas, too late. The children with the box were giving the kittens away and The Small One wanted one.
I pondered. Then I phoned The Man of the House to ask his opinion. That way, if he agreed and the cat later became a pain, I could lay the blame squarely at his door. I am clever like that.
TMOTH said, sure. Get a cat. Why not. Add it to the menagerie that we currently have. Which, should you not be aware, currently consists of one turkey (we ate the other one for Thanksgiving), 10 chickens, who provide us, and various and sundry friends and family, with lovely fresh eggs daily, and two dogs. Big ones, who don't do much except bark and eat and make a general mess of the backyard.
What was one small cat?
So, The Small One, armed with the ok of her daddy, marched back over to the box, determined to find HER cat. She took each cat out of the box in turn and examined it. It took a minute. Or several. Then she looked them all over again. Then she made her choice. The tiniest one of the bunch, though quite scrappy. Hey, that sounds like someone I know!
She took her cat, wrapped it in a blanket that was in the back seat and marched it over to show Memaw and cousin and uncle (who had finally arrived and taken possession of his daughter). Oohs and ahhs all around, then back to the car.
Did you know small kittens panic when in a moving car? The Small One did not. Shortly after takeoff, she handed the cat straight over to Memaw, after sustainging scratchy injuries to her hands.
Off we went home, to show TMOTH her booty. Of course, then came the important step of nameing the kitty. We suggested several appropriate names, but naturally, none of them would do. Remember, this is the child whose dolls are named things like, Wilhelmina, Georgina, Blue and Purple. Appropriate has never been her strong suit. She knew what name she wanted, though, so despite efforts on the part of TMOTH to sway her, she held firm. The kittens name? Well, it is from one of her fave movies, The Corpse Bride. She named him Victah. Not Victor, Victah. British, you know.
Bless her heart, she is becoming an Anglophile, just like her Mamma.
And that, my friends, is how we got our kitty. And when he is naughty she tells him to be nice or she will take him back to the gas station.
Someday, maybe I will post a pic. If I can find where I saved them.


I thought perchance some few of you might be interested in seeing what I do for a living. Or, at any rate, how it works. Some of you know what I do for a living, having been the recipient of said...doing.
So, without further ado-alterations on a dress. Terribly exciting, no?
Here is the before.

This is the dress as it came to me. Many of my clients purchase dresses from a lovely woman who lives about an hour from me. She owns a lovely dress shop in Newport Beach, CA, but brings her samples and "expired" styles here and sells them at a crazy discount. Then she sends the brides to me for alterations. This being Utah, most of my alterations clients are LDS and thus, won't be wearing strapless gowns, so I end up adding shoulders/sleeves to a lot of gowns. Good times.
So, little bridey wanted quite a few changes made to this dress. First off, it was too short, so we need to lower it 2"
Second, it needs sleeves.
Third, she wanted a ruched midsection, as she felt this would make her look thinner.
Also, a french bustle, take in the back and raise the back neckline.

Okay, so step one is to remove the skirt.

There is no extra hem in this dress, so in order to lengthen it, we have to add some length to the bodice. This is possibe because of the ruched midriff, which will cover up the seam.
Step number next, I need to remove the bottom of the bodice. Under the ruching, all of that lovely beading would be hidden, so there is no reason to waste it. I will be using some of it to raise the back neckline, anyhoo.
In order to do this, I measure up from the bottom an equal amount, then I use this piece as a pattern to cut the new longer piece, to lengthen the bodice.

Okay, so the new lower part of the bodice is on, two inches longer than the previous. It looks wonky because silk satin has a way of rolling up when cut on the grain. It is very annoying.
Now, we add the ruching. This part is a pain in the butt and usually takes me at least two tries to get it lay properly. I mostly just pin and drape, as I am too lazy to make a pattern. Go me.

Now I take the beaded back pieces I cut off the bottom and I am going to move them to the top to raise the center back up some. I don't love the way I did this and had I to do it again (no doubt I will) I will do it differently, but anyway, here it is.

Sorry, kind of a lousy photo. Looks pretty weird, though, no? Don't worry, it gets better.
Okay, next step, add the sleeves/shoulders. These are cut in one sleeves, which means there is no armscye seam. In order for them to cover what they need to, but still allow enough room to move, I cut the armscye really large and then run some elastic in it. This only works on the shirred sleeves, as it looks really stupid on a flat one.

Okay, we are getting close to putting the whole thing back together again. So, now all that is done, I reattach the skirt, put the zipper back in on the new, tighter line and embroider and bead the blank area and seam where I joined the new piece to the upper back.




As you can see, it is now too small for my mannequin. Damn tiny brides.
It still needs a bit of finessing, and I am not sure I like the shape of the upper back line, in fact, I think I will change it a bit, but I got tired after sewing most of the day. I will finish it tomorrow morning before she gets here. Still need to tack down the top fold of the ruching, make sure all the threads get trimmed and steam it.
All told, this is about 6-7 hours worth of work. I didn't really keep very good track, I did it all today. Betwixt and between, I played with my daughter, read my email, checked Ravelry, know. The usual.
I will post the final (prettier) pic tomorrow. If I remember.
Was that boring? Probably, but people ask me a lot how it works, so, now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sometimes it just sucks....

Life has been a bit sucky lately. Oh, who am I kidding, it has been super sucky. We experienced a, how shall I say this...A Violent Financial Explosion. Said Violent Financial Explosion has left us in a deepish hole of debt. Bleh. I hate debt. We are becoming well acquainted with Mr. Dave Ramsey and THE TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER!!! DUN DUN DUN!
Yeah, suck a duck. We are po' folk now, but hopefully, in a couple of years, we will no longer be such.
So, if you wondered where I have been, well, now you know. I mean, you know, right? Wallowing in self pity, obviously! Now, however, we are attempting to refrain from wallowing and are endeavoring to dig ourselves out. It isn't fun, I hate it, but there you go. Much work will be involved in this.
If you love me (or even if you don't) put the word out. Anyone need a wedding gown? Bridesmaids? Custom clothing? Baby things? Call me! Tell your friends! I also have an etsy shop, if you want to take a wee gander. It is called Lillyblythe. It is not well stocked at the mo', but it will be soon. I need to charge the camera battery first.
I will try and blog more often, I really have been in a pit of despair and whatnot and have not felt bloggy, but, I think I am over it now. At least for a minute.