The Litter Box

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Thursday, 31 July 2008

Topic: Fashionable Kat

From my favourite fashion toy store:

If you are a Pink PussyKat then how can you resist a hoodie with Kat ears, tiger striped pants, and everything in funky fuchsia?  LOOOOOVVVE! the hoodie, I should figure out how to make a kat eared hoodie for myself.

That's all for now.  It rained like gangbusters again last night.  My mom and sister in law love my green shopping bag design.  I'm going to look into turning into a pair of films for silk screening the design.  The bag is simple unbleached organic cotton and it took a little under half an hour to make a few.  Since painting took far longer than making, silk screening will cut down on the amount of time it takes to put on the words and pictures.  Later!


Posted by lincatz at 11:43 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 31 July 2008 12:05 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Home Google: The Time Has Come For a New Search Tool
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Really Important Stuff

It appears that the new search engine -Cuil -will be as well loved and remembered as other such revolutionary product launches for New Coke, Ford Edsel, and The Phantom Menace.   It's not everyday product launches have this magnitude of impact on our everyday lives, and seldom does a new product launch take on a life of its own beyond it original targeted audience and purpose.  Yes, Cuil will some day take it's place in the annals of business launches with the three previously mentioned successes. 

The problem with cuil, other than it's hideously invasive crawler bot, the random selection of images that have no relevance to the website in the results, the skewing of the results to personal blogs such as this, and the constant indexing of other indexes so the same website will show up over and over and over -the problem is that we really don't need another web search tool.  It's not offering us anything that is radically different than any of the other search engines: they all send spiders out to crawl through the web, they all try to pick out the relevant information, and then try to give us what it thinks we are looking for based on complex and arcane algorithms. And like all other search engines, sometimes the algorithms get it wrong because keyword stuffing, META hacks and other tricks aren't in the agorthms... er -algorithms.

And google does a bang up job of finding what I need quickly and usually relevant to what I want.

No, we don't need another internet search engine, we need is a truly useful search engine. a new type of search engine that leaves the internet and the world weird web behind.  We need a search engine for where we spend most of our real lives What this world really need is: HomeGoogle.

There is nothing out there that's better for finding information of the web than good old google. Need info on making soap? Google finds over ten thousand places with instructions on making soap. want to find out about space warp engines? Google returns almost 3,000 places mentioning space warp engines, including the litter box! How about a map? Google has plenty of maps. Need a picture of a three handled credenza with matching doilies? Once again google comes through! Can you imagine searching for anything on line without the help of Google? 

That is why I believe that Google needs to expand. No, not the ham fisted attempt at scanning every book ever published, that's silly and and infringing on the rights of the authors. They need to invent a truly useful search engine that will enrich everyone's lives and won't infringe on anyone intellectual property rights. What the world needs is google for the home! A search engine that finds what you have misplaced in the home! Just think about it...how much time do you waste everyday looking for stuff; the other sock, the mustard in the fridge, that little doohickey that closes the bag of english muffins? And how many times do you say "mom...where's my other shoe?" Or "Honey, where's the checkbook?" And how humiliated do you feel when it was right in front of you under the newspapers you carelessly tossed on the floor, or right beside the pile of bills you haven't yet paid? And how many times have you said to your family, "How the hell should I know? What do I look like? F***ing google?"

That is why there should be HomeGoogle: the search engine for the home. Every day little googlebots and googlespiders will crawl through your home, cataloguing and indexing the location of everything; taking snapshots of what is where. Because they are small they will be able to go into places Mom's x-ray vision and finding radar can't reach. And they will index things that move around a lot the most, meaning these are the things that we use the most in everyday lives, so their location is most important.

Needless to say, there will be flaws in the system. For example: that ugly little what ever the hell it is that you got as a wedding present that's constantly being moved somewhere else will likely show up in all searches, sort of like listings on e-bay and ebiz-dot-com. But they can be easily ignored, much like the paid sponsor links on the google website. And of course there will be exploitable flaws in the algorithm, so the kids can rig it  so that the search terms "easy healthy meals in the freezer" will always come up with pizza, egg rolls, tacos and chicken nuggets, because they are somehow cross-linked with all four food groups this makes them appear healthier than they really are. And of course there will be strange links that have nothing to do with what you are looking for, except for one word; so when you look for "Dan's other black dress shoe" the first result could be that copy of Thomas Tryon's "The Other" that is stashed away in a cardboard box in the attic. Finally there will be odd items accessed by several people recently -for whatever reason --will also appear near the top, whether the result is relevant to the search or not.

This would produce strange results in the weeks following a clean-out of the garage; for example, entering in "kitchen gadget for pressing garlic" will return "gadget for planting bulbs" "gadget for straightening nails" "gadget for tire pressure" among other things that find their way into the garage. Needless to say, non-specific searches would yield unexpected results, "that thing that stirs up drinks" could conceivably return the secret location of Mom's vibrator, or it could tell you where to find the blender. "Dad's Black Leather belt" might return the location of your good leather belt that matches your dress pants, or you might find the fetish wear hiding in the back of dad's closet.

