Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009... almost over

Finally, 2009 - and the aught decade - is behind us. This year has just sped by, it seems. I know I've said that a lot over the past year, but it's true: the year seems to have passed by without me noticing it. I think this has a lot to do with the sameness of my days this year; there's not a lot to differentiate a winter day from a spring day in my world.

Over the last few years, I've become even more of a homebody than I was before (whether from the pain or plain laziness), so I'm just not noticing the small things that mark time. You know, things like the first snowfall, or the leaves coming out, or the leaves just starting to turn, or whatever. When I was working I walked to and from work each day and I was very much in tune with the outer world.

One of these days we'll get ourselves a dog and that will help me to get out and see the seasons pass because the dog will need to be walked. I guess I could make myself go out for walks but after a while it gets easier and easier to stay home and it's hard for me to break out of my current habits. I need an impetus for change (like the dog). Maybe I'll try to get out a couple of times a week, if I'm not in pain.

Speaking of pain, this past year has been a year of increased physical pain in my hips and back, together with more fatigue. The problems with my hips had been sort of present for a while, but the pain really flared up this year to the point where I now walk with a cane everywhere I go. The pain and problems with my back have meant that I can't do all of the physical activities like bellydancing or curling that I used to, and it seems to have made me tired. I'd say that this new pain has definitely contributed to me drawing inward during the year.

The hardest thing about this year has again been dealing with the deaths of so many of my friends to cancer. Deb, Jen, LisaG, LisaP, and Sandy - I think of you constantly and I miss you so very much. I can't even type this without tears running down my face... you were all women that I respected and admired, and the world is not the same without you. I hate cancer.

Thinking about the people I've loved and lost this year - and this decade - is still something new to me. Grieving is a hard process and when you lose person after person after person that you love, the grieving process takes a lot longer. I will get through this, and in the meantime, if I'm curling up into myself to protect the parts that feel the emotional pain, well, that's ok.

Even though this hasn't been the greatest year ever for me, it hasn't been all bad. Because I can't do as many activities as I used to do, I've found other ways of enjoying myself.  I've been sewing a bit more this year, which I like, and I've also found video games that I like. You may think that's not important, but it is :)

I've also traveled more this year than in past years. Ian and I went out to BC and Washington for a couple of weeks, which I enjoyed very much. During that trip I got to see family that I haven't see in many, many years. I very much hope to see them again, even though I've been terrible at staying in touch with people. I've also been able to travel to see my support group friends a few times this year, which has been wonderful (if bittersweet). I'm very lucky that I have the ability to travel this way and to pick up and go whenever plans are made.

You know, I'd been feeling like 2009 wasn't a great year for me, and now that I've laid it all out for you, I see why that's the case. I am happy to see the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 and I don't think I'm the only one that thinks this way. I hope that 2010 is better that 2009 and brings good health, prosperity, and much happiness to all of us. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Movie night with friends

I can hardly believe that 2009 is almost at an end. It feels like this year has passed by so quickly; more quickly than previous years. Am I just getting old? I've heard that time passes more quickly as people get older.

We pre-celebrated New Year's Eve by going over to a friend's place with another couple of friends and watching District 9. I enjoyed the movie at least as much as I did the first time; I found it to be as profound a look at the way people interact with their "lessers" as it was the first time. One of the things that I especially liked about this movie was that once you accept the existence of aliens, the events felt like they could really happen and that the movie was documenting an actual event.

A couple of my friends felt that there were some extra-gory bits in the movie. I guess that's true - some parts (like when our protagonist loses his fingernails and teeth) are kind of gory and a little upsetting, if you're squeamish. I am a bit squeamish about fingernail but I felt that this and other gory bits just "fit" into the movie. To me, they weren't gratuitous because they had a place in the context of the movie and so I didn't really notice those bits as standing out. Then again, I think also that I have a higher tolerance or lower sensitivity to violence because of all of the video games and movies I watch. So take my gore recommendation with a grain of salt, I guess.

