Saturday, July 14, 2012

Furniture Reconnaissance

My next big project will be renovation of my kitchen. In conjunction with this will be redecoration of my dining room and living room, as all the rooms are connected. I want a slightly different color scheme and some very different furniture.  These pieces need to go:
cheap table and chairs - great for crafts but not very stylish
sofa is boring and too big
bat stays :) -- chair goes

I don't really like the sofa or the chair. My living room furniture shopping experience was a reminder that every time I do something because it's what I'm "supposed" to do, I regret it. I bought a sofa and a chair because that's what a living room is supposed to have. And I bought them new from a "big box" chain store, like everyone does.

begin rant
The Denver area boasts two enormous furniture chains - Furniture Row and American Furniture Warehouse. They have thousands of square feet and hundreds of options. You're guaranteed to find what you're looking for... as long as you're looking for an overstuffed sofa in a color named after a food or beverage - truffle, chocolate, fudge, wheat, oyster, caramel, espresso, cocoa, mocha, malt. :P
I know it's smart to choose a neutral color sofa, but does EVERYTHING have to be brown or beige? How about black, the most basic color there is? How can it be that neither store offers a single black fabric sofa?
end rant

Shopping options have improved a bit. AFW seem to have added a few grey sofas, and Denver's IKEA is now open (the closest one had been Salt Lake City, 500+ miles away). Better yet, I've lived here long enough to search out the used furniture stores.

Today I drove to Wheat Ridge, a Denver suburb which has several antiques/used furniture stores along a three-mile stretch of road.

View used furniture stores in a larger map

Definitely worth the trip. I saw several promising pieces, such as a pair of Victorian style chairs similar to this

And a loveseat similar to this but somewhat larger ;)

Alas, the sun was blazing and the temperature was 95 degrees, and I was wilted and irritable by the third store. I will make another trip when the weather is more tolerable. Of course, I'll have to figure out a way to get the furniture home...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Monthly Homework Assignment: Things I Can't Live Without

This month's homework assignment from The Professor is "Things I Can't Live Without." I've chosen a trio of things that I wouldn't want to be without.

Thing 1: Boots
I like the way boots look, but more importantly, they're the only footwear that don't make my feet hurt. My current collection consists of 4 pairs New Rocks, 2 pairs Dr. Martens, and 1 pair labeled "Zodiac" that are so old, I can't recall where I bought them.

Thing 2: Cinnamon toothpaste
Virtually all toothpaste is mint - spearmint, cool mint, fresh mint, lasting mint, ultra mega powerful mint; even the "unique" flavors are combined with mint - cinnamint, vanilla mint. Now, I like minty fresh breath as much as anyone. So why do I search high and low to find the lone option of cinnamon toothpaste? For the simple yet compelling reason that mint makes me sneeze. Sneezing with a mouth full of foamy toothpaste = BAD.
Thing 3: Ceramic flat iron
My hair is thick and coarse, with just enough wave to make it poufy and sloppy-looking. I hated my hair until I got a ceramic flat iron (straightening iron). It is a miracle device! It gets hot enough to smooth out even my horsetail hair without the damage of a metal iron. I would not wear my hair long without a ceramic flat iron. It turns this mess...

into hair I actually like.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kaleidoscope on Black

I don't often post on fashion and beauty topics, but recently I tried some new nail polish that is worth a mention. I typically keep my nails painted plain black. I like Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro "Black Satin" because it requires only one coat and has decent staying power. For a change, I added Wild Shine "Kaleidoscope" by Wet n Wild, a silvery glitter with very pretty multicolor sparkles. The combination garnered me several compliments from strangers. It lasted seven days before chipping (and even then, only one nail chipped) - pretty impressive considering I spend HOURS every week tapping my fingers on a keyboard. Not bad for $2 nail polish.

one coat black plus one coat glitter
yikes... those are some freakishly long fingers

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Liebster Award

I was tagged for the Liebster award by Sal Kaye of Still Dark @ Heart and Natalie of Gothy Two Shoes. Thank you, ladies! :D

