Savannah Camisole Part I (also favorite pattern and my cat is cute)

Before we get to the camisole, Julie and I went to Fabric Depot to purchase material for said camisole.  We always enjoy looking at the sample garments and this one was a winner. The peplum shirt version was on display and, aside from the ruffles around the neckline which both of us wouldn’t bother to add in the first place, we loved this!  I forgot my camera, so this is a blurry cell phone photo. 

Also, before Julie and I went to Fabric Depot (this is a poorly arranged post) I cleaned the house.  After vacuuming my doormat, I needed to mop the floor, so I set the doormat on my bed.  Sentinel decided it was a good place to sit.

The Savannah camisole is one of two patterns available to subscribers of Seamwork magazine’s January issue.  The other one was a pair of leggings with a cute tulip detail.  I just made leggings, so I’m skipping that pattern now.  I do need tops/shirts/etc so I’m making the camisole.  This will be my first project sewing on the bias.

Here, I’ve taped and cut the pattern.

See that diagonal grain-line?  Usually it would be parallel to the center fold.  That’s how you know this is a bias cut.  I also learned that one should cut fronts and backs of bias cut garments so the bias runs in opposite direction.  This keeps the garment from twisting around the body.

Sentinel came to help with the cutting.  The other thing I learned with this project was that one should cut out pieces on a single layer.

This project was advertised as taking two hours and I’m nearly at that mark.  I’m also nearly done.  I just need to attach the stretch lace and the straps.  I did not finish this project because I’d never used stretch lace before, so I did some online research before we went to the fabric store.  This was both good and bad.  Good because I knew how much stretch lace cost online.  Bad because the stretch lace at Fabric Depot was four times the price of the lace online.  I needed two yards, which would have cost $12.00 or more at the store.  So I came home and ordered five yards from a seller on Etsy (who lives in Boise, Idaho) for $6.00 including shipping.

I’m really liking this fabric and pattern so far.  I look forward to finishing this project.

Patton Oswalt at the Newmark.

Kelly got us tickets for Patton Oswalt for my brithday.  Today we go.  Thank Kelly!  (Also, I’m just now noticing that service charge!  Preposterous!)

I greatly enjoy the architecture of the Portland Center for the Performing Arts (PCPA) and the Newmark Theater is my favorite among the complex’s theaters. Its small and intimate and has simulated boxes as well as stars on the ceiling.

We were closer than the first row! We were actually sitting in rows of removable chairs where the orchestra pit usually is.  We were very close!  This is a non-zoomed picture.

And here’s a zoomed one.  Patton Oswalt is telling us he’s relieved to be in Portland.

I was quite transfixed by his belt buckle. 

This was a great show.  He chatted about all manner of topics, my favorite of which was his opining on the day where he had to visit the Post Office and the D.M.V. on the same day.  He told us it wasn’t the employees who were the problem, they were on it.  It was the customers who were all crazy.  Patton Oswalt feels my customer service pain!

Essay: Blogging on Squarespace. A report from the first month.

I’d heard the ads (they have been a regular sponsor of Filmspotting and other podcasts I listen to) and was feeling constrained by the design features of blogspot so at the end of 2014 I took the plunge and switched from blogspot to Squarespace.  Here’s how it’s been.

Blogger is an excellent blogging platform.  It’s free, it’s intuitive, it gets the blogging job done.  The main thing I didn’t like was the inability to manipulate the layout.  Photos remain the same size, text can only go above and below etc.  Also, I wanted my own domain name.  (Which actually, I think you can do with blogger, it just costs money and takes a little work.)

Here’s what I like about Squarespace. 

Their customer service is fabulous.  If you can’t find what you want in their help site, you can open a ticket and someone will respond.  I’ve opened many a ticket and the responses come within a few hours and are nearly always excellent, even if they are telling me something I don’t want to know.  If every company had the level of customer service Squarespace does, the world would be a much happier place.

