Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Project 365 - the first 20 days

This year, I hope I stick with it. It's fun. As long as I remember to do them every day, I should have fun with it.  I think it's fun--but I let things get in the way of projects a lot.  Cross your fingers for consistency. So here are the first 20 project 365 photo challenge. A pic a day, random subjects.

1 of 365 - Flower, dozing. She's getting a little gray-faced.

2 of 365 - Alex, being all morning cute.

3 of 365 - A contract

4 of 365 - Bookmarks in progress.

5 of 365 - Minions

6 of 365 - Candle bird

7 of 365 - Giving Alex a project to keep him out of mine.

8 of 365 - beads

9 of 365 - A tangle on grey

10 of 365 - Bookmark

11 of 365 - X marks the spot.

12 of 365 - A wee Walnut Bed.

13 of 365 - Lace

14 of 365 - Oberon Oak

15 of 365 - Leafy texture

16 of 365 - El Gato, 3 AM.

17 of 365 - Hook

18 of 365 - My beautiful man.

19 of 365 - Simon, doing what he does best, besides being
an asshole.

20 of 365 - Latticework
So there you go so far.  I'm gearing up for comic-con, we go in Thursday for setup. I'll have pictures to post I'm sure. :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Where have I been? Who the hell knows?

Things have been weird. I admit it. I have been dealing with an anxiety disorder, and as a self-confessed control freak, this condition has been less than pleasant to manage and cope with. I won't go on and on about the condition, I think I described it well enough in the last post. My challenge has been adjusting medications so that I can function.  I had hoped it was temporary, but alas it isn't. I know this because a small lapse in my anti-freakout meds and I start having flashes of extreme panic. It's so weird. Anyway, besides struggling with fatigue and nausea, I'm okay. I think things are slowly normalizing.  I'm now on Effexor and Buspar. My days of being medication free are over. For now. The upside is that I spend so much time being nauseous that I forget to eat, and I have lost a few pounds.

What has the Hungarican Chick been up to otherwise? Oh, this and that. I was hoping to have two books finished for Comic-Con this year, but I haven't been able to write with all this mental-health crap going on. So I will be promoing my normal stuff, and hopefully selling a few things, like bookmarks and postcards of some book covers (in addition to books and eBooks).

I've done a tiny bit of sewing, not much. Held a workshop on how to make Dormeuse caps, set up this new year's Topsails & Tea for the ORS, baked some, slept as much as I could manage, did a lot of reading, and obsessed over the G5 game 'Secret Society". It's annoyingly addictive. I find however, that the ambient music is really calming. I know.  The child is growing at an incredible rate. We had his Santa picture taken again this year.

He's grown, hasn't he? My boy. ::sniff::  I wish he'd stop growing! He's climbing everywhere and getting into everything. He displays a terrifyingly familiar sense of mischievousness and humour already. We're so screwed.  His second birthday was November 17, but we had a party on the 16th. The house was so full, I thought I was going to have a full on scream and flail attack, but I managed to bite it back and wasn't rude to anyone that I am aware of. So that's  a win. He was spoiled by his family, and then again at Christmas. The house is so full of toys right now I have no idea how to deal with it all. LOL.

Some bears and bunnies I made for a fair at Trackers Earth.
They're made from re-purposed receiving blankets. The bears,
specifically from Alex's receiving blankets.
I've also been job-hunting. Our finances are so terrible, I'm pretty sure that this is what the anxiety problems are about. But I am finding the process to be particularly stressful and painful. I am either under-qualified on paper for jobs I could do with my eyes closed, or overqualified, and all the jobs I find are underpaid. So much so, it would barely cover the $300 a week for daycare if at all.  The constant rejection is taking its toll on my ego. Someone who has such a broad skill base and great learning skills like I do should be a valuable employee, but instead I find myself competing with people with foo-foo degrees and zero experience. It's really annoying, and making me bitter. LOL.

So things have been marginally boring and uneventful on the most part. I've retrenched and been focusing on my mental balance and keeping the baby happy. Now I'm planning for the upcoming Comic Con at the end of January, and trying to prepare enough materials for it. I've done some sewing for a fair (pictured above).  I need to get back into my old habits and get back to blogging and creating. I feel kind of pent-up for not doing so lately.  So apologies to my regular readers for being super-quiet. And here is my video on how to patch/reinforce old jeans where the denim has thinned or torn.

I will work on some projects to share, probably after the 'Con. Happy New Year to all of my online friends and acquaintances. :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

High Anxiety; an Autumn Fun Update!! W00t!

The Hungarican Chick is a mental case. Well, you probably already knew that, if you follow my blog. Mommy issues, whining, grumpiness; it's all there. The whole gamut. But the last couple of months have been a bit of a wild ride for me.

Alex's first pony ride of the day, yesterday. He is fearless.
A few weeks ago, I was standing in the bedroom, folding laundry while hubby stowed everything where it belongs. We were going to finish up that task and go to bed.  Out of the blue, I felt three powerful palpitations in my chest, and my consciousness seemed to waver, my knees buckled, and I nearly fell over. My hands and fingers went numb and I felt like I was going to pass out. I could barely breathe.

