Saturday, February 28, 2009

Right in my own back yard

As soon as I started my BWOF 2/09 #115 jacket, I knew I wanted to make a skirt to go with it. When in doubt, I turn to TNT patterns. One of my favorite skirt patterns when I just need a basic shape is 10/06 # 117. It's more or less an A-line, but the narrow yoke makes it fit really well and it goes together in no time.

I started the skirt, and looked in the lining drawer, and there was nothing resembling green lining in there. So on Thursday, I walked down to the fabric store, looking for lining and found . . . nothing. Nothing resembling green. They also didn't have a green invisible zipper.

Then, in the discount bin, I found the perfect ivory, black and gold Chanel-ish buttons for my upcoming Chanel-ish jacket. Except there were only four of them, two large, two small. Completely useless. And they're discontinued.

I stomped back to work and decided there had to be something at home I could use. Guess what? I already had an olive green skirt-length invisible zipper, and while I still didn't have any green lining fabric, dedicated rummaging turned up a yard of this bizare home-dec print poly charmeuse that I have a distinct memory of buying. When I was in high school. So it's been waiting around for a while now.

Skirt's finished, and I'm almost done the recycled blouse. I'm waffling a little on the sleeves. Trena suggested flutter sleeves, and I used the ones from BWOF's Duchess of Windsor dress in the 5/07 issue. They're a little long right now, and I think (if I decide to keep them) that I want them to taper more toward the bottom, but for now, that's where we are on the blouse.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

And . . . Exhale

Okay, first off, thanks to everyone who sent good wishes, positive old house energy and anything else good my way, because I got a plumber to come out this afternoon, he diagnosed it as a corroded release valve on the heater, and replaced it - without having to drain the system - for $100.

Now back to our regularly scheduled sewing, which is what I got up to the moment the man left the house. I should have gone back to work (it was only 3:30 p.m.), but by the time I got the train back downtown, I would have already blown 2 hours and would have had to make them up, so I figured I might as well make up the whole afternoon and de-stress in the workroom.

Green jacket is indeed done, except for choosing buttons. I have several options, none of which are thrilling me to death. In the photos, I have mother-of-pearl buttons I bought in Paris pinned on, but they're a little too matchy and I want something else. Those buttons are too nice to just disappear into a jacket. They deserve to be shown off a little.

I cut out a skirt to go with the jacket - a basic A-line that I got from BWOF. I wanted to do something more adventurous, but then I thought: this is linen. Even with lycra, it's going to bag. It's going to get creases. The more fitted it is, the more saggy it will look by the end of the day. I decided to go with the safer straight skirt so as to not end up hating it later. That's only cut out so far, because it took a while to find a zipper in the right color, and I don't have green lining. I have ivory, though, and a nice medium golden brown. Either of those would work and I wouldn't have to go to the store.

I also started a recyling project that was intended to go with both the skirt and the jacket, but it went sideways fairly early on and I can't wear it with the jacket now because of conflicting collar issues.

This linen blouse (see a trend here? I can't wait for winter to be over!) is from my local thrift store. I only go there when they're having half-off day, which is about once a month. Then I mainly hit the plus size and men's aisles looking for garments with enough fabric to be reshaped into something else. This blouse was a size 16, and didn't look big enough to take apart and remake, but I loved the fabric and the button placket and collar were really pretty, so I decided to give it a shot. At $2 on sale, how big a risk could it be?

I cut the side seams open, cut the sleeves off, and then, when I realized that most of the fabric was in the back, I cut the back apart at the princess seams. Interestingly, it was princess-seamed up to a shoulder yoke, so I cut the three bottom pieces away from the yoke, pinned and sewed them back together, then pinned them back onto the yoke and cut away the extra yoke at the armholes.

Because I liked the collar and button placket, I left the yoke and the front of the blouse in one piece. I thought that the front would be too large, but apparently this was for a larger lady with a smaller bust, because all this does is fit like a slightly spacious FBA. And this is going to be a hot-weather top, so it doesn't need to be tight.

Once the back pieces were pinned together, I had a go at pinning the sides. The back still seemed really wide, but the front felt good, so I pinned an extra 1.5" out of the back on each side. Sewed the side seams, tried it on again, and took another 1/2" out of each side, plus I tapered the back princess seams just a bit more. Then I turned up the hem (it was a little long to begin with, and rather than picking out the hems at the seam joins, I just cut it all off right above the hem and started over).

This is one of those tops that doesn't fit Evelyn as well as me. Those don't come along every day; I may like this top extra just because of that.

