Hello, Baby (Craigslist WIN)

I have a Craigslist obsession.  It's bordering on unhealthy.  I know it's a problem, and I'm trying to deal with it.  Unsuccessfully. 

Introducing, my newest toy:

I have been diligently stalking Craigslist and garage sales for a serger, with not much luck, for a few months now.  Just when I was resigned to buying whatever I could get  my hands on for $40, and mastering french seams (check) this came up.  For $50, I have the BabyLock Protege (BL 402), with a carry case, although no manual.   It's got 4 scary needles, differential feed, and works faster than I think.

I was a little intimidated, because I had called a local sewing shop last week - to see about their used/floor models - and the sales guy dropped some unsettling knowledge on me regarding sergers.  Most of it had to do with me needing the self threading serger, because they are otherwise impossible to thread.  Impossible.  It takes professionals 15 minutes, he said, and it blew the wind out of my serger sail significantly.  The magical serger starts at $1,000.  I mean.  I love this sewing thing, but if I had an extra thousand Snorkcoins, I might allocate it to Mr Snorks' New Dirtbike Fund.  Or something that involves an exotic country.  Not a sewing machine.  Time for those french seams. 

However, The Baby has a tiny handy color coded threading diagram right on it, and Mr Snork downloaded a copy of a similar Brother 1034D serger for me, and played a few YouTube videos of the threading process.  Even without the YouTube videos, I had the thing threaded in 5 minutes. That includes a couple of choice words and looking in the bathroom for my tweezers (they come in handy). 

I think I will call the salesman back and call him a dirty, dirty liar.

It's stupid fast.  A lot of scraps later..  I have the tension thing eyeballed.  Not so good:

Pretty bad:

Pretty good:

A 'chain' !!: 

The lady I got it from had bought it off her friend and never ordered a manual and learned to use it.  She thought it might need a new blade, but wasn't really sure if it was missing, or broken, or what.  (Blade seems to cut fine).  There was really no way to test it - since neither one of us had any idea about threading it, so she told me - "If it doesn't work,  you can bring it back, I'm not a jerk or anything".   There are some super nice people floating out there. 


McCalls 5081 aka Men's Shirt Refashion. (Fail)

I mean. I guess it’s not terrible. The concept is nice. It occurred to me I don’t like halter tops, especially ones that weave in front of your neck, when I tried on the semi finished version.

The second  I slithered into it, and pinned the back together together, I looked in the mirror and understood the importance of making a muslin. Those chicks on Pattern Review aren't kidding.

I also object to the optical illusion the stripes give, narrowing at the top like that. I do not have the shape to be narrowed at the top. Pattern cutting out fail.

I used an old mens’ shirt, and I ended up with just enough fabric after I had ripped open French cuffs, the collar, and the back facing, and took out the label. Just. Enough. But I could have probably flipped these upside down or something, to get the lines to diverge at my chest.   I guess that's what happens when you cut out your patterns in the garage, keeping company to an oil changing Mr Snork.

But, most offensive of all is the Pancake Boob phenomenon (look at the profile).

Yeah.  It looks JUST like that when I put in.  I have yet to find a fix for it on Pattern Review. There’s something called the Full Bust Adjustment, but the name leads me to believe I’m not a candidate. I’m not really sure where I went wrong:

Having no boobs? (likely)

Cutting too big a size? (12) (unlikely?)

Cutting too big a size in boob area? (likely).

The weight and texture of the fabric? (likely)

The gathering needs to be placed elsewhere?  (I followed the pattern to the dot..)

The top is interfaced, and has facings, so it’s three layers of pretty stiff fabric. I think may be, in a nice fluid-y knit or one of those Spring “Silks” at JoAnns, it might have a chance.  Which is too bad, I really like the concept of a refashioned men's shirt.  But.  Not like this. 

It doesn’t look to bad on Nora, (save the profile view) but when I put it on I look like I’ve decided to creatively choke myself with Mr Snork’s apparel while making my boobs look weird.  AND, I know I’m not being paranoid, because Mr Snork, who always treats my experiments with nothing but praise, to avoid any sort of a breakdown on my part, looked at my fitting, and asked, “What’s wrong with it?”.

 Just like that.

