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Finally finished sewing this today! And it's all hand-sewn, including overcasting the raw edges on the side and shoulder seams inside..

Pictures under cut. )

And now I've overcasted the raw edges of a linen/rayon blend to wash and make a circle skirt out of. If I manage to get myself off my butt in the morning and work all day, I might be able to get it sewn up tomorrow, to let the bias hang out. And then I could ask a friend to mark the hem length Sunday when I see them for game.
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Cut to spare the uninterested from unpleasantness. )

But, in happier news. I have gotten over a bit of a hump and actually cut fabric to sew a peasant blouse, and I've started sewing them together. Four seams in! Several more to go... I'm using this sateen, and hand-sewing it. I'm going to need to figure out what to do to set the seams, since the care instructions on the end of the bolt said no iron...
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Sorry I haven't been keeping up on here much, folks. I'm still alive, though!

So, Sunday was my birthday. I happened to spend it on a Disneyland trip with my father, brother, niece, brother's fiancee, and two nieces-to-be. Brother and his daughter live in Phoenix, so they drove from there, while the rest of us drove down from up here in the Bay Area. We went to Downtown Disney for dinner, and ate at Tortilla Jo's, where brother managed to convince the waiter to do a birthday song. Man, I went 26 years without getting embarrassed at restaurants... Anyways, since the wait list was about an hour for Tortilla Jo's when we got there, we signed up then went over to the Grand Californian Hotel and got drinks at their bar. I had my first strawberry daiquiri with alcohol in well over a year... and we got light-up clips with each drink (four in total). Last time my brother was there, the clip was Tinkerbell. This time it was Ariel, rather appropriate! There was enough for one for each girl, and one for the birthday girl.

We were in the park Monday and Tuesday. Monday we did the Minnie and Friends breakfast at the Plaza Inn. Tuesday was a late start day. My favorite of the rides are the Mountain rides and the California Screamin' coaster. Unfortunately, we didn't get to most of them because we had three young girls between 3-5 in the group. The one who would have enjoyed them was too small for any, and the one tall enough to go on all of them was too scared. So lots of more kiddie rides and activities.

I did do pin trading in the park (a fair amount, actually), and bought more pins for souvenirs, including five from the new movie Brave.

Met up with [personal profile] sakon76 Tuesday, and had a great dinner with her at the House of Blues. Lots of fun chatting over good food, and she gave me one of her rosemary cuttings! <3

And then we drove home Wednesday. After SIL-to-be ordered pizza for dinner, I thought that was a good idea and did the same for myself.

And I have pictures here, but there's just too many to post on here.

And man, I really gotta get my stuff together and figure out how to make Ariel's blue peasant girl dress... I want it to be as cartoon-accurate as possible, which is hard enough when I'm not super-good at sewing... And then I have to figure out a corset that would work as well, and I have no idea how to make a corset that would a) work with my body, and b) work with that outfit. (I thought about making the black/navy bodice also a corset, but then you'd need extra layers so that the boning wouldn't show through...
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Hahaha, late posting this, but I had a new arrival Saturday! KP!Jazz arrived.

Pictures under cut. )

And bonus crafty material! )
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Okay. So I got my hair chopped off to start the new year with a new 'do. Last time I got my hair cut was early-ish 2009. (I remember it was sometime during my last semester at UPS.)

Then I had it cut to a shoulder-brushing bob. It had since grown out to my butt, so I figured it was time to cut&donate again.

Bad picture of good hair under here! )
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What? It's well past Christmas? I still haven't gotten my presents finished!

Seriously. Only doing two presents this year, and I still haven't finished them. At least the socks only have one heel to do, and to weave in the ends. And I finally gave in, got out Mom's machine, and am sewing the MLP plush at the house with the cats. I was afraid they'd be a little too curious, but so far they've pretty much been ignoring what I'm doing. At least this is going faster than hand-sewing!
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So, I'm part of a roleplay group. (We started out D&D 3.5, but have switched over to Pathfinder.) My character is a seamstress/sorceress.

The DC for a high-quality item is 15. Orr masterwork (which there is no masterwork available for sewing) is 20.

