Monday, September 28, 2015

Bats x 3 + Owls = Skirts

Failing to think up a clever introduction for this post, I will simply get to the point: I sewed more cotton skirts.

For one, I used McCall's 5431, a pattern for a simple flared skirt. The fabric is grey with black bats.

I used my go-to pattern Simplicity 2449 for the others. One is purple with black bats and candelabra in a sort of damask-type print.
The others are a grey with black bats and grey moons and a grey with black owls. All four fabrics were purchased last year from fabric.com.

I've now used almost all the cotton fabrics I had on hand. I haven't found many Halloween cottons I like this season. I've ordered only one, a black and white swirl with orange jack o'lanterns from Hancock Fabrics.
Jack O'Lantern Scroll
I'll probably make my usual skirt with this fabric. After that... it's time for something new! I have been stuck in a sewing rut for a while. Essentially, I've made the same skirt many times in different fabrics. Using a familiar pattern allowed me to create without having to be creative; this was good for my mental health when I was feeling stressed or sluggish.

Now that I'm starting to feel better, I want to be more creative. It's time to try some new patterns and work with different fabrics. Lately, I am in the mood for velvet, satin, and lace... trad goth staples. :D

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Halloween Fabrics 2015

Two years ago, I bought about a dozen Halloween cottons. Last year, I bought five. This year, I haven't bought any. I'm just not feeling this year's fabrics. I have found very few with my preferred motifs of bats, owls, or ravens/crows.

I like these two bat prints, but I don't wear natural or cream...or ecru or eggshell or off-white or any of the other 4,000 shades of beige. ;)
Alexander Henry Haunted House Bellatrix The Bat Natural
Timeless Treasures Wicked Bats/Webs Cream
Another two bat prints are in purple, my favorite color, but the purple is combined with pink, which I don't wear.
Haunted Hill Small Toss Bats Eggplant
Every Witch Way Bats Allover Purple
There's only one fabric that really catches my eye -- this purple (or is it blue?) fabric with black bats and white stars. But I'm not totally in love with it.
Toil & Trouble Bats Purple

Perhaps this is not a bad thing. Perhaps the universe is telling me to make something other than cotton skirts. :P Actually, I'm feeling velvet and lace. I feel like sewing some panne velvet... even though every time I sew panne velvet, I swear I'm never going to sew panne velvet again.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Holiday Bazaar: What to Make?

My employer will be hosting a holiday bazaar in November. Crafters can sign up to sell their wares. Though all types of crafts will be welcome, the idea is that the bazaar will be a good place for people to do some holiday shopping. Proceeds will go to charity.

I have signed up to be a seller. It will be great excuse/reason to make some fun things. I’m best at sewing and paint/decoupage crafts, so I’ll stick with those.

The question is… What should I make? I don’t really do Christmas, so I’m totally out of the gift-giving loop. What types of things would make good holiday gifts? What colors or patterns or themes are popular with the non-goth crowd?

Any thoughts or ideas are welcome!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Invisalign Update

In case anyone is interested in Invisalign, here's an update...

When I went in for my first set of aligners, the orthodontic assistant told me that I wouldn't have any attachments until the third set and no rubber bands until after that.

Wait... WHAT?! Attachments? Rubber bands?

They had somehow forgotten at both of my evaluations to mention that they would be gluing little attachments to my teeth and that I would have rubber bands stretched between some of them.

I was none too thrilled with that announcement. Part of the reason I chose Invisalign was that nothing would be attached to my teeth. Or so I thought.

Fast forward five weeks... Tuesday, I got little attachments glued to several of my teeth. They make putting in the aligners very difficult and removing them extraordinarily difficult. I feel like I'm going to break something -- attachment, aligner or tooth -- with the force required to pry off the aligners. (Edit: I did break off one of the attachments. :( Had to go get a replacement glued on.) The attachments feel weird when the aligners aren't in. They don't hurt, but it feels odd to eat with them and I keep biting the inside of my cheek.

And now, here's what you have always wanted -- some insane close-ups of my big teeth. :P  The attachments are the little square and rectangle thingies glued to the front of some of my teeth.


Funny how things are more noticeable in photos than in mirrors. The tea I started drinking in place of cola is staining my teeth something awful. :( And holy huge incisors, Batman, my overjet looks ENORMOUS!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Concrete Excitement

Who knew concrete could be exciting!? ;) One's definition of "exciting" does tend to change when one becomes a homeowner.

My new driveway, walkway, and front landing are done (except for some final cleanup tomorrow).

