Thursday, April 23, 2015

A hat, a hat, what'd'ya think about that? Spoon Bonnet time

So my funk seems to be lifting a bit. I'm back on Pristiq, since our new health insurance actually covers it. I'm still trying to figure out if Providence covered anything at all, except the most basic stuff, because our time with Providence proved to be the most heavily billed time with an insurance provider, ever, and it nearly killed us financially.  This medical system is a joke. A massive joke.

I digress... enough ranting about the American medical system of shite. Onto better things. Like hats. Everybody likes hats. Right?  Well you should.

I've been a big fan of the spoon bonnet. I have for a while, but I've always been a bit flummoxed as to how one goes about making them.  I came close enough to the infamous Kate Winslet sea-grass bonnet with my paper lace one that I made last summer. But this particular spoon bonnet pictured below has been something I've coveted for some time:

It's really unique. I love the shape. So I endeavored to create a pattern to make one yesterday, in spite of the constant, and annoying interference of my little son.  I think I've come close. I will add some trim to this one, and maybe make one more test bonnet using the pattern, so I can lock down the best way to cover it.  The hat frame itself is easy. It's the covering of it that's the bitch.

The pattern was easy enough to come up with.  It's always useful to have a foam head, because it really helps to shape things. But foam heads are also small--so I have to keep that in mind when I'm patterning hats. I started with two pieces of regular paper (where I sustained my project injury in the form of a paper cut -- usually when hatting, I pierce at least one finger with pins so this is an unwelcome change).

I sketched out teh general shape of the brim piece, and then measured out the back neck-piece. I transfered this to poster-board, taking care to make it a bit neater. Then, with a little courage, I cut the pieces from buckram. It does not take too much buckram to make this hat.

My general shape in poster-board. It will be refined and smoothened up later.
This is just experiment time. The top is the brim, the little bit is the
back neck piece. The lines are the general placement of the millinery
wire that will connect them.

The necessary supplies. 

I whipstiched the wire to the brim. The trick with millinery wire is to just
apply it without trying to shape it. I did bend it around the corners, but
that is all. Also, I started on a long edge and then overlapped to maintain

I swiveled it on pins to see if the shape and size were good.

Even as an experimentation piece, I wanted a smooth edge. Some bias tape
was added to the edges that mattered. I glued it on. Cheater!

As you see, the back neck-piece has been added and pinned into place as well.

I measured out four wires to connect the two pieces and create the necessary
support for the fabric and shape. In order to attach it to the pieces of buckram
I turned the tips of each wire by 90º so it won't pull off.

I added the wires to the brim. I did not bend them, but I did use the arc of the wire
to my advantage.

I also made sure that the wire was also firmly sewn into place on the edge so
it wouldn't slide back and forth.
 It's here where I began to think about the covering.  I found some ugly silk from a bag of silk remnants I got years ago. And I was going ot make the lining different and then decided against it, I figured I would just use the ugly silk up.  With trim and such, it might not be so frumpy looking.

I measured my wires, and then used the brim to cut a two pieces of fabric together. I tapered the fabric from the width of the brim to the neck piece, and then slit where the little brim angles were so it could pocket right into the fabric once I sewed it up.

The pencil is the stitching. Once stitched, I
turned it inside out. I curled the brim
and shoved it into the narrow end
and then put the brim angles into
the pockets.

Now the wires are sticking out of the bottom of the covering.

I angled the wires at the bottom and began to affix them to the neck piece.

And done. I then pinned the fabric down in place and whip-stitched the bottom
closed. I tacked the fabric down along the top of the neck piece.

And I did the same for the inner edge of the brim. The trim will cover anything
No, this is not a picture of two turtles getting it on. It's just showing how you
take the neck piece and affix it to the underside of the brim angle. 

 This is what I have so far.

Because it's an experiment, I didn't use mulling. It would smoothen the whole
thing more if I had.

I think with trim it will look pretty good and close to the real thing.
We shall see! I just need to figure out the best way to cover this, and we're good
to go for a pattern. I might combine it with another pattern and add it to my
downloadables.  I'll post a final pic when it's done.

The little photobomber chewing a piece of steel boning. Kept me on my toes.

