All I ever make is appliqué

I have a couple of things to share today. This first is something I put together quick to wear for Hallowe'en. In mid-October I received my muscles leggings from Black Milk in the mail. They inspired me to follow a declining anatomy theme. I went to Aerie to pick up a basic black bra and made and anatomical diagram of a heart in appliqué to stitch onto the left cup. (I also got a pair of leg bone over-the-knee socks from a Hallowe'en pop-up store and these underwear off Etsy.)

And here is another sleep mask I made last weekend. I had a custom request over Etsy for this. It is Luffy from One piece. I think he turned out alright. He is just a little dull colour-scheme-wise in my opinion .


C'est l'hallowe'en

I've been so busy and now suddenly Hallowe'en is over! I went out six times and my introverted self is so burnt out and tired I don't want to leave my apartment for a month now.

I decided in late September that I would be a Sexy Volcano as my main Hallowe'en costume. I had some idea of what that would involve but not too clear a picture. I started working on it over the Thanksgiving weekend, by making myself a crinoline so my dress could be mountain-shaped. Then decided I would use some black denim that I've had around for a couple years as my slightly textured mountain rock. Because I had gotten *so far* *so early,* on my next Queen St. W. trip I bought all the materials for a cosplay costume I thought I could get done in all the *extra time* I was going to have.

Then I procrastinated for a week so I wouldn't have time. (But I do have all the materials to do a Haruhi Suzumiya costume, which I feel I should do in the near future so my hair doesn't get too long.)

For this particular dress I decided to alter another princess dress pattern I made- the one for my Victreebel costume I made when gijinka Pokemon were first popular. I had to flare it out at the waist and completely draft a centre back piece since the back for Victreebel had this big U shape cut out so I could lace it up instead of using a zipper closure.

So I knew it was going to be a flared, sweetheart princess dress and that I was using the crinoline I had made, and I knew that I needed some sort of molten lava erupting from it somehow. But I hadn't decided how I wanted it to cascade down over me or what colours or fabrics it would be.

Sketchbook brainstorm of different dress ideas.

I drafted the base dress and put the lining together- as I tend to do to fit things instead of making muslins- and then I drafted the outside of the dress, finally deciding on the design.

Of course I didn't even have anything wearable made by the time the 27th rolled around (the main Saturday of Hallowe'en), so I spent the entire day working on my costume. I also made a smallish grey veil so everyone could tell how smoking hot I was as a volcano.

I left the skirt hem edge raw. I thought it would go better for the volcano theme than double-folding the edge. The next day before I went out again I spent some time beading the dress and the veil (I lost that veil before I got the photos and made a new one without any beads). I finished it off with some lengths of ribbon cascading from my neck.

In the end, I don't think anyone got it without my telling them, but I still think it was a fun idea. I even won a prize in a costume contest.


I don't work at a pantyhose store anymore, but...

Since the Canada/US exchange rate has been so bad, I've resolved not to transfer money out of my PayPal account, so I've been using it to shop online. I've had my eye on the Muscles leggings from Black Milk since I first saw them over a year ago. I'm usually way too cheap to spend this much money so frivolously, but they came yesterday and I love them and I think I want to get more.

I also got the Lava leggings and they inspired my main Hallowe'en costume idea, although I am not sure if I will wear them for the costume. I am going to be a Sexy Volcano. Last weekend I made a crinoline and today I picked up the rest of the supplies I need to make the dress. Except I am suddenly having second thoughts about the zipper. Ack.

Otherwise, it is autumn and, to me, that means the normal stores have new tights in stock and every store with a Hallowe'en section has some sort of interesting, reasonably-priced tights in stock. I got a pair of leopard-patterned fishnets and 2 pairs of over-the-knee socks at Spirit Hallowe'en. (I'm going to wear the skeleton ones with my muscles leggings.) And I picked up some coloured fishnets at Dollarama because $2 for fishnets is pretty great, especially when I find there isn't too much difference in quality for basic fishnets. They're always fairly durable and really stretchy and forgiving for sizes. I may go back and get a pair of basic black.

These are all of the leggings, tights, etc. that I've gotten in the last couple of weeks.

