Friday, April 27, 2012

Coming soon

We finally got around to renting Captain America and watched it tonight after Meg's bedtime. We thoroughly enjoyed it, as we do most superhero movies. But the most interesting part - possibly excepting Agent Peggy Carter, who is awesome and my new style inspiration but anyway - was the scene after the credits.

It was a trailer for The Avengers.

Which is coming out next week. May 4, to be exact. It's already premiered here and been released in several other countries, to great box office success.

I love not having to wait too long for sequels. :-)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Little green dress

I knocked out this sewing project today during naptime. It's a sundress in about 2T or 3T. I think this fabric's pattern is just darling, somewhere between graphic and plaid. If you're curious, I think it's from Brothers & Sisters Studios and I got it at Hobby Lobby. Half a yard was enough. It's a plain quilting cotton, so it will probably go pretty floppy after washing, but the straps are a double thickness and after all it IS a toddler sundress. Lightweight is good.

There are only four rectangles to it, so it came together quickly. The bodice piece was 21" around, minus a short hem on either side. The skirt was the full width of the fabric gathered to the length of the bodice. For the straps, I cut two rectangles about 9" long from the remaining bit of fabric and stitched them into tubes, which I turned right side out and ironed flat. On a previous iteration, I gathered the straps before stitching them to the bodice, but I didn't bother this time. Later tonight I'm going to go buy a button, install it on the back, and call this good!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A post just for Marianne

 This is the turquoise summer skirt I finished the other day! It's got the majority of the gathers in the front and back so it lies more smoothly over the hips, like this tutorial recommended.

I refined the pockets on this one by adding a little seam so the pockets go down deeper than the hand-hole. Things tended to fall out of the first version.
This was today's sewing project. I thrifted the coral t-shirt and got that half-yard of polka-dotted fabric at Hobby Lobby the other day. It's essentially a shortened broomstick skirt attached to the bottom of the t-shirt. I threaded a flat ribbon where elastic would normally be and then just sewed the skirt smack onto the t-shirt. I did hemstitch the inside bottom of the shirt to the back of those ruffles to keep it contained. The skirt hasn't been hemmed yet, just zig-zagged, in case I come up with something to lengthen it. The zig-zags will do for now.

Honestly, I'm not particularly pleased with how it turned out. There were some ugly catches in the stitches, and it's going to be short on her. I hope it'll even be able to get over her head - the ruffles don't have much give. I think elastic thread would have been better for this project (if I had any and knew how to use it) and also I should have allocated more fabric to length and less to fullness. Oh well, Meg will look adorable in it anyhow. Probably.

Monday, April 16, 2012

What I've been reading

My soul snapped over the weekend. In a good way. I came across Lois McMaster Bujold last summer when Jonathan was reading her, and he recommended her Curse of Chalion books. I read them - devoured them - snarfed them, even. But they needed to mentally settle and I wasn't quite prepared to start her outer-space series yet.

But there I was at the library. I meant to check out and re-read the second Chalion book, but it wasn't available. But what was there was Bujold's A Civil Engagement, which looked like a sci-fi... romance?  And an apparently funny one? That did it. I got it home and read about five pages when Jonathan noticed. I was informed in no uncertain terms I could not start with that. I gathered it was the equivalent of reading Busman's Honeymoon as an introduction to Lord Peter. He, my Jonathan, dashed to the bookshelf for a better one, and somehow I've read three entire Miles Vorkosigan books in the last three days, on top of two Pratchetts the week before.

The Vor Game - This was my first one. Lord Miles Vorkosigan, son of legendary General Aral Vorkosigan, is fresh out of the military academy and determined to make a brilliant career. He's been deformed from birth, but has figured out how to compensate for his physical shortcomings with his brains. The problem is, his superiors just keep giving the wrong orders. And things keep happening. Seriously, who would have planned to misplace a missing Emperor on a simple fact-finding mission? How many identities can he keep juggling at once? More urgently, how many at once can they arrest him under?

A Civil Engagement - Miles lost his mind when he found the perfect woman. It was infuriating and I started predicting his doom about page 2. He tried planning his romance like a ship hijacking and, not surprisingly, it blew up in his face. (That was one awful dinner party.) Meanwhile his brother is trying to market butter bugs (don't ask), the Emperor is getting married, and Vor politics are their usual cutthroat selves. It made me even more grateful than usual to be happily married to Jonathan.

Borders of Infinity - a group of three novellas in a frame story. Miles solves an infanticide among hillbillies, makes himself obnoxious to pretty much every one on the planet Jackson's Whole (for a good-ish cause), and mysteriously checks himself into a POW camp.

This really is the kind of sci-fi I like best: the kind with adventure, panache, humor, nifty technology, worldbuilding, and really clever heroes (plural) who pull off the surprise ending. It would take a post each to discuss the books in detail, and there's quite a bit in each to admire, or argue about, or just disagree with. For instance, regarding Engagement, I don't think a sex change operation works like that, even granted the Betan technology. The story "Labyrinth" got pretty racy, though she had other ideas going on with it, and of course the racy bit was what the paperback had as its frontispiece. Publishers. One constant through the books is Miles' great parents, who appear as interesting characters in their own right and are always doing helpful and plot-furthering things. I should caution readers about adult themes (obviously) and strong language. She mostly handles things tastefully. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Home style quiz

I get a kick out of personality quizzes, and this house style quiz was pretty well done. I'm so glad to learn I have a refined sensibility. (It must be a tricky job writing quiz results: you have to be reliable and make everyone happy. Like fortune telling.)

A Bohemian Classic

You have a refined sensibility and bring a sense of history and tradition into your decor. You appreciate how symmetrical arrangements and beautiful, well-crafted pieces create a solid foundation to a room. But you like to shake up this restraint with objects and accessories that express your personality and your love of other cultures. When traveling, you seek out unique objects that reflect what you love, and you use them in a sophisticated way. You want people to feel comfortable in your home, and cozy chairs, ethnic fabrics, unique pieces, and even a little touch of quirk or humor give your house a laid-back, Bohemian flair.
You value comfort. Your home is a warm and open friendly place, and you feel happiest when everyone is cared for and relaxed in your space. Elements like pillows, throws, overstuffed furniture, and good lighting set the mood. You may also enjoy layering different fabrics or mixing patterns to create a cozy effect.

It went on to make some constructive suggestions about how to make this particular style better. Well done. The quiz is here, if you want to take it, and I'd love to hear your results.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Eight things

I was mildly amused by this article on "Eight Things I'd Rather Be Doing than Cleaning" - sponsored by a cleaning product, ironically. Then I realized this is an awesome meme. So here you are, eight things more fun than cleaning, in no particular order.

1. Dance party to Sandra Boynton music. Or Sesame Street and VeggieTales. Invisible microphone required.

2. Go shopping and eat out. If you eat out, you don't make more dirty dishes. Sneaky.

3. Get completely lost in a book - preferably a new one by a favorite author. (I have TWO new-to-me Pratchett books in the library bag this very minute!)

4. Greek homework. My version involves a lot of babbling, chanting, and silly mnemonics. It's awesome.

5. Sew, paint, crochet, or otherwise make something. Bonus points for glitter.

6.  Go somewhere attractive and take pictures. I like going to the playground, going to the beach, going to the mountains, going to the lake, going to the ruins, going to the historic district anywhere, going to the museum, going to the airport, and going on roads I've never driven down before. Bonus points if there's a good gift shop or restaurant.

7. Play with blogs and Pinterest.

8. Do something with other people. Especially with Jonathan. Or church people. I even kinda like helping my friends move, although this mysteriously involves a lot of cleaning. Oh well.