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Standing upside right

in an upside down world....

Fuck You Universe, I'm Going to Win
I'm stressed. Unbelievably, unrealistically, horribly stressed. I'm tired. I'm bitter, I'm angry. And above all, I'm poor, which is about 99% of the issue.

I'm sick of being judged on my choices. I'm sick of being told what I should/shouldn't/could've done. I'm sick of it. Advice is one thing, but the badgering is entirely different. I don't need you telling me how I fucked up, why I should stop trying, or in the one fun case, the advice to kill myself. (I'm serious, heard that from someone on a singles site)

Do I want some instant fix? Sure, why wouldn't I? I'm smart, I'm capable, why am I not employable? Even at home? Why do you not want to hire me?

Do you think I enjoy getting disability? So that I can have yet one more person behind me in line at the grocery store grumble when I use my EBT card about how I'm "living free" on their taxes? I mean, the card doesn't swipe, the cashier has to type it in, everyone and their brother knows it's an EBT card and I've got food stamps. And god help me, there's food in there including the first steak I've had in probably 6 months. How fucking dare I. People on food stamps can have spaghetti. No meat. Sauce if you're a good girl. And don't even pretend to put that tilapia in your cart, Seafood? What? Do you think you are people you stupid poor person?

I've got a trailer that my wonderful grandfather helped me to get, and when I got it, it was lovely. Tarquin and I were so happy, we had far more space than we needed, nice floors, wonderful bright sunlight, we were happy.

Then the minor things began. First, the roof leaked. Then, we discovered giant orange mushrooms under the kitchen sink. Then the mold began and I got ill. Dangerously ill. I nearly died. Oh, hey, by the way, medical bills, on your tax dollars. Because I'm poor, and no real doctor will see you here if you've got medicaid. So off to the emergency room I go to have my lungs checked. And go ahead and ask me how my birthday went a year or so back. Yeah, that'd be the year my liver and pancreas finally had enough of my stress and shut down causing me to be in the ICU for a week and in the hospital for a month. Great weight loss program tho.

And then my son, has no other choice, no college for poor people, the NAVY will take him. So now I've got the one person I could count on being around, gone. Into Japan, for 5 years. Thanks government. And you wonder why I hate you. Might be because you hate me and my son.

Every winter in this trailer? No water. Because it'll freeze. No concrete pad here, directly on dirt, so the pipes freeze at the ground level. And sure, I could skirt, but I don't have $600 or better to put into skirting this place. I put $800 into a new kitchen and don't have counters or running water in there. What, you expect miracles? C'mon now. I've kinda reached passive aggressive about this entire water issue. In summer the pipes pop apart, in winter, they freeze. I've never had water continuously running here for longer than a month. Ever. Go ahead, check my references on that. And I haven't had a shower here in about a year. I shower at whichever friend is kind enough to come pick me up and let me be a clean poor person.

And then the hot water tank exploded, replaced by a smaller 6 gallon one, but hey, don't forget, water is froze. Personally, I think it was jealous that I call the leaking roof my "water feature" and it wanted to prove it could be the best water feature it could be. The little darling.

The bathroom in my room has a nice garden tub. Too bad I can't use it. Had to rip all the walls out and that including taking out the fixtures, and no being able to hire anyone to do walls and floors this time folks, I did it myself so of course, it looks like shit and still only about 3/4 done. That, by the way, has now cost me around $800 as well, the new water tank was actually a birthday gift. Did I mention the water froze?

"Well, move"

Yep, I'll get right on that. I can pack it all up, and have it all ready to go, the moving van should magically show up at the door because I just have to move, right? I can't pay for it or anything, do you take trades? I'm not above trading sex for a moving van at this point.

Hang on, this wand isn't working, are you sure that "accio u-haul" is the right spell?

Oh, and can I live in the van for a while? See, I pay $250 a month here, but since you said move, I should do that. I mean, I'm not really homeless, I'll just have the van drop me and my stuff off under the bridge and I'll build me a nice fort.