Nevertheless, in spite of these drawbacks; HomeGoogle is an idea whose time has come. Imagine the time you will save when you no longer need to spend hours searching for the dishwasher's warranty information. How much faster drudge house work will go when you no longer have to hunt for the box of swiffer dusters you got last week. And imagine a happy and contended mom and wife, no longer cranky and grouchy. Imagine a Mom and wife who is willing to listen to her family  --imagine a Mom and wife suddenly able to communicate many important and wise things to her family that don't involve household inventory.  She can be someone who can take the time for all the important things in life, such as Yoga, gourmet cooking, kinky sex, the things that make a woman's life fulfilling and leave her contented.  She will waste less time and brain power looking for things and she has more time and brain power for DOING things. Now Mom can be loving, charming, and bright;  now that she's no longer listening to the men in her life saying "Mom/Honey, do you remember where I put my ____ can you help me find it?" every five minutes.

A blast from the past, an old entry from 2003 and repeated in 2005 when I moved everything to tripod.  The part about "Cuil" was added today, the paragraph breaks were adjusted and the spelling, punctuation and grammar fixed. Sort of. 

Here's a link to the wordcloud from yesterday's blog entry: http://wordle.net/gallery/wrdl/96617/blogentry%3Aalteringjeans  You can make your own word cloud.  The biggest and most used words: Jeans, pants, back, dryer and fit.  A cool toy, here's the home page: http://wordle.net/

And that's all for today, after yesterday's epic about the crotch I'm blogged out and I have other things to do.


Posted by lincatz at 11:23 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 29 July 2008
Snakes in a Drain/A Look at The Crotch
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: The Kreative Kat

I have been trying to un-clog a clogged bathtub drain, but the drain is too small to take a wire snake.  I was thinking about this as I fell asleep and then I dreamed of real living snakes writhing out of the overflow drain on the back of the tub. Oh yeah!  I can snake the drain through that!  There's a couple of screws on it and the snake fits quite well down the overflow.  I think I dislodged something, although what it might have been is unknown.  I didn't pull it out for analysis, it just schlupped down the drain making a weird schlooping noise.

The rest of this entry is an answer to a few questions that I have been asked in a few places.  "Is it possible to alter the rise and fit of jeans through the crotch and thigh seam?" and "How do I change an ordinary jeans into skinny jeans?  Can I sew them or alter them somehow?" and "what is about those Chuck Norris Jean with the secret action gusset that makes them superior for kicking the crap out of people?"

How to Turn Ordinary Jeans Into Skinny Jeans.

It's isn't difficult to turn ordinary or flare leg jeans to the current skinny jeans look.  You must start with jeans the fit snugly through the waist, hip and seat, and to a lesser extent -the thigh. You can't turn oversize baggy jeans into skinny jeans.  Altering the waist is an advanced level alteration that is best left to pros. 

  1. Begin by turning your jeans inside out and trying them on.  Mark with chalk where the fabric stops hugging the leg on the thigh.  this is where the alteration begins.  Mark a line across the knee line.  Mark how skinny you want the jean to be at the knee.  Finally, mark with chalk how skinny you want them to be at the hem.  Pin the jeans together on these marks and take off the jeans.  Be sure that you can get your foot through the new skinny opening!
  2. Rip out the seams on both the inseam and outseam from the top mark down to the hem. 
  3. Lay the ripped out pants flat on a table, front facing up.  Draw guidelines across the knee and the ankle.  Draw a guideline up and down the leg in the very center on each leg.  There needs to be the same amount of fabric on both sides of this line.  This center leg line is very important, it keeps the altered pant legs from twisting.
  4. Flip the pants over and repeat to the backside of the legs.  You will notice that the back leg is wider than the front, this is because the back thigh is larger than the front.
  5. Turn to the front: Measure the marked width of alteration across the knee.  Mark one half this toward the inseam and half to the outseam.  The measurement needs to be evenly divided across the leg using the center line as the center.  Even if you pinned it so it was unbalanced, balance this line now.  If you don't. the pants will twist on the leg
  6. repeat this at the ankle. Again, be sure the amount is divided evenly on both sides of the centerline
  7. repeat this step on the back. The center line of the back will appear to angle to the center back seam.  This is correct, this angled seam makes a dart which gives jeans their booty hugging ability.  Be sure that the new seam line is equidistant on both the inseam and outseam sides of the centerline.
  8. join the marks, from the thigh/hip to the knee to the ankle on the inseam and outseam, front and back.  Pin the fronts and back together and sew the seams. 
  9. Try on to ensure that the jeans fit.  if you want you can take them in or let them out a bit, being sure that the seam are balanced on both sides.
  10. When you are satisfied with the fit, cut the seam allowance down to 5/8 of an inch.  Overcast the raw edge using a serger (best) or a zig zag stitch. press the outseam to the back, press the inseam to the front.
  11. Optional: top-stitch the seam allowances down using special gold jeans top stitch thread.

