Friday, March 31, 2017

Transatlantic Thursday #3

Welcome to the third week for the Transatlantic Accent!  I want to apologize for this being a little late.  For whatever reason, I had my days mixed up and thought yesterday was Wednesday.


Week 3 is going to be the start of a the hard stuff.  This week we're working on frontal vowel sounds "i" and "I".  Next week, we will finish them up.  Really work on proper pronunciation as directed.

I highly recommend purchasing a copy of Speak with Distinction by Edith Skinner.  Amazon usually has used copies for sale for about $10.  If you have the book, you can get more insight on what you need to be learning.

Articles and Videos below.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Help Me Out

Help a girl out!  I am hoping to do a Q&A style video and I need some questions.  If you come up with a good one, post in the comments.  While I prefer it to be about vintage living or something retro-inspired, I will take any questions that come my way.

Knowing how things are when I ask, I will come up with some questions for myself.  I'll add questions to that list.  Maybe it will be a "get to know you" video post.  I'll work it out.  I'll try to get it done tomorrow or Wednesday, so ask your questions quickly.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday Night

Alright, so tonight I made some purchases from Amazon.  I want to say that it was to get my nephew a book for getting first place at district science fair, which it partially is, but I got to searching and I found a few things.

I ordered two turbans.  WHAAT??!!  I have never tried one on, so I hope they don't suck.  LOL  I'm going to give you my review on them.

I ordered a dress and a shirt.  Expect reviews on those.  The shirt is by Hell Bunny and the dress is by Wellwits.  There weren't any reviews for the dress, so I hope it fits.  I'll leave them an appropriate review.

Today I got coffee with one of the local retro-loving ladies in town.  We talked theater and possible future ideas.  I mentioned that I would love to do some kind of WWII USO show for D-Day.  I don't know if anything will come from it.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Transatlantic Accent Thursday #2

It's the second week for the Transatlantic Accent!  As promised, it is Thursday and time for new learning material.


Week 1 was basically an introduction while also getting you used to saying a bunch of crazy stuff.  It was also designed to get a fair amount of words and sounds that might trip you up.  What did you have trouble with?  What did you find easy?

Week 2 has some interesting face, neck, and jaw warm ups on the Vocal Warm Up sheet.  I also chose to add in sounds - voiced and voiceless consonant sounds.  To speak better, you have to know a little about where the sounds are coming from.  If you have your Edith Skinner book, this is all in the first chapter.  In this week's worksheet, we have basic word pronunciations!  Yep, I think this is the start to really picking up the accent.

I have some articles and videos that you can check out as well.

Want to catch the first post about the Transatlantic Accent?  READ HERE

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dreaming of a Better Fairbanks

I have this hobby that my mom calls "city planning".  It's not really city planning so much as it is designing spaces - including forming loose business plans.  It might be a park or a restaurant or something like that - whatever hits me.  Sometimes I wonder why I didn't get into architecture.

Anyway, I thought I'd bring up a little project that may happen in the near future and then talk about what I'd like to see happen in the city I live in: Fairbanks, AK.

My mom has some property downtown (our downtown is starting to undergo revitalization so it's more of a Let-Down/Downtown) and she asked me to help her turn her property into apartments and business space.  I can't just post a drawing yet.  I don't want to.  I'm always afraid that people will steal my designs and stuff.  I will post something once I feel that things are moving along.

I went with a neomodern design.  Neomodern architecture is a reaction to postmodern architecture that is heavily influenced by modernism and what is commonly referred to as "a futuristic look".  Below are some examples of neomodern designs.  If you are a fan of Dwell magazine, you should have a solid idea of neomodern design.

So you can see that the lines are sleek, various textures are used, fairly simple, often embraces nature into the design with landscaping and the use of natural items (wood, stone, etc), and there is an obvious rejection of traditional architectural ornamentation.  You can check out Guy Denning's (founder of neomodernism) ideas on neomodernism HERE.

If we must have a new label, let it be a New Modernism – a return to the critical aesthetic giving the artist the opportunity to create work that has some relevance to the new modern audience – an audience already familiar with ‘modern art’, where validation of quality is not founded on post-modern hyper-obsession with language and semiology and the artist is not ground into politically correct subservience. I do not see this as a retrograde step – it can be the only way forward – to let the artist communicate without the bonds of corporate and state art politics.

To those claims of ‘Art is Dead – long live Art’ – Post-modernism is dead – long live Neo-modernism.
----Guy Denning

We don't have a lot of neomodernism here in Fairbanks, but I have seen more of an incline towards it with some new buildings. My color scheme, currently, is: English Daisy, Landmark Brown, and Shutter Grey.  Also, brushed nickel.  If not landmark brown, I would opt for wood stained with minwax coffee stain.

Who knows.  I might just help with the design of some structures downtown.  If it happens, that would be really cool.


What I Would Like To See Happen With Fairbanks

Fairbanks, Alaska is kind of like the end-of-the-road before your options are bush towns and villages.  The summers are okay, the winters are long and can get super cold.  I will list a few things, explain them, and provide my reasons for wanting them.