"Well, you've got that embroidery machine, and that couldn't have been cheap, you're not really running a business after all."

That's not because people like you surf, look, tell me how wonderful my stuff is, and then never buy it or anything. Nope. Has nothing to do with it at all. Entirely different thing. I need to just stop being creative and see if Walmart will let a bipolar fat chick with serious back problems work for them. I hear they treat their employees pretty good. At least I'll have health care, right? And I hear they even do can drives so their employees can eat.

By the way? That machine? Bought for me by, you guessed it, that young man protecting you in the NAVY. Also, I bargain shopped, machine was well under $400. Not that I need to justify that to a judgy mcjudgepants like you.

"Well, you've got internet, you can't be that bad off"

Yeah. My son pays for that, I have no cell phone, not even a flip phone, I spend around $200 a month on food, sometimes entirely out of my own pocket because my government that is for the people decided that I didn't need a week's worth of food and cut the food stamp budget.

I also have a 10 year old computer, and up until last week, an Acer netbook that decided life was too hard and died on me. Ever used one of those Walmart netbooks? I bet you realize it earned its death.

And I'm SUCH a gadget geek. You think I like having no awesome Droid, and a computer that sometimes decides not to work at all? Yep. LOVE IT.

But hey, thanks for that reminder that I'm dependent on a 21 year old guy defending you from a ship in the middle of the ocean and who should be in college and flirting with girls.

"Well, you said you're going to Japan in January"

Yup. I am. On my son's dime. Because my kid and I care about each other and he's just as depressed not to have his mom around. Of course I'd rather pay my own way.  But I love my kid and of course I'm not going to pass up the chance to travel. Would you?? I'm not exactly going to be hitting up the Tokyo night clubs and gambling in Hong Kong. I expect a lot of it will be walking and sightseeing on my own two feet. Not to mention, public transportation.

"It can't be that bad financially for you, jeesh, stop whining"

I get around $800 disability, and I get no cash help from DSS (welfare), I have to pay my electric bill out of that $800, so yeah, I get a shut off notice every time I turn around. I get HEAP, but thanks again USA, it's delayed, and I can't fill the tank halfway, NYS law, so, nope, sorry. Not that heat will last long, don't forget, no skirting on the trailer.

Oh, and don't forget that $150 something in SNAP benefits that can't be used on things like toilet paper.

So no pets or anything, can't buy food, and good thing I don't smoke, altho I really should, at least I'd have a pleasure of some kind. And I'm not much of a drinker, I've had the same bottle of whiskey for months.

And no car. Even if I can afford the initial cost of the car, I don't have a license, and insurance, not to mention maintaining it and oh, yeah, gas. I get rides, or take public transport when I need to go someplace. I'm self reliant like that.

But please, tell me how you'd make it on less than a grand a month. I'm sure you can solve all my problems instantly.

Of course, this is all obviously my fault. I shouldn't have tried to improve my life 5 years back when I was so happy to get this place. Everyone knows, the poor are poor because they deserve to be.

"Alrighty then Jaie, feel better? Now what?"

I've had enough. I'm over it. I'll be slowly packing up my shit (once my fingers thaw) and storing it, and trying to scrape money together to buy a camper. Hopefully I'll have someplace to stash the camper so that I can stop living like I'm in a third world country. I want to be done with this place by September of 2014.

Do I think that's the best idea EVER? Sure don't. But I don't want to move out of NYS, I still love my home, I even love my country if I got down to the bare facts of it.

But I'm cold, I'm miserable, I'm tired of having to travel for a shower. I'm sick of struggling when the truth is, I don't really have to unless I want to. I gave this trailer 5 years. I've had help from a couple of the most wonderful people in my life, and had big help from another person who is my best friend. But these people have their own problems, and their own lives. My issues should not constantly be popping up and causing problems for them. I want them to come visit, be able to hang out, and not worry that they either are helping me with construction, or can't really hang out in my home because they're getting frostbite on their nose. I want a normal life even if it means living in a camper that is 18 feet long and is hooked up to a hose.  I'd be warm, I'd be able to concentrate on things like losing weight, work on my business, saving up money so that when my son comes home, we can find someplace decent to live near each other.

