Saturday, December 27, 2014

Percolator: Out With the Old, in With the....Same Old?

I always look forward to Christmastime--no, it's not the only holiday, but it is the one that fostered all this consumerism, nostalgia, and vacation days in December. I love the decorations, the twinkly lights, the food, the family, the coziness, the bare branches, and the long darkness.

There's also a lot of excitement about greeting a New Year and re-learning how to write the correct date on things. I hear/read, "Fuck 20##! It needs to be over already!" often around this season. Everyone's gearing up to begin anew, start over, reset, or


Everyone wants that clean slate, the full calendrical potential hanging on the wall underneath photos of baby animals arranged in flower pots.

One of them is pooping. right. now.

However, it really doesn't work that way. January 2015 is just....January. The start of a new cycle, only without Robin Williams, or Robert Schug, or Bill Young. Money is still tight, congress still has its head up its ass, hearts are still broken, being black is still bad for one's health, and I cannot fathom being happy about starting another year with those circumstances.


Additionally, I don't want to banish 2014 summarized as another shitty year. All years are shitty in certain ways. More states implemented marriage equality, Michele Bachmann resigned from congress, President Obama wore a fucking tiara, and I don't want to shove these events into storage in the musty warehouse of my brain, stacked on top of a box marked Ark of the Covenant.

My personal recap of 2014 includes moving into a rickety house with my best friend and throwing fantastic parties. Repairing clothes, altering dresses, and making several great costumes for clients as I tried to get a sewing business started. I enjoyed every day I spent time with my Dad, Mom, and Stepdad. I went on some lovely dates, kissed some delectable people, and even had a sweet boyfriend for a few months.

No way am I going to banish a year containing all those memories. On the other hand, NO WAY am I going to passively allow more of the nasty crap to seep into my life. I probably won't succeed in the latter, but I'll keep trying, no matter what month it's turning.

I'm not excited for 2015. There, I said it. If any of you, my cherished readers, are ready for this upcoming re-do, I do wish you a Happy *Next* Year.

Approximately 5/8th of my cat's life involves
finding a warm hooman and snoozing with them.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Secret of Gravethwait Manor: Why Haven't You Seen It?

Over the summer the theater company to which I belong, Fearless Comedy Productions, developed a play for the Pre-Christmas season (a.k.a. Halloween). From what I remember about the planning meetings in the past months, the goal was to produce a family-friendly, spooky-fun show. For our first FCP-original presentation, it had to be exciting, fresh, and (duh) funny.

I saw the show this past Sunday. I like plays in the middle of their run; the actors have become comfortable with their roles, yet nobody seems exhausted or bored with the dialogue. The promo copy says: "When Iris, Troy, and Kevin, the eager team of ghost hunters at Ghost Grabbers, LLC, get a call from the residents of the 500-year old Gravethwait Manor, they are sure to be on the verge of discovering the center of the spirit world in the Upper Midwest. But by helping to catch the “ghosts” that haunt Count Gravethwait and his lovely wife Lilly, our heroes may have bitten off more than they can chew…"

What you actually watch: A parody of paranormal investigators bumble their way through a sinister plan created by the Count and Lilly, who are themselves bumbling through the Ghost Grabbers' technologically advanced snipe-hunt. Stuffed full of references to pop-culture, reality shows, vampire fiction, traditional ghost stories, and our favorite four phantom-tamers, "Gravethwait" has a wry sense of play that makes it a show entertaining for viewers of all ages.

My boyfriend came with me, newly acquainted with my social circle and theatrical proclivities. I considered him the closest representation of "the general public audience", and I do so delight in introducing him to nerdy and hilarious things. Also sitting in our row was Josh Nite, co-creator of the online RPG Kingdom of Loathing. Who happened to write The Secret of Gravethwait Manor, by the way, NBD.




