Catalog Sunday

This Sunday it's Chicago Mail Order 1930

In Memoriam

Richard "Little Richard" Wayne Penniman

December 5, 1932 - May 9, 2020

I've made all the masks I'm gonna make.


Hi all.
Man, what a 202o, right?

I don't know if I have much to say, other than with all things considered, I'm in a comfortable place. I've got food, my dog has food, I have internet and electricity, I live in California, and my plants are good.

Low bar, but pretty high for so many our there. Thinking about them keeps me up sometimes, and with all the ways people are trying to help, trying not to lose their homes, and not get sick, we still trudge on.

When this all started, I was inundated like I'm sure most people who sew were, "Are you making masks?" At first, I looked online for a couple of days for places or even businesses where I could donate my time. I wasn't going to make masks out of my own material because it was pointless.

I was looking, emailing, even calling to see if I could get medical materials sent to me, make them, then send them back. I felt that was one of the only ways with the limited power I have, to actually help. Because side from the theater of wearing it to make yourself or others feel good, the homemade stuff didn't really do anything.

But then things got worse, and here in California, you are required to wear a face covering or you can be refused service.

I've only been out once since that order came down last week, and I wore one of my scarves trippled over. But with all the constant talk of masks, I reached out to one of my friends who works in the medical field and asked his opinions on the entire matter.

He told me that yes, home masks don't do much, but it's better than nothing, and if you are going to make them, use three layers of a tightly woven cotton, and a nose bridge to secure a tight seal around the face.

Okay, now I had something to go on.

I was grateful for the insight, but sad too. It makes me think of all the medical personnel who wear garbage bags! Ugh, the whole thing feels like a dropped ice cream cone in sand.

So I decided to look at these masks and see if I can make it the best mask I can with what I have.

I downloaded some random pattern online which was way too large for my face. I cut it down and altered it and was ready to go.

The good thing is, since I primarily work in natural fabrics, I had a lot of remnants cotton to use.

I used a cotton novelty print for the outside, a cotton sateen for the inside, and a cotton jersey (T shirt) for the third layer. Now, I left a pocket between the jersey and the sateen so if someone wanted, they would put in some sort of filter.

The problem is, trying to breathe through all that stuff is a challenge, especially with the nose guard.
I wanted a wire that would be pliable, but bendable multiple times. I remembered I had some gardening wire that was encased in plastic, giving it softness and ease to bend.

From there I had some elastic and did a small gather at the jaw, making that seal extra-sealing.
Shoe strings for the ties for around the back of the head, and there you go.

One friend told me this was basically the Hong Kong mask, that had a blockage rate of around 60-70%. Oh, I guess my pocket for a filter was on to something.

I mailed my friend some, and gave other friends the rest.

For a problem solving exercise, this was satisfying. If I could work in the proper materials, and if it were needed, I'd totally make more.

That's it right now on my end. I've been sewing and trying to find some work. Drawing and reading and yes, more pattern making.

I hope people are doing well and taking deep breaths.

More soon.

Love ya!

Happy Birthday Granny!

One of the foundations in my life turned 100 years old today! I remember us singing Ray Charles songs as a kid, calling her to remind her her favorite show, The Equalizer was about to start, and her still to this day, less than five minute phone calls.

She's as hard headed as me, and I think about her all the time.
Love my granny and I'm so proud to be her granddaughter.

Here is to more time talking with her and hearing her laugh. :)

Happy birthday Marie Smith.

A live stream of me working on patterns Saturday?

Since everyone thinks the world is gonna end, why not watch me work on patterns for no real reason than to be entertained by something while you are at home with piles of toilet paper? LOL

Thinking about doing a live stream Sat. afternoon.

Thanks all!

I have the flu and it sucks.

I can't decide if I'm hot or freezing, I get slightly dizzy from time to time, and I feel like I've pickled myself from the amount of lemon water I've been drinking.

I'm so sloggy. Ugh. My ears are stuffed up. I can't sleep well (something I know I need) and again, so much water.

This is around the fourth day and though I think I'm on the mend, I've just now admitted it's most likely flu.

Los Angeles has had some strange weather this Feb. Super cold nights with mild days. I'm sure that just got me in the end.

I haven't been this sick since 2008, so that's a pretty good run, and I was straight up laid out from that flu, the first time I ever got it, mind you. Gotta love LA.

So here is to the sickies out there. Hot tea your way thought it/be comfy and hot steam feels so good on a coughed raw throat.

Later lovelies!

I made a doggie bag...for my doggie.

Hello all.

This is the reason for this post today. I love her and invite you all to follow her on instagram.

If you haven't followed my Royal Chrome adventures from a few years back, I invite you to revisit those wacky times.

Thank you.

I just wanted to drop a note of thanks to those of you who have reached out to me from my previous post.

Those who have sent me good thoughts and well wishes.
Those who have purchased from my etsy store.
Those who have emailed me.
Those who have told me how much they too can relate to my story.
Those who have donated from the new donate button at the side.

Thank you so, so much.
It makes me feel seen, acknowledged, and not so in the dark.
Thank you.

I'm still climbing up hill, so just if you can, send me words of support every now and then. Donate if you are able. Just bear with me, I'm trying as hard as I can.

Thank you all and more posts and patterns soon.

Things I've done to make money these last seven years.

