Need My Sewing Fix

I swear to God. It?s like a fucking addiction.

I spent fifteen minutes of my 20-minute break today sketching out ideas for a new totoro hat design.

Part of me is like, didn?t you want to try making those s?mores candles tonight? or practice your mellophone? and part of me is like, OMG I might have the answer to the standee-up ears!

Seriously, though—now that I?m actually fabricating hats, coming up with ideas, and being generally creative, I can understand why it?s impossible to find actual character hat patterns online. Especially since so many people sell their hats for a profit. It?s kind of like with soy candles: it?s impossible to find all the little tips and tricks all in one place, just because individual candlemakers (myself included) are so proud of having figured it out themselves, and they?ll be damned if they?ll share their hard work with budding candlists for free.

I know that, once I get this totoro hat to look just right, I ain?t planning on posting a pattern. Buy one and seam-rip it if you really want to know the secret of the totoro hat. 😉

But that might be a while…

Totoro Hat, Take Two

Attempt #2 at a Totoro hat I’d be proud to wear to the Animarathon in April. Much closer this time. I made the hat *too* big this time, instead of not big enough, so I had to adjust the hems and do some trimming—but, hopefully, I was left with a hat that would suffice for Aaron. I also increased the size of the hatband hem width and the ears, and decreased the size of Totoro’s eyes and nose.

I’m afraid I might have to try out some other style of a more form-fitting hat, as having a loosely-fitting hat isn’t going to work with those pesky ears. Maybe you can’t tell in the photos, but they really like to flop forward and/or backward a lot, and not stay standing up. Rigid, sure, no problem, but upright? Not so much.

Oh, yeah, and I still need to add whiskers. Sticky-outie whiskers, not sewn-on whiskers.

This is fun. Addictive. I *heart* fleece remnants at Hancock Fabrics.

Edit: Forgot to mention one thing. When one is cutting fabric on one’s kitchen table, it would behoove a person to make sure that the measuring tape is not unwound and laying about in close proximity to the path of the cutting implement. Otherwise, one may find oneself reattaching the end of one’s vinyl measuring tape, said tape having been severed at the three-inch mark.

Totoro Hat!

Yay! My very first Totoro hat is complete. Not bad for a first try… Next time, I’ll cut the fleece bigger to allow for seam allowances, and try to figure out how to sew the face on with the machine, instead of by hand. (My practice circles on the machine didn’t turn out too well…) Maybe make the eyes a little smaller, and the ears a little bigger.

But, for now, I’m happy. Yay, Totoro hat! I can sew… sort of. 🙂

Hey, Beth!

I scanned in that article about the wax paper transfers and posted it here if you’d like to read it. Someone messaged me on the Pop Photo forums and that reminded me that I’d been planning to scan it in for ya.

A little sewing help?

OK, guys—well, girls, probably. I don’t sew, but I’d like to. I have a project to complete. My plan is to attend Ohayocon in January all decked out in a homemade Totoro cosplay outfit.

This could take some explanation.

Totoro = wonderfully cute creation by Hayao Miyazaki, featured in his film Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro). One of my favoritest movies. If you’ll recall, I did some sketches of some totoros back in November.

Cosplay = where otaku (psycho crazy anime / Japanese pop-culture fans) dress up as their favorite character at a convention.

Ohayocon = the only anime convention I’ve been to so far, located in Columbus. (It’s punny—”ohayo” means “good morning,” as well as the name of our state. Erika from the Bluecoats taught me that—it was my very first word in Japanese.) Aaron and I will be attending Ohayocon for the third year in a row next January.

So, I want to dress up like the crazy people. There’s a plushie out there of Mei, one of the characters from the movie, wearing Totoro pajamas. Instead of making a giant, ugly, deformed stuffed Totoro costume, I want to make some Totoro jammies. Several months ago, I drafted an initial plan of what my costume would be like, but I’ve revised my ideas since then. Instead of a more simple sweatsuit-type outfit, I’m looking at more of a one-piece footie pajama made out of plushie pile material, with a hood attached (or separate, if necessary).

I guess my big question is, does anyone know where to get a pattern for grown-up footie pajamas? I’ll need to modify it by a.) making it out of plush instead of fleece, and b.) adding a white panel to the front belly, besides making it big enough for my fat ass. I’m starting on this project way early, because I know I’m in over my head.

Oh, yeah, and I need to thrift myself a sewing machine. And learn how to use it. D’oh!

