Monday, February 25, 2013

Olive's Costume/Sewing List

My machine is off to the shop (the bobbin case is catching the top thread on something and I can't quite figure it out) so there's going to be very few sewing posts until I get it back. In the mean time, I thought I would work on a sewing list for Olive, it's only fair.

- Joan of Arc (enough of her being called 'him')
- K-9 (there's an adorable corgi dressed as K-9 floating around pinterest)
- Sherlock Holmes (I really just want to make her the iverness coat in a tweed or houndstooth)
- Serenity (the ship)
- Disney-canon Maid Marion (she already has the foxy Sheltie face, despite her raccoon markings)
- Pony (mostly to make up for my mistakes 13? years ago that I subjected on poor Niki)

Other Sewing Projects:
- Something for the Scottish Walk (probably using DH's clan's* tartan, or else the Stuart tartan since it's similar and cheaper). Do women wear kilts? Can you even make a puppy kilt without it looking like it belongs on a "Kilt Girl"? Shame only boys are supposed to wear TOS, I think they're adorable (and one of the reasons I would consider going the PhD route, since it really doesn't have professional value outside of teaching and just no.)
- Recovering some of her old toys using stash fabric

*Don't ask me which one it is, I know Sean Connery is in it and it's HQed on the Isle of Man. If I had taken the program opening in the UK we would have gone to the annual meeting this year.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pesto Pasta Soup

DH and I kind of skipped Valentine's Day, I was volunteering in Maryland during the day but on my way home I felt awful and felt awful for another couple days. When I finally felt like cooking (DH did the rest of the days) this is what we had. With the potato-onion base it reminds me of a creamy, less starchy chicken pot pie (sub bacon for chicken of course). I won't say which is better- I felt like this could have benefited from more green (adjusted below)- but it is a fast soup which is always good.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Olive's House

Olive has three "crates" around the condo. This was accidental but allows her various comfortable vantage points to survey her domain DH and my home. One in the living room, one in the office, and one in our room.

Crates 1 & 2 are boring conventional flexi and plastic-shell crates for traveling and for bed time. Flexi means she can be contained when her stomach is upset overnight but can see everything, making her happy. The shell means she can't chew through it without a ton of determination while we're gone (which she has but a kong of peanut butter and kibble helps deter her) and can be buckled in when we go on a car ride (straps around the outside make it more secure and allow it to be buckled into 2-point or 3-point belts).*

 Taken outside Roanoke after a long car ride from around Little Rock (day 2 of the trek from Texas). It's currently serving as her canopy bed, stuffed with a large fleece blanket and a couple bath sheets to give her plenty of fabric to root around in.

Anywho, that brings us to crate 3. Olive's very special, handmade, custom wood crate.**

If she sits up very tall, and puts her ears up, she still has a couple inches of room

You would think any dog would be happy to have a comfortable crate like this. Nope. First Sunday we had her, we came home from church to find she left us a present in the living room and took chunks out of the door of the crate.

 Every so often I will throw all her toys in the back, and one by one she will unpack them so they are all under the coffee table.

This was DH's project while we waited for our adoption paperwork to be approved (and before we knew the size of dog we were getting) so he did all the math and most of the decision making (I had most of the say of the color on the top). He took this project from Ana White and downsized so that it is 24"x24"x32" and could have gone much smaller to comfortably fit ~13" Olive. If you do re-size it, I would recommend finding a standard crate size for a mat/pillow. We are having a time finding one that fits well. MDF was used for the top and plywood for the base and inserts (plexi would would work too), and pine for the sides and door. The hinges and latch were purchased at home depot as was the paint (something in the Behr 400- series, I think Mossy Green but I could be wrong, I know it was an all-weather/outdoor paint which is a bit of a pain since I find it to be a bit tacky with dust or wet glasses for whatever reason).

The hinge is on the left side as, in the old apartment, the crate was on the other side of the couch and it made sense in my head. I want to remove the door since we never keep her in it anyway but DH wants it to stay. Whatever. Still needs to be stained.

HOWEVER, by careful if you use this project as there are math problems with length/cuts missing. So carefully read the directions and walk through each step and highlight each cut as it corresponds to a step to make sure everything makes sense.

