Thursday, June 30, 2011

Me Love You Long Time- Upcycled Chinese Jacket!

So I have this amazing mother-in-law who gets me the coolest shit. A while ago she found these two Chinese jackets, one blue lined with silver and the other silver lined with red. While the detailing is gorgeous, they seemed to be made for someone shorter and slightly larger than me. And plus I tend to like things hoochie mama tight. I really like wearing cute jackets as tops and I thought hey, how hard could this be? I swear dumbass lightning should strike me at my sewing machine every time I have that thought. But anyhow, here's how it went.

Here is the starting point. Nice jacket, but it doesn't show off much ass. 

This is a jacket that I love and as you all know, wear ALL THE TIME. Seriously, I should dust off the change pouch every once in a while and buy something new for a change. But this is the cut I'm going for. 

I put my jacket over the project jacket and cut off the sleeves and bottom to start.

I then turned it inside out and started with altering the lining. I took in the front to make darts coming up from the bottom. 

I then did the same for the outer fabric. I'll skip the 20 times I flipped it in and out and sewed and checked and sewed and checked again. When it finally got the the "I don't fricking care it's good enough" phase, I moved on to the sleeves. 

Since the lining is still open at the bottom, I thought I could just sew the sleeves from the inside and then flip them out.

I ended up with one continuous sleeve tube. While this makes a very attractive straight jacket, it's not exactly what I had in mind. I remembered that there was an article in my sewing magazine about sewing linings into coats so I got it out and it was like reading Hebrew. They even had pictures and I swear it took me like five tries to finally figure it out. Here, I'll let you relive the pain with me!

Here's my tutorial. It looked AND sounded so easy. Pull the outer sleever through a hole in the side of the lining, then pin the lining sleeve next to the outer sleeve and then somehow put the lining INTO the sleeve and sew it together. I kept getting to the that last part and seriously had no idea how they made that happen. It's like sausage; I don't really want to know how it's made, I just like the finished product. But there I was, making the sausage. And by god, I finally figured the damn thing out!

Made hole in lining, pulled sleeve through, pinned to sleeve lining. I don't have a picture of the two pinned together (I know, you must be so sad) but ta da! Completed sleeve. I am so not ever doing that again. Just because I know how to do something doesn't mean I should ever do it again. Like that time I made Applesauce the satin dog jacket. Whatever, bitch! Fine, DON'T be the cutest dog at the dog park! See if I care! It still hurts so much inside.
And while I obviously over-documented the first steps, I completely dropped the ball with finishing the bottom part of the jacket. So I'll try to wrap it up now. I decided that I liked it shorter in the front so instead of adding the ruffle all the way around, I took the bottom detailing that I had cut off and just used the decorative two inch hem from the bottom and sewed it back on. Then in the back, I made two rows of ruffles, one silver and one slightly longer red row and sewed them onto the back. I finally took another decorative piece of hem, finished the edges, and sewed it red side up over the top of the ruffles. Enough with the suspense, here it is!

The seams down the front came out better than I thought. The sleeves fold up to show the red lining.

And here is it from the back. I had to put two seams down the back to take in all the material. I think I might iron out the pleats so that the back looks more full.

The view from the side. You can see the ruffles are longer than the rest of the jacket because I wanted it to have a mini-train look. That way people will be like, "Hey, that's a cool jacket. Check out that ruffle in the- woah, have you seen that chick's ass? Damn!" And since this jacket isn't for me, it's even more likely to happen!
Since I had two identical jackets, I decided to make this for somebody else who always goes above and beyond for everyone else. I know, it's kind of a crappy runner-up prize but it's all I gots. Who's it for? I'll give you a hint.                                                            
She's tinier than me (which is why there's no pictures of me in the coat- I look like Chris Farley in this thing), she reads my blog AND comments all the time (and not with the mean stuff my family usually leaves), she's a virtual portable party whenever we have a girl's night, bringing home-made pies AND the best sangria I've ever had, and she's super nice to boot. We'd hate her if we didn't love her, come on down Jen! Sorry, it just felt like a Price is Right moment. Jen, this jacket will be heading your way probably in about a month (it turns out I sewed the ruffles on lopsided and I'm a slow fixer) and you can either wear it or just give it to some poor homeless person. Either way, this puppy is all yours! We're just glad you're forced to be part of our family! 

So there you have it. Upcycling a chinese coat into something kinda cute in 50 easy steps! I swear it'll get easier. Crap, here comes that dumbass lightning again!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The FURminator- fact or fiction?

