Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thag You Very Buch

Once again, no choir post today, as our otherwise excellent visit to the homefolk for the holiday netted me a most miserable respiratory virus.  Like Bilbo at Laketown, all I can manage is a stuffy croak.  Staying home and drinking many cups of various liquids to try and keep things loose and know the routine.  We normally have our Christmas gift exchange on New Year's Day, but that is still a question as I'm not sure I'm going to be up to a party on Tuesday, but we'll see.

But I did want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for hanging with me in my most non-sewing year in recent memory; you all have stuck with me as I've just photographed stuff that I've had hanging about in the closet for ages and ages, which no longer fits as it did and is beginning to look rather ratty and worn.

And I have visited your blogs and seen lovely, inspiring things that have kept the flame alive, even when I couldn't fan it myself.  Thank you all for taking the time to photograph and document your creations for all to see and share; I've truly enjoyed seeing what others have made, even when I felt a twinge of jealousy that I couldn't seem to get to my sewing machine.

I may or may not get my 'end of the year' stats posted and reviewed, pitiful as they are (no finished garments since September!  If I felt better, I'd wing a quick knit top just to have SOMETHING to show for the final quarter of the year besides more stashed fabric, but that's not likely to happen).   Perhaps by the end of the week I'll feel up to moving the current numbers to a post and clearing the sidebar for a fresh start.

Here's to a great start to 2013, and more sewing time for all of us!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thoughts on Middle Earth...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Sew Random

Once more, nothing to do with sewing...

Since I admitted to seeing The Hobbit last night,  I thought I'd have a little literary discussion and post my reaction.  (disclaimer:  I do not pretend to be a high-falutin' movie critic.  This is not intended to be any kind of formal review.  Just my thoughts. YMMV.)

I am a huge Tolkien fan; I think I've read the Middle Earth saga through every other year since I graduated from high school.  Which was a pretty long time ago, so I've read them a LOT.   My reaction to the LOTR movies lost momentum as the series progressed; I was pleasantly surprised by Fellowship, understanding the need to consolidate characters/events to get the movie to a manageable size.  I was disappointed in Towers, because the editing began to include the characters themselves...their motivations and attitudes were different than what Tolkien wrote.  Whole scenes were created, drama inserted, where they did not exist.  Now it was not a matter of consolidating an epic book into a movie; it became a question of the director's version of the story over the author's.  The trend not only continued but increased through Return of the King; in many places the characters were scarcely recognizable as Tolkien's. I left that movie have had such a great opportunity to tell Tolkien's story and then not tell it seemed beyond wasteful to me.

So it was with some trepidation that I went to see The Hobbit.  I couldn't miss it; you understand.  But I was afraid I would be disappointed; that I would not see Tolkien's story but someone's interpretation of how Tolkien should've told his story. 

By and large, though, it was ok.  New Zealand absolutely matches my mental pictures of Middle Earth, and it was delightful to look at the scenery.  Bilbo was supposed to be 50 when he left on his adventure, and he looked it (although his birthday-party characterization in the beginning, the Bilbo of the opening of The Fellowship, hardly warrants Gandalf's remark that 'You haven't aged a day.'). Frodo was still too young, (he was supposed to be 33 when Bilbo disappears) but the dwarves...with the exception of Thorin...and Balin...all seemed right.  Thorin is much too young and good looking...and much too likeable.  The exceedingly proud Thorin of Tolkien's world would NEVER have embraced Bilbo.  It will make the ultimate ending even more tragic, I'm afraid.  Balin, IMHO,  is a bit too elderly and scholarly.  If he were not to be the Dwarf that leads the next attempt to reclaim Moria, beside whose tomb the Fellowship will first encounter the orcs there-in, he would be fine, but...I'm not seeing in his character the fire that would fuel such an endeavor.   He is an entirely wise and likeable fellow; just not quite as I envisioned him.

The only other comment I would have is that the whole lot of them are extremely sturdy, Bilbo included.  There's an awfully lot of serious falling and knocking about that seems to do nothing more than shake them up a bit.  Stretches the believability  just a hair that anyone...even a stocky son of earth dwarf...could endure such without breaking a bone here or there....