"Is it all negative? You're so fucking depressing."

I do have good things, I know this has been a great big ball of negative, but really, I do. My health is better than it has been in 5 years, nothing is shutting down, I can breath without a lung collapsing, and I have a kid I'm incredibly proud of. I also feel I've come much farther with my creativity, and that I've been able to do very much with very little. I keep my home as clean as I can considering the issues, I am not going to find cat corpses when I clean out here, because I've slowly been getting rid of things, there's no paths here, there are wide open spaces.

I'm happy with the loves in my life, I have friends that I care deeply about, and I have family that I'm proud of in many ways. I've got the ability to use my brain, I've got thousands of books at my disposal, I am constantly learning.

And for a long time, I had a wonderful man in my life, in the form of a grandfather who made it clear that I could do anything I wanted. And I know that he'd be the last person to allow me to continue living like this. He'd tell me to get my ass out and change things. So that's what I'm gonna do.

"Duh" Moments

You ever been looking on Etsy, and happened to think of something you wanted and in the next second, have a giant “duh, I'm a moron” moment? I had one tonight.

Among other things, I have a Blythe. Actually, she's a Basaak, which is the fake version of Blythe but having handled both, they're pretty darn close to equal. My doll, Æris, is really my filthy alter ego. But, never mind that. Point is, I love my little trampy doll, and I've made a few clothes for her, and she's got some fancy toys, including a fancy kotatsu from Rement. Everyone who knows me, knows Maude and Æris and give them their due as the household deities. These days, Maude is mostly retired. I've decided that while I adore the Obitsu bodies,  there's just something endearing about that giant head and great big googly eyes.  You can see Maude and Æris along with my mini Blythes, Michiru (Pet Shop) and Bia (Takara) on their own Facebook page along with seeing them here at Scale Adventures.

So, what is this about Etsy? Well, most know I sell on Etsy, as “Dirty Girl Designs”. Believe it or not, I don't do much doll stuff. I have little desire to do it like this, mostly because sewing clothes is a pain in the ass (even I mostly buy the clothes for my dolls) and I cast in resin and metal and shrink plastic so what possible skill could I use that for?

Duh. Pulls. See, Blythe have these little rings on them, they connect to a string that when you pull it, changes the eye color on the doll. I can not only make them out of resin, (which, there are actually several Etsy sellers who do this already) and I can make them from resin, and I can even cast them from metal if I'm feeling real ambitious. So keep watching, I'll soon be making and selling custom Blythe pulls!

The Ups and Downs to Shrink Plastic

When things work out with me and shrink plastic, they work out VERY well. When they go wrong? They go VERY wrong.

So because this blog is about learning as much as my place to vent and yak my little fingers out, I'm going to go with the bad first.

Now, last year, I came up with a jointed doll that I dubbed the “Bondage Babes”. They're for the kinsters who shop at Dirty Girl Designs  and I've never said otherwise. Sometimes those in the lifestyle like a more fun way to declare their interests and the Bondage Babes are still cute enough to be taken as just a casual necklace.


As you can see, they are super simple, they just have a protective glaze on them and have basic features. They aren't meant to be real detailed.

So, I decided that given the abilities of the inkjet shrink, I would computerize the BBs. Easy right? Well, yes and no. I figured it'd be hit or miss and it is still a work in progress, but my friend Bunnykissd who is a graphics genius (I very honestly try to avoid working with this sort of thing, let other, far more agile brains do this) took the babes and put a few bodies onto a page that I could print out and then cut out the bodies. Giving me several bodies to a page instead of stamping them out by hand. (my next step is to somehow get my Cricut cutter to do what I want for once and cut the Babes out) so yay for an easier life! And this morning she sent me a sheet with several bodies on it.

I was thrilled! I printed them out onto some regular paper and here's where I made my first mistake. I knew what the torso (including the head) measured. And I didn't measure my print. I was so eager I said “yay! Looks great! and used my last piece of inkjet shrink to print out the sheet of bodies.

