Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

Your Wardrobe Unlock’d

So. I’ve been looking into making my own corsets, decided to just go ahead and do it - as I’m not finding modern bras very helpful to my back and certainly can’t afford to buy several corsets (I’m still planning on buying from Damsel in This Dress, which I meant to do a week or two ago and it slipped my mind, but I want to try making my own). I haven’t ordered any of the supplies just yet, but I did get the Truly Victorian corset pattern, as well as The Basics of Corset Building (and another Gogol Bordello CD and some books on badass women of the wild west. cough.) I am definitely looking forward to starting on these projects and in the meantime I stumbled on Your Wardrobe Unlock’d through the corsetmakers community on LJ. And there is a WEALTH of information on there. I got a one month subscription so I could see the article/lesson on drafting a Victorian corset to fit your measurements (which I haven’t even started yet, but it looks comprehensive from a quick skim through, and was recommended by several people on the LJ community). A quick look around the site reveals a wealth of information for anyone interested in costuming or period inspired garments - I was intending to cancel my subscription after a month but I think I’ll keep it, actually. I would definitely recommend it! I’m hoping to purchase the actual materials to make the corset as soon as I get a refund on a pair of shoes from eBay that didn’t fit. I am really excited about this project and will post updates with the progress once I get started!

In other news, I quit my job, but have several prospects lined up (and an interview that I’ll be heading to in a little less than an hour as well). Wish me luck!

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I got my Karmaloop order today! The purse is SO much cuter in person than in the pictures (which were kind of terrible, I got a little apprehensive after ordering it…). And the t-shirts fit great and are super-soft. mmm. the…scarf…thing on the gray one is a bit odd, but I figure if nothing else I can just pin it up and out of my way (maybe with my new vintage skeleton key stick pin!). Pictures will come later, my camera is dead at the moment, stupid batteries.

I also have some REALLY crummy effin’ news. I got a message yesterday from the eBay seller that I bought the Bronx boots from, saying that he had been out of town, got home, and his basement was flooded. ALL THE SHOES WERE RUINED. argh. Once the refund goes through, I think I’ll get these shoes instead, probably in black-on-black. I like the coffee color a lot but don’t think it’d much match anything I own (and I don’t like that the wedge is a different color than the rest), and the silver ones are cool but a bit…cyber-y. I wish the black ones had more of the Asian feel…the chocolate ones really remind me of Firefly and Serenity. Which is an awesome source of fashion inspiration for me.

Speaking of inspiration, I’ve spent the last several days looking at steampunk photos and I love it! Most of it, anyways, I’m not a fan of the whole beige and brown color scheme. I’ve just realized I have a love for Victorian inspired things (Moulin-Rouge style burlesque, gothic lolita, now steampunk…) but I especially love the mixing of random things like gears and etc. in. And skeleton keys. I’ve always had a thing for skeleton keys and now I’m itching to put them on everything. Well, not everything, but I could certainly do with a necklace, and I’ve also got a neat idea for a purse and a wrist-cuff sort of thing.

I’ve done a lot of DIYing the last week or two (and have more to come - several ideas in mind) and have a good photo of one:

That’s really the only picture out of the lot that turned out well, I’ve already posted pictures of the pink circle skirt, and I made a black and blue Moulin Rouge inspired skirt, but the pictures I have of it are rather crap so I’ll just post it when I get better pictures. I also trimmed up the petticoat so it’s not quite so long (and also more even - not sure how the hell that happened but I had one section that was like, 2″ longer than the rest).

I hope everyone else had a great weekend!

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Daily Outfit 1/1/2009

What I wore to bring in the New Year…

no talking in the library!

no talking in the library!

The pencil skirt is from, $14.99 on clearance and about $20 with shipping, it arrived the 30th.  Although I was really confused because it came in an box with a Target sticker on the side - I didn’t see the sticker and was like “umm…I didn’t order anything from Amazon…what?!”. The shirt is the DIY’d button up from Old Navy. Stencilling tutorial coming tomorrow probably. That backpatch is from my very first Clash shirt ever. *sniff* It’s getting a bit ragged.

kind of funny since the only place I actually went was to the mall to hang out for, like, two hours with some of my friends. It was quite entertaining - I don’t go shopping much any more (offline at least), and after nearly two years of the crazy hair I don’t know if I’ve just become completely oblivious to the stares or if I just wasn’t paying attention, but Alicia found the amount of stares highly amusing. Apparently, while we were eating, a woman was walking by and stared the whole way, craning her neck eventually…about to turn a corner, she looked away from me, then paused, took a few steps back, and looked again. As if it was an optical illusion. Heh.