My character's skill modifier? 18. I can get "masterwork" with a 2. I also have a familiar that has ranks in Craft(sewing) and can potentially help... And I'll soon be gaining a cohort member that my character will be "training", and I've given her a feat where her presence automatically gives my character a boost to her modifier...

It's getting ridiculous. lol
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So this still had issues due to Cook's Error. I didn't have enough liquid and wasn't checking it often enough, and had it on high to cook the dry beans, so some burned to the bottom of the slowcooker. :( I managed to rescue most of it by scooping what I could to a pot and adding water, then simmering that. The al dente beans then became soft (at least enough to eat) after about an hour simmering on the stove.

So I'm comparing it to Dennison's Hot chili, because that has been my favorite for years. This iteration doesn't have quite as much beefy flavor, and the heat is slightly more intense, but slower to hit. Considering I'm trying to up my heat tolerance, hotter is not a bad thing! It's just pushing my limits the way it is. Anyways, this is getting pretty close! And is good enough to eat this whole pot (over a few meals!), before I work on a better recipe.

Mock-Dennison's Chili, Round One! )
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Okay, so I'm baking my own bread, right? Well you go through a lot of flour when you do that. So I decided I'd get one of the big 50lb bags at Costco, to cut down on overall cost. I already had one dedicated bread flour container, and I bought four more last night (all Target had out, and it was running late). So I get the flour home and start putting it in containers. I knew I would run out of the containers I had purposed for bread flour. There was still a ton of flour, and I didn't think I could get away with gallon freezer bags for the rest, so I scrounged around the house for more containers.

I ended up using one of those large plastic containers they sell Coffeemate in at Costco, and five of those tins they sell coffee grounds in 2lb increments. I have barely any flour left in the bag. Not enough to grab another container. So I'll make a loaf tonight to use that up. :)

I have two of the coffee tins of flour in the fridge I had at college (it's sitting unplugged in the kitchen/dining room, and is rather big for a college fridge). The rest are in my back room freezer. I had to toss out some outdated food to make room for it all. lol
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I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Or a happy holiday, whatever you celebrate!
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So, I'm trying to cut down on the number of chemicals in my diet. (It will likely never get down to zero--I drink way too much soda and other sweetened drinks!) Part of that is trying to get in the habit of making my own bread loaves, and cut down on canned foods.

The chili Is one thing, because I tend to enjoy chili as an easy meal a LOT.

And the bread? I have ingredients in my bread machine for my fourth loaf in a row. :D And while I've gone by the same recipe every time, no two loaves have been the same.

1. Used milk instead of the water/dry milk combo called for, and instant yeast instead of active dry, because that's what I have on hand. I didn't adjust down the yeast from what the "quick" setting calls for, because my yeast was just out of the fridge and I figured it'd still be sleepy and would need the extra time. Uh, NOT. lol Actually touched the top of the machine from the "oven spring", and had fallen by the time the baking was done. Whoops. Still tasted good.

2. Used milk, and replaced the white sugar with honey. Again, used the instant yeast, but I scaled down the amount to the appropriate amount for using on the basic setting.

3. Used buttermilk, and replaced some of the salt with baking soda to balance out some of the acid from the buttermilk. Also used brown sugar instead of white.

4. Tonight's loaf! Went back to milk. Replaced some of the flour with 2 Tbsp of flax seed meal. Also ran out of bread flour, so about 1 cup's worth of the flour in it is AP flour. Also used honey again as the sweetener.

I'm also working on getting my butt up and cleaning more. Cleaned the toilet for the first time, and managed to actually keep up with dishes, including cleaning the stuff I used to measure out the ingredients for bread as soon as the pan was in the machine, and the machine turned on. Hopefully I'll be able to keep it up.
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Thank you to all that talked to me after my post Saturday night. My head is definitely in a better spot, and hopefully I won't hit another spiral for a while. In a normal year, I only get like one or two breakdowns. This past year hasn't been normal. I think the only positive thing about them is that I used to have semi-suicidal thoughts during them, which hasn't happened in the last few ones. (Semi-suicidal, because I'd be aware that I'd never go through with it even as I thought it.)

