Monday, October 13, 2014

Gulf Coast Girls' Sewing Weekend 2014

It was very technical! Here's the set-up:

Three of us decided to work on drafting a bodice sloper, so one of the engineers (I just like saying that) showed me how to connect the HDMI cable from the pediatrician's laptop to my TV, and using her Wifi hotspot, we streamed the Craftsy bodice sloper class (doesn't that sound like a funny joke: 3 doctors and 2 engineers walk into a sewing class - ba-dum-bum!). Let me just say that we 3 were wearing camisoles and leggings because of the very precise measurements to be taken, and adhesive dots were also employed to mark strategic spots such as base of the neck, shoulder points, belly button, high hip, low hip, etc. This picture was actually taken before any imbibery began, but my head was spinning with calculations involving fractions, thus the stupid look on my face.

After the imbibery began, the calculations went all to hell, but you can see how intense the work was - nary a sewing machine was heard at our table.

BUT, Robbie was productive with her hand-smocking of dresses for little girls, and Yaffa was the grand-prize winner, finishing an ENTIRE PURSE, complete with ribbon, piping, and magnetic snap closure!

So it was very educational, and we balanced the caloric intake of the yummy pina coladas with the fiber of Katrina's chicken Caesar salad and Yaffa's Kale Mary salad. (Yaffa doesn't have a blog yet, but maybe she'll comment with the recipe - it was delicious and involved exotic things like quinoa!)

So, that's it on the sewing front - still haven't unpacked anything sewing-wise. On the family front, here's a little sample of Drew's bass-playing. He's doing the end of the year talent show at school, and guess what song he's doing? DURAN DURAN's Box Full of Honey. (Exposed him to my favorite band a couple of years ago against everyone's better judgment: You're welcome!) Of course, there'll be another kid on guitar, a vocalist, and a drummer, but they haven't practiced together yet. This video reminds me of the year the poor guy did a 7th grade talent show by playing his French horn along with a record. He got behind and had to start over again a couple of times - very embarrassing. Hopefully Drew will be more successful with the live version...or it could be worse...I'll shut up now.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Have You Seen This Top?

I have a little bit of mojo going in light of the impending GCGSW, so I found this top lying on a pile of knit tops that didn't fit right and decided to save it. It previously had short sleeves which were too tight, and the armscye was biting into me in the back, but once I ripped off the sleeves, it sat better. Thus it became a tank.

Sad thing is, I have no idea what pattern I used for this. I held the Renfrew up to it, but it didn't match.

What a swayback - I look like I'm bending over backwards!

I couldn't find the remnants of fabric, so that precluded any nice bands. I just pressed under about 3/4" and stitched on the top of it. I didn't want to mess with the coverstitch all night, since I haven't perfected finishing seams yet, so I popped in my twin needle and was about 1" from finishing the hem when one of the needles broke - DOH!

Therefore, I popped in a single stretch needle and did a triple stretch stitch with one color, then the other color.

I'm happy to have salvaged something wearable, but I wish I knew what pattern it was, because I like the neckline. The hem is a little too snug.

Now I need to knit a black shrug so I can wear it to work!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Labor Day Helicoptering

The blogging is taking a serious backseat to work these days! I did have a couple of days off to enjoy the last dregs of summer with the family (It was 96 today, who are we kidding? I think I'll wear white next week!), and that entailed a helicopter ride we've been trying to do for months. The first time we tried it, the thing was broken and being serviced, which was not particularly confidence-inspiring, but all was well THIS time. Dean opted to stay behind as next of kin.

Hello, Alabama Pass!

So Drew wanted to head north instead of going along the beach with its predictable waves and condos, and guess what we found? A lady in the water! (You do see her head and knees sticking up like she's sitting in a tub, right?) Turns out that Barber Marina is owned by a billionaire who likes to have fun with his money, so he commissioned some sculptures to be scattered across his property.

Here's a giant spider behind the dry storage building. Lucas thinks it's to deter thieves.

And for some reason, in the middle of a forest where no one can see it, Stonehenge! The dirt road you see in the corner isn't even a way in, as it's blocked to cars. You'd have to hike in on foot to find this.

And then back over Robinson Island for a quick landing - what fun! We'd all do it again, and Drew especially enjoyed the banking turns with no door. Given that he's planning to go into the Air Force, he BETTER enjoy stuff like this!

Oh, here's a little vicarious flying for you:

And now to sewing, of course. My Mom and Jim gave me a gift certificate to Alabama Chanin for my birthday, which was right after my sewing weekend with Natalie - hooray! I bought another stencil, and this one is WAY bigger than my other one:

I also bought a couple of yards of teal fabric. I think I had a shirt or dress in mind when I bought it - can't remember now.