Riding on Grandpa John's shoulders.
My husband saw this and immediately became concerned. And of course, I, being as I am, began to let all the worst-case scenarios flitter through my brain, until these weird episodes kept happening in waves. Tingling limbs, bursts of adrenaline. The best way to describe the feeling is this: Imagine you did something really horrendous and got away with it. You stole something, or cheated, or hurt someone, or something really terrible. Imagine that nobody knew, but if you're a normal person, this would weigh on you, this bad thing, and every day, you would be paranoid. And then one day, someone who is closely connected to this bad thing, and who stands to get you in deep trouble, comes up to you and says: "We need to talk right now."  Imagine what you would be feeling. A tightness in your chest; your stomach ice cold, your skin tingling from the adrenaline. Utter, complete horror, physically terrified.  This is what I felt. All the time.

We decided to go to urgent care, so I climbed into the car, and with escalating anxiety my symptoms magnified. Dan called 911 and the ambulance met us at the end of our street.

So much to look at and see, it was hard to get his attention.
So, an anxiety disorder has cropped up. Out of nowhere. Now mind you, we're not without stress, we have lots of it, but even with my disthymia, I still could cope with it. I don't know what snapped, I really don't. But my ability to withstand copious amounts of stress has been badly impaired.  Now I am on medication they used to give my brother for anxiety, and have been prescribed Pristiq; something that apparently works well as an anti-depressant for veterans with PTSD.  Yay. Back on medication again.  We ran out of the anxiety stuff the other day, and it only took a day for the waves of tingling cold to come back.  I don't know if this is for the long haul, but for someone who worked so hard to cope and function without medication, this is a deep disappointment.

I won't lie though. The Pristiq started off rough, I was nauseated a lot, and tired for the first two weeks taking it, but now, emotionally, I feel pretty good.  I still feel tired a lot, I'm hoping that will normalize at some point.

First of three hay-rides. This one was with Grandma & Grandpa.
One of the most valuable benefits of being on this medication is that one cannot nurse a child when on it. So I used the retreat as a way to start the weaning process. I left that Thursday morning sans nursing, and Alex has been weaned since. FINALLY!!! Thank god, because he is nearing two years old and it's TIME. He was starting to beat me up.

So yes, I'm a mental case. I'm a bit iffy about driving when I am in my dizzy phase. But hopefully that will go away.

Another pony ride. Because tears and grandma. Spoildy. Cried when I took
him off the pony.
So... onto other subjects. Alex is going to be two this November. Can you believe it? I haven't had a chance to plan his birthday with all this loony-tune craziness, but I plan to do so in the next couple of weeks.  This Thursday is our ninth wedding anniversary too.

Naturally, the aftermath of the day.
Yesterday, we went to Kruger's Farm on Sauvie Island to pick pumpkins with Alex. The last time I was there, I was eight months pregnant, and miserable.  Yesterday was such a wonderful time. Alex rode ponies twice, he rode the hay ride three times (he would have stayed on that thing all day, if he could have).  We picked two pumpkins (Alex did), and ate roasted corn on the cob and caramel apple, and had a grand old time with Grandma Linda and Grandpa John.  Obviously, I've thrown in some photos of the past few weeks along with this update.

My cutie pie.
It was the first time in weeks I actually looked forward to going out of the house. The retreat was a tough exercise for me. The six and a half hour drive alone was hard enough, but being social and outgoing when I was dealing with the anxiety was really hard. I managed though.  But yesterday, it was okay. I dealt with the crowds and the activity pretty well. I was tired, yes, but I didn't feel anxious, and that was good.

Nomming corn.
I'm going to be working on writing and finishing up some books before December. I have another table at the Portland Comic-Con in January and I want to have some more stuff to add to the table. I'm sharing the table with another author, so it'll be fun, fun, fun.  I think Alex may stay with grandma during the day this time. It was really hard on him last time.

I'm sorry to those of you that don't like 'all about the baby' photos. It's hard not to post photos of my kid when he is the center of my horizon. He is so beautiful to me. I hope with this medication that I will be doing projects again, and working on some costume stuff. I plan to do a tutorial on how to do a dormeuse cap.  Those will come, I promise.

That's it for now. Thanks for following me, guys. Sorry I've slowed down so much. I hope that maybe this medication will take the doldrums away. Happy Halloween!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Ikea Open Robe

Yes, the ORS 2014 Retreat approaches, which is all the excuse someone needs to add to one's regency wardrobe. The last retreat I attended was in 2012, while I was pregnant. I had absolutely no new garments during that time, I was too busy retching and sleeping to do any of that. I may not be making an entire wardrobe, it's impossible in a single month, but I am making a few new pieces to enhance my existing trousseau. I am also taking the opportunity to flush out old pieces and refresh things.

Lovely floral pattern, delicate and broadly tessellated.
This project started as a used duvet and pillow sham set from Ikea.  Specifically, the 'Alvine Blom' set, which has a late georgian style pattern that is really quite perfect for costuming. Their being 100% cotton doesn't hurt either. :)  I saw them for sale in the 'For Sale in Sandy' page on Facebook, a local garage sale site.  She wanted ten bucks. So getting a queen-sized duvet cover with two shams was perfect. I went for it. There was only minimal damage to it, a small tear in the seam, so no big deal.

