Sunday, January 31, 2016

Third Annual GCGSW

It's officially a wrap; we had another great Gulf Coast Girls' Sewing Weekend! We added yet another sewist, Nancy, who was previously a costumer with a background in fashion design, though she actually taught finance using her doctorate in Economics (correct me if I'm wrong, there, Nancy), so that does bring the tally to 2 engineers and 4 doctors - what a crew! Here's Nancy consulting with Robbie on a sewing issue.

And here's Yaffa cutting out a Mozart-style coat from upholstery material. She's the grand prize winner again this year, because she had to cut and tape those pattern pieces together from a computer printout before even getting to this stage. Hope your back's okay, Yaffa!

Here's the whole crew before Katrina had to leave for her Mardi Gras ball. (Note to self: no more GCGSW's during Mardi Gras season!)

And here's some of the output: Nancy introduced us to Kanzashi, which is fashioning flowers from fabric, and involved a little bit of hand-sewing and a little bit of burning the edges with a candle - cool!

This is Yaffa's Mozart jacket with gold braid and lacy cuffs...

and check out that collar - fancy!

Becky cranked out a Hot Patterns top before whipping up these flannel pajama pants...for her son, not her!

And I didn't get a shot of Katrina's shoe bag or Robbie's Betzina Vogue skinny pants, but needless to say, everyone was remarkably productive, given that we started Saturday off with pina coladas and ended it pomegranate-blackberry cocktails! I even made progress on my mesh knitted sweater, since my sewing mojo was lagging.

Lastly, I'll leave you with the very rare "Super Blood Moon" which God graced me with Friday night while I was unsuspectingly sitting on the porch. At first I thought the orange glow over the trees was from the Mexican restaurant, but it kept getting higher in the sky, then I realized it was the moon, and check out the reflection in the water, too. Never a good camera around when you need one.....

Thank you ladies so much for the awesome weekend!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Now Commencing Shoe Flog...I Mean Blog

I have to say a word about John Fluevog shoes.

I stumbled across the store in New Orleans last weekend (just a block from the knitting store - how convenient!) and almost took a bunch of pictures inside because of the crazy shoe eye candy. I actually tried on 2 pairs of shoes, that sadly didn't come in my exact size, but the lady told me to call her next time I knew I was coming to town and she'd hold anything I liked for 24 hours. What?! I took a card and went online, and what a quirky website! So if you've seen the music video for Groove is in the Heart, Lady Miss Keir is wearing Fluevogs, and apparently Madonna wore them back in the 90's, etc. Now these things are expensive, but I found the sale page and ordered a pair for half-price. Behold the pointy yet boxy beauty:

Please forgive the blue socks, I just had to put these on right away. People, that is velvet piping, and it makes a velvet ribbon that you tie!

They even have a saying etched on the bottom, "Take time, be whole, be free." So hippy.

Every email they sent me about confirmation, shipping, etc., said stuff like, "We want to thank you for your awesomeness. You're good-looking!" The box they came in said the usual stuff about being recyclable, then said "Other uses for this box include chinchilla house, arts & crafts, and very temporary fish bowl." It included 2 postcards with the Fluevog icon and a little paragraph about the history of the company with the last line being, "No, YOU'RE weird!" (Because their shoes and website are very weird...get it?) And they even included a canvas shoe bag to store the shoes and 3 pieces of flair to wear on your clothes! I am definitely looking for another pair next time I'm in New Orleans...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Mesh Sweater Progress?

Weelllllll....I was deliriously happy to have finished the second sleeve of my mesh sweater (I paid for this pattern - only one I've ever bought) after SO many restarts because I'd lose track of the lace pattern. I was also happy because this mesh looked uniform, and the first sleeve was just pitifully uneven. So I held it up to admire it....and realized there was a problem. Can you see it?

I also noticed that one cuff rolled out and the other rolled in...

I very calmly realized that I apparently knit one sleeve inside out. Now they're done on circular needles, and I guess I should've paid closer attention to how I was holding the sweater when I started. Oh well, I think I'll go ahead with the body, then go back and redo that sleeve afterwards. And I'll be sure to leave a note on Ravelry warning other knitters to be careful. I have a feeling I may be working on this during the upcoming 3rd annual GCGSW, which is in 2.5 short weeks! Hey, what are you GCGSW'ers planning on working on?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Now Commencing Cooking Blog....