I may also make a Pamela Mann order. Buying them in store tends to be $35 per pair, but online it's about $16 (which is better than my employee discount would normally get me). With shipping, three pairs will be about $52-- less than $18 each. Customs is always a wildcard though. They've also got better stock online than we had the opportunity for at Legs Beautiful. The sales reps were always working from two-year-old look books with a lot of styles crossed out as out of stock. Unfortunately they are mostly in one size. I've got a couple pairs and I'm lucky because I'm in that range, but I think no matter what size you are, they'll be loose at the ankle because of the way they were cut.

I think I may have a problem. The worst part is that it'll soon be too cold to wear anything but wool tights. I guess I can throw out the ones I have with holes though. (I'm going to have to in order to make room.)


October means Hallowe'en time :)

I painted my nails spooky because Hallowe'en is in only three weeks. I am excited. I decided just to do a simple but striking bloody design.

I painted them all white and then dripped red nail polish down them. Then I had to remove the excess from the drops with the brush so that they could actually dry.

They remind me of the promotional graphics for Dexter.


Just do it

I've always been a huge procrastinator. A friend of mine in eighth grade once described that she was a procrastinator because she always left assignments for the night before they were due, but I was more because I was still working on things in the class prior to the one in which they were to be handed in. I procrastinate chores, exercise, work, leaving to go places, going to sleep, and even playing video games I wish to finish.

In my mind I have all of these things that I want to learn, do, or be good at, but most of them are a non-specific "sometime in the future". I hardly ever actually do anything to achieve any of these vague goals- at least nothing at all consistent.

Today, however, I started a yoga class at the community centre. This is somewhat in attempt to achieve some sort of personal fitness, although I am also hoping it will help me to combat my sewing machine shoulder pain and tension headaches, and my tendency to stress out easily for no reason. I've also realized that I am not very flexible. For that reason, I think it'll be extra beneficial for me to take this class, as I have a lot of anxiety about doing things I'm not good at, where I'll often quit instead of working to improve. (Gifted child problems. I wasn't challenged enough growing up and now I feel very uncomfortable when something does challenge me.) I need to force myself to be okay with doing things I'm not good at so that I can be more comfortable in my own skin.

In my head, since I went to school for four years for a degree that I arguably don't need for anything, I  think that I don't need to go to any sort of class. With the internet and books and YouTube tutorials, almost all learning can be done independently for free (or at least pretty cheap) and formal education is pointless. It just takes the investment of time and effort. Then I realized: the reason we need to enroll in classes and programs is motivation. If you've already spent the time and the money and it's all for naught if you don't finish your report for this day, or you don't read the book to study for your test next week, or you don't attend the class between x and y, then you're going to feel compelled to do actually do it.

So I called, I signed up, I paid, and now I'll be doing yoga every Wednesday for the next 9 weeks. It may not seem like too much, but that's a lot more yoga than I would do if I didn't decide to take the class. (I would probably do it approximately once on WiiFit, which is a vastly different experience.)

Then after that I will sign up for a different class and learn something else new.


Space Nails

Inspired by the "half moons" on my natural fingernails, I painted my nails like space. There are moonscapes on my thumbs and mostly stars of various sizes on my other fingers. There's also a comet. They're out of this world!

Apparently it is also Star Trek day, so that's cool too.


Fake Prom: Enchantment Under the Sea

I went to Fake Prom on Friday (Fake Prom website). Fake Prom is an annual dress-up dance party in Toronto that I've gone to for the past couple of years. Each year it has a different theme and people dress up either according to theme or as if they were going to prom. This year the theme was "Enchantment Under the Sea"- the prom theme from Back to the Future.

Because of being away and then having to catch up on all the things I fell behind on because I was away, I was unable to find the time to make a new costume. I did, however, have something to wear. My grad collection from last year was a set of evening wear dresses inspired by some of the works of M. C. Escher, especially his "Three Worlds" lithograph (pictured below). Because of that, I've got a couple of dresses I made with fish appliqué. The one that fits me is partly inspired by salmon swimming upstream, jumping up waterfalls and such.

"Three Worlds" by M. C. Escher

The fish dresses from my grad collection.



I feel as if I've been everywhere in the past few weeks. We went to Montreal a couple of weeks ago for a wedding by car and before the end of the drive back I was already sick of riding, so of course we took an even longer trip the following weekend. We headed out on a 14-hour drive (including the pitstops) to nearly Thunder Bay to visit Logan's grandfather. This one seemed more bearable, but I think it was because we were better prepared with all sorts of books, sleep aids, and activities to keep us busy.