Reader, I should have measured before printing. (yes, I'm reading Jane Eyre, bite me) Turned out that they are an inch too short. And with shrink plastic, this can make such a difference. There is no room for error. None.


Now, on the left, is a ruined Babe (ain't they all?) and on the right is the new Babe. Now, you can see, this difference is massive. Oh, I'm not crying in the corner, I am a little upset, with myself, not with the Babe or the graphic, I should have measured first before printing onto the precious shrink. I also don't feel this is a massive issue, just annoying. I can't work with this size, not at pre-shrunk size, that's fine, but at shrunk size, this is tiny for things like jump rings. I'll probably just print on the other side some rings that I can sell as “oops” because of the dolls printed on the back. I'll figure something out. This does show how crucial size is in shrink plastic. So the Babes will be delayed until Bunny and I can figure this out.

Now, onto the good.

So I've been doing buttons with my inkjet shrink, I'm now officially out and will be trying another brand. I still feel Shrink Dinks brand is way too expensive and am trying a couple sheets of the Grafix brand, that I can buy in packs of 50. Yes, I'm semi converted to the inkjet instead of the hit or miss of printing on regular shrink. I'll still be using regular shrink, but whatever that coating is, it makes it worth the $2 a sheet.

Now, my deep love in crafting is metal and resin. I love both. But there is an instant gratification to shrink plastic that I can't deny. It also impresses people, when it shouldn't really, that you are far more creative than you really are.

Buttons are easy. I can't stress this enough. I find images I want, get them into the shape that works, and punch them out with a 2” punch. I then punch holes and then shrink. I add UTEE and then sand and drill. Done. Not complicated. In fact I feel pretty guilty for charging $2 each for buttons but I've had several people tell me that if anything, I'm not charging enough. I've looked at other buttons made of shrink plastic and sometimes I tend to agree. Don't get me wrong, hand made art and drawing it yourself generally beat computer images hands down, but that's if they are good. And what I've seen being charged $3 each for? Ain't good.

I'm unsure if I'll sell many buttons one at a time, I plan on keeping them in groups of 6 for the $12. I feel most people want at least 6, and yes, $12 is a bit much for buttons, but I also feel you aren't likely to go to JoAnn Fabrics (there, just two buttons can run you $15 if you follow that link)  and find Elizabeth Tudor portrait buttons.

Yeah. You heard me. Elizabeth Tudor. (yes, she became Elizabeth I of England later)

A friend and fellow SCAdian (again with SCAdian friends wanting buttons!) had admired what I'd done so far when I mentioned that I'd intended on doing some of Elizabeth I of England. She began to squeal. The “meat colored dress” portrait was our favorite. Even better, she wanted the buttons for a mundane (non SCA) sweater. So I ran up a sheet of 12 fairly quickly.


You can see why lots of people love this Flemish School painting of the young Elizabeth Tudor.  The composed young ginger here is clearly secure, yet at the same time, vulnerable. Not yet the rigid, scarred and scary queen she later became. Her salmon colored dress is pretty, and you can see she has her mother's graceful neck (if still intact, unlike her mother's)

This is a case of when it works, it works great. I'm nearly out of ink in my printer, but you know what's nice with shrink plastic? Inkjet or regular, colors get stronger and darker when you bake. So while there is some variation in these buttons, it doesn't subtract from them in any way.


I really can't wait to do these “portrait” buttons with shanks. Without anything to detract from the design (the holes) the full glory of portraits like these will be amazing. I also intend on experimenting with crystals around the edges to get a more lush appearance. Think of the old miniatures with pearls or gems around the edges and you'll have an idea. But at the same time, the buttons with holes are still good, after all, for a kid's sweater, they'll be on firmly. Shank buttons aren't always the firmest of things.

So there's without a doubt good and bad runs with projects, I mean, mistakes I make with resin and metal casting are epic at times. Metal I can luckily re-melt, resin mistakes are pretty harsh, there's no fixing those. Shrink plastic however, because its so cheap (well, the non inkjet variety anyhow) mistakes are more lessons in swearing. I'm annoyed, but I can move on fairly easily.