Roller Rink - We used to have a roller rink that was a little out of the way and a bit too close to the army base.  Growing up there was a lot of "don't spend a lot of time at the roller rink, those young army boys will get you pregnant" sort of rumors.  Not the best reputation, I know.  The roller rink was sold like 15 years ago or something and is now an ice rink.  Since then, we now have 3 roller derby teams and no roller rink.  Ironic.  I would situate the roller rink somewhere near the university or easy to get to from the university.  I would also have an "18+ Night" every week, starting at 8pm or something to midnight.

Non-League Bowling Alley - I love bowling, but our local bowling alley is pretty shitty.  Most of the time it's "league night" and when it's open bowl, you practically have to fight for a lane and find the least crappy ball.  Why not have a non-league bowling alley featuring a slew of fun nights?  "After dark" - black lights turned on, regular lights off, maybe some party lights.  Various themed nights - Pirate night or superhero night, etc with a costume theme.  Charity bowling nights, bowling for top scores, etc.  There is a lot of stuff you can do to make it fun.  I would also have two food areas that I would have contracted out, no grandfather-rights.  After X-amount of time, people can apply for the space and it is totally up for grabs.  This means food options will change.

Moondust, A Nightclub - This one has a name because I have designs and stuff tucked away for it.  Moondust is a nightclub that is influenced by comedy clubs, magic clubs, and old jazz clubs.  I would make this place have a dress code.  I do not want to see people in carhartts, even if they are new or clean.  Put on a fucking sports coat or something.  Fairbanks does not have any restaurants or places with dress codes.  I would have a minimal menu and a full bar.  The club would change night-to-night.  It might be musicians, circus acts, vaudeville acts, cabaret, burlesque, open mic, comedy, magic, hypnotists, films, etc.  I would also employ a small house jazz band called the Moondust Orchestra that would play at least 3 nights a week.  Moondust would provide a whole new nightlife option for people.  Right now, you can go to a bar, go see a movie, maybe go bowling...sometimes there's a theater production...sometimes the concert association brings up think that's about it.  I've stopped going out at night because movies are too expensive and I tend to stay away from the bars now.

Big Name Stores - I'm not usually a huge fan of box stores, but here are some that I would like to see here in town: World Market, H&M, Whole Foods, Kohl's, and Burlington Coat Factory.  We have some stuff in town, but I would just like to see more.  While I support local small businesses, I have yet to find a small local business that carries everything I need or want.  I do love Sunshine Health Foods - quick shout out to them.

Hipsters - I am not big on hipsters (they're often ridiculous), but they help make changes happen.  Fairbanks needs to have some places that kind of cater to these folks.  Maybe a Dave & Busters or a micro-brewery or a men's-only barber shop that serves you a shot of whiskey while cutting hair (there is a place in Portland, OR that does this) or something else along these lines.
Nice parking lot.  What a great use of prime downtown space.

In the summer, you can find drunks and homeless in this area!
Revitalize Downtown - This is something that is underway.  Most locals will tell you that parking is a problem downtown, yet they refuse to utilize the parking garage that was built a few years ago.  Downtown is home to low income homes, assisted living, probation offices, the court house, and a ton of law offices.  Sounds like an awesome downtown, right?  There are some tourist shops and a few shops that cater to the locals, and a bunch of restaurants.  I find that there really isn't a good reason for me to go downtown, unless I'm going to my mom's shop - which is a block outside of the central downtown area.

Another big issue for downtown are the summertime drunks and homeless.  A lot of the time, they're in from the villages (which are dry - aka alcohol free) and they totally just booze it up.  You can see the lovely downtown water-front park in the picture to the right.  They can often be found there or on the foot-bridge (also in the picture).  It's not just people from the villages, there are local homeless people who do this too.  I think there is actually a fairly new city police division that just patrols downtown for this sort of thing.  Someone out there is saying that I'm being unfair, but I know a lot of people who avoid downtown because they don't want to be harassed.
4th Ave.  What lovely storefronts... *eye roll*

It would be nice to see some more boutique shops open up, but the storefronts are very closed-off.  A lot of the buildings are these postmodern bland things.  I mean, they have some style, but they are bland!  The two buildings in the photo here were built in 1962.  They are not welcoming at all.  They don't say "shop here".  It's more like "we're full of offices and stuff...and just, go away unless you know that you need our services".   Now that I think about it, our downtown is fairly accurate in the representation of the majority of people in Fairbanks.

I'm just going to put it out there that a building with retail and office space on the lower two floors, parking for building residents, and two or three floors of modern apartments would send our downtown in a whole new direction.

Product Review: Esther Williams Swimsuit

I ordered myself an Esther Williams one-piece swimsuit in "wild thing".


I ordered a size 10 based on my bust size.  I realize that I ordered this in February and I live in Alaska, but a few of us have tossed around the idea of going out to the local hot springs.  I love the outdoor pool in the winter!  Actually, I really like the fact that kids aren't allowed out in the outdoor pool.  Stay inside kids!  Let the adults have their own space!

