Thursday, February 11, 2016

The ecology of the NFL stadium

Our future is hotter and drier.  Our population is growing.
 In Los Angeles, and most of the western United States, we need to use our water more wisely.  That means capturing rainfall, using it to naturally irrigate landscaping, and storing the excess underground for future use.

The proposed stadium plan is about as ecologically and hydrologically dumb as you can get.

Proposed NFL stadium in Inglewood, CA.

As I wrote in Did someone mention a lake? for LA Observed:
No one asked, but this scientist wants to put in her two cents.

The LAT showed some beautiful photography of the existing site. This picture doesn't look like an empty lot to me. I see permeable surfaces, water and wildlife. The birds see a home.

Put it in context of the surrounding neighborhoods. This area has a surfeit of asphalt. It would be a textbook case of the urban heat island effect EXCEPT for the cooling effect of the greenery and the water of the former Hollywood Park race track.
The site of the proposed stadium as it looked in Jan 2016. Photo credit, Mark Boster, LAT.
I also appeal to environmental justice. The mostly white, mostly affluent kids of Manhattan Beach enjoy Polliwog Park while their peers in Redondo Beach enjoy (and even camp overnight) at Hopkins Wilderness Park. Percolation Ponds can be beautiful community assets. The mostly dark-skinned and less affluent children of Inglewood deserve better than this NFL stadium plan.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Vogue 9951 Redux

This was my most-worn skirt last year.  Vogue 9951, linen, cotton (waistband) and rayon (lining).  Deets here and more photos here.

When I read The Lost Art of Dress and Art in Everyday Life, I understood why.
  1. Pockets
  2. A-line
  3. Pleats in FRONT provide striding room 
  4. Waistband that acts like a hinge when sitting
So I made another one using this stretch twill border print that I found at SAS.

The stretch goes selvedge to selvedge, perpendicular to the print.  This may have been why the fabric was available so cheaply at an odd-jobber.  The yardage photo shows the color most accurately.

I used Vogue 9951 View A, as before.  But, I made slant instead of in-seam pockets this time.

Back zip, two back darts, no lining.

It bells out nicely. The side seams of my first skirt pulled towards the front. I thought that meant that I need more belly room and added 1" at the CF. But, it might have been from sticking my hands in the pocket because it's a tad too loose. If I had more patience, I would take the waistband off and ease the skirt into a shorter waistband.

Or, I might just eat dessert more often.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Sunday, January 31, 2016

My Kondo moment

Do you use tailors' tacks or tracing paper? Both?

Looking at my tailors' tacks today, I recalled the first time I saw one.

My cousin (about 20 years older than me), was sewing a dress for herself. She left mid-project for some reason and I tried to 'help' her while she was away.

I had seen her clip threads and throw away stray bits of thread. There were so many bits of white thread on her dark dress pieces. I carefully picked them all out and put them in the trash can for her. Wasn't I a helpful child?   ;-)

Between the western and lunar new years, I usually do a bit of decluttering and cleaning.  This year, it seems like people have been hit by KonMari fever.  I was always a little bit like her, but not quite so extreme.

Where others read a how-to manual for discarding things, I read a coming of age story of a young girl, finding her place in the world.  The story of her sneaking into her brother's room to declutter it for him reminds me of my misguided attempt to help my cousin.

The story of her spending recess in the classroom to rearrange the book shelves broke my heart.

What did you get out of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up?

While I was walking, sewing and cooking today, I reflected upon my own stuff diet.  Things have not worked out quite how I expected.  Both my parents downsized and I took home a carload of sentimental stuff.

Somehow, we accreted a second home and filled it.

[I feel at peace about this.  Scientists have so few job opportunities in the US today, living apart from spouses who are also scientists is not uncommon.  It's not what we would choose, but it is the our reality.]

I also know that this is a temporary living arrangement.  When DD graduates from high school (only 16 more months!), we will all live together again.  Bad Dad and I have made mental lists of what we will move from LA to Boulder, what we will store, and what we will pitch.  On each of my trips to LA, we sort through a different area of the house.

The KonMari method sounds cathartic, but is binging and purging ever environmentally sound?  Wouldn't it be better to not have over-consumed in the first place?  Supposing one has moderately over-consumed, wouldn't it be better to 'use it up' gradually (stuff diet) instead of throwing it all away (purging)?

Stuff from my parents' and in-laws' homes and our own excess stuff came in handy when furnishing and equipping our Boulder home.  I also frequented thrift and consignment stores in Boulder.  When we merge households, duplicate but not sentimental stuff will go back to thrift stores.

Meanwhile, I'm dreaming of a time when we will take long foreign family vacations again.  When that time comes, these hidden travel pockets will come in handy.

Where do you fall on the continuum?

Minimalism or maximalism?

Are you the type to "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" or to make a clean sweep of excess stuff?