And yes, I'm still couching that skirt. Almost finished with the first panel. This thing's taking longer than the beaded Mardi Gras dress, but it's because I keep knitting with every spare moment I have. OH, and the big news is we're having a second GCGSW - Gulf Coast Girls' Sewing Weekend! It's in October, and we've picked up another doctor who sews, so we're scrambling to find an engineer to balance out the degrees - ha! Hey Pam, we'll take a lawyer, too, if you're free the weekend of October 11th. Some of us are tackling the Bodice Sloper class on Craftsy for this, but I also plan on whipping up some knit shirts in the meantime, since I never finished the Sewing with Knits classes. Wait, I think I have 2 lectures to give at the state medical meeting in 3 weeks, which also coincides with my college reunion-girls' weekend....dude, when will I have time for my sewing?!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Summer's Over

Man, where did the time go? It's been years since I posted something! Well here are a couple of pictures to remind myself what we did this summer after July 4th. We went to Universal Studios since it'll probably be the last time Drew goes there with us...until he has kids of his own - wahhhhhh!

So this is in Harry Potter-ville, or whatever the name of that town is where he catches the train, and this was a cute display.

Yeah, I couldn't tell you how the ride was, as there was always a 4-hour wait, mostly due to it breaking down frequently. But I CAN recommend Rip Ride Rockit:

...where you pick your favorite song to belt at the top of your lungs, thus embarrassing your 17-year-old son listen to while climbing 17 stories straight to Jesus then hurtling up to 65 mph! Lucas didn't ride that, of course, but he did overcome a couple of panic attacks to ride the Mummy...twice, in fact. He said that his goal this summer was to conquer that particular fear, and he was terribly proud of himself.

This was breakfast at the local restaurant - I guess New York has pigeons and Orlando has....herons or something like that.

Dean tried to sneak up on it, prompting it to take flight.

This was a chandalier at the Hard Rock Hotel by Universal - all saxophones!

When we got home, we found a lost water bird of our own hanging out in the backyard.

So the rest of the time I've been working, giving lectures, taking call, etc., in addition to finishing some knitting projects. I need to take a picture of the scarf I finished, but I also did a couple of dishrags and am about 1/4th of the way through another shrug for myself. Hmmm, seems like I'm forgetting something....oh yes - that Alabama Chanin skirt I was couching! Haven't touched it in a couple of weeks, but I'll get back to it shortly.

Okay, off to prepare for the first day of school tomorrow. Can I just add in closing that I've never cried as much watching the national news as I have this last week? Between the bombings and the massacres in the Middle East, my eyelids just stay swollen. You hear about it every day, but to see footage of the poor men being lined up in a field of dead bodies, with the picture freezing just before the gunmen start shooting them, then the 3 little brothers in the hospital with their faces burned, just kills me. What the hell is the world coming to? Wow, what a great note to end on - thanks, Dr. Fun!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Mojo is Back! The Mojo is Back!

Apparently it just takes a call weekend where the family leaves me and there's no reason to stay downstairs. I was on call for the 4th, so I opted for my Alabama Chanin red skirt, white coat, and dark blue tank. I felt quite patriotic. And it's funny - I read another fashion blogger's post about avoiding the "cliched red, white, and blue color scheme." Cliched? Seriously? It's about our country - hello!

Sorry - needed to get that off my chest. Okay, on to my stunning productivity. This is the knitted headband gift from Ravelry that started me back on the machine (had to seam it together)....and broke a needle - yowza. The recipient can wear it like this...

or like this.

After that, I decided to make a new tankini top, since the old pink one is starting to sag a bit at the neckline, exposing a bit more of moi than I'd like. I divided my time between cutting and sewing upstairs and researching the internet for patterns and techniques. I even broke out my coverstitch machine that I haven't used in months! Hel-LO, LA-dies!

I didn't have enough pink fabric, but I DID have the black nylon lycra I previously made Pure Barre pants from, and it coordinates quite well with hot pink, so voila! (And yes, Sister, I put on my tight Pure Barre pants and monster heels, and strutted around singing "You're the One that I Want" from Grease - just didn't want to embarrass Dean with a pic.)

I didn't want an identical tankini, so this is McCall's 5400, which I first attempted here. That effort was just a bikini top and bottom that scared me away from swimsuits for 2 years, so I'm very proud to come back and conquer this thing!

I wonder if I'm really that crooked or if it's just my arm positioning. I still need to hem it, but I don't want to lose any length, so I might just run it through the coverstitch to LOOK hemmed.

And I need to tack down this strap - McCall's has you sew one end on, add your elastic around the top, then try it on before sewing the other end of the strap. Kinda weird. (Also weird is the way my elastic turned out - kinda overdone there on that side, and much less on the other side, but I don't think anybody'll notice.)

