Thursday, February 11, 2016

Daily Doin's and some FRUSTRATION

I start this on Friday, February 5.

I know that both Carole and Scotland Jo are struggling with altering or making pants right now, and since I had a couple pair of pants that I needed desperately to take in (they were "roomy", 25 pounds ago and now are just insane), I thought I'd jump in there, too. 

So a few days ago I did one pair of pants by trimming off the seams that go down the inside of the legs and come up to the center of the waistband.  This gave me a flat(ish) panel to work with with the side-seam intact because there were pockets set into the side seam and I didn't want to disturb them.  Besides, when pants are made by clothing manufacturers, they always assume that, when someone's a size 20 to 22, they are that big ALL OVER.  This means that the crotch might hang too low, or that the legs will be too long, or that, if it's a blouse, the neck opening is just HUGE.  So it's not like, when you alter something, you can just take in the sides till it fits.  Been there, done that, and it doesn't work that way, especially for pants.  So I dug around in my old patterns and found a loose-fitting pants pattern in the size that I think I now am.  I laid the pieces onto the pants panels as best I could, trimmed conservatively, basted the pants together, and tried them on.  Found them too snug in the calf area but luckily had enough I could open the seam and taper it out closer to the edge, and the pants ended up fitting OK but they're just not anything to brag about.  Luckily, they are made of a stretchy fabric.  And they have a loose-fitting long matching top.  It needs to be taken in, too, feels like a maternity top,  I think I can get away with making deeper seams in the sides. 

Now I have a pair of linen-cotton-poly blend pants to take in and I wanted a better pattern, as the fabric is not stretchy and is therefore less "forgiving".  Also, garage sale season is coming on and if I had a good way to alter larger clothing, I might just buy some of the bigger articles of clothing if I like the material.  Garage sale clothing is "Lakka Bawxa Choklits" in that, "you never know what you goan git".  You can't generally try things on, out there in public, though I do know some women who wear clothes that allow them to pull things on OVER their clothes, or UNDER a skirt.  There's still the chance somebody is standing there in the crowd watching you and overworking his imagination though, and that just gives me the creeps.  Just because the tag says it's the right size doesn't mean much, because some brands run small and some run big, and who knows, it might've been altered somewhere along the way.  I could ask if I could try something on and maybe they'd let me into their house, but I know how much I hate letting strangers into MY house and they do tend to ask to use the bathroom.  No matter how nice they seem, strangers in your house can really rip you off, and I've been really lucky in that so far, the only strangers that have done so have been teenagers that came into my house with my daughter when she was growing up. 

The only thing I've found that's really helpful is to know what a similar article of clothing that I already have, that fits as I like, measures in various places.  So if you do buy clothing at garage sales, take an index card that has those measurements on it, and a dressmaker's tape measure.  This is important for me because I have those same Grand Piano Legs that my German aunts and my grandmother had and when that fad for tapered pants came along, I was hard-pressed to be able to buy a pair I could wear.  Now they're turning up in garage sales and all I can do if I buy a pair is either donate them or make shorts out of them.  Since I don't like to wear shorts in the garden, they almost always wind up in the donations box.  So I've measured my "good-fittin' pants in several key places.  An inseam measurement is important, so you know how far down the widest part of the thigh and calf will be, and then you can measure the width of the pant leg there.  Find the widest part of the hip area and mark that down.  Start at the bottom of the waistband at the center seam, and, with the pants laying flat, measure where the inseam starts.  If you've been buying pants for several years, you'll already know where ready-made pants don't tend to fit very well.

I did stop in at Goodwill the other day.  They have changing rooms with mirrors in them so the clothing can be tried on.  But I didn't find anything I liked well enough to pay $7 or more a pair.  I'm spoiled by being able to buy cheaper than that at garage sales.  I might pay $5, but it better be a pair of new-ish, name-brand jeans.  For just slacks, or sweatpants, I generally don't have to pay more than $2.  Often much less than that. 