Me in February 2017
When this came in I was immediately impressed by the quality of it!  I'm a bit busty and this thing
has some built in support.  I put it on and it was very comfortable.  The big test will be in the water.

In the water, this suit was wonderful!  There was a small hole in the side, but I think it was just a mishap with whoever sewed it.  I understand.  I hate sewing spandex and other stretchy material.  It took me about 30 seconds to fix the hole on my machine.  The material that they used is a medium-weight spandex (almost a heavy-weight), so the suit itself feels really supportive.

Sorry it took me so long to get this review posted.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Day 14 - Last Challenge Day!

8:54 AM  - Today started out pretty fantastic.  I watched 'Walking Dead' this morning.  I successfully got my hair into an easy beehive for work.  I'm currently listening to "Hold On, I'm Coming" by Sam & Dave.  I went out and got some eggs & veggies for breakfast, along with french toast black coffee.   I'm feeling good.  I even have the start of a blog post ready for Thursday.   I have a doctor's appointment at 10:30, so we will see if I'm on track or not.  I think I am.  Tonight, Buster and I have puppy class.  That's always fun.

Currently, I have two dogs underfoot: Nukka (French Mastiff) and Lono (Black Lab).  Maybe 'under desk' is a better phrase to use.  I'm happy to report that Lono hasn't had any seizures in the past few months...since November?  Early November?  I think just before I got Buster - so early November.

The local crowd.  I've put in some extra effort to form a stronger rockabilly community within the state.  I have an Alaskan Rockabilly Blog - WEBSITE HERE.  I'm hoping that it helps to connect people around the state.  I am definitely up for suggestions for that community site and I'm also looking for a blog author from Wasilla or Anchorage to help out (since I'm not down there).  If you don't know much about Alaska, Fairbanks is about 370 miles from Anchorage.

Avery Wolves.  I saw via facebook that the Avery Wolves were in the recording studio down in Anchorage.  I need to get out to see one of their shows.  I haven't seen them perform since the Reverend Horton Heat concert a few years ago.  I feel a little guilty about that.  I just have trouble getting myself to leave my apartment after 8pm during the winter months.  My melatonin also doesn't help since by 8pm I'm feeling it and am almost ready for bed.  Anyway, they're our local rockabilly band in Fairbanks. I'm just giving them a quick shout-out.  WEBSITE.

12:50 PM - Where did the morning go?  It's time for lunch already?  Holy cow!   Well, my doctor visit went really well.  I haven't lost weight, but I have lost size.  This indicates that I'm gaining some muscle - which I can do at the drop of a hat.

My plans for the afternoon, once I'm off work at 2:30, is to workout, eat, go to puppy class, and probably finish off the night with a few spoonfuls of my pint of So Delicious Cashew Milk Cappuccino ice cream.  I also plan on working on spring cleaning.  I already went through a junk drawer in my kitchen!  Progress, right?!

The Positive & Relaxed Challenge - I want to say that this challenge has been overall pretty good.  I had two really shitty days, but the rest weren't so bad.  What I got out of the 2-week challenge was to take some time everyday for myself.  It makes me appreciate this Twin Peaks quote more than I did before.

If you find yourself continually stressed out or just wiped out, take on the Positive & Relaxed Challenge.  It's 2-weeks long.  All you have to do is something positive and relaxing everyday.  That's it.  #PosRelaxChallenge

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Day 13

I took measurements of myself this morning.  I've lost a little size, enough to make me feel good about myself.  Since I can track it via I think I'm going to start doing that once a week.

I went to Value Village (a big chain thrift store) and made a big score!  I found this super cute pink-coral dress.  It's a little small for me, but I'm losing size.  I'll fit into it soon.  The fabric is a medium weave polyester with a built in slip.  There isn't a label, but there is a production tag that states this dress was made on a Friday and is from group 3. This dress is missing the buttons, but I can totally find and sew on 3 buttons.  Found for $12.99

 Before this, I had gone to Fred Meyer (a west coast chain grocery/department/pharmacy store) and found some ankle-length stretchy pull-on pants for a good deal.  I picked out size 10 and they fit pretty well.  With the stretchy dress pants fabric, I know that they will stretch out a little bit - so I'm wondering if I should have bought the size 8 pants.  It doesn't matter.  They fit.  I now have an idea of what pant size I'm at.  I kind of hate "athletic wear" or "active pants" for pants, but that's what I've been doing for work.  The general Medium size is not helpful.  So I picked up two pairs of these new pants for $24.99 each - so nearly 1/2 off the asking price.  Black and Turquoise.  I really want to rock a coral shirt with the turquoise pants.  I'll have to make something.

I think the pants will look great with flats and wedges.  The only issue I see with them is that they aren't high-waisted.  I know they look that way on the model, but if you have hips and/or a butt....sorry!