Ian's off tomorrow and I think we're just going to sit around and be lazy (read: play video games). We might go over to a friend's place to watch another movie, or we might just stay home. Either one is fine with me. 2009 has been a difficult and sad year and I'm looking forward to seeing it out and the new year in.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Video games that I play

I've spent quite a bit of time watching Ian play video games on the PS3. Right now he's playing the game I got him for Christmas: God of War Collection. I always thought that I didn't really want to play video games because I'm not all that good at the controls and most of the storylines are more for boys than girls. I like watching them, though.

I guess Ian's always wanted me to play video games, too, so that I can enjoy them as much as he does. He's finally found two games made by ThatGameCompany that I like: Flower and fl0wFlower, in fact, was rated the highest-rated download for the PS3 this year, so I'm not the only one who likes this game :)

The visuals and music for both of these games are very beautiful and are a lot of what appeals to me. I also like that there's no real winning or losing. You can do a bit better, or a bit worse, but you don't really win or lose. I find playing these games quite peaceful because I'm creating these things in this beautifully-rendered environment with music that enhances the visuals. Playing these games is a wonderful experience. Checking the game company's site, they seem to have a third game - Cloud - for the PC that I'll try tomorrow.

In Flower, you are the wind that guides a flower petal and petals from all the flowers you've opened (like a ginormous tail) to bring life and light to the scene. You can go rushing through the grass or up high, high, high above the land. There are wind marks to show you where you need to end up but you can explore and meander around other areas, too. Not all of the scenes are light and pleasant; some are dark and scary, but you're still doing something beautiful there.

fl0w is a game where you move a sea-creature thingy up and down levels and eat and battle with other sea-creature thingies. Each time you eat one, your creature gets bigger. Each time another creature eats you, you fade a bit. Some creatures are easier to beat than others in each form which adds interest to the game. I like this game because it has these beautiful, surreal backgrounds with music to match. I find it easy to sit and play this game for a long time (even though I don't have perfect control over my creatures yet) because it's so low-key.

So there you have it - video games that I play. Ian's very happy to hear that I'm actually playing my own video games and enjoying a hobby he loves so much. Plus I get to try something different and fun during vacation :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Movie with the family, and now home

We're home now. It's just as well that I didn't go out shopping as the roads were getting pretty bad by the time we would have been leaving for home. Not that I could've gone shopping even if the roads were good; my hip is still in quite a lot of pain. One thing that has been helping is to keep my hip warm. We have a fantastic electric blanket and I've kept that wrapped around my hips while watching tv. My hip still aches but it's not quite as bad as it was this morning, or yesterday.

Before we left Ian's parent's house, we watched Up with them. We hadn't seen it in the theatres because the trailers didn't make the movie look all that interesting. It made the movie look cute (what with the talking dog and all), but for me, cute in a movie is not enough to make it interesting. Then when people started to see the movie, we found out that it was sad, which didn't make sense in the context of the trailer.

It turns out that Up is a fantastic movie. Neither the trailer nor the fact that it's sad is the whole movie, really. For the record, the guy does fly his house away using balloons, and there are talking dogs, and it is sad.

In fact, there is something terribly sad in this movie: the old guy who flies his house away has just lost his wife. He's reeling not just from her death but also from the dreams they had that were never realized and that have been lost. Ultimately, he comes to realize that she did live her dreams and that he can still live his own life. In between all that there there are adventures (including the flying house), talking dogs, a lonely kid trying to get his last badge, many laughs, and some tears.

If you haven't seen Up yet, it's definitely worth renting. I've heard that kids do like it (the talking dogs make up for a lot, for them), so you can probably enjoy it with them... but I think it would be so much better to see it with adult friends. There are some good extras on the BluRay that we rented, including a story about how the location work was done and some different endings. They're well worth watching also.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The best-laid plans...

Yesterday, my sister-in-law and I made all of these great plans to see a movie tonight with the guys, and then to do some shopping tomorrow before Ian and I go home. 