That's it for now. I'll post more laterz yo. :)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Project 365 - Days 81-100

I'm home every day with my child. He is pretty much my entire life. And these days, he is the only thing keeping me from losing myself all together to this anxiety and depression issue I've been inflicted with lately.  It's really hard. I think this both controls it and contributes to it. My sense of self sometimes gets shaken, and my ability to have a creative outlet; such as writing or drawing or whatever else, is inhibited by having an active two and a half year old boy.

Part of me thinks I need to work again, that I need to get out of the house, and have structure, but nowadays, the mere idea of leaving the house can have me suffering from what I call 'flashes' of completely unjustified terror. Spurts of adrenaline that make my chest compress and my brain sort of short-circuit. I have to stop and breathe, breathe, breathe.  Is this a function that will disappear with a job, or will I be impeded by it? Deprived entirely of normality? Many of my regular readers know what an unapologetic control freak I am. Now imagine my brain doing something like this however it wants, and my having absolutely no control of it.  It's infuriating and frankly, miserable.  I wouldn't wish this on anyone. Even a libertarian ::snicker::

81/365 - My little man's foot. Small and cute.

82/365 - Ziggy Zags
83/365 - Cuddles

84/365 - Lots of my kid in this grouping.
Lashes behind lace.

85/365 - Oregon's main source of nutrition.
Coffee. Evidence of Oregon's
addiction; the empty sacks.


87/365 - Tokens from my baby


89/365 - Hubby brought home some treats


91/365 - Auntie Nee made a brief visit to the PNW. She got in some time
with her nephew, who adores her, and her mom.

92/365 - Blurry but sweet. Some kitty cuddles.

93/365 - Hearts are open

94/365 - Pre-Easter cuteness

95/365 - Morning egg hunt at home

96/365 - The boy looks good in my specs.

97/365 - Realized the other day, that except for a couple of days during pregnancy
because of swollen feet, I have worn these toe rings continuously since 1998 or 1999.
I pretty much forget they are even there.

98/365 - the saute pan

99/365 - Simon says pet me

100/365 - cozy quilt
So yeah. My pictures are Alex-intensive lately. But that's what this project is all about. Capture your life and the things that catch your eye.  Next installment will bring us close to a third of the way through the project. Number 101 is awfully cute! I won't be so debbie downer next time, I promise. Just having some medication adjustments that are making things challenging for me. I also have a project in mind that I may begin if I can find someone to help me kick off the hardest part. Laterz from the HC. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

An Overstepping Easter

I have to really credit myself these days for my ability to control my anger. I’m amazed I can do it actually. And this Easter was proof of it. I got into a bit of a row with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law.  It began innocently enough. We had a beautiful easter morning. Alex woke up to a basket full of treats, which he breakfasted on a bit. We then had an egg hunt in the yard, which was repeated because he loved it so much (I had to re-hide eggs). I was feeling good. One of the rare days these past weeks when I have.

Easter morning egg hunt. We just put a flannel over his jammies and put on
his shoes. No, he did not dress in the dark. LOL.

I was in my jammies too. Nobody saw.
The next stop was to the family gathering at the SIL’s house.  Let me throw in some background here.  T has never liked me. Ever. It’s been almost twelve years and she still hasn’t bothered to even try. She’s one of those people that celebrates her rudeness; she thinks it’s funny to be obnoxious, and her crappy people-skills earned her a demotion at work because she can’t keep her mouth shut or control her anger. For the duration of my being with my husband, T has made it clear that I am not to her liking. She’s cold and brusque with me. She makes underhanded, snarky, passive-aggressive comments, she invites me to nothing, does nothing with me, will withdraw from things I’m involved in, and has not bothered even once to try and get to know me on any personal level. It’s not for lack of trying. I’ve even done things I hate just to humour her. Laughed at Mexicans, and put up with listening to their ignorant drivel about Obama and their racist jokes. I have smiled, I have nodded, I’ve swallowed my urge to lay it all out for twelve years.  Why? To keep the peace, to let my husband have a good time with his family sans drama.  I’ve put up with this caustic woman and her  loaf of a husband for long enough.