Psych! I was just kidding, but something amazing has happened since Christmas day. We went to Christmas dinner at a friend's house, where there were 28 people eating, and it was the most hospitable event I've been to. My friend gave me a Pioneer Woman cookbook as a gift, which I was totally not expecting. In fact, they gave every person there a Christmas gift, which was incredible. (Thank goodness I knitted her 2 dishcloths and wrapped them up fancy, or it could've been awkward!)

Well, I've read Pioneer Woman's blog when my sister sends me a funny post, but I'd never thought about cooking anything till I got this book. She's hilarious! I knew she had a sense of humor from the blog, but the cookbook is off the chain wacky. She has a very self-deprecating attitude, and when I hit the paragraph about how she hates going to the grocery store, I was sold. This woman is like me, except she cooks. Behold my first creation, Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce.

Sadly, Dean was on call and Drew was out, so Lucas was the only one to join me in the delectability. He ate it all and used the sauce for the corn even! The next day I gave Drew a bite of the leftovers, and he said he would definitely order that in a restaurant. (You have to understand that they have never enjoyed my cooking, thus my ecstatic-ness.)

Next up was Orange Chicken, which is based on a Chinese dish she loves. Let me just say the sauce involves orange juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, orange zest, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and white vinegar. It also involves cubing chicken thighs, dipping them in egg whites with cornstarch, and deep frying them. Guess what I realized while I was cooking? I've never deep-fried a thing in my life! What 48-year-old woman from Alabama has not deep-fried something? Shocking; and so I was nervous about committing errors, but Dean thankfully left the kitchen to do something else while I cooked. (He was probably hiding behind a door with a fire extinguisher waiting for tragedy to strike, as it inevitably does when I'm in the kitchen. Have I mentioned baking a dessert and using wax paper instead of parchment paper, which subsequently filled the house with smoke but thankfully didn't catch on fire?) To everyone's amazement, though, there was not a single mishap.

And so I give you the most delicious, orangey, perfectly-cooked chicken dish I've ever made! Lucas ate three helpings, Drew went back for seconds, and Dean declared it was tasty - I can die a happy woman now!

Back to reading more of the cookbook...

Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 Catch-Up Post

Man, where does the time go? Oh wait, there were a bunch of lectures and 2 new committees - that explains it! (Plus that whole new computer that won't interface with my iPhone, so I can't upload pictures like I used to...) Let's catch up on the crafting side of things first. This is just one of the gorgeous bowls my brother turned on his lathe.

And here's a fancy pen my BIL turned on HIS lathe - crafters galore in this family! (He makes custom pens, so let me know if you want his website, or my sister can comment with it if it's cool to advertise.)

I even finished one sleeve on my mesh sweater - woohoo!

I personally think the mesh hides the off-kilter-ness of my pattern, but keep it to yourself if you beg to differ.

So on to Christmas. The plan was to spend it at the beach, so I put up the aluminum tree I bought off Ebay in 2008.

I love this thing.

Reminds me of the fake tree we had when I was about 3 or 4 years old...


Oh yeah, random shot of Jake, who can't stay off the furniture these days, and actually knocked this guitar off Drew's bed somehow. Bad dog!

So this year I finally caved in and agreed to a fake tree at home, since we were going away for a couple of days and I just hate being the only one who waters the tree. Why did I wait so long? It was prelit, and you don't have to vote whether you want multi-colored or white lights - just use the remote to change it!

You can even alternate between them, but that's a little distracting when trying to watch TV.

And I practiced a little homemakery, even though I'm usually challenged in the gender-specific arts. I made my sister's cinnamon crescent rolls for the boys one morning, and my Mom's breakfast casserole on Christmas morning...even made them up the day before and stored in the frig - very efficient!

Ton of butter mixed with cinnamon in these things - yum!

And guess what? I've been talked into doing a Tough Mudder with the boys. (Because I have my health and mobility, so why wouldn't I celebrate that by doing something with it?!) Thus, I needed some trail shoes, which is what Drew and I got for Christmas.

This would be me learning from Drew how to climb the rope in the backyard.

I also received a plethora of reading material from the boys, ranging from a requested Stephen King book from Drew, to a requested knitting magazine and a surprise Donald Trump book from Lucas - that combination made me laugh.

I hope you all had a great Christmas too, and recognized your blessings like I did. I think I need to change my little blog motto from "It is to laugh" to "Life is too short not to dance."

