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Sewcially Stupendous!

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Ah...homemade dresses! These were two of the best ones! Thanks, mom!

Oh, bloggy blog…how I’ve missed you!  Things have been crazy with our family schedule and I have been juggling a strange week-long stomach ache that has had no explanation, and I just haven’t been able to put life on pause so I could sit down and write my long, run-on sentences that you seem to love so much!  Ah, but I hear Phineas and Ferb in the background, which means I may have bought myself a little time with you!

This entry is getting into a tricky part of my blog-list about things that are seen as ‘cool, but surprisingly so’.  This item broaches the zone where I actually think it’s pretty cool, whereas the other topics, I would support, only because my friends were involved with them!  People, this time I’m taking on all things homemade by SEWING!  (Or knitting, crocheting, etc…)

Like my previous topics, I have no talent in this particular area, and can only sit back and clap at all my friends and relatives who excel like little, frontier-women mavericks.  Yes, I know that many men sew.  I just don’t know any of them, or the ones I know aren’t admitting it to me yet.  The craze for homemade things is huge (Um, anyone?) and it’s no surprise that we are drawn to things that are made by our pals and loved ones and are constructed with top-notch quality.  Lots of times we can score a great deal on homemade stuff, too, which always appeals to people! (Check out my first blog entry for more money-saving thoughts, or rather, my thoughts on those who are into money-saving!)

I am amazed at the sheer number of friends who not only know how to sew, but end up creating a home business and using it to make side money.  It boggles my mind!  Seriously, I feel like I live in some crazy town where the ratio of creative and talented people far exceeds that of normal, ordinary little consumers, like myself.  Although I have zero ‘crafty’ bones in my body, I have a ton of appreciation for those who do (although I do NOT miss the crazy scrapbooking trend where everyone tried to get you to go to ‘parties’ and buy a bunch of supplies.)  Although I appreciate hand-made do-dads, I am so anti-‘I-sell-things-and-make-money-by-getting-others-to-sell-things-too-in-party-type-environments’ I could punch something!  (And if you know me, you know that I HATE punching things!  It hurts and makes my brain jiggle around very uncomfortably.  I’ll leave that whole punching thing to my husband, who seems to utilize it in the gym quite frequently.)

Anyway…back to potentially polarizing some of my friends.  I don’t know why I am so anti-friend-to-friend-selling, really.  I know a TON of people who have kicked a lot of a$$ at selling everything from pans to powder to pop-able things….I can honestly say that their selling techniques have benefited their families greatly and they have a ton of happy customers.  I just don’t like going to an event that pretends to be about ‘ladies night’ or ‘pampering’ or ‘just hanging out with the girls’ when it’s really about sales or recruiting other chicks to sell the same stuff to their circle of friends.  Maybe it’s that incredible drive for authenticity and realness that seems to permeate a lot of people my age, that gives me such a low tolerance for fake-hang-out-times.  Or perhaps because the number of my REAL hang-out-times-with-friends is so low, I feel jipped that I wasted the opportunity for a ‘hang-out-time’ when it really wasn’t about that.  Who knows, maybe I’m reading too much into it.  I guess I am much more wired to purchase stuff if you can just tell me, “Here’s what I sell.  Here’s the website that tells you all about it.  If you want to talk to me and buy something: cool.  If not, that’s cool too.  My friendship will not seem to increase or decrease based on your number of purchases.  And I will not call/e-mail/text you all the time about why you should get involved with this product/company/drink etc.”  Again, I know that bringing in extra income for your family at a flexible ‘make your own hours’ type of schedule is a GREAT thing.  It’s just not for me.  I struggle enough making normal friends!  I don’t want to add to my ‘random acquaintance’ list where we have only a few things in common yet know nothing about each other.  That list is full, people!

Oh yeah, sewing stuff.  Yep, it’s super popular here in the Northstate and when people find out that you made your bag/dress/scarf/hair-clip/quilt/whatever, you undoubtedly earn a zillion ‘cool’ points!  It goes a little like this:

Me: Hey there!  Cute dress!  What?  You MADE this?!  Oh, my gosh!  You are not only showing me how amazing you look, but how utterly talented you are AT THE EXACT SAME TIME!  My mind is blown!  I am being overloaded with your utter awesomeness…ahhhhhh!

Ok, so it doesn’t always quite go exactly like that, but it kind of does.  I know!  I love getting complimented on something that I got from one of my homemade homees.

