Monday, November 7, 2016

Meeting in Vegas, and Spartan Bruises

So barely recovered from the Spartan, I hopped a plane to Vegas for a work meeting. This was a nice sunset I snapped from the plane in Charlotte, NC.

And these were some precious sleeping ducklings next to the fountain at the Mirage, where my meeting was.

I didn't go see the Beatles Love concert, whatever that was... (And I didn't MEAN to look puzzled, so I may need to sign up for some Botox soon.)

but I did make a couple of friends and venture out for dinner at Giada's at the Cromwell (across from Caesar's Palace). The windows OPENED up like garage doors, and we were right on the Strip! I would definitely eat here again - the place was gorgeous, and the food was aMAZing!

Then we ventured downstairs, where we played a little video Blackjack and video poker. I was going to attempt live Blackjack, but the minimum bet on a Friday night was $15 - too rich for my blood! I won $18 here, but just kept playing it while we were talking (and enjoying the free drinks), so I was ultimately down $20.

And now you can move on, unless you're ready for some graphic hematoma pictures! That's actually a handprint on my forearm where a guy (vigorously) helped Dean haul me over the 45-degree wall I climbed with a rope. The armpit bruises are from hanging onto walls and hauling myself up over them.

And this is an extreme close-up of my poor knee, and I remember scraping it as I went over a wall, but I don't remember why it's bruised, since there really was no crawling. I didn't take a pic of the back of my leg where there's just a straight black line all the way across - I think that was from being slung over a wall before the other leg followed. Just fascinating, really. Think of all the stuff you did as a kid and never bruised up.

The saddest thing was that I've been a little proud of my leg muscles - I mean you can SEE some little muscles now, but that skin still screams 49 years old! I would look down while I was walking and see all the wrinkles on this knee, and really feel my age.

Next time I'm wearing long leggings!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

I Survive a Spartan!

But actually, Dean and Drew went first, and did the Spartan Beast (14+ miles and 30+ obstacles) outside of Fort Worth, TX, on Saturday. Drew appears contemplative after slogging through a lake with fish dying from all the mud being stirred up by thousands of participants. Sad situation.

But he was happy to finish in one piece, 7 hours later. Yes, let me say that again - 7 hours of obstacles and hauling sandbags and buckets of rocks up and down the only mountain in Texas, apparently.

They got back to the hotel at 8 PM, we had a carbalicious dinner, and got up at 6:30 to do it again. Well, Drew caught a plane back to Auburn, but Dean did it again with me in the Spartan Sprint, which was about 4.5 miles and 20+ obstacles. And this would be the only picture they caught of me, in the barbed wire crawl (roll). They did not catch my final leap over the fire at 2 hours and 7 minutes, making me #19 of 48 women in my age group....or as my friend called it, the Top Twenty!

But it's okay they didn't get more pictures, because we took a selfie:

Yeah, just trust me, you're destined to see more bruises and scrapes as they appear. I even have fingerprints on my left forearm where some dude helped haul me over the final edge, after I rope-climbed up the 45-degree wall. So then we came back to Halloween, and I had the creepy mummy lit up in the window again - love this thing!

And my resident and medical student dressed up with the rest of the office....and yes, I forgot my yellow duckbill quacker.

We're all Disney characters, but there wasn't really a theme this year. (Star Wars is Disney, now, right? And the one in the middle is Tinkerbell.)

And now to leave you with my Mardi Gras dress fabric - stretch velvet in Royal Blue from - LOVE! Look how rich!

Compare it with the $1 swatch of the stretch velvet from Mood - I'm so happy with the actual fabric being darker and richer, which is a good thing, since I bought 4 yards of it based on the reviews!

So the 4th annual GCGS&KW is set for December 17th, and I hope to have a modifed pattern for this stretch velvet by then. In the meantime, I'm off to Las Vegas for a work meeting - any suggestions for shopping? Las Vegas doesn't strike me as the mecca for home sewers and knitters, honestly, so I'm taking my split-neck sweater to work on. I did get it re-needled, but am working on the marker placement before starting up again - bleh! I need to go get another private sock lesson so I can finish the ones I started...What have you accomplished lately that made you feel great?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Dress decisions and some good food

Arghhh! Sorry for the terrible iPhone pics - does anybody know how to make your computer suck in pictures with the new Microsoft update? Had to email them to myself - bleh. Anyway, we had a Mardi Gras family function with friends last weekend in New Orleans, and I opted for an oldie but goodie, the Simplicity 5093, which has been the easiest dress so far to make. I was never crazy about the back, but saw some other dresses at the party with straight straps like mine.

I have always loved the front, though, and there are no worries about a necklace. Drew's girlfriend, who is 19 and sews, even came up and complimented me on the dress and choice of fabric - it's a hit with the millennials!

We had time before the party for some lunch at Kingfish in the Quarter - you have to go eat there! Look at all this food - we just ordered a few appetizers, and the nachos come with fried pork skins instead of tortilla chips. When they pour the hot cheese over it, it crackles - neat!

And here's a closeup of the charcuterie plate with their housemade sausage - yum!

