Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

dre days : 1

Schmin is Andre, and some people call him Dre, of course, but I usually just call him Schmin.

Because of the sad state of affairs with my computer, I don't have access to many of my photos (they're backed up but I don't want to open them and have this monster eat them), so it's a perfect time to pimp my kid. I was going to post some of his work at some point anyhow, because I love it.

Here we go with a string of photos courtesy of Schmin. He will appreciate any kind words you'd care to share, I'm sure.

See you on the other end, my friends.

Monday, July 14, 2008

it's all in the game

I was going to title this post "If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all," but there's no need for that much drama. Nothing could be further from the truth about my fortune, except maybe, maybe, when it comes to computers.

I got this one to replace my Dell Inspiron 1150 Special Crapola Edition on October 31st of last year. In December it started cutting off, here and there, whenever it pleased. I'd had so much trouble with the Dell that I didn't want to send this one in for service, so I hung on to it. Now it's got to go in. I think it needs a new hard drive. Just so you'll know to avoid one at all costs, my computer is Lenovo Y410. I took a chance and bought one because they were cheap and simple. I don't recommend you do the same. My mother-in-law has a rule, she never buys the cheapest anything. I'd do well to adopt it.

So. The computer goes in tomorrow or Wednesday. Daily posts will continue, but there will be many images with no text, some courtesy of Schmin, who shoots interesting things in an interesting way, and when I get my computer back I'll post a stitch-a-palooza. The fix-it man said it might take two weeks, and I'm not getting too hopeful that it'll be less.

I've meant to e-mail some of you to say: Hi, Thanks, LOL!, Yes, I DO love peanut butter ice cream!, Heather, I hope your daughter is having fun on her trip and I bet she sure was shocked!, Lilia, I can't think of what to treat myself with but I'll do my three days anyway (you I'll find a way to shoot some progress e-mails), Adrienne, How could you be ready for fall sewing? I still dream of summer clothes, Rangsiwan, show us that dress!, Hey, Frank!, etc, etc. Consider yourselves e-mailed, ha.

I'll pop in when I can, and I'll be missing the camaraderie in the meantime. :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

what today is

Today is my 5th wedding anniversary, and my mother's birthday.

What I'm going to do is celebrate two people who have meant a lot to me, and who won't be around in the way they used to be.

To kick off my party, here is a list of other things I love:
  • fabric stores that cut a generous yard
  • early afternoon mail delivery
  • baby feet
  • light'nin bugs
  • dahlias
  • laughing with my aunts and grandmother
  • trees and images of them
  • watching Schmin cook
  • eating what Schmin cooks
  • talks with friends
  • sewing for Gracie
  • sun roofs
  • cotton
  • peanut butter anything
  • little girls' dresses
  • warm summer nights
  • bike riding
  • traveling with my father
  • the smell of rain
  • the moment in writing a play or a story when everything else falls away
  • grace

Friday, July 11, 2008


Last week I did a few of my posts ahead of time so I could roam free in San Diego. A highlight was running into Trista, but there were others, too. Compared to LA, San Diego is calm and sleepy, and I love that about it. It doesn't feel possible that it's so close to all this craziness.

My friend Carol, whom I've known and loved for donkey years now, goes down to see her sister Camille for most of the summer holidays. She used to come back and tell me how wonderful her trips were. A few years ago I got fed up and cussed her out about never inviting me. Carol has a brother and two sisters. One sister is her twin, the other is her youngest, Camille. She is reeeal stingy with both of them. Don't mess with Carol's sister time. She'll cut you. No lie. But I was willing to take the risk, because I adore Camille, and San Diego is great, and I was feeling all kinds of left out. So Carol now throws me a bone every year or so.

Carol's been going through a lot this year. We all have. So she decided that our 4th of July should be an artists' retreat, where we picnicked in Balboa park and worked on projects that allowed us to be creative, but not ambitious. That meant no writing for any of us. Carol sketched. Camille painted and read. I farted around with David Sedaris, stood barefoot in the grass, intensely stared at people in an effort to be present, and took pictures with my camera phone (I'd forgotten to get batteries for my Canon).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

boom boom

Today I was beyond unproductive.

I did a teeny amount of sorting and organizing. My project list never gets shorter; I was trying to decide which 500 to work on next, and in what order.

Before long I gave up and put in Claudine. Remember Claudine? Diahann Carroll, James Earl Jones, Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington. Okay, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs. He'll always be Boom Boom to me. I don't know why I don't watch Claudine every few years. I really should. Diahann Carroll's performance earned her a rare Oscar nomination.
Who can forget the scene where Claudine goes bananas and beats her daughter with a hair brush when she finds out she's pregnant? Afterward, when they sit at the kitchen table, Claudine tells her daughter that the father of her baby is just another no-good brother, and her daughter tries some positivity.

Charlene: Mama, black men have made great contributions. George Washington Carver ... sniff, sniff ... W.E.B. DuBois ... sniff ... Frederick Douglass...