The design features are impressive.  They have multiple templates and each template can be customized.  In my initial research, I was concerned that my blog would end up looking way too iBlog.  I’m not a fan of the minimalist Mac aesthetic.  But it was very easy to manipulate the design templates and recast the stark white background in a soothing orange.

I can push content to separate pages.  I’ve been feeling lately that my blog is too varied in content and that perhaps if I just had a blog featuring, say, Three Sentence Movie Reviews, I would attract more regular readers.  I didn’t really want to break everything up and transfer some posts but not others.  Squarespace had the solution.  I can tag posts as “categories” and it will publish those category posts as part of the regular blog, but also publish them on a page I’ve created and dedicated just to that content. No longer will the book people have to wade through all the pictures of buildings to find the book posts.  Same for the movies reviews.  Same for the Channing Tatum Film Festival.

It’s really inexpensive. For less than $90.00 I got a custom domain and a year of web hosting.  For the amount of time I spend blogging that is a sweet deal.

So here’s the downside.  Blogging in Squarespace is very much a beta experience. 

Transferring from blogger.  I imported 2200 posts, which, one of the customer service representatives to me was far more than she or anyone working had ever heard transferred.  There was some trouble transferring that took about a week to resolve.  In the end what worked was switching browsers (it didn’t work in Chrome and did work in Explorer).  But when the posts did come, the tags did not fully arrive.  I can see them, but they do not show up in a tag cloud.  I’ve been told this is a known issue and I wish I would have known about this issue before I transferred.  It would have given me pause.  Supposedly it will be fixed.

Basic blogging features are not available.  For instance, you cannot add anything to the page with the blog.  A blog page just gets to keep on being a blog page, there’s no way to add a search bar or a list of archived posts.  I’ve added these on the About page, but I find it very annoying to have to go to a separate page just to search the blog.

In addition, the archives feature does not give you a list of posts published in the month.  It instead takes you to the last post of the month so you can scroll back through the month.  As a person with 20-30 posts each month, I need to see the names of the post in each month.  There is no fix for this right now.  Acutally, the suggested fix was to go back and tag every post with the month and the year and I said “NO WAY” to that.  The posts are already published by date.  There should be a way to feed the titles of the posts into a true archive feature.

You can only load one photo at a time.  Loading photos now involves a lot of deep breathing on my part.  Load one photo.  Breathe a few times.  Load another photo.  Breathe again.  Some posts have 20 or so pictures and this is a substantial increase in time commitment.  I would like to select all 20 photos, hit an upload button and then work on something else while they upload.

I can’t set features like single spacing, or defaulting to middle justified.  Both are driving me crazy.  Sometimes we don’t want a double space.  I can make it single space by hitting <shift>+<enter> but I just want to single space naturally.  And mostly I middle justify. I don’t want to have to set that with every text block.

Here’s how I blog.  Once per week I upload all my pictures to the blog, set up my posts, and save them as drafts.  Then I can go back at my leisure and write and edit the posts.  In Squarespace I am unable to set the published dates.  I can schedule future posts, but I cannot schedule past dates.  When I’m ready to post, I have to save and publish, then go back to settings and change the date.  This is a massive pain and I would prefer to set my dates as I set up my posts.

Squarespace gives you a choice of bold or italic.  You cannot choose bold AND italic.  And why not?  There’s just some times you need both.

Finally, when someone comments and the comments are emailed to me, the email tells me the name of the post the person is commenting about.  This is good.  However, I would prefer that the name of the post listed in the comment email also be linked to that post.  This is because I often answer questions asked by my commenters, and it’s easier to just click on a link rather than searching for the post.

So it’s been a rough transition.  I’m not totally happy yet.  I’m giving it a year to see if their blogging features improve, but if they don’t I may search around for a different home next fall and do another transfer at the end of the year.  I hope not though.  I’d like to stay here.

January walk up Williams

Last week I walked up (aka north on) Vancouver, this week, Williams.  Williams is the one-way north arterial.  While Vancouver has more houses, Williams has more businesses.  I suspect it was the main drag back before poorly planned urban renewal destroyed the neighborhood.