What else.....?   It sounds a little silly, but I got some dirt and I'm so excited!  I had to get a special dirt to transplant my crown of thorns and I needed different special dirt to start my hibiscus plant.  I also picked up a Mister Lincoln rose plant from Sam's Club.  Mister Lincoln is a red rose.  One of my favorite of the red roses actually.  I googled it and found a pretty picture.

I picked up Bicolor Seattle Dahlias (yellow with white tips), Sarah Bernhardt Peonies (pink), and Bowl of Beauty Peonies (cream center with dark pink large petals).  Found the bulbs over at Lowe's.  In Alaska, dahlias do incredibly well, as I've found, and so do peonies.  In case you're wondering, peonies tend to be very fragrant.  I'm not sure if I have an all-time favorite flower, but I love Solange Peonies, Cafe au Lait Dahlias, Hibiscus, Coral Charm Peonies, Golden Unicorn Rose, Julia's Rose, Boule de Neige Rose, Hot Cocoa Rose, and Roseanne Black Pearl Lisianthus.  I also really like Totem Pole Cactus.  I think the totem pole cactus is very MCM.

Have I been positive and relaxed today?  Yes I have!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Day 12

I have a new page up top - look for 'Accent Files'.  That's where I will keep all my information on teaching yourself the Transatlantic Accent (or TA Accent).

Keep in mind that you have to actually say stuff out loud in order for this to work.  This is a difficult thing for me as I'm quiet most of the time.

Today I have a video blog post for you.  I wanted to show you the men's shirts I've made.  I don't have them for sale right now.  They're all men's medium.  Are people even interested in buy them?

Tonight is Toe-Feast Night.  I'm a big nerd.  It's a made up holiday by Brian Froud.  My friend and I decided that March 18th was a good date for Toe-Feast Night.  Brian Froud describes it as being a night for games, drinking, and obviously - eating toes (or toe-shaped food).  Since it was mentioned in Goblins of The Labyrinth, we have adopted it into the Labyrinth fandom.

For Toe-Feast Night, I made a foot-shaped meatloaf.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Coconut Almond Macaroons & Lemon Custard

I have some paleo recipes for you.  I haven't done a lot of baking for pleasure lately.  Tonight, it just ended up being a way a relaxing for me.  The beneficial part of this is that it's all good for moderation, of course.

Coconut Almond Macaroons
3 Egg Whites
1-1/2 TBSP Honey
1/2 cup Coconut
1/2 cup Almond Slices
1/4 cup Almond Meal

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff.  The peaks should stand on their own.
  3. Add in the honey, coconut, and almond.  Fold these into the egg until all mixed together.
  4. Spoon the mixture onto a silpat mat, that is one a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.

Lemon Custard
Flavorful and delicious!  A good dinner party dessert.
6 Egg Yolks
1/4 cup Honey
6 TBSP Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
Lemon Zest
  1. Whisk the yolks and the honey together in a sauce pan.
  2. Turn the stove onto medium heat.  Add in the coconut oil.  As the oil melts, add in the lemon juice and zest.
  3. The mixture will start to thicken fast.  Constantly stir until the mixture begins to look like pudding, then immediately pull off the stove.  If you do not mix constantly, you will have some lemony scrambled eggs - gross.
  4. Pour mixture into bowl/cup/ramekin and refrigerate.  Eat once it is fully cool - after about 30 minutes.
The lemon custard is very flavorful and is bright yellow.  You could make this and serve in small sherry glasses or something.  You can also top this with whipped cream OR put this on top of some no-bake cheesecake.  It's also good on it's own.

Day 11 & Paleo Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I didn't end up having any wine last night and tonight...who knows.  It's Friday and I would love to just lounge around at home, especially after yesterday.  I didn't do my hair or make up or anything today.  It's just stretchy pants, a hoodie, and sneakers today.

There is a burlesque show going on locally, but it's also going on tomorrow night.  Maybe I'll just put it off until tomorrow night.  I tend to avoid going on at night during holidays that promote heavy drinking.  It just seems safer and less of a hassle.

I was angry enough last night that I couldn't get to sleep until about 11:30pm.  I woke up a bunch during the night.  I did not go to the gym.  I feel so lazy.

I did manage to get all of the new submittal sheets changed by 10am (3-1/2 hours, just this morning).  So far, there haven't been any complaints.  I don't know what I would do if there were more complaints.  My sister, the project manager for this job, has been getting shit from the Prime Contractor as well.  We will see how this unfolds.


Tonight, I'm thinking pizza sounds good.  I'll make a paleo pizza.   Looking through my recipe list, I am totally not seeing Paleo Cauliflower Pizza Crust.  It is super easy to make.

