Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I reupholstered. I have a new sewing chair, and I am happy.

Let me get the unpleasant stuff out of the way first. My best buddy Loki is sick. Very sick. He's going to be okay, but it's been awful. He has the same thing Rowan had a couple of months ago, which is "hemmoragic gastroenteritis". That's fancy vet-speak for vomiting and shooting a jet of blood out of your behind. Profusely. My Mom woke me up at 5:30am to clean up a mess in the backyard. I had opened my door connected to the backyard in the middle of the night last night so Loki could throw up, and left it open so he could come and go if he needed to. Good call, because it was quite a mess. No details, I promise. You can use your imagination if you really want to, but I highly doubt you'll want to. Eeeeeyoooooo. Anywho, his condition quickly deteriorated and I eagerly counted the minutes until the vet's office opened. After weighing him (last August he was 64 lbs, today he was about 53. WTF?), the wonderful vet Dr. Ryan of Estrella Veterinary Hospital (plug plug plug...I can't say enough about this office. Top quality care, and really awesome people) checked Loki over, took him back to do some x-rays and inject some fluids into him. I waited in the front waiting room, talking with some nice dog owners. A few minutes later, Dr. Ryan poked his head around the corner and beckoned me over. "Umm....Loki's had a bit of a....blowout. I'd really like to run a fecal test since we have a sample". Do it, I said. Whatever it takes. He's my best friend in the whole world and I want him well. X-Rays, full blood panel, fecal test.
     Dr. Ryan was comfortable with sending Loki home with me, and letting him rest and allow the meds to kick in. He'd been given two injections to settle his GI tract, some fluids to rehydrate him, and some antibiotics for the inflammation. Oh, and some gentle-on-the-tummy dog food. While checking out at the front counter, he had another "blowout", and I felt TERRIBLE about it. The other owners in the waiting room didn't look disgusted though, they looked shocked and sympathetic. I suppose if you had just witnessed a big stream of blood comin' out the ol' chute, you'd be pretty shocked too. At home, he rested for a bit, had another "problem" out back, and rested some more. He was really lethargic and unhappy. I hated to leave for work, but there was no choice in the matter. My Dad watched over him, but it was only about an hour before I got a call. There was more bloody mess in the backyard. Awesome. I called the vet between clients, and they wanted him back in right away. My sister (thank you Julia!) was cool enough to take him in, and they got him hooked up on an IV. I later talked to the vet between clients, and Loki was resting comfortably, and hadn't had any more "accidents". Thank. Goodness. They want to keep him until tomorrow evening, and now I'm sitting here with Rowan curled up on the bed next to me, feeling a bit sad and lonely.  

On that note, on to the good stuff to distract me!

Here's my new sewing chair: (As always, click pics for bigger photos)
Right? RIGHT?! I KNOW!!
It didn't start life this adorable. If the above is as cute as Amy Adams, then its previous incarnation is more like Jeff Bridges. *I* think Jeff Bridges is still pretty damn hot, despite a few extra years and a bit of grey around the edges. 
See what I mean? Still not a bad lookin' chair!













This was a Craigslist find for $20. Its frame was still solid, the upholstery was even in decent condition. A couple of little holes, but it could have been usable even in this state. But noooooooooo. Because I'm me, I have to mess with it. So I took it all apart!


Lots and lots of nails and tacks. I have a blister on my palm from prying them all up with the tool.

EEK! Naked chair! Does that make it chair porn?
Lemme tell ya, this is one solid piece of furniture. Nice hardwood, seat springs totally intact, stuffed with the old-fashioned birds-nest-stuff that was still in great shape.
Suddenly, I felt kinda bad for taking this chair apart. This was obviously a nice chair. That remorse lasted all of about ten seconds. Then:
TAPE THE SHIT OUT OF IT AND PAINT IT WHITE!
Oh, in the process of stripping the chair naked, I found this:
B.L Marble Chair Co. Bedford, Ohio
There was that tiny twinge of remorse for messing with the chair again... So I did some research. If you're curious, you can read about this company HERE. I found out this chair was made at least before 1965. That's so cool. Gen-u-wine 1960's (or 50's) Naugahyde! Yeehaw! Next step was to let the paint dry and pick out the fabrics and cut the squares. I decided on 6 inches x 6 inches. 
There are 4 or 6 of each square. I wound up having leftovers. Can you say pillow?
I took the naugahyde pieces and laid them out, arranging the squares and guestimating the general shape.  I could cut more detailed shapes later. Since I was using regular quilting cotton fabric, I decided to iron some fusible fleece onto the back to give it more strength and structure. It was a very, very good call. I LOVE it with the batting on the back. It makes it even more comfy. Once it was all ironed, I cut a more detailed shape around the naugahyde, which wasn't easy. The naugahyde had been in that shape for about 50 years, so getting it to lay flat enough to generalize a shape was a challenge. I used that wonderful, modern contraption known as a staple gun to STAPLE THE CRAP OUT OF IT! MWAHAHAHAHA!!!!! *kachink kachink kachinkkachinkkachinkkachinkkachinkkachinkkachinkkachinkkachinkkachinkkachinkkachinkkachinkkachinkkachinkkachinkkachink* Repeat about a million times. Man, that wood had to be oak. Hard, hard oak. Whew. 

