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Shirt Makers, Your Attention, Please!

Blog Banner_OTC_ShirtmakingThis is important: Pam Erny, Custom Shirt Maker, has started a new blog. An extraordinary, tutorial and tip blog on shirt making. This is something many who know her have prayed would happen over the past online sewing years.

It’s here:

Off The Cuff…from a Shirt-Maker’s Studio

Bookmark, follow, subscribe, like, read, enjoy, try out the techniques and thank Pam.

Journey to Hair

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Folks have commented about my hair since I’ve started blogging about sewing and modeling the garments again. Honestly, it’s kind of difficult to get the focus on the garments when there’s all this wild silver/gray/brown/blondish stuff flying around. Most like it a lot and some have curly hair that kinks out too much in the humidity, too. I hope the story of my journey helps any one who needs it.

Let’s start at the beginning: I had hair, then I lost it and now I’m trying to get it back. Here’s the backstory.

This is me at 40, in 1990. My hair is cut short on top (I had found it hopeless to try to grow it out all one length) and long in back to the middle of my back. I used nothing more than shampoo, conditioner and setting gel (it might have been dippity-do LOL) and then waited 2 or more days for it to dry. It rarely looked this tidy!
Unadulterated Me
As years passed and our business demanded more travel I started having it done weekly as I couldn’t take the time to do it myself and do the traveling our business demanded. It had grown to my waist and was frankly a horrible, bushy nuisance.

I had bad reactions to most hair straighteners and colorants but Aveda didn’t seem to be so bad so I found a good Aveda stylist in town. He colored it, cut it short and pressed it straight so it was less eccentric. That worked for work. He styled me like a screen siren, let me tell you! But by the next week I was looking pretty limp.

But cancer came along in 2007 and half of it fell out. Nobody noticed it much because I had so much of it. I stayed ill and frail for a couple of years after I was declared tumor free. I looked dull and exhausted all the time.
This is Fall 2009
Oct 31 2009
My hair dresser took pity on me and gave me highlights and let it grow longer
January 2010
But I wanted to return to my roots, to put myself back together again and so in March I asked him to take the color out as much as possible, as long as it would not turn orange or yellow. He promised it wouldn’t but in April 2010 I looked like this:
Blonde
it took 2-3 weeks of bleaching twice a week to get this. This is in May:
1 May 3 2010
it broke off and fell out like I was in chemo all over again! So I just quit going back and did my own weekly hair cutting until I looked like this on Dec 31, 2010
2 Dec 31 2010
By June 2011 I had cut off most of the yellow
3 June 18 2011
The next picture was taken in Dec 2012, 1.5 years later. The chemical yellow was gone and I was washing it weekly with Sulfate-Free shampoo and setting it on rollers so I could handle it easier. Once or twice a month I’d use a blue tint shampoo that is no longer available and you can see the ultra blue in this photo
Dec 8 2012
5 Dec 8 2012
I learned quite a bit about my hair from my salon experience: it’s very delicate, thin and fine but with thick growth, and frizzes completely in the back when I sleep with it down against the pillow. Being in the sun oxidizes it so it breaks off on its own with nothing more than a half day in the sun.
But it seemed to be thinning at a rapid pace and my scalp itched like crazy all the time. I switched shampoos but that didn’t help. My stash of blue tint stuff ran out.

I was losing all my hair AGAIN and in misery with the itching so I stopped rolling it and that really didn’t change anything. I studied all the Plopping Techniques (you’ve heard of Plopping, haven’t you? that cracked me up!) and read all the chat boards about how to handle natural curls. I was getting by but not thriving. Thank the Lord for the burst of products of the market and information on the internet, too. Sure isn’t like the first 45 years of my life!