I'm not always able to find stuff at garage sales in my size, but when I do, sometimes the workmanship is terrible and the fabric is cheap.  Or it's not a color or a style that I like.  On the other hand I might find something that's too big that's made of really wonderful material.  If I can pick it up for less than a dollar that's well work fiddling with.  For that price, if it doesn't work out I can make quilt blocks, hot pads or children's clothes out of the material.  Often, I will buy an article of clothing just for the material it's made of.  For awhile I was buying sweatpants of any size and color, because I had in mind to make an afghan, using a woodland applique quilt pattern I have that would be quite tedious to make if I had to turn the edges under, but I thought, with this fabric, I could just blanket-stitch the pieces onto a background square.  But who am I kidding?  I've got so many unfinished projects in the works NOW, I cannot possibly live long enough to take this project on.

I'm frustrated with sewing patterns and I certainly don't blame anyone else for being so.  I have sewn my own clothing since I learned how to do it in Home-Ec in high school.  I've made lined tailored suits and children's coats and everything in between that and those tops that are made from a square folded into a triangle with a hole cut in the center for your head.  Are you old enough to remember the 1960's??  Ah, those were the days: cut-off jeans, white canvas Keds, and sweatshirts. 

But anyway, becoming an experienced "seamstress" means that you have EXPERIENCED the disappointment of using a pattern that's supposed to be your size but ISN'T.  And you don't find out it looks terrible on you until you've got it on and are standing in front of the mirror.  Which by then is generally too late to do a dang thing about it.  *Sigh*.  You've wasted your material.  And your time.  And if you're like me, you're darkly considering going out and beating up Betsy McCall.

The easy way to deal with this issue would be to just take apart something I already have that fits well.  But I'm WEARING those, thank you very much, and I didn't want to have to take anything apart just to put it back together.  Many of them have parts that can't be taken apart without ruining them, such as sewn-in elastic waistbands.

So the first thing I did was get on YouTube and I found this video HERE.  But she's working in centimeters, which made a difference because she was calculating "ease", and then she said she made a mistake and would tell what it was when she got to the next step. Well, I didn't see where she ever said, and I got so I didn't trust her information at all. After that I got so I couldn't wrap my brain around it, anyway.  I have found that too much information boggles my mind and gives me a "To Hell With It" attitude.  Tsk, Tsk, Tsk.

Then I remembered I had one of those Nancy Zieman "pivot patterns", so I dug THAT out.  Right away a problem became apparent: the paper was printed on both sides, the pants back on one side, pants front on the other.  So, guess what, I need to trace the pattern and there are oh, so many things to copy!!  By hand, even.  Ish.  And I figure I'll have to use it again when I get at my weight-loss goal.  Such a lot of work for "temporary" pants.

I watched THIS Nancy Zieman video on how to copy patterns off without taking the garment apart.  But, gosh.  WHO has transfer marking paper that size??  And what if you get "off" somewhere?  Then you don't know till you actually use the pattern to make or alter.  So then I remembered about reading, somewhere, long ago, about copying the pattern of ready-made clothing using lightweight fabric and pins.  I went upstairs and found an old sheet that I'd bought at an estate sale.  I have lots of those.  I use them in spring to cover things I want to protect during late freezes.  I will always have more opportunities to buy these, as I don't have to care if they're not very pretty.

I was so proud.  It was going to be SOOO easy, and I would show you all and solve all your pattern-copying problems.  Yeah, well.  I ended up just spinning my wheels.  I even opened the inseam of the pants I wanted to copy and that didn't work well at all because the elastic waistband was throwing me off.  I even pulled the waistband over a bucket and secured it tightly with bulldog clips.  Nope.

So today, I sewed the pants back together, and now I'm back where I started.  While I had black thread on the sewing machine, I repaired my favorite black sweatshirt, which had a broken seam.  I pulled on a pair of sweatpants that I found in the back of the closet, probably a garage-sale find.  I don't remember ever wearing it, and I think I'd remember, because there was so much material in the crotch I felt a little like MC Hammer.  I was able to alter them fairly easily by gradually increasing the depth of the seam from the inside of the knee, up, on both sides.  I basted first, and then tried it on wrong-side-out before I did any cutting and I was satisfied with the results, at least well enough for wearing around home.  But good grief, so loose there and yet tapered in the calf area?  I'd be curious to see who they measured for THAT one.  All this made for another day of not getting very much accomplished. 