Kinda Bored

Lots of shit I should be doing. Don’t feel like doing any of
it. Definitely bored.

Yesterday, I concocted my best candle fragrance yet, I think:
Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans. At first, I thought I was making a Cafe Mocha
scent, but it turned out different than I had expected. Guess I need some
different fragrances for that one: maybe some Hot Cocoa, Caramel, and Cappuccino
scents together. As it is, though, my candles turned out pretty smellerific.
I like.

Oh, I know what I need to do. I need to figure out what bills
will get paid when, so I can keep from bouncing my dang checkbook. I’m going
to end up counting on the good graces of our landlords again to not cash
my check before the first of the month (I get paid on the 15th and the 30th).
And, since I work for the bank, if I bounce three checks, I self-terminate.
That’s right—I fire myself. Cute way to put it. Kind of a "you
know the rules, and if you break ’em, you pay the consequences" kind
of HR bullcrap vibe. Not that I disagree, though; working at a bank, you
should have control of your own finances.

Oh, yeah, and I need to print out my check stubs and bank statements
for Saturday’s appointment with Mortgage Man #2, John at NOIC.
Here’s hoping we can get a house by April 1st… otherwise, we’re either
staying here one more year or renting a house for a year or two. *crossing

Off to take care of business…

Busy Day

Today I had an interview with HCR Manorcare up in Toledo. Yes, this is the same place I sent a resume over a month ago; they said that the flu outbreak has kept them from completing the hiring process sooner. Anyway, my boss let me leave 15 minutes early, since I told him I had “an appointment in Toledo,” and that I would make up the time by taking a shorter lunch tomorrow. I ended up not really needing the extra time, as I got there 15 minutes early, anyway, and that was after taking a walk around the block to calm down.

I think the interview went rather well. It seems that their “Knowledge Management” department is in need of one or two more people, especially people with experience in audio and video. Kevin, the person who holds the current solo position, also made sure to emphasize that the position is not a “creative” one, but more writing and organizing thoughts and ideas and publishing actual content. I’m actually quite excited about that, as I feel it’s one of my strong points. Ask Aaron how many grammatical errors I catch on a daily basis (and how frustrated he gets about it).

Kevin, who interviewed me, was quite impressed by my portfolio site — especially where I talk about my “services” and have a Q&A section with layers that pop up and answer the questions. Um… glad ya like it. I only wish I really had services… He also seems like either a early-30’s guy who’s prematurely graying, or a late-30’s guy who still acts really young. I like him so far. Seems like he’d be easy to work with… and he has more problem “finding words” than I do (resulting in a Shatner-esque pause), which makes me feel more confident about my ability to do the job, considering.

When I got home, I got a call from the wedding photographer’s assistant, asking if she could go ahead and bring over our wedding reprints. So, she brought those straight to the house, and I looked them over before she left to make sure everything was in order, which it was. Now we have to buy a dozen 5×7 frames for the reprints we bought as Christmas presents. Thank goodness they arrived in time—no, thank goodness Carol drove to the lab in Findlay and insisted that she was not leaving until she had our prints in hand. 🙂

Then, after that, I made Mom’s Christmas candle (I don’t think she reads my blog, but I’m still not telling what scent it is). I made an extra, since it’s just as easy to make two at a time. I added a little more coloring than I had intended, but that’s what these first several batches are all about: experimenting.

It’s midnight—I need to either shower and get to bed, or get to bed now so I can shower in the morning. I could write more, but I guess I’ll have to save it for tomorrow.

Happy Yule, everyone.

My Candle Addiction

I’ve been meaning to mention this for a while, but I keep forgetting:

Ladies—have you ever been walking behind someone, maybe someone at work, and finally taken a good look at their ass? And then you say to yourself, ‘My God… I hope my ass doesn’t look like that!’

I made another pair of candles tonight (patchouli this time—not exactly Aaron’s favorite), and used up the last of my first bag of soy wax. I have another bag arriving tomorrow, along with my new scents and wick clips. Anyway, this time, I preheated my containers and let my wax cool down more
before pouring. I still get impatient, though. I know I shouldn’t, but I
do. I can’t wait to see what the finished product will look like, and it’s
so hard to go slowly and do the process right instead of rushing through
to get it done. Freakin’ sit there for fifteen minutes stirring to cool the
wax with one hand and holding a hot blow-dryer to my empty containers with
the other. And I still jumped the gun and may have poured too soon. We’ll
see in a bit.

