Thursday, July 25, 2013

Testing the Skinny on The Skin Test

As anyone who has been keeping up with this blog can tell you, I'm allergic to…

Well, everything.

I'm allergic to grasses and trees and an assortment of foods…

No medications, as far as I know, though I am sensitive to laughing gas enough that it'll give me panic attacks.

Either way, I was on the road to having to live my life inside some horrible bubble, never to interact with another person again. 

To a certain extent, I actually did this to myself when I first came home again, but that was more due to a budding mental illness and less due to a physical ailment of any kind. 

So, a bazillion years ago, I was put on the drops.  Sublingual allergy drops work like the shots, in that it helps my body slowly learn to not be afraid of these substances.  Much like a ninja building up an immunity to poison by ingesting just a little bit over a long period of time, eventually, the body stops over reacting so much. 

That's all allergies are.

It's the body overreacting.

In this sense, it is perfect that I would have so many allergies.

To get this medication though, I had to take an allergy test. 

Not like this.

Not even a blood test. 

It's a skin test. 

I bring this up because I'm having the skin test done again to see if anything has changed.  Hopefully it has, and hopefully it's changed in a positive way.

Blood tests are useful because you can test for a lot of things all at once without any direct risk to the person being tested. The problem is that they aren't always particularly accurate.

The skin test is VERY accurate. 

You'd think that would make it worth it.

I bring this all up because not only have I had the test before, but I'm about to have it again in a couple of weeks.

I'm dreading this.

Obviously, I survived last time.  The problems are that
A. It's uncomfortable and I've become a flighty ninny who flips shit and thinks she's dying every time she even has a strange itch or needs to cough for a second. 
B. I'm worried about my tattoos because it makes little bumps which can spread onto the arms and sometimes they go to the back…
C. I don't really want to know if it's gotten worse. I want to somehow ONLY be told if it's better, and
D. I now associate the test with humiliation. 

This post will mostly be about that last one.

As jumpy and panic ridden as I may be now, when I was a kid, I just bottled everything.  I'd either be perfectly pleasant and happy, or I was a ball of silent misery.  Typically, that misery came about when I wasn't being left well enough alone. 

I didn't like attention, especially from strangers, and I didn't like the idea of ever smiling when I didn't have a reason to do so.  This led to a lot of people thinking I didn't have a sense of humor. I had one, just not when I felt embarrassed or like I was the butt of the joke. 

I'll tangent for a moment here because the other time this sort invasion of space was a problem was when I had a mat cut out of my hair.

Instead of just cutting the damn thing out themselves, my parents took me to a hair stylist, hoping he or she could take it apart and not have to cut out a chunk of hair.  It was underneath anyway, so I gave no shits.

Apparently my hair makes an amazing accidental dred.  It was perfect enough that the woman being paid to slice it off instead opted to call her friends and random patrons over to gaze upon the atrocity under my hair. 

Mind you, this was my own damn fault because my hair was unruly and I didn't like it being brushed.

Eventually, she cut it out of my hair, but not before I was in tears, hating the world, feeling hideous.  In retrospect, it was a compliment, but I just felt like a freak show at the time.

Similarly, there was the allergy test.

It was either tomato or wild North American grass that enveloped my shoulder in an itchy red mass of hate…

But what was worse was the thing on my hip.

"Dust" mutated into this horrible patch on my left hip which resembled…

A bunny.

I had a goddamn dust buddy on my butt.



on my


And so the world had to be shown. 

The next half an hour was spent with nurses, doctors, patients, small children and everyone under the sun laughing at my rabbit-ass while I sat itchy, embarrassed, and once again hating the world. 

And now I'm going to have this test done again. 

I'm still just as prideful as I ever was as a child, but now I'm panicky and vocal. 

This might not end well. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Adventures in Dressmaking!

I found a pattern and bought it on a whim.  It looked simple enough and I'd never used a pattern before, so it was exciting.  Then I scared myself into thinking I'd just screw it up and never even tried. 

 I was going to do this one, with a cowl:  


Like a year or something later?  More than that?  

Couple of years later, I bought fabric for this pattern.  My buddy Dani helped me pick out this fabric: 

 Isn't it cute?  I don't really own a lot of cute things.  I mean, yeah, it's still skulls but...  CUTE!  YAY! 

 Now, the pattern called for stretchy fabric and this was not, but I didn't want a zipper up my armpit either, so I decided to do panels on both sides of stretchy stuff.  

