February Sewing

I know we’re already in March, but never fear, I did some sewing in February.  Here’s a reminder of the list:

January: Pirate Blanket √

February: Lunch Bag  Finish Apron and Oven Mitts √

March: Suede coat

April: T-Shirt quilt

May: Fur throw

June: New chemise and pirate bodice

July: Bowling rag quilt

August: Patricia Peppermint the Duchess of York

September: Orange Coat

October:

November: Steampunk Sinbonnet Sue 

December:

You’ll notice I crossed off the lunch bag.  I decided that was CRAZY TALK.  I had a giant plan for a divided bag that would allow me to carry all my various bottles and drink containers that I bring to work (two water bottles, one Cupco straw cup, and sometimes a shaker bottle).  But I really didn’t know how to create all the divides, and I was able to find a cheapish bag while shopping one day, so I decided it would be better to finish the apron and oven mitts I started in November.

The results:

The apron is reversible with an adjustable neck strap.  I made it using  this pattern, but not constructing it exactly the way the directions call (mostly because by the time I was putting the actual apron together, I no longer had the instructions available).

The oven mitts were patterns designed by my friend ArtisticEdition and they exhibit my complete and utter inability to use bias tape.  I’m working on it.  I’m currently considering these prime example of this Adventure Time image I came across (I literally know nothing about AT, I saw this on Google+).

adventure time

So, yeah.  There’s that.  I’m going to keep plugging away at bias tape.  I’d really like to not suck at it.  I’d also really like to not have to hand stitch the back side.

March’s project should be interesting.  I’m going to attempt a muslin with the pattern that I have.  It may not fit, due to the fact that I have a tiny chest and large everything else, and the pattern was purchased when everything else wasn’t quite so large.  It will certainly test my pattern alteration abilities.  See above graphic…

PS: I’m aware the check marks are square root symbols.  I rather like it.

Conquering a Scary Goal

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was going to conquer the  ropes course at the Mall of America.  And conquer it I did.

It was extremely difficult to get photographic proof, since they make you lock up your belongings before you can get the harness, and (if you want to take the slide at least) they make you take off your harness before you can get your belongings.  So this is what I have to settle for:

Rest assured, this photo was taken (by a helpful stranger) inside the compound for the The Flying Dutchman Ropes Course.  This was also taken after the whole thing was finished, because I’m pretty sure if it had been taken before hand, I wouldn’t have been nearly as smiley.

I was drugged–make no mistake about that–but I was still nervous.  Much like my adventure to the 4th floor, I was still emotionally nervous, but the physical symptoms were for the most part gone.  There was still a mind over matter fight, but the fight was a lot more evenly matched.

I’m pretty sure the first obstacle I had to cross I asked my buddy 1.0 “What the hell was I thinking?”.  If you’re wondering why I was asking myself that, here is the official video for the attraction.

Some of the obstacles I really had no trouble with.  And the more I did, the fewer I had trouble with.  By the time we made it to the 4th level, the ones I skipped on the 1st level didn’t seem so intimidating.  We went over the course twice, and I made a point to hit most of the obstacles I’d skipped.

I started the adventure by telling 1.0 I’d go across something after I watched her do it.  But pretty quickly in I decided to screw that and make myself take the open paths.  I’m really glad that I did.  This will go down as one of the things I’m really glad I made myself do.

To everyone that’s said “Let’s do this together!” I assure you, I will do this again.  If you want to go, name the time and I’ll be there (unless I’m, you know, at work, or something equally pressing).  I have one more major obstacle I need to conquer, so the Flying Dutchman hasn’t seen the last of me.

Figuring out my Triggers

I had an interesting occurrence at work today.  It kind of made me put into very specific words some issues I’ve noticed over the years but wasn’t able to quantify.

I was out of the office yesterday, Valentine’s Day, and the team had decorated our pod w balloons. Evidently at the end of the day they decided to put all the balloons on my desk.  Funny.

And suddenly it reminded me of a comment I heard once, “You get unnecessarily upset when things don’t go your way.”  Which, frankly, is not true.  Things don’t go my way all the time, and usually they roll right off me.  But things that get in the way of, say, clocking in to work on time, or making it to a play on time, or finish a project on time, those upset me.  More specifically, they trigger my anxiety.

So instead of forging ahead in my attempt to ween myself off drugs at work, I found myself panicking and causing my coworkers to all say “It wasn’t my idea!” and “I’m sorry, it was just a joke!”  I don’t really want to be the girl with no sense of humor, but the anxiety makes me… different.  It’s not that I can’t see the humor in it, I just didn’t want it to be the reason I potentially lost attendance points to be because I was trying to get to my equipment to log in.  Because I was visibly upset, people helped me out, and I was in in plenty of time, but it just set a tone.

I still tried to muddle through, but the first couple customers were crabby and demanding.  So now I’m medicated.  And trying to be compassionate toward myself.  I’ll put a note on my to do list to find compassion, I really will.

Better Living Through Blah Blah Blah

It’s no secret I am fighting really hard not to have to drug myself to get through life.  I have the utmost respect for the people that know they need it and for whom it helps–my feelings are completely, 100% personal.  And maybe I could stand to take a little advice from my shrink and “reframe” the way I think about them (she was trying to speak to me as an artist, it was really quite adorable and frankly a little genius).  That said, I find pharmaceuticals to induce existentialism in myself.  Namely, it feels that there isn’t a whole lot of point to life if I have to drug myself to get through it.  I know it’s not the healthiest attitude, but it’s the one I currently have, and I’m just being honest about my feelings.  Maybe one day I’ll try a different frame around it.