I digress. Sitting between Josh and I, blocking me from the curmudgeonly glory of Mr. Skully, a co-member of FCP, and longtime Vilifier, my friend Matt Allex. He is really of no importance in this entry, except to mention that he brought his young son along to see this "family" show. While we waited for the show to begin, The Boy and I observed on the signage pre-set on stage which he initially read as "Ghost Rabbers" ("one capital "G" for two words). We decided that a "ghost rabber" is the restless spirit of a dead bunny. The show hasn't even started yet, and it's still inspiring creativity in the children! The show is directed by Courtney McClean, a comedian and musician well versed in improv, stand up, and double entendres. Courtney has a keen eye for physical comedy and a solid experience base in comedy on stage. I swear I was not paid or compensated in any way to say this, but my opinion is that Courtney was the perfect choice as director for such a play.

The playbill listed 11 scenes. Uff-da, right?  Not actually a problem--each scene is a new location. Minimal props allowed for quick scene changes, smooth and natural as a storyteller pausing to draw a breath between narratives. The pacing of the story kept a steady pace, and the actors easily picked the energy back up after pausing for laughter. And there were a lot of pauses for laughter. I'm not talking about the Minnesotan, susurrus of amusement--full-on belly laughs were happening. The Boy laughed, the boyfriend laughed, Matt laughed (but he has head trauma), even the writer laughed (which is amazing). Much like other creative people, writers can be harshly critical of their own work. Mr. Skully was giggling along with the rest of us, enjoying the production he helped create.

The actors. I don't know if the actors will be relieved or disappointed that I'm not going to write much about them. I've already taken 2 hours of my morning to write this and have exhausted my store of spectacular descriptives for this humorous performance. I'd rather encourage everyone who reads this entry just go watch them yourselves, because no review can convey what they bring to this show. There's just the right amount of collective excitement, precision, and enthusiasm for their roles that helps the story move along smoothly and fleshes out each character. Voice and body language were used deftly to develop each character, balancing the good, the evil, and the weird within all of them. By they way, the well-honed and talented cast are:

Iris - Jill Iverson
Kevin - Ron Lamprecht
Troy - Ted Femrite
Otto - Bob Alberti
Lily - Cynthia Uhrich

To wrap up: Gravethwait is fucking hilarious. I was in an audience with a wide range of ages and tastes, yet laughter and entertainment were ubiquitous. There was even gasping for air (well, it was me, but c'mon!). Suzie Becker the Stage Manager ran things like a boss (and I heard she is super sexy also). The show only has two more performances, on Halloween and All Saints' Day. The Bryant Lake Bowl Theater serves a full bar and menu, meaning The Secret of Gravethwait Manor is the perfect start to an evening of monster parties, thrill-seeking, and men wearing females' inappropriately sexy costumes.

The Secret of Gravethwait Manor
October 31st - November 1st, 7:00pm
Bryant Lake Bowl Theater
810 W. Lake Street, Minneapolis 
$12 tickets in advance or with your Fringe button or CONvergence badge
$15 tickets at the door, but you run the risk of not getting a seat, so why wouldn't you just buy them online at least 24 hours ahead of showtime

Name-dropping props to: 
Horror Show Hotdog Podcast, KOL (Nite)
Apropos of Nothing Podcast, HSHotdog (Allex)
Courtney McClean and the Dirty Curls (McClean)
Fearless Comedy Productions (the rest of us)

Disclaimer: I absolutely was not compensated in any way to write this. In truth, I hold my friends, co-members, and co-actors to higher standards in regards to performance. So I was genuinely impressed and excited. Buy your tickets. Now.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

James's Secret--a short fiction

Jimmy squeezed through the attic crawlspace, coming back fifteen years later into the dusty cavities of the rooftops. The smell was familiar, the dust was familiar. Jimmy sneezed several times to clear both from his nose. His eyes watered, but through the film he was already searching for the spot.

He was certain (well, certain as one can be of a fifteen year old memory) that his treasure-spot had not been discovered.  He would have heard about it. People would have come to him, with questions--or accusations. In the musty dark his gaze settled on a slightly darker area cut into the far attic wall. Jimmy was on all fours, he bent his arms and craned his neck to see deeper into the treasure-spot he had crookedly cut into the wall seventeen years ago.


Jimmy stared into the hole. It was still there. It blinked first.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Look Thou to the Heavens!

Festival Friday. It's always a strange day; skeleton cast, closed shops, school children roam free like uniformed, little squealing beasts. After our educational presentation about the masks of commedia dell'arte dispensed to exactly six people, I had arranged to change into street clothes and photograph on site.