Buy me.... buyyyyyy meeeee.....
I am a sucker for infomercials. I had to stop watching them to help myself fall asleep at night because we couldn't fit one more gallon of Kaboom in the cupboard. So when my co-worker recently told me about the Furminator, I immediately tried listening to that Tom's Diner song from the 80's (da da da da da da da da) to try to replace the infomercial that I now had rolling through my head. Didn't work. Instead I read all the reviews online, checked out the competition, and ultimately decided I would just, you know, walk down the grooming isle at PetSmart just to check them out while I was buying dog food and wouldn't you know it, they were on sale!
Bobby has allergies and in case you haven't done a head count recently, we have two dogs and two cats and they all shed their entire coat in full once a day, kind of like snakes shedding their skins. So I rationalized to myself that since it's Father's Day, Bobby might appreciate a slight decrease in the fur supply and plonked down $35 for a short haired cat comb. This thing had better be the second coming of Jesus plus a 6-pack for that kind of dough. I double-checked that I can return it if I'm not happy then head home to skin some cats!

Now where did I put the baby oil?
I was most worried that the cats wouldn't like the thing. They are just okay with getting brushed as it is and this thing has some wicked looking metal teeth on it. I decided to start with Ginger, since she already sleeps on top of the dryer so I wouldn't have to chase her down. I started off just grazing her fur, trying to judge her comfort level. So did she like it? It was like giving a nun a vibrator. I think she would have preferred if I lit a few candles and fired up the heart-shaped jaccuzzi for the two of them. She purred and rubbed herself against this thing like a pole in a strip joint. And did it work? Check out the mound of fur that came off of her:

Ginger likes a good brewski to get her through the day. We've been meaning to talk to her about it.
I couldn't believe I could take off that much hair and still have any left on the cat. Can you imagine how hot that must have been for her? Skipper was a little trickier. He let me brush him while holding him in the bathroom and it was easier to just flush the hair down the toilet, although he was obviously mystified why I was putting hair in his water bowl.
Wait for it to fill up...
...then bottom's up! It never stops being hilarious.

Supposedly this thing works by combing out all the dead undercoat but if you keep on combing, even the top coat starts looking thin. I read up on it and even though it doesn't technically cut hair, I read that the blades are so sharp that they do thin out the hair so I couldn't go too crazy. Ginger already had a bald patch on her back from when I tried to shave her a few weeks ago. I didn't get that far and she just looked like she was prepped for surgery.
Ginger's bald spot was on the top of her back but you get the drift.
Overall, I love this thing. I don't think it's helped Bobby's allergies but like most Puerto Ricans, I think he's allergic to work, not the cats. Sorry honey, that was just too much to resist!

Aye, mami, can you pick up some Chalupas on your way home from work? Gracias.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Painting with Monet and Merlot! And lots and lots of Pinot Grigio.

As many of you know, I'm a big fan of drinking. You can combine almost anything with drinking and I'll give it a shot. Drinking and exercising? Sure, why not! Drinking and scooping cat litter? I'm up for it! So when the whole drinking and painting thing became a fad, I jumped on that bandwagon, purse full of clinking empties and all. And with some luck, most likely brought on using weekly sacrificial chickens, I've actually managed to churn out a few decent paintings.

This was my first painting- Tiffany's. You can't even see the BBQ pork rind residue!

I started off frequenting Painting with a Twist in St. Pete and loved the concept. I painted the above picture one of the many nights I was left on my own with Bobby out of town so I took my good friend Chardonnay on a hot date with some beef jerky and pork rinds and shocked myself by managing to come up with something that looked that nice. After that, I painted the Coffee Pot Bridge with mom and Aunt Linda. But then Groupon and Living Social came to life and all of a sudden there was a coupon to paint a picture with a new business called Paint with Monet and Merlot and here's the best part- it's held every Tuesday night right at the wine bar in Safety Harbor. Hello mama! I no longer have to bring my own wine in a paper bag like the wino that I am but instead I can order it by the pitcher like the classy wino that I'd like to be! AND they have food! Beat that!

My first painting with Brianna (the owner and teacher) was an interpretation of A Starry Night and I loved it. I duped Bobby into going with me and hanging around Taste Cafe under the guise of 'it's date night' so every time I needed a break, we'd just go make out in the corner. Which was not appreciated so much at the other place. Soooooo sorry, random stranger! But back to Monet & Merlot- they have a Starving Artist night every so often where they offer the class for $20 instead of $40 and they were painting my favorite picture of a skyline at night and it was at Taste Cafe (they have a bunch of different locations on different nights of the week). I was sold. I emailed Brianna and she was nice enough to let me bring my own humongous canvas (seriously, it was twice as large as everyone elses) because I wanted something big enough to go over the bed and honestly, you can only have so many 20"x20" paintings before it starts looking strange. So here was the end result:

This iPad does not take very good photos.