(The rest of this is for my Mad Cow-riddled brain down the road.) Good times: running 4 miles then having a push-up challenge with Drew, eating at Hurricane's with the boys and watching Kingsman after an intense cleaning session at the beach, sitting on the porch with everybody after Christmas Eve dinner at Gilbey's, sitting on the dock hearing about Drew's life at Auburn and watching lightning roll through, discussing the ending of Birdman, following the new Roomba around and realizing it's as fun as a remote control car, but actually useful. More to come....

Monday, November 9, 2015

Swimsuits Hold Up Well!

We had a lovely anniversary weekend in the Bahamas - shout-out to my Mom for making it possible for us to go and leave poor Lucas behind with her. Here's a shot of our view - gorgeous, even with rain moving in.

The seagulls were rather aggressive if you left your breakfast undefended.

Here's some gorgeous water, but I don't think you can see the iguanas on this island. We fed them grapes on sticks, and they were huge.

This one was not nearly as big but did intend on checking my beach bag for more grapes.

And here's the promised action shot of the one-piece. Seemed to hold up well, but I didn't get it completely wet since the water was a little cold.

This was amazing to me - have you ever seen 5 cruise ships lined up in a harbor?! The one on far left was allegedly the largest cruise ship in the world, Allure of the Seas, where you can join 7000 of your closest friends and 2000 crew members, according to a local.

So now for some videos. We went on a "Powerboating" trip where they race you southeast for one hour to a private island, then entertain you with shark wrangling and stingray feeding. Also "drift snorkeling," but the current was so strong that it only lasted about 5 minutes (which was reduced to 2 minutes when I mistook our intended location and struck out Michael Phelps-style for a far island - heehee). Here's some of the boat ride with blaring music to make you feel cool. Before this they were playing Miami Vice.

Here's "shark wrangling" where they lasso an unsuspecting shark and make him submit....not sure WHY you do this, but look at all those sharks!

And finally, here's the tankini in action while I feed a stingray....except I only had one piece of fish, so the second one who came along just got my knuckle - ewwww! And then one came back from the lady next to me and ended up in my lap, but Dean stopped filming before that happened, which is lucky, because I ended up stumbling backwards and falling in the water. Way to make friends, Dr. Fun!

So, back to work now, but that swimsuit sewing marathon really paid off! Anyone else having a sewing binge?

Friday, November 6, 2015

A One-Piece Swimsuit!

Yes, I nearly had to seek immediate medical help, because the mojo lasted longer than 4 hours this past weekend! I went to Joann and bought the pattern and fabric, so this cost $37 due to the pattern not being on a huge sale, and I had limited couponage. Still the cheapest bathing suit compared to store-bought. So this is McCall's 6759 , and here's the envelope pic.

Oh, here's my cheap imitation pose - I couldn't remember exactly what she was doing.

And I don't have quite the same thighs and boobage (the bra cups gave me fits!), but you know what? I'll take it! It is definitely low-cut, and if I make it again I'll lengthen the whole torso, front and back. But it feels very comfortable on, so the real test will be when it gets wet. I didn't take the time to do a shower test as previously recommended by Becky or Robbie. Let's review some construction, shall we? Here are the "sew-in" cups that I've never been able to make work.

The elastic made the side seams pull very oddly when I sewed back to front, so I ripped this out and did the pattern-recommended piece of elastic across the front lining, and I kept it out of the side seam. Then you add optional bra cups before you sew the top together with the elastic. Of course, you have to tack them in or they'll just slide right down the front!

Another boo-boo was that I was moving as quick as possible, and forgot that the side panels were black, not contrast fabric - duh! Had to look up a video on ripping out serger seams - bleh. Lucas suggested leaving it as is, but I showed him that the point of this swimsuit is to slim you, not fatten you up.

And then this little step of applying the back strap elastic was confusing because there's a seam allowance included on the side part that wraps around your elastic when you turn it up to topstitch - odd, but I figured it out.

Eh, not terribly slimming in my opinion, but maybe from a distance I won't look 3 months pregnant.

The back is kind of cute, and I'm so lucky to have scavenged an S-hook from an old bathing suit, because Joann didn't carry them, and I couldn't bring myself to go back in Hancock - it's so cluttered and dirty now! Why don't they scrub the floors?!

Okay, so I'll get pics of both swimsuits in action (or inaction while drinking a fruity cocktail) soon, but you have a great weekend in the meantime, and feel free to share your swimsuit boo-boos or successes. Katrina, I saw a comment you left on PR that mentioned you were making one - is it done? Have you reviewed it yet?