But I'm retired, I don't have to meet a schedule or make a quota, at least till gardening and/or canning season gets into full swing.

I've decided to defer the pants-making project altogether, because in digging around in the back of my closet, I found a couple more pairs of pants that fit well enough to get me through till summer.  Who knows what I'll find at this summer's garage sales? 

And that's the end of my sewing rant (for this time). 

I don't know if those of you who use Blogger have noticed there's a problem with certain lines of typing that end short.  It's like
in the middle, the line just breaks
like this, and no matter what you do, you can't make it "wrap around" like it's supposed to.  It tends to happen when you edit out a word, or add more to a sentence after it's been written and saved.  Just so ya know, if you go up to the bar that's just above your text box, where it says "Compose" and "HTML", click on the "HTML" and then scroll down where your text is, there'll be " " at the end of every sentence, and probably one right at the place where the line ends where you don't want it to.  If you delete it out (the one that's not at the end of a sentence) and put a space in it's place, it'll straighten out.  My text usually has one of those in SEVERAL places where it's not supposed to be.

And do you have trouble, sometimes, putting in a picture, so that it just inserts a little square with a red X in it?  Now and then, I do, and it's not because I've done anything different than I usually do.  It must be some kind of Blogger glitch.  If you ever have this problem, sometimes you can click on your picture, where it is stored, and choose "copy" and then "paste" it into your text.  Other times, you can go where you have the picture stored, use that little "double box" that's up in the right-hand part of your screen (next to the red "X" that you click on to close the window), and then do that to your Blogger screen as well.  Use your mouse to grab the edge of each so each one fills half the screen, allowing you to view them side-by-side.  Then, with the mouse, drag the picture and "drop" it into your Blogger text.  You can also just wait until another day and try to add your picture then, as this problem, it seems, comes and goes. 

This is now Tuesday.  I've been dinking around trying to put together a blogpost on my Hufford family line, and it's complicated, so now I'm not even sure I'll publish it.  I have not submitted my family files to Ancestry because it just rankles me that so many people have done so and now Ancestry is using all that information as if it was theirs.  I used to really get frustrated when I'd run into older people who had lots of data but I wouldn't be able to get them to share any of it, and now, I guess I'm becoming the same way.  My problem is that I've shared data with some people that the only information they had was from stories told to them by their grandmother, and, well, in lots of cases Grandma got mixed up somewhere, but no, they won't even consider that she might've been wrong, because she KNEW, afterall.  And then there's what they do with the data you give to them.  They post a picture on Ancestry as being Martin VanBuren Jones, the brother of Thomas Porter Jones, who fought and died in the Civil War, when it's actually a picture of Thomas Porter Jones' grandson by the same name.  And then every other person researching that line gets a "leaf" with that picture attached to it and they don't even question it, they just add it to their files and spread all that bad information around.  Before you know it, so many people have their files all so full of pure CRAP, it's just unreal.  If you try to help them get it right, they're defensive and rude to you, like you don't know what you're talking about and are just trying to make trouble.  ENOUGH!!  Most of the time nobody ever gives credit to the people who so unselfishly gave their data to them, but then, once they get done massaging it, I guess I ought to be glad when they don't credit me.  In the end, because of all that, I catch myself wondering if sharing my data with people is worth the time.  And so, botta bing, I'm right there in with those folks who used to frustrate me so badly in years past.  Genealogy is not that easy and everybody makes mistakes, I make plenty of them, myself, but if someone can prove that I'm wrong with documentable facts, I really appreciate that they took the time to do that.  Unfortunately, "everybody says so" are not documentable facts as they've probably all just copied off erroneous data from the same source.

And THAT's the end of The Genealogy Rant.

I want to start out the garden section by showing you how well my little tomato seedlings are doing so far. 