As far as the sleeves go, I'm not sure yet. The sleeves that I cut off were pretty substantial, and with all the fabric that I cut out of the sides, I definitely would have some extra to play with. Problem is, I actually think I like it better sleeveless. Linen sleeves get those lovely accordion wrinkles at the elbows, so leaving it sleeveless would avoid that. Or I could do sleeves and just go short, either plain or with a slight puff, calculated so that it doesn't make me look like a halfback.

I'll go through my back issues of BWOF tonight and see if I find any sleeves that strike my fancy and do a mockup to see how it looks. Even if I can't wear this with my green jacket, I can wear it with the skirt and quite a few of my other spring/summer skirts.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2009: The Year of What Next?

So I'm being all domestic and industrious tonight, and I head on down to the basement to do the laundry I should have done this weekend, and when I get down there, I hear this sound.




Nothing should be running. Sink's dry, both stack pipes are dry, the waste pipe along the floorline is dry (and so it should be - it gave out the first year I owned the house). I go to the far front of the basement, pull on the light cord, and the light comes on. And it reflects off the pool of water on the floor.

My first thought is the hot water heater went, which it shouldn't; it's only 9, it got replaced right before I bought the house. Then I see the source of the drip - it's a pipe that's coming out of my heater. Huh?

Upstairs, get the man who has -if not knowledge then more of a clue how this stuff works than I do - and he says it's an overflow valve for the heater. Understand I have a ginormous old house with 16 radiators, and that means there's probably a lot of water flowing through the pipes up there. But why would it overflow?

Called the plumber. He called back a half hour later (I love my plumber) and he had several suggestions. I was not the one to speak to him, or Bill the plumber would be on my doorstep first thing tomorrow morning to cause inconvenience, mess and expense because much as I don't want another bill right now, I also don't want to deal with an ongoing problem.

He had several suggestions about how to stop the flow. None of them worked. Replacing the valve, however, would mean draining the entire heating system so he could work on the pipes. Draining, okay, pain in the butt. Re-filling the entire heating system, probably a $200 water bill. On top of the plumbing bill. His suggestion for living with it is to go down twice a day, change the bucket, and try to nurse it along for a month, until heating season is over, so that then it could be a two-step process: (1) pay him to deal with the pipe, and (2) re-fill the system some time before the heat goes on next November.

That sounded okay, until I went downstairs to put the wash in the dryer and the first 5 gallon cat litter tub was half full. How many gallons does my house hold, and how long is it going to take them to drizzle out of that pipe? And will there be anything left for Bill to drain by then?

Is my house bored? Does it get some obscure pleasure in every once in a while throwing some small part of itself on the floor in a fit of house-ish pique? What? Didn't I give it a new(ish) kitchen? Don't I pay its bills and worry over it?

Sharper than a serpent's tooth is an ungrateful house. And that's all I have to say about that.

I'm going to go finish my jacket and not think about what's going on in the basement.
This is Max. Max is a 10-year-old Olympic champion sleeper. It makes me calmer just to look at him. I share my cat valium with you.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My mostly non-sewing weekend

I shouldn't say that - I am moving along, although slowly, on the #115 jacket from February BWOF. Ever have one of those projects that you start because you need a particular piece for your wardrobe, but you just really can't get excited about making it? That's how I felt when I started this jacket. I'm using a really lovely dark olive green linen with some lycra that I think I got from Kashi a few years ago. I love the fabric; I like the jacket pattern; I need light jackets in my office in the summer because the AC can get freaking ARCTIC; and there was enough fabric for a jacket and a skirt. So how could I not be in love the project?

Don't ask me, but I wasn't. Cut it on Thursday. Okay, so I'm not always excited at the cutting out phase. Did darts, shoulder seams, sleeves on Friday. Bleh. Saturday, I interfaced the facings, collar, pocket flaps. Yawn. Yesterday, the day of not enough time for sewing, I did the side seams and inserted the sleeves (hooray for raglan sleeve insertion), did a whole bunch of topstitching on the seams, and tried the jacket on for the first time. Evelyn's been wearing its pieces up until then, and Ev looks good in almost anything.

