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Secrets in the desk drawer

Remember the vintage desk that followed me home?  The one I bought at the Grady Hunt estate sale?   I had all the best intentions in the world to sell it, but then didn’t have the heart.  Now I know why.

The Lake Balboa Bungalow has one small bathroom and with two preening girls in the house – it was mandatory that we each have an area in our boudoirs dedicated to all things pretty.

Thing 2 wanted the new desk –  the pretty, girly Grady Hunt desk.  It seemed fitting for an aspiring actress to acquire a desk that belonged to a famous costume designer.  My old, kidney shaped desk has been with me a long, long time –  it has served me well and it seemed right that I remain  faithful so I placed it in my room.

Moving is hard on everything.  I think I mentioned that I packed everything to withstand the space shuttle launch.  I only lost two cheap glass vases in the move,– thankfully none of my lovely milk glass.  But the movers, as good as they were, left a big, nasty gouge in the Grady Hunt desk, a large scrape in my kidney shaped desk and a gouge in the floor.   I sent them pictures and they sent over their repair guy who was the bomb.  Joseph fixed the gouge in my wood floor – I couldn’t even tell where it was.  I believe he’s capable of restoring historic masterpieces – so fine was his work.

In order to fix the gouge in the Grady Hunt desk, Joseph had to take it back to his shop to sand it down.  I helped him remove the drawers since he wouldn’t be needing those.  As I removed the last drawer, I could see that there were some papers that had fallen back and got stuck behind.

Expecting just junk, I was stunned to find nothing less than the last will and testament of Grady Hunt and William Jobe, Jr.  The two wills, dated 4 August, 1956 were folded together and cited each other as the executor of their wills.  How lovely.  Two men, whose relationship in 1956 surely would not have been publicly accepted, obviously had formed a deep and meaningful bond.

I wondered about what their lives must have been like.  As a costume designer, Grady might have been suspected to be gay, possibly whispered about in hushed tones or alluded to with a laugh.  While there was probably more tolerance in the Hollywood community than elsewhere, I’m not sure that the two would have been open about their relationship.  Did they attend glamorous Hollywood parties together?

I wondered how these two met.  I searched census data and found the records of the parents William cited in his will.  William was born and raised in Tulsa Oklahoma – how did he find his way to Hollywood?

And I wondered about their love.  Grady’s will is marked again at the bottom of the will with a date of February 8th, 1976.  Did their love last over 20 years?  I want to believe this!  I want to believe that these two men lived glamorous, happy and love filled lives.

And the desk, which spoke to me before, tells me this is so.

Mermaid Costume

Every year I make Thing 2’s Halloween costume… except the one year she wanted to buy a princess costume but when someone else showed up in the same outfit, we went back to making our own. She has been a dead cheerleader, a rock n roller, a pirate and a zombie girl. This year… she wanted to be a mermaid… (technically it’s her fourth time as a mermaid) The first mermaid costume was worn until it was literally in shreds. So since we’ve done this a few times, I printed off some images of mermaid costumes to use as inspiration to see what direction she wanted to go.  Now someone else has already done a bang up job explaining how they did it (Ms. Mod Mischief) so the full credit and instructions are here. I did mine differently but you use what you got and that’s what I did.  The concept and basic construction is the same.
Here’s Things 2 costume – which was completed down to the wire.  She was involved in making all the various parts and it turned out (if I don’t say so myself) pretty darn good. I think she’s the cutest mermaid caught by a Pirate/Fisherman I ever did see!
We attended the PALLOWEEN Halloween event at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. Dr. Malibu said it was evident she was going to win.  Thing 2 was stopped every few steps by people gushing over her costume.  And she did win– 1st prize for her age division, but she won my heart a long time ago!

Graduation Dress – Ditching the Design

Thing 2 was busy with gymnastics and school and since she was apprehensive about the first dress design, I went ahead and finished the sun dress version in the Hawaiian print – coaxing her to try it on at various intervals so I could really customize the fit.

Without being able to see the final version and having absolutely no trust in my skills and taste, Thing 2 picked out another pattern.   Experience has taught me not to fight the process.  After all, when you’re teaching someone to sew, you have to ensure that the project will be successful and that the end result be something she could be proud about.  This time, I didn’t have Thing 2 around to help me (child of divorce and all) so I whipped up the muslin and sewed it up so she could try it on.   It was a unanimous YES!  The simple muslin fabric looked GORGEOUS on her!  Excited with our new beginning I cut out two sets of fabrics from the pattern to got ready to sew.  Graduation is just around the corner so Thing 2 might not get a chance to sew her own graduation dress, but at least the lesson of what you can do will be learned.

Meanwhile, the original dress in the Hawaiian print was turning out darn pretty cute.  The dress begged for a little more pizzazz so I edged the neck and armholes with a thin bias tape that I made from scraps of white fabric and one of my Clover Bias Tape makers.  Mr. Malibu was concerned when he first saw the dress – got to give him props for noticing that the front panels don’t match.  I didn’t put a lot of effort into this dress as I suspect Thing 2 won’t ever wear it.  I was limited with a short amount of fabric and it was more an exercise than completing for garment that would be actually worn.  She doesn’t wear dresses very often.
Hopefully I’ve alleviated Mr. Malibu’s fears, because he wants a shirt made, with monogrammed cuffs, no less.

Willing to try new things…

A month or two ago – my trusty Husqvarna 205 and I parted ways – I’ve noticed I end my relationships pretty quickly and painlessly these days.  One faltering stitch and you’re on Craigslist.  I hadn’t started the Graduation Dress project yet so it was imperative that I find a replacement.  Someone that I could build a quality relationship with.

Don’t get the wrong idea, the 205 had been true and faithful for 15 years – I was pregnant with Thing 1 when 205 came home with me.  We made the most beautiful crib bedding together for little Thing 1.  From there our love grew and grew.  We made many a curtain and costume and project.

And the 205 never gave me any problems, never failed me.  But you know… sometimes you need to move on.  Sometimes you need someone who is going to give you that little extra something.  The basics weren’t cutting it for me.   I felt limited and stifled.  I felt I deserved better.  I needed to move on.

Husqvarna 955e was not a new model – used –  in fact, loved by another.  But they too had parted ways.  955e was willing to give me more than I’d ever had before.  Willing and able to do all the little things my last relationship couldn’t.  And 955e is fast, faster than I’d ever sewn before.  I’ve had fantasies about this but didn’t think it could really happen.

You know, sometimes, in a new relationship, you’re willing to try things.  Things you NEVER thought you’d do before.  Sure, you heard people did that but you didn’t really expect to be doing that yourself!  I’m a little embarrassed about it.  But curious.  I feel like it’s important to try this and make sure this new relationship is going to work.

So tonight, I’m going to learn how to machine embroidery.  I’m keeping an open mind and taking it slow.