The Loss Of My Mighty Zeus

Zeus walked into my life about seven years ago. I was not excited about having a pet of any kind. I knew that I would eventually be the one that was going to take care of it. I hadn’t taken care of a dog or cat in years, and really wasn’t very thrilled about the prospect.

Flash forward to today and I can barely keep the tears in while writing this post. I loved our time together, he brought more joy to my life that I ever thought possible.  So, indulge me a bit here, and I’ll tell you about my mighty Zeus (aka Zeusy).

thecat1Zeus would usually meet me at the door when I got home from work. As kids get older you find this a great source of joy. You feel loved and needed in a very blatant, in-your-face way.

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Often times I would run up to the bedroom and flop on the bed. Zeus would hop up and sit on me and then we’d have a little afternoon cat nap.
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Being a good craft kitty he would always hang out in my sewing room, at the iron, under my table, on my table anywhere.

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Zeus was peculiar, as all cats are. He liked to have his face brushed with an old unused toothbrush. He liked to lick thread that was dangling off my thread spool holder. He only liked to have his head and neck pet, and would let you know if you strayed to far down his back. I was the only one who could rub and pull just the right way, his ears.  Yes, he liked to have his ears pulled. He really liked that. fullsizerender-1Of course he liked to sit in boxes or anything, including oddly the fruit bowl.

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He won a company wide pet photo contest with the photo below. He won 50 bucks to PetCo.

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He was a curmudgeon, a true grumpy cat but a lovable one.
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He loved food. He liked Cheetos and swear to God, lasagna. He was also a big scaredy cat, and was afraid of his own shadow. He got in  a few fights over the years but he was never the aggressor. We would let him go outside but he didn’t roam much, and there were many days and weeks especially in the winter when he wouldn’t bother going out at all. If he went out at night I would be sure to call for him with a shake of the food can and I could see his tubby body bobbing up the street.

I recently got another cat. His name is Milo. Blame it on Instagram but, I saw so many cute pictures of cats commingling together, peacefully that I thought why not, let’s get another cat! Alas, this was not a good relationship. Milo attacked Zeus, sending him to the vet with a big gash on his back.  Boundaries were made, lines were drawn. Zeus had a downstairs bedroom and Milo had mine. Zeus would have the run of the house at night and Milo during the day.

I missed him coming into my room at 3 in the morning and sitting directly on my bladder in order to get me up. I missed him coming into the bathroom as I got ready for work. Zeus’s old habits were immediately disrupted. I don’t think he liked that.

We kept working on getting the two to at least tolerate each other. We followed helpful advice from others who had two cats.  We even put little booties on Milo.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get much more time to get those two to be tolerate each other. Two days before Thanksgiving my husband unbeknownst to me let out Zeus. He forgot to call him in before bed and that was the last time he was seen. We put up signs, we walked the neighborhood, called shelters. We back up to open space, you can drawn you own conclusions.

I can’t stand the thought of something bad happening. So, I tell myself Zeus had enough and first chance he got fled into the night. Crawled into someone’s open garage (which he was want to do) and in the morning surprised a nice cat lady while she was getting in her car to go to work that day. Seeing that the cat didn’t have any tags decided to take him in.  Now he’s sitting on someone else bladder at three in the morning.

And, that’s the ending I’m sticking with. Goodnight Sweet Zeus!

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#Project3:33 Fall/Winter Months

I’m surprised as anyone that I’ve actually gotten a post up. Good news, I am still following the 3:33 plan and I’m having a lot of fun with it. More to my surprise I made it three months and went a little bit longer so that I could start my next three months at the start of November 1.

Project 333

Our November here in Colorado has been very mild to say the least. Many of us have been wearing shorts and flip flops until only recently. But, I put away all my spring and summer clothes and made the clothing transition to fall and winter stock.

This time I stuck with 38 pieces of which I feel I’ll be editing down that number before the three months are up. Still have not been able to edit my accessories. I love scarves and jewelry too much. Shoes are off limits too.

I have added some basics to my wardrobe. Two Breton striped tees are in the mix now. I bought them at Target and they are incredibly soft with a bit of Modal in them. These were 9.99 on sale, quite a steal considering J. Crew had them at 24.00 and I’ve seen them as high as 40.00!

Below are a few wardrobe pics from the last round. I found the beige circle skirt I made from a vintage Vogue is way versatile. And, of course I wear a lot of jeans, but I pair them with sewn blouses.

Stay tuned to what I come up with for fall and winter! Plus, I’ve added in a sweater coat and some really amazing pieces that I recently sewed, can wait to show off them off.

Project 333: First 2 Weeks

Below is a selection of some of the 38 items that I pulled for my first 3 months of the Project 333. I started July 21 . For whatever reason the  thumbnail grid won’t keep in chronological order, but you get the idea.

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I didn’t bother photographing my weekends of late, because all I’m doing is schlepping around in gross shorts and stuff. If a garment hasn’t been sewn by me it’s usually from a thrift shop or a discount store.

Some observations

  • My mirror is really dirty.
  • I like to wear jeans with jackets.
  • I have a lot of separates and just a couple of dresses.
  • The pants in photo 6 came apart at the inseam.
  • I’m real enjoy getting up in the morning.
  • The bedroom & closet is a breeze to maintain.
  • I’ve got a long way to go.
  • I can see this having a positive effect on my sewing. More to follow on that!

Jill

Minimalist Wardrobe: Project 333

Okay, I’m at it again. Have you read about Project 333  – Be More With Less? Project 333 is “the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months” (Courtney Carver: Project 333 blog)Fairly simple.  This core wardrobe/minimalist wardrobe is wearing only 33 items and every 3 months you trade/switch up to a different 33 items.

