1. How to Become Interested

    Have you ever wished you were interested in in some subject? This post is made just for you.


    First you must select the topic that you are not interested in. This may be a painting, book, person, place, subject of study, or historic landmark. Then you must affirm that you are interested in becoming interested. Otherwise you would simply cast your gaze on the next subject and not bother with your disinterest.

    How interesting it is to be set to embark upon with interest what is as yet flatly uninteresting! Certainly more interesting than being interested in something interesting.

    You begin your voyage by formulating a question based on your disinterest. Why do you find the subject uninteresting? You may say, for example, if making a souffle seems too arduous and difficult to you to be interesting, “Why should anyone labor to make a stew fluffy?”. Now you are making progress.

    This will lead to other questions, such as who was the first to make a souffle and when and around what circumstances did souffles appear? Then when you have written down such questions you will want to satisfy your curiosity with some good, old-fashioned research/a quick Google search (unless you like Bing in which case you will undoubtedly Bing it).

    Congratulations! By virtue of your disinterest you have acquired curiosity. Once you are invested in the subject because you have answered the questions that sprang from your questions, you will have achieved at least a modest level of interest in a subject about which you are now knowledgeable.

    There are, one realizes when leafing through university course catalogs, two categories of disinterest. The first, which I shall call uninterest, consists of topics which are plainly uninteresting to you, and which you would skim over without the slightest pinch of regret. The second category, which I shall call disinterest, consists of subjects that you’d like to be interested in, but sadly cannot be because you know who you are a bit too well.

    However, the more you think about those topics belonging to the category of uninterest, the more you will find yourself befuddled. Most items you would have placed in the first category without thought upon thought seem like they more appropriately belong in the second category of disinterest.

    Stamps, I think. I would not enjoy being interested in stamps were I ever to try to be interested in them. Oh, but then…I think, maybe I would! They are small and paper, decorated with symbols, a product of history, and if you lick them they stick but can only be stuck once without ruining them. All interesting qualities, I must concede. I could collect them and organize them in a big book. Yes, stamps go in the second category.

    Likewise, hating some subject is no reason to stay uninterested in it. Hate is a powerful reason to become interested. Tears today are joys tomorrow. It is important to remember that you don’t have to LIKE something to be interested in it. This opens up worlds. In fact, I would go so far as to say that things you are interested in being interested in are actually things you are already interested in but do not like.

    I hope that I have solved all of your problems.

  2. 2 July 2012

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    Reblogged from

    no, you don’t get to call me that. my parents love me. i’m not some adult child of an alcoholic that’s gonna take that shit.

    — Tina Fey’s response to being called a ‘cunt’, from Bossypants. she’s my hero. (via kerbird)

  3. How to Alter a Vintage Wedding Dress

    Before you embark on a project like this, consider the number of steps.

    A lot of this required negotiation because the ways I would normally do something (bagging out for example) or things I wanted to do (add a high collar for example) were impossible because of the previous construction.

    *Pre-Step: got advice from every stitcher and patternmaker I know, which conflicted, but despite that was extremely helpful.

    1. Released hem, which included the lace fabric you can see and a stretch net lining that you can’t. The lining had shrunk and was pulling the lace into a bulbous shape. Took out horsehair from hem which was wonky from being shoved in a box or somethin. That’s the woven synthetic strip they use in these types of hems for shape. I released the Center Back seam as well which was contorting the dress because of lining shrinkage. Don’t wash a wedding dress, kids!

    Ironed/steamed dress thoroughly.

    2. Drew a new lowered neckline in thread, machine stitched just above it with a Wooly Nylon stretchy thread in bobbin to give some slight gathering and cut the new line. My friend and co-worker from the opera, Rachel, advised me throughout this operation. Then I cut a bias strip of netting to bind the neck. I stitched the strip to the seam, folded to encase the seam allowance, and hand stitched down. The dropped neckline gives the dress some ease of wear, reveals some skin, and makes the whole thing less stiff looking.

    (how to cut bias): 

    3. There is an internal bodice that pulls the dress in at chest and waist, and that was too small for my bride. So I opened it up, made a pattern for extensions, then cut those out of netting and sewed them in, and put in a new zipper (this is under the dress so it’s not visible in the pics, but is responsible for the fit) and a hook & eye at top.

    4. Shortened train, making a new shape for the hem. It was sort of impossible to mark white lace, so i just used pins and my eyes, and had to trust myself (new!)

    5. Removed adorable covered buttons and closures from sleeves. Marked (with a pencil, it bled through and I had to Shout it out) and sewed a line for new 3/4 length sleeves. Her arms were too large for original sleeve so I measured the extra width we needed, made a gusset pattern, cut and sewed net to extra cut lace (that we got when I cut the train) in that pattern shape, and sewed in the gussets. Turn turned (technical term) up sleeve hem to encase seam allowance and hand stitched.

    a turn turn: 

    6. Steamed bust. It was a little small and needed to be stretched. Both the lace and lining have give to them so I put the dress on a dummy, steamed and stretched the fabric over the dummy’s bust with my hands (this dummy and I get pretty intimate).


    Went to M&J trimming (trim mecca) in New York to find a lace finish. We got this lovely French lace that wasn’t cheap ($30 p/yd and we needed nearly 7!, but fortunately they give student discount and i, though not a student, have a student id ready to go for just such occasions) for the hem and sleeve hem. We got this piqued trim for the neckline that was pretty cheap (like $2 p/yd) also. It doesn’t look like much on the bolt, but it really makes a line pop! We got the rosette trim for the waistline (also expensive). Lauren (the commissioner) came with me to NY and we made all decisions jointly, and then she bought me ramen.

