Fabrics and Food Shopping: A Lesson In Obsession

Quick note-slash-big announcement:  I’m on Hollaback Health today in the first of a series of regular posts on how to improve your writing!  Head on over and find out why writing matters so much–and why I just NEED to get up on a soapbox and make us all better bloggers.


This weekend, I confirmed a fact that I already knew beyond a reasonable doubt:  I am a Class A hoarder.

I don’t hoard junk that would land me on those ridiculous TLC shows.  I just hoard non-perishable food items and fabrics.  You know, the usual stuff.

The worst part is that I know that I do it.  In fact, I recognize the process:

  • A fancy can of something interesting or an insanely bright piece of fabric (usually cotton–let’s keep it real) catches my eye.  I get so excited I have to buy it (usually because it’s both special AND cheap) and I yammer to the salesperson about it as I purchase it.  I can tell they all roll their eyes when I walk out of the store.
  • The purchase turns out to be SO special that I just can’t bring myself to open it or cut into it.  I set it aside for the right dinner/occasion.
  • The right dinner/occasion never comes.
  • Fast forward a few months/years and I’m unearthing eight cans of chickpeas and a jar of sweet and spicy jalapeno jelly/ X cuts of fabric from the depths of my kitchen/sewing mess.
  • Cue shame–but cue indifference, too, because by the time I dig it out I’ve moved on to other, more exciting finds.

And so it goes.

I usually don’t feel guilty for it, except for when I do, and today is one of those days, sadly.  So, in the interest of not humoring my compulsions, I hereby announce that I will refrain from multiple-can purchases of beans until I’m down to just two cans of chickpeas (two being the amount of cans that I end up using any time I use beans–helps me make leftovers).  I will also refrain from buying any more fabric until I’ve dealt with at least three of the cuts of fabric I’ve squirrelled away.

Honestly, inspiration has struck in a million different ways for each of these beauties.  I just have to simmer down and make a decision and get on with my bad sewing self:

Purple was purchased in April, yellow in February, red in May
Uh-oh: the blue on the right was purchased in March 2009, the green in September 2007 (!), and the one on the left in May

Clearly, I have a problem–and some sewing to do.

And yet…

This De-Hoarding Measure does not mean that I can’t evade my own rules by making bean-free dishes and chopping up my curtains to make my own Hostess With the Mostest/Trophy Wife version of this Anthropologie dress:

Convincing reasoning, no?

Are you a ruthless de-cluttering machine, or do you hoard things like the world is ending tomorrow?  What is your hoarding poison?

Welcome to the Sweatshop

Mamalicious, if you happen to be reading, stop right now and look away–this one’s about you (mostly)!

It has been a literal fashion sweatshop at my house for the last week, with the weekend hitting fever pitch of sewing mania. Did I seem distracted?  Blame it on the sewing.  Did I write lots of typos?  Blame it on the sewing.   Did I eat the most boring food alive?  Blame. It. On. The. Sewing.

There is a reason for this all, though.  As a condition of my six-week sojourn at Chez Mamalicious (the longest since I left home nine years ago–eek!), a list of Laura Must-Do’s has been issued to me.  These conditions include:

  • The almost-daily making of delicious lunches to the satisfaction of Mamalicious’s taste buds and dietary requirements (we’re talking lots of salad here, people)
  • The clearing out and cleaning up of basement and attic (hi, like I didn’t hate cleaning the basement when it flooded with yuckwaters last Christmas!  However, the attic is fair game, since that’s where the material evidence of my pre-Britain and pre-Trinidad life is boxed up–did you know I actually have “good cutlery” up in thurr?  Yeah, I forgot about it too…)
  • The making of a wardrobe for Mamalicious to teach in and leave her students agog at her fashionable adorableness

The first has been tackled appropriately, with a list of good eats for Mamalicious now living in my wallet, ready to be whipped out each time I think of something nice to add to it.  I hope she has a discount with a local funky-lettuce grower because, like I said, Mama and I are eating more (well-embellished) grass than the cows out in the fields this summer.