Below is an illustration of the guidelines

The green lines are the guidelines, the blue lines are the new seam lines.  It's not very difficult, it requires a bit of time and patience to try the pants on and fine tune the fit.  Remember to keep the back a bit wider than the front, keep the alteration balanced on each side of the center guideline, and don't make them so tight at the ankle that you can't get the pants on and off.

but wait, there's more:

 Edit on October 8, 2009.  Wow. Over two thousand people have looked at this entry since I embedded a counter on it. The number one question I have recieved is "Do I have to take in both the  in seam and out seam? Why can't I take in only one seam?  It's easier!  Does it really make a difference?"  Actually it makes a huge difference and if you take in only the outseam you will have wrecked you jeans.  Take a look at the update entry here for the reasons  why you shouldn't take in one seam only and the concequesnces if you do

How To Alter The Rise of Jeans

This is a bit more difficult.  The jeans must have some extra room in the seat and thighs to accommodate the alteration.  You need to trim away excess fabric carefully.  Too much left in the same allowances can cause "camel toe"  Too little and the seam can split.

to lower the rise and turn them into hip huggers: You must take apart the jeans from the bottom of the fly on the front to where the yoke is sewn at the back.  Turn the pants inside out. On the front, draw a guideline across at the crotch.  measure up from the crotch the amount you want to remove from the rise.  you can go up an inch and a half at most, this will remove about 3/4 inch from the thigh.  Do the same on the back.  To draw a new seam, you need to trace the old seam curve and use it for the new one.  Also you can use a flexible ruler and measure against your body.  This will give the ideal curve.  You will need to repeat this for the back curve.

Be sure that the front curve retains its shallower J shape while the back keeps its deeper L shape.  The L allows the fabric to curve over the cheeks. The following illustration will show the alteration you will make:

As you can see, a wedge is take out of the thigh in this alteration, back and front.  This isn't too big a problem, but the jeans won't have as much stride room in them.  they won't be as comfortable for those high karate kicks.  This alteration can be difficult and can wreck the fit of you jeans.  Don't attempt this one if your pants are tight. 

This shortening the rise alteration can take care of the droopy frowny crotch fit problem.  The vulgar term used on What not to wear is "depends diaper room" If you have no need for depends, then eliminate this excess bagginess. This fit problem is  often found in store purchased pants when the size is good in the waist but a bit large in the seat and thigh.  This alteration will make the pants fit better in the hip, thigh and seat.

Making the rise longer and higher is far easier.  It does shorten the jeans somewhat, but it doesn't take away from the thigh. All you need to do is trace the front and the back curve down lower on the thigh from it's original spot. The illustration is quite self explanatory, it shows how the crotch is scooped out and lowered.


The blue line is the new seamline.  It should meet up with the bottom of the fly and the bottom of the back yoke.  In this alteration it is extremely important to cut away the excess fabric and overcast the raw edges. 

The raised rise alteration is also the alteration required to eliminate the "Camel Toe" and the "wedgie up the butt crack" fit problems. It's quite easy to scoop out the crotch and make you pants fit perfect, whether they are store bought or if you sew your own.

The Hidden Diamond Action Gusset.

When this was added to pants in the early seventies this was quite radical.  It was a selling point of the "Chuck Norris Action Jeans."  Chris Sims of The Invincible Super Blog waxed poetic about these jeans a while ago.  These miraculous jeans allowed Chuck to kick the crap out of the bad guys thanks to the hidden diamond gusset found only in these extra groovy action jeans developed by Chuck Norris himself.  These babies had a special diamond shaped gusset added to the crotch and thigh seam so anyone can kick the crap out of the bad guys and not rip you pants, bind your balls or choke your thighs.

To see the diamond gusset crotch out there and in action, here's the Diamond Gusset Jeans Company.  These are popular with real cowboys, the ones who live in Montana, Alberta, and places with real horses and cows. These pants are quite comfy when one is in the saddle riding the range or being tossed from the back of a bull or line dancing or any of those other things that cowboys enjoy.  These jeans are also popular with motorcycle riders for obvious reasons and the company makes special motorcycle jeans with the diamond gusset and Kevlar to prevent road rash.

In reality the hidden diamond gusset is now in many pants and jeans, Chuck Norris developed or otherwise.  The diamond was commonly added while drafting sports clothing and athletic clothing and found in many drafting books.  It's very visible in the pinstripes of the New York Yankees pants, and it's also easy to see in football pants. Next time you watch a game with the Yankees, look at Derek Jeter's crotch as he slides into second the pinstripes are in the same diamond shape as the gusset.  I know I always look at Jeter's crotch to admire the diamond shape of his pants. 

