reunion weekend

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Decoration Day at the cemetery is also our annual family reunion.  It has been as long as I can remember.  I imagine the original thought was efficiency.

You may notice the photos seem to be heavy on animals and light on actual (living) people that were presumably at this family reunion.  The reason is that animals do not shriek and throw their arms in front of their faces when you point a camera in their direction.  I am sparing you dozens of  photos of blurry hands.  Also, the animals do seem to outnumber the human beings somewhat.  (My mother seems to have become a minor god to all creatures canine or is bringing in, what girl child insisted on referring to, dogageddon.)  Not featured was also a blue heron that stopped by my grandparent's small pond that evaded my photographic capture, much to my regret.


racer back ePattern photos

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I had these two sillies model my new digital sewing pattern, the Racer Back Athletic top.  This is girl child and her best buddy from roller derby.  They are exactly one day apart in age.  To model the racer backs, I told them, 'Just do stuff,' so this is what I got.  Actually, I have about two hundred photos of two friends daring each other to do goofy things in front of the camera.  It was so much fun. 

If you notice, they are wearing the racer back athletic tops also, sizes B and C.  If you might be interested in an easy, fast and inexpensive pattern for it, please visit indieutes.etsy.com

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athletic racer back pattern

So close to being done this little athletic racer back top for tweens.  I popped a couple quick pictures to show y'all.  Below is one of my prototypes on girl child.  There is some changes for the final pattern but we both like this blue/black one.

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The pulling on the fabric from elasticized armholes is one of the things that has been altered on the pattern.  Turns out the best way to do it is the simplest.  With all the variations on this top, I'm glad it only takes me twenty minutes or so to sew one up.  Especially with girl child playing roller derby and needing a number of different colour scrimmage shirts.  Now it is faster for me to make up a racer back and paint her player numbers on (nicely, with freezer paper, of course!) than to run to the store, buy a shirt and get it printed.  And at a fraction of the cost.

Hopefully, if life stays sane the next couple of weeks, this pattern will be available for tween girl sizes by the end of the month.  Specifically, for girls with chest/bust widths of 27" to 32" or sizes 10 to 14 in US.

What do you think?


dump bike v.4.5

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Actually, I don't know if this is version four, or maybe five, six?  But anyway, it's a new bike made from parts of old bikes.  A Frankenstein's monster of a bicycle.  Not too bad, hey?

One of the fun things about The Man is that he refuses to buy stuff.  Food is okay, and paying for education and experiences is good, but stuff?  Not so much.  But that doesn't mean we don't have a lot of stuff.  Ho no.  We got things.  I'm not sure if we have a lot of things, in the grand scheme of modern consumer culture, or even compared to my neighbor, since we live in a smallish home (644 square feet) and it always seems cluttered to me no matter how many times I donate to the thrift stores, but we make stuff (clothes, shelves, children), people give us things (a trampoline, play set), The Man forages stuff here and there (dumps, dumpsters, back alleys, etc.) and sometimes we even buy things (high end educational materials, because I'm a fool).  I once found a small coffee mug in a bush alongside a sidewalk that I have developed an attachment to. There is always stuff, you hardly need to put any effort into getting it.

Still, buying stuff sucks.  It's especially difficult for The Man.  I think his general rule is that if he can find it at the dump, or has even ever seen it at the dump one time ever, then we shouldn't buy it.  You can see how this could encompass a fairly extensive list of items.  What doesn't hit the dump eventually?

One item we both agree to not buy, though, is a new bicycle.  I've seen times when last year's bikes have littered the dump in snarled bunches in numbers to even rival the gulls.  I can see this is a combination of factors, such as kids growing rapidly and no one particularly wanting to ride a hand me down bike. My first person observations of the neighbor kids suggest that a new bike every spring is a status symbol that lasts about two weeks until the bike is unequivocally destroyed in some sort of ramp jumping adventure. Then it's acceptable to ride a second hand bike, preferably one that belongs to a kid who is both smaller and poorly supervised.

I also suspect that while bikes overall have throughout the years become quite advanced in design and materials, the average children's bike bought from your department store is badly assembled by a team of inexperienced kids hired over spring break and outfitted with cut rate brakes and accessories.  They're resource heavy crap generally.    

We've had one store bought bicycle ever, the one boy child received from his grandparents as a birthday gift one year, and all of the others have been given to us or found at the dump.  Of course, when a bicycle comes into our life as a found object, it isn't pretty nor intact.  But typically the frames are good and maybe one wheel, and with a bit of Frankensteining (this is a legitimate verb in my house so you'll have to go with it) of a couple of specimens, you've got yourself something greater than the sum of its parts.  It also helps to have somebody on hand who possesses a bit of technical knowledge and - this part is is really important - and has some time to mess around with it all.  Lucky for us, The Man likes hiding in his garage and  having a couple bikes to tinker with provides acceptable cover.

A functioning bike is all the childs have required thus far.  They aren't immune to yearning for block status symbols, but they tend towards lording over their friends their yard and its various trimmings.  The line was drawn, though, last year when Girl child received a hand me down bike from a friend that was in disrepair but, worse, pink.  Girl child considers it a matter of pride to loath pink.  She's got her tween dignity, you know?  Can't be seen on a pink bike.

So The Man went a little further than just making workable.  He also made pretty.  I wish I had before pictures from the bikes the various parts were purloined from, including the pink monstrocity, but this is the result of some gathering, some tinkering, some painting, and $13 worth of new materials.  Yes, we splurged on this one.

And then girl child rode out her shiny new prize (black and blue is very acceptable) and gathered up all the envy from the neighbor kids.  Hopefully, she didn't draw too much attention from some of the bigger bike-manglers, otherwise this might be a short lived adventure in having a nice thing.  A nice thing made from old crappy things.  Incredibly satisfying to say that. 

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