Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Am Beautiful. No Matter What They Say.

Just ask me.


Tanit-Isis tagged me for a Meme, which I so totally wish I'd named one of my kids... you know, "Princess Presto" and "Meme".  That is way better than the names we actually gave them.  (And in case you're wondering about Princess Presto, that's the name that Julia's granddaughter wanted to name her new baby sister.  Which I think is very chic of her.  Apparently it's a TV character, which I guess my kids are too old for me to have heard of, but it's still fab.)

Anyway, it's the usual narcissistic all-about-me thing.  Which of course I love.  Being the usual narcissist.  Oh and of course because Tanit-Isis was so very sweet about her nomination and said a bunch of nice things about me.  Which, let's be honest, is only to be expected.  I'm fabulous.

I think the rules on this one are to list ten things about myself that you would never guess and to nominate 5 people.  I'm going to do the ten things first to give myself time to think about the nominations (so I don't inadvertently offend someone by either pestering them with my nomination or failing to nominate them at all... I'm looking at you Angie A.)  Although I doubt there are ten things about me that you would never guess, since I'm clearly very happy to jabber away about myself at the drop of a hat.  But let's give it a whirl.


1) I am ambidextrous.  But I never use my left hand for anything so I might as well not be.

2) I know the lyrics to every Top 40 song from 1967.  Also to 1968.  And 1969.  And basically the entire 1960's.  I rock at oldies music trivia at the bar.

3) I used to play the violin.  To a professional standard.  Then I quit and now I can't play a note.  Freaky, right?

4) The only thing I have ever won in my entire life was a 4 foot by 4 foot stretched canvas that the shop instructor made as a sample on the first day of class when I was a freshman at art school.  I have no idea what happened to it, because I certainly don't have a 4 foot by 4 foot painting lying around anywhere.  Huh.  What the heck did happen to that thing?  Wow.  I just posted something about myself that even I would never guess.  Cool.

5) Including the house I'm in now, throughout my entire life I have lived in 22 houses or apartments.  That's an average of 1 residence every 1.9 years.  I've lived in my current house for over five years.  Which to my mind means we are way overdue to move.  My husband has lived in 6 houses in his entire life.  That's an average of 1 residence every 6.6 years.  He thinks this is shockingly transient and refuses to ever move again.

6) One of my hobbies is looking at houses.  My mother shares this hobby.  I am the only person I know who would allow their mother to pick out a house for them sight-unseen, which is exactly what I did when we moved here from New Zealand.  This worked out perfectly fine, as my mother has been in enough houses with me to know exactly what I will and will not tolerate in a house purchase.  I did have pictures.  But still, I’ll allow that it's a bit weird.

7) As another point of example on how well my mother and I understand each other when it comes to houses: my mom's best friend had purchased an older house and asked a group of friends over to see it.  I knew she was considering redecorating options and when I walked in the front door, the first words out of my mouth were "Well, I think you could take out that wall for sure."  Everyone just burst into laughter.  Apparently when my mother had walked in ten minutes earlier, those had been the first words out of her mouth as well.  My mom and I are of the opinion that anything short of gutting down to the studs is a reasonable redecorating option.  Sadly this story also points out that I am, in fact, turning into my mother.  The mind boggles.  Or at least, I’m sure the Husband's does.  I almost feel sorry for him.  Almost.

8) I once seriously considered marrying a person I hardly knew as a sort of whim.  Well, it was a whim, so I considered it for about an hour.  And possibly alcohol was involved.  But still.  This is how people end up on Jerry Springer, right?  Ahhh, youth.

9) Instead I married my actual husband, with whom I physically shared space for only 6 weeks before we decided to get married.  We did speak to each other for several years before that, but still... this is also how people end up on Jerry Springer.  Saying that, we've been married for nine years and we haven't been on Springer yet, so clearly it worked out ok.  And yes, my metric for assessing a marriage is whether or not Jerry Springer is involved.  It's as good a system as any other, as far as I can tell.

10) I think Zahi Hawass is part of some deep, deep conspiracy and although it's admittedly morbid, I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens when he finally kicks the bucket.  Because then we'll maybe find out:  Either he's an alien and knows where all the space-artifacts are hidden or he's the high priest in an ancient cult that... uh... knows where all the space-artifacts are hidden.  Either way, that secret door has to get opened sometime.  He's old.  I can wait him out.

That last one was for the benefit of Tanit-Isis.  She is totally laughing her ass off right now.  Trust me.  I know an archeology geek when I see one.

And the nominees are:

Angie A. at Quality Time.  Because I will never hear the end of it if I don't nominate her this time.

Big In Japan at Big In Japan Adventures.  Because she's fun and her blog is new.  Maybe this will give her motivation to post more, which is for the Greater Good.

The Other Kristine at Just Keep Sewing.  Because I think she’s one of those seemingly ordinary people who secretly is wild and exciting.  And if we get her to tell us about it, we’ll be entertained.

Katharine at Location: Eurasian.  Because usually Katharine throws out these sort of random, interesting things about herself that makes me thing there’s more where that came from.