Unfortunately, it is happy hour all night for the painters. Which means that instead of stopping at two glasses of wine, which already makes me pretty tipsy, I went for three glasses and my painting kind of looked like one of the melting Dali paintings but without the artistic talent. Here's a close up of the buildings on the left. Relatively straight.

Then I decided, what the hell, Bobby's driving! And had glass number three and the buildings got progressively drunker also.

They kind of look like crayons left on a hot sidewalk. Hey, still love the painting! Here it is on the new couch because I forgot to show mom the new sofa:

The best part about the classes? It's within stumbling distance from my house. So if you're driving down Main Street Safety Harbor on a Tuesday night and see a drunk lady wandering around with a canvas and half the paint smeared across her clothes, be sure to honk and wave hello! And make sure I'm stumbling in the general direction of my house if you can.

Check out the website for the painting classes at 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dear a**hole who keeps stealing my leashes,

This is a nicer version of the first stolen leash.
Dude, what the hell? Is there some black market on crappy leashes that I don't know about and you're making a killing out there? Or do you steal the leashes and then go sit in the car with your popcorn and Twizzlers and watch the "Anna, Porkchop, & Applesauce Show" which becomes exponentially more amusing with the combination of two dogs and only one leash? Really, what the hell is your problem?

If you poop on the lawn you'll get a treat when we get inside!
The first time it happened, I wrote it off as a fluke. It was a plain blue leash and you had the courtesy to remove the gentle leader (cost: $20) and leave it behind for me after you stole the leash worth approximately $.50.So I figured, hey, that was considerate of you! Obviously you needed the leash but didn't want to leave me without the leader so you were nice enough to leave it clipped to the fence. So fricking sweet. Did I think you may have used my leash to possibly steal a dog that you didn't arrive with? I tried not to think about that too much. I never saw any missing dog signs up afterwards so I'm sleeping better at night knowing I wasn't part of that pathological screwed-upness.

This would be Porkchop if I tried walking him without a leash. Would that make you happy, j-hole?
So I kind of let that first leash-stealing go. It was a one-off thing and after a week or so I went back to leaving the extra leash on the fence while walking around. I have a leash buddy for the second leash that holds all the bags and stuff (thank you Aunt Ellen) so I always have at least one leash. Thank god for that because last weekend, you struck again! And this time, it was a nice leash so I know you didn't just 'accidentally' take this one.

Give us all your money! And whatever leashes you have behind the counter too!
Just keep this in mind, douche bag- if my dog goes through the windshield on our next trip to Tennessee because you stole the leash that has the seat belt harness clip, it's on your conscious! Jerk off. Or as Shrimp would say, j-hole. We don't know what the j stands for but take our word for it, it's bad. So quit stealing my damn leashes!


The girl who will kick your ass if she sees you with her leashes ever again. And I'm serious. I'm running low on my meds so I'm batshit crazy these days.

That's right. If you see this comin' at ya, you'd better run!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


That's it- that's the name! I don't have any merchandise yet but I've registered my store/user name as VaVaVaVoom. It has to be all one word with no spaces. I'm so excited! Sorry Rough, no placenta.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I'm not busy enough. I'm gonna open an Etsy store!

Yes, it's finally happened. After enough phone calls from Roughie showing me what she found on Etsy that I could easily duplicate and become a bajillionaire, I've finally decided that hey, maybe there's something to all this Etsy stuff. Sure, I've never actually bought anything from Etsy and I just use it to shamelessly mimic anything I find remotely interesting but other people (mostly Roughie) buy the shit out of this stuff. And my very talented sister Abby has her Etsy store selling her custom jewelry but she actually possesses her own sense of creative talent and doesn't just pull a Napster and steal everyone else's ideas. Check out her store if you haven't already . I'm amazed at her talent every time I look through her things. And to think she accomplishes all that with her glue huffing addiction! What a champ.