Also - I touched up my hair (which is a pity because the bottom had FINALLY faded to pink, sigh) and got it cut, in case you can’t tell. It’s not too different in the front but muccccch shorter in the back.

I’ve done a LOT of sewing the past couple of days, and pictures will definitely be up before the end of the weekend. In the meantime, to tide you over…

he doesnt quite understand sharp objects yet...

he doesn't quite understand "sharp objects" yet...

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so maybe…

I fibbed a little when I said regular posting would resume after Christmas. For sure after the New Year, though.

I’m touching up my hair right now, and my hands look like I strangled a smurf. As soon as the stain fades it’s inevitably time to touch it up again, sigh.

I saw a post a while ago at Style Discovery about using Picasa for fashion blogging purchases. I thought of it while reading a post at Fabulously Broke in the City entitled Assess Your Personal Style. One of the things she suggests is making an inspiration folder (which I already have, of course!), and then making a collage out of it - to see what you’re drawn to and like in clothing. Her’s had things like “dresses with belts”, “black and cream”, mine ended up just being a collage of the places I get inspiration from. Oh well.

Inspiration Board

Inspiration Board

you can click on it to go to a bigger image. What’s kind of sad is that I ended up being able to fit less than half of the pictures on it, hahaha.

I got some DIYing done today, here’s pictures of my new skirt:

I’m also planning on trying to fix another skirt (which turned out HIDEOUS - really bad!), and stencilling that shirt that I mentioned. I’ll probably take pictures of the process and have a tutorial for freeze-paper stencilling up…hopefully before the end of the week. But no promises.

Oh - and I got my new boots from Payless today, you can see them in the picture (along with the thrifted belt I mentioned a few posts ago). I was surprised at the speed of shipping, since est. arrival time was 5-7 business days (or maybe 7-10…don’t remember) from date of purchase. I bought these Christmas Eve and they got here today. Awesome! They are REALLY comfortable too. I’ll keep Payless in mind when looking for bargain shoes from here on out - I was worried they’d be really cheap looking or uncomfortable, but they fit great, they look great, they feel great. No worries at all!

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Petticoat/Circle Skirt Tutorial

Since I wrote it up for Craftster, I thought I’d post it here too :) This is a tutorial to make a petticoat (also called a crinoline) like I posted yesterday - one that can be worn as a skirt, as well as being worn under other items to give them poof and body. So I guess it could also be called a pettiskirt. Anyways, without further ado:

1. The first step is to construct the underskirt. I used satin, you can really use whatever you want as long as it’s opaque. Figure out how long you want it to be (I made mine a little above knee length) first, and then cut out the fabric. I used my favorite method for making a circle skirt which is this:

2. Since I was using satin, I immediately serged the edges, which if you have a serger and are using satin I HIGHLY recommend. That stuff frays like nobody’s business. Then, you’ll cut a piece of elastic a few inches shorter than your waist measurement, and a piece of fabric that’s about 2.5 times the width of your elastic, and several inches longer than your waist measurement!! This is important, because I was a ditz and made it only an inch or two longer than my waist measurement, and now it will only fit over my boobs if I’m not wearing a bra, and won’t go over my ass at all. Just sayin’. Keep it in mind. Then you’ll fold the fabric over, stitch along the edge, turn it inside out (or not - I just sewed wrong sides together since the bottom of the elastic is under the skirt anyways, so I saved myself a step), and put the elastic through it. It might take a while. I’ll wait.

3. Now, you’ll pin and sew the long tube you just made to your circle skirt and stitch! I just left the hem of the skirt serged and didn’t officially hem it because a. I am lazy and b. it’s under a freakin’ pound of tulle anyways, so nobody knows but me.