Mrs. Little Hunting Creek at Little Hunting Creek.  Why?  Because I like her.  I don't think she does memes but what the heck.  It's my job to nominate.  After that, it's out of my hands.

Why this five?  Because I have had actual conversations with these people (you know, beyond the scope of bloggerland).  Except Mrs. Little Hunting Creek.  I just like her blog and I needed one more nominee.  She never talks to me.  Hmmph.

There you go.  Why is it that these memememememe posts are always so long? 

Oh.  Yeah.  Right.  I remember now. It’s the scintillating topic.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Polo Cubana… I think we had that for dinner last night.

You may recall that the Evil Monkeys were removed from my presence by the Grandparents for 10 days.  Or you may not.  I certainly do.  Ah, those peaceful, tidy ten days.

Now, you might think that I spent this time sewing.  Or (if you are Big In Japan) you might think I spent this time doing, you know, that stuff that grown-ups do when there are no Children of the Damned around… all over the house.  Sadly, in both instances you would be mistaken.  I am old.  I spent this blissful ten days alternating between frantic chore-doing and abject slothfulness in front of the TV.  Heavenly.

However, I did sew one thing.  And it was even for one of the Monkeys, which I think is pretty big of me, really.

‘Member how I was whining about not making any polo shirts this summer?  Well, I actually did make one polo-type shirt.  In fact, it was making this polo-type shirt that caused me to realize the true cubical nature of TLo.  Check it out. 


I used the custom block I drafted for TLo this spring.  My first version was a square-neck t-shirt so I had to alter the pattern to accommodate a collar.  I also was using an old long-sleeve shirt I got from my mom for the fabric and apparently I’d already used some of it for something else (I have not one clue what that was) so I didn’t have quite enough fabric.  Solution?  I made a yoke out of an awesomely matching poplin that I had in the stash.  Seriously.  Exactly the same color.  In the stash.

I would like to note that this almost never happens and you should be totally in awe of me.

Here’s the pattern with the original t-shirt on the left, the new yoke and collar on the right:


And here’s a close-up of the yoke and collar, which I did with knit on the top, poplin on the under-collar and no interfacing at all.


Here’s another cool thing: I didn’t have to do a real polo placket because of the seamed yoke.  Again, you should be envious of my mad dezign skillz, people.  Plus, for using a RTW shirt, so I didn’t have to hem the sleeves or the shirt hem.  Flippin’ genius. 

And if you’re wondering about TLo’s cubicalism, I think this pretty much says it all:


The nifty thing about drafting her own block is this:

First Day Of School

When you put a Cube Shirt on Cube Girl, you get a nice flattering fit.  Go figure.


(That’s a First Day Of School crown on her head.  Everyone’ll be wearing them this year.  You’re jealous, right?)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Take Me To Cube-a

Despite her predictions to the contrary, TLo made it through the first day of school in the Big School.  First grade is so stressful, isn't it?  It sure is for me (it’s all about me, after all).  I'm trying to clothe TLo appropriately without having to make a dozen polo shirts (which I still find boring as hell).  

Luckily, I inherited 15 polo shirts from my friend's daughter who moved up to Junior High this year.  She's no longer required to wear polo shirts and I'm guessing (based on the look of sheer ecstasy she gave me when she handed over the shirts) that she won't be wearing polo shirts ever again in her life.  I can't say I blame her.

Now this girl wears, as might be expected of someone going into the 7th grade, a misses size small or a size 0 depending on the sizing system.  Regardless, they're misses shirts.  So why did I accept them?  Because, of course, they were free.  I figured I would just hold on to them until my kids approached 5th or 6th grade and see what happened.

Then a few days before school I had the thought that maybe I should just try these shirts on the kids.  You know, as a way to avoid making polo shirts myself.  Which I hadn't bothered to start doing.  The week before school started.  I mean, how bad could they be?  I'm sure lots of first graders wear women's shirts to school, right?  I was going to try them out.

Or more specifically, I decided to try them on TLo, who wears a size 12 shirt in shoulder width.  And a size 5 in length.  You know, not a "pear" or an "apple" or a "Y" or an "A".... no, she's a Cube.

And behold!  A women's size small polo shirt from Land's End makes the perfect polo dress for a cubical six year old. 

Blurry Blurrison and Her New Dress

And even more surprisingly, a size 0 polo shirt from Aeropostale  makes the perfect polo dress for a cylindrical seven year old. 

no, she is not cutting the cheese... I think.

Whoda thunk?

"Yay! We don't have to go to school naked."

So now we have a lot of polo dresses.   And I didn't have to make a single one of them.

Um.  Of course, we have no appropriately-colored bike shorts for a cubical six year old to wear under the perfect polo dresses.

Guess what I'm doing this week?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Well, my summer vacation is over.  We saw some stuff.  We ate some food.  We lounged around.  Now, school’s started and I’m back at work.  Yay.  Work.

In the immortal words of Princess Vespa: “He shot my hair!”


Hmmph.  I know just how she feels.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Oof da.

For some reason, 105 F seems much hotter this year than it has in the past.  Wazzup wi’ that?  It’s not just me.  Everybody seems to be suffering more than usual.  I can remember years where 114 was the high for days and days, but for some reason 106 is just kicking our  collective butts. 