Both Kris and Mark, when they found out about my candlemaking,
asked me first off, "So, when are you going to start selling them?"
Should this be a clue, or is it just an assumption on their part? If I do
decide to sell my candles, I’ll probably sell them all online by word of
mouth. That’s assuming everybody likes the Christmas candles I make. Yeah,
I’m going for a cheap and simple Christmas: wedding pics and candles.


I was standing by the printer at work and overheard one guy (the
token "do-you-think-he’s-gay" guy) talking about chocolates with
raspberry creme filling, and chocolate-raspberry coffee. In one moment I
wanted to turn to him and jokingly say, "I hate you," but as I
was walking back to my desk, it occured to me that Chocolate Raspberry would
be a great candle scent. I was also inspired by Kris’ coffee this weekend—I
believe it was Sugar Cookie Caramel Cappuccino or something equally sweet
and scrumptious-smelling.

Aaron made a great analogy this weekend. He said that, with being
on the Atkins diet, watching the Food Network is like being single and watching
porn. Oooh-ing and aaah-ing over fudge truffles and the like, all very much
out-of-reach, but appreciated for what they are nonetheless.

I think I’ve decided that making candles is kind of like that,
too. If I can’t stimulate my taste sense with yummy goodness (although there
are plenty of good things I can still eat), I may as well stimulate my sense
of smell. It’s close enough. Plus, it’s artsy-craftsy, and makes me feel
productive and talented.

Oh, and speaking of talent, Kris brought his trumpet over for
me to practice on. I have zero chops left, man. I got nothin’. Of course,
iit never helps when you’re trying to play softly because you live in a duplex.
I may have to bite the bullet, overcome my embarrassment, and go practice
in the practice wings of the music building on-campus. Those rooms aren’t
totally soundproof, and people can easily hear you in the hallway, which
is one reason why I never used to like to practice for my requisite two hours
per day.

Anyway, I’m going to start out doing sirens on the mouthpiece
and thoroughly annoying my upstairs neighbor. Once I can successfully maintain
sirens and long tones on the mouthpiece alone, I’ll pull out the Bluecoats
brass book and do some warmups from that. Once I can get back up to the advanced
exercises that I could do in ’97, then I’ll feel confident again. The trouble,
though, is that I was never good at doing solely exercises. But I can’t start
on the actual tune we’ll be playing at the LakeShoremen, because I don’t
want to confuse my chops by playing it in entirely the wrong key. (Trumpet
= Bb, Mellophone = F) Even if I learn the right fingerings, it’ll feel different
when I go to play it on a mello.

And incidentally, I’ve decided that once April rolls around and
it’s time to renew, I’m switching over to HostRocket. I
know enough people who’ve had their sites hosted through them that I’m pretty
confident in their services. After putting up with eCom’s bullshit for a
couple of years, I’ve had enough. Even if their service would improve if
I went to one of the higher-priced plans, I wouldn’t stay with them because
of their low-grade customer service. Plus with HostRocket, for $9.95 a month
(two years prepaid), I get a full gig of storage space plus backend capabilities
and unlimited email addies and unlimited subdomains (like

So, I think I’m going to go check and see how my candles are
setting up, and maybe try photographing some of my other candles for posterity.
My fingers smell like patchouli. I smell like a hippie… minus the B.O.

Candlemaking Attempt #2

I received my shipment from Bitter
today. Woo-hoo! Here’s an inventory:

  • "Shades of Brown" liquid dye, 2 oz bottle
  •  Hazelnut Fragrance Oil (FO), 1 oz sampler
  •  Rootbeer FO, 1 oz sampler
  •  Patchouli FO, 1 oz sampler
  •  Very Vanilla FO, 1 oz sampler
  •  Cola FO, 1 oz sampler
  •  Amaretto FO, 1 oz sampler

Add that to my Eggnog FO and French Vanilla color block from Brighter
, and I’ve got quite the beginning of a candle cornucopia.
(Please note that I chose scents that could easily be tinted with a
combination of the brown and the french vanilla.) I also ordered wick
stickies (to anchor wicks to their containers), more wicks, and cranberry
liquid dye from Brighter Scents, mainly because Bitter Creek didn’t
carry the stickies, and I had to round out my order to $10 to charge
it. (Darn those small businesses! Just like Hatter…)

So, tonight I tried a second run of candle fun, and it seems to have worked
out a little better this time. I guesstimated how much each of my containers
could hold (this time, I used the mini sundae cups), and I doled out
wax chips by weight instead of volume this time. The large glass measuring
cup was quite helpful for melting and pouring wax, and the small measuring
glass made much less guesswork of measuring FO amounts.

