Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ain't it Good to Know?

(For those of you who clicked the link, I've always loved that song!)

I've been thinking about it a lot lately ... the word "friend" what it means, how we use it, what role these characters play in our lives, and what they can do for us.  I think my definition of the word is a little less traditional than others', and what my friend does for me is a little unorthodox, but I think we'd all be in a better place if our friends, and we as friends were a little less like the norm.  

Firstly, I think "friend" is the most important label you can place on a person (you know, if you're into that kind of thing!).  You can have your lover, your mother, sister, child, etc., but these people become so much more important, and integral in your growth, and life once they become your friend on top of what they already are to you.  I say this, because all of the tags I just listed can become your biggest hindrance in life if they are committed to just blowing smoke, er, in your face.  They can keep you from growing up, and reaching your true potential if all they do is remind you of how "fabulous" you think you are.  

My friend is honest.  My friend is not phony.  My friend will never kiss me li'l bum.  My friend will never tell me I'm perfect, because my friend knows better.  My friend holds up my mirror, and makes me look at myself, and not just to primp and get my lip gloss on straight!  My friend makes me look at my real self, and sometimes I don't like what I see, and sometimes we don't speak because of it!  My friend challenges me (especially the part of me that sometimes hates admitting that!).  My friend makes me stand on my own.  My friend does not coddle me, and will be the first to let me know when I'm being a jackass.  My friend never stands with me when I'm wrong.  My friend gets under my skin, and twists, and turns until I can't stand anymore, and want to rip my outer layer off just to get the little bugger out!  That's okay, I don't mind a good soul scrubbin' every now and again, but my friend will never do this for me.  My friend hands me the scrub brush, and says "Git ta woiyk!"  My friend never cracks the whip, it's my job to find where I need the discipline, and dish it out for myself.  My friend makes me stronger, not by rallying the troops, or circling the wagons, or screaming the loudest on my behalf.  My friend shoves me out on stage under the burning spotlight, because my friend knows I can do it.  My friend believes in me, why else would my friend go to all this trouble?  

The fact that my friend keeps doing this for me is what unconditional means to me.  It does not mean I get to act any ol' way, and I will be accepted no matter what kind of pain, or nonsense I create for myself and others.  One could look back to that paragraph and think, well there sure seems to be a lot of conditions in there!  I don't see that.  I see someone who has never given up on me, and that, I will tell you, is very rare. 

It's good to know I've got a friend.  I only hope I can be as good to my friend in return. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Let's Learn Something Today!

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
- Mark Twain
The rain has been pouring non-stop all night, and it sounds magnificent!  I love a good rainy day, not a misty-can't-make-up-my-mind-if-it's-actually-gonna-rain type of day, but a true rainy day -- the kind with the drops big enough to soak you with just a couple of their friends.  The rain has brought with it the beginning of another school season for many little children this week, and with that I thought I'd play teacher for a minute, and lay out some instructions for a little project that results in flirty, fluttery, and fabulous flowers (too much?).  Apparently I'll be teaching a side lesson on alliteration, and the abuse of it too!

Ok, so here's where we're going with this.  Once they're finished you can decide to make them into
hair pins, lapel pins, gift decorations, whatever!  You can sew buttons, beads, or a series of french knots in the centers for little spots of pollen, or think of something wild I haven't come up with, there's really no messing these up -- and even if you think you have, just start over!  They're so easy, and quick to make you won't even care.

So, where do we begin?  What you need is a good (cheap) synthetic fabric.  Synthetics melt, and curl when heat is applied, and that's what you're after for this project.  I used some organza scraps I've been lugging around for ages that I really dislike sewing with.  It ravels, and slips under my sewing machine's presser foot, and wrinkles like nobody's business, so while this isn't the first time I've considered burning it, at least this time I could burn it AND make something out of it at the same time! 

Now that you've got your fabric picked out, you need to begin cutting your circles.  We're not looking for perfection here, just something round-ish.  I begin with about a 4 inch circle and work down in size with each one until I have around 4 or 5 circles cut out. 

Like this, except with fewer wrinkles because you're going to remember to run an iron over your fabric first, right?  It gives a much nicer result, depending on the look you're going for, a crinkly bohemian flower could be very adorable, and romantic looking in that dried bouquet-keepsake sort of way -- play around, that's what this is for!  Alright, you've got your circles, so now what?  Get out your candle and light it.  It doesn't matter what kind, though I don't think I'd use a taper candle with its flame all exposed for this.  I opted for something shorter that sits low in a holder to control the flame a little more ... I don't think you're going to want a flame to be whipping all around while you're trying to stick a piece of synthetic fabric in it, but hey, some of us like a little more excitement than others!
I like to work from largest to smallest when melting the circles.  Of course you have less control over the larger pieces, so starting with a smaller one your first time might be a good idea until you know how the fabric acts with the flame.  For best results you want to gently approach the flame from the side with the edge of the fabric.  I work near the low part of the flame, while hotter, I find it more reliable since there is less movement there.  Also this isn't about cramming fabric directly into the fire.  Bring the circle close to the candle and move it slowly toward the flame, since it is giving off heat you're going to see it start melting before you even touch it to the fire.  That's what you're shooting for!  If your fabric catches fire you're lookin' at scorch marks, and hard plastic beads of melted fabric, and that's not our goal here.  Once you're all nice and melty, it's time to stack your petals and stitch them in place. 