The fit of athletic pants was so superior that it made its way into casual sportswear, jeans, now even dress pants have a different crotch cut than they did 40 years ago.  The diamond gusset jeans above are better fitting because the obvious diamond in addition to the L curve adds even more room in the stride and the fork.  In women's pants the back curve has always been the deeper L curve to accommodate the more curvaceous female backside.

According to an older men's wear patten book in my collection the older cut had a shallow J curve in the front and a J with a steep angle in the back.  For sport's clothing wedges were added to the back thigh for extra room when swinging a golf club, cricket bat or a fishing rod.  A newer book has both the older cut and the newer one with the familiar L curve in the back and a deeper J in the front.  The picture caption says that the illustration was for student to compare the older fit versus the modern fit. Now most pants include the gusset as an integral part of the fit.


Here we can see the action gusset in action.  The black lines on the right diagram are the original seam lines as pants were drafted in my old book.  The blue diamond is the gusset.  The blue lines inside the diamond divide the gusset.  The picture on the left shows the gusset in shaded blue divided up between the front and back, left and right legs of the pants.  If you need even more room, it's easy enough to add to the back thigh for even more high kicking action! It's quite simple if you understand how pants patterns are drafted and fitted to the body. 

And that's all for today's introduction to the crotch.   Please keep any comments or e-mails clean, this is mostly about sewing and pattern design after all.


Posted by lincatz at 12:30 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 8 October 2009 10:46 AM EDT
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Monday, 28 July 2008
What I Did This Weekend
Now Playing: nothing...no record player.

Let's recap Friday's plan: go to mom's; visit with mom, brother and nephew, go uptown to the health food store, the art supply store and the comic book shop and bug Andy about when my Little Nemo book will arrive; meet Dan and Dave; go to mall; buy record turntable; go home and listen to Siouxsie and the Banshees.

What happened: Mom had to babysit nephew at his place, brother went to Hare and Guu anime marathon, I did laundry and cursed the metal body of my miserable dryer, Dan and Dave came home, went to the mall and bought something.  It's got a motor, a belt, goes round and round, it was on sale, but it won't play Siouxsie and the Banshees, nor will it play my old Joy Division 12 inch singles.  It was, however, almost half the price it was last month.  We decided to buy it.  It's a clothes dryer!  It's denim blue coloured!  It has a cycle dedicated to business casual clothes!  With two guys who wear business casual five days a week I needed a dryer with a cycle dedicated to business casual.  The dryer has auto dry cycles, timed cycles, six temperatures to choose from, and it has a big window on the door so I can turn on the drum light and watch my clothes go round and round.

Because this was the dryer I really really wanted, it was a cool colour, and so much on sale, we  bought it and decided to save ever more money by picking it up and installing it ourselves.  This turned out to be a big hassle. We had to take out the old dryer first and clean behind the dryer.  We've been living here ten years...and this is the first time I've moved the dryer.  One little thing made the hassle of moving the old dryer and cleaning ten year's worth of mess: I found my black knit twistie front top!  It's been missing for almost a year and I have been quite upset. It's one reason I decided to clean out the closet, so I could search for his top.  It's one of my favourites and it's embellished with more than thirty genuine Swarovski crystals.

After much trouble we got the dryer into place.  The end result is that I have a new dryer that works better, I got my twistie top, and as a bonus, Dave replaced the basement stair's handrail that's been waiting almost nine years to be replaced.  We took it off to bring something wide down the stairs, Dave got frustrated with the stripped screws, so it's been waiting patiently in a corner for nine years.  It's now back where it belongs.

All in all, Saturday made up for a week where nothing went according to plan: everything we planned to get done got done and everything was successful.  We got the dryer spot cleaned up, got the old dryer out, went to the bank, got a new dryer vent kit from Canadian Tire, picked up the new dryer, installed the new dryer, went for the week's groceries, and finished the yard work.  Wow.

But I still don't have a turntable.  Dave says that can be next week.  While we were in CT we realized that we didn't measure the vent.  We decided to call Dan at home to have him measure.  I couldn't find a cell phone signal in the store, so I went outside.  It was raining quite hard and the sky was rumbling.  I tried again and all I got were bursts of static.  We got the six inch and if it was wrong, we could exchange it.  We went to sears and got the dryer and began out merry drive home.  Around Weber and Wellington it became apparent that a wee bit of storm had passed: there were trees everywhere.  Not branches, but trees.   Some of trees had shredded leaves.  When we got home a tree was on a power line six houses from ours, and two houses over the people had their 35 year old linden tree ripped out of the ground, roots included.  Dan said there was ping pong sized hail and about ten minutes of "HOLY SH** WHAT A STORM!"  Might have been a tornado, or just a down-burst.  This has been the stormiest summer ever.

Now I have some things to catch up on.  Tomorrow I have some postings to do on a couple websites including a detailed look at crotches.  No no no...nothing obscene, it's about sewing pants and altering the fit of the crotch area.  I'm including how to add the secret diamond action gusset that made the special "Chuck Norris jeans" so fascinating to so many people.