I was surprised to see how far along the drive we kept reception, but where we were staying and everywhere else we went within the week we spent up there had absolutely no mobile service and no 3G. It was a bit of a shock, since we are all accustomed to living with the internet at our fingertips and in our pockets, everywhere except while we ride the subway. However, I found slight relief in being unplugged for once. I got a decent amount of reading done and we spent some time enjoying the summer in the lake. I found it a little funny that the people who built the little town and live there decided to live so far from anywhere else, but still right on the highway so you can hear every transport truck that passes, but you can see so many stars up there, which was perfect because the Perseid meteor shower happened while we were up there.

Then it was another 14-hour drive before we were back in my hometown at our parents' houses for the night before departing for cottage country to attend my cousin's wedding on Saturday. Unfortunately, it was a little too cold to go to the beach while we were up there. We finally got back to our place in Toronto late Sunday night, and now I've got all sorts of email and Etsy and shipping to catch up on.

What we did do on Monday night was move all the furniture around in our apartment. Over the past several weeks I've been feeling increasingly like my studio area wasn't large enough. Our second "bedroom" has been our studio/office since we moved in and when I was working in there with my sewing machine, serger, laptop, and iron all going-- not to mention the table-space I needed for cutting things out-- it was quite a squeeze. Then add Logan at the desk with his computer set up, it was pretty uncomfortable. We decided to move the studio into our [bigger] bedroom and our bedroom into the studio, After all, we don't need much space to sleep!

Now I feel as if I'm trying to grasp as much of the end of the summer as I can.


Famous on the Internet

In the past week, some of the things I made and put up on Etsy have been shared around the Internet. Chances are, if you are reading this and you don't know me, you've come directly or indirectly from one the following places. This is my obligatory "Places I have been featured" post.

The original tumblr post about my backpacks that was then reblogged thoughout geekdom:

Fashionably Geek feature on several of my items:

Craftzine.com features my slumber masks:

A German website is even talking about my backpacks:

Reddit post about my Vegeta slumber masks:

Post in a Mexican blog about my backpacks:

So now everything I made has been featured so I need to make NEW things so they can be discovered because they are cool.


Intentional Media Consumption

I aspire to be well read, and you know, have a general understanding of the world, society, and all those pop culture references that permeate media like giant inside jokes. I got a Toronto Library card last summer and have never looked back. You can read as many books as you want for FREE and they will send the books you want to read from all over the city to wherever you want to pick them up. Yeah, I'm lame, but I like free stuff a lot.

For the most part, I just read casually while I'm on the subway or waiting somewhere for a while, but in a couple of weeks we'll be going away to the middle of nowhere, so I imagine I will have a lot of time to read while we are there. We'll be a couple of hours out of Thunder Bay so we will not even have internet for essentially a week and we have a super long drive on the way there and back. I'm taking the opportunity today to update my library hold list so I'll be able to pick up books next week before we leave.

I like to watch TV and things while I'm sewing and doing other half-attention activities. There is a lot more to watch during the September to May TV season, and thus in the 2011-2012 season I watched a lot of shows. The trouble is that I start to do it compulsively after a while and just keep watching episodes of things even if I don't particularly like them just because I watched them before. Now that it is summer the process has to change a little because there isn't quite as much being shoved onto our screens by networks.

I haven't been too terribly into anime since high school and yaoi and Beyblade G Revolution, but ever since I finished university and had some more time, I've been trying to get back into it in some way. I watched some of the beginning of Black Butler, Hetalia, and K-ON, and every once in a while I put my Dragonball Z DVDs on because it has always been the perfect thing to work to. I do always watch English dubs though, because my Japanese isn't nearly good enough to understand and not stare at the screen to read the subtitles. Right now, I'm one season into Avatar. I never watched it the first time around and it has been recommended to me countless times. I'm also three DVDs into the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. I've been borrowing it from the library, so I can watch it while the internet is being slow. I've been considering doing cosplay. Otherwise, I recently started watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, partly to see what all the fuss is about. It is really cute and it's giving me some cute ideas so we can look forward to when I have time to try them out.

In terms of live action, my boyfriend and I are currently watching Breaking Bad, Firefly, and Game of Thrones. I've also been watching Sister Wives sometimes on the internet.

Below is an amalgamation of lists of books that I posted to my old Livejournal a while back. I use it as a guide to what I should read next if I'm not sure. I also have been reading the Hunger Games series, although I'm still waiting for my hold on Mockingjay to come in, so I've been avoiding spoilers.