Next, I foraged around in my  (3) ribbon boxes, and found a collection of vintage ribbon that my parents picked up for a song at a garage sale. I first glued the ribbon around the edges to get it to lie nice and flat, then used a rubber mallet to pound in the shiny silver studs I picked up at JoAnn's. (Thank you, JoAnn's for having a memorial day sale!!).

As always, click for full size photo
Actually, the wood was SO hard that I wound up ruining a bunch of the tacks trying to get them in. Thanks to one of my Dad's power drills and a tiny bit, I was able to drill starter holes and get the tacks in. I just wish I'd thought of that before I ruined about 20 tacks. *sigh* It's my first upholstering job, okay?! Sheesh. 

There's my super duper long essay, and I hope I didn't bore you too much. Here's some glamor shots! (The weird coloring is because the lighting in my room sucks, and the sun had gone down.)
Oh yeah, show that backside!

Nice tidy edges, if I do say so myself!

Tucked in nice and tight. I'm so damn proud.

I had rescued the cardboard strip that keeps the bottom back nice and tidy. So glad I did!

I love you chair, I love you so much. I will never leave you.
Not bad for $20, huh?




Friday, May 27, 2011

New wallet inspiration

I an in love with Hayao Miyazaki's work.  His movies are touching, relaxing, exciting, beautiful, and wonderful all at once. The composer that writes the music for his movies is Joe Hisaishi. His music is.....well, everything Miyazaki's movies are. Haunting, beautiful, touching, emotional. I wanted to make a wallet this morning, but was at a loss when I looked at my vast collection of fabric. When my eyes fell on this beautiful fabric from Kona Bay my parents found at a garage sale, I knew exactly what I would make. I was listening to Joe Hisaishi's music this morning, and this combination of fabrics is exactly what that music made me feel.

This wallet is a lot more "serious" than my usual fun and goofy stuff, but I love it. It is for sale though, so if it strikes your fancy, you can own the Hisaishi wallet for $15, free shipping if you contact me through my blog here. Like it?


And then there's this one, also for sale:


This one's much more my usual style. 
So what do you guys think? Like 'em?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

You're gonna get your just desserts, and I don't mean cupcakes, Cupcake.

My Mom recently pointed out that I've always had a strong sense of fairness and justice. That hadn't occurred to me before, but I suppose that makes sense. I'm no masked crusader (but wouldn't that be cool?), but my spiky righteous hackles of justice go up when I see or hear about unfairness. Would that make me a hedgehog? Porcupine? I can see it now! The Huffy Hedgehog! Watch out, she gets huffy with evildoers!  Or what about The Piqued Porcupine? Watch out, she gets prickly in a fit of pique! I could have spikes that I could shoot out from me. Pew! Pew! (That was my "throwing spikes" sound...like it?) That would be awesomesauce. What do you think?
Huffy Hedgehog, with action spines of justice! 
I can't stand it when the bad guy wins, (well, nobody can stand it, honestly) and it eats away at me to "just let it go" sometimes. Today I have a heck of a story to tell you, and I'll be adding more to it when my sister gets home and I can properly interview her for every detail.

