Archive for the ‘progress report’ Category

March 4, 2009

my new space, all set up for sewing!
it is still very much a work in progress, but at least now it’s a workable sort of work.
after spending the morning organizing my new shelves and arranging everything, this afternoon i made a cute spring top! once i get a bunch more stuff, i will track down a non-pregnant model (any volunteers??) and update the etsy shop. wooooaaaahhh. that will be exciting. and hopefully it will happen soon.


lefty mcsocialist

November 13, 2008

i was lucky enough to be handed one of these on my way to the L yesterday morning. this article about it is particularly funny because the caption accompanying the photo claims that “the spoof edition fooled many readers.”
ha! no it didn’t. unless those readers also happen to believe in time travel for newspapers, as it was dated 4 july 2009. but! it did make us very chatty and bubbly at work–imagining that it could ever possibly be real. hm. well, it was a fun diversion. also, really well done.

in dear birthday news, i’m working on a few relatively simple-yet-pretty warm pointelle tops with puffed bell sleeves (but not puffy shoulders.) oh! and our paper order arrived yesterday, so new colors of the lion in strawberries, the birthday pig and the cape house will be printed soon! i hope to get a chance to photograph them this weekend for an update on monday. our apartment gets very little light in late fall and winter and makes photographing all but impossible. plus it’s all rainy and overcast. hm.

also, we are currently without heat, which combined with my new full time non-dear birthday work schedule makes sewing difficult. but i’m not complaining! at least they’ve fixed the hot water problem…

October 2, 2008

tiny peek at a sailor dress i’m working on.
i know. i know. everyone and her mother is making a sailor dress. but you know what? i don’t care. why? because i *like* sailor dresses. and i’ve wanted to make one for a long time. and mine is going to be different. the collar is quilted, for one. and for two it is also printed with our tidal detritus print. and for three, it’s going to have handmade frog-type closures so the neck can be worn up for snug warming when those salt winds do blow. and at the sleeves too.

also, who is smoking?? i think it’s my neighbors. it stinks. stop smoking.
why would you smoke where you live? maybe because smoking takes away your ability to smell so you don’t realize that you stink? ah well. it’s funny because for a while when i was little we lived with my grandparents and my grandma smoked like a chimney with a shut floo so every once in a while the smell is nostalgic and good. but mostly it just gives me headaches. aaaaand end rant!

sorry! distractions. distracted. nervous!
are you going to come see our little show on saturday night? there’s one on friday night too, if you can’t make it to ours. that will be fun too.

also, there’s an official website for the show now!

stuff to do! bye!

September 29, 2008

good morning!
though i’m sitting around waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in and extinguish the fire located in my spine between my shoulder blades that’s preventing me from moving very much (no, it’s not meningitis valerie, you don’t have a headache, it’s a pinched nerve or something) i feel chipper and cheery because the sun is shining and i’ve had my coffee AND i finished the above vest last night.

there is still lots of work to be done for the show on saturday, but i’ve got all of today and tomorrow and mornings and evenings wednesday-friday and it will all come together somehow, right? and you know, i realized that this thing might be really packed with people to the point where nobody will see the clothes anyway, so eh! trying not to be too worried about the outcome. it will just be a fun time with my friends and it’s been a super motivator in that it’s forced me to really start cranking stuff out (i work VERY slowly) and come up with some new things. so! it’s good.

also, i don’t know if i’ve mentioned this before, and perhaps it’s a little shameful, but i watch tv shows on my computer while i sew. last winter-spring i watched northern exposure in its entirety um…well, ian says it was five times, but that doesn’t seem quite right. anyway, i watched every episode consecutively and then again and again and now i think i might be an authority on the subject. go ahead! ask me anything about marilyn whirlwind or ruth-anne miller.
or you know, don’t. i should be getting ready to work.

anyway that is all to say that now i’m constantly searching now for new things to watch while sewing: went through all of weeds already, and joseph campbell’s the power of myth (AMAZING), listened to his dark materials (SUPER AMAZING) and yes, i’ve heard every episode of this american life at least twice and now i’ve found heroes. heroes is awesome! there, i said it. i’m on the bandwagon.
and it’s a network series, so there are so many episodes! i watched it all day yesterday while sewing and didn’t make it through the first season!

haha! ok. i know. this is crazy talk. i should be listening to npr and learning about wtf is going on in the world but you know, that can become overwhelmingly depressing. and it can be somewhat damaging to one’s sense of self-worth to be sitting in a cozy room with a nice cup of coffee, surrounded by lovely stuff and completely stressed out over something as meaningless (in the Big Picture sense) as a botched seam or spilled ink while listening to news of total destruction. so uh. we try to keep it light.

and on that note! (ahem) i think the back is feeling well enough for another day at the sewing machine. see you!