When I woke up this morning, my right hip was very, very sore - so much so that I've had to learn how to use the cane on the other side today. Before now, it's been my left hip that's been the bad one. I've had a few twinges in my right hip but nothing like what I've been experiencing today, which is now at least as bad as the left hip has ever been.

Because of the pain, there's no way that I could sit comfortably in a movie theatre, or go shopping, or sit in a car for an extra hour tomorrow. So I had to cancel all of these plans :( I also slept the entire afternoon away, which helped a bit.

Being in pain sucks. I can sort of handle it as long as it doesn't greatly interfere with my life... but today the pain has interfered in my ability to have fun and I don't like it. I know I'm whining here, but I'm tired and in pain and so I figure I can be just a bit whiny.

I'm sure the pain is the same as what's over on the left side; that is, it's not the hip itself that's the problem but the degenerating lower back. I need to see a physiotherapist very soon to get some exercises I can do to at least minimize this pain, or better, to get rid of it entirely.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope that all of you have had a great Christmas (or whatever your celebrate) and that you've been able to spend quality time with your loved ones. And, of course, that you got some great presents :)

I've spent the last couple of days here at Ian's parent's place with Ian's family. I feel totally comfortable here; it's like a second home for me. His mom and dad (and this year, his brother and his wife) are easy to be around and fun to hang out with, and I like spending time here. Plus his mom makes some very yummy food!

Things have been very relaxed here. It's quite a change from past years, when I've either been leaving super-early or we've been rushing to get the presents open before my flight. This year, the house slept in until late this morning, after which we leisurely opened presents. Then we went to Ian's grandparent's house, and when we got back I had a lovely nap. I've enjoyed this so much that the next time I go to Edmonton for Christmas, I'll leave after Christmas Day.

We'll be going back home on Sunday. I'd like to stay here longer but Ian works on Monday so we have to go home. Ian's company doesn't give its employees automatic time off between Christmas and New Year's, and Ian figured that it will be better to use vacation days later in the year. Plus, fewer people will be in the office next week so working might be more fun.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wrapping presents

I love wrapping presents. There's something about taking paper and trim and making something pretty and unique that I like and find relaxing. I've thought about volunteering to do wrapping at the mall or wherever but I never seem to get my act together enough to get that process started.

This is probably just as well because it can to take me forever to finish the wrapping. Putting the paper around the object takes almost no time at all. What takes forever is adding the ribbons and bows and other stuff to transform the wrapped object into something a little nicer. There's usually a lot of thinking involved and trying stuff. When I'm wrapping a bunch of presents at once, I like the trim on each one to be just a little bit different. Doing that takes time.

Wrapping presents is on my mind tonight because I just finished wrapping the gifts for Ian's family. We're going to Ian's parent's house tomorrow morning for Christmas so tonight was wrapping night. We wanted to bring already-wrapped presents tomorrow. (as an aside - how can it be Christmas already? Where did the time go?)

I wish I'd thought about how to send wrapped presents to my family. I didn't make the decision not to go until quite late and I wasn't sure how to make the shipping work. I think I know how to do it (key idea: bubble wrap) but I didn't come up with that idea until just now. I hope they still enjoy what I did send; one way or another, next year everyone who gets gifts from me will get a wrapped present, one way or another.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sleepy and achy

I'm still really tired (I slept the better portion of yesterday) and I'm in quite a bit of pain. My sternal mets are aching and very painful to the touch, and my hips, back, and thumbs are aching. I imagine the pain is making me tired, because I'm also not sleeping well.

I think that all of this might be side effects of the Pamidronate I had last Thursday. I normally feel kind of icky for a few days after the Pamidronate but I don't feel this bad for this long - then again, I normally get it every four weeks and it had been six weeks since my previous Pamidronate. I wonder if the extra time in between made the side effects worse?