The subplot about the council w/Galadriel et al  and the dealings w/the Necromancer is actually alluded to in The Hobbit; Gandalf's affairs about which he tells the dwarves next to nothing.  I am not surprised that it would be expanded in the movie; the timeline appendix in The Return of the King has obviously been studied, even if it has been somewhat amended.

All in all, it's definitely worth seeing and I wouldn't mind going again while it's still on big screens.  And it's kind of fun to speculate where the breaks in the movies will come...I expected the first one to end w/the party catching their breath w/ Beorn; didn't miss that by much.    I'm guessing the next movie will end with the death of Smaug, leaving the third movie to begin with the battle at Dol Gildur so that Gandalf is finished with that business and the narrative can follow him back to the Elvish camp in time to see Bilbo arrive with his solution to the stalemate.  We shall see.

Which brings me back around to...if we could stretch The Hobbit into three movies, could we not have taken time to tell The Lord of the Rings trilogy properly?  Sigh....

Hopefully I will sew something one of these days and talk about THAT for a change... ;-)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Choir Wardrobe 12/16/12

Finally, I get to sing in choir again!  One of two times this month...busy, busy, busy... But this is old reruns, I'm afraid...still haven't had the least chance to sit down at my sewing machine.  

Colors for the month are red, black and gray, so I've got on  Lee bootcuts w/ my 2006 rendition of Silhouette Pattern's Robin's Jacket teamed up with my black rayon/lycra Jalie 965 tank, as it was something like 60 degrees outside, even if it was raining, and I didn't want to roast.

Alas, the jacket needs a FBA it did not need in 2006 and I don't care for the way it looks all snapped up.  But unsnapped, it still looks great and gets compliments.  Definitely one of my more successful projects!

We had a birthday dinner today for the Princess, whose actual birthday is tomorrow but, you know, once kids have a spouse they'd rather spend the special day with the boo than with mom and dad, so we did her dinner and festivities today.  Which means I got to spend 3 hours this evening in Middle Earth... but also means I'm so sleepy right now my ears are buzzing... ;-)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Work Wear 3 - so soon!

Hey, the tripod was still set up and I had a couple of minutes to make sure I remembered what My Sweet Baboo told me so I took some pics of today's Work Wear.  And just because I can, I'm gonna put up more than one.

The picture on the left is the best one of the cardigan, Vogue 8305.  That has been a real's one of the few garments that is flattering in virtually every choir wardrobe photo it appears in. I really wasn't crazy about it for a long time, but once I looked at the photos I realized this is something that I am going to wear until it falls apart...and then I'll make another one.

The second photo was the only one I got that shows the little hem slit in the pants.  Another wardrobe surprise; I made these years ago from Burda 3116, after altering it up a bunch.  While they were very comfortable, there was something odd about the way the front fit, so I would only wear it under long tops and they eventually worked their way into the back of the closet and out of the rotation.  But after the Big Hormonal Shift extra poundage, I pulled them out and was surprised that they still zipped and buttoned fit reasonably well yet.  They are wool/lycra and rather spongy, sort of like moleskin.  Great winter long as I wear a long top. ;-)

The third picture is the best one of the top, the ubiquitous Burda boat neck from the Feb. 09 issue.  I really did use fusible tape on the neckline, but the rayon/lycra jersey really did stretch out just the same.  Next time I'll use clear elastic. ;-).  This print was absolutely fabulous when it was new, but it has faded a bit and stretched out.  I really, really like the colors but I'm not sure how much longer it's going to be a viable part of the wardrobe...

I thought about wearing an outfit that included a scarf...then I remembered that we were celebrating a birthday at work and there were rumors of a chocolate fountain being part of the gnoshing and, well, me being me I decided a scarf would NOT be a wise wardrobe choice today.  This worked well, even if the heat was turned up and I ended up shedding the cardigan for a bit in the afternoon...

This self-photography stuff is...interesting...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Work Wear 2: Dressier Edition

Well, last weekend I was chaperoning a school trip; this past weekend the laundry was piled high and our water heater fried itself (on Saturday, of course).  We were able to get it fixed over the weekend ($$$) but that meant that no laundry got done.