So I began by draping the pattern for the bodice... or more precisely, the lining of the bodice. As usual, I had to test out how I wanted the seaming on the back. My plan was to do deep en-fourreau pleating inside the back piece, and also on the front panels of the open robe, so I would have to know where to pleat and then cut.

Pinning the fabric to the dress
form to start. 

Figuring out where my en-
fourreau back will lie. A few
sketched lines.
I'm fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants in many of the things I do, from my writing to my sewing and hat making. I've always been this way. I once received a back-handed compliment once from a lady who attended fashion-school. She said: "I wish I were more like you, Stephanie. You just throw yourself devil-may-care into projects, and just do them however you please, and I have to analyze and think about everything before I start the project."  As much as it was a snarky thing to say, it's true. When I see something I want to make, I just figure out a way to make it. I'm too flighty and distracted to do proper research. I'm too focused on the vision to care about obtaining the outcome.

Laying the fabric over the front, I now match the shoulder to the back piece which has been cut out and pinned
to my form.

I never learned formally how to drape. I just started draping. I didn't even know the word 'draping' applied to making patterns on dress forms. And I had no idea I was making slopers. In fact, I had no idea the word sloper existed when I started this stuff. The first time, I draped a gown (my infamous green one), I did it with plastic bags and tape.

Checking my drawing against the cut piece on the back to
make sure they line up.

Drawing the armscye 

Pinning, drawing and aligning, with an X to cut out the

Classic example of Stephanie style
winging-it. The breast on the dress form is
in the wrong place for Regency. I just
eyeballed where the front of the bodice would
end. It wasn't correct ultimately. But it is
lining, so no tragedy. 

I just do whatever I can to get to the goal. Oftentimes, I'm disappointed, especially with my drawing. I imagine up an image, and when I put the pencil, or paintbrush down, it's not what I envisioned most of the time. I'm too hurried, and too eager to get there to actually slow down and figure out how to make it just right.  So I'm like that with costuming. I see an example of something I really like, and I just throw myself into making it. I don't look up en-fourreau techniques, I just do it how I think it's done. I know next to nothing about hat making, I just make a hat in the way I think it needs to be done. In the end, I've learned something, the ups and downs, the hard way, by choice, apparently, and it either is a win or a lose, but next time, I am a little the wiser.

More lines and experimenting.

The front panel ended up being too short. Not a tragedy, since the front was draped and stitched into shape over
the lining anyway.

Once the lining was cut from fabric sans sharpie marks, I pinned the back in place, leaving the two side-fronts off, and then started pinning the fabric onto the back with the pleating as I wanted it.  Now unfortunately, the memory card I took the series of photos with for this process decided to go corrupt on me. I'm not sure why. It's kind of pissing me off, since it was the few times I actually bothered to take pictures. But it really wasn't easy. The pinning of the pleats where I wanted them, that's the easy part. Marrying the back to the sides, that's where the challenge is.  I took extensive photos of the process, the trimming of the back as everything was stitched down, the capping off of the pleats that extended out, and the draping and alignment of the sides and front. The setting of the armscyes, and the addition of a couple of pleats under the arms to allow for some looseness on the sides.  It really wasn't ALL that different from the ruched gown, really except the wider pleats into the back, which left pleats that needed to be extended out underneath the sides, capped off and trimmed. You can view that linked post for some drawings on how I did the work on that gown.

Mind you, I hand-stitched the whole thing, so it took a great deal of time, mostly done in the hours after Alex was in bed, and sometimes as late as three in the morning. But I got it done.  Here it is without the sleeves on it:

My first gown with a major train,
Besides the one I made from my
wedding dress.

more detail on the back
The pleats on the front panels.
I have this gown that was made for me by Miss Nora of a Baronet's Daughter Designs, a whim on her part, to make me a simple white round gown. I love this little gown. It's super versatile. I wore it at Topsails and Tea, on the Lady Washington, and the lovely ship left her indelible mark on me. Well. On my dress. My wide carriage made getting on and off the ship a bit troublesome, and it made me run my skirts along some freshly tarred lines.

A sweet little gown with nursing panels
and some sweet pin tucks.

The tar stain is mostly gone, surprisingly. Who knew that goo-gone
would be the trick. I scrubbed it with the goo gone, and then tossed
it into the wash.  The stain is on the back of he skirts.

A simple drawstring round gown. Perfectly good for use with an open
robe. Nobody needs to know about the Lady Washington's little act of mischief.
 Paired up with the round gown, I have a nice ensemble to wear for the retreat.

A lovely drape on the train.

A detail of the back, far from perfect, but still pretty.

Looks like my dress form is standing in a hole. LOL. I have her set a bit
lower than my actual height.
 That's the latest project. Onto another! I'd like a new gown or two if I can before the retreat. It's so fun to sew again. It's a bit slow-going doing it by hand all the time, but still, it's satisfying, less messy, and oddly, better-fitting for some reason.


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