In Spring 2013 the humidity increased with the warming temperatures and I was beginning to get dreadlocks, with the curls tangling back up the hair length. This is May 2013
6 May 9 2013
and breakage from working out in the sun so little spirals were sticking out all over! I started rolling it again so it was more workable, wrapping it up if I was outside, keeping it in a french twist so it wouldn’t tangle and massaging coconut oil into my scalp. The itching stopped immediately!
These are June 2013
7 June 8 2013
8 June 27 2013
Southern summers are so humid fighting the dreads can take a long time to carefully comb out (wide toothed comb only!) I decided to stop using a comb and do the untangling with my fingers and coconut oil. This braid took the better part of an afternoon to do but it allowed for a good deep conditioning with coconut oil. July 2013
9 July 14 2013
I learned to use the oil, slicking it through the strands of wet hair with my fingers after shampooing and got this result: much calmer hair
10 July 29 2013
For the past month if I feel tangles, I slick up the stands with coconut oil on my hands and gently pull and stroke a small clump of hair until it is smooth and straightened, using my fingers and nails as a gentle comb.
Then I’ll smooth and twist the stands into a curl and move on to the next area. I only use the comb if I am going to try to put it up on my head and only after I have gotten out as many tangles as I can find.
Using this Hands On Method (pun intended) I discovered that the ends in the back were not softening with the oil treatment and I trimmed about an inch off in the areas that seemed rough as best I could. Someday I’ll find a hair dresser that I trust again and go have it professionally evened up. Someday. Not yet.
This was yesterday’s shoot (Aug 22, 2013) and you can see it’s beginning to become a bit wild in the humid wind outdoors
11 Aug 22 2013
So I put it up on top of my head with a thickly covered band (never use a plain rubber band!) for sleeping and today I have given it a careful slicking down with coconut oil, coiling each clump into a curled strand, in prep for washing and rolling tomorrow
13 Aug 23 2013
weather permitting. It’s not worth the time it takes to roll and sit under the hair dryer if it rains like it has for the past week. If it’s still stormy weather I’ll wash it, lightly oil it down with some setting gel added in and let it dry naturally.
The only “problem” with my method is that the coconut oil makes the hair darker, not as silvery, you can see how it is many different colors today
12 2013 Aug 23 side

I tried the Moroccan Oil (Argan oil) but it seemed to give even more of a yellow tint and didn’t seem to absorb in my hair like the coconut oil does.

Hopefully I’ll be able to grow all my hair back, keep the length and survive in a humid climate.

I’ll spare you the rant about what it’s like being the only white girl around with wild curly hair in the segregated South of the 50-60’s and having to be groomed by other whites who had no respect for nor understanding of how to care for curly hair. Nope, I won’t say another word.

But I do love coconuts!

Internet Searches: old women in leggings

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What Da Ya Know

I check my statistics on WordPress’s admin page and there I find the search terms people have used that has brought them to my blog. It lets me know what people are interested in. You all check your stats, don’t you?

Well, this search term I didn’t really want to know about: old women in leggings

Close Up

I guess I should be a good sport. But ewwwww.

There’s creepy folks out there who are NOT interested in sewing their own leggings or embellishing their boring linen summer dresses but I didn’t want to know about these idiots people. Now these shots are getting hit regularly and maybe I’ll have to hide it from public viewing.

Kinda funny, though, in a sad sort of way.

Tricked! Things Are Not Always As They Appear

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There’s been some discussion about the appropriateness of honesty and critique of sewn garments shown on the internet. My position is that photos and even eyeballing from a distance IRL (in real life) cannot show the salient points needed in the analysis of anyone’s garment making efforts. Here’s a story to illuminate my point:

Sunday evening Husband and I took the Dog for a walk at the local woodland lake park. It was around 6pm and the woods were damp from a light drizzle and beginning to get dark.

Then, something came into view that shattered that dusky softness.

(Please indulge me: I didn’t have my camera with me so I returned the next morning to get documentation to share this story. The light was that of the impending dark so you will have to imagine that night is falling.)

The woods were lush as we walked along the trail

Woodland Trail

when we were startled to see a Mourning Dove in an odd position and motionless on a low tree branch

Bird on a Branch

By its position I thought the Dove seemed in serious distress and I didn’t want to cause it further angst by getting too close

Dove 10-13 ft away

My eyes couldn’t make out why there was a red spot on its neck so I got this close and stood completely still. A healthy dove doesn’t have red spots on its neck. I could only think that it was wounded by gunshot or had a parasite or had suffered a viral attack of some kind. Bird virus? Oh NO!

As close as I dared

Husband and the Dog went to get the car and see if they could find a Park Attendant to help and I stood, silent and keeping my distance, waiting to see if the bird changed positions. Nothing happened for 20 minutes or so but finally my team members returned without finding anyone in authority that might have a way to handle a diseased or injured animal.