I think I’ll rip it apart, and try a smaller size in muslin, see what that does for me.  But first, I'll get the biggest bra I own, and stuff it with my fluffiest dirtbike socks, and try it on.  Just to see if it makes a difference.  I doubt I’ll ever wear it, cause of the weird halter phobia, but I do want to see if I can make it fit. 
The lady in pattern picture doesn't look like she's having issues.  (This was one of my 10c garage sale acquisitions, circa 1970). 

It’s going in the "later" pile though, I have another pattern (Vogue’s 8552), that I had cut out months ago, also without a trial muslin, so I can’t wait to see how that goes. I guess I could quickly whip up a trial dress, since I haven’t sewn anything. Hmm.  Now that I've typed that out, I'm pretty sure I ought. 


Surprise Garage Sale WIN

I'm behind on bloggying, because I've been wrestling 90 yards of velvet into some curtains every night after work, but this last weekend...

June was gonna be a “Thrift Free” month, because I can’t help myself. I guess it’s not THAT bad,  I could instead have a nasty Starbucks habit, like certain significant others..  So, if I walk out S-Boutique $4-5 later with a dress, teacup, pair of shoes, whatever – it’s not the end of the world, right? Except the Starbucks disappears into Mr Snork’s scary metabolism, and my dress pile (to make something out of) has grown considerably.

Anyway, this Saturday, Mr Snork woke me up at 6:30, for a surprise, which had me in a pretty sour mood.  He's been talking about it since Thursday night and it sounded shady.  There aren’t very many things I am receptive to that early. So, he stuffed me in the vehicle, with my mood improving tea thermos, and went off driving to me muttering “probably somewhere ridiculous”. He was positively giddy, and I was a little worried he secretly signed me up for another 5k. But then, he pulled up and unleashed me onto this driveway.. where sewing stuff was e v e r y w h e r e.   I may have squealed a little.

Mr Snork found what looked like the mother of all crafty sales on CL, and has planned to deliver me there right at 7 am on the dot.  (God forbid someone else walks away with my stuff).  It was a little amazing, and the woman hosting the sale was the most energetic, chatty garage sale haver EVER. At first it was annoying, but then it became contagious. She was selling stuff like the guy a the farmers’ market sells bundt cakes. Loudly, and with conviction. Do I need a sewing machine? How about some ribbon? How about tassels? Do I know how to use tassels? Well, if I did, I would want them for sure. Thread? Oh, I got thread? Take MORE thread! How about a snap maker? Look at this pillow!! On and on and on.

In a stroke of luck (yet again) she had a Giant Curtain Rod. This thing is meant for a place much grander than my two bedroom, it’s like a sideways palm tree, skinned. But, it just so happens, my mother gave me the most ridiculous set of curtains – something like 20 yards of 54” fabric, sewn together into one, 108” by 20 yard piece of velvet football field awesomeness. In the 1500’s, they’d make the royal tents in the field of battle out of this stuff. And it’s been sitting, all 190 lbs of it, in my closet, because the type of rod that would hold them up does NOT sell at Ross for $6.99. (I love Ross rods).

$1 Curtain Rod. I am now knee deep in sewing curtains. And then duvet covers. And table runners. And chair covers. More curtains. Who knows.

$3 Bolt of green raw silk. It’s SO pretty. The pictures really fail here.   $1 bolt of stripey green/purple silk. $1 bolt of quilt interfacing/curtain interlining stuff (Not pictured, but it's giant and brand new, in plastic).

A Trash Bag o’Thread. $1. Mostly new rolls, serger thread even, despite the fact that serger hunt has been unsuccessful, I'm preparing.  Some spray adhesive. Some snap tape for duvet covers. Some more silk (brown, dupioni).

A $1 shelf, already hung by the door, with some teacup hooks to accommodate keys. Mr Snork really took initiative on that, because every morning he hunts the house for my keys, which I leave various places the night before. On one occasion he’s found them in the fridge.   I don't care for the green color, but I guess it goes well with the dolphin theme (to be found nowhere else in my home) untill I strip and stain it. 

Mr Snork also really liked the curtain hold back things. Especially after he was told they came from a sister’s old house in Ohio. 50c. Did you know you can use them to HANG curtains? I saw pictures in a magazine. It’s true.   Mostly over triangle shaped windows, but that might not stop me..