4. Here comes the fun part. THE TULLE. Woo-hoo. Okay, you’ll cut out two pieces of tulle TWICE as long as your waist measurement and several inches long (depends on how many tiers you want to do - I did three tiers, so I my top two tiers were 7″ long and the bottom was 8.5″, as you saw, this resulted in a skirt a little longer than knee length). There can be several variations from what I did at this step - if you’d like, you could do three times your waist length for a really poofy tullemonster. Or sandwich in a layer of lace betwen the two layers of tulle for some added fanciness and opacity, or just do another layer of tulle. And of course it’s possible to vary the length of the tier. At any rate, now it’s time to run it through the sewing machine on a basting stitch - I used a 4mm stitch. Leave longggg trails of thread at the end. Now go look at one of those ends, and tug on each of the threads. One of the threads should start gathering the fabric when you tug on it. Tug and tug and tug some more, even out the gathering as you go, until the gathered edge of the tulle is as long as your waist measurement. Set this aside for now, someplace where the damn cat won’t get ahold of it and break the threads, undoing your hard work. Luckily for me, he only got the last four inches or so.

ALTERNATELY: If you are a lucky lucky person who owns a ruffler foot and knows how to use it, just fiddle around with the settings until you get a setting that gathers to the needed amount (i.e., can take a 10″ strip of fabric and turn it into a 5″ strip of ruffled fabric). Or you can do as I did, which involved having trouble with the ruffler foot, swearing loudly at the sewing machine, and grumpily resigning yourself to hand-gathering. Whatever works.

5. Now, take the length of the last piece of tulle that was cut cut, pre-gathering, and double that (we’ll call the resulting measurement x). Cut out two 7″ by x” pieces of tulle, and do the basting stitch along one edge again. Now, you’ll gather it to the original length of the first piece of tulle. This would probably be a good time to put on some Buffy or something, because it could take a while. Once you get done gathering it, pin it and sew it to the bottom layer of the first tier.

6. This time, you’ll take the length of the second tier pre-gathering and double it (measurement x). Cut out two pieces of tulle that are 8.5″ by x”, and baste one edge. Gather it until the gathered edge is the same length as the pre-gather length of the second tier (this will take a WHILE - I reiterate my suggestion to put a dvd on or something), and pin it and sew it to the bottom layer of the second tier. Confused? Hopefully this will help:

Now you’ve got a nearly constructed skirt - all you have to do is sew up the side of all three tiers, and then pin the top gathered edge to the foundation skirt you made, right under the waistband. Sew that all up, and then bam! Put on your petticoat and twirl around!

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first off, the dress! which is darker in real life but shows up VERY aqua with flash, go figure.

as you can see, it kind of wants to bunch a bit in the back. I think some double sided tape will be in order on the big day.

here’s the crinoline (pettiskirt?):

ps- I do not recommend twirling in heels. those are relatively small heels and I almost fell over when I tried to walk straight.

and the Day of the Dead skirt I finished tonight!

with the petticoat underneath. It was kind of funny because both the petticoat and the day of the dead skirt, I kept thinking, oh my god, I wasted all that time, these look TERRIBLE! (with the sugar skull skirt, I kept thinking I looked like a kindergarten teacher, hah) and then I looked at the pictures and I was like - hey! that’s exactly what I wanted it to look like! sweet! This is one reason we need to get a full length mirror. I wonder if that ever happens to other crafters? Probably not ones who have mirrors!

and now for some gratuitous cute! (yes, again. this may well become a regular feature haha.)

I’m about to hunker down myself for the night. The weather is nastaaaaay out there (looks like there’s already an inch of ice on the roads) and the high tomorrow is supposed to be 23 degrees. LAME. It’s not supposed to get above freezing until Thursday, and then it’s supposed to rain all day. At any rate, let’s just hope we don’t lose electricity for several days like has happened to a lot of people the last two years with the ice storms. The one we got two years ago when I was still living with my parents, we were out for four days! yuck! But yes, hunkering is about to commence. Hope everyone elses’ weather is better than mine!