Of course my pain patches haven't been as stuck on as they should be, which might be why my sternum is so achy. It's also been cold outside and that usually makes my pain worse, too... and I know the Femara often causes joint pain, so maybe that plus the cold plus the Pamidronate is affecting my joints more right now.

I just hope that I'm feeling better by this weekend because it's Christmas. Nobody wants to feel icky on Christmas!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Getting ready for the holidays

I think I'm finally pretty well ready for Christmas. This is no small feat, considering that I didn't start my Christmas shopping until after I finished the dress last week. Well done, huh? :)

This Christmas is going to be different from Christmases past: for the first time ever, I'm *not* going to Edmonton for Christmas. Instead, I'll spend the entire Christmas holiday with Ian in Mississauga and Waterloo, and I'll plan a trip out to Edmonton some other time.

I do feel sort of weird about not planning to go away because that is something that I usually do around now. Even though I did laundry today, I don't have a list of stuff to take and I'm not pulling out the suitcases, trying to figure out whether everything will fit. I expect to have moments like this throughout the holidays, where in previous years I'd have been doing this or that connected to Edmonton.... and I know that I'll miss my family very much until I see them next.

Still, it's time for a change. Staying in Ontario is the right thing for me to do this year; my family understands this and is ok with it. Of course they'll stay in my thoughts this Christmas, so I'll be able to celebrate with them in spirit (if not in person).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Knitting websites and patterns

You all know that I sew things, but you might not know that I've also been known to knit a thing or two. I haven't knit anything in a long, long time but lately I've been thinking that I'd like to knit a hat for myself. So I looked around on the internet for patterns I could use and found the greatest knitting site ever: Ravelry.

Ravelry is a site for people who knit and crochet. There are lots of free patterns and blog posts and forums and tips and a whole lot of other features. I think you knitters and crocheters would have a great time poking around the Ravelry site to see what you see.

I've found quite a few patterns on Ravelry that would make nice hats. Of those, there are two that I like best: Caroline (here's the pattern) and Jenny (here it is on flickr) with a different yarn. [Note: I'm giving alternate links because I'm not sure that you can see the links on Ravelry unless you have a login there]. I like these hats because they seem fairly straightforward but are also unique.

The Jenny pattern looks to be a little bit simpler than the Caroline pattern. The Jenny pattern doesn't involve making pleats (how cool is that idea?!) and it uses a double-strand of worsted-weight yarn, so it would knit up quickly. On the other hand, the Caroline hat, with those pleats, looks like it would be more interesting to knit, in a way.

What do you think?

In other knitting-related news, I found a fantastic blog with knitting tips and tricks: TECHknitting. It isn't very long, but it explains things that I have trouble with - including the theory behind each technique - in clear language, using lots of pictures. This is definitely a site worth bookmarking.

We'll see how this knitting-related adventure goes. Wish me luck :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Relationships on tv... and sleep

I haven't slept this much in a day in quite a long time - I got up around 10:30am and went back to sleep around 3pm until 8:30pm again. I'm still sleepy so I don't think I'll have any problems getting to sleep later. I guess my I need a lot of sleep.

You all know that my latest favourite tv show is Say Yes to the Dress, right? Tonight there were two new episodes and one focused on larger, plus-sized brides. Finally! Not all women are the tiny sample size (even though the store is in New York City) and it's about time they showed real-sized women.

Of the three brides they showed, one wasn't even really fat; she'd gained maybe 20 pounds in her stomach, butt, and thighs. Her mom and cousin laughed at her. Laughed. Every time she put on a dress that she liked, they laughed and said nasty things to her. They said nasty things about her while waiting for her, too (like, her husband won't want to marry her in that because she's fat). But to laugh at your own daughter and tell her that she's fat... that's horrible.

I've seen some pretty appalling behaviour on the part of the family on this show, but this takes the cake. Seriously - that's a terrible way to treat one's daughter. I hope that this woman learns how to stand up for herself... and maybe breaks off contact with that toxic mother and cousin. No one deserves to be treated the way this woman was.