In tandem, I tailed one of our most oft-harassed characters; who does not have the advantages of speaking or facial expressions. Last year my troupe had to chase off a pack of wild things playing "let's-kick-the-person-with-no-peripheral-vision". This year, I told my cast member I would be watching and guarding, no argument. As the character traveled around the village, I would have the chance to capture interesting shots on the way. So I did, and my colleague survived unscathed (although I think someone snuck in an ass-grab as they passed).

Following is a compilation of the roof decorations of various structures around the MN Renaissance Festival. I liked using my telescope lens to view them up close, as they go unnoticed by the dusty crowds below them. Image and marketing copyrights belong to MNRF.

Weather vane atop the Renaissance Museum and pub.

Unicorn impaled above a jewelry shop and pub.

Sassy fairy tempts you to buy glittery hair-thingies.

Jousting knight weather vane crowns a rooftop of a glass booth and pub.

On the same booth and pub, a dragon. Perhaps hiding from the knight.

Upper level of a crafter booth and pub.

Gable with myriad-colored shingles. Above the Greek food booth and pub.

Forbidden upper level of the Pavilion. And pub.

This knot inspired the whole series. Texture, symmetry, and utility all played parts.
A hanging sign for the Ice Cream booth and pub.

I bet this gable is painted *especially* for people to notice. I love nerds.

A tiny dragon issues forth above a leather shop and pub.

This crest of indeterminable provenance. Posted above a gypsy scarf shop and pub.

One of the many peaks of Bad Manor and pub.

A flower bed near the door--does a tiny gnome live above this crafter booth and pub?

Gargoyle on a pedestal. 

Upper levels of Bakery Stage and knife-throwing booth and pub. 

A rather odd species of booby has nested in the eaves. 

Interior, exterior, and water wheel at the Paper-Making establishment and pub.

Hand-laid mosaic on the upper level of a glass booth and pub.

The darkened upper level of a garden ornament shop and pub.

An inspiring spire atop a children's costume shop and pub.

Slightly washed-out view of the cupola above the wooden sword booth.
...there's no pub, because who would sell mead in a place filled with weapons?!
That's dumb.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tour Around Haus Manna

In trying to run down my camera's battery so I could fully charge it for a day of shooting,
I photographed things around my house that I thought were neat:

Morrigan: the lazy-ass tortie.

My cherished Nosferatu necklace, the figure embedded in smoky resin. 

Black Velvet Jesus in the Garden. Painted by mom, frame made by dad. Paint-by-numbers.
I grew up with this painting always around. Love the visual & tactile aspects. I can pet Jesus!
I kinda hope it becomes legend, and my mom gets a cult following of vintage velvet painting snobs.

Miniature replica of Tutankhamen's sarcophagus. There's actually a tiny, gauze-wrapped mummy inside!

Rooster ewer. Really not much more to say.

Artist's dummy belonging to Other Manna. I mean to sew a model dress over it. Someday.

This image basically sums up the existence of Spaz; he's just a huge butthole.

Lights stapled to our porch. Hey, this is so whimsicle, I could sell it on Etsy now.

Spooky tornado dome belonging to the Other Manna. Tiny paper bats swirl all about!

A sprout photo from this spring. Back when I was enamored with bringing life from the ground. Now, eff that shit.

Not shown: dirty dishes in the sink, floors gritty with cat litter, and thread-balls from my workspace. I'll cover that in the next post (said no Manna, ever).

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rambling Ren Fest Recollections

Alliteration is clever.

Top Ten List of Bestest Things That Happened Last Weekend

10. Dregs in the Dark show--now with 45% more liquor! The band plays an all-request after-hours show for cast & crew. Maggie & Mike Heck soak the audience with booze-laced jello and pudding shots.

9. Learned a new dirty joke from ladies at the Mead Social. These women knew how to rock a mead social. Ask me about "the Southern ladies". 

8. A friend lost a sweater with great sentimental value 2 weeks ago. This weekend it returned. 

7. Babybel cheese red wax wrappers make good clown noses. Taught this to a 4-year old wizard in what was probably my first one-on-one interaction with a child on street.

