Something from Nothing (almost)

This is a story of two stories.

The first story is this: Back in 1982, I was in Scotland. Having always heard that I had Scottish ancestors, I took the opportunity to research the family clan. I found the clan, the tartan, and the clan motto. (of course, years later I found that I started with the wrong ancestor’s name, but that didn’t stop me from claiming the clan for myself).

The clan motto was “Neither spare nor dispose.” I took that to heart. Although I’m not sure what the Scottish meant by it when they originally created the motto, I took it to mean, “We don’t give it away, and we don’t throw it away.” Thus I have justified my ability to collect more fabric, more yarn, and more patterns than I can possibly use in this life or the next!

This brings me to the subject of this entry – Something for Nothing (almost).

About a week ago I found I needed a Halloween costume. Yes, for THIS Halloween. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of CFIDS is mounting medical bills. Work missed + medical bills = not enough money for a costume. So I borrowed a phrase from my grandparents’ generation, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!”

I took a look around at what I had on hand. I found the aborted attempt at a purple chiffon wedding dress, 5 yards of sturdy black cotton in my fabric drawer, and an old pattern from the 1980s. I added $15.00 worth of netting and spiders, some silver buttons, and came up with this:

steampunk fortune teller

I really need to get a better camera so my pictures aren’t so blurry…

At any rate, I picked up the layers of the skirt on the wedding dress into swags. I cut the top of the dress off (the part that didn’t fit) and covered the raw edge with black ribbon.

The 5 yards of black twill cotton became a long, gathered skirt and a short fitted jacket. I used scraps from the wedding dress to make the lapels on the jacket.

the jacket

The netting and spiderwebs I draped into a bustle on the back of the skirt.


I’m adding a black snood, black lace mitts, a black lace shawl, and some costume jewelry.

So I will be reading the cards at a local Haunted House this weekend and next, dressed in my Steampunk Fortune Teller’s outfit.

So what do you have hanging around? Kids outgrown their jeans? Have some spare quilt batting? Turn them into potholders or trivets. T-shirts can be cut into strips and crocheted or braided into rugs. I even use my scraps of embroidery floss by putting them in the birdcage for our finches to buils their nest.

Oh, yes. I promised you two stories. Here’s the second story:

When I was 9 years old, my mother sat me down at her old Kenmore sewing machine and said, “I hate to sew. You will hate to sew. But every woman should know how.” Here I am, 46 years later, with an entire room devoted to sewing and crafting. She never dreamed it would take me so far. And when I sit down to work, I invariably think of her.

Thanks, Mom.

Now let’s go create something!


Two steps forward…

Tuesday was THE DAY! My long-awaited wedding dress was finally delivered to the house! It was purple and ruffly and adorable and just what I wanted! I was so excited. I slipped it over my head and it fit perfectly. This was so cool!

Then, I turned to look in the mirror.

Oh. My. God. I looked like a big purple barn with ruffles. Now, I know I’m not exactly petite, and losing 20 pounds (30?) wouldn’t hurt me any. But I mean, this was terrible! It was awful! I could NOT get married in this!

Some women would break down and cry. Frankly, I considered it. But, instead, I went into problem-solving mode! Out of the dress, into my jeans, grab the car keys and head to the bridal shop.

I didn’t want a traditional dress. I look awful in white and even worse in ivory. I wanted purple, rather casual, with sleeves, and no sparkle. Picking up on my sense of panic, the store owner shoved me into a dressing room with every purple dress they had that would come anywhere near fitting me. There were two that would do, although they were nothing like what I was looking for. Then I checked the price tags. URK! “Thanks, I’ll think about it!” and I was off to the next bridal store. Now, I live in a smallish town (pop. 30,000 or so) and formal wear is not exactly a popular thing around here, so those two stores were my only possibilities!

Another dressing room. More purple dresses. “No, I can’t wear a halter dress! Look at me. I have been abundantly blessed in the bust area! OK, OK, I’ll try it on.” It was terrific! Grecian chiffon floating to the floor. I had a waist! It was cute and young-looking and I felt great in it! Check the price tag. OY! This is not going to happen.

To the mall! I checked the discount store where I seriously considered being married in a jersey knit muumuu. I had them put it on hold and decided I would have to sleep on the decision. I was halfway home when the exhaustion and fatigue hit. KABLAM!

I should know better. I really should.

But knowing better didn’t stop me from spending all afternoon and late into the night searching for the perfect dress online. Nor did it stop me from going out the next day and spending time and money on fabric to make my own dress. I swore I would not make my own dress, but here I am, up to my elbows in purple chiffon, and wondering where I will ever find the energy.

Oh, and did I mention I am so wiped out that I couldn’t go to work today, slept till 11:00 and still feel like I’ve been hit by a freight train? Oh, CFIDS, you are a cruel taskmaster. Tricking me into thinking I can do more than I am able and then hitting me up the side of the head with a two by four.

All I can hope now is that I will be back to decent condition by the weekend. Because now I have a dress to make!

Let’s go create something. Even if it’s only a muslin mockup…


Well, I think I overdid. I’m back to being fatigued, sore throat, upset stomach… But I had fun while the good times lasted! Maybe if I rest up this weekend, I will improve again.

In the meantime, it’s COUPON WEEK at the fabric store! We spent an hour getting fabric for two more shirts (one is for the wedding!), the ribbon for our table decor at the reception, and some fabric and lace for me to make pretty underthings for the wedding. For those who know Greg and me, it will come as no surprise to hear that everything is PURPLE! I’ll try to get pictures of the fabric posted soon so you can all see.

And here they are! This is the fabric Greg chose for his wedding shirt:

He also chose fabric for another shirt!


He’s got great taste!

I also finished the gift for a friend! Yep, it just needs blocking and it will be done. I’ll post pictures as soon as she receives it. I hope to send it on its way early next week.

I have a weekend of sewing planned! More gifts, some wedding veils on commission, and a slipcover for the footstool (the dog ate the last one).

Must remember… sew a little, rest a little, sew a little, rest a little…

Let’s go create something!

Busy, busy!

Wow! What a week it has been!

First off, I still feel good! Oh sure, I’m tired, but not dizzy or sick to my stomach, so I feel much better! I hope this lasts a long time.

I felt so good that we went travelling for the weekend, and while we were away, my sweetheart proposed! Now I haz a fiance! We camped and shopped and ate too much and generally enjoyed ourselves. And I did no crafting whatsoever!

But at home I have been busy! I’m work on a top secret project for a friend, so I can’t post pictures of it yet. But, be assured, when the job is done and the gift presented, I will be posting pics! More tatting and some sewing this time (two different projects) so stay tuned!

I also received a call today from a store that buys my bridal headpieces. She’s running low and has placed an order with me for more! Off to dig through my bridal box and see what needs finishing before I bring them to her. And the added income will be terrific since I now have a wedding to pay for! SQUEE!

Let’s go create something!!