Shortly before our wedding, I noticed that Loaf-in-law hadn't gone to the tux store to pick up his tux. So my husband called him to ask what the deal was. The loaf-in-law then proceeded to tell hubby that he wanted nothing to do with our wedding in that capacity and began listing the reasons why my husband shouldn’t marry me. I don’t know the exact words; I just remember the terse reply my husband gave him.  It was the one thing my mom got right on my wedding day. She walked up to Loaf and said: “Oh, hello. I didn’t recognize you without your tuxedo.”

It has always been a delicate dance. They criticize me, I suck it up and smile. I hug them hello; I engage them in conversation, I compliment whatever I can compliment, and I keep the peace. The only time she really engaged me in conversation was to complain about people. She bitches a lot about people. Every event that involved them is an event I approach with a pit in my stomach. It’s not pleasant being around family members who don’t like you—and you know if you say something to defend yourself or retaliate, you can earn the ire of others, including your husband. It’s emotional blackmail.

Dude, what's wrong with you? You're all weird looking.

You have something stuck in your teeth too.

He likes pretty girls. So much so,
he will get his face painted for some
face time.

Yeah, I'm cute. So what?
Yesterday, we arrived in high-spirits to their home. We got inside and Alex, being a normal child of two-years old, bee-lined for their cat. Their cat is an asshole. Of the worst kind. T even laughingly called him that when he spat and swiped at my child.  I did not get up in arms about it, I dismissed her ‘embarrassment’ and moved on.  I could tell from the get-go that Loaf was antsy and irritated. The TV was off for one. Usually, Loaf spends entire family gatherings in front of the boob-tube and then has the audacity to nitpick me if I choose to stay home from their get-togethers sometimes. He doesn’t participate, he’s just present, and not even really present.  But hey, I digress.

Alex proceeded to collect the eggs that T had sweetly set around the house for him; and he LOoooooved egg hunting.  Everyone was fussing about him, so I moved to the dining table and sat down, and the family then got him his easter baskets and oohed and aahhhed. Since he’s the only little one, that is the attention he gets. I just sat in the corner and let it happen. I love it when he is surrounded by  his family. He loves his grandpa and grandma and his cousin B.

During this fussing interlude, I heard a peppering of “Alex, No!”s coming from the cluster of 3-4 adults hovering near him.  I called out from the corner because I could not see, “What happened?” My husband replied: “He threw Easter eggs at the cat.”  My response was to the like of: “Oh, maybe he’s taking revenge for being swiped at by the cat.”  I did not see the incident, I figured there are four adults there, including his father, it’s covered. No biggie.

Daddy and Alex colouring some eggs.

Sweetest father on earth.
Then a few minutes later, I felt a bit removed from the hullabaloo, so I came out of the corner and sat down nearer to them, in one of the bottomless pit armchairs they have.  It’s the kind where you sit down and wonder if you’ll ever be able to get up. And Alex came crawling around the corner pushing a little Thomas train he got along the carpet. He chugged it along towards what turned out to be Scratchy the Asshole cat who should have been put away, and then paused, and chucked the train at the cat (and missed by far). I tried to extricate my fat butt from the sofa and was telling him no, but Dan actually got to him before I could actually get to my feet, and he turned him away from the cat.

Then Loaf says from the peanut gallery: “I would have spanked him twice already if he was my kid,” he mutters. Then he proceeds to say: “He needs to be disciplined. He needs just a little discipline.” You could tell by his red face that he was grossly irritated by my kid.  I looked over at Dan who said in a low voice: “Do you want to leave?” I shook my head and said no. I wasn’t willing to make waves at that point, even if I just had to endure having my parenting criticized by someone who thinks parenting is using the back of your hand.  But then the next ten minutes or so, Loaf did nothing but eyeball Alex, and make comments under his breath whenever the kid even moved.  He stood too close to the screen window. He walked too close to the cat treehouse.  My annoyance with him was building so I put on my shoes and decided to take Alex outside where he and I could be outside without irritating the Loaf.

They all followed, because it turns out the ‘adult’ egg hunt was set up out there.  I roamed about, letting Alex find eggs. I resolved to have a talk to T, and establish that what Loaf did was not okay. So when the eggs were all found, and we were counting them out at the picnic table, I said:

“For the sake of maintaining good feelings, I’d like to talk about what said.  It isn’t his business to tell us how to parent our child. I grew up in abusive home, so spanking is just not going to happen. If Alex is too rambunctious for him, then we can just not bring him here anymore.”