Paleo Cauliflower Pizza Crust
1 head Cauliflower
2 Eggs
Italian spices
Optional: 1/4 cup Parmesean

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Dice up the cauliflower, as small as you can, and place into a pot.  Fill the pot with enough water to cover the cauliflower.  Boil until soft.
  3. Strain the water from the cauliflower and place into a bowl.  You can have more smooth crust by placing the cauliflower into cheesecloth and squeezing the liquid out.  Careful, the liquid will be hot.
  4. Add in the two eggs, the spices, and if you choose, the cheese.  Mix everything together.
  5. Spread the mixture onto parchment paper that is on a baking sheet.  It's not really going to rise or anything, so I suggest making it about a 1/2" thick.  If you use waxed paper, the mixture is going to stick pretty bad to it.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.  Pull it out, flip it over (onto another piece of parchment paper), and bake for another 10 minutes.
  7. After it's done, you can top it with your favorite sauce and toppings.  Bake for another 8-10 minutes or until your cheese is melted/everything is hot.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Day 10 & The Transatlantic Accent

This morning's run at the gym was lacking to say the least, but I was still there to do it.  I think mentally, I just was not in the right mind-set to run.

That Prime Contractor was micromanaging again.  AGAIN!  How many times do I need to redo the fucking submittal sheets?  Everyone else that we deal with is 100% okay with what I do.  They didn't want it done in the word file, so they sent an editable pdf with some logos and shit in it.  Okay.  I used that.  Oh no!  Now they want it to be sent as a separate file.  WHAT THE FUCK?!  I have to redo all the goddamn  submittal sheets now!  That's like 60-80 files I have to redo.  I am not going to rescan everything.  I will resend all the files along with separate submittal sheets.  AND, how many fucking times do I need to be told this?  One email is enough, thanks!  I do not need two emails from two people and two phone calls from two other people.  HOLY SHIT!  What is this?  'Office Space'?
I went to lunch with my sister.

My literal reaction was straight out of 'Office Space'.  Am I in a nightmare?  Did I kill myself?  This isn't quite "being a civil servant" (Beetlejuice reference) but I feel like I'm in some kind of repeating hell.  The worst part is that I have to go to work tomorrow...I know it's Friday tomorrow....*sigh* It's just one more horrible day until the weekend.  I wasn't sure if I was going to start screaming or crying or just punch something or what at work today.

Is it possible to quit if your dad is your boss?  I can only fathom quitting and moving out of the state.  I don't think I'm allowed to quit.

I need a new game plan.

Tonight I'm just going to watch Unsolved Mysteries and definitely have that glass of wine I've been putting off.  I don't even think I could take a bath tonight to help relax.  Maybe I'll take my melatonin at 5pm and hope for sleep by 7pm.


Last night, at puppy class, I'm happy to say that Buster won the dog toy for having done the best job.  He went from not paying attention at all to the day's best.


The Transatlantic Accent (aka Mid-Atlantic Accent) is that old-timey style of speech.  It used to be taught in schools until the mid-50s.  If you are anything like me, you might have always wanted to use the accent, but felt silly doing so in public.  For me, this started a while ago as a desire to just speak like some old movie stars.  In my head, I associate the accent with becoming MORE rockabilly and a vintage-lifer, regardless of only a few people still using the accent on a daily basis.

The more I thought about speech and the accent, the more I thought about how I spoke.  I mumble, I constantly switch pronunciations of 'vase' and 'aunt' (etc), and I think I often sound ridiculous when I speak.  I associate the TA Accent with, gosh this sounds so silly, "something I used to do" and an ideal way of speaking.

If you want to give this a try, I recommend getting Edith Skinner's book Speak with Distinction.  I found a used copy on Amazon for a cheap price.  I also found it on Google Books.  This is considered the TA Accent bible.

Once a week on Thursday, I will post (via google docs) a vocal warm up, a worksheet, weekly word eliminations, and a few videos for you to watch since sometimes it helps to hear the accent.   This is not going to be easy, but you have all weekend to practice!

Definitely feel free to join me on the Transatlantic Accent Revival Group, upload your videos, and use the hashtag #TransAtlanticAccent.
Three videos for you to study.

Leave me your questions, comments, etc below.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Day 9 & Sewing 101 B

This is Buster napping after work.
Today was one of those days where things just bothered me for no reason.  I told myself to just go with it.  It probably had a lot to do with not being able to fall asleep and stay asleep last night.  Thanks, Insomnia!  Because of my sleep issues I didn't make it to the gym.  On the plus side, I've been good about eating right!

Buster and I have puppy class tonight.  I've been able to get him to "watch me", "sit", and "lay down" all day.  I think he totally has it down for tonight.  I just hope he does it during class.  Usually he watches everyone except for me.  I have some dog treats rather than bits of dog food - which usually works with him, just not for training.

As promised, I have finished Sewing 101 B.  It was just a matter of editing and speeding things up, etc.  If I make a future video, it shouldn't take so long - unless it's a project video.  This makes me feel so accomplished today!

Before I post the Sewing 101 B video (down at the bottom), I want to let everyone know that I'm thinking about making a series of videos for my effort to teach myself the Trans-Atlantic accent.  If you would like to learn this with me, I will post a practice vocal sheet (once I make it) that you are welcome to use.  I'm going to use the hashtag #TransAtlanticAccent in my videos.  You are welcome to use that as well.  If you need some support, you can join me over at Transatlantic Accent Revival Group on facebook.

Once you get through Sewing 101 part A, you end up here - ready to sew everything together.  In order to properly demonstrate, I have a shirt that I need to sew.