Me: My bag/child’s toy/daughter’s dress/diaper bag?  Oh yeah, one of my friends made it for me. {GLEAM! Insert giant smile here}

Uh-huh.  Handmade stuff.  This is good thing, yet it’s still a little odd that the trend is so ‘hip’.  I remember when wearing handmade clothes meant that you weren’t able to wear the real thing from the store.  Yep.  Not something that always won you points.  Hypercolor.  LA Gear.  Guess and ESPRIT.  Those won you cool points!  Remember those handmade, matching bunny-dresses you made for me and my baby sister, mom?  When I was in 6th grade?  Oh!  We looked absolutely adorable, and who knew that a ‘dress for me and one for my doll’ pattern would translate so flawlessly to me and my little sister!  Um, but cool points?  Nope!  I was ‘that girl wearing the baby-bunny dress with the detachable collar’, not ‘the girl who was wearing an LKZ Original’ like I would have been known in Chico today! (I’m not sure if the collar thing was on purpose or not, but I had to lay it on top of my dress to complete the ensemble, and since it was the size of an open magazine, the magnificent size of it held it accurately in place.) I actually wore a ton of stuff that my mom made for me when I was little, and I have very fond memories of my junior year Spring Banquet* dress that matched my BFF’s dress.  (My mom made us matching dresses, but in different colors!  We had to drive one night to Riverside to score the perfect metallic gold and silver fabric.  It was awesome!)

Oh, but I remember some scary homemade-by-my-mother’s-hand moments too.  Seriously, if I had a time machine, one of the things I would go back in time to fix would be the night of my dad’s high school reunion in Vegas.  Note to self / to my mom of the past: Las Vegas may not be the town to wear your homemade banquet dress and your husband’s high school reunion may not be the occasion to brandish your sensible homemade creations.  You might want to go ahead splurge on a fancy ‘knock-out’ dress for the occasion!  Oh, my poor mother!  She worked long and hard on a dress for my dad’s reunion that, shall we say, did not complement her ‘I recently had my second baby’ body.  Even though it was the late 80s, the crazy floral print and sack-like shape was more suited for a shower curtain, than a flattering dress for a highly successful career woman like my mother.  I remember them posing for pictures before they left; my mother in tears in a floral disaster of homemade chaos!  Ugh!  It broke my heart!  In my time machine, I would bring her some Kleenex, a big hug, a beautiful, dark colored, t-length dress with a belted waist, and some killer heels to add some definition to her calves.  She would look amazing and those two slutty twins who graduated with my dad would look tawdry and trashy in their matching dresses that they wore from Frederick’s of Hollywood.  (Seriously…Vegas dress code kind of blows my mind!  Those chicks actually chose dresses from Fredericks and thought to themselves, ‘What a great idea for my high school reunion!’)  If I ever get to have a high school reunion with the 37 people I graduated with, I will NOT be choosing my dress from a mall’s lingerie shop.  But as we approach year 14, a high school reunion still seems pretty unlikely to ever come together.  Bummer!  I’ve got a hot little husband I’d love to introduce to all of you, especially those high school meanies who told me that no one good would ever want to marry me, due to my hurtful double-boyfriend choice I employed while being a stupid 17 year old.  Guess what?  When you’re a grown up, it turns out that your self worth is NOT determined on how many people you dated at the same time while you were a kid.  So niener, niener, niener…guess I wasn’t the only stupid 17 year old after all!  Ah…but there I go, wasting all my reunion small talk over appetizers material!  Drat!

Sew, where was I….oh yes!  I remember being a newlywed and really liking the idea of making a quilt.  What’s not to love about being all warm and toasty, right?  Well, I had seen a friend who had a quilt made out of old high school t-shirts.  A warm and toasty blanket that was themed around me?!  Get outta town!  I’m in!  So my talented quilt-tastic friend Stacie B. decided that she would help me make my quilt.  My mother-in-law (who has ALWAYS seen me as a more beautiful and talented creation than I actually am, God bless her!) had given me a ton of quilt making tools like a roller-slicer-thingy and a self-healing grid-mat that you roll the cutter thing on.  It was awesome!  (By the way, don’t try and store that mat-thing all rolled up.  I turns out that it’s not good for it.)  So I set off to work.  Stacie tried explaining the process to me, but as soon as she mentioned ‘add a quarter inch to the edges’, my mind turned to goo and immediately shut down.  What the heck?  There’s math involved in sewing?!  CRIPES!  I’m doomed now!  I actually still have my one, lame attempt at sewing a t-shirt quilt, although it is still in its beginning stages.  I still love the idea of owning one, and having it actually be long enough to cover me (most store-bought blankets usually require me to be all rolled up in a ball to get covered; no stretching out straight for this mega-mama!)  I think I would probably have to send my stitched-up tees in to some company (you know, the ones listed in the back of some magazines?) and have them finish it for me.  Although I love the idea of getting it finished, I love the idea of it being done the right way, and not by my wavering beginners stitches, even better!  We will see when my ‘finishing that homemade quilt’ budget gets a little bigger : )