Claudine: Well ain't it just too damn bad you didn't get your ass knocked up by Frederick Douglass?

A classic. Complete with a Curtis Mayfield soundtrack performed by Gladys Knight and the Pips.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

coincidence? i think not.

Did I tell you guys I actually ran into Trista of Sugardale? Really, it was crazy, and beyond coincidence. I tell the story as an intro to the interview over on Label-Free.

Trista's version of the event is on her blog, and it's a crack-up to get it from both sides.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

in which i am hunted like a dog

Remember back in April, when I went to see my father because he'd been in the hospital? Remember the talk we had at Olive Garden? Okay, maybe you should forget that. But remember how I made pajama pants for him? And how he declared that they weren't pajamas, but "summer pants"?

Apparently, he liked the reactions he got while sporting his big ol' "summer pants" down the boulevard (reactions don't have to be favorable for my father to like them), because the first day of wear, he called to tell me he'd be needing "four-five more" of them. I told him I'd see how many I could do. "Good," he said. "When do you think you'll have them ready?"

A few days later, he called again, asking if I knew how to add pockets. "These same pants," he specified, "but with pockets." I told him I'd never made a pocket, but I could figure it out. Anything but "I don't know how," or "I can't" works for him. My father has never in his life been too high to offer encouragement. If you tell him you lack a certain ability, you're just firing up the cheering section, is all you're doing. I always tell him yes I can, then figure out the truth when the time comes. We left the pocket conversation on a high note.

Then came the voice mails.

June 10th
I'm lying in bed. My phone rings. I see that it's my father, but I don't answer because guess what, I'm sleeping. This is no barrier to the Summer Pants Man. He is not shy about leaving messages:

It's about a quarter to six in the morning here, and I can't sleep. I had a thought that occurred to me. I'm sayin' to myself 'Now, if she can make pajama bottoms, what's to stop her from making pajama tops?' I'm just kidding! You know I'm crazy.

Okay now I heard the beep. I don't know if it recorded my last message or not. I said, 'If she makes pajama bottoms, what's to stop her from making pajama tops?' It's a thought. Just an idea. Love you. 'Bye.

You know I was thinking maybe uh ... like you said, uh.... What did you say? No, I said. A top. You know, the pullover type. Since you can make the bottoms, why not make a pullover top? Just kidding! I know you're not gonna do that, are you? Heh heh heh. Are you?

You know, like -- the scrubs? Aw naw. I don't even know why I called you back to leave another message. You ain't gonna make none of that. Ha ha. You know, like the doctors wear, their pullovers? Naw, you're not gonna do that. Alright. 'Bye.

June 28th
HEY! Oh. Did I holler? I didn't mean to. I was wondering if you think I can have my summer pants before the summer's up? And my summer shirts before the summer's up? Heh heh. You know I love you. I wish you could come here for the 4th. I swear to God I do. Okay, love you baby. Hit me back. 'Bye.

June 29th
Oh, I'm sorry, I thought I was calling the sweat shop and I was checking on my order, but this is Carla? Oh well ... I thought I had -- this is not the sweat shop? I was checking on my order. Okay. Well thank you.

I think now you can see why I've been sewing like a slave wench up in here, and why I needed the IMF in the first place. The pinnacle of summer is the 4th of July, and my sister throws a giant block party every year. I knew my father would want to show off his new threads at her party, and of course he did. He and my brother and one of my uncles are restoring a classic Cadillac, and my father described to me how he planned to step out of it at the party, looking stunningly "unique" in cowboy boots and clothes I made for him. He usually wears a little beanie hat to cover a thin patch, but he was going to do the opposite on the 4th, and be even more unique by letting his baldness show. I told him he'd best wait and see the clothes before he got that happy about wearing them. "It doesn't matter," he said. "I can say for sure, nobody else will be wearing what I'm wearing, and my clothes will be beautiful."

I finished two pants to match the two shirts, and took them to the post office last Wednesday afternoon for Thursday morning delivery via Express Mail. Can you see where this is going? The clothes were delivered on Saturday, and today I went to the post office and got my money back.

My father assured me that everything worked out for the best, as he had wound up manning my sister's grill all day. There was no way he would've put on his good clothes to barbecue. He went on to say that my sewing had gotten "the seal of approval from a professional." He told me, "You know your aunt Stephanie's friend? Butch? He checked out your stuff and said the stitching is excellent. And you know he oughta know. He steals enough clothes to be able to tell."

Onward to photos:
1) & 2) the goods
3) me modeling a pair of the pants
4) me stressing to you that there are dandy pockets in the pants, and
5) that things can be carried in them, and
6) that things carried in the pockets can be juggled (who knew?)
7) Schmin knocking you out with his male model vibe

When my father wears these clothes, he says he's going to call himself Dr. Who?