I have added more flower pictures to my photo album, both here on tripod and on Facebook.  I also have a new friend on facebook, a guy that I met through the Cerebus group on Yahoo.  Never met the guy in person, mind you, only on line.  I sent him a scan of the original Beavers strip that I have, and a scan of a drawing not-my-hubby-Dave did in the front of a book he gave me for Christmas back when we were an item.  It's funny, but i don't have any autographed copies of Cerebus. 

I also joined the "dave sim is not a misogynist" group on facebook.  Dave doesn't hate all women, if you think that then you haven't been paying attention.  And I know women who fit his "void' description and I think he's right...and I also have no use for his militant feminists who try to turn little boys into little girls at school, I had more than a few arguments with these women who taught at the schools my boys attended.  I think Dan's french teacher from grade 2-6 is a classic militant feminist void who tries to kill all male light and life...she certainly hated all the boys in her class.  The last day of school I let her have it with both barrels, and I can be extraordinarily sarcastic and mean when I get going.  And I had the last laugh...next year the new principal of the school had her fired after only a couple weeks due to the overwhelming number of parental complaints in her file.  She hasn't taught school since.  Neener neener, I was right and she was wrong! Neener neener! Anyways...if this is the kind of woman Dave is referring to, then he has a point.  Too bad he expresses his point so ineptly, with a bit of editing, a bit more research and a good fact checker he could sound coherent, less reliant on logical fallacies, and a lot less strident. 

On that very juvenile note... I think that's all for today.  Towels take a mere 45 minutes to go from wet to dry!  This dryer has a a blower system to blow in warm air and suck out damp air, and it works like gangbusters!  The old dryer -if it wasn't burning things -would take over an hour to dry towels.  That's not energy efficient in the least.  Later!


Posted by lincatz at 10:36 AM EDT
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Saturday, 26 July 2008
A visit from the GIF Fairy

It's Saturday!  Today's limited edition super special for true fans only entry is a pair of GIFS from the GIF fairy!  Enjoy!

 


And that's our extra special for the fans only limited edition Caturday Saturday blog entry.  be sure not to break the shrink wrap or this entry will no longer be in pristine mint condition and it won't be worth the full resale value!


Posted by lincatz at 9:26 PM EDT
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Friday, 25 July 2008
I cleaned my closet.

Yesterday did not go according to plan.  After i finished my computer noodling I decided to clean the bathroom and take a shower then get started on my sewing for the day.  So i cleaned the bathroom, began my shower and quickly noticed that the drain was not draining.  In fact, dirty grey water with black gunk was coming up from the drain.  This is not a natural state for drains: taps are for water to come out of, drains are for water to go out of.

So I attempted to bail out the tub into the sink.  Bad idea.  When the water went down the sink drain, it made more dirty crud bubble back into the tub.  So I grabbed a bottle of liquid plumber from under the sink and poured it into the tub drain.  I wanted to sty close to the tub in case more water decided to defy gravity and the natural order of nature and try to come up through the bathtub drain.

I decided to do something I have been putting off for a long time: clean out the closet of things I haven't worn in over ten years.  We moved here ten years ago, and on moving day I packed away a bunch of clothes that I didn't like much and stuffed them in a small box and tucked them into a corner of the closet.  Then I ignored them. So with nothing else to do until the tub drained, or at least until I was confident that no more water was coming up I decided to clean out the closet.  I set my standards at a reasonable level and went through each piece.

Any pants with tapered to the ankle legs are tossed.  Any pants with pleats were tossed.  Any pants with a 7-inch or longer zipper and therefore a high rise, were tossed.  Any pants with all three were shredded.  Any questionable pants were tried on for fit.  Too large were tossed, too small were tossed.  Once i got into the rhythm of getting rid of all this old stuff I became unstoppable! I have two pair of shorts that have bright flowers on them.  They were quite the fad back in 1995, and I had tow pairs.  The unfortunate parts was that I was actually quite chunky back then and large flowers on a big butt wasn't probably the best idea..  Now they are quite the "What was I thinking" pair.

I tossed out anything that didn't pass the elastic test, where you stretch out the elastic and instead of popping back it goes crickitycrackitysnapsnap and the dried out and brittle elastic shatters into hundreds of non elastic shards.

anything with holes: gone.  Anything with stains: gone.  Anything that turned that ucky gunky yellow from sweat and oil: gone.  anything stretched out of shape: gone.  Anything that made me scream, WHAT WAS I THINKING: gone.  Anything that looked to "mommy" gone.  sweat pants, crisis pants and fat pants: gone.  black spandex leggings:  go---wait a minute...these have come back into fashion, only without the stirrups.  WAIT!  I'm not Lindsey Lohan!  GONE!