DH's Thoughts:
- Wait to stain until after you see if your dog is part beaver
- Either use the exact size as the pattern or be very competent with wood construction*** or math, better if it's 2 out of the 3
- Pocket Holer-thingy is very useful and makes it much cleaner
- Don't use the plastic plugs on the inside of the door/crate, dogs can and probably will eat them (we used wood filler stuff that's harder to pop off)
- Electric Sander is also useful
- Home Depot does pretty decent cuts but if you get the high schooler, you may want to add length or get extra pieces since our guy decided to not measure each piece but instead used each progressive piece as a ruler (I think I was off looking at door hardware or something)
- It is possible with only one power tool (minus cuts) as long as it is a drill.
- Make sure all exposed sides and edges are smooth for delicate puppy skin, and stupid human toes

*We allowed her to be loose in the car when we took her home from her foster parents but knew we wanted at least a harness on her since she's neurotic and it's safer for them to be contained, especially in an accident (and it's illegal for a dog to unrestrained in a vehicle in some states near us). We bought the shell crate since she's an escape artist. Figure it's easier for first responders if we are ever in an accident since she doesn't wear a leash in the car and the crate can be picked up and carried.
** You'll notice that both the flexi and wooden crates are over-sized. Because she was already potty trained (ignoring the church present) and she is not kept in either without supervision, the "den" mentality isn't a problem. Her shell crate is smaller (but still appropriate for her size, even though she loves to smoosh herself into a tiny ball in the back) so if she needed a den mentality for house training, it would suffice. DH didn't trust the stability of wire crates so we don't have one of those. I do want an exercise pen at some point but that can wait for now.
***My two years of musical tech crew were not enough

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything Shirt (Blank Canvas Tee)

I had the bright idea that I wanted to make a dress for a friend's wedding (think I mentioned this in a previous post, possibly the Katniss shirt). But the shirt I had in mind was knit, and I had next to no experience with knits so I thought I should get some experience before digging into the more expensive and very slinky bamboo rayon knit I bought (once again, I show I have terrible taste in fabrics). There was a sale going on for micro pique knit, bought two yards and ended up with two shirts and a couple of tug toys.

I thought the Blank Canvas Tee was a good starting point. Never mind I had the inclination that I didn't like kimono sleeves. Instead of doing the logical thing and doing the pattern as is, I had to hack right away to the Sailor Sweetheart Hack.* If you are ... ehem... a bit east-west up top, the directions of how wide to make the neckline are way off. So I cut I a new front and it's still off. At this point I decide it looks weird in grape purple and moved on to do the basic pattern.

In this time I made the first of several tugs for Ms Fluffy Pants.**

Look at those nice clean teeth

Anyway, the only alteration I made to the pattern was changing the neckline from a crew to a swooping V, and therefore changed the method of neckline binding attachment. Instead of a smooth insertion, I overlapped the ends at the point of the V. There's some weird pucker going on but oh well.

 There's also something messy going on with the sleeve bindings. I cut a 35 since the 40 I cut for my first version was way too big. However, because my full bust is between 37.25 and 38 depending on the foundation there is a bit of strumming going on. Also, the waist is loose so not the most flattering. Since the shirt is meant for riding I'm not too concerned about fit issues as far as function goes.

Compare the fit of the RTW DriFit top (large) to the basically unaltered Blank Canvas (35). Meh.
But look at the pretty puppy!

- I *need* a walking foot before I take on another knit project. I can't seem to adjust foot pressure, only tension so there's too much stretching
- I definitely am not a fan of kimono sleeves, it just feels weird
- The pattern isn't bad if you are willing to alter it (which seems like the whole point of it anyway).
- If you are between sizes, seriously consider if you want looser (size up) or snugger across your fullest part (size down)
- There's not much shaping through the waist so if you prefer it (next time I want to do something with it) you'll need to tailor
- I may make a few more in a real athletic knit for riding this summer/ internship (found out this week where I will be interning this summer and the summers are notoriously muggy)
- I am terrible at top stitching

* That's how this shirt got it's name... sailor... purple... grape... veggitales... Pirates Who Don't Do Anything! This is how my brain works.
**Those who follow me on twitter (@TheDelebear) you've already seen this picture but oh well. I like it.