I will be using a vintage 1954 men's shirt pattern from McCall.  I like this pattern because it is a little different.  This will be my second time using the pattern, so I have a good idea of what I need to be on the look out for.  Next to it is the fabric I'm going to be using.  It's just a quilting cotton.   Quilting cottons tend to retain their color over time and are more durable.

Without further ado, here is Sewing 101 B.  Oh shit!  Bonus!  It's also Sew-Time Wednesday!

Definitely leave me with sewing questions and comments.  I will answer them promptly!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Day 8

I've been trying to get myself to write.  I think it's the changing of the seasons.  I feel antsy lately.  I did manage to write a page today.  It's not much, but it's more than yesterday.

What did I do today for the challenge?  My nephew spent the night again and we watched 'Jurassic Park' - his first time.  I'm trying out a bread recipe...which he is supposed to be helping with.  I think it's going to be a bust.

I have something very positive planned.  It's a surprise though.  I'll share when I can.

It's been a pretty laid back afternoon and evening.  I don't feel terribly productive.

I did find a Facebook group for learning the Trans-Atlantic Accent.  If you are interested, please join me!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Day 7

This is the end of my first week of the Positive & Relaxed Challenge.  I feel a little more productive.  Friday really threw me for a loop, but aside from that I feel more positive.    If you feel like taking the Positive & Relaxed Challenge, here are the basic rules:

  1. It only lasts for 2 weeks.
  2. You must put in some sort of effort for the challenge like taking time for a bath or doing charity work or whatever it is that you plan on doing.
  3. Whatever it is that you do MUST make you feel "Positive & Relaxed".
  4. Blog about it or make some kind of public post about it once a day (instagram or twitter or whatever).
  5. The goal is to obtain a better outlook and to be more inclined to take some personal time for yourself.  Everyone is so negative and people are so tense nowadays, we all need to be more positive and relaxed.

Quick note about Sewing 101 B.  It is coming, I promise.  I had my nephew over last night, so I had to put my stuff away.  We actually worked on his blog (Robot Dylan) which is more or less food and project based.  What he doesn't know is that I'm planning on turning all of his recipes into a cookbook for him for Christmas.  So, working on his blog is kind of important.

Today for the challenge, I am going to get started with using my new exercise bike.  My nephew excitedly spent about 2 hours off and on last night on the bike - "getting ready for the summer" as he told me.  He spent part of that 2 hours reading and pedaling slowly - so I hope that isn't on his summer to-do list.  I think my goal is going to be "an episode of Unsolved Mysteries".  How long is that?  44 minutes or something?  I'm not looking to really work up a sweat.  My goal is to get myself moving in the evening.  I think this is a real positive thing.

Update: I only made it 34 minutes and then one of the pedals came undone.  I called it good for the day, took a shower, and then spent a while screwing the pedal back on.  I think I'm going to call this my 'lazy workout'.  Despite the name, I burned almost 300 calories.  So that's something.

My relaxation aspect of this, aside from the hot shower I plan on taking after bike-time, is going to be chilling with my dog.  Buster and I have puppy class tonight.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Day 5 & Day 6

I want to start by saying that Day 4 ended with me deep cleaning my apartment - 3/4 of the way, watching 'Moonraker', and sewing.  If forgot about drinking wine until right before I went to bed.  Figures.

Currently, I am making my way through the Bond films in the order in which they were published.

Day 5
I spent my day putting together Sewing 101 A, running a few errands, and filming myself for Sewing 101 B.  Why?  Sometimes I wonder.  I had a terrible time converting files from MOD to MP4 so I could get things edited.

I did spend my evening taking a bath with a coconut cream bath bomb and a hydrating face mask, playing my bass guitar, and watching 'Unsolved Mysteries' reruns on Amazon.

I want to say thanks to Raven Rose.  I picked up some liquid lipstick in American Doll by Anastasia from Ulta on Day 5 - recommended by her.  I miss her since she moved from Alaska to Nevada.  You can check out her rockabilly beauty product reviews, DIY, and tips HERE.  Below I've posted one of her videos.  She is a blast!

Day 6
It's Sunday.  Last night, while watching 'Unsolved Mysteries', I found a useful file converter.  I've been converting my MOD files to MP4 so I can get my video stuff edited for everyone.  It's keeping me busy, so I would venture to say that it's positive and relaxing.

My morning movie is Radio Days.  It's about a family and how their lives revolved around the home radio in the 40s.  It's funny.  It's a Woody Allen film.   Huh....maybe I should make a list of films.....*wheels are turning*

My plans for today.....I really have no idea.  I've been thinking about doing some spring cleaning.  I know a lot of people groan, but I find it cathartic and I like to do it about 3 times a year.  I get rid of things I don't use or wear.  I clean.  I try to make my space more idealized for myself.  I prefer a minimal setting which is hard with dogs.  I have two labs.  My parents (also my neighbors) have an akita/husky mix (technically my sister's dog).  My sister brings her two dogs to work - an American bulldog and a French mastiff.  No small dogs here.

