27 September 2012

Thanks, Spring Valley Elementary!

Wow, Midway ISD has some great bugs. In the past, there have been some first county records for moths (Vine Sphinx comes to mind) and Mrs. York, a counselor at Spring Valley Elementary, has been kind enough to send more photos to us! All of these are from September 2012.

Cicada species, possibly Tibicen genus.

The bug above is a cicada - they make that whining noise in the middle of the day in summer when everything else has gotten quiet and gone to find shade. If we're not mistaken, the critter above is one of the Genus Tibicen - "Annual Cicadas" or "Dog-Day Cicadas"  On occasion, you may find their crunchy, empty exoskeleton when it has been shed.

Waved Sphinx (Ceratomia undulosa)

Waved Sphinx (Ceratomia undulosa) is a really exciting moth - it is a second county record! The first county record* for McLennan Co. was found in 2009 by another of the York household; Mrs. York's husband!

* officially the first one we found was not accepted due to its rough condition, but the 2010 Waved Sphinx found by Mrs. York's son, Matthew, was accepted!

Virginia Creeper Sphinx (Darapsa myron)

Virginia Creeper Sphinx (Darapsa myron) - this is an adult of the caterpillar that eats the leaves of Virginia creeper, which is a native vine, related to the grape vine. The vine can commonly be found growing along fences or trees in McLennan Co. Sometimes people mistake these vines for poison ivy ("leaves of three, leave them be") Virginia creeper is NOT poison ivy! Instead, it is dinner for caterpillars that will grow up to be these beautiful Virginia Creeper Sphinx moths!

Virginia Creeper Sphinx (Eumorpha vitis)

Can you tell the difference between poison ivy and Virginia creeper? Vine Sphinx and Virginia Creeper Sphinx need to know the difference!

Thanks to Mrs. York for sharing these neat bugs from Spring Valley Elementary!

19 September 2012

one shirt, two shirt, red skirt, blue skirt

Sorry for the false advertising, no red skirt here. However, these are my non-jean skirt projects (t-shirt skirts are amazing!), in almost-chronological order of completion:

Original tye-dye. Modified in 2009,
the least-innovative of the shirt-skirt
designs, though most iconic in shape.
Made in a chemistry class sometime
around 2004 or early 2005... good times.
(Here's the how-it-was-made link!)

Gift tye-dye. Courtesy of an awesome
neighbor, modified in 2011, first
zero-waste attempt, resulting in oddly
scraggly edge (~2 square inches on
either side did get chopped off eventually).

Bonus: it's reversible. Inside-out, anyway.

Rec'd Aug. 2012, modified Sept. 2012.
Another gift shirt! Swirly pattern was
perfect for a wavy hem, though the
hem isn't quite as wavy as it could be -
this is about as low-waste as the tye-dye
one above, but has much cleaner lines.

Not a shirt-skirt at all, but it started out as a skirt - rec'd Feb. 2011(!!), modified May/June 2012.

...basic scarf skirt with lime and lavender
hints among the orange and teal and blue
and white. Roughly two and a half silk panels
make up the skirt, the waist is an additional
panel - it covers the pleats - and a long white
sash is on the right side, to be tied on the left,
where the side zipper is.

It turned into this!

18 September 2012

wedding dress alteration

No, I'm not talking about the DIY dress I wore to a wedding... though it somewhat counts...

The original material:


It was after cutting up the jeans that I realized that they were technically 1/2 of my wedding attire. So the before picture is... plain jeans. They looked like jeans. That photo there? Matt and I had just gotten married. So jeans totally count as a wedding dress. At least in my world.

I never did wear jeans much, simply due to lack of pockets. That pair (why are jeans 'pairs' anyway?) had been at least somewhat affiliated with my wardrobe since sometime in high school. Let's call it '02 or '03 for the sake of a conservative estimate. All I know is that they were still 'nice' when I left Illinois (nice = not worn in the solar car shop!) and that within a few months of living in Marathon, the left knee was ripped straight across from one seam to the other. I've been wearing jeans a lot out here and I guess those were just the most threadbare. Some of my solar car jeans are still intact! Must be the epoxy holding them together.

Anyway, all of my previous skirt sewing adventures have been with t-shirts. My only non-shirt projects were dog beds and a sewing machine cover - so fairly heavy duty canvas. Denim is a new thing; especially because it's not the really heavy denim. And it's not stretchy, like the jersey knits. Intimidating!

Photos should have been taken mid-process, but that would have required a bit of effort, and once in the sewing 'zone' it's hard to step back long enough to take a photo... because once you're that far back, you might as well have a snack, check email, water some plants and two years later, the sewing project is still sitting there. True story.

The peach ruffle is actually 2/3 of a skirt that I snagged a 'sharebox' type event* - it's technically a medium (for who? an ice skater? it's SHORT!) and held on to with this specific denim skirt idea in mind. This skirt ended up being longer than originally planned - I cut everything at knee-rip-height - but it's a perfect length for work. Because really, nobody at a cute little boutique really wants to see my shins.

* Sharebox (Also: Share Box. Noun, verb. Adventure!) - a box located in the basement of each dorm on the Principia College campus. Useable items being discarded may be placed in the box. Items of interest may be removed from the box. It is a free exchange with novel and admirable outcomes.

As you can see in both photos the peach ruffle is still safety-pinned in place until further notice. It was interrupted tragically by a thread tension disaster that took the better part of a week to clear up. A few more projects have been tinkered with in the meantime, but it'll take a bit of courage to get that ruffle firmly in place. It doesn't help that the skirt's side seams will have to be taken in about 1/2 inch total because the skirt is ever-so-slightly wider than the ruffle. Not bad for the first round of a new experiment!