And these are the Jalapeno peppers:

They were planted in a seedling mix of equal parts compost (screened and baked) and peat moss, and about half of an equal part of Vermiculite.  Normally it's equal parts of all three, but I'm short on the Vermiculite and not able to get more for probably about another month.  I made the compost from weeds gathered out of the garden, to which I would add a thin layer of wood chips every now and then.  The wood chips did a good job of filling in empty spaces and holding moisture in the compost bin.  It took about a year for everything to break down, and then the stuff on the top and around the sides were still not decomposed enough to use, so that was all thrown on the bottom of the caged-in heap that we have started building out on The North Fourth, which is further away from the house.  We'll be taking down the compost bins that we made out of wooden pallets because they are too close to the garden and the house.  When fire pushes rats onto our property, it is there that they take shelter, and it's in too protected an area, so the dogs, wild critters and birds of prey cannot hunt them as easily as they will be able to if their nesting area is out on open land.  It seems like most of our neighbors have a brushpile out on their land somewhere, and I just wonder if they are intentionally doing so to provide shelter for rats and other critters that is far enough away from their houses and out-buildings so as to lure them AWAY from them, as I have started to do.  To my mind, the only reason why God made rats was as food for some of the wild things, and I don't like to interfere with that.  But when they get up around the house, or start getting into the garage, they just really leave me no choice.  The "pallet bins" are about to fall apart, anyway.  I found it interesting that they were showing how to make compost bins out of wooden pallets on one of the gardening shows that I like to watch on Saturdays, (Growing A Greener Garden) and it was exactly as we had made ours. 

Back on topic, now.

This time I added about a teaspoon of worm castings to each 8-oz Styrofoam coffee cup of seedling soil, and I just stirred it into the top layer with my finger as I planted each little seedling.  Worm castings can be bought in a plastic jug at Wal-Mart or probably any garden center.  I'm pleased to say that these are the healthiest-looking little seedlings that I've ever grown.  Once in awhile, I'll have problems with seedlings being "leggy", and most people will tell you it's because they aren't getting enough light.  But I'm really thinking that not having adequate food contributes greatly to seedling failure, maybe moreso than inadequate light.  Another thing that I have found is that seedlings will adapt better to outside when the time comes if there is some air movement where they are while they are inside.  For this reason, I run the ceiling fan during the day, or if they are where there isn't a ceiling fan, I'll set a small box-fan on the floor, aimed towards where the plants are, running on "low".  The soil will dry out a little faster so I have to remember to water more often.  I've done this for the last several years and I find that when the weather's such that I can take them outside to "harden off", all I have to do is keep them in the shade for the first few days, and cover them loosely on the very first day, with, say, an upside-down laundry basket or a recycling crate, something that lets in air but buffers out part of it.  And I choose a day when the wind is not blowing 30MPH.  This is not always possible in the spring here.  If there is lots of wind sometimes I can get away with putting the plants in the bottom of a box, and then covering the box with old curtain sheers.  But I fasten the sheers on securely and tie the box to something so I won't have to go fish it out of Jay and Claire's lake.

My pepper seeds have not been germinating very well.  The jalapeno were the first ones to germinate and boy, they just went to town.  I think it's because the seeds were in the pepper until right before planting time.  I had a few old seed for Big Jim and Joe Parker and I've thrown them away because those seed just turned black in the coffee filter.  And that's ok, there's no point in keeping it in my seed stash if it isn't any good.  Today the orange-colored Cheese pepper seed has finally started to germinate.  But it looks like I'm going to have to start over with the red and the yellow varieties. 

And the hydroponic spinach project just seems to be stalled, not doing much at all.  A few of the most spindly seedlings died, but that was probably from being too far sprouted when I put them in the rock wool. 

This is now Wednesday.  We went to Walmart today and bought a programmable timer for the plant light stand.  Now I don't have to remember to turn it on (or off).  Wish I'd started doing THAT a long time ago.  And that, as my mother used to say, "is as handy as a pocket on a shirt". 

I set the timer to stay on for 12 hours and then shut off for the other 12.  Plugged the lights into a power strip, plugged the power strip into the timer and plugged the timer into the wall.