Except I'm thinking this might look better on me. Hmmm. Little flickers of sewing excitement here.
Had to stop because Mario and I had cheapo tickets to the Philadelphia Opera Company's production of Turandot which was (a) fabulous and (b) very inspirational. The costumes were amazing. Apparently the sets and costumes were borrowed from the Dallas Opera Co.'s production, and from what I saw, they were well worth the lending. I would like it if our budget ran to something other than partially-obstructed, next-to-last row under the ceiling amphitheatre seats, but it doesn't right now, and I'm okay with it. We paid $10 for our seats, and got 2 hours of amazing music, costumes, sets and the experience of seeing Turandot in the middle of a crowd that gave a standing ovation to the young tenor for kicking major operatic butt on Nessun Dorma. Which has been repeating in my head ever since.
This was my second time going to the Academy of Music to see a Puccini opera. (I'll admit, my operatic tastes run mostly to Puccini, maybe with La Traviata thrown in), but finding out this past week that you can actually get to attend something like this for $10, even with the crappy seat location, made my Sunday. It's not often you can go out and do ANYTHING worthwhile anymore for $10, much less get to take in an experience like that.

And then we came home and watched the Oscars, and I got to drool at some gowns and laugh at some others, and I pinned my facing to the jacket, pinned the pocket flaps together, and all of a sudden decided that I'm really liking the result. Go figure.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Stripey Valentine

Better late than never - I didn't even get started on this until after dinner on the 14th, but this shirt apparently wanted to be made, and made quickly. The fabric was purchased back at PR Weekend 2006, in the hopes that someday he'd be willing to wear it. At that point, I had made him a pastel-striped shirt and was working on a plain black one. How far we've come.

I brought this out of the workroom last night and he got his first look at it, and he LOVED it.

My original thought on the buttons was black with hot pink buttonholes, but then I remembered I had some square white buttons from Pacific Trims, so those became my first choice (with black buttonholes; no need at that point for the extra shot of color). I offered him the option of black buttons or white, and he chose the white. Good man. Then I offered the choice of standard button placement or two-by-two as in the shirt pictured here that my clotheshorse friend Adam brought back from Paris. He went for two-by-two, so he's getting the shirt I wanted to make, without my having to say "this is how I want it to look."

Okay, so I said that. I just didn't have to say it out loud because he made the right choices.

You can't change a man, but you can (slowly, and with determination) change his taste.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sometimes men surprise you

Not that there aren't exceptional ones out there, but I'm thinking about the style-conscious among them, and there aren't too many who are that evolved.

This, by email, from my clotheshorse friend Adam, who knew I'd appreciate his efforts:

Today I have on that black velvet blazer with a lavender/gold pocket silk from Boyd’s, the pale purple French cuff shirt I bought in Paris and my purpleVenetian glass cufflinks. Thought you should know.

And this morning, I had a conversation with Tim, a neighborhood handyman who does historical re-enactments and makes his own uniforms. I was wearing a princess-seamed coat with welt pockets with flaps. He commented that his period of re-enactments is the American Revolutionar and that women's fashions these days are very similar to the men's fashions of the 18th century.

Not that he's not right, but I just thought it was a nice stretch of fashion consciousness, especially that early in the day.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sewing = Therapy

In January, I sewed because I couldn't not sew. I couldn't keep out of the room, couldn't keep my hands off the machines, couldn't keep my brain from sewing while I was sitting at my desk at work.

This month appears to be the month of Sewing-As-Therapy. The veterinary saga continues. Lily had to go back to the University of Penn's vet hospital, with an accompanying bill the size of freaking Pittsburgh. Max is over his head cold. Nicky is over his urinary tract infection but has now caught Max's head cold. I have cats isolated in my room, the guest room and the front room, and feel like I spend all my time running up and down the steps, medicating and coddling cats who don't want to be isolated, medicated or even coddled.

Right now, I'd like to be isolated in a room (preferably one equipped with a sewing machine, all my patterns and my stash, plus about a case of wine), but that's apparently not gonna happen.

So whenever I can get away from my life and head for the back room, I feel no guilt at all this month. Not a lot has gotten accomplished - I did make two of the boat-neck tshirt from February's BWOF. It's a fast, flattering, useful pattern that doesn't take too much fabric. I've worn both versions already and am quite pleased with this one.

Valentine's Day has come and gone (can you still say "bah humbug" about VDay when you're in a relationship? And happy?) We did the card thing, the chocolate thing, and made a big dinner for ourselves on Saturday night. Actually, I made most of the dinner before he came home, because I was in dire need of occupation at that point and I knew if I started sewing I'd forget dinner, so I did all the prep and started without him.

At 9:00 on Saturday night I started sewing his Valentine's Day gift, which is - say it with me - yet another shirt. I still find sewing shirts relaxing, don't ask me why, and I've wanted to make this particular one for a while. I bought the fabric back at PR Weekend 2006, at Mood, for more than I care to remember. But I love it. And after the chevron stripe shirt and the leopard-and-black one, I think I have him adventurous enough to wear it.