You know what I own even less of than cute clothes?  Pink. 

 Seriously.  Everything I owned before was red, black or brown.  Sometimes there were blue things.  Mostly black. 

I am le goth kid.  

And so it began!  I went to my mother for assistance, realizing that she had about as much experience using a pattern as I had.  She had done it once in the sixties and her story didn't exactly have a happy ending.  

Pinning up the fabric to then cut out the shapes: 

There was this tone of "Is this going to work?" throughout the process. 

 Of course, there were some mishaps.  One example being when we attached both panels to what would become the same side, instead of one on each: 

 Slowly, it began to become a thing: 


The cat was entirely unhelpful.  Please note that the rest of the table was clear at that point.  She managed to sit on ALL the dress fabrics.  
(The darker fabric in front of her is what we used for the second dress.) 

It fit!  We just needed the final touches aaand: 


The finished dress!  The pink, as stated, is stretchy.  The rest is not.  That means it's comfy enough when bending the elbows and (while it doesn't look it on the hanger) it's really form fitting.  The bottom of it wound up pleated just so it could be more fit to my body after the fact, so that's neat.  


Well,  WE did a thing.  My mother did a lot of the actual machine work because pushing pedals with my feet to make a loud thing go fast scares me whether it's a sewing machine or a car.  

I need to work on that.

But WOO a dress!

Friday, July 19, 2013


I'm alone in the house all day.  I try my best to keep up with dishes and putting away laundry and all that stuff...  I do commissions and I write and I complain about how things will be when I'm adding homework and papers to that list of stuff to do.

However, every now and then, I find myself feeling ill or I temporarily run out of shit to do.

And then I get bored.


Oh so bored.

And then the duct tape comes out.  

The "eyes" are ping pong balls sliced in half.  I've done this a thousand times, the most notable of them being the one I did here

So now the apartment has been invaded by trashcans which look at choo all da time.  


The "mouth" is the top of the trash bin.  That way you can feed the monster.  Sometimes I add teeth to the inside.  

Also, this means that when you knock over your can and the tissues or whatever fall out, it looks like the bin is vomiting.  JOY!

Standing up: 

I had done more complex monster bins before, including one that got complicated enough that I didn't want to use it for garbage anymore:

Now he holds umbrellas, so he's still useful.  



I did it to the kitchen one too:  

Each had different colored eyes:  

The bathroom one was the only trash bin to need a different color duct tape: 

*sings*  Too much time on my haaandsss!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Instinct Vs. Logic: A Never Ending Battle

Before moving across the country, I couldn't handle cold very well.  I was more than pleased to be boiling hot instead.  Since getting back, any temperature extreme seems to suck.  

Our apartment is wired like a monkey just shat out the plans for the building and then left someone else to figure it out.  

In fact, that is probably what happened.

One outlet in the kitchen, one in the office, and one in the livingroom each have their own circuit breakers.  EVERYTHING ELSE shares ONE.  

This means that we can't have the air conditioning on  in more than two rooms at once, nor can we have any of them on while using the microwave or running the dishwasher, or else the electricity will go out.  

As a result, I am typically either melting:

or freezing: 

This has led me to feeling sort of panicky for no reason or just ill.  This is unfortunate because... Well...  
You know those lizards that shoot blood out of their eyes when threatened?  (Yeah, it's a thing.  Look it up.)

 I've always kind of been like one of those.  If I'm too stressed mentally or physically, I will get my period even if I just had it.  

Now, before this past year of fear and flipping out over foods and such, I never really noticed any extreme hormonal changes during my period.  This may have been because I had trained myself to care WAY too much about the welfare of others: 

While pretty much ignoring my own needs, no matter how uncomfortable I could get.  

Of course, something should be said for the fact that I often couldn't tell if I was really sick or just, you know, how I normally felt all the time anyway.  
This led to some problems in cases like The Birthday Bashing.  So, after I came home and started feeling everything, this meant that I was hyper aware of my hormonal state too.   

Rob figured the best way to see if I was legitimately upset or just hormonal was to have me look at cute things. 

Loaf animals are the best for this.  A loaf animal is when a rabbit or a cat winds up looking more like a guinea pig:  

 I actually have another story involving guinea pigs and meatloaf, but that can be for another post. 

 Cartoons also helped my hormonal state, as well as when I've been freaking out and going into existential panics over my career choice, what I'm going to school for, and what I really would rather be doing but don't think I could make a living doing. 