In all honesty I have very little from the eighties and there's not a lot in my wardrobe that's dated or old. There's only a few things That I have worn continuously since the eighties, and most of these have seen the seam ripper and sewing machine at least once or twice in their lives.  I have some classic pieces that I love and still look good, and I have a collection of vintage pieces that I also love.  There's a huge difference between dated and vintage, someone who wears flashdance sweatshirt, leg warmers and a neon scrunchie and has worn the style continuously since 1987 is dated.  Someone who wears an eighties "flock of seagulls" shirt they just bought on line with low rise jeans and flip flops is being ironic and vintage.

That's one reason why I identified like mad with Molly Ringwald's character from "Pretty in Pink" she took apart old clothes to make new clothes and up to that point I didn't know anyone else who did that.  Now it's not unusual, back then it was. 

So now my closet is cleaned, the drawers are all lighter and less stuffed and I have ten things that will be seeing the seam ripper and the underside of Mr Anderson's foot.  I think we can raise the one closet bar, put in a nother underneath and then put a third short one high up and  across the width for me to hang dresses. All in all: a very successful day.  The only unfortunate part was that after five hours of cleaning the closet and all my drawers: the bathtub had yet to drain.  It's drained this morning, which is a little bit to slow for my liking.  Today I'm going to attempt to snake out the drain.  I hope its just a clog from dumping a couple buckets or rain water from the leaky part of the roof, and not something really disgusting like a trapped sewer rat.  We had a sewer rat drown in the basement toilet, that was disgusting.  Or worse, it could be a snake, and not the kind you buy at Home Depot plumbing department.

In other news, I now need to buy pyjamas. I have three pairs of pyjama pants, two nightshirts, and one winter weight nightgown.  I began thinking I was too zealous, but really, I haven't breast fed either of the boys for over 20 years, so there really was no reason to keep that old nursing gown.  And I'm sure I could have replaced the elastic in the Winnie the pooh pants, but they are barely knee length no and seriously...Winnie the Pooh?  At my age? 

Which brings up a complaint about nightclothes. As a woman I have a choice between three types of nightclothes:  X-rated, frumpy florals for old ladies, and cartoon characters.  I don't want to wear old lady crap; I don't want to wear stuff designed for a pyjama party at the playboy mansion, and I think I'm a bit old for hello kitty, Dora the Explorer, and Tinkerbelle.  Why do grown women's pyjamas have cartoon characters aimed at preschoolers on them?  WTF is up with that?  Is there anything in the freaking middle?

And my other purchase at the mall is going to be a turntable.  For records.  Those old vinyl discs with music on them.  Remember those?  You better because the record stores are once again selling records!  Sunrise began with a tiny little section with about a dozen records, three months later they have about a hundred titles on vinyl.  The guys in the store can't believe how much vinyl has taken off; people hate plunking down 15 dollars for a CD but don't hesitate to drop twice as much on a vinyl record.  It's the artwork, people forgot how amazing record art can be when it's displayed on a 12 inch square canvas.  I want a basic USB turntable so I can rip my old Siouxsie and The Banshees onto my MP3 player and then I can listen to Cities in Dust wherever I go!  Or something. 

Darn.  The bathroom sink is still making water bubble up into the tub through the drain. Time to call a plumber?  Later!


Posted by lincatz at 11:45 AM EDT
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Thursday, 24 July 2008

It's official, this summer is the wettest on record, cassette, 8-track or CD. Last year through June July and August we got a bit over 90 mm of rain.  So far this year we are over 200mm, not including Tuesday's deluge that flooded much of the city.  Yesterday the water from our taps was a sickly yellow brown and the drains were quite sluggish, all side effects of the floods.  It's always weird when I flush the toilet and the water that fills the bowl is yellow than before the toilet was flushed.

On Saturday we are thinking about going to a free concert down town Kitchener.  There are several local and Canadian bands playing and the headline act is Sloan.  Sloan is 100% pure power radio pop music -catchy, beat filled,  hook filled and perfect for summer nights.  If the weather is nice and the crowds aren't too overwhelming we might go and check them out.

I finished all my bathings suit pieces: they have all there loose ends and thread tails trimmed, all elastic edges are turned and zig-zagged, the straps are all the correct length and sewn into place and they all fit perfectly.  I tried them on last night for Dave and he likes all of them.  I don't know why I worry about how i look in a two piecer on the beach.  I'm not fat, and even when I was over 200 pounds, there were still much larger women in far skimpier suits than anything I wore. 

Now all my machines are re-threaded with purple.  I have purple cone thread in Mr Anderson, purple woolly nylon on the serger, and purple polyester and rayon in my kenmore for fancy top stitching.  I have some purple rayon/spandex knit that's going to be made into some tops with pearl button trim around the neck.  There's a place that's selling abalone chips cheap and it takes about two seconds to put holes in them with a diamond pointed bead reamer.  I can cover the neck area with abalone shell buttons and it will look spectacular and it's not expensive.  I need to find some purple lace with a bit of stretch to it so i can add some beads and sequins to it.  Pre embellished stretch lace is up to 5$ a meter at Len's, and unembroidered lace is about 5 meters for 5$.  Even a mathlexic like me can figure out which one is the bargain and which one is the rip off.