To Brand or Not to Brand
So I have a bit of a conundrum. Nothing major, not even that exciting really, but to me, important.

So I do all sorts of things with shrink plastic. Buttons, rings, and even dollhouse chairs. Some of my stuff is drawn or hand colored, but a lot of stuff is done with a printer. But don't underestimate how much work goes into something. It's actually pretty consuming work. For example, this is how buttons are done:

  1. Find a vector image. I either use Vector Stock or CDs from the Dover Clip Art Collection. Vector just means I can size to the 3.12” I need to be able to punch it out with my 2” punch and not have it distort.

  2. If it isn't a vector image (say a photo or other custom work) I have to resize it so it'll not distort badly when it shrinks. (insert some pretty impress cursing here, and I'm not kidding, my cursing is impressive)

  3. For buttons like the Russian buttons, I have to use the one images and cover an entire sheet while resizing and not having the image distort.

  4. Sit and punch 12–20 buttons out by hand (swear more as my eyes glaze over and my hand cramps)

  5. Punch button holes, 2 per button (I'm looking into getting a fancy punch to do this step) (really swear as I rip my template for the holes or images don't line up)

  6. Bake (at this time of year in high heats) the buttons and make sure I don't over melt them and let them cool (swear some more as I pull hot buttons off the oven rack)

  7. Sprinkle UTEE powder on the now baked buttons. This gives them dimension and a hard coating, I've gotten smart with this and keep my UTEE in a salt shaker and sprinkle it on evenly

  8. Make sure the UTEE doesn't burn, It melts fairly fast and burns even quicker which can discolor a button (scream and throw things when I inevitably burn something because I was distracted by shiny objects)

  9. Let the buttons cool again (in a rush, stuff in freezer)

  10. Gently sand any excess UTEE off the sides of the buttons (shudder helplessly when the stupid emery board hits your nail and feels like squeaking chalk on a chalkboard)

  11. Drill out button holes, since the UTEE has covered these (sob hysterically when you put the micro drill thru a finger)

  12. Wash the buttons in warm water (this helps to soothe the stab wound as well)

  13. Mount on a card or package for sale (be sure to drop buttons at least 6X while trying to mount them to the mother f*c*ing da**ed card)

  14. List on Etsy (a tedious process, taking as long as 10 minutes per listing) (curse when connection drops and you have to start all over)

  15. Mail to new owner, this means taking the bus into town, or walking 6 miles (yep, I do that) or caging a ride with someone (listen to customers whine because you didn't mail out their special buttons they needed THIS Saturday but ordered on Tuesday, oh and then demanded and received free shipping)

  16. Collapse with relief that something sold (very important step)

So what's the big deal with branding then? Well, back in the 80's when my father was welding for a place that built phone booths, he'd someplace put in his initials “HJJ”. It was only in a way he knew, and he apparently recognized a few of his booths far away from where we live here in Upstate NY. So wanting to leave my mark is clearly genetic. Of course, good luck finding a phone booth these days.

Now, white shrink is awesome. It has clarity, and the inkjet stuff shows even the smallest of detail. Adding the UTEE makes it pop even more. So I don't want a brand on the front of a piece. But, I feel that putting my mark on the back isn't a big deal. Or a pendant, or a white ring. With clear and translucent, I try to find another way to mark my item. I'm seriously considering stickers as well. For my rings I sometimes try to put “DGD” (Dirty Girl Designs) or my initials “JMJ” someplace on the piece, with the computer or by hand. It's normally tiny and not easy to find.

With anything white, it's different. I do an all over repeating text of my Etsy address. “”. Such as on the back of this button.


I am not trying to “copyright” “trademark” or “registered” my item. Not at all. First, I'm hardly the only person to do shrink plastic buttons or rings. Nor am I even close to half as talented as some of the other creators out there. Hell, I use images and I print. I still feel however, I do a lot of work and I want people to know where it came from. The name on the button is not visible, nor on the back of a white ring will you see the repeating design.