I'm currently going through the process of sewing any projects I haven't gotten to, in an effort to clean up my sewing area.  I think I'm going to make an attempt to clear out some of my books.  This is a major ordeal for me.  I have a lot of trouble letting go of my beloved books.

Since I'm watching Radio Days, I want to say - again - that I would LOVE to form a group of people who want to work on their speech.  I would love to have that TransAtlantic Accent (aka "old timey radio accent").  I naturally introverted, but when I get going, I can talk your ear off.  Would anyone be willing to do this with me?  Comment below.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sewing 101 A

A few people, locally, have suggest that "we all take a sewing class together" and I can't help but shake my head.  Sorry guys, I was winning sewing awards before I was out of elementary school.  Anyway, I thought I would put together a Sewing 101 guide.

Sewing Machine
You need a sewing machine.

Planning on getting your own?  Do not start out with a Serger.  That's a specialty machine.  Visit your local fabric store and sewing machine store.  In Fairbanks, we have a variety of quilting stores, JoAnn Fabric, and Blue Ribbon Sew n' Vac.  I would recommend a machine in the $100-200 range for a beginner.  Singer, Brother, Elna, Janome, Bernina, and Baby Lock are all terrific brands.  I think I'm forgetting one or two brands that I don't mind, but the names are escaping me.  I personally have a Brother and a Baby Lock.  My mom has an old Elna that still kicks major ass.

My sewing area

I highly recommend getting a metal stand to feed your thread through and a holder plus extra bobbin spools.  Make sure you have sewing scissors that you dedicate ONLY for fabric.  Paper will ruin them.   Seriously.  Other things you might want: marking pencils (white, a color, and black), a pack of pins, a pin cushion or a pin magnet, a ripper, measuring tape, and a container for spare things (buttons, etc).

When you get your machine, Keep that Users Manual around.  You will want to know how to thread your machine and how to fill your bobbin spools.  In the photo above, you can see my purple O-shaped bobbin holder.  Most machines will have some markings on the machine to help you properly thread your machine.  My Baby Lock (photo above) is an expensive machine and it still has markings on it.

Once you have a machine, essential accouterments, can thread your machine, and can spool thread onto your bobbin, you can move on to the next step!

Choose Your Pattern
If you are just starting out, do not choose a  Burda or Vogue pattern.  These are a little more complex.  Go with something like Simplicity, Butterick, Kwik Sew, McCall, and New Look.  You can check out my pinterest board Retro Patterns for rockabilly/reproduction patterns from these common brands.  I keep it updated.  For starting out, do not choose something that uses spandex, slippery fabric, lacey fabric, velvet, or highly delicate fabric.  These are more difficult to use.  Aim for a pattern that calls for cotton or flannel or something a little more user-friendly.

To make this easy, I'm going to use Simplicity 8250 as my demonstration pattern.  This is a pattern for a slightly stylized skirt and bolero, a reproduction pattern from the 50s.

The back side is very vital!
If you want a view that you can zoom in on, please CLICK HERE.  So what we see here is that there are 3 options to this pattern: Skirt with pockets, skirt without pockets, and bolero.  Let's say that we want to go with A, the pattern with pockets, because it's retro and we can totally put our phone in a pocket.

Know your size.  Take that tape measure and get your basic measurements.  You should have a general idea of your bust size, your natural waist size, and your hip size.  The pattern sizes are different than what is considered "standard American clothing size".  Forget that your jeans are a size 8.  Go with your measurements or your clothing will not fit you.  You need to know what size you want before you get your fabric.

Let's just say that we're going with a size 12 which has a waist size of 26-1/2" and hip size of 36".  If we look at the pattern for size 12 and for pattern A, we find that we need 3-1/4 yds fabric if 45" wide or 2-3/8 yds of fabric if 60" wide.  The pattern also states that we need 1-3/8 yd of lightweight, fusible interfacing.  If we look right above the measurements, we can find the notions (extras needed for the pattern).  For skirt A, we need thread, a 7" zipper, and a hook closure.  The pattern conveniently provides a list of recommended fabrics to use (as pointed out by the arrow above).

Your list for this skirt will look like this:

  • 3-1/4 yds fabric if 45" wide or 2-3/8 yds of fabric if 60" wide
  • 1-3/8 yd lightweight fusible interfacing
  • Thread
  • 7" zipper
  • Hook closure
When you choose your fabric, be aware of how it flows, its weight, the pattern or texture, durability, and how it feels.  You will always catch me feeling fabrics and taking all this stuff in.  If I'm making a skirt like this for summer use, it's probably going to be lighter than winter use.  For example, I have a beautiful blue wool skirt that I made.  I will wear it on cool days in the summer, but mainly in the non-summer months.  I also have a dress that I bought that is made from crepe fabric.  I will only wear it in the summer because it is so lightweight.  Another thing you may want to think about is static.  You may find a beautiful fabric that is flowy, but will it continuously have static problems?  That's annoying.