The rules are
  • Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
  • Answer the questions the tagger has set for you.
  • Create 11 questions.
  • Choose 11 people and link back to them.
  • No tag backs.
Sal Kaye's 11 questions:
  1. Favorite book and why? - I could never pick just one favorite book. I rely on a lot of nonfiction research/fact books. When I read fiction, I prefer fantasy - C.S. Friedman, Melanie Rawn, Mercedes Lackey, and similar. I want the story to carry me away to another world.
  2. To how many foreign countries have you been yet? To which ones? Which countries would you like to visit before you die? - I have been to zero foreign countries. There are many places that would be very interesting to visit... but I’m a homebody with no travel partner, so realistically, I doubt I’ll ever leave the US.  
  3. Pink or Purple? - Purple. I love purple.
  4. Cat or Dog? Bird or Hamster? Spider or Snake? - Dog. Either. Snake.
  5. Favorite movie and why? Also: Favorite actor/actress. - I’m seriously bad at this favorites thing. At best, I could narrow it to a list of 20.  I like fantasy, science fiction and comic/superhero movies for the same reason I like fantasy books. Also, I practically have “Clue” memorized even though it doesn’t fall into any of those categories. I honestly can’t come close to choosing a favorite actor or actress.
  6. Would you pay more than 100 $ for a pair of shoes you really like? - Absolutely. I’ve paid over $100 for boots several times.
  7. Super Mario or Sonic The Hedgehog? - Super Mario. I never played Sonic the Hedgehog.
  8. Do you knit/crochet/sew/draw/…? - I sew and I do various other crafts.
  9. What was the last thing you bought for yourself? - Purple fabric
  10. Do you play an instrument? Which one? - Sadly, no
  11. Do you collect anything? Books, candles, yarn, buttons…? - No. The closest thing I have to a collection is my dozen My Little Pony toys from 25 years ago.
Natalie's 11 questions:
  1. Have you ever been star stuck by a celebrity? - No. I’m not easily impressed. I'm too cynical and jaded, perhaps. :P
  2. What is your favourite hairstyle? - Natalie's green 'hawk ROCKS! Death hawks look amazing on some people. My own hairstyle is rather boring simple.
  3. Which time period is your favourite? - I guess I’ll go with the Renaissance.
  4. Graveyards. Fun or not? - They can be, if there is interesting stonework.
  5. Who is your role model and why? - I don’t have a role model... not a positive one, anyway. I know a few people who are models of what I don't want to be.
  6. If you could meet anybody from history, who would it be? - I've struggled with this one, and I honestly can't come up with an answer. I'm terrible at meeting people... even hypothetically, it would seem.
  7. Do you classify yourself as a feminist? - I would say I’m an equalist.
  8. What is your favourite feature about yourself? - Bleh. I don't like much about my appearance. I have nice enough hair, I guess. My eyes are an interesting shade of green.
  9. What is your most embarrassing moment? - Birth through roughly age 23 was like one long embarrassing moment for me.  I spent most of that time being embarrassed by nearly everything I was, said or did.
  10. What icecream flavour is your favourite? - Vanilla. Mmmm, vanilla. :)
  11. What is your favourite piece of clothing? - Do boots count? I love my purple flame New Rocks.
  12. What is your religion, or what do you believe in. I know this is 12 questions, but I'm interesting in knowning the answer. If you don't want to tell me, that's totally fine. I'm an athiest, if you'd like to know. I'm also a skeptic. - I’m agnostic. I don’t believe in traditional religions, but I can’t rule out the possibility that there is some force/being (or beings) greater than humans. (I kind of hope so, because humans are really disappointing sometimes.) The universe is a big and mysterious place.
11 things about myself:
  1. Going against typical American usage, I prefer to use collective nouns in the plural. (For example, "my family are" instead of "my family is;" "the team are" instead of "the team is.")
  2. I was treated badly by a boyfriend who resembled Matt Damon, and now I can't watch Matt Damon movies without feeling angry.
  3. I am a supertaster and thus a very picky eater. It's very inconvenient.
  4. I dislike talking on the phone.
  5. I feel weird wearing more than one color + black. I'll wear purple with black or grey with black, but not purple with grey.
  6. My detailed natal chart is incredibly accurate. It's so accurate, it freaks me out a little. 
  7. People baffle me. I cannot comprehend why they make certain choices or do certain things. They truly make no sense to me. I will go to my grave not understanding people.
  8. I get hot very easily. I think I have magma instead of blood. :P
  9. If I were an animal, I'd be a giraffe.
  10. I don't think I'm very interesting. This has been a difficult post to write, all about me.
  11. I'm super uncomfortable asking questions of people, so now I'm afraid I'm going to be THAT person, the one who breaks the chain letter. :-/

Sunday, July 1, 2012

McCall's 5681 Circle Skirt Pattern

Circle skirts are a great starting point for the sewing newbie looking to enhance her gothy wardrobe. They’re appropriate for a range of styles from Lolita to gothabilly to trad goth. In shorter lengths, circle skirts are fun and flirty. Medium lengths lend a retro feel.  Longer lengths are perfect for an elegant, almost decadent look. In any length, circle skirts are a fabulous partner for petticoats and/or corsets.

Patterns for circle skirts are readily available; just look for 1950's style poodle skirts (so named because poodles were a popular applique) in any pattern catalog’s costume section. McCall’s alone offers at least three options - 6234, 6101, and 5681.

McCall's 5681 is a good choice for the beginner. There are only two pattern pieces to cut. It has an elastic-in-casing waistband and is super easy to sew. Stitch two straight seams, add the waistband, hem - and you're done!  It doesn't get much easier than that!

The envelope contains a pattern for a petticoat with a yoke in addition to the skirt. It so happens that the waistband also fits the petticoat, and you can use that combination to make a slightly shorter skirt. The skirts pictured below were made in that manner.

black and white damask print cotton
black and white print that reminds me of a confessional screen
lilac cotton trimmed in black lace
same lilac skirt with bat pattern lace on top

purple panne velvet
white and black print cotton with grommet tape trim