Made chili for the first time for this past Sunday's game night. Was a bit selfish, since I did beef chili, and [livejournal.com profile] niteflite and [livejournal.com profile] nonblasphemer were hosting, and they're vegetarian. At least I brought canned vegetarian chili with me? And I had it cooking at work. I had put everything in my slowcooker's pot the night before (the pot is separate and sits on top of a base that heats it from below) and put the pot in the fridge overnight, and then set it up to cook when I got to work. And of course I made it without a recipe. And I used just shy of 1/4 cup of cayenne. I had never cooked with cayenne before, so I just knew academically that it was very hot, and not how that related to my own spicy tolerances.

Yeah. Bad idea. I got through the one bowl of the chili, but just barely. The only other meat eater that was there has MUCH higher tolerances than me, and he had zero problems with it. So he got to take the leftovers home. lol Next time I'll use less cayenne. Though I want to get more of different kinds of dried chile powders to put in. Ultimately I'm trying to do a mimic of Dennison's Hot Chili Con Carne. >_> And maybe work on bringing up my heat tolerances.
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I've made a DW account as well. Also flybystardancer over there.
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So, finished cleaning the small bedroom, including vacuuming. Also vacuumed the master bedroom, the bathroom, and the hallway. I'm folding the clothes and towels I washed Saturday too late to fold then. Just need to wash all the dishes that were used yesterday and house will be clean enough for when my brother arrives later this week.

I've also been working on hand-piecing squares for a quilt. First time working on a quilt, and I'm doing this by hand so I have something to do during game nights. I'm doing blocks that are a foot square, made up of squares 3"x3" (so a total of 16 squares per block). I have three blocks completed, and I'm a little over halfway done with the fourth. These are going much faster than I thought they would, and my stitching evened up pretty quickly too. I'm amazed.
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House still isn't completely clean, but it was clean enough for game night. It went well. :)

And my kitties surprise me. Jack has always been friendly. We've had people over before and he would be out demanding attention. Instead, yesterday and today he's hid like a scaredy cat, and has not let me carry him out. Finally tonight he walked out when we were nearly done and peered into the room warily, only to bolt when someone made a move he didn't like.

After a couple hours Cleo came out and stayed out. She was in the room playing with us and getting treats and pets.

Proof! )

Perhaps one or both will be out more next time I host game.
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So. House needs to be cleaned up before Brother gets here next week to stay for Mom's services. House is a total disaster zone (though I'm sure living here several years lowers his standards for how clean I need to get the house). A couple of friends should be arrive any minute now to help me clean up the house. As a reward, I offered to host this week's game with the newly-cleaned house.

...I'm already exhausted and all I've done so far was to drive over to sort pictures with Dad, drive back, wash dishes, re-wash the towels I put in the washer last night, fluff and fold the clothes that were in dryer...

I hate housework. So much time & energy...

ETA: So. Lots of loads have gone through the washer & dryer. Dining table mostly cleared off (amazingly so, considering how it was piled up earlier), lots of dishes done and put away. Living room vacuumed thoroughly and somewhat cleared. New sheets put on the two beds, washing blankets to put on them. And floor of smaller bedroom much cleared. (Still has some more to go so I can vacuum in there, and all the linolium floors need sweeping/vacuuming and mopping.)

And I am quite surprised. I expected Cleo to hide from the Strange People. I expected Jack to be out and demanding attention. Instead he was hiding. Silly boy.
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So, my oven does not work. This means the world of baking is limited to what I can put in my mini muffin maker. (Which is the original model of such devices, I believe. Definitely an old model.)

I decided I wanted to make muffins with my homemade jam in the center. So I took this recipe, omitted the topping, and put a tiny dollop of plum jam in the center.

SO YUMMY.

This recipe is thicker, so the muffins need to make a minute more than the standard time for boxed mixes. However, that's not much of a problem. :)

Now if only I can keep myself from eating all of them tonight...
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WHY did my brother's Transformer toys gave to go MIA??? I just found a picture from his 5th birthday where he's triumphantly holding up a Kup toy! *sobs* And there's other pictures elsewhere with him with other TF toys.

...At least I have the blanket. And he's not getting it back! >:D
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Thank you to all whose thoughts and prayers have been with my family. Mom rejoined her parents earlier tonight and is finally free of pain.
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