    8. Turned up hem of lace and handstitched. Turn turned up (technical term) hem of net lining and machine stitched.

    9. Sewed lace trim to hem. This took forever and involved blending in pieces of lace to each other to make a long enough length of trim. (a long enough length, talking about sewing is so funny). Each whipstitch I did was tiny and it had to be done at the top and bottom of the trim. Took 3 days. I borrowed Rachel’s intern for 1 of them. We needed extra length in the front so I positioned the trim to hang off the edge of the hem in the front and gradually blend into the hemline in the back.

    10. Sewed trim to sleeve hem, blending at seam.

    11. sewed single string of rosette trim at under bust.

    12. sewed piqued trim to neckline by hand.

    13. The back had been attached from neck until hip with hooks and eyes. I removed these. Then I took the closures that had been on the sleeve and sewed them to a strip of net spaced 1 and 1/2” apart with a zig zag by machine. I then sewed that strip to one side of the seam allowance at center back (“women are right on, men are leftover,” I said to myself while determining WHICH side). Then I sewed the little buttons to the other side. Then I sewed the remainder of the center back seam back together, net and lace joined.

    14. Then I got creative. Seeing that we had a lot of leftover trim, I started playing around with configurations on the dummy and came up with this bodice shape that you see in the photos and pieced it in, with a million pins and tiny stitches.


  4. Warning Signs

    Today I was charged with the task of writing some office etiquette signs for the Opera Company. The two problems at the shop are:


        not cleaning out fridge


      not keeping kitchen tidy

    I prepared to create a way of expressing these problems that would suit our philosophically minded staff.

    These are the messages I came up with:

    1. (for the refrigerator)

    Attn OCP Staff:

    You are what you eat.

    There are many things you’d like to be someday, but realistically won’t.

    When the current opera ends, so must these illusions.

    Free Your Food.

    2. (for the kitchen)

    Cleanliness is next to godliness

    The sponge is next to the faucet.

    The cabinet is above the sink.

    Cleanliness prevents joblessness,

    Among other things.

  5. The Mighty Hougan

    2/16/2012, after Hougan recommended a D.C. restaurant

    Mighty Hougan,
    Let me explain what happened, how events unfolded, action by action, so that you can fully understand how things ended up. 
    I had every intention of taking my sister to Two Amys. I left Philadelphia with my nose turned up at all the corner pizza shops (what is NYPD pizza doing in Philly, anyway?) thinking about certified pizza and olives. I read Murakami on the bus and made it to D.C. around 1:00pm. I ate a light lunch at Union Station and decided I’d better visit museums before checking into the hotel. 

    Read More

  6. The Mighty Hougan

    (from an email to Hougan, 3/4/11)

    I woke from a dream this morning of which the last line was, “Put that mozzarella on the wall; it will look professional”. And that sort of sums up where I am in life.

  7. Thought: sometimes you accidentally input an extra digit into the year: i.e., 19993 and you add 18,000 years on to now, and you realize that the year 19993 will one day exist and that time is a scary thing, indeed.

    — Microserfs (via charliehoey)

  8. this would make a great costume for beyonce. just sayin.

Leviathan in the Grand Palais in Paris by Anish Kapoor.
Photograph by Alexis Paoli.

    this would make a great costume for beyonce. just sayin.


    Leviathan in the Grand Palais in Paris by Anish Kapoor.

    Photograph by Alexis Paoli.

  9. This is amazing. This fellow is a great thinker!


    This is brilliant

  10. How to Learn to Make Clothing

    (I suppose you could just enroll yourself in a fashion program, but this is how I did it/am doing it)

    1. Free yourself from mental oppression

    2. Practice drawing, collect images, inspect your clothing. Buy fabric you won’t use for years but really like, try and mostly fail at teaching yourself how to sew, take something apart with the intention of altering it but fail to put it back together. Alter something by making it uglier or very very weird, by hand.

    3. Take any basic sewing class anywhere. Make a pillow case. Put a button on something. Insert a zipper.

    4. Buy a comprehensive sewing book with pictures. Like a thrift store 70s version of The Vogue Sewing Book. Things don’t change that much.

    5. Buy commercial patterns online and make them by following the directions. Always make a test garment out of muslin first.

    6. Make a friend who knows things that you don’t and bother that friend. Or call the Vogue helpline and bother a tech. Mine was named Donna and she was very patient.

    7. Alter your commercial patterns so the finished garment fits you perfectly. This will give you such satisfaction! Even if your garment isn’t so special, people will compliment it because they aren’t used to seeing things that actually fit people.

    8. Take an Intro to Patternmaking class at a fashion school.

    9. Buy a patternmaking book. It will tell you how to do just about everything.

    10. Get involved in something above your skill level. Like making a wedding dress out of live flowers and dupioni silk. 

    11. Give yourself creative projects and complete them. Try draping. Do that DIY style. Give yourself free range. Get weird. Make accessories and sell them somewhere.

    Make gifts for your friends. Like a drapey dress.

    Or a lion tamer’s jacket.

    12. Start getting paid to sew. It is a real motivating factor in the learning process. Find a wing to get under. Then find two or three.