First, I'll start with Igor's story. This is Igor:
He's a cutie, huh? He's a good boy. He's about 15 years old, and still spry and happy. Until two weeks ago.  On May 13th, my sister's fiance Chris was working at a job site in Garden Grove. He's a contractor/handyman/can do anything guy. Igor usually goes with him on his jobs and wanders around, sticking close and making friends everywhere.  He's the kind of dog who can be off-leash anywhere and he's totally fine. The evening of the 13th, a car pulled into the parking lot, hung out for a few minutes, then the people coaxed Igor over to them. He was picked up, put in the car, and stolen. Gone. Poof. No more than two minutes later, Chris came outside looking for Igor, only to discover he was gone. If you're curious, you can see the footage here: It looks a little vague, but follow Chris's cursor on the screen to get an idea of what happened.
Chris had insisted that Igor was stolen, and he was absolutely right. Luckily one of the shops in the plaza had security cameras that caught this footage, and Chris was able to analyze it to find out what happened to Igor. My sister Julia and Chris printed hundreds of fliers and plastered Garden Grove and the neighboring cities with them, recruiting friends to help. Julia went up there after work every day and continued to canvas the neighborhoods and post fliers.  They even scrounged up some money for a reward, and a friend of their offered to double it to make a $1000 reward. They just wanted Igor back. They tried to file a police report, but the officer didn't think Igor was stolen, and didn't bother. Chris went back to the police department to follow up, but wasn't able to get any help or support. He even showed them the footage, the officer agreed that Igor was stolen, but didn't do anything. RIGHTEOUS ANGER!! *Pew pew* (spikes of justice flying everywhere) 

Anyway, the past couple of weeks have been filled with worry, tears, anger, and lots and lots of fliers. Then yesterday, my sister got a phone call on her cell. In broken english and a heavy hispanic accent, the guy said, "My wife, she pick up dog. She feel terrible, please call back." Julia frantically tried to call back, but the number he left was no good. She waited and worried, then received another phone call a couple of hours later. The story had changed. 
    "My cousin find dog, please call". When my sister gets home later, I'm going to upload a recording of the voicemail from earlier, but the second all she was actually able to answer. 

Julia and Chris looked up the address. There were about ten people listed as living there, and it was in a neighborhood called Crow Village in Stanton. It's a bad, bad, bad neighborhood. Very gang populated, very dangerous. Especially for a little white girl like Julia. They called the Police and let them know they were headed there to get Igor, and the dispatcher urged them to call the Stanton Sheriff's department and get a police escort. They did, and the Sheriff's dept. told them they were familiar with the address from gang activity, and to wait and they would send officers to the address to get Igor. It's so very, very lucky that Julia and Chris didn't go. The officer came back and said "it's a really good thing you didn't come. There were about 7 gang members hanging out there." I think they said Igor was hanging out outside, and the officer was able to safely get him and take him out of there. This is the best ending I can possibly imagine. A friend of Julia's told her to expect threatening phone calls (no reward for them!), but to tell them that she will report them for making terrorist threats and will record any calls she'd receive from them.  That should stop it cold.  No threats yet, so hopefully the thieves will just chalk it up as a loss and move on. 

Julia is fine with me sharing this story, because she and Chris want people to be aware of these rings of dog thieves looking to extort reward money. This isn't just in Orange County, it's everywhere. I remember seeing a video of thugs hoisting husky puppies over somebody's backyard fence, and it made me want to throw up. *Pew! Pew!* More spikes of righteous justice. Be aware, always have your dog on a leash, and make sure they're microchipped and tagged.

When I get home this evening, I'll be writing up another story about how my blog was plagiarized, along with four other talented craft bloggers. We're gathering our armies of Huffy Hedgehogs, otherwise known as fellow crafters, facebook friends, family, and blog followers. I'm tellin' ya, man. Don't piss off crafters. We wield sharp pointy implements. But that story will have to wait for after work tonight! Are you on tenterhooks yet? :D

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thrive, little buddy, thrive!

After I got home from my sockaholics club meeting at The Yarn Lady, I greeted the dogs and settled in to watch a movie.  During a pause in the movie to get some food, I noticed a clump on my carpet, presumably a wad of plant matter Rowan has a tendency to eat and gag up. Yuck. I gingerly picked up a part of it with two fingers, then shrieked when I discovered it wasn't a clump of plant matter, it was a featherless baby bird! EWEWEWEWEWEWEWEWEWEWEWEW!!! I squealed like a little girl all the way to the outside garbage can, doing the "icky icky" dance the whole way. You know the one. When I came back inside,  Mom said "there's another one! It's still alive!" Sure enough, right in the center of Seamus's doggy bed was a peeping baby bird, complete with pinfeathers and everything. I carefully scooped him up and took him outside, seeing if I could find the nest in our ficus tree.  My sister's fiancee even took his flashlight up into the tree (he's a tree doctor, and part monkey...no, seriously!) to see if he could find the nest. What the heck were we going to do with a baby bird? He didn't have any luck, which left me struggling with what to do.
     I emptied out a box, bundled up a pillowcase with some tissues, and made him a little nest. Mom mentioned something about keeping him warm, so I grabbed my hot water bottle and filled it up and set that underneath the fabric.  Some quick googling told me what to feed the little tyke, but he didn't seem too interested other than nomnomnom'ing his beak a few times with some bread soaked in sugar water. He settled down to go to sleep (presumably), and he's still alive and breathing. I left him nestled in his makeshift home for the night, and I'm praying he makes it through so I can figure out what to do with him tomorrow. Here's a pic I snapped:
Any idea what kind of bird he could be? Finch?
Many years ago I took a couple of years of ROP animal care and was going to go into animal care, but that was back in high school. There was lots of volunteering for shelters and rescues, but I didn't get a heck of a lot of experience with birds. Can anyone tell me anything? Help!