Project Notes
Summer Pants: Because my dad wanted pockets, I didn't use the same pattern that I did for the PJs. Instead, I used
New Look 6321. In the right fabric, these bottoms are less PJ and more casual pants. The pattern is uber easy, though I did have to consult a couple of websites to get an understanding of how to do the pockets. The pattern confused me. Also, I left out the elastic in the waistband. The drawstring will do the job.
Scrub tops:
New Look 6634.
Size medium on everything.
Fabrics: cotton/linen blend for pants, purchased at Michael Levine's, downtown LA; cotton batik for shirts, from Jo-Ann's
Did I get some satisfaction? Yes, because my father is my favorite pain in the ass, and if he's happy, I'm happy.

Monday, July 07, 2008

ants welcome

This is my set of Place Mats and Mixy-Matchy Napkins for the Bend-the-Rules Sewing Swap. Took me about two days of on and off sewing to get these done. If I had them to do again, I'd hem the napkins another way, because Blanche, fine old sewing girl that she is, did not like sewing over the lumps where each of the two corners meet on the last go-'round, and I'd much rather change the way I do something than put stress on my sewing machine. Some people made their napkins reversible. I think that's a better idea.

What you're seeing here is my attempt at designing something specific to someone's taste. Here's how my swap partner described her kitchen and family life:

My kitchen table was salvaged from a tiny Kansas college's home ec department that had used the same furniture since the 1940s--it's a pristine mustard yellow Formica top and chrome set with all of the matching vinyl chairs. I use vintage hostess aprons for cafe curtains, and when I use a tablecloth (not so often lately due to a toddler joining us at the table) it's from the dozens of novelty printed cotton and linen cloths I inherited from my grandma. I do put a vegetable print oilcloth "rug" underneath the table for the highchair goo that the dog doesn't get.

I'm a big fan of all "everyday" handmade items in all their possible creative interpretations. I would caution a crafter from sending me a very fancy/fine dining sort of set--I would probably love it and covet it but also hoard it--thinking it too nice to use for our busy family and casual guests (right now I make our own cloth napkins from large leftover fabric scraps that I back with salvaged terry from old towels).

Doesn't she sound really fun and interesting? I think so. From her description, I couldn't help but think "kitsch." I mean, c'mon, yellow Formica? LOVE that. In making this set, I wanted to A) be kitschy, and B) do it using stash fabrics. As for kitsch, I'm not sure I got there, but I tried. The stash goal I achieved. I only bought the twill tape and the flannel that I used as facing. The white fabric with the fruit is a birthday gift from Ellen, who rocked my stash by giving me ten yards of it. Shut up. Oh, and the buttons I got on sale for 63 cents at the last Jo-Ann's button sale. It seems I don't believe anything is complete until it's got a button floating somewhere on it. To my eye, the center fabric needed a focal point, so button time it was. (Given the chance, I'd solve all manner of crises, great and small, with buttons.) What I enjoy about this set is how summery it is. It makes me want to have a backyard picnic.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

much on the plate

I signed up for this round of the Bend-the-Rules Sewing Swap, and guess when the postmark due date is. Tomorrow.

It's a new quarter at school, and guess when I have to have my online classes sketched out. Tomorrow.

So, TTFN. I'll be back tomorrow to post my finished BTRSS project (and it will be finished. It will.)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

fireworks and all

I hope everyone's having a fantastic 4th of July weekend!

Friday, July 04, 2008

join 'em

Schmin, I said, Don't buy a BMX style bike. This isn't the 'hood back home, it's LA. You need a real bike, a hybrid or a road bike. And, you have to wear a helmet.

Schmin did what he wanted to do:

This was my reaction when he showed it to me:

Thursday, July 03, 2008

*il dolce stil nuovo

I'm over the moon about a great new sewing blog called Label-Free. You guys know the line of Betsy Ross sewing patterns? If you don't, you really should. The proprietress of the line is the wonderfully talented Aimee Dolby, and Aimee has taken her contribution to modern sewing a step further with the creation of Label-Free. It's brand new, and it's already awesome, and guess what? I'm a part of it. Yes indeedy. Aimee invited me to be a contributor. If she hadn't, I probably would have begged. (Just kidding. Kinda.)

I am in the company of some fabulously creative sewers and bloggers, some of whom I'm sure you'll recognize. So come on over and check us out. When you do, you'll keep coming back, I just know it. :)

I love how Aimee dedicates Label-Free:

Homesewn is not a dirty word. This blog is for all of you with coffee tables that double as cutting tables, sewing machines that are held together with electrical tape, and an irrepressible desire to be creative in your own, unique space and on your own terms.

*The title is "the sweet new style" in Italian, the only phrase I know, and I think it's perfectly fitting to borrow for Label-Free.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

what's in a name?

You'll notice I've changed the name in my profile from sappmama to carlita dee. Just time for a little revamping, is all. Mr. Stevens and a few other friends call me Carlita, and my middle name starts with D, and it sounds like tweedle dee dee, kinda fun to me.

I changed my e-mail address too. It's now, in case anyone would like to contact moi.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008