Sunday, April 22, 2012

Promises, Promises

The pattern made me do it. Or the graphics. Secondhand patterns cost so little, I'll buy just about anything. Each pattern envelope promises delicious possibilities. I've almost given up trying to understand why I buy some of them, but nostalgia, desire to make the pattern, and whimsy play a role.

Here's one I very much wanted to sew from the eighties.  I love the tweed body and black velveteen feet. But making fifteen and eighteen inch sheep requires commitment, tweed and dowels, and finding dowels was not easy in Manhattan. It's much easier in Ohio, but I've lost momentum. This pattern should belong to someone who will make sheep.

Shari Lewis enlivened  many a dead Saturday morning when I was a kid.  Lamb Chop made a guest appearance in March 1956 on Captain Kangaroo, and had her own show by September, with her friends Charlie Horse and Hush Puppy. By 1960, The Shari Lewis Show had replaced Howdy Doody. In the 1986 Simplicity printed Shari's Lamb Chop pattern. For awhile I thought I'd be making this puppet, but the pattern is just another bit of paper ephemera for me.

Can you say FAD? Butterick, long the poor woman's version of impossible fashions, took a stab at being plebian in the 80s and came out with patterns for Cabbage Patch Preemies and Troll clothes. I found these in 2nd hand shops, unused and possibly unloved. I sewed up a few Miss Martha versions of the soft sculpture dolls, and sewed up a few Cabbage Patch kids for Xavier Roberts' booklet for Plaid, but apparently was never called on to provide clothing for a cabbage patch Preemie. I dodged the bullet there, and with the Norfins. The only trolls I ever owned where the ones that came from coin operated machines in Woolworth. They were small enough for Barbie dolls to play with.

All of these treasures are for sale in my etsy shop.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The (Miami) Valley of Temptation

I have been led into the Valley of Temptation (AKA Goodwill Outlet of  Miami Valley)and my resolve not to buy anything at all crumbled, faded and was swept away as the sheer muchness of bin after bin of merchandise washed over me.

I can forgive myself for buying paperback books. At $.69 a pound, they are so easy to buy, read,  and recycle that it hardly counts as breaking my vow of No New Stuff. One must READ, after all, and the 17th time one reads a book, some of the luster is gone. Most books don't hang around my house after the first reading.

And I might perhaps be forgiven for falling in love with absolutely gorgeous wool tweed suiting in tans with a pick of green and several picks of other colors, adding up to a warm and flattering tan. Surely a fabric lover could forgive my helpless tumble into fabric lust the second I touched the wool. I resisted mightily. I put it back. I picked it up and measured it: 4 yards, enough for a suit.  At that point, I was lost, but still fighting against it.  A person planning to move to Texas does not need to buy wool. A person planning to move to Texas should be selling off all the wool in her stash, because Texas has, at best, 6 weeks of winter. For that, corduroy is good enough.

And maybe buying vintage patterns, most of which I plan to recycle into my Etsy shop,  tinyseamster, is understandable. One must have merchandise, but really, I have enough vintage patterns to keep the shop busy for a year. Seventies graphics kept pressing my buttons. I did not NEED new stock; I lusted for it.

I wanted the Vogue/Butterick kitty pattern, a duplicate of one I own and from which I have made many a kitty. I bought a pattern because I had had its lookalike, in a much smaller size,  in the 70's. I bought another because I had wanted it in the 70's. I bought Jones/NY, Halston, Kenzo. I bought a pattern because it would fit me and could be made quickly of scraps and remnants.

   By rights, the only thing I should be doing, all day and every day, is sorting things into "keep" boxes and "toss" boxes.
 I should not even have noticed the little dolls. There are still 30 dolls to be sewn for in the box to be given to charity. Clamoring at me from within a blue plastic bin was vintage Jem and the Misfits, and no, I can't tell you which one. Another was Tinkerbell, dressed in a crocheted schmatta, but still Tink. I cannot explain putting  two dollar store dolls into my cart, not at all. I don't understand it myself. 

Nor do I understand why my friend pounced on odd dolls and waved them in front of my face. I should not buy things, I said as we walked in. Why, bless her enabling little heart, did she increase the temptation? If I failed to spot a doll as I walked through, that's good. Why did she call attention to a multi-jointed big headed doll with inset eyes and the ability to wear wigs, Liv. 

I'd read about her, decided I might want one when I got to Texas because even a $14 doll was not currently in the budget. Once the doll was in a bin, under my hand, and costing less than $2 per lb., there was a physical need to own it. Why does that doll have a hole in the back of her head? Because the wigs have a popbead stem that goes in there. Clever. I also ended up with a redheaded Moxie Girl, an $18 doll with pop off shoe/feet. She's the successor to the Bratz dolls, slightly less trampy but still with a bizarre shape. So what if she's wearing unmatched boots?

 I console myself that this lapse into consumerist GottaHaveIt only cost $8.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hugs: the Dark Side

Did you ever get hugged by someone who pulled you off balance so your face mashed into their coat and you couldn't breathe? It's hard to get enough leverage to pull away when you're bent forward at the waist and mashed into a shoulder. If the hugger is more than 12 inches taller than the huggee, the huggee is bent backward at the waist and lifted off the floor. Again, no leverage for the huggee. The hugger is in control. Is this benign? Only if you're a small child and your parents are doing the hugging. Even then, it's not always pleasant or benign.

Some huggers seem to have gone to anaconda training school, and appear willing to crush the life out of you by breaking your ribs. Sometimes the hugs go on so long you begin to lose consciousness, which can be a good thing. If you lose consciousness, you'll slide to the floor,  some officious person will shout  "Stand Back!", and eventually you'll begin to breathe again. If the hug was an overenthusiastic greeting, it was a dud.

How about the hugs that are preceded by a squealed and drawn out Hi? They're usually sung in a dying fall, in unison, by females who haven't seen each other for awhile. What kind of tradition is this? Where did it come from? Why are they doing it in my hearing? I can clean out my own earwax, thank you. It's the sound made as Wile E. Coyote falls off cliffs, on the way to crashing.    

There are hugs as power plays. If a young man is doing the hugging, often he uses it as an excuse to feel the girl's breasts or rump. And women are not entirely innocent, either. I've seen women patting male behinds as part of a hug. 

There are touch-me-not hugs where both participants to bend toward each other and touch shoulders. Upper chests may also be involved. There is certainly no contact below the waist. These hugs are usually brief, and appear to be just a matter of form.

I'm not convinced it's appropriate to offer a hug after resolving a minor argument in the workplace.  If I were 3 and had skinned my knee, a hug might be reassuring.  In the workplace? I'd sooner kiss a toad. 

Now people are using the word "hugs" as a closing salutation, instead of very truly yours, another polite lie. It's quick, breezy, dismissive, and probably insincere.

I don't think there's any need to call out the political correctness police on this one. Still, please consider that the word "hugs" on its own  may not be the warm and gracious comment you may have meant it to be. To some people, an offer to hug is an active threat.