So, as an Etsy artist, do you mark your item? And on the flip side, as a customer, would you find my branding offensive? Or does it detract from your desire for the item?

Inkjet Shrink Plastic vs Regular Shrink

I got a surprise commission today, but it gave me a chance to do some serious experimenting. I'd worked a couple times with inkjet shrink plastic but not in any depth really so I won't claim I know the stuff beyond avoiding it because it is insanely expensive. But anyhow, an old friend had seen my buttons and asked if I could do some custom buttons, he wanted some for an SCA event, and I said “sure no problem”. Well, some rough starts later, including some miscommunication on the image he wanted used, I finally thought I had the images in the right place for being punched out with my Fiskars 2” punch. And yes, I did. I did a test run on some plain paper with grey scale (I hate wasting color ink) and the test turned out great. I knew however that I really didn't want to do these on clear shrink plastic, which was all I had left. So when he asked, I told him that translucent or white shrink plastic would be best. Now, normally, I'd have hopped up onto Lucky Squirrel and ordered a big pack of white. But, he was in a rush (he wants these by Thursday) so I sent him to Hobby Lobby. I figured he'd just get a pack of white, he only needs 30 buttons after all. But when he arrived, he'd bought 2 packages of white, and 2 packages of the inkjet shrink. To my delight, he said to keep them and just see what I could do with them. I actually really wanted him to take back the 3 packages leaving me just one of the inkjet, but he's that kind of guy. So thank you Terry. I owe you. So, my biggest drawback to the inkjet shrink plastic so far? Cost. Because it has a special coating of some kind, at Hobby Lobby, it is $12.99 for 6 sheets. That means each sheet costs a little over $2 each. Owie. (and 6 sheets at Hobby Lobby of Bright White is around $5 compared to my $13.99 for 24 sheets at LS) break this down a bit further, and it's around 18 cents per button. Which isn't terrible, and sometimes I can get more than 12 buttons off a sheet, but 12 is about average. So is it worth that? Well, yes and no. The idea of paying $13 for 6 sheets of plastic causes me to cringe. I admit it. I'd have never bought those sheets, much less 2 packs. Theory says one package will give me at least 72 buttons. And yes, you just keep breaking this down. I sell sets of 6 buttons for $8–$12 per set, depending. Now how about the printing right? I have to admit. Wow. Just, wow. Now, as I've said before, you can print using a printer on regular shrink. You need to sand the hell out of it. On this stuff, nope. And part of the issue here is white versus clear, so keep that in mind too. The biggest advantage I see is that when I touch a button or pendant, it's not smearing halfway to hell when I touch it out of the printer. The inkjet can be touched instantly. That saves me time in a lot of ways. So that feature, yes, makes the cost worth it. Now, lets have some comparison pictures shall we?

 Translucent and clear SANY3178

This is translucent and clear in the Russian buttons, and one of my “mistake” buttons for my friend. The “mistake” button is clear shrink with some glazing on it to create dimension.

SANY3181 SANY3185

See what I mean? First, the white really makes the colors pop. Big time. And the lines are far more crisp. Amazing. The second picture shows the glazing added, I'll be hitting the sides with an emery board to remove the doming material, along with drilling into the holes to free those up again. In real life the button is a more ivory color. Now, while I think the clear domed buttons look great, the white looks amazing. Here's another good example. Both are Russian Button, the 4 done on translucent, the second set done on white inkjet.

 07-12-12 012 SANY3187

Now, don't get me wrong, my friend Bunny does some sick photography, but the fact is, these look amazing on white shrink. I can't wait to dome these and really make them just explode with vibrancy. I really am looking forward to trying some pendants and some rings with both the white and the inkjet. So my end opinion? Is the inkjet stuff worth it? I'm torn. I really am. I think in the logical part of my head, I accept that the cost isn't that bad when you break it down, I can get several pendants, rings, buttons or what have you on one sheet, which means at $2 a sheet, each piece costs pennies to make. (not including ink from the printer and adding things like chains or other things) but then there's this part of me (thank you Scotch grandparents) that flinches at the idea of paying $13 for 6 sheets of plastic. I think in the end I'll be buying the inkjet stuff occasionally and using the white 99% of the time for things like the buttons no matter if its inkjet or just plain white shrink from LS.