I'd moved from Hollywood to Los Feliz, after being able to make rent by reselling vintage patterns. It was so much fun, but I saw the end coming. It happened in two steps, the insane pricing of vintage patters on eBay, and Etsy changing their algorithm that practically decimated me.

I went from making $800 a month, which I used for rent, to making $60 a month - in a month. Etsy then wanted me to pay for "advertising" which basically only made me enough money to pay for the "advertising" so I could see this stream of revenue was dying fast. My etsy store has still never recovered.

Luckily, I got a job as an animation director for a small company. I wasn't making a ton of money, but it allowed me to move to a great place and start to act like an adult.

The thing was, the job kinda treated me like I didn't know what I was doing, or rather, one of their people did, who had an ear with the boss who hired me, and was undermining my decisions of me and my team.

I was let go after a year.

Now, I'd been working on paying off things diligently just so I could get into a place to start some hard core savings. I was ready for it, happy to be in that place in my adult life, but it didn't happen.

For over a year I did under the table work, sewing for people and some business, and living on $14 in groceries a week. Unemployment covered my rent (thanks Obama) but I couldn't pay really anything else enough to get head.

I began selling a lot of my vintage collection, a trend that I still do and there is not much left.

I think my average for job applications was 40 a day at that point. I went to job fairs, asked around, and cold called. People really never help you get work. That's something no one tells you.

I had the opportunity to move to a place in San Gabriel, which was out of LA proper, but the rent was half. There my dog and me shared a 250 sq ft room and a shared bathroom with two of the most horrible girls in the back unit of a converted apartment of someone I thought was my friend.

I was so grateful for the chance to move. Thought I was doing okay, but then, she complained about the electricity, and when I told her the girls were allowing everyone - like three to four people at a time - to come over and use the shower (OUR SHARED SHOWER) and wash their clothes, I got a rent raise.

Luckily, I was working at an animation job back in Hollywood, actually a block from where I originally lived when I sold patterns.

It was full time, but I was a "contract worker" and even though I was doing the exact same job as other employees, they got medical, 401Ks and all the bennies. Yeah, California cracked down on that shit, but it was too late for me to benefit.

My 'friend', the one I was renting from, wanted me out at the first of the year. Why, she's still never told me, but after raising my rent 30% for no reason, I really didn't care. I had enough saved to move with the skin of my teeth, but then my dog got sick, and I had to help him.

I was working on my Kickstarter project at the time, and the first one failed. You can't understand how defeated I felt. Like I didn't matter, like it was all over. But I got so many encouraging people telling me to keep going, so I did, and I was able to meet the goal!

2018 was gonna be a new start!

I moved to where I am now, worked on patterns, had a good gig sewing cosplay reproductions and vintage repairs, and even though I was doing 16 hour days at a time, things were looking up.

The first to go were the vintage repairs. Though they liked my work, they were friends of the person I moved away from, and though I can't prove I was ghosted from that work, I think I know why.

Next, the cosplay job I was sewing for just never paid me on time. My rent started being late, I began hemorrhaging late fees, and I had to divert money and other things just to stay afloat all the while making clothing for them. I was doing 2-3 jobs and only getting paid for one.

When I did get paid, I'd have to use a lot just to cover late fees and missed payments and it was a mess I honestly am still recovering from.

Then there was the check fraud of Christmas 2018.

I thought I had a couture sewing job, but that fizzled out. Thought a storyboarding gig was gonna start but now the date is "up in the air". I got a long, looooooong list of stuff like that. A graphic novel, a cleaning job, working fast food, you name it.

Even thought about sex work for a bit. Not shaming, I have some friends who do it and was curious. But it's not for me, or at least what I was thinking about doing isn't for me.

So here I sit typing this, looking at an NVL pattern on the dress form that I have to get back to after I apply to another 30 jobs. That's my goal, 30 jobs a day.

Oh, funny note: I've had a recruiter call me a few times, as my resume keeps popping up for some jobs she is looking to fill. Now, my resume is quite diverse (link here) and she ACTUALLY SAID something along the lines of "I really only want to fill jobs with people who will love them, not just people who need them."

Wow, Karen. Thanks for that.

My family can't help me. Well, my granny was helping me a bit, but her sons cracked down on that. They think I'm out in California living on the beach and drinking cocktails or something. It's amazing how you can feel the loss of $100 a month when your budget is razor thin.

That's where I am. 100% on my own. Pushing a boulder uphill in mud while dogs bite at my heels. I've been doing this for years. I never know how I'm gonna make rent, or even get groceries. But I have a lot of dry goods so I'm going through those.

It feels embarrassing, because I work so fucking hard, and all that labor just evaporates. SO I say to myself "Well, I'm not working hard enough" but what is hard enough? 20 hour days? Done it. 4 hour commutes? Done it? Working below min wage just for "opportunity" HA! I'm doing that right now.

It's amazing seeing other people in my social circle who have houses and full time jobs, and I have the exact same education level as them, but I wonder if it was wise of me to spend that $6 on the beer I just got when I go out with them. And then I think, this is all I have, I should be able to enjoy it, but I spend the night thinking if that purchased will affect my budget, and it most likely always does.

I just needed to vent.

More patterns are coming.

Here is what I'm working on now.

If you drink, I have a podcast.

If you like sexy books, I did the cover for this writer.

If anyone knows of a job in my field, show them my website(s).

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