Speaking of moms and daughters, in the second episode one bride was a 5'2" woman with her mom. The mom wanted to see her in those big, poufy, Cinderella-type, over-the-top dresses, claiming that the bride loved ruffles and volume and that deep down, the bride wanted a big wedding. The bride wanted none of that. She didn't want a big wedding and she wanted her dress to be elegant and classic. Why the consultant only listened to the mother and not the bride, I don't know.

I guess that picking out a wedding dress is one of those things that really shows the relationship between a woman and her mother. If there are unresolved issues there of any kind, they're going to come out when it comes time to pick a dress. I suppose it's one of those things where the bride sees herself as a fully-grown woman and the mother still sees her daughter as a little girl. Of course these brides are in their twenties, and that transition has to happen sometime.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I am getting sleepy...

I got my Pamidronate today. I'd originally been scheduled to receive it two weeks ago, right before I went to Ann Arbor, and then again on New Year's Eve. My oncologist cancelled the one on New Year's Eve and I rebooked the other appointment so that I would be able to drive to Ann Arbor and also go to the party last weekend.

They're making my appointments earlier and earlier, it seems. When I got up this morning, the sun hadn't even risen! This used to be normal for me but that was a long, long time ago. So between that and the fact that I've been tired for the last few days anyways, I'm really tired now I'm having a hard time keeping my eyes open right now and I'm definitely not taking in new information - to the untrained eye, I probably look like I'm nodding off, but people who know me know that I'm just super-tired. 

I expect to sleep most of tomorrow and as much of the weekend as I can get away with.

The bright spot today was that I was able to get most of my Christmas shopping done between getting the Pamidronate hooked up and getting it disconnected. I was also able to pick up some groceries so we have food in the house again. I didn't buy everything we needed but I got enough to give us choices about what to eat.

I'm feeling like it's sleepy-time for the night. Let's hope for some wakefulness tomorrow :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So sleepy, again

I think I'm the laziest person in Lazyville. For some reason, I've been very, very tired this week - so tired that I'm having two-hour or more naps in the afternoon. I don't know if the problem is that I haven't been leaving the house because it's cold or what. I have had a bit more pain lately, probably because of the weather, but I don't know if that pain is what's making me so tired.

Needless to say, I haven't really done anything productive lately. I'd planned to make some head coverings to take in on Thursday but I haven't done that yet. I've ordered some very fine wire in fine silver and non-tarnishing copper because I wanted to play with wrapping and making nettings, but I haven't done that, either.

One thing that I did do was to enter my dress into a contest on Threads for using fancy fabrics. I don't think there's much chance of me winning or even making it into the top five, but I am proud of my work and thought it was worth entering. Normally I don't do this kind of thing because I don't always feel like my work is up to the kind of standard those contests have. This dress is different. Plus, I have nothing to lose and lots to gain by entering, because it's not like people will laugh at my dress or anything. I see only positive outcomes for this entry.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The end of my Project Runway love?

I finally watching the finale of season 6 of Project Runway. This latest season marked a huge departure from previous seasons because the backing tv network changed from Bravotv to Lifetime. I think it's safe to say that the change has hurt PR more than it helped.

For some reason, Lifetime thought that shooting the season in Los Angeles would be better than keeping the show in New York. One problem with shooting the show in LA is that the main judges - Nina Garcia and Michael Kors - are simply unavailable. They work in NYC and it's easy for them to go and do some judging if the show is there, but flying across the country is not so easy for them.

So instead, the show featured a number of celebrity guest judges who weren't connected to the fashion industry and who didn't know much about fashion or clothing construction. They didn't improve the judging or the challenges, although they did provide some eye candy, I suppose.

These two judging changes meant that none of the real judges were able to see how the designers developed over the entire season. They couldn't see that someone was showing exactly the same look over and over. They couldn't see that the designers weren't growing or developing a stronger voice.