You can read all the details of Courtney’s plan and its origins here. The 33 items in her plan include shoes, clothing items AND accessories. My plan is a bit different because separating myself from that much of my clothing, shoes and accessories was too stressful to think about. My modified plan is as follows. Continue reading

Vintage Pattern Review – Advanced 4826

For as much as I love vintage sewing, I’m even surprised that I only recently attended my first ‘costume’/historical ball.  It’s held  twice a year; once in summer and again in the winter. I bought my tickets back in January and that was about the time I started thinking about what I was going to make. I think I bought about 20 yards of different fabric and changed my mind on about as many patterns. Finally, I settled on one. Here’s some historical details.

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1947

The ball took place in 1947 and Tiki was the theme. I’m sure you are all aware that Dior’s New Look hit the scene in February of the same year. This was Dior’s first collection and it was hailed as no less than revolutionary. With the nipped in waists, voluminous skirts and ultra feminine (sexy) look, Dior’s New Look was a sigh of relief from the military, boxy looks that were dominate during the war.

Dior's New Look 1948

Dior’s New Look 1948

Post war patterns

My pattern is from 1948. A couple things to note. 1) Today there are 52 fashion cycles a year. We have a new fashion (RTW) cycle every week, if you can believe that. During the 1940s and 50s there were two fashion cycles. Basically one for warm weather and one for cold. This was for both RTW and high fashion. Same thing with sewing patterns. Commercial sewing pattern manufacturers didn’t have new patterns coming out every week or every month.

Dior’s New Look is typified by the full skirts with a crazy amount of yardage. Rationing was over and what better way to celebrate than with a 7 yard skirt! My skirt is not that full and the entire outfit including the jacket was less than 3 yards. When you look at vintage patterns circa 1940-1945 you’ll notice a defining look. Many skirts hit right at the knee, with a boxy look to jackets, shoulder pads (military influence). After the war, an explosion of fuller, softer skirts going well past the knee were the new fashion.

Color

Shortly after the war, when you look through catalogs and magazines you’ll notice bright primary colors dominate.

Blues, reds, yellows, big bold beautiful color hits the stores.  During the war you’ll notice that military tones take the lead with tans, browns, greens and navy blues and softer hues. Floral patterns were popular after the war years as were gingham, bright red cherry, apple prints and so on.

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House & Garden magazine September 1948

Fabric
I had a heck of a time picking fabric. I tried to go ultra historic and find fabric from the 1940s or 50s with no luck. I couldn’t find enough yardage or the colors and print just didn’t do anything for me.

Total I purchased 12 yards of different fabric, finally setting my eyes on this golden yellow cotton print from JoAnn’s and for 5.99 a yard! I snatched it all up (about 4 1/2 yards) and 44″ wide. I like this yellow, it’s one of my favorites.

Canary yellow doesn’t go with my complexion, this suited me very nicely. I also like the print, it seems a nod to an eastern/Asian influence which was becoming popular in the US after the war.

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Tiki

Tiki culture shouldn’t be confused with Tiki or Polynesian fine art, the two are different. Tiki culture is American art form started around the 1930’s with it’s height of popularity in the 1950s. After the war, men stationed in the South Pacific brought back tales and items from their time spent in this exotic locale and it just moved into a movement of sorts influencing music, food & drinks, architecture and more.  If you want to sample some fine Tiki inspired music you must check out Martin Denny and Yma Sumac.

Construction

The construction of the dress was straight forward. However, these older patterns don’t include pattern pieces for facings. And in the guide-sheet there’s barely mention that you need to cut out a bias strip on your own. I’m so accustomed to having every little detail spelled out for me in the pattern sheet. Back then, home sewers just knew what to do. I lined the dress with a grey poly, that had a weight and feel similar to China silk.

I was warned on Facebook by Katrina Walker that using silk or a poly would be very sticky in a high heat situation, but I didn’t listen. Plus, I was really sick of buying fabric for this thing. Just make it work! I didn’t have time to make the belt or the capelet. I’ll definitely make the belt, but not the capelet. A little to matchy matchy for me. Also, I think next time I would take more care on placement of the straps and their width to match my bra straps.

To get into the dress I do need a bit of wiggling and maneuvering. I’m not sure what I did, but it does not come off or on easily.

Accessories

The shoes. These were about all I had that could even closely resemble the time period. The terrain was really rocky and uneven in some places and walking in the dark was insane in 3 inch wedges.Accessories 1940s ball

The purse is an Enid Collins box purse. I have two. This one, for as small as it is can hold  a lot. Enid Collins purses and bags were popular in the 1950-1970’s.

Jewelry is a gold and silver cuff bracelets.

The gold one is from my mom, the silver is from my mother-in-law.  I had a velvet brown and green piano shawl as a wrap. And, some diamond drop earrings to wrap it all up.

All in all it was a really fun time, I enjoyed working with the vintage pattern immensely and it gave me a bit of insight in to making a ballgown. Although on a much smaller scale. I would love to do the winter ball  this coming December. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

More Reading

Great piece from La Maison Dior on the New Look.

A Sewing Journal!

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A year off from blogging has given me a wonderful boost in sewing energy. In fact, I did so much sewing last year that I decided to start keeping a written Sewing Journal.

The journal consists of an inexpensive notebook and cover. The cover is one I made a few years ago. It’s fashioned after a leather Franklin Covey planner I loved that I found at a thrift store. My cover fits a 5″x7″ spiral bound notebook perfectly. Continue reading

StyleWe.com: A Review

Have you heard or visited the clothing site StyleWe?  Is it worth it to spend $$ here? Is it legit? Read on for a review.

StyleWe has a beautiful selection of modern fashion clothes. But, if you visit their Facebook page or SiteJabber you’ll notice a lot of negative complaints. Here’s my experience with StyleWe. Continue reading