September 22, 2008

i love you guys.
thank you so much to everyone who introduced themselves in the comments of the last post! i am so humbled knowing that the people who read my blog are so awesome–it definitely feels like an honor that you’d even care to skim my ramblings!
thank you thank you thank you

so what i learned is pretty much what i felt might be the truth to begin with: photos are enticing, posts about making are most interesting, but it’s ok to blog what you feel sometimes. awesome!

with all of that in mind:

i was up until 4 this morning (and then up again at 7:30) finishing these dresses so i would have something to show a new shop i will be consigning at. they came back home with me (shop wants the blue kathryn dress instead) so they will most likely be posted to etsy tomorrow or wednesday. i’ve also got a few pairs of the tidal detritus print undies in squid with shell ink piled up next to the sewing machine–they’ll be posted then as well. whew!

oh right! so i’m super tired. actually, the tiredness is only setting in just now as i drank a good amount of coffee before setting off on my bike across the bridge into manhattan. uh, and then another once i was parked and locked up, since i was early. i was a little wacked out with coffee and nervousness and somehow a second cup seemed like a good idea?? i was nervous because it was my first time riding over the williamsburg bridge on my little bike, but i have to say that even though i walked it a tiny bit (i am still a bit out of shape) it was really exciting and on the way home i definitely felt that endorphin rush as i coasted (comparatively slowly–those other bikers really fly!) down that hill at the end. oh man! i really need to exercise more. it’s one thing to know that exercise makes you happy and quite another to *know* it, you know?

anyway! that’s all for today. i feel like a sleepy tweaker. have to get these tax forms to the post office asap, then it’s nap time usa!

September 16, 2008

thank you, anne lamott. via jezebel.

when you’re right, you’re right.
so! enough doom and gloom.
through the end of the month, 50% of all of dear birthday‘s etsy sales (after etsy and paypal fees) will go to barack obama’s campaign. we’d have done this sooner, but we are broke beyond joking. but this is important, my friends. let’s do it! you don’t have to buy things from me to contribute either, though that would be nice for me! you can do it here too.

September 14, 2008

i finished a new dress yesterday and decided to keep it for myself. even though it’s the same blue as the kathryn dress i’m keeping. eh. what can i say? it’s a good color on me! it’s a knit wrap dress with a braided belt and hand stamped trim. one size fits all! or. most? we’ll see. i’m trying to cater a little more to the boobed set, as i get lots of requests for more…accommodating clothing. anyway, it’s super roomy in the top on me, but i think it looks pretty good baggy. it’s meant to be worn with a top underneath anyway. it is fall after all, though it was like 90 degrees today. the top seen here is just one i wear all the time. didn’t make it. dear birthday top in the works.

ok! so this will be in the shop within a week or so. i’m working right now on a custom order and a new store request (!!!) so photos and new things will have to wait a tiny bit.

in other news, i just popped a giant pot of popcorn with what i think must have amounted to 5 Tbs of butter and didn’t realize (watching the daily show on the internerd) until i hit the bottom of the bowl that A. duh, i had eaten the whole thing and B. gross, i feel really sick now and also C. oh crap, that was dinner, i guess.

ian’s been away this weekend and clearly, i have forgotten how to take care of myself.
my teeth are all butter-waxy!
i need more friends.

August 25, 2008

more process/progress

i can’t wait to actually sew something! i’m going to wash the printed pointelle this afternoon to make sure the paint is fast and if it is, there will be brand new undies in the shop tomorrow afternoon.
if it is not, i’m going to begin winter hibernation and will see you next spring.

August 22, 2008

without going into all of the boring details (complaining is so tedious!) i will just say that

A. while i expected this experience to have some kind of mildly annoying learning curve, it has been quite humbling, to say the least


B. the point has been drilled quite deep into my brain that if you want something to be done correctly, you must do it yourself or, failing that, provide VERY explicit instructions for how that thing be done.

all new-process-related irritations aside, i have to say that i’ve been having a lot of fun with all of this dyeing and printing lately and i hope that if i ever get to sew anything together for fall, it will be fairly awesome if only because forcing myself to do all of these new things at once has re-opened my sleepy summer eyes to new possibilities and experiments. of course things will come together in some way. there are two patterns made so far and though that’s roughly four fewer than i hoped to have done by now, i’m not going to stress about deadlines, even though my working vacation has come to an end. no way.

however! it’s time for sleep.

August 20, 2008

a wee ray i visited on monday at the aquarium in coney island.

i want to share photos of what i’ve been working on ALL DAY but it’s late(ish) and the lighting is non-existant. excuses, excuses. anyway, i dyed so much fabric today that my hands are all stiff and silly. like, they’re not working very well right now. back when i had access to a washing machine (thank you mom and dad) i had no idea how lucky i was. no. idea. hand dying is a labor-intensive project, my friends. imagine agitating (by hand!) two messy 5 gallon buckets (at the same time!) of semi-toxic (known to the state of california to make valerie very anxious) fiber reactive dye in the bathtub for oh…about an hour and a half. now imagine doing two batches in a row and then hauling all of that wet fabric down the street and around the corner to the laundromat where you look both ways before shoving the color-dripping fabric (it does not stain–i washed it with natural/un-dyed yardage to prove it) into the machines before anyone yells at you and there you have the first half of my day. don’t get me wrong, it was awesome. i’m really pleased with the colors i chose and the way they turned out. and i’ve come up with some good, collection-related names for them too. but i’m wiped out!

anyway, i also picked up the screen and had a minor fit when i brought it home and noticed that the little registration marks were not blocked out and the taping job was shoddy at best. but! instead of stewing, i bought some screen filler and then stamped some knit fabric all gingham-wise while i waited for that to dry. the plan was to screen a test yard tonight, but ian gave me a glass of wine with dinner (potato and asparagus pesto pizza) and alas, i’m about to crash. but that’s enough work for one day, right?

one day soon we will have actual items for dear birthday’s fall collection to show you. soon enough.
also, what do you think of tshirts? i woke up this morning with an idea for a drawing and i said it out loud really fast before i forgot it and ian said it sounded good. i was thinking valerian cards (definitely) and maybe a tshirt. but i’m kind of on the fence about printed tshirts in general. people seem to like them though, right? and this would be rather nice. even i might wear it…

…oh so fashionable lady that i am…wearing the same shorts every day…