I've been getting into the swing of things at The Fitness Center.  For us old folks, these places are also venues for making friends.  Having lots of friends is really good for old people.  Hubs and I have sat around and griped to each other because our kids / grandkids don't come around very often and all that does is put the situation into words.  It doesn't make us feel better.  In fact, it makes us feel worse.  Sometimes I think putting it all into words keeps the cycle going.  Mom and Dad used to sit around and wait for us kids to come to visit, and they'd gripe at us and guilt us the whole time we were there, such that it really didn't make us want to go back again very soon.  They knew when was the last time they saw each of their five children, and the only one they excused was our only brother, we sisters could never understand how HE got off so easy.  But when they got done griping to me about ME, they'd gripe to me about my siblings.  My siblings and I would say to each other, "I WISH they had more friends!!"  Just ONCE I would've liked to hear them talk about something they did the previous week that brought them joy.  But nooooooo, they sat around that whole week and waited.  All they had to talk about was something they'd done last month, that we'd already heard about three or four times.  One time I was talking about that with some co-workers and one of them laughed and said, "I have to practically MAKE AN APPOINTMENT to see my mom and dad!", and I remember wishing my parents could be like that, and then thinking, "that's how I want it to be with MY kids."  Well, it has taken feeling forgotten and neglected for awhile, but Hubs and I have realized that we've fallen into that same trap Mom and Dad were in, and we agreed that we just need to get out more, we need to go places where we can meet people, and we need get involved in our community.  Our church has a mission trip to New Mexico planned for this summer and I would've been willing to sign up to go.  This church is small and they never have enough people that sign up for things like this.  But Hubs said "Maybe next time".  So it's baby steps.  Maybe get Hubs started going to "Methodist Men" first. They eat a meal together and then they sit around and talk about repairs that need to be done to the church and figure out a way to get them taken care of.  The women have a book club that meets one evening a week.  They call it "Chick-Lits".  I've been specifically invited to join and have said I'd like to, but I don't drive very well in the dark.  Plus, there are all those deer trying to cross the roads between there and home right now.  When the days are longer, though, will be a good time to start.  I guess it's baby steps for me, too. 

This is now Wednesday. 
Hubs and I went to a pancake supper at our church last night.  There wasn't a very big turnout and I was really glad we'd gone, and lent our support.  There were enough people to visit with and we had a nice time.  I found out the pastor's wife eats her pancakes without syrup, too, Heh.  One of the church members is a foster mother and she has quite a little troop of kids under her wings right now.  A church dinner just isn't a church dinner without kids running around.  They reminded me of how this church interacted with our grandsons during the times they lived with us.  They were also in the Boy Scout troop that met at the church for many years, and the scoutmaster still attends the church.  So many people there still ask about JR and JC, and we laugh together sometimes about some of the things that happened back then.  Those were some good memories to plug into a couple of little boys that had had a rough start in life.  I've said so many times that we just don't know how much we can impact someone else with just even so little as a smile and a hug.  Maybe a few words of encouragement.  It doesn't take much and turns out, so much of the time, to be just what that person needed to hear at that moment.  Never hesitate to reach out.  Everybody benefits. 

I got caught up on the laundry today.  Found several things hanging on the bottom rack in my closet that were covered in cat fur.  So THAT's where Sam went upstairs when she wasn't on one of the beds!  Hung those out on the line for the wind to blow around, and then washed them and our big terrycloth robes that we wear in the evenings and the early mornings over our jammies.  They'll be coming in off the line before long.  A warm but windy day.  Fire advisories out.  Again. 

This is now Thursday, and I'll try to publish today.
They had a piece in the local paper about a couple of birds in Australia, called Brown Falcons and Black Kites, that actually "pick up fire" and drop it in the areas where they're hunting.  Don't that beat all.  If THAT's not all we need, here, I don't know what is. 