Joan Acocella's take in The New Yorker: Let it go

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Behind the walls

Remember this picture from The Pillow Zoo?

In November, Bad Dad helped me mount a television on a column.  You can see it in the mirror.  The two columns looked like this mid-construction.  If you blow it up the picture, you can see the black coaxial cables, blue Cat 6 and white electricity lines snaking through the soffits and columns.
In a concrete building like this, you can't run the electricity through the floors and ceilings.  We had to really think through where we wanted infrastructure, and how to route it.

My contractor asked me where I wanted to put the TV.  I replied that I didn't have one, but might like a wall-mounted one on the column on the right, which contains one of the four support posts in my condo.  They built out the R column to match the size of the L column, which contains the HVAC water pipes and fan.

They knew that you can't hang TVs off an aluminum studs, so they faced the Al studs with wooden 2x4s.  They also put wooden boards between the Al studs in the kitchen soffit, so I can mount pot racks.  I didn't have the experience to know these things, but I'm glad that I worked with people who were paying attention to these details during construction.

Do you want to see more photos of how we built infrastructure behind the walls?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Pillow Zoo

I'm so happy to finally sew up the pair of 2AB pillows.  This completes the zoo of 7 pillows I made for the Boulder home.  Sometimes, it seemed like a slog, even though I generally enjoy knitting and sewing.  Having the unfinished pillows around my home felt like an obligation and took some of the joy out of my hobbies.
They are really pretty and made curling up on the sofa to read or stream Broadchurch this weekend a pleasure.  (There are some nasty bugs going around locally and I thought it was a good idea to lie low while everyone is sick and possibly contagious.)
While I had the camera out, I took some daylight pictures of the two knitted bolsters seen earlier in 3 Pillows.  Wow, I've had the pumpkin Japanese dobby fabric* and pillow forms since at least November 2014.
The bolsters are perfect for softening the rectangular edges of my sofa and sectional.
The living room pillow zoo.

* I purchased the black dobby fabric here.  I got the pumpkin one at Momen+ in Torrance, which doesn't have a website, but ships to customers all over.  The fabrics are from the same manufacturer in Japan, but I paid $24/yd in Boulder and $16/yd in Torrance.

I've sewn all of the expensive Japanese fabric I picked up at Momen's sale.  I already showed the ones sewn up while in LA.  I'll show the other completed dobby project later.

I may have also enabled Leah by introducing her to Momen on our recent walking tour of Torrance.

Friday, January 22, 2016

BMGM gets around

When I started this blog, I was working for a military lab.  The security folks took a dim view of splashing the names of their scientists around the web unnecessarily.  Now that I am working for an National Science Foundation (NSF) lab, that is not a problem.

In case you can't get enough of me, I write under my own name at the NCAR Research Data Archive Blog about data and science.  I also contribute to LA Observed, where you can find me in the Native Intelligence section.

My latest posts at both places:

The latter one allows me to repost one of my favorite pictures.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

More Sewn Goods

This weekend, I sewed a bunch of things that I need around the house besides the visual pun apron.

Kathleen Fasanella calls her book, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing, because .sewn. goods includes a great many things that are not garments for humans. If you look around your world, you'll notice how many things are sewn. Garment manufacturing has largely moved overseas, but there are still state-side opportunities for manufacturers of niche sewn goods.

Of course, we can be our own manufacturers.

I made two yoga straps, 3 napkins and a lunch bag from the retro aqua fabric. I also refashioned one of Bad Dad's holey T-shirts* into a cover for my heating pad and sewed a curtain to cover the hallway linen closet. The 2AB pillow covers are on my sewing table and should be finished this weekend.

The eagle-eyed may notice the vintage Calvin Klein blouse pattern on the napkins.  I'm trying to figure out what to make with my 1.5 yards of 54" wide blue/black Tana Lawn.

* The bottom parts of his Ts tend to be fine, while the top develops holes.  Why is that?  I cut the top parts with holes into rectangular-ish pieces to use instead of paper towels.  100% cotton can be composted.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Visual Pun Apron

I put my keys and quarters in my apron pocket when I go down the hall to do my laundry at the condo. But, where do I put the keys when I wash the apron? Now that I have two kitchens, I clearly need more aprons.

I got a bargain on this retro waitress quilting calico years ago. I thought it would be punny to sew an apron using fabric with women with aprons on them.

I used my free apron pattern, with a slightly shorter neck strap.  I made the center pocket a wee bit bigger, to hold my phone.

Have I shown you the view from my ironing board?

Or from the sewing machine?

Or from the breakfast counter?

I've set up my sewing area so I can work efficiently in the condo. But, I'm still fine-tuning where the notions live.
If I turn around, I have another cart full of sewing supplies, which hides behind the sofa and TV.

The blue rack of clear drawers moved with me from Boulder to LA and back again! I'm astonished that the plastic hasn't cracked yet.