Judging aside, a major problem with this last season was a lack of interesting challenges or designs. There were no interesting construction material challenges. There were very few pants. There was no pushing the designers outside of their comfort zone. Every challenge could be met with a dress... so everyone did dresses. Out of normal fabric.

And because the judges weren't there to call the designers on the sameness of their designs week after week, the season got more and more uninteresting. By the time we reached the finale collections, somehow two of the finalists developed very, very similar silhouettes. It really did look like one poorly copied the other. One of the finalists did copy a licensed design... and when called on it, she copied other words that appeared in a magazine. That's so not cool.

Where's the variety? Where's the spark? Where are the truly difficult challenges? Where's the talent? Not in PR season 6. There was just nothing to get excited about. At no point during the season did I leap out of my seat and shout, "I love it!" or "what were they thinking???"

Word is that the next season will be/has been shot in New York again. If the actual challenges don't get more interesting - if we get the same uninspired looks and designs throughout the season as we did in season 6 - that'll be the last season of Project Runway I watch. After all, if we don't get to see the talent the designers have, and we don't see them stretch their designer wings throughout the season, what's the point? There are better things to do with my time than watch the Project Runway crap Lifetime put out.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New clothing inspiration

Thanks for your comments on my dress; I was very pleased with the way that it turned out. I feel a lot more comfortable in my sewing skillz than I used to and I think I'd be comfortable tackling even harder sewing projects.

Now that I've finished a project, I'm looking around for something else to do. I have lots of patterns, of course, and I'm thinking I'll do something with one of the fabulous knits I bought... but I can't help but be inspired by this Spring 2010 Marc Jacob's dress, recently worn by Christina Ricci:

To me, this dress shows a new, interesting technique; it's a reinvention of the texturing we've seen lately in clothing what with all of the ruching and pleating and geometric forms. At the same time, it's ethereal and floaty and light. Apparently it's made of tulle and she chose to have it lined (which I think was the right choice; it just didn't look right unlined).

I love love love the way this dress also looks like an abstract pen-and-ink drawing. I love the subtle asymmetry of the design as well as the emphasis on the middle. And I love the emphasis on the shapes the fabric makes and the randomness these shapes contribute to the overall effect. I love that even though the dress and fabric have been designed to have a general look, the specific look cannot be determined because the fabric ultimately makes its own shapes on each person.

I could look at this dress forever. And I'm totally inspired by the technique of edging many, many, many layers of sheer fabric and combining them in their own abstract shapes. I wish I was comfortable enough in my own designs and ideas to design something like that dress... I'm not good at asymmetric or abstract things; even my doodles tend to have a very regular shape and tend to be more geometric.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The dress (and the party)

So yesterday, a few hours before the party, I tried on the dress and realized that there was a problem with the back. It was rolling funny, and I panicked, and instead of thinking about what I'd done since I last tried on the dress, I took out the top back seam. If I'd taken a second to think, I'd have remembered that I had sewn the lining to the zipper and hadn't tried on the dress since. The lining was a tiny bit smaller than the outer fabric (I made the lining and then made adjustments to the pattern; I knew the lining was smaller).

Of course once you take out a seam it's really, really, really hard to get that seam sewn perfectly again, and I sewed and re-sewed and re-sewed and re-sewed it. Eventually I got it to work, mostly. The back could have benefited from some boning to keep it from rolling, but it was ok as it was.

I know you're really curious to see the dress.... so here it is, the front and back:

I'm thrilled with it and think it looks really good, although you can't see that much detail in the pics. Ian was quite surprised at how good the big bow looked. He'd thought it would look silly and overwhelming but what it did was to "bring the eye up to [my] pretty face." (he really did say that; isn't that sweet?) He also thought that the bow helped to give me a more hourglass figure by widening my shoulders - without me having to wear some crazy 80s shoulder monstrosity. This is definitely a silhouette that works for me.