Updating -Finally

So I haven't updated in forever, and realized, I very much need to. I do update my blog over to Wordpress on occasion, but I haven't been doing any of the three very much. And I need to. While Facebook can be great, its not the place for venting as I do. And I don't do BDSM posts here anymore, I do them up on Fetlife.


Basically, not much going on. (such a sad commentary on life eh?) Reading, and making stuff for the Etsy shop (another post on that later I think)


Anyhow, yes, still alive. Is Livejournal?

Dress Diary - Dirndl Lolita Dress
Well, I finally want to sew again, although it might go slowly until I have fabric and stuff. So this entry is only going to be about my plans, and most of the progress may wind up on Facebook. I haven't decided yet.

OK, so I'm going to attempt what is called in the land of Lolita, a "JSK" which is a jumper style dress. I have no idea right now on fabric, other than this first attempt will be whatever is cheapest. If it works, I'll be investing in some serious Lolita fabric.

I noticed a long time ago, Lolita dresses look somewhat like dirndl. Not tons, there's basics to change, but in general, it's the same shape.

So, I've decided to use a pattern. And sadly, there are no patterns for Lolita clothing really except for in the Gothic Lolita Bibles which are expensive ($30 and up as high as $100 for certain issues) plus, the sizes aren't exactly on the large side for my 44" bust line.

Burda Style has a fairly decent dirndl pattern on their download site. They also carry a couple of paper patterns that are actually nice too, and it's not just the same pattern over and over, there's actually some variation to the bodice styles. The online pattern is the Wiesn Dindl #6038 and well worth the $4.00 because it goes quite large. (up to a US 22)

So, how do I come to the conclusion that Lolita and Dirndl have anything in common? Check out this old post on EGL.  So, I'll be using the bodice, making the skirt shorter and  slightly fuller, I may in fact use the bodice and then the skirt from McCall's 5631 which is I assure you, a Lolita skirt.

I had this printed at the copy shop by the way. In total about $16. Which about as much as I'd have spent on any other pattern since you aren't likely to find a dirndl pattern in the 99 cent Joanne Fabrics sale. So it about evens out with print at home patterns and commercial ones. Sometimes I save, other times I don't. What was nice was, they didn't have regular paper (it's thick white paper normally) all he had was parchment, so to the gasps of SCAdian scrollers the world over, my sewing pattern is on a 8 foot piece of vellum.

Tohoku Tote
I made a purse, that's nearly done, from a pattern from I Am Momma Hear Me Roar's "Tohoku Tote" which I figured was a pretty cute bag, and I've been on a kick with making purses. So far so good, I need to head back to the fabric store and pick up more of the green, I thought I had plenty, but when I did the straps, they are far too short at 20" long, they really need to be the 24" she suggests.


First thing is she suggests pleating before cutting, I have no idea how the heck she does that so I cut first, then pleated.


After you sew all the way around of the outside of the bag, you then go in 2 inches and create a "box", this is one of those little, easy to do things that IMO creates a far more professional looking bag. I also did this bag with heavier than normal interfacing which I have to admit, I'm not keen on. I did another purse recently with Peltex and even compared to that stuff, this stuff is rigid. I'm hoping with washing it'll loosen up.


I did a bow in the same teal as the upper border, I hate working with satin just for the record. I still have to do this bow, it looks awful.


This is the outside of the bag with the liner inserted. The liner for some reason is larger than the outside, I guess that's normal, when I think about it, the liner on a factory purse is slightly larger if you pull the bag inside out. I also lined this and I regret that. When I do this bag again, I think I might try lining just the outer bag, this bag is really stiff. (giggity)


I got all fancy and used purse snaps. These are magnetic and you just put them in the fabric (these were sharp enough to just poke through) put the back on and open the brads to hold them in place. Again, it's this little detail that I think makes the bag look a lot more finished.