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The Joys of Vintage Sewing Machines

When I started this blog, I meant to post a lot more DIY. I had tutorials in mind and everything. Unfortunately, since starting my new job (which, as you may recall, happened around the same time as the beginning of this blog), I really haven’t had a lot of time for DIYing. It makes the heart sad. I promise I’ll try my best to have at least ONE tutorial up before Christmas, even if it’s a totally simple cop-out one like shredding your tights ;) But today, I’ll be writing about a topic near and dear to my dorky little heart: vintage sewing machines.

“What?!”, you say. “Why by vintage?! I can get a new one for $60 at Wal-Mart!”

True, you can. Also true is that the $60 machine from Wal-Mart will most likely have trouble sewing through two layers of denim. Recall the post where I mentioned my vintage sewing machine sewing through four layers of leather with no problem.

That, my friends, is just one reason to buy vintage. Older machines, like many things “back in the day”, were made to be repaired, not replaced. There are several machines which have all-metal gears, which lets them sew through just about anything you’ll need to sew through. They’re usually cheaper than new machines if you can find them in the right spots, and you’re also being sustainable by buying something that a. would have been thrown away normally and b. won’t be thrown away for years if cared for properly, unlike a lot of the “plastic wonders”.

Now that we’ve got the benefits down, here’s more information:

Vintage machines are NOT more likely to break down if you get the right one. If a machine with all metal parts is taken care of properly (yes, you will have to oil it from time to time) it can last ages. Hence why these machines I have are running better than the plastic Brother I was given for Christmas 2-3 years ago. They’re also REALLY easy to fix on your own and most of the time just need some lubrication in the right spots. If you are willing to put two hours tops of reading information about fixing the machine and then doing it, you can fix a good amount of the problems you will run into. Parts can be an issue, but unless the machine in question is very rare, it’s less of a problem finding parts and more that they might be expensive. They don’t have a lot of fancy stitches but really, I never end up using even the embroidery cam stitches except for very rare occasions anyhow. People want fancy stitches but unless you KNOW you will be doing something other than just straight stitch and zig-zag, don’t waste your money.

I would recommend anything from the Singer 400 or 500 line (these come in a beige casing and have the model number on the front, above the stitch length selector), any of the Viking 6000 lines, hell if you can find a Singer 15 (the machine in your link looks like a S-15) or Singer 15 clone for cheap, snatch it up. Older Kenmores are good too. I believe that plastic machines weren’t commonly made until the ’60s, the Viking I have that’s from around 1977 is mostly metal though. Anything from the 50’s is a pretty sure bet. Places to check include Craiglist, garage sales, and thrift stores. The Salvation Army here gets new ones on a weekly basis, and they’re never more than $40 (most of them have the cabinet too). It might be different depending on the location though. But either way, it’s hard to find even the best vintage machines for more than $200 and you can NOT find a plastic new machine for the same price that is anywhere near the same quality or durability. One of the reasons they started making plastic machines is because you can keep the metal machines going for generations (obviously) if you take good care of them. Which isn’t good for business, haha.

Machines that I have:

1953 Mercury Sewing Machine

1953 Mercury Sewing Machine

Faceplate of Mercury machine

Faceplate of Mercury machine

Like the caption says, this is a 1953 Mercury machine. A Singer 15 clone (the S-15 machines are very similar in body style and sometimes decals). $25 off Craigslist. I can’t find a cabinet to put her in :( I named her Sylvia!

Vintage Viking 6440 Colormatic

Vintage Viking 6440 Colormatic

Like I mentioned before, this is probably from around 1977. One of the reasons I named it Vivienne. (You should know why! ;) ) It has several built-in stitches, cams that give it more stitches (both functional and embroidery), and has a low-torque function that is awesome and makes it possible to sew through some pretty thick stuff. This is the one I fixed my handbag with. I found it on eBay and paid around $50 with shipping, for it and lots of accessories/most of the available cams. It didn’t have a foot pedal and the foot pedals normally run $85ish, but at that time there HAPPENED to be one on eBay for $25 w/shipping. Meant to be, right?

Singer Rocketeer 500A

Singer Rocketeer 500A

This is a late 50’s/early 60’s machine. These are GREAT machines! No belt, gear driven, so it can sew through damn near anything. This was $35 off Craigslist.

Machines that you should watch for!