Enter our apartment-mate and My Little Ponies: 

 Sometimes he dresses like Deadpool. 

Rob does his best to fix ALL PROBLEMS EVER even before they are fully explained.  This is appreciated to a point.  The only issue here is that he is significantly more lovey dovey and romantic than I'm good at used to.  

 This hypersensitivity and panic has left me irritable and I worry about putting too much pressure on him.  He is possibly in denial, lying to make me feel better, or he honestly just doesn't see me as the flailing weirdo I've become over the past two years.  Either way, I need work and he seems to be more than happy to just stand there being overly peppy by my side.  

The over sensitive thing goes way beyond just emotional and sometimes physical into simple daily things.  My sleep has always been strange due to nightmares, but now the sun is a problem.

One option is to let the black out curtain drop enough that the sunbeam doesn't blind me in the morning: 

But, of course, there is always a catch.  Putting it down at night in order for it to be there in the morning means that I'm in pitch black darkness.  If I go to the bathroom in this, my brain assumes monsters will come climbing out of the mirrors to eat my feet.  

 Do other adults have cripplingly overactive imaginations or is this some other part of a larger disorder? 


Last on this list explains why there have been so many posts about sewing and dresses lately.  I've gotten excited because during my latest existential crisis, I remembered that I can sew.  Designing costumes came in handy in high school and has helped me in character design.  Sculpting with fabric to make stuffed creations has also been a treat.  Putting the two together to make wearable things that aren't just altered from previous articles of clothing is terrifying and exciting for me. 
Am I going to magically get a job as a fashion designer or seamstress?  Could that then launch my painting and cartooning career?


Probably not.

However, I have a bazillion projects I'm working on, both personal and not, and some are drawing based while others involve sewing.

I'm keeping myself busy this Summer before school starts again in September much like some adults start obsessing over sports and fancy cars to avoid thinking about their soul sucking jobs.

For the record, what I'm going to school for will not be boring.  It is something I am genuinely interested in, even when I feel like an idiot.  I learn things every day and that is thrilling.  I have a chance to help others, and that is wonderful.

Unfortunately, my last year of classes before internship comes at a time when I am finally willing to think about myself and be selfish.  This is something other people get to do when they are younger, and I was always too afraid to go after what I really wanted.  Now I want to... And I feel like it's too late.  I'm already on another just as good path and I don't want to start all over again.

...I already have a BA in Art, so it wouldn't really be starting all over...
I worry more about time.

I worry about putting too much time and effort and energy into one side of this coin and having the odds always be on that side.  I worry that I'll lose the other or just stretch myself too thin.

Both take effort and energy and I'm not a terribly energetic person.

If I could only choose one, I'd choose Art...

...But that isn't logical.  It'll be harder to break into that.  Logically, I should do what I am doing and continue Art on the side, hoping that something will magically fall into my lap. 
...But that feels like I'm betraying someone important.

And that someone might actually be myself.

So, for now, it's cartoons, loaf animals, sewing like crazy, and trying to figure out what brought me here to begin with.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Adventures in Fabric: Summer Fun!

This'll be the last post I make like this for a bit until I get started actually working on that dress I talked about in the first one.  I'll be showing a step by step then too.  

Most of these have tutorials on various sites and in books about doing fun things with shirts.

First up, I got this shirt at a thrift store.  I sliced off the collar and the sleeves before anything else.  It was slightly too big as well: 

 Here is what I did to the back:
 Aaand a close up: 
The red underneath is a separate, not attached shirt. 

Next up is a shirt from one of the thousands of colleges I've gone to in my time.  The design for this logo was done by my friend Teresa.  Check her out here among other sites.  
Again, I sliced off... everything:
 After cutting the bottom into a triangle, I went ahead and had fun with the back:
 Next was an old Donald Duck shirt I loved a lot.  It had never fit right, so I made it fit a different way using a similar method to above, but with outside materials, rather than the shirt itself:
 Laced up the back, it is also a halter top: 
 This one was two different shirts, each sliced right down the middle and then sewn together.  It was going to be a skirt, and might still be (now that I'm wearing skirts again) but right now it's another halter: 

Okay.  I think that's enough for now.  Ready for my first real sewing project?

...I mean, I've done like... stuffed animals and a ninety inch sandworm (See: Birthday Bashing) but never an OUTFIT from scratch!  I've already changed my mind about the fabric.  I want to use the fabric for something else (I have no idea what) and then a more simple, easy to work with fabric for the dress coming up.