6. Ate a cinnamon roll with progressively more and more frosting getting on my face. Wound up with massive sugar high. I scared the Welshman.

5. Roma & Captain Clifton give me money for a second cinnamon roll. Chaos ensues.

4. For the first time, I didn't feel like crawling into a hole and dying after bombing a Vil Ten insult. I bomb quite often, but this is the first time I bounced and recovered.

3. Free-play with commedia masks. The Lord High Sheriff dueled Capitano for Isabella's honor, Arlecchino and Columbina fought, Isabella threw a tantrum. These things may or may not be related.

2. Lots of comforting, sincere hugs from many cherished friends. When I make a public statement about needing hugs, I really need hugs.

And the number one spot for Bestest Things That Happened Last Weekend goes to...

1. Organized by the Original Manna, my friends raised enough money to replace my leather mug stolen the weekend before last. More than enough, because I got to pick out a cork-top lid, too. People had been passing money to Manna right under my nose, and I never picked up on it because I can't fathom being treated as special by so many friends. Total astonishment.

I give very heartfelt thanks to everyone who donated money, everyone who stopped to give me a hug, and everyone who looked into my face to sincerely ask how I was doing. I felt True Love.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Coffee is My Co-Pilot

I have skipped weekly postings about the awesome things going on at the MN Renaissance Festival, and now it's 4th weekend! What was I thinking?

Oh, right. I was thinking about the costuming projects I have to finish, my own costume to finish, and like 74 other things about performing and preparing for Fest every Friday. Because of Labor Day ("don't mourn, organize!"), this was only a 4-day week, too. Shit just got real.
...well, as real as Fest things go, anyway.

Lists are fun! Here is a list of things I have learned about costuming this summer:

-Always buy enough fabric for the project on the first fabric run. If you're not using a pattern, as I am wont to do, buy twice as much.

-Making clothes for children is fast and adorable. I complain that I can't find female-sewing-bloggers who aren't making clothes and crafts for their spawn--now I understand why they choose to phone it in by just making baby clothes (that's right, I said it).

-Cats eat string. Then your roommate has to pull threads out of Spaz's butt, which is icky. He's a stanky cat. So clean that shit up.

-Overlock machines are a gift from the gods.

-Overlock machines are possessed by the devil.

-Electronica/hip-hop/breakbeat/alt-rock/hardcore (specifically Mindless Self Indulgence) music is the very best for inspiring momentum to buckle down and sew all day.

-Finding the energy. the confidence, and the courage to continue sewing even though you're depressed and stressed and sad and you really need to curl up on the couch and stare at the wall for 9 hours...that is fucking difficult.

That's exactly what I had to do this week, though. Deadlines cannot wait for me to get my shit together. People cannot attend the Renaissance Festival naked because I couldn't make their clothes. They would be shivering.

If you know of any female-sewing-blogger who isn't making clothes and crafts for children--please post the link! I would love to find more creative people's work to read!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ren Fest 2014- Opening Weekend

A recap of each weekend posted here for posterity, for reflection, and for to share the joy.

Opening Weekend: Highland Games (resulting in lots of kilts and bagpipes, both of which I greatly enjoy)

-Saturday was full of greeting Village characters that I haven't seen in the better part of a year. It was satisfying and comfortable to walk around the site once again.

-Performed with Sef as "The Homewreckers" in the first round of Vilification Tennis. We came out strong, and lost our match with dignity. I could feel the difference a year of improv and comedy made in my stage presence and connecting with the audience.

-Our afternoon gig, participating in the Mead Social as the peanut gallery of jokesters and storytellers ended up being great fun. Charles Sutter, Winemaker, gave a naughty limerick where he cuts himself off instead of saying the final rhyming word; "clitoris".  At the back of the crowd, Merry chimes in with, "...her arras?" "What?" sputters Charles. "It's a curtain." Merry explains, as our troupe explodes in laughter, further confusing everyone. When we perform Hamlet, Polonius is stabbed through the "arras" (a rich tapestry, in truth), which the troupe mistakes for part of human anatomy during the show.

