Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Patchwork Bag

Continuing the patchwork fun, I made a grocery bag from scraps of two black and gray bat fabrics.

It's a fold-up tote which rolls/folds up and is secured with a button and elastic. (I previously posted a tutorial for these.)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thoughts on Blogging

I follow a number of bloggers. In the last year or so, some have stopped blogging. Some have made comments about declining readership. Some have written increasing numbers of sponsored posts.

This has me wondering about the status of blogging as a communications medium.

Web sites/services/apps generally have a limited lifespan before their popularity plummets and/or they become commercialized and infested with ads. I'm old enough to remember AIM buddy lists, ICQ instant messaging, forums such as alt.gothic, and Geocities personal webpages that were little more than lists of links.

Then came Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram. And no doubt there are other sites and apps ready to burst into popularity.

So I wonder...
Is one of these (or some other site or app) replacing blogs?
Do people still enjoy reading blogs, or do they prefer other media?
Do people enjoy writing blog posts, or do they prefer to publish elsewhere?
Do bloggers now blog only (or mostly) for money?

I've read the news stories and trend reports. But I'd love to know your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Black and White Patchwork Curtains

If you sew, you generally end up with fabric scraps. I had amassed quite a large pile of scraps, many of them in black-and-white prints. I decided to use these to make patchwork curtains for my workroom.

Wanting an easy pattern for my first foray into patchwork, I opted for a subway tile type pattern using 3" x 6" rectangles vertically (3" wide x 6" long). To cover my window, I would make two curtain panels 36" (twelve 3" rectangles) wide and 60" (ten 6" rectangles) long. Thus I would need 120 rectangles per panel; 240 rectangles total. I cut 240 rectangles.

I used what may seem like an unorthodox process to sew the panels because I was using a serger rather than a regular sewing machine. It's quick and easy to serge in an assembly line fashion with little stopping and starting, and I took advantage of that. The general idea was to sew the rectangles/patches into vertical strips and then sew those strips together to make a panel.

For each panel, I began with 120 patches.

First, I sewed 104 of the patches into pairs. I selected two fabrics more or less randomly and stitched them together at one short end. This gave me 52 pairs.

I set aside four of the pairs. I sewed the other 48 pairs into quads. This gave me 24 quads.

Next, I sewed the 24 quads into... er, is there a word for sets of 8? Octos? We'll go with octos. I was just making this up as I went along anyway. ;) This gave me 12 octos.

On four of the octos, I added a pair, giving me four strips of 10.

On eight of the octos, I added a single patch, giving me eight strips of 9.

I had eight single 6" long patches remaining. I cut each of these into two pieces: one 4" long and one 2" long.

On four of the strips of 9, I added a 4" long patch at the top and a 2" long patch at the bottom.

On the other four strips of 9, I added a 2" long patch at the top and a 4" long patch at the bottom.

I now had four strips with a 6" patch at the top, four with a 4" patch at the top, and four with a 2" patch at the top. I laid these out 6-4-2-6-4-2, etc. to form a subway tile type pattern.

I stitched the 12 strips together to form a panel. Then I called my regular sewing machine into duty to hem the sides and bottom of the panel.

The final step was to add a pocket for the curtain rod. I cut a piece of fabric 4.5" x 35" (the finished width of my panel). I folded up .75" along one long side, then hemmed the short sides.

With right sides together, I sewed the unfolded long side of the strip to the top of the panel.

Then, I folded the strip over to the back of the panel and stitched it down along the folded long side. This created the bottom of the rod pocket. I then stitched a seam about 1" below the top to form a header above the rod pocket. The seams are difficult to see in the photo, so I added blue marks to show where they are.

I repeated the process for the second panel... and ta-da! Patchwork curtains. :D

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Mutant Hair

My hair has been black for several years.

Wanting a change, I decided to try for purple. I opted to go to a professional because I did not want to ruin my hair. Unfortunately, the attempt to change my hair color from black to purple went profoundly wrong.

The sad tale began in July. The stylist bleached the bottom part of my hair, and the process went well; my hair lightened up nicely with minimal damage.

The stylist then applied the purple (Pravana ChromaSilk Violet)... and my hair turned out essentially black. How is it possible to apply bright purple dye onto bleached hair and have the hair look black? I can only speculate.

Four months later, the hair had faded to a brownish color.

I returned to the stylist for round two. She applied the bleach... but this time, there was an extreme reaction. Within three or four minutes, the foils in the back of my hair got very warm. The stylist immediately pulled them out and rinsed out the bleach, but the damage was done. My hair was pale yellow and... I don't even know how to describe it. It's like my hair melted. It felt like soggy, stretchy spaghetti noodles.

The stylist said the damage was only on the very bottom part of the back of my hair, and that a trim should take care of it. So we went ahead with the purple dye.

The result was horrible. The purple was very uneven. When I got home, I could see that far more of my hair was damaged than the stylist had said. The back of my hair didn't even feel like hair. I could barely get a comb through it, and it broke off in little pieces like crumbles of steel wool.

There was no salvaging the situation. I had the severely damaged hair cut off, then put on black dye to cover the uneven remnants of purple.

Of course, I wanted to find out what had happened during that second visit. Online research provided a lot of conflicting information. None of the likely explanations, such as metallic buildup in the hair, seemed to apply to me.

Whatever the cause, the kind of extreme reaction my hair had is apparently pretty rare. Some hair stylists have never seen it, and some say they've seen it once or twice in their careers.
That does not surprise me. I have mutant hair.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Decor and Boots

Catching up on happenings from the last few weeks...

First, decor. We hardly had an autumn here. The weather stayed very warm day after day, feeling like extended summer instead of autumn. Nonetheless, I decorated for Halloween/autumn. I used some orange and purple plaid fabric and added lots of pumpkins because I seem to go crazy for orange every October.

(Today, we finally had a change in the weather... in typical Colorado fashion, a BIG change. Yesterday it was  yet another warm, sunny day (77F / 25C); today the high temperature was 38F / 3C and snow was falling.)

Second, boots. I have liked the look of John Fluevog boots for ages. Fluevog opened a store in Denver three years ago, and I finally took myself there. Though I had low expectations of finding anything to fit my wide feet, I discovered that the men's 7th Heaven Derby Swirl boot fit perfectly. So I bought my first pair of Fluevogs. They are super comfortable.

Photographing the black-with-white-swirls boots against the black-with-white-swirls rug was entirely fortuitous. :)

Monday, November 14, 2016


Didn't mean to disappear... I had a couple of very hectic weeks at work, and some stuff going on at home. I'm getting caught up now, and I'll have new posts up shortly. :)

In the meantime, here's a picture of yoga dog Indigo. ;)