Nothing too exciting with this shirt, cause the fabric wouldn't stand for it. I did chevron the back yoke, but that's pretty standard. For the collar and cuffs, I actually used the less obvious of the stripes, just to dial it back a little bit. But the inside cuffs are the louder stripe, and cut on the bias, so if he rolls up his sleeves he still gets some flash.

Black buttons for this one, obviously, though I am leaning toward doing the buttonholes (but not the rest of the topstitching) in the hot pink. Gotta jazz the man up a little, right?

It's moving along well. I took some time in there tonight, and all I have left now is to sew up the sleeve/side seams, attach the cuffs, make 14 buttonholes, sew on 14 buttons and do the hem.

Basically, other than the side seams, all the things I don't enjoy. Funny, I've finally gotten to the point where I don't hate sewing the collar and stand first and foremost.
Tomorrow morning, Lily and I go off to Penn Vet to get her sutures out. Trust me, I'd be doing it myself with a seam ripper if they hadn't already charged me for it!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Deep Stash - Simplicity 2936

Pattern Description: Misses blouse with sleeve and collar variations. I made the collarless version with the pintuck darts.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, with the exception of the change I made to the sleeve.

Were the instructions easy to follow? They looked easy enough. I checked them out in the beginning to see if there were any surprises but went my own way after that. It's a pretty simple design.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I would not have looked twice at this pattern from the envelope pictures, but I fell in love with Deepika's version that she made in July and knew I had to make one eventually.

Fabric Used: Probably the oldest fabric in my stash. This was originally my great-grandmom's fabric, purchased in the 50s (according to my 84 year old aunt). When grandmom died in 1972, my mom inherited the stash. When I moved out in 1983, I absconded with it, so it's been in my stash now for 25 years. It's cotton, very soft and and with a slight sheen. I used the reverse side because I liked the softness of the colors better than the dark outlines on the "right" side.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Very few. Despite trying it on basted together, when I sewed the side seams the blouse was the tiniest bit snug across the boobage. This doesn't look like a shirt that needs an FBA, and it was too late at that point - and I certainly couldn't replace the fabric. But the stripes in the front were placed so that I could extend the button placket underneath by about a 1/4", which was all I needed, and the upper placket still lined up nicely.

I didn't so much change the sleeves as leave them "unfinished." I didn't want to put elastic in the sleeves and was going to add a band, so that I could use the last two buttons I had, but when I came out of the workroom to get something, DBF looked away from the television, said "I like the sleeves," and went back to it. He doesn't often voice opinions on my works in progress, and I decided that at least for now I would go with the wider sleeve. I still have the bands and the extra buttons tucked into the pattern envelope if I change my mind.

Besides the right side/wrong side issue, I couldn't make up my mind which of the fabric's colors to accentuate - the orange or the aqua. When in doubt, use both. The buttonholes are done in aqua thread, and the buttons are a peachy-orange from the stash. I like the combination.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will absolutely sew this one again, next time taking into account that I need a skooch more space in the bodice or I might pop a button at someone not deserving of it. The blouse itself is a great basic shape that would work with lots of different sleeeves or collars.

Conclusion: Definitely a winner, and I'm pleased that I managed to use up the oldest piece in my stash. My great grandmom could never decide what pattern would be "good enough" for this fabric, but I think I found one.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The next leather jacket

So I thought I had picked out my next leather jacket pattern.

When Connie was visiting in November, I showed her all my potential jacket patterns, and we talked them through until I came up with one I really liked and thought would work. In December, I went to NY to get buttonholes done in my brown coat, and I picked up the leather of my dreams at Mood. Knowing the pattern I planned to use, I wanted to make, I was able to run around the block to Pacific Trims and get a matching zipper cut to fit.

Fast forward a month or so, and I haven't started the jacket yet. I did trace the pattern, but because there were some changes to be made, I couldn't work up the enthusiasm to make a muslin. So it's been sitting.

And then the February BWOF came through the mail slot.

First of all, I have to say this is one of the best issues in a long, long time. Second, did they get a new photographer, or just finally realize that we buy the magazine to see the clothes, not fashion photography that looks good but shows no details so that we're all sitting on our hands waiting for the line drawings to come up on the website. Either way, this was almost catalog photography - no details hidden under long hair, no clunky jewelry disguising the necklines, no big purses held smack in front of the dress details. Thank you.