At some point, I looked up to see the Mr holding three bolts of fabric, a giant curtain rod, and various odds and ends, just hanging out, looking at book titles. The garage saler’s neighbor shared that her husband would rather die than be there, and I felt extra lucky. And a little guilty, I don’t know if I could be that good if he decided to, say, take me to 8 auto parts shops in one day. I might snap by #2, and offer we order whatever we need online..

I offered repeatedly that he set the stuff down in a corner, and frolick freely, but he told me later, he was being stalked for the curtain rod and possibly some other loot, and setting it down didn’t seem safe, and he’d hate to see me get violent in a driveway..   Ahhh, love. 

AND, the best part of this sale is that the hostess and I exchanged phone numbers, because, apparently, if ever I need more stuff (like a fabric cutting board), there's a good chance she has it (turns out she did).  Squeal!!!


CDM5k "Success"

I was pretty psyched that I came in 518th. Out of like, 3,000 people. Nope. Out of 680.

76th percentile.  As in, not even in the top three quarters. 

And, why is it that every 'official' picture of me looks terrible? I was really hoping for a Baywatch type slow - motion captured on film, long flowing hair, bouncy boobs and everything. Fail.

Giraffy looks super awesome, and totally in Baywatch mode, and I look like I'm reciting the little drummers part in the Nutcracker. 

36:32 minutes. 

More training in order. 

On the bright side, Mr Snork's pictures look like he's taking a poop, so that's pleasing.  Does that make me a bad partner? 

Aside from the Giraffy household being definately more in motion photogenic, it was very scenic.  That there is Pacific Ocean in the background, my friends. 

And some creepy awesome flowers. 

And, there was creme brulee at the end.  AND, chicks stopped me to ask what I did to my shirt, cause I shortened it, did a swirly embroider thing on the sleeves and gathered the shoulders.  So, it's almost like I had fans.  I felt very celebrity like. 

Also, let's dicuss this look:

I think I might like it.  I think I want those boots. 

I do. 

I definately do. 


Friday Goodies.

First, my coworkers' parents came from Germany, and "Omi" brought me a teacup she's had in her cupboard in Germany for a while. It's Japanese and super dainty and see through. I've had my thermos tea today from it, and I'm pretty pleased. That's the second time I've sat around at work and had a tea cup dropped onto me. A trans atlantic teacup, even.

Then at lunch I kidnapped Mr Snork and dragged him to an estate sale, conveniently on the way.  Everything was really pretty but expensive.  I fell in love a little with an iron, the kind you put coals into, and it irons..  But everything was priced a la antique shop in Orange County, CA, so I let that dream go.  For $65 that iron needs to be fully functional and I can't expect Jesse to make with BBQ coals every morning before work..

But, I did find and dig through a cup of silver tea spoons - an obsession relation to teacups, but a lot less space consuming, so, yay?  I found two I really liked, and had to talk the hostess into getting them - they were being sold as a 12 piece lot for $68, and she was reluctant to sell separately, but eventually, I got 2 for $10.

I deciphered one hallmark to be Wallace and Sons,  

the spoon with the pretty pine cones.

The other seems to be "IS" in some wings, or feathers, or may be just an "S"?

a "Pat .88", 

and a "sterling" on it.

It looks pretty old, or "haunted" as my little brother says, so naturally, it appeals to me even more.  As does this kind of research, on some obsessive compulsive level.  There is an International Silver Co, but it seems that all their hallmarks spell out the name. 

PS, after I typed up this blog, I went back searched just the "S" letter, and came up with George Shiebler & Co.  They were dissolved in 1910, which explains the rubbed out hallmark and its general 'haunted-ness'. 

PPS, after some more nosing around, I found the pattern.  Discontinued in 1888!  Extra haunted.   I might take it up to NorCal with me next time, to drink tea with and freak out the small anti-antique siblings.   

I think I'll go back tomorrow and check out the other spoons I left behind.  Shhh.  Don't tell the Mr.   It's the most haunted thing I have, after the Russian imperial silver spoons my dad brought me for my birthday.  Monogrammed with "K", conveniently, for my Russian nickname - 'Kuzya'.  Kuzya is a small, very dirty unbehaved housekeeping troll in a popular Soviet time cartoon, but never mind the details.  The spoons are pretty rad.