-After hours, I sat with friends inside a delicious, air-conditioned trailer to trade stories of our first day. Even managed to have a few good conversations amidst the cacophony of the Tavern-turned-dance-club. Teamed up with friends to assault the Porter with back scratches, temple rubbing, back and hand massages. Because he deserves it, after putting out First Day fires for 12 hours.

-I discovered how much fun it is to share my ice cream cone with friends. As each took their taste, I smooshed the cone onto their face for good measure. One Puppet Troupe girl licked the extra off the other Puppet Troupe girl's nose.

-Sunday's first show ended being a speed-through of "Goldilocks and the 2 Little Pigs". It took longer than expected, because the troupe and audience couldn't stop laughing at the ridiculous situations.

-We had an extra performer for the next fairy tale, so we performed, "Hansel & Gretel & Steve". Steve ate all the breadcrumbs Hansel dropped, so the other children let the witch roast him first as a diversion before shoving her in the oven.

-A shop worker called me in off the street to ask for a taste of my ice cream cone. He might have been just flirting, but I stepped into the shop and smooshed his share onto his face. His buddies crowded in the shop erupted with glee! "You earned that," I quipped, and smiled sweetly before taking my leave.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Funny.

There is some dark stuff in this post. There is also some lovely stuff. I hope it balances out.

Sometime late Sunday night or early Monday morning, Robin Williams ended his life. Something was happening to him where he felt there was no better alternative than to die. All the things that could be listed as good parts of his life, career, and reputation didn't fucking matter. For Robin, they probably hadn't mattered in a while. Depression lied to him and convinced him there was no way out of the Screaming Dark, no way but one.

No, I didn't know him. I've never met him, corresponded with him, nor have I any reason to grieve his death over the loss of life statistically happening constantly around the planet.

Still, I grieve.

I can't remember the first time I saw a Robin Williams film, or if I saw him as Mork or doing stand-up, he has always been a ubiquitous, hilarious component of my childhood. My brother and I watched a lot of movies on the Friday nights during Mom's weekend to have us. As much as we bickered about everything else in life, we could always find a comedy that we both wanted to see. So we watched "Hook". Then we'd watch it again first thing Saturday morning.
Slapstick and sword fights? Yes please.

We saw "Toys". It was entertaining enough for kids, sure, but a lot of the absurdity went over our heads. That's why I love watching it now, though; discovering jokes I was too young to comprehend.
Half the time I couldn't even pick up on the plot.

Seeing the film, "Jack", was an absolute--solely because of the name of the lead actor. The scene of Jack exploring in the yard is a brilliant piece of acting. Watching Robin act the child made me realize how astoundingly talented he was. Robin gave Jack wonder, gentle curiosity, and sheer delight that shines in happy children. The movie was not a comedy, but how could a person not be captivated by a character such as Jack?
Ugh. The feels! All the feels!

Becoming a fan of black comedy was like arriving at a great party where I knew everyone and felt completely comfortable. Plus Robin Williams was there. "Death to Smoochy" was this roller coaster ride of hilarity and piteousness. An awkward vignette of the shiny & new replacing the worn & old plays out in the context of children's television entertainment. Naughty things and bad words happening in a "sunshine zone" seemed refreshing, relevant, and perfectly wry.
It's a thin line between "wacky" and "psycho".

I didn't care for the whole Heaven and Hell thing going on in "What Dreams May Come", but I loved the idea that everyone's paradise and punishment is formed by their self. Another dramatic film where Robin's performance inspires both delight and devastation. The pain of the characters really is sourced from the depths of the actors. 
An oil-painted world really is the best heaven, though.

I can't imagine the absolute desolation his family & friends feel now. I can't even begin to conceive how Robin himself felt on the Last Day, nor on the days, weeks, and months preceding. This was a man who, even though he loved his family, career, and comedy, couldn't manage to stay alive one more day.

Within all that craziness, the energy, the hilarity, the imagination, and the inspiration the real Robin sits in the center of it all--Prospero conjuring sprites and storms. He was hurting and couldn't reach out for help. That's something a lot (a LOT) of people recognize in themselves, and losing yet another soul to the Screaming Dark is demoralizing. Considering so many people have been that close to killing themselves, to have been so entirely overwhelmed with even just the natural state of existence, it is terrifying.