Of course, the new nominee for leather jacket was still one of the few patterns I completely passed by in the magazine. The hippy chic section was probably my least favorite - I liked the colors and patterns of the fabrics, but I'm more of a boho-chic than a hippy-chic, if know what I mean. And this little jacquard jacket didn't even register.

Until I saw the line drawing, that is. Those nice vertical - and diagonal - lines screamed to be made up leather. Okay, so it's got a standing collar, 3/4 length cuffed sleeves and buttons up the front (they used big snaps in the magazine), none of which I wanted for my next jacket, but it's also got a lot of things in its favor. First, all those nice vertical seams. Great for leather, not having to worry about the placement of large pattern pieces. Second, of all the bizarre things for BWOF to do, they drafted the sleeve for flat insertion, so I won't have to do what I did last time and remove all the ease from the sleeve to be able to set it in. Yay! The back of the jacket is interesting, with both a vertical band and pleats at the upper back.

The jacket is cut a bit more straight than I had in mind, but I think I can give it more definition at the waist without changing the entire shape of the jacket. I might even decide to keep the stand collar, just cut it a little narrower. I can un-cuff the sleeves and taper them a bit so it's a nice straight sleeve.

It's really the buttons that are bothering me. Yes, I could do bound buttonholes in leather. (I could, really). I could also take it to Jonathan's when I go to NY next time and have them do their super-duper industrial buttonholes, since there was a little sign that said they did leather, but just charged a little more. But I have that 23" perfectly matching zipper with the bronze pull, and I want to use it. Plus, I just think I'd wear it more of it was a zip jacket. To me, that's what a casual leather jacket has; buttons put it on a different level, and while that level might look really good, if I'm not going to wear it all the time - I wear my black leather jacket all the time - then I won't make it.

I think some pattern re-drafting is in order. I traced the pattern off, and rather than redraft the pieces now, I think I'll put together a muslin of the pattern as it stands, tweak the fit, and then redraft the pieces of the muslin to reflect the altered center front so I can do the zipper insertion. May as well get the rest of it right before I mess with the center front.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Out of the cave and into the light

I have to cut down a little. I said in my last post that I didn't feel like I was all that productive in January, but I churned out 10 garments anyway.

10. How much time did that take?

Apparently my lack of productivity occurred in other parts of the house: kitchen and bathrooms are a mess, laundry piled high, trash and recycling completely forgotten this week. I'm not getting to the gym near enough, the man is neglected (though claiming not to be, but how much TV can even he watch?) and I don't feel like I've been paying enough attention to the beasties. I know that none of their various illnesses could have been averted by my paying more attention to them, but perhaps I would have noticed something wrong a little sooner if I wasn't always locked away in my playroom.

It's hard to stop cold turkey, and I'm not planning to, but there are a few changes I can make. I have an extra cutting mat, which I can bring into the living room for pattern tracing purposes. There's no reason to isolate for that - I can mostly keep the cats off the tracing paper, and I can still keep up a semblance of being a social creature instead of a sewing-obsessed one. For smaller items, I can cut fabric out there. I can do hems, handwork, buttons, etc., out in the living room like a normal person instead of the sewing-cavedweller that I have become.

The computer is in the living room. At least I don't have to cut down on that.

BTW, in case you didn't get it, it snowed yesterday - these are just random pics from around the 'hood.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

January: month end review

I'm going to be a shameless copycat and follow Carolyn's example of a month-end recap so I can look at what I've accomplished in January and figure out what's next. My question is, looking at the fact that I've made 10 garments this month, when did I find time for work and a life and a man and a gym membership and 11 cats?

I didn't feel all that industrious this month, but statistics don't lie. 10 garments? Really? Okay, so three of them were knit tops and two were knit dresses, but still, I didn't think I spent that much time hiding in my workroom.

The funny thing is when I got my January BWOF (before the end of December), I had in mind that I was going to make 5 things from that issue, and I only got to the one dress. February will be different. But then again, that dress was easily the best piece in the January issue and I'm planning to make another one for spring - at least the top, if the fabric I have in mind isn't enough.

January consisted of 2 lined jackets: BWOF 5/07 102 and NL 6199. I like both of them, but I have a real soft spot for the BWOF because it was a recycling project and really challenged me.

Two Burdastyle patterns: the Franzi vest (another recycling project) and their men's tee (2 of those, and more I'm sure to come - gotta keep the provider of coverstitch happy and clothed).

Two KwikSew patterns - the Duro dress with some changes that made it less "Duro" and my favorite tshirt made from the Duro's leftover fabric.