The second?  Ach.  I’m bringing a bottle of duty-free rum and a bottle of duty-free tequila into Chez Mamalicious to deal with clearing out the basement and attic.  I’m much better (read: reckless) at tossing old junk when I’m intoxicated–in fact, that’s the only way to do this, as far as I’m concerned.

The third?  Well, Mamalicious is getting the wardrobe I would have made myself this summer, had I not been slaving over making it for her.

I’m hooking her up with this skirt:

In these patterns:

She’s also getting a gorgeous shift dress similar to this one (the sleeveless belted one, possibly made A-line in the skirt):

In this beauty of a floral explosion:

And a shirt-dress like my very own beloved Frankensteined dress:

In this enviable navy-and-white abstract floral/blobby print:

With such cute, painstakingly-selected buttons that I almost regret making this for her instead of for me:

She’s also netting a few A-line shift dresses like this one:

In some gorgeous saturated solids–I’m thinking orange, a magenta of some kind, and a green, with fabrics to be procured over the next couple of days.  It’ll be easy sewing to keep busy with while I’m visiting–and she has about a week’s worth of summery work clothes that I’ll have made to tide her over while I work on those for about a week.

She’s got me so busy that I’ve had to forgo reading my guilty-pleasure George Pelecanos crime drama in the interest of getting these  selfish sewing endeavors finished:

Dress turned into skirt, with the help of some nice orange from my curtains (literally snipped off before sewing)

A yet-to-be-finished dress that needs a zipper and a hem

In other words, I’m giving up Dexter and DC crime for my Mama’s dresses.  If that doesn’t earn me free passes to her Zumba class and unlimited use of her bike (to train for my Ride For Roswell), I don’t know what does.  There’d better b a grand reception at the airport, complete with tulips and champagne, for her seamstress.  That’s all I’m saying.

Do you get sucked into any particular tasks when you go home?  Are there things you volunteer to do for the family when you go home to visit?

One thing I will happily and easily provide is a tuna lunch like today’s:

Tuna mixed with spicy mustard, mayo, lime zest, tomatoes, pepper, and black pepper, served on crunchy whole-wheat pita.  We’ll be seeing a lot of this, modeled on her pretty plates!  I can’t wait to use her lovely collection of plates and I’m sure that you can’t wait to see different plates either, so watch this space…

But before that, stay posted for my Core Fusion Sport review tomorrow. If I can move in the morning, that is.

Working From Home: In Which Your Girl Is Grateful For Her Good Fortune

Day one of freedom!  I can’t believe I’m on the other side now.  I spent the whole weekend reveling  (and being ridiculous in forgetting to take my camera to a fancy Italian dinner which, funnily enough, was memorably awful so no pics are needed) thusly:

Out for Saturday night movie and drinks: T-shirt handed down from Baby Bel, jeans from Marks and Spencer, shoes from Target, bag from Zara, magenta cardigan from New Look

Sunday morning plain scrambled eggs, toast with honey, turkey sausage, pomegranate-lime juice, coffee--all made without running water!

I admit, I was pretty shocked that the whole office thing was over–and spent way too much time hoping I wouldn’t turn into a queen procrastinator of the first degree once I started working from home on Monday.  I mean, I used to wake up at 1 pm–right in time for Law and Order SVU–during grad school, and spent the first two (jobless) weeks in Trinidad last year doing… well, not much more than that.

Then again, back then I didn’t have a blog, or freelance work, or some sewing shenanigans in the planning, or a running habit that necessitates 6 am wake-up calls back then.  But that didn’t mean I wasn’t slightly nervous that I’d go back to Lazy Laura ways.

In the end, however, I’m happy to report that today has gone swimmingly well despite a rough start.  Here’s what actually transpired:

5:30 am–wake up with a start.  Realize I don’t have to go to the office anymore.  Pinch myself hard, considering I’m still half asleep.  Go back to sleep.

6:00 am–alarm goes off for my morning run.  Hit snooze.  Sit up, snarffle, blow nose for three minutes.  Is it a cold, a rain-induced return of the allergies, or the sort of sick you get when you finally relax/go on  holiday/end the term/quit your job?  Decide to decide when the alarm goes off again.