At first, T was claiming it was about the cat’s safety. You see, our kid could have harmed Scratchy the Asshole Cat who wouldn’t let my kid within four feet of himself without baring everything sharp on its small furry being. I accepted that, but as she spoke, she just got nastier and nastier. And then the setoff happened. She looked at me and said: “Telling me that you won’t bring Alex here anymore was a shitty thing to do,” her face contorted into the twisted ugly expression that can only be remotely be described by posting this picture:

She then repeated it in a low, gravely voice: “IT WAS A SHITTY THING TO DOOOOOOOOO STEPHANIE….” It took every fibre of my being, god help me, not to just burst out laughing right at that moment. It was sadly comical how she was blowing everything out of proportion.

I replied as I felt. I honestly felt that Alex wasn’t welcome by Loaf. That my crappy parenting made him intolerable to him. So that’s what I said. “If is uncomfortable with our undisciplined child, then we don’t need to bring him here.” In my head, I was thinking; you are welcome to visit him at our home, where we allow him to freely abuse and imperil his own cat without consequences :::snark:::.  The eyeroll was wanting to happen so bad, but I kept calm, meanwhile, T was starting to spool up even more.  Her husband loafed over, and my husband, who is a taciturn, quiet guy by nature, was also bristling.

She got in my face and started claiming that I laughed at his throwing toys at the cat. I did not.  “IT’S NOT CUTE, STEPHANIE! IT’S NOT CUTE!” she spat like some sort of possessed freak. She had decided to turn me into the enemy. This is the point where I realized this wasn’t about the cat. This was a venting of resentment that has been waiting for twelve years. T doesn’t like me, so I was about to feel the brunt of it.  Miss Anger Management then went off.

“Nobody said it was cute, T,” I muttered calmly.  Her reply was a furious growl: “Stop speaking to me like a CHILD, Stephanie…” At that point, I think I totally did roll my eyes. Then Loaf put in his two cents, which I don’t recall what he said; and my reply was: “Look, I would NEVER, EVER PRESUME to tell you how to parent YOUR child. It was uncalled for.  You do not get to tell us to spank our child. Period.”

My husband said “Let’s just go.” So I got up and we went into the house. T ran in front of us, and declared to everyone else as we walked in, in a loud, berating tone: “WELL THEY’RE THROWING A TANTRUM AND LEAVING…” She then began to repeat her accusations of my laughing, and then told everyone that I THREATENED her.  And she said threatened exactly as you would imagine it, In this dooming, horrified tone. I told her she was interpreting what I did and said to suit what she wanted, and that I am none of those things. But I can’t control how she feels. I called her defensive, and she blew up again. I started gathering up our stuff and Alex’s things. Dan, who is the quietest, sweetest, calmest person hollered at her to shut up, and shouted at Loaf that he had no businesses telling us how to parent Alex. Loaf then listed how great they are as parents, and how successful they were at raising their kid. B is a great kid. But they are far from perfect. 

T is a helicopter mom. She hovers over her kid like some kind of carrion bird over a carcass. She dresses in matching track suits with her kid. They don’t do anything socially, they really don’t have any friends, their lives revolve around their kid’s sports. They coach, they do booster stuff, they are their kid.  She has been overprotective of him since his birth as a preemie. I get it, I don’t have any issue with that, but that brand of parenting is not for us. We want Alex to not be a narcissist who thinks the world revolves around his needs and wants. I have never once, in all my time with this family, made any comments. I never asked them them if they had college plans for him. I never made any backhanded comments about what a momma’s boy he is—and how rarely I see him with other kids his age. I never snarked about how many hours the kid spends with his headphones on in front his array of gaming consoles every day, and during family gatherings. He’s like a ghost. He comes and goes and rarely speaks. If he’s not gaming, he’s watching TV with grandpa who spends at least 5 hours a day himself in front of Fox News getting angrier and angrier.