But before we get to Williams, let us pause and mourn these abandoned Christmas Trees.  Poor things.

It’s around this time of year that dandelions start to look delicious to me.  I wouldn’t mind harvesting some of these and frying them up with some bacon.

Here’s a really nice infill that fits well with the neighborhood.  It’s a little older than what you are about to see.

I like the lines on this high-density housing of long ago.  Four units, people!  And even some yard.

There are still empty lots on Williams, but they are becoming extinct.

This is called Blue House Greenhouse Farm  I hope someday to have such a pretty spread.  And I see from their blog that they have work parties now and again.  Perhaps I shall go and make my acquaintance.

The amount of things happening in this photo is crazy stimulating.  New Seasons is in the distance.  I read in the paper that they leased all of the retail space in the building being built.  They have no plans for that retail space, but they needed all the parking spaces. 

An indication of why one of the bars had a sign posted for a few months that said, “We are open during all this f*@ing chaos”

House being eaten by a building/boa constrictor.  This house now houses businesses, including Betty Jean Couture which designs clothing for full-figured women.

This is a bar/restaurant I’m intrigued by, but I haven’t successfully visited because I can’t tell what their name is.  Googling and guessing a few months ago led me to a different bar down the street.  POA?  DOA?  Let’s see what results I can pull up.  Ah.  It seems to be Poa Cafe.  And not a bar.  Alas.

One of those rare empty/overgrown lots.

Old school business.  Back in the day when they had a lot more added security.

The building’s occupant has a similarly old school sign on their door.

Going up!  The empty lot on the left is the back half of the block with the building on Vancouver I took a picture of last week.

Old school Vancouver building.  I’m guessing, from the graffiti on the front, that it’s unoccupied.

Notice how the taller building steps down to a more respectable house-sized level.

I’ve always though this was a good example of a “remuddling”

Old school houses, including one that has been converted into a church.

This building had a very nice refurbishing. It was pretty decrepit.

Uniform in their modernity.  I wish I had taken a picture of the houses across the street, just for contrast.

Old school building with mural.  Probably not long for this world.  There was once another mural on the front that has pictures of edible weeds.

The building on the left was once a church.  It was for sale for a long time.  I wanted to buy it because I’ve always wanted to live in a converted church.  You can’t see it in this picture, but I think they have a catio on the other side of the house.  I can’t remember what the building on the right used to be, whether we are looking at a renovation, or new construction.

Twins!  Fraternal, not identical.

Someone is going to make a pretty penny off of this lot.  Hidden under the tarp are the items that are periodically for sale.

There was a time in my life when I rode my bike on Williams on a regular basis.  I watched this lot transform from the side lot of a grand house into this row of three houses.

Here you can see the grand house.

Speaking of grand houses, this was initially a family residence, then a women’s hospital and maternity ward.  After that it was the first African American funeral home in Portland and now the East Multnomah Soil and Water Council District owns it.  Though EMSWCD interviewed me twice for a position and never called to tell me I didn’t get the job, all is forgiven because I love what they’ve done with this building.

This is a grand example of a well-kept house.  I love the colors and the mystical creatures guarding the property.

On Killingsworth now, I noticed a detail on the Scanner Newspaper building.

Those aren’t awnings, they are solar panels!

So ended my walk.

Random Song: I’ve got you under my skin. (Sinatra & Bono)

This song (Frank only) came on in my tap class tonight and I was reminded of this version, which came out when I was in high school and got me listening to Sinatra.  

In general, I’m not a huge fan of Mr. Sinatra.  I adore a couple of songs (this, “That’s Life”, “Something Stupid”) but overall I find I’m usually snapping my fingers and yelling at him to, “Speed it up, Frank!”  But this is pretty speedy and I love the way their voices work together.

Letter from Aunt Carol

If the tell-tale sign of Aunt Carol’s handwriting didn’t tip me off the address label (free from some nonprofit) would.