This is an attempt at the prettiest dress in the joint, but you'll have to use your imagination. It appeared to be a dark blue floral chiffon or something, and had a bare midriff, although the front may have been all one piece.

Here we are all together - Drew was studying at school - good boy!

And the next day we had brunch at Arnaud's - this is my dessert called Strawberries Arnaud, with a spoon made of dough.

So I was inspired by the good food all weekend, and went to Publix for some help with dinner. The very nice Apron's lady set me up with Sauteed Ravioli with Chicken Sausage - excellent! It has mushrooms, asparagus, Gorgonzola cheese, wine, dill butter, etc., and is all cooked in one pan.

Sooooo, I'm tired of recycling my 4 Mardi Gras dresses, which I've done for the past several years, and I can't wear the Simplicity to Endymion in February since the same people will be there, so I'm thinking of something new. Initially I was just going to make another Simplicity in a different color stretch velour, but now I'm thinking of using the Alabama Chanin pattern with a stretch velvet, but cutting the front short and tapering to a long back....whatcha think? These were the only choices at Joann's:

so I've ordered a couple of swatches from Mood and I may still do that neck treatment from the Simplicity, since the AC dress is plain other than the beading, but I guess the neck will be covered with Mardi Gras beads anyway, so maybe plain is just fine. And it looks like the December 17 weekend may work for the 4th annual Gulf Coast Girls' Sewing and Knitting Weekend, I just have one more schedule to check. Everybody still free? I'll probably send out an email tomorrow if schedules work.

Now off to run - I've got that Spartan race next weekend, you know!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Not a Peplum Girl!

So I cut the peplum off, evened it up, and resewed it with the seam on the side, but something's just not right. I can't put my finger on it, so I asked Lucas for his opinion. He said, "You look like you're trying to be a ballerina, it's too short, and it makes you look offense." (Honest and fashion-forward, that one!)

I have to agree, it's just not working. Maybe a stiffer fabric with more formal pants would look good, but this does NOT.

And this is even worse, what with the seam being higher in front like I'm 12 weeks pregnant! Now the question is how to salvage it, since I've bound the sleeves already, just not the neck. First I thought leave the back peplum but make the front come straight down, but I don't even like the back. So replace it with a normal bottom, but embellish it somehow? Coordinating but mildly contrasting fabric? Any thoughts would be appreciated!

So in other weekend news, I made a lot of progress on my "split-neck sweater" from Ravelry, but then discovered this about the V-neck border - do you see it?

I skipped 4 purl stitches on the right, so I'm ripping that back and redoing it - bleh! It should be nice once I get going, though, since it's a seamless, in-the-round, sweater that will go quickly.

And I did take a private lesson at Mobile Yarn to learn how to do 2 socks at once on circulars, but little progress has been made, and I need another lesson!

Now I heard Robbie is close to finishing her AC dress she airbrushed with me last year, so I can't wait to see that - can I share it here, Robbie, when you get it finished? What have you other ladies been working on? And I'm still looking at December for a possible GCGS&KW - possibly the 17th- any big conflicts with that weekend? Pam, any chance you're in Pensacola that weekend??!!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Peplum Questions

SOOOO....I've been wanting to make an Alabama Chanin top with peplum for a long time and have never found the right peplum pattern and fabric combination. AC does ruffles around tops,

but that makes me look thicker or more hippier, so I wanted a traditional half-circle skirt kind of peplum, and wanted a bit of hi-lo with lower in the back. I found a DIY tutorial today at It's Always Autumn, then found some cotton knit I bought years ago at All About Sewing. The problem is that I didn't measure completely when I folded my fabric and just started cutting, then found out I was a couple of inches shy in one corner - DOH! Luckily, the tutorial tells you how to make a hi-lo peplum by shaving off a couple of inches in one corner....trouble was that I was in the wrong corner...thus I ended up with a center front seam. Is this a deal-breaker? And this is pre-sleeve just to see what I had in the closet to go with it. Obviously the men's shoes don't compute with a peplum.

Here it is with 3/4 length sleeves, and the seam is just killing me, but ignore the weird wrinkles - it's not pressed.

I could take it off and move the seam to the side like it was intended, with the shorter side on my left hip where I wear my beeper, so that would be FUNCTIONAL, if not weird. I could also make it all one length and move it to the side, since I don't have any crazy-tight leggings to wear this with, which was why I wanted the hi-lo thing - to cover the rear in case of tight leggings.

So please comment on whether a center front seam is a deal-breaker or not, and be BRUTAL and HONEST.

So I held off on hand-stitching the neck and sleeve bands because we had a benefit gala at the Greek Orthodox Church which was black tie, which meant I got to wear this oldie but goodie, Butterick 6582:

Looking back at my original pattern review (none of the picture links to Picasa work anymore - boo), I didn't remember that I used this black dress as a muslin for another pink dress that I wore to a cancer benefit! I LOVE this black fabric, but it was only $3.99 a yard, so I guess that's why it was the guinea pig.