Two more BWOFs - 1/09 #106 dress and 11/06 faux-wrap sweatshirt, which I absolutely love.

One miss - Vogue 1082 - which still has to be finished so I can hand it off to my co-worker. All it's lacking right now is the lining.

All in all, a pretty successful month. I'm pleased with both jackets, particularly the recycled one and its welt pockets, but the NL gray quilted one just needs something yet to make it right. A nice flat button for the outside, but I don't have anything in stash, so that will wait until the next trip to NY.

Getting the fit right on Mario's tshirt was another accomplishment. I hadn't thought a tshirt would be more difficult to fit than a dress shirt, but the fabric doesn't conceal fitting errors the same way. I'm going to have to try that sloped-shoulder adjustment on his next dress shirt, just to see what happens to the fit there. Always something new to try.

The Vogue skirt was still a learning experience - it was one of those "you might like it, but it doesn't fit your body" moments, and I learned that sometimes you can successfully force the issue, and sometimes you can't. But I found the skirt a happy new owner, so at least I can't consider it a wadder.

Patternreview's contests were a bonus for me this month - I don't sew stash just to get rid of it, but I did try to push myself to pull out some older fabrics for projects I would have tried anyway. The recycling/refashioning contest was a wonderful exercise for my brain, and the great thing is that I like both pieces completely aside from their recycled-ness. Now there's a word for you

Sir Thomas Gray, 2002 - 2/2/2009

Thomas T, you were a good man, and you will be missed. Rest in peace, Gray Ghost.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Another sick kitty, and random weekend stuff

Well, as weekends go, this one has had its ups and downs.

My original plan was to curl up with the February issue of BWOF, trace a few new patterns and sew until I was cross-eyed. But that was not meant to be.

Veterinary crises seems to come in waves - first Vlad came and got cleaned up and took up residence in the guest room. Then Lily had to go to the ER for her embarrassingly-located abscess.

Now Thomas has been sick for the better part of 2 weeks, and the vet still doesn't know what's up with him. He's lost almost 5 pounds in that time, he's drinking but refusing to eat, his hair's lost all its luster, and he just looks sad. He's had tests, he's had more tests. It's like veterinary episode of House - every test just lets them know what he doesn't have. Right now, they're torn between not knowing and suspecting lymphoma of the kidneys. And because he's FIV+ (for the non-cat-experienced, this is an immune deficiency syndrome for cats which works basically the same way as HIV; it can remain dormant in their system for ages but when they get sick, it more or less welcomes the illness in with open arms and throws it a party).

The vet doesn't approve, but I'm leaning toward letting Thomas go to that big kitty condo in the sky. I don't want to see any animal suffer, but watching him revert from his happy affectionate self to the fearful, feral cat he was originally (because of pain, I'm assuming, and also because he seems to process being medicated and fed as violence toward his furry person) just hurts too much. He's not Thomas anymore, and I can't imagine what the vet could come up with that would turn him back into Thomas. Certainly not the ultrasound, needle-guided aspiration of his kidneys that she wants to do on Tuesday.

On the plus side of the weekend, Mario and I went to the movies Friday night to see The Wrestler. It's gotten a lot of buzz and I thought I'd like it, but it was amazing. I watched a lot of pro wrestling as a kid, and seeing some familiar faces from the 70s and 80s just enhanced the documentary effect. I'm not a big recommender of movies, but go see this one. Mario did ask the question, "Why is every movie set in New Jersey a tragedy?" but as someone who was born there, I guess he's entitled to ask.

Last night we went out for dinner for my birthday - yes, 45 got somewhat lost in the shuffle this weekend, and that's okay by me - and it was fabulous. We went to The Restaurant School, which is only a few blocks away from the house (good for a cold night when I wanted to dress up). There are 4 different restaurant options - French, Italian, American and the Great Chefs room. The prix fixe menu there comes either with or without a wine flight that tailors your wine to each course. We went for that, and it was good. It was very good. It was so good I woke up this morning still full.

I'm supposed to be in the workroom finishing up my blouse, but I haven't gotten up the motivation yet. I did the buttonholes last night after we got in from dinner - he fell asleep on the couch, full of wine and French food, but for some reason gluttony made me energetic. It's looking good, I'm really glad I went for the alternative side of the fabric (and thanks to those who gave me that word for it instead of the reverse). Today's work, when I get to it, is to sew on the buttons, do the hem and figure out exactly what I want to do with the sleeves because the elastic just isn't doing it for me.