 So now I grieve. My heart is broken because a truly brilliant, funny, kind man suffered and succumbed to an insidious disease that I fight and help my friends fight every day. It shouldn't have to be like this. But it is like this. I will never never never give up. There is a hole in the world where a dazzling, gentle, hairy, genius actor should be, and a deep deficit of comedy potential. I can think of nothing better than to always always try to make up for that deficit with levity, wackiness, hijinks, and dick jokes.

That's how I feel. My Facebook feed is choked with people expressing their concern, their sadness, and their shock at the suicide of Robin Williams. I will not apologize for adding one more missive to the queue.

And if you don't like it, why don't you go suck on a dead dog's nose.

Frosted Goofball. Om nom nom.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

I'm Going to Make This Mark.

So I am trying to be an entrepreneur. Well, so is everybody, I guess. Entrepreneurship is the New & Shiny Thing, which replaced Enlightening & Shiny Yoga, which took over from X-treme & Shiny Doritos flavors. I'm not one to jump on the bandwagon for any trend; it's just that I have a really shitty time participating in the "traditional" workforce. 

Side note: When I say "traditional workforce", I refer to the 9-to-5, 40 hours weekly, uniform, dependable career. The ceaseless grinding through decades of one's life, just to earn enough money to buy a camper and drive around the country after retirement. If one can afford to retire before developing health problems. All that? That is bullshit.

I'm not going to pick apart my entire work history, family life, and my current attempt at recovering from depression in order to justify why I'm not searching the want ads for anything that amounts to a living wage in Minnesota (Hint: not fucking much). The long and short of it is: I have crap motivation. None willpowers. Having a job doing the same tasks for the same clients with the same coworkers drains my enthusiasm for showing up to work faster than a Dachshund hearing bacon fall on the kitchen floor.

So I moved into this rickety old house with the Original Manna, set up my sewing space in the living room, and started telling people that I could sew things for them.

...and it worked.

I have had a mostly steady flow of projects since then; friends with burlesque costume ideas, cosplay requests, moms-of-friends with tailoring needs, and Renaissance Festival garb requirements from all and sundry. I have never been more content with a daily job before now. I love all the aspects of my projects, from pattern design for a costume through to disassembling ready-made clothes for tailoring. As I suspected, my schedule is really full with Ren Fest costuming for the next month. This is incredibly awesome....but also horribly terrifying. 

From many, many (many) past experiences I know that when I get overwhelmed with too much to do, I shut down completely. I withdraw from progression on anything, take too many naps, and begin a downward spiral of shame and procrastination. There's less than a fortnight left before Opening Day of Ren Fest, and I can feel the panic setting in. I can feel the sensation of hopelessness bleeding into my waking moments, stealing my ambition. Except there's this tiny, little lizard-brain voice in my head shouting that I cannot go stagnant again, because this time in my independent career is most crucial to establishing a good work ethic and a positive reputation with my clients. It sounds like hyperbole, but to fail now is to die (creatively).

I found a video that sustains me, though. When it seems like I'm about to dive headfirst into the tar pits of my own misery, I watch this, I recite the lines with it, and I try to believe in me all the things ZeFrank is saying for himself: 

And I always, always shake off the things I don't like, just like ZeFrank in the video. **grrrraah**

Then I forgive myself.

Then I get back to work.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lots of Big Words Are In Here.

My previous entry discoursed on how fucked up snack-food flavor combinations are. My example being those little peanut-butter & cheese-flavored crackers of sin you can get from a vending machine.

When asked, a number of my cherished readers also divulged in their strange, food-combo guilty pleasures (Names have been changed to protect my whereabouts on the night in question):

Mrs. Sassy-pants- "I get a small mac & cheese with meatballs and a side of pot sticker sauce at Noodles and Co...I dip the meatballs in the sauce, then pour it over the pasta to finish it. It's more dinner than snack...a guilty, weird, pleasure." (Damn, lady. You are a rockstar of weird foodstuffs. I tip my hat to you.)

Tiny elf woman- Peanut butter on apples. (Newsflash: this is a perfectly acceptable and non weird way to consume peanut butter. I still included it because peanut butter.)

