Thursday, May 30, 2013

DIY: Tangram Magnets

I loved tangrams as a child; sometimes I’d played with them by myself while other times I played against an opponent. It’s one of those fun yet educational games (that parents like to give their children) as it helps players think and learn about spatial relations.

I thought I’d create Tangram Magnets that you could place on the refrigerator (and play whenever you wanted).

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Summer Blues Dress

I’m not usually attracted to a lot of prints, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that while I may like a particular print in general, I can’t really see myself wearing it. Prints can be a hard thing to pull off because the combination of color, style and scale; it often creates a bolder statement then I want to make.

That being said this patterned fabric spoke to me while at the store and I was instantly drawn to it. I loved the woven pattern that was interesting but not overpowering, and I liked the blue on blue color of the fabric that helped keep the pattern subdued. Although the fabric wasn’t on sale and it was more per yard then I usually spend, I wanted it. So I bought it. And while I already had the dress pattern I wanted to use in mind when I bought the fabric, I waited to use it because I was apprehensive that with my current sewing level I would somehow make a massive mistake and ruin everything.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Overhyped and Underwhelmed

With some movies there’s a lot of positivity surrounding it, with both critics and the general public loving it. There seems to be a general consensus that it’s a fantastic movie with winning characters and a good plot, and this in turn makes me want to see it. Yet more often than not, while I’m watching the movie in question I’m waiting for it to get good. And then I realize that this is the movie and I can just expect more of what I’ve already been watching and while it’s not a bad movie, it’s also not a great one—it’s just fine.

So then I feel a bit out of the loop because I’m not quite understanding why people were so “wowed” by it; perhaps the movie is better than average, but it still wouldn’t be something that I would emphatically recommend to someone. It’s a movie to watch when you’re bored or when it’s on TV, but it’s not a movie to have such strong feelings for.

The fault lies mostly with me: I expected too much. I wanted this movie to be awesome. I expected this movie to be awesome. I thought of the other movies that I consider great and expected this one to be at that same level…only it wasn’t. It’s just rather disappointing. [Sigh.] I probably would have enjoyed the movie more had I had no preconceived notions of its greatness, which only left me feeling somewhat underwhelmed and unsatisfied.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Make Me Laugh

Humor is like a language with many dialects, and each dialect is a different path to laughter. Perhaps you’re proficient in several dialects, but then there are the other stranger dialects that leave you bewildered. You just don’t get it and the joke passes you by, or perhaps you understand what the “joke” is, but it doesn’t make you laugh because it’s just not your sense of humor.

People are all a bit different as to what tickles their funny bone. Some TV shows hit that special mix of physical and verbal comedy that speaks to just about everyone (e.g. I Love Lucy). But most of the time humor falls into a specific niche or style that appeals to certain types of people—and if you’re not that type of person then it’s not funny…at all.

There’s a lot that doesn’t make me laugh. There have been TV sitcoms that I have watched stone-faced as the actors give their lines, only to pull no chuckles from me. (The biggest response they may have gotten from me is a roll of my eyes at their stupidity.) Other people may find the TV show hilarious, but the “humor” they’re offering to me just isn’t funny to me and I’m somewhat astounded that people like the show (and that it’s popular).

So I’m always surprisingly pleased when I find something that makes me laugh because it means that someone is thinking like me and finding the things I find funny funny. Everyone wants to laugh, but humor can be a difficult thing to achieve because either you get it or you don’t. But it’s pretty simple: whatever makes you laugh is funny and whatever doesn’t isn’t

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Black and Tan Jacket

Once I sewed my Mint Summer Skirt, I got back into sewing mode and wanted to sew more garments. I decided on sewing another simple garment: a jacket.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

“Fat Free!” That’s Amazing!

Sometimes I’m both amused and disgruntled when I see food packaging that spouts how “good for you” it is. There’s a whole spectrum of jargon used on packaging to try and get you to buy whatever it is they’re selling: “fat free”, “only 100 calories per serving”, “12 vitamins and minerals”, “no trans fat” and the list goes on.

Most any food has some attribute that can be spun in a positive manner. And while some products may actually be fairly healthy for you, the ones that make me internally groan are the ones that are obviously not so healthy but somehow they want to be on the healthy bandwagon. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that this sugar-laden cereal or that buttery cracker isn’t particularly healthy (despite any starbursts of exciting “health” related information to the contrary). [Pause.] It just feels so disingenuous.

From a designer’s point of view I can see where companies are coming from; they’re trying to compete with other companies spouting the same rhetoric as well as actual healthy foods. They’re trying to draw people into buying their product that isn’t quite as “bad” as it could be (since it’s “only 100 calories” or it’s “fat free”) as to help lessen any guilt about eating their product. (Sure an apple would probably be a healthier option, but an apple doesn’t have any chocolate in it, does it?)

As a consumer I find it rather ridiculous. All you need is a little common sense to look at something and know that it’s just empty calories and has little nutritional value. Don’t get me wrong I’m not opposed to indulging in junk food from time to time. I enjoy potato chips and chocolates and ice cream, but I’d like for food packaging to be more honest about what they’re selling. If you’re selling junk food, own it—be junk food. Don’t try to pass yourself off as some sort of healthy option when we both know how little truth there is to that facade.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Read. Follow Directions. Don’t be Rude.

Sometimes driving drives me nuts, and the more cars on the road, the more chances there are to become irritated. One thing that irritates me greatly is when people are just plain inconsiderate and think that the rules just don’t apply to them. That somehow they’re outside, superior to the rules the rest of us follow and it’s okay for them to break them.

To get into Portland from the west side, many of us take the Sunset Highway that takes them through the Vista Ridge Tunnel. The road has three lanes and each lane goes to a different area: north, city center and south—so you have to be in a certain lane to get to the destination you want to go to. There are signs posted telling drivers which lane goes where—and it’s posted several times (so there’s no excuse not to know which lane you ought to be in).

And then comes the sign that says “No lane changes for the next ½ mile” for the section right before the tunnel until the three lanes turn into three separate roads right after the tunnel ends. This sign makes perfect sense to me because traffic slows with the approaching tunnel (which creates more congestion) and if everyone tried to change lanes right before the road diverges, there’d be chaos.

However, there always seems to be someone who decides that they don’t really care that they’re screwing everyone else behind them by switching lanes in or around the tunnel. Almost without fail, this inconsiderate action causes everyone behind this car to slow down as they try to squeeze themselves into a lane they should have already been in. It makes me so irritated because these inconsiderate people had ample time to get into the lane they wanted to be in but just didn’t. Likely they wanted to bypass the traffic (in the lane they eventually wanted to be in) and then cut in line at the last second—guess what, that’s what we all want to do, but we don’t (because we know that it causes problems for everyone else).

It’s just so selfish. And whenever this happens it puts me in a foul mood—and that’s never a good start to the day. It’s not hard to follow the rules, but apparently it’s easy for some to break them.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mint Summer Skirt

I bought this mint fabric about the time when I first bought my sewing machine (years ago). I got it on sale and I was drawn to its double-sided nature—polka dots on one side and dashes on the other side. I admit that while I like the color in general, it isn’t a color that I’m usually drawn to for wearing. I’m also not usually excited about wearing polka dots (although I do like them more when they’re tone on tone rather than high contrast colors). Despite my uncertainty of wearing this fabric, I still bought it because I liked it; I got it I without a plan (as per usual) because I thought I might be able to use it “someday”.