Singer Slant-O-Matic 503A

Singer Slant-O-Matic 503A

This is a machine I used to have, that I sold on eBay. $20 at the Salvation Army, WITH a cabinet. The Slant-O-Matics are in the same line as the Rocketeers and are also great machines.

Singer 400 machine

Singer 400 machine

Singer 400. Same machine as the Rocketeer in a different casing. The 400 series style is more like this - any of them are great, they’re all the gear driven ones. The 300 series looks similar, some of them are black, and are also worth buying, I think they may be only straight stitch machines, not sure if they use cams.

Bernina 830

Bernina 830

Bernina 830. If you see any old looking Bernina machine, it’s worth buying. The 830 is just particularly coveted.

I hope my post has been of some helpfulness! Vintage sewing machines are SO worth it, even if it needs fixed up a bit after being purchased. These machines have already lasted 30-40+ years and will probably last a lifetime if cared for properly. The benefits of a vintage sewing machine far outweigh any small shortfalls.

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what is the reasoning…

behind someone buying a leather jacket, that looks EXACTLY like most of the leather jackets out there, typical moto style, at a thrift store for $20 tops, and then trying to sell it on eBay for $200? Seriously?

I’ve been looking on eBay for moto jackets, since that Wet Seal one I was going to buy (for $26.50…sigh) is apparently discontinued. And of course the cheapest one in cotton that I can find is like $50-60 bucks, and the leather ones are higher. LAME. Time to hit the thrift stores, I guess! It doesn’t even have to be that particular style, but I REALLY need a black jacket since all my current ones (ha, I say that like I have a lot, I have all of two) are either army green or camo.

Anyways, here’s some pictures of how my Halloween costume turned out:

Those heels are the Hot Topic ones I mentioned the other day. I made the mistake of wearing them because I didn’t think they’d be THAT bad and I thought they’d look better than my flats. IT WAS HELL. Jesus. Never again with the ill-fitting, sweaty-footed, lacking-arch uncomfortable cheap heels. And I have a coworker who doesn’t understand being willing to plunk down $100 for a pair of shoes.

Anyways, I made the dress today last minute and was surprised at how well it came together. Usually when I procrastinate it has terrible results. It’s not particularly flattering on me at the moment, since straight up and down dresses are not made for girls with curves, but I’m planning on taking it in, turning the neckline into a sweetheart style, and splattering it with bleach. Should be def. wearable after that.

It was pretty funny today, I couldn’t help but laugh. I’m not sure how the subject came up, but at work I mentioned to a male coworker that I’m spending a lot of my first paycheck on clothes as a lot of my closet doesn’t fit any more or isn’t flattering. He goes “Oh, you lost weight?”. I laughed and said “No, I gained weight.” (insert face of “oh my I just made a faux-pas” here) “You look fine!” “Haha, well, I just gained about 20 pounds, and only put about an inch on my waist, the rest went to my butt and here.” *gestures at chest* He leans over and says “Your boyfriend must be very happy!”. It was hilarious, just the way he said it. I told him Matt thinks it’s great, but he doesn’t have to buy the new clothes, and he told me he thinks Matt should chip in. Fantastic idea, no? ;)

Although, I guess it’s not just the fitting issue that’s making me want to do this - for the LONGEST time I literally could not afford new clothes. If I got anything it was once every few months and it was definitely from thrift store (or like, a half off of clearance promo plus my employee discount at Hot Topic). While I worked at Target I could go shopping and afford it sometimes, but from when I quit there in April (for that STUPID barista job that turned out to be a huge bust - thanks to the lying asshole manager who wanted to pay us less than minimum wage) to now, money has been so tight I couldn’t even think about buying nice shoes or any new clothes or anything, really. And it’s been made worse by the fact that I HATED borrowing money when I was out of a job, after the barista job, so for about two months (until I started working at HT again, which wasn’t exactly oodles of money anyways) I was pretty much living off my credit card. That wasn’t helped by the fact that in the same timeframe our ASSHOLE roommate decided to move out the day before rent was due and that meant I had to buy some stuff for the apartment and put it on my credit card. I did make a few frivolous purchases, but it was seriously mostly things like food and gas. You know, the petty little things. And after starting school, I was wearing a school t-shirt and black pants most of the day Monday through Friday, so it was really easy to just throw those on without thinking and then just throw on a different t-shirt when I got home. About two months or so ago I started to realize that it just kind of made me sad, because I used to really enjoy putting together outfits and here I was just throwing whatever on, and I couldn’t buy anything to help because I didn’t have the money. Only when I went through my closet did I realize how bad it had gotten, how nothing in there fit any more and I hadn’t noticed due to wearing the same things every day. That, and buying a pair of jeans that actually fit, and didn’t cut into my waist and hips, and remember what it was like to have clothes that FIT and don’t make you feel like a fat lump of lard. So, I am so excited to have actual options. I will still, unfortunately, be spending a lot of my day in uniform (polo and khakis…awesome) but two days out of my work-week I should be able to wear nearly anything I want, and of course there’s my days off too!