But this weekend, I actually saw something that a) I could replicate easily and that b) people seem to be paying a crazy amount of money for and that's NOT completely tapped out (like monogrammed hair bows). So I'm tapping that ass. But I'm not going to reveal just yet what it is because I need to create a few prototypes. I had been thinking of starting this up in the fall with adorable little coats for girls and a few rockin' adult jackets but I think I'm going to get the ball rolling a little sooner. But here's what I need from you all: a name. And I'm not talking about the name you call me behind my back, or even occasionally to my face, and DEFINITELY not something involving placentas. I'd like something that's easy to remember and not too cutesy. Any ideas?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Trash Man Tutorial

How many times have you found yourself in this scenario?

You: "I'll be right there honey, I just need to figure out the best way to store this leftover green bean and throw away these 10 to-go containers and then we can be on our way to little Beelzebub's christening" only to find yourself stumped as to what is the proper way to perform these everyday, perplexing tasks.

Worry no more, my friend, because this is your lucky day! For the low, low price of absolutely nothing, you too can learn to organize your fridge and coordinate your garbage can like a pro! What pro, you may ask? You might know him from the radio show that he conducts between only himself and his dog called 'Trash Talk' or his even more popular 'Crap Rappin', which he conducts from his actual crapper. Yes, that's right- these tips are coming straight from The Shed Man himself. The Don of Dumps. The Albino Sasquatch of the South. El Blanco Diablo. Okay, it's just my dad. But that in and of itself makes him a superstar so you are welcome in advance.
Paper beats rock- it's your turn to skin the coon!

Grasshopper, boxes should be as flat as my hand, like this!

The first thing my dad pointed out to me and Shrimp when we were up there was that these techniques can take years to master, if ever, so don't be discouraged if you don't feel like you're 'getting it' right off the bat. Practice, and apparently nagging and constant rearranging of the garbage, makes perfect.

Trash Talking:

1. Water bottles cannot go into the trash unless the have been smooshed flat and have the lids on them. Apparently mom is not allowed to burn them in the fireplace anymore (along with car batteries and household paint, I'm assuming) and I don't know the purpose of the lid being intact but I have long ago learned that questions just lead to more questions. Resistance is futile.

Hey, I think I can fit a watermelon rind in that last one!

2. Anything larger than a water bottle gets cut in half and each half gets stuffed with more trash, kind of like mini trash cans INSIDE the trash can. Think of your garbage can as a really large set of those Russian nesting dolls where everything fits inside of everything else down to your last cigarette butt.

3. All organic garbage (chicken bones, scrapings from the dinner plates- anything that will attract bears to the compost pile) goes into an old coffee can that then gets stored in the freezer until the next trip to the dump. But as I observed and after-dinner clean up, I noticed that this is not a hard and fast rule. I guess you can do this when it's convenient for you and just ignore all the other rules when you don't want to follow them. Hey, kind of like the bible!

I love what you've done with the eggshells!

4. Egg cartons must be flattened, as well as any cardboard or plastic container so that it takes up as little space as possible with the can. You basically want your garbage can to look like a display at The Container Store or as if Martha Stewart herself personally organized your waste products.

If you forget any of these trash tips and dad's in the vicinity, don't worry. He'll go through your garbage can himself and rearrange it to fit, all the while giving you useful pointers that I'm sure will become folklore that you will pass on down to your grand kids. I'm already scoping out mini garbage cans for baby Mary and Echo so that they can start their trash education early.

For the Icebox:

1. Rearrange all items no less than 10 times a day, more if time permits. This keeps people on their toes and the leftovers get a constant rotation to ensure maximum consumption.
Some guys dream of naked women......
2. Think of it like fridge Sudoko- it all has to add up to 'organized'. If you need a little reminder, always think NEAT, which stands for:
Every time an extra piece of Tupperware gets stuck in the fridge, somewhere a puppy dies. Just keep that in mind.
3. If it's in there for more than two days, then it must be eaten for breakfast- no exceptions. That way you don't have to throw it away and mess up your 'trash magic'.

It's time to take back our kitchen, ladies!

*Apply as many of the above rules to cupboards also. Don't hold back- show that kitchen it's your bitch!

If you are extremely awful daughters such as myself and Shrimp, then just wait until the house elf goes to sleep, then store a single ketchup packet in every Tupperware container in the house and then shove it into the fridge until you can barely shut the refrigerator door. Then, ball up a bunch of newspaper and stuff it into the trash, top it off with as many empty boxes as you can find until it's teetering at least two feet past the top of the counters, then gently place the garbage can lid on top. Hey, we gotta give dad something to do. All that talking to himself in the bathroom is just getting kinda creepy.
Oh no, those plastic bottles don't have lids and they're NOT FLAT! THE HORROR!