In Which I Spend Too Much Money

On Thursday I made my mechanic laugh when I called him and said my car was making an “alarming noise.” On Friday I paid $236 for new brake pads and rotors. He showed me the old ones, worn bare; it was terrifying. Since we didn’t actually have $236, groceries are going to be super interesting for the next few weeks.

Then Saturday was Free Comic Book Day.


Sam paid for most of these (the non-free ones) with his own cash money, but I absolutely bought that Ms Marvel collection and an issue of Lil Gotham for Grace (who didn’t have any money). Since comic book stores pay for the free comics, it only seemed right to support House of Secrets.

And since I was on a roll, I went ahead and did this today:


(The image is flipped, so you’re seeing what I see in the mirror. I think that’s pretty cool.)

And now I am going to stop spending money indefinitely.

Overthinking Character Names

I started a writing project that is set in 1880. I am still working on a lot of details but I’ve got a good idea of my main character, and I am trying to name her and the other important character. The problem? SSA baby name records begin in 1880. When they are already in their 30s or 40s.

If I assume that names generally cycled through every two generations, as they tend to now (people in my age group frequently name children after their grandparents, who tend to be born about 70 years before the baby in question), and if I also assume people had children earlier, then I might look to names being given to children 20-30 years after my story is set. Does that make sense?

Of course, then my preferred name for my heroine is nowhere to be found. Which doesn’t mean I can’t use it, but it bothers me.

The other thing I’d like to find is a breakdown of the immigrant population by nationality, to find names that perhaps were not popular on the SSA list but might have been common in particular areas. (I’ve read a lot of Willa Cather. I want to use names like Alexandra and Antonia. But, like, not those exact names.) Of course, I can’t find that information. I’m pretty sure it exists, but it’s not a quick google search away.

And finally. Let’s say you were naming a not-great husband in a western. You’d name him Frank, wouldn’t you? I thought so. Trying to come up with another one.

It’s National Siblings Day!

I did not know this was a thing, but there are days for just about everything, apparently.

DID YOU KNOW that I have a sibling and am in possession of many adorable photos of us as children? OH YES. I DO AND I AM.

This is not us. It’s our Grammy and Aunt Edie.

This is us! I am the bigger one with the darker hair. This is still true.



I’m not naming names, but someone was mad that it wasn’t her birthday.



Please direct your attention to our AMAZING matching outfits and the fact that we are on the roof of one of the Twin Towers.

In which I may be in over my head.


This…isn’t all of the new fabric.

I’m overwhelmed, in more than one way. It’s going to be a lot of work. But more than that, I am feeling some guilt and some pride at the idea that I get to have nice things. I get to make myself this beautiful handmade wardrobe. I get to wear it. The pride is winning over the guilt.

Girls, Girls, Girls

My all lady reading streak continues, though I am about to break it.

In January I read Geek Love (a re-read) and Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life. In February I read Tunnel Vision, Boy, Snow, Bird, and Over The Moon (another re-read). In March so far I have read Girl Defective and The Walls Around Us.

I am about to read Hawkeye Volume 3: L.A. Woman, which is by a dude but is within the rules because it’s part of a series I was already reading.

Have you read anything good lately? (I don’t want to imply causation, but since I started reading only ladies, I have only read good books.) (I totally want to imply causation.)

Pattern, Pattern, Who’s Got the Pattern?

I bought some dark blue Essex (linen/cotton blend) for a skirt. I thought I was getting super-dark navy blue, but it turned out to be sort of a rich royal blue.

Top is the photo from, bottom is an artist’s recreation of the fabric I received. You can see why I was confused, but I like the fabric I got.

When I purchased the fabric, I had the Colette Beignet in mind. It’s a straight, high-waisted skirt that buttons down the front.


But I am also considering the Sewaholic Hollyburn, a flared skirt with a back zip, and Tilly & the Buttons Miette, a wrap-around flared skirt with clever pockets.

1206_Web_Flats__39702.1422558888.1280.1280 Screen shot 2015-03-25 at 9.12.05 AM

Help me decide which pattern to buy! I can’t decide! I am still leaning Beignet, but the other two are strong contenders (with no buttonholes!).

Words! What do they mean?

Last week I went to Old Navy and bought a lot of pants. Five pairs. I don’t remember the last time I owned five pairs of pants. (One of them is actually leggings, and leggings are not pants, but they are all leg coverings and it sounds more impressive if I call them all pants and you’re not my mom.)

I bought shorts (actual shorts!); jeans ($12.50 on the sale rack, flares that are at least a foot too long and will need to be hemmed, which should make them bootcut); the aforementioned leggings; and these:

pixie surplus

That’s the “Pixie” on the left, essentially a cigarette pant, and the “Surplus” on the right, an almost perfect recreation of the army pants from the 80s, which I used to buy at surplus shops in the 90s and loved.

Interesting thing, though. The Surplus is described as a straight leg pant. It most certainly is not. It is tapered. Why would you call it straight? It’s not like words mean whatever you want them to. Oh, but I guess it is. Because fashion.

I love them. But they are not straight leg pants.

It’s really happening!

When you plan something for a long time, it can stop feeling like it will ever actually happen. So each time I manage to actually complete something for my handmade wardrobe, I feel like I just beat the system and also won the lottery.


I bought this fabric at Birch in June 2010. It was really hard to finally cut into it. What if I fucked up?!

Spoiler, I did not fuck up. Even though I made changes to the pattern that I had not actually tried in my muslin. Because I am a crazy mofo.

One thing I did do in the muslin, which I haven’t yet done with the top, is darts in the back to accommodate my small waist. I cut the pattern pieces a bit narrower and took out some length in the waist, which seems to have maybe done the trick! I will give it a few wearings–darts will be very easy to add later if I feel like they are needed.

So, my first Simplicity 3835, a pattern I’ve been meaning to fill my wardrobe with for many, many years, is DONE. (Probably.)

An Important Conversation, Transcribed and Expanded

My sister sent me this on Pinterest:

(Click for full graphic guide)

New goal: I’m going to reread all of the Nancy Drew books and count the euphemisms for fat that are used to describe Bess. Also the various ways George is described as a lesbian, but has a boyfriend.

K: I have never read the books.

I have read enough of them for both of us. Bess and George are Nancy’s non-threatening cousins who help her solve mysteries. They are both female, but George is boyish. You can tell, because she goes by George. Bess is sweet and a little bit dumb, or, in literary shorthand, fat.

On the plus side, Nancy rarely needs help from her boyfriend, Ned, and frequently rescues her kidnapped father, Carson Drew, a successful attorney whose cases often overlap with Nancy’s (a fact that is often revealed in the third act and comes as a complete surprise only to Nancy and Carson). Her closest relationship, other than those with her father, Bess, and George, is with the Drews’ housekeeper, Hannah Gruen; Nancy’s mother is dead.

Frankly, these novels were ridiculously progressive, fat- and gender nonconformity-phobia aside. I would maybe improve the series by renaming it Nancy Gruen, Private Eye, but that would take us into an alternate timeline where Hannah raising Nancy is acknowledged more fully.