The new walkway is a vast improvement. It looks so much better, and it slopes properly away from the house... no more lake under the window!


The walkway is now level with the driveway. The old one had sunk quite a bit!

The new front landing looks GIGANTIC. But it will look much more appropriately scaled when I have the landscaping done. I'm thinking about a wrought iron railing. I can never have too much wrought iron. :)

There is a middle school just down the street, and wet concrete is a tempting target for kids... so I have parked myself in front of the window to keep an eye out. And to ensure no vehicles veer too closely, I have parked my car in front of the driveway.

(Aaaand I just had to go running out the garage door to chase away my neighbor's *$*#@! cat, who was strolling across the driveway like it owned the place (probably after using my yard as a litterbox). X( That damn cat is always everywhere it should not be. Luckily the concrete is almost dry and the cat wasn't heavy enough to leave paw prints.)

Yes, I did consider stamping bat shapes into the walkway. I managed to restrain myself. ;)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Concrete Day

Just three days until Concrete Day! The contractor is scheduled to be here Tuesday. He will be replacing the driveway, walkway, and front steps - essentially all the concrete seen in this photo:

It's a hodgepodge, with some professionally poured and some DIY from the previous homeowner. The latter includes this odd triangle, which is flaking and crumbling into powder.

Must have been hit by one of these:

Then there's the sunken walkway which fills with rain or snowmelt to create a nice little pond under my living room window.

Finally, there are the steps in front of the door. They don't look too dangerous from the front...

but from an angle, you can see they are a death trap. The top step is only 5.5 inches (14 cm) deep - half of the minimum 11 inches required by building codes. Seriously, what kind of crazy person builds 5.5" steps?

So I'm pretty excited to have all that insanity demolished and proper steps, landing, and walkway poured. Once it's done, I want to spiff up the front entry, which is totally plain right now.

At minimum, I want to paint the front door. I'll go with purple (no surprise there); I just have to decide which shade of purple. I also need to put up a house number. I'm thinking some type of plaque to hang beneath the light.

I gathered some ideas on a Pinterest board.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Does This Thing Belong to Bane?

Recently, a couple of people have brought things to me and asked, "Does this belong to you?" And another time, a person said, "I knew it was yours because of the bats."  :)

It's pretty easy to tell if a thing belongs to me...


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Goths and Depression

The recent Lancet Psychiatry article on teenage goths and depression has prompted many responses, including an article in The Guardian and posts from fellow bloggers on blogs such as The Everyday Goth and Domesticated.

Here are a few of my thoughts...

(Firstly, I'll assert that it's easy to draw incorrect conclusions from statistical data. For example: 82% of people killed by lightning are men. One might conclude that lightning targets men or that women have a higher survival rate.)

I don't like the study's definition or context of goth. Essentially, it said goths are a group who rebel against the norm or attempt not to conform... as if the Goth group were a subset of the Rebel group. Do some teens "go goth" simply as a way to rebel? Yes. But I wouldn't say they're goths. I'd say they are rebels, and goth is their chosen mechanism of rebellion (and is probably just a phase). But many go goth because they're drawn to the music, the fashion, the art, and/or the culture. For many, goth is about finding a place that feels comfortable, not about rebellion.

I wonder what controls, if any, the study used for intelligence. Other studies have shown that smarter people are more likely to suffer mental illness. Maybe smart people are more likely to identify with goth than with sporty or chav or skater, and any apparent correlation with depression is actually related to intelligence, not choice of subculture.

Maybe teens choose goth because it appeals to them... but then they're bullied for being goth, and the bullying leads to depression.

There are a lot of maybes.

As for my own experience with goth and depression...

I didn't know about goth until I was an adult. But I was depressed practically since birth.

My teen years were excruciating. I did not rebel or strive for nonconformity. Quite the reverse; I followed the rules and tried to be inconspicuous. Under the strict dress code of Catholic school, I looked like everyone else. Even so, other teens judged me as different. I was picked on and bullied.

I first got treatment for depression at age 21. I slowly began to peek out of my shell, and at age 22, I heard about this thing called "goth." I looked into it and had an immediate sense of connection. I felt comfortable in the goth community. For the first time in my life, I didn't feel weird or freakish or rejected.

For me, depression and goth are correlated -- but it's an inverse correlation. When I'm more depressed, I'm less interested in goth music or fashion. When I'm more actively goth (crafting, sewing and DIYing in goth style, following goth blogs, listening to goth music), I am happier.

Identifying with the goth community has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for me. I imagine there are others who feel the same.