6:09 am–alarm goes off again.  Still snarffly.  Sit up and debate whether breathing through nostrils is strictly necessary while running.   Imagine how kickass I’d feel starting off Freelance Laura Life with a kickass four-mile run.  Put on my workout pants, blow nose twice.  Hope gravity will kick in and I can breathe again.

6:18 am–gravity doesn’t kick in.  Sneeze ten times, blow nose, sneeze six times more.  Decide the run is just not happening.  Worry about setting a bad precedent for myself.  Sneeze three more times.  Try to sleep.

6:20 am–too awake from my deliberations to sleep.  Realize being sick lets me off precedent setting.  Read in bed for an hour and copiously wipe nose.  Fall asleep.

9:20 am–wake up.  Nose is much better–I can make do with one working nostril.  Smile at Husband being up, breakfasted and caffeinated, before me for once.  Shower, eat breakfast:

There are two French toast buried under that pile of mango, plus OJ and coffee

Throw coconut for dog:

Coconuts make great free dog toys--as long as the dog doesn't eat them

Spot an iguana fight and a bird fight.  Realize that I’ve put on actual clothes, very light makeup, and contacts.  Pat myself in the back for not spending day in pajamas and promise myself a small bit of fabric for being so sartorially conscious.

11:15 am–Freelance Laura Time!  Need to hustle before the computer goes for a ride  to gets Microsoft Office installed. Realize that I can paint nails and let them dry while I type.  Cackle at how the people in my (old) office do not have this luxury.

1:15 pm–finish Freelance Laura Time.  Pack up computer, see it (and Husband)  off.  Channel my inner Nigella Lawson and go on a cooking frenzy:

Do grown-up classy ladies use frying pans as lids? (Don't answer that question.)

2:00 pm–eat lunch leftovers from Sunday night’s Pollo Tropical (purchased because there was no running water on Sunday.)   Wonder why daytime TV is so crappy on a Monday.  Wish I’d chosen Tuesday as my first day at home so I could celebrate with a Law and Order SVU binge.  Decide I deserve a nip of whiskey later for not wanting to eat bonbons all day.

2:30 pm–websurf.  Wonder whether it’s still the term all the cool folks use.  Feel sorry for Husband when I end up using his computer–it’s way slower than mine.  Wonder whether I pity him enough to make him cookies. Nah.

2:47 pm–sewing time!  Cut strips of fabric for dress neck and sleeve edges.  Think about how I’m going to post about it on the blog as a sewing lesson.  Realize I can’t blog about it because the dress is a surprise for someone else.  Wonder why I ever promise surprise sewings to family members.  Realize I wasn’t so virtuous after all because I bought matching fabric for me.  Hope I haven’t said too much.

5:52 pm–planned walk gets trumped by much-needed rain.  Think how weird it is not to have left my house today.  Wonder if I’d make a good hermit.  Sew some more, get dinner going.

7:30 pm–dinner is served, with much less hustle and sweatiness than usual because I didn’t rush around like a chicken with its head cut off.   Hold off on blogging my dinner so I can write down the recipe and put it on the blog.  Decide readers deserve a snap of it.  Put snap up anyway:

8:00 pm–watch documentary on bullfighters.  Wonder if I could wear garish-colored sequined satin capris (and how the bullfighters manage to look manly while wearing them.)  Have a teeny siplet of whiskey.  Realize I’m definitely cut out for this life–as long as I make it out of the house at least every other day.

9:30 pm–blog-reading, blog-writing, tea-sipping.  Contemplate buying an ottoman.  Realize I never thought of these things while I was working.  Vow not to go furniture-crazy. Go back to chillin’.


Sum total: no bonbons were eaten!  No running or exercising happened, but that’s because I had the snarffle situation going on.  I was highly productive, didn’t lose my mind,  and still managed to have too much to say at dinner (another irrational fear about working from home).

I think I’m going to be just fine.  And very busy, too–watch out for some big announcements this week!