Without straps and with. See what I mean by the straps are too short? Most women I know want the straps to go over their shoulder so that the bag hangs slightly below the shoulder area. And yes, this is a BIG bag. It's about 15" high and 15" wide (it's not really square however) half the time people are impressed if I carry a wallet so obviously there's a good chance I won't be keeping this bag.

I do still have to actually sew the liner to the bag but I want to wait until I have some better straps. I still have to figure out this bow's issues as well.

So, long run? It's a fun and fairly easy pattern to work with. You do have to do some top stitching on that upper border, and I used (and will be using more) "invisible" thread, or the nylon stuff so that it blended in. I have two colors of thread, white and purple, plus, I feel using the nylon stuff makes the bag look more "store bought".

Fishy fishy by the Sea...
Well, not really. But since I'm sitting here waiting for some smelt to cook up, I figured I'd post.

Nothing really going on. Xmas was it's typical thing that I'm rarely into. I'd rather give my gifts to those I care about year round, not just one day a year. Now, Festivus on the other hand, well, I could totally get behind that concept.

But, I received a couple pairs of new sewing scissors, which was great because mine are hosed. Cutting fabric was really just chewing it apart. I spent more time ripping it than actually cutting it. First person who tries cutting anything but fabric with these will get stabbed with them.

I also received some spring form pans which makes me pretty happy. I like making icebox cake and that's a pain to do without a pan. I think as stuff gets done here I'll be building up my kitchen needs. Really, I have nothing except for some pans. Which has always worked, but it's hardly enjoyable.

I've been making purses lately. I also decided while making said purses, that a new machine in 2012 is mandatory.  I'm finding myself more and more limited in what I can do with my machine, a White Rotary. It goes forwards, and it goes backwards. And that's it. The bobbin winder is also fairly hosed and winding a  bobbin is a bit of a nightmare. After some searching around, the machine I like is the Brother Project Runway Embroidery Machine. While I could care less about Project Runway, I do like that this is a decent machine and I can download patterns for it to embroider without a 5 grand price tag. Or it'll be the SE 400. It just depends what I find cheaper, apparently they are the same machine.

Tarquin is doing well, he apparently did his boot camp "accelerated" and he's out faster and headed to A school. He also still hates Hello Kitty.

The Trailer Situation
As some may know, my trailer is the bane of my existence. It was bought on the understanding that is was an improvement on That 70's Trailer and it wasn't. Not by any stretch. First was the mold that began to appear the second winter in it. Then a separation between the push-out and the main part to the trailer reared it's ugly head. So for about 2 years now, I've dealt with no running water, a major leak inside, no walls, no cabinets in the kitchen, and just in general a ghetto appearance that has been more than depressing and a small contributor to an already fragile immune system.

When Tarquin went into boot camp for the NAVY, we had discussed what to do. Tarquin being Tarquin, he was supportive of any decision I decided to make. Another trailer was discussed, buying a house was discussed, or renovating this place. No matter what I decide, he will be helping me out financially with the decision since he assumes even when he's done with his career in the NAVY, he'll be living with me.

After talking to friends and family, I know that really, I can do any of those things. But, I have made the decision to stay. I've decided that while renovating may cost a bit, it's still cheaper than a down payment on a house or new trailer. I will still be watching for bargains in the housing and land market however. But, I have a low estimate so far on doing this place up of about $2500 and high estimate of 5 grand, both of which are still cheap considering that house or land can run $10 grand at minimum just for a down payment.

So, at some point I'll be taking measurements, hauling out my Google Sketch Up and designing the trailer again. I've never bothered with doing that, not because of any good reason, but because I had assumed it would always be like it is (room wise, not design wise) and I'm seeing it as my great chance to prove my design skills. I have a few ideas, some of them good, some not so much. 

While I still want a micro house, even they aren't cheap, running about $45 a square foot, and I can still do it, but while I try to do that, I may as well have someplace comfortable to live correct?