However, I do fully admit there are times when medications are needed.  I take antibiotics (grudgingly, if I absolutely have to, and then I also take additional meds for the unintended consequences), I take pain killers and anti-inflammatories.  But I’d also be pretty upset if I had to take them all the time.  Like, really upset.

I’ve recently also started taking anti-anxiety meds.  Benzos.  Because I didn’t want to have to take something every day.  At first I was pretty “meh” about them.  Not really understanding if they helped at all.  After I had a panic attack at work, I started taking one every day, as a preventative, but I’m really trying to get away from them.  Again, I don’t want to have to take them every day.  If I have to take them everyday, then that says something pathetic about my job.  But even still, I wasn’t sure if they were working.  Maybe I’m just starting to feel more confident because I’m getting more experienced?  Who knows.

So I tried something I knew would absolutely tell me, without a doubt, they were working.

I took one, and promptly made my way to the Mall of America to go for a stroll.  First floor, easy peasy (always is).  Second floor, smooth sailing (usually is, unless I go close to a rail).  Third floor, hey, are we still on the second floor? (Usually at this point I have to start walking faster to get back to the second floor as soon as possible).  Fourth floor… I know I should be nervous, but there are literally no physical reactions.  None.

A little history… I could probably count the number of times I’ve been on the fourth floor, and each of those times my heart practically beat out of my chest, and I had to fight the urge to crawl flat on the floor.

But not today.  Today the fourth floor was my bitch.  Take that, fourth floor!

Next stop? Ropes course!  Who’s with me?

And Then That Happened…

One of the biggest things I lament in my lame attempt at calling myself a writer is that nothing ever happens to me.  I don’t have a wild youth.  I’ve never really gotten in trouble or had much in the way of adventures.

Except for that one time I was a clown.

Photo by James P. Jordan, just like the watermark says.

Let’s back up.

Clowns give me the heebie-jeebies.  If a man carrying a chainsaw was walking down one side of the street, and a clown was walking down the other, I’d probably side with the chainsaw.  I don’t trust people whose faces I can’t see, and clowns and mascots are at the top of that list (I initially said “a man wearing a mask and carrying a chainsaw”, but I had to change it because the mask would freak me out as much as the clown).

So when a friend of mine said she really wanted to make a Steampunk Clown costume, I was all, “You’re crazy nutso.”  And when she asked if I’d do them embroidery, I was all “Of course, but you’re still crazy nutso.”  You already got to see some of the embroidery, so obviously I obliged.  And really, the embroidery was awesome.

And then I dropped the embroidery off at her house.

And she roped me into even more embroidery, which was fine, because it was even more awesomer.  But while I was there, she somehow managed to talk me in to modeling the costume for a photoshoot.  Hindsight tells me that when she said “Oh, if only someone in our group were my size” what she was really thinking was “If we just pad out the chest a little, DK will be perfect.”  I’m on to her.

So because I’m the very best friend in the world–and because despite the fact it was a clown, I knew this costume would be amazing beyond belief–I agreed to model.  Which was silly, because I’m almost as uncomfortable in front of a camera as I am in front of a clown.  Thank god I didn’t actually have to look at myself the whole time, or I would have been downright terrified.

We met Jim, photographer to the peeps in the know out at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, at Starbucks at about 9 Saturday morning.  I got myself a green tea latte (because they’re awesome), and we hit the road for a nearly two hour journey to the wilds of Mantorville, MN where we would find ourselves at the Mantorville Opera House.  Once there, I spent 78 hours having my hair and makeup done and then another 46 hours putting the costume on (give or take).  The dear, sweet women who met us at the Opera House to do hair and makeup were phenomenal, but none of us really had any idea it would take so long.  Poor Jim.

124 hours later, I was on stage.  Literally.  Under stage lights and in front of photographer’s lights, with a man on a ladder telling me to be a clown.  Have I mentioned I don’t like clowns?

I tried to research how clowns emote and how they act, but I ran short on time.  Getting ready took so long, I really had no chance to practice looks before going in front of the camera.  The makeup was very unique, and I really wasn’t sure what it would look like if I did certain things on camera.  I know I shouldn’t have cared, and I should have just done anything, but I’m a self-conscious person in general; putting things on camera makes it that much more permanent (though, really, almost everything is digital now, I should relax about that sort of thing).

Once I loosened up a bit, and once people started shouting out suggestions, it became a little less weird.  And honestly, despite my unease, I had a freaking blast.  And as I look back on it a bit (and as I see the interwebs growing more and more enamored with the project), I realize it’s one of those things that few people can say have happened to them.  Maybe it’s not a story I’ll tell at parties, and maybe I don’t have a very promising future in modeling or being a clown, but it’s still unique.

You really should read all about the project on Laura’s blog.  The work she did was incredible.  Honestly, the embroidery I did for the project, and even modeling the costume, are small potatoes compared to the vision she constructed.

Photo by James P. Jordan, possibly the world’s most patient man.