We got a bit closer from the opposite side

Close Enough

and finally our eyes were able to pick out the hanger eyelet on the top

Yup Decoy

Yup, it was a decoy! I had been carefully guarding a DECOY. What I had thought was possibly part of an injury was simply some leaf litter that had fallen onto the red spot

Decoy

We’re not hunters; we hardly expected a plastic bird clipped to a tree branch

Decoy3

We laughed and laughed, so relieved that we were not watching a Mourning Dove die in the woods.

You can imagine that I was very glad Husband had not found a park employee to drag back to see my humiliation!

So, jumping in to make an analysis of the proper fit or hang or suitability of a garment is something I would really, really hesitate to do. It’s been definitely proved to me that my eyes can’t be trusted to discern an ultimate reality. I certainly wouldn’t want something I said, rightly or wrongly, to adversely affect the future work of any anyone.

I’d love to hear what you all have to say!

Following Flikr: How to Follow a Non-Blogger

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Do you have a fabulous online favorite person who doesn’t write a blog but chooses the much simpler format of putting up photos of their work in a Flikr album?

Did you know that you can follow a person’s Flikr pictures? Sure you can!

Just click on the person or group’s “photostream” and copy and paste that URL into your news and blog aggregator .

It should look like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/XXXXXXX@XXX/ The first 7 X’s are numbers and the last 3 are a mix of alphabet and numerals.

That’s how I’ve been following Ann Rowley, the winner of the Great British Sewing Bee, for the past three years. I don’t miss a photo and can keep track of all the lush projects that she publishes for public viewing there :)

Each picture will be treated as a separate post.

Much easier than trying to track all the entries in a message board or writing or reading a whole blog.

Here’s the Stitchery’s Flikr URL http://www.flickr.com/photos/77314006@N00/

Finished Anorak -Onion 1045-

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Finished

You may note that the hem does not contain elastic as I planned to do per the pattern suggestions. It is serged, turned and top stitched. I figured I’m round enough from the back view without elastic to emphasize it :)

Finished Back

I have finally figured out Flikr and WordPress.com. I changed my WordPress password a number of weeks ago and apparently just now Flikr has figured that out. It wanted my attention!

As an admin and member of The Sewing Divas on WordPress.com I’ve seen thousands of spam attacks attached to the photos uploaded into the WordPress.com media library. I am now deleting all my Stitchery photos from that library, I don’t want that happening here in my little blog! Sorry for all the computer whining, I have spent too many years fixing computer stuff on the job to put up with it on something I do for fun!

Reposting My Posts ~ ?Really? ~

Jan 30th, 2013.
While all my reblogged posts have been removed it was simply through the kindness and decency of those who responded to my request that this has been resolved for me. I’m leaving this post up to alert others to the issues involved in reblogging.
————————–
WordPress.com (my blog’s free platform) has added a couple of functions that allow any other WordPress member to repost any WordPress.com entry directly into their own blogs, with links back to the original post. Reposting has happened a couple of times to The Stitchery posts and I’m not in favor of reblogging at all. But I’m still reasoning it out, mired in confusion over something that seems such a violation of my own personal work.

How it works: any WP.com member can hit the “repost” button and magically my work appears on their blog with the first picture in full size, the rest of the pictures in thumbnail size and the first few lines of the text. If you want to read the whole thing you will be redirected back to the originator’s blog. Any “repost” can then be reposted by any other WP.com member, ad infinitum, and so on and so on. After the first repost the following reposts lose the photo credits so that’s a copyright infringement and WordPress is fostering it. But reposting is not in itself illegal as far as I can tell.

Just unpleasant. I am informed about the reposting only because I have allowed “pingbacks” in my comments section. If pingbacks which link to the reposter are turned off then you’ll never know who took your stuff and where it is now.

The Stitchery has enjoyed a rather special and small circle of friends and I’ve intentionally kept it that way in order to stay away from so much of the unpleasantness that can occur on the internet. I don’t want to attract much attention to us. I just want to have fun.

Blogging is all about sharing our own creativity. With fabric and thread there are so many different options and interpretations no two projects look the same. It’s fun to see what others do and fun to share what’s hot off the machine. And the same thing applies to gardening and animals and daily life or what ever else I have on my mind. It’s rather personal, isn’t it? That’s why I’d rather keep this space small in the blogosphere. Yes, I just might be delusional. But I’m The Writer, aren’t I? Can’t Writers be delusional now and again? Isn’t that one reason they write in the first place? But I digress.