So to all my handy-friends out there, way to go!  You are talented beyond my capabilities, and bless me with your craftiness.  I am sorry that I cannot bless you in the same way, but I hope that my occasional purchases and everlasting appreciation of your wares will make up for it.  To my own handy-mama, thank you for taking the time to sew clothing for me, even if it ended up kind of embarrassing me in front of a tough-6th-grade crowd.  Remember when I screamed and cried when you made me that replacement sock monkey?   I said I hated it and only wanted to you to fix my old tattered one instead.  That was lame of me.  I would be crushed if one of my kids freaked out like that!  I came to love my new sock monkey (a.k.a. Georgette) and know that you put a lot of love into it!  You proved that math could be used not just for computer programming, but also for sewing your own bathing suit!  (Although I’m still not sure that should be attempted again.  That is one item of clothing that I will leave to the professionals!)






*Ahhh…a Spring Banquet!  For those of you who did not go to my small private school where dancing was forbidden and seen as a punishable sin, allow me to explain to magnificent wonders of our annual Spring Banquet!  Most high schools have proms, right?  Well, since dancing was a no-no, we Lovers of the Lord took our annual spring follies to Anaheim and decided to banquet-the-frick-out instead!  It. Was. AWESOME!  We’d take a bus from school to a fancy hotel right next to Disneyland (which I’m sure is all gone and renovated into a parking lot, or California Adventure, these days).  Then we’d get assigned to a hotel room with our buddies, and usually no chaperone, and get all dressed up for that night’s banquet.  Anyone could go, no dates were required, although seeing who went together was always a fun activity!

Here’s my rap-sheet:

Freshman year, black dress, bad up-do: No one

Sophomore year, white dress, horribly uncomfortable underwear to prevent show-through, better up-do: Casey

Junior year, fun matching silver dress, curly hair that lasted until the elevator reached the lobby: Casey

Senior year, black dress that I loved and recently shredded and wore to the 2010 Halloween ‘Zombie Prom’ party, better hair because I think we paid someone in the hotel beauty shop to do it: Brad

There would be a photographer and all sorts of pricey photo packages to purchase and prove to your parents that you were there.  I remember being asked to be in one guy’s photos my freshman year.  Not as his date to the banquet, mind you, but JUST the pictures.  Apparently he was fulfilling a request made by his mother, so I helpfully obliged.  That was weird.  Great pictures, but kind of weird!  “Hey, Z!  Do you want to be in my pictures with me, but not sit with me at dinner or hang out with me at any time?  Great!  See you downstairs at 6!”  Oh, the fact that he was super-cute and greatly liked by my best friend?  Oh yeah…that doesn’t add any drama to the situation!  Sigh….

Anyway, after we ate a ton of fancy food and drooled over how hot all the guys could be in a simple suit, we’d all go to bed to wake up and find that the merriment continued!  We’d check out of our hotel and get to spend a day with all our friends at Disneyland!  Suck on that, PROM!  We’d even get to miss a day of school to do it!  Ahhh….I loved Spring Banquet!  And honestly, I never helped plan one of them!  I was usually a friend with the gals who helped, but I thought planning it sounded boring.  Ha ha ha!  If only my high-school self could see what I do now!  “EEEK!  Why is your body like that?!” is probably the first thing my past-self would say, but then I think she’d say, “Huh.  So you ended up being an event planner and marketing girl?  Weird.”

About Jenny Z

I love to overuse italics, misplaced hyphens and internal dialogue when I write about my usual favorite topic, myself.

3 responses »

  1. kimberly mallory

    sew…i just stumbled across your blog today – and loved the spring banquet reference…many things i haven’t remembered until now! 🙂 love you jenny z…

    miss ruhlman … currently known as kimberly mallory

  2. Pingback: Odd Man Out « jennysblogorama

  3. Pingback: The Questionable Things, Holiday Edition Ver. 1 | jennysblogorama

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