I got a lot of compliments on the dress both from people who knew (and were amazed) that I'd made and it from people who asked where I got it. Considering the pattern is over 40 years old, I guess that's a good sign :)

The party was fun. We did a "white elephant" gift exchange. Everyone brings a gift and gets a random number between one and the number of gifts. In numerical order, people get to either open a gift or steal a gift. Gifts can be stolen only twice, and a person can't steal back a gift that was stolen from them. We ended up with a Snuggie. Surprisingly (?), lots of people wanted the Snuggie. The commercial is lame (and spawned at least one funny parody) but the product itself - a blanket with sleeves so that you're warm arm your arms are free - seems to be one that people want.

The DJ actually played contemporary music which was a nice change. At these things, you usually end up with pop music from 20 or more years ago. This time, he played top forty stuff from now. Not that I was dancing, of course - it's hard to do that with the cane - but it was nice to listen to something that's current.

Speaking of the cane, now that I keep it with me all the time it's easier to tell people that I'm on long-term disability when they ask what I do. Before, I felt like I had to do some explaining because I looked healthy. Now, people the see the cane and can assume some physical, cane-related reason for me to be off work. And if they draw the wrong conclusion about why I'm not working, that's ok. I don't know them and won't be seeing them that often anyways.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I finished the dress - well, except for tacking the bow onto the top. The bow and its knot are sewn onto the dress and the bow is sewn onto the side seam, but I don't want to tack it down until I try the dress on again to be sure that it looks right. The rest of the machine-sewing and hand-sewing are all finished. Yay!

As much as I wanted to add a foundation with boning to the dress, I decided this morning not to do that. It's easy enough do the boning - really, you're just sewing channels 3/8" wide onto a double layer of foundation/corselet fabric wherever you want the bones - but much harder and more time-consuming to fit the foundation/corselet fabric. The fabric has to fit like a glove, with no seam allowance. If I had a basic shell pattern or a dressform and was skilled at draping, I'd be able to construct this thing today... or if I had a couple more days, I could do it. I don't have the extra time.

I'm thrilled with the basic dress. It looks amazing and fits really well - well, it did the last time I tried it on, anyways. I haven't tried it on today so I'm hoping that the bow looks good with the dress and that the whole thing works together like I think it will.

It was important to me to finish the dress today so that I don't have to do anything (aside from tacking the bow onto the dress in four places) tomorrow. Tomorrow is all about relaxing and getting ready for the party. I like to have lots of time to do my hair and nails and stuff and I definitely don't want to be doing a lot of last-minute sewing.

I'll definitely take some pictures for you so that you can see this latest labour of love.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The zombie apocalypse

You know how many of the zombie apocalypse stories start off with a drug - usually tested for the military - gone wrong?

A friend of mine sent me a link to this story, about how the military are trying to figure out a way to delay dying on the battlefield... by creating a type of "zombies". Of course they're starting with pigs - but is that better?

I don't see how this idea can end well. When I first read the news article, my first thought was of this other story... where no one could eat the undead animals. Then I thought about zombies in general... created by a drug trial gone awry.

I guess if the zombie apocalypse is on the horizon, it's time to start getting ready. I'm going to re-read The Zombie Survival Guide. If you don't have the book, you could ask for it as a gift this holiday season. Just in case.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Much to do without much time

I should have done more work on actually sewing the dress today, but I didn't. I know that there's not much time left, but I wanted to have another look at the changes that I'd wanted to make. I ended up making several other changes that make the dress fit better and put it back into balance. I'd been making changes but the strapless side wasn't sitting right. I think I've got it right now. At least I hope I do :)

So I've got the pattern done. I'll be cutting and sewing the lining tomorrow; I want to be sure that the lining fits properly before I go ahead and cut the outer fabric or start on the foundation. I have a hair appointment tomorrow morning and I'll pick up the mini bolt-cutters I'll need for the boning.

I'm going to be very busy over the next few days. Ian's out tonight playing video games and he's curling on Wednesday so I'll have some evenings to work on the dress. I'm really excited about how it's looking and how I think it'll feel. I wore my sample around while I was washing my fabric and it was very comfortable. Yay!