There are a couple of ways to do this.  1. You can stack all your petals and sew them together, stitch
your "pollen" in, and attach a bobby pin, or pin back to the back of your flower, or 2. You can get a little advanced and "hide" your work for a more effortless looking flower.  If you opt for #2, stitch your "pollen" of choice into the smallest petal first, then attach your pin, clasp (whatever) to the center back of the largest petal.  Once those are in place, stack your petals and begin stitching them together.  To hide your thread, start from the front side of the largest petal sending your needle down at an angle avoiding the pin you've sewn in place.  Pull your thread through, and on the way back up (through all petals this time), angle your needle so that you are entering the fabric under the pin thus hiding your thread for a clean finish.  Continue with this method, doing the same on the top side of the smallest petal so your stitches are hidden under your "pollen" as well.  Stitch until secure, and you're all done! 

If this is your first time "hiding" your stitches, it can be a little tricky, but I think it's worth knowing, and comes in handy for other projects and sewing situations.  Just practice it a couple of times, and you'll be all set! 

Good luck!  And no, this won't be on the test.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I'd Like to Introduce You to

My Production Coordinator.  Now, it is my firm belief that all pets belong to a union
which adheres strictly to the code that it is their purpose in life to make their owners big, fat liars!  Just as I was explaining how our manufacturing facility is allergen-free, and the Production Coordinator never goes near the garments I come to find this...

Mama's Li'l Helper strikes again, thank you kiki!  I guess she wasn't wild about my design, and decided to make a few changes.  I suppose I'll forgive her, production coordinators rarely get to flex their creative muscles, and it looks like she just couldn't help herself.  Needless to say, we'll be keeping this prototype for the archives.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Out to Pasture?

Okay, okay it's that time of year again ... Labor Day, and how many of us are actually sending our whites to the big color farm in the sky?  Granted, around this time the ol' girl is looking a little long in the tooth, but I don't think it's glue factory time just yet.  And now for the shock, and scandal I tell you: I believe in winter white!  I also believe in stiff white shirts to match the crisp fall air.  I believe in crunchy leaves under a bright white sneaker with jeans and a cozy sweater.  I believe in ALL colors ALL the time.  I'm a mood dresser, not a trend/fad/tell me what I should like from your glossy magazine dresser.  And quite honestly I don't think I'm alone here. 

It feels to me that there is a shift happening out there.  People are tired of the same old assembly line junk that everyone else has, that the prestigious few tell us we should want, and definitely need if we don't already have it ... but don't forget you'll be throwing it out next season when you're told it's "over"!  We're sick of being told what to do.  Our rights are being mutilated before our eyes, blatant abuses of power are being thrust upon us under the guise of course that "they" know what's best for us (um, by the people for the people? Not so much), as the whole world seemingly creeps closer and closer toward a universal police state ... Fashion Police, do you see where I'm going with this?  You don't actually exist, and we don't need the "threat" of you hanging over our heads anymore.  There are more important things happening out there than what color I'm wearing after which day on the calendar.  If it makes me happy, what's the problem?  And really, shouldn't that be what we're all striving for, sharing and spreading happiness -- accepting one another and each of our quirks instead of regurgitating a lot of rigid and antiquated rules about something as silly as fashion? 

Silly as fashion? 

Yes, fashion IS silly, the whole nature of it is!  We're picking out decoration and coverings for our
bodies, we're not curing cancer in the closet in the morning ... and if you are, may I say that's amazing!  Enjoy it, it's meant to be fun!  The ones taking it so seriously are either trying to get rich off you, or doing some kind of Wild Kingdom ram dance before they butt heads and one can be declared a winner.  And for them I say, please do us all a favor by getting back on your high horse, ride it to your ivory tower, and lock yourself in, because the rest of us are having a blast ... and you know what they say about party poopers! 

What's my final word?  My name is Stormy, and I believe in winter white.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's AliiiVe!!!!

Well, it's live anyway.  What's that, you ask?  The little etsy shop that almost wasn't, that is!  I've still got some work to do, but it's up and running, and it's been a long time coming. 


So that's why I've been a little quiet lately, but I'm pleased to announce that I made my deadline, summer procrastination and all!

xoxo