Thursday, June 25, 2009

now THAT's niche

Call for gay erotic steampunk fiction. Joy, are you paying attention?

(I guess I could rewrite some Trace/Boz stuff as slash.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bernina geekery II: the addiction

I just went to my friendly local Bernina dealer and spent over $350 on sewing machine feet.

That's the cost of one PVC Harley Quinn costume. And none of the stuff I bought, ironically, is to help with the construction of those costumes.

Bear with me for a minute, I'm still experiencing vertigo.

Okay. Better.

Y'all may remember last September, when I detailed all my recent sewing accessory acquisitions?

Now I have more.

  • The one I originally went looking for was a "lap seam" foot, for making flat-felled seams. I'd been planning to do those on my upcoming Power Girl costume, to build some structure and visual interest into the front of the bodysuit (note the irony of anyone noticing how Power Girl's costume is constructed). I've been so pleased with the results of the narrow-hem foot, I figured this would be a good timesaver, too. Not too pricey: $28.99.

  • Another thing I've wanted for a while: a sliding buttonhole foot. This has a little gauge on it so you can set it to the desired buttonhole length, and grippy rubbery stuff on the bottom of the sliders so the fabric can't slip. Of course, I don't have an automatic-buttonhole-making machine, so I can use all the fabric-guiding assistance I can get. I have a vague memory of using one of these on my grandmother's old machine and it was awesome. I didn't intend to buy this today, but the shop had one out of the box so the clerk sold it to me for about half price: $25.

  • Something I ran across while doing research on the lap seam foot: The "wide ruffler" foot. Simple. Elegant. Efficient. Relatively cheap: $21.99.

  • This is where it gets painful. Have you ever bound the edges of anything in bias tape? I have a bias-tape maker, one of those metal things you pull the fabric through and iron as you go, but that still means I have to cut, press, and stitch twice to bind an edge. This little doodad does the folding and stitching in a single pass. I don't remember what I was stitching, a couple weeks ago, but I distinctly remember thinking there must've been an easier way. And Lo and Behold, Bernina comes out with this new gadget for home sewers. And boy, are they proud of it: to the tune of $246.14. $264.13, if you count the foot number #94 that it must have to ride piggyback on. And I suppose I must count it, since I paid for it.

Still, I'm not complaining. I look at these little hunks of metal and I see time saved. Money for time: it's a fair trade. Plus, the girl in the sewing shop was really impressed with my business cards.

Friday, June 05, 2009

wheat vs. rice

An ongoing question I have had about low-carb diets is why the traditional-eating Chinese don't seem to get fat off rice.

Whole Health Source has a post from a year ago that points to a study I hadn't heard about, and he draws some fascinating conclusions from it.

It's one of these epidemiological studies where they try to divide subjects into different categories of eating patterns and see how health problems associate with each one. They identified four patterns: the 'macho' diet high in meat and alcohol; the 'traditional' diet high in rice and vegetables; the 'sweet tooth' pattern high in cake, dairy and various drinks; and the 'vegetable rich' diet high in wheat, vegetables, fruit and tofu. The only pattern that associated with obesity was the vegetable-rich diet. The 25% of people eating closest to the vegetable-rich pattern were more than twice as likely to be obese as the 25% adhering the least.

[...]In other words, wheat flour had replaced rice as their single largest source of calories.

[...]Wheat seems to destroy the metabolism of cultures wherever it goes. [...] Only in a culture transitioning to a more Western diet can you find a robust association like this.

Go there for more details.

*Sigh.* There's no getting around it. I'm gonna have to start baking my own bread. I don't know what the hell I'm going to bread my fried chicken with, though.