Anyway, it was MADE for the Ivanka Trump zip-up heels, which I didn't have the last time I wore it, so this was a great night! Now to work on knitting a V-neck sweater, and later I'll tell you about the 2-socks-at-once-on-circular-needles that I'm attempting. What are you working on this weekend?

Monday, September 19, 2016

T-shirt Rug, Reunion Weekend, Black Sweater Done!

So here's the rug I crocheted from 14 or 15 T-shirts in the beach bathroom - looks right at home, and I'm so proud of it! I can throw it in the washer, unlike the rug that was in there before.

And my 5 college roommates came down for our annual reunion weekend, which we rotate around to each person's house. Next year we're all turning 50, so we're going to Chicago to celebrate. This year was low-key, especially with the monsoons that blew through every hour all weekend. We had exactly 4 hours without rain on Saturday, so we boated over to a marina for lunch (I successfully docked the boat at a public marina for the first time - yay!), then took a boat ride and watched some of the wakeboard championship that was going on nearby.

Then we came back, and 3 people jumped in a kayak, 1 person went to pick up steamed seafood for dinner (God bless people who enjoy cooking!), and 2 of us jumped in floats with margaritas. Not 30 minutes later, somebody yelled that a storm was moving in from the Gulf, so Durema and I swam madly for the ladder and had to fight to hold our floats, because it was like a tiny hurricane coming. You could see the wall of rain and hear it coming, and as soon as we stood up on the dock it hit. The other 3 were running across the yard with the kayaks, then realized they were on the porch but they're margaritas were on the dock, so of course they sprinted back to us. About 5 minutes later it was all over with - crazy!

We did get to eat most of our dinner outside that night and stayed fairly dry, although Friday night we had eaten under an umbrella at The Gulf, and 3 of us were pelted with blowing rain against our backs for 10 minutes, so we left that dinner with soaking hair and clothes. Still good times, though!

So on to the final pics of the black mesh sweater, which I started in January, 2015, I kid you not. Remember I knit one sleeve inside out and screwed them both up good by not using a chart? So Heidi at Mobile Yarn set the sleeves up in a chart on Knit Companion (go take a class from her - so worth it!), and I redid both sleeves, learning to use double-point needles in the process. Knit Companion keeps track of how long the app is open, so I know that the sleeves took just over 23 hours to knit - ridiculous! But look how cute it is! Just need to block it and stretch the sleeves out, because I want them a touch longer.

And I think I need to wear collared shirts with no sleeves underneath, since this may look too much like a bra underneath it - what do you think? It's really a tank top.

So the most exciting news is that this monkey is finally off my back, so I will be starting a new "split-neck" sweater that can be worn alone, and I'm treating myself to a private lesson at Mobile Yarn to learn how to knit 2 socks at once on a circular needle - woot woot!

So my thought for the day/week/month/year is that life is too short not to enjoy something special EVERY day, so figure out what that is, and DO IT! Shia LeBeouf really does say it best, and I get a good laugh every time I watch this. I love that boy:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Family Photos & New Fluevogs!

Here are a couple of action shots of the wood-turning jackets I made for my BIL and brother recently. Joe sports his Auburn jacket while proudly displaying one of his own creations. (What is that, Tracey, a wine stopper?)

And Scott demonstrates the superior ability of the neckband to repel pesky wood shavings.

Meanwhile, I've been attempting to train for a Spartan race, mainly by doing pushups, Russian crunches, and climbing the rope in the backyard. Drew showed me how to wrap the rope around my feet, and I finally succeeded!

And am actually progressing up the rope with each attempt!

It's a wee bit scary!

Lucas was fitted for a tux for the school chorus, and looks quite dashing.

And the proudest moment of all - my nephew snapped a pic of Aubie (Auburn University's football mascot for our foreign visitors) with the ROTC contingent in the stands, and the clean-shaven young man without glasses would be Drew. My heart swells. And all the deceased relatives' hearts would swell, as both Drew and my nephew are in the ROTC and were on the field together for the flag detail. (I'll wait while you get a tissue, Mother.)

Now on to the Fluevogs. We went to New Orleans for the Saints opening game, and I had emailed the Fluevog store there ahead of time that I was in love with the Pilgrims. Why would I email them? Because they will make sure the right sizes are there for you to try on when you come to town! The amazing customer service continues.

They fit perfectly, so I wore them as above to work today. Now when the weather gets colder, I will need to incorporate socks, and this is the best I have right now.

Yes, I know, Wicked Witch of the West. The sales associate did tell me to join the Fluevog Friday Facebook group, though, and that's where everybody shows pictures of how they wore their shoes. (And if you thought I was obsessed, you should see some of the posts!) Of course I had to try them on with everything in my closet, and they do play nicely with the Alabama Chanin garments.

But I liked this look the best - very professional.

They're so comfortable, though, that I'm entertaining the idea of wearing them to Mardi Gras....

or the Lyras....which do you think? (Remember that I wore brown ankle boots a couple of years ago - nobody looks at your shoes.)

I'll leave you with a fun little video from the Saints game - this usher danced to every little song they played. We should all love our jobs this much!