So that means I was pretty well left with just dressy stuff to wear today.  So I revisited the SWAP 2006 wardrobe...dug out the tripod and played around just trying to get a photo in which I actually appeared more or less vertical. This is not a great photo...but it's the best of the lot that I did in a hurry.  Hopefully, now that My Sweet Baboo has actually explained the intricacies of the tripod, I'll do better and quicker next time.

So, the workwear today was Vogue8043 Today's Fit jacket, in a tweed that I loved when I bought it, loved when I sewed it and still love when I wear it,  black double knit modified Loes Hinse Gored Skirt and a Textile Studio Monaco Shell, made over 9 years ago from a used-to-be-textured slinky knit.  The texture is gone but the color is still fab...

I got asked today why I dressed up; well, I was tired of blue jeans; I said, this is what was clean...

BTW, after reading a blog post and comments about those captcha verifications, I have turned mine off.  So far, I've just gotten one spam comment per day since I did; I think that's bearable if it means more folks will be able to comment.  If I get slammed w/spam, I may have to go back, but with comment moderation turned on I think I can manage one or two a day.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Work Wear - Post 1

In an effort to analyze what does and doesn't work in the wardrobe, I decided to take some photos of stuff I'm wearing to work...sorta like the Choir Wardrobe posts, only without the limitations.  I don't know how often I'll actually get to post to might be in spurts...but since The Actor was up and about when I was ready to go to work I enlisted his photographic assistance (I guess I'm gonna hafta find our tripod...)

Anyway.  One of my personal rules for what I wear to work is that I try very hard not to wear something that is the month's choir colors, so that means red is out for December.  But I wanted to look a little festive, as it is the first of the holiday month and all, so I pulled out this green Neue Mode jacket, which I teamed up w/ a cream RTW shell sweater and some black straight-leg Lee jeans.

The jacket has gotten a little snug since I made it.  It does button w/o looking Perfectly Awful, but if I make this pattern again I will need to do some altering.  The sleeves really are a bit too short; that's unusual for me.  I don't remember if I shortened the sleeves or not; need to go back and check my notes.  I do know that the blouse from the same pattern had sleeves that were way too long, so I must've shortened the jacket sleeves.

In terms of styling, I've got on a sparkly green necklace that fills in the neckline nicely but leaves a big expanse of white.  I threw a long necklace on just to see how the lines worked; it broke up the white but didn't work w/the jacket lines...and the neckline looked bare. A scarf might've been a good choice, but I don't think I've got one the right color.  The straight legs on the jeans are not bad, but these are 'Regular' length rather than 'Short', so I have to wear a shoe w/some heel or they drag the ground.  Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't...depends on the state of my back.   

Overall, I think a longer jacket would work better; at the very least the sleeves should not end at the jacket hemline (a detail I hadn't noticed until I looked at this photo...).

The jacket itself is made from a very attractive fabric and usually gets compliments.  I think it's going into the 'keep until replaced' category. 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Two more weeks....

Still no singing voice this week, although I did make it to church.  Next week I have meetings during both the services I normally sing in, so I won't be in choir then, either.  Hopefully by the 16th I'll have my voice back. 

There is going to be a definite scarcity of choir wardrobe posts this month.

Actually, as I've mentioned,  I've been doing some studying of old choir wardrobe posts and decided  I really need to do some more wardrobe photography; I wear me-made clothes to work probably 80% of the time but I don't have any photos of non-choir-color-coordinated dressing.  Makes it kinda hard to really see what works from my wardrobe as about all I have photographed is tops/jackets with jeans.

But that would mean that I need to figure out a way to take a photo of myself somewhere other than the bathroom mirror, which kinda works for tops and jackets but certainly not for an entire outfit.  By the time I actually get dressed and ready to go out the door, most of the rest of the family has already flown the coop for the day.  Requirements are:

Full length mirror

Good natural light, 'cause the flash causes problems

A place that does not reflect the unkempt state of the house. ;-)

I'm gonna work on that...