This time, I opted to use the Amaretto scent, and to add but a single
drop of brown to the vanilla dye. I need to remember that the wax will
cool lighter than the initial color when still melted—it started
out the color of a really strong Amaretto Sour, and ended up the color
of a really weak one. Ah, well. I wish I had a digital camera… I’d
show you.

After having the whole apartment smell like Amaretto, I’m not sure this
is a scent of candle I would normally burn… but we’ll see. I still
have to use my remaining half-ounce of Amaretto to mix with the Cola
to make an Amaretto-and-Coke candle. 🙂

I suppose you want to know more about how I’m liking my new job…?

This week so far, I’ve learned to do several things that I never even
knew existed before. First, there’s reports on suspected check kiting.
Check kiting, according to Dr. Damn at,
is "using the lag time between check cashing and clearing to generate
illegal revenue." Like, when you have two accounts at two different
banks, and write a check from one to deposit into the other, knowing
full well that you don’t have the money in the first account to cover
the check, but also knowing that it’ll take the bank two days to clear
it, and in that time you can write a check from your other
bank to deposit into the first bank to cover it. Follow?

I’ve also learned about Cash Letters. These are how the Federal Reserve
Bank keeps track of where a check has been — the paper trail, as
it were. If a check gets encoded for the wrong amount — say, you
wrote your check for $10.00 but your account gets debited $100.00 instead — sometimes
the bank needs to make a copy of the cash letter to send to the Fed
to say, "Hey! You debited us a hundred bucks here! See?
We want our ninety bucks back!"

So, what have I been doing with these things? Well, I highlight particular
suspects on the report for check kiting, for one. I look at the previous
day’s report, and highlight those account numbers on the current day’s
report, to make Judy’s job easier when she looks them up in the computer
all day. I also go out into the garage and delve into long boxes to
fetch Cash Reports to copy. They’re printed on that old-school greenbar
computer paper (you know, like in the basement of Hayes Hall on-campus?).
To figure out what reports to find and where to find them, I have to
look online in a couple different databases and jump through some hoops.
Overall, it’s relatively simple work, but necessary. My doing it frees
up the other workers to do the things I don’t have access to do… like…
well, come to think of it, I’m not sure what they do all day,
but I’m sure it’s important.

As for my job… it seems that my job for now is to fill in for
two other departments being short a person. I’m OK with that. I’m enjoying
learning more about how the bank works, and the more I learn, the more
marketable I become. Or something like that.

I also found out that the girl who had my position before me, who got
a better job offer elsewhere and quit, left after three weeks in the
position. So, I’m not going to feel bad if I happen to secure another
job in the near future, since I’d be about on a par with her, time-wise.
Of course, I haven’t heard from the companies I had phone interviews
with, so I’m not holding my breath. Although maybe I should check Sunday’s
paper for more jobs, anyway.

Feeling Domesticated

Well, I’m certainly feeling artsy-craftsy. Yesterday, I thrifted some candle containers: two small sundae cups, two miniature mason jar drinking glasses (aka salt & pepper shakers), and a dark brown airtight container of some sort, maybe a sugar jar. Plus, I got a glass measuring cup with a spout for melting and pouring wax. Last night I ordered some sticky glue tabs (for anchoring wicks down while pouring wax), more wicks, half a dozen fragrance samples, and two more colors of dye. Today, I bought two more potential candle containers at Goodwill.

hey, beth! i grew this african violet from that one leaf you gave me!I also repotted a bunch of my plants today — I broke apart the remnants of the "dish garden" I got at Memaw’s funeral, since most of it was dead from lack of light and water. (Hey, I couldn’t find a good place to put it where it would get plenty of light and where I’d remember to water it.) So, I salvaged two plants from that. While I was at it, I potted the Christmas cactus that’s been living in a vase full of water for the past two years. Then I thought I was done, and started to rearrange pots and saucers on my one well-lighted shelf o’ plants… and discovered that my spider plant had roots growing out of its watering hole in the bottom of the pot. So, back outside to repot the spider in my only remaining sizable pot, which is a good full foot in diameter. It should have plenty of room to stretch out now.

So, I’m feeling quite wifely and domesticated today, despite the fact that I still have junk sitting on the floor of our computer room, waiting to be cleaned.