I guess it could be worse.  Where in the US is it hotter than here?  Phoenix (112) and Vegas (109).  Poor things.  At least it’s desert there.  You know, “it’s a dry heat”.

Nothing to post about sewing, nothing to post about out-of-date music, nothing to post about the vagaries of the fashion world.  Just a lot of sweating and lying around in the house drinking tea.

Heat’s supposed to break this week (whoo hoo, 99 F!) and maybe by then I’ll have something to show you (whoo hoo, school clothes!).

(And remember hot sweaty people, if you’re fasting this month be careful!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010


So, in case you were wondering Chez Ami is having a big ol’ fabric sale this week.  Lots o’ knits on sale at good prices.  You know.  Just in case you were wondering.

You were wondering that, right?

Chez Ami Fabric Salego to ChezAmi.com

Personally, I am Controlling Myself Admirably so no super-nice knits for me.  But feel free to buy some for yourself.  Go on.  Just a few.  What could it hurt?


Yes, it’s true.  I also like to take giant chocolate cakes to Weight Watchers meetings (you know, “just in case”) and leave racing forms lying around the Gamblers Anonymous office (you know, “just to keep a hand in”).  I’m helpful like that.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Big In Japan asked about the label on TLo's So-Called Capri Pants.  So let me tell you about it:

A loooong long time ago, in a galaxy faaaar far away, I bought a bunch of custom clothing tags.  Of which I still have approximately 99% in stock, because I usually forget to sew them in (i.e. I am usually much too lazy to sew them in-- yes, I am that lazy).

TLo has recently commented (i.e. complained vociferously) that she can't tell the fronts from the backs of most of her clothes and I have made a firm resolution (i.e. I might sometimes force myself) to use the custom labels forthwith. Yea.  Verily.


The tags are actually pretty cute, as they simply say "The Big One & TLo" in an attractive-albeit-clichéd script font. 

Well fine, the don't actually say "The Big One & TLo".  They actually say their real names.  It’s much cuter than "The Big One & TLo" which, quite frankly, sounds like the worst 1970's cop show ever.  "The Big One and TLo, Friday nights on NBC.  Starring William Shatner, Robert Blake and Suzanne Pleshette... and featuring Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs as Disco Freddie."  You'll just have to imagine the bad psuedo-funky guitar music in the background (bowchicka-bow-wow).

I chose for the tags to read "The Big One & TLo" out of sheer expediency (i.e. I am too cheap and way too lazy to have labels made with their individual names on them and then deal with changing the never-ending parade of bilateral hand-me-downs that are the girls' wardrobe).   However, this sheer laziness on my part makes for a nice little label that almost sounds like some sort of snooty, high-end, I-buy-funky-$200-knit-shirts-for-my-five-year-old brand.

Anyway, that's what's on the back of TLo's pants.  It's definitely worth the 40 bucks or whatever.  I mean, who doesn't want to have their very own name-branded designer-label pants?  Right?

(Oh, and to answer Big In Japan’s other question: that tag thing on the pocket of the So-Called Capri Pants is just a little loop of satin ribbon that I stuck on there for strictly decorative purposes.)

Friday, August 6, 2010


TLo is causing all sorts of clothing problems at our house.   She is one solidly-packed little kid.   She is now up to a size 10/12 in width for RTW bottoms but a 5 for length.   Maybe.   Pain in the butt.

And speaking of butts… I started adding to her (sadly deficient) school uniform wardrobe.  Yep.   It's that time of year again, people.   I made a capri-length version of the Smoke On The Water Shorts (Ottobre 1/2009 #23 ), using a Dockers remnant that I got online.   I use the term “capri” loosely.

I added 1/2" to the entire width of each leg since the SOTW shorts were a bit snug at the hip.   What I should have done is add to the crotch length in the seat (or, in fact, just traced out the next size up-- doh!).   She could use some loose in her caboose.

Here is a back view:



And here is the table view: Ottobre 1/2009 #23


And here is TLo re-enacting her favorite dance routine:


A.K.A. "The Busted Song" from Phineas and Ferb.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


TLo starts the first grade in three weeks.  She is absolutely dying to be a cheerleader.

Yes.  You heard me.  We live in Texas.  They start cheerleading in the first grade. 

Actually, to be honest, they start much earlier than that... I think at 3 or 4.  It is totally ridiculous.

Now, I know all the song and dance about how cheerleading is really a sport and it's good for coordination and self-esteem and, you know, whatever.  But I just can't quite get behind the whole cheerleading 6-year-olds thing.

Unless maybe they were planning on doing my all-time-favorite cheer:

You ain't got no alibi
You ugly
yeah yeah
You ugly"

I don't think they'll let six-year-olds do cheers from R-rated B-movies.  Right?  Oh well.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

‘Ey Up.


Yorkshire Rose

It's National Yorkshire Day. 

In, uh, Yorkshire.


‘Ee by gum. 

Nowt queer as folk. 

Etc. Etc. Etc.  (please insert your own clichéd-yet-unintelligible Yorkshire phrase here)