Here is the label on a bolt of fabric.  This tells me the price, what it is made of (100% polyester), various stuff, and how wide it is (54 in).  I know it's not 60", but this is generally considered 60" fabric.  45" fabric is going to be labeled as 44".  It's a weird sewing thing.  I think it began as 60" wide for printing and they trimmed off the edges - where the machine has to grip it.   Take your fabric to the cutting counter and tell them the yardage that you need.  Do this before you pick out your zipper and thread and other notions.

Interfacing is usually next to the cutting counter.  Ask for help.

Can You Finally Sew?  NO!
You have the pattern, the fabric, the sewing machine, and all the extra still have more preparations to do.

Just to make it easy, here are the steps that you need to finish before you can start.
  1. Wash and dry your fabric.  This will set the fabric.  If it's going to move, it will move during this process.  You do not need to do this for polar fleece.  DO NOT wash and dry your interfacing. That would send you right back to the fabric store for more interfacing.
  2. Cut out your pattern.
Just those two steps.

When you cut out your pattern, you might want to cut out all the pieces.  It's up to you.  I absolutely hate cutting out patterns.  Cut on the outer-most line.  This way you can use it if you gain or lose size, you can make something for a friend, etc.  You want to have all the sizes there.

When you open your pattern, you will find a paper pattern guide.  Its in every pattern.  It gives you a line drawing of the patterns.  It gives you a list of the pattern pieces and which pattern they go to.  It gives you fabric layout suggestions.  It also gives you a full set of directions for each pattern.

When you cut out your pattern, make sure you have all the pieces set aside for your project.  Since I have this top pattern pulled out, let me point out where to cut.

Once your fabric is washed and dried, you can get started.

  1. Layout your fabric as recommended according to the pattern guide.  Your pattern pieces will let you know if you need to cut out interfacing.  I always do interfacing after I'm finished with the fabric.
  2. The grain of the fabric is the direction of the fabric weave.  Look at the polyester fabric I have to demonstrate this.  I've marked out the grain of the fabric with arrows.
  3. Use your sewing pins and pin your pattern pieces down.  Make sure you pin everything down before you even consider cutting anything out.  You might find that the size you want is in between markings on the pattern.  If you look above to the pattern that I'm pointing at - lets say you wanted the size 8 - just fold the outer part of the pattern to the line marked as size 8.  Simple.   Pin it all down.  You can always move pattern pieces around before cutting them.  So play around with your pieces until it's exactly what you want.
  4. Take a deep breath and begin cutting everything out.  LEAVE IN THE PINS.
  5. Put your extra fabric scraps into a grocery bag, along with the pattern, and your notions specific for the pattern.  If you need a sewing break, put your pinned pattern pieces in here too.  It's the best way to keep things contained until you are done.  I never throw away fabric or anything until I'm finished with the garment.
On To Sewing!!!
After all of that, it's time to sew your shit together.

Get your bobbin spooled up with your chosen thread.  After you get that set up, bobbin put in place in the machine, get your machine threaded.   Perfect!  Your machine is ready to go.

Grab a scrap of fabric, especially if this is your first time sewing.  Your goal is to sew a zigzag line and a straight line.  These are the most commonly used stitches that you are going to be using.  Once you can do these two lines, you're going to be unstoppable.  Check out my quick gif to the right side.  --->

The next thing to point out are the guidelines which are found on the foot plate (under the sewing foot).  Your pattern might say 1/2" seam or 5/8" seam.  That is a reference to the guideline.

I need to go run errands, so I'll leave part A here.  I will finish up with part B later today.

If you have questions or comments, let me know.  If there is something I need to clarify, please leave a comment.  Sometimes I just do things and I don't realize it because I've been sewing for a long time.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Day 4

Today has been terrible.  I woke up with a slight headache, which went away by 9am, but decided to come back after the prime contractor decided to be total anal nuggets regarding this new job.  I am the office manager for a mechanical contractor, so I'm used to dealing with submittals, transmittals, etc that go hand-in-hand with what we do (plumbing, heating, cooling work).  The prime on this job, at least their office manager, is a complete moron.  I will admit that I had an error on the submittal sheets that I did not catch, BUT I want to point out that I've been sending them submittals for a week now.  No one else caught them either, until today.   Okay.  I fixed it.  Do they want them submitted back?  ONLY IN ORDER.  OMG!!!!  No one does that!  We submit them as we get them put together and we send them to the prime.  That's how it works for every fucking job!  Are they incapable of dealing with their own shit?  As the prime, they can submit to the owner however they want.  I mean shit, why don't I just submit it for them?  Dill-holes!

I sent them the long lead-time items and OH NO, they might be out of order.  Fuckers.  Some shit needs to be approved and ordered first because it takes 6-8 weeks to get here.  Things can't always be done in order.

No idea how I'm going to be positive and relax tonight.  What do I want to do?  Only these gifs can explain my frustration.  I will put them in appropriate ORDER.

I will probably just drink tea or coffee or wine (hey, it's Friday) and watch movies or something.

I'll just silently fume until I'm done with work.