Today we have actually had THREE bogus phone calls.  The first one was real early this morning, asking me to hold because Dr. Johnson had an important message for me, and I said I didn't know any Dr. Johnson and hung up.  They hadn't identified themselves and I figured if it was legit they would have.  The second call congratulated me and told me I'd won a cruise.  We've gotten this kind of call before.  And frankly, with all the bad stuff that's been happening to those cruise ships, I don't think I'd be interested even if the call was legit.  The third caller said they were from my credit card company but they didn't specify which card company they were calling from.  Dorks!  It really frosts my cookies to get calls like this.  I keep myself on a "Do Not Call" list, but they've all gotten around that by calling computer-generated random phone numbers, in which case, they don't have to pay any attention to who's on the list.  My phone number is unlisted but random numbers get around that road block as well.  Most of these calls are now just recordings that will transfer you to people if you hold on or press a certain number, which I'm not about to do.  But if I get a real person at the beginning of the call,I might pray for them while they're on the phone, or encourage them to find a more respectable way to make their living.  Heh.  I know some people who actually cuss these folks out till THEY are the ones that hang up.  But really, I think this is counter-productive, in that it seems like they pass this number around to their co-workers, especially the ones they don't like very well, so they can get a good cussing out, too.  I worked the Sam's Club call center for awhile, and some of those people that like to cuss people out sound like they're about ready to bust a blood vessel.  Ya know, I've HEARD all those words, they don't impress me except that I knew a lot of developmentally disabled people when I worked in the office at their workshop, and though they may not have had a very good handle on language, they could cuss fluently.  So, bottom line, and this is what I always told my teenagers, you don't have to be very intelligent to use the F-word, and in using it you might be telling people more about yourself than you REALLY want them to know.

Hubs had to run an errand in town today and he came home and told me he had seen JR.  Those twins are due in March, and JR told Hubs today he's both excited and scared.  If the babies are early, they're supposed to try to make it to Tulsa, which is an hour's drive from here.  If they're late, they are going to be allowed to go to our local hospital for delivery.  I can certainly understand JR's feelings, it's hard enough to drive safely in Tulsa WITHOUT your wife in labor in the car.  Not that it's going to be a lot of fun to be in labor for an hour in a car, either, mind you.  If you pray, I'd sure appreciate your prayers for JR and Au, especially in March.  I had an e-mail from her a couple weeks ago and she said those babies were really "kicking her butt". 

Well, this is about all I have for this time, so I'll pad up to the living room, pick up my quilting, and see if I can get interested in whatever Hubs is watching.  It'll be time to fix supper before too much longer. 

Y'all have a good weekend, coming up, stay safe and well.  Hugs xoxoxo


  1. You have been busy. I gave up on sewing when the patterns and material became so expensive.

    Your plants have very good color. Before you know it they will be ready to plant.

    We are very cold here. I am not in the gardening mood. I am not in the going outside mood!

  2. Thanks for thinking of me. I too do the rounds of the Charity shops here and buy up anything with fabulous fabric in the colours that I like and will alter these items to fit or use the fabric to make something else. The shop assistants must wonder why I always start looking at the biggest sizes and work my way down the rack ;-) We're centimetres and metres here - it's actually easier because everything is in tenths, not twelfths, once you forget all you were taught in school sewing classes. I'm also hoping to make my own pattern out of spare material when I get round to perfecting it. I have a pair of half-baked trousers made out of a duvet cover but they need refining. Bigtime. I have 3 pairs of favourite jeans I have been saving to wash on a dark wash (very little needs a dark wash here as all my clothes long since lost their excess dye) so I tried on a pair of designer jeans I bought on Ebay months ago. I generally don't covet designer jeans and certainly wouldn't pay the £ for them new, but I had found a pair that fitted great in a charity shop and wanted more the same. Well - what a surprise. I couldn't even do up the zip so I guess they will go back on Ebay and I can hope to get my money back, more or less. More sewing, less baking. Glad to hear that you are united in your need to zizz up your social life a bit. I am anti social these days but I guess I will come round eventually... Keep your cookies frosted for the bogus calls - I can't get rid of them either. Sending positive thoughts for the twins and looking forward to more news next month. Happy peaceful quilting :-D


I appreciate your comments! Comment Moderation is back on. Spam comments, and those containing links to advertising will be deleted.