Also, I didn't have enough nude lining, so I paid Hancock's and Joann's a visit today. Oddly (or not, actually), Hancock's only had white lining, and Joann's was tres cheap-feeling, so white it was. And when the family returned, I was wearing it - hooray!

Okay, back downstairs, I packaged up the white washcloth gift and the headband gift in these recycled white gift bags...

and I have a larger bag for this scarf gift when I finish it. Love this pattern!

Oh, and I'm still couching. Anybody else bounce between knitting and sewing projects every hour on the hour?

I might start getting depressed that my big crafting weekend is coming to an end. OH - tomorrow I'll try and show you the crazy swimsuit fabric I bought for more tankini tops to coordinate with the pink bottoms. One has pink palm trees and black skull and crossbones - kind of piratey!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Flowers and Jake

Just some pretty pictures I took with my phone...

of some flowers in the backyard...

forgive the dog leg...

and one on a walk around the neighborhood.

And Jake got brave enough to jump up in the bow of the boat a couple of weeks ago, but he was a little scared...

then he realized he would live through it...

then he decided he was King of the World...except his ears and his tail tell a different story.

Happy 4th of July!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Best Birthday Weekend.....Ever!

Ready for a whirlwind of pictures? Let's start with the Mobile airport on Friday morning. Why the heck is this crazy vintage car in the lobby?

No idea, but how funkilicious!

The trunk is a veritable confection of dinosaurs and disco balls!

My sister and I arrive with 5 minutes of each other at the Knoxville airport and make it to the hotel. They've filled the gift shop with Alabama Chanin clothes - must have this lime green fabric!

We take a little tour of the property before dinner and try out this fabulous swing on a 45-degree incline. If you face the mountains and get a good push, it is panic-attack-inducing.

At the champagne reception and dinner Friday night, I became a babbling idiot when meeting Natalie Chanin. I start with, "Oh my goodness, it's such an honor to meet you," and end with, "I made skirt." She actually gives me a hug at this point, but is probably patting me down for weapons, and can you believe they have seated me NEXT TO HER at the table?! Whoever made that executive decision, I am forever indebted to you. That woman rocks! After dinner, a fun mother-daughter sewing pair join my sister and me in the lounge, and we make friends with all the returning guests. Any time someone asks what we're here for this weekend, we pounce on them with our iPhones to show them what Alabama Chanin is all about. (Did I mention there were wine pairings with dinner?)

Okay, on to Saturday. This is a display of their wares, but I couldn't get all the swatches in the pic....OH, the swatches.

Okay, Natalie teaches the physics of sewing Saturday morning and we break open our kits. The plum couched skirt I chose to make is pictured below, but this is from a website (Polyvore? No idea what it is) with a huge pic, so forgive the size. This was listed for $1430 - DUDE!
Couched Anna's Garden Skirt | Alabama Chanin

Natalie came over and very seriously informed me that couching is one of the most difficult of the techniques, and was I fully aware of that. I told her I had done a full-length beaded Mardi Gras dress, and I was not here for relaxation. She said she liked my attitude. (Take me now, God, I have hit the pinnacle of my existence! This is like when one of their designers told me my color choices were good together, but SO MUCH BETTER!) Okay, so then there's lunch and a few more hours of sewing while Natalie tells us the history of Alabama Chanin and some other very entertaining stories. After that, I collect my sister, who's been cross-stitching, napping, and generally relaxing in the room, and we go for a walk around the whole property.

It commences to raining pretty hard, so we take cover first in a boathouse on a lake, then again in a big gazebo by another lake. This is called "cray-cray selfie," and it is even before the wine.

Check out the awesome rainbow. God was smiling at me ALL weekend!

Oh, and the wine! This is how it comes from room service - in mason jars! (And it comes from room service when the in-house bar is shut down for a private function, but you don't know that because you just walked in from the rain, so you line up with all the other people - who are related to each other - and wait 10 minutes before someone tells you this is a private party.....DOH!)

So then there is an excellent dinner with my sister, then a little dance party back in the room (because we must dance while there are no disapproving glances from embarrassed family members), then stitching till about midnight. Which brings us to today, and this is the Alabama Chanin crew. Kay is to the left, Olivia next (who helped me with my MG dress questions - so sweet!), and you know the other two.

SO, here is my progress thus far on the couched skirt. And couching means sewing strips of fabric around the stenciled design, and is far more enjoyable than beading, though not quite as fast as embroidering.

I think I can finish this in a couple of weeks, given that I'm on call starting tomorrow - bleh.

I may embellish some of the smaller shapes with a few of the beads I have left over from the MG dress...hmmmm.

I don't think it's too late to quit my new job and see if Natalie wants to open a branch of AC at the other end of the you?