Taking someone’s work to provide content for your own blog doesn’t involve any creativity. It is sharing and yes, it does expand the circle, mainly to the benefit of the person who has reblogged. There is little evidence that reblogging brings in new contacts to the originator. And anyway, I’d rather be asked first.

But now I have no control over what new audiences will be reading my words here, there or everywhere.

WordPress.com has agreed to consider adding an “Opt Out” feature to the repost button. It will most likely cost money to get that option and I don’t know if they will add the Opt Out capability to their “Press This” button. At the moment I am faced with only these choices:

  1. a. Make this blog “Private” so that people can read it only by invitation
  2. b. Move to my own domain and host
  3. c. Stop blogging and close The Stitchery
  4. d. Get over it, buck up and continue on

I’m not a big fan of any of these choices. I don’t want to spend more of my time or money blogging than I already do. So far today this issue has consumed most of the day. Argh.

And gee, I was just starting to have fun with blogging again. Darn.

What would you all do? Am I overreacting? I’d love to hear what you think.

And don’t hold back now :) I’ve got my Big Girl Panties on.

Spam!

I just gotta say that I’ve never seen so much spam as has hit The Stitchery lately. Fortunately most of the comments (advertising and “advice” designed to get other readers to click on their website name) are caught by WordPress.com’s spam filter.

But eeesch, already, spammers.

This is NOT a big, important, world shaking blog!

Get a life of your own, will ya?

Musing in the Cold “They Did Not!” Category

Today is hopefully the beginning of the end to the cold snap that has kept me indoors and away from back porch photography. The porch is under the snow and I’m just not that kind of girl. Oh, the dogs demand that indeed I shall march through the frozen fields with them but modeling is just not a job I do out of doors in this kind of weather. There’s just not enough money in it, te-he!

So finished coat pix are coming…later this week.

In the meantime “They Did Not!”. Pendleton did not put all their current and classic styles on sale…oh noooo, just when my budget is completely snuffed by medical and insurance bills and the economy in general.

Oh but they did: Pendleton online catalog It’s a given that I’d snatch up any of the women’s garments in a heart beat. But, but, I’m not sputtering only for my own selfish interest, Dear Lord, the men’s sale is fabulous too! Please windfall me some cash really soon, like today?

I have lusted after iconic the wool robe for the Huspartner forever! His Sir Pendleton, Lodge and Board shirts have been staples of The Stitchery Christmas giving for the past number of years. These shirts are so gorgeous and they stay gorgeous for a very long time!

And now they are on sale.

sigh.

I’ll live through this lack of cash somehow…I’ve survived a severe curtailment of fabric money for the past year so I can survive this. But, but, sniff.

On the Good News side of cold musings is that in visiting Annika’s Atelier and Esty Shop and generally catching up with this productive and lovely lady I’ve rediscovered a blog I used to love: Beauty Tips for Ministers PeaceBang is back and beauty blogging again. She’s been back for a while so I’ve got lots of reading to do. I love her writing style and thrift consciousness. And she talks about Proper Fit. LOVE….

Could Spring be just a few months away?

Mystery Man: Fluff Chance

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I don’t claim to understand the economics of the fashion industry and its retailers. I tend to par down the fashion shows to one or two designers for closer scrutiny.

Oh, I keep trying to educate myself and part of that education is to read, read, read. I read books and blogs, and steer clear of fashion magazines for the most part, angered by the amount of much fluff. I’m not a consumer, I am a home sewer with a passion for fashion but not a lot of expertise on the industry.

I want pithy business: how do they survive and create? That’s my inquiry.

One of the blogs I’ve been reading with increasing intrigue is The Emperor’s Old Clothes. Who is this man? Something in the writing style made me think of this writer as a man but I really could find no real proof for that assumption. So I read on.

Fluff with Text even smaller

He’s shutting down his business after many years with obvious angst and some bitterness, yet with an almost lyrical acceptance, a sign of a lovely gentle soul. But his writing style had the bite of a vampire. Who is this Fluff Chance, the writer with the wit to tell it like he sees it?

Well, mystery solved by Eric Wilson’s article in the fashion section of the New York Times this morning: How Do You Like Me Now?

Meet Mr Eric Gaskins, mystery man.

30emperor-500

Do yourself a favor: read the NY Times article and then bookmark The Emperor’s Old Clothes and savor its thoughtful articles. There’s much to be learned in it.

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