Inside, a note from my aunt and a folded piece of paper.  I recognize the paper.

It’s computer scratch paper.  Growing up we had tons of it.  I’m not really sure why random symbols were printed out, but Dad would bring it home as scratch paper from his job as a principal.  This is actually the good computer scratch paper because you could tear off the dots.  The previous generation had dots that were not perforated and you had to use scissors to remove them.

And inside a picture and a story.

What a fun blast from the past.

Baby blanket (finally) finished!

The baby in question, MaryAnn’s Henry, is now two months old.  This is the same pattern I used for the other three baby blankets I made.  One for Ariel’s Charlie and Matt’s niece Mya.  I’ve also made it for a friend whose child is now in elementary school.  That was the pre-digital-camera era though, so I don’t have a picture of that one. 

I’m such a slow knitter I usually start these before the couple knows the sex of the child, so green is the default color. I would be fine with giving more girly colors to boys and vice versa, but not everyone feels that way and so gender-neutral green it is.

I’ve also got a PDF of the pattern I can send you if you are interested.  Just let me know. It’s very easy, 3 knits 3 pearls in a repeating pattern of 14 rows. 

Starting with this blanket, I kept track of what I was watching while knitting.  Here’s the list:

  • Wolverine
  • Persuasion (BBC)
  • Midsummer Night’s Dream (Portland Actor’s Ensemble)
  • Revenge of the Nerds
  • In a World
  • Repo Man
  • Ruby Sparks
  • Mad Men Season 7 part I
  • Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains
  • Frozen
  • Sherlock Season 1
  • House of Cards Season 1 (episodes 1-3)
  • Stuck in Love
  • Treme Season 1 (episodes 1-3)
  • Downton Abbey, Season 5 (episodes 1-3)

RIP Downtown Post Office

You’ve been bought by St. Mary’s Academy and they are tearing you down until they figure out what they want to put on this block.  This is the post office I used a lot when I lived downtown.  It’s also the one where I once took 20 manila envelopes to mail for work and the postal clerk was aghast.  “Did you sort them by zip code?” she asked.  She was very grumpy when I responded in the negative.  “I have to enter each zip code separately!”   That was a lady who was not at all happy with her job.

Mock Printz

The Printz Award, like the Newbery Medal or Caldecott Award, is given every year for excellence in young adult literature.  Also every year, the Multnomah County Library puts on a Mock Printz workshop so interested parties can read and discuss YA books and vote their own winner.  I am an interested party and this is my fifth workshop.

We discuss ten books in small groups and part of the fun is if your group gets to go to the conference rooms on the fifth floor.  For the first time since my first year I got to go to the fifth floor.  Mt. Hood was beautiful in the distance.

We had nine minutes per book and I was the time keeper.  I used a watch, which I find better for these activities than timers on devices.  Because those don’t stay on and the end of the time comes as a surprise.  This way we could flex a minute or two if the discussion was running hot.

Our ballot.  I voted for Story of Owen, Crossover, and (surprisingly and only due to discussion) Noggin.

After small discussion comes large discussion.  The small group discussion are reported out in light blue on the right-hand side of the sheet.  After large group discussion we voted again and those are the results tallied on the left.  We Were Liars was our big winner, followed distantly by Ava Lavender (which I loathed) and Glory O’Brien (which I loved).

Youth attend and discuss too.  After, they get to take home ARCs (Advance Review Copies) of books.   The young man on the right was in my discussion group.  He and four of his friends came from Jefferson County (about 120 miles away).  Such dedication.

To find out if we picked correctly (I don’t think we did.  We Were Liars is fantastic, but more of an “event read” than a sterling example of Young Adult literature) tune in on February 2 at 8:00am CST to the webcast.  Sadly, I will not be listening live as I was last year as I have to work that morning and 6:00am PST is when my entire morning routine happens. 

Though it has occurred to me that I could get up at five, do my morning routine from five to six and then listen live to the winners. Hmmmm.