Edited to add: That same night, my sister called me and told me she has a friend who rescues baby birds all the time. I was SO relieved, and thought my little friend would be in better, more experienced hands. She came home, we refilled the hot water bottle for the journey, and she immediately brought him to her friend. I need to ask my sister for an update on how he's doing, but as far as I know he's thriving. Happy ending! Yay!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Super quick post cuteness

It's been a while since I've really felt the sewing bug, with that "MUST MAKE" feeling that comes with color and print inspiration. But it's definitely hit me again, and I'm trying to be as productive with it as possible without going overboard crazy. So here's what I've been making lately! As always, click on thumbnails for full size photos.

A new wallet: (If anybody's interested, drop me an e-mail)












A new iPad case design, inspired by the iPad 2's smartcover (but made for the first iPad...I'd be interested to see if it fits the ipad2 though!): Magnetic closures - don't worry, it's totally safe. The iPad has a solid state hard drive, so magnets won't hurt it at all. I did my research. :)













A WWII bomber jacket inspired iPad case (SO in love!):











And just today, two CUUUUTTTEE pouches!:




So what do you guys think? The gnome wallet and the purple pouch are "unofficially" for sale, which basically means I'm not going to post them on my etsy shop, but you're welcome to contact me if you'd like them.  The wallet is $15, and the pouch is also $15, and I'll even throw in free shipping. They really were just "I must make this to get it out of my brain!" projects, and though I love them, I can't keep all of my creations. More sewing this weekend! Yay! What do you all have planned for the weekend?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

All Twisted Up Yoga Sock Pattern! Just 'cause I love ya.

*****I added another place to access the PDF because a few people told me they had trouble printing from the MobileMe hosted site. If there are any issues with the MediaFire site, please let me know!*****

I searched and searched for a yoga sock pattern I wanted to make, but they all called for thicker yarn or a different size needle than what I wanted to use. What can I say? I like using my size 1 Signature dpn's, and wouldn't settle for anything else! Alas, I couldn't find anything that fit the bill. So I studied what features I would like in a yoga sock and came up with a super-duper easy pattern I want to share with you all today. You'll be shocked at how easy it would be to adapt any sock pattern to become a yoga sock. Basically a tube with cast-off stitches in the middle. There's some tweaking I want to do to the pattern eventually, but for now I'm pretty darn happy. Here it is! You can also download the PDF HERE
or HERE

All Twisted Up Yoga Socks


Supplies:
US size 1 dpns
215yd any fingering weight sock yarn (I used Knitpicks Felici in the rainbow colorway)
tapestry needle

Using preferred cast-on method (I used backward loop cast on because it's stretchy, but feel free to use whatever!) 
CO 72 sts. 
Place marker and join in the round 

 k2, p2 for about 1"

Every round:  *k2, yo, k2, k2tog*  repeat to end of round

That's all there is to the groovy diagonal slant! 

Continue the diagonal stitch for about 3", or the length between the ball of your foot and the end of your arch before your heel. I wear an 8.5 shoe, so mine was about 3". 

Bind off 36 sts in k2, p2 using Jeny's Super Stretchy Bind off method. Trust me, it's really super simple and GENIUS. If you really don't want to, just make sure you bind of LOOSELY. Here's a youtube of Cat Bhordi demonstrating. Easy peasy.

Continue in the diagonal stitch for the rest of the round. Hopefully you'll be able to tell where you're at with the diagonal stitch. If you're a bit lost, just remember that the YO comes just before the previous row's YO, and you should be good to pick it up from there. 

When you get to the Bind-off, use long-tailed cast on to CO 36 sts.  Continue in diagonal stitch to end of round.

Keep on keeping' on with the diagonal stitch for another 5", or your preferred leg height. For my next pair, I totally want it to come up over my calf. :D   

Switch to k2, p2 rib for 1" and bind off using Jeny's Super Stretchy Bind Off Method again, and you're done! 

See? Totally easy, and totally cute. Now paint your toes a groovy color and go do some yoga!

I hope this pattern makes sense, and as always feel free to contact me for any questions you might have. Of course I want to see pictures when you're done so I can post them here!