Sunday, December 06, 2009


I made it home, safe and sound. My roommate and I slept in until 11:30am this morning which turned out to be a good thing because we were both driving home today and we hadn't gone to bed until very late. The extra rest made the drive easier for me and I'm sure it made her drive easier, too.

I loved seeing everyone this weekend. Even though I'm really tired now, the trip was definitely worth it.

Shoe success, and the value of friendship

I'm pleased to report that I was able to find a pair of shoes. I bought this pair in black suede with silver front accent:

 I think they're adorable. They're super-comfortable and also look quite dressy. I got the last pair in the store, and I think the only pair not on sale. Paying full price for these shoes is ok with me. If I'd had time to wait for them to go on sale, I'd have done that, but there just wasn't the time. I expect to be happy with them.

I've had a great time visiting my friends. My drive here was only about 3 1/2 hours and I'm hoping that the drive home will be about the same length, too. Even if I'm on the road longer, though, it would be worth it to have seen my friends. They're all really wonderful people, and I love to spend time with them. There aren't many other groups of people that can make me laugh and then cry in a five-minute span. :)

In a way, it's hard to see people who have metastatic breast cancer, especially in light of all of the people who've died this year. Even so, I feel like I get as much from the relationship with them as it costs me in sadness when they die. I also think that learning to cope with death, and treating it as something that is a part of life, is a good thing. I'm honoured to know these people even if it means that I'll be sad when they die. I wouldn't want to deprive myself of these relationships because they might go before I do. After all, we really never know what's coming, and the more people around to help us get through what's right in front of us, the better.

We've had a fantastic time chatting and laughing and teasing each other over food and in each other's rooms. I can hardly wait until the next time we're able to get together.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I'm not the shape I thought I was

I made some changes to my dress pattern, did a sample, and the bust/shoulder area fits great! I'm so happy with the changes I made.

You know, I'd always thought of myself as having an hourglass figure, because my bust and hip measurements are very close and my waist is about 10" smaller than my hips. But I now think I've been wrong.

Because, you, see, I changed the pattern to fit. To do that, I made the shoulders the one size, the bust the next size up (with a little extra added that doesn't widen the pattern), and the waist and hips a size bigger than the bust. So... my shoulders are TWO SIZES smaller than my hips. If that isn't a pear shape, I don't know what is.

I leave tomorrow to spend the weekend in Ann Arbor with my friends. We're not meeting for anything special; it's just a small get-together. I'm really excited to be seeing them... and to do the shoe shopping I'll be doing while I'm there.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Preparing to make the dress foundation

You know I'm planning on adding a foundation/corselet to the dress I'm making, right? Well, in order to do that, I need boning. There are different kinds of boning: there's the plastic kind and there are several steel kinds. The plastic kind is pretty lightweight and doesn't offer much in the way of support.

I decided to go with a steel kind - specifically, I went with 1/4" spiral steel. It's very flexible but won't deform like plastic does. It looks like a coiled spring that has been flattened. It's quite cool. I ordered this stuff from a place in Stratford calling Farthingales - they have all kinds of products used in making corsets for costumes and whatnot. I ordered my stuff on Wednesday and it arrived Friday! I was very impressed.

I also bought heavy-duty hook and eye tape to be used as a closure for the foundation. Because the foundation has zero or slightly negative ease - it's supposed to fit the body like a glove or even tighter - it will be difficult to close and to make it stay closed. The heavy-duty hook and eye tape will make it easier to close the foundation (and keep it closed) and it won't add bulk under the zipper. If it turns out that there is bulk under the zipper, I can always offset the opening of it by about an inch.

I'm looking forward to trying out this foundation thingy. It's like the baby-sister version of a corset, and I like corsets. I'd love to be able to wear them, but store-bought ones are often too long for me. I've thought about making my own corset before; maybe if this foundation thingy works out, I'll give that a try.