Wow, I totally did not mean to write a novel about my financial history, haha. It’s off to bed for me now though, Matt’s already there and I wouldn’t want to leave him snuggleless. Hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween/Samhain!

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apparently I am way behind the times

Because I just NOW realized that the Soviettes broke up. (well, went on an undefined hiatus and have stated they probably won’t end the hiatus…). IN 2006. WHERE WAS I AT DURING THIS?!

That makes me so sad. They were such a good band. Also, I want ALL of the clothes from this video. Freaking all of them. Watching it has reignited my want for a pair of zebra print pants/leggings. There’s an American Apparel pair but $42 for a pair of leggings is a bit much…however the reviews say they aren’t see through so I could use ‘em as pants too. I don’t know, I’ll debate overpriced leggings later. ;)

I guess the DIY day is off - Courtney’s being forced to do laundry instead and Coni is keeping her company. Which is TOTALLY lame and a whole ‘nother rant. Not mad at them, but at the situation, I guess. I can definitely at least get my skirt done today…so I guess I’ll go off to have at least an hour of productivity and probably post again later tonight.

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Time Management: fail

My outfit today is definitely my laziest and most casual yet.

(running late so you’ll just have to make do with the head-cut-offed-ness as I don’t have time to take another)

Shirt: thrifted and stencilled by me (hard to see in this picture, but it has a picture of Mal and says “I aim to misbehave”.

Skirt: was on sale at Target, cut off and bleach stencilled by me

Hoodie: got on clearance, I cut down the middle today intending to put in a zipper only to find out that none of the zippers I have fit. as it’s still raining outside I am not giving up the only thick hood I have. so pfffbtthh (that was supposed to be me blowing a raspberry) to zippers.

I was wearing my dad’s old Army jacket but I decided it wasn’t THAT cold outside. and it made me feel SUPERRRRRR bulky.

scarf crocheted by me and boots off eBay.

I was going to wear a tank top I have with sugar skulls all over it and whip up a leather obi belt to wear over that, with the same skirt/hoodie/jacket combo, but I a. ran out of time (hence the name), and b. decided a longer sleeved shirt would be more comfy. Also, I got the obi belt part cut, and then realized that there’s not really enough leather to do the ties with without having to cut several lengths and sew them together, and that seems like it’d be a bad idea, as it’s garment weight leather so I’d think it’d stretch and tear really easily. Not sure if I’m being paranoid though. I’ll save the main part and decide if I want to use some upholstery (zebra print) fabric I have or maybe something else. I’m totally broke and want to be able to wear it soon so I can’t go out and buy materials, which means I’ve gotta get creative.

Another example of time management fail: I was almost late to work because of typing this, haha. Also, an epic fail in general - turns out I should have worn the jacket over my hoodie because it was FUCKING FREEZING outside.

and a random insight before going to bed - we did some market segments today in our training class and they consisted of Buzz (young males, interested in gadgets, lots of expendable income), some other generic male name I forgot that was older males with families, Ray (who represents empty nesters), and Jill. The one market segment that had a female name was defined by her kids - there’s toddler Jill, child Jill, tween Jill, and teen Jill. The instructor was like “now, not all Buzzes are male” but I just found that kind of interesting/annoying.

Anyways! BED AT LAST! (or after going through my google rss reader and catching up)

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