The rayon spandex I've been buying has a little secret: it's not standard wood pulp rayon -it's sourced from bamboo.  Bamboo rayon is finer, drapier, silkier and has interesting handling properties that makes the fabric feel almost rubbery, almost gelatin like...but not slippery. It's hard to describe.  It's quite unique and it's quite easy to handle.  When worn; bamboo rayon has a slight matte sheen (no it's not an oxymoron) it drapes beautifully, clings where it should, and it breathes.  It wicks away moisture and doesn't get soggy like cotton can when you sweat.  It's a very nice fabric and elevates t-shirts from casual sporty to casually elegant. It has a nap, although you can't tell when the fabric is new and fresh it become obvious as the garment itself is washed a few times.  I'm quite impressed with bamboo rayon jersey.

Speaking of eco friendly fabrics: I saw the latest Project Runway, or at least parts of it. The designers had to make dresses from eco friendly fabrics as selected by the models.  All the dresses were meh, at best.  The dress that lost was a MESS!  Puckers and skewed seams, and that was just from  tiny little two inch video screen.  I can only imagine how awful it was in life size!  Hemp is a difficult fabric to begin with, and silk satin is also tricky.  Hemp and silk is taking the worst of two fabric and turning them into one big hot mess.  I feel sorry for the designer who got that fabric!

And that's all.  it isn't raining right now so I think I should go and finish the rock garden.  It's supposed to rain later today, again. 


Posted by lincatz at 11:48 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 23 July 2008

I haven't mentioned this yet, but our home is in desperate need of some roof work. We've been looking at options, whether we just want the shingles replaced or whether we want to go for the whole nine yards, soffits, eaves, shingle roof vents, and flashings.  It appears that the choice has been made for us.  Last night we got some of the heaviest rains we've ever had and our house sprung leaks where there were no leaks before.  I think maybe the house couldn't handle all the rain and hail we received in such a short time.  According to the local weather office, at one point 23 mm fell in fifteen minutes.  It was raining so hard that it looked a bit like we were underwater! The city was hit with lightning, hail, thunder, wind, torrential rain --when we thought it was over there were still a few of those monster lightning strikes that trail off the end of large supercell storms.

We had been watching the clouds for most of the afternoon, and I began hearing distant rumbles around four in the afternoon.  When Dave returned home around five the dark clouds were rolling in and a storm seemed inevitable.

Which means that I need to get some people in sooner rather than later for roof inspections and estimates.  I think going all out would be wiser and we should get everything done at once. 

In other news...I'll be cleaning up the sun porch today, for a sun porch...it was awfully welcoming to the rain last night! We are lucky, at least we stayed drier than many others.  At least our basement isn't a swimming pool. And our street wasn't a river

In other news, a trip to Len's revealed that the foam for the trailer beds will run about 45 dollars each, the benches will be about 80 dollars all together and making one from memory foam will cost over 200$  So high density foam it is for the trailer beds.  There is also some wonderful country cottage plaid upholstery fabric in a subtle pastel country plaid, there's plenty of Naugahyde, and there's also pre-notched piping trim available by the yard.  I should be able to sew up some new cushion and mattress covers with little trouble.  If need be, I will ask my dad about getting me in touch with someone who has an upholstery weight sewing machine. 

The recent trip to Len's also revealed a collection of fabulous new fabrics.  The best are a collection of georgettes in bollywood colours and prints with metallic details.  There's some flocked taffetas, some flocked velour (!!?!)  but it's the bollywood chiffons and georgettes that got my attention. Most of the colours were very warm and earthy, continuing the trend towards golden undertones in fashion colours.  Even the pinks and purples, two colours that can be very cold and blue are now showing a golden hue.  I think these fabrics would be wonderful for the patchwork swirl skirt (based on the nautilus shell) and for the Mandelbrot fractal swirl skirt that I've worked out using a series of diamonds and V shaped wedges of fabric.

And that's all for today.  I have some post-storm clean up to do.  And it looks like more rain later today!  Oh well. 


Posted by lincatz at 11:47 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Mood:  cool
Now Playing: Neil Diamond. He's cool again, remember?
Topic: odds and ends

I now have two tops to go with my bikini bottom.  I think that's more than enough now.  With the one piece and the two bikinis I made last year, I think I can safely retire my two old suits that i got when i was fat.  The one is a size 16!  It sort of hangs and bags on me now.  That's too bad because it's a really super sexy black suit that looks like an evening gown on top grafted to a bathing suit bottom.  I would adjust it, but even the leg holes are way too big.  I will keep it as a reminder to never get fat again!

I have decided that my cargo skirt is my new favourite skirt.  I think I'm going to get some basic black twill and make one from black.  It was the original black one that inspired me to make this one.  I fixed the slit so it's a bit less revealing.  It doesn't need to be quite so high!