I think if there was no such thing as public school, he’d probably socially stunted. The closest thing to criticism I ever shared was asking them on the event of his thirteenth birthday, if he was going to do anything with his friends.  The answer was no.  I feel sorry for the kid. He’s a nice, sweet, passive kid with a good heart. But then I hear him parroting the hateful, racist shit his parents and step-grandfather like to say and I feel immediate and profound pity.  I’ve known him since he was three. He had only just begun talking at three. He was the polar opposite of Alex. Alex is independent and spunky, he runs and climbs and jumps. B is reflexive and clingy. He plays sweetly with both his mom and dad, and they have a good relationship, and I genuinely like the kid. I feel bad that he had to be spanked at all. How they raise him is their fucking business. Bottom line, and it’s none of my damned business to tell them how to parent.

But the T and Loaf seem to be under the impression that they have all the answers, and that they have the right to impose their methods on our kid. T was shouting at this point how she’d have been all over the kid if he’d thrown toys at the cat. I told her Dan handled it. She then implied that Dan would always handle it, making sure to leave me absent from that. I looked at my husband, whose face was beet red, and he retorted that she was full of crap and that we both handle the kid quite well. The irony is, I’m much tougher on Alex than Dan is. He’s the good cop. But T seems to be under the impression that I’m some sort of marshmallow/doormat. Of course, the three times a year she actually sees me is all the evidence she needs to come to that conclusion. Never mind that Alex is with me pretty much 24/7 and is really a good boy for a two year old. I then realized that maybe the reason why Loaf was so irritated when we came in, and why everyone looked so uncomfortable (aside from being exposed to this shouting match), was that maybe they were discussing our parenting before we arrived; possibly anticipating with a dash of dread spending time with the Tasmanian devil we are raising.  I dunno, it’s speculation at best, but I can’t account for the reason why Loaf was being such a douche, unless it was because the TV was off, which as I said, is a first in all the years I’ve been married and with my husband. The TV is usually the most valued guest at these gatherings.

Either way, hubby and I gathered up the stuff, and the kid and we left. My hands were shaking, but my temper was under control.  I don’t do well with confrontation most of the time. Just letting a tiny bit of my anger leak out usually just leads to the inevitable explosion of every resentment I’m feeling at the moment, including personal insults, attacks and any other nastiness I’ve swallowed over the years. I did not do that.

I’m not sure if this is fixable. I truly believe that these people owe us an apology.  I truly believe that the cat should have been put away. If they brought a kid into my home with my bitey, scratchy pet, I would put the pet into a room. Alex is two years old. You don’t reason with two year olds yet. And I sure as hell won’t hit him and take the lazy parenting way out.  Too many people do.  I won’t be spoken to like that again. So there’s a crossroads here. Hubby is angry as hell at his sister and brother-in-law. How can I trust Alex in their care at all now? If they think that it’s permissible to lay a hand on him when he does something as trivial as touching the cat’s tree? They obviously don’t respect the guidelines we have for our boy, and they think what is normal (giggling, running, jumping, being curious, touching things) for us, is intolerable for them; that kids should be cowering in quiet intimidation. Not going to happen. I love my child’s inquisitive nature, and if he was mad that the cat tried to attack him, then he had a right to be. That cat should not be around toddlers. My child’s comfort and safety is more important than their dickwad cat. You can’t expect a two-year old to leave a cat alone. At least, if you don’t hit them to make sure they do.  I don’t have any desire to continue swallowing anything when it comes to this anger-management nutcase of a sister in law or her lurch husband. I’m tired of their shit. And Dan is finally with me on that. It took them turning their attention to his son for it to smart enough for him to actually react.  It’s funny how one sibling is all reflection; Dan… and the other is all reaction. Good luck getting that demon woman to listen to anything. Yikes.

The saddest part was that she was projecting so much nastiness on me, I can’t help but understand her dislike for me. Because all that spitefulness towards me, the projection she makes onto me, just reflects her own dislike and unhappiness with herself. Of course, her drawn, face, dark circles, her baggy clothes, her defensive, embittered nature; that is already pretty obvious. She isn’t happy. Dan said she’s always been this way, which is even sadder.  How long can someone function just being a ball of resentment? It’s so sad.  I do have some measure of relief over all this. I don’t have to smile and fake it anymore.  If I see her again, I won’t hold any bars. And if I don’t, oh well. 


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