Distant pen-clown- Jelly on grilled cheese. (I fully support this one, for the same reasons that jelly sammiches dipped in chicken noodle soup are amazing.)

Mad Max Jr.- Grilled peanut butter and bacon. (How, in my tedious 32 years on this world, did I never discover this?! What promises did you make to some arcane, dark god to receive the knowledge of such a combination?!)

Original Manna- Grilled cheese with ketchup. (Is this an east-coast thing, you weirdo?)

***Cheers, everyone. You have successfully lived up to my expectations of having unusual friends.***

Now on to the actual blog post:, fuck it. I'm hungry now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Snacks Are Weird.

I have been wondering about snacks for a while. I was probably drunk at the time, but I suddenly realized that people mix food flavors in the most unnatural, horrifying, delicious ways. Completely blew my whiskey-soaked little mind.

First example: Peanut butter & cheese cracker sandwiches =/= cheddar with a peanut butter schmear.
It's very difficult to make peanut butter NOT look like poo.
If you haven't eaten these, you've at least seen them in numerous vending machines, glowing sickly orange in the night-florescence of highway motels, summer camp, and college campuses. Four little, dry squares of cheese-flavored crackers & peanut butter. The salty-sweet, crumbly-gooey magical combination guarantees the snack's continued distribution to rest stops and kindergarteners around the country. Take the basic flavors, though; peanut butter and....cheese? How much rum was drunk to make that sound like a good idea?

...I still love those cracker sammiches, though.

Tell me, my cherished readers: What strange food combination do you snack on? Do you have a gustatory guilty pleasure do you harbor?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Finished Projects, All White.

I love colors! Obviously not in my own wardrobe, which is given to shades of black and stripes. In general, though, bright & bold colors inspire my imagination. Both my yarn and fabric stashes overflow with colorful selections with which I can plot and plan and fantasize.

Ergo, I'll be sorting my brag posts chromatically. I start with the color comprised of all color: white. Mainly because these photos were the impetus for this theme.
Rocking out--FOR SCIENCE!

A wedding dress was brought to me, 3 days before THE Day. It needed just a wee bit of adjustment at the sweetheart neckline. It took me more time to disassemble the dress than to perform the tweak! A locking backstitch modified the neckline, invisible fell stitches to close up the lining, and plastic snaps swapped out for metal.
Hand-stitching bridal wear; the most terrifying form of meditation.

The most frightening part about working on this dress was making sure my hands were clean the whole time. Still, the end result fit the lovely bride like a pretty, lace glove!
Except, you know...right side out, like a normal person.

This shirt I was commissioned to replicate exactly from the client's favorite that he had worn out. He wanted 3 shirts identical: the ruffled collar, the french seams, and even the double layer of cotton plisse used. Lucky for him, I found the exact fabric at my fabric outlet warehouse.
I'm pretty sure the dress form is what
makes the shirt look feminine. Mostly.

I bought enough fabric to make this one, to gauge how much time it took and what order of steps I needed for such a project. When I returned to get more fabric, I struck out. I could not find the bolt anywhere! I wandered through every. single. aisle. of S. R. Harris, but could not spot it!
S.R. Harris is like this, only more organized.
And the Ark is 50% off the marked price.

The shirts weren't due until August, so I didn't panic too much; I was months ahead of schedule! Those months passed. I looked in chain stores, online, and re-combed the warehouse. None fabrics. Until last week.

A warehouse employee and I picked through the aisles. The countdown to the deadline is a month away, and now the client has been asking after his shirts. Still nothing. I chose a random bolt of cotton to make do, and resigned myself to disappoint yet another client.

Then I looked up. I was storming through the rayon/lycra aisle, and here was the exact plisse I needed. Out of all the sections where plisse should have been (seersucker, broadcloth, cottons, linens), who decided to stuff it on a shelf with all this rayon?!
Froofy, yes. Artificial? I think not.

8 yards of washing and ironing later, I am about to start on the last 2 shirts of the order. This fabric is so lovely to use, I'll be returning to the outlet for more as soon as I can afford to.

...If I can manage to find it a 3rd time. Cross your fingers, you may want to buy from me something made with this great stuff!
It was like sewing with the dreams of little babies.