In other news, it seems to be a day of animal stories.  First thing that greeted me in my morning newspaper was a photo and this following story:  Fish pedicures!  Let carp nibble your feet to silky smoothness.  ~okay~  I'm not sure about that one...  On the other hand, as someone who is plagued with thick dry foot skin...this might be better than cremes, pumice stones and all those other methods that only sort-of work.

How about a cat story?  How about two cat stories?  First:  1000$ reward for return of kitty in pink dress.  So this person dresses her kitty in a pink dress, leaves it in a hot car and is then startled that someone rescued it.  First, you shouldn't leave cats in cars unattended, especially in the summer!  Second, you shouldn't put cats in clothes.  And thirdly, she takes the kitty for rides when it has the habit of "dashing from the car" ?!?!?  And her solution is to put it in a pink dress so the grey cat doesn't blend in with the pavement?!?!?!

The next story is about a cat that got stuck in a jar.  Perhaps he was playing SpaceKat?  Maybe he wanted to see for himself how this whole bonsai kitten thing worked.  Maybe he wanted to lick the mayo from the bottom of the jar.  Really, if you have cats you know that they will do anything to get *whatever* from the bottom of the jar.  You should see Trixie go crazy when Ben forgets to take his beefaroni tins to the recycling bin and she gets into it.  Like the old saying...curiousity killed the cat, satisfaction brought him back!

Here's a tetris type of game, it's called Suburban Cat Herder.  Minutes of addictive fun guaranteed!

I mentioned my book that I have on order?  Little Nemo Volume Two?  Here's the Sunday Press page with some pictures from it.  And of you need more, here are some more sample pages from the book.  The first collection is the pride of my book collection, and probably one of the biggest books I own.  I'm seriously looking forward to this book.  It is so amazing, Winsor McKay is the undisputed master of perspective and warping that perspective.

I guess that's all the this'n'that for today.  I want to get out and do some more weeding before the rain comes.  Once all the crap such as crab grass and all those cosmos are gone the rock garden looks quite nice! And I can cut some lavender for my closets and my bath.  Later!


Posted by lincatz at 9:14 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 July 2008 10:24 AM EDT
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Monday, 21 July 2008

Don't forget to look at the limited edition Saturday blog entry below!  Dave was at work on Saturday so I had a couple free hours in the morning.  When Ben woke up we went off to the kitchener market. It was a brutally hot walk to get there.  On the way home we stayed on Duke street on the shady side, so it wasn't quite as bad.  Saturday was overall hot and steamy.  Dave and Dan wen to the Rib and Beer festival, Ben and I decided we were steamed enough.  I did something to agitate an old injury to my shoulder and neck, so Saturday was pretty much a wash out for me. 

So I got my report of IP's, search terms, unique and repeat visitors, browsers, and other points of interest in my weekly web reports. I know the IP's of most of my repeat web visitors and the RSS subscribers. These are all unique or first time visitors. The prize for farthest away visitor goes to Kabul Afghanistan.  The computer is apparently part of the army network, although which army wasn't specified.  The search terms were hidden.  So: hello Afghanistan army person.  Next I have some image leaches.  I really don't mind the links to my site or using pictures you have found on my site, and it's not like I have bandwidth issues, but I would like to be notified BEFORE you hot-link the picture. 

The USA is well represented with someone in Ohio looking up how to yiff a wookie in which my blog comes in aon the first page, another in SoCal looking up stinkhorn pictures.  If you want a really nice one, e-mail me through the blog profile and I will send you a full size one.  Picture, that is, not a full size stinkhorn.  I believe shipments of those are restricted under "toxic substances!"  Someone was looking up "selfish Sidney Carton"   I think from the same IP that looked up sexy Sidney carton last week.  I got several hits for my little cargo skirt tutorial.  NYC was well represented with four visitors, and thanks for the nice comment on my fleurs! I got a few visitors from the GTA and 905 area code.  Two from Brampton. One from Vaughn.  One from Markham.  One from Scarborough. (Hi Tina!) One of these spent over 40 minutes going back through the blog and another found me through a people search site. 

I now have a couple pictures.  The first is of a find at the Kitchener market:

Yes, it's a fractal broccoflower!  Spirals of perfect Mandlebrots!  And it tasted quite nice, too!  next is from my garden:

These just opened yesterday.  As you can tell, it was raining and quite grey.  These were like flowers made of fire in the gloom.   I have more in my flower power photo album, including some pink asian lilies. 

I know, I have a serious lily thing going on, don't I? 

In other news:  Dan went to see the new Batman movie.  He said it was good.  I am quite intrigued; the dark knight series was one of the last comic book series I collected before i had to stop buying comics and begin buying diapers and baby food and grown up stuff.  The ISB gave it a two word review, "F***ing Awesome"  and this is a guy who devotes paragraphs to the thighs of Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, so I think this movie deserves a look.  And there's still Hellboy in my must see list.  Movies are all just big live action comic books these days.

And that's all for today.  I'm off to other places in cyberland!  Later!


Posted by lincatz at 11:14 AM EDT
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